Kikyou's spirit watched from a distance as her once-love Inuyasha mourned her second passing, encircled in her reincarnation's arms. It hurt, and probably always would in a small way, that she had not been meant to be the one to heal his soul.
But there was no denying reality – and it was time for Inuyasha to move on with a whole heart.
Fine dark lashes lay against her now opaque cheeks as she closed her eyes, remembering all that had passed between them – the good, and the bad, both.
If nothing else proved that we were always meant to part, our lack of trust in each other did. Because no relationship could ever survive without trust. It was my fault, entirely, Inuyasha, and I can freely admit that now. I mistrusted you; you were simply responding to my mistrust with your own, as your instincts warned you that you were not safe with me.
There was so much history between them, and most of it not good. They had really not known each other that well, during her lifetime – when she had actually been alive. There were so many things that Inuyasha hadn't told her of himself – things he had been able to share with Kagome.
I know you loved me, back then, Inuyasha – at least now, I do. But I was too blind to the man you truly were in spirit. All I could see was the reflection of your hanyou nature, and I feared it, not realizing that the youkai side of you was not a separate part – what made you the person I held feelings for was you... the whole you. If you had become human, as I had asked, you wouldn't have been the same person – the one my heart yearned for.
She sighed, melancholy thoughts passing through her mind like the currents of a swift moving river. There was no denying that she wished she could take his pain away and soothe the hurt; she envied Kagome her ability to be the one to do so.
No... what happened back then wasn't your fault, Inuyasha... you couldn't have loved me better. It was my own fault that I didn't realize that until it was fifty years too late – five hundred years too late. And though Kagome and I share a soul, we really share nothing else, and that's why I know that your love for her isn't a faded reflection of your love for me... you love her for who she is, not for the soul she carries.
Her lashes lifted slowly, dark eyes glinting in the moonlight - a small thrill of pain shot through her as she watched Kagome comfort Inuyasha. She had caused him so much hurt... though she never wanted to, it seemed she couldn't stop it, and that knowledge proved to her that he was better off without her around.
I could never be what you needed, Inuyasha, and once I finally admitted that, I could acknowledge that we were always meant to say goodbye. And in that parting, you found the one who could put your broken soul back together – someone who would heal you rather than damage you, as I did.
A small sound escaped her throat; she couldn't have told whether it was a laugh or a sob - both would bear witness to her feelings in this place and at this time.
Joy and sorrow... both are present here. Sorrow that I have to let go, and joy that whatever happens next, we will always share a fate, because I am present in Kagome, some part of me will get the chance to love you.
Reincarnation could be such a confusing concept – was it one single person, continuously being reborn from the ashes of their past life? Or was the soul simply a generic power source, moving from one life to the next with no ties to its past?
And the true answer to that is... both are true, in different ways. Our soul is what gives us life, and because I held it once, does not mean that Kagome is me, just as I am not my past incarnation. What makes us a person unique to each life is our personalities. And yet... there is no denying that a part of who we once were is also carried within our soul. There is a part of me in Kagome... just as who I was in a past life found an echo within me.
She knew that Inuyasha would marry Kagome – and she knew that the young miko would be ecstatically happy with him. She loved him fiercely – loved him enough to have been willing to let him go with her past incarnation if that would have made him happy.
That was something she knew she could never have done in the past. It was only now that she was once again dead, that she could do so... and she was uncertain even now if she would have been able to do the same if she still lived. It was entirely possible that she had only bowed to this epiphany because she had no choice but to let go – he was alive, and she was not. That chasm between them could never be bridged without his own death.
And despite everything, I can not find it in myself to wish for your death. That is why I decided against taking you to hell with me. I had no idea that that decision would change my fate – I no longer must fear going to hell alone. No... I will instead be allowed to rest peacefully until it is time for me to be reborn – five hundred years into the future.
Her eyes alighted then, on Inuyasha's saddened form, taking note of the quiet support that Kagome gave him, and had to smile. Perhaps there was more of her in Kagome than she had thought – after all, they both fell in love with a hanyou – a being that she had been trained to kill, and a being that Kagome had been taught was nothing but myth.
Truly, the fates gave she and I a strange destiny... and I will go now, and let that fate play out the way it was meant to do.
With a long look at the two people curled up together sharing their grief, she allowed the last part of herself to ascend, knowing that she would see Inuyasha again.
Through different eyes...
But oddly enough, the same heart.