A/N: This fic is not on a linear timeline! Shifts are clearly marked.

In a post-Naraku Feudal Era, Kagome just wants the three R's: rest, relaxation…and maybe a little romance? Thanks to a seemingly innocuous little toy, she gets much more than she ever expected!

Cereal Box Romance

Chapter1 - Cat

Xxxx Present… xxxX

"I'm going insane!" Kagome puffed as she dumped the shopping bags stuffed with Golden Puffs cereal on the kitchen floor, tendrils of dark hair sticking to the sweat that coated her forehead. "Certifiable, card-carrying loony! That's what I am!"

"And you're talking to yourself!" Souta said as he strolled into the kitchen, stopping mid-stride when he saw his elder sister standing on the cold linoleum surrounded by drifts of white plastic and boxes of cereal. "Uh, you hungry, sis?"

"Bug off!" she snapped, nudging an errant box of Golden Puffs off of her shoe with a flick of her ankle. "This is all your fault!"

Souta blinked slowly, then backed out of the kitchen. "Ooookay, I think I'll just stay out of this." If he'd learned anything in the last few years, it was that an angry eighteen year-old Kagome was scarier than any jewel-carrying Noh mask or re-hydrated fungus demon. He didn't even want to know what she had planned for all of that cereal. Poor cereal.

Glaring after his retreating figure, Kagome harrumphed and fished a box from the piles around her. 'Well, it is his fault,' she griped to herself, tearing the box open and dumping the contents into her mother's mixing bowl. 'If he hadn't…'

Her thought trailed off as she spied what she wanted, partially concealed by sticky yellow corn puffs. Snatching up the object by the corner of clear plastic that poked through the cereal, she tore through the seal and shook a small, brown plastic ring into her hand.

"Squirrel," she frowned and tossed it over her shoulder, uncaring that it bounced once and rolled under the fridge. "Next!"

Another box of cereal met a similar fate as its brethren and soon Kagome was holding a black ring. "Magpie?" Another plastic ring was unceremoniously thrown to the floor where it was lost under a shopping bag.

'This could take awhile,' Kagome mussed as she grabbed her next victim. It really was Souta's fault: him and his penchant for sweet cereal. Never mind the fact that it had been her turn to go grocery shopping and she'd gone to the Feudal Era instead. It was summer vacation, after all! And she'd graduated! She'd deserved a little rest and relaxation!

She huffed impatiently when she went to upend the third box over the mixing bowl and found it full. Dropping the box on the counter, she raided the cupboards below for more big bowls, cursing colorfully, thanks to a certain half-demon for the vocabulary, under her breath.

Xxxx Four weeks earlier… xxxX

Kagome scowled into the fridge, eyes skimming past non-fat yogurt, a block of cheese, last night's oden, and various other unappetizing items before slamming the door with an indignant huff. A googly-eyed frog magnet hit the kitchen floor with a clatter, which she summarily ignored.

"There's nothing to eat in this house!" she declared to her brother, who was calmly crunching through a bowl of puffy yellow cereal and flipping through the latest edition of "Shonen Jump".

Without glancing up, he waved at the box of Golden Puffs on the table with his spoon, "You're welcome to some of this."

"Ugh."

"It's good. And weren't you supposed to go shopping yesterday?"

"Shut up, brat."

"Then starve, dork."

Kagome blew him a raspberry as she pulled a bowl from the cupboard and shook a generous heap of cereal into it. Just about to splash milk over the top, she noticed and very un-puff like object partially hidden amongst the nuggets. Since it didn't move and did not appear insectile, she fished it out of her breakfast with a minimal amount of squealing.

"What's your problem?" Souta complained, finally looking up from his book as his sister wailed and gyrated. "It's just one of those Decoder thingies!"

Kagome shuddered and eyed the little plastic baggie and its blue contents with a wary eye. "They should warn people before sticking stuff in their food!"

"It's on the box, genius," he tapped the side of the cereal box next to the words, "Demon Decoder Ring Inside!" and a picture of chubby, grinning rabbit holding what looked like a cheap mood ring. "One would think that a girl who spent the last three years traveling to Feudal Japan to fight demons and restore a magic jewel would be less squeamish!"

"No one asked you!" she snapped as she snatched up the box to get a better look at the picture. With a small frown, she set the box back on the table. "Demon Decoder Ring, my Aunt Fanny. I wish it were that easy." She held the offending bit of plastic at eye level, pinched between two fingers.

Souta rolled his eyes and went back to his book with a parting comment, "It's just a toy, sis. Give it to Shippo or something."

'Of all the nonsense he spouts, that actually isn't a bad idea,' Kagome decided and slipped the little baggie into her pocket without bothering to open it.

An hour later, slightly sick to her stomach due to the incredibly high sugar content of her breakfast, Kagome found Feudal Japan just as she left it: sunny, warm, breathtakingly beautiful, fresh of air, and Naraku-free. Now that Naraku had been dispatched and the Jewel of Four Souls completed and returned to its rightful place, namely her body, the Feudal Era was the ideal place catch a few rays and catch up on her reading of the non-textbook kind. Humming a snatch of the current number-one pop single, Kagome hoisted herself out of the dry well that served as a portal through time and sighed happily. Sunscreen, munchies and novel in tow, she started up the path toward Kaede's village with a bounce in her step and a smile stretching her lips.

"Priestess," a velvety, not wholly welcome monotone stopped her in her tracks.

She turned slowly to face the source of the voice: a taiyoukai of formidable power, an uneasy ally, and Inuyasha's half-brother. Impassive golden eyes stared down at her from an angular, aristocratic face. Silver bangs parted neatly to display a blue crescent on his forehead, long white mane falling to brush the backs his knees, armor polished and intimidating, he was cute in an untouchable, perfect hair kind of way.

"Are you sure you aren't looking for Kikyou?" Kagome asked as she blushed and tried to pretend that she had not just thought Sesshomaru was cute. Well, handsome was really the word…or gorgeous…

The dog demon regarded her with an air of boredom, his eyes flicking over her as high color suffused her face. "You will give this to my half-brother."

He extended a tightly rolled scroll toward her, which she took with a small frown. After all, she wasn't just some messenger-wench. He could at least say please. Without another word, Sesshomaru turned and strolled away, leaving an irritable woman in his wake.

"You're welcome!" she grumped to his retreating back and stuffed the scroll into her tote. Alas, her yellow backpack had finally met its demise at the jaws of a hungry goat demon. She missed the old bag, but the pink and green striped tote was just as loud and carried what she needed it to carry.

The demon lord ignored her, which came as no surprise, and she continued up the path, determined not to let arrogant jerks bring her down. At least the brothers were on speaking terms, now. Not all of their meetings ended in hurled insults and clashing swords. Sesshomaru had even started letting Inuyasha in on some of the inner workings of the Western Lands, their homeland. It was obvious that they still did not like each other, and the truce was often strained, but it was immense progress in Kagome's opinion. That still didn't mean she liked to run messages between them. Didn't he have servants for that?

Inuyasha was as gracious accepting the message as his brother had been delivering it.

"What the hell's that?" Inuyasha peered down at her from his perch on a tree branch in a fair imitation of his brother's boredom, though if he'd been informed of the likeness, he would have birthed a litter of kittens.

Pursing her lips, Kagome chucked the scroll at his handsome face, narrowly missing one of the silver puppy ears that topped his head.

Inuyasha yelped, "Bitch!" but managed to catch it without loosing his seat.

"Message from your brother! And next time, tell him to deliver his own damn mail!" Back stiff, Kagome stalked to her favorite sunbathing location: the secluded bank of a river that ran near the peaceful little village.

To her surprise, a small, yellow, two-tailed feline was already curled up on one of the smooth, flat rocks that decorated the bank of the river. Kagome grinned and clapped her hands. The presence of the firecat could only mean one thing: her best girlfriend was here on a visit. "Kirara! Where's Sango?"

Not expecting a reply since the firecat did not speak beyond mewls and roars, Kagome almost tripped over her own feet when a tiny voice floated through her mind, 'Not here.'

Glancing around hurriedly for peeping toms, for she'd been planning try to get a lineless tan this summer, Kagome cleared her throat. "Um, who's there?"

Kirara cracked an eye, giving her a disdainful cat glance before going back to her nap. 'Not here.'

'So much for sunbathing topless,' Kagome thought as she lowered the tote to the sandy bank and sat with her knees drawn to her chest. Something hard poked her thigh through her shorts and she stretched her legs to pull the object out of her pocket. In her hand lay the blue Decoder ring she had found in her breakfast cereal, still in its packaging. Tearing through the clear plastic baggie with her teeth and dumping its contents into her palm, she gave it a quick examination. Even less impressive in reality than on the box, it had a thin band topped by round disk with a cat kanji embossed on the top, all molded from garish blue plastic.

"Look, Kirara, it's a cat demon decoder!" With a flourish, she presented the toy to Kirara, who ignored her. "I think you should have it!"

'This one will pass.'

Kagome ignored the strange voice and rooted through her tote until she found a short length of pink ribbon. Stringing the ring on the ribbon, she tied the makeshift necklace around the cat's neck, and then leaned back to eye her handiwork. "Stunning!"

To Kagome's immense relief, no voices spoke inside of her skull and after a few minutes of scanning the trees behind her and the far bank of the river, she went ahead with her master plan of topless tanning.

A/N: Well, what do you think? Continue or no?