Muahahahaha! (sings) Guess who's back? Back again? Kerichi's back, tell a friend!
I really, really did not intend to continue 'Bath Time'. Really, I didn't. But I was lured back by the reviews! I got 43 (as of 6/23, lol) for a one-shot. How could I stay away? The thing is, I had absolutely no idea how to continue, so... if anyone reads the profile, you'll see - Kerichi is two 'separate and distinct' personalities. Usually we don't collaborate, but in this one case, she was lured away from her Harry Potter...by Kish...by the reviewers... to co-author! So if you like Draco Malfoy (who's a lot like Kish, in our valued opinions), go read her stuff! Sheesh, some people work for food. The other Kerichi works for a plug! She also alphabetizes as well as she writes so I'll just say 'Thanks!'
Special Thanks to everyone who reviewed Bath Time! and inspired this fic: Amme Moto, AnonGirl88, bebe, BlueDragonGirl1, CherryQuiche, Dagger, Daisuke-fan-gurl, Drakulya, DreamBeamz, Dust-in, gelatinoussugar, hatori obsesser, Ichigo2.0, ichigo96, itsa mia, Jura, Keren, KishIchigo Forever, kishlover27, Kish's kitty-kat, Kitty the Wandering Wood Nymph, Mew BBerry, Mew Choco, mew lemon (x3), MewMewRaspberry, mew raven and mew cherry, Mew Sakura, Minachan the Neko, Nya, Paxton V. French, Queen of the Moon, Red Dragon9, Reena, Sanosukes true one, Spaceman Spiff (Emily), tamagotchi-killer, tlad, Vampire Kitty, vhaiy, You'll never know..., and ? (the unknown reviewer- Kish?)
Bath Time 2: Back in Bubbles
I will not panic...
Jangling her keys, taking three tries to open her front door, Ichigo stumbled into her home and looked around frantically. Banging her head back against the door, she slid down until her head was between her knees. Grabbing her pink hair with both hands, she wailed, "Ahhhhh...I haven't cleaned since mom and dad left on vacation...how could I be so stupid as to invite Masaya over for dinner?"
Resisting the urge to fall to the floor and throw a fit worthy of a two year old, the girl remembered how Masaya had looked into her eyes and sadly wished he could see her more often. That was the moment her brain had ceased to function. Instead, her heart had taken control of her mouth and now she had to figure out how to clean a pig sty and cook a meal in...ACK!...three hours! Whimpering, she pushed herself off the floor and ran for the kitchen. She needed trash bags!
For the next two and a half hours, Ichigo ran about the house, cursing her messiness and cleaning. She threw away an assortment of take out containers, cups and plates she had no wish to wash, and reams of paper that she had used to draw Masaya before crumpling them up for not capturing his hair, his eyes, or his soul. The girl was like a whirlwind as she swept the floors, dusted every surface, dumped moldy old food out of the refrigerator, and scrubbed the guest bathroom. Hot and sweaty, she opened the freezer, praying that her mother had left her something, anything, she could make for dinner.
Jumping up and down in joy, she reached for a container of prawn soup and then found a container of her mother's delicious noodles and vegetables. Ichigo found the Donburi bowl to hold the noodle dish and danced with it around the kitchen. Placing the soup in a pot on the stove on low, she placed the noodles in the microwave to defrost and shrieked as she noticed the time, "Aiiiiii! Twenty minutes! I've got to take a bath!"
Rushing through the house, the girl skidded to a stop in her bathroom doorway. Her bath, which probably needed scrubbing, was not empty and waiting for her. Instead, it was occupied by a green-haired alien who smiled wickedly at her while popping bubbles that floated up from the tub- with his pointed ears.
Closing her eyes tightly, Ichigo chanted, "I'm not seeing him, I'm not seeing him, I'm just having a hallucination from stress. I will open my eyes like so and..." She cracked open one eye. He winked at her. She screamed. "AHHHH! What are you doing back? In here? Again?"
Kish shrugged. "I was bored. I considered creating chaos somewhere, but then I remembered your bath...and how you amused me." Sitting up, he gestured imperiously. "Come. Amuse me again."
Ichigo wanted to cry. Her hair was hanging in sweaty strings, she was covered in dust, dirt, and things she really didn't want to know about and Kish wanted her to amuse him? Pointing stiffly, she ordered, "Get out!"
Gold eyes glittered as he offered generously, "If you need to bathe, I will share my bubbles... Do you need help disrobing?" When he moved to rise out of the tub, she shrieked,
"Stay where you are!" Under her breath she muttered, "We are not going through that again." One large elfin ear twitched and Kish snickered. Ichigo mustered up her best glare, stating firmly, "No, I do not need help because I'm not getting into that bath- I am not that kind of girl!"
Delicately, he sniffed, and smirked. "So I smell."
Gasping in outrage, Ichigo stomped her foot. "Oh, you, you...I have been working, cleaning...it's not my fault I'm smelly!"
"It's your fault if you stay that way," Kish pointed out in a reasonable tone that made the girl grind her teeth.
Clenching her fists while gazing meaningfully at his neck, she gritted, "I...will...not...allow...you...to...ruin...my...dream date!"
Golden eyes widened. "Dream date? With whom? Not Aoyama, the human statue?"
"Who else would it be?" Ichigo's glare became deadly. "And what do you mean, 'human statue'?"
"...Ah, what's the story? Pistachio?" Kish shook his green-haired head. "You're still waiting for that puppet to turn into a real boy."
"Masaya is NOT a puppet! Or a statue! He's a kind, sweet, gentle young man, with a wonderful smile and a good heart and-oh, stop looking so sick!" Kish paused in his gagging motions to stare innocently up at her. Ichigo sighed heavily. "Listen, it's-OH MY GOSH!" Ichigo stared at her wristwatch in complete horror. "I have five minutes!"
"Until the 'dream date'?" Kish questioned, his fingers embellishing the words with quoting motions.
Ichigo didn't even try to glare at him, begging, "Listen! Please! Just let me- let's make a deal- I'll give you anything, just, please-!"
Kish looked about to take her up on that 'anything' offer, but then replied, "Very well, I promise to be quiet."
"Argh, you-!" It didn't look like she was getting any more than that. Flinging her hands dramatically, Ichigo yelled, "Fine! Stay! Take your bath, just be quiet!" Then she spun on her heel and hurried away.
A few minutes later the cat-girl emerged from her parents' bathroom, nice and clean, dressed in a pink blouse and black skirt. Ichigo ran her fingers through the damp pink strands, vainly trying to appear presentable. Scurrying into the kitchen while trying to put on lip gloss, she stirred the soup, put the noodle dish on to heat, and then realized she had nothing for dessert.
About to start vainly searching the cupboards, the girl paused when a knock sounded at the front door. Smoothing down her hair while resisting the urge to lick her palms first, Ichigo opened the door and stared. It wasn't Masaya. It was Shippo, the little boy from next door. He smiled up at her.
"Hey, lady, want to buy some pocky to help support my school?" The kid's eyes grew wide when she reached for his display case and began mumbling,
"Strawberry, chocolate, caramel, yogurt, banana, almond-crush...it's not exactly home-made or impressive, but it'll have to do!" Holding up a finger for the boy to wait, she quickly went into the house, grabbed her wallet and ran back to pay Shippo, who grinned.
Taking the assorted boxes of pocky inside, Ichigo placed the case on the kitchen counter, trying to decide whether or not to put the snacks on a decorative tray. Hearing another knock, she shoved the pocky in a cabinet, took several calming breaths, and strolled calmly to door. This time, it was Masaya. He looked so good in a black shirt and trousers. She giggled semi-hysterically at the thought of trying to have a romantic dinner with an alien in her bathtub.
"May I come in?"
Giggling again as she backed away to allow him to enter, Ichigo said, "Of course! I've been looking forward to our dinner for such a long, long time."
"It's only been a few hours," Masaya gently pointed out.
"Heh, heh, I meant it's just seemed like such a long time, because of...anticipation." She smiled widely in an attempt to distract him from her slip. She'd liked Masaya for so long and now he was here, in her home. It was a miracle that she wasn't a stuttering fool. Suddenly, she realized that she was a staring fool. Pointing to the kitchen, she said, "Uh...are you hungry?"
"Yes." He smiled, following her as she led the way. Masaya sniffed appreciatively and stepped to the stove. "Prawn soup is my favorite."
"Mine too!" Ichigo gushed. Moments went by while she admired the way he smiled. His teeth were perfect. Eventually, she realized that she was staring again and said, "Why don't you go into the dining room, have a seat, and I'll bring in our soup?"
They were quietly enjoying the delicate flavor of the soup when a squawk was heard. The girl froze. The noise came from the bathroom. Masaya's brows drew together.
"What was that?"
Dropping her spoon onto the tablecloth- drat, something else to clean- Ichigo laughed nervously. "Heehee...I think I left the window open and a bird flew in. I'll be right back!"
Her date said calmly, "Alright. Do you have any spring onion?"
Trying not to trip over her own feet as she backpedaled, the girl repeated blankly, "Spring onion?" The light switch in her brain flipped. She nodded vigorously, "Oh, spring onion...as opposed to...uh...other...ones. Yes, yes, in the refrigerator. Help yourself!" The last part was said while she sprinted through the front room. Glad that she'd cleaned the fridge, Ichigo burst into the bathroom and demanded, "What's going on in here?"
The bathroom was silent. The tub, with its mounds of bubbles seemed empty- until a body erupted from beneath the bubbles, squawking, "My eye! It burns, it burns!" Kish whimpered in relief when Ichigo quickly turned on the tub's faucet, grabbed his green hair and pulled him over so she could flush his eye out with water.
Furiously, she hissed, "What did you put in your eye, you baka alien?"
Flipping his hair back and leaning against the far wall of the tub, Kish pointed to a container on the counter and glared. "Your plan failed. I did not eat the pearly ball of death; I merely squished it, restricting its poison to my eye."
Ichigo spat venomously, "Those are bath oil beads. They make your skin smooth, dummy!" She gasped when Kish grasped her wrist and pulled her hand to his chest.
"My skin needs no smoothing, human."
Ichigo pulled away, scrambling toward the door. Ignoring smooth, firm skin, and the smile of amusement playing across his lips, she warned, "No more noise, no messing with my stuff or I will make you eat those 'death balls'. Got it?"
Kish nodded, crossing his arms in a way that defined his pecs. Not that she noticed or cared. Ichigo didn't like the double meaning he put into his silky, "Got it." Ignoring her qualms, she raced back to the dining room...and promptly began to cough. How many onions had Masaya chopped up to put in his soup? Her eyes fell to the bowl on the low table. Quite a few... Her date smiled, and she realized that his teeth weren't as white as...shaking her head to stop disloyal thoughts, Ichigo said, "I'm back!"
"Your soup was delicious. Is there another course?"
She clapped a hand to her forehead. "Of course there's another...course...hehhehheh...heh." Masaya was staring- and not in a good way. She wished he would've at least smiled at her lame pun. It would make him seem less god-like and more like a real boy. Eyes popping, Ichigo realized that she'd accidentally used that baka Kish's words and promised in a voice trying not to rise into hysteria, "Noodles and vegetables coming right up!"
In the kitchen, she poured the noodle dish into the Donburi bowl, hid the empty container in a cabinet and smoothed her hair. Squaring her shoulders, the girl imitated her mother and glided into the dining room, smiling. "I hope you enjoy my humble dish." Serving Masaya, Ichigo served herself a smaller portion. Her stomach was tied in knots and if she tried to eat too much... Trying not to think about seeing her prawn soup again, she lifted her chopsticks and took a bite.
"You are an excellent cook. Perhaps you should consider becoming one professionally," Masaya offered after eating in silence for several minutes.
Hoping he thought she was blushing out of modesty, Ichigo replied, "Oh, well, thank you, but it's just a hobby." The imagined laughter of her friends rang in her ears. Her lips curved in reluctant amusement at the thought of her as 'Chef Ichigo'. Handsome and strong...as a statue...no, no, as a man should be...her dream date nodded politely and resumed eating. A few minutes later, a high pitched yowl echoed throughout the room. Jumping to her feet, the girl tucked a pink strand of hair behind her ear and explained, "Cat...jumped inside that open window I bet...I'll be right back!"
Shaking with anger, Ichigo stomped through the house and threw open the bathroom door. The sight that met her eyes made her shriek, "Oh my gods, you're bleeding, what happened?" Dropping to her knees beside the tub, she took Kish's injured hand. The cut was on his pointer finger, and looked worse than it was, since the dummy had just sat there and let it bleed down his hand like the baka he was.
She noticed her razor on the floor across the room and scolded, "Didn't I tell you to leave my stuff alone! Do you have a hearing problem? You shouldn't, with ears as big as yours." Pushing herself to her feet, the cat part of her personality her wanted to give the alien a few more scratches for interrupting her date. Sighing heavily, the girl opened a drawer and found a waterproof bandage.
Golden eyes watched her steadily as she bandaged his finger. Backing away from the tub, she demanded when Kish kept staring and holding out his finger, "What? What in the universe can you possibly want now?"
Her jaw dropped. "No...way..."
The alien did something shocking. He pouted. "I know humans kiss hurts to make them better. If you do not kiss mine, I will know you are trying to harm me, and I will make such a noise that Pistachio's wooden feet will come running."
Meeting Kish's intent gaze, Ichigo's heart began to race. Against her will, her feet shuffled forward. Hoping he didn't notice the rapid rise and fall of her chest, she leaned and puckered her lips as tightly as humanly possible. Involuntarily, her eyes fell on the smooth musculature of his chest. Oh my gods, he's breathing rapidly too! With desperate swiftness, she pecked his finger. After staring at her appraisingly, Kish waved his fingers in lordly dismissal. "You may return to your statue Aoyama now."
Irrationally irritated, she retorted, "Gee, thanks." In the doorway, she turned and sneered. "And for your information, its Pinocchio, not Pistachio, so don't call my date the wrong name again!"
Halfway down the hallway, her brain made the connection between her misspoken words and the huffing sounds emanating from the bathroom. She'd accidentally implied that Masaya was a Pinocchio! It was too much. Ichigo began pulling her hair and stifling curses behind clenched teeth.
"Are you okay, Ichigo?"
Straightening like Kish had pinched her backside, the frazzled girl giggled in place of breaking down in tears. Patting her shoulder, her date smiled. "You have been very brave, hiding your illness, but I finally realized why you've been running to the bathroom so often. I regret making you entertain when you're unwell. Let's do this again when you're...better."
Following him to the door like a motherless kitten, Ichigo sadly waved goodbye as Masaya walked away without looking back. Sniffling, she dragged into the kitchen and opened a cabinet, taking out the case of pocky. Slowly, she walked down the hallway to the bathroom. When the cat-girl opened the door, Kish said,
"Why the long face? Did Pinocchio leave you for a marionette?"
Throwing the case on the floor, after grabbing the strawberry pocky, she hissed, "Here. Now you can have your cake and eat it too." Opening the box, she banged her head back against the door several times before sliding down to the floor.
"This is not cake, but this almond-crush is tasty...and you have amused me."
Taking a bite of pocky, she chewed and refused to dignify that remark with a response. Unable to help it, her lips curved upwards, thinking over the 'dream date'.
"I have amused you too?"
Hiding a smile, she denied, "No you haven't."
Kish grinned. "Then if I cannot amuse you, I will annoy you." Taking a deep breath, he flashed a wicked smirk before saying in a sing-song voice, "I see London, I see France, I see Ichigo's..."