a/n: I do not own Inuyasha. And a lot of other stuff. Like good grammar.
I know about the tenses. Ask, but I do not know. However, I did read the guidelines!
Jisei - death poem, and quite possibly the worst story I ever wrote.
Now, let's see what this one looks like when I post it.
The brittle wood of the well supports their backs, and she looks down and picks at the yellowed grass; the dead, dying blades that fall stiff beneath the full, living greens. When she lays her hand flat among them, there is both an exciting pain and a softness.
A quiet whirring sound, perhaps that of an insect, makes her aware of where she is. Remembering, she looks to the person beside her, gazing up at a sky so dull and murky, it looks like dirtied water. For a moment, she has an absurd thought; one of those distant, unfathomable thoughts she had taught herself not to have.
"The sky is missing stars tonight," she observes, wondering what is captivating him about it. The more the emptiness drowned out the colours of the sky -- the more it seemed a mass of sickly pigment.
"It makes the ones that are there seem brighter," came his automatic response. "Every star should have its moment to be noticed. They can only hope for that; that before they are gone, they were seen."
And in his eyes, he can see something reaching towards him, grabbing him, pulling until he can hear the fibres tear in his clothing. He is reminded of his hand.
Picking at the dead grass still, she asks him something that bothers her so; something she hasn't been able to ask in fear of embarrassment. When she does say it, it sounds more like a statement, rather than a question.
"You are scared -- you are sad, houshi-sama."
Somehow it brings forth an even greater silence. The kind that is thick, and rests upon their chests like a heavy blanket.
"Yes, that may be, Sango," he says her name long and slow, the way she always fiddles with things around her; the dead grass, and the patches left where she tears at it.
He knew he'd evoke her surprise at the tangible truth he provides, and so she questions it. "But I wouldn't know, I wouldn't be able to tell . . . someone who takes you at face value wouldn't be able to tell."
"Is that how you take me?"
"No. I don't know. I just -- I can see more. I can't tell if it's valid . . . but it's there." She wants him to verify her theories, and speak. He doesn't.
Then he has been careless with his emotions.
"I hope you don't think any differently of me, Sango. I deal with my humanity in more -- personal, private ways. It does not often show. It is for the sake of all of us, you understand."
"I know." She pauses then, on the verge of continuing. "Forgive me for asking, but houshi-sama, how are you able . . . how are you able to keep that smile on your face, those words on your tongue?"
All she can do is sink into herself, and she wants to break free. Like him. He should have known.
"I take, what some would say, is the easy way out."
"And what would that be?" As the conversation grew longer, her assertiveness grew with it.
"It's not something I would recommend. We all have different ways to --"
"I need a different way. It's like I'm always -- drowning in myself. I'd like something else, houshi-sama. You always said you wanted to shoulder my burdens, if just for a little while."
She says to forgive her, but who will forgive him?
When found himself falling he knew that he should keep her close. Sango. How lovely would it be to name Sango as his wife? To show her off to all the men of their village, to flaunt her during the summer festivals? So beautiful and ugly she was, so innocent and tainted. All at once. She was, in essence, a girl that was everything.
All that he wanted was to have her, but even that one pure wish in the twisted dredges of his mind would be diseased. Just like him.
Her skin is stretched tight over a rigid frame; rubbery in places as though worn. Too worn, the skin she's in. And for one who shouldn't concern themselves with the little, little details, those are what he notices most. When she walks, the step with her right foot is always longer than the left, and she grinds the toes of her shoes in the gravel. It's so unlike the warrior in her, to drag her feet and lower her chin, but she can't always be that warrior, no. He sees her at her darkest; for that, he loves her.
How he loves her. His fingers curl around empty air and the little piece of her heart saved just for him, her aura that follows him everywhere. The middle finger is always weighted; a gold ring, a holy ornament, cloth covered in prayer that covers his hand.
Finally, something his, more destructive and strangely enrapturing than the gash in his palm. This something of his he could have and hold, leave behind and have running up to him, asking him if she could follow when this is all over.
Whenever he imagines her voice, it sounds faraway.
"Why follow, even if our paths are separate?"
"I have nowhere left to go."
"But you don't know that."
"If I did I'm starting to forget. If I'm lost I don't want to be found. If I am broken I don't want to be fixed."
Sometimes, it infuriated him, in the way that he was pleasantly strained around others and his eyes seemed to smoulder. Not just with her, but with himself. She was a frustrating woman. Usually, all it took was a hug, a hold, a smile, and a woman would be happy again. They would smile back, giggle at his offering of a joke, perhaps wipe away their tears.
Not she -- who would flinch away, ignore, or refuse anything that he said for her benefit, to make her feel better. What did he have to do? What did she expect him to do?
And he sat with her, sincere and loving and wanting her to be happy -- but maybe inside . . .
Maybe she could feel that anger, that blackness, that frustration, and she let it come to her, so that she could understand him -- why he loved her still. Blaming herself wasn't working anymore, no, because even when she wanted him to go away for his own benefit, he wouldn't.
Why should there be this misconception between them? What she needed was to stop fighting; stop fighting who he is because he is that much a part of her, and she needed to understand him.
"In that sense, houshi-sama . . . I want to be more like you."
She was always looking for a way to lose herself, and become someone else. He didn't see it sooner, the way she stared at the village girls with longing, imagining herself in a slightly dirt trodden kimono, with scratched legs and callused hands but a smile on her face.
She feels that he is the closest thing to her, he thinks. And no, she doesn't want to push him away. But yes, she is afraid of what he might be. All that he has shown her is just what she's seen, but when she becomes him she must take everything.
If he could have known what he was capable of doing to this fragile shell, he would have not allowed her to do this -- to even try and take him for all he is. But it meant that she loved him too, right?
It means that she loves him if she wants to give up a part of herself.
"Well yes, I believe that I am."
Her eyes narrowed. "Why?"
"You know perfectly well why," he responds jovially, waving his right hand. "This hand will now serve its only useful purpose of holding my sake jug."
"You'll be just like -- just like your foster father." She stops, trying to find a reason for deterrence in that.
"And?" he brushes her aside.
Angrily, she grabs his wrist and takes his jug, and in his stupor, he sees her lips touch where his touch, the liquid wetting her lips.
"You make it look so easy."
He is bewildered. "To do what?"
"To be you."
A flush brought on by intoxication on her old young face was quite the paradox. At the same time, it was arousing, and filled him with warmth and a slight sickness. Yes, how sick he was to realize that made bare by chemicals, all that he is was pretty words and rotting corruption. Corruption pouring into her.
"Shut up, houshi-sama," she laughed loudly, all politeness, all coolness gone. It almost sounded like a term of endearment. Was it ever? "Why am I the one who has to play tragic?"
"You are tragic," he insists, and pours more chemicals into his body, to swirl within a black hole. "I am not tragic."
"You're going to die, you idiot!" It's a joke. "Everyone says I'm the one who goes on about my sad, sad life." She half-choked because of the lingering hot feeling in her throat. "I'm still alive."
She turned her eyes on him, a small smirk playing on her wet lips. "How sad."
She spoke, the bitterness and sarcasm sounding so much like him, and he wanted to squeeze that bit of her heart in his hands to make sure it was still there and beating -- separate, and not a part of him.
Chipping, chipping, chisel and pick, little stones of what was litter the ground around the statue. Rough stone, with a little work, will pave way to a cold, still perfection. Overdo it, and there is no way to correct the mistakes.
"She's of the age to enjoy some sake."
"Don't you get it? You're bad for her."
"Like you were bad for Kikyou?"
He pursed his lips. "You're bad for her."
To hear it from someone else was the equivalent of kazaana; he knew it was there but wished it wasn't, or sometimes was thankful for its existence. It was at those times everything grim and sad about the curse was pushed aside and forgotten. What a sad person he was; how sad, so young and going to die. It always goes back to that.
Too much ink, and Inuyasha says that the water is not washing his hands clean, but turning its clearness to black. With him, she's fading.
What is he taking from her in return? Her feelings of worthlessness and isolation from the world? Her tears, her anger, and her attachment to her reality. He is slowly draining them from her, only to replace them with his own indifference and indulgence in impermanent pleasures. It is her choice.
At night again, in the dark, he hears her giggle and pull at his wrist, whispering in his ear about a place at the other end of the village. He lets her pull him, chuckles when she slips on the wet grass, and pours her poisons for her.
Unguarded again, he heeded the hanyou's warning and tried to tell her that he is dying, and dragging her down with him, and he won't allow it. He's not going to allow that little white to darken; the water in the ink pot to turn black.
With her again, he can't say that she was lucky to survive, because she met him, and he picked her and now she's going to become --
He was going to say it, but again there is no time for warning when her tongue is in his mouth, keeping the words in.
-- like him.
It's wrong to teach her this -- it's so wrong.
It had started to happen so slowly he wondered how he hadn't noticed.
He remembered, ever since that day she had made that ghastly confession that she wanted to be more like him -- for their sake. She felt that they were too different, was that it?
How could she find fault in their differences?
Why did she always take it upon herself to fix what didn't need to be fixed?
When was it that she hadn't brooded when he had reached for that sake dish? When was it that her eyes were curious instead of disdainful?
How long had she felt this way?
Questions. It was all questions. The answers were questions.
They were both laughing now, and there is a throbbing in his head. Another shrill shriek of laughter echoes around him, and he searches for her, a flash of pink behind tree trunks, bare feet and lingering moistness on the grass.
She fell against him suddenly and they tumbled into a field. She guffawed loudly and scared the night insects away, her body so full of bitter mirth that somehow, it had to manifest itself in that half-laugh, half cry. Again, he started to talk but no, her hands pressed against him.
"Kagome talked to me today," she said in a singsong voice, twisting her fingers around that knot on his front.
"Did she really?" He wonders where they are; and once again, leaving the bar seemed so long ago.
"'Keep your head on straight, Sango,'" she mimicked. "'Know what you're doing, know your limits. You aren't like this.'"
He made a noise of acknowledgement.
"Forget it," the angel said derisively. "No one has ever known me."
"She knows what she's talking about," he tried to explain even though he wasn't that aware of what he was saying. All he knew were his instincts, and that he was touching her, holding her, and just being with her without any resistance.
They kiss, as they usually do in the depths and brink of their artificial mess. This time, it's not really a kiss, but more of a crushing of mouths that has been getting more painful each time it happens. Miroku doesn't, and can't really tell the difference anymore.
The chisel drops to the ground from a limp hand, along with the shattered shards of her that he has damaged in a fit of over zealousness.
Often (and he felt guilty that it was often) Miroku wondered what he could change about Sango. He loves her, yes, but everyone has imperfections, and what man does not fantasize about the perfect woman?
He came up with a few theories. If she smiled more, he'd be assured of her happiness.
Then he realized that he smiled even though he wasn't.
If she wanted to have fun and forget about all her sorrows, they could have wonderful times together.
Then he realized that their sorrows would not escape them and instead, they'd be ignoring everything that had brought them together.
Lastly, he hoped that she would be able to be more tolerable to him as a man and a person and find less anger in his faults. But that wouldn't work, no, because he would fail to see what was wrong with himself and fail to fix it.
Just like he couldn't fix her.
He doesn't remember the last time they'd had this conversation. His tolerance to the pains in his head is growing, but his memory is another story.
"You're fucking with her."
"What? No, we don't do that."
"You make me sick." The half-demon paces in almost a feral anger. "You think know what you're doing? You want to jeopardize her future -- and yours -- by playing around because you can't get out of your tragedies?"
Maybe he chooses to forget.
"It's not like that at all."
"Oh really?" The smirk seems familiar. "Then tell me what it is, you damn monk." Emphasis on his false title. "Tell me what the fuck it is."
She's waiting by the post, illuminated by moonlight. When she sees him, her sunken eyes alight as much as they can.
"There's a field not too far from here," she says excitedly, and he is dismayed that he can see his young defiance etched in her face, "let's smoke, and after we can --"
"Sango." For once, he wants to be the voice of reason because he is her only voice of reason. "This village has reported demon attacks -- we don't want to compromise ourselves." What a stupid reason he is capable of giving.
"It's probably nothing," she says hurriedly, tugging at his wrist. "Let's go!"
He keeps his body grounded. "No."
She cocks her head. "Why not?" She looks sad, for a moment, but not the sad he remembers. "Come on, it'll be good, I've done it before --"
"When?" he burst, forgetting his composure in the quiet night, just as he's been turning a blind eye to her, and himself, and what he's done.
"Awhile ago," she shrugs.
"Sango," he says again, and this time, the dam in his head explodes into a migraine. "I can't -- you can't -- no more."
She looks confused, and then smiles. "Let's go."
"No," he stares at her, fast fading. "Sango, no."
"Why?" she snaps. "Did she talk to you too?"
"Sango -- I'm bad for you."
She is unfazed. "I know."
He wonders how he is able to even remotely enjoy this. Her subsequent destruction, as she falls to what he is.
And really, he does hate it inside. He has spent time in a monastery, and the part of him that really benefited from his time there hates this.
But the rest of him -- the greedy, corrupted, perverted part of him is taking great pleasure in their situation.
Why did she do this in the first place?
To become closer to him. To move farther away from herself.
He turns with her, and sticks and pebbles jut into her back, but it only makes her bite his lips. It hurts him, so he bites her back harder.
"What have I done to you?" The words are muffled against her throat.
A little moan. "What do you mean?"
"You weren't like this --" Both their eyes are clouded; too much ink in the water.
Her hands travel down his body and unclothe him. A whisper. "Maybe I always was."
"No, you weren't."
He can see so much of himself in her right now; yearning for the knowledge of experience, understanding, wanting to just lose oneself. It's frightening. If they do this she will . . . if they do this, she will be broken, forever broken.
"I'm my own person now. I am a woman."
He is going to destroy the last pure thing within her, sheltered from his disease until now.
"When were you ever just a girl?"
"To you, houshi-sama, to you."
And in his head, fallen angel echoes.
He reminds himself that he chases her down to protect her, but cannot explain why he has become her first, her only.
There is so little white of her left, which is eagerly being faded and eaten away at by all the dark around her -- darkening, darkening -- a dank grey, a charcoal black; until there is only a tiny, tiny pinprick left.
He is going to burn in the future life for this; he is going to suffer for this.
He sits up, and looks at the angel next to him, dying and leaving behind a pretty human body. Her eyes are blank.
He asks her if she is okay.
She looks at him and smiles. "Wonderful."
How can it be wonderful?
When he remembers the old her, he remembers the spirit of humanity, touched and beaten at by a three pointed lance; heart, head, and foundation crumbling. Still, she tries to put herself together, but there's nothing to seal the spaces between the pieces that don't fit together right. In the end, he knows the surface will never be smooth again, but he maintains that the result he will be worthy of.
Now, too much of him. Filling the spaces, infecting, rotting -- all him.
"You never act like you're worrying, houshi-sama!" she giggles, rolling over him and their clothes, her tangled hair caught in his fingers.
She was back atop him, touching his face, looking through her dark lashes into his vacant eyes.
"Now I know why."
His hands, moving of their own accord as they always have trace her side to that part of her shoulder blade where there is a purple bruise.
He presses, and she kisses him. There is a line between pain and pleasure ... it is thinning.
And now he is purposely giving himself a loophole in regards to repairing her. He fights with his weak hand, gives away his intentions with his eyes. He cannot grow comfortable with this -- there is no one who can forgive him for letting this happen.
The third time, his mind dark, in someone's home that he always hopes is abandoned, it happens.
"Sango, I --"
He what? What did he want to say? Sango, I -- Sango, I --
Sango, what did I do to you?
She quiets him, and touches his lips. When did he grow to hate that glimmer in her eyes, that knowing smile? Because they are his.
"Don't have to say it," she tells him, her tone depreciating and vivid.
Sango, I -- Sango, I.
"Don't have to say it!" She's teasing this time. Something he would do.
He doesn't want to say it.
"You don't have to," she whispers, her voice half-breath, half-laughter, as if everything she says is a joke that can be taken with a grain of salt. Arching her back, she stretches and moves against him. "You don't have to tell me."
Usually, he is drunk enough to stay quiet for her.
"Isn't this what you always wanted? I can wait. It's so easy to pass the time waiting, to live in the now and do what I want. I'm doing something for myself, finally! I owe it all to you. You won't tell me so I don't hurt, but you know I do; you know how I feel."
He shuts his eyes and feels nauseous, clutching his stomach, and wanting to purge himself of all of this, of all of him that has permeated her. It's a strange polarity that has developed. She refers to it as passing the time with him. She refers to them as something he avoids.
He thinks hard, through all the clouds in his mind -- all the acidity in his body. Where has that love gone? The love that she refers to with such disdain in her eyes. Maybe she's looking for it all this time.
As she yearned for him, it's gotten lost between them. That pure love birthed from lust. That pure love born from sorrow.
With everyone else, it's always her; she is that reflection of what he remembers. Then they steal away, and he shines through. It's painful to see, even when forcibly blind.
She's an angel.
He whispers it.
It makes her laugh.
"And you're not," she says back.
Meditation --- it will silence all the thoughts. At least, it's supposed to. He struggled to remember how to do so -- he struggles to remember a lot of things.
He tolled the bell. Nothing focused.
He tolled it again. If anything, all his energies disperse. All the thoughts -- disperse. One always rises to the top of his mind.
He tries harder now, but it does nothing. How could he empty the thoughts away when his mind is full only of them?
In his head he's waiting for her to come and motion him away, away from him, away from her, away from what he wants them to be.
By now he's fallen into a dreamlike state whenever it happens; whenever they leave -- whenever they enter their own world, that used to be his, and only his.
He opened the doors for her, exposed her to the wonders and impermanent fulfilment of desire, ignorance, greed, and forgetting. Sango, so young, wants just one taste of the stupidity that comes with youth. A sip of rebellion. An understanding of love. Curious, she runs to him -- runs away again -- and once there, she falls, and falls, and falls.
And he lets her.
"Miroku," she breathes, shadowed and light, her chest rising softly with the breeze; he can feel it under the weight of his hand.
She moves closer, and even though they are coated with sweat and the night air is humid, she wants to be against him.
"Ever believe you can kill angels?"
It's sad, he thinks, when his reasoning is only if they deserve to die
Again, it's the middle of the night, but the air is cold, and sharp. That is when they come face to face with him.
The innocent past.
For a second, only a second, he stands there and stares at her, that little boy. Miroku wonders idly what he could be thinking, that subordinate.
She stands between them, but her back is to her love, the darkness.
Well here is what you are left with, my Sango. Remember who you are?
There is nothing but a spidering silence, like a single crack in a glass pane spreading, creating a mosaic of fissures and shards that is intricate, but will inevitably crumble, and violently shatter. Her expression falters, and there is a soft understanding that he notices under the pain.
So engrossed in these thoughts, his vision blurs and focuses again. Her brother is gone, and she beckons to him.
"Let's go," she says, as if she is afraid to disturb perfect silence, as if her words will cause it to dissolve and rain glass crystals upon them. She is holding the pieces together in her hands, and they are starting to bleed.
Does evil really cancel out good? All the time? If one had black ink and white paint and swirled with two brushes, the result was always a grey, splotchy mess. Never anything pure and pristine. Once she walked where he feared to tread, she would never emerge pure.
People often acted before thought of the consequence. And even though such consequences are considered, even though they are weighed, desire and curiosity take precedence. Rationality, though smart, is safe, yet yields no immediate result. Irrationality is excitement, spontaneity, and results in wishes for the choices one had previously, so quickly denied.
He has begun to follow her, where they are going, he doesn't know. No drinks, no poisons tonight. Not when her indifference has grown this much.
Then she falls to her knees, and cries. Dirt pushes its way under her nails, patches of grass tear away from the earth, and she rubs her hands all over her face, marring its unknown beauty.
"I'm sorry," he says, standing behind her. The apology is too late.
"Don't take the fault for my weaknesses, houshi-sama," she replies with her hands covered in dirt. "It was all a choice. And it was only me and you --"
"I let you."
She stands up, crudely wipes her face with her sleeve, and turns around to walk back to the camp.
"If I lived only wishing to take everything back, I haven't lived. You live wishing to live a different life. I know you think it was your fault -- for this."
"I saw my brother, and I faced him. I knew. I saw everything crashing around me. And I could not go after him."
"Then why cry?"
"Because -- I almost did forget him. That was because I thought that was what I wanted -- and that's how you live, by forgetting."
She walks up to him, her face set and her eyes holding a sort of sad realization.
He stops her before she can speak. "Sango -- I'm sorry. I wish I could take us back --"
She holds him then, finally -- simply, as though she knew what she is and who she wanted to be. "There is vice and virtue in you, as in me. It was easier to submit to something I wished so very hard to understand, when what I wanted was to -- to know what it was, to know myself, and my feelings." Her eyes shine with something new; a new glimmer of sadness that will be with her forever.
"And sometimes, we choose to fall."
Taking his hand, she pulls him back to life with her.
I ask a question
heavy earth does not answer
so I will not die
Can you give me air to breathe?
And if I live, breathe with me