A Saddened Little Girl

The feelings had wrapped around him, despite his trying to block them out. His icy heart had finally melted, but he still refused to believe that such a weak individual could actually break his mask he had worked years on to maintain. Looking forward once again, after checking to see that his followers were indeed behind him, Sesshoumaru released a sigh. To mortal ears it would not have been heard.

A choked gasp behind him caused his foot to freeze and him to stop on the path. The little girl twirled around, looking in all directions, seemingly to be terrified, but grief stricken also. Rin ran into the woods recklessly, and Sesshoumaru frowned. Following the little girl casually, the scent of salt reached his nose and his frown grew deeper. Quickening his pace, slightly, he snarled to Jaken who struggled to keep up. "Stay here."

Without waiting to see if the small youkai listened, Sesshoumaru slipped through the trees and surprisingly came across a small clearing, and Rin curled up crying in broken sobs. Stopping on the edge of the clearing, Sesshoumaru watched the little girl sob brokenly. Looking around for the source of her tears, he was confused. Stepping forward, he walked over to the grief filled girl and knelt beside her, still looking around for where the tears had come from. The clearing was empty, besides the girl and himself.

Sesshoumaru had seen Rin cry once before, and it had almost broken his heart. Her desperate pleas for him to rescue her had been too much, and so he had raced to her aid. Promising himself to never see her tears again, he obviously had failed in his task, and now he felt his heart twitch as her choked sobs hit his ears.

Easing the frown from his forehead, Sesshoumaru lifted his only arm and placed his hand on her back, and waited for her to respond to his gentle touch. She did not, only cried harder, and he snatched his hand back wondering if she was crying because of him. He swallowed that thought, and waited.

Her broken sobs turned into soft hiccups, and she rolled over curling into an even tighter ball, and he sat down fully, crossing his legs, waiting. She was now facing him, and her brown eyes opened slowly. Rin pushed herself to a sitting position, and wiped her swollen eyes, sniffing and hiccupping uncontrollably.

Tilting his head to the side, he lifted his hand again and watched as she placed her own smaller one against his, staring at it, sadly. Rin turned her head away, and dropped her hand into her lap and sniffed again. She didn't utter a word of explanation, as she stood up and walked to the edge of the clearing. After circling once, she walked back to him and stopped staring into his golden eyes that held emotion meant only for her.

Slowly, Rin crawled into his lap, startling him to the core, and he stared down at her as she wrapped his right arm around her. Another fit of sobs wracked her little body, and Sesshoumaru frowned, tightening his arm around her tiny frame. Lowering his head, Sesshoumaru placed his chin on her shoulder, staring out into the clearing silently. Waiting.

"What is it that makes you cry, child?" Sesshoumaru whispered after several minutes. The broken sounds were distressing to him, and he wanted an explanation from his usually happy companion.

Rin sobbed harder, and buried her face into his arm. The sadness emanating from her filled his own heart with overwhelming emotions, and he swallowed the strange feeling down.

"Rin." Sesshoumaru whispered. "Why are you crying?"

Rin shook her head, and remained silent, her small body shaking from emotion, and Sesshoumaru stood up cradling her in his arm. Turning away from the source of when her tears began, he exited the clearing quickly.

Rin cried out, and struggled against him, trying to release herself from his tight hold on her.

"Rin, stop this." Sesshoumaru scolded gently.

"Rin wants her mama." She wailed, holding out her arms to the clearing.

Sesshoumaru stopped, and finally understood her grief. Was this where her family had died? Lowering himself to the ground, he held on to Rin tightly, refusing to let her go. "Shush, child." He whispered.

Rin sobbed again, choking on her emotions. "Rin wants her papa." She said brokenly.

Sesshoumaru swallowed the lump that formed in his throat, and he nodded. "Rin." He whispered.

Her red streaked eyes lifted to his clear golden ones, and she sniffed. "Rin is sorry, Lord Sesshoumaru."

He nodded. "You should not be sorry for anything, Rin."

"But-but Rin was bad. They killed mama and papa cause Rin didn't listen."

Frowning, Sesshoumaru peered at her silently. He knew that bandits had killed her family.

"Older brother died because Rin ran off, and didn't listen."

Sesshoumaru nodded, understanding why she always listened to him regardless of where they were. Smiling gently, he remembered when she had been told to stop and not to move. Indeed the little girl had stopped and remained rooted in place, one little foot held in the air. "Is that why you listen to me?"

Rin wiped her tears with her sleeve and nodded. "Rin is sorry. Rin is alone."

Sesshoumaru shook his head. "You are not alone."

"One day I will be. Jaken said so." Rin sniffed.

"Oh? What else did he tell you?"

"That Lord Sesshoumaru would leave Rin one day and not come back, but I told him that you always came back." Rin sobbed again.

"I do come back." Sesshoumaru confirmed.

Rin nodded.

"I will always return for you, Rin." He whispered. "You, the only one who has broken my hardened heart, and has given me reason to live. You have given me something to protect."

Rin swallowed. "Rin is useless. Rin is a burden."

Sesshoumaru sighed. "I think Rin is sad. You are nothing Jaken has told you, other then a child who now belongs to me." He buried his nose in her hair, catching traces of his scent on her, and he smiled. "Whether you are a child of my blood, or a child of my heart, you are indeed mine. I believe our meeting was not by chance, Rin."

The first gleam of hope entered her eyes, and she fought a small smile.

Sesshoumaru glanced at her curiously. "Our meeting is something I will never forget. Do you remember that village?"

Rin nodded, cringing. "I went there after mama and papa were killed." The words almost didn't come out.

"You were alone, as was I."

Rin nodded.

"I am not alone anymore."

Rin smiled then. "Rin is not alone either, Lord Sesshoumaru." Her smile slowly faded. "One day Rin will die." She whispered. "Then you will be alone."

Sesshoumaru flinched. "You will not be however, you will be reunited with your family.

Rin turned in his lap and hugged him.

Closing his eyes, he returned the hug, and sighed. "Are you alright now?"

She rubbed her eyes, and nodded still sad.

"Rin?"

The little girl smiled. "Can I go say good-bye?"

Sesshoumaru nodded, and watched as she slowly walked back to the clearing. Her innocent words filled his mind and he felt himself flinch again. 'One day Rin will die.' Clenching his hand into a fist, Sesshoumaru closed his eyes, and growled softly. 'Then you will be alone.' She had whispered.

Driving his fist into the earth, he opened his eyes slowly. Whispering softly to himself, Sesshoumaru blinked. "Yes Rin, I will be alone, but forever remembering you. You and your sweet smile." Was this what fate had in store for him? This small pain that now entered his chest at the mere thought of loosing Rin? Shaking his head, he stood up and released the tight fist. Taking a deep breath, he turned and watched as Rin gathered little flowers, which were actually weeds, from around the clearing and place them beside a few small rocks at the edge.

She grinned then and raced back to his side, and she flung her little arms around his legs. Swallowing the emotions that rose at the small innocent gesture of affection, Sesshoumaru knelt down and smiled. "Thank you, Lord Sesshoumaru." She whispered in his ear.

Pulling her into a tight hug, he whispered back. "It is I who should thank you, for opening my eyes."

Rin pulled back from the hug and for the first time in his life, he received a small kiss on his cheek. Blinking and lifting his hand to his face, he looked at her bewildered. Rin giggled and skipped back towards where they had been prior to her saddened outburst. Sesshoumaru remained rooted in place and winced. Growling again, he looked up staring into the sky. 'What have I gotten myself into, father?'

Standing, he turned and followed the little girl and smiled. "I shall enjoy whatever time I have with you, Rin." He whispered.