Familiar Strangers

Rich amber eyes watched a dark haired child play. She was running large circles around a very agitated toad youkai with her arms spread out at her sides. And she was giggling…well it was actually more of a squeal than a giggle, high and harsh to his sensitive ears. Something had definitely amused her and he only briefly wondered what it might have been.

She laughed at the flustered toad, easily dodging the two headed staff when it came at her and she squealed again. This was one of her favorite games. How long would it take before she could make the annoying youkai dizzy? She wondered. Would he fall first or would she? Annoying the other traveling companion was most entertaining even though Rin knew she would eventually have to bow and do as he said.

This human child would be the death of him, he had decided. She was one large bundle of energy, never seeming to stop with her romps or her incessant chatter. And for some reason his lord had felt the need to put him in charge of her. She passed him again, making another circle. She was trying to kill him and he knew it. A slow agonizing death was her goal. He put the staff out, low to the ground, in an attempt to make her trip and give himself some peace, but the girl simply jumped over it and Jaken sighed, his world spinning slightly. She was succeeding.

Sesshomaru leaned against a tree, watching the girl entertain herself. What she found so amusing about her current employment was beyond his comprehension, but it kept her occupied and that was all he needed to know. His exterior always remained unchanged, calm, cold, quiet. He never really expressed emotion, but the child confused him to no end. She made him second guess everything he'd ever known about himself and that worried him.

Rin giggled furiously as Jaken's eyes rolled and he swayed, leaning on the staff to keep his balance. She'd done it! Coming to a stop, she fell to her bum, her world spinning in circles and she lay back in the grass, watching the stars above her swirl into one another.

Just as her world came back to its normal position and stilled, she heard the one sound that could still her heart and terrify her beyond reason.

A wolf howled in the distance.

She didn't remember her death, but the sound made her shiver and halted her breaths until they came in short, quick gasps. The wolves had attacked her village - that she did remember. They had not been normal wolves. They were youkai, some of them, looking like regular human's but they had clawed and snarled and snapped and the people had screamed and run, some falling when the animals would pounce on them. She had run to the forest, trying to get to the white haired man she' been tending too. Had they gotten him? Was he dead?

But she hadn't made it that far. A man with long black hair had stood in her path and several shaggy haired animals surrounded her. The man had given her a wicked smile and then lunged. The next thing she remembered was waking up in Sesshomaru's lap.

Rin did not know she had died. They had never told her, but some buried memory must have remained because that sound, that long, high, melancholy sound, brought tears to her eyes and she sat up suddenly, shivering.

It was getting closer.

Jaken watched, eyes wide with wonder and surprise, as the human launched herself off the ground with incredible speed and hurtled towards the inu youkai that stood not to far away. She clutched his leg, hiding her face in the white folds of his hakama. He slowly walked over to the other two, wondering what had frightened the child who had not seemed to be fazed by anything before.

Sesshomaru flicked his gold gaze to the girl for only a second. Something was coming and his hand rested on Toukijin's hilt, ready to draw when the approaching youkai appeared. The child's scent was thick with fear and so he would let her cling to him, wondering briefly why he cared.

But he didn't have much time to contemplate the thought as the owner of the scent came to a stop yards from where they stood, causing a cloud of dust to settle around him. Long legs held him rigid while blue eyes looked around and long black hair swinging in a high pony tail. He looked directly at Sesshomaru and the child, nose moving slightly as it caught a whiff of a familiar scent.

The inu youkai's scent was similar to dog-turd's but that wasn't what caused his brows to furrow in wonder. The girl…she carried his scent and the scent of his pack, now long dead. It was very faint, almost indistinguishable, but it was there and he foundered what this child could possibly have in common with him.

Rin's dark eyes lifted from the white material to rest on the figure, bathed in moonlight. HIM! The wolf man of her nightmares…the man her lord had saved her from. Chocolate orbs widened and she began to tremble as their eyes locked. Her hand went to her shoulder where it curved to meet her neck, not knowing the scar she carried there had been made by a wolf's teeth.

Two more youkai approached, joining the one that had managed to scare Rin so badly. No sooner than they had arrived in the clearing, shouting out their usual pleas of "Koga! Wait for us!" the first was brought out of his wondering gaze, without having come to a conclusion. He turned, leaving them behind once more. His two companions panted as they struggled to keep pace with him once more.

When they were gone again, Rin clung to him, hiding her face once more. "Sesshomaru-sama," she whimpered, her voice tiny and muffled by his pants, "that man scares Rin." He looked down at her, but did not speak. "He hurt her."

Now the youkai lord was intrigued and knelt down, looking to her. "When?" He had done nothing but stare in the few minutes that they had seen him.

"When Rin was found by Sesshomaru-sama. Before she saw Sesshomaru-sama, she saw that man. Rin thinks he hurt her, but she does not remember. She is scared of him."

Sesshomaru understood then.. The village, the wolf attack, the day he'd used Tenseiga to revive the girl. That had been the wolf that had led the deadly pack. It was his scars that marred Rin's pale flesh. The wolf would be a meal for Toukijin's blood thirst the next time he crossed Sesshomaru's path, the youkai decided.

"You need never fear him again, Rin."

"Will Sesshomaru-sama keep the wolves away?" She asked looking hopefully at him. He nodded and she threw herself at him, wrapping her tiny arms around his neck. With a look that suggested this was the most natural thing in the world and dared Jaken to open his large mouth as he wrapped his arm around the small body and stood, lifting her with him.

"Jaken, Ah-un, come."

A/N: If you've read my bio you know that I don't like Koga, but there is another reason that I don't particularly care for the snobbish wolf besides the one mentioned there and this one-shot should express that reason. But here's the explanation for those who haven't figured it out.

In the show/manga Rin is first introduced after Sesshomaru is injured by the kaze no kizu (wind scar/cutting wind) and she tries to take care of him. At that point she's a mute, but when her village is attacked by wolves she is killed and Sesshomaru finds her and bring her back with Tenseiga.

The wolves that attacked Rin's village? Koga's tribe. This is, after all, the same episodes where Koga first met and kidnapped Kagome. I took a little freedom and added in the part where he lunged at her himself, but he did ultimately give the orders for the wolves to attack and kill anything that they wished. Including one small, orphaned, and innocent child.