Disclaimer: No matter how much I beg, I highly doubt Inu-Yasha will ever be mine.

Author's Note: Just a random idea I had one day. . . nothing uber special. I hope you enjoy it, all the same. XD

WARNINGS: For those of you who just "can't STAND" Chrono Crusade, please don't read.








He'd always known that she was a strange girl, but at times, he forgot just how strange. Times, incidentally, like this: when the sky was blue, the grass was green, and there wasn't an enemy youkai in sight. . . When the fox kit was napping, Sango and Miroku were behaving, and he was brooding in a tree. . . When her homework (amazingly enough) was completed to a satisfactory degree, she felt like relaxing, and she had a new spell book (or some such—he could never tell) to read. . .

When she began talking to herself, cheeks red, eyes wide, and drool all but oozing from her candy-pink mouth.

"Oh no," she could be heard to mutter at random intervals, the pages of the text so close to her face that her nose was buried in the binding. "Oh, no—no, don't do it! Wait. . . wait, yes! Yes! Go for it! Oh my God. . ."

Shippo, who was resting his head against her thigh, peaked one green eye open, yawned, and then promptly ignored her murmurs in favor of more sleep. Sango, too, who seemed not to notice or care that her best friend was salivating over some foreign book, instead engaging herself in a heated, undertone "discussion" with her fiancée (one that included more ducking behind the bushes than normal). Miroku, as usual, wasn't overly concerned one way or the other. He was flexible like that.

Inu-Yasha, on the other hand, was torn. Torn between worry and irritation. Worry that this. . . scroll-thingy. . . was some sort of demon in disguise. . . and irritated because, at the moment, Kagome didn't appear to give a damn about anything else in the world but her reading.

That sort of stuff just rubbed him the wrong way.

"Ooo, Rosette, stay back—stay back!" she cried softly, banging her extended feet lightly against the hard ground beneath the apple tree. A giggle escaped her, blue eyes bright. "No! No! No! N- Hey!" Kagome's cheerful grin turned into a frown of utter frustration as she felt her manga being torn away from her, lifted into the air by a hand that was at least ten times stronger than her own. Snapping furious azure pools upwards and into the flowering branches, she pursed her lips. "Inu-Yasha," she ground out, watching in alarm as the hanyou lazily began browsing through the graphic novel, careless with his claws, "you better not rip that! It cost me half of this month's allowance!"

"Well, what the hell IS it?" the silver haired half-breed snorted, showing no anxiety for the book's well being. In fact, her obvious distress for the object only furthered to frustrate him. "It doesn't look like a spell book to me."

"Gee, that certainly means a bunch from the guy who thought my algebra was magic," Kagome snorted under her breath, but decided to change her answer upon noticing the boy's flashing tawny eyes. But not before sighing. "That's because it's not magic," she explained, sounding a tad weary. She had, after all, just spent the morning explaining the difference between a treaty and an armistice to Miroku, and why, sometimes, one or the other didn't work. "It's only. . . for fun."

"Fun?" Inu-Yasha repeated rather flatly, skepticism dripping from his voice. "Scrolls aren't made for fun, they're made for studying and magic and shit. That's what the old woman says, anyway."

"In my time they are. Made for fun, that is. That's because it's easier to get paper. Oh- And I don't mean fun like setting them on fire or anything," Kagome blew out her cheeks, before doing a double take and waving her index finger at the dog-eared teen with a reprimanding air. "And it's Kaede-obaasan, NOT 'old woman'!"

"Keh. Whatever. So, if destroying them isn't the fun you mean—though your suggesting that I'd have fun doing something as stupid as that is bull—" He, evidently, was still feeling defensive about his "childish behavior" after the chewing out/earth-shaking fight they'd experienced two nights ago, concerning Inu-Yasha's inferiority complex. (He still wasn't quite sure what that meant, but he knew enough to know to be offended by the words), "—how is it fun?" Slowing the rate at which he was skimming through the pages, the hanyou took a moment to absorb the pictures on each leaf of paper, the shading, and the color of the covers.

It was sort of. . . pleasant. In a weird way.

Kagome, noticing his growing look of intrigue, smiled. "Give it back to me, and I'll show you."

And, though she had highly doubted that he'd comply with this request, she was surprised to find that he did—leaping out of the tree with an easy grace, landing, crouched, beside her with his right hand extended; holding out the book. "Do it, then." Kagome rolled her eyes, taking the manga from his sharp fingers with a gentle tug, before flipping it open to the first page.

Then she pretended that she wasn't blushing when he leaned against her shoulder, his warm breath tickling her overly sensitive ear. Suddenly, she felt the sudden need to clear her throat.

And so she did before continuing.

"All right," the girl then began, hoping that her voice didn't sound as squeaky to Inu-Yasha as it did to her own ears. "The basic idea behind books written for fun is that everyone enjoys a good story. You know, like the ones parents used to tell you before bedtime." She paused for a minute, unsure if she had offended the boy in some way, mentioning parents and all. But if he'd been hurt, he didn't show it—only continued to stare at the graphic novel expectantly, as if waiting for it to do a tap dance. Or something. "Only instead of having to imagine what the characters look like and stuff, in manga you get told. . . through pictures. And dialogue bubbles. See?" Running a finger down the chapter intro, she tapped one such 'bubble'. "This is what Chrono is saying here. . . you can tell because the little edge of the bubble is pointing towards him. Understand?"

"Yeah," the hanyou retorted a little defensively, quickly stuffing his arms into his sleeves. "Feh! Keep talking."

"Well. . ." the young priestess frowned thoughtfully, "that's really it. I mean, you just read the words and look at the pictures. . . and it all just sort of adds up. And it tells you a story that you can enjoy all the time, not just when someone is willing to tell it."

Inu-Yasha considered this, though his expression didn't change much. Despite the fact that the book itself was interesting, it didn't look all that exciting. And it was full of these weird things, like sticks that shot fire and strangely shaped trinkets. And what was so exciting about looking at pictures? His mother had educated him as much as she could while she was alive, and that list of learning had included literature and art— but honestly, neither interested him much. Why bother staring at a painting of a tree when one could go outside to climb a living one? Or sketch the sky on the ceiling when all you had to do was throw open the door to see the real thing? Stories, though he'd enjoyed them, had always struck the same chord: Screw hearing about it—why not go out and do it?

He mentioned this. Not in so many words, of course, but enough to get the point across: "Seems like a waste of time. Why bother with that crap?"

Kagome smiled patiently. "Well, it's full of things I'll never get to do myself. Besides," she continued, tracing the outline of the blonde girl on the cover, "the characters grow on you. They become your friends."

". . . That's paper, Kagome."

"I know that!" she defended herself, flashing him a rather wounded expression. "But that doesn't make them any less real in my mind. In fact, in many ways, the characters live inside each of us."

This was just getting stupid, now. "Uh huh," Inu-Yasha drawled, beginning to look bored. Removing his chin from her shoulder, he stretched and closed his eyes—folding his arms behind his head and resting against the base of the apple tree. "Are we all made of paper, too? Have the people in your time discovered that, as well?"

"Don't be thick," she chastised, sounding highly annoyed now. "I mean that they share a lot of the same personality traits. Like Father Remington, for instance. He's like Miroku. He's a holy person for the church, but he's still a big, funny pervert."

Inu-Yasha's ear gave a flick. At least she still had his attention. . . though now that she thought about it, she doubted he'd understood more than "holy" and "pervert". Oh well. No backing out of it, now. . . might as well finish her explanation.

"And Satella—she summons monsters from jewels to defeat devils—she reminds me of Sango. She's a tough, strong woman who steps above the men in a male-dominate time, all to have revenge on the demon who killed her family and stole her big sister."

"Sango doesn't have a sister," the half-breed yawned lazily, but Kagome realized then that he was only being difficult to get a rise out of her. He knew exactly what she meant.

But that didn't stop her from whacking him upside the head.

"And Shippo is sort of like Azmaria in a weird way, orphaned at a young age and all. They're both the babies of the group and are trying to be stronger."

Inu-Yasha paused in the middle of massaging his noggin, sneering. "Is the Azzy-marea brat as annoying as the kid?"

He was rewarded with another blow to the temple.

"And I—well, I'd like to think of myself as Rosette, battling time and devils and everything—though not in the same way, of course." Kagome was really getting into her explanations now, animatedly waving her arms and gesturing at random pages in her book. In fact, she was having such fun, Inu-Yasha found himself unable to keep his eyes closed—eventually allowing one to slide open to observe his shard detector's behavior. "As for you. . . you're kinda like. . . Chrono."

"Who?" he inquired a bit frostily, unsure he liked the idea of Kagome comparing him to someone—or something—he'd never seen or met before. (Or something he had seen or met, depending.) She repeated the name and cheerfully held open the book again, displaying the picture of a midget with purple hair. "What! NO WAY!"

"What's wrong?" she frowned, sounding a bit hurt. Pulling the manga back, she stared at the picture. "Chrono's a great character to be compared to. . . he's strong and loyal. He had an old girlfriend, too, who died because of. . . unforeseen events. . ." Kagome cleared her throat, not meeting the hanyou's gaze as she continued. "And he's incredibly powerful—all of the other devils fear him, even if he is in a sealed form."

". . . Are you calling me weak?" he protested sourly, for once tastefully overlooking the school girl's bitter reference to Kikyo.

She ignored him. "And he's kind to other humans—"

"I am not!"

"And he's really ho—er, nice!"

". . . What?" the boy questioned flatly, not having missed the "subtle" shift in subjects. "Nice? I'm not nice. And that's not what you were going to say, either."

Kagome swallowed, smile growing forced. "Um. . . yes it was?"

"Oh?" He smirked, resting his chin lazily against the back of his hand; propping his elbow up on his kneecap. "Don't end statements in question marks, Kagome." Oo, he was getting cocky now, the bastard! The miko-in-training huffed, snapping her graphic novel shut.

"Okay, fine!" she snarled, face gradually turning a bright shade of pink. "It doesn't really matter. I was just going to call Chrono hot, all right!" Crossing her arms spitefully over her chest, the girl shot the hanyou beside her a furiously embarrassed glare.

. . . Only to find that he was staring back at her, completely nonplussed.

". . . What?" he asked dully, blinking. "'Hot'? As in, you burn when you touch him?"

Kagome, by now feeling insanely stupid, shook her head no. She wished she could have left it at that, but, alas, now that this can of worms had been opened. . . he'd only pester her until he got an explanation. "N-no. . . 'hot' as in. . . uh. . . well, it's a slang word in my time. You know, a word that can be used to mean something else? Like I explained to Miroku about 'cool'? Cool and hot are sort of the same thing, in this case."

Inu-Yasha looked mildly interested. But only very, very mildly. "So this Chrono is the same as that 'cool' rice paddy field we saw? You're saying that he and I are like rice paddy fields?"

"No!" the school girl gawked, horrified. "No, you don't just use slang for one thing—things other than rice paddy fields can be cool. And things other than Chrono can be hot."

He frowned, slowly working this out in his head. "And 'cool' means. . . ?"

She blew out her cheeks. "Loosely translated, 'neat.'"


"Um. . ." A flush formed on Kagome's face. "Good-looking. . ."

"And am I?"

". . . ?" Confused, the ebony haired teen glanced up from where she had been gazing— her lap. It was then that she noticed how intently the boy beside her was staring; still holding his head in his hand, smoldering amber pools glued upon her person. A lump, which she'd known for a fact, hadn't been there before, suddenly clogged her throat. "W-what?"

"Am I one of those things other than Chrono that is 'hot'?" he asked calmly, nonchalantly picking at a weed growing near his feet. Still, his eyes never left Kagome's. "Is that another one of those 'many traits' we share?"

It took Kagome a few moments to realize that her jaw had dropped, hanging dumbly open for all of the bugs to fly in. Snapping it quickly closed again, she looked away, suddenly very interested with the clouds. "Er. . . uh. . . I. . . um. . . yeah, I guess."

"Oh." Satisfied with this answer, Inu-Yasha stood—dusting off his pants and snorting disdainfully at the muck now caught beneath his talons. Then he fidgeted slightly, as if about to leave. . . before pausing. ". . . So you think I'm good looking?"

Well, that cat was out of the bag. . . Already dreading the awful teasing she was bound to receive for the next twenty years of her life, the girl croaked out a soft: ". . .Uh huh."

"Even the ears?" He gave said appendages a wiggle, turning around so that he was staring directly down at his shard detector; her head hanging so low that her hair was in the dirt.

"I like your ears," she muttered, poking at a rock and hugging her book more tightly to her chest. "You know that."

He hid his pleased grin. "I know. And what about you?"

"Huh?" Giving a slight jolt, her face still bright red, Kagome scowled defensively. "What about me?"

"Are you another one of those things that are 'hot'?" Inu-Yasha asked, appearing to be genuinely interested. He'd stuffed his hands into his robes in the way he usually did when truly listening, anyway. And his face held no hint of amusement.

"Wha-?-! Well, uh, I don't know," she babbled, thunderstruck. "No one's ever called me that before, so I. . . uh. . . wouldn't know."

"I see." Pausing to consider this, the hanyou shrugged. Then, reaching out a hand, pulled the girl to her feet. (Shippo, who was consequently jostled, simply rolled over and continued to snooze.) "Well then, you're hot."

Silence. That was all that could be heard the seconds following this proclamation.

". . ." She stared at him, wide eyed and stuck somewhere between horror and wonder. ". . . Inu-Yasha, do you realize what you just said?"

He faltered. "That you're pretty. . . ?" The tone he adopted suggested both that he were talking to an idiot, and that he was slightly afraid he'd used a misnomer. ". . . And that you smell nice."

". . . Right. . ." Kagome beamed, albeit slightly unsure, and giggled. It would probably be best not to mention how that word was generally used to describe one's romantic interest. . . Yeah. Defiantly better. This way, he couldn't take it back.

She blushed. "Thank you."

"Keh," the hanyou snorted casually. "Whatever."

Turning away with only the tiniest bit of color in his cheeks, Inu-Yasha proceeded to go kick the bush full of Sango and Miroku, announcing that it was time to go. Kagome, still standing by the apple tree, felt herself smile— pocketing the book.

She'd have to start bringing manga more often.