It is one thing to bear witness to a birth, to watch contractions happen, and another entirely to actually experience them, Rin has discovered tonight. Kaede keeps murmuring that she is doing well, to remember to listen to her body. Kagome mops at her brow, offers her medicines. Sango gives her words of encouragement; the two of them have spent months talking about the specific difficulties of birthing twins. Rin feels lucky to have all three of them here, and grateful for their presence.
But right now she longs for something she hasn’t since childhood - her mother.
This deep need has taken her completely by surprise, as she hadn’t imagined wanting anyone by her side in this moment more than Lord Sesshomaru. In a way she supposes it makes perfect sense to think of her own mother when she herself is about to become one. The image that swims in her mind is not, thank goodness, a grisly one of her mother’s death but instead her smile. The warm, reassuring smile she reserved for when Rin had some injury or upset.
Rin wants to be like that, for her own children. Can she be, with so few memories of the woman that birthed her? She will try.
Another contraction takes her and she bares down, grunting, then screaming as she feels one of her babies start to crown. “Come on Setsuna,” she mumbles to herself, convinced that a moment comes before an eternity and that is the order she will name them, “your mother wants so much to meet you.”
On the next powerful push the baby comes free into Kagome’s arms and Rin collapses back on the futon as her eldest child draws their first breath, allowing herself a few tears which quickly turn to laughter at the strong cries of the newborn. As her friend wraps the infant, Rin notices a shock of bright hair, like her father’s, on her head. She cannot be a moment then. This is Towa. Sesshomaru’s first-born, and hers. Theirs. Before she can announce it to the room however, she is seized again by the intense desire to push, and five minutes later - very quick, they all think - is staring down at a second infant, with dark hair like her. Her precious moment, Setsuna.
There’s a streak of red through the hair on each of them, the same color as the markings over Lord Sesshomaru’s eyes. What’s more, when her daughters blink up at her, Rin discovers that Towa’s are the exact shade of Sesshomaru’s stripes, and Sestuna’s the purple of his crescent. But their eyes and faces are shaped like hers. A perfect blend of their parents she thinks, smiling contentedly at the bundles beside her, completely overcome with the revelation of living, breathing embodiments of the love she and Sesshomaru share. She is exhausted and in pain but these two are well worth it, well worth anything she might have to endure. When asked what she’ll call them Rin proudly announces the names she and Sesshomaru decided on the night he told her there were two of them. And seconds later, before she can even call for him, he is stepping through the door.
She sits halfway up, a smile on her face, ready for them all to be together. “Lord Sesshomaru!”
When he stood on a hillside under the lunar eclipse, hearing every sound of effort and pain that Rin made in the birthing hut, fists clenched so tightly his claws drew blood as he struggled against himself not to fly to her side, Sesshomaru thought nothing could ever hurt either of them worse than being separate at such an important time.
He was woefully incorrect.
As he lands in the doorway, eyes landing on his smiling wife and peaceful newborns, and briefly overcome with the realisation that he is a father now, his thoughts flash to his own.
How is it that centuries later he is still picking up the pieces the man has left behind?
How is it that Toga’s enemies have managed to ruin the joy of not just the birth of his own half demon offspring, but of Sesshomaru’s daughters as well?
Tell me Sesshomaru, have you someone to protect?
Yes, and your legacy is making it near impossible to do so.
And speaking of near impossible so too is the cruel task before him.
Rin can tell something is wrong. It’s not that she necessarily expected anything so conspicuous as a smile from Sesshomaru with other people around, but his eyes - there is so much pain in them. Pain and something else. She goes cold all over, tears beginning to prick at her eyes. This isn’t right, they should be so happy. But instead there is a distance between them, some protective wall of ice Sesshomaru’s cloaked himself in that gives Rin the sense her children are about to leave her side. After all, for better or worse, they’ve never needed words to communicate.
And so there is much that passes between them unspoken as Sesshomaru reaches down, his hair making a silvery curtain that hides their faces, his arms around Towa and Setsuna and his lips pressed briefly to Rin’s.
For one bright instant, the four are a family.