A.N. I'll keep this note short and just thank you all for reviewing!
Disclaimer: I do own this plot, but I do not own Inuyasha.
Angel of Mine
Part Two: Life Lessons
She did not see Sesshoumaru for the half a week that he had said to wait and she was glad for that. She did however see Rin every evening from that initial meeting.
And it was not long before the hospitals gardens had become her own sanctuary. She escaped there and listened to Rin tell stories about the hospital, the nurses, and even the flowers she seemed to know so much about.
"I want to be a florist when I grow up! That way I can make people as happy as I am when I see flowers."
Kagome had smiled then and replied, "When you do, I want to be your first customer."
Basically all their evenings were spent like that. Making necklaces out of daisies or braiding wreaths from azalea, ferns branches, and roses that they spent prior time removing thorns from.
It was nice just sitting there talking to someone and at times it felt as if she were not even talking to a child, but to someone her own age.
Rin had a mature way of presenting herself.
She had her childish moments of course, but they were few and far in between.
However, they never really talked about why either was there, Kagome's accident…serious things. They merely spoke about trivial matters.
The weather had warmed up for the moment so Sango let the evening visits to the gardens persist. But admittedly, the brunette had been a bit taken aback the first time when she saw Kagome with a lap full of different flowers. The fact that Kagome seemed content, though, kept her from really asking any questions.
Soon, it came time to start therapy…
Dr. Taisho came into her room looking than less than pleased at the prospect of having to be in contact with her for the three hour session.
He rubbed his brows and took another look at her legs. Once he was finished he addressed her, "How much movement can you manage in your lower extremities?"
Kagome rolled her eyes, "You're pretty much looking at it."
The doctor frowned, but did not say anything. He took a gently hold of her heel and slid his hand beneath her knee. "Slowly bring your heel towards your thigh."
The raven haired girl struggled to comply, but a sharp pain in her thigh ripped through her and winced, "I-I can't."
Dr. Taisho looked at her in what was could only have been thinly veiled disdain. He scoffed at her. "You had been in such a rush to start your therapy and yet this is your conviction?"
Kagome's cheeks flamed up and her hand scrambled for the bed remote, "I'm trying…" She decreased the recline of the bed so that she was sitting up.
Dr. Taisho removed his hands from her leg, "I'm sure…" He moved to her chart and Kagome felt a twinge of anger swell in her chest as she saw him write something down on it.
"What are you writing?" Her voice sounded a bit jagged and worn.
He glanced up at her for a moment and in his mockingly velvet voice remarked, "This?" He scoffed, "I am simply recording your incompetency."
Kagome felt her cheeks flame up and she turned her head away from him. "I'm mildly curious as to what possibly compelled you to take this job? You need to deal completely with people yet you're attitude…?" She let that sentence hang as she narrowed her eyes.
He raised a brow and prompted, "My attitude?"
"It's horrendous." She continued in a soft, perplexed tone, "You're completely awful with people."
Sesshoumaru put her chart down on her bed. He smirked, "Am I?"
Kagome turned her head so that she was once again facing him. She was truly growing to hate this man. She felt tears well up in her eyes, "Stop mocking me. Why are you so—?"
Sesshoumaru smirk took on a scornful tint and Kagome frowned, "Never mind. I doubt I'd want to hear what you have to say." She rubbed at her eyes feeling annoyed at herself for crying in front of him, "I wish to be alone now."
"If you want encouragement, then perhaps you should consider a transfer of hospitals."
Kagome put her hands down into her lap, "I don't need encouragement. I don't need you exaggerating my progress, either." She paused, "But I do just need you to recognize that this isn't easy for me."
She gestured towards her legs and felt her eyes moisten again, "I need you to try and understand how I'm feeling right now."
Sesshoumaru made his way towards the exit and repeated flippantly, "Then consider a transfer of hospitals."
Kagome looked out after him and continued to stare at the door long after he had departed. It was only when Sango walked in several minutes later that she broke her gaze.
She was carting a tray of what Kagome assumed was dinner.
But she had no appetite for the bland broth, crackers, or the tapioca pudding. The sight of it all was actually beginning to make her nauseous.
She rubbed at her eyes again, "Sango, can you please take me outside? I don't feel that well."
The nurse instantly noticed the red rimming around Kagome's eyes. She let out a sigh and muttered. 'I knew Sesshoumaru would do say something stupid. I feel for the guy, but honestly, if he chooses to show up to work, then he should at least make an attempt to properly do his job!' She walked closer to the bed, looking frustrated. "Alright, Kagome-chan. I'll send for a wheel chair." She pulled down the railing on Kagome's bed and pulled out a stand for the tray to sit upon. She then proceeded to place the tray onto the strand. "But I won't be able to let you go until you eat some of this."
"I don't think—"
"It's either this or we start feeding you by tube again, Kagome."
"If I throw up, know that it's completely your fault." With that, the girl jadedly took a sip of her soup.
Sango smiled and patted her on the head, "Good girl…"
The sky was a complete reflection of her mood. It was downcast and a mix of purples and grays that seemed befitting considering the circumstances.
Sango looked up at the endless sheets of dreary clouds and frowned, "It looks like it'll start pouring any second." She scrunched up her nose, "I'm not sure if tonight is the best night for you to be out here, Kagome-chan. God forbid it does start raining—getting sick now would be disastrous."
"Just five minutes." She turned slightly so that she could see the girl within her peripheral vision. "Please, Sango?"
The brunette sighed and ran a hand through her hair. She let out a resigned grunt, "Five minutes."
Kagome smiled a bit and murmured, "Thank you."
As soon as Sango left her alone in the garden, Rin popped out from behind a fern. Her hands were smudged with dirt and she victorious held a shovel in one hand and a small clay pot in the other.
Inside said pot was a Japanese iris.
Rin skipped up to Kagome and gently placed the pot in her lap, "To brighten up your room," she explained in a cheerful tone. "This hospital can be so dreary sometimes if you can't always get out here."
Kagome gingerly touched the petal of the rich purple flower, "Thank you, Rin."
She felt her eyes moisten as Rin sat down on the bench adjacent to Kagome's wheel chair. "Did you have a bad day, Kagome-chan? You seem especially gloomy today."
The older girl furrowed her brows. "If I tell you what's wrong, then I have to talk about my accident."
She did not know why she warned the girl just then. But it just felt as if the subject of their respective hospitalizations was a taboo. The gardens were like an escape from the reality and truth.
Rin smiled comfortingly, "If Kagome-chan is troubled, maybe talking about it will make you feel better."
Kagome bit her bottom lip, "I…" she tried to organize her thoughts, "The accident I was in basically stripped me of my ability to walk, as you can see, I guess. The in-hospital physical therapist is supposed to help me through this—but he's done nothing but torment me… He's rude and sarcastic and he makes me just want to give up."
She rubbed her face. "I can't stand him."
Rin suddenly stood and took Kagome's hands, "Well if he's really someone like that, then show him up! Imagine the look on his face when he sees you walking! If he wants you to fail, then succeed, so he doesn't get want he wants, Kagome-chan!"
Kagome let out a small sigh, "I know that's what I should do, but I just can't seem to, Rin."
"No one is expecting sudden progress, onee-chan, just do your best!" She smiled brightly, "Besides, maybe if you get to know him a little better, you'll find out that he's not as bad as you think." Her eyes flickered with a thinly veiled sadness. The display of emotion was gone after a moment though and Kagome thought that she had simply imagined it. Especially since Rin went on to give an enthusiastic nod, "Cheer up!"
Kagome could not help but smile, "Thanks, Rin-chan."
Rin returned to her seat with a chirped, "Your welcome!"
Kagome's eyes followed the girl as she sat down on the stone bench. The girl started swinging her legs, once was she seated. Kagome felt a small twinge of jealously that she instantly squashed. But she could not help but ask, "Why are you here Rin? You seem perfectly healthy." She winced as the last statement came out sounding bitter.
Rin amicable features clouded over and her legs came to a halt. "Me, Kagome-chan?"
The younger girl's cheerful demeanor seemed to recede. She abruptly stood and walked towards a small patch of cornflowers. She knelt and unearthed five of the blue flowers. She stood and crossed over to Kagome. The girl gently removed the dirt clots from the roots of the plants and gently placed them in the older girl's hands. "Next time when you see him again…give him these."
With that, she turned and went into the heart of the gardens until she was out of sight, leaving Kagome no time to verbalize her incredulous feelings.
Suddenly the sky opened up and a few droplets of rain commenced to fall. A light drizzle started.
"Rin?" Kagome ignored the precipitation in favor of trying to wheel herself out into where Rin had disappeared to. Sango rushed out then. "Kagome!"
She looked the girl over and was alarmed to see that she looked starkly pale. Sango hurriedly pushed the girl's wheelchair inside. "How long were you out in the rain?" She cursed under her breath as they were safely inside the hospital doors. "I should have stayed outside with you!" Sango crouched in front of Kagome with a blanket. She gave a strange look at the flowers that Kagome held, but dismissed the topic in favor of inquiring, "Are you feeling cold?"
Without waiting for an answer, she draped it over the girl's shoulders, and finally the raven haired girl looked at her, "…There's a girl outside, Sango... Make sure she comes in."
Sango looked alarmed, "A patient?" She asked incredulously. Kagome nodded her head slowly. "In the gardens…"
The brunette quickly rushed over to another nurse in the hospital and said something to her before she rushed back to Kagome. "Let's get you back to your room and into a warm bath."
In half an hour Kagome was back in bed and Sango had placed the cornflowers in a cup of water and left them with the irises at her bedside.
"Is the girl fine, Sango?"
The brunette had been standing in the doorway of the room's bathroom, absentmindedly towel drying her hands for a few moments. She started a bit and asked hoarsely, "Are you sure you saw someone out there?"
Kagome twisted her head and tried to look out her window, "You didn't find her?" Her voice held a tone of alarm and Sango quickly moved to Kagome's side.
Sango placed a gently hand on the girl's shoulder, "Calm down, Kagome-chan. That was what I heard ten minutes ago. Maybe by now, she's safely in her room."
"Cou—could you please check for me? She just ran off when the rain started and I don't want her to exacerbate whatever condition she has."
Sango's slowly gaze slowly shifted to the flowers on the bedside drawer. "Is she the one who's been giving you those flowers?"
Kagome nodded, her eyes still straining to catch a glimpse out of the window, "Yes, it's been very helpful to talk to her."
Sango looked surprised. After a moment she smiled a bit, "Then I'll personally take a look outside. But perhaps she was one of the visitors here. A lot of them spend time in the garden." The brunette suddenly grinned, "We used to have this adorable little girl come here almost every day because her surrogate father works here. She used to practically live in our cornflowers, making these intricate little necklaces for the other children and the staff. She was like the entire hospital's little sister."
The nurse giggled, "Mirouku was the best at humoring her when it came to wearing her creations."
Kagome smiled a bit, but there was a sad undertone to it, "You're using the past tense." The nurse looked a bit flustered and Kagome asked softly, "What happened to her?"
After a few hesitant seconds of silence, Sango admitted. "She's been in a nonresponsive state for a few weeks now. Everyone thinks that it was trauma induced…" She looked as if she was gong to elaborate but instead she took in a deep breath of air and let it out in a sigh.
"I'll let you in on a little secret, Kagome," she finally said in a low voice, "Sesshoumaru isn't usually like this you know. Sure he has his moments, but not like this. It's not my place to say anything else, except," she ruffled Kagome's hair and smiled wearily. "Just don't take his attitude to heart. He's going through some rough times of his own…"
Kagome instantly knew what Sango was trying to tell her and she looked away. It was all too clear who the surrogate father was. Sango smiled sadly a bit, "Understand?"
Brown eyes abruptly widened. Another thought had crept into her mind. Kagome gently grasped the other girl's hands when the brunette retracted the appendage. "What was her name, Sango?"
Sango's expression was a bittersweet combination of adoration and pain. She simply said. "Rin. Her name was Rin…"
Kagome blankly gazed at the wall parallel to her bed. A blank wall, painted white. Beyond it was the bathroom. Beyond that was the hallway.
Beyond that… patients…
Spirits of children, a teasing voice at the bad of her head supplied.
Kagome shuddered, though it was less of a physical thing than it was mental. Sango had had to sedate her because she had suffered a panic attack shortly after disclosing the name.
So she was slightly out of it as she lay there on that hospital bed. She didn't know what time it was because had fallen asleep shortly after the sedation, but she assumed that it was the next day, because when she had woken up, her family had been there. Sango had also been a fleeting image there as well, radiating relief in the corner before disappearing out the door.
Her family stayed for a short time, as well. Before she knew it they were gone and she was left to her own musings.
Those flowers were very real.
That comfort was real.
How could everything be real yet not at the same time? That just didn't make any sense at all.
Maybe Sango had been joking.
'With the same name,' insert mental scoff. Kagome's thoughts suddenly shifted to finding some reasonable possibilities within the other brunette in question. But what mother would name a set of twins, and name both Rin?
Suddenly it clicked in the raven haired girl's mind.
Two unrelated girls with the same name.
'I could possibly buy that…' Yes that was actually plausible. She could definitely consider that.
After all Rin was not that really an uncommon name. Hell if Souta hadn't been a boy, his name would have been Rin…
Besides, Coma Rin and her Rin just couldn't be one in the same. How could that even happen.
Her Rin would have mentioned Sesshoumaru. If that was her surrogate father and all, surely it would have come up. But she acted as if he was some sort of acquaintance she had simply met at the hospital or something. There was no emotional attachment of a child speaking about their parent.
All children get a distinct look in their eyes when they speak about their parents. No matter how they feel about them, it's unavoidable. The way Sango made it sound, Sesshoumaru and Coma Rin had to be close.
Kagome had the urge to massage her temples.
Perhaps calling that girl, 'Coma Rin' was a bit insensitive.
The door of her room opened and Sango cautiously walked in. She seemed a bit annoyed and Kagome knew why when she saw Mirouku standing trailing close behind her. The brunette was murmuring, for a certain someone to 'go away.'
Mirouku seemed comically aggrieved as he was saying in a low voice, "—But Sango," his expression was almost enough to draw laughter from the bed-ridden girl, "I need to establish a closer bond with my patients! I don't want to just be like another slice-and-dice surgeons… I mean nowadays there's no connection between us and the people we treat. It's depressing! It's become an age of In-and-Out Surgeons—"
Sango glared, "Are you're done?"
Mirouku pouted, "Don't you find it sad, Sango-chan?"
"Let me let you in on a little secret." Sango's hand rose to her hip and suddenly the time for using demurred tones was over. Her tone rose sharply, "What I find sad is that a grown man is asking to be in charge of bathing his female patients!" She face scrunched up, "In fact, I find it disgusting! Touch her and I will kill you my self if the lawsuits don't beat me to it!"
Kagome elevated the hospital bed as the two suddenly began heatedly arguing, though it was a bit one-sided. But both were seemingly oblivious to the possible subject of their conversation.
"I'm appalled that you think so little of me! I want to think of all of my patients as if they were my own children! That's the only reason I show so much devotion! I'd never have unscrupulous thoughts about the girl!" Mirouku placed a hand over his heart. "Scouts honor."
"Your very person is unscrupulous! You think like a dirty old man! I don't know what my father sees in you!" Sango made a shooing gesture. "Now leave while I do my job and help Kagome into the bath without worrying about her being molested," she jabbed her finger into his chest as she ground out each word, "by the likes of you!"
There was a sudden beeping that came from the vicinity of Mirouku's hip. He sighed, "Time certainly flies. It's seems that we'll have to continue our little spat later. It's time to prep for my next surgery." The raven haired man mischievously planted a quick kiss on her forehead. "Bye love! Try not to miss me too much."
He took several quick steps out of her reach, "Good-bye to you as well Kagome-chan!"
Sango had been standing with widened eyes and an impossibly stiff posture until Mirouku had uttered Kagome's name.
She swirled around in shock, only to meet Kagome's hoarse laughter.
"Thank you, Sango… I definitely needed that."
Sango's features softened and a light blush tinted her cheeks. She rolled her eyes fondly at the raven haired girl. "Oh, let's just go take your bath…" But the girl did not move, she kept her gaze on Kagome. In a softer tone, shortly after a moment of silence, she breathed, "I'm glad you're doing better, Kagome."
But unfortunately, what came with being 'better' was only a green light for therapy.
Kagome did not even know how she was going to approach that man. He was absolutely impossible.
An image of Rin suddenly flashed through her eyes and Kagome shuddered.
'No,' she told herself firmly, 'his daughter and the Rin I talk to are completely different. One's probably comatose, there's other's tangible …conscious!'
Kagome slowly brought her hands to her head. "This is impossible."
"How you limit yourself… It makes me wonder…What perhaps is possible for you?"
Kagome felt the blood drain from her face. Would it kill him to knock? She hadn't yet decided how to deal with him. Her pallor increased to the point where Sesshoumaru actually moved closer to examine her before picking up her chart. His voice became sharp. "I was told you were well."
She took in a deep breath, "I-I'm fine."
Sesshoumaru's hand moved towards her face, but stopped before he touched her skin. The appendage hung idly in the air in a moment of hesitation, before he took her chin and turned her face towards him, as if the moment had never happened.
He gave her features a look over, not knowing whether to take that as the truth. Yet, after a moment, he took a wary step away from her. As he did, his eyes caught sight of the cornflowers.
His features were still as schooled as ever when he picked one up. The five had been given a makeshift home of a paper cup filled with water, thanks to Sango.
The blue flower looked tiny and feeble in his large hands. "Why do you have these?"
Kagome took in another ragged breath, "Someone gave them to me."
"Family?" He questioned, his tone still unaffected.
"It was a friend that I made in the gardens. She also gave me the irises."
Sesshoumaru turned to her then, "A friend?"
Kagome looked away from him, "Yes."
The man abruptly placed them down, and spoke to her with a cool tone, "For someone who is normally so talkative, you seem to be at as loss of words. Why is that, I wonder?"
Kagome shook her head, "I'm not."
A stiff smile suddenly works its way onto Sesshoumaru's features, "Has the resident defeatist heard something about her physical therapist?"
The girl turned to look at him, "I haven't heard anything about you." In an even tone, she inquired, "Is there something that you'd rather I not know? Is that why you are so paranoid?"
Sesshoumaru scoffed, "I hardly think myself paranoid."
Kagome scoffed, "Well that's how you're acting. No offense," she said although she clearly meant to cause him offense, "but the world does not revolve around you—least of all mine."
Sesshoumaru smirked and looked at her evenly, "Well thank you Miss Higurashi. I'm glad you straightened that out for me. Now may we commence?"
"If you've taken your head out of your ass—sure. Go ahead and do your job."
"Hn. If only you would use that attitude when it came to trying to walk. Maybe then we would get somewhere."
Kagome turned away from his gaze.
Rin was wrong...
There was nothing to get to know about this man.
The next time she slipped into the gardens, she was slightly nervous. Her heart had nearly taken residence in her throat and her breaths were deep and worried.
Sango left her by the stone bench once again and Kagome waited anxiously for the brunette to leave. The nurse did not stray as usual and soon Kagome was alone.
But Rin did not show up.
Kagome sighed and said, "Come out, Rin. We need to talk."
The young girl then made an appearance. She scrunched up her nose, "I have a feeling that you know…"
Kagome scoffed, "That you're my physical trainer's daughter or that you're not even real?"
Rin felt tears prick her eyes, "That's not fair, Kagome!"
The raven haired girl rubbed her eyes, "I don't even know what to say, Rin. Why didn't you tell me…"
"And tell you what, Kagome-chan?" She inquired bitterly as she sat down. "Besides, you would have freaked out like you're doing now—this isn't the best icebreaker."
Kagome rubbed her brows, "But how are we talking like this… How can I see you?"
Abruptly Rin froze. "My father's coming! What do I do?"
The older girl furrowed her brows together, "Can he see you?"
"I don't know…"
She became impossibly still as the silver haired man entered the garden. Kagome looked at him and while a part of her was nervous, she was also wondering how he could possibly be the father of the darling little girl next to her.
Sesshoumaru glanced back at her, "Why are you here?"
"It's a public space. Do you truly think I spend the entirety of time here in that cramped little room of mine?"
Rin groaned, "Well no wonder your relationship sucks! You're so hostile! You can't expect Papa not to respond to that."
Kagome's head snapped in the direction of Rin and was about to open her mouth when Rin whispered sadly, "He can't see me or else he would have said something…"
The raven haired girl slowly turned her head back to Sesshoumaru.
He seemed to be ignoring her for the moment.
Rin stood abruptly and with tear veiled eyes, she stood in front of him. "You're falling apart without me, huh Papa?" She laughed a bit, "You're such a bad liar sometimes…"
She rubbed her eyes and looked at Kagome, "Tell him…" she smiled, "Tell him that he needs to get some sleep. It's starting to show."
Kagome's eyes widened and she tried to inconspicuously shake her head.
Rin looked desperate, "Please Kagome-chan!"
Kagome rubbed her temples, mindful of her IV. "Mr. Taisho," she said, in a skittish voice, desperately wishing that she was not placed in this position.
He snapped out of whatever trance he was in and looked sharply at her, "What?"
She sighed and repeated what Rin had said, "You need to get some sleep. It's starting to show."
Rin watched Sesshoumaru's expression and held in a giggle as his brow raised minutely, "He's caught off guard!"
Kagome snorted, "For a doctor, you're not that health conscious."
Rin lightly smacked Kagome's arm, "There's that hostility again… He's a man in mourning, have pity on him at least."
The raven haired girl murmured an apology, "Sorry. I've been a bit callous haven't I?"
Sesshoumaru smirked, "Some of it has been justified I suppose. Perhaps you're not the only one who should be apologizing. I have not been all that professional and I apologize for that."
Rin returned to sit back down next to Kagome, grinning at the older girl's surprised expression, "See I told you he wasn't that bad. He's the biggest softie when it comes down to it." The girl swung her feet, "He stopping being a 'real' doctor to switch to therapy for me. I was always a sick kid, in and out of being treated. That's the real reason I was constantly here. So I wouldn't have to be alone, though he chose the alternative profession that would leave him with more free hours to be with me. I kind of liked being able to spend time with Papa but sometimes I feel a little guilty..."
Kagome looked up at Sesshoumaru, "You asked why I was here and I technically gave you an answer. So in all fairness can I ask why you are here?"
Rin stopped swinging her legs and waited for her father's answer.
The man looked amusement, "The same reasons as you, Higurashi. Besides, I've grown to like flowers."
"…Those cornflowers were supposed to be yours. My friend had wanted you to have them."
Rin crossed her arms, "Kagome-chan! I specifically asked you to give them to him…"
Kagome turned her head and tried to apologize with her eyes.
The brunette rolled her eyes heavenward, "Forgiven…"
Almost simultaneously, Sesshoumaru inquired, "And just what is the name of this friend of whom you speak so much about?"
"Don't tell him!"
Kagome blinked, "I can't… tell you."
He raised a brow, "And why pray tell?"
"She told me not to…" Kagome murmured feebly.
Sesshoumaru drifted over to the bench and he took a seat onto the outdoor furniture, "So it's a girl, this friend of yours?" Rin squeaked and slid over.
"So?" Kagome sniffed defensively, "Can't I have friends of my own gender?"
"I suppose you can."
Rin leaned forward so Kagome could see her without being blocked by Sesshoumaru. "I'm glad I met you when my father wasn't here!"
The raven haired girl groaned, "For the record, I'm only this way with you."
"Thank you?" He snorted incredulously. "I love knowing that I bring out the best in people."
Kagome rubbed her arms a bit as a breeze blew over, "It's motivation though… I really tried during our last session because all I kept thinking about was how I wanted to be able to stand up and dropkick you in the face…"
She heard a snort from the male and she ran a hand through her hair and said, albeit more to Rin than Sesshoumaru, "I know… I know… that sounds really bad. But I kind of needed that the most. To stay angry at someone other than myself."
"Forgiven…" he murmured in a familiar way. The raven haired girl shivered a bit and Sesshoumaru stood to drape his lab coat over her form.
"I'll call Sango to have her bring you inside."
The girl thanked him and after he left, Kagome commented, "Maybe he isn't a horrible person after all…"
But she was talking to thin air, for when she glanced over, Rin was no where to be seen.
A.N. Major writers' block on this. Like to the extreme. It was absolutely ridiculous how long I had like half of it down and the other half was just refusing to come to me. Getting this chapter out is like the hugest relief ever, so tell me how you all enjoyed it!