Naraku was still in hiding. Sesshomaru had been tracking a demon that had a trace of Naraku's scent about him but it didn't lead him to his prey. After interrogating the demon and finding out that it had once escaped Naraku but was clueless as to where the bastard was now, Sesshomaru let Jaken put the pathetic demon out of its misery.
"Heh-heh. Worthless demon. Feel the flames from the Staff of Two Heads!" Jaken was thrilled to do his master's bidding. Intense flames engulfed the half-dead demon and left behind only ashes. Still laughing Jaken turned to Sesshomaru only to find him walking away. Jaken quickly forgot his laughter and hurried to catch up. He could tell Lord Sesshomaru was getting tired of all these setbacks. Jaken hoped they would find Naraku soon before Lord Sesshomaru took out his frustrations on him. At least there would be Rin to distract his lord from his bad mood; sometimes the little human was quite handy to have around.
Sesshomaru had left Rin and Ah-Un in a field of flowers. The child seemed to love flowers – she was always picking them for him. Sesshomaru still marveled at the relationship he had with the human child. He didn't know how long they would be together; human lives were so fragile but he intended to keep her safe by his side for as long as she needed him.
She was just over the next hill and he expected to hear her singing as she usually did to help pass the time but there was only silence. Maybe Rin was napping. At the top of the hill, he stopped – stunned. There was a barren area directly in the middle of the field and in that spot lay Rin and Ah-Un.
The wind changed direction and he finally caught the sent of her blood. The flowers had masked the scent. Sesshomaru moved so quickly that even Jaken couldn't follow his movements. In a mere moment, he was by her side. Blood covered her little chest and was splattered on the ground around her. Ah-Un bore wounds as well as being unconscious.
"My lord, what has happ…ened?" Jaken broke off as he finally reached Sesshomaru's side. "My word! Is she…alive?" Jaken spoke in a whisper as he reached out a small green hand.
Sesshomaru lifted the child and cradled her against him. "Rin?" Nothing. He felt – a mixture of emotions, anger at the demon that had attacked her, anger at himself for leaving her alone and…despair?
"My…lo-rd. You've…returned." Pain caused lines in the little face and yet she tried to smile for him. "I'm…glad."
She was alive! "Rin, what happened?" He knew he needed to get her some help but knowing what had attacked her and Ah-Un was important too.
Rin struggled to remember the words but the pain was so intense. Those angry claws had torn her flesh from collarbone to waist. She only wanted to sleep, to run from the pain but 'he' meant the world to her so she racked her brain for the words, moved passed the pain to give him the answer he needed.
"He…he said. Now Sessho… we will… who's the…better…heir." Rin hiccupped as pain flowed along the claw marks. Turning crying eyes to Sesshomaru, she begged, "…Don't … leave…me." Another shuddering sigh and she went limp.
"Rin!" Quickly he checked to see if she was still alive. Once he was sure she lived, he picked her up. He had to find some humans, a village that could care for her. Then he would find the creature that harmed Rin. "Jaken, stay with Ah-Un. Tend his wounds." Sesshomaru said no more but took a few steps then transformed into a ball of light and took off over the trees.
Jaken looked after him and wished him good speed. "Poor Rin. The child didn't deserve what's happened to her." Jaken shook his head then went to take a look at Ah-Un. The dragon had claw marks and burn scars over his entire body – he'd fought hard to protect Rin, obviously. Jaken quickly got some water to clean the dragon's wounds and wondered about the message Rin was able to give Lord Sesshomaru. "'Who's the better heir?' What a curious thing to say. I wonder what kind of demon it was." Jaken was relieved to see one of Ah-Un's heads was conscious. "Ah good, you're coming around. Maybe we can catch up to my lord soon." Applying some herbs to the wounds, he hoped Lord Sesshomaru found someone to help Rin, he'd gotten used to having the child around.
"Man! We haven't had a good lead on Naraku for a while now." Inuyasha exclaimed. They were sitting on the porch of an abandoned hut just outside of a tiny village.
"Yes, it's quite disturbing. There's been no demon activity or any of Naraku's incarnations or minions attacking us. It's as if he's waiting for us to find him." Miroku leaned back against a wall.
"But how are we to find him with no clues and what will we finally find? He could have all sorts of powers by now." Sango had just come back from getting water and joined the conversation.
"As frustrating as this is, none of it can be helped. We just have to keep looking." Kagome had just stepped outside and sat beside Inuyasha. They were all silent for a moment and let the insects do the talking.
"Well I'm glad we can't find him. He wants to kill us." Shippo said.
"I agree with Shippo!" Myoga popped up out of Shippo's hair. "How about we go find a nice hot spring?" He looked over at the girls. "I'll help you ladies wash your backs." He chuckled.
"Yeah right. Like I'd let you anywhere near Kagome while she's bathing." Inuyasha leaned threateningly towards him.
"Oh come on Lord Inuyasha, let an old flea have some fun!" Myoga hopped away when Inuyasha made a grab for him. This bit of play lightened the atmosphere until Inuyasha sniffed up and stood up. Everyone was instantly put on edge as he drew his sword.
"There!" He pointed to the ball of light streaking their way. "Sesshomaru." Dread filled Inuyasha, he didn't feel like fighting his brother yet again over nothing but then he caught the scent of blood, human blood. Looking to Kagome, "Get you first-aid kit, Kagome. The girl, his companion is hurt." Cautiously Inuyasha sheathed his sword but kept a hand on the hilt.
"Rin's hurt?" Kagome looked over to see the light hover above the ground before becoming Sesshomaru. Quickly she went to retrieve her backpack.
Sesshomaru had caught Inuyasha's scent. He didn't want his help but Rin needed attention and the woman – Kagome was something of a priestess. Besides, if he went into a village they would probably be too frightened of him to help the child. It wasn't the answer he wanted but it was a way to help Rin.
As he landed he saw Inuyasha putting away his sword, he must have smelled the girl's blood. "Inuyasha. The woman. Rin needs..." Sesshomaru didn't have to finish for Kagome ran out and straight to him. The woman was not afraid of him.
"Oh my. Give her to me." Kagome put her hands around the slight body but Sesshomaru wouldn't release his hold. She stared up at him and could see no emotion but the fact that he was reluctant to let Rin go, spoke volumes to Kagome. "I'll help her. Please let me." His eyes were identical to Inuyasha's. Finally, he blinked and gave her the child. "Sango, I'm going to need your help."
"Of course Kagome." Sango put down her weapon. She'd been ready to defend them but for once, she could see that was the last thing on the dog demon's mind. "Shippo, you and Miroku go fetch more water please." She'd seen the blood on Sesshomaru's robes and knew the little girl had been severely hurt.
Miroku looked to Inuyasha first before doing as Sango bid. When he received a nod, he took off after Shippo leaving the two brothers alone.
Sesshomaru didn't know what to do with himself. He wanted to go after the demon and kill it but Rin had asked him not to leave her and until he found out if she was going to live, he would stay.
"So what happened? Was it Naraku?" Inuyasha felt it safe enough to sit down. He glanced over his shoulder and watched as the girls cleaned away blood.
Sesshomaru didn't want to talk to Inuyasha, his brother. Half-brother but there was no mistaking he had the look of their father. He'd never denied that Inuyasha was his brother but that didn't mean he had to treat him like one. "It's none of your concern Inuyasha."
Inuyasha jumped up. "Look you brought her here to us to care for her. I think you owe us some explanation! What if whatever attacked her came here! We need to be prepared!"
"I will take care of the demon if it shows up. You just make sure you stay out of my way!" Sesshomaru turned his back on Inuyasha.
"Why you!" Claws extended, Inuyasha jumped off the porch.
"Lord Inuyasha! Can't see that Lord Sesshomaru is worried about the girl? Maybe we should wait and see what Lady Kagome says." Myoga appeared on Inuyasha's shoulder.
"Myoga! Have you been here the whole time?" Amber eyes looked down at the flea.
"So you're here, old man? Well there you go Inuyasha; if he's here then we're safe from being attacked." Sesshomaru said sarcastically.
"Yeah, you're right about that." For a brief moment, they stared at each other. They'd shared a common sentiment and for a second it felt normal. Both looked away at the same time. The two separated and waited in silence for news on Rin. Only Myoga wasn't done talking despite being insulted.
"Lord Sesshomaru, why didn't you use the Tensaiga on Rin? If you'd just waited until she died, you could have brought her back to life."
Sesshomaru moved so fast that Inuyasha didn't have a chance to move before Myoga was held tight in his brother's fist. "Watch what you say flea or maybe you won't live to hide another day." With a careless toss, Sesshomaru sent Myoga flying into the stream, yards away.
O-kay. Inuyasha thought and backed away from his brother. The girl really did mean something to him. He didn't want to watch her die and then bring her back to life. Inuyasha thought of having to watch Kagome die before he was able to help her and felt his heart wince.
Sesshomaru moved away to sit at the base of a large tree. Settling down he closed his eyes and prepared to wait. His brother paced for a while before he too settled down to wait until Kagome came out with some answers. He heard the flea return as well but wisely he kept his mouth shut this time.
Miroku and Shippo had played nurse to Kagome's and Sango's doctor. The claw marks were bad enough but then there seemed to be some kind of poison or toxin at work as well. It had taken all of Sango's knowledge of demons and all the herbs Kagome kept to find the right combination to stop the infection.
Kagome sat back on her heels and released a pent up breath. "I think it's very lucky Sesshomaru got her here in time." She looked over at Sango. "I don't think I could have saved her without your knowledge of demons. You say she had symptoms from two very different demon toxins?"
"Yes, I've never heard anything like it before. It was almost as if she were attacked by two different demons at the exact same time." She held out a hand and Miroku pulled her up into his arms. He gave Sango a quick squeeze and rubbed some of the tension out of her shoulders.
"I'd better go talk to Sesshomaru. He and Inuyasha must have called a truce - it's awfully quiet out there." Kagome stretched and went outside. Inuyasha was up and by her side in moments. She accepted a tight hug from him before looking for Sesshomaru.
He'd heard her as soon as she stepped outside. Opening his eyes, he saw Inuyasha take Kagome in his arms. Slowly he stood and went to join them. The woman didn't look overly upset but he could tell she was tired and the scent of Rin's blood covered her. Nostrils flared as he stopped before them and looked inside the hut.
Rin's slight form was resting on some strange looking blankets. Her face held no pain and Sesshomaru's tension began to ease somewhat. "She will recover?"
Kagome took pity on him even if he didn't look like he needed it. "We were finally able to find the right herbs to help her. She'll have some scars I'm afraid." Kagome looked back to Rin before facing Sesshomaru again.
"Kagome," Inuyasha cut his eyes to Sesshomaru. "Any idea what attacked her?"
"Well, we were just talking about that. It's as if she were attacked by two very different demons. It's why we were so long treating her."
"So were there signs of two demons?" Inuyasha wanted to know. By now Miroku had joined them outside.
Sesshomaru was silent, thinking about the words Rin had managed to say and the fact that she was seemingly attacked by two demons. He thought now he knew who had attacked Rin. He'd attacked Rin because she held his own scent. It was because she smelled of him that she was now scarred. That bastard had returned from the continent.
He was part moth demon, part panther demon and part human. "Danzaemon." Sesshomaru said the name aloud.