It had been one of those days. The rain wouldn’t stop falling. Kagome, in an attempt to escape the noise in the house, sat on the veranda, watching the water drip off the roof in large, heavy drops. In front of her was a tub filled with water and red beans. She sighed as she stirred the water, washing them.
InuYasha stepped out of the house. “Whoever thought two little boys could make so much noise?” he said, squatting down next to his wife. “Wonder if they’re this noisy when Atae’s at Miroku’s house? I’ll have to ask Sango.” His long hair just brushed the ground behind him.
Kagome moved to the edge of the veranda and strained the beans, letting the liquid run off into the ground. “Were you able to get them to quiet down any?”
“A little maybe. Pheasant and Dog were having an argument over who got to kill the King of the Oni, but they ended up on top of the cabinet instead. Here,” he said, his voice a little unsure. He handed her a medicine cup. “You left this.”
“Thanks,” she said, taking the cup from his hand. “My headache isn’t getting any better.” She took a sip of the tea, and made an ugly face, then sighed, and swallowed the rest of it down.
“Looks like it tastes as bad as it smells,” Inu said, taking the cup from her hand, and wrapping an arm around her.
“Yeah,” she said. “But it works. How are the girls?”
“I put them in the sleep room. I checked on them before I came out. The twins were playing with some dolls, and Kiyome was undressing the dolls as fast as they dressed them.”
“Sounds like a four year old,” Kagome said, picking up the tub of beans and reaching for the medicine cup. InuYasha handed it to her. “We probably ought to go in.”
InuYasha stood up and took the tub from her.“Why don’t you stay – ” Suddenly there was the sound of something breaking, and a boy’s wailing.
Kagome closed her eyes for the count of three while InuYasha rushed inside. When she got back inside, she saw the tub of beans on the floor, Atae looking up at his father with frightened eyes, and Naoya, Miroko’s oldest son surrounded by his two sisters Noriko and Yasuko, had tears down his cheeks and was holding up a scraped elbow. Kiyome, standing further back, chewed on the hand of one of the cloth dolls. InuYasha knelt down, looking at a broken bowl on the floor, cracked into three large and several smaller pieces.
He looked up at Kagome. “I’m sorry, Koibito.” His voice was soft and regretful.
“Mama,” Atae said.
“Be quiet, Atae,” the hanyou said. “I am not happy with you right now.” His eyes narrowed for a moment.
The boy’s lip wavered and his eye glinted and his ears laid back. He brought a fist up to his lips and bit down on his knuckle.
“Is anybody hurt?” Kagome asked, kneeling down in front of the broken bowl. She picked up the largest fragment. It was blue and white, one of the first dishes she and InuYasha had, a gift from Kaede her second day back.
“Naoya scraped his elbow when they fell. Evidently he had crawled up on Atae’s shoulders trying to reach the dog and pheasant toys. Is that what happened?”
Naoya nodded, not meeting the hanyou’s eyes. Yusuko kissed his head.
“You’re ok?” Kagome asked, as she rotated the piece of pottery in her hand. It was her bowl, and it was special to her. She thought of all the meals she had fixed and ate out of it, and sighed.
He nodded. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
“Mama,” Atae repeated. He chewed his lip, looking up at her. His large amber eyes were damp but not crying yet. Still, he sniffled.
She picked up another piece of the bowl. “Why, baby?”
He took a deep breath. “Daddy said we could have’m back when we behaved. We was behaving, but Daddy was outside.” Atae rubbed his nose. “Didn’t mean to break your bowl.”
Kagome looked up at her husband, who caught her eyes. His right ear was twitching, and gave her a look that let him know he wasn’t sure what to do either. Her head was throbbing, but she picked up all the large pieces and stood up. Taking a deep breath, she looked down at the pieces, and at her son, who sniffled again.
“It’s just a bowl,” she said, and laid the pieces back on the shelf in the cupboard. “But what you did was not behaving. You didn’t wait for your father.” As she wetted a cloth from the water bucket, she noticed that sunlight was now coming through the windows. The rain had finally broken. She knelt back down to wipe the floor and catch any splinters.
“Pick up your toys,” InuYasha said. “No more of them until you two boys learn what behaving means.” He looked at the light coming in. “And after that, you two can go down to the stream and get water until the water jar is full. And after that, you can bring in the firewood.”
The two boys moved to put up the pile of figurines and sticks and stones away in their box, and went where the water pails were kept, then headed out of the door. Kagome smiled weakly at her husband.
“What about us, Uncle?” Noriko asked, grabbing little Kiyome’s hand.
“Did you do anything wrong?” he asked.
She shook it no.
“Then you can do what you want,” he said. “It’ll be wet outside, though. And muddy.”
The two twins looked at each other, then taking their little sister in hand, went back into the sleep room, and slid the door behind them. Suddenly it was quiet. InuYasha picked up the wet cloth from her hand and put it away. In the distance, they could hear Atae yelling something about evil oni.
InuYasha sat back down behind Kagome, and wrapped his arms around her. “Sorry this happened, Koibito. Been a rough afternoon. I know you liked that bowl.”
“It’s just a bowl,” she said, leaning back against him. “I know what really matters.”
They sat there for a time, enjoying the peace, and Kagome felt her headache go away. The silence, though, was broken when two wet, smiling, bucketless boys bounded into the room. Atae, smiling hugely, bounded up in front of the two of them.
“Look, Daddy! I got a fish!” he said, proudly showing them the still not quite dead creature.
“He’s definitely your son,” Kagome said, standing up. “You get to show him how to clean it.” And with that, she moved to her cooking area and began to cook her beans.