Miroku's Bedtime Stories

Chapter 20


The Tale of the Houshi and the Taijiya

(AN: Sorry it's taken me so long to update and finish this tale. I really sweated the ending. I wanted it to be special. Then I had a lovely daydream the other day that gave me this ending. Listen to your dreams, I always do.)

The boy couldn't sleep because the wind howled frightfully around the small house.

Trees rustled and shadows moved. He whimpered in the darkness. He was trying to be brave, but he was only four years old.


He sat up on his futon, hearing his mother's low and soothing voice.

"Hai, 'ka-san, I'm awake," he said, pulling the blankets around him.

"Is the storm keeping you awake, Misaoru?" her voice asked soothingly.

He felt as much as saw her shape settle next to him on the floor. Warm arms went around him.

"Yes," he said, snuggling into her warmth. "The trees are scary. Monsters!" He pointed through the oiled rice paper windows.

"Come, you can sleep with 'to-san and I tonight," said his mother.

She picked him up and took him past the partition into the other sleeping area.

Misaoru burrowed down into the blankets on the large futon, next to his father.

"To-san?" he said, peering into his father's face in the dimness.

"Nani?" his father said, slowly opening one eye and then the other.

"Go to sleep, Misaoru," he said, putting an arm loosely over the boy.

"There are big monsters outside!" he whispered to his father.

"It's all right," said the man. "Your mother can take care of monsters quite well. Big ones, even."

His wife smiled in the darkness, lying down on the other side of Misaoru.

"'To-san?" whispered Misaoru. "Tell me a story about how you and ka-san killed the monsters."

The woman snickered. "You started this, my husband."

The man sighed and rubbed his eyes. "If I tell you a story, will you promise to go to sleep?"

"Yes, to-san," said Misaoru, snuggling up to his father's chest.

His father chuckled. "Are you sure this isn't just because you like sleeping with us?"

"No, to-san, I'm a big boy now," said Misaoru earnestly.

"Big enough to hear a story about the scariest monster of all?" asked his father in hushed tones.

"The scariest?" asked Misaoru, clenching his hands in his father's yukata.

"Yes, he was the scariest and worst of all the monsters we fought," the young man said in a faraway voice.

"I want to hear!" said Misaoru, "I'm not afraid, to-san!"

Miroku looked into eyes like his own, dark with a violet tone that certain kinds of light brought out.

"You're a very brave boy," he said to his son, winking.

"Inuyasha tells me scary stories sometimes," the little boy said. "Kagome- sama yelled at him for doing that. But then she hugged him."

Miroku smirked. "I'm sure she did."

"Inuyasha is in the story," said Miroku, "without him, the others could have never defeated Naraku."

"Was Naraku the scariest monster?"

"Yes, and they all had to fight together to defeat him. The houshi, the taijiya, the hanyou, and the miko. And a few others."

"Is Shippou in the story too?" asked the little boy.

"Yes, Shippou was a little boy just like you. I used to tell him stories too."

He smiled in the dimness and brushed his hand along his son's face. His no longer accursed hand. Sango reached across Misaoru, took his hand in hers and squeezed it tightly.

"It sounds like a good story, to-san," yawned Misaoru. "I'm so sleepy."

The boy closed his eyes and in a few moments, his breathing became even as he slept nestled between his mother and father.

"It does sound like a good story," said Sango.

"I like the part about the houshi and the taijiya and how they fell in love the best," said Miroku.

"I think I've heard this tale before," said Sango. "It's my favorite."

"I don't know if Misaoru is old enough to hear some parts of it," said Miroku slyly.

"Definitely not," said Sango. "But I am."

"So, do you want to hear the tale of the houshi and the taijiya again?" he asked teasingly.

"I already know it," she replied. "But I do love the ending. Tell me what the houshi said to his love, the taijiya."

"I'll love you forever, my Sango."