A/N: This is a dark fairy tale. Many of the elements for this story were adapted from Celtic and Welsh Folklore. This is not Disney people.

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.

Hunter's Moon


A sallow, bloated Hunter's moon rode low over the naked autumn branches. The air was cold, and frost painted the fallen leaves. Inuyasha waited, every muscle tense. It was Samhain, and the Wild Hunt would ride tonight for the last time before winter banished the Sidhe back to their own lands.

The blare of a horn cut through the silence as Arawn, Lord of the Hunt, called his hounds and vassals to him.

The horn called to the dog in Inuyasha's blood, and the heavy golden collar around his neck drew him like a tug on a leash. He fought it, as he always fought it; and he lost, as he always lost. The blood lust grew in him, the killing haze clouded his thoughts so the man in him was locked away and only the beast remained.

When the horn's second blast echoed through the forest, Inuyasha ran, becoming a blur of red and white in the cold darkness. His fogged mind screamed in protest, but the rest of him was beyond caring. He was powerful. He was quick. He was deadly. He was one of the last White Dogs, and the Wild Hunt was summoned.

The Sidhe swept onto the moors in a silent tide. The Bright Folk rode on horses decked in silver and starlight, their armor gleaming in the moon's sickly orange glow. The UnSeelie appeared in shadows, blue skinned and deformed, their dark Queen a morbid spectacle wearing a crown of bird bones. The Small Folk gamboled about in merry revelry, gnomes and hobs and peskies armed with elf-shot. And the dogs. There were Black Dogs from the south, slavering monsters with red ears and eyes like embers. There were Gold Dogs, slim coursers with long slender legs and narrow jaws. There was one White Dog, a majestic creature the size of a warhorse, with long, silky fur and a blue crescent moon on his forehead. And there was Inuyasha. The other dogs made way for him as he entered their ranks, except the White, who bared his teeth in challenge. Inuyasha bared his own fangs at his half- brother, unwilling to roll over.

A whip crack ended their quarrel. The Lord Arawn frowned at the brothers, and Inuyasha whimpered as the collar around his neck flared and pain laced his nerves. Sesshomaru did not escape either. The proud White Dog was forced to show his belly to his master. After a long moment, the Hunter's expression relaxed, and the punishment ended.

The Lord watched as the Wild Hunt gathered. Inuyasha watched his master, waiting for the horn to sound a third time and start the Hunt. The part of him that hated the Hunter and the Wild Hunt, and the collar he wore had retreated to a small, wailing voice in the back of his head, which was easily ignored. He wanted to give chase now, and to taste blood. His instincts were louder than that tiny voice. He needed to kill. The rest of the pack was as anxious as him. The gathering Sidhe were no better.

Lord Arawn smiled and lifted the horn to his thin lips. For a third time the horn's call sounded out.

The hounds were the first to move, faster even than the faerie horses that followed them. The Gold Dogs ran as though their feet had wings. The Black Dogs trampled everything in their path. The White Dog moved like a ghost for all his mass, pale hair making streamers behind him. Inuyasha ran like a man, but as fast as the dogs, each stride devouring the ground while his sensitive nose searched for a scent. Any scent would do, so long as it belonged to something alive and foolish enough to be out while the Wild Hunt rode. The Hunt divided, splitting into groups behind the Dogs, waiting for them to flush out some game.

Inuyasha heard baying far to his left, but he didn't bother with it. Whatever it was would be dead long before he could reach it. He would find his own kill. The Black Dogs had already fallen behind, and the Gold Dogs lacked the strength to bring down their own quarry. His brother was his only real rival tonight, once he found a trail.

When he caught something on the wind, he howled. He smelled a human. His claws itched to rip it open. His mouth watered at the thought of fresh meat. That little part of his brain that hid from this protested. 'Do not,' it seemed to plead with him. 'I know that scent.' He couldn't deny the power of the horn, though, and he pushed that part of himself down ruthlessly. He had to hurry. If he did not, someone else would beat him to his prey.

He sprinted toward the scent, hounds and riders loosing ground behind him as he rushed lightly over the moor, then back into the trees of the forest. Dodging around oak trunks and through undergrowth, he ran.

He bounded over a fallen log and came upon his pray standing alone in a small clearing. She was a tall young woman, with long dark hair gathered into a tail at the nape of her neck. Her fair skin shone in the moonlight, and her dark eyes were fixed on him, horror in their black depths.

Inuyasha growled, yet he did not move closer. He could hear the Hunt behind him, closing the distance he'd gained, but that voice was struggling again, begging with him, pleading. 'No,' it implored him. 'No, it's Kikyo. Kikyo.' That name gave him pause. It made the voice fight to rein in the blood lust that drove him. The effort made him shake. His muscles knotted, his claws flexed, his nostrils flared with her warm, living scent, but he stayed where he was, locked in his internal conflict. 'Kikyo,' the voice repeated, and he tried with all his might to hold onto that name. That name was all that stood between him and killing the pale, shocked girl before him.

"Inu. . .yasha. . ." the girl whispered. "Inuyasha," louder, and she took a step in his direction.

The Gold Dogs raced out of the brush, pink tongues lolling. They leapt for the woman, tearing her skirt, drawing blood on her arm.

"No!" Inuyasha screamed, and attacked the Dogs. The first one died instantly on his claws. The others shied from him, tails between their legs, whimpering and cowering in submission. He screamed again wordlessly and swiped at the hounds. They darted away, knowing that they were no match for him.

"Inuyasha," the woman said, and laid a tentative hand on his shoulder. He whirled to face her, and she cringed. "Inuyasha," she repeated. The name seemed to strengthen that little voice. His trembling eased, though he was still panting with the strain of controlling his instincts.

The first of the riders came on him then, fair, pale haired Sidhe on blowing steeds. Inuyasha snarled at them, eyes traveling from one hard face to another. A few of them lowered spears, but none attacked. Even these proud, haughty Sidhe hesitated to kill one of the Hunter Lord's favored Dogs.

Then the Lord himself manifested among the trees, his antlered silhouette shaping out of the night bound forest. At the sight of him, Inuyasha felt the weight of the collar he wore more acutely. He could feel the tug of his master pulling him to heel. He pulled away from it with all his strength, growling and showing his teeth. 'I am not just a dog, damn it,' his mind screamed, struggling to shape the part of him that was man out of the animal.

Lord Arawn frowned, and the collar came to life.

Inuyasha fell to his knees as agony like he hadn't known in decades filled him. Fire raced through he veins, as though his very blood were a poison. His heart hammered painfully in his chest, each beat bringing with it another torture. His body betrayed itself, muscles and sinew drawing taut and threatening to snap his bones between them. He tried to scream, but his lungs would not draw air. The edges of his vision turned red, then dissolved into black.

The pain left as quickly as it came, leaving Inuyasha on his hands and knees bathed in sweat, with shameful tears running down his face. He panted weakly, willing his body not to collapse.

"Inuyasha," the Hunter said, and again he felt the invisible leash pulling him. Too weak to fight again, he rose to his feet and staggered toward the Hunter. When he reached his master, he slumped against the horse's side, unable even to stand. One of Lord Arawn's hands snaked down to scratch Inuyasha's ear with disgusting familiarity. The man in him wanted to retch at that touch, but the treacherous dog was glad for this sign that his master might have forgiven him. Somewhere in the middle, Inuyasha felt himself falter.

Without his protection, the young woman was defenseless. The Gold Dogs were the first to approach, tentatively stepping up to her, lips curled. A Black growled menacingly. Then a cheer went up among the Sidhe as they readied their weapons for the kill.

The Hunter's whip cracked across the shoulders of a Gold Dog, and once again the woman was left alone in the clearing. Inuyasha closed his eyes and begged silently, 'No.' But the unspoken command was already there, and his senses once again were swimming with the sick thrill of blood lust. He opened his eyes to see Kikyo watching him. Her hurt and her fear were written plainly on her face and in her scent.

Inuyasha swayed away from the body of his master's horse, and stood on legs that could barely hold him. In the corner of his mind that he held against the murk that twisted his brain, he prayed, 'Trust me.'

Kikyo swallowed hard, her terrified gaze shifting from Inuyasha, to Lord Arawn, and back again. She licked her lips, and he heard her pulse become irregular. For a lingering moment, she stood still as a statue, then the moment shattered, and she ran.

The instinct to give chase drowned everything else. Even without the Wild Hunt, he was a White Dog, and the chase was laid down in the blood and bones of his kind. When she ran, he ran after her. The woman tore through brambles, tripped and stumbled on. Inuyasha's need gave him strength, reviving his tired limbs.

He leapt at her, and his claws sank into the flesh of her shoulder. His other hand ended her life before she could even cry out, ripping out her throat. He caught her body as it slumped back against him, her dead eyes gazing back at him eerily. Almost tenderly, Inuyasha leaned forward to lap the blood from her torn neck.


A/N: I warned you this would be a dark fairy tale. What did you think?

This idea just came to me when I was trying to remember a Welsh story about the Wild Hunt (I never did remember the story and I can't remember where I read it in the first place), and my muse wouldn't let me sleep until I wrote it.

I hate my muse.

Anyway, I am still writing "Synthetic Emotions," and if there is no interest in this story, I will probably either stop writing it all together or save it for a rainy day. As I live in Oregon, there are a lot of rainy days. So review and tell me if you want to see more of this.

Thanks for reading!