**A/N: With so much help from Gemini (author of "Lost Radiance") this story was made possible. Thank you, Chrissy!! ^.^ I also want to thank Deanne for all her help on brainstorming some of the plotlines. This is for you both. And it's also for Coin, too. ^.^

O yeah, and you can also find this fic on kiwibox.com, under the user name of "Archaic_Raven" and on livejournal.com under the name of "GlitterKiss82" If you want to archive this, email me at SilentMewings@aol.com**

Cat Scratch Fever

An Inu Yasha Fanfiction

By: Laura Bishop

:: Prologue ::

~ The Dream Cave ~

The cave was very dark and foreboding, giving off an aura of malice that wasn't often felt in pure nature. It wasn't the first cavern Kagome'd been in that'd felt so . . . but this one was by far the creepiest. This was the first one where she'd ever been completely alone, so alone that she'd felt it. It didn't feel right at all. Still, she continued on her way through the cave's narrow corridors, finding her way eventually to the bowels. Once there at the deepest point, she found herself suddenly lost in darkness – staying still for a moment in complete fear. . . and then she began to see again. A bright streak of light had appeared, as if born from the darkness itself. Approaching it, a little hope filled her heart – and slowly, she watched the streak grow to a sliver in the rocky wall. Kagome, strangely curious of what was hidden beyond this teasing rip in the rocks, looked through the sliver and into a cavernous room which was apparently blocked off on purpose. In the middle of the room was a glowing piece of ice or clear crystal – she could not be sure of which – and in that sparkling hold was a woman. A young woman with long, ebony black hair which was gently streaked in various shades of purple. Dressed in a shimmering kimono of dark shades that brought to mind the winter months; her skin was very pale, her features lovely and rather feline. She had cat ears as well, black ones that nearly blended with her hair. In her elegant little hands was a sword that looked to be forged from obsidian – though blood seemed to be flowing alive inside of it's ebony veins.

Kagome gasped to see the woman in all her glory trapped therein, and then suddenly she found herself in the room that held that dazzling cage. It was ice, she realized, moving in slowly – unaware that she had just been sucked through a tiny sliver in solid rock. Kagome examined the ice, noting that it was slowly melting. And just as Kagome let that cross her mind, a bit of movement from the young woman trapped inside the ice made her glance up. The woman was staring at her, and there was little kindness in those azure blue eyes!

"Thank you, Kagome . . ." A cold, feminine voice whispered her name, shaking some of the ice to fall in slivers around her. Inside the ice cage, the woman began to move in earnest. She stretched out a hand to the trespasser near her prison. "Kagome . . ."

"Kagome, wake up would you?!" The voice of her friend Sango broke through the menacing dream, bringing the one called into consciousness. Coming to slowly, Kagome found that she was standing up already – obviously having walked half way to the door of the little room where they were lodging that evening. Beside her, Sango was watching her with concerned eyes. "You were sleep walking again. This is the third night in a row! Are you well?"

"I'm okay, Sango-chan. It's just that odd dream again. I – I can't really remember it at all." Kagome stated, her voice low and almost sad at the thought. "It was a lovely dream, though. At least, I think it was . . ."

"Feh, if it makes you whimper like that at the end, it doesn't sound so lovely to me. . ." The voice of InuYasha broke into the two girl's conversation. He'd been standing in the doorway for a few seconds, listening.

"And who asked you?" Kagome blew his opinion off, making him give a little growl of disdain her way. She turned to look at him, getting ready to give a sharp reply in turn for the growl – but Sango cut her off before she could.

"Well, let's all go back to sleep. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I surely remember how tired I was ten seconds ago." She stretched and yawned, smiling a little at her two ever arguing friends. "Besides, we haven't woken up Miroku or Shippou and I don't think we should try to –because such miracles rarely happen."

Of course, that little bit of peacemaking didn't work at all, as Kagome and InuYasha always found a way to make mountains out of molehills and of course they had to have an audience when they did . . . as if they were small children making the discovery of a new talent.

Meanwhile. . .

Not so far away, in a cave masked in a tightly woven assembly of spells, the ice cage sat waiting behind it's rock wall. The woman (who was a NekoYoukai) in the ice stood waiting silently, her eyes open as wide as in Kagome's dream, as the ice holding her captive continued to melt. The warmth of the girl's soul had started the process along nicely two nights prior, and would not be needed but for one more evening . . . and then the prisoner inside would be free and Kagome would never know the hand she had played in gaining that freedom.

The woman studied the cavern she was in slowly, remembering it's every detail as she did. This place has not changed at all, she thought to herself. But then, I didn't expect it to. A smile spread over the frozen face, bright blue eyes narrowing behind the slowly melting ice. Sesshoumaru, can you hear me? Leiko is coming . . .