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A Single Strand - Chapter 4 - The Other Half

Inu Yasha ran. He ended up somewhere in the middle of a forest, and he still ran. He wanted to escape the feeling he was associating with death, and physical exhaustion was the only way his instincts would allow.

From out of the blue, something rammed into Inu Yasha's side. Kagome fell off with a slight yelp and Shippou went with her. Both of them ended up by a tree, stopping before hitting it. The hanyou rebounded off of a different tree and landed in a crouched position in front of his mistress.

"What the hell do you want?" he growled.

"I want you off the face of this Earth. You are an insult to demons. Unfortunately, Naraku wants you alive and in one piece," the cold voice replied from beside the hanyou.

Inu Yasha grabbed the hilt of the katana, despite it being wrapped in a piece of cloth. He drew it and slashed out at the offending demon. For an instant, Tetsusaiga looked like an old, rusty blade before it was shrouded in light and it transformed into a gigantic fang.

There was a flash of silver where the demon had been, and then a hollow thunk as the katana was lodged into the tree. The sliver blur landed several feet away, next to a dark haired girl.

Inu Yasha attempted to free Tetsuaiga from the tree, but failed. As soon as he let go to drop back into the defensive crouch, the blade transformed back into the harmless looking version.

"Interesting," the silver haired intruder muttered. "Do you know who I am?"

"Yes," Inu Yasha replied confidently. "You're my other half."

The demon Sesshomaru smirked slightly, an eerie prophecy. "Very good." In one fluid motion, the full blood had Inu Yasha pinned to a tree by his throat. At first, Inu Yasha struggled, and then instincts took control. The hanyou's claws sunk into Sesshomaru's arm. The demon jumped back.

As soon as Inu Yasha landed, he reached for Tetsuaiga. The severity of the situation allowed the hanyou to free the blade instantly. Tetsuaiga transformed into the fang.

"You aren't used to the katana. It won’t do you much good," Sesshomaru commented. In a flash, he was next to Inu Yasha again.

The hanyou's instincts told him where the full-blooded demon was and Inu Yasha slashed at where he was. Sesshomaru ducked and easily broke through the hanyou's guard. He slashed at Inu Yasha's eyes. The hanyou stepped back, holding Tetsuaiga one-handed as he rubbed at his eyes. He couldn't see anything.

But, you can smell... something told him. He sniffed and discovered it was true. He could smell something unusual, an image of youki formed in his mind. (Youki - demonic energy...). The two energies clashed. The center sparked.

There's a fissure, he realized. Where the youki collide, there's a fissure!

Cut trough it. It's the Kaze no Kizu, the voice demanded.

Kaze no Kizu? Inu Yasha wondered. He snapped back to reality just in time to sense Sesshomaru attack again. He swung the blade through the space between the youki and light spread out from Tetsuaiga. The light slammed into the full blood.

Inu Yasha didn't want to know the out come of the attack. Kagome called out to him and he followed her voice. She leapt onto his back and Inu Yasha took off running into the woods. He sniffed his way to a stream and stopped there, purging his eyes from his other half's poison.

After he was able to see clearly again, he lay on his back, starring at the sky. For some reason, the attack seemed to hurt him as well, but more emotionally. He didn't want to kill either. The fact that it was his other half just made it seem so much weirder.

"Damn my other half," the hanyou said as he threw his arm over his eyes. Kagome knelt beside him, and without saying anything, began stroking his ears. That softened Inu Yasha, and he purred like a cat.

……………

Sesshomaru knelt in the forest. Behind him, most of the trees were now laying on the ground. The Kaze no Kizu had disconnected his left arm. Now, blood flowed steadily down his side. Other than that, he had claw marks on his right arm, but that was it. His katana had glowed and created something of a barrier to protect him from the bulk of the energy attack.

"Sesshomaru-kun? Are you ok?" Rin asked walking up behind the demon.

"I will be." The silver haired demon stood and began walking in the direction his other half had gone.

"No, Sesshomaru! Stop it! Don't go after him, right now. You're hurt!" Rin latched on to his right arm and refused to let go, starting to sob.

Sesshomaru stopped. “Rin-dono. We should go after him now. Our orders..."

"Leave them. You can’t do anything right now.”

“Rin-dono…” Sesshomaru was going to protest. He was perfectly fine. He was only missing an arm.

“We’re going back,” Rin demanded.

"As you wish, Rin-dono."

Sesshomaru nodded once and picked Rin up. He flashed away, headed back to the laboratory, a heavy feeling sinking into his heart. Kami knew what Naraku would do knowing he failed.

……………

The wolf demon lay curled in the middle of the darkened room on the cold concrete. His liquid blue eyes were shut in a failing attempt to shut out the memories. His whole body was wracked with pain; here and there it would flare again. His heart ached most of all. He knew he should have died a while ago. He almost wished he had.

Kouga opened an eye, as if reassuring himself of the dark. He wasn't sure if a light would have been better. The light would always remind him of the torture he had gone through over the past day and a half, but the darkness reminded him that he had gone through it alone.

Life sucks, he thought.

"Kagome," he whispered. He remembered the scent and it gave him strength. He still didn't move. He already knew that it stirred the pain.

"You want her, don't you?" a voice asked.

Kouga didn't know who was talking to him, if it was even real of not, but didn't care. Talking to a voice that may or may not be there was better than nothing. He answered, "Yes."

The voice came again, this time, noticeably female. "Then take on Inu Yasha. Bring him here and Kagome will follow."

"Sure." It felt easy enough. Go get Inu Yasha, bring him here, Kagome follows, and he gets Kagome. It seemed like it would be easy.

"You'll leave tomorrow?"

It was more of a demand than a question, but he answered any way. "Yes,"

"Good." Kagura smiled evilly from the shadows. Sending the wolf was Naraku's suggestion. She doubted the hanyou could kill Kouga. The wolf’s blood hadn’t been diluted by a human, so his power was unrestrained. It was a good thing and a bad thing. But, Kouga was going to be more motivated to kill the hanyou than the last failed experiment.

……………

Inu Yasha, Kagome, and Shippou were walking through the forest. Kagome decided they would walk in an attempt to lighten the hanyou's spirits. It had seemed to work some too. The setting sun bathed the setting in an orange-red film.

"How did you know the old man's katana worked like that?" Kagome asked.

Inu Yasha shrugged. "Something told me. I don't know what, but it told me what to do. Maybe instincts…maybe someone else." The hanyou didn't want to tell Kagome that he really thought it could have been his past life self. She might think he was crazy.

"How odd..." Kagome commented thoughtfully. She had a feeling Inu Yasha wasn't telling her something, but didn't want to pester him about it. The truth was, someone was talking to her too, mostly in her dreams. The person kept propelling her towards Inu Yasha. It sounded crazy, but she was ignoring it as best she could.

Kagome yawned. "I'm getting tired," she decided.

Inu Yasha kept walking, apparently ignoring her.

Shippou, who had actually been walking on his own, stopped. "We're stopping now Inu Yasha!" the little kit demanded.

"Says you. First off, you can't really fight, especially against me. Second of all, can't you smell it?"

"Smell what?"

"Feel it? Sense it?"

"I don't think so. What?"

"Then you're a worthless demon."

"How dare you!"

"Shippou, it's all right. We should keep going. I think something's watching us, but I'm not sure," Kagome cut into the argument.

"That's exactly it," Inu Yasha approved.

Kagome stumbled. Inu Yasha caught her. "Want a lift?"

"Mmm.” Kagome thought for a second. “Yes."

"Hold on, ok? That's all you have to do."

Kagome latched on to Inu Yasha's neck while Shippou jumped onto her shoulder to cling to hers. The hanyou took off running, trying to escape the watchful eyes he couldn't find. After a while, the feeling disappeared, so Inu Yasha stopped. It was at least half an hour after the sun had set, so it was getting dark.

He sat down and held Kagome, protecting her from the cold weather and whatever else might come along during the rest of the night.

……………

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