Edited by thymecat

A/N: This gets a little weird and is more than a little hentai. If you like unadulterated romance, you might want to steer clear. It's rated M for a reason: adult situations, violence, gore, language, etc. I've edited out the lemon (marked with 'XXX')– if you want to read the unedited version (and are of age), see my profile and follow the links to my MMorg account.

For all of you who are wondering why this isn't an update to "Darkness", please unbunch your panties. I'm working on it.

Disclaimer: I do not own any character created by Rumiko Takahashi.


Chapter 1 - Hunger

Kagome glared at the demoness over Inuyasha's shoulder. Really, she was far too pretty for her own good; the embodiment of voluptuousness, she curved in all the right places and though she looked toned and muscular, she still managed to jiggle and bounce as she sauntered across the path, her hips swaying in syncopated rhythm with her shiny mane of deep purple hair, her pale violet eyes sensuously hooded by long purple lashes. Much to Kagome's escalating ire, the demoness paused, shifting her weight and thrusting a perfect hip to the side, and devoured Inuyasha with her eyes.

Bitch,' Kagome wanted to growl and leaned a little closer to him. She couldn't get much closer perched on his back, but she had to show this little hussy that Inuyasha was off limits. If he wouldn't put aside Kikyou for her, Kagome, then he certainly couldn't be interested in this floozy.

Inuyasha's fingers loosened on her thighs, his withdrawal of support momentarily surprising as she slid off of his back with a quiet yelp. Oh, did she feel like sitting him. Her hands clenched at her sides, her glare now directed at his red, uncaring back. When he took two jerky steps forward, she began to get a little worried.


The demoness' eyes flashed to meet hers, telegraphing a silent signal to back off. Kagome would have none of that. "Hey! Just who do you think you are?" she snapped at the foul temptress.

"Kagome?" Sango glanced at her friend, curious as to the reason of her outburst when it was obvious that the woman didn't seem to be an immediate threat. Miroku pushed past her, and she was about to clobber him when she realized that he hadn't touched her inappropriately. In fact, he seemed oblivious to her presence, his attention fixed solely on the demoness in their path. Sango saw red and swung Hiraikotsu reflexively, which connected with his skull with a hollow thunk. He hit the dirt without a word, and Sango felt a momentary pang of guilt; after all, he hadn't even spouted his bear my children' line, not that she doubted he would. Call her actions proactive. She rounded on the demoness and joined in Kagome's indignation. "Keep your distance, youkai."

The female didn't spare her a glance; instead, her violet eyes fixed on Inuyasha, who took another couple of steps toward her.

"Inuyasha, osuwari!" He hit the dirt with a grown but without his usual protests: there was definitely something wrong with him. Kagome pulled the bow off of her shoulder and nocked an arrow with practiced ease. "I'm warning you! Stay away from him!"

Sniffing the air, the purple-haired youkai glanced from the prone hanyou to Kagome, her eyes narrowing as the arrowhead began to glow faintly pink. Hoping that the demoness would take the hint and hit the road, Kagome almost breathed a sigh of relief when she abruptly vanished in a wisp of sweet-smelling steam. Almost.

Sango yelled and flung Hiraikotsu toward Kagome, missing her by a hair and cutting through the youkai rapidly reforming behind her friend's back. Gone again like mist evaporating in the morning sun, the bone boomerang passed through the demoness unhindered and traveled back to its mistress. Stretching her hand above her head, Sango reached to catch it when she heard Kagome's strangled shriek and a lancing pain across her back. She fumbled the handle of her enormous boomerang and it fell on her, knocking her onto the ground and into unconsciousness.

Kagome winced as her friend was pummeled by her own weapon and let her arrow fly at the demoness now hissing at her. She easily avoided it, her movements fluid, graceful, and much too quick for Kagome's human eyes to follow. A slight scuffling noise and a low growl sounded from her right, and she shot a glance at the hanyou as he pulled himself out of the dirt, a vacant look on his face as he tried to track the demoness with his golden eyes. Kagome tossed her unruly black hair over her shoulder, sorely wishing that they hadn't left Shippo with Kirara at the village. At least he wouldn't have succumbed to this creature's allure.

Faster than a blink of her eye, the youkai had appeared behind the hanyou, her long teeth dangerously close to his neck. He turned his head as if drawn on a wire and she blew in his face. His eyes rolled back into his head and he dropped like a stone.

Afraid and more than a little incensed, Kagome stomped her foot and nocked another arrow, only to have the demoness disappear once more. This was Bad; she could be anywhere. Her aura was dust motes dancing in the slanting rays of the sun, not necessarily evil but not having her best interests in mind. She felt a sudden surge behind her and, recognizing the gathering of youki, took off into the woods that towered over the path, hoping to draw the female youkai away from her downed friends.

Kagome knew that the demoness had given chase, as her youki swirled and pulsed close behind her, but a quick glance over her shoulder revealed nothing but an encroaching fog. Pushing her legs to go faster, Kagome clutched her bow and arrow close, willing her purifying energy to charge the objects for when the demoness decided to quit playing with her and attack. Sparing another quick peek over her shoulder, she was the source of her own undoing for she didn't see the edge of the cliff until she was almost upon it, windmilling her arms and grasping at the trunk of a sapling that was bravely clinging to the eroding soil. The very solid form of the demoness hit her moments later and Kagome barely had time to thrust her weapons between them before twin needles of pain seared into her neck and their momentum hurdled them over the edge of the cliff.

Her teeth still buried in the hapless girl's neck, the demoness dissolved into ash to be carried away on the rushing wind. A strange lethargy rushed through Kagome, numbing her mind and limbs as she screamed through her freefall, and she stopped screaming before the inevitable collision with the ground, letting the wind roaring in her ears be the last sound she heard in this life. This isn't so bad,' she thought groggily just before losing consciousness. I wonder if it will hurt when I land.'


Inuyasha heard the scream echo through his head before truly realizing what it was. All that filled his mind's eye was a demoness of indescribable beauty and intoxicating scent who wanted him to caress her supple flesh and make her scream…

"Fuck!" he pushed off the ground to his unsteady feet, shaking his head roughly to clear it of the lustful fog that had somehow claimed it. What the hell? Where was Kagome? Why had she screamed? Casting about the air with his inuhanyou nose, he caught the scent of the girl leading off the path and into the forest, but it was blurred by another aroma that went straight to his loins: the scent of that demoness. With a quick glance at his unconscious friends and an adjustment of his hakama, he chased the scents into the forest.

He didn't have far to run: the trail led him directly to the edge of a tall cliff. Frantically, he glanced around, desperate for some sign that their paths had detoured, but he had made no mistake. The trail ended here, and there was no pale face staring up at him as she clung desperately to one of the roots growing from the cliff's sheer wall. The precipice was barren, stretching interminably long before disappearing into the forest.

"Kagome!" he bellowed into the uncaring afternoon, his ears straining to catch an answering shout of his own name. Silence pressed down on him, wilting his ears and his proud shoulders.

"KAGOME!" She couldn't be dead. He didn't accept it! Backtracking, he followed the scent back to his rousing companions, shaking his head mutely at their concerned questions, and then traced it back to the cliff. Sango and Miroku were on his heels, unwelcome distractions in his vain quest for something, anything that told him Kagome had not gone over that cliff.

But the proof was in the air, in the dirt, embedded in the minute drops of water that clung to the leaves of the trees: Kagome had come this way and was now gone. He followed her scent trail, laden with fear and covered by the demoness' and now his scents, to its terminus, and then fell to his knees in the mulch and stared into the emptiness. His companions were begging him to explain, shouting and crying as they tore at their clothes and hair. He simply shook his head, unable to force the words from his constricting chest, unable to wrap his brain around the dire repercussions, unable to hear over the screaming in his brain. It was impossible! She couldn't be gone…but she wasn't here. He had been weak and failed her and now she was dead.


Hunger. Vicious, gnawing hunger clawed at her insides, but for what, she couldn't fathom. A part of her knew that she'd never been hungry like this before, and that something was very, very wrong. Another part, much more vocal and insistent, clamored that it didn't care. It wanted! Now! But what?

Uncurling from the fetal position in which she had been lying, she stretched languorously and rolled her shoulders, enjoying the frisson of power that swept through her body. She was a hunter, obviously, built for speed and agility. Claws tipped her fingers and sharp fangs pressed into her lower lip. The hunger stirred within her, almost painful in its urgency, and a honeyed sweetness filled her mouth.

Now, to find her prey.

Gliding through the woods on padded feet, the darkness of the night-shrouded forest hiding nothing from her sharp eyes, she moved as one with the shadows, the joy of running pulsing in her blood. She almost hoped that whatever she was hunting would provide a good chase; this was simply too much fun. Of course, that was assuming that it had legs or wings to flee; she still had no idea what it was she craved.

A quick search of her memory presented no clues. In fact, it seemed to a very small, quiet part of her that quite a bit was missing, such as why she woke up alone in a forest and why running through said forest was so easy. Irrelevant!' her vocal part quelled the little voice. She had to agree: she would feed and then ponder less pressing matters.

Like your name?' the little voice asked one more question.

Whatever,' she agreed.

The terrain became steep and rugged, and though she enjoyed the wind whipping through her hair as she leapt from one jagged outcropping to another, she slowly became aware that she could move much more quickly if she simply changed shape. Mid leap, she let her body dissolve into the humid night, flowing over the rocks and fallen trees like a current of water or a stiff breeze. It tickled her senses, this new method of travel, for she was able to taste and feel the shape and texture of each surface that she touched with her amorphous, insubstantial form, but could neither hear nor see anything.

Spilling into a grassy basin, she pooled around a startled creature covered in course fur and quivering in fright. The taste of its fear and thrum of its heart through her floating particles stroked her hunger. No more than a bag of flesh, bones, and blood, she swirled around it and moved on. It was of no use to her. However, the encounter told her that she wanted something living, something in particular. No dumb beast would do. She passed over many such living things, some mortal and some youkai, and each being reinforced the notion that her hunger was directed and specific, and that she would know it when she felt it.

The anticipation was building, sending little charges of electricity through her ethereal form, and the sizzle of insects caught within her delighted and teased her to no end. With this newfound discovery, she enveloped a softly furred youkai before it could scurry out of her path, pouring her essence into its open nose and mouth and letting her excited bursts of energy tear at the creature's soft inner flesh. Absorbing the youki and fluids released in its pain, she reveled in her small gain of power. It did little to assuage her hunger, and deep within her roiling mass of instinct and savage desire, she thought that she should be horrified, but it did take the edge off.

Warmth tingled at the furthest tendrils of the vapor that was her body, along with the most heavenly flavor that she could ever remember tasting. Her hunger flared and raged within her, and she stopped, drawing the tiny motes of herself back into a solid shape. As she coalesced, the night bombarded her with sound, the crackle of flames, the song of crickets, the call of night birds a cacophony of noise that crescendoed to a dull roar to her newly-formed ears. Blinking slowly in the darkness, her eyes focused on a small fire surrounded by several creatures; three youkai and one mortal. The fragrance for which she burned emanated from one of those beings, and she extended her silent call to her prey, touching each being in turn until one of them turned his head toward her.

Ah, the lovely one with the shimmering moonbeam hair and glowing yellow eyes. She was pleased.

The youkai rose to his feet from his relaxed seated position, eyes trained on her position as he walked toward her, ignoring the pleas of his companions, his hair gracefully billowing behind his back and refracting the light of the fire. She stepped backward, slowly at first, making sure that he would follow. As he approached, and her confidence increased that he would go where she led, she quickened her pace, moving noiselessly over the forest floor and trailing a wake of sweet-smelling bait for her prey. His speed increased to match hers, until they were both flying streaks of power, zipping between massive trunks and dense underbrush. He was fast and powerful, and she pushed herself to her limit to stay ahead of him, and could hardly manage it. Grinning to herself and feeling the hunger coiling tightly in her gut, she put on a final burst of speed and then stopped abruptly, spinning in place to meet his rush head-on. He stopped just short of running her over, glaring down with amber eyes swimming with anger, aggression, and lust, his soft breathing showing no signs of the furious chase on which she had led him.

Inhaling deeply, she watched his delicate nostrils flare and felt the rumble of a growl in his chest as he fought against her call. With a smile, she blew in his face, a gusty blast of saccharine venom that hit his nose and robbed him of his consciousness, sending him to the ground in an undignified heap.

Her smile spread across her face as she eyed her prize, running clawed fingers over the contours of his face, tracing the magenta stripes that adorned his cheeks, brushed away silky bangs to reveal the blue crescent crest on his noble forehead. Yes, he was magnificent; he had what she wanted.


For the first time in his life, Sesshomaru, Dog General and Lord of the Western Lands, found himself in a most perturbing situation. He was lying flat on his back, devoid of armor and unarmed, uninjured (as far as he could tell) but unable to move…and scandalously perched upon his hips, short skirt riding high on her thighs, was his half-brother's wench.

Well, she looked like the girl; she was wearing the same indecent clothing, she had the same face (except for the elven ears) and he could smell the shards of the Shikon jewel under her shirt. However, she now had startlingly (for a human) purple hair, shimmering violet eyes and sported a pair of wickedly pointed fangs that she was now baring at him in a sensuous smile as she bounced lightly on his groin. How odd.

He knew, distantly, that he should be furious and desire the blood of this insolent wench to drench his claws. However, every time he tried to fix on that thought, the anger would dissolve, thanks to her pert derrière hitting his lap. The most negative emotion he could muster was confusion and astonishment, two states of being that did not please the youkai lord, but were a far cry from the wrath to which he vaguely felt entitled.

A cloying sweetness floated to his sensitive nose, spiraling through his senses and clouding his mind in a singularly perplexing manner. Blinking rapidly, as if to dispel the fragrance that was wreaking havoc on his brain, he tried to ignore the twitching of his cock as she continued to bounce. And her soft bottom wasn't the only thing bouncing; with each little hop, her breasts rebounded almost hypnotically under her shirt. He would liked to have stabilized those tender mounds, if only he could have moved his hand, a fact that served to remind him that he was not in this position of his own free will. No, he would rather have her under him.

The girl leaned forward, bathing his face with sugary breath that once again sent his mind spinning in giddy circles so that he didn't complain when her tongue snaked out to lick the magenta stripes on his face. In fact, he quite liked how her breasts pressed against his chest, the nipples hard nubs through the fabric of her shirt. What had gotten into this female? Had she tired of his brother? His loss is my gain…'

They were disgraceful, these thoughts that clamored in his brain and sent blood to his hardening shaft that was now being ground by the heated place between her legs. This assault on his person was nothing short of infuriating, but his body and mind seemed to insist on betraying him. Her tongue had wandered its way to his ear, where it now traced the pointed ridge, and he groaned, wondering what her intentions could be and if he would indeed be ravished by this bizarre female.

He wanted to smack himself (or her), or at least make a disparaging comment, but had to settle for growling, half in warning and half in longing as her fingers slid under the collars of his kimonos. He tongue was as paralyzed as the rest of his body: the only things he was able to do was blink, breathe, and make feral, inarticulate sounds. However, it didn't look like she was here for conversation.

The fact that she was attempting a seduction, and that it was working with ruthless effectiveness, was turning his thoughts into a tangled mass of knots. His fruitless efforts to pinpoint the cause of the wench's behavior and his own immobility and wakening lust were scattered by the laving of her tongue and the roll of her pelvis over his silk-covered groin. Perhaps he should cease his mind's wanderings and just go with it? He had always been in the dominant position when he chose to rut, but he didn't seem to have much say in the matter. Could be interesting. After all, he hadn't tasted a female's flesh in…far too long.

Her fingers had pushed his kimono and under shirt over his shoulders, branding a fiery path with her tongue down his neck and over her chest, her fangs scoring his skin and leaving fine trails of blood that she would retrace and lap up. Unable to participate, he could only groan and twitch as she explored his body, the shallow wounds she left tingling as some unknown substance seeped into his bloodstream. He nose told him that it was the same sweet stuff that he smelled on her breath but his body was uncaring as the venom ignited in his veins and the blood rushed to pool in his loins.

He barked as her sharp teeth clamped down on a nipple, teasing it roughly with her teeth as her hands glided down the carved planes of his stomach. Scratching claws and a whisper of silk told them that she'd breached his hakama, and suddenly her moist, fabric-covered warmth was much more immediate over his throbbing need. She was wearing entirely too much clothing for his taste, but since he couldn't do anything about it at the moment, he growled, trying to capture her swirling violet eyes and communicate his desire with a look alone.

Her fangs flashed in a pretty snarl as her eyes locked onto his, but she seemed to understand, pulling the strange shirt over her head to reveal a wonder of stretched lace and delicate boning cupping her full breasts. This young morsel was a surprise around ever corner and Sesshomaru couldn't help but feel a spark of jealousy for the fabric that rested where his hand so desperately longed to be. She arched her back as she twisted an arm behind her, pushing her breasts up so that the hardened peaks pointed to the sky and then they were free, bobbing unhindered as she wiggled her backside against him. It was almost too much to bear in his frustrated state and he tried to buck his hips against her, but they refused to budge. He resorted to growling again, a low rumble that he was sure would vibrate against the little nub that she was pressing against him.

She threw her head back, shaking her long, purple hair, and stood, quickly stepping out of the skirt and undergarment. Feasting on him with her eyes, drinking in his scent as her tiny nostrils flared, she bared her fangs again, licking her lips with sensuous brushes of her tongue. What was she waiting for? He twitched involuntarily under her scrutiny, desperate for her warmth now that she had withdrawn it.

She dropped out of his line of vision, and no amount of eyestrain on his part could catch sight of her. Oh, she was still there, he knew from the heady smell of her arousal that she hadn't left. Her motives became clear as his shoes were tugged from his feet and his hakama fully removed. Sharp teeth bit into the soft skin behind his knee, drawing blood that she sucked into her mouth before nipping up the inside of his thigh…

XXX (mature content edited out)

Collapsing onto her and panting harshly, he felt his beast recede, more content and satisfied that it had been a long time. The female under him was calming too, still twitching from her release but no longer trying to bite him, so he released her hands. Her little claws rose to gently graze his sides, tracing his ribs as her eyelids lowered to hood glazed violet eyes. Purring quietly, she lapped at the wound she had left in his neck, cleaning and numbing it with her sugary saliva. With a pleased rumble, he withdrew his teeth from her neck laved the jagged punctures.

Each wound they had left on each other, they tenderly licked clean, twining about the other's body with a sleepy languor. Satisfied when neither of them was still bleeding, they curled against each other's bodies and slept.


She woke as dawn stained the sky with a bashful blush, snuggled against the male she'd chosen. He'd survived her affections and for that she was glad, but he had a willful streak that he'd demonstrated after and it left her a little concerned about the months to come. Now that she had what she'd so desperately craved, she knew what it was she'd desired. A male's help would be crucial by the end, but she didn't really need him now. However, now that she had him, she was loath to let him go. He was a particularly fine specimen despite his missing arm and claim of dominance at the end of their mating, which she hadn't really expected.

Pulling out of his grasp, she sat up and sniffed the air, checking for danger or breakfast. The male next to her growled softly and tried to tug her back against his chest, his amber eyes sleepy and his white hair disheveled.

"My little bitch, where do you think you are going?" his voice caressed her, the timber running velvet fingers down her spine. She smiled softly down at him, and then blew a puff of venom in his face, the smile widening as his eyes fluttered closed and his grip slackened. Running fingers through his silken hair, she nodded to herself. She had chosen well and would keep him; he'd simply have to learn his place.

Standing in a fluid movement, she glanced at both of their naked bodies. Something about this bothered her; she couldn't pinpoint what, exactly, but it sent her in a search of her clothes, which she pulled on in distaste. The fabric was damp with dew and clammy against her skin. Briefly, she considered letting her male stay the way he was, for she did like to look upon his form. However, the same nagging that prompted her to dress herself was now prodding her to clothe him, so she comprised. Carefully shifting and rolling his body, she was able to dress him in his pleated pants and left it at that.

With a self-satisfied nod, she pulled him into a sitting position by his one arm, then shoved her shoulder under his gut and hoisted him up and onto her shoulder. He would slow her down, for now she couldn't take her mist form, but he was well worth the effort. Testing the breeze once more, she set off at a quick sprint down the gentle slope, careful not to knock her burden into trees that crowded the forest.


Sesshomaru blinked into consciousness with a queasy feeling in his stomach, not so much because of the slight rocking movement or the occasional jerks and shifts to the side that his body was experiencing, but because he was watching the ground skate by under his fingertips that were hanging perilously close to the forest floor and his perfectly groomed hair was now riddled with leaves, twigs and dirt as it dragged behind. He could only assume, from the rather nicely rounded, green-covered backside next to his face, that Inuyasha's wench had him slung over her shoulder and was running through the forest. Naked from the waist up, he was also missing his swords, armor and a great deal of dignity. Worst of all, he couldn't do a damn thing about it because he was once again paralyzed.

'This is getting old,' he grumbled to himself, letting a growl flow freely from his throat. Not only had he fallen for the same trick twice (and how did she make such a fine mist of that sugary liquid?), he was completely at her mercy again. This didn't sit well with the great taiyoukai; one could even say that he was uneasy, underneath the slowly burning anger, at this strange turn of events. However, he knew that he could not fly into a rage because it would cloud his mind, even more so than the womanly fragrance that wafted from underneath her indecent skirt. He had to remain alert to analyze this situation and bend this female to his will.

First on his order of business was regaining control of his useless limbs and preventing her from paralyzing him again. He had no idea how he had managed it the first time: whether it was the fight for his life, his impeding release or simply the effects of the venom wearing off. Killing her was an option that crossed his mind more than once, though it intensified the lurching in his gut. She smelled exceptionally enticing, even more now than when he had first answered her call to mate as he'd sat by his campfire, and how often did one meet a female that could rattle the cage of the taiyoukai of the West?

Then there was the added bonus of gloating to his idiot half-brother the conquest of his pet. Normally, Sesshomaru would not have bothered with such a childish display, but he felt entitled to it in this case. The fool had never missed a chance to flaunt Tetsusaiga, an heirloom that should have been his to begin with; would have been, had the wretch not been born hanyou. He would relish the look on his dear brother's face when he realizes that he, Sesshomaru, had been the one to take his wench's maidenhead. Sesshomaru pondered on that thought a moment: why would the girl seek him out instead of Inuyasha, the male with whom she had been traveling? Other than the fact that he was the most worthy mate, of course. Blinking rapidly, Sesshomaru cast that thought aside as dangerous ground.

Returning to his previous train of though, he decided that some subjugation was required. The female had to learn her place, which was not the dominant position. He had always been and always would be the master of his own destiny and of those around him. Females, no matter how luscious, could not be allowed to gallivant about while carrying his person.

And then, more rutting. Despite his best intentions, her scent was tattering his anger and stirring his beast to rumble discontentedly. It got that way whenever he denied it something it wanted, and though he usually was able to keep it chained away until it gave up, he found that he wanted her, too. He could not remember feeling this way about her before; irritation, perhaps, when she aided his half-brother in thwarting him, but never lust. He did not desire anything from humans other than their fear or deaths. She was far from human now, though, which presented the demon lord with an odd mystery. The girl had had strong spiritual energy and a pure heart, neither of which would allow her to call demons into her body, as had other humans. Furthermore, those creatures had become hanyou and this one was youkai, and being fully controlled by her blood beast.

So, he thought, wrenching his mind back to this morning's agenda, after a roll or two in the proverbial hay, he would rub her in the face of his brother, preferably when she still smelled of himself. While he was at it, he would learn the female's name since it wouldn't come to him, despite the fact that he was sure he'd heard Inuyasha yelling it at the top of his lungs more than once. It hadn't seemed important at the time, and still wasn't, but it gave him something to think about other than his disgraceful position over her shoulder. Maybe he would gag her so that she couldn't knock him out again. If she continued to fight him or he could not find a way to make her control her own blood, he could always kill her when he was done with her.

His stomach did an unpleasant roll and he huffed indignantly, or as well as he was able. 'Why should this Sesshomaru hesitate to kill this creature?' The answer came on her scent: cloying, beguiling, and intoxicating.


"Inuyasha, is that not your brother's minion?" Miroku eyed the toady little creature and his grotesque, two-faced staff. The imp glared back, the slight tremor in his body shaking the hair of the staff's heads.

"What of it?" the hanyou snapped as he tasted the air. The un-Kagome scent had led him here, to a tethered dragon-steed, a trembling imp and a little girl whose usually sunny smile had faded. His mood, already foul and tarnished, was rapidly approaching toxic. What should have been a simple, if horribly heartrending, task of retrieving his best friend's body had turned into a fucking nightmare of confusion and bruised hope that had led him straight to a spot that stank of his arrogant jerk-off of a half-brother. What was more, the two scents, one despised with a passion and one sweet, hormonal, and almost entirely unlike Kagome seemed to lead off in the same direction. He didn't like it and he was pissed. He would deal with the aching pain and heartache when he figured out what the fuck was going on. Then, he'd tear a new asshole or two in the next youkai he found, preferably his brother…

'Damn. It's her scent, but it isn't. Why did that bastard follow her? If she's not dead…he better not have hurt her.'

He still couldn't believe what his nose told him: that his friend had fallen from the cliff and then walked away with a new scent. Sure that he was missing something important but unable to accurately describe the problem to his companions, he was left puzzling through this mystery by himself, which was not one of his strengths. Still, he clung to the precarious hope that it was his Kagome who now carried such a strange signature and not something else entirely. It was the only thing that kept him from tearing apart the woods in a frantic search for her body.

Miroku sighed and absently jingled the rings on his staff, shooting Sango, still puffy-eyed but grim-faced, a speaking glance. The hanyou had been more surely and uncooperative than ever, and while he knew that he was grieving, he was having trouble maintaining his patience. In his heart of hearts, he knew something terrible had happened to the girl, and now he'd wished they'd found her body at the base of the cliff because it surely would have been better than the fate that would have left her alive and walking. Humans did not survive falls like that and the signs did not point to a rescue.

Addressing the imp Jaken, though he knew from experience that it was an exercise in futility, he kept his tone calm and measured. "We are looking for a friend of ours who may have passed this way. Have you seen anyone?"

Jaken began to sputter and Rin smoothly overrode him. "Rin hasn't seen anyone, but Jaken-sama and Sesshomaru-sama sensed something last night. Sesshomaru-sama left and hasn't returned." This statement obviously didn't settle well with the girl, and the small party of shard hunters all had to agree.

"I'm sure he'll return for you soon," Sango tried to comfort her in the style of her missing friend and found herself sorely lacking. The girl felt it too, giving the slayer an uncertain look but nodding her head anyway. Well, she was a youkai exterminator, not kind-hearted priestess. 'I'll just have to leave the consoling to Kagome,' she thought, and then winced as a hot blade twisted in her chest, biting the inside of her lip to stop that tears that threatened to come. She hoped that Inuyasha was right and that Kagome wasn't dead; she couldn't lose both Kohaku and Kagome.

"Foolish mortal, of course he'll return to his faithful retainer!" Jaken was almost bubbling over in righteous indignation, waving his arms and squawking.

Rin nodded, more confidently this time. "Jaken-sama is right; Sesshomaru-sama always comes back. Rin hopes you find your friend."

Inuyasha harrumphed and sprang out of the campsite. Miroku sketched a quick bow to the girl before following Sango back into the forest as she chased after Inuyasha.