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

Chapter 32

When Kagome awoke the next morning, InuYasha was already up, sitting next to the fire. He had brought the flames up, and was staring deep into it, the fire poker held in one hand. As she moved, his ear twitched and he turned to her.

"I didn't wake you up, did I?" he asked, watching her admiringly as she dropped the covers. "It's still early. You don't need to get up yet."

She shook her head as she sat up. "No. I just woke up. I must have slept enough. Been up long?" Grabbing her white under kosode, she wrapped it around herself and stood up.

"Not too long," he said, poking the fire one more time. "I kept busy. Finally emptied out the tub. I'm surprised that didn't wake you right there. Then I filled up the water bucket and started the fire."

She went over to the new kitchen cabinet, and opened it to take out the pot she used for rice. "Sounds like it's time to start breakfast."

InuYasha stood up, and wrapped his arms around her before she could get back to the fire pit. Giving her a quick kiss, he let her go and headed for the door. "Call me when it's ready. I've been waiting for you to get up so I could get to work on those trees. I knew that would wake you up. Sooner I get those branches trimmed, the sooner we can start building the storage building."

Kagome nodded, noting that he looked wound up, and his ear was twitching. "Won't be too long," she said as the mat closed behind him. As she went to scoop up the dry rice to wash for breakfast, she could hear his ax at work. "And I thought I'd be the nervous one today. Maybe having all that wood to chop will help him calm down." With a sigh, she went on with her cooking.

After breakfast, InuYasha stepped out to hang their futon up on the line to air out. Kagome looked at the garments she laid out to wear, thinking about how he stiffened when she had put them away the night before.

"Well, he'll just have to get used to it," she said as she began getting dressed. The linen of the hakama felt odd around her ankles. "And maybe I will, too. I wonder why these feel different from the ones I used to wear when I dressed as a miko for Ojiisan?" She adjusted her under kosode a little differently and picked up her jacket. "Definitely, these are not silk or cotton. Or even polyester. Linen just feels different."

InuYasha stepped back in as she began to slip into her jacket. Kagome looked up as the doormat rattled behind him. She watched how he looked at her as she moved, but his face was unreadable, and she didn't know exactly what to think.

"Remember the first time you saw me dressed in these clothes?" she said, tucking in her jacket and shaking out her sleeves as she gave him a crooked smile. "Funny how I thought you wanted me to get naked."

"Keh," InuYasha said, moving to the fire pit, not looking up, but he smiled. "I was a baka and really confused back then." He picked up the fire poker and began knocking the flames down from their morning fire. "But that was then, not now."

Kagome ran a comb through her hair, but decided not to tie it back. She put the comb away while InuYasha finished banking the fire, and then turned away from the drawer she slipped the comb into and held out her arms. "How do I look?"

He lifted his head and she watched his eyes studying her, but there was no real disapproval there, just a little nervousness. "Like you ought to," he said after a moment. "Like a miko." He gave her a little smile, but it didn't reach his eyes.

She walked over to where he sat and rested a hand lightly on his shoulder. He looked up and put the fire poker down as she slid her hand to cup his cheek, then let her fingers go into his hair, coming to rest right behind one ear. She gently rubbed its base, and he leaned ever so slightly into her touch.

"You could stay up here if you're worried about how people will react seeing us together with me dressed like this. I'm sure Miroku would walk with me to Kaede's," she said. "Not that I think I really need anybody to take me there."

That made him pull away and he stood up. "Forget that, woman. You're my wife, not his. It's my job." He took both her hands in his. "I don't want you going there alone yet. They're just going to have to get used to us." He freed one hand, and brushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "You look good. This is just something I have to get used to. Ready to go?"

Kagome nodded. "You're not the only one nervous," she said. "There's so much I'm going to have to learn. When I worked as a miko for Grandfather, mostly I had to dance for festivals or work in the gift shop."

"You're good at learning." InuYasha said, stepping to the door and holding the door mat open so she could walk through. "I know you'll do fine. So what are you going to do today?"

"I'm not exactly sure. I think to start, I'm just going to help her, and she'll start training me on how to use my powers better," Kagome said as they headed down the road. "There's a lot to learn about herbs and stuff, and how to make medicines, too." She took a deep breath. "One thing at a time. This can't be as bad as doing all that homework I worked on when we were hunting Naraku. I can do this."

InuYasha pulled her into his arms. "Of course you can." Kissing the top of her head, he said, "I didn't realize that you were nervous, too."

"My school didn't prepare me very well for this life." She took his hand and gave it a squeeze.

"Like I was telling Kaede, there's so much we didn't have to do where I come from. I bought food from a merchant. I never had to sew my own clothes or make towels or figure out how many daikon to grow in a year." She chewed on her bottom lip. "I feel like I've been hit with a brick this morning. What if I can't do it all?"

InuYasha pulled her into the circle of his arms. "What have you been telling me when I get nervous? We'll deal with that if it comes. We have friends. They'll help," he said, running his fingers through her hair. "But I know you." He pulled back a little to look at her and slip a finger under her chin. "One thing that I've learned since I met you is that you can do anything you set your mind on."

She took a deep breath, tiptoed up and gave him a quick kiss. "Thank you," she said, giving him a small, but hopeful smile. "I guess we better get going."

He nodded and they headed towards the village.

The walk to Kaede's was remarkably unnoteworthy. Takeshi, one of Tameo's nephews, was heading to the fields, hoe on his shoulder, and he waved at them. One villager they passed looked surprised, but nodded at them.

As they neared Kaede's house, someone called out. "Kagome-sama! Kagome-sama!"

Kagome turned around to see a thin, tired woman hurrying up to them.

"Yurime?" Kagome asked, her voice a little hesitant.

The woman's face broke into a smile. "Yes, that's right! You remembered Yurime!" she bowed. "I wasn't sure if you would."

"Oh, I remember!" Kagome said, bowing back. "You were going to have a baby. Kaede said it was going to be a boy."

"Yes, and she was right."Yurime said. "I had Daichi about two months after you left us. You're going to Kaede's now? I heard you were going to work with her."

"Yeah, we are," InuYasha said, stepping a little closer to Kagome.

"Well, I am happy for you both, InuYasha-sama." Yurime gave a small, nervous bow to InuYasha. "Everyone knows how much you missed her."

Kagome turned to look up at InuYasha, who seemed surprised at Yurime's comment.

She turned back to Kagome. "Please give this to Kaede-sama, please," she said, smiling at them and bowing slightly once again as she handed a small basket to Kagome. A delicious odor drifted from it. "I want to thank her for helping with my Daichi. He had such a fever, but he's much better today."

"I'll be sure to do that," Kagome said. "Won't you come yourself?"

"No, no. I have to get back home to my loom and my son. But be sure to come see me soon." She bowed once more and left. "You must come see my boy."

As Yurime walked off, Kagome turned to her husband. "Not what you expected?"

InuYasha, a bemused look on his face shook his head. "No. Yurime and her husband have had some rough times, and her husband spends a lot of time working with Joben. I guess he doesn't rub off on everybody who works for him. Maybe this is going to work out after all."

"Yeah," she said, smiling at him. "I think you're right."

As they reached Kaede's, the old miko stepped outside. A small group of children and a couple of the older women gathered at a respectful distance, curious.

"Ah, children, you made it," Kaede said. "Are you ready to start your training, Kagome-chan?"

Kagome bowed respectfully, the way she had been trained to bow to all her teachers. "I am, Kaede-obaasan."

"Good. Today, Daisuke-sama has the chest cough. We'll go over how to make medicine to help him with that." She looked at the hanyou, who seemed ready to follow the two women into the house. "You can have her back at lunch time, InuYasha," the old miko said. "It'll be easier for her to learn if she has some space away from you."

The younger woman looked up at her husband. She sucked on her lip a moment, looking at him, seeing his discomfort, and tilted her head. Reaching out, she rested a hand on his arm. "Kaede's probably right."

His ears laid back for a moment, but he took a deep breath, and nodded, stuffing his hands into his sleeves.

"You can check my firewood supply if you need something to do in the village, InuYasha. Or go keep an eye on Rin. I sent her out to work in the garden."

Kagome smiled at her husband. "It'll be all right, InuYasha. And the smell of the medicine would probably bother your nose anyway."

"Yeah," he said, not quite convinced.

Kaede went to the door of her house and lifted the mat, turning and waiting for Kagome. Touching his hand briefly, the younger woman turned to follow Kaede into the house.