Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Companion piece to Empty.


Blood.

There's so much of it.

Then again, I should be used to seeing blood. I am a taijiya. It's not like I've never seen human blood spilled by youkai before.

But this time, it makes me nauseous. Some of the blood in the area belongs to our companions, but most of it…

Most of it is draining from the person who lies on the ground. His skin is pale and splattered with the crimson drops, and it has started to cover my skin as I kneel by him. One of Naraku's tentacles has ripped through his stomach and he can barely speak, let alone move. His hair is filled with dirt from the constant fighting and sweat covers his brow.

For the time being, I have completely forgotten the fight with Naraku. The only people I am aware of are myself and Houshi-sama. I put my hand over his and squeeze it gently, letting him know that I am here and that I will never leave.

He manages to part his lips and utter a strained whisper, and his head turns slightly in my direction. I can tell he is struggling to keep my face in focus. His eyes are quickly becoming devoid of emotion as the life force drains out of him and soaks into the ground, turning it into a sickening shade of red. I have to lean against him to hear what he says, and even then his voice is barely audible.

"Please… live for me."

I protest, saying that if he can just hold on a little longer that there might be a way to save him. But deep in my heart I know it is not possible, and the fatal injury that has cut through him only proves it.

We were so close.

There are no tears in my eyes, yet as I feel as though my heart is being ripped apart again. I thought I could save Kohaku, but I was wrong. I thought Houshi-sama and I could have a future together. I thought maybe I would have another chance.

It wasn't a hope or a dream. It wasn't a wish. We were all aiming towards one thing, and until that point, nothing was certain. Houshi-sama and I liked to dwell on the possibilities during the evening hours together.

No more chances. No more possibilities.

I have nothing except for myself. I have no motivation, no will to keep going despite what Houshi-sama tells me. I do have Kirara, but she brings me little comfort when the one I finally realize I belong with is dying.

I am not afraid of Death itself. I escaped from Death to avenge my family, and now, I doubt vengeance is possible.

I give Houshi-sama the best smile I can manage, and it is a pitiful attempt. He is dying.

I am breaking.

I can take no more.

There is nothing I can do to prevent it. There is, however, one thing I can do to show him how much I really did care about him. There is one thing I can do to let him know I will never stop loving him even though I never got the chance to tell him. It will not be enough, but it is the only thing I can do.

I lean down further and gently, ever so gently, place my lips upon his. My hand is still holding his, and I can feel his fingers squeeze mine. The motion is barely detectable. His lips are cold, and his already weakened grip starts to slacken.

I can no longer hold the tears back. They come out in torrents, spilling salty trails on my cheeks and landing on his robes, mixing with the dirt and blood. My entire body is shaking and I bury my head into his chest, sobbing. I am aware of nothing but my own sudden desperation and loneliness.

Vaguely I hear Kagome-chan and Inuyasha give a cheer of victory. It seems so distant to me. I am assuming that they have finally won and destroyed Naraku, and a very tiny part of me is satisfied. I only feel satisfaction, nothing more. The rest of my mind and body has been overwhelmed with grief. I can think of nothing but the one I hold close.

We have triumphed over the bastard that has given us endless days of anger, loneliness, weariness and defeat…

But I've lost.

I have lost everything.


Written during the first week of May.