Picture Perfect

I own nothing of Inuyasha, except the urge to grope those cute fuzzy triangles on his head.

"Speech"

Inuyasha strolled into Kaede's hut, his patrols of the area complete and ready for a rest. His ears perking at the giggles of a dark haired teenage girl and a smaller red headed kitsune capturing his attention immediately. Both were sprawled out in the middle of the room, laying on their stomachs kicking their feet in childish delight, various papers strewn everywhere. Picking up one of the papers closest to him folding his legs under him he flopped to the floor turning the parchment this way and that trying to determine what the shapes were. Shrugging he gives up and tosses it back to the floor, tucking his arms in his sleeves content with watching the two before him. Both so absorbed in their fun activities they paid him no attention to his actions, which was fine to him at the moment, he preferred being able to watch the things around him undisturbed. Closing his eyes he listens to the sweet sound of Kagome's voice as it floats across the room, he swivels a fuzzy ear in her direction to better hear her currently reciting the shapes and their names to the kit, pointing out the differences in each one. Inuyasha mentally cataloged everything she said, making sure to not miss a single word; who said he never listened to her? They all thought he only listened when ramen, jewel shards or even Kikyou were mentioned but he had them all fooled. He was constantly tuning his ears to the sound of her voice, obsessed with the way it rolled over him and made his usually cold heart warm. Eavesdropping had been the only way he had learned anything as he stumbled through life, constantly trying to stay ahead of his pursuers, the people who hated hanyous, always chasing him away if he got too close which made it hard for him to learn anything but fear.

But with Kagome it was different, she taught anybody who asked, anyone who was willing to learn, she would sit down with them and explain things patiently, never getting mad. Understanding, that's one word he associated with the girl. She had even offered, in private of course, to help him learn to read and write, and maybe even some basic mathematics. At first he was stunned, leery even and accused her of trying to make fun of him but yanking onto one of his forelocks she made him look into her eyes explaining that all she wanted was to make it so he was better prepared for anything. So no one could take advantage of him, or cheat him out of anything. The truth had been in her eyes, the silent pain of how he had been treated his whole life, but never pity. She respected him and only offered to help him if he wanted it. Dazed was all he was after that conversation.

Leaving him there to contemplate what she had said, giving him time to think it over. But really what did he have to think over? This wonderfully understanding young woman wanted...wanted to mind you, teach him, a good for nothing lower then dirt hanyou, how to read and write. No one had ever offered such a thing to him ever, and to say he was floored was an accurate assumption to say the least. After a few days of thinking it over, watching her with the kit every night reading to him, he had approached her before bed one night. Everyone else had been fast asleep, so he made his way silently over to her sleeping bag where she had been perched reading one of her textbooks for her 'skool' thing. Dropping down beside her making sure to keep the blank expression on his face just in case someone woke up and saw, he turned his head slightly disguising the redness on his cheeks and accepted her offer. His gaze darting to hers as he felt her hand cover his, a small smile gracing her features knowing how much it had taken him to approach her, she was telling him in her own silent way she respected him and accepted him no matter what. His amber eyes warmed and with an answering smile he laced her fingers with his. They spent quite a few hours like that, Inuyasha watching the skies, keeping his ears perked for danger and Kagome absorbed in her books, absently flipping a page with their joined hands, happy with the world for the moment.

Hearing movement Inuyasha opened his eyes, settling on the young woman before him, lingering on her cute button nose, the way she bites her lower lip when shes concentrating. Noticing the way her eyes softened as her gaze swung from her drawings to her adopted son, watching his little hands as they moved across his paper, the way she ruffled his red hair tenderly as she watched him copy her shapes and say the names back to her. The adoration in his emerald eyes when she praised his intelligence and ability to pick up anything fast, the way his eyes seemed to seek her out when they were out walking, as if to make sure she was still there.

That thought made his heart clench. The boys' situation hitting very close to home for Inuyasha, which is probably one of the reasons he let the squirt hang around, the fact that Kagome's influence was more convincing than he first thought played in the front of his mind. He knew she would have 'Sit' him to hell and back if he hadn't let the runt tag along with their group. And the fact that her presence had made him soft almost made him scoff aloud, denying it to himself was no good because he knew it was true. But he would be damned if he let anyone else know it. Before her, his heart had been a block of ice, four inch thick walls of stone surrounding it making it impossible to get through, or so he thought. But then she was suddenly thrust before him, literally popping out of the trees surrounding the one he had been affixed to. Panting, and cursing under her breath as she stumbled closer to him, trying in vain to get away from her pursuer. At first sight he thought her Kikyo and proceeded to goad her, but instead of the cold indifference that he associated with the priestess, he got all fire back. Her indigo eyes spitting defiance at him making him stop and really look at her swallowing thickly as she quite clearly and very loudly (his ears still twitched at her yells) that she was not Kikyo but Kagome KA...GO...ME!

He didn't tell anyone but at that point when he inhaled her scent and found out that she really wasn't indeed Kikyo, he was rather smitten with her bravery and straightforwardness. She was so different from other women he had interacted with. Most women he saw from a distance were meek and timid, choosing to follow rather then lead. A bunch of sheep in his opinion. Never had he felt the urge to approach any one of them. Never felt the desire to talk to them, but with Kagome he did. Though he did insult her looks and scent, he only said such things to save face and to distract her from the blush creeping across his cheeks. And while yes he did threaten to sharpen his claws on her, it was all bluster, he would never actually do that. He was more bark than bite when it came to humans, especially pretty ones like her.

Lifting his head again as her beautiful laughter floated to his ears, peering through his silver bangs, his amber eyes locked on her twinkling blue ones. Her eyes squeezing shut as they continued giggling at a picture the kit had shown her, making his eyebrows shoot to his hairline and a small smile appear on his lips. The giggling winding down now to soft snorts they both returned to their drawings, Shippo looked up from his paper and spotted Inuyasha watching them, a mischievous twinkle appearing in his eyes, making Inuyasha scowl. Whatever he was thinking about couldn't be good for the hanyou, it never was with the runt when that look was in his eyes. Smirking the kit scooted closer to Kagome, his little body tucking into her side making her curl an arm around him unconsciously drawing him closer. Even though the little runt had done that to irritate him, he had to crack a smile at her actions, his eyes softening. She was his mother whether she knew it or not. She, a miko, took the kit in when he had no one else had, cared for him and even fussed over him constantly, and if that's not a mother what is? He hated to admit it now but if Kagome hadn't been with him when the orphan approached him he wouldn't have thought twice about leaving him where he found him. Although it didn't exactly help the situation when the runt had tricked him and stuck him to a statue while making off with the jewel shards and consequently letting Kagome get kidnapped by the Thunder Brothers. He had always lived his life by survival of the fittest; look out for yourself and only yourself. Less complicated that way.

Ever since his mother had died and he had been cast out of the village where they had resided, Inuyasha had been stripped of any sympathy, or kindness really. Living a life of never being able to fit in anywhere, never belonging. Always being in constant danger would do that to you. Planting a seed of bitterness that only grew more over the years. Even when he had met Kikyo he hadn't lowered all of his defenses. Thinking logically, he was a hanyou, she a priestess. It was her job to exterminate demons and he had reason to be wary of her, thus keeping his distance was a smart thing to do. While they had talked a bit over the few years they had known each other there was still a wall between them. Neither could take that chance to let the other in, whether from how they were both raised or personal preference that's just how the world worked then.

Kikyo had always been somewhat cold; distant. Oh she could do her duty as a priestess well enough, paste on a smile that fooled everyone, save for one. He could see through the facade. Sadness permeated her soul, bitterness consumed her, resentment tore at her. Kikyo's destiny had been chosen for her and it was eating her up inside to keep on living the farce that was her life. Having dreamed of a life as a normal woman, this was a pale comparison, she had told him once. To not be tied down, to be able to do everything a normal woman could and yet she had been denied that. When he had shown up to steal the Shikon Jewel she had seen another like her, saw in his eyes the sadness, the loneliness, the anger of how life had treated another soul and in that moment she connected with him. Which is probably the only reason she stayed her hand and never fired that last arrow to finish him off. Even though he was a half demon, something that priestesses thought below their station in life she needed him, and he needed her. She yearned for someone else who could understand what she was going through, someone who wouldn't pat her on the head and patronize her saying she was lucky to be chosen for such a duty, to be proud for such an honor. So he guessed, in their anguish, their souls found each other and they had common ground, someone to share in their misery. After all misery loves company as they say. But because of that distrust, the constant wall they kept around themselves, it wasn't a big surprise that something could turn one against the other and Naraku's trickery brought that to the forefront. Looking back it wasn't so surprising everything turned out the way it did, but when he woke up and met Kagome, everything he knew changed.

Kagome was the total opposite to Kikyo in every regard. Where Kikyo was cold, Kagome was warm and caring. Where one felt obligated and bitter, the other accepted her destiny in stride and never let negative feelings control her. Kikyo was like the moon, distant, never wanting to let anyone close to her. Whereas Kagome was like the sun, her warm personality drew you in and you couldn't help but like her, a caring nature that made you want to be around her. Those two couldn't have been more opposite in every way and yet they both had something in common. They were both drawn to him and in return he felt the desperate need to be near them, to be a part of their lives.

He had no illusions about how things would've turned out if Naruka hadn't shown up. Things would have gone on as they had before, Kikyo doing her duty being the protector of the jewel and Inuyasha hanging around in the shadows. While however short, their companionship was a turning point in their lives, one that inadvertently sent Kagome to his arms 500 years from the future and he thanked his lucky star everyday for that fact.

"Inuyasha?" A small voice startled him out of his musings, making his eyes pop open wide spotting the kit standing in front of him, his arms behind his back rocking back on his heels looking sheepish.

"Yeah? Whaddya want runt?" He grunted arching a brow in question, spotting Kagome sitting up now watching them in anticipation, her lips pressing together hard like she was trying not to smile.

"I uhhh..." Shippo kicked a small dirt clump on the floor, keeping his eyes down. "I drew this picture..." He paused, looking back to Kagome, seeing her gesturing with her hands for him to go on, he brought out the paper from behind his back and held it out to the hanyou carefully. "For you," he managed to squeak out. His little emerald eyes reflecting pride and hope all at once.

Inuyasha's first response was to scoff and tell him to beat it, but the sincerity shining back from the kit made him pause and lean in closer to the picture. His amber gaze flitted from corner to corner taking it all in, in surprise. The runt really was a fairly good drawer, the shapes certainly did look quite a lot like their little group, right down to Kilala. But that wasn't what caught his eye. What did was that instead of drawing Inuyasha in a tree like he normally did, or smashed into the ground from the sit spell Kagome used, he had him sitting next to a dark haired girl with pretty blue eyes and a little red head was perched in his lap, looking quite happy to be there. And between the silver haired man and the dark haired woman sat their hands, intertwined together like it had always been so. Both looking so comfortable it made his heart ache. Swallowing thickly he cleared his throat and forced out, "Yeah it looks good runt." Turning his face away but not before spotting a brilliant smile break out across the kits face. Turning Shippo squealed his happiness while jumping into Kagome's arms, their happy sounds filling the air as they embraced. Kagome, whose face was mostly obscured by the wild red tresses of her kit caught his gaze and they held each others attentions for the longest time, a silent understanding passed between them. A wild blush broke over his face and as he ducked his head down he spotted the drawing at his feet. The loving family staring back up at him, almost making him wish for it to be reality. Bringing a hand out of his sleeve he gently traced the figures with his claws, a thought crossed his mind stopping his actions. He didn't need to wish for such a thing anymore. Lifting his eyes back to the pair across from him who were back to drawing more pictures, he had everything he could ever wish for and so much more right in front of him.