"You know, I can hear you!" Miroku whispered, just loud enough for the new arrivals to hear without waking up Sakura. He smiled softly as he heard Sango giggle quietly.
"What are you two doing out here anyways? And who is the little girl?" Kagome asked quietly stepping closer to the pair. Just then there was a rustling the sound behind them, just before a small blur appeared.
"Kagome, InuYasha you're back." Shippo yelled as he raced up to his friends and leapt towards Kagome's shoulders.
"Oi, runt, be quiet!" InuYasha growled quietly, catching the young kitsune midair, by the back of his vest.
"Hey, what's the big deal?" Shippo yelled, squirming.
"Shippo, sshh." Kagome whispered firmly, pointing to the little girl on Miroku's chest.
"So that's the little girl Kaede was talking about! She was wondering where Sango and Miroku had gone. I came out to find them." Shippo stated quietly as Sango got to her feet and helped Miroku stand up while he held Sakura firmly against his chest.
"I knew you couldn't have been pregnant with this little one Sango. So where did you find the little girl?" Kagome whispered, smiling at the child who somehow managed to stay asleep with all the noise and movement.
"And you call me perverted." Miroku replied in mock offense, even though he had a slight smile on his face. He was beginning to love the little girl he was holding. Sango just looked blankly at Kagome for a moment.
"Not possible Kagome; since her eyes are a stormy blue. Anyways, we need to get back to the village and talk to Kaede. Besides, I'm beginning to get hungry." Sango replied.
"I'm sure Kaede has the evening meal already prepared. I too am hungry." Miroku stated. Just then there was a tiny growl, causing Miroku to smile and look down as Sakura shifted her position. "Are you hungry Blossom?"
"Hai I am." Sakura answered sleepily as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and looked around.
"So, you're name is Blossom is it?" Kagome replied gently as the little girl looked at her.
"No, it's Sakura." the little girl answered shyly.
"I gave her that knick name this afternoon." Miroku quickly clarified.
"Well they are both beautiful names for a beautiful little girl. Just like you Sakura." Kagome complimented, tickling the little girl's stomach.
"Feh, let's just get back." InuYasha groused.
"Kaede, were you able to find a family to take Sakura?" Miroku replied as they came up to the elderly miko who had a small bundle beside her.
"I'm afraid not Miroku. They are all busy with their children. But Yamiko and Kioro gave me some clothes their youngest have grown out of." Kaede replied, her hand on the said bundle.
"What are you two talking about? And why's the kid even here?" InuYasha snapped.
"If ye shall be patient InuYasha, I will tell you once everyone is settled inside and I have given ye all something to eat." Kaede replied as she got up and headed inside.
Just as everyone got comfortable in their chosen places, Kilala walked in to the hut and saw a little girl who was now sitting in Sango's lap. Trotting over to her, the neko sniffed Sakura's foot, making her giggle.
"Sakura, I want you to meet my good friend. This is Kilala, who's been with me since I was a little girl." Sango introduced.
"Hi Ki..la...la." Sakura answered, saying the name slowly and carefully; making sure to get it right. You're pretty." Kilala mewed back a greeting and purred at her new friend.
"Can we get on with the story." InuYasha growled, taking his bowl from Kaede.
"This morning when I was out gathering some herbs from the forest, I noticed a thick column of black smoke coming from a nearby village. I heard the voices of bandits in the forest, not far off and went and Sango and Miroku about it. So they went to investigate and found a horrible scene." Kaede reported. She then looked to the monk and demon slayer to continue the story.
"What did you find Sango, Miroku?" Kagome asked, very concerned.
"When we got to the village, everything had been burnt to the ground. Everyone had been massacred, even the babies and been mercilessly killed. At first, we weren't going to check to see if there was still anyone alive." Miroku reported, a grim look on his face.
"But I'm glad we did. When we got near to the last hut, we heard crying and followed it to the last one Sakura was in." Sango stated, tears starting to well up in her eyes.
"That's horrible. How did she survive though?" Kagome asked, shocked at what Sango and Miroku had told them.
"I guess her parents heard the bandits coming and quickly hid Sakura in the small storage space in the floor. There was a rug that covered the hole so they could see her." Sango answered.
"Mommy and daddy dead." Sakura replied sadly. "I heard them scream." Miroku and Sango looked at each other for a moment before looking down at the little girl in sympathy.
"Sakura, I was wondering, why did you call Miroku and I mommy and daddy when you saw us?" Sango asked gently.
"You like them. Thought you were them." Sakura answered looking up from her bowl down.
The others didn't know what to say and they remained silent as the continued to eat the stew. When Sakura was finished, Miroku gently wiped her mouth with a cloth he had resting on his knee. Sakura stood up with her empty bowl and walked over to Kaede.
"Thank you." Sakura replied, handing her bowl to the priestess.
"Your very welcome little one." Kaede answered, smiling gently at the child. She was a little surprised at the politeness of such a young child.
"Keh, so the whelp's got good manners! She still smells of smoke and dirt." InuYasha huffed, trying to sound gruff but it didn't come out that way.
"In all this excitement, I completely forgot about that! I could use a soak in the hotsprings myself. How about You Kagome?" Sango stated, as she picked up Sakura. "Would you like to come and have a nice warm bath Sakura?"
"Okay." Sakura replied, smiling up at Sango. She had never really been in one since her village had been too far away from one.
"I do feel the need for one myself." Kagome replied, gathering her bathing supplies.
Equipped with a new kimono for Sakura and their supplies, the three girls hurried to the hot springs. Sakura watched the bubbling water as Sango undressed her and laid the little kimono at the water's edge. Sango quickly stripped off her outfit and hopped in. Sakura touch a bubble and jump slightly as it popped. Deciding it was okay to get in, the little girl leapt jumped towards Sango, knowing that the young woman would catch her.
"Slow down a little Sakura. It's better to get in slowly. Now let's get your hair watched." Sango suggested as she laid the little girl on her back and wet her hair. She held Sakura as Kagome gently shampooed her hair and washed her body. She began to splash and play when Sango sat her on a rock in the shallow end.
"Sango, is something the matter?" Kagome asked after a few moments of silence that had developed. She could see that something was bothering her friend.
"Hmm, oh Kagome, sorry. I was just remembering what it was like to lose friends, my whole village. I just want to get back at those bandits for doing this to her. I want to keep her Kagome; be her guardian." Sango replied, with a great deal of determination.
"I know you still hurt from your experience Sango; and she's lucky to have you and Miroku. The memories will fade for her in time. Sakura is lucky that she's as young as she is." Kagome replied gently.
"I think we better get back before the guys start to worry. Besides it's time for someone's bedtime." Sango replied, smiling as she saw that Sakura had crawled out of the hotsprings and was fast asleep on the ledge.
Sango got out and dressed quickly, not wanting her little friend to catch cold from the night air. Wrapping her towel around the small figure, she and Kagome couldn't help but giggle at the sleepy sounds of contentment Sakura was making. After getting Sakura in to her sleeping kimono, Sango gently picked her up and the two young women headed back to the village.
"Miroku, can I talk to you for a moment?" Sango asked as she put Sakura down on the futon Kagome had quickly laid out for her. She gently place a blanket over the little girl and stood up. "Thanks Kagome."
"Of course Sango." Miroku replied, standing up and following the demon slayer out the door.
"Miroku, I can't bare the idea of giving Sakura away. So I was wondering if we could become her guardians?" Sango wondered.
"I had thought the same thing when you girls were bathing. And I would be honored to help take care of her. We already help take care of Shippo. Taking care of Sakura won't be that different."
"Then it's agreed, we will have Kaede make it official in the morning. After that, I'm going after those monsters who killed Sakura's parents and village. I still remember what it feels like to lose my village. At least she will at least have distant memories of her parents and village." Sango replied firmly.