Dark things come for those who wait.
Yummy fudgie brownies! ....of dooooooom! Makes a great lunchtime snack.
"My feet hurt."
"Quit complaining. You're giving me a headache."
"Well they do!" Kagome pouted. "I think it's the boots," she sighed. "I wish I had a pair of sneakers."
Inuyasha gave a snort. "You mean like Shippo and Miroku?"
Several steps ahead, Noi cast a look over his shoulder at the two of them, then turned away.
"No! Sneakers are shoes! They're great for walking long distances."
"If they're so great, then why do you wear those little slippy ones all the time?"
Kagome tossed her head, a familiar blush rising on unfamiliar cheeks, "I had to wear those! I needed low shoes so that I could wear those good thick socks. They protected my ankles from thorns, dust, bug bites..." she ticked them off on her fingers.
"They made you look like a fat spider on two legs!"
"Go on!" Inuyasha goaded with real glee. "Say it. I dare you. I want you to."
"You make me so mad!"
"And you can't do a thing about it."
"Will you two stop that?"
Inuyasha smirked over at their little tour guide of this wasted nowhere. The fight with Kagome had cleared his head, and he was itching to find out what the hell was going on and what mister A-Noi-ing had to say about it.
He'd led them away from the downed battlefield, skirting the edge of what looked like some kind of pine forest. Inuyasha grit his blunted teeth as a shred of uneasiness began to return. He didn't recognize these plants, and what few birds poked their beaks out of hiding long enough to be heard were piping something completely alien. What the hell kind of place was this?
And why, Inuyasha wondered with a chill, had it taken him so long to notice? He flexed his right hand. These ears had heard these sounds before. To this body, the world was nothing new. How many other things would crop up? What if something showed up that was dangerous or important? What if he didn't know it until it was too late?
He didn't know if Kagome had noticed but... They'd been walking for perhaps an hour, and Inuyasha had doubts about how far they were from the hidden house in the scrap piles. There were a few paths leading away from that place, but Noi had turned on a dime and cut cross-country. The rusty-haired kid kept twisting and doubling back...
He doesn't want us to be able to find our way back there... Inuyasha thought darkly. Then something cold settled in his stomach. Or he thinks we're going to be tracked.
"I took the short way here," Noi explained, as if sensing the question. "I was moving on my own, and Indis said it was important, so I chanced it." He looked Inuyasha warily in the eye, as if expecting some answer. His throat flexed as he swallowed. "They don't know where she lives this time, and we all want it to stay that way."
"This time?" Kagome asked carefully.
"Long story," Noi conceded. "This isn't the time or the-urk!"
Inuyasha flexed his fingers against the boy's throat, as his feet dangled just off the ground. A fraction of his former strength was more than enough for this little sniveler. He gave a tight smile and let go.
"Here. Now. Talk."
"Inuyasha!" Kagome scolded as Noi landed awkwardly on his rump. She couldn't see Inuyasha's face but the quivering reflected in Noi's expression was more than enough. She fought the urge to roll her eyes.
Sure. They needed to know where they were and why, bud did he have to switch into "Me badass! You Jane!" mode?
"Talk!" Inuyasha barked again.
"Well," Noi began over a pained wince, "Did I ever tell you about the time I met this girl named-"
"This isn't necessary!" Kagome stamped her foot. Noi seemed more and more familiar with every breath that left his body. Kagome didn't like the idea of relying on the half-memories left behind in some other girl's head, but it was like a hundred tiny clue screaming at her that she knew this boy, and that he wasn't an enemy.
"What?" Inuyasha flung the words at her over his shoulder, "do you think he'd tell us if I just asked nicely?" he sneered.
"Well now that you mention it-" Noi began.
"Shut up!" snapped Inuyasha.
"Make up your mind!"
"Why is Kagome's house a secret?" Inuyasha demanded. "Who is Se, who is Indis and who - the - fuck - are - you?"
Oooooooh! I hate it when you ignore me...
There was a hissing sound between her teeth. She bit it back. It didn't work anymore anyway.
"Tell me before I bash your nose in!"
Oooooooh, Inuyasha if I could I'd sit you so hard that you'd climb out and find the feudal age on the other side!
"I know," Noi was gasping, "that you know who Naraku is." Inuyasha's fist flexed, but he didn't say anything. A darkness grew in Kagome's mind. "Most of us just know him as the Tai-Oni." Noi swallowed and went on, "A while ago he tried to have Ema kidnapped."
"Who?" asked Inuyasha.
"Ema," Noi pointed at Kagome, "You know, her?"
Inuyasha growled and grabbed the rusty-haired boy by the collar. "Her name is Kagome! Ka. Go. Me. And she-"
Kagome giggled freely as Inuyasha slapped a hand over one eye.
"Why did he try to have me kidnapped, Noi?" she asked gently.
"You have powers," he said quickly, cringing away from Inuyasha's hand. "We think he wanted you to do something for him - look, Indis is really the person to talk to about this, and we need to keep moving, really-"
Kagome's spine began to creep. "Inuyasha..." she breathed. That feeling...
"And how do we know that this Indis even exists?" Inuyasha sneered. "For all we know, you made her up so you could lead us out here!"
"Inuyasha," Kagome heard her voice grow more insistent.
"Alright, believe me or don't, but the truth is that we shouldn't stand still to long out here in the wild."
"Inuyasha!" Kagome snagged a lock of his short hair and tugged.
"What?" he snapped.
Noi took one look at her face and said something that was probably a curse. He shook his head, "Dark things come for those who wait..."
"I feel a youki," she said quietly. "We're not alone."
The round face that wasn't quite her arrogant dog-demon's flickered from apprehension to arrogance. One set of barely-clawed fingers moved to the right side of his waist.
And then he went strangely rigid.
Kagome knew. She knew it as surely as if she held his thoughts in her hands.
No demon strength. No fangs. No claws.
And no Tetsusaiga.