Thinking by Firelight
Kagome woke up to find InuYasha sitting up, in bed, the bed clothes barely draped across his lap. He had gotten up earlier and stirred up the fire in the fire pit, and the ruddy glow touched his chest and hair and the planes of his face with soft highlights and made his eyes glitter. His look was intense and serious, and his eyes stared away into someplace far away.
Kagome sighed, very softly, then sat up and moved next to him. Laying her head against his shoulder, she simply said, “It felt like something wasn’t right.”
“Keh,” he muttered, and wrapped an arm around her. He didn’t meet her eyes, lowering his head and hiding them behind his bangs, but his right ear twitched like it did when he was distressed or unsure.
She took his other hand and placed it over her lower abdomen, and rested hers over it. “Are you worried about the baby?”
“No,” he said, then sighed. “Maybe. I don’t know. I heard that bitch over on the other side of the village today – ”
“Haname-sama?” Kagome said, looking up, touching his face.
For a moment his gaze was hard and unreadable, but then suddenly, it thawed. “Feh,” he said. “She doesn’t deserve an honorific.” InuYasha encircled Kagome’s wrist gently with his hand and laced his fingers in hers.
She frowned. “I know she doesn’t approve of us, really, but – ”
InuYasha brought her hand to his lips and gently kissed it. “All my life I’ve put up with people talking against me. But talking dirt about you is different.”
Kagome leaned against him again, and gave his hand a gentle squeeze. “She’s just one bitter old woman, InuYasha. She got angry the other day because she found out I was taking a turn at staying with old Daisuke last week when he was laid up with his back. Evidently she was expecting to be the one Kaede called on.” She sighed. “I feel sorry for her, really. She’s never been happy since her oldest son ran away to Odawara.”
“Yeah, well she was telling some of the women how you don’t deserve to be wearing miko clothes, even if Kaede puts up with it.” InuYasha’s arm pulled her to him a little tighter.
“Oh, I bet she said she wanted to rip the clothes off my back and would rather die in her own filth rather than let me touch her,” Kagome said.
InuYasha turned and looked at her, surprised. “You knew?”
“Yeah,” she replied, sighing a little. “Hana stopped by while you were out of the house and told me everything she said. I knew. It hurts a little, but I think of her family and her husband, having to put up with such an unhappy woman, and I feel sorry for all of them.”
“I . . . I . . .” he struggled for something to say.
“People are going to talk, I guess, if they want to. But Kaede knows about the baby, and so does Tomeo the headman, and they’re content. We have friends here, InuYasha. One bitter, sad woman won’t turn the whole village against us.”
“If you say so,” he said, his voice registering his doubt.
“I do. And I have you to protect me and our child. And I couldn’t be happier.” She reached up and kissed his chin. “Lay back down with me?”
InuYasha nodded, and followed her. As he lay there, stroking her hair and back, part of him, knowing the evil that lies in the heart of humans and that remembered the persecution of an odd boy who wasn’t like the others stayed vigilant. But after awhile, the part of him that had trust and hope in the future that the woman in his arms had brought to him, won out, and buoyed up by her touch and scent and optimism, he at last fell asleep.