AN: Oi, I just realized I wrote the last chapter as if Sesshoumaru had use of both his arms. Blast, well for now all intents and purposes the dog demon has both arms. :falls down: All the better to seduce Rin with. XD Thank you all for the reviews!
The smell of jasmine was the first thing that Rin become aware of, it was strong in her nose. Then came the trickling of rain like white noise in her ears. She rested on something that was warm, rising and falling softly beneath her cheek.
Whimpering, she nuzzled deeper into the warmth of her pillow and sighed drifting back into that strange place between dream and wake.
"Rin, I know you are awake" came the sultry deep voice
Her eyes flew open, she sat up quickly Sesshoumaru was laying in the cushions of a opulent bed the color of crimson. She was lying between his legs, her own tangled helplessly in the flowing, many layered kimono she wore embroidered with massive lotus and gold thread.
"I w-what, where are we?" she looked around the room. Kami-sama it was like something out of the paintings of the celestial palace of the gods. All red and gold, the air was heavy with the smell of incense and.. opium. Sesshoumaru leaned his cheek on his hand and gazed at her
"My Palace in the Western Lands"
"So fast?" she cried in shock.
"You have been asleep for a week Rin, in that week your body has been shedding its mortality. See?"
He gestured to the huge polished brass disc through the sheer red curtains, Rin gasped the reflection that she saw was not the thin young girl of 20. A beautiful young woman with flawless skin and luminous pale brown eyes gazed back at her. On her forehead was a small mark like a half moon.
"What is this?" she brushed the mark with her long nailed fingertips... She looked at her hands they were unblemished and elegant no scars or callouses decorated the skin.
"Tsukiyomi's mark. It seems he favors you Rin" Sesshoumaru replied his voice deep and sweet like molasses. Humor was dancing in the depths of his eyes.
The moon god favored her? Rin's mouth fell open, dizziness suddenly swamped her. She pressed her face into her hands.
"Oh Kami-sama help me" she groaned, as Sesshoumaru leaned in to remove her hands from her face. The moment that his hands closed over her wrists Rin shuddered. The need to kiss him was there again, persistent, urgent.
"Sesshoumaru" she whined feeling her lips drawing close to his. Judging from the masculine undertones of this room... This was his bedchamber... Her body immediately grew warm with this knowledge as the amber smell rose round her, his hot mint scented breath fell softly on her lips.
A loud knock sounded on the bamboo wood of the elaborately painted screen door, jarring Rin from that strange state again. Sesshoumaru barely concealed the curse under his breath
"Sesshoumaru, this isn't the time to be romancing your Consort. No matter how the full moon beckons you to be bad" came a sonorous voice in a supremely bored tone.
The Lord of the Western Lands slid from the bed, and opened the screen door with a snap. Rin gasped, a tall man with silvery blonde hair was grinning widely. Exposing small white fangs, pale golden eyes dancing with amusement. He bore a strong resemblance to Sesshoumaru right down to the chiseled chin and high cheekbones.
"Tsukasa-kun why are you always such a thorn in my side?" Sesshoumaru barked in reply, feeling the urge to strangle his cousin with his bare hands.
"Because I am your cousin, and when a cousin is a steward of your kingdom you cannot ignore him even if it is to sate a very...burning need" his pale eyes caught Rin's.
Rin's face promptly turned the same shade at the sheets and she looked away. Tsukasa chuckled, putting an arm around his cousins wide shoulders.
"Come then Lord of the Western Lands, there is still much to do. We have a wedding to plan! Botan has just awoken from her nap with the pups... She has a idea for a fine wedding ensemble for you and your immortal beauty."
Sesshoumaru's tall and imposing figure disappeared, the sound of Tsukasa's archaic Japanese fading down the hallway. Rin jumped as the screen door slid quietly shut as if by magic, and with a silent curse began to strip the layers of silk from her body.
After four of the eight pastel layers of her kimono were removed, Rin finally found it feasible to slide from the high bed. Now she stood several minutes later in its center trapped, the door was sealed tighter then a vice. Not that she was panicking... well maybe just a little.
Taking a few deep breaths she looked around the room, the intimacy of the bed belied a large room with a veranda hidden behind more exquisitely painted sliding doors.
Abruptly her thoughts scattered, Sesshoumaru's scent was everywhere it was like a fog in her brain...
She shook her head fiercely trying to clear the sawdust, she had to get out of here or go mad. Suddenly a idea crept into her mind...
Opening the sliding doors to the veranda she gasped beyond Sesshoumaru's veranda was a sprawling garden lit with the gentle lights of a thousand paper lanterns. Peonies and chrysanthemums grew in vast clusters, shaded by a strange type of tree with weeping branches. Fireflies blinked amid the foliage, winking in the air. She looked up and saw that the moon was full, the sky was clear revealing the scattering of millions of stars.
The rain that now covered the flowers like dew had stopped... as the wall of Sesshoumaru's palace rose up to one side stretching a far far distance away. Vaguely Rin saw the opposite wall in the distance through the branches of the weeping trees.
Looking up to the moon she smiled
"Thank you Tsukiyomi-no-Kami, I am so happy that you decided to grant my most fervent desire." As if in response a soft wind blew through the garden, washing Rin in the scent of flowers. The fog in her brain floated away, and a peace so complete filled her.
For the first time since she had lost her parents was she truly deeply happy. She wiped tears of joy from her eyes and leaned over the teak railing of the veranda. A sturdy, wisteria vine had curled its tendrils around the wood, its fragrance heavenly in her nose. Stepping up she swung one leg over the railing and tested the branch. It was firm, sending a silent prayer to Kami-sama she grabbed hold of the thick vine and began to climb down.
Somewhere halfway down the vine, Rin's first layer of her kimono tore and by the time she reached the mosaic title beneath her veranda she was now wearing two layers. The other two she had to strip from her body.
"Oh gods, Sesshoumaru is going to kill me. That kimono was priceless" she bit her lip. But was quickly distracted as a playful wind tugged at the strands of her hair. Beckoning her into the garden,
"Sesshy-chan? Helllooo" Tsukasa waved a hand in front of his older cousin's face. Sesshoumaru looked up not seeing the scroll that he sat in front of, detailing the 1000 entity guest list. As Lord of this Palace, he was connected to it. It having a sentient personality, it was older some said then even his father...
Moments before in his mind eye he saw Rin climbing down the wisteria vine. He too had climbed down it many times as a child to escape the confinements of his room and the punishments of his father. Then, it had taken all his willpower not to burst out laughing when he had heard the first rip of silk on the wisteria branches.
"Tsukasa-kun if you do that again, you will be pulling back a bloody mess" Sesshoumaru growled in reply, that nickname grating his nerves.
Tsukasa snorted "Well excuse me, someone is getting frustrated with all the denial floating around here lately" he said in an imperious tone. Sesshoumaru glared at his cousin
"You are not the one in Heat"
"Oh and that is an excuse for you behaving like a wild boar? Please... spare me"
Sesshoumaru sighed, "Tsukasa it is late and I am in no mood to complete the seating arrangement right now. Besides my Consort has wandered into my Private Garden, I must go find her."
Tsukasa's pale gold eyes danced "Afraid she going to find one of your mother's strange flowers? Auntie did always like those... oh what was their name? Roses? I'm still shocked that your father traveled through a Dimension just to get them for her."
A long buried emotion of aching pain filled Sesshoumaru's chest till he was having a hard time breathing. If his father had loved her so, why... why did he...
Sesshoumaru rose face as cold as a steel trap "Good evening Tsukasa-kun" and he was gone.
Rin sat by a small pond of koi and played her kugo, which she realized was identical to the kugo she had in the Imperial Palace.
It had appeared so suddenly when she had sat down, it had scared her. But soon after she had begun to play the instrument her mind had begun to relax. The koi which were as big as her arm had come to the rim of the pond to listen to her.
For a brief moment she had watched them stunned, everything about this place was full of magic. Yet it did not frighten her really. Her fright came from the unexpectedness of everything, the magic seemed to be...thinking?
Her fingers glided over the strings with consummate skill and soon she was lost swept up in the joy of everything and savoring her newfound peace. So absorbed she was Rin did not hear Sesshoumaru's footsteps in the thick grass, or the rustle of the glossy rain covered foliage of the chrysanthemum bushes heavy with blossoms. Till his shadow blocked out her bright light from the moon,
Rin looked up and froze.
"Sesshoumaru-sama?" she whispered her fingers tangling on the complicated tale of two doomed lovers.
"How did you get out of my room Rin?" he asked crouching down in front of her, separated by the harps L-shape body.
Her mouth was dry, oh Tsukiyomi...
"I um, climbed. Down, the wisteria vine on the veranda" she replied quickly
Sesshoumaru was grinning slightly "And? Where is the rest of your kimono?"
"I-It tore" she choked out.
"All six layers?" he asked patronizingly reaching out and brushing the hair from her face.
"No I left four in the bedroom, the outermost is safe."
"Hmmm, I am displeased"
Rin felt alarm flaring in her, his face was unreadable save for the slight hint of a smile on the corner of his full lips. She didn't know if he was teasing her or was it a prelude to the storm.
"Sesshoumaru-sama...do not..." she trailed off when he began to smile. A slight chuckle escaped into the clearing. Her face was turning red out of embarrassment
"You were baiting me!" she cried "you aren't angry at all!"
"Why would I be? It is all replaceable even now the Palace has fixed the torn layers and they are all now lying in the proper order on my bed."
Rin was torn between laughing at herself and throwing the harp at him. Instead she ran her fingers over the strings producing a beautiful sound.
"My cousin is going to want you to play tomorrow evening to entertain our guests." he added when the sound had faded.
Her head shot up "P-play in front of people?" she paled "no I couldn't. I'm not even passable, Sumomo-san said so herself. I would never be as great as the Empress."
"I can assure you my dear you are better then the Empress, or Sumomo-san would not have commented as such."
Rin was suddenly dazzled "I take it you have heard the Empress play?"
"Many times, she lacks the sweet abandon of joy you play with. Her songs much like her personality are quite dull and flat." He replied
She giggled, to hear Sesshoumaru speak so badly of the great leaders of their country was terrible yet admirable.
"You aren't afraid of anyone are you Sesshoumaru?"
His eyes glinted "No not even the Emperor himself. I have outlived three Emperors and I will outlive a great deal more."
She set the harp down and yawned softly covering her mouth with her hand. As she watched with shock the kugo melted into thin air. Wordlessly she looked at Sesshoumaru who had stood, a wicked, sinister smile had bloomed over his mouth.
"I have just thought of a fitting punishment for you Rin. Tonight... you will sleep in my bed."