Inuyasha stared at the old woman, not quite believing what he was seeing. She stared back at him, recognition in her eyes. Even after almost sixty years, they recognized one another.
Inuyasha didn't know how he knew it was her, he just did. It was something from deep inside him, some strange feeling that he couldn't quantify. But there was no doubt this was the young girl he had loved from afar all those years ago.
She was no longer a goddess. Time had not been kind to her; her face was sunken and wrinkled, her once brilliant reddish-brown hair faded to pale white. Even her eyes had changed, their brightness dimmed by years of labor and hardship. Even so, he was drawn to her as always. His mind wandered back, reacquainting itself with memories long forgotten.
"Come on, Inuyasha! We're leaving!"
The hanyou came back to himself with a start, Kagome's voice having broken his former goddess' hold on him. Not pausing this time, Inuyasha turned and walked away without looking back. Kagome was waving at him, and his friends were all smiling. Feeling a grin tug at the corners of his lips, he joined them.
Everything he thought he knew back then had been proven wrong. His humanity was not always weakness, and his youki not always a strength. It was not foolish to hope someone would accept him as a hanyou; all of the people currently journeying with him did. His life had changed drastically since the lonely days of his youth, and he was never going back. Recently, a new hope had sprung up in the depths of his heart, that perhaps he could experience love as a hanyou as well. Glancing at his miko companion, the one who had taught him all of this, he realized that perhaps that dream was not folly either.