An 'inside fighter', also called an 'in-fighter' or 'swarmer', is someone that fights their opponent from inside the opponent's reach, as opposed to remaining outside their reach and darting in for attacks. It's dangerous to be an inside fighter, because you're open to attacks more often, but a good inside fighter can do serious and quick damage. An inside fighter has to be able to take hard hits well and has to be in top form, because they can only win by overwhelming their opponent with powerful strikes. But the longer the inside fighter goes in the fight, the intensity increasingly wears on him, making him more susceptible to injury and loss.

For the 'love' theme in luxken27's 2014 Summer Mini Challenge. Requirements - over 100 words with no upper limit. This one has 935.


Inside Fighter

"Of all places, I didn't think I'd find you here."

Sesshoumaru glanced up at Kagome. Her red-rimmed eyes darted around the small noodle shop that had served as the site of their first, real date.

She slid into the seat across from him. "I've been looking for you for two days, although I think you were gone for far more than that. Where have you been? Are you alright?"

"You should leave, Kagome."

She blinked and looked at him for the first time. "Why? You stood me up for our date. I've been worried about you, and now you're telling me to leave?" she asked. She paused and looked around the restaurant. "Is someone watching you?"

"I am meeting someone."

"Who?" Her voice softened. "Naraku? Tell me, Sesshoumaru. I can help. I know you think I can't, but…"

"I know what you're capable of, Detective," he interrupted. He saw the shudder go through her limbs and heard the breath catch in her throat, but a human would not have noticed. He allowed himself a brief moment of admiration for her control. "I am meeting a woman. She will not be pleased to see you."

Color began to drain from her cheeks. "Sesshoumaru," she began.

"You mistake my absence from our date for something far more sinister. I simply did not want to have that tedious conversation that all those ending relationships seem to have. I thought not showing up would be clear enough of a message," he said.

A tear slid down her cheek. "You're lying."

"I do not lie."

"Are you trying to protect me? Did Naraku threaten me?" she asked. She brushed away the tears and lifted her chin. "Because if you're pushing me away to protect me from Naraku, it doesn't work like that. I know you care about me. Naraku knows you care about me. Because you don't lie. And you haven't been lying when you were with me. All you're doing here is torturing yourself, because you are not going to make me hate you."

Sesshoumaru's hands twitched as she reached for him, but he pulled away before she could touch him. "You should leave. Leave the city and visit a shrine."

"A shrine?" she echoed.

"Perhaps the gods can provide some answers. Or a miko. You can share stories about the evil doings of my kind, especially with innocent, young women," he said. "Although I could not truthfully call you 'innocent'."

For a moment, he thought she would stay and argue. But she pressed her lips together and slid out of the booth. "I don't understand why you're doing this. It would have been so much easier if we were together. You have no idea what I've already done for you."

"I do not lie, and I do not like liars."

She shook her head. "I hope that's not the explanation you give to Naraku. He'll see right through it," she said. "Call me before it gets out of your control, alright?"

Sesshoumaru watched her turn her back and leave, although she didn't quite make it to the door before he could smell her tears again. Even with that salty wash over her, she had smelled so good. If she hadn't left at that moment, he didn't know what he could have done to stop himself from dragging her towards him and burying his nose in her hair.

He kept his feet planted to the linoleum floor as he thought of how he had once been permitted to run his hands over her bare skin. He could so easily catch up to her, and she would let him do it again. He could wrap himself in her scent and in her embrace and forget everything else.

The door opened again, and another woman approached his table. He dragged himself to his feet, ignoring the protest of his weary limbs. "Kagura."

He'd traded one red-eyed woman for another, although this one wore her bruises on her exterior. She had a fresh set blossoming on her throat. "Ready?"

He dropped a couple of notes onto the table. "I am," he said.

They walked out to the black luxury car parked illegally in front of the shop. Kagura got into the driver's seat and took off the moment Sesshoumaru had shut the door. "I saw Kagome as drove up," she said, careening into the flow of traffic. "She seemed upset. Hurt the girl's feelings?"

"It is what's best for her."

She scoffed. "So it begins. Pushing away people who matter to you because of Naraku." She gave him a sharp glance out of the corner of her eye. "And you're not exactly dealing with an overabundance of loved ones to begin with."

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes. "Your point?"

"Naraku is going to kill you. Maybe not your body, if you're very lucky, but he will destroy your conscience and your soul." She kept her eyes on the road, but more than a few drivers had to swerve out of her path. "Now there'll be no one to remember what you were like. No one to bring you back. Not that there's any coming back from this."

"She can remember me as she wishes this way. I will not have her remember the reality of this path. As you say, only the lucky survive."

"A sacrificial lamb," drawled Kagura. "How noble. You could have had love for a little while longer. Soon, you'll forget what it feels like. You're going to pray for that release of death."

Sesshoumaru remained silent for a long moment. "It's too late."

"It most certainly is," she replied.