A Doll for Rin~-~-~*~-~-~

Dawn's first light was masked by the settling of dust and ash over a small town by the river, evidence of disaster to warn travelers to take the safer road. The smell of fire and smoke lingered in the distance, having been taken by the breeze overnight. There was a lingering feeling of death, a powerful jaki that bleed through the torn walls and tattered structures that were once civilization and home to maybe a hundred villagers. Their memories were now long gone.

Sesshoumaru walked quietly through the village, the crunching of small rocks and dirt beneath his feet leaving a low trail of dust as he moved. His hair blew languidly as he walked, nearly oblivious to the usual sight of devastation that surrounded him. The hilts of Tenseiga and Toukijin clanked together softly with each step, putting emphasis on the deadly silence.

In the streets bodies were stretched and bloodied, scratches and burns tainting their flesh. Men and women huddled together in fear, weapons by their sides. It would only do to assume that the rest of the villagers –the unseen inhabitants- still inhabited their homes, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. They were no more than charred skeletons by now, the fires of their fates burned out with the oncoming of daylight.

In the street just ahead a small child lay curled in defeat, alone and sad. Sesshoumaru stopped nearby and gazed down at the broken body, wondering idly what her name was, what her last thoughts were before she died. She reminded him of Rin, the same dark hair and tiny stature. But the light from this one was gone, never to return.

Kneeling, he ran his fingers over her face, closing the tiny eyes to the horrors that surrounded them.

Reaching down, Sesshoumaru unclenched the child's tiny fist and held up a doll. It was a dirty old thing, worn from use. Dusting off the face, he ran his fingertips lightly over the stitching and down the body. It was poorly constructed from tattered cloth and filled with rice, but obviously adored by the child all the same. Perhaps it was her favorite toy.

He would never know.

Standing, he tucked the doll into his sash. Not taking a second look around, he left the village in a brilliant ball of light, back into the south from which he had come.


The mud in the forest clearing was cold and dirtied Rin's feet as she walked toward Aun. She was tired, the dreams of the previous night still weighing heavily on her mind. Sesshoumaru had been gone for several days, and Jaken found reasons to leave her unguarded in the woods. It was scary laying among the trees alone when it got dark.

Climbing onto the two-headed animal's back, Rin laid on her side and began humming a tune of her own invention. Closing her eyes, she lulled herself into a shallow slumber held consistent with Aun's breathing. The comfort that the animal provided was as close to a mother's touch as she had gotten in years.

Standing just in the shadow of the trees, Sesshoumaru watched the little girl as she napped contentedly. His eyes searched the clearing for Jaken, but there was no sign anywhere of the creature. He frowned. It was surprising to see that he had so easily left Rin by herself, vulnerable to any number of demons or beasts that inhabited the forest.

Touching the hilt of Toukijin, his eyes narrowed. With sufficient reasoning, Jaken would find no more reasons to leave the girl alone again.

Brushing his hand over the hilt of his sword also brought back to mind the reason for his early return: the doll. He wasn't so sure that giving it to Rin was the best of ideas, as she would idolize the toy, and give potential reasoning for his hardened exterior to falter.

Every child deserved something to love, though, didn't they?

Setting his hand back at his side, he stepped into the clearing. Aun immediately sensed his presence and turned its heads to face its master. Rin felt the shift and opened her eyes. Seconds later she was fully awake and sitting up on the animal's back with a bright smile, calling his name cheerfully.


"Where is Jaken?"

"He left this morning and said he was going to look for you. He said that yesterday too, and the day before that! Maybe Jaken is lying. He should be punished," she said, crossing her arms meaningfully across her chest.


Sesshoumaru looked around the clearing for any signs that Jaken had left food for the girl, or water even. He had left strict instructions that she was to be taken care of properly in his absence. Obviously Jaken did not heed his orders.

Walking over to the girl, he stood before her in a manner of authority with his hand paused over his swords. If it were anyone else they would have been frightened for their lives, but Rin knew that he would never harm her. She had to crane her neck all the way back to look him in the face, and was pleased to see that he was not angry, as his stance implied.

Reaching into his sash, he pulled out the doll and held it tightly in his hand. Rin saw the toy and gasped in surprise. Sesshoumaru had never brought her anything as wonderful as this before!

"For you."

Rin reached up and took the doll from his hand, examining it just as he had done earlier in the day. Her fingers skimmed over the stitching of the face and down to the rice-filled body. She squeezed gently and then hugged the doll to her chest.

Sesshoumaru watched in fascination at the child's reaction to such a meager thing. Humans were so captivated by the smallest things, the littlest things. But in this observation, he realized that he had been captivated as well by a tiny thing, a tiny human thing.

"Arigatou, Sesshoumaru-sama, she's beautiful."

The corner's of Sesshoumaru's mouth turned up slightly. Hardened exterior indeed.


A/N: First attempt at Inuyasha fanfiction, whadda ya think? Feedback appreciated, and very much encouraged!

It's a fanfiction sin to read without reviewing.