Prisoner, My Prisoner

Part 1: One Cell Prison 45 Day Captivity

Author's Notes: I was laying awake, 3 or 4 in the morning and this idea came to me. It's a little odd and the people in it are all mixed up together. You'll see what I mean later.

One scene is marked in italics you should be able to pick up that it's a flash back, there's no Flashback to warn you. Some thoughts are also marked by italics, and not at all related to the flashback scene.

Kagome pulled her knees up, smoothing out her kimono. She was alone in the rather drab room and the only door was guarded. She had been here, trapped, a prisoner of the grand lord Inutaisho for almost forty-five days now.

She had been confined to a set of rooms she suspected was a set of abandoned servant's quarters. Her contact had been limited only to the guard outside her door and the occasional visit from either one of the son's of her captor, or even rarer, her captor himself.

She had seen Masaharu Inutaisho only once during the period of her captivity. It had been during the initial hours after her kidnapping. He had come down to her room with his eldest son at his side and looked over her. His speech had been clipped and curt as he told her she was now a captive and would remain so until further notice. He had then left her there and she hadn't seen him since.

She knew of the Masaharu family, her father had told her a little about them. There was Inutaisho, the head of the family and his two sons: the eldest, Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha, the youngest. The Lady of the Western Lands, Inutaisho's wife had died some time ago after the birth of her second son.

Of these people she had seen the youngest son Inuyasha the most. He came once a week and spoke to her, if one could considered his mocking news updates, conversation.

"Hey, girl!"

She turned wearily toward the door where she would see him, no doubt lounging in the doorway, flaunting his freedom. He did so like to tease her.

"What?" she asked, turning her gaze beyond him. She was no longer interested in what he had to say. He never brought her good news and she was not sure she could believe anything he said anyway. Her father had warned her; the Masaharu's were liars, believe nothing they tell you.

"Heard from your daddy, girl!"

She ignored him and turned her back to him entirely. She didn't even want to look at him. He spouted off a few more well placed insults before informing her in no uncertain terms the negotiations with her family were over.

Forty-five days, she thought grimly. No stalling, no talks, and what that meant was there will be no exchange - she was being given up. It was simply a matter of time before the news reached her that her father; Higurashi Naraku was accepting her loss, as a sacrifice to his cause. She was collateral damage in his war campaign.

Inuyasha waited, perhaps expecting a reply of some sort, a reaction of any kind, but received none. She kept her back to him silently, her head bowed. She wanted nothing but to be alone to digest her captivity in this new light. She was no longer a political hostage. There were no longer guidelines for her treatment. She was, simply, property of the enemy.

Her father, the powerful Higurashi Naraku, wasn't going to rescue her. She closed her eyes tightly, blinking away the tears she knew she'd shed. The tears her father would have punished her for showing. A sign of weakness was all tears were a symbol that you could be broken, and used by your enemies.

A few minutes later she heard the door close and the guard take his place before it, his heavy footsteps loud and final in her ears. So this was it.

Sesshoumaru raised his head as his father returned, a frown set upon his features.

"Bad news?" he inquired.

"Higurashi has decided to sacrifice his daughter, no negotiations." Inutaisho frowned once more.

Sesshoumaru looked up, surprised. "Is that so? He's going to write her off? No conditions, even for her life?"

"'She is better off dead than she is your captive, be merciful and kill her.' - This is the message I was given."

"Isn't this girl his youngest daughter?"

Inutaisho nodded, sighing heavily. "The plan failed... You handle the girl."

"What will I do with her?" Sesshoumaru asked.

"Whatever you want, she is of no use to us."

Sesshoumaru followed the winding corridors down to the final level of the fortress. He wasn't sure what he was going to do with her. The guard stood down as he appeared and he stepped past the armed man and slid open the door.

The girl, the object of his visit, was in plain view. She had not tried to hide before and it was quite impossible in the near empty room. She was sitting there near the wall, her back to him and she showed no signs of turning to pay attention. Her manners hadn't improved.


Her head lifted as he called to her but she didn't turn or move around to face him. He wasn't sure yet what to do with her, but leaving her down here in the servants quarters to waste away wasn't an option. He, until further notice, would at least bring her up to something more suitable and then he would decide upon her purpose.

"Come with me."

She stood and turned toward him and he found himself startled by the blue intensity of her eyes. He could not recall having ever witnessed eyes quite like hers before. He wondered why he hadn't noticed it the last time he gazed at her. Her clothes were drab and crumpled and she looked the part of a peasant rather than a princess; even her demeanor was lowly.

Although she appeared almost a duplicate of her older sister Kikyo, this girl seemed to have none of her bearing. Kikyo was a woman of grace and poise, there was confidence in her movements. He'd witnessed the former on several occasions when his father had sat with Higurashi at two previous peace conferences. Both had ended in death and disaster.

This girl he knew only by reputation as the youngest, most fiercely protected of Higurashi Naraku's daughter's. He turned away from her as realized he was staring and quickly led her from the room. She didn't say anything, voiced no questions, and leaked no whimpers. She simply followed.

He motioned for the guard to follow and he did so, trailing behind the quiet girl. She had her head down, staring at the floor beneath her feet. This was an unusual girl, especially for the women that he'd seen come from the Higurashi clan.

The Lady of the Higurashi Clan, Kagura, was a fiendish woman who dealt stealthily. He had met her on an occasion or two when she had tried to betray her family. He had learned that her husband enslaved her, but she would not reveal that which he bound her with although she did imply it was a sort of blackmail. When asked about her daughters, Kikyo and Kagome, the woman replied snidely they were on their own. Since then he had had a bad feeling about the entire family, other than his sour feelings related to the blood lost between them in their continuing war.

After a momentary lapse in thought his mind trailed back to the present, and his destination came into view. There, at the end of hall is where he would keep her. In this location she would be nearest to where the servants presently slept. She was just barely beyond the border of the servant's quarters and into the 'guest' section.

Her previous set of rooms had been under construction, repairs had been necessary after the castle had been attacked and some structural damage incurred upon that area of the fortress. He slid the door open; her guard would remain at her side at all times.

"You may leave the room as you like but you are to go nowhere without your guard."

He wondered if she even heard him as she now directed her gaze into the room before quietly stepping in. It was a step up from her previous living conditions, but probably a great step down from what she had been born into.

Still, no words, no complaints, no trace she had even use of a voice even as he told himself, she must.

"What is your name?" he asked.

He already knew her name; it was simply a means to her voice since she was apparently not going to oblige his private curiosity on the matter.

"Higurashi Kagome," she replied in a much softer tone than he'd expected.

Even now she had again turned away from him as he'd originally come upon her. She settled down onto the floor by a table staring at the dried flower arrangement that decorated it.

That was it then? She didn't wonder what they were going to do? She didn't ask about her life or circumstances, just quiet, obedient acceptance? And from a young woman who had been trained and taught all her life that he and his family were her sworn enemies?

Thinking so brought about a wave of treasonous thoughts. Perhaps this was the plan, perhaps this meek child was being sent in as an assassin? He could suddenly not put the thought aside, the possibility of it unnerved him. Perhaps he should kill her on the spot? He was conflicted, unable to decide.

Before he could come to a decision on the matter, however, his daughter appeared. Her bright eyes were lit with excitement.

"Can I have a horsie?"

"You have one already," he replied his tone clearing suggesting his mind was elsewhere.

"Yes, but Jaken says I'm not big enough to ride her and he took her away." She pouted a moment, but when he paid her no mind she turned her curious eyes into the room.

He should have seen it coming. He should have known better but his mind was taxed already. Before he could think to stop her she was already half way across the room, eager to greet the woman who might be an assassin.

"Rin," he warned, but his words fell on deaf ears as she had already reached the young woman and was already talking.

He listened to the jumble of words he'd heard before; her inelegant introduction followed by inquires of health taught to her by her teachers and so on. He was about to interrupt Rin's pleasantries when the girl turned her head toward Rin. He felt his heart rate pick up, what if she attacked?

"My name is Higurashi Kagome, pleased to meet you."

"Can I call you Kagome-chan?" The girl asked delighted with her new acquaintance.

The young woman nodded in assent.

"You want to come pick flowers with Rin?" she asked, pointing at herself.

He watched as the sadness melted from the young woman's face into a smile. "I'm sorry, I cannot. I am not allowed to leave my room."

"Were you bad?" Rin frowned, settling down beside Kagome.

Kagome nodded. "I wandered too far from home."

"Oh... Rin did that once, I got in trouble too!"

Rin seemed to misunderstand what the girl was saying but he was not about to correct her and it seemed the girl wasn't about to either as she smiled at her once more.

"Did you pick these flowers also?"

The comment seemed to pick her up, as Rin suddenly became revitalized. "Rin picked flowers for every room and then Takada-san showed me how to dry them and to place them in pretty patterns."

Kagome turned to view the spray of flowers, admiring them. "They are very pretty."

He watched the chatting females for a few minutes figuring he could spare the time. It gave him the opportunity to watch the young woman. Could she really be an assassin?

"Hey! Sesshoumaru- where's the girl!"

He turned unwelcome gold eyes toward his brother as he stomped toward him.

"Why do you wish to know?"

He stopped several feet away and crossed his arms. "Keh! None of your business."

"The girl has been placed under my authority. She has been confined to this room."

Inuyasha perked up coming forward to peer into the aforementioned room.

"You let her in there with Rin!"

The loudly proclaimed question caught the girls attention and both females turned their eyes toward the doorway. Sesshoumaru stared back impassively, his eyes trained on the girl his daughter was seated beside. She, however, was looking at his brother Inuyasha and momentarily he saw her eyes narrow before she turned away, the look having gone.

Sesshoumaru glanced off to his left where his brother was staring within, fixated with her. No doubt Inuyasha had made himself a nuisance to the girl. No surprise there.

"That's just my uncle Inuyasha - my daddy says he's a pest, don't worry about him too much. He's all noise." Rin giggled with her own delight.

"If you have a problem go see Father, he has given me custody of the girl."

"Keh!" Inuyasha muttered, walking off. "Of course he'd get the girl, why don't I ever get the girls? I don't ever get anything!"

Having had enough of this unpleasant set of circumstances Sesshoumaru determined to leave.

"Rin, come."

She turned with wide, pleading eyes. "But daddy-"

"Now," he answered firmly.

The girl stood reluctantly. "... Maybe he'll let me come see you tomorrow... can I?" she asked, her hopeful eyes toward the young woman instead of him for permission. He frowned, he was being usurped by this slip of a girl?

"Those decisions are to be asked of your father. You should go and be a good girl Rin-chan."

She giggled and ran past her father into the hall.

Maybe desperation is a funny thing. Here she had been trapped for just over 51 days now. It had been a week since her father had given her up to the enemy. She'd endured another week of suspicious stares and haughty glances from those who came by to see her. Kagome had seen few people, really, only those who would drag themselves over into her line of sight as she remained steadfastly sat with her back to the door.

She had eaten little and was quickly becoming exhausted, as Rin's frequent visits were tiring. She could not maintain her unhappiness in front of the girl who appeared oblivious to the situation. The lack of her food consumption was causing her great pains and it was becoming more difficult to maintain her happy exterior with her weakening body. She groaned as she heard the door open in the next room over, it was about time for the servant to be bringing her lunch. She turned away as though the futile motion would block out the heavy aroma of food as it drifted to her nose.

Her body was already betraying her. Her hunger had caused her head to pound painfully all morning since she'd first woke and her stomach had not ceased it's growling at her. If she kept this up, she would die. An agonizing death awaited her, not one free of pain and suffering. She would feel every last plea her body made, ever last cry and twitch for sustenance before death finally found her.


It was a permanent change. She would be expunged from reality; the only traces of her remaining would be that of her body, which would eventually fade away, leaving only the memory of her. She would survive only in the memories of others. She had nothing, she had given nothing of herself to the world around her, so when she was gone - she was gone forever. She sank deeper into her blankets. It was all so depressing. She closed her eyes fitfully, but the aromatic scent in the air taunted her, tempting her back even as she crept toward death's edge.

If she had just behaved like her father had told her, this wouldn't have happened. That day... that afternoon 51 days ago...

"Kagome-sama you must do this, it is for your future!"

"Future? Is that what he calls it? Marrying me off to one of his 'friends' pompous sons? Forget it, I won't go!"

"Kagome-sama, please cooperate. If Higurashi-sama discovers you haven't even begun to prepare for your presentation at his court in the spring he will be very angry."

She hesitated. Her father angry was a very, very bad thing. No one in the household dare defy her father's order, not even her, his favorite child. Still, she clung to her defiance even as she was led down the hall to begin choosing the silk for her kimono. She hated this. Once within she took a meager glance over the reams and reams of silk that were laying ou, presented for her. She chose one at random, a pretty enough pattern that would be suitable - as though her pattern would be a surprise. She was allowed no choices that her father hadn't already approved of. She scowled again.

Why did he have to hover over her all the time? Always shadowing her movements, keeping her on a leash. She was barely allowed out of his sight as it was. Task aside, one of her guardians, Etsuko allowed her to leave with a small, grateful smile. Kagome was unable to glare at the woman and nodded with an understanding smile in return. She had to do her job; she could not fault her servants.

The moment she had left the room, however, her bitter feelings returned with fervor. She glanced about; the castle was unusually quiet for this time of day. With spring rapidly approaching preparations must have kept everyone tied up. She smiled. This was the perfect opportunity for some personal time. Spotting the doors just ahead of her that would lead out into the garden and private forests of the Higurashi family she crept toward them.

Anyone who had witnessed the princess slinking along the hall would probably have gaped at the sight, she thought with a small smile. She reached the doors and gently began to slide them open, but only enough for her to fit out the narrow opening. Once her bare feet touched the cool wood planks of the veranda she silently closed the door. She winced as the doors snapped closed and waited a moment to see if anyone had heard.

Undiscovered, she took a deep breath and ran, as fast as she could away from the house. She had a good ten minutes or so she speculated before her attendants would start searching, noticing she was missing. She smiled victoriously as she entered the forest. She walked along, oblivious of the danger until passing around one tree where she was cornered and three bulky thugs threw themselves at her.

Kagome's eyes snapped open. A horrible memory and every day it revisited her. She had been grabbed, scraped, and bruised by the brutes and then presented to a man who would treat her even more roughly than his underlings. A foul piece of walking filth that identified himself as Kaijinbou. She silently swore if she ever came upon the man again she'd like to hear a few of his bones crack. Although she had the creeping feeling the experience wouldn't be as enjoyable as her vengeful thoughts played it up to be.

She heard the sounds of movement but not before they were upon her and her chamber doors had been thrown open violently. Without warning to her slow paced brain, her body shot up at the noise, the movement, and her head had turned in that direction. Even if her head was out of whack her body it seemed was on track despite its whimpering.

She found herself staring up into unhappy golden orbs that belonged to none other than her captor's son. The one who currently held authority over her fate. He could make death a lot easier, she suddenly thought before repressing the notion again. No more death talk, she chided herself forcing her thoughts to fall into line as she met his gaze steadily.

Here she was, proper princess barely dressed sitting up staring at her 'guardian' and without attendants of any sort. How improper. She scolded herself again for her wandering thoughts.

"Tell me, do you suffer from some sort of illness that causes stupidity or are you just another empty headed woman?"


Clearly, she wasn't hearing right either. What exactly did that mean? And how dare he insult her like that! Didn't he know who- no, he knew exactly who she was, that wouldn't work. She couldn't threaten him with her position. She couldn't threaten him with her family name. She couldn't do anything she'd just have to ... to take it. To top it off here she was coming off sounding like some silly young girl...

"Do not think it has escaped my notice that you are not eating."

Oh... that's what he was here for, she thought. She couldn't begin to imagine why he even cared. Let alone why it mattered, she wasn't a political hostage anymore. Her father could care less what happened to her.

"You are in my custody, you will obey my orders."

"Or what?" she heard herself say. "You'll kill me? I sure hope you have something far more threatening than that."

What was she doing? She screamed silently at her self. Don't say things like that you moron!

"Yes, your family does take death lightly, don't they?"

If he had meant the remark to be cutting, she wasn't suffering over it. She brushed it aside as her resolve strengthened, maybe it was the lack of food, or maybe it was just her own attitude finally kicking back in.

"What do you want? It is entirely improper for you to be in my bedchamber."

For whatever reason, perhaps justifiable insult, she was suddenly at the end of a very nasty, but very cool temper. She'd barely seen him move, but she'd felt it all too close as one hand clutched the front of her robe yanking her to her feet and the other clasped around her neck. She could feel the tips of fingernails against her skin but wasn't left any time to wonder at the curiosity of a male with long nails as the pressure suddenly bore down upon her fragile flesh.

"I do not like bitchy women; I will not tolerate your attitude. My wishes will be obeyed or you will have no thoughts of death or anything else as you will be incapable of escaping the haze of pain."

He was a wordy one, wasn't he?

She felt obstinate and afraid and she couldn't quite manage to muster her defiant glare. He took her silence as her consent and released her. She fell into a crumpled heap, turning up her eyes once more. She was certain they shone with her damaged pride and her fear, but this time she was certain her defiance had returned.

Words of rebellion gathered in her mouth but she refused to voice them fearful of his reprisal. Her injuries from her previous mistreatment had healed and she was in no way eager for more wounds, she wanted to be somewhat presentable when they sent her body back to her father, as she knew they would.

He turned on his heel and left her without another word, but even though he was gone, her anger, her dislike for him began to simmer.

Human life was a continual drama. Each day, each hour new things developing, and happening. New emotions sprouted and as others unconsciously died away.

It was that line of thought that led her to where she was right now. Sitting, brooding over life; wondering if in her sixteen years she'd ever been stupider than she had been that afternoon 57 days ago. Now as she sat here, having gotten over her starving stint once her 'master' had all but kicked her around in her room, she thought sourly.

Yet even as she pressed herself to pay attention to the little girl who was demanding her attention, her thoughts drifted. Back to her father, her sister, her family. She wondered what they were doing; wondered if she was missed.

Her thoughts drifted toward her home - pondering whether or not her elder sister thought of her. If her perfect, princess sister whose heart was buried beneath her cold exterior would think about her. She wondered if she cared, or if she had been too brainwashed by their father and really, truly thought of her as a write-off.

"Isn't it great Kagome-chan?"

Her mind snapped back into place as her eyes refocused on the girl in front of her. Just as quickly, however, her eyes darted beyond Rin, to where another figure had silently appeared while her thoughts drifted.

She forced herself to answer Rin with a cheery reply even as her eyes never strayed from that of Rin's stoic father in the doorway. She suddenly wondered how Rin's mother had been lost. If her family was at all responsible for the woman's death and who she had been. What kind of woman had the obnoxious, beautiful man in the doorway married and gave him this adorable girl for a daughter?

With that, she let her eyes fall down to the girl in question, but she knew she could never ask the girl. She was young, perhaps too young to know, or worse she might tell her father she'd asked and he already seemed suspicious of her.

"Perhaps you'd like to show your father, Rin-chan? I'm sure he'd enjoy it too."

The girls head popped up from its tilted, concentrated stare at the paper before she stood hastily.

"Great idea!"

She snatched up the paper whirling around quickly and was very clearly startled to see him standing there.

"He's here, Kagome-chan!" she exclaimed excitedly.

Kagome merely nodded as Rin held the paper in both hands high above her head, almost on her toes as she extended it to him. But his eyes were not on Rin, nor the paper as it took it silently, but across the room at her. She doubted his eyes had drifted the least bit.

His stare was finally broken as he dropped it to the proffered sheet of paper to examine the scrawl across it. Rin had drawn yet another picture, wasting more perfectly good ink. The table was splattered and streaked with it and long black marks stained the dainty little hands that had given him the paper.

He could only assume the crudely drawn figure on the page was himself and the tiny person beside him was supposed to be Rin. Above their heads, floating magically in the cloudy sky on the page was an attempt to recreate the kanji the older girl had drawn as an example. He could see the neatly, perfectly drawn symbol from where he stood, the inked kanji blazing on another sheet over at the table and he peered down at Rin's recreation. She had drawn it several times and her sky was speckled with it.

"I asked Kagome-chan for help. It says, 'love' right, daddy? 'Cause Rin loves her daddy."

He confirmed this with a meager nod of his head. He expected no less of Higurashi. No less than a suitable reading and writing background, even if she was a woman. Naraku wouldn't have weak children, even if he and Kagura had only two girls. There were other children in that family, but not by his wife. They lingered in the background of the dark Higurashi territories. He knew of only two but there were more than that in number.

One was another female, young, and odd looking. He'd been told her name was Kanna and she was rumored to hold 'death in her eyes'. The other child of which he was aware was a son, Goshinki. He knew even less about this child other than what he'd heard in gossip. He'd heard something akin to 'psychic powers' but he was not inclined to believe it anymore than what he'd heard of Kanna.

"Very nice Rin."

The girl beamed under his praise and danced around in a small circle before he returned the paper to her and she scampered back over to the girl.

"Rin, it's time you returned."

Although disappointed, the girl rose and quietly left the room. She managed, however, to wave enthusiastically at Kagome before going.

With Rin gone he could more clearly align his thoughts. There was a perfect well of information sitting right underneath his roof the entire time. He stepped within breaching her personal space and closed the doors firmly behind him. Without a word to the girl who was watching him with cautious eyes he came and sat at the other side of the table.

He wondered, as he sat there staring back at her, if her father had realized she might be used as an information source. Or perhaps he was simply too confident in his training of the girl that she would give him no information. Or maybe he simply expected them to kill her and ship her lifeless corpse back home.

"Your sister was rumored to have been injured today."



She looked conflicted suddenly. "Kanna?" she asked as though the name were foreign to her. "Kanna should not be anywhere near a battle zone."

He almost grinned in satisfaction. She didn't appear to be very intelligent and that made him want to frown. He had somehow come to expect more of the pretty eyed girl.

"Why is that?"

"Why is what?" she asked, a tone of challenge in her voice.

"Why shouldn't she be near a battle ground?"

"I heard Kanna has many guardians to keep watch over her. Why would anyone take a child to a battlefield? Isn't she just a little girl?"

He did frown at that.

"What of Goshinki?"

At this, a small grim smile played at her lips. "Goshinki is my half brother, but I don't suggest you go after him, Masaharu-sama. He is mentally unstable and has... unusual abilities."

This caught his attention as he suspected she intended it to.

"What kind of abilities?"

"I do not know for certain, I have heard only from my sister Kikyo. She told me he had displayed psychic powers and used them extensively in battle."

"How does he employ this powers in battle?" he asked, although he could hypothesize, he wished to have her knowledge, even if it was second hand.

"It seems he can pick up the enemies plan before they attack. Kikyo assumed him to be insane as he enjoys taunting and ripping open his enemy, tear by tear until all is left but a bloody pulp of bone and flesh. That is what she said."

He was not surprised as he'd heard much of the same.

"I don't know any of my other half-siblings by name. I have been forbidden any contact with them."


"I don't know, father doesn't give reasons, he gives orders."

She seemed meek then, as she relayed to him what must have been something ingrained deeply in her. A trained response. Her older sister would have much more information; this girl would not have been privy to his battle plans or anything else.

"And what of Kikyo?"

She raised her head once more. "What of her?"

"Are you in contact with her?"

"Not anymore."

He frowned.

"I was... I used to be, but she went off frequently to do father's bidding. She never informed of what her plans were, I wasn't supposed to know that kind of thing. Kikyo is a master archer; I'm not as good as her."

"An archer?"

"It was an extensive part of our miko training."

Miko? This girl was a miko? Fascinating.

"You are a miko?"

She nodded. "I was trained by Kaede, a old village miko that lived close to the castle."

She had dropped her gaze back to her lap where she had folded her hands neatly.

"Why have you told me all this?"

Her mouth twisted into an unidentifiable expression. "You asked."

He frowned again. "Did it not occur to you I might use such information to kill your family?"

"Of course it did. I realize the implications of anything I might say."

"And yet you told me anyway."

"I will be killed one way or another, so it doesn't really matter what I say. Furthermore, I haven't said anything you probably don't know already."

The horrors of this family it seemed were endless. Not only would Higurashi give up on the girl but that he would eliminate her at the utmost opportunity himself. Family bonds meant nothing to the Higurashi clan. Absolutely nothing. What truly sickened him was that he had seen it, time and again.

"Does this not worry you?"

This statement caused her to smile. Of all the things he could have said, she smiled at the possibility of her family's killing her causing her to worry. "There are far greater things to worry about."

True, she did have greater things to be worrying over than her family's coming after her, especially given the unlikelihood of such a thing happening.

She said nothing further and he found his questions, for the moment, had been answered satisfactorily. As such, he stood and left the room, and the girl behind. Thoughts of her came with him as he left. The girl had told Rin she'd been living there for 57 days. She was counting then, although he wondered why it was she bothered. Maybe she simply had nothing else to do and that would be a perfectly reasonable excuse.

The thought of her as an assassin had faded as he had kept a closer eye on her behavior. Rin had always been accompanied with a minder and was never allowed with her alone. The girl was simply too young, too naive, and too inept to be an assassin.

He'd also gotten reports from his brother, ragged ones but reports all the same. His younger sibling, it seemed, was just short of obsessed with her although she seemed to have no regard for him.

As he stepped into the shrine room where his father sat he forced thoughts of her to flee. Or he had intended to before his father had turned and inquired of her.

"The girl?" Sesshoumaru repeated as though he hadn't correctly heard the inquiry.

"Yes, the Higurashi girl."

"What of her?"

"What have you done with her?"

"As of yet, nothing."

"Yet you allow your child to associate with her and you keep her fed and clothed well enough. This girl has been under my roof for almost two months now. It is unusual; I must assume you have taken a liking to her."

He hadn't consciously thought of it, but now that he had been confronted with it, he didn't hate the suggestion of it. He didn't like her, not the way his father was implying. He barely knew the girl; surely his father was not suggesting what he thought he was.

"I simply have thought of no solution for her," he replied.

"Do not lie to your father. We have taken political prisoners before and you have not treated them as you have this girl. Nor is it because she is of the female persuasion."

"True enough, but we have never held one of Higurashi's daughters, let alone of his heirs."

This point seemed to stick and his father turned his head away. "I am unconvinced this is your reasoning, but I will not interfere. I have given her to you. Onto other business..."

End Chapter One.

Revised: 6/15/06