LES: Now it's Sango's turn, of course! This one had a difficult start. I didn't want to have them discussing Inuyasha's love life like Miroku's chapter. This story would get pretty dull if it was just every character weighing in on Inuyasha and Kagome's love life. So I went back to the manga and the Profiles book and got my idea. The fact of the matter is that Sango is strong. Very strong. Inuyasha's strength is listed in the book as about 4.5 out of 5. (Youkai Inuyasha and Sesshomaru are both rated as 5's in physical strength, just to give you an idea of how strong that is) Sango's strength is equal to Miroku's: 3 out of 5. So she is fully capable of going toe-to-toe with Inuyasha, especially in a sparring situation.


Chapter IIX: I Loved Him as a Brother, Part 2

Inuyasha was having a pretty fine day. This was one of the few times when Kagome went back to her own time for a legitimate reason that everyone could understand, so no one was pissed off at him for 'making Kagome go back to her own time'. She had gone back to her time earlier this afternoon and was due to be back the very next day. All in all, everything was going smoothly for the hanyou.

That is, until Sango came asking him for a spar.

Normally he relished in such activity. He'd never admit it out loud to anyone but Sango was strong. Very strong. Not just because of her abilities as a Taijiya, but she was physically strong. One wouldn't be able to heft a weapon like Hiraikotsu without above-average physical strength. Sparring with Sango was the perfect way to keep up his abilities with a sword. In fact, he wouldn't be half as good with the Tetsusaiga without Sango teaching him how to handle a weapon properly. But, today, he just wanted a rare day to be lazy.

It seemed to him that he'd barely gotten a moment's rest since he got released from Kikyou's spell and with Naraku hiding like a coward, now was the perfect time to get some rest and relaxation.

"Come on, Inuyasha, and spar with me." Sango called up into his tree. "I'm not going to let you get out of shape just because Naraku is hiding from us."

"Feh." Inuyasha snorted. Like he could possibly get out of shape. If he could keep his fighting form when his diet consisted of a large portion of instant ramen, then one day of laziness was not going to turn him into a lazy fat-ass. Being a hanyou definitely had its advantages.

Sango sighed, wishing not for the first time that she had the ability to 'Osuwari' him. She had tried to Osuwari him before, but it hadn't worked. The necklace was bound to Kagome and Kagome alone. However, even if the rosary would not work for her, hearing the word was usually enough to cause Inuyasha to twitch in fear. So she took a breath and said "Osuwari" almost exactly like Kagome would when she was angry at the hanyou.

As Sango expected, the word caused Inuyasha to flinch, nearly knocking him out of the tree. He managed to cling to the branch just in time to stop him from falling and hitting the ground like a real subduing.

"Don't do that!" Inuyasha snarled as he dropped down out of the tree. "You all know how much I hate 'that word'!"

"You know, Inuyasha, if you would just learn your manners Kagome would probably remove the rosary from you." Sango commented. "I happen to know that she hates subduing you as much as you hate being subdued."

But Inuyasha did not respond to that. Instead, he brought his hand up to the beads and clutched onto them desperately, like he would shred anyone who dared try to remove them. The truth was, as much as Inuyasha hated the beads, he hated the thought to losing them more. They were his connection to Kagome and, for all he knew, it could be that connection that allowed him to travel through the well to her time. And there was the matter of his transformations as well. As much as he hated to admit it, he felt glad that Kagome and the others had a last line of defense against him in his transformed state. That very thought kept the nightmares about tearing his friends to shreds with his own claws while in the transformed state at bay.

Sango, noting the pensive expression on the hanyou's face decided that a change in subject was called for. "So, what do you say, Inuyasha? Will you go a few rounds with me?" She asked, drawing her katana.

Now that he was down on the ground, the idea of a short sparring match was actually starting to sound like a good idea. Smirking, he drew the Tetsusaiga, making sure to keep the blade in its untransformed state. So far, when he sparred with Sango, they did so as equals. The Tetsusaiga would remain untransformed and Inuyasha would use none of his youki-based attacks, and Sango would not use any of her Taijiya tricks like the stink pellets.

"Tell you what, Inuyasha, why don't you use Tetsusaiga's true form?" Sango asked, smirking.

Inuyasha stared at her. "Are you mad, woman? Do you want to get hacked to pieces?"

"Believe me, Inuyasha. I know what I'm doing." Sango said.

Inuyasha met her eyes for a few moments before he allowed his Youki to flow into the blade, triggering its true transformation from an ordinary katana into his father's fang. In its true form, Tetsusaiga was a massive blade that no human could hope to wield effectively because of its weight. It took a Youkai's strength to lift the weapon, let alone use it.

Inuyasha had more than enough strength to wield the weapon and could even do so with one hand. He hefted the weapon overhead and rushed at Sango with the sort of speed that should not be possible with a weapon that big. But Sango did not seem at all concerned as he brought the blade swinging down.

Inuyasha fully intended not to hurt her, so when Sango made no move to avoid the weapon, he halted his attack, the sharp edge of the blade only inches from her forehead. "You weren't going to move."

"You weren't going to hit me." Sango retaliated. "Come on, Inuyasha, I know that you have more faith in my skills than that. You won't be able to hit me anyway."

The goad at the right effect on the hanyou. He lifted the weapon again. "I'm not going to stop this time."

"Good." Sango said as Inuyasha swung his massive blade.

But, true to her word, Sango did know what she was doing. Since she fought with a large weapon herself on a regular basis, she knew the sort of strengths and weaknesses came from a large weapon like that. As Inuyasha swung, she dodged the blade and slipped past his guard in his blind spot. Within seconds, the tip of her katana was pressed just under his arm, in the perfect position to stab him in the heart if she desired his death. They both froze.

Inuyasha was completely shocked. He'd never had a human slip past his guard like that, and even Youkai had a tougher time then that. Sango really was something else.

Sango did not remove the blade from Inuyasha's side. "What did you do wrong, Inuyasha?" She asked.

Inuyasha thought back to the swing, remembering every moment. He could mentally visualize the swing and then it came to him. He had swung too wide. Tetsusaiga was a large weapon that made it difficult to re-engage if the first swing missed. Sango had taken the opportunity to slip past his guard and beat him. "I swung too wide. So when I missed, I left myself wide open."

"Exactly. Remember, that Tetsusaiga is a super-massive weapon. That makes it difficult to change directions mid-swing. It's like the Hiraikotsu. Once I let it go, it's either hit or miss and, if I miss, I'm wide open for an attack. Therefore, you have to swing to hit and minimize openings as much as possible." She raised her katana. "Now, try again."

Inuyasha grinned slightly as he went after Sango again, swinging the Tetsusaiga powerfully. Sango leapt out of the way, avoiding each of his swings with the easy grace of someone who had spent her whole life fighting against Youkai who were often physically stronger than her. She was not foolish enough to try to block the Tetsusaiga with her katana. Hiraikotsu might have been up to blocking the mighty blade, but her katana would undoubtedly break under the strain.

But she did not just dodge. She carefully watched all of Inuyasha's swings, her eyes quick to point out any openings in his form. Every time she saw an opening, she would leap forward and stab Inuyasha to make him aware of the hole in his defense. Of course, her katana could not stab through his fire-rat clothing, but the stabs did feel like a poke through his robes, so he was aware of every touch.

They engaged and re-engaged again and again, and Sango noticed that his form grew much better as time wore on. Soon, he'd learned to stop creating opportunities for his opponents to hurt him. He was much much better than he was when she first met him: swinging his blade wildly and missing more often than he hit.

When he'd gone several minutes without presenting a single opening, Sango jumped back out of the way of his swings. "That's enough for now."

Inuyasha stopped his swing almost instantly and sheathed the massive blade. "Heh." He grinned cockily. "How was that?"

"Much better." Sango answered truthfully, even knowing that such an answer would do little more than stroke his ever-growing ego. But, as annoying as a cocky Inuyasha could be, she was sort of glad that he felt that way. When she first met him, he was still living under the stigma of the belief that he was nothing more than a worthless hanyou. He postulated and acted all high and mighty, but anyone could see the self-loathing in his eyes if they cared to look. But having friends who really cared about him, and caring about people in return, had really changed him.

He was yet to come out and say that he was okay with being a hanyou now, but everyone had noticed that he no longer spoke about getting the Shikon jewel to wish to become a full Inuyoukai. Now he was just collecting the jewel to get it away from Naraku.

Perhaps he was okay with his human half, even as emotionally underdeveloped as it was.

"Don't let it go to your head, Inuyasha." Sango cautioned. But judging from his expression, he had pretty much ignored her warning, and that brought an amused smile on her lips. "There is one more thing you can work on to become as strong as you possibly can be."

"What is it?" Inuyasha asked.

Sango walked up to him and poked him on the chest, just above his heart.

Inuyasha stared at her, confused. "My upper body strength?" He asked.

Sango laughed. "No. It's your heart that you need to work on." Inuyasha was still staring at her, confused. "Your Youkai side is very strong. But you've completely ignored your human half for developing your Youkai half. You need to work on making your human side as strong as your Youkai side."

"But… I can't. Not only is it physically impossible for my human half to become as strong as my Youkai half, but I'd only be able to train in my human form one night a month."

Now Sango was laughing freely at the hanyou. "I wasn't talking about physically strength, Inuyasha." She turned and left, still laughing loudly, leaving a completely mystified Inuyasha behind under the Goshinboku.


LES: Sorry for the delay. Most of the delay with this chapter was that I couldn't decide what to do next. I wanted to do a twisted love chapter, but I couldn't come up with the right idea. And then I came up with ideas for two new family love chapters, so… lucky you. I'll do those first. The next two chapters… will be… Kagome's mother and brother!