Disclaimer: I do not own the characters. Rumiko Takahashi does.
Poem featured somewhere in this chapter is by William Shakespeare.
Rin sat across her suitor as she watched him with bleary eyes. She turned her head to the side, and tried to stifle a yawn. Uninterested and tired as she may be, she didn't want to be rude.
"Please, accept this gift!" The man held out a huge golden necklace adorned with pearls, rubies, aquamarine and numerous jewels. The thing obviously looked expensive, but Rin did not think she could wear such a thing around the village.
The fire from the hearth crackled in short silence.
"Uhm, no thank you but I appreciate the sentiment." She stated calmly.
The young man gulped. "I can offer you much more than this! I promise you the land in the south, the mansion, and -"
She cut him off with an exasperated sigh. She heard all of this before. "I'm sorry but I'm not interested in-" she rolled her eyes "-marriage just yet. Nor I am interested in your lands and what you possess."
"But but-" He started with beseeching eyes.
Just then Inu-Yasha barged in the hut. "You heard the girl. She's not interested. Now get out!"
Rin smiled inwardly. She owes him one. "Inuyasha, try to be nice." Rin heard Kagome outside.
The man looked at the intruder defiantly.
Inuyasha scoffed. "Heh. Trust me. Leave now or you'll be sorry. You're lucky her true guardian ain't here. He'll rip you to pieces if you gave him that look." He tried to ignore the acid rising in his throat with his casual reference of his half-brother.
The man still looked hesitant. Inuyasha started cracking his fists together then extended his claws.
At this warning demonstration, the young man stood up quickly, bid Rin farewell and added a final request to reconsider his offer and seek him out if she changes her mind. She merely nodded.
When the man finally left, Rin buried her face on her hands.
"That has to be a new record. Six suitors in one day?" Inuyasha muttered incredulously.
"Spare me." She muttered. Kagome entered the hut and beamed at her.
"Remember what guy number three said? Your name had spread far across and wide in the lands. Oh the beautiful young maiden Rin. At this rate, you're going to find your future husband soon!"
Guy number three. She smirked at the way Kagome referred to the men seeking her hands in marriage. She guessed it would be easier to number them than remember their names. Not that she cared anyway.
"More people to shoo away. You're becoming quite the trouble, Rin." Inuyasha commented.
Kagome smacked him in the head.
Rin smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. But so far, I don't think I'm even remotely interested in men showing up declaring their…undying love-" She cringed "-for me." Suddenly her eyes lit up wickedly. "I think this Rin is far too good for them."
Kagome and Rin giggled.
"Seems like someone's haughtiness is rubbing off on you." Inuyasha added disdainfully.
"Come on but you got to admit, I'm less frightening than him."
"Well, true. But that Bastard-("Inuyasha"- Kagome chided at his inappropriate language)-haven't showed up in a while."
At this reminder, she frowned. Sesshomaru-sama. She hadn't seen him in ten months. His visits were becoming less and less frequent ever since he had left her in this village under Kaede's care. Everytime he does visit though, he brought her different presents which she was always eager to accept. The last was the pink kimono she currently wore so elegantly.
That night Rin decided she wanted solitude. She headed to a nearby stream in the forest in hopes of enjoying a late night bath. Her plain kimono pooled at her feet, and she stepped into the water until her chin was submerged. After washing her hair thoroughly, she leaned against a boulder and stared into the cloudless night. The crescent moon reminded her of the crest on Sesshomaru-sama's forehead. She wondered what he's doing at this moment… and was again reminded of how she missed him terribly. She looked away from the sky and forced herself to look at her reflection on the rippling water instead. A pair of hazelnut eyes looked back at her which were framed on a perfect heart-shaped face. Her thick light-brown hair reached her waist; it was not disheveled anymore unlike when she was a child. It was silky and manageable now (thanks to Kagome's "shampoo&conditioner" of course!). She parted her lips and slowly traced her bottom lip which was stained with red rogue; a gift from Sesshomaru a few years ago.
Many of her suitors travelled very far in hopes of winning her heart, dependent only upon a rumor that a heavenly-beauty lives in this village. And when they laid eyes upon her, they would lavish her with presents and brag about their riches and lands.
Does Sesshomaru-sama finds her beautiful as well? She flushed at the thought.
I'm not in love with him of course. She convinced herself. When she was younger and the Lord had visited her, she missed him so much she ended up declaring her love for him. She blushed furiously at the memory and was very annoyed and embarrassed at her younger self for doing that. Well, she HAD a lot of things to be embarrassed about.
She always greeted him with huge hugs whenever he visited, but one day, he sent her a… sensei to teach her the proper etiquettes of how a lady should act and greet her visitors. Again, her face reddened at the thought. Why didn't he just tell her that he didn't want to be embraced anymore?
She snorted. That would be too direct of an approach for her Sesshomaru-sama. If he wanted something he'd do it his own way…
At the thought of being in love (much like the sappy, passionate love between Kagome and Inuyasha)… she'd long given up on Sesshomaru. A few years ago, Inuyasha was compelled to talk to her about her feelings to Sesshomaru. He knew she was growing up and that things might get a bit out of hand.
"If you're thinking that you and Sesshomaru will one day be… you know, LOVERS-" Inuyasha scratched his head uneasily. "-Ahem. You should give up on it now, kid, while it's still early. You don't want getting your heart broken in the future, believe me."
"But WHYY? Why can't me and Sesshomaru-sama be like you and Kagome-chan?" Rin wailed.
Inuyasha scowled. "That demon doesn't like humans. I personally recall many times he referred ningens as… well you wouldn't wanna know, plus Kagome will punch me if I cursed in front of you. And even though he treated you well, you should never expect and hope for more. It might just end there; ally and companionship. He hates half-breed demons…a hanyou, like me. Do you really think he'd take you for a bride one day knowing that you'll give him hanyous?"
"Well, he took care of me and protected me, so you never know! Maybe he'll change his opinion…"Her eyebrows furrowed.
"Keh. I don't know but he's stubborn as a mule. Proud, overconfident, self-centered demon that he is. Better not get your hopes up."
Rin sank lower in the water. Only later down the years did she realize Inuyasha's advice to her. He was right. Her Lord was out of her reach. She did not want to taint what… relationship they have together by letting her love get in the way. But she did love him as a ward and will stay loyal to him no matter what. She admitted to herself. After all, he protected her and took care of her during all those travelling years in pursuit of Naraku. Not to mention resurrecting her from death twice.
She stood up and dried herself with the towel, then wrapped herself with the kimono. She grabbed the small basin she had brought and started to walk towards the village. Suddenly, she heard a rustle.
"Who's there?" She instinctively called out. She should really stop that behavior. Calling out a possible hidden enemy is not a good idea, as what Sesshomaru had taught her. But the lesson didn't stick with her this time. She was defenseless, and before she could make a run for it she heard her name.
A man stepped out of the darkness dressed in attire she's still fascinated with even after seeing it for so many times. It reminded her of Kagome's strange clothes. He had on a dark "coat" which was left open, revealing a white-"undershirt" and black "trousers." After calling it strange kimono several times, he corrected her.
"Kaname-san! You scared me!" Rin sighed in relief.
The man continued walking towards her direction then stopped. He curtsied and then gave her a crooked smile. "I apologize for scaring you."
She regarded him with a pout. His shoulder-length, light brown hair was tousled in the wind, and his dark, chestnut eyes looked at her with humor. This man reminded him of Sesshomaru at times. It's not only the height, but also the certain… air they carry.
Suddenly she narrowed her eyes at him. "You weren't peeping on me when I was taking a bath, were you?"
His eyes widened startlingly. "No I wasn't. I just arrived, actually."
The sheer honesty in his voice made her doubts vanish quickly.
"I think I should wait back at the usual place, and you can return your items to your house (he pointed at the basin with his thumb). I'll wait for you. It's been a while and we have a lot of catching up." He suggested smoothly.
She smiled. "At the glade?"
"Of course. And make sure you wear another kimono over that… it's a bit chilly tonight and that doesn't seem like it will provide you any protection."
She blushed at the short kimono she was wearing. Well she thought she was going to sleep after her refreshing bath… but since her unexpected friend showed up…
"Alright, I'll be back fast!"
"I'll be waiting."
"So what have you been doing? It's been a while. I thought you forgot about me, much like Sesshomaru-sama." Rin stretched out on the grass, the breeze gently caressing her face.
"I don't think he's forgotten about you, Rin." Kaname sat beside her. His left leg was stretched comfortably, while his right leg was bent supporting an arm.
"You don't know that."
"So… you still don't want to be introduced to my friends back at the village? And you still don't want me to tell THEM about you?" She asked.
He scoffed. "Of course not."
He sighed and changed the subject. "Rin, are you happy?"
She turned to look at him. He was obviously avoiding her question. She found out that he was staring at her intently, and HIS current question weighed on her mind. She opened her mouth, then closed it, unsure of what to say.
A bunch of leaves and petals were being carried by the wind under the moonlight.
"I'm… content. That much I can say." Yes, that was right. She had everything she needed; friends, a home, a simple life… everything that was deprived from her when she was a child she finally has now. But it's hard to say that she's happy. The truth is she missed travelling with Sesshomaru. She's tired of being visited by different men every day, and she's tired of waiting for Sesshomaru to visit her! She sighed and sat up.
"Follow your heart. I'd like for you to be happy and not be stuck here and forced to entertain unwanted suitors." Kaname told her as if reading her mind.
Her jaw dropped slightly, then she smiled. "You bring me comfort, you know that? I'm glad I was able to meet you five years ago."
He chuckled. "I'm glad I found you unconscious in the forest. You were such a brat back then."
At this comment she scowled.
"Well ENOUGH about me. What about you? I know you're a foreigner and all so how are you -faring my good sir?" She made a strange bow and twist of her hand.
He laughed lightly. "Well, milady, I've built a home in the east. So far everything is going smoothly. I enjoy these lands… I travel most of the time too you know."
Rin gasped. "East? That's so far from here! Why did you.. when-"
Kaname cut her off. "I told you I was travelling also and happened to be nearby, so I HOPED to see you as well. So don't worry." He gave her a reassuring smile.
Rin continued to stare at him. Under the moonlight, he looked…ethereal. She can't deny that this man is very attractive. Those tender eyes were hypnotic and deep. His smile made her feel somewhat like… like he's giving her a rare smile that he never shows to anyone else. But even though, something feels…predatory about him. Which is a ridiculous notion. She shook her head.
"I want you to promise me something, Rin."
His tone was suddenly serious it caught her off guard. "What is it?"
Kaname suddenly grabbed her right hand and held it with his. "Before you make any decision that might change your life… come see me. Here. And I promise that I WILL be here. Give me the chance to see you."
The intensity in his eyes had made her frozen in surprise and shock. "Of- of course!" She cleared her throat. "-But when are you going back? How are you going to know…?"
His eyes softened. "Trust me. Like you always do."
A blush started to rise to her cheeks. "Kaname…-san…"
He snickered suddenly. "You look a bit like a tomato. Are you quite alright?"
She pulled her hand away from his and tried to glare at him. "I'm fine!" His teasing embarrassed her.
"I'm sorry, but your inability to accept compliments from me without glowing red is adorable. Some things never change." He added mischievously.
"Ugh! STOP that!"
Their bantering and conversation continued for the most part of the night. After feeling miserable for the past few weeks, Rin was glad Kaname had visited. He was very mysterious and she doesn't know everything about him, but talking to him and his advices to her has been enough. To her, he was the real version of having an imaginary friend; because no one else knows about him aside from her. Not Inuyasha, not Kagome, and especially not her Lord Sesshomaru.
(Few days later)
"Please stop running around! Come on I need to change your diaper! AIKO!" Rin was chasing the little hanyou inside the house. Here she was, stuck in baby-sitting duty while Kagome and Inuyasha went on the other side of the well to get some supplies.
The little girl giggled. "Rin-chan! That tickles!"
"This is your punishment for running away from me. Now SUFFER!" She exclaimed and continued tickling the helpless child.
Somehow Aiko got away and got a hold of a wooden stick. "Kaze no Kizu(Wind scar)!" She exclaimed while brandishing the stick.
Rin playfully yelped and pretended to be unconscious on the ground. "This..is…not..the end!" She wailed.
The child and Rin stopped playing for a moment. She stood up to greet the unexpected visitor.
It was one of the villagers, and by the looks of it he was extremely nervous.
"Hi. What is it?"
"There are… people outside looking for you Rin-Sama."
People? More suitors? She sighed. She was in no mood to entertain them.
"As you can see, I'm taking care of Inuyasha and Kagome's daughter. I'm busy and I can't just…"
The villager cut her off. "Please Rin-sama. I don't think… they will leave…peacefully." He gulped.
At this, she smelled trouble. What is it this time?
"Fine. I will be out in a moment. But please bring Aiko to Kaede." She carried the child to him.
"Yes of course. They… those men are currently waiting in the northern part of the village." The villager hurriedly left.
She's got a bad feeling about this. Nevertheless, she straightened herself and decided to confront them.
But nothing could have prepared her for what she was about to confront. Villagers and the children were outside their houses, yet not attempting to go any closer. They look frightened. Well, they HAVE a good reason to be.
"HEY THERE YOUNG LADY!" A bulky man, clearly the leader, approached her while riding his horse. She stared at Rin as if she was a dainty morsel, and it made her feel sick to the stomach.
"Wow, the rumor is true! Yet rumors do your beauty injustice!"
She was frozen and could not move from where she was. Her head was assaulted with unwanted memories… of the death of her family years and years ago in the hand of bandits. She was there, was forced to watched her brothers and sisters getting butchered. Her heart pounded against her painfully. This could NOT be happening.
"What is it, maiden? Cat got your tongue?"
"Leave this village, now." She managed to choke out.
"Leave?" The man guffawed in the most disgusting way, followed by the other bandits. She trembled.
"I came from far… far away hoping to see you my lady, and I'm NOT going to leave without the treasure I seek. Which is you."
She suppressed the urge to gag. "I am NOT going anywhere with you." She grounded.
"Oh?" The man gave her a malicious stare. "I don't think so… well unless you want the villagers slaughtered and this village plundered. THEN we'll take you by force." The men behind him grunted in agreement.
She was scared and frightened. For the villagers, and for herself.
"What is the meaning of this?" Miroku, the monk, stood in front of Rin in an attempt to protect her. Rin was aware of the fact that Sango just gave birth and currently recovering, and Inuyasha and Kagome were away. Shippo is taking the Kitsune-ranking test, and Kohaku is back at the Slayer Village. Even with Miroku here, they were outnumbered.
She noticed Kaede far behind them, and the village men. They were holding rusty weapons and they were all frightened as well. It's no use. There will be bloodshed. And it will be all her fault.
"A monk? Do I look like a f**** Demon to you MONK?" The bulky man on the horse drew his sword. Miroku prepared his staff in front of him.
"Rin, I want you to run away from the village. As far as you can." Miroku whispered.
Rin closed her eyes and swallowed.
"I- I cant." She can't be selfish enough to run away and leave the village to be slaughtered.
"Please listen to me. Help will come soon. But we need time."
Time. But how long? How many people will be killed until "help" comes? No she can't…
She stepped around Miroku and faced the leader of the bandit. "Take me, then. And leave these people alone." She spoke with a voice she didn't recognize. She tried to push away the disturbing images in her head.
"Rin! Don't do this!" Miroku begged.
"It's okay. Sesshomaru-sama will come and save me eventually." She whispered. Even she was unsure of this. When will he come to the village and found out that she was taken away by the bandits? What if by the time that he knows… she was already…
The bandit swung his sword and the point of the blade ended up under her chin, touching her neck. The front-top of her Kimono was damaged, revealing the top of her breasts.
She was aghast, but remained immobilized.
"You're a brave one, eh? Just perfect." The bandit gave her an evil, toothy smile. "-alright then. MEN! Take her."
Rin shut her eyes.
She heard the men making their moves to approach her.
Just then, the leader's horse started to go berserk. "Hey Hey! Calm down you stupid hors-"
When she opened her eyes, she saw a familiar green-whip like light that grabbed a hold of their leader's wrist. In an instant, he was thrown far into a hut which was crushed with his weight. Several villagers ran away from the scene.
Rin frantically looked around.
"Sesshomaru-sama!" She exclaimed in amazing relief. He was perched on top of a post, then he was in front of her in a blinding speed. She couldn't help staring at the familiar, silver hair in front of her. It's him. It's REALLY him. She noticed that the men who were supposed to seize her were surrounding them.
"You'll… pay for that!" One of the bandit exclaimed.
Miroku straightened up.
"Get Rin away from here." Sesshomaru ended in a clipped tone while extending his claws.
His voice mesmerized her even though he wasn't speaking to her. It's been so long.
"Y-Yes." Miroku grabbed her hand and headed towards Kaede.
"Oh, child. Are ye alright?" Kaede held her when she fell on her knees.
Sesshomaru-sama. He's back. She still couldn't believe it. She turned her head to watch him from where he was. The bandits had drawn their weapons, but she already knew they were no match against her Sesshomaru-sama. This will end swiftly, and probably badly.
"Wow, Sesshomaru's timing is impeccable. That was a close one." Miroku sighed in relief.
"He's going to kill them." Rin mumbled.
"Can't do anything about it. He probably won't listen. He looked pissed." Miroku whispered.
"He.. did?" Rin wasn't able to see her Lord's face because he was too quick.
Just then the bandits started to attack Sesshomaru at the same time. One quick rotation with the whip of light, and all of the bandits flew backwards. Neck sliced. Rin could not look away from the carnage.
The rest of the bandits planning a second attack were horrified at the swift end of their comrades. Sesshomaru turned to look at the remaining bandits icily.
"RE –RETREAT!" One of the men yelled. They kicked their horses for escape.
Surprisingly, Sesshomaru did not pursue to kill the rest of them. Instead, he walked over to where the bandit's leader was lying. He was still alive, clutching his wrist.
"Please! Don't kill me! I didn't mean any harm to the girl!" He begged, his eyes bulging in fear.
Sesshomaru only continued to stare at him, his emotion unreadable.
He drew Bakusaiga from its sheath.
"Die." He raised his sword.
"Sesshomaru-sama!" Rin was standing a few feet behind him, her eyes pleading. She was covering her chest, covering the damage the bandit did to her. Death by Bakusaiga is absolutely painful and horrendous to a human and demon alike. Invisible blades will continue to cut until there's nothing left of its victim.
Rin waited. Sesshomaru glanced at her momentarily, then his merciless eyes once again landed on the bandit.
He sheathed Bakusaiga.
"Th-thank you for sparing me!"
Sesshomaru ignored him and picked up the bandit's sword instead. One swing, and he completely cut off the bandit's right hand. The same hand that was holding the sword against Rin's neck. The bandit screamed, then passed out.
"He's terrifying!" One of the villagers behind Kaede whispered.
"Yes. He's not like Inuyasha. Nevertheless despite the slaughter, he did save our village. We must be thankful." Even Kaede shivered as she said this.
Sesshomaru started walking towards Rin, his expression blank and unreadable as always. She couldn't help looking at his tawny eyes, the red stripes on his face and the crescent mark between his forehead. She missed him so much. This… absolutely gorgeous and dark demon.
He stopped in front of her. How she wanted to throw herself around him in a tight embrace!
"You should save your mercy for those who deserve it."
Hearing his velvet voice made her feel… safe.
She couldn't answer him.
"Are you hurt?"
"I-Im fine." Then she looked at her chest, and scowled at her Kimono.
"I'm sorry the kimono you gave me was damaged. I'll fix it."
"That is unnecessary. Jaken will be here soon."
At first, she couldn't make sense of how fixing her kimono and Jaken's arrival was connected. Jaken definitely CAN'T sew with those strange fingers… Then she realized that he must be carrying the usual presents from Sesshomaru… NEW kimono?
"This is one of my favorite present from you. I will still fix it." She insisted.
Sesshomaru regarded her pensively.
She watched him as he raised his head slightly, his eyes staring at the nearby forest.
Just then, Inuyasha bursted out from the forest, Kagome riding on his back.
"I smelled blood right after coming out from the well! What the hell happened?"
Kagome jumped from his back. "Aiko? Where is she?" She looked panicked.
"She is safe, Kagome. She is at my house." Kaede answered.
Inuyasha stared at the bloody corpses of the bandits, and narrowed his eyes to Sesshomaru.
"You always gotta make a grand entrance whenever you visit, Sesshomaru." He wrinkled his nose.
"If you have a problem with how I deliver justice, then perhaps you should've been here before I arrived." Sesshomaru gave him a cold stare.
Inuyasha was about to retort when Miroku interrupted him. "It's alright, Inuyasha. Better the bandits than the rest of the innocent people." Miroku thought of the currently helpless Sango, the newborn and his children. Besides, IF he still had the Kazaana(Wind Tunnel), he would've sucked in the bandits to protect the village. That action was as cruel as what Sesshomaru did.
"Hmph. Fine. But I ain't burying them! I'm not gonna clean up after HIM." Inuyasha warned.
Miroku sighed. "It's alright. I'll have the villagers help."
Sesshomaru sat on a nearby outcropping of a rock, pensive and reticent as always.
"Master Jaken! How I missed you!" Rin pulled the small demon into a tight embrace.
"Let me DOWN you insolent CHILD!" He screamed, yet he was happy to see her again.
"Ahem. Let me show you what Sesshomaru-sama got you this time!"
Jaken pulled a rather large box which was balanced precariously on the two-headed dragon's back.
He brought it in front of Rin and opened it.
"Whoa!" She pulled out a splendid cherry-blossom kimono out of the box, and the silk obi it came with. There was also an elegant fan, comb, and two silver sticks with pearl at the end, designed to hold her hair up in a bun.
"Thank you so much Sesshomaru-sama!" She exclaimed in delight.
Sesshomaru glimpsed at her, then returned staring particularly at nothing.
Unable to resist, she put the grand kimono over her simple kimono. She tied her hair quickly into a bun and placed the silver sticks, stood up, and started to cover half her face with the fan.
"I am Princess Rin!" She screamed at Jaken.
The pearly treasures of the sea,
The lights that spatter heaven above,
More precious than these wonders are
My heart-of-hearts filled with your love.
She curtsied at the end of the verse.
"Whaaaat? This game again? You're too old for this!" Jaken muttered grudgingly.
Rin gave him an "I'm waiting" stare. Jaken sighed in resignation.
The ocean's power, the heavenly sights
Cannot outweigh a love filled heart.
And sparkling stars or glowing pearls
Pale as love flashes, beams and darts.
He recited each line with over dramatic hand expressions. Rin was amazed that he remembered his lines. She giggled embarrassingly. "Fine, you're right I'm too old for this. I forgot my next lines."
Jaken glared at her. "Humans are so forgetful!"
"I'm sorry!" Rin started removing the fancy clothes she tried. Then, froze in shock when she heard Sesshomaru speak.
So, little, youthful maiden come
Into my ample, feverish heart
For heaven and earth and sea and sky
Do melt as love has melt my heart.
Both Jaken and Rin ended up staring at their Lord with opened mouth, as he perfectly recited the verse flawlessly. He wasn't looking at them, yet the tone… the pronunciation… her heart skipped a bit.
"Th-that was right. Thank you, my Lord." Rin could hardly speak in admiration. He was… so damn perfect! She couldn't understand why her stomach fluttered so uneasily yet comfortably.
"Yes! Amazing poetry skill my Lord! But you forgot to grovel at my feet after reciting the last line…" Jaken said unwittingly.
He sported a rather large bump on his head after that last remark.
She laughed freely. Her heart feels so… light. She hadn't felt this way for so long. And the reason is because Sesshomaru is here, with her. It felt like they were back in the days when she and Jaken followed him blindly.
And at the thought that he will be leaving soon after giving her these gifts, her heart started racing in fear and panic. He will be leaving… again… and who knows when he's going to come back?
"Rin, what is the matter?" He felt the sudden shift in her emotions. First she was laughing brightly, then her heart started pounding loudly in anxiety. Humans.
Rin looked up to Sesshomaru, and saw him looking at her also. She gulped. Follow your heart. Kaname's words rang in her head. This is it. It's now or never!
"Sesshomaru-sama, please let me travel with you, Jaken and Ah-Un once again? Don't leave me here anymore. I have learned to live with humans, just as you wished years ago, and I have no reason to stay here any longer."
Sesshomaru looked away from her. "Why?" was his simple reply.
She quickly stood up and ran to his side. "Please, Sesshomaru-sama. I'm… I'm not… happy here. I just want things to be the same again. I'm tired of living here, the repetitiveness I mean. And I'm tired of dealing with different suitors every single day!" She blushed at the last sentence.
Jaken jumped. "Suitors? So that bandit you were telling me about earlier…"
Rin looked at him. "Yes, he's the "dangerous" ones. Normally men will come and proclaim that they are lord of this and that and try to convince me with their possessions. If they get too pushy, Inuyasha always frightens them away."
Jaken snorted. "Then why don't you just PICK a decent, rich man, get married and settle down instead of travelling with us?"
Jaken gained another bump on his head. "Sesshomaru-sama, why?" He cried behind Ah-Un.
Sesshomaru started walking towards the forest.
"My Lord! Please." Rin begged.
A breeze swept her Lord's silver hair to the right.
"Prepare your provisions. We leave tomorrow at dawn." said Sesshomaru before he vanished.
Rin was awestruck. "THANK YOU MY LORD!"
"Jaken did you hear that?" He shook the small demon.
Jaken was still moping, but Rin was ecstatic!
Before the sun had risen, Kagome assisted Rin in packing.
"I'm going to give you instant food so you don't have to hunt your meals for a while." She was filling a familiar yellow bag with "ninja food" and other items she deemed useful.
"You're lucky you don't need books. Back then when I was your age, I had to bring tons of it so I can study and pass my exams!" She shook her head.
"Kagome-chan? Are you sure this is okay? I mean you're giving me most of the things you got from the future which you just fetched yesterday." Rin asked.
"Its fine, its fine! You need it more than me. Plus I can always go back and get some more for us. This time I'll bring Aiko with me. Mama said she wants to see her." She glanced at the sleeping child next to her.
"Oh! And don't forget this." Kagome grabbed a box with a Red Cross mark on the front.
"This is called a first-aid kit." She opened it and showed Rin the content. "This is very useful when you get injured, or if Sesshomaru gets injured. See this is a band-aid and you put it over small cuts, and this bottle here cleans a wound to avoid infection. Here are some bandages also for larger cuts, and this ointment is to treat burns. These white pills are to reduce pain and the blue ones are antidote to most poisons. Rin are you following me?" Kagome asked as she handed the box to her.
Rin nodded her head. She took the box and closed it, and added it inside the bag.
"Also, if you ever run out of medicine or need a different one, seek out Jinenji's farm. You've been there before and you know where it's located."
She smiled. She's been there twice. First was when Jaken became poisoned and she needed a cure, and second was when Kagome brought her there to help get some medicinal herbs.
Rin and Kagome stood up, and they embraced each other. "Please take care of yourself. Don't give Sesshomaru such a hard time. And DON'T FORGET to visit." She looked at Rin solemnly.
"I won't. Thank you so much for everything Kagome-chan. You've been a sister to me. If it makes you feel better, I'm bringing the pistol you've given me for my last birthday. I might stop by Totosai's place and pick up bullets if I run out." She giggled. The memory of the blacksmith, being forced by Inuyasha to learn making gunpowder and bullets only guided by a huge book was still hilarious to her.
"I guess. But let's hope that you don't have to use that crude weapon since you have Sesshomaru with you."
Rin kissed the sleeping Aiko, picked up the bag and headed outside. Kaede, Miroku and Inuyasha were waiting for her.
"Give that bastard a hard time. Jump off cliffs, and run into dangerous demons, will ya?" Inuyasha grinned mischievously.
The three of them heard Kagome exclaimed from the inside. And by the sound of it, she was going to…
A loud thud followed and the half-demon ended up face down on the ground.
Miroku held her hand. "Do be careful. Ignore what Inuyasha had said. Sango wishes you farewell also."
Rin nodded her head.
"Don't forget what ye learned, child. If the need ever arises, do visit some villages on your journey." Kaede patted her.
"I will. Thank you Kaede. Thank you, everyone. For everything. I will visit."
With this final farewell, she ran off waving all of them goodbye.
While heading to the meeting point, she suddenly remembered Kaname.
Before you make any decision that might change your life… come see me.
She stopped in her tracks. It's been more than a week since she saw Kaname… but… will he be there?
She shook her head and instead ran towards the meadow. The sun hadn't risen yet, she had some time…
Then there he was, standing with his back turned. He seemed to be waiting for her.
She was surprised. How did he…?
She approached him slowly.
"You've come." Kaname turned to her and smiled. Somehow the smile looked…sad.
"Yes I did. I can't believe you're actually here." She dropped the heavy bag on the ground.
"Trust goes a long way, yes?" He was surprised at the way she looked. Her hair was tied in a bun, with a few bangs and strands hanging and curled around her face. She was wearing a simple Kimono which was comfortable and durable for travelling. She was wonderful.
"Is…this a goodbye?" She asked.
The longing in her voice tugged at his heart. "Perhaps. But if you ever need me, if something…happens… I will be there."
"I'm not even going to ask how. Trust again, huh?" She gave him a small smile.
She swallowed. He was as important as the rest of the friends she was leaving in the village.
Unexpectedly, Kaname raised his hand and held the right side of her face gently. "Fly little bird, and be happy. But don't forget who you truly belong to, which is yourself. Your life is yours to choose what you want with it."
His cryptic words caught her off guard. But before she could ask what he meant, Kaname turned his head towards the forest. "Take care, little bird." He whispered, then dropped his hand.
She jumped and turned around. Sesshomaru emerged from between the trees and was walking towards her followed by Jaken and Ah-Un.
"Was someone here with you?" Sesshomaru asked, and she noticed that he was casually inhaling. Looking for a scent…
She turned around. Whoa. Kaname was… GONE.
"Uhm no my lord. I was just… I wanted to see the sun rise!" She pointed at the horizon. The sun was half-way up. She had no idea what compelled her to lie.
There was a slightly bemused expression on his face. He could've sworn he heard her speaking to someone but there was no other scent… nor presence. This Sesshomaru was mistaken, then. It made him uncomfortable. He RARELY made mistakes.
Rin observed him quietly. When the morning light landed on his face, he looked so… magnificent. She lost her train of thoughts. He suddenly looked at her, then Rin noticed that his face softened slightly.
"As we travel, some things will change, and some will remain the same." He told her, his tawny eyes somber.
"Yes, my Lord." Rin answered breathlessly.
He regarded her for a few more seconds and turned around, his mokomoko (the fluffy thing he wears on his shoulder) trailing behind him.
"Let us go then."
Rin smiled. "Yes, Lord Sesshomaru!" She retrieved her bag, and placed it on Ah-Un's saddle.
She could here Jaken muttering about not being in the meeting place, and having Lord Sesshomaru trace her scent to find her. "Impertinent child!" He told her.
"I'm sorry Master Jaken!"
She held Ah-Un's reins and walked behind Lord Sesshomaru, anticipation building up at the new future she chose, unfolding before her.