a/n: You don't need to know anything about Japanese writing to understand this story. There is a guide to Japanese writing at the bottom if you need clarification (though the story is not that in depth), or are just interested.
And I'm not sure if Jaken's name is in kanji or not. Let's pretend it is.
Standard disclaimers apply.
Sesshoumaru's Scholar ---
Quiet humming of a self-made melody danced through the air of the clearing as Rin sat happily in the dirt, drawing pictures with a stick. She had been working on her picture for a time, trying her best to be good for Jaken while Sesshoumaru was away. Her concentration was all on the ground and the carefully made figures in the soil that she had worked so hard on to make perfect.
There were four shapes altogether, one for each member of their traveling group. Aun with two heads, Jaken with his Staff of Heads and overly beak-like mouth, Sesshoumaru tall and fluffy, and Rin with a flower held high in the air.
Rin drew the final smile on her tiny face and sat back to survey her work. She grinned at her own talent, pleased that the characters all looked just as she pictured them, straight down to the crescent moon that graced Sesshoumaru's forehead. She only wished she had parchment and ink to better keep the images. She would have enjoyed carrying the picture around, or even making it for Sesshoumaru to do with as he pleased.
The only thing missing from the drawing were everyone's names. She didn't know how to write them.
"Jaken-sama," Rin called across the camp. "Do you know how to write?"
The imp looked up sharply, clearly insulted at Rin's question. It bothered him that the girl thought him stupid, though he was quite ashamed to admit he didn't know how to write. He had never taken the time to educate himself.
"Be quiet, you silly girl," Jaken answered. "Go back to drawing your pictures!"
"But Jaken-sama, Rin just wants to write everyone's names," she said.
"Don't bother me, I'm keeping watch," was his final reply. He turned his back to her.
Rin frowned in frustration. Jaken was always being mean to her when all she wanted was to stay out of trouble and have a little bit of fun. Sighing in defeat, she turned to another clear dirt space and began drawing swirls with her stick. It wasn't long before Sesshoumaru came through the trees surprising Jaken and delighting Rin to no end.
Rin jumped up from her spot in the dirt and ran to the tall demon lord, grabbing his hand unexpectedly and pulling him toward her picture.
"Rin wants to show you her picture!" she exclaimed as Sesshoumaru walked regally in tow. They stopped at the foot of the large drawing, their feet stopping inches away from the image. Rin crouched down and pointed to the characters, explaining who they were and some of the finer details of what they were doing.
Sesshoumaru watched quietly from his place at her side.
Rin put a finger to her lips as she remembered that none of the characters had names because she could not read or write. Surely Sesshoumaru was educated, he was a demon lord and all lords were educated.
"Sesshoumaru-sama," Rin began, "could you teach Rin how to write her name?"
Blinking in absent response, the youkai wondered if his mostly faithful servant had been approached by the girl for a lesson in kanji and hiragana. He wondered if Jaken had revealed his illiteracy or just refused the girl with no explanation. The imp had been reprimanded on several occasions for his unwillingness to instruct himself in written language. Now Sesshoumaru had another reason to teach two lessons with one blow.
Kneeling down to a more even level with his learner, Sesshoumaru took the stick from her hand and made a series of scribbles in another new patch of dirt. Rin watched carefully as the youkai made what Rin could only guess were names.
"This is your name," Sesshoumaru said, pointing to the first set of vertical markings. Two distinct figures in the dirt that formed her written name. She grinned broadly.
Pushing her finger into the dirt, she copied the simple characters stroke for stroke until she was pleased with the result.
"Rin!" she cried, pointing to the hiragana characters. "Ri-n!"
Sesshoumaru nodded in approval and moved on to the next name on the list. Aun has spelled out simply in hiragana, and Rin moved her fingers in the dirt slowly, marking the beast's name as carefully as she had her own. She clapped her hands together gleefully at her accomplishment and looked to Sesshoumaru for approval.
"Good," he praised. "Now the next one."
Rin sat back and studied the kanji for a few moments, figuring out the best way to approach the character. It was much more difficult than the previous names with more lines to make in a smaller space. Deciding that starting at thee bottom was best, she got to work while Sesshoumaru kept a watchful eye.
He grinned inwardly at the speed with which she copied the names. Although she did not follow traditional writing etiquette, she was still making the names nonetheless, and it was more than he had expected for her first time.
"Jaken!" she smiled once the character was done. The imp turned his head in her direction, curious without wanting to show it. His eyesight was not that great, though, and he could make out nothing more than scribbles in the dirt. Sesshoumaru seemed pleased, though.
'And the last," he said, nodding toward the most complex of all the names written in the soil.
Her tiny fingers moved more slowly than before, stopping more frequently as she looked back and forth between her kanji and the ones that Sesshoumaru had drawn. There were many tiny lines that crisscrossed this way and that and formed something unrecognizable to her young eyes.
"Sesshoumaru-sama?" she asked with a furrowed brow.
"This kanji is incorrect," he stated, leaning forward to point at the first of the symbols. He wiped the dirt clear of the writing and took her tiny hand in his own. Guiding her fingers through the dirt, he helped her form his name correctly.
"Ses-shou-maru," he accented, pointing to each kanji separately. "Ri-n, Ah-Un, Jaken."
The young girl jumped up and down excitedly, very obviously pleased with herself. She had learned something new and useful, and had pleased Sesshoumaru along with it. That was enough to turn her bored afternoon into something special.
"Arigatou, Sesshoumaru-sama!" she squealed in delight. "Arigatou gozaimas!"
Rin bounced off happily to chatter to Jaken about what she had learned, leaving Sesshoumaru alone to survey alone the picture that she had spent time drawing before he had come back. He looked over each person and the features that she had expressed so accurately in detail in the earth. He liked it very much.
Looking over at the girl, he decided that the next time they came across a human village he would attain some paper and writing tools to better preserve whatever else she decided to draw. And maybe over time he would teach her to read as his mother had once taught him.
a/n: Hope you enjoyed that. I enjoyed writing it. If you're curious or confused about Japanese writing, I've included a small and informal guide below to help you figure some of it out.
And I have more SessRin like this on my author's page a few stories from the top.
It's a fanfiction sin to read without reviewing.
There are three distinct writing systems in the Japanese language: kanji, hiragana, and katakana.
Kanji are the big complicated symbols that make up most of the tattoos and many of the Asian names in the world. If you are confused, go look at the Inuyasha main title and you will see the kanji for Inuyasha's name. Most of the Inuyasha characters have kanji names, including Sesshoumaru. And every kanji has a specific way that it must be written starting with specific lines and directions that the stroke must follow.
Hiragana are the phonetic characters for Japanese. Think of Japanese as math. In order to get a kanji, you have to add several hiragana characters together. Sometimes there is no kanji for a name because the name means nothing other than what it is (by this I mean a person has kanji for their name because the individual kanji character itself may mean something standing alone). Kagome and Rin have hiragana names. Rin's looks like 'ij h', only with no dots above the i and the j. Thus the "Ri-n!" thing.
Katakana is just a way of spelling modern words like 'computer', since no hiragana or kanji exist in Japanese for these words. I can't think of any names that exist in katakana. Pretty sure there aren't any, though don't hold me to it.