Disclaimer: I own nothing nothing nothing (:


Sango finds it increasingly harder to get through the days. Every waking moment torments her like the taptap (on soft skin) by sharp pins set on fire, consuming her whole in their fury, until she is nothing but a small pile of ashes. The wind dances past, slim and translucent in her glorious kimono of autumn leaves, and the cold dancer's pale face shapes itself into a mocking smile; you poor fragile thing!

The pity slices through her with an uneven hand. Jagged cuts see bright red blood ooze out; Sango is not afraid of pain. I am not fragile.

And she will never be fragile; she will never cry even as the demons claw at her and soak her in her crimson pain; she will never, never succumb to weakness, ever.

Then Kagome wakes her, and she goes through the cycle another time round. Grant me mercy, and kill me, she prays at times, but then she adds on, like a forgotten tag, but let me find Kohaku first.

......

It worries her, sometimes, how weak she really is. She is a slayer of demons, a descendant of a proud line of demon slayers. She is a woman, but she is not fragile. Like glass, she will shatter when the wind comes a-slapping, but unlike glass, she can put herself back together and sew with warrior-tough hands the semblance of a crinkly cloth-made smile back onto her face.

The strain of masking her fear and fragility soon breaks her, though. Ghastly lullabies cloud her nights, and peaceful sleep stays far from her. Kagome notices her condition, and probes gently.

Then she breaks down before Kagome. I really can't take it anymore… she cries, I want all the pain and anger to end. I don't want to wake before everyone else, with the cold eye of the red dawn fresh in my mind.

Kagome comforts her, but there is little she can say. Sango tries to believe Kagome's comforting words. She laps it all up –

(the cheerful gibberish that it is)

– and then shreds it into pieces with the talons growing inside her. She allows the shadow of fragility to peek through the button-holes of her eyes, and then listens as Kagome explains about how the future is always better than the past.

But when evening falls and night trudges in, Sango shivers on the ground and wishes for the sun to be swallowed up by the relentless moon. Then she remembers: but let me find Kohaku first.

......

Miroku is the next to find out.

It all happens on the night of the new moon. Miroku stares at his hand, worried over the enlarging hole. Sango sits with him, bright eyes reflecting the tenor of the stars, and she takes his hand into her own small ones. Her lithe fingers trace the outline of the cloth that sleeps on his empty palm.

(her insides leap at the touch, but she clamps her pink lips together firmly)

Are you worried for me? Miroku asks, breaking the fragile silence.

Yes I am, she answers simply.

The night passes slowly, and she watches the light mist fall over the world. Fragile things, all of them, she tells Miroku, gesturing to the trees and the flowers and the stars strung over the night sky. We live in a world of fragile things.

I know, he says. You're fragile too. And so am I.

Looking up, she sees the wisdom of centuries nodding at her from his eyes. She pauses. Then she breaks down, tears flowing freely. It's so beautiful, the dawn. But every morning, the ghosts of my past tear my dreams into shreds, leaving me with only the haunted memories from a lifetime ago.

(Miroku nods; he understands. The ghosts have touched him too.)

Miroku takes her hands in his. I understand.

......

Now they are near the end of their journey together. Naraku will soon cease to be. The fragility that has followed behind them swishes her skirts, and Sango fumbles with her kimono as she watches Kagome prepare dinner.

It's been a long time…

Inuyasha starts to break the peaceful silence; Shippo screams. Then all she can hear is the crackling of the fire as Kagome starts to prepare food.

The crackling of the fire turns to the crackling of leaves under sandals. Miroku pats her on the back. She smiles at him.

The four of them know that the end of this saga is near, though the end of evil is still yet to come. Naraku may be defeated, but his disappearance will not change the world. Evil will still rise in the fragile hearts of men and demons, and life will stretch, its fragility visible in the transparent tautness of the tension.

And Kohaku still has to be found.

But after that, they will all have to learn to survive in a world of fragile things. And maybe, Sango thinks, maybe that won't be so hard after all. Her eyes meet Miroku's and she knows that there is still such a thing as happiness.

It is a world of fragile things, and fragile humans like herself can only wrap themselves into the earth-frosted, glass-tinted arms of other fragile beings, to seek comfort from the big, bad world.

(but then, Kohaku has first to be found)

She can succumb to her fragile happiness after.


A/N: I… have no idea what this fic is trying to say. I just wanted to do a sango/miroku fic that wouldn't be all about fluff.

The title's from the lyrics of Evanescence's song My last Breath; I just liked the phrasing a lot.

That's about it, I guess heh. Thanks for reading, and I'd appreciate a review if you feel like dropping one (: