Author's Note: Written for iyfic_contest's "(not) average" prompt. A bit of a Sango character study in some ways, and MirSan fluff in others. Takes place sort of mid-series; after the proposal. ^^ Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I don't own InuYasha.


Something about the way her father raised her never felt right, never felt average. While all the other girls in her village learned to cook, to clean, and to weave and to sew, she practiced demon slaying and exorcising, taking in all the multitude of differences of certain youkai species, and how to tell the good ones from the bad. The girls in her village laughed, giggled, and mooned over the boys their own age, and Sango only saw her hiraikotsu as an object of interest. They learned to flirt and how to apply makeup properly, to be beautiful, and she learned how to keep her long, dark hair out of her eyes so her senses were shaper amid battle, use poison to mar her demonic assailants. Her father taught her that battle scars were easier to wear and flaunt than brightly-colored kimonos and flashy fans.

She felt like more of a son than a daughter; not that she loved her father any less. In fact, she did anything she could to please him, including following directly in his footsteps, in his shadow, despite how different she felt as she grew older, how odd and out of place she felt with her friends, like a tiny fish in a tremendous pond. She kept swimming regardless, held aloft by the idea that when it all came down to it, she possessed more courage than most her age and that simply made her special, not different.

Her father never worried about her having suitors, because they never came. The boys in her village only saw her as a fellow warrior, and some even envied her skills because she picked up on tactics more quickly than others. She sometimes even outdid them, won against them in mock spars and skirmishes that honed their agility and strength. She fought alongside them as if they were her brothers, and she could never see them as anything more than distant family.

She didn't know what it felt like to be a real, genuine woman, until he looked her way. His amethyst eyes saw right through to what she actually was – a girl. He knew her tortuous heart from just one glance, and under his intense stare she felt suddenly like fragile glass, like he could see what she actually, truly felt. Like she, too, wanted to be appreciated and sought after, just like the other girls had before their very untimely demise. She thought on this sadly; even though they were raised to be loved and treasured, they never experienced that in their short lives.

She decided now as she thought about those girls that the rocky relationship she shared with Miroku was a blessing, that she would love a hundred times more in their stead.

Now here she stood beside him on a grassy knoll, feeling all that they once felt – flustered, clumsy, and even a bit jealous when he turned his head to stare at a woman other than her. Ever since she started traveling alongside him she actually looked at her reflection and cared about it. She left her hair down, she experimented feebly with makeup, and she even tried small gestures of affection to steal away his wavering attentions.

She knew the grace of battle, the flick of her wrist that unsheathed a dagger that could strike and kill, but never had she known this: Love. She never before had blushed so deeply until he said tender words that swept her right off her feet, leaving her completely defenseless. Her heart had never hammered so hard, even in the midst of war. She felt featherlight, and even pretty. She felt peculiar again, but in a very good way.

Her father never prepared her for this sort of battle – the life of a perfectly normal girl. So for now she dealt with his advances based on instinct alone.

Slap!

"Lecherous monk!"