DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Inu-Yasha - A Feudal Fairytale and all related characters are the creations of Rumiko Takahashi.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story takes place after Episode 141 of the Anime and Volume 30 of the Manga, which is when one of the main characters makes his first appearance, so this story contains spoilers if you haven't seen that much of Inu-Yasha yet.

TRILOGY NOTE: This story is the second of a trilogy. The first is 'A Hint of Innocence' and the third is 'Just Like Me'. All three stories were written and uploaded together.


Out in the Cold
By Shadow's Mirror


The cold wind rushed through the trees, flurries of white snow whirling in its wake. The figure sitting on the front step of the mansion raised her head and listened to the wind's song, a slight smile settling on her face at the wild, carefree tune. Some day, she promised herself, she too would sing that song. Her smile faded as the gust of wind passed and the night air was still once more. Freedom… on nights like this, it seemed to be a particularly distant dream.

Naraku had visited that day. He had, as usual, spoken little to her. His only words had been the command to go and fetch Sesshoumaru's little girl. Kagura didn't know why he had such a fascination with the child, nor did she care. She had obeyed, forcing herself not to betray the fact that the command was not an unwelcome one. Kagura had known that she would fail. She always did. But the trying was the most fun she had in her otherwise dull life.

As always, there had been no point to her trying to hide her presence. He easily smelled her scent on the breeze as soon as she got there. They'd had the usual pleasant exchange of conversation, with Kagura telling him outright that she was there for the child and Sesshoumaru silently glaring at her and pretending that it was no concern of his what happened to the little girl. But there was never any doubt in Kagura's mind that if she took one step towards Rin, Sesshoumaru would stop her. So, she had simply shrugged and left, with her usual promise that she would be back.

Kagura smirked to herself. Sesshoumaru had almost shown some sort of reaction when she'd stated her intentions. She was sure of it! Whether he'd been amused, irritated, bored or resigned though, she had no idea. But whatever the reaction had been, it had been more than he'd shown previously! She couldn't help but wonder if maybe Sesshoumaru wasn't starting to get used to her visits. Maybe even used to her.

Her smile wavered as that thought crossed her mind. That might not be a good thing. There was even a chance that it was exactly what Naraku wanted to happen. After all, he was never upset with her when she returned without the girl. He was disappointed, yes, but Kagura had a feeling that was due to the fact that Sesshoumaru hadn't tried to kill her rather than her failure. She sighed. Why couldn't she have been born a regular demon instead of being created by a power-mad half-demon who kept hoping that she would be killed whenever he sent her off to do something?

Not that she could be killed. Kagura's smile faded completely. As long as Naraku kept her heart from her, he was the only one who could take her life. But, as she had learned, that didn't mean that she couldn't feel the pain of death.

Her shiver was instinctive, brought on by the memory rather than the cold night air, but Kagura still decided it was time for her to go inside. Her usual nightly restlessness had kept her awake and the call of the winter wind had been too enticing for her to remain in her room. But she knew she'd lost track of time. It was late now and she needed to get at least a little sleep.

As her bare feet padded down the corridor towards her room, Kagura noticed the coolness seeping up from the wooden floor. She smirked. It was a good thing that she was a demon. The cold didn't bother her all that much. Certainly not as much as it bothered humans. She had her hand on the partition to her room as the thought flashed across her mind, causing her to pause. Kagura frowned slightly. There was something about that thought that was suddenly making her feel rather… uneasy.

Then she remembered.

Kagura moved to the partition for the room beside hers and carefully eased it open. A quick glimpse into the room confirmed her suspicions.

Kohaku was asleep, but he was also curled up in a shivering ball on his pallet. He'd drawn the covers around himself, but they were thin and gave him little protection against the bitter cold that was currently wracking the area. Kagura winced. She was so used to him that she had almost forgotten. Although he had a Shikon shard within him, he was still only a human child.

Something deep within Kagura melted at the sight of the shivering boy. She was across the room almost before she realised it. She instinctively reached for one of the feathers in her hair, but caught herself. Those feathers were good for flight, but she had something more suitable for this.

Reaching inside her kimono, Kagura withdrew the small pouch that held her spare feathers. She smiled as she drew one out. It was just an ordinary duck feather, but it was exactly what she needed.

Kagura's power stirred at her call. It flowed into the feather, filling it with energy and transforming it. Within moments, the feather was as large as a blanket. A very fluffy and warm blanket. Kagura smiled with unusual gentleness as she covered the sleeping boy. Normally, she knew, he would have woken as soon as she entered the room. But it had been a long day. Considering the exhaustion dragging at her, Kagura knew there was little chance of anything waking the boy just then. She took the chance and lightly stroked a wayward lock of hair off his forehead. Kohaku stirred slightly at her touch, but only snuggled into the warmth of the feather blanket.

Back in the corridor, Kagura hesitated again outside her room. Her gaze strayed to another partition and she gave the matter careful consideration before finally sighing softly. All things considered, she should at least make sure that he wasn't cold. He probably wasn't, but still… Kagura stopped trying to justify her actions, unwilling to admit even to herself that she was at all concerned about the boy, and eased open the partition. A moment later, she slipped inside.

Hakudoushi wasn't curled up in a ball, but he was shivering slightly. Kagura soundlessly padded over to him and withdrew another duck feather. Before she could do anything else though, Hakudoushi's voice made her go still. "Kagura. What are you doing?"

Kagura sighed, hating the fact that she'd been caught. Still, there was no escaping the fact. She briefly considered lying, but there was really no point. Besides, for once the truth wasn't anything that could get her into trouble! "You looked cold. I was going to put a blanket over you." She shrugged.

Hakudoushi's eyes narrowed. "If that's true, then where is the blanket?" He smiled slightly, his eyes gleaming as he caught her in what he apparently thought was a lie.

Suddenly, Kagura began to enjoy herself. It wasn't often that she got the chance to prove Hakudoushi wrong. "Right here." She held up the feather, almost laughing at the surprised look she received.

Hakudoushi was still speechless with shock as Kagura tucked the feather blanket around him a few moments later. She tried to keep her movements quick and impersonal, but there was something oddly childlike about Hakudoushi when he was startled. Kagura couldn't stop herself from giving the blanket one last gentle pat before she stood up. "There. Night."

She was just closing the partition when she thought she heard Hakudoushi respond softly. "Night."

Kagura was smiling slightly as she settled down on her own pallet. Her life wasn't much, but every now and then she found something interesting, amusing or nice in it. A quick flick of her power and her own feather blanket settled over her. With a soft sigh of pleasure, Kagura closed her eyes and allowed herself to sink into the warm cocoon enveloping her. Even though the cold didn't bother her, she much preferred to be cosy and snug.

As she settled down, Kagura made a mental note that Naraku really was annoying. Of all the demons in the area that he could have irritated, why did he have to choose an Ice Demon? Even though the demon wasn't sure exactly where Naraku was, that didn't really matter considering his particular abilities. He'd covered the whole area in a mantle of snow just out of spite!

Kagura shrugged sleepily to herself. It shouldn't be long before the wretched Ice Demon either gave up or was destroyed. The only question was which was more likely? She thought destruction. After all, as she'd found out earlier in the day, Sesshoumaru wasn't very happy about Rin being out in the cold. In fact, he had seemed more annoyed about it than the child.

The memory of the little girl trailing happily after Sesshoumaru in her oversized fur blanket made Kagura chuckle softly. She was still smiling as she drifted off to sleep.


The End