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Cave Painting by susie


When the scribbling sounds from across the small fire halted once more, Sesshoumaru had to restrain a sigh that was eager to pass through his lips. 

She had been at it for nearly an hour; and each time, it was the same thing. 

She would take a moment to stop doing... whatever it was that she was doing.  Writing something, he assumed, in the bound book of blank sheets; using her strange utensil to make her marks. 

And every time she stopped; he didn’t need to look her way to know that her assessing gaze was once again aimed squarely in his direction.  He could feel it, burning into him, for long wordless moments.   

He had elected to ignore it at first.  Though he would prefer to remind her of her place, and demand that she desist admiring him so openly.  For who was she, to look upon his person with anything less than unbridled terror? 

But every time he let his pupils slide her way, the scribbling had resumed, and her attention was back on her task.   

He supposed it was his fault, after all.  He brought her to this cave.  It was one that he had used once previously in his travels; and he was pleased to find the leftover firewood Jaken had procured for Rin’s comfort was still there when he arrived with the miko. 

He wasn’t sure why he had done it.  But with only moments to act, instinct took over. 

He sensed the poison, swelling within the clouds above.  He had encountered it before.  Some of the more powerful snake demons were able to manipulate the skies enough to shower their venom down to the villages below. 

He would not be affected.  Poison ran through his veins.  The toxic forces he had housed since birth were much stronger than that of a lowly snake’s.  But no human would be immune to its fatal effects.  Not even a powerful miko. 

Once the acid began to fall from above, she was sure to be burned and melted alive. 

That was when his instinct kicked in, and immediately alerted him to three things: 

He had less than a minute to remove her from the area. 

The cave was less than a minute away. 

And without his aid, she would die. 

It bothered him enough that he rescued her rashly and without hesitation.  But why was he still here with her?  She was safe.  She had a fire to warm her.  And if his previous encounters told him anything, the assault from the skies would finish before the night’s end.  She didn’t need him to stay. 

But once again, his interference in protecting the life of a human girl left him obligated.  She was in his charge now.  At least for the evening.  And his honor would not allow any under his protection to be cast aside simply because he had grown bored of them. 

Perhaps Rin was making him soft.  It was an unsettling thought. 

This time, when the scribbling stopped, he flashed his gaze to the miko across the fire.  Just as he assumed, she was perusing his features once more.  Realizing she’d been caught, she offered a small smile.  When he narrowed his eyes dangerously in return, her eyes widened, her smile fell, and she returned to her notepad. 

Hn.  That’s better. 

“I like your bangs.”  He wondered how long it would take.  He was actually surprised she was able to hold out this long.  If he were a betting man, he would have owed himself a flask of wine when 5 minutes had passed, and she still hadn’t spoken. 

He attributed the hour of unexpected, yet very appreciated silence to the fact that she had taken to her unexplained task not long after they had arrived. 

He knew she would crack eventually.  But whatever he had expected her to open with, her strange attempt at flattery certainly was not a contender. 

He probably shouldn’t engage.  Indulging her in any form of conversation was sure to be taken as encouragement to continue.  But she appeared to be pretty engrossed in her writing, so hopefully she wouldn’t become too insufferable if he demanded elaboration. 


“Your bangs.  Most guys with long hair wouldn’t bother to shape them.”  She raised her eyes to him for only a moment, before lowering them once more. 

“Do you cut them yourself?” 

When his eyebrow disappeared up into said bangs, she backpedaled. 

“Don’t get me wrong, they don’t look like you did them yourself.” 

He narrowed his eyes at her once more. 

“Who else would?”   

She shrugged. 

“No idea.  That’s why I asked.” 

He appeared to be done indulging her for the moment, so she continued on undaunted. 

“Inuyasha used to cut them himself too, though he hadn’t managed as well.  I think I offended him when I offered to start doing it for him.  But even he agrees now that its better if I cut them.” 

“You groom him?” he asked incredulously. 

“Other than that, no.” 

She was engrossed in her papers once more, and he wasn’t sure why he didn’t leave it there. 

“Father did it when I was a pup.  Eventually, he showed me how to do it myself,” he offered generously. 

She hummed in understanding, though she didn’t appear to really be listening.   

Neither averted their gaze the next time she looked up from her work, and after she returned it to the page, she ventured another question. 

“Do you have to shave?” 

“What?” he demanded once again. 

Where were these ridiculous thoughts coming from? 

“Your face.  Do demons even grow hair on their faces?” 

He crinkled his brow suspiciously as he answered, trying to discern her motives. 

“Some.  Though I do not.” 

“Must be nice.  I hate shaving,” she supplied off-handedly. 

“Where could a woman possibly...”  You know what?  Nevermind. 

But her mind finished his sentence for him.  She blushed at what her answer would have been, and tried to keep her thoughts from wondering if his head was in fact the only place he grew hair. 

He was grateful when the silence resumed, and allowed it to continue for several minutes more.  When the scribbling stopped yet again, he refused to acknowledge her perusal this time. 

But when moments passed and she still hadn’t returned to her task, he lifted his eyes to find that she had placed the pad aside.  She noticed his eyes flicking to it curiously, and let a small smile grace her lips. 

“You want to see?” 

He couldn’t deny he was curious; but he wasn’t going to let her know that. 

With a slight shrug of his shoulder, she picked up her papers and moved across the fire.  She took a seat beside him, and her arm brushed against his as she offered him the results of her labor. 

He took it from her, and his eyes widened fractionally as he looked upon her work. 

She hadn’t been writing.  She had been drawing.  Him. 

He had to admit, it was really quite good.  Regal.  Powerful.  Stunning. 


Was this how she saw him?   


He raised an eyebrow as he turned his attention back to her, to find her looking up at him expectantly. 


High praise.  She released a satisfied breath. 

“Just a hobby of mine.  I did all of my friends.  I’ve always wanted to do yours, but we’ve never really been around each other long enough for me to capture you just right.  I figured this was my chance.” 

And to be honest, she was quite eager for it.  He had a captivating, otherworldly beauty about him.  She’d caught herself staring at him more than once, and decided his image simply had to belong to the ages somehow.  He was more than worthy of rendering; and undeniably inspirational. 

“We are not friends,” he insisted, but she cocked her head tauntingly. 

“No?  Then I suppose you save all your enemies from acid rainfall, huh?” 

He avoided the question by asking one of his own. 

“You always wanted to do mine?  Is that to say you have been admiring This One from afar, miko?” 

Very astute, but there was a teasing edge in his tone.  She matched it honestly. 

“Only because you wouldn’t let me do it up close.  Until now.” 

He moved to hand her back her work, but she waved him off. 

“Keep it.  I can always make another.” 

“What makes you so certain you will have the opportunity?” 

Her only answer was a smile, and then she turned her attention back to the fire. 

Watching her rub her hands to keep herself warm, he rolled up his portrait, and tucked it into his sleeve. 



A/N:  What you get when I dwell upon Sesshoumaru’s grooming habits too long : ) 


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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