A/N: Short little fic about the cutest IY couple that my cousin Anie and I could think up at three A.M. And since we're deranged little fangirls, of course it had to include a sexy bishounen bastard as well as a cuddly uke who tends to get skipped over in fics. So ignore your preferences and please enjoy my lovely little fling!

Shippou's POV. -^__^- Everybody say "aww . . . "

"The Color of the Stars"

"The stars are bright tonight," Kagome says softly, giving the moonless heavens a faint smile. Inu-Yasha nods a little drowsily and leans in, curling up against her side. The hanyou, his face almost human for the night, yawns once and then drifts off. She follows a few minutes later, joining Sango, Kirara the giant death-kitty, and her undeclared demonic boyfriend in repose. Only I remain awake, kept up by a memory.

How silly, I think to myself, to be unable to sleep just because Kagome has mentioned the stars. But my father loved the stars. He'd pointed out all the constellations, youkai and human alike, and taught me the name of each and every one. I wish now that I hadn't let myself forget so many of them. And Kagome had been right- the stars are brilliant tonight; each one sparkling even brighter than the Shikon shards our group so devotedly seeks out.

I would pay with my own blood to learn those long-forgotten names again.

I sigh gently and tear my eyes away from the sky to stare at the fire. Still, the stars are burnt into my memory, and imposed over the flame by a trick of my traitorous mind they look like tiny yellow and orange suns- or worse, foxfire.

I jerk my eyes away again, glaring out at the forest and muttering a curse.

"Have I upset you?" a mild voice asks, and I jump in surprise as I realize that Miroku stands among the trees before me, his darkly clad figure barely visible in the darkness. He takes a step forward and the starlight strikes him full on. Even without the moon's steady gleam, his skin fairly glows. And even as I whisper an apology, oh, how I ache . . .

I have lost count of all the reasons to hate my childish body, but certainly the greatest of all is this person, this sweet cherry Miroku. Not only do I appear too young for him, I am not even the correct gender.

Oh, have I surprised you? Mm, I thought that I might. I am older than I look, you know- not quite as old as the others, but still older. Certainly old enough to love someone- not that you can really put an age limit on such a thing.

And what's wrong with loving him anyway? He's beautiful, and very powerful . . . and going to die in a few years. Even if he weren't cursed, he'd probably die in battle before my body was even mature enough to let him consider me as a possible mate.

That is what I really will mourn when he passes on- the complete waste it will be. Such a wonderful soul as his should not die, but live forever and ever. I would give him my body in an instant if I could- take that horrible curse and candle-brief life for myself and let him be the immortal kitsune; let him be truly happy for once without having his impending death forever hanging over his head. That smile he wears so often would fit a kitsune well, and he deserves that gift so much more than I. And it is only an accident of birth that stole it from him and forced it upon me.

Miroku sits beside me, eyes large and solemn for once, and remarks, "My father was somewhat fond of stars. He and my foster father taught me their names. Would you like to know them too?" The look in his eyes is almost hopeful, and I wonder for what must be the thousandth time exactly what I am to him. And still, I am so horribly and painfully grateful that it is all I can do to nod and not burst into tears right then and there.

The stars are still burnt into my vision, and for a moment I see him as if he were among them, a smiling constellation sacrificing his sorrow to the darkness around him and shining more brilliantly than any other.

My father told me once that some people believe that the stars and their various shapes used to be real people whom the gods immortalized in the sky. I do not claim to be any kind of god, but if I had the power, I would make Miroku a star without a moment's hesitation and look to him every night for the rest of eternity.

* ende *

. : review or miroku eats you- and not in the good way! : .