Disclaimer: I don't Inuyasha, but as of November the 28, I own mass Inuyasha merchandise!

"…" - speech

'…' - thoughts

-- - change in time or scenery

--

Fever

--

"Inuyasha! Watch out!"

A figure in red dodged just as a large tentacle-like appendage shot out with evil intention, spearing the space where he had been just moments before. The dog-hanyou jumped up and sliced downwards with Tetsusaiga, cleanly cutting the limb off.

Suddenly, from behind, there was a loud whizzing noise, and Inuyasha turned just in time to watch as Hiraikotsu cut cleanly through another tentacle that had been trying to catch him off guard. Turning his attention back to the source of all the writhing appendages, he narrowed his eyes, trying to find the weak point- the head.

Kagome's clear voice pierced through the air. "I see two shards in the centre of the… big…" she searched for the right word. "…thing!"

At that exact moment, the hanyou's eyes zeroed in on a pair of malicious red orbs peeking out from within the blob, and with a running start, brought the steal cleaving fang down to slice between the eyes.

All at once, the tentacles stopped moving, and they all dropped down the ground with several loud plops. The group heaved a collective sigh of relief, and each put down their own weapon. Miroku knocked aside a piece of writhing flesh distastefully and set his staff on the ground.

"Well, that particular youkai was harder to defeat than usual."

Sango chose to answer his unspoken question. "I'm just surprised it didn't use its poison on us. Father had said that these types of youkai can generally create venom strong enough to knock one out for days. Some of the stronger types can kill you by just spraying their poison onto the body…" She sighed and flicked off a tentacle that was trying to crawl up Hiraikotsu.

In the meantime, Shippou was setting some of the limbs on fire with his kitsune-bi, clearing a small path for Kagome to walk through. The mass of tentacles was still moving and twitching like a body with its head cut off.

Once she'd reached the blob, the young miko reached out and daintily took out two shikon shards. As soon as her fingers touched them, the fragments became a healthy pink from the tainted black they had been before.

On her way back towards the rest of the group, Sango's eyes widened as she called out to the girl. Her hand stretched out and pointed to something. "Kagome-chan! Behind you!"

Kagome turned in time to see a funnel of some black substance headed towards her. She froze, eyes widening, and threw up her arms.

"Kagome!" Inuyasha made a running start for the girl, but before he was even halfway the distance, the liquid had sufficiently drenched Kagome.

He froze.

Everybody held their breaths.

But nothing happened.

The girl pulled a face and looked down at her clothes, smearing some of the gook off her face. "Great. Now I'll have to buy another school uniform. This one's completely ruined." She sniffed and grimaced. "Yuck."

She turned back to the group and resumed walking towards them.

As she came closer, her steps became wobblier, and her vision started to swim. There was a pounding in her head, so she pressed her hand to her forehead. Suddenly, her limbs were too heavy to move, and Kagome pitched forward. The last thing she saw was a flash of red, and then she blacked out.

--

Moments later, at Kaede's hut, Inuyasha was pacing restlessly back and forth, glancing up now and then. Shippou was sleeping, curled up in Kirara's warmth.

Miroku sat at the other end of the shack, his eyes closed in meditation. "Perhaps you should save your strength, Inuyasha"

"Keh!" The half-demon growled in frustration. "That old hag has been gone with Kagome for long enough! What's wrong with the bitch, anyway?"

At that moment, a divider in the small house parted, and Sango stepped into the encasement. Inuyasha stopped walking and glared at the demon exterminator. "Well?"

She sighed and sat down wearily. The hanyou followed suit.

"Kagome-chan was covered in the demon's poison. Luckily for her, it was less potent than it could have been, and she didn't swallow any of it." She looked up. "However, some did enter through her skin pores. We've finished bathing her, and Kaede-baa-san will tell you when you can see her."

"Will she recover?" Inuyasha paused for thought. "Not that I care or anything, but we still has to find the shards, and she's the only one who can see them."

Inuyasha suddenly found a sandal covered foot pressing into the back of his head and looked up in annoyance to discover that the monk had moved from his position.

Miroku's eyes were still closed. "Don't be so insensitive, Inuyasha. We all know you care for her more than as a shard detector." His tone was irritably superior and all-knowing.

"Keh." He crossed his arms, eyes closing. "Think what you want."

Soon, Kaede too entered the room and all attention was focused on her. The old woman glanced curiously at the monk's foot on the hanyou's head, but chose not to comment.

"Well? What's wrong with the girl?" The old miko fixed Inuyasha with a silent glare. There was a short staring contest that resulted in the amber-eyed boy looking away and crossing his arms. "Keh."

"Kagome is out of considerable danger. She is sleeping right now, but she is sick with an extremely high fever. I have given her some herbs that should help ease the heat, but she shouldn't be moving for a few days. Be thankful that her will to live is strong, or she would not have survived this encounter. The danger has passed, and the worst that can happen now are nightmares. You may see her now."

Hopping to his feet, the hanyou glared menacingly at the inhabitants of the hut and walked into the other section of Kaede's hut. His body language told them clearly not to follow.

Sango glanced at Miroku with a raised eyebrow.

"What's his problem?"

Opening his eyes, the monk frowned and thought for a while. "Perhaps he blames himself for Kagome-sama being at such a condition. Despite his efforts to prove otherwise, that hanyou really does care for her. Maybe more than she herself realises."

The demon exterminator nodded as if his words were profound, but remained silent, a worried expression on her face. So absorbed in her thoughts was Sango, that she did not notice Miroku getting closer- until it was too late.

Her face abruptly turned a lovely maroon colour.

A resounding smack echoed through the room.

"How could you even think of groping at a time like THIS?!"

An unconscious Miroku fell to the floor with a thunk.

Kaede frowned. The monk could have thought of a better way to lighten the mood than groping his love interest.

Shippou slept on, dead to the world.

--

Inside the room, it was extremely dark, and it took a while for even Inuyasha's eyes to adjust to the lighting. He noticed a lump near the centre of the room and cautiously made his way towards it. The hanyou paused when he heard the sound of flesh connecting forcefully with flesh from outside, but ignored it and continued onwards.

Looking down at Kagome, he discovered that her face was flushed, and yet her body shivered with cold. The girl's eyes were shut tight, and several drops of sweat trickled down her face.

A sad expression upon his face, Inuyasha took the cloth on her forehead and cooled it in the water at her head-side before replacing it on her forehead. She sighed and moved in her sleep.

The hanyou then silently sat down, leaning against the wall closest to the girl, and silently observed her.

He was tormenting himself with his thoughts.

'If I had been a just little faster, this wouldn't have happened.' He bit his lip. 'She wouldn't be sick with such a damned high fever. If I had only followed her, I could have blocked her.' He sighed. 'No wonder the poison got into her pores, the clothes she wears cover way too little.' His eyes saddened. 'I promised to protect her… I couldn't stand to lose her…'

A gloominess chilled his heart.

Her hands fisted, but he ignored the drops of blood that dripped from the slight cuts where his claws pierced the flesh. The hanyou was far too preoccupied berating himself for failing to protect Kagome from the poison.

Looking at the way she continued to shiver, Inuyasha removed his haori and gently laid it over the young miko's body. He then laid his head back and closed his eyes.

He'd stay with her until she got better.

--

In the dead of the night, someone weakly calling his name startled Inuyasha awake. Jumping to his feet, his clawed hands moved immediately to Tetsusaiga. Amber eyes flashed through the darkness as the hanyou looked for trouble. His gaze fell upon the still form of the girl lying on the futon.

And he relaxed.

She was shivering yet again, and the haori had fallen off of her from her movement in her sleep. Kagome's eyes were screwed tight, and every so often, she would moan. The cooling cloth had also fallen off of the girl's forehead, and was on the wooden ground.

She stirred and whimpered again.

"Inu- Inuyasha… Where…?"

Ears perking, the hanyou slowly made his way to the sick girl. She was dreaming about… about… him? But from her distressed scent, it was not so much a dream than a nightmare.

'The aftershocks of the poison.' He touched a finger to her cheek.

"Inuyasha… Where are you…? So… so dark…cold…" A shiver ran through her body.

Sitting down by her side, the hanyou gently took a sweaty hand in his own.

The miko calmed almost immediately.

"Shh… I'm right here."

Kagome stirred, and opened bleary eyes to glance at him. "Inu…yasha?" Her voice was weak.

He looked solemnly at her. "What… were you dreaming about?"

She opened her mouth, but then closed it and frowned. She clenched her eyes shut. "I was… I was all alone. Nobody was… anywhere. It was so… dark and… cold. And then there was a voice." She shuddered in memory. "It was so… sinister… so… evil." The distressed girl shook her head. "It told me I had nobody, and that I would always be… alone. And… I- I couldn't find… you…"

Tears slipped down her cheeks.

Claw-tipped fingers caught them.

Blue eyes opened and observed the hanyou. Kagome's body gave another shiver from the fever. "It's so cold…"

Silently, Inuyasha shuffled closer to the miko, and slowly brought her upper body to rest in his embrace. He leaned his back to the wall and sat crossed legged with the girl in his lap. The dog demon covered them both with his haori, not caring about any chances of catching her fever.

He was a hanyou, after all.

He couldn't get sick.

"Inu…Inuyasha?"

He rested his chin comfortingly on her head. His gaze remained on the opposite wall.

"Go to sleep. I'll keep you warm."

Touched by the sudden show of affection, Kagome snuggled deeper into his heat and soon fell into a peaceful slumber.

Amber eyes quickly flickered downwards and regarded the dozing girl.

Her dream… it would never happen.

She would never be alone.

He would never leave her.

He'd make damned sure of that.


--Has our favourite hanyou finally made his decision? If Inuyasha's a little OOC, then my reason (excuse?) is that Kagome's sick with a high fever- a fever that he blames himself for not protecting her well.

And I'm a little tired. So there.

Edit: 28.11.04: Changed somethings, and got really embarrassed while reading because of the cheesiness of it all. ;) Oh well. Fluff is good, no?

Till next time…

Ja!--