"I watch the birds fly on by, touching the bright sky, flying so high…" Rin sang the random tune as she aired out one of her mistress' formal kimonos.
"I watch as the servants go on, doing their chores, making me bored…" She placed the perfume vase under the kimono and fanned the exotic smell onto the garment.
"I wish I couldn't smell anymore, smell anymore, smell anymore…" She watched as one of her fellow servants hauled out another garment for Rin to clean and scent, teasing him as he wiped sweat off of his brow, "For I know someone who needs a bath, needs a bath, needs a bath…"
"Hey!" he acted offended and shook his clawed finger at the young girl. He proceeded to mock-sing in a falsetto, "I know someone who needs to stop singing, needs to stop… sing-innnnnng."
"That wasn't very melodic, Toki!" Rin chastised her friend. "You're just jealous because I don't have to haul around the lady's every kimono and obi!"
"It's true," he agreed with only a hint of sarcasm. All of this hauling and lifting was going to kill him really soon. "The lady has been really flustered over the guests. The visiting demoness is just as bad, from what I hear. This kimono comes from her."
"So the rumors are true then? The demoness here is another suitable match for Lord Sesshomaru?" Rin asked her friend, knowing of his keen ear and time spent around the noble family.
"Yes. It seems like this one won't be deterred by Lord Sesshomaru's lack of interest," he said while he lowered himself into the shade cast by the kimono Rin was currently shaking out. He saw her dreamy gaze and quickly added, "I know Lord Sesshomaru is fun to look at and all but he is the royal bastard, Rin. I wouldn't want to keep him company for all of the food in the world. And you know how much I like food…" he patted his stomach to accentuate his remark. "He's quite lackadaisical for everyone, including his own mother."
"She'll go running for the hills after Lady Susumu sinks her teeth in, I'm sure," Rin laughed lightly while setting the fine patterned silk on the drying bar.
"I can't wait for Lord Sesshomaru to finally pick a demoness so that I can go from this defiling job back to my post as a guard," Toki sighed, wishing to be wearing armor and his swords instead of the simple raiment he had to wear for servant's work.
Rin smiled back at her demon friend and said, "At least we get to talk a lot more because of it!"
"Very true," Toki agreed with a yawn. "All of this sun and hard work makes me want to take a nap! Why don't you put that voice of yours to good use and sing me a lullaby?" he half-joked. No matter how much he teased Rin, Toki actually was quite enchanted by the young human's voice and would probably fall for her if he didn't have his eyes set on another servant girl.
"I suppose… How about the song with the tree that fell in love with a cloud?" Rin started the tune and found herself going on and on with the song while she worked.
"Surely you must understand the seriousness of your situation, Sesshomaru?" the regent lady of the castle asked of her son, who sat higher than her in his study.
He stayed silent. Either this was a sign of him listening or a sign of him ignoring.
"Lady Kagura is our best and last choice," Susumu stated with great trepidation. Although her son looked calm and collected, his temper could destroy a nation with a sweep of his claws. "She is quite powerful," Susumu added. She knew of her son's hunger for power, and also knew of his quests to strengthen himself.
"She is merely a wind sorceress, mother," he drew out 'mother' with a sneer in his voice.
"Her father controls many demons in the south! He would be a powerful card to be played in the game of war!" she desperately needed her son to see the many things he could gain from choosing a lady. He could gain power, fortune, and most important of all, he could gain her grandchildren.
"My only concern is to find and wield Tessaiga and Sounga," Sesshomaru commented with a cool demeanor.
"Your father's poor excuses for swords? Sesshomaru, you have already been given the unmatchable Tenseiga…" she tried to reason with him, tried to give him a hint! If only her stubborn son would open up his eyes and see the most formidable weapon sitting right in his belt! Meido Zangetsuha was one of the deadliest attacks Susumu had ever seen her former lord perform and was a part of the Tenseiga which had the power to restore life! If only her son would realize the worth of his own sword! She would have told him its many secrets long ago if her late husband had not warned her not to.
'He must find his own way to power and become his own powerful demon…' he had told her all those years ago before his death.
Susumu fingered the Meido stone on her necklace and studied Sesshomaru a bit more. For a demon so smart, he could not see the truths right before his very eyes.
"Tenseiga is useless," Sesshomaru sneered. He knew of its ability to restore life, but found it insignificant. Who would be worthy of a restored soul? A restored soul granted by him, the Great Lord Sesshomaru?
"Will you at least meet Lady Kagura, Sesshomaru?" Susumu sighed, hoping Sesshomaru would for once see past his own pointed nose. Her late husband had warned her that Sesshomaru would need to feel and experience compassion and love before he could truly master his sword. This was her way of helping her son without actually letting him know about it.
"No." With that, Sesshomaru dropped the paper he was reading and swiftly exited the room, leaving his mother in the proverbial dust.
"Toki sleeps the day away, missing his chance to see the sway, of his beloved woman's back… while he lacks much tact…" Rin sang, hearing the grunt of annoyance from Toki, who unsuccessfully feigned sleep.
"Different song, Rin," Toki said, while throwing an arm over his red eyes after Rin shifted the kimono to compromise his shade.
"On the floating, ship less oceans, I did all my best to smile…"Rin started another of her favorite songs, deciding to leave Toki to his sleep.
Sesshomaru, who was still avoiding every member of the visiting party and his mother, found himself walking around the southeast corner of the fortress. Normally, this part of the castle remained disregarded by him, but today it would be a quiet place to get away from all of the crazy demons within the damned fortress.
As he got closer to one of the gardens, he heard a harmonious voice drifted from behind a line of bushes. Perfect quiet hiding place ruined, Sesshomaru decided to investigate to see if he could scare whoever it was away from the garden.
Upon getting closer, he realized it was singing he heard and quickly leaped on top of the bushes to inspect the singing.
"…'til your singing eyes and fingers…drew me loving into your isle…" Rin continued to sing, scrubbing a particularly tough stain on the interior of a heavy kimono. She managed to throw the upper half over her shoulders to keep it off the ground while she wrung the golden hem of the kimono.
Sesshomaru caught sight of the figure of a guard he recognized sprawled out on the grass amid a few drying racks. He strained to see where the voice was coming from. All his golden eyes could see were delicate feet sticking out from a particularly elegantly patterned kimono with a golden hem while the woman's upper body was obscured by a branch from a nearby tree.
She kept singing the song, almost daring Sesshomaru to leap down and take a look at her obfuscated face. He caught glimpses of dark hair and layers of kimono.
His nose wasn't much use to him around here - the fragrances used to perfume the kimonos overpowered every other scent in the vicinity.
"My lady," Toki said, teasing Rin. "You look quite beautiful in that kimono."
Rin stopped her singing and laughed, realizing it did look like she was wearing the wonderful kimono. She struck a pose for Toki and continued to clean, leaving out her songs to catch her breath.
Toki rose with the speed only demons possessed, "I bid you farewell, my lady." He smiled, still teasing her about the kimono.
Sesshomaru quickly moved from his spot on top of the bushes to the other side, and thought for a moment. The guard called the singer 'my lady' and complimented her on her beauty. The only ladies in the castle were his mother and the wind sorceress.
Maybe he should reassess his consideration of the demoness…
Rin was helping the regent Lady of West dress a few days later for dinner. The lady had chosen a summer kimono to reflect her mood: happiness. The main part of the kimono was patterned with pink and orange flowers and her obi was a cheerful blue color.
Rin was tying the obi when one of the lady's personal maids asked, "Do you think your son will ask Lord Onigumo for Lady Kagura's hand tonight, my lady?"
Lady Susumu smiled, a rare sight for anyone, and answered, "We shall see…"
Another maid who was fixing the lady's hair asked, "Why do you think he suddenly changed his mind, my lady?"
Rin was trying her very best to ignore the conversation and hide her despair. It is not like the mighty Lord Sesshomaru to even glance in a human girl's direction…
"I do not know… He had left me without a single regard one afternoon and that very same night he appeared at dinner, showing genuine interest in Lady Kagura. It was quite strange, but certainly not unwelcomed."
Rin interjected, "Is this knot to your liking, my lady?"
Susumu turned to see her posterior and nodded her approval. "Please go wait in the dining room. I might need your assistance later," she waved her hand, a sign for Rin to leave and do as she instructed.
Rin left quickly and made her way to the dining room. The kitchen servants and cooks were scurrying about, making their last preparations for the elaborate dinner that Lord Sesshomaru had requested. Rin sat a few yards behind where her lady would sit once she arrived from her quarters. She saw Lord Sesshomaru come in, followed by a few of his top guards, and watched him as best as she could from her submissive bowing position.
Toki came in next, leading the Lady Kagura, who was adorned in the kimono with the golden hem that Rin had struggled to clean only a few days before. Toki helped the lady to her seat across from Sesshomaru, and came to stand behind Rin as one of the guards for the occasion.
He whispered to her, "Have you heard the rumors, Rin?"
Rin nodded, once again having to sigh over the eminent loss of Sesshomaru.
Toki bent when he felt no one important was looking and said into her left ear, "The reason he's doing it is because of her singing voice, I hear."
Rin tilted her head toward him, taking in the new information.
"I was there when he told Prince Kouga about it," he continued, gesturing to the wolf demon sitting a few seats down from Sesshomaru. "Kouga's not too fond of Lady Kagura, apparently. Said something about her father attacking his tribes last season..."
Rin whispered back, "She sings?" If only she had known that was the way to land a handsome demon lord you have had a crush on since you were eight years of age.
"According to Sesshomaru, he heard her singing a beautiful song the other day, and had to inquire about Lady Kagura further."
Rin didn't really believe such a rumor, but could not inquire any further- their whispers were interrupted by Susumu's entrance with Onigumo. They both bowed deeply, along with the rest of the room.
"Let us dine," Lady Susumu announced as the servants set dishes and chopsticks in front of each guest at the table.
Rin didn't really catch much of the conversation between the noble demons- whether because they spoke softly or because she was distracted was up for debate. What she did catch were the glances Sesshomaru offered Kagura with his magenta lined eyes. Rin was no expert, of course, but she could tell that more than one thoughtful look from Sesshomaru meant something more than his usual boredom. What Rin would give to be the subject of Sesshomaru's gaze!
Though Toki knew of Rin's affection for Sesshomaru, it didn't stop him from wanting to laugh on the humorous expressions he was seeing cross her face from his place. He could almost feel the jealousy emanating from the human girl in front of him- making him genuinely wonder if any of the other servants or guards were noticing. It's not like he could do anything about it when dinner was in full swing. Guards were prized only when silent. But it wouldn't hurt if he mentioned to Rin after dinner that she was putting on quite the comedy… that might earn him a square slap from said human. So… maybe he would just take to laughing in his head at the non-verbal expense of his friend.
Rin didn't miss the more frequent glances Kagura gave to Sesshomaru, quite often making a point to bat her perfect long eyelashes at him and let her perfectly red eyes glisten at him. She was perfectly demon, and perfectly perfect for Sesshomaru.
Once all of the food had been eaten and the conversation had died, Sesshomaru invited Lord Onigumo into his chambers to discuss a private matter.
The whole room knew what the private matter was.
"This was a lovely time, my lady," Kagura stated, clearly elated as to what her father and Sesshomaru were surely discussing.
"It has been wonderful, Lady Susumu. I must excuse myself now," Prince Kouga bowed to his hostess and left the room with his personal servants and guard.
"Well, Lady Kagura, why don't we retire for tea in my rooms?" Lady Susumu suggested, waving for her attendants, including Rin.
The whole procession of female servants and male guards exited after them and trailed behind the two ladies to Susumu's rooms.
Once inside and away from the male guard's eyes, Susumu called Rin to her and asked that she pick a kimono for the rest of the night so that she could change into something more comfortable.
Rin and another servant came in with Rin's suggestion and proceeded to change Lady Susumu.
Once dressed, Lady Kagura admired the simpler choices. "Your servant has quite the eye, Lady Susumu."
"Yes, she does," Lady Susumu complimented Rin. "She has been doing this since she was a young girl, and took over upon her predecessor's death."
Rin bowed her head, embarrassed, and showed her gratitude in silence - just like the maid she was brought up to be.
"No need to be modest, child. You are particularly good with kimono," Susumu complimented again, and added, "Would you like to borrow her talents, Lady Kagura? I'm sure I could manage a day without her."
Kagura looked Rin over with her perpetually red eyes and said, "I should use her to pick out my kimono and kosode for my… upcoming ceremony."
Rin felt a pang of jealousy forming in her heart, and wished to be excused with all of her internal might.
Lady Susumu smiled, approving of Kagura's little hint. "Precisely. Child," she addressed Rin, "you are free to go."
Rin bowed to the pair of royal demonesses and left with as much grace as she could muster. Once down the hall and out of the guards' sight, she ran to her room in the far corner of the compound. She let her girlish tears run down her cheeks after she slid the door closed and dropped to her pathetic sleeping mat.
She knew there was no chance for her in Sesshomaru's life. She was a simple orphaned human girl. She was a mere maid and servant to his noble family. But she had felt love for him since she was a little girl, newly orphaned and alone in the world.
A/n: Hello! Thanks for taking the time to read this story! Please tell me what you think, I always love those reviews. Updates should be pretty regular- almost the entire story has been written. Also, this whole fic will be based around 'Song to the Siren' by This Mortal Coil, who covered it from Tim Buckley.
Please also take time to visit pammazola, who is my wonderful beta and whose stories are amazing.