A/N: I do not own InuYasha or its characters.

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~*~ Chapter 1 ~*~

Her father had told her not to stare, but you can't just stamp out a child's curiosity so easily. Away from his sight, she watched large cardboard boxes dance by over denim-clad legs from her bedroom window. The men all seemed to be from the moving company, but her father had sent her away from the front yard before she got a chance to spot the occupants that would be her new neighbors. She wondered if there would be children her age to play with. She hoped they would not be old grumps like Mr. Takeda down the street, or worse yet, cheek-pinchers like his wife. Rubbing her once-abused cheek at the thought, the girl resumed her watch. Maybe she could glean some information from the type of belongings this new person had. She took careful note of the objects the three men were carrying. Two bookshelves had gone by with boxes to fill them judging from the names on the boxes, there was a pretty wooden desk, several boxes of normal household goods, and –

"Rin!" a deep voice beckoned. 'Shoot,' the girl thought, irritated. She shouted a quick reply and ran downstairs to meet her father in front of the door just as he was grabbing his keys from the small table nearby.

Her father, Sesshoumaru, was a tall man, a taiyoukai to be exact, but that sort of thing lost importance a long time ago, or so she had been told. His long silver hair hung beyond his shoulders, and his golden eyes narrowed at his daughter for a short time before he approached her.

"You were not spying on the person next door, were you? I told you it is none of your concern," he said with a hint of distaste. As if he did not have enough annoying neighbors already.

Rin could see that her father was not very excited about the vacant house being filled. He was not a very social man, and while he could be very hard to please, he was extremely easy to anger. It always amazed people how night-and-day the brown-eyed girl and her father were. Rin was bubbly and energetic. She would talk to anyone, much to his chagrin, and made friends easily. He could already smell her lie forming, but a hint of excitement took its place.

"One person? Did you see them? What are they like?" she questioned rapidly. Her sense of smell at eight years of age was not as advanced as her sire's. He probably already knew all about the new person from smell alone. She began to bounce on the balls of her feet with anticipation. Sesshoumaru pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance.

"There is a single person moving in with no children – thank the Kami – and that is all you need to know. Now come, we will be late for dinner with Mother and Father."

The girl frowned, her excitement crushed by the disappointment. She sighed and went to get her backpack so that she could color after dinner when things got boring. As they left the house, an unexpected scent hit her nose, something sweet and… flowery. She quickly glanced behind her just as her father was about to close the car door for her, and she saw her. The person who had moved next door was a young woman, pretty with long, dark hair. Rin's eyes widened. A woman? She did not know why, but she instantly wanted to be around this new lady. Something about her scent seemed so warm and inviting. Her mind raced with questions. Was she nice? Did she like children? Why was she all alone? They were endless.

The girl did not have much in the way of female figures in her life, aside from her grandmother, since her mother left them. At first she held out hope they would get back together, wishing with all her might that they could be a family again. She had shunned any notion of another woman taking her mother's place, and her father showed no interest in dating whatsoever. But now, she welcomed the thought. She wanted someone to bake cookies with her and comb her hair and read her stories. She wanted someone to hug her father and tell him she loved him. It was difficult to let the memories of her old family go, but her mother never really did many of those things anyway. Unfortunately, even though Rin's mind had changed, her father still had no interest in dating.

Now as they sped off to meet her grandparents for dinner, her heart was thumping. Sesshoumaru chalked it up to her being excited to see what his father had bought her this week, but all she could think of was getting back home. Rin tried to calm herself down and think rationally like her father always droned on about.

'There is no guarantee this woman is a good person or not, so I should find out more about her before I get too excited.' The small girl rested her chin on her hand pensively before sneaking a glance up at her father. 'Daddy will not like it. If he finds out what I'm thinking about, he'll shut her out completely. I have to be super-duper careful not to give it away!'

Even as she tried her best to be grown-up and think things through, her mind still filled quickly with excited fantasies of the future. What if this lady was just what they needed in their lives? What if they fell in love and got married? She would have the best mom in the world, and her father would be so happy. Rin could not help the telltale grin that had spread across her mischievous little face.

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The low rumble of the engine was all she registered after dinner as her father drove them back home. Snuggling her new pink stuffed lamb to her as a pillow, Rin's ears picked up the click of Sesshoumaru unbuckling his seatbelt and him exiting the car. Before she knew it, he was at her side. She looked up to him, bleary-eyed and grumpy, and extended her small arms to wrap around his neck. He lifted her and her lamb from the car and turned to carry his precious bundle inside.

Once in bed, Rin lay between wakefulness and sleep thinking of the house next door. She rubbed her sleepy eyes and slid out of bed onto the cool floor below, softly padding over to her window. Pushing the light pink drapes aside she peered out into the night to see a figure moving in the lit second story window. She stared wistfully for a few moments, cracking the window open slightly hoping to catch a tiny trace of the scent from earlier. She sighed when she could not pick up the scent, and rested her folded arms against the sill.

"I will meet you tomorrow, pretty lady. I hope you are nice and that you like us," the girl whispered into the night air. "Daddy will seem mean at first, but he is not really mean. I hope you give us a chance…"

She covered her mouth as a yawn took over, and decided to go back to bed. With a small wave goodnight to the figure next door, Rin pattered back over to her bed and settled in to sleep.

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The pungent smell of black coffee wrinkled Rin's nose as it wafted through her door from downstairs. It was Saturday, and her father would most likely be spending the day doing paperwork or trying to relax. Despite his aversion to the habit, he usually allowed Rin to sleep in if she wished, but this was not on the girl's agenda today. She leapt from the bed and bounded off to the bathroom to brush her teeth. In a flash of cool mint and messy brown hair, she raced past Sesshoumaru as he passively sipped his coffee from behind the day's paper, causing a silver brow to arch in curiosity. He rose silently and placed his things aside, strolling casually to the kitchen to retrieve the box of cereal he knew she would be struggling vainly to reach before preparing her a bowl.

"And what, dare I ask, has gotten you so excited today? I would have expected you to be in bed another hour at the least," the older male questioned. Rin bit her lip in search of an answer that would not set off any alarms with him.

"I… wanted to go out and play early today, that's all. It's such a pretty day, and I wanna play explorer!"

She carefully searched his face for signs of disbelief. Sesshoumaru was a smart man, and he could tell a lie when he smelled one. But then again, she technically had not lied. She was extremely eager to get outside early, it was a gorgeous day, and she really did want to play explorer, just not in the backyard like he expected. She saw no change in his stoic features.

"Hn," he paused, then handed her the bowl. "Finish eating and make your bed first, then you may go play."

"Yush, Dah-dy!" she exclaimed, stuffing her face by the spoonful.

Before long, Rin was shielding her eyes against the bright summer sun. She could hear Sesshoumaru's deep voice from where she stood. He was on the phone with someone from work. She knew he would be busy – and distracted – for a while. Long enough to do some snooping. The little youkai snuck around to the front of the house and peeked through the wrought iron fence to the light blue house next to theirs. She gulped nervously and took a look back to see if she was being watched. The coast was clear, so why was she so jumpy? 'I'm just being silly. If I don't go now, I will never get another chance!'

Steeling her resolve, Rin started her walk up to the house. The car from yesterday was in the driveway, so she knew the woman was home. Climbing the white steps to the wraparound porch, she tiptoed over to the window to take a peek inside. As expected, the room was filled with opened boxes and misplaced items. She spotted movement somewhere in the distance and cheered inwardly, jumping down away from the window and turning to the door to knock.

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A/N: FanFiction . net sucks. If you really want to read this story, read it on Dokuga or on my deviantArt (Lady-Suchiko). It's already up to 13 chapters. I am not sure I'll keep updating it here at all.