"I am so dead," Kagome moaned.

Sango shifted her boomerang higher on her shoulder. "What's wrong, Kagome?" the demonslayer asked. "You've been upset for the past week. Has something happened?"

"Well, I'm flunking algebra," Kagome said morosely. "That really isn't anything new. But I got my pop quiz scores, and they were pretty bad -- especially since there's a test scheduled for next week. I don't know HOW I'm going to get through it."

"I really do think you should take a break from your schooling, and try to focus on finding the jewel shards," Miroku said thoughtfully. "It can't hurt. And that way, you won't be quite so distracted."

Kagome sighed. "Don't tempt me."

Ahead of them, Inuyasha was walking with his head bowed and shoulders hunched. Kagome frowned. He had been unusually quiet and reserved for the past day or so, like he was wrapped up in his own thoughts. He wasn't usually so quiet for so long. At night he's been up hiding in trees, Kagome thought. And during the day, he hardly speaks to anyone.

She ran ahead until she was beside him. "Hey, Inuyasha?" Kagome asked. "Hello, anyone home?"

"Yeah, what?" Inuyasha said, not looking at her.

"Are you okay? You've been acting kind of weird for the past few days."

"Yeah. I'm fine."

Kagome frowned. "Well, you don't act fine."

"Will you leave me alone?" Inuyasha snapped. He strode on faster, still not meeting her eyes. Kagome looked after him, annoyed and still concerned. He was acting funny. Not like he did when he met Kikyo, but similarly. It was like he was afraid to look her in the eye.

Inuyasha could feel himself sweating as he walked quickly away from the group. He wasn't sure himself why he was in such a bad mood. Whatever dreams he had had the night before had unsettled him, and he had woken up in a foul mood. It wasn't Kagome's fault, and he already regretted snapping at her. But he just wished she would leave him alone until he felt less strange.

A heavy mist was rolling over the woods they were walking through. Inuyasha sniffed the air, thankful yet again that he had such a sensitive nose. He smelled only the scent of birds. Apparently there was nothing sinister about this mist. Inuyasha rubbed his face, wishing that night would fall so he could be alone.

"Do you smell anything, Inuyasha?" Miroku asked.

"Nothin'," Inuyasha said. "The air is just damp, I guess. Are we gonna make camp soon or what?"

"Inuyasha, it's only a few hours after noon," Sango protested.

"Yeah, so?" Inuyasha said tensely. "I want to take a look around this place. You got a problem with that?"

No one answered, though they looked at one another in surprise.

"Well then," Inuyasha said, turning and heading toward the nearest clearing. Inwardly, he cursed. Dammit, why did I just snap like that? he thought. I'm gonna keep my mouth shut for the rest of the day, unless there's something I can actually say...

The half-demon sank under a tree and into his own thoughts as the others began making camp. Miroku gathered some sticks and tried unsucessfully to set fire to them. They only broke apart, and the sparks refused to ignite. "It's too wet," he said," the monk said. "Shippo, do you think you could help out."

"Glad to!" Shippo said, tripping over. A flash of bluish fire sprayed from the fox's tiny hands, washed over the wood. The next time Miroku tried, the wood sputtered into flame immediately.

Kagome and Sango came close to the fire to warm their chilled hands. But Inuyasha stayed away, staring off into the mist. It was cold out, but he didn't feel the chill as strongly as the others did. He was starting to feel too warm, in fact. The half demon shifted up slightly. Damn fog, he thought. I can't see a damn thing for miles around. It's clogging up the scents too.

"Inuyasha?" Kagome said, kneeling beside him. "Are you okay? I know you said you were, but you look kind of upset."

"I'm not upset," Inuyasha said in a low voice. "I don't have a problem."