"We're making camp

Vying for Dominance

"We're making camp."

"Excuse me?" Kagome was surprised her jaw didn't actually drop all the way to the ground in shock after hearing those words slip from Inuyasha's mouth. Never. Never. And let's not forget, EVER, had the hanyou been the one to suggest they make camp. Usually, drastic measures had to be resorted to in order for the stubborn and relentlessly persistent hanyou to 'allow' the 'puny humans' of their group a chance to rest. To hear him tell them to make camp, especially considering they still had a good three hours of daylight left and a great lead on the location of a Shikon shard, was so baffling Kagome didn't know what to make of it.

Inuyasha, however, was not keen to elaborate on his reasoning. After telling his group to make camp, he quickly took to the tress of the forest they had been skirting all morning. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the hanyou was trying to lead their group away from something in those trees, but what wasn't know was what, and why.

"Kagome?" Shippo's little voice sounded in her ear, and the young miko looked down to the fox kit clinging to her shoulder. "You don't think it's…?"


The Taijiya's stern voice had Shippo pulling back behind the curtain of Kagome's hair to shield himself from her. And though Sango had simply been trying to keep Kagome from thinking that Inuyasha had gone to find Kikyo, she had already thought as much.

Kagome forced a tight smile and turned to her friends. "It's alright, guys. Let's just make camp. There was a river not too far back. Maybe we'll be able to catch some fish for dinner." Her smile brightened sincerely at the prospect of some downtime. "And I sure could go for a bath."

"Why, yes, Lady Kagome," Miroku agreed full-heartedly. "I was just thinking that a bath would be a lovely idea…"

Miroku's words were cut off abruptly by a jarring impact against his skull. Behind him, her right eye twitching in annoyance, Sango gripped firmly to the handholds of Hiraikotsu, applying ever more pressure against the angled bone to press against the monk's hard head. "Perverted monk," she ground out through clenched teeth. "Is nothing sacred to you?"

"On the contrary, my lovely Sango," Miroku replied smoothly as he inched himself away from the crushing force of her weapon and began rubbing his rapidly bruising skull. "I hold many things sacred…" The way he trailed off, his eyes glossing over in a hazy fog and roaming freely over he curves of her body, was enough to make Sango want to bash him another one.

Unfortunately, though Kagome was tempted to allow her friend a little bit of fun, she also realized that Miroku, while dense, wasn't impervious to the blows Sango leveled him with. And with them having stopped for camp so early, it was all but guaranteed that the impossible lecher was going to make at least one more idiotic gesture before the night was out that would send him early to bed. So, in hopes that she could save Miroku for a least long enough that he might be able to help setting up camp, Kagome turned and started waling. "Come on, guys," she called over her shoulder. "Let's get going."

Sango, after tensing her grip against her weapon minutely, abandoned her thoughts of teaching the monk his lesson and turned stiffly to follow after Kagome. "Kagome?" she asked once she had caught up with her friend. "What about Inuyasha?"

"Inuyasha…" Kagome trailed off for a moment, her sight drifting towards the thick growth of forest trees stretching out in the distance. Why did he always feel the need to hide everything from her? Why couldn't he just trust her enough to tell her when something was bothering him? Did he think she didn't know about Kikyo, or how he felt about her? Did he think she didn't understand? Did he think his secrecy hurt any less than the truth?

Blinking fiercely to force away threatening tears, Kagome turned her sights ahead of her again. "Inuyasha can find his own dinner," she answered firmly.


Heat spread through her body in a wave of consuming ecstasy, igniting every one of her senses, filling her with its pulsing desire and unquenchable thirst. With every breath, she drew more of it into herself, felt more of the heat, became more ensnared by its addictive allure. Every breath seemed to be labored, never allowing enough cool air to pass into her lungs. Her heart strained, fighting to keep her heated blood rushing through her veins to leave every tissue in her body filled with the pulsing fires.

But the pulse was not coming from her. Even in her hazy state she realized this. There was another with her, someone else that was making her feel these things. There was a part of her that was afraid, a part that knew something was wrong, that she should not have been feeling such incredible things. But there was another part of her that wanted this, that embraced the heat flowing through her, that craved the power that held her in this state of euphoria.

It was intoxicating, addictive, and she couldn't get enough. More and more, she drew the heat into herself, feeling it coil tightly within her, preparing for something unimaginable. She could feel it, something just beyond what she knew, a cadence for the fires raging through her. She held her breath, waiting for it to come.




Drawing in a startled gasp, Kagome bolted upright in her sleeping bag. The night air felt cold in her lungs as she panted to regain her breath, a shock after having been pulled so abruptly away from the consuming heat. She lifted her hand to her chest to try and steady herself, feeling under her fingers the thundering pulse of her heart and the light layer of sweat that covered her skin even through the thin cotton of her tank-top.

Slowly, her breathing began to even out, and Kagome became more aware of her surroundings. She was in the camp that had been set up by her and her friends. She hadn't moved since she had fallen asleep by the fire. Curiously, she looked over to the fire-pit, thinking perhaps she had simply gotten too close to the flames; but she saw no flames, only the soft glow of the dying ambers.

It must have been a dream, she realized. Though that thought gave her no comfort. The things she had felt, the things she had wanted to do…

Even thinking about it had Kagome on the verge of panting again to regain her breath. The dream still remained so vivid in her mind, as did the heat of the fires and the desire that they carried through her. She felt herself flush again at the memory, but the soft brushing of the night's breeze over her heated skin soon had her shivering.

Wrapping her arms around her chest to fight off the chills, Kagome took a moment to look around her camp. Everyone was still sleeping, completely oblivious to her thoughts and her dreams. Sango had fallen asleep against Miroku who was leaning up against a tree, and though he was supposed to be on watch, the monk had succumbed to the comfort of his beloved and fallen asleep as well. Nearby the fire, Shippo was curled up against Kirara, and the two were sleeping peacefully.

Out of habit, Kagome looked next to the trees surrounding the camp. She fully expected to see that Inuyasha had returned by now, but no matter how many branches she looked to, none were occupied by her hanyou friend. Worry began to creep into her. What if something had happened to him? What if he was in trouble and needed help? What if…?

Kagome forced herself to stop thinking about such things. Inuyasha was fine. He was probably still busy with Kikyo doing…well…whatever they were doing. Kagome had no desire to know and absolutely no intention on dwelling on it. Inuyasha was a big boy; he could take care of himself. And if it was Kikyo that he wanted, then all he had to do was say so and she would give him all the support she could.

Still, even after pushing away thoughts of Inuyasha and his dead lover, Kagome was left with a problem. She was wide awake and all of her friends were sleeping. Briefly, she contemplated waking Sango up for a little girl talk, but she quickly thought better of it. The Slayer looked so comfortable, and not to mention adorable, cuddled up to her fiancé the way she was. Kagome didn't want to intrude on the little time the two love-birds were granted with each other.

So, since she wasn't willing to wake her adopted kit from his much-needed slumber and Kirara wasn't exactly the best conversationalist (being that she couldn't talk and all), Kagome decided that she was just going to have to entertain herself for a while. It wasn't that bad, really. Everyone needs a little time to themselves now and then, and with a rude, obnoxious, over-protective, rash, impulsive, over-bearing hanyou constantly breathing down her neck, these times were rare indeed.

Smiling contentedly to herself, Kagome slowly and silently began pulling herself out of her sleeping bag. She couldn't sleep anyways, not with her thoughts such as they were, so she was quick to formulate a plan. The river was only a little ways away, far enough that animals coming to drink on its shores wouldn't disturb their camp, but close enough that she could easily find it even in the dark. True, she had already had a bath this evening, but that was before she had gotten all flustered by her dreams. Besides…she smirked wickedly to herself…it was night, after all, and with no one around, she could fully appreciate the water without having to keep watch for her modesty.

Of course, she wasn't going to let herself go defenseless, and she made certain that she picked up her bow and arrows along with her other supplies before she quietly stole out of camp and began making her way towards the water.


The moon was nearly full, illuminating the land below in a blanket of soft white light. Kagome decided very quickly that she didn't like how exposed she was walking through the vast stretch of fields that separated her from the water. She eyed the trees bordering the grasslands suspiciously, wondering again why it was that Inuyasha had kept them from that forest. But, with nothing else to use for cover, and no real desire to have a run-in with a rogue youkai or some other predator, Kagome began making her way toward the concealing shadows of the trees.

As she neared, however, she began feeling strangely. It began as a very subtle tingling against her senses, but unlike every other time she had felt the warning that a youkai was near, this time it was different. With every step she took, the feeling became stronger, and as it did, her body began to heat with anticipation and expectation.

She didn't know what was going on, didn't know how to respond to this strange feeling or what it meant. But as she drew nearer to the trees, she began to feel more accurately what lay ahead.

A barrier. A demonic barrier had been erected somewhere in those trees. She could feel the pulse of it power, but for some reason, it wasn't repulsive. It seemed to be calling to her. It was…familiar, somehow.

Kagome paused in uncertainty. She knew she shouldn't go wandering in the woods with youkai in the vicinity by herself. She knew how dangerous these times could be and what could become of her. But still, she felt drawn to that place, so strongly that she couldn't bring herself to turn away.

Hesitantly, she took a step forward, and then another. Slowly, very slowly, she crept her way into the trees and towards the awaiting demon.


The instant the barrier closed around her, Kagome was overtaken by a cold shiver of dread. She could feel them now. All around her, youkai prowled these woods. Behind the concealment of the barrier, she had not been able to detect them, only the single presence that had erected the shield. But now, within the enclosement, she could make out several distinct sources of energy, and all of them were youkai.

The problem was amplified immeasurably when she realized she recognized this pattern of aura. Dogs. All of them were Inuyoukai. And, most prominent, and most frightening, was His.

Kagome swallowed thickly when she realized whose territory she had intruded upon. This was guaranteed not to end well for her, and she had no intentions of sticking around to find out for certain. She took several shaky steps backwards, but was stopped firmly in her tracks when the barrier surged up behind her denying her an escape.

A soft whine of fear and confusion left her as she frantically looked around for another route of escape. But she would find none, she knew this. She knew because He would never allow it. He would never be so reckless.

What have I done? Kagome was terrified. She had known that coming out here like this was foolish, but she hadn't been able to help herself. And now she was trapped, on her own against the most ruthless demon she had ever encountered.

No! She refused to give into her fear, refused to give in without a fight. She knew him, she knew what he was like, how terrifying he could be and how devastatingly powerful; but she also knew that he was true warrior, trained of mind as much as of body. Though he would rarely speak, when he did he displayed his intelligence. Though often mocking and cruel, his words were chosen carefully, never revealing anything of himself or his intentions, but always displaying uncanny understanding of the motive and directives of others.

Yes, she knew the demon Lord. She had learned to respect him over the years, but that did not make her any less wary of him. Though she could somewhat understand why he did the things he did, she would never be fool enough to underestimate Sesshomaru.

Still, whatever his reasons for bringing her here, she wasn't about to let herself be intimidated by him. Not like she wasn't intimidated by him, but she didn't plan to let him know that. She knew, with a passable amount of certainty, that Sesshomaru recognized the importance of her role in the war against the Shikon and wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that. At least, that's what she was hoping.

And she held onto that hope with all her might as she took a deep, steadying breath and began walking in the direction she could feel his powerful aura.


"Oh my…" Not being able to finish her soft exclamation, because, really, God had absolutely nothing to do with what she was seeing, Kagome remained staring wide-eyed and in complete disbelief mixed with morbid fascination at the sight that greeted her.

She knew she should have looked away, but she was frozen in place, physically unable to move even so much as a muscle. But though her muscles wouldn't respond to her demands that they move and get her the hell away from him, her body was reacting all of its own accord.

As she watched, mesmerized by the sight of him, her body was overtaken once again by the pulsing heat she had experienced in her dreams.

His face was turned away from her, lulled back to rest against the tree he was leaning against and spilling his long mane of hair around him in a curtain of sliver. The markings spreading across his skin were twisted and jagged, infused with the energy of the beast as he strained and panted. She could see the heavy lifting of his bared chest, see every line and depression formed by his well-defined musculature and even the way the moonlight caught and reflected off the moisture settled upon his pale skin. Ripping paths of crimson spread down the tensed muscles of his arm, shifting with every motion, spreading and intensifying with every hard pull.

She heard him groan, a low, rumbling sound that was more like a growl, and she shivered. She knew she shouldn't be there, knew she shouldn't be watching. But the sight of him there, lost in sensation, giving himself pleasure, his body arching into the heated friction of his own touch, and the sounds of his pleasure slipping from his lips; made her own body pulse with desire, washed her with heat as thoughts of being able to touch him in such a way assaulted her, and made her throb in painful longing to be touched in such a way as well.

Her legs felt weak, trembling as they strained to hold her up even as the pulsing settling in her core begged her to sink to the ground. The heat within her was molten, flowing across her senses, igniting them in a hazy fog of lustful need and desire. Her breathing, like his, became heavy, panting breaths that never seemed to pull in enough air.

Every time she saw his hand pull along the length of his arousal, she could feel her own pulse with insistence, her inner muscles clamping down painfully to remind her of the emptiness within her that begged to be filled. Another long groan slipped from his lips, and she whimpered helplessly as her body reacted to the sight of his back arching to lift his hips up more firmly against the motions of his hand.

Her reactions confused her. She wanted to go, but she was held still. She wanted to be ashamed, repelled, embarrassed; but she was captivated and in awe. And the heat washing through her body, though she knew it was in response to him, she also knew that in some way it was more than that. The pleasure, the consuming heat, it wasn't just in response to him, it was because of him. She was feeling his desire, experiencing his pleasure in the hot wake of his power as it drifted across her senses. The sensation was incredible, so intense that it took over almost everything else in her mind.

Almost, that is. But no matter how intense or consuming the heat he invoked in her, Kagome's senses had been heightened too acutely by his powerful presence to miss the movement of the other youkai around her. They had moved closer, and the dark intent burning in their auras was unmistakable.

It was actually painful to look away, to deny herself the vision of the moonlit Kami in the throws of passion; but had she not turned, she would not have lived.

Only seconds and the youkai was on her, its claws tearing mercilessly at the air where she had stood. Kagome had thrown herself out of the path of the attack just in time, and had only managed to regain her footing and bring herself about to face the beast before it was lunging at her again. Again she maneuvered herself quickly, just barely missing the sweep of its claws and the harsh snap of its fangs. But this time she had been better prepared, more focused on her movements; and rather than leaving herself on unsteady feet, she had braced and given herself time to pull her weapon from her shoulder before the youkai could turn back to her.

When it did, it paused at the sight of her weapon, appraising her as she was it. It was Inu, certainly, but much smaller than she had ever seen. Of course, the only real comparison she had to lean on was Sesshomaru, and given his power and status she wasn't all that surprised to find that others of his kind were of smaller stature. This Inu bore no markings, had no distinctive patterns in the lay of its fur, even its abilities were lacking, with no poison dripping from its mouth and claws and no residual wake of power in its passing. It was small, standing only as high as she. And though intimidating in its own right as it snarled viciously at her, bearing its fangs and crouching low in an attack position; Kagome knew it was no match for her.

Her arrow had been set, her grip tightened against the wood of her bow, but Kagome held herself back from firing. "Damnit, Sesshomaru!" she called out to him without taking her eyes away from the Inu set to attack. "Call off your dogs! I don't want to kill them!"

Unfortunately for her, she would be given no choice. Even as the Inu lunged towards her, Kagome felt the sharp shift of the energy currents behind her as well. She reacted. As the first came towards her, she braced for the impact, managing to use the Inu's momentum against it and throwing it away from herself. Her teeth clenched tightly, muffling a strangled cry wrenched out of her when the Inu's claws managed to catch her left arm; but she resolutely pushed through the pain and focused on her targets. Once clear of the first assailant, she tucked down and swung her aim around to the other, releasing with no further warning.

Her arrow cut its path in a brilliant streak of radiant light. It tore into the youkai, wrenching from it an anguished howl just before its voice was silenced forever, its body succumbing to the purity of her light, the dark fires sustaining its spirit smothered and reduced to nothing but glittering ash.

But Kagome had no time to mourn the youkai's passing or to begrudge the forcing of her hand. The first Inu had regained its feet, and was coming after her again. And beyond that, closing in on her senses, she could feel others converging for the fight. Cursing softly under her breath even as she drew another arrow, Kagome chanced a look into the clearing where she had last seen Sesshomaru, hoping to find some way of convincing him to end this. But when her eyes took focus, he was no longer there.

Releasing a harsh breath of frustration, Kagome brought her attention back to the Inu stalking towards her. She backed away from it slowly, carefully choosing her footing as she made her way out from the cover of the trees. She could feel them coming for her, and she knew if she was going to stand any chance in this fight, she would have to have room to maneuver.

She hadn't even made it to the break in the trees when the Inu lunged again. This time, however, there was no room for leniency. Kagome drew back hard on her bow, releasing the tension only an instant before the Inu's strike would have been completed. The impact was so forceful that it stopped the beast mid-strike, pushing it back through the air even as her magics began to take it over. By the time it hit the ground, the youkai was dead.

Kagome used the momentary reprieve to make her way into the clearing, setting herself firm and ready for whatever may emerge from the trees. Her breathing was sharp and labored, but she focused all of her energy on stretching out her senses to locate her next target. There were at least four others besides herself and Sesshomaru, each varying in levels of power. But of those remaining, Kagome knew that at least two of them were of higher status. The first two she had encountered were no better than any low-level youkai in terms of power; unable to take humanoid form, their abilities limited by poor breeding and diluted blood. But the others, she knew, would not go down so easily.

Setting another arrow in the draw of her bow, Kagome waited for them to come to her. When the first one emerged from the trees, she nearly loosed her arrow; but she managed to hold it back when she realized that not only was this youkai not focusing on her, but that its smaller size and lacking power were indicators of its youth. This one was not much more than a pup, perhaps only a century old.

She watched curiously as the Inu cautiously scented the area, its nose lifting to the air before dropping down again to track against the ground. It mustn't' have even realized she was there, even though she was standing in the open. Or, perhaps, it did not recognize her as a threat. Then, suddenly, it stiffened. Its hackles raised and it spun around, coiling its body tightly and aggressively as it released a snarling growl directed into the trees.

Another growl answered in response, but this one louder, the vibrations deeper and more intimidating. The Inu snarled again, but took a hesitant step backwards from the perceived threat. But it would not be granted the time to take another. In an instant, the trees parted and the bulky form of yet another Inu pushed through into the clearing. Unlike the others she had seen, this one was massive, standing roughly twice as high as the young miko. In one swift motion, it was on top of the younger Inu, its massive fangs tearing through the soft tissue of the other's neck and ripping it away with a sharp shake of its head. The young one fell to the ground in a lifeless heap, blood spilling freely to stain the ground around its body a dark crimson.

Kagome couldn't understand. Why were they fighting each other? Why were they not attacking in pack formations, focusing their hunt on her? Just what was going on?

Unfortunately, there would be no time to ponder such questions. After ridding itself of the flesh of its fallen brethren, its fangs still dripping with blood, the Inu turned and focused the burning crimson of its eyes on Kagome. This was bad, and she knew it. With a best this size, one arrow may not be enough to take it down. She simply wasn't powerful enough or trained well enough to focus such massive amounts of energy. Still, she was ready. She wouldn't allow herself to fall here. Not now. Pulling back on the draw of her bow, Kagome began taking small steps backwards to give herself more room to confront the beast as she waited for it to make its move.

Its eyes never left her, even as it shifted its body and began pacing the outskirts of the clearing. It was stalking her like prey, waiting for her to falter. But she wouldn't. And seeing that it was waiting for her to make a move of her own, Kagome wasn't going to disappoint.

Her arrow was released, filling the small clearing instantly with the brilliant light of her powers as it streaked towards its target. The Inu had seen her attack coming, and had attempted to move itself away from the burning path of purity. But Kagome had anticipated its movement, and her shot had been directed just in front of where the beast had last stood. Its movement had put it straight in the path of the arrow, and the enchanted projectile hit its mark high on the beast's right foreleg.

It roared out in anguish as her pure light tore through its body, reeling back from the assault. But there was nothing that could be done to save it from its fate. Kagome's arrow had ripped straight through the youkai's foreleg, severing it at the same time as purifying everything it touched. The beast crashed down to the ground, sending shuddering vibrations of the impact through the stone foundations of the forestland. Still, even with one of its legs stolen and its body burned by the pure light and ash left in the wake of miko purity, the Inu began lifting itself again to face Kagome.

Seeing its struggling and knowing that all of this could have been prevented if only she had listened to the warning voice of reason, Kagome felt her heart clench. She was responsible for this. These youkai were dying because she had been foolish enough to step into this place. She didn't want to kill them, but they had given her no choice.

"Please," she pleaded with the Inu even as she strung another arrow into the set of her bow, "Don't make me do this."

She didn't know if it could understand her words, but she had to try. She couldn't bear the guilt of killing another one of these creatures, even if it was in self-defense. She waited apprehensively for it to regain its feet. It swayed unsteadily only once, catching itself with a quick shifting of its remaining powerful legs. It was growling at her, low, angry vibrations that shook through the air so heavily she could feel them brushing uneasily against her skin. Her body flowed with adrenaline, her heart racing, her muscles tight; but she held herself back, waiting for some sort of response.

But it was a response that would never come. Before the Inu could do anything more than steady itself on the new set of its frame, a flash of movement cut across it, stretching the entire distance from its shoulders and down across its neck. It opened it jaw to roar out its fury, but no sound came aside from a horrid gurgling as it was smothered with its own blood.

Kagome gasped in shock and revulsion, forced to watch as a torrent of crimson spewed out from the gaping tear that now stretched across the Inu's throat. It staggered, its massive frame slamming into the trees behind it, breaking the thick trunks like twigs when its legs finally gave out and it collapsed heavily against the ground.

"What a nuisance."

The smooth, beautifully pitched voice, was made ugly by the blatant disrespect for the dead. Kagome turned to it, filled with fury so hot it was reflected in the angry burn of her powers as they shifted turbulently around her. Her eyes locked onto her opponent, too furious to care that the female was one of the powerful presences she had detected.

"That wasn't necessary," she hissed out in accusation. "You didn't have to kill her!"

"Who are you to speak to me in such a way?" the bitch asked with a disgusted sneer. "Miko or not, the hierarchy of Inuyoukai shall never be tainted with the disgusting blood of such a weak creature." She lifted her hand, allowing her flowing robes to fall down to her elbow as she exposed her deadly claws. "It will be my pleasure to spill you blood, miko. And once you are dead, I shall present your head as tribute to my soon to be mate."

"Mate?" Kagome wasn't sure if she should be disgusted or outraged, so she settled for disbelief. "You think that Sesshomaru would be your mate? Give me a break! He's got better taste than that."

The bitch snarled and moved towards her with such speed that Kagome barely had time to react. She only just managed to lift her bow to deflect the other's deadly claws, but still the force of the blow sent her hurtling backwards. She landed hard, her elbows taking serious damage as they scrapped against dirt and stone in an effort to keep her head from colliding with the unforgiving ground. But even before her jarring skid had come to an end, she could feel the bitch moving for her again.

Kagome tucked hastily, rolling herself away from the devastation caused by the bitch's claws tearing into the ground. She scrambled to her feet, her hands grabbing frantically for her bow. Horrified, she realized she no longer had it. Her eyes skirted the clearing desperately, only for her heart to sink when she discovered her weapon was several yards away, completely useless to her when facing off against a being of such speed and strength.

Light chimes of laughter filled the air. "What a shame," the bitch taunted. "Has the little miko lost her pretty little bow?"

Kagome stiffened in outrage, and forced herself to focus again on her opponent. "I don't need my bow to take out the likes of you."

It was a lie, and the bitch knew it. "Don't fool yourself, girl. You had no hope of defeating me. You could never match my speed or strength. And without your weapon you are defenseless. Why don't you just give up? Accept the inevitable and be granted an honorable death."

Not very bloody likely. Kagome wasn't out of tricks just yet. The bitch had been correct; she couldn't match her speed or strength so she really stood no chance in hand-to-hand combat. But even if she couldn't strike at the body, Kagome knew that there were other ways to weaken your foe.

"If I must die, then at least tell me what is going on here." She inclined her head passively, adding in a meek voice, "Grant me this last request."

So pleased with herself and overconfident in her abilities, the bitch was oblivious to the slight, deceptive motions of Kagome's feet as she moved herself closer to the line of trees.

Smiling vindictively, the bitch folded her arms causally in the folds of her dress. "You are crude to ask such of me," she told Kagome haughtily. "However, since you have asked so nicely, perhaps I shall grant you this last request. We Inu do not take whatever lowly creature is available as you humans do. It is power and strength which we look for in our mates. It draws us to places such as this, and we prove ourselves by defeating those too weak to obtain such a position."

Vying for dominance. Kagome understood a lot more about pack behavior than the bitch thought. Of course, she had been of the belief that it was the males that did the fighting for a mate, but she wasn't about to point that fact out at the moment. Besides, it really was no shocker to her that a pack of bitches was fighting over Sesshomaru's high-and-mighty self. The guy was a catch by any standards. Powerful, influential, feared and revered; he was the Alpha of Alphas, not to mention drop-dead sexy…extra emphasis on the dead, of course.

The whole situation was ridiculous, really. Not only was this bitch fully convinced that she was going to be the mate of the Inu Lord himself, but she was so caught up in her displays of power and dominance that she had actually labeled a human, one of the very few things Sesshomaru enjoyed being vocal about in regards to his dislike, disgust, and downright hatred of, as one of the competition.

Not being able to help herself, Kagome laughed. "You're deluded!" she finally managed to choke out. "First of all, I don't even know what I'm doing here, but it for damn sure wasn't to get funky with Sesshomaru. And second of all, do you really think that he would mate with you? Good lord! The guy is a walking iceberg! I'm amazed he even has desires like every other creature on this planet!"

The bitch growled fiercely, her warning clear and her anger unveiled; but Kagome paid her no heed, and continued goading her on. "Even if you did come out on top in this disgusting display and Sesshomaru used you to give him pleasure in some faceless rut, you would never walk away from this place. He would rather die than let such a lowly bitch bear his pups!"

She was fast, driven by her rage; but Kagome was ready and she used the blinding fury of the other to her advantage. She sidestepped the attack easily, clearing the path for the bitch to run headlong into the final presence. Kagome had known it was there. She had been masking the presence of the other with the strong flaring of her aura, making her scent become the only thing the bitch could detect. And she had waited, waited for it to move close enough, waited for the right moment to drive the bitch into her trap.

The final youkai was of lesser power, small in stature like the first ones Kagome had encountered; but when the bitch had rushed it, it had responded ferociously, lunging towards her immediately in an attack of its own. The two collided with brutal force, and their ripping snarls and angry growls soon filled the air as they tangled together in a clash of claws and fangs.

A high whine of pain suddenly pierced through the commotion, and by the hands of the Inu bitch, yet another had fallen.

But Kagome had used what time her distraction provided to regain her weapon, and by the time the bitch had taken her kill, Kagome held her arrow set and ready against her.

"Move and you die," she told the bitch firmly. She watched attentively for any unsanctioned movement by the youkai as the bitch stiffened and slowly, carefully began to turn towards her. The bitch was glaring at her with pure hatred, but Kagome held firm, the tip of her arrow held tight in the draw of her bow only paces away from where her opponent stood. No amount of speed could save her from her fate should she choose to go against her order, and they both knew it.

"I don't want to kill you," Kagome told her. "I don't want anything to do with this barbaric game. Leave. Now. Without complaint and without any attempt to soothe your wounded pride, and you will live to see the dawn."

Kagome could see the furious wisps of crimson bleeding into the placid gold of the bitch's eyes, could feel the wild flaring of her blazing aura as it whipped around her in dangerous currents of untamed fury. Her fingers twitched against the shaft of her arrow when she saw the bitch flex her claws at her side, drawing them out to their fullest deadly lengths.

For a moment, she thought the youkai was going to attack, was going to force her hand again. But, slowly, the heat of her anger began to ebb, her threatening posture growing slacker, and the burn of the fires shifting beneath the golden surface of her eyes cooled to reveal her frigid animosity.

"You are a fool, miko. The pleasure of victory may not be mine on this day, but I shall be contented with the knowledge that now it shall be your life to fall into his hands."

"Whatever helps you sleep at night," Kagome scoffed. She gestured sharply with her arrow towards the trees. "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

The bitch's lip lifted in resentment. She tilted her chin up, and gracefully turned and swept across the ground on her way to the trees.

Breathing out a long sigh of relief, Kagome finally allowed herself to release the tension in her bowstring. But only a breath of time, and her tension was returned full-force. He was there. Just behind her, she could feel his unmistakable aura.

Slowly, guardedly, she turned to face him.


Well, this was supposed to be a one-shot, but it was getting so bloody long that I just couldn't keep going. Well, I do plan on writing more tonight, but it's always nice to get some feedback while doing it, ne? Anyways, no need for rambling…Of course, important information is good, right? Such as…this is most definitely going to be a smut fic. Yup, Shadow has been gutterized again. But this time, it really is going to be short. I'm only writing this piece to get my head clear before I try and go back to some other projects. Lol…well, as clear as one's head can get when writing a story about a gorgeous, and let's not forget, naked, Sesshomaru XD

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha…or smut…just my corrupt mind that likes to combine the two ;P

Right! Back to work for me! Enjoy all.