Author's Note: To all of you whom I'm sure I've royally disappointed, I apologize. I'm skipping on with this story and I promise not to end it until it truly deserves to. Cheers!

Chapter 10: The Essence of Value

Kagome frowned thoughtfully down at the display case, pondering the implications of presenting her paramour with a gift. Value was for him more of an emotive philosophy than a display of wealth; however, he was quite succinctly the well-pampered heir of a very wealthy family and everything he owned denoted his upbringing. Having studied and fought and made the connections she needed to during her school years, Kagome was well able to walk into the same stores as her paramour; but, before she could do so, she had to solve the conundrum of wanting to gift something to the one who seemed to have everything.

Having only been dating for a few weeks, she hadn't been truly confronted with that small problem quite yet. She really wanted to take it slow… but the item that had caught her eye in the window display would suit him so perfectly, she was now debating.

Watches were for males what jewelry was to females- a meaningful expression of emotion. Of course, she smiled with the memories of Sango's stories, the jewelry wasn't always a gift to make up for the boyfriend forgetting he had two brain cells to rub together. Vaguely, she wondered if Sango ever got jewelry for reasons besides Miroku trying to keep from getting brained; but, she was allowing her thoughts to digress.

Biting her lip and the subsequent proverbial bullet, she shifted her bag on her shoulder and walked into the store. The soft sound of the door closing alerted the salesman to her presence. He was young, attractive and gave her a once-over that would normally have made her blush if not for her inner debate. "Can I help you, Miss-?"

"Higurashi," she answered softly, her blue eyes flitting to the window display. She pointed. "May I see the Aktiv watch in the window display?"

He murmured something in reply, a flirtatious look in his eyes which she barely responded to with a nod of her head, her thoughts beginning to dance with nerves.
One never simply gave Sesshoumaru a gift. For any others besides his family and the closest of his friends, he wouldn't have cared; but, from her especially, he would naturally want something special. Even before, when they had just been friends, she had known that he genuinely appreciated her gifts because they were so tailored to his personality. Once, three holidays ago, she had searched the entire city before finding the particular set of engraved cufflinks she had gifted him. His laughter at the superman symbol, at the manifestation of their inside joke, had given her butterflies. When her silver-haired friend, then almost but not quite considered her best friend, had put them on immediately afterwards, the warmth in her cheeks had been telling. Naraku had given her a grin cheeky enough for a pillow to the face.

Despite the distraction posed by her second best friend, that had been the first time she had acknowledged that she was falling for Sesshoumaru. It was possible that he had been falling for her back then too. Of course, neither of them would ever know for sure and, now, she really needed to decide whether or not she was going to let herself step up the stakes of their relationship with such a gift.

She was still afraid in some small way that this was all a dream and that it wouldn't last. The first time they had been separated, unintentional as it had been on his part, had put her into a depression for months. This time, she knew, that if they broke up, she would be down for the count a lot longer. Still though, she trusted him more than she did not; and, she knew that he would never betray her trust in the same way again.

In that sense, she was free to buy him expensive gifts and not have them be misconstrued as over-commitment too soon. The remaining issue was simply that her paramour was incredibly picky and her gift would be doubling as a gift of emotion.

She sighed as the salesman presented her the watch over a swath of black fabric. No pressure, right? Not to mention, she was giving him a very personalized item. She wasn't even sure he would wear it since he had never taken off the watch his parents had given him for his journey to college.

Sleek, black, metal-links and a simple, silver-outlined face. It was a sexy watch and it definitely suited his personality and taste. Her pulse began to beat nervously as she fingered the item, blue eyes narrowing as she wondered if it was worth the risk so early on in their newly-defined relationship.

She remembered his laughter so long ago, his pleasure at her thoughtfulness and smiled involuntarily. The salesman smiled back.

"I'll take it wrapped please."

She hoped he liked it.

...

Sesshoumaru stopped midstride before eying the piece in the window display. I'll call you back, Naraku."

"What? Why?" his friend whined, half-way through regaling the silver-haired male with the tale of his wondrous date with the red-eyed wind demoness.

"I'm at Cartier's," he replied, knowing exactly what conclusion his best friend would come to and anticipating the reaction with more than a little wicked glee. Appreciating the theatrical gasp on the other end, the silver-haired Taiyoukai studied the jewelry in the window with a careful eye. They would have to take one of the links out, he mused as Naraku sputtered in his ear. She had the smallest, most delicate wrists he had ever seen on a woman.

"Wait. You're buying her a diamond?" A pause, something was dropped on the other end and Sesshoumaru's smirk widened just a touch. "Already?! Wait a second there-"

Click.

He hung up as he walked into the store, knowing he was one of the few people who could get away with hanging up on one of Japan's leading financial consultants. His friend was going to murder him for letting him think the daiyoukai was buying the diamond.

He was met at the door by a perky, young jeweler, blonde-haired, green-eyed and professionally-reserved smile. "Taisho-sama, how may I be of service today?"

"I would like to see the yellow diamond bracelet in the window display." He put his briefcase down at a random counter and called his driver to tell him of the delay.

The head jeweler, himself, returned within moments, placing the whole set before the Western Heir with a charming, borderline-unctuous smile. "Would you like to go into our relaxation lounge, Taisho-sama. I apologize it wasn't offered to you earlier."

He raised an eyebrow. "No, this will be fine. I will need," he picked up the piece and eyed it closely, "two of the links taken out and, perhaps, a special wrapping. My family colors, if you would. My driver will pick up the piece later this evening by 5 pm."

"Of course, Taisho-sama. Kelly will ring you up and I will go see to the bracelet immediately. If I may, this is a beautiful piece. Shall I reserve the rest in case you would care to expand this gift at a later date?" The jeweler was already setting the selected piece on a new piece of velvet.

Sesshoumaru paused and glanced at the unique color of the stone. "Yes, please. Thank you."

He would need them reserved, for later. After all, this was only the first of his courting gifts.

...

Author's Note: This story is baaaack! It won't be for much longer. I'm ending it at 15 chapters. I'm also thinking of bringing Rin back just for the sake of some ridiculous, Kardashian-style drama… then again, maybe not. Whatchu think?