She sat near the fire pit, tossing on another bit of pine wood to brighten the darkness of the room. She could hear the wind pick up outside. The shutters to her little house began to rattle some with it.
“I wonder if it’s started to snow, yet?” she muttered as she picked up her sewing basket and began to work.
Suddenly the flames in the fire pit flickered. Looking up, she saw him standing there, tall, breathing, silver and red. Snow dusted his hair, barely noticeable, already melting on his suikan. His amber eyes were weary, but his smile was amazing.
“Kagome,” he said.
Almost immediately she was up and across the room, her arms around his neck, her lips pressing into his. “InuYasha!” she breathed, as she came up for air. “I was so worried.”
His arms snugged her into his body, devouring her mouth with a hunger that almost frightened him. Her hands wove into his hair; his hands drew long slow sweeps down her sides. “Kami, woman, I’ve missed you,” he said. “I’d have been home sooner, but the weather went to hell.”
She drew him closer to the fire. He unfastened his fire-rat suikan, and drew out a small package. “I didn’t forget.”
She unwrapped the small package to reveal a perfect little hoko, a crawling baby doll with beautiful black hair and a soft silk body. “She’s beautiful! Rin will love it,” she said.
“Keh,” InuYasha said. “She’ll need something to keep her safe and happy. I noticed a couple of the boys around here already paying attention to her. Maybe the doll will keep some of the bad luck that’s going to cause with Sesshoumaru from breaking her heart.”
Kagome sighed a little, rewrapped the doll and laid it in her sewing basket as he started to shrug off his jacket. As he shrugged it off, he snagged another bundle out and passed it to her. “And this one’s for you,” he said.
“For me?” she asked. She unwrapped the bundle, and found another, smaller hoko doll.
“The old woman who sold me the dolls said they will protect a woman when a woman’s carrying.” He shrugged off his hakama, then sat down behind her, dressed only in his kosode. Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her closer to him, pulled the doll out of her hand, and rested it across her swelling abdomen, snug under his hands.
She leaned back into the circle of her husband’s arms, resting her hands on top of his. “Thank you, InuYasha” she said.
“Keh. Just you and the pup be safe,” he said, kissing the top of her head. “What’s for dinner?”
Note about dolls of this period:
Amagatsu, heavenly cherubs, were the first true plaything and clothing dolls. They are documented back to the early 12th century.... Amagatsu would accompany and protect the child at their miyamairi, presentation to the community at the local shrine. Another type of doll called hoko , crawling children, were similar in function but were soft bodied dolls. Because of their simplicity of construction, hoko usage expanded to the common people. ....During these periods, the dolls were still considered to have protective influences over their owners. It was not unusual to see hoko dolls placed at the head of a pregnant woman about to give birth to ensure a safe birth for the mother and baby. From the Yoshino Newsletter. http://www.yoshinoantiques.com/ningyo.html