Kagome yawned and looked over at her small travel alarm clock. Two thirty was emblazoned in bright green digital numbers. She shifted beneath her blankets and carefully sat up so she didn't disturb Shippou-chan who was sleeping at the foot of her bed roll. She looked around and saw that both Miroku-sama and Inu-Yasha were also asleep. The air was still and cold around her and she pulled her sweater closer around herself and began to pack up her things.
She heard the boys shift in their sleep and took great care to avoid waking any of them. The last thing she needed was a scene between her and her half demon companion in front of the priest and the little fox demon before she left.
She hauled the enormous hiking bag onto the back of her bike and pushed it away from the campsite. Miroku knew she was leaving, so did Shippou, Inu-Yasha would just have to deal with it.
Making sure she was out of hearing distance Kagome got onto her bike and pedaled gently toward the Bone Well. The path was a little rocky and the bike bounced along but not unpleasantly.
It was summer and the sun was beginning to come up even though it was only two forty five. Birds were stirring in the trees and chirped quietly. She hated that she had to go to summer classes instead of staying but it couldn't be helped. With her constant trips back and forth between her world and this one, time left little of itself to do homework with. Besides that she needed to spend time with her family too.
She heaved a sigh and dismounted her bicycle as she moved toward the well. She heard a rustle of leaves behind her and knew that Inu-Yasha was standing behind her. She turned and let the bike fall to the ground.
"You're leaving?" Inu-Yasha asked blankly.
He always did this to her, he tried to make her feel guilty enough to stay longer. Sometimes it worked, most of the time it didn't. He sighed and shifted uneasily and Kagome felt that familiar pang of irritation. He just didn't seem to understand that she had a life beyond him and the Shikon Jewel.
"I'll come back after class is over." Kagome said, "But I can't stay too long, you know that."
"You always have those stupid classes." he muttered and looked down at the ground.
Kagome smiled, "Seems that way doesn't it? But once I'm through with summer school I'll be spending so much time here you'll want to get rid of me."
She put her arms around him and squeezed him close to her and felt him embrace her back. She found it easier to touch him now. She spent so much time with him that it was almost like he was her right arm or something, to lose him would be like losing her hand or her leg. She'd never admit it to anyone else but she needed him.
"That's not even possible." she heard him whisper.
She felt a little guilty, but not as bad as she would have if he hadn't come to see her off. He gave her a small hug and then let her go.
"Keep track of that bike okay?" Kagome said unnecessarily.
Inu-Yasha nodded a little and watched her climb into the well and disappear into it's dark depths.

** ** **

Kagome sat down in her seat at the front of the class and waited patiently for the late bell to sound and several of the other girls and boys to pour into the classroom. Finally when everyone was seated the teacher stood up.
"Students, we have an addition to our summer class. She's a transfer student from the United States. I want you all to be as helpful as possible to her, seeing as how she probably doesn't know the language very well and will need some help finding her way around." the teacher said.
The door opened and in stepped a girl about Kagome's height wearing baggy blue jeans and a t-shirt. Her dark hair was long enough to reach past her shoulder blades and it had been pulled into a loose ponytail at the nape of her neck, around which hung three different necklaces, one was a black silk cord with a pewter pentagram hanging from it, another was a silver chain from which an angel hung, the last was a leather cord that had several old looking beads on it and three oddly familiar fangs. The girl's eyes were a hazel-brown and she seemed to drink in everything around her.
She glanced at Kagome and made eye contact and Kagome felt a strange feeling run up the base of her spine. The only time she'd felt it before was when she'd been around a powerful demon, like Sesshomaru, Inu-Yasha's older brother, or even around Naraku. But the girl looked no more than human.
"Konnichiwa. My name is Wildrose."
"Seating is first come first serve." the teacher said.
"Thank you much." the girl replied in fractured Japanese.
"There's a seat by Kagome, if you'll sit down we can start today's lesson. And if there is anything you do not understand feel free to ask." the teacher replied.
The girl nodded and sat down beside Kagome and pulled out a sketchbook from her small black leather bag. She opened the sketchbook and Kagome nearly gasped at the sketch she glimpsed. A kitsune looked innocently out at her from the pages, almost an exact duplicate of Shippou-chan. The only differences lay in the way the kitsune dressed and the way it's face had been painted, it wore what looked like hide clothing and on it's face had been painted three orange stripes on either cheek.
The girl must have noticed Kagome staring, she flipped the pages dramatically until she came to a somewhat blank page where she started to copy down notes from the board.

** ** **

"Wildrose! Hey Wildrose! Wait up!" Kagome called to the girl.
Wildrose stopped walking and turned around to face Kagome as she ran toward her. Kagome halted a short distance away from her and panted to catch her breath.
"What do you want?" Wildrose asked.
"I saw one of your drawings earlier. It was amazing. I was wondering if I could see it?" Kagome asked.
Wildrose's eyes widened slightly, "You want to see…my drawings?" she seemed to puzzle over it a little then gave her answer, "I guess you can, but I'm warning you, you better not laugh."
Wildrose handed the book to Kagome like it was made of pure gold and Kagome was careful to treat it as such. She carefully looked through the pages until she came to the Shippou-chan clone. She studied the face carefully and noted that there were a few subtle differences. No one would mistake Shippou for this kitsune. It was much darker in coloring.
She went through the pictures taking care not to wrinkle any of the pages. Many of the drawings were of kitsune, most of them young like Shippou, but some of them in their true fox demon forms. There was even one of an aged fox demon, it's many moon-white tails waving behind it like a banner.
"These are beautiful." Kagome muttered.
Wildrose smiled, "Thanks. Not many people find them as cool as I do. Do you like to draw?"
"Oh yeah, but I'm not nearly as good as this." Kagome said, "Where are you staying? Somewhere around here?"
"I live about five minutes away from here. I'm just headed over to the art supply store to pick up some screen tone. Want to come with me?" Wildrose asked.
Kagome paused for a minute. She'd told Inu-Yasha she'd come back after class was over, but he wouldn't know the difference if she showed up five minutes late, would he?
"S-sure." Kagome finally shrugged and started walking with Wildrose towards the 'art supply store'.
It turned out to be a kind of book store and gaming store in one. The kind of place nerds hung out, but Wildrose didn't seem much like a nerd. Wildrose casually went up to the desk and waited for the cashier to notice her.
"Can I help you?" the man asked.
"I ordered some screen tone the other day. My name is Wildrose Windcaller."
Kagome almost laughed at the name. It was kind of silly, 'Windcaller'? What kind of a last name was that?
The man nodded and pulled a clear plastic briefcase out from behind the desk and handed it to her.
"It's paid for already. Do you want the receipt?" he asked.
Wildrose shook her head and Kagome followed her out. They walked as far as the stairs to Kagome's house next to the temple and Kagome had discovered she and Wildrose shared a lot of the same interests.
Wildrose watched Kagome climb the first few stairs said a quick goodbye and took off running toward her house down the street.
"Wait, Wildrose you forgot your sketchbook!" Kagome yelled holding up the book, but Wildrose didn't seem to pay any attention she just kept running. "Oh well, I'll give it back tomorrow in class."

** ** **

"She is good isn't she?" Miroku muttered to himself as he looked through the sketchbook. "But in all my travels I've never seen kitsune like this before."
Kagome shrugged, "So she couldn't have been here?"
"Not here, no. The kitsune around here dress like the people in order to better deceive them." Miroku explained.
"Maybe Shippou would know about it." Kagome wondered out loud.
Just as the next impending question crossed her lips Kagome and Miroku turned at the sound of an explosion. Inu-Yasha came barreling out of the woods chasing Shippou-chan.
Kagome put her face in her hands and shook her head as Miroku closed the book and held it protectively away from the two quarreling demon boys.
"Shippou, I wanted to talk to you." Kagome said finally.
Shippou looked up from his game of torture of pulling on Inu-Yasha's dog ears and jumped down to the ground jumping out of Inu-Yasha's grasp. He hid behind Kagome as she opened the sketchbook that Miroku handed over seeing as the boys had stopped trying to destroy each other for the moment.
Kagome opened it to the page where she'd confused Shippou with the other kitsune.
"Do you recognize this?" Kagome asked.
"Yeah. It's a kitsune. So what?" Shippou asked almost irritably, he'd interrupted his fun game just to see a drawing.
"Do recognize the way he's dressed?" Kagome asked.
Shippou shook his head vigorously. Inu-Yasha leaned over Kagome's shoulder and looked hard at the drawing.
"Looks like some of the stuff from the Western Lands." he muttered.
Kagome raised an eyebrow at him, "How would you know?"
Inu-Yasha rolled his eyes, "You don't think Father and Sesshomaru would let me stay in the dark about things in the west do you? Sesshomaru, at least, described this stuff to me, even brought some things back with him. Though I doubt any of it survived the fifty years I was gone."
"I'll just bet that Wildrose was watching one of those dumb Old West movies while she was drawing this. Then again she is part Native American….maybe she felt inspired by one of those dances she was telling me about."
"Nay-tive….Amer-ee-kan?" Inu-Yasha molded his mouth around the words. "What's that?"
"A human who lived in a land far west from here, or east, depending on which way you want to go. They dressed kinda like that. I wonder if they had demons too?" Kagome replied.
"Probably." Miroku said. "Demons live in all manner of places."
Kagome shrugged, if there were demons in Tokyo's past, who was to say there weren't in the Americas.
She stood up and brushed the back of her skirt off gingerly and shoved the sketchbook into her backpack. The others stood up with her.
"Are you going to stay with us tonight Kagome-sama?" Miroku asked.
"Sorry. I can't. Nothing personal but I prefer to get my school work done in the privacy and quiet of my bedroom." Kagome replied. "Besides, Wildrose gave me her phone number. I'm going to see if I can meet her somewhere so I can return it."
Miroku shrugged, "I wish I could meet this 'Wildrose'."
"Feh. You wish you could meet anything female that might give you a night in her bedroll." Inu-Yasha snapped.
** ** **

The flames danced higher and higher into the night air as the Kachina-dancer swirled her way gracefully along the edge of the circle of light. The flickering light played across her bare skin in a wild pattern, exaggerating every move she made. Her black hair and the mask with the face of a coyote was the only thing covering her dignity from prying eyes she did not know were there.
The rhythm in her head stopped suddenly and her dancing ceased abruptly. She held her arms out, palms raised to the sky and threw her head back, letting out an animalistic howl. The ceremonial paint on her body was a deep crimson red, it started to sink into her skin until the crimson red was just like a scar beneath her upper layers.
"The years have not changed you I see." the voice came from behind her, spoken in low musical tones, and spoke to her in her native Anasazi language. "What brings you to Japan…Coyote?"
Coyote turned to see the source of the voice. A demon, with luminous white hair that came to his waist, amber-gold eyes that bore into her soul, red stripes on either cheek and a crescent moon in the middle of his forehead. She pulled off the mask in order to better look at him.
"Sesshomaru…how fitting you should be here…A dog demon watching the dance of the Coyote, how…ironic." the Coyote said in Japanese, knowing full well he could speak any language, "I am here to reap my seeds of revenge. You've taken something of mine and I want them back."
"After all this time? Dear Coyote, I would have thought you would have wakened sooner." Sesshomaru laughed cruelly.
"You son of a bitch! I don't give a damn how long it's been!" she snarled and took a swipe at him with a crystal dagger, he jumped lithely out of the way.
She aimed another swipe at him and he caught her wrist in his own clawed hand. He pulled her close to him and inhaled deeply, catching every bit of her scent.
"You are not the Coyote I knew." he said, his face was close to hers. "But all the same, Coyote lives through you. A new lifetime, a new host I suppose."
She felt her stomach tighten into a knot as he pulled her closer. The familiar heat she'd felt around him in a lifetime before rose to her face.
"Listen then, and listen well, for I will not repeat myself! Coyote is old…and you are new to her game." His free hand caressed her bare back, "And her game is one to be played by two. You can't wield that power alone, let me help you and we will share in Coyote's glory."
Coyote felt soft fur brush against her legs as his tail surrounded her. She knew this had been done before, not by her necessarily but through a different host. It was a foreign feeling but also incredibly familiar.
Suddenly, something inside her snapped and she pushed away from him, fell back into the gravel and scrambled into the firelight, hoping to the gods whatever magic it held would keep Sesshomaru at bay.
It didn't. He advanced, closing the gap between them in seconds, he knelt down beside her, then thinking the better of it, straddled her stomach and looked down at her, his amber eyes unreadable for the most part but full of malice at the same time. He held up a gracefully formed hand up into the light for her to see, caressed her jaw line and traced a path down her neck and chest until he touched his own leg. Then he leaned over her and thrust his lower arm into the bonfire behind them.
Coyote's counter part screamed and waited for the horrid smell of burning flesh to reach her heightened senses. But it never came. Sesshomaru withdrew his hand from the flames and held it up for her to see again, the flesh had been scorched in areas, but no blisters or open redness marred the smooth surface of his skin otherwise. Even now the scorch marks were disappearing, his demon blood was healing the damage faster than any human could hope to recover.
He touched her stomach with his hand and she nearly cried out when searing pain spread between his fingers and into her belly. He bent to put his face next to hers and ran his tongue over her lower lip.
"Remember, I offered myself to you, Coyote." he whispered and with that his weight disappeared from her along with his existence.
Coyote touched the red area where his hand had been gingerly and felt with a certain amount of gratification that her demon powers were pushing away the hurt and the redness even as she thought of his words.
"Sorry to say, dear Sesshomaru, I learned a bit more from that than you think. Tetsusaiga and that half-breed brother of yours are my targets now." Coyote smiled.

** ** **

"Hey Wildrose, you forgot your sketchbook last night." Kagome said sweetly as she handed the book back to the strangely silent girl, Kagome was praying that Shippou and Inu-Yasha hadn't left prints from their paws/claws on the pages.
Wildrose smiled half-heartedly and Kagome perched on the edge of her desk watching the girl quietly.
"What's up? You're awfully quiet." Kagome asked.
Wildrose looked up for a second, still toying with a glass bead that had been strung onto a strand of her hair, "Oh. I was just thinking about a…drawing that I did a while ago."
"Really? Can I see?" Kagome asked.
"Only if you promise not to laugh or to tell anyone." Wildrose said reluctantly.
Kagome raised her hand and crossed it over her heart, "I swear on my honor as a human being not to laugh or tell anyone anything you don't want me to."
Wildrose smiled and fished around in her backpack for the new sketchbook she'd started and opened up to a page where a great big bonfire raged in the middle of the page. She handed it to Kagome and heard a barely audible gasp.
Kagome noticed the naked woman dancing around the fire exuberantly with her black hair free flowing and her face covered by a Native American mask, but it was the figure looming in the background like a wraith that caught her attention. Hanging just beyond the reach of the firelight was a white haired demon that looked an awful lot like Inu-Yasha's brother Sesshomaru. The robe had been shed obviously, but he still wore a pair of white leggings and had his tail wrapped up around him as he normally kept it.
He seemed out of place but oddly at ease with the surroundings. Even with the spears laced with leather and covered in feathers and demon skulls didn't seem to bother him. He just stood at the edge of the firelight's circle and stared enigmatically at the dancer.
Kagome felt her heart jump and her blood run cold, but she laughed sheepishly, "Why on Earth would you think I'd laugh at this. It's beautiful." she meant it too, though dark and pregnant with terror the picture was incredibly beautiful.
"It's about unrequited love. I just wish the men in my pictures were real." Wildrose said wistfully.
He was...about five hundred years ago. And he wasn't at all someone you'd like to meet. Kagome thought bitterly, but how could Wildrose depict Sesshomaru so clearly without even having met him.
"So, how do you think of these guys?" Kagome asked, cold sweat started to bead up at her temple.
"I dream of them. Last night I had a dream with him in it, I was the girl." she added and gestured to the nude dancer. "He scared the living daylights out of me, but I still wish he was real."
Wildrose gazed at the page serenely. Kagome felt her heart starting to calm down. Jeez. Even in dreams he's a creep.
Feeling her need for empathy Kagome rested her hand on Wildrose's arm and her thoughts turned to Inu-Yasha suddenly. The all too few romantic moments she spent with Inu-Yasha were always like dreams. His golden eyes would be warm and soothing one minute, his heart melting only for her and the next minute he could be fighting some evil monster possessing a fragment of the Shikon Jewel. The way Sesshomaru was staring at the dancer in the picture looked and felt no different. Then and there Kagome decided that there needed to be more moments like that, even if it meant tackling Inu-Yasha to the floor and kissing him until his lips fell off.
"Don't worry," Kagome said, comforting both herself and Wildrose at the same time, "You'll find your knight in shining armor." Or kimono, whichever the case may be.
The bell signaling the beginning of class rang and she and Wildrose heard the echo of feet coming down the hall and took their places while the class began to fill.

** ** **

"So where were you?" Inu-Yasha nearly demanded when Kagome emerged from the well.
Kagome looked around, seeing he was alone. No Shippou or Miroku or Sango to interrupt. She pulled herself from the well and embraced Inu-Yasha, resting her head against his shoulder, much to his shock and a little discomfort.
"Are you alright?" Inu-Yasha asked cautiously.
"Yeah." Kagome muttered, "Just feeling different today I guess."
Inu-Yasha felt his face flush as he inhaled her scent, she smelled great. Whatever kind of mood she was in he liked it, though he wasn't sure quite what to do.
"You're trying to confuse me again." he sounded pained.
"Yes, yes I am." Kagome smiled gently and tightened her embrace.
Inu-Yasha's stomach tightened and he felt a little dizzy, moments like these were few and far between, and he expected any moment now that Shippou or that lousy hentai monk to come out of the woods and ruin it.
Groaning inwardly, he embraced her lightly. "You want to go to the village or what?"
"Just a couple minutes like this, please?" she whispered.
I don't think I can take a couple of minutes like this. I'll do something stupid and you'll pile on the 'Sit's. Inu-Yasha, you bone head, what are you into? He thought anxiously.
Finally Kagome let go and he stepped back, welcoming the sound of someone rustling through the bushes. It gave him a reason to step a little further away from her to cool off, after all he was a male and he was a demon. Kagome always did this to him, started the launch sequence then wanted to cool her jets and slow down afterward. It was incredibly frustrating, which is probably why fighting was his second love.
Inu-Yasha cleared his throat when he realized Miroku and Sango had materialized from the woods. He regained his composure and turned back to Kagome who stared off into space somewhat dreamily.
"Kagome-sama! You're back! We were getting a bit worried." Sango said. "What with the talk of a demon sighting the other night."
"Watch your mouth wench!" Inu-Yasha snapped irritably, he was always irritable after an incident with Kagome.
Sango frowned, "What bug crawled up your pants?"
Inu-Yasha felt himself flush again. Kagome stepped forward in his defense, "Not all demons are bad ones Sango-san."
"Well, this demon, I know is bad news. The description sounds like Sesshomaru. He was with another demon apparently--and."
"Were they around a fire?" Kagome asked eagerly.
"How should I know? I wasn't the one who saw it." Sango replied.
Inu-Yasha's ears pricked, what did a fire have to do with anything? Sesshomaru was in town and that was enough to think about.
"Sorry." Kagome said blushing, "Anyway, what else?"
"That's what I was getting to, the person who talked to me about it said that the female demon he was with just showed up a while ago. Meaning there might be a Shikon Shard involved." Sango finished.
"So, what do we do? I can't go far, I've got school in the morning and if I miss a day it means I have to make it up." Kagome asked.
"WE won't do anything. Sesshomaru's not going to come close to you again, do you hear me?" Inu-Yasha snapped.
Kagome's eyes widened, "I'm talking about that demon he was with. What about her, do you think we could track her down at least?"
"We can take care of that on our own. You don't have to be here for that Kagome-sama." Miroku said.
"What if she has a Shikon Shard? What then?" Kagome asked indignantly.
She couldn't believe they were being so accommodating as to leave her out of this completely, she looked to Inu-Yasha for help but found none. They were all silent as they stared at her.
"We'll send Inu-Yasha to get you, he knows where your 'school' is right?" Miroku asked.
Kagome felt her temper flare. Inu-Yasha stretched out a hand to touch her shoulder and without really thinking about it she heard the word 'SIT!' come out of her mouth and watched her half-demon companion eat dirt. With that she stormed off in the opposite direction knowing only Inu-Yasha would follow, if he got up.
Kagome walked through bramble bushes ignoring the pricking and scratching of the thorns. She kept walking until she could no longer see the path to the village or the clearing where the Bone Well was and watched her feet as she trudged through the thick brush and leaves.
Finally she reached a clearing and her senses were barraged with the smell of burned wood. She saw a massive pile of ash and charcoal in the middle of the clearing and a broken spear standing upright on the other side of the fire pit. There were holes in a large circle around the fire pit, they were giving the fire a pretty wide berth.
She walked around inspecting the holes until she came to the spear. The handle was made out of a light wood and the head of the spear, though lolling to the side and hanging by perhaps only a sinew of leather, was carved out of some kind of old rock, or bone. The wooden handle was entwined with leather and from the head hung three feathers, two were black and white the third was jet black. Touching the spear sent a chill down Kagome's spine.
She felt a heavy hand clap down on her shoulder and she nearly jumped out of her skin and let out a small scream, stumbling back into the dirt. She relaxed only when she saw the familiar red gi and white hair.
"Jeez! Inu-Yasha! Don't do that!" Kagome nearly shouted.
He knelt by her side watching her intently, "Sorry."
"What?" Kagome heard but she didn't believe.
"I said sorry. I didn't mean to scare you like that." he said with a nod, not shifting his gaze he spoke, "What were you looking at anyway?"
"This spear."
"Looks pretty useless." Inu-Yasha said, "It's poor craftsmanship too."
"Why, just 'cause it's broken? That's not what I meant. This place is familiar." Kagome replied.
She looked around again and could see vividly in her minds eye the dancer and Sesshomaru standing where she and Inu-Yasha were. The dancer whirling majestically and Sesshomaru staring at her with emotions running so deep that they were impossible to read.
"We've been in this area before." Inu-Yasha told her, "Remember…Yura of the Hair?"
"Not what I meant either. I remember being in this area before but this setting looks just like the picture Wildrose showed me today." Kagome said.
"I'm getting pretty sick of hearing about this 'Wildrose'. These places exist in your world right? Well she could have visited them in your time and imagined it." Inu-Yasha growled.
"Maybe, but in the picture she showed me there was a girl dancing nude around a fire in a circle of spears. That and the fact that there was a man in the background kinda makes me think she's post-cognate, or she's been here before." Kagome said, she wasn't telling the whole truth and it gnawed at her somewhat.
"Well if she's not either of those maybe she's a pervert." Inu-Yasha scowled.
He was standing and looking down at her disapprovingly.
"Do you really feel that way or are you just mad I said the S-word again?" Kagome teased.
"Your smell said you were upset, I should have said something." Inu-Yasha said, loosening up a bit.
"Help me up." Kagome said holding out her hand to him.
He took hold of her hand and was instantly pulled forward and off his balance and toppled into her. He looked up at her, stunned and confused.
"Kagome--?" he muttered.
"I need some advice." she interrupted.
She shifted beneath him and then moved him so he was half lying in her lap and started toying with his hair.
He felt his face heat up and knew he was blushing, he tried half-heartedly tried to sit up and get away from her but she pulled him back.
"I keep wondering if Wildrose knows about this place. I want to know if I should confront her about it?" Kagome explained.
"Why should you care?"
"She drew Sesshomaru. I could tell it was him. And it matched Sango's all too brief description, he was with a female, I couldn't tell if she was a demon or not. But they were here. If she's been here, she could be involved with it." Kagome replied.
"Then ask her."
"What if she hasn't been here? And she really did just imagine everything? I'll look insane and she'll still know about this place. Then she could blackmail me, using you and the Well." Kagome countered, resting her chin on his head.
"You know how to make something simple into a bloody mess, you know that?" Inu-Yasha sighed irritably.
Kagome laughed. "Sorry."
"You should ask her and if she says she hasn't then you can bring her here and we can convince her to keep it a secret." Inu-Yasha said trying to sit up.
She pulled him into a hug, "Okay, thank you."
Inu-Yasha felt dizzy again, she was being confusing again and if she didn't stop…well, he could hear her repeating the damned S-word so many times he wouldn't know which direction was up.
Finally she let him stand up and he helped her to her feet.
"Are you going to go home tonight?" he asked.
Kagome sighed, "Yes…I have to. I've got three more days of school then I've got two days off. I hope Mom doesn't have anything planned for the weekend."
Inu-Yasha nodded. It would be good for both of them, it would give him some time to blow off steam and her time to set her senses straight. But he did walk her to the Well and watch her leave.

** ** **

Wildrose and Kagome sat on the steps of the school licking at ice cream cones. Over a course of three days they'd become pretty close friends, Wildrose had even offered to show Kagome the house of the family she was staying with.
Kagome felt her stomach knot up as she knew she'd have to ask Wildrose in the next day or two. Her courage seemed to have built up enough so she opened her mouth to speak.
"Wildrose, have you ever seen the creatures you draw?" Kagome asked.
"I think I have. I can't be sure. It's like, I dream of them, but the dreams are really real, so real I can smell them, touch them even." Wildrose replied toying with her bead and tooth necklace. "I wish they were real."
"They are. I've seen them." Kagome said, she braced herself for the unbelieving criticism that she was sure would follow, but it never came.
"For real?" Wildrose asked.
Kagome looked at her, "Yeah. I even know a couple of them."
"You're making fun of me."
"No I'm dead serious! You want to meet them?" Kagome retorted.
Wildrose's eyes widened and she stopped mid-lick in her ice cream, "Sure! I mean, yes, I'd love to!"
Kagome smiled and tossed her empty cone into the trashcan beside the stairs. Wildrose followed suit and they ran all the way to the temple and ditched their backpacks in Kagome's bedroom and made their way to the Well house.
Kagome looked around to make sure all the worshippers had gone home for the day. She waved to her grandfather and mother politely and darted into the well house with Wildrose in tow.
She climbed onto the edge of the well and saw Wildrose pause, her face was a mask of contempt and hurt.
"Kagome, if your lying….tell me now and I won't get angry." Wildrose said.
"I'm not. Come on. All we have to do is jump into it."
Wildrose hesitantly climbed onto the frame of the well, Kagome counted to three on her fingers and they both pushed off the sides of the well and fell through.
The feeling for Wildrose was incredible, she half-expected her feet to automatically touch the dirt at the bottom of the well but instead she didn't stop falling. It was like she'd missed the ground all together, after a minute of hanging suspended in mid-air her feet finally touched ground. She felt disappointment sink into her stomach as she saw Kagome standing next to her.
"Just as I thought…" Wildrose sighed.
Kagome shook her head and touched Wildrose's arm. "Look up."
Wildrose did as she was told, instead of the dark of the well house she saw blue sky and trees. She gasped and followed Kagome's example by climbing up the side of the well opening. Kagome pushed out of the well first and helped Wildrose through.
"Kagome!" a little voice shouted.
Rustling of leaves and the sound of laughter chorused in Wildrose's ears. She looked to see the source and saw a little boy with red-brown hair and bright green eyes in Kagome's arms. The boy had a great bushy tail and tiny fangs to complete the look.
"Whoa!" Wildrose's mind was slapping itself, "This can't be real."
"Shippou-chan, where's Inu--" Kagome started.
"Right here." Inu-Yasha spoke up.
He landed with inhuman grace in front of them. Kagome smiled, the perfect entrance.
"I could practically smell you from the village." Inu-Yasha smiled.
Kagome grinned even wider then turned to Wildrose, who stared at Inu-Yasha and glanced back to Shippou then at Kagome.
"G-g…I th-think the proper phrase would be…'m-my stars and garters'." Wildrose stammered.
Shippou looked up, "Who's that?"
"That's Wildrose, the girl I was talking to you about." Kagome said, she moved closer to Inu-Yasha who glared back at Wildrose as if daring her to say something.
"Oh." Shippou smiled.
"Wildrose, this little one here, the kitsune, is Shippou-chan. The older one, the hanyou, is Inu-Yasha." Kagome explained.
Wildrose blinked several times and even smacked herself, "This is some kind of mean joke. I mean, who'd imagine a demon-guy wearing a red yukata with dog ears. Yah this is real. Someone pinch me."
She circled Inu-Yasha like a hawk, looking him over at all angles. Kagome blushed and laughed.
"If you have questions you can ask them you know." Kagome said.
"How come he's got dog ears? And what's up with the coloring?" Wildrose asked.
"What?!" Inu-Yasha asked indignantly.
"He's half demon. Half-dog demon more specifically." Kagome answered.
"Well he can obviously talk…Hm…Here's a question for you…Inu-Yasha was it? Would you call offspring of a human and a dog-demon puppies or babies?"
Inu-Yasha blushed and stuttered something incoherent then looked pleadingly at Kagome.
"Wildrose…that's kinda personal…" Kagome laughed sheepishly.
Kagome's face became serious as she looked at Wildrose, "But you have to agree to keep this just between us. No one else can know about this."
"Feh. If she told anyone about it I doubt they'd believe her. She's crazy enough as it is." Inu-Yasha retorted hotly.
He sniffed the air, coupled with Kagome's scent, her being so close to him. Wildrose's stood out like a sore thumb. Kagome smelled gently sweet and calm, feeling like water lilies. Wildrose's scent was also gentle but it wasn't as appealing. She reminded him a lot of the mint plants that grew around trees, the smelled gentle but cool.
"He's right. Nobody would believe me. They'd probably send me back to the United States too. I don't want that, Japan is supposed to have some of the best schools, and I want the best. I'm not going to get stuck with a two-bit job like my parents had." Wildrose explained. "Besides, this place is so cool I can't believe you showed it to me at all! If it were me I'd have kept it to myself."
Kagome nodded. Inu-Yasha looked at the two girls intently.
"Well Kagome, we waited for your 'weekend' so that you could be with the group when we started tracking that demon woman. Are you and your friend going to stay?" Inu-Yasha asked.
Kagome glanced at Wildrose, "I've got to call my uh---family and let them know where I'll be the next two days, but I think it'll be cool with them."
** ** **


Kagome grunted beneath her breath and flicked a bug off her ear. They'd been 'tracking' the demon woman for a while. Inu-Yasha said that her trail was cold from being left for three days hinting irritably at Kagome but kept following the signs of her travels.
"We should start to head back." Kagome suggested.
"Why?" Inu-Yasha demanded angrily.
"I'm tired, Wildrose is tired, even Shippou is tired. We can't keep up with you." Kagome replied irritably.
The truth was it wasn't exactly cold, and the swampy area they were in was filled with bugs and animals.
"And---" Kagome added, "if you think I'm gonna sleep out here in this SMELLY swamp you're an idiot."
Inu-Yasha growled and rolled his eyes. He was walking slightly ahead of the group. Sango rode on Kirara's back while Miroku, Kagome and Wildrose walked on foot beside the beast. Shippou clung to Wildrose's hair speaking up only once in a while to complain of exhaustion.
"Hey, Kagome lighten up. It's just a swamp. I've camped out near one before, it's not that bad, besides the bugs." Wildrose laughed. "My only complaint is that I wanna see this big bad demon lady."
Inu-Yasha smirked slightly as Kagome growled something, "Your friend is more of an adventurer than you are Kagome." he teased.
"Shut up." Kagome muttered.
Wildrose laughed, "So how far have you gotten with him?" she asked in English, hoping that no one else in the group besides Kagome and herself knew any of it.
"Nani?!" Kagome nearly shrieked.
"Kidding, kidding." Wildrose said in Japanese, "No seriously, how far?"
Kagome blushed and lowered her head, "I haven't even told him." she said in fractured English.
Inu-Yasha cocked his head toward the too, "What language is that?" he asked.
"English. Why?" Wildrose asked, blushing furiously.
"Stop speaking it. It's distracting." Inu-Yasha said.
Wildrose cursed at him in English and watched Kagome's eyes widen and she cleared her throat.
"I didn't even think you knew those words!" Kagome nearly cried.
"You learn them VERY quickly when you go to the schools I do. " Wildrose smirked, "Besides, he's not the only one who swears like a sailor."
Just as they started to make idle talk about homework Wildrose realized that nature called.
"Um…Excuse me. Can we stop here? Onegai?" Wildrose asked politely.
"What now? Do your poor toes hurt?" Inu-Yasha growled.
"Inu-Yasha, be nice!" Kagome said grabbing hold of his yukata with one hand. "Yes, we'll stop. Besides it'll give me a chance to find a spot and set up camp."
Inu-Yasha grumbled and let the rest of them stop. Wildrose gently disengaged Shippou from her hair and handed him off to Kagome.
"I'll be right back." Wildrose muttered, glanced back then ran off into the woods leaving a silent group in her wake.
"What's that about?" Shippou muttered.
"Nature calls." Kagome blushed, "It's a wonder you people don't have portable bathrooms set up around here. A girl could get killed looking for a bush."


** ** **

Wildrose had gone off into the woods to find a spot to relieve herself when she stopped about fifty yards away. She couldn't see her friends and she was sure they couldn't see her…
A few moments later as she zipped up her blue jeans and pulled an alcohol pad out of her pocket and cleaned her hands with it and started to walk back toward the group.
An odd feeling swept over her like a wave of nausea. The fangs on her necklace clicked together several times and the odd feeling pounded in her head angrily until she finally passed out.

** ** **

Inu-Yasha sniffed the air tenuously. The girl Kagome had brought with her hadn't returned yet but Kagome insisted they stay put for decency's sake. His keen sense of smell picked up the scent he'd been looking for in the first place. It smelled of the dancing ground he and Kagome had visited earlier that week.
In fact the air around them had become permeated with it. He moved closer to Kagome, his hand on the hilt of Tetsusaiga.
"Where's that friend of yours?" Inu-Yasha demanded.
"How should I know?" Kagome replied airily, it didn't occur to her that he had a reason to be worried, "She's probably on her way back now."
"What's wrong Inu-Yasha?" Miroku asked, his game of getting Sango to look at him forgotten.
"Kagome, try to see if you can sense a Shikon shard near by." Inu-Yasha commanded her.
Kagome gave him an odd look but did as she was told, "Just the ones we---Wait! I do sense one. It's close, I can tell it's close---but"
"But what?"
"It's like something's in the way!" Kagome replied, her brows knitted together in frustration, "I can't sense it fully, it's like something's holding it back."
A spear punctuated her sentence. Inu-Yasha grabbed Kagome and pulled her back as the spear landed with a thud, buried to the edge of it's stone head in the ground where her foot had been.
Kagome and Inu-Yasha looked up and Kagome nearly screamed.
"The Tetsusaiga," the figure growled, "the Jewel of Four Souls…I want the fragments and the sword now."
The voice was feminine but was still filled with menace. Looking into the trees Kagome saw the dancer from the picture Wildrose had drawn in her full glory. This time the dancer had a skirt made of hide around her lower half, but her upper half remained bare of all clothing except for three painted stripes on either side of her rib-cage and an elaborate necklace with the fangs of big monsters hanging from the leather cord. To cover her face there was a big mask with the face of some kind of a dog, a wolf or a coyote Kagome hazarded to guess.
Inu-Yasha drew Tetsusaiga from it's scabbard and stepped in front of Kagome, the others bared their weapons too.
"Don't fool with me. Just hand over the sword and the pieces." the woman said.
"Feh! Come down here and take them wench!" Inu-Yasha spat.
"You don't want to do this, Pup." the woman said.
She stepped off the tree branch and descended to their level. The priest Miroku was just dumb enough to, at that very moment, drop his staff, which landed with a clanging noise onto the ground.
She turned slightly and watched Miroku half-way between a blush and a curse.
"Ah…Miroku the monk…I have heard of you. And the demon slayer Sango…Imagine that, your reputations travel all the way to the lands far to the east and west of you. My tribe has marveled at your legends. Even of the bastard halfling you travel with, though his stories are welcomed with less joy than yours." the woman turned back to Inu-Yasha who held Tetsusaiga in front of him protecting both himself and Kagome from her.
She smiled slightly and took a step toward them, Inu-Yasha lurched forward and swiped at her with the sword. As it had passed through many demons before her, Tetsusaiga, the Steel Cleaving Fang belonging to his father before being passed to Inu-Yasha, stopped short of it's target. Apparently not by his own choice.
The woman cocked her head, "How now, Inu-Yasha, is it that your precious demonic sword is useless against me?"
"Who…are you?" Inu-Yasha asked, sweating with effort as he tried to push the sword through her invisible barrier.
"I am the daughter of the trickster spirit. His name is my name, I am Coyote." she said smiling maliciously.
"I've heard of you! You don't belong here Coyote! Your lands are in America!" Kagome said suddenly.
Inu-Yasha spared her a glance, how did Kagome know of this?
"I am here for a reason, young human. As are you, I can tell." Coyote said.
She pushed Inu-Yasha and the Tetsusaiga away with her hand. It looked like she'd just barely touched him but he was sent sprawling into the dirt and leaves off to the side.
"The sword can wait…where are those shards you possess?" Coyote asked.
Kagome gripped the chain she kept the shards on tightly in her hand, not knowing or caring whether Coyote could sense them or not.
"Why? Why would the trickster spirit need the Jewel?" Kagome demanded backing up slowly.
Inu-Yasha was on his feet and back in front of Kagome sword drawn and looking angrier than ever.
Coyote smiled at Inu-Yasha sweetly, then extended an arm toward him, her hands scorching hot as she touched him between the eyes. The moment her skin touched his he froze, memories seeped into his head, memories that he'd pushed away for a while. He felt Tetsusaiga shrink in his hands and his knees buckle beneath him.
"Inu-Yasha!" Kagome shouted, she knelt at his side, trying to get him to get up.
He was on his knees, his hands gripping his ears and pressing his face into the ground. He whimpered and muttered things under his breath.
The memories were too much to bear for him. Memories of his mother's still form, the sound of their pounding on the door, running through the forest with the sounds of his pursuers close behind him. Sesshomaru hadn't even been their to defend his father's halfling son, he'd been off in the Western lands following his own dreams. Finally they rested on events with Kikyo. His claws piercing her shoulder, her blood soaking his hands, her arrow piercing his flesh and lastly the jewel, falling uselessly to the ground where she reclaimed it.
He whimpered when he opened his minds eye and saw Kagome standing there with a look of sheer terror on her face as the Centipede Woman tore through the under brush…'I'm not Kikyo! I'm Kagome! Ka-go-me! Got it?'…'My elder sister…Is dead…The same day she put the spell on you'…'Am I just Kikyo's replacement?"
Kagome however still knelt by his side shaking him. What had Coyote done?
"What did you do to him?" Kagome demanded angrily.
"Immobilized him. Now, give me the jewel shards and the sword. Then I'll leave." Coyote sighed, tossing back the black hair that cascaded down her back.
"You'll take this spell off Inu-Yasha?" Kagome started.
"Oh no, I'll be taking him with me." Coyote smiled. "Don't look so surprised. He's just the bait in my trap, I have bigger fish to fry. Much bigger." She added looking down at the 'Pup' critically.
"No!" Kagome stood up defensively in front of Inu-Yasha, "You can't!"
"Just move out of the way you stupid human." Coyote growled, "Even the trickster gets irritated with these little charades."
Kagome wouldn't budge. Coyote raised her hand and the claws that were already there grew to the size of daggers.
"I tell ya what. Once I'm through with this pup and I've gotten what I want, I'll throw his scrawny carcass back to you. You can do whatever you want with him after that. Just get out of the way." Coyote replied, her eyelids lowered and the pupils in her eyes glowed red.
Miroku and Sango didn't really know quite what to do. They'd never seen this happen before. Kagome was in danger and Inu-Yasha was just cowering behind her feeble protection.
"Inu-Yasha! Snap out of it you fool!" Miroku finally found his mouth working again, "Kagome's in trouble! Get up!"
Inu-Yasha stirred slightly, the look of pain on his face was immense. He took hold of the Tetsusaiga and felt it's demon powers return, "Ka--Kagome."
"Are you alright Inu-Yasha?" she asked.
"I can fight." he answered, his voice pinched.
He held the sword aloft and Kagome stepped out of the way.
"You want the jewel, the sword…and me?" Inu-Yasha muttered, "Those are some pretty big wants. Maybe I should show you a little of what you're getting. Ne?"
Coyote smiled behind the mask, the pupils of her eyes were still glowing red beneath the strange helmet and she snickered.
Inu-Yasha lunged forward with a savage growl and the sword, though it didn't appear to touch Coyote helped him pin her down. He sat astride her and pushed the sword down into the invisible barrier close to her throat. He finally felt a little leeway and when he thought the sword would finally penetrate her neck he saw the mask suddenly crack and give way.
Coyote shouted her surprise and jumped up, dumping Inu-Yasha to the ground and sending the pieces of the mask in different directions. The face revealed glared defiantly between her fingers at Inu-Yasha, a face that was just as human as Kagome's.
"You're a human!" Inu-Yasha shouted in surprise.
Coyote growled her anger. No one else but Inu-Yasha seemed to notice the mask had come off and for that she was grateful.
"Damn you half-ling! I should kill you! But no…I need you alive. I'll return for you another day!" Coyote snarled and then bounded into the trees.
The burden on Inu-Yasha's mind was suddenly lifted, he could think clearly now and Coyote had apparently gone, taking her Shikon Shard with her.
"Inu-Yasha, are you okay now?" Kagome asked pleadingly as she materialized at his side.
"I'm fine. Perfectly fine." he said. "But that wasn't a demon we were up against."
"What was she then?" Miroku finally asked.
"Didn't you see? Her mask came off! She was human! That's why she left!" Inu-Yasha snarled.
"Her mask stayed on the whole time Inu-Yasha, the only reason she left was because she was being defeated by her target, she even said so."
"You were all fooled! She must have cast an illusion on you all." Inu-Yasha snapped angrily.
Kagome shook her head to clear it, and a sudden name on her lips brought them all back to the present, "Where's Wildrose?"
She hadn't even come back yet, surely having to relieve herself didn't take that long. Kagome had a bad thought, what if Coyote had gotten her before she could get back to the group.
"I can't believe this! She spends one day with me and ALREADY she's in trouble!" Kagome fumed.
She darted off into the bushes followed by a steaming Inu-Yasha, "You idiot! That Coyote woman is probably still around, not to mention Sesshomaru! Do you want to die?!"
"If you don't want to help me look for her go back to the group!" Kagome snapped. Why am I being so mean to him? He's just worried about me, that's all.
"If I don't look after you, you'll just get into trouble, you've proven that, time and again." Inu-Yasha said pointedly.
Kagome shut her mouth and pushed through the brush silently. After a few moments of walking Kagome saw a glint off of something silver or gold in the brush. She came through the brush and there, lying under a low lying tree branch was Wildrose. Her hair was in disarray and her fang necklace dug painfully into her neck.
"Wildrose!" Kagome cried.
She came to her friend's side, Inu-Yasha beside her as well. She picked Wildrose's head up and put it on her lap, smoothing the fly-away bangs from her face.
"Wildrose? C'mon wake up!" Kagome shook her gently.
Wildrose stirred and her hazel eyes seemed to stare up passed Kagome and even through the leafy canopy above.
"Are you alright Wildrose?" Kagome asked.
She shook her head, "Huh? What?"
"You were lying here on the ground, what happened?" Kagome asked.
"Must've hit my head or something…" Wildrose muttered and touched her head tenderly. "I don't even remember dozing off…That happens every once in a while, don't worry about it."
"Maybe we should head back, get you home or something?" Kagome said.
"No, I'm fine. Besides, I needed a good nap." Wildrose smiled gently and sat up. "Why'd you bring dog-boy? I'm sure he's got plenty of other stuff to do, isn't that right tough-guy?"
Inu-Yasha snorted, "With you weakling fools around I've got loads to do."
Wildrose jumped to her feet and glanced up and sighed, "Reminds me a lot of home here. Except without the mosquitoes the size of turkeys."
"What's a mosquito?" Inu-Yasha asked Kagome.
"Parasite, like Myoga, except smaller and more annoying." Kagome replied.


** ** **

Later that night Coyote sat in front of the flames gently massaging her face, her mask lay in pieces beside here. It would take many nights to fix it, unless she could find something else to cover herself with. She had a reputation to protect as Coyote, she couldn't even fathom how that half dog demon could see her real face. There were so many spells that not even Sesshomaru could tell her apart from a demon woman, the only time he might suspect is when Coyote let her astral form come out to do her bidding. A ghostly apparition of a coyote-dog that could destroy anything and everything in it's path without the susceptibility of an actual form.
The Tetsusaiga was a powerful blade, more powerful than she had at first suspected. It had broken a mask that had taken three thousand years to create in a perfect likeness of it's creator, the vain trickster spirit and had also left an open wound in her face. She still had the one sliver of the Shikon Jewel she'd managed to take from a low level demon and she still had the rest of her sorry hide, but she didn't have her target, that made the loss all the more humiliating.
She heard the branches and leaves rustle behind her and knew at once by the demon presence that Sesshomaru had decided to visit her again. She didn't speak to him, knowing full well that if he had something to say he'd say it to her face, not beat around the bush.
"My sources tell me you're after the Jewel of Four Souls…and my younger brother." Sesshomaru said silkily. "Why?"
"It would seem obvious. To get my people back." Coyote replied casually, "Coyote is nothing without his people."
"Is Coyote really so desperate for followers as that?" Sesshomaru countered.
"WE at least are loyal to those who serve us." Coyote said icily.
"Obviously. You have thought about my offer?" He breathed into her ear.
"I want revenge on you Sesshomaru. Do you truly believe I would welcome you to Coyote's bed as his son when it was you who destroyed so many of our people?"
"Perhaps not…But you never know. Coyote took you as his daughter did he not? Why not a dog demon, the son of the great demon none the less, as his son?"
He nuzzled her neck and she shuddered at his touch. He was definitely a tempting offer. Demon powers were too few in the lands of her home and one willing to join with Coyote, who was most disliked but also greatly respected, was unheard of. Coyote felt her hand sink into his hair and pull him closer. He nipped at her shoulder lightly and she mumbled something incoherent to him.
She felt herself embrace him and he moved over her, "You must admit,my offer is tempting to say the least."
She moaned as he shed his yukata and his bare stomach pressed against hers. He was more experienced with Coyote's game then she was herself. He'd seen countless Coyote-women. The women were usually very strong, and young too, they had always been young.
"I told you, Coyote's game is for two to play. Can't I be your second? We could be so much more..."he purred into her throat.
"I--am going to capture the Shikon no Tama, the jewel of four souls. I don't care how I get it. But I will complete my mission." She gasped.
"I'm sure you will..." He sat up, still straddling her waist.
She grasped his hips with her hands and her back arched off the ground. He smiled, this Coyote-woman was more excitable the the others had been. He leaned in and captured her mouth with his own and felt her sigh against his lips.
"Coyote wants your head on a pike Sesshomaru." she breathed and pulled him down ontop of her. "Not in his bed."
He slipped his hands beneath her and massaged her back, "I'd welcome you both into mine."
Despite her better judgement she flipped him over onto his back. She knew he'd do this again. He had always played a part in the Coyote-game. The role was always the same, he'd tempt the woman from the path, away from her father spirit but she would alway s return,changed.
The last time she'd refused him the Anasazi people had disappeared, the spirit had gone to sleep for about five hundred years, woken up in a cave, all alone. Not even Coyote could find her until she found another host.
War drums sounded in her head, pounded out a rythm as the two melded into one body. They reminded her of her purpose and guided her through her memories of the past five years. How Coyote found her, welcomed her back into his arms and guided her into the past in order to find Sesshomaru and....kill him?

** ** **

"Where did you go last night?" Kagome asked.
"Huh?" Wildrose muttered looking up.
She sat on the cold ground on the outskirts of their camp site, her arms wrapped around her knees. She could feel bruises where rocks had pressed into her back. She couldn't remember ever walking away from the rest of the group. In fact, all she had remembered was collapsing in the middle of the clearing, exhausted from the long trudge through the swamp.
"Where did I---" Wildrose repeated blankly, "Did I go somewhere?"
"You weren't in your sleeping bag when I woke up earlier. It was around midnight. I just thought you might have gone to find some privacy." Kagome said.
"I don't remember..." Wildrose said slowly, she stared off into the distance.
"We've just got today until we have to go back." Kagome said, "We can go early."
"No. You came here to do something and I don't want to interfere anymore than I already have." Wildrose replied.
"Finally a woman who makes sense when she speaks." Inu-Yasha called down from a branch in a tree far above them.
He jumped down and landed softly on the ground in front of them. Kagome moved away from them and began to roll up her bedding. Wildrose simply stared off into the woods pensively. Inu-Yasha eyed her suspiciously without her notice then went over to help Kagome in lifting her pack into the back of her bicycle.
"Your friend seems a bit perturbed." he said quietly.
"What makes you say that?" Kagome asked.
"She's awfully quiet for being one of your friends." he replied
"Some people get quiet when they're tired." Kagome said, her tone betrayed she was confused on which way to take the last sentence. "Unlike some people I know who just get grumpy."
"Feh. I can't smell sleep on her. She's not tired." Inu-Yasha grunted.
"You can smell sleep?" Kagome asked, it was hard to believe.
"Feh."he grunted again, "Your scent changes enough to let everyone who has a nose know how you feel."
"I know, I know. You hate my scent." Kagome muttered.
Inu-Yasha felt his heart climb into his throat. He had said that a while ago and was surprised she'd even remembered that. It was obviously not true. He loved the way she smelled, the way it betrayed every thing about her, the way she smelled so delicious and gentle when she was asleep. He didn't even mind when she was going through her monthly bleeding, the only thing that bothered him about it was she was always trying to cover her beautiful scent with perfume and soaps.
Kagome caught the look on his face and felt her mind reel, what was he thinking about that made his expression so unreadable?
"J-just go talk to your friend." Inu-Yasha stammered.
Kagome finished latching the bag onto the back of her bike and walked over to Wildrose. Inu-Yasha let his breath out in a woosh. She was always making him feel odd like that.
"So...Wildrose, what's up?" Kagome asked.
"Huh? Oh, nothing. I just had a wierd dream. It involved that guy in the picture I drew...God, I wish I wasn't such a dork." Wildrose blushed a vibrant red like the flower she was named after. "I just--god....nevermind."
"Hey, don't be embarassed, I dream about this one guy all the time." Kagome interupted.
Inu-Yasha's ears pricked. Who was she talking about? He felt a pang of jealousy that developed into a throb. Who was this guy she dreamed about constantly?
Wildrose cast a side-long glance at Inu-Yasha knowingly. She spoke in English, still confident that neither the priest, kitsune-cub or Inu-Yasha knew what she said, "Him?"
"Yeah..." Kagome blushed. "Him. He doesn't realize it though. I'd appreciate it if you kept it a secret. Besides, if he knew....it would just complicate things even further."
Wildrose nodded. Her gaze was all-knowing. She put a hand on Kagome's shoulder and gave her a comforting look. "He'll find out sooner or later, then he'll be yours."
Inu-Yasha couldn't tell what they were saying but he figured it was about the man that Kagome had openly admitted to dream about. He felt a jealousy boil up inside him that scared him, he knew Kagome was his, it just seemed that she didn't know it. He wanted her, wanted to prove to everyone that she was his, that he'd kill for her, die for her, just to protect her from something that she feared.
Pain was something he knew all too well, but he'd escaped it, and into Kagome's embrace.Whether she knew it or not his heart was in those delicate hands that had helped him so many times and had even caused him pain.
He walked off into the woods and bounded up into a tree where he could watch them talk and try to work out some explaination of what Kagome said, something that would ease the ache in his chest.
Suddenly something in the distance caught his eye. About a mile down the path they were travelling, waist deep in a river was his half-brother. Sesshomaru was apparently bathing.
Great, something to get my anger out on.... he thought. With that he dropped down into the campsite.
"I'm going to...uh...scout ahead." Inu-Yasha lied.
Kagome looked up from the sketchbook Wildrose was drawing in.
"Uh--sure. You'll come back for us right?" Kagome asked.

Inu-Yasha nodded and bounded toward his brother.

** ** **

Sesshomaru heard the brash hanyou crashing through the brush minutes before he arrived and pulled the shirt part of his yukata up over his shoulders. The night before had left him tired, satisfied but tired. The Coyote-woman was amazing, even for a spirit that had seen many years more than he.
"Hello Inu-Yasha." Sesshomaru said rubbing his neck absently with his hand, reminscing on the previous night.
"Sesshomaru, what are you doing here?" Inu-Yasha growled and emerged from the trees.
Inu-Yasha looked at his brother and noticed the slightly unkempt look about his brother. He'd been in battle or something recently.
"Been fighting?" Inu-Yasha asked innocently.
"Hardly...I suppose you have heard the reports about the other demon in the area." Sesshomaru smirked and looked up at the sky.
"We encountered her." Inu-Yasha replied.
"So...you're still hanging around with that human girl and her motley crew?" Sesshomaru laughed.
"More like, tracking down shards of the jewel. We've been pretty contained with that. I'm sorry I couldn't spare myself to kick your pansy ass around. You must have been pretty lonely."
"With Coyote beneath me and the stars above us?" Sesshomaru laughed, "I doubt a fight with you would have been as entertaining as that."
Inu-Yasha made a face, "I don't need a lesson in your sex life brother. How do you know Coyote?"
"She and I are old friends...You aren't armed...how very foolish." he said glancing at Tetsusaiga's empty scabbard hanging at Inu-Yasha's side. "I could have taken it from you now and spared you Coyote's wrath."
"Feh! I defeated that bitch easily enough." Inu-Yasha growled, "Her mask is gone, she won't return for a while."
"Fool, facades can be mended. She will be awful peeved when you see her again, doubtless."
"Why is she after me? Or the Tetsusaiga for that matter?" Inu-Yasha demanded.
"She's not after you particularly. She's actually after me, she figures she can get to me easier through you. Coyote and her patron spirit are a bit upset over something that happened a while ago, back in the west." Sesshomaru grinned and tossed his armor pieces across his shoulder and walked away from the bank of the river.
Inu-Yasha followed closely. The two stopped short of the actual path, and watched from the bushes as Kagome, Miroku, Sango, Shippou, Wildrose and Kirara made their way down the path. Wildrose and Kagome out in front talking in hushed tones.
Something about Wildrose caught Sesshomaru's eye, the fangs on her necklace caught the light tantalizingly.
"She wears the teeth of a demon." Sesshomaru said absently. "Why?"
"She comes from the country Kagome comes from. Can you not see that from the way she is dressed?" Inu-Yasha replied.
"You're more of a fool than I thought. Look at her! She is not like Kagome. She is different, she looks like a blend of breeds." Sesshomaru sneered, "Ha, the humans can't even keep with in their own breed."
"So where exactly does she come from?"
"A blend of the Westernlands Father occupied and some from the lands I used to toy with." Sesshomaru replied.
A high pitched voice came from behind them, "Sesshomaru-sama!"
Sesshomaru's green skinned servant emerged from the woods, a young human girl trailing in his wake. The two half-brothers turned to look at them, and Inu-Yasha shot a glance at his elder brother.
"I did not know you to dally with human babes..." he sneered at Sesshomaru.
"Rin is but a child. She is under my care and protection and will have forgotten most of her human traits by the time she reaches adulthood." Sesshomaru explained as Rin came running toward him giggling. "Consider yourself warned. I would rather take the Tetsusaiga from you than Coyote."
With that Sesshomaru picked up Rin and carried her with him along the path beside the river in the opposite direction from which Kagome and the others had come. Inu-Yasha shuddered, his brother always gave him the willies, not because of his general lack of emotions but more of the fact his brother looked more like a woman than Kagome's mother did.
With that Inu-Yasha walked out of the woods and voiced his location to his companions.

** ** **

Kagome held open the door for both Wildrose and Inu-Yasha as they entered her home. Inu-Yasha blinked at her and walked through the door reluctantly after she prodded him.
Mrs. Higurashi, being the mother that she was, was standing bent over the stove from which she produced a sheet of cookies. She smiled as she looked up.
"Welcome home Kagome! And hello Inu-Yasha and...Wildrose was it?" she smiled cheerfully and began shoveling the cooling treats onto a cooling rack. "Would you like a cookie?"
"That's okay. We're not really that hungry Mum." Kagome said.
"Um-could I use the phone? My uh---other family is probably worried?" Wildrose asked.
"Oh sure dear. The phone's in the livingroom. Just put your dirty clothes into the hamper in the laundry room as you walk by." Mrs. Higurashi replied sweetly. "Inu-Yasha, you really shouldn't eat them that fast, you could choke."
Wildrose took a moment to giggle as Mrs. Higurashi forced a glass of milk into his hand along with another cookie then went out into the livingroom. She felt her bag pulled out of her hands gently but firmly. She turned to see Kagome tugging insistently at the pack and finally let go when Kagome explained her mother wanted to wash them.
She sat down on the floor rather than on the clean cushions of an armchair and dialed the number to her foreign family.
Kagome had since gone up to her room and flopped down on the bed. Buyo jumped up onto the bed and curled up beside her, purring contentedly. She heard the door behind her open and knew Inu-Yasha stood there, worn out from the constant motherly smother that Mrs. Higurashi forced on him every time he showed up.
"What's wrong Kagome?" he asked after a long silent moment.
"Nothing." Kagome sighed into her matress.
"You fib." he said quite frankly, "Something's wrong, you can't hide it from me, it's in your smell."
Kagome blushed and turned onto her back to stare at the ceiling, arms and legs spread eagle across the bed. Buyo didn't stir.
"Did you ever think that you could find somebody to fall in love with in your dreams?" she half-sighed half-whispered.
"Why would I think about something like that?" Inu-Yasha muttered, his heart hammered against his ribs and then climbed into his throat and then into his ears.
He was almost certain Kagome could hear the heated rapid hammering of the stupid organ.But that was stupid, she was human, she didn't hear a thing.
"Didn't think so..." Kagome replied with a sigh.
She looked over at Inu-Yasha who stood in her door way, looking out of place but strangely correct in his surroundings. She felt the affection she usually kept locked away from everyone well up inside her, and she rolled over, then half-hid her face in the crook of her elbow to keep him from seeing her smiling face and eyes and the blush that was beginning to spread rapidly across her cheeks and nose.
He stood there for a long moment and then cleared his throat.
"You can um---s-i-t-down if you want Inu-Yasha." Kagome said, careful not to say that dreaded 's-word' as he'd come to call it.
He breathed a sigh of relief when she spelled the word out instead of saying it. He really didn't feel like kissing the carpet at the moment, though it might have calmed his raging hormones a bit.
He sat down beside the bed and looked at her, she buried her face in the mattress but he could tell that she was feeling a bit better. Her scent had taken on a lighter air, even gentle.
Inside his head he smacked himself. Not because he felt for Kagome but that he'd be stupid enough to let it come out of his mouth. She was precious to him and if she rejected him...
"KAGOME! I'M LEAVING! SEE YOU AT SCHOOL TOMORROW!" Wildrose yelled up the stairs, making both Inu-Yasha and Kagome jump.
Kagome laughed slightly and felt Buyo get up and jump down off the bed, rubbing against Inu-Yasha's leg as he went, forcing him to try and ignore the bristling of the hairs on the back of his neck.
"I think, dear Inu-Yasha, we have a dilema." Kagome said matter of factly.
Inu-Yasha's heart was in his throat again, hammering away. She didn't want him to leave, did she? Is that what was bothering her? He was getting between her and her dream man? He felt his temper flare, no man in a dream could replace flesh and blood...and skin.
Her legs were bare beneath her skirt, she never wore pantyhose or anything to deter the color of her skin. Just about the only thing she dared to do like that was shave them,a bit distracting since he was constantly touching the smoothness of her legs when she flew with him on his back. He felt his face flush again and he had to look away from her to keep from thinking things he knew she'd 'sit' him for.
"Wh-what is it?" he studdered.
"Wildrose is in love with your brother." Kagome stated letting her head tip back over the edge of the bed.
He let out his breath in an audible sigh of relief. He raised his head to look at her and traced her jawline with his eyes. Her gently sloping jaw stopped where they met those small round ears that framed her beautiful face. Those little ears weren't half as keen as his were, but he still felt that they could hear everything, from his heartbeat and breathing to the little voice in his head that was constantly berating him for being such a heathen and daring to think she could ever love him back.
Her eyes were looking down, or up at him depending on ones view point, and they seemed to glow gray, a storm cloud of color swirling beneath that revealing the depth of her soul. He could tell so much just by looking at her eyes. If he ever lost his sight or his sense of smell he'd probably kill himself just because he couldn't connect with her as intimately as he did now.
She was watching him intently from her position, sprawled across her bed. He realized she'd seen how hungrily he looked at her. The 'now' part of his thoughts crept back into control and he felt his face flush as her words sunk in.
"What? What do you mean she's in love with him?!" he nearly shouted and was rocked back on his heels.
"Well...maybe not him directly. But she's fallen in love with him through her drawings." Kagome said. "I think she might be picking up some strange vibes from this place or something. Maybe that's why she's drawing such things as demons and such. She's got that old problem that humans seem to have."
"And that would be--"
"Falling in love with something unable to reciprocate. There was a Greek or Roman legend about it. A guy fell in love with this statue of a woman he'd created, he wasted away in front of it until the 'goddess of love' came by and made her into a real woman." she smiled, "Pretty dumb huh?"
The statement struck a chord in him and he gulped down the knot that rose in his throat, "Yeah...pretty dumb." he choked.
There was a pregnant silence until Kagome spoke again, "Are you going to stay the night here or go back?"
"Uh--I dunno." he replied blankly, his face flushed again.
She smiled slightly and rolled over so she could look at him without feeling like she was going to faint.Though now that she looked at him properly, seeing him staring at the floor in innocent indecision made her dizzy again.
Deciding against her smarter half she pulled a sleeping bag out of her closet and threw one of her pillows down to him.
"Here. You'll stay here tonight, then you can go when I leave for school...If you want that is..." she muttered.
He nodded and resumed his staring contest with the floor.

** ** **

As Wildrose walked past the well house Kagome had shown her she felt the urge to turn around and glimpse up at Kagome's window one last time. She saw Inu-Yasha's figure next to Kagome's. She smiled, those two would make it, that was certain. At least fairy tales were reality for a lucky few.
Feeling heavy hearted for lack of a lover to share a night with she heaved a sigh and started to walk past the wellhouse. She felt virtigo suddenly grip her in it's claws and heard the loud and echoing click of the fangs on her necklace before darkness embraced her and she hit the cement walk way of the temple.