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A Single Strand - Chapter 5 - A Game of Chase

The sun rose, barley seen through the heavy mist that wrapped around the forest in the early morning. Inu Yasha hadn't moved since Kagome actually fell asleep (she had had a harder time than she should have) and that was around midnight.

The hanyou sighed. Shippou had tried to nuzzle in between him and Kagome, but Inu Yasha hadn’t tried to accommodate. Shippou had ended up with his back pressed against the tree at Inu Yasha’s side.

The hanyou's golden eyes flickered open. His ears, previously laying against his head in contentment, shot up abruptly. He had heard something and didn’t like the way it felt. "Kagome," he whispered, shaking the girl awake.

Kagome mumbled something incoherent and smacked her lips slightly. She attempted to snuggle closer to Inu Yasha.

"Kagome!" he hissed.

"Huh? Wha? It's too early for work. Five more minutes."

The hanyou rolled his eyes. "We have a visitor."

"A wah?" Shippou asked, sitting up and rubbing his eyes.

Inu Yasha slipped out from behind Kagome and let her lean against the tree. If Kagome didn’t want to get up, he wouldn’t make her. So, he stood guard, waiting.

A figure materialized from the fog. He had pointed ears and as he approached, the demon brushed his damp dark hair away from crystalline eyes. "I've come for Kagome," the new comer stated.

During the time Inu Yasha had been waiting, Kagome had woken up a little. She saw the demon appear and took in the sight.

"Kouga?" Kagome asked. Oh, crap! I know his name. Which means I probably woke him up too. When?

"Kagome!” Kouga stepped towards her, smiling until Inu Yasha growled. He bowed his head for a moment, looking towards Kagome like an abused animal. “Why did you leave me? You know the pains that we go through during that...that hell, but still you left me. And you left me to go through it alone."

"I...I'm sorry. I didn't know I woke up another one. Kouga, I'm sorry."

"Then come back with me! Help me now. They call me freak. Defiled because I don't have a human’s blood to control mine!"

"I can't go back with you Kouga. I've promised my self I wont. I can’t condemn Inu Yasha." I can’t condemn myself. God, I am selfish.

"But you can damn me?" The wolf demon was shaking with rage.

"I told you, I didn't know!"

"Watch it dog. If Kagome cries, I'll kill you," Inu Yasha growled.

"All right then. I'll kill the hanyou. Then, Kagome will come back with me. You'll be safer with me, Kagome. I can protect you better than that mutt."

"No, I won't allow you to take her." Inu Yasha's look took on the same cold attitude his other half had, except a smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth. The hanyou started pacing around the wolf demon, looking him up and down. Kouga stood still, accepting the scrutiny. It was what a wolf would do. Alfa's didn't back down from anything, especially something lower than they were.

"Nope. I don't think so," Inu Yasha commented again. Kouga opened his mouth to say something, but the hanyou cut him off before he started. "Let's be civilized about this. I'm pretty sure you can't beat me, and you're sure you can. In human terms, we could have a wager. If I win, then you never show yourself in front of me again."

"And if I win?"

"All three of us go back to Youkaibo."

“Inu Yasha!” Kagome scolded, standing quickly.

“Trust me, Kagome.”

Kouga smirked. "So how are we going to settle this in a civilized fashion?"

"You're thinking right, wolf. You think you can protect Kagome, so...Prove it. Kagome run. We'll give you a head start."

"What are you...?" she asked as she stood up.

"You'll know. Just run," Inu Yasha said slyly.

Kagome obeyed. She took off through the forest, Shippou in hand.

"So, now we fight?" Kouga asked.

"Patience, wolf. As she runs, both of us will follow. You will protect her, and I'll try to attack her. It ends when I can't attack any more."

"But, you can't hurt her!"

"Now, that’s not the right thinking. I don’t know what you do, but I can do whatever I want if I catch her. She should be a good ways off now. Let's go." Inu Yasha turned quickly and jumped into a tree.

Kouga ran after Kagome in an extremely fast pace. Both used their noses to follow the girl’s scent.

Kouga was the first to get to Kagome. She had fallen in the center of a clearing and hadn't move much. She was barely sitting, braced up by her arm. Shippou was nowhere to be seen.

Kouga spun to stand in front of her just as Inu Yasha barreled into the clearing from a tree. In an instant, Inu Yasha was after Kagome.

Startled, Kagome shouted, "What the hell are you doing Inu Yasha?"

Kouga tackled Inu Yasha, and the hanyou retreated to the fringe. A few minutes passed before Inu Yasha attacked again form the right. Kouga had sensed he'd come from that direction and placed a well-aimed kick at Inu Yasha. The hanyou was forced to the side, rolled, and then took off into the forest again.

"Nice kick. Disable me if you want to take Kagome." From the sound of his voice, Kouga noted he was stalking off to the right again. Inu Yasha switched instantly and bolted around the fringe to the left after he stopped talking. He jumped out. Again Kouga deflected his attempts to get to Kagome. The two conflicting demons kept it up for a while. Kagome watched, confused. She gave up on trying to get them to stop after the first few times failed.

Finally, Inu Yasha went straight at Kouga. At first, the wolf was startled, but he recovered quickly and tried to kick the hanyou. This time, Inu Yasha ducked under the kick and turned. He slipped Kouga's other leg out from under him. The wolf fell and Inu Yasha was onto Kagome in a second, teeth bared.

Kouga stood up, wincing slightly. "Get the hell off of her!" He could smell Kagome's fear and didn't want her getting hurt because he had failed.

Inu Yasha turned towards the wolf momentarily. He looked more demonic. His eyes were glimmering towards an emerald on red, and faint demon markings appeared on his cheeks. He smirked slightly, amused perhaps, before turning back to Kagome. The hanyou licked at Kagome's neck and went up to her cheek. To emphasize his point, he kissed her too.

Then, he turned and sat down next to Kagome. "Looks like I win."

"You attacked me!"

"You were telling me I couldn’t have what I want. So, I get rid of the thing saying no, and I can have it. Besides, I never said I couldn't attack you." Inu Yasha shook his head and the demonic look went away. "Well, seeing as how you lost, you need to hold up your end of the bargain. Now, get lost. I don't want to have to kill you in front of Kagome."

"You had better protect Kagome, or I’ll kill you," Kouga threatened. He turned and realized he had hurt his leg a little more than he had expected. With no where to go but back to Youkaibo, Kouga started limping off.

"That was pretty good, neh?" Smiling, Inu Yasha turned to Kagome. Her eyes were closed.

"Kagome?" Inu Yasha asked cautiously. He shook her shoulder and drew back. The girl was burning up. Inu Yasha picked Kagome up (the way she had yelled at him for doing before) just as Shippou came running up.

"Inu Yasha, what's the matter? What'd you do to Kagome?" the kit shouted.

"Calm down. She feels really warm right now. I think she worked to hard to keep up. I think I smell a place that we could stay." Inu Yasha took off after the smell, hoping no one caught them at a time he felt they were vulnerable. With Kagome out like she was, Inu Yasha knew he'd be too distracted to fend anything off.

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