Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha.

A/N: For YamiPaladinofChaos.

The Blue Flower

Kohaku walked through the fields, making his way home, eyes alight. The years since Naraku's defeat had been good to him. The young taijiya had been like a flower with a cracked stem, damaged, unwhole, teetering on the edge between death and the will to live.

But with Naraku gone, Kohaku was flourishing once again, now under the stern but protective guardianship of Sesshomaru.

It was the young girl Rin who had helped to heal his heart, though. It was her he thought of now as a gentle breeze seemed to push his back, urging him home faster.

As he made his way across the fields, there on the ridge of a green hill were specks of vibrant color: Blue and gold flowers tilting their heads toward the sun. Kohaku wished that Rin were with him them so she could see them. Her nature was soft and gentle, and she appreciated things of beauty. And Kohaku was learning to appreciate things of beauty too...

Arms swooped out, he ran across the hill, gathering flowers in big bunches.

Flitting from blossom to blossom was the occasional honeybee. They were tiny things, flying around the hill, going about their drone-like business of collecting pollen. Every time one buzzed in his ear, Kohaku flinched. The sound reminded him of Naraku's hell wasps.

Kohaku felt his heart skip a beat from adrenaline, and as he reached down to pull out a blue flower, his hand brushed a bee flying beneath it and instantly he was stung.

"Ow!"

Kohaku raised his hand in front of his face. The red welt was already forming painfully. He cursed and picked the blue flower, and headed for home.

-

Kohaku found Rin sitting underneath a tree in the shade, mending a green kimono. She smiled when she saw him.

"For you," he shrugged. He handed her the flowers brusquely, cheeks burning.

Rin's eyes lit up and Kohaku's heart beat faster.

"Oh, Kohaku, they're lovely!"

Rin reached out to take the flowers, and for one instant her hand brushed against his.

Even as his stomach was turning somersaults, he involuntarily flinched as his hand stung.

Rin's beautiful brow furrowed in concern. "Kohaku, what's the matter? Are you hurt?"

Before he could object, she had taken his hand into hers and pulled him down into a sitting position next to her for a closer inspection. Her white palms brushed over his skin and she gasped when she saw the ugly, red welt tearing across his flesh.

"It's nothing," he said, but he was finding it hard to speak. "Just a bee-sting."

"But it looks so violent! It must really hurt."

Rin was looking up at him with shining eyes, her face tantalizingly close . He was suddenly aware of how alone they were, of how intimate it was tucked underneath the tree, its branches swaying over them like protective arms.

Too close. Too alone. For the first time in his life, he wished Master Jaken would burst in squawking admonishments about how they were late. Or perhaps a random youkai would attack--at least then he would know what he was supposed to do.

He might have simply run for it had Rin not been clutching his hand so gently. She was looking at him with so much care...

Suddenly Kohaku felt his hand being guided towards Rin's face. Her lips brushed his skin for a single moment that seemed to last forever.

The world was spinning as suddenly the sun appeared to be shining blindingly bright through the cover of the trees, and it felt incredibly humid.

When the world came to, he was still sitting there under the tree with Rin. She was smiling and holding his hand in her lap, and only after a few moments did he realize she was asking him a question.

"Does it still hurt?"

Kohaku shook his head slightly, and Rin seemed pleased. He held his breath as she lay her head on his shoulder and they watched a pair of birds fly off together and disappear into the far reaches of the sky. He dared not tell her that while the pain in his hand was gone, now his heart was on fire.