The End Result
7. What Goes Around Comes Around
She hadn't noticed the shadow, but the approaching footsteps were harder to miss. She jerked out of her stupor and swiveled her head towards the doorway. Inuyasha!
Her heart plummeted when she saw who was standing in the doorway.
"Oh… Miroku…" she said dully.
"There's a welcome for your fiancé," he said, striding towards her. He pulled her out of the chair and into his arms, covering her face in kisses, and then kissing her urgently, roughly.
She pulled away. "What's the matter with you?"
"Can't I kiss my future wife?" He leaned in again, but she put a hand against his chest.
She took a stab in the dark. "You ran into Inuyasha, didn't you?"
The look on his face told the truth.
"On the staircase, right?" she pressed.
"What was he doing here?" he asked, abandoning all pretenses.
"I don't… even know," she said, turning away. "Forget about it."
"Sango—" he reached for her.
"No. Miroku…" She pulled away and backed up, leaving a good three feet in between them. She needed a barrier, some form of protection from the reaction her words were going to induce.
His face hardened. "What happened between you two?"
"Why was he here?"
"He has just as much right to be here as you do."
"You slept with him, didn't you?"
"Honestly Miroku, I don't know where this indignant lover role is coming from. Yes, I slept with him. I am in love with him."
"And he left you," Miroku said.
"He left because Kagome showed up here and started yelling and said she didn't want to marry Inuyasha anymore. And then he left too. And now you're yelling at me. Thank you for putting the cherry on my marvelous day."
Miroku let out a breath. "So what does this mean? You don't want to marry me anymore?"
"This means I am really confused right now and this is probably not the best time to interrogate me." She stalked away from him and into the kitchen. She needed to clean something.
Miroku wasn't going to give up. "You accepted my proposal and then promptly slept with another guy," he said, following her into the kitchen.
"That wasn't exactly what happened—"
"But it's a pretty concise description."
"Okay, Miroku, you know what? This is pretty nice coming from the guy who cheated on me."
"What goes around comes around, is that it?"
"Why did you propose to me, anyway?" she threw back. "Why are you so interested again all of a sudden? Jealous of Inuyasha? If you couldn't have me, no one else could? You're not the marrying type, Miroku. You're more of a bounce from girl to girl type."
"Don't try and label me. Or my feelings. I do love you, Sango. I really do want to marry you."
She shook her head. "I don't know, Miroku-kun. Can you see us grocery shopping together? You carrying a diaper bag over your shoulder? Do you even want kids? I do. I want two or three. And we haven't discussed religion. Or politics. For all I know, you could be a communist."
"This is really not a good time to joke around."
"How can you say we don't know anything about each other after how long we dated?"
"Did we actually learn anything about each other in that time? Besides that you can make me orgasm six times in a row and that I can make you come in less than three minutes when I gave you head?" she spat.
She knew she was being harsh and petty. She didn't care.
Apparently Miroku didn't either. "How about that I know you are a passionate, intelligent, and caring woman that I want to share the rest of my life with. We lived together, Sango. And we were pretty compatible too, despite the fact that I always left my things lying around for you to trip over and your cooking would give me indigestion. Does that mean anything to you?"
She turned away to stare out the window.
Does that mean anything to you?
Not the way Inuyasha did. She couldn't sit on the couch and just talk to Miroku for hours.
But she could with Inuyasha.
She knew everything about Inuyasha, from his favorite TV show to his favorite herb to what he would be if he were reincarnated. She could even recite every birthmark on his body.
She had been infatuated with Miroku.
But she was in love with Inuyasha.
"I can't marry you, Miroku."
"He won't come back. This is the second time he's left, you know."
She didn't have to ask who "he" was. "If he doesn't come back, that still wouldn't be fair to you. You'd have my body, but you wouldn't have my heart."
Sango was prepared for Miroku to be angry. She was prepared for him to throw his usual insults, slam the door, and not speak to her for a few months.
She wasn't prepared for the calm sadness that fell over him. "So that's it then. You've fallen out of love with me."
"You broke my heart, Miroku."
This sounds more and more like a soap opera. How typical of my life.
"Can't I try and mend it?"
"It's already been mended."
"By Inuyasha," he said disbelivingly.
She nodded, her throat suddenly feeling uncomfortably tight.
Miroku gave an infinitesimal smile. "Who would've guessed?"
"Not me. That's for sure."
Miroku absently cracked his fingers one by one. An old habit of his, one that used to drive Sango crazy. It made her a little sad to think that she would never yell at him for that again.
Am I really doing the right thing? What if Inuyasha doesn't come back? I could be alone for the rest of my life. Miroku loves me, and I once loved him. I could be happy with him. He'd make a good dad. And if I threatened to divorce him if he ever cheated on me, he would probably stop.
As if he could read her thoughts, Miroku said, "So what'll it be, Sango-chan? Yes or no?"
Sango wet her lips nervously.
Yes or no? her mind chanted tauntingly. Yes or no? Yes-or-no-yes-or-no YES-NO-YES-NO?
"I don't…" she whispered.
"I can't…" Her words were barely a breath of air.
Just say yes. Inuyasha's not going to come back. Just say yes and get over him.
"I can't," she heard herself saying. "I'm sorry."
Miroku stilled. He obviously was expecting another answer. "Fine," he said, his purple eyes darker than she'd ever seen them. Angry, disappointed, hurt, betrayed. "Your loss."
He stalked out of her apartment without even closing the door. She waiting until his footsteps had faded completely before collapsing onto the floor.
So that's it, then.
She didn't stay on the floor for as long as she would have expected. Maybe she was getting used to this whole heartbreak deal.
She got up and went to shut the door. With its usual squeak, it fell into place and blew a small white piece of paper at her bare feet.
What is this?
It was small, and looked as if it had been torn off of something bigger—a receipt, maybe, or a shopping list.
Stooping down to pick it up, the messy all-caps handwriting instantly registered and sent the neurons in her brain firing so fast she was sure there would be a tiny explosion up there.
The bastard left me a note. "Inuyasha…"
Wait for me.
That was all it said. "Wait for me," she repeated. "Wait for me. Well that's not ambiguous at all. Wait for you for how long? And where?"
When had he left the note? She doubted that he'd stopped to write it while running after Kagome.
Which meant he'd come back to leave it. Probably when she was fighting with Miroku.
How much had he heard? And why hadn't he come in to at least explain to her what was going on?
Wait for me.
You didn't tell someone to wait if you didn't want to be with them again. If that was the case, then you just left without a word. So did this mean he still loved her and wanted to be with her again? Someday? Eventually?
She stared at the note for a long time and then walked over to her purse and carefully tucked it into the inside pocket. Then she walked over to the phone. She had some calls to make.
Sango sat primly on a bench in the central train station. Her two suitcases sat at her feet—pink, so they could never be mistaken for someone else's—and her purse and shoulder bag were cuddled in her lap. In her shoulder bag was her leave of absence from work, her current manuscript, and her train ticket to the Kiso Valley.
It was time to take a vacation.
Things had actually gone very smoothly. She called her boss last night and explained her situation—this novel was taking longer to write than expected, and if she wanted to meet her deadlines, she would have to put some serious time into it. Yes, she had plenty of money in the bank—more than enough. She could live comfortably for a year and still haven plenty left over. Yes, she would return, just think of this as a sabbatical.
Relieved, her boss assured her that her old position would be hers again when she decided to return. "In all, this is very good," he said in his usual frazzled manner. "With this sudden economic decline, I was going to have to make some layoffs. But with you going on your sabbatical and Fuushi-san on maternity leave, I think we all can make it."
Sango told him how delighted she was and said she wanted to leave the next day.
This statement had not been well met.
In the end, they had agreed on three days. Thus, she was leaving on the 5:00pm train from Tokyo to Kiso Valley.
A girl at the office—ironically enough, a close friend of Kagome's—had just broken up with her boyfriend and needed a place to stay indefinitely. News travels fast in a tight-knit corporation, so the minute Sango heard the news, she called her up. "Oh my god, that would be so perfect," she gushed, her voice still heavy with old tears, "I just really need to get out of here. My folks live up north, and all of my friends either have roommates or boyfriends or husbands and—and—" she made a conscious effort to get a hold of herself. "I would love to take your sublease. Thank you so much."
She'd finished moving in last night.
Sango pushed a flyaway piece of hand back behind her ear. Everything was falling into place. She'd actually told a white lie to her boss—she'd sent off her last installment to her publisher that morning. After finding the white note Inuyasha had left, she pulled two all-nighters and finished the book. With a few revisions, it would be published in less than two months.
The manuscript in her bag was a drastic deviation from her usual genre. She decided that she was done with her romantic novels. It was time for some serious writing. Maybe action/suspense. Maybe philosophical. Who knew? She would write what she felt like.
A disgruntled teenager was being dragged along by his ostentatiously-dressed parents. He gave her a leering once-over and Sango didn't hesitate to flick him off. The boy's face registered shock, but she only smiled benignly.
So what? She was off guys for the time being. Just her and her manuscript. Her and her nice, gentlemanly characters. Or at least guys that started out tough and then melted into butter when he saw what a good find he had. Why couldn't all men see like that?
Sango decided once she found the perfect character from her book, she would marry him. And have babies and raise them. Only this made her think of Kagome and her baby (and Inuyasha with them?), so she quickly grabbed a book out of her bag and started reading furiously.
"Mama, is that lady a bum?"
Sango furtively looked at the child sitting on the bench across from her out of the corner of her eye. Yep, sure enough, the child's finger was pointing at her. The mother quickly hushed the child and whispered into his ear; most likely that it was impolite to point and call people "bums."
She couldn't wait to get out of the Tokyo business sector. She was seriously only dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt. With a sweatshirt in her lap.
The train pulled into the station only minutes later, and by stepping through the doors onto the crowded rush-hour packed Friday train, Sango felt as if she was leaving everything behind.
"Hello! I'd like a—"
"Double chocolate fudge sundae cone?" The boy behind the counter with the word "elephant" tattooed on his forehead smiled. "Coming right up."
Sango smiled unabashedly. It was her Friday night tradition to emerge from the charming little house she'd rented and spend the evening wandering through the main streets of the small town. It was a pleasant tradition she'd started—even if it did include her new obsession with the western dessert.
As she strolled down the stone streets licking her ice-cream cone, she watched the many tourists amble by. No one was in a hurry, and most people were laughing and talking. The old couples, arm in arm, exchanged few words: after so many years of marriage, they already knew each other's thoughts. The young couples chattered animatedly, eager to get to know each other better. The middle aged couples smiled in exasperation at their excited children and warned them not to wander to far.
Couples. She was surrounded by happy people.
Not that she wasn't happy. She'd made enormous progress on her book in the past eleven months and she'd made a few friends that were living in Kiso Valley long-term too.
But she was lonely.
She didn't think about Inuyasha as much. The first month was hell. The second was just as worse. By the time the fourth rolled around, she'd become accustomed to her new life.
Now it had almost been a year since she'd seen or heard from him.
Silence had never been so cruel before.
Sango laughed softly at herself as she once again thought of her books. In her third novel, the protagonist had returned to his love after exactly a year of disappearance. Somehow her beloved character had set the standard in her mind—over the past months she had turned down the numerous dates and offers she'd received. She was waiting for the end of the year. If Inuyasha didn't show up by the end of the year, she would forever put him out of her mind.
There was the minor drawback that he might not know where she was. But if he really wanted to find her, he could. She'd left hints.
Well sort of. She'd told her Kohaku. (Like he would dare risk the wrath of the protective little brother). She told the girl she subleased her apartment to. That brightened her a bit. Of course! Inuyasha would naturally show up at her apartment and pound on the door without calling ahead first. Then the cute little Mai would tell him dolefully that Sango was taking a vacation in the old Kiso Valley and she was very sorry to disappoint him but if he wanted to stay for dinner he could—
No! Bad thoughts, Sango! Very bad thoughts!
Mai wouldn't seduce Inuyasha, even though she had just broken up with her boyfriend. Two lonely souls…
Whatever, Sango. You're pulling this completely out of air. All this loneliness is getting to your head.
Ridiculous fantasies were the first sign of You-Really-Need-a-New-Boyfriend-itis.
She finished her cone and tossed it in a trash can that was attached to a light post. The sun was setting and the sky had put on its finest evening wear—it was ablaze with color.
Sango smiled sadly and started her walk home.
She really did miss him.
Passion, like summer, eventually fades and gives way to the cool, comfortable feelings of Autumn. The best way to tame a fire is to let it slowly sizzle out.
Suki sighed and let her hand fall to her side. If he had really loved her, his feelings wouldn't have gone out so quickly died out with so little hesitation. He'd failed the test. And she'd been so sure of him to. But perhaps that was fate's way of telling her they weren't meant for each other. Maybe like the fire something would rise out of the embers their love wasn't worth it their love was only a brief period of high flames and then
Sango gave up writing for the night. Sometimes there was just no hope.
She stretched and moved her writing pad and pen aside. From her place on the sofa, she could see yet another extraordinary sunset morphing into the inky darkness of the rural sky out of the big bay window the owners of the house had put into the living room.
Tomorrow would be exactly one year that she'd been here. Starting at midnight, Inuyasha would have twenty-four hours to show up and profess his love before she would forget about him forever.
What if he turns up on one year and a day? What will you do then? That's close enough, right?
No. He said "wait." It was up to her to choose the specifications. And besides, a year was plenty of time to work out any doubts or insecurities he had.
Enough. She wouldn't think about it until tomorrow night. She was not going to spend a perfectly good writing day wasted on thinking about that loser.
Sango stood. She might as well check on her small, solitary dinner à la une. Spaghetti was so lonely. Noodles were just meant to be slurped with someone else there.
Actually, it was a wonder her food wasn't burning already. She'd lost track of time again.
Oh well, she could always just order sushi to go. One more western concession she couldn't get enough of. Take out and delivery were her new lovers.
She walked into the kitchen and promptly crashed into the refrigerator.
There at her stove, calmly stirring a large pot of spaghetti, was Inuyasha.
Sango knew her jaw was hanging open. She knew her eyes were bugging out very unattractively. But she had absolutely no ability to fix any of these things.
"Hey," he greeted her, smiling that crooked grin of his. "Spaghetti for one? Isn't that a little depressing?"
Sango still didn't have the means to form words. She did manage, though, to extract herself from the refrigerator, her eyes never leaving his face though.
He looked good. Same dark hair pulled into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. Same piercing grey eyes. Same cocky smile.
She swayed on the spot, drinking him in.
"Clumsy as ever," he said, chuckling. "Here, let me help." He strode over to her and roughly pulled her into his arms, holding her so tightly against him that she could barely breathe. "I missed you."
Sango closed her eyes and breathed in his scent. This wasn't really happening. She had progressed to full-on hallucinations. Why was he here, seducing her, when he could be at her apartment, seducing Mai?
But oh god, it felt so good to be back in his arms. She savored the sensation, basking in the feel of his arms wrapped tightly around her. Was it possible to just stay in his arms for the rest of her life?
"Sango?" He released her slightly so that he could look at her face. "Why so silent? I'm not late, am I? Tomorrow is one year."
If she had felt astonished before, now she felt as if she'd just been hit with a sledgehammer. "What did you say?" she gasped.
"Hitoshi. He came back to Ayako after exactly a year. Isn't that what you were waiting for? Or do I not know you at all?"
"You read my book?"
"I read all of them. Took me a while, but then, it has been a year. That was part of my soul-searching phase."
Sango couldn't hold herself back any longer. She threw her arms around his neck and began kissing him like there was no tomorrow. A moment later, she happily noticed that he was responding equally as ardently.
"What took you so long?" she gasped, finally wrenching her swollen lips away from his. "You didn't have to wait a year. I've been so lonely and I missed you so much and… and… you bastard! What was that 'Wait for me' note about? You are in such big trouble."
"But you still love me?" he asked hopefully.
Sango considered very hard saying no, just to let him see what it was like, but she didn't want him to ever let her go. "Yes, Inuyasha. I still love you very much. But you have a lot of explaining to do."
"Later," he said thickly, kissing her long and hard again. "I haven't made love to you in almost a year; I've almost forgotten what it feels like."
"We can't have that, now, can we," she murmured, unaware of anything else but the kisses Inuyasha was planting all over her face, neck, arms, breasts…
"I love you, Sango."
"I love you too, Inuyasha."
It wasn't until after they had finished making love and she was happily lying in his arms (still on the kitchen floor) that it hit her. She sat upright so fast it made her head spin. "What did you say?"
"I didn't say anything," Inuyasha said lazily, tracing circles on her back with his finger. His eyes hadn't strayed from her face in over an hour.
"No, I mean, what did you say before we started—"
"Oh. You mean 'I love you'?"
A smile started spreading across her face. "I think you forgot a part."
"Did I? How careless." He smirked in his usual way and she could have loved him again all over for it. "I meant to say, 'I love you, Sango.'"
"That," she said, leaning over to kiss his neck, "is much better." She settled back down on the floor, her head resting on his chest. "Seriously, though, I thought you'd never say those words."
"I always wanted to. Just never could."
"Say it again."
"I love you."
She closed her eyes. "Again?"
"I love you. I love you. I love you I love you I love you I love you." He pulled her back down on top of him, his arms tightly encircling her.
Sango was quite content to just lay there the rest of the night. But she still had unanswered questions. And she didn't like mysteries very much. She was always the girl who had skipped ahead to the end of the Nancy Drew books before she even started at the beginning.
"Why'd it take you so long to get here?"
He sighed, his chest expanding so that Sango's body moved upward several inches. "I knew I would have to answer that eventually."
"Am I going to like the answer?" asked Sango neutrally.
Maybe she should've asked what had happened before
"I don't know. I guess that depends on you." His fingers started tracing circles on her back again. "The first week I went to work and lived my normal life; only every second of my spare time was occupied by trying to figure out what I should do. I asked myself whether I loved you or Kagome; then I asked myself what I was going to do about me and Kagome's baby. I didn't want her to grow up without a father. No child should go through that, and I wasn't going to be guilty of it."
Sango forced herself to stay quiet.
"But Kagome solved all that for me," he said. "By choosing Houjou-san instead
"That guy from your company, ne?"
"But she hated him!"
"She didn't hate him; she just acted that way when she was dating me because he wasn't taking a hint otherwise. She actually thought he was very sweet."
"And she told you this."
"Yes," he said, missing the sarcasm. "At their wedding."
"They got married?"
This was getting better and better.
"Yep. Just after she had Mika. He didn't care that it was my baby; he was just happy to have Kagome. And he'll be a good father, he's one of those mushy-gushy types."
"Mika. That's a pretty common name."
"She liked it. She said she wanted her daughter to have a normal life, so a normal name would fit."
Sango sat up indignantly. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"Who knows. It's Kagome." He pulled her back down on top of him. "Any more questions?"
"You've explained maybe two days out of a year. Please don't tell me that you made me wait a whole 365 days just because one of the characters in my book did it."
"No, I didn't. I wanted you to have some time to think, too. I know I needed the time. After the fourth month of mind-wracking and guilty dreams I just decided… to stop thinking."
He was quiet for so long after this that Sango prompted, "And?"
"And… I asked myself what I really wanted. And what I really wanted was you."
She stared at him incredulously. "That's it?"
He smirked at her. "Occum's Razor. Sometimes the simplest explanations are the best."
"Not that I'm not happy, but you had to take the rest of the year to get to me?"
"I had to put my affairs in order. Put in a transfer for my job, sell my apartment, finish reading all thirteen of your books—that took a helluva a long time, why do you write such long books?—and then explain this whole story to Kagome, Kikyou, my brother, and the bartender at that bar we always used to go to."
"Why did you have to tell the bartender?"
"He was curious. He said he'd been watching our drama unfold for so long that he couldn't possibly stand to not know how it turned out."
Sango was indignant. "As if we're some soap opera meant only to entertain!"
"I think it's pretty damned funny."
She gave him a wry glance. "You would."
He took her hand and playfully nibbled on her fingers. "Right. When I arrived here about a month ago—by the same train you took, incidentally—I couldn't just come see you… I had to watch you first, to slowly get you back into my life, to make sure I still understood you."
"What! You've been here a month?"
"Just following you around," he repeated. "It's a nice lifestyle you have. Wake up, eat breakfast, write for a few hours, eat lunch, take a walk around the area, return home, write again, read while you eat dinner, watch a movie, then go to sleep. Oh, and on Friday nights you walk around town while eating that ridiculously sugar-loaded western concoction."
"Only for you, my dear."
They fell silent again for a moment or two. Then Sango said: "What now?"
"Well we should probably get some sleep soon but I'm definitely up for some more s—"
"No baka! I mean… where do we go from here? In terms of us."
He shrugged. "I'll be here; I got a transfer. I'm not leaving anytime soon. In fact, I don't plan on leaving ever. You've noticed how we kind of complete each other?"
"Something like that." She smiled.
"Any more questions?"
"Does Kagome hate me?"
Inuyasha winced. "Not a good question to ask."
"That's all right. I didn't expect much more."
"You didn't do anything wrong, Sango," he said sternly. "So don't go thinking that you deserve her anger."
"I know. Still. That's one friendship lost."
He looked at her carefully. "Do you regret anything?"
She thought about it for a moment or two, then shook her head. "No. I don't. I wouldn't change anything. It sucks that it has to be you or Kagome; but I would definitely choose you any day."
"It's the truth." She tilted her head to the side and smiled. "But thinking about things from your perspective, you've basically given up everything for me."
He tenderly brushed a strand of hair out of her face. "Damn straight. You better appreciate this, woman."
Sango started laughing so hard that she physically couldn't stop. And to tell the god-honest-truth, she didn't want to.
It was the quiet creaking of the old house that woke Inuyasha up. He had been born with ultra-sensitive hearing; a curse that had plagued him throughout his college years (he had been one of the unfortunate few saddled with a snoring roommate). But, he consented, pulling Sango closer to him, there were consolations: such as being able to watch Sango sleeping serenely, her lips curled up into a small smile.
He wrapped his arm around her stomach, playing with the thin fabric of her tee-shirt. Maybe someday, he thought, letting his hand rest on her stomach, this body would produce their children.
Hopefully sooner than later, he amended, thinking of the ring that was sitting in the glove compartment of his car.
It wasn't more than a few minutes that he was able to stay awake his eyes began to close on their own volition, but for once he didn't mind falling asleep: because he knew that the next time he awoke, his Sango would be laying there right beside him.
As he drifted off into the dream world, a smile to match his love's began to spread across his face.
Author's Note: Surprised to see me? Don't worry, I surprised myself by actually opening this document. It's hard to find time to write now, and I've gotten more into original fiction than fanfiction... but I always hated stumbling across a non-finished story so... the guilt got me and I finished the story. Hope you all like the ending; sorry for any mistakes, I wanted to get this up and posted as soon as possible. Thank you for reading this; I really enjoyed writing it. And thank you for all the feedback you left. Take care everyone!