1I do not own InuYasha or any of the characters created by Rumiko Takahashi
It was mid-afternoon. The attempt at a sewing lesson had been postponed for a bit by two active and curious little girls, but eventually, at first Yusuko and then Noriko finally fell asleep.
Sango picked up her sleeping daughter out of Kagome's lap. "I didn't think she'd ever go to sleep. Noriko you're a little stinker." She looked back at Kagome. "I'm sorry she was such a bother. Maybe now you can get some work done."
"I don't mind," Kagome said, smiling up at her friend. "Noriko's such a sweet thing. Same thing with Yusuko. I enjoy playing with them"
"Enjoy being able to give them back while you can," Sango said. "I imagine from the way InuYasha is hovering over you, it won't be long before you have one of your own that you can't give back."
For some reason, this made Kagome blush.
"Can Rin come babysit for you when you do, Kagome-obasan?" the girl sitting to her left asked.
For a moment, Kagome was at a loss for words. "I...I guess, Rin-chan."
"I'd take her up on it when the day happens," Sango said, chuckling a little. "Rin-chan is very good with the twins. She's getting lots of practice with my three." She moved towards the sleeping room, to lay her daughter down with her sister. "If one of you want, put on the tea kettle while I put her to bed."
Rin grabbed the pot before Kagome could move and went to the water bucket to fill it up. "It's nice you're working with Kaede-sama," she said, moving back to the fire pit where she sat the cast iron pot on a tripod. With practiced ease, she had a small, but hot bit of fire under the pot, and sat back to examine her work. "This way, Rin will get to see you nearly every day."
"Has Kaede-obaachan been teaching you, too?" Kagome asked, grabbing her basket and unfolding the towel she had been hemming. She looked over her stitches with a critical eye.
The girl nodded. "Rin has been learning a lot about herbs, how to grow them and what they're good for. Sometimes Kaede teaches how to make medicines, too."
"Kaede tells me you are good with her garden." Kagome sighed. "I've never done a lot with gardening. Maybe you could come help me sometime. The garden Kinjiro started for me looks so big. I'm not sure how well I'll be able to handle it."
"Rin would like that. It's nice helping things grow up." Rin picked up her basket and began to take out her sewing. "Rin would also like learning to sew better," she said, sighing as she looked over her work. In one corner of the towel she was hemming, there was a red stain. "Needles don't seem to like Rin as well as flowers do."
"We'll get better," Kagome said, resting her hand on Rin's shoulder. "Some things just take practice."
Rin smiled. "It's the same with gardening."
Kagome nodded. "I hope so."
They turned as the door to the sleeping room opened. Sango carefully slid the door to the sleeping room closed, then walked over to the big shoji door and slid it open. "With the girls asleep, we might as well get the best light," she said.
The air from outside felt cool to Kagome's cheeks, but welcome.
"Let's get more comfortable," Sango said, after making tea. She grabbed her sitting mat and moved it away from the fire pit and nearer the light. Rin and Kagome did the same. Soon, the room which usually seemed snug and homey was transformed as they reorganized and pulled out their needlework. Sango set up a tray with the tea and rice cakes, then opening up her own work basket, she took out and spread out a long white piece of cloth.
"Give me a look at what you've done, and then I'll show you how to cut out a kosode," she said, finally taking her seat and pouring the tea.
Kagome handed her towel to Sango to inspect, as Sango handed her a cup. "I'm not sure if it's good enough," she said. "It seemed to take forever, too."
"It can seem that way sometimes," Sango said. She passed Rin a cup of the hot liquid, then examined Kagome's work, running her finger over the neatly stitched edge. "I don't know why you thought your towel hems were done badly, Kagome-chan," she said, handing it back. "They look lovely and neat."
"Nicer than Rin's," the girl said, looking at her work, spread across her lap. Besides having a small blood stain, the edge of one of her hems had gotten out of alignment, and was wider at one end than the other.
Sango patted the girl's shoulder. "That's not bad for just getting started, Rin-chan. It takes some practice following the guide thread," Sango said. "You'll get it with a little more practice."
The girl nodded, then took out her needle and threaded it. Sango picked up her own work, and quickly began sewing a seam.
"You make it look easy, Sango" Kagome said, with just a touch of envy in her voice. She sipped her tea. "Did you learn this when you were young?"
"Not a lot," she said, adjusting the cloth she was working on in her lap. "I had a really different upbringing than most girls. I spent more time doing weapons practice than sewing practice. My father gave me a sword for my coming of age present." Sango's face grew sad for a moment, but then she shook it off. "But my mother and aunts made sure that I learned at least some basics." Putting down her sewing, she picked up her tea cup and rested it in the flat of her hand. "I'm glad they did. I've had to use that information more than my sword or Hiraikotsu since I've gotten married. The little ones are always growing."
"I learned a little when I was growing up," Kagome said. "Sewing wasn't considered a very important part of my education. My okaasan taught me how to hem and make some repairs, but we really didn't make much where I came from. We'd go to the merchants and buy it already made. Everything. Towels, clothes, bedding. If we sewed, it was for doing fancy work, like embroidery, because we wanted something special or just for fun."
"You lived so much like a noblewoman," Sango said, sighing at the idea. "How nice not to worry about all of this. I bet you didn't do your own laundry, either."
"We did, sort of. We had special devices to put the dirty laundry in. It did all the hard work, beating and wringing it out." Kagome threaded her needle. "But our life really wasn't like being in a noble family. We weren't rich, and we didn't have servants. My mother cooked all the meals herself and did her own cleaning, even if she didn't grow her own food. It was just the way everybody lived."
She examined her towel, and found the place she left off sewing. Securing the thread, she began to stitch. "By the way, what did you do with Hiraikotsu? InuYasha said they put it up in the shrine."
Sango covered her mouth and laughed a little. "There's a story about that. When I was carrying the twins, I had the most awful mood swings. Thank goodness it wasn't so bad when I was carrying Naoya. I would be radiantly happy one minute thinking about how lovely my life had turned out, and then horribly angry the next, and weeping uncontrollably the minute after that."
"Kaede-sama was worried about you," Rin said.
"I know," Sango said. "And so was Miroku, who had to put up with it the most. Once, my poor husband had gone to see Toshiro-sama and for some reason, I got horribly upset about it. I don't even remember why. We had a really bad argument when he got back. After that, Miroku decided that he needed to be sure that Hiraikotsu was out of my hands. I had actually picked it up, as big as I was, and threatened him with it. It must have been a wild sight, me a month from the twins' birth swinging that big thing at him. He turned white as a sheet, afraid I was going to fall. Somehow he calmed me down, but the next day, he had Kaede lock it up at the shrine."
She took a sip of her tea, looking a bit wistful. "It was just supposed to be until the twins were born, but I've never been back to get it." She picked up her own sewing once again. "It seems happy enough. I go there once in a while and touch it, pick it up. But it doesn't seem right to be doing weapons practice with it now. Perhaps when the girls are older."
"Ow!" Rin said, sticking her finger into her mouth.
"Needle?" Sango asked.
Rin nodded. "Do the needles hate Rin?"
"I did that a lot when I learned to sew," Sango said. "I still do it sometimes. I think I'd still rather use a sword instead of a needle."
"It would make big holes when you tried to make a kosode with it," Rin said.
Sango snickered. "It would indeed."
"Speaking of Miroku," Kagome said, "I'm surprised he hasn't popped in to see what we're doing."
"Or InuYasha-ojisan," Rin said. "Oh, another blood spot!" She ran her finger over the cloth and frowned.
"InuYasha said he wanted to work on chopping wood," Kagome said. "Maybe Miroku went up to see what he was doing."
"Maybe," Sango said. "At least this way, we don't have to worry about him eavesdropping on us."
"Sango!" Kagome said, a little shocked.
"Well he does," the older woman said, smiling. "You must have forgotten what he was like. He can't stand to not know what's going on."
"You're right," Kagome said. "I forgot how he would sneak in the woods sometimes when InuYasha and I were trying to talk. Maybe we should enjoy it while it lasts."