The problem with using a bow and arrows as your weapon of choice, Kagome thought ruefully as she dodged yet another swing of the demon’s tail, is that once you’re out of arrows, you’re screwed.
This was all Inuyasha’s fault, really. If he hadn’t been such a jerk, as he always was, then she never would have lost her temper; she never would have stomped off into the woods to cool down; and she never would have run into this oversized worm of a snake yōkai, which was currently trying to impale her with its razor-sharp tail. And to top it off, she had just used her last arrow. Now she was playing the familiar game of dodge-the-demon and her body was quickly growing sluggish from fatigue.
I will not call for Inuyasha, I will not call for Inuyasha, I will not call for Inuyasha…
It had all started after Inuyasha had saved her from yet another demon attack. Their group had been taken unawares and ambushed by a pack of wolf yōkai. The wolves hadn’t appeared to be related to Kōga’s pack — they were huskier, mottled white and gray, and much, much larger than any of the wolves under Kōga’s jurisdiction. And they looked downright furious at finding trespassers on their territory.
When the wolves rushed them in a blur of howling wind, Sango had been the first to recover from the surprise. In one moment she had pulled Hiraikotsu off her back and in the next she sent it flying. It was a testament to her skill as a demon exterminator that the cuts on the wolves Hiraikotsu sliced in half were so clean. Kagome was impressed and also slightly nauseated.
Inuyasha was off to another side of the forest glen, hacking away at the wolves stampeding him, clearly entertained. Kagome knew she should have been disturbed by his apparent blood lust, but she also knew that it wasn’t the killing itself that he relished, but rather the adrenaline rush of the fight and the knowledge that he had the capability to protect what was important to him.
It was sweet.
Miroku was standing next to Kirara and Shippo, a little ways away from the battle, an odd twitch at the corner of his mouth. He seemed content to let Sango and Inuyasha do the dirty work, only occasionally employing his staff when a wolf got past one of the two and thought to try its combat skills on the apparent weakest of the group. When he met Kagome’s curious gaze, he all but grinned at her. It didn’t take her long to get the message — "Let the hot-heads work out their aggression now, so we can have peace later."
Kagome couldn’t help but agree. And besides that, it didn’t look as if either of them could do Inuyasha and Sango much good anyway. They had already taken care of most of the pack. There were only one or two stragglers left, and those Inuyasha claimed with a well-placed Wind Scar.
It wasn’t until the last of the wolves were dead, and Sango and Inuyasha had turned back to the rest of the group with twin smiles of victory, that it happened. Sango was scratching Kirara’s ear, murmuring words of praise for her guardianship skills (despite the fact that Miroku had done most of the guarding) and Inuyasha was sheathing Tetsusaiga with a smirk when a low, feral growl ripped through the air. Not a split-second later, a blur of brown and white came flying from the woods, wedging itself in the middle of their group. Inuyasha, Sango and Miroku were thrown to one side of the blur while Kirara, always a fast thinker, grabbed Kagome and Shippo and pulled them a safe distance away on the other side.
Before any of them could even catch their breath, the biggest, mangiest, and most infuriated demon Kagome had ever seen was bearing down on them. Judging by its sheer size, it had been the leader of the band of wolves they had just eliminated. And it was out for blood.
In two seconds flat it pounced with a fierce snarl, swatting Sango and Miroku out of the way with a powerful forepaw and pinning Inuyasha to the ground with another. Thick ropes of drool and foam were dripping from its muzzle as it watched Inuyasha with enraged, blood red eyes. It snapped its jaw inches from his face, an obvious show of power. Inuyasha did nothing but smirk.
"S’at supposed to scare me?" he taunted, bringing up a clawed hand and cracking his knuckles in his own show of force. He raised his arm, undoubtedly to remove the leg from the wolf’s body. But a blinding flash of pink light stopped him short, immediately followed by an agonized howl.
Kagome stood several yards behind the large beast, her eyes fierce, her arm raised in the air and the string of her bow still vibrating. A glowing arrow was lodged straight in the wolf demon’s spine. It reared onto its hind legs, clawing at its back in pain, howling and shaking its head, sending drool flying everywhere. It whipped around with speed Kagome would have thought impossible given its injury and lunged straight at her. Startled and a little scared (she had been so sure her first shot would have taken it down), she reached behind her for the quiver of arrows at her back. But it took her only a second to realize that it would do her no good. The wolf was too fast. There was no way she would be able to set her arrow once she had it, let alone have time to aim.
She closed her eyes with (she was ashamed to admit) a soft whimper and tried to steel herself for the pain she knew was coming when she heard another, entirely different roar.
"Kagome!" Inuyasha shouted hoarsely over the howl of the demon, "Get down, now!!"
Without conscious thought, Kagome dropped to her knees and ducked her head as low as she could. She felt swift movement over her head, a strong gust of wind blowing past and ruffling her hair. Was that… she thought with a gulp, was that what I think it was?
It was. When she looked up she saw the wolf demon towering over her, forepaw still extended from the blow it had aimed at her. It appeared to be just as surprised as she was at finding nothing but air at the tips of its claws. Its face was turned slightly towards her and for a moment, one of its eyes locked with hers. Fear shot through her at the unadulterated loathing she saw there, the murderous intent. She scrambled to get to her feet, but it was already recoiling, preparing for another blow.
And the next thing she knew, cold, hard steel was protruding from its chest.
Shocked, Kagome looked up. Inuyasha was standing on the wolf’s back, in the middle of its shoulder blades, Tetsusaiga slammed straight into its body. The tip of the sword was peeking out through the fur on the wolf’s chest. For a moment all was still. Then the wolf demon let out a piteous moan. Its eyes rolled into the back of its head. Its tongue lolled out of its mouth. And then Inuyasha was whipping Tetsusaiga out of its corpse and hopping off its back as it fell to the ground with a mighty thud.
Inuyasha waved Tetsusaiga neatly through the air once, twice, flinging blood and bits of flesh off the blade before sheathing it again. He stood exactly where he had first landed as dust stirred up by the wolf’s body cleared away. His head was bent so that his bangs covered his eyes. He didn’t speak.
"Er… Inu… Inuyasha?" Kagome stuttered, in awe of the sheer power it must have taken to drive Tetsusaiga through the body of a demon that size. "Um, Inuyasha? Th-thank you for… for saving me."
When he finally lifted his head and blazing golden eyes clashed with uncertain blue, Kagome immediately knew why he had been so quiet: he was absolutely furious. His eyes glinted with a sharpness that was rarely, if ever, directed at her, and his mouth was nothing but a tense, thin line. He growled once, a frustrated sound more than anything else, and strode toward her in a determined fashion that left her feeling slightly uneasy.
Kagome gulped as he drew nearer, not entirely sure what to expect, but certain that she wouldn’t like whatever it was he was intending to say. She rose to her feet and regarded him somewhat warily when he came to a stop in front of her.
It didn’t take long for him to gather the hot air necessary to bellow like the blowhard he was (or so Kagome thought, anyway). "Are you a complete and utter moron? What in the hell were you thinking, wench!? Or were you thinking at all? You could have been killed!"
Kagome cringed, wishing he would lower his voice by a few decibels, just as a wave of indignation set her insides on fire. Where was the "thank you"? Where was the gratitude for saving him from becoming a yōkai chew toy?
Unleashing a frustrated growl of her own, Kagome’s hands balled into fists at her sides. "You could show a little gratitude, you know! I just saved you from a rabid yōkai!"
This assessment of his fighting skills didn’t seem to sit well with Inuyasha. Face incredulous, eyebrow twitching, he muttered, "‘Saved me?’ You think you saved me? HA! As if a pathetic human girl could save me! Keh!"
"Why you – !" Kagome fumed, raising a fist to poke an index finger in his chest. "Listen pal, you’d better watch it, or – "
"Or what?" Inuyasha challenged, with just the slightest hint of mocking in his voice. "You’ll shoot me with one of your flimsy-ass arrows? Ooooh, I’m so scared."
Why you little…
With a sound suspiciously akin to a yip, Inuyasha slammed into the ground at Kagome’s feet. She couldn’t help but feel a little satisfied at this small victory.
But mostly she was just angry.
"If it hadn’t been for my arrow," Kagome continued as if Inuyasha’s face wasn’t plastered to the dirt, "you would look like a scratching post right about now." Forget that Inuyasha wouldn’t know what a scratching post was.
He seemed to catch the gist quite clearly, however, if the angry growl issuing from his throat meant anything. As soon as the remainder of the subjugation spell wore off, Inuyasha slowly levered himself off the ground and got to his feet with all the dignity he could manage. Dusting dirt off his haori sleeves, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath, seemingly trying to control his temper before he said anything else that might earn him a "sit."
After a moment or two he opened his eyes and stared straight at Kagome. The intensity of those eyes nearly knocked her over. He took a step closer and placed his heavy hands on her shoulders, never breaking eye contact. Kagome could feel her heart beat picking up the pace as fluttering erupted in her stomach, and then…
"You idiot. You almost died! You should have hidden somewhere safe and let me handle it."
… and then he shoved his foot so far into his mouth...
Kagome knew, just knew, that the vein throbbing in her temple was going to burst if she didn’t get a grip on herself, but this idiot hanyou was just begging for a pummeling.
"Of all the overbearing, conceited, arrogant…"
Miroku and Sango who, up until this point, had been silent (and entertained) spectators, decided that now might be a good time to step in before their hanyou friend was overthrown by the intense fury that only a teenage girl could muster.
"Kagome," Miroku soothed, pulling her away from the clueless hanyou and placing his arm around her shoulders consolingly, "You know he didn’t mean it that way."
"Yes," Sango echoed, "He’s just concerned. You scared him when that demon attacked you. We were all worried."
"Not you guys too!" Kagome lamented, though still notably irritated. "I’m not a baby! I could have handled it myself!"
"Keh!" Inuyasha snorted indelicately, stomping up and lifting Miroku’s arm off Kagome’s shoulders. "Please. You were standing there like a scared rabbit. If I hadn’t shouted at you to duck, your head would’ve been sliced off."
He had started out calmly enough, but by then he was shouting. "I swear wench, you don’t have the self-preservation instincts of a damn chicken!"
A chicken, huh?
Yep, that vein was getting ready to burst. Is it possible to have an aneurysm out of pure rage?
So many retorts flashed through her mind, so many comebacks and insults she could have easily thrown at him right then. But somehow, she couldn’t bring herself to use them. As angry as she was, she didn’t want to continue this shouting match any longer. She was tired of it and she was tired of dealing with him.
So she used the obvious remedy.
As Inuyasha’s face once again met the dirt, and Sango, Miroku and Shippo shook their heads at the tactlessness of the poor boy, Kagome turned on her heel, picked her bow and arrows up off the ground, and huffed off into the woods.
It wasn’t until she knew she was out of hearing range of the others (enhanced hanyou hearing included) that she allowed herself to vent. "‘You should have hidden somewhere safe,’" Kagome mocked ruthlessly under her breath. "‘I would’ve handled it because I’m a huge, pompous ass with enough hot air to roast a village.’"
That stupid jerk, Inuyasha… what right did he have to destroy the demon and save her from imminent peril?
After stomping and huffing her way along for a good ten minutes, Kagome slowly started to lose some of the steam that was fueling her temper. Now all she felt was exhaustion and hurt pride.
Do they all think I’m weak? she thought with an inward twinge as she went out of her way to avoid tripping over roots and weeds the size of Buyo. Telling me to hide, as if I’m some infantile bimbo who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. I hit him! Right in the back! And it hurt, too, I could tell!
The fact was, no matter how much her fighting skills improved, no one seemed to notice the difference. After all, Inuyasha, Sango, and Miroku had all been raised to fight. Inuyasha had been fighting for his very life since he was a small boy. Sango had been raised as a demon exterminator; fighting was her career. And while Miroku may have been raised by a monk, he was also a skilled fighter — no doubt taught to defend himself against yōkai attacks since childhood. They all knew how to handle even the fiercest yōkai while she… she had been born into a world of comfort and relative safety, where yōkai were nothing but distant myths only remembered by her grandfather. She would be the first to admit that when she first came here she was a little on the weak side. But she had improved! She really knew how to use her arrows now! Maybe she hadn’t killed as many demons as they had, but she had killed enough for them to know that she could fight.
I can fight! She thought fiercely, jaw clenching, I can!
She struggled through the underbrush for a few more minutes, until she stumbled upon a relatively clear area of the woods. There was a gap in the foliage above, large enough to allow some sunlight to penetrate the roof of the forest. Looking around briefly, Kagome found a nicely sized log sitting on the forest floor, collecting moss. She sighed and made her way towards it, intent on a rest and some serious thinking.
She was a few feet away from the log when she first heard the hissing. It was not a happy noise, that much was clear. And it was issuing from the log she had meant to use as a resting place.
She saw its eyes first. Those long, slanted, wicked eyes glowing from the shadows of the hollow log. Then its head poked out — long, cylindrical, and covered in bright yellow and green scales. It hissed again, its tongue protruding and wagging as the snake made its warning sound. Then the rest of the body followed, uncoiling and slithering out from the log, rising to its full height, which was a staggering eight feet, at the very least.
From the looks of things, it also was not happy at finding someone in its perceived territory.
Why are yōkai so possessive?
Even as fear began to set in, causing sweat to break out on her brow, Kagome’s mind was fast at work, noting possible escape routes, trying to remember how far into the forest she had come and exactly how many arrows she had left. If I stay here too long, that thing will figure out that I’ve got Shikon Jewel shards. Then I’ll really be in trouble.
She reached behind her and drew an arrow from the quiver at her back. Setting it to her bow, she aimed it straight at the snake’s head.
If I hit it hard where it hurts, I can buy myself enough time to get out of here. She didn’t dare to hope for killing it, nor did she dare to think of what would happen if she missed.
I won’t miss, she vowed, biting her lower lip in concentration, I won’t.
She loosed the arrow, watched as pink light flared around it, watched as it flew straight towards her target.
At the last second, the snake jerked its head away, but not fast enough to escape injury. Instead of hitting the snake square in the forehead, Kagome’s arrow lodged in the side of its neck. It hissed angrily and thrashed its head to the side as its jaw snapped.
Now’s my chance.
Kagome turned and bolted back to where she had entered the clearing. It was unfortunate that she had to turn her back on the demon, but it was the only way out. The underbrush was too thick everywhere else. If she tried to get through, she’d only get caught, and then she’d be nothing but a sitting duck.
She was so close. She was feet away. But just as she thought she was free, something collided into her back with incredible force. The air knocked out of her lungs and she went flying into the ground. Her quiver broke off her back in the process and landed in front of her, scattering arrows everywhere. Not that she had many to spill. When she lifted her head and reached to grab the nearest arrow, she found that she only had three left.
Mentally cursing her predicament and yet hoping beyond hope for the best, she rolled onto her back, fit an arrow to her bow, and fired. The arrow missed its target by a hairs-breadth. Unfazed, Kagome reached for another arrow, pulled it back and loosed it. This time it hit. It pierced through the underside of the demon’s jaw like a hot knife through butter. The infuriated beast thrashed and hissed, screeching in pain.
Kagome picked up her final arrow and got to her feet. She set it to her bow, pulled back the bowstring and carefully aimed. But instead of firing, she kept her weapon trained on her opponent and slowly began to back up. She had learned her lesson — never turn your back on the enemy. If she couldn’t run, she would walk, eyes homed on the snake, and hope that it was in enough pain to sufficiently distract it from her escape.
No such luck. The yōkai lunged at her, and Kagome had the sudden, insane urge to laugh. The second yōkai in less than an hour to attack her in the very same way.
Please, please hit! she prayed before firing her last arrow. Her purifying powers surrounded it as it whistled through the air.
Whether this last shot was lucky or if she had somehow intended it all along, she couldn’t say, but her arrow hit its mark — one of the snake’s eyes. The purifying energy around the arrow flared as it hit, burning not only the snake’s eye, but half its face as well.
Kagome thought for sure that was the end. Three arrows impaled the snake’s flesh: one through its eye, one through its jaw, and one in its neck. It was a large yōkai, yes, but not so large that these injuries were small matters. She'd hit it hard. There was no way it could last much longer.
Half-blinded and mad with pain, the yōkai lifted its razor of a tail and swung it at Kagome with enough force to make the earth quake with the impact. Kagome just managed to dodge it in time, and when the dust cleared and she saw a small crater where she had once stood, she knew she was in deep trouble.
So here she was, playing her favorite game of dodge-the-demon, praying that the tail she was avoiding wasn’t as sharp as it looked (yet unwilling to find out), and all she could think was I will not call for Inuyasha, I will not call for Inuyasha, I will not call for Inuyasha!
But oh, how badly she wanted to!
Just as she was beginning to rethink the whole "not calling Inuyasha" idea, she did the one thing she had been putting so much effort into avoiding — she tripped on a tree root. It wasn’t her fault! In her attempts to dodge the omnipresent snake tail, she had gotten too close to the line of trees at the edge of the clearing, and she tripped in the tangle of roots and weeds at her feet.
Down she fell, landing on her rump and only keeping herself vertical by using her elbows to break her fall.
Kagome winced, not for her abused butt and elbows, but for the pride that she knew would be hurting in the very near future. Because now there was no hope for it. As the snake lifted its tail to deliver the final blow, Kagome prepared to dodge, if only one last time, and opened her mouth to yell the name of the one person she knew she could always count on.
No matter how infuriating he could be sometimes.
But she had barely even sucked in a breath when she heard a very familiar voice yell "Kagome!" and a red and silver blur landed right in front of her, putting itself between her and that deadly tail.
She didn’t say it. She didn’t need to. Somehow, she knew that he knew.
"Keh," said the hanyou, glancing back at her briefly before bringing his eyes to his opponent. "Can’t seem to keep yourself out of trouble, can you Kagome?"
Before she had the chance to defend herself, he was off, wielding Tetsusaiga with a power and grace that Kagome had seen in her hanyou before, but never really had the chance to admire (as she had always been terrified for his life). Sango and Miroku often teased him for being somewhat brutish in battle, but she could never agree with them — with Tetsusaiga in his hand, he was a creature of dexterity and precision.
Inuyasha made short work of the yōkai, neatly and almost effortlessly decapitating it, which slightly irked Kagome, as it had given her so much trouble.
As she sat on the ground and watched Inuyasha, smirking at his easy win and sheathing Tetsusaiga, she couldn’t help the overwhelming feeling of gratitude that washed over her, the absolute awe that he was here, with her. But somewhere, mixed with the gratitude, was embarrassment. And shame. And a little bit of anger. He had saved her again. It wasn’t that she was mad at him, exactly. She was mad that he had to save her in the first place.
Why can’t I ever defend myself? She thought with a sniff as tears formed in her eyes. Why? Am I really so weak?
She wiped at her eyes furiously, willing the tears to go away. But she couldn’t get her body to obey her mind.
I really am a burden to them, aren’t I?
Kagome jerked her head up in surprise, her eyes connecting with Inuyasha’s, only to find him kneeling in front of her, and entirely too close for comfort.
She squeaked, her personal space radar going haywire, and tried to backpedal, but Inuyasha grabbed her forearm gently to keep her in place. He looked absolutely horrified and Kagome would have laughed at the look on his face if she weren’t equally as horrified at being caught like this.
"Why are you crying?" Inuyasha asked in a voice laced with panic. "Are you hurt?"
She shook her head weakly and hiccupped. This only seemed to make Inuyasha more anxious as his eyes scanned over her body, checking for injuries. Finding none, his gaze returned to her face.
"What is it?" he asked quietly, in a voice Kagome rarely heard him use. "What’s wrong? Kagome?"
His voice was so soft and filled with concern. Concern for her.
He really is sweet, she thought, and here I am, a complete burden to him.
"Kagome?" Inuyasha asked, looking completely terrified to see even more of the hated tears dripping down her face. "Kagome, tell me what’s wrong."
Utter frustration swept through her. She knew Inuyasha hated it when she cried. She had to stop, if not for her own dignity, then at least for his sake.
She had resolved to do just that when she felt warm, strong arms wrap around her waist, bringing her up against a comfortingly solid chest.
She almost died of shock.
It would be her luck that if the snake demon didn’t kill her, Inuyasha’s rare show of affection would.
She wouldn’t have believed it, would have thought it a dream if Inuyasha hadn’t then rested his warm, solid, real palm against her cheek, wiping away the trails of tears and muttering, somewhat more gruffly than he intended, "Tell me what’s wrong, Kagome. Please."
She couldn’t be sure afterwards if it was because he was holding her, or if it was because he was so tenderly wiping away her tears, or if it was because he said please, a word she'd never heard him use before. Whatever the reason, she found herself saying, "I just… I just feel so helpless. I can’t… I can’t seem to protect myself like I should, and… and… argh! I can fight, I know I can! I can help you guys! It just always seems to go wrong, and…"
She trailed off, unsure how to continue. How could she make him understand her frustration? Even though she was getting better, getting more skilled with her arrows and her miko abilities, she could never seem to protect herself adequately. Inuyasha always had to come in and the save her from danger, and though she was unbelievably grateful for that, and though she loved him dearly for it, she didn’t want him to see her as weak. If he saw her as weak, he could never respect her. If he saw her as weak he could never… he could never love her.
Get a grip, Kagome, she thought with a mental snort. As if that would ever happen.
Kagome snapped her eyes back to his in disbelief. He did not just say…
"Don’t be so stupid, Kagome."
… he did, he did just say…
"H-how can you say that?" Kagome sputtered, duly offended, staring at the stubborn set of his expression. "I just poured my heart out to you, and then you say—"
"I know you can fight," Inuyasha cut her off with a snort. His manner was as gruff and irritated as it ever was, and it was amazing to Kagome that he could be so arrogant and nonchalant while he was holding her so intimately. "You do protect yourself, or are you forgetting what you just did to that snake yōkai?"
"N-no," she stuttered, so perplexed at this change in Inuyasha that she couldn’t seem to find her voice. Since when did he compliment her? Since when did he view her as anything other than just a pathetic human?
"You protect yourself long enough for me to get there."
"That’s how it should be. We’re a team, Kagome. None of us fight alone."
"Besides, I protect you so you don’t have to fight. I don’t want you to fight. But when you do need to protect yourself, you do it. You’re strong."
"Inuyasha…" Kagome whispered with something akin to wonder in her voice. Was this her Inuyasha?
He had been staring over her head for most of the conversation, a light dusting of red over the bridge of his nose; but now he looked her straight in the eye. Kagome felt it like a physical thing. She felt winded, suddenly, like she had been punched in the stomach. But it was a nice feeling, all the same.
"So I don’t want to hear any more horseshit about you being helpless, got it? I know you can fight, Kagome. But you won’t have to fight as long as I’m around, okay? I’ll protect you."
Unable to speak for the wonder of the moment, for wonder of this boy before her, this man, and the kindness in his heart, Kagome could only nod slowly. She kept her eyes trained on him just as he kept his gaze on hers.
He’s beautiful, she thought as a blush stained her cheeks, he really does have a beautiful soul. I wish I could show him.
She would never be able to show him how much he meant to her, how much she loved him. But there was something that she had always desperately wanted to do. Before she lost her nerve, she reached up, grasped his face in both her hands, and brought him down to meet her lips. She kissed his cheek sweetly, lips just barely touching the edge of his mouth. His skin was soft and warm, and Kagome was reluctant to pull back, though she did so eventually.
Inuyasha’s face had erupted in red. Kagome nearly giggled at the sight, but restrained herself for his sake.
"K-keh!" Inuyasha stuttered, snapping his eyes shut and turning his head away. His face was still red enough to match his haori. But, she noticed, embarrassed though he is, he’s still… she blushed a little, he’s still holding me, isn’t he? Kagome might have been hurt by his apparent dismissal had she not recognized the action for what it was: shyness, an awkward uncertainty. He had been the one to hug her, after all.
But, as all good things must come to an end, so too this rare moment of affection. Inuyasha, who seemed to have composed himself enough to direct blood flow away from his face (though Kagome could still detect a slight dusting of red), said, "Keh! You women are so emotional."
"Oh really?" Kagome asked with a grin. She reached up and tweaked an ear playfully, though she knew he hated to have his ears touched. "Well, you started it."
Inuyasha seemed slightly chagrined at this answer. This time Kagome did giggle, which made him snort and "Keh!"
"C’mon, Kagome, let’s get back. That snake corpse is starting to stink."
Way to ruin the moment, dog-boy…
Once Kagome was solidly on her feet, Inuyasha released her as if she scalded him and started stomping off ahead, taking the way she had come by earlier.
Kagome stood for a moment, staring at his retreating back somewhat wistfully, and shook her head. She supposed he couldn’t help it. That was simply Inuyasha.
She sighed, though she, as well, was still blushing slightly, and started after him. He slowed down enough that she could catch up to him and he didn’t pick up his speed until she was walking next to him.
After a few minutes of walking, Kagome felt the faintest brush against her hand. Glancing down, she saw Inuyasha’s hand closer to hers than it had been before. Oh, is that how you want to play it, dog-boy? She grinned a little and kept walking. A moment later she felt his hand nudge hers again. She looked at him in question, but he was studiously avoiding her gaze. She felt him nudge her hand a third time, and this time she smiled a wide, lovely smile, and laced her fingers with his.
Maybe, she thought, maybe I’ll let Inuyasha save me more often.