A/N – Here I present part two, as promised, where Sesshoumaru and Rin adjust to the changes in their circumstances.
Disclaimer – I don't own Inuyasha, Sesshoumaru or Rin.
Over the centuries, Sesshoumaru had had many homes, both castle strongholds and smaller houses. As time passed, they all fell: to attacking youkai, to attacking humans, one of them, in Hiroshima, to the nuclear blast, but most of them fell to decay, neglect, and the passing of years.
The debris of his past lay scattered all over Japan, for those who cared to look.
If he had a home in this time, it was a small, forgotten manor house deep in the country, set among rice farms that had changed but little in the last three or four hundred years. Here, under his indifferent influence, the rice grew without interference from petty mononoke, but the peasants cared little for his presence or protection – as much, he supposed, as he cared for their worries and concerns.
He was no longer a lord, in the true sense of the word; he had no youkai servants or warriors at his command, and no courtiers flocking around him, seeking his favour and influence. Even Jaken was gone, old age stilling his constant, carping tongue, putting an end to a life of constant, unswerving loyalty.
As Sesshoumaru walked slowly up the path to his house, hidden behind a thick screen of bamboo, the child asleep, completely trusting, on his shoulder, he felt the apathy and isolation inside him ease.
Something clicked into place.
This was right.
This was as it should be.
Rin had never before been out of the city. To her young mind, the world consisted of noisy streets and rushing, indifferent humanity, and was made of steel, concrete, and plastic. In her dreams, she'd seen a different world of deep, dark forests and glorious, sunlit fields of flowers, where the stars shone like brilliant jewels in the night sky – but they weren't real, couldn't possibly be real.
Reality was fear, hunger, and deep, frozen cold…
Something tickled her nose, and she sneezed. She was enveloped in something warm, and wonderfully soft, and she felt safer than she had ever been in her life. She could hear calm, even breathing, and feel a strong, regular heartbeat reverberate through her like a drum. She smiled, and rubbed her cheek over the soft warmth –
"Open your eyes, Rin," said a deep, calm voice.
She smiled sleepily. "Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama." She opened her eyes, and yawned, looking straight up into warm golden eyes and a beautiful, alien face.
And then she screamed.
The strange-familiar creature winced, his ears flinching away from her extremely loud, high-pitched scream, and he almost dropped her. She struggled, trying to get away from him, and eventually jumped to the ground, stumbling, and scrambled away, into the corner of the room where she could watch him with huge, shocked eyes –
His eyes flared red, but then before she could notice it they returned to clear, burnished gold. He blinked, once or twice, staring at her in some confusion.
"Wh-who are you?" she gasped out, her heart beating so fast she could hear it pounding. "Wh-what are you doing here?"
He looked at her silently for a while longer, and then he knelt down, his strange red and white clothes making a soft shushing, rustling sound, his long white hair shifting about him as he moved. He knelt gracefully in the middle of the room while she cowered in the corner, and the sunlight fell on him through the papered sliding doors and turned him into something luminous.
She saw, with a little shock, that his left sleeve was empty – this glorious, perfect creature, so out of place in Rin's vision of reality, had only one arm. Somehow, it made her feel better.
"I am Sesshoumaru," he said, his voice deep and indifferent. "Why do you fear?"
She opened her mouth to answer, but nothing came out. She stared at him, taking in the reality of his presence, trying to reconcile it with the idealized protector of her dreams. Somehow, the idea of Sesshoumaru-sama had been easier to handle when he had only been a dream. Seeing Sesshoumaru-sama in the flesh was something quite different.
Slowly, she crawled over the firm, springy floor, not meeting his eyes, watching him warily in case he moved and tried to kill her. She could feel his golden eyes watching her just as warily, allowing her to come closer. Eventually she got close enough to him that she could reach out and touch him, touch those thick, rich clothes – the fabric felt rough, and she knew that it was expensive. She fingered his clothes for a while, and then got up the courage to reach out and take his hand in hers, feeling his soft skin, just like human skin, except that it was milk white, and there were purple stripes on his wrist. His fingers were long, and slender, and he had claws instead of nails – thick, sharp claws that she knew could tear a man's throat out without a qualm…
But he allowed her to touch them, to run her small, chubby fingers over them – his hand was limp in her hands now, but she could feel the strength and the power of it, and the capacity for lethal violence. Slowly, very slowly, she lifted her eyes to his and found him watching her gravely; somehow, she knew that he would stay still and allow her to inspect him all day, if that was what it took her to accept his reality.
It was as if the part of her that dreamed was coming closer and closer to the surface, urging her to accept him, telling her that he would never hurt her. Some part of her felt as though she knew him, as though she had always known him; instinct, strong in the very young, told her that she could trust him. Deliberately, she ran the soft pad of her finger over the sharp edge of his claws, and watched in fascination as a thin line of blood welled up from the razor sharp cut.
His hand shifted in hers and she looked up quickly, seeing his eyes darkened with concern. He lifted her finger up, examined the cut, and then brought it to his mouth and licked it. His tongue was rough, like a dog's, and she giggled at the sandpapery texture – his eyes shifted back to hers, then, and she smiled brilliantly at him.
"Sesshoumaru-sama!" she laughed, in proud confirmation, and hugged him tightly. Slowly, and almost awkwardly, he disentangled his hand and put his arm around her, hugging her back…
Of course, it wasn't that easy.
Sesshoumaru cursed the humans who had taught her fear and distrust, and put the dark, haunted look in her eyes. He would never admit it, but the fear in her eyes on that first day had struck deep –
He understood it had been an instinctive reaction, that the first time his other Rin had seen him, he'd been wounded, vulnerable, and the closest to harmless he'd ever been, but in his mind, it was unthinkable that he would ever harm her. The sight and scent of her fear was enough to raise his hackles, but when that fear was directed towards himself…
That had been a bad moment.
It took her time to become comfortable with him, to get up the courage to approach him uninvited, to believe that he would allow her anything she asked of him. In truth, he was the one wary of spooking her, as he sat on the porch in the evenings, pretending to watch the stars. If he looked sufficiently still and unthreatening, she would sidle closer and closer, until she could lean against him and share in his warmth…
She reminded him of the very first days after he resurrected her – the other Rin; he was having trouble keeping them separate in his mind – when she had been wary of the limits of his indulgence. But even then, she had never feared him.
In time, she finally abandoned the last of her doubts, her rational, waking mind accepting him just as completely as her subconscious had. And something else clicked into place, another piece of his life once more as it should be.
Time passed. Sesshoumaru-sama became restless, no longer willing to stay at the house, and so when summer came they set out on a journey over his lands. As Rin walked with Sesshoumaru-sama on old, hidden pathways through woods that had remained unchanged for centuries, she looked about her in awe and delight. It was very different to Tokyo, much, much bigger than anything she had ever seen before. In fact, in the beginning, she had been a little afraid of so much endless space – but she had hidden her fears, because she knew Sesshoumaru-sama did not like her to be afraid.
She thought that he had noticed anyway; Sesshoumaru-sama noticed everything. She saw him watching her sometimes, his eyes puzzled, and she wondered what he was thinking. It was impossible to know – the only clues she had to his feelings were the very small changes of expressions in his eyes, and they only told her if he was pleased, or amused, or on very rare occasions, angry. Sesshoumaru-sama in a temper was a terrible sight, but she knew that he would never harm her – he had told her so, himself.
Once, he had said, he had had another little girl, whose name had also been Rin. He believed that she was the reincarnation of the first Rin –
It had saddened her, a little, to hear that, because it was as though he had chosen her as a replacement for the original Rin. She'd kept the hurt to herself, turning it over and over in her mind, until one day she couldn't stand to stay silent anymore.
As she sat with him for the night, wrapped up in his fur, looking at the bright, twinkling stars, she said, "I am not her, you know. I am not the same as the first Rin."
She did not look at him as she spoke, but gripped his fur tightly in her fists. He was so silent, and so still, that she could feel his heart beating, feel his chest rise and fall as he breathed.
"I know," he answered. "I do not expect you to be." He paused, and then said, "Be yourself, Rin. It is enough that you are."
She waited a while longer, and he did not say anything else – but his arm wrapped around her as it had done the first day, and he pulled her back against him in an awkward hug.
Rin smiled. Reassured, she hugged him back…
He looked down at the small, innocent child lying so trustingly against him. He saw her, in his mind's eye, as a small, skinny girl in a patched kimono, her hair in a ragged tail as she chattered and laughed and sang. No, that girl was long dead – the girl in his arms now was silent and watchful, her dark eyes absorbing everything around her, analyzing and reflecting on her thoughts, rather than expressing them aloud. Nor did she skip, dance and sing, preferring to walk steadily, conserving her energy and strength.
But for all the differences between them, he saw the same spirit behind her eyes, felt the recognition in his soul for the human girl who had once been such an important part of his life. He knew, even now, that one day she would die and leave him alone again, and he would once more be left in a world filled with echoes of her smile and pale copies of her laughter.
He didn't care.
Why do you waste time with that human girl, Sesshoumaru?
Because I can.
He picked the girl up with his remaining arm, stood up, and walked away, intent on traveling a few more miles before dawn. He would carry her, tonight, because he would not be able to carry her forever.
A/N – When writing this second part, I thought of writing about the social worker and her search for Rin, and what the other taiyoukai thought of Sesshoumaru and his penchant for young human girls, but what came out was a focus on modern!Rin and the original Sesshoumaru. I've tried not to make it too waffy.