Author: Rashaka
Summary: Miroku suffers a loss, for better or worse. His curse might be giving him a reprieve when he gets "cured" in an unconventional way, but he'd be a fool to think a simple solution doesn't have its own price.
Disclaimer: noun – a) piddly little statement squeezed into the top margins of a fanfic, with no legal fortitude whatsoever, that supposedly protects one from being sued by richer people whose property will be blatantly stolen and exploited in the pages to follow, but really just amounts to a poor college kid begging not to be caught by her/his favorite writers and artists, especially the foreign ones, because everyone hates international incidents.

Hell and Details

-Prologue-

           Miroku's vision trembled, and the trees before him melted together.  A jerk of his head to the right: Kagome's body, unconscious, hair fanned out like a black wave in the swamp water.  Miroku's feet tripped on the rocks, and a look over the other shoulder almost undid him: Sango, fighting—fighting and screaming

           "Monk! Dammit! Miroku!" 

           Inuyasha, waving at him.  Where was Shippou?  He hadn't seen the kitsune since the mist came.   The red mist floated everywhere, sinking into his pores and filling his lungs.  He was breathing blood.

           Inuyasha, falling now.  It wasn't supposed to happen like this.  Kagome hadn't found the prize of all her learning.  Inuyasha hadn't found his shards.  Sango hadn't found her brother.

            Little Shippou hadn't found his future.

           When had he gone to his knees?  Miroku couldn't remember, and all before him ran red.  The mist it was, then.  Nothing for it but to clear a way.  The beads slipped slickly between his fingers.  He was going to touch the sky.

           Thunder.  Voices.  No matter.

           "Don't, the wasps!  MIROKU, THE WASPS!"

           He reached for the morning sky, pulled it to him, bent existence to his mortal fingers, until all the mist was bled away. 

           Like the others, he slept where his head hit ground.

***

           The stink yanked Miroku to temporary consciousness, a rankness that lingered on his tongue.  Invisible stones rested on his lids, weighing them down, until it was too much even to try to open his eyes.  Feet pounded around him, and the sweat from a hundred wounded bodies collected on his skin.  Beneath him a wooden floor offered no comfort, but his head was elevated, at least.  It was more than he'd imagined possible.  He tried again to open his eyes, but the pain would not let him.  Gods, the smell...

           "Bring the rest of them in!  Someone open the windows!  Where is the healer?"

           "But my lady, it's a youkai!  We can't--"

           "Do it!  You there, more blankets!  Haiko, start counting bodies.  I want that healer NOW!"

           "Madame look, his hand!"

           "The cloth is moving, the prayer beads are going to break, my Lady!"

           "Guard!  You!-- come forward.  Use it."

           "Are you certain?"

           "Perhaps we could--"

           "Do as I say.  … This was our salvation, but it will be his death.  Tirihoju, use his beads to seal the bag, and then take it to the cliff, and throw it out into the air.  Be glad you have the best throwing arm of all of us, lest it take you as well."

           "As you wish, my Lady."

           "The healer has come!"

           "Good. Tie his arm, here. …Raise your axe."

***

            Hours later, Miroku awoke a different man.