The autumn air was crisp and the full moon high in the night sky. Its light bathed the forest floor in a cool cerulean glow that cast long shadows into the underbrush. She pulled in a cleansing breath and let it out in a rush.
"Chase me," she breathed and immediately began to run.
His confused shouts rang out behind her and her legs pumped harder in defiance, picking up pace to drive her blindly through the dense woods. Gnarled branches lashed out to whip against her skin and claw at the crimson cape flowing behind her back in the wind, but even they could not slow her down.
The blood was rushing beneath her skin and her lungs panted hard and heavy. In the moonlight her cheeks glowed, flushed with the exertion of her run. The steady rhythm of her bare feet against the soft, damp earth never faltered. Somewhere along the way she'd lost her shoes, which she thought was just as well since she ran faster barefoot anyways.
Surprisingly agile in the dim light, she darted around several large stones and leapt over the fallen logs that blocked her path. A sudden gust blew the hood back from her face and she relished in the touch of the wind's cool bite against her skin. Her lungs burned from its crisp chill and a brilliant smile lit her lips. Her eyes lifted to the harvest moon, looming large and swollen above the naked tree tops, and she let out a breathy laugh. She'd never felt more alive.
Behind her, the sounds of a body crashing through the underbrush grew louder and more pronounced. He'd stopped calling her name long ago and now wordlessly followed her every twist and turn. The chase had become instinctual – he was the hunter and she was his prey. Even without the jewel shards he could've overtaken her at any time but he was playing along just like she'd hoped he would. Every now and then he'd toy with her, picking up his pace just enough so that she could hear his raspy pants at her back and then he'd fall away to fade once more into the inky shadows of the forest backdrop.
Her hurried steps almost faltered when she broke suddenly through the tree line and unexpectedly found herself at the base of a small waterfall. There wasn't any time left to hesitate. Bracing herself, she dashed through the shallow stream that stemmed from the base of the waterfall and stifled a scream. The frigid water burned her skin with its icy touch, feeling like a thousand tiny daggers piercing her flesh. It only took three paces to cross the divide, but it was more than enough. Shivering, she cast a quick glance at the waterfall before frantically darting behind its spray to hide in the space between the water and the rocky shelf.
The space was actually a great deal larger than she'd anticipated. Behind the wall of thundering water the rock caved inward in a small depression that was almost like a shallow cave. It gave just enough room for her to move around comfortably without getting too wet from the water's misty spray. Shivering barefoot atop the wet stone, she kept her arms wrapped around herself for warmth and listened to the sounds of her own heavy breaths as she waited. It was only a matter of time before he found her. As expected, he burst through the waterfall a moment later to join her. He was panting hard and fast and his eyes, the colour of midnight, looked at her with an expression of pained curiosity.
"Why'd ya run?" he demanded quietly, his voice laced with a rawness that could've been from the cold air in his lungs or something else entirely.
She didn't answer. Instead, she wrapped the red cloak that was shielding her from the cold a little tighter around herself and asked, "Truth or dare?"
"Huh?" He took a step backward, his expression incredulous.
"Answer the question."
He got an uncertain look in his eyes and took a cautious step towards her. "Dare…," he finally muttered, if a bit hesitantly.
"Take your armour off."
She hadn't even hesitated. He stared at her, wondering if perhaps this was a trick or some clever ruse he'd let himself get trapped in. Despite his reservations, he found himself complying with her request. His claws undid the ties at his sides and he slipped the armour over his head and set it on a nearby rock to keep it dry. He shivered slightly as the cool night air and misting water washed over his freshly exposed skin. He felt the burn of her eyes on him as she studied the lean muscles of his torso with a probing gaze. She licked her lips and he felt a jolt of self confidence run through him.
"Truth or Dare?" she asked again.
"Dare," he responded quickly. He was starting to get the hang of this now.
"Let down your hair."
He tilted his head curiously at that one but obliged. His claws undid the thong holding the thick mass of dark hair off his neck and it fell loosely around his shoulders. For good measure he removed the fur headband he always wore as well and set them both atop his armour. Her eyes narrowed fractionally and he watched them sweep over his face.
"You look different," she observed in a thoughtful tone. "You almost look human."
He lifted an eyebrow and ran his claws through his damp hair. "If it were anyone but you saying that I'd think it was an insult," he responded with a smile. He noticed the way she licked her lips when her eyes trailed over his body of their own accord and wondered how those same lips would taste. Just one kiss wouldn't hurt. Besides, what the mutt didn't know…
"Truth or Dare?," she said again, her voice sounding quiet and somewhat hesitant.
Her dark eyes were glistening with a strange look, one he couldn't quite pin down. Feeling bold, he took a step towards her and when she didn't flinch away he extended a hand and slipped it around her waist. He was surprised to find that her skin was still radiating heat from her earlier run. From where his thumb brushed against the base of her ribcage he could feel the fast-paced rise and fall of her chest with each pull of breath and the steady, rapid thrum of her pulse.
"Dare," he responded just as quietly. His body leaned subtly into hers, drawn in by the comforting and seductive scent that was uniquely 'Kagome'. For once there wasn't a trace of the mutt's scent on her and he found it exhilarating. He dipped his head to discretely breathe her in, letting her pure, untainted scent linger in his lungs and burn into his memory. For just a moment at least, he could pretend she was his.
When his eyes opened he was surprised at just how close their bodies were. Close enough that when her chest heaved her breasts nearly brushed against the naked skin of his chest. Close enough that he could feel the warmth of her body radiating out to wash against his skin. Close enough that he could hear the breath hitch in her throat and the quick, nervous swallow that followed when his eyes met hers.
Her dark eyes shifted back and forth between his and her tongue darted out to discreetly wet her lips once more. With a quick glance he found himself wondering for the second time how they would taste, how they would feel pressed against his own. He'd been forbidden to indulge in her for so long but there was only so much self-denial a man could take. Had she been any other woman…
Her sudden, whispered demand caught him off guard and he met her intense gaze with one of his own. He blinked down at her, unsure whether he'd heard her correctly. His brow furrowed and he pulled away slightly, his features a mask of confusion. Her hand reached out and grasped his arm, just above the elbow, and pulled him fractionally closer.
"Kiss me," she repeated, her voice sounding soft yet determined.
His hand slid up her body, tracing her womanly curves with the gentlest of touches. At her shoulders, his claws sunk greedily into her hair, tunnelling through the dark, silky locks. He watched with mild fascination as her eyes fluttered shut and her head tilted to lean into his touch. This moment was the one he'd been waiting for since the day he'd declared to the world that she was his woman. She'd denied him for so long, shot him down at every turn, but tonight, just for tonight, she let herself be his and that was more than enough.
Lips turned up into a quirky half-smile, he brushed his thumb over the delicate skin of her cheek in a tender caress before lowering his mouth to hers. He heard her gasp in surprise and her body tensed at the sudden contact, but when the hand he'd wrapped around her waist pulled her body flush against his she melted into him.
Her lips felt warm and pliant and he eagerly caressed them in a tender kiss that had his own heart thrumming hard inside his chest. She tasted sweet and innocent and so incredibly like Kagome. Helpless to stop it, he groaned softly as her scent and taste intertwined to flood his senses with an intoxicating mix.
Lightly fisting her hair, he pulled her body needily against his own and tentatively caressed her lips with his tongue. She offered no resistance and eagerly invited him to explore her mouth with a few sensuous strokes of her tongue against his. He felt half drunk, head reeling, as he took her mouth and claimed it as his own, exploring it in careful, patient strokes that flooded his mouth with her taste.
He wanted her, oh kami how he wanted her. He wanted to be inside of her, wrapped around her, with his senses completely absorbed by every part of her. His brain felt muddled, lost in a lusty haze that was filled with visions of her body wrapped around his and her voice calling out his name in a hoarse cry as she climaxed.
Pulling away to nibble at her bottom lip, he was surprised to find that somewhere in amongst the playful strokes of their tongues and the broken moans shared between them, he'd wrapped her legs around his waist (or perhaps she'd done that part on her own) and now had her back pressed firmly against the rock wall. He considered their positions a moment, debated whether to move back into familiar territory, contemplated the consequences of Inuyasha finding them in such a compromising position, then decided it could all go to hell.
His hand slipped out of her hair and slid down the curved arch of her back until it found purchase on her firm behind. Gripping it possessively with one hand and pulling her body against him with the other, he reclaimed her lips and slowly rolled his hips against her core. Her body reacted instantly, moving with his in a slow, sensual grinding motion that made him ache. Tearing his lips from hers, he rested his head against her shoulder and moved against her again and again, each time more agonizing than the last.
Teeth grinding together, he growled out his frustration and burning need with a foul curse.
She smiled slyly up at him, eyes darkened with lust. Her fingernails gently scraped against the back of his neck in a gesture that sent a shiver jetting down his spine. He hadn't expected things to go this far. All he'd wanted as a kiss, just one kiss to keep him satisfied, and now he was barely a thrust away from rolling right over that invisible boundary drawn between them.
Whatever they were doing, it couldn't continue. This little game they were playing had gone on as far as it was allowed to. Any further and there'd be no turning back and he couldn't do that to her. He was a selfish bastard and it was damn hard to ignore his body's persistent, demanding need for her, but he wouldn't be the one responsible for complicating her life. Like it or not, she loved the mutt and taking her tonight would only leave them both feeling empty and unfulfilled.
It took every measure of self restraint he had to pull away and slowly lower her feet to the ground. He dispelled her confusion with a tender look and gentle caress of his thumb along her jaw, followed by a firm, yet patient, kiss. She was smiling at him when he pulled away, looking happy if not somewhat relieved.
Sucking in a lungful of cool air, he let it out slowly and raked a hand through is hair. With a sly grin and a small headshake, he turned his back to her and began the devastating process of re-arming himself. He may just regret this in the morning, but in the long run it was the right choice to make. He could tell that just from the look of relief that'd briefly flashed through her eyes. She liked him and she'd sought his touch as much as he'd sought hers, but that was all there was to it. He would never be anything more than that in her eyes and oddly enough he was okay with that. His memories of this night - the way her body had moved against his, the needy press of her lips, and the intoxicating ability she had to invade his every sense - would be enough to sustain him.
He could feel her hovering close by, watching as he retied the armour covering his chest.
"Truth or Dare," she said with a hint of a smile in her tone. He grinned but didn't turn to face her.
"Truth," he answered.
She hesitated before asking, "Are you really as big as you felt under those furs?"
Kouga chuckled quietly to himself as he fixed his fur trimmed headband in place. Casting a glance over his shoulder he gave her a saucy wink before replying with an elusive, "Guess you'll never know."
Author's Note: This started as a theme piece for Halloween 2006. I got interrupted halfway through writing it and it sat forgotten on my computer until tonight. It's my first shot at an alt. pairing that isn't Sess/Kag so I'm eager to hear any thoughts/criticisms you might have. Please be kind and review :)