Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, or any of the characters from the show. I'm not even Japanese.
AN: Ok, I know I should be updating other things, but this idea just came to me, and it wouldn't leave me alone. So enjoy the ride!
I will never forget the day she first came in to my dojo. She was only eight years old, but already she had the look of one who had the weight of the world on her shoulders. She was staring intently at the vast array of weapons on the walls – I doubt she even noticed the fact that I was standing behind her the whole time. It was amusing, really, her fascination with the swords. I was content to stand there and find out where she would go first.
Her small hands reached out to hold the kodachi, ad I stopped her. "That blade is very sharp."
She backed away quietly. "Gomen nansai."
Her voice – I will never forget that tone. Utter sadness and pain. She had been through hell, and it showed clearly. It nearly broke my heart.
There were few people who could truly make me care about them, but she had my attention from the moment I first saw her. So small, and yet I could sense some sort of strength in her. I waved away her apology. "No need. So, what can I do for you?"
She began to fidget, looking down at her hands rather than at my face. "I – I was wondering if you would teach me how to fight."
If she had my curiosity before, she had shocked me now. "And what does one as small as you need with fighting skills?" My voice did not betray my surprise, but that did not deter the small girl.
"More than you know." was the bitter response she gave. "I need to learn this. I can't pay you in money, but maybe I can work for you here?" She sounded so hopeful, I couldn't help but smile at her.
"No payment is needed." I said simply. "If you wish to learn, be here at noon tomorrow. You will start your training then." She grinned at me and left.
There were so many things I learned about that girl in the months that followed. I never did learn her true name – for some reason she refused to tell me, as if ashamed of it – so I simply called her Rin. My companion. It seemed to fit her, as once her training started it wasn't often I found myself out of her presence. Some days I had to force her to go home, but as time wore on I simply set up a cot for her in a corner of the dojo and allowed her to stay. She grew on me.
It wasn't but a few months after she first came to me that I began to learn anything about her. I still clearly remember that fight.
She had been tired. For once she had spent the night at her own home as opposed to in the dojo as she normally did. Of course her exhaustion would affect her skills – for by this time she did indeed have skills – but as usual I had pushed her relentlessly. She was used to the brutal pace I set.
"You are not trying, Rin." I had said as once again I tossed her to the ground. "Do you expect to defend yourself while you're daydreaming?"
"I am trying!" she had snapped. Once the girl got tired her temper grew wild.
"Not hard enough."
She sprang to her feet, tears gathering unshed in her eyes. "I am, Sesshoumaru-sensei." she insisted. "I just – I'm still sore, that's all. I'll get better, promise!"
I paused for a moment. It was not uncommon for her to get sore after our sparring matches, but it was rare for it to affect her performance in this manner. "Somehow, I don't think soreness is making you inattentive."
She had looked away, and I had cursed myself for being right. "Bad stuff happens sometimes at home. That's why I don't like being there." She shook her head. "But that doesn't matter now, does it, Sesshoumaru-sensei?"
I had simply stared at her. "Does the bad stuff hurt you, Rin?"
She had shrugged. "Sometimes. But that's why I'm here."
A shiver had worked its way down my spine. "You will stay here tonight."
The months turned into a year. While Rin stayed with me almost constantly, there were still times when she went home. Sometimes she would not show for one of her lessons, and I would get nervous until I arrived at the dojo the next day to find her waiting for me. If she ever had any physical proof of her abuse, she hid it quite well. I never could find anything definitive to take to the cops.
It was about that time also that I had taken an interest in the young woman named Kagome. She had once been dating my half-brother and through that we had become friends. As we grew closer, I started to introduce her to Rin. The two girls took to each other rather nicely, and as they grew to become friends I started leaving Rin with Kagome during the weekends. I only wished there was something I could do to permanently pull her from her situation. My hands were tied.
It was on one of those rare days that it happened. For once, we were not sparring or giving her another lesson. Rin and Kagome were sitting together in the office of my dojo, playing some sort of card game, and I was sitting nearby cleaning my swords. I had half my attention on the two girls with me, listening in on the conversation.
"Do you have any threes?"
A giggle. "Go fish, Kagome-chan!"
Kagome rolled her eyes and gave a mock growl. "I can't get anything past you, can I? Your turn, Rin-chan."
"Do you have a five?"
I smirked as Kagome handed over the card. "Are you sure your not related to Sesshoumaru?" she muttered. "I taught him how to play Rummy and I haven't won a game since. It seems I can add Go Fish to that list." Rin giggled again.
"You're funny, Kagome-chan. Now I know why Sesshoumaru-sensei likes you so much."
Kagome gave me one of her famous teasing looks. "Oh, really? I never would have known, Rin."
At that time two other people entered the office. A tall, dark haired woman and an equally tall dark haired man. I instantly disliked them both, thought it probably had something to do with the way Rin tensed the minute they came into view. She slid a few steps back to get closer to me.
"May I help you?" I said coldly.
"My name is Naraku." the man said smoothly. "This is my wife, Kagura. We were wondering if you could help us find our daughter. Her name's Kanna – she's the spitting image of her mother here."
Kagome shrugged. "Sorry. No one here by that name." she commented lightly. I spared her a smirk.
"We've been told she's been coming over here all the time for the past year." Kagura said sharply. "It's time this foolishness was put to an end."
"Kagome told you." I said angrily. "There is no one here by that name."
Naraku smirked. "Then who is that little girl sitting beside you?" he asked softly. "She looks very much like my daughter."
I blinked, showing an extravagant amount of surprise, and looked at Rin. "Rin? You wouldn't happen to be named Kanna, would you?"
She picked up quickly on my tone and shook her head. "Iie, outou-san, I'm not Kanna!" She grinned up at me, pretending it was some sort of foolish joke. There was only so long we could keep up the deception. "I'm your Rin!"
Kagura reached forward and grabbed the girl's arm. "Stop this, Kanna!" she snapped. "Don't you know how much you've worried your mamma?" Rin began to struggle, but fear had gotten the better of her. Kagome stood suddenly and broke Kagura's hold on the girl.
"Now see here!" she snapped. "Rin came to Sesshoumaru for protection, and by golly, you have no right to hurt her like this!"
"Kagome." The simple sound of her name was enough to make her back up. I took a step forward and placed myself between the girls.
"Leave now." I snapped. "Or I will not be responsible for what happens next."
Naraku snarled at me. "You will regret this."
I snorted in disbelief. "Right." They left, though, and I guess that was all that mattered. They didn't take Rin. Calm once again, I turned back to the girl. "Rin, are they really your parents?"
She nodded miserably. "Hai, Sesshoumaru-sensei." she murmured, and to my surprise I found myself missing the title of father. "Will – will you make me go back?"
"Iie." I said instantly. "But only if you wish to stay with me."
She grinned, and that was all the answer I needed.
I won't go into detail about the next two years. Needless to say, it was a long court battle between me and the influential Naraku. Not many people could believe he was capable of committing such atrocities against a child. It was Rin's testimony and my own observations that finally won the battle. For a moment, I had been afraid I would lose her. Would I have allowed her to leave? I don't know.
It's been five years now, since she first came into my life. The small, eight year old girl I had once known is now thirteen. Soon, she shall grow up and no longer need me.
The sounds of footsteps distracts me from my thoughts. "Outou-san?"
She shuffles nervously on her feet. "I can't sleep."
Another nightmare. They come less frequently now than they did when she first came, but not even she can fully shake away the effects of her past. Calmly I slide over on the bed and motion for her to join me. A bright smile lights her face and she climbs onto the bed, snuggling into my chest as I wrap my arm around her.
She is my light in my life. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have her with me. Soon her breathing evens out and I know she's asleep. She looks so peaceful, resting without a care in the world, the perfect picture of innocence. I reach out and trail my fingers across her cheek, still slightly amazed that she is indeed here, with me, and not trapped with Naraku.
It's just the two of us now. Kagome left a few years back to live with a childhood sweetheart of hers. I can't really complain – it's not like I had any hold over her. She is happy now, with children of her own.
Still, it is not like we want for anything. There is only one female in my life, and that is Rin. I did have her name legally changed, at her request. I thought it adequate – she is no longer the child she once was.
I run my fingers through her hair and she sighs in contentment. I cannot stop the smile that spreads across my face.