AN: Can you believe it? An update! It's about friggin time! First I want to say, I'm truly sorry about making you all wait. Please forgive me. I've been so busy, plus I was hit with a major writer's block. I'm very picky. I know you were anxious to read more. I'm glad there are people still interested in the story. To those who reviewed, thank you for your kind words. You made me smile. Enough rambling. Chapter Seven is a doozy, Didn't plan on it to be like that, but that's the way it came out. Please let me know what you think. I'd really appreciate it. Okay, on with the chapter….

Hot water droplets thumped gently atop her head, as the long, thick strands of black hair soaked up the moisture. The water ran itself down the curves of her slim body, invading every pore of her milky white skin, which was beginning to flush a soft pink. All around her mist had risen and was now lingering in the tiny bathroom. At the foot of the warm waterfall, she sat, knees pulled into her chest, arms around her legs, and her chin resting atop her knees. The soothing essence of the sauna was lost, for her mind was elsewhere.

Kagome stared at the pink shade on her skin, though she did not see what was before her. Her mind replayed the events of just hours prior to her current position. The gentle thumping in her chest picked up its pace. She could still see the sharp blade nearly sever the smooth texture that is her skin. The reality of mere inches, standing between life and death, were sinking in. How could she have been so reckless? She could've been killed, twice!

Her mind had been so clouded by anger, that she didn't pay attention the danger that surrounded her. How could she succumb to such a feeling? Sure she had felt it before, however it was nothing compared to what had been flowing through her. After a while, the anger subsided, allowing rage to consume her entire being. Her eyes saw nothing but the pale face and her mind thought of nothing else, but destruction. It was slightly terrifying, yet empowering.

In a way, she felt free. It was as if something had released her. Still, it was like there was another presence within her, taking over. The way her body moved, so quick, so strong, so agile. It was so unreal, as if her body wasn't her own. But it was. The presence inside her also brought with it new feelings and ideas. It uncovered a hidden, buried desire, and an unbridled passion. And she couldn't do anything about it. However, Kagome couldn't find herself fighting it. Not that she couldn't find the strength to do. She had to admit, in the back of her mind, the deepest part in her heart, it was what she wanted.

She closed her eyes, stretching her legs and allowed the falling water to touch her face. Behind her eyelids, his face appeared. His long, white hair fell alongside his cheeks; his jaw dropped just slightly; his brows furrowed and in his eyes lied confusion. It was the same look he had given her, after she kissed him. After she completely groped him.

Her cheeks might have flushed, but the hot water already gave it its pink color. She buried her face in her hands and shook her head. How could she have done that? How was she going to face him? Kagome could feel a sense of shame and embarrassment.

'Idiot,' she scolded herself. 'What a way to get a first kiss.'

She ran her now pruned fingers over her lips, 'And he…' She shook her head, '…But, it had to…I felt it.'

Shaking her head once more, she glanced down at her hands. All she could think of was the incident near the tree. Had she been herself she would have never done that. She would have never forced herself on top of him. It was this blood. It made her do it.

Once again, she could feel the anger rise. She balled her hands into fists, squeezing tightly. Her long, sharp nails dug into her palms. Ignoring the pain, she continued to squeeze more. She watched as the blood began to flow, mixing itself with the water.

Releasing the tight grip in her hands, she glanced down at her hands. The blood was still flowing out of the cuts, running down her hands. She raised her arms up towards the raining water above her, and watched at the red and clear liquid mingled with each other, then ran down her forearms and dripped off her elbows.

The two fluids left trails of red along her forearms. Slowly she lowered her arms and examined her nails. They looked like any other long nail, smooth, filed and round at their tips. Looking back at the gashes in her palms, she noticed they stopped bleeding. She ran her index finger under her forearm, about three inches. The nail tore through the flesh with ease and pain. Wincing she repeated the same procedure on the other arm, allowing blood to flow from both arms.

Kagome stared at the red running along her arms, studying it. It seemed no different. Should it have a different look? Its texture was thick, syrupy, in her fingers. It felt the same. It didn't appear to be anything amazing, yet she could sense its power flow through her. Its essence touched every fiber within her. Taking in a deep breath, her nose familiarized itself to the strong odor. It sent a rush of memories flooding back. She closed her eyes and found herself in the pool once more. She could feel herself thrashing around in the red liquid. She shook the memory away and turned off the running water.

Shortly after she finished her shower and bandaging herself up, she was back in her room, lying on her bed, gazing up at the ceiling. Her mind was too consumed with thoughts to sleep. It was early morning and the sun had just risen. Everyone was still asleep, but not for very long. Soon her mother would be up, to wake Souta for school.

'Souta,' She raised her hand, gazing at her claws.

The image of a terrified young boy flashed across her memory. He had come running into her room innocently, just to greet her and she lashed out at him, verbally. But the more she thought about it, she remembered getting very defensive about the situation. In fact, she could feel her adrenaline rushing, and the hot blood pumping through her. She had nearly lost control. If her mother had come in when she did, she didn't know what she would have done to him. What if that happened again? How was she to deal with it?

It was that thought that made her rise from where she lay and over to her closet. She sifted through many articles of clothes, before changing into a pair of sweats and a tank top, the cracked shard of the Shikon jewel dangled around her neck. She quickly threw on a light jacket, then her tennis shoes and tied her hair back into a pony tail, allowing her bangs to fall just above her brows. She ran back to the bathroom, quietly as to not wake anyone, and grabbed some more bandages.

After putting the items into another smaller bag she returned to her room. Gently she closed the door and headed for the open window. Without so much as a thought as to just exactly how far down the ground was, she leapt from the windowsill and into the air. She took in the morning air as it brushed against her face, pushing itself through her uneven bangs. It was exhilarating. She wondered if that was what it felt to fly. Even as she fell to the ground, it was as if she glided. The touch down was just as gentle. She took one more glance at her open window, several feet above and away from where she stood, then allowed her swift feet to carry her to the well.

Reaching the other side, and not wasting any time, Kagome began to sprint towards the village, but she had only gone a few steps when she came to a stop. Her sensitive nose had come across a familiar scent. It smelt of trees, the morning dew on the leaves of the plants and even the petals of soft flowers. Those scents mingled with the heavy aroma of musk. It brought a tingling sensation along her skin. Its essence was strong and wild.

She took in a deep breath, and gently said his name, "Inuyasha?"

The half demon jumped down from a nearby tree. He didn't say a word, only began walking towards her.

Her brown eyes looked him over, observing his movements towards her. She watched as his long white hair swished with every step he took. The cloth of his red kimono made a soft brushing sound, as his arms swung. She could feel the thumping of her heart. Its beats grew much harder as he got closer. Beneath the kimono, she could still see the smooth curve of muscle on his arms, his abs and his chest. Her hands began to tingle at the memory of touching him. The intensity of his golden stare, made her breaths grow slow and heavy. Her mouth watered at the thought of tasting him. She could still taste him on her lips, on her tongue.

Just then, he stopped, a few feet away from her, "Kagome?"

She grinned, "Hmm?"

He studied her face, "Kagome?"

His voice. It was so melodious. The way he said her name. It was almost like he was singing it. She closed her eyes and listened. The sound of his voice, saying her name echoed in her ears. She could almost hear the reverberating sound of harps playing in the background. Soon many gentle voices choired out with the harps.

"Kagome!" He called out her name, harshly.

She shook her head out of her thoughts. Dazed, she replied, "Huh? What?"

He had not moved from where he stood. "Are you all right?"

She glanced at her surroundings. Everything was gone. The voices. The harps. Inuyasha's voice, singing. The darkness. She was in the forest, just a few feet away from the well. Kagome took a deep breath and a step back. Gently she rubbed her temples, trying to think of what just happened. It was all so confusing to her. What was it? It felt so close, so real. It felt so familiar.

'I felt…It was…,' she gazed up into his yellow eyes. They were worried, afraid, confused. 'A dream?…No. It was real.'

Her eyes did not break its stare. Words could not be formed. Too many memories and thoughts rushed through her, just by looking into his eyes. What to say? How to say it?

"I didn't think you'd come back," he finally broke their silence.

How? His words didn't seem to make sense to her, "What?"

"Are you all right?" Suspicion ran through his words. "Are you…here?"

The last question hit her like a slap in the face, waking her from her muddled state, "Yeah. I'm-I was just thinking about-Never mind."

He could sense something different about her. His nose had picked up her scent the moment she crossed through the well and there was no change. It was still the same Kagome, but as soon as he got close to her, he could almost taste the change. He could almost smell the blood warming within her. He could almost feel the heat of her skin on his own, reminiscent of the night before.

That was the reason behind his need to keep some distance between them. What was going on within her, it had stirred a presence within him. It unleashed a feeling, a need to let go, lose control. And it was that same feeling that kept him from resisting her. It was what urged him, made him want to kiss her back. Or did it make him? Had it always been there? He couldn't chance it, losing control.

But just as soon as the heat began to rise, he could sense it cooled, giving him the opportunity to take a step to her, "I thought you'd never return."

"I had to," she answered.

"Why?" He walked to her.

"I couldn't do it again," her voice dropped.

Confusion fell upon his face, "What?"

"Run," her eyes echoed disappointment. "Every time I'm faced with something I don't like or something I fear, I run."

"There's nothing wrong with that," he stood before her, gazing down at her.


"That's just it," she argued. "It is wrong. It does no good for me to run. I can run to the ends of the Earth, which there is none, but that's beside the point. I can't run forever. Cause the problem is always there when I come back. I have to learn to face my problems, my fears."

"But-" he tried.

"Inuyasha, you know how I feel about everything, so there's no need for me to say it again," she took his hands into her own. "I'm not upset. Not anymore."

"You did what you had to," Kagome placed her hand on his cheek. "What you felt you needed to, in order to save my life." Wrapping her arms around him, she told him, "And it worked, thank you."


He tightened his arms around her, taking in her scent, "You'd have done the same for me."

Kagome laughed, teasing him, "Well, I don't know about that."

Her laughter made him smile. 'The light. I can see it. It's still there.'

Slowly releasing from the embrace, their arms still around each other, they looked into each other's eyes. No words needed. It was obvious. There was only one thing on their minds. But who would do it first? Then, without warning, flush filled both their cheeks at the familiarity of their closeness.

"Oh," she swallowed deeply, trying to find the right words. "Yeah. Um, about last night…I-I'm sorry. I didn't…"

"Uh," he let her go, then turned his back to her, hiding his embarrassment. "How's your shoulder?"

She understood his avoidance of the topic and followed. Rotating her left arm and shoulder, she answered, "You know, I forgot. It appears fine. Even during the fight with that other demon, it didn't bother me."

Kagome began to take off her jacket, "Take a look at my shoulder, how does it look?"

He hesitated, "Uh…"

She rolled her eyes at his shyness, "Oh get over it. I tend to your wounds all the time. Quit being a baby. Besides I have a top on."

"Fine," he grumbled, carefully moving the sleeveless strap to the side. "It looks fine. There's a scar, but other than that you look good."

Her cheeks grew warm, as she faced him, "Thanks."

Inuyasha didn't have time to think about what he said. His eyes caught sight of the bandages around her forearms, "What happened?!"

She glanced down at her arms and hid them behind her back, "N-nothing."

He didn't buy it, "Kagome. I smell blood."

"It's nothing," she moved away from him, arms still hiding behind her. "Small scratch. Really, it's okay."

He crossed his arms, not saying a word.

"Fine," she groaned, showing him her arms. "I'm not taking off the bandages to show you my wounds. I'm fine. I was just curious about the blood and made a couple of scratches."

He noticed the small incisions in her palms, "And those?"

"I told you," her frustration began to grow. "I was just curious."

"So you decided to cut yourself up?!" He raised his voice.

"I just-It was-" She couldn't form the right sentences. She didn't know how to explain it to him. That the incident at the tree and her behavior is what spurred her anger and curiosity.

"Well?" He awaited, impatiently tapping his foot.

Her lungs took in a deep breath, trying to steady the beats of her heart. In the midst of their small argument, her heart rate had picked up. "I was going over, in my mind, the things that had happened. Trying to figure out how to deal with this. Wondering just what this was. I cut myself. I wanted to see the blood for myself. I wanted to see what was so special; so powerful. what made me do the things I did."

The half demon made a silent gulp, listening to her explanation. It had made him think of the fight with the demon and her anger. She had been so strong as to obliterate it. Even earlier, by the tree, in her aggressive manner, she managed to throw him to the ground and hold him there. 'But I…'

"It's strange," she went on. "It was like I could see myself doing these things; feeling certain things. And I couldn't do a thing about it. It was like watching a movie, but not really."

"What's a movie?" He asked.

She shook her head and began to pace, "Never mind. But it was like something else was there, taking over. Making me do these things. I felt like I was in this dark place and it was almost scary, but at the same time it wasn't. Because the things that it had me do, I wanted to. I didn't want to fight it. Cause, it was me. I liked it. I felt so strong, so free. It was…empowering."

"I see," he watched her face. Her eyes were intense.

"That's why I came back," she finally turned to him. "I need your help."

He was taken back by her statement, "What? Me?"

"Yes," she smiled. "You're the only one who knows about what is inside me. Flowing through my veins."

"Uh," he scratched his head. "I don't know if I can help you-"

"Inuyasha," the young girl took in a deep breath, allowing his scent to fill her nostrils. "This is part of you inside me. You know what's going through me. I don't want to be useless. And me having these abilities and strengths and not being able to control them properly, would make me feel far more useless. I don't want to have to depend on you all the time."

'Worried that she might not need you anymore?'

At the time he hadn't really given much thought to the monk's question, but the way she spoke, the more his words began to sink in.

"Come on Inuyasha," she pleaded with him. "I'm asking you for your help. Teach me. I want to be able to use these new abilities, so that I can be of better help when we go looking for shards. That way you won't have to worry about protecting me."

'I mean, when she's not fighting, I know she's not putting herself in danger. I know she's safe and I can protect her.'

He thought of what he had told his friend, just after she had left for her own time, "I don't know."

"Besides," she sighed. "I have yet to tell my family."

"You haven't told them yet," his eyes widened in surprise. "Are you going to tell them?"

"Of course," she answered. "But if I go to them, telling them about it, not knowing much myself, it'll frighten them. Souta's already terrified of me. That's why I've got to understand this, so that I can assure them."

With a deep sigh, he gave in, "All right."

"Great," she smiled and gave him a quick hug. "Thanks Inuyasha."

With that, she gave a yawn, "But first, I need some sleep. I've been up all night. I'm going to catch a few Z's."

"Huh?" He looked at her confused.

"Nothing," she waved to him, tiredly. "Forget it. I'll catch up with you later. Be ready for me."

"Right," he whispered to himself, as he watched her run in the direction of the village. "Be ready."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kagome made a quick dive to the right, as Inuyasha's claws came down, just missing her. She watched as his hands dug into the hard ground, tearing the grass and soil with ease, shattering tiny boulders buried beneath the surface. Her heart pounded wildly out of control. Its thumps echoing loudly in her ears, were only drowned out by the fast and heavy sounds of her breathing.

She didn't get much time to recover, for he made another attack at her. Once more, she found herself moving just out of harm's, rather death's grasp. She could hear his claws tearing through the empty space that was the air. The air made a hollow sound as his razor sharp claws moved past her ear.

"Watch where you're aiming those things!" She hollered at him, almost in a plea.

He towered over her, crushing a rock in his right hand, "Hey. You're the one who wanted to learn."

She rose to her feet, "I wanted to learn how to fight, not die!"

"Well that's what fighting a demon is about!" He grew frustrated with her. "You're fighting to stay alive! It's either you or him!"

"You don't have to kill me!" She approached him, storm clouds forming in her eyes.

The hanyou didn't back down. In fact, he moved to meet her, "What are you talking about?! I'm going easy on you!"

"You call that easy?!" Her finger pointed in the direction of the large gashes in the ground.

"Don't be so stupid!" He growled at her. "Do you think a demon is going to go easy on you?! They'll be much worse than me!"

By now they were face to face, fire burning within their eyes.

"Maybe it's time for a break," the monk suggested from the side. "You've been practicing for quite some time now."

The monk was right. Kagome had returned to the village just shortly after having talked with Inuyasha. Most of the field workers were up and tending to their crops, while others had slept in. The elder priestess, Kaede was one of the early risers.

Upon reaching her hut, Miroku had awaken to greet the young miko. Allowing the young kitsune to sleep, the three and Inuyasha spoke briefly. Again, the monk and the priestess expressed their apologies. Kagome informed them of her plan to train with the hanyou. Naturally, all expressed their concerns, but the young girl's mind was made up. In the end, all they could do was let her go. It was her decision. They let her alone to rest. In fact, she slept all through the morning and into the mid afternoon. They assumed she was exhausted from the events the night before, especially the battle. Shortly after her sleep, she met with the half demon in an open meadow to train. They had been training since.

She walked away from the hanyou, "I could use some water."


"You're actually going to take a break?" He looked at her in disbelief. "There's no breaks in battle."

"Well this is not a battle!" She shot back at him, still walking towards the monk.

Inuyasha just grumbled and pouted, "Hmph!"

Kagome reached the monk, who held out a can of soda, that she had brought back.

She waved it away, "No thanks." A bucket of water sat next to her bag. Reaching in she filled a small cup, "Caffeine isn't good to drink when exercising."

"I'm sorry?" Miroku looked at her confused.

She took a deep breath, "Never mind." Then finished off the cool liquid in the small cup. "It's a future thing."

"I understand," he nodded his head. "I think."

Kagome just giggled to herself. She had forgotten how much of a time difference there was between Tokyo and the Warring States Era. Most of her friends in the Warring States had become accustomed to many of her methods and ways of thinking. Well, some were.

With a quick survey of the area, she could see it was late afternoon. The cool air was much help to her body heat. The hanyou hadn't give her chance to at least take of her jacket. She had been running away, from Inuyasha, for several hours. It was in those moments that she realized just how fast and strong he was. Though she was well rested, the exercise with the half demon was wearing her out. She didn't want to imagine what it would be like to consciously fight a full blood demon. It frustrated her that she couldn't seem to do anything on the offensive to him. Everything she did, involved running. It had been so much easier last night. Where had that power gone? She shook her head and took in another breath of the cool air.

"Is the break over?!" Inuyasha's impatient voice broke through the peaceful afternoon. "Or are you giving up?"

"I'm coming!" She hollered back. "Quit your whining! Worse than a baby."

"I heard that!" He stood up, several feet away from her.

"Get him Kagome!" Shippou came running up from the village. He had been helping Kaede with a few chores. "Kick his butt!"

"You're next runt!" Inuyasha warned him.

She smiled at the kitsune, "Thanks Shippou."

The beating of her heart had slowed its pace and her breathing was back to normal. Still, the heat on her skin had only reduced by a few degrees. She took off her jacket and handed it to Shippou. The gentle breeze that brushed against her skin was soothing. She could almost hear her skin sizzle.

She glanced over to the half demon, who was tapping his foot impatiently. Another haughty remark was on its way, she could see that in his eyes. Not allowing him a chance to speak, she began to walk over to him.

Tightening her hair tie that had come loose, she said, "All right. Let's do this."

Not the slightest intimidated, he replied coolly, "Yeah, whatever. Look, why don't you attack me this time, you know, instead of running and hiding."

"Fine," she agreed, through gritted teeth.

With that Kagome made a quick dash for him, swinging her two arms wildly at the hanyou. Needless to say, she did not come remotely close to him. He dodged her strikes with such ease, that he didn't even so much as flinch. In fact, he merely grinned at her. In between he would comment on her attempts, mocking her movements. Unaware that each time he opened his mouth, her anger begin to rise.

The young girl paused before her next move, taking in a some cool air. She brushed back several loose strands of sweat soaked, black hair and all the while trying to remain level headed through the constant banter from the hanyou, which had not receded.

"Whenever you're ready," he chuckled.

She took in another deep breath, only to look up at him, shooting daggers with her eyes.

The grin on his face, didn't fade, neither did the conceit in his words, "How about this time, you actually attack me."

That was it. She did her best to not allow herself to go to that level. "Why don't you shut your big, stupid, MOUTH!" Flames began to rise all around her.

Still not the least bit intimidated, "I'm just trying to prepare you for battle. A demon is going to use anything to its advantage, to throw you off your guard."

A smirk grew on her lips, "In that case…"

The self confident look in Inuyasha's wide eyes, narrowed to suspicion. He didn't like the way she was looking at him. The look in her eyes and the way her mouth curved told him she had something on her mind. Something deceitful, something conniving.

"SIT!"

The force in Kagome's voice tore through the tranquil evening of the meadow. The reverberating sound of her voice, echoed into the night, shaking the branches of the many trees and startling much of the wildlife.

Inuyasha didn't have time to prepare; not that he ever does. The ground came rushing up to him faster than ever. Her fierce annunciation of the word seemed to effect the impact on his face and entire body. His body slammed through the hard surface, rocks and dirt pinching almost tearing into his smooth skin.

Shippou observed the scenario from a distance, "That one hurt him."

"I'd say so," Miroku added.

Like so many times before, it took his body a moment to regain its feeling. Using his hands, he tried to push himself up out of the deep indention. It felt almost too easy, for his body moved upward swiftly. It took his mind a second to realize, he was being helped up, out of his hole, forcefully. Kagome had snatched him by the back of his kimono and yanked him out of the ground.

From behind he could hear her whispered voice, taunting him, "How's that feel?"

Before he was even given a chance to reply, he could feel her lift him up higher, that his feet were just inches off the ground. He didn't have time to think of what to do next. She sent him flying across the meadow, crashing once more into the hard ground.

She laughed, watching him climb to his feet, "Should I say it again?"

"You wouldn't dare," he sneered at her, dusting himself off.

Laughter ceased, she met his glare, "Try me."

"Hey!" Her eyes watched him carefully as he made his way over to her. "Stay where you are!"

Not heeding her words, he made several small steps in her direction. She watched his movements, not trusting him, "Don't…make me…ssssss…."

He frowned as she finished her statement, "Say…it."

"Okay," he folded his arms across his chest, stopping his steps. "That's not fair!"

It nearly made her laugh again, seeing him freeze up at the mere mention of the word. "That's not my fault," she kept her eyes on him. "You're the one who said to use anything to my advantage."

"And you're the one who said this wasn't a battle," he retorted, agitation heavy in his voice. In his usual pout, he turned from her, "Besides, the demons we encounter aren't going to have these stupid subduing spells around their neck."

Without so much as a look her way, Inuyasha took a small step to his right, avoiding Kagome's unskilled attempt. His face held no surprise as he watched her fall to the ground, "You're gonna have to learn to fight on your own. Slow attacks like that, aren't going to do you any good."

She rose to her feet, advancing on him once more, only to miss, again. Her long claws lashed out at him, touching nothing but air. The young miko moved at an incredible speed, but to her it felt as though her feet were weighed down. She just couldn't seem to move fast enough to touch the half demon. And he seemed completely unfazed at her attempts to strike him down.

Inuyasha kept silent, watching as she flung herself at him. He studied her actions, her assaults and compared them to his memory of the previous night. It was so much more different. For a brief moment she held that same power. He had heard it in her voice, just moments ago, before she flung him. He could almost feel it around her. But the way she moved right now, it wasn't there. The way she swung at him now, it was such slow motion. It was almost as if there was no real attempt. It lacked something. Heat.

'Her anger.'

'It made her stronger.'

An idea formed in his mind as Kagome made one more swipe with her claws. The hanyou took hold of the young girl's wrist and hurled her several feet away from him.

Shippou was near tears, as he watched her petite body sail through the air, only to come crashing down into the hard soil, "Kagome!" He watched as she rolled several times before stopping on her back.

Miroku winced for the poor girl, placing his staff before the tiny kitsune, who was ready to run over and help her, "Let her be."

"Are you crazy?" He looked up at the monk in anger. "She's hurt."

The monk studied her laying form. She was not motionless. He could see her chest rise and fall, in heavy breath. "Give her a chance," Miroku whispered to Shippou.

Her entire body was in shock. He had not made an attempt to counter before. It was all to reminiscent of the demon with the white face. It took the pain in her right side to bring her out of her brief memory. She struggled to get to her feet. Her knees felt weak and her arms trembled.

Inuyasha watched as Kagome slowly rose to her feet. Though his facial features remained indifferent, he immediately regret what he did. Seeing her hit the ground the way she did, he knew she was hurting. It took a great deal of his inner strength, from rushing over to her to pick her up and hold her, comfort her pain, tell her that he was sorry for hurting her. But he had to remember, this was what she wanted to train for. He had to show her just how dangerous it was. Then, maybe, just maybe she would reconsider this foolish idea and let it all go back to the way it was. Inuyasha protecting Kagome.

He took in a silent breath, then called over to her, "Give up?"

"You'd like that," she placed her hands over the right side of her torso. Pain etched all over her face, "Wouldn't you?"

"I didn't say that," he began to walk over to her. "I'm just asking. I mean, you look pretty beat."

Oblivious to the concern in his approach, she could only hear arrogance in his voice, "You know, I'm beginning to understand how you feel every time you face Sesshomaru."

Still a ways from her, he stopped, "What are you talking about?"

"I think you know what I mean," she stood upright, a burning glare crossed her face. "Being too slow to even touch him. Knocking you down, kicking you around. Pretty much toying with you. I mean, after all if it wasn't for your father's barrier, he'd already be wielding Tetsusaiga, wouldn't he?"

"Tell you what," he met her gaze, his tone matching her own. "Why don't you get your bow and arrow, and I'll give you one free shot." The hanyou raised his arms, holding them out aligning his shoulders to the horizon. "I won't move."

She rolled her eyes at him, "I'll pass."

"Come on," he goaded her. "What? Afraid you might actually hit me?"

"Hit you? With an arrow?" She turned to walk away from him "I think you have me confused with someone else."

He could feel the muscles in his entire body grow tense at her last words. There was no question as to who she was referring to. In fact, Kagome's words alone, sent a small flashback to that day fifty years ago. His chest could still feel the penetrating burn of the enchanted arrow. "Can you blame me? I mean, you do look like her."

The muscles in her body tightened, stopping her in her tracks, but she did not look at him. Nor did she reply. A familiar tremor came from deep within her. Its force, insignificant at first, but it grew with every rich breath she took. Her skin, which had already began to cool down, heated at the over flowing rush of hot blood that coursed through her veins. The heavy thumping in her chest ringed in her ears. Its echoes carried along the patronizing words of a hanyou. A soon to be dead hanyou.

Slowly turning from the angered young girl, he continued "Come to think of it Kiky-"

Inuyasha wasn't given time to finish his sardonic remark, for Kagome had cut off his air supply by applying severe pressure on his throat, with her right hand.


The kitsune's jaw dropped, "Uh-oh."

Miroku didn't take his eyes off the half demon, and the part demon girl, "I think practice is over."

The hanyou tried to speak, but each attempt was cut short by the tight squeeze of her hand. He could feel her claws digging into the soft tissue around his neck, drawing blood. He tried to move away from her, but she had managed to lift him several inches off the ground. Inuyasha glanced down into his friend's eyes. Within the dusty brown shade, he could see swirls of red, like the color of blood. Anger.

He tried to break free of her strong grip, struggling for more air. But it was useless, her forceful hand would not allow him.

A cruel growl rumbled from her throat, "You were saying?" Her hand clenched tighter, fingers ripping through the flesh. The dark, thick, red fluid ran down her fingers and down his neck.

Before the half demon could make an attempt to answer, Kagome used her free hand to grab the mid section of his kimono. With ease, the young girl lifted him above her head and proceeded to launch his form across the meadow, into the trees. Inuyasha's cry rang across the land, even through the sounds of breaking branches and leaves.

Kagome wasted no time in following the flying hanyou into the thick forest. Their two observers, the monk and the kitsune, looked at each other, questioning the wisdom in following the pair. Both would be very upset, which meant the situation would be very dangerous to be around. The young girl and the hanyou were already out of sight, and with a shrug the two began to stroll carefully in the direction of the forest.

The young girl tore through the brush ferociously, adrenaline rushing, fueling the rage burning within. Her eyes scanned the thick, dark terrain, searching. She stood silent, listening to the wood around her, finding more silence. The only sound was her heavy breathing and the quick drumming of her own heart. Her nose took in the many scents in the area, greens, floral, soil…musk.

Just then a twig snapped. Quickly she turned in the direction of the sound coming from above her. For a moment her body froze as a red and white figured billowed down on her. Past the red cloth and long white hair, she could see a pair of amber eyes. Angry, amber eyes.

With a smirk Kagome fell to her back, allowing the half demon to land on top her, almost admitting defeat. However, she was ready for his attack. Upon reaching her, she lifted her legs towards him, touching his chest. She used the strength in her hips and legs to thrust him off her, sending him sailing back.

Inuyasha could feel his breath grow short at the hard contact between his chest and her feet. It pained him more at the sheer force of her kick. Still, his own demon strength made it easy for him to recover from the brief contact. His body was flung back away from her, but he managed to skillfully arch his back more, into a back flip. That allowed him to land safely onto his feet. He glared over at the young girl, watching as she rose to her feet with ease. His eyes caught the malicious grin across her lips. A growl rumbled from his chest, as well as hers. His clawed hands tightened in a grasped position, popping the joints in his hands and knuckles. Her eyes, though narrowed, flared with annoyance and anger. The muscles in her body grew rigid, just observing him.

Suddenly Kagome advanced on him. Inuyasha made no effort to wait for her attack. He too ran to her. The teenage miko leapt swiftly into the air, as did the hanyou. Meeting each other mid air, high above the trees, Inuyasha made the first strike. Kagome anticipating his move, blocked his right claw with her left hand, using her right hand to punch him on his left cheek, sending him back to through the greens of the trees, to the ground below them.

The futuristic girl listened as the half demon's body broke through the branches and twigs of the trees, and the sound of his impact with the harsh ground. The thump his body and the ground made, echoed into the night and in her ears.

She glided down, in the direction of her fallen opponent, landing softly on a branch of a large tree. Her eyes searched the forest floor for the hanyou. Finding nothing but the plant life below made the pride in her triumph, that was the cause of the smug grin on her face, fade.

"Looking for something?" A voice hissed from behind her.

She would not be quick enough to reply, nor turn to face her opponent, for he had already lunged at her. Kagome growled feeling the force of the hanyou's shove against her arms and shoulders. The young girl fell from the limb and into the bushes. The small branches and twigs of the bushes scratched at her exposed skin, breaking her fall. Knowing the speed of the half demon, she moved out of the shrubbery as quick as she could. She sniffed the air. His scent was heavy, but she couldn't quite locate him. The forest was dark and the shadows hid his figure. It wouldn't be until a branch snapped behind her, that she would know where he was. And even then, it was too late for her to move. He was much too quick for her. He had pounced on her small frame before she could brace herself for the impact.

Kagome's back slammed into the grass under her feet, with Inuyasha landing just on top of her. She winced at the power of his touch, then gazed up at him. Though it was dark, she could see his eyes gloomed darkly, in the shadows of his face. They burned right into her with the familiar scowl. His strong hands were tight around her upper arms, holding her down. She didn't struggle. In fact, she remained motionless, her chest rising and falling, in tune with his.

Inuyasha did not move. His gaze remained tight on the young girl beneath him. The hanyou watched as she cringed in pain at the pressure on her arm. It was then he lowered his face closer to hers, his nose taking in her scent. There were so many different fragrances mixed closely. It made him release her shoulders. Slowly he let his hands wander down her body, making lightly contact, causing her to twitch gently.

She could feel his fiery breath on her face. It traveled closely along the side of her face. His nose just grazed the side of her cheek, on down her neck, taking in gentle sniffs. Her skin, though hot from the fight, was scorching at his touch. The young miko took in a rich breath, allowing the half demon's scent to fill her nose completely. It was so close, surrounding them. Her heart had steadied its beats, but what he was doing to right now, was causing it to thump restlessly.

Suddenly he began to lift her tank top, which surprised her. Kagome looked down at the hanyou still straddled atop her, tongue gliding gently across her lips, "Well, I didn't think you had it in you."

Inuyasha looked up at her, appalled, "It's not-" Just then his focus was taken off the teenage girl below him, to something just above them. He grabbed her by the shoulders and yanked her away from where she lay. The two rolled several feet away, finding themselves in the same position prior to their sudden move.

Kagome giggled as his entire body covered hers. She tried to see his face, but found her own to be blanketed by his long white hair. Its texture was so unbelievably soft. The strands felt like silk brushing against her skin.

"Hmm," she purred, trying to brush away his hair, while still running her fingers through them. "A girl could get use to this."

The half demon finally turned to her, aghast yet, "What?! Get up. We've got company!"

She shook her head, "Well, I'm not into that…."

"Didn't you hear me?!" He snapped at her. "There's something here. Get up!"

"As soon as you get off me," she shot back at him, trying to sit up. "I will!"

At her words, Inuyasha wasted no time in hopping of the young girl. His eyes quickly searched the gloom of the night.

The girl of the future, joined the half youkai at his side, "What exactly are we looking for?" Her dark brown eyes moved around dark forest.

"A demon," he sniffed the air. "Can't you smell it?"

"That foul odor?" She scrunched her nose. "I though that was you."

"What are you saying?" He turned to her. "Are you saying I smell bad?"

She rolled her eyes, "It was a joke. Sheesh."

It was at that moment, a branch, along with many leaves and twigs, had fallen around the two. Both turned their attention to the trees above them. Through the falling arbor debris, they could just make out a shadowy figure. The objects plummeting to the earth, obscured their vision, making it difficult for them to see just what kind of demon it was. Inuyasha reached for the hilt of his might sword, Kagome jumped back, baring her blade like claws, when a blue flame flared before them.

With a high pitched shrill, the demon stopped its attack and jumped away from the cerulean flame.

"Kagome!" The tiny kitsune ran to her side. "Are you okay?"

"Yes," she nodded her head, trying to blink away the light. "I'm fine."

"Where the hell have you two been?" Inuyasha scowled in the direction of the monk's voice.

A sly grin formed on his lips, "Oh, I thought it best not interrupt."

Flush filled the cheeks of the half demon, "What are talking about? I was just-"

"Forget it," Kagome walked over to the two older men. "Look we have a demon to worry about."

The four stood together, looking around the forest. The night engulfed nearly everything. Inuyasha and Shippou, because of their demon blood line, had a better sense of sight in the dark. Still they could not see any type of threat. As for the two humans, it would appear no better. However, Kagome, did come to the conclusion that her vision had become somewhat better than before. It wasn't a tremendous difference, but it was enough to know she could not see a demon anywhere.

"I don't like this," she listened to the silence around them. She glanced through some tree trunks to see the light from the meadow, she and Inuyasha were fighting in. "Let's get into the open."

"No," Inuyasha shook his head. "We have some cover with the trees."

"No," Miroku searched the trees again, then followed Kagome's glance. "I believe the demon has us at a disadvantage here. Kagome has the right idea. Let's move, quickly."

"But-" The hanyou protested. But his argument would not be heard. The other three moved in the direction of the well lit meadow. He growled at their lack of attention, then followed in their direction.

They ran to the center of the clearing, then stopped, all eyes looking in every direction. The light of the quarter moon, illuminated the open terrain. However the heavy clouds drifting by, caused several patches of murk. Still, it was much easier to see, without the heavy shade of the forest.

"What's going on?" Shippou asked, nervously.

"Shh," Miroku didn't move his eyes away from the trees that lined the meadow. Though the night was quiet, there was something unpleasant in its peace. It was just too quiet. "I sense a very evil and powerful presence."

"Where the hell is it?" The hanyou tightened his grip, on his untransformed sword. "Show yourself!"

"Inuyasha," Miroku try to hush him. "We mustn't be hasty. We know nothing about what we are facing."

"So what?" Inuyasha glared back at the monk. "It's not like we haven't gone into battle blind before. I can handle it."

The monk shook his head, tossing a glance at the young girl, "Kagome. Can you sense a jewel shard?"

She took in a deep breath, "No. I don't think it-Get down!" Her sentence was cut short by a shadow moving quickly over them.

The three fell to the grass, while Inuyasha leapt to greet the demon with his now transformed Tetsusaiga. His move would be too slow, for the full blooded youkai evaded the hanyou's blade.

Kagome rose to her feet, to see Inuyasha touch back to the ground, frustrated at his failure to cut the youkai to pieces. She watched as the being flapped its enormous wings, hovering above the group. Though it drifted along the shadows of the clouds, she could make out its build from its silhouette. The youkai appeared to be a dark gray. In the shadows, it looked almost blue. It had two arms, and two legs, all of which contracted with muscle. The tail glided on the wind as gracefully as its entire body, yet it look no less powerful. She took notice to its long claws, on both fingers and toes. They were much longer than hers and Inuyasha's. Its wings were not feathered, but of a thick tissue. She had seen creatures with wings such as the demon's, but those were in books. They were similar to that of a gargoyle's.

Her eyes studied its face, but in the shadows she could not see the contours of its face. She could only assume, like so many other demons she had encountered, it was twisted with malice. Although its pointed horns atop its head, made its presence all the more malevolent, it would be its eyes that would unnerve her. There was something about its eyes. They had a shine to it. It was as if they glowed. And in the soft light of the moon, through the clouds, they glistened brighter.

"It's eyes," her words came from just under its breath.

Inuyasha picked up on her faint words, "I'm on it."

Without hesitation, the hanyou leapt into the air, Tetsusaiga in his hands. He swung his sword at the demon, missing once again. The youkai flapped its gigantic wings, causing a strong wind current to push Inuyasha back to the ground. The flying demon wasted no time making swoop in the direction of the three on the ground, causing them to run in different directions. Needless to say, it chased after Kagome.

The young girl ran as fast as she could, but the airborne demon was just on top of her. She dove to the grass, avoiding the demon's claws. But she would not move fast enough. The claws on its right hand hooked into the thin material of her tank top, carrying her into the air with it.

"No!" Shippou called out from below. "Kagome!"

Hearing the fabric tear, Kagome wriggled more to get free. Each flap of its wings meant they were moving higher up. She had to do something. It was then she reached up with her own claws and scratched at its skin, drawing blood. The large youkai screeched in pain, twitching its hand tearing the fabric more, thus allowing Kagome to break free.

Had she really put some thought into her idea, she would have known it was a stupid idea. They were too high up, and even the demon blood that was inside her would not be able to heal her from the impact she was about to take. Still, it was either that or let the demon shred her to pieces and make off with her jewel shards. Or, be killed upon impact, and hope one of her friends would get to the jewel shards first and protect it.

Kagome could hear the air push past her ears. Her hair pushed upwards, brushing up against her face. The gravitational pull of the earth felt much like the arms around her. It sent so many flashbacks, but everything moved so fast, she couldn't quite understand it. Everything around her was so blue, then black, then blue again. Finally, it was red and white.

She felt her body jerk. She squeaked in surprise. Her eyes caught sight of a pair of golden orbs looking down on her. They looked almost annoyed.

"Inuyasha?" She felt him land on the ground.

"Who else would it be?" He grumbled letting her down. "And what the hell were you thinking? You could have been killed."

She stood upright, "Oh, as oppose to what? That thing taking off with me, then killing me."

The hanyou gritted his teeth, "You know what I mean."

"Kagome!" Shippou jumped into her arms. "Are you okay?"

She smiled down at the kitsune, "Yes. Inuyasha saved me, again."

The half demon gazed up into the sky, sword in hand, searching for the winged demon, "Hmph."

"You're bleeding," the fox child, pointed to her lower abdomen.

She gently set him down and lifted her shirt, revealing a small cut. She glanced up at the boy with the white hair standing across from her, confused, "I got it earlier."

"Kagome," Miroku finally spoke. "Did you sense a shard of the Shikon jewel?"

"No," she shook her head, searching the sky for the demon. "It doesn't have one."

"I thought you said it did!" Inuyasha snapped.

"I never said that!"

"Yes you did!"

"No I didn't!"

The hanyou stomped over to the young girl, "You said 'In it's eyes!'"

She crossed her arms, "I didn't say that! I said, 'It's eyes.' I was taking notice to its eyes! They shined, almost like a cat's. But different…" Her voice trailed off.

"Well why didn't you say that!" Again, with his usual argument.

"You never gave her a chance," Miroku interrupted his companion's rant.

"You just barreled into the fight," Shippou finished for him. "Like you always do."

Inuyasha let out a low growl, "Get down!"

Just like before, the three dove to the ground. Inuyasha didn't have time to swing his sword. The large youkai caught the hanyou with its left wing across the chest, knocking the breath out of him and causing him to drop his sword. However, Inuyasha managed to cling to the demon's wing, ripping through the tissue with his sharp claws, causing it to let out another screech. The end result grounded the two. Inuyasha climbed to his feet, only to receive a mighty blow to his chest. He could feel his bones crack at the hammering touch of its tail.

"Inuyasha!" Kagome cried, seeing his body fling back, only to slam into the ground. She immediately ran to his side.

"Get back!" Miroku shouted. "I'm going to open my Kazaana."

It was at that moment, the light of the crescent moon had faded, casting a shadow of darkness across the meadow, making it nearly impossible to see. They could just make out the silhouettes of one another.

"Kagome!" Shippou called over to her. His vision in the gloom was much better than that of the monk's, which made him reach Kagome and Inuyasha's side easily. "Is he all right?"

"I'm fine," Inuyasha got to his feet, painfully. "Where's the demon?"

They immediately searched through the shadows.

"I don't see it," Miroku grew closer to the group, following their voice. He could just make them out.

"Neither do I," Shippou added.

Kagome noticed Inuyasha hunched over, slightly. She could tell that he was in pain. His hand was across his chest and though she couldn't see his face clearly, she knew his face was twisted in agony.

"I don't think it can fly," Inuyasha looked around the meadow. "I hurt its wing pretty bad." He reached for his sword, but he was hit with an intense amount of pain in his chest, making him snarl in pain.

"Inuyasha," Kagome reached out to him, trying to help with his balance. "You're hurt too badly. Let us take care of the demon."

"Like hell," he pushed her arms off him. "You can't even see it!"

"And you can barely move," she argued, softly.

Just then a low growl came from behind them.

"It's near," Inuyasha warned the group.

For a moment the four stood still, silent, anticipating its next move.

"I have an idea," Kagome reached down for the kitsune. Then broke into a sprint. "Come on Shippou."

"Kagome!" Inuyasha tried to move towards her, but she moved too fast for the injured hanyou. "No! Come back!"

Miroku and Inuyasha grew still, listening to the sound of Kagome's feet crushing the blades of grass in the distance. Suddenly, a similar sound came from behind the two men, then it moved right past them. It appeared to be moving much quicker than the girl's. Inuyasha could see the shadow of the demon, running on all fours.

His golden eyes widened in horror, "Kagome! Watch out! It's coming right for you!"

She could hear the half demon's voice calling out to her from yards away. Soon her sprint slowed to a stop. Her lungs took in a deep breath as she listened to the sounds around her. Shippou whimpered at her feet, clinging to her leg. Kagome ruffled the fox child's head, with her hand, in reassurance. Though not entirely sure if it was for his, or hers. The swift thumping of her heart, resounded in her ears, but it did not drown out the sounds of rustling coming towards her.

Closer. Closer.

Thump. Thump.

Closer. Closer.

Inhale. Exhale.

Nothing.

The last intake of oxygen held tight in her lungs. Her ears pressed, reaching out for the sound of her heart. Nothing. It was as if her heart stopped. All that she could hear was the evening breeze pushing its way through the many, flimsy blades of grass. Kagome was absolutely still, moving her eyes only, searching. Shadows. Only shadows, gently gliding across the meadow; softly, floating above.

"Now Shippou!" Her voice broke into the night.

Miroku stood in the distance, gazing in the direction his two friends had run off to. His heart pained at a clenching feeling wrapped around it. His entire body grew exceptionally heavy. Those feelings, he tried to fight; tried to escape, but could not. And he knew why. Fear. Sorrow. Kagome and Shippou had run in hopes of stopping the creature from taking the jewel shards. Trying to protect himself and the wounded hanyou next to him. This was quite possibly the last time he would see the two, for a shadow of death followed quickly after them.

But a light of hope flared in the dark night. It's illumination, so heavenly, so bright. He could just make out four silhouettes in the distance. From their shadows he could see the kitsune at the foot of the young girl, leaping at the large, dark figure coming down upon the two. The light danced off her long black hair, blowing in the breeze and her momentum. The monk caught sight of a long, slender, bright, silver and blue reflection, just looming over the dark shadow. Four? He quickly looked around to find himself alone, then with a small grin, ran to the light.

"Fox fire!" The fox child called out into the night.

The blue flame burned brightly before the two, bringing to light, the demon that lurked in the shadows. It was just above them, when its banshee like voice broke into the night, turning away from the flame. Kagome used this opportunity to leap to the youkai. Taking it from its horn, she turned its head, making it face her. She gazed deep into its shiny orbs. Not allowing it to look away, she dug the five blades of her fingers, into the neck of demon, cutting straight across. The red ink splattered about. She snarled roughly, feeling the warm, rich, texture of blood, splash against her own face. But she did not look away. Her eyes remained tight on the demon's, watching as the light from within, died.

It took her a moment to realize that she was on the ground. She stood silent, taking in deep breaths. Her heart doing all it could to steady itself. The clouds had moved, shedding light across the open meadow. It was then she looked at the faces of her companions. Their eyes all held shock. Kagome looked down, in her left hand, she held the youkai's head. The entire upper region of her body was covered in blood. She tossed a quick glance over to the lifeless demon, not only was the head disconnected, but it's body was split in half. Her dark brown eyes trailed over to the hanyou. His sword too, was covered in blood.

He dropped to his knees, "Damn." His hand on his chest, he used the Tetsusaiga, which had reverted back to its rusty counterpart, for support.

Releasing her hold on the horn, she ran to him, "Inuyasha! Oh my-Are you okay? What were you doing?"

"Trying to keep you from getting yourself killed!" He grumbled.

"Me?" She was taken back. "What about you? You're the one who's hurt."

"You could have been killed," he shot back. "Both of you. What were you thinking?"

She sighed, kneeling next to him, "It all happened so sudden. I..I…I had to lead it away. I thought I could take it."

"Seeing me injured," Inuyasha looked over at her, wincing. "You thought you could take it."

She shook her head, "I figured I had an advantage over it."

"How?" He fought back the pain in his chest.

"Other than it's wounded wing?" She spoke softly. "It's eyes."

Inuyasha gave Kagome a look of utter confusion, "Huh?"

"I noticed its eyes glowed, like a cat's. Cats can see very well in the dark, much like dogs."

"So?"

"Well, in the forest, when Shippou used his fox fire, it was blinded. It shrieked, like it was in pain."

"It could only use its eyes in the dark," Miroku chimed in.

"That's right," Kagome nodded her head to the monk. "That's why it stuck to the shadows."

"The moonlight must have had some effect on it," the monk finished. "That's why you suggested to move out of the forest."

"Yes," Kagome looked back at the half demon. "It could have gotten us."

"Still," the hanyou shook his head. "That was a big risk."

Shippou moved closer to the monk, who was eyeing the youkai's remains, "Do you suppose it attacked us cause it was after Kagome's shards?"

"You think!" Inuyasha shot at the kitsune.

"Hmm," the monk scanned the body. "Something's wrong here."

"What?" Kagome rose to her feet.

Suddenly the youkai's lower half begin to stir. Its tail whipped at the monk, who moved just in time to block it with his staff. But he would not be strong enough. The power in the hit knocked the monk back off his feet. Kagome ran to his side, as did Shippou.

"Inuyasha!" Miroku called. "The tail!"

"Sankon Tetsusou!" His claws lashed out at the tail, splitting it in two.

They watched as the flesh melted, becoming nothing more than a litter of bones.

Kagome and Shippou helped Miroku to his feet. They walked over to the hanyou, standing over the bones. He turned slowly, facing the young girl with a look of confusion.

"What?" She asked.

Inuyasha said nothing. He reached out his hand to hers. She opened it, allowing him to place his closed hand over her palm. Lifting his hand, she glanced down at her blood stained hands. For a moment, she stared at it, confused. She could not speak. Words could not form. Her eyes widened, her heart dropped to the lowest part of her stomach. She could not look up. Not into his amber eyes. She could not tear her eyes away from the tiny red jewel resting in her palm.

AN2: Oh, I know in the disclaimer I said the Japanese language would be toned down. I meant in the sense as I won't be using words, such as, "sama, san." But I will use some terms, such as you already read. I'll try update sooner next time. Oh and here's a little inside info about the story. The demon that Kagome fought and killed, in Chapter Six, was modeled after "Friday the 13th's" Jason Vorhees and "Halloween's" Michael Myers. Can you tell? Just thought I'd share. Bye.