I don't remember how I came up with this. But it takes place between Third Person and Spoiling Her. Rin will be 12-13 here. Sesshoumaru is over 200, for certain. This is not a one-shot, because it's got too much packed into it just in my head. It probably won't last too long, though. Anyway, Enjoy!
"Like this, Rin," Kaede said. "Firmly whip it, as though it is thy weapon."
Kaede released an end of the kimono allowing it to unravel through the air with a very wet 'splat!' as it reached the limit of its freedom in Kaede's hands, even though it had nothing to hit. She was teaching Rin how to handle the wash, including showing Rin some of her old tricks for ringing out excess water in them from when she was young. Rin applauded Kaede as she straightened up, holding her back in discomfort. There wasn't much Kaede could do for herself lately. She was getting on in her years and was barely able to manage any chores on her own for very long, especially with her back giving her trouble of late. Luckily for her, this was the only chore Rin hadn't learned how to handle yet. Now that she'd shown Rin how to wash and ring out the clothes, all that was left was to sit back and let her master it.
"Lady Kaede, you're still so strong!" Rin complimented, appreciating the old priestess' help.
Kaede gave a light laugh and started moving away from the river. Rin helped her over to a dry spot by the river bank where Kaede could sit and rest. "Ye can handle this on thy own from here, then?" Kaede asked.
Rin nodded. "I've got it!" she replied. "You relax, now."
Kaede seated herself on the ground and leaned back against a boulder to take a nap while Rin worked.
Rin returned to the task at hand, humming to herself as she would while doing any and all of her other chores. She wasn't particularly fond of these chores. All of them were very boring, really. But she did them without complaint. That was the condition put on the training she wanted to do, after all. She had to keep her end of the bargain. Rin brought a newly-washed kimono over to a tree and hung it up to dry. As she turned to go back to her work, however, a slight tingle inside her head got her attention. With a bit of a worried gasp, Rin ran over to Kaede and shook her awake. "Lady Kaede! A demon's coming! A demon's coming!" Rin cried. "Lady Kaede!"
Kaede gathered herself and gently removed Rin's hands from her shoulders. "Stop shaking me so, child!" Kaede said. "Remember, this may not be anything. Thy powers are still very young."
Rin lowered her head in frustration, waiting while Kaede searched for the presence. After a moment, she released a heavy sigh and reached back to tap on her shoulder with her knuckle. "Relax, Rin," Kaede assured the girl. "He's come to see ye again."
"Eh?" Rin said, casting her eyes up to the sky.
Realization began to settle on her mind, bringing Rin's gaze to the sky. In the distance, she spotted a white figure flying in toward the village. If the sky had been thinking about turning cloudy just then, that figure just changed its plans. The smile that grew on Rin's face could clear even the darkest of skies… and it was entirely this figure's doing. "He's here!" Rin cried, hopping up and running back into the village.
Chores were forgotten as she quickly abandoned Kaede at the river without a second thought on the matter. She ran out to a certain field that the villagers had set aside for her. They knew this figure was only here to see her… but they couldn't quite get over themselves and asked her to go out there to meet him, so that he wouldn't get too close to the village. "Lord Sesshoumaru!" Rin cried out toward the sky, every little syllable echoing with a tone of pure joy.
She dug in her heels to stop as she reached her lord's usual landing place. Stumbling and stammering, she managed to slow herself to a stop as her lord landed just behind her, his arms folded inside his kimono sleeves in a very formal manner. It took half a blink for her to turn around and run back to meet Sesshoumaru. "Welcome back, my lord!" Rin sighed, beginning to settle down after having run like a maniac through the village. "How was your journey?"
Sesshoumaru looked down at Rin as she smiled ever so brightly up at him. All tension within him seemed to blow away with the light summer breeze. Only Rin's smile could do such a thing to the mighty Lord Sesshoumaru. "Uneventful." Sesshoumaru answered calmly.
Rin could hear the slight bored tone in his voice, indicating that he had indeed been on an uneventful trip. There was another tone in his voice too. Rin couldn't quite tell what it was, though.
Jaken slid down from the fur that hung over Sesshoumaru's right shoulder and waddled around to stand beside his master. "Why here, m'lord?" Jaken asked. "The Staff of Heads is silent. There is nothing of interest here."
Sesshoumaru ignored the imp as he unfolded his arms from within his sleeves. "Rin, have you behaved yourself?" he asked.
Rin nodded, shaking her now-very-long pigtail into her face. She shook her head again to move it back into place. Her distraction with her hair was quickly brought to an end as she saw her lord reaching toward her. A light tinkling noise sounded from his hand as he opened it up to reveal a small rusty bell.
Rin moved slowly, so as not to seem greedy as she received the bell. She'd always wanted to play with one as a child, but all the bells she'd seen were sacred to temples and she couldn't mess with those.
Now, she was a bit too grown-up to play with the bell as a child might. But, because her lord had given it to her, she would treasure it like she would have when she was young enough to play with such things. "Ring it once." he instructed, suddenly.
Rin looked up at him in surprise. He nodded once, urging her to go ahead. She looked down at the bell in her hands, now wondering what exactly she'd been given. But, trusting Sesshoumaru never to hurt her, or give her something that might hurt her, Rin rang the bell once.
A booming sounded over-head. Like thunder. Rin looked up to see that clouds were forming over her head and only over her head. A drop of rain landed on her nose and the clouds began to pour over her.
"From the wand of a rain spirit," Sesshoumaru explained. "For that garden of yours. Ring it twice now."
Despite being soaking wet now, Rin's smile returned at full force and she rang the bell twice. The clouds disappeared as quickly as they'd arrived, allowing the sun to shine down on her once more.
"Oh, Lord Sesshoumaru… Thank you!" Rin gasped, beaming up at him with the brightest light in her eyes.
As she watched his face, she began taking in his expression, determining what his emotion was… while she could plainly see that he was happy to be here, she noticed some odd details as well.
Just under his eyes, too light to be seen unless you focused on him like Rin always did, she noticed a slight purple wrinkle. She'd never seen this in her lord before.
With that one detail, others followed: His hair was a bit ragged, now, as though he'd been tossing in his sleep a bit without rest (however rare it was that he slept); His posture was slightly off, as though he was having trouble standing; His skin was even paler than usual. All of this got Rin to thinking… and she hadn't really pondered such a subject before… "L-Lord Sesshoumaru…" Rin began slowly.
He was already looking at her and she knew she had his attention. She just didn't quite know what she would say. She cast her eyes around, looking for her wording in her mind, not really focusing on the surroundings.
Jaken waited impatiently, having been disappointed to find that Sesshoumaru had only brought them there to visit Rin. What is taking her so long? Jaken thought to himself. She's thanked him already! How hard would it be to say 'good-bye'? She's done it before!
Rin continued looking around, still not sure what to say or do. Sesshoumaru waited patiently for her to finish her thought, knowing the look on her face meant she had something important to inquire about.
Jaken waited as well… and waited… and waited… and waited… and-
"Spit it out already, whelp!" Jaken snapped. "What do you want?!"
Rin jerked her attention over to Jaken, shocked by his sudden outburst. But, as she settled down and noted that Jaken was still there, she realized exactly what she could say.
Rin turned back to Sesshoumaru, taking a breath to speak. "Would you… like me to watch Jaken for you?" she asked.
Sesshoumaru's eyes perked up ever so slightly. He hadn't considered leaving Jaken with Rin in quite some time, and had even forgotten that he could do so if he felt it was necessary.
Jaken's already buggy eyes were bugging out even further. The Staff of Heads fell from his hands. "W-W-W-WHAT!?" Jaken squawked loudly. "Y-Y-Y-You insolent child! You? Watch me? How dare you! I don't need to be watched! You're the only one here who needs watching!"
Rin cast Jaken a brief glance, only to look back up at Sesshoumaru, still waiting on his answer. Sesshoumaru watched her carefully, realizing that she'd seen something. Even if she hadn't seen what she'd seen though… the thought of leaving Jaken behind for once… if only for a little while…
Jaken continued squawking on, though he made no sense anymore. The very sound of Jaken's voice was like a thousand swords being dragged across stone. A pounding ache formed in the demon lord's head and it was everything he could do to keep from rubbing his head and showing such weakness right then. "Jaken," Sesshoumaru said.
The imp babbled on, unable to hear his master over his own noise.
"Jaken!" Sesshoumaru said, a little louder this time. He still didn't hear Sesshoumaru and proceeded to pace back and forth, lecturing Rin in some unintelligible jabbering. Rin turned around, crouched down and covered her ears, sensing her lord wasn't patient enough to give Jaken a third chance to hear his call.
She watched the field ahead, waiting. She could hear little squawks of pain just barely slipping past her hands, letting her know that she'd been correct to take such precautions. Several moments passed before, finally, Jaken fell down on the ground, his head all lumpy and red and the Staff of Heads stuck on the back of it. Seeing this, Rin uncovered her ears, stood up and turned to Sesshoumaru once more, preparing to say good bye in a moment.
"You will stay here with Rin," Sesshoumaru ordered to Jaken, looking particularly irate now.
Jaken slowly rose up onto his knees, his eyes becoming teary. "But, Lord Sesshoumaru… why?" Jaken asked.
Sesshoumaru glared at Jaken, plainly not in any mood to take complaints of any sort from anyone, especially not Jaken. "You will stay here," Sesshoumaru ordered. "If you seek me out… I will kill you."
Jaken shivered with fear, deciding not to press the matter any further. "Y-Yes… M'lord," Jaken answered.
Settling down a bit, Sesshoumaru turned and started away from the village on foot.
Rin threw her hand up in the air, waving to him though he was turned away. "Good-bye, my lord!" Rin called. "Travel safely!"
She wouldn't see it this time, but Sesshoumaru felt just a little bit better hearing her voice and having seen her face. He'd spent so many days looking at and listening to Jaken, he'd almost forgotten the splendor of interacting with Rin. Calmly, he continued on, glad that she'd noticed what she did. He'd surely have gone mad if she didn't…
Rin urged Jaken to stand, and led him back into the village. She returned to doing the laundry, getting Jaken to help her. Kaede watched in confusion as the imp came waddling through behind Rin, begrudgingly scrubbing clothes and throwing them over nearby tree branches. "I don't understand," Kaede said. "Why has Sesshoumaru left Jaken behind?"
"He hasn't left me behind, hag!" Jaken snapped. "He's left me to protect Rin!"
Rin shook out a really wet hakama and hung it up, her eyes firmly locked on something unseen. "I really have no idea, Lady Kaede," Rin lied. "I'll ask him when he gets back."
Rin went to check and see if anything was dry yet, using only her sense of touch as her eyes were still very lost in her mind. Truth be told, she knew exactly why Sesshoumaru had agreed to leave Jaken. She'd never seen it before. She couldn't be entirely sure that she had seen it this time. But, if her assessment was correct, her Lord Sesshoumaru… was feeling a bit ill.
Well? What do you think? Good so far? Wait 'til I get to the really good stuff! You'll flip, I swear! Please, review!