Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, Rumiko Takahashi does; though I sorely wish I did. Dey blah dey blah dey blah blah blah.

AN: this takes place somewhere in the middle of series, you can just stick it anywhere really, this was written to be a little one-shot about Inuyasha and his pride. Rating pg-13 for Inuyasha's mouth. Although with the way kids talk nowadays...sigh.

Actual writing go!

There are many things that Inuyasha hates.

There are even subcategories for them. Sesshomaru merited his own class in and of himself, but there were plenty of other things he hated.

Spicy food, alarm clocks, that wimpy wolf, seaweed, rats and those damn car things. Talk about the worst enemy of any sensible nose!

The smoke they gushed choked him and utterly killed his nose and appetite. Poison. There had to be poison in that smoke. That one time, when he'd gotten a lungful, he'd come back sicker than a do-yeah. Anyway...

But those were everyday mundane hates. 'Cept the wolf. That one burned a little deeper dammit.

The hate Inuyasha was experiencing now blurred and burned deep.

He hated hated hated hated HATED when he cried.

It wasn't his damn fault. It was Kagome and her stupid family.

"I shouldn't have gone dammit. I should have just-FUCKIN SHIT!" Inuyasha cursed as he sniffed and rubbed his face with his wrist-covered sleeve vigorously, not caring about the snot that mingled with the salt water. Suddenly, that level of care rose as he saw the sad gooey torment he'd been giving his sleeves.

"Dammit Dammit FUCKIN' SHIT!" he bellowed to the 20th century night. "Goddammit." He snuffled, somewhat quieter. He whipped off his soiled sleeves and let them fall in crumpled heaps on the ground. Even in human form he could climb like a squirrel, so despite his black-haired, fangless, clawless form the sleeves drifted a good ways down from his high perch. He wiped his red eyes on his under robe.

It had soooo not been his damn fault.

Kagome had invited him for the night. Invited! Boy had that been a sock to the ol' system. He'd followed her, like he knew he would, with only token 'wench's and 'feh's. She had a point, after all. With him like this, there was no way to shard hunt and no practical reason for her to stay there with him. Yet, when she turned to leave he'd out of habit grabbed her arm and wouldn't let go.

"Why, Inuyasha!" she'd said prettily, "if you just want to spend more time with me you could just say so."

And what the hell had been wrong with his mouth? It wouldn't move except for a dry little twitch in the corner.

So he'd really had no choice but to follow. It had been really odd being, you know, a guest. Not just tromping and bellowing for her, or sneaking in and spying and staying, actually invited as a guest in the house.

It meant he had to, you know, behave.

And behaving meant some semblance of manners. So he scrounged up the long forgotten etiquette lessons of his puppyhood and tried to be civil. More than tried; he was pleased to note, succeeded. His mother would have been proud...and his now worthless nose began to run again, which of course, he wiped with his sleeve.

"Shit" he growled, which had more than a hint of a whimper.

And then Kagome'd cleared the table and washed the dumb dishes with her stupid smiling, light hearted cheerful mother and they'd chatted and Kagome' given her a hug and they looked so... DAMN HAPPY

And that kid Sota couldn't find his stupid sleeping robe and their mother had produced it just like that the way his mother had produced Inuyasha's rain cloak, just she always did with Inu-chan's kites and balls and bamboo sword and, and, and,

Shit.

Now the rest of his fire haori came off, joining his sleeve on the ground in a snooty, saltwater-smeared heap of kimono. He watched it drift down, down to the courtyard and drape over the fence surrounding the sacred tree he perched in.

But that hadn't been the kicker, Inuyasha brooded.

It was right after Sota'd said goodnight to Inuyasha with the strongest hug around the Hanyou's legs he could manage, (Inuyasha had, to the amazement of Kagome, hugged back and ruffled his hair as if they were brothers all along. Sota had fairly glowed.) Then proceeded to his mother to be swept up into a gentle but firm, warm but not stifling embrace. And Sota, head buried in her arms, at just that angle...it was almost a perfect tableau of... Her.

And then Sota had to say, "I love you mom"...

"Fucking hell! Why the hell now? It is because I'm in this DAMNED WEAK body? She's DEAD! Dead Dammit! And so will you be if you let yourself get all STUPID AND WEEPY DAMMIT!

Again, his treacherous hands had wiped his eyes and nose with both sleeves and Inuyasha shed the robe in disgust. It too drifted down, down like a white ghost to the growing pile of soilt kimono.

Then, to Inuyasha's horror, it landed on Kagome's mother's foot.

"Oh dear." She strained to see Inuyasha in the Goshinbuku's branches. "These will need laundering won't they?"

"Hrrrumph" was the reply, coupled with an involuntary sniff.

"Inuyasha-kun, won't you come down? We have an extra room and futon in the house, you don't have to sleep outside in the Goshinbuku."

This time the only response was faint snuffly breathing somewhere in the autumn leaves.

"There aren't any enemies here you have to watch for out here." No response. Then Hiragishi-san did a very sneaky thing. "And even if there are, wouldn't you prefer to be nearer to protect Kagome in the house?"

"Keh" followed by the sound of rustling branches. Even climbing down a tree human style, Inuyasha was abnormally fast and stood before Kagome's mother in no time at all in all his shirtless, black-haired puffy-eyed glory. Hiragishi-san had already gathered his shirts and noticed the telltale signs of Inuyasha's "minute of weakness" (and who couldn't hear his bellowed curses?)

"Inuyasha-kun, what...what's wrong?" she touched his shoulder gently.

"Nothin" he gruffed.

She had suspected as much.

"Come inside and I'll find you a clean shirt and wash these for you ok?" she smiled in what she hoped was a warm way, and turned Inuyasha to the house.

The second kettle sung just as Kagome trotted up to bed herself. She'd had a feeling her mother was up to something and hoped (prayed, pleaded with fate,) that it wasn't a misplaced attempt to play matchmaker for Inuyasha.

Hiragishi-san handed to oddly quiet young man beside her the hot green tea and he took it gently into his clawed hands.

She knew he's been crying. All mothers know, and even half dog demons couldn't hide their tears from her.

Inu-kun sipped cautiously at his tea, turning it in his callused hands like a dog that has to circle the rug for just the right spot. Sota did it too and in that moment, the poor boy looked so sad, so melancholy, and so very much like Sota after a hard day that she just couldn't help herself. She was only a mother, after all.

She hugged him. From behind and a little to the side, tucking his head under her chin. He started, then stiffened, then relaxed. She could feel his chin quiver and tears drop silently onto her arms from his burning cheeks. He did a surprising thing then. He burrowed, no, snuggled against Hiragishi-san. Then her hand had come up and stroked the ebony head and Inuyasha just couldn't shut up.

He sobbed into her arms, muffled low howls and moans that sent his whole body a quiver. His hands came around her and clutched at her, in his mind he was small and helpless again, with her as his only refuge.

He sobbed all the emotions that warred within him, he sobbed his hates, his loneliness, his mother, his pride and mistrust and fear that he'd never admit to, and he shed tears of release and frustration.

Why did she have to die and leave him so utterly alone? Why did she love him and it was all her fault for being human and all his for existing and HowHowHow and why and dammit demons don't fucking cry! And why couldn't he ever find rest anywhere? He should just die but he couldn't, just couldn't. He didn't know why he should live, but he didn't want to die.

And he wept his jealousies and temper and hatred for himself and his longing to let Kikyo rest in peace and he just had to! With his bare hands he wanted to dig out a peace for her and he wept guilt and hurt and fear and shame.

And all those other things that he could not name, would not name, was afraid to name because the damn universe was out to get him and those he cared about and dammit why in all the seven hells did Kagome want to stay with him after...after...OH HELL!

And all this, in a catharsis of emotions that hadn't seen the light of day in over fifty years all being pored into the cotton of Hiragishi-san's stupid blue sweater.

Inuyasha hiccuped.

His eyes flew open in horror that it would break some spell that kept this woman embracing him.

But she didn't move, just hummed soft things near his head and ran her fingers over his scalp and held him in that much coveted embraced he craved. He stayed there, hiccuping every so often, feeling like a puppy in the best sort of way. No, that wasn't quite right. He felt like a very old dog indeed, nestled in the arms of its master, who caressed the aches and pains of life away, leaving the shaggy haired canine sleepily content to exchange freedom for comfort.

The normal Inuyasha-ish part of his brain stirred and tried to sneer at taking peoples pity, but this didn't feel quite like pity to Inuyasha.

It felt like... *hiccup*

Kagome's mother loosened her arms from around Inuyasha's polo-shirted shoulders. Inuyasha sighed as if walking from a very nice dream and, giving her one last nuzzle, clambered to his feet.

"The guest room is upstairs dear..." Kagome's mother said softly as Inuyasha was about to disappear outside.

Inuyasha doggedly (ah! Bad pun!) turned upstairs. He grumped to the dark, "just don't say nothin to nobody ok?" but he knew even before his said it that she wouldn't. He trudged up the stairs, his mind already bottling up the experience and storing deep in the back of his mind, where it could be both enjoyed later and denied.

He paused a Kagome's door, inhaling a human sized whiff of her calming scent before turning into 'his' room. Inuyasha last thought before entering the realm of sleep was,

"Now I see where she gets it from."

And as he slipped into a deep dreamless sleep, he didn't even feel the need to curl up by the door.

fin

AN: The word catharsis, as all you Greek tragedy students know, means, "a venting of emotional tension." *shrugs* Seemed to fit. Don't forget to report if there are any OOC moments. Please review in detail! (I eat this stuff up!) Would-be flamers, be gentle. . R&R! Domo arigato!