|The End Result
Author: larmes des anges PM
Two hurting souls, one common need. In the neverceasing search for love, people will inadvertently get hurt along the way. Cheating, lying, questioning... Do the ends justify the means, or is it only the end result that counts? [AU, InuxSan]Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Inuyasha & Sango - Chapters: 7 - Words: 25,967 - Reviews: 106 - Favs: 53 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 02-25-07 - Published: 02-09-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2256060
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The End Result
Her head ached. The music was too loud. Her beer was getting warm.
And worst of all, her heart was broken.
He'd promised to marry her. He'd promised that she was the only girl he'd ever want. He promised to be faithful.
And, being the sap she was, she'd believed him and paid the consequences when she walked in on him and a coworker getting it on in his apartment. Their apartment.
She'd been a fool.
Miroku pleaded that he'd been afraid—that he'd been scared to commit, scared to fully open himself up. To bear himself fully to one woman was like stripping away his armor, he said. He couldn't make himself that vulnerable.
Sango knew about his wretched childhood, about his alcoholic father and prostitute mother and she'd become fascinated with the successful, charming, kind man he'd become. So he was a bit of a playboy… she'd foolishly thought she could change him. That he would open up to her and she would shoulder his burden, just like in the fairy tales.
She really hadn't considered herself that idealistic. "O how the mighty have fallen," she muttered to herself, taking another sip of beer, welcoming the haziness each sip produced.
Sango traced circles on the dirty wooden table with her fingernail. Manicured. Miroku had always admired her hands. She'd be sure to bite them once the lacquer had worn off enough. Maybe she'd paint them black. That would be satisfying.
What the hell am I doing bitterly bemoaning my life like some pathetic scorned woman? Next I'll be making a voodoo doll and throwing it through his window at the dead of night. Never mind the fact that she was a woman scorned and that the idea of sticking pins through his heart—albeit a cloth one—evoked a feeling of immense pleasure.
"God, I'm pitiful." She took a large gulp of beer to commemorate the revelation. Congratulations, Sango. Welcome to Reality—we're glad to have you.
"Since when do you drink beer?"
She blinked rapidly, trying to clear the tears from her burning eyes. It was amazing how much a simple beer could affect a non-alcohol drinker. "Since my fiancé turned out to be a lying bastard with no backbone," she said, trying to figure out where she knew this man from.
"Good reason." He pulled out the chair next to her and folded his tall frame into it. "Mind if I join you?"
"Only if you're planning on contributing to the pity party."
"Oh, naturally," he said, his tone rather ironic, snatching her beer and taking a large swig.
"Hey, get your own booze!"
"Share and share alike, Sango-san. Can't two kindred souls wallow in pity together?"
"Inuyasha." The name came to her now. He was Kagome's boyfriend… or supposedly. The petite young women worked in the office next to her, and Sango had heard a few stories about Kagome's impulsive yet romantic boyfriend. "What are you moping around for? Did Kagome dump you?"
"On the contrary…"
Sango snatched her beer back. "You dumped her? Then what the hell are you doing here? She should be drinking herself into oblivion, not you!"
"I'm drinking because I despise myself for being an insensitive, ambiguous bastard."
Sango blinked. "Well, at least you're honest."
"That's about the only thing I have going for me right now," he said easily, stretching his legs underneath the table. "I was confused. I thought I loved Kagome… but every time I'd see Kikyou again all these old feelings would come back up… and then I really didn't know what I wanted."
Sango got the feeling he wasn't really talking to her anymore. But she let him ramble—at least he had the advantage of looking like a normal person spilling his woes to a friend. Just a few minutes ago she'd received "god-not-another-crazy-one" looks for talking to herself.
"Why d'you women have to be so damn confusing?" he asked, directing the question towards her.
"I don't know. Why do you men have to be so damn contradictory?"
He shrugged and leaned over to the next table. "Hey, buddy, you done with that?"
The man wrapped his hand around the bottle protectively and literally snarled.
Inuyasha held his hands up. "Fine, fine." Then to Sango, "You feel like getting up and—"
"Go order your own drink, you lazy bum."
He sighed and shoved away from the table, returning with a cold beer a few minutes later. He sat back down and held up his drink. "Here's to 'love' gone wrong."
"I'll drink to that."
And they drowned their misery in the comfort of the burning liquid.
Two hours and two beers later, Sango was dead drunk and Inuyasha hadn't even lost an eighth of his sobriety. He'd been drinking alcohol since he was eight, he explained to her, and his system didn't react to the stuff unless he completely binged on it.
"'S nice…" Sango said vaguely, resting her head in her hand.
He was mildly disappointed that she wasn't one of those funny drunks; she just looked subdued. And tired. That was no fun.
"—we go wrong?" she was saying.
"Huh?" He shook his head. "Sorry, you were saying…?"
"I said, where did we go wrong? Is it impossible for us to find love? Other people our age are happily married… some with kids already. Why is it that we haven't found 'that special person' yet?"
Inuyasha moved his beer glass in a slow circle, watching the amber liquid swirl around hypnotically. "I'm not going to give you 'it's not your time yet' bullshit. I think we missed our chance."
"Chance? To what, turn Miroku down in the first place? Tell him to get lost?"
Inuyasha shrugged. "Sure. Maybe on your first date with Miroku you were going to go to the library instead. Say you turned him down, went to the library—and met the love of your life." At her skeptical look, he said defensively, "It's entirely possible."
"Does fate really work that way?"
"What about you, then? What chance did you miss?"
He was quiet for a minute. "The chance to make the right decision. It was a fifty-fifty shot and I chose the wrong answer."
"Hate those kind of tests." She nodded wisely.
The corner of his mouth twitched. "Yeah, me too."
Sango pushed away from the table and tried to stand. "I think I'll go home now—I'm tired. I want sleep… I need sleep." And she needed to forget about a Certain Bastard. "And I need… booze…" She awkwardly grabbed the bottle and tried to shove it in the pocket of her tight jeans. "It won't fit," she said, frowning.
Inuyasha reached across the small table and caught her wrist in his hand. "Your pocket's too small."
"It is?" She cocked her head. "Oh… I guess you're right." She sighed despondently and sat back down. "I can't go home now."
"Why not?" asked Inuyasha, fairly amused.
"Because the bottle won't fit in my pocket unless I break it. And a broken bottle's no good… don't you think it's better to just let things be than break them?" Her eyes glazed over and she stared at the mirror behind the bar counter.
Inuyasha looked at her sharply, not removing his hand from her wrist. She was alarmingly lucid for a drunk girl and her words were oddly… relevant to the situation at hand. "Are we still talking about the bottle, Sango?"
"Of course we are." Her gaze didn't wander. "A broken bottle does us no good… a broken love does us no good… was it really so terrible, pretending that things were fine? Would I have been happier only suspecting Miroku had been cheating on me rather than—knowing he was cheating on me?" She turned her gaze on him now, her deep brown eyes probing his dark ones. "Would it have been so bad, marrying Kagome and trying to forget about Kikyou?"
"I will never forget about Kikyou," he said sharply.
"Then why didn't you marry her, huh? What'd you get involved with Kagome for?" She scooted closer to him so that their knees were touching underneath the table and he could clearly see the rise and fall of her chest.
Inuyasha swallowed and forced his eyes upward. "I guess… you could've called it a rebound. I was still hurt over Kikyou and Kagome was—there. Available. She really is a sweet girl. She'll make someone very happy."
"But not you?" Sango was getting very close now.
"No, not me." He placed his hands on her shoulders, not as a way to get her closer, but a way to keep her back. "I don't deserve her."
"Because she's sweet and kind and innocent and giving—"
"And you're not?"
"I'm selfish and crabby and rude."
"Not from what she says. She thinks you're the archangel Gabriel. Or Michael. Or whatever the hell his name is."
That brought a hint of a smile to his face. "Kagome sees the best in everyone."
"So? It's better than seeing the worst in everyone."
"It's like saying that a slice of bread is only half moldy and still good to eat."
Sango thought about this for a second and then shrugged. "It won't kill you right away, at least."
"But it could possibly make you sick," he whispered.
Sango looked up sharply and reached a hand to his face. "You're crying…"
Inuyasha jerked away from her. "The hell, woman? I'm not!"
"Yes you are."
"Look!" He pointed to his eyes. "Dry! No water whatsoever!"
She touched his face again, tracing a line down from the bottom of his eye, down his chin and neck all the way to his heart, where she let her hand rest. "You're not crying from your eyes…" She sniffled. "You're smart. You don't let people know when you're sad. They'll never know the difference."
Damn it, now she was crying. "You look like a woman who would wear her emotions on her sleeve."
"Huh? Oh…" She wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her sweatshirt. "I guess you're right." She inspected her sleeve critically. "Yep, my emotions are on my sleeve all right."
He sighed. "How are you getting home tonight, Sango?"
"Alone in the dark? Oh dear me, that'll never do," he said monotonously, as if reciting lines from a script. "Guess I'd better take you home."
"No… that's okay… I'll just sleep here tonight."
"I don't think the bartender would like that very much."
"Oh, he won't mind. He's my husband."
Inuyasha jerked. "What?"
She giggled at the look on his face. "We 'married' each other in third grade. He always looks out for me, even though he has a real wife now… Hmm…" She hummed contentedly and tucked the bottle of beer under her arm. "I guess I'll go to bed now."
Inuyasha stood. "You sure you'll be okay?"
"Yup. I'll be fine." She stood up on tiptoe and kissed him lightly on the lips. "Thanks for listening."
"Anytime…" He tried to push down the urge to show her what a real kiss felt like. Didn't that letch ever kiss her properly?
She tilted her head at him, an adorable look on her face. "Same time tomorrow? I'm sure I'll need someone else to talk to… after I have to see Miroku at work tomorrow…"
"Yeah. Good point." He'd have to face both Kikyou and Kagome come morning. He groaned. Maybe he'd call in sick tomorrow.
"Right then. Bye, Inuyasha," she chirped, spinning on her heel. "Whoops—" She stumbled a bit, but caught her balance with the help of Inuyasha's lightning-quick reflexes. "I'm okay."
"Good," he said seriously. He released her and watched her wander into the back hallway of the bar and open a door that said "PRIVATE." He assumed it was a spare bedroom or something. "Right," he said to himself, sitting back down at the table and finishing off the rest of his beer.
He wouldn't come tomorrow. He didn't want to disappoint her, but the last thing he needed in his life was another female complicating issues further.
Sango looked up from her pad of lined yellow paper to see the familiar face from last night looking down at her inquisitively. "Hey…" she greeted him absently, going back to her writing. "I'm surprised you came."
"That makes two of us." Inuyasha folded himself into the chair, just as he'd done the night before. She had this weird feeling of déjà vu—except they were both wearing different clothes, and this time she had no drink in front of her.
"What's the point of coming to a bar if you're not going to drink anything?" he asked, obviously having noted the lack of a beverage in front of her.
She shrugged and flipped the pen through her fingers. "I didn't like the hangover I had this morning. And my dad died of liver cancer. It was a one-night escape, not an experience I'd like to repeat."
"Smart girl," he said, smirking at her. "But I, on the other hand, need a little alcohol in my system." He raised the glass he'd brought to the table.
"That isn't beer," she remarked, her eyes narrowing.
"White wine," he confirmed, taking a sip of the clear liquid. "Did I ever tell you I was lived in France for about six years of my childhood?"
"Well, I did. And they instilled in me an appreciation for good food and good wine. I've never been able to forget it." He ran a hand through his hair, a few strands coming out of the loose ponytail he'd pulled his long, black hair into.
"Interesting." She tapped the end of her pen against her chin. "So I assume you speak French?"
"Not a bit of it," he said cheerfully. "Can understand every word, but aside from a few choice curse words, can't speak it for beans."
"Ah…oh. That's interesting." Her eyes strayed back to her notepad.
"Whatcha got there?" he asked, leaning over the table to get a better look at what she'd written.
She automatically slapped a hand over the text. "Nothing."
He raised an eyebrow. "Private, huh? Why did you bring it to a bar?"
"No one pays a bit of attention to anyone else when they're wallowing in self-pity," she retorted, "and I didn't expect to see you here again."
"Why not? You asked me to come back."
This gave her pause. "What?"
"Last night…you…told me… to come back here…the same time…tonight."
"I was drunk, for God's sake," she cried, "do you really think I knew what I was saying?"
"You were remarkably aware for being so intoxicated. You'd make a good secret agent—able to absorb information while drugged."
She stared at him. "Was that supposed to be a compliment?"
He shrugged. "Take it in whatever way you want."
"Mmm." She returned to her writing.
Inuyasha sat patiently for a few minutes or so, but that was about the end of his attention span. "Are you just going to sit there and ignore me?"
"It's not like I invited you over here or anything," she shot back.
"Keh, it's called having good manners."
"In a bar?"
He scowled. She had him there. "So how was your day, Sango-san?"
"Shitty. How was yours, Inuyasha-san?"
"Fucked up. Care to elaborate?"
"Not really. You?"
There was a moment of silence, and then Sango said, "Fine. I walked into work as usual today, and who should I run into when I open the door to the copy room but Miroku. Mind, it was 7:55 and Miroku never gets to work until at least after 8:05. So I was forced to actually speak…civilly… to him. And then he stayed back in his office to eat lunch. He always goes out. And then he came into my office to ask me for a stapler. Doesn't he understand that I don't want to talk to him?"
"Heaven forbid—not a stapler!"
Sango fumed. "If you're going to make fun of me I'll just return to my sex scene—" She clapped a hand over her mouth. "Shit."
A grin spread over Inuyasha's face. "Writing smutty romance, are we?"
"Mmhm, very interesting."
"Shut up, I bet you've read every single book."
This surprised him. "Book? You're published?"
She might as well give up the act. "Yes, quite successfully so. Though I doubt you'll be able to guess my pen name and even if you are able, I won't tell you."
He laughed outright at this. "I would never have guessed. Kagome's conservative, perfectionist best friend is a smut writer?" He burst into a fresh round of laughter.
"It's not that funny," Sango muttered.
He grinned at her, his dimples flashing. "Oh, but it is."
Why the hell am I blushing? She ducked her head, unnerved at his ability to fluster her. Yeah, back to writing. She returned to writing, her pen moving faster than it ever had before. "Quiet, you're interrupting my creative flow."
Oh, she was blushing all right. She looked quite pretty actually, with her dark hair pulled back into a low ponytail, her two shorter strands of hair framing her face. Even in a navy sweatshirt and jeans she looked cute, all curled up in her chair, scribbling away on her pad of paper.
A smutty romance novelist. He couldn't get over his newest discovery. I'm going to have fun with this. "So, you gonna give me a preview?" he asked, slipping into the seat next to Sango and leaning over to see what she'd written.
Quicker than a flash of light, she flipped the pad upside-down, glaring at him a little. "I doubt you'd enjoy it."
"On the contrary—" he reached for it.
"No, really—" She pushed his hand away, trapping it between the table and her own hand. "You wouldn't like it. It's mushy romance fluff that would make a masculine man like yourself gag."
"A 'masculine man'? I thought writers would tended to avoid redundant statements."
"Please work with me here, I'm trying to make a point."
"And I'm not seeing it." He tapped the end of her nose. "There's no reason to be ashamed."
"Who says I'm ashamed?" said Sango as she clutched the pad to her chest and folded her arms round the incriminating paper.
"Your actions do." He leaned closer and laid a hand on her cheek, breathing in her scent. She smelled like… "Cherry blossoms and vanilla."
Sango swallowed. "My shampoo."
"It suits you."
"Glad you think so." Her eyes crossed slightly as she tried to look at him from such a short distance. "Do you normally go around smelling girls in bars?"
"Just intoxicating ones."
"You mean intoxicated ones?" she corrected lightly.
"No." He moved closer yet again, so that their lips were a mere breath apart. "I meant what I said."
"R-really." Her breath had gone ragged. "What are you doing, Inuyasha?"
"I don't know," he murmured. "Following an instinct?" With that, he pressed his lips onto hers, tasting their sweetness, reveling in the electrical shock that rippled through his body. Electricity—there was a new feeling. Kikyou's kiss had been familiar, comfortable. Kagome's had felt somewhat forbidden—now that he thought about it, it was probably the hurt and guilt that drove him with that relationship. But with Sango—
Don't compare! he told himself sharply. He pulled away from the woman in his arms. What the hell was he doing? He didn't need to get involved with anyone else, much less his ex-girlfriend's best friend. "I'm sorry I—"
He was thrown completely off guard when Sango finished the kiss he'd started, this one deeper, lingering, wanting. "Didn't anyone ever tell you," she mumbled, kissing the side of his mouth, "that apologizing for a kiss is a surefire to insult a girl?"
Somehow, both of his hands had crept upward to cup her face. "Never let it be said that Takahashi Inuyasha ever intentionally insulted a woman…"
And so two hurt, broken, wandering souls found solace in one another in that moment, heedless of what reparations might be heaped upon their heads. All they knew was each other, the pleasure they felt, the electricity that was so—unfamiliar, so different, so new…
They broke apart guiltily. Sango had nearly shoved Inuyasha away, her mouth agape, eyes wide. Inuyasha's face darkened into a murderous thundercloud.
It had been too good to be true.