The moon was high in the sky and the moonlight shined down on Inuyasha. He had been staring at the jewel studded skull in his grasp for most of the night. It was a real mystery to him.
Inuyasha wasn't sure if he should crush the skull and just take the jewel shard embedded in it. Normally he would have just on impulse. However, his instincts told him not to and Inuyasha rarely disobeyed his instincts.
Inuyasha finally put the skull back away into his Fire Rat Robe. He got tired of looking at the thing anyways.
Inuyasha took a look around the area within sight. All was calm and nothing out of place. A couple feet below him was Sango sleeping against the tree. But don't be fooled into thinking she was defenseless. Hiraikotsu and her katana were within arms reach and her usual hidden daggers were scattered on her body.
There was still about six or seven hours till sunrise. Inuyasha usually got his sleep three hours before sunrise and woke up with the sun. The half-demon obviously didn't require sleep like humans do. Inuyasha planned to keep watch the rest of the night. It was routine for him.
As one hour passed, Inuyasha had been noticing a gradual change in the atmosphere. His surroundings were still calm and peaceful, but the sky was changing. The clouds were partly overlapping the moon and the area was half lit with moonlight.
Inuyasha knew what was happening. So, he went to go wake his slayer companion.
Inuyasha swooped down off the tree and landed gracefully on his feet. He approached Sango and knelt down in front of her. He placed his right hand on her shoulder and shook her.
"Sango, wake your ass-"
Inuyasha took a sharp intake of air as he felt a stabbing pain in his side. Sango had driven one of her daggers into Inuyasha out of reflex as she awoke.
"Oh good, you're up." Inuyasha was slightly ticked off. But he didn't want to show his surprise to being vulnerable to Sango's 'attack.'
"Not that I care or anything, but there's gonna be a storm soon." he informed her. "Wouldn't want you to drown."
While she heard what he said, Sango was more concerned about what she did to Inuyasha than the weather. "Are you okay Inuyasha?"
"Keh, I'm fine. Your butter knife couldn't hurt me in my sleep."
There was a loud clash in the skies above and thunder could be heard for the first time that night. Raindrops started falling and coincidently landed right in Inuyasha's eye.
"Gahhh, stupid rain. If that damn monk was here, he'd suck the skies dry. But no, he's too busy trying to fill every hole in Japan..."
Sango couldn't help but smirk at Inuyasha's rant. She shook her head and laughed lightly to herself.
"Oh you find that funny? And here I was thinking you'd be acting all 'offended' and upset."
Sango just laughed again. "Inuyasha? Thinking of how others feel?"
The weather, feeling left out of the conversation, decided to let it's presence be known. Thunder roared above and the rain went from drizzling to pouring.
"Its best we find a place to stay."
"Well hurry your ass up." Inuyasha called from up ahead.
The two of them moved swiftly in search of shelter while keeping the road in sight. The rain came down harder and the winds picked up. Definitely not weather to be out in.
Soon enough they found a big stone wall. A closer look proved it not to be a wall, but the side of a rocky high hill. Unfortunately, it didn't have a cave.
Sango angrily mumbled something about not finding a cave. Inuyasha obviously picked up on it.
Inuyasha took out Tetsaiga and transformed it. Without warning he unleashed the Wind Scar upon the hill's side in an attempt to create a cave. Instead, the whole hill crumbled down to jagged rocks. Sango sweatdropped.
"It was worth a shot." Inuyasha shrugged.
"You could have used less force."
"I don't see you coming up with anything better." Inuyasha jeered.
"How about we go back on the road and run to the next village to get out of this rain?"
"Keh, it's not like I got anything better to do."
And they were off again, dashing forward on the road. Inuyasha kept to a pace Sango could keep up with. It would be annoying for him to lose track of her and have to find her in this weather.
Sango rounded a corner and stopped in her tracks. Inuyasha stopped as well to see what was wrong with his traveling companion.
"Tired already?" Inuyasha asked glancing at her.
"No," she replied. "Look over there."
Inuyasha traced where Sango pointed to and he saw a tower. When the lightning flashed Inuyasha noticed a huge wall surrounding what he assumed to be a village. There was a watchtower adjacent to the stone wall and near the entrance.
Inuyasha's advanced sight saw a guard in the watchtower.
"Into those bushes on your left, Sango." Inuyasha commanded.
Sango did as he said and Inuyasha followed her behind the bush.
"There's someone keeping watch up in that tower."
Sango nodded and inquired, "What do you suggest we do?"
The half-demon thought for a quick second before he came up with his plan.
Inuyasha started to explain, "Alright, you distract the guard from the bushes. And I'll sneak around the side of the tower, get up it, and take him out."
"Distract him? That's it?" Sango seemed offended. "Inuyasha, I'm not Kagome."
Inuyasha was angry that Sango wasn't going with his plan and confused as to why Kagome was brought into this.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Inuyasha seemed unsure now.
"All I'm saying is I'm good for more than just being the 'distraction' while you get to have all the fun."
"So, you're telling me you want to take care of the guard?"
Sango nodded while Inuyasha sighed. "Fine. Just make it quick, I wanna get outta this stupid rain."
Sango snuck out of the bushes and to the tower. She used her hidden daggers to climb up the side of the tower.
Inuyasha had no idea how to be the distraction. His 'skill' was basically his impulse. Right now his 'skill' would have him decapitate the guard. But, Inuyasha got stuck with the minor role in the plan.
The best Inuyasha thought to do was to jump from tree to tree and bush to bush. That way the guard will hear the leaves ruffle and catch a glimpse of him. That would provide Sango adequate time to finish the guard.
Inuyasha put his thought to action and it worked well enough. The guard's attention was focused on the mysterious red figure moving swiftly around, possibly threatening him and the village. Deciding to take action, the guard released multiple arrows into the trees and bushes when he seemed to figure Inuyasha's pattern. Two of the arrows found their mark.
"Ahhh! You goddamn bastard!" was the last thing the guard heard before being knocked out.
Sango looked down from the top of the tower to Inuyasha. She smiled when she saw him pulling out an arrow from his body. Getting back to the situation at hand, Sango grabbed the unconscious body and tossed it over the edge and yelled to Inuyasha, "Heads up."
Inuyasha looked up, only to get bombarded with the guard's body. Inuyasha got up from the ground and gave the unconscious man a good kick in his ribs. Then, Inuyasha dragged the body into the bushes so no one would find him for now.
Inuyasha effortlessly ran up the tower side using his momentum to defy gravity. He hopped over the edge of the wall and landed inside the tip top of the watchtower. There wasn't much room up there as it was designed for one person to fit in it. Inuyasha took a seat on the floor with his back to the wall. Sango followed suit and did the same. She sat shoulder to shoulder with Inuyasha.
Looking around you could see that there was a roof held up by four poles on the circular wall of the tower. Inuyasha and Sango were protected from the stormy conditions.
Inuyasha quickly broke the silence, "What took so long?"
Inuyasha came off as a little mad, so Sango decided to tease him, "Did you plan on getting shot in the butt with an arrow?"
"Shut up." was all Inuyasha had to say on his behalf.
Sango smiled at Inuyasha's childish reply and conversation soon died down. Both of them closed their eyes as a long silence followed.
Sleep was evading Sango. 'Maybe I should try to start a conversation with Inuyasha. I have been meaning to ask him something for a while now.'
Sango opened her eyes and turned to look at Inuyasha despite the darkness, "Inuyasha, can I ask you something?"
Inuyasha's ears twitched when he heard Sango but he kept his eyes shut. "Yeah whatever." Inuyasha said nonchalantly.
"Do you still plan on becoming a full demon?"
Inuyasha opened his eyes and turned to face Sango. The question definitely caught him by surprise. The half-demon wasn't sure on how to answer her. Inuyasha wasn't even sure he knew the answer himself.
So, Inuyasha answered her question with a question of his own, "Do you plan on sticking around if I do become a full demon?"
Sango immediately nodded her head. While it was too dark to see her action, Inuyasha understood. Without thinking about what to say, Sango answered Inuyasha, "I will stay by your side no matter what you choose to do, Inuyasha. I made that promise a long time ago and I plan on keeping it. If you choose to change yourself, it won't matter to me, I will be here for you always."
Inuyasha was genuinely taken back by how heartfelt her answer was. He had never heard anyone tell him anything like that since, well his mother.
After a pause, Inuyasha found his voice, "Then it won't matter what I choose to become." 'Cause I'll have someone by my side.' The half-demon added mentally and with a smile on his face.
They turned away from one another and went back to the way things were before Sango started up the conversation. The two were shoulder to shoulder and closed their eyes again. Only this time, Sango rested her head on Inuyasha's shoulder and let sleep takeover.
Inuyasha woke up with the sun as it started to creep up. His companion was still sleeping on his shoulder though. Inuyasha turned to look at her. He felt the urge to touch her face and without realizing it, his hand was soon an inch away from her face. Inuyasha quickly withdrew his clawed hand and decided to just feint sleep until Sango woke up.
After a while, Inuyasha felt Sango starting to stir. He just pretended to be asleep. Sango moved her hand from her side onto Inuyasha's torso. Her hand moved around until she found his heartbeat. Sango seemed to settle down finding his heartbeat soothing. That was until she felt a slight spike in his heartbeat and feared that Inuyasha had woken up. Sango retracted her hand swiftly.
About half an hour later, Inuyasha decided to 'wake up.' Sango also woke up.
"Good morning Inuyasha." Sango greeted the half-demon.
"Keh, I've had better."
Sango raised an eyebrow at Inuyasha, "You saying you have a problem sleeping with me?"
"Well, you did grope me. But somehow I think I'll live." Inuyasha winked at her. Sango immediately blushed crimson red with embarrassment written allover her face. Inuyasha laughed at her for a good minute.
After Sango was finally able to take control of her emotions, she sheepishly said, "I gotta stop hanging around Miroku. He's starting to rub off."
"Yeah, literally." Inuyasha broke out laughing again. This time Sango joined in with him.
When their laughter died down, they decided to get out of the watchtower. Inuyasha went over to the bush where he had left the guard from last night in. The guard was soaked wet from the rain during the night. He was starting to stir. Soon the guard sat up but his eyes were still closed. Before he had a chance to do anything else, Inuyasha swiftly kicked him straight in his head. The guard went back down never knowing what happened.
"When he wakes up, he'll think he had one hell of a wet dream." Inuyasha commented. Sango giggled at Inuyasha and his choice of words.
The pair left the guard back in the bush and headed into the village. Upon entering this village, you could say it was more of a city than village. Inuyasha and Sango walked around checking out the city. They stopped when they arrived at a stand that looked like it sold food. The two hadn't eaten anything in quite a while. Inuyasha and Sango, being a half-demon and a demon slayer, received strange looks but were given food when they paid with some of the gold they got from the last extermination. When their stomachs were full, they moved on to another part of the city.
The city had a rather large marketplace that sold practically anything. People had stands with stores behind them lined up ready to do business. It was obvious that this city thrived on it's economy. Sango lead Inuyasha around the marketplace until they found a clothing stand. Sango arranged for the woman at the stand to fix the hole in Inuyasha's haori she caused previously. Inuyasha didn't think it was necessary, but Sango insisted. So, Inuyasha took off the top of his Fire Rat Robe while Sango paid her with their gold coins. The woman told them to come back later in the day and it would be ready.
Inuyasha and Sango left that stand and continued to wander around. Inuyasha saw Sango go into a kimono store. Before Inuyasha lost her and had to find her in a sea of people, he followed her into the store. When he went inside it, he saw Sango wearing a yellow kimono with flower patterns along it's side. Sango eyed Inuyasha to see what he thought. Inuyasha had a bored look on his face and just shook his head. Sango went in the back and came back out with a different kimono. This one was pink and white. Inuyasha once again didn't like it. After a few more tries, Sango came out in a purple kimono with white stars decorating it on the front and side.
"About time you picked something that didn't suck." Inuyasha said gruffly. Sango took it that Inuyasha approved and bought the kimono.
They spent most of the day wandering the big city looking for anything that could hold their attention. Inuyasha retrieved his Fire Rat Robe top. Somehow Sango managed to get Inuyasha to go to a play at the theater with her. Inuyasha sat all the way in the back away from everyone. A half-demon sitting in the middle of a crowd of humans watching a play wasn't the most subtle idea. Sango chose to sit by Inuyasha in the back rather than getting a better view. About an hour later, Inuyasha couldn't take this play anymore and he left it letting Sango know to meet him by the big water fountain when the sun was setting.
The jewel encrusted skull Inuyasha carried around in his haori had been trying to get his attention, as strange as that may sound. The skull was calling to Inuyasha in a way he didn't know how to explain. The feeling got stronger as Inuyasha moved in a certain path towards who knows what. The skull brought him to a shady looking old man wearing a hooded robe. They were out of the public eye in a dark alley of course.
Inuyasha held out the skull in his grip and it's eyes glowed the purple color of the Shikon Jewel. The necklace the old man was wearing was being drawn towards the skull. Inuyasha hid his shock to what was happening right in front of him.
"It seems the skull wants something of yours, old man." Inuyasha addressed the hooded figure.
"No, you can't have it. I need it to live." The old man pleaded knowing what Inuyasha was referring to.
"Your time is up, old man." Inuyasha didn't attack the man. He was human and Inuyasha didn't kill innocent humans. But Inuyasha moved closer to the man and the skull's force pulled the necklace off the man. On the necklace was a jewel shard. The skull replaced one of its regular jewels with the Shikon Jewel shard. The old man's life slowly faded away.
The sun was setting and Inuyasha headed over to the water fountain. He saw Sango waiting there for him.
"Hey Inuyasha, why did you leave?"
"Do you even have to ask, Sango? I mean we were watching the same shit. But that's not the only reason I left. I don't care if you believe me or not, but the skull 'communicated' to me and lead me to another jewel shard. Take a look."
"Wow." Sango couldn't really believe what she heard until she saw another jewel shard embedded into the skull.
"So, this is our new Kagome, eh?" Sango teased.
"What do you say we stay at the Inn tonight?"
"Yeah sure." Inuyasha shrugged.
The two went over to the Inn and requested for rooms. When they were asked for gold coins to pay for the rooms, they came up short. Maybe they spent more than they thought.
"What do ya mean we don't have enough?!" Inuyasha was a little frustrated dealing with people.
"Umm, you don't even have enough for one room..." The guy dealing with Inuyasha was getting rather nervous now.
After a few more threats and a transformed Tetsaiga, Inuyasha managed to get them a room. Only one room, but it would do as it must be more spacious than their last sleeping spot.
Before Inuyasha was ready to call it a night, he had to do something. Inuyasha went outside and quickly patrolled and checked out the area making sure it was safe for them to go to sleep. The city was obviously not dangerous nor the people, but Inuyasha was being his usual paranoid self.
The half-demon walked back into the Inn and went to the room he got them. The door was slightly open. Inuyasha froze when he saw Sango through the small opening. She was to oblivious to him as her back was to the door. The demon slayer was putting on the sleeping kimono she bought today. Inuyasha got a look at her exposed back. But, it wasn't beauty that was mesmerizing him. It was the painful looking scars that covered his companion's body.
Inuyasha had a look of great despair and sympathy on his face for his friend. He had never noticed her scars before as she always had on her slayer suit or her long sleeved traveling kimono.
Inuyasha took a few steps away from the door and waited until he was sure she had finished changing. He entered the room after a short while. Sango looked at him to make sure it was Inuyasha.
"Where did you go?" Sango asked with slight worry in her tone.
"Oh just making sure the place was safe." Inuyasha tried to come off as nonchalant. Then, he walked over to the wall and took a seat with his back to the wall.
Sango had been laying on the futon in the room. But she didn't seem to be enjoying it. So she moved next to Inuyasha and sat against the wall too. It was just like the night before.
Inuyasha's face still looked a little conflicted and Sango picked up on it, "Something wrong, Inuyasha?"
"Huh, oh no. Its just ..." Inuyasha took his hand ran it along Sango's arm. "These scars you have. How did you get them?" It seemed like a dumb thing to ask since you can already assume how she got them.
"Oh, they're nothing. Just you know ... the stuff that happens in battle." Sango tried to play it off as nothing, but Inuyasha wasn't buying it.
"And the ones on your back?" Sango was shocked that Inuyasha knew about the scars on her back.
Sango felted a little choked up but she managed to give an answer, "I ... I got those from when that bastard Naraku took over Kohaku and had him attack me and the other slayers. But, in the end, I am a warrior. I've learned to look past scars. It happens. No big deal."
"Sango, can I see the scars on your back?" Inuyasha wasn't sure if he should have asked her that, but he did.
Sango turned away from Inuyasha. She slowly lifted her kimono up but still kept it on. Inuyasha was shocked when he saw the scars. They were much nastier looking. Inuyasha slowly allowed his clawed hand to roam her bare back. The scars were also deeper. Inuyasha pulled his hand back and Sango lowered back her kimono. She then turned back to her position against the wall next to Inuyasha.
"No one ... should have to bear such brutal scars. It just isn't right." Those scars were stuck in Inuyasha's memory.
"Inuyasha, I've come to live with it. Its nothing." Sango tried to reason her point of view to her half-demon companion.
"I know what its like to force yourself to say 'its nothing.' I know that act too well. You try to shrug it off as nothing, but I know. I know that deep down inside how you can feel scared or lonely. You may put up a tough act, but I know how weak you can really feel. I've been there. And Sango, I want you to know that ... its okay to feel weak. Because you will always have me."
A tear had fallen down one of Sango's eyes. Inuyasha smelled it. She was so undyingly grateful to know that someone actually understands. Someone understands what its been like for her. Someone who says they'll always be there for her.
Sango wiped her tear away and looked at that someone. "Inuyasha, can you hold me? For tonight?"
Inuyasha unfolded his legs. He made space for Sango to sit right in front of him. Sango rested her back against Inuyasha's torso. Inuyasha locked his arms protectively around her. Inuyasha could feel Sango tense up. So he took her right hand in his and gave her a gentle reassuring squeeze. The tension eased away.
There was a mild blush on Sango's face. "You know, I'm not used to this Inuyasha."
"No one is."
"Are you saying I'm the only one to see this Inuyasha?"
"The only one that's alive."