Disclaimers:  I do not own Inuyasha or any of the characters.

Notes:  I wanted to try something a little different.  Pairings:  Inu/Hojo

More Notes:  Hojo wakes up and panics.



Inner Demons



Part Five


Hojo roused himself slowly.  To his relief, the agony he had felt earlier was gone.  His head was still mildly throbbing, but his
back and hands were left with only an odd tingling sensation.  He was still dazed and disoriented, unsure of his surroundings.  
He was confused, certain that everything that had happened must be some horrible dream.  Demons kidnapping him, portals to
the past ... it all had to be a nightmare.  It couldn't possibly be real.

He opened his eyes and lifted his head from the warm resting place it had been set.  Hojo blinked, finding that warm pillow was
not a pillow at all.  It was the chest of a silver-haired youth.  He searched his memory, dredging up a name to go with the
attractive face.  Inuyasha.  This boy - this half-demon - his name was Inuyasha.  

Carefully, Hojo drew himself back, sliding his naked body off of Inuyasha's lap, never breaking his eyes from the sleeping youth
as he moved back.  He wanted to get away from here, away from Inuyasha.  There must be some reason Inuyasha had brought
him here.  What if Inuyasha wanted to hurt him and then go after Kagome?  Kagome - the very thought of the raven-haired girl
made his heart skip a beat.  He had to get back to her, to find out if she was all right.

His mind set, Hojo started to ease himself away from the half-demon.  When he was far enough away - or so he thought - Hojo
pushed himself to his feet.  He was startled not a moment later when he fell backwards, landing on his rear.  Something was
throwing his balance off.  As a matter of fact, now that he thought of it, everything felt off.  Colors, sounds and scents were
sharper.  He could actually hear the light wind causing an oh-so-low whistle in the back of the cave and it was unsettling to say
the least.

There was also a strange feeling, almost like an extra limb was brushing against the ground in rapid motions.  He looked back
over his shoulder, and yelped at the sight of a sleek black tail.  At first, he was terrified that some panther had gotten into the
cave despite Inuyasha guarding him.  Then it began to sink into his mind that the odd 'limb' that he felt was actually that same
tail that he saw.  The black tail was attached to him.  HE had a tail!

Out of desperation and feeling more than a little frightened, he grabbed it to yank it off, only to cry out in horror when his
fingernails extended into a set of claws.  In an instant he was slapping at his hands and tail to try and get rid of them, his heart
racing wildly in his chest.  This couldn't be real.  How could he go to school like this?  How could he let Kagome see him?  
She'd hate him.  She'd call him a freak or a monster.  This couldn't be happening.

Before he knew it, a pair of warm, strong arms wrapped around him, pining his arms to his sides to stop his frantic
movements.  "Calm down, Hojo!" the person behind him shouted.  "You'll only hurt yourself at this rate!"

Hojo winced at the harshness of the voice.  It was so loud, it hurt his ears.  Feeling a wave of panic at being restrained, Hojo
struggled to get out of the hold.  "Let me GO!" He twisted and turned, raising his hands and shoving his assailant away.  When
he saw who it was, he blinked, noticing that his "attacker" was only Inuyasha.  But that didn't cause his confusion or alarm.  It
was the fact that Inuyasha was falling backward very slowly that had Hojo worried.  It almost looked as if he were moving in
slow motion.

Still, he wasn't one to pass up an opportunity when it arrived.  So, grabbing the red garment that Inuyasha had covered him with
before, he turned and fled the cave, wrapping the red cloth around his hips and tying it at his waist as he hastily sped out into
the harsh, unforgiving light of day.  He shielded his eyes, wincing in the light.  His eyes stung.  Everything was so out of
whack.  Behind him, his tail waved lazily through the air, lightly ghosting across the backs of his ankles any time he would
pause to try and gauge his surroundings.

It was beginning to get warm again, Hojo briefly noticed.  He sniffed the air, not realizing he had even done it until after he
caught a faint trace of something delicious in the breeze.  The scent carried spices and smoke, and something else that Hojo
couldn't identify.  The very aroma made his mouth water and his skin tingle all over.  He wanted whatever the source was.  He
craved the flavor of the spices.  And deep down he wanted something more, something he couldn't identify along with that
lingering scent that followed the spices.  He only knew that whatever it was, he had to find it.  He needed it.

He followed his senses without thought or care of his own state of undress.  All he knew of was his want, his own desires to
possess what he was seeking.  He walked through the forest, moving slowly, yet steadily toward his goal.  In time, the thick
rows of trees grew less dense.  A short while later, he could see the edge of the forest.  He stopped at the edge of the forest,
wrapping shaking hands around the trunk of a smaller tree.  It was large enough to hide him if there was danger.  He hid behind
the solid wood, fearfully peaking out from behind his hiding place.  He didn't know what dangers were awaiting him outside of
the forest.  He fought against his bone-deep urge to run out and find the scent he so deeply craved.  No matter how much he
wanted, he couldn't forsake his own freedom or safety for something unknown.

From his hiding place, he saw a village.  It was odd, like something he had seen once in a movie about the feudal era.  There
were little huts all over.  People were bustling about, busy in their lives.  He narrowed his eyes, trying to see better and was
mildly surprised when he found he could see much farther than he'd ever been able to before.  He could even hear the people in
the distant village talking, idle chitchat, nothing of importance to him.  He took in a breath, barely able to stop himself from
stepping out into the open when the scent called to him again.  He jumped back, clinging closer to the tree trunk.

Warmth spread through him like water.  His breath started to grow harsher.  He held himself closer to the tree, closing his eyes
against the growing waves of desire.  He wasn't sure which scent was causing this.  It couldn't be the food.  Maybe it was the
other, the one he couldn't truly grasp a hold of.  Whether food or something else, whatever he wanted was down there in that
village.  He just couldn't go after it.  There were too many people down there, too many that would see him like this, like the
freak that he now was.  He couldn't let himself be seen.  What if they hurt him?  What if they attacked him for being so
different?  He couldn't risk it.  It was too dangerous.  But he couldn't stop his cravings.

Hojo whimpered, dropping to his knees in despair.  He didn't know what to do.  So lost was he in his tumultuous thoughts that
he didn't hear the footsteps approaching until they were no more than a few feet away.  He looked up sharply at the crack of a
twig beneath a sandaled foot.  Hojo gasped, his body beginning to tremble more severely as he saw someone standing there
before him.  He clung to the tree that he hid behind, keeping it between himself and this stranger, unaware as his nails extended
and dug deeply into the wood.

The person before him looked familiar, though he couldn't place it.  He was dressed in the robes of a monk and carried a staff in
his hand.  The prayer beads wrapped around his wrist and hand seemed strange.  Then again, everything was strange about this
place and these people to Hojo.

"Hojo?" The strange young man asked, dropping to a crouch a short distance from where Hojo hid.  "That is your name isn't it?"

Hojo jerked back at the sound of his name.  How did this man know him?  He shifted his body, hiding himself behind the tree
more, but never taking his eyes off the stranger.  "Y-Yes, that's my name," he replied softly, hoping he wasn't making a mistake
in admitting it.

The stranger smiled, moving slowly as he set his staff aside.  "Do you remember me?"

Hojo shook his head.

"Ah, well you were in a rather distressed condition when we met.  My name is Miroku.  I am friends with Inuyasha and
Kagome."

"Kagome?" Hojo whispered, more to himself than anything else.  

This monk knew Kagome?  How in the world was that possible?  Miroku - the name was familiar.  Maybe he had met him,
though he couldn't recall where.  Then it struck him.  He had met this man only last night.  The memories were distant and
foggy, but they were there.  He had seen this man when Inuyasha had first brought him through that well.

"Where's Kagome?" Hojo asked.

Miroku inched closer.  "I don't think it's a wise idea for you to see her right now.  You're unwell.  Where's Inuyasha?  Wasn’t
he watching over you?"

Hojo nodded, his body trembling.  "We were in a cave.  I ... I was scared and I ran."  He sniffed the air, finding that lingering
odor almost too tantalizing to resist.  "I smell something - something I want.  Spices and something else."  He shook his head,
his words confusing even to himself.

Miroku glanced back at the village.  "Perhaps you are hungry.  If you stay here, I'll bring you something.  Will you stay?"

Again, Hojo nodded.  He was hungry; though there was definitely something else he was craving as well.  He simply didn't
understand what it was his body was trying to tell him.

Miroku nodded and stood, picking up his staff as he moved.  Hojo watched him leave, trailed his eyes along the cloth-hidden
body as the other man walked away and back to the village.  He had an urge to do something, but he didn't know what.  Maybe
this Miroku would be able to help him figure out what was wrong with him.


*****


Inuyasha's eyes widened as he was pushed back by Hojo.  He hadn't anticipated the youth to react with violence.  He should
have known better.  Hojo was frightened and confused.  It was reasonable for him to act on his emotions. That still didn't make
Inuyasha feel any less irritated though.  He wanted to knock some sense into the boy, get him to see that Inuyasha was only
trying to help him, to keep him safe.  This was all for Hojo's own good.

The attack had caught Inuyasha off guard, that was the only reason Hojo had been able to topple him.  The half-demon landed
hard on the cave floor and snapped his eyes up to glare at the boy, only to find that he wasn't there anymore.  Looking around
rapidly, he didn't see any sign of Hojo.

How had he moved so fast?  It couldn't have been more than few seconds time between Hojo pushing him and Inuyasha
landing.  Was he that much faster than he appeared?

Inuyasha growled and got to his feet.  He sniffed the air around him, hoping to find a scent.  He was met with confusion again
as he found nothing at all beyond the solid scent of him from where they had slept by the fire.  Inuyasha shook his head and
went around the interior of the cave, checking each pathway and finding nothing.

He warily looked to the mouth of the cave, feeling a knot of dread fall into his stomach.  If Hojo had left, who knew what kind
of danger he could be in now.  It was far too perilous for the boy out there.  He was in heat, his body calling out to any demon
within smelling distance.  Hell, some demons could even sense another Demon in heat beyond the range of the five normal
senses.  Briefly, Inuyasha contemplated just leaving the boy to his fate.  Then he thought better.  He would hate to have to try
and explain to Kagome that he had lost Hojo, even worse, that he had abandoned him to whatever demon came along first.  
Inuyasha probably wouldn't be able to get out of the crater that 'Sit' would cause for a good few hours.  He remembered the last
time she'd gotten angry at him and honestly didn't want a repeat performance.  And beyond that, he was worried about Hojo
himself.  

He had to find him.  With that thought in mind, he set off.  Inuyasha had no idea where Hojo had gotten to since he hadn't left
even a trace of scent behind, but Inuyasha would look for him.  He'd keep looking until he found the little idiot or his corpse.

He didn't know why; whether it was just Hojo's heat calling to him, but he felt an undeniable urge to protect Hojo.  He wanted to
feel that warm body in his arms again, to hold him close even if not for mating.  Inuyasha just wanted the contact he'd been
denied for the majority of his life.  If only for a short while.  After all ... Hojo's heat wouldn't last forever.  And when it was
over, then he wouldn't need Inuyasha's protection anymore, wouldn't crave his touch or seek him out for comfort in the night.  
Inuyasha sighed.  He would be alone again.  Even among his friends, he would be solitary.  He resigned himself to that.  But he
hoped he would be able to get used to it again once Hojo was out of his life.



To Be Continued ...