Good Enough to Eat by ChaoticReverie
This is just a small collection of interconnected oneshots, so the chapters will be relatively short. Don’t expect much of a plot.
Ahem, I will only post one warning and one disclaimer for this story, so pay attention now.
Warning: This story is rated MA for a reason. Citrus, course language, and mild violence can all be found within. If any of these things offend you, then you really should pay closer attention to the ratings.
Disclaimer: As loathe as I am to admit it, I do not own Inuyasha. All rights go solely to Rumiko Takahashi.
There was something strangely enchanting about morning twilight in the feudal era. The stillness of the summer air and the soft whirring of the cicadas created a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, the endless sky painted with the first vestiges of sunlight. It made for a stunning visual, the kind that one would only find in fairytales.
It was during this time that a drowsy young miko would pull herself from the confines of her sleeping roll and begin her wake-up ritual. It was quiet; the perfect time for her to properly shake off the last remnants of sleep and prepare herself for the day ahead.
Said priestess was currently making her way toward the lazy little brook not far from their encampment, toiletries and other necessities in hand. Setting her things atop a rock near the edge of the creek, Kagome began her usual routine. After relieving herself and having a nice, long stretch, she knelt at the water’s edge to freshen up. Unfortunately the brook was not deep enough for her to bathe in, but she would make do.
When she’d finished washing her face and neck and hands, she dabbed herself dry with a small towel and began detangling the wicked, raven mass that was her hair. With sure, quick strokes of her brush, the unruly mess was quickly tamed and thrown up into a high ponytail.
Squeezing a large dollop of Crest onto its bristles, she popped a blindingly pink toothbrush into her mouth and began the practiced, familiar motions of cleaning her teeth. The blue-eyed female inhaled deeply through her nose, sighing when sweet, fresh morning air filled her lungs.
While she did miss certain things about the future, the smell wasn’t one of them. Comfort and convenience aside, her time lacked the beauty and simplicity of the past, the harsh aromas and sounds leaving much to be desired. After years of adapting, the young miko was not ashamed to admit that – while she had always been a social girl – she preferred the silent peace of this place to the bustling of the city.
And it was indeed peaceful, especially as of late. While lesser demons still stalked them for the shards, they’d seen neither hide nor hair of their greatest foe or any of his minions for nearly a month. A particularly vicious battle had left the evil half-demon barely clinging to life, and come the end he’d only just managed to escape. Kagome recalled the bastard’s hasty retreat with a smug smile, the look of frustration and ire on his face well worth the few scratches she’d acquired during the encounter.
They were all in high spirits; even Inuyasha had been less surly than usual because of Naraku’s absence. It was nice to have a bit of a break… especially now that summer was in full swing. Sweating constantly was bad enough; Kagome didn’t have the patience to deal with that and villainous douche bags harassing them.
Certain that her teeth were plaque free and squeaky clean, Kagome spit out a mouthful of foam and rinsed, flicking the excess moisture from her toothbrush. Depositing it back in its case, she gathered the rest of her things and made to head back.
The sudden silence and the cold spark at the edge of her senses were the only warnings she received before the feral, slavering boar demon was upon her, crashing through the tree line with a vicious bellow. Its bulging yellow eyes locked onto her miniscule form, a gust of rancid air leaving the wrinkled snout that protruded from its face.
“Miko! You carry shards of the Shikon! I will have them!”
Kagome sighed in exasperation. ‘If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say that…’
The clumsy, lumbering thing lunged for her, and she rolled out of the way with little effort. Even with her meager human abilities she was able to outmaneuver the beast, its attacks sloppy and predictable. Yet, as simple as it was to dodge and weave about, Kagome was quickly becoming aggravated. She groused to herself that it was far too early in the morning for something like this to be happening. ‘Where the hell is Inuyasha?’ she wondered bitterly. ‘Shouldn’t he be here by now?’
She’d been faring well thus far, but just as she turned to grab hold of a fallen stick to beat the thing off with, her foot caught on a protruding root. Her momentum propelled her forward, pitching her into the grass. ‘Gods be damned! What is it with me and tree roots?!’ she growled angrily to herself as she tried to get to her feet.
The beast, despite its seeming stupidity, saw the opportunity for what it was and grabbed hold of her ankle, effectively halting her attempt to flee. Its pudgy hand wrapped tightly around the delicate appendage, yanking backward until she was lying at its feet.
Kagome was flipped roughly onto her back, and panic began to set in as she stared up at the hideous monstrosity before her. Still there was no sign of Inuyasha. The demon lifted one enormous, hoofed foot and snarled in triumph. The young miko could do naught but throw her hands up and scream in fright as it made to crush her.
The air left her lungs in a whoosh when she was suddenly scooped from the ground and hauled against a hard form; the garbled cry of her attacker told her that – once again – she’d been saved in the nick of time. Breathing a sigh of relief, she lifted her head to smile warmly at Inuyasha… and froze. The golden eyes that regarded her were not expressive and wide, but narrowed and calculating, rimmed with long powdery lashes and brilliant red markings.
Kagome peered back over her shoulder… and immediately wished she hadn’t. The boar lay in several slimy pieces across the ground, tiny bits of its entrails scattered about like gory confetti. Looking away, she turned her attention instead to her unexpected savior and uttered an awkward ‘thank you’.
He looked slightly perturbed.
She pouted. ‘Well excuuuuuse me! I never asked him to save me, so why is he glaring at me like I’m some kind of rash that he can’t get rid of!’
Their little group had come to a truce of sorts with the Western daiyoukai. So long as the jewel remained shattered, it was expected that some pieces would end up in his territory. Because finishing their quest would serve his own purposes in a roundabout way, he had granted them permission to traverse his lands until they had completed the Tama.
Yet, despite the shaky alliance, he was still somewhat of a jerk; the temporary truce had changed nothing between them. He was still cold and arrogant and openly hostile toward Inuyasha if ever their paths crossed, though it happened less often now that he was not purposefully coming after them.
So then… what had prompted Sesshomaru to come to her rescue? Judging by the somewhat frosty look she was receiving, she guessed he wasn’t exactly pleased to see her.
Clearing her throat, she made to disentangle herself from his iron grip and be on her way, but was stopped when his arm only tightened around her. She blinked up at him in confusion.
“You would do well to remember your weapons, woman,” he chastised lowly.
“Uh… yeah. I’ll make sure I bring them next time,” she responded, a bit put off that he was lecturing her, but not feeling reckless enough to risk his wrath. She would hold her tongue… for now.
“Thanks again,” she mumbled, trying – for a second time – to free herself from his grasp. Again she was thwarted.
Becoming somewhat annoyed with his refusal to let her go, Kagome turned inquiring blue eyes up at him and asked in the most polite tone she could muster, “Is there something else you need, Sesshomaru-sama?”
His molten eyes, usually glinting with scorn or indifference, shone with a new light in that moment, and it took her a second to place the expression. He looked… intrigued…
Abruptly, he lowered his head so that their faces were mere inches apart, his slender brows furrowed. She would have thought he was attempting to kiss her… had it not been for the fact that he was sniffing the air about her like a curious puppy.
Not sure what to make of the situation, the young miko froze in place and asked, “Is everything okay?”
His frantic snuffling stopped, and he leaned ever closer, his nose just a hair’s breadth from her lips. He inhaled deeply.
‘My toothpaste,’ she realized. ‘Inu youkai are extremely receptive to scents. I’ll bet he’s never smelled anything like it before… at least not on a person’s breath.’
He seemed quite content to remain where he was, though Kagome had other places she needed to be. “It’s mint,” she told him.
He pulled back and leveled her with a questioning gaze.
“I use this stuff called toothpaste to keep my teeth clean. That’s what you smell.”
He seemed satisfied with her explanation, releasing his hold on her and stepping back. He tilted his head minutely, golden eyes hooding lazily as he spoke.
And then he was gone.
Kagome gave herself a little shake. ‘That was… an odd experience,’ she muttered, more than a little confused by what had just taken place. Shrugging, she regained her scattered items – being careful not to step in youkai bits. The blue-eyed miko turned back in the direction of her camp and made haste, eager to tell her companions of the bizarre encounter she’d had with the daiyoukai.
Now be a dear and send this poor, tired author a review.
Ahem... my thanks to 'electrika' who reviewed and pointed out some boo-boos for me. I can't believe I missed that when I was editing... heck, I can't believe I wrote it that way in the first place! Ugh, I must have been very, very tired. All fixed now!!