Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or any of its characters

chapter 44: A gift given

Rin opened her eyes to squint at the soft morning sunlight. With a low moan, she slowly lifted her hand and rubbed her face while breathing a deep yawn, sleepily noting the weak ache in her palm as she did so. The light soreness pulled her to fully wake, clearing her head. Memories of the day before suddenly dawned and she remembered...everything. Her breath caught and she sat up. "Sesshomaru."

The lowest whisper of a moan on her right caught her attention. What she saw made her entire being relax in relief. Lying there, eyes closed, peacefully sleeping, was the inu youkai she was in love with. The covers were up under his chin as if someone had tucked him in, and his silvery white hair was draped over the side of the bed.

Carefully, she leaned toward him, smiling, and reached out, intent on pulling back the cover from under his chin. Rin really wanted to see... As she eased the covers back, she consciously, ever so slowly, eyed the bare skin from his chin

to his neck

to his collar bone

and to his shoulder.

There she stopped, seeing the large white bandage wrapped around his shoulder, arm, and upper chest. A tinge of worry crept into heart. It was an awfully large wrapping. Was he really okay? Looking back to his resting features, Rin studied his face to find that no pain darkened his slumber.

Her worry died as she watched him slowly breathe in and out. His skin seemed to have a faint pale glow but the markings on his forehead and cheeks almost appeared to have gotten darker.

Again, she looked at his neck, silently in awe that his restraint was no longer there. With gentle, soft movement, she smoothed her fingertips up over the covers, over the cotton bandages on his chest, and to the warmth of his bare neck. Lightly, the pads of her fingers caressed the exposed skin that she had never seen before. Rin touched and looked, feeling and thinking, wondering what it would feel like to touch that warm skin with her lips. Unconsciously, she licked her bottom lip, her heart thumping at the thought. Sighing, Rin smiled and whispered. "Sesshomaru?"

He did not answer or make any sign of waking.

For some reason, it did not alarm her so she called his name again, hoping to rouse him from his sleep. "Sess?"

This time, she saw a flicker of movement from behind his closed eye-lids. After a long moment, his breathing changed and his head moved toward her some. Finally, his eyes slowly opened, and he blinked in sluggish motion. Rin smiled warmly. "Good morning."

He opened his mouth to speak, and his voice came, whispery and rough. "Rin."

She tilted her head with light merriment. "Yes, Lord Sesshomaru?"

At that, he raised a brow but then slightly shook his head. The dull amber in his eyes spoke more than he could at the moment, telling her he found her humor somewhat amusing. He then blinked slowly as if falling back to sleep, yet he did not. Instead, he spoke, again his voice cracking with weariness. "Rin. I have not This...." He winced while shifting and Rin reached out in an effort to help. Leaning back on the pillows, he resumed. "....wound, these injuries are deep. It will take some time for me to heal. Maybe the rest of the day."

Rin, sighing the cringe of worry away, smiled again. "I'm going to get up now but I will be near all day and checking up on you. Do you need anything?"

His eyes closed. "No."

Rin could tell he had gone back to sleep so she slipped out of bed, grabbed some clothes from the dresser, then went to take a shower.

Kagome groaned while fixing her cup of coffee. The couch was large but it had not been kind to her last night and oddly enough, she kept having the strangest dreams: some of Kikyo and Inuyasha doing weird things together. Shaking off the fading memory, she sighed while sitting down at the kitchen table. A moment later, the door opened, and Rin, wearing a pretty white summer dress and a beautiful smile, walked in.

"Good morning, Rin. How is Sesshomaru?"

Rin grabbed a bottle of juice from the fridge and sat down next to her. "He's asleep. He said his injuries wouldn't be fully healed until tonight sometime."

Kagome gave an understanding nod. "He was badly injured. It doesn't surprise me."

After taking a drink, Rin set her orange juice down, her brows furrowing in question. "Kagome?"


Rin looked her in the eye. "What happened to Sesshomaru's...."

Kagome finished for her. "Restraint."

Rin rested her cheek in her left palm. "Yeah. Where did it go?"

Kagome smiled and shook her head. "I took care of it. You don't have to worry. The spell has been broken and it can no longer hurt Sesshomaru...ever again."

By the satisfied light in Rin's eyes, Kagome knew Rin trusted her judgment in the matter. Smiling, Rin sighed and reached up to touch the flower behind her right ear.

Kagome noticed the flower. "Rin. Where did you get that flower?"

Rin looked up, coming out of her smiling daze. "Huh?" She then delicately pulled the flower from her hair and held it in her hands. "This is a flower that Sesshomaru gave me a few days ago. I think it's silk because it hasn't wilted and died."

Kagome, hands shaking a little, reached out and delicately touched one of the petals. Her eyes widened. "Rin, this flower is not silk. It's alive."

Rin looked from her to the flower in puzzlement.

Trying to keep her excitement down, Kagome took both of Rin's hands in hers, cupping them while Rin cupped the flower. She regarded Rin seriously. "Rin, this flower is alive. Only one flower in the world can stay alive without water or food for a year after it's been picked. Only one flower has the spiritual energy to sustain life and live on its own for that long. Only one flower has the pure white, tear drop petals of angel's wings."

Kagome smiled. "This is an Everness flower."

"An Everness flower?"

"Yes. Only one grows every five hundred years. It grows by itself and always in a different part of the world, usually where not a soul can see it. I have read about but have never seen one. Never thought I would see one. No one has seen one for over a thousand years."

Rin looked at the flower in wonder. "Wow. I didn't know." She smiled softly and held it to her chest with a small shrug. "It is a gift."

Kagome shook her head some. "It is more than a mere gift."

Rin looked up. "What do you mean?"

Letting out a calming breath, Kagome asserted herself. "That flower...has the spiritual and chemical properties to make a bonding elixir. Any miko can take that flower and make a liquid that will bind a human's soul to a youkai's. What that means is: I can make a liquid from the petals of that flower which will bind your soul to Sesshomaru's. You will age as he ages."

Rin blinked, stunned. "You mean....I will age with him?"

Kagome nodded.

Pure happiness flowed with her excitement as Rin realized exactly what Kagome meant. She could stay with Sesshomaru...for all of his life. She would never grow old and leave him. She could be with him...always. Rin held out the flower. "How long will it take to make it?"

Kagome took the flower from her hand. "An hour."

Astonished, Rin gaped. "Only an hour?"


Rin looked at the flower in her sister's hand. "What do I do with it when you are finished?"

Kagome studied the petals for a moment then laid the flower on the table between them. "You must drink it right before Sesshomaru marks you as his mate."

"What will it do to me?"

"The elixir will prepare your soul and body to bind with Sesshomaru. When Sesshomaru marks you, he will have to make sure he mixes his blood with yours at that exact moment. When that happens, the spiritual mixture will recognize Sesshomaru's blood and bind your soul to his." Kagome explained.

Rin was amazed. "It sound's complicated."

Kagome shook her head. "It's not really. All you do is drink it and then let Sesshomaru mark you. Just tell Sesshomaru before he marks you that it must be a blood shared mark."

Rin gazed at the small white flower. It was delicate and beautiful, the most precious gift...and Sesshomaru had given it with his heart. Now, she could give him something back that was even more precious. "Thank you, sis. I'll do it."

Inuyasha, holding a black briefcase, stepped up to Rin's door and knocked. For a moment, he stood, waiting, his keen ears picking up footsteps within the house. After a moment, the door opened. Kagome, dressed in a pair of worn blue jeans and dark blue blouse, smiled at him. "Hey. Come in."

Inuyasha stepped in while closing the door behind him, consciously noting the extremely sweet smell thick in the air, something like honey mixed with wild flowers. He followed Kagome into the living room. On the floor sat her belongings that he had helped carry from the day before: the large brown satchel and leather bound book. Kagome stopped by the couch just as Rin entered the living room behind him.

Kagome's brows raised in expectation. "Ready to go?"

Inuyasha set the briefcase on a small table by the couch. "Yeah. In a minute." He looked at Rin while gesturing to the black briefcase. "Rin, this is for Sesshomaru. Tell him that I can't go with him this time cause I got to help Kagome find the Jewel shards. When I finish with our quest, I'll visit Dad next month sometime."

Rin's eyes widened a tad before falling to the briefcase. "Oh..your dad?"

Inuyasha humphed with a smirk. "Yeah, Dad." He then walked over to Rin and wrapped both arms around her shoulders in a warm hug, secretly scrunching his nose up at the smell he knew so, so well: Sesshomaru's old, very familiar, very remembered scent. Yep. It was back. That's his brother's scent alright. He grinned. "He's our Dad now, sis. You'll like him. Trust me."

He backed up from Rin, noting her pink cheeks and small smile as she nodded.

He felt a pinch on his ear and turned to see Kagome with a hand on one hip. "We got to go, Inuyasha. The longer we wait the more of a possibility someone might find one of those shards and use it for no good."

Inuyasha grabbed Kagome's stuff. "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Okay."

After seeing Kagome and Inuyasha off, Rin walked into the house and into the living room. She glanced at the clock on the wall, seeing that it was almost 2:00. Her line of sight fell from the clock to the black briefcase on the end table.

Rin set the briefcase on her dresser then set the clear crystal bottle on the night stand. She gazed at the evening sun sparkling in the pure liquid for a long moment.

With a deep, happy sigh, she slowly moved her gaze to the soundly sleeping male on the bed. His outer glow was stronger, probably because he was almost healed.

Rin eased onto the bed and moved along the blanket till she was next to him. Smiling, she reached over and smoothed a stray lock of silvery white from his cheek, revealing both Fuchsia stripes. "Sesshomaru."

His eyes opened. Dark cloudy amber cleared to a warm gold. "Rin."

Rin was glad his voice was strong now, not raspy like this morning. The deep baritone made her skin tingle. "Hi."

He smiled a small smile. "Hi."

She placed a hand on his warm chest, feeling his heartbeat. "Are you better now?"

Sitting up some, he gave a single nod. "I am."

Rin glanced at his neck. "It's gone now."

Sesshomaru's hand slid out from under the blanket and moved to his throat. He held it there as his golden gaze lowered, his small smile fading in distant retrospect. "Yes....it is."

That distance shadowed his features in looming sadness. Rin reached out, lightly took his hand, then held it in hers. It was a strange question to ask, but one that was on her mind. "Do you...miss it?"

He blinked once, out of his daze and looked at her, giving her what he felt inside. "It was with me for so long...so many years...it became...a part of me. Even though it is gone and I am free...a piece of me is still...."

Sesshomaru turned his head, looking away, a heavy wound weighing his spirit down. Rin could see it so plainly. Whether it was Sesshomaru's intention to show her or not, she could see that scar. It was one that was nearly five hundred years in the making, one that might always be with him.

Rin reached out and touched his chin, turning his attention back to her. "Hey, I'm here. I will always be with you." She laid her head on his bandaged chest, his heartbeat in her ear, her breath, warm over his skin. "I love you."

Sesshomaru caressed the long, soft brown strands of Rin's hair. She had given him so much: her home, her love, and even her life. Was he worthy of something so pure? Was he worthy of this beautiful female who gave him so much strength, who even now, gave his heart a reason to heal? Was he worthy of her...love?

He searched within, thinking, needing to know....

Yes, this feeling, he felt, was...Love... Rin loved him. Rin's heart belonged to him.

And he....



"I love you too, Rin."

Rin felt strong arms lift her into him, then warm lips on hers. The sweetest feeling whirled within, filling and completing her at the same time. Nothing in the world could compare with what she felt at his simple declaration.

'He loves me.'

Their kiss deepened as his arms encircled her body, molding her against his warm chest in a gentle but firm embrace. Through parting breaths, she heard him whisper those words again and again. "I love you. I love you. I love you."

His lips slipped from hers and began a journey down her neck. Rin, caught up in the blissful haze, barely realized in time where his mouth was going until warm breath whispered a growl at the base of her neck.

Rin froze. "Sess, stop."

His hold tightened and he growled again. "Why?"

"We have to wait."

Rin felt his tongue lick her skin, and she heard his voice, deep with desire, moan against her neck. "Your body tells me otherwise."

She pushed against his chest, straining until his hold eased up. Rin leaned back and locked a firm but loving hold to the impatience in his darkened amber. "I know what you want to do, but we must wait. There is something important I have to tell you."

The smoldering want in his eyes did not die, but he gave a single nod. "What is it?"

Rin, feeling the excitement in her chest, smiled knowingly, reached over to the night stand, grabbed the small crystal bottle, then leaned back and held it up between them. "Kagome made this for us."

Sesshomaru looked at the bottle with guarded calm. "What is it?"

Rin situated herself, crossing her legs and nestling in the covers, cradling the small bottle in her lap while readying herself to explain. "Remember that white flower you gave me?"

The inu youkai slowly nodded once. "Yes."

She held the bottle in both hands and turned it around with her fingers, letting the sunlight from the window sparkle through the crystal clearness. "Kagome said it was an Everness flower."

Rin looked up to see Sesshomaru watching her intently.

"Was?" He asked, his tone carried a tinge of caution.

Nodding, Rin bit her bottom lip. "Kagome used the petals from it to make this elixir." Again, she held it up. "That flower you gave me was very special. This elixir will bind us together."

Seeing the growing but wary puzzlement in Sesshomaru's expression, Rin purposely relaxed in an effort to clearly explain. "If I drink this before you mark me with a shared blood marking, it will bind my soul to yours and I will age as you do. I will age with you. Not as a human ages but as a youkai ages."

Sesshomaru slowly switched his attention to the bottle. "Kagome...made this from the flower I gave you?"

Rin lowered the bottle to both hands once more. "Yes, she brewed it in the kitchen."

"And it will...bind you to me?"

Rin smiled with a nod. "Yes. It will allow us to stay together, for me to age as you do. Isn't that great?"

Sesshomaru eyed the crystal bottle. "I..." His gaze fell away from the bottle and away from her. "I want to mark you. I want to make you my mate. This I know but..."

His behavior was beginning to worry her. "What's the matter? Don't you want me to be with you...forever?"

He did not look at her; his gaze moved to rest on the covers between them. "I have heard of this flower. I did not realize it was an Everness. This potion that Kagome has made will bond your soul to mine. You will belong to me. Is this what you really want, Rin?" His dark golden gaze rose to her. In it, Rin saw hope but reluctance, wanting but hesitation. "I must know, Rin, I must know that this is what your heart wants. It is a commitment of the highest degree. I do not know what will happen once it is rendered."

"What do you mean?"

He lifted his hand, his claws elongating as he raised them to her cheek. Rin, unafraid, watched with fascination. The sharp point of his forefinger barely touched her skin before he withdrew his hand and held it up between them. His voice softened but held a hint of warning. "Do you want to be as I am? What if this elixir changes you? Do you wish to become a demon? A monster to some? My heart is dark. Yours is light. I do not wish to darken that light within you. I do not want my...darkness...to change your soul."

Rin, for a long moment, held his gaze, holding to that troubled gold, slowly realizing how much he really loved her. He was willing to give up an eternity with her; commit to her, love her, but not change her in any way. He was worried his demon soul would damage hers.

"Sesshomaru, I love you." Rin laid the bottle in her lap and tenderly took his clawed hand in both of hers, carefully caressing it. "I love what you are, what you are inside. My heart wants you, needs you, longs for you. Please, let me give you my heart. Let me give you my soul. I, Rin, willingly offer myself, everything I am, to you. I want to be with you...forever. I am willing to risk anything and everything for that chance."

Sesshomaru, longing within, gently held Rin's hand. Her brown eyes shimmered with so much need. In the reflection of the evening light he could see how much she loved him. She wanted this. Her heart wanted to be with him forever. Rin...wanted...him. Rin...loved...him.

He slowly nodded and looked down at the bottle in her lap. "I, Sesshomaru, accept your offer. My heart, My soul, will accept yours. If you wish to bind your soul to mine, I readily, with everything I am, with all of my love, consent to your gift."

Rin smiled, nodded, and sighed while her entire being relaxed. She gathered the bottle, held it up, then uncorked the top. Immediately, the scent sweetened the air. His mouth watered with a desire to taste but Sesshomaru knew he had to mark Rin first. "This must be a shared blood marking, correct?"

Holding the bottle, Rin looked at him. "Yes. Kagome said so."

Sesshomaru gave a nod in understanding. "Very well."

She smiled softly, breathed in deeply, brought the small crystal bottle to her lips, then drank the liquid.

Intently, he waited as she drank for any type of reaction. Rin lowered the crystal bottle, lightly licking her lips while doing so. Her brow raised in wonderment. "That was good, better than cheesecake."

With a small smile, Sesshomaru leaned forward, finally setting his instincts free. He wanted to mark his chosen mate and he was going to do it now. Intentionally, he bit his tongue, allowing blood to flow, hot and coppery into his mouth. Swallowing the excess, he growled. "Lie down."

Rin looked up with wide eyes. His growl did not startle her but did get her attention, all of her attention for that fragrant smell, Rin's scent of wanting, wafted up, and banished him further towards his instinctual urges. His mouth watered even more, mixing with the blood. Using gentle force, he lightly grasped Rin's shoulders and pushed her to lie on her back. While moving with the motions to hover over his future mate, his long hair fell softly to lightly brush her left cheek. She stared up at him, flustered, with pink cheeks and quickened breathing.

Then her gaze moved to his bandaged shoulder and worry tainted those brown depths. He touched her chin, switching her attention back to him. With more of a growl than intended, he whispered. "I am fine. Do not worry."

Swallowing again, he looked at her neck. Not able to see all that he wanted, he growled low, losing some control. With demon quickness, he reached up and ripped the cloth away, exposing her neck, shoulders, and upper chest. Fascinated, he watched her chest rise and fall in heavy breaths. That scent became stronger and he knew what she wanted. Her excitement was not hard to miss. "What do you want, Rin?"

She did not answer so he caught her gaze with his. Flushed and trembling, Rin licked her pink bottom lip. "I want you. Please?"

Hearing Rin's consent, he lowered himself, the tip of his nose caressing across her cheek, down from her ear, then down her neck. When he tasted the softness of skin, he sighed hotly. "You have me."

Licking once, just above her collar bone, he growled again, his whisper tingling across the delicate hollow of Rin's shoulder and mingling with the fathomed beats of her pulse. "You are mine."

Everything in that one instant stopped and the world froze in an eternal heartbeat. The sharpness of his fangs easily sank into tender flesh and he had to hold back the craving need to go deeper. Rin let out something akin to a scream but more of a yelp. Hearing such a noise coming from his mate made him want to stop, but he knew he couldn't just yet. No. He had to finish the marking and make Rin his. Her blood flowed into his mouth and he tasted sweetness. Strangely, the coppery tinge had been nearly drowned out by a purity of heavenly honey. It was an incredible flavor, one that went beyond temptation; powerfully addicting, and it made him want more. Lured from reason, he sucked and drank, wanting to relish the divine nectar till it was all gone. Beneath him, he heard Rin gasp his name, felt her fingers trace his bare skin. But, all too soon, her touch fell, and in the back of his mind, he wondered.

"Sesssss....Sesshomaruuu...." The words were drowsy and weak, shocking him back to reality. He unlatched his teeth from her now sluggish pulse. Swallowing hard, he raised up and looked at his mate. Her face was too pale and her eyes were closed, yet he could see her breathing. "Rin?"

She did not move or make one sound. Becoming worried, he leaned down, placed an ear on her chest and listened. Thankfully, he heard Rin's heartbeat but it was low and somewhat slow.

For a moment, his worry deepened and pain bubbled up in his heart. What had he done? Rin was human, not a demoness. She was frail: too weak in body to handle a full demon's marking. Even though he had been careful not to let the lusting rage take over... that taste... had nearly caused him to.....

Sesshomaru raised up and licked the honeyed blood from his lips as he beheld his new mate. She was motionless and pale. Heart beating in heavy lumps, he touched his lips to her soft ones: their first kiss as mates. Her taste mingled with both of their life's blood and created a unique essence which calmed his thudding pulse. Ending the kiss, Sesshomaru closed his eyes, feeling strangely tired. Ever so carefully, he lay down beside his new mate and gently moved her body to snuggle up against his; laying her head on his shoulder and arm across his chest. While caressing Rin's warming skin, wetness coated the darkness; it slipped from his closed eyes and down his cheek. Why such a thing was happening, he didn't know. The tears did not feel of sadness... only....different.

That was his last thought before a peaceful sleep overtook him.

















Hi all!!!! Yes I have finally come out of hiding to finish my stories. I thought it would be a good present for the holidays. I want to thank everyone that has reviewed my stories. And I am sorry I have taken far too long in updating. Since all my reviews for chapter 43 were written so long ago, I will respond only to chapter 44's. Till next update, Ras