A.N This just made me smile.


Innocense

LilYasha


He was acting strange.

Well, perhaps it was a nice change from his usual demeanor but since he wasn't prone for acting so…oh, what was the right word…cheerful when there was no reason for it, felt a bit odd for the gang.

And yet it had been steadily going on for about three days or so, increasing little by little mounting the gang's own wariness and confusion. It just wasn't normal.

He hadn't been nearly so…argumentative, or stubborn, or cruel, or like the normal Inuyasha they had all grown to lo—deal with and it was really starting to grate on everyone's nerves. Especially Shippo's, since none of his usual tricks and taunts seemed to raise an angry hit or yell out of the hanyou. Only one bump had been administered so far and only one sit had been screamed out, but that still didn't appear to break the half-demon's ever growing good mood.

He had also started to space out more, gazing off with this happy look on his handsome face instead of the usual scowl or melancholy pout. At first, Miroku had, of course being the lech he was at heart, thought something had happened between Kagome and Inuyasha. Something…well, you know the monk. But after a few whacks from an irritated taijiya and a tomato red miko, that assumption was useless, like everyone knew it would be.

And this would have had to be the best mood they had seem him thus far, it wasn't that noticeable, but…was Inuyasha…humming!

The day had started out like normal, relieving everyone at first, with Inuyasha waking them up extremely early to start out shard-hunting, but no one could miss the amazing enthusiasm in his mannerism. He was cheery…smiley…had even said "thanks" when given his morning bowl of ramen…he didn't huff and puff (too much) when Sango and Kagome went to take a bath…and was practically skipping when they finally headed out on their journey. Of course, it wouldn't be that noticeable to someone who had just met the hanyou, but since traveling with Inuyasha for months, the group had surly grown talented in interpreting his usually hidden moods. The fact that this mood didn't seem to be hidden with the same keenness disturbed them greatly.

Just because Inuyasha was acting curiously cheerful, everyone acted like someone was going to die.

….well…it was getting really weird.

"What do you think has happened to have…made him act this way?" Miroku whispered to his companions, as they walked huddled a good decent meter away from the hanyou's equipped demon hearing. Right now, Inuyasha was trudging ahead, a noticeable spring in his step, with his arms placed behind his head, that same tiny smile gracing his lips.

Not normal at all.

"I don't know. There should be no reason. He hasn't left or anything to have something happen…what do you think?" Sango stared inquisitively at her fellow confused friends.

"Why are you guys acting this way anyway? Is it really so bad Inuyasha's in a good mood?" The stares Kagome received were a clearly defined DUH!

"Kagome, my dear Kagome, Inuyasha hasn't even struck one argument with you for a good fortnight now. Don't you find, at least, that a bit odd?" Miroku inquired, Kagome sighed.

"Well…yeah, but—"

"Kagome, come on, he isn't acting normal. I think he's sick or something. He's only hit me once so far, even though I used my best tactic to make him mad."

"Shippo, you should be happy you got out with just that, since you did mention Kikyou." But Kagome had to admit, even though it really made her soul at ease to see her love like this, it wasn't at all ordinary for Inuyasha to be so even-tempered especially when the dead priestess was involved. Something was definitely up, and since everyone obviously wanted her to find out what, she took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Fine, you're right. I'll go ask him." Her companions gave satisfied and anticipated smiles. "But it will be your guy's fault when his good mood is shattered."

"Anything to get thing's back to normal and to quench our curiosity, Kagome. Good luck." Kagome glared at the monk and quickened her pace to catch up with Inuyasha. Miroku gave a mischievous grin, much like he would always get when thinking something perverted, and Shippo and Sango looked at him worriedly. But luckily this time, his notion was much more holy. "Come on, let's go listen in."

Well…sort of…holy.


Kagome readied herself for the expected argument she would naturally cause, and quickly ran through different things she could ask the hanyou when she got up to him.

'Oh, I just wanted to know why you were so happy, because you're really starting to freak everyone out.'

Yep, a definite argument was coming.

She slowed her steps a bit when a soft tune reached her ears. Merely a couple feet from Inuyasha, the miko realized with a start, that it was coming from him. She had never, and she meant never, had heard a single thing even resembling music fall from those scowling lips of his. And now here she was, hearing him humming nothing in particular, probably something he was making up, and it sounded nice.

Much nicer than she thought would come from Inuyasha.

He just didn't seem the type to have a pleasant singing voice, even though Kagome had to admit Inuyasha's gruff, reverberating throat had caught her in a little spell a couple of times before. But she knew that was only her opinion, everything about the hanyou was hypnotizing to her, fascinating and intriguing. He was still such a mystery to her, she realized. I wonder what he would sound like if he did sing…

Kagome quickly shook herself out of the typical daydreaming stupor she would usually find herself falling in because of that hanyou, and jogged up to Inuyasha's side.

He didn't say anything acknowledging her presence, and she took the time to admire the peaceful look on his face, his eyes closed, one corner of his mouth pulled up in a small content smile.

It was like he knew something they all didn't.

Well, of course he does to act this way. And it's my job to find out what it is. Kagome summed up all her courage, dread though weighing in her stomach, and lightly cleared her throat.

Inuyasha's ears twitched and his humming died away. Blinking his eyes in surprise, he turned to Kagome. "Oh…hey, Kagome," He smiled. "Didn't see you there, what's up?"

"Well, I just…" What to say, what to say… "That is…now, don't be mad, we're just curious…but everyone…as in Miroku, Sango, Shippo and I…well…we…" Ugh… Kagome twisted the hem of her cotton shirt in mounding anxiety, not even daring to look up at Inuyasha's beautiful amber eyes.

"Kagome…?" What's her problem? Everyone has been actingso weird around me, lately…I must have been too happy to notice or ...Wait…oh, of course…that must be it. Inuyasha smirked, eyeing how Kagome's slender fingers were beginning to turn red from the constant rubbing and twisting of her shirt. He sighed. I really have been a bit out of it, no wonder she's acting this way. I should have tried harder to keep it to myself.

"Kagome," Inuyasha tried his best to feign his customary irritation, inwardly smirking at how Kagome flinched from his tone, looking up at him in surprise. He tried his best not to laugh. Damn, he was in a weird mood. "Just spit it out, already!"

That same stunning, intimidating fire banked in her large auburn eyes, Inuyasha stopped and waited for the yelling, feeling a strange sense of satisfaction. There was just something…fun about arguing with her. Maybe it was because Kagome was the only human he had ever met who would stand up to him and actually match his temper. That was the only reason he would purposefully say rude or crude things to her, even if he was sat, it was just entertaining…in a, he had to admit, stupid sort of way.

Kagome felt the embers of her anger stoke and burn, but she took a conscious effort to keep it under control. She really didn't want to have an argument, but she couldn't help but glare into those hard, fiery, and…amused ocher eyes? She cocked her head to the side and stared deeply into his swirling depths.

It was true…Inuyasha was enjoying this. He was trying to get her angry.

Kagome smirked and crossed her arms, giggling softly to herself, "Nice try, but I'm not going to argue or s-i-t the answer out of you. So just tell me, why you've been so…cheerful lately." She cast a questioning eye onto him and he swallowed his own mirth and pleasure on how well she could read him.

It was amazing…and a bit wary of how they couldn't keep secrets from one another. He had hoped, though, that maybe he could keep this one thing secret from anyone until it was over for another year and everything could go back to normal.

But he should have known. It wasn't like he tried that hard to hide it anyway.

"What? Am I not allowed to be in a good mood?" Hell, he could see how long he could dodge this one.

"Of course, you can, but it's a little weird without a reason. And don't change the subject, just give me an answer."

Damn.

Inuyasha sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, "It's really not a big deal, Kagome. It's not that important at all, so you don't need to worry about it." He smiled and prayed that would be it.

It would just stay his little secret, he'll congratulate himself silently, feeling that same bittersweet happiness and loneliness all merged in one, then get on with his life. It really wasn't, and it never would be, an important time to anyone's eyes. He didn't want anyone to know, so he wouldn't be shrugged off like all the other times, and be hurt like when he was a little pup. It never was really a happy time after his mother died, after her no one cared, and no one ever would.

"Oh, come on, Inuyasha."

"Yes, please, Inuyasha. Tell us. What's on your mind?"

Oh, great. It seemed the others decided to join in. Where had they been any way?

Inuyasha groaned and ran his fingers through his bangs. "It's really nothing, so just forget about it." I don't think I could handle it if you all didn't care, anyway.

"Oh, come on! Please! Please! Please!"

"Yeah, why have you been so…happy lately?"

"We promise we won't laugh or make fun of you." Inuyasha stared at Kagome, after she whispered her little remark, the one thing he really did want to hear. Like he said, it was amazing. Boring deep into her chocolate brown eyes, searching for fault and making sure she knew that he trusted her, a smile began to grow on his face.

"It really isn't anything at all. It isn't important." Inuyasha straightened, placing his hands behind his head again, his eyes taking that far away look once more, and the smile grew a bit proud and slightly excited. He began to turn, his head tilting up, but he made sure his voice was clear as he spoke. "It's just that…I'm…technically…if you don't count the time I was on the tree….I'm…turning eighteen today." Inuyasha chuckled as he walked away, beginning to whistle softly.

Eighteen.

A man.

Today, he was considered a man.

Inuyasha couldn't help but feel a little proud of that. His mother would be so happy; she had always talked about this day. Heh…I can't believe it…eighteen.

The hanyou didn't even notice how silent it had become or that his friends hadn't moved a single muscle, not even to close their gaping mouths.

Oh…so…it was his birthday….

Wait…

It was Inuyasha's birthday?

And he took this long to tell them!

Kagome was the first to shake out of her shocked reverie and a thrill of excitement and happiness overtook her. It's Inuyasha's birthday! She squealed and began sprinting to Inuyasha, who was just beginning to turn from hearing that high pitched sound.

Now, normally, since he was hanyou, Inuyasha could have easily dodged or kept his balance but the surprise of Kagome's reaction to his news had him distracted and when she flung onto him and hugged him tightly he couldn't stop gravity from bringing them both down to the soft grass.

He grunted and stared up at the bright blue sky, a panting teenage girl lying on his chest, laughter and giggles tickling his ears. What was that for? Why is she so happy? Kagome then sat up and straddled his waist (to the embarrassment of a certain hanyou, but the girl took no notice) and gave a huge dazzling smile, her eyes twinkling with happy tears.

"Oh, Inuyasha, happy birthday, I can't believe you're turning eighteen! Why didn't you tell us? Now, we only have one day on getting you presents and preparing your party," she groaned playfully, "sheesh, thanks a lot!" Kagome giggled again by Inuyasha's stunned and blushing face.

"What the hell are you talking about," he whispered gruffly, her scent and body warmth was making it hard for him to concentrate. "What do you mean presents and a party?"

"Uh, hello, your birthday party and birthday gifts of course! I should ask momma to make her special cake, you'll love it! She makes it with—"

"Kagome, no," she trailed off by Inuyasha's command.

"What?"

"Can you get off of me, now?" Inuyasha pushed at her lightly and her eyes widened and Kagome scrambled to get up. The hanyou gave a silent sigh, he felt a little disappointed that her warmth was gone but he was having the most powerful…urges back there and wasn't sure how long he could keep his self control in check.

"What do you mean, Inuyasha? What do you mean 'no', it's your birthday."

Inuyasha turned and stared into her confused face. Why did she want to do this? "It's not a big deal, Kagome, so just drop it and let's get on with our lives. It'll be over soon anyway."

"That's exactly why we need to hurry. I don't know why you're saying this, Inuyasha, eighteen is-like- the most important age...at least in my time. You can drive, get a job, live on your own, go to college," she counted them off one by one on her fingers, "you can vote, and most of all you're considered an adult! It is so a big deal, one of the most important thing in our young lives, and we have to celebrate it!"

Inuyasha had no idea half of what she said but his mind was buzzing anywayby her enthusiasm and determination to celebrate. She thought it was important...and that thought sent a warm glow to fill his chest.

"Kagome is right, Inuyasha, we must celebrate this wonderful occasion! Congratulations, my friend, you are a man!" Miroku patted Inuyasha's back and hoisted him to his feet in a one-armed manly hug.

Kagome smiled by the shock and slight hope shining in Inuyasha's amber orbs, he looked just like a little boy.

Sango and Shippo also hugged Inuyasha and were ruffling his hair and patting his back. Inuyasha was overwhelmed.

Kagome surged to her feet and clapped her hands, "It's settled then, we have to get back to the village right away and spend the rest of the day celebrating! A party, cake, presents, and tons of food and games! It'll be a blast, the best birthday you've ever had!"

Inuyasha's mouth hung open and he looked like he was being trapped.

"What are we waiting for, come on, let's get on Kirara and head out!" Shippo bounced on Inuyasha's head and pounded his fist in the air.

They were all about to get on an equally happy and already transformed Kirara when suddenly Inuyasha roared, "Hang on just one damn frickin' minute! I have a say in this!"

The hanyou was pissed, with his knuckles cracking and his ears twitching, but Kagome couldn't miss the slight confusion and exasperation in his eyes, "I don't want this got it? You don't have to do a party, get me presents, or do any of this damn stuff! Let's just get back on track, find some jewel shards, and forget about it! Shit, I don't want to celebrate! I haven't celebrated it since I was 6 years old, dammit! Why would I start now?" There was a shocked silence and a panting Inuyasha finally realized what he had just admitted.

Oh shit… …? Inuyasha shook his head, signaling back a glare, and turned on his heel, trying to hide his feelings. "Let's just forget about it and keep going, okay?" He commanded gruffly and he started to walk away. Oh damn it to hell and back, I can't believe I said that! What was I thinking!

Kagome felt her throat tighten and tears welled up in her cobalt eyes. He hasn't celebrated it with anyone…since he was six years old…he hasn't gotten presents or had a 'happy birthday Inuyasha' since he was a little boy? She sniffled and flung her head from side to side in disbelief. Oh, Inuyasha…my poor Inuyasha…Kagome watched him walk away with hunched shoulders and a new sense of determination ensnared her, making her scowl.

"SIT!" She screamed and Inuyasha's muffled explanation sang into the dirt. Kagome ran to his still form. Inuyasha…I won't let you brush this aside…this is your BIRTHDAY, darn it, and I'm going to make it the best one you've ever had…I won't let you stop me…

"Sit, "she said calmly as she trotted to his side and sat down. He grunted and sank deeper into the earth, his body relaxing as the spell took hold of him. "We're going to celebrate your birthday, Inuyasha. I don't care what you try to do to stop me. To me it's important and I want to give you the best one you've ever had, one you will never forget," her eyes softened, "you're my best friend…and you deserve it."

With all his strength he could summoned with his limp spell-cast muscles, Inuyasha flipped to his side and looked up at her. "Kagome, I don't want you to go to so much trouble, okay? It's not important …… I don't think you should burden yourself with it."

"I'm not burdening myself, Inuyasha. I want to do this for you. I want to make you happy…you deserve that."

"But I don't deserve it…I don't deserve…this kindness," Kagome choked up again by the hurt and sadness for once showing in his eyes.

"Yes you do…and I'm going to give it to you," she then went and wrapped her arms around his upper body and held tightly. "Sit," she whispered and she grunted and tried with all her effort to not have him sink into the ground. Her muscles groaned by the spell's pressure but it was all satisfactory in the end when he relaxed against her chest.

"Damn," he muttered thickly, he couldn't move, "why did you do that?"

"We're taking you to Kaede's and giving you the blast of the season, whether you like it or not," Kagome wiped her cheeks and smirked down at the irritated and limp hanyou.

He sighed and rolled his eyes. Damn…


The hut was bustling with activity and Inuyasha couldn't get one word edgewise as they shuffled and sprinted from one task to the other.

They had successfully had gotten him to the village with no trouble from him, since he couldn't move and Kagome would just mutter the word again when it wore off.

He was infuriated, angry, and confused about why everyone, including Kaede, was so happy and bent on doing this for him.

He was just a hanyou, a filthy half breed who was happening to have a birthday today, what was everyone's big deal?

Even though…deep down…he was really touched.

Inuyasha groaned and slumped against the wooden wall of the old hag's hut. He was alone at the moment but every few minutes someone would run in, smile, drop something off, and head out the door. Why wouldn't they listen to him? They had better things to do than plan a party for him. Why couldn't they just see that he wasn't important enough for this?

He lied down and stared up at the hay and boarded ceiling, thinking about what Kagome had said.

"You're my best friend……I want to make you happy…"

Kagome…Inuyasha sighed and closed his eyes. Why do you always do this? How can you care so much about others but not yourself? Why do you like being my friend? I wish…I could make it up to you……I wish I had the courage to tell you that I chose you. That you're better than Kikyou and is more important to me……I wish I could tell you…that I love you…and that you felt the same towards me……I wish I could make you happy………

His thoughts slurred and blended as the afternoon sun fell through the window and warmed his body. A feeling of peace wrapped around him in a gentle embrace as his musings of a certain teenage girl soon transformed into dreams and he slipped into a light quiet slumber.


Kagome hopped from one side of the well to the other so many times in the course of the afternoon that she had lost count. Her arms were sore from carrying presents (from her and her family), party decorations, and also her momma's special vanilla and strawberry cake. She yearned to sit down and rest for a bit but she kept on trucking. They only had one day to get ready and celebrate anyway, silly hanyou.

The cake was a masterpiece, as anticipated, and Kagome had also taken into consideration that chocolate may not be a good choice, on account that Inuyasha was a dog. Puking his guts out on his birthday didn't sound very…wonderful. But her momma had outdone herself and had even sent boxes of ramen as a gift.

Souta had given a chew toy as a joke and also a game boy to make up for it. She was so touched that Souta had used his savings to buy it and even a game for the hanyou. Kagome hoped Inuyasha would like it. She'd have to show him how to use it later.

Her grandpa…well it took some goading, but he had finally given in. Kagome wasn't sure though if Inuyasha would appreciate the same fish-demon claw thing that her gramps had tried to give to her on her b-day: the day she first went through the well.

Wow…it seems so long ago…you know I never told Inuyasha that it was my birthday when I discovered him pinned to the God tree……he probably wouldn't care…hehe, it sounds funny but it's almost like he was my birthday present. Kagome chuckled as she bounded for the village yet again; I have to admit…it was the best gift.

God, she loved that arrogant, rude, sweet, caring jerk. But she never could tell him that, he loved Kikyou after all, and she knew she could never have his heart. Kagome sighed, why couldn't she love someone else? Why the one person she could never have? Life had a way of messing you up sometimes.

But I could never love another…I love Inuyasha…I just wish he could feel the same…She pushed away the wistful and melancholy thoughts to wave at Kaede who was walking out of her home.

"Hello, Kaede, I'm back…again!" Kagome giggled and slid in the dirt to stop in front of the old woman.

Kaede laughed lightly and put a finger to her lips, "Pray, be quiet child. I do not wish to have him awakened."

"What do you mean, Kaede? Who," Kagome looked around as if the person would just sleep walk out to them, "Hey, where's Inuyasha by the way. I haven't seen him."

"Silly child, he's the one that I mean. He's asleep in the hut. Peaceful as I've ever seen him, it's nice to know that he can relax on his birthday. Poor child, we all know he needs the rest," Kaede shook her head with a small smile, "But aye, he's so stubborn. I'm amazed he actually fell asleep. But it is easier to not have him bother us while we plan his party."

Kagome blinked, "Inuyasha fell asleep? Wow……I mean, yeah, it sure does make it easier doesn't it? Well, I'll be sure not to waken him." With that she tilted her head goodbye to Kaede and walked into the hut.

She placed down the bundle she was carrying and looked around the small room, her gaze soon resting on Inuyasha curled up on his side. His face was calm and beautiful without that darn scowl, and his mouth was slightly agape as his cheek rested against the floor. Lying on his side, a blanket rested on him lightly, probably settled down by Kaede. His ears twitched but he did not rise as Kagome tip toed towards him.

She knelt down beside him and watched him for a time, the way his deep breathing went in and out and the small movements he would make. He was so beautiful and so calm, once again looking like a happy little boy…or a content little puppy.

With soft fingertips, she caressed his auburn cheek. Inuyasha shifted slightly and leaned into her touch, moving to his back. His mouth closed and his chest rose and fell rhythmically.

Becoming braver, since she had not roused him, Kagome trailed her fingers through his bangs and rubbed the soft fur of his ears. The hanyou muttered something inaudible and tilted his head, silently asking for more. She smiled and leaned down over him, "Happy birthday, Inuyasha…" She then placed a gentle kiss on his forehead.

Stealing one heart felt gaze at her love, Kagome reluctantly left. She wanted to say more, wanted to stay by his slumbering side and watch him until he roused into the waking world. She always loved to watch him sleep, but time was of the essence and they were losing it fast.


"…..shhh…..I said….shhhhhh……"

His ears twitched by the small hiss and he grunted deep in his throat as he slowly edged out of a relaxing sleep.

Damn it all…what now?

Inuyasha sighed and tried to ignore the sounds of thumps and muffled giggles, he wanted to sleep dammit! He hadn't slept that good for so long…

"Okay…on the count of three…."

What the hell…?

"One…."

"Two….

"THREE!"

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, INUYASHA!"

YIKES! Inuyasha jumped and covered his ears, all thoughts of sleep evaporating by his pack's loud gleeful shout. "What the—shit what was that--"

The hanyou was cut off as the six happy companions of his crazy life pounced on him and hugged the life out of him, laughter filling his ears. They all had strange hats on, pointy and colorful, and Inuyasha finally noticed the layout of the rest of the hut.

Now he had been to Souta's birthday once before in Kagome's time so the hanyou knew what some of the things were decorating the inside of the cabin. Streamers of every imaginable color flew from one end to the other, balloons littered the ground and bounced on the ceiling, and to the corner was a pile of treats and food.

It was a nut house really, so bright and cheery that it hurt his eyes, however since he was so used to the décor of blood and decay……yeah, it sure was more uplifting.

"Wow….." he whispered, "how long was I out?"

Kagome laughed and slapped one of those stupid hats over one oh his ears, the band stinging the underside of his chin. "Long enough that's for sure! Happy Birthday, Inuyasha! Let the fun begin!"

They all must have been prepped on Kagome's birthday customs for only Inuyasha really didn't understand al the things that they did. For instance, why the hell pin a fake tail on a picture of a jack ass?

It was a lot of fun though, except for the whole Miroku not realizing that the rule was pinning it on the picture…..not groping Sango……..actually it wasn't a good excuse anyway…….

Inuyasha had never seen everyone so happy before, all of their faces were alight in brilliance as they bopped the strange balloons to one another and giggles never sounded so musical to his ears. He also had never felt so happy himself….

This was the first time he had ever thrown down his defenses…and enjoyed something. There were painful side effects though, his chest hurt from laughter, he couldn't breathe and his cheeks felt like they were being stretched farther than they were meant to.

But hell it was a blast….he didn't want it to end….

"Okay, okay everyone stop it!" Kagome yelled out over the tickle fight that was going on, or more like another pounce on Inuyasha game. Was that supposed to be another b-day custom? "It's time for cake and presents!" The disgruntled sounds quickly turned into excited shouts.

"Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay, cake, cake, cake, cake…" Shippo yipped as Inuyasha hoisted him up onto his shoulder.

"Can it runt you're going to give us a migraine," the kit laughed and once again hugged Inuyasha's neck.

The hanyou was getting used to the gestures but that one caught him by surprise. "Happy Birthday, Yasha." Shippo cooed in his ear and he jumped over to everyone who was sitting around a pink box.

The half demon paused as another surge of warmth flew through him, another powerful thrust of overwhelming feelings, he actually may never get used to such gestures.

His throat felt tight and he sat down next to Kagome, who was still hopping with enthusiasm. "Okay, cake time. Courtesy of my momma, enjoy!"

She pulled the lid off the box and Inuyasha's nose was surging with a delightfully sugary smell. They all peered inside in awe by the double layered white and red frosted cake, urging for them to dig in.

And dug in they did once the wonder of looking at it was over.

Another first for the hanyou after he took that one bite and his tongue sung with satisfaction. He had never eaten so slowly, don't ask why but for some reason he had wanted to remember every taste and texture of his one and only birthday cake, he wanted to savor every morsel like it was his last meal. Everyone else ate like maniacs in-between their own sounds of satisfaction but not Inuyasha, he had never tasted anything so amazing and the thought that it was made for him only wanted him to remember it all.

No one had ever made him something so wonderfully delicious, actually no one had ever made him anything. Don't blame him for wanting to enjoy it.

The girl next to him giggled suddenly, yanking him from his thoughts, and when he looked over to her, she tapped her nose, "Umm, you got a little something there Inuyasha."

He fell for it and wiped his face.

"No it's right here now," Kagome touched her cheek, her quirky smile giving her away.

Inuyasha smirked and wiped his face again.

"Nope still haven't gotten it."

"Oh yeah," Inuyasha smiled evilly, "well you have something on you too." He dipped his finger in the white frosting and dabbed it onto her nose. "Actually all over you," he trailed his finger all the way over her cheeks and chin, her skin glinting with wonderful sugar. He popped his coated finger in his mouth and smirked at her.

Kagome grinned and grabbed her cake, Inuyasha eyes her warily. "Oh really, well birthday boy……..take…THIS!" She laughed and slammed the piece of dessert in his face, frosting splattering all over his kimono and hair.

Everything went silent.

Except for a certain girl's giggles as she touched his cheek and popped her own finger in her mouth.

"Mmm, you taste good Inu."

He rubbed the frosting away from his eyes and glared at her. A tense cloud loomed over the rest of the group.

Inuyasha reached out his hand and grasped a slice of cake. Kagome watched him and shook her head, "Oh no you don't."

"Oh…but yes….I do," his laughter eased the air as he lobbed his own piece into her face. "Wow, you taste good too."

The two laughed and shouted with excitement as they tackled each other, trying to get as much cake on each other as possible. Everyone else watched smiling, Kaede sighed and shook her head, "You two are cleaning this up you know."

"Na ah, she started it!"

"You were asking for it!"

Inuyasha laughed and hurled another piece which Kagome ducked and the hurling cake struck an unsuspecting Miroku.

The monk touched his smeared cheek, smiled and smooshed it in a laughing Sango's face.

That was how everyone else joined in.


The hut was a disaster.

Inuyasha winced when he gathered in the whole damage of their little "cake fight". Frosting smeared down the walls and squished between the wood's grains, most likely never to be out again. There was cake and napkins and forks and spoons littering every nick and cranny of Kaede's home.

It was a mess.

Inuyasha couldn't help but feel a little guilty. It was his birthday after all.

Kaede must have seen his face and chuckled, handing him a wet towel which she had given to everyone else. She sat down next to him as he rubbed his face, red-white glob staining the cloth. "Pray, do not be concerned, child. My home has suffered worst damage."

Inuyasha grimaced when he tried to clean out his ears, "You sure?"

Kaede gave him a reassuring smile…but it soon turned a little twisted, "Aye, but be wary. Once your special day is over, I'm not letting any of ye leave until it is spotless."

Inuyasha paused, a tiny trickle of apprehension slipping down his spine, but by the humorous glint in her eyes (though he knew she was quite serious) he began to laugh. "Yep, I'm sure you will, ya old hag." There was that damn good mood again. It still hadn't left.

Kaede blinked, not yet used to his rare bouts of laughter and cheerfulness, but she did not wait long until she started to smile as well.

Kagome, her cheeks a flushed pink, suddenly grabbed Inuyasha's arm, flinging him to her, "Come on, Yasha! Now that cake is done, you know what happens next, right?"

Inuyasha raised a brow and settled himself next to the ecstatic girl. "Uh…a bath?"

She laughed and tweaked his ear, "No silly…presents! It's present time!"

Everyone in the room cheered and sat around in a circle.

"Inuyasha, Inuyasha, you have to open mine first, 'kay! You have to open it first!" Shippo tugged on the hanyou's haori sleeve, his emerald eyes glowing with excitement.

A rock of dread and unease plunged into Inuyasha's stomach. "O-okay…b-but I thought I told you guys that you didn't need to..."

Miroku laughed and patted the floor to get them to sit down, "Well, my friend, you have told us many things before but we have never listened. Why start now?"

Inuyasha grunted and crossed his legs, "I'll let that pass for now, monk."

The half demon jumped when out of nowhere, there was a huge crash! He jumped, his instincts kicking in, ready for a battle, but all the commotion had just came from the girl from the future, walking into the room with a dozen or so brightly wrapped packages piling up in her arms.

Inuyasha's mouth fell open and his insides squirmed.

Those can't be…all for…he gulped…me…

He ran up and grabbed a few from Kagome, turning to see Sango walking in with a few more. Inuyasha nearly bit his tongue.

The guilt grew and ate at him.

How could they have done this for him? A measly pathetic hanyou, who had never been that nice to them anyway; who had yelled and whined and had killed more than he could remember. Who had lied, cheated, stolen, and had polluted the world with his very birth.

They couldn't be all for him.

Not possible. No one would do that. Not even his closest friends. He didn't deserve that…

But every tag attached to the various sized boxes held his name.

Oh damn…no…

A whirlwind of different emotions surged within him; there was guilt, sadness, happiness, regret, despair, cheerfulness…so many that he couldn't decipher, all tearing him up inside.

He wasn't sure if he should yell, scream, laugh…or cry.

But they couldn't….they shouldn't be for him…

Inuyasha gave a nervous chuckle, "Whose are these for?"

Sango snorted, "For you of course, baka. Now sit down, and let's begin!"

The hanyou almost collapsed on weak knees.

They are….all for…me……

In a daze, he hardly realized Kagome pulling him to the ground and putting a gift in his lap.

He stared down at it, messily wrapped and brightly colored, in large letters the words To Inuyasha From Shippo with a backward 'S', glowing up at him like a beacon.

It was for him…just him…it wasn't a joke…or a trick…they had bought him presents…with their own money….for him…

He couldn't breathe.

"Inuyasha? Are you okay?" He looked over to Kagome's concerned chocolate brown orbs, and tried to speak, surprised by the hard lump lodged in his throat.

"Yeah…I…I, uh, just spaced out for a minute there…"

She smiled and pointed to the gift.

"Well, you better get on with it. This is the best part. We've all worked extra hard to get this worked out for you. There are even presents from momma, Souta and gramps from home too."

His heart skipped a beat. F-from…Mrs. Higurashi…a-and…Souta……even the old man…?

The very thought that Kagome's own family would waste money on him made his chest tighten in pain. What had he done to deserve this?

Inuyasha shook out of his reverie when there was a tiny tug on his shirt, Shippo looked up at him with worry, "Do you not like it, I didn't wrap it very well, but I tried! And I didn't have a lot of time to work on your present but I did the best that I could! I—"

The kitsune gasped when a clawed hand grabbed him and pulled him into a short one-armed hug. He was shocked by the large grin on his "secret papa's" face. "No, i-its perfect, kid. Best I've seen. I bet….I bet I'll love it…"

Shippo hopped up and down on Inuyasha's lap, "Then open it already!"

Inuyasha laughed, "Okay already. Get a grip!" he tore a claw through the paper. Feeling a strange sense of gloom when it ripped, it had been almost too pretty to open.

Staring down at his present, his first one in over….60 or so years….Inuyasha had a hard time keeping his eyes dry.

And it was difficult for the next hour as well.


Inuyasha ran his finger lightly over the crayon drawing he had received from his "secret son". It was a soft picture of himself in his vibrant red clothes, Tetsusaiga at his side, standing in front of a full moon. The difference of the red against the grey blue was stunning. And the strokes, done so gently and perfect, little swirls and zig-zags, everything seemed to almost glow.

He leaned back against the wall and smiled to himself as Kaede's warm blanket she had stitched in record time, rubbed against his neck. It was red as well, since according to Kaede 'that is your favorite color anyway and besides, by how much you always seem to get hurt and bleed…it might be a good idea'. There was still a sense of guilt though (it hadn't gone away yet)…since he had seen her working on it weeks before….for herself.

He should really think of something to do for her.

Shippo too…and Miroku…Sango…Mrs. H…Souta…he didn't know about Gramps but, yeah, him too….and Kagome of course…her especially…

Inuyasha sighed and watched as the monk, taijiya, hag, and kitsune all fought over and cheered for that little futuristic game. They hadn't put it down once. It scared him a bit how addicting it was. He wanted to try it but….at the same time, decided he'd let them have it first. Least he could for now. Besides, he had no idea how the hell to play it!

Sometimes the future was so damn confusing….and Kagome said that game was for kids!

The hanyou's eyes soon fell upon a corner of the hut; stacked high with ramen and food, treats and little nick knacks; a special cloth and oil to clean his sword from Sango, and scrolls of different stories and teachings from Miroku.

He had been a little worried, but no amount of prodding could get the Monk to spill their little secret.

He was still a little embarrassed that he wasn't that good at reading.

Damn, he still needed to do something for Miroku on helping him with that too.

Ugh…what to do, what to do……would they really accept something from him anyway? Would they scoff? Laugh their heads off? Get angry….

Inuyasha's cheeks flushed with embarrassment on the prospect of giving presents to his pack. He would do it…somehow…but sentimental things were hard for him. Saying even 'thank you' to everyone had had his head hung down in shame, his voice thin and raspy.

But he needed…wanted to show them his gratitude. No matter how humiliating on his part.

He went back to watching his pack…his dearest friends…his family…and his heart swelled.

He could never admit it in casual conversation. But he loved these people with all he could muster from his evil, demonic heart. He cared for them, wanted them healthy and happy. Would give his life to protect them…he could never stand it if one of them…died.

Inuyasha shook his head, melancholy setting in. He didn't deserve them…but for some reason, God had blessed him with all of them.

Most likely, they would be ripped from him soon. All of his loved ones before had been.

Inuyasha bit back a whimper and, with a strange notion, something he had not done since when he was a little pup…sent up a little prayer.

A prayer straight from the heart, innocent and pure: H-hey…this is…um, Inuyasha. I know you haven't heard from me in a while. I-I'm sorry 'bout that. And I know I don't deserve it, that I've done horrible things in my life but…but please…please listen to what I have to say. Please…do this one thing for me.

I love these people…I don't know why you let them come into my life but I thank you. And I love them…more than anyone could know. More than anyone I have ever loved before in my life. Please…bless them….let them live long happy lives together…don't let them get hurt by me…don't let me ruin their lives…Let them grow old, have children, be together forever…

I'm not asking to be apart of it….I know I don't deserve that. But please…I would die for that, to have them live…and be happy…I would die…for them…

Inuyasha swallowed, his eyes pricking with salt, I thank you for allowing me to be friends with them, to know them…love them. And thank you for listening….I know it isn't much…coming from me…I must sound really stupid. But thank you…

I—he paused—I love you…Those words surprised him...but he didn't take them back.

Amen.


Kagome rolled her eyes as she listened to the racket brought on by Souta's game.

"Houshi-sama, go left! Left! It's going to hit you!"

"Miss Sango, I know what I'm doing! So please, be quiet!"

"Ye children, must I do everything? Hand it over to me, I'll take care of the damn thing!"

"No Kaede, it's my turn!"

Good Lord, what have I done? She laughed and looked over to Inuyasha, who had been very quiet ever since he thanked everyone.

She wished she had a video tape for that. It was so cute, with the little blush on his cheeks and how he fidgeted.

Everyone sure had been a little surprised by it. But it just soon gave way to another 'Inuyasha-hugging-attack'.

He could be so adorable sometimes.

He was gone…

Kagome blinked and turned her head to view the whole outline of the small hut.

Inuyasha had vanished.

Oh, groan…he must have gone to the Goshinboku…silly little Yasha…

Standing up, a chuckle in her throat, the young woman waked out of the flap Inuyasha had justgone througha few moments ago. The game gurus never looked up.

The night was beautiful, a bright full moon hanging on a dark ceiling of twittering stars and rainbow cosmos. A soft breeze sent her hair aflutter against the back of her neck and she took in a deep breath of the non-polluted air. Her heart was at peace when listening to the music around her of crickets and gently moving trees.

God, she loved this place.

"Well," she clapped her hands and rubbed them together, a shiver of cold starting to tremor down her arms, "better go look for him! There's no way he's going to be alone on his birthday."

And off she walked, not fearing the unknown shadows around her.; already certain that Inuyasha was nearby. He always made her feel so safe, even when he wasn't directly next to her. Sometimes she liked to think she could "feel" him, a tiny spurt of masculine strength wrapping around her, his very aura of protections.

Deep inside her, she felt almost...connected...to him…an invisible string linking them somehow.

She hoped it would never sever.


Well, he hadn't been at the tree…instead to her slight surprise; Inuyasha had been sitting next to a river bed, rubbing his face furiously. Kagome slowed and took the moment on how his hair glistened like fresh snow lying amid the world's darkness.

He was damn beautiful to her…a warrior God…but how cheesy was that?

She stepped forward, "Inuyasha?"

The hanyou jumped and turned to her…Kagome gave a tiny gasp.

It was dark, hard to see with her human eyes, but she could not miss the glistening dropshanging on the ends of his lashes.

He had been….

"Are you okay, Yasha? Is something wrong?" The closer she got, the more enclosed off he was. That mask of indifference and anger fell onto his face, and he turned away from her, crossing his arms.

"Fine," he grumbled….he couldn't stop the tiny break in his gruff voice.


He couldn't help it….everything had just been so….so…magical.

After reciting his prayer, he couldn't block against the overwhelming bittersweet-ness of emotion that choked him.

He was happy, so very happy….but then sad…he wasn't sure quite why…maybe it was the thought of him not being with his friends forever….or, he must have just been having the 'end-of-b-day-blues'.

Yeah, that must have been it.

Whatever reason, tears had began to fog up his vision, and with a panic he had ran out of that hut to here, trying desperately to make them stop.

He couldn't cry…not now…not ever…even on his deathbed…tears were just pathetic…

But yet a few had trailed down his cheeks…and now someone had found him.

Damn it…

He nearly flew out of his skin when Kagome wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders, pulling him into her chest. When had she gotten there so fast? Damn, he was so used to the "feel" of her aura…

"Inuyasha….why are you sad…I thought you were having a great time…did-did we do something wrong…did I?"

Inuyasha's eyes widened and he shook his head, fraught to reassure, "No, no Kagome! You didn't do anything, it was great…th-the best I've ever had…" he trailed off into a whisper…"the best…"

Kagome hugged him tighter, still surprised he hadn't tugged out of her arms yet, and snuggled her face into his shoulder, "That's good…I'm glad. You deserve to be happy, Inuyasha. You know that? You deserve a lot of things."

He could feel the heat from her flowing through his body…and another part of him tightened…"I d-don't know about that…I've done terrible things, Kagome…"

She snorted, "Like what?"

He gave a little growl and turned to her, "What about killing people? Stealing and lying? A-and….h….hurting you…" he stared down at his hands, his blush nearly fluorescent in the night.

Okay she hadn't been expecting that last one, "Inuyasha…." She smiled and tilted his chin up, capturing his gaze and cupping his cheek, "You did those things to survive….it wasn't your fault…"

"What about…hurting you…"

Kagome gave a tiny giggle, "Inuyasha….I admit, you have hurt me before…but I understand you, you're not very good at saying what you feel. It's hard for you. You don't need to worry….I forgive you every time…"

Golden orbs held cobalt ones, glittering with more unshed tears. Kagome caressed his warm auburn cheek, reveling at the silkiness of his skin.

"You do…?"

"Yeah…every time…"

"Even when I didn't apologize…" he tried to turn away from her again.

Oh no you don't…when you're acting like this, you're going to look at me the whole time…dang, I really wish I brought a camcorder…Kagome tried not to laugh, "What did I just say? I know it's hard for you Inuyasha….and I understand your body language…even if you don't say them…by the way you act, I know you're sorry." She allowed that laugh to bubble out, "Why are you acting like this anyway? Why are we talking about this on your special day?"

His blush grew darker, "I don't know…it just…kind of came out…" Kagome's eyes widened when he flipped back over and leaned into herchest, herstill holding him.

She enjoyed the rare gift of embracing her love for a moment when out of nowhere he said, "I…I, uh…liked your present the best you know…"

Kagome's heart flipped and brightened, "R-really…?"

His voice deepened, "Yeah…" Inuyasha put a hand in his haori and pulled out a dark brown leather notebook. But when he flipped the first page, it was different pictures of his pack and himself…captured in different moments by that strange 'time-capturing' device from the future. There was Kaede in her herb garden, Shippo in a field with his crayons, Sango and Miroku standing next to each other, a certain someone's hands to themselves (for once)….but his favorite…was the last one…

It had been shot against his will….but he was glad it had been done...it was him and Kagome, her chin resting on his shoulder smiling into the camera, himself with a huge blush on his face.

It looked so innocent and happy…a cherished memory…definitely his favorite…

Kagome's hot breath sent a shiver through his whole body and his eyelids drooped sleepily, "That's my fav' too…I'm glad you like it…"

"Yeah…." He paused looking back up at the full moon; he loved staring at that large orb. It always gave him a sense of peace and normalcy. Inuyasha then tilted his head and listened to that girl's heart beating alongside his own. She always made him feel whole and accepted too. Inuaysha paused before whispering in a gruff tone, "Thank you, Kagome."

Her laugh was mesmerizing; everything about her seemed to entrap him in a spell, "For what?"

He thought on that. She had rescued him from an eternal sleep, had given him friendship, melted his heart little by little to come to love again, and had given him this treasure cove of rare happy memories. There was so damn much to thank her for, those listed was just a rough count of what he could think of. What could he say to make her understand how much he cared for her, how much gratitude he held for her…..how much love….what to say?

"Don't know….everything I guess….just….everything…"

Eh, good enough.

Kagome smiled and lightly kissed his hair, "I thank you too, Inu."

He almost jumped, "What the hell for?"

Chuckling she answered, "Everything Yasha….just….everything…" For giving me a best friend….and someone to love…..to help me grow up……everything…

Nightly music was all that could be heard as the two young teens stared down at that little picture. No words were spoken, no eloquent speeches for love, no kisses to display….just…silence….but sometimes that's all that is needed.

And when they memorized the feel of each other, every smell and sound, to keep close in their memory knowing it may be a one time thing….a small prayer rose in both of their hearts…to flutter up and whisper softly in God's ear….

Dear lord in heaven….I may not deserve it….but please, one day….before it is too late….give me the strength to say….

I love you.


And that is the end.

In my first idea, I WAS going to make them kiss. But I decided to link this to my ALWAYS THERE story and NOT have them do that. For those of you who HAVE read A.T you should maybe see the little connecting strings. "dying for them", having the strength to say "I love you" before the inevitable would come to rip them apart.

What a bitter-sweet ending.

Kind of left ME thirsting for more.

Oh and I'm thinking of making MORE one shots based on little info I slipped out in this one, (like the whole reading thing...hehe) Look out for them!

Oh yes, and I have a web site now (the little linkie in my profile will be fixed) all for one shots. So if you guys have any REALLY good ones, just send em to me and I'll see about putting them up. No promises though.

AND, I will update A.T and T.S.H pretty soon. I just have a lot on my plate right now.

Ja ne!

LilYasha