Author note: I've always wanted to write something on the same caliber as Live by Universe or Flowers on the Moon by Trouble in Shangri-La, and I think this will be the one.

I'm new to writing Inuyasha. My main fandom is DBZ. However, the relationship between Rin and Sesshoumaru captured my interest and I just had to write something around them. Rin appears to have high functioning autism, so my writing will reflect this throughout the fic.

Sesshoumaru is soooooo much harder to write than Piccolo. I hope I did him justice.

WARNINGS: Sexual situations, violence and bad language.

o

Now that I am grown
Everything's changed
I'll never be the same
Because of you.

Madonna, "Nothing Really Matters"

o

The Last Day
Chapter one
"My Lord's Strange Behavior."

o

Soft strands of silver hair fell in glistening waves across my hands. I hummed softly as I drew a brush through its endless length. There are never tangles after a long day, but I love to brush it anyway.

"Eight summers since we first met," said my Lord. His soft, soothing voice did not interrupt the peace in the room. I forced myself to attention. Lord Sesshoumaru only spoke when he had something important to say. He looked over his shoulder at me, giving me a lovely view of his stripes and one amber eye. "The years have changed your body, yet your mind remains so utterly innocent. How is it that life refuses to taint you as it has so many others?"

I placed his brush by the comb and nudged it until they were perfectly aligned. "I don't know, my Lord."

"Hn."

He folded his obi over the form holding his armor and extended his right arm. This prompted me to reach over his shoulders. He stood up and both his inner and outer kimono slid off into my grasp. The moon shone on his bare alabaster skin. He removed his boots and hakama himself, but handed the discarded garments to me. This left him dressed in nothing more than a white fundoshi. He soon shed that as well.

I draped his clothes over the armor form. I had to force myself not to rub the precious silk against my cheek. I can't decide which I like more - his hair or his clothing? Both are equally beautiful.

Lord Sesshoumaru presented his hand to me. I promptly filed his sharp nails with a roughened stone and checked his palm for calluses. When I found one, I rubbed it smooth and settled his hand in a bowl of mineral water. He seated himself and extended his feet towards me.

"Are your feet tender tonight, my Lord?" I asked when I unwrapped the long cotton cloths that protected him from his abrasive boots. Out of politeness for his nudity, I kept my head down while filing his toenails.

"Only a little," was his casual reply.

I massaged his feet without prompting. Secretly...I think he has me care for his feet because he thinks they smell offensive. He always seems embarrassed by it, but he would never admit it openly. My human nose is not as powerful as his, so my senses aren't so easily offended. I have never caught even a hint of this foot trouble he claims to have, though I do sprinkle incense powder in his boots and bathe his feet in perfumed oils to satisfy his sensitive nose.

Neither of us spoke after I finished the foot massage. I had learned that sometimes my endless chatter wore on people - especially Lord Sesshoumaru. Over time I learned to shift this outward talk inward, and thus I talk to myself inside my mind. I can go on any adventure I want. All it takes is a thought. My favorite daydream is, and always will be, what my dear Lord's smile must look like. So far, I haven't seen it. My Lord rarely changes his expression. He always appears sad about something. I find that searching his eyes is impossible. They show nothing, betray nothing. But his lips...they often tell what others never see. They twist, scrunch, pucker, tighten and curl down. Sometimes they pull away from his fangs, but only when he is really angry.

Lord Sesshoumaru settled back on his futon. He kept the blanket pulled up to his chest. The moonlight shone beautifully on him, especially his endless hair. I faced away and folded his silk clothes in careful squares, taking care that they did not wrinkle. Then I lined them up in the exact order in which they should be washed in the morning. I refused to cease adjusting them until the folded squares were the same size and perfectly neat.

"Rin."

I turned at his voice, "Yes, my Lord?"

"Undress," he said. I noticed his eyes were darker than usual. "and come lie beside me."

"Lord Sesshoumaru..." I protested, "you said I should never let anyone, especially other men, see me undressed."

"But this Sesshoumaru is not any other man." He breathed differently than before. The last time I remember him breathing that way was after a fight. Perhaps he was ill?

My hands moved to my obi. Still, I hesitated. It wasn't like him to make such an odd request of me.

"You will not be punished," whispered Lord Sesshoumaru.

Fearing I would be reprimanded for not complying, I slid off my obi and let my heavy kimono fall at my feet. My underclothes followed. I crossed my arms over my naked breasts and shivered in the night air. My Lord gestured for me. I obeyed without further question. The warmth of his body and futon enveloped me. He was naked. He always slept naked. But never had I been more aware of his nakedness than that night.

I watched his golden eyes stare at me in the moonlight. "You need not be shy."

"I'm sorry, my Lord..."

"Shh." Lord Sesshoumaru silenced me by kissing my mouth.

I have kissed my Lord many times. Small, chaste kisses on the cheeks and hand. Such gestures were often met with indifference or a raised eyebrow. This was different. He held his lips to mine for a long time. My heart began beating quicker and quicker until I feared it would escape my breast. I remember how soft his mouth felt. No flower or fabric will ever compare.

He placed his hand lightly on my cheek. His overpowering eyes searched my face. I found it easier to withstand his stare if I focused on his moon. His face stayed unreadable, even his lips remained a soft line.

"My Lord? Have I offended you?"

"No." His eyes shimmered. "Do as I do."

I nodded and placed my hand against his face, cupping his smooth cheek. He came forward to kiss me again. This time I mirrored him. We opened our mouths at the same time. Our tongues touched. It...felt very wet and smooth like a raw, live fish. I closed my lips and drew back. I was afraid to tell him I did not like that.

Lord Sesshoumaru silenced my worry by touching his lips all across my cheeks. I felt his hand move to my breast. It created strange sensations. He rubbed my teat in a way that made me feel different inside. I liked it.

"Ohhh, touch me like that again!" I said to him.

And he did. My Lord even caressed me with his mouth. This time I did not mind his tongue. His tongue was even more wonderful than his fingers. I began to breathe heavily. When I thought I could not feel any more amazing, he lifted his head. His hair fell in beautiful waves around his shoulders. "Rin, you will feel pain in a moment, but it will not harm you."

Before I could ask, he had pressed something firm and slippery against the very place where my body ached. I was stretching around him. There was pressure. Burning, ooh, it burned terribly! His pale face blurred. The painful stretching went on forever.

Suddenly, he was embedded in the same place from which my menses escape. We lay closer than I have ever laid with anyone. He lapped away my tears and I felt his heart beat deep inside me.

"Embrace me," said Lord Sesshoumaru. His voice made my ear tingle.

I did as he asked, but inwardly I questioned him. Normally my Lord never requested such an unnecessary gesture. He rested his chest against mine. Beneath the sheets, his body moved in a way that made me feel strange inside. I felt intense stretching and heat. I was burning hotter as his movements quickened. I could not name the new sensations awakening within my body. There wasn't enough air in the world.

I lay there with my arms around my Lord...I did not understand what he was doing or why it felt so good...and I did not want him to stop.

Lord Sesshoumaru breathed even faster. Hot breath roared over my ear. He buried his nose in my hair. I stared out the window and wrapped my legs around his moving hips. His spider's thread hair gleamed on my left. I rubbed my cheek against his pointed ear, my mind drifting.

This tingling feeling gained strength. Soon, it became unbearable.

"My Lord," I gasped, "I feel so strange!"

"It is...all right...don't fear it..." his voice trembled. He made a fierce face, and growled in what I thought was pain. In the darkness I saw his eyes glow faintly red and felt his heart beat even stronger within me.

The fireball within me burst. My stomach felt itchy inside, and this prickly feeling spread all over. Invisible lightning struck my arms and legs. My body stiffened and I began to make the same sighing noises Lord Sesshoumaru did. It felt so...so good! I saw stars. The moon outside formed a crescent like the image on my Lord's brow.

These sounds pleased my Lord. He sniffed my hair and continued moving until the last quiver left me. Then we pressed our mouths together. Soft, gentle kisses in the dark.

I kissed his moon and ran my fingers through his lovely hair. It snagged. I gasped, "My Lord! I have caused your hair to tangle! Forgive me, let me brush - "

"Rin, shhh." Lord Sesshoumaru silenced me. He curled up on his side and held me to his chest with his single arm. His left arm still ended in a stump. Losing it must have been the most painful experience of his life. As painful as the stretching he did to me.

I can not remember ever hearing Lord Sesshoumaru's heartbeat. I did that night. I lay there for hours, just listening to the soft thump-thump. His strong chest rose and felt under my cheek. The only other time I saw him asleep was the day I found him wounded in the woods.

...he is so beautiful.

I dared not move for fear of disturbing his dreams.

That night, I slept in my Lord's embrace...and it was wonderful.

o

I woke the next morning to find the bed empty. Splashing sounds in the bathing pit told me exactly where to find Lord Sesshoumaru. I quickly dressed myself and hurried to retrieve fresh foot cloths and sprinkle incense powder in his boots. Then I rushed to lay out clean clothes, choosing the blue and white print since he wore the red yesterday.

My Lord emerged just as I filled a basin for his morning foot soak. His hair was wet and hung in silver ropes against his cotton bathing yukata. He stepped right into the basin without comment, but gave the clothes I laid out for him a cursory glance.

"Good morning!" I chirped, while inside I was dying to ask about last night. Yet the small, frightened part of me forced me to remain silent.

He nodded and presented his silver mane to me. I noticed he seemed mildly agitated this morning. Why, I didn't know. Perhaps one of his servants scrubbed his back too hard, he always loathed that.

What could have upset my Lord this much? I bit my lip and began drawing the comb gently through his hair. The wet strands were tangled and stuck together, forcing me to place a hand on his head to avoid pulling too hard. "My Lord, what troubles you? Is it something I've done?"

"No."

Just as I expected, his reply was short, to the point and told me nothing about the cause of his displeasure. "May I...uh...inquire as to why my Lord is displeased this morning?"

Lord Sesshoumaru straightened abruptly. He spoke, his tone a little less cold, "It is nothing you have done, Rin." His head turned and I saw a hint of his stripes, "Finish here and send my morning tea into the study. There is much I need to do."

There never seemed a proper moment to ask him about last night. It was frustrating. My concerns always paled in comparison to his duties.

I draped the lovely kimono and hakama around Lord Sesshoumaru's frame. He seated himself and waited patiently while I wrapped his feet and slipped on his boots. As always I made sure the hakama material billowed evenly around both legs. I noticed my Lord watched me intently the entire time, his eyes boring across my body like burning amber coals. They carried the sun's intensity and I could only meet them briefly before their power made me look away, fearing his gaze alone would cleave my soul in two.

I forced myself to break the awkward silence. "Shall I help you into your armor?"

"No," he answered, his eyes drifting to the window. The agitation in his tone dissipated. "The snow has been gone a week...spring is almost here."

For a moment I thought I saw wistfulness flash across his expressionless face. I smiled brightly when he mentioned spring - tending to my Lord's garden is one of my favorite chores!

"Your garden will bloom anew."

"Yes...there is always something strangely fulfilling about watching something bloom," my Lord's eyes moved back to me as he said this. They had that strange darkness in them again. He frowned and stood abruptly, his voice hardening, "Send my morning tea in as I ordered before. I want no further disturbances afterward."

Lord Sesshoumaru appeared in conflict with his emotions. Angry about something, but what? I hope I didn't offend him last night when he pressed his body to mine.

He slipped past me and padded down the hall. The burning question in my throat remained unanswered.

I spent all day in the garden after that. I love searching for the first flowers, but none are blooming yet. It is as if the world itself is awakening after a long sleep.

Lord Sesshoumaru remained locked in his study without coming out once. The supper I placed at his door stood untouched long after sunset. I dared to crack the fusama and saw him staring fiercely at a sheet of parchment on which he wrote with careful passes of his inked brush. A candle flickered on the floor beside him, and his form cast a large shadow on the shoji screen at his right. Then his nose twitched, causing me to push the door shut. I planned a silent escape route down the hall and at my left.

"Rin," My Lord's voice called softly.

My lips were dry. I opened the door. "Yes, my Lord?"

"I know you don't yet understand what we did last night." He placed the brush on the table and faced me. "We must repeat it tonight." His fangs gleamed between his lips. "In time, I will explain everything."

"My Lord...it hurt terribly last time." I said, hugging myself.

He stared straight into my eyes. "It won't hurt again."

One hour later, I found myself again helpless and gasping beneath Lord Sesshoumaru. It was one of the rare times in which he allowed me to see anything other than his usual indifference. I clasped his face in my hands and watched his expression twist and shudder. The powerful sensations crashed over me, making me stiffen and cry out.

My Lord soothed me by lapping the sweat from my brow. I longed to thank him for making me feel so wonderful, but I was so tired that I buried my face in his silky hair and fell asleep almost immediately.

We repeated this activity nightly. The fear I felt the first time faded. He showed me exactly what he placed inside my body during our sessions and I marveled at its ability to stiffen and relax almost at his will. I slowly learned where to touch my Lord in order to bring him the greatest pleasure. In turn, he discovered exactly how I liked to be caressed. Our nights were filled with desire while our days remained exactly the same.

I think I'm starting to love him...and not as a child loves a parent.

o

Two weeks have gone by since Lord Sesshoumaru and I pressed our naked bodies together. His nights are often spent in his study or out in the garden. I woke late this morning to discover he left for his patrol and probably won't be able to join me tonight, either.

Just as well, I haven't felt very good lately. My breasts feel sore and inflamed and I often have cravings for fish or rice stew. I think I need to sleep more, but such is impossible when Master Jaken bursts in and calls me a lazy fool for lolling around in bed. Maybe my menses are due to flow soon. I tried to explain it once to Master Jaken, however he found it disgusting and refused to listen to my plight.

Pity I slept so late. I would have loved to join my Lord on his patrol. I find this kind of funny...he marks the borders of his territory the same way an ordinary dog marks a tree. Once a month he goes out and marks the boulders that tell where his lands begin, and the scent often warns lesser demons to stay out.

"...are you even listening to me, Rin?"

"Huh?" I shot Master Jaken a startled look, "I'm sorry, my mind wandered again. What were you saying?"

"Stupid girl," the green toad bristled, "Have you groomed Ah-Un like Lord Sesshoumaru asked?"

I wilted and fidgeted with my hair, "I'll go do so now."

Master Jaken pounded the ground with his staff. "Good. The last thing I need is my Lord kicking me because of YOUR laziness."

Ooh, sometimes I really hate the way he insults me! Still I am only a human, the only human living in this stronghold. The sole reason I am allowed to live is because Lord Sesshoumaru gave them orders not to harm me. Only those desiring death would lay an unkind hand on my person.

Master Jaken huffed and turned away.

"Master Jaken?" I hedged.

"What now?"

I bent to his level and asked, "Lord Sesshoumaru has been acting different lately. If he isn't on patrol, he is locked in his study and hardly eats..." I nearly said more than I should, but I dare not mention what my Lord and I did at night.

A strange look crossed Master Jaken's face. He blinked his large, yellow eyes. His beak opened slightly, then snapped shut. He frowned and waved his Staff of Heads, "Lord Sesshoumaru will explain it to you when he feels ready."

Why did he seem sad?

"All right." I pinned my hair up and walked outside to Ah-Un's stable. There, I spent the next hour scrubbing their scales shiny and prepared them a meal of discarded fish parts. I never got the chance to question Master Jaken further.

Strangely, the smell of the fish made me hungry. I bid the two-headed dragon a cheerful farewell and hurried to the garden pond to catch myself an early lunch. I'm proud to say I started a fire and cooked the fish myself. After eating I tumbled to lay on my back with my eyes closed, allowing myself a reprieve into my favorite daydream.

I often dream up different reasons for my Lord to smile. Whether it be due to me finding the perfect flower or him witnessing the most glorious sunset or even him standing bloody over a worthy foe...it comes to me dozens of ways, and it is always beautiful.

A shadow suddenly covered the sun's light, turning the red glow on my eyelids a dark gray. I opened my eyes to see Lord Sesshoumaru standing over me. His head blocked out the sun and the light shimmered on his hair in such a way that it looked like a halo. Wind caught a few silver strands, causing them to float around his head.

Seeing him filled me with utter joy.

"My Lord!" I sat up to give him room. "How was your patrol?"

"Uneventful." To my surprise, Lord Sesshoumaru folded himself to sit cross-legged in the grass beside me. He gazed carelessly at the few errant clouds drifting above our heads. Flowers bloomed gently around him as if a painter was adding the last details to a fine piece of art.

I struggled for something to say, fearing that if I didn't speak soon, he would stand and leave again. "I assume that is why you returned earlier than expected?"

"I was tired."

Tired? Lord Sesshoumaru? That was unusual.

Before I could ask any questions, he spoke again, "Rin, do you know what dignity is?"

"I think so."

"What do you think it is?"

"Dignity..." I cocked my head. Was he testing me for some reason? "I...I think dignity is when you have your wits about you and you are of sound mind, and everyone around you respects you."

Lord Sesshoumaru's eyes focused straight onto me. I stared first at his lips and slowly shifted up to meet his gaze. Bright sunlight contracted his pupils to mere slits. He lifted his chin slightly, half his mouth forming a smirk, "That's right."

Unbidden, I broke into a silly smile, "You have a lot of dignity, Lord Sesshoumaru. You need not ask me if you still do." Then I sobered and stared at the white blossoms in front of me. "My Lord...why have you been locked in your study so much? Usually I see you out walking the gardens or training in the dojo. Lately you have been behaving differently."

Something strange crossed his blank expression. "Important matters have come up that require attending to. Time is limited. I can't afford to involve myself in foolish disputes or waste the day on border patrols."

There were words he didn't say that should have been said. I felt as if everyone around me knew a secret that no one wanted to tell me. How utterly vexing. I stared hard at the side of his face as though that would draw the answers straight from his head. Bloodstains painted a faint red trail from the corner of his mouth. When he parted his lips to speak again, I noticed he was missing his bottom left fang.

"Everything is going to change very soon, Rin."

"My Lord?"

Lord Sesshoumaru's face seemed...extremely sad. He wouldn't meet my eyes, choosing instead to stare into the water. He scooped a flower out of the grass and dropped it on the pond's surface. We both watched the yellow blossom drift across the sun's reflection.

He suddenly lifted my chin with a bent forefinger. "You will grow up swiftly during the next few months."

Frustration threatened to become tears. My voice cracked. "I'm afraid I don't understand..."

My Lord's mouth twitched. "You will."

Lord Sesshoumaru never lies. If he said I would soon understand, then I am sure the answers are out there. I forced myself to meet his eyes, "Will we lay together tonight, my Lord?"

"No, not tonight." He drew back with a knowing gleam in his eye, "You need to rest."

At that, my Lord twisted to his feet. I stood as well...it's amazing how much I have grown. Long ago I barely came to his waist and now I can stare straight at his chest.

I wrapped my arms around Lord Sesshoumaru's waist. His armor got in the way, I couldn't feel him at all through the warm metal. He made no move to deter or return the embrace. He never returns my touch unless we are lying naked together amongst the sheets.

Beneath the thick armor and silk, I felt him release a long sigh. His heart thumped gently in my ear.

"My Lord..." I chewed my bottom lip, "may I sleep beside you? We need not...I can stay clothed if - "

"If you desire to sleep beside this Sesshoumaru, do so." Then he cleared his throat, a signal for me to release him. When I did so, he acknowledged me with a faint nod and vanished inside.

Later, deep into the night, I lay stiff as a board while Lord Sesshoumaru slept with his bare back to me. Cold wind kept blowing through a crack in the shoji window. I began to shiver, and wanted nothing more than to press myself against his back for warmth.

My Lord is a very light sleeper. I feared even turning over would wake him from his peaceful slumber, and I didn't want him kicking me out. But the cold threatened my bones. I finally risked slowly rolling over and curling up like a ball. The sheets rustled abruptly. I found myself pressed to Lord Sesshoumaru's burning chest.

"Was death that cold?" he whispered.

The question came from nowhere, startling me beyond words. I nodded my head to indicate yes.

"Tell me, Rin," his breath tickled my ear, "what did it feel like?"

Bitter tears welled at the memories surging through my mind. There was the snarling wolves ripping through my flesh. My own blood splashing everywhere. And the numbness...

"It...feels like falling asleep...only the falling never stops...and it was so cold. Then I was looking down at myself. Then I saw light, I wanted to go towards it, but you brought me back. The way I died hurt, but the actual dying didn't...it was peaceful. Like a dream that never ends."

"So there is something more..."

"Yes."

Lord Sesshoumaru relaxed with a sigh.

"My Lord?"

"What is it, Rin?"

"Have you ever...d-do you feel love?"

"Why do you ask?" This was not an attempt at avoiding the question. I could almost see his eyebrow raise a half degree, becoming an even more perfect arch half-hidden in his silver bangs.

I touched the hand he had carelessly draped over my hips. Lifting his lower arm, I turned over so we were face to face, forcing myself to stare into two moonlit eyes. "Because I think I love you, my Lord...please don't be offended."

"Hmm..." His red eyelids slid shut. "I am not blind to the callings of my own heart. Whether or not I listen is my decision."

He said nothing more. I dared not ask further of him.

My Lord fell back to sleep in seconds. I knew he was asleep because his mouth always falls slightly open when he is sound asleep. For a while I did nothing but marvel at the patterns his long eyelashes formed on his cheeks. Oh if only the world could behold him in slumber, his face becomes utterly peaceful. So different from how he looks while awake.

o

The nights following the discussion of death were quiet and uneventful. Mornings were not so kind. I think I ate a bad fish or decayed bread...as I'm often losing my stomach shortly after waking. The very scent of the foods I previously craved send me running for an empty vase or bowl. To make matters worse, I haven't seen any menses for nearly two weeks, and I am never late.

A sudden itch on my arm drove me from my thoughts. I scratched the offending skin, frowned at a lump and slapped my arm. Something small with hard skin moaned against my palm.

"Oh, my...I'm sorry!" I lifted my hand to my face and squinted at the tiny demon smashed flat on my palm. "Myouga, is that you?"

"Ohhh, ouch!" the little flea demon regained his shape with a soft pop. "Hello there, Rin. Sorry I fed on you, I was quite hungry. Your blood tastes different today." He smiled at me, somehow managing the expression without lips. "So, who is the man in your life?"

I blinked at him, "What are you talking about?"

"Whyyy, Rin! You don't know? A child grows in your womb as we speak!"

What? Did he just say I was pregnant? Oh, my, I was so terribly confused!

"Pregnant? How?"

Myouga fell backwards against my middle finger. He looked as though my question knocked him down. He shook his head a few times, dusted off and stood up. "Have you been...er...intimate with anyone lately? You know...in bed with your clothes off?" When I nodded, he went on to explain something terribly embarrassing that made me blush. In short, Lord Sesshoumaru mated with me.

"I can't believe I did not know this." I frowned at the little flea, "I suppose there were reasons for it not being explained to me sooner."

"Yes, yes, now Rin...if you had known what was being done to you, would you have still agreed?"

"Oh!" I blushed deeper, "He is someone I love, so yes..."

"Ahh." Chuckling, Myouga gave me a knowing look. "I'm glad I could help, then, congratulations. Now I best be moving on, I have a little score to settle with Jaken."

"Thank you very much, Myouga," Smiling, I knelt and let him hop from my hand to the ground. A child, I can not believe I am going to be a mother! "I have to talk to someone as well."

"Goodbye!" Myouga bowed and vanished in less than two leaps.

I patted my navel, smiling to myself. I felt as though I had a wonderful secret that nobody else knew about. And nobody would know until my belly began to grow.

"My Lord!" I raced from my room and burst into his study, "My Lord! My Lord! I am not ill after all!"

Lord Sesshoumaru straightened from the papers he was so intently staring at and fixed his amber eyes on me. They danced with amusement. "I know...I was waiting for you to discover on your own."

"Actually, Myouga tasted the child in my blood." I flapped my hands wildly about in the air, it seemed the only way to control this excitement bursting in my heart. "But...my Lord! It will be a hanyou, and you hate - "

"A hanyou that will have my blood coursing through his veins. Better I have a halfbreed heir than let the lands go to my wretched brother." Lord Sesshoumaru's voice hardened, "No son of mine will ever dissolve into a sniveling fool like him. He will learn to act as a high-ranking demon worthy of full-blood respect."

I settled a hand on my chest to calm my throbbing heart. The world didn't have enough air. "Why did you choose this Rin, who is still so young?"

"Your life is still many years in the making." My Lord gazed down at the paper spread across the table. Ink left black streaks on his pale fingertips. He painted a few figures on the sheet, taking his time before finishing his reply. "And you will help him understand his human side as only a mother can."

"And why now?"

"Because, Rin," and then, with a simple sentence, he shattered my world, "this Sesshoumaru is going to die."