by Shae

All disclaimers apply.

Summary: Demon hunting is such a dirty business . . .

Author's Note: ::snicker:: No, wait, I have something to say! ::snicker:: Never mind.


"Fuck, woman, that's HOT!"

"Quit whining."

"Are you tryin' to kill me?"

"You big baby. Okay, fine, I'll change it."

"Shit, that's cold!"

"Oh, for God's sake . . ."

Trish turned off the removeable showerhead and dropped back to her knees beside the tub, in which resided an extremely cranky half-demon. She dumped more Herbel Essences liquid soap onto his various body parts and resumed her vigorous scrubbing with a burgundy-colored washcloth. Her arms were starting to get tired, but she was also starting to see the black gunk that coated the majority of Dante's body start to break away. Finally, progress.

Dante's nose twitched and he scowled. "What the hell is that stuff, anyway?"

"Herbal Essences," she told him, attacking his shoulder with the soap until the skin there was clean and fair as ever.

"You're makin' me smell like a flower garden."

She smirked. "Better than what you smelled like when you walked in here."

His scowled deepened and she bit back a laugh. He had been wearing the exact same expression when he'd stumbled into their apartment, though it had been hard to tell with him covered from head to toe in some kind of greenish-black goo that made him look like a dessicated swamp thing. Walking so stiffly it was a wonder he'd even made it up the stairs, the image of a dim-witted monster was complete. He'd been so unrecognizable that she'd nearly decapitated him with her sword, thinking him a wayward demon, until she had seen Alastor in his grip, clean as a whistle due to some magick that hadn't protected its owner.

His injuries had made him incapable of bending in the right directions to scrub himself down, and so for seventeen minutes, she had taken on the task. With him caterwauling all the way. The protesting had gotten particularly bad when he saw the bubbles she'd added to the tub, but she'd insisted it was better for getting off the gunk. In any case, he hadn't had much of a choice when she outright shoved him in. As a result of the ensuing fight to KEEP him in, her long hair, shirt and drawstring shorts were soaked, along with half the bathroom.

He could be so immature sometimes, like an unruly Husky dog.

"Are you SURE you can't remember what kind of demon it was?" Trish asked for the hundreth time.

"Well, unless you would like a full description of what its gullet looked like, no," Dante grated, resting his elbow on his knee and his fist on his chin as she started working on his back. "Demons are pretty much anonymous from the inside, and there wasn't much left to examine after I sliced my way out."

"God, you are such an idiot." He growled at her inarticulately. "How did you manage to get yourself swallowed?"

"Fucked if I know. The thing was like a Venus flytrap, just snapped me right up and DAMN, why are you scrubbing so hard, I'm wounded, you know!" he snapped, shoving at her arm.

Trish shoved right back, returning to a particularly stubborn spot on his back that had caked over an acid wound--stomach acid, actually--and prevented it from healing fully. "What is wrong with you?" she demanded, incredulous at his whining. "You've had much worse than this."

Dante scowled again, staring at the tiled wall so hard it was a wonder it didn't burst into flames. "Maybe I don't like the fact that I have to bathed by my girlfriend. Especially when it's purely for necessity, no foreplay involved. There's just no dignity in this."

"You jackass, there's no dignity in walking around looking like something that crawled out of a demon, either."

"Of course, there is. It means I did my job damned well. Rolling around in bubbles and flowery soap just puts a big frickin' question mark over my sexual orientation."

Grinning, Trish poured Herbal Essences shampoo into his hair. "Orientation. Big word for you, little man," she mocked.

The look he gave her could have slaughtered doves in midair. "I'll. Kill. You," he snarled.

She rolled her eyes. "I don't know what you're so prickly about," she murmured, working on his hair, trying to find the usual white in all the black shit. "I have to do stuff like this for you all the time. Getting you undressed when you hit the bed in a dead sleep from a long mission, practically carrying you home when you get drunk, making you eat and drink when you get wounded . . . you do the same for me. What's the big deal?"

He was quiet for awhile, lost in a sulk as she continued getting rid of the remaining residue. The bubbles HAD helped dissolve the worst of it, and now Trish was beginning to recognize her partner, fair skin, rippling muscles and all. He really did look funny, his tall frame hunched in the tub, knees sticking out of the gunk-darkened water and sulking, but it was more endearing to her than amusing. Only a year ago, she NEVER would have dreamed they would be in a position of comfort so complete that he would let her bathe him. It seemed like only yesterday that she was chucking motorcycles at him.

Thinking of the event so fondly would have made her snort, but then Dante started speaking.

"It's not that it's a big deal," he said, blue-silver eyes half-closed as she gently massaged his scalp with the soap. "I'm still not used to being doted on, that's all."

"I'm not doting," she insisted with a small laugh. "This is what partners do for each other."

"I've had partners. Business-wise, sex-wise. None of them ever gave me a bath. Well, with the exception of Lucia--ow!" She'd given his hair a good yank in punishment.

"Smart ass." He knew how jealous she got when he mentioned his one-time co-worker in a demonic venture. She'd been on another mission herself at the time, and the very idea of him spending "quality time" with some French chick just irritated her, and he loved it.

But it was the truth about no one ever doing something like this for him, nonetheless. No one else would ever see the feared demon-hunter, Dante Sparda, getting a bubble bath, not if they wanted to keep their eyes attached to their head. But she was privy to the spectacle only because he allowed it, and it gave her a very warm feeling.

And the feeling got even warmer as he yelled and flailed when she turned the full force of the showerhead on him again.


"Just stand up, moron."

She grabbed him by the arm and yanked him to his feet, finishing the rinse. Once done, she turned off the shower and looked him over for any remaining crud.

Nope. Dante was as pristine as ever, looking like a drowned albino cat just fished out the river. Although he probably wouldn't like the comparison one tiny little bit.

He must have noticed her grin because the scowl returned. "What?" he demanded.

"Nothing." Trish yanked the plug out of the tub, grabbed a dark green, oversized towel off the rack and unceremoniously threw it over his head. "All done. And you're very welcome."

"Bite me."

Ungrateful little whelp. She shrugged and shucked off her own sopping wet clothes and threw them in the hamper, then wrapped a towel around herself as well. When she was about to leave the bathroom, she noticed Dante staring at her with a strange expression.

She heaved a sigh. "What now?"

"This is the first time I've ever been naked, in a bathroom, with a beautiful woman and didn't do anything resembling sex."

"God, you're hopeless!" she started to rant, then paused. "Wait a minute. How many times did you--"

He grinned at her wolfishly. "You better not ask a question you're gonna regret."

Trish stared at him. Narrowed her eyes. Finally, she leaned over to the shower knobs and turned it on--very, very cold.


But he forgave her when she took off her towel and joined him.


AN: The idea just wouldn't leave me alone. Dante? Trish? Bubble bath? A moment of idiocy ensues. I guess I wanted to show his soft side. Yeah, he was one petulant little half-demon in this story, but I think that's about as soft as Dante Sparda gets. Good? Bad? Out-of-character? Let me know. ^_^