A Time for Recovering
The water cascaded down, a small waterfall that spilled into a small pool of crystal clear water before it spilled over one more narrow enclosure to run off to the world outside.
The weather was warm. Kagome lay back on a spread-out cloth, looking at light dappled by tree branches in the wind. InuYasha hovered over her; it had not been that long since she had been injured the day the bandits attacked, and she was still pale and frail.
Kagome watched her husband out of the corner of her eyes as he readied their camp for the evening, finding firewood and drawing water and laying out their bedroll. He moved nearly silently, but she could see his tenseness shouting out as he moved.
Saying nothing, she instead thought about the day that brought them here, when the bandits had captured her and two girls of the village, and InuYasha and the villagers turned out in a rescue party. She had been horribly beaten by one of the bandits, but her body was mostly healed, if not all her mind. In some ways, though, she was lucky, because she had fallen unconscious early and didn’t remember much. She couldn’t say the same of InuYasha. In some ways his wounding, invisible though it was, was deeper. So today and maybe for a few days more, Miroku and Sango were watching Atae to give the two of them some time to heal the invisible wounds.
“This is a beautiful place,” she said, more to break the silence than anything.
“Yeah. I thought you’d like it,” he said, snapping some dry branches into firewood lengths. “The water here’s kind of cold, but there’s a hot spring not that far from here.”
She gave an audible sigh. InuYasha stopped stacking wood and looked up at her, his amber eyes examining her in case there was something wrong. Kagome turned and saw him watching, and smiled. Hurrying with his tasks, he came and stretched out next to her, and took her hand in his. He laced his fingers between hers, and squeezed gently.
“I was wondering how long you were going to let me lay here by myself,” she said, smiling. She rolled towards him, lifted fingers up to his cheeks. “You need to slow down so you can relax too.”
“Keh,” he said, rolling over on his back. “Don’t worry about me, woman.” He did not let go of her hand.
She snuggled up, resting her head against his chest. He let go of her hand so he could drape his arm around her shoulders. “I’m not going to break, InuYasha,” she said as she let her fingers run across his chest, dancing over the red fabric. “At least not here with you watching every move I make.”
“Don’t talk to me about you getting broken, woman. I know how close you came to it,” he replied. Although he tried to mask it, she heard the small sigh he made.
“You’ve taken such good care of me.” Kagome sat up on one elbow, and played with the cord that closed his suikan. “Perhaps it’s your turn to need care.”
He looked up at the tree tops, and how the light passed through the shadow. “Feh.”
Her lips gently brushed his cheek. “Don’t tell me ‘Feh,’ Mister,” she said. “You’ve been carrying me and Atae so long you don’t even know how tired you are.” She moved behind his head, pulling his silver hair to one side and resting his head in her lap. She gently massaged the corners of his forehead.
He closed his eyes as her fingers worked their magic. “It’s my job to protect you, care for you and keep you safe.”
Her fingers worked their way across his scalp and began to massage the base of his ears. “And you do it well. But sometimes it’s my job to be there for you, too, husband.” She lightly kissed the tips of both his ears.
InuYasha sat up and turned around to face her. Kagome could see the fatigue and anxiety in his eyes. Suddenly, he crushed her to him, tucking her head under his chin. “You were so bruised and battered when I found you. I was . . . I was so . . . scared.” He swallowed. “I’d never seen you hurt so bad, Koibito. For the first time it really dawned on me that you could be really hurt, or . . . ” He swallowed hard. “Or even killed.”
For a moment, she wrapped her arms around him, rocking him back and forth, like she might do their son. Pushing back just enough so that she could look at his face, she smiled gently. “But I wasn’t killed. You saved me, InuYasha. You saved me and those girls from a horrid fate. You did what you were supposed to do. And then you took care of me and Atae until I got better.”
She lifted up her hand, ran her fingers through his satin hair and around his neck. “Let me take care of you now. It’s time for me to take care of you.”
She let her lips brush against his, gently, a soft thank you and invitation. He accepted the invitation, deepening the kiss as their lips parted and they tasted each other. One of his hands sought the back of her neck, the other slid along her back, pulling her body closer to his as his tongue danced gracefully with hers, prolonging the sweet contact.
“You take care of me just by being here,” he said, in between kisses.
“I was thinking about something more active, like a massage, a soak in the hot spring, a hot dinner,” she replied. “But this will do to start.”
He kissed her once again, and laid them both down on the mat. There, under the dappled light of the tree’s branches, wrapped in each other’s arms, they both fell sound asleep.