Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Well, this is just my interpretation of how things would go if Miroku and Sango ever broke up. I know this idea has been done quite a few times, and mine is crap in comparison (especially to April May's L'Espoir Faux), but I wanted to try it out anyway.
Takes place after the proposal.
She should have seen it coming.
She should have known.
She was a complete idiot when she thought he would focus only on her and their relationship.
She was wrong, and she hated herself for it.
It had been a regular day. Well, as close to a regular day could be for the group. Lately they had been travelling faster and finding more jewel shards than usual, although Kagome also grew tired more easily with the constant fights. She had decided to head home after the most recent shard had been collected, but Inuyasha pointed out that they weren't near Kaede's village, and an exhausted Kagome agreed to stay with them for another day, although protesting that they take their time while travelling, as well as staying out of the areas that more of the demons seemed to like infesting.
During their constant travels, they had stayed at a few villages to help sort out youkai problems. The taijiya noticed that Miroku seemed to spend almost all of his time with the village girls, asking them his usual question. Although Sango knew he had proposed to her, she couldn't help but feel unwanted. Before he had asked her to bear his child, to be with him after Naraku was defeated, even if she did like him more than as a good friend, she had still felt extremely annoyed and frustrated with his 'charming' tactics when he spoke to a woman. She also knew that she shouldn't have felt jealous, as they had not been in a deeper relationship at the time, but now he had asked her to be with him, to live with him, and her anger was no longer misplaced.
It was a warm summer evening, and they were trying to find a place to spend the night. Miroku mentioned the idea of "borrowing" a room at the nearest village inn, and he was answered by the suspicious glares of Kagome, Sango, and Inuyasha. Shippou, perched on Kagome's shoulder, had little interest in the matter at hand.
Sango looked at Miroku, raising her eyebrow as she spoke. "Borrowing, eh? What if they don't accept your excuse that there's a 'black cloud' hovering over the area?"
He sent a mock hurt expression her way. "I thought you had more confidence in me, dear Sango," he said, casually putting an arm behind her shoulders. She automatically stiffened, her hand curling into a fist, anticipating the perverted movement of his hand.
Needless to say, she wasn't surprised when she felt a hand drift down to her bottom, and turned and smacked him upside the head. Kagome sighed and Inuyasha's ears twitched as he pretended to ignore the whole thing.
"One of these days Miroku-sama's going to have a permanent brain injury," she noted, allowing a faint smile.
Sango smiled at her friend. "Nah. I would never hit him that hard… besides, he needs to have some sense knocked into him. If he didn't…"
"What?" Miroku broke in, rubbing the top of his head, wincing at the bruise.
The taijiya blushed and looked away. "Nothing," she said quickly. The monk saw a glimpse of the sad, distant expression she had on her face whenever she was thinking about past memories, but there had been something else in her expression that he couldn't quite make out.
Kagome had also noticed the brief look on her friend's face, but chose to say nothing. If there was something bothering Sango, she would talk about it if and when she felt like it.
A short time passed and the group made their decision to stay at the closest village inn nearby. It wasn't a far walk, but by the time they got there, they were ready to settle down and get some rest. Inuyasha wanted to stay outside to sleep on the tree branch not far from the entrance of the inn so he could keep on the watch for any suspecting demons.
Sango, Miroku, Kagome, and Shippou went inside, requesting for a room. The manager gave them a half-suspicious, half-frightened look, but gave them directions. Kagome and Shippou decided to sleep in the room. Kirara would be keeping Sango company along with the monk. Sango was a bit tense when the group decided the sleeping arrangements, but she knew the monk wouldn't try anything past groping.
Kagome and Shippou headed into another room to settle down. Sango turned towards Miroku. "Should we get -" Then she cut herself off as she noticed, with a surge of mixed emotions, though mostly irritation, that he was holding the hands of an extremely pretty village girl and talking to her. "Houshi-sama… Houshi-sama!" she called again, trying to get his attention, which was focused solely on the girl.
He finally turned to look at her for a moment, but even then, she knew that she didn't have his complete attention. "Yes?"
She faltered, embarrassment sweeping across her cheeks by way of a light blush. "Um… we should get settled in. The room's down this way," she added, pointing unnecessarily down the hall. Then she looked back at him. He was deep in conversation with the woman again, and she couldn't even tell if he had actually heard her. Then he acknowledged her words, his voice sounding vague to her.
"Okay. You go ahead."
Trying hard not to be offended by his words, she sharpened her tone of voice, giving him an obvious hint that she wasn't going to be accepting whatever excuse he had for flirting this time so easily. "Alright. But are you coming?"
He waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. "In a minute. Just go ahead."
Shooting him a warning glare that he didn't even notice, she sighed, heading into the room that was one door down from Kagome and Shippou's. After entering it, she put her stuff near the side of the bed and balanced Hiraikotsu against the wall. Then she sat on the bed, putting her head in her hands. Maybe she was just overreacting; after all, it had a been a long day, so maybe her fatigue was starting to catch up to her. Maybe a good night's sleep was all that she needed.
Ten minutes passed, and she didn't hear him coming down the hall. Finally she chose to head out again and somewhat 'patiently' remind him that they were here to spend a night just relaxing and getting some rest, but she never got the chance. Dinner was announced the moment that she arrived in the main room, and the guests crowded around, fumbling in pockets or bags for money to pay for food. It was also the same moment that she noticed he was still holding onto that girl's hand, and rather possessively as he got up to retrieve some dinner for them. Kagome had obviously noticed this quite a while ago, but she didn't say anything, not wanting to annoy or upset Sango even more. Shippou quickly grabbed some food; being the young kid he was, he usually had a bigger appetite than the rest of them.
Normally the group ate together. But Miroku got the food, then returned to the girl's side. Kagome and Shippou sat down not too far from him, expecting the monk to get up and join them, although Kagome had noticed the forced friendliness between her friend and the monk. She knew something was going on, but didn't mention it, handing Shippou some food on a plate and a pair of chopsticks.
Sango sat down by her friends, but didn't make any move to pick up a plate or chopsticks. She just sat there, staring at the girl who was Miroku only a few seats across the room. Miroku was deep in conversation with the girl with his arm around her shoulder, and she laughed at some of the things he was saying. Kagome nudged the taijiya, motioning to the food.
"Hey, Sango-chan, don't you want something to eat? We haven't eaten since before noon, I'm starving," she said. But Sango didn't seem to hear her.
"He's been with her the entire evening, hasn't he." She still hadn't taken her gaze off of the young lady.
Kagome frowned. "He's flirting again, is he? Maybe I should go talk to him."
"No." Sango stood up rather abruptly, and her gaze hardened. "I will." When Kagome loaded a plate with some food, her friend waved it off. "I'll eat later. I have to go do something. Besides…" Her voice lowered as jealousy and hurt filled it. "I don't really have much of an appetite at the moment."
Shippou started to eat. Kagome watched the taijiya make her way over to the monk, feeling apprehension and worry fill her. She had seen Miroku behave this way around girls before, but somehow she knew things were going to be different this time. She had never seen her friend look so upset before, although Sango was trying to hide her feelings.
Sango approached Miroku, and the girl beside him stopped talking at once.
"Houshi-sama, are you not joining us for dinner?" Her slightly accusing gaze swept once over the girl before looking at her companion.
Miroku gave her a genuine smile, but Sango had the feeling that the expression on his face wasn't really directed at her, more like on the awkwardly increasing situation at hand. "No, that's alright. This girl, Shizuku, her husband died awhile back in a war, and I thought I'd comfort her."
You just want an excuse to - to…
She forced a smile. "Well, it'd be nice if you could join us." Inwardly she was yelling at him for being such a lecherous jackass, and planning on whacking him so hard with her Hiraikotsu that he would have permanent brain damage.
"It would be," he agreed, turning his attention back to the girl. "But I think she would appreciate my company more, wouldn't she?"
Shizuku nodded. "I would."
Sango's temper rose despite her inward efforts to keep calm and not attract the attention of others. "Have you asked her to bear your child yet Houshi-sama?" she shot at him.
The smile faded from his face as he looked at her angry expression. "I assure you that I did no such thing. I'm being honest… I'm only here to offer her my company. Nothing else." He tugged his hand out of Shizuku's, and the girl gave him a curious, disappointed look.
"Really? That's not what you said," she said, resulting in getting a frightened look on Miroku's face and an increasingly angry look on Sango's. By now, some of the people nearby were starting to look at the inn. Kagome was still eating, but her attention was still fixed on the three.
Things don't look so good. If only Miroku didn't act like that…
Miroku opened his mouth to say something, but he didn't get the chance to. Sango looked at Shizuku, and although the girl knew the expression of anger on the taijiya's face was not directed at her, she still felt uneasy and leaned against Miroku as if he could shield her.
"What did he say to you, Shizuku-san?" she demanded.
Miroku laughed nervously, trying to shift away from the girl, but she merely kept scooting closer to him, almost as if she wanted to cuddle in his arms. "He - he said that if I wanted to, since my husband is gone, he would stay with me for as long as I needed him to." The monk inwardly sighed in relief, but his panic increased when Shizuku continued.
"He also wanted to know if I wanted to bear his child," she said, still sounding timid. "I said I would think about it, since no one else is apparently with him." Then she paused and sent the taijiya a fearful glance. "You're - you're not with him, are you?"
"It doesn't matter," she said, looking down, her bangs obscuring her eyes. Her rage had started to simmer down, and all of a sudden she wanted to be as far away from the monk as possible. "It really doesn't matter."
Oblivious to the taijiya's sensitivity towards the situation, Shizuku beamed. "Good! You don't mind if he stays for a little while, do you?"
Kagome decided it was time to interrupt before things got worse. After telling Shippou to stay where he was and that she would be back shortly, she swallowed the food in her mouth and made her way over to the other three. "Um, Sango-chan -" she began, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder, but the taijiya pushed it away and left, not looking back.
"Leave me alone!"
Miroku watched her leave and turned to look at Shizuku. "Will you wait for a few minutes? I need to sort something out." He got up as Shizuku nodded, heading in the direction that Sango had left in. The girl looked at Kagome.
"What did I say? Is that woman going to be alright?"
Kagome just shook her head, offering Shizuku a faint smile. "I don't know. But don't worry about it. I'm sure Miroku-sama will be able to resolve things. Sango-chan just needs some time to calm down, like always."
Sango broke into a run as soon as she stepped outside the door, not caring where she was going. She just wanted to be away from him. She ran not far from the inn, stopping to lean against a tree trunk. In a way, she wanted him to follow her, and in a way, she didn't. She didn't want to face him, yet…
The tears trailed down her cheeks and she wiped them away. She didn't want him to see her crying over something as stupid as this. She was just over-reacting. But even if his "Will you bear my child?" line was out of habit, then why did she still hurt like this whenever she saw him flirting with others?
She knew the answer. She was tired of putting up with this every time they stopped to rest at a village.
Maybe she didn't matter to him as much as she had originally thought.
"No… that's - that's not -" She covered her mouth, trying to cover up the sound of her own trembling voice. Taking a deep breath, she tried to calm herself so she could head back without making Kagome worry about her too much, and also to give the houshi a piece of her mind, even though she already knew what sort of pathetic excuse he'd give her this time.
But she didn't have to head back. He had followed her, and soon as she stepped out from behind the tree, their gazes connected.
He looked concerned about her, worry evident in his violet eyes as he approached her. She didn't move back, choosing instead to lower her gaze to the ground.
He moved his hand out to touch her shoulder, to silently ask for forgiveness for what Shizuku had said, but she flinched, backing away and not meeting his gaze. "Sango, don't be like this. You know I was only kidding around when I - "
She didn't give him the chance to finish. Jerking her head back up, she tried to glare at him, to make him feel the pain of being cheated on over and over again, but the effect was somewhat ruined by the tearstains on her face.
"You know what? I don't want to hear it."
She turned to walk away, to try and regain control over her conflicting emotions, and he grabbed her shoulder, although his grip was gentle. "Sango, just listen to me for a moment. It was only a joke. You know that I want to be with you after -"
"No, Houshi. I don't know that." Although her words had a soft quality to them, they still cut through him.
"What are you saying?"
"I'm tired of it. I'm tired of everything," she said, her voice barely above a whisper. "I'm tired of having to deal with you constantly flirting with others girls and making meaningless promises. The same promise you made to me."
"Meaningless promises?" he repeated, looking confused. "What are you talking about?" He paused, his confusion fading away as he started trying to figure out what she was saying. "Sango, is this even about the other girls I've… flirted with?" He tried to ignore the way she stiffened at his words.
"So you're not as dense as Inuyasha… what did you think it was about?" she demanded, suddenly turning around to face him. There were tears gathering in her eyes.
He moved his hand from her shoulder, thinking up a proper response. "Is that all this is about? I'm not serious when I ask them, Sango, it's only -"
"I don't care what it is. I don't care what type of excuse you've thought up to cover your actions. I just don't care anymore. It's not like you do, otherwise you'd be making more of an effort to stop it." She looked at him, only mildly surprised to see pain and hurt etched across his face. Finally, she had managed to get through to him.
It took him an increasing amount of effort to keep his voice steady. "Don't say that. I do care. I care more than you think I do."
"Then why?" she whispered, tears choking her voice. "Why do you act like you don't?"
He didn't answer. She moved out of the range of his grasp and started to walk away.
"Sango, wait! We can resolve this!"
"No, we can't, Miroku."
He stopped, surprised at the fact that she had finally used his real name rather than his title. But the surprise quickly turned to shock at her next words.
"There is no we."
He slowly shook his head, trying to comprehend what she had just said. He hurried to catch up to her, turning her around to face him and placing his hands on her shoulders to try and get her attention. She didn't look up at him, but he could tell by her breathing that she was trying not to cry. "What do you mean?"
"I mean that we can't have a relationship."
"You're just saying that," he said, allowing a faint grin to cross his face. It faded when he heard the desperation in her voice.
"I am not. When will you ever be serious about things, Miroku? When will you realize that there is only so much I can take before I give up? We don't have a relationship to consider, and I don't think it would ever work out."
She covered her face with her hand to hide the tears from him. It took him a minute to register what she was trying to tell him.
"You - you don't want -" he started to say, and she moved away from him, wiping her eyes.
"I don't want to be with you anymore."
A cold fear raced up his spine. They had just started to advance their relationship, and now, she was shutting him out. He tried one last time, a weak smile spreading across his face as he tried to find words. "You - you don't mean that, Sango. You're just upset right now and -"
"No." That one word effectively shut up any responses he had thought up to try and convince her not to do this. "I don't want to be with you anymore, Miroku."
It was amazing how one sentence could affect him so easily. He felt paralysed by her words, and she brushed past him back to the others. Not only did the sentence hurt him, but the impact of her using his real name for something such as this had a much greater effect than any of her insisting words could. He stood there, unable to think of something to say at first. Then he slowly turned around. "Where are you going? What about the others?" To him, his voice sounded distant. So did hers.
"If I tell you, you'll just follow me," she said, stopping for a moment. "I'm going to speak with Kagome-chan. Whether or not you mention anything about what happened is entirely up to you."
"But… " He struggled to think of something to say, anything to stop her from leaving him. "But are you coming back to us? To - to me?"
Her head lowered. When she spoke, he had to strain to hear her voice. "There is nothing to come back for."
His voice was just a whisper, and he attempted to make it loud enough for her to hear, but the pain had constricted his throat. "Did our… did our friendship - our companionship - mean that little to you?"
"No. It meant more to me than anything. But it wasn't important to you."
In truth, she wanted to be with him. She wanted to be with him so much that it hurt, almost like an open wound that wouldn't stop bleeding. She wanted him to say he cared about her, that he loved her, that she meant more to him than anything else. And in a way, she already knew that. But no matter how many times he told her any of those things, she would never believe him. She loved him, and her heart felt like it was about to shatter into pieces with what she had decided, but there was nothing else to do. This was the only way to get the message across to him, and it would cost both of them something that could never be reclaimed.
She continued to walk away, her head still lowered, and this time he made no attempt to catch up to her. He could say something, anything to make her stay, anything to correct his past mistakes. Or he could say nothing and let the pain fade, knowing that she would somehow be able to move on.
He chose to say nothing. There was nothing he could say that would make her change her mind. He knew that, and it tore at him.
He wasn't aware of walking back into the inn or the expression on Kagome's face. He wasn't aware of all the questions, and when Shizuku asked him if things were okay, he smiled and said that things were alright. The taijiya came from the hallway with her Hiraikotsu. Seeing him standing there, she stiffened for a moment, then lowered her eyes and swiftly walked past him. No final words left her lips.
The group, minus one member, left later in the afternoon. Sango's absence was noticeable, but no one questioned it until later. When he had returned, avoiding everyone else with his eyes downcast, Shizuku assumed that it had had to do with Sango. The monk said nothing of the conversation, but Kagome knew what had happened. Miroku hadn't been very attentive when anyone spoke to him, remaining silent for the rest of the brief time they had spent there. She didn't need to ask; she could tell the way his eyes filled with sadness and regret. He stopped trying to charm the women at other villages, and eventually started to travel on his own again. Finding an heir to complete his mission didn't seem so urgent anymore.
If he was alone, he could cope with the silence.
If he was alone, time wouldn't matter.
If he was alone, he could avoid the endless questions that the others never stopped asking.
"What happened between you and Sango?"
"Did she say when she was coming back?"
"Even if she did… she would never look at me in the same way again."
Things would never be alright.
Not without Sango.
Owari. I tried to keep an open ending about what Miroku would do if Sango left him for good, but I doubt I was successful. For those of you that say, "Oh come on, it was only a little flirting. Sango can put up with it." True, but there is only so much a person can take before they give up. In this case, Sango got fed up, so she stopped believing any excuses he was trying to tell her. Oh, if anyone's confused about the departures of Sango and Miroku, Sango collected her stuff and left the others. Miroku stayed with them for a short while longer, then decided to continue on his own because being with the others constantly reminded him that Sango was gone. Anyway, I got a bit of help on this from the PoF. Hope you liked it!