In Fate's Right Hand

~ Preface ~

By Neko-chan

Written: April 21, 2003

Rated: PG-13 (PG for now)

Pairing: Mirsan (Miroku/Sango)

Disclaimer: If I owned Inuyasha, entire episodes & manga volumes would consist of feeble excuses for Miroku & Inuyasha to run around with their shirts off or take ridiculously long baths in open-air hot springs. As it is, I don't own the series; therefore, our beloved bishie remain relatively decent. Dammit! But lack of blatant female fanservice aside, Rumiko Takahashi and Sunrise are still doing a damned good job with the series, so I'm content with that.

Spoilers: Takes place shortly after the events of Chapter 292 of the manga, "A Special Girl", somewhere before the end of Volume 30.

I'm so tired but I can't sleep,

Standin' on the edge of something much too deep…

- Sarah McLachlan, "I Will Remember You"

The pain had appeared gradually, beginning as a faint twinge in his palm that had been simple to ignore; to dismiss as nerves or imagined discomfort. He was accustomed to a certain level of paranoia regarding his cursed hand, and so he thought nothing more of it those first few days; dismissing the phantom pangs without a second thought to their nature.

But the pangs had persisted, increasing in frequency and severity over the next few days, until he found himself unable to sleep over the throbbing pain in his hand. He would wake suddenly from fevered dreams—twisted, half-forgotten nightmares of overpowering darkness and screaming winds—finding himself gasping for breath, drenched in a cold sweat. And his hand would throb, as if afire; a dull, yet insistent ache.

As the days progressed, he could feel his finely-placed mask of sanguine lechery slipping slowly from his grasp, and he struggled—enduring the pain in his hand—to regain control of his facilities; to keep his suffering secret. It was necessity that drove him, or so he had convinced himself; perhaps if the circumstances had been different, he would have succumbed to the concern of his comrades.

But as it were, events of recent drove him to keep his pain a secret for the time being. Time was crucial, as Naraku's plans unfolded ever-swiftly with each passing day; the race for the last jewel shard weighing down upon them all. This was not a time to burden his comrades with complaints of mere pains, not when things lay so in the balance. Specifically the taiji-a.

The ache in his heart served only to increase the ever-growing dread that weighed on his mind. It was fear of her, fear of himself and the growing importance of her in his mind that most drove him to make the decision he now made.

If the throb in his hand was proof enough…

…if she were to know…

And after the promise he had made, the words he had spoken only so recently…

His own thoughts threatened to consume him, more readily than the gaping maw of the curse in his hand. It was a weight he was used to carrying, as had his father and grandfather before him, but never in so great an amount as that which plagued him now. He was not one to dwell for long on the graveness of his fate, but with the throb in his hand acting as constant reminder, it seemed he could do nothing to keep his spirits from slipping further and further into a state of depression.

In the end, more than death, more than the ever-present threat of being consumed by his forebears' curse, he feared never fulfilling his promise to her. In his mind, that would be the greatest travesty.

With that thought alone driving him, Miroku endured in silence, hoping that fate could manage to spare him for just a short time longer.

But he was weakening. And in his heart, he knew that it was near.

To be continued…