A/N: Let's be random. I am freaking in love with Good Charlotte's music. I am also in love with Fred Gallagher and MegaTokyo, which I MUST buy. You must ALL buy it. Go, now! You will not regret it! (you can get it at http://www.ironcat.com/ and read it at http://www.megatokyo.com/)

"Children's Needs"

The pair drew stares from the other market-goers like Shikon shards drew youkai- a delicate, petite young lady carrying a halberd and dressed in a dark kimono and, towering at her side, a man dressed in an even darker yukata, his face hidden under a wide-brimmed hat. Few chose to look at him, however, when the girl was so lovely. This was lucky for Kazuma, as the sight of a hanyou tended to turn normally friendly crowds into mobs.

"I wish Hayama had been available again," said hanyou murmured, glancing uneasily around the crowded market.

"I second the motion," Miroku muttered through a fake smile directed to a merchant who was inspecting Kazuma a little too closely. "We're screwed if anyone realizes just what you are."

"Such sweet nothings you whisper, Sango-hime," Kazuma retorted dryly. "Why must you always talk like that?"

"'Cause I'm your type, 'zuma-kun," Miroku retorted teasingly, batting his eyelashes in an exaggerated fashion. Kazuma blushed for the umpteenth time that day and quickly looked away. Miroku rolled his eyes. "Honestly, Kazuma, you act like some adolescent virgin!" he exclaimed with a slightly exasperated laugh. "How old are you, anyway?" he added curiously.

"Fifteen last winter," Kazuma said softly, half-peeking back at the monk/hime as if to make sure it was "safe."

"Really?" Miroku frowned, cocking his head slightly. "You look older."

"So I'm told," the hanyou muttered, a distant look coming into his eyes. He said nothing for a long time.

"What are you doing?" Miroku finally asked with a sigh, and Kazuma turned his large, silver eyes to meet the monk's.

"Thinking how nice it would be . . . to fall asleep and never have to wake up," he replied emotionlessly. "To spend the rest of this life dreaming of better things than this."

"Fine, I hate you too," Miroku grumbled.

"I- I didn't mean-" Kazuma stammered, flushing slightly. "I do like you, Sango-hime. I like you a lot."

"Some warrior," Miroku snorted. "Afraid to upset a girl."

"I was never a warrior," Kazuma said quietly. "Just the point man. Father used me to take the lead in battles and the damage." He shuddered slightly. "I hate fighting, Sango-hime. It's sickening, to feel them die in my hands. To smell it and taste it and remember it always . . . "

" . . . What exactly became of your mother?" Miroku asked after a moment.

"She went away," Kazuma murmured. "A long time ago, she went away. Father said she didn't want me, so she left me with him. And I had to do what he said, 'cause as horrible as it was hurting all those people for him, I knew I'd die if I left. A youkai or an exterminator would be sure to eliminate me."

"But you came with me," Miroku said with a faint frown. "Why?"

"Dunno." He shrugged. "The timing, maybe? And I knew that you'd die yourself if you had to go without me. I hate letting things I could've saved die."

"I'm not helpless," Miroku complained, though he knew that it was this close to a lie.

Kazuma gave him a sad smile. "Hime, you don't need to pretend to be so tough all the time, you know. I know that you miss your 'dear,' and that you can't fight very well, and that you want your true form back, whatever it is. So you don't have to pretend like it's okay all the time."

Miroku rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right," he said dismissively, waving the other off.

"As you like it, Sango," Kazuma replied in amusement.

"Hah!" Miroku pointed an accusing finger in the hanyou's face. "You finally forgot to call me 'hime'!"

"Guh!" Kazuma blanched and nearly fell over. "I- um-"

"That means that you LIKE me," Miroku said triumphantly, shoving his face up into the other's. Kazuma squeaked in dismay and blushed again. "Not like that!" The monk laughed.

"I'd HOPE not!" Kazuma hissed. "There's something wrong with a woman who'd seduce a half-breed!"

"Hmph," Miroku huffed and tossed his hair. "You pervert; who said anything about seducing anyone?"

"You know damn well what you act like!" Kazuma fumed.

Miroku chuckled maniacally. "Oh, do I?" he inquired with glee.

Kazuma groaned in exasperation. "Sango . . . " he growled, twitching slightly.

"Careful, you'll tear your sleeves!" Miroku chirped brightly, pointing to where the other's hidden claws had already begun to do so.

Kazuma cursed. "This damned skin," he snarled. "It wears through the toughest fabrics in a month's time."

"Tried fire-rat fur?" Miroku suggested, running a finger down the small strip of skin exposed on the hanyou's arm. He blinked in surprise. It was smoother than anything he'd ever felt. "The heck . . .?"

"Try the other way," Kazuma told him, looking unaffected.

Miroku did as told and yank his hand back with a hiss of pain. Kazuma's skin felt like it was covered in thousands of impossibly tiny daggers.

"You could've warned me," he grumbled, sticking his bleeding fingers in his mouth.

"What's the fun in that?" Kazuma smirked down at him.

"Should I be grateful or pissed off that he's stopped bowing and scraping to me?" Miroku mused aloud.

"Go for grateful, and feel free to prove it," Kazuma answered with a large grin.

"Pervert!" Miroku crowed in delight, clapping his hands. "I'm so proud!"

"Oh, look who's talking," Kazuma snorted. "Now come on- we've got to find that . . . that . . . " He paused. "Uh, what are we looking for again?" he asked sheepishly.

" . . . I thought you knew." Miroku blinked up at him.

"SANGO!" Kazuma yelled.

"Kidding, kidding," Miroku chuckled. "We need food, dummy."

"Oh." Kazuma gave him a skeptical look. "Um, how much?"

"Enough for at least two weeks, I'd imagine," the monk replied.

"Yes, well- for ME, that's a half-pound of rice and a fish cake," Kazuma informed her.

Miroku's jaw dropped. "What?!" he squawked in shock.

"I take it you need more?" Kazuma remarked dryly.

"Oh, just a pinch," the other replied faintly.

"Thought ya might." Kazuma snickered. "But I don't know too much about how humans eat, I'm afraid, so you've gotta get it yourself."

"Do you have any money?" Miroku asked hopefully. "I'd rather not have to resort to selling myself."

"A bit, I think," Kazuma replied, ignoring the last part of that with superhuman ease. "Again, though- not too clear on how it works."

"Fortunately for us, I am," Miroku retorted. "Give it to me?"

"In my shirt," Kazuma replied. "But I can't take my hands out in public." Miroku sighed and quickly darted a hand into Kazuma's yukata with all the skill of an expert pickpocket, returning with what was thankfully a decent sum.

"Right then," Miroku said in satisfaction, transferring the bag to his own robes. "Let's see if we can't find a decent stall . . . "

"The freshest food is that way," Kazuma murmured in his ear, tilting his head to the right.

"How do you know?" Miroku raised an eyebrow at him.

"Can smell it," Kazuma explained. "And-" He stopped suddenly, nose wrinkling in confusion. "What the . . . "

And that was when the delicate, black-skinned hand reached out from the nearest alley and dragged them into it.

The last thing that Miroku saw before the darkness hit was a pair of shockingly silver eyes that most definitely did NOT belong to Kazuma.

* tbc . . . *

. : review or i don't give back the bishounen! : .