Disclaimer: This story is a work of fan fiction. Any similarity of the characters within this story to the copyright characters of Rumiko Takahashi is a result of the author's admiration for Rumiko Takahashi's work and is not intended as any sort of copyright violation. To wit: Inuyasha and all related characters are the legal property of Rumiko Takahashi. I'm just taking them for a spin!

Chapter 1

Not a Bad Way to Wake Up

Something jolted Kagome awake. Opening her eyes, the thin dawn light revealed a dark figure, hovering close over her. She gasped aloud.

"Quiet!" The harsh whisper was completely familiar to Kagome, as was his form now that she was fully awake. For some reason, Inuyasha was covering her body with his own. Kagome looked up and saw the muscles tense in his neck, the line of his jaw sharp in the early light as he thrust out his head, keeping a watch on the sky.

We must be in danger, she thought. Inuyasha's sleeves were draped across her bedroll, his weight on the elbow and arm that rested on the ground along her side. His warm hand cupped her shoulder, keeping her still. Turning her head, she could see his other hand through the curtain of his hair, fingers dug into the ground, ready to propel him into action.

But, I don't feel like I'm in danger. Kagome returned her gaze to Inuyasha's neck directly above her. The charmed necklace he wore brushed her cheek. His throat was revealed to her sight by the loosening of his shirt. She could smell the scent of his skin. She felt protected, enclosed by his arms and weight and warmth and hair. Kagome realized she wanted to reach up and slide her arms around his back, to complete this almost-embrace and clasp him close. The power of the urge shocked her. She felt her face flush with heat.

I'm blushing!

"It's gone," Inuyasha said, with a growl in his voice. He looked down at Kagome, and for a long instant their eyes met in that private space created by his silver hair.

Then suddenly, Inuyasha was sitting several feet away, and Kagome was sitting up primly in her bedroll, and it wasn't just the rosy light of the sunrise that stained their faces.

"What was that?" Kagome asked, if only to break the silence.

"I - I don't know," Inuyasha replied, his head carefully turned away.

Miroku and Sango emerged from hiding nearby, followed by a quivering Shippo. Kagome glanced fearfully in their direction, but there was no indication they had seen any of her and Inuyasha's ... interaction. Shippo hustled across the camp toward Kagome. She gathered him into her lap gratefully, as much as a guard against her treacherous memory, which wanted to replay the scene over and over again, as to comfort the little fox demon. She turned to Miroku and focussed on what he was saying.

"...like no demon I have ever seen." Miroku was gazing in the direction the creature had gone. He turned to the demonslayer next to him. "Sango?"

"No, I've never heard of anything like it. It's aura was different, too -- not like the demons we usually fight, but still malevolent."

"What happened?" Kagome asked, not looking in Inuyasha's direction. Miroku answered.

"The creature's approaching aura woke us up, I think. It came on very quickly. Sango, Shippo and I were able to take cover in the underbrush here, but you were on the other side of the campfire, out in the open. Inuyasha jumped to protect you."

"It was so big, Kagome!" Shippo twisted around in her lap. "It had wings like a bat, only really, really large! I'm glad it was going somewhere, because it would have been a tough fight if it had seen us!"

Inuyasha snorted.

"Shippo speaks truly, Inuyasha," Miroku replied.

"I don't like it," Sango's voice was quiet. As she spoke, she pulled out her demonslayer's uniform. "That demon -- if it was a demon -- snuck up on us all. It acted like it was hunting." She stood up to head into the trees to change. "We need to track it." She turned and walked away from the camp, Kirara trailing after her.

"I agree with Sango. There's something not right about this," Miroku again looked in the direction the demon had flown.

"What are you saying?" Inuyasha's voice had a growl in it. "We're tracking Naraku, we don't have time to follow some other demon!"

"But, Inuyasha," Kagome said, "what if Naraku is involved with this, somehow?" Her hands petted Shippo absently, but her head turned to look where Miroku looked. Her face was worried. "And Sango said hunting. Hunting what?" Kagome returned her gaze to the contented little demon in her lap. "Or who?"

No one had an answer for her, but now even Inuyasha was looking off into the now-empty sky, speculatively testing the scent on the wind.