A/N: Ok, I know it's been a while since I've posted anything new. I had a theatre intensive, which left me waaay too tired to write when I got home at night. Then I got sick. I'm almost better, but of course, life's starting to get busy again now. Still, I finally finished this, which I've been working on for a while. No, it is not a songfic, I just used lyrics from "In His Eyes" from Jekyll and Hyde at the beginning because…they worked. A note: this takes place after Kikyou's final death, which does occur later in the manga. Obviously, Naraku is still alive, but some time has passed since the end of the anime. Anyway, I'll shut up now. Enjoy the fic!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Inuyasha, it belongs to Rumiko Takahashi. I do not own the song "In His Eyes," it was written by Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn. Again, this is not a songfic. The lyrics are at the beginning of the fic because they seemed appropriate.
In His Eyes
"In his eyes, I can see
where my heart longs to be.
In his eyes I see a gentle glow;
and that's where I'll be safe
Safe in his arms,
close to his heart;
but I don't know quite where to start.
By looking in his eyes,
will I see beyond tomorrow?
By looking in his eyes,
will I see beyond the sorrow
that I feel?
Will his eyes reveal to me
promises or lies?
But he can't conceal from me the love
in his eyes."
The hut is dark. The flickering light from outside only makes the shadows seems darker. It's cold, too…I wrap my arms around myself, wishing I had a sweater. I watch, almost hypnotized, as light dances over the expanse of silver before me. It seems to glow in the moonlight. I can't tear my eyes away.
"Kagome?" I look up. Shippou is standing in the doorway, strangely illuminated by the meager light behind him. His expressive eyes are worried. I force a smile.
"Yes, Shippou-chan?" My hands are balled into fists behind my back. I'm scared, bitter, anxious. But I have to be kind and helpful. That's what I do.
"Are you sure it's okay for us to go?" I can see Miroku and Sango silhouetted behind the kitsune, already on Kirara's back.
"Of course it is." I smile down at the young fox demon. "Don't worry about us, Shippou-chan." He nods, but the worry doesn't leave his eyes. Maybe he understands more than we give him credit for.
"Naraku can't have gone far. Even he couldn't escape us that quickly." Sango's face is in shadow, but I can hear the determination in my friend's voice.
"We will find him," Miroku adds softly. I smile as encouragingly as I can, but my voice shakes as I murmur, "Good luck." Shippou looks like he wants to run and give me one last hug, but seems to change his mind, and jumps on Kirara with a wave. I wave back.
With the rest of my friends gone, my focus drifts back to the silver hair in front of me. The light skips over it, dancing, flitting like many tiny fairies. I have an uncontrollable urge to reach out a finger and touch that hair, to stroke it, to feel its softness under my fingers. But I don't.
It still seems so unfair. I know I shouldn't blame myself, I know, in my mind, that it isn't my fault. But I do blame myself. I wasn't there. I should have been.
I came back to this era maybe an hour ago. I don't really know how it happened. Inuyasha was out by the well, waiting for me. Another thing that's my fault. He sensed Naraku nearby, and the idiot went to fight him by himself. He didn't get Sango and Miroku. He didn't wait for me. But it's not his fault, I remind myself. Of course he went. He had to.
Sango and Miroku went to watch him watch for me, and of course found that he wasn't there. Kirara followed his scent, and found the battlefield. Naraku had fled the battle before he had a chance to be seriously wounded. But, fighting alone, Inuyasha was wounded as well. Sango and Miroku got there just in time to see him collapse.
They explained this to me when I found them. They'd taken over a small hut on the outskirts of the village. Kaede-baa-chan had seen to Inuyasha's wounds, but he had yet to regain consciousness for more than ten minutes at a time. With his demon blood, his wounds will heal fast. But Naraku's miasma is still in him, and it's slowing his recovery. Which leads to me sitting here in this hut, watching the patterns of light on his hair, while Sango and Miroku try to track down Naraku.
It's not that I resent my position. Not at all. I volunteered for it. It's just…now, on top of my worry for the hanyou sleeping across the hut from me, I'm now worried about the rest of my friends, too. I know that defeating Naraku is the most important thing. I know that. But I hate being the one who has to wait, and worry, and try not to cry as I huddle in the corner of a darkened hut. I want to do something. I want to go out there and kill Naraku myself, for what he did to my hanyou. But I can't do that. I have to wait.
I return to my habit of watching Inuyasha sleep. Curled up on his side, eyes closed, outer haori spread out on the floor under him, he looks vulnerable. He looks…young. For once I remember that he's only fifteen. Sure he's immature, but he still seems older than the rest of us most of the time. Hardened. He never had a childhood. He couldn't. He never talks about it, but I know. I can see it in those wide golden eyes, still so naïve. I can see it in his traditional protective stance, arms crossed over his chest, facing the world with an uncaring expression. And I can see it right now, as he lies curled up on the floor, arms wrapped around the sheathed Tetsusaiga, slow breathing making his bangs flutter to and fro. The tears start again as I watch how he holds his sword in his sleep. His father's sword. His father that he pretends not to care about. But I know he cares. A corner of his red haori is turned up to cover his bare feet. I did that. The haori is all that's left of his mother. He loved her; I know he did. Kikyou wasn't the first woman he ever loved. His mother was.
Cursing my emotions, I impatiently brush the tear from my cheek. I want to hold him. I want to stroke that beautiful silver hair, and whisper to him that everything's okay. But I can't do that. He pretends that everything is okay. It isn't.
I know that I love him. I'll never deny it. I've loved the cocky, rude, angry hanyou practically since I first met him. Because I can see him. I can see him the way no one else can. He is how he is for a reason. He's been alone all his life. Humans mocked and abused him. Demons hunted him. The one person he had, his mother, died when he was very young. He's always been alone. Then, he fell in love. My heart hurts as I think about this. I wish I could say it was hurting for him. But I have to admit that right now, it's hurting for me. The memories are still too fresh.
Even then, when he'd at last found someone, she betrayed him (or, at least, so he believed.) He was pinned to a tree in the middle of a forest for fifty years. It's possible that that was a relief. His heart is broken. I know that it is. And I want, more than anything, to heal it. I can heal his bodily wounds. I can change his bandages every few minutes, if I want to. I can make sure that he's warm, and that he's not running a fever. But I can not heal his heart.
I know that he loves me. I've known it for a while. Since Kikyou's death, he has been trying to heal. And I do what I can. And I know that he loves me, just as I love him. I only wish he could tell me so. It might help to heal his heart.
If I could, I would give him my own heart. My own heart with all its happy memories. I have a family that loves me. I have friends. I have the life that he never had. I wish he had been the one to have the happy life, not me. I would trade him if I could. I just want to see a smile on his face someday. Not a smirk, or one of his sad little smiles that can hardly be called a smile. And not the calm expression that's on his face when he sleeps, either. I want him to smile. You can only smile when you're happy. Unless, of course, you're me.
So sometimes my smile's a little shaky. So sometimes I hide my tears from the world. So sometimes my happiness isn't happiness at all. I have no right to not be happy. He's the one who has that right. I have to be happy for him. For everyone.
A tear trails down my cheek. No one can see it, so it's okay. If Inuyasha was awake, he would smell it. But he's asleep. I wish he would wake up, just for a minute. Just so that I can have the reassurance of his presence. I always feel better when I'm with him. I know that our hearts are somehow linked by our mutual love that we're afraid to express out loud. And so my heart's not so alone.
I don't want him to see me cry, though. It's not fair of me to cry, not when he has so many more reasons to cry than I do. Only he never does.
"Kagome?" It's barely a whisper, but I hear it. He's awake. I'm at his side in a second. I'm not sure how I got there.
"How do you feel?" I ask softly. He blinks up at me, huge golden eyes, like a child's, searching out my features in the dark.
"Keh," he snorts, but he doesn't answer the question. This brings a true smile to my face, albeit a weak one. Not even Inuyasha can laugh off injuries like these, but he can give it a try. I shouldn't have expected anything less from my hanyou.
I want to wrap my arms around him and hold him close. I grab onto the hem of my skirt instead. He blinks again, and his eyes go slightly blurry. I know he's trying to hold onto consciousness. I'm surprised when he speaks again.
"Ka…gome…?" the word comes out breathy and separated.
"Yes?" I answer quickly. I can't tear my gaze away from his beautiful eyes.
"What?" My heart beats faster. Stay beside him? Of course. Or does he mean…
"Stay…here." He vaguely pats the ground beside him. Right next to him.
"You mean…lie down?" My face is flushed red. If he weren't half-delirious, I wouldn't have the nerve to even ask him that. But he is blinking up at me, and gesturing for me to lie down beside him.
"Yeah," he mutters hoarsely. His face is flushed, but I don't know whether that has to do with fever or not. I place a hand on his head. It's cool, but his face flushes even redder. I know my face is of a shade to match it as I slide down onto the ground beside him. I can feel the warmth from his body. It feels nice.
There is a silence. I don't know what to say to him. I don't know if he's even still conscious. I probably shouldn't have done this. Now the temptation to hold him is greater. My fingers are just a breath away from those soft, shiny strands of hair. But I still can't touch.
I clasp my hands together so that I resist the temptation to hold him. He looks so vulnerable. He looks like he needs something. Like he needs me. And I know that he does need me, just as I need him. There's something in the way he lies there, curled up on the hut's floor, clutching his sword as though trying to absorb a nonexistent warmth from it, that tells me this. I feel an uncontrollable desire to wrench the sword away from him, to replace it with my own body. I can give him warmth. I can give him the warmth that his weapon cannot offer. I can give him the warmth that he needs.
The light continues to play softly across his mass of hair. It's so pretty. I watch it as though entranced, trying to find the patterns that it creates on the smooth surface of my hanyou's silver tresses. I can't see any, although I wish that I could.
I jump when he says my name. I didn't know he had awoken, as his back is to me. His voice is clearer than it was, although still groggy. The effects of the miasma may be wearing off at last. He seems to have come back to himself, at least.
"Do you feel better?" I ask him softly. He shifts slightly, but doesn't answer. I bite my lip. "Inuyasha?"
At last he turns to face me. His eyes are clear golden orbs again, not the clouded, hazy amber of earlier. "Yeah," he murmurs. I smile.
He seems to realize how close we are at the same time that I do. His face flushes a deep red, and he pulls back, grunting in pain. I start to jump to my feet, but stop when I see his teeth clench with the pain of movement. I drop back down beside him.
"You okay?" Instinctively, I reach out a hand to check his wound. He flushes redder still, and pulls away from my touch. This causes me to blush as well, and for a moment I consider getting up and retreating to my corner of the hut. But that's just a passing thought. At the moment, his injuries concern me much more than his skittishness toward touch. It's not like I'm touching him because I want to, I remind myself defensively. I mean, I do, but that has nothing to do with this. I have to check his wound, make sure it's healing properly. His health is more important than my confusing emotions, anyway.
"Can I check your wound?" I ask him. There is a hint of stubborn pride in my voice. No matter what he may think, I merely need to check his wound. That's all there is to it.
"Keh. It's fine." He turns away from me, trying to hide the look of longing in his eyes. It makes me smile.
"Please, Inuyasha?" I lower my voice to a whisper, half hoping that he won't hear, half thinking I should talk louder to make sure that he does. "I'm worried about you."
His head jerks around, and I receive the full force of his eyes. I wish I could melt into them and stay there forever. I barely register as he nods, an almost-smile playing at the corners of his lips. "If you want to."
"Oh." I shake my head to clear it, averting my gaze to the corner where my first-aid kit is. "Good."
He waits patiently as I get up and walk across the hut. I bend down and open the kit, taking my time selecting fresh bandages. I know he is watching me with those wide eyes of his. I try to clear my head, to focus on the task at hand. Checking his wound. That's all. I try not to think how glad I am that I can finally touch him.
At last I rise, bandages clasped in my left hand, and return to him. He blinks up at me, almost innocently. Almost sweetly. Almost…lovingly. I drop down beside him, letting my bangs cover my eyes so that he doesn't see me blush. So that he doesn't see the love trying to rage out of my eyes. Trying to show him what I myself cannot. I think eyes have minds of their own, completely independent from the people whose faces they inhabit. I know mine do. I'm pretty sure his do as well.
"Turn around," I command him gently. He obeys in silence, sliding his inner haori off his shoulders so that it falls down and pools around his waist. I take a breath, and at last touch his hair. I cannot help but run my fingers through it once or twice as I drape it over his shoulder. Then I unwrap his bandages.
A deep slash runs across his back, from his right shoulder to his lower back. I know that it went all the way through him. I feel a surge of anger toward Naraku, greater than I have felt before. He will pay for doing this to my Inuyasha. He has caused so much pain, so much suffering. But right now, at this very minute, what matters the most to me is that he has wounded the boy sitting calmly in front of me, clenching his hands so that he will not cry out in pain as I gently rub ointment into the already-healing wound. He is lucky that his body heals quickly—otherwise, his blood loss might have been so great that he would have…no. He would not have died. I will not allow it. I will never allow it.
I get up and walk around him so that I can clean the wound in front as well. He stares at me unblinkingly as I lightly rub ointment into this side of the injury. I concentrate on my work, trying to ignore the fact that I am now running my fingers across his bare chest. I also choose to ignore the flickering hope in the back of my mind that someday I will be able to do this again. Some time when he's not wounded. When it is not necessary.
I do not look up at him until I have carefully rewrapped his wounds with fresh bandages. I rise and step back, watching him closely as he draws his haori back up onto his shoulders.
"It's healing well. Does that feel better?"
He blushes again, averting that deep golden gaze. "Keh. It never hurt in the first place." But as I turn to leave his side, I'm sure I don't imagine that he whispers, "It does feel better, though."
I smile as I return to my spot against the wall. Hopefully he will go back to sleep. Rest will help to cleanse the miasma from his body.
"Where are you going?" his voice is still hardly above a whisper. I'm not sure I heard him right.
"What?" I ask, trying not to pray that I heard correctly.
In the anxiety of his voice, I know I was right. I rise almost too quickly, and return to him.
"I think I should stay here, just in case your wounds get worse. Do you mind?" I slide down into my position of earlier. He turns away from me, but I can see his blush, his nervous smile, in my mind's eye.
I lay my head on the floor of the hut, allowing myself to relax at last. I'm not holding him, but at least I'm near him. I'm doing what I can.
The patterns of light shift and change as time passes. I'm not sure if he's awake, or even conscious. He's resting, at any rate. I close my eyes, trying not to watch his hair anymore. They snap open again when he coughs, and I can see his back tensing up.
He coughs again, and my hand flies to his shoulder.
"Inuyasha? Are you okay?"
He doesn't answer. Instead he coughs again. I sit up, trying to lean over him and see his face, but he hides it from me. I'm not sure if that's purposeful or not.
I know that it is when I reach a hand over his shoulder to grab his wrist. His hand is clapped to his mouth, and he turns his head farther away from me as he coughs yet again.
Normally I wouldn't worry, but I've never heard him cough before. And the way his eyes are clenched shut and he's hiding his face from me worries me even more.
Not sure what to do, I grab his wrist, wrenching it away from his mouth a bit more roughly than I'd intended. He winces and I try to ignore a surge of guilt as I look down at the hand tightly clasped in my own. I gasp.
There is blood on his hand. Thick, deep red blood that drips through his fingers onto my hand, then onto the ground beneath us. I freeze in place, my eyes locked on his hand, which is coated in his own blood. Blood that should still be inside him. This is worse than I thought. Worse than an external injury. I don't know what to do in a situation like this, I'm not a doctor, I know nothing about taking care of people! I can clean and bandage wounds, sure, that's easy, but when it comes down to it, I'm not a healer of any kind. And right now, I have no idea what to do. I can feel panic threatening to overwhelm me, if it hasn't already. The boy I love more than anyone else on earth is coughing up blood, and there's absolutely nothing I can do.
"I-Inuyasha…" When I finally find my voice again, it comes out as a frightened squeak. Inuyasha's hand falls limply into my lap, and he quickly pulls it back.
"It's okay. It's fine. Don't worry about me." His voice is gruff, and when I turn to him, he is avoiding my eyes.
"Why didn't you tell me?" It's the only thing I can really ask him. He hid it from me; he didn't want me to see. Does he not trust me? I thought he trusted me. I thought, for the first time, he had someone he could trust. Maybe I was wrong.
He is silent for a minute. He makes no move to wipe the blood off his hand. "Because I knew you'd act like this," he says finally.
"Well, of course I'm acting like this, you're coughing up blood, that's a big deal, and I don't know what to do!" I wail. Inwardly, I curse myself. I don't want to reveal my weakness to him, I want him to think that I have everything under control. If I don't, who does?
He looks up, seemingly startled. His huge eyes search mine, and I am angry to find that they're filling with stinging, burning tears. I turn from him, afraid to wipe away my tears. I don't want him to see.
He sees them anyway. I know he does.
"Kagome, I'm really okay," he whispers. The bitterness in his voice is gone. I don't mean to, but I turn back to him. His eyes are gentle now, softly calling me to him. I crawl up to him, still on my hands and knees.
"What can I do?" I whisper back. I ignore the tears trailing down my cheeks as I absentmindedly reach for a strand of his hair, winding it gently around my finger. "I don't know what to do for you. I'm scared."
Now he looks genuinely surprised. He reaches for my hand, and I pull it away from his hair, not even realizing I'd taken hold of it in the first place. His fingers close around mine, and I can feel the calluses on his palm from years of wielding swords, and slicing demons apart with those very hands. I find it nearly impossible to believe that the hand that is now holding mine so gently could have viciously torn demons to mere bloody ribbons. His hands, no matter how calloused, are still soft. Gentle. Smooth. I want to take his other hand, too, but it's still covered in blood. I settle for laying my hand across the back of it as he rests it on his knee.
"What can I do?" I ask again. His coughing has already stopped, I don't mean just that. I don't mean just his physical wounds. I want to know what I can do to heal his heart.
As I meet his steady, clear golden gaze, I know that he understands my question perfectly. He smiles. "Stay," is his answer. His gaze wavers as he adds, "If that's what you want to do, I mean. Only if you want to."
I actually laugh at this, softly, and it breaks the unpleasant silence of the hut nicely. "Don't be stupid, Inuyasha. I wouldn't be with you if I didn't want to."
"So you'll stay with me then?" His eyes are pleading me along with his voice. He's not asking me to stay with him tonight while his wounds heal. He's asking me to stay with him…forever.
"I'd never leave you," I reply. "Even if you tried to make me. Especially after tonight."
"It's not your fault I attacked Naraku alone, Kagome. I did it because I had to."
"And...I am okay," he adds. I raise my eyebrows questioningly. "I'm a hanyou, remember? I can't be killed that easily. And never by scum like Naraku."
I can feel hope again, for the first time that night. It feels refreshing. I had almost forgotten, just in this one everlasting night, what it was like to be happy.
"You were coughing up blood, though." I can't help but bring this up. At the moment, he's sitting up and seems to be doing quite well. Still, I can't ignore that fact…
"It's not just blood, Kagome. Look." He holds up his hand, and I notice for the first time that the thickness of the blood is due to a faint purple substance intermingled with it.
"Miasma…?" I blink at it. It definitely resembles Naraku's poisonous miasma. I look up at my hanyou, and he nods.
"I wasn't healing as fast as I should 'cause that bastard's miasma was still in me. It's gone now."
"So you weren't lying to me?" When he looks puzzled, I add, "You really are okay?"
He laughs softly. "You should trust me better than that, Kagome. 'Course I'm okay."
I'm blinking back tears again. "But…you always say that…"
"Keh. And I mean it."
I feel a surge of joy. I want to grab onto him and hold him. I want to bury my head in his chest and feel his warmth. Instead, I get suddenly to my feet. I try to hide my smile when a look of almost puppy-like longing comes to his eyes. He doesn't want me to leave any more than I want to myself.
"Just a minute," I say.
I can feel his eyes on me as I go over to my bag yet again. I pull out a bottle of water, and rummage around for something to pour it into. I settle on a plastic bowl. I also get a bar of soap that I brought over here for bathing purposes. Then I return to him. He blinks at me questioningly as I uncap the bottle and hand it to him, setting the bowl and the soap on the floor.
"Wash your hand," I order gently. "It's disgusting."
Smirking, he obeys. I watch him carefully, making sure that he scrubs his hand until all the blood and miasma is washed from it. When I motion to take the bowl outside to dump it out, he grabs my arm.
"Stop taking care of me, Kagome. I'm fine."
"But you're still injured. I don't mind taking care of you."
"It makes me feel guilty."
I laugh at this remark, and pick up the bowl. "Get used to it," I say as I dump the bowl outside, then crunch it up and return it to my bag. "There are people who care about you now."
Silence falls. Suddenly slightly nervous, I return to him again. His eyes are full of gentle innocence as he looks up at me. The only place you can see his youth is in those eyes. He is a hardened warrior, and he wants to hide his human side from the world. The side of him that's caring, gentle, loving…the side of him that needs people. He wants to keep it away from the world. His eyes have other ideas.
He holds his arms out to me like a child asking to be picked up. I know what he is asking for, though. He is asking for love. I sink gratefully to the ground and into his arms. His warmth wraps around me like a blanket, and I wrap my arms around him, trying to share that warmth. I can feel his breath stirring my hair, and it weaves to and fro in the night air.
His hold on me tightens, as though he is afraid to let go. As though he is afraid that I might disappear. And suddenly I realize that he knows. He knows me. He knows that I make myself strong for everyone else, because I am the one with the memories to back up that strength. He knows that I cry sometimes, and he knows that I hide it from the world. He knows that I'm not happy, or strong, or even kind all the time. H can see my human side the way no one else can…just as I can see his. He knows that I am vulnerable too. And I know that we are vulnerable together. But because we know each other, we can protect each other. From everything. I don't question how he knows. All he has to do is look in my eyes.
"Will you really stay with me, Kagome?" he asks suddenly, his voice a bit muffled. His hold on me does not loosen. I smile, and take the opportunity to run my fingers all through his long, soft strands of hair.
"You should trust me more, Inuyasha," I say simply, echoing his words of earlier. I can feel him smiling, I don't need to see it to know. And then a somewhat reckless urge seizes me. I am finally alone with him. I love him. He loves me. I slide my arms up to his shoulders and grip them firmly. My palms are sweating a bit, but I ignore them. I tilt my face up to his. When he looks down at me in surprise, I meet his eyes again. They are as beautiful and golden and penetrating as ever. And I know that I couldn't stop if I wanted to.
And as I lean closer, so that I can feel his every breath brush softly across my lips, he realizes what I am doing. And he leans down to meet me halfway.
Our lips meet tenderly at first. His eyes close slowly, but I can still sense them. Even as I close my eyes, I can read his expressions as clearly as ever. I know exactly what he is feeling. We are linked, not just by our lips, but by our hearts. And then I am lost. I forget everything except the soft feel of his lips and their sweet taste and the warmth of his arms around me…
And then I am brought back into reality as I am forced to withdraw from him slightly, as my lungs are ordering that I supply them with air. His eyes open, and there is so much love there it threatens to overwhelm me. The words are unnecessary, all words are unnecessary. I feel as though I can read the hanyou's mind, as though it is perfectly displayed for me somewhere in his golden gaze. But I say the words anyway, because I like how they sound.
"I love you, Inuyasha."
When he answers me, I shiver comfortably in his arms at the sound of his voice.
"I know. I love you, too, Kagome." And then he laughs, very softly. "But you already knew that, didn't you?"
My answer is simple. "Of course."
Mmm…was that my name? Is someone calling me? I struggle slowly toward wakefulness, trying to shake the haze of sleep from myself. It lingers persistently.
"No sign at all of Naraku, he got completely away from us again." The voice is getting closer. My mind slowly grinds back into gear. Sango…? That's right. She, Miroku, Shippou, and Kirara went after Naraku. I feel a wave of disappointment that they didn't find him, although I hardly expected them to. He never exactly waits around for us.
The voice continues, drawing nearer still. "How's Inuyasha doing? Are you—" Sango's voice breaks off. I can hear Miroku questioning her, and his footsteps as he comes to stand beside her. He gasps.
Groggily, I open my eyes. Rays of sun are filtering in though the doorway of the hut. It's probably early morning. I yawn and focus on Sango and Miroku, who are standing just inside the hut. They are staring at me. I blink confusedly, still very tired, and look around the hut. My eyes fall on a form beside me. They refocus. Then I realize…
"Aak! No! It's not…" I jump up, my exhaustion suddenly gone. Inuyasha also seems to have realized our situation, as he is sitting up and looking up at our friends in horror.
"When we asked Kagome to take care of you, we didn't mean…" Miroku trails off, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
"NO!" Inuyasha and I both cry at the same time. I can see Shippou standing behind Sango, trying to see in.
"It's not what you think," I mutter weakly. I can feel my face heating up. When Inuyasha and I eventually fell asleep it was curled around each other, lying comfortably beneath his outer haori, which continued to serve as a makeshift blanket. Somehow, we had forgotten that our friends might return before we awoke. Somehow, in fact, we forgot about our friends altogether. Guiltily, I retreat to a corner of the hut, with the intention of making breakfast. Sango's shocked and Miroku's highly interested gazes fall on Inuyasha instead. He blushes furiously and mumbles something incoherent. I can't help but smile.
With another questioning look in my direction, Sango enters the hut. Miroku follows her, Shippou jumping up onto the monk's shoulder. Kirara trails Miroku inside.
Sango approaches me as I rummage randomly through my bag, avoiding her gaze.
"What happened, Kagome?" she asks. Her voice is curious, not accusing. I look up at her and smile. Glancing pointedly at Miroku, I murmur, "I'll tell you later." She nods.
"Someone'll need to get some firewood," Miroku calls. Inuyasha and I jump up at the same time. He smirks at us as we walk out of the hut, not quite looking at each other.
"How's your wound?" I ask when we're outside. He turns to face me.
"Fine. Practically healed." His eyes dance playfully as he adds, "Told you so."
I gently slap his arm, muttering "Immature." He grins.
And he bends over and kisses me.
And I know that this is how things will be from now on.
A/N: Ne, hope you like it. Please review if you did, reviews are author-food. They keep us alive. I swear they do. As usual, flames are unnecessary and will be disregarded. Yes, Inuyasha does actually sleep with his arms wrapped around Tetsusaiga, twice that I know of. Go to http:// www. grey-space. Net /Kelly/ shipmanifesto/ sleeping. jpg and http:// www. /Kelly/ shipmanifesto/ 39205. jpg (without the spaces) for manga images of this. Arigatou, minna-san!