Comfort

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Do I really need to say what this is about? The same fluffy stuff I normally do between Miroku and Sango. And yes, I have written my lovely angst descriptions. I try to put more Romance into my one-shots, but it almost always takes the direction of tears and comfort. What can I say? I love angst.

"Kohaku is a kind and gentle boy… "

"You know Kohaku? Where is he? Is he alright?"

"Kohaku is alive… he's alright…"

She was getting tired of it all. Tired of hoping. Tired of remembering everything that had happened. Tired of defending her brother. But mostly she was tired of watching him refuse to remember everything that had happened.

Not that she could blame him…

Of course, she would never blame him. She would die defeating Naraku before she let him shoulder the guilt of doing something that he had been forced to do.

"We're saved! We're saved! Thanks to Kohaku, we're okay!"

But he had done something good this time. Otherwise the townsfolk would not have been so happy, practically dancing. And when they had questioned her about Kohaku's whereabouts, the pain that was always just below the surface rose past her control and broke free, and she had burst into tears, unable to hear anymore. Kagome had comforted her this time, and although she didn't say anything to the group about Kohaku's disappearance, she had a feeling they knew what had happened.

Not that it would be hard to guess. It was pretty much the same thing every time.

Kohaku is forced to kill someone or put someone else in harm's way.

Even though I know it's not really his fault, and he is allowing Naraku to take over his mind so he won't have to face me and feel the shame because I saw what he did, I should hate him. I should. I have to; it is the only way I will be able to get through this. I can't allow myself to feel emotional when the time comes…

But I know I will be, even though I try my hardest not to.

He is still my brother. No matter what, he is still my younger brother, the same person that asked me what it was like slaying a demon for the first time after I came home from my first mission. He is still the same person that followed me around when I was demon slaying, and somewhere deep inside of him is that shy, polite little boy.

The crackle of the fire seemed distant as she recalled her earlier encounter with her brother. He had retreated, asking her who she was, the old fear back in his eyes that she recognized as someone just not knowing who he was, or where he was and what he was doing. Back before Naraku had yet to gain full control of his mind. She should have been thankful that he wasn't attacking, that she wasn't being forced to defend herself while shouting tearfully at him to try and remember who she was, and that she wasn't a danger to him, but instead of feeling relieved, she felt more empty than ever.

After all this time, and he still didn't know who she was. Then again, seeing the blood covering all the dead bodies, and the red stains covering the grey outfit of the boy that used to be so happy and innocent in front of her made her falter. She had seen all this happen before; she would arrive on the scene just after he was done obeying Naraku's command, and he would back away, while lashing out his scythe in an attempt to keep her away while he escaped.

But it had still been done, and it still hurt. It almost hurt her as much as it would hurt him when he finally remembered.

If he ever remembers.

It's all my fault that he is being forced to do this. I should have done something. I should have been faster, I should have stopped it.

Then maybe… things would have been different.

She bit her lip and stared out at the night sky.

But even if he does remember everything that happened… would he be able to take it? Would I be able to lessen the guilt to help him through it?

She looked down. Kirara lay beside her, brushing her fur along the taijiya's side for comfort. Almost absentmindedly Sango reached out and petted the feline, silently thanking her. Although Kirara could not say anything to comfort her mistress, Sango found solace in the shared silence between them, and in its own way, that comforted her.

Suddenly she was aware of someone just behind her shoulder and casually sitting down beside her. The purple that she could see out of the corner of her eyes told her it was the monk. "Houshi-sama?"

"Is it okay for me to be here?" he asked, sounding calm, although she knew he was worried about her. He didn't look at her as he spoke, but somehow, that soothed her. Just knowing he was there, that he cared.

She didn't answer, but turned to look at him, her hand stopping the almost methodical movement of stroking Kirara's fur. When he spoke again it was in the same calm tone, but this time she could hear true concern along with some hesitation in his voice. He didn't want to intrude on her if she wanted to be alone, and she could understand that. Normally, she would have refused, but she felt like being held by him, just so that she knew she would not be alone. Just as she was about to open her mouth and answer his question, he beat her to it, still not looking at her.

"I don't want you to have to suffer alone," he said quietly, knowing that she was watching him carefully. Not because she thought he would try any lecherous moves on her, but because she was unsure. She was unsure about everything at this point in time, and he wanted to provide her comfort, even if it was just sitting here with her and not saying anything. "Is there anything I can do?"

She lowered her gaze back down to the grass, and Kirara got up and left, understanding that Sango wanted to be with Miroku alone. She had already cried earlier about Kohaku's departure, and she wasn't about to again. However, there was an ache deep inside of her that could not be soothed, no matter what the monk did to reassure her. She briefly looked away, not wanting him to see the traces of the emotional pain that Kohaku unintentionally had caused her earlier, but she was sure her voice would betray her feelings anyway.

"For now… just be with me," she said, her voice nearly a whisper.

"I understand." After a moment's pause, he reached over and gently drew her closer to him. She leaned against him, her head almost under his chin against his shoulder.

They sat there in silence for a short while. While Sango loved the serene compassion she was receiving from Miroku, she knew it was only temporary. She wasn't quite sure just how much he really cared about her feelings towards him, but for now, all she wanted from him was comfort. She needed it badly, and sometimes she felt as though he was the only one out of the rest of the group that really understood. Then again, it wasn't like they could understand. Nothing like that had happened to any of their companions, and as that thought passed in her mind, she felt more alone in her suffering than when she had seen her brother leave the area.

He turned so he could see the expression on her face. Her eyes were closed as she rested against him, although a few tears were silently streaking down her face. Tentatively he raised a hand and gently wiped away the salty trails, barely touching her skin as if afraid he would be slapped. At the same time, however, he knew she was far too upset to be thinking that he might be trying to pull any lecherous moves on her, so he silently thanked whatever god that was out there for this extremely rare opportunity to be so close to her.

"Sango… are you alright?" Although he knew it was a stupid question given the recent circumstances with Kohaku, it would also imply to her that he really was concerned about her.

To his surprise, she took his hand from her face and held it on her lap as she opened her eyes partway. She sat back up and moved her other hand to touch the spots where her tears had silently fallen. "I'm crying… again?" she murmured, barely audible. Then her gaze travelled to the hand she held in her own and she looked at Miroku.

"It's okay," he said. His arm was no longer around her shoulders, but by his side.

What was okay, neither of them knew, but right now, at this moment, they were sharing something. Maybe it was comfort and reassurance that things would work out. Maybe it was the unspoken understanding of sharing a special relationship that they had not really noticed developing between them before. Just maybe.

"Everything is going to be okay, right?" she asked, her voice trembling. It was taking the majority of her strength to remain composed. She had already cried enough about Kohaku, and she didn't want to dwell on the possibilities if things did not go as planned. More like if she failed again.

"Sango…"

Miroku knew that she was close to it. The emotional barrier she had put up all this time was fading away again, and for the first time in months he was starting to realize just how vulnerable she was under her warrior mask. She was so close to him, yet so far away at the same time. He wanted to gather her in his arms and rock her. He wanted to kiss her and tell that he would make sure she achieved everything she wanted. But he could do none of those things unless she gave him permission. So he tried to reassure her with his words. It didn't take long for him to realize what a futile attempt it was.

"Sango, it's okay to cry," he said softly as she tugged her hand out of his. He watched her rub at her eyes to try and prevent the oncoming tears of despair.

"No."

"I know you are suffering because of your brother, Sango. I know he took off before you had a chance to speak with him, and that it is difficult to meet up with him while he has no memory of you, but -" He never got to finish, as she interrupted him, but her voice was weak as she struggled not to fall apart in front of him.

"It's more than difficult. He… he refuses to remember, and while he refuses, Naraku takes control of him and makes him do things that I sometimes blame myself for because I did not prevent it from happening." She took a deep, shuddering breath and closed her eyes briefly. "I know I shouldn't… that I didn't realize things fast enough… but - but he's my sibling, and… I just… I just can't…"

He looked at her, and she opened her eyes, covering her mouth to stifle the sobs. He shifted closed to her and pulled her into his lap. He half expected her to lash out at him for doing something that suggested intimacy between companions, especially with her, but she didn't. In fact, she seemed to welcome it, clutching the material of his robes and burying her face into his chest. He could feel her entire body trembling from her tears.

"I can't… I can't watch him do this anymore," she sobbed, tightening her grip. He stroked her hair and moved his hands up and down her back to soothe her. He wasn't sure if she wanted him to say anything, if she just needed this time alone with him to let her sorrow and pain out, but before he could think of something to say, something that would not necessarily raise her hopes too high or crush them completely, she spoke again, her voice watery.

"I want him back, but he'll never be the same person again," she choked out. "I want him to be at peace… to be free of that bastard…" Her breaths were becoming shorter as she struggled to regain composure over her emotions.

"Don't worry, Sango," he said softly, and he placed his hands on her shoulders to get her attention. She looked up at him, and just by gazing into her eyes he could see all the fear, pain, and loneliness she had hidden for so long, finally starting to emerge in a mixture of despair. "Along with the others, I will do whatever it takes to get your brother back."

She stared at him for another moment, and he could tell that she was thinking about his words. He brushed his thumb over her cheek, wiping away more of her tears. She closed her eyes and breathed in, then lay her head against his chest.

Just maybe.

Please review. Most of the dialogue was from an actual episode relating to Kohaku. I hope that this short one-shot still conveyed the same emotion as my other stories apparently did.