Disclaimer: All Inuyasha characters/themes belong to their rightful owners (not me). Please do not sue.

Author's Note: So…two deaths in the family and an upcoming move across the country have kept me a little occupied recently. I apologize for the delay, but feel that I am justified in taking some time off from writing. I think, realistically, it's safer to say that I will post every other week.

Also, to make up for my time off, this is an extra long chapter.

According to my memory (I was far too lazy to go through my DVD collection and actually find the video, sorry!), Kanna's hosts cannot actually speak when their soul is taken from their bodies. However, I've changed that up a bit for dramatic purposes. Hopefully, I don't offend anyone this way.

Enjoy, and please take a moment to review.


Mou: (kinda of a whiny 'mow')"Ugh."

Inukoro: (EE-noo-cor-o) "Dog-shit" Kouga's typical 'pet name' for Inuyasha.

Hinezumi: (hee-nay-ZOO-mee) "Fire-Rat" What Kagome is describing here is Inuyasha's customary outfit. The legend of the hinezumi fur comes from the traditional Japanese fairytale known as "The Bamboo-Cutter's Tale". It is fireproof, and, according to Inu-canon, better than poor armor. There are several instances where Inuyasha uses his cloak to deflect attacks. This isn't quite consistent, but we'll forgive Takahashi for this, won't we? :)

Chapter 21, Sonata Form: Exposition: Second Subject

I caught myself just before my face hit the pavement, and shielded myself as the window in front of me shattered. I whirled around, but Jakotsu's sword was still in his hand. Looking…perfectly average. I looked back at the shattered window behind me, and then over at Sango, who was crouched in the street, clutching her bleeding thighs. Her mahogany eyes were steely as they bored into Jakotsu's face.

"Mou," Jakotsu moaned. "This is booooooooring. Two little girls, completely unarmed… I can't believe aniki is making me do this… How did you two even manage to take down so many of us?" He brushed a fleck of dirt from his suit.

His sword shot out again, unfurling like loosed lightning across the pavement towards me. I dove out of the way and it wrapped itself around a fire hydrant. Now I could get a good luck at the contraption; as Miroku had described, Jakotsu's sword was, in fact, a series of incredibly thin linked blades.

"Uuuuuuuuuuuugh!" Jakotsu said, pulling on his sword. The fire hydrant protested, but then the blades penetrated its exterior, and the water pressure burst the hydrant apart at the seams. Water rained down upon us.

"Stupid bitch!" Jakotsu yelled at me. "This suit was fucking expensive!"

I fumbled though my purse for something useful. I pulled out my can of mace. Better than nothing, I guess... I rushed forward, obviously surprising Jakotsu. He watched me, his mouth slightly open as his bangs plastered themselves to his forehead.

"Kagome-chan?" Sango called. She must have thought I was going crazy.

I was still at arms' length when he sprang to life. He slashed with his sword, and I was forced to jump back. "Trying to purify me, Kikyo mod two?" He stabbed, and though I twisted myself around, his blade clipped my hip.

The distance was closed. I raised my mace to spray the angry fluid into his eyes. Before I could even get the mace to eye-level, he caught my wrist and raised it up above our heads, the tip of his sword resting against my abdomen.

"Sesshoumaru wasn't kidding, huh? You really are a disappointment," Jakotsu said with a sneer. There was murder in his eyes. "I don't know why the President wants you so badly. There's nothing special about you, is there? You're not even cute. How could adorable puppy-eared Inuyasha have chosen such a mediocre mate?" He smirked, bent down, and licked my cheek.

I slapped him across the face.

The sword jerked, pricking my skin. Jakotsu turned his head to glare at me. A thin strip of blood rested on the shoulder of his Armani suit, already being carried away by the flood of the hydrant. Given the insane glint in his eyes, you would have thought I'd just spilt coffee on the Mona Lisa.

"You shouldn't have done that, little bitch. I was going to hand you over to Naraku intact, but now… Now, I think I want to hear you scream." He shook the mace from my hand and pulled my hand towards his face. "Now, I think I'll slice these stubby fingers off… One by-"

"That will be…unnecessary."

Jakotsu and I both looked around at Sango.

She was standing, though her thighs still bled. Her arms hung limply at her sides. The water had soaked through her clothes. Her eyes were different… They were…dull.

"Sango-chan, what are you doing? You shouldn't be moving!" I said.

Jakotsu said nothing. He was watching Sango, every muscle in his body taut.

"Let her go, Jakotsu," Sango said.

Jakotsu complied, releasing me. I stumbled backwards. Jakotsu glared at me before putting his glasses back on, turning, and walking back to the black car. He got in, and the car drove off.

I turned to Sango, mystified. "W-what is going on?" I asked.

Sango turned and smiled weakly at me. "It may be that he is still afraid of me." she said. When she laughed, it sounded hollow. She seemed to notice this, and her face contorted for a moment. She swayed, and fell to her knees.

I rushed to her side. "Sango-chan!"

"I…" her voice was choked, her face hidden behind a mess of mahogany hair. "I…" She reached up and grabbed my shoulder roughly. She squeezed so hard that I barked out in pain. Then, she collapsed.


"It was good that you brought her here, Kagome-sama," Miroku said, looking up from Sango's peaceful, though pale face.

Sango was splayed across the couch in our living room, her head and wounded legs propped up through the employment of every single pillow I owned. I had her under blankets to avoid her from falling into shock. More than that, I couldn't do without bringing her to the hospital. And Sango was the only doctor with clearance for the basement level.

I nodded mildly and passed Miroku a mug filled with tea. I wished for the umpteenth time that Inuyasha was here… He would know what to do. He would go after Jakotsu and rip him apart. He wouldn't be caught in the middle of a fight without his weapon like I had.

Miroku and I stayed up as long as we could, watching Sango sleep. Finally, we dozed off ourselves.


I woke up to a knock on the door. Miroku was snoring lightly, his arm supporting his head as he straddled the back of one of our new (thrift store) chairs. Sango was still resting peacefully.

I got up and walked to the door, wondering who on earth could be knocking at this hour, and praying that it was Inuyasha returned…having lost his door key? Yeah, okay. It was a long shot.

I opened the door to a young man with long, jet-black hair and arresting icy blue eyes that surveyed me coyly. I blushed darkly under that gaze. We stood in the doorway for several very long minutes.

"Um…" I finally said. "Who are you?"

"Huh?" He said, snapping out of his reverie. "Uh… Are you Higurashi Kagome?"

My frame flared in response. For the first time, I noticed the pointed ears, the sharpened eyeteeth. His eyes weren't just arresting…they were…wolf-like. And the…ohmigosh fluffy brown TAIL swishing back and forth behind him...!

"This is the Masashi household," I managed, and went to slam the door in his youkai face.

He caught it, however, and pushed it open with quite impressive strength. I wished that my gun wasn't halfway across the room. Why oh why did I not pick it up before answering the door?

He raised his hands defensively. "Right. Masashi. Masashi Kagome, your married name."

"Get the fuck out of my apartment or so help me-!"

"Oh, hey, Kouga. What's up?"

I turned to see Miroku half-turned in his chair.

"You know this creep?" I asked, jerking my thumb at the strange youkai in the doorway.

"Creep?" he barked.

Miroku chuckled. "Kagome, this is Captain Hayashi Kouga, the Leader of the Resistance. In other words, our boss."

I turned back to find Kouga grinning at me crookedly. "You, however, can just call me Kouga." He winked at me. I blushed again.

"I…um… I'm sorry for the misunderstanding," I said. "Please, do come in."

Kouga removed his shoes and stepped into the apartment. "No hard feelings," he said, smiling at me…wolfishly. He must have caught me staring at his tail, because he laughed and said. "Wolf youkai. But don't worry, I perfectly tame…except when I don't have to be." This must have been some sort of attempt at a pick-up line, because he reached down and scooped up my hand before depositing a kiss upon it as he spoke. When he added the second part, he winked…again. I confess that my blush deepened.

"Well, he's housetrained anyway," Miroku said before standing and walking over to shake Kouga's hand.

Kouga frowned slightly in irritation. "That more than I can say for the mutt who lives here." He plucked a white hair from the back of the armchair. "He even sheds? Gross."

Miroku chuckled. "Anyway, Kouga. What can we do for you?"

Kouga looked down at Sango. "How's she doing?" he asked, his voice suddenly quite soft.

Miroku shook his head. "We've taken care of the wounds on her thighs. They weren't deep. Other than that, she's been sleeping. We can't wake her for anything."

I found myself spacing put as they spoke. Okay… I couldn't help myself. Kouga was lean, though well proportioned. The muscles of his arms showed through the fabric of his black, long-sleeved turtleneck (strange clothing for July…). His black hair was pulled back into a long ponytail, but it was still rather, well, manly. He had an active, agile frame that seemed to be ready to dodge a bullet at any given moment. I was, admittedly, attracted to him. My heart was beating against my tightened ribcage, an effect amplified almost immediately as I realized he was watching me.

"And how are you doing?" Kouga asked me.

"M-me?" I stuttered. Boy, do I sound intelligent. "I'm um…fine."

Kouga's eyes narrowed as he perceived my lie. "I should have come to you right away, Kagome, but I wasn't thinking clearly. You see, I didn't know you before…what an intelligent, quick…attractive…ly resourceful person you are." Behind him, Miroku rolled his eyes. Miroku, pervert extraordinaire, was rolling his eyes at someone.

"Truth is, I sent him away on a mission. He's even more useless now that his sword is too heavy for him. So, I sent him to get it sorted out." He walked over and took both my hands. I blinked as he planted two kisses on my knuckles. "Will you forgive me? I know your sensitive, pitying heart must be bleeding with worry over that pathetic mutt… I never dreamed he'd take this long."

"W-who?" I stammered.

"Inuyasha," he said.

Inuyasha! My mind snapped back to reality, and I almost laughed in Kouga's face. A pathetic mutt? Oh boy…this was worse than dealing with Sesshoumaru. At least Sesshoumaru hated Inuyasha for being Inuyasha. Kouga was just getting territorial about…me!

"Oi, who you calling a mutt, wolf-shit?"

I whirled around. "Inuyasha!" I gasped.

He was standing in the doorway, one hand resting upon the knob. He looked a little thinner, and rather tired, but he was uninjured. A cigarette hung from his lips, flaring faintly to reflect an orange pinprick in his beautiful golden eyes. Handsome, strong, warm…my Inuyasha. Inexplicably, I burst into tears and ran into his arms.

He was so surprised, he dropped his cigarette. "Ka-Kagome!" he managed. "What are you-?"

"I was so worried!" I cried, burying my face in his chest and breathing in his scent: spices, moonlight, dew-slicked leaves, and the unmistakable aroma of tobacco.

A moment later, he wrapped his arms around me and engulfed me in his embrace. We stood like that for ages, oblivious to the world around us. Then, he shifted so that his warm breath tickled my ear. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

"Welcome back, chew toy," Kouga said venomously. "So happy to see you haven't died. Is the mission complete?"

Inuyasha looked at Kouga and removed his right arm from my waist. He reached across the space between us, and shifted Tessaiga so that he could draw it without making me move. It flared with golden light as it burst from its stealth, and hovered in Inuyasha's hand, poised for battle. "Looks like it, kitten."

"Good. It's a shame Sango's not awake to hear this, but I don't have much time," Kouga said. "It's time for us to get a move on. It's time for us to strike."

"Like last time?" Miroku said, his voice thin and dangerously low. "You're going to send us in to be bait?"

"The Shi were never intended as bait, Miroku, and you know that," Kouga said. "I didn't know-" He stopped and looked at me, his icy eyes suddenly harsh. "None of us knew that Kikyo was working for them.

"You are our special forces unit. If you can't do this, no one can," Kouga added.

"What's the plan then?" Inuyasha asked, sheathing his sword.

"Since last time, Naraku has erected a barrier around his headquarters: some sort of…youki purifying aura. My men can't get near it. I can't get near it. Naraku's locked himself inside of it, and only humans can go in and out freely. Just this week he took Kagura and Sesshoumaru inside; we've lost our best undercover agents, but Naraku is still getting his information out."

"What makes you think I can get through a youki-purifying aura, catnip brains?" Inuyasha barked.

Kouga pointed to me.

"You're going to send Kagome-sama in?" Miroku asked.

"She's Kikyo's sister, isn't she?" Kouga asked.

"It's dangerous!" Miroku growled. "She could get hurt."

"She's not going alone, Miroku," Kouga barked. "I would never put her in direct danger!

"You and Sango will go in as well. You'll break down the barrier for inukoro here, and then Kagome will lead you all to the shards. And where you find the shards, you find Naraku."

"What about Jakotsu and Bankotsu?" Inuyasha asked. "If they run across Kagome before I get there…"

"Let Sesshoumaru worry about them," Kouga said.

"That is…so not comforting," Inuyasha moaned.

"Okay, I know it's not a perfect plan," Kouga said, running a hand across his face, "but if you're waiting for perfect conditions, you'll be waiting for the rest of your lives! We had the perfect plan and I almost lost all of you as a result. Maybe this time, with an imperfect plan, we'll succeed."

"Your logic is not sound," Miroku pointed out.

"It is a good plan."

We all turned to look at Sango. She was sitting up, rubbing sleep from her eyes. Miroku seemed to teleport across the room to her side.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, checking her forehead.

"I am fine," she said, though her voice sounded thin, forced, and…flat.

"You're cold," Miroku moaned.

"It is probably from the blood loss," Sango said.

"I don't know…your eyes look awful dull, Sango," Miroku said.

Sango shook her head. "I am fine," she intoned in the same manner. "I am just tired." She looked at Kouga. "The plan is good."

She was being…weird. But I was too eager to finally have my chance…to finally get my family back. I smiled at Kouga. "It's crazy, but I'm in."

Reluctantly, Inuyasha and Miroku agreed. We said goodbye to Kouga, and then headed to sleep. Sango and Miroku slept in the living room, which left the bedroom for Inuyasha and I. We stood awkwardly in the doorway for a few moments.

"I'll sleep on the floor," Inuyasha offered after a pregnant pause. He collapsed on the ground before I could protest.

"I need to get changed."

"Go in the kitchen," Inuyasha said.

"You go in the kitchen," I barked. "The door doesn't shut anymore and Miroku will see me getting dressed."

"I'm sleeping," Inuyasha said.

"You're speaking and your eyes are open," I growled.

Inuyasha closed his eyes.

I stifled a cry of frustration and pulled out my pajamas. I had just gotten my shirt off when I noticed the make-up mirror on the ground near Inuyasha. I gasped and threw my shirt over it quickly.

"Inuyasha!" I trumpeted.

"H-huh? What?" he said, as if coming out of a deep sleep.

"Don't even try to act like you weren't looking, pervert," I spat.

Inuyasha mumbled something incoherent and I, now in my pajamas, dove under the covers. I was so embarrassed that I didn't even occur to me that I had never seen that mirror before in my life.


Sango went to work the next morning before I even woke up. Miroku went to go help out at the hospital, and Inuyasha went to a tutoring appointment. I was all alone in the apartment, and busting with excitement. In less than twenty-four hours, Naraku would be dead and I would be reunited with my family, I told myself. I couldn't wait for them to see the apartment. I cleaned it from head to toe, making sure there was not a molecule of dust anywhere.

I couldn't wait for them to meet Inuyasha! My…husband. Despite the events of last night, I giggled slightly at the thought of introducing Inuyasha to my mother. What would she think of him?

Inuyasha came home around lunchtime, claiming he had no memory whatsoever of seeing any mirror in the bedroom. I chalked it up to embarrassment, and pleased to think he was as humiliated as I was mortified, I let the matter drop. We ate lunch together, and went out onto the fire escape for a smoke.

"The apartment looks good," he said, taking a long drag on his cigarette. "Smells a little too much like lemon, though."

"That's the scent of clean," I giggled, pushing the grey fumes out of my mouth.

"What will your mother say when she finds you smoking?" he said, closing one eye as he observed me.

"What will she say about all this goddamn cursing I've picked up?" I asked.

We laughed together. It felt so nice to just laugh together.

"Do you… Do you really think we'll get them back?" I asked after our laughter had died away.

Inuyasha looked at the blue of the July sky. "Yes," he said. "I think we will."

I let my head fall onto his shoulder. He looked at me, and then placed his head lightly upon mine. "Thank you, Inuyasha," I whispered.

"For what?" he asked.

"For everything," I answered.


A black, unmarked car picked us up at the apartment. Miroku and Sango were already inside. Sango and I were both wearing cat-suits. I'd be lying if I didn't admit to posing in front of the bathroom mirror for twenty minutes in the tight leather get-up. Miroku was more modestly dressed in black jeans, a purple tee-shirt, and a leather jacket. Inuyasha was wearing a bright red sashinuki-style mosh-pit of traditional Japanese clothing that he called Hinezumi fur. He claimed it was "better than poor armor." I thought he was completely insane.

We left the car behind in an all too familiar alley and ascended the fire escape onto the roof. Inuyasha made a rude gesture at the capitol building while Miroku splayed the building blue prints before us.

"Inuyasha, you'll have to hang out across the street while Sango, Kagome, and I go in. According to the pictures from our intel units, the security beyond the gates has decreased significantly. We'll meet the truck near the west gate, and take it through to the complex. Once inside, we leave the truck near this copse of trees and slip through the first story window. The night should provide adequate cover provided we time the lights just right."

Sango and I each nodded. She strapped Hiraikotsu to her back, and checked the poisons pouch at her hip. Each of us, including Inuyasha, had a mask to keep the poison from our lungs. We tied them around our necks by use of a thin cord. Miroku and I checked the safety on our guns. Then, we were sprinting across the rooftops. I felt like a real undercover agent, streaming through the fluorescent, starless Tokyo night, the wind pushing against my skin-tight costume.

The truck reached the stop sign just as we dropped down the fire escape of our last roof. On cue, the streetlight flickered and went out. Before it could buzz back to life, we closed the space, and slipped under the truck's body, using magnetic cling-ons to hold us as the truck traveled. As I slipped under, Inuyasha whispered, "be careful" before running off to wait.

The truck jerked into motion, and we passed through the west gate undetected. Inside the complex, we detached at the appropriate row of trees, rolling out from underneath the truck at precisely the right intervals to avoid being pancaked by the wheels. Each second that the lights passed just a hair too far to the left or right, Miroku was one second closer to slicing our entrance out of the first floor window.

Once the glass was cut, we slid through the space into a well-lit and empty hallway. There was so many doors, so many offices… It was nearly impossible to think where to go next.

But Sango apparently knew.

"Sango," Miroku hissed. "Where are you going?"

She stood up and marched down the hall, straight past the security camera, and up to a coded door. She punched in the code, and the door swung open, revealing another hallway.

"Sango-chan?" I whispered.

Sango turned to us with that deadened gaze and said, "Come."

There were footsteps to our left. We had no choice. We bolted through the open door. Sango followed us in just before the guards turned the corner. We pressed ourselves against the door, waiting for the guarded to pat past.

Miroku grabbed Sango's hand. "What is going on here, Sango?" he asked.

Sango jerked her hand away and continued down the hallway to an unmarked door. She looked back at us, and then stepped inside.

Again, what choice did we have? We followed.

We found ourselves on the stage of a large auditorium. A huge projection screen was hung from the catwalk behind us. Sango stood centerstage, and beside her was the strangest child I've ever seen.

She was white, pure white from her hair down to her beautiful shoes. Her long hair was pulled back from her dull eyes by white butterfly clips. Her lacey dress was accented with a white ribbon. And in her hands was clutched a circular mirror…the same mirror I had seen on my floor the night before.

"Who are you?" Miroku barked at the child. "And what have you done to Sango?"

The child blinked and held up the mirror. "My name is Kanna. Her soul is here," the girl said in the same monotone that Sango had been speaking in since our fight with Jakotsu. "She is not alone inside. I would have the hanyou too, but Kagome covered the mirror before I could take him." I gasped, remembering the vague, sleepy voice Inuyasha had spoken with after I accused him of peeping.

"I'm such an idiot," I moaned out loud.

Kanna looked at Miroku, her face registering no emotion. "Would you like it back?"

Miroku lifted his gun and fired twice at Kanna.

"Miroku-sama!" I gasped.

The girl lifted her mirror, and the bullets slipped inside of the glass. "That was foolish," Kanna said. "I will show you why." The mirror shifted, rippled, and then the bullets were zooming back towards us. Miroku grabbed me and we hit the ground, barely surviving the reflected attack.

"What are you?" Miroku yelled, standing. "A youkai?"

"She has no jaki," I said, looking at her as I rose. "I sense nothing."

"I am Kanna, offspring and personal assistant of Naraku," Kanna said without expression. "I have no jaki. I am…nihility."

"Nihility? A nihility youkai?" Miroku asked. He was stalling, trying to figure out what to do about Sango while Kanna talked. "And what exactly does that entail?"

"That's why I couldn't sense you. You must have been right under our noses this whole time… You have no jaki or youki? Nothing that I could purify… That's why you can move in and out of Naraku's barrier without being purified," I said, trying to buy Miroku the time he needed.

But Kanna wasn't a talker; she looked up at Sango. "Kill them," she instructed.

Sango ran towards us, unclipping Hiraikotsu from her back. She threw it with all her might, and Miroku and I barely sprang apart in time. It hit the stage floor in between us, sending splintered wood into the air.

Rather than waste time retrieving it, puppet Sango pulled out her wakizashi and ran towards Miroku, slashing fiercely as he stumbled backwards, desperately attempting to stay out of range.

"Miroku-sama! Sango-chan!" I cried, I started running, thinking that I could grab Sango around the waist and throw her to the ground… Maybe I could even pin her there while Miroku figured out how to stop Kanna.

"Keep him busy," Kanna ordered Sango. She turned her mirror towards my face, I caught sight of my reflection, and suddenly, mid-stride, I froze. I collapsed to the ground, mute and immobile as I watched my best friend try to rip the man she loved to shreds.

Despite the knowledge that Kanna had sapped Sango's soul in less than a minute, I was amazed by the speed at which her power swept through me. Warm numbness was building in my arms and legs. My head was as fuzzy as though I had just devoured a six-pack of beers in a thirty-minute period. I could feel all my strength, my very essence being torn from my body.

In front of me, Sango ripped a small vile open with her teeth. She pulled her mask up over her mouth, and dropped the vile onto the ground in front of Miroku. A greenish cloud emerged. Miroku covered his mouth, fumbling for his own mask.

Before he could secure it, Sango elbowed him in the shoulder and kneed him in the gut. Miroku bent over her leg, gasping for breath amidst the toxic cloud. Sango stepped back, and watched as Miroku sputtered and coughed, filling his lungs with the poison.

She raised her wakizashi to the height of Miroku's neck, and prepared to strike.

"S-Sango," he wheezed.

Sango hesitated, and something within me flared to life.

"Oh…" Kanna said. "Your soul…"

She stepped around so that I could see her mirror. The surface was in turmoil, boiling like an unwatched pot of pasta. All around me, a violet aura was beginning to build.

"It's too big," Kanna observed.

As she said it, the violet light burst forth from the mirror, pouring into my body, filling me up. My strength came rushing back, the dumb headiness vanished. I rose to my knees, glaring at Kanna. But the mirror was not finished. Bluish orbs rushed out, charging off in all directions.

"The souls are leaving," Kanna said. She looked behind her as a blue orb struck Sango, and my friend fell to her knees. "Naraku will be most displeased." With that, she disappeared.

I made to rush towards Sango and Miroku, but Sango's hand flew up. "Stay back!" She gasped. "There's poison he- Oh my God, Miroku!" She grabbed the hacking man who had curled into a ball on the stage in front of her. She pulled him back, dragging him off the stage as he wheezed, only semi-conscious.

I pulled on my mask and followed, grabbing his lower half as we struggled across the auditorium and into the hall. Sango barked instructions as we went, steering us towards the hospital wing with the determination of a sea captain steering his ship through a hurricane.

Miroku was fading. I knew when she asked me to go break the code on the hallway door that he didn't have much longer. He had stopped coughing…his lungs had ceased to fight back. He was as white as Kanna, his eyes were closed, and there was a dark stream of blood pouring down his chin. I attached my decoder and set to work as quickly as I could. The door clicked, and we pulled him through.

"Miroku!" Sango moaned, kneeling beside him. "Wake up…please?" She made a desperate sound in her throat, and looked up at me. I knew then that she had seen everything Kanna had made her body do through that mirror.

"This is…all my fault…" She looked back at him, and her eyes brimmed with tears. "Please, open your eyes."

A tear struck Miroku's face. He flinched, and his eyes opened. "Sango…thank God you came to. Sango… Leave me," Miroku wheezed.

"No, I won't leave without you!" she barked.

"You have to…you have to stop Naraku," Miroku looked calm as he gazed up into her face. His amethyst eyes were so warm, transfixed as they were upon her features. Sango touched his face, tears streaming from her beautiful mahogany eyes. I choked back my own sobs, and laid a hand on Sango's shoulder.

"I won't leave you! I can't! Don't ask me to- If you can't come with me, at least let me die with you!" Sango threw herself upon his chest, and buried her sobs into his violet shirt. Miroku closed his eyes, and placed a shaking hand upon her back.

"Sango," he whispered. "I'm…sorry…" He went still. His breathing slowed and then…

It…normalized? Sango was still weeping, but the color was speedily returning to Miroku's cheeks. His chest was rising and falling with deep, powerful breaths. He blinked and looked down at Sango in bewilderment. "Call me crazy," he said in his normal, melodic voice, "but I'm feeling much better."

"M-Miroku?" Sango breathed, looking up into his face. "W-what is-?"

For the first time, I felt the warm, peaceful presence. "The barrier!" I gasped. "It's purifying the poison!"

Miroku sat up. Sango stared at him in bewilderment. "Miroku…" she breathed. He smiled at her roguishly, and we all shared a brief, but happy laugh of relief.

"What are you all laughing at?"

We looked up to see Inuyasha standing above us, his arms crossed over his chest. His hair was black, his eyes blue. He wore a scowl on his face.

"Inuyasha, what are you doing in here?" I gasped. "You were supposed to wait for our signal!"

Inuyasha shrugged. "I got tired of waiting."

"It's not the new moon," Sango said. "Why are you-?"

"The barrier…" Miroku said. "It must have purified Inuyasha, but because he's a hanyou, he just reverted to his human form."

"Is that you, Inuyasha?" asked an all-too familiarly creepy voice down the hall. "Your human form is adorable too!"