And it's still.

Soft breathing, in and out, is the only sound that penetrates the quiet night. One of her companions shifts slightly and there's a whisper of rustling cloth, but it doesn't last. A gust of wind flitters its way through the camp and the young kitsune at her side lets out a small, contented sigh.


She slips as soundlessly as she can out of her sleeping bag, her bare legs brushing against the silky material of the inside. No one stirs as she stands, though as she takes her first steps, a white ear atop her hanyou friend's head twitches. She sucks in her breath and stiffens, but he miraculously does not wake.

Her resolve strengthening, she disappears into the surrounding woods and is ever careful of the broken twigs and dead leaves littering the ground. Her wish is not only to prevent her friends from waking, but to remain unperceived by any other creatures of the night that might be lurking about.

Moonlight streams around the almost bare branches of the forest and lights the path in front of her just enough to see. The night is cold and her skin hums as the icy air seeps inward and causes each individual hair on her arm to stand on end. Her pace quickens.

The spring comes in sight and she heaves a happy sigh of relief, a small smile tugging at her lips. She crouches down beside it and lets the steam rising off it engulf her completely. The moisture clings to her, but she loves it as long as it keeps her warm. She reaches a hand down and allows the water to cover her until the spring laps greedily at her wrist. Her fingers tingle and burn because of the drastic change from icy cold to scalding hot.

Another gust streams by and plays with the rising steam, swirling it around. It stirs enough that it drifts to the side and slowly reveals the opposite bank. Her breath hitches when her gaze fixes on the familiar outline across the way.

He is on the other side in a crouch, mimicking her all except for the submerged hand. Instead, his clawed hand is resting on the ground just in front of the water. Sharp eyes watch her as she removes her hand from the spring, though the amber gaze never leaves her face. His hand shadows her exact movement and he rests the hand on his thigh just as she does, a small smirk upon his features. It's just another game to him.

She uses the hand on her thigh to brace herself as she stands up straight, not at all hurried in her motions. He mirrors her that far but no more.

He has leapt in front of her before she knows it and she takes a surprised and faltering step backward. She frowns prettily at the kitsune for catching her off-guard and opens her mouth to make a slightly scolding comment, but he's snatched up her hand and any thoughts of speech melt away.

He brings up the hand, pink from its scalding, as though he is inspecting it. The look he gives her with those cold eyes is both disapproving and condescending. She smiles sheepishly.

His grip changes and she watches as he traces his fingertips over small and nearly nonexistent cuts and bruises on her arm. She tries not to shiver in delight at the deliberately slow and taunting touches, but knows she is failing. The kitsune stops as he reaches a wound deeper than the others; a scratch stretching from her shoulder down to her bicep. His eyes flash something fierce, clearly displeased. He takes her injury as a personal insult. Should she but speak the offender's name, he would find himself instantly on the wrong end of some deadly plant.

She is a possession of his, just another one of his prizes. She sometimes wonders why that is, especially since he holds little love toward humans, but he has told her before. She is an oddity in every way; in her personality and manner of speech; in her strange clothing and her obvious attraction to demons; in her pure heart and selfless nature. In combining the traits together, she is a rare and precious jewel indeed. Her status as a priestess only proves her more worthy of his attention and sweetens the deal further; corrupting a miko as chaste as her would make any demon a legend. She is a fine prize for his collection and they both know he has her, body, mind, and soul.

She takes her hand back and claps it with the other behind her back. He watches her silently with the same cool, calculating gaze that always makes her nervousness bubble to the surface, yet excites her all the same. She finds it hard to look into his eyes when he stares at her that way and she slides her gaze to the side. Bouncing restlessly on the balls of her feet, she searches for the words. Again, there are none and any that might have formed are forgotten as his hands fall on either side of her waist.

Her gaze darts up and she is caught. The steam licking at her ankles and the icy wind blowing through her hair barely registers as he bends and steals a kiss from her lips. It's demanding and possessive, the way he crushes her mouth with his and explores every part of her possible. He has complete control, but she fights it anyway and retaliates with equal passion as her arms wrap around his neck.

She does not hear the growl, but instead feels the vibrations of it against her lips when she stubbornly denies him full entrance into her mouth. His hands tighten on her waist and pull her stumbling forward and in the faltering moment when she attempts to squeak, he finds his entrance and takes it, deepening the kiss.

In her own way, she feels like it's cheating. She has told Kurama so, but he merely smiles and sometimes laughs at the very idea. Cheating on him with his other self? he would teasingly question. They're but memories to him. Each time she escapes through the well and rendezvous with his counterpart, it is like an old memory long forgotten resurfaces for him, or so he says. In a sense, they are both him and she should not feel guilty. Still to her, it feels all too much like seeing two different guys at the same time—so different, yet so the same. She knows Kurama does not mind, it is his past, but Youko….

She tries to break away and fill her lungs with the air she desperately needs, but he holds on for that moment longer before he allows her to move away. Lightheaded and gasping for breath, she barely notices when he flicks the first few buttons of her blouse undone, but she feels him tense and she knows then that he has discovered the love bite that has been inflicted by Kurama. At the very least, he seems… displeased.

She cannot mention to Youko his future as a human. It is for that reason her love life becomes complicated. She met and fell for Youko first; it was only then that Kurama sought her in the future. Her love affair stretches across time, from one side of the well to the other. Kurama understands when she comes home surrounded by the scent of his other half. Youko does not, and is less forgiving.

The memory of the first time Youko found her marked by another is fresh in her memory. He was livid that someone would dare lay a hand on his prize, and that she would willingly allow them. At the time, she merely frowned and told him he was hardly monogamous. She knows she is not the only female in his possession and to ask a demon of his caliber to make it so would have no results and only serve to have the kitsune annoyed with her. But if he would not see solely her, why should she have to follow a different rule? Of course, she was more monogamous than he would ever know or could ever understand… until five centuries from now.

Youko did not like her answer, but his anger has cooled over time and he has learned to accept it—grudgingly. It only serves to make him more passionate as he makes sure she knows who she desires more, while not knowing he is competing with himself. She only wonders if he realizes there is a strangeness to the entire situation. When she loves something, it is wholeheartedly. It is that fact alone that would not allow her to be with another man, demon or human.

He sees another mark now on her collarbone. Cupping the back of her neck in a tight grip, he brushes his thumb over the foreign mark that almost certainly offends his eyes. Her already flush cheeks darken and she averts her eyes, biting down lightly on her kiss-swollen bottom lip.

She gasps as his other arm suddenly loops around her waist and brings her tightly against him. She leans back, but cannot move away and before she knows it, the kitsune has dipped his head once again, only with a new target in mind.

A squeak of surprise escapes her as the youkai begins his assault on her collarbone. He kisses and bites and sucks at her skin and she's left gasping—her breath short, the notion of breathing at all becoming distant to her—as she tilts her head back to allow him easier access. It's almost too much. Thoughts are becoming fleeting and it's almost too enjoyable, enough so that she tries to detach herself and take a few steps back, but his grip is iron and he moves back with her until he has her flush against a tree.

She makes incoherent noises of halfhearted protests that he pays no heed to; he never has. Pressing herself as far against the trunk as she can, she cannot escape him and her attempts only excite him further. After an eternity of pleasure mixed in with only the slightest bit of pain, he seems to be done and draws away. She slumps dazedly against the tree.

She cannot see it, but she knows it is there; a love bite of the kitsune's own making, most likely more prominent and fiercer than the one she sported on the opposite side. It is a message to her other lover, of that she is certain.

She is his, is what he's telling the world.

And this is his game.