In Nomine Patris
A short, sweet look at the resolution of Sesshomaru's familial (and emotional)short-comings, brought about by the birth of his first son.
"Sesshomaru?" a small, tentative voice called from the doorway of his bedchamber; a girl's voice again, fragile and young, and tired.
Only one being called him so, without honorific or title, and he turned to gaze coolly back at her as she stood in the hallway. She looked as she spoke: pale but for the high color in her cheeks, bone-weary, and frightened.
"Jaken has incurred my wrath," he announced slowly, turning from Rin to look out at the cold sleet falling from the grey skies.
"Don't be too hard on him, my lord," she murmured, smiling gently as she came to stand beside him. "He did his best to keep me at my rest, but I couldn't bear to be away from you, and, as ever, I proved too much for him."
Sesshomaru almost smiled at this, and answered "Indeed, as ever."
She drew a breath then, and hesitated to voice the concerns that had been growing in her the last few months. His continued silence did nothing to assuage her fears.
"My lord," she breathed, grasping at his empty sleeve as she had when she was a small girl, "will you not come see your son?"
To any other eyes, Sesshomaru did not give the outer appearance of having heard his young wife's plea. To her eyes, he stiffened and ceased to breath.
"Rin," he began, but this did not quite sound right, so he started over with, "Child."
"Child no longer," she interrupted, ire rising in her. "Whether you see it or no, I am a woman. It would mean much to me if you would treat me accordingly!"
Sesshomaru frowned down at her. He did not put up with such nonsense from his underlings, and he most definitely wasn't going to put up with this back talking from his wife. How he could rectify this was beyond him, as he could not administer any punishment aside from locking her in her rooms, but that would be as much of a disservice to him as to her.
"If you keep looking at me like that," she continued, "I shall take your son and your servant and move myself to your brother's home!"
She turned from him, and glided out of his room on a cloud of serene anger. "He adores his children," she shot over her shoulder, continuing down the hall.
"He is half human," Sesshomaru retorted, moving to follow.
This was the wrong thing to say, because Rin marched back to him and slid the door shut in his face.
He listened through the thick rice paper as she made her way back to her chambers, slowly at first, her pace quickening as the babe's wails broke the silence. The pitch of the sound jarred Sesshomaru's nerves in an unexplainable way, and with a sigh he determined he would appease his wife no matter the cost of his own pride.
When he finally swallowed this idea and made his way to his wife's bedroom, she was pacing by her low bed, the child held against her chest, beneath the outer layers of her kimono to add warmth. Rin was murmuring to the baby in low tones, and he quieted almost instantly at the gentle sounds.
"Really," she said out loud, voice pitched so as not to disturb the infant. "He hasn't been so distant since I was a small child."
"Be easy, girl," Jaken soothed from his place near the door. "This is an enormous adjustment for him. It took him long enough to love you, and now he must love someone he doesn't even know. Give him time."
"I have given him three days, and that is long enough," Rin continued irately. "You do not need to know your children to love them. They are what you make them. How can he not love that?"
"Time, I said," Jaken reiterated. "Love might have grown, but pride has certainly not waned. This child is everything that he-"
"Oh, don't say it," Rin cried, drawing a whimper from the startled baby. "I know he despises his brother, but surely there is more to it than his heritage."
"It is an old wound, Rin, and I doubt even you can-"
Sesshomaru chose this moment to make his presence known, and the little imp fell silent as the door slid open.
"My Lord," Jaken offered, rising from his seated position.
"Leave us," Sesshomaru commanded, and Jaken bowed, scurrying to obey. He cast a sympathetic look at Rin when he was at Sesshomaru's back, then closed the door.
An uncomfortable silence stretched between them like a wire pulled tight between two posts. The drumming of sleet against the roof was the only sound. The baby seemed to sense the tension in the room, and let out a soft whimper before breaking into loud wails for the second time that hour.
All Rin's attention was averted immediately to the infant in her arms. She turned from her husband to continue her pacing, laying her cheek gently over the soft white curls on her child's head and cooing in low, comforting tones. She spoke nonsense, and hummed softly.
While all this happened, Sesshomaru made his way silently to the bed and took a seat, watching his wife and son intently. The baby was small and pale, with little pointed ears and curls as white as snow. He was tucked inside a soft, white blanket, and then again in his mother's robes, both her arms holding him to her. One of his little hands was fisted in her long dark hair, the thumb of the other securely in his mouth.
And Sesshomaru doubted he had seen a more moving sight in all his life.
"Have I been inconsistent with my affections?" he queried quietly once the babe had silenced.
Rin became a petulant child beneath his even stare. "Only in the last few days," she said sadly, her son's head still tucked beneath her cheek.
He looked away from her, gazing blankly at the far wall.
"I love you," he said simply, stopping the breath in Rin's throat. He had said those words all of two times in the past. "And you know that you, and the child, have nothing to fear from me."
The fervency behind these words startled Rin. "My Lord," she said, voice a whisper over the pounding of the sleet. "I never-"
"Nothing," he repeated, leveling his gaze at her again.
Rin smiled at him, and came to stand before him. She slowly settled herself down on the bed in the space between his knees, folding her legs beneath her. On instinct his arm came up around her shoulders, steadying her and drawing her closer.
The baby turned his head, settling his soft brown eyes –his mother's eyes - on his father's face for the first time.
Sesshomaru looked down at his son and saw, with more than a little pride, a crescent of deepest indigo on the child's forehead.
"What will you name him?" Rin asked excitedly, drawing Sesshomaru's gaze sharply from the infant. "I have done my work," she said with a gentle laugh. "It is your turn. You are his father: you must name him."
Sesshomaru had thought on this subject numerous times over the past week, and at this moment he wished he had named the baby at birth, now three days gone. Perhaps then he would not feel such trepidation. A name could make or break a child, and suddenly this was much too much responsibility for one being.
Best to get it over with.
"Oujimaru," he said finally, looking into the child's eyes.
"Oujimaru," Rin repeated, hugging the baby closer. "Your arm, my lord."
"What of it?" Sesshomaru asked, eyes locked on the baby who was staring back blithely.
"Kindly remove it," she said gently, shifting her shoulders. "You cannot hold the baby if you are holding me as well."
In a mild state of sudden catatonia, Sesshomaru did as Rin asked and took his arm from around her shoulders. He held it against his chest, elbow slightly out from his body, and Rin placed the delicate little bundle in the crook of his arm. Oujimaru was so impossibly small that for a moment Sesshomaru did not even breathe, fearing that the rise of his chest would somehow injure the tiny infant. The infant lay perfectly still, transfixed by the new face that had suddenly entered into his minute world.
Then he let out an ear-splitting wail and burst into tears.
Both mother and father started at the child's cries, and Rin made to take the baby back. Sesshomaru stopped her with a gentle look, and carefully shifted the babe to rest higher on his chest. Oujimaru's hands were balled into tiny fists, and he was going quickly from pale to pink when Sesshomaru tucked the child's head up under his chin. Rin could not see what good this would do, but almost instantly the baby began to quiet.
Rin watched in silence as her husband relaxed visibly along with her child. Two pairs of eyes - one golden as the sun, the other the color of polished sandalwood - drifted shut as if to a song she could not hear. For the first time in Rin's memory Sesshomaru slouched, pulling his legs in and drawing her closer, shoulders hunkering down until he had practically curled up around his wife and child. She laid her cheek gently against Sesshomaru's, her chin just barely touching the soft curls of her baby's head, and slipped a small arm around her husband's waist. When she had settled and stilled she could feel a gentle vibration in the roots of her teeth, and she nearly started when she realized the very low sound, almost like a cat's purr, was coming from Sesshomaru. Both father and son seemed quite comforted by the noise, and after a few minutes of this Rin was sure both had gone to sleep.
Then Sesshomaru took a deep breath, opened his eyes, and slowly drew his shoulders up into the stately posture he wore daily. The baby slept more soundly than he had in all his short life, one small fist curled in a lock of pure white that had fallen over Sesshomaru's shoulder.
AN- I'm silly, and this made me say "Awwww!" when a read through it again. Cheers!