Author's Note: Here it is: The sequel to both Fluffy Love and Pictures on the Wall. You don't have to read those two stories to understand this one. All you need to really know is that before this story takes place, Sesshoumaru sent Rin away to a place called Usagi Manor, where she and Jaken posed as a princess and her father. Rin was miserable there without him, and while she was out on a walk one evening was attacked by a bunch of youkai. Sessh intervened and saved her life and much ooey gooey lemony goodness ensued. Pictures on the Wall covers the relationship between Ayame and Kouga immediately after the end of the entire IY series (whenever Naraku is finally defeated, because the TV series left that thread dangling loose).
Anyway, expect something epic in proportion, involving many of the characters from the show. Lemons between several couples (IY/Kag, Sess/Rin, Aya/Kou, Mir/San, etc) will be interspersed, but only edited versions will appear on this site, so if you want to see the full version, check out my author profile for the other websites I post my work on.
Please R&R, and I will post the next chapter in a week or less! --Jacki
Chapter 1 – Recipe for Trouble
The air was crisp and cool, tinted ever slightly with the smoky scent of autumn. Rin inhaled deeply as a light breeze blew past her, ruffling the heavy silk of her kimono. Something passed in the corner of her eye—a falling leaf, tawny gold in color. It spun and twirled its way down a lazy spiral to the ground to join its kin at her feet. It was yet one more addition to the thick blanket of leaves that was slowly beginning to swallow up the garden's twisting paths. She let her eyes travel down the treacherously steep slope that plunged some several hundred feet below her.
The mountain was a riot of color, the trees that clung to its rocky body a blazing fire of reds, golds, oranges, and violets. Beyond the skirts of the forest the rice paddies lay fallow and bare, the slender green stalks having been harvested to feed the hardworking inhabitants of the small village at the base of the mountain. The sharp light of the afternoon sun struck the blue water in the paddies and she squinted against the reflection.
Five dark shapes, two large and three small, moved slowly through one of the large, placid pools—a family gleaning the last bit of this year's crop. Other figures, no more than ants from her vantage point, bustled about between the small houses and along the roads that stretched off into the distance. Several small figures were crouched on the roof of one of the houses, performing small repairs and battening down the structure to keep in heat. The winter season and the fierce storms that accompanied it were fast approaching and it would not due to be caught unprepared.
She watched placidly as the villagers went about their tasks, wondering if any of her former human servants were among them. Nearly two months had passed since she had left their care to join Sesshoumaru in his palace on top of the mountain. Memories of that night crept into her mind and she blushed happily.
It all just seemed too impossible and too wonderful to believe. She would walk around the gardens and the house, speak with Jaken, eat and drink, just like she had done nearly every other day for the past few years, thinking that the events of the night before and the night before that were all just dreams her lovesick mind had made up to comfort itself. And then in the evenings her beloved Sesshoumaru would return and remind her of it all with the touch of his hand and lips. To wake up in the middle of the night wrapped up in his embrace and see his face soft and slack in repose filled her with the most delicious sensation of warmth and wholeness. She had never been this happy before, and the thought of all the years they would have to spend together fueled her passion to an even greater height.
"Rin-sama? My lady?"
She jumped, one hand instantly rising to her chest. "Nani, Jaken-sama?" she called back, turning slowly to face the approaching youkai.
The hideous relief of the human-head staff bobbed up and down between the rows of ornamental bushes and trees. Jaken's scaly green face soon came into view, his pace increasing and a frown appearing on his toad-like features as he caught sight of her.
"Rin-sama! Don't you know better than to n—." He was cut off as one of his feet caught beneath a hook of root that lay mostly concealed beneath the thick layers of fallen leaves. He was thrown face-first to the ground, sending up a flurry of leaves and dirt. Rin giggled quietly, one voluminous sleeve hiding her amused grin as he struggled to his feet.
"That's a very improper thing for the wife of a powerful lord like Sesshoumaru-sama to do," he scolded as he brushed the dirt and debris from his clothing. He shooed her away impatiently as she knelt to retrieve his staff. "And so is that!"
She laughed out loud. "Jaken-sama, there's no one here to see me except for you and the other servants. They're all youkai, so why should they care if I don't act the part of a proper human hime?"
"No excuses!" he snapped, waggling one clawed finger in front of his face. "No matter where you are or whether or not you're in the company of others—human or otherwise—you must always show pride and dignity. To do otherwise would be disrespectful to Sesshoumaru-sama!"
Rin sighed in resignation. There was no stopping Jaken when he launched into one of his tirades. His dedication to Sesshoumaru was unwavering, and given that, she was hard put to challenge his frequent, though well-meant, reprimands.
"Hai, Jaken-sama," she replied. The toad bristled instantly.
"That's Jaken! Just Jaken, my lady!" he cried. He shook his head from side in dismay. "What am I going to do with you?" he murmured quietly to himself. "And just look at you! Don't you realize you could catch cold in this weather?"
Rin smiled as he fussed over her, following him without question when he insisted that she return to the mansion. A gust of wind surged against her, blowing back her loose black hair and sending a whirlwind of brightly colored leaves swirling over the path. She paused, enjoying the sensation. Jaken's voice faded into the distance, still lecturing on the duties of a proper wife.
With one last deep breath of the fresh autumn air, she moved to follow, only to be stopped by a sharp tug on the hem of her kimono. Frowning slightly, she knelt down to free herself from whatever reaching branch had snagged the heavy silk. A pair of bright blue eyes peered at her from the shadows of the bushes.
Rin jumped back, a strangled cry of terror issuing from her throat. One of her geta caught on something in the path—most likely the same root that Jaken had tripped over—and she landed unceremoniously on her rump.
"Hime-sama!" The eyes widened in concern. There was a rustling sound and a face soon appeared from the depths of the bush. It was a human face, smooth and unlined with finely shaped features—the face of a young man, no more than 17 or 18 years old. Rin gasped and scooted away from the intruder as he crept nearer to her.
"Please forgive me, my lady!" he cried, falling to his face in a full kowtow before her. "It was not my intention to frighten you!" He glanced up at her apologetically, his sun-browned skin glowing in the afternoon light. A jolt of recognition shot through her mind; she had met this boy, spoke with him before. Those brilliant, deep blue eyes and that gentle voice were so familiar.
She was shaken from her thoughts as Jaken's raspy voice echoed out from the direction of the mansion.
"Nani, Jaken?" she called back, shooting an apprehensive glance at the young man kneeling before her.
"Where are you, Rin-sama?"
She popped up from her seat and waved energetically at the toad youkai, who stood on one of the large stepping stones that was situated near the house, one hand bent over his eyes to block the glare.
"My lady, what are you doing back there?" he called back, an irritated tone in his voice.
"I'm coming!" She glanced down at the boy. If you're found here you will be killed," she cautioned, her voice low so as not to be overheard by Jaken.
"Hime-sama, please," he implored, the calloused fingers of one hand curling around the hem of her kimono. "It's urgent that I speak with you. I mean you no harm whatsoever: I just want to talk."
Rin shook her head. "No. Go back to the village or wherever you came from and never come back here if you value your life." She jerked the fabric from his hand and turned to leave.
"On the behalf of the servants of Usagi Manor, I beseech you to listen, hime-sama!"
Rin paused in mid-step. Usagi Manor. Today had been the first day in over two months that she had thought of her previous home, and, save for the time that she had spent with her family, the only other place that she had felt comfortable in the presence of her own kind. What an odd coincidence that she ran into this man today of all days.
She sighed. He didn't seem to be dangerous, and if he was telling the truth about coming from Usagi Manor, then he should be trustworthy. After all, each and every one of the servants had risked their lives to save her, even going so far as to challenge Sesshoumaru himself.
"Wait here until I return," she said wearily. He nodded and instantly melted back into the depths of the bush from which he had appeared.
"Riiiiin!" Jaken screeched.
"Coming!" Gathering her skirts around her, she broke into a light jog.
"What kept you?" Jaken growled as she trotted to his side.
"Nothing, Jaken-sama. I thought I saw a flower."
"A flower? At this time of the year?" Jaken stared at her incredulously then shook his head. "Foolish girl, sometimes I wonder if there is a brain between those small ears of yours." His scowl softened as he glanced up at her smiling face, flushed a healthy pink from the exercise. He beckoned her forward into the house.
"Come on now. Let's go inside." She followed obediently, but not before casting a troubled glance at the cluster of shrubbery that concealed her mysterious visitor.
Just what was so important that he would risk his life to come and see her?