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Small Moments

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Sango felt dizzy... weak. She lingered for a long time between consciousness and sleep, her heart pounding slowly, her lungs never seeming to find enough air. She burned from her nose to her chest. Water... she thought, dimly. She had taken in water when... she couldn't quite remember.

She knew she needed to find the others even as she was unsure of just who the others were; there was something urgent to be done, and every moment she spent here was a moment wasted.

She needed air. If she didn't breathe soon, she would suffocate. Was she still under the water? She hoped not. Finally, her lungs worked, and she drew a breath deep enough to stave off the dizziness and confusion.

She forced her eyes open because it was all she could manage, and found herself face to face with the monk. No, face to face was the wrong term; for all the look of shock on his face at her sudden awakening, he was so close to her that he might have kissed her with only the slightest tilt of his head.

In that moment, Sango forgot everything else. She had never let anyone this close to her before, let alone a man that she had perhaps admired from afar but barely knew. And certainly not in the middle of a dangerous battle. Her heart was suddenly beating faster and faster, the sluggishness and aching in her body all but forgotten. One thought echoed in her head:

Kagome was right!!

Her face contorted with anger and her hand moved on its own, by instinct and lifelong training, and slapped him forcefully away.

He grunted, protesting uselessly that, "It's not what you think!"

On the contrary, she knew exactly what he had been up to, or could at least wager a guess. Before he could react, she scrambled out of reach, settling a short distance away with an angry huff. Her hand stung from the impact with his face, and an echoing pain blossomed in her heart. She had trusted him, in spite of the numerous warnings she had been given. And she had been wrong.

Somehow the breach of trust, trust she had given so easily, hurt more than her wounded pride. After a few long moments of awkward silence, she risked a quick glance in the monk's direction. Miroku looked for all the world as if he truly believed some grave mistake had occurred; Sango fixed him with an unsympathetic glare. He had tried to take advantage at the first opportunity that presented itself, just as Kagome had warned he might.

He might win over other girls so easily, girls with fickle hearts and little to lose... but not her. She knew what he was up to now, and she was not going to let him take advantage of her. There was too much at stake. Her quest was too important. She couldn't risk letting someone like him get in her way.

She had to put up with him - for now - because she needed his help, just as she needed Inuyasha and Kagome... but she wouldn't make the same mistake again.