Chapter 22

Chapter 22

As they walked through the darkness, Rin bit her lip nervously while making sure she had a firm grip upon Inu-Taisho's gi. She was very; very worried that Sesshomaru's mother would take an instant dislike to her and do something terrible to make her afterlife a living hell….or was it dieing? No matter, she would do everything in her power to make sure Sesshomaru's mother saw her in a positive light. But one thing puzzled her and that was what it his mother's name. Glancing upward, Rin tugged gently upon Inu-Taisho's gi and asked, "Um, excuse me sir, but what is Sesshomaru's mothers name? Y-you never told me and I can not keep calling her Sesshomaru's mother! I would also feel uncomfortable calling her mother as well since she does not know me and has never met me. But I……."

Rin's nervous chatter was cut off by the deep booming laugh for the dog lord, "Enough child. My mate is called Satsuki and I am very sure that she would not mind very much if you did call her mother. She did not have much of a chance to be one when Sesshomaru was younger. Our time was taken up by frequent battles defending our territory. Also, you can call me Tou-san or Taisho if you are uncomfortable in doing so."

Upon hearing his explanation, Rin felt a great weight lift off her corporal shoulders. Instantly, she released a sigh of relief and smiled, "Thank you Taisho, I'm sorry I'm not comfortable in calling you father right now, since I have just met you, but I believe that in time, I will adjust and consent to do so." As she finished her reply, Rin glanced over his shoulder and caught sight of a huge palace in the distance. Blinking to clear her vision, for she thought it might be a mirage, after a few moments Rin realized that it was not a mirage but an actual castle sitting in the depths of hell. As she observed its towering majesty, she wondered how it was that a castle made of white marble could have gotten there. Instantly, she glanced over towards her father in law and mumbled, "Wow. is it that a castle of that color is sitting in the depths of hell if you don't mind me asking?"

Inu-Taisho grinned before he replied, "Well, that's Satsuki's doing. She's the queen of hell and doesn't like the color black very much….says it's depressing. " He waived his hand in a nonchalant manner and continued, "Anyway, she thought that a bright color would be more cheerful and so far it has paid off. She smiles more and isn't so depressed as she used to be…but let me tell you. It was hell getting that kind of stone down here!" he waggled his eyebrows at his own pun and smiled broadly while chuckling at his own joke.

Rin giggled and realized immediately that Inu-Taisho was nothing like his sons, for one thing, he seem to be more of a practical joker than someone who was serious like Sesshomaru. He liked to smile more and laughed at his own jokes. Rin grinned and thought, "I like him. He's funny and is nothing like Sesshomaru. He reminds me of Shippo!"

Her thoughts were broken by Inu-Taisho's exclamation of, "Here we are! If you would just follow me, we'll be meeting with Satsuki in a moment."

Suddenly, Rin's nervousness returned ten fold, gulping, she watched as Inu-Taisho pushed open two huge double doors and saw that it led to a throne room of some kind. Glancing towards the end of the room, Rin noticed a female figure sitting upon the throne and gulped. She suddenly wanted to back out and run, but she knew that it would be very rude of her to do so, so she slowly followed Inu-Taisho towards the throne and once there she bowed deeply towards Satsuki who greeted her warmly, "Greetings, Rin's name is Rin."

Satsuki smiled and greeted her warmly, "Welcome child. Please rise and have a seat beside me. Would you like some tea?" Satsuki didn't wait for a response before clapping her hands twice. Immediately, a servant appeared at her side and murmured, "you called lady?"

Smiling at the toad-like creature, Satsuki murmured, "Tea and some snacks please."

The servant bowed and replied, "Yes lady," Before he quickly disappeared.

Watching this happen in mere moments awed Rin and remembering her manners, she obeyed Satsuki's request by sitting by her feet and replied, "This Rin is pleased to meet my lords mother and it is a great honor to be welcomed by you.. I….."

Smiling joyfully, Satsuki waived a hand nonchalantly and replied in a calm tone, "Nonsense child. Now what is this I hear about you and my son becoming mates?"

Rin gulped and explained everything that had happened in the past few months. Once she was finished, Satsuki grinned knowingly and suddenly replied, "I can see that my son has chosen well in you….even though you were originally human. No matter. You are a dog demon now that, is what matters." Leaning back in her throne, Satsuki asked slyly, "How would you like to hear some stories of my son when he was younger and maybe I can give you a few pointers in order to give you some leverage when you want to get your way?"

Blinking, Rin puzzled over what Satsuki meant by that before suddenly it hit her like a ton of bricks, "You mean blackmail!!" she gasped, shocked but very intrigued.

Inu-Taisho suddenly laughed uproariously, while clapping Rin on the back and through his laughter he said, "Now that's my mate! Tell her about that time he found out that a wasp's nest wasn't a foot ball!"

Ignoring her hysterical husband's laughter, Satsuki replied, "Yep. Now where do I begin…suddenly, she leaned over and smacked her mate on the head and growled, Oh do shut up you old goat! I'm trying to tell her how it happened!" Satisfied that her mate had stopped laughing, Satsuki began her tale, "Now, this happened when Sesshy was just a pup of seven years and he had no knowledge of the world outside. He did not know that not all round things were not balls to play with. So, my mate took him out one day to teach him about the world and Sesshy found a wasps nest and started to play with it and well," Satsuki shrugged her shoulders and giggled, "You can imagine what happened after that!"

Rin began laughing as she mentally imagined the scene in her mind. After she had calmed down enough, Satsuki began telling her more stories and they talked well into the night, minus the time they sat down to eat and have tea, but all in all, Rin found that she enjoyed being with Sesshomaru's parents. But, she couldn't help but wonder what Sesshomaru and Inu-Yasha were up to.

As Sesshomaru slowly regained consciousness, he could feel every ache and pain throughout his entire body and suddenly wished that he was unconscious again. To put it simply, it hurt like hell! But, he would not voice his pain aloud. He would be mature about it and stay quiet. "I must not yelp every time I move. I must be strong and…." Suddenly he remembered why he was in pain and that it was his brother who knocked him out. Then he began wondering, "Why can't I see…why is it so dark? He suddenly realized that his eyes were closed and releasing a quiet moan, he sniffed the air imperceptibly to get his bearings. He relaxed a little when he realized that he was with his brother and that the rest of the pack surrounded him like a safety net. After all, to his mind, being protected by a pack was something that was done and never questioned by any dog demon, even those of the white clan. Slowly he opened his eyes and flinched as the fire's light struck his sensitive pupils. Licking his lips to moisten the dry desert that was his mouth, he suddenly growled out angrily, "INU-YAHA! He listened carefully and was rewarded by the sudden quiet yelp and the scent of nervousness filled the air. Mentally grinning, Sesshomaru turned his attention to the origin of the scent and growled viciously; yet a hint of grief laced his voice, "Why did you do it?"

Gulping, Inu-Yasha stammered, "I..I couldn't let you go on a rampage. You can get Rin back when you use the Tensaiga. Besides, you weren't in your right mind at the moment and the only way I could think of stopping you was by knocking you out!" The once hanyou, folded his arms across his chest stubbornly and pouted. But, Sesshomaru could see a hint of worry in his eyes and a hint of fear as well. He wondered if his little brother feared loosing the only family he had left and it suddenly made him feel warm inside. However, he would not let his brother see the real him, yet. Sesshomaru knew that it would take time for them to become close and maybe when he felt comfortable enough to expose himself, he would, but, not yet. So with that thought in mind, Sesshomaru swallowed his pride and replied grudgingly, "Thank you, little brother, for bringing me back from my temporary madness. I will use father's sword to get Rin back even if it means I have to go to hell itself." Sesshomaru glanced towards the glistening stars and signed, "Although, if I go, you're coming with me."

"Hugh? Why the heck are you saying I have to go??" Inu-Yasha growled, puzzled by his brother's strange behavior.

Sesshomaru grimaced and replied, "Because, mother is the current ruler of Hell and you'll be the perfect shield! That's why! You don't know the horrors I've gone through with her around! If you think you're mate is bad when she see's something cute, mother is a hundred times worse! Besides, I don't relish the thought of listening to Ookasan's stories about my childhood."

"You're kidding right?" Inu-Yasha asked as he crouched down and scratched behind his ear with his foot; an old habit from when he was a hanyou.

Seeing his odd behavior, Sesshomaru quickly bopped him on the head and growled, "Knock it off! You're not a hanyou anymore and that is just disgusting!"

Miroku grinned at the byplay between the brothers and couldn't contain himself anymore, he laughed briefly before interjecting, "He is right, Inu-Yasha. Doing that makes you look like a common dog."

"Yeah!" Shippo piped in crossing his arms in a knowing manner.

"Yes. You have to remember that you are from a noble family and act accordingly," Sango replied while she turned the spit over the fire to make sure the other side of the boar was cooked properly.

"Huh, what the heck are you talking about?" Inu cocked his hear curiously and grumbled, "You mean it's ok to do that when we're in our true forms but, not when I'm like this?"

Sesshomaru grumbled to himself before replying, "If mother see's you doing that you better run and hide because she'll make sure that she beats some manners into you." Glancing back towards the group, Sesshomaru growled, "Enough of this conversation, as soon as I heal enough to travel, we are going to retrieve Rin, agreed?"

Everyone noticed his serious expression and decided that digression was the better part of valor, besides they could clearly see how much Sesshomaru missed Rin, even if he didn't say it out loud. So with that thought in mind, they all busied themselves with the business of dinner and then getting some sleep. After all, they were going to have a few busy days ahead.