A/n: More stories like this on my author's page if you scan through the titles and look.
Standard disclaimers apply.
For the Best-----
The moment he spotted it, just over the rise of the hill, he knew it was perfectly well-suited for her. A quaint little village full of lively inhabitants and what looked to be a very welcoming atmosphere for the weary traveler or two. Nearby he could hear a stream cutting through the expansive field of grass and dew that the sun's light hadn't yet dried from the blades.
Looking back at Rin, he surveyed her inquisitive face as she looked over the field presented to them, no doubt wondering if he would let her stop and pick some fresh wildflowers.
The blue ones, he thought remorsefully, that she always tries to weave into the ends of my hair when she thinks I am not looking.
Turning back to the village, he wondered if they would so willingly take her from his care. Maybe they would accept her so freely, just as he had years before after the vicious attack by wolves that had ended her life. Would the villagers be able to keep her safe, just as he had?
What is to become of her if I am not there to keep her safe from dangers that those mortal beings are not capable of defending themselves against? Would they abandon her in times of need?
Grabbing Aun's reins, he led the animal out of the forest and down the hill where a beaten dirt path was carved into the earth. They traveled down the trail until the village had become something larger than a speck in the distance.
Stopping at the edge of town, Sesshoumaru blinked lazily at the ten or twelve soldiers that blocked his way. Resisting the urge to kill the troublesome band, he bowed his head in acknowledgement and accord. He would practice his human civilities if nothing more than for the sake of Rin.
"This Sesshoumaru does not wish harm," he began. "Only the opportunity to speak with your village headman."
"What business have you here?"
"It is none of your concern."
There was some murmuring among the soldiers, and several of the men seemed to converse among themselves. The leader of the small group turned to one of his subordinates and whispered something. The soldier then went sprinting into the village, his armor clanking noisily.
Through the barricade Sesshoumaru could see some of the closer villagers disappearing into their houses with worried, apprehensive looks sent in his direction. He could hear Jaken muttering something behind him, but paid no heed, as the messenger had come back from his errand with news.
"The youkai is to be escorted to Akahito-sama," said the messenger.
As they walked through the streets, Sesshoumaru took note of well-kept condition of the houses and common areas. As far as human settlements went, this one was suitable enough for his little girl.
"Sesshoumaru-sama," Rin called from Aun's saddle. "Why did we come here?"
Turning his head to face her, he regarded her anxious look with a calming, placid look of his own. Occasionally he liked to try and be comforting to her when he knew she was upset or close to getting that way.
"Do not worry yourself," he instructed. "There is nothing to fear."
This seemed to temporarily ease her mind, and she gave him a small smile.
Several minutes later they stopped walking, coming to rest in front of a central dwelling that was more elaborately built than the ordinary houses that littered the village. Standing in the doorway was a young man whose face was masked with a serious expression that matched his guarded posture.
"What business does a youkai have within this place of peace?"
Giving Aun's reins to Rin, Sesshoumaru stepped forward and acknowledged Akahito with the barest nod of his head. Watching the scene from on top of the dragon, Rin was surprised to see Sesshoumaru bow his head to Akahito. She could hear Jaken's startled gasp from below on the ground.
"Let us speak privately," Sesshoumaru suggested. "Away from prying ears."
Seeing Rin sitting on Aun, hanging on every word that came from Sesshoumaru's lips, Akahito understood that the demon lord did not want to be overheard by the girl.
"Fear not that I will slaughter you, for there will be no unnecessary blood spilt by my hand," Sesshoumaru assured. "I merely wish to arrange an agreement."
"Very well," Akahito acquiesced, "come inside."
"Jaken," he said before walking inside, "do not stray far from this place."
"Yes, my lord."
The demon lord and the village headman disappeared together inside of the hut. Outside muffled voices could be heard, but neither Jake nor Rin could discern what was being said. Soon after the talks inside began, Rin was bored. She lay back on Aun's saddle and sang herself a quiet song.
"Sora wa aoi soshite Sesshoumaru no me wa kiroi. Shibafu wa midoriiro soshite Jaken no osoroshii kao mo midoriiro. Rin wa tori ga suki soshite kawanochikakude ohana wo tsumu koto ga suki…."
The imp frowned at the child's foolish characterization of himself. He never cared for the human's songs, but if it kept her out of trouble he would gladly let her have her so-called fun. He tapped his foot in time with the tune.
The little girl jumped into a sitting position, obviously startled out of a nap that she had been enjoying. Jaken got to his feet, his old bones creaking with the movement. Sesshoumaru had been inside of the hut for a very long time. He came out looking as regal as ever, but a sadness that the imp couldn't place hung over the demon lord's head.
Perhaps it had something to do with the meeting, but Jaken wasn't sure. Sesshoumaru hadn't told him anything before marching into the village in the first place.
Grabbing Aun's reigns, Rin prepared herself for their pending travel. Reaching down, he took the leather straps from her tiny hands and let them hang off to the side. He held out his arm and let the small girl crawl into his embrace, careful to mind the spiked armor around his chest.
For several seconds he held her there, taking a long look at the childlike innocence and sheer devotion that made up everything about her that he admired. She was the closest thing he had ever come to love, and the only thing that he was willing to give up in order to protect.
Without saying a word, he sat her on the ground, staring the village headman in the eyes. It was a silent warning that everything he had said about keeping her safe he had meant. Akahito gave a nod and put a hand on Rin's shoulder, one that she shrugged off warily.
The demon lord turned and took Aun's reigns, leading himself and his counterparts out of the village and into the meadow full of wildflowers. He paused and took a deep breath, inhaling the sweet scent of the blossoms. He wondered if his guilt would ever catch up to him, if he would find himself two hundred years along and hate everything about the mistake he felt he was making. But it couldn't have been a mistake. He was shielding her from a life of hardships, of hate because of that which she adored.
Sesshoumaru turned just as the young girl crashed into his legs, holding on tightly. She was crying openly, her face blotchy and streaked from the tears. She was sobbing words that he couldn't clearly make out, but that he could certainly understand.
Pulling the girl off of his legs, he knelt down to her level, wiping the tears from her face just as new ones spilled over and down her cheeks.
"Next time I'll do better, Sesshoumaru-sama, I promise! No more talking or flowers and I won't even eat if my tummy rumbles! I promise!"
She cried gasping sobs that tore through her body, sucking the breath out of her lungs and making her sick to her stomach. The tears left her usually cheerful face sad and splotchy, and her watery eyes could no longer make out clear shapes. She clutched onto Sesshoumaru's arm tightly, unwilling to let go.
"I promise, Sesshoumaru-sama! Rin promises!"
Her legs gave way and she fell to the ground, yanking on the demon lord's arm as she went down. She buried her face in his sleeve, ashamed at the scene she was making.
The little girl sniffed heavily and wiped at her eyes as she did as told. Sesshoumaru looked down at her through intense eyes. They stared at each other for several tense moments.
"Leaving you here is the best that can be offered. You will be happy with these humans."
"Rin is only happy with Sesshoumaru-sama," she argued stubbornly.
He closed his eyes in frustration, trying his hardest to think of the easiest way out of the situation. He could no longer care for the child as she was growing up, and raising young human children was not on his list of tasks to complete. If only she could understand that these people could give her so much more than he could ever provide.
"I am going to leave you," he said slowly. "And you are going to stay here."
"Enough," he said sharply.
Tugging his sleeve out of her grasp, he motioned for Jaken to follow as he began to walk away from the tiny girl that had stood for everything good about his quest. He turned his head slightly and whispered into the wind, sending a final goodbye message at the heartbroken little girl.
"You will not be forgotten to this Sesshoumaru in one hundred lives of humans."
By the time she looked up he had gone.
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A/n: This one has been on my list for sooooo long. Like nearly a year, if not longer. Glad I finally got it done, though it didn't end on the happy note I had planned. Oh well. I think it was the last oneshot that I hadn't completed. Now I'll have to come up with new ideas.
What'd ya think? The song that Rin sings was one I made up off the top of my head. Lyrics are as follows: "The sky is blue and Sesshoumaru's eyes are yellow. The grass is green and so is Jaken's scaly face. Rin likes birds and picking flowers by the stream…."
That's how my Japanese friend translated it, anyway. Thanks Hiraku!
It's a fanfiction sin to read without reviewing.