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"Unforeseen Consequences" - (4 Parts)


KawaiiKitty

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Okay, here's the thing. I'm not sure if this counts as a "sneezefic" or not. There's sneezing IN it, and a cold is in fact a major plot point. But there's more action than fluff. I've been debating for ages whether or not to post this...this is actually a dream I had a while back which made me exceedingly happy. But I don't expect many people may enjoy reading this. I just figured I'd throw it out there anyway. Feedback is nice,to tell me how I can improve or how I can make my fanfics more accessible and interesting to those who don't know the fandom.

And I'd say this is possibly one of my least friendly to non-fan fanfics that I've ever posted up here. But don't turn back just yet, give it a chance! And give this first chapter a chance too, it's setting the scene. As always it's based on the Inuyasha fandom and as always, Miroku is the subject of torture.

But enough chitchat. Let's get on with things!

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Title: Unforeseen Consequences

Author: KawaiiKitty

Fandom: Inuyasha

Summary: An ailing Miroku is forced by his companions to stop and rest for his own good, which ends up putting him in more danger than he expected. (I know, I know...odd plot for a sneezefic. PLEASE give it a chance!)

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Chapter 1-The Best Plans Can Be Ruined By An Untimely Sneeze

Sango stopped running long enough to cast a curious glance at Miroku. Normally she had to ride through the air on Kirara, her faithful flying fire-cat in order to keep up with his swift pace on foot. Today, he was lagging so far back, that it was clear something was holding him back. She toyed with the idea of facetiously asking him if the weight of Shippou, the diminutive fox child perched on his shoulder, was weighing him down. But she decided not to be so unkind.

She needed his help if this plan was going to work-it would be best not to annoy him.

To earn a little money for the group (because they couldn't always rely on catching wild food for their meals) she had accepted a job hunting down a minor demon that had been plaguing a small village. The demon was in fact SO minor that Inuyasha didn't even bother offering his help and had instead continued on with Kagome in the hopes of finding more jewel shards down the road. Of course Miroku had offered to stay with Sango and lend a hand-whether through gallantry or more selfish motives was under debate, so little Shippou was assigned as chaperone to ensure the young monk's mind stayed firmly on virtuous matters.

Unfortunately the demon, while not much in the way of strength or powers, had a very annoying advantage-being a water snake it had the ability to rapidly retreat into the water every time they tried to attack it. She tried going at it from various vantage points around the edge of the lake with no luck. The last plan, elaborately thought out, involved dropping a demon-repelling powder into the water, then flying over the lake on Kirara's back to attack it from above as it escaped the tainted water. Whether or not this plan would have worked would never be known, as the demon very nearly collided with Kirara as it shot out of the lake faster than expected. Fortunately no one was hurt, although Miroku's pride was slightly dented as he suffered a drenching when he lost his grip and fell into the water below.

And still the demon got away. The memory of the event still annoyed Sango. If Miroku had kept a better grip, she could have attacked the demon rather than fishing his sorry self out of the lake. But she was trying her best not to think about that. It wasn't his fault, really. Still, the failure to destroy this demon embarrassed her, if she didn't get it this time her reputation as a fine demon slayer was mud.

Miroku took advantage of the fact that Sango had stopped running, to stop as well and try to catch his breath. Sango wanted to ask him if he was sure he was up to this, but she was too afraid the answer would be "no" and she really needed his help for her plan. She felt guilty for a moment…after all, anyone could clearly see that he wasn't up to this at all. It was his complexion, his complexion was always the first to give away the game. His cheeks were always quick to flush-when he'd been drinking for example, or enjoying a bath in a particularly warm hot spring-but it was quite unheard of for his cheeks to get quite as pink as they currently were from the simple exertion of running.

Shippou, from his vantage point on Miroku's shoulder, gulped. They hadn't told him exactly what the plan was except that he somehow played a key role in it, but he was perceptive enough to know that Sango's smile when she said "Don't worry. All you have to do is stand there" was a little too big to be entirely genuine. Normally, the little fox child trusted his friends with his life-after all, they had gotten him out of more scrapes than he could count. But, he was close enough to Miroku's face to observe that the monk was clearly struggling, and quite possibly unwell-or that's what the flushed face, sweating, and occasional sniffling would seem to suggest.

And, that's what made Shippou nervous. He was more wary of that snake demon than anyone else seemed to be-in his eyes it was HUGE-and if they really had to face it again, he'd rather his companions be in their best form.

But the little fox had no more time to think about such things for he was torn from his thoughts by the need to dig his claws firmly into Miroku's robes to steady himself, as Miroku's shoulders began to rise and fall sharply, accompanied by an odd expression on his face-something resembling contorted concentration. Finally, he brought his arm up and covered his mouth firmly with the end of his flowing black sleeve in time to catch a loud and urgent "Hehh-HEH'nkkkgt!" Shippou clung on tightly to avoid being flung dramatically off Miroku's shoulder as his body pitched violently forward.

Miroku straightened himself, sniffing loudly, with an expression on his face that sent out the warning "If you ask me if I'm okay, I'll be very annoyed". Sango, however, was undeterred by the prospect of the monk's annoyance and clucked her tongue at him.

"You've caught a cold, haven't you? Probably from falling in the lake…I told you that you should have dried off instead of walking around in damp clothes all day, didn't I?"

"What a nonsense idea. I don't get…hnngkh-TCHH!…colds you know. My body is far too trained and strong. Shippou must be shedding, his fur is getting in my face."

"Hey!" protested Shippou. "I am not shedding!" But he turned around and patted his bushy tail just to make sure.

"If you say so," shrugged Sango. She didn't have time to argue with him now. There would be plenty of time for that later.

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A clearing near the lake was the setting for the Great Plan. Sango had obviously put a great deal of thought into this and a slight note of pride couldn't help but creep into her voice as she detailed the plan to her companions.

"A direct attack so far hasn't worked because it's too fast. We're going to throw it off by making it think we're attacking it from one direction, and then catching it off guard by immediately attacking from another. We'll lure it toward the clearing. Miroku, you and I shall be hidden over there in the bushes. When it passes that tree, I'll throw my Hiraikotsu" she patted the giant boomerang strapped to her back for emphasis. "But I will aim just behind it. While it's evading that attack, Miroku you step in and finish it off with your Wind Tunnel. Easy, right?" She elbowed Miroku who seemed to be lost in thought.

"Did you get all that, Miroku?"

"Hehh'kSHH!"

"Um…" Shippo piped up tentatively. "What's my part in all of this?"

"Your job is to make sure the demon goes where we want it to go by sitting there on that rock."

"What? I'm BAIT? I don't want to do that!"

"I'd be inclined to agree," Miroku said with a sniff. "It's unfair to ask him to do something so dangerous."

"I know, I know. You know that normally I wouldn't think of suggesting such a thing. But it's either that or wait for the demon to come this way of it's own accord. Besides, we'll have taken care of the demon before it even gets halfway to Shippou. He'll be perfectly safe at all times."

Miroku, who seemed to be in a rapidly deteriorating mood, grunted. "Fine. Lets just do this then. I'm getting tired of the sight of this demon and I'd like to get the chance to relax for the rest of the day."

Shippou climbed up on the rock and sat, biting his claws, wondering if he should do anything to make himself seem a more enticing meal for the demon, and what exactly would make him seem a more enticing meal anyway. Sango and Miroku took their places in the dense bushes at the side of the clearing. Sango crouched in a feline-like state of readiness, craning her neck to scan the area for signs of the demons approach.

Miroku appeared to have other concerns as he attempted to quell an oncoming sneeze by pinching his nose firmly with a handful of his sleeve, resulting in a rather painful sounding "Nxxxght!"

"Make sure you don't do that when the demon's coming," Sango pointed out. "It'll spoil the whole plan if you take away the element of surprise."

"Hmph!" Miroku grunted indignantly, appearing disinclined to discuss it further.

In fact, he seemed disinclined to talk for the duration of the wait. Or, disinclined to pay any attention to Sango, which was rather unusual in itself. He sat, frowning to himself, sniffling every few seconds at intervals that seemed perfectly spaced. Sango decided it was wise to leave him alone-she'd never seen the normally good natured man so irritable and (no matter what he said to the contrary) unwell, and she figured that he didn't want to be bothered any more than was necessary.

As time passed however, the constant and repetitive sniffing became impossible to ignore and in fact it became obvious that it might even prove detrimental to their plans.

"Um…Miroku?" Sango ventured.

"Hmm?"

"Do you need to blow your nose?"

"Of course not!"

"But…you see…I think you do." She offered a placating smile in response to the sudden affronted glare he flashed her. "It's just that the demon is sure to hear you and if we get this right this time we won't have to come out here again and you'll have all the time you need to rest up from your cold."

"I do NOT have a-" Miroku began, but didn't get to finish that thought as Sango hissed an order to be quiet as a distant splash and rustling heralded the demon leaving the lake in search of food.

"It's coming this way!" Sango whispered. "Get ready. As soon as it passes this point, I'll count to three and we'll execute the plan."

Miroku nodded and readied himself, showing the most alertness he'd managed all day. Meanwhile, Shippou, on his rock, watched the approach of the huge snake demon with wide-eyed trepidation.

"Alright," Sango whispered, clutching her weapon in a state of readiness. "On the count of three, okay?"

There was no response.

"Miroku! Are you ready or what?"

Still no response. In exasperation, Sango looked over at Miroku who, far from preparing himself for battle, was distracted by a private battle of his own as he sat, inhaling sharp little gasping breaths with his hand hovering in front of his face.

"Look alive, Miroku!" she ordered. A sudden and frantic cry from Shippou returned her to the urgency of the situation, as the fox-child did what he usually did in a crisis-run around in circles in a blind panic.

"Never mind," Sango muttered. "I'll do it myself."

She leapt out of the bushes, preparing to throw her giant boomerang at the demon. As soon as the demon became aware of her presence, it predictably turned abruptly to retreat back to the safety of the water.

"Oh, no you don't," she cried, lifting her heavy weapon above her head.

Suddenly the dramatics of the scene was cut by a harsh and unexpected "Hehh'nnnghSSSH!" from Miroku's direction. This had the effect of startling the demon, which faltered in it's course. This would have been perfect. This would have afforded them a fantastic advantage. Unfortunately, it also had the effect of startling Sango, who launched her weapon about two seconds too late and instead of a direct hit, she only managed to strike it in it's tail as it disappeared.

She glared at Miroku, who was sheepishly wiping his nose with his sleeve. Clenching her hand into a fist, she growled "That's it. We are going to find you a bed and you are going to rest in it if I have to break both your legs to make sure you do. And don't even try that 'I'm not sick' business. Anyone with half a brain can tell you have a cold. Why do you have to be too proud to take care of your own health?"

Stunned into submission, Miroku would likely have obediently followed Sango into the village to look for a house that would offer him a bed to rest in. It was probably unnecessary for her to use force. It was probably unnecessary for her to grasp his ear and lead him painfully to the village, with him protesting his discomfort all the way. But she did it anyway. It made more of a point that way.

To be continued...(unless you beg me not to! :winkkiss: )

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Guest iffthelurker

And who says sneezefics need to be fluff? There's nothing wrong with a lot of plot. As you've said, Miroku's cold is rather integral to the plot, and that sounds like a sneezefic to me. :yes:

I'm very much enjoying this so far. I'm hoping the small handful of episodes I've seen are going to be enough for me to follow what happens later (and if not, I'll likely read it anyway and pester you with questions :rolleyes:), but I'm so glad you're posting it.

Miroku denying his cold is adorable, and Sango finally giving up and hauling him bodily off to an inn to get some sleep makes me so very happy. Poor guy...I hope he feels better soon...NOT! :winkkiss: I can't wait to see what kind of danger he ends up in!

Thank you! :blushing:

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Oh this is most definitely a sneezefic! It's delightful! And I love the sneezing while hiding! (And I can't seem to stop using exclamations. :winkkiss:') Please continue!

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SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! New Miroku cuteness. Three

"What a nonsense idea. I don't get…hnngkh-TCHH!…colds you know. My body is far too trained and strong. Shippou must be shedding, his fur is getting in my face."
"But…you see…I think you do." She offered a placating smile in response to the sudden affronted glare he flashed her. "It's just that the demon is sure to hear you and if we get this right this time we won't have to come out here again and you'll have all the time you need to rest up from your cold."

"I do NOT have a-" Miroku began, but didn't get to finish that thought as Sango hissed an order to be quiet as a distant splash and rustling heralded the demon leaving the lake in search of food.

Those were my favourite parts. Denial is just Ever so fun and cute. :(

You MUST post more- or I'll send around a petition :drool: *teasing grin* Ok... maybe not a petition- but... I would like to read more. :D

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I love the last little bit the best...it's so cute and has a lot of personality. And I think an adventure with a plot that goes beyond "and then he sneezed" is neat. I like it when I can get lost in a story and then when you know the characters and care about them get even more enjoyment from their misery :P Sort of like it's fun to see some random person have a sneezing fit, but when you're with someone all day and all the little signs of getting sick are mixed in with all the other stuff you do in a day the excitement builds and builds.

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She glared at Miroku, who was sheepishly wiping his nose with his sleeve. Clenching her hand into a fist, she growled "That's it. We are going to find you a bed and you are going to rest in it if I have to break both your legs to make sure you do. And don't even try that 'I'm not sick' business. Anyone with half a brain can tell you have a cold. Why do you have to be too proud to take care of your own health?"

Okay, I can completely see Sango saying that, I can even hear it (well I think I can, though I don't speak Japanese, so it could be something else :bawl: ). LOL...Meanwhile my roleplaying geek brain was gleeful at the way you describe the tactics etc. Oh and poor old Shippo "I don't want to be bait". I can just see him on a rock saying "I must be strong, I must be strong" to himself.

I loved the comment about Shippo shedding, again I could just picture that as a scene in my head.

Of course that said I know the subject matter, but certainly if I didn't, I wouldn't have any problems at all and would still enjoy reading it just as much as I did because of the interplay between the characters, which is very well done and full of witty moments.

Please, more! :cry:

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Yippies! I'm so glad you guys like it, even though it is very "different". It gets pretty weird after this (well, it did come from a dream and my dreams are WEIRD)...it'll be a while before I get there but the ending is pretty odd. Very sneeze related but VERY odd.

Tma: :cry: HAHA! Yes, a petition! And then I'll HAVE to continue it!

Enkidom: Whew! I just pulled those tactics out of my...er, thin air...so I'm glad to know I wasn't WAY off. And yay, you noticed my little "Shippou moment"...I was slightly proud of that bit!

And everybody, you just rock for reading my little fic!

So...I'll get on with it now. This bit is very short and isn't very "sneezy", it's mostly a little bit that sets the scene for what's going to happen in the rest of it.

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Chapter 2-He Needs To Choose Between Denial and "Milking It".

"Owow…Sango…ow…you can let go…owwww…I'm not going to…owow…run away!" Miroku protested, wincing in pain as Sango maintained a firm grip on his ear. She released him and he straightened himself up, rubbing his offended earlobe with an injured expression on his face. Sango shook her head at him. She could feel the heat rising from him simply from the small contact of her fingers touching his ear. Of course, she couldn't properly test him for a fever, every time she tried to touch his forehead he ducked out of the way muttering something about it "not being necessary". She had to be amazed at his reflexes, at least. No matter how sneaky or fast she tried to be, he still evaded her touch.

Feeling his forehead would have been redundant anyway, it wouldn't have told her anything she didn't already know.

Sango smiled at Miroku, hoping to placate him into ceasing to sulk like a petulant child. It didn't seem to work, so she patted his arm and said "Why don't we start at that house over there. The biggest house. That's what you always go for, isn't it?"

Miroku didn't reply but Sango decided to interpret his doleful sniffling as a "yes".

They found themselves at the gate of the village headman's house. Sango couldn't help but feel a sense of amusement at the position she found herself in. Usually, it was Miroku who did the talking in these situations, trying to secure lodgings for his companions. To have the roles reversed was interesting, to say the least. If anything, it gave Sango a greater appreciation for the monk's undeniable ability to charm people into almost anything. It was true that they often chided him for his tendency to "stretch the truth" in order to get a good room in a good house, but Sango had to admit that he must have incredible confidence to do what he did time and time again. Even now she found herself becoming nervous under the stern gaze of the gatekeeper, and wondered how Miroku always managed to keep that calm, affable smile on his face whenever he was doing this.

She made a note to herself to show a bit more appreciation for Miroku's efforts and talents in the future.

"So you see, we can't pay you much but we'd be very grateful and-"

She was suddenly interrupted by a harsh "Hehh…k'SSH! Hehh'ehNKHT! Hehh'nnnghSSSH" from Miroku which dissolved into a desperate and throaty fit of coughing, during which he bent himself dramatically double in a clear moment of overacting. The gatekeeper looked at him in alarm, taking a couple of steps backwards.

"Sorry," the gatekeeper said. "We don't have any room."

"You're joking, right? Your house is so big, you must have some-"

But she didn't get to finish, the door had already been shut in her face. She sighed in defeat as Miroku straightened himself up, with an odd expression of smug self satisfaction on his face.

"You scared them away," Sango scolded. "Try not to sound TOO sick, or nobody will want to let you into their house. Well, so much for the biggest and richest house. We'll just have to try some other ones!"

"Pity," Miroku murmured, not sounding as if he thought it was a pity at all.

At the next house it was a similar scene. In the middle of Sango trying her best to talk the owner of the house into providing a bed, Miroku suddenly launched into a spectacular fit of sneezing and coughing-after which they were told that there was absolutely no room to be spared.

The first two times could have been simple bad timing. In a stretch, the next two could have been called bad timing as well. The fifth time, however, and Sango's suspicions were aroused. She growled in annoyance at Miroku, who was wiping his nose with his sleeve after a truly amazing fit of sneezing that, had the Oscars existed in Feudal Era Japan, would have been worthy of one.

"You're doing this on purpose!" she accused him.

"Doing what?" he replied with a look of exaggerated innocence.

"I know you too well, Miroku. You think that if we can't find a place for you to stay, that you won't have to rest. What do you have against taking care of yourself?"

"I have nothing against it. When I need to take care of myself. And right now I have no need to…hehhh'NKHHT…take care of myself."

"And why is it that every time we come up to a house you start sneezing and coughing like that, if you're not purposely trying to scare them away?"

"I can't help it," he said with an air of smugness. "I cannot control when my cold chooses to manifest itself. If it frightens them away, it's not my fault."

"Oh really? I thought you didn't have a cold?"

Miroku's eyes widened. He stammered for a moment as he struggled to find a way to justify, explain or backtrack. But his mind, usually so adept and creative explanations and excuses, decided to fail him. His shoulders slumped forward in an expression of defeat, although he would never say as much out loud. He felt grateful at least that Inuyasha wasn't here to witness this-he'd never hear the end of it. He could almost hear the half-dog demon's voice needling him with that familiar refrain "Miroku, you're so hopeless!". It was never said in anger or disgust, mostly good natured teasing of the male-bonding variety, but Miroku disliked hearing it all the same.

More importantly, he didn't want Sango to see him as weak. She was so strong and capable, he was increasingly becoming aware that she would never need him to swoop in heroically and save her from anything. He wondered if she would ever need him…for anything at all. He didn't like to dwell on that question for too long, because he was quite afraid the answer would be "no".

Miroku suddenly felt the presence of a hand on his shoulder.

"Lets keep trying," Sango said, then added. "My, you must be burning up. I can feel the heat off you even through your clothes!"

She extended her hand toward his forehead, but he managed to evade her yet again, saying "That's not necess…not ne…hehhN'KSHH!…not necessary."

"All right, Miroku. Have it your way," she sighed. "Come on. Let's try this house over here. I'm not going to give up yet!"

The next house that they approached was somewhat small and unassuming. It seemed old, not in the sense that it was run down or in disrepair but it had an air of old fashioned-ness about it. It didn't look very rich or comfortable and Miroku wasn't very sure he wanted to stay there at all.

And if he played his cards right, he thought, he wouldn't have to stay there.

And old man answered the door. Well, Miroku debated whether or not to tag him as an "old man" in his mind. His hair was white, but he stood as tall and upright as any strapping young male, and there was a liveliness sparkling in his piercing black eyes that carried more than a suggestion of youth. Miroku decided to just think of him as "The Man". He needed no further title as they would not be gracing his presence for very long.

"How can I help you?" the man drawled in a slow, unhurried manner, his voice rather more high pitched than one would have thought by looking at him.

"Well, you see-" Sango began. "My friend here is ever so slightly unwell and is looking for somewhere to rest for the day. We can't pay much, but-"

"A monk, I see, and a young man at that," The Man said, fixing his odd stare on Miroku and completely ignoring Sango. "You look like a strong young man."

Miroku decided it was time to cut this little encounter short. He decided to go directly to the great encore of his performance, the wracking coughing fit-giving a act that even he himself was impressed by. To his utter surprise, The Man did not recoil from him in horror, but instead moved forward clucking "My, my. How did such a strong young man like you get so unwell?"

"I'm not," Miroku said, overlapped by Sango saying "He fell in the lake."

"Oh dear, oh dear. Well, you are welcome to stay in my home and recover. Oh yes. Follow me."

Sango elbowed Miroku and hissed "Nice try, there. But it looks like we've found a bed for you after all!"

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TBC-Oh yes...there's plenty more!

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"Owow…Sango…ow…you can let go…owwww…I'm not going to…owow…run away!" Miroku protested, wincing in pain as Sango maintained a firm grip on his ear. She released him and he straightened himself up, rubbing his offended earlobe with an injured expression on his face. Sango shook her head at him. She could feel the heat rising from him simply from the small contact of her fingers touching his ear. Of course, she couldn't properly test him for a fever, every time she tried to touch his forehead he ducked out of the way muttering something about it "not being necessary". She had to be amazed at his reflexes, at least. No matter how sneaky or fast she tried to be, he still evaded her touch.

Feeling his forehead would have been redundant anyway, it wouldn't have told her anything she didn't already know.

Sango smiled at Miroku, hoping to placate him into ceasing to sulk like a petulant child. It didn't seem to work, so she patted his arm and said "Why don't we start at that house over there. The biggest house. That's what you always go for, isn't it?"

Miroku didn't reply but Sango decided to interpret his doleful sniffling as a "yes".

They found themselves at the gate of the village headman's house. Sango couldn't help but feel a sense of amusement at the position she found herself in. Usually, it was Miroku who did the talking in these situations, trying to secure lodgings for his companions. To have the roles reversed was interesting, to say the least. If anything, it gave Sango a greater appreciation for the monk's undeniable ability to charm people into almost anything. It was true that they often chided him for his tendency to "stretch the truth" in order to get a good room in a good house, but Sango had to admit that he must have incredible confidence to do what he did time and time again. Even now she found herself becoming nervous under the stern gaze of the gatekeeper, and wondered how Miroku always managed to keep that calm, affable smile on his face whenever he was doing this.

She made a note to herself to show a bit more appreciation for Miroku's efforts and talents in the future.

Now that was just beautifully written, again I could see that scene playing out in my head. And I love the way even when Sango's concerned she's still efficient, businesslike and to the point, more matronly than motherly. That's quite how I'd imagine she'd be.

More importantly, he didn't want Sango to see him as weak. She was so strong and capable, he was increasingly becoming aware that she would never need him to swoop in heroically and save her from anything. He wondered if she would ever need him…for anything at all. He didn't like to dwell on that question for too long, because he was quite afraid the answer would be "no".

My other favorite bit, very well done and - to be honest, something I'd never really thought about in that relationship.

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:lol: Oh my.... this section just cracked me up!! Gah... can't find a section to quote because I just ADORED the whole Miroku giving "performances" to try to get out of staying places. That was just TOO good. Oh... and then still trying to act "not sick" to Sango. LOL!!! What a character! :lol:

Although... the response at the last house.... Brilliant! Cannot wait to see more.

*I see that the petition thingee is working :lol: must go from door to door now. B) *

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mmmmm... yes please DO write more.... if this hasn't been abandoned :wub:

I might even be inclined to illustrate some of it.... if the inspiration comes :( I mean... great story! :D

I love it. I've never really read your stuff but i shall be from now! ^_^

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tma - add another name to the petition.

Seriously...this is fabulous. I love it. Please, write more....

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Wah! I'm all stupid over the fact that people are liking this.

No I haven't abandoned it, I just lost my confidence on posting it as I do occasionally... :rolleyes: But I shall have to make the effort to finish typing this up after all! Perhaps after my nap...

:laugh: The petition! :laugh: I stand corrected, maybe they DO work! :laugh:

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OMG, I love this!! I have always loved the dynamic between Sango and Miroku!! You portray it perfectly and I DO hope that you continue!

~Aku

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Oh my, oh my...part 3! It's usually my tradition that I become shy of my own work and of posting it but since people seem inclined to say nice things, I shall HAVE to stick this up here! :notworthy:

This part might not have enough sneezing in it...I tried to re-write it to make it more "fetish friendly" but it refused so...it might be rather hit and miss (or is the phrase "hit OR miss"? I'm never sure...)

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Chapter 3

When he saw the interior of the house, Miroku could see the flaw in his "great plan". Rather than not having to stop and rest and therefore showing Sango how brilliantly strong and reliable he was, he was now going to be stuck in this place. And he'd had the opportunity to rest in comfort, in a large house-probably with servants or beautiful daughters to cater to him, and he gave it up for…for…

He couldn't think of what to call this place.

Stillness hung in the air. The house was devoid of personal effects and only had the most minimal of furniture, and any objects that were around seemed about a hundred years out of date. Miroku swore he could see some sort of dull haze all around but had to assume it was just him because Sango seemed strangely unconcerned. He brought his hand up to his mouth to discreetly cover a cough. He wouldn't admit it out loud but his throat hurt. He wondered at his chances of getting a nice, soothing hot cup of tea in this place. Again, he cursed his short sightedness. The nicest house probably had some good quality tea too…he had a sudden daydream of sitting in bed and being served steaming hot tea in a fine cup by a well dressed, long haired young woman with a look of soft concern on her face.

He sighed. Exactly what had his logic been again, he had to ask himself? Oh yes, it was his pride. Pride that didn't want to stop and rest, despite the fact that the rest of him was crying out for a nice rest.

He coughed again, even though doing so burned his already irritated throat. With a shiver, he muttered under his breath to Sango "I'm getting a funny feeling from this place. Don't you think it's unnaturally cold in here?"

Sango rolled her eyes. "That's not the house, that's your fever. If you're going to try to tell me that there's evil in this place in order to get out of having to rest, it's not going to work." And then, to Miroku's surprise, her voice softened and she put her hand lightly on his arm. "There's no shame in having to rest, you know."

Miroku tried to flash her his most amiable smile, which came out weak at best-and, set against the backdrop of his unnaturally flushed face, added an extra air of patheticness to his appearance.

"Oh Sango," he said with a hint of playfulness. "You do care about me, don't you?"

"I…I…well, we need everyone to be at their best in case we're attacked by surprise, don't we?" she stammered lamely, focussing intently on staring at some undetermined point in the distance that just so happened to be in exactly the opposite direction from Miroku's face. Miroku, preoccupied with his own concerns, failed to notice the obvious embarrassment in both her voice and demeanour. Not that he was usually able to pick up on these things anyway. It was strange, he was usually so astute at reading people, a skill he often put to good use for his own benefit, but when it came to Sango, that ability completely left him and he found himself completely unable to read her, even when she was being painfully obvious.

If he'd had the acuity to read the situation, he would have chosen that moment to say something-perhaps tender, perhaps charming, perhaps understanding, perhaps all three-to capture the moment and use it to forge a deeper connection. But he had no such acuity, so instead he said: "Don't you find it strange that it's so dark in here?"

Sango sighed. "Well, you wouldn't expect to get any rest in a brightly lit room, would you? Give it up, Miroku. You're not going to change my mind."

He grunted his displeasure and drew his arms closer as another shiver overtook him. Despite the fact that he knew full well the reason he would have insisted that he had no idea why his body, though swathed in layers of voluminous cloth, was finding it so difficult to keep warm. He appeared to resign himself to his fate although he would have dearly loved to protest further upon seeing the room that he was expected to sleep in.

It was the barest room that he'd ever seen. He couldn't help but feel that sleeping outside in the forest propped up against the trunk of a tree would be an improvement on this place as it would at least have the benefit of fresh air which this room lacked, apparently whoever built it had not been blessed with the knowledge of how to add windows. The only hint that the room was even intended for human habitation was the bedding in the corner: a simple mat spread on the floor, pillow and blanket that had clearly seen better days.

The Man (for he had still failed to introduce himself) seemed to read the shock and dismay on Miroku's face and he turned an apologetic and ingratiating smile at them and said "I know it's not much but I offer what I have."

"And we're very grateful!" Sango exclaimed with a bright smile. "That you've offered us your home. Many of the families around here were nervous about letting a sick person into their house." Then, worried The Man might change his mind and not allow Miroku to stay after all, she added quickly "But you have nothing to fear from him, it's only a cold after all. I suppose the homes with children were overly cautious about catching it but I'm sure you have nothing to fear." To punctuate her statement, she patted Miroku as if he were a horse for sale.

The Man turned a fawning gaze on Miroku, obviously designed to placate but which just served to make Miroku more cautious.

"It's no inconvenience," he simpered. "I often open my home to travelling monks, it's the least I can do for you holy men that do so much for the people of this land."

Miroku rolled his eyes inwardly. He'd heard that kind of talk plenty of times in all his years as a monk…usually from people getting on in years who wanted to accumulate plenty of good karma and fast. He was so busy mentally criticising The Man, that he failed to notice that Sango was talking, until she lightly elbowed him and said "Don't you think so, Miroku?"

He covered his mouth and nose with a handful of his long, flowing sleeve. "Hehh….hehh'KSHH!" was his only contribution to the conversation, unless one counted the miserable sniffling that followed as also part of the conversation. The Man reached over and rested his hand on Miroku's shoulder with far too much familiarity for the young monk's liking.

"Poor Monk," he said. "You really are unwell, aren't you?"

"Absolutely not. I'm just…I'm just…hnngkh-tchh!"

"He is in need of some rest, no matter what he says," said Sango, ostensibly at The Man, but directly squarely at Miroku. "And if he knows what's good for him, he'll get that rest."

Miroku decided it might be a good time to make one last attempt at getting out of having to stay in this place.

"But wh-" he tried to begin but it only came out as a hoarse squawk. He coughed and started again. "But what about the snake demon? Surely you will need my help to finish it off."

Sango shook her head. "I did manage to get in a good hit before. I may not have taken it down, but it must be pretty injured. Which means it will hopefully be slowed down in it's movements-and Shippou and I can take care of it if that's the case."

She could tell that he was just going to try his best to talk his way out of this, and decided it would be prudent to make her leave before he could think of any more excuses. As she turned to go, she looked back at him over her shoulder. "Take care of yourself, okay?" she said, with a not-often-heard hint of tenderness in her voice.

Miroku smiled warmly at her in a feeble attempt to assure her that he would be perfectly fine. He became aware of the rather unusual sensation of The Man behind him, stroking his shoulder with a single finger. He stepped to the side to avoid The Man's touch. He wasn't entirely comfortable being left alone with him and such strange behaviour.

Well, that and he wasn't too happy being left behind to spend the day in bed while everyone else occupied themselves with important matters. And he didn't like the implication that he was now less useful than Shippou, a child.

Yes, he did feel rather tired, feverish and unpleasant but he wasn't so weak as to let that slow him down, was he? Well…Sango sure seemed to think that he was that weak, and that idea bothered him more than anything else.

He brought his sleeve to his face again.

"Hehh…hehhNKKGHT! HehhKTCHH!"

The Man moved from behind Miroku to stand directly in front of him and lightly touched him on the skin where his black robe opened at the neck.

"You're normally very strong, aren't you, Monk?"

"I…I…I'm strong enough," Miroku stammered grumpily, pulling away from The Man's touch.

"You're normally very strong. But you don't feel very strong right now, do you?"

"Don't listen to what anyone else told you. I'm fine, really," he said sternly although the congestion in his voice added an air of absurdity to the statement.

"You don't feel very strong right now, and you want to rest, don't you?" The Man continued, seemingly determined to continue with his speech regardless of what the other side of the conversation happened to bring.

Miroku gave up trying to explain anything to this person who just possibly wasn't in possession of his full faculties, and made his way over to the bed. He toyed with the idea of leaving his staff propped up in the corner, then decided he'd feel much safer if he lied it on the floor next to the bed. He crouched down by the mat on the floor and pulled back the blanket. He had decided that he would spend some time in the bed. Not a long enough time to imply that he was weak enough to need the rest, but long enough to satisfy Sango and get her to stop nagging him.

"Wouldn't you be more comfortable if you undressed, Monk?"

Miroku shot The Man a suspicious glance. "No, I'm warmer this way," he answered, completely truthfully.

"Ah yes…" agreed The Man, nodding and looking at Miroku intently. "That is to be expected, with your fever. From the look of your face, I'd say your fever is quite high indeed. Quite high indeed. I'm sure it's making you feel very tired right now…"

The Man left the room, repeating the phrases "Very tired" and "Quite high indeed" as he left. Miroku wasn't sorry to see him leave, he was weary of being scrutinised by someone who obviously fancied himself a connoisseur of illnesses.

Miroku crawled into the bed, pulling the well-worn blanket up to his chin. He had to reluctantly admit that it felt good to lie down and it certainly was much warmer underneath the blanket. One benefit of his cold, that he would forever remain blissfully unaware of, was that the stuffiness in his nose prevented him from smelling the musty, mouldy, aged smell of the blankets. It was a smell that he certainly would have found disagreeable if he'd been able to detect it, but since he could not, he simply snuggled into the blanket's welcoming embrace as if it were the newest, freshest blanket in the world.

"Hehh….hehh'KSHH!" he sneezed, muffled into the blanket, then sniffled. Perhaps having a quick rest wasn't so bad. Now that he had the benefit of being able to admit it to himself, he really didn't feel all that well. He was tired, his throat burned, he felt at once burningly feverish and shiveringly chilled, and his nose felt unpleasantly blocked and ticklish. A rest was actually beginning to sound like a fantastic idea right about now.

He sniffled again, allowing himself to melt into the comfort of the warm bedding. He would just close his eyes for a moment…he didn't need to of course…he wasn't so weak as to be felled by a simple cold after all…he would just close his eyes for a moment…that's all…just a moment…

***************************************************

:whistle: To be continued...no, that's not the end at all!

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:whistle::notworthy::cryhappy: More please!!

I wanna know what's up with that guy who owns the house!

And don't worry about too much plot. I am working on a story that takes FOREVER to get to the sneezy part!!

But please continue soon!

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And The Man is creepy haha :twisted:

I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt that way. *Shudders* Okay, I'm fine now.

THis was so sweet. Sango trying not to let Miroku know she cares about him...I like that for some reason.

And don't worry about the lack of sneezing; the story itself is enough to keep me reading.

B

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm so happy that everyone is being so nice about this! Now, this part is very low on sneezing and now we get into the "weird" part of the story that I have mentioned. The reward for those who stick with it is, in the very last chapter there is some fluff and (hopefully) humour.

******************************************************************

Chapter 4-Sneezing, The Most Powerful Weapon

Miroku wasn't sure how much time had passed before he was woken up by the urgent and un-ignorable need to sniff. He cursed the fact that he had not had the foresight to ask anyone if he could borrow a handkerchief while he had the chance.

He sniffed again, although it only provided a temporary and incomplete solution to the issue. This was going to become quite a problem, he could tell, if he didn't do something about it.

The thought crossed his mind that, in the absence of a handkerchief, the edge of the blanket would make a suitable substitute. He immediately dismissed that idea as…well, unpleasant and horrifically impolite to his host.

But…it's not like anyone's looking, he reasoned. Nobody would ever know.

He opened his sleep heavy violet eyes ever so slightly just to confirm that was the case and that nobody was in fact looking. Then, he closed them again, convinced by the sight that he'd just seen that he must still be sleeping and having a rather bizarre dream. Then, he opened them slightly once more. The odd sight was still there.

The Man knelt on the floor beside the mat, staring intently at Miroku's reclining figure with a look of complete concentration. He seemed to be completely absorbed in what he was doing, which was what had struck Miroku as so unusual in the first place. Gingerly, The Man stretched out his slender fingered white hand, holding it over Miroku's parted lips (for he had long since realised that trying to breathe through his nose was a futility). Every time Miroku exhaled, The Man flinched slightly as if suddenly burnt, sometimes even withdrawing his hand with an expression of abrupt pain.

Miroku watched this sight with a mixture of curiosity and confusion before opening his eyes fully and fixing The Man with what he hoped was his sternest glare. Either his stern glare wasn't as imposing as he'd hoped, or The Man was ever so slightly insane for, rather than the expected response which would have been to hastily apologise for encroaching on Miroku's personal space while he slept, The Man instead smiled an eerie toothy smile and said:

"You are very unwell, Monk. Your breath is so tainted with illness that I can barely get near it."

Miroku frowned. "That's perfectly fine, I wouldn't expect you to need to get near it."

The Man put a hand on Miroku's chest, a firm and oppressive hand which left Miroku feeling drained of the ability to move, although he thought that could just be the tiredness form his cold catching up with him. Still, he found himself unable to stop the man from climbing right on top of him, straddling his torso with his bony legs.

And, he felt unable to raise his arm, which wasn't good because he felt an insistent heavy tickle rapidly growing in his nose.

"You see," said The Man, determined to tell his story whether anyone was listening or not, which seemed to be a personality quirk of his. "I can tell that you have a very strong essence, very impressive in fact."

"So?" grumbled Miroku, trying to squirm away from the pressure of The Man's body.

"Feeding on the essence of strong young men keeps me alive. And your essence will keep me going for a very long time indeed, I do suspect. Of course, strong young men like yourself don't often want to give up their lives to feed me, and it can be very difficult to take it by force as you can imagine. Unless, like you dear Monk, they are weakened by illness and cannot fight back as well as they normally could." The Man explained softly, juxtaposing the seriousness of his words with the disconcerting gesture of lovingly stroking Miroku's soft dark hair.

As for Miroku, any concerns over his impending doom was overshadowed by the thought that the tickle in his nose had grown into a relentless burning that could only have one outcome, and he very much needed the use of his hands right now. He struggled again in a last ditch attempt to free one of his arms.

"Don't worry," cooed The Man. "It's not going to hurt. It will just feel like falling asleep."

The Man leaned in closed to Miroku's face, in a gesture that seemed to carry no more menace than simply leaning in for a kiss, despite The Man's assertion that he was about to take his life. Miroku, fearing that it would be rude to sneeze right in his face, even if he WAS trying to kill him, turned his head sharply to the side just in time to hastily spit out a harsh "Hehh'ETCCH!" that, despite his best efforts, landed messily on The Man's arm

The man let out a injured and angry hiss, much like a wounded beast, and retreated from his perch atop Miroku's chest and crouched angrily in the shadows, glaring at Miroku with blackened eyes that seemed to have lost their human qualities. He crept towards Miroku again, cautiously, only to rapidly retreat as Miroku unleashed another uncovered "Hahh'KTCHH"

Now that the weight of The Man was no longer on his chest weighing him down, Miroku found that he had regained control of his body. His first impulse was to use his newly freed hand to wipe his now-running nose with his long sleeve, immediately followed by the equally important impulse to grab his staff (thanking every deity he could think of that he'd had the foresight to keep it next to the bed) and leap to his feet.

The Man's mouth twisted into an eerie grin. "You won't be able to get away, Monk. No matter how hard you try. You don't have the energy to run away from me for very long."

Miroku pointed his staff at The Man. "Oh, shut up!" he spat furiously. "I'm getting awfully tired of the sound of your voice."

He scanned the room, the only way in or out was the doorway behind him. His misgivings about the room having no windows was apparently VERY well founded. He backed towards the door, still holding the staff outward in an attempt to keep The Man at bay, an attempt that didn't seem to be working as he steadily crept towards Miroku like a cat stalking a hapless broken winged sparrow.

Miroku attempted to deter his approach by scowling more threateningly and waving his staff for emphasis. Despite the fact that the jingling of his staff made for a very impressive noise, it didn't make The Man stop in his tracks one bit.

Still edging his way towards the door, Miroku sniffled. He wished that there was a way to clear both his nose and his mind at the same time, he really needed to think of a plan to deal with this situation and the constant burning and tickling in his nose was really distracting him. He drew his sleeve under his nose once more, cursing his lack of a handkerchief one more time. He was finding that it was near impossible to fight and deal with a runny nose at the same time and for some inexplicable reason, the runny nose was winning the battle for his attention.

"It would be better to give up," said The Man. "You're too tired to run away."

Whatever witty retort Miroku was planning to reply with was destined to be lost to the ages, replaced instead by a passionate "Hgnngh…Het'TCHH!" that threw his entire body forward and forced him to lower his staff in order to use it to prop himself up with it.

When Miroku opened his eyes after the sneeze, he could see that The Man had again retreated. It now seemed to make sense, The Man's earlier remark about not being able to get near his "tainted" breath…he was repelled by illness. Miroku smiled wryly. That would be perfect. That would be a weapon he had plenty of right now. Unfortunately, it was not a weapon he could reliably wield since he had no way to sneeze on demand so perhaps it would be best to stick to plan B, which was to run away…preferably NOW while the man was still in retreat mode from the latest sneeze.

To Be Continued, yes the oddity goes on! :P

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Oh oh! "Unfortunately, it was not a weapon he could reliably wield since he had no way to sneeze on demand..." Or is there?! Dun dun dun! *evil cackle* ...Sneezing being his greatest weapon he forever more carried flowers that made him sneeze in his sleeve which sometimes caused crazy hot fits of allergic sneezing!... (Forgive my ramblings...and please continue with your story soon.)

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I KNEW there was something about The Man. *Shudders* Poor Miroku. First he gets sick, then people try to steal his life essence. *Sends him some energy so he can get away*

KK- This is fab.

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This, my monk-o-maniac friend, is beautifully written, I particularly liked this bit:

"Feeding on the essence of strong young men keeps me alive. And your essence will keep me going for a very long time indeed, I do suspect. Of course, strong young men like yourself don't often want to give up their lives to feed me, and it can be very difficult to take it by force as you can imagine. Unless, like you dear Monk, they are weakened by illness and cannot fight back as well as they normally could." The Man explained softly, juxtaposing the seriousness of his words with the disconcerting gesture of lovingly stroking Miroku's soft dark hair.

It's a wonderfully done monologue.

And also this one:

Whatever witty retort Miroku was planning to reply with was destined to be lost to the ages, replaced instead by a passionate "Hgnngh…Het'TCHH!" that threw his entire body forward and forced him to lower his staff in order to use it to prop himself up with it.

Which made me grin.

I also (complete randomness alert), really like the way you've used capitalization for The Man, it makes him seem even more naturally sinister.

Loved reading this and looking forward to more. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh this is exciting. He'll have to sneeze more to get away right? :shy: The Man has no taste at all though, being repelled by Miroku's sneezes!

Fantastic!

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