Lessons of Love
Lesson five: Disney Movies have Healing Powers

-X-

A child's tears is one of the least favorite things a parent has to endure at times and one of the top things they like to avoid the most. The cause could be anything, from a scraped knee, a bad nightmare, or perhaps some emotional pain that has no real cure. But just because there isn't a cure doesn't mean there is not a treatment; when nothing you do can stop your child's tears, remembering the one thing that almost always works: Disney. Pop in a movie, promise ice cream and breath a sigh of relief when the waterworks stop and your child is ensnared within the animated humor of princesses, talking animals and damsels in distress. And of course, it never hurts to join them. Nobody has ever said no to a good cuddle on the couch while watching a movie.

-X-

Crouched down in front of the tiny half-demon that looked so much like himself, Inuyasha carefully adjusted the pink bow in his daughter's hair, the sterling locks still warm from the hair dryer and smelling faintly of vanilla and honey from the bath he'd just given her. It was the second Sunday of the month and that meant that Shaninri had to look her best for the meeting they had in about an hour. Of course not everything was riding on his babygirl's appearance; he just wanted to show that he was perfectly capable of taking care of their daughter on his down, something that his ex-wife found hard to believe and was constantly pressuring him to hire a nanny for Shan, to which he always vehemently refused to do. He didn't want some strange wench he didn't know around his precious daughter all day, essentially raising her in his stead, teaching her things he should be teaching her, and God forbid if she turned out to secretly be a prejudiced bitch who lied their way into a half-demon household, gaining their trust and then viciously beating hanyou children while the parents weren't around. While it wasn't common, it was still known to happen and even though the odds were slim, Inuyasha just didn't want to take that risk. God, if something like ever happened to his little girl, he didn't know what he'd—

"Papa?"

a small hand landed on his cheek and the older half-demon blinked. "What, baby?" He smoothed out her little denim dress he'd chosen for the occasion and mentally gave himself a pat on the back. The pink undershirt matched the bow in her hair and he'd managed not to poke a hole in the white stockings that donned her legs. His daughter looked cute as well, if he did say so himself, and it was all him.

Heh. Who said men didn't have fashion sense?

Shaninri tilted her head and gazed at him in concern with eyes identical to his own. "You were growling. Whatsa matter, Papa?"

Inuyasha blinked again and frowned slightly. He hadn't even realized he'd been growling. Shaking his head, he ran his claws through her silver locks one last time, seeking out any hidden tangles. "Nothing, babydoll. Papa was just thinking too much." He offered a reassuring smile, turned his head to kiss the tiny palm, then swept her up in his arms and stood up.

Shaninri giggled. "Papa thinks?"

Inuyasha pretended to look affronted. "Oi!"

While his cheeky little daughter dissolved into giggles, the older hanyou rolled his eyes but grinned. "Very funny, mini-me. Just remember, you share my non-thinking genes." Then he blew a raspberry on her cheek and reveled in the sound of her laughter.

"Your jeans are too big for me, Papa," the golden-eyed tot remarked through her giggles and he chuckled, shaking his head. God, he hoped she never lost that innocence.

"Alright, squirt," he said and exited her bedroom, grabbing her ever present companion Beast on the way, "we need to head out or we'll be late."

"Why?" Shaninri asked.

"Because your mother likes to pick places to meet in the busiest part of the city and the traffic blows." Inuyasha set her on the table and helped her into her coat.

"Why?"

"Because she's weird." He zipped her up and doubled-checked her tiny black Mary Janes.

"Why?" She grinned.

He slanted her a look. "Because you're weird."

A giggle. "Why?"

The corner of his mouth twitched. "Because if small-fry little half-demon's named Shaninri don't shut up, your buddy Beast is gonna eat you."

Another snicker. "Wh—"

"Alright, runt, that's it!" With a mock roar Inuyasha descended upon his cheeky little thing of a daughter and proceeded to tickle her until she was red in the face and gasping for air.

They ended up being seven minutes late.

-X-

As it turned out, his ex-wife was, as always, fashionably late so a quarter after 11 am found the two half-demons sitting at a window booth – Shaninri's preference, of course – inside a quaint little café that, frankly, Inuyasha was a little surprised his ex had chosen for their monthly rendezvous. She usually favored the more ritzier types of places with fine china, cushioned seats and paying an arm and a leg for a glass of water and a piece of toast. This place was the complete opposite; reasonably priced, a cozy atmosphere with smiling waitresses and while the seats weren't like sitting on a cloud, they were soft enough and served their purpose just fine. What's even more, they didn't seem to care at all he and Shan weren't all human.

He'd have to remember to come back to this place on his next lunch break.

Reclining back, Inuyasha sighed and stared out the window, watching uninterestedly as people hustled by while Shaninri munched on her breakfast of mini pancakes and scrambled eggs across from him. He'd gotten himself a cup of coffee and it was actually pretty good. Yeah, he'd definitely make an effort to come here again, this little slice of heaven in the middle of downtown Tokyo, even if that meant battling noontime traffic.

Several more moments ticked by and he growled, shooting an impatient glance at the clock mounted on the wall. Dammit, where the hell was she? She always bitched and moaned whenever he was late, and yet—

The door chimed as a familiar scent reached his nose and instantly Inuyasha schooled his irritated expression into a blank mask.

Speak of the devil; a pair of heels steadily made their way toward them and Inuyasha had to resist the urge to grab Shaninri and run. Damn, but he didn't want to be here. It was always the same thing, month after month; she'd start with some small talk, subtly change the subject to finding a damn nanny for Shan, he'd refuse, they'd argue, and then the rest of the meeting was stiff and awkward.

The clicking stopped by their table and Inuyasha locked eyes with familiar brown.

She smiled apologetically. "Inuyasha."

"Kikyou."

"Sorry I'm late," she said and sat next to their daughter. "I was stuck at the airport trying to tail a cab. It was crazy today." Kikyou turned to the little half-demon beside her and smiled lovingly. "Hello, darling. I've missed you." Tenderly she placed a hand on Shaninri's cheek and said hanyou beamed.

"Hi, Mommy! I missed you too." She hugged the older woman around the waist and Kikyou returned the embrace, closing her eyes.

Across from them Inuyasha watched as a wave of guilt washed over him and he turned his gaze out the window.

Despite the circumstances, Inuyasha knew that Kikyou loved their daughter and she truly did relish their meetings every month since it was the only times she ever saw Shan, and that was another reason why he dreaded these monthly outings because it always made him feel like such a piece of shit for having custody of their child. However Inuyasha also knew that it was the best option because with as much traveling as Kikyou did for her job, she would never be able to stay home and take care of their child like a mother should, read her bedtime stories at night, teaching her how to cook, and explaining the changes in her body as Shaninri grew older. She was missing out on that sacred mother-daughter bonding thing that Inuyasha was never able to understand and he was part of that reason.

And even though Kikyou agreed that it was in Shaninri's best interest to live with her father, Inuyasha still felt like it was largely his fault that his ex-wife and daughter didn't get nearly enough time together.

He had to keep reminding himself that they both intimately knew that it was definitely not his fault they weren't together anymore.

At the thought of the initial reason for their divorce, bitterness swept over him and he scowled, however he managed to stifle the emotion and shove any and all thoughts of that day out of his mind. He needed to remain civil and keep a level head for this meeting, at least for his daughter's sake.

Shaking his head, Inuyasha brought himself back to the present and focused on the two across from him.

"How was your trip, Kikyou?" he asked.

Instantly Kikyou brightened and she smiled from ear to ear. "Oh, Inuyasha, Italy was amazing! The sights, the sounds, the smells, oh! We should have gone there for our honeymoon." She grinned at Shaninri and affectionately tweaked an ear.

Shan giggled.

Inuyasha rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah, that's what you said about Paris. And Spain. And England. And—"

"Oh, shut up. They're beautiful countries and you can stand to have a little culture."

He frowned. "Hey—"

"So, my sweet one, how have you been? Are you being good for your father?" Kikyou smiled at their daughter and enveloped a tiny hand within her own.

Shaninri beamed and nodded her head so hard it was a wonder she didn't get whiplash. "Uh huh! I've been really good, and eating all my veg'ables and doing all my bookwork and cleaning my room and taking baths and brushing my teeth and hair! Right, Papa?" She turned bright amber eyes to her father and he quirked a grin.

"Right, baby. Except for yesterday but she knows better now and won't do it again." He gave his little girl a knowing look and Shaninri looked adorably contrite, nodding meekly.

Kikyou frowned. "Did what? What happened yesterday?" She narrowed her eyes at her ex-husband.

Inuyasha snorted. "We went shopping yesterday and Shan wandered off by herself without telling me. I found her, of course, but it still gave me a heart attack." He slanted another look at the half-demon in question but she was too busy making bubbles in her chocolate milk to notice. He suspected she was pretending to be oblivious.

Kikyou's eyes widened slightly and she shook her head with a sigh. "You should have been keeping a closer eye on her, Inuyasha. What if she had been snatched up by one of those awful hanyou haters? She's only six, she can't properly defend herself yet."

Inuyasha's brows snapped downward in a deep frown and he sat up straighter. Isn't that what he'd been trying to tell her with the whole nanny thing? "Oi, wait a min—"

"And shopping of all things," she continued as if she hadn't heard him. Kikyou huffed and crossed her arms. "I suppose it's too much to ask for a man to multitask. Really, shopping is a woman's job." She cast a sidelong glance at her ex-husband and inwardly Inuyasha groaned.

He knew what was coming next.

"Which reminds me—"

"No."

She glared at him. "You don't know—"

"I'm not getting a damned nanny, Kikyou. End of discussion." He took out his wallet and threw some bills on the table.

Kikyou made a frustrated sound and placed her hands on her his. "Dammit, Inuyasha, she needs—"

"I will decide what she does and doesn't need in her life since I am her sole guardian, Kikyou. You lost that privilege when you cheated on me with that fucker Sui-what's-his-face and willingly put your name on all those papers two years ago, agreeing to the terms so don't you dare sit there and try to tell me how to raise my daughter when you're the one who fucked up." Inuyasha glowered heatedly at her, his jaw clenched and his lips drawn into a tight line, ears pinned flat.

The black-haired woman across from him flinched and the colored drained from her face, eyes wide and mouth parted in shock. "I…that's not fair," she rasped and dropped her gaze to the table.

Inuyasha snorted his opinion of that.

Frowning, she glanced up at him. "It's not," Kikyou insisted. "I haven't…seen him since…that day. He doesn't want to see me."

Inuyasha growled and leaned forward. "Don't lie to me."

Kikyou stiffened and narrowed her eyes, hands fisting in her lap. "I'm not," she said through clenched teeth.

"Bullshit," he fired back, scowling. "I know you weren't stuck at the airport getting a cab. I can smell him all over you so you were probably holed up somewhere with him for a good hour before coming here. Am I right?" He smirked nastily.

Kikyou scowled back at him, he eyes spitting fire. "Keep your nose out of my damn business, mongrel," she snapped and then immediately slapped a hand over her mouth, brown eyes impossibly wide as she stared at him, horrified at what she'd just said.

The change was instantaneous; the smirk dropped from his face and all emotion was wiped off his features, leaving a blank mask. He stood up and shrugged his coat back on. "We're done here." His voice was low, the tone brooking no arguments.

White as a ghost, Kikyou gazed at him for a second more then turned to Shaninri. The tiny hanyou was staring up at her with round amber orbs filled with unshed tears, her bottom lip trembling and Kikyou's heart broke.

"Darling, I…" She reached out to her.

"Don't," Inuyasha hissed so vehemently that Kikyou automatically snapped her hand back.

A mournful little cry echoed from her throat as her ex-husband reached across the table and effortlessly lifted their daughter into his arms, where she curled right up against him and buried her face into his shoulder.

The regretful woman could only watch as he grabbed Shaninri's coat and then walked out of the café, not once looking back or saying a single word.

Kikyou dropped her face in her hands and silently cried.

-X-

Father and daughter were silent as the older hanyou drove them back home in his black SUV, hands clenched so tightly on the wheel his knuckles were white. With his ears pinned and golden eyes glaring straight ahead out of windshield, Inuyasha gritted his teeth and mentally screamed every curse word he knew, a steady growl emitting from his chest and leading past his tightly clenched teeth. He realized his reaction to Kikyou's little slip-up might be a little extreme to some people, but to him he certainly didn't think so. Of course, had it come from any other random racist asshole, he wouldn't have given a rat's ass and would have just brushed it off, held up his middle finger and told them to sit and spin with a smirk on his face. However in this case, it had come from Kikyou of all people and even though they weren't even together anymore, Inuyasha was surprised at how much it had hurt. What had overpowered that hurt, though, was a fury the likes of which he hadn't felt in a very long time, fury garnered not by the fact that she had called him one, but because she had inadvertently called their daughter a mongrel as well and that did not sit well with him. That was what pissed him off and resulted in the decision to leave before he exploded and made and ass out of himself or caused a scene.

Grumbling under his breath as he hung a right, Inuyasha snuck a glance at his daughter in the backseat through the rearview and his expression softened. She was engrossed in whatever cartoon was playing on the screen embedded in the back of the headrest although he wondered at the slight frown that marred the soft skin of her brow.

Inuyasha heaved a sigh and focused his attention back on the road, frowning himself. He recalled the way Shaninri had been upset after their little altercation and she hasn't said a word since then. He knew it couldn't have been what Kikyou said. While she had heard the word before from bigoted assholes on the street or elsewhere, she didn't understand what it meant and so it couldn't have been because her mother had called him a less than respectful name based on what they were.

He drummed his fingers against the steering wheel in contemplation. Perhaps the reason for her unusual silence was the fact that he and Kikyou had parted with less than amiable terms and she didn't like that? While she didn't quite grasp why Mommy and Daddy weren't together anymore, she was smart enough to realize that it was just the way things were and that was that. of course, that didn't mean their rendezvous always ended in a similar manner like today's; they both agreed, for Shaninri's sake, that they'd be civil toward one another and not let the past blister between them. What's done is done, and nothing will change that. So knowing that, probably she wasn't used to their arguing since it never happened before – at least not in front of her. Hell, she hadn't even gotten to say goodbye to her mother, and that's—

Inuyasha's back suddenly stiffened and his eyes widened as it occurred to him. Shit. Shit. That had to be it. Her papa had abruptly, with seemingly no reason at all to her, cut her time with her mother short and she was upset with him because of it. Son of a bitch.

Stifling a groan, Inuyasha slowed to a stop at a red light and repeatedly rammed his forehead into the steering wheel, wishing he could give himself a swift kick in the ass.

Fucking Father of the Year material right here.

Yep.

You stupid fool—

"Papa?"

The hesitancy in his little girl's voice snapped him back to the present and he shook his head before gazing at her via rearview mirror. "Baby?"

Shaninri bit her lip and gazed down at her lap, idly plucking at Beast's blue overcoat. "Um…nevermind." She shook her head and ducked her eyes, hiding behind her sterling locks.

Inuyasha frowned at his daughter's odd behavior, a wave of concern washing over him. Shan had never been afraid to tell him anything; this hesitancy around him was definitely not natural. "What is it, Shaninri?" He turned onto their street and for some weird reason his eyes scanned over the park, unknowingly looking for a flash of raven hair.

He caught himself and made a face. The fuck?

Realizing he wouldn't let his go, the small part-demon timidly lifted her gaze, worrying her bottom lip as he pulled into their driveway. He cut the engine and she braced herself.

"I'm…I'm sorry, Papa," she whispered as tears gathered in her golden eyes and she smushed her face into her plushie, her little form shaking.

Alarmed, Inuyasha instantly went into Daddy-mode and quickly exited the SUV only to open her door and duck down, bracing his knee on the seat as he leaned in close. "Why are you sorry, baby? What's the matter?" He stroked her hair, unbuckling her seatbelt.

She mumbled something into the plushie and Inuyasha sighed, gently tugging the toy down from her face. "I didn't hear that, Shan." Tenderly he wiped her wet cheeks with his thumb, a soft whine escaping him at his daughter's distress.

Her bottom lip trembling, Shaninri looked up at her father with wide tearful eyes, her little form heaving with uneven breathes. "It's m-my f-fault," she sobbed, dashing tiny hands across her eyes.

Inuyasha shook his head, confused. "What's your fault, Shan?"

Shaninri sniffled and balled her hands into miniature fists. "Y-you and Mommy w-were f-fighting," the little hanyou cried. "I did something b-baaaaaad!" She was sobbing in earnest now, tears flowing, nose running and her slight frame shaking.

Inuyasha's ears flattened and he shook his head, "Oh, baby, no." Wondering how she could have possibly gotten to that conclusion, the older half-demon gathered the crying girl into his arms where she instantly latched on, burying her face in his chest and he sat down, settling her in his lap and rocking her back and forth as a soothing rumble emitted from his chest.

"Shh," he said gently, nuzzling her hair. "It's okay, sweet girl, calm down. I don't know where you got this idea from, but you didn't do anything bad. Nothing is your fault, okay?" Inuyasha kissed her head and leaned back to try and see her face. "C'mon, babydoll. Look at me." He caught her chin and tilted her face up.

She sniffled. "B-but Mom—"

"Mama and Papa just had a disagreement, alright? Mommy said something she shouldn't have and it hurt Papa's feelings because he's a wimp." That earned a tiny giggle and he breathed a sigh of relief. "Thatta girl," he mumbled and used his sleeve to wipe her nose. "None of this is your fault, babygirl. Okay? No more tears. You know Papa can't stand it when you cry." He leaned down and kissed away her tears, nuzzling her nose with his own and smiling when she released another faint giggle.

"Okay," she breathed and offered a watery smile, her face flushed and her ears drooped.

"There's my beautiful girl," Inuyasha said and dropped a kiss to her forehead before standing up with his daughter tucked close to his chest and shut the door. Climbing the porch steps, Inuyasha unlocked the front door and walked inside as the girl in his arms snuggled closer and he could tell she was still a little upset.

He'd have to remedy that. "Tell you what," he said after a moment of deliberation. "Why don't we skip bookwork today, watch some movies and eat ice cream instead. Sound good?" He kicked off his shoes, pulled hers off and set her on the table to help her take her jacket off.

Shaninri's eyes widened. "Can we?"

"Yep. What movie do you wanna watch first?" he asked, already knowing the answer.

She smiled. "Beauty and the Beast?"

Inuyasha grinned. "Beauty and the Beast it is." He tapped her nose and set her on the floor. "Go put it in then and I'll get us some ice cream." He watched her scurry into the living room with an excited squeal and chuckled, heading to the kitchen. "Chocolate or strawberry?"

"Both!" she called from the living room and giggled cheekily.

He snorted. "Greedy gut!" he said and got out both flavors from the freezer.

A few moments later he joined her on the couch and she immediately scrambled into his lap and made herself comfortable, ignoring his exaggerated grunts. Happily nestled against her Papa, Shaninri grabbed her bowl of ice cream and dug in, amber eyes riveted to the screen where Price Adam's castle loomed majestically above the trees.

Rolling his eyes, Inuyasha shook his head but smiled and spooned some frozen chocolate goodness into his mouth.

About halfway through the movie, as Beast was twirling Belle around the ballroom, Shaninri shifted in his lap then suddenly leaned up and pressed a warm kiss to his cheek. "I love you, Papa," she whispered and then settled back in his lap to watch the rest of the movie.

Inuyasha blinked, cleared his throat and smiled down at her. "I love you too, baby. More than you'll ever know." He closed his eyes and cuddled his little girl close as Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth sang about a tale as old as time.

-X-

It was during their third movie – The Little Mermaid – when somebody rang the doorbell and Inuyasha checked the time: 5:45 pm.

Must be Kagome, he thought and left Shan to her movie to answer the door. After Beauty and the Beast had ended, Inuyasha asked his girl what she thought about having Miss Kagome coming over and claiming her as one of her students, teaching her the material she taught her other first grades at the school. Shaninri had exuberantly agreed before he could even fishing asking. Even though she hadn't known her very long, his little girl was quite taken with the schoolteacher and he wondered why.

Ah well. Whatever made his babygirl happy.

Inuyasha swung the door open and there she was, standing somewhat nervously on his porch with a bag slung over her shoulder and holding a briefcase before her with both hands. She offered a timid smile and suddenly all he could do was stare, taking in her soft looking ebony hair, big brown eyes and that smile—

"Ah, good evening, Mr. Tak—er, Inuyasha. I…hope I'm not too early?" She trailed off questioningly, hoping she hadn't caught them in the middle of their dinner or something.

"What?" he said intelligently then her words registered. "Oh, I mean, uh, no, you're not," Inuyasha assured and then just stood there in the doorway like an idiot until Kagome politely cleared her throat and looked a little awkward.

"Are you…going to let me inside, or…" she ventured cautiously, wondering if he was okay. He seemed a little off tonight…

Inuyasha started and wanted to smack himself. He was acting like a damned fool all of a sudden! "Oh shit!" Them he winced and stepped back, gesturing inside with a jerk of his head. "Uh, sorry. Yeah, come on in."

Ducking her head to hide her smile at his soft blush, the young schoolteacher walked past him inside and instantly was assaulted by the delicious scent of pizza and wings.

Crap. She had interrupted them. "Mmm, smells good in here," she commented offhandedly as her stomach quite loudly reminded her that she'd skipped her own dinner

Inuyasha closed the door and raised a brow at her; Kagome blushed and smiled widely, pretending that hadn't just happened and mentally telling her empty gut to shut the hell up. "You're house is gorgeous, Inuyasha," she said in awe, admiring the living room. "The architecture is absolutely stunning and oh, the brick fireplace is truly magnificent." She'd never seen anything like it; the fireplace didn't jut out from the wall but instead was a part of it and the higher up the bricks climbed, the more spaced out they became and they almost seemed to melt right into the wall before disappearing completely.

A rather smug smirk crept up onto his face and he puffed out his chest – just a little. "Keh. Course it is. I designed it," he gloated then paused and cast her a sidelong glance. "…And built it."

Kagome's eyes rounded and she nodded, impressed. The guy definitely had a right to gloat.

A beat of silence passed and Kagome's stomach chose that moment to announce it's empty presence once more and her cheeks burned while Inuyasha coughed into his hand to hide his laugh.

He decided he'd save the poor girl from any further embarrassment. "You can put your stuff anywhere. Want some pizza? It was just delivered before you got here."

Despite her obvious hunger, Kagome shook her head, shrugging off her coat and placing her things on the table. "Oh, no, I wouldn't want to impose…"

Inuyasha snorted. "You're not 'imposing.' You're already here, ain't cha? Besides, I'm not about to let you starve when you're obviously hungry." He shrugged and Kagome blushed again. He gave her a strange look. "Why did you skip dinner anyway?"

The young teacher smiled sheepishly. "I got caught up in writing out an agenda and getting ready for tonight. By the time I was done it was already too late, so…" She shrugged and he rolled his eyes.

"Keh. Stupid woman. Why the hell they say women live longer than men, I'll never know."

Kagome frowned indignantly. "Hey—"

"Shan, come out and get something to eat," he called out to his daughter as he headed into the kitchen. "Miss Kagome's here."

"Kay," the tiny half-demon called back and didn't move from her curled up position on the couch, eyes glued to the huge flat screen.

Kagome narrowed her eyes at the older hanyou and then on a childish impulse, pulled a face at him behind his back.

Inuyasha's ear flicked and he turned his head to narrow his gaze at her suspiciously.

She blinked, smiled innocently, and then spun around to go see what had captured Shaninri's attention so deeply since she still hadn't moved and Inuyasha grumbled about God knows what from the kitchen.

Settling down next to the half-demon child on the huge sectional, the raven-haired teacher smiled as Sebastian the crab serenaded the heroine about the joys of living in the ocean and Kagome thought it was adorable that Shaninri was quietly singling along to Under The Sea.

"Oh, The Little Mermaid," Kagome commented casually. "Definitely a classic everyone should own and my second favorite Disney movie." She paused and glanced down at the girl beside her. "You know who my favorite character is?"

Shaninri blinked and looked inquisitively up at her.

Kagome grinned. "Max."

The golden-eyed hanyou frowned, and then giggled softly. "But he's a dog!"

"Exactly." The older woman winked and reached up to affectionately tweak her ears. Shaninri squealed and hugged her around the waist, to which Kagome laughed and happily returned it.

Inuyasha joined them in the living room and set three plates of pizza on the coffee table before plopping down next to Kagome with a sigh. Shaninri climbed over Kagome's lap to wiggle into the space between them and grabbed the smallest slice situated on her favorite princess plate. Inuyasha briefly stroked the soft fur of her ear before grabbing his own slice and taking a monstrous bite.

Kagome took hers as well. "Thanks," she said softly with a smile and Inuyasha grunted.

Shaking her head, Kagome dug in.

The three of them ended up watching the rest of The Little Mermaid together and Kagome had to admit, it was the most fun she'd had in a very long time. Aside from the light bickering between herself and Inuyasha that some would probably say bordered on flirting, most of her enjoyment derived from Shaninri; Kagome would occasionally say the lines along with whichever character was speaking with perfect unison and stroke some random, dramatic pose and the small hanyou got a kick out of it if her squeals and giggles of delight were any indication. Her favorite character to quite was Ursula the Sea Witch, especially when she was yelling at her two eel lackeys Flotsam and Jetsam. And despite Inuyasha's teasing that she apparently watched Disney too much to have memorized the lines, he himself quoted Sebastian a lot of the time, pulling a nearly perfect Jamaican accent, and his daughter absolutely loved that.

When the film was finally over and the credits were rolling and Shaninri was dancing around the living room with Beast as her partner, Inuyasha was completely relaxed, feet kicked up on the coffee table and his arms stretched out behind him on the couch, a lazy smile on his face as he watched his daughter. Kagome was silent as she sat next to him, watching in amusement as she made her plushie dance partner spin her around.

"So," Inuyasha suddenly drawled and she glanced up at him. His mouth quirked up in a grin and he looked down at her. "Max, huh?"

Kagome blushed but smiled and gently nudged him with her shoulder. He chuckled and nudged back.

Half an hour later found the three of them sitting at the table, Inuyasha at one end with his laptop and paperwork, calculating quotas for some clients and other work related issues while his daughter and Kagome sat at the other end, the teacher finally doing what she had come here to do in the first place and going over some first grade schoolwork with Shaninri. The little part-demon was soaking it up like a little sponge, nodding eagerly, asking questions and smiling proudly whenever she got something right. Kagome regularly praised and encouraged her and her patience was never ending as she explained something whenever the six year old was struggling, which wasn't often.

Inuyasha found himself watching them more than his laptop screen and his gaze always seemed to wandering to the ebony-haired young woman. Once more he was amazed that she was willing to do this for him, for his beautiful little girl, taking time out of her busy schoolteacher schedule to teach a child herself what other children her age were learning because she wasn't allowed in school just for what she was.

He felt awed and was suddenly very glad he'd given in to his girl's wishes to go to the park that night.

The phone suddenly rang, breaking the peaceful silence and he started as he was abruptly snapped out of his thoughts. He frowned and got up to answer it, wondering who could be calling so late.

"Hello," he grunted into the receiver, his eyes going back to the twosome at the table.

"I'm sorry."

Inuyasha's eyebrows rose and he sighed, leaning his hip against the side table the phone sat on. "Kikyou."

"Inuyasha, please," his ex pleaded. "I'm so sorry, I swear I didn't mean it, I don't know why I said it. Please believe me, you know I don't think of you that way."

The half-demon ran a hand down his face and shook his head. "You wouldn't have said it if you didn't mean it, Kikyou," he pointed out, suddenly very tired.

He heard her huff out a breath. "Look—"

"Do you even realize why I was so pissed off?" He cut her off, his tone hard.

Kikyou paused. "I…called you a…"

He growled. "No. It's because you called her one, Kikyou. Anything you call me that relates to our heritage you're also calling her and I don't care if it was indirect or unintentional or not, I wont tolerate that shit."

The other end was silent, then a hesitant, "Was she…did she know…"

Inuyasha sighed again and flicked his gaze to the table, most of his ire gone now that he'd gotten his point across. "No. She was just upset because we were fighting and she thought it was her fault for some reason. I don't really know if she caught it or not, but the only thing I said about it was Mommy said something she shouldn't have and it 'hurt Papa's feelings.' She didn't question it and I distracted her with ice cream and movies. She's probably forgotten about it by now." The hanyou in discussion did a little victory dance in her seat and he smiled as Kagome cheered and gave her a high-five.

"Okay," Kikyou said in a small voice and he heard her sigh softly. "Inuyasha…I really am sorry. Please forgive me. I do love her. So much. I would never…"

The rest of his irritation rushed out of him and he exhaled roughly, thrusting a hand through his hair. "Alright. Fine. Just…how about this: I'll keep my nose to myself and out of your business if you'll be more careful with what you say and stop lying to me. Deal?"

"Okay. Deal."

Inuyasha nodded. "Good."

She cleared her throat. "Now. Since that's out of the way, have you put any thought about getting—"

Inuyasha groaned. "Dammit, Kikyou—"

"Come on, Inuyasha, you know I'm right! I don't know why you're being so stubborn about this, it's perfectly normal—"

Suddenly Inuyasha was tired of the whole damn issue, tired of her constant nagging and the arguments. As his ex-wife prattled on in his ear about the benefits of a nanny, his gaze skittered over to the table again—

Amber eyes landed on Kagome and before he realized what he was even doing, he interrupted her.

"—it would give you more time and—wait, what?"

"Okay," he repeated, not taking his gaze away from the schoolteacher.

On the other end, Kikyou frowned. "O…kay… Just like that. You agree," she pressed, confused at his sudden change in mind but nonetheless pleased. "Really?"

Inuyasha shrugged though she couldn't see it. "Yeah. I'm agreeing with you, Kikyou. If it'll get you off my back about this, fine. I'll hire a damn nanny."

"Oh, Inuyasha, thank you so much!" Kikyou gushed, smiling from ear to ear. "This is wonderful! Oh, I'm so relieved. I worry about her, you know? And you, of course, working full time and taking care of Shaninri. This means so much to me, Inuyasha, thank you."

He grunted and Kikyou turned all business. "Now, I've already selected a few candidates for the job and of course I've done an extensive background search on each of them so you don't have to worry—"

"Actually," he interrupted softly, "I already have someone in mind."

She paused. "Ah…you do? But Inuyasha—"

"You want me to do this, then I get to choose. It's that or nil, Kikyou. Take it or leave it."

Kikyou huffed. "Alright. Fair enough."

He smirked.

"Is she good with children?"

"Oh yeah," he drawled. "She's around 'em all day, actually."

"All day? Does she work at a day care center or something?"

He thought for a moment. "You can say that." After all, the teachers were responsible for their students, right?

"Well…alright." Kikyou conceded. "I trust you've already checked her out then, since I know you're so anal about who's around her."

"Keh. Of course. I'm not gonna let some psycho bitch near my daughter. She wouldn't hurt a fly, trust me."

"Yes, yes, I get it. When does she start? I want to meet her."

Inuyasha winced and rubbed the back of his neck. "I, uh…haven't asked her yet. But I'll let you know as soon as it happens and after I talk to Shaninri about it."

"Inuyasha—"

"That or nil, Kiks," he reminded her pleasantly and grinned at the aggravated sound she made.

"Ugh. Fine, you pompous asshole. It's your say, I get it. Now let me talk to Shan. I want to apologize to her for this morning."

Feeling ridiculously proud of himself, Inuyasha lowered the phone and beckoned this daughter over, jerking his head. "Oi, squirt, your mom wants to talk to you."

Shaninri perked up in her seat and obediently climbed down to retrieve the phone from her father. He handed it over, ruffled her hair and walked back over to the table.

Kagome was gathering her things together and placing them back in her briefcase, closing her books and shoving them into her bag.

He raised his eyebrows. "Leaving?"

She shot him a smile. "We were just about finished anyway, and it's late. I imagine you'd like to get her ready for bed."

Inuyasha shrugged and tried to ignore the small pang of disappointment. "Keh." He grabbed her pea coat off the back of her hair and helped her into it.

Kagome smiled in thanks and he walked her to the door, trying to think of something to say so he wouldn't seem like a complete jackass.

She beat him to it. She turned around and flashed him another smile, this one accompanied by a soft blush. "Well…this was fun."

He nodded. "Yeah."

"Shaninri is such a smart girl," she remarked and then teased with a grin, "Probably gets it from her mom."

He sputtered. "Hey!"

Snickering, she waved a hand in the air. "Kidding. Seriously, she's very bright and needed very little help from me." Kagome smiled genuinely at him and this time he blushed. "You've done a fantastic job of raising her, Inuyasha. It's hard being a single parent and you seem to have mastered it. Keep doing whatever it is you're doing and Shan will grow up to be a successful young lady with her mama's brain and her daddy's good looks." She winked at him and he didn't miss that she'd just called him good looking.

Inuyasha cleared his throat and looked away, a certain tightness in his chest he wasn't familiar with. Nobody had ever said so many good things about him or his daughter and he honestly didn't know what to say.

Kagome was…amazing.

"Anyway," the teacher continued and pulled a sheet of paper from her bag. "I gave her some simple homework to work on. Here's the answer sheet so you can go over it and help if she has questions. You probably won't need it, but just in case. I've written my contact info on there too. I'd love to do this again." Her cheeks heated and a timid smile graced her lips.

Her blush matched his own. "Uh, y-yeah," he mumbled and took the offered paper, folding and tucking it in his pocket. He cleared his throat and met her eyes. "Yeah. I'll call you."

Kagome nodded. "Okay." She hitched her bag higher on her shoulder. "Well, goodnight Inuyasha. Tell Shan I'll see her soon?"

Inuyasha nodded. "Sure. Goodnight, Kagome." He opened the door for her and with one last smile and wave, the chocolate-eyed young woman walked off into the night and it was only then that he realized he should have at least offered to call her a cab. It was too late now though and besides, she'd probably deny it anyway.

He grinned, shook his head and shut the door. He looked down when something tugged his pant leg and found Shaninri holding out the phone to him.

"Mommy says she wants to talk to you."

Inuyasha lifted her into his arms and grabbed the phone from her tiny hand. "Make it quick, I gotta get Shan ready for bed."

"I have something I want to ask you."

-X-

Wooo! Finally done!

Very happy with how this chapter turned out. =) I made it extra long to make up for not updating in…uh…years. *smiles awkwardly* As I did with my other stories I updated/published, I wrote the entirety of this chapter at work in a notebook. I literally don't do anything but sit on my ass and watch people drive by. Though today I did get some entertainment from watching someone get pulled over in the parking lot… (I'm the fuel lead for a fuel station at Tops, by the way.)

So, some questions for you guys: Whenever someone calls Shaninri "Shan," does it sound like the boy's name "Shawn" or "Sean"? =/

And should I change her age to five instead of six? I dunno, I get the feeling I'm making her behavior lean more towards being five, not six. Comments, suggestions please? It would really help.

Well, I hope you liked this chapter. I know I've probably lost some readers, but meh, maybe I've gained some new ones. =) I apologize for any errors. Point them out to me and I'll be sure to fix them.

Until next time,
Keiz