Disclaimer: Not mine. Done, now you know.

Kagome sat on a tree branch she'd climbed up to, laying on her back and watching the celestial dance of the stars. The others were asleep, and Inuyasha was pointedly not looking at her from his perch in a tree several yards away. She sighed softly, dismayed even as she watched the constellations overhead. What she needed was a way to tell him all he meant to her, to tell him what she'd done for him, why she stuck to him so persistently, though he continuously ran from her for Kikyou. He didn't know today was Valentine's Day. He didn't know what had happened the last time she'd run from his embrace with Kikyou. He didn't know why she despaired so greatly. An idea drifted across Kagome's mind, and she seized it instantly. It might be the only way to show him. Softly, so she wouldn't wake those sleeping down below, but loudly enough that Inuyasha would hear her, Kagome began to sing.

"There's a song that's inside of my soul."

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Inuyasha's ears perk up, despite his resolve to ignore her completely. She carefully kept her eyes skyward as she sang, the melody running absently through her mind as her eyes filled slowly with tears as memories assaulted her mind. Kikyou, Miroku, Sango, Naraku, Shippou, Sesshoumaru, Kaede, Kouga….Inuyasha…. Would they even notice when the culmination of efforts expended climaxed, ultimately succeeding in their destructive end?

"It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again."

The first memory assaulted her with dizzying clarity, though she struggled to suppress it desperately. It was useless, however, when she was so vulnerable. She saw it happen before her eyes as though she were living it once again- and the first time had been damn hard as it stood.

She peered around the tree cautiously, careful not to make a single sound. She couldn't hear the words they spoke to each other from here over the rain, but she saw the look on Inuyasha's face, and she had never seen him look so tender. A sadness had entered her heart for the very first time as she watched the scene before her unfold with unerring slowness. Kikyou stood with her arms out, as though she was begging Inuyasha to hold her. After a moment, Inuyasha obliged and wrapped his firerat kimono-clad arms around the frail wisp that was not human. Kagome ran.

"I'm awake in the infinite cold."

Kagome's heart had hardened with sorrow that day. She could not feel the warmth of their campfire anymore, nor the touch of Sango's reassuring hand, nor the pain inflicted upon her body by Naraku's incarnations or the other demons they fought. She knew the only way to heal the damage caused by Inuyasha was from Inuyasha, and he refused to oblige that particular need. Instead, he chose to worsen it. But there were moments, small moments that Kagome treasured forever, when he held her, let her hold his hand.

"But you sing to me over and over and over again."

Those moments gave Kagome hope, however small. Then, though, he ripped that hope heartlessly from her as he turned away from her in favor of Kikyou once again…and again…and again. How could she continue to love him when he refused to show any sign that he reciprocated it? Rather, he made it clear that he would spurn her in favor of Kikyou each time. A single tear slid down her cheek, slowly and inexorably slipping, finally freeing itself of her face and dropping to the forest floor so far below her. She refused to give up the hope that he might come to her.

"So I lay my head back down."

The second memory assaulted Kagome's tired mind just as mercilessly as the first. She did not try to quell this one, though it caused a few more tears to join the first. Kikyou had trapped Kagome, bound her invisibly against a tree, fastened hard against the trunk with her soul collectors. Inuyasha came leaping out of nowhere, and it instantly became clear that he could not see Kagome. He did, however see Kikyou. "Will you come with me to the depths of Hell?" She had asked. Kagome screamed unheard to Inuyasha's keen and unhearing ears that he could not. "I will protect you forever, even from the depths of Hell." He had answered. Kikyou had kissed him then, and Kagome had sobbed, limp in her bonds, as her one and true, only love was taken from her forever through that simple promise.

"And I lift my hands and pray."

He had chosen then, that evening, that he would never truly accept Kagome as his. She was only half of the one he wanted- and why should he choose the resentful, hateful, unable-to-love-him-in-return clay version of who he'd once had? Why could he not choose the reincarnation, the one who could love him back? But Kagome repressed such unanswerable questions. They meant nothing anymore, and never would again. Perhaps, as her gift to him, he would not have a choice to make anymore. It was possible, she reasoned. She saw, in the outside of her peripheral vision, that he had turned to look at her. Concern hid behind his eyes, though she couldn't see that- he had smelled her tears.

"To be only yours."

There. She had finally told him her deepest wish. She still did not look at him, unable to do so and continue this façade. Without it, she was lost. Without it, she would tell him everything. And he would scorn her feelings, because he loved Kikyou, and not the flesh-and-blood time-traveling woman-child that loved him more than life itself. And, thanks to a mutual enemy, she would be lost because of that. Unless….no. She would not allow the hope to cross her mind, because it would never happen. It did not matter anyway. But she had seen him turn to look fully at her, his attention on her completely now that she had sang the one thing she had wanted to tell him for so long.

"I pray to be only yours."

Kagome continued to pretend she did not notice his attentions, because then all would be ruined. He would turn from her, scoff at her, make her heart constrict with pain again. She could not stand that. She would die. Well, die once and for all. She was dying. Withering away from the inside out, with no hope of recovery. Her savior and her murderer sat close by, unwilling to lift a finger to right an atrocity committed so long ago. The pain had flowered, and now Kagome would not live to see her task through. She would be forced from the path onto a dark, twisting, frightening one that she would never return from. All because of Inuyasha. And Naraku.

"I know now you're my only hope."

She finally spoke aloud the problem she faced. She had his full attention, and she forced herself to continue to pretend that she didn't notice. More tears flowed down the carved tracks on her cheeks as another memory assaulted her mind. Kikyou's body floated just under the surface of the pool. A gash broke the clay-flesh on her shoulder, and her burial-life-clay flowed out of her and into the water, becoming mud and floating slowly to the bottom. Kagome watched, fascinated and repulsed, by what she saw. Then she plunged into the pool and caught the mud flowing from her adversary's body, pushing it back inside. She gathered as much of the mud as she could, before molding the wet clay that made the priestess' skin together. A small pucker remained, a kind of scar, but that was all. Kagome pulled Kikyou from the water, lay her body on the grass. Kikyou did not thank her. She stood and walked away.

"Kagome?" Inuyasha whispered, his tone strangely blank.

"Sing to me the song of the stars."

Kagome pretended she could not hear Inuyasha, at least for the moment. Pain constricted her heart as the last memory took its leave of her mind, hiding once again behind the locked door Kagome had shut it behind. It was the best effort she could make not to interrupt her lament with a sob, but she couldn't break it off yet. She wasn't done. It was the only way he would listen to her. Kagome imagined the stars swaying rhythmically to her song, the constellations dancing a slow mournful dance as she spilled her pain and her hope to the love of her life. Would this work? She wouldn't survive much longer. She prayed it would work. She needed to tell him before she left this world.

"Of your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again."

Despair gripped her heart at the doubt that he would finally hear her wish. Even if she died in the process of telling him, then perhaps it would be worth her life after all. Every nuance of her voice inflected her inner pain, as she felt her very heart wither which each beat it struck. He was killing her. And she still loved him. Everything she did was for him; everything he did was for her. Not Kagome. She would never enter his heart. He smelled the change in her scent and his concern advanced. Something was wrong with her. What had happened?

"When it feels like my dreams are so far."

Another, final, memory assaulted Kagome's mind, making her shudder with the agony it brought to her heart. She knew in that moment that she was to die this very night. Nothing, save Inuyasha, could save her. And he would not lift a finger to do so if it meant that he would gain Kikyou in return for his laxness in protecting her reincarnation. Inuyasha held Kikyou's limp body close to his, tears in his eyes. Tears of relief, that she was alive. Kagome watched impassively from her place in the group, struggling against the threatening tears. Would he never let go? No, it seemed not.

"Kagome?" Inuyasha's voice was a little stronger this time.

"Sing to me of the plans that you have for me over again."

The memory refused to release her from its grip until it had run its course. She cried harder now, knowing that when it ended she was dead. "I'm so sorry, Kikyou. I'll never leave you again." He cradled her closer, giving no mind to their present company and the destruction he ravaged on Kagome's already damaged soul. "Do you love me, Inuyasha?" Kikyou whispered to him, barely audible. "I'll never love another!" He swore, leaning down and kissing her as gently as he knew how. Kagome felt a wound open in her heart at those words. She couldn't take it. She couldn't. "Never?" Kikyou reiterated. "Never!" Kagome turned and ran, ignoring the shouts that followed her.

"So I lay my head back down."

Inuyasha crept slowly along the branches of his tree, closer to Kagome. He eyed her anxiously, afraid of what might be happening to her.

She ran blindly, not knowing where she was going or what she'd do when she got there, not caring if some predator descended upon her. After the last thread of hope had been torn so viciously from her fingers, she did not care even to live. Nothing was right anymore; the light in her life was gone. The hope she'd held onto for so long- that light at the end of the tunnel- had been extinguished. Gone. All was gone. She did not notice the tears, or the cuts her legs were punished with as she ran pell-mell through the undergrowth. She did not notice that she was being followed by a feared predator. If she had, she would have welcomed the danger he presented. She wanted her blood spilled along with her tears. She wanted release from the torment she suffered at the hanyou's claws.

"And I lift my hands and pray."

The hanyou in question had now crept onto Kagome's branch, thoroughly worried as her small frame shook and tears coursed out of her gray eyes. What was happening to her?

"Kagome?" He tentatively reached a hand out and, just as hesitantly, touched her face.

Kagome ran headlong into him as he dropped in front of her. She curled onto the ground, not bothering to look up and discover the identity of whatever it was that had knocked her over. She grasped her knees to her chest and rocked back and forth, sobbing. A clawed hand touched her cheek. She still didn't look up. Something warm and furry was wrapped around her shivering form, and she knew no more. If she was to die, she did not want to feel it. Her body had obliged, and she had gone unconscious.

Her body felt the motions of the memory all over again. The clawed hand that had touched her cheek, the warm something wrapped around her trembling body, being held to a strong chest, listening vaguely to a strong heartbeat. A heart unmarred by the agony of heartbreak. She looked directly into Inuyasha's eyes, cuddled to his chest now, without seeing him, and continued her lament. The memory continued to rage in her mind's eye.

"To be only yours."

When she regained consciousness, she was laying upon a luxuriously soft, black draped, four-poster bed with a dark canopy- though she could not see that. When she opened her eyes, only the knowledge that her eyelids had moved told her she was not yet dead. And the pain in her heart. She didn't move, afraid of what might be near her. Something moved, and she held her breath. A claw stroked lazily down her arm, not breaking the skin- almost sensually. She flinched at the touch, regardless of its gentleness. The claw suddenly became a hand, clamped around her forearm. Another appeared out of nowhere and fastened over her mouth before she could scream. Something brushed her cheek as she felt a weight settle over her hips. It was then that she realized she was completely naked.

Inuyasha continued to gently hold her body to him, rocking slowly back and forth, trying in vain to calm her down. He whispered soothing words to her, disconcerted by her unseeing gaze fixed on his own golden one. And through it all, she continued to sing- and he realized finally that she was singing to him.

"I pray to be only yours."

"Mine, Kagome?" He whispered to her unresponsive body.

The weight above her shifted just slightly, and a terrifying sensation hit her body hard; something long and hard was settled between her trapped, spread legs. She could do nothing to protect herself from the creature she could not see. She said the only thing she could think of. "Please…" A dark, malignant chuckle sounded very close to her face- so close, she could feel the hateful breath play across her lips. And she knew who was positioned over her body like a warrior about to claim his prize. "Naraku!" She whimpered. He licked her lips pointedly. "Mmm, just like that. Beg, my little miko." Without waiting for an answer, he buried himself within her folds. His disgusting mouth descended to hers, his tongue working at the same sadistic rhythm as his hips, drowning her screams in his own throat. Agony, blinding agony, spread like fire through Kagome's muscles as his hips crushed hers. "Nonononononono!" She shrieked, having bitten his lip hard to free her mouth. He growled at her brashness and doubled his original pace. She felt something else tear within her, and she stopped moving all together, tears flowing unchecked down her cheeks and pooling in her raven tresses. Finally, after an eternity, Naraku raised himself from her body and bit her neck, hard enough to draw blood. "Now, little miko, you will never belong to him. Now, you will die."

Kagome had stopped crying. She had no more tears to shed.

"I know now you're my only hope."

Inuyasha watched her carefully. Her eyes appeared to start to focus, and she seemed to be trembling a little less. Was this a good sign?

"I have cursed you, little miko, with your blood and my seed." He dipped a claw into the wound on her throat and stroked it almost lovingly down her feminine folds, still slick with his seed. She instantly felt an acid-like burning sensation, but then it was gone. "You will die slowly. Everything he does to you that proves to you he wants her and not you, your heart will wither like a dead flower. When you remember things he has done, your heart will wither. When your heart is dead, so too will you die." Naraku snapped his fingers, and Kagome was lying naked at the bottom of the Bone Eater's Well, on the feudal era side. She collapsed, hugging her knees to her chest, face in the dirt, and sobbed.

Quite abruptly, Kagome came out of the trance she'd been in to find herself held to Inuyasha's chest. She stared him in the eye, expressing without words all that she felt for him. Every beat of her dying heart was torturous, but she waited, needing to tell him before the last of her blood was pumped through her veins. She sang the next part as though speaking to him from her very soul.

"I give you my destiny."

"Kagome?" Inuyasha's eyes filled with tears. Something was wrong, he knew it. Her skin was cooling rapidly.

"I'm giving you all of me."

It was then that Inuyasha noticed the raised scar on her neck, at the junction where her throat became her shoulder. Why had he not noticed it before? The scent of Naraku was fading from the mark. No.

"I want your symphony."

"Kagome, tell me he didn't…." Inuyasha could not, would not, complete the sentence. It was too horrific to contemplate. Naraku, claim his woman? It was unthinkable, impossible! But…the mark. And something was wrong. The stench of death was coming from her body now. NO!

"Singing in all that I am."

Inuyasha instantly assessed her scent. Sickness, old sickness, was there. Something he should have noticed in her. Something was wrong, something was bleeding, on the inside. Something was torn inside of her. He paled as his nose kept working. He had been inside her. This couldn't be happening.

"At the top of my lungs."

Naraku had marked his woman. Naraku had claimed his woman. Naraku had ruined his woman! This was a nightmare, it had to be. Inuyasha shook his head vigorously, trying desperately to rid himself of the image before his eyes. Kagome was his! Wasn't she?

"I'm giving it all."

"Kagome…" the hanyou whispered her name, pleading now. He had to know the truth, from her lips. Had it been willing? Had he forced his revolting body onto her? When had it happened? Why?

"So I lay my head back down."

Kagome's breath was starting to come shorter as she wound down the lament. Inuyasha frantically tried to determine the nature of her illness, knowing without understanding why, that she was going to die here, in his arms. Unloved. Not unloved!

"And I lift my hands and pray."

Inuyasha could feel her heartbeat fading. His words came rushed, impatient, frightened. "Kagome, please, what can I do? How do I help you?"

"To be only yours."

Kagome could not tell him that what she was singing to him was the way he could save her. But it didn't matter. He didn't love her. It would not matter the effort she expended in the venture- it had killed her, rather than saved her. Inuyasha was begging now. "Kagome, please….please, what do I do?"

"I pray to be only yours."

"Kagome…"

"I pray to be only yours."

"Please…."

"I know now you're my only hope."

Kagome's body shuddered violently once, twice. Inuyasha gripped her body harder to him, desperate now. She looked up at him with a fast fading gray gaze.

"Inuyasha, I have loved you for so long. But you love her."

"No-"

"Naraku cursed me. He decided that because you loved her, I would rid you of the burden of myself. I am dying, because I love you so much." Her breath was labored as she tried urgently to tell him what she had been unable to say before.

"I am going to leave you, Inuyasha, because I love you enough to let you have her."

"No! Kagome, you can't leave me!"

"I…have no reason to…stay," Kagome's voice was fading fast. A trickle of blood carved a path down past her lips and onto her chin.

"I need you, Kagome," Inuyasha whispered tenderly. Her body started shaking.

"Please, don't give me… false hope anymore, Inu…yasha. You have chosen…her. Not…me."

"You're wrong, Kagome."

"'I'll never….love another.'" She quoted to him. He flinched, then leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips.

"You and she are one and the same, because you share a soul. You are not another, Kagome."

"Yes, I am." She retorted angrily. "I am…not her." Her body went limp.

"Please, Kagome," he pleaded, "don't leave me."

"Why…not?" Her voice was a mere breath expelled.

"Because I need you."

Her eyes were losing their glow and her lids her closing. She was fading faster.

"Because….because I love you."

The ghost of a smile touched her lips.

"Better late….than never," she breathed. "Happy…Valentine's…Day."

Her body was heavy in his arms as he held her close, leaning against the trunk of the tree she'd perched in. He heard her breathing regulate painstakingly slowly. He felt her heartbeat start again, terribly weak. He would hunt Naraku down for this, kill him for this. But right now, he held her to him like a lifeline. He would never let her go again. For now, he closed his eyes, holding her tightly. Just as he fell asleep, their hearts began to beat as one.

Hanyou and human, in unison, finally together.

Forever.