Repost, revised. Yes, this is in chronological order. In this fic, the Tenseiga restores both life and youth. Rin is literally living her life over and over again.
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She died when she was a little girl. A wolf's fang sent her to the afterlife. A dog's fang brought her back. At the time she did not see the irony; she only saw an angel who had descended to her level.
Her very own fallen angel.
She died when she was a teenager. Nineteen, nearly, with long legs that could outrun the meager protection Jaken provided. She rolled down the hill and kicked up grass, caressed the earth the way her Sesshoumaru-sama caressed her. She didn't see the youkai until it was too late and, being a defenseless girl, the creature ripped through her with ease. She only managed to cry out once before she died.
Her eyes had opened to a world of white. Pulling back to a reasonable distance, she snuck a worried look at her lord. He looked as blank as ever, not at all concerned for her well-being. Sometimes, Rin imagined she could coax a tender moment out of him.
Sesshoumaru-sama, will you always rescue me?
His answer is prompt, and Rin believes it to be sentimental. She never imagined something like that could be selfish.
She died when she was an old woman, wrinkled and gray and tired. She still smiled for him, though he never smiles back. She had to live in a home with a fire and wooden walls in her last few years, though Sesshoumaru detested permanent residences. She died listening to the rain drip through the cracks in the roof.
Sesshoumaru bent over her in the morning and told her they were leaving. Jaken had loudly voiced his approval. He said a few too many things about the business of humans, and Rin imagined the stomp her lord delivered to his head was for her benefit, not because he was tired of listening to him speak.
She died of an illness. For days a hacking cough ripped through her lungs. She didn't cough up blood, though she imagined the mucus from the back of her throat mixed with stomach bile had to just as bad. This time, she didn't fully believe that she would have died a slow, painful, pitiful death. She thinks she might have recovered, though it truly would have been slow, painful, and pitiful.
She never found out either way, and instead experienced the white hot pain as Toukijin was thrust into her stomach, killing her nearly instantly. The next thing she saw was the blurry outline of Tenseiga as she lay at Sesshoumaru's feet, her illness gone and her throat clean.
She died in battle. Soldiers had been sent out to destroy the youkai that roamed their countryside, slaughtering animals and people, though he had told her he was only killed animals. To his credit, he probably felt he was telling the truth.
A stray arrow had pierced her in the chest. Several more followed, and she realized they were not stray, but rather she was a target. She had stared at them when she fell, the edges of her vision framed by feathered tips. The one in her throat hurt the most, though it was hard to judge. It happened slowly, for the first time, and Rin had felt far away as she watched Sesshoumaru dispatch the soldiers, not turning even to spare a glance in her direction. He had no reason to. He knew that no matter how badly damaged, she was a doll that could always be repaired at the end of the day.
She died after they made love. Sesshoumaru had not been gentle, and his claws - themselves half the length of her pinky, she had measured once - had torn up her back, exposing the bone beneath her shoulders. He knelt over her afterward, calmly waiting for her to die so that his sword could be used.
Her life was Sesshoumaru's. She had willing offered it up to him lifetimes ago. His to eliminate, and his to keep.
She wished the wolves had eaten her dead heart from her ribcage.
She drowned. The water had been rushing by quickly, and at thirty her footing wasn't as stable as it should be. She bent to catch a fish, for old time's sake, and slipped on the slick algae coating the rocks. Several times she resurfaced, but the force of the water dragged her down just as she had cleared her throat to scream for help. The waves tumbling her head over heels, bashed her against rocks until she was bruised and dizzy. Her foot got caught underneath her as the rest of her body was pushed forward, and the appendix was sprained. Unable to even kick her legs to keep her head above the water, the last of her air bubbled from her throat.
She died thinking, This is really starting to get old.
Sesshoumaru found her washed into a shallow nook of the river, the fish already chewing on the edges of her blue skin. Her green-tinted hair was floating gently around her head, obscuring her face, so he didn't see the smile on it. Maybe it was better that way. Sesshoumaru hated watching dead women smile.
She burned to death. The flames of the campfire got out of control and any attempt she - only fifteen at the time - made to put them out failed. It had been a long, dry summer, and the woods around her lit up as well. The heat alone had burned her skin; she never even made contact with the flames. The smoke had made her throat feel dirty and slimy, and she felt as if someone had her in a choke hold. She finally collapsed to the ground, her lungs too constricted for her to crawl to safety, and she had only been able to watch as the arm before her burned by the heat: first turning a shiny red, then blackening and cracking when the skin split open as the water inside her boiled.
she whispered once after a very long time, pressing her tiny hands against his chest. Please. If you care about me at all, you will let me die.
He always did. But he always brought her back, as well.
Rin knew her Sesshoumaru-sama was going to live forever. There no longer existed any youkai powerful enough to destroy him, and he was intelligent enough not to die by a fault of his own. She also knew she would live forever; she had become his permanent companion the first time she stood and followed after him.
Forever' had always held such a positive connotation for her.
Rin lived a hundred lifetimes over, and came to hate the sword Sesshoumaru possessed - first kept at his side and then, as grand castles were replaced with skyscrapers, hung on a wall in his study. One day she slid out of their large bed and stood before it, staring at the seemingly deadly curve of the blade. The sword stays new and sharp no matter how much it ages nor how often it is used. She hates the way it never fails to work, hates how it cures any weakness, be it a sickness or old age. She had often wondered why Sesshoumaru didn't age.
She hates how it is not of this earth and so will outlast the earth - and the wielder, and her - along with it.
His voice is a command, always had been, always will be, and she turns and walks down the hall, turns off the light and slips under the covers next to him. She looks at his face and wonders if she will die in her sleep. It doesn't matter; she will still wake up in the morning.
She thinks it was silly of Sesshoumaru to ever condone the weapon, to call it incapable of killing. It had so excelled at destroying a life.
Forever, she hears a gleeful little girl in her head say. The little girl curls up in white fur and dreams of heroes and flowers and great kings with their jesters. She wants to be that little girl again. But she's old, far older than any human should be.