His Last Words

Disclaimer: I do not own anything from the manga or anime show of InuYasha.

Chapter 6: Finding Peace

The morning sky showed sign of a bright, cloudless day as the sun rose steadily over the hills. Yet its cheery atmosphere seemed strange, almost mocking, compared to the gloom of the demon slayer's village. The silence was so absolute, it seemed loud to the ears of the small group staying in the repaired hut.

"We came too late," Kagome whispered to herself, hands folded together in front of Shippou, who sat quietly in her lap. Her back was against one of the walls of the hut and her eyes were directed downwards.

"Don't blame yourself, Kagome. It couldn't be helped," said Shippou in attempt to comfort the restless miko. "Even in we came in time, it wouldn't have made a difference." The small kitsune child absent-mindedly fumbled with Kagome's sleeve.

InuYasha shifted in his seat, his eyes closed and face set at a frown. "Shippou's right. If we came in time to stop Kohaku from killing himself, that would have just made a bigger problem. Either he'd go off with Naraku again or Naraku would just keep telling Kohaku the order until it was fulfilled."

Kagome looked up at InuYasha for a moment. There was slight surprise in her eyes, but it slowly melted into regretful agreement. She looked away towards the door. "I still wish we could have helped in some way. Sango's suffering so much..."

InuYasha opened his eyes and moved them to the door as well. Even from here he could see the distant graves of the villagers with Sango crouching beside the newest addition. Her face firmly gazed at the mound of soil, but her eyes were hidden beneath brown bangs.

Though it should have been a warm day, the air was full of powerfully cool breezes that swung the smell of freshly upturned soil and flower buds about. Pink buds clutched in her hands, Sango kneeled beside a newly made mound where the dead body of her younger brother had just been buried. The edges of her eyes were strained in fatigue and sorrow and her hands shook every so slightly. Her brown eyes were glazed over with tears, though not a single drop was spared. It had been hours before Sango's sobs had quieted and now it seemed as if all the tears had been wrung out of her, leaving her with an empty feeling.

'Everyone's gone now. Father, Kohaku, everyone from our village. I couldn't save them...I couldn't stop their deaths...' The thoughts were heavy on her heart; yet not one teardrop was to be seen. Gently Sango reached out and placed the small flower buds on top of Kohaku's grave. 'I promised, Kohaku. I promised to take care of you and make sure nothing would happen to you...' Her hand shook unsteadily as she brought it back to her lap. Gaze dropping from his grave, she closed her eyes. 'You were with me, alive and safe with your memory restored. Everything I had wanted. But I still couldn't keep my promise. Oh, Kohaku...'

She heard soft footfalls nearing and the sound of clinking rings. Opening her eyes, she looked up to see Miroku standing in front of her. His face was completely stoic, though there was sad calm hidden behind his eyes. Kirara sat in his arm bend and mewed softly as Sango glanced at her.

Without a word, Miroku came and sat down on the ground beside her, staff leaning against his shoulder. His eyes were fixed upon the grave before them, still the soul of serenity. After a moment, he closed his eyes and pulled a hand up in prayer, lips moving in silent blessings for Kohaku. Sango watched him, the slight uneasiness she had felt before now gone. Miroku had barely acknowledged her yet, but his simple presence was a small comfort.

A few minutes passed in silence. Finally, Miroku spoke. "Do you wish to be alone, Sango?" His voice was calm, but warm.

Sango blinked and turned her eyes back to Kohaku's grave. "N-no...you can stay if you want..." She shifted her position to sit on her bottom with her knees up to her chin and her arms around her legs.

Miroku nodded and lowered his hand from his prayers. He still didn't turn to her, just sat there quietly. The cold edge of the breezes didn't seem as sharp anymore.

"I couldn't stop him, Miroku..." Sango mumbled, resting her chin on her knees. "I promised to keep him safe, but I couldn't keep it..." Finally Miroku turned to gaze at her. "All this time I've hunted after Naraku to get revenge for our..." she cringed slightly, "...my village, and to free Kohaku from Naraku's grasp, but I couldn't do it. I failed him, and now Kohaku is...he's..." Her face dropped lower, new tears starting to slide down her flushed cheeks.

Sango felt a comforting hand slip around her shoulders. Pulling her face up a bit, she glanced up to lock eyes with Miroku. His expression was sad, but the warmth of him felt so supporting... The houshi remained silent for a few minutes until a sudden friendly smile curled his lips.

Sango blinked in attempt to push her tears away. "Why are you smiling?" she asked. There was no heat in her voice, just simple sad curiosity.

Miroku smile stayed strong as he looked away from her gaze to settle on the soil of Kohaku's grave. There was a bright light in his eyes as he watched the mound. Sango blinked again and waited. Finally, "I'm smiling because Kohaku is at peace. I should think you'd be smiling as well."

'What?' Sango thought, her eyes widening slightly. 'Why should I be happy my brother has died? He was forced to take his own life because I couldn't protect him enough!'

As though the houshi had heard her thoughts, he continued his explanation. "I can't explain it as well as I would like, but in a way...I've always known that the only way to save Kohaku was for him to die." He now turned to look down at her again. His smile was gone, as well as the light in his eyes. Now his expression was purely serious. "None of us could make him die of course, there would be no honour in killing him to save him. You promised to save him, but it would have been worse if you had actually fulfilled that promise. Instead, Naraku did it for you, however unintentional his actions were. So really, this was the best way for Kohaku to have died. I know that is wrong to say, but at least now Kohaku is completely free from Naraku. He doesn't have to live off a jewel shard anymore. He doesn't have to obey Naraku anymore. Isn't that what you wanted?"

Sango looked away from him, slowly turning his words over in her mind. He was at peace now...and she had also been able to have some time with the old Kohaku as well before he had died. In a way it was what she had wanted...

"I...I think I understand," she said quietly, eyes still firmly away from him. From the corner of her eye she could see Miroku smile a little before turning to face the grave as well. Silence swallowed them again, though it was no longer uncomfortable. It was a peaceful stillness.

'All this time...Kohaku suffered so much while I made promises to save him. I wanted so much to have him return to the way he was. Become the old Kohaku I grew up with. Now I know that could never happen. Kohaku nearly died when Naraku first controlled him. The only way he could live was with the jewel shard. That's why I could never save him...' Sango absent-mindedly leaned her head against Miroku's shoulder, the monk's arm still warmly holding her shoulders. She felt her face heat slightly as she closed her eyes. 'Miroku's right...this was the only way to save Kohaku...to let him die...'

"I...I just wish Kohaku's death could have been..." She didn't know which word to use without shaming her brother's death. It was an uncomfortable thought and made her despise herself, but the wish was there all the same.

"I know what you mean," Miroku answered softly, surprising Sango. "Did he say anything to you about it?"

Sango shook her head slightly. "No, he never saw or heard anything that could help us defeat Naraku...all he knew was exactly what we know..." 'Naraku absorbs demons into his body to gain their strength and uses his barrier to hide himself...' she thought. Why did the thought of Naraku absorbing demons into his body still bring a chill to her spine?

"Don't worry, Sango. We'll find a way to avenge Kohaku." The warm smile had returned to Miroku's face.

Sango smiled back, though her eyes were still glazed over. Only then did she realize what position she was in and her face heated a little more. "Thank you, Miroku..." she whispered. Miroku only nodded in reply.

"I'll leave you alone for a while," he said quietly while placing Kirara down on the ground beside Sango before climbing to his feet. The smile still beamed out for one last moment before he turned from her and began calmly walking back to the hut.

Sango watched after him for a few moments. When she looked down at a mewing Kirara and scratched her head, it suddenly came to her. She was no longer cold. The cool breezes that had pushed at her tears had stopped, leaving her pleasantly warm. It was not only her body that had regained that warmth, but her spirit as well. The heavy depression that had torn sobs out of her for hours upon hours was gone, replaced by a calm peaceful acceptance. Though tears were still in her eyes, her face was smiling and cheeks glowing as she gazed down at Kohaku's grave. The pink flower buds seemed fresh and alive, just like Kohaku's soul as it formed a picture of his laughing face in her mind. He was at rest now. She had saved her brother, one way or another.

His last words drifted back into her mind...

"Sango...I can't hold out much longer..." The strength seemed to melt from his body. "Sango...this is the...the last t-time...I'll ever see you..."

"No..." she whispered, trying to push herself towards her brother. "No..." she repeated, the desperation clear in her voice. Her body shook with the fear that was over-taking her.

Kohaku smiled softly, letting out a sigh. "Sango, I love you, I'll always love you..." A cringe of pain crossed his face. "Even if I die here, I'll be with you always..."

The words no longer stung. Even at his dying moment, Kohaku had been himself. He had spoken with the same heart that she had known for all the years they had lived at the demon slayer's village together. Shifting her position to sit on her knees, she came up close to the grave. Smiling lovingly down at it, she closed her eyes as she placed her right hand softly on top of the grave. Another breeze fluttered around her, but it was warm and comforting. "I love you too, Kohaku," she whispered, her words drifting away with the wind.

The end. A rather short ending chapter, but it's there all the same. I hoped you enjoyed my fanfiction and thank you for all the reviews! Goodbye for now!