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

Chapter 79

InuYasha folded his jacket and hakama and laid them on the chest near the bed, still wearing the white linen of his under kosode. He turned, as he reached for the belt to his shirt and watched Kagome, kneeling on the futon, her back to him, as she began to slip out of her own white kosode, sliding it slowly off her shoulders.

Her scent was already giving him come-hithers, and it was made even clearer by how slowly and teasingly she let her robe down. As one shoulder peeked out from the white cloth, he looked at her with a knowing smile.

His fingers fumbled with the knot on his belt as he watched. "Doing that on purpose?"

"Maybe," she replied, turning her head a little to smile at him.

Dropping the white obi on the floor, InuYasha moved closer and knelt next to her, easing the cloth of her robe past her elbows, planting a small kiss on her left shoulder.

"Feels good," she said as she tilted her head to the side to give him better access. Her hair fell to the side as she moved, revealing a dark mark on the top of her shoulder. InuYasha dropped the fabric of her kosode to crumple around her feet and bottom as she slipped her arms out of the sleeves, and then brushed the hair further away from her shoulder area so he could get a better look.

"What's this?" he asked, kissing the mark gently. "You got bruised. It's pretty dark, too. Kind of looks like a couple of finger marks."

Kagome tried to turn her head to see it, but it was too far behind her. "A bruise?"

He put his fingertips over the mark, quite delicately. "I thought I might have done it by accident," he said, "but it's the wrong size to be something I did."

"It . . . maybe . . . " Kagome looked up at him, saw the questioning in his eyes, something that demanded an answer, and sighed, knowing she couldn't just shrug it off. "I guess it happened today."

"That bastard hurt you," InuYasha said. His brows knit together, almost a scowl, but his eyes were more concerned than angry. "I thought you said he didn't."

Kagome shook her head. "I didn't know he did," she said. "Sango looked, too, to make sure, and she didn't see anything." She leaned back against him. Instead of the warm welcoming touch she expected, she felt him holding himself stiffly.

As if realizing what he was doing, InuYasha's arms wrapped around her. She could feel the tension in his muscles, as if he were trying to protect her from something.

She nuzzled his chin. "You don't have to be on guard," she said, and rested a hand lightly on the arms wrapped around her waist. "There's nobody here who can threaten us."

"I know," he said, sighing, and loosened his grip. "It's just . . . " Bending forward, he planted little kisses on the top of her shoulder. But that led him to look at the bruise again, and his ear flicked as his eyes took it in. "Where else did he hurt you?"

She turned in his arms, and tossed her kosode off of the bed. "I didn't think I was hurt at all. I'm a little sore from struggling to break loose maybe, but really, he didn't try to hurt me. He just tried to keep me from running away or calling out."

"Let me look," the hanyou said. His eyes were somber now, the desire that had been there evaporated. He lifted her arm, and saw another bruise on the inside of her left elbow.

"You don't need to do that, InuYasha," Kagome said, pulling her arm free. She reached up and cupped his cheek. "Who knows where I got each bump or bruise? It's been a hard day, but It's over, I'm safe, and I'm here with you." Lifting one of his hands, she brought it to her breast.

He held it, feeling its weight in his hand and absentmindedly, brushed his thumb across her nipple, causing her to breathe in at the sensation. He looked down at it for a moment. "I know." Letting go, he leaned his head against her forehead. "I..." he said, groping for words to say, but they escaped him. Instead, he cupped her face in his hand, kissing her gently, then took a deep breath. "It's . . . it's . . . "

Giving up on words, he laid down on his back, his hands behind his head, still wearing his unfastened undershirt. The fabric fell open, and Kagome stretched out beside him, slipping her hand under the white cloth to rest her fingers lightly on his chest.

She nestled her head on his arm. "It's what?"

InuYasha reached out and rolled her onto her back, and leaning over her slightly, gave her another kiss, gentle, but promising no more than his care, then rested his head on her shoulder. "It's . . . it's . . . When I was racing home, I imagined all these awful things." His ear twitched, tickling her face, and she reached up a hand to gently scratch its base. "And then when I got to Tameo's house and there you were . . . "

"Yeah?" she asked, her hand leaving his ear. She shifted to her side, where she cradled his head against her chest, resting her cheek on his head.

"You looked happy to see me. You smelled of you and Sango and Tameo's women, and I couldn't make out any sign of anything bad." He moved, again, propping himself up on one elbow. "I can't even say how relieved I was. Then we got home and you were so upset about Haname. I didn't even think about the rest of what went on. I guess it wasn't real to me about that bastard yamabushi until I saw that bruise." InuYasha took her hand in his free one, and brought it to his lips. "Shit like this shouldn't happen to you. I wish . . . "

"You can't be with me every second of the day, InuYasha," Kagome said.

"Feh," he said, his ear flicked again."I know. Doesn't mean I have to like it. Are you hurt any place else?"

"I don't know," she said. "I don't really hurt anywhere. Even those bruises you found doesn't really hurt. They'll fade away in a few days." She freed her hand and then let it drop to the futon, and rolled onto her back. "You can look if it'll make you feel better."

She lay there, naked, waiting for his inspection, smiling, her black hair cascading over the pillow. He sat up, his eyes gazed over her form, the way her breasts lay on her chest, the dark patch of curls covering her womanhood. It made him hungry.

"Looking at you like this always makes me feel better," he said. "The hell with it. It's too cool tonight for you to be laying there like that." He brushed the back of his knuckles gently against her cheek, and then pulled off his shirt, tossing it towards the clothes chest before pulling the covers over both of them.

Laying down next to her, InuYasha sighed. "But I don't know what else will make me feel better." He reached over and pulled her close, wrapping an arm around her back. "I need to know that you're really all right." He gave her a soft, tender kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck, to prolong it, but he pulled away. "It's not that I feel bad for me. It's that someone tried to do something to you."

Kagome looked up at him, his amber eyes filled with tender concern, and she returned his kiss, but resisted trying to prolong it. "But people have tried to do things to me before, when we were chasing Naraku, and once you knew I was all right, you didn't key up this way then."

"Feh," he said, running his fingers through her hair. "That's what you think. Besides, you weren't my wife then. You complained enough about me trying to control what you did. I ate the dirt to prove it."

She gave him a sheepish look. "Sorry."

"Probably deserved it, at least some of the time." He gave her a small smile. "And besides, something like that never happened here before, with one of the village families, where I have to be careful not to screw everything up. Back then, I could just use Tessaiga, and take you away, and know it was all going to be better."

This made Kagome laugh a little. "And then we'd be on the run to find the next bad guy and do it all over again." She leaned her head against his shoulder. "But it is going to be better." Her hand slid under the covers, across the strong plane of his back, and rested on the curve of his bottom. "We have each other, and people who will stand up for us, and you don't have to use your sword to make a safe place for us. No fighting necessary."

He let out a loud breath. "At least when I fight, I know it's over."

"It's over," Kagome said. "You're home, I'm home, and nobody's going to come chase us away. She pulled him closer to her, pressing the length of her body against his. "We're a fine couple tonight," she said. "Either I'm crying my eyes out or you're getting upset." Kissing his chin, she asked, "What's going to happen if we do it at the same time?"

He kissed the tip of her nose and smiled a little sad smile."Make a mess?" he asked, "I'm pretty good at doing that, making messes. Look what I've done this evening. How did I move from you trying to seduce me to this?"

"Talent?" she said. "But don't talk like that. This afternoon would have been awful if you hadn't come home early. I needed you, even though I was nervous and a little scared how you would react, and there you were."

"Still made a mess." His hand left her hair and slid down her side to her hip, then back up to rest lightly on her waist. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry. You have other talents, you know," Kagome said. Her voice was soft and warm, a touch suggestive. "That's not your only one."

He watched the fire rekindle in her eyes and a sly smile grace her face. "What are you thinking about, woman?"

"Oh, maybe helping you remember one or two of them." She leaned closer, and let her lips brush against the side of his neck, moving up to his jaw line. He closed his eyes at the sensation. "We could put one of those talents to work and start what we were doing all over again."

Her fingers began tracing shapes, wandering across the skin of his back. He opened his eyes, and found hers observing him, warm, hungry, watching to see how he would react. Her scent began to tease him, and he felt himself reacting to the warmth of her skin against his and each feather touch of her fingers. Suddenly he felt tired of feeling guilty.

"Begin again?" he asked. She nodded, and his mouth found hers. This time the kiss was not nearly as gentle or as chaste, or apologetic at all, drinking in her taste and scenting her want.

Her arms wrapped around his neck. He pulled back just a little. "So this is one of my talents?"

Kagome nodded.

InuYasha smirked, just a little, then kissed her deeply once more. He rolled her under him then broke the kiss "Do we need to get up," he said, feathering his lips once more across hers, then letting his mouth brush against her chin, and edge down the front of her throat. He dragged his tongue across the soft skin until he found the dimple at its base. "And get dressed again?" He found her earlobe, and nibbled, and she moaned. "I mean," he said, blowing into the shell-like ear, "if we need to start all over from the beginning?"

"I don't think so," she replied, sliding her hand into his silver hair. "This will do."

He kissed his way down the length of her body, letting his mouth taste and explore, encouraged by her moans and breathing. As his tongue found her hot and eager center, she cried out.

He looked up and smirked at her. "Liked that, did you?"

She nodded. "I told you that you had other talents." It was the last coherent thing she said for several minutes.