Learning to Trust
“I can't believe you're being such a jerk!” Kagome snapped, waddling out of their shared hut. The straw mat covering their door slapped back with enough force to make InuYasha stumble, though he recovered quickly enough to resume stomping after his pregnant and pissed off wife. Red-faced, he pointed a claw accusingly at her.
“I'm being a jerk?” he bellowed, drawing the attention of every nearby villager and maybe some in the neighboring two villages. Kagome flushed hotly, annoyed and embarrassed at the feel of all those eyes on her. She and InuYasha were no strangers to this kind of spotlight, but she nonetheless hated that every argument between them became a public spectacle. She instinctively fluttered a hand over her protruding stomach to protect their unborn child from the judgmental glares being thrown their way. Her husband on the other hand didn't care about the attention or judgment, as evinced by his next words:
“I come home looking forward to seeing my wife after a long day of hunting our dinner, only to find her wrapped in another man's arms...and I'm a jerk for getting mad?”
Kagome gasped when their baby kicked furiously at her palm. InuYasha smirked triumphantly, his gold-toned glare dropping down to her belly. `That's right,' he thought cockily. `InuYasha: 1, Wench: 0.'
But when he blinked, his wife had marched right up to him—moving faster than a woman her size and in her condition should have been able to—and raised herself on swollen feet so that she and InuYasha stood nose-to-nose. Though he tried not to, he gulped when her narrowed blue eyes burned angrily into his.
`Wench: 1,' he thought lamely, the situation reminding him absurdly of a fighting game Souta had made him play years ago on one of his `eclectic' contraptions. InuYasha hadn't been very good at it—confused by the buttons and not entirely sure how pressing a circle or an 'x' or a triangle made his little fighter punch, kick, and dodge on the brightly colored screen—but the game's concept and tournament-styled matches had seemed cool after Souta had explained it to him. Such a thing should but, unfortunately, didn't exist in these parts, or else InuYasha would have been there, burning off the anger he instead channeled at his wife.
In the back of his mind, he knew he shouldn't be fighting with Kagome as much as he did and with how close she was to the end of her pregnancy, but he secretly enjoyed how her haywire pregnancy hormones at this stage intensified her every reaction to him. He'd always loved the spitfire side of her that fought and challenged him. Even now, though he was legitimately pissed at what he'd walked in on earlier, she had never looked sexier glaring up at him. Fury darkened her usually sky-blue eyes to a stormy hue and brought rosy, flushed color to her cheeks. When she sighed, frustrated, InuYasha's eyes dropped down to her plump, kissable lips and he—
—nearly forgot his own anger. Embarrassingly, his other sword chose that moment to perk up, hoping to engage in a different kind of fight with his wife, who was standing close enough to feel him against her stomach.
`Wench: 2, InuYasha: 1. Damn it!!'
Kagome cleared her throat and stepped back from him, bristling. As tempted as she was to end this fight the way they often did, she couldn't forget his ridiculous accusation—not when he'd announced it to everyone around them, and had even their baby turned against her!
“Don't be ridiculous,” she hissed, folding her arms across her chest. “It wasn't another man. It was Kouga!”
InuYasha growled, recalling how he'd found Kagome within the hated wolf demon's embrace. His pregnant wife had had her arms around his waist while Kouga grinned down at her. He wouldn't have thought much of the scene if not for the brilliant smile he'd seen Kagome beam up. That soft of look of contentedness was one he thought she reserved just for him, and seeing her look at another man that way killed him.
...but InuYasha knew better than to let her, or anyone, know they could affect him that way. Old habits die hard, and years of learning how to be hard-hearted and cold, and erecting walls to keep other people out kicked in effortlessly. InuYasha folded his arms across his chest to mirror Kagome's combative stance and rolled his eyes.
“Oh, excuse me, it was just Kouga,” InuYasha sneered, glaring at her. “Sorry. How wrong of me to get mad because I walked in on my pregant wife hugging a man whose professed his love to her and called her his woman more times than I can count!”
“Lower your voice!” Kagome hissed.
InuYasha's eyes narrowed. He knew shouting their business to all of Edo was overkill, but he was past the point of caring. Three years ago, he might have let something like this go, but three years ago, Kagome wasn't his wife. She hadn't been carrying his pup then. Things were different now and he needed her to understand why this upset him as much as it had.
“Just try to tell me I'm wrong for this, wench. I dare ya.”
“You are wrong,” Kagome maintained through grit teeth. She scrubbed a hand over her face, feeling the beginnings of a migraine pulse beneath her brow. “I told you a million times, we didn't do anything wrong. We were talking.”
“You were hugging!”
“We were saying goodbye! That's how friends say goodbye sometimes!”
InuYasha snorted and Kagome threw her hands up, frustrated. He was being so impossible! A lot had changed between them since coming back from their three year separation and the beginnings of their forever, but a lot still needed to change. She didn't understand the jealousy one bit.
“Don't you trust me?” she asked softly, the fight leaving her with that one, critical question. Kagome could tell him about the conversation she'd had with Kouga and easily put an end to their fight. When he'd come by, it was to gush about a girl within the village who he'd begun seeing, and Kagome had hugged him because she'd been so happy that he'd finally moved on. She wanted happy endings for everyone she'd come to love throughout her feudal adventures, Kouga most of all because he had fallen for her and she hadn't reciprocated. She'd been too head-over-heels for the bull-headed hanyou standing in front of her. But Kagome held back from explaining herself, because if InuYasha didn't trust her after everything they'd been through, then she saw no point in wasting her breath.
...and there would be no point in continuing their relationship. It physically pained her to think like that, but she knew she couldn't be with someone who didn't trust her, especially when she trusted him with everything. As if sensing his mother's turmoil, the child within her stopped moving, and the air between her and InuYasha became static with tension.
Her husband's jaw ticked, and golden orbs that had been glaring so intensely cut away from Kagome. The stony silence seemed to stretch forever and, drained of what little energy she had left, Kagome sighed in defeat.
“Okay. There's my answer I guess. I'm going to Sango's,” she muttered. She turned on her heel and began stomping away.
InuYasha's eyes widened. `What the hell just happened?'
He'd been contemplating the right words for an apology—which he rarely ever gave—and realized too late what his silence might have been interpreted as. Scrambling to fix his error, he jogged after Kagome and managed to latch onto her arm.
She turned back to him, and InuYasha was floored with the level of hurt he saw shimmering in her eyes. What had started out as a stupid argument somehow devolved into him hurting Kagome, more deeply than he was able to comprehend in that moment. In his stupor, he missed what Kagome had said before she shook her head disgustedly and wrenched her arm away from his. When he realized what happened too late again, she made it all the way to Sango's hut. The mat slapped soundly closed behind her.
InuYasha made to march in and explain, but the second his fingers made contact with the straw, angry priestess energy repelled him, the force of which threw him onto his back.
Despite himself, InuYasha thought back to that stupid fighting game.
`And Wench wins this one with a literal knock-out,' he concluded. 'Fuck.'
. : .
Sango looked up from feeding her youngest. “What happened now?” she asked, curious—despite living this scenario a thousand times over, especially with how close Kagome was to giving birth—as to why her best friend had stormed in so angrily. Before answering, Kagome procured an ofuda out of thin air and slapped it onto the straw mat. Sango raised an eyebrow.
Kagome gave her a falsely innocent look, but poorly disguised a smirk when they heard InuYasha yelp, followed by a sound not unlike the one he used to make after being “sat.”
“I just needed some alone time,” Kagome lied, sitting down by Sango's sleeping twin daughters. She smiled softly at them. In slumber, they were perfect little angels, but she knew what terrors they were while awake. Instinctively, she knew her own little one would be like that—especially with hers and InuYasha's combined fiery tempers.
“I don't believe you,” Sango doubted.
“I'm fine, really.”
“Uh huh.” The slayer knew her best friend all too well. She rolled her eyes at the phony smile being shot her way. “You and InuYasha aren't fighting and my husband isn't a pervert.”
“When did you get so sarcastic?” Kagome huffed.
Sango grinned. “Just tell me what happened. You know you want to.”
. : .
“You know you want to,” Miroku prodded, grinning slyly up into the branches of Goshinboku where his fuming best friend sat, doing his best to ignore the nosy monk. After coming home from a long day of...”working”...Miroku wasn't surprised to learn that InuYasha and Kagome had had yet another blow out. They had been having them all too frequently and the monk hardly batted an eye when the first villager he encountered stopped him to tell him the gossip. What did surprise him was that he hadn't been able to get into his own hut. Kagome had ofuda-locked herself and his wife and kids in. As Sango assured him that they were okay and having “girl talk”--which would have made him scared if the talk were about him—Miroku thought it best to work on InuYasha.
...and by “work,” he meant tease mercilessly.
Miroku side-stepped the branch InuYasha threw at him.
“Go away you annoying bastard,” the hanyou fumed. Miroku barely stifled a chuckle when InuYasha finally moved from his perch, no doubt looking for something heavier and pointier to throw down.
“My friend, I'm hurt,” he said, feigning wounded by dramatically fluttering a hand over his heart. “I'm only trying to be helpful.”
“I don't need any help.”
“Maybe just someone to talk to then?”
“Fuck no,” InuYasha snorted, folding his arms over his chest.
“Come on,” Miroku insisted. “I'm a great listener.”
“And a big mouth! If I tell you what happened, then it won't be long before half the village hears about it.”
Miroku raised an eyebrow, barely containing his smirk. “So something did happen.”
InuYasha's eyes widened. “No!” he said all too quickly. “Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing.”
“Then why did your wife lock herself into my place? Really, InuYasha, I love her like a sister, but I've been traveling half the day and was so looking forward to seeing Sango. See, she promised me today that if I got home early enough, she'd do that thing with her tongue that—”
“To much information, monk!” InuYasha bellowed, his cheeks bright pink. Miroku did laugh this time, it being entirely too easy to rile his friend up. As an added perk, InuYasha usually resorted to talking more when he wanted to shut Miroku up.
“So what'd you do this time?” Miroku asked, pushing once again. InuYasha glared down from his perch in the tall, sacred tree before jumping down and getting in Miroku's face. “I didn't do anything—and some monk you are. If you're that desperate to see Sango, why haven't you been able to get through?”
“She set up a powerful lock this time around,” the monk admitted, before adding slyly. “You must've really pissed her off.”
“So tell me, my friend...”
InuYasha stayed quiet. Miroku, familiar with the hanyou's stubborn attitude waited patiently for his frustration to win out. It eventually did, with InuYasha throwing his hands up and raging: “Why am I always the bad guy?!”
Miroku tried to hide his amusement. It wasn't a particularly funny situation, but InuYasha was just too predictable for it to be helped. Shrugging his shoulders, he said simply:
“Because Kagome's a saint.”
“Not true,” InuYasha grumbled, but a brief, stricken look told the monk that, though no one was perfect, InuYasha most certainly thought his wife was damn close to it. Miroku knew that look and that fear. He sometimes had it with Sango, and wondered if it was the dilemma of every man to never feel good or deserving enough of the woman he loved. Suddenly serious, and faintly smiling at the thought of the amazing mother of his children, Miroku laid a hand on InuYasha's shoulder.
“Then what did she do, if you did nothing wrong?” he asked softly.
InuYasha raised worried eyes to his.
“She asked me if I trusted her.”
. : .
“And he said no?!” Sango fumed, startling the twins from their nap. Kagome sighed, looking pointedly at her dramatic friend as she shushed the slayer's daughters back to sleep. Shaking her head and fighting the urge to cry at the memory of their argument, Kagome said: “No. InuYasha didn't say anything.”
“...and I guess he doesn't have to,” she said after a moment. He was always a man of action, not words, and his actions said enough. InuYasha didn't trust her, though she'd never given him any reason not to.
Sango, calming down, took a rational approach to the situation. “You know how he is. He gets mad and acts like an idiot. I'm sure he didn't mean to imply—”
“That doesn't make this hurt any less,” Kagome admitted, curving a hand around her stomach. “Was I wrong?”
Sango looked puzzled.
“...for talking to Kouga and hugging him before he left,” she elaborated. “I mean, in my mind I wasn't doing anything wrong, but InuYasha got so mad!”
Her best friend thought about it, then seemed hesitant, as if she were choosing her words carefully. Kagome was anxious for her response, not sure if she was going to like it or not.
“Kagome,” Sango said after a long moment. “InuYasha always gets mad when he sees you with Kouga.”
Kagome waited for Sango to say more, but the slayer was staring expectantly at her, as if waiting for Kagome to come to whatever conclusion she had.
“I know that, Captain Obvious,” Kagome said, stumped. “And...?”
Sango rolled her eyes. “And he gets mad when Houjo, Miroku, and pretty much any other male gets close to you.”
“You make it sound like I'm some harlot,” Kagome grumbled, narrowing her eyes. “Are you saying I'm too flirty and this is my fault?”
“Not at all, sweetie,” Sango said gently, grabbing her hand. She bit her lip, trying to think of some way to make her reasoning stick, when it hit her. The slayer grinned brightly.
“You've seen me slap Miroku upside his head thousands of times for grabbing other girls' butts and asking them to mother his children, but I don't do it because I don't trust him. If I didn't, I wouldn't let him wander off as much as he does into other villages for fake exorcisms. I'd be worrying about him cheating on me but...I don't.”
Kagome looked even more confused. “Then why do you still hit him?” She'd always wondered if it bothered Sango that Miroku had yet to end his flirtations with other woman. In fact, it had only gotten worse since he'd married and settled down with Sango. Nothing female in their village was safe from the hand the monk swore hadn't entirely been purged of it's “curse.”
Sango grinned deviously. “Habit, mostly...and I swear, Miroku waits for that slap. One time, I stopped myself from hitting him and saw him angle his head toward me. It's just what we do—how we operate.”
“So,” Sango continued. “InuYasha getting jealous, you two fighting about it and then making up later is how you two work. That's your relationship.”
“It sounds awfully dysfunctional,” Kagome said, worrying her lip. Sango noticed her hand tightening protectively on her belly and rushed to amend her statement.
“So what? That's how you two love each other,” she shrugged. Her words struck something within Kagome because an enlightened look settled in her eyes.
“I never thought about it like that,” she murmured, awestruck. Sango mentally patted herself on the back. “...it still doesn't fix things.” Kagome added, her lingering doubts about InuYasha's trust in her resurfacing. Sango shook her head, smiling.
“All relationships are a work in progress,” she said, waving away Kagome's concerns. “And you have forever to work on your issues together. That's the 'fun' part of being dysfunctional.”
Kagome laughed and her friend felt relieved. Though sometimes InuYasha and Kagome could be wildly entertaining with their arguments, she hated how broken the girl had appeared for a moment there. It scared her to think that either of them could be having doubts about the other, and wished the two of them could see their relationship the way she and her husband saw them for the crazy, but loveable pair those two were.
...speaking of her husband, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye and peeked out of the window to her hut. Sango hid her giggles in a cough, seeing Miroku half-drag InuYasha after him, a mischievous glimmer in his violet eyes. Briefly, those eyes she loved met her gaze from across the village and he winked. She shook her head and turned back to Kagome.
“I think InuYasha is coming by. Are you going to speak to him or make him sweat this out a little longer?”
Kagome sighed. “Can I stay for another hour or two? If he's still mad I don't know that I can handle another argument,” she conceded, her eyebrows knit together. “The baby keeps kicking me in the ribs and I'm just so—” she yawned “—tired.”
“Of course,” Sango agreed, grinning just as mischievously as her husband had. She had a feeling InuYasha and Kagome's argument was about to take a turn for the entertaining.
. : .
“This is going to be fun.”
“This is stupid,” InuYasha disagreed, his teeth clenched and voice low. Miroku chuckled quietly at his friend before reminding:
“This will all be for nothing if you don't look more convincing. If Sango and Kagome look out the window now, they won't be seeing a very sorry looking hanyou...and you are sorry, right?”
Miroku said the last part loudly, as the two were walking close enough to the monk's hut for the girls inside to hear him. Sure enough, Sango peeked a head out and looked confusedly at them. He winked, then made to drag InuYasha after him.
“Now, just like we practiced...” he said under his breath.
Glaring, InuYasha said flatly and robotically, but loudly: “Of course I am, monk. I love Kagome.”
“...aaand?” Miroku prompted. InuYasha shot him a murderous look, but peeked down at the kanji Miroku had scribbled on his palm.
“And of course I thrust Kagome.”
InuYasha nearly choked when he realized what he'd read wrong. He was going to kill Miroku, who now was doubled over with laughter.
“TRUST. I trust Kagome.
“I'm sure you thrust her, too, you dog you,” Miroku couldn't help but add. InuYasha lunged at him but stopped when the mat to the monk's hut fluttered open. His heart skipped a beat.
“Nope,” a frazzled looking Sango cut him off. Her trio of kids ran out behind her, three little balls of energy awake from a nap and ready to go outside and play. Thank God Kagome dozed off when she had and that the ofuda didn't need her touch to remove it, nor did it lock them all in with her. The kids woke up just moments after the exhausted priestess fell out, and Sango quickly jumped to peel the ofuda-lock off. Regrettably, Kagome had slept through the hilarious conversation Sango had overheard him having with Miroku.
“She's inside,” the slayer said, smiling at InuYasha. The hanyou looked relieved and rushed past her.
“...but take her back to your place if your apology is going to involve you thrusting her.”
InuYasha's jaw dropped.
“You're just as bad as Miroku!” he said, whispering so as not to disturb his wife's slumber. Miroku's eyes twinkled as he and Sango watched him gather Kagome into his arms.
“Sango, my love, he doesn't thrust her. That's what started this whole fight,” Miroku teased.
Sango giggled and the hanyou's ears burned with embarrassment. “Gee, InuYasha. You better start learning how to thrust her then if you want your marriage to work.”
“Don't worry, when they go home, I'm sure they'll get to work on their thrust issues.”
“We don't have—”
He stopped abruptly, refusing to play anymore into their teasing.
“I hate the both of you,” he muttered, blushing hotly. InuYasha walked briskly past them, their laughter still ringing in his ears on the walk back to his own hut. He never should have trusted the monk or his chicken-scratch to get him through this apology. This was something InuYasha needed to do for himself and he was thankful Kagome appeared to have been sleeping through that whole ridiculous conversation. The phony apology would have pissed him off had he been on the receiving end of it.
InuYasha had never been good with his words, though. He'd never trusted or loved anyone as deeply as he did Kagome, and though Miroku offered some surprisingly sage advice on how to deal with his insecurities and fears about her, he knew every day was a day he needed to work on being the man Kagome needed him to be.
...and the man he wanted to be for her.
InuYasha looked down at Kagome now, stunned by how beautiful and peaceful she looked sleeping. Her lips were slightly parted and her cheeks naturally flushed and rosy. He pressed a gentle kiss on her brow and heard his name sighed. Even while asleep she reacted to him, which made InuYasha warm all over.
“Every damn day I wonder what I did to deserve you,” he murmured. He blushed, nervous even though Kagome wasn't awake to hear him voice his biggest fear. Noticing the hand she splayed over her belly, he realized other greatest fear:
Before InuYasha could work himself into an anxious mess about that, Kagome stirred.
“InuYasha?” she mumbled sleepily. Her eyelids fluttered open and she gazed blearily around her. “I'm home?”
He fought back a smile, not sure if Kagome was still mad about their fight—though he hoped she wasn't, because hearing her call this their home, no matter how many times she'd said it before, had felt damn good in that moment.
“Yes, baby,” he said, surprising both her and himself with how gently he'd said it. Kagome's lips stretched lazily into a smile. “We're home.”
His hand trailed down to her belly when he said 'we,' and pride overwhelmed him when their child kicked right into his palm. Kagome's hand floated down to cover his.
“I'm sorry,” InuYasha said simply, moving to kiss Kagome's brow. If she was surprised at his apology, his wife didn't show it. She still looked half-asleep. “You okay?”
“Mmhmm,” Kagome sighed contentedly, snuggling into InuYasha. “Apology accepted. I'm sorry, too.”
InuYasha frowned, wondering if her half-asleep state was making her say stupid things. “You've got nothing to be sorry for,” he murmured. “I'm the one who fucked up for letting you think I didn't trust you. I'm always the one who fucks up, and Kagome, you—”
“—have things I need to work on, too,” Kagome cut him off, surprising InuYasha with how awake she suddenly appeared. Her blue eyes gazed intensely into his. “Really, InuYasha. I shouldn't have reacted the way I did. I forgive you and it's okay. We're okay.”
InuYasha wanted to let it go, but he felt guiltier with every word she said. For the millionth time he wondered why the Gods had thought him worthy of her.
“It's not okay. Why do you keep forgiving me all the time?”
“Because I love you, dummy.”
“But I keep messing up. I keep making you cry and storm off. I'm not—”
“Don't you dare finish that sentence,” she said firmly. Kagome's gaze softened and she curved a hand around his cheek.
“InuYasha, when I came back here it was for all of you: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We fight—that's nothing new. Then, we make up. That's how this—” she squeezed the hand that rested over her stomach, “happened. What we have isn't perfect, but I'm perfectly happy that I'm with you. I regret nothing.”
“I love you, too, and I do trust you. I swear to both you and our son that I'm going to do everything I can to make sure you always trust me and never have regrets.”
“Okay,” Kagome said, happy tears shimmering in her eyes. She leaned in and kissed him before adding:
“I'm glad you really do trust me, but I like that you thrust me, too.”
InuYasha pulled back, hardly believing what he'd just heard. His wife looked more mischievous than Miroku or Sango combined had. It floored him that the sneaky wench had been awake the entire time!
“You heard that?!”