A Birthday Surprise ~-~-~*~-~-~
"Sesshoumaru-sama, do you have a birthday?"
The youkai lord turned his attention from the horizon to look at the small girl staring up at him from a few feet away. She stood ankle-deep in meadow grass, with small pink flowers clutched tightly in her tiny fist. The usual smile was gone from her face, replaced with a rather sad, curious one as she waited for her guardian's answer.
"Everyone has a birthday," he answered.
"When is yours?"
Sesshoumaru's brow furrowed at the question. It had been a long time since he had acknowledged his birthday, and even longer since it had been celebrated. Over the years he had simply forgotten about it.
"Why do you wish to know?"
"Because it's getting colder," she said miserably, "and my birthday comes when it gets colder."
"My birthday is in the summer."
Rin kicked idly at the ground, uprooting some of the wildflowers that grew there. Though she did not look at him, Sesshoumaru knew that something was very wrong. Her voice lacked the usual cheerfulness. She was never this quiet and subdued when he was speaking directly to her.
"We used to have a party for my birthday every year," she explained. "Mama would make lots of food and everyone would sing a birthday song for me."
Rin's eyes began to fill with tears at the memory of her lost family. It had been a long time since the bandits had come, and her birthday celebration hadn't come for several years. There was never anyone there to celebrate.
The first tear fell from Rin's eye and landed on the grass below. That one tear started a flood that left her a blubbering mess. Running to Sesshoumaru, she buried her face into a long leg of his hakama and cried out all of her frustration for the long years she had spent alone.
Until this point in their travels Rin had never shed a tear over anything. It was quite distressing for Sesshoumaru to see her start now. Children had never been his strong point, but seeing her like that was unacceptable. He had to do something, anything to make her stop crying.
Leaning down, he scooped the tiny girl into his arm and held her close to his chest, mindful of the spiked armor that encircled his upper body. There was instant relief on his part when she relaxed in his embrace, her lingering sobs subsiding. It was a marvel to see how quickly the girl had taken to his company, and how he had taken to hers.
A cold wind blew in from the north and Rin shuddered against him, turning her head to bury it in the fur pelt draped over his shoulder. This reminded him of her earlier words, when she had told him her birthday came when it got cold. He didn't feel the cold anymore; he hadn't since he had been a child.
Looking back to the sky, he noticed that it was beginning to get dark. The first stars were starting to show, and the moon was getting brighter above them. Rin was probably going to tire quickly, she usually did when the sun set.
Turning, Sesshoumaru carried Rin back to the edge of the forest where camp had been set that afternoon.
Days passed and Rin's mood hadn't improved from that afternoon in the meadow. The leaves on the trees were beginning to fall as the season changed, and Sesshoumaru paused to think on the girl's words.
'My birthday comes when it gets colder.'
Looking across the small fire in the middle of their minuscule camp, he saw Rin sitting as close as she could get without being burned. She was hunched over, her hands rubbing together to generate heat. She wasn't even wearing shoes.
Earlier in the day he had sent Jaken off to a village in the northeast with a list of supplies that he required be brought back by nightfall. It was nearing sunset and the imp was still gone.
Sesshoumaru watched Rin scoot to within inches of the fire.
"Rin, do not sit so close to the fire. You will burn yourself," he warned.
"Gomen, Sesshoumaru-sama, but it's cold," she said, hugging herself tightly.
Footsteps coming from the forest alerted him to Jaken's presence. Lucky for him, as the last rays of light faded from view. The imp came running to his master, tripping on the way. He slid several feet in the dirt, and the pack he carried on his back came to rest next to Sesshoumaru.
"Everything you asked for is in the bag, Sesshoumaru-sama," Jaken said while picking himself up off of the ground.
Rin looked on curiously as Sesshoumaru looked inside of the bag, a peculiar almost-grin on his face. He stopped his rummaging and looked up at her.
"Come here, Rin," he ordered.
Rin nodded and stood slowly, mindful of the fire. She walked over to Sesshoumaru and stood by his feet, waiting to see what he wanted. Maybe something inside of the bag was for her!
Sesshoumaru pulled his hand out of the bag and held a small parcel wrapped in cloth for her to take. She reached up eagerly and took it, sitting down on the ground to unwrap the gift. Unfolding the cloth she found three cookies waiting to be eaten.
"Sesshoumaru-sama," she said breathlessly. "You gave me cookies!"
Nodding, he held another wrap of cloth out to her, this one much larger and filled with strawberries and other assorted fruits that he knew she loved to eat. They were hard to come by in their journeys, though.
"Berries!" she exclaimed.
"And this," he said, holding out to her a large piece of blue and white cloth. "Happy birthday."
She laid her food on the ground and stood, walking up to take the large cloth from Sesshoumaru. She grabbed a hem of the material and let the rest fall to the ground. It was a beautiful blanket made of soft fabric, with stitchings of flowers and vines for decoration. It was large enough to wrap around herself at least five times, maybe six.
"It's wonderful, Sesshoumaru-sama! Arigatou!"
Sesshoumaru nodded, pleased that she enjoyed her gift. He had wanted to buy her something useful for their travels.
Rin wrapped the large blanket around her body and collected her food. Daringly, she crawled onto Sesshoumaru's lap and began to eat contentedly.
"Jaken," Sesshoumaru said, catching his servant's attention. "Sing Rin a birthday song."
Jaken looked at his master and the small girl in disbelief. First he had to travel all day to the nearest village to fulfill a shopping list, and now a song? He didn't know any birthday songs!
"Jaken," Sesshoumaru warned.
"But I don't know any-"
Sesshoumaru reached over and struck Jaken in the back of the head, knocking him face first in the dirt. Rin watched on, munching happily on her sweets.
"Sing," he commanded.
Sighing resignedly, Jaken improvised a birthday song that he sang in his most unenthusiastic voice to appease his master. He waved the Staff of Heads in time with his out of tune singing. Rin clapped happily, with shouts of 'more, more'. At Sesshoumaru's pointed look, Jaken broke out into another chorus.
"Arigatou, Jaken!" Rin clapped.
Jaken sneered at the girl and turned around, fully set on resting by the fire and ignoring the annoying little brat for the rest of the night.
"Jaken," Sesshoumaru called.
"Now you will sing me a birthday song."
A/N: Another piece of Sesshy fluff brought to you be me, Silindro. Hope you enjoyed it, I know I did. And don't forget to read my other Inuyasha-themed fics!
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