Disclaimer – We do not own Inuyasha, or any related characters. All characters in this story belong to Rumiko Takahashi.

Author's Notes –

Inuyasha: Yeah, this is the first story we're putting up for you little brats to read. You should all consider yourselves lucky. Let's get one thing straight here – anyone that leaves any kinda stupidass comment will have to answer to me, like it or not. If you're gonna comment, don't be a shit.

Kagome: Eheh…gomen nasai. He's just a bit grumpy because he's seen a lot of unpleasant things in fanfiction lately. ; We hope you enjoy ours. It is the result of an rp. I've written for Kagome, Miroku and Shippou, while Inuyasha has written for Inuyasha, Sango, and Kirara. We work together on the story. Thank you!

We use a lot of Japanese words in our stories. We both watch the Japanese version of Inuyasha, so these are the words we are very accustomed to hearing. Since not all of you will be used to the terms, here's what they mean.

Youkai – demon, apparition

Hanyou – Half-youkai

Houshi – monk

Taijiya – Demon exterminator, Sango's profession

Kitsune – Fox, Shippou's species

Nekomata – Two-tailed cat with magic powers, Kirara's species

Shakujou – Miroku's staff

Sengoku Jidai – Feudal Era

"Anou" – "Um…"

"Nande?" – "What is it?"

"Sukebe" – Perverted, what the group usually calls Miroku when he's being…well, a pervert.

"Bouzu" – A disrespectful way to address a monk (in this case), how Inuyasha refers to Miroku when pissed off at him.

Jaki – Evil energy

Arigatou – "Thank you."

Well, we've wasted enough of the time you have too much of. Here's the title:

Blooming Love

Nightfall in Japan's Sengoku Jidai, though it signaled the awakening of all sorts of unspeakable creatures, held a beauty unlike anything conceivable in modern times. Among all of the country's modern residents, no one could truly appreciate sunsets in this dangerous era more than Higurashi Kagome. Gone were the many brilliant lights of Tokyo that polluted the night sky to a sickly orange color. Gone were the sounds of traffic and neighbor's dogs barking, replaced by the soothing sounds of chirping crickets. The sky was a star-studded blanket of navy, covering the girl's eyes with glitter and amazement for the world around her. Kagome leaned back, letting her fingers comb through the slush carpet of dewed grass as they took the weight of her upper body. Her head tilted back, letting the tips of her dark hair brush against the blades of grass. Eyes searched the sky, trying to find patterns in the stars she could see so clearly.

"Your era really is full of beautiful nights...you can always see the stars." She spoke serenely to the hanyou relaxed in a sturdy tree above her. Inuyasha acknowledged Kagome's remark with a twitch of his right ear. His shut eyelids didn't budge, nor did his chin from its resting place on his chest.

"Nnhn.," he vocalized from above. Obviously the hanyou held very little appreciation for his untainted surroundings.

"Yes...for all the youkai in this time...the scenery really is beautiful," the girl reiterated. She paused as her eyes drifted around a cluster of twinkles, "In fact, I think that if it weren't for the surroundings, I'd have a harder time making it."

"Pssh...makin' what?" the boy asked nonchalantly.

"You know...all this traveling and fighting," she answered. "If it weren't for you guys, and the cheery surroundings, I might be a little more prone to brooding on long walks..."

"Keh. Not like you've got much choice." Inuyasha blew a tickling bang away from his nose.

"I know that," Kagome responded calmly. "I'm just saying that…it makes it easier." She smiled as she swept her gaze across the sky, over to the hanyou's perch.

"Whether it's easy or not, it's still gotta be done." Inuyasha failed once more to comprehend Kagome's optimism while he unwittingly stepped upon it, as he's prone to doing. Kagome shook her head a little in tolerant amusement.

"Don't you have any little perks that help to keep your spirits up when you have something to do?" she asked, tilting her head up.

"When I'm doing what I want to do, what is there that'd stop me from wanting to do it?" he answered simply. Kagome shook her head once more.

"No, I mean, when you're doing something you're worried about, or that would depress you."

"Eh? Like what?"

"You know, like when there's something going on that you're worried about."

Inuyasha let his mind briefly roam over situations he's been worried about, or that depressed him. Kikyou comes to mind. "There's...usually somethin' inside that keeps me going." His voice had a barely recognizable sullen ring to it.

"Inside…" Kagome was repeating him more than asking. She turned it over in her mind, tracing the past and how he reacted. At the same time she realized that the same is true for her when it comes to really desperate situations...

"Hnn...I don't know if we're entirely on the same page..."

Inuyasha opened his mouth and lets out a raspy little yawn, tongue smacking at his lips and fangs afterward. "Whaddyou mean now?"

Kagome smiled a little and started to let her eyes drift back towards the moon. On the way, however, she caught sight of a red dab of color between herself and her hanyou companion. The moonlight hit it just right to illuminate the crimson hue, and reveal the delicate details of the five main petals.

"Is that a flower?" Kagome's hands pushed down on the grass beneath them. Once on her feet, her hand reached out to brush a finger or two across one of the petals. Inuyasha finally opened an eye. Twisting his neck to gaze downward at whatever mundane object had caught his perky female companion's attention, he managed to catch a slight hint of red at the corner of his eye.

"Yeah, so what?"

"It is," Kagome remarked as she continued to examine the red blossom. "I don't remember this being here earlier, do you?"

Inuyasha turned more of his torso to face the girl. "I don't...but it ain't like it's somethin' I'd notice."

"There aren't any other flowers either, are there..." She turned her head some, looking around. "Do you see any unopened buds or anything?"

"Nope. Don't smell any others, either."

"That's really strange…it's pretty though, isn't it?"

"Yeah, I s'pose so." Inuyasha started to relax himself against the trunk of his temporary resting place once more, answering in a tone that easily indicated that he wasn't all that interested in some silly little flower. Moments after his response, the boy's pointed ears twitched and his eyes lifted to the thick brush hiding their resting place from view. A few branches and leaves parted as the creamy, lithe form of Kirara crept into view. The nekomata's twin tails gave a flick while she whistle-mewed a greeting to the pair. Kirara then gave a similar call over her shoulder, signaling to her three companions that they'd found the rest of the party. Sango's voice chimed after, and the sounds of her footfalls on the needles and twigs followed.

"Good job, Kirara. Arigatou." Pushing a few stray branches out of the way, the taijiya revealed herself to the hanyou and schoolgirl. The jingle of Miroku's shakujou could be heard behind her.

"We're back, Kagome-chan, Inuyasha."

Kagome turned from the illuminated flower to greet her companions with a smile and a wave.

"Welcome back. I guess you had no luck… sorry you didn't find anything." Miroku approached with a causal smile, Shippou clinging to his left shoulder. The houshi shook his head.

"Unfortunately, we are low on money, and the nearest hotel insists that they cannot possibly need an exorcism for the jaki hovering about them because they'd already been exorcized three times this week." As Miroku finished, the kitsune quipped,

"Yeah! Miroku's not the only con out there!" The two women solemnly agreed while the man accused could only sweatdrop. Inuyasha, on the other hand, was predictably unfazed by the news.

"Keh, not like it makes a difference to me." The hanyou crossed his arms behind his head and leaned back on them. As proven before, he was more than willing to spend as many nights as necessary beneath the stars. Kagome gave a little sigh, disappointed that yet another night would be lacking the comfort and security of sleeping within four walls. Knowing that her friends had tried hard for it, however, she wasn't about to complain.

"I suppose we'll just have to settle here for the—"

"Sango!" Kagome was interrupted by Miroku suddenly grabbing Sango's hand. The girl's cheeks had already begun their attempt to fight back the blush rising in them from the touch of the houshi's hand. It took her a couple of seconds to glance up and follow Miroku's gaze to the space near the trunk of Inuyasha's current resting place.

"Eh?" Miroku turned to Sango again, gripping her hands in dramatic elation.

"Sango, does this mean that you will bear my child tonight?"

The poor girl immediately became flustered and confused, jerking her hand away from Miroku's while her face started to burn.

"And what makes this night different than any other?" she demanded, full of agitation. Miroku put one arm around her waist and pulled her to his side. The other arm gesticulated out towards the flower as he jovially announced,

"Why Sango, that is the Akai netsuai hana!"

Kagome had been sweatdropping and staring blankly since she heard the announcement that Miroku was going to get laid tonight. Sango struggled from the houshi's hold, placing a palm on his face and pushing with the full length of her arm.

"Well if there's one person that flower it isn't meant for, it's houshi-sama!" she protested loudly.

Inuyasha rolled his half-lidded eyes and snorted. "What's the fuss now? It's just a damn flower."

"But Sango!" Miroku persisted, "It's the Akai netsuai hana!" Sango continued to push the letch away, now with an arm and a leg against his face and torso. For lack of a perverted grope of the hand, she had yet to strike him.

"If you want anything tonight, you won't need an Akai netsuai hana!" Sango gave a shove. "You'll need a miracle!" Miroku's enthusiastic grasp remained firm.

"But Sango! That's just what the Akai netsuai hana is! A miracle that happens only between those with true love in their hearts. That night the love between them begets a strong son!" he chirped enthusiastically.

"That bud didn't blossom while you were here, Houshi-sama. And it never will." Sango cast him a dirty look. Honestly, using an old wives' tale to try and convince her to sleep with him. His methods were getting more and more desperate. Upon hearing that the flower did not bloom in his presence, Miroku himself appeared to wilt.

"It didn't?"

Kagome, listening to all of this, seemed to be starting to both understand and dread what the appearance of this beautiful red flower meant. A flower that blooms between those with true love in their hearts…that means a strong son will be conceived that night? The slightly flustered schoolgirl looked warily up at her bantering friends, a sweatdrop adorning her awkwardly smiling face.

"Anou...that legend is just one of those silly, fake ones anyway, right?" she asked nervously.

Neither Miroku nor Sango appeared to have heard their friend's question right away.

"No," the taijiya stated matter-of-factly to the houshi. "Before we left, it wasn't here. I remember." She seemed to have gained a triumphant tone to her voice while watching Miroku's disappointment.

Miroku replied quickly, "Yes, but are you sure it didn't bloom just as we arrived?" Kagome could feel her palms starting to sweat a little. They're talking about this as if it's valid...

"Yes, I'm sure. Look, the petals have dew beads on them." Sango points a finger to the attention-grabbing blossom, and sure enough, there were little balls of dew clinging to each of its petals. The flower had bloomed before their return, while Inuyasha and Kagome were alone.

The schoolgirl did everything she could to keep her mind from racing. She glanced over at Shippou, who appeared to be pondering…then tentatively up at Inuyasha. The white-haired boy seemed to be ignoring the conversation entirely, a little to her relief. Her gaze returned to Miroku, who gave a heavy sigh. Her eyes darted away from her companions and searched the sky to feign nonchalance, rather than actually appreciate its beauty. She'd have liked to know what to think of this superstition, and at the same time dreaded being addressed about it. Maybe if she just stayed quiet…

Shippou suddenly scampered to the top of Miroku's head to make sure everybody could see him. He made sure to speak quite loudly, "I think that's how I was born!" The kit exclaimed, referring of course to the part about the strong son. Yes, he was entirely aware of what he was doing. He was the not-so-naive Shippou, after all.

Inuyasha scoffed from above, talking without opening his eyes. "Well then that legend must be bullshit." So he wasn't entirely ignoring what they said. Shippou's little hands were balled up in acorn-sized fists within the instant.

"What do you mean by that!" the young kitsune demanded defensively.

"I mean either you're wrong, or the legend is crap." Inuyasha's rasp of a voice was calm and casual, a rare occurrence which got under Shippou's pelt all the better. The little fox was hopping in Inuyasha's face not long after,

"Show's what you know! Most kitsune my age can't transform half as well as I do, much less hold a humanoid form like this!" He pointed one of his puny little fingers at his antagonist's nose while opening his mouth to large proportions. Inuyasha sat up, palmed Shippou's face, and pushed him off into midair. His eyes were half-lidded.

"I ain't convinced," he muttered.

Shippou's eyes grew large as he lurched to one side, tiny appendages flailing for a moment before he poofed into a floating Jigglypuff on crack and floated to a safe landing. But before Shippou could shout a challenge to Inuyasha in defense of his honor, Miroku departed from his sulking to realize the implications of when the flower budded and spoke up.

"Kagome-sama...when did the flower bloom?" he asked.

Kagome swallowed a growing knot in her throat, "Ghn...ah...well, I didn't really see it..." The focus was now on her. The pressure was on and it would only get worse from here, unless she just remained calm about it. "That is, I didn't see it open…" Gulp. "But...I remember it wasn't there...and then it was..."

Sango tapped a finger to her chin, her focus moving away from her victory over Miroku's libido for a moment. "Hm...well, if it wasn't there before we left and was a fully blossomed flower by the time we returned...then it must have happened while we were out, and you...were..." Sango's voice trailed off as she sweatdropped, realizing where this was going. Her last sentence was followed by a long, serene serenade of cricket-chirping.

As silence overtook her friends, Kagome bit her lower lip, hoping for three things: that the evening hide her blush, the crickets hide her racing heart...and Inuyasha would maintain enough skepticism to ease her creeping fears. They stopped talking about it, so hopefully it wouldn't come up again—

"AAAH, IT'S YOU TWO!" Shippou exclaimed with the volume of an unnecessarily loud fire alarm. His little fingers went pointpointpoint at both Inuyasha and Kagome. Inuyasha's ears folded themselves back in agitation while Sango put both hands behind her back and looked up at the darkened sky above, attempting to subdue a creeping smile. A glare was shot at Shippou from the tree in which the hanyou resided.

"What the hell are you screaming at, Shippou? What's 'us'?" he demanded impatiently. Kagome was not as clueless as Inuyasha. Kagome...had utterly frozen. Here eyes were large, and her irises had shrunken into her pupils.

Miroku tumbled out of his self-pity upon hearing Shippou's unnecessarily loud exclamation. "I see..."

Inuyasha's eyes started to glance back and forth. Miroku's tone made him uneasy. Those darting golden eyes had a look to them that was both suspicious and clueless. "Nande?" The hanyou's voice came out as a softer grumble rather than an accusing shout. Miroku made his way forward and signaled for Inuyasha to come down and follow him away from camp. Inuyasha hopped down from his perch with the utmost of unintentional grace. He warily stepped after the houshi...Inuyasha, just as any other member of the group, knew that look on Miroku's face. He was thinking something dirty. Something that Inuyasha probably shouldn't hear. Morbid curiosity was the only reason that he moved off with him and once again posed the question: "Alright, Miroku. What the hell are you all acting like damn idiots about?"

Kagome watched the boys move off to the side, out of hearing range. She considered stopping them...and then considered that doing so might make matters even worse. There was just no way to win here. Apprehension filled the poor girl.

Miroku put a hand on Inuyasha's shoulder. "I want you to know that I am not at all bitter that you and Kagome will have a child before Sango and I..." For some reason, the hand was very stiff. If Inuyasha were human, it would've hurt. The houshi's solemn expression was met with one of twitchy bewilderment from the hanyou. "I recommend that you do not get carried away, however, because I am sure that it will be Kagome-sama's first time, and that can be stressful for girls."

Inuyasha's eyes didn't take very long to become the size of dishpans, nor did his pupils take long to dilate. Were Miroku a man of any less composure, the anger in those dishpan-sized eyes may have given him impulse to wet himself. The hanyou's ears were not only flattened, his lip was not only twitching...but his right fist just so happened to be trembling for reasons that do not need to be stated.

"What the hells did you just say, you bastard...?" Inuyasha's voice was that low, almost quiet growl that it becomes in these sorts of situations. It's the tone he usually spoke in right before exploding.

Miroku leaned back a little, eyes half-lidded, "I know you'd like to think you won't get carried away, but it can happen in those situations...and with your inhuman strength, I really think you should endeavor to be extra careful." Inuyasha's inevitable combustion occurred as predicted.

"AND WHAT IN ALL THE HELLS HAS YOU THINKIN' THAT I'M GONNA DO ANY OF THAT DIRTY SHIT WITH KAGOME!" His bellowing rasp could be heard very easily as it echoed to camp and frightened away any sleeping animal in the vicinity. Kagome could hear that, yes. And her pupils entirely disappeared...leaving giant wobbly white amoebas surrounded by bluish-skin. Kagome's knees buckled, her thighs slapping together and feet turning outward as she crumbled to the ground, embarrassed beyond belief.

Miroku leaned forward, his tone dubious and admonishing. 'Not so loud...do you mean to say you do not know the legend?"

Inuyasha now sported a streak of red over the bridge of his nose, connecting one eye to the other. The 'I'm going to give you the worst and last beating of your perverted life' look had not left the boy's face or body language. His breathing was quick and heavy as he proclaimed, "Of course I don't know such a bullshit legend!"

Miroku closed his eyes and stood back, folding his arms. "I see. At any rate, be prepared for whatever may happen tonight..." Miroku started to talk away, but then stopped. Inuyasha was in his face and looking scary.

"If you don't tell me what the fuck you're talking about, I'll shut you up for the rest of the gods damned night."

Miroku sighed. "I already explained it, Inuyasha. The Akai netsuai hana was a flower that bloomed many years ago in the garden of a lord and princess who were not willing to accept each other. The flower's blossoming signified the true love that mysteriously blossomed between them that magical night. The son they conceived that night grew up to be a warrior prince who fought many victories for his kingdom. So you see, Inuyasha…the Akai netsuai hana only blooms between two people that share true love, and marks the night that a strong boy will be conceived." Miroku folded his arms and nodded his head very matter-of-factly.

…………………………………

Moments later Inuyasha was storming back to camp, leaving Miroku with a large lump protruding from his head. "Get the hell out of my face, sukebe bouzu!" Miroku's eye twitched as he recovered from the blow… See if I offer you any tips...

The obnoxiously loud sounds of leaves and twigs shattering beneath Inuyasha's bare feet served as a warning as he made way back to camp. Shippou, Sango, Kirara and Kagome each anticipated his arrival in their own ways. The enraged boy blew out a snort equivelant to that of an angry bull as he broke through the brush. All eyes were on him. Inuyasha still looked incredibly flustered, of course. His thick white mane was mussed about an overheated face, which appeared prone to twitching just as his fists were to shaking in fury.

While Inuyasha remained wrapped in anger, Kagome was just sort of sitting limply on the ground. She was busy thinking about how none of this could possibly mean anything at all because some legends are just silly and fake and not real even though almost every legend they encounter turns out to be real but this one must be fake and not real and fake RIGHT?

Inuyasha lifted his furious gaze to greet the rest of his companions. For a moment, it slipped the boy's mind that one of those companions was the girl in question. Their eyes met for a perfect second. Kagome's face downright matched the flower at that instant. Inuyasha's face fell, and his gaze whipped off to the side at a speed inconceivable to most men.

…… And so the crickets did a lovely duet with the locusts.

Sango, obligated to be the mature one in this dysfunctional crowd, broke the silence. "Anou...where is Houshi-sama, Inuyasha?"

Inuyasha answered as his form became a red and silver blur, swooping back into the tree over the flower. "Hell if I know!" he rasped loudly, hiding himself amidst the foliage. Miroku emerged soon after Inuyasha, the lump still shining atop his head.

"Sango, Shippou, we should go look for lodging to the south this time, don't you think?" He suggested as he brushed some dust from his shoulder.

Kagome piped up, "Nonono! Why don't we all stay he--or Inuyasha and I could go with you guys! I mean, why split up again?"

Sango looked rather unenthusiastic about leaving the camp, especially so far after nightfall. She raised a brow at Miroku. "You want to go searching for a place again? It's getting late, Houshi-sama." Miroku sighed.

"Do as you wish, Sango. I shall see you tomorrow again. I think I'll be stopping by that newly widowed maiden's place…see if I can offer her any of my help. Perhaps a little 'company' will be of comfort to her." A jolt ran through Sango's body, the likes of which it's quite certain all in her vicinity could feel. She appeared behind Miroku in an almost ghostly fashion, her frightening countenance aiding that.

"I'll go with you." She said stiffly.

Miroku felt the hairs at the back of his neck standing on end as he chuckled that lame little chuckle of his. "Very well…however, the widow does not have enough accomodations for the six of us. Inuyasha – Kagome-sama and yourself are content to be on your own tonight, am I right?" Inuyasha did not show himself, nor did he answer. But a muffled "urk!" was audible from the tree's leaves.

"N-no!" Kagome blurted. Miroku raised a brow.

"And why not?"

Kagome, terrible liar that she is, was unable to make up a good excuse fast enough. She stammered. "W-well, it seems that something bad almost always happens when we split up overnight! Can't we all just…camp out here? I mean we've done it so many times before, and that wasn't so bad, was it?" Kagome was showing more enthusiasm for sleeping out in the wild than she ever has before. "In fact, it's kind of fun isn't it?" A small cluster of sparkles seemed to have placed themselves about her head.

Miroku responded quietly, "Her husband was killed just three days ago. I really think she would rather not be alone. A few friendly faces are probably welcome right now, in fact." Kagome drooped, feeling that persisting in this would be too selfish. After all, she was an independent woman. If she didn't want anything to happen between Inuyasha and herself, then it wouldn't! She'd be fine.

"I understand," she relented softly. Miroku nodded appreciatively and took his leave, Sango not removing her eyes from him as she followed. Kirara and Shippou leapt to her left and right shoulders, respectively. A few seconds later, only their footfalls could be heard. Moments after that, they were gone.

Feeling like quite the martyr, Kagome resigned herself to her fate: A most uncomfortable evening. She'd handled more stressful situations in the past, right? ….Maybe. With knees pressed together and dainty fists rested atop them, Kagome stared at the grass. The grass was very interesting. It'd have to be very interesting for the rest of the night. But the girl couldn't help but feel a pull at the back of her head, urging her to turn around…look up, past the akai netsuai hana, into the branches of the tree…where Inuyasha was.

No. She'd resist. How hard could it possibly be to spend just a few more hours looking straight ahead, until sleep overtook her? She wasn't tired. And the tree…her eyes were being pulled to it. Turning…before she had enough collection about her, Kagome's curiosity had overtaken her. Before she knew it, her eyes had traveled up the tree's trunk. Waiting to meet her uncertain sienna gaze was an equally uncertain gaze of gold. Kagome felt her heart freeze. From the looks of it, Inuyasha felt the same. They were alone now…alone with their thoughts, and with the akai netsuai hana…it was going to be a long night.

That's the end of chapter one, and these are our footnotes.

Inuyasha: Okay, this is boring. How come I'm not kicking anyone's ass?

Kagome: …is that all you have to say about it? Personally I think it's very interesting. Downright sadistic.

Inuyasha: Keh! It'll get interesting when there's a fight. There's gonna be a fight, isn't there?

Kagome:sigh: You are utterly hopeless. If you like this chapter, please stay tuned for the next! It'll only get more interesting from here!

Inuyasha: Feh, yeah right.