Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha.
Instinct To Run
The blue light surrounded her form, and then slowly faded. Kagome looked up the interior of the well, smiling when her eyes caught sight of clear blue skies. Sighing happily, the black-haired girl hefted her monstrosity of a yellow bag on her back, grabbed a vine and began to pull herself out ofthe well. Reaching the top, she breathed in a lungful of fresh air, feeling her good mood soar. A clawed hand appeared over the edge, followed by silver hair.
"Inuyasha?" Kagome glanced up at her long-time protector and friend, puzzled over his annoyed look.
"Keh, wench! You're late!"
Kagome gaped. "I am not! I said I'd be gone three days!"
He glared down at her. "Three days and two nights, not three nights, wench!"
Kagome's eyebrow twitched. "Inuyasha, what does it matter?"
"We need to keep searching for those shards! You're wasting time, bitch, by going back home!"
"We don't search for jewel shards during the night, stupid!" Kagome cried indignantly.
Inuyasha growled at her, baring his teeth at the insult, taking Kagome aback. He reached down and seized the back of her yellow backpack, lifting it and her along with it out of the well, dumping her unceremoniously onto the grass. He stood over Kagome, glowering.
Kagome, sprawled on the ground, felt her good mood vanish. "Sit!"
Inuyasha dropped like a stone, landing on top of Kagome, his head pressed against her shoulder. Kagome, pushed into a lying position by the weight of the half-demon, felt the breath leave her lungs, and gasped.
Inuyasha strained against the spell, trying to lift himself off the girl, and managed to turn his head to face her – leaving him with his face far too close to her. Worried his weight and the spell was hurting her, he tried again to rise, this time managing to raise his head slightly before the enchanted necklace forced it down again – onto Kagome's chest.
Kagome's eyes widened, and she let out a high-pitched squeal. "You pervert!"
The spell wore off, and Inuyasha leapt to his feet, his ears laid right back. "It wasn't my fault, bitch!"
Red in the face, Kagome shot to her feet, glaring angrily at Inuyasha, before stomping off, yellow backpack in hand.
"Miroku, do you think Kagome and Inuyasha had another fight?" Sango mused, watching the pair in question on the other side of the campfire.
"Hmm…" Miroku glanced between Kagome and Inuyasha. Kagome was cuddling Shippo, and studiously ignoring Inuyasha, who was waving a cup of instant noodles in her face, looking annoyed. "Perhaps," Miroku said, tapping a finger on his chin. "It does seem to be fairly common lately." Sango sighed.
"Damnit, wench, would you just make the food already?"
Miroku and Sango shared a look.
"A bet, Lady Sango? Inuyasha will be 'sat' in approximately one minute?" Miroku brightened. "And the winner can receive a free pet – "
Sango promptly whacked the monk in the head with the hilt of her sword, eyes slanted and definitely not amused.
"Bitch, make the damn noodles, will ya?"
Kagome stomped over towards Sango, fuming silently.
"How does a bath sound, Kagome?" Sango suggested, giving the comatose Miroku a dark look. "While this lecher is out cold," She added disdainfully.
"Good idea," Kagome muttered, mirroring Sango's angry look towards Inuyasha.
The girls hurried off to the nearby hot spring, coolly ignoring a furious Inuyasha. Shippo took one look at the angry half demon, and then scampered off after the demon slayer and his pseudo-mother.
Sango leaned back on a rock, submerged in the hot water, and glanced curiously at Kagome. "So Kagome, why are you so angry at Inuyasha?"
Kagome sighed, massaging conditioner into her hair as she absently watched Shippo playfully splash water around. "Inuyasha practically dragged me out of the well when I returned. He was angry that I was late."
Sango snorted. "Typical Inuyasha behaviour."
Kagome dipped underwater, shaking her head to clear it of the conditioner. Surfacing, she blushed slightly as she remembered the next scene. "I sat him, but he was standing over me at the time, and the necklace pulled him down on top of me."
Sango's eyes widened. "Oh, my…"
Kagome shifted uncomfortably, then smiled when Shippo leapt over the rocks and settled on her shoulder. "You should be taking a bath, Shippo," she scolded gently. The tiny fox demon gave his surrogate mother a pleading look.
"Aw, Kagome, do I have to?"
"Shippo, you're going to be smelly, otherwise."
Sango winked at Kagome. "You don't want to be like Inuyasha, do you?"
Shippo wrinkled his nose. "No way!" He pulled off his clothes, diving into the water beside the girls. Kagome grabbed him, and squirted shampoo into his hair, massaging it in.
"You know," Kagome began thoughtfully, "What I don't get is why Inuyasha keeps calling me 'bitch'." She frowned. "I'm sure he knows it's a rude thing to say."
Sango glanced at her. "It is rude to use, but I don't think Inuyasha means it in a bad way. He is a dog demon, after all, or, well, half a dog demon."
Kagome furrowed her brows, looking confused. "I don't understand, Sango."
Shippo looked up at Kagome. "Kagome, don't you see? 'Bitch' is what all dog demons call their females."
"Shippo's right," Sango said.
Kagome's eyes had widened. "So it's like when somebody says 'woman'?"
"I suppose so," Sango replied, shifting against the rock behind her.
Shippo suddenly frowned. "I thought dog demons only called female dog demons 'bitch'."
"So, then why call me that? Maybe it is meant as an insult to me."
"Perhaps Inuyasha sees you as a female in the dog demon sense."
"Kagome sends out signals all the time around Inuyasha," Shippo pitched in innocently.
The two girls gave him curious looks. "I wasn't aware that Kagome had been accidentally giving out signals in the dog demon language," Sango commented. "I actually don't know much about them. Dog demons are always secretive about it."
"I only recognise a few of them, and that's just because foxes have some things in common with dogs."
Kagome gave the young demon a perplexed look. "What kind of signals are you talking about?"
Shippo gave her a startled look. "You mean, you really didn't know what you were doing?"
"I didn't realize I was doing anything at all. Nobody ever said anything."
"And Miroku and I had no idea, either."
Shippo dipped his head under the water, rubbing his hair rigorously to get rid of the shampoo. He surfaced and paddled in the water next to Kagome. "I thought you knew."
Kagome shook her head.
"So tell us, Shippo, what kind of signals has Kagome been giving off by accident?"
Shippo found a rock under the warm water, and crouched there, tiny paws clutching at the rock's surface. "Well, I'm not sure. I mean, I'm a fox demon, not a dog demon, and we are different. Besides, dog demons are big on the signals."
"Just tell us what you know, Shippo," Sango said kindly.
"Well," Shippo began, "When Kagome is late coming to us, Inuyasha gets angry."
"That's obvious, wouldn't you say?" Sango murmured.
Shippo scrunched his nose up at the demon slayer. "I'm not finished yet!"
"So?" Kagome prompted, ruffling his hair and smiling when he ducked away, mock grumbling.
"So, Inuyasha sees your lateness as disobedience. He's the alpha male on our group, and when you defy him by not returning when he says, it's like shaming him, and you make him angry."
Sango tapped her finger on her lips. "Amazing how children can so easily see to the heart of a matter."
Kagome's brows inched down again. "How is it defiance? I make my own choices."
Sango frowned, then understanding lit her face. "Kagome, I think you're forgetting you're in our time now. Women, even human women, are supposed to obey the man."
Kagome's eyes widened, her mouth forming a soft 'oh'. "I forgot…the Feudal Era…no equality yet." She frowned. "But Inuyasha has been to my time, he knows women act differently, are independent."
"He knows, but I'm guessing that his reactions to things like your 'disobedience' come from his dog demon instincts," Sango said.
"You know," Shippo remarked, diving down to pick up a pebble and skip it across the steaming water, "Dog demons must be really big on instincts and possessiveness."
"More than other demons?" Sango asked him.
"Why do you say that, Shippo?" Kagome turned to look fully at her surrogate son curiously.
"Well, Inuyasha sure is protective and really possessive of you, Kagome. And he's only a half demon. Imagine what a full dog demon would be like."
There was a strangely contemplative silence in the hot spring as the three companions pondered the thought. There was a breathless pause, and then all three gaped at each other as they came to the same train of thought.
Kagome voiced it first. "If full dog demons are worse, then Sesshoumaru…"
"It's strange, I've never seen Sesshoumaru be anything more than cold and calculated. It's like he doesn't have anyinstincts at all," Sango mused.
"That's because a powerful full demon like Sesshoumaru has to be able to control his inner demon," Shippo butted in.
"Yes," Sango murmured,"The older demon slayers used to tell us about that."
Kagome naively asked the next question. "What happens if he loses control over his inner demon?"
Sango looked grim, and Shippo shivered, eyes wide. "It means serious trouble. And the more powerful a demon, the more powerful their demonic energy and their inner demon, their blood beast, is."
"I remember my father told me to hide the last time a powerful demon went on a rampage when he lost control."
Kagome's eyes resembled her mother's favourite porcelain saucers. "Wh – what?"
"Kagome, I never really thought about it, but you need to know what to do – and what not to do – when something like that happens."
Sango sighed. "It's rare you would come across a demon not in control, and as a priestess, even rarer to come across a rampaging demon strong enough to challenge your priestess powers, but it is possible."
"'Never, ever, run from a demon you can't defeat'," Shippo recited from memory, swimming in a circle around Kagome.
"Demons are predators, and if you run, they see you as the prey," Sango said darkly.
Kagome paled slightly. "Prey?" She looked disturbed. "What else?"
"If you can, escape their notice, and hide. But if you can't, and the demon is too strong for you to fight, don't challenge it."
"Challenge…?" Kagome asked faintly, feeling more and more surreal. This was like the myths her Grandpa loved to talk about!
"Yes. Don't disobey it, don't run, and don't fight it."
"That's barbaric…and totally not normal," Kagome mumbled.
"The alternatives are far worse."
"Kagome...maybe you should say 'sit'."
"What? Say 'sit'?"
"Aaargghh!" There was a loud thump, then a moan of pain and a curse from the bush behind them.
Kagome squealed, ducking under the water after a cry of "Perverts!"
Sango growled, speeding out of the water and wrapping a towel around herself. Kagome surfaced again, face beet-red, and clambered out of the spring, snatching up a towel to tie around her and hastily following as Sango stomped into the bushes.
She found Sango, arms crossed, glowering down at a subdued Inuyasha, one of his hands gripping Miroku's robe.
"Would you two like to explain yourselves?" Foot tapping sharply, Sango gave the pair of males a frosty look.
Inuyasha managed to pull himself to all fours, and looked up as Kagome came to stand by Sango, Shippo on her shoulder.
"Miroku said he had a bad feeling, and I sensed faint demonic energy in the distance about two hours ago."
"So, you came to get us, thinking there might be trouble?" Kagome asked. A slap resounded in the clearing, just as Inuyasha opened his mouth to reply.
"Pervert!" Sango raged at Miroku, a red handprint on his face.
Kagome's brows lowered. "Somehow, I get the feeling Miroku was lying when he said that to you."
Inuyasha pulled himself to his feet, looking irritated. "All he ever does is lie and grope women." He glanced at Kagome, and then his cheeks tinged pink as he abruptly turned away from her. "Kagome…maybe you should put some clothes on."
"Huh?" Kagome glanced down at her towel-clad form, and felt her cheeks burn in embarrassment. "Oh! I'd better – " She made to go forward, but Inuyasha's arm was suddenly there, pushing her behind him.
Miroku, too, was suddenly serious, and Sango was frowning, glancing curiously at Kagome, who shrugged, just as puzzled. Inuyasha growled towards a set of trees, exchanging a look with Miroku, and the monk hefted his staff.
"Inu…yasha?" Kagome ventured, trying to peer around him. He pushed her back, still growling loudly. Kagome gasped suddenly, feeling a tiny surge of demonic power close by, before it was blanketed again. A figure materialised in the gloom of the trees, walking silently towards them.