The Blanket...

The door of the mountain hut slammed open with a vengeance and a pair of sopping figures made their way inside. Through the open doorway a rainstorm could be seen raging; a real monsoon of a storm, water pounding down and flattening small plants, causing mud and last year's pine needles to leap up from the ground in small spurts.

"See. I told you there was no one here. We didn't have to stand out there knocking." Inuyasha's red-clad arm dripped as he pointed back outside at the same instant that a sluice of water came off of the roof to drown the ground outside.

Kagome wiped at her filthy legs and forbore comment. Instead, she stepped forward through the gloom of the hut to seat herself on the raised wooden floor and started working her blackened socks and sopping loafers off. The socks were ruined and had holes both at the heels and toes. The loafers didn't look to be in too good shape either and, from the feel of it, her loose hair had managed to get tangled in the straps of her pack.

Inuyasha didn't step away from the open doorway but stood and surveyed the interior of the hut speculatively. The last time he had been that way a solitary mountain hermit had been in residence tending a small shrine nearby. The place had a disused air although the hermit's few effects seemed to be still in place. Kagome was quietly shivering as she slowly removed her backpack and there was no wood in sight next to the small cooking pit set into the floor. "Why don't you change out of your wet stuff? I'll be back in a little bit," he said. With that, he was out the door leaving the chilled girl to pull a sour expression at his retreating back.

It wasn't like the whole thing wasn't her fault in the first place. Kagome had leapt at the chance to travel with Inuyasha alone to retrieve healing herbs from the side of this particular mountain. Kaede had been had been sending a few selected boys from the village out to gather them for years but this time, no, Kagome had whipped out a botany book and pointed out the herbs from a photo. Of course they could identify them from such a fine representation. Yielding, half-dubious, half-amused, Kaede had sent the young couple off with a warning about uncertain weather.

Inuyasha wondered just how much Kaede knew about the weather as he slogged through the rain to the lean-to at the side of the hut that shielded the hermit's wood supply. Perhaps there was some left. His foot encountered a twig that snapped with a un-wood-like but very familiar feel and he looked down to see the pale gleam of bone beneath his foot. Before he stepped underneath the overhang he pretty well knew; the old hermit had died as he had lived, alone. It had happened sometime during the summer to judge from the scattered remains. Only the dome of the skull showed how the hermit had simply fallen flat on his face, death must have come suddenly.

It seemed fitting to him somehow and he stepped across the remains to load his arms with wood for the fire to warm Kagome. He had a vague plan in mind to keep Kagome away from the woodshed and an even vaguer one to return to the mountain soon with Miroku in tow to lay the scattered bones to rest eventually.

Although, to be honest, he was not sure that he saw the point of doing that. The hermit had been quiet and happy in his solitary existence and might well prefer to just lay there and feed the soil and the small creatures of the forest. Before he stepped back out into the rain, however, he paused and looked back. Alone... why did that idea strike him as sad? He had Kagome, didn't he? Well, sure he did, for now...with a faint huff he grabbed a few more pieces of wood and headed back to the hut through the rain. A faint glow told him Kagome had found a working lamp and lit it. "Good girl", he said to himself.

Back in the hut, Kagome was in a stew, she had thought that Inuyasha had been warming up after weeks of conflicted emotions during Kikyou's un-life and final death. He certainly hadn't objected to taking her up on the herb-gathering expedition alone. That willingness could well have been caused by the generally antagonistic behavior of the group lately but hope refused to be quenched.

She could be alone with him and seem more attractive couldn't she? If he responded but nothing really came of it at least she could have something to remember him by. A bit of his attention to her alone to treasure, perhaps. Maybe more.

She promptly set her plan in motion. With a quick flip she grabbed her camp blanket out, the low rack in the corner could do for hanging her clothes on and she swept the stiff old garments already on it off onto the floor. She thought if she were found fetchingly wrapped in nothing but a blanket and spreading her clothes out to dry, Inuyasha would have no reason to object. He had suggested she take her clothes off himself. Nothing more reasonable, really. Pretty girl, naked and yet concealed, hanging up wet clothes was situation bound to interest a boy who was willing to be interested.

A sound outside warned her he was likely to be returning at any moment and in her hurry, she promptly found herself caught in her own trap. She tried to get her blouse and bra off all at once so she could wrap her self in the waiting blanket. The wet fabric slid up over her face and stuck, covering her from her shoulders to her elbows. Nothing would budge it, up or down.

Inuyasha opened the door and literally choked. The last thing he had expected was to be confronted with a naked image of Kagome fitfully lit by the shielded flame of a small oil lamp. Her slender torso was stretched up by the struggle she was having with her shirt and her face concealed by cloth as her pert breasts bounced with what seemed to be a power of their own.

The sight nearly bowled him over straight onto his back. There was Kagome, never mind that he couldn't see her face or that she was stuck in the wet folds of her shirt. Never mind that she was surely going to kill him. He cast the wood aside and kicked the door to behind him without realizing it. He was drawn to her like a magnet and found himself kneeling on the floor next to her dazedly reaching to help her out of that damned shirt.

She emerged, mortified and gasping, "I'm sorry, I just thought I'd better get changed and the fabric was so wet it got..." Inuyasha's hands were on her waist, pulling her firmly toward him, his face unsmiling and intent. Her tangle of wet shirt and bra still trapped her wrists as he leaned forward and found her lips to kiss her.

It wasn't what she had expected, she had thought her first kiss would be hesitant or soft. It was neither; it was fierce and Inuyasha's mouth burned against hers. He slid an arm up her naked back to cradle her head in his clawed hand as his mouth moved against hers, forcing hers open in what was an outright assault. It hurt a bit, but she found she wanted it to. She could not bear it to end and followed him when he lifted his head.

He gave a breath of a laugh at her movement and followed it with a kiss that promptly went in other directions. Treasuring her abused lower lip as if it were a sweet he trailed that away in kisses down her neck only to pause in a hard-breathing silence as he was confronted again by the sight of her naked breasts. He kept his eyes fastened upon them as he suddenly released her to tear at his clothing, sending suikan and kosode flying off into the dark corners of the rafters without regard to where they landed.

Kagome nervously freed herself from the cloth imprisoning her wrists and shivered in the chill air. Seeing that, Inuyasha stopped and quickly turned from her, grabbing at the scattered pieces of wood on the floor. He brushed his chest and shoulder past her as he haphazardly set the wood in the fire pit and picked up the oil lamp. The light showed his face in the gloom but his eyes were concealed in their sable lashes and his mouth continued to be unsmiling. It seemed his expression was a moody glance away to other, more bitter, things.

Kagome withdrew, shame-faced and had reached for the blanket to cover herself when Inuyasha's free hand snaked out and caught at hers.

"Kagome," his voice was low and breathless. "Don't." A quick flash of cat-slit golden eyes to her own and then away again, answers concealed behind a mask like that of a sullen angel.

She sat transfixed, one wrist caught be his hand. The light of the oil lamp flared as he tipped the bowl over the damp wood and lit the wood on fire with a powerful puff between pursed lips. The glow lit his bare skin, outlining chiseled planes, his hair shining like the finest uncolored silk. The blanket was dropped, forgotten, as he drew her over closer to him by that captive wrist while the fire flamed up.

"Kagome," he repeated and seemed to loose his train of thought for a moment just looking at her. With a palpable shake, he tried again, "I want you to know, here and now, that whatever happens, I will always stand by you."

She wanted to object a bit. To say, "What does that mean?" She thought she should, at any rate. But really she knew what he meant and it was with no misgivings that she leant forward to wantonly swing her arms about his neck and draw his face down to hers. "OK" was all she had time to say before he bore down on her with his weight onto the dropped blanket.

He could not believe he was awake. After all the endless nights of wanting and endless days of waiting he could not be sure that she was real. He held her, running his hands over her skin, testing its shape over muscle and bone and that what he held in his arms was what he saw with his eyes. She moved, arching under him even as she pushed back at him a bit, causing him to growl. Her heartbeat was singing in his ears, defeating the pounding of the rain on the roof and making him forget all caution.

Kagome was bewildered but eager. Inuyasha was touching her and not pulling away as she ran her hands over his shoulders and pulled him down in a shimmering curtain of hair that seemed to echo the rainfall outside; their own fine and private place in which to kiss.

He tore his mouth away from hers to search pan-tingly down her body before finding a breast at which to suckle, forming it in his palm to jut up into his fanged jaws before nuzzling and kissing the underside.

Kagome gasped and curled against him as his hands worked behind her back setting off nerves she hadn't even known she had. Within moments her skirt and panties were heading southward, the zipper ruined as Inuyasha gently but determinedly worked them off of her slim hips. She grabbed after them but by that time Inuyasha was having none of it and they were gone in a rending of fabric to be forgotten on the floor underneath them.

Inuyasha sat up suddenly shoving his hakama off and worked his knees in between hers, running his hands down her body, touching her as if he owned her. He made a sound, a short, impatient growl as he lifted her hips between strong hands and pressed into her softness. Suddenly he dropped forward, covering her totally and supporting himself on his elbows as he dove into her.

Kagome flinched then overcome by a momentary stretch and snap as he burned into her, taking her over from the inside. She looked up to find him staring down at her, his eyes molten in the moonlight that had made its way in through the window from the lessening clouds of the withdrawing rainstorm. She lifted her hips and shivered as he pressed against her.

With a hiss, he gripped her shoulders and pulled away only to seat himself more firmly again, filling her with short, deep, thrusts. Kagome whimpered and dropped her head back, giving herself up to the mixture of pleasure and pain that Inuyasha was giving her.

He buried his face in her hair and muttered a mixture imprecations and words of love into the side of her neck, eagerly tasting her sweat. She couldn't understand him, she couldn't see anything but his shoulder, breathe nothing but his wild scent as he rode her, shocking her body to its core.

She gave and sudden groan and caught at his buttocks, catching him to herself as her feet found purchase on the floor. Her body arched and thrust against his as she cried out and trembled against him.

She dropped back into his arms sobbing for breath as he rubbed his face against her breasts with a sudden soft laugh. His hands rubbed over her shoulders and back and his arms cuddled her to his warmth as he held her. She felt limp and oddly drowsy as she looked up into her lover's smiling face.

He was speaking softly, urgently, "Keisai, keisai, are you too tired to go on? I want you so very badly." His hands drew through her hair before finding her breasts and sending an answering thrill of pleasure through her.

"Keisai," she tried the word and found it good. "Am I your castle destroyer, Inuyasha? Your devastating courtesan? Your love?"

"You need to ask?" he questioned, and kissed her.