Hello! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I bring you the gift of fluff! I hope you enjoy this fic!

It was hell. That was Inuyasha's only conscious thought upon entering those big, glass, doors. That, and that he'd just made the worst mistake of his life. That thought was proven to be true as his senses were all simultaneously assaulted; The inane chatter of thousands of voices, blurred with several different musical selections, uncountable scents from millions of places, the cold air blowing from the vent above warring with the warmth of the pizza place to his right, the assortment of twinkling bulbs and other shiny objects refracting multi-colored lights that were strewn about excessively, and the taste of bile in his throat at the mere prospect of entering such a loud and flashy, scented hell...

In short: The mall.

At Christmastime.

And this was the fate to which he had so doomed himself. It had all started three months ago, when Inuyasha Hayashi had finally, after three years of longing, received the one thing he'd wanted since he'd first laid eyes upon it...or rather... her. Kikyo Itami, the unofficial queen of Shikon High. She was gorgeous and popular and yet, despite it all, still managed to be modest and kind.

She was perfect.

And he had her.

The only problem now, was keeping her. Things had gone great through Halloween and Thanksgiving, but this was Christmas. The first gift-giving holiday of the relationship, and held on a completely different level that the others. At least...that was what he'd been told by his friend Sango, and judging from everything he'd seen on T.V, he was inclined to believe her.

Besides, Sango was smart and levelheaded, giving her this annoying habit of being perpetually right. Which is why he failed to understand how she could hate Kikyo as much as she did, insist that she wasn't right for him and that he could do better. Al he had to say was how? How could he possibly be expected to do better when he already had the best?

But none of that mattered right now. Now, he had to search high and low over this overly festive underworld to find the perfect gift, something rare and precious to give her, to keep Kikyo by his side into the new year. She hadn't expressly asked for something fancy or expensive, but he felt it'd been implied. He'd seen the way she'd cooed over Tsubaki's authentic, diamond, necklace, or Ayame's tickets to a Christmas Eve concert of her favorite artist.

But mostly the diamonds.

They were what she most commented on when they were alone together, spoke about in a wistful voice that dripped with longing, eyed them whenever Tsubaki brought them around.

They were sparkly, and expensive, and his girlfriend was in love with them. And it was unspoken but known that unless he delivered, there would be no furthering of their relationship. He'd accepted this as the cost of perfection. Sango seemed to disagree. Miroku had been mediating ever since.

And so, taking a deep breath, he dove into the crowd, narrowly avoiding being run down by a small woman with a stroller, dragging along three kids, all of which were speaking in whiny voices in rapid fire mandarin. They were soon followed by an old man, grumbling under his breath, shaking his cane in the direction of a group of girls all giggling into their cellphones. Somehow he managed to find a niche in the floe of foot traffic, and followed it down the hall.

Believe it or not, there were some perks to being the Chester's Farm cheese girl. Flexible seasonal work hours, friendly staff, and a salary that went above minimum wage. Not to mention their location in the very heart of the mall, surrounded by the sights, the sounds, the very feel of the Christmas spirit. She could just stand there and breath it in, while working towards her Christmas bonus. The downside, however, was that she had to stand there in in the official Chester's farm cheese girl uniform : A milk maid dress, a low-cut red shirt with a sweetheart top and short, poofy, sleeves, under a corset like vest in red and green plaid. It was tight, starting just under her beast, jamming them up into the looser red shirt, with sleeves that were basically two strips of fabric that went around just her arms, grazing the sides of her breasts pushing them in a bit. In the end, it was a lot of breast showcasing, creating the illusion that even the smallest girls had something to offer. For Kagome who'd been slightly gifted in the chest area- a modest B-cup, but still- it did some pretty amazing work.

The corset vest was laced in the front and pulled tight, emphasizing her small waist, and from beneath it sprouted the skirt: Red and green plaid to match the vest, it was extremely short and poofy. And then there were the tights, green nylon, disappearing into shiny, black, Mary Jane's.

But all of that was nothing, nothing, compared to the bow. That big, red, bow, that was settled fixedly on her barely covered ass. But it wasn't a totally fashion don't, oh no, it went quite well with the whole ensemble, matching the smaller bows and the end of her braided pigtails perfectly.

To sum it all up: She looked like Santa's little slut.

But hey, no job's perfect.

Grabbing her plate of cheese samples, she took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of Christmas spirit, trying to remind herself of just why she was doing this. And then she walked to the front of the store and, with her legs held very close together, pressed herself back against the wall -crushing the bow, hoping it to be unseen- and pasted on her brightest smile, ready to start pushing the merchandise to the surplus of Christmas shoppers.

Two hours and approximately forty-two Christmas jingles later, Inuyasha had a headache, multiple bruises, and the sudden, intense, urge to stab someone with a very pointy candy cane. He did not, however, have the miracle gift he'd set out for.

He was heading back down the other side of the mall when fate intervened in the form of a large woman in a hot pink suit, carrying more packages than she could see over. It didn't seem to be a problem for her, however, as she was large and rude enough to simply plow down anyone neither nimble nor quick enough to get out of the way in time.

Inuyasha was neither nimble, nor quick.

And thus he was shoved drastically to the left, sent careening towards Chester's Farm.

And directly into the Chester's Farm cheese girl.

"What the- get the hell off me!"

Inuyasha blinked, momentarily disoriented , aware of only the sound of a startled cry and the clatter of metal on the ground, standing out against the din. He knew he'd been pushed but...what?

Looking down, he found himself lying on top of a girl. A very unhappy girl, who was currently glaring at him through big, brown, eyes, her long, black, braids lying haphazardly on the floor. And there were...bows and the ends...


"I. Said. Get. Off!"

Blinking again he regained his senses, pushing himself up off of her, standing. And then...blinked again...

She'd sat up so that she could close her legs, leaning up on her elbows, huffily blowing a loose piece of hair from her forehead and glaring. Which might have made for a slightly more intimidating picture if not for the way she was dressed...Between the poofy skirt thing...and the corset vest..and...Oh God...

She'd shifted a little.

He hadn't seen the ass bow...

She looked like a cross between an elf and a milkmaid...

It was weird...to say the least. As was the variety of small cheeses, now being squished into the tile by busy shoppers.


Looking down, he arched a brow as she did this odd little twisty thing... She'd pressed her knees together and was trying to rock herself up onto her feet.

"What the hell are you doing?"

She glared up at him. He was just standing there, one eyebrow raised, his hands shoved in the pockets of his dark jeans. He didn't apologize, offer to help her up...nothing. He just stood there, looking at her like she was crazy.


"What do you think I'm doing? I'm trying to get up!"

"Like that?"

Another glare, this one darker than the first.

"Let's see you get up in a skirt shorter than plaid-patterned sin."

"Just stand."

"Without flashing your panties to the whole freaking mall!"

Oh. Well that might complicate things a bit...in the event that he ever chose to wear panties...

He watched her rock a little more before she fell back huffing frustratedly and blowing that strand of hair from her face again. She held up her hand.

"Can I get some help?"


"Help!" she snapped. "Can you help me up, instead of just standing there? You did know me down you know!"

"What?...Fine, whatever."


He growled, grabbing her hands, letting her anchor her feet against his to be pulled up.

"I'm helping you up aren't I?"

He pulled, and after a little twisting, and some difficulty, they managed to get her to her feet. Breathing through her nose, she ran her hands over her uniform, attempting to pull the skirt down a little more, smoothing out her braids. The bow had gotten crushed again, flattened, which was perhaps the only positive thing to come of this encounter. She chose to leave it be, instead, hands on her hips, looking around at her spilled platter of cheese samples. When she looked up again, the boy was walking off...


He turned, his brows knit in annoyance.


"Um...can you...get that?"

He followed her pointing finger to the fallen tray, laying abandoned where it had rolled to lay by the store.



He frowned, looking the strange girl over again. He was having images of her on a mountain, among goats...in a blizzard. Yes, it was time for him to leave... Besides, he had very important things to do. Something very important to buy. He didn't know what yet, which was slightly problematic, but he knew that it was very, very, important.

But she was begging...sort of... She was standing there, tucking one long, black, braid, behind her ear, her big eyes staring at the floor. There was a light blush on her cheeks as she tugged at her skirt again, looking up, then switching her gaze to the tray, and for the first time he noticed that she was really pretty cute, despite the outfit. Cute, and embarrassed...

Against his will, he felt himself soften towards her. It was his fatal weakness: A girl's vulnerability. Be it tears or embarrassment, he was never able to stand it-Though tears were far more effective-. And he had knocked her over, however unintentional.

"Fine", he sighed, raking a hand through his long, silver, hair, stalking over to the fallen tray. Scooping it up, he held it out to her.


"Now why couldn't you do that yourself?"

She immediately bristled again.

"Because it would mean bending." She gestured to her outfit. "Not exactly bending material."

That, he decided, was entirely a matter of opinion. While strange, her outfit was definitely sexy. And she filled it out well...

He shook his head, clearing away the unwelcome thoughts. He had a girlfriend! The most amazing one ever! He had no reason to be checking out some hot tempered cheese girl from the mall! It was just...illogical!

Which reminded him...Kikyo was still gift-less...



He ran a hand over his face, looking at the girl again. She was staring at him curiously, as if questioning his sanity.

"Nothing, nothing. Look, I didn't mean to run into you. It was just a freak, Christmas related accident...damn stressful holiday..."

"You don't like Christmas?"

He blinked. Her tone was no longer frustrated or upset, suddenly filled with a childlike curiosity. She'd even tilted her head in her bafflement.

"What? No, I like it I just..." He sighed, his hair making yet another trip through his hair, and she couldn't help but notice how the sparkling lights from the nearby department store seemed to glitter off each strand. He really was very handsome, his skin clear, his nose straight. And his eyes...they were the most beautiful shade of amber... It really was a shame about his personality.

"I need just the right gift for my girlfriend and-"

...And his girlfriend. It figured he was taken. He was too hot for her small amount of luck.

"-And...why am I even telling you this. Look, sorry about your...cheese...or whatever. Bye."

She watched him turn away again, her eyes roaming across the floor. She felt the instant urge to grab the now destroyed cheese, sweep the crumbs and toothpick splinters and throw them in the nearby trashcan, but that would mean bending. Which wasn't something she could do. She was going to get in big trouble for this, for both wasting samples and making a mess. It would be a mark against her, decrease her chances of getting her bonus...

God she needed that bonus. It was vital to her.

...And it was his fault really...

Slowly the wheels began to turn...


He groaned, contemplated ignoring her, yet turned around, again. Once again, fought the current of impatient shoppers to get back to the cheese girl. Why was beyond him but...

"What. What is it now?"

"I can help you."

"With what?"

"With your girlfriend", she replied quickly. "I can help you find something special. Something any girl would love."

"What? How would you-?"

She arched a brow, gesturing to her chest.


She rolled her eyes.

"Ignoring that. Anyways I can help you?"

His eyes narrowed, his suspicion growing.

"Why? What's in it for you?"

"You mean besides the joy of giving in this Christmas season?"

Between the big eyes and the batting lashes, it might have been a bit more convincing without the injected sarcasm.

"Yeah. Besides that."

She sighed.

"I need to give out ten of these treys a day and get twelve packages sold to get the offered Christmas bonus and,well, this cheese just isn't that popular."

"It looks fine to me."

"It is. It's pretty good actually, all smokey and stuff. But the fact is that it's too close to the holidays. Everyone's too busy with their last minute shopping to worry about cheese."

"And where do I fit in to this?"

"Take my samples and buy the rest of my cheese."

"What?" His expression oozed of the incredulous. "I've seen this stuff, it costs like five buck a pop!"

"No!" she snapped..."Like...$3.45...without tax."

"I don't have that kind of money!"

"Well I've already sold five!"

"That's still like thirty bucks!"

She groaned. "More like twenty-five...or twenty-seven. I'm not so good with math. But-"

"No buts!" He exclaimed. "I have a present to buy. Some big, special, probably very expensive present. I can't afford to be tossing out thirty bucks to some girl for some stupid cheese!"

Maybe not, but neither could she...

"Well you're not going to be very well off when you can't find this amazing gift anywhere!" She snapped.

Unfortunately for him, she had a point... He'd spent entirely too long in this mall. If she could help him...

It was stupid and...expensive...but mostly stupid. And yet he found himself for some reason...

"Fine. I'm in. Where do I start?"

She just smiled.

"I have seven more treys in the back. Find somewhere to shove them and I'm free for the day."

"So, tell me a little about this girl."

Kagome had breathed a sigh of relief, slipping out of the uniform. Now, sliding expertly through the crowd In a way that Inuyasha found slightly astounding, she was in soft jeans and a comfy, green, sweater. Her hair was loose, hanging down her back to her waist, though she had tied one of the red bows around a small piece in the back, giving her a festive look. All in all, he had to admit, she was good looking.

"She's seventeen, beautiful, popular. She's head cheerleader, smart and kind-"

"Not like that-" She cut him off with a careless wave of her hand. "More personal stuff. Like what she likes, dislikes. Favorite colors, stuff like that."

"Well, she loves chocolate-" He turned sideways, barely fitting between the small girl with a lollipop and and man with a briefcase yelling loudly into a phone, where Kagome had just effortlessly slipped. "Her favorite color is light blue, she likes diamonds and hates cats-"

"How do you hate cats?"

"What do you mean?"

Grabbing his hand, she tugged him between and old woman with a walker and the young woman she was walking with - Her daughter maybe- into a clear patch inside of Macy's.

"I mean", he replied, once they were safely in the store. "That she doesn't like cats. She hates them."

Turning, Kagome walked down the aisle, examining things on both sides, waiting for something to jump out at her.

"That is the weirdest thing I've ever heard."

"I take it you're a cat lover."

She smiled at his dry tone.

"Of course I am. They're cute and soft and so cuddly. They sit on you and purr and..." She squeaked. She actually squeaked. "I just love them. This is a nice blouse."

He frowned over at the blouse she was examining, rubbing between two fingers.

"It's really soft-"

"I'm not looking for a damn shirt!" he snapped. "I'm trying to stay in the relationship!"

"Well fine", she held her hands up defensively. "I'll look elsewhere..."

He sighed heavily, rubbing his temples.

"This better be worth the damn thirty bucks..." he grumbled. Not to mention his pockets, which were now bulging with the cheese samples he couldn't bring himself to eat. He was now slightly nauseous, turned off of dairy for at least a month or so...

"It will be. Promise."

"It'd better be..."

"It will. Have some faith, jeeze..."

He followed her as she pranced over to some decorative towels...

This was going to be a long day...

They were silent for a while as they looked at dresses, then jewelry. Finally, Kagome was the one to break the silence.

"Is it really worth it?"


She turned to face him, her back to the glass counter of necklaces.

"This relationship. This girl...Kikyo."

"Of course she's worth it", he snapped. "Why the hell would I be doing this if she wasn't?"

His voice was angry, defensive and she took a step back. Well, she would have, had she not run into the display case.

"Okay okay, I just asked. It's just that...the way you said that..."

"Said what?"

"That you were trying to keep her," She answered, turning to examine a glittery, diamond, bracelet. "It just...it seems to me that your entire relationship shouldn't depend on what kind of stuff you buy her."

"What do you know!" he demanded,crossing his arms across his chest. "I was crazy to do this! Trust this to some girl I don't know, and who definitely doesn't know Kikyo! Or our relationship! Look, the deal's off!"

No. It couldn't be. She needed this deal. She could shut up if she had to, keep her commentary to herself. But this deal would be fulfilled. Her bonus rested on it.

"Look, I didn't mean anything, okay." It was said hurriedly, with worried hand motions. "And I won't say anything else. But we both need this."

She looked him dead in the eye, daring him to deny it.

Unfortunately, he couldn't.

"And the worst part is, I've got to go back!"

Miroku sat on the desk, eying his friend skeptically.


"Nothing, nothing", he replied with a wave of his hand. "It's just that... you seriously paid a girl to help you shop for your own girlfriend?"

"I didn't pay her!"

"A strange girl, one you've never laid eyes on-"

"Who I didn't pay!"

] "- Dressed in plaid, selling cheese..."

"For the last time, I didn't pay her!"

"You bought the cheese. That was the cost of her help. That's payment." He grinned. "You paid her!"

"I- it's not-!

Miroku laughed. "She's your present whore!"

"What about a whore?"

The boys turned to where Sango was entering, her long pony tail swaying behind her, one eyebrow raised curiously.

"Inuyasha's paying some girl from the mall to help him find a present for Kikyo", Miroku replied, his smile wide, and his girlfriend slipped onto his lap into his waiting arms.

Sango frowned. "You know, this whole perfect present thing is stupid. If she really loved you she wouldn't care-"

"That has nothing to do with it!" He insisted, sick of hearing Sango badmouth his relationship. He'd heard enough criticism about it in the past day or so anyways. Yet Sango pressed on.

"Look, Inuyasha, I know you don't want to hear it but-"

"You're right. I don't want to hear it."

"Hey, Dude." Miroku cut in, his voice warning as his trip tightened on his girlfriend just a bit. Sighing heavily she leaned back against him, resting her head wearily back against his shoulder.

"I wish you the best Inuyasha, you know that. And I really hope this works out for you. Just, remember , keep it in the back of your mind, that if something happens and this doesn't work that I've still got that friend at Takahashi High, I really think you'd like her."

He sighed. "I really like my girlfriend Sango."

Besides, he'd heard about this friend a million times. Sango was always trying to persuade him to call her, sure that he was going to fall madly in love and forget all about Kikyo. Ha! As if! No other girl, a friend of Sango's or not, was going to make him forget about what he had, or how lucky he was to have it.

And it was with that thought in mind, that he smiled extra bright as Kikyo floated through the doors, ignoring Sango's disapproving glare and kissing him full on the mouth.

"Hello Inuyasha."

"Morning Sweetheart."

She frowned a little at the nickname, finding such things demeaning. "Inuyasha-"

"I know, I'm sorry."

She just smiled one of her calm, closed-lip smiles, gorgeous as always as she patted him on the cheek. "That's alright. It's a lovely sentiment."

Behind them, Sango gagged, and Miroku could do nothing but agree.

"So what's so important that you need this damn bonus anyways?"

It was the fourth day of their quest and Kagome was yet again, dipping searching the mall for the perfect present, examining flowers, roses, chocolate and jewelry. Inuyasha was trailing along behind her, trying not to get run over and hopelessly attempting to ignore the holiday music. They'd searched about half of the mall for the past two days, tomorrow being the last one until Christmas, and tension was high. So, even though they'd spoken regularly through all of that time, she was surprised by the personal question. Most of their previous conversations had circled around trivial matters, school, friends, and some things like favorite color or food. And, of course, Kikyo. Kagome had seemed anxious to get into the girl's head, convinced that it was the key to finding the gift that would secure him her heart.

"Well, it's like this", she began, flipping aimlessly through a book, not really reading the words, just needing something to look at. "My grandfather got sick about a month ago..."


Inuyasha gulped, uncomfortable with the feelings he could see in her eyes. Though he refused to admit it, it was something more than his weakness for vulnerability. It was something more. But regardless of what he felt, the fact of the matter was that he was just plain bad with emotions. Luckily, she didn't wait for him to continue, going on with her story.

"My mom's a single mom, and we aren't exactly...financially endowed..." She put the book down, selecting another one. "But we were never bad off. We always had food on the table, a roof over out heads. We're happy. But then grandpa got sick and well... our insurance is crap, so that's money out of her pockets. I don't usually work, she wants me to focus on school, but I always get a seasonal job to pay for presents and stuff. But this year...a lot of my check is going towards food. Which would be fine, I mean, ends are meeting, and Grandpa should be released soon, in a week or two, but..."

He waited, watched her flip the book over, see the cover, before shaking her head and putting it back. When she didn't continue he urged her on a bit.


For the first time since she'd began her tale she looked up at him, struck by the intensity with which he was listening to her. He was actually, honestly, interested, and if she didn't know better she'd have said...concerned?

But that was ridiculous.

She sighed. "But it's Christmas, day after tomorrow and well...we've got nothing extra. Which means...well, no presents...I'm okay with it." She explained hurriedly, moving her hands quickly to emphasize her point. "But well...my brother... Sota's only nine. He still believes in Santa Clause, will be so disappointed... I just can't let Santa let him down."

She'd been staring him in the eye as she said this, opened herself up for him to see every emotion there, though unintentional. He'd watched the worry flicker through them, the hurt, the love. Was struck by the very tale itself.

"That bonus is $100. It wouldn't be a whole lot but it would be something. Something to make his Christmas even a tiny bit merry. He's a good kid. He deserves something. He doesn't deserve to think Santa forgot him."

They were silent for a moment before she lifted her eyes once more. His held hers for a moment before he reach out, taking the new book she was now holding and placing it on the shelf. They just stood there in silence, holding each other's gaze, the emotions still vibrating around them. Without thinking, her tongue ran across her lower lip, wetting it, relieving it from it's sudden dryness.

He wanted to say something. To assure her that the bonus would be her's, that he'd make sure she got it. To wish her grandfather a speedy recovery, or agree that her brother – no kid really- deserved that. To tell her that right now, she was perhaps the sweetest person he knew. Or the prettiest.

But then he remembered why they were here in the first place, and looked away.

"Kikyo doesn't really read."

"Oh." Her voice was soft, and maybe a little disappointed. But he chose to ignore it. Had to. "We should probably go somewhere else then."

"Yeah... Yeah, we should..."

"So, have you seen the decorations at the mall?"

Inuyasha blinked a little, slightly taken aback. Looking at Kikyo he nodded.

"Sure." He'd seen more of them than he'd like...and yet...when he looked back at the time he'd spent there, he couldn't muster up the expected distaste. He gave her a strange look. "How come."

She smiled again, all calm and mysterious. "Oh, no reason really. Just wondering."

"She was wondering something alright", Sango muttered disdainfully to Miroku, wondering how it was that her friend was this blind. Inuyasha wasn't stupid, and he certainly wasn't blind. So why was it that he couldn't see how selfish and shallow this girl was?

"So, what are we going to do for Christmas?" Kikyo asked, running her hand lightly down Inuyasha's arm.

"Be together", he replied, moving to wrap his arm around her. She drew back before he could however.

"Well yes, but aren't we going to do anything? It's our first Christmas. It should be special."

"Any time I spend with you is special", he muttered, blushing. Kikyo, though, seemed unmoved.

"Be that as it may, I do have thing to do that night. I'd like to spend a portion of it with my boyfriend but I need to know what's going on or I might not be able to make it work."

Inuyasha sighed, frowning a little at her business-like tone, bothered by the way she discussed their plans. The way she made it sound as if he should be honored to spend his time with her. As if it was some special privilege she was granting him.

Of course, it was, but still...

"I don't know, alright? I'll call you tonight and let you know."

She pursed her lips, making a little tutting sound. "Alright." Leaning in she pecked him on the lips before turning away. "I won't see you at lunch, unfortunately. I'm sitting with my friends. We have things to discuss."




"Today has to be the day. I didn't buy a shitload of cheese for nothing dammit."

"Relax." Facing him, Kagome just smiled. "I think I've finally got it figured out."

Waving for him to follow, she dashed off through the crowd, swimming through it with no problem at all, like always. Inuyasha, as always, nearly killed himself in his attempt to follow. Giggling, she reached back, grabbing his hand.

"You're so hopeless."

"Shut up."

She giggled again, but kept his hand in her's, her small palm pressing against his larger one, and he was struck by the contrast. Her's was soft and warm, enveloped in his. Her fingers were a little short, the nails worn down, but yet they still managed to be pretty and feminine.

As he was lead through the throng, he couldn't help but think of Kikyo's hands. The were model's hands, pale and fragile, with long fingers and perfectly manicured nails, always cool to the touch.

And he couldn't help but think that he preferred Kagome's warm, imperfect ones. They seemed more touchable, more...human.

"Here we are!"

He was snapped from his thoughts by the sound of her voice, melodic and joyful above the roar of the Christmas shoppers. A much more pleasant sound. Looking around, he found her leading him into a small store in the back corner of the mall.

"What is this place?"

"Magical" She replied, still smiling, pushing through the beaded curtain that replaced a door. "Come see."

The shop was dark, and yet lit at the same time, small lamps glowing on counters and Christmas lights twinkling around the roof in a way that managed to seem magical rather than obnoxious. There was Christmas music playing, he realized, but it was classical and soft. The entire place has a magical atmosphere, the very air seemed to have the illusion of smoke drifting through it, and as he watched her dance through it she reminded him of a fairy. Small and beautiful and magical...



"I found it!"


"I found it!" She cried excitedly, clutching something he couldn't see from the distance. "This is it! It has to be!"

She was smiling, bouncing on her feet, her whole face lit up in the light, all a glow. Had he called her cute once? No. She was beautiful. Gorgeous.


Crossing the store, he looked at the object she was holding out to him. It was a necklace, a thin silver chain, with a single, silver key hanging from it. The key was tastefully inset with a few small diamonds , making it sparkle and shine in the light.

"It's a key." He stated, looking at it. It was simple, only twenty-five dollars. And yet it was so feminine, so pretty...

"It's not just a key" she said softly, her eyes lit with wonder. She ran her finger delicately across the side. Turning, she looked up at him. With the key in the palm of her hand, she pressed it against his chest, on the left side. "It's the key to your heart."

It was as if all the pieces had clicked into place as he heard her whisper, saw the look in her eyes. It was soft and warm, like her tiny hand, the one that was gently resting above his heart. This was it, the prefect gift. And he owed it all to this one kind, wonderful girl.

The only problem was that it was going to his cool, perfect, girlfriend, rather than this warm, magical girl before him.

"I'm so glad we worked this out", Kikyo smiled, looking up at him. It was Christmas Eve, and the two of them were walking through the park, hand in hand. It was dark and peaceful, the air cold, snowing lightly, while the trees sparkled with glittering lights. It was perfect, and yet...

Even through mittens, even wrapped around his, her hand seemed...wrong...

"Yeah" he replied, "Me too."

"So", she looked up at him with another small smile, tugging on his hand to stop him. He obliged, and so they stood there, the scene as perfect as a movie. "This night has been wonderful, but I think I should get going."

"So soon?" A quick glance at his watch confirmed hat it had only been twenty or so minutes.

"Well, yes." When he didn't reply she smiled again, though still no teeth were shown. Come to think of it, he couldn't remember a time when he'd ever actually seen her teeth. "I've already told you, I have things to do." She reached up to pat his cheek, telling him again that, "It really has been quite wonderful though."

"I'm glad." He pulled his lips up into a smile, wondering why it was she was like this. Had she always been like this? So...condescending? Patronizing?

He wasn't sure, but if she patted his cheek one more time he was going to snap her pretty little wrist.

"So", she spoke again, her voice still calm, causing him to realize that he'd never heard her any other way. Not really. She'd been irritated, just a bit, but her voice was always so...

Cold. That was it. He'd been mistaking it for calm all this time, but that was wrong. It had been cold.

"This is the last time we'll see each other before Christmas", she pointed out.

"Yeah", he replied. "Yeah. Um...here."

Reaching into his pocket he drew out a small box, watched her pretty eyes narrow just a bit, though he didn't know that it was at the size of the box. It was tiny, wrapped in red paper with a small silver bow. Taking it from him, she delicately peeled away the paper, frowning when she saw the name on the box.

"I don't know this store."

"It's great", he replied, only to realize that he was smiling, for real, at the memory of the place. It really was an amazing place, one that he'd have to check out another time. Even if it was at the mall... Or was it something else...

Her frown turned into a sort of pretty pout, but she carefully removed the top of the small, black, box, her eyes widening just a bit at the sight.

"It's a key."

It was his turn to frown at the flat tone of her voice.

"Yeah", he replied, reaching out and removing it from the box. Holding it up, he watched it twinkle, remember the feel of it against his heart. Remember the small hand that had held it there...

"It's the key to my heart." His voice was soft as the words played trough his mind. Only in his head, they were in a different voice...

He was eager to see her accept it, wanted to be proven right. Wanted to see that she wasn't really the cold bitch he was slowly watching her become. Realizing that she had probably been all along. Wanted to see that there was some fragment of warmth in this girl before him. Reaching out, he went to hook it around her neck.

But she pulled back.

"Inuyasha it, this, key, is lovely, really it is, but, I just can't accept it."

His eyes narrowed, his hands – and the necklace- dropping.

"Why not?"

"Well, I just, I don't think this is going to work out after all."

"What do you mean."

"This dating thing, between you and me. We gave it a shot and it's been-"

Dear God...if she said it was lovely...

"-just lovely. But I think it's time we call it quits."

Patting his cheek in that way he hated, with that hand that was so cold, she smiled that joyless, toothless, smile. "Goodbye Inuyasha. Merry Christmas."

The mall was, for once, quiet, the crowd having greatly diminished. The stores were closing up, it being late at night on Christmas Eve. It was the beginning of that one day shopping lull between Christmas Eve and the after Christmas sales. The only sounds were those of the last minute Christmas stragglers, most of them heading out to their car. The Christmas lights were all off, the building lit only by the normal fluorescent ones, the only smells being the remainders hanging to the carpet, or the walls. It was almost nothing like the mall from before, and yet that wasn't the reason that Inuyasha didn't mind it. It was because tonight he had a purpose, a reason.

And maybe, just a little, because he had positive memories in these halls. The lights making her eyes sparkle, her melodic laugh trailing down these halls. She'd infected the entire place, made it better. Made it wonderful.

And he hoped she was here.

Hoped she'd gotten her Christmas bonus. No one else in that whole store deserved it more than her. Of that he was sure.

Turning the corner, he spied Chester's Farm, the pull-down gate covering the door, the lights dark. And there she stood in front of it, turning the key to keep it that way. He watched her stand, sliding the key into her pocket, before she turned to face him. When she did her eyes widened a bit, her mouth forming a small O.


"Um..yeah..." he shifted his feet a little, suddenly realizing he had no idea how to do this. Just that he'd planned to do it...

As her face lit up, her mouth blossoming into a smile, visible teeth framed by pretty, glossy, lips. "What are you doing here?"


Her smile fell. "Did you give her key?"


"The key." She arched a brow as she walked over to him, "The perfect gift key. We spent five whole days looking for it. Did you give it to her? Did it work?"


"It worked?"

For some reason she found herself unable to muster up joy at the idea. It was what she'd agreed to, the whole reason he'd spent any time with her at all...and yet... When they'd been running around the mall, talking and laughing, it had been easy to forget. She had forgotten, sometimes. It had just...

It had felt as if he was her boyfriend, running around the mall with her, like on a date or something. And eventually, she'd begun to wish that that was true. Even when she knew it wasn't...


She blinked in surprise.

"It didn't work?"

"What? Well no but...yes?"

She gave a confused little laugh that sounded like music to his ears.

"So what happened? Did it work or not?"

"Yes, I gave it to her. No, it didn't work."

"Oh, I'm so sorry." she replied, trying to force herself to sound sad. And in some way she was. She was sad that he hadn't gotten his wish. He'd wanted it so badly...wanted her...that unworthy Kikyo bitch...

"Don't be."

Okay...now she really was confused.


"It is, actually. You see, I realized something, while searching for the perfect gift."

"You can't really call it that anymore." She pointed out. "Seeing as it didn't work."

"No, it is. She's just not..."

Kagome tilted her head in that adorably cute way. But when she spoke her voice was soft, husky.

"She's not what?"

"She's just not the perfect girl."

"Wha? But I though? Than who-"

She was cut off by the feel of lips pressing firmly against her's, couldn't stop from moving her's against them. His hands were on her waist, holding her close, loving the way she felt in his arms, all warm and soft. Her arms were twined around his neck, giving him one of the many things he'd never really gotten from Kikyo.


Pulling back, he panted slightly, looking into her eyes. They were hooded, still a little dazed, but just as warm as hot cocoa, her face just as sweet. And there was emotion there. Warm ones.

Slipping his hand in his pocket, he wrapped his fingers around the key, pulled it out.

"Kagome", His voice was still soft, but it held all the emotion he was so bad at expressing. "You, you found this key. You're the one who said that it was perfect." He held it out to her, watched her eyes soften even more, heard her breath hitch. "You said...you called it the key to my heart. And if that's true, there's no one in this world who I'd rather have it than you."

"Inuyasha you..."

"Will you take it?" His tone was questioning, his eyes a little unsure , but she soon put his fear to rest.

"Of course Inuyasha", she replied, relief as well as love spreading through her chest. Of course. Of course!"

She was smiling, all but laughing as he hooked the necklace around her neck. Pulling back, he stroked his fingers across the side of her face, while her own went up to the small key around her neck. Running her fingers adoringly across the edge as she had in the shop.

"I love you." He whispered.

She smiled again.

"I love you too."

Slowly their lips met again. And again.

"Merry Christmas."