Familiarity is not always a comfort.
Oh, and I don't own Inuyasha, Kagome, Naraku or any of Takahashi Rumiko's miraculous creations. Noi and his world are kinda' mine, though.
The creature moved without warning, both eye-whips coiling backwards, twisting around each other into a thick metal neck as its closest forelimb slashed forward faster than anything that heavy had a right to. Inuyasha leapt backwards as the limb narrowed and stretched, one lacquer claw just barely nicking his throat.
His smirk grew despite the pain on his skin. He could still move like he used to, even if there wasn't power behind it. In fact...
Inuyasha's thoughts smoothed out, smooth as the slashing, slicing, sliding thing in front of him. The scent - what little he could catch of it - was as alien as the metal beasts of Kagome's world, but the movement was youkai, plain and evil.
And two could play at that game.
Inuyasha paused as another wheeling limb made for his chest. He pulled his feet up from the earth and landed on top of it. The creature reacted immediately, rearing back onto four legs so that it could use another to sweep him off. He dodged smoothly, too smoothly, jumping and landing on its back.
The lightness of his spirit ceased as his eyes scanned the mirror-smooth steel. There were only the barest of seams where the wings had slid away. No vulnerable spots anywhere.
"Se!" called the Noi guy. Inuyasha looked down to see him on the moss, holding some chunk of metal in one hand.
"I'm kinda' busy right now," he snarled back. "Unless you're about to tell me how to kill this thing-"
"Use the gauntlet!"
"Oh!" Inuyasha turned his eyes back to the onyx bar sheathing his forearm. The weapon pulsed as if in response. And it was a weapon; he knew that now, in all the bones of his wrists. "How the fuck do I do that?"
"Duck? How does that help me-"
The creature swung its twisted neck like a morning star, knocking Inuyasha off its back and toward the rocks. (And the landing hurt way more than Inuyasha was used to, another reason this Se kid was a wussly loser who sucked.) There was another hideous grating noise and it advanced on him like a ravenous spider, heavy claws piercing through the layer of moss.
Inuyasha gambled a heartbeat to look at the gauntlet, boring into it with Se's alien eyes. Strangely, Inuyasha found that he could feel the adrenaline like liquid threads in his veins, through his chest, through his legs, through his brain, through his arms.
And the solid brace ...rippled.
He tried to blink away the heat wave, but it only happened again. He raised his right arm and flipped onto his feet, flinging his gaze back toward the-
Inuyasha leapt backwards toward the rocks as the creature swung at him again, landing shakily on the uneven surface. It recovered quickly, spinning with the inertia of the wasted blow and shot out at him again with its next leg. He dodged again, frowning.
A third strike came at him. He dodged a third time. Inuyasha frowned. This was... this was easy. It shouldn't have been this easy to move, not after being knocked flat onto a rock pile, not ever. Perhaps...
Inuyasha took a breath and bolted between the creature's slashing legs, ducking his head beneath its belly and coming out clean on the other side. He flipped his head up, watching the searching eyes swing twice over the place he had been.
It should have tracked his movements. He couldn't have been moving that fast. Nobody moved that fast. Nobody except-
"Se," Noi called again, "if you can get me a clear shot, I think I might stun it!"
"Won't be necessary," he breathed back, feeling a grin grow on his face. "I want to try something."
The double-twisted neck turned his way and the machine retreated, rearing for another attack. Inuyasha followed. Followed, leaped, landed with one foot between its eyes, the other on nothing and perfectly still. He held his position there, almost hovering as the metal wraith haltingly swung its head from side to side, like a mantis that had lost its prey.
He felt the gauntlet ripple and writhe on his wrist and dismissed the feeling. Whatever it was, there wasn't time to figure it out. He wanted this thing dead - or at least in a satisfactory number of pieces - and he wanted it done now.
Inuyasha flexed his ankle and slipped from the head to the twisting neck, dropping down to hang from one arm. "Here I am, Ugly," he murmured as the creature began to thrash again. He picked up his legs to avoid another swipe, swung over and around to avoid the next, and then-
There was a sickening screech as metal claws bit metal skin, and both the creatures' heads hit the loam, still half-twisted around each other.
The demon light flickered and died, and Inuyasha was alone again.
The creature's legs still flung about, blindly but with as much purpose as ever. "Shit!" the word ripped the smirk from Inuyasha's face as it escaped into the air. These were no mechanical death throes - it still knew he was there. Even so, he dodged. Damn, it was easier than avoiding Kouga's slow-ass moves (a whole lot easier, but Inuyasha would never admit that). He quickly slipped back several yards, watching, watching until unaimed blow struck the creature's midsection.
The sparks he'd been expecting, the hiss of burned circuitry and the evil screech as beast's brains died. Blood wouldn't have surprised him either. As it was, the reek, the loathsome, decaying reek hit the back of his throat, the back of his mind, the back of the scars on his heart and drew up bile.
A dark ichor seeped from the creature's death wound. Inuyasha felt one of his knees hit the ground.
The muscles in his legs didn't slide the way they were supposed to. This stranger's clothes fit him but shouldn't. He knew these forest sounds but didn't. The amber in his reflection had shifted shade. Kagome's scent wasn't pure. Almost everything in this world was twisted just a bit from where it ought to be.
And Naraku hadn't changed an inch.
"Don't touch it," Noi said softly, nervousness thrumming in his throat. "We don't know what that stuff is, but everyone who's touched it-"
"It's miasma," growled Inuyasha. "It's Naraku's fucking essence!" He pointed with one non-existent claw. "He dumped some of himself into that thing, only..." Inuyasha gulped. It had reminded him of Kagura. The damn thing had reminded him of Kagura, and now he knew why. "...only not enough," he finished.
"Inuyasha!" A strange voice, for a familiar presence. Kagome was at his elbow. "You're hurt."
"No I'm-" he winced. "Yeah, I guess." Inuyasha squeezed his eyes shut and let one hand touch the small of his back. "This 'Se' loser can jump like a fucking bullfrog but he bruises too damn easy."
"We need to get out of here," she said intently.
"She's right," agreed Noi.
Inuyasha scoffed. "Relax," he said. "That thing's dead, ain't it?"
"Yes," Noi nodded hesitantly, "but it's-"
"So don't worry about it. Now tell me about this place we're going."
"Inuyasha," Kagome said again. "We really should-"
"Cut your whining, wench," he interrupted smugly. "Now that I know what this Se jerk is good for, I could've killed that thing with one arm tied behind my back."
"Boast not of your kills, lest ye be boasted of," the boy snapped back, freckled throat flexing with each nervous breath.
Inuyasha frowned. "What's that got to do with-?"
And then four more of them plunged through the branches.
"Oh," he muttered.
(Holds lighter for Green Tea.)