Chapter Fifteen – Battle of Instincts

-ooooo-

Kagome quickly scrambled to her feet, never taking her eyes off Naraku.

His form was huge and it seemed like most of his lower body consisted of tentacles covered in a slimy, hazy green layer of poison. The parts of him that weren't tentacles were instead covered in a scaly hide with sharp spikes protruding here and there. Naraku's arms had taken on a ghastly brown colour and they were abnormally long, designed to be able to reach out and kill an enemy before he could even attempt an attack. He didn't have normal hands anymore and the long arms ended in three viciously sharp claws that were practically dripping of poison.

Suddenly Kagome found herself missing Sesshoumaru's own poison claws… they seemed harmless in comparison.

The more Kagome stared at him, the more she realised that Naraku had tried to rid himself of any resemblance he might've had to a human being.

'Tried to,' being the key word.

He did have one part of him that still looked human and that was his face. His head was ringed and protected by sharp and poisonous spikes, but his face still looked human.

Kagome shuddered. It would've been better if he hadn't looked human at all. The form Naraku now wore was grotesque enough, but somehow the pale human face that protruded only added to the effect. Somehow it seemed like a mockery… a promise of the twisted fate that awaited them if Naraku managed to absorb them.

Naraku's looks however, wasn't what had made Kagome shudder with a sudden shill and back away from the enormous form. No, what really scared her was the miasma that rolled of Naraku in shocking waves. It was stronger than she'd ever sensed it before and she wasn't sure if even her arrows would be able to purify the malicious aura.

Inside him, she could see the aura of the nearly finished jewel glint darkly with vicious intent…

Inuyasha had just managed to push himself to his feet when Naraku's ominous laughter filtered through the clearing, sending a shill down Kagome's spine.

Ever so slowly he turned his gaze towards her and Inuyasha and Kagome had to force herself to meet his crimson eyes with her own. As their eyes met, her blood began to boil wildly in her veins. It pounded fiercely in her head and she had no doubts as to what it craved… blood!

It wanted blood and it wanted Naraku's.

She didn't understand why the sudden urge to kill kicked in now when she'd been normal only a moment earlier, but with an odd feeling of elated freedom she found that she didn't care.

"Kagome? Are you all right?"

Inuyasha's concerned voice barely filtered through the loud pounding of her blood and she discovered with a certain amount of surprise that she was growling.

Not that it really mattered.

Cracking her knuckles, she never moved her gaze from Naraku. Feelings she'd never felt before coursed through her and she was acting mostly on instinct. Her blood screamed for her to attack and at the same time it was indecisive. Youkai instincts were battling her miko instincts and she didn't move even as her growl escalated.

Her youkai blood instructed her to attack. It instructed her to get the threat out of the way. Naraku was an enemy and he was challenging her by keeping eye contact. Her youkai blood demanded for her to answer the challenge. It demanded his death.

Her miko instincts on the other hand told her something else entirely and even if they saw Naraku as a threat to her life, they also told her something more important altogether. He was a threat to her friends… to Inuyasha. If she moved, Inuyasha would be in Naraku's line of sight and she never wanted that. Without his sword he would loose his mind, possibly his soul.

Her instincts as a miko were to protect first. Protecting, helping and saving those who needed it came before anything else. It didn't necessarily mean that they never told her to attack. Quite the contrary, they had told her to attack dozens of times even before she became a hanyou. They had told her to attack every time she'd drawn her bow and fired at an enemy youkai, but they only advised her to attack if it wouldn't endanger the innocent, or if it was absolutely necessary.

If she attacked now, she would leave Inuyasha vulnerable.

After what seemed like an eternity for Kagome, but was in reality only a matter of seconds, her youkai blood finally settled down somewhat. It still wanted to attack Naraku and continued to boil under the surface, but it had come to realise the threat that would present itself for her mate if she did.

Her mate? Now where did that thought come from?

Too confused and riled up to care, Kagome finally acknowledged Inuyasha's presence. In fact, it would've been hard enough not to because he'd begun to shake her shoulders in an attempt to bring her out of whatever daze she was in.

"Kagome answer me." His voice was insistence now, if not even a bit pleading.

She blinked. A bit surprised to find him directly in front of her face. She hadn't noticed that he'd moved.

"She can't hear you hanyou!" A mocking voice broke through his attempts.

"She's caught by the bloodlust. Like any hanyou filth that's pushed to the edge." Naraku's voice broke into an evil chuckle.

Kagome blinked again and she knew that Inuyasha had noticed that she was 'back again'. Obviously, Naraku had not because he continued his mocking ranting.

"I must admit that I was a bit surprised to find that she had been corrupted by youkai blood and turned into a hanyou. What a delightful evil turn of events led to that? I'm so sorry I missed it, but now she's fortunately no longer a threat to me. As corrupted as she is now, there's no possible way that she can conjure anymore purifying energy."

His mouth widened into a humourless smirk, upper lip pulling back to reveal a row of razor sharp fangs hidden behind his human face.

Frowning Kagome looked askance at Inuyasha.

"What is he talking about?" She half asked, half growled.

Inuyasha shrugged. They both knew that she still had her miko powers. After all, that was what had initially kept the alien youkai blood from turning her into full youkai in the first place. Her miko powers had balanced the transformation, and even now that she had her youkai blood pounding freely through her, her powers grew to maintain the balance and keep her in a hanyou form.

She didn't get the chance to say anything else since Naraku had decided that he had talked enough to sustain his ego.

He lunged without warning.

Kagome's breath caught in her throat as her eyes widened in horror. Inuyasha had his back turned to Naraku and he didn't have a chance to turn and see what caused Kagome's expression before Naraku was upon them.

Or he would've been hadn't it been for an intervening factor.

"Foolish hanyou." Sesshoumaru's voice echoed flatly over the sudden silence that followed Naraku's attack.

"Didn't you ever learn never to turn your back to an enemy?"

Sesshoumaru didn't take the time to wait for a reply before he used his energy-whip to force Naraku backwards.

Apparently Sesshoumaru had brought Rin to the relative safety of the forest after her return, and now he was eager to repay Naraku for the numerous insults he had done towards him.

Blinking once in surprise, Kagome quickly shook it off and noticed that Inuyasha was about to throw himself into the fight without his sword. She didn't even take the time to try to talk reason to him. Experience told her it wouldn't matter. Instead she grabbed him by the shoulders and twisted him around, forcing him to face her.

"There's no way you're going to fight Naraku now without your sword. You could loose your soul!" She growled fiercely at him as she began to drag him towards Miroku and the unconscious hanyou lying on the ground where she left them.

Inuyasha tried to protest, but casting one glance at Kagome's disturbingly red eyes, he decided to let it slip this once. He wasn't worried. Not at all…

"Keh!"

Finally reaching Miroku, Kagome released her hold on Inuyasha and began to look frantically around. Her blood still wanted to fight and kill Naraku, but she couldn't do that if Inuyasha risked getting hurt. Therefore, she naturally had to find the sword.

"Have you seen Inuyasha's sword around?" She turned around and asked Miroku quickly.

He shook his head and Kagome couldn't keep a growl from escaping.

"Fuck!"

Miroku traded glances with Inuyasha at the language she had used, but then quickly decided that it wasn't important. Inuyasha lacking his sword on the other hand…

"I can run over to Sango and ask her if you and Inuyasha stay her with the hanyou." Miroku indicated the unconscious hanyou and Kagome nodded, ignoring Inuyasha's curious glance.

"Fine, but be quick about it."

She didn't need to tell Miroku twice. As soon as the words left her mouth, he was off in the direction of the female demon exterminator.

Indicating the unconscious hanyou by their feet, Inuyasha raised an eyebrow and regarded Kagome with curiosity.

"Who's that?" He asked lightly.

Kagome glanced at the hanyou and shrugged. She didn't really know who it was, only who she thought it was.

"I think it's the half-sister of a youkai that Naraku manipulated into casting a sleeping spell on us so that he could kidnap me. Naraku had captured the youkai's sister to get her to cooperate, but I doubt she will do it now that Naraku doesn't have her sister anymore."

Inuyasha nodded that he understood and then returned to the task of looking for his sword. Kagome regarded him from the corner of her eye for a brief second before she turned to watch the battle between Naraku and Sesshoumaru.

They had been close matched in the beginning. Sesshoumaru had used his energy whip both to attack and to defend, but he hadn't been able to harm Naraku yet. Whatever shield Naraku had to defend himself, it was too strong for the energy whip. So far none of them had been harmed. Sesshoumaru used his incredible speed to dodge multiple attacks from Naraku's tentacles, but Kagome could see small signs that indicated that the tai youkai was beginning to tire. It wasn't so weird really, because Sesshoumaru had used a lot of youki to be able to withstand Naraku's poisonous miasma.

Kagome knew that Sesshoumaru couldn't use the energy whip much longer. He had to choose between using the energy whip, or maintaining the youki barrier that protected him from Naraku's miasma. He would have to abandon the whip, after all he couldn't fight Naraku if he died of poisoning.

"Sango hasn't seen the sword either."

Inuyasha's voice pulled Kagome from her thoughts and she turned to look in Miroku's and Sango's direction. Miroku was currently waving his hands and shaking his head in an attempt to communicate over the distance and the increasing noise from the ongoing battle.

She didn't get a chance to reply because one of Naraku's numerous tentacles came speeding towards her and Inuyasha.

The attack was targeted on her and she barely managed to dodge it while Inuyasha crouched down to pick up the unconscious hanyou. This time it was Inuyasha turn to curse because the attack on her continued and he couldn't do anything to help her when he had the young hanyou in his arms.

"Get her to the forest!" Kagome shouted in-between the dodging she was forced to do. "Get Shippo to look after her." She had caught Shippo's scent a long time ago and knew that he was hiding in the forest. He wasn't too far off…

Inuyasha looked doubting at her, torn between concern for her and concern for the unconscious hanyou he had troubles deciding what to do.

Kagome kept dodging and was even forced to drop on her back for a brief moment when the tentacle came sweeping after her in a low motion. It didn't take long before Naraku decided to attack Inuyasha too and he cursed as he jumped away, the movement leading him farther away from Kagome and closer towards the forest.

Kagome glanced briefly in Naraku's direction and saw that other tentacles were quickly approaching. It seemed like Naraku didn't have a problem with fighting two battles at the same time even if they were at the opposite end of each other.

Growling in exasperation and rising irritation, Kagome looked back at Inuyasha and saw that he still hadn't decided exactly what to do. It was a dangerous situation and as the danger increased, so did the intensity of the youkai blood running through her. It was with rising dread that Kagome realised that she was loosing the fight with her youkai instincts. It wouldn't be long before she stopped dodging Naraku's attacks and began to answer them instead.

She had to get Inuyasha to move. If not for his own sake, then for the sake of the hanyou he was carrying.

"Get her to the forest!" Kagome shouted again and the intensity of her command finally got through to him and Inuyasha nodded gravely.

"Fine!" He shouted back as he turned to leave.

"But if you get yourself killed I'll never forgive you… stubborn bitch."

It was a strange thing for Inuyasha to say, but at the moment Kagome didn't have the time or the sanity to think it over. Naraku's tentacles attacked her with purpose and coordination and she felt something snap inside of her.

-ooooo-

A/n: Sorry for the long wait, but I'm really busy with exams at the moment. I've added a section to my profile where I'll explain why updating's late and so on… I'll also add other general information that concerns my stories. If you hav questions, you are free to e-mail me. I'm also really grateful for all the reviews. Thanks a lot folks!

Oh, and people have been curious as to how Kagome's able to contain her sanity so far after transforming. I'll answer that later in the story so don't worry. Everything has a reason.