Chapter 9

To say the least, Sango was frightened when she heard that Howard had pictures stored of her in a secret hideaway place he had made for himself. A humble, rundown shack of a place. White paint had been chipped away, siding had fallen off the side and even the gutters were starting to break away from the roof.

On a cold Tuesday morning the police took her there, along with Miroku who walked beside her protectively. There was nothing else around and the only sound was the early morning birds preparing to migrate and the sound of the leaves under their feet. Halloween was just two days away and Sango thought that this area would have been the perfect place for it.

Inu Yasha and Nelly guided them closer to the house and Sango thought twice about turning around and just leaving. For once, she actually wanted be at work instead of this little field trip, but Miroku urged her on telling her she needed to know about these pictures and see if she could recognize when they were taken. It would help police know for how long Howard had had an obsession with her.

Opening the door slowly, Inu Yasha and Nelly both entered first holding up guns and scanning the small, crude house. Then Nelly signaled for them when they had made absolutely sure it was safe for civilians to enter.

Miroku held her hand and guided her over the threshold and they both noticed that the shack-like house had an awful odor. Almost like rotting flesh, and the floor was covered with dust and old food. The smell wasn't intense, but still quite bothersome.

The lights had long ago stopped working, and even though it was daytime on the overcast day it still took a flashlight to see their surroundings.

Nelly shined his flashlight across the counter, kitchen table, floor and living room couch. The entire place was littered with different, gruesome things. Sango was more frightened by the human skulls, bony fingers, and lamp shades that looked as if they were made out of skin. That probably explained the smell.

She huddled closer to Miroku. "Miroku, this entire place is made of human remains."

"I know. It's disgusting, but the police want you to see something Sango. Just stay close to me and don't touch anything." He said, guiding her through the rest of the house.

"Oh trust me…I won't." She said, looking over at a picture frame that seemed to have been made out of teeth. The picture had been removed and she wondered if it was one of her.

They were led into a small room and Inu Yasha opened up a dust-covered dresser. A small top drawer was stuffed full of Polaroid's, photographs, even prints and they were all of her.

Nelly leaned down and picked up one then handed it to her. It was a Polaroid of herself at the supermarket picking up groceries. She didn't even remember the shirt she had on, much less how old she was, but this picture didn't look very old.

Even though she knew what they would find in this rickety old house, actually seeing it scared her and she wasn't sure she wanted to see anymore. Miroku stood with her as Nelly and Inu Yasha searched through Howard's collection of pictures, opening up even more drawers stuffed full of pictures. Sango even found an old Hello Kitty hair tie she had lost quite a while ago while having a water gun fight with Kagome one summer at the park. The guy really had been stalking her…

"Take a look at this one." Inu Yasha said, handing her a dusty old photo. Miroku peered down at it with her. It was of her, laughing and smiling with Jayceon Taylor, her ex-fiancé, at a café. Though the picture was mostly of her, she could see part of Jayceon's head in the picture.

"Oh my god!" She exclaimed. "This was taken on me and Jayceon's first date! I was 20 years old this picture. That was 5 years ago! He's been stalking me for that long?"

"Possibly longer." Nelly answered.

Sango looked away from the picture. The whole idea was just too much for her. He had probably seen her naked more than a million times and she was almost positive there was a picture of her like that, taken through her bedroom window at some point. She dropped the picture and started to cry. This was a dreadful place and she just wanted to leave.

"Miroku, I want to go home."

"Alright, I'll take you home." Miroku said, turning to face Inu Yasha and Nelly who were busy closing Howard's drawers that were stuffed full of pictures. Sango couldn't even look in that direction, it was all to much for her. "Hey, I'm going to get her out of here. It's even starting to scare me."

"OK." Inu Yasha said. "You two be careful. C'mon Nelly, we have to get back to work and try to find Howard Bailey's whereabouts."

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"It's been too long of a day." Miroku tiredly commented as he waited for Sango to finish preparing for bed in the bathroom. He was leaned back, half-dressed in bed with a devilish smile on his handsome face.

Kohaku had already went to bed since he had an early day of school the next morning, but Miroku considered the night young and he was feeling tired. Sango greeted him with a smile, dressed in her usual turquoise robe that hugged her body in all the right places and showed just the right amount of legs to tease him.

He sat up straight and inhaled air through his teeth. His eyes shimmered with enthusiasm as she sauntered towards him seductively. It would be the third time he made love to her since their first time Friday night, but it still felt as fiery and hot as that first time.

She leaned down and kissed him softly, but he pulled her down to him until she was straddling him and his hands were inside her now open robe, touching and exciting her with each stroke of his fingertips.

Miroku moved his lips down her throat and then to her chest where he kissed her breasts lovingly and admired them for quite a while before he took one into his mouth. Sango bit her lip and closed her eyes enjoying the sensations he was invoking inside her.

He stooped a minute later and peered into his eyes with his own. He gave her a soft lazy smile and brushed back a lock of hair that had fallen in her face. "I want to tell you something…"

"What is it?" She asked, suddenly conscious that she was exposed to him but didn't feel shy about it now.

"It's kind of hard for me to say." He paused for a moment. But, I--"

Then she heard Kohaku scream and something fall in his room.

Within seconds, both of them were dressed and rushing towards Kohaku's room where they saw an extremely terrifying sight.

There in the corner of his room was a tall, dark and threatening figure. An ax held high above his head he seemed to have turned his gaze towards Sango and Miroku. They just stared back and forth for a long while, Kohaku was whimpering incoherent things.

Then, the figure took one step towards them. Miroku swallowed hard and stood in front of Sango protectively. "Sango, call the police. Quickly."

"Right." She said, slowly exiting the room. Just as soon as she turned her back the ax wielder thrust his weapon down towards Miroku, but he moved quickly and instead he ended up stabbing the hard wood floor, sending fragments of it into his own face.

He screamed and ripped off his ski mask which was concealing his identity and Miroku's blood froze. It was Howard Bailey, the guy they had been searching for was in his own home at midnight!

Miroku could hear Sango consulting with the police but he didn't know how long it was going to take for them to arrive. Obviously, the man was insane, he had pretty much trapped himself but he clearly had a motive to kill either one of them, possibly both.

Angry, he tossed the ax aside, making a loud clinking noise. Howard growled and lunged towards Miroku, wrapping his hands around the momentarily stunned doctor. He had pinned him against the wall and Miroku couldn't breath. He gagged for air and Howard gave him a mean evil grin.

His teeth seemed to have been bleeding or perhaps it was the blood from someone else that had stained his teeth. His grip was tighter around Miroku's neck and he could faintly hear Sango screaming.

Then, just as suddenly he heard a loud metal clang and Howard's grip loosened and they both fell to the ground. Only, Miroku was the only one who got up. Sango stared down in horror at Howard who lay motionless on the floor.

She looked frighteningly up at Miroku who was coughing and gasping for hair, rubbing his sore neck over the bruised fingerprints along his throat. "Is he…dead?"

"I don't know." Miroku said. "Kami, he was going to strangle me."

Sango touched the side of his neck timidly and he hissed in pain. Howard has squeezed so hard that Miroku was actually bleeding and she became increasingly worried. Kohaku timidly got out of his bed after the shock wore off and looked at the man on the floor.

"Is…he dead?"

"We don't know, Kohaku." Sango told him. "The cops are on their way. Why don't you go next door to Soutaru's house. Just get out of here, it's not safe."

"But sis…"

"Please, Kohaku. I'm sure they won't mind if you wake them up when they know what's went on." She urged him, and after a moment's hesitation the 12 year old boy ran outside in his pajama's and up the stairs to the next floor to visit his teammates home.

"Miroku, we have to get those wounds cleaned."

He winced as she touched it again. "Sango, we have to keep our guard up."

Ignoring him, she led him into the bathroom and dabbed a stinging amount of alcohol on his neck. It bubbled and fizzed and she wiped it clean, he took the pain like a man but with everything going on he really felt like crying.

Then suddenly, Howard began to move. His arm twitched and Sango heard him shift behind her, she turned around to find him standing up on his legs now, though not very stable. Then, he growled viciously like an angry dog and he gnashed his razor sharp, blood-soaked teeth at her, trapping both of them in the bathroom.

Miroku forced her behind him and he took a fighting stance up to Howard as he approached closer to the bathroom. He didn't appear to have any weapons but his insane actions were enough to scare both of them out of their wits.

He knew what he had to do. He had to hold him off until the police got there with guns and handcuffs to take him away and possibly even kill him. Howard deserved to be killed after all the countless women he had killed, including 16 year old Ayame Harrison, putting her parents through a living hell.

And his unnatural obsession with Sango. Howard screamed and banged his fist against the wall, opening his mouth wider and biting on the doorframe, taking with him a big chunk in between his teeth and spitting it to the floor.

Miroku was literally shaking in his skin, trying not to show fear or make any sudden movements that might frighten the crazed maniac. However, Sango couldn't take it anymore and she broke out into sobs which caused him to lunge forward and bite at Miroku.

Sango panicked and in a moment of confusion she dove under Miroku's arm and out of the bathroom to watch the horrible sight unfold in front of her.

Miroku was blocking his attacks, throwing him against the walls, but Howard seemed to bounce right back more and more furious all the time. Then he saw an open opportunity and clamped his teeth down on his arm.

Screaming in pain, Miroku closed his eyes tight as Howard dug his teeth through his flesh, his own red blood spilling out around Howard's mouth. Sango felt as if she was going to throw up but all she could do is scream.

Then, the doors busted open and she moved out of the way for the policemen to aim their guns. Nelly and Inu Yasha along with some other officer were on duty that night and Howard instantly let go of Miroku's arm.

"Freeze!" Inu Yasha called out. "Someone get Mr. Keseki immediate medical help, now! Get the girl out of here, too."

"Yes, sir!" Nelly called out, inching in close to the stunned Howard and pulling Miroku out of the bathroom, blood dripping all over his floor. The sight made him want to faint, but he had to stay strong, at least until he knew Sango was alright.

Another officer escorted Sango outside towards a police car, but she hesitated as she saw Miroku being helped into an ambulance. "No, I want to go to the hospital with him."

"We'll take you there." Nelly said, as he approached his squad car. "He's been bitten pretty badly and we don't want him to catch an infection. So, you would rather go to the hospital than the police station?"

Nodding, she slowly and reluctantly got into the car. Nelly smiled and shrugged then slipped in behind the wheel. Her eyes were focused on the ambulance as it quickly departed from the apartment complex. In a way, she felt relieved, Howard Bailey would be captured again and put into another hospital, but now she had something else to worry her. Miroku's health.

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Miroku stirred awake, the first sight greeting him was a dark room, but he heard someone shift and turn on a light which blinded him temporarily.

"Sorry." He heard a feminine voice say. A very beautiful feminine voice say and he didn't even have to open his eyes to see who it was. Though, he wanted too.

He smiled when he saw her hovering near his bed, worry etched on her pretty face. "Sango. What are you doing in here?"

"I didn't want to leave you. I'm worried sick about you." She said, stroking his hair from his face. "How's your arm?"

"Arm?" He looked down at the white bandage around his upper right arm. "Oh, right. It's fine…not a big deal."

"Miroku, you could have died trying to save my life." A tear came to her eye and as she looked at him more came. Before she knew it she was leaning across him, warm tears soaking through his hospital gown. "I was so worried about you."

"Hey, hey." He said, shifting under her. "I'm fine. I'm still here." He laughed. "I do feel a little woozy though."

"Probably because they had to give you strong antibiotics to fight off any infection you might have from the bite." She said, clearly looking tired and needing some sleep.

Miroku laid back down in his bed and his head stopped swimming. "Sango, you need sleep, honey."

"No. I won't leave you." She said, biting her lip timidly. She wanted to let him know how she felt about him, how she wanted to make love to him for the rest of her life and no one else, but instead he was the first to speak.

"Come here. Lay beside me." He said softly. She carefully positioned herself, laying her tired head on his shoulder and closing her eyes, enjoying his warmness and scent. After a few moments of silence he trailed his finger down her arm. "I want to tell you something. You're very special to me and I don't think I've ever told you that."

Sango smiled and felt her heart start to race, she suddenly didn't feel so tired anymore because adrenaline was pumping through her veins as he held her, tight in his arms. "No, you haven't actually…" She agreed, as if to urge him on.

"And, I know you've probably heard this from alone of men, but this comes from my heart…" He said, softly. "I've never said this before, but…I love you, Sango. With every breath I take, every beat of my heart, everyday Buddha allows for me to stay on this earth…I love you."

"Miroku…" She propped herself above him and stared at him with her eyes full of tears. "I…I love you, too."

Relief washed over his face and pulled her down to him, closing his mouth around hers for a long, passionate moment. He tasted her, savored her and he learned right then to appreciate every moment they would have together for the rest of their lives.