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Bouquet ala Miko by ECCougarBeta

Dango to Sango

Two days after Jaken had taken his leave with little Rin and Ah-Un her cycle stopped and the entire group was ready to move on. Blessedly there were rumors floating around one of the villages not far off the beaten path to the Bone Eater's well regarding shards and monsters, and thus they found themselves headed in that direction. In the meantime, Sango had begun to teach her the finer points of hunting. As she spoke, Inuyasha interjected with the occasional word of advice. He was a natural hunter after all, and was a good reference for how scent worked in general. 

"Part of being a hunter and wearing what I wear is to help mask my scent. My clothes help hide my natural musk -" She glowered at the monk who had let out a measured huff resembling a laugh, "Which EVERYONE has regardless of what anyone thinks. Right Inuyasha?"

The unsually quiet hanyou nodded once as he walked along with his hands in his sleeves.

"All ya'll have a smell to ya. Its kinda like your very own flag or somethin'. Tells me whos who, y'know?" 

Kagome smiled, curiosity piqued.

"Soooo, like, can you put a smell to it? Like flowers or like food? Like sweet or salty?"

The hanyou frowned, thinking hard for a moment. "I guess, yea. Like how Ramen in the weird cups you bring from the future smells waaaay different from the ramen in the shops here. Sometimes its hard to explain though, I guess. Like how lightning has a smell but you can't really put it to explaining. You just know its there by the smell."

Everyone seemed to agree amongst themselves as the walked along, even if the observation put Kagome off asking what her scent was (outside of her period, of course...). 

"I will say, one of the most useful tools I have for hiding scent is easily I gathered at Lake Kasumigaura. Its something called soda ash, and its been used for generations to help clean and mask the smell of us hunters. Good for bloodstains too!" Sango exclaimed. 

Kagome nodded, wondering why it sounded so familiar. 

"Did anyone else think it was weird?" Inuyasha said out off the blue. Kagome glanced at him. He'd  been so terribly lost in thought she hadn't wanted to annoy him and the silence was nice on the rare occasion it was given. 

"It isn't like Sesshomaru to just appear out of nowhere - and then stick around. Did he say anything to you?" Inuyasha looked straight at her. Kagome tried not to fluster. She hadn't exactly told them of their conversation on her way back from freshening up, and definitely hadn't told them about the odd innuendo he'd teased her with. She was fairly certain she'd fantasized that last part. 

"Kagome - did he say anything to ya?" Inuyasha repeated, sounding mildly annoyed and concerned. 

"Uh... Oh. Well. I suppose yeah." She answered, wondering if maybe she stayed quiet she wouldn't have to go into details. They moved on for another minute or so, and the weight of everyone's gaze practically made her squirm.

"He was... Really he was just warning me about the smell or something and all that. Said something about wanting to keep Rin safe and not let her be around me when I smell like whatever." Her hasty explanation was accepted but there was still questioning in their eyes. It was Sango that piped up.

"Well what insight did he give you, Kagome?" 

"I'll tell you when we're alone. Its kind of embarrassing right now. Really tired of talking about what a problem child I am here." 

Sango gave her a pitied look and nodded. Kagome knew Sango felt bad, but she still couldn't shake the feeling that she was becoming more of a hinderance that a help. Having had to stop so many times since discovering her unique new problem had put the off of collecting additional shards in a timely manner. Then they were changing their original course after deciding as a group they needed to do something about the problem and were headed back the way they came! It wouldn't surprise her if they were all exasperated and frustrated having to deal with her little problems again. 

They travelled the countryside in silence again, making their way toward Kaede's village. 

~*~

Peace had once again returned in the domain of the Western Lord, and the demons were getting back into the routines they had garnered before the miko had brought her unsettling scent with her. There were a few minor exceptions, one of which was an odd rumor Naraku was fooling around his southermost border, where he had run into the hanyou's pack. It was a rumor which he had been researching when the half-demon had  nearly plowed his steed into the barberry bushes. He found it amusing that the group tended to chase their tales with Naraku - where they would hunt for him, he was usually sure to follow them. He surmised if they stayed in one place for any amount of time, the filthy half-demon would most likely make an appearance. The group did, after all, have the next largest Shikon shard collection by comparison. 

Sesshoumaru's pack was settled nicely for a few hours by a peaceful riverside so the little human could bathe and rest. It wasn't until recently he found it necessary to ensure such stops were made. Jaken was not always faithful to stop for the little one; he understood completely. Human needs were not something demons took into account. However human musk, especially the scent in children, tended to draw demons in for food. It made for an excellent brush up on honing his skills, but every now and again it was irksome when he needed to leave on other business. Just because he was highly competent in himself and his more feral practices relating to his beast didn't mean he was forever in control. He was a naturally occurring demon, and had needs of his own to fulfill. Neither were Jaken or Ah-Un able to defeat some of the stronger demons that might have come to eat the child. He could leave them for some time, anywhere from a week to the rare fortnight, but he would always be required to return until she was old enough to begin training in her own self defense.

Sesshoumaru perused the vast green meadow edging the river. It was dotted with the wildflowers Rin loved, bowing in the warm spring breeze with the rest of the grass. The child herself was running around in her undergarments on the sandy shore of the river, playing with rocks and building miniature huts with the mud there. Rin was still terribly young and knew nothing of defending or fighting as an individual. Clearly she'd only been taught very basic skills in a village where she was sure to have become a breeder, bearing more humans and going about a short life. Fate had other ideas for her when  he intervened. It wasn't much more, but Sesshoumaru did not intend to leave her useless to the world.

He considered the reading, writing priestess back at the campfire a week or so ago. Of all things to be fluent in, the priestess seemed to know less of her charge as a purifying force and more about the world around her. She easily pointed out edible plants, was using basic poultices in healing, had new medications being used all the time. To his surprise, she was also becoming an accomplished marksman - he should know, having had more than once been on the receiving end of purifying arrows. It made him consider asking for a favor. 

Something Sesshoumaru did not do. 

He did know enough about the miko that the best motivator would be sweet, not bitter. Threats of violence would only push her to circle her friends and defend. He required her aid; which meant he would need to be sweet. Sesshoumaru's golden eyes watched the laughing girl as she bent back down and began telling a story with the sticks in the mud on the river bank. 

"Rin. Rinse yourself and dry in the field. We leave when you are dressed." He rumbled. 

"Yes my lord!" She called sweetly. His head tilted. Rin did have a honeyed way about her. Perhaps he could explain, and let the child do the talking. Should she request education from the priestess, he was sure it would tug the woman's heartstrings and she'd be unable to refuse.

"When you are finished, come here. This Sesshoumaru has business for you." 

~*~

Kagome was both fascinated and horrified with the place Kaede had insisted Sango take her. The large wood building was essentially a bath house, and the women inside were welcoming to a fault. Sango had kicked Miroku to the curb and left the menfolk behind to learn in peace. Two of them escorted the girls inside and they sat in a small tea room. Kagome squirmed.

"I don't think this is the greatest idea." She whispered to Sango. "I mean, what could we actually learn here that I don't already know from an anatomy book. I could find something back home to help!"  

Sango rolled her eyes.

"I don't want to rain on your sunny day, but what if we are too far from your home to do something when your cycle hits again? We can't keep to the same pattern of travel when we could learn something here that will help." Sango insisted.

The paper door slid back and two naturally beautiful women were bowed low with a set of tea. When they came up from their bow, both ladies blinked in surprise at the ladies sitting in the room.

"Oh dear." They exchanged a glance but proceeded to bring in the tea and snacks. "Welcome! We hope you enjoy your stay with us! May we keep you company?"

Kagome and Sango nodded. All four women sat quietly and an awkward hush fell over the room. Kagome felt absolutely ridiculous. She was a woman of science, an empowered woman. Why should she be embarrassed about this. Inhaling, she swallowed the embarrassment and fear and cleared her throat.

"So. My name is Higurashi Kagome. I'm here on more of a fact finding mission." She said with the most intense smile she'd ever forced. The women shifted.

"Soooo you aren't interested in women?" The brunette in the pink yukata queried. Kagome swiped her hands and shook her head in the negative.

"Not like that, no!" She chittered. "No, see I'm having some lady issues with my cycle I've never had before, and I've come for some woman on woman advice on how to handle it. I couldn't stand to ask my mother these things; not when we live with my brother and grandpa." 

The petite black haired woman with bangs in the red yukata gave a deep sigh. 

"I see." She gave a brilliant smile. "This is so much better than I thought it was going to be!"

All the girls laughed and the tension in the room dispersed quickly. 

"So what exactly is the problem?" The brunette asked. Kagome's face scrunched.

"Lets introduce ourselves first. So as you know, I'm Kagome, and this is my friend Sango!" Kagome bent at the waist. 

"OH! Yes, of course. I'm Eri, and this here is Yuna!" The brunette, now Eri introduced. "Come now, tell us what the problem is! You came to a brothel, didn't you? Surely it can't be that bad!"

Sango and Kagome exchanged a cursory glance and Kagome dropped her eyes. 

"Well... I keep getting some odd comments from... From the local demon population. About my smell, that is." Kagome stammered. Yuna and Eri frowned. 

"Oooooh... This could indeed be a problem." Yuna said softly. She glanced at Eri. "Perhaps we could call for the half demon that works with the more.. Wiley customers."

Eri nodded and rose gracefully, exiting. She was gone for a few minutes before returning with a stocky red haired woman. She had ears that sloped downwards like a brown hare and big golden eyes. Her skin was a gentle tan color and she looked sweet in the face. Then she opened her mouth.

"Ahhhh you're a priestess! It isn't a wonder you're having problems! I thought I felt a disturbance in the force, you lewd woman you! My name is Ansatsu. I'm a hare hanyou, and I'm here to service you!" She winked at Sango and Kagome with a kohl rimmed eye, and both women flushed. "Ya know, I charge a bit extra by comparison of these ladies, and I do insist you pay them for wasting their time."

Kagome nodded enthusiastically. Ansatsu dismissed them with a jerk of her head. 

"Of course, its only fair. So did Eri tell you about my... My problem?" Kagome asked softly. Ansatsu shrugged.

"The basics I guess. Something about you having a stink that bothers demons. Which is only natural." She frowned at both of them. "The only issue is, I can smell hanyou on you. I recognize that stank too! Isn't that Inuyasha's wet dog stench I smell on you?"

"Whaaaat?!" Sango and Kagome exclaimed in shock, eyes widened. Ansatsu smirked. 

"What, you think that boy doesn't have needs? I see plenty of him here. Looks like the bunny is outta the bag! Now. Lets get back to the problem. He's complained about it before, and I think I can offer you some advice to help you out." 

Ansatsu began pouring tea for herself and filled the others as she spoke, pushing the cups toward them.

"Listen. Priestess' tend to have a stronger smell than your average human. Don't get me wrong," She looked pointedly at Sango, balked at her, "Some of y'all still smell pretty strong. But it isn't the same kinda smell. So think about it like this. If you smell a juicy savory bunch of meat dumplings, as humans you're all gonna have your mouth start watering. First thought? Food. You ain't gonna fuck a dumpling. That isn't the instinct with that smell."

At least with her foul language it felt just like family, Kagome mused as she sipped the hot jasmine tea Ansatsu had provided. 

"Now with you, pretty little miko, there is a different smell. I'm just gonna take a wild guess here and assume you are a virgin, right priestess?"

Kagome shrugged.

"I really haven't found the right person to go that far with."

"Sounds about right for a priestess. You have a smell that is stronger than your average human because it has very pure particles to it. Your cycle is technically your 'unclean' time - its when you purge the unused egg. At the same time, you're purifying that which is unclean in you, which amplifies the smell you're putting out." Ansatsu finished her tea and put the cup aside to make way for the sake saucer. Her brows raised in question, tilting the bottle towards the girls. "It is part of the service you're paying for." 

"Of course. Please and thank you."

She poured healthy servings for the girls in their empty teacups and gave them a toothy grin.

"Now, just before a woman comes to her cycle, she's fertile. She can be impregnated. It also means that she has a scent she gives out to let the surrounding males know, Hey! I'm over here, fuck me blind until I'm preggo!" 

Kagome grimaced at the sake as well as the language. It wasn't her first time imbibing, but the liquor back home with the girls on girls night out was usually more refined that this, and while girl talked generally veered towards sex, it wasn't commonly so crass. Ansatsu filled her saucer and drank again.

"Now that's how it usually is for demons. I'm about... Lets see..." Ansatsu thought for a moment. " I think I'm around two-hundred and fifty-three. I've experienced my fair share of cycles and have two little ones to show for it. During my cycle I can usually fend off the weaker demons for a better chance at a more caring mate. My scent attracts demons for fucking during a cycle." She sighed and gave Kagome an apologetic smile, topping off her teacup with more sake before finishing the bottle herself.

"This is where things get sticky for you priestess. You have a scent that is... Unique in a way." She faltered, still seeming to figure out how to explain it to the girls who were listening at attention. "Ya'll ever had a... well a food that smells sweet and yummy, but for some reason made you all hot and bothered?" 

"Dango." Sango answered out of the blue. Kagome's head swiveled around to stare at her friend, who had a light dusting of pink over her face. Clearly, the sake had loosened her lips. Ansatsu, surprised, laughed in delight.

"Right? Yeah! Dango kinda remind me of balls. Delicious to suck on. You get it!" She applauded Sango and then inhaled. Smirking she ducked her head closer to the slayer. "You're no virgin either.... Who's sweet dango balls have YOU been licking?" 

"Dear God, Sango. Really?" Kagome squealed. Sango giggled and hiccupped. 

"I mean, wasn't somethin' you just share with the town." She slurred in response, gathering herself comically and throwing her nose in the air. "I'm still a lady!"

Ansatsu called for Eri and requested a refill. 

"So you ladies are staying the evening with us, right? You don't mind if I have another on ya'll. I'll share!" Ansatsu insisted. Then she waggled her eyebrows at Kagome. "We still have things to discuss anywho." 

Eri and Yua prepared a room beside the tea room and had everything laid out while Ansatsu, Sango and Kagome continued to drink and talk. 

"So you, Kagome, smell like Dango to Sango over there, to a demon. Ya get where I'm goin' with this?" The drunker Ansatsu got, the heavier her odd yocal got. She sounded more and more like Inuyasha, but smarter. Kagome snickered to herself. The more she imagined the two of them together, the better the pieces seemed to fit. 

"Yeah. Kind of." 

"Now when a powerful demon comes across you and you're fertile, he really can't decide if he wants to eat you, or fuck you."

The liquor was making Kagome feel warm bellied and cocky. She rolled her eyes and nodded exaggeratedly. 

"Yeah, I already figured that out." 

Sango shot her a squinty glare. "Wait. How...?" 

Kagome was beyond being embarrassed.

"'Member when Sesshoumaru took me to the river?"

Sango nodded, still squinting at her. 

"Well he kinda told me something like I might be good eating... In kinda like a sexy way." She mumbled. Sango eyes and mouth widened comically slow. 

"Pffffssshhhh nooooo!" She balked. Kagome shrugged hard and imitated the silver haired monster that oozed sex appeal.

" 'We are not accustomed to pairing an already vulnerable girl with a scent that marks her for eating, even if you happen to be just that!' " She blurted. "Then he pushed my mouth closed because I'm pretty sure I was staring with my mouth wide open. It was a whole weird conversation." 

Ansatsu leaned back on the tatami mats with sake bottle in hand.

"We are talking about Lord of the West Sesshoumaru, dog demon terror who hasn't been seen touching a woman in five hundred years right?" She asked. "Don't get it mixed up - the tales of his prowess is the stuff of legend, right? You never see or hear him take a woman directly, but there are three or four demoness women that tell tales out of bed claiming he's the best they've ever had, and he's ruined them for any other mate. That Western Dog Demon Lord Sesshoumaru?"

Kagome blinked at hanyou before nodding slowly. "I guess that is who we are talking about..."

"If I didn't know any better priestess, you were on some dangerous ground that night. Sounds to me like he wants to eat you up. And not as a dinner either. Eh, Sango?" 

Sango cackled and raised her teacup. "Yup." She shushed them. "Remember though, ladies don't kiss and tell."

Kagome warmed at the direction the conversation was headed. She hadn't wanted to assume Sesshoumaru was making some kind of pass at her; it didn't seem he was the kind to do so. At the same time, to be ruined for other men because of a one night stand... That sounded... She sighed. Like the kind of crap that came out of a romance novel read by a delusional, sexually charged girl child. 

"So what can be done about this problem, because what if Sesshoumaru or someone like him come for me and I wind up being eaten." Kagome griped. Ansatsu shook her finger at Kagome.

"Now THATS the question to ask. There are a few ways a demoness can hide herself from the wandering male nose. Its why I don't have so many more little ones to care for. One liter was enough for me." She answered. "Now as we get older, we ladies can run across one another and learn tricks of the trade from other demoness females. I was lucky enough one took pity on me for being half-demon and taught me the tricks."

She blew a breath out.

"The only problem we might have here is how it translates to you, priestess. Because what might work for a demon... May not work for a human... The first trick is a natural thing I learned back in the day. You know what a grapefruit is?"

Kagome nodded, confused. 

"You can use that or a lemon. Cut the tip of one off, and put it up inside you. It changes the smell, and even if you are attacked it can kill off whatever invades if you don't want a baby."

"The other thing I learned was that heavy perfumes, in certain scents, can change the nature of what you're putting out. So there was one year I couldn't get ahold of the usual fruits, and I had to resort to dousing myself in a strong male's piss. It was disgusting, but it marked me in a way that other males wouldn't mess with. I kept some of it and used it as a base in a perfume, so it could be used for a while." 

She watched both Sango and Kagome make faces and shrugged.

"Well the last one might translate well if you are the priestess I'm sensing you are. Some of the more powerful demons, as you know, can create barriers around themselves to conceal their identities. They are literally small enough to cover the individual. But it takes a lot of training to be able to control your energy enough to actually create the barrier and keep it up. Demons have constant swirling pressure and renewing energy they draw from to create barriers that can stay up  until they have been broken. I'm not sure how a priestess can do the same thing. I suggest, if you have a temple that is willing to train you, you go there for the barrier thing. Especially if you find natural deterrents gross."

Kagome settled her cup on the table.

"Yeah. I can't imagine dousing myself in demon pee to deter other males."

Ansatsu huffed in agreement. "You don't have demon senses, either. That stuff smells awful. Even if its been buried under lavender and eucalyptus." 

Both girls laughed. With her original goal fulfilled, they began to chatter amongst themselves, pawing at Sango for details about when and where she'd finally given in to the monk's advances. They were all three of them completely drunk singing folk songs when Inuyasha and crew came to check on them. Truthfully, for Kagome who sat between the hanyou lady of the night and her best friend, it was the best night she'd had in a while since her problems had begun. At some point, the sake had started to make the room wobbly, and she had decided to sprawl out on the futon that had been laid out. Ansatsu bid them goodnight, closing the paper door before hollering at Inuyasha she was free for the rest of the evening. If it weren't for the heaviness in the back of her eyes she would probably have been curious to hear what the outcome of Ansatsu's catcalling (or in this case, puppy calling). Regardless, the moment she hit the sleeping mat she passed out into a blissful, happy sleep. 

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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