This is the final ficlet. The end. No more, no continuations.
"Ane-ue, breakfast is ready!"
I hear him, but I cannot seem to get up.
"Ane-ue!" The sound of his footsteps are coming closer, and then I can sense him standing slightly behind me. I can just see him out of the corner of my eyes. He tries once again to get a response from me. "Breakfast is ready, Ane-ue"
I want to hug him.
"Ane-ue. Come on, you have to eat."
I want to hold him.
"Kagome-chan says you've been here all day. Don't do this to us."
I want to tell him how much I love him.
"You have to eat, Ane-ue. I know things have been… devastating for you lately, but you can't just allow yourself to waste away like this. It's been a week. You need to start accepting it."
The only response I can possibly, hopelessly give him is the extent of my pain, and the harsh reality of death.
Now he is grasping my shoulders, shaking me gently. Anything to get my attention, to grab my focus and to keep me from emotionally slipping away. Anything to keep me alive, to reassure himself that I will not leave him.
"Ane-ue, please. You need to keep going. He'd want you to, wouldn't he?"
How ironic that it is my brother, of all people, who is telling me this.
"Stop letting your grief overcome you. He did this for you."
What my little brother says is true, but he has never had to witness death happen to someone he loves. He does not understand the pain, the burden of loss and the harsh reality that comes with it. My grief may be apparent to him, to the rest of them, but my anger lies just below the surface.
"He should not have had to."
"If I had been paying attention, he wouldn't have had to push me out of the way."
"He wanted you to live."
My gaze hardens as I read the tombstone. "I don't want to live. There's no reason to keep trying."
Now my little brother is crying. He tries to keep his voice steady and pretend to hold the tears back, but I know him. He has never been good at keeping his emotions hidden.
"Don't I matter to you?"
"You are already dead, Kohaku. You know the shard has to be removed."
"So you're just giving up?" he pleads.
"I have never given up."
"How can you say that? What do you think you're – "
I finally turn to face him. I have not cried once for Miroku. It is not because I don't care. I care so much it feels like my heart has been ripped out. I smile, although it's full of mockery.
"Naraku is gone. Houshi-sama is gone. You will die when your shard has been removed. There will be no reason for me to exist."
Where is the sister I once knew?
I can hear what she is telling me, but I am unable to process the words.
No reason to keep existing?
I try once more to change her mind. I know she is hurting, and in desperation to escape from the pain, she will take her own life. Miroku-sama told me, seeing as he was once told by Inuyasha that she would gladly end her own life as a sacrifice – or to end the torment once everything has been completed. It is a harsh truth, and one that I cannot seem to convince Ane-ue from resorting to, but it is her truth nonetheless.
Yet she will always fight to the last, and that is what makes her so admirable.
"I don't understand. Miroku-sama would have wanted you to live the rest of your life. He would have wanted you to be happy. Even with…" As I say these words, I hope I am not hurting her. I only want her to be happy; this person is a shell of the sister I once knew. "… even with someone else."
She has turned back around to gaze at the tombstone that bears the name of the monk. I am not sure if she is actually listening to me, or just pretending to hear what I say.
Suddenly she falls forward. Her body has become limp and her skin is pale. For a moment, I fear she secretly took her own life with a hidden weapon, but as I kneel beside her and hold her, I cannot see any signs of blood.
Her eyes have closed and she does not respond.
Scared for her – and for me – I run to get help from the others. Perhaps they will know what to do.
Half an hour later, Kagome comes out. Her expression is full of worry. I run to her, anxious to hear the news.
"Is Ane-ue going to be alright?"
Instead of answering and attempting to calm me, she gently grasps my hand and leads me over to a hill where we can talk in privacy for a few minutes. Normally I would demand for an answer, but this is Kagome-sama, and by the troubled look on her face, I somehow sense that she will tell me what has happened in her own fashion. Even if it is not a direct answer.
She sits down and motions for me to do the same. I obey, although I keep a short distance between us. Although I consider Kagome to be a friend and I respect her as a priestess, I don't feel very comfortable around anyone just yet. She opens her mouth to speak and I listen attentively.
"Kohaku," she begins quietly. "Your sister has been a very strong person. Even after everything she's been through, she always managed to keep going. She is a very admirable person." She attempts to crack a joke. "I still haven't figured out how she was able to handle Hiraikotsu so deftly in battle."
"So is she going to be alright?" I ask again, the panic in my heart rapidly increasing. "You're not implying anything by that last statement, are you?"
She glances at me, and her expression is more somber. Still, she says nothing.
"I don't want her to die, Kagome-sama. I want her to live because she's still got her life ahead of her, and Miroku-sama would have wanted her to be happy. Why can't she understand that?"
The young priestess keeps silent for a moment longer, then voices her thoughts. "She does, Kohaku-kun. But she's lost everything close to her. She knows she will have to accept your death. It's only a matter of days, and she doesn't want to face that. Eventually… if she doesn't do something soon, she will allow herself to waste away."
My frustration increases, although I keep it below the surface. I do not wish to vent my feelings regarding my sister towards Kagome when she has does nothing to cause this situation.
"She could at least live for him."
Kagome remains silent, gazing out into the distance. Then she turns to look at me.
"So is she going to die?"
Her silence is frightening me. It's as if she knows, but she doesn't want to acknowledge it. Even if Ane-ue is alive, she does not have the heart to keep going. Not after this. We both know that and it hurts.
"Live, for me."
I'm not sure if I want to hear the answer, yet I have to ask. She stands up and opens her mouth as if she is about to say something. She hesitates, then closes it and heads back to the hut.
"Please, Sango. I want you to keep going for me."
"I'm right here with you."
Written – May 12th, 2006
Theme: So, what do you think? If you're sitting there and thinking, 'Well, did she die?', that is up for you to decide. I left it partially open so you, as a reader, could interpret this in any way you felt was reasonable.
Okay, honestly I think this could have been better. Why didn't I rewrite then or switch it for something else?
I wanted to leave the final ficlet at an open conclusion.
I didn't want to have to think up something else. I was already losing interest in the fandom as I wrote this. (By the way, halfway through this ficlet, Kagome was starting to take on the wise characterization of Kikyou! So part of the conversation had to be deleted.)
I apologize, as this is most definitely not one of my better works. But you know what? I got tired of the fandom months ago. That's why it took me so long to write these last few ficlets. I had no inspiration from the series itself, and no motivation with which to write anything.
Check my profile for any upcoming updates.