Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for the characters in this moment of truth... especially for the one who didn't need words to make themselves clear. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess.

This drabble was originally posted to Live Journal on January 25, 2010.


Sesshoumaru strode along the mountain pass, hardly sparing a glance for the stunning view that lay just beyond the edge of the precipice to their left. The ledge on which they traveled narrowed enough that Jaken gripped his staff very tightly, and Rin lagged behind, practically hugging the sheer rock face that rose on their right. Her nervousness piqued the taiyoukai's interest, and he wondered where her limit was... and what might happen if she reached it. Would the end of her bravery mean the end of her loyalty? A small crease developed between Sesshoumaru's eyebrows as he mulled over the matter.

They climbed steadily, and as they neared the summit, the path veered away from the cliff in order to cross a natural bridge. One look at what lay ahead, and Rin's remaining courage died with a whimper. Knees locked, face pale, eyes pleading, she waited... but for what?

Hnn... even now, trembling with fear, she asks nothing. Sesshoumaru regularly rebuffed those who tried to force themselves upon him. Greedy fools, grasping for power, begging for favors, scrambling for alliances. The lot of them made his skin crawl. Mercifully, Rin seemed to instinctively understand that he didn't wish to be handled. Yet, she'd slipped under his guard; without once touching him, she'd worked her way under his skin.

I am besieged. The child's needs constrained him, bound him closely to her... and there were times when he resented his obligation. Her presence governed much of their daily routine, though there was no question who was in control. For a moment, the taiyoukai considered simply ordering Rin to follow, just to see if his influence was stronger than her fear. But only for a moment. I am not conquered, but there will be peace.

Without a word, Sesshoumaru turned back and offered what she did not demand, and Rin grasped courage as a large, warm hand closed around hers.

End Note: This drabble was written for the Live Journal community iyfic(underscore)contest and their theme for Week 209—Under My Skin. 319 words.