N/A: Here's chapter two, as promised
"KAGOME!!!" Inuyasha's voice echoed across the forest, making Youko clench his fist. The girl was no longer responsive to him and instead she saw fit to yell as hard as her lungs permitted her:
"Inuyasha! I'm here!"
Youko turned away from her suddenly and Kagome felt the rise in his youki as her heart skipped a beat. Judging by the size of his demonic energy, he might even be more powerful than Inuyasha.
Suddenly, the demon leaped to the ground, disappearing from her eyesight.
Don't leave me up here! Stupid youkai and their stupid powers!
Her anger faded away quickly as she heard Inuyasha's voice
"Kagome, stay there!"
Like I could go anywhere...
"I'm coming for you!"
She looked down, expecting to see the hanyou's form but a loud crashing sound made her freeze in panic.
"Where do you think you're going?" she heard the fox demon's mocking voice.
"Inuyasha!" she yelled, wishing there was something she could do to help.
"What do you want with her?" she heard the hanyou's voice as she sighed with relief. He didn't sound injured.
"As if that's any of your business, doggy-boy." the other replied in an arrogant tone.
Kagome knew very well the effect that insult had on Inuyasha. The next thing he would do was to take out Tessaiga and wipe the insolent bastard of the face of the earth. That didn't work last time though, but Kagome knew very well the hanyou had a tendency not to learn from his mistakes.
His voice was abruptly cut off by an odd sound...it sounded like hundreds of branches breaking.
Damn it! I can't see a thing from here!
A cry of pain echoed and she felt a sting in her heart. It was Inuyasha's.
Without hesitating another moment, Kagome began to climb down the huge tree. Her foot slipped, but she grabbed on to a branch, managing to avoid the fall. The tree's bark was too straight to allow her to proceed safely, but she ignored the dangers, trying not to look down.
Suddenly, she lost balance and tried to grab on to something, but there was nothing to prevent her fall. She let out a scream, closing her eyes as she fell freely.
Just as she was about to hit the ground, someone caught her and she grabbed on to his neck, feeling her heart beating out of her chest. Inuyasha had managed to escape that guy somehow...
"I was so scared!" she cried, burying her head in his chest.
"Why did you try to climb down, then?" she heard a voice that was definitely not Inuyasha's.
Her head snapped up quickly and she saw the silver haired fox youkai looking at her with a smirk.
"You...bastard! Let me go!" she yelled, her small fists hitting against his chest.
"As you wish, my dear." he complied, setting her on the ground. "A little gratitude would be appreciated."
Kagome realized he had saved her life just now and her face turned a bright shade of red. Suddenly, as if something had clicked inside of her mind, she yelled at him.
"Where's Inuyasha? What have you done to him?"
"What is he to you?" the demon inquired, his golden eyes fixed on her.
Kagome was stunned by his audacity.
"That's none of your business! Now tell me where he is! If you hurt him in any way..." she started in a threatening tone.
"You'll what?" he asked, his smirk becoming wider.
What the heck can I do without my bow and arrows?
"I'll purify you!" she bluffed.
This seemed to have the exact opposite effect than what she anticipated as the demon burst into laughs.
She narrowed her eyes as her hand drew a semicircle in the air, hitting against his cheek.
He froze, looking at her with the most surprised expression she had ever seen in a demon.
"Don't mock me!" she snapped, but underneath all of her anger he could sense the well hidden tint of fear. She was a feisty one. He was beginning to like her more and more. Still, he had to show her that Youko Kurama wasn't to be toyed with.
Faster than the human eye could see, he materialized behind her and grabbed her wrists, pushing her against a tree. Oh yes...her fear was flooding his nostrils now.
"Listen woman...do you have any idea who you've just slapped?" he growled, tightening his grip on her wrists.
"You haven't exactly...introduced yourself." she replied, not turning her head to look at him.
"I'm Youko Kurama, king of bandits." he said and she knitted her brows at his arrogant tone.
"Well, I'm..." she started.
"Oh, I know very well who you are, Higurashi Kagome." he cut her off, releasing her wrists.
She turned around and looked him in the eyes with a very surprised expression. She had assumed he heard her first name while Inuyasha was calling for her, but that didn't explain why he knew her whole name.
"How do you..." she started, but the words stopped in her throat as she noticed the demon had vanished.
Kagome turned around, her gaze searching everywhere, but she didn't feel his youki anymore so he had definitely left.
Good. Have to find Inuyasha now. I hope he's not hurt too bad...
"Kagome-chan!" she heard the echo of Sango's voice.
"Kagome-sama!" Miroku's followed shortly after.
"Miroku –sama! Sango-chan!" she yelled, running in the direction their voices were coming from.
After a few hundred meters, she saw her friends and looked at them with worry shining in her eyes. Inuyasha wasn't with them.
"Where's Inuyasha?" she asked quickly.
"He's safe." Miroku answered, happy to see the relieved look on her face. "We found him unconscious. He had a vine of some sort around his neck so I'd say that thing strangled him until he collapsed." he continued.
Inuyasha defeated by a vine?!
"There were vines around his hands and legs too, he must have been immobilized." Sango said.
"So that's the fox youkai's power." Kagome said, more to herself.
"Controlling plants? But why stop when Inuyasha fainted?" Sango gave voice to the question that bothered them all.
"That my dear Sango, is a mystery." Miroku said. "Let's head back, Kagome-sama. Inuyasha will wake up soon and he'll wreak havoc if he doesn't see you there."
Kagome smiled and nodded, letting her friends lead her back to the village.
Unknown to them, a pair of golden eyes followed their movements until they were out of sight.
A flash of silver and white and the shadow had disappeared without a trace.
"Are you sure you're not hurt?" Inuyasha asked for the tenth time, engulfing her in a worried gaze.
"I said Im sure!" Kagome replied in a higher tone then she would have intended. She was happy he was worried, but this was getting really annoying.
"Aha!" he exclaimed, reaching for her wrist. "It's bruised!"
Kagome looked to where he was pointing, noticing her skin had a reddish tint, but it wasn't anywhere close to bruised.
She sighed, retracting her hand from Inuyasha's grip as the hanyou gave her an inquisitive look.
"I said he didn't hurt me, okay? He actually saved my life!" she shot.
Everyone's eyes turned to her as she told them about the fall from the giant tree.
After a few moments of silent, Miroku spoke:
"And he also left Inuyasha alive, when he could have killed him."
"Keh! That bastard, kill me?!" Inuyasha quickly stepped in.
The others looked at him with a bored expression and the hanyou looked away, muttering something to himself.
"Where's Shippou?" Kagome asked, noticing the kitsune's absence for the first time.
"We left him with Inuyasha when we went looking for you, but..." Sango replied.
"He probably went chasing after some little girl. He's gonna grow up to be just like Miroku." Inuyasha opined in a serious tone.
That's not like Shippou! He wouldn't leave Inuyasha wounded like that until we got back...
"Kagome!" the hanyou's voice disturbed her deductions.
"Yeah! What?" she snapped, annoyed at the fact that he couldn't realize the obvious.
"What did that guy want with you anyway? You still have the shards, right?" Inuyasha asked in a concerned voice.
"Yes, I still have the stupid shards! Thanks for your concern!" she replied harshly.
Like I'm not good for anything else than finding and holding on to the dumb jewel! Argh, I've HAD it with him!
Inuyasha felt the anger in her scent and looked at her, befuddled. He never understood how she could get so worked up over nothing.
Kagome took a deep breath, trying to calm down.
Okay...think clear blue sky...What?! It's dark already?
"I have to go, guys! I'll be back tomorrow around noon, or maybe the day after tomorrow if I have a lot of homework. Bye!" she said quickly as she grabbed hold of her now empty backpack.
"Hey! You just got here, where do you think..." Inuyasha started, but soon realized his words were in vain. Kagome was already gone.
Shippou followed the scent that had drawn him away from the village. He was supposed to stand by Inuyasha's side, but something had beckoned him away. It was a scent he knew too well, although this time it was slightly different.
He ran as fast as his small paws could carry him, going deeper and deeper into the forest. It was a dangerous thing, to go into the forest alone at night since it was filled with youkai. But Shippou felt it was worth it, this time.
The scent was becoming stronger and the kit stopped for a second, trying to catch his breath.
He's one of us! I just know he is!
Too caught up by his discovery to notice the huge presence near to him, the small fox demon resumed his search. Unfortunately, he didn't even get the chance to advance one meter as a huge hand picked him up.
"A small tanuki, is it?" the ragged voice spoke.
Shippou looked up at the face of his aggressor and began to tremble. It was a huge Oni with three horns and its red eyes looked at him with hunger.
"I'm not a tanuki!" he mumbled, trying to find the courage to protest.
The Oni gave out a screeching laugh, his face drawing closer to his victim.
"What are you, then?"
Shippou felt sweat pouring all over him at the sight of his huge fangs.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why did I go off on my own?
"He's a kitsune." he heard a male voice.
Turning his head to see who had spoken, Shippou's nostrils were hit by the scent he had been following so avidly.
"And just who are you?" the Oni spoke, its massive body moving in the intruder's direction.
"I don't give out my name to scum." he replied arrogantly.
That seemed to have a great effect on the Oni, as it dropped Shippou to the ground, its huge fists trying to squish his enemy.
The balloon transformation had saved the kit from what seemed like imminent death and he quickly transformed back as he reached the ground.
The Oni seemed to be trapped by a vine with thorns of some sort and it was strangling him to death. Between the screams of pain, Shippou heard a strange sound. It was like the trees were also attacking the now helpless Oni, extending their branches to crush it.
Giving out an excruciating cry, the monster gave its last breath, falling to the ground. In front of him, a demon with silver hair, dressed in white garments smiled victoriously.
Building up courage, Shippou approached his savior.
"Excuse me, but, who are you?" he asked, looking at the apparition with wide eyes.
The youkai turned golden eyes to the kit, sensing his fear.
"I'm Youko Kurama. I see you're also a fox demon, though you're different than me." he replied, studying Shippou.
"I felt it! I knew you were a kitsune! I came here following your scent!" the small fox youkai informed him.
Youko was just about to instruct the kit not to stray through dangerous forests at night and then make his exit, since dealing with children was not exactly a pleasant way of passing his time, when he felt a distinct scent on him. It was faint, but he was sure the little fox demon had the priestess's scent on him.
"Listen, kit. Do you know a miko by the name of Kagome?" he asked.
Shippou was just about to answer, when precaution stopped him. What if this demon knew that Kagome carried the shards? He'd want to kill her and take them for himself.
"Never heard of her." he answered, crossing his arms over his small chest in a defensive position.
"You're a bad liar." Youko told him, amused.
"What do you want with her?" Shippou asked, his voice betraying concern.
"Don't worry, I don't want to harm her." he answered in a soft tone.
Shippou didn't know why, but he was inclined to trust this stranger. Maybe it was because he'd saved him or maybe it was because he was also a fox demon, but he felt he could let him meet Kagome.
"Ahm...I think she went back to her own wo...country now." Shippou said, cursing himself for his stupidity. He had almost revealed Kagome came from another world.
Youko smirked. He knew exactly where the priestess came from, but since the kit was trying so hard to withhold it, he said nothing.
"But she'll back in two days tops and I could ask her to meet you here." Shippou continued.
Ha! And I'll tell Inuyasha and all the others too so you won't be able to try anything funny. Or maybe not Inuyasha, 'cause he'll be jealous and attack you anyway. I'll tell Sango.
"Sounds good, kit. I appreciate it." Youko said, feeling a sting of pain shooting trough his body.
"I'll see you in two days then. Bye!" Shippou said as he turned to leave.
With the small fox child out of sight, Youko crumbled to the ground, hand clutching his chest.
I used up too much energy! Damn you, Shuichi Minamino...not now!
Managing to get on his knees, Youko tried to find a way out of the situation.
I'll go back to the human world...let Shuichi take over there. I'll regain enough strength to come back in two days.
This seemed like the most logical solution, so the fox demon gathered what strength he had left and stumbled in the direction of the time-well.
A/N: I don't know the exact relationship between Youko and Shuichi so it's all improvisation. I'd appreciate some tips from someone who knows these things better than I do.
R& tell me what you think!