Hey hey hey! Yes, I'm busy with two fics at once^^ my mind has been completely obsessed, what can I say? I'm still working on both at once, so don't fret! Just enjoy!

Chapter One :::Distortion:::

A black, nameless abyss, one he'd pictured so many times but never actually encountered.

Countless creatures bared their fangs at him, leering in anticipation at seeing his blood spilled. You brought us to this hell, the seemed to say, now it's your turn. He was falling, reaching up to grasp at a ledge that wasn't there.

This feeling was terrible; the ground rushing down and the uncertainty of when he would die. A massive pain suddenly engulfed his whole body as the blackness closed in around him.

Miroku woke up sweating. All around him the forest was silent, the only sounds protruding it the soft sighs of his companions.

Yes, still here. He breathed a small sigh of relief and for a long moment just relished in the safety of the night. Yes, still secure. But that certainly didn't shake the feeling out of his stomach. No matter what, it was always there- like a worm, burrowing through his gut, only showing its face from time to time.

His left hand absently trailed down and touched the traitorous right hand. Even when he slept, he kept the beads firmly wrapped around it.

It had been another one of the dreams of his impending doom. He didn't know if it would happen a year from now, a month from now, or in an hour. Was that what it would be like? Would it hurt? Would he know it was happening, or would he suddenly vanish?

He took a deep breath and tried to steady his nerves. Usually when these dreams came, Miroku couldn't find sleep again for a long time.

Next to him, Sango sighed in her sleep and rolled over. That warm feeling he got whenever he looked at her rushed in all at once. An angel, that's what she was. No one would ever know that this angel would hit him so hard his teeth rattled if he ever tried to pull anything.

Glancing at her face once more, he saw two glistening dark eyes staring at him.

For a moment neither of them said a word.

"You okay?" she asked finally in that soft, gentle voice that he'd heard her use when she was talking about her brother.

He averted his eyes slightly and nodded. No one knew of his nighttime torment; during the day he acted so normal that no one suspected anything. He wasn't about to burden Sango with his problems, too. 

"You were thrashing around and moaning. You woke me up," she stated, narrowing her eyes. "You sure nothing's wrong? You're shaking."

"Just a bad dream," he mumbled, laying his hands down so their shaking wouldn't be so evident.. "I get them sometimes."

She nodded in understanding. "Yeah, me too. Usually it takes a long time for me to go to sleep." A faraway look came into her eyes and he knew she was thinking about Kohaku.

He didn't know how to respond to this.

A pause.

"Sango! Look over there, quick!" he pointed out into the forest and quickly groped her behind.

She fell for his scheme and all too late realized this. "Kuso!!!Yaro!" She smacked him across the face and sat down, glaring at him.

"I try to help you, but all you wanna do is get your grinds for the day, don't you?"

He shrugged. "Oyasumi, Sango."

Then he turned back into his blankets and smiled to himself. Amazing how quickly the façade came on. Somewhere deep down, though, he regretted his actions. I should have talked to her more. She looked lonely, just then. Reaching his hand up to his smarting face, he stayed like that until sleep finally overtook him.

The next morning began like any typical morning. Miroku awoke to the sound of loud bickering somewhere nearby.

"-and do you listen? Nooooo. But you're just a stupid human. You would never know anything about climbing trees, would you?"

"Well at least I'm wholly human instead of half human!"

"Well your human blood makes you stupid, Kagome!"

"Let's see how stupid I am! Osuwari!!!"

A huge thud followed by a string of cuss words.

Miroku yawned and stretched. Last night seemed that in itself it was a dream- Sango's half illuminated face, his shaking hands, and the coldness of the night.

"Ohayo, houshi-sama," Sango greeted him as he rose off his blankets.

"Ohayo," he responded, smiling. In the morning, things didn't look so bad. In fact, usually during the rush of the day, his hand was the farthest thing from his mind.

In the background, the quarreling continued.

"Chikusho, Kagome, you don't have to use violence!" Screeched Inuyasha, "now my ass is sore!"

"I would think your ass would be used to it by now," she responded calmly, "I've sat you so many times you should be immune to it."

"Well, I'm not!" he yelled.

Miroku glanced at Sango, a small smile of amusement on his face.

"I think I'm getting a headache," she said rather loudly, but they were so engrossed in their battle that neither heard.

"There's only one way to stop this," Miroku stated, and advanced forward towards the battlefield.

"Come on, children, I think it's time we started going now. There are still lots of shards left to collect."

Kagome blushed, embarrassed at being caught looking so stupid.

"Keh," Inuyasha spat, "Come on then, let's get a move on it."

The group made their way out of the clearing and back onto the road. He noted that Sango flew to Kagome's side like a magnet, so he didn't bother going to her.

She wouldn't want to talk about last night, anyways.

"Inuyasha, that's no way to treat a beautiful lady like Kagome. You should treat her with respect if you want to win her heart," Miroku said to him.

"Like you would know," he snapped, obviously still ruffled from their fight.

Miroku shrugged. "I'm the one who has ladies lined up to bear my child. But what would I know?" He focused his attention to the road ahead. They were coming up to a city, and a city meant girls.

"Well, it looks like we're at another city," he chirped."

"I see that look on your face, Miroku!" Sango screamed. "Don't get any bright ideas!"

But it was too late, much too late. He'd already quickened his pace and was practically prancing towards the mass of buildings before him.

"Will you bear my child?"

Sango turned away in disgust. She was standing fuming silently next to Kagome as she watched the monk flit from girl to girl, asking the same question over and over.

"Come on, Kagome, let's go get something to eat before this bonehead makes me lose my appetite," Sango mumbled as she dragged Kagome away.

He made her so mad! And so confused, she had to admit. For the millionth time she felt the old rage build up as he flirted with other girls. What a jerk, she thought.

He'll never be faithful to any of them ever. Especially not me.

She froze. The afterthought had come unbidden. No, not me, she corrected herself, but I don't want to old lecher anyways.

"Sango? You okay?" she glanced up to the face of her closest friend, who had an expression of concern on her face.

"Am I really that transparent?" She asked, grinning.

"You were just quiet."

"Yes…" she glanced down. "That bastard. It's bad enough that he grabs me at every available opportunity, but I also have to sit and watch him act like a playboy!"

Kagome silently listened to her friend's rants. They were sitting on the edge of the street, eating rice and dumplings that they'd picked up at a street vendor.

"Well, it's Miroku…" she said lamely, "Don't bother caring so much. When Inuyasha acts like an idiot, which is most of the itme, I just ignore him."

"'cept for this morning," Sango said mischievously, and Kagome responded with  a prompt "shut up."

"But seriously." All the laughter was gone from Kagome's eyes, "Even under all that, he does care for you. He really does."

Sango just shrugged. "I don't care. Let's go back and find the guys!" She said with a cheerful conviction that was totally absent from her heart.

Kagome glanced at her without smiling, fairly sure her friend was faking. But it was okay, as long as neither of them admitted it. "Okay, let's go."

As they stood up Sango nearly bumped into Miroku.

"Hi, Miroku sama!" Kagome  chirped, while Sango just glared at him.

"What's the matter, Sango?" He asked, an innocent expression on his face.

"You!"

"What'd I do?" He asked, searching his brain. "I haven't touched you once today. If you're still mad about last night, well, you need to cool it."

Kagome's eyes widened as Sango snapped, "what have you been doing for the past hour? Think about it, baka."

"Talking to the townspeople?" He looked totally clueless, and it took everything Sango had not to slug him over the head.

"Never mind," she muttered through gritted teeth. "Never mind, never mind, never mind."

She stalked off towards the inn they were staying in that night, leaving a confused Miroku and Kagome standing in the middle of the street.

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x~Aurora chan