The road ran through stands of maple turned bright red and stands of evergreen that occasionally overhung the roadway as it passed through a hilly stretch. The two men walked together down the road in companionable silence, one dressed in the clothes of an itinerant monk, jangling his staff as he walked. His companion was strikingly different from the type of person you would expect to be traveling with a holy man - with silver streaming hair and golden eyes and brilliant red clothing of a style long out of fashion marked him as something out of the ordinary. A second look at his hands adorned with claws and his head crowned with the triangular ears of a dog made it clear he was something supernatural. Some people they passed braved the man in red and stopped and asked the monk for prayers or offered food. Other folk on the road, though, seeing the two, often gave them something of a wide berth – just in case.
They stopped for a break near an old shrine. The silver-haired man put down his bundle then rolled his shoulders to let out some tension. The monk opened a bag he carried and removed two bamboo-leaf wrapped onigiri. He passed one to his companion, who accepted it, and sat down next to him to eat.
“I told you it was a ghost and not a youkai,” the silver haired hanyou said after he had eaten a few bites.
“And you were right, my friend,” said the monk. “But if you had been wrong and it was a youkai after all, you could have used Tessaiga to your heart’s content.”
“Feh,” said his companion. “Yeah, Miroku. I suspect you just dragged me out so you could just hike up the fee.”
“Would I do that, InuYasha?” Miroku asked, turning serious looking violet eyes at his friend, but not totally able to suppress the tiny beginning of a smile from his face.
“Do you really want me to answer that?” InuYasha replied.
Miroku sighed in mock exasperation. “Just wait, my friend. The time is coming when you’ll have to deal with the needs of a growing family, and you’ll realize how much it costs to take care of everyone.” He finished his rice ball, and wiped his hands on a cloth.
“Keh,” InuYasha said. “You’re a strange man for a monk, Miroku. I thought monks were supposed to go through life unattached to stuff or something like that, and teach other people how to do it, too. And here you are telling me I need more.” He finished his food and stood up. “We need to get moving if we want to make it home tonight. The weather’s trying to change.”
This time Miroku sighed more honestly. He tucked the cloth back into his sleeve, and took two small balls made out of brightly wrapped threads out as he did. He looked at them with a little smile. “Some attachments are harder to deal with than others, my friend.”
“Got those for the twins?” InuYasha asked, picking up his bundle.
Miroku nodded. “They’ll probably fight over who gets what, but I promised to bring them back something.” He put them away and stood up, picked up his staff, and nodded to his friend.
They began walking, falling quiet for a few minutes.
“How did it feel?” the hanyou asked, breaking the silence.
“How did what feel, InuYasha?” Miroku adjusted the strap to the bag he carried, and looked at his companion. The hanyou’s ears were moving as he listened for sounds, but his eyes were lost in some faraway place.
“When you knew for sure you were going to be a father?” InuYasha said.
Miroku raised an eyebrow, unused to his friend opening up to him like this. “Well, I was happy. I was excited. I was frightened. Pretty much all at the same time.”
InuYasha looked at him, with an odd, somewhat miserable-looking smile. “Yeah.”
Miroku rested his hand on the hanyou’s shoulder. “You’ll do fine, my friend. After all, you have me for a role model!”
InuYasha, with a deep growl, shrugged off the touch, adjusted the bundle he was carrying, and walked on ahead.