Disclaimer: I do not Inuyasha or any of its characters. If I did, Kagome and Inuyasha would've been together a long time ago and Kikyo would still be dead.

Chapter Two - A Desperate Situation

Eyeing the small group, the demon's sneer widened, its single eye pulsing brighter. A slimy, forked tongue darted past its scaly lips and ran over the front of its teeth, wetting them.

The cat-like pupil focused then on Inuyasha, and almost as if it sensed his distress, it let out a long, spine-chilling hiss in the form of a word:


"Stay back, Kagome!" Inuyasha warned, his voice harsh as it carried across the field.

The raven-haired girl halted in her tracks, and Sango paused a few feet ahead of her. The two girls ogled at the snake demon with shared horror, taking in its immense size.

As if to remind him where his attention should be directed, the monster struck out at Inuyasha with its tail, forcing the young hybrid to dart to the side. The small group cried out in surprise, and covered their faces with their arms as they were sprayed with dirt. A fog of tan and brown dust obscured their line of sight like a smokescreen. The tiny grains of silt and soil found wormed up through their nostrils and mouths, bringing on coughing fits.

"Inuyasha!" Kagome cried, covering her mouth as she coughed on the dirt particles and squinting through the dust. "Inuyasha, are you alright?!"

"I'm fine!" he called out. She could faintly make out his shape as he darted about, deflecting the demon's attacks with the Tetsusaiga. From over his shoulder, he yelled, "Kagome, I don't want you to move an inch from that spot! Stay out of danger!"

Through the dust cloud, a shimmering glow caught the young girl's eye. Kagome lifted her head, straining to get the lavender colored radiance in focus. She followed the thrashing light as it bobbed back and forth, fighting to keep her eyes on it while ignoring the metallic clashing of sword and scales. As the filth cleared, Kagome was able to pinpoint where the miniscule aura was situated.

The snake demon lifted its head, puffing its neck out menacingly, much like that of a cobra, and Kagome saw with perfect clarity that a Shikon jewel shard was embedding into its one, enormous eye.

Cupping her hands around her mouth to make her voice heard over the tremendous roars of the demon, she cried, "Inuyasha, wait! There's a –"

Too late. The silver-haired half-breed had already begun to sprint towards his terrible opponent, dodging its tail and fangs, intent on drawing the demon's attention away from his friends.

"What's the matter, Kagome?" Sango asked her, watching out of the corner of her eye as Inuyasha swung his blade unsuccessfully at the demon.

"That demon is drawing on the power of a jewel shard," she answered. The girls cringing as the demon let out another monstrous shriek while swinging its tail at Inuyasha, aiming to crush him. He only narrowly missed the attack.

Shippo trembled and shrank back into Sango's arms, hiding his head in the crook of her elbow.

"T-that's one nasty demon," he whimpered, his tiny body quivering in terror.

The demon slayer nodded in agreement, her full attention now on the ongoing battle. "And with a demonic aura potent enough for us to mistake it as Naraku, it must've been extremely powerful to begin with. Now the shard is only enhancing that strength, making it even more dangerous."

Panic stung Kagome's heart. Clutching her bow to her chest, she anxiously watched Inuyasha viciously clash with the snake demon. There wasn't a single sign of him making even the slightest bit of headway in defeating it.

Oh, God. Please be careful, she silently begged, her body lightly shivering in fear.

"Sango! Kagome!"

The two girls' heads twisted at the sound of their names, their eyes locking onto the figure hurrying towards them.

"Miroku!" Shippo called out gleefully. "You're alright!"

"Barely," the monk responded, panting lightly as he leaned against golden shakujou in attempt to regain his breath. "I've had a few close calls myself. Every time I've seek to aid Inuyasha in battle, the demon forces me back. I can't get near to it. To be honest, I'm surprised Inuyasha can even get that close. Although why he's even trying, I do not understand."

Kagome glanced at him. "What do you mean?"

Frowning, Miroku completely turned his back on the raging battle to stare the reincarnated priestess directly in the eye. "Do you not see it?" he asked in surprise.

The fox kit and girls glanced at each other. "See what?" they asked in unison.

Miroku pointed a finger at the burred red figure of their companion. "The Tetsusaiga. Putting aside the unsettling detail that it is too heavy for Inuyasha to effectively wield, the few times he has actually landed a strike on the demon, it has been completely ineffective."

"What?!" Kagome gasped.

The monk nodded gravely. "That creature's scales are like a solid sheet of iron. Not even the mighty Tetsusaiga can pierce them, and Inuyasha cannot lift the sword high enough off the ground to perform the Wind Scar."

"So he's virtually powerless!" Sango cried in alarm, looking to Miroku.

He closed his eyes, having no desire to admit it either. "Unless Inuyasha discovers a weakness some time soon, I am afraid his strength will not last much longer. Inuyasha is strong, but even he cannot continue fighting forever with a weighted blade."

Before anyone could respond to this bleak sentiment, a skin-crawling hiss split the air. The group instantly snapped their attention back to the snake demon. Kagome felt her heart plummet into the pit of her stomach when they discovered that single, mammoth eye targeting them.

The snake demon had diverted its interest from Inuyasha to his friends.

Its thin lips stretched into a terrifying, toothy sneer.

"Hungreyyyy...". it hissed.

Faster than bullet, the demon's head lashed out at them, its mouth snapping open wide.

Kagome, paralyzed with horror, could only stare at the black void of the demon's throat and the countless rows of dagger-like teeth as streaked towards them with incredible speed. Suddenly, there was a great blaze of light and heat, and she was hit hard from the side.

The monster suddenly vanished. Brightness permeated her vision, not the dark, reeking stench of the inside of the demon's mouth. Completely disoriented by the bright colors, Kagome blinked in astonishment and shook her head, hoping to clear her mind. When she opened her eyes again, the colors swam into focus and she realized she was staring at the vast expanse of the meadow. As her other senses returned, she blearily became aware of the fact that there was wind blowing through her hair and she was soaring well over the treetops.

Feeling her stomach sink to the deepest pit of her gut, the beginnings of an alarmed scream was building up in her chest. However, before she release it, a familiar gruff voice growled, "Damn, that was way too close for comfort. Filthy snake."

Craning her neck back, Kagome glanced up. Her heart swelled in elation at the sight of tanned skin, silver hair and golden eyes.

"Inuyasha!" she exclaimed. "It's you!"

His eyes darted to her face. "Feh. Of course it's me. Who did you think it was? That mangy wolf, Koga?"

Without giving her the chance to respond, the dog demon averted his concentration to the flying ivory and black form to his right.

"Hey, Kirara, are they alright?" he called out

The now tiger-like neko roared quietly in response, twisting her head back to check on a very shaken up Miroku, Shippo and Sango. The two humans were clutching her fur in a manner that suggested they had been flung onto her back unexpectedly. Shippo was sandwiched between the demon slayer and her pet's back.

All of a sudden, everything became clear to Kagome. Moments before the demon swallowed them whole, Inuyasha had arrived just in the nick of time and swept her away before she could be harmed. The unanticipated flare of luminosity and warmth was the fire that appeared when Kirara transformed. The cat demon must've then plowed into Miroku and Sango, forcing them to grab onto her, and then flew into the air.

As Inuyasha leapt from treetop to treetop with Kirara soaring above him, the snake demon roared in frustration. It whipped its tail out at the forest, striking and felling several trees.

"Take them as far away from that thing as you can!" the half-breed yelled up to Kirara. "The deeper into the forest they are, the safer they'll be."

The cat demon growled in answer, pumping her flaming legs faster, flying toward the heart of the dense forest. Inuyasha followed her from below, tightening his grip on Kagome.

Something warm, sticky and wet touched Kagome's arm through the fabric of Inuyasha's haori. Withdrawing from the heat of his body, Kagome glanced at his chest. Panic rose in her throat at the sight that met her.

From his neck, shoulders, arms, chest, and stomach – his entire upper torso in fact – was drenched with dark crimson blood. Rivulets of maroon dripped like ruby rain off the edge of his sleeves. Deep, angry incisions poked through the numerous tears in his clothing. Many of them were still sluggishly oozing blood.

Worst of all, she knew that every last drop of it was his.

"Inuyasha…." Kagome breathed, realizing that both her hands and clothes were stained with his blood.

The dog demon glanced down at her. When he detected her eyes on his injured body, he merely shrugged it off. "Just a few scratches," he murmured.

Before she had a chance to protest, Kirara descended and disappeared under the green shade of the trees. Following her example, Inuyasha propelled off one branch and elegantly fell to the earth, alighting beside the cat demon.

Gently, Inuyasha situated Kagome on her feet as Miroku and Sango stiffly slid from Kirara's back. The demon slayer leaned against a tree, her legs uncharacteristically wobbly and Miroku had to sit down. Shippo couldn't seem to get his legs to move. With no effort to stop himself, he simply fell over Kirara's shoulders onto the ground, where he gratefully remained.

"Normally, I'm not one to complain about flying," Miroku began, rubbing his forehead with his hand, "but next time, Kirara, a little head's up would be greatly appreciated."

The neko rumbled at him before transforming back into a harmless kitten.

Another enraged roar brought them back to reality as the crashing of several more trees echoed throughout the forest.

Inuyasha stared off in the direction of the disturbance, his golden eyes narrowed. "That thing is gonna tear the entire forest apart looking for us," he snarled. "I'd finish it off if only I knew how. It has no weakness!"

The young priestess peeked at him. "I don't think that's true," she disagreed. "When we were back in the field, I got a good look at the demon. There was a pretty big jewel shard imbedded in its eye, and as far as I can tell, that's the only place on its body that's not hidden by scales. That may be where it's vulnerable. If you strike it there with the Tetsusaiga, you'll destroy it."

The dog demon seemed to contemplate this for a moment. "You sure about that?" he asked thoughtfully, scratching one pointed ear.

Kagome flushed and averted her gaze. Shuffling her feet sheepishly, she timidly clasped her hands behind her back and admitted softly, "Well, no. It's just a hunch."

It took a second for him to process what she had said. When it dawned on him, he rounded on her. "You would send me into battle on nothing more than a hunch?!" Inuyasha yelled, flabbergasted.

"You've gotten into fights with less to go on than that," she recalled defensively.

"Yeah, but I'm injured here! What if you're little theory got me killed, huh?! Then how'd you feel?" he snapped.

"Ten seconds ago you told me you were fine!" Kagome reminded him, feeling aggravation flickering within her.

"Whatever! The point is I'm not putting my life on the line for something you're not even sure of!" he barked.

"You got any better ideas, you jerk!" she shouted, stabbing a finger at him.

He snorted. "No, but if I did they'd sure as hell be better than yours!" he retorted.

"Ha! That's a laugh! When do you ever use your brain?! You just rush blindly into things!"

"That's because if I didn't clear the path of danger for you, some demon would capture you and then I'd have to waste my time saving your skinny ass, bitch!"

"Bitch?!" Kagome shrieked, her face beet red with fury. "Don't you dare call me that! Let me tell you something –"

There was collective sigh from their friends. Raising her head to the sky, Sango groaned, concealing her face with the palm of her hand. Meanwhile, Miroku shut his eyes and propped his chin up with his fist. Even Shippo raised his head from where he lay to inspect the source of the additional clamor.

"There they go again," the monk intoned dryly, getting to his feet, placing his shakujou against a broad trunk as he dusted off his robes. Deliberately, he kept his back to the bickering couple.

"At this rate, we might as well slay the demon ourselves," Sango added as another thundering crash of trees resonated throughout the woods. The monstrous snake was livid that it couldn't find them.

Shippo scampered up Miroku's robes, and perched himself on his shoulder to get a better view at the argument that was unfolding between the half-breed and the human girl.

Their voices were becoming progressively more agitated. Increasing in volume, their dispute was threatening to drown out the snake demon's roars. Kagome's shrieks were shrill and earsplitting, and Inuyasha's bellowing was rough and brutal. One glimpse at the two was all anyone would need to see how their bodies were coiled with tension – tighter than a spring – as if they would snap and go for each other's throats at a moment's notice. Practically nose to nose, screaming at the top of their lungs, they never once noticed their close proximity to each other.

Shippo clapped his hands over his ears with a wince as Kagome's high-pitched screech stuck its highest peak. Fury dripped like acid from every word she screamed at Inuyasha, using every ounce of muscle power she had in her lungs. The earsplitting shriek had Kirara whimpering in pain and her fur stood on end. Even Miroku and Sango – whose ears weren't as sensitive as the demons' – were displaying signs of discomfort at the racket. Inuyasha's ears were tilted as far away from her as they could and were plastered flat against his head, his facial features twitching in pain.

"Oh, boy," the fox kit intoned, squeezing his eyes shut at a particularly strident shriek. "This can only end in one way."

"Inuyasha! You are a rude, arrogant, cruel, selfish, stubborn, heartless, filthy, two-timing DOG!" Kagome screamed, her voice cracking on the final word and Inuyasha visibly jerked.

For several, century-long moments, neither girl nor demon breathed a syllable. An uneasy silence stretched between them and their spectators. The humans and demons gazed warily at the two, taking in the sight of their enraged, resentful expressions. Cautiously, Shippo uncovered his ears.

Then, Inuyasha's golden eyes narrowed, his fiery temper winning over the shock and hurt he'd felt after Kagome's cutting barb. Scowling sternly, he took a deep breath to muster up a good thunderous yell and carry on with the argument. His breath sudden froze in his chest when he caught the sparkle of tears in the priestess's eyes. All the air rushed from his lungs as if he'd been hit square in the torso and had had the wind knocked out of him. The half-formed, harsh words were choked off with a gargle before he could get them out. With the speed of an evaporating droplet of water on a boiling summer day, Inuyasha's expression melted from infuriated to horrified.

Recoiling away from the girl, Inuyasha could only stare wide-eyed at the silent stream of tears that rolled down Kagome's face.

In attempt to masquerade his shock, he spoke brusquely as he asked, "Wh-What're you crying fo –"

"Inuyasha, sit boy!"

The violet prayer beads around the half-demon's neck glowed, and the next second, he crashed to the ground with a startled cry.

"Sit boy, sit boy, sit boy! Sit, sit, sit, sit, sit, sit, sit, SIT!"

Inuyasha was consecutively slammed violently into the ground as Kagome chanted the word that triggered the charm over the prayer beads. With each "sit" the dog demon was forced a little deeper into the earth from the powerful magnetic-like force. Pain shot through him as every collision with the hard ground reopened his wounds and added new bruises to his body.

As Kagome's last reverberating scream faded, no longer echoing off the trees, the raven-haired girl whirled around and stomped off, away from the half-breed. Irate, humiliated tears spilled down her face.

"I told yah this could only end one way," Shippo muttered in Miroku's ear.

The monk nodded in agreement and nonchalantly backed away as Kagome approached. Sango draped a comforting arm over the girl's shoulder and guided her farther away from Inuyasha.

"Kagome's scary when she's mad," the fox demon whispered.

"Indeed she is," Miroku agreed, idly watching the retreating backs of the two girls. "I suppose I should be thankful that Sango's fits of rage aren't nearly as violent as Kagome's…. Although…" He absently rubbed a much-abused cheek, "those slaps of hers are quite painful."

Walking away from the women, Miroku knelt by Inuyasha's motionless figure. He was still sprawled out, lying facedown in a dirt ditch several inches deep and molded into the shape of his body.

"What… did I… do… wrong…?" a pained, muffled voice grunted from the silver-haired half demon.

"Where do I start?" Miroku deadpanned, gently prying Inuyasha's battered form up from the forest floor.

Inuyasha groaned and winced. Fresh blood was seeping out from his unhealed wounds, further staining the red haori and hamaka. Mud smeared his face amid the newly obtained scratches and bruises. Grasping his shoulder, he rotated his left arm in a circle to make sure that he hadn't dislocated it.

"Damn that wench," he cursed, throwing a venomous glare in Kagome's direction. "Why is she always doing that to me?"

"Because when it comes to women and how their minds work, you're completely clueless," the monk sighed.

"Oh? And you're not?" Inuyasha countered, eyeing the ebony-haired man. "Tell me, Miroku, if you're so knowledgeable about the behaviors of women, then why are you always getting whapped upside the head by Sango whenever you throw yourself at the nearest girl or whenever you feel her up?"

"That's beside the point," Miroku said dismissively, waving his hand and pursing his lips as a slight flush colored his cheeks. "At least I know when not to pick a fight, what not to say, and when apologize gracefully and serenely when I make a lady cry."

Inuyasha blanched, then cast another look at Kagome. She still had her back to him, weeping softly against Sango's shoulder. The demon slayer had her arms around the girl, holding her close. The force of Inuyasha's gaze attracted her attention, and her eyes met his in an accusing glare.

"You should say you're sorry to her, Inuyasha," Shippo scolded, his lower lip pushing out into a pout.

"Feh. It's not my fault she's overly sensitive," the dog demon sniffed, sticking his nose in the air and defiantly crossing his arms over his bloodstained chest. "And besides, if anyone should be making amends, it's her. I'm gonna be aching for a week after those six 'sits' in a row. Not to mention all the wounds she opened up."

"You hurt Kagome's feelings and you won't even apologize?!" the fox kit exclaimed, his green eyes opening wide. "You made her cry! Kagome's right, you are heartless!"

A fist collided with the top of Shippo's head, accompanied by an irritated growl of, "Shut up, runt!"

"Whadjah do that for?!" he yelled, rubbing the sore, offended area.

"That's enough you two," Miroku intoned calmly, holding a thrashing, protesting Shippo away from Inuyasha. "We have more pressing matters on our hands, namely the snake demon that's destroying the forest."

Almost as it heard him, the demon bellowed somewhere in the distance and knocked down several more trees. The crashing timbers were closer and more tremendous than previous ones. The vibrations they caused were forceful enough to be mistaken as a small earthquake. It was honing in on their hiding place.

"But we still have no clue how to kill that thing," Inuyasha reminded the monk bitterly.

"Kagome's theory is the best idea we've got."

At the half-demon's blank stare, Miroku and Shippo sighed in harmony. "About attacking its eye where the Shikon jewel shard is," Miroku droned dully. "You know, the whole reason why the two of you got into that pointless quarrel in the first place."

"Oh. Right." Inuyasha peeked back at Kagome, but she was refused to return his gaze.

Sighing, he plucked the Tetsusaiga up from the ground and sheathing it, he said, "I suppose I have no choice."

"We'll be right behind you," Miroku told him as Kirara morphed into her true demon form.

"Don't get too close," Inuyasha warned. Casting a fleeting look at the reincarnated priestess, he murmured quietly to the monk, "Keep her safe for me."

"I will," he vowed.

Without another word, the silver-haired dog demon leapt between tree trunks like a pinball machine, making his way up to the top. When he broke through the leafy green canopy of the forest into the bright sunlight, he saw with perfect clarity the enormous shape of the snake demon. Bounding over trees, Inuyasha flew towards the demon, ignoring the pain of his injuries.

"Oi! Ugly! Over here!" he yelled, attracting the demon's searching gaze.

The monstrous snake roared and lashed out at Inuyasha with its tail. Anticipating the blow, he vaulted into the air and captured one of its tail spikes in his clawed hand. Holding on with all his might, he delayed moving until the demon had settled. When it was stable enough for him to move, Inuyasha heaved himself up onto the writhing, scaly body.

The black sludge the secreted from the demon's scales squelched sickeningly as his bare feet sunk deep into it as he sprinted up the length of its body. There was a sizzling sound and the putrid scent of burning flesh before Inuyasha felt the pain in his feet. Glancing down as he ran, he saw that the flesh of his skin was bubbling. Enormous blisters were sprouting up around the enflamed area and blood was seeping from the soles of his feet. The world faded in and out of focus as his vision grew hazy as the venom soaked into his body through his feet.

Dammit, Inuyasha cursed, driving his legs faster over the snake's body. Venomous acid. I've got to kill this thing quickly.

The demon bucked and twisted, attempting to dislodge him, but Inuyasha held fast, despite the slippery, acidic slime. He dashed up the demon's body, racing straight towards its head. Unsheathing the Tetsusaiga, it transformed with a flare of light. The sudden weight of the sword nearly unbalanced him and dragged him over the edge.

"Heh. You've been a real pain in my ass," Inuyasha snarled at the demon, propelling himself off the snake demon's body and launching high into the sky. "Too bad I'm going to have to cut your life short!"

Raising the heavy weapon as high as his fatigued muscles would allow, he focused on the demonic winds between them, calling upon and locating the Wind Scar. It appeared as gravity began to tug on Inuyasha, bringing him closer to the demon's enormous eye.

"Here goes nothing!" Inuyasha roared. "Wind Sc – !"

Inuyasha's battle cry was cut off when the demon's tail crashed into his chest. Pain lanced through him as its tail spikes drove straight through the flesh of his right shoulder and leg and slashed against the side of his face.

The force of the impact jarred his grip on the Tetsusaiga. The collision, along with his exhausted body, torturous wounds, and the trace amount of poison that was now in his bloodstream, cause the sword to be ripped from his hand.

"No!" the half-breed cried, snatching blindly at the air. His fingers just barely clipped the hilt of the sword before it spiraled out of his grasp. It plummeted to the ground with a clang. Light flared around the blade and it reverted back to its rusty, battered form.

Fear unlike anything he'd ever known shot through him. The Tetsusaiga was the only thing keeping his bloodthirsty demon-half in check. Without the sword in his hand, there was nothing preventing the beast inside him from breaking through. He changed only when he did not possess the Tetsusaiga and his life was in mortal peril.

He could remember flawlessly the last time he had transformed. His demon half had ruthlessly slaughtered an entire band of thieves, showing none mercy even when they had begged him for their lives. While Inuyasha himself could not recall the event once he had turned back, the scent of their blood had lingered on his claws for weeks afterward, no matter how many times he washed his hands. The smell remained, reminding him that he had morphed into a murderous killing-machine. And he knew that he could turn on his friends and kill them without even knowing it or being able to stop it.

He wouldn't allow that to happen.

He needed the sword back

The silver-haired demon growled in frustration and seized the spike piercing his shoulder. Jerking himself free of the monster's spines, regardless of any further injuries, he crashed solidly to the ground. White-hot pain slashed through him as the heavy landing sent shockwaves through his raw, bloodied feet. Gasping, Inuyasha swayed precariously. Shaking his head to clear his vision, he quickly locating the fallen Tetsusaiga and dashed towards it.

Every step was agony. The acid had eaten through most of the flesh on the bottoms of his feet. Blood flowed at a steady rate from his soles, staining the grass with crimson footsteps. But Inuyasha pressed forward through the pain, zeroed in on his sword.

A mere foot away from his weapon, he caught a glimpse of Kirara soaring over the tops of the trees, the three humans and fox kit on her back. But that moment of distraction cost him dearly as a rope of red scales landed in front of him, barring the way. Caught off guard, Inuyasha couldn't move fast enough to jump over it before the demon's tail encircled him. He grunted in pain as it wrapped tightly around him, pinning his arms to his sides as it trapped him within its coils.

There was a chorus of horrified yells from his friends.

"No! Inuyasha!"

"He's not holding the Tetsusaiga! His demon half could take over!"

"Kirara, take us down! Now! We must help him!"

Grumbling, Inuyasha thrashed about, his fangs bared. "Let go of me, you bastard!" he yelled, struggling to free his arms and legs. The black sludge was now sliding over his entire body.

The demon let out a series of short, choppy hisses, laughing snake-like at him. The coils constricted around Inuyasha.

He snarled. "Laugh now while you still can. When I get out of here, I promise you, I'll be the one with the last laugh!"

As the snake's body tightened around him, the slimy obsidian acid steeped through his clothes. He cried out in pain as the poison singed his exposed skin, scorching his flesh, eating away at it. His clothing sizzled as the acid consumed the fabric, burning straight through it. The acid covered his open wounds, searing them like placing a red-hot poker over them. Worse yet was that Inuyasha could feel the poison entering his bloodstream as the acid burned more wounds into his body.

My strength is draining, Inuyasha panicked, feeling the agony sap his power. I've gotta get out of this.

"You are not taking me down without a fight you son of a bitch!" he shouted, kicking and squirming as much as the tight coils would allow him.

But he knew things didn't look good. The venom was already in his body. The more he struggled, the more it spread. At the same time, he knew that if he stopped moving, the snake demon would squeeze him until he was dead.

"Hurry!" Miroku yelled, vaulting over the side of Kirara's shoulder the second she landed, shakujou in hand. "We've got to save Inuyasha!"

"You stay here, Kagome," Sango ordered as Kirara and Shippo took off with Miroku.

She nodded in agreement, taking up her bow. "Okay."

Then Sango sprinted after the monk, ripping her Hiraikotsu from her back and flinging the enormous boomerang-like weapon at the demon. It spun through the air and clipped the side of the demon's neck. Harmlessly, it glanced off its scales. The demon slayer caught it as it flew back toward her.

Nocking an arrow, Kagome fired at the demon's eye, but it ducked out of the way. Shippo shot his blue fox fire at the monster from his perch on Miroku's shoulder. The demon shifted in discomfort, but it made no real difference. The kit cried out in surprise as it swiped its tail at them. Kirara flew overhead, attacking the maroon body with her fire, talons, and fangs.

"Aim for its eye!" Miroku called out, dodging another attack. Throwing an anxious glance at the half-breed trapped within the demon's coils, he yelled. "Inuyasha, hang in there!"

I can't move.

Inuyasha's breathing was labored. His heart was pounding erratically. Pain was turning his world dark. His skin was bubbling and boiling, melting off his bones in a bloody mess. Blood loss and the poison were clouding his vision, fogging up his head.

The snake was constricting him slowly, hampering all movement and crushing his lungs against his chest. Breathing became impossible. Inuyasha's bones cracked and popped as the coils tightened. The venom was eating him alive.

"If he doesn't get free soon, he's going to transform!" Shippo cried fearfully, sending another blaze of foxfire at the demon's eye.

Inuyasha stopped struggling. His breathing stilled.

An arrow dropped to the ground.

Kagome's head snapped onto Inuyasha.

Darkness erupted around the half-demon, enshrouding him, twisting and corrupting his aura.

The priestess's brown eyes widened.

Her bow clattered to the earth aside the fallen arrow.

"No," Kagome breathed, then screamed, "Inuyasha!"

The dog demon's head slowly lifted at the sound of his name.

Suddenly, his lids flew open to reveal not gold, but fearsome ice-colored irises that were surrounded by a sea of red where the whites of his eyes should've been. His silver hair blew around his face without the aid of the breeze. Jagged, purple streaks ran down the sides of his cheeks. His fangs elongated and thickened, protruding from his upper jaw. A wild, unruly and deadly snarling was emitting from deep within Inuyasha's chest.

Kagome gasped.

It was too late.

Inuyasha had transformed.

His demon half had taken over.

The next update may take a while. I've got a lot of projects to work on, and am going through a bit of an emotional situation that is has been very hard on me. Please be paitent. I will get around to updating.

As always, let me know if something can be fixed.