Cats and Dogs
Chapter 6: Riquo - The Island Gypsy Dancer
Inuyasha had woken up the moment the sun rose over the dark horizon, sending warmth over his face and descending down the rest of his body into the sleeping figure in his arms. It was still early, so Inuyasha watched Riquo as she slept peacefully. He liked watching people as they slept, a calmer, soothing side of them could be seen when they were asleep. While she slept, Inuyasha had memorized her sleeping pattern. She didn't gradually go to sleep, the moment she closed her eyes, it took her seconds to be completely unconscious. She could sleep like that for hours. Then her breathing would start to get erratic and her face would scrunch up as if she was trying to figure something out. Her claws would extend and retract for a little while, and her tail would thrash around frantically, swatting at anything in its projected path which was mostly Inuyasha's leg but he dared not to move. And then without any help from Inuyasha, she would go back to her usual dead sleep.

Inuyasha figured that she was either having a nightmare or a suppressed memory. He, himself, used to have sleeping patterns like that, but he usually woke up in a cold sweat  and a shredded tree next to him. Riquo just stayed asleep, never waking up but rather enduring whatever battle was being fought in her head.

Inuyasha smiled down at the beautiful, island hanyou in his arms. He recognized her island descent with open arms, one, because he'd heard that island demons, our hanyou's in this case, possessed unusual powers although he'd yet to see Riquo use such powers. And two because there was a certain mystic aura around her that made her even more desirable and he knew it came from her island beauty.

While Inuyasha was still examining Riquo, the sun had begun to rise higher and higher in the sky above them. When it was at an angle above them so that the tree did not shade them from its rays, Inuyasha noticed Riquo's crescent tattoo reflecting the sun off it with an orange light. Inuyasha frowned at the mark wearily and leaned over gently so as not to wake Riquo and sniffed around her stomach. Nothing. He didn't smell anything unusual, nothing magic looming about her tattoo. Inuyasha sat back, tightening his grip around Riquo's waist. He thought about what she'd said at the hot spring earlier.

O, that? Well, supposedly that's the symbol of my "future mate" but I think my grandmother just tattooed that onto me while I was sleeping when I was a baby.

Inuyasha frowned again in thought. I've heard of parents predetermining their offspring's mate, usually with the parents of the chosen mate,  but what would the mark have anything to do with? Usually marks like that are a sign of royal blood. Kind of like Sesshomaru's crescent on his forehead-

Inuyasha's eyes widened at the thought. That's impossible! No way  would Sesshomaru ever agree to mate a hanyou! Inuyasha licked his lips nervously, glancing every so often at the girl in his arms that he'd come to like so much, maybe my father arranged it with her grandparents...Inuyasha attempted to do the math in his head to determine the years. Apparently paying attention when Kagome did her math did pay off. If Inuyasha was correct, Riquo's grandparents were around his fathers age. Making Sesshomaru her mothers age. But that doesn't make sense...wouldn't they have paired Sesshomaru with her mother?

Inuyasha was indeed, very worried about the situation. Although he wasn't ready to admit his feelings to Riquo, he wasn't about to lose a chance to be with her, especially not to his stuck up brother. But would Sesshomaru even want to mate her? Inuyasha thought about this situation with his amber eyes in a nasty scowl, maybe...maybe Sesshomaru was in on these arrangements...if Riquo does in fact possess great island powers...Inuyasha didn't like the thought of Riquo and Sesshomaru mating, so he decided to wait to ask Riquo about it when she woke up.

At that moment Riquo turned her face towards the sunlight that hit her face, smiling to herself. As she started to awaken from her slumber, she rose up from the ground and stretched, oblivious to the arm tightening around her waist. She yawned with her arms still raised in the air, and then absently scratched at her tattoo. Why is this stupid thing itching? When her hand hit Inuyasha's arm that was wrapped around her waist, she looked down at the hand curiously. Then her senses came back to normal and she remembered the hanyou sitting behind her.

Giggling to herself she leaned back into his embrace, "Good morning, Inuyasha."

Inuyasha snorted, still peeved about his previous thoughts, "Did it really take you that long to realize I was here?"

Riquo giggled and stretched again, "I'll never tell. Hey, why the face? You look like you ate something nasty." Inuyasha fidgeted nervously, he had wanted to avoid that subject until later on, not exactly when she'd waken up.

"Keh, nothing, let's get back to the camp before everyone else wakes up." Inuyasha began to pull himself up against the when Riquo reached behind her and grabbed his thighs, dragging him back down to the ground behind her with a thud.

"Hey! What's the deal?" Riquo turned around in his lap and sat Indian-style in front of him. She stared at him, her green feline eyes shaped in concentration and scanning his face for answers. Inuyasha gulped under the scrutiny he was enduring. He didn't like being examined period, but the fact that he actually did have something to hide from her mattered to him too.

Then Riquo dropped the concentration facade and just sighed, "Inuyasha I'm not stupid. Please just tell me what's bothering you."

Inuyasha looked away from her face and thought about it. True, he had wanted to talk to her about it eventually, just not now. But since Riquo was so damn smart, and Inuyasha gave it away, he figured he might as well get it out.

He propped her up on his outstretched legs so that her shoulder was against his chest and her legs were perpendicular to his. He also did this so he could get a good view of her tattoo. He wrapped his arms around her and rested his cheek against her hair, kissing her soft, black ear. He felt her shiver and squeezed her tighter.

"I've been thinking about what you said about that tattoo on your stomach," he said, tracing a claw over the black mark around her navel. Riquo gasped aloud, sensations she'd never felt before flowing through her nervous system. Her face scrunched up in confusion and ecstasy, her back arching on its own accord.

Inuyasha froze his movements as he watched Riquo's body react to his touch. This doesn't make any sense, I touch that tattoo and this happens. I hope I didn't hurt her...

"Riquo...did I hurt you?" Inuyasha asked cautiously.

Riquo gasped again. What the hell is happening to me? This has never happened before, and several people, men especially, have poked and prodded at that damn tattoo.

Inuyasha pulled his hand away from her stomach. Riquo's back straightened and she threw her head forward, gasping for air. Her brown hair covered her face but Inuyasha could see she was panting from the way her shoulders rose and fell.  Inuyasha was so confused, was it rejecting my touch? He pulled her curtain of brown hair back and grabbed her face between both of his hands. He brought face up to his, their noses touching.

"Riquo...Riquo I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. Please forgive me," Inuyasha's mood was steadily dropping. If that tattoo had rejected his touch, that meant Sesshomaru really was destined to be her mate. Inuyasha wasn't sure if he could have another woman in his life ripped away from him.

Riquo shook her head in his hands and panted, " didn't hurt me. I...I don't understand what happened. But it felt so wonderful. That was the best sensation that's every gone through my body."

Inuyasha stared blankly at her and pulled her face away from his slightly, "Are you crazy? You looked like you were suffocating."

Riquo shook her brown head again, " men and women...children even, have touched that tattoo. Human, demon, hanyou, everyone. Never has it reacted like that. I don't understand what that means."

Neither did Inuyasha. But since it hadn't reacted in the same way when other people touched it, he began to think that maybe this reaction worked in his favor.

Riquo smiled at him, "I'm okay Inuyasha. Continue with what you were saying. But if you want me to listen I wouldn't touch the tattoo again."

Inuyasha snorted, "Yea, I'll keep that in mind," he took a deep breath, not sure if he was gona like her answer, "Riquo, have you ever heard of a demon called Sesshomaru?"

Riquo thought about it for a minute and then nodded, "The demon lord of the west. Yea, my grandfather fought with him in the battle against the panther demon tribe. Odd how black panthers and panthers hate each other but whatever. Why do you ask?" She rubbed her thumb across his sleeved arm that was around her waist. Inuyasha swallowed hard. That was not the answer he wanted to hear...

"Have...have you ever met him before? Or...did your mother or grandmother ever talk about meeting and talking with him?"

Riquo frowned at him. She could tell he was getting nervous and she didn't understand why. What's the big deal about Sesshomaru? I haven't seen him in several years anyway.

She nodded at him slowly, thinking that maybe he didn't want to hear this, "Yes, he met with my mother when I was a baby, after my father was killed. She talked with him before we went down the well."

Inuyasha didn't say anything, just nodded hesitantly for her to continue, "Well, oddly enough, my mom asked him to touch my tattoo," Riquo said tapping the black crescent, "since Sesshomaru had a purple one on his forehead," Riquo laughed, "I guess my mom thought Sesshomaru was my "future mate" and wanted to see for herself."

Riquo's smile faded when she saw the expression on Inuyasha's face. He looked like he was about to be sick, his skin was paler than ever and he had a very distant, painful look in his eyes. She frowned in concern, "Are you ok, Inuyasha? What's wrong with you?"

Inuyasha gulped, "No...please finish..."

Riquo shook her head in disbelief, her eyes wide with concern. What is with him? He looks like he's about to be sick. Maybe I should just tell him all at once, I just don't understand what the big deal is.

"Ok...well, at first Sesshomaru didn't want to touch me, calling me a filthy hanyou or something like that. But my mother, being the powerful demon that she was, threatened him into touching the tattoo. So, he did, and...," Riquo frowned in thought, poor Inuyasha nearly sick with anticipation, "I guess the best way to describe it would be that it rejected his touch. I think it burned his hand, I don't remember what my mother said happened. But she said he said that there is another like him that may be accepted."

Inuyasha swallowed hard again, "Who?"

Riquo shrugged, "I don't know. He left us at that." Inuyasha decided that he should tell her. If he wanted to be with her, if the slightest possibility was there, he had to tell her.

"Sesshomaru is my brother."

Riquo's face dropped. But how could that be possible? I can't imagine Sesshomaru being associated with anyone lower than a demon rank.

"My father, was Sesshomaru's father, and he fell in love with a human woman. Which resulted in me and Sesshomaru's hatred for me and my kind."

Riquo nodded. She looked down at her navel tattoo, circling it with her claw. Looking back up into Inuyasha's eyes she finally understood what was wrong, or so she thought. So...he was afraid. Afraid that Sesshomaru was predetermined to be my mate.

She smiled at him and threw herself around him, hugging him tightly, "Thank you for your concern Inuyasha. Sesshomaru is a monster, and I can understand why you'd be upset."

Inuyasha snorted, "You and you're silly ideas, woman."

Riquo giggled and lightly kissed his lips. When she started to pull back Inuyasha captured her lips hungrily and claimed her mouth with his. Riquo parted her lips for him-

"RIQUO!!!!!! INUYASHA!!!!"

Riquo and Inuyasha simultaneously jumped away from each other, looking to where the shouts came from. Kouga's trade mark twister came bursting through the darkness of the trees with Kagome in his arms. Inuyasha looked up through the trees to see Miroku and Sango on Kilala's back, beginning to descend to the ground. Riquo grabbed her chest where her heart was, her eyes bulging, Kami help me. Kagome jumped down from Kouga's grasp and ran towards Riquo, hugging her with tears streaking down her face.

"Oh Riquo! I was so worried about you! Why didn't you tell any of us you were going off?" tears dripped off Kagome's face as she tightened her hold on Riquo's body. Riquo patted her back and then looked over Kagome's shoulder at Kouga, winking a thank you. Kouga nodded in response. Kagome broke her hug with Riquo in a huff, and stomped towards Inuyasha.

"And you! What are you doing?! You could have told someone where you were going too!" Inuyasha backed away from her cautiously, silently praying that Kagome forgot about the rosary beads around his neck.

Riquo casually linked the back of Kagome's arms with hers just in case she decided to take a swing at Inuyasha's face. Kagome tugged on her arms, panting from the exertion she put on her throat.

"Kagome calm down!" Riquo laughed, "me and Inuyasha just came out here to talk. We didn't want to fight anymore so we just talked it out and now we're ok. Nothing to get THIS excited about!"

Kagome relaxed, "I know, I know, it's just that I'm worried something's going to happen to you again! It would tear me apart if something happened to you again and we never got to catch up or do all the fun things we used to do or…or," Kagome didn't get to finish her sentence as she burst in to tears again. Riquo smiled and patted her friend's back.

"You underestimate me girly. I am a hanyou, and a powerful one at that, not to be conceited or anything," she paused as Kagome started to giggle, " don't think that just because you saw me get hurt twice that I'm totally defenseless, I can still kick ass," she giggled with Kagome and punched knuckles with her saying, "Loko?"

Kagome smiled and wiped her tears with her other hand, "Loko."

Miroku walked up to them, confused along with everyone else, "Might I ask what this, 'loko' word is?"

Kagome smiled at Riquo, "When we were in my time, we came up with that word somehow, and now it's just kind of a greeting thing between us," she laughed out loud, "Riquo used to beat the crap out of anybody who tried to copy us."

The two friends laughed together, mentally reminiscing on their time together in the future. Kagome was laughing when suddenly she went briefly catatonic. Riquo stopped laughing when saw this and grabbed her hand, "What the shit...Kagome? Kagome are you alright?"

 Inuyasha put his hand on her shoulder before she could say anything else, "It's ok she senses a shard."

Riquo's lips formed a small 'o' and she waited as Kagome's face contorted into a mixture of facial expressions. Sango walked up to her and stood by her side, "She's trying to pinpoint where the shard is. When we first started searching for them, Kagome could only tell where the general direction of the shard was until she got within a hundred feet of it. But as she's gotten stronger in her miko powers she can almost pinpoint its location exactly."

Kagome face reverted back to normal and sighed as she relaxed, "I found it," she said to everyone around her, "it's north of here near a village. It's kind of far so we might want to get going."

They all nodded, and headed in that direction. Sango and Miroku rode Kilala, Sango's Hiraikotsu blocking Miroku's reach of her butt.

Kouga had heard Kagome and Sango mention Riquo wanting to race him, and since they were going a long distance, he thought now would be the perfect time, "Hey Riquo! Wana race to the shard?"

Riquo snorted, "I don't know Kouga, I'd hate to blemish that ego of yours if I managed to kick your ass."

Kouga laughed heartily at her, "Yea, if you manage!"

Kagome and Inuyasha decided to ride on Kilala as well so they could see Kouga and Riquo race at their full speed. Kilala flew into the air while Kouga and Riquo knelt before an imaginary line in the clearing of the forest. Kagome yelled from up top, "Ready, set, GO!"

Riquo and Kouga both shot off at incredible speed, Kouga in his usual twister form but Riquo looking like a long blur. Kilala sped off into the air as well so they could see they could see the race. Riquo and Kouga were neck and neck until Kouga kicked it into high gear and practically flew ahead. Riquo sped up with all her might but was still behind Kouga. Riquo saw the village ahead and sped up more but to no avail. Kouga skidded  to a stop at the edge of the forest, turning around and waiting for the others, a devilish smirk on his face. Riquo showed up seconds later, bending over with her hands on her knees panting.

Kouga grinned, "What's the matter Riquo? Did you slip and fall back there?"

Before Riquo could snarl a response at him, Kilala landed next to them in a fiery blaze. Inuyasha hopped off the fire cats back and landed next to the panting Riquo. Kagome slid off as well and ran over to Kouga while Sango and Miroku followed suit.

"Wow, Kouga! I've never seen you run that fast before!" Kagome said excitedly.

Kouga smiled at her but didn't expand on her compliment, "Never mind that. I've never seen a demon not built for speed run that fast. Nice going Riquo."

Riquo panted some more, "Oh well ::pant:: I'll get you ::pant:: one day ::pant::"

They were about to walk into the village when Inuyasha, Kouga and Riquo stopped and sniffed the air. The only sign that they were listening for something was Inuyasha and Riquo's ears twitching back and forth. Kagome, Sango and Miroku looked around for whatever their demon friends might be sensing, when Kagome felt the shard coming up from the ground.

"It's underground!" she yelled. The ground started to shake violently. Kouga swirled around and quickly snatched Kagome as the ground beneath her began to crack.

"Kilala!" hearing her name, the transformed fire cat flew low past Sango and Miroku, allowing them to grab onto her back while she flew away. Riquo stumbled as a crack split the ground in between her legs. Jumping backwards, she and Inuyasha both got away just as the ground exploded, flinging chunks of dirt through the air.

Out from the ground came an large brown snout. Then the snout was pushed out of the ground further to reveal an enormous mole demon. As it stood to its full height, Kagome narrowed her eyes as she scanned its body. When her eyes finally fixated on the shard, she snapped her fingers triumphantly, found it.

She yelled at Inuyasha, "The shard is in the middle of its spine!"

Inuyasha nodded and turned to Sango and Miroku, "What do you say we let Riquo get this one? This is her chance to prove herself as a fighter," Sango and Miroku shrugged and walked with Kouga and Kagome to sit far away.

Inuyasha turned to Riquo smirking, "You think you can handle this one? I mean he is pretty big."

Riquo snorted, "Pssh, this is nothing. Sit down and enjoy the show." Inuyasha laughed and went to join the others.

Riquo cracked her knuckles, "Alrighty big boy, show me what you-"

The mole roared and swung its little arm at her. She dodged it running to her left.

"Well shit," Riquo ran around the demon as fast as she could in an attempt to distract it while she thought. Damnit it all...I don't know if I remember any of my island magic...mother never taught me anything! Although her mother never taught her anything, Riquo was aware of what she was capable of doing.

Skidding to a halt, Riquo grabbed the black band on her arm and slid it off, gripping it in between both of her palms. Unfortunately, Riquo underestimated the mole demon's speed versus her own, and the mole demon swiped at her feet with his large paw.

"Riquo look out!" Inuyasha shouted.

At the last minute, Riquo did a back flip away from the swiping paw, barely escaping the giant claws of the mole demon. When she landed, she used her claws as an anchor to the ground as her momentum dragged her a few feet back. Growling in frustration, Riquo stood upright, planting her feet firmly in the ground with her legs spread apart.

The mole demon was charging at her, and at a speed Riquo didn't know mole demons had. Sweat and dirt matting her brown hair to her face, Riquo squeezed her eyes shut and thrust the band out in front of her. Don't let me down mom.

"Riquo! NO!" Inuyasha tried to leap towards her but Kouga and Miroku held him back with all their strength, "Let her do this Inuyasha, she'll be fine!"

Shooting her eyes open, Riquo gripped the band tighter and shouted, "EXPAND!" and threw the band at the charging mole.

As the black band flew towards the mole, it grew larger and larger until it was the size of the mole demon. The mole demon raised an arm to swat the band away but it was too late. The band slipped over the mole demons upper body, trapping its arms in place. The mole demon roared angrily and hunched over, its body beginning to vibrate creating a massive earthquake that shook the ground. The dirt beneath Riquo's feet shifted but Riquo didn't budge. With her face emotionless and her arms still extended, she brought her palms together slowly.

"RETRACT!" she shouted. The black band around the mole glowed once and then began to move in sync with her palms as she brought them together. The mole threw its head back and roared in agony as its middle began to unnaturally shrink. Losing her patience, Riquo screamed and clapped her palms together quickly.

The mole demon roared one last time before it exploded into pieces, dirt and dust encircling the battle scene. Riquo stayed still, hoping above all things that she wouldn't get hit. When the dirt and dust died down. Everything surrounding Riquo was covering in mole pieces. The band had retracted to its normal size and fell to the ground.

Riquo sighed and relaxed her muscles, causing her to slouch where she stood. Inuyasha gaped at the scene before him. I have never seen anything like that before. He wrenched himself away from Kouga and Miroku's grip and walked up to where Riquo was panting.

He placed his hand on her back, rubbing gently, " ok?" Riquo nodded. Inuyasha chuckled, "Heh, that was pretty amazing, I've never seen magic like that before," Riquo nodded again, trying to catch her breath. She had definitely over-exerted herself, since she'd never used her magic before. Definitely gona have to start training with that more often. Although it might have been easier if I had my bangle too. Stupid Kikyo, shooting my damn bracelet...

Kagome timidly walked up behind Inuyasha and Riquo, Kouga right behind her, "Inuyasha, is she ok?"

Inuyasha nodded, "She'll be fine. I think that was her first time ever using that kind of magic. How about you go find the shard so we can get out of here and let her rest." Kagome nodded and automatically walked in a random direction towards where she sensed the shard, Kouga trailing her all the way.

Back where Miroku and Sango were standing with Kilala, the monk raised a hand in prayer to bless the battle scene. Sango's eyes roamed over what lay before her, "Miroku, what do you make of all this?"

Miroku finished his prayer, "I think with some practice and maybe a little research of her ancestors magic, Riquo could be a valuable asset to our group," Sango nodded in agreement.

"Do you need me to carry you Riquo?" Inuyasha whispered in her ear. Riquo grinned, turning her head to purr in his, "Only if there's a naughty result."

Inuyasha snorted at her and she giggled. Riquo righted herself, popping her back as she did so. She looked around at what she had done with a critical eye, "I'll definitely have to learn how to make this a lot less messy." Inuyasha snorted at her again as she walked towards where her band had dropped. She squatted down to pick it up and examined it, Inuyasha walking up behind her. He squatted down next to her and looked at her band. Not a scratch or blemish could be seen on it, it was perfect.

Kagome and Kouga met back up with Inuyasha and Riquo, Kagome placing the purified jewel shard into a small vial and then placing it back into her shirt. Riquo and Inuyasha stood up together, Riquo sliding the band back onto her arm.

"So...that's pretty much how it goes, huh? Find the demon with the shard, kill the demon with the shard, get the shard out of the disgusting, oozing body parts of the dead demon. Just like that?"

Kagome giggled with Riquo, "Yea, pretty much. It's starting to become a normal everyday routine."

Miroku and Sango walked over to join them, "Very nice work, Riquo. That was some display of power back there," Miroku said to her.

Riquo grinned, "Thank you. I didn't know I could...what the hell is that?" she took a defensive step back into Inuyasha as villagers began to run towards them from their huts.

"Look! The strangers have defeated the monster!"

"Thank you!"

"Praise Kami! We have been saved!"

Out of the masses one villager, apparently they're leader, stepped forward and shouted, "Halt! My name is Hakuno. Tell us your names, strangers, so that we may remember your act of bravery for years to come." He was dressed like a king, which was weird considering the village didn't look very wealthy, except for maybe his house.

When they all introduced themselves, one villager stepped forward towards Riquo, "Riquo? Riquo the island gypsy dancer?"

Riquo stumbled backwards to get away from the villagers that began to move towards her, "Um, I-I don't go by that name anymore-"

Inuyasha glanced angrily at Riquo. She was scared. He'd never seen her scared before but he could tell by her scent that she wasn't welcoming the name they called her by.

"It is her! Look at how her black tail wraps around her leg and her black ears atop her head move. It has to be her!" the crowd of people started talking all at once about their good fortune and such.

Hakuno shouted for silence. He turned and set his sights on Riquo, stalking towards her like a lion to its prey. Riquo's tail had indeed wrapped itself around her leg in a comforting gesture. Inuyasha growled next to her at the approaching leader. He didn't know what the hell was going on but that human was walking towards his woman. Inuyasha grinned, that's right...she's mine.

Kagome leaned in and whispered to Riquo, "Hey! Why the heck are they calling you an "island gypsy?" what does that mean?"

Sango shifted her Hiraikotsu defensively. The villagers kept moving closer and she was getting uncomfortable as well, "I've heard that a gypsy is some kind of cheap, thieving dancer. Why would they be calling you this, Riquo?" Sango asked. Kilala growled in one direction and Sango glanced over to see Miroku asking a random village girl to bear his children. Sango seethed, Damnit Miroku, and started towards the pervert monk, gripping the boomerang in preparation and completely forgetting about Riquo.

When Hakuno was directly in front of the terrified Riquo he looked her over and smiled, "Indeed she is Riquo the island gypsy dancer."

Riquo continued to back up, Inuyasha having moved out of the way long ago, "No, no you don't understand-"

"Come!" Hakuno said raising his jeweled hand into the air to obtain everyone's attention, "we shall hold a feast at my palace in your honor. Everyone to my palace! We must prepare for tonight! There shall be drinking, dancing and women for everyone!" The men of the village shouted and began walking towards the palace with Hakuno leading them.

Once all of the villagers had their backs to them and were out of earshot, Inuyasha spun Riquo around, grasping her arms tightly, "What do they mean island gypsy dancer, since when are you a whore?! Or is that just one more thing about you we get to find out about you at the last minute?!" He was furious. He thought he had her figured out, thought he'd found someone he could possibly relate to and bond with, and then one more mystery about her is revealed.

Riquo stared at him at him, hurt filling her eyes in the form of black tears. Then her pride got the best of her and she narrowed her eyes, wrenching herself away from him,  "Don't you dare call me a whore! I don't know what part of Japan you've been through, Inuyasha, but where I come from there is a big difference between a dancer and a whore! I was born a dancer and that's not something you can just give up so easily!"

"Well then what did you mean when you said you didn't go by Riquo the island gypsy dancer anymore?" Sango asked dragging an abused Miroku behind her.

Riquo sighed in frustration, "That was just a name villagers started giving me whenever I would dance in the streets. I wander, so whenever I went to a village I would dance for the villagers and get free room and food out of it."

Kagome walked in the middle of everything, walked straight up to Riquo and hugged her, "Riquo, dancing does not make you a whore, and neither does the name gypsy," she started walking with her and the others leaving Inuyasha behind, "Don't mind him Riquo," she whispered, " he doesn't understand the heart of a dancer like I do."

Riquo smiled at her and then craned her neck to look back at Inuyasha. She gave him a hurt, sorrowful look and he really regretted what he had said. He dropped his head down, his white bangs covering his eyes so he could resist the urge to run up to her and hold her forever.

Riquo walked silently with Sango and Kagome towards the palace, Kouga coolly placing his arm around Kagome's shoulders. Riquo didn't want to think about anything at the moment but her senses kept seeking out Inuyasha's familiar aura. She longed to jump into his arms, but she had to be more stubborn than that. She wasn't going to let him say shit like that to her and get away with it.

Miroku saw Riquo's distress from the way her tail moved erratically and slowed his pace til he was walking with Inuyasha, "You know Inuyasha, you really should try to be nicer to Lady Riquo. After all, she is a friendly, FEMALE hanyou and you two could hit it off and maybe-"


A large knot formed on top of Miroku's head, "Spare me, monk, I am in no mood for your antics."

Miroku sighed, shrugging his shoulders at the hopelessness of his hanyou friend, "Whatever you say Inuyasha, just making a suggestion."


Inuyasha and Miroku walked in silence the rest of the way. Inuyasha looked up at the darkening sky and swore under his breath. He could feel himself getting weaker. Miroku glanced over at Inuyasha, "You might want to try and relax tonight, Inuyasha. You'll be in your human form anyway so you might as well have a little fun."

Inuyasha narrowed his eyes at the monk, "Let me guess, you're looking forward to the 'women' part of this party, right?"

Miroku gave him that patented perverted smile and Inuyasha groaned. This was going to be a long night.




When everyone arrived at the palace, they were each shown to their individual rooms. Much to her dismay, Riquo was led away from the group up a staircase by some servant women.

Still a little neurotic from her battle and the oncoming villagers, Riquo dismissed her option of staying stubborn and looked behind her as she was dragged up the stairs.

"Inuyasha," she whispered.

Hearing his name, Inuyasha turned around to see Riquo looking at him as the servants dragged her up the stairs. She had the same, sorrowful look painted on her features, but she was also pleading for help.

Inuyasha took a step toward her but was intervened by a servant, "This way to your room sir," Inuyasha obeyed the man, not wanting to cause a scene and opting to talk to Riquo later.

Kagome was led to her room, which was modestly furnished. Kagome shrugged and plopped down onto the bed, it has a nice bed, and that's better than the bare ground. There was a knock at her door and a servant poked her head through.

"Excuse me miss, we were asked to bring these to you for the party," following the meek servant girl were three other girls, each carrying three beautiful kimonos each. They each bowed to her after laying the kimonos out on the bed next to and quietly retreated her room. Hopping off the bed, Kagome fingered the satin fabric of a royal blue kimono. She grinned, I'm going to have to thank Riquo for this one. We wouldn't be in here if it wasn't for her. She began going through the several kimonos that she had to choose from for the party. Suddenly her door opened and then slammed shut. Kagome whirled around only to run into Kouga's chest.

"Kouga! You scared me to death!" he chuckled and hugged her close to him. They stayed like that for awhile, Kagome breathing in the musky scent of his armor. He smelled of forest pine and fresh air. She always loved his scent.

"So, what are you doing in here, hmm?" She squeezed her arms around him in a loving gesture.

Kouga chuckled again and squeezed her back, "Came in here to see you, what else?" Kagome smiled at him and then turned around in his arms to look at the kimonos on her bed.

"So which one do you think would look good on me?"

"I don't know. How about you try them on and I'll tell you which one looks best," Kouga said, giving her his best 'do-it-because-I'm-a-cute-prince-and-you-love-me look.

Kagome gulped, "Try-try them on? In front of you?"

Kouga outright laughed at that and kissed her nose. He whispered in her ear, "What's the matter? Afraid I might like what I see?"

Kagome smiled, "No I'm afraid you might get horny and make us late for the party. I haven't seen Riquo dance in years and I am not going to miss this! So there," She gave him a quick kiss on the lips, grabbed the royal blue kimono and went behind the changing curtain. Kouga smiled shaking his head and sat down on her bed.

Inuyasha paced back and forth in his room. His hair was oil black, his fangs and nails gone along with his ears and his temper skyrocketing every minute. He needed Riquo really bad on this night. To hold her and kiss her and to apologize to her. He stopped in the middle of the floor. I need to tell her. He was about to start pacing again when there was a loud knock on his door.

"It's open."

Sango walked in wearing a green kimono with black flowers silhouetted across it. She stood in the open door with concern written on her face, "Are you alright Inuyasha? I can hear you pacing in my room."

Inuyasha sighed, "I'm just irritated that's all."


Inuyasha winced, Am I that obvious? "Sort of, plus..." Inuyasha pointed to his hair.

Sango nodded, "I see."

Miroku popped his head in behind her, wearing his usual attire, "The party is starting downstairs, you two," he turned to Sango, "Sango you look beautiful. Will you allow me to escort you?"

Sango leered at Miroku as he offered her his hands, "As long as you keep your hands away from my ass, sure why not."

"You have no faith in me Lady Sango," she took his hand and he pulled her through the door into the massive hallway.

"No, you just have a bad reputation."

"Touché, my dear."

Inuyasha walked in silence behind them, fidgeting. He was anxious tonight, but the new moon had absolutely nothing to do with it.

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