Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha.
A/N: Thanks to Silverontherose for betaing.
Ah-Un bellowed uneasily in the background as Sesshomaru stared in silence. Lying dead on the ground before him was Rin, whom he had not seen in years. Her husband's body lay on top of hers in a futile attempt to shield her from the spear that had pierced through them both. Rin's hand rested on top of his back, holding him close in their final moments. A pool of dark blood seeped out from their bodies and blended with their black hair against the floor of the small hovel. Sesshomaru surmised that they had been slaughtered by brigands not hours ago.
Looking at them now, he recalled the day that Rin had left him. It had been a long time in coming, and he'd made no objections. She was meant to live among her own kind. Only… why did she have to choose him to share her life with?
Sesshomaru lifted Inuyasha's clawless hand from the floor and used it to sheath Tessaiga, which lay beside him, rusty and useless. Even though it was daybreak, Inuyasha remained human, frozen in the form he'd died in. It was nothing more than bad fortune that the brigands attacked on the night of the new moon, but Sesshomaru didn't care. The fool had turned human on the one night Rin needed his protection most.
"Inuyasha," Sesshomaru said, picking up his body and gently laying him on top of Ah-Un. "You died a pathetic human and disgraced our family." Sesshomaru placed the sheathed Tessaiga at his own hip: A useless weight he could not wield. "Once again you have shown you are not worthy of Father's sword." He gave his brother one last long, solemn look, and then he went back for Rin.
He had not held her since she was a little girl and he lingered now, cradling her in his arm. Even in death she looked beautiful, but the Rin he once knew had vanished long ago. She grew up, and with each passing year he felt her slipping further away. He didn't approve (but he wasn't surprised) when his brother started gravitating toward her. Rin had always possessed the uncanny ability to heal hearts, and Inuyasha's had been no different.
Now Sesshomaru laid her body down with some bitterness next to his brother's, and bore them away.
He buried them side-by-side in a field, out of sight from the decimated village. Tenseiga made no protests as he dug the graves; the sword of healing could not revive that which it had already saved before.
When he finished, Sesshomaru looked for the type of flowers that Rin had liked best in her childhood. Often she would string them together and link them around Jaken, much to his objections. The flowers reminded Sesshomaru of her youthful laughter. That was the way he wanted to always remember Rin, as a carefree girl who was forever smiling.
He placed the flowers on the graves, and it was done. There was nothing more to do for them, but still Sesshomaru felt incomplete. There was an inkling in his heart, another baseless premonition like the one that had told him to seek out Rin in the first place. It urged him to go back to the village, for what purpose he didn't know.
Sesshomaru closed his eyes and told his heart to be silent. There was no way to save her. Yet only when he had turned in the direction of the village once more would his heart relent.
The village was as desolate as before. Sesshomaru cursed himself for foolishness, but his feet continued on toward the hovel anyway. He knew there was no sense in it, but he looked inside.
He found nothing. Nothing but an empty home that reeked of blood. He started to walk away, but a soft noise stopped his steps. A cry?
He turned back. The whimpering began again, small and timid, but growing steadily louder. It was coming from somewhere inside the vacant home. Whatever it was, the pervasive scent of death had prevented him from detecting its presence before.
He knelt to the ground and pulled back a mat, running his hand over the floorboards. Two were loose. He pried them away and peered into the hidden ditch. That's when his heart stopped.
Lying there wrapped in blankets was a baby boy with wisps of white hair and a pair of familiar-looking canine ears. He couldn't have been more than a few months old, and his cries were growing increasingly desperate the longer he waited for his mother to answer them.
Sesshomaru hardly dared to breathe as he lifted him awkwardly but carefully into the light. The infant bawled and fussed in his unfamiliar arm. He had never held a baby before and he didn't know how to make one stop crying. "Silence," he said, and the infant shrieked louder than ever. Clearly he had no respect for authority. This was very off-putting.
Sesshomaru stood there frozen in discomfort, holding the screeching child in his arm. How ridiculous that someone so tiny could put him at such unease. The baby needed his mother. She would know what to do. But Rin was gone. He was the only one that could help her baby now.
Slowly he started rocking the infant back and forth, and whispering to him in a gentler voice. To his surprise, the baby began to calm down. Sesshomaru's mouth opened slightly as the infant's face relaxed. He had the soft features of his mother. The baby looked up at him with Rin's same curious, dark eyes until gradually his eyelids fell and he drifted into sleep.
Sesshomaru's heart grew lighter. The child was such a helpless thing. Inuyasha and Rin must have known that the danger had been coming, and acted in time to protect him. Did they hide their son away knowing that Sesshomaru would come to save him?
Sesshomaru would never know for certain, and he didn't care. For now, he had someone to protect. Tessaiga, the useless weight at his hip, would serve a purpose after all when the child was old enough to wield it.
"Come," Sesshomaru whispered as he bore the infant away under a climbing sun. "Let's go home."