This is to tide my readers over whole "What Women Want" is on hiatus. I'm sure you'll enjoy this.

The Seventh Key

Chapter 1

Going a Hundred

The front left tire hit a pothole, and the car bounced. The driver cursed and looked up in the rear-view mirror for the umpteenth time that night. He wore a pair of dirty, torn blue jeans and a white shirt underneath a black jacket. Dirty, messy white hair cascaded down his shoulders. A black glover covered his right hand. Light hazel eyes looked up at the mirror again, and down at his watch. He looked up again, and gnashed his teeth.

"Fuck," he hissed, slamming on the gas. The car surged forward down the lonely country road. Behind him, the second car sped up to keep pace, the driver shaking his head and smirking. Dark red eyes twinkled as the driver hummed to himself.

"Now, now, shame on you, Inuyasha," he sighed, going from humming to whistling. Ahead of him, Inuyasha looked down at the gas tank and let out a snarl as the tank began to gurgle. He sped up even more and kept one eye on the speedometer and the other on the gas gauge. When both let out a groan, Inuyasha spun the wheel and slammed on the brakes to turn the car around. He leaned down and grabbed a shotgun from the passenger seat.

"Alright, come get me," he growled, rolling down his window. He stuck the shotgun out, aimed, and fired. The left headlight of the oncoming car shattered, but the vehicle kept rolling. Inuyasha fired twice more, and the windshield shattered. He aimed again. The shot pierced the hood of the car, and flames erupted from beneath the metal. Inuyasha smirked and withdrew the gun. The driver of the other car kept whistling as he sped up. Inuyasha's eyes widened.

"Shit," he muttered, climbing to the passenger side and trying to open it. He reached for the door lock and fumbled for a moment. He cursed and looked back at the car, slamming his shotgun into the glass. Inuyasha moved the gun about to clean the glass away, and slid out the window, climbing and running away as the other car impacted.

Inuyasha's car turned over onto its top as the second drove right on top of it. There was a wave of sound and a plume of flame as the two vehicles exploded. Inuyasha stopped and looked back as a flaming wheel went rolling past him down the road. A smoking bumper landed behind him, and he spun at the sound. Inuyasha patted a sack hanging from his belt and sighed in relief at the bump there. He turned, stuck his shotgun into the back of his belt, and started walking down the highway, eventually breaking into a run as the cars burned behind him.

- - - - - - - - - -

Welcome to Koaling, Population 785

Inuyasha read the sign with mild interest as he rested against it. He looked past it and smiled, walking to the small, dimly lit store a bit down the road. A few other, darkened building were in the distance, along with what seemed like an old burned out train station not far behind the store. Trees sparsely dotted the landscape. Two cars were parked in front of the store. Inuyasha went up to one and looked inside the store window before pulling out a switchblade and digging it into the lock of the driver's door. He twisted and heard a twinge as something snapped into place.

"Mister?" Inuyasha snapped back and hefted the switchblade back, prepared to throw it. A young boy stood at the door to the store. Short red hair covered his scalp, and he had on a worn, dusty green vest over a blue shirt with brown shorts. "Are you stealing my daddy's car?" the boy asked. Inuyasha forced a grin and shook his head, flipping his knife shut.

"No, no kid, I ain't stealing…I was sent by the Sheriff, he wanted me to test the lock," he explained. "Hey, kid…" Inuyasha reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin. "Want a quarter?" The boy stared.

"Dad, someone's trying to steal your truck!" he shouted. Inuyasha cursed and jumped to his feet, running away. A man with short black hair and another with longer, red hair emerged from the store.

"Damn car thieves!" the redhead roared as Inuyasha vanished into the distance. "Kouga, call Sesshomaru, he'll want to write this up," he instructed. The brunette man nodded and headed back into the shop.

Inuyasha ran to the old train station and ducked inside, looking to see if he was being followed. He looked up through the skylight to see thunderclouds rumbling overhead.

"Some night, huh?" Inuyasha whirled around as a voice called out from the darkness. A large man stumbled out, leaning against a ticket booth for balance. He lifted a bottle of whisky to his lips and took a long drink, belching loudly. Inuyasha relaxed slightly and nodded.

"Yeah," he replied. The man grinned.

"Big guy upsta's doing lots 'o thinkin' tonight," he laughed. "Want a swig?" he asked, offering his bottle.

"Need one," Inuyasha corrected, grabbing it. The drunk nodded and wiping his nose as Inuyasha sniffed the whisky, then took a cautious sip. He gag and coughed.

"It won't put brains in yer head, but it'll put fire in yer belly," the drunk chuckled. Inuyasha nodded and took a longer drink before handing it back. "Name's Mushin. Ya got a name?" the drunk asked.

"Yeah," Inuyasha replied. Mushin waited, then shrugged.

"Suit yerself. Hell, don't blame ya," he replied. Inuyasha nodded and sniffed slightly.

"You know where I could find a place to spend the night?" he asked. Mushin spread his arms.

"Look 'round, hell, I found a mattress up in the postage area. It's got a few neighbors of the four and six-legged variety, but it's nice. There's a couple of suitcases on the platform that'll probably do ya good fer pillows," he explained.

"Actually, I was thinking somewhere a little warmer," Inuyasha said.

"Well, I gots a storage space for all the crap my daddy has down at a hotel, I can take ya there," Mushin offered. Inuyasha nodded and stood straight.

"Let's go," he said.

- - - - - - - - - -

"The way I see it, guy's running, stops to take a few shots, other guy kept coming," Bankotsu said, waving a hand at the crashed car, still burning.. Sesshomaru nodded and took out a notepad.

"Wreck like that, the chaser had to be doing a hundred, maybe hundred twenty," he agreed, jotting it down. "The first car has Ohio plates, the other one is from Long Island," he said.

"Hey, hey! Sheriff!" Bankotsu cried. Sesshomaru looked up. A figure walked around the wreckage and started towards the two. He wore a long black trenchcoat over a dark purple shirt and black jeans. He had long, black hair and red eyes. A small, brown briefcase was clutched in his left hand.

"Stop right there!" Sesshomaru ordered, pulling out his gun. The man stopped and held up his hands.

"Sorry officer, just looking for a ride into town," the man replied.

"Where the hell did you come from?" Bankotsu asked.

"From there, that's my car…at least it was," the man replied. nodding a head back at the wrecks.

"What? You mean to tell me you survived that shit? How the hell did you do that?" Bankotsu asked.

"Look boys, I understand your attitudes, but believe me there are bigger problems right now. The man I was chasing is gone, and if he's gone around here that means he's your problem too," the man said.

"The first driver escaped too? Why were you chasing him?" Sesshomaru snapped.

"He stole something from me, something very valuable. But not only is this man a thief, he is very violent, very smart, and very dangerous. And the longer we spend standing here the more likely it is someone gets hurt," the man explained. Sesshomaru and Bankotsu shared a look.

"Fine, get in the car," Sesshomaru ordered, holstering his gun. "We'll find this guy and sort this out. You mind explaining what you were thinking doing a hundred MPH?" he asked. The man stopped as he opened the back door of the squad car. Bankotsu was in the front seat on the police radio.

"I told you, he stole something valuable," he repeated.

"What, the Holy Grail?" Bankotsu laughed. The man smirked.

"Something like that," he chuckled. Bankotsu rolled his eyes.

"Sess, we got a call from Kurama at the general store. Says someone tried to steal his car a few minutes ago," he called. The man shot Sesshomaru a look.

"Both of you get in," he said, climbing in the driver's side. "Who's this guy you're searching for? Either of you got names?" The man smiled.

"Call me Naraku."

- - - - - - - - - -

"There it is," Mushin called behind him, walking across the plains. Inuyasha looked at where they were walking. A large, dirty white building loomed ahead. It looked like a very familiar structure, but for the parking lot and the many broken-down balconies and stairwells around the walls.

"Is that a church?" Inuyasha asked. Mushin nodded.

"It used to be, Kikyo runs a hotel outta the place now, it got closed down in the seventies when the preacher was arrested fer child abuse, no one eva cared to keep the place goin'. It ain't the Ritz, but it's got good food, good mattress, a nice whore too, though she'll run you a bit. It okay?" Mushin asked. Inuyasha started to reply, and hs hand twitched.

Inuyasha took off his lone glove and lifted his hand. Seven star symbols were tattooed there, six in a circle around the outside, the seventh in the center. As Inuyasha watched, the middle star glowed red, and moved to complete the circle. Inuyasha nodded and pulled his glove back on.

"Just what I've been looking for," he confirmed.