Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. If I did, Kikyo and Kagome would have given up on Inu and hooked up with each other.
Author's Note: The title is a song by Savage Garden, and it is the opening theme for the Elemental Gelade anime. I happened to be listening to it on iTunes when I started writing this, and the name stuck. Also, this is slight AU, as in this fic Sango never joined Inuyasha, Shippou, Kagome, and Miroku.
Sango is still alive, and she blames Kikyo.
It's her fault, really. It usually is.
Not that she's alive; she still has the Shikon shard in her back, and she knows that if it's ever pulled out she'll die. But her wounds didn't kill her like Naraku planned, because a certain miko stumbled upon her and stubbornly nursed her back to health.
She never made it to Inuyasha, either.
It still pisses her off.
Kikyo nurses her back to health for two weeks, and then she leaves.
Sango follows her.
"You know… technically we're the walking dead."
Kikyo doesn't reply. She doesn't talk much. Sango has grown used to her silence.
"We are, you know. Me, all you need to do is take the shard out of my back."
Kikyo doesn't reply. Sango doesn't even know if she's listening anymore.
"You… well, you don't have a soul. At least, I don't think you do."
They sleep together when night falls. Not that they need to.
Sango has always been one to snuggle and cuddle, even when she is trying to sleep; it's instinct, or something similar, but she has always needed that reassurance that someone is with her in the darkness.
Kikyo isn't a fitting pillow, by any means. Her skin is cool to the touch and Sango never hears a heartbeat or feels her chest rising and falling with breath. But Kikyo is her only companion.
If it means anything at all, the miko never complains. She simply sits there and lets Sango snuggle, and if she's feeling especially loving or kind she'll drape an arm along the younger girl's shoulders.
Sango doesn't know if Kikyo needs sleep anymore, or if the miko is simply pretending she does to soothe her.
The forest is deep and dark.
The forest is also silent.
Even Kikyo can only take so much of it.
"Kikyo, what will happen to you when I die?"
Sango asks the question to the flames of their campfire, not even looking at the older woman. While she is fond of Kikyo, she doesn't like looking into her eyes at night. At night, in the darkness, Kikyo's eyes are too deep. Sango feels that if she looks into them she'll drown.
There's no doubt in Sango's mind that she will eventually die. If Naraku doesn't get to her first, Inuyasha and his group certainly will. She carries a shard of the Shikon no Tama in her back, and until it is removed the jewel will not be complete.
"I will live on." Kikyo's voice is soft, calm; it seems as if she has accepted her fate. "I am not like you, Sango. I will continue to live long after you have died."
Sango doesn't quite like the sound of that, not at all; she doesn't like to think that she'll ever be without Kikyo, in this life or the next. She frowns a little, but her tone is light and cheerful when she speaks. "I bet you're looking forward to the peace and quiet," she says.
Kikyo doesn't reply.
The demon is fast and strong; a lowlife youkai, but still stubborn enough to leave his mark. If he would stand still for a moment, Sango would be able to finish him off in just a few seconds.
She sees his flash of movement out of the corner of her eye and turns.
"Look out, Kikyo!"
She moves in a surge, not even aware of the command telling her to run. A blinding pain in her chest; red sprays the air.
It's the first time Sango has ever heard Kikyo scream.
Sango wakes in a small hut beneath warm blankets, her vision blurry when she first opens her eyes and a dull ache in her chest. She tilts her head, and Kikyo is right there beside her. Her eyes are closed, though, and her posture relaxed.
Her eyes snap open the minute Sango struggles to sit up. "Sango."
"I'm okay." The pain is there, but it is dull and easy to ignore. "He didn't hit my shard."
Kikyo looks at her, and her eyes are dark and unreadable. Sango takes the silence as permission to stretch a little and observe the damage; she assumes that Kikyo was the one to bandage her up after the youkai was defeated. It would make sense; Kikyo is oddly protective of her, in her own way.
"Why did you do that?"
Kikyo's soft question makes Sango glance at her, but the miko has looked away now, at the wall just past Sango's shoulder. "Why did I do what?" Sango asks, though she knows exactly what Kikyo wants.
"You risked your life for me." Kikyo still isn't looking at her. "I am not like you, and you risked your life for me. I am not alive, and you were willing to die for me."
Sango frowns, narrowing her eyes. Leaning forward, she grips Kikyo's chin in her hand, forcing the miko to meet her gaze. "That's enough of that," she says, all but growling the words in her fury. "You're alive, Kikyo, whether you believe it or not. You are alive. To me, you'll always be alive. So don't say you aren't. Because you are."
Kikyo doesn't respond, just gazes deeply into Sango's eyes as if they contain all the answers; Sango lets her hand fall away, and in that moment Kikyo rests her forehead quietly against the younger girl's shoulder, closing her eyes with a shuddering sigh. Sango lifts a hand, gently running her fingers through ebony locks. "You scared me," the miko confesses, her voice a whisper.
"I thought you were never going to open your eyes again."
"I'm sorry," Sango repeats, and she means it with all her heart.
Sango is talking again, rambling on about little meaningless things; she does that a lot when the silence unnerves her. She's been going on and on for awhile now, and she knows at any minute Kikyo will speak up and tell her to stop talking. It's a ritual, and it's been carried out without fail for as long as they've been together.
Here it comes. "Yes?"
There's a moment of hesitation; Kikyo glances briefly at her before looking away, and Sango swears she sees a smile curving the miko's lips.
"Don't stop talking."
Hold on to me and never let me go…
And I'm just as confused as you are.
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