Disclaimer: No, Inu-Yasha does not belong to me. I'm running out of ideas for these things…. Anyways, he belongs to his respective owner, Rumiko Takahashi-sensei. (But mainly, Kagome Higurashi!) In any case, this is just a cute idea I had, and I'm posting it; I need a breather before I write another long chapter. ^^;

Seeds, Soil, Water, and a Hanyou

                "Stupid girl," he kept muttering, the water of time washing over him in hues of dazzling blue and flashes of light. "Stupid bitch," he complained again as he felt the cool earth beneath his bare feet again and the familiar darkness that greeted him when he passed through to the girl's present. "Gods, she just takes her sweet, fucking time coming back to where she belongs." Inu-Yasha leapt out of the Bone-Eater's Well with one graceful bound, still grumbling as his feet softly touched the wooden floor of the bitch's mini-shrine with little more than the rustling of his clothes. He righted himself again, as he'd been bent at the knees to ease landing, pushing open the sliding doors of the well house of the wench's modern era, allowing warm beams of afternoon sunshine to shine into his golden orbs, pupils becoming narrow slits again.

Tramping out, not even bothering to shut the doors—if she desisted, he could easily grab her and haul her back home without having to fumble with the idiotic things—, the half-demon smelled something in the late afternoon air. What was it? He sniffed again. Ah, it was sodden earth and something lightly fragranced…like incense and other scents pleasing and tender to a dog-hanyou's sensitive nose. He took in a deep drag of the air, eyes closing in momentary bliss; that gentle aroma was Kagome. As usual, however, he snapped back to the matter at hand: being piqued.

                Inu-Yasha decided, accompanied by a snort, to investigate what the hell she was doing. Now, which way she…? He waited as another gentle breeze blew, teasing at his hair. Off he went, continually repeating incoherent curses to himself.

~*~*~*~*~*~*

                Kagome was a little surprised when she saw the half-demon make a grandiose sliding stop before her, even more so when he crouched to his haunches, peering her straight in the eyes, saying nothing, just seemingly irascible…as usual.

                Well, it was good to see that no matter what era he was in, Inu-Yasha would always be Inu-Yasha….

                She shook her head as she suppressed a giggle; no matter how grumpy he could get, she had trouble curbing the idea that he looked like a sulking pup. "Hello, Inu-Yasha," she greeted him cheerily, plopping her green gloved hand into a small, plastic bag, a sun visor perched on her head. "Can't we wait just a little bit before going back?" The girl looked back up at him beseechingly. "Please?"

                "Keh! What do you think I'm doing--running a charity for you?" He crossed his arms inside the sleeves of his haori as he sat crossed-legged beside her. "Come on, Kagome, it's time to go!" He grunted once in distaste, but then; however, when he believed he'd swayed her by his imperious demeanor, curiosity overtook him, betraying his 'authority' over the wench. "Um, say--what are you doing exactly?" he inquired, tilting his head to the side, craning his neck a tad…of course he wasn't truly interested.

No, no, of course not.

It was just an ephemeral stupefaction; that fact must be kept in mind….

However…why was Kagome wearing weirder stuff than usual? Some of it was kind of pretty—like the pink, rather short, sleeveless kimono-thing she was wearing now, for example--but what was she doing?

                "Oh, this?" She pointed at her trowel. "I'm gardening. See?" Kagome gestured to the bag of organic fertilizer—made entirely out of dead plants—and her container of seeds.

                "What for?" Inu-Yasha asked while glancing around the small grove of trees they were in; maybe twenty feet away from the Goshinboku. "Why do you need to garden? You've got plenty of food, don't you?" The hanyou looked questioningly at her, dog ears tilting in the same manner.

If she were in need, he would do anything to make sure she was fed. Stupid woman, didn't she know that? Sure, there was no game here in her strange, stone era to offer to her, but if she stayed with him on a more permanent basis, he would make certain she was well-nourished and cared for…not that he meant anything more than tending to his shard detector, naturally. He couldn't have her being weak, dragging her weight everywhere, and slowing him down.

                The girl nodded, unnoticing of his gawk as she was breaking apart the wet soil. "Yeah, but I'm planting flowers. We need to have beauty here, too. Not a lot of natural things like this left any more." She gazed around the small coppice of trees with wistful fondness; this would be the same one would be awaiting her in the feudal era, just much younger. "We had really heavy rain a few weeks ago, and it killed all of Grandpa's flowers here. I'm replanting for him." She set down her trowel and picked up a strange object that had curved prongs on it, sort of like claws.

                Inu-Yasha instinctively flexed his own talons, as if threatening the hunk of metal to watch where it tilled. He watched in wonder as she took the mock claws—perhaps it was like a miniature rake or something else of that genre? Odd…--and dragged them deep into the moist ground, making straight lines, with even spaces in between. She took the funny thing again and poked holes all along the segments slightly heaped of dirt. After that, the girl dropped a few seeds in each perforation. Fascinated, he gaped as she repeated the process over and over again, his long, nimble fingers flexing all the while against his arm. These were by far the oddest farming methods and tools he'd ever seen.

                Kagome finally turned her gaze up at him, catching him staring.  A small smile crept over her face. "Hey, Inu-Yasha, would you like to help?" she coyly inquired, tipping the sun visor up a bit on her forehead.

                "Huh?" he astutely replied, pointing an incredulous claw at his chest. He was still a bit bemused seeing that she'd roused him from the captivation of her peculiar work, and caught gaping on top of it. "Who, me?" Flipping his head defiantly back, making his platinum locks shine brightly in the sun, he jeered brusquely, "Why would I want to?"

                Because you're a dog and dogs like to dig in the dirt… she couldn't help from thinking with a smirk. "Oh, ok if you don't think you can help me…" the girl trailed off, mentally counting off till he fell easily into her trap, another smile finding refuge on her pink lips.

                "Hey!" he barked defensively while giving her a dark glower. "Whoever said I couldn't help you? Huh?" He leaned forward a tad for emphasis, one set of talons burrowing into the damp loam. "I'm better at that sort of thing than that thing you've got in your hands."

                "Really?" returned Kagome, fingering her claw tool with sham thoughtfulness. "Well, if you help me, Inu-Yasha, I'll be able to come back faster." Looking at him with her stormy eyes she bargained by asking, "What do you say? Sort of a 'you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours' sort of thing."

                "What the fuck's that supposed to mean?" Inu-Yasha's glare of death turned to a perplexed stare.

                Brief silence passed as they gawked at one another.

                "Never mind." She sighed, waving a hand, before asking again with renewed vigor, "So, will you?"

                "Feh, fine, whatever," was his answer whilst crossing his arms and looking elsewhere from her. "If it gets you to move your ass faster without a fuss, alright."

                In turn, Kagome giggled her approval, resisting the urge to hug him out of thankfulness.

                Time passed fairly quickly as they worked together. Kagome would usually get the seeds ready for the holes; that is, after Inu-Yasha took the place of the claw tool and combed even rows in the earth with his splayed fingers. (No piece of shit, lump of modern metal was going to do something for the girl if he could do it better. Feh!)

After the seeds were sown, Kagome would take handfuls of fertilizer and generously intersperse it over that newly finished strip. The plot of land for the flowers didn't take a lot of time at all to replant—or at least it didn't seem like it did-- and they worked diligently on it. They shot a few words back and forth, but nothing exactly earth-shaking. It was a nice change to be doing something relaxing just between the two of them; none of their companions around—or enemies, thankfully, for that matter.

The daylight was waning a bit as the sun descended over the Tokyo horizon, casting shadows of gentle blushes of orange, pink, and gold over the tops of the tall buildings of the modern era. It was then that the girl removed the gardening gloves and the white sun visor, wiping her sweaty forehead with the back of her tepid hand. "Phew! Looks like all I have to do is water them." She glanced over at Inu-Yasha and giggled into her cupped palm.

The half-demon's face was scrunched up in deep concentration as he patted the rows of dirt evenly and with a lot of care. It was rather sweet to see him so pensive and doting over something other than his sword—and his friends at times--, she supposed. The sunset color scheme came in scattered beams through the tree boughs, shining down on Inu-Yasha's visage, lightening his skin to iridescent shades, varying with the dimensions of his face, and his hair to shimmering, opalescent hues.

Kagome almost couldn't help herself as her gaze remained fixated on the oblivious dog-demon. His long fingers and claws filthy with dirt, as were his clothes, though he'd removed his haori much earlier and had rolled up the sleeves of his undershirt, but he looked so content. Kagome never wanted him to have to break out of it, this sort of peacefulness and fulfillment that seemed to have settled over him. If she could keep him like this, in this very instant of serenity, she would.

He's had such a hard life, she thought, still watching his silent profile. I hope that there'll be a time for him when he won't have to fight all the time, when he doesn't feel he has to run on anger, or revenge, or guilt…but love…. I wish… Kagome closed her stormy eyes for a moment, allowing a warm breeze to caress her skin, her imagination taking hold of her thoughts. I wish I could be the one to give him that…that sort of life…Inu-Yasha…. The girl squeezed her eyelids tighter together, fighting tears that had flowed up from the rivers of sorrow of her heart. Chewing her bottom lightly with her incisors, resisting the urge to allow the voiceless tears to fall, for if they did, they might tell too much, I want him to live. I don't want him to be dragged to Hell. I want to be with him…because…because…because…. I love him.

Inu-Yasha's head didn't move, but peering from the corner of his eye, he observed Kagome observing him. And he could smell her tears. He didn't understand why she was suddenly crying. He hadn't really yelled at her today, and he hadn't really called her any hurtful names, so why was suddenly so morose? Hadn't they had a nice day together? When she squirted him with that hose-thingy, he'd played along with her, though that was a while back, but still, what was bothering her?

After cleaning his hands off on his hakama, Inu-Yasha rose to his feet, dusting off his knees aloofly, gaze not moving from her. "Hey, Kagome," he started off kindly, "you alright?" He took a few steps towards her till he was about nose-to-nose with her. "What're you crying for, huh?" Tipping his head a bit imploringly, he used his claws to gently move the bangs that stuck to her eyelids from all the tears. In the same manner, he tucked a tendril of raven-black hair behind her ear as she gave a tiny hiccup. The hanyou waited for a response, and only received another tear sliding down her cheek. Hand still entwined in her dark locks, Inu-Yasha shifted his thumb to the apple of one of her cheeks and wiped the teardrop away, leaving a small streak of moistened dirt in its wake.

Gradually, Kagome managed to carry her peering up to the half-demon's loving, amber eyes; the ever-fading sunlight washed over his lenses like a smooth flame, like the fieriness of his spirit. "I'm really ok, Inu-Yasha," she murmured quietly, though she smiled tenderly for him. Bringing her hand up to his rough palmed one, "Just thinking about life, how you never know what's going to happen." She drew in a slow breath. "It's really fragile, like these flowers that we've been replanting. Life's a lot like a garden. It needs a lot of care and a lot of love."

When her silky fingertips glided over the back of his hand and intertwined between his own perilous fingers, which cradled her face so carefully, Inu-Yasha felt as if he were captured in a pleasant dream, one he'd had many times over. Her stormy pools' gaze flowing softly into his and on down the path of his mending spirit to his heart, which no longer suffered so under shattered or despaired sentiments, but was full and complete, as long as her gaze didn't leave his own. He squeezed her knuckles with his own.

"You're right…that's why I gotta protect you…" he whispered softly, but so much more strongly as his eyes melted to a loving honey color, continually stroking her cheek with his thumb. …Why I have to wait to tell you…life's too easily broken…

"Inu-Yasha…I understand. That's why we protect each other, right?" she asked, with acute bashfulness; but to her pleasure, he nodded, the faintest of smiles on his lips that made her own expand. "Let's go back now, ok?"

Watching as she started to turn to retrieve her things, bit by bit drifting from his caress, the hanyou said hurriedly, "Do you think we could have a garden of our own, Kagome?" He paused as she turned to him, a light grin on her countenance. "One with lots of blooming flowers?"

"Our garden…" Kagome repeated quietly, understanding what his unspoken declaration was.

So many things blossomed in different varieties of gardens, even under the darkest of circumstances, Inu-Yasha had realized.

And love was present in one of them.

"Ours."

~*~*~*~*~*~*

A/N: YAY! I've been meaning to finish this one for a while and well…*nervous laugh*…I kinda got sidetracked by other stuff. `^~

Well, please review as I always ask you all to do. (And you all rock!) Surprisingly, it wasn't going to end quite like that, but it sort of wrote itself. In any case, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday it is you celebrate, as long as it's joyous.

Ja ne,

~Moonlight Shadow

                hanyou_miko_dreamer@hotmail.com

Other fics and shorts:

"On a Leash"

"The Mysterious Little Visitor"

"Shikon High"

"On Vacation"

"Codename: HANYOU"

"The Orphan and the Conman" (Please, please, please check this one out and review. It desperately needs reviews, or I won't feel inclined to write for it.)

"My Immortal (And Other Song Fics)"