Summary: Death is something that never gets easier with practice.
Warnings: Vague incest.
Notes: Written for San.
Kagome smiles, bright and sweet.
Bitch, Sango thinks.
Kagome tastes both green and red, because she's perfect Kagome with her ready-made powers and her ready-made purpose and her ready-made love, but she's also the sweet little miko who looks at her sadly, who has the gall to sympathize with her, because it's so sad, so tragic, so sad, so terrible, so sad, poor Sango, so sad.
Hands clenched into fists, Sango longs to punch her in her sweet little face, but, like all her other secret, strangled desires, she hides her longing well.
The hours on the road stretch out, and she can feel the eyes of the miko on her, wanting her to find love, to find something pretty and sanitary, a bleached white life with pretty little children and a pretty little husband who smiles with pretty teeth and pretty hands. And Miroku plays along, even if he doesn't know it.
What he doesn't know will hurt him, because even though he's fought with her, kept her safe, Miroku can't compare to him. He'll never be the best, because he hasn't died with her.
Like a crimson hangman's noose, the thread of fate swings her back and forth, back and forth, love and hate, back and forth, a thousand times a day.
She gets tired of watching him walk away. She always has to stay and watch, as he goes where all the holy horrors go.
She knows where he is, but she cannot follow.
Sango dies, so many times, every day, and death is something that never gets easier with practice.
Inuyasha understands that, and, gold eyes on her own, there is something dark and bitter between them. There is an unspoken knowledge; he has kissed death, too. He, staked to a tree, and she buried beneath the earth, breath slaked and blood stilled, and even though she moves still, she can't ever really come back.
But he's been released, and she is still choked with remembrance, little memories clogging her nose, her mouth, her lungs.
And it's always so small. It's when her breath catches, or the way the scar on her back pulls the skin.
It's the sound of metal sliding on metal, like the clanging of iron links, over and around and against themselves, innocuously sinister. It's just the sound of a chain, clattering in a field in the distance, and she's frozen in her footsteps, dead again and gone to a place where no one else can find her, because they don't know.
It's oh, so simple. Such a tiny slice of time, such insignificant minutiae and she's on her stomach in the dirt, dragged back swiftly, lifted up and twisted up and trapped inside a moment where the world splashes around her.
In her, there is a wound that cannot be mended.
Across her life, there is a bloody jagged edge, and it marks the boundary between when I was young and now I am this.
Beneath her feet a path rises up, and she walks down it because she has no other choice. Each step she takes, she is uprooted and replanted. Bowed beneath the heavy mantle of ashes, she feels her old life burn away. Sango is consumed.
When he kills her, it won't be with the squelch of blood on blade. Too brittle, she will shatter.
Now comes the mystery.
In a swirl of autumn leaves they meet, and he remembers her.
She hates him so much, and she loves him so much, and each turns aside the other's blade and they're tumbling on the ground, with blood beneath their fingernails and open wounds pouring out. Inside a cloud of dead leaves and dead lives she links her hands with his and covers his small body with hers. Her breasts lay heavy on his chest, and he's growing up still, because he's waiting underneath for the chance to take her home.
Entwined inside the killing time she's a jumble, just lips on lips, each seeking the other because no one else can touch them.
"Tell me who you are," she mumbles into his throat.
He tastes like all her sad hopes. Beneath her, his skin is hollow and he is bitter on her fingertips. Sango works herself inside his clothes, sinks her teeth into his tender hands.
"Did you know I missed you?" he asks.
Around him she locks her legs, clicks her tongue against his teeth, and she's leaking out onto the ground.
"I know," she replies. Not long now and she'll be dead, but first there's the shining little piece of sickness in his back, and with deft hands and horrified desire she pinches it between her thumb and forefinger.
"Ready?" she whispers.
He arches against her, and the shard slides out.
Smiling, she kisses him slowly as he dies. Sinking down between the tiny little pieces of time, between the first death and the last, Sango waits for the end of waiting.