Dealing with Demons by SaikonoYume

Sea Foam Green

Chapter One: Sea Foam Green

Kagome screamed. And she screamed. And she screamed some more. Just for good measure, after a breath, she screamed again. She wasn't afraid; she was irritated. Vaguely annoyed. Perhaps slightly irked. The thought of hitting something - someone¬ - was somewhat calming, but there was nothing around to hit except trees. And some rocks. And some more trees.

She decided the only option she had was to hunt down Inu Yasha and kill him. Really, though, how did a hanyou completely lose track of a human? And an inu hanyou at that. He was a bloody dog, and dogs were supposed to have a superior sense of smell, damn it!

Crossing her arms, Kagome glowered at the trees around her. One would have thought her friends would have noticed, too, that she had fallen behind. She had been talking to Sango when the pebble in her shoe had become unbearable. She had paused to fix it. Of course, the stupid pebble had been particularly troublesome so it had taken some time for her to finally get the pebble out. And when she looked up, her friends had vanished.

Grumbling, Kagome looked to the ground and kicked at the pebbles there. "Stupid rocks!" she snarled. "You got me lost."

With another scream of frustration, Kagome turned and kicked a nearby tree. Hard. When she screamed again, it was from the pulsating pain that was making its way up her leg.

"Taking on a tree doesn't seem like an intelligent thing to do," a cool voice said from behind.

Whirling, Kagome grabbed for her bow and an arrow. A warm hand wrapped around her wrists before she was even close to getting her weapons. Looking up, a shot of fear went down her spine, icy fingers digging into the back of her neck. Bored, uninterested golden eyes stared back at her from behind silver, moonlight hair.


Kagome's mind threatened to shut down. Inu Yasha's half-brother had found her and he was probably going to kill her. No. No, he wouldn't kill her. He would maim her, mutilate her, cut her body into little pieces of Kagome. It would be painful, and she wasn't too keen on the idea of being hacked to pieces. The prospect was far from thrilling.

But Sesshoumaru just stood there, staring at her, holding her wrists in his one hand. The sleeve was pulled back slightly, and Kagome could see the magenta stripes peeking out from under the fabric. In a moment of weakness, she wondered if the stripes continued along his arm, down the rest of his body. If she were to strip off his haori and hakama, she wondered if she would find those stripes on his hips or legs.

The moment passed quickly and Kagome felt the urge to strangle herself for a thought like that. It was Sesshoumaru who stood before her. The vicious Taiyokai of the West, who probably wouldn't have any problem shredding her clothing, and the skin beneath it, into noodle-sized strips that he could make ramen with. Ramen. The thought of the noodles made Kagome's mood lighten somewhat. She did enjoy ramen.

"Are you just going to stare at me?" she asked belligerently.

One of Sesshoumaru's fine eyebrows arched. "What if I said no?" he asked in reply, his tone bored.

Kagome felt a rock sink in her stomach. "I'd ask you not to eat me," she squeaked.

Sesshoumaru's other eyebrow arched, joining the first. "Why would I soil myself by eating a human?" he inquired, sounding, for all the world, generally perplexed.

Kagome bit her lip. "Er," she replied after a moment.

Sesshoumaru just looked at her. Finally, he released her wrists. "Come. I will endeavor to return you to the stupid half-breed," he said, turning on his heel.

She couldn't help herself. She just stood there, staring at his back as he walked off. Shock was holding her in place; she couldn't believe that Sesshoumaru, the Ice King of Japan, was actually doing something that could be mistaken for an act of kindness. Although, Kagome did have to admit it, standing behind him as he walked wasn't too distressing. She could see where his claws were, which lowered the risk of harm to her person, and she could also watch his long hair swishing back and forth, glittering as it did so. Sesshoumaru may have been a complete ass, and it looked like he had a nice one, too, but he was a complete ass with really pretty hair. That had to be somewhat redeeming.

Bending down, she picked up her bow and her quiver of arrows, along with the huge yellow pack her mother made her haul around. She settled the bag on her back, then took off after Sesshoumaru, running to catch up with him.

As they walked, she could feel his eyes on her, watching her, although she couldn't imagine why. It wasn't like she was special, and he never seemed to like her anyway. Finally, he put his hand on her shoulder, causing her to flinch before he propelled her in front of him, and then to his other side.

"Stand downwind, girl," he said idly. Kagome looked up at him, confused, but he wasn't watching her anymore. "Your scent repulses me."

She narrowed her dark eyes at him, turning away and scowling at their feet. Leave it to Sesshoumaru the Ice King to be a complete ass. She cringed. There she was, thinking about his ass again. Not that it was a bad one or anything. And what the hell did he mean by that statement? Her scent repulsed him? Hah! His natural body odor repulsed her, too! And so much for moving her downwind. He had, in fact, moved her upwind.

Kagome's eyes narrowed at that thought. I've been moved upwind, she thought to herself, slowly working through the puzzle that had been dumped, rather unintentionally, at her feet. I've been moved upwind, but Ice King just said he didn't like my scent. So, either he's completely stupid, which is highly doubtful, or he's lying. Kagome glanced up at Sesshoumaru out of the corner of her eye. As telling the taiyokai that he was either a liar or an idiot would not be conducive to her health, Kagome decided that she wouldn't say anything. For the time being.

After several long, long minutes of walking, Sesshoumaru veered off the path he was creating through the woods. Following him, Kagome did her best not to get smashed in the face with the braches he brushed aside. When he finally stopped, they had arrived in a small clearing with a hot spring and a natural cave nearby.

Sesshoumaru looked down at her. "Bathe," he told her. "Then you will sleep."

A look of incredulity washed across Kagome's face. "Are you kidding?" she demanded, crossing her arms. "I'm not going to get naked with you around! And it's way too early to sleep! It's still only..." She paused, peering at the sun through the trees. "It's only about five o'clock. I'm not going to bed at seven like a child."

Sesshoumaru fixed her with a level gaze, and a nervous laugh bubbled up in Kagome's chest. Through a desperate force of will, she was able to smother the laughter, knowing laughing at him, for any reason, would probably get her killed. He didn't seem to care that she was seventeen and more than able to determine her own bedtime.

"Bathe," he said simply.

Kagome glowered. "Only if you turn around."

"Your pitiful human body is no temptation to this Sesshoumaru," the taiyokai replied as he turned and crossed his arms.

Surprise danced its merry way across Kagome's face as she watched Sesshoumaru turn. She would never have expected him to actually acquiesce to her request. If anything, she had expected him to storm off, which would have been preferable anyhow.

Uttering the sigh only a martyr could make, Kagome hauled her bag over to the edge of the hot spring. She reached inside and extracted her shampoo, conditioner, soap, and towel from the mess inside and placed it on the rocky edge of the spring. Casting a furtive glance at Sesshoumaru to make sure he wasn't watching, Kagome quickly stripped her clothing off and hurried into the water.

Settling against a rock, her back to the taiyokai, Kagome sighed softly. The warmth of the hot spring eased her muscles, aching from a long day filled with walking. Slipping under the water, she ran a hand through her hair a few times to get it thoroughly soaked. Coming up from beneath the surface, she reached for her shampoo bottle and uncorked it, the smell of orchid and coconut floating up from the bottle.

Immediately, the taiyokai was at her side, plucking the shampoo from her hand.

"What is this?" he asked, sniffing the bottle carefully, golden eyes narrowed.

Kagome, surprised, scooted away from where she had been sitting, dark eyes wide, arms crossed over her chest to hide it from view. Not that he would be looking. Pretentious, chauvinistic ass. She growled at herself mentally, wondering why she kept going on about his ass. It was just a butt, and it was covered by his fluffy hakama and she had never actually seen it anyway.

"I ask again, girl. What is this?" the taiyokai demanded, turning his narrowed eyes from the bottle to her.

"Shampoo," Kagome replied quietly, disgusted at her own meekness.

"And what is... shampoo?" Sesshoumaru asked slowly, carefully. He turned the bottle in his clawed hands, examining the container. The blue-green bottle was straight on one side, and rounded on the other, with an oblong body. Clearly, he found the shape odd.

"It's... um, it's soap. But for your hair," Kagome replied, not as quiet as before. She congratulated herself for that, sitting a bit straighter in the spring, but not so straight that she was flashing the taiyokai a view of anything. "Shampoo removes the oil, dirt, skin particles, and environmental pollution that build up in hair over time. It keeps your hair clean. And it can help control it, too."

Sesshoumaru paused in his examination of the bottle, fixing his eyes on Kagome. "What do you mean by 'control it'?" he demanded.

Kagome smothered a nervous laugh. The yokai did not like asking people questions. Clearly. Then again, she doubted he liked the idea that she knew something he didn't. He seemed like the kind of person who would get paranoid if he didn't know something and someone else did. "Well, I have dry, frizzy hair. So I use that shampoo to help moisturize it. The conditioner, the other bottle, the red one, is for frizzy hair," she explained.

"Tell this Sesshoumaru the purpose of conditioner," the taiyokai ordered her as he picked up the red bottle, discarding the bluish green one.

"Conditioner is similar to shampoo," Kagome replied, grabbing her shampoo bottle before it sank to the bottom of the hot spring. "Except it improves the texture and appearance of hair."

Sesshoumaru eyed the red bottle carefully. "How does this work?" he asked, his claws working to pull the top of the conditioner bottle open.

Kagome's eyes widened. If he continued to pull like that she had no doubt the cap would come clear off the bottle, ruining it. Her eyes narrowed. There was no way the stupid, pompous taiyokai was going to ruin her brand new bottle of conditioner. "That's not how you open it," she told him, snatching the bottle from his hands. She ignored the snarl Sesshoumaru rewarded her with, popping the top off the cap and handing the bottle back. "And I don't know how it works. Something to do with keratin."

"What is keratin?" Sesshoumaru inquired sharply, sniffing at the bottle. The way he said the word was almost cute. Almost. He stumbled over it briefly, speaking each syllable with slow deliberateness that most people didn't have.

Kagome gave an exasperated sigh. "I don't know!" she exclaimed. "It's something in hair, that's all."

"And it makes hair healthier?" he asked, turning the bottle in his hands, causing a bit of light red gel to fall from the opening. Sesshoumaru frowned at the gel on the ground, running his clawed finger over it.

"Well, it's supposed to," Kagome replied, suddenly uneasy. She had a really bad feeling about the direction in which their conversation might be heading.

Sesshoumaru stood, letting the bottle drop from his hand. With an annoyed growl, Kagome leaned forward and snatched it from the air, shooting the taiyokai a dark look. It was a good thing his back was to her, she figured, because he probably would have slit her throat open. Settling her bottles in the crook of one arm, she rubbed her hand over her throat. There wasn't much appeal in having her throat slit open. Then again, if the last thing she saw was Inu Yasha's drop-dead gorgeous older brother, there was probably a bit more appeal that there usually would be.

The sound of fabric rustling against fabric caused Kagome to look up. And then she wished she hadn't. Sesshoumaru was nearly naked, his clothes draped unceremoniously over a nearby rock. His arm moved with almost feline grace as he pulled his obi off, dumping it to the side as well.

Well, here's your chance to see if his ass really is as nice as you thought it was, the dirty part of Kagome's mind informed her gleefully. The more sane part of her mind moaned and told her that she should probably run away. Then that stupid dirty part of her suggested, almost idly, that running from the taiyokai would only inspire him to give chase.

Shuddering, Kagome turned around, moving away from the edge of the hot spring.

A moment later, she heard the water rippling softly. "What are you doing?" she asked, voice squeaking.

Sesshoumaru snorted. "This Sesshoumaru expected that question sooner," he replied as he stepped into the water.

The cynical part of her mind suggested that the water should have just parted before the taiyokai who had been born with the arrogance of a god. Kagome wrinkled her nose at the thought. She didn't think she would be able to stand Sesshoumaru if he was a god. He'd still be sexy, and he'd probably still have a nice ass, but gods were so full of themselves. Then again, he already was, and she had already established that, and thinking in circles would get her nowhere.

"You will wash this Sesshoumaru's hair with your shampoo and conditioner," the taiyokai told her, the murmuring of the water indicating that he had sat down.

Kagome whirled, staring at him as if he was insane. Which he probably was. "Are you kidding me?" she demanded. "I can't do that!"

One of his eyebrows arched, and she realized, belatedly, that yelling at him probably wasn't a good idea. "And why not?" he asked her, his tone idle, as he picked up a strand of his hair and examined it.

"Because!" Kagome replied. She was trying very hard to focus on his face. But every time she did, her eyes would stray to the crimson stripes on his jaw and cheek, which would inevitably lead her to look at his hair. It was shiny even when wet and it lay in snaking patterns over his chest. So, of course, she ended up staring at his chest as opposed to his face.

"That is not an adequate reason," Sesshoumaru informed her.

Kagome shot him a glare, which earned her an amused arch of another eyebrow. She really hated that look. If there was a way to smack him that wouldn't cause her own death, she would have bludgeoned the look clear off the taiyokai's perfect face.

"Fine, then. It's not a good idea because your hair is different than mine," Kagome told him, feeling very proud of herself for the answer. It was true, too. She knew he didn't have dry, frizzy hair. His hair was always pristine and shiny and gorgeous. Just like it was when it rested on his bare, wet chest. He did have a nice chest. With the hand that wasn't holding the shampoo and conditioner, Kagome reached under the water and pincher her thigh, nice and hard. Having those kinds of thoughts about Inu Yasha's brother were not right. Especially when she loathed and despised him.

Kagome wrinkled her nose slightly. She was having a harder time convincing herself that she hated the taiyokai the more she talked to him. He was still a chauvinistic ass, but he had a nice ass, and nice hair. And he was pretty. She snarled. Just because he was pretty and well-formed did not mean she could stop hating him!

Sesshoumaru's lips quirked. "You snarl at me?" he asked mildly.

"Er, no. Just myself," Kagome replied quickly.

"Your reason still is not adequate," Sesshoumaru told her, as if he hadn't spoken a moment before.

Kagome sighed. "Look, Sesshoumaru-sama, the wrong kind of product can damage your hair more than it can help it," she said, remembering Ayumi had told her that at one point. "And you have such nice hair. It would be a shame to ruin it," she added.

Sesshoumaru arched both eyebrows and Kagome suddenly wanted a large hole to appear below her and swallow her up. She wondered, idly, if there would ever come a time in her life where she didn't stick her foot in her mouth.

"But I suppose you don't care, do you?" Kagome muttered as she sank deeper into the water, trying to hide the embarrassed flush she was sure covered her face and chest.

"If the shampoo and conditioner will ruin this Sesshoumaru's hair, then he will simply wash your own," Sesshoumaru replied, as if saying that made everything in the world alright. He reached out and plucked the bottles from Kagome's hand, turning her and sitting her down on a submerged rock before she had a chance to protest.

Kagome blinked as she felt Sesshoumaru pour the shampoo on her hair. She was confused, very confused, and wasn't quite sure how she should be reacting. On one hand, he was giving her a very nice scalp massage as he rubbed the shampoo through her hair. On the other hand, he was an evil, nasty taiyokai and the despised brother of her closest friend. It was clear that she could act one of two ways based on that observation. Either she could submit to his quite masterful hand, or she could attempt to run away. Which would mean her death.

Life was preferable to death, so she remained still.

"Thank you, Sesshoumaru-sama," she murmured as he worked. He was pretty good at giving scalp massages even though he only had one hand.

A grunt was her only reply. After a few more minutes, she felt his hand still.

"How does one rid oneself of the excess?" he asked.

Kagome frowned, not understanding his question. "What do you mean?"

"All the bubbles," Sesshoumaru stated. "How does one remove them?"

"Oh!" Kagome breathed. "Sorry, I didn't understand your question at first." She propelled herself forward, off the submerged rock Sesshoumaru had set her on and dipped her head backwards, eyes closed. Reaching up, she ran her hands through her hair, encouraging the soap out of her locks and into the hot spring. Sitting again, she glanced at Sesshoumaru, smiling a bit. "Thank you. That was nice," she said, scuttling over to where she had left her towel.

Sesshoumaru's hand clamped down on her shoulder. "Where are you going, miko?" he asked her.

Kagome froze, acutely aware of how little effort he would have to exert in order to rip off her head. Or her arm. She wondered how she would explain a missing her to her mother. "Oh, yeah, mom. By the way: Inu Yasha's older brother ripped my arm off after washing my hair in a hot spring." That would go over unimaginably well.

"I was just going to get my towel," Kagome replied slowly. "To dry off."

Sesshoumaru's hand tightened on her shoulder, and she could feel the claws pricking her skin. "Return to your seat," he told her.

Not knowing what else to do, Kagome went back over the rock and settled herself back down. Maybe now, after all that, he would kill her. It wasn't a particularly distressful thought, which surprised her. After all, she would die with recently shampooed hair and the memory of Sesshoumaru's altogether gorgeously sculpted chest still fresh in her mind.

Sesshoumaru's hand ran up her neck, causing goosebumps to run their way down Kagome's arms and back. She closed her eyes. He really was going to kill her. Then he ran his hand through her hair, moving upward from the base of her skull, and she felt the coolness of conditioner against her skin.

"If this Sesshoumaru had wanted to kill you," he said from behind her, "he would have done so when we first stumbled across each other."

Kagome let out a breath that she hadn't known she was holding, opening her eyes to stare at the water. Relief dislodged the tiny fingers that fear had sunk into her skin and she took a relaxing breath.

When Sesshoumaru finished rubbing the conditioner into her hair, he gently urged her head back. Kagome followed his guiding movements, closing her eyes when her head submerged. Sesshoumaru ran his claws through her hair to rinse out the conditioner, then pushed her back up.

There was a moment of silence before Kagome finally turned and made her way to her things.

"You will collect the shampoo and conditioner you believe would benefit this Sesshoumaru's hair the most," the taiyokai said as Kagome moved. "And you will return the favor this Sesshoumaru has bestowed upon you."

Kagome turned to look at Sesshoumaru, eyes wide. Her black hair was plastered to her neck and shoulders, and she reached back, dislodging it as she stared at him. "Ah... As in, you want me to buy hair products for you and wash your hair?" she asked, trying to make sense of the request.

"That is what this Sesshoumaru said," the taiyokai replied, looking bored.

Kagome nodded. "Right," she muttered, reaching for her towel. She leaped from the hot spring and wrapped the towel around herself in one swift movement, concealing her body from the taiyokai's unwavering stare.

"I will give you two weeks to procure the necessary items."

Kagome blanched and turned. "Two weeks?" she asked. There was no way Inu Yasha was going to let her go back home for any reason for at least a month. "Is there any way I can convince you to give me more time?"

Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed dangerously and Kagome knew the answer before he spoke. "You have two weeks, miko."

"Right," she agreed reluctantly. "Two weeks."

The taiyokai watched her for a moment with his golden eyes before he leaned forward, elbows resting on the rocks. "Would you like me to give Inu Yasha a reason to rest?" the taiyokai asked.

Kagome stilled as she dug in her bag for clothing. She thought over the suggestion, realizing that the taiyokai was actually offering to do something. For her. Slowly, she nodded. "Just don't kill him," Kagome replied.

"He is too stubborn to die," the taiyokai replied, turning away from her and reclining in the hot spring.

Kagome stared at the back of the taiyokai's head. And wondered what she had just gotten herself into.

...I don't know what to make of this. I was browsing through titles on A Single Spark and came across one that read "To Make a Deal with a Demon" and it caused the phrase "Dealing with Demons" to stick in my head. So I popped open Word, and this popped out. It's meant to be a one-shot, but it could easily grow to be more. It probably will be. Which means, next time, Sesshoumaru will be convincing Inu Yasha and company not to travel in that diplomatic manner that only Sesshoumaru has and Kagome will be washing his hair.

I wonder how he would react to chocolate. Or a cell-phone. Great. The ideas won't stop coming now. Curse it all, now I'll be writing two stories at the same time which never bodes well.

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