Title: Looking Ahead
Author: Kristen Sharpe with Sage SK
Date: January 3, 2017
Rating: G
Warnings: None.
Continuity: Any. Set after chapter 292 ("Unique Among Women") or episode 132 ("Miroku's Most Dangerous Confession")
Disclaimer: Inuyasha, the character and the series, belongs to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan Inc., and Sunrise.

            Miroku leaned back against a tree and groaned softly as he felt the tension bleeding out of his tired limbs.  Thank goodness they were finally stopping for the night.  His bandaged arms were burning.

            He frowned, considering that.  Perhaps he should check the wounds to make sure none of them had developed the angry red of an infection.

            First, he glanced around the little camp.  Inuyasha was already spitting some fish he had caught and arranging them around their small fire.  Kagome was unpacking provisions from her bag with Shippou’s help.  And, Sango…  Sango was looking at him worriedly.

            Miroku immediately straightened and smiled back at her.

            Sango bit her lip and moved to his side, sitting by him.

            “Houshi-sama,” she said, “do your wounds hurt?”

            There was still a lingering guilt in her eyes.  It had been a week, and she still couldn’t forgive herself for those terrible, mindless moments under the salamander’s control.

            Miroku, however, could and did.  She was safe, and that was all that mattered.  He would gladly bear worse wounds in exchange for her safety. And, he certainly wasn't going to complain about the unexpected opportunity the escapade had granted him. He hadn't meant to ask her so soon.  He had argued with himself about asking her at all.  But, now that the words had been said, now that she, miracle of miracles, had accepted, he felt somehow lighter.

            If he could just do something about that guilt in Sango’s eyes, everything would be perfect.

            “Why, Sango,” he smiled up at her, “if you enjoy tending to me so, I’m more than happy to be in your care.” He began to slip his osode off one shoulder.  “Your gentle caress is more healing than any salve.”

            Sango’s face flushed, and she jerked to her feet. “I see you’re back to normal,” she snapped. She turned to Kagome. “Kagome-chan, I’m going to go get us some water.”

            “Good idea.” Kagome produced two of the large, transparent containers she had brought from her time. “I’ll go with you. The water’s too cold for a bath, but we can clean up a little while we’re there.” Unsaid was that it would also give them a chance to talk in private.

            Some minutes later, both of the girls, along with Shippou and an inordinate amount of bathing supplies, had headed to the nearby stream.

            Alone with Inuyasha, Miroku slipped his left arm out of its sling and checked the long gash running down it. He grimaced. It had bled through the bandage.

            “Keh!” Inuyasha snorted, watching him over the fire. “That was a weak one for you. I’m surprised Sango bought it.”

            “Yes, well, I didn’t wish to push the lovely Sango’s temper too far,” said Miroku. Gingerly, he began to unwind the soiled bandage.

            Inuyasha grunted in agreement and wordlessly passed the young monk Kagome’s box of medical supplies.

            A pleasant silence settled over the little camp while Miroku inspected his wounds. As he applied one of Kagome’s salves, Inuyasha busied himself checking the fish.

            In a rare moment, it was Inuyasha who finally broke the silence with a snort. “Not push her temper…” he muttered. “You’re crazy. Asking Sango to bear twenty children.”

            Miroku brightened immediately. “She did agree to twenty, didn’t she?” He took on a thoughtful look. “I wonder what they’ll look like. Of course, I hope all of my daughters take after their beautiful mother.”

            “Assuming she doesn’t kill you during childbirth,” said Inuyasha.

            “I’ll just place myself safely out of harm’s way,” Miroku returned airily.

            Inuyasha gave him a look that spoke volumes about his confidence in Miroku's ability to evade an enraged youkai slayer. Even if she was in the middle of giving birth.

            Miroku ignored it, lost in his own daydreams. Then, a sly smile stole across his face as he watched Inuyasha poke at one of the fish impatiently.

            “So, who do you suppose your children will take after? You or Kagome-sama?” he asked.

            Inuyasha’s pole-axed expression was priceless.

            Holding back a smirk, Miroku continued. “Personally, I would hope they favor their mother.”

            “Wha—WHAT?” Inuyasha yelped, finally finding words.

            Deliberately misinterpreting the hanyou’s reaction, Miroku pressed on. “Children with a scowl like yours? I should hope not.”

            Inuyasha’s face was red. “Wha— Me and Kagome—! And, what about my kids scowling?”

            “Nothing, nothing.” Miroku flapped a hand. “Although,” he put the hand to his chin, “with yours and Kagome’s tempers combined…”

            The color in Inuyasha’s face deepened from embarrassment to fury.

            Miroku took that as proof of his point. “You see?”

            “See what?” Inuyasha snarled. Though, if he was honest with himself, his mind was indeed parading a plethora of young Kagome lookalikes and small dog-eared boys across his mind’s eye.

            Oblivious to the hanyou’s hostile tone, Miroku continued. “What would you name the first child? I’ve always preferred Hiroshi myself.”

            “I wouldn’t name it anything because I’m not having any children!” Inuyasha snapped.

            “Well, assume that you did,” Miroku pressed, undeterred. “What would you name it?”

            “I don't know!” Inuyasha rose to his feet. “I’m not having any kids!  Like that would ever—!” With an inarticulate snarl, he stalked to the edge of the clearing and looked in the direction the girls had gone.

            The girls. Kagome. He didn’t dare imagine the future like Miroku did. The last time he had dreamed of a future, his hopes had ended with an arrow through his heart. But, sometimes - and more often lately - daydreams snuck up on him.

            Miroku watched the hanyou’s back with a sigh. Inuyasha had to make even the simplest conversations difficult. Assuming the conversation was at an end, he began to wind a fresh bandage around his arm.


            Miroku blinked at Inuyasha’s sudden comment. “Kenichi?”

            Inuyasha turned to face him again. “For one of my kids.” He crossed his arms defensively as he moved to plop down by the fire.

            “I see,” said Miroku. Grinning to himself, he tied off the bandage and readjusted his clothing.

            “Yeah. Kenichi. If something like that ever happened.”

            Miroku smiled as he returned Kagome’s medical supplies to their proper place. “So, how many do you plan on having?”

Author's Note: Credit for a good chunk of the dialogue here goes to Sage SK as this began with us joking around and passing lines back and forth.