Kouga helps Kagome along.
"Kagome, the rain has stopped for the time being. There is a hot spring nearby. I'll go with you and keep watch while you bathe."
Kagome looked at Kouga like he was speaking another language. She was still so tired and simply miserable from lack of sleep it took her a moment to comprehend what he was saying. She looked at him, confused.
"A hot spring?" she asked. "No, thank you Kouga, InuYasha will..."
Oh, wait. Kagome looked around the cave to see InuYasha still as far away from her as he could get and she suddenly remembered why he was that way, eyeing her suspiciously. Suddenly she was very sad.
"Yeah, Kouga, that would be great if you would take me to the hot spring. I'm so dirty from traveling in the rain and a change of clothes would be nice." Kagome carefully scooched out of her sleeping bad so she wouldn't wake Shippou, who was still asleep along with the rest of the group, with the exception of InuYasha, and headed for her backpack. She dug out her bathing supplies along with fresh clothes, then turned to InuYasha to let him know she was leaving and where she was going. As soon as her eyes hit his he turned away with a grunt. Kagome sighed, still not understanding what was wrong with him and knowing better than to approach him.
"InuYasha, please tell the others I went to the hot spring and I'll be back soon," she requested, offering him a small smile. He ignored her again, so Kagome stepped out of the cave with Kouga, headed for her bath.
Once Kouga couldn't hear the sounds of the cave anymore he turned to Kagome.
"Kagome, do you know what's wrong with Dog-breath?" he asked.
"No, Kouga, I don't. And I don't understand, either. He's never acted this way toward me before. Sure he's been angry and we've fought but he has never tried to ignore me for this long. He growled at me, Kouga! And he told me not to touch him ever again. What would make him act like this?" Kagome looked at Kouga, completely baffled.
"I swear, Kagome, for being so beautiful... Look, we'll go over what happened and see if you don't understand. InuYasha and I got into another fight yesterday, right?" Kouga quizzed her.
"Yeah, well, that wasn't so unusual. You guys always fight when you get together."
"Ok, so what was your response to our fight this time? What did you do yesterday that you've never done before when Dog-breath and I fight over you?" Kouga looked at Kagome hoping she would understand what he was trying to get at.
"Well, let's see. You came flying into camp, flinging mud everywhere, you took my hand, InuYasha jumped in, I got aggrevated and I zapped you both." The light bulb shined brightly over her head. "Kouga, what have I done?" Kagome gasped, stopping dead in her tracks.
Kouga turned to Kagome and took her by the shoulders, looking her right in the eye.
"Kagome, you used your spiritual powers to subdue InuYasha and I." The color left Kagome's face as she stared, gaping at Kouga.
"I used my spiritual powers against InuYasha, just like Kikyou did when she pinned him to Goshinboku with her arrow." She couldn't believe she didn't understand what she had done. Now Kagome understood his reaction to her perfectly. Why he had given her such a wide berth, why he wouldn't talk to her, look at her, or let her touch him.
When InuYasha had been sealed to the tree it was because he felt Kikyou had betrayed him. But when he woke from her spell 50 years had passed, she had passed, and it was all still very new to him. He still felt resentment toward Kikyou for using her powers against him, and that is exactly what Kagome had done yesterday.
Kagome turned from Kouga and walked to the bank of the hot spring. Waiting for Kouga to turn around, she disrobed and eased into the spring. For a long while she sat on the bank of the spring with her knees drawn up to her chest, waist deep in the water. She was running her fingers through the pebbles on the bank, picking one up and tossing it back in with a small splish, thinking over what to do now. She knew InuYasha wouldn't talk to her, much less let her near him, but they had to talk. She had to explain to him she did not mean to hurt him and she certainly had no intention of sealing him to a tree or trying to purify him. She had to find a way to make him understand she had zapped both him and Kouga because she was cranky, wet and tired of their non-stop nonsense. She had learned long ago his beads did not teach him anything when she sat him for fighting with Kouga, so a new tactic, at least for yesterday, was in order to make them both stop, not just him.
As she eased fully into the water to wash Kagome could see now how wrong she had been and how much damage she had done. Her mind started racing, trying to find ways to approach InuYasha and not make him uncomfortable. She had to explain but as she got out of the hot spring and put on fresh clothes, her mind still struggling for ideas, she had none on how to get him to listen. She could not find a way to gain InuYasha's trust enough to get him to allow her close enough to talk to him about the horrible mistake she had made.
Kouga watched as Kagome walked toward him, her face drawn with worry. They walked back to the cave in silence, Kagome no doubt debating what to do next. Kouga knew the easy part was over. She was pretty sharp but sometimes needed to be turned in the right direction, like everyone did every now and again. Dog-breath was another matter completely. Kouga knew he was going to have to practically beat that dumb mutt over the head to get him to listen long enough to think about what was going to be said. Kouga did not relish the thought.
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InuYasha ¬© Rumiko Takahashi.
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