Chapter 1; Waking up.
The amount of times Lord Sesshomaru had been knocked unconscious could be counted on a single hand and still leave room to count the times he had been sick. And all of those times he had been in his youth, young, weak and plain stupid. But this time was different. He was older, he was stronger and wiser. It should not have happened.
But it had and now he was waking up.
His sense of smell was the first to alert his mind to where he was. And he noted at once that it had changed. He had moved.
The smells of blood, human blood for that, damp and wood hit him as well as the smell of fear and pain. His eyes opened and he looked around the darkness.
If he didn't know any better, he would think he was in some kind of cage, a dark enclosed one that appeared to be moving, judging by the vibrations. He growled and stood… and fell back down. He hadn't even made it to his knees, falling back to where he was.
Confused, he reassessed his situation. That was when he noticed his hands were tied behind… a human! A human was sat beside him, a female with her head resting on his shoulder. The insult! But then the cart moved and she was tossed to the side.
She was unconscious, knocked out judging by the bruise on her jaw. She had some kind of rope around her neck that led behind her and her hands vanished under his arms. The demon guessed she had her hands tied as he was.
But now he turned his attention to getting free, pulling at the rope behind her back, wanting to tear it apart and then find and rip the heart out of all who dared chain him. Yet the rope remained as it was. It remained strong and trapped around his hands. He pulled and thrashed, yanked and even tried his poison but nothing. It was just rope and yet he couldn't even make a dent in it? What was the meaning of this!
He snapped his eyes to the woman as she stirred, leaning off him and opened her eyes. "What is going on here? How did I come to be here?"
The woman shook her head slowly and rolled her eyes. "I… I don't know." Her head dropped as she tried to pull away but her hands stopped her. "I was at home with my brothers, out back cooking dinner, when I heard my father shouting for me. When I got to him, there were these men there and they… they came over to me and… wrapped this around my neck." She lifted her neck, revealing the rope which he could now see was a dark red ribbon, tight to her skin. "Then… they just beat the seven bells out of me. Next thing I know, I'm here."
"Then you don't know what's going on?"
She swallowed and looked away. "My guess… slavery."
"This, the red ribbon… it's the mark of a slave. I've seen them before."
"So you are a slave?"
She looked away from him suddenly. "So are you."
"What did you say?"
Her eyes lifted to him. "You wear one too."
Instantly the demon tried to reach for his neck but couldn't as his hands were trapped under her. "What do you mean? As if I would ever become a slave!"
She sighed and turned away from him but it wasn't long before her head started to slip and she fell unconscious again. But when her head connected with his shoulder, he pushed her back and away from him. "Do not touch me."
Silence fell as Sesshomaru tried once again to free himself and the girl tried to keep away from him.
After a bump in the transport, the girl sighed. "What's your name?"
"I am Lord Sesshomaru, demon ruler of the western lands."
The girl smiled looked away from him. "I'm Rin… of nowhere."
He was silent for a moment then looked down at her. "Why are you bothered by my name? And why do you keep tightening your grip on me?"
Loosening herself, the woman shook her head. "I… I guess… I guess… I kinda hoped, after everything I've been through, someone in the same position as me might have a little compassion for my situation. But I guess that was silly." She giggled deliriously for a moment then sighed, looking away.
He didn't say a word.
Rin drifted in and out as they moved and Sesshomaru stopped struggling and began to think. The hours passed and Rin finally woke and remained awake, looking away from the demon, into the dark and gloom of where they were being held.
After the hours had passed, the movement around them stopped and Rin gasped. "What… what's going on?"
The demon lifted his head suddenly, eyes moving from side to side as he scanned the air. "It's late."
As Rin also looked at the air, if slower and with less accuracy, there was a sudden bang on the wall behind Sesshomaru and before Rin. "Dinner time you two!"
Rin gasped in shock and in fear. "Oh no."
"What are you worried about?"
"I… I'm… I'm worried that they might… might…."
His eyes turned to her as she panted suddenly, shaking under his grip. The demon stared for a moment then looked away from her just before a large door suddenly opened. A man, tall and muscular stood there, staring, sneering at them. "Come on you two, don't you want something to eat? Course you might have to… sing for your supper."
Snarling and growling, the demon lord thrashed in his restraints. "If you value your life human, you will release me at once!"
The man laughed. "Yeah right demon. We are so lucky to have you. And if I were you, I'd watch how you move." He nodded to him. "Each time you move, your little friend there gets choked."
Eyes narrow, he looked over Rin and in the light from outside saw the ribbon around her was tight, almost cutting into her neck. He was sure it hadn't been that way before. Then he moved his hand and saw it closed even more.
He huffed and looked back at the human. "If you think this will stop me then you are a fool. I hold no value in a human's life." His hands pulled away from her, tightening the collar and hearing her gasp and choke in pain. She went ridged but the demon didn't care, he just stared at the man and pulled even harder.
The slaver blinked and looked shocked as he climbed up into the carriage, staring down on them. "Now, you listen here, if you kill her, I will kill you!"
"Another foolish idea, for if you kill us both, you will have nothing of value. You're best option is to let me go and still get something for the human."
The slaver stared and thought as Rin choked for air and the demon pulled even tighter. Finally he pulled out a knife and cut the ribbon around Rin's neck allowing her to breathe again. Then he stepped back, smirking. "Or I can stop you hurting her."
The demon growled. He was still trapped. The slaver laughed as he watched the demon understand. "Maybe a night locked in here with no food will settle you down. Make you learn your new place." He turned and jumped out of the cart, slamming the door and casting them back into darkness.
Still panting, Rin lifted her head from his shoulder and looked at him. "Did… did you mean that? That… that you would… would have killed me?"
The demon remained still for a moment then lifted his head. "What is worse, staying in here and being hungry or going out there?"
Her breath back, Rin blinked and smiled slowly. She held back tears as she realised that… in a very strange way… he was protecting her. "Thank you." She shifted as much as she could away from him and kept as still as she could until she fell asleep, her head propped up on his shoulder.