The late afternoon sun filtered through the trees, dappling the clearing with shifting light as the breeze blew through the branches. On one end of the clearing a spring bubbled up, adding its warmth to the warmth of the day. A pile of clothing, red and white, lay across a large rock.
Kagome slipped into the hot mineral waters with a satisfied sigh, leaning up against the side of the rock. “Thank you for finding this place, InuYasha,” she said, as she stretched out her legs and let the water take away some of the stress from the last few days, fighting oni and dealing with anti-youkai monks.
InuYasha muttered a “Keh,” but sat cross-legged and fully dressed on the rock next to Kagome’s clothes. For the moment, his back was turned away from her while he kept watch. His ears twitched to the sound of the late afternoon forest, small birds chittering and the wind. Somewhere, a squirrel was barking at something that had caught its attention. The air felt calm and peaceful in its isolation. Even so, InuYasha sat tensely.
"This is a part about traveling over the countryside that I really love," Kagome said. "Finding a really nice hot spring someone hasn’t already turned into an inn or a bath house, and it’s just me and you."
InuYasha snorted. “So you’d rather me drag you out into the forest when you want to have a bath rather than make sure you have a nice bathing room in the house? I could take it out. I’m sure we could turn it into a store room or maybe into a room for Atae to play in.”
“Don’t you dare!” she said. “Anyway, I’m not the only one who likes to use it. I seem to remember a time or two you rather enjoyed yourself there.” Kagome smirked at him and waggled her eyebrows.
“That’s true,” he said, turning around and looking down at the vision of his wife stretched out in the water like some nymph. He swallowed once, then tossed a pebble into the water, making it ripple. “But I also seem to remember a certain gray-eyed wench who keeps sneaking into the bathing room when I’m just there minding my own business.”
“That’s only because I know you need someone to wash your back,” she replied. “Like I do now. Aren’t you going to join me?”
He shook his head no.
“Why?” she asked.
InuYasha sighed. “I just feel uneasy, like something’s going to happen. Maybe some of them bastard monks we had to deal with are trailing us or something. Maybe it’s nothing. But I just don’t want to take a chance at being caught off guard.”
“Ah,” she said, biting her lip as if thinking about something. Picking up a handful of water, she splashed her face, then poured another over her shoulders.
He watched her as she washed off the dirt of the last two days, his eyes hungry, but his face set in a determined look. They said nothing for a few minutes. The only real sounds to be heard were hers as she moved in the spring.
Finally, she stood up. “I’d really like to forget this week even happened. It’ll be good to get home,” she said.
He looked at her appreciatively, at how her skin glistened in the late afternoon light, beaded with pearls of water. “Yeah it will,” he said, swallowing hard, but handing her a towel. “It really will.”