Disclaimer- I don't own Inuyasha.

"Have you seen Miroku?"

Sango glanced over at Kagome from where she was cleaning the Hiraikotsu, and shook her head. "Actually," she said, pausing for a moment thoughtfully, "I haven't seen him since this morning. Want me to look for him?"

The time traveling girl nodded, smiling at her. "Tell him to come back in soon. Lunch is ready."

Nodding back, the demon slayer left the room. As she crossed the threshold, she heard Kagome's voice one more time.

"Inuyasha... you're awfully quiet."

Suspecting that she wasn't supposed to hear this part of the conversation, Sango left, keeping her eyes open for the wayward monk.

It was strange, she reflected. Somehow, traveling with this unlikely group of misfits, orphans and outcasts seemed natural, even after only a short while.

She'd grown attached to them, each of them in their own way.

Perhaps that was her way of dealing with the loss of her people.

Shaking herself away from those thoughts, Sango continued her search for Miroku. As she passed, Mushin exited a room, and crossed her path.

"Excuse me, have you seen Miroku?" the demon slayer asked.

The High Priest nodded, and jerked his head towards the massive hole in the ground in which they had found their friend the night before.

"He's in there." He said, and took a swig of his liquor.

Sango nodded and headed off in the direction of the crater, briefly wondering if every monk in Japan was as strange as Miroku and Mushin.

Her footsteps slowed as she reached the grassy edges of the slope, not wanting to disturb the monk in prayer. As it was, she found him with his back to her, staring at the grave they found him leaning against just the night before.

The demon slayer watched him for a moment, wondering how to place him. He seemed so contrasting... so light hearted and playful, but every day he was one step closer to death at the hands of his own power.

He was such a mystery.

"Please, Sango. If you're going to stay here, you might as well have a seat next to me." Miroku's smooth voice said, not turning back to look at her.

Remembering the deception and subsequent grope this morning, Sango narrowed her eyes and replied tersely, "I'd rather not."

"Suit yourself." The monk said, shrugging.

After a moment of awkward silence (at least for Sango), she asked quietly, "Who's grave is that?"

"My father's." Miroku replied solemnly, more subdued than she'd ever heard the lecherous holy man. "This entire crater, actually, is his grave site. This is merely the marker." Though, he reflected, there is no true grave, since there was no body to bury...

"Oh." Sango said awkwardly. "I... I'm sorry."

Though she couldn't see it, somehow, she could tell Miroku smiled at her. "It's quite alright, Sango. My father died a very long time ago... sucked into his own Wind Tunnel. The way I too, will probably die." His voice wasn't resigned or defeated or subdued... it was simply a statement, as though he were saying the sky were blue and the grass was green, not as though he were declaring his own death.

"You don't believe we will kill Naraku?" Sango asked, her voice containing a slight edge.

Miroku sighed, and stood up, back still turned towards the demon slayer. "I hope we will. But both my grandfather and father spent their lives hunting Naraku, and both were far better men than me." It was the first time she'd heard any sort of bitterness or wistfulness in the monk's voice.

And it scared her. His calm, collected demeanor seemed a reassurance in her failing world.

"But we'll be there too," Sango found herself saying hurriedly, reassuringly, "And even if your grandfather and father couldn't do it, you have Inuyasha and Kagome and Shippo and me..." she trailed off, unsure.

Miroku, on the other hand, turned and smiled at her, a real, honest, grateful smile. "Thank you, Sango. Your kind words are a reassurance beyond words." The corny line heralded a change in the smile, to that charlatan one he used constantly.

But just for that brief moment when he smiled and let his defenses down, Sango saw through the mysteries, and found a lonely, hurting soul.

Like her.

And her own smile gave way to an annoyed look. "Give it a rest, Miroku." Sango said, rolling her eyes, but hiding the smile in her heart. "Kagome says its time for lunch."

"Then lead on, my dear." The monk said charmingly.

The demon slayer resisted the urge to laugh and rolled her eyes again. "Oh please."

Together, the two of them headed back inside, but neither would forget the understanding forged here today.

Author's Notes

Sort of a sketch of the early relationship of Sango and Miroku, set after Episode 28. Not much else to say. I'll probably do a one shot on what Kagome and Inuyasha talked about while Sango and Miroku were away. Cordiale, by the way, means understanding in French. Just my way of trying to be fancy.