Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha.
Tooth and Fang
Sesshomaru didn't really think things through.
No, he'd acted on impulse that day when he brought Rin back to life with the Tenseiga. He never took the time to ponder exactly what he would be getting into by essentially consigning himself to raise an eight-year-old orphan girl.
Certainly he never thought about the changes Rin would go through as she grew up.
"Lord Sesshomaru! Lord Sesshomaruuu!" Rin ran up to him excitedly, a big grin spread across her face. "Rin has a loose tooth!"
(Of course, it would only get worse from here. But Sesshomaru still had a few more years before that.)
To demonstrate, Rin opened her mouth wide and exaggeratedly wiggled the offending tooth with her tongue. It was the left front tooth, and indeed, it jostled about with such ferocity that it threatened to come loose any minute.
Sesshomaru regarded the amused girl with mild disinterest. Rin seemed to think that this loose tooth of hers was some sort of great accomplishment. But to Sesshomaru, who had vanquished many a marvelous foe and seen many a miraculous sight, the concept of a girl losing her first tooth was remarkably tedious.
" . . . Go show Jaken."
Rin flashed another toothy grin (for she was forever smiling) and ran off to pester "Master Jaken," much to his chagrin.
For the next few days, all Rin could talk about was her tooth. She wondered (aloud) what it would feel like to have the tooth missing. How long would it take to grow back? Would she still be able to whistle?
The incessant rambling was nothing new to Sesshomaru and Jaken. Still, they found themselves wishing that the tooth would fall out—and quick—if only to get a change of subject.
Rin chatted along, her mouth seemingly moving a meter a minute, when suddenly she was interrupted by the sound of her stomach rumbling.
Sesshomaru took that as his cue. "Rin, go find yourself something to eat."
Flashing Sesshomaru another toothy smile, she ran off into the woods.
Phew, Jaken thought. Finally, we can have some peace and quiet.
"Jaken, go with her."
D'oh . . . .
Jaken soon caught up to Rin, and she didn't waste a second. As soon as company greeted her, words started flowing out of her mouth.
"Oh Master Jaken, I can't wait for my tooth to fall out!"
Me either, he thought. But all Jaken said was, "Hey, look up ahead! A stream. Maybe there's food near there."
Luck seemed to be on their side that day. After following the stream for a bit, the two companions came upon a large tree full of the most succulent looking peaches. It took Rin and Jaken a few minutes to get at them, though. Rin had to stand on Jaken's shoulders—so tall was the lowest branch—and after a few failed attempts (usually ending with Rin falling on Jaken's head), Rin finally managed to gather a few delectable peaches and dropped them to the ground.
"Oh boy, these look good! I'm so hungry!"
She sat down and picked up a fruit in her hand, closing her eyes and savoring the sweet peach fragrance. Meanwhile, Jaken rubbed his sore head grumpily.
"Oh hurry up and eat! I want to get back to Lord Sesshomaru."
"Okay, Master Jaken."
Opening her mouth wide, Rin chomped down hard into the peach.
Rin was frozen in mid-bite, her eyes wide, and her mouth unmoving. Jaken chuckled quietly to himself at the sight. The peach had managed to accomplish what he could never do. It had shut Rin up.
Still, she did look troubled. Jaken sighed.
"What's the matter? Why aren't you eating, you silly girl?"
Rin still hadn't released the peach from her jaw's grasp. Her idiocy was exasperating.
"I can't understand you with that fruit in your mouth! What is it?"
Rin let go of the peach. It fell to the ground, a small white pearl stuck in its side.
"My toof! My toof came out!" Rin picked up the fruit and Jaken examined it closer. It wasn't a pearl in its side at all—indeed, it was Rin's front tooth!
"Oh! Oh, my first toof! I lost my first toof!" Truly this was a remarkable milestone, her proudest moment. Rin let out her biggest smile.
Suddenly Jaken burst into laughter. "Heeheeheeohhoohoohooahahaha!" He was stricken with such a fit, he started rolling on his side.
Rin looked at him with concern. "What is it, Master Jaken? What's so funny?"
"Hahahahah . . . have you seen yourself? Hoo boy."
Curious, Rin glanced at her reflection in the stream, but found nothing unusual. It was her same old self that stared back at her. "What are you talking about, Master Jaken?"
"Give yourself another look. But this time, smile."
Furrowing her brow, Rin gazed quizzically at Jaken. What on earth was he going on about? Cautiously, she leaned once again over the stream and stared into its placid waters. It was still the same old reflection that greeted her. From the corner of her eye, she glanced at Jaken, but the expression on his face seemed to say, "Go on," so she looked back into the water. Slowly, she pulled back the corners of her lips into her normal toothy grin.
Rin gasped! It wasn't her normal toothy grin at all! Smack dab in the middle of her smile was a big, gaping, ugly hole! The girl in the water looked utterly ridiculous. Rin clamped her mouth shut quickly.
"Heeheeheehahaha!" Jaken had caught the giggles again at the sight of Rin's goofy smile.
Suddenly, Rin didn't feel hungry anymore. She left the peach untouched, her shiny tooth still embedded in its side.
The entire walk back, Rin stared at her feet. What was she going to do? She couldn't let Sesshomaru see her looking so foolish.
When Jaken and Rin returned to him, Sesshomaru noticed that Rin was unusually quiet and somber. And Jaken had an odd smirk plastered on his face. What was going on?
"Did you find food, Rin?"
She merely nodded. There was no great speech on the exploits that had taken place without him, no long diatribe on every detail that went down.
Sesshomaru frowned. He cast a glance towards Jaken, but found no answer. Well, whatever happened, it was too trivial to concern Sesshomaru. Rin had eaten, apparently, and with that obstacle out of the way, he was able to move on.
Easily his mind focused on more pressing matters, and within the hour, Sesshomaru had forgotten that anything had ever seemed out of place.
It was only after a pattern emerged over the next several days that Sesshomaru realized something was wrong. He kept noticing a strange sound that lasted for unnervingly prolonged periods: silence. Rin had completely abandoned that which she had once been so proficient in—the art of rhetoric.
Indeed, she hardly opened her mouth at all. She made no attempt at conversation. She didn't even let Sesshomaru know when she was hungry or tired. He had to ask her, and she would only respond with either a nod or a shake of the head.
At first, Sesshomaru dismissed Rin's behavior. After all, when he first met her, she was mute. Maybe some painful memory had caused her to fall silent again. She would snap out of it soon.
But she didn't just snap out of it. With each passing day, the silence only seemed to grow louder and louder to Sesshomaru's ears.
By the fourth day, Sesshomaru was fed up. It was irritating; it was annoying; but most of all, it was inconvenient. Sesshomaru couldn't spend his days guessing at the needs of an eight-year-old girl. He didn't have time for this, and he certainly wasn't going to revolve his life around this unpleasant situation.
He announced to Rin that whatever game she was playing at was over.
"Rin, you are going to stop this foolishness. Now I'm going to ask if you are hungry, and you are going to answer me. Out loud. Understand?"
Rin nodded. Sesshomaru stared at her blankly. Already this wasn't going well.
"Rin, are you hungry?"
Quickly, the little girl clamped her hands over her mouth and spoke muffled through the mask of her palms. "Yes, Lord Sesshomaru."
This new development was even more confounding than before. So it wasn't that Rin didn't want to speak, it was that she didn't want him to see her mouth open?
"Rin, remove your hands from your face. Let me see your smile."
At those words, Rin only seemed to compress her hands tighter against her lips. Her voice became more garbled. "I can't, Lord Sesshomaru."
"B-because . . . " and tears formed in Rin's eyes then, "Because I don't want you to see how ugly I am!" She burst into tears then, sobbing with her face turning red from holding her mouth so tight.
Now this was the strangest development of all to Sesshomaru. How could this little girl come to such an absurd conclusion? Sesshomaru fixed a pointed glare on Jaken.
"Jaken. What did you do?"
The toad demon gulped, and started to stutter in defense, but Rin came to his aid (albeit with her hands still covering half her face).
"It's not Master Jaken's fault. It's just . . . me. I'm hideous."
"Ridiculous. Now remove your hands at once, Rin, and let me see your smile."
"Please, Lord Sesshomaru, don't make me—"
But Sesshomaru gave Rin one of his signature glares, and there was nothing for it. Rin lowered her head in resign. Slowly, she unclasped her hands and let them fall to her side, and squeezing her eyes shut tightly, she opened her mouth into her widest, toothiest grin.
The sight that greeted Sesshomaru was utterly surprising. Here the girl's face was tear-stained and reddened; her eyes were full of sorrow and embarrassment. And yet, somehow she still managed to have the most beautiful smile.
"So? What's wrong with your smile, Rin?"
Rin's eyes widened. Her smile vanished as her jaw dropped, perplexed. "B-but Lord Sesshomaru, don't you see?" She pointed to the gap in her teeth as fresh tears came to her eyes.
"You lost your tooth. So?"
"So . . . so . . . I'm a freak!" And she started sobbing again, burying her face in her hands.
Sesshomaru sighed. How bothersome. He really couldn't waste time having her go on like this. There was only one thing to do about it . . .
Rin gasped, and looked up. Standing there before her was Sesshomaru with a most displeased expression on his face. His jaws were opened wide, revealing a set of perfect, pearly white fangs in a row. Except for a giant, glaring gap where he had just pulled out his front left fang.
"L-Lord Sesshomaru . . .?"
"There. Now we match."
The largest, most glorious smile came to Rin's face then, and it didn't leave for the rest of the day.
But Sesshomaru must have looked quite ridiculous, for Jaken was turning red trying (rather unsuccessfully) to stifle his chortles at the sight of the powerful dog demon with a big goofy gap in his fangs.
Sesshomaru frowned at Jaken and reached for him.
"There." Sesshomaru smirked. Jaken started snifling in pain, clutching at his mouth, where Sesshomaru had just ripped out one of his front teeth.
"Now we all match."
Rin pulled on Sesshomaru's robes to get his attention. "That was real nice of you, Lord Sesshomaru. To pull out your tooth to make me feel better."
"Pff. Don't be ridiculous. I wasn't considering your feelings. I merely wanted this nonsense to end so I can focus on more important matters."
But somehow, he didn't think she believed him. She giggled, and thanked him, and then they were on their way.
Finally, Sesshomaru thought. This foolishness is over.
He gritted his teeth to ignore the pain that was coursing through his throbbing gums. Being a full demon, he had a high tolerance for pain. But being so powerful, it also meant that his fangs were rather firmly rooted, so the pain was quite substantial. His fang would grow back, of course, within the day. He only hoped he wouldn't have to keep pulling it out until Rin's new tooth grew in.
Sesshomaru sighed. How long does it take for a human tooth to grow back? he wondered as a fresh stab of pain jolted him.
No, Sesshomaru really didn't think things through.