The Moonlessnight: Well, despite what my bio says, here I am posting an un-finished fanfic. This is my first Inu-Yasha story and I am very excited about it, which is probably why I can't wait to see what people say about it. I do have some idea of where this story is going to go, so it should be finished really soon . . . at least once finals are over in a couple weeks. Anyway . . . read and review please. I really want to know what you think, good or bad.

On the Other Hand

Miroku swallowed hard, his brow furrowed in concentration as he crouched behind a large boulder. Just how had he gotten himself into this mess? One minute he was minding his own business, napping against a fine old tree, and the next he was he was praying to every deity he knew to preserve him from this horrible fate. He could not recall being so unlucky in his entire life!

Voices whispered quietly from nearby, causing beads of sweat to appear on the young monk's face. "So, he gave you a piece of what?" One was saying.

The other answered with a small laugh. "He gave me a fish tail. He said that if I boil it with my tea it would . . . well, I can't remember what he said it would do. I really wasn't paying all that much attention."

Miroku held his breath as the voices drew steadily nearer. Light blind him and burn him to a cinder, what in blazes had he done to deserve this? He silently worried his bottom lip as he pressed his back to the rock, carefully avoiding jangling the staff that lay at his feet. Any sound would give him away and that would not be wise.

"He did WHAT?" One of the yelled and Miroku's heart leapt to his throat. The voice came from directly behind him.

"He gave me a cream made from some crushed up bug thing. . . ." The conversation continued for several minutes more before the Miroku finally realized that he had escaped their notice. He slowly let out the breath just in time to receive another shock as hot water came cascading from above. Surely, he was discovered this time. . . .

"Sango, that wasn't fair!" said the first voice, sounding put out, "If you had wanted to get in a water fight you should have warned me."

The musical laugh that followed would have usually melted the monk's heart, but he was just a tad too frightened now. "Come on Kagome! Are you telling me that you couldn't sense that coming with your great and terrifying miko powers?"

"To quote a certain hanyou: feh." Kagome retaliated with a splash of her own that sloshed even more steaming-hot water over the rock that sheltered Miroku (who by now was very wet indeed). The monk growled a growl worthy of Inu-Yasha and started to inch away from the accursed rock and the source of his woes when something caught his eye. Straight ahead, he glimpsed a set of demonic eyes reflected in the moonlight.

A knot formed in Miroku's stomach as those eyes moved closer. His breath caught as he thought of the girls behind him slain by this demon, and his heart began to race with fear for them as well as fear of his discovery by them. For a moment he didn't know which would be worse, facing this creature from the darkness or facing an angry Sango, but he did not have long to ponder. A twig snapped as the thing took another step towards the hot spring and Miroku made his decision.

As quick as thought, the monk reached down to grab his staff and slay the demonic personage that stood before him . . . yet the demon was faster. Before Miroku could even lay a hand upon his staff, a clawed hand shot from the shadows to pull him into the shadows of the trees. Stunned, Miroku merely fell into the creature's grasp, unable to move or even to cry out. Panting for breath, Miroku stared wide-eyed as the creature kneeled over him, clawed hand pushing him firmly to the ground.

"W-what do you want?" The poor monk finally stammered.

"Oi, monk, it's only me! Now, settle yourself down before you have a heart attack or something." The whispered answer came.

"I – Inu-Yasha?" Miroku whispered, noticing the faint silver outline of his head and ears for the first time. Biting back a sharp remark, the monk allowed the tension to seep from his muscles and fell back to the ground with a weary sigh. After a few deep breaths, he regained his composure and Inu-Yasha saw fit to let him up from the ground.

"You know, you humans scare way too easily." The hanyou whispered. "I could smell your fear even before you saw me."

"There are other things than demons to fear in this world, my friend, and women are one of them." Miroku said in his most sage-like voice.

"Well, you should know. You've certainly angered enough of them in your lifetime. How many girls have you been slapped by now? I lost count at two hundred." Inu quipped, turning his head to see Miroku's reaction. He raised an eyebrow at the frown he found upon the monk's face and waited for an answer. Minutes passed in silence and he nudged Miroku with his elbow. "Hey, monk, aren't you going to say something? I just insulted your honor and you're just sitting there like nothing happened."

Miroku shook his head with a deep sigh and slowly stood, retrieving his staff from the ground as he did so. "I am going back to camp."

Without another word, Miroku turned and walked off into the darkness, leaving behind a very confused hanyou who was still staring into the forest when Kagome "sat" him repeatedly for spying.

Like Miroku, he should have left when he had the chance.

Next Chapter: The Challenge is Made