~~~With Butterfly Wings~~~

~Act 3~

Sesshomaru gazed down at Rin, her eyes shining a sinister shade of dark red. "Lord Sesshomaru…what's wrong?" she asked, her voice only a faint whisper. In turn, Sesshomaru gave her the slightest of smiles. "Nothing, Rin," he replied softly. Looking around at all the blood that was spattered on the gray marble of the balcony, he cringed. Then he looked back down at her, body bloodied, and her once-fine kimono torn apart, the bloodstains very faint on the red silk. "Come now," he said, disgust of Kael's attack evident in his voice, "You need your rest."

Rin slowly stood, clinging to Sesshomaru for support. The demon held her up, and then began to lead her back to her large accommodations. As soon as she took a few steps, her knees giving out and her balance shaky. "You're alright, I won't let you fall," he said reassuringly. Rin continued to follow him, and though it was hard for her to walk still, she quickly regained her composure. But then, Rin fell to her knees, and began to sob. Sesshomaru dropped down next to her, wrapping his arm around her.

"Rin…it's alright…" he said dryly, trying his best to comfort her. "I just feel so ashamed…I don't know why I didn't call out for you sooner…I just…just…" she cried. "Shush, Rin," he soothed. Then, he stood, bringing her with him. "Come on, you should get into something else before you catch cold," he said. Rin nodded weakly, saying nothing, and then continued to follow her lord along. As they crossed over the threshold of Rin's room, she looked down at the scattered and numerous shards of colored glass on the ground, chunks of the wood frame and lead strips mingled among them. Fragments of her guardian statues had even gotten inside, though they were small. Rin was able to make out the broken eye of one of the stone creatures.

Once they cleared the debris, Sesshomaru turned to go back out onto the balcony. "I'll let your redress," he said simply. With that he was out the door, standing out next to the doorframe. Rin shivered, then stepped across the room to the large dark wood bureau near her large bed. She touched the top drawer, which held her night kimonos, but then looked to the surface of the drawers, where a small chest sat. It was what she kept her emerald talisman, which was amazingly still with her. The chest, a beautiful ebony color, had paintings on it, of each of the four creatures that ruled the stars. A green dragon on the top, a black tortoise on the right, a red phoenix at the bottom, and a white tiger at the left. Inlaid in the creatures were diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and onyx. A beautiful combination, but even the rich decoration brought no joy to her heart.

Rin then took her jewel off, set it on the wood surface below the chest, the opened it up. She ran her hands along the smooth velvet interior, her fingertips dipping into the large groove for the green stone. Rin picked up the necklace by its chain, and then neatly set it inside. She closed the chest and snapped the latch back shut. Then, her eyes narrowed, she sighed and opened the top drawer. She examined the contents, a rainbow of somberly colored silk sleeping kimonos, basically a lighter version of what she usually wore, minus the obi as well. Rin soon picked up a deep, royal blue nightgown, and then after taking a few steps, set it on her bed.

Then, Rin began to peel off her blood-soaked kimono, grimacing at the sight of her pale skin covered in dried blood. Knowing that it would be gotten rid of soon, she simply let the bloody tatters fall to the floor. She didn't care anymore. Rin simply wanted to rid herself of the terrifying recollections of a few hours ago. She had thought that she was going to die…actually, she thought she had died. Did Lord Sesshomaru use his life-giving blade on me once again? Rin would've asked him, but she just didn't want to remember anything…just to block it out and crawl into a ball.

By the time she had her new clothing on, she once again fell to her knees, sobbing. Sesshomaru glanced in, and when she saw she was dressed, he walked in, kneeling down next to her shaking form. "Rin…it's alright. He's gone…and if he comes back…I'll take his head," he said. Of course, this wasn't the best thing he could've said, and as soon as he said it, he wanted to take it back. Once again, Sesshomaru helped Rin to stand. "You need rest. Now come," he said, leading her to her large bed. He let her sit down, and then walked back over to the doorway to her balcony.

Rin sighed woefully, tucking herself into the satiny silk sheets and warm blankets. The soft, warm shield around her was comforting. As she snuggled in, she rested her head on the fluffy goose-down pillow. She was serene for a moment, a wave of calm washing over her. But as she brushed some of her charcoal-black hair out of her face, she came across the two, small punctures in her neck, dried blood around them. Kael had drained her of blood…but why? She gave a stifled whimper, which unintentionally summoned Sesshomaru to her side.

As a few more frightened tears ran down her cheeks, Rin felt the soothing touch of Sesshomaru's clawed hand on her arm. "Shhh…it's alright, Rin. You don't have to worry," he said. But even Sesshomaru was unsure if everything would be alright. Rin's skin was still quite pale, and she smelled hollow, almost like she hadn't regained her entire soul when Sesshomaru killed the imps from the other side. But…had she even lost any of her soul at that point? Sesshomaru shook his head in dismay as he looked down at Rin's shaking form. She was still utterly terrified…but who could blame her?

"I'll stay with you for a while," he spoke simply, his voice brisk. Rin opened one eye, then looked up at him. "Lord Sesshomaru…you don't have to do that," she stuttered. In reply, Sesshomaru gave her a sharp, 'no-arguing' look. The smallest of smiles crept onto Rin's face. "Thank you, Lord Sesshomaru," she said, misty-eyed. For a brief moment, the youkai lord's stern golden eyes focused on her, and her alone as he brushed a stray strand of her raven black hair away from her face. Then, his calming gaze disappeared, and he turned slowly, walking to the door. Before exiting to the balcony to keep watch, he drew the sheer, lavender curtains, and though they did little to keep out the wind, it did give Rin a sense of comfort.


The next morning when Rin awoke, the wind had faded and the sun was warm and bright. As she groggily opened her golden brown eyes, the dreams of Kael attacking her faded into distant memory. Of course, the memory of the actual even still burned fresh in her mind. As she thought of the last, terrifying night, she reached up, running her fingers down her neck. At first, everything was alright, but then she came to the two tiny punctures, still not healed or scabbed over. That's strange…she thought, dipping her fingertips into them. But she felt no pain, none of the usual stinging that was caused by this action. She heaved a slight sigh, then sat up, her blue sleep kimono washing over her like a waterfall over her slim form. She took a few deep breaths, panting. Even though Sesshomaru had healed her with his life-giving blade, she still felt weak.

Rin sighed, resting her head on the oak, ornately carved headboard of her large, western-style bed. A beautiful, exotic array of birds, trees, and animals from the lush forests of the islands hundreds of miles south. She ran her fingers down the dark wood, all the way down to a carving of a large cat. She had no idea what it was exactly, but its beauty had always allured her. So regal, majestic, yet ferocious, ready to pounce at all times. She shivered and clutched her elbows, though she didn't know why. Her teeth still chattering a bit, she snuggled back under her covers. She swallowed hard, and after a few moments, the haunting chill faded. Rin sat up again, her blankets still pulled up around her.

She sat for a few moments, when Sesshomaru came through the balcony door. He had stayed, just as he had promised. And Rin suspected he hadn't been sleeping as he didn't need any. But he had stayed, in the exact place he had been when she had fallen asleep, protecting her dutifully. "Lord Sesshomaru…" Rin started. The smallest of smirks crossed his placid features. "Are you alright? How are you feeling?" he asked simply. Rin gave him a large smile. She replied simply, "Better." Of course, this was how she felt, but she had little more to express. She was simply happy, happy that she had the care of such a wonderful lord. "Good," he responded. Then, as quickly as it came, his soft smirk faded. "Get some rest. You look like you've visited death's door," he said. With that, Sesshomaru exited the room.


As he shut the large oak door to Rin's room, Sesshomaru was mentally kicking himself. He could never say the right things! Rin had nearly lost her life the previous night, and all he could say was 'Get some rest.' He wished he would've stayed with her instead of leaving just then. But for some reason…he'd left. He knew how he cared about her, but for some reason, he simply couldn't confront it. Why was he so afraid of his feelings for her? Sesshomaru shut his eyes for a moment as a migraine of frustration washed over him. He clenched his hand into a fist. He shouldn't have been letting these emotions daunt him. What he should be focusing on is how he would right the wrong committed against his lovely young human pet. How he would kill Kael…

A sinister smirk crossed his face. He could just imagine the joy he'd take in tearing out the Blood Mage's throat and mutilating his putrid body. A body that already reeks of death… This memory impressed him. What was it with Kael Dawnfield? He certainly couldn't be human with a scent like that, but he didn't have the physical strength to be a demon. He was simply good with a sword and could weave powerful dark spells. These were both things that humans were capable of, but by the time they could develop their skills to the point Kael had them, they would be in the years close to death. There was no way Kael could be human, but then again, there are things in this world that are unexplainable…

Sesshomaru sighed. He needed clarity, and since childhood, the place he had gone to seek that was the highest tower in his large castle. With this thought, he began to walk down the winding, marble hallway in long strides, heading to the east wing. He closed his eyes, breathing through his nose, ignoring the warm light that filtered through the stained glass windows, complicated, detailed designs of great dog demons of his family line defeating their enemies with little effort. Some of the servants and relatives had memories stir up when they saw them, but they did little to his spirits. He cared little of his father's family. Any proud and powerful demon that threw away their life to sire half-breed children with some piece of human trash he picked up at a farm was trash themselves. Of course, these emotions had begun to change as he had gotten to know Rin…as his emotions developed for her.


Rin lie in her bed, her dark hair pooled around her. She was wide and awake, not tired at all. But she still felt…weak. She was perfectly aware, but moving her limbs taxed her body a considerable amount. Her muscles were stiff and ached when she attempted to move. She had tried to fall asleep, but she knew this was a weakness that would not be relieved by rest, but what the cure for her strange ailment was. Rin licked her lips. There was an odd hunger burning within her. She was so hungry.…perhaps that was the reason she felt like such an invalid. Mustering as much vigor as she could, she sat up on her elbows, then completely. Shaking a little, she kicked off her blankets, then spinning around so that she sat on the edge of her mattress.

"Here goes nothing…" she murmured. Then, Rin set one pale foot down on the icy floor, then another. Then, using the bed as support, she unsteadily stood. Then, she slowly released her death grip on her bed, taking an uneasy step forward. At first she felt a falling sensation, like she was falling straight onto her face. She would've cried out, but then she realized that she wasn't falling, that it was the blood rushing from her head. She had simply stood up too fast. "That was quite unsettling…" she whispered to herself. She bit her lip, and took a few more steps forward. After a few moments and a few more steps, she was much more used to being up and walking around. Soon, she was out the door, being as secretive as she could, lest one of the many servants send her back to her bed.

As Rin walked wearily toward the large spiral staircase to the lower level, where the kitchen was, she took a misstep, biting her tongue as she regained her footing. Wincing, she prodded her mouth with her index finger, and when she retracted it, she saw a spot of crimson blood staining her digit. She cursed lightly under her breath, but something then possessed her enough to make her lick the blood off. Rin sucked on her finger for a moment, getting every drop of the red liquid off, then licking her lips. A moment later as her senses returned, she grimaced. "What…what was that?" she asked herself, the fear evident in her small voice. Then, she continued walking, trying to repress yet another memory.

The next few minutes passed on without incident, and soon, she was at the back door of the kitchen. She could smell warm food being prepared, sukiyaki, sashimi, oden…so many wonderful scents, strong enough that she didn't need Sesshomaru's nose to pick up. She held her breath for a moment, and then slowly opened the creaky door, hoping that no one would detect her presence. As she took her first few steps inside, she was greeted by the same scents she had smelled from outside, just stronger since their was no large wooden door between them. As Rin walked along a long table with food all over it, she scoped out what exactly she would eat. After a few moments of drooling over the delicious food, she picked up a nice piece of teriyaki eel.

"Mmmmm…" she reeled, smiling. Then, with no further hesitation, she took a large bite. But just as soon as she did, she dropped the fish, and spit out what she had in her mouth, scowling feverously. Then she covered over the heel of her hand with her sleeping kimono, wiping off her tongue. "Ugh…what was that?!" she exclaimed, picking it back up. Rin examined it for a moment, and saw nothing wrong. It smelled utterly delicious, but for some reason, it tasted awful. Perhaps it was just from the cut…she thought. To clear her pallet, she picked up a sweet cake, soaked in a soft honey glaze. She took a small bite, and had the same reaction as she had with the eel.

Rin dropped the pastry in a hurry, spitting out what she had in her mouth. There was an woeful scowl on her face, her eyes narrowed. "What is going on here?" she demanded lowly. Then Rin looked around, hearing the squeals and wails of a distressed pig. "They must be slaughtering him. Poor little thing," she muttered. Then, something about those distressed yelps hypnotized her. She took a few steps toward the door to the next room, then hid next to the doorframe. She watched curiously, then as though it were an exciting event, entranced as the swine's blood dripped down its neck.

Rin hungrily licked her lips, yearning to go and drink up the crimson liquid as it rolled down its pink flesh, then falling to the stone floor, mingling with the dirt that had been brought in. "So…hungry…" she whispered, her gaze distant and her tone entranced. Her hands balled into fists, her knuckles turning white. As the pig's screeches faded, so too did Rin's trance. She felt warm tears run down her cheeks in terror as she took a few confused steps backward, biting her lip. Then, she turned and bolted for the door, getting out of the warm kitchen as quickly as she could.

A moment later, she was out of warm embrace of the delicious smells of the food, crying to the point she lay shaking. She stared down at her hands, the marks that her nails had made when she made fists in frustrated yearning. "What's wrong with me? Why am I acting this way? This…this is Kael's doing…" she sobbed. She bit her lip and squeezed her eyes shut, trying as hard as she could to stop acting like a little child. What would Sesshomaru say if he found me like this? she thought. Her cheeks turned a little red, but instead of the cause being tearstains, it was from her embarrassment. She hugged her knees to her chest, letting a few silent tears fall down her cheeks.


Sesshomaru had been watching everything that had happened to Rin in the past few minutes. He had followed her here when he picked up her scent, and then had watched the whole, unnerving scene as it played out. What scared him the most, however, was watching Rin in her silent daze, a soundless bloodlust. What is making this happen to her? Maybe…this is Kael's doing…he thought somberly. He took a single step forward, but then paused. He truthfully had no idea how to comfort her. In actuality, he had never even seen her cry like this. Kael had done something terrible to her. But what had he done? What had Kael done to Rin to make her act so strangely…to make her terrified of herself. Sesshomaru thought for a moment. He knew that there was only one creature that reeked of death and fed on blood. Kael…had he turned Rin into a vampire? He would test this hypothesis…