Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha.

This short story takes place just a few hours after Naraku has been defeated, and the shard is taken out of Kohaku's back. I feel like writing a story based on Sango's reaction to Kohaku's death that is opposite to numb shock, like in If Only.

Also, this is my lovely excuse to post something while I work on TMTR.

They'd done it.

They'd taken the shard out of his back.

Miroku was going to do it, to spare Sango the pain of seeing her brother suffer again and also to save her from her own emotional feelings. But the taijiya insisted that she be the one to do it. She wanted the last face that Kohaku saw to be a friendly, forgiving one.

Not that there was anything that needed to be forgiven. It wasn't his fault.

As soon as she took the shard out, blood flowed from his wounds. The pain, masked to numbness from the tiny piece of darkened glass in his back, finally took hold of the boy, telling him that his death was only seconds away.

She didn't cry as she tenderly held his dying body in her arms, his blood soaking her kimono. Kohaku looked up at her, struggling to focus through tears of pain and guilt. He met her unwavering gaze.

"I'm sorry, Ane-ue," he strained to whisper, a stream of blood trickling from his mouth. Those were the last words he spoke before closing his eyes, his body going limp.

"I'm right here with you," Sango murmured, cradling him. Miroku approached her.

"Sango, we have to bury him," he stated. She nodded, though her back had stiffened.

And so he was buried. She prayed only once for him.

Sango did not stay by his grave for very long; instead she remained inside Kaede's hut, collecting medicinal herbs and other things. She hadn't spoken a word to anyone else since his death, and when Kagome questioned her about how she was, she brushed it off.

"I'm fine," she answered.

They all knew she was not fine. She was the farthest from fine she had ever been since joining them. Even though she had toldthem constantly that she was not fragile, that she could take anything and still be standing, the issue with Kohaku would break the walls she had so carefully built up around her heart.

She was completely fragile when it came to her little brother.

A few days passed. Kagome grew worried about her friend. Sango had not eaten very much at all or bothered to drink ever since Kohaku was placed in the dirt. She had sat with her back against the wall, her arms resting on her knees, looking sad and empty as she stared unseeingly at the fire. She seemed almost… lost.

One particular afternoon the monk came in, forcing her to stand up and follow him outside.

After one small protest, she let herself be led over to the grave of her brother. She froze, then turned to leave when he quickly, but gently, caught her wrist.


She looked back at the grave, a wave of sadness and regret threatening to engulf her in its grasp, then looked back at the monk. "Why did you bring me here, Houshi-sama?"

"I would have thought you wanted to spend more time praying to Kohaku's spirit," he said, knowing exactly the type of defence she had shielded herself with for the past few days. The taijiya had always been like this.

She looked down at his hand still on her wrist, and she tugged it out. Not wanting to have to explain her sudden avoidance of being near her brother's grave, knowing he probably knew already, she turned around and started to walk away.

Unexpectedly, he blocked her by standing in front of her, placing his hands on her shoulders. Now she looked a bit angry, the first sign of emotion other than the sad, blank look she had worn ever since her brother had been buried.

"What do you want, Houshi-sama?"

"I want you to cry," he said firmly. She was bewildered at his request… no, not a request. More like an order. To cry?

She looked away, not wanting to face him. He had come to know her all too well, and she hated herself to allowing it to happen. For allowing him to care about her instead of hurting him internally like she should have when she first joined the group. Hurting him so badly he would never want to see her again; that way, she would never have to feel the pain. It had happened too much; she had learned to care for others after the death of her family, and her love was toyed with, her own affections to be used against herself by the half demon known as Naraku.

"Sango, I want you to cry."

"Why?" The word came out as a whisper. She knew why, she needed to hear it from him. She needed him to tell her her pain, to comfort her as he used to during their travels, she needed him to make her admit to herself that crying would be the only way out, as it usually was for her. It was her only escape.

His voice was low. "You cannot keep bottling all of your pain inside of yourself like this. It will only destroy you."

She tried hard not to hear what he was saying, to block him out internally as he was doing physically to her on this dusty path.

"Sometimes you need to cry, to let it go. Sometimes it is the only way to heal things inside of yourself."

Shut up! Not verbally. At least, not on the outside. She screamed the words at him, only on the inside. As much as she attempted to make her mouth form the sounds for the words, it was a futile effort. She could not say them, however, the pressure inside of her was rising and she knew it would not be long before she would have no choice but to strike out, to cause physical harm.

"Sango, please. Just let out all your anger, your pain, and your sorrow." He was still trying to get through to her, and the pressure kept increasing. She realized that her hands had clenched themselves into fists. She felt her head rise up to send an icy glare at him.

"What do you know about pain, Miroku? What do you know! You didn't lose all your family in one day! You don't have to worry about waking up and suddenly realizing that you are alone! You didn't lose a little brother, only to have him be resurrected to come back and try to kill you no matter how much you love him! You don't have to worry about being weak all the time!"

By this time, she was openly crying, the tears streaming down her face as she screamed at him. The words themselves didn't really have much of an effect on him, it was the tone of her voice. The way she screamed made him wonder if she really did hate everything that had happened to her. Even as he thought that, he knelt down as she collapsed to the ground and gathered her into his arms, ignoring the dull pain in his shoulders and chest as her anguish flooded out, physically and emotionally.

After what seemed like a long time, her tears ceased and she simply lay there in his protective embrace, her breathing slowly steadying.

"Miroku?" she whispered, her voice still hoarse from crying.

"What is it?"

"I'm sorry I hit you." She sniffled, reaching up to wipe her face, but he stopped her, gently wiping away her tears with his thumb.

"It's okay, Sango. You needed to do that," he said softly.

She leaned against him. "I didn't seriously hurt you, did I?"

He allowed a faint smile to cross his face. "No. I would never let you hurt me, nor could I stand by and watch you destroy yourself."

She snuggled deeper into his arms, feeling safe and content. It would take a long time, perhaps months to recover from her losses in life, but as long as he was there to help her, she knew she would be able to.

After all, time is the biggest healer for any wound.

And Miroku would be with her.

Well, another pointless one-shot. Let me know what you thought of it. If you are following TMTR, chapter 6 will be up sometime this weekend, most likely Saturday night. I think that one "computer-less" week actually did some good; I'm 2 chapters ahead of myself.

I have got to stop using Kohaku as an excuse to make Sango feel all depressed… :shifty eyes: But it's so fun!