Rin was dreaming. She knew it was a dream because Sesshomaru-sama was laughing and that just did not happen. It was mocking laughter though so she was somewhat reassured. He did deride others, he just didn't laugh will he did it. He was looking past her. Rin turned her head, feeling for all the world like she was underwater. Sesshomaru-sama was looking at Kagome and Inuyasha. They were playing with their youngest child and did not seem to hear the peals of laughter coming from the normally taciturn demon only a few yards away. Rin turned back to her lord. Sesshomaru's laughing eyes caught hers. "Rin!" he said, his gold eyes dancing, "look at the fools playing with their useless offspring!"
"They're not fools," Rin said, looking back at the happily oblivious family behind her. "They are… happy. They love each other." She talked back in her dreams; it allowed her to stand the days.

"Ah Rin…" she swung back around to look up at the demon that suddenly stood right in front of her. More then close enough to touch. But even in dreams Rin never laid a hand on her lord. He looked down at her, smiling as he spoke. "Tell me you'll never be like that. I won't. Even when I have pups with a suitable mate I won't be a dupe like my half brother. Of course, I have years yet before I have to settle down." He shuddered. "I don't look forward to having to continue my family line. Babies are annoying and wives always whine. I know you won't go sentimental on me. We'll stay sane."
Rin studied her hands for a moment. At 26 years old she was practically an old woman by human standards, too old to marry. It hadn't mattered until recently. At that moment her choices seemed too much to bear. Her vision blurred for a moment as she gave in to doubt and self pity. But Rin's nature was a resilient one and life with Sesshomaru-sama had taught her the value of practicality and self knowledge. She looked up at her inuyokai. He was hers as she was his, whether they had formalized it or not, whether he acknowledged it or not. Her brown eyes met his gold ones. He was still smiling. This time she smiled back. She had always loved him. She had grown to love the life he had provided. She had experienced much and lived to tell the tale. She was lean but not hungry. Her clothes were of high quality. Rin knew how to read and write, more then most daughters of peasants could hope for. Sesshomaru-sama was, in his own quiet way, almost infinitely patient, he always had been. All that and still the most handsome man she'd ever seen.

The price for all that was simple and unspoken. Rin just needed to stay. Stay and accept things as they were. She had never had to do things that other peasant women did. She never plowed a field or wilted over a hot stove for hours. She was not required to perform marital duties, the public or the… private. No man had ever covered her and the few times that ones that had tried had been eviscerated by Sesshomaru-sama. That was after their arms and legs had been severed. That had only happened twice, the first time to a lone man, the second to a group of five. Six actually but the sixth was dropped, innards intact but limbs missing, at a nearby village to tell the tale of what had brought about his comrades death and his horrifying disfigurement. From then on only women spoke to Rin or even looked her in the eye. She had gotten the story out of a gossipy old woman a few months later after noticing the odd behavior of men in villages she entered. Her lord had never said a thing. The last memory she had of any of her assailants was Sesshomaru-sama standing over them and telling her to go back to camp.
It was enough. For years it was enough. Even when she saw Miroku and Sango and their children, it was enough. Even when she saw Inuyasha and Kagome and noted their ever expanding family, what she had with Sesshomaru was enough. But as she looked into her lord's eyes, Rin knew that it could no longer be enough. She needed… to be loved back. To get used to a bed, to be bothered at inconvenient times by her children, to fight with a man who loved her and make up, all in the space of an hour.
"Rin?" Her dream Sesshomaru-sama looked serious now. The sky had darkened and Kagome, Inuyasha and the child were gone. "Rin… tell me you won't turn into them. Promise me you'll stay and take what I give you." Rin's continued silence resulted in an even angrier tone. "You will stay the same Rin. Everyone else leaves or disappoints me." His tone became slightly cajoling underneath the obvious menace. "I've given you more then anyone. You don't want more then I want to give. Say it." The coaxing tone disappeared. "Say it! No more then I want to give!" He grabbed her by the upper arms and shook her. "Say it!"

Sesshomaru walked back to camp at a leisurely pace. There was no scent of demons so he had walked through the woods, making lists and plans as was his wont to do. With Naraku gone there were few strong enough to challenge him but he would be a fool not to check. Sesshomaru had no desire to find his followers in trouble. Again. He entered the clearing where he had left them. Jaken was, as usual, curled up into a little ball, his mouth open to release the smallest bit of drool. Ah-Un was curled near the edge of the clearing, one head dozing on top of the other. Rin was near the dying fire, wrapped in a light blanket. She was frowning in her sleep. Sesshomaru looked again Jaken and Ah-Un, watching them carefully. When he had assured himself they were deeply asleep he approached Rin on soundless feet and knelt down next to her.
She was still young to him, not at all child but somehow still impossibly new to world. She had grown in what had seemed to him to be the blink of an eye. He felt as one might having gone to sleep next to an acorn and woken next to a tree tall enough to climb. He knew he had rubbed off on her and he could not help but be somewhat pleased by it. She was thoughtful and watchful, two good qualities for anyone. She had an acerbic wit and a confidence that others mistook for arrogance. But she was still softer then he was. She loved to laugh. Rin insisted, in her quietly stubborn way, on keeping contact with his idiot half brother and his band. She still sang and gathered flowers and asked the strangest questions. But he could see a keen wit behind her queries and she learned quickly. Her insights sometimes surprised him, not that he told her. His compliment was that he continued to answer her questions when he thought it appropriate. He had made sure she knew how to read and write as well, he detested the ignorance of most of humans he met and would never travel with such a one.
Sesshomaru studied Rin. The firelight cast red and gold on her tanned skin. She was smiling now, pink lips turned up at the corners. Rin was not the most beautiful female he had ever seen. Her eyes were almost too large and her cheeks were always a bit red from the sun. The rest of her features were even but not amazing. She was tall and thin which, he supposed, was to be expected. Fifteen years of near continuous walking and stealing most of ones' meals did not a plump figure make. She only wore shoes when she had to so her feet were rough. Her hands had not known traditional labor but they were also rough, the result of her outdoor life. He knew her as he knew himself at this point. How far she could travel, her likes and dislikes, the note her voice could never quite reach when she sang. He accepted that he knew her and that she, be default, knew him. After all, they had not been apart for more then a few weeks in all the time they had known each other.
It was odd, how this human had managed to stay in his good graces. Perhaps it was because she only improved over time. She sought nothing more then to follow him wherever he wandered. She never complained or held back information. Rin was unfailingly honest and practical, she did not deceive or seek to manipulate. In many ways they were as they had always been. The day would come when things would change, he knew this. But she was still young, healthy and strong. No adjustments needed to be made now.
Rin sighed. She spoke softly in her sleep, so softly that even his demon hearing could barely catch it. She then rolled toward the fire, putting her back to him. "More then you want to give…" she'd sighed. Sesshomaru's face shifted into an almost imperceptible frown. What had that been about?