Disclaimer: it's been a long time since I had to do one of these. Um, I don't own Inuyasha. Is that how it goes? (blink)

A Cool Kind Of Punishment

Chapter Fifteen : Maybe Truth Got Lost

He hoped Inuyasha was curled into a ball, dying on his bedroom floor right now.

Wait, scrap that. He hoped Inuyasha was already dead.

How dare he suggest that Rin and he would make the perfect couple.

It went against all laws of the universe. He was the beautiful, unattainable sex god of Port Street Preparatory damn it! And if he were to be tied down to some stubborn, resourceful, absolutely-cute-when-her-eyebrow-was-twitching girl like her, then –

Sesshoumaru tapped his foot impatiently and leant against the wall at the foot of the stairs.

Ok, so he liked pissing the girl off. There was just something about Higurashi's that did that for him. He remembered what Kikyo said when he admitted that to her…

A door clicked open and Sesshoumaru stood up straight. A young girl walked out and looked over the railing. Her eyes immediately fell upon him and he wondered, what was she thinking? What did she think of her past? His past? He wanted to say so much, but right now, maybe he would let decide her how this was going to pan out.

He thought he saw a flash of longing in her eyes, followed by pure hatred - but no, he must have been mistaken, the look was gone already… His eyes followed her figure as she walked down the stairs. She was looking down to avoid tripping and reaching the bottom of the stairs she looked up. Sesshoumaru opened his mouth to properly introduce himself as a guest…

… but she walked right past him.

Was it something he said?


Dear Diary,

It's the dream of an orphan, to belong somewhere. I don't know why. I have the perfect father, but I am always longing for something more.

When I try my hardest, I can remember my mother as a beautiful woman, with long hair, and my father as someone who always made her laugh. But maybe that's all in my head.

And along with that, I created other stories. I was a princess and one day a prince would come for me. My parents weren't truly dead and they'd come back for me one day. That my adoptive father was actually my real father, but he couldn't tell because of some federal conspiracy.

My favourite story was the one where I had somewhere to belong, some place I could call home.


"What's for breakfast, dad?"

My dad was sitting at the kitchen bench, reading a newspaper, obviously staying in on his Sunday off. He pointed to the clock, not taking his eyes of his paper. Midday. I sighed and put the eggs back into the fridge and decided to just make a sandwich.

"You chucked Sesshoumaru out of the house already?"

"Ew, and actually touch him?"

Someone walked into the kitchen. I looked at Sesshoumaru distastefully as he took a seat next to my dad. I poured myself a glass of milk and decided to eat where I was standing. On the other side of the bench. Opposite the Ice Prince.

"Milk," he observed.

I looked at him suspiciously. "What of it?"

"Finally heeding my advice, huh?"

What advice? I ran through last night and remembered him handing me a mug of hot milk. Then the remark about my height. I was confused, that couldn't be what he meant, judging from the smirk on his face. That tiny infinitesimal smirk. I tried harder.

"… I also hoped that it'd help you produce a better rack… "

Why that -! I threw my sandwich at him, only to have it hit my dad's newspaper instead. Sesshoumaru got up from his seat but I managed to grab his shirt. I pulled him closer.

"I'll show you what a glass of what hot milk can do…"

I was distantly aware of my father sidling out of the room, clutching his newspaper to his chest like some pitiful form of protection.

Sesshoumaru's jumped onto the bench between us effortlessly and I dropped my hands, stepping back in shock and slight fear. He jumped off to move closer to me and I stepped back, bumping into my fridge.

One Mississippi.

Sesshoumaru's hands flew up to my waist and tugged me so I fell into his arms. My hands held onto his shirt, holding me up.

Two Mississippi.

My hands slowly released their grip and I couldn't imagine how two people could get any closer. Every single part of me ached to be touching him. And every single part of me knew this was something it was willing to die for.

Three Mississippi.

From the buttons to the open collar of his shirt. Past his clavicles up his neck. I dreaded with my whole being to look into his eyes…

… but I did it anyway.

I knew and could feel it happening, but I couldn't stop how my lips parted. I definitely could not stop him from tilting his lips above mine. And I didn't want to.

My eyes closed.

I could feel his nose against my cheek.

My first kiss.

"NO!"

I panicked and pushed him away from me desperately. He stepped back, shocked, into the bench he had so easily moved over. I wished that there was something solid between us. I was panting heavily and I realized I had been holding my breath. I had totally stuffed it. I could've had Sesshoumaru, but instead I chose to push him away. I had been so close.

So close.

I licked my lips and as Sesshoumaru moved closer, I laugh harshly.

"What Sesshoumaru? Trying to see if you could have another go?" I asked shakily. He stopped where he was, wary.

"Rin… ? Is there something wrong?" He seemed genuinely confused.

"Wrong?" I laughed again. "God, it doesn't even begin to describe what is going on with me right now! Last night I found out that I have a family. I found out why my parents were so brutally murdered. I have a murderer after me. And all I can think about is you!"

The Ice Prince's mask was back in place. Gone was the teenage boy who, moments ago, seemed so eager to kiss me. "Me?"

"Yes. You", I paused for a moment. "I care for you," I said quietly. I looked at him closely to see a reaction, but he wouldn't even look at me. I laughed grimly. "Trust me to get a crush on the most sought-after, unattainable, emotionally unavailable guy at Port Street! And it didn't even take much effort on your part. A night in your room, you patching me up, one dance – that's all it took. You weren't the white knight in shining armor that I had always dreamt of. You seem nothing like the boy at the hospital I fell for when we children. Nothing like him. But I still fell for you… I- I still fell for you" I finished softly.

I leant heavily against the fridge, not able to face him.

There, it was out.

"Rin -" he began.

I cut in. "This isn't what you came for. What do you want?"

His eyes flickered up towards my face expectantly. I returned his gaze, somewhat disconcerted.

"What?" I asked edgily.

"Well aren't you supposed to offer me a drink? A seat?" he asked snobbily.

I was both glad and disappointed at how quickly he eased the tense atmosphere. I tittered, annoyed. His eyes told me he was enjoying how uncomfortable I was – regardless of the reason. I walked right past him into the foyer and I heard him following me. I grabbed my jacket from the hook and my wallet and keys from the holder and ushered him outside. I took the moment to bask in his confusion.

"We're going to get a drink in town," I told him as I strolled down the path cheerily.

"I have a car," he told me.

"That's nice," I replied. Probably thinking that I was more than a little messed up in the head, he followed quietly, making sure to stay two to three paces behind me. I lost myself in thought for a while, as I was wont to do when walking. I came back to myself when I started hearing the cars roaring by and the busy buzzing of a weekend. "So why'd you come to visit me?" I asked Sesshoumaru. He stayed quiet, and I gave him time to think as we walked. He was in step with me now and I silently and secretly relished the envious looks I received from female passer-bys. I knew there would be a fresh batch of rumours about Sesshoumaru and I waiting for me as I walked through the school gates tomorrow morning. I kinda liked the thought of that. It wasn't until we paused at a pedestrian crossing, the little red man telling us not to walk across, that Sesshoumaru said something.

"I guess… you're family now. Officially, at least, now that you actually know. That means you have a right to know about us, and all our affairs. I was designated the well-paying job to inform you" he said delicately.

I frowned at him. "They actually paid you to tell me everything?"

"No, it's called sarcasm, Higurashi. I'm sure they'll teach you about it someday in the mental asylum"

"My name isn't Higurashi…"

"So you don't deny needing to be in an asylum?"

"Argh…" came my guttural reply and I punched him lightly on the shoulder. "Stop picking on me!"

"Kikyo never complained"

I fell silent. Thankfully, we had made it to the Candy Kitchen, and I pushed open the door. The bell chimed and a waitress showed us to the cozy booth I usually shared with Pristine and Theresa. I sat down heavily, feeling the air ease out of the red seat. Sesshoumaru sat across me. We made our orders, and as we waited I looked around. I saw some girls from our school from Port Street pointing at Sesshoumaru and giggling behind their hands. Sesshoumaru followed my line of sight and when they saw this, they sent him coy glances that invited him to do much more than buy them some shakes.

"Kikyo was the only one who wanted to tell you everything," Sesshoumaru said suddenly. I spun around to face him sharply, trying to recall what we were talking about before.

"Oh, right," I said lamely.

"She was really upset when it was decided that it should be kept from you. She said that you'd get hurt if you just went around, blindly. So she asked that she go to Port Street, to watch over you. Make sure nothing happened. Of course, Kagome would go with her, as her twin sister. And Inuyasha would follow the both of them, as a protector. I went to another school – Inuyasha and I… we're brothers only by blood" he added.

I decided to stay silent, as he talked. I didn't trust myself to say anything.

"She used to tell me a lot about you. She never talked to you though – because she thought she couldn't be your friend, and not be your cousin as well. She couldn't just see you, and talk to you everyday and smile and act like you were nothing special. So even though she held back, she watched you. When I came home in the holidays she used to bore me silly with how you had a way of smiling if you did well in a test, or how you would always go to your locker because you didn't like carrying too many books in the day. She wanted, more than anything, to be your family"

Our orders arrived and I slurped my strawberry shake loudly, hoping that Sesshoumaru wouldn't notice my sniffing. We ate in silence for a few minutes. I wondered pointlessly if this was my lunch or breakfast. It was around one in the afternoon, but I hadn't broken my fast yet.

Sesshoumaru popped a French fry into his mouth and swallowed. "It was probably around two years ago, that Naraku also entered Port Street Preparatory. Kikyo made it known to the family that she thought it imperative that we tell you. The danger, she said, was too close for us to be able to protect you without your knowledge. But still, we held back. Too many generations of Tsuyame's had died protecting our secret. The least the Izuki's and Higurashi's could do was repay them by protecting the last one of their line – you. We wanted to keep you pure, untainted"

"You kept me the dark so that I could remain this 'pure', this 'untainted' portrait that you imagine of me? I could've been seriously hurt!"

Sesshoumaru looked bored. "And you think us telling you would make a real big difference? At least if we kept it from you, you could have lived happily, without a care in the world. Our families owed you that much at least"

"Oh so all of a sudden it's about debt, huh? Didn't want this big liability over your big corporate heads?" I was suddenly angry at him, his cool demeanour, and his excuses to keep the truth from me. "You know what you and your whole family owe me? You owe me my parents. You owe me a childhood. You owe me countless nights sleep – do you know how many weeks my dad stayed up with me because I just kept on having nightmares?" I raged.

"Which was exactly why my father arranged for him to become your adopter. We knew he'd take care of you properly" he said calmly.

I gaped at him. They had influenced my father's decision to adopt me? Had they paid him to care for me? Had they even given him a choice?

"You mean… that everything… my father, my home, my life as it is now… it's all fake? You and your family have been controlling it this whole time? You're telling me my father didn't even take me in of his own free will?"

"Don't be silly, Rin. If he didn't want you, we couldn't have forced him"

"Money is a pretty good form of persuasion though," I said scathingly.

"If we hadn't taken care of you, where would you be now?" he threw back at me. "All that money spent on your education, the clothes you wear, your living expenses – where do you think it came from? We set up an account for your father, an allowance if you'd like, something to take care of you"

"I'd rather have a poor family rather than a rich life with nothing!" I hissed and ran out of the Candy Kitchen and all the way home.


God, I hated him. I hated him so much.

He couldn't even understand! All my life I had been lied to. Nothing seemed real anymore. My parents – murdered because of something that I couldn't care less about. My father – could I even call him that? I had made it to my home, panting with my hair falling in front of my face. I stopped short of stepping onto the little path that led to my front door. Was the house just a payment to my father so that he'd take me in? Was it all an act? The late nights when I had a nightmare, the little dinners I prepared, the laughter, the love – had it all been fake?

I decided I couldn't go back into my home and face my father. I couldn't bear to question the smile he gave, that tone of voice.

Hey honey, how was your day?

Ever since I was a young girl…

Hey, what movie do you wanna watch tonight?

Everyday…

You make me so proud…

I ran.

I took the long route, trying to run away from my sadness, trying to run away from my life. I passed Sesshoumaru's home, and I slowed down to peer in through the large bars at the forbidding house.

"Rin!" I heard a deep voice behind me. I swung around and gasped when I bumped into Sesshoumaru. He held me tightly around my forearms, our chests touching.

"Let go of me" I growled, trying to break free of his strong grasp.

"And what? Let you run around? And what if Naraku found you? I bet you'd be happy to ruin your life for him, right?"

I stared at him wide-eyed and in shock. "Don't you dare…"

"What? Insinuate that you have feelings for Naraku?" He tugged me closer to him. We were both panting heavily. "My father saw what he saw – you not fighting against Naraku"

"I hadn't known who he was, or what he had done! Whose fault is that, do you think?" I threw at him carelessly.

"You didn't know? So what, was Kikyo's murder just a little story to keep the little kiddies in line?"

"It wasn't proved…" I whispered. I could feel tears stinging my eyes. Who was he to suddenly attack me like this? If I was such a precious person (more like asset) to the family, then why was he hurting me like this?

"You know as well as I do that it was Naraku who took that knife and sunk it into Kikyo's back" He looked at me seriously. "This is the filth we were – and still are – trying to protect you from"

"A lot of good that did" I muttered.

"Rin," his grip on me tightened slightly, "tell me you don't feel for him"

I gaped at Sesshoumaru. This was my life, and if I had fallen for Naraku, whose fault was it? If I had just known

"Who else should I have feelings for?" I flung wildly at him. "You, who have never cared for anyone else? You, who could have absolutely any girl on her knees begging for the slightest bit of attention?" Our noses were almost touching and I searched for any signs of hurt or guilt. Not finding any, I continued. "Why not Naraku? He is the only one who has shown even the slightest inclination of being attracted to me. I hadn't even known what he was capable until barely 12 hours ago! Don't blame me for getting into a situation your family put me in. Protectors, my ass" I sneered.

Sesshoumaru's fingers dug painfully into my arms and I winced. "Defending him? I should have known a pitiful girl like you would offer herself to anyone"

My breathe hitched but a moment later my eyes narrowed dangerously. "What do you care? It's not like I was saving myself for you." His eyes widened and I knew I had shocked him. "I'm not yours" I said furiously and kicked him in the shins. He hissed, letting go of me.

I ran.

A hot tear slid down my cheek and I hurriedly wiped it with the back of my hand. It was in vain however, as more followed. They blurred my vision but trying to stop would only make them come faster, so I allowed them to fall. As I reached the end of the road I heard Sesshoumaru calling my name. I heard other voices too, telling me to stop, but I ignored them.

"Please don't come… don't chase me… I don't want you… leave me alone…" I whispered desperately to myself, crying ever harder.

Lies. That little boy lied to me. Nothing Ms. Kentlyn said could justify it. I had spent my life in search of truth, finding nothing but grief and pain.

This is what you get for dreaming.

Another tear seared its way down my face.

I couldn't stop running. There was a fierce burning in my calves and my heart was thumping painfully in my chest, but it was a good kind of pain that would heal, that would not betray me. It was real, and it wasn't lying to me. It told me I wasn't dying of grief, not yet at least.

I finally reached my destination and I attempted to fix myself up so I could at least look decent. I patted my hair self-consciously as I heard the doorbell chime. I was aware that I was sweaty, red-cheeked and crying but there were only two people I could think of who could remedy the situation.

The door opened and Pristine stood in the doorway, Theresa standing behind her.

"Rin, what in God's name…" Pristine breathed.

"I felt like a run" I sniffed. "May I come in?"

Both of them stepped back so I come in. I slipped off my dainty flats, wincing at my new blisters.

I heard Theresa make a noise and I looked up to see Pristine looking around the corner furtively. She motioned for us to quietly follow her and we moved up to her bedroom. The door clicked shut behind us. I fell to the floor, my legs curled underneath me.

"I suppose you were so totally overwhelmed by the wonderful weather that you felt you must weep uncontrollably?" Theresa said, somewhat hysterically, breaking the silence.

"Theresa, breathe" Pristine ordered and she knelt down next to me. "What happened?" she whispered, taking my hand in hers.

I looked at Theresa and Pristine, their faces full of genuine concern for me. This friendship, at least, had not been born from money.

I choked on a sob. I felt no need to hold myself back with them. I succumbed to my sadness. I filled the room with heart-wrenching sobs that made my head throb and my nails dig into my palms.

They were there beside me in a flash. Pristine moved me so that my head was in her lap and Theresa put her legs under mine, curling herself around me protectively, her head on my stomach and hands holding me securely.

I wasn't going home, and I didn't think I ever could.

And I wasn't sure I wanted to, either.


A/N: Ah, so how long has it been? Hey, I've improved my time – didn't make you wait eight months this time round! Gahaha.

If any of you get bored waiting for my next chapter, go read my Naruto story! It's written in a completely different style and has way more pro-relationship moments than this sorry story. And it's pretty much finished, only needs one more chapter!

I want to thank everyone reading this right now for keeping up with this story, despite how long I make you wait every time for another chapter. I will finish this story, don't worry. I don't ever plan on canceling this fix, or putting it on hiatus. However, even though I have a lot of Sesshoumaru/Rin ideas, I don't think I can handle another story this long – there's too much thinking involved. Of course, saying that, the Gods of Fate are rewriting my life right now, making it so I write another million of them til the day I die. Happy now?

If you reviewed me while signed in, you should find a reply in your inbox right about now. If you're an anonymous reviewer, I should be thanking you accordingly here:

Madie-moo: Ah, the Ayame she-wolf and Kouga… I reckon they're so cute together, but at the same time I reckon Kouga should be with Kagome cause Inuyasha is crappy boyfriend material. I feel mean now. Anyway, Ayame is also one of my favourite Furuba characters, so I added him in

CrapEmotions: I've updated… six months later! OMG, I know, Ayame and Shigure are like the ultimate gay-but-not-gay anime icons!

AnimeLover: Yup, this time it's only a six month wait. Next time, it'll be four months. Unless I get hit by a bus…

Brittney: Yea, I guess it's a madman thing, but they say love in itself is a form of insanity haha. Ok, so to explain the plot, Rin is actually like a descendant of the Higurashi family, and thereby related to Kikyo and Kagome (who were twin sisters). The Izuki's, that is Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha, are like a guardian family. The Izuki men protect the Higurashi women who in turn protect the Shikon No Tama from people like Naraku. One day, Naraku's ancestor tried stealing the Shikon No Tama, but Rin's ancestor was a decoy, carrying around a normal stone while Kikyo's and Kagome's ancestors ran away with the Shikon No Tama. Thing is, Rin's ancestor had to keep passing on the fake stone to the next in line to keep the decoy going and thereby protecting the real Shikon No Tama. That's why Rin's parents were killed, and why Rin never knew she was related to the Higurashi's. Her name is Tsuyame because the first ancestors name was Tsuyame, and passed on that name as a last name. I hope you understand… O.o''

Omg, my outtakes are so lame this time round. Please don't review and tell me they sucked, I don't know what I was thinking…

Outtake #1

He hoped Inuyasha was curled into a ball dying on his bedroom floor right now.

He also hoped that Jakken had remembered to feed his pet goldfish.

Outtake #2

I was panting heavily and I realized I had been holding my breath. I had totally stuffed it. I could've had Sesshoumaru, but instead I chose to push him away. I had been so close.

So close.

I licked my lips and as Sesshoumaru moved closer, I laugh harshly.

"You may have won the staring contest this time 'round, but I will have my revenge!" I cackled evilly.

Of course, as God would have it, I walked into the fridge, thus ruining my dramatic departure.

Dammit!

Outtake #3

I cut in. "This isn't what you came for. What do you want?"

His eyes flickered upwards towards my face expectantly. I returned his gaze, somewhat disconcerted.

"What?" I asked edgily.

Sesshoumaru looked around furtively, making sure no-one was around. He leaned in closer and motioned for me to do the same.

"What shampoo do you use?"

I heard that reviewing is worth two good kharma points. Five if it's a nice, big, long one telling me how cool I am.