This oneshot was created for the Advent Calendar event on the InuyashaxKagome community on LiveJournal. I thought I'd try my hand at some winter fluff for this, so here is the result. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

And just as a reminder... As many times as I may put it on my Christmas List this year, Inuyasha still does not belong to me, but rather to the fabulous Rumiko Takahashi.


Fire Starter

The snow was shin-deep by the time they got back to their hut. While it was mildly uncomfortable for his feet and legs, Inuyasha considered it more of a nuisance than anything else. Kagome, on the other hand… he could feel her body trembling against his back as he stepped up to their hut. Even her legs were shaking where they were locked firmly about his waist.

Brushing aside the door hanging, he stepped into their hut, squeezing her thigh that he had in a tight hold to let her know they were home.

When she didn't move he looked over his shoulder, trying to catch a glimpse of her face. No luck.

"Kagome," he whispered. He felt her head pick up from his back, where he realized she must have had her face buried against his back to shield it from the biting wind. Sure enough, a moment later her face came into view, his hair draped over her head. Her forehead was tinged pink from where she'd been pressing her face against his back. He held in a chuckle, and watched as her gaze flickered around their hut, taking in the fact that they were out of the snow storm.

"Thank kami," he heard her breathe as her legs lost their tight hold around him. He released her legs and she slid down his back, the soft thud of her feet hitting the floor echoing around the dark hut. A moment later she shuffled in front of him, heading towards the small pile of wood stacked near the door. He watched in amusement as she pulled the blanket she had wrapped around herself even tighter around her body, restricting her movement even more.

"That's the last time I say 'yes' when Sango invites us over while it's snowing," she muttered, reaching for a log. Her voice was muffled by the blanket she had wrapped around the lower half of her face. Inuyasha scoffed as he remembered the way her mouth had fallen slightly open, and her eyes had widened when she'd brushed aside the hanging to Miroku and Sango's hut and come face to face with the snow storm that had developed over the course of the night.

They'd arrived at the monk's hut early, just as the snow had started to fall. But as the night wore on, Inuyasha had smelled the shift in weather, heard the wind pick up and drop more snow onto the already white ground. He'd thought about telling Kagome, but she'd been having such a great time, talking with Sango and playing with the twins, that he hadn't had the heart to. By the time she'd announced she was ready to leave, one of the twins was sprawled across Miroku's lap, her hand still outstretched towards the visiting kitsune's tail even in sleep, and the snow storm was already well underway and showed no sign of stopping.

Inuyasha snapped out of his thoughts as Kagome bent down, started piling the small logs onto her blanket-covered arms.

"What are you doing?"

She didn't pause in gathering an armful of wood. "We need a fire."

"Keh." Inuyasha stepped forward, started emptying her arms of the wood despite her protests.

"Forget this, Kagome," he said as he put the last log on the ground and took her wrist in a gentle grasp, pulling her upright. "I'll get it."

She frowned, but he knew her enough by now to know when she was frowning at him, and when she wasn't. "Maybe I'll warm up if I'm moving," she mumbled, her brow creasing.

Inuyasha sighed, hesitating only a moment before stepping forward and wrapping her in his arms. With the blanket wrapped around her, and the two shawls she had on under that, Inuyasha could barely feel her form. He shifted her in his arms, once, twice, before she started giggling.

"Inuyasha." She turned her face from his chest to look up at him. "What are you doing?"

"I can't feel you underneath all these layers," he grumbled.

Kagome's laughter broke the silence of their hut. He smiled, held still long enough for her to wiggle her arms out of the layers of blankets and wrap them around his middle. Inuyasha sighed, settled his forehead against her neck. He breathed in, and waited for her shivering to stop.

When her body was finally still again, he picked his head up just enough to press his lips briefly against her neck.

"Oi, wench," his arms loosened around her. "Go sit and get warm."

His eyebrow rose as what he could have sworn was a growl came from underneath the blanket.

"It's cold over there." She nodded towards the empty fire pit in the center of the hut.

"It'll be warm once I get a fire going." He stared down at the top of her head, waiting as silence settled around them. She didn't move. "Once you let me go."

"So that's how it is."

Inuyasha's ears flattened against his head, his mouth opening at the rejection in her voice. But she shifted against him, and the soft press of her lips against his cheek and her faint laughter had his mouth closing, his ears pressing further against his head for a different reason.

"Get going," she laughed as she pulled her arms away from him, wrapping the blanket and her arms back around her as if to trap in the heat he'd left behind. He watched her shuffle to the center of their hut, the blanket slipping off her thin form, before turning to gather the logs.

As he piled the wood into his arms, he listened to her movement as she stepped onto the platform of their hut, heard the creak in the wood as she sat down by the fire pit. There was the tiny clang, followed by the vibration of metal, as she picked up the fire poker and started shuffling the ashes around in the cold pit.

"You know," she said as he returned from gathering the wood and knelt down beside the fire pit, placing the logs by his side, "I realized it would be cold here, but I never really thought about it."

Inuyasha paused in placing the logs in a circular pattern in the pit to turn towards her.

"What?"

She looked up from the fire pit, smiled when she saw his confusion.

"The cold." She nodded towards the door, where the snow was still coming down hard. "It snowed occasionally in Tokyo during my time, but never this much. I never realized how much of a change it would be." She paused a moment, her eyes losing focus as she stared off into space. "I guess those scientists where right when they were talking about mini-ice ages." She paused. "Or global warming…"

Her silence had a small amount of pain creeping into Inuyasha's chest. They often talked about her time, about improvements they could make to their hut and the village based on what he'd seen in her house in the future. But it was a rare occurrence when she excluded him from her attempts to piece together the future and the present. He dropped the log he was holding as he shuffled forward, knelt before her. He leaned in close enough to feel her breath brushing against his lips. But she was lost to her thoughts, and his closeness went unnoticed.

"Kagome." Kagome jumped at his whisper, her eyes snapping into focus. "What's an ice age?"

"Inuyasha," she started, her palm lightly hitting his shoulder. "Don't startle me like that." But a light blush was covering her cheeks. She looked behind him, saw the logs lying unlit in the fire pit. She frowned. "There's still no fire."

"I'm gettin' there," Inuyasha grumbled before quickly nuzzling his nose against her temple. She leaned into him, and he felt his need for a fire dwindling. He reached for her waist underneath the layers covering her body, but stopped. She was starting to shake again. He growled. While he could stand the cold, Kagome could not.

He pulled away from her, turning back to his task as he tried to concentrate on bringing a fire to life.

"I don't remember the winter here being this bad before." Kagome shuffled closer to the pit when he began striking the flint, sparks falling onto the logs.

"Yeah," he explained, half-distracted. Sparks were falling onto the wood, but not catching. He frowned, tried again and nodded in satisfaction as one spark caught the tinder he'd shoved under the larger logs. "You had it easy that winter you were here before. It can get a lot colder than it did that time. Snow a lot more, too."

Kagome hummed in agreement as they watched the fire pick up, catch onto one of the big logs.

"I guess I'm lucky to have you here to provide for me then." There was a hint of laughter in her voice. "And build fires."

Inuyasha glanced over his shoulder, saw her mouth buried in the blanket she still had wrapped around her. But her eyes were bright as they caught his gaze, and he knew she was laughing at him.

"Hey," he said, as he turned away from her long enough to settle another log onto the fire, make sure it caught, "I've gotten pretty good at starting fires for you, wench."

Kagome chuckled. "You were always pretty good at that."

Warmth spread throughout Inuyasha's body, but he had a feeling it wasn't from the fire that was starting to grow in the pit in front of him.

"Damn right," he muttered as he backpedaled from the fire. He sat behind her, placing her as near to the fire as was safe as he settled his legs on either side of her body, trapping her in his heat. She shifted against him, and he put his arm around her, pulling her tight against his body. He plucked at the blanket on her shoulder, starting to get frustrated at the extra cloth.

"Oi," he growled. "You still need this?"

She pressed deeper into him and butted her head against his chin.

"Only until the hut gets warmer."

His growling briefly intensified, but let her keep it. "Next time Sango and Miroku invite us over for a winter celebration, you won't have to worry about refusing. If you're this cold from a little snow, I won't let you go out next time."

She picked her head up from his chest. His ears pressed flat against his head at the way she was glaring at him.

"Inuyasha…" There was a warning note to her voice.

"I was joking!" Before she could say anything he put his other arm around her, pulled her tight against him. He held himself still, stiff, waiting to see if she would let it drop.

Apparently this time he was lucky, because it only took a moment for her body to relax, her breath to whoosh out of her in a sigh.

"You're lucky you're so warm," she sighed into his chest.

He smiled as he pressed his lips against her hair.

"Yeah, well I know how to keep my mate warm."

She didn't laugh, but her arms were suddenly unburied from the layers covering her and wrapped tight around his chest.

"You sure do. There's no one I know who builds a fire better than you. I knew there was a reason I married you."

He froze, his eyes going wide. When he didn't say anything, Kagome pulled back, looked up at him. And laughed. He shook his head, let a soft growl start as he bent down and nipped at her neck.

"Is that all I'm good for?" he asked, irritation in his voice, but he felt his insides warming as Kagome's laughter floated into the hut again.

"Well, you do have your uses."

"Keh." His ears twitched, trying to catch every nuisance of her laughter as he pulled her tighter against him, pressed his lips against the hollow of her throat. "I guess I'm going to have to find new ways to keep you warm then. Prove I have a few more reasons for you to keep me around."

Kagome grunted in agreement before pulling back to brush her lips against his chin.

"I think we can manage that one," she murmured as her arms tightened around him. Inuyasha sighed as he leaned forward, making sure her lips met his this time.

When the kiss broke, he breathed in deeply, trying to absorb her scent into him as he brushed his lips against her temple. He paused when he felt her movement in his arms turn restless. His eyes opened to see what was wrong.

"Inuyasha." He pulled back at her voice, curious, but smiled when she followed his backward movement, shifted a little bit closer. "You can take the blanket off now."


A/N: I tried to figure out as many historically accurate facts as possibly about Japan and winter, especially during Inuyasha's time, but my apologies go out to any history buffs out there if I got anything wrong. :o)