By My Side

Summary: (SessXOlderRin ONESHOT). Never did he realize the full implication of his action in resurrecting the girl child. A fine line separated the savior and the saved. Who was the savior and who was the saved? Strange how seemingly random incidents and events can shape a person's entire destiny. (Please R&R)

(A/N#1: Yes. Another long oneshot which I can't seem to escape. I am awe-struck by the lyrics of Yuki Kajiura's "Vanity" and they somehow found themselves in this fic since they feel so Sess/Rin-ish!) . Really, I dunno how that happened… while shrugging shoulders !

(A/N#2: This fic was done with Druidica in mind. Gal, I am so ssssoooorryyyy for the long oneshot but I hope it will provide a wee bit of inspiration in your pic)

Disclaimer: Do not own neither Inuyasha nor "Vanity" by Kajiura but I do own this story.

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So this was how it felt and what it meant to feel helpless.

It was a feeling totally alien to the silver-haired demon lord who, at the moment, was pacing restlessly. His knuckles gripped and whitened under the tense fisting of those long, tapered claws. He could feel his heart race anxiously and he was sure his eyes had a feral wildness about them. This was definitely a deviation from the normal, frozen state he usually showed to the world. Sesshomaru felt his youki heightened rapidly especially when he was emotionally charged and was doing his damnest to contain the transformation.

Those transformations were intermittent… but they could…. and …..did happen.

It was startling as he realized that those rare occasions all had a common denominator.

Rin.

She was always in the center of his attention.

So for such moment as this, he was not surprised at all to feel his mind reacted so vividly to her clamoring. This very moment where every single cell of his body felt deprived of oxygen and caused the lord to see white spots dancing behind his eyes as his ears picked up the slight sound of her whimpering in pain.

As he heard her cries, Sesshomaru felt his hair of his nape starting to stand on end and small tremors shimmered through his body.

Sweet, gentle Rin.

His Rin.

In a way, he marveled at the power she unknowingly wielded over him. She had no idea that she held so much sway with him even from the first moment. Sesshomaru could not recollect a time when he felt nothing at all for her. There was always something about her that drew his attention. When he furtively watched her pick flowers to weave fragrant crowns for her lord, when he heard her humming in a smoky, soft voice while waiting patiently for his return to her, when she trembled from her nightmares and he had wordlessly wrapped her closer in his embrace as though giving her a fraction of his strength to ward off those frightful images, he had known them all and had cataloged every nuance, every feature change with the minutest of detail in his mind.

He could not remember a time when he did not love her in some capacity.

Of course, he had vehemently denied that possibility for the longest of time.

But he could not deny his total absorption in her that had transformed from indolent curiosity of her loveliness in the beginning, to that of vigorous self-hatred for being so enthralled by a weak, useless human as she grew older, and finally to that of all consuming, all encompassing love for the young woman she had become.

He kept this knowledge deep within his heart, but most assuredly, Sesshomaru recognized his life had really been blandly meaningless until that pivotal encounter with her. It was as though he had only begun to truly live at that point and anything previous was unimportant and vain to his happiness.

0o0o0o0o0o0

(Flashback)

"…come a little bit closer,
don't stay in the shadows…" Vanity – Y. Kajiura

What made her so special? He thought, perplexed that his usually sharp mind could not scratch even the surface of an explanation that would make it palatable least of all to himself.

Was what it that drew her to him?

Was it her kindness when he had lain wounded on the forest floor?

She was not to know that all he needed was time to heal. Despite his threatening appearance and deep-throated growls obviously intended to keep trespassers well away, she kept coming back, kept plying him with sustenance that he did not want, kept showing him kindness and gentleness that he neither desired nor demonstrated. Although injured as he was, he could have easily snuffed her life out with a mere breath. Did she not know that in approaching a wounded and cornered animal, she put her life in danger?

Was it her persistence?

Sesshomaru felt a reluctant admiration for the mute girl child. She had shown a fortitude and perseverance despite the odds of being demolished and destroyed by an angry Taiyoukai. His formidable reputation was earned the hard way as many of his foes had come to realize. To utter his very name carelessly was brazenly foolish. To have the gall to look at him directly almost meant a certain death. Yet, this … creature, this … child was unaware of it all.

Obviously, she had no idea who he was and what he stood for; otherwise, she would have abandoned her curiosity and let him be after his initial warning growls.

His fascination at her foolish bravery found tender roots in the organ he called his heart and grew despite his numerous yet futile attempts to dislodge her tenacious hold. What was worse was those same roots became even more firmly entrenched as they weaved their magic through his bloodstream and invaded every corner of his powerful frame, being nurtured and gaining strength through the girl's devotion.

Never in his immortal life would Sesshomaru have thought a mere slip of a girl could bring about his emotional downfall. The centuries-old, hardened resolve of the demon lord was ironically stripped away quite easily and almost effortlessly.

Those damn bright smiles and clear gazes that always found him so unerringly…

Before he had even realized it or even put up a decent struggle, it was all over.

He had succumbed to the inevitable.

Sesshomaru could only claim a feeble excuse that his own childhood left him ignorant and ill-equipped in handling such emotional fervor. Memories of his younger days had been one of those "seen-but-not-talk" categories. Affectionate displays were shunned in the name of preserving the dignity and the righteousness of the Inuyoukai ruling clan. He had known of no other ways to maintain his dominance except through a thorough show of strength completely devoided of compassion….but…..

Rin's tender nature had quietly and persistently chipped away all those years of repressed emotions. The icy veneer became less malignant and he could dare say that he was better at replying in kind to her open affections.

Yes, love came unbidden and unasked.

His search for power paled in comparison to the treasure he had not sought but unwittingly gained.

In those pre-Rin days, Sesshomaru's focus was on loftier goals of gaining power and more power. There was never a doubt that he would not have been able to fulfill his destiny.

Power, what a strong aphrodisiac. Nothing else had existed for him in that narrow world until she crossed his path.

He thought he had needed nothing else and no one.

This Sesshomaru was a delusional fool.

Or maybe it was an action or something about him that caught her eyes to keep her at his side?

Had looks alone been the standards to measure worth, Sesshomaru was unquestionably head and shoulders above his fellow creatures. His physical beauty was unparallel; coupled with a proud "king-of-all-I-survey" arrogance made the demon lord a rare commodity and a highly prized possession. All he had to do was crook a finger and he could have the most powerful, most beautiful demonesses at his beck and call. But he had preferred to keep everyone at arm's length.

Except for the girl child. His soul silently reminded him.

If someone had told him that he would be subjected under the mere thumb of a young human soon after she took to following him, that creature would have found his blood spilt quickly on the ground by the dog lord's Toukijin and probably be revived by his Tenseiga to only suffer the same fate until said lord deigned satisfaction from the utter effrontery to his pride.

He projected pre-eminence. It was imbedded in his very core.

But could anyone blame him? Raised as the natural successor to a formidable king, his father taught him well in the ways of warfare and of courtly strategies. He excelled in both aspects and seemed to have surpassed even his sire's greatness. To achieve these goals, Sesshoramu consciously and deliberately had corralled his emotions and buried them deep inside by the sheer strength of his will and thought. Sesshomaru was in this game to win.

As for his paramour dalliances that he had allowed himself, they were famously discrete and only invoked to assuage the call of his flesh. They were all too quickly and carelessly tossed aside and forgotten. Any thing deeper than that superficiality was not desired by the lord.

Bah ! Look at him now.

Sesshomaru often mocked himself. For some unknown reasons, he did inadvertently and inexplicably accumulate baggage along his journey despite his icy demeanor and ruthless reputation. And behold, one of them a frail human female, helpless and powerless…the lowest of the low. But ironically, she seemed to be the only creature who did not fear him in any ways despite her obviously inferior status. She was the only creature who did not hesitate to walk beside him, innocently proclaiming it as her right, and yet furthermore amazingly, he had not discouraged her. It was as though his mind had unconsciously recognized her worth as his equal. She was the only one who had ever managed to hold her own in his presence and yet was still alive and flourishing in spite of it.

Respect him?

Absolutely!

Fear him?

Never!

And for once in his illustrious life, he did not want to see fear. Her fear.

"I'll be there by your side,
share your fears in the silent redemption…" Vanity – Y. Kajiura

Not too long after she came into his sphere of influence, he had quickly and mysteriously developed an innate abhorrence to see fear in her eyes, least of all if it were caused by him. Sesshomaru could not bear the idea that she was afraid of him, inwardly cringing at the very idea.

Like the crescent moon on his forehead, Sesshomaru always thought he was immovable and immutable. It was ironic how he had changed because of one insignificant variable in his life's complex equation.

He had always thrived on the fear he could engender from his enemies and make them rue the day they dared cross paths with him. It was a sensation that he reveled in, relishing in the flavor of it. But when he first felt her fear stemmed from a nightmarish sleep, and even though it was not directed at him, it left such a bitter, acrid taste on his tongue that he vowed to keep her from those memories as much as possible.

Easier said than done. In the light and sanity of the dawn of the next day, Rin learned assurance and trust in his unsaid actions to keep her safe.

But damn it all, he could not keep his own fear as controlled and unfortunately, there was no one who could cosset him out of his own terror.

His particular brand of horror always revolved around the incident when her life ebbed away from him on the forest floor.

Sesshomaru found himself at times awakened in the middle of the night drenched in sweat and quietly gasping for breath as his mind replayed from the moment when he scented her spilt blood and then found her immobile and drained of life. His reddened eyes snapped wide open in wakening to frantically seek for the girl's presence. The feral gleam and the inexplicable panic throbbing through his temple only returned to normal once his gaze finally was reassured by the sight of her delicate snoring form a few scant feet away.

Sesshomaru often found he was unable to rest for the remaining part of the night, preferring to sit and watch the rhythmic motion in the gentle rise and fall of her breathing and feeling a sense of unfathomable relief.

His nightmare was always the same. He saw Tenseiga unable to re-awaken the girl child despite his efforts, despite his smothered curses and threats and, lastly, despite his personal silent pleas to the fang. She had remained motionless, held tight in the grip of death. Her velvet brown eyes vacant as the imps carried her soul away. He was unable to stop them despite the ferocious slashes from Tenseiga while deep growls reverberated deep inside his body. At this point where his subconscious was unable to bear the horror of such failure, it would rouse him to urgent wakefulness and unshackle him from the nightmare with all his instincts clamoring for her so much that his entire frame shuddered in that primal need to protect. He supposed he was grateful that even his mind knew the limit of his mental endurance.

She had made him feel so much that he ached with the want to keep her safe and … yes, cherished.

In his darkest moods, he railed against the fates that had put her on his path. Perhaps he should have maintained his non-involvement philosophy concerning humans. But then again, he would have missed out on the opportunity of being with her.

It was enough for him to know the path his heart would always have chosen regardless of circumstances.

(End of flashback)

0o0o0o0o0o0

"….You play melodies of love
forgotten phrases
tender and sweet…" Vanity – Y. Kajiura

(divider to present time)

So the trio had traveled together through all these years and he witnessed the blossoming of the girl into something lovelier…

A piercing wail reached his ears and retrieved him from his thoughts. The agony evident in those screams made him tremble in anxiety, heightening his instinct to protect her as he sought out her scent.

Rin.

He was needed.

Without further thought or reason, Sesshomaru let his youki crackled as he transformed into an orb of blinding white light. More cries of agony were heard and his pulse quickened. He could feel a slash of scarlet invading his vision and he pushed himself more than he ever had needed before.

'Sesshomaru….' He could hear her voice echoing her desperate need for him.

"You'll be there, by my side;"

"You may never know my devotion…" – Vanity – Y. Kajiura

Of course he was fully aware of her love for him but did he ever divulge his devotion to the girl?

Sesshomaru was not a creature to be considered eloquent, but surely she knew how precious she was to him? Surely she could tell from the way his eyes always linger on her face, loving this human who grew more beautiful to him each passing day, from the way she could entice him with just a single smile, and from the way he was able to rouse her passion to a fevered pitch, and from the way he held her so tightly as their sweat-slicked bodies found bliss together. Surely the depth of his feelings for her was plainly evident ever since their first intimate moment with each other.

0o0o0o0o0o0

(Flashback #2 …Warning -- Mature Content Starting -- both Rin and Sess' perspectives)

Sesshomaru leaned closer and placed his lips gently on her soft ones. His own lips moving along the edge of hers, nibbling softly. Sweet. She tasted as sweet as he had thought. Their fullness was delicious and he longed to devour them deeper.

Gently. Gently. It would not help matter if he startled her too quickly.

He traced the outline of her lips with his tongue, whetting her appetite for his kiss and inhaled as he felt the quickening of her pulses.

"Rin, my love." He whispered her name softly.

"Y..yes…Sesshomaru," she breathed his name reverently on a wisp of air, still finding it strange to say his name without the proper prefix for his exalted station. However, he did insist that she refrain from this requirement especially in the private confines of their bedroom. Her eyes fluttered opened and he was gratified that they were slightly glazed at the sensations his lips were causing.

"Open your mouth, darling." He instructed his Lady.

Rin blushed. A rosy mantle settled on her cheeks but she complied, her eyes full of trust for her lord husband.

Sesshomaru gently nudged her mouth wider, long fingers tangling in her hair as they angled her head for a deeper invasion. He could feel warmth heated his loins in such an intimate contact with her. His tongue moved erotically inside the dark sweet cavern of her mouth. Her tongue shyly twined with his and he devoured her flesh, rhythmically stroking and tasting her freely. Her lashes had dropped down and fanned her hot cheeks as her head tilted instinctively to allow Sesshomaru greater access. He leaned in closer and took advantage of her slight movement which unknowingly enticed him further. She responded timidly at first to his seeking tongue but soon found herself answering his need as their tongues locked and dueled in this love dance.

Sesshomaru continued his assault on her mouth while his hand, draping on her slender neck, had moved down to curve behind her small back and pressing her closer to his body. It shuddered convulsively when Rin arched further into him, as if compelled by an unknown force to have him closer than her own skin.

"S…sesshom…" Rin whispered his name, drawing in deep breaths at the strange feelings evoked by this demon lord. Her beloved husband. Her breasts ached and swelled inside her kimono and she ached to feel his touch there. Actually, her whole entire body ached for him but she was still too timid to ask.

Sesshomaru's lips left her mouth and traveled slowly along her jawline, raining hot open-mouthed kisses down the slender column of her velvety smooth neck. There were many times in the past when he was inadvertently glimpsed this delectable portion of her body as she tried to cool off during the heat of the afternoon sun. He had yearned then to reach out and trace the silky path.

But now, now he had every right to do so.

Nudging the collar of her kimono open to fall down by her elbow, he pressed more kisses on the soft, vulnerable chest. He could feel her heart tattooing away under the ministration of his hands and lips.

She smelled so sweet and tantalizing. He was on edge and his famous iron control seemed to be slipping rapidly. But with this exhilarating freedom to do as he pleased with her came the tremendous responsibility of knowing that this was Rin's first awakening to womanhood; he must exercise a firmer grip on his feelings.

"Do you like this, my love?" moving slightly away from her frame, he asked her softly as his hand moved from her back to the sash of her obi. Noting her flushed face and the gentle nod of her head, he continued to play with the sash and untied it in one smooth stroke of his long fingers. He gently parted the sides and breathed audibly at the sight revealed by his action, his head reared back in awe of her.

Rin heard the drawn breath, her eyes flew open mistaking that he found something ugly with her body. She saw a her lord grimaced while a slightly pinched look locked around his lips and the nostrils of his elegant nose flared tautly indicative of his highly emotional state. Her arms moved up automatically to shield her body from his searching gaze while turning her face away from her husband, ashamed that she was found not as beautiful for him as the other females of his past. She still had some scars bearing witness to her brutal death from the savage grips of the wolves. Her imperfect body was no match for his greatness. She didn't really deserve to have him. She wished she could be more beautiful for him.

Rin knew how perfect and beautiful her lord was. She was also very aware of the numerous females who have tried to catch his eyes during her travel with him. The creatures, whose beauty were usually beyond compare to surely meet her lord's specifications, had regarded her with such contempt when they saw the useless child who was accompanying the Tai youkai. She wondered why he had chosen her.

Her tumultuous thoughts were abruptly silenced as Sesshomaru' hand moved to softly peel her arms away from her body to expose herself once again to his eyes.

"Don't." He grunted darkly. A red hue had entered his eyes, changing the golden orbs to something more feral. He had moved her arms to rest by her side. "Do not ever hide yourself from this Sesshomaru." He commanded her gruffly.

"But I am so ugly for my lord and I-" she protested but was stopped mid sentence.

"Enough". He interrupted. "I will not have you speak so of yourself."

At her look of uncertainty, Sesshomaru realized that Rin's groundless fears needed to be settled and he sighed briefly. "Forgive this Sesshomaru. I have been very remiss in not being more opened with you. Shall I tell you what I see before me?"

His lips quirked slightly at the corner as he refocused his attention on her face. Golden eyes ever serious.

Rin was extremely surprised. During their "courtship", her lord was always formal and precise, never one to indulge in small talk to encourage the young girl. Never did he attempt to make love to her. Always so correct, so poised and restrained in his courtship of her. Rin was old enough and wise enough to realize that he could have taken her without elevating her to the desired status of his mate, of his equal. So, despite his lack of love for humans, she must have been special to some degree, mustn't she?

Watching these doubts plainly chased themselves across her clear features, Sesshomaru could have kicked himself for his stupidity. How could he have ignored Rin's need of confirmation of his desire, his love for her?

His whole body trembled and his thoughts scattered like wind whenever she is nearby. He needed to be with her, to see her, to feel her breathing gently by his side. How could she not know her importance in his life?

Fool ! Of course, she wouldn't know since you never really told her. He berated himself. She is a human and they require direct communication constantly. At least, this was the gist of what his half-brother's miko had stated so long ago.

"You are my chosen. The one I want by my side until eternity ends. I am nothing without you." Sesshomaru spoke each word clearly and distinctly to ensure that Rin understood his heart once and for all. "You saved my soul when Tenseiga brought you back to life and I will never relinquish you."

At this promise, his lips turned up at the corners slightly. "As for your body," he continued while fascinated at the blush that seemed to suffuse Rin's entire frame. "It is delectable. Skin as soft as a lamb, hair as dark as a raven's wing, eyes as gentle as a dove, and lips as fresh as the dew, and breasts as soft as down."

The very idea of being this woman's first and only lover, of burying himself in her sweetness was an intoxicating thought. It called to the primitive side of his nature beneath the elegant exterior. For all of his aloofness, Sesshomaru felt things deeply.

In his complex feelings for her, he also felt an erotic desire to protect. This need to have her safe and well had always been a fundamental element he knew he possessed since the first moment. Her gentle spirit needed a soft wooing – something that he did not know he was capable of until he met her.

He did not want her impetuously. Sesshomaru had no doubt that he wanted her forever. He did not want her to want him emotionally only. He wanted her to want him with not only heart but also her head. He certainly did not want hero worshipping. That was not what he hankered from her.

His hand reached out and wrapped fingers around one milky globe, testing the weight and texture of one while his mouth sought the dusky peak of the other. His tongue flicked at the bud until it hardened with desire for him and his teeth grazed and pulled on it. He suckled on the breast hungrily while massaging the other greedily, low growls emitted from the back of his throat, his pleasure so extreme.

He felt Rin's fingers entwining in his hair, holding on to his head as though to forcibly keep his mouth on her body.

"Ooohh…Aisheteru…" Rin moaned softly. Her back arched off the floor bringing her body closer to his adoring mouth. She felt heat lightning licked along her nerve endings.

His mouth and hand were seducing her and she was dazzled by the gamut of emotions they created.

Sesshomaru could feel a slight tremor in the body beneath his lips and wanted to continue this mutual and exquisite torture. His mouth moved to the valley of her breasts, traveling downward slowly with drugging kisses, fingers caressing the slim waist, dipping and feeling the natural flare of soft hips. His tongue laved wet circles around her navel. The moisture cooled immediately on her heated skin and the instant contrast made the girl shiver delicately.

Rin continued to clutch his hair pulling it slightly as though to convey her need of him without using words, her body shook visibly as she felt the southward direction of Sesshomaru's attention.

Without the benefit of a mother or father, Rin was educated primarily by Jaken at Sesshomaru's command. They had explored everything under the moon and sun but Jaken only glossed over the mating rituals since he was too reticent and embarrassed to go over too much detail and also the girl would never need to know. For who would want her, that foolish human child? She would be lucky to be returned to a human village somewhere along the way of their travels.

But that never materialized. By inclination, Sesshomaru was a very possessive creature.

Straddling between her slender legs, Sesshomaru slid down her length and opened the rest of her kimono. He made short work of her clothing and before long, the slender girl was gloriously naked in front of his eyes. Needless to say, her beauty is beyond words. His eyes drinking in the sight before him. Rin watched him watching her and she flushed with pleasure as she saw desire blazing quite openly in his eyes. She also felt strangely gratified because she seemed to be the only one who can make her lord like this. She vowed to use her love to bring his peace and joy, never to harm.. She felt the hardness of his lean body pressing against her as he swooped down once more to feast on her.

His lips found her womanhood and his tongue flicked out in eagerness seeking her warmth. Kami, if there ever were a heaven, he must have found it. His palm gripped her buttocks and raised her slightly up to him as he buried his tongue deeper inside her, straining and pushing further as though he wanted to know her very essence. Feeling her body writhing in agonized pleasure beneath him, Sesshomaru groaned deep in his throat. Her warmth spread like warm honey into his mouth and he drank deeply from the cistern. Sesshomaru heard Rin silently screamed his name as he brought her to completion of her body's first pleasure.

"My l..love. That was so w…wonderful." She stuttered slightly, still caught up in the flames of passion that he had unleashed. Reaction was still settling in for both of them.

The dog demon exhaled deeply. Sesshomaru had taken other females to bed before. But those occasions had always been so clinical. They were just something to assuage his physical needs and were carelessly discarded once he had accomplished his use of them.

His heart, soul, and body had never been involved before, never been so attuned to the woman beneath him as this moment.

How he loved her praise and was gratified even more that she was so vocal about her affection for him. No one had ever called him her love before and no one loved him so deeply and genuinely like his Rin. Sesshomaru was humbled but he had never felt stronger than seeing himself through her eyes.

Abandoning thoughts, Sesshomaru felt Rin's silken limbs rubbed unconsciously against him and he quickly moved back up to her mouth and gave her a taste of herself as he grinded his lips against hers mimicking her actions. He broke away and looked into her eyes.

"Are you ready, my Rin?" Sesshomaru whispered in her ears, nibbling her lobe gently and kissing away a stray tear near her temple while gently stroking the baby soft hair away from her face.

God, she looked so beautiful and sinfully beguiling with her body fully exposed to his view and touch.

He felt her nodded her head and her eyes shone with the clear gaze of a child. "I will be as gentle as I can since it will hurt the first time, but it will get better. I promise you." He whispered again, his voice harsh in the intensity of his feelings that he was trying to keep under control.

Rin wrapped her arms around his neck and raised her body up slightly to meet him, her trust in him absolute.

Sesshomaru growled deep in his throat and placed his hand beneath her buttocks, squeezing and gently lifting her up slightly to ready her for his invasion.

Parting her legs wider apart, Sesshomaru slowly began to push inside her tight frame. With each plunge, he encountered her body's resistance and it was driving him insane, making him almost mindless with delight. Pleasure stroked along his length with each advance and retreat and the slight sheen of sweat from both their bodies only intoxicated him more. His face grew taut and the skin stretched, elongating the stripes on his cheek as his length was squeezed by Rin's instinctive resistance in defense to his loving assault.

Sesshomaru gritted his teeth, a muscle jumping along his lean jaw as Rin moaned gently, her hands stroking up and down his back, frantic with a need she did not have a name for and he reacted to her desire so acutely. He was not even half way in and he was ready to explode.

She was just too much for his senses. Not even having to lift a blessed finger to make him feel like putty in her hands. The quivering mortal beneath him did not yet fully comprehend just how completely she held him in the small palm of her hands. He, the great Sesshomaru of the Western land, was overwhelmed by love for her. And he intended to strengthen her through that love.

Sesshomaru did not know if he could even hold out that long against the girl's guileless temptation. He leaned on his elbow, eyes bleeding red as he scrutinized her face not wanting to miss a single emotion.

"Wrap your legs around me." Sesshomaru urgently breathed his request in her ear and groaned softly when her long slender legs encased his slim waist. The movement opened her up slightly and eased the tightness a bit for him to indulge himself and gently bury himself further into the narrow passage.

Sesshomaru finally encountered her barrier and in one quick thrust, surged inside her, seating himself to the hilt.

Rin clenched her lips until they bled, feeling as though she had been split into two. It was still painful despite her lord's utmost care and gentleness. Tears tracked silently down her temples and Sesshomaru licked them dry.

"Rin." He held her close to his heart, becoming motionless to allow her time to regain her composure even though he wanted nothing more than to thrash wildly into her. His entry into her tight sheath was excruciatingly painful yet enjoyable (so he could not imagine the magnitude of her pain). Her tight passage wrapped heat along his length and he felt burnt alive by them. However, sensing her pain, Sesshomaru forced himself to re-gain control and immobilized his body.

"We will wait until you are ready…." He wanted to give her time to adjust to the invasion of his body while gazing intently down at the beautifully flushed face of his young mate.

Rin's eyes flew wide open, her gratefulness apparent. Her husband was really kind-hearted despite his icy exterior. She always knew that all along. It was instinctive as her heart beat from her first glance of him……

(End Flashback #2)

0o0o0o0o0o0

(divider to present time)

The orb settled and Sesshomaru emerged from the white light to glide purposefully into the room, his red-rimmed eyes totally focused on the slight figure of the female in front of him while a multitude of activities surrounded her. The scent of her blood made his senses chaotic.

Sesshomaru willed his body and mind to remain calm.

She had cried out for him; had yearned for his presence and he could not get to her fast enough.

The crowd parted ways in the wake of the rapidly advancing lord, his demonic aura had risen and crackled ominously. Sesshomaru's attention was riveted on that tiny frame that was Rin. The signature golden eyes glittered dangerously and those creatures were no fools. Not willing to feel the wrath of the lord, they quickly melted back several paces to give some distance between them and an obviously frantic Taiyoukai.

Sesshomaru hurriedly made his way to the person who had held his thoughts captive for the last ten years, uncaring of propriety.

He just wanted to reach her and take away her pain. He could never stand it when she was hurt. So deep was their connection to each other that it felt as though he was also in similar agony. The smell of blood was wreaking havoc with his senses and the patrician nostrils flared in self-disgust as the lips thinned revealing a pinched look around the edge. Keeping her from harm had always been his objective but he failed in this instance.

Her blood.

He approached closer to the figure that was half propped up and velvet soft brown eyes lit up from her exhausted face.

Sesshomaru tensed and swiftly sank to his knees beside her while long fingers reached out to smooth back the sweat-dampened strands of ebony hair. The clawed hand gently moved further down to caress the soft peach of her skin against his calloused fingers. Sesshomaru felt slightly mollified as a gentle peace invaded his spirit at the touch of her and noticed her eyes closed briefly savoring the contact. The demon lord made a small whimper in the back of his throat before bringing his face down to nudge aside the yukata fabric on her shoulder and nuzzled her slender neck as he inhaled Rin's familiar and intoxicating scent.

"I love you." The young woman whispered in his ear and a similar response rose up from deep inside his frame. She smiled weakly and continued. "Come, my love, bid welcome to your heir."

It was then that Sesshomaru shifted his focus from his mate to a tiny bundle at her side. The child was swaddled proudly in the red and white colors of the Inuyoukai clan. Sesshomaru's eyes widened as he stared, mesmerized, at a miniaturized replica of himself. Identical golden eyes stared back at his sire while tiny baby claws waved fitfully in the air. With a hand that shook, Sesshomaru reached out and tenderly stroked the soft fine silver hair back revealing the proud emblem of the crescent moon on the small forehead. The baby grasped his father's finger and held on tightly while gurgling gleefully.

"He is perfect." Sesshomaru's normally melodious voice cracked. He could feel his own eyes misted over. "Thank you, my beloved, for a wonderful gift."

Turning his head back swiftly to the girl who was his universe, he dipped his face closer to hers. In a flash, his lips had fastened reverently and hungrily on the girl's pink ones. Her delighted gasp responded to his ardor and he sank into her warmth while ignoring the soft murmurs and sighs of the nearby female attendants who had been aiding their Lady in her delivery. The kiss dragged on and no one dared to interrupt them. Some of them were guiltily wiping sentimental tears with their kimono's sleeves.

As it were, the courtiers were still not used to this side of Lord Sesshomaru in his treatment of his wife. Those fiercely loyal to him had their doubts when the girl first entered the palace walls. They had silently feared for their lord's sanity in bringing a human home and eventually elevating her to a status only second to him. But as time transpired, they had to admit they were wrong in their assumptions of the human girl. She was held above all else and yet Lady Rin had never abused Sesshomaru's deep feelings and regard for her. She revered him as her lord and husband and could careless for anything like power or wealth. As long as she was by his side and loved by him, she was content. Though the couple's display of affections were almost never explicitly expressed except in the confine of their own private chambers, his underlings were aware of the almost imperceptible changes the Lady had wrought in their Lord Sesshomaru. The more discerning could see a wealth of emotions in a swift exchange of looks, of a quick touching of hands, of the way she leaned slightly onto his kimono's sleeve during their usual stroll through the palace gardens, and of the way his broad shoulders flexed protectively over her petite frame. If anything, her mere presence had strengthened him, enabling him to reach his goal of supreme ruler since he had found a much more meaningful reason to his existence.

Not that their lord softened in all aspects.

Far from it.

In certain perspectives, he was more obstinate, more impatient, and definitely deadlier when it concerned her safety.

Lord Sesshomaru's ire and ruthlessness invariably would increase when there seemed to be the slightest whiff of insurgency against the human girl.

To act against her was like signing one's own death warrant and not many had dared and none had succeeded.

The ladies-in-waiting saw their lord reluctantly broke off the embrace and pulled away from his mate when the newborn decided to make small whimpering sounds that brought his parents' attention back to the small bundle.

A quiet directive from molten golden eyes and the room cleared soundlessly leaving the family in total privacy.

Sesshomaru watched Rin calmly undo her kimono's lapel and gently set her son upon her breast and he sighed deeply at the action.

One of the more humbling events he had been able to experience in his life span …. to witness his Rin nurturing her child.

Their child.

His heir.

Sesshomaru briefly closed his eyes and inhaled sharply. It was as if he became momentarily blinded by such a powerful self-realization.

His destiny of greatness had been fulfilled.

The Fates had kindly and unexpectedly gifted him for his completely thoughtless act in saving the young girl. She had become his badge of honor, his reason for existing, his very breath.

Sesshomaru paused in his musing and relished the moment of seeing the dark-haired woman sustaining his son's life while crooning a soft lullaby.

There was nothing more powerful and beautiful to the demon lord than the sight of the love of his life cradling his child so protectively.

The End