"Happiness is like a cat. If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you. It will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you'll find it rubbing up against your legs and jumping into your lap."

~William Bennett


She is uncomfortable.

Her fingers ache from holding a pen, and her eyes will not focus on the page in front of her. It must be the light, she decides. The shade from the tree she was lying under is too cold to be comfortable. It was all wrong for studying. That must be it.

She eyes a particularly inviting stretch of grass a few metres away.  It is brighter, dappled with warm sunlight, but still with a decent amount of shade. Perhaps if she moves…

…Ah. There, much better. She would be able to concentrate now. Even her pen feels better, more secure in her hand. She bends her head, and carefully writes a few characters on the page.

No. The grass tickles her legs. It is distracting, making her itch and fidget. She is uncomfortable. Here is obviously not a good place to study. Perhaps she should have stayed under the tree.

She glances over at her former space. Shippo is there now, sniffing curiously at a dandelion near the roots. He blows on it, and then dances around, trying to catch the floating seeds. She feels a smile tug at her own lips. He looks happy.

Ah well. Moving back would waste more time anyway. Best just to concentrate on writing, and try and ignore the grass. She could keep her head in life-threatening battles, and use her miko senses to locate shards in the middle of a storm, surely she could ignore a few bits of grass for the sake of her homework. Yes.

Feeling better, she writes a few more lines, until her pen slackens in her grip, and she stares blankly at the page.

She is still uncomfortable.

Where is he?

He had left them earlier, slipping away as they stopped to have lunch. He hadn't said why, just melted away into the forest, like he had something to do that didn't involve them.

Not that she is worried. He is Inuyasha, after all. More than capable of looking after himself.

She frowns at the page, absently chewing on her pen. It was just thoughtless of him to wander off like that. He should at least have told her where he was going. Stupid Inuyasha. If she had just disappeared without giving notice then he would never have let her get away with it. But it was one rule for her, a different rule for everyone else, of course. Baka.

She chews angrily on the pen. Baka Inuyasha. She should just forget about him, and concentrate on her work. Yes. That would show him that she didn't care if he left without telling her. She could take care of herself. She could focus on a simple piece of homework without thinking about him. Her comfort is not dependant on his presence. She is annoyed. Certainly not. She is an independent person in her own right, and completely capable of doing her assignment, regardless of whether she knew where he was or not.

She is still uncomfortable.

The work was too hard. Why did the teacher set such difficult tasks? She couldn't think of what to write. The ideas jumbled in her head, confusing her. A pair of ears are drawn on her page instead of an equation. Where is he?

'Oi, bitch,'

He appears suddenly, a warmth tingling on the edges of her miko senses, moments before he lands on the grass a few feet in front of her.

'Where have you been?' demands Shippo, before she can speak. Where has he been? She has been uncomfortable, though she would not like to say so, not out loud. He had better have a good excuse.

He scowls at the kitsune. 'I was making sure there were no youkai around, brat. Someone had to make sure you weaklings stay safe.'

His words are directed at Shippo, but an undercurrent to them makes her aware that they are intended for her also. An explanation for his absence that is regrettably good. She cannot fault him for that, and part of her is annoyed, wanting to lash out at him for making her uncomfortable.

Shippo throws an acorn at him for the insult, and he races after him and bops the kitsune on the head in return. His manner is playful, and she does not scold him for it. Shippo rises to the bait, and a game of chase ensues.

Shippo is glad he is back.

She is still uncomfortable. Annoyed now. It had been because of him that she could not concentrate, and she could not reasonably scold him for it. She feels frustrated, in some inexplicable way. He had not even looked at her since coming back. She chews on the pen again, scowling herself at the blank page.

Suddenly, he abandons the game with the kitsune and approaches her casually. He flops down on the grass beside her, just within arms reach, yet far enough away that nothing can be made of it.

'What are you doing?'

She is annoyed, more so because she has no reason to be.

'An assignment for school,' she says, a trifle more sharp than necessary. She glares at him, daring him to give her a reason to get mad.

He glares back at her, sensing her mood. Abruptly he looks away, his face neutral. 'Hurry up and finish then,' he says carelessly. 'We've got shards to find.'

She can tell it's not a command, more of a perfunctory phrase, said for the sake of saying it rather than any real pressure behind the words. He relaxes beside her, wriggling slightly to get the full benefit of the sunshine. He yawns, a long pink tongue rolling lazily over small, sharp canines, his eyes shutting on their own.

She gets the message. An apology of sorts. He is willing to wait beside her until she is ready. She smiles, unaccountably feeling better. The grass does not bother her now.

She writes diligently into the afternoon, filling the pages of her notebook with neat scrawls of ink. His presence tingles at the edges of her mind, warmer than the sunshine. A smile tugs at her lips, and she reaches back, stretching her stiff back for a brief moment. He opens an amber eye, tracking her movements warily. She grins at him, and reaches down, daring to ruffle his silver hair as if he were Souta.

He scowls, and jerks away from her hand

…but he is not upset. She can feel the warm undercurrent coming from him, making her senses tingle with his familiar presence. Warmth pools below her heart, and she smiles at him, her eyes laughing in silent apology.

He grunts, and closes his eyes, accepting. She can't resist, and reaches out to stroke his hair, smoothing it down where she had ruffled it earlier. His face twitches, and she smiles at him one last time before withdrawing her hand and refocusing on her textbook.

She writes again, all that long afternoon with him beside her. It is easy to write now, her ideas flowing from her thoughts to her pen without effort. The light is forgotten; the grass is ignored.

Now, she is comfortable.

Just a little random snippet for you, inspired a bit by some of Calendar's work in present tense. I was sitting in my English lecture, bored out of my mind, and suddenly this popped into my head. I've never tried writing in present tense for this long before, and it was actually quite hard to maintain. Let me know if I slipped up anywhere – plus I'm looking for a beta reader, if anyone wants the job -_- *everyone runs away scared*  No, wait! I'm not that bad, I swear!

I have ideas for more to this, if anyone wants me to continue it. Let me know what you think ^_^