A songfic done by request for Lavender Valentine. (you really have to read her AU Sess/Kagome story, Letters, it's WONDERFUL) The song is Lonely In Your Nightmare by DuranDuran. If you're reading this on FFnet, so sorry, you don't get to see the lyrics. If you want to see them, head on over to MMorg or AFFnet for the uncut version. The breaks are where I had lyrics inserted for dramatic effect.

Father, I'm so sorry…

Sango twisted the hem of her yukata between her hands as knelt on the ground. He wouldn't even look at her, her pulse was racing with fear and guilt and she couldn't think of anything to say other than she was sorry.

"Please," she begged, pleading with him to forgive her. "I tried, father! I couldn't save him. Kohaku…he's still my little brother! I can't just kill him."

You are no daughter of mine.

All around her the darkness gathered, the panic, the shame. Sango buried her face in her hands, trying to hide the sobs that only proved her weakness. He wouldn't forgive her, her father had raised her to be as strong as a man, fight like a man. That she'd grovel on the ground now, begging his forgiveness like a disobedient child, shamed them both.

"I know I've failed you, I've failed everyone," she whispered. His form shivered before her, muddy and indistinct one moment, solid and fearsome the next. It was all her fault that she hadn't slain Naraku to avenge their village and her fault she hadn't been able to free her brother. How could she have been so weak that she hadn't even been able to grant Kohaku the mercy of a clean death?

"Please," she said again, raising her face to the sky. "If you'll just give me another chance, I swear I'll make everything right. I'll be strong, like you raised me to be. I'll be the soldier you trained, I'll be like your son…"

It's too late for that.

"No," she cried, reaching for him as he turned away. "Father, don't leave me! I'll do anything you ask!"

You know what you need to do. It is the only honorable thing, daughter.

A shining blade appeared before her, glowing with a ghostly inner light. The sharp edge glittered, called to her. With a shaking hand, Sango reached for it even as tears coursed down her face.

"Father…" she whispered, holding out one slim wrist while her other hand brought the blade to bear. One single cut, a painless cut, and all the shame and guilt would spill onto the ground, cleansing her with its crimson stain.

Only a single cut, and everything would be resolved for once and for all. She could join her family and the people who loved her. If she had the courage to make that single cut.

Sango steeled herself and pressed the blade against her skin…


She awoke suddenly with a scream on her lips and her heart hammering in her chest. Sango found she was covered in cold sweat and her fingers convulsively closed on her wrist, half expecting to find a gash she couldn't feel. When she found the skin was smooth and whole beneath her fingertips, she couldn't decide if she was relieved or incredibly disappointed.

The nightmares were getting worse, had been since her confrontation with Naraku when she'd failed to kill her brother. She had been putting on a cheerful face for her friends since then, showing them only the indomitable spirit that couldn't be quenched by despair. It was such a lie that it made her sick sometimes, but what else could she do? She'd made such an ass of herself, stealing Tessaiga like that as if Naraku would have really released Kohaku in exchange for the sword.

"I'm a fool," she murmured, barely realizing that she was speaking aloud.

She looked around quickly to make sure that she hadn't disturbed her companions. They were all sleeping peacefully, as she should be herself. It was very late; she could tell by the way the moon was just beginning to set over the treetops. They were tired and didn't deserve to be awakened by her self-pity and guilt.

Quietly, she unwrapped herself from her tangled blankets and stood up. Kirara awoke when she slipped on her sandals and meowed at her sleepily. Smiling sadly, Sango reached down to scratch the kitten's ears until she purred and went back to sleep. Even Kirara who was arguably her best friend didn't deserve to be disturbed by her nightly unrest. It was better to keep her distress to herself.

Inuyasha opened his eyes and watched silently as the demon slayer slipped into the woods. Another nightmare, he thought, having heard her whimpering in her sleep several times over the past few weeks. Damn that Naraku!

Grimly, he dropped from the tree to follow Sango. He'd done this before without her realizing it. Someone had to keep an eye on her; there was no telling what she'd do when the pain got to be more than she could bear. Inuyasha had already resolved to himself that this was one time that Naraku wasn't going to win. The girl would have to learn that the only way to defeat the monster was to keep fighting, keep struggling, and not give in to despair.

Unfortunately, there seemed to be nothing he could do for her at times like this. Instead he had become the silent witness to Sango's pain. Unlike the others, he would bear this with her, even if she didn't know that he was there.


She collapsed next to the spring, the sobs she'd managed to muffle until now wracking her slender body. It was getting worse, it was getting to the point where she was afraid to sleep at night. During the day, she had her friends and their quest to defeat Naraku to keep her occupied. At night, in her dreams, she was all alone and Sango could feel the despair creeping in. There was nothing to save her now, no solace and no redemption.

She had failed again.

Anger filled her at her weakness, her worthless failures. How she knew already that she would never be strong enough. Her family, her duty, these had been her strength. Now she had nothing left, nowhere to turn for comfort or relief. It was so bitter to her, to have lost everything and still be here alone.

I should have died with them…I should have let Naraku kill me…anything would be better than this.

Sango cried out as she slammed her fist into the nearest tree, the pain shot up her arm from her knuckles to her elbow. Again, she punched the tree, feeling the hot sting as the skin split and warm blood seeped between her fingers. Like a mad creature, like despair and death in a woman's body, she hit the tree again and again until her hands were bloody.

She deserved this pain. She was too weak to avenge those she loved, too weak to free Kohaku. She was even too cowardly to take her own life, what good was she to anyone? How could she be so unfaithful to everyone who had loved her?


She spun around, her body going automatically into a fighting crouch before she realized that she knew this voice. Sango dropped her head and turned away when Inuyasha approached, letting her hair fall across her face and hide her shame.

"Inuyasha," she murmured. Guiltily, she hid her bloody hands behind her back and didn't meet his eyes. "What are you doing here?"

"I should be asking you that," he answered, his voice gruff and embarrassed.

Of course he was embarrassed, she thought miserably. To see her like this, out of control and in pain, it was nothing the tough hanyou could identify with. She was just a weak human, a miserable excuse what should have been stronger. Sango closed her eyes, feeling tears slipping down her cheeks.

"Just go away," she murmured. "Leave me alone."

"You've hurt yourself," he whispered. Gently, he reached out and took her arms, bringing her bloody hands up so the dark blood stood out against her pale skin.

"Why?" he asked, his tone as soft as she'd ever heard it. "The nightmares? Are they getting to you so bad that you have to hurt yourself?"

"Sometimes," she whispered. Looking up, she was surprised to see such a gentle expression on his face. "I know I'm weak…"

Inuyasha shook his head, dismissing her condemnation. "You're not weak," he muttered. "If you were weak, you'd be dead. If you were weak, you would have already given in to Naraku. I already told you, Sango. We'll get him back alive. You give up and that bastard has already won."

"Is that why you keep going?" she asked, realizing that right now he might answer her with the truth. "Because there's someone you won't give up on?"

A shadow crossed his face and he looked away. "Maybe. Maybe I'm just too damn stubborn to know better."

Slowly, he raised her hands to his mouth and gently licked at her bloody fingers. Sango hissed softly as Inuyasha sucked at her fingertips, his expression as lost as hers.

"It gets lonely, doesn't it?" he asked, raising his eyes to hers. "Fighting all the time, pretending it doesn't hurt. Just so you know, Sango, I get it. I know why you try to be tough when you cry in your sleep."

Her heart was hammering so hard that she could barely breathe, feeling caught and vulnerable in front of him in a way she'd never felt before. "Inuyasha," she whispered, tears standing in her eyes.

"You don't have to be strong in front of me," he murmured, reaching around to pull her closer. Sango closed her eyes and just let herself rest against his warm chest. How long had it been since she'd had any kind of comfort, since strong arms had held her so gently? She wasn't so sure that he understood how much it meant to her, but she wanted to try and let him know.


Inuyasha was surprised at how good it felt to hold Sango, it seemed like no one ever came to him for comfort and he was out of practice. Maybe, he thought, I should try this more often. At least with him, Sango didn't have to worry about his hands wandering somewhere she didn't like. It pissed him off more than he wanted to admit; the way Miroku seemed obsessed with groping the demon exterminator.

Smiling, he moved back so he could tip Sango's chin up so he could look into her eyes. "Sango," he said, "I promise that we'll get Kohaku back. You aren't alone, not anymore. Not while I'm here."

He was surprised again when the girl leaned into him, brushing his lips with her own. The kiss was soft, tentative and Inuyasha's eyes went wide at her response. He returned the kiss as gently as he knew how, wondering if she meant it in any other way but simple friendship.

Would he be disappointed if that was there was to it?

Did he care?

"Thank you," she whispered, her hands curving warm around his neck and trailing down his chest. "It means a lot to me that you care."

He smiled at that, letting his hands linger on her waist. She wasn't pushing him away, not like she did with Miroku. She was pressing closer, her soft breasts against his chest. Inuyasha licked his lips, she was making him nervous, she was making him excited and he didn't think she knew the effect she had on him.

"I care," he murmured, inhaling the scent of her hair. "I'm just not good at showing it."

"You don't have to," Sango answered. She lifted herself up on her toes, pressing her mouth to his in a long kiss that was nowhere near as tentative as the first. Inuyasha's eyes went wide as her hand slowly slid down his back, caressing him. Startled, he broke the kiss so he could stare at her.

"Do you know what you're doing?" he demanded.

Her smile teased him; her eyes had a softness he'd never seen before. It seemed he was seeing Sango for the first time, not the exterminator who reveled in battle, not the grief stricken sister. Instead this was the real Sango, the girl, the woman. He was glad to meet her at last.


Inuyasha wanted to be tender and gentle as they sank to the ground, but Sango wanted none of it. Instead she wrapped her arms around him like she was drowning, clung to him with a desperate sort of passion. Their lips met, their teeth clashed and it was Sango who was pulling his clothing off, Sango who was pressing him to the ground so she could attack his mouth and chest with hot kisses.

"Touch me," she breathed in his ear, her hands warm and urgent on his flesh. He let her fill his hands, gasping a little at how soft she was. Silky skin covered supple limbs; her scent was making him drunk on her. Inuyasha murmured something intelligible as Sango finally shed the last bit of cloth that was keeping them apart and slowly sat up. Her face and hair were dark, held in shadows as the dying moonlight glistened on her skin. It outlined her in radiance, defined her in shadow and he thought she looked just like a goddess as she rose above him.

"You're so beautiful," he whispered.

Sango didn't say anything; her eyes were like dark pools he ached to dive into. She seemed to hesitate, rising up on her knees as she straddled him and then she smiled, reached for him and guided him to her. "Inuyasha," she said, her name falling from his lips as she shivered, sliding him into her with a sigh.

They moved together, first slowly and awkwardly, then faster as Inuyasha lifted himself to meet her. His hands gripped her hips, her fingers left bruises on his wrists as they met each other in a timeless rhythm.


So warm, he thought, holding her in his arms. So sweet.

"Sango," he whispered, hating to disturb this peaceful moment. "It's almost dawn." She burrowed against his bare chest, clutching him to her and hiding her face in his hair. He smelled the salty scent of her tears and gently reached to cup her cheek with his hand, forcing her to raise her head and look at him.

"I'm sorry," she said, her voice breaking. "You must think I'm an awful person."

Inuyasha just stared at her, not comprehending her sudden tears. "I don't think that," he said softly, leaning close to brush her lips. "Are you sorry?"

"No," she answered, but he could feel the distance building as she slowly wrapped the walls around her again. It made him ache to see her trying to withdraw, trying to force herself back into the shell he'd breached. The shame and fear was all over her, thick and mixed with the musk of sex. Was she ashamed of what they'd done? More importantly, did she regret it because it was with him?

"Look at me," he demanded, sitting up and holding her in his arms. "I don't regret a damn thing, Sango. Neither should you. Tell me what's the matter."

"We are faithless people," Sango murmured, closing her eyes even as she held tightly to him. "I don't deserve happiness, I've failed everyone. Now we've betrayed our friends. I've made you as…unfaithful…as myself."

He sighed, knowing what she was getting at. It wasn't enough that his own emotions were constantly torn between Kikyou and Kagome, it wasn't enough that he often felt that he betrayed one by caring about the other. Now Sango thought they'd only made things worse, just by reaching out for comfort.

"It's not like that," he said quietly, hoping she'd hear the truth in his words. "You haven't been unfaithful, if anyone has it's me."

"No," she said, pressing her face to his throat while he stroked her hair. "It's my fault, it's always my fault. I don't want you to suffer because I'm…"


He silenced her protest with a kiss. "I'm not suffering," he whispered.


"You don't have to be alone."


Sango tipped her head back and looked at him tears in her eyes.


"I'm not going to let you feel like you've got to be alone."


"The only person you've been unfaithful to is yourself."


Inuyasha eased Sango back to the ground, kissing her fiercely. He pulled her wrists to his mouth and nibbled at the sensitive skin. Caressing her lightly, drawing her back out of her fortress, he let his hands and lips evoke her from the smoky shadows of her despair.


"I'm not giving up," he said, his voice almost harsh, he was so fierce that she had to believe him. "I'm not letting you give up either. You got that, Sango? You're not weak, you're not faithless, and you're not alone. Not while I'm here. Not while you have friends like Kagome, Miroku and Shippou. Not while Kohaku still needs you."


She understood and let the warmth of him wash over her. She hadn't betrayed her family. The only way she could be unfaithful to their memories was to give up and let Naraku win. The only way she could be unfaithful to her friends was to close herself to them, not let them in, not let them help her now.

The frozen place inside her that carried all her guilt had melted.


And in the warm light of dawn, she felt the thaw.