A/N: Wow, it's been a *long* time since I updated this story. Sorry about that. But I'm still determined to finish this story by the end of the year!
I think I promised a one-shot for the next chapter last time, but what I tried was just Not. Working. I wanted to use LuxKen's Summer Mini Challenge to kick me into gear, but I spent the entire summer staring at a paragraph, rewriting it over and over. I was *determined* to successfully complete my Mini Challenge table. Finally, last night, I decided, "To heck with this. If it's not working, it's not working. I need to write what does work, even if it's not exactly to plan." And what do you know, but I wrote 5 drabbles in the space of 24 hours! It's amazing what a little shift in perspective and little loosening up on the expectations you put on yourself will do!
So, you don't get a one-shot. *But* since the Mini Challenge ends today, and I have to have all 5 prompts posted by midnight tonight, you are getting 5 updates for the price of 1! So that's something, right?
Since it's been so long, I will give you a little reminder of what's going on – Sesshoumaru has been coerced into working for Naraku, who has threatened Kagome's life. Sesshoumaru has pushed away Kagome in an effort to protect her. Kagome, of course, refuses to back down. So both Sesshoumaru and Kagome are working in parallel trying to take down Naraku. Sesshoumaru is feeling the pressure – Naraku has given him three days to kill Moryomaru. Meanwhile, Kagome (along with Koga and Miroku) have realized that Naraku is draining demonic energy from his fighters to create the powerful Shikon no Tama drug that's fueling his crime empire.
That's the basics of it! This is for the 'counter' prompt for the Summer Mini Challenge – 370 words.
To 'grapple' or 'grappling' in MMA is a broad term that covers several techniques in which opponents fight in order to gain dominance in the fight.
"You shouldn't go back."
Kagome checked her reflection and put a hand through her hair. "I can't let him fight again. What if Naraku decides to drain every ounce of demonic power in him? He'll die. They all could."
Miroku leaned against the doorframe. "Is that really a concern?" He shrugged as she turned to look at him. "He hasn't done it yet. You could be putting Sesshoumaru at more risk if you go back. What are you going to do? Tell him in the middle of the floor that the fights draining him of demonic energy? You really think he'd quit, even in the face of that threat? If he did actually quit, you think that wouldn't get some attention?"
She studied his face. "You think I'm going just to see him again."
"No. I think you want to be indispensable to him. You always want to be the savior, Kagome."
He cracked a smile. "Well, I don't think Sesshoumaru ever considered it before meeting you. Now he's being all protective and heroic."
"And an idiot."
"I think that's part of the package, Kagome." He swept a hand in her direction. "Exhibit A."
"You are," he cut in. His eyes softened. "That's what people in love are. Idiots. Let's just try to get you two idiots out of this alive, okay?"
Kagome sagged against her bathroom counter. "I don't know what to do."
"You go to the fights."
She blinked. "Didn't we just talk about this?"
"Not to tell him what's going on. Not to be the white knight. Actually, you're going to have to do a little more playacting on the other side of things. You're going to have to act like the jilted ex-girlfriend."
"Not too much acting. He was still a jerk."
"And he's going to be pissed that you showed up, no matter how much he wants to grab you and do things that would make even me blush." He winked at her. "You'll be a matched set."
Kagome crossed her arms. "Fine. What then?"
"Well, we're going to need some specialized help. I think it's finally time for you to give me Sango's phone number," Miroku said with a grin.