Only A Title?

Disclaimer: I own Inuyasha… in my dreams. In reality, it's a completely different story.

For those of you who have never seen the Japanese version, Sango has never called the monk by his real name. In Japan, it is considered a very intimate thing if you call someone by their proper name with no suffix. So basically, Miroku's title in Japanese is "Houshi-sama". The main concept behind the suffixes is trust, and that's why something like this is important for most fans.

Just a brief one-shot about why she still refuses to even after marriage.

He sat down the creek, the sunlight warming his robes. For a moment, he closed his eyes, just enjoying the peace and tranquility of the afternoon. The sound of gently flowing water filled his ears, as did the laughs and sounds of happy, busy people back at the village area.

Naraku had been defeated about a week ago, and since then, he and Sango had been married.

They were now living in the same hut, surrounded by friends and family. Kagome, however, couldn't stay very often. Since the victory over Naraku was gained, she had had to return home and catch up on her exams before she failed to pass high school. Inuyasha remained with them, although he was never in a good mood due to her absence. He still hadn't admitted his feelings for her, but his actions spoke for him and Miroku and Sango stopped pestering him about it.

He smiled and looked down at the palm of his right hand. As of a month ago, it would have been able to consume him along with the others if he dared remove the cloth and prayer beads that restrained it. As of today, there was smooth, somewhat pale skin where the black hole once existed. There wasn't a scar or anything to mark where it had been. In fact, the only reason he ever thought about it was that he no longer had to keep his palm covered by the cloth.

A warm presence sat beside him. Without turning to look at her, he knew it was Sango.

"Nice day, isn't it?" she said, shifting closer beside him so that their shoulders brushed. Her hair was free of the white ribbon that usually held it back, and it cascaded down her back in a shiny, fluid wave.

"Indeed, it is," he replied. "But you make it all the more worthwhile just by being here with me." He turned and smiled at her, and was not surprised to see her cheeks redden in embarrassment. Her brown eyes were filled with the happiness and peace that he had never imagined from her.

"Oh, stop it with the flattery Houshi-sama," she said in a lightly scolding tone. But she was still smiling, so he knew she fully accepted the compliment.

The two of them sat there in companionable silence. Miroku wanted to reach over and touch her, to put his arm around her and hold her close, but he didn't. He knew she wasn't used to such displays of affection and that she was still learning to trust him, and he wasn't going to push her. But there was one thing that, although it might never have occurred to her, that she might not have even given it a second thought, still bothered him.

It was quite simple, really. His name.

She had not yet spoken it once, and he wanted to know why.

Surely she would be able to do something like that. As significant as it may have seemed to her, it meant everything to him. It meant that she trusted him as more than just a friend. It meant that they could become closer rather than having a wall of tension between them every night, leaving her wondering if he loved her for who she was and not for what she could give him, and him wondering if she would ever fully trust him.

"Sango, could I ask you something?"

She glanced at him, the smile slowly ebbing from her face and a curious frown began to appear. "You sound… serious. Why's that?"

He took his time in answering, careful not to look at her. Instead, he chose to focus his gaze on the gentle waters of the creek. "Why do you insist on calling me by my title even after we have been married?"

She faltered, unable to come up with a reasonable response without sounding rude or blunt. "I… I guess I've never really thought about it. Does it bother you that much?"

"Yes, actually it does," he said calmly, trying not to sound irritated with her reply. "Why haven't you called me by my name yet, Sango?"

The taijiya shifted uncomfortably, leaving a few inches of space between them as she thought of what to say. "Because I think it suits you, Houshi-sama."

Now she was purposefully trying to annoy him. "It suits me?" He didn't have to ask what she meant by that; she could probably tell by the confused tone of his voice.

"Yes." She could sense where this was going, and obviously not wanting to continue this particular conversation with him, she got up, intending to discuss it later… after she had thought up a really good reason for not calling him by his name. But his hand caught her wrist before she could even stand up, and it forced her to sit back down again.

"What do you mean by, it suits me?" he asked, now turning to meet her gaze directly on. She blushed under his intense stare, but his grip didn't loosen.

"Well, you're still my companion, so I should call you by your proper title rather than by your name," she said after a pause. It was a pathetic excuse, and they both knew it.

He sighed. "Sango… is there something wrong?"

She shook her head, switching her gaze over to the creek. Finally, she spoke, her voice taking on a softer quality. "It's not that I don't trust you… it's… it's just that…" She broke her sentence off in mid-air and tried to get back up again.

"It's just that what? No, Sango," he said firmly, standing up to block her way back, and putting his hands back on her shoulders. "What's bothering you?"

She swallowed, still not meeting his gaze. "I assumed that after we defeated Naraku, you would go your own way because you didn't need an heir. I knew that you cared about me, but I had to keep calling you by your title so I could keep my guard up, and…" Her voice quietened. "… that way, I wouldn't get hurt. If you decided to leave me, I wouldn't feel upset about it."

He frowned. Now he was the confused one. "But Naraku was defeated about a week ago, and I'm still with you. I have no intention of leaving… so why would you think…"

"I was afraid," she said simply, though her voice had a hint of sadness in it. "I didn't want to lose you, but I didn't want to have to show you how much you mattered to me if you left. That's why."

He sighed as he drew her in for a hug. "I'm not leaving you. I don't care what happens, but I'm not leaving you. I care about you too much to do something like that, and besides… even if I did leave, it would be on my conscious for the rest of my life. Please, Sango. I want you to trust me. I know it will take time," he calmly added as if he knew she would try and argue, "and that I haven't been the most honourable person. But give me a chance. That's all I ask."

She hesitated, unsure of what to answer. She could hear his heart beating and his warmth surrounding her in a more intimate embrace, and she briefly closed her eyes, finally able to enjoy the peace she had been struggling to find. Her words were soft and her arms encircled his waist, wanting to be as close as possible to him. "I'll try."

"Thank you." He paused for a moment. "Sango?"

"Hmmm?"

"Could you say my name? I just want to hear it this once," he said.

The word was so quiet that he barely heard it. It was something he had been longing to hear for months, and he treasured the sound of it coming from her lips.

"Miroku."

To most people, it would be an insignificant little thing, of no real importance. Just a bunch of syllables spoken together to create a name.

But to Miroku, it meant everything.

Especially if it came from her.

Ah, this isn't one of my better fics, but I don't know how to increase it any longer without going off-topic. I'm sure you can think up at least 4 or 5 other reasonsthat Sango may not call Houshi-sama his real name for, but if I had included them this one-shot would have been a lot longer, and I didn't want it to keep going.

Feedback is always appreciated. (I did this without a rough draft, so it's probably not as good as it should be, but hey. I did my best for now.)

Iggy