Bathtime

Karin didn't notice the object until she stepped on it. She felt her foot squash something, and heard a noise, almost like a grunt. She looked down. Her socked foot was resting on a yellowy red stuffed thing; she couldn't be sure quite what it was; a lion, maybe? She removed her foot and squinted at it.

Had this thing just grunted? When she stepped on it?

No, that was impossible.

She stooped and picked it up by on arm. Ew, it was disgusting. Like it had been dragged over half the country behind an eighteen wheeler.

What on earth was any stuffed toy; especially a repulsive one like this; doing in front of Ichigo's bedroom door? Was it Yuzu's? Nah; Yuzu would never let one of her things get this filthy. Karin could barely stand to look at it.

"This is disgusting!" She exclaimed aloud. "Even someone like me, who usually wouldn't care, cannot tarnish my eyes with such a horrible thing."

Was it just her imagination, or did the stuffed lion make a wriggling motion as if to escape? Karin was no stranger to supernatural occurrences; unfortunately; and she scrutinized the thing with some apprehension. She had had some bad experiences with ghosts and spirits and the like. She raised the lion to eye level and said, in a clear voice, "Are you some kind of a spirit? What are you doing in that repulsive lion?"

The lion made to move, no sound. Karin glared at it for a minute longer, then set it down, satisfied. If it was a spirit, it didn't have much reason to hide.

She began to walk away, when she turned back. The thing lay on the ground, forlornly. Karin rolled her eyes but picked it up again. "Fine then. You're so filthy I can't stand to look at you! I might as well wash you off so I can give you to Yuzu."

The lion may have squeaked in terror, but Karin didn't notice. She glided regally into the bathroom and shut the door.

Karin first put the plug in the bath and turned on the hot water. Then she got out Comet, soap, and shampoo. From the cabinet she retrieved washcloths, scrubbers, large puffy things that could have been anything, and other implement of cleanliness. Just before she turned the water off, she grabbed bubble bath, just for safety.

The dark haired girl rolled up her sleeves quite literally, and plunged the lion into the scalding water. She ignored its thrashing about and began to scrub it mercilessly with a washcloth and soap, until every last vestige of filth had disappeared. Then she sprinkled Comet and scoured the muck off the plush body.

It was about an hour later that a very wet girl and a very wet plush lion emerged from the bathroom. A very wet bathroom glimmered behind them. The girl took the lion outside and wrung it fiercely. Then she took two clothes pins and pinned it neatly by its ears to the clothes line. Then she disappeared inside to attend to the drying out of the bathroom.

About another hour later, she came back out. The lion swayed gently by its ears in the breeze. It was fairly dry. She took it down, and back up to the bathroom, where she hairdryered it until the scraggly plush was soft and fluffy. Karin looked at her handiwork and smiled triumphantly. "Victory is mine, foolish lion!" she declared. "You are now fit to be in this house." She picked the plush toy up and took it into Yuzu's room. Karin gently set it down on the bed. "There. A nice surprise for Yuzu." Pleased with herself, she went out again.

A little bit later, a small girl bounced into her room. She saw the lion on the bed and gave a shriek. "BOSTOV! Where have you been??? And-how clean you are, Bostov! I'm so glad to see you! I have a present for you!" She pulled a large, gaudy pink flower out of her pocket and pinned it neatly to the lion's felt mane. "There. Now you look so wonderful!"

The lion may have given a small sigh of despair, but plush lions aren't alive, are they?