Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha, any of its characters, not even a spec of dust in the Inuyasha Universe. But I am gonna play with the characters for a bit, okay? Okay. :)
Genre: General, I suppose. A little bit of everything tossed in for good measure. O.o;;
Warnings: Just Miroku's perverted ways. That is all. So far. Possibly OC, and maybe a little bit of violence in the future. Nothing too heavy. You be the judge.
Starter Notes: This is really just something that's been sitting around on my computer for a little while; my first Inuyasha fic, if ya will. It was one of those little ideas that niggles at your brain until it overrides all other projects and activities and forces its way onto your screen along with that evil flashing cursor of doom. That said, as it stands, it's incomplete and cheesy as hell. Like, totally incomplete. Like, this is just somewhat of an 'intro' to much more cheesy insanity, if you will. Depending on how things go with my current fic or whatever I may continue it. Actually, scratch that, I probably will. I have plenty of ideas for it; it's just sitting down and getting it typed. Also, apologies for any spelling or grammatical errors – I am a Kiwi, and by nature lazy enough to be a bad editor – so warnings for Kiwi spelling, too, ne? ;)
Anyways, here goes – I thought I'd finally just post it because it's just rotting away on my own computer (although it was probably better staying there;))!
Chapter One/?: Down The Rabbit Hole.
It would be utterly typical that they'd get themselves into a situation like this the one night of the month that Inuyasha wasn't going to be any help to them. Sango sighed and looked up. Through the pouring rain. Through the whipping, funneling wind. Through the brick-lined, well-like opening that stretched out to a moonless, inky sky way above them; the only way in - and consequently their only way out - of the tiny chamber they'd fallen into.
... Well, that Miroku had fallen into. (Because he was a perverted idiot.)
And the one that she'd followed him into. (Because she was a hopeless fool.)
She shivered and drew the bright yellow windbreaker that Kagome had given her tighter to her body, tucking her hands under her arms and leaning further back against the ancient stone wall as she reluctantly forced herself to realize that some things from the future were of little improvement at all.
As it was, it wasn't entirely her fault. Not really. If Miroku hadn't decided that their rare moment alone while they were out scouting youkai was the perfect opportunity for yet another habitual butt-groping, she wouldn't have whacked him over the head and knocked him onto the forest floor, and the rain-drenched ground wouldn't have given way beneath him when he'd taken that one step in the wrong direction. Then that meant the baka of a perverted monk wouldn't have bashed his head against the side as he was falling, not to mention given himself countless bruises and small gashes on the way down, before landing, unconscious, on the sodden ground far below.
And that meant she wouldn't have felt this strange compulsion to stay and take care of him instead of leaving and finding help. It meant she wouldn't have taken the chance to run her hands over his smooth, beautifully muscled chest in an excuse to check his body for injuries, to track her hand down over his cheek to hover over his lips, curved upward slightly at the corners in that all-too mocking smile that graced him even under the hazy mask of oblivion.
Sango jerked her hand away with a start and returned it to her lap, adjusting herself around Miroku even as she tried to keep her eyes focused on more important things. As it was, their only fortune lay in the fact that the end of the pit, while not water, was coated in a large area of loosely packed dirt, and had cushioned both of their falls. She refused to think of the messy end that would have greeted them if it had been just the original stone at the bottom...
Now all that remained was for Miroku to wake up. Sango again found herself looking down at the monk through the thing called a 'flashlight' that she'd borrowed from Kagome earlier. Dirt coated his normally tanned skin, making him look grey and bruised, and despite the warm set to his mouth there was a faint frown on his face. Seemingly of its own accord her hand slipped out again, fingertips dancing lightly above the velvety soft skin, over the tiny crease in the forehead as if to wipe away whatever worry lay there. After a long moment – too long, if her ridiculously logical mind had had its say – she let it trail downward still, across to the gold hoops that adorned his ear, then past the half-lidded violet eyes to the delicate cheekbone bey—
-- He was awake?!
That was the first thing that registered in his foggy mind as he clawed his way back to consciousness. He didn't think that there was one part of his body devoid of that deep-seated ache. His head was the worst. He bit back a groan at the sharp throbbing that began to resonate first through a spot just above his right eyebrow, then all the way down to the base of his neck. Kami-sama, even his ponytail hurt!
His second thought was the realization that someone was here with him, running warm, feather-soft touches down his face that left his skin tingling in its wake.
Miroku opened his eyes a crack and peered through barely-parted eyelashes at the silhouette above him, trying to make out the features through the spots in front of his eyes. When nothing came to him, not even a face through the blue-black darkness, he dropped his gaze to the object that had caught his attention in the first place... and very nearly sat bolt upright when memory flooded back in a rush.
There was a soft gasp and the hand on his face froze... then withdrew completely. A sudden beam of light appeared, revealing full sight of the taijiya herself before pain exploded behind his eyes, obscuring his vision a second time in an excruciating red shroud. Miroku snapped his eyes shut again with a groan as the world shifted beneath him. For a moment there was nothing but the sound of muffled scuffling, then the hand before so gentle on his face returned to his shoulder, and the torturous light was angled in another direction.
"Houshi-sama?" The voice was rushed, breathy, and a good sight more betraying than usual. "You're awake?"
Miroku felt the corners of his mouth tug upward. It was a rare thing to catch Sango by surprise. Her senses, honed by years of training under her father, had left her with a unique sense of awareness that commonly left her conscious of the tiniest detail, much to his eternal frustration and wandering hands. That she had been distracted by... well... him – he struggled to hold back that grin – to the point that she hadn't noticed his eyes open or the slight shift in his breathing, was unusual indeed.
Sango was not easily distracted. No.
"... Daijoubu ka?"
He, however, was struggling to ignore the warm hand on his shoulder, and how good it felt on his chilled, bare skin --
Wait. Bare… skin?
"Sango…?" His eyes snapped open, and distractedly he noticed that the beam was curbed away in a direction that allowed only the bare edges of the light to fall on them, casting a faint orange glow that bathed most of their features in shadow. It made the chill that he had been feeling at the back of his senses come rushing forward, but even still… He glanced downward, taking in the sight of his naked chest; Sango had slipped his robes down to his waist. And even though he could hazard a veritable guess as to the reason judging by the assortment of gashes and bruises that he could more see than feel, it was no less enlightening… or was that electrifying?
Miroku glanced up at Sango, trying to catch a glimpse of her face through the darkness. "My robes… uh…" He broke off and considered a different approach. A lecherous grin crept onto his face, winning out against any self-preservation he may have previously felt. "You know, you could have waited until I was awake. I would have gladly helped you."
He had expected the usual reply; the slap that followed, or the doubly awful whack of the Hiraikotsu as it arched downward and whapped him on the back of the head, which was, despite the pain, usually well worth it. What he didn't expect, however, was what he got.
Miroku watched as Sango's hand snapped away again, and he suppressed a complaint at the sudden withdrawal of the lone heat. In the brief moment before she ducked her head to hide the furious blush spreading across her face he gauged her expression, noting that she seemed startled again, almost skittish, as if she were a disobedient child caught sneaking into the village food stores without permission.
In fact, she looked almost… guilty?
Miroku pushed aside the fierce aching of his body and propped himself up on an elbow to better see. Or at least, he tried to. As he rocked his torso up and began to lean back on his arm he became aware of two very distinct things.
One, was that it was definitely not the ground that he was lying on.
And two, the soft flesh that his elbow was just now sinking into was smooth and warm, and underneath his bare arms it felt distinctly familiar. He lowered his hand and tightened his fingers slightly, feeling his hand close over something that was also very… Similar to something he spent a lot of his time 'attending' to.
He blinked, mind still foggy enough to not truly appreciate what he had just laid his hands on. "Oh."
There was a brief yell of surprise and suddenly Miroku found himself tumbling dizzily sideways across something icy cold, damp, and much more unforgiving than he would have preferred given the occasion. After what seemed like a lifetime spinning out of control something solid stopped him. Hard. The pain centred above his eyebrow flared for a moment, before fading. Then, mercifully, everything went black.
Whatever trance she'd been under for the past few minutes shattered as the familiar feeling of a firm hand closed over her backside. She leapt to her feet with a yell, not thinking about the repercussions for the newly-awakened Miroku, nor the fact that it could possibly make things worse…
At least, not until he fell from her lap and dropped to the ground, only to roll for a second and smack with a solid crack against the other side of the tiny well. He didn't get up.
"Houshi-sama!" Sango skidded over to where the unmoving monk lay and rolled him gently onto his back. She noted with some guilt that his eyes were closed and the prominent gash above his eyebrow had begun bleeding again. Her hand slipped to his neck – and only his neck, this time – reassuring herself with the feel of his rhythmic pulse under her fingers even though she was pretty certain as to what had happened anyway. When she was satisfied with her ministrations she dropped to her knees and sat back. Her hands tightened in her lap as she found herself waiting for him to awaken. Again.
Because of him and his wandering hands and her reaction to his... err... attentions.
Some people just never learned.
Her fingers flexed involuntarily as her eyes inevitably fell on his bare chest. The skin looked so smooth, rippling over perfectly defined, lean muscles. The corner of her mouth twitched; she was willing to bet it was as soft there as his face, perhaps even more so because of its lack of exposure to her regular open-handed slaps. Her lips tightened. The twitch of her hand became a firm shake, then a tightly clenched fist, coiling even further as her eyes raked the monk's upper body for what seemed like the thousandth time…
But not nearly enough, a small voice inside her head cut in slyly. And you know it…
Sango blushed and her eyebrows drew together furiously as she turned her head away. Where had that thought come from? Here they were, one of them injured, trapped inside a grimy chamber, and all she could think about was the way the light played across the taught torso, shadowing the slender, toned --
She scowled and reached for the robes gathered around Miroku's waist, managing to pull them at least part-way back up around the awkwardness of his limp body. Miroku, a hazard even in unconsciousness – how typical. She was getting distracted. And by what? A perverted monk? A stray thought chose that moment to inform her that she was no better than him, eyeing him like this when he was defenseless and unable to cover himself from her prying eyes.
But, would he… cover himself?
The thought of his likely lecherous grin and unabashed self-confidence in response only caused her blush to deepen more, and she was glad at that moment for both Miroku's unconsciousness, and the deep obscurity that night brought, allowing to her hide her emotions from whatever unforgiving spirit might happen by. It was becoming increasingly obvious that this distraction needed a distraction of its own.
She got to her feet after laying Miroku out into a more comfortable position, and lifted the handheld torch with her. She spun in a slow circle, the torch trailing her movements as she took the opportunity to take a quick look around the cell-like hollow that she hadn't bothered to so much as glance twice at since they'd fallen.
Years of grime coated the confining walls, no more than twenty feet across, dark and slimy. Sango dragged a finger down a small section of the cylindrical wall and the slick dirt came off easily against the pressure. She wiped it off and completed her circle, and was about to sit down again when nothing but the moss-covered stone walls greeted her, when an irregularity to the pattern caught her eye.
"… Kanji?" Sango took a step forward and swung the torch down to the floor just across from Miroku where she spotted a small rectangle of white. No. Not just kanji. Even from her distance it was obvious what the object was, even if the characters on it weren't quite so distinct that she could recognize them right away. "Ofuda?" she mused. "What on earth is an ofuda sheet doing down here…?"
Sango dropped to the floor and reached out to pick it up, then on second thought drew her hand back. This well, out in the middle of nowhere was strange enough in itself. A spell card, no matter how old it appeared, was even stranger. And it was still at work. She shivered at the energy radiating off the small slip, and stepped back as that familiar nausea curled in the middle of her stomach. Was that…jaki she felt? Or was her own imagination trying to spook her out? This situation was getting stranger and stranger.
"You know, chasing after you seems to be marginally unhealthy."
Sango spun around with the torch, having enough presence of mind to contain her nerves. Miroku was sitting up slightly, leaning up on one elbow successfully this time as he adjusted his robes. The blood from the gash on his temple had dried slightly and had left a long trail down his cheek, but it did nothing to detract from the glimmer of amusement in his indigo eyes.
Sango sighed, unable to hide her relief. If he was up to making comments like that then he would be just fine. "Does that mean you're going to give up?"
Miroku blinked, paused for a second. Then he flashed a crooked grin, teeth glinting in the half-light as one of his cheeks dimpled. "Do you want me to?"
It was fairly safe to say she hadn't expected that. Or the imploring look that remained on his face. She was not going to blush. She was not going to blush. She was… doing a fairly good impression of a tomato. Sango re-angled the flashlight and forced a glare. When Miroku's expression didn't waver she forced herself to breathe, forced herself to look away from his laughing eyes.
She pointed negligently to his half-adorned robes instead of dignifying him with a direct response, then coughed politely. "Aren't you cold? There's a storm outside, and in case you hadn't noticed, your robes are undone."
"Well, would you look at that," was the wry response. "They are too."
This time Sango couldn't help herself. She glanced at Miroku out of the corner of her eye to gauge his expression, then when she judged it safe, turned back toward him. As soon as she did that however, he sat up, lean arms reaching above his head, back arching in the throes of a lazy stretch. But that wasn't what she was noticing. No, it was the sizeable flash of bare skin as his robes quite deliberately slipped back down to his waist, and the accompanying grin that had spread across his face.
Sango whipped away again and wished fervently not for the first time that her Hiraikotsu was small enough to maneuver efficiently in this space. "You know, Houshi, I always knew you were a pervert. I didn't think you were an exhibitionist as well."
There was a deep chuckle from behind her and then the sound of rustling cloth. "Comes with the territory, I guess."
She nearly growled. "You know, for someone who just woke up after being knocked out twice in such a short period of time, you're ridiculously yourself. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised."
"Suppose not. It is me, after all."
A flash of anger rose at this comment. She had worried, and he was treating it like he didn't give a damn. If she heard 'it was worth it' one more time she was going to blow a gasket! "Baka! You could have concussed yourself. Or worse!"
But Miroku treated this like he did most things when it came to attention from the opposite sex, by lifting both arms in that surrendering gesture that he used quite often in an attempt to calm things down a notch. "Well, Sango, I am grateful to have the sympathy of such a beautiful woman. It heartens me to find that there's at least someone out there concerned about me. And besides, it was worth it." The last sentence was mumbled and barely audible. But in the echoing chamber sheltered mostly from the howling wind, Sango heard it all-too clearly.
That line had always had been the last straw, no matter that it was now no more than habit.
"Why do you always have to joke! Do you know--" Sango spun around on her heel, prepared to get violent if need be, ready to add another bump to the already bruised skull, only to find herself with a face-full of… Miroku? "--how… often… you…" Her words trailed off, as yet again she found herself horribly distracted.
Miroku's face was inches from hers, bathed in shadow. His eyes caught hers and held them, the only thing visible in the near pitch, glinting the rich violet that always held her captive. She dragged her gaze down to the smiling lips, the self-satisfied, dangerous grin – well, not so much dangerous as it was so open that she could tell what he was thinking.
"How often I… what…?" he asked.
"You…" What was with her tonight? This was just another one of his countless ploys that he always managed to turn to his advantage, so why couldn't she just whap him over the head and be done with it like usual! "Do…"
How was it that he could be so perfectly composed? Her face flushed as she realized she could feel the warmth emanating from his body at the closeness. It was so tempting to duck her face in embarrassment, but she found that she couldn't tear her eyes from the ones opposite. She always had been captivated by them; such an unusual colour even for youkai standards, let alone a mere human. And the way the light was catching them now, giving them a depth that Miroku would never truly fathom, they--
"Do what, Sango?"
"You…" She bit her lip. Damn him! How could he get her so flustered so easily, like he knew what got to her better than she did herself! And here of all places. Her eyes hardened. Her hands tightened around the flashlight. "You..."
"I what…?" His eyes were half-lidded looking down at her, his words whispered, as if he too was dragging himself under… but that wasn't it. Not quite, not by the faint twitch at the corner of his mouth. No, that meant… other things. She looked down and a little behind her, realizing she'd been right, and felt whatever restraint she'd previously had dissolve into a giant puddle of monk-terminating power. "You, Houshi-sama, are incorrigible!" she spat, and with a flick of her wrist Sango slapped the creeping had away and fixed Miroku with a look that promised much pain… and very little enjoyment.
As Kagome was fond of saying, 'third strike and you're out'. And who needed Hiraikotsu when she had a perfectly good fist attached to her arm?
She wasn't talking to him. Not at all. What, not with the way he kept glancing back at her in between examining the ofuda in front of him with that slight kink to his lips, as if he didn't really have his mind on the task at hand.
Sango sighed. "Found anything suspicious?"
Nope, not talking to him at all.
Miroku quirked a smile, though his eyes were a little more serious. "Not unless you count the fact that there's a seal in the bottom of a well out in the middle of nowhere."
That got her attention. "It's a seal?"
"From what I can tell." Miroku sat back, a tiny frown creeping onto his face now, the one he got when he was trying to concentrate.
"Like, the kind of seal that Inuyasha was under?"
"From what I can gather."
"For what? A youkai?"
Miroku shrugged. "It depends. About all I can tell you without knowing why it was put here is that it is defensive in nature. For all we know it's a seal to keep the bricks in place."
"Then the jaki I sensed…?"
A resigned expression flickered across Miroku's face. "I'd hoped I was imagining it; my head's still a little fuzzy."
She chose to ignore that. "So, you think it's…?"
"Unless that's one very evil brick under that seal, it's a youkai."
The night kept getting better and better. "Wonderful. I'm stuck in a – a well with some… some baka houshi, of all people, and a youkai, and I'm practically unarmed against both of them!" She slumped back against the wall, feeling the clothing against her back soak through even more with the water trickling down the stone. "What are we supposed to do now… wait until morning? Kirara's keeping guard around Inuyasha until sunrise, and the others aren't going to be of any help, even if we could somehow yell loud enough for them to hear us…"
A mischievous grin crept onto Miroku's face. He seemed to consider her for a moment before opening his mouth to say something.
She didn't want to hear it. "If you weren't already showing signs of a mild concussion, houshi, I'd hit you over the head again."
The corner of Miroku's mouth twitched. "I didn't say anything, my dear Sango."
She rolled her eyes – a habit she'd somehow caught off Kagome that never failed to express her aggravation. "You didn't have to, I know you well enough by now."
Miroku shrugged and resettled himself back against the wall. "It was just a suggestion."
Sango narrowed her eyes. "Everything's 'just a suggestion' with you, baka."
"Of course it is."
"Shippo's right – you're the one that needs a rosary around your neck."
"But instead of 'sit' it'd be 'pervert' that'd send you eating dirt."
Sango sat forward. That reply had been more vague than the others. She squinted through the darkness. "Houshi?"
The knocks on the head, she remembered belatedly. She berated herself. She'd been joking about him having a concussion when the odds were that he probably did. She got to her feet and shuffled the few paces to the other side, and crouched in front of Miroku. "Oi," she said, slapping his cheek lightly, catching his bleary eyes. "You can't sleep."
"… guess not…"
She raised an eyebrow and slapped his cheek a little harder. When that didn't work, she shifted her arms to under Miroku's and pulled him to his feet with her with only a few stifled complaints. She looked up, through the well and bucketing rain to the blanket of sky above them that wasn't so much black from night as it was from the storm. She scowled. They had to get out of here. The biting cold wasn't doing either of them any good, and Miroku's earlier typical remarks were now apparently only things said as a focus to keep himself awake. And then that left just who was going to scout any youkai that might sense the Shikon Shards…
Feeling Miroku sag against her, she realized that any further thinking would have to take place elsewhere. First things first; she needed to wake the monk up. She took a step backward, spinning in a slow circle with Miroku slouched against her side, trying to find something. Anything. What she hadn't counted on happening, however, was for their legs to tangle and Miroku's rain-pulled robes to catch around their feet.
With a cry of surprise Sango stumbled backward, unable to keep her balance with the weight of two people dragging her down. They both tipped, arms flying shy of each other as they hit the floor—
And then fell straight through.
There was a blinding flash of light and the distinct sound of crumbling rock. She thought she caught Miroku mumble something along the lines of 'not again', before they were consumed by a roaring noise that sounded suspiciously like cold, bone-chilling laughter, and then darkness.
Well, there we go! Review, flame, run around madly in circles clucking like a chicken, or whatever. :)
Until next time!