CHAPTER 5: True Emotion
Rin sighed and stretched before reaching out to lift another kimono from the laundry pile and hanging it over the line.
She had been here more than a month now, and over the weeks life had settled into a familiar routine. But not comfortable, never that, and not happy. How could she find happiness when she felt as though her heart were torn in two? The scars of her love for Lord Sesshoumaru would not be so easily forgotten.
She was not even certain they were scars, for many times they felt fresh as a newly opened wound.
"Lord Sesshoumaru…" she whispered his name, clutching a wet garment to her chest. A moment later the uncomfortable dampness seeping through her kimono reminded her that she was in the middle of chores, and she resumed her task.
"Rin!" Rin looked up as Kagome stepped out of the nearby house and gave a small wave, "When you're finished do you want to help Shippo and I make some sweets? It's Sango's birthday!"
Rin smiled and nodded with an enthusiasm she couldn't quite bring herself to feel. Kagome accepted this and walked back inside, humming happily.
They were such good, kind, caring people. Even Inuyasha, though he was still a little rough around the edges at times. She wanted to be happy for their sake. They had been so generous, taking her in, caring for her physical needs… and her emotional ones. She had lost count of the times she had awoken at night, crying, and Kagome had come to hold her. She had never told Rin is would be alright, because they both knew it wouldn't be. Not ever. But she had been there.
In their own ways each member of this odd family had helped her through this time. The wound might not yet be scarred, but thanks to them at least it was no longer raw…
A change in the wind brought her out of her thoughts, bringing with it a strange feeling that she had experienced on and off all day.
Was someone watching her?
She shrugged the eerie feeling away. Probably Kilala practicing her stalking.
She forced her mind away from the feeling and back to the laundry. But then the feeling washed over her once more, even stronger.
She froze. Someone was behind her. Right behind her. If the feeling in her spine had not told her, the shadow that suddenly fell beyond hers would have.
Without thinking she shrieked.
"Rin!!!" a half dozen figures came running to her aid; Kagome and Shippo from inside the house, Kagome somewhat flour dusted, Sango and Kilala from the forest where they had obviously been training, Miroku still dripping as he had been meditating beneath a small waterfall, and Inuyasha just seemed to appear out of nowhere.
They all stopped, frozen, when they saw who was behind Rin. Noticing their stunned faces she gathered her courage and slowly turned, only to draw in a painful gasp.
Her heart was pounding too fast, too hard, she could hardly breath.
The wound in her heart was bleeding anew and it was all she could do not to drop to her knees in anguish at the overwhelming pain. Why had he come here? How had he found her?
"Rin…" his voice was hoarse, raw with pain. But why would he be in pain? The look in his eyes, the brief moment she dared to meet them, only confused her further. There was something written in those swirling depths that she could not understand.
As if his low voice had broken the spell the others moved closer.
"What are you doing here Sesshoumaru?" Inuyasha asked harshly.
Sesshoumaru did not look away from Rin, though she had averted her eyes from his. "I came to see Rin." His voice, though quiet, carried above the stillness.
Inuyasha snorted, "Why? Haven't you hurt her enough already? You are the lowest, most vile,"
"Inuyasha." Rin wasn't sure how long the list would have gone on if his wife's gentle command had not stopped him. He certainly had enough grievances against his older brother to make quite a lengthy one.
Inuyasha looked to Kagome in question, and then at the others, they each shook their head in turn.
"Look at him." Miroku said quietly.
Inuyasha turned his gaze to his brother and eyed him through narrowed gaze. Then his eyes snapped wide. Were those… tears in Sesshoumaru's eyes?
Inuyasha blinked, stepping closer.
Tears were evidence of the emotions his elder brother loathed. A weakness only humans and filthy half breeds would ever fall prey to.
And yet, there were clearly tears in the demon prince's eye, and he was making no effort to hide them, or suppress them.
Drawing an unsteady breath Sesshoumaru turned his gaze to meet his brother's. "I need to speak with her." His eyes were clear now, but Inuyasha sensed that it was not due to any shame or anger at his earlier show of emotion. Rather, it appeared to be the result of some other kind of resolve.
Despite his brother's apparent sincerity, Inuyasha's first instinct was to deny the request – for a request it had been. But Kagome's gentle hand on his arm caused him to reconsider. He dropped his gaze to Rin.
"You'll have to ask her about that." Inuyasha said coldly.
Sesshoumaru nodded, "Rin," he ducked slightly to try to catch her eye, but this only caused her to retreat further, so he gave up and settled for looking at the top of her head. His arms moved slightly, as though he wanted to touch her, but he refrained. "May I speak with you, alone?"
Rin paused uncertainly, and then gave a hesitant nod.
Sesshoumaru's shoulders slumped slightly in relief and he looked back up at Inuyasha pleadingly, "Could you all" he began.
"No." Rin's soft voice drew their attention, "Not here." And then she began to walk. Confused, but grateful for her agreement to see him at all, Sesshoumaru followed her into the forest. Many minutes later she stopped beneath a large tree and turned to face him. She brought her head up and met his gaze unflinchingly.
"Why are you here?" she was not angry.
Sesshoumaru was somewhat surprised at her calm, considering her reaction to his presence in the clearing, and rightly assumed that she had spent this long walk gathering her courage and resolve.
"I needed to find you. This was the only place I could think of that I had not yet searched." He explained.
"No." she shook her head, "Why?"
He gave a half smile and reached to brush her cheek, but she withdrew. He lowered his hand with a sigh. He should have known that was asking too much, even for her forgiving spirit.
"I'm sorry." He whispered, forcing himself to maintain eye contact despite his shame.
"Sorry?" she echoed.
He nodded, "Rin, I need to apologize for the way I've treated you. And not just that day by the stream. I need to apologize for the last ten years of your life."
She looked so sweetly confused that he almost reached for her again, but restrained himself just in time.
"I have a confession to make," he was grateful she was not responding much, it would give him the chance to get it all out. "I was afraid."
She shook her head., denying it. Sesshoumaru? Afraid? It was impossible.
"Yes," he said firmly, "that day by the stream with the demon, but even before that. I was afraid of what you did to me. You trusted me, wanted to be near me, and you made me want to protect you and made me want to have you near. And that frightened me. But I refused to admit it. I was too foolish to admit it, even to myself." He closed his eyes for a moment, struggling against anger at himself.
"That day at the stream I was so afraid that you were going to die. It was that fear that brought my truest emotions to the surface and caused me to take you in my arms. It forced my love for you to the surface," he was so focused on getting the whole story out that he failed to notice how wide her eyes became when he said he loved her, "but that frightened me even more, and not just because you were human. It was because I was afraid of losing control. Or being changed by that emotion."
He peered deeply into her eyes searchingly, knowing full well that she was doing the same, and that his soul lay open before her. He could only hope she would recognize his sincerity.
"It was out of fear that I lashed out at you. By the time I realized what I had said you were gone… and I couldn't find you."
Her eyes softened at the despair in his voice and she almost reached for him, but she knew he needed to get it all out.
"I'm sorry," encouraged by her reaction he reached for her, and this time she did not back away. Lightly clasping her upper arms he drew her close enough to rest his forehead against hers, "Can you forgive me?" he whispered.
"There is nothing to forgive." She said softly, bringing a small hand to his cheek. "But yes, I forgive you Sesshoumaru."
His eyes widened, she had called him by his name alone, and it was a sweet sound.
He closed his eyes once more, gathering his courage. This was the hardest thing he would ever have to do, so much harder than the apology. But it was what he had set out to do so many weeks ago. Some may have thought he was moving too quickly, considering what they had been through the last two months, but he could not be at peace until the matter was settled.
"Rin," he raised his head, grasping her chin and tilting it up so that her eyes met his, "I love you."
Her breath caught at the admission, and her knees nearly gave out. Quickly he wrapped his other arm about her waist, holding her to him.
"I need to know if you love me also."
Breathing unsteadily Rin nodded weakly. "Yes." She whispered.
"Then, will you agree to become my mate?"
The way he said it, it sounded so practical, but the look in his eyes told her that he meant it with all of his heart. He wanted her to be his mate.
And, even after all the pain and confusion of the last two months, she could not think of denying him.
His eyes softened and he gave a small smile, one that she would always remember, before he brought his mouth down to hers in a breath taking kiss.
This kiss was so much sweeter than the one in the clearing, if not quite as desperately passionate. And it brought something to mind.
She pulled back and almost laughed at his disapproving frown. He leaned down toward her again and she shook her head.
"Wait." She begged softly, "there's something I was wondering about."
Reluctantly he pulled his head up, gazing down at her with impatience.
She smiled, to reassure him that she would not reconsider, "It's just, that day… with the demon… I was so certain that I was going to die… and it seemed you were too, but… I didn't." she looked up at him, "Why didn't I die?"
Sesshoumaru's brow furrowed. That was something he had not considered, so wrapped up in his inner conflict that it had been unimportant. She was alive, what did the reason matter?
"I don't know."
She looked faintly surprised. It had always seemed to her that he knew everything.
"You don't know?"
He reached up to caress her cheek, and shook his head, "No. I don't. Nor do I care." He smiled at her shock, "You are alive," he said tenderly, "that is all that matters to me."
Rin considered this and then nodded.
Sesshoumaru's eyes searched hers to be certain that her unease had been laid to rest. When he was satisfied he brought his lips back down to hers, caressing her tenderly.
As their lips met Tenseiga began to glow softly, resonating with joy. For the legendary swords Tetsusaiga and Tenseiga were alive, endowed with a will of their own, and they could feel as any man. For this reason Tenseiga had saved Sesshoumaru from Tetsusaiga during the fateful battle where Inuyasha had learned the windscar. Though its master had rejected it, it cared for him, as the son of its true owner. And today, Tenseiga was happy. For it had accomplished the very purpose for its being. It had brought life back to the lifeless. First that day in the clearing when the life of the girl, who's very presence was the life blood of his master no matter what he thought, had hung in the balance. Then on a starless night in a field when Sesshoumaru had made his decision. And now, when two hearts found their homes within one another.
Oblivious to all of this, Sesshoumaru drew Rin closer to him until their heartbeats seemed to meld into one. A wave of pure joy washed over him and he made no effort to push it away. He tangled a hand in her hair, deepening the kiss and enjoying the way she leaned into him. She gasped softly as he moved his lips up her neck to her ear and back, enjoying the sensation his low growl created in the pit of her stomach.
He inhaled deeply, he had missed her scent, and struggled not to lose control. Bringing his lips back to hers he parted them slightly and nipped gently at her with his fangs, imagining what it would be like to explore the depths of her mouth, but knowing he could not do it without losing control. For demons that was fine, once mated they would be bonded for life, but humans had other sensibilities. He would have to find someone to marry them quickly.
Fortunately Inuyasha's monk friend… Miroku was it… was nearby. Rin would not need much preparation, so perhaps by nightfall…
The thought made him smile and he kissed her once more before burying his face in her hair.
By tonight she would be his… forever.
A/N: Wow! That may have bossted this to PG... bad thoughts Sessy! But.. I think not... anywho, in case you missed it, I did explain how Rin lived. Tenseiga acted on its own to save her, just like it did when Inuyasha mastered the windscar... And... there was something else I was gonna tell you all... oh well. Oh! I don't think I'll be writing more SR fiction... sorry to those of you who really liked this. Though, you never know, when inspiration hits I write... so maybe... someday. But, I must say, for my first fiction based entirely on a relationship, I think it went pretty well. Let me know what you think. Please send a parting review! Farewell!