IT’S EPISODE 2 AND HE’S ALREADY HOLDING HER HAND
That escalated quickly
It is my firmly-entrenched interpretation of his character, that he didn’t really have very many people who accepted him in his life, especially since his mother died. Instead, he’s used to people treating him like a freak, a beast rather than a person.
Kagome, for all her faults and temper, never really thought of him as anything other than a person; she accepted him as one so thoroughly, was so open-minded, she didn’t even anticipate he would hurt her at first. And even after that incident, she offers him food (probably a precious resource for him) and treats him like a friend. It doesn’t take long for Inuyasha to appreciate the fact that she neither fears nor loathes him based on his heritage or appearance.
It takes him forever to admit it, because he’s had such a rough life being rejected by so many others; he builds walls around his heart, rather than let people in easily. He’s afraid of loving someone, because he knows it opens him up to getting hurt again, of being reminded he’s lonely even though he always denies that he is.
But show him acceptance like that, and it doesn’t matter that growing to love you scares the shit out of him and that admitting it scares him even more; he can’t help but grow attached to you. Deeply, irrevocably attached. You, this precious, rare person who isn’t like everybody else and who treats him like a person, who cares and accepts him without seeing anything wrong with the way he looks or the way his bloodline traces back - you. You are worth protecting.
There’s a song (by Blink-182 of all bands - it’s called “Going Away to College”) that has a lovely chorus that comes to mind as perfect to sum up how I think Inuyasha feels about Kagome:
I haven’t been this scared
in a long time
And I’m so unprepared
so here’s your valentine:
Bouquet of clumsy words,
a simple melody
This world’s an ugly place,
but you’re so beautiful to me