“Another day, another shard,” Miroku quipped, thinking himself clever. Kagome smiled as she always did so as to not make him feel bad, but Sango’s face was impassive as she strapped Hiraikotsu to her back once more. In the course of their latest battle, against an enormous grasshopper-youkai, she’d been bowled over onto Miroku, and of course he’d taken full advantage of their position to explore her figure with both hands.
It had not been an accident when she swung the huge boomerang for another pass and clipped him on the head, sending him rolling. Even now, the knot on his forehead was enflamed and throbbing, and he would wince every so often when it hurt particularly much.
“Serves him right,” she muttered, slicing him a sour look from the corner of her eye, then grimacing as she flexed her hands and realized they were covered in dried gore from their fight. Hiraikotsu was pretty disgusting, too. She sighed. “I’m going to go wash off,” she called to Kagome, who was tenderly looking over Shippo for any injuries the kitsune had gotten whilst trying to protect her. “You,” she said to Miroku, who’d opened his mouth to comment, “will stay here, or I will thump you so hard you’ll wish that grasshopper had bitten off your head when it had the chance.”
He blinked, and nodded. Kagome waved absently, cooing to Shippo as she bandaged his hurt paw, and Sango took off toward where Inuyasha had said there was a stream. It was clear and sparkled in the midday sunlight, and Sango sighed in relief as she removed the boomerang and most of her armour, leaving her in her undergarments. She quickly scrubbed the blood and whatever-else from her belongings, then jumped into the water briefly to wash her body. Then she put her clothing back on, knowing it would dry quickly as the day was bright and warm. She was just about to put Hiraikotsu back on when she heard a familiar voice, yelling.
“Come back here, you… you fish!” Inuyasha yelled, bounding downstream in hot pursuit of, presumably, a fish.
He pounced, and Sango could see a flash of quicksilver leap from his hands to arc back to the water, swimming frantically toward freedom. “Inuyasha,” she said, “why not just try to get another one?”
He peered at her through narrowed eyes. “Because this,” he replied grouchily, “is personal. I’ve been trying to catch him for ten minutes now.”
She couldn’t help it—she started laughing. “Personal?” she gasped between laughs. “Against a fish?”
He glared, about to say something insulting, but seemed to change his mind before he could. Inuyasha grinned suddenly, and waved his hand in the direction the fish had gone. “Enjoy your freedom,” he called to it. “You won’t get a second chance, if we ever meet again.”
It only made Sango laugh harder, and with a quick leap, he left the stream to stand beside her, still grinning. He had removed his upper garments and was shirtless once more, his wet skin gleaming in the sunlight and silver hair hanging damply around his handsome face.
Sango found her laughter stopping abruptly as awareness of him crashed over her. Wide-eyed, she could do nothing but stare at him. He smelled fresh, like pine and clean water, and she was filled with this terrible yearning… before she knew what she was doing, her hand reached out, wanting to see if his chest was as smooth as it looked. The first touch of his cool flesh under her fingertips was like a balm to her—she felt all the jagged edges inside sort of melt away.
“Sango,” Inuyasha asked hesitantly, “what are you doing?”
His question snapped her out of whatever insane spell she’d been under, and she snatched her hand back, cradling it against herself like she’d been burnt. “I don’t know,” she whispered. “I’m sorry.”
She turned and started to run away, tears welling up to blind her. The unwieldy boomerang on her back bumped, bumped, bumped with every step, hampering her speed and grace, but all Sango knew was that she had to get away, away from Inuyasha before he could see she was crying.
But he was there already, one lithe bound bringing him to land directly in her path. “Sango,” he said, his hand outstretched. “Don’t be sorry.” Awkwardly, he reached out and placed his hand on her shoulder. “I’m… not sorry,” he added, clearly uncomfortable.
“There’s nothing for you to be sorry about,” Sango shot back, feeling bitter and confused and wondering why in the world she was so upset. “You didn’t do anything.”
“Neither did you,” he said, looking a little mystified.
“But I wanted to,” she declared passionately, a jolt of satisfaction passing through her at the sight of Inuyasha’s golden eyes widening in surprise. “But I have no right to. You’re in love with Kikyo. Or Kagome. Or Kikyo and Kagome…”
Sango wrenched herself from under his hand and walked around him, scrubbing at her wet eyes with her hands as she stomped away. She was furious with herself, for doing and saying things that revealed to Inuyasha that her friendship had turned into something else. She wasn’t sure when it had happened—perhaps it had always been there, and she hadn’t noticed until last week?—but somewhere along the way, Inuyasha had become more than just dear to her, as a friend. He was precious to her, in the way a lover would be.
But he had jumped in her way yet again. “No,” he said then, making her blink to refocus her blurry eyes, “I’m not.”
“You’re not what?” she asked, her voice hoarse with unshed tears.
“I’m not in love with Kikyo or Kagome,” he said, tone irate at having to explain himself.
“Of course you are!” Sango argued. Of course he was! That was the whole point of Kagome being in Sengoku Jidai, after all! To make amends for the broken trust and shattered heart of Kikyo, Inuyasha’s first love.
“I think I’d know, idiot,” he growled.
“You wouldn’t know your head from a hole in the ground!” she countered, stung. Sango folded her arms over her chest and tapped one foot impatiently. “Ok, tell me why you think you’re not in love with either of them.”
Inuyasha mimicked her pose, glaring down his nose at her. “Because,” he replied through gritted fangs, “if I were in love with either of them, I wouldn’t be thinking about you all the time, now would I?”
Sango blinked, then blinked again. “Wait. What?”
Inuyasha turned away, disgusted, and began walking upstream. “You heard me the first time. I’m not saying it again.”
She scowled. “Oh, no you don’t,” she said, and jogged to catch up with him. “You can’t just say something like that and then walk away.”
“Then I’ll jump away,” he snapped, and tensed his strong legs to spring. But she latched onto his arm at the last moment, and when he went airborne, so did she. They flew through the air, his glare of anger, hers of determination, until gravity demanded its due and they alighted on the ground once more.
“I told you,” she said, “You can’t just leave after saying that. I won’t let you.”
“Oh, yeah?” he demanded, the expression on his face changing from ire to speculation as he took a step closer. “What will you ‘let’ me do, then?”
He was so close, Sango thought, a wonderful and horrible sense of hope streaking through her belly. “Anything but that,” she said, her voice small. “I’ll let you do anything but leave me.”
He was silent a moment, just watching her, absorbing her words. “Would… you let me kiss you?” Inuyasha muttered, his head down and voice so low, she almost didn’t hear him.
“Yes,” she replied softly. “I’d let you do that.”
And she did. Inuyasha took another step toward her, so that the front of her taijiya outfit brushed against his chest, and tilted his head down as she raised her face to him. His lips were soft when they finally brushed against her own, and she parted her own under them almost immediately.
“Inuyasha,” she murmured against him, hands coming up to lay flat on his bare skin, and his mouth opened over hers. There was little skill in his kiss, inexperienced as he was, but plenty of curiosity and, Sango was delighted to realize, passion. It wasn’t long before his arms were around her, holding her body tightly to his as he kissed her.
She explored the tips of his fangs with her tongue; he sucked in a breath of surprise and Sango felt a sudden hot pulsing against her belly. A wave of longing flowed over her and she felt her knees dissolve; she simply gave herself into his embrace, knowing he could hold her up, and leant her body against him entirely.
“Sango,” he said, his voice harsh, and slanted his mouth over hers again and again. As weak as her legs felt, her hands simply could not stop moving, once they had started; over his chest and shoulders, down his arms and into his hair, combing the silver locks with her fingers: she had to touch him.
It was when the cheerful tones of Kagome and Shippo could be heard in the not-too-far distance that their heads cleared of some of the desire fogging them, and they lifted their heads away. To her surprise, Sango found that somewhere along the way, Inuyasha’s thigh had insinuated itself between hers and she’d been gripping them around it, moving against him even as his hands on her backside had pressed her rhythmically on him.
Eyes wide in shock and terror that they would be discovered, they sprang apart. Inuyasha leapt up into a tree and was gone in a heartbeat, and Sango was barely able to run to the stream and splash water over her flushed face and kiss-swollen lips before her friends burst from the trees and approached her.
“Sango-chan,” Kagome said, her brow wrinkled in concern, “are you feeling okay? Your face is all red.”
“I’m fine,” Sango said, wiping her hands over her face to clear off the water before using her trousers as a towel for her hands. “I’m fine.”
Kagome believed her, of course, but Shippo stared at her, his little nose twitching. Sango felt her heart sink—he was youkai, of course he could smell something in the air. “I bet you are,” he said, but played dumb at Kagome’s confused look and started burbling something about the pretty flowers lining the bank of the stream.
Sango looked up toward where Inuyasha had disappeared and wondered, not for the first time, if she had lost her mind.