Chapter 1: Sisterhood
It was funny how Kagome was the kind of girl that she'd always secretly envied. She was soft– both in body and in the ways of the world. Her hands were smooth, her body blemish-free. She was a woman anyone would see and immediately want to protect.
Everything that Sango, herself was not.
Though her village was a taijiya’s compound, most women still followed traditional roles. Save for a handful, herself included, chose to pursue the occupation of their ancestors. They were the exception, not the rule.
Being a woman and the chief’s daughter at that, Sango felt the unspoken pressure to prove herself, in the ways the men did not face. It was accepted for male slayers to be chosen for their potential but for a female, she had to have already demonstrated it.
Even so, she was proud. Proud of her hard muscles, her calloused palms roughened by the years of training with hiraikotsu. She revelled in the honour of her trade, thrived in the adrenaline of the hunt.
But still, it was a hard path to follow at times.
Growing up, Sango found it hard to find women to confide in, to have the kind of easy friendship she only witnessed from afar. Maybe if she had a sister or if her mother did not die young, it would’ve been easier. The female slayers wore scorn like a second set of armour, denouncing overly womanly things for fear it would diminish the strength they had worked so hard to prove. She secretly envied the groups of young girls laughing, looking at bolts of pretty fabric from travelling merchants, laughing as they ran off arm in arm.
Sango told herself she didn't need those things. She had Kohaku, and her father, and that was enough. And now, she was alone.
“Ooo!” A squeal of delight beside her jolted Sango out of her thoughts.
The water rippled, as pale legs, followed by a slender body slid into the water beside her.
“Ahhh… this feels so good!” Kagome exclaimed, grinning at her with enthusiasm. “Isn’t it lucky we came across this hot spring so soon?”
Sango gave a small smile, and nodded. She’d long suspected that their gruff hanyou companion chose their itineraries with the little miko in mind, specifically for this reason.
Kagome’s brow wrinkled, frowning as she studied the older girl’s expression. “Is something wrong, Sango-chan? If it’s Miroku-sama being an ass, I’ll teach him a lesson for you!”
Sango smiled again, this time it made it to her eyes.
“No.” She shook her head a little. “I was just thinking.”
They lapsed into a relaxed banter, something that Sango had not previously been privy to before meeting her new group of peculiar friends. Kagome had a way of putting people around her at ease, sharing her thoughts about the day and only engaging her in conversation if she sensed Sango was in a talkative mood.
Today, their winding conversation had arrived at the topic of her hair.
“You know, Sango-chan,” Kagome waded closer, fingers curling around a lock of her hair, that had escaped the knot on top of Sango’s head. “You have such healthy hair. I can’t get mine close to yours, even with all the stupid conditioners.”
She was amused by the pout on her friend’s face, even if she didn’t fully understand all her futuristic terms yet.
“You should totally let me braid it sometime!” Kagome decided just as her eyes lit up. “Oh! That reminds me! I got something for you.” She rushed back towards the rocky edge.
“Yeah!” It seemed like the girl had found what she was looking for, after feeling around the basket sitting at the lip of the spring. Unfurling her fingers giddily, she held out an object to her. “Here you go!”
Sitting on her palm was a delicate looking hair comb. It was elaborately carved from wood and on the shaft of it was a painted floral pattern in dark green and magenta.
Sango looked up at the younger girl. “For me, Kagome-chan?”
“Uh-huh.” She nodded happily. “I saw it at the cultural festival when I went home. The woodworking class was selling these. I thought this one fits you perfectly. Don’t you think?”
She was hit suddenly with uncharacteristic shyness and could only manage to smile hesitantly at Kagome.
“Yeah. It’s really pretty, Kagome-chan.”
“Perfect! We’ll try it out after we dry off!” Kagome declared. She waddled off to place it back safely in her basket, muttering about how she was told it was functional and ornamental depending on how one wanted to use it.
Sango stared after her, still a little baffled.
Perhaps in Kagome she’d finally found a female friend– perhaps she’d found a sister.
A/N: This one was fun! I seldom write in Sango’s POV so it was a challenge ;)
Chapter 2: Of races and snowmen
The bus pulled away leaving Souta to stand alone on the curb, staring at the long flights of stone steps that lead up to the temple gates. Giving in to the sudden impulse, the boy sprinted up the stairs, his well-worn loafers crunching the winter’s first snow. His breath quickened, sending puffs and puffs of steam into the cold air. Finally, as he landed on the top step, he whipped around ready to throw a taunt or two at the older girl whom he was sure followed close behind.
The call to his sister died half spoken and dropped in the cold frigid air when Souta noticed the lone track of footsteps that trailed back down to the street. There was no long black hair, or a green skirt or wheezing laughter between breaths.
Racing up the temple steps after the first heavy snow of the season had been a tradition between Souta and Kagome. This year, Souta was so looking forward to finally beating her since he’d grown so much, but as luck would have it, Kagome wasn’t even here. Traditions can be broken, like everything else after all.
Sighing, Souta trudged into the courtyard, the enthusiasm of a few moments ago completely dissipated. Instead of going in the front door, he walked a big loop around the house to the side door like always, before doubling around. The snowdrifts were undisturbed against the sliding doors of the well-house.
Kagome has not been back.
He made his way over to the Goshinboku, kicking at the fresh loose snow idly has he passed. Although he would never admit it, Souta missed her, especially the winter days when they were both younger, before she fell into the well and out of his life for long periods at a time. Scooping up a double fistful of snow, Souta continued to reminisce while his hands worked slowly.
Kagome used to wait for him outside his school and together they would walk home, his mittened hand tucked warmly in hers as they made their way down the busy streets. Sometimes, if he’s lucky, she would stop by the coffee shop around the corner and buy them both a steaming paper cup of hot chocolate. And he would babble on about his day between mouthfuls while she smiled down at him. But that was a long time ago; he didn’t need any babysitting anymore.
After a silent prayer to the tree, Souta got up from the stone bench and walked towards the house. Beside the spot where he sat a moment before, was a miniature snowman made from two fist sized snow balls with twig arms and two pieces of grass for eyes, looking towards the well-house.
That innocent snowfall had turned out to be the start of a dreadful blizzard that lasted most of the week. By the time Friday came along, Souta was too upset to care much about anything that had to do with snow, races included. He tried to tell himself he was just irritated by the snow banks that grew higher everyday, and less because Kagome had been gone for three whole weeks.
Deciding it was useless checking on the well again, Souta was just about to head indoors when he passed the Goshinboku. Turning to look at this favorite bench more closely, he saw that the snow on it was carefully dusted off. Beside his once lonely snowman sat another chubby snow figure, with a twig entangled in his snowman’s arm and a sprig of bright red berries on its head.
Breaking into a strangled laugh, Souta dashed to the house..
A/N: Inspired by thoughts of my younger brother and growing up.
This was written sometime 2006-07, edited and reposted for Inuvember 2020 Day 14 ‘Free Character’.