Chapter One

The night was young…and very dark. The stars shimmered in their nest of blackness but offered little comfort to young healer in training, though she did not fear the shadows. No…she was protected from the demons that lurked within them, but she feared her protector. His golden eyes always rendered her powerless in his presence, while his flowing silver hair swayed stray strands across them. Those eyes would gaze at her in mild fascination during their brief conversations, and Rin always wondered if they would ever hold something more. But Sesshomaru was always the calm, cool, and collected one. He never broke from his tight reserve to express emotion in her presence, and Rin would never ask him to for fear that he should express the wrong one.

Rin held her basket firmly to her side as she ambled through the darkened path before her. With no light but the stars, she could barely see the ground and nearly stumbled upon the branches that hid among the shadows. "Oh!" Her foot caught on a particularly large branch and tumbled forward into the branches owner. A tall oak tree loomed above her proudly, and Rin backed away from it to gaze upon its glory. All she could see was blackness against a backdrop of glistening stars. Too bad I forgot my flashlight, Rin thought silently to herself. Kagome had given it to her at their last encounter and told her to use it in situations like this, but she had left it behind in Kaede's hut. The sun had still been visible above the mountains when she had ventured out to find more healing herbs, but night broke faster than Rin had realized.

Sigh. "What am I to do with myself if I keep forgetting that thing?" Rin shook her head and turned to continue on her way. The branch she had tripped on would not surprise her this time, so she lifted her foot higher and stepped over it with success.

Deeper into the night, she wandered closer into the direction of the village, but could not help but wonder why her path was so dark. Yes, the stars were out, but the sky offered little aid to help her find her way and there was no moon.

The wind howled as a gust blew past her, causing Rin to jump as several fallen leaves slithered past her naked ankles. Autumn's cool breeze licked the bare skin of her shoulders and carried her white cotton skirt almost above her waist line. "Yikes!" Rin batted her dress down and carried on toward her intended destination with a blush on her cheeks. "Oh, I hope this night casted me in enough shadow so that no one saw that…" Thankfully, when priestess Kagome had gifted the dress to her, she had provided the proper undergarments as well. "Panties are such a wonderful thing!" She spoke to no one but herself and continued on until she reached the opening of the forest.

Her village came into view as she halted at the top of the hill. A few huts were lit with small fires to warm their inhabitants, and another burned just outside her own, signaling for her safe return. Rin sighed happily and hiked her way down.

"Kaede, my mother packed more ointments and bandages for you."

A dark haired priestess appeared from behind one of the many trees that inhabited the forest of Inuyasha. The woman was clad in a ceremonial kimono of white silk and red roses, and was carrying a yellow shoulder bag full to the brim with fresh supplies. "If it's not enough, I'll just drop these off and get more." Kagome slipped her bag from her shoulder and dropped it before the elder priestess Kaede, who was smiling warmly.

"Child, do not fret." Kaede lifted her hand and waved toward the out of breath miko. "There is plenty here to save an army."

Kagome smiled back and breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh good, because that stuff gets heavy after a while." She moved around the small fire and seated herself on a rather large tree stump seat. "Have you seen Inuyasha?" She asked while looking around the darkened night. "He wasn't home when I passed by."

"Fear not, child." Kaede stoked the fire with a thick stick. "He went out not long after yee left to help train Shippo. That fox needs all the help he can get, if yee ask me."

Kagome stifled a giggle and nodded. "He does, doesn't he? Too bad Inuyasha has a short temper. I'm willing to bet one of them will come back with a few lumps on the head." My husband could be considered a child beater, she mused silently to herself. It's a good thing Shippo is a demon too, otherwise I would have to SIT him a few times. Kagome sighed once more. "Kaede, where is Rin?"

Kaede stopped poking at the flames to answer, when the sound of a twig snap caught both of their attentions. Going into instant fight mode, Kagome jumped to her feet and whipped out her hidden bow and arrows and took aim at a female figure dressed in a white cotton dress that was billowing in the wind.

Author's Note: Hello everyone! This author's note is to let everyone know that I have done some slight revisions to chapter's 6, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 23, and 24. Nothing was severely changed, mind you. I only tweaked certain words and censored one paragraph in one chapter. I did so because I did not want someone to get all pissy with me for sex related content. I know my story is rated M, but that is because there is some 'suggestive' content in the chapters that I had listed as revised. Also, there is some violence in other chapters, which I did not revise. I have written a lemon, but you will need to let me know in a review or PM that you wish to read it because I have not posted it with the chapter it belongs to. To find out which chapter, you will need to just keep reading and find out.