Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for the characters in this serial caper… especially for the one with an unusual calling card. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess.

A Note of Explanation: September heralds my second anniversary as a fandom writer, and this story my way of celebrating that milestone. The Kissing Bandit was written to coincide with the prompts of the Live Journal community 30(underscore)lies, where I have a claim on Miroku. Chapters are quite short, but updates will be daily. I had fun with this… and hope you will, too.

A Debt of Gratitude: With abundant thanks to mine beta, Fenikkusuken, who's been cheering me on since the beginning.

Chapter 1
The Master Thief

Beautiful Woman Falls Prey to Kissing Bandit!
For nearly six months, rumors and speculation have run rampant in the art world, with everyone wondering when and where the mysterious thief known only as the 'Kissing Bandit' would strike again. Today, human and youkai art collectors alike have their answer, for the infamous burglar has made his next conquest. The latest victims are Sesshoumaru Taisho, president of Mokomoko Enterprises, and his brother and business partner, Inuyasha Taisho. Sources have revealed that a priceless jade carving by famed artisan Genko Osusuki was taken earlier this week. The statue, titled Aramitama: Soul of Courage, is one of a set of four….

"This is unacceptable," Sesshoumaru stated with chilling calm as he tossed the newspaper aside.

"Which part?" blandly asked his younger brother. "The press-leak thing? Or are we back to that whole no-one-takes-what's-mine thing?"

Ignoring the mild taunt, Sesshoumaru tapped the offending headline. "What have you found out?"

"Not much," Inuyasha admitted grumpily. "This bastard is good. The police don't have anything on him, and none of us could get so much as a whiff from the crime scene. The only one who saw him was the girl he kissed, and she was too sparkly-eyed and giggly to be any use. I swear, this guy's one part Casanova and one part media whore. Keeping the heist out of the papers until now was about the only way to slow him down."


"One thing's for sure… he's a collector," Inuyasha continued. "He won't stop until he has the full set, and bets are already being made over which statue he'll go after next."

"What measures have been taken?"

"I covered the basics—increased security, cooperation with authorities—which ain't easy, I'll have you know. That Keisatsu character that's been assigned to the case is too damned cocky. Puts my teeth on edge."

Sesshoumaru's brow arched. "Is he incompetent?"

Inuyasha fidgeted before replying, "Nah, just irritating as hell. You'll see."

"I know you're capable of civility," Sesshoumaru remarked, though it came across more as an order. "Since the police don't have any leads, we could be proactive and bring in a consultant. Surely that would be a diplomatic solution?"

The hanyou nodded slowly. "Yeah, okay. I'll make some calls."

"Also, notify the staff here to be watchful."

"Why's that?"

The tall youkai gestured casually towards a black case that stood on the credenza behind him. "Because as of today, one of the remaining three Souls is here."

Inuyasha's blank look morphed into a smirk. "You are taking this personally."


End Note: This story owes much of its structure to the Live Journal community 30(underscore)lies, where I have a claim on Miroku. Lie #25, Diplomatic Solution. 426 words.