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Demon Fever - Inuyasha Fic - (3 Parts)


Enkidom

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First the inevitable disclaimer: This is the first story I have written for a while, and I do not know the characters that well. I have now been inspired to pick up a couple of the graphic novels after really enjoying reading Kawaiikitty's descriptions of the Miroku character in her blog (and having a go at a very short piece about him). I really loved the sometimes light hearted, Japanese flavoured "high fantasy quest" story and the way the protaginists interact with each other so I decided to have a go at a longer bit of writing. Any and all comments absolutely welcome, particularly areas where I may have gone out of character!

So without further ado:

Rain spattered down around the cave in which the companions were taking shelter from the storm, every so often lightning split the sky and thunder split the silence. Inuyasha stared out into the countryside, obscured by a veil of cloud so black it may as well have been night, searching for Miroku.

“How is she, Kagome?” he asked, without turning around or getting up from his haunches.

“Not good…though I’m no doctor” replied Kagome with a concerned frown, unconsciously resting her hand on Inuyasha’s shoulder and twisting his silvery hair/fur beneath her fingers for comfort.

“It’s times like these I wish I’d payed more attention in biology…or Religions and Myth – I know next to nothing about the sorts of diseases Yokai can inflict. Sango’s so strong though, she’ll pull through. And Kirara is keeping her warm. How did you know it was me by the way?”

Inuyasha’s keen hearing detected a slight tremble in Kagome’s voice, and he looked up at her with what he hoped was his best reassuring smile, the one that didn’t show his enlarged canines. He knew that Kagome regarded Sango like an elder sister and how hard this was on her. He’d almost let her go with Miroku to buy food, almost, but thought better of it at the last minute. Kagome had not been happy, but realistically there was likely to be shenanigans involved. Despite a somewhat rocky start to their relationship (hah, what an understated thought THAT was!), he liked the wandering monk, but that didn’t mean that he was naïve enough to believe that he would simply return with the couple of rice buns that was about all the group could afford after pooling all their money (excluding what Kagome called her “allowance”, which just appeared to be some useless coloured pieces of paper and had caused another of their seemingly interminable series of arguments – this one was unspokenly regarded as a draw).

”Well there’s no pervasive odour of wet dog, which rules out Shippo…”

“I HEARD THAT..besides, it’s wet fox thank you very much” came an indignant voice from further back in the cave.

“…Miroku’s not here and Sango is sleeping. Oh and you forget…” he tapped his nose, as sensitive as any bloodhound’s.

Kagome stopped twisting at Inuyasha’s hair and put her hands on her hips “Inuyasha, how many times do I have to tell you, being told one smells isn’t particularly flattering.”

“Don’t take it personally, everyone smells to me. Its’ a nice smell if that makes it any better.”

“You have a lot to learn about women Inuyasha.” Kagome muttered shaking her head, but she no longer sounded quite so downcast – in his own, clumsy way Inuyasha had been trying to inject some levity, and she appreciated that. “I’d better get back to Sango, call me when Miroku gets back.”

“If he has any sense at all he’ll be sheltering until this passes.”

“I don’t think so.” Maths may not have been Kagome’s strong point, but she prided herself on her ability to read human relationships, and there was definitely some mutual attraction between Miroku and Sango, for all that Miroku denied it. Sango’s litany of complaints about Miroku’s lechery had become distinctly less vehement of late and there MUST be something to read into that, and there had been at least three women recently that Miroku hadn’t asked to bear his child after stolen glances at the stunning Yokai hunter.

“I bet he’s looking for a fence” opined Shippo as Kagome strode back towards Sango’s sleeping form, lit by the flames from Kirara’s coat. The little Kitsune was resting against a nearby rock, whittling at a stick he’d picked up earlier. He had been keeping Kirara company during her vigil over her sick companion and supplementing her flames with his own magics when needed.”

“A fence, why on earth? Oh…that sort of fence. Shippo, you really are rather disrespectful towards Miroku San.”

“Yes, he’s a good friend, but he’s caught me out with that holy man routine once too often!”

Sango murmured, coughed several times and rolled over, Kagome leant down and tested her brow with the back of a hand. “Still cold and very clammy”, she whispered, the quaver back in her voice. Mirara whimpered and drew closer.

Miroku had been walking through the storm for what felt like hours, even though in reality it was only just over a mile from the village to the foothills where they had fortunately found shelter. He was travelling as fast as he could, but the road was unpaved and rapidly being reduced to a track so muddy that when he wasn’t attempting to pull his staff from its unwelcome embrace, he was having to constantly shift balance to avoid slipping over. He offered a prayer to the Buddhas that Daimyos who did not spend the required amount to ensure decent roads in their fiefs should suffer the full weight of karma. Through the curtain of rain he spotted the red of Inuyasha’s Kimono, squatting on his haunches as he usually did, by the entrance to the cave. Miroku was soaked to the skin, his robes at once loose and heavy and clingy and constricting, his normally immaculately tied pony tail now what could only be described as a river-rat tail, water tricking from the end of his angular nose rather than dripping. He picked up his pace, though carefully so as not to disturb the precious burden packed in a waterproofed skin on his back, and all but dived into the shelter of the cave.

“Welcome back.” Inuyasha said as he helped the distinctly soggy Monk remove the skin-pack.

“How is she?”

“Getting worse.” Inuyasha stated bluntly, “still, some food will no doubt…”

He had opened the pack and was now staring, wide eyed and incredulous, at the food packed tightly inside, there was marinaded meat, wrapped tightly in leaves to preserve it against the rain, large rice buns, a bottle gourd that from the smell of it could only contain a delicious vegetable soup, a clay pot of fragrant rice and fresh water and fruit juice.

“What’s coming after us this time?” he growled.

“Nothing, and I’m hurt that you’d think that I’d put us in danger with Sango so sick. No I simply exorcised a demon from that rich inn, you know the one that refused us shelter even when I begged in a Buddha’s name to be able to rest in the stables.”

“Miroku, I smelled no Yokai in that village. You really have a very flexible definition of what it is to be a Buddhist.”

“Okay it was Hachiemon and I asked him to go in there. Listen though, that innkeeper had plenty of money, he refused us offering all we had in order to let us stay in the stable, in the STABLE, with, I hasten to add, a very sick friend. Yes what I did could technically be described as wrong by doctrinal law, BUT it could be argued that I was acting merely as an instrument of the bad karma the innkeeper acquired from refusing to help us when we were so obviously in need.”

At this point the nascent argument was interrupted by two things, first a burst of thunder, then a soft hiiiptischhee from further back in the cave. Miroku glared at Inuyasha “anyway we have time to debate theology later, when Sango is better for example. If your conscience is so offended, you don’t have to eat your share.”

Inuyasha’s ears drooped and he snatched at a rice bun “I hate losing”.

Miroku smiled “That’s my line.”

Kagome hopped up from where she was sitting cross legged by Mirara as she saw the dripping apparition in muddy robes approach with the food bag. “Miroku, you’re back…and oh dear you’re absolutely drenched, here, have my spot by Kirara, you’ll catch a dreadful chill if you don’t dry out, and then we’ll have two sick people to worry about. Come on Shippo, let’s go and see if the rain is getting any lighter.”

“But we can hear and see that it isn’t, and besides that food smells…”

He didn’t have time to finish his sentence as he was practically dragged by Kagome towards the cave mouth, squawking and protesting.

“We’ll eat after Sango has had her fill. She needs the strength.”

Miroku knelt down next to Sango and rested his staff against the wall. Kirara edged round to start warming him with her flames. Sango gave a wan smile and sneezed again hiptisschee. Miroku gently rested his hand against her forehead. Vulnerable was not an adjective he was used to associating with her – lithe, professional, efficient, deadly, but not vulnerable, but now it seemed appropriate. For the briefest of seconds he uttered a silent prayer, then smiled down at her.

“Vegetable broth and rice bun alright?”

“Fantastic houshi sama…though I wish I could smell it properly.”

Sango reached for the cup of soup that Miroku had poured but her hand was shaking violently.

“Here, let me help.”

Miroku eased her into a slightly reclined sitting position, supporting her with his left arm. His right would have been more comfortable but fear of the cursed void that was kept in check by the japa mala beads he wore prevented that. Gently he placed the cup in her hands and then helped her to take sips of the fragrant soup.

“Houshi sama you…hiptisscheee…you’re absolutely soaked. Kirara, please come closer and dry Miroku, it certainly wouldn’t do to have two strong fighters incapacitated, that Yokai that infected me is still chasing us, and strong as Inuyasha and Kirara are they can’t fight it off themselves. Damn having to sell Kagome’s bow.”

Miroku chuckled…that sounded MUCH more like Sango, well, other than the sneeze. Somehow he expected completely silent, and certainly not so...feminine. It was odd what one noticed about people, he thought.

“I needed that so badly.” Sango declared, setting the cup down beside her and then sneezing again and unconsciously shifting back against Miroku’s arm and letting her head lean towards his shoulder. “Thank you so much Miroku, now about that Yokai, what happened to it?”

“Don’t you ever think about anything other than hunting Yokai?”

“I…heh..hiptischeee also think that I know where your right hand is now and if it moves towards me at all that soup has given me enough strength to slap you…hard.”

“Merciful Buddha, as if I’d even think it.”

Kagome smiled and nodded to herself as Shippo called out “Hey, Holy Man, what’s the Karmic penalty for letting your friends starve…”

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Wow, I haven't floated past the stories board in some time but I couldn't resist reading this for two reasons 1. Heehee, it's based on Inuyasha and 2. It's written by Enkidom!

You are the master of writing my favourite type of fic...plenty of plot and mood and the sneezing being thrown in at surprising little moments like the yummy cherry hidden at the centre of a chocolate. This was just damn near adorable and I LOVED the interplay between the characters and the dialogue between Sango and Miroku (although does this come as any surprise to anyone? :) ) And the depth of the detail is great (I loved how Kagome's money was referred to as "useless bits of paper" and the conversation between Inuyasha and Kagome made me laugh at parts.)

You must have read those books really darn FAST to get such a feel for the storyline and the characters in such a short space of time and of course I'm delightfully pleased that there's another Inuyasha fan floating around the boards now. ;)

So in summary: Awesome story. I really enjoyed it!

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LOVE! I swear that I'm going to get roped into this series (I Swear that my next mission is looking on a couple of sites to see if I can rent/borrow a book/DVD).

You know how much I adore dialogue and plot and characters being "Real" and you SO deliver!! And the descriptions... I'll try to pick out some of my fav. parts...

"Miroku was soaked to the skin, his robes at once loose and heavy and clingy and constricting, his normally immaculately tied pony tail now what could only be described as a river-rat tail, water tricking from the end of his angular nose rather than dripping."

Too Cute!!

“anyway we have time to debate theology later, when Sango is better for example. If your conscience is so offended, you don’t have to eat your share.”

Inuyasha’s ears drooped and he snatched at a rice bun “I hate losing”.

Miroku smiled “That’s my line.”

*grins* So fun!!

Oh... and if the muse does so inspire Please continue. Very very nice to finally see you writing stories. Your obs are SO well done that I had NO doubt that any story that you would do would be excellent.

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:yuck: Thank you so much! :lol: I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I really wanted to nail the dialogue and relations between the characters because that's what really stood out in the books I read, it's a very character driven story - and that's my...my...idiom sir? That's it, idiom. I may well continue, or write some prequel though I'm very conscious that I didn't really introduce the characters properly and so really ought to do that (but that's really difficult when they aren't your characters!), though I also have some other story ideas that have started knocking on the formerly tightly closed door in my brain.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Author's Notes: Written with the forum's resident Monk-o-maniac in mind, and my first stab at even semi-romantic fiction. The pairing is the canon pairing of Sango and Miroku.

Part 2

It had been four days since the night of the storm, and the companions were still sitting in that little cave in the foothills. Sango was still desperately ill…twice she had seemed to rally and almost recover, only to relapse again, slightly worse than before. Cabin fever was beginning to affect them all, the two nights ago Kagome had been forced to tell Inuyasha and Shippo, who seemed to take an almost perverse delight in needling each other, to either go out and do SOMETHING or she would gag them with bandages from her first aid kit. As a consequence they were now spending the days trying to acquire the scent trail of the plague demon. Although it had been some time, and there had been several storms, the demon had such a foul stench that Inuyasha was confident he could still locate traces if there were any. Miroku meanwhile was beginning to run short of convincing fortunes to tell in the local village for money to buy food, and had actually asked Kagome whether coming from the future she had any idea of who the winner of a local tournament that he had seen advertised would be so that he could place a bet, and appeared most put out when she answered that 20th Century history normally concentrated on slightly bigger issues than victors in provincial village showpiece events. Most of the time that the itinerant monk was not spending trying to acquire funds he spent with Sango, singing to her, helping her eat, letting her rest on his lap or making sure that she was snuggled tight against Kirara’s warm fur at night. “If only he’d tell her how he feels about her when she wasn’t sick” Kagome had remarked pointedly to Inuyasha one night over a rice bun. Inuyasha had just shrugged and *Hmmmph’ed*, which led to another argument. Probably the only reason why they weren’t all at each other’s throats were the nightly campfire sessions where Kagome told stories of the modern world (Inuyasha still didn’t grasp the concept of spaceflight though, even though she had done the reading on it she promised), Inuyasha, Myoga and Shippo related tales of demons and Miroku mixed Buddhist homilies with travelogues (the travelogues often made Kagome blush and usually involved the words “we’ll explain when you are older” to Shippo). This night however the talk at the campfire was very different.

“There’s a spiritual component to the disease, that has to be the reason that it keeps coming back.” Miroku said, with a trace of self-recrimination in his voice, “I’m ashamed that I did not work that out before now. Every time her body fights off the physical symptoms, the demon-power re-infects her.”

Inuyasha nodded firmly, his ears twitching, and growled “Right, so kill the demon in her, Sango gets better, finally something we can actually DO.”

“Erm…I’m not actually that keen to face that horrible plague creature again, but it’s hurting my friends, particularly poor Sango and Kirara, so I will.” declared Shippo, though there was a slight quiver in his voice.

Miroku saw Kagome looking at him and tried to smile, but he couldn’t. “But it’s not that simple is it Miroku?” she asked, “Otherwise I could just purify her and that would drive it out, then Inuyasha could chop it into tiny pieces with Tessaiga.” Miroku shook his head, even after all this time, he was almost ashamed to admit that Kagome’s perceptiveness surprised him sometimes. He then stared at his feet and twisted the chain of prayer beads that kept the void in his right hand at bay.

“No it isn’t, it’s demon power, not an actual demon. If it were an actual demon that would be much easier. The real problem is that while Sango is physically strong, a warrior born and forged, she doesn’t have the spiritual power to fight the essence of the disease. And if it’s not removed…” Miroku paused, cleared his throat to hide the catch in his voice, then continued, “She’ll die in another three or four relapses at most.”

Shippo started to cry. “Little brother, stop the tears, we aren’t going to let that happen.” He said with his best attempt at a reassuring pat, though secretly he wished that he had the luxury of joining the little fox spirit.

“Yes don’t cry Shippo” Kagome slid closer and hugged him, though her eyes were also glossy. “We’ve got out of worse situations than this.”

This time it was Inuyasha’s turn to be surprisingly perceptive. “But you have a plan haven’t you Miroku? And I have a feeling from the look on your face we’re not going to like it.” he growled.

“You’re right, I do have a plan. Kagome, your grandfather is a Shinto priest, correct?”

“Mmmmm…that may be overstating a little” Kagome muttered reluctantly, scuffing the cave floor with her sandal. “He’s a shrine warden and devoted to Shinto, but not actually a priest.”

“That should be good enough, as long as he knows his sacred talismans.”

“Oh THAT’s not a problem.”

“Right, well here is my plan. I know an incantation which will transfer the demon essence from Sango into me.” Miroku started, his haggard face looking even grimmer in the firelight. “Once that’s done I will contract the disease and although Sango will not recover immediately, once her body fights it off this time she won’t relapse again. Kagome I need you to get your grandfather to write a talisman against demon power on this sheet of parchment, blessed by one of the Buddhas themselves it is said, then bind it to my right arm, above the wrist please. It must be bound with demon hair, so Shippo and Inuyasha, I humbly apologise for asking and hope that you are both willing in advance to donate some from your tail and head respectively. That will bolster my own spiritual power enough to fight and destroy the spiritual component as well as the physical. I could write it myself, but to have maximum effectiveness it needs the power of both of the faiths of this land as well as the old magic, and I have no idea how much effect is needed – even with all three it may not be enough, a talisman can only do so much. The power it will absorb in the trip through the bone eater well is probably the closest manifestation of that old magic I can think of other than the whole sacred jewel, unfortunately not available. You must get it back to me before I am too weak to fight it off though.”

Inuyasha was staring at him with a mixture of respect and incredulity. “Miroku, you aren’t seriously suggesting infecting yourself are you? Why not transfer it to me, I’m half demon. No offense but I’m a lot hardier than you. And why not wait until we have the talisman?”

Miroku sighed. “Oh merciful Buddha, Inuyasha, please think! I take no offence and indeed you are quite right, but what happens if it doesn’t work? Or if the plague demon power and your nature react strangely with each other? We know how it affects humans, and besides, it’s a long way to the well between worlds and your tirelessness and speed are needed to get Kagome there and back. As to the latter, well tonight is the most auspicious night for the transfer.”

“That makes sense,” Kagome agreed with a nod, though she secretly wondered if Miroku didn’t simply want to spend time with Sango with slightly more space “but Miroku, isn’t this awfully dangerous?”

“Yes, and I won’t lie, I’m terrified, but I remember my teacher saying that the greatest sin against the Buddha is to miss an opportunity to do something positive when one has the power to, out of choice or fear. And if I do sin, I won’t commit that one.” Miroku forced a smile.

Miroku watched Kagome look around at Shippo and Inuyasha, then stand up resolutely. “Right, we do this. Miroku, show me the talisman, Shippo, would you be a darling and please pack me some food, my thermos, the one with the strange cartoon cat as you put it, and my jacket? Inuyasha, you better have another helping of dinner, you’ll need your energy.”

Inuyasha’s taken aback look at being ordered so forcefully was the first genuine amusement the group had shared that night, and he picked up another fish roll with a graceless grunt.

“What about me? I want to help too, please!” Shippo sniffled as he stood up.

“My friend,” Miroku said, reaching down and touching his shoulder, “you have a VERY important job, Sango should be close to recovered by the time that Inuyasha and Kagome get back but for a time we’ll both be incapacitated – and for that time you are our guardian.”

The Kitsune gulped.

“Don’t worry Shippo,” Inuyasha grunted “Just keep an eye out for Myoga, when he vanishes, you can tell there’s trouble coming”

A crotchety voice drifted from Inuyasha’s shoulder “I resent that implication.”

Kagome was ready quickly, and appeared to be ignoring Inuyasha’s usual complaints about her inability to travel light. She walked over and kissed Miroku on the cheek. “Good luck, Lord Monk, I think it’s very brave what you are doing…keep that hand where it is…we’ll be back very soon.” Then she hopped onto Inuyasha’s back. Inuyasha grinned wolfishly, “You humans, such a flair for the dramatically noble. We’ll be back as soon as we can.”

Miroku whispered “In that way Inuyasha my friend, you’re more human than you like to admit.” waved to the now empty space and returned to where Sango was lying by Kirara.

“Shippo, you and Kirara better go to the cave mouth, and please don’t disturb me or look until I say, this spell is dangerous and complex.”

“Alright Miroku, here…” Shippo handed him a spinning top, “that’s my favourite, for luck. Oh and I’m sorry about the “holy man routine” cracks.”

“Thank you Shippo, and don’t mention it, we have a lot to talk about when you’re older and the list just got longer.” Miroku said with a smile as he arranged himself artfully into a meditative position. Before starting he kissed Sango on the forehead, and a single tear dripped from the end of his angular nose to accompany the kiss. “Please let me do this for Sango, Lord Buddha, I don’t think I could bear it if she didn’t recover.” He muttered with his lips against her cold, damp brow still. What he didn’t see were her eyelids fluttering, opening, then closing again at that moment. He recited several prayers, then grasped his staff carefully and let himself slip into a meditative trance

The incantations took the best part of an hour, then came the lighting of blessed herbs, which filled the cave with a pungent, slightly musty fragrance. The smoke from the herbs surrounded Sango’s unconscious form, rolling over her kimono, her pallid, beautiful face and her long ebony hair. Her mouth opened slightly and some of it drifted in, as it did so the colour changed from grey to a sickly green, and the smell changed from herbs to decaying corpse and swampwater. Miroku leant down and placed his warm lips over her cool ones, then breathed in deeply, drawing the tainted smoke into his own lungs. The taste was foul and cloying, like milk that had turned marinating meat that was long rotted. Miroku breathed until all the smoke was in him, brought the incantations to a close and let himself drift back to full awareness. Then he ran outside, past Shippo, who was nibbling his claws nervously, and Kirara and vanished into some scrubby bushes. He staggered back a few minutes later looking pale and sweaty.

“Did it work?” Shippo gazed at him with wide eyes.

“I…Haaa’KESH…I think so. I really don’t feel well.” He replied, covering the sneeze in the crook of his elbow.

Both of them suddenly saw Kirara leap up, both tails high in the air and throw herself in the direction of the back of the cave, then a pale, kimono clad figure slowly staggering towards them, holding itself upright with the help of rocky outcroppings and the cave wall. Kirara leapt onto its chest, purring loudly, and climbed around its…no her…shoulders.

“SANGO” yelled Shippo, and joined Kirara, with such enthusiasm that it nearly knocked her off her feet. Miroku simply beamed…then sneezed again, and again politely covered with his elbow.

“Hey, what are you doing up, you should still be lying down! You’re not better yet!” Miroku scolded.

“Look who’s talking.” Sango croaked back. “Kirara, Shippo…I’ve missed you too, thank you so much for helping looking after me. The group sat down and started to catch up, occasionally punctuated by a Haaah’KEESHH from Miroku.

Later on it was just Miroku and Sango sitting there. Kirara was sleeping peacefully and Shippo was marching up and down in the cave mouth, doing his best to look imposing and guardianlike. Miroku was leaning against the wall of the cave shivering.

“Lord Monk, did you really mean what you said back then?” She asked him, her tired eyes capturing his.

“What thing I said? Oh Sango this is dreadful, I don’t know how you…Haahp’KSSSH…stood it.”

“Oh honestly, men are such babies when they’re ill.” Sango’s voice was still croaky, but Miroku could hear the laughter in it, and her wonderful smile was back. “Here, you do look awful though, come rest your head on my lap.”

Miroku did so, shuffling himself as close as he could.

Sango’s face became serious again, “What you said before starting the spell, about not being able to stand it if I didn’t recover?”

Her answer was a gentle snore…Miroku had fallen asleep. “Don’t worry Miroku, I think I know the answer anyway.” She whispered and kissed him on the forehead, letting his head stay where it lay on her lap as she started to sing him a lullaby that was sung to her before she had learned to slay demons.

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The forum's resident "monk-o-maniac" approves. :drool: I like that...

What can I say that I haven't said already. Now that I've read through both bits one after the other,I like it even the more. Your stories are SO well written that I would enjoy them even if they had nothing to do with my favourite fandom, the fact that they do is just the bonus of the century. That said, I'm still continually impressed at how well you have the fandom down...you write the characters as if you've been watching it forever and the little touches (particulary the Shippo moments...and you even had Myoga in it, heehee!) is what makes it so readable.

And I'm not just saying that because I simply eat up SangoXMiroku moments!

Ah, this fic sets a whole new standard for sneezefics everywhere!

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^_^:laugh: Eeeee, I'm so pleased it is enjoyed, thank you SOOO much! LOL...You can't help but love the little fox-demon rascal - his dialogue really seems to "write itself" with minimal effort from me.
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  • 2 weeks later...

And finally, the end. there is a little scene in here taken from one of Kawaiikitty's drawings with kind permission of the artist, because it gave me an idea and it seemed more to slot in here than in its own story. I wanted to look at how all of the characters interact with each other, but there is some fluff at the end.

Demon Fever – Part the 3rd and Final

“Buddha be praised but it feels so good to be out under the open sky again.” Miroku declared as he stepped out of the cave, blinking furiously as the late spring sunshine stabbed at his eyes, which had become accustomed to the darkness of the cave or the dancing glimmer of flames during the period when Sango and then he himself had been incapacitated by the demon plague. He checked the talisman on his forearm was tightly bound, although he no longer felt the wracking pangs of the demon fever the magics would be effective for a while yet and it was always better to be safe than sorry. He turned the golden head of his holy staff sideways so that it was no longer reflecting light straight into his eyes, stretched, and took several deep breaths of fresh air.

“Oh Miroku, you poor thing, you’ve probably not left that cave in nearly a week,” Kagome fussed, “here, try these. I knew they’d come in useful.”

Miroku peered suspiciously at the strange object she was holding out to him, it appeared to be some sort of frame with two pieces of smoky crystal inside.

“What are they?” he asked, gingerly reaching out and taking hold of them, then investigating the two arms that appeared to fold in and out. Sango and Inuyasha glanced at each other then shrugged at him from behind Kagome’s back.

“Sunglasses, look, you put these bits over your ears…yes like that. That bit rests on your nose…”

“But Kagome, the crystal is smoked…how do I see through it?” Miroku asked in an exaggeratedly reasonable tone as he tried to lift the objects away from his eyes.

”Honestly Miroku, anyone would think I was trying to attack you, relax.”

”Hey,” Miroku gasped in astonishment, “I CAN see through it, though it’s quite dark, oh yes that’s a lot better.”

“And they look good too.” Kagome grinned as she stepped away from him, “very dashing”. She had aimed right for where Inuyasha was standing, knowing that he’d be about to make some sort of snide comment. “Not a word Inuyasha,” she hissed.

Inuyasha bit back his comment into a cough. Shippo meanwhile had hopped up onto a nearby rock with Sango’s twin tailed cat demon Kirara, currently in her smaller pet form. Both were staring intently at their reflections in the dark glass.

“Hey, all this fooling isn’t finding the plague demon and those jewel fragments.” Inuyasha barked. “Last place we found the trail was in that village near the hot spring, it appears to be staying around this area. I’ll run ahead and see if I can pick up the trail again.”

”Not alone you won’t.” Miroku said forcefully, “I can keep up with you, over a short distance at least and if you do encounter that thing again, remember that its poison vapours are too noxious for your sense of smell. It’ll do us no good at all if you are overcome while all on your own. Besides I could do with stretching my legs.”

“Just as long as you can keep up Miroku. I’m not carrying you.” Inuyasha snorted, but secretly he was pleased. “Sango, Kagome, Shippo can guide you if you follow on Kirara.”

Kirara leapt into the air, burst into flames and transformed into her giant, twin tailed sabretooth form as Miroku and Inuyasha sprinted off, then landed and dipped her shoulder to allow Shippo to hop on to his accustomed perch right behind her neck. Sango gestured for Kagome to climb on next.

“Sango, you normally ride behind Shippo, is everything alright?” Kagome asked, concerned.

“Yes, though I’m still not feeling entirely recovered and while I know you’d never drop me Kirara, if I do slip, you’ve got a better chance of bracing me than Shippo.” Sango replied, swinging herself up behind her friend. “Kagome my dear friend”, she whispered “could we talk later? I need some advice.”

“About Miroku?” Kagome whispered back over her shoulder.

“Yes.”

“He hasn’t been lecherous again has he?”

“Far from it actually.”

“Uh huh,” to hide her smile, Kagome pretended to be very intent on searching Kirara’s fur for Myoga, Inuyasha’s flea demon advisor who seemed to have a particular liking for Kirara’s blood (or perhaps it was the fact that in her smaller form Kirara was often well away from any battle and in her larger form she was one of the safest places to be in conflict. Bravery was not one of Myoga’s strongest points). “Of course we can Sango.”

Shippo sighed and leaned across Kirara’s neck “They’re talking about Inuyasha or Miroku aren’t they Kirara? I understand a lot more than they think you know.” Kirara yowped, snorted and swished her tails in general agreement with her friend. Then, once she felt that all her riders were fully secure, broke first into a canter, then a loping run and finally, flames licking from around her feet, leapt into the air and began running through the sky. As always Kagome and Shippo both gave little astonished gasps as they left the ground.

“This is always a wonder to them,” Sango thought to herself, with a surge of affection.

Inuyasha and Miroku had stopped by a painted plaque warning travellers to stay away from the nearby village as it was under a contagion. The plaque was surrounded by a white rope, the traditional colour of mourning. Miroku was incanting a prayer for the villagers under his breath while Inuyasha sniffed at the air. The rank smell of rotting meat and dank swampwater was unmistakable.

“It’s nearby, pfuagh! There’s no mistaking that scent.” Inuyasha spat.

“Given that it appears the last three villages have all had plague warnings outside, I would imagine that the creature is near the spring you mentioned earlier.” Miroku remarked, having finished his prayer. “If it is fed from the same source as the wells in these places then it can spread its disease through the water and either we will drink the water and all fall ill, and its job is done, or eventually we will have to come and fight it, at which point with the power of the shards, it may well have the strength to defeat us, especially since it has already almost done so once. Either way, it wins. It’s not stupid.”

“It’s certainly left a trail a child could follow though.”

“True, but let us assume that it is one of Naraku’s little pets, it will want us to find it,” Miroku muttered with venom in his voice. The demon Naraku had already brought so much destruction to all of their lives.

“It won’t for very much longer.” Inuyasha growled.

“Mmmmmnnnn, ah, there’s Kirara,” Miroku started gesturing to the great cat to land. Kagome’s uniform looked even more out of place next to Sango’s form fitting demon slayer’s gear, but she found it much easier to move in than a Kimono. The three of them hopped down from Kirara’s back and she instantly transformed back into her smaller form. Everyone found a spot to settle. Inuyasha pointed Northwards.

”It’s that way, not far, probably by the spring as I thought.”

“I can feel the jewel shards.” Kagome agreed, “they’re so foul and tainted I wish I couldn’t, but I can.”

“Do we have a strategy?” Miroku asked.

“Here is the way I see it,” Sango said, her cool professional demon hunter’s tone marred by leftover stuffiness from her recent illness. “Inuyasha, you’re going to assault it head on regardless.”

“Yes, it works.” Inuyasha shot at her, curtly.

“Indeed it does, simplicity is a virtue all of its own,” she replied without apology, “Miroku, you and I will sneak round and attack from behind at the same time. We know that it can turn itself into a swarm of flies to escape and that’s actually our objective. As soon as it does so, Kirara I want you to produce the biggest flame you possibly can. Kagome, use your kimono to fan them and Shippo if you could supplement Kirara with your foxfire as you did so effectively when I was sick that should drive them away from you and towards Miroku and I.”

“And then I unseal the wind tunnel and suck them in?” Miroku asked, his eyebrow arching up behind the sunglasses he was still wearing and twisting the prayer beads that kept what was the curse that was going to kill him and his greatest weapon in check. “Not forgetting to catch the jewel fragments that Kagome noticed before they vanish into the void.

“Precisely. I would imagine that respected old Myoga, if he is here at all, will do what he does best and find a safe place to hide.”

Kagome, Miroku and Shippo glanced at Inuyasha. “What? It’s a good plan,” he snorted. “Though the poison vapours that creature can produce are particularly potent, and as we’ve seen it has fought slayers before, or has been informed of how to fight them by someone that has. I personally believe the second and can guess who sent it if so, but what happens if it knocks your mask off again Sango. We aren’t going through all this twice.”

“What if you drove it towards the spring Inuyasha?” Kagome asked. “Hot air rises, the heat from the spring will dissipate the vapour cloud. Hmmmph and they said I never learned anything in science!”

“Hmmm, well steam certainly rises…I’d never thought of that.” Miroku admitted. “Oh, Kagome, thank you for these, they helped a lot, but they may hamper me in combat.” After a brief confusion working out how to remove them, he handed her back the sunglasses.

“Most important of all is the element of surprise, so please everyone try to be quiet from now on.” Sango whispered for emphasis, as the group started moving.

The demon was standing in a forest clearing, near the rocky edges of the hot spring, as anticipated. A full ten feet tall, and looking like an upright plague rat in a rotting Samurai cuirass, with filth streaked fur and blazing, insane red eyes it was surrounded by a foul smelling miasma of ochre and dull green vapours. Sango made sure her facemask was in place and gestured to Inuyasha, who had concealed himself in a stand of trees on the edge of the clearing. He nodded to her, flicked Tessaiga, the magic blade forged from the fang of his demon father, from its scabbard, watched it transform from a notched and battered old katana to a huge curved blade, glittering and resplendent. Then, with a furious war cry he leapt towards the demon, sword flashing. The creature staggered back under Inuyasha’s initial assault, and before the foul stench of the vapours could overcome him, the miasma was being borne away by the hot air around the spring, just as Kagome had promised. “He’s staggering” Sango whispered and nodded to Miroku, who was crouched just in front of her. At the agreed signal he stepped out, grasping his staff in his right hand and a fist full of powerful magic scrolls in his left. Sango reached behind her to grasp the oversized boomerang made of demon bone that was the principle tool of her trade and hefted it to throw, but as she did so she felt a tickle under the mask.

“Oh Da..ahmn no..h..h..t… hiiiptttshhhuuuuuu…”

“Owwwwww!” Miroku exclaimed as the weapon struck him in the back of the head.

“Oh, sorry Miroku,” Sango yelled to make herself heard over the noise of combat, her cheeks flushing red.

“Boomerang now, apologise later!” he shouted back, striking the demon in the back of the knee with his staff to unbalance it as it seemed to have recovered from Inuyasha’s initial onslaught and was now fighting back hard. He ducked as this time the weapon whistled over his head and sliced up the demon’s back, tearing through armour and fur alike.

The battle was fierce, but with the demon’s plague smoke dispersed, it was only ever going to go one way. With a final strike from Inuyasha’s blade and Miroku’s staff, the demon screeched and started to break down into a torrent of diseased flies. Kirara, Kagome and Shippo broke from their cover behind Inuyasha and produced the image of a roaring flame, and finally Miroku tore the bead chain from his right hand, and the wind tunnel that the group’s arch foe Naraku had cursed the male line of his family with, the one that he feared would one day swallow him up began to drag the insects inexorably towards it. Inuyasha dug Tessaiga into the ground and grabbed hold of Kagome, Kirara and Shippo, who were also starting to be drawn towards the void.

“Shards!” yelled Kagome. Miroku grabbed at the vibrant purple jewel fragments with his left hand, snatching them just before they vanished. Then, as soon as the last of the demon flies was sucked in, he resealed the gaping wound with the scrap of blessed cloth and the bead chain.

“It’s over.” Inuyasha declared.

Later on Kagome and Sango were sitting in the clearing. Inuyasha was hunting for dinner, and Shippo and Miroku were checking on the nearby villages to ensure that people were now recovering from the contagion. “You said you wanted to speak to me earlier?” Kagome asked with a smile.

“Yes, though you’ll probably think I’m mad. Kagome my dear friend, is vulnerability where it’s not usually shown attractive to you?” Sango asked hesitantly, her fingers drawing nonsense shapes on the great bone boomerang by her side. “Growing up in a warrior culture, any sign of weakness couldn’t really be tolerated, because it could get you or your friends killed, and I’m used to that, but when Miroku was sick, there was a time he’d fallen asleep with his head on my lap and I had to wake him to move because it was cramping my legs terribly. When I did he sneezed and he looked so vulnerable and ashamed afterwards, I would imagine because he was worried I was going to think him terribly rude, it was lucky the fire had died because I was probably blushing redder than Inuyasha’s clothing.

“No, I don’t think you are mad at all. I feel like that when Inuyasha opens up to me.” Kagome replied. “He wears so much armour, he’s magnificent with it, but beautiful without it, if only he’d see that. I think Miroku’s glibness is armour too. You know he only left your side while you were ill to get food for you, and taking the disease on himself was his idea.”

“I know,” Sango nodded and told Kagome about Miroku’s words before the ritual. “It was an act I don’t deserve and can never repay.”

“Don’t talk like that, you know it isn’t true. But you know, their dashingness doesn’t stop them being infuriating sometimes though does it?”

“No it doesn’t. Hey is that that jasmine hair soap in your pack? If that’s the future then it can’t come soon enough. There’s a hot spring over there you know, why don’t we talk while we soak?”

Inuyasha arrived back with the fruits of his hunt to see Miroku, Shippo and Kirara starting a fire in a smaller clearing in the forest near, but out of sight of the hot spring. His keen ears picked up gentle splashes from that direction. “We have decided to stay here.” Miroku announced solemnly. “I like this glade, it’s peaceful.”

“Wise choice.” Inuyasha said with a nod, and sat down by the fire

He had just settled and started preparing dinner when a scream split the air. Kirara leapt up from her spot by the fire and shot into the bushes like a missile.

“Why are you two just sitting there? That was Kagome’s scream!” Shippo cried, hopping from one leg to the other in agitation.

“And Kirara’s gone to investigate, she’ll roar if there’s danger. This arrangement is easier on our heads. And mine is already a little sore” Miroku said soothingly but decisively. There had been several occasions when the belief that Kagome and Sango were being attacked while bathing had led to very sore jaws and bruises.

“Very true, though it’s your fault”, grumbled Inuyasha staring straight at the monk “I’m tarred with your brush.”

Before Miroku could retort, Kirara slinked into the clearing, carrying an unconscious water rat in her mouth and dropped it at Shippo’s feet.

“Poor thing, I think it’s been hit by a rock.” He said, prodding at the stunned creature with a look of genuine concern.

“As I said, easier on both our heads, and now Inuyasha, I believe we have an unfinished philosophical discussion about the strength or otherwise of my adherence to the Buddha’s teachings and the nature of virtuous action” Miroku said, with an expression that somehow managed to combine piety and smugness.

Inuyasha glared at him, though his growl of “You’re pushing it, Monk” was like the playful growl of a dog during a tug-of-war game.

Sango and Kagome, who had just returned from their bath, exchanged resigned sighs. “Inuyasha, Miroku, honestly, Shippo shows more maturity than you two do sometimes,” Sango scolded. Shippo puffed out his chest and drew himself up to his full one and a half feet in height to demonstrate his newfound maturity. As Inuyasha started to advance towards the sanctimonious little fox spirit Kagome stepped in front of him and yelled the word of power that she had over him, “SIT!,” at which point Inuyasha splattered prone to the ground.

“You’re absolutely right Sango, not right now though” Kagome muttered, spinning around and glaring at Shippo, who darted behind Kirara’s twin tails to avoid her disapproval.

While Inuyasha was climbing to his feet and brushing down both his enchanted robe and his pride and Kagome was lecturing Shippo on the pitfalls of provocation, Sango slipped behind a large standing stone off to one side of the clearing and gestured to Miroku.

“Lord Monk, I never did thank you properly for the risk you took for me,” she whispered.

“There is no need Sango, I had the power to do something, so I had to. Buddha demands. But if you do wish to thank me properly…” Miroku was cut off by Sango pinching his lips together.

“Just this once Miroku, there’ll be no smart comments, idle flattery or protestations of innocence from you and no slaps from me, just this.” She stepped forward and hugged him tightly, her hair smelt of the jasmine scented liquid hair soap that Kagome always brought her and that she adored so much.

“Sango I…heh…” Miroku turned his head into his shoulder, still holding her, “heh..HeehK’SSSHH, KSSSHHHH, I’m sorry, that scent is strong and obviously my nose is still sensitive from the fever…I…”

“Poor Lord Monk, I’m sorry, I didn’t know the Jasmine bothered you” Sango whispered, with a hint of something Miroku didn’t really understand in her voice. She then kissed the tips of her fingers and placed them against his lips, “thank you from the bottom of my heart Miroku.”

Miroku touched her cheek. “You’re welcome. I would have done the same for any…”

“Of us, I know,” she smiled up at him

“I was actually going to say beautiful woman,” he grinned back

“I said no idle flattery, remember?”

Suddenly the moment was broken by Inuyasha’s voice shouting, “Hey, Sango, Miroku, where are you? We’ll leave without you if…”

“Inuyasha, so help me I’ll give you another sit if you don’t start thinking before you open your mouth.” Kagome’s voice followed.

“Come on, otherwise those two will end up fighting again,” Sango stage-whispered with a broad smile. Miroku followed, speechless and looking completely stunned.

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Oh, I am so DEAD from awesome-ness right now that I don't know what. Man, you write the cutest Miroku scenes EVER. Great, now I have to go draw him with sunglasses on...and I still have to spam my blog with all the crap part 2 of this made my brain have to draw.

Of course the way you managed to work in the bit with the boomerang was pure hilarity, and made me grin. I love the bits where Sango was talking to Kagome-that's something I really like about her character that she's really strong and in charge of everything, except matters of the heart.

Miroku touched her cheek. “You’re welcome. I would have done the same for any…”

“Of us, I know,” she smiled up at him

“I was actually going to say beautiful woman,” he grinned back

That was JUST so classic! Ah, I'm a little disappointed that it's finished, as I was enjoying it. But I suppose I cannot be greedy. :doh:

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Ok... evidently I was in a total daze and missed the second part. But that was easily corrected.

:):laugh::omg:

Ok... minding that I don't know the series at all and hence cannot be a good judge of characters within cannon type of thing.... this was SO great.

I just Cracked up reading the Sano sneezing scene- that was too funny. To read it and be picturing KK's drawing- just TOO good.

The ending was just SOOO sweet and greedy little person that I am it just left me wanting more.

Sango confiding in Kigome and the ending. I know that I said that... but still... *Goes back to re-read* I loved it and I just Know that a certain monk-fancier who is Much more familiar with the series is going to be just eating it up. :doh:

Edited to Add... evidently said monk fancier was quicker than I thought. hehehe

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:D:drool: :drool: Thank you so, so much, I am really glad it was enjoyed. LOL...I'm sure I'll visit feudal Japan again in the not too distant future. :drool: Actually I had ideas for a lot more dialogue between Kagome and Sango, but it started to sort of branch out from the story, but not enough to form its own chapter, and there was some polishing and reworking that was really needed, so I thought better for flow to just keep the central stuff. If you would like to see it I'll probably post it as a vignette in my blog at some point
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