Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for this absurd adventure... especially for the ticklish one. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess.

Chapter 65: High Expectations

"Luxurious?" Kouga sprang along the uphill track, mood as light as his leaps. "Scent's about right, but we could be looking at nothing more than a steaming crevice."

"It'll be a pool. With seating," she argued. "Our host wouldn't stand for anything less than perfection."

"Cramped, crusty, crumbling. Veiled in poisonous gases." His doomsaying wasn't having much of an effect on Kagome's optimism.

She laughed. "Don't be silly. The smell would offend Himself."

Kouga struggled to keep a grin contained. "Water'll be too hot for humans to handle. And infested with fire beetles."

"What do you have against hot springs?"

"Where'd you get that idea?"

Her exasperation was a veneer; her happiness tickled his ego. And Kouga wasn't exactly oblivious to their mutual relief. Neither of them was interested in any kind of entanglement. Cooperation was necessary. Camaraderie was a plus. Leave it at that, and he'd get through with both his pride and his pants where they belonged.

"You're looking for problems!" Kagome asked, "Isn't it better to hope for the best?"

Kouga leapt a little higher than necessary and landed in a crouch. "Stuff is always going wrong, especially where you're concerned."

She hugged Wilson tighter. "Hey, I didn't sign up for the battle package. You volunteered me."

He made a show of sniffing the air, which was thick with sulfurous overtones. And... something else. Kouga's smile faded. "Huh."

Catching his mood, Kagome tensed. "What ?" she whispered.

"Seems like you were right." Kouga edged toward a steamy alcove, senses straining. "Outdoor bath with all the trimmings."

She offered a tentative smile. "Isn't that good?"

"Not sure." Hoity-toity fragrances tickled his nose—shampoo, oils, perfumes. "Seems occupied."

Original Posting Date: February 26, 2018
Prompt: Shampoo, suggested by unaticaenbeijing
Words: 279