KITSUNE NO KAORI.

Warnings: shounen ai, sap, Yuusuke's POV.

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It's amazing, you know, how different people smell different. I never really noticed till recently - after I died for the first time, I mean - what everyone really smelled like. 'Cept of course for Ofukuro stinking of booze and old perfume. THAT smell, I've known since I was a kid. I remember the slap and the yelling I got when I was about six and I told her she smelled like that and to go wash. I saw the anger in her face.

Wasn't till a lot later when I looked back that I remembered the hurt in her eyes.

But anyway, the first smells I knew were the smells of booze, cigarettes, sweat, an' sometimes the smell of whatever guy Ofukuro brought home. With me there, they never hung around for long. Poor Ofukuro.

When I was older, I went to school. That place stank of chalk and old books and too many kids crammed into one classroom. Yuck. It sucks, the smell. At least up on the rooftop it just smells like Tokyo.

And of course there were always fights - kids dumb enough to think they could beat me up. They just kept coming. So there were other smells I got to know - blood, and sweat, and that awful antiseptic that the school nurse kept putting on me.

And of course, there was Keiko, who wears white panties, (I know, I checked), same as she did on her very first day of school. (Yeah, I checked then, too.) Same apple blossom cologne too. Oh, it smells nice, don't get me wrong, but it's just kinda... bland. Boring. It's there and it's nice and sweet and all that, but it don't do much for me.

But before I died, this was all just in the background. Just part of things. I never took much notice of how strangers smelled, for example, unless they smelled really bad or really good.

And then I pushed that kid out of the way of the car. And I looked down to see myself on the road not moving. Talk about the Twilight Zone. And while I'm busy freaking about not being able to touch anything, my other senses just went into overdrive. And right then Death herself pops up next to me, riding on an oar and smelling like a peony.

Well, I s'pose it only fits - her name *is* Botan, after all. What else would she smell like but the flower she's named after?

But if you think meeting a kimono-wearing, oar-riding, peony-smelling ferrygirl of Death was weird, meeting Koenma was even weirder! Here I was expecting some horrible tyrant bastard king who stinks of incence - y'know, like in offering to him or something - and instead I meet this centuries-old toddler with a fuukuman in his mouth and who smelled of paperwork.

The ferrygirl of Death smells of flowers, and the son of the God of Death smells of paperwork.

Something is totally screwed up there, but I guess they need to sort things out *somehow*, and if it has to be paperwork, well, better him than me. He's good at it, guess he has to be.

But after that, and after I came back to life, I started noticing things I wouldn't normally notice. Smells of people I meet. And what I started noticing really surprised me sometimes.

Like Kuwabara - well, you're probably thinking that he smells of sweat. And you're right. But it doesn't stink; you know, not dirty sweat, he washes regularly, which is more than I can say for Ofukuro. He's just one of those guys who sweats a lot, and there aint no antiperspirant that'll ever do anything about that. He's a real stubborn guy, always boasting. But I ain't ever gonna say he's lazy. It's a matter of honour for him to see things through no matter how hard it is. He'll let himself get beat up black and blue and then study his heart out to pass some dumb test he couldn't give a shit about, because if he does his friend can keep his badly-needed job. He's bought manga and got down on his knees in front of bastards to save his damned *kitten*! The sweat... well, okay, so it's not the nicest smell in the world, but like I said, it doesn't stink, and I've kinda grown to respect it. Means he's trying his best.

'Baasan - now there's one tough old grandma. Sweet old lady, she ain't. But in her blunt, cross, drill-seargeant kinda way, she's cool. I mean, I'll admit it, I'm awfully fond of her. Totally knocked me on my rump when Toguro Ototo killed her. 'Baasan's too tough to die, you know? But yeah, grumpy old lady smells nice for all that. Like water. She must take a lot of baths every day to smell like that. Betcha that's why she's so wrinkled. Heh. But if you tell her I said that, I'll Rei Gun your ass right before she beats me to a bloody pulp.

Yukina, no surprises, smells like winter. A winter's day. You know, when the air's all cold and crisp and snowy? She smells like that. Pretty smell. No wonder Kuwabara's so crazy about her.

Hiei smells like - of all things - wood! He smells exactly like wood as it burns. Not a bad smell or anything. Kinda smoky, but not a dirty smoky. Could have been a lot worse, I s'pose. I mean, he could have smelled of sulfur, being a fire demon and all.

Why the hell do all women gotta wear perfume? Is it like some kind of law or sumthin'? Kuwabara's sister Shizuru smells of cigarettes and perfume. And like I said already, Ofukuro smells of booze, smoke and old perfume. Keiko smells of apple blossom, and all her friends wear their own perfumes too. Even Kurama's mother smells of white plum, though on her it's nice.

And Kurama himself?

I bet you're thinking roses. Well, you're wrong. He doesn't smell like roses. Not all like roses, anyway.

It's... well, think about this. There's a place where plants grow wild. Trees, wildflowers, yeah, wild roses too, moss... everything. Like a rainforest. And there's just been rain, and the plants are all shiny with the raindrops. And the fresh, clean scent of green plant life reaches up and touches you, real gently but you never forget it, and the melody of the wild roses is just part of the whole harmony of the whole green, living scent.

That's Kurama. That's how he smells. Ain't no fake smell out of a bottle either, it's just his natural scent. And I'm not gonna apologize for going all poetic with the rainforest and the melody and all that. Somethin' so beautiful deserves a description like that, even if mine sucks.

And he's like that. Just like that.

And's he's mine.

Dunno how I got so lucky, but I did. He's mine, and I ain't ashamed to say that I'm his, too. I love him.

I wonder... what do I smell like to him?

##OWARI##