Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Many thanks go to CaptainKase, the person who kindly took the time to edit this and fix awkward-sounding sentences. Also, if you have a few minutes, please check out her stories. She resides in the Full Metal Alchemist section, and her stories are absolutely amazing.
By the way, the title roughly translates to: "We Are Here, Together". The original title was: "To Be Here, Together", but the glossaries could not provide that, and there were way toomany contexts. I couldn't think of a title before, so I thought it would be interesting to try Latin. So if you reach the end of this, and you think the English title wouldn't sound as weird, I'll probably change it.
She sits there, peeling off the crusty bandages as gently as she possibly can.
Because she knows the pain will wake him, bring him back to reality of what might have happened.
But despite her best efforts to go slowly, to ease the suffering that the wound has caused, his eyes slowly open as the bandages are removed and he takes in his surroundings.
"Sango," he says in a voice hoarse from pain and misuse over the past few days. A drop of wetness lands on his cheek, and his eyes widen slightly in surprise – and concern.
Don't cry. Whatever you do, don't cry.
She bites her lip as her throat tightens, and she fears that if she attempts to speak, all the worry and strain of the past few days will come flooding out of her, and she will be helpless to prevent it.
"Sango, how long – how long have I been… like this?" he struggles to say, sitting up. But he gasps and quickly lies back down when a startling flare of pain from his injury forces him to do so. "Kami-sama… what happened?"You almost died. From –
"It was Naraku," Sango finally manages to say, her voice cracking. "It was Naraku. He distracted me, and if you hadn't -" She stops and lowers her head, her fist clenching around the blood-stained cloth that she has been using to clean his wounds.
"Sango," he whispers. An aura of melancholy surrounds her, and he knows that had he been able to sit up and pull her close, if only for a few precious seconds to reassure her that he will live, that he will be there to offer a smile, he would. As it is, the injury hurts too much for him to lift his tired body from the tatami mat. But for the one person that means so much to him, he tries. In the end, all he can manage is to raise a weary arm to her face, tenderly stroking her cheek with gentle fingers.
She looks up at him in astonishment. Never has he been able to get so close to her without receiving a slap after an inappropriate action, never has he been able to witness her in such a vulnerable state before. Despite all her attempts, she cannot hide the tearstains from him, and it is too late. She stares back at him with a sort of desperation.
"Houshi-sama…" She tries, once, to say something, to ask why he is doing this now, when he has hesitated before during opportune moments, but somehow, she cannot bring herself to ask. She does not want to try and understand his motives this time; she is too weary to understand, and settles for a different question, the one that has been persisting at the back of her mind for days now.
"Houshi-sama, you could have been killed," she says again, her voice shaking. "You could have been poisoned, Naraku could have done anything and he would have succeeded, because you…"
"Because you were in danger, and I felt it was my duty to save you. Inuyasha and Kagome-sama had enough to deal with and -" He suddenly cuts off, coughing and turning his face to the side to hide the blood he spits out. Sango gently administers the cloth to his mouth and wipes off the sticky substance, her hand trembling as she does so.
"You did not need to risk yourself like that, Houshi-sama," she says, attempting to sound firm but only sounding weak, as she has not yet managed to rid herself of the emotional state upon realizing he is awake. "I… I almost lost you."
His hand tenderly cups her face and brings her closer to him, as she suddenly becomes aware that there are mere inches between their faces. Her fingers loosen on the cloth and the world around them is forgotten. Everything else in the room seems to still, and the only thing she can hear is the sound of her heart pounding. His voice is quiet when he speaks, but never has she heard the words so distinctly, so clearly from his mouth.
"And what would you have lost, Sango? A man with no promise, a man with no future. A man who is cursed by his own hand, who is unlikely ever to see the annihilation of the one enemy he despises most."
She wants to answer, but the utter closeness of the situation is the only thing that will register in her mind. Slowly, almost hesitantly she reaches for him, allowing the tips of her fingers to brush across his cheek. He gazes into her eyes, with such intensity that it almost frightens her, and she swallows, licking her dry lips.
"No," she says, her voice barely audible. The words are coming from her faster than she can control them, but she has no choice. "You're more than that. You're a friend, a brother, and a reliable companion. You're family, and nothing… nothing will change that."
With excruciating slowness, he coaxes her downward, until her lips briefly touch his. Her eyes close, and he can feel the warmth of her breath pass over his skin.
"Sango," he breathes.
Her lips linger over his for the briefest of moments, barely touching. Then, after a moment of hesitation, she draws back a bit, shaking her head and matching his surprised stare with a confused one of her own.
"H - Houshi-sama," she stammers, a faint blush covering her cheeks. "We can't – Inuyasha and Kagome-chan… if they…" She searches frantically for an excuse to fill the silence between them, but the realization of the situation has disrupted her thoughts, sending them off-balance.
"Where are they?" he asks, his gaze moving past her shoulder to examine his surroundings, as if he is just realizing the actual situation; that there is actually only the two of them.
"Out – outside. But -"
She's afraid. She has never been this close before to anyone, and it scares her. It is a battle, one that she doesn't know how to fight.
"Then it doesn't matter," he tells her softly, looking back up at her and running his fingers through her hair, feeling the silky strands. Her eyelids flutter for a moment, then close. She is calmed slightly by his touch, although she is unwilling to lose a debate.
"It matters," she argues at last, but her voice does not sound firm. On the contrary, it sounds to him almost like her response is automatic rather than definite.
She opens her eyes and looks down at the ground, avoiding his gaze. "Whatever just happened now, it was… it was…"
She doesn't know how to reply. If she says it was nothing, there is nothing between us save for mere friendship, they will go back into their perspective roles. If she says otherwise, I don't understand this, but it's there, it will mean venturing into a different territory, one that is unfamiliar, and one that leaves her unarmed. So she attempts to change the topic. If she can distract him, he may forget about what just happened, and she will never have to face the possibility of something deeper than friendship. "You're injured, Houshi-sama."
But he is not to be deterred. "As long as you remain here, my pain and burdens are considerably lessened," he says quietly. His hand slides down a bit, and his fingers trace a path from the side of her jawline to the back of her neck. Slowly, he brings her back down towards him.
She wants to protest, to provide resistance, but the longing in his eyes captivates her, and so she finds herself helpless, drowning in his violet depths.
Their lips meet, and for a long moment, Sango is aware of nothing but the warmth of his mouth pressed against hers. His hand rests at the back of her neck, gently encouraging the kiss and allowing himself to become lost in the scent and taste of her.
It is with great reluctance that she pulls back a few moments later, her breathing shallow and cheeks slightly flushed. Her fingers tremble, and although she is inexperienced, nervous and struggling to understand what has just happened, what was so special between them just now, there are tears sparkling in her eyes.
It is a precious moment, and neither wants it to end. He simply gazes at her with a faint smile, and she returns it with a sad, shy one of her own.
"Sango." He grasps her hands and coaxes her to lay down with him. She complies and before long her head lays on his chest, and she can hear his heartbeat. He hears her sniffle and can smell the remnants of tears lingering in the air. He says nothing else; instead he strokes her hair.
When the hanyou and miko arrive from elsewhere, having discussed their own matters, the first thing the miko notices is that the taijiya has fallen asleep on the monk's chest. One hand is nestled on the silky black hair that flows down her back and shoulders, and the other has settled on the small of her back. The monk's eyes are also closed, and their breathing is both steady and relaxed.
In that moment, they are truly together.
Written: June. 5th, 2006
Editing process: June. 7th, 2006
Posted: June. 8th, 2006
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