Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha or any of the other cool characters in this story.

Spoilers: Up to volume 29 in the manga. If I get some feedback in favor of it, I'll post a brief summary of what has happened recently in the manga that is relevant in this story.

*Rating has gone up! Rated for blood, violence, some torture, and swearing.

Chapter 1: Distraction

The sun strained through the thick canopy of leaves to leave a scattered pattern of light on the strange group walking through the forest. A young girl was running breathlessly and grinning, weaving in and out between a large two-headed dragon and a disgruntled looking toad youkai no taller than she. Jaken muttered under his breath as they walked, mostly cursing Rin's reckless cheerfulness. He was still disgusted that a human was allowed to travel with them, but by now knew better to question his master. The demon lord seemingly acted on whim, or at least he had never bothered to share his motives with his servant.

The stoic white figure leading the three halted abruptly. Jaken stumbled and flailed his arms to avoid hitting his master. "Sesshoumaru-sama…?" he questioned when he had regained his balance.

Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed slightly as he tilted his head in response to something his companions could not sense. Briefly his eyes glazed with a feral red glint. "Naraku," he growled. 'Why has he leaked his sent this time? I am tired of the hanyou's schemes. I will kill him this time, no matter what he has planned.' "Rin," he said, turning his attention to the small girl, "stay here with Jaken and behave."

"Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama," chirped Rin, who had managed to hold still during the youkai's analysis.

Sesshoumaru fired a cold glare at his retainer. "Jaken." The toad youkai gulped, well aware of the command and the threat that the word held. If anything ever happened to the small girl, Jaken was certain that Sesshoumaru would not hesitate to kill him, no matter how long he had served him. Without another word, the Lord of the Western lands disappeared in a white blur into the woods and in an eyeblink was out of sight.

Inuyasha stood under the eaves of Kaede's hut, staring out at the drizzle. "You should really be more patient, my friend," said a voice coming from the doorway.

"Keh," Inuyasha snorted, "What are you talking about Bouzu?" Miroku grinned and pointed to his crossed arms where his claws were furiously drumming against his arms. Immediately he stopped to glare at the monk.

Miroku, by now used to his defensive nature, just came out and leaned against the wall next to the hanyou. "When's she coming back?"

Inuyasha's features softened immediately. "Today. She said she'd come after that test thing of hers. I should go meet her." He hadn't meant to say that last line out loud, though it was clearly in his thoughts and he fully intended to act on it.

Miroku's voice took on a more serious tone. "Inuyasha, it is not your fault that Naraku kidnapped Kagome. If it had not been for you, he would have taken over her mind. You protect Kagome with your life. But even you can't protect her from everything."

"It's because of me that she's in so much danger at all," he said softly. Suddenly he growled and hard resolve filled his voice. "I will not let anything harm her, especially that bastard Naraku. I will kill him for what he did tried to do to her."

Miroku did not doubt his sincerity, though he wished his friend would be a little more open with his feelings, at least with Kagome. It was obvious he was deeply in love with her, but he constantly gave her reasons to doubt.

They stood side by side, looking out at nothing. Inuyasha, as always, was passively searching for any possible sources of danger. He could hear the villagers engaged in various activities and the woodland noises from around them, and closer, the monk's breathing and heartbeat, and the noises Sango, Shippo, and Kaede were making inside the hut. His sense of smell was somewhat deadened by the rain, which always annoyed him. Miroku found his thoughts straying back into the hut were Sango was polishing her boomerang, taking advantage of the poor weather. He absently fingered the beads circling his right hand, frowning.

He looked up when he noticed Inuyasha stiffen beside him. "What is it?" he asked quietly.

"The forest…" he began. "It's gone quiet. Something is wrong." He closed his eyes briefly and sniffed a few times, his ears were held stiffly alert. His eyes shot open and his claws tensed. "There's a youkai, headed towards us from that direction," he said indicating the opposite end of the village.

By now Miroku could sense the youki as well. It was very strong, and they both knew what that probably meant. He quickly turned and lifted the mat in Kaede's doorway. "Sango," he called. "A demon is approaching, and it feels like one of Naraku's offspring." Sango hastily strapped her sword in place and grabbed her boomerang and they both headed out together, a transformed Kirara right on their tail. "Shippo, stay put, ok?" he called back as they ran after Inuyasha, who was already running towards the other end of the village.

Inuyasha skid to a stop on the damp ground in the field just outside the village. He could hear it crashing recklessly through the forest in front of him and pulled out his sword, which immediately transformed. Suddenly it burst out of the woods, sending several trees to the ground in the process. It looked similar to Goshinki, but was twice the size, and as usual was surrounded by Saimyoushou. He heard Sango and Miroku come sliding up behind him.

"Inuyasha, is it…?"

"Yeah, this is definitely another of that bastards fucking offspring," he snarled. "What the fuck were you sent for?" he yelled angrily and the oni.

The demon showed no interest in answering; instead it rapidly crossed the distance separating them and made a quick swipe with massive claws. The three scattered apart as the large hand made impact with the ground, tearing a massive hole. Inuyasha swung Tetsusaiga at the beast, but it managed to jump away. The creature did not seem as interested in making conversation or as intelligent as Goshinki had been, but it was certainly as fast. Sango and Miroku had regrouped and Sango was attempting to hit it with Hiraikotsu, but thus far had not managed to make contact. Miroku had reached instinctively for his prayer beads, but he was deterred by the poisonous insects.

Inuyasha let out an enraged yell and made a massive swing of his sword, bringing out the Kaze no Kizu. The blades of energy hurtled toward the monster, but in an instant it had moved straight toward Inuyasha, breaking through the attack and landing a massive blow that caught the hanyou across his side and sent him flying. He slammed against the ground, for once grateful for the rain; it softened the impact considerably. He stood quickly and went to help his friends. Sango was only managing to harry it with her boomerang and Miroku could do little more than watch her back with his staff.

Inuyasha reached to his side where he felt the gash from the monster's claws. "Hijin Kessou!" he yelled, sending the blades of blood arching toward the demon. A few of the blades found their target, but most missed as the demon moved away from the attack quickly. The three attacked again and again, but the oni evaded most of their assaults and the group was beginning to tire.

Inuyasha called the Kaze no Kizu out from his blade again, hoping to hit it while it was occupied with Hiraikotsu. The demon moved quickly again, but did not manage to get completely clear of the blast and was cut up in several places. This time it attempted to finish off Sango and Miroku while the hanyou was following through with his stroke. Realizing this Inuyasha launched himself between the attacker and his friends as a crushing blow caught him in his chest.

As he once again skidded to a stop, he looked up to see Sango's boomerang make contact with the monster's back. It seemed that his last attack had slowed it considerably and she and Miroku were starting to cause some damage. Leaning on his sword he came to his feet. Something was wrong. What did Naraku hope to accomplish by sending this monster? It was not as intelligent as any of its predecessors, nor had it showed any signs of some special ability. It had speed and size, but Naraku knew his group could handle that. So…

He sniffed suspiciously at the air. Naraku's stench was hanging thickly about his offspring, but the rain was doing a good job of deadening anything beyond that. Suddenly he raised his head, realizing what was wrong. This monster wasn't the only thing nearby that smelled like Naraku. It was faint, but his enemy's scent was also away in the direction they had come from earlier— and the direction the well was in. And from the same direction, he smelled the first hints of a very familiar scent.


This is my first fic, so please review. I'd love to get some criticism.


This chapter last updated: Saturday, May 3, 2003-format only

Originally Posted: March 13, 2003