Author's Note: No, I haven't stopped work on Makai...Aida. I promise. My parents' house – which I am currently taking care of – got hit fairly badly during Hurricane Charley and I've been busy doing cleanup work. This piece I started a while back during a bout of writer's block, so I thought I'd post it to tide you all over until chapter 28. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: As usual, Inuyasha and all related characters/settings/plot details are not mine. This version of this particular plot idea, however, is.
For the First Time
It was the first thing Sango recognized through the foggy haze in her mind as she awoke that tepid April morning. Her eyes remained closed against the ridiculously bright morning sun peering through the treetops, leaving her to grope blindly about to gain her bearings.
She'd been at dinner with her companions, that much she could instantly recall. Their gracious hosts, in eagerness to thank them for destroying the water sprite plaguing their village, lavished so much food and sake on the travelers she was amazed she'd woken at all.
Then what? Dinner, drinks, some silly jokes shared between friends... Her hand came into contact with smooth, warm skin, which gave way as she pressed lightly but sprang back into form almost instantly. The taijiya shot up, her eyes flying open only to snap shut again as she winced with the throb of her head.
Her head wasn't the only part of her body aching.
"Finally understand the appeal of a good butt grope, Sango?"
No. Oh Kami, no.
Miroku laughed, his voice husky with sleepiness but filled with affectionate warmth all the same. He turned onto his back, pulling the naked and momentarily paralyzed demon exterminator to lie upon his chest. "Or," he continued, still smiling as she gazed at him in slow recognition, "are you going to tell me that it was an accident."
The monk frowned suddenly, and pushed unruly strands of hair away from his lover's blushing face. "Sango, love, what's wrong?"
"We had sex."
"Yes..." The previously self-satisfied grin on his face fell into a frown. "You regret it."
Suddenly alert, Sango's mind raced with the images from the previous night. Shippou's innocent question. More cups of sake. Following Miroku out into the woods. Begging him to –
As the memories swam through her mind, Miroku's heart began to race. He'd thought she was sober. Assumed the night's conversation had given her a new outlook on their relationship. Apparently he'd thought wrong.
"Sango, I'm sorry. I never meant to take advantage of you—"
The taijiya didn't hear him, still lost in her thoughts. I wanted it – wanted him. After all, we're engaged, right? There's nothing wrong with what we did, it's all perfectly natural. And Miroku, he... he was so gentle and loving. So why am I so nervous? A wary smile worked its way to her lips as the more graphic images of their night together flitted through her mind.
Miroku tensed beside her, misinterpreting her smile as one of malicious intent but Hiraikotsu never emerged. Instead, Sango turned to face him completely and smiled. "You didn't take advantage of me, Houshi-sama. I just," she faltered for an explanation, at last settling on a half-truth. "It's cold."
Never before in his life had the monk felt such relief. He pulled the woman in his arms closer to him, reaching across her bare back for his abandoned robes, which he promptly wrapped around her. "Better?"
"You're not mad?"
"No. Just... adjusting."
They remained silent for a while, listening to the twittering of birds in the trees. After a while, and with great reluctance, Miroku disturbed the peace between them. "We really should head back to the village soon, Sango. Inuyasha and Kagome will be looking for us and I doubt you want them to find us like this."
Sango blushed, but nodded and slowly moved to sit up. She laughed nervously as she scanned the clearing for her discarded kimono. "Who would have thought Shippou would be responsible for us being together?"
Miroku smiled, handing her a stray shoe as he hurriedly dressed himself. "I'll have to remember to thank him," he remarked with a lascivious grin.
It had all started so innocently.
"What the hell did you do that for?" Inuyasha growled at her from his prone position on the floor, his dinner spread out around him in a mess.
"That really was quite rude, even for you," Miroku announced to the irate hanyou. "Now apologize to the kind young woman."
The girl in question blushed, shaking her head fervently. "No, it's quite all right, houshi-dono. My mother often reminds me not to overcook the meat but I forget. Your friend was just being honest."
"Feh. See? At least someone around here knows how to take constructive criticism."
Kagome gritted her teeth against the urge to slam the hanyou into the ground again, realizing she'd only make a bigger mess of the floor for the poor girl to clean up. "I loved it," she praised the young woman instead. "This is probably the best dinner I've had in three weeks. Honestly."
The young woman blushed again, bowed, and exited the room, leaving the guests to themselves.
"Um, Kagome?" Shippou stared into the corner of the room, tugging firmly on Kagome's uniform shirt. The miko, however, was already deep into her rant, easily ignoring the young kit.
"You know what! We're guests here. If you don't have anything nice to say..."
"What's wrong with offering up some constructive criticism?"
"Nothing, if you can do it tactfully."
"WHAT?" Kagome turned her attention to the small fox, inadvertently redirecting her anger toward him. Shippou shrank back from her heated glare, released her shirt, and pointed to the far corner. "Is Kirara mad at that cat?"
The miko's ire quickly faded as she observed the cause of Shippou's concern. She shared an embarrassed glance with Sango, who remained frozen in place trying to decide how to react.
"Um, no, Kirara is just playing with her new friend."
"Why lie to the brat?" Inuyasha snorted. "They're mating, Shippou."
Miroku smirked, "Isn't that what Kagome said? They're having fun."
Sango glared at the monk, slapping him firmly on the cheek. "Shut up, Houshi-sama."
"Mating?" Shippou, now very confused, searched each one of his companions for a further explanation. Meanwhile, Sango crossed the room to chase the cats away, all the while blushing bright crimson.
Kagome bit her lip in frustration. She'd wondered how much the kit's parents had explained to him about sex before they died. It appeared the answer was, 'very little.' Now it was up to them. "Mating... um... it's how babies are made."
Shippou gazed up at Kagome in wonder, eyes wide with innocent curiosity. "I always wondered about that. How does it work?"
Inuyasha snorted, leaning back against the wall and folding his arms across his chest. "Yeah, Kagome, how does that work?"
The miko glared at him, mouthing his favorite word in warning before turning back to regard the demon child. "Well, um, you see..." she fumbled with her words, desperate for inspiration. She could try to redirect his question to someone else. Miroku, maybe? Okay, bad idea. Inuyasha was probably almost as clueless as Shippou, so he wasn't really an option. That left Sango, but the poor girl would probably faint of mortification.
Resigned, Kagome cleared her throat. "Okay, it works like this. When a mommy cat and a daddy cat really love each other, they decide they want to have a kitten. So they um... they mate."
"You already said that."
"How do they mate?" Shippou pressed.
Kagome blushed all over. She was a virgin, but not a prude. Conversations about sex were common between her and her friends back home. Still, how to explain it to a child?
"Oh for crying out loud!" Inuyasha rolled his eyes, sitting up and turning toward the fox. "It's like this, Shippou. When a man and a woman like each other, they get um..." the hanyou faltered, suddenly finding himself the center of everyone's attention. "Well, they want to be close to each other," he finally answered.
"You mean like how you and Kagome hold hands sometimes?"
"Yes – I mean – no! They get these um... urges."
"It's like... instinct."
"I give up. Your turn, Miroku." Inuyasha jumped up from his seat, striding toward the doorway. Suddenly he had the irresistible urge to be anywhere but in that room.
The monk sat up, his expression all business, and cleared his throat. "Quite simply, Shippou, the man shares his spiritual essence with the woman by –"
"Oh no, you don't!" Sango clapped a hand over the monk's mouth, halting any further explanation.
The adults were acting very funny, Shippou decided, and he was getting bored watching them argue over some simple question. While Sango struggled to keep Miroku from talking, and Kagome stared down at her empty dinner bowl, Shippou grabbed his lollypop dessert and strayed outside.
"What's wrong with my explanation?" Miroku argued calmly, having successfully pried Sango's delicious fingers from their grasp on his face.
"He doesn't need to hear the pervert's rendition of how babies are made."
"Well how would YOU have answered the question?" Miroku shot at her with a mixture of curiosity and humor.
The demon exterminator sat back on her hands, thrown off by the question and suddenly wishing she was outside with Inuyasha instead of the object of the monk's interrogation. "Well I suppose I... I would have explained that he was too young to know the specifics."
"He's got to learn sometime, doesn't he?"
"Yes, but now?"
"Why not now? He's seen so much death already. What's the harm in explaining to him the creation of life? It is, after all, one of Kami's most sacred gifts to mankind."
She wanted to argue that statement, but came up empty. Silence reigned in the room for several long minutes, during which Inuyasha returned to his seat and Miroku poured himself another generous helping of sake.
"How old were you when your parents explained about sex?" Miroku suddenly questioned to no one in particular.
Sango started at the question, glancing down into her lap. Kagome had picked up her drink, and Inuyasha appeared to be ignoring them for the moment, which meant it was up to her to answer.
"They didn't," she replied softly. "It's not something we talked about."
Miroku was stunned. Sure, he realized that most young women were taught that sex was a taboo subject, but certainly she would have been informed about the purpose of her own organs at some point? "So how did you learn about it, then?"
"Girls in the village would talk about it," she answered hesitantly. "When they got married, they would tell the rest of us about their wedding night. The boys, too, when we were out on exterminations. Chichiue would scold them for discussing such things in front of me, but when they thought I was asleep I would hear the men talk about the women they'd been with."
From the dour look on the taijiya's face, Miroku couldn't help but wonder just what the young women had to say about their deflowering, and the young men about the various females they'd bedded. He immediately realized that a good deal of her prudishness could likely be traced back to some raunchy fireside tales and the secretiveness of her own parents.
"What about you?" Sango asked quietly, hazarding a timid look at the monk beside her.
"I heard a few things from my father," Miroku answered easily. "But I was still quite young when he passed on, so most of it made little sense to me. Mushin-sama is responsible for most of my sexual education."
"Including the tendency to grope anything female within reach?" Inuyasha quipped with a smirk.
"That," Miroku smiled broadly, "is a gift from my grandfather."
Putting great effort into ignoring the monk, Sango turned to Kagome. "How about you, Kagome-chan? Did your mother teach you about sex?"
"A little," Kagome answered. "Mostly, I learned from television, my friends, and school."
"They teach you about that in school?" Inuyasha stared at the miko wide-eyed, suddenly very interested in the conversation.
"Yeah, the scientific stuff."
"What scientific stuff?" Miroku leaned forward, curious about any future advances in sexual technology and methodology; new positions, in particular.
"Well, the terms for the male and female body parts, for one – inside and out. About diseases you can get from sex, and how to prevent pregnancy."
"You can prevent pregnancy in your world?"
"Mm-hmm. Condoms, birth control pills, spermicide," she blushed again at the word, but pressed on, "and the one the school likes most: abstinence."
"What's a condom?" Sango inquired curiously, stumbling over the unfamiliar word.
Kagome bit her lip in thought. "Remember those balloons I brought for Shippou on his birthday?" When the group nodded, she continued. "Well they're a little like that, but instead of blowing air into them for decoration, the man pulls it over his...um... yeah and it traps his seed."
"Why on earth would a man want to do that?" Miroku exclaimed. "A man's seed is his most sacred essence!"
Sango rolled her eyes, but Kagome answered the question anyway. "Well for one thing, we have a lot of diseases in my time that are passed along that way. Also, people have sex outside of marriage a lot, and it prevents women from having a lot of unwanted children."
The feudal natives sat in contemplative silence, wondering about the world in which their miko friend lived. Unwanted children? Diseases? Of course there was Miroku's focus – lots of sex outside of marriage?
Kagome's throat was rapidly drying from her lecture, and she poured herself and Sango another round of sake. "Anyway, that's what we learn at school. The romantic stuff we see on television, or read in manga. Sometimes we hear stories from our friends, sort of like what Sango-chan was saying earlier."
"What about you, Inuyasha?" Miroku probed the hanyou. "Where did you learn about 'mating'? I hear demons have some pretty interesting rituals."
"Shut up, monk. At least demons don't have to worry about diseases like you humans do. We can also scent when our female is fertile so there aren't any 'unwanted children.'"
Waggling his eyebrows, Miroku turned a sly grin toward Kagome. "I think that's Inuyasha's way of telling you he won't wear a condom."
The miko blushed furiously, and Inuyasha growled loudly. "Watch that mouth, Miroku, or you'll quickly lose the use of it."
Baiting the hanyou was always a treat, and Miroku knew that Kagome would never let Inuyasha harm him so he continued. "You never answered my question, Inuyasha. How did you learn about sex? Are we to believe you never even touched Kikyou-sama back when she was alive?"
"Sure touched her when she was dead," Kagome grumbled quietly.
Inuyasha, the only one who'd heard her, shot a quick glance at the miko before glaring back at the houshi again. "I'm warning you..."
"What? Innocent question."
"Well... yes..." Inuyasha fumbled with his words, knowing Kagome would catch him in a lie easily, but not willing to incur more of the young woman's wrath than necessary. "But nothing like what you're probably imagining, you dirty bouzu. I don't even want to think about where your hands – and other parts – have been!"
"All right then, Truth or Dare?"
Without batting an eye, the monk shrugged. "Truth, or dare?"
One eyebrow raised, Miroku regarded the wary hanyou silently. "You must have an awful lot to hide, Inuyasha." He sighed, and thought up a suitable dare to encourage the hanyou to speak. "All right, then. I dare you to tell me the truth: did you and Kikyou-sama sleep together?"
"What the hell kind of dare is that?" Inuyasha raged.
"I don't want to hear this," Kagome moaned, shakily rising from her position on the floor to exit the dining room.
"Kagome-chan!" Sango glared at Miroku, jumping up to follow her friend outside. "I'll have a word with you later," she ground out as she passed the monk, leaving the two men to their own devices.