After The End: New Beginnings

A guilt-free night

It didn't take that long to head back to Kaede's village, since he went straight there and at pretty close to his top speed. He needed to get her back to the elderly miko's house before he ended up making a detour. They couldn't go the hot spring yet; they didn't have any supplies with them for one thing, and second, the day was already half gone. When they did go, he was sure she'd want to make a mini vacation of it, and camp out there overnight. It would require at least a little planning ahead. For right now, in that moment, all the hanyou cared about was getting back to the village and having lunch. He was hungry.

He should probably also go check in with the builders, he realized, and make sure everything was coming along according to plan.

Arriving back at the edge of town, he asked Kagome over the wind if she'd like to make a quick stop at their property to check on the progress with him, since he could hear that the men were still hard at work, not yet having broken for lunch. She readily agreed, curious about their progress as well.

Descending within the shadows of the trees, hanyou and miko walked hand-in-hand until the sounds of men at work became legible to her human ears, and then respectfully ceasing their show of affection before it became public they continued on to emerge through the trees from what was essentially their backyard now. The workers all stopped what they were doing in surprise as the couple appeared, and then after some bowing and '-sama'ing, the man in charge began giving hanyou and miko a rundown of their progress.

They were still in the process of packing the dirt for the main house's foundation, but Inuyasha and Kagome could both see that a lot of work had been done towards that end. The village's best board maker was also set up off to the side, busily removing the branches from the trees Inuyasha had downed in preparation for splitting the logs into usable lumber. Asking him briefly approximately how many more trees he estimated would be required, Inuyasha nodded and said he'd help with that, bringing in however many more trees they needed so that nobody had to worry about the added labor of chopping them down and relocating them themselves. There was no sense in overwhelming the area with too many downed trees all at once, though, since only so much lumber could be created so quickly, so he would hold off for the time being, but he would make sure he stayed on top of their needs, he told the board maker then. Inuyasha also said that since the woodworker's knowledge of which trees would work best was almost definitely better than his own, the man was welcome to accompany him into the forest at those times, or go himself if he had the time and Inuyasha was not around, and select which trees he wanted to use himself, since he was the one who'd be splitting them into boards. Inuyasha's idea of a good tree and the board maker's idea of a good tree might be two different things, the hanyou admitted, and so he would defer to the expert, he said. Arata, the woodworker, was visibly humbled by Inuyasha's praise, and bowed deeply while swearing he would not disappoint him.

Taking their leave after a few more minutes of conversation with the various workers, Inuyasha and Kagome made their way down the very familiar path from the Bone-Eater's Well, past Hideaki's property and across the street to Kaede's house. Rin was outside in the small, private vegetable garden beside the house, picking a few things for the midday meal. Turning at the sound of footsteps, she waved jubilantly at the approaching couple.

“Inuyasha-sama! Kagome-sama! You're just in time for lunch,” the eleven-year-old said, holding up a few radishes.

“I can see that,” Kagome answered with an amused grin, the girl absolutely filthy. “You'd better wash up before lunch,” she chided playfully. “I think Inuyasha's feet are actually cleaner than yours.”

Said hanyou snorted a laugh at that, as Rin proceeded to lift up and examine the bottom of each of her bare feet. Realizing after a moment that she was being teased from the amused look in Inuyasha's eyes, Rin smiled back at Kagome and said, “Rin knows she makes Kaede-sama's floor dirty, but Rin makes up for it by cleaning the floor.”

Kagome chuckled a little as well and smiled.

“That does make up for it, then,” she agreed with a nod, and Rin grinned toothily before darting inside with the radishes, her voice excitedly telling Kaede that they were back echoing out to where the hanyou and miko still stood outside the door.

Glancing each other's way with matching amused grins, Inuyasha was the first to snap out of it, shaking his head a little, and then he moved forward enough to lift and hold open the reed mat for Kagome, who offered him a nod of thanks before proceeding to step inside the hut, Inuyasha following behind as he let the mat fall back into place behind them.

Kaede greeted them both from her spot in the kitchenette corner of the room, beside the door. She was just finishing up with washing the rice and would be putting it on to cook shortly.

“Welcome back you two,” she said, her good eye following Kagome's movements as the younger miko slipped out of her sandals before stepping up onto the raised wooden floor, putting Kaede's borrowed quiver back where the elderly miko kept it before then putting the bow from Mt. Azusa away in what had become her corner of the hut. Kaede noted that each of her arrows were still accounted for.

“I trust that your patrols were free from troublesome youkai,” she stated, turning to meet Inuyasha's gaze.

Truth be told she hadn't been worried, figuring that they had been delayed for reasons other than troublesome youkai. Observing the two of them in that moment, it was as if a weight had been lifted, from the hanyou at least. Kagome had ducked behind the changing screen before she could conclude her visual inspection of her apprentice, but as the elderly miko observed Inuyasha's stance in the domo beside her, he peace.

“Nah, no youkai today,” he answered, before taking a moment to inspect her progress with the midday meal.

It would still be a little while yet, as the rice was not yet cooked, nor was the fresh fish that was sitting aside, waiting to be cleaned. Rin was busy washing and chopping her radishes. Looking back at the large albeit single fish, meant he knew to be an accompaniment to their rice and vegetables rather than the main course, he adopted a contemplative look, his belly rumbling.

“You don't mind if I grab me 'n' Kagome another rabbit or something to add to our rice again instead of fish, do you? That one fish looks like plenty for you 'n' Rin, but not really enough for all four of us. At least not for as much as I wanna eat right now.”

“Worked up an appetite, ne?” Kaede teased in response, causing Inuyasha to blush as dark as his robes.

Before he could answer, Kagome reemerged dressed in her yukata and wrap skirt, her old kosode, chihaya and hakama all bundled up in her arms along with her bra and panties, which she'd tactfully hidden within. Dropping the pile unceremoniously on the floor near her storage chest as she kneeled before said furnishing, she pulled out her pajamas and added them to the bundle as well, along with her other dirty underclothes. She was presently going commando underneath her kosode, as women in that time period naturally did, but it felt a little weird to her. She wasn't sure if she could get used to it, and figured that when her panties eventually failed her she'd switch to a form of fundoshi, like what Sango wore underneath her slayer uniform. Form-fitting youkai leather against naked girly bits? No way. She'd learned during their first bath together that Sango was one of the few exceptions to the rule of women from that time period not wearing underwear. Snickering to herself, she wondered what Miroku's reaction had been when he'd found out. She'd have to have a girl-talk day with Sango one of these days. Especially since she had a few things of her own that she'd like to share with her taijiya best friend.

Shaking her head in that moment to clear it of such random thoughts, Kagome glanced up to meet her husband's gaze and said, “Rabbit for the two of us sounds fine to me. No need to share the one fish if you think it's not enough. You could catch more fish, but if you want rabbit instead I'm game. Either way.” Gesturing towards her pile of dirty clothes, she added, “And while you're hunting, I think I'm gonna do some laundry real quick.”

That said, she picked up her pile of clothes and dumped them into the empty wash bin as she stepped down into the dirt entryway, sandals back on her feet. Picking the bin up, she balanced it on her hip to carry outside and around to the back of the house. Or that was the plan, at least, before he took it from her, silently offering to carry it for her.

Wordlessly, her eyes thanked him. They both knew the bin wasn't too heavy for her, but it was the principle of the thing. Stepping outside and around to the back of the house, Inuyasha following closely behind, hanyou and miko both missed Kaede's amused, knowing look.

“So you're sure you're okay with rabbit again?” he asked her conversationally as he sat the wash tub down.

There wasn't a whole lot of room behind Kaede's house, but there was an alleyway of sorts between the back of the house and the hill where the elderly miko had a small clothes line hung up.

In answer to her husband's question, Kagome shrugged.

“Like I said, unless you'd rather have fish. I really don't care.”

He smirked, making her think the question had been a setup in the first place, as he leaned in and whispered in her ear, “I don't think I'll need to go 'fishing' for a while, after today.”

She both blushed and laughed, slapping his arm playfully.


He smirked, but then shook his head, getting serious again. He really did want some kind of meat.

“I'm gonna get going, then, so I'm back in time to cook it with the rest of lunch.”

“Hey!” she spoke up quickly, earning his attention right when he was about to leap away. He quirked a brow at her. “I know you'd jokingly said you didn't want to have to wash your fundoshi, but since I'm doing laundry anyway, want me to wash it for you? I am your wife, so doing your laundry is my job, if you want.”

His eyes widened at her offer, as if it honestly hadn't occurred to him that he never had to wash his own underwear ever again. He had a wife now to do it for him. Not that he really followed the human rule book of what constituted 'woman's work', but she had offered.

“Yeah...thanks,” he said, plucking the unwrapped strip of cloth from where it'd still been tucked within his robes. He had planned on taking a moment out in the forest to put it back on before actually getting down to the business of hunting, but truth be told, it could stand to be washed.

“Be back soon,” he said then, as he dashed off into the forest, her call of “okay” echoing in his ears. Heading back inside, Kagome grabbed the water buckets and made the brief trek down the street to the nearest public water well, all the while hoping a stray gust of wind didn't attack her although at least with the wrap skirt she had a little added modesty.

Coming back with the water and dumping it into the wash bin, she scrubbed the clothes as best she could and rung them out, hanging them to dry on the small clothes line, and then dumping the used water into the vegetable garden, she picked up the empty water buckets and put them in the empty wash bin, picking up the whole load before heading back inside. Setting her burden down before once again slipping off her sandals and stepping up onto the raised wooden floor, Kagome made her way over to the firepit, and the cooking pot of rice. Kneeling, she poked at the flames, adding another stick and watching the embers fly while Kaede finished preparing the fish her neighbors had given her.

“You seem especially pleased,” Kaede stated observationally as she took note of the contented smile that never wavered on the younger miko's face.

“Hmm?” Kagome asked, looking up from the fire. “Oh, yeah, most definitely,” she agreed, after realizing what Kaede had just said.

“I'm glad,” Kaede stated. “Your spirit had been dipping these last few days, a darkness growing in your aura, and I must admit I was becoming worried, but I can tell that it's gone now.”

Kagome cringed at her mentor's words.

“I'm sorry, I didn't realize my...frustrations...were visible on a spiritual level.”

“Your energies had definitely seemed out of balance, but I had supposed it most likely had something to do with your newfound level of closeness with Inuyasha, and I knew it wasn't really my place to say anything, so long as it didn't become too serious of an issue. Newly married couples sometimes experience a few difficulties in the beginning, which is not usually a serious issue or anyone's business outside of the married couple. I would have spoken up had the situation worsened, because with your level of spiritual powers maintaining a healthy, balanced ki is more important for you than someone without such strong levels of reiki, but I am glad to see that your rendezvous this morning has alleviated your imbalance.”

Kagome laughed at that, for some reason not feeling embarrassed to discuss such things with the woman who essentially felt like a surrogate grandmother to her. Rin being in the room was another matter, but the young girl wasn't quite as young by that time period's standards, she had to remind herself, and either way, Rin didn't really seem to be paying their conversation any attention, the girl spending the few minutes until lunch was ready sorting through some of the herbs Kaede had gathered that morning. She was picking out the edibles that would give lunch an even better flavor, separating them from the few medicinal herbs that were starting to grow that season, putting those ones aside in a container in Kaede's medicine cabinet to be properly dried and sorted after lunch.

“That's one way of putting it,” Kagome admitted then, her tone of voice teasing. “I swear, if I hadn't been able to get him to come around I don't know what I would've done, except maybe gone for a few private walks to balance my ki myself, if you know what I mean. He's been hung up this whole time on wanting our first time to be indoors, 'cause he said he thinks being out in the forest is too animal-like because of his youkai heritage. I guess he wanted to be indoors to make up for being half youkai, like it's really a bad thing, come on.”

She snorted, amused, not yet noticing Kaede's surprised expression.

“Finally got him to give in to the youkai side that actually likes the idea of being in the woods just fine. A part of me feels bad, since I know he's compromising. I know he'd wanted the use of a house, but that's just too bad. I'm not waiting for however many weeks it takes to build our house, and fortunately he doesn't want to wait anymore, either. So our plan now is to head to a hot spring we know of in a day or two. Hopefully tomorrow. I'll make him forget all about not having a house yet.”

She laughed a little to herself as she said that last part, still not noticing Kaede's almost shocked expression by that point.

When she finally did notice, she immediately felt a wave of dread wash over her. Kaede was staring at her in what she'd almost say qualified as aghast horror, and she wasn't sure if it was her joke about masturbating that'd gone too far or what the problem was. Rin was still sorting herbs in the corner, humming a little tune to herself.

Noticing Kagome's worried expression pulled Kaede from her stupor.

“Kagome...” she started slowly. “Do you mean to say that you two have not yet consummated? Tonight will be your fourth night as husband and wife.”

Kagome blushed at that, but it was Kaede's almost worried tone of voice that had the younger miko plowing forward with the conversation.

She chuckled nervously.

“Believe me, I know. But what could I do? He wanted to wait until our house was built, so I think changing his mind in only four days is actually pretty good.”

“I had been under the impression that during your times in the forest...” Kaede started, not needing to finish.

“Oh, we've done...a few things. Especially this morning. That's how I got him to change his mind.” Kagome chuckled again. “And he had more than one reason for holding back, honestly. Wishing we could be indoors wasn't the only reason. We've worked everything else out, so with that being the last reason remaining, I guess he finally realized it was a pretty flimsy excuse.”

“But even with his hesitations resolved, you two have not yet...?”

“Not yet, no, but we've got plans to get away.”

“To a hot spring, yes,” Kaede stated, indicated she'd heard that part. “But a part of Inuyasha still wishes he could have provided you with a human dwelling, correct?”

Kagome just shrugged, poking the fire again.

“I think he's kicking himself that he didn't have a house built for himself sooner, yeah, and he even said that if there was an abandoned hut somewhere that he knew of we could go there for a night, but there isn't. But I love the idea of a hot spring, so if it's okay with him it's definitely okay with me. I'll take anything at this point.” She laughed a little as she said that last part.

“Would you prefer having a house to yourselves, if one were available?” Kaede asked her then, her tone thoughtful. Kagome tilted her head, wondering what Kaede was hinting at. It didn't really matter since it wasn't an option, so what difference did it make?

“Truthfully, I can't really say I personally prefer one thing over another. I guess I just started feeling sorry for him, 'cause it was originally kind of important to him; he feels like he failed me somehow. I wish we had a house for his sake, not my own. But I want to be with my husband, so now that he's agreed we don't need a house I'm definitely ready as soon as he is.”

“I agree that you two should not wait any longer,” Kaede stated, surprising her apprentice when she added, “Not even until tomorrow.”

Kagome looked up from the fire.


Sweeping the last bit of dirt off the temple's front step, Miroku gauged the sun's position the best he could through the trees. Seemed about right. More than that, it was the rumbling in his tummy that told him it was lunch time. Nodding to himself, he put the broom away and headed towards the shrine steps. He paused in his tracks, surprised, to see an out of breath Rin rushing up the steps to meet him.

“Is everything all right, Rin?” he asked, concerned.

Her giant smile immediately put his mind at ease, although he was definitely still curious.

“Ah! Houshi-sama! Rin is glad she caught you before you left for lunch.”

That explained her hurried gait, but...

“What was it you needed to see me about?” he asked the eleven-year-old.

Her smile grew wider, and she gestured for Miroku to bend down so that she could whisper in his ear.

“Can you sense Inuyasha-sama nearby yet?” she asked. Kagome had said he wasn't around, but she'd also warned that that could change very quickly.

Even more confused, Miroku concentrated for a moment and then shook his head. He had sensed Inuyasha briefly as he'd left the area a few minutes ago, but the hanyou was currently outside of his sensing range.

Which Rin knew meant he was definitely outside of hearing range. Kagome had instructed her to be very careful of that.

“Kaede-sama asked me to ask you if she and I may please spend tonight with you and Sango-sama,” she told the monk then.

His eyebrows went up at that.

“Is everything all right?” he asked again, and Rin giggled behind her hand.

“Oh yes, everything is fine, although we aren't telling Inuyasha-sama that. The story is that a sick villager needs Kaede-sama to stay with them tonight, and Rin is staying with you because Kaede-sama figured if she were going to be gone anyway, she may as well give Kagome-sama and Inuyasha-sama a night to themselves. Kagome-sama fears that if Inuyasha-sama knew the whole thing was Kaede-sama's idea he'd be too embarrassed.”

Miroku's face cracked into a huge grin at that. Oh no, he would not ruin it for his hanyou friend, tonight, but there would be much teasing at some point in the future. Suspecting from what they'd discussed on Market Day that tonight might actually be his and Kagome's first night together as husband and wife – because if they'd already had their fun out in the woods then why would Kaede feel the need to give up her home for a night? – Miroku was very glad that Rin had hurried to catch him and share this plan.

“I will discuss it with Sango, but I can already tell you that our answer is yes,” he told the child then.

They headed down the shrine steps together, Rin watching as the rings jingled on Miroku's shakujo with every step he took. She bowed a temporary goodbye at Kaede's house and darted back inside as Miroku continued on his way down the street towards his own home. Sango's cooking was calling his name.

That worked out perfectly, Inuyasha thought, as he raced back to Kaede's carrying the skinned and gutted carcass of a three-legged baby wild boar.

There were always plenty of rabbits near some of the village's largest vegetable gardens, and originally, that had been his prey. He hadn't really felt like going too deep into the woods, wanting to get back to Kagome as quickly as possible, and so he'd thought he'd just bump off a fat rabbit on the other end of town and be done with it. He always sprinkled a little rabbit blood around the nearest farms, too, since it'd help keep the other rabbits from ruining the crops at least for the next few days. It was win/win. But today, as he'd neared one of his preferred rabbit hunting grounds, a gods awful screeching wail from within the forest had had his ears pinning back to his head. Too quiet for human ears, it'd been loud enough to spook the rabbits away, and realizing almost immediately that it was the sound of something in pain he'd followed it to its source. There he'd found what had become his catch for lunch.

The poor thing had had a broken leg, although that was a bit of an understatement. Somebody's dog had picked it up by its hind leg and shaken it until the leg almost ripped off. Mama boar had undoubtedly shown up to put a stop to it, her scent was strong in the area, as were faint traces of dog blood, though not a fatal amount. His approach, his youki, was what had spooked the mother boar away. He couldn't blame her for thinking of herself first and foremost; the baby was lost.

He'd immediately put it out of its misery, and then made quick work of skinning and gutting the decent sized piglet. The dog, less afraid of him since just like the human villagers it was more or less used to his presence by that point, had approached warily from its hiding spot while he worked. The domestic dog, it didn't fear his youkai power, but it knew an alpha-male when it smelled one. It'd woofed submissively, and Inuyasha had inspected its injuries, glad that his assumption had been right and the dog wasn't seriously hurt. He'd woofed back an approval bark, letting the pet know it wasn't in trouble for what it'd done, and he'd then ripped off the dangling leg from the piglet's body and tossed it to the pooch, who caught it midair and trotted off with a happy swagger.

Looking back down at the three-legged carcass in his grasp as he neared Kaede's hut, Inuyasha smiled as he thought how proud Kagome would be of him when she heard the tale.

“I agree, that was the right thing to do,” Kagome said with a pleased smile as she pushed the chopped up bits of pork onto skewers and placed them strategically over the firepit. “Better to put a suffering soul to rest than to kill something that could have otherwise lived happily. I understand you're a hunter, and like I said before I'm not against eating meat, but I'm glad you didn't let the piglet suffer just to kill a healthy rabbit instead.”

“Keh,” he said, sniffing the cooking meat appreciatively. “Even if its guts had been open and the meat was no good I would've still put it out of its misery. Even back before I knew you I was never that heartless, to leave something suffering like that.”

“I'm certainly glad to hear that,” Kagome commented, turning the meat.

The rice had just finished cooking a couple of minutes ago and was off the heat, the fish ready as well, but the pork was not far behind and Inuyasha told Kaede for her and Rin to go ahead and start eating if they wanted. Kaede served up the rice and vegetables, and with her and Rin having their accompanying fish they began eating, and right about the time they had their first mouthful Inuyasha's nose informed him the pork was ready and Kagome immediately split it between the two of them and dug into her own rice with gusto.

The pork was delicious.

Everyone ate in companionable silence, and after lunch was finished Kagome volunteered to do the dishes since Kaede had those medicinal herbs Rin had sorted that needed to be dried properly. Inuyasha sat back against the wall and observed the women at work with a lazy, contented smile. After Kaede was done sorting her herbs she brought the collection over into the middle of the room and asked Kagome to join her. It was time for her first test, unofficial though it may be. The younger miko was happy to see how many of the various herbs she could identify. They worked for at least a couple of hours, as Kaede took her time rehashing what each herb did, what it was used for, and where it could be found growing wild, if applicable. Some of them, the ones harder to come by in the wild, she grew in the vegetable garden, but some were abundant in their local foothills and collecting them for her in the mornings would be a very big help, Kaede told Kagome in that moment.

As they worked, Inuyasha began to notice a theme in conversation, as Kaede put some of the herbs aside instead of putting them back away in their designated container once Kagome was done identifying them. The elderly miko even had her apprentice start brewing a fairly potent tea with some of them, although Inuyasha was definitely relieved that it didn't stink too badly. Apparently there was a sick villager that Kaede would be paying a house call to that night, needing to deliver some nighttime medicines. Inuyasha thought nothing of it until Rin made a comment about looking forward to seeing the girls. The sick villager had daughters? Rin was going with Kaede? Huh?

“Why is Rin going with you?” he asked Kaede, truly confused.

Kagome looked like she was going to answer, but Kaede beat her to it, explaining that Rin was not accompanying her to the sick villager's house, but was instead going to spend the night with Sango and Miroku.

Inuyasha almost asked why. His very first, initial thought, was that he and Kagome were perfectly capable of babysitting Rin, who was actually plenty old enough to stay completely by herself, and so it made no sense to him why she had to be sent away just because Kaede's services were required overnight, this sick villager's family asking for her because they feared the person's situation could worsen very rapidly and they wanted to have the elderly miko immediately on hand, just in case. He almost asked why, but then the spike of arousal he scented coming from Kagome had his mind coming to a screeching halt. Kaede would be gone over night...and so would Rin.

He felt guilty for feeling grateful that a sick villager required Kaede's assistance and sincerely hoped they made a full recovery. He was even more grateful that Kaede, with Kagome's help he imagined, had decided to send Rin away since she herself would not be there. Why not take advantage?

It was almost too good to be true.

Then he caught a quick look passed between the two miko and found himself wondering if there was even a sick villager at all. He hadn't bothered to check Kaede's scent at the time to see if she was lying, but discreetly sniffing his wife in that moment, she smelled both aroused and apprehensive. With as bold as she'd been before, were this truly nothing more than the fates gifting them with an opportunity to be alone, she should smell aroused and excited. Definitely not apprehensive. He felt his face flaming at the implication, but he had no intention of voicing his suspicions aloud until after he and Kagome were alone.

Fortunately, catching sight of his blushing face, Kagome just assumed, in part correctly, that he could smell her arousal, and so she figured that the realization of being in an empty house alone with her for the night, regardless of the circumstances surrounding how it'd come to be, had dawned on him.

Everything seemed to happen in a blur after that, and Kaede and Rin were both out of the house before dinnertime, the elderly miko making a point of saying that neither of them would be back until after breakfast. Alone in the house, no sounds but the crackling firepit and Kagome's nervous fidgeting as she picked at her fingernails, Inuyasha waited a good five minutes after they'd left before lifting his gaze from the dancing flame to stare at his nervous, excited wife.

“Kagome...” he began suddenly, and her eyes immediately snapped to meet his, a cute little blush staining her cheeks. He smiled reassuringly. “Is there really a sick villager?” he asked, his tone curious, his eyes silently promising he wouldn't be mad.

Her eyes widened at the unexpected question, then she shrank back a little, blushing darker. He had his answer. He laughed quietly.

“Whose idea was it?”

“The...the story about the villager was my idea, 'cause I didn't want to embarrass you in front of Kaede-baa-chan and Rin-chan. I'm sorry, I guess we should've just been honest, but I didn't know how you'd feel about knowing we'd been given the house purposefully, as opposed to just taking advantage of the situation. Leaving for the night was actually Kaede-baa-chan's idea, though. I swear I didn't ask her if we could use the house. She's the one who suggested it to me.”

The air whooshed out of him at his wife's confession. He wasn't sure if he was relieved or not, to learn that Kagome hadn't begged the elderly miko to leave them alone for the night. Either scenario was embarrassing, but in different ways. Why Kaede had come up with the idea in the first meant the women had talked, he knew. It meant Kaede had been made aware of his desire for a house. Of his need for one. It meant she knew they hadn't yet... But how could he be upset at her offer, though, really? He wasn't upset. More accurately, he supposed a 'thank you' was in order.

Sure, it was embarrassing to know that she knew what he and Kagome would be doing that night, in her house, but the desire to have a house, and to be with his wife, definitely trumped said embarrassment. He wasn't going to not take advantage of it and spoil his chance. He wasn't that much of an ass. Even though he hadconceded to he and Kagome using the hot spring – which he still planned on taking her to in a couple of days – to actually have a house like he'd wanted for their first time...that meant a lot to him. If the thought would have occurred to him that Kaede would actually be okay with packing up for the night so that they could have some privacy he would've...well, probably not asked the elderly miko himself, he wouldn't have been able to get through that, but he would have been okay with Kagome asking her. Now, what was done was done, and he was definitely going to take advantage of the opportunity, embarrassed or no.

He articulated this decision to the eighteen-year-old who'd been holding her breath for the last several seconds, awaiting his response.

“I think...I think I'm gonna worry about being embarrassed tomorrow, when I have to face the babaa again,” he said at last. “This is kind of fucked up, you know? I mean, she knows what we're gonna be doing, in her house, and that's... But ya know what? It's fucked up in kind of an awesome way, I think. Not gonna not take advantage of it, I'm not that stupid, but I feel like...holy shit, this is happening.”

Those last five words summed it all up, really.

“Yeah, I understand that. No more waiting, no more 'not rushing into things.' This is it,” Kagome agreed. Even she had to admit she had butterflies in her stomach, big time. This was really going to happen, this night, right now...

Right now!

Not saying another word, Inuyasha leaned in to kiss her, and she immediately started kissing him back. They each had vague passing thoughts along the lines of 'am I really ready for this?' but they each just as quickly answered that pesky voice with a resounding Yes!

After kissing for a couple of minutes sitting next to each other by the firepit, Kagome broke away from the kiss and sent her husband a knowing look. She stood up, moved over to 'their' corner of the hut, and laid out her sleeping bag, unzipping it fully so that it lied spread open. She even pulled the changing screen back over to that side of the room so that if somebody should happen to peak in through either the door or window they would remain hidden from view. Peaking out from around the edge of the privacy screen, she gestured playfully for him to join her, and the predatory look he flashed her as he slowly rose to his feet and stalked over into her corner of the room sent shivers down her spine, in a good way. This was it.

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