InuYasha and Kagome sat by the fire pit eating breakfast. The two were unnaturally quiet, the only sounds being of their eating and the crackling sounds of the fire.
That is, the sounds were of his eating his breakfast. Kagome, instead, toyed with her food, and stared into the fire. After unsuccessfully trying to start a conversation with his wife, InuYasha successfully stole a pickle from her tray without her making a comment. He frowned.
“You’re getting that look again,” he said, putting down his rice bowl.
Kagome picked up her soup bowl and took a sip, and then turned to her husband as if she just realized he had said something. “What?”
“You’re getting that look.” His right ear twitched.
“What look?” she asked.
“The one you used to get when you were studying for those tests you used to take,” he said, picking his chopsticks and rice back up.
Kagome looked at him quizzically.
“You’d get this look in your eyes, like you were thinking of something miles away from the people next to you, and you’d look tired. Like you do this morning,” he said. “Your mind’s somewhere else.”
“Oh,” she said in a small voice. “I’ve been thinking of Etsumi.”
“The woman who died yesterday?” InuYasha’s voice was soft.
“Yeah. I know, I think, what was wrong with her.” Kagome sighed. “There’s a little bit of tissue in her belly that got infected. In my time, they would have done something that could have saved her. They would have gone in and cut it out. It’s the only cure for it. It was common enough that most people in my time knew how they would treat it, even if we didn’t have the training to do it. Here, now, it’s impossible to do more than we did.”
“I know you did what you could,” he said.
Kagome nodded. “Yeah. Kaede knew what it was, too. Maybe she wouldn’t explain it the same way I do, but she’d seen it before. It was very sad. She called her family in, and explained. Miroku came by and chanted the sutras and helped when it was time.” She dropped her head. “I didn’t know her well, but she had always been nice to me.”
InuYasha put down his rice and pushed his tray aside, and put his arms around his wife. She leaned into him. “Why’d she have to be born now, instead of later?”
“Fate is fate,” he whispered, running his hands down her back in soothing strokes.
“I know,” she replied. “Doesn’t mean I have to like it when it does something like this.”
“No, you don’t,” he said.
For a moment they both were silent. InuYasha’s thoughts turned to other blows of fate: the loss of his father, then mother, and other painful blows. He kissed her gently on the top of her head.
“Sometimes, though,” he said, after thinking of those dark things, “Fate does a good thing or two. Like bringing you into my life.”
She looked up and sighed a little, studying his amber eyes that looked into hers with compassion and seriousness, and love, then gave a little smile. “Yeah, we’ll give Fate a good one for that.”
He gave her a little squeeze, and kissed the top of her head again. “Stay home today. You need a day off.”
“You’re right,” she said, then sat up. “Maybe we should finish breakfast before it gets any colder.”
“Yeah,” he said, moving back to his seat, but not before stealing another pickle.
“InuYasha,” Kagome said, “Stop stealing my pickles! If you don’t, I’ll put hot peppers in the pickle mix.”
“You wouldn’t,” he said, picking his rice bowl back up.
“I would. But I love you anyway,” she said, taking her own bowl up.
“Glad to hear it,” he said, and content that he had chased the ghosts away for the moment, finished his breakfast.