***I did not write or claim to write this fanfic***
>Author’s Notes: Buddhism includes the concept of the eight pains that, along with other things, bring us unhappiness. Miroku’s curse brings him one more. This is meant to occur immediately after Miroku’s Kazaana is repaired by Mushin, Episode 28 in the anime.
“The Ninth Pain”
by Scribe of Figaro
Only a day had passed since the incident at Mushin’s home, but already Miroku was recovered and ready to travel with them again.
During this day they found themselves in a vast forest. Their road was clear and the weather was fair, especially here beneath the canopy where it was cool. All of them seemed in good spirits, as they normally were when one deed was done and they were ready to move on to the next. Inuyasha was annoyed, as usual, though this time not for their wasting time to exterminate a youkai without receiving a shikon shard, but for Miroku’s leaving them. By doing so he managed to get himself and the others into much more trouble than they would have been in if he had simply told them he was going to Mushin to have his Kazaana repaired.
Miroku’s tendency to throw away his life for others really grated on his nerves, especially since he seemed to enjoy every chance he had to do so. Even a samurai didn’t throw away his life at every single opportunity. His suicidal behavior could someday get them killed. He was . . .
Inuyasha frowned. His friend? No, not quite that. Partner? Hm. No, still too friendly.
Yes, that was it. Miroku was useful, and without his houriki they couldn’t do much against mononoke or other creatures that lacked physical form. Those things that did - Inuyasha absently tapped the scabbard of Tetsusaiga for comfort - were cut.
Miroku was useful. Sango was strong, and had that neko youkai. Both were helpful in battle. Shippou was annoying, but Kagome probably wouldn’t follow him anymore if he got rid of the damn kitsune.
Kagome was . . . important.
Inuyasha turned around, glancing at the young girl in the strange, kimono that trotted a few steps behind him. She smiled; he hesitantly smiled back.
Kagome was very important. And smelled nice.
Inuyasha smiled, nodding with satisfaction. He might be a hanyou, but even he could appreciate a pleasant walk, especially with the promise of the rest of the day. They would find another shikon shard soon, and another, and another. The shikon collection around Kagome’s neck would grow, and soon be whole. It may take years, but he could wait. His youkai blood blessed him with eternal patience for things so important.
Well, maybe his patience wasn’t that -
Inuyasha’s ears twitched, and there was a moment of panic as he tried to figure out what caught his attention.
Youkai? Mononoke? Wild thieves?
Footsteps. I don’t hear the bouzu’s footsteps anymore.
“Miroku,” he queried, curious and a little annoyed. Sango, Kagome, and Shippou also stopped and turned to face the monk that stood behind them.
Miroku held his right hand before him, studying the magically sealed palm with growing alarm.
“What’s wrong, Miroku?” shouted Shippou.
“It . . .” he uttered. “It’s time.”
He looked up at them, studying their faces for a brief but thoughtful moment.
“The Kazaana. I must go.”
Kagome took a step toward him, her hand outstretched to him as if to grip his arm in friendly assurance.
“No!” he shouted, stepping backward, his cursed right hand extended behind himself, his left holding his staff horizontally between himself and the group, barring them from coming any nearer.
“Stay away,” he shouted. “I beg you to keep your path.” He relaxed his right hand for a moment and let it hang at his side. “If you trust me, you will leave me to my fate.”
He was walking backwards now. Though they stared, none in the party moved.
“Goodbye,” he stated, the word heavy as he turned and ran down the forest path.
“Houshi-sama,” Sango whispered.
“Kuso!” Inuyasha shouted. All that effort to save his stupid life and the Kazaana ends up consuming it the next day.
“Damn that Mushin and his drunken handiwork,” he cursed.
“What do we do?” Shippou asked.
Sango crossed her arms.
“We go after him.”
All of them, even Inuyasha, took notice of such a bold statement.
“Keh,” he hanyou spat. “I’m sure you’re more excited than even me to see that bouzu sucked into oblivion, but if we get too close to him he’ll kill us all.”
Inuyasha’s shout of anger was muffled by the dirt Kaede’s curse drove his face into.
Kagome growled, her hands in fists to her sides, her eyes closed with the impatience that weighed heavily on them.
“He has a point,” she muttered. “We can’t help him if his curse is really . . .” she paused. “We can wait here and hope he’s wrong, and search for him later. There’s no danger in leaving Miroku by himself a few hours.”
Sango nodded, setting down Hiraikotsu with a heavy thud.
“But Sango-chan,” Kagome asked placing her hand on the taiji-ya’s shoulder, “why are you so eager to go after him?”
Sango sighed. “I guess I’ve lost so many friends and family recently I’m not willing to lose any more. Even that stupid houshi.”
She looked up, seeing Kagome with that particular look she had before hugging someone.
Sango snorted. “Besides, I don’t want to give him enough time to terrorize more village girls.”
- - - - - - - - - -
The sun set. Kagome slept, Shippou curled up next to her, Inuyasha kept watch near her, and Sango gritted her teeth.
She walked a bit from camp to dress in her taiji-ya uniform. She didn’t need to go very far, as no one there had any interest in seeing her undressed. She returned to camp belting on her wakizashi.
Inuyasha glared at her while she picked up Hiraikotsu and slung it over her shoulder.
“It’s been hours,” she said. “If he’s already dead, then at least we’ll know. And if he’s still alive, there’s a good chance he’s going to get himself in trouble.”
“If he’s faking it, I don’t blame you if you kill him.”
Sango strapped on her weapon and called Kirara. As she mounted the animal and took to the sky, Inuyasha muttered under his breath: “You better find him, Sango.”
Sango expected him to be in the nearest clearing, several hours back from where they were camped. If he took his Buddhist vows very seriously - at times he did - he would choose such a place to be sure his Kazaana did the least amount of damage. With Kirara she could reach the spot in a few minutes.
Sango touched ground near the treeline. The meadow before her looked somber in the moonlight, but she sensed no demons here. With her keen eyes she immediately made out the dark form of a man sitting what may have been the perfect center of the field.
“Stay here, Kirara,” she whispered. Her companion sat and waited with an air of unending patience.
She approached cautiously, still not sure what to make of the figure that sat before her. She was wary of tricks and thus kept her heavy weapon at the ready.
When she was within a few yards of the monk she recognized his face, his clothes, and the staff that was embedded in the ground beside him, glowing faintly.
A weak demon ward. He must not fear much here.
“Sango,” he said. His eyes were closed still, and she thought him asleep until he had spoken.
“How did you know it was me?”
He opened one eye, as if to confirm his assumption. “I recognized your gait the moment you stepped from the forest. A female taija-ya steps so light that, if heard, she cannot be confused with any animal that dwells in these lands.” Again his eyes closed, and he seemed to frown. “I asked you not to approach me.”
Sango laid down her weapon and kneeled not more than a yard from him. “I had the feeling you’d not let me get this close unless the danger was passed.”
With a sigh he broke from his meditation and opened his eyes. “No, I wouldn’t.”
“What happened, Houshi-sama?”
He said nothing.
Sango bit her lip, a bit unsure of what to do. She wanted to reach out to him, to touch him in a moment of reassurance, but she hesitated.
If I get any closer he’s just going to grab me, like he always does.
He was looking at her, but she could not read his glance at all.
If he’s toying with me again . . .
Her face stiffened in anger, then resolution, and without thinking she found herself scooting closer to the houshi. She outstretched her hand to him, paused, and gently brought the hand to his cheek.
Miroku jumped at the touch. His eyes were wide.
He’s . . . frightened. For all his lecherous mannerisms, the gentle touch of a woman still rattles him so?
She let go, clasping her hands together in her lap.
“Tell me, Houshi-sama. What happened today? Why did you leave us?”
He gaped at her for a moment and seemed to gain his composure.
“I felt pain. It was different than before - I’ve never had it hurt like that, not while it was sealed.” He paused, apparently hoping Sango would interrupt, but she was silent. “I thought that was it - the last warning sign I had before the Kazaana consumed me and all those around me.”
“But it didn’t.”
“No,” he sighed. “No, it was a phantom pain, probably from the youkai that damaged it before. It was the first time I had felt such a thing.”
“So you were mistaken?” Her voice seemed to rise, and a smile tugged at the corners of her lips. So he will live after all.
“Yes, I was mistaken.” He brought his cursed hand out from the sleeve of his robe and held it above his lap, tracing over the rosary beads that sealed it with his right hand. “The Kazaana will someday consume me, perhaps far sooner than I had expected. But I don’t know what it will feel like, or how much warning I will have.”
“Houshi-sama,” she whispered. “Don’t say such things. You’ll survive. We’re getting closer to defeating Naraku every day.”
“We are,” he said. “But until we do defeat him, I am a constant threat to all of you. If I can’t know when the Kazaana begins to come apart, then I put all of you in danger.”
I’ve never heard him speak like this. He never talks of himself, of the Kazaana, to this degree. Does he always feel this way?
Sango shook her head. “You’re not, Houshi-sama. We need you. We can’t fight Naraku by ourselves.”
“You can find better houshi if you look for them, Sango. Ones without curses.”
“Why are you acting like this, Houshi-sama?”
He tilted his head slightly, the innocent sort of look he used sometimes when he tried to tease her. “I’m sorry, Sango. I don’t mean to.” He seemed about to say something else, but stopped.
Was that embarrassment on his face?
“We’re all part of this, Houshi-sama. We need everyone we can get to fight Naraku. We can’t afford leaving anyone aside.”
She took his shoulders, and again she saw the reaction, the briefest of breaks in the mask of indifference he wore. She gripped him tightly.
“Houshi-sama, I’ll never forgive you if you make me say this without needing to.” She relaxed her grasp slightly but did not let go. Sango raised her eyebrows quizzically. “You seriously think we’re better off leaving you alone?”
He stared at her, saying nothing. So unnerving was his expression, so vacant.
I hope he is faking this. I hope he just wanted me to lean in like this so he could grope my chest, and I could strike him across the face again, and we’d be back to this tenuous friendship we keep.
She grunted. “We need you, Houshi-sama. You’re a powerful monk. We trust in your houriki and shakujou. You hold your own in battle. And with the exception of your unyielding lechery,” she grinned a bit despite herself, “you’re one of the kindest souls I have ever known.”
He was blushing now.
He never blushes. Ever. It’s . . . kind of cute.
“Sango, I . . .” He looked at her, and for a moment it seemed he doubted her sincerity, but only for a moment. “Thank you. I don’t think anyone has ever complimented me like that before.”
He held his cursed hand before her, again feeling the beads that sealed it.
“But I cannot repay your kindness with this. I can’t keep you near me and risk my fate. If I can’t tell when the seal will break, then. . .”
He clenched a fist.
“Sango, I’ve seen what the Kazaana does when the curse claims a man fully, and with that knowledge I cannot allow another to face that oblivion. To know I could bring that pain upon another, a friend, all my friends, and unwillingly claim the half-demon, the priestess, and the demon-slayer who together posed the last and best chance against Naraku . . . Sango, I can’t allow it!”
She reached toward his hand to protectively hold it in her own, but hesitated.
I can’t touch him there - not in the most sensitive part of his body. Well . . . the part of his body that controls his life. . .
With great effort she stifled a giggle.
Cautiously she took his hand, the cursed hand, and ran her fingers along the beads that sealed it. He looked at her with something between fear and embarrassment, and slowly, so that he would have time to stop her if he wanted, she fingered the Kazaana over its protective coverings.
“Houshi-sama, if that time comes, I swear upon my life as a demon-slayer that I will be ready to push you free of any innocents.”
“You would die, Sango.”
“We would die together.”
Again he stared, opening his mouth, about to speak. What words formed in his mind she could only imagine.
Don’t lie to me, Sango.
Don’t speak of things you don’t understand, Sango.
Don’t put this weight on me, Sango.
Would you bear my child, Sango?
Thank you, Sango.
I love you, Sango.
He said nothing. Part of her wanted him to speak. It would be so much easier if he ruined the moment.
There’s something in me that cares for you, that desires passion, that wants you, Miroku. I don’t really like it, and I’d kill it if I could. But I can’t, and I’m thankful for you wandering hands, at least a little. Were it not for them, I fear you’d capture my heart and break it. It’s so much easier to focus on killing Naraku when you’re being too much of a pervert for me to waste my thoughts on you.
“Come on, Houshi-sama. The others are waiting for us.”
She stood up, extended a hand, brought Miroku to his feet. He pulled his staff loose from the ground and held it lazily to his side.
“I’m not sure what to say, Sango.”
She smiled as he fell in step beside her. Kirara bounded across the field to meet them.
“If you’re smart, Houshi-sama, you won’t say anything.”
He didn’t, but greeted her with the palm of his hand as she turned to mount the firecat. She gasped as she felt his touch, then turned around to smack him. As always he stood his ground, grinning like a fool as she climbed atop Kirara.
“Your ride to camp is full now, Houshi-sama,” she hissed. “Have a pleasant walk.”
He was still smiling at her, and when she looked over her shoulder the moment before he disappeared from view, he waved cheerfully.
I can’t understand why you keep doing this to me. It seems every time we reach a point where I warm to you, you ruin it. Why, Houshi-sama? Does it amuse you to toy with me? Do you hate me? Or do you not care?
She sighed lightly, leaning her face toward her firecat’s mane.
Or is it something else, Houshi-sama? Is it that curse that drives you to seek women so carelessly? Is it your desperation for an heir that makes you this way?
And when you hurt me, is it because you love me, Houshi-sama? Do you ruin our relationship deliberately, because you want to protect me from your curse?
A smile tugged at her lips.
Maybe I think too much of you. But if this is some sort of game, I’m going to win, Houshi-sama.
One of these days, I’m going to figure you out.
***I did not write this fanfic, I am only a fan of it.***
Miroku sat on the grassy slope at the edge of Kaede’s village, by himself. The weather was perfect. The air smelled wonderful. The soft green grass poked up through his bare toes, tickling the topside of his foot.
But the gorgeous setting wasn’t the reason for his ear-splitting smile, or the silly, nonsensical drinking songs that hummed off his lips, nor was it responsible for the fact that for the first time since he could remember, he didn’t wake up that morning contemplating his own death...
Truth was, it could have been cold, stormy, and lightning could have struck his...well, maybe not the lightning part, but he’d be no less elated than he was right now. This very second. Curseless.
For the thousandth time since they’d defeated Naraku, two days ago, he held his hand out splayed in front of his face. The hand. Only now, it wasn’t hidden behind a rosary. And it didn’t have a nasty hole in it that sucked people into hell.
Just a regular, everyday man’s hand. Soft in places that had never seen the sun, but just as capable as his other. A very undignified giggle trickled out of his mouth, and he bit his bottom lip through the smile out of reflex, since monks weren’t supposed to be given to such spontaneous moments of joviality.
And that lasted all of about three seconds. Leaving his composure behind, Miroku laughed. Out loud, by himself and to himself, like a merry lunatic. He stretched the fingers of both his hands to the sky, exercising them. If Shippo was nearby, he’d toss the little sucker in the air. And if Sango were there...
His smile sobered down into something much more intimate at the thought of the demon slayer. Egads, she was something else. As powerful an ally as he’d ever had, yet as effeminate and beautiful as a goddess of myth. He’d been so cautious to temper his thoughts concerning her until now. The monk was no fool. A woman like that would have consumed him utterly, distracting him from the task of destroying Naraku.
But Naraku was dead. And now that he knew he had a future, he finally allowed his mind to dwell on her. And dwell on her, it did. So much so, that he no longer found other women beautiful. So much so, that thoughts of Sango distracted him more than the newness of feeling a breeze on his untouched hand. So much so that his chest literally ached when he was around her. It was the first time his heart wanted someone as bad as his body did, and he found it odd that it actually hurt.
He had to say something soon. These feelings were far too big to keep inside. Perhaps today...
As though on cue there was a languid movement in his peripheral vision, and he turned to see... “Sango-chan.”
“Houshi-sama.” The sight of her suddenly winded him. Her expressive calf eyes twinkled even through the shadow of her bangs...those pretty, thick bangs that accentuated her face better than any hairpiece or fancy collar. Her posture was at ease, with one hand clutching a bag, and the other bent over her shoulder, bracing...Hiraikotsu?
Bag, weapon, traveling shoes... Alarmed, he looked back up to her face to see more than just the crinkled eyes, or the upturned lips. Her expression was rueful. Almost sad.
He frowned. “Sango-chan, where are you going?”
The smile on her face somehow didn’t make it up to her melancholy eyes. “Home.”
Huh? When had she decided this? To just blurt it out like that, and it’s not like she had a home left to go to... “Your village?”
“To pay your respects to they who have passed,” he deduced, calming down. “I see.” Should he offer to go with her? She might be gone for days, and he didn’t think he could go that long without being near her. “So when are you returning?”
“I won’t return.”
He choked, and his shocked expression must have been pretty obvious, because she blushed and looked down at her feet. “I’ve been thinking, Houshi-sama—”
Oh, how he would love to hear her say his real name. Just once. For it to come tumbling off those pretty lips...
“...and I want to start a school there for youkai slaying, drafting in recruits and their families from neighboring lands,” she lifted a hesitant gaze and met his eyes. The sincerity there said more than all her words together. “I want to...rebuild our village, Houshi-sama. Make it what it was... Or close, anyhow.”
“Such a noble aspiration,” he thought out loud, marveling at how his yearning for her just seemed to double. He clutched a hand to his chest.
“Are you well?”
He let go, and forced a smile. “Hm. I’m fine. I’m fine.” But, “To leave so suddenly.”
“I have a lot of work ahead of me, my friend. There’s no point in wasting my days away here, now that my life is finally safe to live.”
Was that how she saw him? A waste? Miroku’s heart sank. He suddenly wished he could go back and retract all those times he’d groped her.
“So take care, Houshi-sama,” she said. “I’m glad our paths ran together, if only for a short while.” Eyes glistening, she nodded politely and turned on her heel to go. Knowing nothing more than that he didn’t want to lose her, Miroku cried out, hand outstretched...
She paused, mid-stride and turned enough to look at him over her shoulder in...regret? “You know, Houshi-sama, it’s a pity that you’re incapable of being monogamous,” she mused, moisture collecting in her eyes. “Because I could see myself growing old with you,” she said quietly, “if only your nature were different.”
She could have slapped him, and had less effect. Miroku gaped in mute shock as she walked on. Did...did she just say...? He replayed the words over in his head, taking several moments to process the meaning of her comment. And when it truly sank in, the monk quickly jumped to his feet in panic, and stumbled after her.
Dispirited, Sango walked on, even though it felt like she was leaving a huge part of her heart behind. Well, it’s done, she sighed inwardly. And unconvincingly, It’s for the best...
If she was lucky, her self-appointed task of replenishing the taigiya village might distract her from the biggest regret of her life. That perhaps time, and distance might make her forget the sparkling warmth in his eyes, or the reverent timbre of his soft voice... That handsome boy smile that gave her butterflies every time it curled his lips upwards...
Agh. Dammit, Miroku. Why couldn’t you have been—
She gasped as the object of her thoughts suddenly materialized in front of her, blocking her path.
“Houshi-sama,” she uttered as he dropped on one knee before her, head bowed in the deepest humility and respect. His fingers dug little indentations in the dirt, and she could clearly hear his winded panting, as though he’d just run the length of the village. She frowned concern.
“What is it?” she asked, wondering what had caused his heart to beat so quickly.
“Sango-chan,” he whispered intensely, and lifted his face to lock stares with her. There was a great desperation...an urgency in his eyes. “I can be monogamous!” he whispered, his jaw muscles jumping. “Can be. Already am. For you.”
She blinked. Forgot to breathe. “Wha.” she shook herself. “What?”
He reached up and grasped her right hand in both of his. His grip was almost hot. Unwavering. The gesture made the blood rush to her face.
“I just.” his mouth fumbled inarticulately over jumbled thoughts, and in the middle of this sudden moment, Sango couldn’t help but to think how cute he looked without his usual composure. She quirked a brow for him to spit it out.
He nodded and tried again. “What...whatever it is that you’re doing with the rest of your life, I want to do it with you,” he stammered. “And only you.”
She took a step back as his words sank in. “You don’t.” she closed her eyes and looked away. “You don’t mean that, Houshi—”
He swore under his breath and stood to his feet, her hand still firmly grasped in his. “Gah! I do! I do, Sango. Please make room for me by your side!”
She gaped at him. Clenched teeth, pained eyes, flushed face... He was serious. The rational part of her—the side that had struggled so furiously to be heard over her twitterpated heart—countered his declaration in the back of her mind. Making her wonder if his sudden devotion was because all the other women in the village had rejected him. It reminded her that her beloved monk’s actions had betrayed him too many times. He was a womanizer. And the demon slayer respected herself far too much to commit the rest of her life to a man with wandering eyes.
“Houshi-sama.” she faltered when she realized he was holding his breath, and hesitantly lifted her other hand to touch his jaw. He surprised her by nuzzling her palm.
“Don’t do this,” she caught herself before she got lost completely in his stare, jerking her hand back. “I could never trust you. You know that.”
He advanced on her, and got in her face. “And I tell you, you could!”
“But you grope after every woman who crosses your path—”
“Keh! Reflex!” His fingers curled through hers. “The residual actions of a boy who was conditioned to manhood by womanizers. There was no want behind it, Sango. No passion. No girl has ever made me feel like,” he scrunched his face, searching for words. “Like.” Abruptly, he flattened her hand against his chest. And even through the thick material of his robes, it felt like his heart was about to thump out of his ribs. “Like this...” he finished.
A lump formed in her throat, and her eyes stung. “You’re serious.”
His face relaxed into something more hopeful, and less strained. “I am.”
“But.” she tried desperately to reign in her affections and recall all her earlier arguments for walking away from the biggest crush of her life. “But what if you decide you don’t like me down the line, Houshi-sama. After all, you’ve been with so many women.”
His eyes widened, and his mouth fumbled inarticulately over stammering words. The ridiculous expression was compounded by the five shades of red that his face suddenly turned. He hung his head, and stared at his feet, his arms dropping at his sides. “Uh...see, now that’s not necessarily true.”
She paused. “Eh?”
“I, uh...uh.” he brought a conspicuous hand to his mouth and muffled the next words into it. “Umaavirchn...“
She frowned confusion. “What did you say?”
He took a deep breath, and met her eyes, obviously embarrassed. “I said, I’m a,” sigh, grimace, flush, “virgin.”
She blinked. A hand went to her mouth. “You...are?”
A grin stretched her lips. Her breaths quickly evolved into relieved chuckles, and pretty soon Sango found herself doubling over with unladylike hee haws. Miroku looked around embarrassedly, and put a restraining hand on her back while she tried to recover.
“Hey... Not so loud.”
“You mean you’ve been rejected by every single one of them!?” she managed in between sniggers.
“Well, I...no...some said yes, but they were usually youkai in disguise trying to...kill me... Shhh! Quiet Sango-chan, or the others will hear...!”
That just made it worse, and it took great effort to quiet her hearty laughter before she could speak again. “Well,” she stated, wiping the wetness from her eyes. “That’s the last thing I expected to come out of your mouth!”
Miroku looked pleadingly at her. “It doesn’t mean I’d be bad in bed. I’ve heard a good deal, and—”
She held a hand up to his lips, fighting the new wave of mirth that threatened to buckle her knees. “Enough!” she laughed. “You’re killing me!” Oh, she was enjoying this. Mostly because he seemed to be under the impression that he just shot whatever chances he’d had, when in fact, he’d just secured his position by her side.
She tilted her head back and smiled at his worried face. “You can come with me, Houshi-sama.”
He frowned, about to continue his arguments when her words registered. “I...uh, you mean.”
“Yes, I do.”
The smile that brightened his face right then made her heart leap. All that sincerity. Just for her. What an amazing affect it had...
“Really?” he asked, his eyes crinkling in delight as he slid a hesitant hand around her waist.
“Really,” she blushed, letting him pull her close. With a glint in his eye, he caught her chin and tilted it upwards as he eagerly leaned down to kiss her. But his fingers were already dropping down her back in their usual untimely fashion. Sango broke away, and thumped her forehead against his chest.
“Damn your hands, monk.”
He laughed nervously. “Give ’em a chance. You might like them in a few minutes.”
She snorted, and in response, unhitched the chain on her thigh. She put her hands up between them and roughly pushed him back against a nearby tree, enjoying the confused look on his face. Then, before he could protest, she hookedl his wrist with one end of it, looped it around the tree behind him, and wrapped it around his other before he even regained his composure enough to resist. He gasped, as she imbedded the ending blade into the tree out of his reach, leaving him with his arms splayed straight out against the trunk.
He frowned at the mock crucifix, and flexed against his sudden restraints. “What are you doing?”
“Making sure you behave.”
He stretched his arms again, the sound of clinking metal grating against the bark, trying to loosen the restraints. But she knew what she was doing when she strung him up like that. The boy was stuck.
The perplexed look on his face turned to slightly distressed. “I don’t...oh, come now, Sango. You can’t just leave me here—”
“I wasn’t going to,” she said, swallowing back her timid inhibitions. The blush heated her cheeks immediately as she hesitantly leaned up next to him. The warmth from his body radiated through his clothes, hitting her with a heady rush of spontaneous sensuality. This, she realized, was doing more for the moment than any amount of his untimely groping could ever do. Perhaps it was the more aggressive side of her nature, but she enjoyed the fact that he was tied up a little too much.
Understanding eased his face, and his breath quickened. Unpracticed as she was, and still unforgivably shy, Sango raised a trembling hand to his face, and stood on her toes. Some part of her was aware of the clanking chains as he reflexively tried to embrace her in return, but the bulk of her attention went to the soft, fevered texture of his lips as she finally leaned in and kissed him.
The sensation was shocking...absolutely, and totally stimulating on every level. The soft warmth of his mouth, the press of his body, his sweet breath against her face... Though as enlivening as it was, this was all still too new. She wasn’t very comfortable with her behavior, and found herself quickly pulling back.
His red gaze bounced sluggishly from her eyes to her lips to her nose, back to her lips. He looked unbelievably cute when his face was flushed, she decided. “Again, Sango...” he whispered.
Well, that’s all it took, and she leaned in and kissed him again, repressing a giggle as he squirmed helplessly. Leaning forward as much as he was allowed, Miroku angled his head left, and opened the kiss with a blind eagerness that made her squeak in response. The taste of his mouth was intoxicating, with lingering scents of honey bread and mint tea...
The clanging of his chains got louder and louder as he grew increasingly frustrated, until he growled impatience against her lips, “Agh, Sango. Unchain me!”
She pulled back enough to see his outstretched fingers, flexing and grabbing at the thin air. She bit back another laugh, considering how torturous it was for him to not have the use of his ever-groping hands. “And let you ruin a perfectly good moment?” she asked.
He smiled ruefully.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, and winked. “I don’t think so.”
“Chain or no chains.” his speech slurred as she ran her nails in little circles at the base of his neck. “You won’t be able to keep my hands off you when we’re married—”
She froze. Of course it was the natural progression, but to hear the words sent her heart fluttering all over again. “And.” she tried to maintain her composure, fighting a sudden urge to do multiple back flips, “When is that going to be?”
“As soon as you let me go,” he jerked his chin towards the village without taking those glittering eyes off her.
It took her a moment to find her voice. “You’re...sure about this?”
Quick, jerky nod, his expression alone sucking the strength from her legs. “Hai. I love you.”
She choked up. “Miroku.”
His face brightened. “Say that again...”
The sun reflected of his pretty white teeth. “I knew I’d love the way my name sounded on your lips.”
The concession made it past all her barriers, and Sango finally broke. The chain came off. They had their ceremony. And the following, my dear readers, is too precious and private to be smeared and cheapened by ugly words.
But suffice it to say that love is the rest.