A/N: I do not own Inuyasha or its characters.
Deep in the darkness far below the surface of the ground, the evil was awoken from its slumber.
"Master?" a garbled, snarling voice implored from the darkness.
Ryuukotsusei has failed! The treaty has been placed in motion and…and…" The voice stammered. "And the demon lord's heir still lives!" The voice quivered with fear.
"Kill him." The voice of evil commanded. "And if you return before it is done, you will die." It added before it slipped back into slumber.
"Y…Yes Master." The garbled voice gulped with fear in a near whisper as it retreated from the chamber.
The dark chamber was interrupted again as, this time, flames burst through the door. The sleeping demon roused ready to attack and slaughter the insignificant fool who dared disturb him. Instead, however, he found himself pinned by a powerful force to his sleeping pad. The body of the simpering vassal, who had brought him the news earlier, fell burnt to a crisp, to the hard, cold floor.
"You have failed. Prepare for death." Said a voice of such detached calm that 'evil' could not begin to describe it.
The grip on the demon's throat tightened cutting off his breathing.
"A plan!" He choked trying to explain something before his windpipe was crushed.
The grip loosened though it did not let go.
"Please M'Lord! Please! I have a plan! It will just take a little time and patience!" the grip tightened again.
"Ahhh!…double your…double…gasp…you will…Ahhh!...gasp…have all!" the grip loosened.
"I'm listening." said the cold voice.
The great troll demon lord who was feared by all quickly rambled off his plan, gasping for air, and trembling with fear. The intruder's maniacal laughter began to echo throughout the chamber and all through the underground corridors.
Chapter One: Memories
"Do not do this!" his mother's voice sobbed from somewhere far away, begging his father. "Look at what it has done to us! Look at what it has done to you!"
"There is no other way!" his father responded gruffly. "It is already decided."
His closest friend stood before him sobbing brokenheartedly, her face in her hands. He had wanted to ease her troubled heart, but he had no clue how to go about it. He took her hands from her face and squeezed them lightly as tears flowed freely down her face. Taking a deep breath, she looked at him with bright hazel eyes that glowed with brilliant green flecks and nodded.
His father was dead! He had been killed in the battle that had merely put his enemy, Ryuukotsusei, in a dormant state. His mother had died many years before that, and now he was truly alone in the world. The all consuming desire for vengeance flooded his heart. It was in every breath he took. He would need strength. He would need power.
It had been over a century since his father's demise and he had inherited of all of his father's estates, territories, and the title 'Lord of the Western Lands." His pathetic half brother had somehow managed to succeed in killing Ryuukotsusei. The panther demon tribes were no longer enemies though they were still not allies. He no longer felt the hatred he had so long ago. He no longer felt anything. All he wanted was to expand his territories and to become a power such that none would ever dare to challenge. All who would oppose him would die!
He gave one last powerful blow with his mighty sword Toukijin, and the bothersome half demon Naraku, who had tried to manipulate him, died with a pitiful wail.
Hundreds of smaller demons suddenly began to form from the toxic miasma that had been Naraku. He merely turned and began to walk away.
"I leave the rest to Tetsusaiga." He said to his half brother who looked on with his usual stupid look of astonishment on his face. He could hear his half brother's war cry as he walked deeper into the forest, and then felt the awesome power of the great fang in the air.
Laughter! He remembered that.
Companionship! He remembered that.
Friendship, devotion, innocence, joy, curiosity, fascination, imagination! He suddenly remembered all these things. They all flooded back into his heart through a pair of dazzling hazel eyes.
Love…? NO! NEVER!
Sesshoumaru's golden eyes snapped open. His heart was pounding as the flashes of his dreams faded. Already he could not even remember them.
He looked down from where he was perched in the branches of the tall tree to his sleeping entourage. The camp was quiet. The darkness of night surrounded them and a small circle of light from the campfire warmed the three on the ground. He rubbed his newest arm absentmindedly, it having finally regenerated completely only a few years ago, as his gaze fell on the tossing human girl. He could sense she was still awake.
Rin was eight years old when she died. She was eight years old when she truly began to live. The young woman lay in front of the crackling camp fire trying to quiet her mind and allow sleep to take her, but memories were flooding her thoughts. She barely remembered her ningen parents or brothers now. Strangely the fading memories didn't bother her so much anymore. It had been so long ago that they had been killed. It had been another lifetime ago. She guessed her age to be about eighteen now, but she remembered coming upon him as though it happened only yesterday. She stared into the fire as she thought back to the day, nearly a decade ago, when she first encountered Lord Sesshoumaru.
She had been out in the forest looking for food when she had come across the glade he was in. She hid in the bushes and peaked out through the branches inspecting him. He had been sleeping she supposed. Though she had never seen a demon, she was sure he must be one because he was too beautiful to be human. His hair was the palest color of silver moonlight and he had crimson stripes down both sides of his face over his high cheek bones. He wore a white kimono that she was sure was made of the finest fabric and it had intricate designs on the collar indicating a high status. He was lying on a cloak of pure white fur. He was injured badly she was sure, because of the blood that stained his torn kimono and the scraps and bruises on his face. His breathing was ragged and she was sure he was near death.
She had slowly emerged from her hiding place to get a closer look and just as she approached him his eyes were suddenly open. He snarled at her with glowing red eyes and sharp threatening fangs, but just as suddenly as he had begun his attack, he had stopped and was then just sitting there looking at her with big golden eyes. He looked her up and down, starred at her, taking her in, and then he slowly lowered himself back to the ground, eyelids heavy. She watched as he battled for consciousness and finally lost. She remembered being relieved that he had regained consciousness even for a short time. Maybe he would not die. She felt sorry for him. He looked so helpless there asleep, unable to fight, to protect himself from intruders. She had the feeling that he was hiding, or at least that he did not wish for his resting place to be known. She was struck with the urge to protect him, to please him. He was an outsider and all alone…like her!
Rin blinked coming out of the memory. The campfire was warm, but she still shivered. Another memory filled her thoughts.
She opened her eyes to look up into his startled golden eyes and found herself cradled in his embrace. Sudden images of blood thirsty wolves tearing at her flesh terrorized her thoughts, but when she looked into his eyes and felt his arm around her, the fear was gone. Her little body ached! She was alive! But, she had been dead! She was sure of it! And now here she was alive! Here he was! Relief rushed through her. She had been running to him, had been trying to get to him and warn him when she had been brought down by the wolves. They hadn't reached him! They hadn't hurt him! Joy filled her heart as she looked at him! He put her on her feet and it was only then that she noticed the little toad demon standing in front of her, mouth gaping, his big bulging yellow eyes darting back and forth from her to her master. Yes, her master. Her lord and master. Where ever he would go was where she would follow. At that moment she was his!
Rin blinked again. That had been so long ago. She had been loyally following and serving Lord Sesshoumaru along side Master Jaken and Ah-Un for about ten years now. Restlessly, Rin turned over onto her side letting the fire's warmth soak in and she slipped into another memory.
They had roamed the countryside for over a year after she joined Lord Sesshoumaru's entourage. They patrolled Lord Sesshoumaru's lands during the day and set up camp in the evenings. She had been abducted and saved, met the Lord's horrid brother, met Kohaku, Kagome, and even met the leader of the wolf demon tribe that had killed her. She never once asked what they were doing or where they were going. The truth was that she didn't care what they did or where they went as long as she could be with him. She even grew to respect Master Jaken and his friendship for that matter, and as long as she was with them she had never been afraid.
But, when they had traveled through a particularly haunting piece of forest and emerged on the western most tip of the land she had been scared! Before them was the most breathtaking sight imaginable. They looked down from a high hill that stretched out to the west. Grass turned to sand and sand met the crashing waves of the sea. They looked down the grassy hillside into a beautiful palace that sat at the edge of the sandy beach. There were several buildings connected buy lovely porches all surrounded by a thick looking sturdy wall. To the south was a humble cottage nestled at the edge of the trees. To the north was another beautiful hillside with thick green grass speckled with yellow and a large stable, which Ah-Un lumbered off towards.
Master Jaken was positively giddy with excitement and quickly asked for permission to retreat to the humble little cottage to the south and then bowing respectfully he scurried off chanting "Ah! Home, Home, Home!"
What! Home! She turned startled eyes to her master. He was walking across the vast field towards the main house.
This must be his home! What was she supposed to do now? Where was she to go?
She starred at Sesshoumaru-sama's white form gliding down the hill and then glanced nervously in the direction Jaken had disappeared. Her heart seized and she stood there, alone, not knowing what to do. She looked back in Lord Sesshoumaru's direction. He had stopped a short distance down the hill and stood, unmoving, with his back to her. After a moment he turned his head ever so slightly. Her heart skipped a full beat! He was waiting for her to follow!
She obediently caught up to him and let out the breath she held in pure relief. He led her through the main house, down a hall, and stopped at a door sliding it open. His voice came to her gently in his deed timber.
"You may stay here if you wish." He did not wait for her reply. He was just gone.
The room was surprisingly spacious with the barest pieces of furniture and there was a big window letting in the cheerful sunlight. She could see the sea and hear the waves rolling onto the beach. She was home.
Rin blinked again and sighed softly as the memory faded. She missed her cozy room in the master's house, but she was never willing to stay behind when he and Jaken went on patrol. Every few months for the past 10 years they would depart to explore his territory. Sometimes Lord Sesshoumaru would have to kill an intruding demon or two who thought to take up residence and cause trouble in his lands, but more often than not, their wanderings were peaceful, most demons too scarred to even think of challenging the powerful demon-lord of the west. The fire popped cheerily and continued to bath her in its warmth as she thought about her life with Lord Sesshoumaru. Not long after she had taken up residence in his home, she found herself with several demon tutors keeping her days busy and her mind occupied. She remembered overhearing Master Jaken grumbling to Lord Sesshoumaru about her studies soon after they began.
"But this human is a waste of time and knowledge! He squawked!
"Why spend the time, energy, and expense on a skinny little ningen?"
"Would you rather keep her occupied yourself, Jaken?" Lord Sesshoumaru had asked the little toad, an elegant eyebrow raised in question.
And so Master Jaken was given the task to teaching her to read and write and to understand social etiquette. Master Harue taught her to hunt and forage, and Mistress Mori taught her to prepare and cook food. It didn't take long before she was pouring over the scrolls in Lord Sesshoumaru's library and getting bored in the kitchen. In just over a year she was teasing Master Jaken constantly again and chattering and asking questions to no end.
It was then that Master Myoga began teaching her the history of their great land, as well as the geography of it. He also taught her to read the stars. Master Yashahiro taught her to meditate and to calm her mind and spirit, and about the different gods and different beliefs throughout the land. Another year went by and Lord Sesshoumaru commissioned Mistress Nagisa to teach her sewing, weaving, pottery, and drawing. He also commissioned Mistress Uta to teach her to play the flute.
Rin found after another two years had gone by, she no longer needed Master Jaken to continue her reading or writing lessons and she had become a master tracker and cook. She, herself, had begged Lord Sesshoumaru to allow her to replace these lessons with a hunting technique called falconry. Lord Sesshoumaru had merely raised an eyebrow at her request. A few days later Mistress Suzume was introduced to Rin and she began Falconry and Archery lessons. When Rin was about 16 years old, Lord Sesshoumaru introduced her to Master Kenta who began teaching her about different healing herbs and methods. She was also introduced to Master Kane. He was her combat, defense, and weapons tutor. He was also a very young and very handsome demon. Like her Lord Sesshoumaru.
And so it was that Rin had been kept very busy throughout her years with Lord Sesshoumaru. She spent her free time drying flowers and collecting shells. She spent evenings sitting by the fire in the main house with Lord Sesshoumaru or curled up at his feet with a book in the library. Sometimes they sat outside in the garden and looked up at the stars. He spoke very little, but she chattered enough for the both of them. When Lord Sesshoumaru announced that it was time for him to patrol his lands, Rin would simply be ready and waiting to follow when he departed.
The years rolled by and Rin grew and matured. Her body went through many physical changes and it had been when her monthly bleeding started that she noticed Lord Sesshoumaru tending to purposefully keep his distance from her. It was also around that time that she found herself drawn to her strong silent lord as more than just her protector. She found her thoughts filled with him. His scent, his eyes, his voice! She hated to be away from him and dreamed of him when they were apart. She wanted to please him and make him happy. She wanted him to be proud of her. She fantasized about him touching her and found her body writhing with a longing that threatened to drive her mad. But most of all, she wanted him to return her love. She knew at a very young age that he despised humans and that she, being a human, had no chance of ever feeling the radiance of his love, so she contented herself with his tolerance.
Rin finally succumbed to sleep thinking of her Lord Sesshoumaru.