A Surprise Too Early in the Morning
A hand shook her shoulder. “Wha . . . ” she muttered
Kagome opened her eyes to see InuYasha’s glowing eyes and his finger to his lips. It was almost dawn. They had spent the night in the forest, coming back from a visit to Kaede. The sky had just begun the faintest touch of gray, but seeing her husband on alert, she came to almost immediately, and reached over and grabbed her bow and quiver.
“Do you feel that youki?” he whispered. He audibly sniffed, but frowned. “Whoever it is, is upwind of us.”
The hairs on the back of her neck stood up from the power of whomever it was in the area. Kagome nodded, took an arrow out of her quiver. InuYasha, standing up silently, drew his sword and stood in readiness. The blade glowed softly as the magic ran up and down its length in the dim light. His ears strained, listening for the slightest sound.
Suddenly, there was a deep sigh and an indecipherable mutter as branches cracked and rattled in front of them. The brush parted, and a single figure walked through the undergrowth.
“Ah, there you are!” said the old, rough voice.
It was like the air let out of a balloon as the two of them recognized the old, grizzled figure in front of them.
“What the hells, Toutousai?” InuYasha said, letting his sword transform back into its old battered self. “What are you doing sneaking up on me like that? I almost Kaze no Kizu’ed you. ”
Kagome smiled and let her arrow down.
The old man bowed in Kagome’s direction. “Good morning, lovely lady,” he said.
InuYasha nudged him lightly on his shoulder. “What do you want?” the old smith asked.
“I said, what are you doing sneaking up on me like that?” InuYasha repeated, this time with a soft growl.
“You shouldn’t try to scare an old man like that,” Toutousai said, poking him with a sheathed sword. “Oh, it’s just you and your lady. Good. I was trying to make sure it was just you and not your brother here. Where’s your little one?”
“At home with the brother you’re trying to avoid,” the hanyou said, losing patience quickly.
“I was wondering. Well, I’ve got the blade your brother commissioned, and was wondering how to get it to him. He wasn’t very happy after our last transaction.” The old smith sighed, then chuckled. “But it was worth every moment of it.”
Kagome moved over to the fire ring, and stirred the fire back up. Toutousai tossed the sheathed sword towards the hanyou, who caught it and went down and sat near the fire. “Give this to your brother for me?”
“You’re still hiding from him after you pulled his tooth?” InuYasha said, sheathing his sword.
“You should have seen how wide his eyes got,” the old youkai chuckled. “I thought there for a minute he was going to gut me. Ah, but it felt good. I owed him that one.”
“Don’t think he’s over it yet?” Kagome asked, putting water on to heat.
InuYasha looked at the sword in his hand. Like Tessaiga, it looked like a rather decrepit old blade. But it was smaller and lighter than his sword, a wakizashi instead of a katana
“At my age, you learn not to take chances,” said the old man, scratching the back of his head.
“Is this . . . ” InuYasha said.
“Yeah, that’s the sword for Sesshoumaru’s daughter. Hope she takes care of it better than you’ve taken care of Tessaiga.” Before InuYasha could to or say anything, Toutousai had grabbed the sword at InuYasha’s side and pulled it into his lap. The sword hummed as he stroked its hilt.
He pulled it out of its sheath, pulled the blade up next to his face so he could peer along its edge. “Why I got to admit, young pup, this looks nearly as good as the last time I saw it. Maybe you’re learning to respect your weapon at last.”
“Keh,” InuYasha said. “As if I didn’t already.”
The old youkai reached into his robe, took out a small packet, and handed it to Kagome. “Give this to your little one.”
“Thanks for delivering the sword for me. I’ll be seeing you again, not too long from now, from the looks of things, I reckon. Tell that brother of yours to take care of that daughter of his. Hope she takes after his wife and not his mother.” He stood up, and with a wave of his hand, he darted back the way he came. A few minutes later, they saw his bull rise in the sky and head off for home.
“How did he know?” said a bemused Kagome. “I know he doesn’t have your sense of smell. How did he know I was expecting? I know I’m not showing yet.”
InuYasha shrugged. “I swear that old smith can taste the chance to pull an Inu tooth.”
Kagome stifled a giggle, and got up and wrapped her arms around her irritated husband“It’s too early. Let’s go back to bed.”
InuYasha raised an eyebrow. “You can go back to sleep after all that?”
She gave him a sultry look. “Probably not.”
“Me neither,” he replied, and brushed a finger gently across her cheek.
Together they walked back to their bedroll. When they got up later, they were in a much better mood.