A/N: A drabble that jumped into my head, fully formed, while I was at work. I always do what my muse tells me, so here it is. Probably qualifies as PWP. No flaming, please. I don't usually go for this pairing myself, but this seemed to want to be written. I own nothing of interest or value.
The stars were fabulous that night, without even the slightest hint of a cloud. The Milky Way looked like a swath of silver against the perfect black. The moon had not risen yet, and the dark was exactly what Kagome wanted. 'Still. He is still going to her. I'm always second best.'
The pain was familiar. It should be. She had been dealing with this forever it seemed, and the pain was unchanged. A glance, a look, a quiet moment together. The haunting images would get her hopes up, but the reality always returned. As much as she loved him, and he loved her, he loved Kikyo more.
Most of the time she could keep things under control. She wasn't the first girl to have a crush on a friend that she couldn't have, after all. It had even happened to a friend of hers. There was nothing fiercer then unrequited love. So she waited and hoped, looking for a sign that she was something more to him then a painful reminder of the life that Naraku had destroyed.
Sometimes there was a light in his eyes that was just for her. Those moments were priceless, but so very bittersweet. There were scars across his heart, too much damage to allow those moments to grow into more.
And, on nights like this, she just could not take it anymore. 'What if? I hate that question. What if he could move past her? What if she was gone? What if she had never died? What if I never fell down that damn well? What if I had blue skin and orange hair? It's a stupid question.'
Kagome let her head fall back against the tree. If she tried hard enough, she could faintly hear Sango and Miroku at their camp. From the sounds of it, Shippou was helping them cook. Inuyasha was not there, but that was to be expected. Kagome had seen a soul collector and she knew where he was.
'I wish I could hate him. Or her. But I just feel bad for what happened to them. I used to get so angry, but now I just feel regret for them. And me. Why did I have to fall for someone that can't see me?'
'Ugh. Sango must have sent him to find me. Wonder why? She usually gets me herself.' Kagome turned her head and smiled in the direction of Miroku's voice. "I'm over here."
"Sango-sama was concerned. It is not a good idea to be in the woods alone." Miroku moved to her side and surprised Kagome by sitting next to her. "How are you, Kagome-sama?"
"I'm fine, Miroku. Really!" Kagome gave him a bright smile, even if he probably could not see her.
"There is no weakness in admitting to how you are feeling." The monk could practically feel the girl next to him drop her smile. "I promise not to tell a soul. Even Sango-sama."
"Is this why she sent you out here?"
"No. I volunteered, even through she was rather suspicious of my intentions. I can not even hazard a guess as to why."
"But perhaps you can find some solace with the help of a kind friend that will listen."
The miko stared at the dark shadows of the trees. "It's the same every time."
"But it is affecting you differently now. Why?"
"Most things in life are."
Even though he wouldn't be able to see it, Kagome rolled her eyes. "You're just being stubborn."
"Patience and determination are useful companions on the path to enlightenment."
"And when chasing every available woman in a village."
Miroku set his cursed hand on his chest. "If the skills that I learn while pursuing enlightenment allow me to bring joy to others . . . "
"Save it, houshii. I'm not buying it."
"It is my burden to never be understood in this life. However, you are ignoring my question."
'Damn.' Kagome sighed and let her eyes drift back up to her stars. "My birthday is this week."
"Sango-sama mentioned this to me. Why would this happy event make you so sad?"
"I've come so close to dying, over and over again. I have things that I want to do still! Just two days ago I really thought I was going to die. I didn't think Inuyasha would make it in time. And do you know what flashed through my mind? That I've never been kissed." The miko blinked. 'And why did I just blurt that out to the monk with the wandering hands?'
"I know that is not true, Kagome-sama. I was there when you kissed Inuyasha."
"I kissed him. He didn't kiss me."
"Well, if you are simply in need of a kiss, I am more then willing to offer my services." Even in the dark, Kagome knew he would have that lecherous look in his eyes. His right hand might even be twitching.
"Hentai." Kagome didn't smack him, since she had brought the topic up.
"I am simply offering to help."
"How did you ever end up as a monk, Miroku?"
"When Buddha calls you into his service, you answer."
"I don't know why I expected a straight answer from you." Kagome went up to her knees, her mind already set on returning to their camp. "Sango is going to be worried."
The monk's voice stopped her cold. "When you wake up each morning wondering if you will see another, you need to find some peace."
"I have discovered that the peace I seek is not in the arms of a beautiful woman. There is some solace there, but it is fleeting." Miroku tugged her back down next to him. "I understand how you feel, Kagome-sama. I look that death in the eyes each day, and each time I feel regret for what I will not be able to do."
"Why do we feel like this? Inuyasha doesn't seem to be worried at all."
"He does not believe he will ever be defeated. Sango-sama will not have regrets, so long as Naraku dies with her and her brother is free. You and I will regret much."
The miko peered at her companion. The moon was coming over the trees, and now she could see his face. "That's why you came after me tonight. You knew."
"If it was just Inuyasha, you would have yelled quite a bit before going home. This is not rage or betrayal, but loss and regret. Those I can recognize."
"Arigato, Miroku." Kagome resettled against her tree. "What is it that you regret?"
"I always have one thing that pushes to the front. What's yours?"
"Love. A family. Someone to grow old with. It is difficult to describe, but it is powerful."
"That sounds much better then dying with the lack of kissing on your mind. Yours is more, noble." Kagome chuckled to herself. "I sound pretty shallow."
"Not at all, Kagome-sama. You are only looking for the physical form of what I am looking for. Since I have kissed several ladies and never with emotion behind it, I do not see it the same way."
Kagome turned to face the monk. His voice sounded different, almost bitter. "Is that what you truly regret, Miroku?"
The violet eyes finally turned to meet hers. "You are very perceptive, Kagome-sama."
She blushed and looked away. "What's it like? I mean, I know the general idea, but what's it actually like?" Kagome mentally smacked herself. 'And why am I bringing this back up with the lecherous monk?'
"It would be much easier to just show you, Kagome-sama."
"And Sango would beat you to within an inch of your life."
There was no comment from the monk. Kagome studied his face. "Miroku?"
"She has been rather distant. She is completely focused on saving Kohaku and avenging her family. Sometimes I fear that she will try to follow them when this is over."
"She won't. She has you."
"But am I what she wants?"
The miko felt her heart go out to her friend. 'Has he fooled us all this time? Was all of his confidence and boasting just a cover?' She set her hand on his shoulder. "Of course she does."
"I would have said the same to you about Inuyasha a year ago. Now we know how much damage has been done."
"You can't lose hope, Miroku! She loves you, I know she does."
"And I know Inuyasha loves you. But that does not stop the pain."
Kagome sagged against him. "No, it doesn't. I want to help you, Miroku."
"Ah, Kagome-sama, always thinking of others before yourself." Miroku set his covered hand on the small one resting on his shoulder. "You have helped enough by just listening."
"Are you sure? Maybe I could talk to her."
"No. This is my battle to fight. The question is if there is anything I can do to help you."
"Not unless you know a way to beat some sense into a hanyou."
"That was not what I had in mind, Kagome-sama."
Suddenly, Miroku seemed to be very close. Kagome's eyes widened. "Oi! I thought you were just joking!"
"I do not want you to have any regrets."
The miko was worried that her eyes were going to bug right out of her head. "But, but you don't like me like that!"
"Would you rather wait and see if it will be Inuyasha? Perhaps there is a boy from your own time that will suffice?"
"Miroku, I only think of you like a friend!"
"As I do you, Kagome-sama. A very dear friend." Miroku brushed her hair back from her face.
"Because I have never kissed someone I have truly cared for."
'Am I really going to do this?' Kagome stared at the monk, her heart pounding in her ears. 'He is good looking, I've always noticed that, and he's one of my best friends. Do I want him to be the first? Well, who else is there? It won't be Inuyasha, I know that much. I can't even imagine it with Kouga, or HoJo. I trust him, and what if I die tomorrow? How much would I regret passing up on this?'
Kagome slid her other hand up to his shoulder. "We shouldn't tell them."
"Never. This is between us, Kagome-sama."
She never expected him to be so gentle. One arm wrapped around her back, while his other hand stayed on hers. There was no groping or lewd looks. His eyes closed as his lips pressed to hers, soft as falling petals. She returned the caress timidly, unsure of what to do. When his arm tightened around her she grew bolder.
Miroku never intended for it to move past a small, gentle kiss, but she pressed against him. He wanted to know what it was like, to hold a woman that would be more then a memory come morning. Kagome cared for him, and he cared for her. She would not smack him for this, or blush prettily and try to run away after a stolen kiss. Just this once he wanted it to mean something.
The soft touch of his tongue caught the miko off guard, but she was not turning back now. She let her lips part, tightening her grip on him as the kiss deepened. Her tentative touches became bolder, pulling a soft moan from the monk. The need for air forced them apart.
Kagome's hand went to her lips, tracing over the tingle that she could still feel. Her breath was coming out in pants. "Arigato, Miroku."
"I take it that you enjoyed it, then?" The monk's eyes were dark, locked onto her face.
"It was amazing. I should be asking you how I did, since I've never done that before."
The monk's heart was still thundering in his ears. "You have ruined me for other women, Kagome-sama."
The miko slapped him on the shoulder. "Come on, I'm serious!"
"So am I, Kagome."
She bit her lip, her heart racing again at his words.
Sango's voice called out from the camp. Kagome and Miroku both started at the sound, jumping back from each other. They laughed nervously when they noticed their new positions. The monk jumped to his feet and offered a hand. She took it, watching his free hand out of habit. They walked back to camp, finding an aggravated exterminator.
"Where were you? I was getting worried!" Sango looked Kagome over, checking for injuries.
"We were discussing the nature of Nirvana." Miroku checked on their dinner, sniffing appreciatively.
"Not likely." Sango muttered. "Did he grab you, Kagome-chan?"
"No, no, Sango-chan. We really were just talking." Kagome caught the kitsune when he vaulted at her. "Were you helping Sango, Shippou?"
"Hai, Kagome-chan! I helped make sure dinner didn't burn this time!"
Sango gave the kit an exasperated look. "I don't burn it every time."
"Sango-sama, your cooking is nothing short of perfection."
That exterminator's eyebrow twitched when she felt that familiar hand on her bottom. "Hentai!" Her hand connected with the monk's face and sent him to the forest floor.
Shippou and Kagome both sighed, stepping away to let Sango storm past. The miko felt a small tug at her heart, knowing what was going on behind those playful eyes. Miroku simply settled against a tree, running a hand over his new bruise. Once Sango calmed down she would be back. She almost always ate with the monk.
The miko settled on the other side of their camp, her eyes on the trees. Inuyasha would return soon. He usually slept in a tree over top of her, watching over her. He would be distant after visiting Kikyo, but he would not abandon her. Not Inuyasha.
Across the campfire, her eyes met those of her friend. She could feel his lips on hers, the way he had pressed against her. The almost desperate feeling, like it was their one chance to make a wish come true.
He smiled at her, his eyes flickering in the firelight. "Arigato, Kagome-sama."
"For what, Miroku?"
"One less regret."