He had spotted it this morning when he delivered her back to her room and she tore around in a frenzy getting ready for school on time for a "tesuto". As a result most of her clothing was pulled out of the closet and into a heap on her bed in an attempt to locate the other clean and pressed school uniform her mother always had on hand. The set she wore to the Sengoku Judai predictably gets covered in youkai guts or blood or if they had a mild visit, mostly wrinkled with just a little dirt.
For being such an unobtrusively coloured thing, it stuck out like a sore thumb in the sea of bright colours and foreign textured fabric that were Kagome's clothing. After he had seen her safely to the funny building where she spent most of the daylight hours cloistered when she was home in the future, he made a beeline back to her bedroom to investigate.
Fishing out the neatly folded garment he found it to be slightly coarse but well-made, a warm wheat colour befitting of the natural fibres of which the fabric was woven. It was decidedly not from her time, and not Kagome's. It was a male's hadagi, that he was certain was made by the same hand that fashioned the one he currently wore. The one they had traded for last market day with fresh meat he'd hunted and some rare cooking herbs Kagome had gathered deep in the forest of his namesake. His old one had been shredded beyond recognition during the previous fight. He still vividly remembered her proud little smile, having bartered for something successfully.
"Ugh, why did I have to make such a big mess this morning?" Came an exaggerated groan from the bed bringing him swiftly back to the present. He turned to find her half buried, little tumbling piles displaying her effort at reorganizing her closet's contents.
"Hell if I know wench."
"Inuyasha…" Narrowed grey eyes shot him a withering glare. "You're not helping."
The head of raven hair bent down again, observing the clothing still not belonging to a pile. Inuyasha bit his lip. He had decided not to ask her. He was going to keep his damn mouth shut. She would osuwari him for snooping around her things. He wasn't going to ask her. He wasn't—
"Oi, Kagome, why do you have another hadagi?" Oh shit…
Surprisingly instead of the wrath he expected, her head snapped up, then her face coloured prettily and she yanked her gaze away.
"Oh um…" She murmured, nervously rubbing the sleeve of a random shirt between her fingers. "Well I thought the one we found fit you well, and you're bound to shred yours up again, so I thought there's no harm in having a back up."
She stopped her rambling to dart a brief look at him, then away again to a safe point on the floor.
"I assumed you didn't have a place to put things, seeing as— I'm sorry!" She slapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh, I'm so sorry Inuyasha, I didn't mean that…"
Right. Humans have that funny need to keep materials hoarded up in their little dwellings. Not unlike some animals and their dens. Blurry images of an ornately carved chest filled with coloured silks that smelled like his mother rose unbidden to his mind's eye. Youkai on the other hand had no need for such, their nature was nomadic and immaterial. Too bad he wasn't fully a youkai. That miserable hole of a cave, hidden half way down the wall of a gorge. That one little object wrapped in a scrap he'd torn off his fire-rat. The thing he had retrieved when he'd dared kindle the hope he would have a new home fifty years ago. The morning of the day he had planned to wish on the jewel.
Shaking his head to clear the unwelcome thoughts, he turned to see Kagome still fidgeting uncomfortably on her bed. He moved to crouch down on the floor beside her, hands dangling idly between his knees and looked up into her worried face.
"Baka, it's fine. Don't freak out over it." He was wholly surprised at the low, gentle tone his own voice made.
"You can keep your stuff here. I have lots of space!" She gave that quirky embarrassed smile of hers, flapping a hand at him in hope of diffusing the perceived awkwardness. "Actually, you probably don't need things anyway, silly me!"
"Actually I do." He muttered, thinking about that cave that held his childhood treasures. The inexplicably interesting and precious items that had captivated his young self.
"You do?" For the second time, Kagome snapped up to look at him, her lips parted in surprise.
Embarrassed, he looked away quickly, hating himself for letting more stupid words spill out of his mouth. What? Was he going to tell her that all he had hoarded up was a collection of brightly coloured rocks? She was silent for a moment and he could feel her eyes studying the top of his head. He looked up again when he felt the bed move as she swung her legs over onto the floor. Her hair swayed gently around her shoulders as she padded to her closet. Turning to face him again, her hands clasped together in front of her, she fixed him with a soft smile.
"Well Inuyasha, that shelf is yours ok? You can put your stuff here if you want." She patted the place when the hadagi was tucked. Her eyes were earnest and bright with that familiar glimmer of understanding and an emotion he wasn't sure he was seeing. "You're with me. So my home is your home."
He met her eyes in an unspoken response and her smile blossomed.
He wasn't sure if she truly knew what she was offering to him. He was with her though. That part was undoubtedly true. As for the other part, he didn't want to think about that yet. Now was not the time. But he had a feeling there would be a time, a time in their near future.
Hadagi - The white undershirt that can be seen peeking out from under the fire-rat.
A/N: In the anime, Inuyasha apparently had been holding on to his mother's lip tint, which he then gave to Kikyou. That's the reference in this chapter. Although, if I recall correctly, did not happen in the manga.
I was going through my older files when I found this one under an 'untitled' document. It's interestingly linked to the same theme as last chapter. And to make it even more confusing, Part II occurs chronologically before Part I. Sorry! But I think it actually gives it an interesting flavour to read it like this, in this order. In any case, tell me what you think!
As always, I so very much appreciate your readership. Reading your comments/reviews make my day.