sorcerousfang: so, as my writer's block ensues on my other story (i.e. Beautiful Moon) a sudden idea hit me and I just started typing and well, presto; new story.

don't flame me please. I can't stand the whole fluffyxrin deal. I can't see them as anything more than father and daughter. I mean seriously; she's like 7, and he's nearly 500.

Anyway, so enjoy. I'm actually proud of the way it turned out, especially some of the explainations. also, I love to hear reviews. Please don't hesitate to tell me I need to update. Trust me, I need people to remind me. I mean, just look at BM. I haven't updated in months.


"Hurry up, Master Jaken!" hollered a young girl. Her orange and tan checkered kimono waved in the winded air as she ran.

Rin skipped ahead of him, faithfully following behind her lord as she always had, and as she had sworn to herself that she always would. A smile was plastered on her face yet again and her laugh echoed flawlessly through the trees. Of course she couldn't help but smile. As mean as Jaken was to her, she had fun playing with him, and being in Sesshomaru's presence was comforting enough.

"Will you wait, girl! This is not a race!"

Then again, maybe he was too slow for the young human girl.

Sesshomaru hid a smile. He found amusement in the young girl's antics and his servant's slight suffering of them. Not that he was that cruel, but Jaken was just funny when he was in pain. Why else would he step on him nearly every day, other than to vent his anger?

The girl had found him as he was recovering from his younger half-brother's first use of the Wind Scar. Actually, he wasn't sure now whether he had helped his brother learn the attack, or if it was merely that the hanyou was just that damn lucky. Either way, Rin hadn't shown much fear of him from the get-go, and he guessed it was because she was smart enough to notice that he wasn't much of a threat in the condition he was in at the time. Looking back at it now, he nearly laughed at the nerve she carried, even being mute and young, not to mention human, of course. Closing his eyes briefly, he could almost feel the surprising splash of water over his head that she had given him on that day. He mentally shook his head.

She hadn't changed too much from then, unless you count her excessive need to talk every ten to fifteen minutes verses the mute child she had been; she still had the same smile that lowered his level of pride enough to nearly smile back, the same eyes always filled with a mix of joy and sadness and care that melted the layer of ice he kept around his heart, and her laugh still caressed his soul like nothing he'd ever heard before, even enough that he actually slept a few nights when they stopped to rest. And peaceful nights they were.

There was a sudden growl behind him.

"Ummm… Lord Sesshomaru?"

All he needed to do was give her a small nod, nothing more, and she smiled and thanked him before taking off to find food.

That was another thing he liked about her; her simplicity. There was no need for long explanations with her, and the smallest interaction with him made her smile. He'd probably never admit it aloud, but she was like a daughter to him. She blew down all of his defenses with just a smile, and she made him feel like he had to protect her from everything that could possibly cause her harm.

He could finally sympathize with his father's love for that human woman that was Inuyasha's mother.

It made him jump when he first realized it; that his desire to protect the young human in front of him came from his dad, and that Inuyasha's love for the miko that traveled with him was not something that came from just his human mother. He denied it at first, but simply came to terms with it the next time Rin had smiled at him. Despite what other demons said, not to mention a few undead humans, she was no weakness. She was his greatest strength, and he could never find himself thinking of losing her warm smile.

But he would never thank Inuyasha for his luck, even if it was what caused him to meet Rin. He wouldn't drop his pride that much.

Rin walked around another tree in search of food. Mushrooms, berries, a stray animal; anything would do to hold her over until she could raid another field or they could stop for a while in front of a fire. She didn't want to hold back her lord more than was necessary, especially since their search for Naraku had suddenly led to a complete dead end recently. It was the only thing she could do to aid him in his quest, other than end up kidnapped by Kagura or someone else working for the demon.

She'd never personally met the demon before, or if she had she couldn't remember. She was always kept a fair distance from him; safe and out of danger. It made her feel a little unneeded at times, but those thoughts were always washed away when ever Sesshomaru came back for her. It made her realize that her purpose was to give him a reason to return or a place to come home to, even if it was just another spot in the woods or on a plain where she was told to wait.

He was her home, too.

She smiled as she rounded another set of trees and gasped in delight when she spotted berries, edible ones, dotting a bush in front of her. She tapped the thick bush with a stick in a few places before she determined it was safe to get the delicious fruits. Experience taught her that precaution was better than diving into anything, and although she hadn't yet been able to pick up on how to sense a demonic aura, she trained herself to be more alert of her surroundings for her lord's sake. There was no way she wanted to burden him.

After she picked enough berries to fill the basket she'd made in her kimono, she headed back in the direction she had come from. She'd picked enough for Jaken, too, guessing he might want a small handful of the ripe berries, as well as some for her lord, although he'd probably refuse them like every other food she'd offered him. Something about human food not suiting him or something. Her expression turned thoughtful as she continued on; what did he eat, anyway? He had to eat something once in a while.

As she stepped through the clearing, Jaken was the first to greet her.

"What took you so long, Rin?"

And the greeting was nothing new.

"I picked them as fast as possible, Master Jaken! I even got some for you. Here."

She held out a handful to the imp whose expression changed drastically.

"Oh. Thank you." He threw a small amount in his mouth and smiled. "Hey, these are good!"

Rin hummed. Of course they were. She picked the best ones.

She looked at her lord for a moment before offering him a handful, which he kindly declined as she had expected. She'd offer it to him anyway, though, even when she knew the answer because she was never sure when he might decide to try some.

Sesshomaru seemed to be becoming more kind toward her lately; when he spoke to her his voice was softer than before, and his eyes seemed to smile, even if his face did not. It made her smile. She understood full well that he was a demon of great power that normally would not stoop to kindness, or any other emotion, just for a mortal, so the changes he showed were huge in his case, not to mention astounding.

Sesshomaru waited a few minutes longer until Rin's abundance of berries became less of a burden on the young girl's kimono before he began walking again. He took some comfort in hearing their footsteps behind him. It was normal and expected; something that didn't come easy in their world, unless the constant human wars were counted in the normalcy.

The human quarrels had put him in action at times. Not so long ago they had come across a village in the process of being raided by brigands, and the scent of fear that radiated off of Rin compelled him to end it after he sent her and Jaken away; there was no need for her to watch him kill. Of course the detour sent him on a crash course with a band of monks after Rin had been kidnapped that nearly caused him to transform. It took more energy than he'd like to admit to stop the transformation and direct the unused energy behind him so he wouldn't harm her. Or the monks, too, he figured. There were other demons that needed to be dealt with, and he wasn't going to bother. That was their job, and after that number they would probably be a bit more experienced with the greater kind. Good luck to them.

He refused to transform in front of her, anyway. He feared, one of the only things he ever did, that if she witnessed him transform without understanding it or having someone explain to her that his humanoid form was a façade, she would become afraid of him. But he also didn't want her to know that the form she was so used to, the only one she'd known him as, was fake. He didn't want her to see him differently than she did now. In all actuality, though, it was probably he himself that didn't want to admit that his true form was a large, pristine white dog that could do nothing more than bark, bite, and pounce on whatever it deemed prey. He much preferred his sword. It was more refined and, for lack of a better term, elegant. It didn't make him feel quite so much like an animal. Inuyasha could fit the term, but not him.

Speaking (thinking?) of the hanyou…

During one of their many little quarrels he'd brought up the incident with the monks, surprising him to some degree. He hadn't picked up on his sibling's scent at all while he waited, contemplating a now silenced line of thought, and he didn't notice it afterward. He thought it might have been the fact that he was only paying attention to Rin at the time, until he overheard the young fox kit talking to the priestess about how he was lucky that it was the night of the new moon; he probably hadn't recognized his completely human scent.

He was aware of the half-demon's transformation on the moonless night. One of their first encounters with each other was on that night, and Izayoi put herself in front of him as a shield knowing his weakness. He wasn't going to kill him, of course. Not then. The hanyou was defenseless and weak, not the type of foe he would proceed to battle with. Although back then the thoughts of his father's death for them were still fresh in his mind, he would not stoop to the petty thoughts of revenge as an excuse.

But the woman, now that he thought about it, might have been what stopped him.

Though he did not know Rin, or even think about a companion then, the woman was much like her. Neither of them would let something harm the person they loved and cared for, and their eyes held more determination in them than most humans. Perhaps it was the result of their association with demons, but they were stronger in mind, and even he could not have stepped in and broken that strength. Those many years ago he would never have realized that, or admitted it, but must have noticed self-consciously because he did not harm either, and inadvertently saved them just with his presence the few times he appeared near the village.

Still, he did not know why he never noticed his brother's presence, or his companions for that matter.

Their fight that day was the usual sibling rivalry, or so the demon slayer stated. He actually got kicks from annoying them with their battles and constant quarreling, but he would never say that. It changed after Inuyasha questioned Rin's presence to a battle to prove his pride as a demon.

"What's a demon like you doing with a human girl, huh?"

His questioning lingered in his mind.

"It's none of you're concern, Inuyasha."

His answers, now that he thought about it, were very obviously to dodge the line. He was sure they had noticed, too, especially when he got a bit touchy.

"Don't you think she belongs-"

At that he had pinned him to a tree, dropping his sword and holding him by the neck, and was forcing back the urge to rip him to shreds with his teeth. He had no right to question where she belonged, and no right to bring up the line of thought he had silenced at her call. He had growled audibly, sending a course of fear through his brother's eyes, presumably of being crushed by massive paws.

"Silence!"

He was almost relieved Rin hadn't been there. After he calmed his aura, he retrieved his sword and walked off, leaving Inuyasha and his group questioning his motives and recovering from the shock of a near death experience, and leaving him to question just how much the girl had grown on him. He was surprised by his reactions just as much as the group was.

He glanced back and was met with a picture of Rin shoving the last few berries in her mouth and Jaken gawking even though his face was already stuffed with them. He turned back and let a small smile escape him, just for a moment. He was happy to have the two of them behind him, and he did not want to change that. Even though Rin was destined to grow up and probably fall in love (apparently her eyes were set somewhat on the demon slayer's brother), he wanted her to stay by him for as long as possible.

"Lord Sesshomaru?"

He turned to her slightly, allowing question to hold in his eyes.

"What is it, Rin?"

"Umm, well, Rin was wondering if you wanted something?"

He paused in his steps, considering his thoughts had just been about that subject, and then continued on in thought.

"…I want nothing, Rin. I…have what I want right now."

Cue gasp from Jaken.

Jaken gasped on cue, probably understanding his hidden indication. Rin, oblivious to his meaning, just smiled and said okay, and that she just wanted to be sure if there was something she could do for him. Jaken kept silent after that. Sesshomaru smiled inwardly.

"Just stay the way you are," He thought.

./-/-/-/-/-/.

Rin smiled at her bundle of flowers as the sky steadily grew darker, shifting into dusk. She had been allowed to stop and pick them when they passed a large field, and her lord seemed content with sitting on the tree line and watching her. She was delighted that just picking flowers made him seem happy, and, as usual, she made him a small bouquet that she would have to carry around herself, because, well, what kind of demon carries around a bundle of flowers, right?

She made Jaken a ring of flowers, which he hastily took off and gave to Ah-Un when they took off again. Jaken wasn't very fond of flowers, although he seemed happy when she gave him something of the like. Ah-Un was always happy when he gave whatever she'd given to him to them, so they both benefited from his self-consciousness.

She admired the bouquet and walked alongside the two-headed dragon for a while, until she decided to skip ahead. She reached her lord and tried to match his steps. His strides were much longer, of course, so she had to rush a little bit to catch up every few steps.

Sesshomaru noticed her struggle and slowed his pace to assist her. Actually, he had been walking faster than usual for some reason. Whatever it was, he decided to be a little more cautious. If his instincts were kicking in, that probably meant something was waiting somewhere. Rin seemed to notice his caution somehow, because she glanced around and gripped the bundle she made for him a little tighter. He hoped his alertness wasn't that obvious, but then again she had ways of understanding him even when he didn't show anything.

They continued walking, reaching the edge of a lake. The edge was a small drop off, although the water seemed shallow at it. He relaxed a little; the restlessness in his veins had vanished.

Rin realized that Sesshomaru seemed more relaxed than he had just been and relaxed her grip on the flowers. She took pride in the fact that she could notice his little emotions from time to time, and she knew that it surprised him as well.

She noticed a small movement out of the corner of her eye and cocked her head in the direction of the lake. There wasn't a sign of what had moved from where she stood, so she inched closer to the water's edge and peered into the deep blue.

"A frog, maybe?"

There was nothing there.

"Rin, not so close."

Sesshomaru's voice grabbed her attention. It was kind of him to worry about her falling over the edge. She turned to him and smiled.

"Yes, My Lord!"

Sesshomaru gave her a small nod and a near smile. She was cute when she obeyed so easily.

Suddenly, his eyes widened. Petals of flowers and water droplets blurred his vision. Tentacles wrapped around the young form and lifted the girl from the ground. She screamed his name, and was suddenly cut off by water.

"Lord Sessh-!"

In the same split second, she disappeared into the murky depths.


sorcerousfang: hehe... okay you can kill me for the cliffhanger, BUT! Rin doesn't die. I'm not that cruel. HOWEVER! something does happen, and I won't tell you until I update! HA!

okay, anyway I'm sorry to leave you hanging...or drowning in this case. and I'm sorry that I can't see rin as fluffy's lover or whatever. father/daughter all the way for me. otherwise fluffy would kill me.

Sesshomaru: damn right I would.

sorcerousfang: see what I mean. He's touchy.