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

Chapter 29

It was midmorning, and Kagome walked around to the back of her house, carrying a large basket, humming. Her hair was covered in a kerchief, and she had her sleeves tied back. There was a wet spot from doing laundry on her wrap skirt that was proof of her already busy morning.

Her humming got louder as she walked to the clothes line, and she put the basket down so she could begin hanging up her laundry.

"People say that spring is here," she sang,

"but the wind is still too cold,

but the wind is still too cold

and the birds aren't here to sing with me."

Kagome gave her spare under kosode a good shake and tossed it over the clothesline, and smoothed it out.

"People say that spring is here,

and the reeds are growing by the stream,

and the reeds are growing by the stream,

but I haven't heard the birds sing with me."

She reached back into her basket and picked up her spare wrap skirt, looking at it carefully. "So that spot didn't come all the way out," she said. "I wish I had some of what Mama used on her laundry. I wonder if Sango knows something."

Shaking her head, she hung that as well on the line. She reached for the last item, her outer kosode.

"People say that spring is here,

but I have so much to do,

but I have so much to do,

Perhaps the birds have –"

As she lifted the garment, InuYasha grabbed her hand.

"Come on," he said. "Let's go inside."

She looked up at him, and immediately knew something was up. He was trying to keep a calm face, but his ear twitched and there was a hint of a grin hiding around his mouth.

"What?" he said, in answer to her questioning look. "I need you to go inside."

"Wait a second," she said, raising the wet garment up. "This is the last thing I have to hang."

He sighed. "Hurry it up." He bent down and picked up her laundry basket.

"Why?" she asked, hanging it up to dry, making sure the sleeves were smooth before she turned to look at him again. "We really need to put in some poles where I can dry these on rods. They're going to be wrinkled. What's so important that I go inside?"

"I'll do that later. But first come on. You'll find out why in a few minutes. They're almost here. I can hear them." The hanyou took her hand again. "I don't want you to see until it gets here."

Kagome chuckled. "You mean the rest of the things you bought?"

"Keh." He began pulling her back to the house. "Come on!"

Laughing, she let herself be led back into the house.

Kagome didn't have to wait long. She had barely put the tea kettle on to heat when she heard the sounds of voices and the rattle of what she guessed as a wagon of some type. InuYasha poked his head back in. "Don't move!" he said, then dropping the mat door, he headed back out.

She raised her hand to cover her mouth as she laughed. "He's so excited. You would think it was him getting a surprise."

Preparing her teapot, she listened to the noises outside. Someone grunted loudly, like they were picking up a heavy weight. "Careful, careful," a man's voice said. It sounded like Kinjiro.

"I've got it," InuYasha replied. "Miroku, get the tub."

There were other sounds, grunts and rattlings. Kagome's tea water got hot, so she poured it into her pot while they worked, trying hard to make sense of what was happening.

"Here?" Kinjiro asked.

"No, no, put it there," InuYasha said. "It'll be easier to handle that way."

Something heavy hit the ground. "Watch what you're doing, InuYasha," Miroku said.

Finally the sounds of movement stopped. An ox snorted.

"Well, I'm glad that's unloaded." Miroku's voice sounded breathless.

"Bah," Kinjiro said. "At least you're almost done. I still have to get home and unload the rest of this stuff."

"If you want, I could - " Miroku said.

InuYasha growled softly. "Not on your life, Bouzu. You're the one who told me I had to handle it all gently. I can't do that on my own."

"There are people at home who will lend me a hand," Kinjiro said. "Or they'll wish they did. Come on, Kuroya, we have work to do."

There was a creak followed by a soft lowing from the ox, and a rumbling that seemed to move away from the house. "Can I come out now?" Kagome said.

"No!" InuYasha said. "Stay inside!"

Kagome laughed and poured herself a cup of tea.

After a few more grunts and growls, the door pushed open, as Miroku backed in, carrying his side of a piece of furniture. Kagome put her cup of tea down, and watch them move it into the house.

"Move the chest, will you?" InuYasha asked.

She got up, and pulled the piece of furniture and their bedding away from their spot along the wall as the two men moved their load into the place where those items had been. They carefully sat it down, and Miroku straightened up, rubbing his back and sighing as he did.

Kagome walked up and touched the piece - it was a big cabinet. It had doors for the bottom compartments, and drawers above it, and was topped with a shelf. Its dark and carved wood gleamed from careful polishing. InuYasha adjusted it to its final position, moved their chest next to it, and stood back and looked at his and Miroku's handiwork. The cabinet took up much of one wall, a bit of elegance that seemed slightly out of place in the little house, but at the same time, marked the house as more than just a hut.

"So," InuYasha said, his ear twitching a little in anticipation, "What do you think?"

Kagome smiled at him, ran her hand across the fine wood, and pulled open one of the drawers. "It's beautiful."

"It is indeed," Miroku said. "We were very lucky to find it."

"Yeah we were," InuYasha said, stepping next to Kagome. He wrapped an arm around her waist.

"But how?" Kagome asked.

"Ah, now that's an interesting story," Miroku said, smiling. "The owner of the teahouse at the market crossroads was selling it for the local magistrate. It seems that this particular worthy has been called back to Odawara quite suddenly. Evidently the man couldn't take it back with him, and for some reason or the other, didn't want to leave it at the magistrate's house for his replacement."

InuYasha snorted.

"What's so funny," Kagome asked, opening one of the bottom doors..

The hanyou moved over to the water bucket, and picked up the ladle. "Didn't want to leave it for his replacement?" InuYasha said, taking a drink."More like he wanted to get everything he could turned into silver before he heads back."

He offered the ladle to Miroku who walked across the room to take it. "Thanks."

Kagome turned around to watch them. "Why?"

Miroku shook his head, sadly as he dipped the ladle back into the water. "Thus is the way of the world. The rumor we heard from the salt merchant was that the local magistrate had been in the habit of making a little more money doing favors that he was supposed to."

"A little?" InuYasha said. "Not what he told me."

The monk drank, and dropped the ladle back into the bucket. "Ah, that was good. Moving things is thirsty work. Anyway, the merchant told us that Odawara had decided to send in a replacement to make everything right." The monk sighed. "No doubt our fine magistrate will be in need of money to smooth his way once he returns."

"And you made sure he didn't get a coin more than necessary," InuYasha said. "He must really have been desperate."

"Think of it as a dharma lesson," Miroku said. "After all, he's certainly gotten enough from the local merchants to make up for the difference. And his misfortune certainly was your luck."

"It's certainly lovely, and a lot more than I expected," Kagome said. "I was just thinking you'd get another chest."

"But no more than you deserve, Kagome-sama," Miroku said, as pleased with her reaction as InuYasha was. "It made me happy to help move it to a more fitting home. You're not a rich and powerful person taking advantage of small merchants and farmers. Perhaps it's the cabinet's good karma, getting away from that person."

"Keh," InuYasha said, giving Kagome a squeeze, then letting her go. "We're not done yet. There's some more outside." He began heading to the door, and Miroku followed.

"Well, I am sure I'll put it to good use," she said as they left, pulling each drawer out as she thought. As they opened the door, she knelt down on the floor, contemplating what to do first.

The two men stepped outside, where a couple of large jars, a big wooden laundry tub, a smaller kitchen cabinet and a wash stand waited for them.

Miroku looked at the items, then back at his friend. "I've seen women with that look on their faces before," he said. "No doubt it was a good time to escape. Before much longer, she'd have a certain place for you to stand, much less having everything rearranged just so."

"You think she doesn't already?" the hanyou said. "Grab the wash stand, will you?" He picked up a large ceramic jar. "Tell me again why I was able to live with all this stuff before now?"

Miroku lifted the wooden stand. "Because having them makes Kagome-sama happy."

A small smile lit the hanyou's face. "Yeah, it does, doesn't it?" Carrying the items back in the house, InuYasha put the urn down in the far end of the beaten earth doma, near the firewood cradle. Glancing at his wife, he watched her tenderly running a hand over the silk cloth he had bought her and then placing it in one of the cabinet drawers. "Yeah, it really does."

Kagome looked up as he spoke, and smiled as she put the cloth away.

"Where do you want this?" Miroku asked, setting the wash stand down.

"I know just the spot," Kagome said, and walked over to them.

"What did I say?" the monk said to his friend. "I knew she'd have a place for everything soon as she saw it."

"Yeah," InuYasha said, then went back out for more.