To Want and Need

A pool of crimson stretched out beneath her feet, seeping into the blackened ground as she watched on with confusion. She didn't know where she was, or how she had gotten to be there. All she knew was that there was something frightening here, the edginess that was tapping at the corner of her mind and telling her to run as a pit formed in her belly.

The sound of metal ringing reached her ears, and she glanced over her shoulder in alarm, her eyes scanning the perpetual black as her heart seemed to skip a beat from the shadow that caught her eye, but that was unclear for it could have stopped because of the slash she felt across her chest.

The taijiya awoke in a cold sweat, her eyes wide as she tried to settle the frantic beat of her heart against her torso. Propping herself to her elbows, Sango looked around the forest, the once flickering light of the fire extinguished and the only source of light was now the silver rays from the moon. Closing her eyes for a moment, she placed her hand over her chest, feeling the rapid pulse that wouldn't seem to silence.

It was like this almost every night now. She'd dream of her brother, clad in black so his silhouette would mingle with the shadows that crept into her mind. There was no explanation as to why the nightmares were occurring more often; maybe it was simply out of the growing regret and anxiety that came from searching for Naraku, only to find him so he could slip away again.

Heaving a heavy sigh, Sango pulled her knees up to her face, hugging them close to her as she buried her head into her arms. A little nudge from the left made her peek up, Kirara looking up at her with a show of concern for her mistress. Smiling a bit, she reached out and gently petted her behind the ears then offered her lap for her cat to sit. Mewing softly, the neko youkai jumped into the proffered lap, lying down as she cuddled close to Sango's belly, giving her friendly comfort while her mistress let the tears fall, knowing that she'd be the only one to see her spill her grief.

As the dawn rose, light spreading across the landscape, Sango and the group would set off again. Bright sunlight flitted between leaves, the sunny atmosphere matching the younger girl's perfectly, a smile set on her mouth as she animatedly chatted with the kistune who was asking for a piece of candy. Sango was on the gloomier side, not paying attention to the gentle breezes or scenery as she merely kept her eyes downward to the ground.

Kirara looked up to her mistress, and then hopped onto her shoulder as she sensed that she was lost in thought. Miroku too had noticed that the slayer was less than normal. Though she was not as much as a socialite like Kagome, she at least had nonchalant but calm expression.

The taijiya kept having her thoughts race with that of the nightmare, flashes of Kohaku's face always coming back. She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she didn't notice her pace quicken out of subconscious tension, and as Kirara jumped off, Sango bumped into the hanyou's back, causing him to trip over his feet but he caught himself in a handstand.

"Hey!" Inuyasha shouted at her from his upside down position, her eyes now wide from surprise as she was brought back to the real world. "Watch where you're going will ya?! Honestly," he continued as he set himself on his feet. "What kind of person doesn't watch where they're walking?"

"Inuyasha!" Kagome scolded him. "I'm sure Sango-chan didn't mean to."

"Feh!" he said as he cocked his head at an arrogant angle. "She needs to watch it anyway, besides she's not known to be the spacey type."

"That isn't nice Inuyasha. Say sorry to Sango," the girl continued.

The hanyou crossed his arms across his chest and huffed. "Why should I? I didn't bump into her and send her flying down."

"Inuyasha sit!"

A second later, Inuyasha's head was two feet into the earth, a string of muffled curses coming back up.

"Isn't it a little early for violence?" Miroku asked.

Kagome turned to him. "Well he started it,"

Bringing his head back up, the hanyou questioned angrily, "How the hell did I start it?!"

Kneeling down in front of him, Kagome told him heatedly, "You started it because you didn't want to apologize to Sango."

"Really Inuyasha, you should've just done what Kagome told you to do," Shippo added as he licked the lollipop.

"Ha!" Inuyasha said as he propped himself up and sat down. "If anything, I should be the one getting an apology; I got knocked over and ended up kissing the dirt."

Sango blinked as she watched the exchange, still in a state of shock because she allowed her mind to overcome her enough to have her stop paying attention. Blinking again to clear her head, the taijiya tried to intervene but Kagome and Inuyasha kept arguing.

Sighing in exasperation, Sango slumped her shoulders as she walked over and patted the younger girl on the back. "Kagome, it's alright."

Stopping immediately, the teenager inquired. "Really?"

Nodding, Sango told her, "Yes, if anything, I should be telling him sorry. I just lost track of my mind for a minute."

"Oh, well alright." Kagome said in her usual happy tone, completely forgetting the hanyou that continued to sit on the ground.

"Well," the monk spoke after a moment. "Shall we keep going?"

At their simultaneous nods, Sango and Kagome started walking again, the others following behind as they left a slightly confused Inuyasha on the ground. As he picked himself up and started brushing off his haori, when he remembered that he never did get that apology.

The entourage continued walking on till they saw that they were approaching a village.

"Oh yay! Miroku, do we still have money?" Kagome asked him eagerly, hoping for a short stop.

The houshi reached into his haori and pulled out the money he had earned from performing an exorcism. "Yes, we still have money."

Shippo hopped onto his shoulder and started to tug at his collar. "Well let's go then! I wanna see what they got to eat!"

Kagome and Shippo took the money and happily skipped towards a hut where the smell of food could be detected. Miroku looked over his shoulder and called to the other two who were lagging behind somewhat.

"You two coming in?"

Sango was about to keep going, when the hanyou next to her spoke for them. "We're gonna wait out here."

Shrugging his shoulders, Miroku followed after his other friends and entered the building.

The taijiya glanced warily at the hanyou, wondering what he was planning. She couldn't help but feel a knot tie itself inside her stomach. She watched silently as he turned his eyes over to her, inwardly cringing from the intensity of those golden suns. Sango pretended that she was alright, and so as to prove it, she raised an elegant eyebrow and asked, "What is it?"

Inuyasha folded his arms and answered her with a question of his own. "Is there something you want to talk about?"

Blinking at this unexpected question, Sango raised an eyebrow. "No; why would there be?"

He didn't seem thoroughly convinced and leaned back against a nearby tree. "You've just been acting a lot more strangely than usual. I mean, you don't normally just bump into people's backs."

Biting the inside of her bottom lip, the slayer wondered when he even bothered to care, or more impressively, how he could tell when he's usually too dense to understand anything. Maybe she was losing the ability to conceal her emotions from everybody. Mentally sighing, she turned to him and told him, "The only reason I lost myself was because I couldn't sleep last night."

"You never had a problem from sleeping on the ground before."

Sango mentally slapped herself from not thinking of the next sentence. "I just couldn't sleep. There's nothing wrong with that, I mean sometimes you don't go to sleep."

Inuyasha scoffed at her answer. "Keh, that's only because I don't need to sleep as much as you humans do. So far, your excuse isn't much Sango,"

He was right. She never could completely lie in front of him, for he always managed to see through them and could tell what was wrong, on these rare occasions. She couldn't tell him what was going on in her dreams; that's a sign of weakness and she would always believe that. On the other note, Sango never liked having her problems becoming those of the others, she'd much rather try and solve it on her own. And this time will be no different from the last or the ones that will follow.

"I know you're thinking that I'm having problems Inuyasha," Sango said calmly, turning her head to look at him in the eye. "But I have absolutely nothing to tell you, so don't concern yourself with me. There's nothing wrong."

Inuyasha's eyes lowered as he skeptically watched her; he knew that she was lying. Though he wouldn't tell her, he could hear her heartbeat race against her chest at night, smell the salty tears that came from the corners of her eyes as she dreamt something terrifying. If she didn't want to tell him, than he'll the matter there and allow her to tell him when she wants to, no use trying to involve yourself in something with a person who was as stubborn as you are.

"Suit yourself," Inuyasha told her as he caught the scent of food exiting the hut. Kagome waved them over and he began to walk over to them, Sango walking behind him as she asked herself, if he was the only one, other than Kirara, who knew. The idea was ridiculous, for it didn't seem like something Inuyasha would bother himself with, but this was another question that would not settle down.