One Day While Waiting
Miroku was trying very hard not to tease his friend, but the hanyou was making it harder and harder as each day passed. Four days had gone by since Kagome had joined Kaede at the shrine, away from all the men and women and hanyou and youkai in the village. Only a small handful of women were at the shrine - Kaede, Kagome, the wives of the village leaders. At the stairway that lead up to the sacred precinct, a band of guards kept watch, keeping everybody else away. InuYasha had not taken the separation in good grace.
InuYasha sat on the verandah of his house, looking forlornly at the shrine on the rise behind the village.
"Cheer up, InuYasha," Miroku said, leaning up against one of the verandah posts. "It's only for a few more hours. She'll be able to come home before sunset."
"Keh," the hanyou murmured. "Still don't know why she had to be up there all week."
"You know what Kaede told you. It's a very special ritual they only do once a decade. No male presence is allowed," he said. "The well-being of the whole village depends on this, or so they say. Besides, she's perfectly safe."
InuYasha looked down at his hands and flexed them. His claws caught in the light. "I would have felt better if they had let me be part of the guard."
"You know why you're not," Miroku replied.
"Feh. The village guard - they're just a bunch of scared old men, afraid of my youki," InuYasha said, frowning an even deeper scowl, then he sighed. "I just worry about her."
Miroku sat down. "It's more than that, friend. Kaede-sama said that Kagome reacts too much to the touch of your youki. She wouldn't be able to focus her energy on the ritual if she could feel you worrying about her."
"Still stupid. I'm her husband. I ought to be able to help." InuYasha jammed his hands inside his sleeves.
The monk laid his staff across his lap. "You are helping by staying up here. Not one person's tried to come to the village from this direction since the rite started."
"Not going to, either," InuYasha replied. "A couple of'em thought about it, but saw me and ran away."
Miroku snorted, and thought no doubt the agitated state of his friend's aura had helped as well. "At least you're getting peace and quiet. Your home hasn't been designated the babysitting spot for those mothers up on the hill."
InuYasha lifted an eyebrow, and cracked a small, dark smile. "Now I know why you've been coming to see me so often, eh? House a little noisy?"
"You have no idea, my friend. Thank goodness Kaede decided Rin was too young to take part in the rite."
InuYasha snickered. "Yeah. Otherwise, Sango'd be making you stay closer to home."
"She's actually chased me out twice," Miroku said. "Told me something about not needing another child underfoot."
That got a real laugh out of the hanyou. "Well, you can keep Atae one more night. I'll have some...business to take care of when Kagome comes back."
"You're cold, friend." Miroku sighed. "Not a bit of mercy."
"Not a bit. Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow," InuYasha said. "I'll owe you."
"You and three other men in the village," the monk said. "I plan on collecting."
Miroku stood up, and smoothed out his robes. Today was strange, he decided. Somehow or other, he had ended up being the one getting teased, but he wasn't sure he liked it. Shrugging his shoulders, he bid his friend goodby and walked slowly home, daydreaming of an empty house.