A single lamp burned in its stand in the corner of the room, casting light in a small circle. Even so, the darkness lay almost oppressively heavy over the small house.
A dark-haired man sat in the shadows, his back against the wall, his eyes downcast. “The hardest time was the first one after you left.”
A dark-haired woman was sitting next to him. She reached out and took his hand in hers, examining his fingers in the dim light, if there was something new and different about them. Slowly she brought his hand up to her lips, and kissed each fingertip.
He lifted his eyes, watching her as she did this. They glittered a little in the lamplight, darkly violet. The look on his face wavered between irritation and admiration, as if he wasn’t quite sure which way to react.
She cupped his hand to her cheek. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you.”
“Feh. You were where you needed to be.” He dropped his hand from her cheek, slid it around her waist and pulled her closer to him. “I dealt with it.”
InuYasha sighed. “Miroku and Sango made me stay with them that first night. Later, sometimes I would stay with them, sometimes find other places where I felt as safe as I could feel. After I built this house, I’d stay here sometimes.”
Kagome leaned her head against his shoulder. “I still remember that first time.”
He made a face. “Dying of spider venom isn’t something I like to think about.”
She twirled a lock of his hair around her fingers. “I was so scared for you. But holding you there in my lap, and hearing how you lied about not liking how I smelled, something clicked in my head. I knew after that night I didn’t want there to be a world without InuYasha in it. And part of me knew I wanted to be there with him.”
“Woman,” he whispered, pulling her tight to him, resting his head on her shoulder. “Funny how my night of weakness taught me things, like about friends.”
“Sometimes, we learn the best when we’re not the strongest,” Kagome said. “Weakness sometimes lets us find our true strengths.”
Suddenly, the door was pulled open, and a fox kit bounced in, followed by two small girls who jumped into their laps, all of which jumped into their laps before InuYasha had time to grab his sword.
“I brought some noodles,” Sango said, kneeling by the fire pit and putting down a pot.
“You really need more light in here,” said Miroku, sauntering in after his wife. “Anybody for a game of Go?”