Chapter 2

Was Oka Sadaharu really surprised when he checked in on the young woman the next morning? Not at all- the corners of his eyes crinkled in a smile to see the Lord of the Western Lands asleep near the futon of the young girl. Jaken was already up- silently tending to the young woman. The kappa youkai was a quite capable- no doubt he had been tending to her since she was young. Spotting the doctor- Jaken rose

"Oka- donno. Is there anyone here to give Rin a sponge bath? I will awake my Master so he may leave"

"Indeed- give me a half hour and someone will come"


Rin woke slowly to the sound of water and the feeling of a soft sponge against the skin of her arm. The dark hazy dreams filled with Sesshomaru and his sinful mouth gone.

She turned her head slightly to see a wizened old woman, rising out a sponge in a small wooden basin. The water scented with roses and herbs.

"Ohayo Rin-san" the old woman said cheerfully. To her horror Rin's tattered kimono was completely open to the cool air of the room and vainly she tried to move-to draw the ends together.

The older woman gently batted her hands away "Now none of that, you need this. Your skin has been coated in sweat"

Feebly Rin dropped her arms to her sides- tasting the bitter aftertaste of herbs in her mouth. Something warm and heavy lay in the hollow of her throat. It seemed to be breathing- to thrum in time with her heartbeat.

"I am Miki-san, the wife of the Oka- donno here at Shinda clinic."

"Clinic?" her throat was hoarse, immediately the elderly women rose and returned with a cup of cool tea. Helping Rin sit up with surprising strength before guiding the smooth ceramic rim to her lips. Rin took a few deep pulls and sighed as the burning in her throat eased.

"Yes you kind benefactor brought you here to get well" Miki said brightly gently helping her slide back down. Before returning to the task of the sponge bath

"I've had the cook make up some rice porridge for you. I want you to eat as much as you can. You're all bones!" the elderly woman added with a hint of chastisement.

Color flooded her cheeks- feeling that familiar anger for Sesshomaru suddenly give her a burst of energy.

"Well I suppose you know just the foods to fatten me up" Rin said with her own wan smile. Turning onto her stomach as the woman removed her tattered kimono. Before she knew it- with the soft smell of roses in the air Rin was asleep once more...


It was nearly two weeks that Rin stayed cooped up in the sick room that she had been assigned. Not that she lacked for anything- the clinic knew how to cater to bored patients. Games- scrolls and walks in the garden improved her mood considerably. Including the generous helpings of meat and rice that were served her daily.

Everyday she grew stronger, and with that came the anger. For her 'kind benefactor' had made no appearance in her room or anywhere near the clinic since the night they touched down in Edo. Maybe it was this anger that made her senses sharper, eyes keener with each day.

Till one early morning Jaken was in her room bustling about Pulling out a fresh set robes that she wore as a patient of the clinic. Rin calmly set her miso soup down and turned to the kappa youkai.

"Where is Sesshomaru-sama, Jaken? Has he died and you haven't had the courage to tell me for all these days?" she began smoothly

Jaken turned to her and gave a little cough which sounded suspiciously like a laugh "Milord is well- he has been busy of late taking care of many errands"

Rin snorted, apparently errands were far more important then her. Bitterness welled in her chest, of course they were. Sesshomaru thought her beneath him- which if the stories were true she was. He came from one of the purest bloodlines. Well until his father had slept with a human princess and borne Inuyasha.

"Is that so?" she replied "what are these errands?"

"I believe they have something to do with you Rin" Jaken replied turning back to his task.

Her mouth dried out "W-what why me?"

Jaken gave a little sigh "Apparently Sesshoumaru- sama is attempting to find you a match..." he trailed off "or was it a job? I cannot recall- he was very agitated..."

Rin had gone utterly still- a match? As in a groom? What in the name of the gods would he do that for! Rin wasn't suited to be anyone's bride, much less a woman who stayed home and bore a passel of children. While her husband cavorted with all the whores in the red light district.

The job wasn't much better- she had few skills that she did well. None of them in her opinion could amount to an apprenticeship or...

The screen door slid back revealing the glorious form of the Lord of the Western Lands. His tall, leanly powerful form dressed in a fine hakama and haori ensemble in tones of slate blue that made those golden eyes blaze bright.

With a cry of anger Rin hurled the bowl of miso soup at him and it connected soundly drenching him fully in the face. The bowl hitting his chest and falling to the floor where it rolled near the basin of water she used to rinse her face.

For a long horrible moment no one moved, till Sesshoumaru reached up and elegantly wiped his dripping face. The tips of his long bands dripping onto his nose,

"Was that really necessary Rin? You are to old to be married anyway- besides how many families would willingly take in a 21 year old spinster?"

With a cry of rage Rin was suddenly up "I hate you! By the gods I wish you had left me to die in that clearing!"

She swiftly moved towards the door and Sesshoumaru was suddenly in front of it blocking her way.

"Let me pass!" Rin cried, Sesshoumaru reached out and grabbed her chin.

"You would do well not to trifle with me" and he kissed her hard.

Just as the kiss came Sesshomaru released her abruptly and Rin staggered back stunned

" I know how unhappy you are. I was merely trying to find you a way out of this" he gestured around the room.

Did he know how that kisses enflamed her- Rin felt like her body was on fire. And that was just after one closed mouth kiss- in truth she wanted more. Much more- but it was forbidden, how she both hated and loved this inu-youkai.

"Why don't you settle down with a wife Sesshoumaru-sama? I can become a servant your household" she replied recovering, desperately wanting to lick her lips.

He grinned "I haven't the time to go wife hunting. But I think- shouldn't it be time I focus on you. You've been wandering with me for over a decade."

That knocked the wind right out of her- her anger evaporating "W-what do you mean?"

"Well" his molten gold eyes narrowed in pleasure as he studied her "You've grown into an attractive young woman- two weeks of good food has filled your figure out quite well"

A firey hot blush was creeping up her neck and staining her cheeks. "No doubt you are eager to learn new things- be exposed to scrolls and poetry that I never had the luxury to give you. Possibly learn to paint or play an instrument- all can be done in Edo. Not only that"

His hot eyes raked down her form "You are in dire need of a new wardrobe and several good kanzashi. Though I am sorry that you hid all that lovely hair from me all these years"

Rin's face turned a shade of plum that made Jaken choke, hastily Rin tired to gather up her hip length tresses and failed. After all she had nothing-not even her ratty ribbon to aide her.

"Does this please you?" he purred

Overwhelmed she looked down at her toes "Yes it does" proud that her voice did not shake.

"Then till tomorrow"

And the screen door softly shut.