Chap.5-In the End

It had been five years since Inuyasha and the group met up again. They had long since found Naraku and defeated him. Miroku finally 'popped the question' and married Sango. The two currently live in the rebuilt and repopulated village of the demon slayers. Kagome went back to her own time, but stops by random times or on vacations. Shippou stayed with Kaede and helped out with small odd jobs that she didn't have time for. Inuyasha, however, was not faring as well as the others. Yeah, things had been way simpler since they defeated Naraku, but with everyone doing they're own thing, he had nothing to do. Usually he'd have Kagome to argue with, but she'd went back to her own time and was helping to run the temple. The wind blew gently as if to pat him on the shoulder and he brushed his hair out of his face. Kagome had offered to cut it, but he'd instantly declined.

'I wonder what he would say if I actually did cut it...Probably wouldn't even recognize me.'

Inuyasha had long admitted that he was indeed in love with Kouga. There really wasn't any choice for him in the matter anyways. Kagome had begun to notice that she wasn't getting as much attention from the hanyou as she had in the past. Of course she told Sango who then chewed said hanyou out for hurting Kagome's feelings. Miroku just happened to listen on their conversation and had a "discussion" with Inuyasha later that night. After about an hour or so denying that there was another woman out there, he told Miroku about his revelation. Shippou had been awakened due to the argument and feigned sleep. When he heard Inuyasha's confession, he practically screamed it loud enough for the people overseas to hear.

'Oy...He wouldn't come near me for days.'

"Inuyasha! Inuyasha! I know you hear me! Kaede says that you need to get down from there and help you lazy bum!"

Inuyasha looked down to see a particular, loudmouth kitsune looking up at him. Although it had only been five years, that was all it took for Shippou to have one heck of a growth spurt. His reddish-brown hair had become thicker and fell down his back in a high ponytail. The women of the village had made him a few outfits, one of which he was wearing now. Inuyasha hopped down from the tree in front of him.

"What do you want runt?"

"I'm not a runt Inuyasha! I'm almost as tall as you! And I just told you! Kaede wants you to help out or something!" Shippou's eyes were shut tight and his hands were balled into a fist in a futile attempt to get his point through to the uninterested hanyou. He opened his eyes and looked up. Inuyasha was currently looking into the forest. Shippou waved his hands a few times in Inuyasha's face and tugged on his hair. "Hey...You listening? Heellooo..."

"I hear you." Inuyasha turned around, white hair swirling about in the increasing winds. "Tell the old hag that I'll be back later. I think somethin's out there. Gonna check it out."

"Alright," Shippou said starting back the other way, "But you better be back in time for lookout duties!"

He watched the fox run back towards the village for a while and then started for the forest. After a few steps he stopped. Whatever that was there had gone deeper in.

'It's luring me.'

He took another step only to have whatever it is go farther back. He furrowed his brows and busted into a sprint after the thing. It only took five minutes to catch up with it and tackle it to the ground.

"Alright! Who a---GINTA! What the hell do you think you're doing! I could've killed you idiot!" He hopped off the wolf and stood up. "What do you want anyways?"

Ginta looked around nervously and wrung his hands. "Oy...Sorry Inuyasha. I'm not supposed to be here. I had to sneak away." He looked around once more.

"Wait...Sneak here? Why? What's going on?"

"Well you see, Hakkaku and I were just walking along hunting one day when we saw this ball of fur. We're thinkin' it's an easy meal so when we go over there and turn it, it's actually Kouga."

Inuyasha's eyes widened so much it looked like they could've held the moon in them. "Kouga's...He's...He's alive?"

Ginta looked down. "Just barely. When we found him, he was unconscious. We tried everything to wake him up. After awhile, we were gonna give up, but he started making a mumbling noise. Then he got louder. Hakkaku and I weren't really sure what to do when we made out what he was saying. We asked the others in the tribe and they said to just put him out of his misery. They weren't too happy that he left all that time to help you and your friends out."

Inuyasha still looked stunned that Kouga was still alive. After five years without having any sense that he was still on this plane, he could finally see him again.

"Wait...I'm still not getting why you aren't supposed to be here."

"Well, since Kouga isn't exactly in good enough health to run the clan, someone else is. Hakkaku and I were overheard planning to have you come and save Kouga so we were put to work. Hakkaku is stalling for me as we speak. We don't have long though. They're planning on putting Kouga to rest at sundown."

"What! Why didn't you say so to begin with idiot! Let's go now!" Inuyasha grabbed Ginta and blazed through the trees.

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Kouga was running through a forest. He didn't know where he was or why he was there in the first place. He slowed to a stop and looked around to survey his surroundings. He was in a clearing surrounded by identical dark trees. There was something following him. It had not shown itself, but his keen senses could smell it, taste the other presence in the air. It was getting closer. He took off into a sprint again until he came to field that stretched as far as the eye could see. Kouga looked up as he heard the sounds of birds in the sky. The sun was out, but it still looked eerily dark out. As he focused on the sky, a pair off hands wrapped themselves around his waist. He spun around to look into a pair of gold eyes. Although the silver bangs blocked most of his view, he noticed that the eyes were clouded-over with a multitude of emotions, some of which the wolf couldn't make out.

"Hey wolf." the silver head leaned forward so that their noses were almost touching.

"Inuyasha, were you following me just now?" Kouga was subtly trying to back away from the hanyou, but the arms around his waist kept him in place.

"Hmm...," Inuyasha nuzzled into Kouga's somehow freed hair, "You smell nice koi. Like...rain and earth." He inhaled more of Kouga's hair.

Thoroughly creeped out by what was going on and Inuyasha's behavior, Kouga uppercutted the hanyou in his jaw and backed away while Inuyasha fell.

"Stupid wolf...I'll have to kill you for that." Inuyasha's body slowly mutated into a creature with scales and feathers. Red eyes looked up at Kouga as his body fully changed.

"YOU! So this is where you went!"

"Foolish wolf. You were so caught up in saying good-bye to that half-breed that you didn't realize the blow I inflicted on you when you turned."

If Kouga's eyes got any bigger, they could've been used as baseballs. His mind began flooding with memories of the battle. Inuyasha ran off and he turned to face the demon. Instead of entering a verbal assault match like he thought, he remembered a large piece of lumber connecting with his head. But what of all the images he had been seeing. He saw himself killing the demon and going back to Inuyasha. They had stayed with each other for about a year until the hanyou realized his duties towards that village of his. They parted with the standard insults and went on. He saw himself going back to the clan, Ginta and Hakkaku piling concern over concern on him. Then...this. What the HELL was going on.

"What did you do?"

"After I knocked you out, I went inside of your head. I figured that Inuyasha would eventually come after you so I took control while you dreamt. I set everything up like you died. You should've seen the look on your beloved hanyou's face. Pure bliss. Poor guy almost committed suicide. Too bad his wretched friends came and stopped him. Everything was going so according to plan. I was just going to straight out kill all of them, but I came up with a better plan. Beat your body up a bit then throw it in the river. Your friends came and fished you out. Knowing that they'd do anything for you, I called for Inuyasha. Your clan members saw through my facade and sentenced you to death. Ginta just left to retrieve Inuyasha. When he arrives, I'll rip his and the wolf's throat out. I suppose I could devour your body once I'm done with it," the demon finished laughing triumphantly.

Kouga glared at him and flexed his fist. "Like hell you will!"

He dove at the green, feathered creature that easily dodged his punch. He stopped on one foot and swung the other around for a roundhouse. The demon was sent flying back into the now blackening forest. He looked toward the sky. The sun that was once hanging above had vanished. Even the clouds weren't visible. Kouga looked back down as something grabbed his legs. The flowers that had once littered the ground were now small hands grasping at him in the black grass. The fingers got a good grip on the furry armor and pulled him down while all he could do was gape at what was going on. His eyes snapped from his mindless staring and struggled against the fingers grappling his arms and hair. The darkness that had engulfed the forest and grass was now passing through the sky. Kouga looked towards the sound of footsteps padding their way slowly towards him, the sounds of the fingers' bones crushing beneath the feet resonated in his ears. The feet, or rather talons, were standing before him. One rose and hovered above his chest then there was nothing but darkness.

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Inuyasha and Ginta had been running for hours across grassy plains, deep rivers, and even deeper forests. He was starting to get bored and a bored Inuyasha is not a good Inuyasha. He stopped mid-run when he saw the wolf fall behind him on his knees.

"OY! Get up! If we want to make it before dark!"

He ran over to the wolf and tried to pick him up.

"Inuyasha! Stop! We have enough time for a bre---"

Ginta's eyes widened as he peered at the figure behind Inuyasha.

"Hey. what's your problem?"

GInta rose a trembling hand over the hanyou's shoulder and opened his mouth attempting to say something, but only successfully imitating a fish. White hair soon filled it as Inuyasha whipped his head around to see what was behind him. Golden eyes nearly popped out of their sockets as he saw who stood before him. The surprised wolf in his hands long forgotten fell out of his hands and on to the ground unceremoniously.

"K...Kouga?"

"Hey mutt. Long time no see."

Kouga's deep voice resonated through furry ears on Inuyasha's head. How long had it been since he last heard it. Small streams of tears slowly made their way down Inuyasha's face. Before they reached the edge of his chin, they were flying in the air behind the running hanyou. In a streak of red and white, he tackled the wolf to the gorund in a tight, embracing hug.

"My gods...It really is you. Kouga...You...You finally came back...You finally came back to me."

Tanned hands found themselves stroking behind soft ears soothing the half-breed. A gentle smile played upon Kouga's face as he lifted the head resting on his chest. Wavering gold eyes stared up into his own pale blue ones. He leaned foward, closing the space between them to only an inch.

"Don't worry. I don't plan on leaving anytime soon."

"I...I thought you were dead! I came back to see if you needed help and you were gone. You just vanished...Why did you leave me?"

His eyes ran over with tears again. He smirked humorlessly inside himself.

'Look at me. I'm sitting here crying like an infant. He's probably disgusted, but I can't help it. This changed I've suffered because of him. I think Kagome called it 'getting in touch with my emotions.' I wish this moment could last. Just to stay in his arms like this so he can't leave me again.'

Kouga noticed the withdrawn look on his face and lifted the chin back up so he could stare into Inuyasha's eyes once more.

"Inuyasha, I told you. I'm not leaving you again. I want to stay with you. Until the end of our days. Until death takes us both..."

Inuyasha nuzzled into the soft fur of the wolf prince's armor. Strong hands wrapped around his back, the long fingers of one hand slowly stroking down towards the small of his back. He heard the scream of Ginta telling him to get out of the way, but by the time he acted, it was too late. Inuyasha rolled to the side, blood streaming down his back. He could feel it sliding down into the waistband of his hakama.

"Damn it. Well the HELL is wrong with you Kouga!"

"Inuyasha! I don't think that's Kouga!"

"Heh. Too bad it's too late for the both of you. I've come to kill you Inuyasha and I'm not leaving until your blood drenches the earth!"

At that, 'Kouga' leapt out at Inuyasha, claws bared. Claws met silk-like hair and pulled on it sharply, failing Inuyasha's attempt at getting out of the way.

"Grah!" Inuyasha spun around as much as he could, his fist connecting with the wolf's jaw. "Bastard! What have you done with Kouga!"

"Heh. Can't you tell half-breed? He's standing right here in front of you." 'Kouga' finished with a mocking laugh at the hanyou's confused, but angered face.

Inuyasha began to pull out the Testuaiga until he heard Ginta's shout of concern. That distraction was all 'Kouga' needed to slash out at Inuyasha and knock him to the ground. The blood from his now broken arm flowed from under his sleeve and streamed between his fingers. The drawn Testuaiga was some distance away from him and would be impossible to reach before the wolf saw him.

"So pathetic. Just like your Kouga. His mind was simple to control and manipulate. I was actually somewhat dissappointed. All that work and planning and following you two just to have him in my grasps within a few seconds. I will say though that it was very entertaining to watch you suffer over his 'death.' If only your friends hadn't interfeered. If they really cared for you, they would have let you kill yourself. No matter, I can always go after them later. First, you die!"

Inuyasha closed his eyes as he saw the claw coming down towards him. If it were the demon himself, he'd have been able to keep them open. He didn't think he could spend the rest of his afterlife replaying the scene of the one he loved killing him. His ears picked up the sound of an arrow passing over his head and the thump of a body hitting the ground. His golden eyes opened to see Kouga's body some feet away and enveloped in a strange, green light. The light drifted from the body some and solidified into the body of the dragon demon.

"You wench! How dare you repel me from him! I'll have your spine for thi---"

The demon had no time to react or finish his sentence by the time he saw the huge boomerang headed his direction. It sliced clean through his middle and flew back into the hands of its owner. He didn't reply to the shouts of concern from Kagome and the others though they were heard. He couldn't take his eyes off of the lifeless body in front of him. His wolf, bleeding from the arrow wound, laid there unmoving. He tried to push himself up to check on him when the pain in his arm made itself known.

"Agh...Gods..."

Inuyasha held the gash in his arm and pulled away, red liquid dripping from his palms to the grass.

"Inuyasha! You ok?" Shippou ran over and dropped down to examine the hanyou's wounds. "Your wounds aren't too bad. You're lucky we were able to catch up."

"Ho...How did you find me?"

Kagome came to Inuyasha's side, first aid kit ready.

"All of us were supposed to go on a picnic today remember? When Shippou told us that you had run off into the woods, we went looking. We saw you from the sky."

Sango and Miroku came over to them with an obvious concern on their faces. Miroku was the first to speak.

"Inuyasha, I don't sense the demon's presence anymore. I've placed wards around the area in case anyone tries to bring him back. Ma---"

"What about Kouga?"

Everyone's eyes widened to the size of saucers at the mention of the fallen wolf demon. They focused their gaze beyond them on Kouga and Ginta.

Kagome touched his good shoulder "Inuyasha, I don't thi---"

She was cut off as Inuyasha jumped to his feet and ran best he could towards the wolf prince. Ginta quickly moved out of the way seeing him and held up a hand.

"Inuyasha..."

"Shut it Ginta! All of you! Just...Just go. Leave me alone with him."

After a few seconds of deliberation, they all walked a good distance from the two and turned away. Inuyasha looked back toward his beloved.

"Hey Kouga...I know you can hear me. Please wake up. I have so much to tell you. After you left me I lost myself. I wanted to die. The only thing keeping a little of my sanity was the thought of you."

He looked back towards the others who still had their back turned.

"Kouga. I...I...I LOVE YOU KOUGA! Please! Wake up! You stupid wolf! Don't leave me again!"

He collapsed on his still chest, the tears coming freely now. He didn't care what the others would say about this uncharacteristicness. He just wanted his wolf to wake up. He continued until he heard the barely audible hiss at the sharp intake of breath. Inuyasha jerked his head up to stare straight into pale blue eyes.

"As comfortable as my chest is, I can't breathe." Kouga let out a breathless cough in emphasis.

Inuyasha got up too qucikly and almost lost his balance. He turned and folded his arms across his chest. His disposition switched back into his usual 'tough-guy' exterior. On the inside though, he was worrying over if Kouga had heard him or not. He prayed to whatever god that would listen to him that Kouga hadn't heard his avowal. His thoughts were interrupted by the wolf's deep voice.

"Inuyasha. I heard what you said."

Said hanyou cursed under his breath at whatever higher being that had decided to screw him over. He turned, mask still up.

"Yeah. And? I was just saying it to make you wake up."

"Inuyasha, you don't have to hide your feelings. You see," Kouga moved closer, reaching out to stroke Inuyasha's cheek, "I feel the same."

Seeing those golden eyes widen, he crushed his lips to the hanyou's. Ignoring the muted noises of disgust from Shippou, they deepened the kiss and pressed close together. Any doubts Inuyasha had towards the gods were later taken back as he lay near his new koibito.

--End--

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Thank you everyone who read and/or reviewed! This was my first fanfic actually completed and it turned out better than I thought. Sorry for the super late update though. I had been writing and rewriting this last chapter for the longest trying to get it to sound right. There might be an epilogue in the near future and/or a rewrite of a few chapters. Again, thanks everyone. Happy Holidays and lovely New Years to you all!