Shippo twiddled his thumbs as he waited for his favorite target to arrive home in Kaede's village. His eyes wandered up to the sky as he let out a sigh. A few days had passed since Kagome and Inuyasha left to take care of an infestation of demonic ants. Unlike their smaller, annoying non-demonic counterparts, demonic ants were much more invasive and had a penchant for damaging crops when they were not making weakened humans violently ill with their toxic bites.

Over the horizon, a pair of figures approached, making Shippo jump with glee.

'Finally!'

Shippo dashed and leapt into Kagome's warm embrace, letting out a shrill, "Kagome! You're back!"

Kagome let out a giggle as she ruffled the fox demon's hair, "Hi there, Shippo!"

"You're back awfully early," Inuyasha remarked, with an eyebrow raised. "We weren't expecting you to visit this soon."

Shippo gave a victorious smirk and half-closed eyelids as he jumped out of Kagome's arms and onto the ground, twitching his tail a bit. The grass and twigs crunched a bit under his tiny paw-esque feet.

"I ranked up a lot sooner than I expected," Shippo said as he crossed his arms behind his head. "And it is all thanks to a little trick I have been experimenting with. Want to see it?"

"Sure," Kagome said with a warm smile.

Shippo moved his right arm behind his back and coughed into his left hand as he waltzed up to Inuyasha. Inuyasha slowly backed away, knowing exactly who the fox demon wanted to use as his guinea pig. The half demon's eyes narrowed completely as soon as Shippo backed him into a tree. With a devious smile, Shippo pulled out a jizo statue and presented it to his target with eyes twinkling with audacity.

"Oh hell no!" Inuyasha growled. "I am not falling for that trick again!"

Inuyasha's hand flew over the jizo statue and grasped Shippo's hair. That one action, however, only made Shippo's grin grow even larger. In a puff of smoke, Shippo turned into a jizo statue and the former jizo statue turned into Shippo. Shippo blew a raspberry and slapped a sutra that was infused with fox magic onto Inuyasha's hand. Inuyasha's eyes grew wide with shock as he tried to pry his hand off the jizo statue.

Kagome could not help but snicker a little at the predicament. It reminded her of the time that she and Inuyasha had first met the little fox demon child.

'I can't believe that it was so long ago,' Kagome thought. 'So much has changed since those days.'

"SHIPPO!" Inuyasha shouted as he fought with the demonic sutra and the jizo statue. "You little runt! Get this damn thing off of me!"

"Only if you promise not to hit me," Shippo said with a smirk.

"Fine."

Shippo ripped off the sutra. In a puff of smoke, the jizo statue shrunk down to the size of a small shogi piece. The child scooped up the tiny jizo statue and pocketed it. As soon as Shippo's prank was cleaned up, Inuyasha's clawed hand was wrapped around Shippo's tail. Shippo was quickly yanked upwards and Inuyasha shook the boy with much vigor. Shippo let out sickly moans as he looked up at the half demon.

"What?" Inuyasha said in a low, unamused tone. "I promised not to hit you."

"Inuyasha, you should put Shippo down," Kagome said as she put her hands on her hips. "Shaking him was uncalled for. Besides, he did ask politely."

Inuyasha sighed and set Shippo down on the ground gently and crossed his arms.

'Then again,' Kagome thought. 'Not much has changed since then, either.'