Sesshoumaru looked up from where he was seated at the kitchen table, tearing his attention away from the newspaper as Kagome walked through the open glass sliding doors, carrying a dusty cardboard box that looked as though it would fall apart at any moment.

He realized she'd been digging through the storage shed in their back yard again. Curious as to what she'd brought back to the surface this time, he gave her a quizzical look as she used her arm to wipe the sweat off her brow and grinned at him.

"Are you sure you want to know what's in the box?"

He considered her question for a moment, and then made up his mind. What could possibly be in the box that had any chance of doing him harm? "Yes, Kagome, this Sesshoumaru would like to know what is in the box."

"Well, alright. You asked for it." She swiped at the dust, albeit pointlessly, and opened the box. Giving him another grin, she pulled out a terribly familiar pair of hakama, followed by the matching haori, both of which were a vibrant red.

Kagome had to laugh as Sesshoumaru sat there, dumbfounded. "You'd forgotten I'd kept Inuyasha's things, hadn't you?"

He gave an indignant sniff and fixed Kagome with an icy glare. "Evidently I had. Would you care to explain to this Sesshoumaru just what you are doing with the half-breed's old clothing?"

"Don't be so mean, he's still your brother after all," Kagome scolded him. "Besides, it's not his clothing I'm after."

"Then just what are you after?

She just grinned, and started unpacking the box. "That's for me to know, and for you to find out."

Sesshoumaru couldn't deny it; she had piqued his curiosity. He gave a little huff and she shot a knowing smile at him; he would just have to wait and see.

Folding the Fire-Rat garments carefully, she laid them on the table and turned her attention back to the box. Out came Tetsuiga, a lock of Inuyasha's hair tied with a red ribbon, a few polaroid pictures of the hanyou and Kagome together (Sesshoumaru had the slightest urge to destroy the photos when he saw them), one of Inuyasha's fangs contained in the small glass jar she had worn around her neck while searching for the shards. Countless mementos of her time with Inuyasha came out of the depths of that dusty old box, the pile on the table growing larger and larger, until Kagome suddenly froze as she found something at the very bottom of the box. Grinning like the Cheshire cat, she gave him a sly look from under her eyelashes.

Sesshoumaru found the look rather discomfiting; he knew what it meant. Kagome was Up To Something.

He narrowed his eyes at her, and his voice came out as a low growl. "Kagome…what did you find?"

She didn't answer him; she just kept grinning. Which, of course, infuriated Sesshoumaru.

"Kagome, you will tell this Sesshoumaru, this instant, exactly what it is you have in your hands. I will give you to the count of three, at which point I will proceed to destroy everything you've just pulled out of that box if you haven't handed your newfound treasure over to me."

It was Kagome's turn to glare. "You're evil. You know that? Pure evil."

"One."

In fact, I bet that when your mother went for fetal scans, they all came back with readings of "100% Evil."

"Two."

"Satan spawn."

"Three."

Kagome saw she was fighting a losing battle. "Okay, okay! Here. Take it." She tossed her find at him, half hoping he would fumble and lose them; but of course, no such luck.

Sesshoumaru stared at Kagome, and then back to the item in his hands.

"Inuyasha's subjugation beads?" Now he knew why she had been so reluctant to hand them over.

She huffed, rolling her eyes at Sesshoumaru and holding her hand out. "Yes, Inuyasha's subjugation beads. Now, may I have them back please?"

"Certainly not. This Sesshoumaru has no idea what would make you think that I would simply hand over such a degrading tool for you to use as you see fit, but I can assure you that it simply will not happen."

Kagome rolled her eyes at him again. "Oh please, like they'd still even work. It's been five hundred years, and we're in the middle of a busy city, which, as you know, puts a huge damper on any kind of magic. You have nothing to fear, believe me."

She sincerely hoped he wasn't paying too much attention to her scent at the moment; he'd pick up on her lie with ease. She needed those beads! Even 500 years in the future, she could still feel power contained within the beads, and knew that they would still serve their purpose.

She almost crowed with victory when he tossed them back to her. "Fine; this Sesshoumaru will take your word on the matter." He gave her a wary look before turning back to the business section of his newspaper.

Kagome pocketed the beads, and began packing away the rest of Inuyasha's things. As she lifted the box and started walking towards the storage shed to return it, she began to scheme.

xxx

Sesshoumaru gave a content sigh and sank lower into the steaming water of his bath. It was one of the few things he truly enjoyed, and made sure he got a bath in every night after dinner. Sometimes Kagome would join him in the massive tub, and he always loved it when she did. Oh, the things that woman could do with her tongue…

As he closed his eyes and started remembering a few particularly enjoyable bath time encounters with Kagome, he heard the bathroom door open and close, followed by the sounds of his mate undressing.

He kept his eyes closed as she climbed into the tub with him, knowing what was coming next; at least, he thought he did.

She straddled him, kissing him and wrapping her arms around his neck, and grinding against him. It was enough to bring him to distraction, which was exactly what Kagome had been counting on.

Before he knew what had happened, she had slipped had the subjugation beads over his head, and Kagome had shot out of the bathtub. He opened his eyes in disbelief and watched as she grabbed her towel from the counter and ran downstairs, laughing madly the whole time.

Frantically, he tried to slip them back over his head — to no avail. Letting out a feral snarl, he jumped out of the tub and ran downstairs after her, not bothering to grab a towel for himself.

Thus, he found himself in the backyard, very angry, very naked, and yelling at a very amused Kagome, whilst his very scandalized neighbors rushed their children back inside the house.

"Take them off this instant! This Sesshoumaru commands it!"

All she could do was giggle. "I don't think you're in much of a position to make demands, love."

He growled at her, and slowly started to advance.

Seeing this just made her smile evilly. "Do it Sesshoumaru. I dare you."

This gave him pause. Something in her eyes… he knew something would happen. Something humiliating, and tortuous, and bad. But what? What happened? Why couldn't he for the life of him remember? He used to take such joy in seeing it happen to InuYasha… what was it? Sighing, he pushed it from his mind; it was of no matter. He would deal with the humiliation later. He just needed the damn beads off!

Sesshoumaru made the mistake of leaping towards her.

"Sesshoumaru, SIT!"

As he contemplated this new development from the bottom of the Sesshoumaru-shaped crater he now resided at the bottom of, all he could think of was how much the little miko was going to torture him with the damn beads.

He knew, without a doubt, they wouldn't be coming off for a very long time.