~~Chapter 48~~

~Confessions of a Hanyou~

Kagome grinned as InuYasha studied the assortment of toys lining the shelves in the store. He told her to go get something for Toga's birthday. She had finally talked him into coming with her. Now that they were in the store, she'd barely gotten him to look at her for more than a few seconds. He was so curious about everything. "I guess I know what to get you next year for your birthday," she commented as he locked together a couple of Lego. He pulled them apart and clicked them back together again.

"They didn't have toys like that when I was a pup," he remarked then grimaced. "I don't actually remember having any toys, come to think about it. Well, a ball, but . . . Think Toga would like these?"

Kagome's smile widened. Toga's affection for InuYasha bordered on hero-worship, especially since the Kongousouha incident a couple of days ago. Sesshoumaru was probably still trying to dig his way out of trouble, since Kagome had seen first-hand the evil look that Kagura had shot him when the men had come inside. Between Toga's excited yelling, InuYasha's strange behavior, Shippou's thorough enjoyment, and Kagura's dealing with Sesshoumaru, Kagome figured that life in the Inutaisho house was fairly interesting at the moment.

"I think Toga will love whatever you get him. I've never seen a child so taken with anyone before as he is with you. I think you're his idol."

InuYasha's face reddened, but he smiled. Obviously, he was enjoying being the perceived `hero'. "You think so?"

Kagome rolled her eyes and pointed at the remote control cars further down. "What about those? Souta loved those, when he was younger."

InuYasha took Kagome's hand and dragged her toward the cars.

It took nearly three hours to select a present for Toga's birthday, and even then, InuYasha had insisted on buying presents for the other kids, too. Kagome had hidden her smile as he had eyed the dolls and girls' things. He tried to mask his interest, tried to make it seem as though she was the one selecting the toys. In the end, though, he had chosen the items.

"You want something to drink?" InuYasha asked as they left the toy store.

Kagome shrugged and tried to hide her smile. If he was asking, it normally meant that he wanted it. "I could use a soda if you're thirsty."

"All right," he agreed. "We're not in a hurry, are we?"

She checked her watch and sighed. "We're supposed to be at the party soon. It took longer than I thought to get Toga's present since someone was having such a good time in there."

He ignored the deliberate slur and shifted his bags to one side so that he could reach over and take Kagome's hand in his. He led her to a table, setting the bags on the floor beneath the table. "Sit down. I'll be back."

Kagome sat and dug around her purse for a pen, dragging the bags toward her so that she could make sure everything was in order. At the rate they were going, they'd have to head straight to the party. She was just putting the last of the gifts into the gift sacks they'd purchased when InuYasha set a Styrofoam cup on the table before her. She didn't glance up as she wrote names on the respective cards and put the gifts back into the store bags.

InuYasha cleared his throat. Kagome finally looked up as she slipped her pen back into her purse. "Are you okay?" she asked. He didn't often make that sound, and he was definitely being much too quiet.

"Fine," he said, looking unaccountably irritated.

Kagome frowned at his blatant upset. "You're not fine. What is it?"

"Keh! I'm fine, I'm telling you. Anyway, drink your soda or we'll be late."

Still frowning, Kagome reached for her cup, her eyes dropping to the tabletop as she lifted it. Her hand stilled in mid-air, and she gasped softly.

Dropped over the straw and sitting on the plastic lid was a . . . ring?

Her gaze slowly rose, her eyes wide in stunned amazement. He wasn't facing her. Looking pale and nervous, he was studiously avoiding her gaze as Kagome smiled, tears welling up in her eyes. "InuYasha?"

His ears drooped slightly, and he was obviously distressed at the incredulity in her tone. "If you don't like it, I'll make you another one. By the time we got done, I couldn't tell which ones were mine and which ones were Sesshoumaru's. I think those were mine, though."

It took a moment for Kagome to figure out what he meant. Then it dawned on her. "That's why you were blasting Sesshoumaru's back yard apart? To make a diamond? For me?"

He finally turned his face back toward her, his eyes still downcast though traces of red were filtering into his cheeks as his ears flattened just a little lower. "If you don't like it, just say so. I hauled Shippou all over Tokyo, and we couldn't find one I wanted to give you, and—"


Slowly, as though he was frightened of what he would see on her face, he lifted his eyes. Kagome smiled as two tears spilled over. She bolted around the table, throwing her arms around him and kissing him as she landed in his lap. "Will . . . you . . .?" he asked between Kagome's kisses.

Kagome kissed him again before leaning back. "Yes!"

All at once, she realized that she was sitting in InuYasha's lap in the middle of a mall cafe with total strangers staring at her with varying degrees of shock on their faces. Kagome's embarrassment only lasted a few seconds though, before she smiled and kissed InuYasha again.

When that kiss ended, Kagome started to stand up with a heavy sigh. She'd wanted to stay there in his arms forever. Unfortunately, they were going to be late, as it was. InuYasha held onto her as he leaned to the side and dragged her soda closer. He pulled the ring off the straw and held it out to her. With a watery smile and a sniffle, Kagome stuck out her hand. InuYasha's hands were trembling so badly that he couldn't get the ring onto her finger the first few tries. After he finally managed to slip it into place, he kissed her knuckles. Kagome hugged him tight.

"I'm so fucking glad that's over," he breathed, relief heavy in his tone.

Kagome scrambled to her feet and retrieved the bags with a giggle. "We'd better hurry," she remarked almost ruefully as she sipped her drink.

InuYasha took the bags from her. He was quiet while they wandered through the mall.

Her gaze wandered to the baby store window, the one that she'd dragged InuYasha into before. She forced her eyes away before she could think about what she wouldn't have too much and concentrated instead on the ring that InuYasha had just given her. It really was beautiful. One solitary diamond, marquis cut with three fat round diamonds on either side, Kagome couldn't believe that InuYasha had actually resorted to destroying Sesshoumaru's back yard just to create the diamonds for her ring.

Kagome was startled out of her musings when InuYasha tugged gently on her arm as he veered over toward a store. Kagome frowned. He was heading into the baby store? "Why are we going in here?"

He didn't answer right away. Her stomach was tied in knots, and she felt the kindling of hope trying to spark. Did she dare? `Still,' she thought, `why come in here if . . .' She couldn't finish the question, even to herself.

"I thought you liked looking around here," he remarked, picking up a stuffed puppy. He made a face at it and let it drop back onto the display table. Kagome stared at InuYasha, afraid to believe what she could tell from his expression. He was nervous? Why would he be? Unless . . . He turned and stared at her. "You want them, right? Pups?"

A cautious hope, a slow kindling of a dream she had left behind flickered to life. "Do . . . Do you?" she asked, shaking her head slowly as her chest constricted painfully.

He made a face but his eyes shined when he stared at her. "A couple might not be so bad," he replied in his normal gruff way. "I mean, maybe not right away, but someday . . . if you still want them? Whenever you want them."

She started to smile. A sudden thought, however, stopped her, and she bit her bottom lip. "You're not changing your mind because of me, are you? I understood your reasons. I know how painful your childhood was . . ." She stood motionless, twisting the ring around on her finger.

InuYasha stepped over to her, drew her into his arms, kissed her forehead. "You're part of the reason, but I didn't change my mind just to make you happy. I've always wanted children. With any luck, they'll be more like you than me."

She craned her neck back to stare at him. He was smiling, and there was a peace in his expression that she'd never seen before. She felt the prick of tears on the back of her eyes. Seconds later her vision blurred, and she laughed suddenly. He caught her tear and licked his finger. "What'd you wish for?"

He shook his head, his face reddening under her scrutiny. "I . . . I wished that you'd always look at me . . . like that."

Kagome burst into tears mixed with laughter. It was an odd combination, but it suited her perfectly. She fished around in her purse for a kerchief and dabbed at her eyes as she giggled again. "We're going to be so late . . ."

He heaved a sigh in protest but let her lead him out of the store. Kagome glanced back at him. That content look was still on his face. She grinned. She knew the feeling . . .

Toga frowned as InuYasha handed each of the girls the gifts he brought them. "It's not their birthday," Toga grumbled. "Why do they get presents?"

InuYasha shook his head slightly and held out Toga's gift. "You want it or not?"

Toga's frown vanished and he hopped up and down. "Gimme!" He snatched the bag and ran over to sit on the floor. He wasn't completely seated before he started digging into the huge gift sack.

InuYasha crossed his arms and leaned toward Kagome. "Think that bastard of a brother of mine is still in trouble?" he asked quietly.

Kagome shook her head as Kagura shot Sesshoumaru a bemused smile. Sesshoumaru winked back at his wife. Kagura flushed just a little. Kagome's mouth fell open in shock. "Nope, I'd say not."

She could feel InuYasha's stare. Her heart sped up as she spared him a glance. The way he gazed at her made her stomach feel entirely unsettled in a very nice way.

Aiko tugged on Kagome's hand, with a start, she dragged her attention off her hanyou and redirected it to the little girl who was busy showing her the doll InuYasha had chosen.

Out of the corner of her eye, she watched as InuYasha crossed the room to kneel down on the floor with Toga. Heads bent close, Toga somehow talked InuYasha into helping him put together the K'nex roller coaster. Kagome shook her head. She had a feeling that wasn't going to be a pretty sight.

"So this is why those two tore up my yard?" Kagura asked as she lifted Kagome's hand to eye the ring. "At least he got what he needed then." Kagura sighed but smiled. "Congratulations, Kagome. When are you two getting married?"

Kagome hadn't even thought about it. "We haven't actually talked about that," she hedged.

"Gimme the `structions, Yasha-jiji!" Toga hollered.

InuYasha held the booklet out of the child's reach. "We don't need the instructions," he said with a decisive snort. "How hard can it be?"

Sesshoumaru reached over and nabbed the instructions out of InuYasha's hand. "It's foolishness like that that makes me shudder to think that your children might inherit some of your genes. Keep . . . jiji . . . away from your toy, Toga, unless you want it wrecked beyond repair."

"Keh!" InuYasha shot back. "Being related to you hasn't seemed to hurt your pups." As he stood, Nori threw herself at him. He caught her and tossed her in the air and caught her. Nori screeched in laughter. Rin clutched her chest and gasped. Shippou rolled his eyes.

"Look! My tooth grew back!" Nori said, stretching her mouth open wide.

InuYasha set her back down and nodded. "Told you."

Kagome could only grin as she watched him interacting with the children. They adored him, and, she could tell, the feeling was mutual. Her smile widened as she remembered his words in the baby store and wondered just how many `a couple' children would be to InuYasha . . .



Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Purity): I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga. Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al. I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.