Author's Note: I know it's been a long time since I wrote a story for fanfiction and even updated "Darkest Hour" since I've been busy getting revisions for "The Gleaning Time" done for production but as I read chapter 466 of the manga on the Sengoku o-Togi Zoushi web site, this first person one-shot came to me. It's Kouga's thoughts as he prepares to leave his heart's desire…Kagome to the one who really needs her…the grieving Inu-Yasha. And as usual, I don't own Inu-Yasha, Kouga, or any of the gang, they are the creation and sole property of Rumiko Takahashi.

SAYONARA WATASHI NO KOISHII

(Farewell, My Beloved)

The night had broken and it was daylight, bright sunshine flooding the somber scene of all of us, grief heavy as we were numbed by the recent and most shattering events…

Naraku, that vile bastard that slew most all of my comrades and friends and to whom I planned to avenge their spilled blood….Naraku, that fiend had accomplished what he had wanted to do for as long as I was aware of the situation, finally killed the miko Kikyou that had powers that were so formidable, that she could threaten the filthy beast that had caused my den to deteriorate….

Kikyou had been fearless facing the beast, using the last once of her powers to try to purify the Shikon no Tama until Naraku's miasma had poisoned her. She had fought him as fiercely as any of us, wanting to make him pay for his many crimes, courageously….even when she had tried to slay me to gain my shards to overcome him and purify the almost completed jewel in his possession, I was impressed...

I had to admit she was beautiful and brave….just like my Kagome….

I turned and looked at her, the one woman I knew that I would always love and treasure, for when we choose our mates, we wolves mate for life…even though I knew she loved him, the hanyou dog that had become my sworn enemy and with who I had competed for my lady's hand…and her tears flowed in grief-stricken agony…

Oh, how I longed to go over to her and hold her in my arms, whispering of my love and assuring her that everything would be all right….but I couldn't. Because for her, things weren't all right, not as long as he was in pain….and he was….

I turned and saw Inukkoro, sitting apart from the rest, in the same place where last night, Kikyou had gone to her rest, her body of graveyard soil crumbled into fine dust that blew away as her soul's bright orb floated up and vanished, heading to the afterlife. Before that, he had cradled her, carrying her away as the sun set so they could say good-bye in private….

From a distance I watched as he held her close and they exchanged what were their final words, intimate words between lovers that were parting for the final time….I saw both their faces, wet with tears as they shared final declarations of love….then I watched as they kissed, and I knew that they had truly, tragically loved…

But as I saw Inukkoro in pain, the aching pain of losing the one you love…and for him it was that he was losing her for the third time….Kagome had told me the story about Inu-Yasha and Kikyou and how they were deceived by the beast into slaying each other 50 years ago… outside of what was once Mount Hakurai, after Naraku had caused the mountain to crumple and slew Kikyou a second time, thinking he had killed her….I actually felt pity for my enemy. After all, I knew that if Naraku had slain Kagome…I don't even want to think of the possibility, the pain rips through me as if it were reality….

I then gaze at my koishii as she sits, so forlorn, so lost, as if she too were grieving Kikyou's demise on the same level as Inukkoro….and I sadly realize that she is because she feels failure that she could not save her, all for her love for him. And because she's in such agony, so am I…

I go to sit beside her, just wanting to be close so she can know I'm there for her but as usual, her concern is for me, in spite of her own pain. She asks me about my losing my shards of the Shikon no Tama and I remark about the odd heaviness I feel in my legs without the shards' power….her genuine concern brings warmth to my heart.

After Kagome inquires about me a feeling of frustration fills me as I glance at the hanyou, sitting in complete dejection, with no expression on his face, buried deep inside himself where all men go when we are in grief…so I give him what I hope will awaken him to the treasure that awaits him…a swift kick in the head…

But he barely reacts, even when I sit down and he speaks….

"So you're going too, huh?" he says blandly, so unlike his usual belligerent self and I answer….

"Yeah. I don't want to hang around with you guys and be a burden," I say but in reality I am just surrendering to the fact that because of Kikyou's departure, Kagome is further from my reach than ever…so I am giving up….

He just lowers his head and repeats, "You're going too."

His dull statement makes it clear that he has no clue about my selfless sacrifice. That makes me angry so I snap, "Damn it, stop being so cowardly," as I notice his demeanor and see him acting as if Kikyou had taken his soul along with her… I then sit beside Inukkoro and speak again, trying to get through to him…

"Look," I say, "I don't want to make you feel worse but…," Then I head butt him and growl, "Ya think it's only you suffering, huh?" while the others all gasp at my bold action.

He replies in the same dead tone with his head still down, "Yeah I know."

Oh you know, huh? I say to myself sarcastically as I speak my feelings, like always. "I have to leave Kagome so try to see things from my side." He has no idea how I'm hurting as I prepare myself to let go of my dream…

Inu-Yasha says, "Yeah," and I get even angrier.

"Danm you," I roar as I punch him. "Don't just say 'yeah'! It's creepy!"

Finally, he responds as I've succeeded in pissing him off. "Bastard, I thought because you were injured, I'd just listen to you, but you've been asking for it so…,"

He leaps up and aims a punch at me. "I'll send you flying!" but I leap up and out of the way, ducking his attack, just like old times…

I land beside Kagome who speaks to me in the nickname she uses to address me. "Kouga-kun."

I glance at the hanyou standing there, glaring at me and say to her, "Keh, that stupid dog is hopeless and it looks like it'll be some time before he recovers…"

The cold ache of sadness fills me as I continue, "It looks like he needs you to be there for him, Kagome." I say this reluctantly as I feel my heart shattering at the impending loss of my one true love….

She nods, "Oh Kouga-kun." She stares at the ground and says, "Thank you for everything and sorry I made you worry."

Her sweet words are too much for me as I murmur, "Sure," then come forward and crush her to me, wrapping my arms around her tight….

"Farewell," she says softly and sadly and my heart lurches…

I hold my Kagome closer as I feel the bittersweet ache that her presence provides….I close my eyes, savoring her perfume, the exquisite feel of her warmth and softness, and in my mind I indulge myself in a final fantasy, one that I know will now never come true. I imagine her as mine as we finally couple, becoming true mates, and her bearing of my pups as we re-create the pack lost by Naraku. I allow myself the brief, fleeting thought of her courage as she is by my side, ruling the pack with me as my queen….and she shivers slightly as I also imagine (and hope) that she senses the magnitude of my love for her…

But as all dreams do, this one vanishes as reality falls on me like a cold rain and tears burn my eyes at the anguish in my heart as I know the time has come to let go. I regretfully relinquish my hold on Kagome as I spot Inukkoro's eyes on us….

"So long, Kagome," I say as my heart is pounding, feeling as if a sword had pierced it and rend it to bits, never to be whole again….

I step away and Ginta and Hakkaku both come forward, having joined us last night. I discover later that they had followed me even after I had directed them to find another tribe of yorokozu to join for I had told them the fight with Naraku was mine alone….as I figure I won't live through the final battle with the beast. But loyal servants and true friends to the end, they came to us last night and vowed to follow me to the end….so I take the lead.

Hakkaku says, "So then Kagome-nee-san..," (my vassals still think of her as my mate and in my heart and soul she always will be…no matter what)

Ginta finishes the sentence with a wave. "and everybody.."

"Farewell," Kagome says.

"Take care," the houshi, Miroku wishes us as we begin to depart….but as I turn to look behind me one more time, the hanyou speaks….

"Kouga!"

Kagome and the houshi both glance at Inukkoro in amazement since our past relationship never garnered any cordiality between us as rivals and nobody expected any acknowledgement of my leaving from him…including me…so I wait and meet his earnest expression…

"I won't waste them," he says firmly. "All your feelings and the fighting you did against Naraku." He goes over to stand by Kagome to make his intention clear.

Understanding of his words hits me and suddenly, I'm not so reluctant to leave, instinctively knowing that in his statement Inu-Yasha has made his position known….that he saw and will honor my feelings, my deep love for Kagome….by giving her his own, which is her dearest desire….

So I grin in all my cockiness and say, "Keh, of course!" and as a final parting shot I address Kagome, my koishii…

"Kagome, if you ever grow tired of that zasshu, come to me." I say this in all honesty for if she did….I'd be waiting and would welcome her with open arms….as she would always have a place by my side if she so desired….

"Yeah," she says as our eyes meet for the last time and I see that she knows my feelings and I am content with that…so I turn to start on our way back home…

Ginta and Hakkaku both are happy as they say to me, "Let's go home, Kouga," and Hakkaku says, "Let's just take it easy, okay?"

But they call out to me to wait as I don't hear them….I've already started off, still faster then them but not as fast now that the shards are gone, wanting to get away as fast as I can….and my mind is on the heartache of leaving my dream…so in my broken heart I say the words….to her….

"Sayonara, watashi no koishii."

END