A/N: I highly recommend listening to The Scientist by Coldplay while reading this chapter.

Now onto the story!


Epilogue: Closest To Heaven


"Attention all teachers, students of the 2013 graduating class are to meet in the auditorium immediately. Once again students of 2013 graduating class are to report to the auditorium immediately. Thank you."

Confused murmors floated across the huge auditorium on Monday morning. Filing into the room Sango and Kagome spotted Miroku and Inuyasha, and made their way towards the two boys. Sango sat next to Miroku, while Kagome took a seat on the other side of Sango.

"Do you guys know what this is about?" Miroku asked. He saw the Principal sitting on the stage as well as the school guidance counselor, and by the looks on their faces they weren't about receive any good news.

"I have no idea, maybe something about graduation?" Sango offered.

"Has anyone seen Kikyou today? Has she come back to school?" Kagome asked suddenly. They all glanced between each other and it appeared that no one had seen hide nor hair of the girl, not even Inuyasha.

"Okay everyone settle down please!" Mr. Takeda said trying to get everyone's attention. Slowly the side chatter began to die down and the students gave the principal their full attention.

"Thank you. We called everyone here today to deliver some terrible news. With graduation so close by we hate to be the ones to tell you this, but a member of your graduating class passed away a few days ago." Tears had already begun to fill people's eyes and shocked grasps resounded throughout the auditorium as the students began searching around the room for their absent friends.

"Who was it?" Came a shaky voice from the back. A sad look crossed over the principal's face as he turned to face Inuyasha, Sango, Miroku, and Kagome.

"Kikyou Hayashi." The room became deathly silent as all eyes turned to the four teenagers sitting in the front row. Everyone knew how close the group was, and that Kikyou had been Inuyasha's girlfriend up until recently.

"How?" Inuyasha gripped the arm rests as he forced himself to stay calm. He would not show his weakness front of everyone at school.

"The police believed she killed herself." Inuyasha's world had stopped spinning at this point. He could vaguely hear Sango sobbing while Miroku whispered comforting words in her ear. He looked up to see Kagome's head fall into her hands, her shoulders shaking with the force of her cries. He turned to eye everyone else in the auditorium. Many people were crying, some looked bored, others were staring at him with that God awful look people always give after someone close to you dies. He couldn't deal with this, not now, not here. He could hear the guidance counselor talking, saying she would be here all day if anyone wanted to talk. Inuyasha went to wipe his face, it was so hot in the room he was sweating, but when he blinked and felt moisture fall on his cheeks, he realized...he was crying.

Kagome watched him as he bolted from his seat and ran out the door. She wanted to follow him more than anything, make sure that he was okay, but she knew that now wasn't the time. The least she could do was give Inuyasha his space.


Inuyasha sat alone in his room, his head lying limply between his knees. He sat in the darkness willing it swallow him whole. Everything was so fucked up. It was fucked up beyond repair. Inuyasha didn't think he had the strength to leave the comfort of his dark room, but his self-imposed solitude was becoming more than he could bare. He didn't want to eat, he didn't want to drink, and most of all he didn't want to sleep.

Because sleeping meant dreaming, and he would only dream about her.

Inuyasha gently fingered the envelope he hadn't had the courage to open yet. A knock on the door snapped him out his thoughts, light poured in from the hallway and stung his eyes. He blinked to help them adjust and watched as Kagome sat a bowl of food on his dresser.

"I brought you some dinner. Momma made ramen." Kagome was worried about him. He could tell from the soft tone of her voice and that pitiful look in her eyes.

"I'm not hungry." All he wanted was to be alone once more. When he was around people, especially Kagome, his grief seemed easier to deal with, and it wasn't fair. Not to Kikyou or her memory.

"Please, Inuyasha you need to eat. You need to get out of your room." 'You need to remember how to live again.' She silently added. Though she couldn't blame him for his behavior. The person he loved most in this world was gone, she could only imagine that he was dealing with it the best way he knew how. But did he have to try to do it alone? Didn't he know that she was here for him? That she would always be here?

"I can't. I don't want to."

"Inuyasha...Kikyou wouldn't have wanted-"

"SHUT UP!" He said fiercely, "Don't you dare try to tell me what Kikyou would have wanted. You don't know anything about it!" Ducking her head to hide her tears, Kagome simply mumbled an apology and quickly left the room. Inuyasha let out a frustrated groan, punching the wall closest to him. He hadn't meant to snap at her like that. Everything Kagome was doing and saying was only out of love and concern for him, he understood that, but it didn't make anything any easier.

"I'm sorry Kagome."

Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you, tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart
Tell me your secrets, and ask me your questions
Oh let's go back to the start
Running in circles, coming up tails
Heads on a science apart


Kagome sat on her bed wiping away the last of her tears. She willed herself not be angry, for she knew that none of this was Inuyasha's fault. He was hurting, hurting more than anybody.

Kagome looked at the opened envelope she'd received from Souta just days before everything went to hell. Her fingers brushed over the words and a new wave of tears threatened to fall down her cheeks. It hadn't made sense to her when she first read the note, not until she went to school the next day.

Dear Kagome,

I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not being a good friend to you, when you showed me nothing but kindness. I believe that part of my resentment towards you, stemmed from the bond you shared with Inuyasha. I shouldn't have let a boy stop me from appreciating your friendship. I wanted to think you were like every other female I had met. Evil, conniving, and secretly out to steal the one thing I cared about most from under my nose. But you aren't like that are you Kagome? No, you're as pure as they come, and I think that's one of the reasons Inuyasha is so drawn to you. You heal people Kagome, you don't even realize you're doing it either. It's in your smile and in your kind words. I'm sorry for not giving you a proper chance, and I'm sorry for the damage Inuyasha and I have done to your heart. All those years I knew you were hurting and for my own selfish reasons I ignored it, forgive me. I know it probably isn't fair of me to ask, but please do me a favor? Take care of Inuyasha. Make sure that in losing me he doesn't forget who he is. I want him to live on, I want him to be happy, and I realize that only you can help him do that. Do what you do best Kagome, heal him.

Kikyou

"I'm sorry too Kikyou. I'm not sure what I'll be able to for him, but for you I'll try."


"Inuyasha?" Kagome asked tentatively. She slowly crept into the room, observing as Inuyasha's form shifted under the covers. It was her first day back to school since they'd gotten word of Kikyou's death almost a week ago. She'd been hesitant to leave Inuyasha by himself and was relieved to see that he hadn't run off, like he had become prone to doing these last few days.

"What?" He groaned as Kagome turned on the lights in his room. He felt her weight shift the bed, and he poked his head out from under the covers to look at her.

"I just wanted look in on you. You know, make sure you're doing alright."

"I'm fine."

Kagome put a hand on his leg. He'd always been a terrible liar. "Inuyasha please-"

"I said 'I'm fine' okay!? God, I don't know what you people want from me! It's been a week. A fucking week! Why does everyone expect me to be all ease and smiles again? Why does no one understand that I just want to be alone! " He said sitting up quickly.

"Because this isn't healthy Inuyasha!" She yelled back. He looked stunned at her sudden display of emotion. "You're not eating, you're not sleeping, and for Christ's sake when was the last time you showered? If you would ever leave your room maybe you would realize that when you're surrounded by people who care for you it doesn't hurt so much." Kagome said finishing in a gentler tone.

Inuyasha looked to the floor dejectedly. He had been selfish in his actions, only concerned with his own pain. He blamed himself for losing Kikyou. He'd broken her heart and in return she had wanted nothing to do with him, but instead of fighting for her he left her. She needed him and he hadn't been there. How was he supposed to move on from the biggest mistake he'd ever made?

"You're right. I'm being selfish. I haven't taken the time to think about how you or anyone else must be feeling. I thought this was something that I had to suffer through alone." The tears were starting to burn his throat, and the last thing he wanted to do was let them fall, but he couldn't hold out any longer. Soon the salty river began flowing with his pain and he took solace in the feeling of Kagome's arms wrapping around him.

"You're never alone Inuyasha. I'll always be here."

"How can you be so strong?" He whispered. Kagome let out a small giggle and just continued to hold him.

"I'm not strong stupid. I think you mean, how can I be so kind?" Inuyasha chuckled softly, taking Kagome's hand in his. He was no where near being okay, but with Kagome at his side he knew he'd get there eventually.

Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start.


I had taken the gang almost a month, but they were finally able to raise enough money to give Kikyou a proper burial. With no family besides her little sister Kaede, the state agreed the give them Kikyou's remains.

The ceremony had been small and intimate. Kagome's grandfather luckily was feeling well enough, and offered to read some prayers, hoping to help Kikyou's soul rest peacefully. Her headstone was decorated with flowers and candles. Kagome and Inuyasha had stayed later than anyone else. Inuyasha hadn't been ready to leave and Kagome had refused to leave his side. Even as the sky opened up and the heavens poured down on them, they didn't move.

"This is all my fault." Inuyasha said shoving his wet bangs from his face. "I should've been there for her. Something caused her to do this and I should've been there to protect her from it!" He said punching the ground in his frustration. Wrapping her arms around his waist Kagome offered him all the comfort she could give as she tried to soothe him with her soft words.

"You loved her Inuyasha. You gave her more love than she'd ever received in her life, and I'm sure that was more than enough." Inuyasha nodded his head, grateful that Kagome had a knack for always knowing the right thing to say. Only when the rain had extinguished the light the candles had provided did the two finally make their exit from the cemetery, hand in hand.

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Kagome sat patiently outside waiting for Inuyasha to finish his history final. Today was the last day of finals week, which meant they had a two week break before it was time to walk across the stage. Kagome had been both anxiously awaiting and silently dreading graduation. This was supposed to an exciting time in her life. She was growing up, discovering who she was, and finally learning what it meant to be independent. A hand found its way to her slightly round tummy and she let out a heavy sigh.

She had reached the two month mark in her pregnancy yesterday, and had yet to tell anyone besides Sango about it. She was avoiding telling her mother and more than anything she was avoiding telling Inuyasha.

'What am I supposed to say to him? Oh yeah you probably don't remember this, but we had sex because you thought I was Kikyou and now I'm pregnant. Do you want a boy or girl?' She thought sarcastically. Kagome got up when she saw Inuyasha approaching, only to be doubled over by a sudden cramp in her abdomen.

"Kagome are you okay?" Inuyasha said worriedly, quickly making his way over to her.

"Yeah I'm fine just a bit of a tummy ache. I probably just ate too much pudding."

"I'll say!" Inuyasha joked putting a hand on her belly, the tight shirt she wore showing off its slight curve. "I'll be sure to stop you after your fourth cup next time." Kagome punched him playfully in his arm as they walked back towards her house. They had made it to the large flight of stairs leading to the small home when Kagome stopped, deciding that today would be the day she told him about the baby.

"Kagome?" Inuyasha said curiously.

"Inuyasha, I have to tell you some-" Her sentence was cut off when the dull throbbing in Kagome's stomach turned into a sharp pain. Falling to her knees she hissed in pain as she started to experience the worst cramps she'd ever felt in her life.

"Kagome! Kagome, what's going on?! You're bleeding!" The young girl watched with tear filled eyes as blood began to pool beneath her knees and stain her skirt.

"Oh no..."She whispered. She watched as Inuyasha pulled out his cell phone and called for help, but she already knew it was too late.

'I'm losing him.'


Kagome woke up to the sound of beeping machines and the harsh smell of chemicals.

"W-where am I?" She said groggily.

"You're in the hospital."

"Inuyasha?" She said turning her head to get a better look at him. Her eyes began to mist as she remembered the events of earlier that day. Sitting up she put a hand on her empty womb and began to sob. This was all her fault. Because she had wished so many times for her baby to go away, God had taken him from her.

'I didn't want you, but now that you're gone...' Would it have been a boy or a girl? She'd always wanted a son. She had dreamed once that Inuyasha hadn't shunned her after she told him about her pregnancy. He embraced her and their son, who was a spitting image of his father. 'And now I'll never know.'

"Kagome what happened?" Inuyasha said as he moved closer to the bed. Kagome simply hung her head in shame. There seemed to be no point in telling him now, but even though the baby was gone didn't he still have a right to know?

"Inuyasha I was-"

"Kagome! Oh my God, when Inuyasha called me I didn't know what to think! Are you okay sweetie?" Kagome's mom said rushing into the room and towards her daughter.

"I'm fine Mom, thanks to Inuyasha that is." She smiled.

"Thank you Inuyasha for being here with her." Her Mom said gratefully to the young man, who blushed under the praise.

"Kagome, honey, what happened to you?"

"I...I had a miscarriage Momma." She said quietly.

"A miscarriage?! When did you find out you were pregnant? Why didn't you tell me?"

"About 2 months ago. I'm sorry Mom." Kagome said in a shaky voice, "I was scared and I didn't want you to be upset with me." Embracing her daughter, the older woman lovingly stroked her child's hair as she wept.

"Shh, it's alright now Kagome. Everything's gonna be alright now." Pulling away from her mother, she gently asked if she could have a moment alone with Inuyasha. Who was still taken aback by Kagome's news.

"I didn't know you were pregnant." He said softly, his eyes looking everywhere but at her.

"No one did except for Sango. Inuyasha I-"

"It was mine wasn't it." His question coming out as more of a statement. Her eyes widened at his words and her heart began to race.

"How did you know? Did Sango say something to you?!" The girl said her temper steadily rising.

"No! I swear she didn't! It's just...you said you found out two months ago and, that party was about two months ago." He whispered sheepishly. If the moment hadn't been so intense Inuyasha would've laughed at her resemblance to a deer caught in the headlights.

"Y-you remember that? How is that possible when you-" Kagome caught off her own thought as realization struck her like a bolt of lightening. "You knew. You knew the whole the time that it was me, yet you lead me to believe that you'd mistaken me for someone else. For Kikyou."

"Kagome-"

"How could you do that to me!?" She screamed, tears running down her face. "Do you have any idea how much you hurt me?!" Standing from his chair Inuyasha roughly grabbed her hands. She looked up at him, her intent to continue chewing him out, but her rant was swallowed by his lips.

The anger slowly faded from her body with every stroke of his tongue. Her eyes slid closed and her fingers tangled themselves in his hair. Pulling away from him, Kagome struggled to catch her breath.

She stared at him with flushed cheeks, and an expectant look on her face. He saw the confusion swimming deep in her chocolate eyes, and he understood it, because he was confused too. Taking a deep breath Inuyasha said the first thing that came to his mind and hoped everything worked out for the best, because Lord knows that communication was not one of his finer points.

"I've wanted to do that again since the first time I kissed you at that party." Okay, so far so good. "If you never want to speak to me again I won't blame you, but there's one thing that I desperately need you to understand and that's that I never meant to hurt you."

"Then why did you-" He put a finger to Kagome's lips to silence her, he had to get this out. He had to tell Kagome the truth if it was the last thing he did. Even if they couldn't be friends he didn't want any regrets between them, like the ones he had with Kikyou.

"I"m an idiot. I'm an idiot and I'm a coward. I was so scared of everything that I was feeling, because in the back of my mind I knew how you felt about me and I wasn't sure I could return your feelings. But when I saw you I couldn't help myself, and it took a lot of thinking and a couple of smacks from Miroku for me to realize how much I've always cared about you. I regret the way I went about doing things, but I don't regret doing them. I don't regret being with you Kagome."

When she didn't respond Inuyasha knew this outcome was inevitable. Kagome wanted nothing to do with him anymore. He'd let his cowardice and stupidity ruin one of the best relationships he'd ever had, and there was no one to blame but himself. He opened his mouth to apologize once more, when her lips crashed onto his. His initial shock began to fade and soon he was returning her kiss with everything he had. They pulled away resting on each other's foreheads, their breaths dancing across the other's heated cheeks.

"I forgive you Inuyasha. I guess it's not your fault you're so dense, just don't do anything that stupid ever again. Plus I already told you I'm not going anywhere. I'll always be with you."

The sound of clapping jarred the two teens out of their touching moment, as they saw Miroku and Sango standing in doorway, shit-eatting grins adorning both their faces. Kagome smiled at her friends as they laughed and joked, and she couldn't help but think that maybe, just maybe, things were finally going to be okay.

I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Don't speak as loud as my heart
And tell me you love me, come back and haunt me
Oh and I rush to the start


"Sango Arai!"

The tall brown haired girl excitedly made her way across the stage. Standing before her principal she shook his hand and gratefully received her diploma. She turned to smile at her little brother Kohaku, screaming his head off from his seat in the audience with her father sitting beside him.

"Miroku Ishida!"

Forever the class clown, Miroku tried and failed miserably to do a cartwheel across the stage. The principal gave him a stern but friendly look as he handed the young man his diploma. He'd be the first to admit that he didn't think the boy would make it to see this day, and it was the only time he'd ever be glad he was proven wrong. Looking out into the audience Miroku didn't expect to see any family out there cheering for him, but his girlfriend was, and she was all he needed.

"Kagome Higurashi!"

The raven haired girl smiled wide as she accepted her signed diploma. She saw her mother dabbing her tears and her brother cheering her on. Her grandpa hadn't been able to make it, but she knew he was with her in spirit. She thought she'd be happier about closing this chapter in her life, but thinking about everything she'd been through here she knew she would miss it. Mr. Takeda went to shake her hand, but Kagome was feeling nostalgic so she pulled him in for a hug, before finding her way back to her seat.

"Inuyasha Sugitani!"

Damn it felt good to be here! It'd been a long time coming and the moment couldn't be sweeter for Inuyasha as he received his diploma. Sesshomaru had always told he'd never amount to anything and that pigs would fly before he graduated high school. Well he hoped those pigs flew right up Sesshomaru's ass! Inuyasha looked out at the audience as he saw Kagome's mother and brother cheering for him just as vigorously as they had for Kagome. He would be eternally grateful for the kindness they had shown him when his own brother had given up on him. He watched as Kagome, Sango, and Miroku all screamed for him, and it cut him to the quick when he realized the only person missing to make this moment perfect was Kikyou. 'But you're watching down on all of us, aren't you Kikyou?'

"Ladies and gentlemen I present to you, the graduating class of 2013!" Caps filled the air, parents cheered for their children, the students cried and hugged one another, knowing this would probably be the last time they'd ever see some of their friends. They'd been working their whole lives to reach this moment. To start their futures.

And they were ready.


Inuyasha, Kagome, Sango, and Miroku all stood somberly around Kikyou's headstone.

Kikyou Hayashi

Dear Friend and Beloved Sister.

May you find eternal peace.

1995-2013

"We finally made it Kiks." Inuyasha said as he placed Kikyou's cap and diploma on her grave. It was hard moving on without her, but he'd have to do it, and with his friends by his side he knew he would. Kagome's small hand found her way into his larger one and he smiled down at her. The sun moved from behind the clouds and began to shine down on them, as if Kikyou herself was giving him permission to be happy.

"Would you like a moment alone?" Kagome asked him. He nodded without looking back at her, only knowing she was gone because of the loss of warmth from her hand.

"I didn't think I'd ever get the courage to open this thing." Inuyasha said pulling the envelope he'd gotten from Souta out of his pocket. "I'm kinda scared you know? I feel like reading it will be like saying goodbye to you for the final time...but maybe that's for the best." Slowly he opened the letter, his eyes misting at its contents.

Dear Inuyasha,

Saying goodbye to you has to be the hardest thing I've ever done. If there was any other way I would find it, but there isn't. I can't go on like this Inuyasha, and to drag you into this dark place I find myself stuck in would be wrong. The last time I saw you I told you I hated you. It was the biggest lie I've ever told. The feelings I have for you are far from hatred, and I'm sorry for blaming you for things that are not your fault, like how you feel about Kagome. Yes, I know all about that and I'd give anything to see the expression on your face as you read this. You love her Inuyasha and that's okay. Before I end this letter to you I want to say that I'm sorry. I'm sorry Inuyasha, for anything and everything I've ever done to hurt you or make you doubt the love that I have for you. I love you Inuyasha. I've never loved anyone else the way I love you, and I know that Kagome will take care of you, because she is the only person in the world who loves you more than me.

You are forever in my heart,

Kikyou

The tears ran down Inuyasha's face freely and for the first time in awhile he genuinely smiled. Wiping his face Inuyasha set his letter on her grave. He thought reading the letter would be painful, but if anything it gave him peace. Looking up into the sky somehow he knew that wherever she was, Kikyou was okay.

"I'll never forget you."

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

The four teens gathered around a campfire in a patch of secluded woods. They were pretty sure camping here wasn't allowed, but hey, since when did they start giving a shit about the rules? They laughed and reminisced about the good ol' days, while drinking their beers and singing corny campfire songs.

"Okay guys it's time!" Kagome said as she went retrieve her college letter from her bag. The group had decided early on in the school year that they'd all save their college letters and open them together after graduation.

"Okay Miroku you first." Sango said nudging her boyfriend excitingly. He glanced nervously at the white envelope before tearing it open. His eyes quickly scanned the words of the letter before he jumped from his spot on the ground, taking Sango with him and twirling her around.

"I got in! I got into the American Film Institute!"

"I'm proud of you Miroku." Sango said with a sad smile. Though she was truly happy for Miroku, going to the American Film Institute meant that he would be moving to California and away from her. But she knew it was his dream to become a big time movie producer.

"Sango before we move on there's something I have to ask you." Grabbing her hands Miroku dropped to one knee before her. Her mouth opened in complete shock and he vaguely registered Kagome's excited giggles in the background. "Marry me Sango. Not now or tomorrow, but in a few years, after we've graduated from university. Make me the happiest man alive and become my wife."

"M-Miroku...I don't know what to say." She said, her voice trembling.

"Say yes!" Kagome screamed.

"Yes. Yes I'll marry you." For the second time that night Sango was lifted from her feet as Miroku bestowed a passionate kiss on her lips.

"Enough of that! Sango it's your turn." Inuyasha grumbled effectively ruining the romantic moment.

Opening her envelope she squealed as she read the first few lines of her letter. "Dear Sango Arai, we are pleased to inform of you of your admission to the Michigan State University school of Education." Setting down her letter Sango looked at Kagome giddily.

"Okay Kagome you're next." She told her. Blushing under all the attention as everyone's gazes focused on her, she quickly scanned the contents of her letter.

"I got accepted! I'm going to the University of Michigan school of Nursing!" She said happily.

"The University of Michigan? I got into their school of Kinesiology." Inuyasha said as he took out his already opened letter.

"Inuyasha you were supposed to wait your turn!" Kagome chastised.

"Well excuse me for wanting to open my letter instead of watching Sango and Miroku make out all night!" He fired back. Sighing in defeat Kagome could only shake her head and laugh. That was her Inuyasha all right, forever the impatient one.

"What's Kinesiology?" Sango asked him.

"Exercise science."

"Only you would find a way to major in exercise." Miroku joked. The group of friends continued to laugh and have fun together. Simply enjoying each other's company while they still had the chance. They toasted to living in the present and patiently awaiting their futures. They had all struggled to get to this point, fighting tooth and nail in their own personal hells to get that much closer to heaven.

Running in circles, chasing our tails
Coming back as we are

Nobody said it was easy
Oh it's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I'm going back to the start


And so it's done! This story will always be close to my heart. Lyrics in this chapter are from The Scientist by Coldplay. I just felt that the lyrics really suited what all the characters having going through to get to this point, plus the song itself is beautiful.

Also since I'm not at all familiar with Japanese schooling, assume that everything in this story has taken place in America.

Anyways thank you to everyone for reading!

Don't forget to REVIEW :)