Unorthodox

"You don't age like other creatures, do you?"

"Impudent child! First you question me then you dare insult the master?!"

"He doesn't look insulted. Lord Sesshomaru, how old are you?"

Sesshomaru tapped a tattoo on the bark behind him. Like this tree, he had never taken the time to consider his age. Never had mountains, streams, or the sky itself thought of time. Generations came and went, but they were the unchanging audience. Sesshomaru sifted through his memory of the demonic calendar and decided the human one sounded more impressive. "Eight hundred ninety-five years" – he took in a tree's healthy foliage – "and nine lunar cycles."

Jaken's mouth hung open in silent awe; Rin didn't miss a beat. "So that means you know on what day, or at least in what season, you were born, m'lord?"

"Yes."

"What day?"

"The fifty-fifth day in autumn," Sesshomaru recited, he'd seen it in the record scrolls a hundred times. "What else do you want to know, Rin?"

"It just seems that everyone but me knows when they're born and I've…forgotten." Her toe traced a circle in the grass.

"No one ever reminded you?"

Lips sealed, Rin shook her head.

Talons clicked. "Rin, speak up."

"I think I'm eight years by now…only my parents and brothers knew the real day."

"Well, that's not unusual," Jaken snorted. "The lives of peasants are hardly worth – " A steel-clad boot cut the imp off.

Sesshomaru nodded, his expression no less placid than his voice. "Then there's nothing for it." Pivoting on toe, he announced, "Let's go."

Rin followed obediently, staying quiet for a long time.

As weeks slipped past, so did Rin's question from memory. She went about her regular routine: gathering flowers, foraging for food, drowning Jaken in a sea of "why"s, "what"s, and "hows". The idea of having a legitimate birth date simply faded – until Sesshomaru called for her presence.

Her sleeves rolled up and cheeks bright and ruddy, Rin swiped an arm over her bangs only to have sweat plaster them to her forehead. Did Sesshomaru have to interrupt her exploring now? The arid summer breeze was heady with fresh lilies and ripe fruit. Insects buzzed gossip and birds heralded new life. Today, right now, the world knew no patience; Rin struggled to muster an ounce of courtesy. "Yes, my lord?"

Sesshomaru didn't reply until he reached into his robes and withdrew an ivory comb, into its teeth was woven one luxuriant magnolia – its lush petals nearly as white. In one smooth motion, the ponytail on Rin's head was replaced with the gorgeous ornament. "Try not to lose this."

The child stood uncharacteristically stagnant for a moment, her mind whirring for a question. "Why?"

Sesshomaru rose. "One year ago today, I tried an experiment. I haven't any regrets about the results." Fingers worked the grooves of Tenseiga's hilt. "I remember it as the most beautiful day of the season. You may call it the twelfth day of summer." Sesshomaru gave Rin his back. "As you were."

The great daiyokai had always known that his knees would never buckle because of another demon. And by no means had the sticky arms of girl-child ever crossed his proud mind. But then, just over one year ago, his heirloom was also deemed a useless slab.

--

Later that evening, Rin showed Jaken her latest treasure. Shoving a pre-cooked fish in her hands before she could ask any questions, the imp scoffed. "Well, I'll bet no one forgets the day a tsunami strikes and rearranges a whole village."

--

A/N: I will never forget the day another friend rearranged my life. Happy Birthday, Eileen! Wonderful readers on this site, check out this up and coming writer under Aquawater99.