After The End: New Beginnings

All You Need Is Love

“Wonder how long it's going to take for word to spread that we're married now,” Inuyasha murmured quietly as they walked, none of the villagers within earshot.

“We could tell Yumiko-chan,” Kagome joked. “Then everyone would know by morning.”

Inuyasha snorted a laugh.

Nodding their heads in return to the few more bows they received from passersby along their way, it didn't take hanyou and miko long to reach the monk and slayer's house. The squealing laughter of happy toddlers at play was the first thing Inuyasha heard as they neared the property, and rather than finding the sound annoying, his eyes softened. He loved those little girls.

Raising his hand to knock on the doorframe he never got the chance, never made a sound, pausing with his hand raised as both he and Kagome clearly heard the toddlers within the house both stop what they were doing and shout “Doggy!” in unison.

Kagome chuckled.

“They've definitely got their father's spiritual powers,” she commented proudly.

The hanging door mat moved aside then, revealing Sango's smiling face, giggling two-year-olds peaking out from behind her legs on either side.

“Knock knock,” Kagome said then, in way of greeting.

“Come in, come in!” Sango answered as she turned and went back in to pick up the suddenly fussing Ichirou, whom she then immediately handed over to Kagome as the miko slipped off her sandals and stepped up onto the raised wooden floor.

“Can you take him?” she asked after Kagome was already holding the baby, who'd immediately quieted down again in the miko's arms, and then without waiting for an answer Sango turned and scurried back over to the pot of rice she was currently cooking.

Inuyasha laughed at the scene.

“Sorry, did we catch you at a bad time?”

Sango looked up from her cooking and quirked a brow.

“I'd figured it was the smell of food that drew you here.”

The hanyou laughed again, and then Kagome, while smiling down at the little bundle she held she held in her arms, said “Nope, we came to share the great news.”

Sango looked up from her rice at that, and gave the pair a knowing smile.

“All went well with Haruto-sama, then?”

“As well as it went with you and the bouzu,” Inuyasha answered.

“What about Sango and I?” asked Miroku as he entered the hut behind Inuyasha and Kagome just in time to hear the hanyou's statement.

“Impeccable timing,” the taijiya commented over her rice. “I swear, your stomach is more predictable than the stars.”

Kagome chuckled at the quip as she had a seat beside Sango, little Ichirou still in her arms, but Miroku didn't have time to react to his wife's comment, his daughters immediately demanding his attention.

“Otou!” Misaki squealed in delight, raising her arms in the universal gesture for 'pick me up!'

“Otou, Doggy here!” Mizuki stated next, pointing frantically at Inuyasha as if her father hadn't previously noticed the half inu man standing two feet away from him.

“Yes, I can see that,” Miroku answered, humoring the elder twin.

Leaning his shakujo against the wall, he then slipped off his sandals and stepped up onto the raised wooden floor, picking the still waiting younger twin up before having a seat beside his wife on Sango's other side.

Inuyasha followed suit, stepping up onto the raised wooden floor as well to have a seat next to his own wife while Miroku complemented the smell of Sango's cooking.

His wife...

He had a wife.

He grinned.

“I said it went as well for us with the headman as it did for you two,” he explained then, grinning and nodding when Miroku looked his way with a curious eye.

“Well!” Miroku stated happily then. “Congratulations are indeed in order!”

With Kagome and Inuyasha officially invited to stay for lunch, not that either of them actually needed an invitation, Sango insisted, exclaiming that the two of them were of course welcome at any time, the foursome held off on starting the conversation everyone was eager to have as they sensed little Shippou's approach, knowing the kitsune would feel left out if they didn't wait for him. The fox child had felt it when Kagome and Inuyasha had exited the headman's compound and had excused himself from his friends as quickly as he could. He entered the monk and slayer's house less than a minute later, just as Sango was moving the finished rice away from the fire.

“Tease away, squirt,” Inuyasha said casually in way of greeting, in far too good a mood at the moment to get upset at anything the kitsune could possibly say. “I'm the luckiest baka in the world, and even after the kami gave me a second chance I might not even deserve, I almost screwed that up with my baka-ness, but for some odd reason, Kagome's still willing to put up with me.”

“For the rest of my life,” the miko added, not bothering to cover her mouth as she smiled, the expression more genuinely happy rather than amused.

“Does this mean what I think it means?” Shippou asked, his expression and tone of voice both genuinely happy as well and not teasing in the slightest, as he met Kagome's eyes rather than Inuyasha's to seek final verification.

She nodded.

“It means you are looking at the wife of our inu-youkai protector, Shippou, so you had better not expect her to shield you from him should you push Inuyasha's patience too far,” Miroku stated with feigned seriousness. “Kagome-sama will have to defer to her husband now.”

In reality, Miroku's words were meant to tease not only Shippou, but Inuyasha, as well. He didn't believe for a second that their feisty little future-born miko was suddenly going to become a quiet, obedient wife. Not any more than Sango had. He mentally chuckled at the absurd thought. Sango was anything but quiet and obedient, and he wouldn't have her any other way. Her differences from the customary norm were what had made him fall so deeply in love with her in the first place.

Deciding to play along, and tease Kagome as well in the process, Inuyasha chimed in with, “Yeah, runt, so you'd better not piss me off, or I'll kick ya 'round as much as I want and ain't nobody gonna stop me.”

Three can play at this game... Kagome thought, smirking.

“Oh, yeah?” she asked, in that tone of voice. “Osuwa-!” she shouted, stopping herself before completing the word.

Inuyasha instinctively flinched, genuinely startled, which caused Kagome, Shippou, and Sango to snicker quietly in amusement, while Miroku laughed a bit more heartily.

Inuyasha turned and glared at his wife, but there was no real fire in his eyes.

“Not funny, wench.”

He definitely wasn't pissed. Embarrassed, maybe, but not pissed.

“I thought it was,” she answered nonchalantly, which earned a chuckle from the hanyou himself that time.

“Whatever...” he dismissed, before turning back to the kitsune. “But yeah, Shippou, it's official, we're married now.”

The kit beamed at him.

“Don't worry, Inuyasha, I'll give you two plenty of alone time together. I know I like to pick on you, but I'd never be that Kagome.”

The miko laughed despite the heat she could feel rushing to her cheeks, Inuyasha's own deep blush at Shippou's words making her feel more amused than embarrassed, herself. Three years ago she would have admonished the boy for saying such things, but despite his appearance Kagome knew Shippou was actually a lot older than he looked, and even though his appearance wasn't really an illusion because he was still just a child, by youkai standards, there was simply no way a young kitsune boy was going to remain ignorant to the ways of mature adults. Especially when she considered the fact that some of the lessons he was learning in his version of school probably included how to transform into a beautiful woman to seduce unsuspecting men. It was the oldest kitsune trick in the book, and one Miroku had been all too happy to help the other foxes perfect during their impromptu stay at the Kitsune Inn that one time.

With everyone settling back down after their moment of fun, Sango was ready to serve up lunch, and after helping the nervous Kagome to carefully tuck the drowsy Ichirou back into his basket cradle, pretty soon the only sounds that could be heard were those of eating. At least until the twins suddenly decided their chopsticks made better toy daggers than eating utensils and Sango had to say a few words to get them to behave and eat properly again. Kagome and Inuyasha only chuckled at the scene.

Once lunch was finished, hanyou and miko stayed with their friends for a while longer, Kagome chatting with Sango amiably while the slayer gave Ichirou his own lunch. Kagome was fascinated by the act of breast feeding, and asked Sango what it felt like, earning a grumble from her husband to stop discussing 'girlie' things in his presence, which earned him Kagome sticking her tongue out at him in reply, although they did change the subject. Inuyasha, shaking his head at his wife's antics, started going over the list of things he wanted to get at the market the following day with Miroku, asking the houshi to give him from his stash the amount of money he figured he'd better bring with them. He asked for more money than he honestly thought he needed, having a fairly good grasp of what most things cost from his numerous trips to the market with Miroku, but this would be his first time going to there with Kagome, who was now his wife, and if she just happened to see something, anything, that she ended up wanting, he wanted to be able to buy it for her.

He told her as much when she raised an eyebrow at the amount of money Miroku counted out into the pouch he then handed over. She figured a nice quiver might be a bit expensive, but it couldn't be that expensive.

“It's not like I'm going to want some fancy necklace or hair comb,” she insisted, flattered but wanting to reassure her new husband that material things weren't really that important to her.

He merely shrugged, and she rolled her eyes.

“Well, I suppose there are some things I'd like to get tomorrow besides a new quiver, so long as you're offering,” she stated then, asking Miroku if she could have a slip of paper to write down a short list.

Instead of wasting any of the monk's ink for such a trivial thing she asked her new husband to please grab her a charred stick from the firepit with those fireproof hands of his, and he immediately complied, finding her a good one that was about the same size as the pencils he remembered from the future. Kagome used it as such, writing a brief charcoal list of only a few essentials.

Inuyasha observed as she listed only simple, practical things. Some good feathers for fletching, since she'd need to get started on making up some arrows right away.

Makes sense, he thought.

A fire steel and a couple of flint stones.

Makes even more sense. He nodded his approval.

Some sewing supplies, like needles, a thimble, thread and thread wax, a pair of scissors, plus a good length of some plain, inexpensive fabric, so that she could have something to practice with before cutting into the nicer fabric she'd been given.

“Keh, done,” he said with a nod, not even hesitating a moment because he knew he had plenty of money to cover the cost of such things.

Sniffing the air, Inuyasha shifted his gaze Sango's way, the taijiya having just laid little Ichirou down after his feeding.

“Yo, Sango, kid needs changin'.”

“Already?” she asked, with an almost whimsical sigh to her voice, as if she were used to that routine, which Kagome imagined she probably was.

Picking Ichirou back up, Sango didn't even bother to give her son an experimental sniff herself, trusting the hanyou's nose. Moving over to the cabinet that held his clean diapers, Sango proceeded to undress and change Ichirou. As soon as she got him undone, she made an exaggerated sound and turned to glance Inuyasha's way over her shoulder. “You weren't kidding!” she joked as she got to work.

Inuyasha and Miroku both chuckled, while Kagome cocked her head to the side and gave her husband a curious glance.

“What?” he asked, his tone of voice still mirthful.

“I'm just surprised you aren't bothered by the smell is all,” she explained. “With your nose, I'd think a stinky diaper would be more than you could handle.”

Inuyasha gave her a funny look at that, and then chuckled again, shaking his head some in amusement.

“Not like it's a weird man-made smell, like ink or dye. I'm half dog, remember? Why would the smell of poop bother me?”

Even Kagome had to laugh at that one.

“Good point,” she said with a giggle. “I guess I never thought about it that way.”

Inuyasha opened his mouth to say more, but it was in that moment that his ears suddenly turned to face the door, before flattening against his head, a mildly irritated expression appearing on his face.

“What is it?” Kagome asked, but before he could answer there was a light rapping on the doorframe.

“Neighbors,” he grumbled quietly then, as Miroku got up to answer the door while Sango sent the hanyou a sheepish, apologetic look.

“Houshi-sama, please forgive our intrusion...”

The neighbors gushed their greetings as Miroku bid them entry, bowing to both he and Sango, and then, remaining in the beaten earth entryway, they bowed humbly in the bemused hanyou and miko's direction.

“Oh, Inuyasha-sama, Kagome-sama, we heard the fabulous news and wanted to congratulate you both on your union right away!” the woman stated, her husband adding, “And rest assured, my lord, the men will be gathered quickly to begin work on your house. We can start as early as tomorrow morning, should you wish it.” They both bowed deeply a second time.

Kagome could hear Inuyasha's quiet sigh, only because she was sitting so close to him, and then almost as if he'd slipped a mask in place, he rose regally to his feet before nodding his head back at both of them.

“Tomorrow is Market Day, and as I'm sure many of you already had your own plans, as do we, there is no need to trouble yourselves over our house first thing tomorrow morning. It can wait another day. We still have to survey the land. I will tell Haruto to gather the workers once Kagome and I have selected the precise location where we wish it to be built.”

Nodding their understanding and bowing again, Sango and Miroku's neighbors then quickly excused themselves, practically scurrying out of the hut. Kagome waited a few seconds before speaking, until she was certain they were out of earshot.

“'re good at that,” she complemented then, as he plopped back down on the floor beside her.

“Feh,” he grumbled, although he offered her a half-smile as he glanced her way. “I've had some practice putting on appearances. Had a great mentor.”

He gestured with a wave in Miroku's direction, and the monk pretended to look offended at the accusation.

“I am certain I do not know what you mean,” he said.

“And I'm certain you do,” Sango chimed in, sending her husband a knowing look of her own as she put the changed and redressed Ichirou back to bed.

Inuyasha, Kagome and Shippou all laughed.

With it being about time to excuse themselves, the twins looking like they could use a nap and little Ichirou already asleep, hanyou and miko bid their friends a good rest of their day in that moment, promising that they'd be by first thing in the morning to collect Miroku so that the trio could walk to the market together.

Heading back to Kaede's house, finally, the future-born miko shared the good news about her and Inuyasha's marriage with Kaede and Rin, and they both congratulated the pair as well, even though they'd both already known that morning what the purpose of their visit to the headman's house had been. That, and to begin the process of procuring a home for themselves. Kaede also agreed that in the forest near the well and Goshinboku was the most ideal location for their house, once she heard it, even going so far as to suggest that this would be the first of many steps that would ultimately lead to that location becoming the spot for Kagome's family's home and shrine five hundred years into the future.

Kagome immediately agreed, of course, stating how it stood to reason that eventually, when the time came, a shrine being built in that location to honor the presence of her and Inuyasha made perfect sense. Said hanyou didn't really want to think about a future time when all that might be left of his wife was a shrine built by the villagers in her honor, though, and so he quickly changed the subject, asking Kaede if there was anything she wanted them to pick up for her in the morning.

“I thank you for the kind offer, but please do not bother yourselves,” she answered, appreciative but waving off his concern all the same. “Hideaki's son already has my list for the usual things. In fact, if you leave at dawn's first light you may come upon him on the road.”

“Unlikely,” Inuyasha stated. “We gotta go get the bouzu first, and Sango'll insist he's had somethin' to eat before we hit the road. Plus Kagome also needs a good breakfast. A bit of a later start won't hurt nothin'. Least it ain't hot yet, so it's not like we'll be marching in the blazing sun.”

“Did plenty of that during the quest,” Kagome reflected. “Not fun.”

Kaede nodded her understanding, as she went through her various containers of herbs, preparing to make a medicine she really did need for somebody in the village that time. It wasn't another ruse to give Inuyasha and Kagome an excuse to leave together again, and in fact the herbs would not be offensive to his nose, she assured him, as she caught him eyeing her preparing the ingredients.

“Can I do it, Kaede-baa-chan?” Kagome asked then, eager to learn all that she could.

Glancing Inuyasha's way nervously after she spoke, worried he might've had other plans, he gave his new wife a reassuring smile that silently told her to go ahead and let Kaede show her how to make that medicine. Kagome grinned his way in reply, her eyes thankful, and she then proceeded to listen to everything Kaede had to tell her.

Inuyasha observed as Kaede prattled on about what purposes the various herbs used in that medicine had and how much was needed, his own smile never wavering. He was still living off the glow from the previous evening's activities, so he didn't need to greedily keep Kagome all to himself for a second evening in a row. Besides, he wasn't 100% sure he trusted himself to be that alone with her again, at least until their house was built. The fact that she was his wife now, and he could rightfully… Well, his right or not she still deserved better than to be taken out in the forest like an animal. He was an animal, or half, at least, and that was bad enough.

He was still worried about how she would react to learning about his other inhuman features, although he was trying to take her confident reassurances to heart that his youkai half didn't bother her in the slightest, even when it came to matters of the bedroom. He hoped that that was true, since there was nothing he could do about that part if it wasn't, but he could at least promise her a roof and a bed for those activities, instead of throwing his inhumanity in her face by using the wild forest as their bedroom. It was the least he could do. Just because he was half dog didn't mean he had to rut her in the dirt like the dog he was. In this, he would focus on his human half, and resist his youkai instincts. He could survive off the high of simply knowing that she was his wife until their house was finally built, and hopefully by that time he'd have finally gotten over the rest of his insecurities as well. It was probably something the two of them needed to discuss openly, he realized, but not right away. He'd have to muscle up the courage for that too, first.

Of course, if Kagome had any say in the matter, she'd get him to realize that she did not require a roof, or a bed. All she needed was Inuyasha. In that moment the future-born miko was doing her best to actually pay attention to Kaede's lesson, though, unaware of the true severity of her new husband's inner turmoil. She wanted to learn herbs, after all, and she was doing her best to commit her sensei's words to memory. But it had not escaped her comprehension that Inuyasha and she were husband and wife, now, and all that that entailed.

She of course would never dream of actually doing anything with Kaede and Rin in the same room; she wasn't that much of a harlot. In her mind, that was what the privacy of the forest was for. So that was something she'd have to work on with her husband. In the meantime, though, when it came to their actual sleeping arrangements at night, Kagome had been telling the truth before when she'd told Inuyasha that she was certain Kaede would not mind it if they simply lied next to one another, and if he was too embarrassed to have witnesses then she was also sure they could use the changing screen to partition off a private corner of the room for themselves, to preserve modesty. He'd chickened out the night before, so she suspected Kaede and Rin baring witness was a good part of it. He no longer had the added excuse of them not technically being married yet. If he thought he was still going to sleep upright against that blasted wall of his, he had another think coming!

Still, Kagome knew she should rightfully ask Kaede her permission, first, since it was the elderly miko's home and she did not want to risk possibly offending her new sensei. She didn't honestly think it would offend Kaede, or she wouldn't even bring it up and leave Inuyasha to his wall, figuring better safe than sorry, but she knew Kaede well enough by that point to know what she could and couldn't ask the elderly miko without pushing boundaries.

She also knew what she could and couldn't ask in front of Inuyasha without it embarrassing her poor hanyou to high heavens, and asking Kaede with him sitting right there if it was all right with her if they snuggled would be too much for the inu-hanyou, she was sure. She'd be lucky if he didn't end up spending the night up on Kaede's roof. But Kagome had the perfect solution for that little hiccup, and would implement her plan at the appropriate opportunity, after her current lesson on herbal medicine had come to a close.

That opportunity came not too much later, as Kaede packaged up the finished product and asked Rin to please go deliver it for her. The eleven-year-old, once again dressed in her usual yukata, immediately complied to Kaede's wishes, putting down her new sewing project to run her errand for her. She was happy to help, knowing the elderly miko couldn't move as fast as her and that this was only a quick delivery of the medicine the people were already expecting and already knew how to use. It would only take her a few minutes. Promising she'd be right back as she grabbed the jar of medicine, she dashed out the door.

Kaede put a pot of water on to boil, then, while asking Kagome if she wouldn't mind washing the rice for her. Smiling sincerely, grateful to help in any way she could, Kagome immediately began washing the rice, and then turned to glance Inuyasha's way while in the middle of her task, putting her plan into motion.

“Inuyasha?” she began, immediately earning his attention.

“Hmm?” he asked from his place against the wall, watching her work with a lazy, stupid grin.

She grinned as well at the sight, realizing he was probably even happier about their marriage than she was, which she hadn't previously thought would be possible, but considering the life she'd had growing up versus the life he'd had, she couldn't blame him. Had she never been able to return to the past, she could have theoretically gotten over him and fallen in love with another man, she knew. Theoretically, at least, even though it would have never actually happened. But for Inuyasha, if it weren't for her return, he'd have had nobody; no potential love interests whatsoever, theoretical or otherwise. It wasn't fair, and it wasn't right, but she understood it was the truth. She'd spent her days as a little girl daydreaming about having a fancy wedding, about what kind of man she was going to marry, but Inuyasha, he'd spent his days as a little boy being told he was a worthless abomination by everyone but his mother, with nobody even willing to be his friend, let alone a potential girlfriend, and by the time he'd reached potential girlfriend age he'd been too busy trying to stay alive in the wild forests to worry about something as unrealistic, in his mind, as one day having a love to call his own.

While she'd given up her once-dream of a fanciful wedding ceremony, she didn't honestly care, having married the love of her life, and she couldn't be happier, but knowing that he had also married the love of his life, and that he was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that the woman he loved even loved him in return, Kagome found herself feeling even more happy for her husband than she was for herself. She had literally made his dreams come true by returning to him, and he'd already told her to her face that he'd do his best to give her whatever she wanted, whatever she asked of him. It was a little cruel to take advantage of that to send him out of the house in that moment, but ultimately it was for his own good, anyway, and besides, she wasn't lying.

“Would you mind seeing if you could catch a rabbit to add to tonight's dinner, if it wouldn't be too much trouble? I think I'm kind of craving a hearty meat dish again after all that delicious deer two nights back.”

He was on his feet in an instant, the look in his eyes determined, and not the least bit put out. She'd struck a nerve with his inu-youkai side; his mate was asking for meat and he would provide it for her.

And she actually really did want it; she hoped his hunt would be successful.

“I won't be long,” was all he said, and grabbing Tetsusaiga, he was out the door.

“Well, then I better make this fast,” Kagome mumbled to herself, sending an amused glance Kaede's way when the elderly miko raised an eyebrow at Kagome at her words.

“Something you wished to say in private?” the older miko inquired.

Kagome didn't hesitate to launch into her request, promising Kaede that she had no intention of scandalizing her and Rin with 'marital activities' from behind the screen, but that she wanted only to be able to sleep lying beside her husband, for Inuyasha to feel comfortable enough to hold her in his arms as he'd already told her he longed to do.

Kaede, as predicted, waved off Kagome's concern, assuring the younger miko that of course it was all right for her to share a private corner with her husband for such purposes, stating that Miroku and Sango had also done the same during the time it'd taken for their own house to be constructed.

Kagome relaxed at Kaede's reassurances, smiling appreciatively. She'd known of course that Miroku and Sango had stayed with her until their house was finished, but the little detail of whether or not they'd all still slept together in the one big open room like during the quest days, or if Miroku and Sango had used the screen for some semblance of privacy, had never come up. Kagome alsoknew that those two had also engaged in 'marital activities' prior to the completion of their house, having learned that bit of information during her lunch with them the day of the feast, when Inuyasha had been out hunting down that deer. Miroku had quite shamelessly boasted how he hadn't been able to wait even one more day on marrying Sango after the battle was won, hence why they'd gone to the headman right away to record it, just like she and Inuyasha had done that morning, and since they'd obviously not yet had a house to call their own, either, Miroku had said that he and Sango had taken off for the market village straight afterwards, even though it wasn't Market Day, because that village, much more a town than their own humble village, possessed a proper inn.

At that time, Kagome still hadn't known where she and Inuyasha stood, not having yet had their chance to sort everything out. In fact it'd been before their misunderstanding in the first place. Then as soon as Inuyasha'd come back, getting his wrong ideas from her wearing the miko robes, it'd been non-stop public relations until their night at Haruto's house had come to a close. The next day, once they'd finally gotten everything out in the open and had had their lovely evening together, bringing up the fact that they could go to the inn when Inuyasha had mentioned that she deserved better than the forest honestly just hadn't crossed her mind.

Thinking about it in that moment, though, as she put the cleaned rice on to cook, Kagome knew it was much too late to head to the market village now, and besides, tomorrow was Market Day and so they'd be there, anyway. Maybe, if she played her cards right, Miroku would be making the walk back home alone.

On the other hand, if a room would cost too much money she wouldn't worry about it, and Inuyasha might also feel weird about it, knowing how most villages other than their own tended to look at him. She didn't have his ears, but she wasn't deaf, and there had been plenty of times throughout the shard hunt where she'd heard the various whispers, people wondering why 'those people' – meaning her, Sango and Miroku – were traveling with 'that creature' – meaning Inuyasha. She'd been on the receiving end of some nasty whispers a few times, too. Even though she'd been a stubborn thing back then, and had insisted on wearing her school uniform for the principle of the thing, because she wasn't going to let other people tell her what she could or couldn't wear, she wasn't stupid, and she'd known how a skirt that short was viewed by most people in the century she now called home. Realizing in that moment that getting a room at the inn could either be an awesome idea, or a horrible one, she wouldn't try to be slick about it. She'd ask Inuyasha outright if he wanted to. It was the best way to know his thoughts on the matter, after all. Might be a little more brazen than he was expecting, but she was almost nineteen years old, and she was his wife; she had a right to be brazen, and more importantly than that, saying things outright would prevent any future misunderstandings. They'd had enough of those to last them a lifetime.

It was that mind-set that gave her the confidence to stick to her guns later that night, after dinner was through. Inuyasha had successfully caught a rabbit, of course, returning with it already skinned and gutted, and while Kaede'd tended to the vegetables Kagome had chopped up the rabbit meat, cooking it in a separate pan. Kaede had politely declined having any of the rabbit meat for herself, but when Rin had asked if she could have some Inuyasha had given Kagome a curt nod at her questioning glance. There had been plenty to spare; it'd been a fairly large rabbit.

Dinner was delicious, and now, with Kaede and Rin already ready for bed and settling into their places by the firepit, Inuyasha sitting up against the wall as per usual, Kagome knew it was time to act. First, she ducked behind the changing screen while leaving the screen in its customary location, stripping out of her yukata and into her pajamas. Then, she went over to the other corner that housed the storage chest that had been dedicated to hold her things, and retrieved her sleeping bag. So far, it was the same routine. She changed that routine up, however, by laying her sleeping bag down much closer to the storage chest than she'd done before, having previously brought her bag further out into the center of the room, closer to the fire, like the others.

Inuyasha, bless his heart, walked right into giving her the perfect setup in that moment, when he murmured quietly, “Why so far from the fire? I don't want you getting cold.”

She turned her head to look right at him, and smirked, the opportunity way too good to pass up.

“Well then you're just going to have to keep me warm,” she answered, making sure to keep her words a very quiet whisper so that he wouldn't feel the added embarrassment from fearing that either Kaede or Rin had overheard her.

She then proceeded to grab the screen from its corner and bring it over to where she was, setting it up between herself and the fire, which also meant, of course, that she was now completely cut off from the two people lying down on the other side of the fire. From his place against the side wall Inuyasha could still partly see behind the screen, seeing part of her movement as she settled herself down into her sleeping bag, but it was obvious to him that she hadn't been intending to block even half of his view of her. No, it was beyond obvious to him what she had actually just done, remembering how Sango and Miroku had done the same thing. He felt his cheeks flaming at the thought, but that didn't stop him from slowly, very slowly, getting up and heading over in her direction.

Setting Tetsusaiga down by her bow, he knelt down next to her as she propped herself up on an elbow to look at him in the darkness, their private little corner by the storage chest in shadow thanks to the screen blocking the direct light from the fire.

“We are married now, aren't we?” he asked with an edge of wonder in his voice, as if realizing himself that he was out of excuses for staying against the wall. The look in his eyes told her he was glad to be out of excuses.

“Yes, we are,” she answered, her tone loving and reassuring, and not seductive in the slightest. “We're not alone, so I know we need to keep our clothes on, but all I need to make my wedding night a dream come true is to spend it in your arms.”

He didn't reply verbally, but something in his eyes changed at her words, his gaze smoldering, almost burning right through her. It was a look not of sexual desire, but of desire as a whole, in its truest form. He remained silent as he reached for the edge of her sleeping bag, and scooting back to give him room, Kagome welcomed her husband with open arms as Inuyasha wordlessly joined her within the polyester cocoon. He whispered quietly then for her to turn around, and she immediately did so, and he didn't hesitate to tuck himself fully against her, pulling her in close as he spooned her from behind, burying his nose in her hair and inhaling deeply.

It occurred to him vaguely in the back of his mind that his sense of smell was pretty much out of commission all of a sudden, since all he could focus on was her. His ears, too, seemed to home in exclusively on the sound of her breathing, the rhythm of her heartbeat. It was potentially dangerous to sleep like this, he realized in that moment, since he was pretty much useless when it came to sensing any approaching threats, but he also knew that Kagome's unlocked spiritual powers could sense an encroaching demonic aura from miles away, and the realization that he was relying on his wife for protection in his distracted state didn't bother him in the slightest. He was proud of Kagome and her spiritual powers, and he trusted her with his life. It'd taken him a while to admit it, even to himself, but he'd entrusted her with not only his life, but also his heart, long before the defeat of Naraku. Now, on that night, in that moment, he had Kagome in his arms, his wife, his mate, and nothing else mattered. And although they hadn't actuallymated yet he knew that too would come soon enough, as soon as their house was finished. He'd waited this long for her; he could wait another month or so until constructed was completed. It wasn't that big of a deal.

In the meantime, though, he was never sleeping sitting up against that wall ever again.

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