Disclaimer: The characters of Inuyasha are owned by Rumiko Takahashi, but this story belongs to me.
Chapter Fifteen: In the End
As the words left her mouth, Kagome was engulfed in a bright white light. Her hair began to flutter and float around her shoulders. She stole his breath away. Then she turned her head to give Inuyasha a sad smile as she took one step back.
Instinctively, Inuyasha dashed forward towards Kagome as the light began to swallow her. Somehow it was going to try to take her away from him, to steal her from him. He wasn't going to let her go. Not now. NOT EVER. With one powerful leap he stretched his body and reached for her, his shoulder ramming into her stomach as he tackled her. Twisting his body so that it cushioned the blow, they landed on the hard ground with an "Ooof!"
For a moment the miko was breathless and still as she lay on top of the hanyou, his arms wrapped around her protectively. The light grew brighter. Kagome glanced over at it briefly before turning her attention to the young man underneath her. She began to squirm so she could sit up.
"No, Kagome." Inuyasha sat up without relinquishing his hold on her. Pulling Kagome onto his lap he wrapped one arm around her waist to pin her body against his. The other arm ran up her back and gently pulled her head to his shoulder and held it there. "No, you can't leave me."
"Don't be stupid, wench," he growled, moving so that his chin rested on top of her head. "You can't leave me, stupid girl. I didn't get a chance to tell you…" The light still glowed, still beckoned his miko even as it faded. He cringed from the light and held her tighter so that she wouldn't have an opportunity to make a run for it. "Look, I'll become human for you when we get the jewel."
"WHAT?" She looked startled, and rather insultingly horrified. He had to convince her that he would be what she wanted. He couldn't bear the thought of losing her… not when there was something within his power to keep it from happening. "No, Inuyash…"
"I said I'd do it." He ground his teeth. "I'll do it for you."
"No… you don…"
"Don't you get it?" He growled and gave her a little shake. "I LOVE YOU, you IDIOT!"
Gasping, Kagome tried to respond, but only came up with a strangled squeak. Inuyasha cringed. That wasn't how he wanted to say it. He was hoping that he might have come up with something devastatingly romantic that would make her sigh, like the dream version of himself. But he was in a bit of a time crunch and ended up just blurting it out. Frantically he searched his brain for the right thing to say to fix this. Unable to think of anything sigh worthy, he just forged ahead.
"Don't go... I'll become human and I'll even go to that stupid school with you. WE can be together like you wanted. I'll find a way. Just…just don't leave me."
Kagome pulled back gently, this time he let her. Unable to face the rejection and pain that was to come, he looked away. He was ashamed to be begging like the dog they sometimes joked that he was. But what use was pride if it meant losing Kagome? He felt Kagome reach forward and take a lock of his hair, tugging on it until he turned his face back to hers. Her eyes were soft and teary.
"No, Inuyasha. You can't wish that. I wouldn't change anything about you. You know that." She smiled at him. "I love you exactly the way that you are."
Inuyasha looked away again.
"Then why did you choose HIM?"
If she hadn't still been sitting on his lap, Inuyasha would have sworn that she wasn't there at all. She didn't make a sound or move a single muscle. Then suddenly, she wasn't sitting on his lap anymore. She was standing above him, frowning with her hands on her hips.
"Why did I choose him?"
This really wasn't a conversation that Inuyasha wanted to have. The plan to just grab Kagome and run was slowly crumbling. How could he have forgotten that she wouldn't be going quietly? But a fight was a good thing. He could deal with anger, it was much better than all those other emotions that made him feel so weak. They would fight and then she'd go home for a bit, then they'd make up. It's the way things went. Unless… unless this time when she went away… she'd be leaving with her dream man. Maybe fighting wasn't the best solution after all…
"Why, Kagome?" he asked softly as he stood.
She cocked her head to one side and looked at him as if he was crazy. "What in the world makes you think I chose him?"
Inuyasha paused for a moment, wallowing in despair for a moment before he was able to work up a little anger. "You were hugging him," he accused. "He sang to you and you were hugging him. And the light. And he said those things that you sighed over. You were hugging him." His voice began to break. "You told me goodbye."
Kagome scratched her head for a moment. "I hugged him because I was telling him goodbye." She turned so that she was facing the spot where her friend had stood only moments ago. "Yes, he sang to me. Yes, he said the prettiest things to me. But, he knew he was a dream, that it wasn't real. I told him that I couldn't live being stuck in a dream, that I wouldn't really be alive. No matter how perfect of a life I could have dreamed up, it still wouldn't have really been a life. And I told him that I couldn't leave you." She brushed away a tear that trickled down her cheek. "So we said goodbye."
Kagome laughed as she scrubbed her eyes with the back of her hand. "Oh? That's all you've got to say? OH?"
"Why didn't you just say so in the first place, wench?" he growled.
"I told you guys that I would be right back. If I wasn't coming back why would I say that I was, dummy?"
"You did NOT!"
"YES I DID!"
"YOU DID NOT!"
"I DID TOO!"
"YOU DID NOT!"
"Um…" squeaked Shippo, "Actually, she did." Sango, Miroku, and Kirara nodded in agreement.
Miroku smiled. "She did say that she would be back in a few moments."
"WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SOMETHING EARLIER?" demanded the angry hanyou.
The monk shrugged. "I thought you heard."
"You were standing right there with us," Sango said.
"Maybe he was too busy growling…" suggested Shippo.
"There's a whole box of chocolate pocky in my backpack," Kagome told the fox kit as she smiled warmly at her friends. "And I bet Sango and Miroku would love some of the potato chips I brought. There is plenty of time for a snack before dinner."
"I hate them all," Inuyasha grumbled as he turned his back on his retreating friends. "Every one of them."
"No you don't."
Inuyasha looked around the clearing. No one was there, not even the dream weaver. He sniffed the air. The only scent he could distinguish was Kagome's. He stomped away from her so that it wouldn't feel so overpowering and he would be able to sense if anyone else was around. Once he was certain that they were alone, he turned back to the curiously quiet miko.
His eyes softened as he saw her standing there looking at him with amusement twinkling in her eyes. She was here. She didn't leave him. She was offered everything she could possibly want, and she turned it down… to stay with him. Sure it was just a dream, but after awhile she wouldn't have known that it was a dream.
"You really would have turned human for me?"
Inuyasha blushed and turned his head. "You said I didn't have to."
He felt her walk up beside him and took a deep breath, breathing in her scent. Bathing in the knowledge that she was here with him. When her fingers reached for his, he closed his eyes to savor the feel. It was soft and warm. And… a little sweaty… He opened his eyes and smirked when she took her hand back and tried to covertly wipe her palms against her skirt.
She was nervous.
"Of course you don't have to. I…" she cleared her throat and wiped her hands again before slipping her hand in his once more. This time, however, she stood in front of him and grabbed his other hand as well. With a determined smile she continued. "I love you the way that you are."
His heart started beating so fast that it was surprising that it didn't just beat right out of his chest. She was looking up at him, letting him see the love that she felt. His own palms began sweating. When he bent his head down, Kagome's eyes lowered about halfway as her chin tiled up slightly. A trembling hand reached for her face and cupped her cheek. Her eyes fluttered back open and she smiled at him, leaning closer. Her eyes looked… dreamy…
Inuyasha dropped his hand and stepped back.
"You're thinking about HIM! Aren't you?" He pointed an accusing clawed finger at her.
After a moment of silence, Kagome began to laugh. It wasn't the reaction he expected, but it still ticked him off. She laughed so hard she got a stitch in her side and doubled over. It really wasn't improving his mood.
"What's so funny?"
She laughed some more, but eventually was able to spit out some words between snickers. "You…" Laugh. "You think I…" Snicker. "I thought you thought of her…" Guffaw. "Talk about irony!"
"You aren't making any sense. You know that, right?"
Wiping away tears, Kagome finally got herself under control. Though she couldn't stop that one last giggle when she saw the irate look on her dog demon's face. "It's just that a long time ago I thought that you were thinking of Kikyo when I thought you were going to… well… kiss me."
Inuyasha blushed at the memory. "You shoved me off the tree trunk."
"I thought you were thinking of her."
"You really are an idiot, aren't you?"
"Shut up and kiss me."
Grabbing the fabric of his fire rat robe, Kagome stood on her toes and leaned in towards Inuyasha. The hanyou held her hands in his own and looked down at her quizzically.
"You sure you aren't thinking of him?"
Kagome sighed and lowered herself back to standing flat. For a moment she leaned her forehead against his chest. Then she slid her right leg around his leg, causing Inuyasha to tense all his muscles and freeze. Then she hooked her ankle around his, causing his brain to short circuit. And she shoved.
This time, he landed flat on his back instead of his stomach, thanks to the well timed tripping. Inuyasha was going to yell at her, but found her suddenly sitting on his stomach and couldn't remember what he was going to say. In fact, he couldn't think of anything at all. Straddling him with one leg on each side of his body she grabbed two locks of hair and leaned over until she was nearly nose to nose with him. He couldn't breathe. Even if she wasn't sitting on most of his internal organs he wouldn't have been able to breathe.
"Listen up," she growled. "I. Love. You. Only you. I love you and wouldn't trade you or change you or wish you anything other than what you are. I've loved you almost since I unpinned you from that stupid tree. YOU are everything I've ever hoped and dreamed for, Inuyasha. You. Fuzzy ears, bad temper, and all."
Inuyasha didn't try to free himself from her grasp. She loved him. She really honestly loved him. She told him that she loved him. She… she's looked rather expectant… He almost laughed when he realized he forgot to reply. He reached up and touched a lock of her hair, letting it curl around his finger.
"I love everything about you, too."
"Oh." She paused, her fingers loosening their death grip on his hair. "That's… um… you do?"
Smirking, Inuyasha leaned up a little, until his lips were only a fraction of an inch away from hers. "So are you gonna kiss me or what, wench?"
"Don't be a jer…"
The rest of the insult was lost as she leaned that fraction of an inch closer.
"I don't think I can live without her," Inuyasha confessed as he turned away from the sight of Kagome pinning the hanyou on the ground. He was glad that they were invisible to them.
Kuusouka smiled sadly. "You were not made for her."
"I know." He looked back for one last glimpse of Kagome before walking down the path. "You know, I expected it to hurt more. But it doesn't. I'm happy that Kagome is happy. Though I kind of thought I'd be off nursing a broken heart right about now. Weird, huh?"
Kuusouka smiled again, this time it was much more cheerful. "That is because your tie to Kagome has been severed."
"Yes. When she chose the hanyou, the tie to your dream was cut. You no longer were compelled to be that Inuyasha. No longer compelled to love her." She tapped her chin thoughtfully. "However… you should have disappeared. You should not exist now." She shrugged. "Perhaps Kagome gave you a bit of her own magic."
"Maybe." He chewed on his lip. "Does that mean I'm really real?"
The dream weaver shrugged. "Maybe." Then she smiled at him. "You were the best dream I ever created. Part of me is very glad that you did not simply disappear. Tell me, what will you do now that you are free?"
"I don't know." He turned and grinned at Kuusouka, then took her hand and tucked it into the crook of his arm. "Want to go find Kikyo?"
"I do not know if she dreams. But then… you are more than a dream now. Perhaps things will be different with the woman you were created for. There is only one way to find out."
Inuyasha closed his eyes. He hoped that Kagome would be happy. It was very strange to not have every thought focused on Kagome. Even though he no longer felt that desperate love for her, he was still very fond of the girl. Maybe he would find a way to check up on her in her dreams. But for now he had a future to look forward to. A life, of sorts, to get on with.
"Do you suppose a man who isn't real could have a relationship with a woman who isn't really alive?"
"They've been at it for almost an hour!" whined Shippo as he stretched, tired from crouching down in their hiding spot. "Kissing can't be all that great."
Miroku smiled at Sango in a way that made the slayer blush scarlet. "Yes it can."
"But I'm hungry. Isn't Inuyasha EVER going to let Kagome go?"
"No, Shippo. I do not think that he ever will."
Thank you to everyone who reviewed! I appreciate the reviews and all your thoughts and suggestions. I hope you enjoyed it. It's kind of sad to see it end, but alas, that's the way it goes. I have lots of other stories to tell, so maybe I'll see some of y'all later!
(Look, no cliffhanger… See, I'm not totally evil…)