Disclaimer- I don't own Inuyasha.

Written as a gift!fic for amorra7 as a thank you for answering my request tohelp out with the shikon awards. The shikon awards are a new Inuyasha awards group over at Livejournal. We're currently holding our first rounds of nominations, so feel free to nominate your favorite stories.


If there was one quality that someone would have defined Rin, above all else, it would be loyalty.

In her first life, she was utterly devoted to her memories, devoted to the memory of dirty, cursing men and the screams of her family. She was so devoted to the past that she didn't speak in the present.

In her second chance at life, she was utterly devoted to the strange, otherworldly, beautiful man-who-was-not-a-man that sought refuge in the forest. She dogged his step, spoke constantly to assure him that he was there, and followed his every command to the letter.

Sesshomaru was quite certain that, had she been born a youkai, he would have had the most splendid weapon to wield, something that surpassed Tessaiga because it followed orders, damn it.

---

Kanna had no qualities to call her own. She was the sort of weapon that someone would have found useful but not valuable. Something that, while endlessly capable, was utterly expendable.

She didn't even follow orders. Not truly.

To follow orders, one had to be able to register those orders and acknowledge them.

Kanna simply performed her duties, like the blade yields to the killer's arm.

---

Long after the adventures and her childhood were over, there came the inevitable day when Sesshomaru left Rin. Not left as in "I'll-come-back-later-for-you", nor left like her mother and father, bleeding and dying, because Sesshomaru-sama did not, would not die.

One had to be truly alive to die.

"Live." He had said, and she, so loyal, obeyed.

It was the hardest command she had ever tried to follow

---

After spending so long among youkai, among fangs and claws and power that defied natural law, Rin was once again the outcast of any village she chanced upon. For all her learning, her adventure, her goodness, she was still a homeless waif without dowry or clan.

She was nobody.

She was unwelcome.

So she went into the mountains, and lived like she had done with Sesshomaru-sama. Only without Jaken to annoy, Sesshomaru-sama to follow, and Ah-Un to play with.

On second thought, it was nothing like living with Sesshomaru-sama.

---

Kanna's not sure how she found herself in that mountain. Then again, she's not sure how she came into this world, not sure what she's supposed to be doing, and what she's supposed to be, for that matter.

So the reason behind it was utterly irrelevant.

When she sees a young woman that she's only seen in a mirror, snatching fish from the stream and laughing all the while, she decides to stop wondering how these things keep happening.

---

Kanna doesn't explain who she is, how she survived Naraku's death, or what she's been doing all this time.

Rin doesn't ask, but probably wouldn't have cared anyway.

But she does ask if Kanna whether Kanna prefers her fish crispy or tender.

Kanna takes the fish, as though she's unsure what it is or what to do with it.

"Eat it, already." Rin smiles, and Kanna tries.

---

Kanna doesn't really talk a lot, but that's okay, because Rin does talk, and her words filled up the void and make things seem okay, even if they're not.

Rin rattles on about the sun, the moon, the birds, the rain, but not the past, which is just fine with both of them, because some things are best left in the past.

And though she seems like a silly, sunny girl, the kind that walks through life with a smile on her face and foolish optimism in her head, she's really quite smart, Kanna comes to realize.

"I think we have a connection." Rin said softly, and smiled. "Do you?"

"I don't know." Kanna said. Kanna who had never known anything but the will of others and the void of herself.

"That's very sad." Rin murmured, and reached out to grasp her hand, gently. Kanna's hand had only known the cold touch of the mirror before that day. Rin's hand was warm, and soft.

"Do you want to learn?"

It was a question, not a command, and Kanna didn't know what to do with questions.

She had never learned.

---

Rin finds the mountain peaceful and quiet, strong and sure. Once upon a time, she would have thought it like Sesshomaru. Now, she thinks of it as a mountain, and nothing more.

Sesshomaru is not a mountain, unmoving, unchanging.

Kanna isn't a mountain either. She's a child, trapped in a body that, quite frankly, probably should never have been created in the first place.

But that's okay. Rin is a fan of things that are otherworldly, and Kanna is the furthest you can get from normal.

---

"Have you thought about what I said?" Rin asks one day, beneath a sky that's all but bursting with stars and a moon that's almost falling from the sky.

"No." Kanna has all the bluntness of a child, with none of the innocence.

But Rin finds that refreshing, and not because it reminds of Sesshomaru, not anymore. She finds it refreshing because it's not the aristocratic rudeness of a daiyoukai lord but the sheer inexperience of Kanna.

"Well, how about it?" Rin's used to bluntness and is used to Kanna now. She reaches out and grasps her hand, squeezing it so that Kanna understands that she can learn.

Kanna doesn't speak, but manages to, all on her own volition, squeeze Rin's hand.

Rin smiles.

---

Rin used to define her life with loyalty to others, to her past, to her youkai savior. It worked for her, and she lived her life that way for some time.

Then, after her past was forgotten, her savior departed, she learned to be loyal to herself.

It wasn't so bad, being able to depend on yourself, defining your world by yourself.

Once she had learned that, she decided Kanna, who had never learned loyalty, could do with learning the same thing.

And after that... well, they could figure out what to do when the time came.

For now, she has Kanna and she has herself, and that's all that matters.