Disclaimer: Rumiko Takahashi owns Inu-Yasha. I could not begin to afford owning the rights to this story or any of its characters. But seeing as how I have yet to be sued, I will continue to write stories involving them.

Author's Note: This is a sequel to my fic Sango's Ordeal. If you have not read Sango's Ordeal you may wish to do so before getting to some of the later chapters. For the most part Miroku's Worst Fear is a story on its own and is not crutched by the plot in Sango's Ordeal. One could easily read this fiction without becoming too confused, however, some references to events in Sango's Ordeal will be made in later chapters.

Miroku's Worst Fear

A foolish man looks for happiness in the distance.

A wise man grows it under his feet.

--John Oppenheim


            The sakura blossoms drifted from their branches caught up in the gentle late-spring breeze. They fluttered in the soft rays of midmorning light to their destined landing on the ripples of recently disturbed waters below. This secluded hide-away in the bustling town lay occupied with one who slept despite the lateness of the morn.

            Her dark tussles cascading out around her she felt safe and warm for the first time in over a year. So safe and warm that she had no desire of stirring to greet the day. That is until her warmth began to ebb away. Slowly her senses began to waken to the world around her.

            First Sango noted the sweet smell of roses and orange blossoms surrounding her head. Mixed with them she detected the scent of incense as the sticks burned to their bases. But what was this third scent that wafted through the air? Before she could give that much thought, she felt soft fur rub against her bare foot once then twice then she felt a nip at her toes. "Mmm, Kirara, not now," Sango mumbled in her daze. Kirara? Nipping at her toes? That didn't sound right.

Sango opened her eyes and finally took in her surroundings. She lay upon soft tatami draped in silk, flowers and incense crowded the head of the futon—which was about a foot to her right, and a little gray tomcat was nuzzling her toes. There wasn't much else in the tiny room. A cabinet sat in the far corner where the futon would lay during day hours. On the side closest to her, a lovely three-panel noren of two cranes resided over the fusuma that lead to the hallway. And across the room was an open shoji that should lead to an interior courtyard. 

Slowly, as she sat up and the sheet of pure red silk slid from her form, warm air tingled across her bare skin. She welcomed the sensation and noticed that heat radiated from the floorboards as well. 'Wasn't I cold a minute ago? How could I be cold in a room like this?' As she moved to stand, she felt an unusual ache as her muscles seemed to tense. It was then that she remembered the third scent. The slight scent of sulfur, which came from the open doorway. A hot spring! That would be just the remedy for her aches and pains.

Standing Sango let the red silk fall to the floor as she crept to the shoji to peer outside. Instead of a beautiful garden—that would normally reside in the center of a house—what she found was a secluded little onsen with plenty of rocks to lean against and relax upon. Sango looked to her left and to her right but saw no one. Knowing better, "Houshi-sama?" she called out into the open air. No reply came back to her. Just feet from the doorway a pink towel was draped over a wooden bar. Sango ventured out far enough to take the towel and wrap it around her body before stepping off of the wooden veranda and on to the large, flat rock that would allow her to enter the onsen. Slowly slipping into the water she looked around again, from where she stood—knee-deep in hot, steamy liquid—she was surrounded by rocks that obscured her view of the rest of the spring. As well as obscuring the rest of the spring's view of her—not that she thought there were many people in it at this time of day.

Sango walked around the little pool and settled next to a warm rock; draping her dry towel on the rock she slid down beneath the comfortable waters. Sango let out a sigh of relief as the heat from the spring began to work away the knots in her muscles. Trusting her instincts she called out once more, "Houshi-sama?"

From the other side of the rock came a soft reply, "Hai, Sango?"

Miroku sat soaking in the water just out of view of the open shoji staring at a piece of paper that rested in his hand. The calligraphy that scrolled across it usually brought a smile to the face of its viewer. The bold strokes of black ink that stood out calling attention to passersby, the fluid strokes that resembled a beautiful dance, and the words that brought happiness and warm feelings their hearts—these two little kanji symbols, however, struck fear into Miroku's heart. Upon hearing Sango call him from so near by, he grimaced a little at the paper and began crumpling it in his fist.


Author's Dictionary:

Sakura: Cherry tree/blossoms.

Tatami: Straw mats that line the floor of a room; a measurement system (A common room is four and a half tatami in size.)

Futon: a soft cushion used as a bed, placed directly on the floor.

Noren: a two or three paneled cloth hanging. Covers doors or windows in decoration and separation.

Fusuma: a door made out of wood and paper that leads to an inner hallway or another room of the same house. No shoe change is necessary when passing through a fusama.

Shoji: a door made out of wood and paper that separates the inside of the house from the outside. Shoes are usually changed when passing through a shoji.

Onsen: a hot spring. In the past it referred to any hot spring, today only few springs are considered onsen due to their high mineral components.

Kanji: the characters present in the Japanese language that were inherited from the Chinese language.

Houshi: (for those who don't know) a low ranking Buddhist monk.

Author's notes: I'm trying to cut down on my use of Japanese vocabulary, but alas, that will not happen in this story. So I have italicized all the foreign words and placed definitions in the dictionary at the end. Some of these you will know because of their use in our culture, other animes, and this anime, but I will translate them all.

In this chapter they are mostly objects that one would find in their home.

Other italicized sentences and phrases are thoughts…most of them should be in some form of quotes. If they're not then they were not meant to be.

This story begins in medias res, therefore so as not to spoil the plot I will explain symbolism and historical references found in this prologue (if there are any ^_^) when I get to this point in the rest of the story. 

Please leave me a review so that I know how lost, confused, and befuddled you are. Or better yet, how well you can read my mind and know exactly where this story is going. Or at least where you think it's going.