Author: Yes, I did say I would update three chapters last time, but I must say such is impossible. Two summer school courses at once is killing me, not to mention two of the most boring subject ever. I have deadlines I must achieve, so I'm sorry to say I can't really do much. If I did update again in July, it would be a miracle. August, however, may leave me more time, but Socials 11 has a provincial exam XX. I really want to draw fanarts again! (starts crying hysterically, while punching the stupid textbooks) uh-huh, cannot finish Physics in time, I'm sure.

I won't make un-kept promises anymore. Sorry.(bows) Just so you know, the three chapters ARE finished, but they're in a mess, unpostable.

This chapter is the longest chapter so far, to make up for last chapter...21 pages long! Once again, there might be typos etc.

I'm glad people still support this fic! Thank you for all your reviews and support!

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Disclaimer: Don't own Inuyasha, but if I do, I would let the anime to actually continue, or make a 5th movie.

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Chapter 9 A Brother's Love

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"Really, Naraku, why are you so concerned about the Marked one? So concerned that Goshinki and Kohaku had made the effort of setting up the elaborate trap," Hakudoushi complained. Goshinki glared at him in warning. Naraku simply chuckled.

Out of all his close henchmen, Hakudoushi was the only one bold enough to question Naraku's motives. Perhaps it had something todo with the fact Hakudoushi was Naraku's first technologically made human. Oh yes, a nameless orphan and a few tweak with the genetics, transferring Naraku's DNA and Hakudoushi was born.

"Why, the girl has everything to do with us, even though no one knows that but me. Besides, we already know Cell 1's hideout and a few existing members," Naraku explained in a mocking-patient tone, "though we have yet to figure out the structure..., curse the poor transmission. No matter, time will show us all."

Hakudoushi grunted irritably, "That wench is no good, lying in the bed all the time. She could've at least walked around the place so we could collect more info!"

Goshinki smirked, "Now, she can't really do that now, can she? Not after the wounds I gave her," he licked his deformed, claw-like fingers.

"Naraku-sama, are you sure it is wise to leave Hiten unmonitored? Yesterday he left for awhile with that bratty sister of his," another voice joined the discussion.

Naraku narrowed his eyes at the fact someone dared to question him, but he had his doubts on Hiten loyalty as well. "Abi, Hiten is most likely fuelled by his hatred of his brother's death. The fool is more than likely to plan another attack, without informing me this time. Of course it will only serve to give us more information. So, Abi, any word from the mafia?"

Abi extended her spear forward under the dim light, and blood can be seen on the sharp weapon. Naraku smiled.

"Now the trap is set...we can bring the police down once and for all. Kohaku, now I give you the most important job of all..."


"Rin, drink sake with me!"

No reply.

"Rin watch this funny show on TV, quick!"

No reply.

"Rin, I'm on fire, save me!"

No reply.

"Okay, you leave me no choice, I'll have to confess my undying love..."

An empty sake bottled flew out of the door and hit Bankotsu dead center in the face.

"I'm kidding I'm kidding! Man, you improved a lot lately...Hey, that's the sake that went missing yesterday! So you stole it!"


Rin felt miserable. She only took a gulp of the sake on an impulse, and decided it tasted bad and wondered why Bankotsu loved it so much. After that, she put the rest of the sake down the drain (Bankotsu's heart would break if he knew), and she fell asleep soon afterwards.

She woke up with a splitting headache, feeling utterly miserable and deprived of energy.

And now she felt horrible about being so mean to Bankotsu's attempts to cheer her up.

"Alright, it's no use thinking about what that jerk said. Since when do you care what he says anyways, Rin? Get yourself together!" She told herself firmly, and opened the door, ready to apologize to Bankotsu.

A ball of fur tackled Rin, making her fall on the ground.

"Shippo?"

Indeed, the boy's bushy tail brushed back and forth, hugging Rin before getting off her, sheepishly. Rin looked up to find her best friend smiling at her.

"Kagome-chan! What are you doing here? You shouldn't be out of bed!" Rin hurried to her side, ready to support Kagome.

"It's okay, Rin-chan! Dr. Suikotsu said I can move around now...to talk to you, at least. And Shippo said he wants to see you, right?" Kagome smiled at the boy, who grinned back.

Indeed, Kagome looked a lot better than before, and the bandages on her arm seemed less than before. And Kagome had finally smiled...Rin let out a sigh of relief.

"So, what's troubling you, Rin? You told me why you're here, but I don't really know what you do...it's not too dangerous, is it?" Kagome asked worriedly.

It's just like Kagome to worry about others, even though she's still injured herself...that's just the Kagome I know! Kouga's just being weird, that's all, Rin thought, her mood lightening up.

"Don't worry about it, I'm fine. Bankotsu," she turned to the man lying on the couch, "sorry about before...I didn't really mean to..."

"Cheh, I'll only forgive you if you can get Ayame to let me get more sake, the fridge's empty," Bankotsu replied jokingly, and Rin smiled knowing he had already forgiven her...well, not about the stolen sake, apparently.

"Hai, hai, hai, I'll go talk to Ayame right away. Kagome-chan, I'll take you back," Rin said, her cheerfulness slowly regaining.

"So, Rin, are you sure you're okay? You still have the same clothing as yesterday, including the blond wig," Kagome asked, while they walked down the stairs.

Only now then Rin realized she still had the outfit on; oh, right, she headed straight for bed after the sake.

Well, I'll just have to ask Yura to help me get the blond wig off, and return the clothes to Jakotsu...man, he must be mad, Rin made a mental note, tugging feebly at the fake hair. Yura did a nice job on affixing the wig to her head, unfortunately, so Rin couldn't get it off. Even after tossing around restless on the bed last night, none of Rin's bushy brown hair showed under the mass of fake blond hair.

"So, about Kouga-kun...you told me he's in this organization as well, and Inuyasha's brother...," Kagome's voice trailed off, and Rin guessed she was thinking about Inuyasha.

"No, Kagome-chan, Inuyasha's not in this, nor does he know about his brother's involvement. However, because you were hurt, he managed to know about this place, and I heard he's allowed to visit you..." Rin explained, but she stopped when she opened the door.

Three familiar faces turned around; apparently, Inuyasha was shouting at Dr. Suikotsu, Miroku smiling suggestively at a creeped out Ayame and Sango barely suppressing her flames, ready to pound the pervert. They all stopped what they were doing when Kagome entered.

"Kagome!" Three voices yelled in unison, and ran towards her, giving her a group hug. Then, Miroku and Sango backed away, giving Inuyasha space to make a real hug.

Seeing her friends made Rin somewhat exhilarated, and she almost joined the group hug. But, she also felt left out, like she no longer belonged to 'their group'. Rin smiled sadly. Kagome was enough; I will not drag any of them into this mess, unintentionally or not.

"You have a lot to explain to us, wench!" Inuyasha grinned, expecting Kagome to hit him for calling her that; however, Kagome merely smiled and hugged him tighter. Inuyasha felt his heart soar and almost kissed her right there and then in front of everyone. Almost.

"Alright alright! Visiting time's over. We had already made an exception for you people to even see Kagome," Ayame said, ready to usher them out.

"Who are you to order us?" Inuyasha growled, throwing an arm around Kagome possessively and protectively.

Ayame sighed; she was hoping to persuade them without any conflicts, but Sesshoumaru's brother was as stubborn as him.

"They seemed to be very close friends, Ayame. As long as they don't go anywhere other than this floor, it's fine that they stay longer," Suikotsu said amiably.

Suddenly, Shippo kicked Inuyasha on the shin, causing him to yell in pain. "Get away from Kagome-nee-chan!"

"Who the hell are you, runt!" Inuyasha was ready to punch the boy, but he noticed the boy's strange anatomy.

Snapping out of her thoughts, Rin quickly pulled Shippo away out of danger. Unfortunately, all their attention fell on her now.

Rin felt uncomfortable, hoping they would not recognize her. She could feel Inuyasha's penetrating stare. Boy, the two brothers sure had a lot of similarity, more than they would ever admit.

Miroku broke the silence, flashing his playboy grin, "And who is this sexy blond? Will you bear my--------"

As expected, Sango didn't let him finish his sentence. Rin smiled uneasily; some things just never changed.

"Who are you?" Inuyasha said calmly, and Sango gave her a curious glance.

At those three simple words, Rin felt her heart break. That was it, the last link to her old life. Who can blame him? Rin had her disguise on, and Inuyasha had a tendency to be very unobserving (one time Kagome had dressed up really beautifully, and Inuyasha had asked the same thing.).

But still, hearing it from one of her friends hurt.

Rin simply smiled sadly, and introduced herself, "I'm just a helper around here...you can call me Akiko." Rin decided to use her birth mother's name. She had no idea why she suddenly remembered the name.

Kagome gave Rin a questioning look, and Rin shook her head slightly. Kagome frowned, but nodded her head. And Shippo just cocked his head cutely, and shrugged.

Looking back and forth between Shippo and 'Akiko', Inuyasha growled, "Well, you ready to explain to us about everything? And I ain't leaving until I get some answers!"

"Yes, such as what happened that day and what you are going to do...Sango had briefly explained to us about this Cell 1, but we don't know much yet," Miroku added

Ayame looked exasperated. She was at lost; she was already giving them way too much information. Even the police didn't know much detail about them, let alone these outsiders. But they aren't really outsiders...Kouga knows them, and they are Rin's friends too. Ayame reminded herself.

"Why not just tell them? I bet Sango's dying to hear about it," Bankotsu came strolling in casually, patting on Sango's back playfully.

Surprisingly, it was Miroku who swatted his hand away, "Get away from my woman." He said in a deadly calm voice. He already disliked this guy days ago.

Sango didn't know if she should feel glad about Miroku's jealousy or slap him for his possessiveness. Bankotsu just laughed and backed away mockingly, "I was only kidding. It's always fun riling up Sango," she glared at him, "Anyways, we could give them some information, can't we? We could use force and make them leave, but that's not going to settle anything. They deserve to know."

The room fell silent. Ayame stuttered, "wow...that...that's the most intelligent thing you've said in a while, Ban. Who knew you could be the peacemaker?" Rin nodded, along with Suikotsu and Sango. Bankotsu cheh'ed, and Inuyasha frowned at his usage of 'cheh'….so similar to his 'keh'.

"I will be the one doing the explanations," the familiar cold voice joined, and Inuyasha growled at the sight of his half-brother.

Rin and Sesshoumaru locked eyes momentarily, and Rin turned her head away, her heart clenching in pain.

"You are a burden, Rin." His words echoed in her head and she felt her eyes burn with unshed tears. Not here. Not in front of everyone...not in front of him.

"Well, aren't you going to talk, my dear brother?' Inuyasha growled sarcastically, completely oblivious to the tension in the room. Kagome looked worriedly at Rin. Ayame and Bankotsu exchanged glances.

Rin knew she couldn't be in the same room with him. She walked towards the door abruptly, and managed to speak evenly, "I'm going to get some fresh air." No one stopped her; they knew she wouldn't run away. However, just to make sure she would be safe outside, Ayame sort of followed her, with a distance, knowing Rin needed some alone time.

Sesshoumaru's face was as stoic as ever, but inside he felt slightly guilty, which, in Sesshoumaru's dictionary, meant a lot already. He never cared about how his words would hurt someone's feelings, but Rin was an exception.

As he was about to explain to his dear little half-brother, someone interrupted them.

"AH YOU CAME INU-CHAN!"

"Get away from me you freak! YOU ARE THAT GAY GUY I SAW THAT TIME TALKING WITH SESSHOUMARU!"

Inuyasha, clearly repulsed, tried to push away an ecstatic Jakotsu, while Kagome was trying hard not t laugh.

A creepy voice suddenly spoke behind Inuyasha, "Very nice hair...very nice hair indeed...Sesshoumaru's brother indeed..."

"GET AWAY FROM MY INU-CHAN, YURA!"

Inuyasha's eyes boggled, "WTF? YOUR INU-CHAN? GAH!"

Sesshoumaru massaged his temple. This would take awhile.


Naraku frowned. Byakuya was slightly surprised. Naraku never really frowned, like, genuinely.

Naraku pursed his lips, and he grinned, "Call back Abi, Byakuya. There is no need to confirm my suspicions. She is indeed the Marked one, if she knew……no, remembered dear sweet Akiko……"


Rin leaned against the wall, just outside the apartment. She watched people walked by, trying hard to contain her raging emotions. Why was she so hurt about what Sesshoumaru said anyways?

Some guys walked by and whistled catcalls. Rin made another mental note to take this outfit off as soon as possible. Her mental notes didn't seem to be working well nowadays.

One guy wearing sunglasses and baseball cap walked towards her. Rin stood her ground, warily. It was broad daylight...the guy wouldn't do anything...

"Hey, waiting for someone?" He asked nonchalantly, smirking at her. Rin thought he looked rather familiar...

He walked to the other side of her, casually, keeping his distance. Rin stared at him suspiciously, and gasped in surprise as his hand suddenly grasped her wrist, hard.

Rin was about to fight back when the guy suddenly took down his sunglasses, and glared at her with hatred. Rin found herself staring into a pair of ruby, half-crazed eyes.

"Hiten...?"

"Ah, so you do remember me. That made this all easier for me," Hiten put back on his sunglasses, his lips twisting into a cruel smile. His iron grip intensified, and Rin winced, feeling like her blood circulation had stopped. But somehow, she couldn't move; she was facing Hiten...the brother of the one she killed...

"You know, I could kill you right now, my brother's murderer," Hiten said coldly.

"Then why don't you do it?" Rin retorted, despite the fact she was trembling. Hiten narrowed his eyes, and let go of her wrist roughly. Rin rubbed her wrist, cradling it.

Hiten smiled bitterly, "That would not be my revenge, then. I would not kill an unarmed girl...no, that's an insult to Manten's memory. We will have a duel, fair and square. Meet me at Raion Park, at 7 tonight, alone. You can bring whatever weapon you want to wield. I will make sure no one would interfere, and not to worry, there is no trap whatsoever...this is between you and me. If you fail to show up, you will die next time."

Hiten glared at her one last time, and stalked away. Rin stared at his back, her heart still pounding fast. She looked at the red mark around her wrist, where he had gripped her.

It is too dangerous, don't listen to his words! You don't need to do this. Her inner voice warned her.

You are a burden. These words swirled around her head, and she bit her lips in determination. I killed his brother, no matter what. He had the right to avenge him. But, I won't lose...I will prove it to him, I'm not a burden!

"Are you okay, Rin? I just saw a guy walking away from you...did he do anything?" Ayame walked to Rin, cursing inwardly that she didn't follow Rin close enough.

Rin shook her head and gave her a fake smile, "Nope, I shooed him away."


"Ah, Kohaku. Nice of you to drop by, but I'm afraid I'm really busy right now," The Police Chief, Sango and Kohaku's father, was indeed very busy. After all, they still needed to solve the unnatural attack on the Higurashi family.

When Kohaku didn't reply, the Chief turned around, only to widen his eyes at the cloaked figure towering over him.


"Hey, Akiko-san!" Sango called out, causing Rin to turn around. Rin had stayed outside after asking Ayame to give her some alone time. Ayame left a bit reluctantly.

"Yes...Sango-san?" Rin was a bit hesitant as to what to call her old friend.

"Kagome-chan told us that you guys became really good friends...so, please take care of Kagome for us," Sango smiled.

"Keh. I could've taken care of her by myself. If only that good-for-nothing half brother of mine..." Inuyasha grumbled, still staring at Rin with his intensifying glare.

Rin fidgeted slightly. Oh, Inuyasha, why are your eyes so similar to your brother's? Oh, dear, I'm beginning to think everything's similar to that jerk. Rin mentally hit herself.

"Of course, you don't need to worry about it. This is practically the safest place Kagome could be at right now," Rin replied, trying to sound as normal as possible. I guess Sesshoumaru didn't tell them about Kouga or the attack just two days ago, otherwise Inuyasha might've gone berserk...Wait, did I just think about that jerk again? UGH!

Rin smiled, not wanting to look weird with her inner struggles. Sango raised an eyebrow. That smile looks familiar...

"Of course, a beautiful girl like Akiko-san can definitely take good care of Kagome..." Miroku spoke, and Rin felt something on her backside...

"HENTAI!" Rin and Sango yelled in unison, smacking the pervert on each cheek. However, instead of humming with a lecherous grin, Miroku looked simply confused, staring at his, um, 'cursed' hand.

"Anyways, hopefully we'll be able to visit Kagome-chan again. Bye!" Sango grinned, dragging Miroku away and Inuyasha followed, and keh'ed.

"Bye..." Rin half-heartedly waved to them, feeling the painful wave of emptiness washing over her again.

She walked inside and glanced at the clock. 5:35. Good, she had time to finally change out of this ridiculous attire and, most importantly, the wig.


"Oh no, we forgot to ask your brother about Rin!" Sango exclaimed suddenly.

"Half-brother," Inuyasha corrected, "and what about Rin? Why would that bastard know about Rin?"

Sango ignored his choice of words, "Remember what we were discussing about before Kagome's attack? About how I saw Rin's cloth in Bankotsu's floor?"

"Oh yeah...not to mention, that Akiko-girl looked a lot like Rin, and she smiled like Rin too," Inuyasha said, and Sango was quite surprised at Inuyasha's observations.

Sango nodded in agreement, but she frowned, "but how could that happen, though? Kagome-chan would've told us..."

"Keh, Kagome's always hiding something if it's for the safety of someone...there must be a reason."

"How can you be so sure? What do you think, Miroku?" Sango asked the silent lech.

Miroku looked up, with the look of enlightenment that caused the other two to back away.

"You know, I'm 100 percent sure that Akiko-girl is Rin," Miroku said confidently.

"And that's because..." Inuyasha urged him to go on, skeptical.

Miroku held up his 'cursed' hand, "Because I know I had groped her before and I'm certain that it's Rin's..."

He was smacked unconscious even before he finished his sentence.

Inuyasha smirked at a red-faced Sango, "You know, my best friend and your BOYFRIEND never ceased to amaze us, no?"

"Do you want to join his Unconscious Club, Inuyasha," Sango asked sweetly, and Inuyasha knew it was time to shut up.


"Rin, I want to talk to you for awhile," Sesshoumaru said emotionlessly.

They were the only ones alone on Bankotsu's floor. Only awhile ago, Ayame had summoned the all of them (except Suikotsu) and explained the information she just received. Ayame explained that the government had sent Cell 5 to Area 51 to investigate. After a few days without any reports whatsoever, the government received information somehow that Cell 5 was completely eliminated.

Area 51 was a famous place under Naraku's control, since it was guarded by his genetic son, Hakudoushi.

Therefore, in order to make Area 51 easier to take down, most of Cell 1 was sent out to do whatever jobs they were assigned to. Bankotsu had ruffled Rin's hair before he left; Ayame had hugged Kouga briefly, and Rin had glared at the man's clueless ness.

And now, practically, it just left Rin and Sesshoumaru. Ayame was busy working on whatever data she received, in her room, and the lower ranked members were in their respective rooms.

And Sesshoumaru wasn't sent on the mission because it wasn't a job for a sniper, and, they needed someone to protect this place.

Anyways, back to the question. Rin glanced at Sesshoumaru and spoke as casually as possible, "Well, what is it?"

Sesshoumaru took a deep breath. It would be a huge blow to his pride, but he just had to clear away this nagging sense of guilt.

"I'm sorry. For calling you...those things."

"I don't know why I bother with you at all. All Suikotsu wanted was to erase the evidence, yet I intervened, adding unwanted burden to our organization. Yet, you still come back heedless of my warning..."

Rin recalled what he said, and shut her eyes. The damage was done; he was sorry for what he said, but hey, he was just talking about the truth, wasn't he? However, the great Sesshoumaru just apologized...

Rin smiled sadly, "Thank you for your apology...but it was me who should apologize. You are right, I don't know you and I have no right to be telling you what you should do or not. Although, I'd have to appreciate your honesty..."

Inside, Sesshoumaru panicked. This wasn't what I meant! Those words were merely out of impulse! I was apologizing for those words because I don't mean them!

Outside, of course, Sesshoumaru merely said, "Hmn."

Rin took that as a yes, and she desperately wanted to leave his presence right now. She glanced at the clock and turned around, "I'm going for some grocery shopping for awhile. I'd already informed Ayame, so don't worry. She said she'd send Ginta to sort of guard me."

Inside, Sesshoumaru panicked again. What! An incompetent fool like Ginta cannot possibly...wait, why is she grocery shopping anyways? And why do I care?

Outside, Sesshoumaru simply nodded his head.

As Rin started walking away, Sesshoumaru reached out his hand and was about to grasp...nothing. She was just out of his reach. His barely missed her hair.

He watched Rin opening the door and closed it. He didn't chase after her. He had a sinking feeling in his stomach, and he couldn't explain it.

He stared at his hand for awhile. He then went into his room, and gazed at a photo frame near his bed.

"What are you doing, Sesshoumaru? Aren't you going after her, just to make sure she's safe?" An amused, sultry voice asked, echoing in the dark bedroom. Sesshoumaru sighed. Ever since his fight with Rin, he had been hallucinating her voice for some reason.

He missed this voice somewhat, and he did trust her.

He stood up abruptly and looked between his most prized pistol, and rifle.

"Toukijin...the pistol that allowed me to save her life once, and Sou'nga...the rifle that took her life..."


"Hey, Ginta, they're giving out free doughnuts!" Rin exclaimed suddenly, pointing randomly.

Ginta drooled slightly and quickly ran there, completely forgot about Rin.

Rin chuckled. It wasn't that Ginta was an incompetent guard; he was a doughnut-addict, as Hakkaku was a chocolate-addict.

And Bankotsu a sake-addict. Rin grimaced. She sighed. Now, she would have to get away from this place as soon as possible, towards Raion Park. Her hands tightened around her bags as she strolled towards the designated area. In the bags were her kunais, crossbow, and a real katana she took from the training facility. Rin heard Sesshoumaru called it "Tenseiga". She wasn't planning on bringing a katana but she knew that she couldn't win by just the two projectile weapons.

As if brining an extra weapon can increase my chance of winning anyways. Rin thought anxiously. But something drew her to Tenseiga...

Raion Park was relatively a small park. It was more like children's playground than a park. Sure enough, Hiten was there, dressing the same way as he had in the morning, without the sunglasses though.

Hiten merely scowled and glanced behind Rin to make sure no one was here. He scoffed, "Wow, you really didn't bring anyone with you. You took my words too seriously, little girl. You trusted an enemy's words? How amusing."

Rin's stare didn't falter, "You're going to avenge your brother, and that was enough for me to trust your words. Earlier today you could've just killed me, just like you said, but you didn't. I took my chances, and trusted your pride."

Hiten smirked, "You got guts girl. So," his voice grew thin and vicious, "I will make sure you die painlessly."

Rin tried to keep her composure, but it was hard. She would be 'fighting' this guy later. She might be killed...

She shook her head vehemently, and asked, "So, how are we going to 'duel', as you put it?"

Hiten used his fingers to indicate that Rin should follow him. Rin did so hesitantly. They went to the shadier part of the park, and Hiten stopped in front of a tree with three scars.

He took out a crayon and a piece of armour from his pocket. He held each item in front of each scar, as if waiting for it to scan the items. Finally, he held out his own hand to the last scar.

The ground below her suddenly disappeared.

With a startled squeal, Rin vanished down the dark abyss with Hiten.


Sesshoumaru stopped suddenly, looking around nervously. He thought he heard Rin's voice...

He spotted a silver-black head straight ahead, and his eyes narrowed with suppressed rage.

"Ginta. Where is Rin?" He asked coldly, causing the shorter man to cringe with fear.

"I was just...looking for the free doughnut and she disappeared!" He squeaked.

For the first time in awhile, Sesshoumaru cursed aloud, "Shit."


Strangely, Rin didn't fall for a long time, like she thought she would.

Nope, as she looked up, she could see the opening, and she could've reached it if she tiptoed.

"Now, follow me," Hiten hissed impatiently, and they sort of crawl-walked away from the opening, which closed as soon as Rin moved away.

Similar to Cell 1's underground facility, this tunnel is brightly lighted and didn't seem like an...well, an enemy's base at all. In fact, there were several crayon pictures along the tunnel.

If the tension wasn't so high right now, Rin would've giggled at the cuteness of these images.

"We're here."

They were at a huge, empty clearing, with cement ground. There were several lines on the floor, and Rin thought it looked like a sports field, such as a basketball court, hockey field etc. But, other than that, the place was completely empty.

"This is Area 31, under the control of the Kamigari (thunder)Family. This is used for our dueling practices. Don't you feel honoured?" Hiten explained, with a bit of sadness in his voice.

But when Rin met his glare, his ruby eyes had already hardened.

"Of course, there are no rules regarding this duel, other than these lines," Hiten hissed.

He stood behind a white line on one end, while Rin stood on the other end.

Hiten took out his trident, and Rin took that as a cue to take out her weapons. She quickly strapped the crossbow on her right arm and her kunais at the holsters at her hip. Tenseiga was strapped tightly beside the holster.

Hiten simply stared at her, as if amused at her futile attempt.

Hiten took his stance, and called, "Once the white lines disappear simultaneously, we fight."

Again, Rin felt herself trembling, only this time...it seemed to be out of excitement?

An image of her holding a bloody sword flashed in her mind, and she shook her head to try to get rid of the image.

Unfortunately for her, the white lines also disappeared that instant.

It was out of pure luck that Rin tripped and fell backwards, missing the trident that was aimed for her neck.

Rin, out of pure reflection, kicked at Hiten's stomach and did a backward roll, away from him. Hiten only stumbled slightly before rushing forward again, slashing the trident downwards. By skill or another stroke of luck, Rin flicked a kunai at the trident, enough to deflect the sharp ends away from her neck. She rolled sideways and actually leapt up, firing her crossbow and reploading it rapidly.

Hiten easily deflected the onslaught of arrows by simply spinning the huge weapon.

Rin blinked. The adrenaline fading away abruptly. Okay, how the heck did she dodge his attacks while countering them? She had no expirience, that was for sure, but somehow everything seemed to come instinctively...

Hiten wiped a bit of blood away from a shallow gash on his cheek. An arrow managed to get past his defense and grazed his cheek.

He was impressed, but not for long; his desire to avenge his brother gave him the rush he needed. Seeing that Rin suddenly stopped firing and looked a bit dazed, Hiten took his chance and threw the trident at her.

Like what anyone would've done (inexpirienced fighters anyways), she ducked. Using the momentum, Hiten shoulder-slammed right into her, knocking the girl off her feet.

Rin tried to use her knees to break her fall, but the force wa too strong and she landed on her wrist, breaking the crossbow in the process.

Not wanting to waste any second, Hiten picked up his trident and sailed it upwards in an arc, slashing a bit of fabric away from her torso.

Rin's face paled; had she been a centimeter closer...she gulped, and aimed her kunais carefully at the trident once again.

"You think the same thing will work twice?" Hiten roared, his ruby eyes had a crazed glint as he knocked away the little projectiles.

Oh no, my kunais wouldn't work anymore...

She was granted time to ponder more when Hiten rushed towards her with the trident aiming for her neck. Remembering the self-defense lessons from Sango so long ago, Rin used her hands to grip the horizontal bars between the three spearheads. Immediately she dropped onto the cement and let go of the trident. Rin quickly kicked at Hiten's ribs as he flew over her.

He grunted as he hit the hard cement with an echoing thud. Hiten recovered rather quickly, and smirked at her.

"Girl, rather smart tricks you've used so far but I can see you're already worn out. Me, on the other hand..."

When he thrusted the trident forward at her stomach, Rin tried to dodge it but was too late...

CLANK!

Hiten took a few steps backwards, surprised at the resistence of the object he hit. Rin stared at Tenseiga in awe. Somehow, the belt had gotten loose and was hanging limply in front of her, blocking the attack. The sheath itself was shattered, but the blade looked as brand-new as ever.

Rin couldn't help but feel as if it was Sesshoumaru who saved her instead of his sword.

Blinking in determination, Rin took the katana in her hands, gripping it instinctively. Her mind buzzed slightly, and her backburned intenselyas she felt something took over her.

In a flash, Rin was in front of Hiten, cutting the trident in half. Hiten could only parry her attacks, barely able to protect himself. He found himself looking into a pair of bloody-red eyes. Hiten felt a tremor racking his body; his own eyes were ruby, but Rin's eyes were different...he had seen these eyes before somewhere...

Deep in thoughts, Hiten couldn't duck in time when the blade came closer and closer to his neck...

Suddenly, the blade stopped. Rin blinked, and her eyes were back to the hazel color. She backed away slowly, unsure what just happened. Her back still hurt slightly.

Hiten holler with rage, "Why didn't you kill me when you had the chance? Are you mocking me, little girl, and my brother's spirit?"

The trident came in contact with Tenseiga, and Hiten twisted the trident. Rin felt a numbing pain shooting up her arm, and she dropped the katana instantly.

Hiten smirked, tasting victory in sight. Even though the trident was cut in half...the electric power was still great.

Using her other arm to grope for her last kunai, she aimed the projectile carefully at his chest.

The sharp end merely scratched off a part of Hiten's shirt, making no damage whatsoever.

A weapon can't really harm anything if the user doesn't have the intention……and for an assassin, the target will never be erased unless you have enough killing intent. Sesshoumaru's calm voice came to her mind once again. Rin frowned.I am always dependent on you, aren't I, Sesshoumaru...? Even when you're not here, I still need your guidance...

Her head suddenly cleared as she was hit by a realization. Sesshoumaru...I...do need you...

The fact she enjoyed his company despite his silence, the fact she always seemed to look for him after she woke up, the fact she was relieved whenever she heard him come back and close his door just across her room...

The fact that he had saved her so many times, from Suikotsu, from the Saimyoushos, from Hiten when he first attacked, and just minutes before with Tenseiga...

Rin didn't duck in time and she felt the trident slashed her shoulders slightly, tearing off the back of her shirt. She waited for the finishing blow, but none came.

She stared at Hiten in confusion. Hiten was gazing at her exposed back, eyes widening in shock.

He sputtered, "Where...how...these markings...it can't be...you're..."

What markings? Sesshoumaru had talked about the markings on my back as well...but I never see anything...

Hiten's fury came back as he yelled resolutely, "This just keeps getting better and better! Not only can I avenge Manten, I can also avenge my whole clan...by killing you!"

Rin was bewildered, not only at his words but also at the incoming attack, since she had nothing to defend herself with...

Impulsively, she screamed the first thing that came to her mind.

"SESSHOUMARU!"

Two gunshot followed, and the sound of metal shattering resonated in the large space.

Rin gasped at the towering figure of Sesshoumaru standing in front of her protectively.


Sesshoumaru quickly analyzed the situation, his eyes searching around the room. Rin had put up quite a bit of fight, and that she seemed to have used Tenseiga. Of course, all the questiong shall be left until things were taken care of.

"Are you hurt?" he asked coldly without looking at her. Rin just smiled in relief. This was Sesshoumaru, with his unemotional voice...but he cared, he was concerned enough to ask about her well-being, and Rin didn't have anything else to expect from him. This...was enough.

"Just slightly dizzy with a few scratches, Sesshoumaru..."

He nodded curtly, and walked towards Hiten.

Blood poured from the bullet wound near his heart, and the broken trident scattered around him.

Hiten smirked faintly, "Of course...I can never ...defeat a great marksman such as yourself..."

Sesshoumaru kneeled besides him, "You will answer my questions."

Hiten managed a half-strangled laugh, "What is there to answer, Sesshoumaru? About the girl? She is the Marked One, that's all I can say...And Naraku...he never trusted me enough to tell me anything anyways..."

His words trailed off, and Sesshoumaru knew it was useless to ask anything more since Hiten was near his death.

Hiten felt delirious; he thought he saw Manten smiling at him, from the ceiling. Hiten managed another weak chuckle, "how did you get in here anyways?"

"A few strands of hair from you and your brother from the day of your attack, and a bit of crayon left on the abnormally ...'clean'...forest floor."

Hiten chuckled wryly, "I see...let me tell you something, and in return..."

His trembling hands reached into his pocket to take out a photo of a small girl with the same ruby eyes as himself.

"Souten is the last of our family...Sesshoumaru...save her...it is my last plea..."

"What is it you will tell me?" The stoic man's voice didn't waver one bit.

"Promise me, Sesshoumaru!" Hiten shouted hoarsely, coughing up blood in the process.

"Very well, I promise."

"Good...I've never been a good brother...it's the last I can do for her...listen, Naraku is planning something big...the mafia, and the police..."

Hiten's voice trailed off, and his hand went limp, dropping the photo onto the bloody cement.

Sesshoumaru simply put the photo into his pocket, and stood up.

It was only then he saw Rin collpased, unconscious, possibly out of exhaustion, since her injuries were minor.

He whispered a few orders into his transmitter, and he picked Rin up carefully.

His fingers trailed the faint markings again, wondering what Hiten meant.

You're relieved that you're around her, aren't you? Well, get out of your inner wall for once and be happy!

"Kagura...but you..."He shook his head, not wanting to remember painful memories of her.

Rin snuggled comfortably in his arms, and it was unforunate that no one saw him do the least expected.

He smiled. For real.

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End of Chapter 9

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-Nope, Rin wasn't possessed by Tenseiga or anything else when they fought. Her red eyes and sudden fighting skills had something to do with the markings.Yes, so far, only Sesshoumaru and Hiten and Naraku can see Rin's markings. I hope the fighting scenes are believable. (sweatdrop)

-You must be tired of my usage of her...butI can't help it. In Sesshoumaru's mind, except at the end of this chapter, Kagura is always referred to as 'her', because he didn't want to think of her at all.

- What's this? Naraku seemed to know about Rin's mother? What of the mafia and police?

- Also, just in case, I assure you there is NO attraction between Bankotsu and Sango. Bankotsu loves making fun of girls, Sango and Rin especially. Period.

- Hopefully, the character aren't too OOC this time.

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Reviews are always appreciated, and a driving force for writers!

Until next time, ttyl!

Kaco

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Spoiler for Inuyasha Manga - So anyone still reading Inuyasha manga? Send a message to me because I'm dying to discuss it!