Okay everyone. The polls have closed and the emails save. Counting up the results from 4 different sources has resulted in very close race. And the winner is Winter's Chill. It neck and neck for awhile. I almost started writing For the Alliance because it had such an early lead but in the end it lost by just 2 votes. So here's the first chapter and I'll have the second one on it's way soon. Please read and review.
Chapter 1 Waking Up
A harsh wind blew over the Northern area of what would one day be known as Honshu, Japan. It carried a bitter cold. One far worse than any mortal could remember in living memory.
It relentlessly swept it's way over both the barren and tree covered mountains alike. Driving even the most sturdy beasts to the lower lands to where they instinctively knew warmer weather lay. Only a few being were brave and/or foolish enough to remain in the high peaks. Amongst these were the Ookami no Youkai; the wolf-demons. They viciously fought to defend their territories and would utterly refuse to surrender them to something as common as the weather.
But more than just the wind that was coming and it would not be stopped or delayed.
"I...can't...move." Inuyasha thought as his consciousness floated through a sea of emptiness. For a brief moment, the white-haired hanyou wondered if he were still asleep. But he dismissed the idea immediately. First of all, he couldn't remember actually falling asleep and second, thought he may not be able to feel his body, his demonic senses were still feeding him information about the world around him.
They told Inuyasha that he was in a dark, enclosed space. It was cold...and a little damp; a cave? Despite the obvious perilousness of his situation, the hanyou had to marvel at his own abilities. He couldn't see or touch, and yet his remaining senses were clearly trying to make up for their lose.
He could almost perceive his surroundings in his mind. Taste the hot water from the underground wells and feel the cold walls chilling his blood. It was beyond anything he had experienced before.
Just then, the Inu-demon realized something else. He wasn't alone.
"Kagome! Kagome!" Came a high shrill voice that was so loud to Inuyasha's ears that it broke his concentration and the rest of the world vanished.
Shippo continued to call for the young mortal girl until she and a sizable group came running to the small cave that housed her wounded husband.
"Shippo, what's wrong?" Miroku asked as Kagome marched passed the small kitsune to kneel beside Inuyasha.
"I think he's awake now" He answered. "His breathing is faster."
Kagome pulled the furs that covered the hanyou's bare chest and bandaged stomach. She then pressed her ears against his breast and heard a strong, rapidly beating heart. She sat back and looked up at the person standing in front of her. "I think he's right."
Kouga, the wolf-prince, bent down and breathed in deeply. "Yeah, me too. I'll get the potion." He turned to go but paused. "If he is awake, Inuyasha will be able to hear us. And he probably doesn't remember how he ended up like this."
The priestess watched the youkai until he turned a corner and headed toward his den's main living area. Turning her head, she gazed into Inuyasha's eyes, which stared unfocused at the cave's ceiling.
"I...I'm not sure how much you member." She began. "but I'll do my best to tell you everything that happened."
"We were spending a few days with Kouga. We wanted to see how he was since we hadn't had any news since before Naraku was killed..."
Kagome wiped a small bead of sweat from her brow after having deposited the bundle of wood she had been carrying into a large wagon. Even in the cool air of the northern mountains, collecting firewood was exhausting work. She hadn't even meant to volunteer for the job. But when a group of small wolf-pups had crowded around her and begged for help, she couldn't say no to such cute kids.
She looked out over the small valley; watching the ookaimi youkai work. They were scattered all across the landscape, gather food and provisions. She shivered when a cold wind blew around her; it seemed to find every opening in her robes, stealing her warmth away. Kagome could understand why Kouga's pack was working so hard to prepare winter. By her estimates, it was barely even November and if it was this cold now...
Kagome paused in the middle of her thoughts. An icy feeling, that had nothing to do with the weather, had suddenly taken hold of her heart. Such a feeling could only mean one thing. Someone or something with malicious intentions was nearby.
Stepping back behind the wagon where she had left her bow, she quickly retrieved the weapon and her quiver of arrows. Cautiously she made her way towards what she concluded was the source of the ominous aura. But all she saw as one of the wolf children standing directly in front of a tree; low hanging branches surrounded the small boy.
"Hey there." Kagome said putting a cheerful tone in her voice. "Is everything okay?"
It wasn't until she was almost standing over him that she realized that the branches weren't hanging limply around the youth. They were coiled tightly around his body; holding him like a puppet.
Had the young ningen been any other human, she probably wouldn't have survived the next few seconds. But fighting demons had horned her survival skills. As the branches around her sprang to life and reach for her, Kagome instantly grabbed the small pup and pulled him free. Then diving to the ground she rolled away from the tree until she was sure they were a safe distance.
Rising to one knee she drew an arrow, aimed and released. The holy arrow struck the tree dead center and...nothing.
No purifying light, no scream of pain...no indication that the she had struck anything other than a plain old tree.
Kagome turned and saw two of Kouga's most trusted companions running towards her; Ginta and Hakkaku.
"You two." She said with surprise as the pair skidded to a halt.
"Did the branches touch you?" Hakkaku said, looking the human over. "Did any part of the tree-?"
"No." She replied. "But the branches were wrapped tightly around him." Kagome indicated the small boy in her arms.
The spiky-haired demon carefully took the pup. "I have to get him back to the den." And he took off at a full sprint.
The priestess drew another arrow, she could still sense evil nearby. "I hit the tree once but nothing happened." She whispered.
"It probably jumped to a different one then." Ginta answered, his body tensed as if expecting an attack at any moment.
"It?" Kagome asked.
"A forest-worm. Latches onto a tree or bush and uses it to capture its prey. They usually go for birds, rabbits, and other small animals. But this one has gotten a taste for other demons. The pack has been trying to kill it for longer than I've been alive but it has always gotten away. It likes to drink the blood of our young." The wolf paced around in a circle. "It must be starving. It runs when fully grown demons show up."
Kagome started to circle as well; they were literally surrounded by trees. "It's still here but I can't tell where. We need help."
"Hakkaku will tell Kouga and he'll come." Ginta replied but Kagome had already taken a deep breath. And cupping her hands in front of her mouth, she cried.
It took less than five heartbeats before she saw a familiar read and white blur rushing towards her.
"Kagome!" The half-demon said as he landed in front of her, his hand gripping the hilt of his sword. "What's-!"
"A youkai that possesses trees and drinks blood." She filled him in quickly. "And it can paralyze you with its touch."
Inuyasha unsheathed Tessaiga and began looking around; his ears twitching back and forth. "Gather all the wolf-brats together and get outta here. I'll hunt this thing down."
With that he jumped away.
"Be careful." Kagome whispered after him, knowing that Inuyasha would hear her.
Slowly, cautiously, Kagome and Ginta collected the children. They huddled together as far from any tree as they could get while still trying to get to the den.
"Big sister?" One of the pups tugged on Kagome's robes. "Are we going to die?"
"No, we're not going to die." And she put on a determined expression. "That monster is."
Where was Inuyasha? She wondered. There hadn't been any shouting or sounds of battle and Kagome was starting to get really worried. Then motion in the corner of her vision made her pause but she relaxed when she saw nothing more than leaves fluttering to the ground. Probably knocked loose by the wind...wait the wind wasn't blowing anymore so why?
Kagome spun around and saw a massive tree bending it's large body towards them.
She released her arrow but missed the trunk, instead it flew harmlessly into the tangled mess of limbs and out through the trees canopy.
Several of the branches shot straight down at the group; attempting to impale as many of them as possible. Kagome attempted to pull another arrow but she knew there wasn't time. At the last moment she was roughly shoved aside and then came the sickly sound of flesh being ripped into.
Inuyasha had come from nowhere and while he managed to sever most of the branches, many of them had stabbed into his stomach and chest.
Almost immediately the hanyou felt the affects of the poison. His considerable strength was sapped away and his hold on his sword slackened.
The tree started to glow crimson as it fed. It made a creaking, withering sound. It was laughing.
Then Inuyasha saw it. A dark purple form buried in the tree's bark; it visibly pulsed with power as he was drained. The demon was right in front of him!
With his last ounce of strength, Inuyasha tightened his grip on Tessaiga and flung it as hard as he could at his target.
"You hit it." Kagome said, concluding her story. "Split it in half and saved us all."
"Just like you always do." Came a voice from the cave's archway.
Kagome turned and there was Kouga. In his hands he held a large basin and a much smaller cup. The contents of both steamed in the cool air.
"We brought you back to Kouga's den because they have the cure to the toxin the forest-worm pumped into you." The young human said to her husband. "In a few days you will be able to move again."
"At least we hope so." Kouga added putting his load down next to the hanyou's body. "When that worm died, it filled you with much poison it seeped out of your wounds. It may take longer for you to recover."
Kagome gave the ookami a 'you didn't have to tell him THAT' look before she spoke. "I'm going to need to bathe your body with the antidote and then you have to drink the potion."
She was about to pull the furry blanket that covered Inuyasha's nude body when she paused and glanced up at Kouga; who was looking back at her expectantly.
Unsure if Inuyasha would be comfortable having Kouga see him both nude and helpless, Kagome asked the wolf for some privacy.
Kouga, however, dropped to his knees and gently removed the blanket. "You're going to need me here. This poison fights back, trust me."
Seeing the determination and seriousness in his eyes, Kagome nodded and with a cloth she began bathing her love.
Inuyasha was mortified. Not only Kouga watching him being treated by an infant but he also helped Kagome reach every part of his body. The fleabag had even carefully rolled him over so Kagome could get to his back side.
The make matters worse, the antidote was 'working'. Instead of being completely numb, it felt like thousands of fire-ants were biting into his skin. And the liquid dripped onto his wounded torso, his body clinched so tightly he thought he was being ripped in two.
"Okay." Kagome said as she picked-up the smaller cup. "Now the potion." Placing the cup to her lips she poured the entire elixir into her mouth. She pressed her lips against Inuyasha's and pushed them open, letting the liquid pass into his mouth. Then Kagome firmly massaged his neck until his throat contracted and he swallowed the potion.
For a moment it sat in his stomach, then a cramp and another. Next Inuyasha's limbs began to twitch, then jerk uncontrollably. The hanyou's hands flew to his throat and Kagome watched in dawning horror as his sharp claws pierced the pale skin.
"No!" she shouted and grabbing his arms unsuccessfully tried to pull them away. But she was knocked aside and Kouga leaped onto Inuyasha, holding him still. The wolf-demon managed to break the hanyou's strangle hold on his own neck before too much damage had been done.
He placed them over Inuyasha's head and threw all his weight into keeping them there. "Told you..." Kouga grunted, straining against the inu's strength. "The poison...fights back, first dose is always the worse."
Inuyasha, for his part, was hardly aware that his own body was literally trying to kill him. He did try to stop himself from thrashing about but it was hard to focus on even doing that much when it felt like his body was on fire. His muscles seared and his blood boiled as the potion burned away the poison. And instead of the caves cool air, his lungs were filled with lava. Inuyasha was sure that his hammering heart was going to explode.
Slowly, over what seemed like days, his body grew still and the numbness returned. Inuyasha could still hear Kouga and Kagome speaking but they sounded so far away. It was harder and harder to concentrate on what they were saying.
"He'll rest now." Kouga said while Kagome tended to the wounds on her husband's neck.
"Will he be able to move by tomorrow?" She asked. "If not, we can use Kirara to take him ho-."
"No." Kouga cut her off. "We can't move him for at least two more days. If we do, we risk keeping Inuyasha like this until his body finally gives out. That's why I jumped on top of him. Too much movement will allow the poison to do permanent damage. He'll never recover."
The wolf prince place a hand on Inuyasha's eyes and closed them. "He'll wake up some time tomorrow. It's best to let him sleep now."
"I'm staying with him." Kagome said settling down next to her mate. She heard Kouga depart but didn't bother to watch him go. The young human pressed up against Inuyasha, wondering if he was actually asleep. Or if he was struggling inside his own mind, desperately trying to be heard.
She hoped he was sleeping.
Well here was the first chapter. Just setting the stage for what's to come. No idea how long this story is going to be but I've got the ending in mind so it's all just a matter of getting there. And for all of those who are wondering, Kouga will be in the dominant position...most of the time I think.
PS- If you are reading this on this will probably be the only chapter since they don't want explicit material on their website anymore. Go to y-gallery or adultfanfiction.