Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for the characters in this exhibition of fictional indulgence… especially for the one who's clinging desperately to hope. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess.

- Thursday -
Saint Tenacious

At dawn, Kagome was drawn from a contented doze by ticklish touches as Miroku's finger skipped and swirled, creating invisible patterns across the bare skin on her belly. She gently wove her own fingers into his loosened hair, earning a preoccupied smile from her husband. "What are you doing?" she inquired softly. "Is that one of Saint Promiscuity's famous fertility blessings? Or was it supposed to be virility?"

"Are you implying some lack on my part?" he returned playfully.

The twinkle in his eye was entirely too self-satisfied, but Kagome felt he'd earned a fair bit of smug. "I have no complaints," she assured. "So... are you writing sutras on me?"

"I suppose," he replied, continuing his patterns. "This is a plea for many long and happy years for the woman who holds my deepest regard."

"Not just me," she corrected, tapping his head. "Make sure that prayer includes both of us... no... all three of us."

Propping himself up on an elbow, he shook his head wonderingly. "I admire your optimism, Kagome-sama."

"Can't I hope?" she asked quietly. "I don't want to be alone again."

"We have today," Miroku reminded. "And you are not alone now."

"I want tomorrow to be a good day, too," Kagome persisted in a pleading whisper. "Promise me tomorrow?"

With a seductive smile that sent a shiver of anticipation up her spine, the monk replied, "Let us strive towards that goal together."

Miroku was doing his best to take each moment as it came and keep it close, for despite his wife's faith in their future, he was keenly aware of the time... and his limitations. This day's memories needed to be rich enough to last for centuries. He yearned for a lifetime with Kagome, having and holding her for all the days ahead; however, too much had been taken from him for him to take tomorrow for granted.

Draped languidly upon the bed in the corner, he watched his wife poke through the cupboards. The monk had no idea what she might be looking for, but her curiosity wasn't what was holding his attention. The short robe Kagome had borrowed from the chest at the foot of the bed was a lush shade of green, and its hem flirted around her legs just above her knees. Miroku's smile turned positively lecherous, and he was on his feet and halfway into his old clothes before she noticed he was up.

Her glance turned quizzical as he finished knotting his kesu. "Are you hungry?" she asked.

"Famished," he assured, closing the distance between them. Then, with a mischievous smile, he begged, "Humor me."

"What are you up to?" she asked suspiciously.

He tugged and folded fabric until her robe was kilted up, revealing much more of her bare legs. "There," he said, stepping back to admire his handiwork. "Just the way I remember!"

She stared down at herself with a bemused expression. "Miroku-sama, by any chance, do you have a thing for green mini-skirts?"

"You have no idea!" he replied with feeling.

With a little swish of her hips, she said, "I'm not sure if I should be flattered or offended."

Sidling closer, he took her hand and kissed it, begging, "Choose flattery." To his immense satisfaction, her eyes took on a sparkle of happiness, so he continued, "Pack our breakfast. We are going for a walk."

"Okay," she agreed. "Just let me change."

"What you have on is perfect."

Her voice dropped, and she hurriedly protested, "But I'm not wearing anything underneath!"

Leaning close to kiss her blushing cheek, he murmured, "Neither am I."

Her eyebrows arched. "Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?"

Miroku looped his arms around her waist and held her close. Without a trace of embarrassment, he announced, "I wish to test several theories."

"Are you sure you don't mean fantasies?" she retorted, a half-smile tempering her tone.

"Humor me," he begged again. "I am certain that the fresh air and exercise will do us good."

Kagome laughed outright and accused, "You're planning on putting me into compromising positions."

Smirking, he promised, "All day long."

Miroku watch as Kagome fought valiantly against sleep, her lashes fluttering wearily against flushed cheeks. He whispered her name, and her eyes drifted open, their depths catching firelight and shining with affection. Amazing. I have debauched her in every way, yet her sweetness is undimmed. That underlying sweetness mingled appealingly with the burgeoning sensuality of her smile, and he favored her with another of the long, slow kisses that had secured her heart.

"When will we know?" she whispered.

"My fate will become quite obvious," he replied gently. "If my efforts have been for naught, I will be returned to my den of iniquities."

"At sunrise?"

"That is how it happened last time," he conceded, barely hiding a wince. Being ripped from Sango's side was a memory too painful to dwell upon. This time there is hope.

"How much longer?"

"There is plenty of time," he lied. Too depleted for much else, Miroku drowned himself in touch, memorizing her softness, savoring her sighs. In two days, he'd deftly discovered many things about Kagome that she hadn't even known about herself. Her education was his pleasure, and he longed to show her that they were barely scratching the surface. Ah, the things I could teach you.

He nudged and nibbled, and she softly moaned his name, begging, "More?"

Seeking her lips, he huskily announced, "I have done my best to ruin you for any other man."

Her arms wound around his neck, and she fiercely replied, "I don't want anyone but you. Ever."

With a bittersweet smile, he cautioned, "Neither of us should make promises we may not be able to keep."

Arching enticingly against him, Kagome solemnly said, "I'll always love you, Miroku-sama. No matter what."

Her vow was comforting, and he wished to show her just how much it pleased him. Rousing himself, he ventured, "Once more... perhaps?"

"Can you?"

Even if he couldn't, she could, so he pulled her from her sleepy state with insistent strokes, slowly coaxing her into incoherence. Their connection felt both old and new, for their lives had intersected once upon a time... and now, they stood on the brink of ever after, waiting to see if fate would see them happy.

"Kagome-sama," he murmured, hovering over her. "Open your eyes."

She obeyed, blinking up at him with a gaze hazy with desire. Tugging urgently, she showed him what she wanted, and beguiled by her needy noises, he found the strength to comply. Allowing his rising desperation to drive him, he greedily sought release. Kagome's eyes never left his face as he poured himself into her, body and soul, and he wondered if she could guess the words he dare not speak... for fear they might haunt her on the morrow. Save me.


- Friday -
Saint Fecundity

Kagome tripped over her own feet in her haste to get back to the cave. She hadn't meant to fall asleep; however, by the time she'd woken, the sun was well above the horizon, and Miroku was gone. Sobs and panting mingled, and tears blurred her eyes as she stumbled into the dim shrine. Too late. With a strangled cry, she threw herself at the jade statue, overcome with grief.

So noisy was her sorrow, she didn't at first register the softening of stone to cloth nor hear her name spoken. "K-kagome-sama," he tried again. "Has something unforeseen happened?"

She started and stared into the concerned gaze of a very worried tanuki. "Hachi?"

"Who else?" he replied, giving her back a soothing pat as he searched her face. Glancing towards the entrance, he mused, "The sun's up, then? Good, good... I was hoping he would outlast the dawn."

Kagome's knees were shaking so hard, she clung to Hachi to remain on her feet. "But if you're here... where's Miroku-sama?"

"A good question," the tanuki replied calmly. "Let's find out."

He led her back outside, supported her along the trail. Whether Hachi simply knew where his friend would go or he followed his nose, he soon pointed down the grassy slope below the temple, saying, "Don't be too hard on Miroku-sama. He seems a little overwhelmed... but happy." Planting a fuzzy kiss upon each of her cheeks before turning her loose, Hachi whispered, "Thank you, Kagome-sama."

She found the monk sitting on the edge of the pit where his father had died, staring into space. For several moments, she wanted to do nothing more than pummel him for making her worry, but then he glanced back, and his startled expression cooled her ire. Hurrying to his side, she muttered, "Here you are."

Reaching up to touch her blotchy face, he contritely murmured, "I made you cry, after all."

"Of course I cried. I thought I lost you," she grumbled, leaning her face into his cupped palm. "Why didn't you stay with me?"

He grimaced. "I could not bear for the curse to take me from your side, so I left on my own. I meant to go back before you woke... but I lost track of time." Gesturing vaguely towards the grassy bowl at his feet, he added, "It seems I am going to be a father."

"Congratulations," she whispered.

Turning to face her more fully, he begged, "Forgive me? Lost in thought, I managed to be thoughtless."

"I'm sure you'll find some way to make it up to me," she replied lightly, swiping a sleeve across her cheek.

He leaned close, bumping her nose with his own before tenderly saying, "You saved me, Kagome."

"Yes," Kagome murmured, her lips brushing lightly across his. "You're safe."

Miroku was only too happy to take a hint, and soon the couple were entirely caught up in one another, blending tears that had nothing to do with sorrow... promises that had something to do with tomorrow... and kisses that had everything to do with love.

~ The End ~

End Note: Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2011. 1,664 words.