Author's Note – UPDATED 3/16/06. This was my first fanfiction, written shortly after I discovered Inuyasha in late 2003. I had read some wonderful Rin/Sesshoumaru stories, but I wanted to tell a tale in which Rin's character developed in a manner that (at the time) I hadn't read before. She is about 13 when this story begins. All best, I hope that you enjoy.

Chapter One

He had been staring at her strangely all day.

Rin wondered if he could sense that she was sick. At least, she thought she might be sick. She'd been irritable for two days, slightly nauseous and sullen. Even Jaken had noticed.

"Silly girl," he muttered. "What's wrong with you? Usually we don't get a moment's peace from your chatter and nonsense."

"Be Quiet!" Rin had snapped.

"Hmpf! Well, if that's all I get for my con –" He stopped mid-sentence. Sesshoumaru had stopped walking and had turned around to face them. His golden eyes had narrowed slightly, and he was staring directly at her.


Shame bubbled up inside her. She looked down at the grass around her feet. "I am sorry, Sesshoumaru-sama."

She didn't look up, but she could tell that he hadn't moved.

"I am sorry, Jaken-sama." Rin sighed.

"Hmpf," was the little demon's indignant acknowledgement, and he turned around to follow Sesshoumaru.

Stupid toad Rin thought. She stuck her tongue out at his retreating form. Why do I have to be so respectful to him? Sesshoumaru-sama never is. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. She tried to ignore the twangs of guilt. It was unlike her to be so hateful. Stupid Rin. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

That had been last night. By the end of this morning she had noticed the staring. Sesshoumaru had been quiet, more quiet than usual, and she knew that, somehow, she was to blame. She wondered if he was still angry. When she was younger and thought she had annoyed him, she would have gone off alone to pick flowers. He would wordlessly accept them with a nod, perhaps sticking them in his belted sash. And Rin would have been overjoyed. But now she felt oddly embarrassed at the thought of presenting Sesshoumaru with flowers. In fact, she looked back in embarrassment at many of the things she used to do. Once, as he had sat resting against a tree, she had crept behind him. She had reached out, and gently stroked his long hair – white and silky. She had paused, waiting for a reaction, but when none came she had smiled and plunged both hands into the mane, running her fingers through it and giggling again and again until he said, "Stop now, Rin." And then there had been nights when she would snuggle sleepily against his tail, warm and comfortable and safe while Jaken shot her dirty looks from across the campfire. She hadn't done any of these things for a long time now, and remembering them made her cheeks warm.

"Jaken." Sesshoumaru was standing alert, and, as Rin thankfully noted, finally paying attention to something other than her.

"Lord Sesshoumaru, what is it?" Jaken gripped his staff and scampered over to the demon lord's side.

From behind her, Rin heard a woman's laughter.