Alone, and in an area not far from the village, Kagome slowly made her way through the low-hanging branches of a recent fruit bearing peach tree that she and InuYasha had planted a couple summers ago.
She was trying to be both quick and careful with her current task. If InuYasha knew what she was doing he wouldn't be too happy with her.
To put it bluntly, he'd be furious.
The fact that he'd explicitly forbidden her from going anywhere near this tree until he'd returned from that morning's errands was not going to deter her in the least.
Really, InuYasha should have known better. Since when did she ever listen to him? Especially when it was a direct order?
Kagome wasn't a patient person and unfortunately for the hanyou, he was taking way too long.
It was now late afternoon and he had promised her he'd be back by the mid-morning hours. InuYasha should be impressed she'd at least waited this long.
Kagome rolled her eyes as she recalled the conversation that had only taken place the night before, and reached to pluck the first of the sweet smelling fruit she intended to gather.
"I don't think so." InuYasha had said when she mentioned her plans for the following day. "Do not go anywhere near that tree without me. It's too dangerous by yourself—you could get hurt! I'll get you whatever you need."
The half-demon had been so adamant at the time that Kagome had found it difficult to keep her frustration at bay. It was also probably because of this that Kagome was so dead set on getting the job done on her own.
"I'll show you, 'too dangerous,'" Kagome muttered as she put the collected fruit in the small sac she had pulled over one shoulder to rest across her chest.
Besides, why did she need to wait for him when she could easily do the job herself? She only needed to gather a couple of peaches anyway; she'd be done before he was ever aware of what she was up to.
Of course, Kagome should have known better. Nothing in her life was ever that simple.
In fact, it was an unfortunate stroke of bad luck that caused her to momentarily lose her footing on the way down. Fortunately, Kagome managed to catch herself on the nearest branch before any real harm came to her. But she was not able to prevent the minor scrape to her hand that allowed a small sliver to imbed itself into the tender flesh of her palm.
Gasping in both shock and at the slight pain of the unexpected intrusion, she brought the wounded appendage up to her face to assess the damage.
Realizing it was just a tiny little thing—nothing to be greatly concerned about—the young woman went about removing the offending piece of wood only to have her own hand snatched from under her gaze.
With her vision suddenly clouded by red, there could only be one culprit.
"InuYasha!" Kagome shrieked in surprise.
The hanyou ignored her as he clutched her delicate hand tenderly in his own. A small drop of blood made its way from the wound, causing InuYasha to pout and then glare at the woman before him.
The look he gave her spoke volumes toward his mood.
"Oh my goodness, InuYasha, it's just a tiny scratch!" Kagome snapped at the irate hanyou. Honestly, she was just embarrassed at being caught in the act.
She tried to pull away, but his tender grip was firm and unrelenting.
"This time! But what about next time you're hurt, and what about all those times before this?" He returned with equal fire as he carefully used his claws to extract the sliver. "This is why you should have listened to me!"
Kagome winced at the slight pain brought on by the removal, and InuYasha gave her an apologetic look as he gently cleaned away the last few traces of her blood, mindful of the minor wound.
It was times like these that he amazed Kagome the most. How could someone be so angry and yet so tender at the same time? This was the man that could destroy a mountain of demons with one swing of his sword, and then in the next second tend to her needs as if she was the most delicate of creatures. Her heart fluttered warmly at the thought. This was something she loved about him, something not many people even knew about. In fact, to most people, he was the gruff hanyou, InuYasha. But to her, he was mostly just her pretty puppy.
Kagome knew he only worried about her safety, but sometimes InuYasha needed to realize that accidents were bound to happen. A small prick to her skin wasn't going to kill her.
"You were there to protect me and it all turned out okay. I don't see why you're so upset. You're always there to keep me safe." Kagome said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
With her free hand she reached up to cup his face, and run her thumb across his cheek affectionately. "Don't worry so much. I can take care of myself sometimes." She added softly, gazing into his eyes with both love and happiness.
The look she gave the hanyou caused him to blush and look away, while mumbling something Kagome couldn't quite hear under his breath. He still wasn't quite used to the young woman's bold affections towards him, but Kagome wouldn't have the half-demon any other way.
And then a smirk appeared on the young woman's face—a tangible sign of mischief. "Not to mention you're always around to drive me insane with your over-protectiveness!"
She shoved the half-demon playfully, causing him to stumble at the unexpected attack.
"Oi! Woman!" InuYasha spun back to face her, only to find she was already gone and off running towards the village.
It took only a moment for the predator in him to kick in and he was off like lightening, zipping after her.
With her laughter to lead the way, InuYasha chased after the young woman who had captured his heart so many years before. He was keenly aware of just how lucky he was to have her in his life, and planned to spend the rest of it making sure the Gods knew just how appreciative he was of the gift they had bestowed upon him.
Seconds later, there was a shriek and a squeal, followed by a new bout of laughter as the hanyou caught and tackled his prey, ever careful to protect her from harm as they tumbled to the ground.
He may not always be there every second to keep her from getting hurt, but no one could say he sure as hell didn't try his best!
"InuYasha! You ruined my peaches!"
"Ha! That'll teach you not to listen to me!"
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InuYasha © Rumiko Takahashi.
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