1. Life Lesson by SakuraRyuu
Nature's first green is gold,/Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower/But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf./So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day./Nothing Gold can stay.
- Robert Frost
Kagome leaned her head back against the tree in frustration. Just about that time Shippou came streaking through the campsite, jumping over the campfire with InuYasha hot on his heels. For reasons she wasn't quite sure she wanted to know about, Shippou was muddy and InuYasha soaked. She couldn't help but laugh. The kit sure did keep InuYasha on his toes.
About that time Shippou took a sharp right and lunged straight at Kagome. If she hadn't been seated against the tree he would have knocked her down.
"Kagome!" Shippou wailed. "InuYasha's being mean!"
"Keh?!" the hanyou bellowed. "Don't you listen to him, Kagome! I was leaned over the stream trying to get a drink and this muddy runt jumped on my head, causing me to fall in!"
"Kagome, it was a joke! I didn't think he'd get so mad," the kit whined as Kagome was trying unsuccessfully to keep herself from getting muddy.
"Shippou, I know what you did. Do you think I wouldn't figure out why you're muddy? You hid in the mud at the stream so InuYasha couldn't see or smell you and when he least expected it you jumped on his head making him fall in the stream. Right?"
The kit looked ashamed.
"Those kinds of jokes aren't funny, Shippou, they're mean. You won't be a kit forever. One day you're going to grow up and have to take responsibility for your actions."
"I'm sorry, Kagome," Shippou said.
Kagome sat Shippou on the group and nudged him toward InuYasha. "You know what you need to do, Shippou."
As Shippou walked over to where InuYasha stood trying to shake the water off, Kagome watched him muster his courage to apologize. She knew this was the best time of the young kit's life. He would one day grow up, no longer being able to sneak around and trick InuYasha, being too big to hold or to cuddle with in her sleeping bag at night. Kagome turned to refocus on her homework, thinking back over her poem. Smiling a warm smile she realized the little scene that had just unfolded was more than an unnecessary distraction. She had been taught a sobering lesson: nothing gold can stay.
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