Unexpected Holiday

By: Ailian Rhys

Summary: He never did like going home for Christmas. His family was a terror. But it was tradition. And so he went. And found a little girl whose spirit was stronger than her silence. Sess and Rin. AU.

A/N: Last year I wrote "Every Little Girl" as a sort of Christmas contribution. And so I decided to do one for this year. And this idea just went and hit me between the eyes. And so, here you go

And just so you knowI've never been to Minnesota.::sheepish grin::

Disclaimer: Characters aren't mine. Insanity is.

*Dates correspond with Christmas 2003.

Prologue: This Does Not Bode Well

Friday: December 19—late afternoon

Sesshoumaru had long since given up on asking himself why. It was useless anyway. Why wouldn't help him any. Because here he was, on the plane flying home to Minneapolis, Minnesota in order to partake in the grandiose Hakamatsu Christmas celebration'.

Yes, every year around this time he found himself forced onto a crowded plane back home. Only to spend a week with his all around insane family consisting of his father, his new wife, her father, and his stepsiblings. Not to mention his father's multiple siblings and their children, his cousins.

All of them in one house for days. Together.

Joy of joys

The young junior executive shifted in the tight, confined seat the best he could, trying to stretch his long legs. This damned flight seemed like an uncomfortable eternity. It didn't help much that the woman who sat to his right, against the window, was slowly falling over on him in her sleep. Or that she was almost buried under a layer of very strong perfume that made even his eyes burn.

Never mind the child who sat across the aisle from him. He had never seen someone stare so long in his entire life. And pick her nose at the same time. Sesshoumaru grimaced as the toddler stuck her finger in her mouth—the same finger she'd just had up her nose. She gave him an impossibly wide grin as she chewed on her fingers contently. The child seemed completely oblivious to the woman—apparently her mother—who was having some sort of fit behind her. She was chattering like some demented animal as she tried to get a little boy to stop throwing what looked to be peanut shells at what had to be his other male sibling.

The young man closed his eyes and released a drawn-out breath that ruffled his long, pale blonde hair. That seemed to fascinate the little girl. He heard her giggle. It was a high, obnoxious sound that a human had no right to make.

And to think, he wasn't even home yet

Trying his best to ignore his new fan, Sesshoumaru rose from his seat to get his laptop from the upper storage compartment. Pushing his briefcase to the side he drew out the notebook from its leather carrier and sat back down. Pulling down the tray on the seat in front of him, he was about to flip open the top when a freckled face suddenly appeared around the seat in front of him. The child stared at him with huge blue eyes.

"What'cha doin'?"

Wishing for patience, Sesshoumaru slowly lifted his light brown eyes from the screen. "Working."

"Really? On what?"


The boy pouted. "That's no fun." His eyes lit up. "Why don't you let me use that for games? You've got games, right?"

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes. There was no way in hell he'd let some child that had popped out of nowhere use his computer. Even if he did have games, which he did not. "No."

The boy pouted even more. "Come on," he whined.

Where were the boy's parents? "I said no."

"I'll stop buuuugging you if you let me" the monster wheedled.

Sesshoumaru glared at the annoying face in front of him, wishing it was gone. "I said no. I would assume that someone of even your intellect would understand what that means."

The full impact of the insult flew over the boy's head. But he seemed to understand the tone. He made a face. "Meanie."

And with that his disappeared back around the seat. Sesshoumaru gave a grateful sigh, settling back in his seat. The Giggle-Monster next to him went off again, but he ignored her. Ignoring someone was a well-practice tactic of his.

Finally, some semblance of peace.

But never peace from paperwork His boss was a man who celebrated Christmas with a passion and reverence. That alone was basically the only reason he had been able to leave the City. Because Mr. Withop felt strongly about being with family during the holiday season.

Yet that did not mean that there was not work to do. With a temp in his place at the office, Sesshoumaru still had to keep up on the work, since that stupid man couldn't seem to do it all himself. If he did not have to have his cell off on the phone, Sesshoumaru was positive the idiot would be calling him right now with some easily solved dilemma

Which was another unneeded headache in the scheme of things. If it weren't for this damned family tradition he wouldn't have to deal with the annoying simpleton at all

Still mentally cursing his imbecile of a temporary, Sesshoumaru was just about to lift the top to the notebook when it was suddenly in his face, the tray on the back of the seat being shoved towards his chest. Swearing under his breath, the junior executive looked up and saw that face peering over the reclined seat in front of him. The boy gave him a cheeky grin.

"That's what you get!"

Sesshoumaru sat perfectly still. This was not doing well for his sanity. Not even out of New York yet and already his patience had run thin.

"Stanley! Stop that!"

Sesshoumaru turned his head to see the chattering woman from before lean over the girl at her side—who picked her nose again—to scold the boy. Her plump cheeks were red like a tomato and Sesshoumaru involuntarily inched away from her, waiting for an explosion.

"I told you to behave!" the woman practically bellowed, pieces of her hair standing on end. The boy's eyes became as wide as saucers and instantly Sesshoumaru found himself able to unfold his legs from where they'd been pushed up uncomfortably under the plastic tray as the seat flew forward.

How many damn kids does this woman have? the more annoyed aspect of his mind seethed. The other more focussed part was appalled as the woman flashed him a huge grin and her tone did an astounding flip-flop. "I hope Stanley hasn't bothered you too much, sir. You know kids these days" she gave a nervous, flighty giggle that Sesshoumaru would have pictured a young, ditzy girl to have as she continued to give him a charming smile.

Yet the most disturbing thing out of this was that at the same time she spoke to him the woman had snagged the child by his collar and had hauled him out of his seat. Pushing the once peanut-throwing boy into the now vacant chair she plopped the freckled-faced child next to her. Sesshoumaru watched this acrobatic feat with a hint of amazement.

"No," he replied, hesitantly, before reaching over for the movie headphones. He had no idea what was playing but he did know that he did not want to have a one-sided conversation with the woman. He'd seen enough smiles like that in his life to know what they meant.

Without even looking at the woman he slid the cold metal over his ears. Only to be met with an annoying female voice speaking on the soundtrack. Shoulders tensing in irritation, Sesshoumaru somehow managed to ignore her and finally pushed up the lid of the laptop.

He was really starting to curse his choice of transportation. If only he had bought his own ticket instead of taking the one his father had given him. But he couldn't help it; he had felt no compulsion to spend money on a trip he did not even wish to think about, let alone go on.

And yet here he was, being tortured.

Perhaps, if he tried to think as positively as possible, he could consider this conditioning for the upcoming catastrophe his father dubiously called a family reunion'. Thankfully, the majority of his cousins were adults or teens. At least in age, that is.

It had been torment beyond the deepest hell when they had all been children. Since he was the eldest of them all, naturally babysitting had been assigned to him.

His head hurt just thinking about it. And forget his pride.

Sesshoumaru frowned as his fingers navigated the embedded keyboard mouse with practiced dexterity. Thinking on such things wasn't a very wise idea if one wanted to lower stress levels

Opening the half-finished financial report he had been revising earlier, Sesshoumaru closed his mind to thoughts of his family and focussed on the black text in front of him.

Minutes later a heavy weight flopped down on his arm, making his fingers slid along the keyboard and leave a mess of letters in their wake. Sesshoumaru turned his head and saw that the woman next to him had finally fallen over, right on his shoulder. And that she was starting to drool.

Biting back an irritable sigh Sesshoumaru pushed her off of him, scowling at the miniscule wet marks she'd left on his dark overcoat. Just lovely

Merry Christmas he reminded himself cheerlessly.

Oh the dark irony