Final Words from the Author: It's hard for me to believe I've been working on this story for a year and a half. It's been troubling and sometimes a little hard. I've been through bad grades and worse teachers, a graduation, fights with my mother and friends. I've learned a lot about myself this last year and have gained a voice that only a writer can possess. This story at times has been both my biggest challenge and greatest triumph. I have enjoyed working on it exceedingly – even when I hated it. I am glad, my dear readers, that I could share with you my imagination, and entertain you as we went through the year. There can be no doubt in my mind that I will write the next installment of this trilogy, given enough time. Thank you to my beta readers for your feedback. Thank you to my grammar editor for helping me and being so patient even though I know you have a lot to do yourself. You are both as much responsible for this story as I am. It means a lot to me that you take the time out of your lives and help me. Some day I'll find a way to repay you. Thank you, my dear readers. To you I bid you a good read and the contentment that can only come when you finally read the end of that story you've enjoyed so. Now please enjoy the last chapter of "Methods of the Heart" by Fanfic Connoisseur AKA Rebecca.
Chapter Fourteen: Who I Am With You
It was too shocking for words. Sango stood above one of the soldiers, blood dripping from her sword. She'd laid the flesh on his arm open to the bone; the loot he'd been trying to carry had spilled to the ground. Her eyes were glazed over and the pendant around her neck glowed in an unearthly light. It was a charm. It had her mind.
It was Naraku.
Sango's eyes drifted to the two new arrivals. She quickly put her sword away, grabbing her boomerang and, in the span of a second, threw it at them both. Inu-Yasha pushed Miroku out of the way, diving in the other direction.
"Okay... You wanna fight?" The white-haired demon charged at Sango, claws out. He wasn't going to kill her but he wanted to get her down.
Miroku had moved over to the fallen man to help but something had caught his eye, making him look up. "Inu-Yasha, behind you!"
Inu-Yasha looked over his shoulder to see the boomerang returning. Frowning he dove down, shoving Sango's knees over and making her lose her balance. The hiraikotsu went sailing past. Sango reached for her sword. Inu-Yasha was still getting to his feet.
Miroku got up. "Inu-Yasha, this man needs Kagome, now." The monk pulled out his staff. "I'll get Sango." For Miroku this was to be his task and his alone. He knew Sango. She wouldn't want to be Naraku's puppet like this. She had served him long enough and Miroku would see that her freedom was granted to her for good. His eyes settled on the pendant around her neck. He knew what he needed to do more than anyone else.
Inu-Yasha frowned. "Don't you think it'd be better if–"
"This man needs help, Inu-Yasha." Miroku glanced at his friend, his face void of its usual confidence and cheer. The monk was going to take this fight seriously. That's why it had to be him and no one else. "I have to do this."
Inu-Yasha nodded in understanding. He took another moment to grab the large boomerang before Sango could get to it. Finally he picked up the wounded man and headed out.
Miroku held his staff in front of him as Sango held up her sword. Miroku gave her a little sardonic smile. "Well, Sango. I suppose all relationships have problems. But I must say, your getting possessed was just not something I saw coming." He frowned. "But I think we can work this out... as soon as I take off that necklace you're wearing."
With that he charged at Sango, staff first. As expected it clanged against her sword. He reached for her neck but she kicked him in the stomach, jumping back.
Miroku tried to catch his breath but she wouldn't let him. She leapt forward, thrusting her sword to connect with his side. Miroku parried, holding the staff in both hands and grinding his teeth. She went to the other side and he moved back to take a little ground and block her attack again. She did it again, and again, and he was barely keeping up she was so fast.
After the fifth time, he dug his heels into the ground and shoved his staff back against her sword. He realized too late it was a trick as he felt her foot against his jaw. Stumbling back, he didn't have time to think, only react as her sword soared an inch above his head.
Dropping his staff, he used the positioning to grab her arm and throw her over his back. She landed with a winded thud, her sword dangerously waving about. Miroku wasted no time in going for the necklace. But Sango reached up and grabbed his arm, kicking up her leg into his stomach and flipping them both over.
Sango jumped back, grabbing the knife in her boot. Miroku did a somersault onto his feet and watched her. He was unarmed and she had a knife. He had to end this now. He knew a few techniques for disarming a knife wielder but she would expect them. Miroku grimaced. "Sango, please snap out of it!"
He wondered why she hadn't attacked yet. That's when Naraku's voice came in clear. It was mingled with Sango's but his was stronger. He was using the charm on her neck and her voice to speak through her.
"You're getting soft, priest. Choosing such an easily manipulated woman."
"Let her go!" Miroku watched the way Sango's knife hand twitched as if it wanted to drop the weapon. Miroku smirked mentally. Trying to control such an amazingly willful woman as Sango and talking through her must be hard even for Naraku.
"You're in no position to give me orders, monk." Naraku's voice spoke as if to try and bait Miroku forward but it didn't work. Miroku watched Sango fight the possession, trying to find just the right opening. He inched forward.
"Stay BACK!" The voice spoke again in warning. Miroku's eyes narrowed. Naraku knew he was up to something. But he wasn't about to give up. Miroku's foot slid forward a bit more. He decided his best chance was to tackle her to the ground and rip that necklace away. But before he could, she turned the dagger around and held it to her own throat. "I said STAY BACK!"
Can anyone describe pure terror? A cold sweat that runs down the body with the feeling of absolute helplessness as one goes completely still and can only focus on an impending doom, unable to move, unable to stop it and unable to look away. That's what Miroku felt as he watched Sango cease her struggle for control of her own body and give in, as though she wanted to die. His pulse thrummed in his ears. "Sango… please, wake up now..."
She didn't respond.
"She can't hear you at the moment, monk. Too concerned with her brother, she didn't even bother to ask how his long-lost treasure wound up here of all places when she knew he'd never even been to these parts. She fell easily into my trap. Heh. But I'm afraid it's time to cut our chat short. Say good-bye to your precious Sango."
"So help me, Naraku, if you even–" His words died in his throat, all color draining from his face. Sango raised the dagger high, holding it in both hands now.
Miroku jumped forward, not even the least bit concerned with his own safety.
Blood dripped onto the ground and the pain was immeasurable.
The monk forced himself to ignore how badly his arm hurt. He pinned Sango down with his body, sweat beading on his forehead, breathing labored and unsteady. His uninjured arm held down both her wrists. In the hand attached to his wounded arm he held the necklace and, though the muscles in his forearm screamed in agony from the deep knife wound, he threw the evil thing away. He would destroy it later.
Her eyes blinked in rapid succession. "Miroku?" It was her own voice that spoke and he could sense no traces of Naraku left in her. "You're bleeding!" Her words were starting to fade. It was like listening to her from underwater.
She was safe, thank the gods. Then everything went black.
"Pull this shit again and I will kill you myself!" Kagome's stern voice echoed in the night.
"Ow OW! Not so hard!" Miroku pouted, trying to pull his arm away from his dearest sister, who was apparently trying to suffocate him under bandages.
Sango had dragged Miroku after the fight as far as she could before she passed out as well. A combination of hunger, weariness, and mental fatigue after having her mind taken over had finally been too much and she hadn't been able to go any further.
But Inu-Yasha had grown concerned and had gone back for them. He had smelled the blood first and without a second thought he had carried the pair away.
Sango was still asleep but Miroku had woken when Kagome had tended his wounds.
"Eat this!" the priestess commanded.
"It's too hot!" Miroku poked the stew with his finger. Everyone was enjoying a hearty meal, courtesy of the food that had recently been acquired.
"Eat it anyway. You lost a lot of blood. You need to get your strength back." Kagome frowned, turning to Sango. "Come on.. Speaking of strength, you should eat too. So wake up, huh, Sango?" But there wasn't any response. Kagome was becoming concerned.
The priestess frowned. "I'll get some incense. Just in case."
Miroku nodded, pretending to sip his soup. When Kagome was gone, he set down the bowl and moved next to Sango. "Are you going to pretend to be asleep all night?" She didn't move.
"All right. But I'm putting my bread right here." He reached over her and placed half a loaf by her head. "And I'm heading to Kagome and Inu-Yasha's tent to get treated." He stood up, grabbing the soup bowl from where he left it, and headed outside. Pausing just outside the door for a moment he heard the sound of bread being torn and chewed. He smiled.
At the break of day, before anyone was awake, Sango's hands shook as she packed away a shirt, trying not to think of how it smelled like him even if it was hers. The small cup he'd given her so she wouldn't have to fight with anyone for water... Each memory hurt when she placed it in the blanket to be packed away.
She stood up, next to her hiraikotsu. He had brought back her partner. She remember how eagerly she'd thanked him for that. How happy she'd been.
She took a deep breath. She knew she couldn't stay here anymore. Picking her head up high, she pulled up the bundle of supplies and memories and tied them around her neck. Just as she reached for her boomerang, Miroku walked in. He looked at the packed blanket around her neck, and at her, dressed in traveling clothes. "Sango. What's going on?"
She forced herself to look away from him, feeling miserable under his judging stare. "I should go."
She would have been able to handle his anger or rage. Even if he'd protested she might have been able to deal with it. She hadn't expected him to look so hurt. "Why…you're not happy here?"
The words and the look constricted around her heart like a vice. She swore not to cry, standing her ground without a word. She literally had to think at one foot then the other, willing them to move. Thinking each step she walked out the door under that hard sad stare, wanting nothing more than to turn around and kiss him.
But she didn't get more than a foot away. He grabbed her from behind, holding her close. "Please." She heard him swallow hard. "I love you. Don't go. Please. Please."
Her resolve just crumbled to dust. Falling to her knees, she started to sob. "I can't. I can't!" He moved down next to her, turning her around and pulling her into his arms. "I can't stay. You'll die because of me!"
That statement left Miroku bowled over. "What?" He would have laughed if the situation had had any humor to it at all, but this wasn't the least bit funny. "Sango, I'm fine. Don't worry."
She shook her head furiously from side to side. "Everyone I love dies! You'll be next. What if I betray you again? I almost killed you!"
Miroku, lifted her tear-streaked face to look at him. "But you didn't. Know why? You didn't want to. That's what I love about you, Sango. You're so strong." He kissed her softly. "I'll protect you and you can protect me." He kissed her again. "Stay with me. Don't go."
She shook her head. "But–"
He kissed her once more. "What do you want?"
She looked at him a moment longer. Miroku held his breath, trying to remain passive. If she said no now he had no right to stop her. But he wanted her to stay more than he had ever wanted anything in his life.
Sango threw herself against him. "I'll stay." The tears were a mixture of sadness and happiness.
Smiling, he lead her back inside 'their' home, where he would try to coax her back to sleep and would watch over her. He had done everything he could think of to heal her heart and believed that she wasn't the same person she had been when she'd first come here.
And she had changed him as well. It didn't matter that she'd been possessed once or how much she wanted to find her brother. Through her he'd find the strength in himself to be attached to someone and unafraid to love them.
That's what made them a good match. But more than that, it's what made them happy.