Beyond the Trees
It had been 3 years since Rin had last seen Sesshomaru and no matter how many times Kaede told her not to worry about him, she couldn't help but to worry. Rin knew in her heart that something was wrong with Sesshomaru and she was determined to find out what. Why else would he abandon her? She planned to leave on Kaede's birthday, when the villagers planned to have a festival in celebration of her long life. Kaede was now the eldest person in the village and the wisest but that didn't mean anyone took her advice. Kagome and Inuyasha were her worst offenders. Although Kagome often took her advice, Inuyasha did all he could to avoid it.
"Don't sleep in the woods," Kaede warned him, "the villagers will think you're a demon."
"Aren't these villagers smart enough to remember me by now. If any of these morons make a move to attack me, I'll rip them to shreds." Inuyasha yelled at poor little Kaede.
"Shut up Inuyasha" Kagome scolded, "Kaede is just trying to save you the trouble of being mistaken for a demon, which you technically are. Of course they know you, but when they see something strange in a tree you can't blame them for attacking it before it makes a move to eat them"
"But I'm not going to eat anyone."
"That's not the point" The argument never ceased and Kagome was yelling osuwari till the sun went down. Rin was the second worst when it came to listening to advice. Over the years Rin had become like a daughter to Kaede and she was taught domestic chores so that she would be able to manage the household when she was married. But Rin could never be a normal girl. She would always have that wild little girl inside of her that longed to be at Sesshomaru's side, sleeping in the woods with Ah-Un and Jaken.
Rin had strange habits from her days with Sesshomaru, which were hard to break and she found making friends difficult. When she hung out with the other little girls, they wanted her to play with dolls. But Rin liked to look for stick and pretend to be Jaken. 'Hello master, how can I be of service" she would say in Jaken's warmish tongue. The little girls never got the joke and never tried to after she began whacking their dolls with the stick as if it was a sword. Rin's proposal to cook lizards and bugs didn't help either.
Rin also had the urge to steal from people. It was also a bad habit that she picked up from being from Sesshomaru, but was necessary in those days. Kaede found herself asking Rin constantly where she got certain things because the house was full of toys, chicken eggs, jewelry, pitchforks, and one time a horse, which Rin attempted to stuff inside the house but to no avail. She warned Rin not to steal and as she got older there were less random items in the hut.
By the time Rin was 15, she became a pretty girl and less awkward than she was as a girl. By 18 she was coveted by some young men and she shared feelings for one of the guys who was kind to her even when she was awkward. The guy's name was Shin and he was good friends with Shippo, who had been her best friend growing up. But there was always something keeping Rin from completely loving Shin. It was something from her past with Sesshomaru that she could shake. She thought it was probably the freedom of living in the woods, the danger of the demons whom Sesshomaru always protected her from. Sesshomaru and Kohaku that is. She'd often think of Kohaku too but like Sesshomaru's absence, his was as hard to bear.
Kaede saw promise in Rin's chances of getting married and told her to constantly wash up so she would look presentable, but Rin was too rebellious. Shin and Shippo never cared about her appearance nor did Sesshomaru or Kohaku when she lived in the woods. She detested the idea of looking like the rest of the women in the village. There was an absence of freedom in being to clean. She spent most of the time walking out in the woods. When she returned from her escapades through the woods, her hair was full of leaves and her face was caked with dirt. But sometimes when she would catch her reflection in the water, she would rub the dirt from her face and take the leaves from her hair.
Despite Rin's belief that Kaede did not know she planned to leave on her birthday, Kaede knew. She only had to look at Rin to see that she longed to leave the village. Rin's stare was always distant and she could not hold conversations for long because her mind would wander. Kaede wished she knew a way to wipe Sesshomaru from Rin's mind.
"Perhaps she doesn't fit in because she was away with Sesshomaru for so long. They are the same now, they both don't have a place they really belong." Shippo once said to Kaede. She agreed that this probably had something to do with it but that it shouldn't stop Rin from trying to fit in. Shippo told her that he could understand Rin's feelings. He too did not feel completely a part of the village even though he made more friends than Rin. He always made Rin feel welcome even when the other kids didn't want her around and when she wished to be alone he followed her, hidden in the trees, to make sure she wasn't harmed.
"Shippo" Rin said when she heard a rustle behind her. "I know you're back there. I don't need your protection, really I'll be fine."
"What do you mean? There's no one here?" Shippo said in a squeaky voice to disguise his own as he hid behind the leaves.
"Shippo" Rin said and laughed as he jumped down, his huge orange fox tail swinging to and fro behind him. "Did Kaede tell you to follow me?"
"Then why do you follow me all the time?"
"I get worried about you Rin. You're not a demon and you don't know how to fight. If a demon comes out and attacks you, how are you going to protect yourself?"
"I'll throw dirt in their eyes and run."
"Like that will work."
"Well it doesn't matter. There are no demons out here."
"Yes there are."
"Fine, come with me then. But don't hide in the trees. You be Sesshomaru and I'll be Jaken" She picked up a stick and slumped over. "Ok master?" Shippo pulled up his pants slightly and put his tail over his shoulder, then raised his nose to the air.
"This way Jaken" he said as they walked forward. It was always this way with Rin and Shippo, they got along well. But when Rin didn't want him to come, Shippo still followed behind doing his best to quietly follow her, even though she knew he was behind her.