A mostly fluff, semi-romantic one-shot, vaguely-but-not-really inspired by SeeD41269's Strawberry Bubble Bath. The whole soap thing just reminded me that InuYasha must have very dirty hair. Also, the strawberry scent is by suggestion of Ducky-Rawr-Foxears, who is awesome. Ha, it started out much shorter… whoops. It's my first InuYasha fanfiction, heh, so go easy on me! Enjoy!
A second earlier, the red-robed man had been sleeping peacefully in the crook of a tree branch, high above the girl standing on the ground.
Now, he was hanging from the branch by the fingertips of one hand, rubbing one furry ear with the other.
"What're you trying to do, give me a heart attack?!" he yelped, swinging himself gracefully back up onto the branch and perching lightly on the rough bark.
"No. I just wanted to see something, come down here," came her answer.
InuYasha sneered at her. "Yeah, what for?"
The dark-haired girl below rolled her eyes and sighed, "Just come down. Please?"
He laughed. "And who's gonna make me?"
"Okay! Okay! Sheesh!" He leapt hastily from the tree, and landed softly on his bare feet. "Stupid necklace…"
"There, was that so difficult?"
"Yeah, yeah. So what do you want?"
In response, she grabbed his shoulders, spun him so he was facing away from her, and pushed him firmly into a sitting position.
But she was busy tugging on his hair, trying to work her fingers through the long white strands.
"It's exactly how I thought… All that battling and running through trees- your hair is a mess!"
"You're getting a shampoo," Kagome beamed.
InuYasha looked confused. "A what?"
She leaned over and repeated it loudly in his ear, "Shampoo!"
His sensitive ears twitched reproachfully. "I'm not deaf, I heard you the first time. What's a shampoo?"
Kagome sighed. The feudal era's lack of hygienic products was highly inconvenient.
"It's like special soap for your hair."
InuYasha twisted around to face her. "I don't think so."
Kagome shook her head, "Nope, too late, it's decided. Your hair is one big knot, and it smells like dirt and blood. It's a shampoo for you mister!"
InuYasha sprung lightly to his feet and backed away from her a little.
Kagome put her hands on her hips. "It's not that bad, Sango and Miroku have both tried it, and they love it."
Still looking wary, InuYasha said slowly, "Okay, so where is this stuff? I wanna see it before you start drenching me in it…"
Kagome knelt and began rifling through her backpack, eventually emerging with a bottle of pink liquid. She unscrewed the cap and offered it to InuYasha, who picked it up and sniffed it gingerly.
"…Smells like strawberries."
"Well, yeah, that's so it makes your hair smell nice too."
"Ohh, no. I am NOT going to go around smelling like a fruit. Not like I get enough grief for being only half demon, let's add "effeminate" to the list…" InuYasha spun around and stalked away, dirty hair swinging derisively behind him.
"InuYasha, get back here! Don't make me get Miroku. He'll slap a sutra scroll on your head like that," Kagome said, snapping her fingers for effect.
InuYasha stopped walking and stood with his arms crossed. He could never resist her for long, but this shampoo business was pushing it. Sighing, he waited until she caught up with him, forcibly linked her arm in his and began dragging him towards the nearby stream.
He didn't know why she was so all-fired excited about this shampoo thing, but he probably owed her this. So, he followed her over to the bank, where there was a large, flat stone standing next to the softly singing water.
InuYasha sighed. "What now?"
Kagome looked mildly embarrassed, and her eyes strayed up to the slowly rolling clouds. "Uhh, well, your hair needs to be wet for the shampoo to work right… And it's a little sticky if you get it on fabric…"
Knowing where she was going with this, and deciding to make it all the more uncomfortable, he took a step closer, closing the gap between them to about a foot. "Oh?"
"Well," she said awkwardly, "it would probably be easier if you just took your shirt off…"
Smirking, InuYasha turned his back on Kagome and pulled the loose red fabric over his head, tossing it onto a nearby tree limb.
Still averting her eyes, (although InuYasha noticed a few surreptitious looks) Kagome said, "Okay, now go get your hair nice and wet, then come sit on this rock here."
InuYasha walked over to the stream, knelt down, and plunged his head into the icy water. After a second, he stood up again, a short gasp escaping his lips- the water was colder than he expected.
Deliberately shaking his head in a very dog-like manner, he heard an anticipated squeal behind him. He turned to see Kagome slightly spattered with river water, and grinned innocently. "Whoops."
Looking halfway between irritated and amused, Kagome pointed insistently at the rock in front of her. "Alright dog boy, very funny. Now get over here."
InuYasha settled himself on the rock with his back to Kagome, who was busy unscrewing the pink bottle. As the smell of strawberries reached his nose, he began to have second thoughts about letting her do this to him…
Kagome poured what she would normally use in her own hair into the palm of her hand. Looking at InuYasha's unruly mane, she abandoned this approach and squeezed half the bottle into his hair.
And so began the mundane task of working the shampoo into the mass of hair, pulling out twigs and bits of she-didn't-want-to-know-what-but-looked-as-though-it-might-have-once-been-part-of-a-demon, and detangling a knot that seemed to overtake his whole head.
As she worked, she noted with concern the number of pale, raised scars that covered his strong back. Even being a half-demon couldn't protect him fully, and he had sustained many serious injuries in their recent battles.
And what if they succeeded in their mission? What if the Shikon jewel was put together again? As a full demon, InuYasha would be nearly invincible. The scars would disappear, but so, she feared, would the InuYasha she had come to know. This thought scared her more than anything, and she quickly pushed it from her mind.
Since InuYasha seemed to be dozing and wasn't really paying attention, Kagome snuck in a bit of conditioner. She massaged the buttery liquid into his scalp, and ended up rubbing the hollows behind his dog-like ears. Why were dog ears so fun to play with? Actually, it was surprising he was tolerating it. Usually he swatted her hand away and yelled something like, "If you want a pet, call your stupid wolf boyfriend!"
Why was InuYasha tolerating it? He was in a near-coma state of happiness. Maybe this whole shampoo thing wasn't all bad. When Kagome's fingers found that spot behind his ears, he couldn't contain the sigh of contentment that bubbled up inside him. This was nice.
And then Kagome disrupted his stupor by placing one hand on each shoulder and shaking him gently back and forth. "See, was that so horrible? Now go rinse it out."
InuYasha staggered a little when he got up, and had to roughly shake his head before his brain could start functioning properly again. Conscious of Kagome watching him, he flopped down on the bank and stuck his head back into the water.
The ice-cold rushing water brought him fully back to reality, and as he ruffled his hair to wash the shampoo out, he chastised himself for letting his guard down like that. What if they had been attacked?
And he hated to admit it, but he had enjoyed Kagome running her hands through his hair a little too much. She was off-limits. He already put her in an incredible amount of danger just by being near her.
Finally resurfacing, InuYasha flipped his hair roughly out of his face and sprawled out on his back, resting his head on his arms. Life was just so complicated.
He watched Kagome washing the leftover shampoo off her hands and forearms. She was humming a tune he was unfamiliar with, probably a song from her own time. She was always so darn happy, even though they were in the middle of such a huge, dangerous mess.
InuYasha quickly looked skyward as she stood up and walked over to him, settling herself down in the grass beside him.
"Doesn't that feel better?"
"I guess… thanks."
Kagome looked slightly startled at this, but then smiled.
Oh, how she looked like Kikyo when she smiled at him like that. Kikyo, the woman who had been so easily tricked into betraying him. Kikyo, who wanted him dead, and preferably by her own hands.
Despite their obvious similarities, he guiltily found himself thinking that Kagome would never hurt him, ever.
Many times he had thought about moving on, letting Kikyo become a part of the past. After all, the woman wandering the earth at the moment wasn't the Kikyo he had fallen in love with - no, it was a cold, heartless shell of the woman he once knew that had tried to kill him, tried to kill Kagome. This act in itself was unforgivable, and had it been anyone else that threatened Kagome, they would not have survived his fury.
And yet, if he allowed himself to stop loving Kikyo, Naraku would have finally won, succeeded in pitting Kikyo and InuYasha against eachother. He wasn't ready to accept this yet. Perhaps after Naraku was good and dead, then, who knew. But at the moment, things would have to remain as they were.
Besides, there was no guarantee that Kagome liked him anyway. Sometimes he thought that just maybe… but other times he felt like she hated him.
Bathed in the warm rays of the midday sun, sleep took him. InuYasha awoke to a soft tugging on his hair. Pushing himself off the ground using his forearms, he leapt into the air and landed in a fighting pose, ready to dispatch whatever demon had crept up on them.
Instead of a vicious demon, InuYasha's snarl was received by a very startled Kagome, who was holding a hairbrush. She raised her eyebrows at him. "Well aren't we feeling jumpy today?"
"You startled me," he muttered as he threw himself back down on the patch of matted grass he had recently vacated. "Haven't I had enough of this kind of stuff?"
"I'm getting the knots out, you just have to lie still for a few minutes," Kagome said, placing her brush-free hand on his forehead and pushing him back down.
After a few minutes of comfortable silence, Kagome was satisfied that his hair was completely knot-free. InuYasha sat up and seized a handful of hair, inspecting her handiwork. It was much softer and whiter than he remembered it being, free of blood and dirt, and despite the feminine smell, he appreciated Kagome's efforts.
Kagome tilted her head to the side, also evaluating the afternoon's work. Evidently she liked what she saw, because she smiled widely at him. "Much better."
Kagome suddenly reached forward and took InuYasha's hand, holding it in both of her own. Heat crept up the back of his neck, and he thought he could feel his heart banging against his ribcage. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't think.
His eyes leapt up to her face, but Kagome seemed to be studying his hand.
"Now if you'd just let me do something about these awful nails!"
* * *
For the next week or so, InuYasha had trouble looking at Kagome without some degree of that feeling returning. Nevertheless, until their next demon encounter in which InuYasha was thrown into a muddy river, his hair shone a bright white and swished lightly behind him as he walked, followed by the rest of the group, and the persistent scent of strawberries.