Lord Sesshoumaru, ruler of the Western Lands, sat at an empty table, poking at his breakfast irritably. Movement from behind him made him straighten up in his seat and clear his through, but with much disappointment it was not her. A servant bowed in front of him, and picked up the untouched food sitting coldly beside him in the next chair over.

"No, leave it," he commanded a little bit too harshly. The servant bowed again and walked away. Sesshoumaru sighed annoyingly and rubbed the bridge of his nose. This was the fifth morning in a row that Rin, the little girl that clung to him like static, and adored the very ground he walked upon, had missed eating breakfast with him. Normally, she was the first on to the breakfast table, and usually putting a fresh bouquet of flowers in a vase set out in front of his chair. Gradually over time, the first thing he though when he woke up in the morning, was what flowers she would put before him today. He had grown to love her beaming smile that seemed to be more radiant than the morning sun itself, which always put him in a good mood, or at least until he had to begin his mundane lordly duties.

The first morning she had missed breakfast, he was a bit saddened by it, but quickly turned to worry. She never missed a breakfast with her lord, so the only reason that she would miss one was if her weak human body were ill. He was actually terrified to think of his sweet little Rin ill, so when a servant came by to wait upon him, he asked her where Rin was. The servant only shrugged her shoulders and replied that she did not know, but that she would check the girl's room if her master would like her to do so. Sesshoumaru shook his head and waved her away. After quickly eating his breakfast and drinking his tea, he went up to Rin's room, expecting to see her pale and sniffling in her bed, but to his alarm, she was not there. From the looks of her room, it appeared she had gotten up early in the morning and had even made her bed. He slammed the door behind him, fuming that Rin had not eaten with him when she was obviously well, and that she was no where to be found. Angrily, he walked to his office, and on the way he spotted a servant with a pile of fresh clean linens in her arms.

"When Rin comes back, tell her I want to see her in my office immediately." The servant, in fear, bowed shakily and ran off to tell the others their lord's message.

A few hours later, Rin came skipping and smiling into his office, while he was standing by a window with his arms folded behind him. His face was serious as he stared outside at the big blue sky.

"Good Morning, my lord!"

"Where have you been?" he asked calmly, ignoring her greeting.

Rin opened her mouth in shock, as if she were caught in some big lie, took a step back sadly, and bowed her head. "With AhUn," she mumbled.

He wanted to raise his eyebrows skeptically, but did not permit himself to do so. He knew she was lying, because she was a horrible liar and it was obviously written all over her guilty stance.

"You know the rules of this household."

She nodded slowly.

"You do not go anywhere by yourself."

Excitedly, Rin looked up at her lord, "I wasn't!" She smiled, "I was with Master Jaken."

Surprised, he didn't even notice his toad demon servant wasn't bugging him all morning. Usually, Jaken's shrill annoying voice was the first annoyance of the day that just seemed to linger, giving him terrible headaches. He didn't even realize the toad was missing that morning.

"You can leave now."

The girl giggled and ran out of the room, leaving Sesshoumaru filled with discontentment. The mornings afterwards have been the same since then, and it was starting to irritate and make him rather moody. He never realized how much he had grown accustomed to her cute childish antics until now, and today was the fifth morning of not having her shining personality bring him back to life for another day.

So many things ran through his mind as he resumed poking at his food. It was cold and lumpy now, and the site of it was making him rather sick, but he still waited, hoping that today was different from the others. At first he thought that she had lost interest in him like her toys he always bought her, which made him feel strangely jealous. But he quickly dismissed that idea when he remembered that for the rest of the day she did cling to him like normal. It was just the mornings that were different for him, and a still tiny flicker of fear that he may be losing her stuck close by.

"Good Morning, my lord!" Rin chippered, as she hungrily walked into the room.

"Your food is cold," he said gruffly, ignoring the swell of happiness in his heart. Today was a different day. Today she was joining him for breakfast, even if it was an hour later.

She smiled up at him and replied with a mouth full of food, "I don't mind."

Ignoring the disgusting mash of chewed-up food in her mouth, he noticed that he had tiny, dark, baggy circles underneath her eyes. "Have you been waking up early?" He asked. "I do not believe AhUn requires your attention that early in the morning."

Quickly she gobbled down the rest of her food, and ignored his question, changing the subject like she often did. "It's a beautiful day, my lord. Will you go on a picnic with me?"

Without thinking, he replied how he normally would have replied. "No, I have things to do today."

Rin's face fell with disappointment, "Oh, I see."

Looking at her dejected expression, and the sadness that overwhelmed her usual cheery face made his own heart ache. He hated seeing her this way. It just wasn't right.

"Alright,"he sighed. "I'll go on a picnic with you today."

So after Sesshoumaru cleared his schedule, the two were on their way to the river. Rin skipped ahead of her lord, humming and singing happily as she swung about their lunches that were wrapped in linen cloth. He took in a deep breath of the relaxing, fresh, sunny, late-winter air, and drew out a big long sigh. While watching Rin be herself, he decided that this picnic was indeed a wonderful idea, and that he was beginning to enjoy it. Of course, he did not let these emotions escape past his stoic mask, but in a way, he knew Rin knew he was in good spirits.

"Come on, Lord Sesshoumaru, let's sit by that big rock," she pointed out. He nodded and sat up against the rock. Even though it was still winter, today had been unusually warm and signs of spring were already beginning to show. Only thirty feet away, he could hear the river flow soothingly behind thicket of some beautiful bushes.

Rin giggled as she began to unpack their lunches. He was surprised to find out that she had prepared the lunch herself. Of course it wasn't anything fancy, but he was definitely impressed with what she had gone to the trouble of making. As he began to eat his food slowly, watching several birds fly by, he got the faintest inclination that she had planned this all along. She would eat a bite of her food then glance quickly to the bushes as if she were expecting something.

An hour or so passed and they were finished , so Rin was now talking non-stop about something that had happened to her the other day, while Sesshoumaru watched her, nodding every once and a while to let her know he was listening. At the end of her story, she rolled around on the grass giggling, then unexpectedly, without an excuse, stood up and ran to the bushes.

He blushed, thinking that she was going to relieve herself, but quickly composed himself. Several minutes passed an she had not returned yet, which made him a bit worried, but suddenly she popped out in front of the bushes with a grin from ear to ear and her hands behind her back. She giggled as she walked closer to Sesshoumaru, who in turn looked at her curiously.

"For you, Lord Sesshoumaru!" she said excitedly, shoving a carved wooden heart in front of her lord. He looked at it in surprise, his own heart thudding loudly in his ears.

"Jaken helped me carve it, and this morning I painted it red!"

He slowly took the heart in his hand, warmed by her kind gesture, and the endless amounts of love that poured out from her.

"For me?" He asked softly, a small smile forming on his lips. She nodded vigorously, unable to contain her excitement.

"Do you like it, Lord Sesshoumaru?"

"I do."

Rin squealed, dancing around, happy that her lord liked her gift. Sesshoumaru smiled, relieved that she loved him more than ever. He stared at the heart and knew he would cherish this gift and Rin forever.

"I love it," he whispered.