Story Summary: If not for Sesshoumaru, Miroku would be dead; because of Sesshoumaru, Miroku must abandon his life. A story told in bits and pieces. Canon divergence. Not yaoi.

Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for the characters in this new venture... especially for the one whose life was spared. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess.

Author's Note: Small stories with small chapters suit me. This tale was begun for the fun of it... and because I have a claim on Sesshoumaru & Miroku at the Live Journal community iy no kakera. Chapters will be short. (Round numbers make me happy.) The plot will meander. (Yes, there is one.) Updates will be sporadic. (I'm not in a hurry.)

Chapter 1: Sacrifice

He'd lived under the shadow of death since childhood, but in the end, it still managed to take him by surprise. Miroku stared in morbid fascination at the pulsing tentacle that had gored him from behind. Ah. That did not go as well as hoped. He dimly registered Rin's whimper before Naraku jerked him upwards and flung him across the clearing.

Landing heavily, Miroku struggled to rise, blinking to clear his vision. Did I only delay the inevitable? Fearing that his desperate lunge had been for naught, he searched dazedly for any sign of Rin's bright kimono. A flash of color caught his eye just as she disappeared behind a pair of white hakama. She made it to safety. Thank goodness.

Mercifully, his staff remained in his grasp, so the monk pulled it closer and fought to his feet. Pain blossomed in his midsection, and he flattened his palm against his wound. Swaying, he lifted a trembling hand and gazed at the sodden cloth of his gauntlet. It clung wetly to his wrist, and red slicked the prayer beads that sealed kazaana. This is bad. I need to stop the bleeding. He weakly reapplied pressure, but an unpleasant gush welled up and escaped between his fingers.

The monk numbly searched for some remedy, but the action had shifted away from the small knoll on which he'd taken his stand. His friends were caught up in what they all hoped would be their final battle against Naraku. How ironic. Removed from immediate danger, he was also isolated from the help he needed. If I call out... Miroku's mouth worked, but he couldn't gather enough breath to shout. Icy realization coursed through his veins. As his life slowly pooled around his sandals, he acknowledged the stark truth. I may be past help.

End Note: This installment was written for the Live Journal community iy no kakera, where I hold a claim on Sesshoumaru & Miroku. I'm slowly working my way through two different prompt tables. This particular chapter owes some of its inspiration to Set #1, Theme #22, Bloodstain. 300 words. Posted on June 17, 2010.