Dog Food: An Inuyasha Short Story ((Standard Disclaimer: Characters are not mine, Rumiko Takahashi's copyright is her own, the usual courtesies apply--you know the drill. Don't sue me, I'm not profiting so it wouldn't do you a darn bit of good anyway. Thanks very much, have a nice day.))


Dog Food
an Inuyasha short story
by Becky Tailweaver


Kagome Higurashi adjusted her grip on the cooking stick and poked at the fire with another branch. "Phew!" she sighed, blowing her bangs up with her puff of breath. "These are taking forever to cook."

Her situation just then had, unfortunately, become a summary of the story of her life: Out in the middle of nowhere again, seeking yet another jewel shard from some obnoxious evil demon that was terrorizing the general populace and calling undue attention to itself with the arrogant misuse of its newfound power.

The weather also helped sum it up; it was a cool, cloudy afternoon that looked like it might shower them with spring rain, so Kagome and Shippo huddled close around the small cooking fire that sat half-under a rocky overhang that would shelter them should it begin to pour. The fact that their meal was uncooperative did not help the semi-dismal atmosphere of the day.

Shippo was helping Kagome cook the special lunch she had brought from her time that morning, holding one of the sticks over the fire. At the end of it was the item in question, giving off a wonderful smell as it sizzled. A third stick was braced against some rocks to cook; the other set of hands that should have held it was long gone.

Inuyasha was out scouting about, having left half an hour ago just as she'd begun unpacking lunch and saying she'd need some help preparing it. Kagome was sure he was just getting out of having to do any sort of "women's work." He wasn't crazy about helping out when it wasn't a life-or-death situation, but he was always more than willing to eat what she cooked. He wouldn't be gone long, however, and she expected him back soon enough; the meaty, sizzling smell of lunch would draw him out like a moth to a flame. What carnivore could resist freshly-cooked corn-fattened beef?

"Hey, Kagome, you done with that stuff yet?"

Kagome sighed, wondering if she had a possible future as a psychic. Sure enough--there he was, peering down at her from the tree across the small clearing, looking like some predator waiting to pounce. "They're nearly finished," she told him, her tone one of wearied patience. "Come down here and get your own."

Snorting, the half dog-demon hopped lightly down from the tree, landing soundlessly on the ground and padding over to the little camp. He crouched across the fire from her and followed Shippo's example with the cooking stick reserved for him. Kagome removed her lunch from the fire and began to assemble its various parts, Shippo and Inuyasha emulating her. She explained what the various toppings were and let them pick and choose their own.

The little kitsune was soon happily snacking away at his. Inuyasha took one final suspicious sniff of the end product before tentatively biting into it, his lips lifted well away as his fangs delicately cut through a small morsel to taste. With the care he took it was a surprisingly tidy bite; as he took the small sample, Kagome thought sourly, he obviously didn't want to get a single extra crumb or drop of sauce on him should the food prove poisonous. He chewed thoughtfully, savoring the meat, bread, and sauce that made up the meal. After a moment's hesitation, he took a second, larger bite, chewed and swallowed, then looked at Kagome. "It's okay," he aceded. "For a 'Western dish.' It's not spicy like those Mexican taco things you made last time." He took another large bite. As his hesitance waned, his bites grew bigger as his "chew time" decreased.

Kagome giggled. By the way he looked, it was more than okay. He was eating just as enthusiastically as he had with the tacos. One might almost call it "wolfing."

Shippo finished another bite that was probably too big for him, then grinned happily at Kagome. "These are really delicious! What do you call them?"

"Hot dogs."

"Khack!"

The thick, hacking cough startled her when Inuyasha suddenly choked on the bite he'd been beginning to swallow. Dropping the remains of his hot dog in the dirt, he jumped back from the fire, landing on all fours and shaking his head as he continued to choke on the oversized morsel, trying to spit it out. When he was finally forced to swallow it, he collapsed to his haunches, staring at Kagome and looking decidedly ill. "Hot...dogs?" he wheezed, his eyes very wide.

Concerned, Kagome watched him pant for air and frantically turned her statement over and over in her mind. All she'd gotten from Shippo was a funny look for the name of the meal. What had set Inuyasha off so badly? Kagome stared at him for a moment, uncomprehending. Then the gears in her mind turned over, and the words Hot Dog came back to her. When she finally understood, she burst out laughing, further upsetting the half-demon sitting across from her.

"Oh, you poor thing!" she cried, laughing so hard her stomach hurt. "It's not dog meat! It's like a sausage--it's made of cows and stuff! It's just a cute name, silly."

Shippo was rolling on the ground giggling hysterically at the frightened look on Inuyasha's face, trying to keep his hot dog from falling apart in his hands. Kagome tried to stop laughing, seeing the blushing, disgruntled look on the dog-demon's face.

Hesitantly, Inuyasha inched back to the fire, picked up his hot dog, and sniffed it again. Finally, a blush high on his cheeks, he glared at her. "That's not cute!" he snarled, embarassed beyond belief. "That's disgusting!"

"I'm sorry," Kagome chuckled, drying her eyes. "You don't need to freak out or anything. Did you honestly believe I'd play such a nasty joke on you? You need to think a little better of me."

Inuyasha flicked dust off his food and took another bite, settling down again. "Hmph. Don't pull tricks with me, wench."

"Hot dogs made of dogs...really," Kagome chuckled, shaking her head. "In my world, there are millions of fat cows processed into tons of hamburger every day. Who needs dog meat?"

Inuyasha flicked an ear and raised an eyebrow suspiciously at her. "So nobody in your time eats dogs?"

Kagome almost answered, then paused, thinking. This time, she opened her mouth with a sly look. "Just Mexicans."

Inuyasha froze, stared at her, and swallowed his bite with difficulty. His eyes were very wide once again.

The End


AN: Well, I brushed and polished this shortfic up a bit, since it was rather poorly-written and didn't match the upgrades since I went to the new server. It's all black and shiny now! And the wording, paragraphs, and focal shifts flow better. Hope it sounds good!

So, did everyone get the joke at the end? I do not mean to be stereotypical of any particular ethnic group; Kagome's just trying to scare Inuyasha with a commonly held misconception. But, by the way, there are places in this world where some people still eat dogs... (*imagines hunger-crazed aboriginals chasing Inuyasha around with spears and forks while the women heat up the big cooking pot over the fire*)

Whew! I better stop watching those anthropological documentaries!