Kagome sat near the fire, her face pensive and a little sad. She threw a stick on the fire, and watched the sparks fly up. It was getting late, and they had traveled since a little after sunrise, and some of the mood wrapped around her could have just been fatigue, but InuYasha could tell there was something more going on than that.
She unrolled their bedding, and sat down on it, smoothing out the sleeves of her white chihaya, but made no move to lie down. Instead, she pulled up her red clad legs, and wrapped her arms around them, resting her chin on her knees.
InuYasha watched her as he set up the fire for the night, putting one good-sized piece to burn and reflect heat back to them, then returning to where he had a pile of dead wood he was breaking for use in the morning. The silence hung heavy between them.
“I think we’ve been here before,” InuYasha said, finally as he snapped a stout branch in half.
Kagome looked up, as if surprised by the sound of his voice and looked around her. It looked like so many of the places they had camped in the mountains, sheltered, near trees and rock and water. There was nothing here that would mark it as different to her. “You sure?” she asked.
InuYasha pointed. “If you take that path, you’ll end up by the shiro of the guy who had the frog demon . . . I think we met that kid from the Takeda clan around here.” He grabbed another piece of wood to break.
“Frog demon?” she said, her face frowning as she thought hard, until the memory started to come back. “It seems so long ago. Now what was his name . . . Oh, Nobunaga-kun! He and his monkey.” She rested an elbow on her knee and her chin in her hand. “I wonder what happened to him.”
InuYasha snapped the last piece of wood he had, then stood up to brush off the bits of bark and wood he had gotten on him while he worked. “Don’t know,” he said. “Never heard anything about him since.”
“I wonder if he ever found someone to replace his princess,” Kagome said, looking up at InuYasha. “It’s been, what, nearly six years?”
“Yeah,” InuYasha said. He walked over and sat down next to Kagome and wrapped an arm around her. “Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s off somewhere up north fighting the Uesugi. I hear the Takeda are always fighting with them or somebody.”
InuYasha looked down at his wife who leaned into his shoulder.“Or maybe not. Bet his family married him to a nice girl. He was a good kid.”
“Yeah. A lot can happen in almost six years.” She plucked a blade of grass and twisted it in her fingers. “We were so young then,” she said. “Or at least I was. I was just really beginning to see what a good heart you had then, and worrying about school and what my grandfather was telling them about me. It seems almost like it happened to another person.”
InuYasha gently lifted his wife’s chin up so he could look in her eyes. “This isn’t about a silly boy we met once upon a time, is it? You’ve been too quiet all day.”
Kagome made a wry smile. “You know me too well, InuYasha.”
“Keh,” he replied, pulling her closer. “The pup’s fine.”
“I know he is. I bet he’s having a great time chasing Nao around and I bet the twins are spoiling him rotten. I know Sango and Miroku won’t let anything happen to him. But I miss him. Yesterday, I enjoyed it being just the two of us, but this morning when I made breakfast for just us two, it came home to me. My baby wasn’t with us.” She looked up at him, and her eyes glittered, extra moist.
“We’ll be home tomorrow, Koibito.” He kissed her forehead, gently. “I miss him, too.”
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be this silly,” she said, shifting herself closer.
He pulled her into his lap, wrapping her in his red sleeves. “You’re not silly. You’re just being a mama. Mamas always worry about their babies when they’re apart.”
Suddenly, her eyes grew wide and her face paled, and she buried herself in his chest. “My poor mama. I never knew how it hurt to let go. Where did she get the strength to let me come here?” she whispered.
“She loves you,” he said simply, running his hand through her hair. “She wanted you to be happy.”
Kagome just let InuYasha hold her, running his hands down her back and through her hair in soothing strokes, lost in her thoughts. After awhile, he lay them both down and pulled the cover over them, spooning her close to him.
“Will . . . will I ever be able to let go like that?” she said, mostly to herself, after a while. His hand, splayed across her stomach, pulled her closer.
“Oi, woman, you might want to let him grow up first,” InuYasha said. “It’s not like he’s always all sweet and cuddly. You were pretty mad at him the other day when he beaned you with his toy horse.”
“But he’s just a baby,” she replied. Kagome rolled over and looked at him, narrow-eyed.
“Give yourself years of him doing that, and then ask if you’re ready,” he said. “What if he turns out like my brother? I bet you’ll be ready to let him go then.”
“Why you – ” she said, but he rolled her under him, and kissed her soundly.
She started to push him away, but InuYasha quickly said, “He could never turn out like my brother. He’s got you for a mama.” Suddenly, he got a panicked look in his eye. “What . . . what if he turns out like me?”
Kagome started to laugh. “That’d make me perfectly happy.” She kissed him lightly on the nose. “Go to sleep, husband. The sooner we get home, the sooner we can see just who he’ll grow up like.”
InuYasha kissed her again, a quick peck before rolling off of her and spooning her back close to him. “Long as he doesn’t grow up to be like that monk,” he said.
Kagome giggled one more time, then snuggling close, drifted off to sleep.