His breath came in deep gulps as he lowered his sword and shook off the steaming blood that streaked across its broad surface. Silently, the great blade transformed from a huge magical fang dancing with light back into the rusty katana it was most of the time. In front of him was the sightless, decapitated head of the oni. Small wafts of steam rose up from the pool of blood that had gathered where the body used to join the head, burning the ground where it had pooled.
“Kagome!” he screamed, soon as he was sure of the creature’s death. Turning, he ran to where the oni had thrown her before it died, crumpled up against the base of a tree. Gently, very gently, he rolled her onto her back.
She moaned as he moved her, her eyes grimaced in pain. “InuYasha,” she murmured. “It hurts.”
“I know, Koibito. Let me look you over.” He carefully loosened her chihaya and kosode so he could inspect her for damage. Already, she had bruises darkening from where the oni had grabbed her roughly, scratch marks from his claws, and abrasions from where she had hit the ground. He pushed up the leg of one side of her hakama, and found a long nasty gash. The fabric covering it had been torn when she landed, and the leg cut by a chunk of broken branch. He sliced through the fabric of the hakama, freeing the wound.
“Damn,” he whispered. He sat back on his heels, took a deep breath. His ears flattened in distress. Looking around, he saw her bundle of supplies and grabbed it, and the bamboo canteen. Pouring water over it trying to wash out the crud, he used the remnant of the fabric to put pressure on it, then tied the impromptu bandage into place. It’d have to hold until he got her somewhere.
“Kagome,” he breathed, as he straightened her clothing back. “I’ve got to move you. I need to get us to water and away from this oni before the scavengers start moving in. It’s gonna hurt.”
She gave a small nod. He gently slid his hands under her, but she groaned as he lifted her. Moving as quickly as he could without jarring her too much, he began following his nose, looking for somewhere he could properly treat her.
He kissed her lightly on the forehead. “There’s a village not too far ahead. If I don’t find another place to stop, we’ll go there.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, gritting her teeth from the jarring of his walk.
“Try to relax,” he said. “The pain hurts less when you don’t tense up. I know, from lots of experience.”
She tried to smile. “You do have that.”
A little later, they sat down at the bottom of a hill that had been extra painful for Kagome as he made his descent. Sweat beaded her forehead from the strain. He wiped her forehead, planting little kisses over it, and ran his fingers through her hair
“You know that you’re never leaving our village without your bow again, Koibito. Even if I look like a packhorse with all the stuff you want to bring, I’m not letting you without a weapon again. I may be your protector, but sometimes, damn it, you have to be able to protect yourself.”
“I agree,” she said.
As InuYasha stared off into the distance, thinking about dark possibilities, she snuggled deeper into his chest. Exhausted and lulled by the sound of his heartbeat, she fell asleep.