Author's Note: This one-shot is set at the end of episode 78. You don't have to have seen it for this story to make sense, I think you will understand the story, but there might be a spoiler or two if you haven't.
Disclaimer: Inuyasha and his friends do not belong to me.
A Miroku/Sango one-shot
By Maia Serrelinda
Rain. It had rained almost the entire time the group had stayed in the castle, except for the day they defeated that youkai.
The monk thought it matched his mood perfectly. Light rain, not stormy or violent, just…..blah. He stood with the hanyou, kitsune, and miko he traveled with. They were waiting for her….
He watched her talking with the young king. Takeda Kuranosuke was openly pursuing her in a way he himself had only dreamed of. Kagome was right on target when she needled him about his feelings for the taijiya, but he'd never let her know it. He couldn't bring himself to tell Sango of his feelings for her, although they'd threatened to overwhelm him. He felt a constricting ache in his chest as he watched her. Her eyes were lowered demurely as Kuranosuke gazed at her.
Miroku tried to block the fidgeting of the impatient hanyou next to him from his mind. He noted that Kagome was glaring at the hanyou with more fire than usual, probably because she'd already been upset with the entire situation as it was. She'd been almost relentless in prodding Miroku to take some sort of action. She somehow knew of the emotions and feelings that bubbled just underneath the surface between the monk and taijiya she counted as her friends.
In the end, she'd been right. The thought of her leaving the group, leaving him… It frightened him as nothing else did, even the ever-widening Kazaana. He brooded and moped, pondered and sulked, and had reached a decision.
He loved her too much. He wanted her to be happy above all, and safe. Cared for. He would rather see her married to the young king who wooed her, where at least he would know that she was out of danger. Knowing that in all likelihood the king would not be passing a curse to their offspring, and would not be consumed in the prime of life by the same curse. He looked down at the Kazaana, hidden by the glove and bound by the rosary. If only….if only.
He heard with annoyance the hanyou's sigh as he muttered "Finally!" under his breath, hoping that the young miko next to him wouldn't notice. Miroku smiled inwardly – Kagome was certainly not the best source of romantic advice he could have found. The hanyou's love for her was plainly evident to everyone around them, except, of course, for her and Inuyasha. The opposite was also true, of course – she practically radiated love for him and again, everyone saw it but the two of them. Someday they'd wake up and notice it, but for now…. Miroku let a small grin lift one corner of his mouth as he mentally shook his head to clear the thoughts of the other couple. Just as he'd thought of Kagome, he was certainly no authority on love, only lechery. The most he'd been able to do to show Sango his love for her, as brightly as it burned inside the cool, playboy exterior, was a whisper in the darkness as they passed in the night—"Be happy…"
He'd heard her small gasp and the rustle of clothing as she stopped in her tracks and whirled to face him, but he was already past; the moment was gone. He walked on in silence, halfway hoping she would come after him. He allowed his head to droop slightly when a cry pierced the night. The youkai they'd come to defeat had finally showed up.******
Sango sighed inwardly, feeling the heat of a slight blush on her cheeks. She'd never been so fawned over in her entire life. She wasn't used to it, and it frankly made her somewhat uncomfortable. She preferred the company of her friends. They treated her as an equal.
With an effort, she brought her focus back to the real world. Kuranosuke was telling her not to make a decision now, and that he thought he understood her feelings. She smiled slightly, thinking to herself that he had no idea how she really felt. She prepared to leave the shelter of the arch overhead, glancing out at her friends, who were standing a short distance away. She could practically feel the impatience rolling off the hanyou in waves. Kagome as usual was trying to pacify him, assuring him they'd shortly be on their way. She bowed to Kuranosuke and took her leave of him. Her sandals splashed in the puddles formed by the steadily falling rain as she hurried back to her friends. Her gaze fell to the silent monk. He didn't look at her, only turned with Inuyasha and Kagome and set off. The action hurt her, though she didn't show it. He'd hurt her many times with small actions, mostly the endless lechery he displayed wherever they traveled. She had thought they had made some slight bit of progress – they had actually had a serious conversation and she'd thought they were close to something…and then he'd groped her. She sighed again and tried to sort out her feelings for the lecherous houshi. She knew she cared for him deeply. She just wasn't sure how he felt about her. Was she just another woman in his life?
Sango fell into step next to Kagome. Kagome was somewhat distracted – Inuyasha was walking in front of her and as usual, she was probably thinking about him. She grinned to herself – she couldn't believe how oblivious the two were to the feelings that were so blatantly obvious to the rest of the world.******
Kagome was irritated. Irritated and frustrated. She couldn't understand how Inuyasha could be so blind to the emotions simmering between their two friends. She gritted her teeth and pushed him firmly from her mind so she could concentrate on the problem before her. She glared at the monk when she suddenly noticed – He wasn't wearing the protective head covering. He was carrying it and getting soaked in the process.
"Why aren't you wearing that?"
Miroku grinned and held it up. "The string broke." He turned and lowered it back to his side and continued walking.
Kagome looked over at her dear friend walking beside her. Sango was wearing her hat, and inspiration struck. She recalled how she'd been joking with Inuyasha about umbrellas having other uses. She dug quickly in her massive backpack, a slight blush heating her face. There! She knew she'd brought an extra! She nudged the quiet girl beside her and as Sango turned, questioningly, she grinned. Kagome held out the umbrella to the other girl, who looked at her, puzzled. Kagome smiled and untied Sango's hat and unfurled the umbrella. Sango still looked confused, so Kagome smiled and pointed her head in Miroku's direction. Understanding dawned on the taijiya and she blushed before nodding to Kagome and accelerating her pace to catch up with him.
Kagome sighed happily and caught up with Inuyasha.
Inuyasha was carrying Hiraikotsu and had gained a new respect for the taijiya. He'd had no trouble hefting the large weapon, but it impressed him that a girl who looked no bigger than Kagome wielded it so easily, almost as if it was second nature. He figured she must be stronger than she looked, because Kagome certainly wouldn't have been able to use Hiraikotsu. A small shimmer caught the edge of his gaze and he turned to find Kagome at his side. The glimmer had been the plastic thing she held over her head to keep from getting wet. She looked happy and he had the sudden thought that he always wanted to see her this happy. She grinned and he shook the thought from his mind.******
Sango couldn't believe she was about to be so forward. She just knew she was blushing. She caught up to the monk. She must have made some small sound, because he looked at her questioningly. Unbelievably, her face heated even more and she looked down, unable to meet his gaze. He smiled and allowed her to cover his head with the umbrella. They began to walk in a slightly uncomfortable silence. She steeled herself. He'd taken that hit from the youkai for her, she shouldn't be so uncomfortable around him. Somehow knowing that he cared for her at least that much helped, and she settled into the silence.
Miroku broke the silence. "I'm glad we can travel together again."
Sango smiled. The awkwardness of the moment had passed, and they continued to walk together in silence, but this time the silence was that of friends who didn't feel the need to talk all the time.
Kagome grinned even wider at the success of her plan.
"What're you grinning about?" Inuyasha asked, almost as if he'd heard Kagome's grin widen.
"They're sharing the umbrella". Kagome looked at the couple in front of her, thinking that they looked so right together. She spared a wistful thought for the hanyou beside her and hoped that someday she would be that comfortable with the one she loved—
She groaned inwardly. She'd had such high hopes!
Miroku's hand slowly reached for Sango's rear end. He reached his goal and grinned. He flexed his hand in preparation to grope--
Sango backhanded him easily, flinging the umbrella up reflexively as if it were Hiraikotsu. She scowled as the houshi thudded to the ground behind her. She held her hand up as the umbrella returned, and she easily caught it. The nerve of him!!
She stormed ahead of the group as Miroku lay on the ground. She heard Kagome and Inuyasha sigh in exasperation, almost in unison. She continued walking, knowing they'd catch up.
Miroku sat on the ground, slightly dazed as usual. He'd thought he could get off easily, since she wasn't carrying Hiraikotsu. He'd apparently been wrong.
Everyone else had stopped. Miroku prepared to rise and begin walking again, when he swore he heard Sango laugh.
Sango couldn't believe he'd gone and ruined a perfectly good moment like that. She mulled it over in her mind and felt the corners of her mouth begin to lift. She gave in to the impulse and brought her hand to her mouth to smother the small, lilting laugh that escaped. She looked ahead and was surprised to see a few rays of sunshine poking through the heavy layer of clouds. She stopped and tilted her face towards the light, feeling its warmth on her cheeks. She'd thought the monk had ruined the moment, but in fact she felt happier than she had since arriving at the castle a few days earlier. She'd been afraid that this would have come between them. She knew now she'd been wrong, and that things would be back to normal. She stopped, slightly ahead of the group, seeing Miroku out of the corner of her eye still sitting in the roadway. A happy smile lit her face as she let the warmth of the moment wash over her.
Miroku saw Sango stop and cringed in anticipation of another whack or maybe even the wrath of Hiraikotsu. He was surprised when she merely halted and turned her face to the sun. The happiness in her smile shed its light on him as well, and after glancing at her over his shoulder, still seated, he too lifted his face to the sun, smiling.
Some day, he would be able to tell her of his feelings. He hoped they would defeat Naraku soon, and there would be nothing left to come between them. For now, however, he was content to be her friend, lending her support when she needed it. It was a start.