Kagome stormed through the trees, one fist clenched, the other stopped only by a neatly wrapped box that was slowly being crushed. "Stupid jerk," she fumed, raising her free hand to dash away the angry tears that stung her eyes. She was not crying because she was sad. Who would be sad over that dumbass anyway?
A strangled scream of fury hissed between her teeth and she plopped down on an overturned tree, kicking her legs out in front of her. For good measure, she stamped on the ground a few dozen times. She flung the crumpled box across the small clearing, glad as it bounced off a tree. She wouldn't care if it caught fire and burned to ash; really she wouldn't.
She didn't notice the hand that scooped up the crushed mess, nor did she hear the soft footsteps that came towards her, crunching in the snow. She was taken quite by surprise when the voice addressed her.
"What are you doing here, woman?"
She glanced up, her face set in a hard glare that was soon softened by shock. "Sesshomaru?" She sniffed then crossed her arms, looking away. "I'm being mad at your stupid brother, not that it's any of your business."
"I highly doubt that disgusting half-breed is in this box."
It wasn't meant to be funny, but Kagome snorted nonetheless. "Geez, don't I wish. No, we humans tend to take it out on objects when we can't beat the living daylights out of the person who pisses us off."
Sesshomaru stood silently for a moment, musing to himself. "How foolhardy," he said finally, his voice bored.
"Dealing with fools can have that effect on a person." She rolled her eyes to the side when she felt Sesshomaru sit beside her. That alone surprised her and made her wary.
"This box was meant to be a gift?"
Kagome hesitated, but decided that any company that wasn't Inuyasha was good company. "Of sorts. They're chocolates; go ahead and have 'em if you want…can dog youkai even eat chocolate?"
"What are chocolates?" She felt his curious stare boring a hole in the side of her head.
She sighed. "A type of candy; that's a sweet food that came from west of the continent."
"I see. Why would you give such a thing as a gift?"
She blushed, looking fixedly in the opposite direction. "There's a festival in my country, okay? During this festival, you give chocolates to the people you care about."
Sesshomaru was silent, mulling over this strange information. Humans were such odd creatures. His nose twitched as he picked up the scent of Kagome's discomfort at the stretched silence. "What kind of birds are these?"
"Birds?" Kagome turned, thoroughly confused. Her eyes followed his clawed finger that was pointing at the patterned ribbon that barely held the chocolate box together. "Oh, those aren't birds. They're hearts!"
He raised an eyebrow, wondering about her sanity. "Hearts?" They certainly didn't look like any heart he'd ever seen.
"Yeah. That's another thing people give each other during this festival."
Odd. "What does this festival celebrate?" It sounded more like something youkai would partake in, seeing as how eating hearts was involved. He wondered why she seemed so keen on it. Her scent spiked and he looked at her curiously.
"Well…um….it celebrates…you see, it's all about….well, love and stuff." Kagome's face flamed. Number one on her recently revised list of things she never expected to do: explain the concepts of Valentine's Day to Sesshomaru. "Mates give each other all these romantic gifts that represent how they feel."
"That seems rather pointless," he criticized.
Again she snickered. "Most men think so, too. But we women love it…" she paused, drawing her knees to her chest. "…unless we're alone."
A lesser male would have recoiled and fled at the signs of Kagome's welling tears, and Sesshomaru considered letting his pride suffer that blow, but ultimately remained sitting, staring at her in silence.
The woman sniffled a few times before composing herself, rubbing her eyes and glancing at him. "But you don't care about stupid human stuff like that, do you? If you're looking to fight Inuyasha, he's that way." She pointed to the trail of demolished snow that marked her path. "I hope you cut his stupid head off."
Sesshomaru's eyes widened at that. Despite Inuyasha's insensitivities towards her, the woman had always sided with the hanyou against him. Her suddenly putting her support behind him meant his idiot brother had seriously offended the human. Some deep, restrained part of him growled at the displeasure of that. "I am well aware of where that half-breed is, woman," he answered boredly.
Kagome slumped, resting her chin on her knees, glowering at the ground. "Yeah? Then why'd you come here? If you were gonna kill me to get to Inuyasha, I hate to break it to you, but he doesn't care."
The youkai chuckled faintly. She didn't know how wrong she was, but it was no business of his to correct her. He caught her staring at him, her eyes bugging out of her head. She was probably surprised by his laughter, though it had only been one note. "I did not come to kill you, woman. The scent of anger intrigued me."
"That's pretty sadistic."
Sesshomaru rumbled, staring into the forest. "I cannot change what interests me, woman."
"Honestly! Do all the men in your family have issues using people's names?"
The sudden mood swing caused Sesshomaru to blink. "I do not know your name," he admitted after a long silence.
"Please, that jerk shouts it all the time whenever I try to help him when you, you know, attack us."
"And why would I have reason to listen to anything that trash spews out of his mouth?"
Kagome laughed again, the sound more genuine this time. "You do have a point, I suppose." She held her hand out in front of her. "Then allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kagome." Golden eyes stared at the proffered hand, the mind behind them wondering if the cold was affecting the woman's sanity. "You're supposed to shake it," she said finally, exasperation in her voice. Ignoring all sense of personal space, she reached across his body, grabbing his hand.
He noticed a light flare of color bridge her cheeks together as her small hand was swallowed in his palm and his eyebrow arched as she pumped their arms up and down, her sudden nervousness jarring her movements. "What was the purpose of that?" he questioned when she freed herself from his loose grasp.
"It's a way to say hello."
"Why not just say it?"
"Oh, I don't know! Geez, you sure do ask a lot of questions. I think I'd've preferred it if you had intended to kill me. Then I'd be out of my misery instead of running circles through it."
"Don't be absurd." Instantly, he knew it was the wrong thing to say.
"Listen, you. I'll be as absurd as I want to! I'll be as stupid as I want! Because that's obviously what I am for thinking dogs could understand how I feel, let alone care. Why don't you just go away so I can be alone all by my self?" Kagome plopped herself back on the log as her rant fell silent, turning so that her back was to Sesshomaru. Her anger cooled instantly when she felt him rise, the traces of his youki moving away from her. "Wait! Sesshomaru, I didn't mean it. Please come back!" Even if it was spent trashing Inuyasha with his ice-sculpture brother, she didn't want to spend Valentine's Day alone. Especially not in the middle of a snowed-in forest in the demon-infested Feudal Era. She curled in on herself, hiding her face in her arms. "Boy, you really are stupid, Kagome."
Kagome shivered, staring balefully at the rising moon. It's light was weak and only served to deepen the gloom of the dormant woods. A light dusting of snow was falling again, threatening to cover up her path back to her friends. She sighed. Stupid Inuyasha still hadn't come to find her and Sesshomaru hadn't returned. Not that she'd been expecting the latter after insulting him like she had. Still, did he have to be a complete jerk about it? "Stupid dogs," she muttered, cursing both brothers in her mind. "If I freeze, it'll be their fault."
"And you would be, in no way, to blame?"
She jumped at the sudden closeness of the voice, smacking her mind against a subconscious brick wall for allowing her senses to be so dull by her emotions. A thick fur settled around her shoulders and she wrapped it close to her body greedily, relishing the warmth. "You came back," she noted. "Let me guess. 'The scent of anger intrigued you'."
"You do a horrible imitation of my voice, Kagome." Sesshomaru sat beside her once more, closer than before so that his mokomoko would cover her completely. "And it was my intention to return from the start. I did not anticipate the difficulty, however."
"Difficulty?" Her voice was skeptical, eyeing the elegant demon warily. As far as she'd seen, nothing was difficult for him. She gasped as he held out a gift, clumsily wrapped in fine silk. Hesitantly, she took it, surprised to find that it was warm. "You got me something? It's not going to spray deadly poison in my face, is it?"
Sesshomaru cocked an eyebrow. "If my intention were to kill you, I would do it outright."
"Of course you would." Her doubt appeased, she gently peeled back the folds of silk to expose her unexpected gift. As the cloth fell open, her face paled and it took all of her willpower and then some not to throw it in the air and run screaming. An actual, honest-to-goodness, still-beating (occasionally) heart sat in the palms of her hands, holding her horrified gaze. "Thank you," she mouthed weakly, her body too paralyzed to make the accompanying sounds. Her head turned like a rusty sprinkler, bringing her around to face Sesshomaru's stoic expression that held a deeper smoulder than usual. "It's, um...great," she squeaked, ending in a weak chuckle.
"I do not understand this festival of yours, nor why humans would exchange hearts, but it seemed important to you. I was compelled to fulfill your wish for one. I trust it will suffice?"
Kagome's own heart skipped a beat and she returned her gaze to her gift, all her horror melting away. Suddenly, it was the sweetest, most disgusting thing in the world. "It's perfect," she assured, holding it against her chest, ignoring the blood that smeared on her blouse. "Thank you, Sesshomaru." Smiling, she leaned against the demon lord, all thoughts about stupid, insensitive hanyous fleeing in the face of her new, slightly morbid, happiness.
Sesshomaru simply rumbled in dismissal, letting the human woman settle comfortably against his side, smiling slightly at the falling snow when she wasn't looking.