Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for this absurd adventure... especially for the unlucky one. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess.

Chapter 55: Fine Mess

"Spawning?" Kagome asked, looking into the water. "As in... fish and frogs?"

"As in imps," Kouga corrected. "That pampered dog has it made. Talk about making the most of a natural resource!"

The young woman giggled softly and dipped her fingers into the pool. "Aww! Some of them are teensy!"

"Careful!" he exclaimed sharply.

Kagome immediately drew back and asked, "Are they dangerous? They don't look dangerous. After all, they're just babies!"

"Nah, they're not dangerous," he grumbled. "But you shouldn't underestimate youkai! It'll be all kinds of trouble if one of these pesky buggers..."

"Aren't you the cutest little fellow?" Kagome crooned, completely ignoring him in favor of addressing an itty-bitty imp who'd popped up for a closer look.

To Kouga's horror, she held out her hand to the little green youkai, who reached back with a three delicate fingers. Before he could so much as draw breath, contact was made. "Put it back! Put it back!" he exclaimed, hauling her back from the water's edge.

"What do you mean? I didn't take him!"

"We should be so lucky," he snapped, resolving to skip to the important bits first in future.

As he hustled her away, she protested, "Did you see how tame he was? He wouldn't have hurt a fly... erm... unless they eat flies?"

He shoved her behind the first available cover and crowded in after her. "You are more trouble than a pack of adolescent males in springtime," he hissed. She tried to argue, but he clamped his hand over her mouth and growled, "Not. Now."

A soft patter turned both their heads, and they held their breath as a tiny imp toddled along the path between pools, whimpering and wringing his hands. "Damn," Kouga swore, letting his head hit the rock. "Too late."

End Note: This chapter was written for the Live Journal community fanfic(underscore)bakeoff and their Secret Ingredient for January 2012—Delicate. Posted on January 29, 2012. 298 words.