Author's Note: Before I begin, I would like to mention that I do not own Inuyasha, the series, the characters, or (much) merchandise. All of the above mentioned (besides the merchandise that happens to be mine) are property of their respective owners. Please don't sue me, I'm just a broke college student and I'm writing this purely for your pleasure and enjoyment.
This story takes place under a bit of slightly complex circumstances, loves, so please hang with me for a moment. I'm writing this under the assumption that Naraku has been defeated. Got that? Alright, the Shikon no Tama has not been completed, though the only two remaining Jewel Shards are in Kouga-kun's possession and that is where our group is heading.
Alright, the final assumption is that Miroku is willing to make good of his promise to marry Sango. Now that I've set out the plot in pretty plain English for all of you, I hope that I have cleared up a little bit of the confusion that might result should I have left these issues unaddressed.
The Edge of Reason
Sango sighed, silently considering the situation that her group of friends now found themselves in. It was a sunny morning near the middle of summer and they were comfortably eating breakfast in the headman of an unfamiliar village's home.
Of course they were paying for neither their lodging nor the wonderful food that they were eating. Miroku had been kind enough to exorcize the house of the headman so conveniently near sundown as they were passing through the village the evening before.
Taking a sip of the warm tea that had been placed in front of her, she looked at everything that had been prepared for breakfast. There was rice, of course, and steamed fish with nearly every type of fruit that one could dream of.
Sango sighed again, remembering the breakfasts that her mother used to prepare for her and her brother when they were younger. But those times were long past. Now there was no living mother and that brother hadn't quite regained all of his memories.
She gazed at her younger brother, smiling to herself as she thought of all that she had sacrificed to bring him back to her. Of course she never wanted him to remember all of the terrible things that he had done, though that realization was unavoidable. So instead of condemning him for his actions, she never spoke of them again, though always offering him the option of speaking of such things should he have so chosen.
Seeming to notice the change in her, Miroku smiled lecherously, running his cursed hand over her behind gently and spoke softly, "My lovely Sango-chan, why the long face? Does this meal not please you?"
Her eyes widened as she was jarred from her thoughts. She looked down slightly to the hand still massaging her rear end. Sango's cheeks flushed three different shades of red as she placed her glass of tea on the table and slapped him on the face. She was well practiced in this act, thus explaining how positively beautifully choreographed her motions were.
"Ane-ue!" Kohaku exclaimed, his eyes widening as he watched his sister's hand lash out against her intended. But when he noticed how routine this must have been from everyone else's lack of reaction, he laughed to himself and went back to his breakfast.
The blow left its normal red hand-mark on his cheek as he moved the hand groping her to feel the place where her own had struck his face. An annoyed hanyou watched this display from across the table, crossing his arms over his chest and rolling his eyes at the bitter monotony of it all. "He never learns, does he?"
Kagome giggled, catching Shippou as he landed in her lap with a soft 'thud'. She quickly placed a few strips of her fish on Inuyasha's plate while he wasn't watching her. It wasn't that the food was unsatisfactory; she just hadn't ever been too awfully fond of fish and, as of lately, it seemed that was all they ever ate. Then, with a smile that she had succeeded, she added, "Honestly!"
The monk smiled, almost sighing in a love-struck manner as he mused, "Oh, Sango-chan, if only you could understand just how strongly I feel for you. Then perhaps you would be more receptive to my wandering hand."
"Excuse me, Miroku-sama!" Kohaku raised his voice, glaring slightly at the monk sitting across from him. "Is this really appropriate conversation for such a public place?"
"Houshi-sama!" she exclaimed, staring at him with disbelieving eyes. But then her attention shifted to her younger brother, "Kohaku-chan!"
The flush had returned to her cheeks but a loving 'mew' from Kirara quickly brought her out of the moment and she concentrated on her food once more. Sango lovingly stroked her feline friend and slipped her a few pieces of fish beneath the table, shaking her head at both Kohaku and Miroku.
The rest of the meal, after said encounter, passed in a relatively uneventful manner. Miroku didn't try any more of his perverted tricks on Sango but Shippou was reprimanded with a strong bump to the head for attempting to steal Inuyasha's fish. Of course Kagome had responded to this unjust punishment with a swift 'osuwari' and Inuyasha had been rewarded with a rather painful acquaintance to the floor.
After the meal, Sango went outside of the mansion and walked around the gorgeous wooden porch that wrapped around the entire building. The floor was so immaculately polished that her soft cotton stockings glided effortlessly across its smooth surface. For it having been in the middle of summer there was an uncharacteristically cool breeze that wrapped around her, causing her to almost shiver.
She paused at the stairway that led into the garden and looked at the wooden shoes that had been left at the bottom for anyone who wished to take a stroll around the stone pathway. Sango, without thinking, slid the shoes on her feet and began walking until she came to a small pond with a bench beside it for sitting.
It wasn't until she was comfortable in front of the pond that she noticed the lilies growing around it. And the memories came flooding back to her. Sango could never forget the large field of lilies that her brother, Kohaku, had shown her on one of the occasions that they had met on their separate journeys.
Remembering that field, and the moment that he had shown it to her, always brought her a tinge of happiness, even before Kohaku had been released from Naraku's control. It was all the proof that she had needed; Kohaku had remembered her. He had been aware that she was his sister and that she still loved him despite all of the awful things that he had done.
And now he was free from Naraku's control. He was hers to love and care for once again and her heart was full at the very thought.
Sango gazed down at the lilies once again, remembering why they had been important to her in the first place. He had brought them to her shortly after he had asked her father for Sango's hand in marriage. He was Nagakura; her Nagakura-kun, her intended husband.
He had been the first man to bring her flowers in all of her life. And they had been lilies. She fell in love with them instantly. She was still in love with lilies.
It wasn't a surprise that a man had asked to marry Sango. She had been seventeen at the time; a good age to marry. And it wasn't hard to see why Sango had been so in love with him; her Nagakura-kun. He was gentle and kind, despite his status as the greatest warrior in the demon slayer's village.
Nagakura was tall and lean; his muscles were well defined and clearly visible in his demon slayer's uniform. Sango could remember dreaming about him throughout most of her childhood. He was only three years older than her; something that, at the time, had seemed almost forbidden to her.
They had been friends always. He had been the one to teach her to use her sword which, from the day she had learned of his death with the rest of the demon slayers in the village, she had not touched in battle. It was her silent tribute to the fallen warrior that was to have been her honored husband.
She could still remember his sharp green eyes, so uncharacteristic in the demon slayer's village. They had been given to him by his mother, a beautiful woman who hadn't been a slayer herself. And from his father Nagakura had received his talents and a slayer, not to mention his strong build and gorgeous jet black hair.
Tears of bitterness came to Sango's eyes when she remembered the first time she had returned to her home after everyone had been slain. She had never found Nagakura's body and, thus, hadn't been able to give him a proper burial. Just that memory was enough to make her feel bitter, dirty, like she had been undeserving of his love all along.
There was a slight consolation that she found in the fact that Naraku, who had killed her intended and the first man she had ever loved, had died at her own hands. Well, she hadn't done it completely single-handedly of course but she had been a major contributor.
Sango picked a lily and held it in her hand, staring into the pond. Her reflection shined back at her and, despite how much she loathed herself in that moment, she couldn't deny that she still looked beautiful. She was a lady despite the past two years and her chosen path as a demon slayer.
She had been so lost in thought that she hadn't heard Miroku approach her. Nor did she notice as he sat next to her. He ran a strong hand up her back in an attempt to comfort her and whispered, "Sango-chan, please. I know something isn't right. Talk to me."
She'd jumped slightly at his touch but stared up at him with pain in her eyes. Trying quickly to mask her emotions, she sighed inwardly, knowing that he'd already caught her in her moment of weakness.
"Houshi-sama," she whispered, turning her attention back to the lilies growing around the sparkling pond in front of them. Sango offered him a quick smile, though it held bitterness more than happiness. If Miroku had noticed, he hadn't let on.
There really was nothing similar about the two of them; Miroku and Nagakura, save mainly for the fact that they both had jet black hair. Nagakura was a kind and virtuous man. He had never touched Sango in the same ways Miroku had. He had such a respect for women and always made it a point to make her happy. The same could not be said for Miroku. He loved women so much, in fact, that he would find a new one at every town they came to.
Sango had turned her head, always trying to ignore his lecherous tendencies. It didn't hurt her that he wasn't in love with her because her heart was still hung up on Nagakura-kun. In fact, she'd only agreed to marry Miroku because she had been old enough to marry for two years. It was time for her to settle down with someone and the only man that seemed to be interested had been him.
What angered her most about Miroku was that he would use a woman for his own pleasures. That anger, she knew, everyone in the group interpreted as her feeling love and desire for the monk. She had a feeling Inuyasha knew the truth, however. He was far more perceptive than he often let on.
Miroku sat beside her, patiently waiting for her to elaborate on what the cause of her sadness was. She didn't speak, she didn't move. There was nothing that needed to be said between the two. She focused on the lilies.
"They're beautiful," he commented, noticing how she was looking at the delicate white flowers. He picked one, gently pulling her chocolate colored hair behind her ear and tucking the beautiful lily in the twist. "But I fear they don't do you the justice you deserve."
Sango smiled at him. Even if there were no feelings between the two of them, Miroku did know how to cheer her up when she was upset. "Thank you, houshi-sama. Shouldn't we be getting back to the others? I'm sure that Inuyasha is anxious to be leaving again."
"That he is, Sango-chan," Miroku looked solemn and honest. He stood up, offering her his hand and helped her to her feet. They walked back to the mansion in silence, each one knowing fully well that nothing needed to be said. Their silence was enough.
Miroku knew well enough that, while Sango appeared to be in love with him on the outside, there was something within her heart that held her back from telling him exactly how she felt. He was determined to bring that into the open; something hurt her deeply and he wanted to help her heal in any way that he could. But the challenge was, first, getting her to open up to him.
She turned back over her shoulder, taking one last long look at the lilies growing up around the pond. They really were beautiful. Leaving them almost broke her heart.