DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Inu-Yasha - A Feudal Fairytale and all related characters are the creations of Rumiko Takahashi. The Water Nymph Solange is an original character of my friend, Vash is my Angel and is used here with her knowledge, permission and approval.

DEDICATION: This fic is for my friend, co-writer and incredible beta, Vash is my Angel. It is thanks for both years of friendship, and also for sharing her wonderous elf-world with me. Thank you, Vash.

The Water Spirit's Gift
By Shadow's Mirror

Rin smiled happily as she stood on the bank of the spring and looked out over the clear water. She was hot and tired and dusty from her journey there, but the sight of such a pretty place made her forget her discomfort. It was worth the walk from the campsite to see such a lovely view and the water seemed sweeter and cooler here than anywhere else Rin had visited. The fish were plump and plentiful too, but Rin only ever took one at a time and only if she was hungry.

The little girl sat on the grass and dipped her feet into the spring. She smiled as the cool water lapped at her ankles and she felt her tiredness drain away. Rin knew she could not stay there long, but she was content to spend what time she had just sitting on the bank, relaxing in the peace and quiet of the spring.

She became aware of the presence gradually. Someone was watching her. Rin could feel their eyes upon her, but she was not alarmed. It happened every time she came to the spring.

The first time, she had been a little afraid, but then she had realised that the presence did not feel bad. It had occurred to her that such a pretty place must surely have a nice spirit to protect it. That had only been her belief though. It had not been until her second visit there that Rin had become sure of the nice spirit's existence.

She had been very hungry that day. The place where Sesshoumaru-sama, Jaken-sama and Rin were camping did not have any nuts or berries near, so she needed to forage more than usual and always ended up with very little for her efforts. Despite her hunger though, she had been reluctant to take any of the fish from the spring, since she had felt the spirit watching her. Then her belly had growled. The next moment, there had been a small disturbance in the water nearby and a fish had come flying out. It had landed on the bank at her feet and Rin had picked it up. She had looked out over the water, smiling happily, then bowed. "Thank you for the fish."

Since that time, Rin had not feared the nice spirit of the spring. In fact, she had come to regard it as an unseen friend. She spoke to it sometimes, telling it of things Jaken-sama had done that had made her giggle, but most of the time she just sat quietly on the bank, enjoying the chance to rest in such a pretty place.

Rin sighed sadly. It was almost time for her to go back. Jaken-sama would be worried about her. She stood up and smiled. "Rin is going now. Rin will return."

As the little girl walked along the path back to the campsite where Jaken-sama was waiting, something bright and colourful caught her eye. Smiling happily, she ran over to the pretty flowers. As she looked at them, a little thought sparked in Rin's mind.

"Oh! Rin will make a gift for the water spirit! To thank it for being so nice to Rin."

- - -

Jaken frowned as he watched Rin. The little girl had picked a lot of flowers and seemed to be making something out of them, although he had no idea what it was. "Rin... what useless thing are you doing now?"

Rin looked up and smiled brightly. "Rin is making a gift for Rin's friend."

Jaken blinked at her. "Friend? Who? You do not have a friend." Even as he said it though, he remembered the boy that Rin spoke of sometimes. What was the name? Kohan? Kohaki? Kosaku? Kohaku! That was it! The boy Sesshoumaru-sama disliked. At the thought Jaken instinctively glanced over at the youkai lord to make sure that he hadn't taken offence at Jaken thinking the boy's name.

A minion could never be too careful where Sesshoumaru-sama was concerned.

Sesshoumaru-sama did not seem to be paying any attention to them, but still, Jaken knew better than to say the boy's name out loud. "Who is this friend?"

Rin smiled happily. "Rin's friend is a water spirit."

"Eh?" Jaken frowned at her, not at all happy. "Rin! You have been speaking with a water spirit? That is dangerous! What have I told you about never speaking to strange creatures? They might be working for that Naraku!" He scowled at her and then sighed as Rin just smiled brightly and shook her head.

"No! Rin's friend is nice. Rin's friend gave Rin a fish!"

"You just do not get it at all." Jaken sighed again and slumped to the ground, dejected.

Sesshoumaru-sama still didn't seem to be paying any attention to them at all.

A few minutes passed in silence as Jaken sulked and Rin worked on her project. Then she smiled. "Finished!" She sang the word happily and held up her gift to the water spirit so Jaken-sama could admire it.

Jaken blinked at it and frowned. "What is it?"

Rin giggled. "It is a flower necklace. The water spirit will look so pretty in it!"

"Bah! What a pathetic gift. What use is it? The flowers will die in a day or two and then it will be nothing." Jaken scowled at her. As soon as the words left his mouth though, he had the uneasy feeling that he had gone too far.

Rin bit her lip and slowly lowered her hands again, carefully placing the garland back on her lap. She bowed her head.

Jaken tried to tell himself that no self-respecting youkai would feel guilty for upsetting a human child. He almost succeeded... for perhaps half a second. "Rin... I..." He winced, unable to think of anything to say to her. He'd spoken the truth, after all.

"Rin." The voice made Jaken jump. He looked over at Sesshoumaru-sama, wondering what the youkai lord wanted her for.

"Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama." Rin's voice lacked its usual cheerfulness.

Jaken shuddered at the thought of what Sesshoumaru-sama might do to him since he'd been the one to make the child so upset.

"Bring it here."

Rin and Jaken both blinked at the command, neither of them expecting it at all.

"Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama." Rin jumped up and trotted over to him immediately, the garland in her hands. She held it out to him.

Jaken watched curious about what the great Sesshoumaru-sama was going to do. Perhaps he would tear it to shreds with his powerful claws? Perhaps he would confirm that the flowers would soon die. Some of them were already beginning to wilt.

Sesshoumaru glanced at the garland and raised his hand. He made an odd motion, tracing a symbol in the air with one claw. There was a flash of light and Rin gasped as the garland shimmered.

"Sesshoumaru-sama?" Rin tilted her head and studied the glittering garland in her hands. "It is even prettier now!" She smiled happily at Sesshoumaru-sama.

"Ack! What? What was that?" Jaken stared at the garland, trying to work out what had just happened. Some kind of spell? But why? What was the spell for?

In one smooth movement, Sesshoumaru stood up. "The flowers... will never die now." He began to walk away. "Rin."

Rin's eyes were shining as she smiled happily at Sesshoumaru-sama, her hero, the one who could do anything. "Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama!" She ran behind him.

Jaken stood there gaping for a long moment, completely stunned. Sesshoumaru-sama... the great Sesshoumaru-sama... the most powerful youkai anywhere, as far as Jaken was concerned... had just used some mysterious magic that he, ever-faithful Jaken, had not even been aware that the great Sesshoumaru-sama possessed... on a garland of flowers to stop them from dying. Just to make a little human girl happy again. He blinked and looked at the retreating figure of Sesshoumaru-sama, trying to work out why he would do such a thing. Then he realised...

Sesshoumaru-sama and the child were leaving him behind... again.

"Ah! Sesshoumaru-sama! Wait for me! Sesshoumaru-sama!"

- - -

Rin ran towards the spring, her arms spread out like bird wings. She smiled happily. "Sesshoumaru-sama! Jaken-sama! Here! Here!"

Jaken huffed along behind her. "Rin! Not so fast! Ah... that human girl will be the death of me..."

Sesshoumaru strode along, seemingly ignoring both the human girl and the wheezing minion, however his apparent calmness was completely at odds to the alert look in his narrowed eyes as he scanned the area.

Rin paused by the edge of the spring and hopped from foot to foot, waiting for them to join her. "See Jaken-sama? This is where the water spirit lives."

Jaken frowned and looked around. "Where? I do not sense anything at all. There is no one here. It is just your imagination, Rin."

Sesshoumaru looked out over the water, his eyes locking on the large rock in the middle of the spring. "No. There is a presence here."

Jaken blinked and looked up at the youkai lord. "Eh? Oh my! Sesshoumaru-sama! You are truly incredible! Such a lowly one as me can sense nothing and yet one as magnificent as you can easily detect... Hey! Where are you going? Don't do that! Ah!" Jaken, his attention diverted from his master in mid-grovel, started panicking as Rin began to roll up the bottom of her kimono. "Rin! Such a thing to do! In front of Sesshoumaru-sama too!"

Rin looked at Jaken. "Rin needs to take gift there." She pointed to the rock. "Rin's kimono will get wet if Rin does not pull it up."

Jaken scowled. "Why there? Just leave it here! No, don't do that! Stop rolling it up! As if Sesshoumaru-sama wishes to see ugly human legs. Ack!"


Rin blinked at Jaken and leaned over to study the dazed minion. "Jaken-sama? Are you all right? That is a big lump."

Sesshoumaru looked at the human child. "Rin."

"Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rin went to him and was a little surprised when he put his hand lightly on top of her head.

The air stirred around them as they rose up into the air, their clothes fluttering. Rin pressed close to Sesshoumaru-sama as they flew over to the rock. When they were near enough, she fished the garland out of her sash, where she had put it for safekeeping, and placed it carefully on the rock. She bowed over it and then called softly, "Water Spirit! Please accept this as a gift for letting Rin come here!"

Blushing shyly, the little girl pressed close to Sesshoumaru-sama's side again. Without a word, he flew them back to the shore where Jaken was once again on his feet, watching them with wide, shining eyes.

"My... My lord... that was... That was truly marvelous! You are indeed most skilled and incredible! You are... leaving me behind again. Wait for me! Sesshoumaru-sama! Ouch! What a stupid place to put a rock." Scrambling to his feet again, the minion continued to run after them. "Sesshoumaru-sama! Wait for me! Sesshoumaru-sama! Ouch!"

- - -

From behind the rock, a small male face peeked out at the retreating figures. Two little hands covered a little mouth to muffle a giggle as the spring's resident water nymph watched the small youkai's rather undignified attempts to catch up with his companions.

Solange's light blue eyes sparkled with amusement, but as he looked up to where the gift had been placed, the amusement faded and he sighed sadly. Unable to leave the water by himself, he could not climb to the top of the rock. He could not reach the little girl's gift.

Then a strange thing happened.

A feather whirled by on a whisper of wind, accompanied by a faint sound like the piping of a flute. As Solange watched in surprise, the wind spiraled up the rock. A moment later, the wind reappeared, this time bearing a garland of flowers as well as its feather. The garland drifted down, settling in the water just in front of the nymph as the wind rose, lightly caressing his hair before it whirled off in the same direction as the little girl, the tall youkai and the funny little youkai.

Smiling happily, the nymph lifted the garland, then settled the lovely gift on his hair. He set off through the water to his favourite part of the spring, where the water was so still that Solange could see his reflection.

Perhaps the next time the girl came to the spring, he would speak to her. Perhaps.

The End