Disclaimer: Never has been, never will be mine.

AN: Okay, I figured I owed people a pick-me up. Maybe a few. I tend to do better with angst, but I'd like to say at least one of my fics doesn't make people cry. So here's some Jichan-- Inuyasha bonding. Believe me. They need it.

The Men in Her Life

As sure as the sun rose in the east, as timely as 'Old Faithful', Inuyasha's angry face popped out of the old well at exactly fifteen seconds past the hour of the third day that Kagome had been in her time. His scowl in place, the dog-eared boy quickly scanned the area to verify what his nose had already told him. None of those tourists was around.

He turned his frown on the main household and stalked around to Kagome's window. With a quick hop he landed on the roof and peered into her open window.

Feh. Stupid girl. Doesn't she know better then to leave her window open like this. His golden gaze pierced the still room. Her scent was faded, she'd been gone since morning. Brushing the curtains aside, the inuhanyou eased into the room. He crouched noiselessly on the plush floor. Everything in her room was so exotic. The bed, still rumpled from the night before, was covered in the thinnest of blankets made from seemingly stitchless material. The colors were vibrant and too varied to be real. And yet, here he was, a lowly hanyou sitting in this strange place.

Inuyasha closed his eyes, tilting his head back. He inhaled deeply, his nose reading the room. This was her sanctuary. When she wasn't there, he could pretend it was his too. He let the angry mask drop from his face. He could yell at her when she returned. For now, he could wait. Wait and do nothing more then breathe.

Little more then an hour later, Inuyasha was roused from his stupor by a shuffling sound outside. His hackles rose instinctively. Suppressing a growl, he crept to the window and peered out. Kagome's grandfather was just cresting the top of the stairs. His arms were full of boxes piled too high to see around. The old man's sandal caught on the last step and he teetered dangerously.

Inuyasha reacted. In a flash he was out the window and at the priest's side. One clawed hand steadied the man's back while with the other hand he saved the top box from its premature meeting with the ground.

"Watch it geezer!" The hanyou flashed a cocky grin. "Your too old to go running around these stairs."

Jichan glared around his remaining two boxes. "I'll have you know that I can still run miles around men half my age!" Inuyasha tilted his head and regarded the man skeptically. The old priest looked winded and his heart rate pounded, but it could be from the recent scare.

"Feh." Inuyasha extracted the other boxes from the stuttering man. "These go to the gift shop or the store house?"

Jichan gaped at the boy's retreating back. He blinked twice. Huh? Did that demon just help me? The priest shook his head in wonder. He remembered when the boy had been on the news from stopping a bank robber and rescuing a small child from a fire, but surely that was a fluke. Demons don't help humans. A small voice in the back of his head reminded him that the boy was half human too.

"Oi! Geezer!" The rude tone cut through his musing. "Are ya deaf?"

Jichan grumbled. "The shop." Rude boy, this new shipment of ofuda should teach him. No demon messes with a Higirashi Priest! He cackled as he ambled into the shop. Inuyasha raised an eyebrow. Sometimes he wondered about the sanity of these future humans. Maybe all the stinks in the air turned them crazy. He shuddered.

"Thanks for your help." Jichan startled him. Inuyasha grumbled. He hadn't meant to be helpful. Kagome would just be mad if her grandfather had been injured and then she wouldn't be able to find shards as well.... yeah, that's what happened.

You tell yourself that, chimed a small Shippo-sounding voice in his head. Inuyasha turned to go again. Any time he was around the od priest, he would end up with ofuda sticking to his hair.

"Kagome's going to be late today." Inuyasha turned in the doorway. Jichan continued to unpack the boxes. Trinkets and scrolls were placed in their proper bins. He shrugged and leaned against the doorway.

"She's always late. What is it this time?" He tried to sound indifferent. Jichan noticed the hint of sadness.

"She had to go to the Hospital." Jichan answered. He got distracted by the shikon key chains. They had the wrong color again. Who ever heard of a green sacred jewel?

"What?!" Inuyasha's heart stopped for a moment. He knew what the hospital was. He and Kagome had dealt with the ghost girl there. Kagome had explained that Hospitals healed the sick and injured. She hadn't been sick had she? Had she covered up an injury from that last fight with the bear demon? It had slammed her into the tree pretty hard. He thought he had taken most of the impact, but she was just human.

Jichan spared a moment to look at Inuyasha's rapidly panicking face. What is his problem? Shakily Inuyasha drew another breath. Kagome's grandfather wouldn't be this calm if she was hurt. He scowled again, crossing his arms over his chest. What was the old man pulling?

"What was she doing at the Hospital?" His eyes narrowed. If she was lying there sick and the old man didn't care...

Jichan was half buried in a pile of good luck charms. His voice was slightly muffled. "Oh it's really sad. Her friend Eri's mother is very sick. She has a cancer of the lungs. There's not much they can do about that."

Inuyasha nodded. "Oh, I see. Kagome went to heal her." Jichan pulled himself from the box and gave Inuyasha a funny look.

"No, she's visiting her. I think she took her some flowers and tea, but I don't think that can help her now." Jichan brightened. "Oh I see... Kagome is a miko in your time right?"

Inuyasha raised his eyebrows. "Kagome is a miko anytime, geezer. I don't think that changes when she hops in the well. She did put that ghost to rest here." The tossed his head arrogantly. The man called himself a priest and didn't have a portion of the power Kagome had.

"Sure, sure." The priest waved his arms dismissively. "She's just not really a miko here yet. She's still in school you know." The hanyou growled at the reminder of the hated school. It took her away from him....er, the quest.... the most.

"So?" His claws tapped idly at a stack of ofuda. For demon wards, they sure didn't do anything.

Jichan's eye twitched as he watched his wards being handled. Darn it he'd find something to work on the demon. "Well, she doesn't do miko things here. Besides, modern medicine doesn't have much faith in the old ways." He sighed heavily. "No one uses herbs and prayer these days. They have all these fancy pills and machines. Who needs plants anymore?" He finished bitterly.

Inuyasha looked out the door at the ancient God tree. "Is that why they've cut my forest down?" He asked quietly. "Because they don't need plants?"

The elderly priest studied the young hanyou before him. The once proud posture had folded in, revealing the depths insecurity and loss that no young man should have to know. As a stray sun beam washed through the store windows and played across the boy's features, Jichan finally saw him. He saw the boy in the man; the heart in the demon. He shuffled quietly forward and lay a hand on Inuyasha's shoulder.

The Hanyou jumped slightly, turning questioning eyes to the priest. Jichan offered a small reassuring smile. It was one Inuyasha knew well. Kagome often had that smile.

"Come on, boy. I could use a cup of tea. Kagome will be home soon." Jichan patted his arm and walked towards the house. He picked up the empty boxes as he went. Inuyasha tilted his head, a smile pulling at his lips. He stood in one fluid movement and bounded next to the man. Taking the boxes from him, Inuyasha flashed a trademark smirk.

"I thought I told you are too old to carry these things, geezer." Jichan huffed.

"See if I tell you then..." He slipped his shoes off at the door of the house.

"Tell me what?" Inuyasha dropped the boxes by the door and followed him into the kitchen. The old man grinned wickedly. Inuyasha swore he saw horns appear on the priest's head.

"About Kagome as a baby..."

When Kagome and her mother got home that night they found a disaster in the kitchen. At some point, the tea had become sake. Ramen wrappers were strewn across the floor, and two empty sake jugs lay discarded on the sink.

"What happened here?" Mrs. Higirashi gaped. She set her purse on the table, careful to avoid the piled bowls and tea cups. Kagome didn't bother to question. She glared at the mess. Only one person she knew could do this. She curled her hands into fists. Ohhhh! That dog-boy was asking for it. He'd get sat so hard...

Kagome dropped her bookbag and stormed up to her room. Some of the picture frames on the wall looked like they had been knocked askew. Her anger mounted. She flung open her door and came to a screeching halt. Her mouth fell open.

There on her bed, wrapped in her blanket and snoring loudly was Jichan. Her eyes trailed to the foot of her bed where a bleary Inuyasha was blinking sleepily at her. He turned a shoulder to look back at the old man in her bed. Kagome shut her mouth and balled her hands again. She opened her mouth to yell, but Inuyasha shook his head and held a finger to his lips.

Fuming, Kagome jerked her head at Inuyasha and marched down the hallway. He sighed and followed, closing the door behind him. She yanked him into Sota's empty bedroom and shut the door.

"What is going on?" She hissed. "I come home to find the kitchen a mess and my grandfather asleep in my bed!"

Inuyasha rubbed the back of his head. "Well, we were drinking tea...." he started. How much should he tell her?

Kagome scowled, pulling on his hair. "And then?"

Inuyasha scowled back. "Well we got hungry waiting, Wench!"

Kagome narrowed her eyes, leaning into his face. "Don't tell me you forgot how to clean up! And that still doesn't explain the sake! I can smell it all over you. And I know Jichan must be drunk if he's snoring!" Inuyasha flinched, his ears flattening. He really hadn't had too much, but the old man would be feeling it in the morning.

"And why is he in my bed?" Kagome threw her hands up.

"You wanted me to leave him in the eating room? He fell over into his Ramen so I brought him up here. Too bad too, he was right in the middle of a good story." Inuyasha grinned wickedly.

Kagome groaned. "Good lord, you are delusional. I don't even want to know what you two were talking about...." He perked up hopefully. She glared. "On second thought, I expect the full story in the morning. Lets get you cleaned up. We can sleep in here tonight. Sota's at a friend's house."

His face fell he really didn't want to tell her what they had talked about. She steered his unprotesting form to the bathroom. Something was definitely off with him. He hadn't said one word about returning to the quest, and he even let her win their argument without a fight. She carefully reminded him how to use the tub before she turned to leave him. His passive attitude disturbed her. It was too uncharacteristic. Maybe it was the alcohol. After all, she really hadn't seen him drink much before.

"I'll bring some sweat clothes and leave them just outside the door." She frowned. Maybe the drink affected him differently, being part demon and all. Or maybe grandfather had found some scroll to work on him. Yeah, right.

"Kagome." She turned to meet his golden eyes. Her eyebrow arched even as she sucked a breath in. He had that soft look on his face. Her knees wanted to buckle.

"Y-yes" She stammered. She forgot to be peeved at him.

"Thank you." She blinked.

"For what?" Did he like to be yelled at? Inuyasha shrugged and turned back to the tub. Kagome sighed, her own eyes softening as she closed the door.

"You're welcome."

Inside the bathroom, a smiling boy leaned back in the warm water and daydreamed about the young woman who shared her family with him. He recalled something that Jichan had told him downstairs.

'Her father died when she was little and my daughter never saw anyone else.' Jichan's fierce gaze pinned the boy across from him. 'If you want to be a man in her life, you had better treat her right.'

Inuyasha's grin turned determined. I will, old man, I promise.

The end.

AN:. Not too fluffy I hope. Inuyasha always acts differently when he is in Kagome's time. He's more relaxed and curious. Obviously, this would have to take place towards the later episodes, at least after ep 100 or so. As the series draws to a close, we've seen Inuyasha mature more than any of the others. I love watching some of the first episodes and comparing them to the latest ones I download. He's not the same rash being anymore. You can thank Kagome for that.

There! See I can write happy too! er.... that was happy right?>

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