Rumiko Takahashi owns the recognizable characters (read: all of them). I own the plot, and the pictures on the fridge.
Sesshoumaru looked up at the address he found himself at, tilting his head as he heard a squeal from the house on the hill and the laughter that followed. He frowned as he noticed his brother's car wasn't there, and drew his brows together at the implications.
His Rin wasn't staying with who Inuyasha said she would be.
Sure; this was the correct address, but Sesshoumaru was quite certain that Kikyou's car, which he had seen on occasion with her rudely hanging out the window to pick up his brother (the crass woman had no sense of decorum and instead liked to honk from her car to get his half-brother's attention), and it wasn't the car that was in the driveway and there was no garage or carport on the lot.
He furrowed his brow and ascended the steps to the main house, surprised to find that the property backed onto the famous Higurashi shrine and looked to be of familial relations to the main caregivers.
He straightened his cuff before he knocked smartly on the door, listening to the patter of small feet before the laughing voice of a woman got stern and told the children to never answer the door by themselves and got replies of childish but truthful yes's.
He almost smirked at her worry, in part glad of it and another part wondering what had made her so cautious and worrying about it, before he schooled his features and watched with lazy eyes as the door was opened.
The sight that greeted him was …unexpected.
Her hair was in disarray, so unlike the many women he saw now days with immaculate do's and makeup- it gave her a strangely free and wild look. And her clothes were simple, but askew and testified that she was playing with the children and not just watching over them. He almost smiled at the disappearing grin on her face, trying to greet him with the quaint aloofness of strangers but still blatantly happy with the children he could still hear giggling down the hall.
"May I help you?" She had managed to school her features, but her voice still bubbled with her happiness.
He inclined his head in cordial greeting. "My name is Takashi Sesshoumaru, I couldn't help…"
An excited squeal heralded the brown blur of his adopted girl running into his legs, and he couldn't help the quick smile that flashed over his face upon her entrance- so like his little Rin.
He quickly stooped over to give her a firm hug, accommodating his immense height to her slight child form. When he looked up the woman was blushing and fidgeting with her hands, smile slight but still there and directed at him and his child.
"Rin-chan, why don't you go see what Souta and Shippou are doing? Shiori had to go call her mother." Rin nodded and raced off down the hall, almost as quickly as she had entered.
The woman pursed her lips unsurely before she bowed. "Watashi no namae wa Higurashi Kagome desu."
Sesshoumaru felt he faint smile as he followed her example and went through the traditional greetings of the guest to the host, finding himself settled in a large but homey living room and sipping tea just as a young fox kit ran through the room- giggling mischievously.
Kagome didn't look up from her tea as she spoke. "Will it damage Kikyou's house?" The boy pouted but mumbled a no. "Will it harm the others?" The child's indignant huff was answer enough. "Will they laugh together?" the child beamed at her back. Higurashi smiled. "Well, who am I to stop you? Get to it."
The child giggled happily before he was gone.
Kagome smiled somewhat wistfully (a face he found for some odd reason enjoyable) before she abruptly came back to earth and blushed at her inattention.
Sesshoumaru felt his eyebrow raise and the amusement of his inu- she was exactly like Rin had blathered on about. He nodded his head and cleared his throat to continue their conversation. "I was very surprised to find my child not in the care of Kikyou with my half-brother present."
Kagome choked on her tea and blinked in confusion. "Kikyou was looking after the children?" Her head tilted and her brows furrowed, as if honestly confused and for a moment Sesshoumaru thought her dim….then she continued. "I didn't even know she could tell someone that with a straight face."
Sesshoumaru took his turn to choke on his tea. He put the back of his hand to wipe his mouth and looked to the brunette as she gave him a rueful smile. "You are telling me that there is no possible way that Kikyou would be looking after these children…my child?"
She blushed and nodded her head, a hand fiddling with the design of her skirt's hem. "Kikyou doesn't really like playing with 'messy children'- she's too shy to handle their rambunctious playing," she grinned at what must have been a direct quote, "and even takes off as soon as our baby cousins are over."
Sesshoumaru frowned and leaned forward. "You are not disappointed that they were taking credit for all the fun my Rin say's she has been having?"
She grimaced. "Of course I am, but it is something that she would do, and Inuyasha doesn't hold me in such high regard." She shrugged and then turned in her seat, facing the doorway to what looked to be the kitchen in a flash. "You get your hands away from those treats now. Or none after supper!"
A chorus of disappointed 'aww's' filled the air and Sesshoumaru gaped before a smile twitched at the corner of his lips.
"You seem to know them well."
She smiled happily as she turned back to face him. "Yeah, the kitsune was a foster child I adopted about a year or two back, and he hangs out with the neighbor's kids and they get away from their home enough now. Those are the triplets"; she pointed to the hallway just as three squealing ruffians ran past and were chased by his Rin and another female. "And I watch Souten for my friend Hiten when he goes on a date with his boyfriend. So we've been in each other's presence long enough to understand each other."
He smiled and felt his head tilt as he regarded her more strongly. He was easily able to associate her with the reason that his girl was so happy- much easier than associating the emotion with Kikyou' s care.
Rin giggled and skipped through
the halls, laughing and greeting the servants that milled about in
their chores. "Sesshoumaru-sama! Am I going to get babysat again
said we could do some finger painting! Even said a flower picture
would look nice on the fridge!!!"
Sesshoumaru regarded his well behaved, but still energetic, young girl as she jostled from foot to foot and grinned toothily up at him. He smiled at the space between her teeth (she was growing up so fast) as he recalled how grateful she'd been towards the staff and how polite she'd been with his guests. He saw no harm in letting Inuyasha take her to her babysitter instead of dragging her to the daycare she abhorred. He nodded his head, feeling his ponytail shift along his back before he flicked it straight and answered. "That would be okay, Rin, but I must speak to Inuyasha first."
She jumped up happily before running off to find her pseudo uncle.
Sesshoumaru grinned minutes later when a grumpy hanyou was in his office and asking him what he wanted in his usual gruff manner.Sesshoumaru straightened in his chair as he closed the document. "I was heading over to the centre today, but I first must ask who takes care of Rin so well, I need to call her and confirm her services for a later date."
Inuyasha shuffled his feet nervouslybefore he huffed in irritation. "Kikyou looks after your brat. Don't know why you didn't notice- she's always at their family shrine."
Sesshoumaru deadpanned and couldn't honestly reconcile his image of his brother's girlfriend with a mothering figure who made his Rin so happy. He leaned back in his chair and tapped his fingers together; regarding his brother strongly before he nodded his head in acceptance and watched him leave.He would see the shrine today- making plans to leave the business office early.
He looked down at his tea. "Then I must apologize for my presumption and their actions."
She gasped and stumbled with her tea, placing it down safely on the table before she leaned forward earnestly. "You shouldn't do that, Sesshoumaru-san. It's perfectly fine; Kikyou tends to do things like this." And then she smiled so sincerely that he couldn't help but nod his head and acquiesce.
"Then you must accept my thanks for treating my daughter so well; let me take you to dinner." Sesshoumaru looked at her as she blushed and her blue eyes widened. He felt the smile taking over his lips as she stammered, trying to make him understand she needed no payment.
It only made her more endearing.
He nodded his head decisively and she stopped to regard him with confusion. "It is not payment but thanks, surely you wouldn't deprive me of your company?"
She blushed and then heard one of the kids call, her eyes lighting up at the escape opportunity as she rushed to excuse herself and then went into the kitchen. Sesshoumaru grinned and followed her. He stood at the door to watch her fuss over a child who had fell and scraped his hand outside playing, the other children coming in subdued due to the pain of their friend.
She laughed and kissed one of them on the head and offered to make lunch, the kids clamoring to comfort their playmate as they talked excitedly about Kagome's good cooking and the things they could do after lunch.
Sesshoumaru smiled at the petite woman fusing over the stove in between glances at her numerous charges.
"Sesshoumaru-sama! Are you staying? Kagome-sama cooks so good, Rin likes to eat her fish!"
Sesshoumaru grinned as Kagome startled and then blushed, the boys going silent in awe of his stature as he moved his imposing form over to his daughter and took the seat next to her. He quietly accepted the attention of the children, smiling and conversing with them in low tones as they asked child like questions and looked up to him for answers.
He smiled at Kagome when she set down their dishes, her eyes soft as she thanked him silently and then she was at the stove fluffing the rice before she was all bright smiles and they were eating happily after a chorus of 'itadakimasu!'
Sesshoumaru grinned as the children slowly trickled out to their previous game in the yard, their happy voices pleasing to hear as he glanced around the tidy loved kitchen. His yes caught on the colorful fridge, papers held by magnets displaying the talents of her charges. He smiled as he caught the bright display of flower in a messy vase, his eyes twinkling as he examined the careful wobbly print of Rin's kanji name in one corner.
Kagome sighed and sat down with more tea, filing up his cup with precise hands before she glanced out the window to check on the children. He watched the way her eyes softened before she called herself to attention and filled her own cup.
He smiled at her absentmindedness, but was glad
it was focused on the children (even if it took away from her focus
upon him- he'd just fix that later).
She sighed and turned to him, regarding him over the rim of her cup as she smiled. "Thank you for calming the kids down, they get very worried over each other."
Sesshoumaru nodded his head before he tilted it to regard her. "Now, fair is fair. You must allow me to take you out to dinner."
She blushed and firmly set her cup on the table. "I have to watch over the children Sesshoumaru, I don't have the time." She squirmed slightly in her seat.
"I will have my staff look after the children at my house."
She gaped at him, her hands loosening around her cup as she sat heavily back in her chair. "You really want to take me out?" The incredulous sentence brought him up short, now making him look at her with a straighter back as he wondered how she could have thought he was joking.
His gaze caught the bright flowers on the fridge, his eyes softening before he leaned forward like she had done earlier. "I wish to take you out to dinner, then maybe a late movie. I would like to get to know the woman who makes my Rin so happy."
She bit her lip as she blushed, her lips finally curling into a shy smile as she looked at him with dewy eyes. "I would like that, Sesshoumaru."
He grinned and leaned back into his seat, looking at the woman with fonder triumphant eyes as she sipped her tea and watched over the children. "Of course, you might have to go on a few more outings with me to make up for your earlier refusals. There are only so many blows a man can take to his ego."
She looked at him in shock before she broke out into quiet laughter, her hands reaching across the table to grab his before she spoke with sparkling eyes. "I might just have to do that. I wouldn't want you to think I was refusing simply because of your personality."
Sesshoumaru smirked. "Indeed."
They shared their quiet tea, and watched the children eventually tire themselves out under her caring eyes, watched her pout her son and niece to bed and then give the younger boys a flashlight - three hugs – and send them on their way. Rin yawned as she settled into his lap, her eyes content as she snuggled and murmured before falling asleep. Kagome smiled softly, her hand stroking over the girl's hair before she was looking at him with dewy eyes and smiling.
"You have a darling girl, I am so happy she ended up with you."
Sesshoumaru glanced down at his pseudo daughter and smiled, his hands sifting through her hair as she sighed in her sleep and then Kagome giggled, cleaning up their tea before she helped him get Rin's shoes on and held the child while he prepared for the night drive.
He calmly took Rin and buckled her into the passenger seat, his eyes making sure she was asleep before turning to his host. "Thank you again, it is nice to know that she is content here."
Kagome smiled, something easily seen even in the dark of the setting sun. "It's no trouble; I really can't get enough of her. She always brightens up the house, and Shippou is not so lonely."
Sesshoumaru tilted his head in acknowledgement before smiling and leaning in to kiss her cheek. "I think you brighten up hers, and that of the other children as well." He uttered a quiet chuckle as he drew away from her ear, clearing his voice of the husk from her sweet scent. "I don't think anyone could be depressed seeing your bright bouquet."
Kagome laughed and ushered him away, waving with a smile. She called out, "I happen to like having flowers for my fridge!"
Sesshoumaru smiled. "Good, then I know what to bring you when I pick you up on Friday. He smiled and nodded his head as she stumbled before laughing, much gentler this time.
"I'll see you then."
He waved before he was in his car, checking on Rin again before he set out.
He really would have to bring some brightly colored flowers to such a bright woman.
Her poor fridge might never be recognizable again.