AN: I, uh... don't have anything to say about this really. Rating's there for a reason, folks.


"My head hurts..." Kagome muttered as she plopped down on her mat and pulled her blanket up over her head.

Sango felt the same way, but still she managed to smile over to the other girl - even if Kagome couldn't see it at the current moment. Honestly, Sango was just happy to hear her friend say anything, even if it was only a complaint. Until now, Kagome hadn't said a word to her since they left Mount Kasumi... Sango could understand why that was, but she still hated being on the receiving end of one of Kagome's silent treatments.

"It should be better in the morning, Kagome-chan," the taijiya said softly, hoping to bring some comfort to her best friend. "Would you like me to get you some water?"

"...no," came the futuristic miko's muffled reply, after a short moment. "No, that's all right." Then, as she tugged the blanket down to her chin, she added, "I just want to go to sleep right now, Sango-chan."

Well, at least she had responded. Sango knew that things would be back to normal in the morning - Kagome was nothing if not forgiving, even if she did spend some time being angry about it beforehand - so, she only nodded.

"Good night, Kagome-chan."

.:-:.

Sleep, however, wouldn't come as easily for Sango as it did for Kagome, and it was only a matter of time before she let herself out of the room she currently shared with Kagome, Shippou, and Kirara. The cool night air was a welcomed relief from the stuffiness of the room, although she had to wonder if that stuffiness was simply all in her head. It hadn't seemed to bother the others, after all, but then they probably hadn't been thinking about the nights earlier events, either. No, Sango was quite sure they hadn't. Everyone else seemed more concerned with forgetting everything that had happened, but she couldn't shake the events from her mind quite so easily.

Running her fingers through her loose hair, Sango let out a frustrated breath. It would be much easier if she could forget what had happened. Nothing good had come of it; her best friend was angry with her and even though Miroku hadn't mentioned her behavior once they'd left, there had been a slight edge to his voice when he spoke to her, and that was enough to let her know he was disappointed. Shippou had seemed more confused than anything else, which made sense given his young age, and Inuyasha... well. He hadn't said anything to her, and that was probably for the better too. At best, he likely thought her an idiot for having made a fool of herself like that, and at worst he was probably angry since her behavior had been what led to Kagome 'sitting' him numerous times. Kirara had been the only one to not act differently towards her once they'd left the mountain, but that came as no surprise since the fire-cat's loyalty had always been to her above the others. Plus, the mist had nearly knocked her unconscious anyway, so Sango couldn't even be certain how much Kirara had seen in the first place.

The taijiya frowned, crossing her arms as she walked along. Hopefully the fresh air would help her clear her mind. Even without a weapon, she wasn't too worried about being out alone in the middle of the night. Maybe others would have been, but Sango was a demon exterminator; she was perfectly capable of handing herself should anything happen. Besides, it wasn't as though she was going too far from the temple, so if anything did happen, the commotion would likely draw the others attention.

Stopping near the base of a tree, she leaned her back against the trunk, her arms remaining crossed over her chest. She wasn't sure how long she stood there, staring out at nothing as her mind wandered, but it couldn't have been more than a few minutes before another voice spoke up.

"Couldn't sleep?"

Sango started and looked up, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart when she spotted Inuyasha - of course it'd have to be him - sitting in the tree above her. "Inu-" Don't say his name! She nearly winced at the volume of her own mental yell, but she quickly recovered and shook her head. "N-no, I... thought a little air might help."

He offered little more than a slight hum in response, but he continued to stare down at her. Sango wasn't sure she liked that, either; it was as though he was trying to read her, trying to figure out what it was she wasn't saying. Normally she was quite capable of guarding her thoughts and her feelings, but... tonight was different. The incident on Mount Kasumi had happened only a short while ago - she could handle Kagome's anger, Shippou's surprise, and even Miroku's gentle but still quite obvious disapproval. She really didn't think she could handle Inuyasha's searching stare.

Clearing her throat, the taijiya pushed a few strands of hair back behind an ear as she finally looked away. "I should... probably head back. There's no telling what Mushin-sama will ask us to do tomorrow, so it would probably be a good idea to get some rest."

She'd only taken all of two steps before there was a slight rustling, and then Inuyasha landed directly in front of her, causing her to take a step back in surprise. It was the closest they'd been since they'd left the mountain, and that was something that wasn't lost on the taijiya. However, she was, thankfully, given a little distraction from that little fact since being closer to him meant she could actually see him, and seeing him meant she could see the bruises that were still visible on his face. She winced in sympathy, almost grateful for the feeling of guilt that came over her, since it overrode the nervousness she'd felt only a moment earlier. She knew the bruises would fade by sometime tomorrow, as would any lingering soreness he felt, but the guilt wouldn't be shaken so easily.

"I'm sorry..." she apologized softly, wringing her hands together - if only to keep herself from giving in to the overwhelming urge to reach out and touch his face. That had been a part of what had gotten them into this mess, hadn't it?

"What for?"

"It must've hurt, the way Kagome-chan kept 'sitting' you. I was surprised you managed to stay conscious through it all."

His eyes narrowed slightly as he looked at her, and for a moment she thought he was going to call her out on the fact that she'd apologized for Kagome's behavior, not for her own (which had undoubtedly been the cause of the schoolgirl's 'osuwari' attack). But then he simply 'keh-ed' as he turned his head to look off to the side, as though he were thoroughly uninterested in the matter. "Don't worry about it."

"But I-"

"It's not like you knew what you were doing," he said, shrugging as he put his arms behind his head. "So just forget about it already."

She wasn't sure what surprised her more: him thinking that she hadn't known what she'd been doing, or that he was saying it in such a nonchalant manner, as though what she'd done had been as insignificant as Kagome, Shippou, and Hachi trying to sing and dance.

Sango wasn't sure where the anger came from - wasn't sure she wanted to know where it came from since she should've been happy that he was so willing to brush the incident off. But, before she'd known what had happened, she'd grabbed hold of the front of his haori and had yanked him forward, pressing her lips to his.

The hanyou made a surprised sound, his eyes going wide as saucers. His hands fluttered uselessly for a moment, as though he was unsure of what to do, and then he finally grabbed her shoulders and pushed her back, jerking his head to the side as he did so. He wouldn't let himself think about why he didn't just jerk away in the first place. "Sa-Sango, what the hell?"

Had this been any other time, she probably would've laughed since that was the very thing he'd said to her earlier that night. This wasn't any other time though, and she didn't laugh; she merely stayed as she was, her fingers curled into the fire-rat coat, and her head bowed slightly, keeping him from seeing her expression. "Do you really think that?"

"Wha...?" was the only thing he managed to get out. Even with the way she'd thrown herself at him back at the mountain, he hadn't thought she'd ever willingly do something like that again. At least there her behavior could be blamed on that damned mist, here there was no such luxury.

Rather than immediately reply, the taijiya simply slid her hands up to his shoulders as she moved to press her body against his - it was a nearly identical position to the one they'd been in earlier, only there was no one around to gawk at them now.

Shit! Once again, the hanyou found himself unsure what to do with his hands. He knew he should grab her by the shoulders again and push her away again, but that wasn't exactly what he wanted to do. Shit, shit, shit! Finally, he decided on clenching his hands into fists and keeping them firmly at his sides. "San-"

"I knew what I was doing," she interrupted, her breath tickling his neck as she spoke. "That mist made me more relaxed and more... forward, I guess you could say... But it didn't make me do anything I didn't already want to."

"Do you- What are- Shit!" He was still trying to make sense of it all: what she was saying, what she was doing, and the effect her words and actions were having on him. Although trying to think while her body was pressing against his, and while he could still feel her breath at his neck was next to impossible. "Fuck, Sango, y-you need to-"

"Inuyasha," she lifted her head to look at him, "Why don't you push me away?"

Inuyasha swallowed, all the while trying not to think about how close their faces were. Never mind that that was practically impossible, since instead of feeling her breath on his neck every time she exhaled, he now felt it on his lips. "What?"

"You could push me away. You could've pushed me away at Mount Kasumi, too. But you haven't, you didn't." She tilted her head slightly. "Why?"

"Th-that's because..." He trailed off as the tips of his fingers grazed along her sides. There had to be several plausible reasons explaining why he hadn't pushed her away - the sheer surprise of it all, the possibility of the mist affecting his judgment just as it affected her, or the very simple fact that he hadn't wanted to push her away, just to name a few. That last one was definitely not something he should have even considered, even if it did seem to be the most likely at this point. But, regardless of how true it seemed to be, it certainly wasn't something he was willing to voice aloud, so he instead turned the question around. "Do you want me to push you away?"

"No," she honestly answered. It was such a simple word, and yet the heaviness of it weighed on them both.

Then we're already screwed, he thought irritably, letting his forehead rest against hers. Her answer and his reluctance to force her away only solidified that fact. Sango knew it, he knew it - hell, even Kagome and Miroku probably knew it. How could they not, since they'd been right there, staring in disbelief as Sango bypassed her fiancé - shit, he really was her fiancé now, wasn't he? - and latched onto him. And then it was only Kagome's frantic, numerous yells of "OSUWARI!" that had broken them apart.

His hands finally settled on her hips, gripping harder than what was probably comfortable for her, "Tell me to push you away."

"You tell me to get away," she countered, her eyes narrowing in challenge.

Definitely screwed, Inuyasha thought, but that didn't stop him from dipping his head so he could capture her mouth with his.

It was nothing like the gentle touches and soft kisses he'd shared with Kikyou, but then he didn't think Sango would appreciate being treated the same as her either. She was a woman and she wanted to be seen as such, but she was also a warrior at heart - treating Sango as though she were as fragile as a doll would be an insult to her pride. So, he merely pushed her back, causing her to gasp when her back pressed against the tree. Then he was pressing against her the same way she'd pressed against him moments earlier, pinning her between the tree and his body.

She wasn't one to shy away from his less than gentle treatment, though. The taijiya held onto his shoulders tightly, her hands fisting into the fabric of his coat as her mouth slanted over his, and she couldn't suppress the slight shiver that ran through her at the sound - something between a growl and a groan - he made in response.

Eventually, even with how nice it felt to have her pressed against him, it wasn't enough. He wanted more, and so he stepped back, his mouth never leaving hers even as he slid one hand back to press against the small of her back in order to insure she moved with him. Not that he needed to do that, since Sango certainly had no intention of letting him go anytime soon. Although she did make a slight irritated noise as she pulled back slightly.

"What are you...?"

"Don't ask stupid questions," Inuyasha mumbled distractedly, crouching slightly so he could curl one arm under her knees and lift her up before laying her back down on the ground. Before he could settle himself over her, however, she used the moment to push at his shoulder as she mustered enough strength to catch him off guard and flip him over so she could straddle his waist, giving him a slightly triumphant grin as she did so.

He blinked, a little dazed, and then growled lightly. "What do you-" he started, only to have that interrupted as she kissed him again, and he could feel her smiling against his mouth.

"Don't ask stupid questions," she teased, her lips trailing from his mouth to his chin, and then to his neck.

Inuyasha sucked in a quick breath as he felt her teeth graze his skin and he tilted his head slightly, willingly exposing the column of his neck. The silent urging didn't go unnoticed by Sango either, and she gave a slightly breathy laugh as she nuzzled her face in his neck, his pulse beating rapidly just below her lips.

He growled, again, in response, although the effect was lost since his breath hitched when her tongue flicked over his skin. "Sh-shut up."

She laughed once more. "You're really kind of cute like this... Am I the only one who'll see this side of you?"

It was difficult to know whether she expected an answer or not, but the words stirred something; they made him think about something he didn't want to think about, something he'd been trying not to think about. It was no secret that she had a problem with Miroku's womanizing ways. Even with their recent marriage promise (proposal, Kagome had called it) the monk still flirted with the women they met in villages. Inuyasha couldn't imagine Sango being petty enough to use anyone to get back at her fiancé (especially considering the things she'd said to him earlier), but... he had to know for sure.

Groaning slightly, both because she'd started peppering kisses along his throat again and because he really, really didn't want to stop her, he tried to gather his resolve. "Wait," he finally said, catching her shoulders and pushing her back enough so he could look her in the face again. "Aren't you and Miroku...?" Fuck, he couldn't even say it, could it?

"Hmph." Sango huffed, although he wasn't sure whether it was because he stopped her, or because he'd brought up Miroku. "Our promise hasn't affected Houshi-sama's behavior at all. You saw how he was earlier, didn't you?"

Golden eyes narrowed slightly, and when she tried ducking her head to kiss him again, he rolled over, switching their positions so he could pin her beneath him. "Is that why you're doing this?"

"No!" Her slight frustration quickly gave way to anger; anger that he'd even insinuate such a thing. "Do you really think I'd use you like that?"

He was silent for a moment, before replying, "You're not that type of woman." But, even as he spoke, he made no move to let her up.

Trust was such a fragile thing. It was difficult to gain and easily lost, she knew that, just as she knew that Inuyasha had been given plenty of reasons to distrust people and their motives throughout his life. Still, it hurt that he couldn't just take her words for what they were. "Inuyasha, I'd never do something like that to you. You've been nothing but kind to me since we met."

Inuyasha raised an eyebrow at that, and Sango allowed herself to smile a bit at the response before she continued.

"No, a lot of people wouldn't see it that way, but... You saved me even when I tried to kill you, and then you tried to make me hate you so that I wouldn't dwell on what had happened to my family and friends. Even after I took Tessaiga, you didn't tell me to leave - you actually told me to stay with you. And whenever Kohaku becomes involved in something, it seems like you're always the one trying to comfort me. Whether it's by convincing me not to kill him, or just simply reassuring me that we'll be the ones who collect the remaining jewel shards so we can save him... I certainly don't deserve that kindness after everything I've done, but you still let me stay with you, and... Inuyasha, you're the one I want to be with. In a way, I think it's always been you."

"Then why is this only happening now? Why only after you got drunk off that shit at the mountain?"

Sango made a frustrated sound as she let her head fall back against the ground. She may not have been able to fault him for his curiosity, but it was frustrating that he was asking this all now rather than before they'd even started. "I was afraid, all right? I didn't want to do anything that would risk my friendship with you, and I... I really didn't want to risk losing my friendship with Kagome-chan, either."

He seemed to think about that for a moment, and then he released his hold on her arms, although he shifted to brace himself on his elbows, keeping her under him. "And you don't think you'll lose Kagome now?"

She flinched as though the words had struck her - and they had. Not in the physical sense, of course, but it still felt as though they'd pierced her heart. She loved Kagome very dearly, but... "Kagome-chan will be angry, as will Houshi-sama, I'm sure. I... I can handle that, though. I'm ready to deal with it, in fact. What I can't handle is how she hurts you every time you do or say something she doesn't like. That isn't love, and you deserve far better."

"It doesn't hurt," he muttered, if only for the sake of his pride. Truth be told, it hurt like hell. There wasn't really any way that being slammed face first into the ground couldn't hurt, especially on nights like this one, where Kagome repeated the command numerous times in succession. "But no matter what happens with the others... You won't be alone," he added before finally kissing her again, putting an end to the conversation.

Sango sighed against his mouth, her arms slipping up to wrap around his neck so she could tangle her fingers into the mane of his hair. He didn't say nearly as much as she had said to him, but Inuyasha had never been one to talk about things like that very much. He was more of a 'show, don't tell' type of person, so the very fact that he was even there with her right then, plus the little bit he had said, told her more than enough.

He moved a bit, propping himself on one arm as his free hand skimmed along her side, tracing along the curve of her hip and the outside of her thigh before he finally caught her knee. Then he tugged lightly, hitching her leg along his waist so he could fit more comfortably between her thighs.

Her legs parted to accommodate him, and, briefly, she couldn't help but think about how grateful she was that she hadn't changed out of her exterminator's uniform once they returned to the temple. That was little more than a fleeting, passing thought though, because it was about that time that Inuyasha reached up to undo the clasp near her throat. As soon as that was done he tugged the material away from her skin, and she couldn't help but gasp as he turned his attention to her neck, nipping and biting, and then dragging his tongue over the newly formed marks in an effort to sooth them.

The taijiya's hands finally left his hair, her fingers instead curling into the fabric of his fire-rat coat, urging him to rest more of his weight on her as she rolled her hips against him.

His immediate response was a nearly growled out, "Fuck," as he dropped his head to rest on her shoulder. At the same time she could feel his fingers clench around where they were still wrapped around her knee, although by now there was no need for that since her legs had hooked around his waist. Sango almost thought she'd done something wrong, but then he reciprocated the action, grinding against her, and her fingers clutched at his back as she lifted her hips to press up against him in return, another moan escaping at the wonderful friction that created.

How much better would it feel with no clothes to get in the way? For there to be nothing between them, just his skin on hers?

Inuyasha seemed to be wondering the same thing, because he suddenly turned his head and began trailing open mouthed kisses along her neck, chin, and cheek. "Maybe we should," he murmured between kisses, "Find a place... a little less... open," he finished, his mouth finally covering hers again.

Her hands moved to his front, her fingers splaying across the sides of his face and causing him to shudder lightly as they traced along his jaw. "Maybe," she conceded, her lips brushing his as she spoke, "But you have to let me up first."

The hanyou chuckled lightly and caught her lip between his teeth, tugging gently and earning himself another sigh from the woman beneath him. "Yeah," he said, after pressing another kiss to her waiting mouth. "But I can't get up if you keep your legs around me."

"Oh... Right."

Needless to say, it was another few minutes before they were finally able to pick themselves up off the ground. Although he kept from saying anything when she grabbed hold of his arm to steady herself (due entirely to the fact that her legs felt a little wobbly), he did give her a cocky and entirely self-satisfied grin - an expression she returned with a slight scowl of her own. However, he merely ignored that and he tugged her along with him as they sought out a place that was a little more secluded.