1I do not own InuYasha or any of the characters created by Rumiko Takahashi

Chapter 23

After a lovely lunch where Kagome and InuYasha were introduced to all of Tameo's children, in-laws, grandchildren, three servants, one aunt and two cousins, the two finally said their good-byes and headed home, but only after being loaded down with bundles of clothes and food in honor of her being taken into the family. The two of them had protested it was too much, but there was no persuading the older couple, and after an honest thanks, InuYasha and Kagome headed home.

As they left the main area of the village and began to head up towards the hill where they lived, out of earshot of most of the villagers, InuYasha shook his head. "I think I will never quite understand how everybody's related to everybody else."

Kagome laughed. "Tameo does have quite a family. And those were just the closest relatives. Wait until the festival next month, and all the relatives are there." She looked up at him. "I'm so glad he decided not to have a formal dinner tonight to introduce us to everybody."

"Keh," InuYasha said. "I don't know if I'm looking forward to that."

She intentionally bumped against him as they moved so he would slow down, and she could take his free hand. His other was carrying a largish bundle. "Maybe by that time, we'll kind of know who is who, and where they fit in the family."

InuYasha gave her hand a little squeeze. "Maybe. All this stuff sort of confuses me."

"Me too," she admitted.

They walked together for a while, quietly until they reached the point where the path forked, once branch leading off towards Daitaro's house. InuYasha's ear twitched as a cow lowed, but neither of them saw anybody around. Their only companions were the wind in the tree branches and one noisy bird who dipped low, beating her wings in anger as she fussed at them.

"We must be too close to her nest," Kagome said after they passed the irritated bird. "Birds do that sometimes."

"Don't blame'em. I don't like strangers too close to my place either."

"From what Hisa-sama told me, we might have a bit of that the next few days as people learn about today," Kagome said. "I wish . . . "

InuYasha turned and looked at her. "Wish what?"

"I wish we could just take a break," Kagome said. She shifted the basket of food she was carrying from one hand to the other. She had no idea what was in it, but something in it smelled quite delicious.

"You need to rest? We're only about halfway to Miroku's yet," the hanyou said. His eyes filled with concern as he shifted the carry cloth he was shouldering to look at Kagome carefully. He stopped and caught her wrist to slow her down, then put his hand on her forehead.

"I'm not sick, InuYasha," Kagome said, smiling. "I don't mean that type of break. I mean the type of break where you and I can have some time just for us. I mean, look how much has happened to us in such a short time. We need a moment to just relax."

"You're telling me," InuYasha said. He took her hand again, and gave her a sweet but cocky smile. "The first thing that happened to us was really good." He gave her hand a squeeze, and sighed. "But everything else . . . I wonder when my head will stop spinning."

Kagome nodded. "I haven't even been here a whole week. I found you again, I've gotten married then adopted, become an apprentice, and met a kami. I know that Kaede and Tameo and Miroku and Sango and all the others mean well, and I'm really grateful. The fact that Tameo is sending someone out to put in our garden is a great thing, especially since I don't know what I'm doing. Sango's agreed to help teach me about sewing and other housekeeping things and that too is wonderful, but so much so fast . . . "

She leaned her head against InuYasha's chest. "But I just want some time for us, with nobody trying to get us to do this or that. I'm almost ready to lock the door and pretend nobody's home when the next person comes calling."

"Yeah," InuYasha said, pulling her close. He gently kissed the top of her head. "But you know that they'd just tear the door down to make sure we were all right."

He stepped back and Kagome nodded. "You're probably right," she said as they started walking again. "Doesn't mean I can't wish we could get away somewhere. Even a day away from everybody would be nice."

They neared the path that led to Miroku's house and the small temple he had set up. One of the village men was walking up the path and away from the monk's house and waved at them. Kagome waved back.

"Let's hurry up," Kagome said. "I'm just not in the mood to talk to anyone else."

InuYasha nodded, and they moved up the hill. When the hanyou was sure they weren't being followed, he laid a hand on Kagome's shoulder to slow her down.

"We could," InuYasha said as they slowed down into an easy walk.

"Could what?" She shifted the basket once again to her other arm.

"We could take a day off and go somewhere." He grabbed the basket she was carrying. "That's the third time you've shifted that basket. I'll carry it."

"Give me that back." Kagome grabbed her basket from InuYasha. "I can handle that. You're carrying enough."

He shrugged. "Suit yourself. You just looked like it was getting heavy for you."

"Maybe. But I want to be useful too," she said.

"Feh," InuYasha said. "You're always useful, woman. You don't have to prove anything to me." He stopped, and she looked at him.

"What?" she asked, shifting the basket once again.

"Now that you've mentioned it, I think we ought to take a break. You're getting that look," he said, but made no more moves to take the basket. "I was hoping I would never see it again."

Kagome looked at him, confused. "What look?"

"The one you used to get before you had to go home and take one of those test things, like you had to think about too much at once." He used his free hand to brush his knuckles against her cheek. "And I thought I was the only one whose head was spinning."

"It's showing, huh?" she asked.

He nodded. "I don't have to be anywhere special until market day, and Kaede-babaa doesn't want you to start training with her until three days after that."

"I don't know why Kaede wants to wait until then. She told me it was an auspicious day, and it's always best to start things on days like that." Kagome took a deep breath. "But I really wonder if she wants to give me a break before we get busy."

The hanyou nodded. "She's always been good at reading people. You might be right," InuYasha said. "It'll make it auspicious for us that way, no matter what. So you want to go?"

Kagome rested the basket on her hip, and used her free arm to take his hand again as they began walking again. "You have some place in mind? Where we can really get away?"

"There's a place I know," he said, shifting his own burden a little as he ducked around a tree limb that overhung the path. "You've never seen it. I didn't discover it until you were gone. But I think you'd like it. It's up in the high country, away from everybody. Not even a village close by."

"Sounds lovely," Kagome said, smiling at him. "Just you and me. How far away is it?"

"It took me a couple of hours the last time I went. If we walked at your pace, probably most of a day."

"Then we'll go at your rate," she said. "Let's get home and head out."

InuYasha shook his head. "Too late to start today. We'll have to wait until the morning to go."

"Too late?" Kagome asked, frowning. She stopped walking, even though she could see their house and the meadow it sat in straight ahead. "We've got about four hours of light left at least. It wouldn't take long to pack some food and go."

"Won't have that much time. Not after I heat the water for the bath and you take a nap," he said.

"A nap?" She frowned. "Why would I need a nap? I was passed out long enough at Tameo-sama's."

"After a day like today, I think we both need a nap," he said, bending close, so his breath tickled her ear. "Maybe even before the bath." His lips brushed the side of her cheek. "Think of it as the start of our break."

Realization dawned on her just what he meant, and she giggled. "Maybe so," she said. "It's been a tiring day. She reached up and gave InuYasha a quick kiss on the lips. "You think if we lock the door while we nap, they'll try to break in?"

He gave her a cocky grin. "If they do, I'll use Tessaiga on'em."

"Good idea," she said.

"So let's go," InuYasha said, taking Kagome by the wrist.

Laughing, she let her husband hurry her home.