The Most Dangerous Game by Lif


The Most Dangerous Game

By Lif

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.

"Inuyasha." The sunlight illuminated her features brightly before him. She was beautiful. Her honey brown eyes were full of a warmth and hope he could never understand. Behind her the landscape constantly shifted from the western mountains to his forest and occasionally to her home in the future. She alone stood constant, oblivious to the sporadic changes behind her.

"We're going to win this one, Inuyasha. I know it. And then you'll finally have your wish." His forest appeared behind her. He reached for her, but she had already turned towards the horizon.

"So, don't get hurt okay!" The shrine in the future flickered briefly. She looked back with a quick smile and held her hand out for him.

"You coming?" And he stretched his hand out for hers. The warmth of her fingers just a few inches from his. He would change it this time. He would protect her. He would stay with her. He would love her.

The western mountains appeared behind her. The sea just beyond them. The ghost of a crescent moon hung above the horizon. And she stepped out of his grasp as everything faded into darkness.

Inuyasha woke with a start and shivered. Her name fell from his lips in a whisper. Red clad legs moved slowly towards the pallet in the corner. She lay still beneath a thin blanket meant only to conserve her modesty. Her skin was deathly pale, her veins harshly visible along each thin arm. White bandages covered much of her thin frame. He reached one shaking hand towards the woman's ebony hair. Light from the small cooking fire behind him cast a warm glow across Kagome's skin tricking the hanyou into believing she was merely sleeping. But Kagome had been sleeping for more than a week now ever since the defeat of Naraku and the disappearance of the finally whole Shikon no Tama.

Inuyasha turned to look back at the sleeping forms of Sango and Miroku. They both sat heavily against each other, seeking the only comfort they could find in each other. Shippou slept restlessly against Kirara, chanting quietly for Kagome. He felt a pang of remembrance of a time when his mother was no longer there, when she would never be there again. The Eastern prince hid amongst the trees of the darkened forest, unable to return to his people until he knew that the miko would survive. Inuyasha didn't want him there but he didn't have the energy to fight anymore. Kaede slept somewhere within the village. She spent the days watching Kagome but could not find rest around the restless group. Inuyasha looked back towards the sleeping girl imagining the warmth and fire within Kagome's brown eyes and the spark that had woken him only three years ago.

"Wake up." He whispered uselessly. His gruff tone seemed weak in the darkness. One clawed hand pulled at the thin fabric of the bandages. The hanyou checked them every few hours. He would not let disease or infection kill her. She deserved to live. And he would do everything he could to make that happen.

The stained fabric came loose as his claws pulled through them. As the fabric fell away, he felt a hope within him he never thought he would find. The skin that had been mottled with dark bruises and cuts only the day before was flawless. Ivory skin shone brightly beneath the strips of fabric. Each bandage fell away to reveal more pristine skin that glowed warmly in the small light of the hut. He choked slightly on his breath as he looked down on the woman he had fallen in love with. Laying the blanket over her, he called softly to his friends. They were beside him in an instant, eager to see the awakening of their friend.

They watched her for an hour before any sign of movement came from her. The air seemed charged with miko energy as she moved closer to awakening. With a small gasp, she opened her eyes and looked into the concerned faces of her friends.

"Did I die?" They looked into her alien gaze hesitantly. Icy blue eyes blinked up at them, so inhumanly blue that each of them felt a rising awe at the beauty of the creature before them.

"Guys? I mean, if I did die, you could at least answer me! I'm alive now, aren't I?" Her voice broke slightly at the end as she watched the strange actions of her friends. With a sudden shout, Shippou's arms were around Kagome's neck. The group's silence broke and their arms were around her as the hut erupted in concerned words and happy exclamations.

Outside, the villagers listened intently from their own beds to the hopeful sound that proclaimed the miko was alive. Their guardian had survived and they could only feel happiness.

Kouga stood silently along the edge of the forest. He felt the rush of Kagome's aura as she woke up. The hesitant growth of her power hit him suddenly and he felt his neck bristle in warning. He choked back a growl. Something was different. He felt the underlying energy that laced her miko energies. Launching himself towards the hut, he wished hopelessly for the shards that he had given up.

"Kagome. Stupid wench." Inuyasha held her tightly to him. His pack was together again. They huddled tightly around her as if in orbit. She was their sun. She was the reason they were together. She was their hope.

"Inuyasha." Her fingers clutched suddenly into Inuyasha's back. He felt the slight prick of her nails in his back and he only held her tighter. His instincts suddenly whispered menacingly. Inuyasha would never be able to explain the moments that occurred afterwards. He had realized it too late. The foreign energy was barely detectable to his hanyou senses. He watched Miroku and Sango over her shoulder. He only had a few moments.

"Sango, Miroku. Run. Take Shippou. Run!"

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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