Requiem Of A Death Toll
By Kito-sama

Author's note: Whew. This chapter took a while, and it's only three pages of writing. I'm sorry it's taken so long. It's certainly not as good as the past few, but I promise some action in the next few chapters. Go ahead and flame for this chapter if you wish; I just wanted to get something up so y'all don't desert me, I can assure you that if you wish, it will be rewritten by the end of the week. Summer's finally upon us New Yorkers, and as I have nothing better to do, you will get more fanfiction-love from yours truly.

Chapter Three
Of Friendship Links and Miroku's Hi-jinks

Their path was leading them nowhere.

Sango could have sworn that she had passed that one fig tree with the claw-like boughs at least three times by now.

"Inuyasha, are you quite sure we're headed in the right direction? I don't sense any jaki, and we appear to be going in circles." Miroku's voice said from somewhere not to far behind her. It was simply amazing how Miroku did that; he always seemed to say the right thing at the right time, almost as if to present the illusion that he was reading her very thoughts (was it due to his monk upbringing, perhaps?). Then, it wouldn't be too surprising if they had all been thinking the same thing--that seemed to have been happening a lot lately, almost as if a link had been forged between their minds from their short but true friendship. However, a lot of the time, Inuyasha's faulty sense of direction tended to leave them all wondering if he was included in their "link"; they all seemed to know if they were headed nowhere, except him.

And unfortunately, Inuyasha was the leader, the full package, including the "my way or the highway!" attitude. The fact that they had passed the same fig tree with the claw-like boughs was certainly not unusual anymore, as so much time had passed with them together that they were used to walking by landmarks several times before actually getting anywhere. Some link.

"Feh! Bouzu no baka!" The uncouth hanyou interjected sourly, not turning around at Miroku's address but simply folding his arms in his haori coat. "Who's the one with the demon senses here? Me!" Inuyasha tutted in a disapproving way that was just dripping with superiority and he turned his skilled nose towards the sky, into the universal "I'm better than you" sign.

Well, okay, save Inuyasha. He was always a bit thickheaded when it came to such thinking things, as Kagome-chan would oh-so-bluntly state when he was being particularly idiotic, or if he was just being more dense than usual when it came to spying on Sango-chan and Miroku-sama.

After hearing Miroku's voice Sango cautiously moved her Hiraikotsu to block her bottom, as fondling the fabric that covered her backside was very obviously Miroku's favourite sport. Because of this, the unsubtle, sukebe houshi would never miss an opportunity to cop a feel, so to speak, and tick her off.

Or was it simply because he yearned for her touch?

Regardless, Miroku scowled inwardly but said nothing to further the point; the hand of a taijiya was swift and hard, and he had had enough experience in that to last him a long lifetime, however oxymoronic that might have been. A sharp whap! to the head from Miroku's shakujou was the penalty for Inuyasha's rudeness, and when he felt the staff make contact with his skull he jumped, fists clenched, beet red face right in his attacker's

"Bouzu no baka!" Inuyasha repeated angrily, one strong hand pinning Miroku to the depressingly familiar fig tree with the claw-like boughs, its partner gingerly rubbing the rapidly growing sore on his head from the sharpened metal's blow. "What the hell was that for!"

Ever the sarcastic man, the corners of Miroku's lips upturned into a satisfied smile, his eyes sealed in feigned meditation. "Hai, Inuyasha, you are indeed demon," he replied, one drawingly dark purple eye slit open, ignoring the rude name as he had countless hundreds of times before, "but who is the man with spiritual powers here? Me, Miroku no houshi-sama

Sango struggled to hold down a laugh as Inuyasha's large amber eyes bugged out at such a trivially obvious remark. The dog demon obviously wasn't in the to argue with him (though knowing he was superior in all ways to the lecherous monk); and as Miroku was released and dropped to the ground (bouncing slightly on that attractive bottom of his), small giggles erupted from the usually stoic demon slayer's throat. It was almost like a volcanic explosion, as she had kept her emotion in so long so often, but with such less force that it would be better compared to perhaps an ocean hot spring releasing pent-up bubbles from the scorching magma beneath.

Okay, maybe not that, either. But you get the idea.

So these were her friends. They were the oddest gang that Sango would ever have imagined--especially traveling with two exuberant demons, when her own profession was to slay the conscienceless ones for innocent, defenseless people, for a meager cash reward. It seemed as though that lifestyle she had cherished so had been long ago, many moons and ages, when it had not even been a year since her village had been attacked and burned, each human slaughtered so hideously brutally. Kagome-chan wasn't yet sixteen, Sango's own age, and had fallen down the Bone Eater's Well located in her family's shrine on her fifteenth birthday.

No, she would never have pictured herself traveling with such a mismatched band of companions. Not in the many ages of this Earth would she ever have seen it. And yet…it had happened. How ironic free will can be, and yet so horribly cruel.

What an interesting birthday gift, Sango mused, back on the subject of her dear friend Kagome-chan, feet moving forward as if by their own will in the direction that the others had started to continue in. To fall down a well looking for your cat and ending up five hundred years before your own time.

Sango, daijobukaCame Miroku's voice from behind for the second time, again clearly slicing through her train of thought. He had gotten up and brushed off the many folds in the back of his priest's robe and was now walking behind Sango, a look of concern within that piercing violet stare. His eyes were sparkling in that way he did when his keen brain usually hatched a plan, thus making Sango her wary, alert self again.

Sango stopped suddenly in mid-step, placing a finger thoughtfully on the bottom of her chin, eyes focused ahead on absolutely nothing. "Hai," came her almost disconnected reply after a moment's quiet pause, the only sounds in premise being that of their partners' shuffled footsteps and the birds' cheery chirps. Distracted, she rotated her shoulder in an effort to remove the kinks from it, and then turned her head towards the baffled monk, lips sporting a small smile. "Hai," she repeated again. "I'm alright. Just thinking."

Adopting an innocent expression on that boyishly cute face of his, Miroku strode forward, grasping one of her delicate, petite, yet strong hands in his own large, mannish, tragically cursed hand. "Sango, let me assure you that whenever you feel the need to think, to bounce thoughts off of a comrade and friend, I will be there to be your muse." He said, his voice charming as ever, eyes still housing that mischievous, devilish, almost childish sparkle that seemed perpetually ongoing, except for when he was sad; his sadness usually dulled his beautiful eyes, and this was usually the only way Sango could tell if something was wrong with the corrupt monk.

That was certainly an unusual remark for Miroku to make; but then, Miroku was a kind person, if not tainted in the mindset. Sango was taken aback by his kindness, but when she felt the familiar caress of a hand on a backside and the familiar tingle up her spine, she knew that it was all just for no good and a loud smack echoed through the forest, the sound bouncing off of trees, scaring birds from said trees and making squirrels run.

Miroku half smiled, half smirked and touched the deep red, throbbing impression made by Sango's hard hand and said sparkling, deep eyes shone with three simple words--

She wants me.

Author's note: Thanks again guys, for being so hospitable. I'm sorry this is such total crap, but hey, at least it's something. (As one can tell, I have self-esteem issues.) However, you can expect two updates, tops, for a while; our moving date is scheduled for the fifteenth, which means I'll be packing about half of the week beforehand, and moving everything in for about a week afterwards.

I really appreciate all of the nice reviews I've been sent. - It's not many, but it's still something, and it makes me feel good inside to know that people enjoy my works.

Arigatou gozaimashita!


Chapter originally posted June twenty-eighth, two-thousand five.