It was just another day.

A monster that looked like it was all made up of gigantic tentacles was wildly trashing around, demanding for—surprise, surprise—the Shikon Shards at the base of Kagome's neck. Inuyasha, Sango, and Miroku worked the thing over, and it was still back for more.

"It's got to have a weakness!" Kagome shouted up to Jessica, who was circling the thing lazily on her brand new Firebolt Six Sixty.

"I know!" Jessica replied testily, keeping well out of reach of the tentacles. She had refused to go any lower, the Firebolt Six Sixty being the extension of her soul and—according to her—the sole reason for living. The latest, fastest broom to hit the shops, it's sheer magnificence and specifics put the other brooms to shame, including it's predecessors. Though unbreakable and unscratchable, Jessica had been reluctant to test out just how unscratchable it was. "I'm looking for it, aren't I?"

"Go lower!" Shippou called out. "It might be something really teeny!"

Deciding that the fox kit was probably right, Jessica sighed. Obeying the slight body movement from its mistress, the Firebolt Six Sixty whizzed downwards. Easily ducking the slate-gray tentacles that moved to slap her off her broom, Jessica squinted, and thought that it was not unlike searching for the Snitch in a pitch full of very angry Slytherin players.

And then she saw it. But even as that thin tentacle shifted to impede her view, Jessica recognized what she had seen. It had been visible for only a second, but she had already cottoned on. Granted, it was pretty puny, but it was there. And exposed. Protected only by those hideously thin tenta—


In her distraction, one of the blasted thin tentacles hit her straight on, breaking her nose and sending blood spattering everywhere. She cried out as pain exploded in her face, and fought to keep her balance. Wiping the blood off with the back of her hand, she swerved out of the way of a larger tentacle, exceedingly pleased with herself despite the pain.

Got you, you ugly little bugger.

"Kagobe! Fouddit!" Nose throbbing hard, she felt herself tear up from the agony. Darn it. It was like getting hit by a Beater's club.

Despite the looming danger, however, Kagome whipped out her wand as she neared, pointed, and chanted a spell.

The pain was gone. And from the smell of it, so was the blood.

"Thanks," Jessica said, automatically feeling her nose. It felt normal. She landed next to Kagome, already on to her next thought. Inuyasha was getting more and more pissed by the second. The monster had been a remarkable one, being this resilient even without any Shikon Shards. "Get on, hurry!"

Slipping her wand back into her pocket, she grabbed her bow and arrows and hopped on. Jessica scooted forward a little to give her more space, and also because she didn't want to get an arrowhead in the eye.

"Inuyasha!" Kagome shouted as Jessica started forward. "Distract him a little longer!"

Inuyasha scowled up from where had been skirting away from the tentacles, aghast. "Distract him!" Was that what she thought he had been doing?

Kagome had no time for this. There was a reason why Firebolts were only meant for Quidditch players; they only held one person. As agile and fast as the Firebolt Six Sixty was, she knew that it would be greatly hampered by the extra, suddenly distributed weight. If tentacles were to go for them now, not even Harry Potter himself could dodge it. "JUST DO IT!"

"Shippou's right. It's tiny." Jessica remarked as they rose higher and higher. Not as fast as she would have liked, but making good time just the same. Sango, who knew what they were about to do, steered Kirara closer to make sure it was fully distracted. The two girls might be the least useful of the group when it came to fighting youkai, but they held their own.

"There." Jessica pointed as the thin bunch of tentacles raised themselves up to try to knock the fire-cat out of the air. It was most obviously threatened by their presence. "Standard defence mechanism. Attack anything that protects important stuff."

Kagome squinted. How could a monster that huge have something that teeny? "Wow."

"Gives a whole new meaning to the term pea brain."

Loading her bow, she pulled the string taut, preparing to aim. "Are you sure it's even a brain?"

"Got close enough to take a look, didn't I?"

"So all that tentacles just protect the brain?"

She shrugged. "Dunno. Hit the brain, snuff the git, I suppose. Now do your stuff."

Quickly praying that her aim was true, she released the bow. Her Spirit Arrow arced toward it's target, glowing a brilliant, almost blinding blue.

The arrow pierced through the tiny, raisin-sized brain, and everything stopped. The wriggling ball of tentacles seemed to freeze up, as if it had been Petrified. Then, with a loud, dying groan, it pitched forward. Right onto Inuyasha, who swore loudly and leapt out of the way.

"Sorry about that!" Kagome called out apologetically as Jessica deposited her onto the ground, quite glad to have her Firebolt working normally again.

She, for one, was just happy to touch land. There was just something not…safe about sitting on a something that was practically a pole, and being suspended fifty feet above the ground on it.

"Well!" Kagome said happily, ironing out the back of her robes that had been bunched up against her quiver of arrows. "That takes care of it."

Inuyasha, roughened around the edges, simply grunted, and moved to inspect the thing. "Damn fucker worked us over," he muttered idly. "Even without the Shikon Shards." Satisfied that it was really dead, he slid his Tetsusaiga back into it's sheath.

"Inuyasha's right," Sango said as she and Miroku got off Kirara. "It seems like the youkai are getting stronger these days, and they didn't even have shards in them."

"No," Miroku said thoughtfully. "Not stronger. More aggressive."

"More aggressive?" Kagome echoed, brows knitting in confusion. Youkai, as far as she knew, were much more aggressive than a charging Hippogriff, so what Miroku said didn't make sense, did it? They'd always been like that, and she said as much.

Miroku shook his head. "They're more desperate. Did you notice it, Inuyasha? They were…angrier, driven by something."

"Or controlled by something," Sango said darkly, her mind switching immediately to the evil bastard Naraku.

"But he'd normally stick Shikon Shards in them, right?" Jessica asked, puzzled. She shrank her broomstick so that it became the size of a toothpick, then slipped it into the pocket which she had kept carefully clear for it. "And he'd have those insect things watching, right?"

Inuyasha's scowl turned even more thunderous. Just thinking about the bastard pissed him off to greater heights. What the fuck was he planning now? Some bizarre, twisted crap to make himself even stronger? "Let's go," he growled, the drive to find Naraku and hack the little shit into tiny pieces stronger than ever. "We ain't doing nothing here talking about it."

"He's right," Shippou chirped, a little annoyed at being left out of the conversation, and a little unnerved at the way the dark forest seemed to close around them. "Let's go! This place gives me the creeps."

Jessica sighed as Kagome climbed on Inuyasha's back. "You couldn't have told me we were going to travel fast before I shrank my broomstick?"

"You need a bigger brain too, wench."

"Don't make me hex you."

Miles away from the shard hunters, deep in the heart of a forest that had been abandoned by the world, a snake youkai dozed. Serpentine forms writhed all around him, silent guards of his territory. He lay comfortably; there was nothing to fear, not when the thing most feared was he himself. No human or demon had dared to step foot in his Forest, for none could survive his ever-obedient, ever-faithful slaves, nor his bloodthirsty subjects that roamed his territory freely.

"Masssster," a soft voice hissed from within the shadows, quiet and reverent. "He issss here."

Excellent, he thought, pleased. It was just as he had expected.

Without opening his eyes, the snake youkai nodded curtly. "Send him."

Softly, as if he, too, was a mere shadow himself, a pale faced man sidled into his view. Inky midnight tresses tumbled down broad shoulders, and he was dressed in fine battle regalia, with enormous, dangerous-looking armor that adorned him. A large, crimson eye opened down his front, with two smaller ones on the backs of his hands. The snake youkai, of course, did not miss the aura of deadly danger and death that surrounded him. A welcome scent, in fact. Not unlike the scent that hung here constantly.

A properly menacing person, indeed.

"Lord Nagini." The half-breed's voice was as smooth as the finest of silks, and just as beguiling. Nagini knew him as Naraku, the bloodthirsty, greedy, filthy little half-breed who had, by his endless manipulations and insidious plots managed to strike terror into even the most evil and murderous of youkai.

All of them fell to the half-breed, save for his own.

Nagini observed him lazily; his obeisant servants had cleared a small path for Naraku at his silent command. Unafraid of Naraku, they watched with keen, diamond eyes, ready to strike lest he made a move against their lord and master. "Why have you sought me again, Naraku?"

The half-breed's deep crimson eyes narrowed momentarily at the deliberate slight. The Serpent King was obviously not in the least impressed with his…accomplishments. A foolish thing, surely. He had grown considerably in strength during the past twenty-seven years, and Naraku regretted not slaying him when he'd had the chance. Or, at the very least, consumed him. It seemed as if Naraku had underestimated him. The Serpent King had proven to be a very formidable foe, indeed.

He had learnt that the hard way.

It seemed like Lord Nagini had a mysterious power source somewhere, something that empowered him, that killed with only a glance, and another, with curiously hooded, skeletal demons that floated and sucked the life out of his demons, leaving them as soulless carcasses that were of no use to anyone. No one had yet set their eyes on those demons' faces and lived to tell the tale.

Kohaku, renowned for his stealth skills, had been sent to find out what that mysterious source was, but when he returned, he had been half mad, driven to the brink of insanity by what seemed like excruciating torture. Whoever it was had also ripped away the shroud that hid Kohaku's terrible past from him. The one thing that Naraku would always erase so he would remain obedient, and to make sure that he did not know too much. Naraku had tried to sift more out of the boy, but his mind was blank, save for only one, recurring thought that seemed to be meant only for him.

Cross not the Dark Lord.

Naraku had tried to probe further, to see what it was the boy had seen, but his way had been blocked. The damned serpent had broken through all his memory spells, sucked out all the information on Naraku, and had placed another, unbreakable one to mock him.

It had left him seething. The Serpent King had wiped out legions upon legions of his armies without losing even one of his own, and now this. He had been tempted to get rid of the boy once and for all, but he still needed him to distract the beautiful demon exterminator, and so had allowed him to live, modifying his memory once more.

And he remembered the two girls, the young, oddly garbed ones who travelled with Inuyasha, the monk, and the demon exterminator. One was a miko with an oddly uncanny resemblance to Kikyou, and the other was not worth mentioning or even remembering, if not for the fact that she was particularly adept in sorcery, and zipped around on a broom.

Whenever they fought off demons, he had noted that they relied on sorcery; odd, completely unpredictable spells. Their spells were paltry compared to his own, but they were completely foreign, and had taken him by surprise more than once, leaving him vulnerable to Inuyasha's deadly attacks.

Together, the Inuyasha group was formidable

Although his current barrier prevented their attacks, Inuyasha's Kongousouha shattered it as if it was glass. And once that barrier is gone, there was no telling what either girl would be able to do, especially the miko Kagome. In that vein, they were every bit a threat to him as Lord Nagini or the Lord of the Western Lands, Sesshoumaru was.

Therefore, he had decided that he would need assistance in the form of an alliance. If the Serpent King agreed to the alliance, he would provide the much required distraction, and in that, Naraku could learn of Lord Nagini's weakness, and proceed to consume both him and the mysterious source.

He would truly become invincible.

"I seek an…alliance, if you will."

Nagini looked bored. "Now why would I want to do that?"

It was his turn to smile; a cold, calculating lift of thin lips that fooled no one. "You seek the throne to the Northern Lands, do you not?"

"What is it to you?"

"I can provide assistance. Your way to the throne will be much easier."

Nagini eyed him shrewdly, considering his options. He was prideful, but he was no fool. There would be no wisdom in turning away offered help.

You will take it, a cold, high-pitched voice whispered into his consciousness. He will be useful to us.

"What is your price?"

"I will need your assistance in turn," Naraku replied smoothly. He did not step any closer; there was black danger just beyond Nagini, something filled with the purest of malice, evil, and hate. It was so potent and so striking he could almost taste it. "I require your indestructible servants to deal with our…problems."

Nagini shuddered slightly as laughter resounded in his mind, full of scorn and dark amusement. Indestructible to a detested, filthy demon like him.


"Inuyasha and his group of little friends pose a danger to you too, do they not?" he inquired sleekly, deep ruby eyes knowing.

Anger. He felt deep, dark anger stirring at the name. Naraku, his curiosity aroused, tried once more to look into the impenetrable, alluring darkness that seethed just beyond the Serpent King. Was that where the lord of the Serpent King lay?

"You will do well not to look upon the darkness." Nagini responded, not wishing to answer the previous question. His master's fury was proof enough. He hated the group with a vengeance. Or rather, a particular person in the group. Time and time again, his vengeance had been thwarted by the damnable dog hanyou, and his thirst for the blood of his murderer rejected by uncanny strokes of luck that trailed his prey like it did her father—the sole reason why his master was very much alive, and very much fueled by the desire to destroy everything he touched.

Other than that, he knew not what his master had planned for, but it was enough for him. He was the servant; he would not demand.

He would obey, in payment for being saved.

In fact, Nagini had attempted to destroy the girl a few times, but had failed miserably, having fallen to the merciless blade of the Tetsusaiga. Yet that had not been the worst.

He would not soon forget his master's displeasure at his failures.

Perhaps, if this Naraku could dispose of Inuyasha for his Lord, leaving Harry Potter's blood child for the Dark Lord to deal with as he wished…

He will do, the icy voice hissed once more, sounding darkly pleased.

Nagini watched as the dark hanyou's eyes narrowed, then finally nodded, dulcet tones not revealing any of his thoughts. "Very well. Are we to have an alliance, then?"

And the most uncomfortable feeling crept over him. All of a sudden, it seemed like someone was actually looking into his mind. Someone, something that crept through, twisted around him like a serpent, searching, looking…

Snarling under his breath, he sought to close his mind. There was a power there, power unlike anything he had ever seen or beheld, and that power pushed against him, threatening him.

Know me as the Dark Lord Voldemort. A cold voice hissed through his mind even as the dark hanyou fought to throw him out. He had been mildly disoriented at the beginning; he had never once been the victim, only the aggressor, and now that he was on the other end of the spectrum, he was really, really angry, indeed. Very well, we will have an alliance. I will know if you lie, Naraku. No one can close their mind to me.

With yet another guttural snarl, Naraku forced the filthy presence out of his mind, his rage threatening to take him over.

No one, NO ONE, treated him like that!

High-pitched laughter whispered through his consciousness, and he seethed. Yet in his fury, a tingle of apprehension remained. Who was this Lord Voldemort? Where had he come from? What kind of terrible power did he possess? How could Naraku, himself, possess it?

Know me, the high-pitched, merciless voice continued, almost singing. Know me, and fear me, like all will when I finally reveal myself.

And the entire forest hissed its acquiescence.

The great Lord of the Western Lands watched idly as Rin played an exuberant game of tag with Jaken. The imp in question looked like he'd been dragged through all seven hells. Which, he supposed, wasn't too unlikely. Rin was a tiny bundle of energy, and as much as he hated to admit it, he liked watching her gambol around. She was so full of life and laughter, so much so that he had developed something very much like a soft spot for her. She had merely been an experiment at first, but gradually, the little girl had grown into something much, much more.

He shifted, uncomfortable with the sudden surge of affection he felt for the chit. He had spent hundreds of years in a mixture of simmering resentment, bitterness, and hard cold ambition. His capacity for feelings had dissipated long ago. Emotions were weaknesses, he could remember Mother saying, in a tone touched by ice. Emotions are what will kill you.

And as the Lord of the Dogs, he could not afford it. His father possessed them in abundance, and look at what happened to him.

"Come catch me, Jaken-sama! Come catch me!" Rin sang, scampering away from his agitated retainer. Momentarily distracted from his thoughts, he mused lazily that it was amusing watching the imp get run into the ground by someone barely taller than he was.

Closing his eyes, the demon lord felt the slightest of twinges against his consciousness. Calmly, he started. "I see your stealth skills are severely lacking even after all these years, Sei."

The bushes barely rustled as a young woman stepped out, serpentine emerald eyes lit up in amusement. Away from them, Rin and Jaken paused, eyes on the intruder. She was dressed unlike any woman any had ever seen before. Well, Jaken supposed that it was a woman. Even under all the drab clothes—if rags like that could be called clothes—and the strange way they were strapped around her, the figure was unmistakable.

"I see your sunny disposition has not changed even after all these years, Sesshoumaru."

He eyed her coolly, but the minute relaxation in his posture did not go unnoticed by Jaken. Obviously his Lord and this dirty-looking woman were…acquaintances. He was curious. No one spoke to his Lord so and lived to get away with it, but this one…

"It's been a while."

She smiled. "It has, hasn't it? I see the years have been kind to you."

"Why are you here?" He asked impassively, as her curious eyes roved over his young charge and retainer.

"A human girl?" Sei mused, conveniently avoiding his question. "I never knew you were the type, Sessh. I'd pegged your brother for the human-loving type."

Jaken almost choked. Sessh? Sessh! The filthy, impudent wench had deigned to call his master by that—that name!

He could not keep quiet anymore. "Impudent wench!" he screeched, waving his nintoujou at her. "Filthy snake demon! Show some—"

"Jaken," Sesshoumaru said lazily, unaffected in the least. He had been used to that nickname ever since he was a pup, and since she had been the closest thing to a friend that he had in his whole life, he was quite willing to overlook it. That and the fact that she had just mentioned his damnable half-brother in front of him. "Shut up."

Sei was impressed. "He's got quite a mouth on him."

"You did not answer my question."

The corner of her lips pulled up in a half-hearted smile. "Tenacious as ever, aren't you?"

It did not escape his notice that her hand had subconsciously moved to brush against the hilt of her sword. The sword of her forefathers.

The sword that shamed her bloodline.

He wondered how she had acquired it, but did not ask. "You are holding your father's sword."

"It's a good sword," Sei said, a little defensively. "Though it's last holder was known for it's cowardice, there had been a magnificent lineage before it."

He tilted his head ever so slightly, watching her. "You will take back the throne, then?"

A shadow crossed her eyes. "My answer does not change, Sessh. I am not fit to take over, not after what my Father did. Besides, they are prospering. What right do I have to change that?"

He was silent. Finally, he said. "He is still alive."

She simply nodded, eyes hardening. "Which is why I'm hunting him. I have not forgotten what he had done to Mother and I. Nor have I forgiven."

It was just as he had expected. The hundreds of years had done nothing to dispel the hate and darkness she held deep within her heart. Sesshoumaru, though bitter and resentful, allowed none of it to rule him, carefully mastering it, crafting it into a formidable weapon that placed everyone at arm's length. Sei, however, possessed no such ability. She loved, and she hated, with equal passion. Perhaps the hate a little more so now.

"Then you should be on your way."

A brief look of hurt flickered in her eyes before it was quickly mastered. Sesshoumaru, however, did not miss it. Nor did he acknowledge it. "Of course. I had thought it would be good to see you again."

He made no reply to that. What, really, had she expected?

With a wry smile, she simply turned to walk away. "I'll be on my way now. See you, Sessh. Perhaps we'll meet again."

"Perhaps," he allowed. She had grown up, he realized. She was no longer the whining, crybaby little child he had been forced to keep company with when he had been a pup, or the headstrong firebrand he had been with when they were adolescents.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rin piped up curiously, watching as Sei disappeared into the trees, melding into them as if she had been a part of them all along. "Sesshoumaru-sama, who is she?"

Beside her, Jaken sputtered to life, trying to get his mind over the fact that his lord had just had an entire, civil conversation with someone. "What a rude, filthy de—"

Sesshoumaru stared at him evenly, effectively cutting him off. "Surely you, Jaken, would recognize the markings on her face?"

Jaken looked like he'd been stuffed in the throat with a particularly smelly sock. "I—I—she—" Then, realizing that he might have displeased his master by not knowing, threw himself face-first onto the ground, babbling incoherently about his foolishness and how he hoped Sesshoumaru would not be displeased.

Dismissing him, Sesshoumaru got to his feet gracefully, casting yet another brief look in the direction where the beautiful demoness had disappeared.

Jaken was still babbling.

"Fool," Sesshoumaru cut in smoothly as he stepped over the idiot. "You have just looked upon the exiled Princess of the Northern Lands."

Jaken gaped, yellow bulbous eyes bulging. "N-Northern Lands?" Ever since he had followed Sesshoumaru, he had diligently done research on his lord's history to know more about him. The Northern Lands were the greatest allies of the Western Lands. Unfortunately, a weak king had taken the throne a little more than seven hundred years ago. An attack soon followed, the king had abandoned his place, offered his wife and daughter to the enemy, and had disappeared. Sesshoumaru's father, the Inu no Taisho, had plunged into the chaos to save both the wife and daughter and had destroyed the enemy.

But the city could not survive without a king, the Queen and the Princess were in no shape to rule, and so the general of the land, a kind and good leader, had moved forward to serve the land. It had taken years to end the chaos, and in that time, the Queen and the Princess had disappeared.

"They sought refuge in your lands, my lord?" he questioned.

Sesshoumaru eyed him coolly. "We will never abandon our allies. Especially women and children."

"And that—that was the Princess?" It was the farthest thing from a princess Jaken had ever seen. She looked filthy, unkempt, and utterly indecent. And the way she spoke…he winced. Surely his lord must have made a mistake…

Sesshoumaru didn't bother to reply to that question. "You will treat her with respect, Jaken. Do not shame my household."

Jaken prostrated before Sesshoumaru once more, the stony tone laced in his words were a subtle enough warning. "Yes, Sesshoumaru-sama! Forgive this Jaken his transgressions!"

And off he went again.

Sesshoumaru ignored him once more, cutting through his babbling. "Jaken, fetch Ah-Un. Rin, we're going."

"Yes, Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rin cheered as she followed eagerly after her stoic guardian, bursting with endless questions. "Sesshoumaru-sama, what is 'exiled princess'? Where is the Northern Lands? Is it nice?"

"Sesshoumaru-sama," Jaken squawked, panicked at seeing that the two of them were going to leave without him. Yanking desperately on Ah-Un's leash, he struggled to try to keep up with them. "Sesshoumaru-sama, Rin, waaaaaaaitttt!"

Jessica looked down at her deluxe box of Weasley's Wildfire Whiz-bangs mournfully—one of the things she had insisted on paying for—and sighed. A gusty, morose sigh that made one wonder if anyone had died.

Shippou looked extremely apologetic, and had conveyed that message verbally too. He'd received a stern talking-to from Kagome, too. Man, he shouldn't have nicked that box and set off half of them! A stray sparkler floated lazily above them, spelling out something that Kagome knew Jessica's mother would no doubt send her a Howler for, if she ever saw it.

A few others zipped past, and Kagome ducked a stray pink rocket that seemed to have a particular fascination with her head. Inuyasha stared up at them, instantly captivated.

"It was ten Galleons worth of fireworks you just wasted," Jessica told Shippou. She'd planned a much better use for it, but then again… Silver and gold piglets were dancing around a clump of bushes, catching her attention.

Shippou looked close to tears. "I said I was sorry, Jessica! I shouldn't have taken them without your permission, but they were so pretty—and—and—"

Alarmed at the look on Shippou's face, Jessica hastily said, "It's OK, Shippou. Really. I suppose I'll have a reason to ask for my next raise in allowance." A tiny dragon breathed fire from above them before zipping away to disturb the pigs, who disbanded in a panic and promptly set fire to a nearby bush. Kagome sighed and put the fire out with a wave of her wand.

"Excellent," Jessica said, a wicked gleam in her eye. Suddenly feeling generous at seeing how well the fireworks had turned out, she gave him the entire box. Obviously Uncle Fred and Uncle George had refined them once more. "Here. You can have these. I'll need a brand new box of them, anyway."

It didn't take a genius to see the thoughts whirring in her head, browsing through the multitude of pranks that were just itching to be played.

On hearing this, Kagome turned on her friend suspiciously. "You're going to set them off in Professor Trelawney's class again, aren't you?"

It had been a complete success when it happened three years ago. Fireworks were going off everywhere, knocking over and setting fire to things, including all of Professor Trelawney's floaty-looking scarves. The students, roused from their drowsiness had all escaped from the tower in seconds even as the multitude of fireworks spread from there to the entire castle. It had taken all the teachers to get rid of them. And ironically, for all the Inner Eyes Trelawney said she possessed, she couldn't even identify the perpetrators, which amused the fun-loving trio very much.

They were less amused, however, when Professor McGonagall threw them into detention for an entire month nonetheless. Sometimes the woman was just too smart.

Jessica looked utmostly offended. "Kagome, Tim and Pete were the ones who set an entire box of them off!" At her fierce glare, she wilted a little. "And I uh…helped. A little. A very little!"

Miroku, who was watching the two of them with interest, simply smirked and shook his head at Jessica. He was sporting a very distinct handprint on his cheek. Sango, scowling—though anyone could see that she was secretly pleased—flounced over to where Kagome was still fixing an innocent, wide-eyed Jessica the evil eye.

"Oh all right," Jessica muttered, looking as if saying it was actually causing her physical pain. "I promise I won't set them off in classes."

After those darned fireworks tried to set fire to his face for the third time, an irritated Inuyasha stomped over to them. "We've sat around long enough. Can we get going now?"

Kagome regarded him dryly and ducked the same rocket once again. "We weren't the ones who simply could not stop looking at the fireworks."

He flushed, then with a simple "Keh!" he turned and headed away. "Come on, we've got to get going if you don't want to spend another night in a forest!"

"Pursuing futile dreams still, my dear?"

Sei froze in her tracks, remembering the silken voice all too well. It was a mark of his greatly increased powers that she had not sensed him coming up behind her till now.

"Naraku." She all but spat out, turning to face him. He stood before her, resplendent in all his dark glory. Even after all these years, he was still as handsome as she had remembered. Handsome, and utterly evil.

"Now, now," he admonished sleekly, crimson eyes glowing with undisguised amusement. "Is this how you greet an old lover?"

AN: Terribly sorry for the cliffhanger, heh. I know I'm evil. You know, I've always wondered how Voldemort and Naraku would play against each other. Strangely enough, that was the part I had the most fun with.

Anyway, please tell me what you think of this story! This story will be pretty plot-heavy in the next few chapters. And anyway, Ffnet banned review responses, but screw them anyway. I like responding to reviewers. It speaks manners.

Blood-Debt: Hee, you've got to walk past the portrait of Barnabas the Barmy three times and think real hard on the room that you need. It's in there, I think…

TheThornBird: LOL I will, thanks a lot!

DarkAngelPearl: LOL yeah, I bet Miroku will kill all the girls. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, too!