For The Better by ravenskyeblackhawk
Disclaimer: Inuyasha is sooo not mine.
Kagome sighed. The battle had been a success. Two shards had been recovered and all in all, it had been a good haul. The gang fought like crazy and won even though Inuyasha had to be Osuwari'd in the midst of it for being a cocky bastard to her. He was out for a good moment and for some reason, Sango had gotten upset with Kagome for doing it. Kagome couldn't understand why, for the hanyou had deserved it.
Kagome was kneeling by the bank, rinsing off the blood of many youkai from her face and arms when she heard a giggle. Turning to look behind her, she saw Inuyasha and Sango wiping blood and gore from each other's faces.
She couldn't believe what she was seeing. When the hell had this happened? They were acting so loving towards each other...
Turning back around, she shakily resumed her washing. This time, her tears mingled with the river water as she bent over to wash her face. She could feel her heart breaking.
Kagome loved Inuyasha. She loved him so much, that she didn't care he put her second to a dead woman. It was enough that he stayed with her and protected her.
But was it?
He didn't love her. At least, not like he had loved Kikyo. He would never love her as much as he loved Kikyo. And now... had Sango usurped her spot in Inuyasha's heart?
She turned around once more to see the two of them sitting and talking quietly together. It certainly seemed that Sango had. Kagome hadn't even realized that they were so close.
"Oi, Kagome! When's dinner ready? I'm dying for some ramen!" Inuyasha called out from his spot next to Sango.
"Okay, I'm coming," Kagome replied, her voice breaking slightly. She reached for her backpack and pulled it to her with a shaking hand. After fumbling around aimlessly within its depths and realizing that there was nothing she needed in it, she started to rise to her feet. But she stumbled instead and would have pitched head first into the river if it had not been for a strong, warm hand steadying her. She looked up into a pair of warm, albeit, saddened dark blue eyes.
So, she thought, as he pulled her to her feet, Miroku had seen Sango and Inuyasha as well.
"Do not think of it, Kagome-sama," he whispered hoarsely. "The pain you feel now shall pass with time."
Kagome continued to stare up at him. "What of your pain, Miroku-sama?" she asked quietly. She felt so bad for him, despite his reputation as a hentai. Perverts had feelings too.
He shook his head. "Do not worry about me, Kagome. I have seen this coming. It was only a matter of time before this happened. Come, let us eat," he said, abruptly changing topics.
Kagome nodded slowly and they went over to Inuyasha and Sango together. It was odd though. She actually felt completely safe with Miroku. Kagome had never felt so comforted in anyone's presence before and she was thankful that it was Miroku who was with her.
Inuyasha and Sango had already made up a campfire and were now sitting side by side in front of it. They looked up at her and Miroku, smugness spreading over their faces. Kagome instantly felt ill, seeing them together. She opened her pack and drew out a couple of packs of ramen, then threw them at the two lovebirds.
"Here," she said, barely able to control her voice. "You cook them. I don't feel so well." With that, she turned and ran into the forest.
An hour later, Kagome was still sitting at her chosen spot, next to the river. Her eyes felt raw and gritty from shedding too many tears. She kept recalling the sight of seeing Inuyasha and Sango together, the look in their eyes that told her that they were lovers. How long HAD this been going on? How could she not have seen it? Was she THAT blind? Naive? Stupid?
She squeezed her eyes shut when the scene of them together washed over her again. The tears she thought she could no longer cry, fell onto her knees which were pulled up under her chin. Kami, she had never felt so much hurt before.
So immersed in her pain was she, that she did not hear the soft footsteps that approached her.
Miroku had followed her the moment she had run away, concerned for her safety. Youkai from the battle might still be lingering about and in her state of mind, she would be easy prey. Silently, he followed her until she came to a stop downstream and there she sat, sobbing her heart out.
He waited patiently until her sobs ceased but they only just began again.
Miroku sat down beside her and put an arm around her shoulders. Kagome did not start at his touch. Instead, she leaned into him, burying her face against him.
"Why Miroku? Why? I've done nothing but love him..." she sobbed into his robes.
Miroku closed his eyes for a moment and pulled her close. "What has happened is not your fault, Kagome. You must believe that. Inuyasha and Sango... They could not disguise their attraction for each other, as you can see. As hurtful as this is, you must not weaken. You are a strong young woman and you will live past this."
Kagome raised her head to look up at him. "B-but what of you? W-what of your f-feelings? I know this hurts you too," she stammered, wiping the tears from her cheeks. "I only have to look into your eyes."
Miroku stared out over the river. "I too shall go on. Yes, I love Sango. But it seems she cares for another and I must deal with that. I suppose I deserve it, seeing as how poorly I treated her for so long."
Kagome looked away across the last of the light that was playing on the river's surface. "Is that what happened to Inuyasha? Did I mistreat him and now he longs for another? Or rather," she muttered miserably, "is with another." She sighed and leaned against Miroku. "I want to know what I've done to him, so that I may fix it and move on."
Miroku shook his head. "You have done nothing to that ungrateful hanyou. You have always been kind to him but have shown him that you will not be bullied by him. It is he who is in the wrong, not you, Kagome."
Kagome inhaled and then heaved a shaky sigh into Miroku's robes. He smelt good...
Startled, her eyes flew open and stared into his dark purple and blue robes. Kagome jerked back away from Miroku and stared helplessly at him. Where the HELL had THAT come from?
...like everything wonderfully male. Earthy, woodsy, male...completely male...
She hurriedly got to her feet and backed away slightly.
"Kagome? What is it?" Miroku asked, completely baffled and somewhat alarmed. He stared up at her with confused eyes.
"It...it's nothing. Cramp," she lamely replied, almost groaning when she said it. She forced a smile. "Damned charley horse," she muttered, bending over and pretending to rub one calf.
"I see," he murmured and rose to his feet as well. "Shall we go back?" He held out his hand to her.
Kagome stared at his hand. It looked so warm and comforting and no doubt it was large enough to dwarf her own. She looked up at him and she very nearly stopped breathing.
He was so handsome, beautiful almost, in the dying light of the sun. Everything she saw now, she was sure she had never seen before in broad daylight. The planes of his face were somehow altered right before her and they intrigued her. His nose, his lips...changed but somehow, the same. The shadows accentuated his delicate bone structure and the curve of his cheek, the cylindrical shape of his throat.
She was literally seeing Miroku in a new light and now, Inuyasha was starting to become a person of little importance to her. Strange it should happen so soon after knowing she had lost him. But she knew she shouldn't feel anything for the houshi, for he still loved Sango.
Miroku, too, was experiencing the same feelings concerning Kagome. The light seemed to be playing with his eyes... for he felt that he had never seen such an angelic girl before. Yes, Kagome was indeed very beautiful... but this! This was an angel...
Her long dark hair flowed around her like black silk. Her eyes sparkled luminous and dark as she stared up at him. Kagome's ivory-tinted skin glowed a pale gold in the dimming light. All Miroku wanted to do was pull her in his arms and kiss her forever. Those lips... kami! She had the most perfect lips he had ever seen.
The black-haired angel gave him a tremulous smile and took his hand, trust bright in her magnificent eyes. Her hand was so small, that his fingers curled completely around it.
"I'm ready when you are," Kagome said, confidently. Her hand gripped his and he was afraid he would crush her delicate appendage.
"Okay, Kagome-sama. Let's go," Miroku said, nodding his head. But something made his chest ache. He knew she still loved Inuyasha.
They walked back to camp hand-in-hand in companionable silence.
A few days later, while Kagome and Kaede were heading back to her hut to start eating dinner since it was already made, they saw Miroku storming out of Inuyasha's Forest. His face was taut with anger as he came over and took Kaede's heavy pack from her. Kaede turned and bowed slightly at the furious-faced monk. "Thank ye, houshi-sama. That was rather weighty."
Miroku nodded shortly and moved ahead of them, walking towards the hut. Kagome and Kaede looked at each other questioningly. When they reached Kaede's hut, Kagome asked Miroku what was wrong.
He looked grimly at Kaede's fire before turning to face Kagome. "I saw them. Together. In the forest. Kami, they were...they were sleeping with each other."
The two women gasped and looked at each other in surprise. "Surely, Miroku, ye must have been mistaken," Kaede remarked. "Perhaps it was Inuyasha and my sister, Kikyo."
Miroku sat down heavily and put his face in his hands. "I know what I saw, Kaede-sama. I was not mistaken. It was Sango there with Inuyasha."
Kagome came over to Miroku and gently touched his shoulder. "We knew of this, Miroku. I regret that you had to see it, but at least we knew of it beforehand. Right?" she asked, hoping like mad that he wouldn't see how hurt she was by the news.
Looking up and taking her hand, he gently held it between his own. "You are right, but it does not make it easier when witnessed first hand." He sighed heavily and released her hand. "I have been thinking, these past few days. I should leave for awhile. I need time away from... all of this." Dropping her hands, he gestured with a broad sweep of his arms.
Kagome sat down next to him, pulling her legs to her chest. She rested her chin on her knees. "Why? Where would you go? How long do you plan to be gone?" she asked worriedly. Never had she thought that Miroku would wish to stop looking for Naraku and the shards, especially when they were unsure of just how much time he had left due to his Kazaana.
Miroku shrugged, fidgeting with his rosary beads. "Who knows. All I know is that I need to get away from here. Seeing Sango with Inuyasha... It's killing me inside." He hung his head wearily. "Kami help me, I still love her." He shook his head. "I need to get away from this life, at least for a little while."
Kagome stared into the fire despondently. So, Miroku would desert her too, huh? Typical...
Almost as if he read her thoughts, he went on, "But I cannot desert you and Shippo, Kagome," he remarked quietly. "I could not leave the two of you at the mercy of Inuyasha."
Kagome's head jerked up and she gazed at Miroku. "You mean that, Miroku? You wouldn't leave Shippo and me?" A spark of happiness filled her soul. She knew that he meant what he said. Finally, there was a man who she knew wouldn't leave her at the drop of a hat or because of another woman. A groper he might be, a filthy-minded houshi he might be, but no matter how big a hentai he was, when he made a promise... he kept it.
He nodded and smiled at her. Kagome couldn't help but smile back at him and that was when the idea hit her. He said he needed to get away from this life. So why not show him another one?
She seized his arm and slipped her hand into his. "Miroku! You want to get away? Well, how would you like to get away to my world? You know, come with me?"
Miroku stared at her, unblinking. "What are you saying, Kagome? That I go forward in time? Will I even be able to go through at all?"
Kagome grinned. "I don't know, but it's worth a shot, right? And don't worry, I'll help you adjust to the change. Inuyasha almost has it down..." she said excitedly, then broke off. Her face took on a solemn look. "Inuyasha... what if he finds out? Will he dislike that you can go through the well too? Oh dear." Dismay took over her features.
Miroku, who was not adverse to going to Kagome's time and was actually quite intrigued, reassured her. "Do not worry so. He will be too busy with Sango to notice." Seeing pain flash briefly in her eyes, he continued. "Besides, I can just tell him that I need to see my master and must meditate. He doesn't have to know I'll be with you in your time."
Kagome gave an excited yip and began to plan all the things they would together once in her world. Miroku and Kaede shook their heads, smiling indulgently at her. Miroku was actually enjoying Kagome's closeness. He looked down at her and watched her as she rattled on, not realizing just how close she was to practically sitting in his lap in her excitement. Not that he would be adverse to that, mind you. He still loved women. But there was just something about this girl that made him want to behave in her presence. It was as if he wished to act properly around her, to keep from running her off.
Kaede suddenly told Kagome to be silent. Kagome stopped her happy chatter and she and Miroku turned around. Inuyasha and Sango were coming close to the hut. Funny, Kagome thought, they were walking up slowly and leisurely, as though they hadn't been doing what they had been seen doing.
The occupants of the hut tensed up. Shippo crawled into Miroku's lap and practically buried himself inside the houshi's robes. Kirara, who was spending less and less time with her mistress and more time with Kagome and Shippo, leapt onto Kagome's lap.
"Hey everybody," Inuyasha said once inside the hut. Sango followed him inside and sat down on the other side of Miroku. She smiled sweetly, almost innocently, at him.
Miroku groaned inwardly. He wasn't in the mood for her little games. He scowled back at her and rose, wishing Kaede, Shippo and Kirara a good night. To Kagome, he asked if they could take a short walk to the village shrine to pray.
Kagome, who had already finished eating, nodded silently. Miroku took her bowl from her and handed it to Kaede. Shippo and Kirara jumped from their hiding places and landed on Kaede, almost as if they were frightened of something.
Miroku rose, then helped Kagome to her feet.
"What's the matter, wench? Can't stand on your own two feet?" Inuyasha sneered. Sango tittered a little.
Before Kagome could ask Sango why the hell she was acting this way, Miroku grabbed her by the hand and pulled her outside.
"Don't lower yourself to their level, Kagome. They just want to upset us," he told her in a low voice. He shot her a quick smile and gripped her hand a little more securely, lacing their fingers together.
After a moment, Kagome looked up at him, then down at their linked hands. Did Miroku realize he was still holding her hand? And the way he held her hand...was it indicative of something? Well, probably not. After all, he did say that he still loved Sango.
He pulled her along but they didn't go near the shrine. Instead, they went to the well. When they got there, Miroku sat down on the rim of the well, lifted his robes and put one leg over the side as if he were ready to jump in.
Kagome was immediately alarmed. "Miroku!" she cried and grabbed his arm. "What do you think you're doing?" she hissed, looking around them worriedly.
Miroku smiled into her distraught face. "Let's see if this contraption works, shall we?"
Taking one last look around, Kagome nodded and Miroku pulled her into his arms. Holding tightly onto his neck, she felt them free fall into the depths of the well.