Disclaimer: Ha ha.

Author's Note: Originally this was going to be one of the instalments of my ficlet corner, Seimei no Kakera, but after I began writing it I knew it couldn't be shrunken into a mere 600 words. Ergo, it's now just a really short one shot. (-; Heehee. Please enjoy and R&R!

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MUTT

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"So. . . what are we doing again?"

Kagome sighed, rolling her eyes as she dragged Inu-Yasha through the packed streets of Tokyo, randomly checking the small square of scratch paper in her hands. "We're going to buy a puppy for Souta's birthday," she explained for the fourth time, checking the pocket of her turquoise summer dress for the second sheet of directions. "And because you refused to go through the well without me, and I refused to go back without finishing this chore, you decided to tag along."

"I did?" Inu-Yasha drawled flatly, not remembering that part of their conversation. The end of the story he remembered involved the girl sitting him, stuffing his ears under the dreaded baseball hat, and yanking him out the door. But it wasn't worth arguing over- she'd only use a fight as an excuse to stay longer. So instead of continuing with his protests he allowed her to tug him through town, keeping a sharp eye out for the signs she'd asked him to find. After all, this little outing wasn't so bad, he decided. That is, if he ignored the pedestrians' curious glances at his outfit, the disgusting smells of the city, and the absurd lack of personal space. (The good? Well. . . It gave him an excuse to hold her hand.)

"You did," Kag told him with a smile, turning her head to face him. But instead of making eye contact, she ended up noticing the store they were looking for- a tiny, bedroom-sized business squished between a bakery and a post office. "Ah! There we are!" she sang, pushing through the crowd and skipping across the crosswalk towards the blue neon sign that read 'Pets R Us'. Inu-Yasha pondered the funny looking colored light for a moment, but didn't have time to ask about it as Kagome pulled them both through the door, exciting the bell attached to it. At the sudden sound, the glass cages and large boxes of metal rods began barking and meowing and making odd noises, confusing the poor hanyou even more.

"Ah? Oh! Welcome!"

Inu-Yasha and Kagome glanced up towards the corner of the little store simultaneously, noticing a pencil-thin woman with dark red hair leaving her cash register to help them. At least, that's what Inu-Yasha assumed she was going to do, seeing as how she wore a dark apron with a button on it that read 'Let Me Help You'. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Yes," Kagome replied automatically, pushing Inu-Yasha gently behind her so as to keep him from getting too much in the way. "I'm looking for a puppy to give to my brother for his birthday. . ."

As the pair began speaking quickly of better breeds and prices, Inu-Yasha scowled at them briefly, annoyed at being ignored, before turning his easily diverted attention towards a yipping kennel of sorts near the back end of the tiny room. Padding his way curiously over, his inquisitive golden eyes began to scrutinize the thick, black plastic fencing around the noise.

"Eh. . . ?"

He took a few cautious sniffs of the air (could never be too careful) before slowly leaning over the edge of the barrier- - -

To find himself staring at a group of well over two dozen puppies- each barking and growling and rolling and wagging with so much enthusiasm that they were falling over each other, playful and sweet. Inu-Yasha felt his heart (despite his best attempts to stay cold) warm slightly at the innocent sight- a welcome change from the Sengoku Jidai. The little pups were the quintessence of purity- solid coats of glossy chocolates and whites; blacks and burgundies. Their perfect pink noses snuffled as their teeny tongues lapped, soul filled eyes begging to be picked up and played with.

The hanyou couldn't help but crack a tiny smile, dipping his clawed hand into the chaos to scratch their ears in the way he knew they'd like.

At the intrusion of the fingertips, a wave of excitement crashed over the baby dogs. Abandoning their earlier wrestling game, they instead began fighting over Inu-Yasha's attention, wanting nothing more then a bit of love. His grin widened a little more as he watched the pups twist and beg, lick and nip his hand, and all out drool affection. He made sure that each got their well deserved turn as they clamored to meet him-

Until he heard a soft whimpering from the farthest edge of the group, a muffled sort of call that the other puppies ignored. He frowned, casting his gaze in the same direction.

It was another pup- only this one was scrawnier then the rest. His ruffled coat was courser then the others, and tri-colored as well: splotches of browns on the palest of yellow. His little legs scurried and works as hard as the others, but seemed to get him no where. He was just weak enough to be pushed to the back and forgotten; strong enough to keep trying despite the odds. Poor thing. . . He couldn't help but pity him. He needed help.

Inu-Yasha's frown deepened for a moment as the cogs in his mind gave a spin, but he was soon decided. Reaching out, he gently scooped the puppy out of the confinements and examined him meticulously, eyes narrowed- - - before scratching his ears experimentally.

His little tail wagged.

The hanyou's grin returned, wider than before.

Tucking the baby dog carefully into his embrace, Inu-Yasha took long strides back towards the thin lady and his Kagome, who were still talking seriously about dog choices.

"I'd suggest a pure bred lab for a child your brother's age."

"Are you sure? I was thinking more along the lines of a golden r- - -"

"Oi," Inu interrupted quietly, giving Kagome's arm a small tug to get her attention. "Buy this one."

The girl blinked, a bit startled. "Huh? What are y- - -" Suddenly noticing the little pup as the half-demon proudly presented him, she reached out and carefully took the baby, smiling as he gave her palm an adoration filled lick. "Awww," she cooed, massaging his tiny head. "It's so cute!" Turning back to face the woman again, she beamed. "We'll take him."

But at this, to both of the teenagers' mild surprise, she frowned. "Are you sure?" she inquired, brow furrowing as she glanced a bit coldly down at the nuzzling puppy. "That's not one of the pure breds we've been discussing. That one's a bit sickly, a runt- and a mutt."

Inu-Yasha cocked an eyebrow, confused. "Mutt?" he repeated, unsure of what this modern term meant. Kag winced, a bit of anger in her eyes as the sales clerk answered automatically.

"A mutt- a half breed."

'Half. . . breed. . . ?' The hanyou's face darkened as, underneath his cap, his ears drooped.

"Anyway," the woman continued, oblivious, "I honestly don't know why we're even trying to sell him off. I mean, who would want to buy a mutt when we've got so many healthier, stronger, more beautiful dogs to offer?"

". . ." Kagome smiled as she asked, before marching over to the cash register, holding the pup with one hand and pulling her wallet out of her purse with the other. "Me." Her gentle smile widened as she placed a soft kiss on the pup's head.

. . . Oops. The woman gaped in embarrassed surprise before skittering behind the counter once more, muttering a quick apology for her words. After all, the customer was always right.

And as Kagome bought the little pup she smiled discreetly at Inu-Yasha, a faint blush on her cheeks as he watched, surprised. Then he glanced away, pink in the face, saying nothing more then 'Feh' as the girl linked their grasp again with one hand and carried the pup's complimentary pet carrier with the other. Leading the hanyou out of the store, she began chattering happily about how she planned to surprise Souta, and whether or not the puppy would look cute with a red ribbon around its neck- never suspecting how much hope she'd filled her companion with.

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(Quick note- I'd like to believe that Inu-Yasha can read, seeing as how he was raised by a princess in a palace. I'm sure she would have seen to his basic education at the very least. Anyway, hope you enjoyed! :-))