Blanket Disclaimer:

Inuyasha and all characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi. I don't own them and am not making any money from this.

Originally posted to IB4Y on June 6, 2011. Won 1st place.

P Prompt 7

Title: Scars That Run Deep

Author: ananova

Rating: T (just to be safe)

Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Friendship

Universe: Canon

Word Count: 748

Summary: In the aftermath of a tough battle, Kagome tends to Inuyasha and reflects on how he carefully hides his pain away.

Kagome sighed as she stoked the fire before glancing at the still figure lying nearby. His eyes were closed but she knew he was as alert as ever, despite his wounded body. The twitching ears atop his head gave him away. Giving the sleeping kitsune a gentle pat she grabbed her ever present yellow bag before moving toward the resting hanyou. It was time to change his bandages, again.

As she knelt next to Inuyasha, golden eyes snapped open to fix upon her face, confirming her previous thought. Seeing the cloth bandages in her hands he snorted. "Feh, put those away wench."

"Your bandages need to be changed and wounds checked" she told him patiently.

He rolled his eyes at her. "Keh! I ain't no weak human. These are just scratches, they'll be healed in no time."

"I don't care how strong you are or how fast you heal. Those wounds were deep and I don't want to see them get infected. Please Inuyasha" she said, eyes pleading for him to understand that she needed to do this.

His eyes, so full of hidden pain, softened at the look on her face. "Feh, do what you want wench."

She moved closer to him and as gently as possible unwrapped the soiled, blood-stained bandages from his torso. She winced as she took in the angry looking slashes on his chest and sides. Thankfully, they were smaller than earlier. "They look like they're healing alright" she said, reaching for her first-aid kit.

"Told ya so."

Ignoring him, she scooped up some ointment and began applying it to his body. She noted his indrawn breath as he forced himself to remain still and not show the pain she knew he was feeling. "Sorry, but I'm still worried about an infection." Quickly finishing with the medicine, she re-bandaged his wounds.

Kagome gave him a small smile when she finished. "At least you won't have to worry about any scars" she said, thinking it would be a shame to mar his perfect skin. She flushed slightly though he didn't appear to notice.

"Feh, I don't scar." He snorted again, turning his head away.

Kagome's face fell. No, he didn't scar, at least not his body. But not all scars could be seen and the deepest ones were the ones that existed beneath the surface. Just as she knew that his physical wounds caused him pain that he carefully hid, she also knew that the other events of the day had hurt him even worse.

Inuyasha turned back to pin her with an intense gaze, as if sensing where her thoughts had gone. "Leave it wench."

She glared, though not at him. "It's not right Inuyasha. You saved them and they treated you like that!"

"Keh! I said leave it! I'm used to it, that's just the way things are."

She stared down at him, trying not to cry. "It doesn't make it right." She thought back on how the villagers had turned them away because of Inuyasha's parentage, despite the fact that he had obtained his injuries saving them from an oni. She really wished Sango and Miroku had been with them. She was sure the houshi would have been able to calm down the mob where she had failed.

Kagome gave a start as she felt Inuyasha take her hand and give it a gentle squeeze. Staring into his eyes she could see the emotional pain he tried to hide. Despite his words, the villagers' rejection had hurt. And she knew that it wasn't a new pain. No, he had faced that rejection over and over again his whole life. And yet, while she cried out against his harsh treatment, he who bore the brunt of it merely took it in stride, not saying a word. Simply hiding his pain like he did his physical pain and bearing it silently.

"Whatcha thinking about so deeply?"

She smiled sadly. "Just a saying I once heard. Those who suffer the most, cry out the least. I think I understand it now."

His face softened again as he stared at her before squeezing her hand once more. "Keh. I don't need to cry out, you do it for me."

She smiled, understanding the meaning of his words and squeezed his hand in return. "Always Inuyasha." Just as he protected her from harm, she would protect his heart.