A/N: I always wondered what would happen if Kagome wasn't around to stop Kouga and Inuyasha from fighting. Written for Inuyashaquotes comm. The May 2009 Week One prompt was "It ain't bragging if you can back it up."


It was decided to take a few days rest in Kaede's village after Kagome announced she really needed to go home and take a test. Inuyasha grumpily returned to the village, none too happy to stop the quest for Naraku. He understood school was important to Kagome but lately, Inuyasha just felt like being difficult. There had been no demon encounters, no jewel sightings, nothing. Inuyasha could feel his hands itching for a good fight. It had been too long. Instead, Inuyasha found himself high in the branches of Goshinboku, sulking.

Sango and Miroku came to the tree to try and entice Inuyasha down with food. Kagome had been gone for two days and Inuyasha had barely been out of the tree. It had been a while since he'd eaten and they both knew that Inuyasha didn't turn down a meal. Before Inuyasha could respond to their request, a whirling dust cloud appeared and Kouga was standing there. Inuyasha growled from the tree but did nothing else to acknowledge Kouga's presence.

"Mutt face, where is my woman? You didn't upset her again, did you?"

Inuyasha continued to ignore him. Miroku hurriedly spoke up. He could see this turning into a very ugly situation.

"Kagome had some business to attend. She should be back in a few days."

Kouga looked up in the tree. "And this weak half-breed let her go alone? That's it! When Kagome returns, she is coming with me. I should have known weak hanyou couldn't take care of my woman!"

At those words, Inuyasha snarled and jumped out of the tree. Standing nose to nose with Kouga, all Inuyasha could see was red. Sango and Miroku backed away. They could see that Inuyasha was really close to losing all control. Too bad Kouga didn't recognize this fact.

"Oh, so you finally came down? Ready to take your ass whipping like a man? There's no Kagome here to save you now!"

Inuyasha looked over Kouga's body. Coolly, he replied. "The only one who should be worried about being saved is you."

At this point, Miroku vainly tried to change them from the path they were heading down. He could see Inuyasha's eyes flashing from amber to red. It was going to get really ugly really fast.

"Guys, why don't we settle down? Kagome wouldn't like this posturing and fighting. It would only upset her."

Inuyasha glanced at Miroku. "No, maybe it's time to settle this once and for all, while Kagome's gone."

Both Kouga and Miroku were surprised by Inuyasha's response. Kouga had finally begun to feel the demonic aura of Inuyasha become stronger and in the back of his mind, he realized he might be biting off more than he could chew. However, he wasn't one to back down and he refused to show any fear.

"I'm not backing down from this bragging idiot. A full demon can beat a half demon any day!

Inuyasha gave an ominous crack to his knuckles. "It ain't bragging if you can back it up."

At that final insult, Kouga growled and lunged at Inuyasha. Miroku hurriedly jumped out of the way of the two brawling demons. Hovering close to Sango, Miroku could only pray to the kamis that this fight wouldn't end with one of the two stubborn demons dead.

The fight was shorter than anyone expected. Both demons landed blows and injured each other. The land held claw marks from missed strikes and all the plants in the area were destroyed except for Goshinboku. Soon it became apparent that Inuyasha was beginning to gain the upper hand. Suddenly, he had Kouga on the ground, his claws at the wolf demon's throat. Inuyasha's eyes were crimson yet Miroku could see Inuyasha still held on to his human mind.

"The only reason I'm not tearing out your throat now is because it would hurt Kagome."

Leaning closer, he savored the smell of Kouga's fear. He snarled at the defiant look in trapped demon's eyes. Inuyasha knew he would no longer have a problem with Kouga trying to woo Kagome. Still the wolf needed a subtle reminder.

"If I catch you near my woman again, you will die."

Grazing the wolf's throat with his claws, Inuyasha was pleased as Kouga flinched. Blood seeped from the wounded throat. Moving to the side, Inuyasha watched as the demon picked himself up and fled.

Miroku and Sango stood, shocked at everything they had witnessed. At that moment, Inuyasha reminded them eerily of Sesshomaru. They watched as Inuyasha returned to his perch in the tree, leaving them both at a loss for words.

The next day Kagome struggled with her heavy yellow back pack. She was surprised Inuyasha hadn't shown up in the modern era to force her back. She was even more surprised when she saw the area around Goshinboku.

"What in the world happened here?"

The torn plants and scarred ground were evidence of a fierce battle. Quickly, Kagome moved towards the village, fearful for the safety of her friends.

As she finally reached the village, Kagome was surprised to see everyone sitting outside Kaede's hut, laughing, even Inuyasha. Coming closer, she could see healing bruises and claw marks on Inuyasha's face. Confused, all she could do was look around at the smiling faces.

"What happened while I was gone?"

The trio exchanged secret looks. After a long pause, they all said simultaneously,

"Oh, nothing."