Rin, The Little Match-Girl
Author's Notes: I've had the idea for this story in my head for months, and finally got around to actually writing it a couple of days ago. I do not consider this a parody, so much as based off of the original short-story. While the original does not explicitly state where it takes place, I have always assumed London.
Thanks to Exactlywhat for betaing! Hope y'all enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own either Inuyasha nor The Little Match-Girl by Hans Christian Anderson.
It's so cold… The words reverberated through Rin's numb mind, echoing to the back and bouncing back to the forefront. Like every day, she had set out to earn some money. Alas, despite the bitter chill, not a single person had bought any of her matches. She had not even seen her favorite customer, a lord with beautiful white hair, who had never spoken a cruel word to her. To add to her misery, when Rin had earlier tripped in the filthy snow, her too-big slippers had fallen from her poor, red and blue feet, never to be seen again.
Another shiver of both cold and hunger shuddered through, jerking her thoughts back to the present. Her eyes picked out a small indent between buildings, which, while still cold, at least offered protecting from the lashing winds.
Cowering into the structure, Rin stared at the matches in her hand. A wild desire to have warmthseized her, and before she could think twice, she snatched a match and struck it.
Immediately, a small heat warmed her hands, charming the freezing little girl. Working far beyond the paltry physical effects, the little flame projected a soothing mental balm.
As she relaxed, Rin saw a large, beautiful fire. She could practically hear voices laughing and bells ringing, could smell hot drinks in the air. But the light burned out, and reality pressed its implacable grip back upon her.
Intrigued, she lit another match. This time, a grand feast welcomed her eyes. The pride of the table, a glorious, scrumptious-looking roast goose, actually stuck a fork in itself and waddled toward the freezing little maid. Sadly, before she could touch it, this vision also faded with its light.
Immediately, she struck a third. A beautiful Christmas tree, the likes of which she had never dared dream, greeted her awed gaze. The tree was taller than two men and would need at least four women holding hands to properly encircle it. Among the branches, gingerbread men peeked at her, and ornaments hung gaily; a hundred candles sitting amongst the greenery melded with her match's glow.
When this match invariably burned out, Rin quickly rubbed another flame into being. Her delighted gasp heralded the newest image. "Mummy! Daddy! Big brothers!"
Amazingly, Rin's long-dead family stood right in front of her, smiling and waving. Without pausing, she grasped her whole bundle of matches and set them afire. She would not lose this fantastic remnant of her family. When all of her remaining matches where burning merrily, she smiled back at her relatives and joined with the flame's delight.
Striding down the muddy streets early the next morning, Lord Sesshomaru did not expect a fairly large group of people to be gathered in his way. While he attempted to break through the living knot, he overheard several disturbing snatches of conversation.
"Such a shame!"
"An adorable little girl."
"…and on Christmas night no less…"
The lord stopped abruptly as one particularly piercing voice assailed his ears. "Poor thing! She must have burned all those matches in a futile effort to get warm."
Dread pooling in his stomach, Sesshomaru fought his way to the front of the crowd. Lo and behold, the little match-girl he often bought from lay on the ground, stone-cold dead. Looking at her face, a face as peaceful as a sleeping angel's, something snapped in the lord's mind. Ignoring everyone and everything around him, he stalked forward and scooped up the freezing corpse. Running from the sound of indignant shouting, he upped his speed, aiming unerringly for his own residence.
Upon arrival, a servant quickly and efficiently opened the door.
"Jaken," Sesshomaru snapped, heading towards the warm parlor. "Go and get Tenseiga immediately."
Shocked, the bulgy-eyed man nonetheless managed to squeak "Aye, m'lord!" and dash out of the room.
Gently placing the little girl on a couch, Sesshomaru took a minute to consider. He had first noticed the bright child some time ago. Unlike so many beggar children, she always had a smile ready to aim at him, and always seemed cheerful. Absently smoothing her hair into a more manageable condition, he contemplated exactly what bringing the girl, presumably an orphan, here and what he planned to do meant.
"Here is the sword, m'lord." Jaken's arrival jerked him out of his wandering thoughts. Without delay, the lord grasped the heirloom by its hilt and deftly drew it from its sheath. The sword literally sang with power, and Sesshomaru felt all of that power gathering into a narrow, disciplined focus firmly under his control. Spying the horrible little death-bringers, the sword-wielder mercilessly swung the blade at and through them, causing them to instantly disintegrate.
Once finished, he carefully placed the sword back in its sheath and gently picked up the little girl, holding her close to his heart. At first, nothing happened, then a heartbeat sounded. Two more, and several harsh coughs expelled the stagnant air from her lungs. Fresh air flowed in to replace what was lost, and the girl opened her eyes.
Staring up, Rin felt a shy grin steal over her face. "You saved me, my lord, did you not?"
Soothingly stroking her hair, the lord answered in the affirmative. "Yes."
Rin cuddled further into his arms. "I saw my mummy. She said that from now on, you would take care of me; that I'd never have to go hungry or be cold again." Worried, she attempted to jerk upright. "She didn't lie, did she? You're going to take care of me forever?"
Watching the little girl quickly work her way into a panic, Sesshomaru swiftly reassured her, "No, your mother did not lie. You shall stay with me for as long as you desire, and I shall always take care of you." Much to his surprise, he found himself truly meaning his words. The girl, who was now relaxed again and smiling, was welcome to stay with him; to become his ward. Anything she needed, he would obtain for her. Rearranging the small child into a more comfortable position, a thought occurred to Sesshomaru. "However, I must ask you; what is your name, little one?"
The girl blinked, looking utterly flabbergasted, before one of her wide, wonderful smiles crept over her face. "My name is Rin, my lord."
"Rin." Sesshomaru nodded in acceptance, approving of the name. "Rin, I am Lord Sesshomaru, and with Jaken as my witness, I hereby take you on as my charge, to protect, to teach, to provide for, until such time as you do not require it."
Rin gasped, and threw her arms around the young man in a hug. "Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me! I am so, so happy!" Tears flowed down her face and soaked into his shirt, and she clutched to him even more firmly.
Second Author's Notes: I first read The Little Match-Girl when I was in about second grade. I've always liked it; surprising, what with it being such a mostly-bitter-sweet story. And I always wished that it had a different ending. Needless to say, I took some creative liberties with the story details. For example, in the original version, the little girl can't go home, because no one has bought any matches and her father will beat her.
Personally, while I love the language of the original, I prefer this version; it has a more Traditional Happy Ending.