The teacher droned on at the front of the class. All around the room students sat, either listening to the extremely boring lecture or sitting with their heads down, opting to sleep instead. One girl's eyes were undoubtedly closed, yet she had not succumbed to slumber. A small smile sat on her face, but not because of dreams. No, she was thinking of the very real occurrence of years past. Rin let out a soft sigh, shifting in her seat quietly. She ran a hand through her hair, grinning when the action triggered another memory. Her eyes fluttered open, settling for looking down at the paper she should have been taking notes on. But she hadn't seen him in so long, and she found herself missing his presence terribly.
Rin sat in one of the large armchairs of the library, moving a bit closer to the form sitting behind her. She held a hand in hers, watching it curiously now that it was no longer covered in those magenta stripes. She glanced behind her, taking a look at the man who was holding her close. He tilted his head to the side slightly, tawny strands of hair brushing his face.
"Rin ..." His velvet voice spoke as he brought his head down slightly.
The girl couldn't help the broad smile that broke out as his lips gently touched her temple affectionately, his other hand coming up to run through her ebony tresses.
However, the frown quickly left her face when she remembered why she had insisted they spend so much time together this weekend.
"Sesshomaru ..." She mumbled. "Do you really have to leave?"
Rin was woken from her reverie by the soft snore that came from her left. She sighed softly as she was tore from memories of the past.
The day dragged by slowly, all her classes seeming twice as long as usual. Not even Shippo's incessant chatter could cheer her up, and usually that was all it took to bring a smile to her face. She had met the hyperactive boy her first day on campus, and the two had become fast friends. Though, even the people she kept closest to her knew nothing about the secret she kept.
Rin sighed softly, hugging her books to her chest. She drummed her fingers against them as she walked, already beginning to feel antsy. She glanced upwards as the snow began to fall, hearing the delighted shrieks of all the other college students. She found though that not even the wet flakes of crystallized ice that were falling could improve her distinctly melancholy mood. Her eyes found a few of her friends, beckoning her over.
She smiled gently, shaking her head no.
She had to pack.
She was going home today.
Sesshomaru was standing by the large window in the ballroom, looking out over the snow-covered landscape forlornly. The man had been in that same spot for hours, though Rin had no way of knowing this. She was slightly worried by the way he stood, unmoving, without even the slightest of sounds coming from his direction. She had never seen him like this before, and she found herself a bit . . .frightened. The raven-haired girl observed him for a moment, knowing that he couldn't sense her any longer. After it appeared he wouldn't be moving for a while, she stepped over, gently placing a hand on his shoulder once she had crossed the distance of the large room.
"Sesshomaru? Are you alright?"
For a moment, there was no response. His gaze didn't leave the window, and it almost seemed as if he hadn't heard her. She was about to ask him the same question once more, when he spoke.
"I am going to . . .miss this place."
Rin looked at him curiously.
"Now that I am human once more, I can't continue to live in this mansion any longer."
He looked at her, his eyes filled with emotion now that he had allowed his stoic mask to fall.
"I . . .must find elsewhere to go."
He finally looked at her now, his gaze full of regret.
"Perhaps one day I will be able to keep this mansion as a proper home but . . . soon the food . . ." He cut himself off, going silent for a moment. It was quiet for a few moments, before he started again. "And now that the spell has been broken, the barrier keeping this mansion from desecration and keeping it standing is gone as well. For now, I must leave. . . . until then, Rin—"
Rin blinked as she heard her name being called, glancing back to the person who had shouted for her. She scolded herself for getting lost in thought again, sighing softly when she saw her best friend running up next to her.
"Hey!" He said, grinning. "What's your problem? I've been yelling at you for like, ever!"
Rin looked down, blushing slightly.
"Oh, sorry Shippo . . .I was lost in thought."
He nodded. "So, are you doing anything special for winter break?" He asked, his hands thrown in his pockets carelessly.
That was what Rin liked about Shippo. There was an air of calmness around him, he always seemed to be the first person to rationalize in a hectic situation. And after her and Kohaku split, both going to different schools, she was in desperate need for someone she could turn to.
And Shippo was simply . . .there.
She smiled, looking over to his face.
"Yeah, I'm visiting my parents."
He grinned. "Cool. I might drop by the 'rents for a bit. Other than that, I'm planning on sleeping the whole time." He said triumphantly, a proud look on his face.
Rin laughed, tossing her head back slightly.
Shippo looked over to her, a small smile growing on his face. It always made him glad to see Rin happy, and lately she had seemed more forlorn that her usual bubbly self. He found himself curious as to the cause of this sudden change, but whenever he asked she immediately set to changing the subject. He was about to congratulate himself on successfully distracting her form whatever she had been so concerned over lately, but she already seemed to be lost again, her eyes gaining a far away look.
Rin blinked as she heard her name being called, glancing back to the person who was speaking.
Sesshomaru was standing behind her, a warm smile on his face as he presented her with a small box, his head tilted to the side slightly.
She turned all the way around and stood from the seat she had been occupying, her eyes widening.
"Happy Birthday." He said simply, taking great joy in her stunned expression. She had mentioned it offhandedly a few days before, and though he knew she wasn't expecting him to get her anything, he wanted her birthday to be special. He wanted it to be a day that she would remember.
Rin smiled at her lover, feeling a bit flustered.
"Oh! Sesshomaru, you really didn't have to—"
"Just open it." He spoke, cutting her off elegantly.
She tenderly took the box from his hands, blushing slightly as his gaze never faltered. With a shaky breath, she opened the container, blinking in confusion when she saw was what was in it. She looked back up to Sesshomaru, asking him with her eyes what it meant.
The formerly cursed male simply reached inside, pulling out the small piece of jewelry and presenting it to her with a slight air of nervousness.
"Rin." He spoke again, more firmly this time.
The raven-haired girl fell back into her chair, her legs suddenly growing weak. Her eyes widened as she stared at the ring in his hands, finding that it had suddenly become a bit hard to breath.
Sesshomaru moved down to her level, kneeling down on one knee and clasping her hands in his.
"Will you marry me?"
The raven-haired girl shook her head, blushing faintly. Her friend looked at her in wonder. He hadn't thought it was possible for the girl to be even more spacey than usual.
"Sorry, sorry Shippo. I've just been a little . . .sidetracked lately." She mumbled, speeding up. "Look, I've gotta go pack, but I'll call you later, ok?"
He nodded as he watched her walk off, scratching the back of his head slightly.
Really, sometimes Rin could just be so . . .odd.
Rin opened the door to her dorm room, breathing slightly heavier than normal. After a quick look around, she discerned that her roommate was not in. She sighed in slight relief, remembering that she had already left earlier today. The raven-haired girl took a moment to compose herself, shaking her head slightly to rid herself of the memories that were causing her so much pain. Why was she being so reminiscent today? She should know better than to get her hopes up.
"Stupid..." She muttered to herself, striding over to her desk.
She sat there for a moment, resting her head in her arms.
She bit her lip, her eyes glancing to the bottom drawer of the furniture, wondering if it would be okay to just glance at what was inside. She knew that she was torturing herself, and after the last letter she had received, she knew that going through the others would do nothing to pacify her. Regardless, she reached down, sliding open the compartment and slowly reaching in, pulling out one of the three envelopes that lay inside. She ran her eyes over the white paper, taking it all in, before once again reopening the letter and reading fervently.
My dearest Rin,
I miss you. I wish that I could be with you
at this moment, but for now, we must communicate
like this. I assume you'll be glad to know that I have
been successful in my endeavors, and am currently
employed, though I still understand little of this new
world. I hadn't left the mansion for centuries
. . .everything is very different. If you're wondering
how I managed to find a job without going through
any proper training, the answer is this: an old historian
hired me to work for him, because I had, as he said,
'An uncanny amount of knowledge about the past'.
(most likely because I lived it) When his small business
(he owned a family run bookstore) was going to be
bought out, the businessman doing the deal
commented that I had a very commanding air about me,
and I managed to talk them out of buying the store.
Not too long after, his company sent me an offer to
work as their negotiator, seeing as I am apparently
'very persuasive'. They pay well, though the job is
not something I am particularly interested in. But
nothing is too difficult or trying, if it will all
eventually get me back to you. I apologize if I seem
a bit too corny, I hope you don't mind. My deepest
apologies for having to make this short, but I'm sure
you'll understand. You have your own studies
to be doing, correct? I still have a lot to learn about
this new world, and if I don't want to go through any
unnecessary complications I will have to keep researching
until I understand everything there is to know.
I hope to see you soon.
The college student raised her hand to her eyes, wiping away a few stray tears that had managed to fall. When she had first received this letter, such relief flowed through her that the only thing she could do was weep. After months of not hearing a word, this was more than enough to relieve her stress. She had been so worried, and every night she fell asleep wondering what had happened. After she had gotten over most of the shock, Rin wrote back immediately. Her hands were shaking as she mailed it, and all her friends were extremely curious as to who Rin's 'secret lover' was. She refused to speak anything about it, however, settling for attempting to make everything seem as if it were normal again. And, after an agonizingly long period of time, another letter came.
I was glad to receive your letter. It makes me seem as if
you're here, with me. Things have still been going well,
though most human women seem unable to understand
the word, 'engaged.' You shouldn't worry though. No one
will ever be able to take your place in my heart. I went
and visited the mansion, a while ago. Things are the same,
for the most part. A few birds have begun nesting in the
statues, and more animals have returned to the forest. It
doesn't appear as if anyone has disturbed the property,
and for that I am grateful. I was looking into costs . . .
but that's a story for later. Back to the present, your letter.
This Shippo fellow, he is your new 'Kohaku', then? I'm
glad you've found new friends to be with, though I can't
say I'm not slightly jealous that they can be with you every
day and I am forced to communicate as such. My
employers keep trying to get me to purchase a 'cell phone',
though I just don't understand the practicality of
such an instrument. They are so small, surely people
lose them all the time, yes? Moving on, I'm getting very
close to saving up enough to reach my goal— we
spoke of it before I left? When that happens, I'll be able to see
you again. Once more, I apologize deeply, but I'm afraid
that I must stop here. Write me back.
Rin had been a bit disconcerted at the shorter length of this letter at the time. But regardless, she was happy with any form of contact she had with the 'lord'. She hadn't physically seen him since she had graduated from high school, and that was three years ago. The letters had started shortly after her freshman year began, and though they were few and in between, she relished the simple meaning that they held. That he hadn't forgotten about her. That he still missed her. But most of all, that he wanted to see her again. Some may have thought her foolish for waiting so long, but Rin simply didn't see it that way. They kept in contact to the best of his abilities considering his limited knowledge of the world, and that was all she could ask for until she graduated. Even still, that didn't stop her for longing to see his face again. Though Rin knew that she'd be able to wait.
Sighing slightly, she turned and glanced at the clock, deciding that she had better start getting ready. She knelt down, groping around under her bed until she found the yellow and black patterned suitcase she intended on taking with her. She ran through her drawers carefully placing all the clothes inside that she would need. She packed plenty of warm clothes, knowing that snowfall tended to be heavy near her house. After a quick run to the bathroom, she placed all her toiletries in a separate case, fitting the small container neatly inside her luggage. Once all the necessities had been accounted for, she walked over to the miniature bookcase next to her bed, picking out a decent sized book that she had read seven times before. She grabbed the envelopes, staring at them for a moment, before tucking them carefully inside her purse. Once all that was finished, she shuffled over to her bed, falling down upon it unceremoniously. It had been a very long day.
She felt her eyes beginning to close, and as they fluttered shut she was unable to keep herself from the comforting tug of darkness.
"Rin. Rin . . .wake up."
Rin's eyes fluttered open, and she sat up warily, looking around.
This definitely wasn't her bedroom.
She let out a soft gasp as she finally realized where she was, turning to look at Sesshomaru, who had an amused expression on his face.
"You fell asleep."
She looked around the room she was in, taking notice of the book lying forgotten beside her. They had been laying on his bed, each lost in their own stories of the fantastic adventures of the characters from the library. But what Rin was more concerned about, was that the light had already faded from the horizon, and now pitch black descended the skies. The sun had probably set hours ago, and Rin found herself panicking. She'd never been in Sesshomaru's mansion for this long before, and though her parent's knew where she was--- (well, they knew she was at her 'boyfriend's' house, they just didn't know just who this 'boyfriend' was.) she hadn't told them she'd be staying the night.
"Crap!" She exclaimed, jumping up. "I gotta get home!"
Before she could make a bolt for the door, however, her wrist was caught in a firm grip.
She turned, looking at Sesshomaru's face in surprise.
"Rin . . ." He spoke, focusing his eyes on hers. He sounded a bit unsure, though his gaze kept strong. "Will you . . . stay with me tonight?"
"We are now boarding gate C 17, gate C 17."
Rin looked towards the sound of the voice, realizing that that was her plane that was boarding. She hurried over to the gate, standing impatiently in the long line that led to her destination. She tapped her feet irritably, realizing that she wouldn't be completely satisfied until she was walking through her front door. Once the line had move up Rin walked over, showing the lady behind the podium-like structure her boarding pass, and sighing with relief one she was finally inside the large metal structure, through all the hassle of getting through an airport. Checking in your bags, the metal detectors, and even after all that she had almost gotten lost before she finally found the right way to go.
Only once she was comfortably sitting in her seat, did she cautiously place her carry-on in her lap, pulling the last of the three envelopes she had yet to reread. It was the shortest of the letters, and also the one with the most meaning.
It was also the one that had taken the longest to come.
Rin wrote back to the previously cursed man, asking him questions about his experiences, wondering how he was doing, anything she could think of to get him to write back. The letters were the only solace she had, and when they stopped, she didn't know what to do.
It seemed like forever, before the last, and final letter came in the mail. They had been corresponding back and forth every since her freshman year at college, but after that it just all . . . stopped. And then, two years from that time, another letter. It spoke few words, and even as Rin read it now she could feel herself growing anxious.
During your 'Christmas break', come back to the mansion.
I'll explain everything later.
Rin wasn't sure what the man was thinking though. The mansion was abandoned, ever since he had left, no one had set foot in it again. She knew this both from his previous letters, and from visits herself. She went back home every chance she got, holding onto the false hope that perhaps Sesshomaru would be back, would be there to be with her again.
She was always wrong.
And because of that, last year she hadn't bothered going to the mansion. It was . . . too painful.
But perhaps there was something she had overlooked, maybe they were selling it off, or finally demolishing the ancient structure.
The thought sent a shudder through her form.
That mansion . . . held so many memories. Though she and Sesshomaru had only been together for a short time before they had to part ways, every day she spent in his presence was a day well spent. Rin couldn't ever remember being more happy . . .
And he had said, 'later', right? Maybe . . . no.
He most likely meant through another letter. When would it come, she wondered?
Rin smiled politely at the man who sat next to her, waiting patiently for the plane to take off so that she would be able to see her family once more. The fact that she was going home had nothing to do with the letter, no, not really. At least, that's what she convinced herself to believe. She went home every year, but this seemed . . . different somehow.
With nothing else to think about, her smile grew slightly when she recalled the undoubtedly awkward occurrence of her and Kohaku's first— and last— date.
They arrived at the movie theater around eight, just enough time for the two teens to grab popcorn and their own respective beverages, before hurrying to their seats. There was a slight air of nervousness settling between them, though both had entirely different reasons. Rin was trying to figure out how to explain to Kohaku that she was already in love with someone else, and that it was the so called 'beast' who lived in the 'abandoned' mansion behind the woods.
She glanced nervously over to the youth, before turning back towards the big screen, forcing herself to calm when the lights dimmed, signaling the beginning of the film.
The actual movie passed without event, only a few popcorn-flinging fights broke out between the two, and conversation was kept to a minimum, thanks to the distraction of the movie.
There was one occurrence, however, when they both reached for the popcorn in the same moment, their hands brushing together lightly. Kohaku had immediately flushed, pulling back with a stuttered apology.
Rin simply sighed, cursing herself for allowing this to go on any longer.
"Kohaku . . ." She whispered, turning her head towards him.
"I know, Rin." He spoke, his voice sounding a bit distressed. "I thought that if . . . that if maybe—"
Both the teens turned to look at the anonymous person who had just shushed them, blinking in slight surprise as the sentimental moment was ruined. Deciding to just ignore the interruption and continue, albeit quieter, Rin said,
"I'm really sorry Kohaku. It's just . . . I don't have those kind of feelings for you. I . . . I'm in love with . . ."
She stopped here, a small blush rising to her face. How would Kohaku take this?
She opened her mouth to continue, when she heard Kohaku let out a small chuckle. Her eyes looked towards him, widening slightly, before they narrowed, and she pouted.
"What's so funny?" She asked.
"Let me guess. That, 'Lord Sesshymeyuu', right?"
Rin cracked a smile at the foreign interpretation of the name.
"Uh, it's 'Sesshomar—"
They turned behind them once more, before going on with their conversation.
"Sesshomaru. And, how did you know?" She asked, a light blush tinting her cheeks.
"Well, Rin, it's not like you know many other guys. And if it was anyone else, you would have told me way before now." He looked at her with a critical eye.
She laughed sheepishly.
"Yeah, I guess I—"
"God dammit, SHUT UP!"
Kohaku let out a shocked noise as a large sweat drop appeared on the back of his head. He turned, leaning close to Rin's ear, and whispered very softly, "Er . . . we'll finish this conversation later."
At the time, Kohaku appeared to be taking the situation well, though she could tell he was heartbroken. Regardless, after that, things became somewhat normal again. With the exception being, if Rin needed an excuse to go visit Sesshomaru, Kohaku was there to supply it.
"Rin, Sweety! I'm so glad you're back!"
Rin hugged her over excited mother tightly, a small grin on her face.
"Me too mom. Me to."
Her mother pulled back, looking endearingly at her daughter's now older face.
"Oh. You're so grown up ..."
Her mother wiped an imaginary tear from her eyes, before straightening, turning to the stairs behind them.
"Dear! Rin's here!"
"Hey dad!" Rin said as her father could be seen beginning to walk down the stairs.
"Rin! How's college life been treating ya lately?"
After a few hours with her parents, reminiscing and eating a delicious lunch, Rin had politely excused herself, saying that she was going to see if any of her other old friends were home.
Which, in all actuality, wasn't exactly a lie.
Whisper forest was exactly as she remembered it, quiet, dim, and slightly dreary. The whole experience was so familiar, she felt herself smiling at the thoughts it rose. Everything seemed unearthly, as she prepared to once again step foot inside the ancient mansion still standing behind the gloomy woods. She found that she couldn't stop smiling as she followed the path she had taken so many times before, feeling thrilled just to be going this way again.
The grin grew slightly wistful as she recalled the day Sesshomaru and she had confessed their feelings. Everything had felt absolutely . . . perfect. And then, the strangest thing had occurred, leaving Rin in slight schock.
After that first kiss . . .no. After he spoke of his love, something began to change.
A deep light shown within the demon lord, growing brighter with every passing second. Rin let out a small shout as she felt the man growing farther from her, and she desperately reached for him before realizing it was pointless. There was a low rumbling noise, before a voice, clear and strong, rang throughout the library.
'Lord Sesshomaru. You, in a cursed family were able to find love, and be loved in return. For this, I grant you freedom from the spell I wove so many years ago.'
There was a shrill noise that sounded, and Rin was surprised none of the windows broke from the intensity of the sound.
And then suddenly it was over, and Sesshomaru was standing before her once more.
Though, he was . . .different.
His once silver hair was now an extremely light color, almost a bit on the brown side. The magenta stripes adorning his cheeks and eyelids having disappeared completely. The claws that had graced his hands had shrunk, and his eyes were free of the intense coldness they held before.
". . .Lord . . .Sesshomaru?" Rin breathed, shocked by his sudden change.
He smiled at the woman in front of him, unsure of what to say.
She followed the familiar path to the mansion from memory, smiling when she saw the familiar structure looming ahead of her. She stopped at the gate for a moment, thinking to herself silently. What would be waiting for her behind these iron walls, she wondered. Though, she willed herself not to think of the only thing she wanted to see at the moment. She knew she would only be disappointed.
However, her feet didn't seem to register this thought as she slowly pushed open the gate, making her way to the door and opening it quietly.
Years without use gave it a loud creaking noise, and after she stepped inside it closed with the same groan of protest.
She turned, taking a look at the interior of the mansion for the first time, and loud gasp escaped her lips, as she noticed the extreme differences from the last time she had seen it.
The inside of the house completely lit up with luminescent light. Electricity, it seemed. Everything looked new, refreshed. Despite the new technology, Rin felt as if she were seeing how the home was when it was first built She gazed in wonder as she looked around more, noticing that the lanterns that had previously lined the walls were replaced with glowing light bulbs. A few switches were placed here and there, and the chandelier appeared to be wired to work through the light as well. She took a few steps inside, the new development leaving her feeling a bit flustered and disoriented. She followed the glowing radiance the short distance to the foyer, a slight suspicion guiding her towards it's once destroyed insides.
After a quick glance around she determined that her hunch was correct, as she noticed at once its perfection. The floor had been restored, all questionable stains gone. The stray pieces of wood and debris had all been cleared, and new furniture decorated the space, everything going wonderfully well with the original red and white theme.
She placed two hands over her mouth, staring at the newly finished room in wonder. Everything looked immaculate, and the mansion seemed a proud symbol of its former glory all those years ago. She sank to her knees, taking in all the alterations and changes, finding that tears were beginning to fall from her eyes.
Surely Sesshomaru had done all of this. And he would have done it by himself, as he wouldn't have wanted other people inside his mansion. She felt a small smile grow on her face as she realized this must have been what he wanted her to see. This must have been why it took so long for him to write back, and why his last letter was so short. He wanted her to come and see this, this glorious accomplishment that he was sharing with her. Even if she still couldn't see him, couldn't be with him, for now, this was enough. She closed her eyes, running over all the wonderful memories she kept close to her heart. Their love was small, was frail, but it had lasted through the strain of their distance, and it would last until Rin was blessed with the opportunity to see him once more.
But, for now, she could wait.
Faintly, Rin thought she heard the sounds of footsteps.
She felt the feeling of being watched bore into her, and a slightly familiar feeling washed over her as she stood stark still in the newly refurbished room. Her eyes widened slightly in surprise, and she willed herself not to move, not to ruin this moment of unbearable anticipation. Slowly, carefully, she allowed herself to turn, her eyes getting ahead of her line of vision as she strained to see what was approaching. She could make out someone's faint figure, and she turned suddenly, letting out a soft gasp.
Standing before her, was a handsome man, clad in a pristine suit with a navy blue tie, his tawny-colored hair pulled back into a long ponytail. He looked exactly the same, and yet entirely different. Neither of them spoke for a moment, and as realization washed over the raven-haired girl, she allowed a soft gasp to fall past her lips. There was a small smile on his face, and as Rin stared into amber-colored eyes, she couldn't help the tears that began to streak down her cheeks.
"S-Sesshomaru?" She whispered, taking a few steps toward him. He simply nodded, reaching for her as she came closer and pulling her towards him, wrapping his arms around the smaller female. She took him in, holding him tightly and relishing in his presence. She was unable to stop the sobs that racked her form every few minutes, but compensated for this by grasping him nearer, burying her face into his chest. She didn't ever want to let go. He set his head on top of hers, the smile refusing to leave his lips as he breathed in the smell that was simply Rin, closing his eyes as he savored the moment. He felt immense joy building up inside of him, the feeling of euphoria staying, and growing ever still as he held onto the woman he loved.
"Welcome home, Rin."
PLEASE READ: (you've read the whole story, you can stand to take a glimpse at this eensy teensy little note at the end. :D)
Foxgirl: anyone catch that the flashbacks were moving backwards? or that the flashbacks were triggered by things happening to her currently? anyways, what did you think? satisfying ending? Did I forget to tie up a loose end? Yeah I realize Sesshomaru getting a job that way was a little farfetched... ok, it was a lot farfetched. Sorry about that, it was all I could think of. :D if anyone thinks of something better, feel free to leave it in a review or pm. In fact, I implore you to. And sorry if you didn't understand something, I was kind of vague. I'll be happy to answer any questions though. I hope you enjoyed! Sorry for cutting the scenes with rin's parents and shippo short, but they weren't all that important anyways. XD And my god this was a long epilogue!
vixen: you can say that again... review please.