Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for the characters in this serial caper… especially for the one who's expanding his appreciation for the arts. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess.

A Debt of Gratitude: With thanks to mine beta, Fenikkusuken.


Several days later…

Chapter 30
The End

Sesshoumaru leaned back in his chair, his fingers steepled before his lips as he gazed at the four statues arranged in an arc before him. The Four Souls had been returned, and he was pleased.

"Are you planning to put them back one of these days, or should we consider your desk a permanent display?" Inuyasha inquired.

"I think I'll keep them together for a while," Sesshoumaru replied. "We'll move them to the Watashi this weekend."

Inuyasha gave a 'whatever' shrug and changed the subject. "I tried to schedule a meeting with some investors for next Thursday, but Jaken said you're busy. Something about… a painting class?"

"Hnn," he responded, shifting his gaze from Aramitama to Sakimitama. "I thought it might expand my appreciation for the arts."

"Uh-huh," replied his younger brother skeptically. "You sure your sudden interest in painting doesn't have something to do with the one who's teaching this art class?"

Sesshoumaru face was placid. "Isn't it customary to go to an artist one admires for instruction?"

"Yeah, yeah," the hanyou relented, wondering if his brother had realized yet that he was completely besotted. He was just dense enough that Inuyasha was willing to bet the big idiot would be the last to know. Either that, or Sesshoumaru was so twitterpated, he actually believed that he was keeping it a secret from everyone who knew him well enough to see the signs. Billboards, more like. Inuyasha mentally rolled his eyes as he glanced at his watch. "Well, Kagome's busy tonight. You want to grab some dinner?"

"That would be acceptable—provided it's not one of those ramen shops you frequent."

"What haute cuisine are you hungry for, Mr. Food Snob? There's this great new Thai place Kagome and I found, or there's always…"

"Toast," Sesshoumaru announced coolly.

Inuyasha's ears did a cockeyed dance. "Again?" he demanded in disbelief.

"Hnn."

"That's the third time this… aw, hell," he swore. "Fine. Let's drop by Sango's, but don't be surprised if you get her 'what-are-your-intentions-towards-my-roommate' speech." Sesshoumaru's blank look was too honest to be shammed, and Inuyasha gave him a pitying look. "Forget it. Hey! Weren't you going to bring her some of that fancy-schmancy cinnamon you were bragging about a couple days ago?"

Buttoning his suit coat, Sesshoumaru added, "Perhaps the florist as well?"

"That's the ticket. You're a natural," Inuyasha smirked.

Sesshoumaru frowned. "Rin likes flowers," he pointed out reasonably.

Following his brother through the door, the hanyou snorted softly and muttered, "Yeah… even late bloomers like you."

The End


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 #2, Secret. 419 words.