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To Court and Come Together and Carry On...

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To Court and Come Together and Carry On...

 

Flowers

Rin is appreciative of her newfound responsibilities in the village and the freedom they afford, really she is. But when they come on the heels of a night of poor sleep and keep her out of the house from sun up to sun down, she sometimes finds herself thinking longingly of her time wandering the woods with Lord Sesshomaru - there was so much less to do. 

 

On this particular day, it is almost dusk when she returns to the house she shares with Kaede, and so she nearly steps on the delicate white flower just outside the door. It looks as though it may have been knocked to the side by hurrying feet. Brow furrowing, she bends to pick it up and holds it in the fading rays of the sun. Rin knows this flower, it grows fairly deep in the woods surrounding the village. Even when foraging most villagers don’t go that far, though she has from time to time to gather mushrooms, always with Inuyasha to protect her. Not so long ago she strolled that way with Lord Sesshomaru.

 

...Is it from him?

 

A small smile lights up Rin’s features at the thought. It could be a determined village boy but somehow she doubts it. She takes her small gift into the house, threading twine through the stem and hanging it from the ceiling as though it were a bundle of herbs, and falls asleep that night staring up at it.

 

 Each day for the next week, Rin is left a flower at her doorstep, surely delivered by someone - perhaps Master Jaken - on Lord Sesshomaru’s behalf. She would hate to think her Lord was coming as close as her front door without at least stopping to say hello. The flowers are all familiar to her, some because they grow near the village, but by the fourth day she recognises them from those precious months at Lord Sesshomaru’s side. At the end of the week, on the same day she checks the tree at the westernmost edge of the village and finds a message that he will see her tonight, she’s left a beautiful golden sunflower, her absolute favorite. They do not grow within a hundred miles of the village and she has missed them dearly. 

 

Kaede has kept her own counsel about Rin’s flowers, but now she calls attention to the bloom as Rin steps over the threshold. “Goodness, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such a thing. Another gift from Sesshomaru?” She has never bothered with his honorifics, which perplexes Rin to no end.

 

“Yes, he must’ve remembered my fondness for them even after all this time.” She ties it up with the rest, then joins Kaede for their simple meal. 

 

“It has indeed been some time since you first came to the village.” Kaede says, ladling stew into a bowl and passing it to Rin. “Enough time that I think, perhaps you ought to have your own home.”

 

 Rin gasps, looking around her at the only real dwelling she’s lived in since her parents’ deaths. “Do...do you really think so, Lady Kaede?”

 

 “Yes. You’ve taken so well to keeping up with your own patient schedule it’s clear you can handle the responsibility. And what’s more it is far more fitting for a young woman with a suitor.”

 

 Brow furrowing, Rin cocks her head to the side. “Suitor? I’ve turned down all the boys in the village-”

 

“Oh I am well aware of that, enough of them have made their complaints to me about it, and about your willful nature. I mean Sesshomaru. These flowers are a sure sign he is courting you.”

 

Trust

 

Lord Sesshomaru can always be trusted to show up when he says he will - or, sometimes, when Rin has not expected him but he felt his presence necessary. Like when she fell and broke her arm at thirteen. Or the third time that Sasuke proposed, and did not take her rejection well, and the next day her Lord turned up in the village and shadowed her until sunset. Or her first months in Kaede’s house, when the quiet of being indoors made it hard to sleep. After all, she’d spent months before that sleeping anywhere and anytime she pleased, often with no covering and all the sounds of nature around her. Not to mention she’d recently been knocked unconscious trying to help Kohaku only to wake up to the nightmare that was being trapped in Naraku’s body, unable to do anything but cry for help. Sleep had not been easy that first year in the village.

 

On those nights it eluded her, she would sneak out of the hut she shared with Kaede, usually to find Lord Sesshomaru on the roof. He would float down and walk silently beside her. On the first of these visits, they’d wandered all the way to the unremarkable clearing she now stood in waiting for him. 

 

Yes, he can always be trusted to turn up when she needs him most. So why is some part of her imagining him failing to arrive tonight despite leaving word that he would? 

 

It is those cursed flowers, or at least what Kaede had said about them. Rin is not nearly so sure of their supposed meaning as the priestess. Lord Sesshomaru is a demon, and not one who openly shares his mind - or his heart. Although she knows he and Kaede have spoken privately about her from time to time.  Is it possible he’s told the old woman something that he’s not made Rin privy to?

 

But marriage seems entirely too human a concept to apply to Lord Sesshomaru. He’s solemn enough she supposes, for a ceremony. But the celebration the villagers would insist on after? And then what, would he call her wife? That does have a certain ring to it. Or perhaps it would be a demon ceremony, in a palace. A palace she would live in with him? Or would he settle with her in the village? Perhaps they would travel together again?

 

Oh it’s no use. She can read Lord Sesshomaru’s supposedly expressionless face well enough when they’re together, but trying to puzzle out the inner workings of his mind is usually an exercise in futility. 

 

She is going to confront him about it, has to, can’t let this sit silently between them like so much else has these last couple of years. But can she bring herself to ask him about love, about...marriage? Some part of her thinks it might be easier if he didn’t turn up, if she didn’t have to explain herself - or rather demand that he do so. 

 

Yes, that would be better because she cannot even think how to begin the conversation. In fact, it shouldn’t be her responsibility to, he’s courting her . But Lord Sesshomaru takes everything slowly, there’s no telling how long he’ll make her wait, how many flowers will turn up on her doorstep before he tells her for certain what they mean. She has to ask him tonight.

 

No! No, she should leave him the element of surprise, trust what Kaede has assumed is true, let Lord Sesshomaru do things in his own time. Although by this point she is so flustered he will surely realize something is the matter and ask her, and she doesn’t like the thought of lying to him. Again she wonders, would it be better if something kept him away, if he didn’t turn up at all?

 

Unfortunately, Lord Sesshomaru can always be trusted to show up when he says he will. 

 

Music

 

“Good evening, Rin.”

 

“Good evening, Lord Sesshomaru.”

 

She will not look at him. Why will she not look at him?

 

He would like very much to see her eyes, her smile. She usually smiles when she sees him, but now she frowns, bites her lip. 

 

“You are distressed. Tell me why.”

 

She blushes. That’s rather a pleasing sight. But she does not answer, only shuffles her feet.

 

“Rin.” he says, a sternness in his voice that he rarely uses for her, and finally she raises her face to his, “You must tell me what is troubling you so that I may stop it.”

 

“It is nothing truly my Lord.” she stares at the ground again.

 

“Is it that boy in the village, pestering you again?”

 

“No, my Lord. I am not troubled I assure you.”

 

He does not believe her for a moment. She’s always been open with him before - too open, some would say -  for a human girl in a village to be with a virile demon who has not failed to notice her curves, the musical lilt of her laughter. A demon who would have her as his own.

 

A demon who has grown tired of waiting. 

 

And so he has left her flowers, as is customary, bringing them from both near and far. Flowers with their fleeting beauty seem an especially apt custom for a human. But perhaps they displease her. Perhaps he has been mistaken, what he took for signs of returned affection something else entirely. It is possible she does not want him.

 

If that is the case she will have to say so herself.

 

“Has it anything to do with the flowers I’ve left you?”

 

She blushes again, deeper. Yes, then. “You do not care for them?”

 

“No, my Lord, it isn’t that, they are beautiful, honestly. I just…”

 

He waits, leaving her space to find the words. She takes so long he begins to think she will speak no further, then - 

 

“Why?”

 

He raises an eyebrow. “Why do I leave them?”

 

She nods, and meets his eyes again, though he can see it takes her some effort to do so. 

 

“I thought it rather obvious. I’m courting you.”

 

She lets out a small gasp, and Sesshomaru finds himself confused. Can this truly be a surprise? They meet regularly, at night, alone. He has always made it very clear her protection is his responsibility. 

 

“Kaede guessed as much, but I couldn’t quite believe her.” 

 

“Why?’ He echoes her earlier question.

 

She gestures with her hands, exhales in a huff. “Why me?” Her voice cracks discordantly on the second word.

 

Sesshomaru is puzzled. He has misunderstood her feelings then. Will this night be the end for them, before they’ve even begun? He stifles the beginnings of a growl.  Long ago he promised her choice, and it would be a betrayal to deny it to her now. “If you would prefer I withdraw my courtship I-”

 

“No! No my Lord, only help me understand. Why choose me?’

 

He is at first unsure how to answer the question. He is not conscious of ever having chosen her. Perhaps it was fated from the moment she threw food and water at him all those years ago, or maybe only when her body began to curve and he discovered the true meaning of lust for the first time. But either way, Sesshomaru feels a courtship is what comes next for them. Can she truly not see it as well? 

 

“Because you are my Rin.” he answers. “You are brave and kind and stubborn, perhaps even as I am.” he steps right up to her, bringing up one hand to stroke her cheek. “Because the warmth of your smile and the beauty of your face are with me no matter how far the distance between us.” He feels his blood begin to race, catches the barest scent of echoed arousal from her. “And most importantly in this moment, because I am fed up with keeping my distance.” He closes the inches between them, catching her lips in a kiss.

 

When she wraps her arms around his neck and kisses back, tongue brushing over his lips, he thinks he will add ferocity to the list of her traits he admires. Sesshomaru lets himself fall backward to the ground, taking her down with him. She breaks the kiss to laugh at that, until he catches her in another, this time with his tongue. She seems to enjoy that, and he dares to ask her the question that ends a courtship one way or another.

 

“Will you let me make you mine this night? Will you be my wife, Rin?”

 

“Yes! Yes I will, Lord Sesshomaru.”

 

Her words are music to his ears.

 

Gifts

 

Lord Sesshomaru has given Rin many gifts over the years; some grand, like the elegant fabrics she makes her kimono out of. Those are practical as well, and she’s gotten a certain thrill out of being the best-dressed girl in the village. She would also count the small chest of drawers for her belongings among the finer of his gifts, and the beautiful scrolls of artwork as well.

 

Others have been simple. A scale from a demon he’d defeated in battle. The flowers he’s been leaving at her doorstep, though their meaning was certainly greater than their simplicity. She’s treasured each and everything he has ever given her. 

 

His mouth on her body might be her favorite, however.

 

It had started with that thrilling sensation of his tongue darting in and out of her mouth, and now he is trailing kisses down her neck and - are those his teeth? Yes, he’s nipping at her flesh and it drags a whining sound she’s never made before from her throat. He’s tugging at her clothes now, revealing more skin all of which he runs his lips over, occasionally tracing a hot streak with that tongue. Now her clothes are coming loose and he is tugging them off of her and - yes, his mouth is some precious gift indeed.

 

Rin has said a few times over the years that she would like to repay him for all of his gifts. He has told her again and again that he requires nothing in return. Once, about a year ago, she said there must surely be something he wants, something she could give to him. Please, please, his Rin had begged. The only thing he could think to ask for was that she keep herself safe. That had turned out to be a curse in disguise, as she had called on him less in the ensuing months.

 

Her trust in him now, and the feel of her body, are far greater gifts for him.

 

“Do you like this, Rin?”

 

His voice is deep, husky, more so than she’s ever heard before. Is this what a lustful Lord Sesshomaru sounds like?

 

“Yes, my Lord. I like it very much.”

 

“Do you want more?” 

 

“I…” Rin almost can’t bring herself to answer. She’s imagined this moment many times over, though never quite so thoroughly. But he is looking at her expectantly and so she manages, “Yes. Yes please, Lord Sesshomaru.”

 

He pauses only to loosen his armor, letting his own clothes begin to fall open, and then begins to trail kisses down her stomach. He works his way to her side, latching on and biting, sucking. Rin gasps, struggles for a moment at the intense sensation, then settles as it fills her with pleasure. When he lifts his head there is a dark spot where his mouth was. 

 

The writhing around has made their loosened clothing fall away and they are well and truly revealed to each other now, in the light of the moon and the fire Rin lit when she arrived. Sesshomaru takes a moment to appreciate the sight of her, noting that her own eyes are looking him up and down as well. When she reaches his face and is caught staring, she looks away, cheeks reddening. He will not have it. slipping one hand under her chin, he directs her gaze back to him.

 

“Do not be embarrassed Rin. You are very beautiful, and there is no shame in the joining of our bodies.”

 

She swallows thickly, but he sees a steely determination in her eyes and she nods. “Yes, my Lord.”

 

He runs a hand down the back of her cheek. “Are you frightened, Rin?”

 

She presses her lips together briefly. “A bit.”

 

“We’ll go slowly, and only when you’re ready. In the meanwhile,” He leans close to her and whispers, “I am eager to know what you taste like Rin.”

 

A shudder runs through her and he gives her a kiss, tongue once more a back and forth - a promise of things to come - and then makes his way quickly back down. 

```````````

Sometime later as her breathing comes back to normal, Rin is pleased to find Lord Sesshomaru’s head resting on her stomach, a reverent look in his eyes. She dares to run a hand tenderly through his hair, and they stay like that for some time, many things unsaid passing between them and understood despite the silence. 

 

Sesshomaru is very much enjoying himself, at peace against his Rin. Though he is half listening for concerned villagers to come running - Rin’s screams must surely have carried.

 

At some point he shifts, just a little and presses against her in a way that makes something warm and eager uncoil in her belly.  She gasps, shudders. Lord Sesshomaru crawls up to press a kiss to her forehead, then her lips. Golden eyes bore into her own seeking an answer to an unspoken question. Rin nods. She is ready.  

 

And so is he.

 

It does hurt, a little, but Lord Sesshomaru is tender and careful, pressing a kiss to each eye, squeezed tightly shut at the bit of pain. “Take a deep breath, Rin.” he purrs in her ear.

 

She does and things go easier after that.

 

Each is surprised by the ferocity of the other, Sesshomaru by the almost inhuman sounds his Rin makes as they are lost in each other and Rin by the terrifying - yet exciting - growls and flashing red eyes of her Lord. But still both have a sense of coming home.

 

When it is over - and it is not over for some time - Sesshomaru moves to pull away, sure that his weight must be crushing Rin, but she tightens her arms and smiles.   

 

“I would have you stay close, Lord Sesshomaru.” 

 

He gifts her one of his infamously tiny smiles at that, and leans down to kiss her. “I think perhaps in private, just ‘Sesshomaru’ will do.”

 

She smiles widely. “Alright. Sesshomaru. My Sesshomaru.” Rin dares.

 

“My Rin.” Sesshomaru growls. “There is one other thing that must be done tonight. It is how demons claim a mate.”  his face grows somber, almost apologetic. “It will hurt.”

 

There is that determination in her eyes again.

 

Rin trusts Sesshomaru implicitly, knows he would never ask anything of her she was incapable of giving. “What is it my Lord?”

 

“A bite on your right shoulder. It will forever mark you as mine.”

 

She turns her head to the side, giving him all the access he needs. “I would be forever yours, Sesshomaru.”

 

It is all the encouragement he needs, and he lowers his head to sink sharp fangs into her tender flesh. 

 

This hurts, as he warned, and Rin does her best not to tense up, knowing that will only make it worse. The pain is well worth it to her, to become Lord- to become Sesshomaru’s. It is all she wants in the world.

 

When it is done, Sesshomaru laps at the remnants of blood on the wound, the motions of his tongue tender, careful, a contrast to the wildness that consumed him before.

 

She is his now, and always will be.

 

As the sky begins to lighten the barest degree, Rin and Sesshomaru again observe each other silently. They have never needed to exchange words to be fully understood, and need them even less now with twin expressions of love and contentment on their faces. Each is seen by the other for what they truly are - the most treasured of all gifts.



Friends to Lovers

 

"Friends to lovers, it’s so sweet.”

 

Kagome has said this phrase more than once in the last half hour as everyone sits around Kaede’s hut speaking about Rin as though she isn’t there. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to her. Lord Sesshomaru has never been her friend. Of course in spite of the title she’s always addressed him by, he hasn’t quite been her lord either. He is just...Lord Sesshomaru. No more, no less.

 

As she glances sideways at him and their eyes meet, she feels fairly certain he doesn’t care for Kagome’s choice of words either.

 

Sesshomaru doesn’t have friends. He has vassals, he sometimes has allies in battle, mostly the people in this room - who, in this moment are making nuisances of themselves - and he has his Rin. But she has never been a friend. She has always been his Rin, only now she was his wife Rin.

 

A fact his foolish half brother seems incapable of comprehending.

 

And Kagome keeps calling him “brother” and Rin “sister” and throwing around this meaningless phrase. At least Rin seems to be in agreement with him, if the sidelong glance she’s giving him is any indication. 

 

Rin heaves a sigh. The trouble started too, too early this morning. Rin appreciates her duties in the village, really she does. But today they came after a night of no sleep following her...encounter with Lord Sesshomaru, and a cold bath in the stream. A bath that seems to have done little good. She’d been due for a meeting with Kagome to discuss care for some of the town’s ill elderly folk. Inuyasha had walked into his home halfway through, eyebrows coming together and nose twitching as he stared at her curiously. Then he’d glared, and bared his fangs, and yelled.

 

“Where is he? Where in the hell is that bastard!?”

 

“Inuyasha!” Kagome had thrown back at him, “What are you talking about?”

 

“That ass who calls himself my brother. I knew lettin’ him sniff around Rin’s skirts all this time was a terrible idea, but noooo, you and Sango were all ‘They’re just friends, Inyasha, he’s too noble.’ Well, he wasn’t too noble and she smells like blood and... him. He’s not gettin’ away with it neither.” He rounded on Rin again, “So where is he? I’m gonna make him pay for this!”

 

“Inuyasha, sit boy!”

 

The half demon hit the ground with a yelp.

 

Blood rushing to her face, Rin covered her burning cheeks with her hands. She hadn’t even considered that Inuyasha would be able to tell what happened. How embarrassing. Peeking between her fingers she saw Kagome giving her a look of concern. “You and 

 

Sesshomaru...made love?”

 

She managed a single nod.

 

There’d been more yelling when Inuyasha struggled to his feet, Kagome insisting he was overreacting, that he didn’t have the full story. And then he’d stormed from their house, his wife chasing after him. Rin had sat frozen for a moment, then it had occurred to her it was rude to be in someone else’s house without them and followed after.

 

Inuyasha had made his way to Sango and Miroku’s home. The monk was away on business, but it was the slayer Inuyasha seemed to want, demanding she help him kill a  particularly dangerous demon. Rin had gasped at that, and Kagome had yelled for him to sit again. Another yelp.

 

This time when Inuyahsa had righted himself he’d started stomping around the village, yelling Lord Sesshomaru’s name. “Come out and face me you coward! I know you can hear me. You think you can take advantage of Rin and then run off and hide? Reveal yourself now, damnit!” 

 

Rin’s name had been the magic word. Lord Sesshomaru was suddenly there, floating a foot or so above Kagome’s hut. “I don’t see how what I do with my wife is any of your particular business, Inuyasha.” he’d growled.

 

At that point Kaede had emerged to see what all the fuss was about, and insisted everyone come inside - including Shippo who had been having a good laugh at Rin’s or Inuyasha’s expense or both - to sort the matter out. And then Kagome started throwing this phrase around. Friends to lovers.

 

Sango keeps giving her knowing looks. Rin is well aware that the slayer and her husband didn’t stand on ceremony themselves before becoming lovers.  And nobody seemed to particularly mind. Certainly not Inuyasha. So why is Rin doing the same thing such an issue?

 

Sesshomaru is increasingly fed up with Inuyasha’s implications that he has somehow forced himself on Rin, or that anyone but she should dictate how she interacts with him, whether they call themselves husband and wife. It is for Rin’s sake that he sits here, wordless, allowing vile accusations to be hurled at him. His Rin is so close to his side they were nearly touching. She seems to be struggling not to lean into him, especially as exhaustion makes her waver. He ought not to have kept her out all night. 

 

“If you think for one second that I’ll stand by while you destroy her life you’ve got another thing comin’ pal. She may not know any better, but I do. I won’t let her make a mistake like this.”

 

Now that Sesshomaru will not stand for. Let him be a monster in his brother’s eyes, but Rin has always known her own mind and he has always respected that. He won’t have her agency denied so thoroughly. A low growl announces this to the room.

 

Rin sees the instant her Lord loses patience with Inuyasha. It is an almost imperceptible shift in his posture, a change in his expression she doubts any else besides maybe Master Jaken would notice. Lord Sesshomaru never could abide anyone making decisions for her. The two of them had allowed Kaede to think it was her own matronly insistence that made Rin stay in the village all those years ago, but Lord Sesshomaru had left the choice to Rin. It was a private joke of sorts between them.  But no one was laughing now, as the growl of an angry demon fills the small human dwelling. And Rin finds that it strengthens her own will.

 

“Inuyasha.” she says with a sternness she is sure none of them has heard from her before, “while your concern for my well-being is appreciated, it is misplaced. Lord Sesshomaru could never take advantage of me in the way you think he’s done. He has always allowed me to make my own decisions, even when I was a child and such freedom would have been - was - denied me by my own kind. With no one else am I so free to speak my mind, to demand what I want.” she swallows thickly, “and so it was last night.” She manages a smile in her Lord’s direction, choking down embarrassment. “I have chosen Lord Sesshomaru for my husband, as surely as she has chosen me. Please, can you find it in your heart to be happy for us?”

 

It gets Inuyasha to stop yelling at least. What Rin doesn’t expect, nor Sesshomaru, is the pain that crosses Inuyasha’s features, nor the far away look that chases right on its heels.

 

“She’ll die.”

 

There is a moment of silence following the puzzling announcement.

 

“Inuyasha?’ Kagome questions warily.

 

He points at Sesshomaru, no, at Tenseiga. “Your sword, our father used it on my mother the night I was born. That bastard, Takemura, he...attacked her while she was birthing me, when she was vulnerable. Demons and humans alike will be after her blood; don’t try to tell me the great Lord Sesshomaru won’t have enemies that’ll be a danger to his wife when they find out. And even if she makes it past all that, she’ll catch a fever or a pox or just get old and die and your sword can’t bring her back again. Her half demon children’s lives will go far past her own and they will have no demon callousness to protect them from the pain of losing her.”

 

Kagome gasps in the wake of this revelation. “Oh, Inuyasha. She moves closer to him, takes his hand. “Is...that why you refuse to talk about having a baby?” He doesn’t answer her, but his steady staring at the floor seems answer enough.

 

Rin is feeling rather speechless herself. She knows what it’s like after all, the pain of losing her mother. And yes, her half demon children will experience it one way or another, as he’s said. But is that a reason not to love her Lord, to bear the children she is suddenly very sure she wants, and have as full and long a life as she can with them? Rin doesn’t think so. When Lord Sesshomaru turns to face her, his eyes full of the same love she saw in them last night, she knows he agrees.

 

“There are inevitable truths in what you’ve said, Inuyasha.” Sesshomaru says, “but there are two things you should know; first, that my own powers far exceed those of our father, and yours as well. And second, that I am planning to rescind any hold on Lordship of the West.” He sees Rin bring both hands to her mouth at his words, as though to catch the surprised gasp she’s let out. “It will not eliminate all enemies but it will make many lose interest. What’s more, Rin has a home here, with yourself, your wife, the slayer, the monk. Your mother was surrounded by nobles who looked down on her for her demon husband. My wife will be in the company of those who care for her. It will be enough. She will be safe.”

 

Now Inuyasha’s shoulders square, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword. He likes the sound of that, being relied on to help keep her safe, to help keep her from ending up like his mother.

 

“You’d give up your title for her?”

 

“A title is words. Without it demons will forget my power. They will underestimate me. Humans already do. It is the best way to ensure Rin’s safety, that and her continued presence in this village. Unless those she has called ‘friends’ would reject her now because she has chosen me.” 

 

Inuyasha scoffs. “Course we don’t.”

 

Kagome and Sango give her warm smiles, and the latter says, “I promised when you came to this village I would protect your life with my own. That hasn’t changed.” The smile does not soften the surety of a warrior in her tone. It has always made Rin feel safe because it reminds her of Lord Sesshomaru.

 

Shippo leaps into her lap, twin tails swishing. “Your babies’ll grown up under the protection of the great fox Shippo!”

 

Kaede sips at her tea. “Certainly the people here are welcoming enough of Kagome and Inuyasha.” 

 

“It’s true!” Kagome chirps. “No one gives us any trouble. Oh Rin, I hope you’ll be so happy.”

 

Surrounded as she is by friends, her lover at her side, Rin knows that she will be.

 


Moment and Eternity

 

With a quiet moan, Rin stretches her arms above her head, shifting in her husband’s arms. She relishes the feel of their skin brushing together, especially while basking in the lovely quiet that always follows making love. An activity they’ve been all too eager to continue despite the now obvious swell of her pregnancy. With a contented sigh, she rests her head on Sesshomaru’s chest.

 

“Did you know Setsuna was the family name of Inuyasha’s mother?” 

 

“I did not.”

 

Rin knew he wouldn’t. But she thinks it works well enough as a segue, until Lord Sesshomaru eyes her suspiciously and she knows she hasn’t been nearly so sneaky as she imagined. They’ve always been able to read each other too well for such things. Oh well.

 

“I’ve just...been thinking about her a lot lately.” She runs a hand over the stretched skin of her bump. “Especially after what Inuyasha said when we came together, that he’s afraid I’ll be like her.”

 

His arms tighten around her, a fierce look coming into his eyes. “You will not.”

 

“I know, I know.” She can’t help but smile a little at his response. “I’ll have Kaede and Kagome to aid me in childbirth and Sango and Inuyasha as protectors. And you.” Here she loses her train of thought for a moment. “Are you really sure you can’t be in the birthing room?”

 

Sesshomaru sighs, as he has every time she’s brought this up, and presses a kiss to the top of her head. “We have had this argument weekly since we knew you were with child; I cannot. Not because I care for human decorum but because I must stay at the edge of the village to stop any threats before they get too close. Lady Kagome’s arrows and Lady Sango’s Hiraikotsu will be protection enough in the room with you.”

 

“I know they’ll protect me, I just…” she looks down, her voice quiet, “want you close.”

 

It tugs at Sesshomaru’s heart to see her this way, and he wants - very much - to give in to her simple request. But no. “I can be close or I can keep you safe. At any rate I will be closer than my fool of a father was at Inuyasha’s birth. And I can always be by your side at a moment’s notice, you know that.” he reassures, stroking her hair.

 

Rin nuzzles into her Lord’s neck. “Yes, Sesshomaru.” There is no winning this fight, he will insist as he has for months that this is the best way no matter how much she begs for him to be right next to her to hold her hand, to encourage her, to make her feel sure of herself. And truth be told she knows he’s probably right. Rin changes the subject. “So what do you think of the name?”

 

“Setsuna? A Moment?”

 

“Yes.” She takes a deep breath. “I think it’s a fitting name for the baby. With my human life, it’s all the time I’ll have with them.”

 

Sesshomaru finds himself going suddenly cold at the mention of her mortality. It’s a subject he’d prefer not to dwell on and one she brings up all too often. He hardly knows how to respond to such a statement. Wouldn’t it be too hard to look at the child, a constant reminder that Rin will be gone in a-

 

No, better instead to focus on the abundance of new life she carries. Sesshomaru catches a stray lock of her hair, presses a kiss to the end of the strand before tucking it behind her ear. This morning he noticed something about her pregnancy he hadn’t before and now seems the opportune time to share the news.  “Perhaps it is a fitting name. But you will have to find another.” 

 

Rin frowns up at him, poking him absently in the chest. She knew he might push back, but to dismiss it so outright seems a little harsh. “You don’t like it? Because it is from Inuyasha’s mother?”

 

That is not the most glaring reason he might have for disliking the name but he suspects she knows that and is obfuscating. “No, my Rin.” He tilts her chin up so their eyes meet, kisses her. “I’ve said it’s a fitting name-

 

“But you also said find another- “

 

He stops her mouth with a second kiss, tilting her onto her back and beginning to trail his lips down her neck, her breasts. She gasps, then moans at his ministrations. When Sesshomaru reaches her belly, he rests his head there, letting out a soft growl as Rin begins to run her fingers through his hair, and places a hand on her left side. “Setsuna is a fitting name for this one,” he purrs, then draws the other hand to her right, “but the other will need a name as well.”

 

Rin sits up, her husband rising with her in all his usual inhuman grace. “Twins? We are having twins? Are you certain of it?” Her heart is suddenly pounding very loudly.

 

“Quite certain. Two heartbeats.” He offers her one of his rare, nearly invisible smiles as her eyes fill with happy tears. 

 

“I didn’t think I could be any happier, but two?!” She wipes at her face. “Oh Sesshomaru we are so lucky. And so are they because they’ll have each other to love and care for, even when-” she stops abruptly, runs her hands over her stomach once more. “I love you both so much, do you hear me? I’m sorry I thought there was only one before but that doesn’t mean I love the other one any less.”

 

“And what will we call them?” Sesshomaru asks, lying down and pulling Rin close again. He is concerned about too much excitement in her delicate state, and well and truly done with this talk of her mortal nature. “The second one?”

 

“Hmmm…” Rin is thoughtful for a moment, twisting a strand of his hair around her finger. Then a thought occurs to her. “You pick. It’s only fair.”

 

Sesshomaru has never given a thing a name before. Even the sword created from his own body was named for him by Master Totosai. He thinks on it, looking at Rin the entire time, unable, now that it has been brought up, to ignore the momentary nature if her human life while his demonic one will last -

 

“An eternity. Towa.” 

 

His words stir a thought in Rin, but before she can voice it she blushes. She is naked in his arms, his baby - babies - are making her belly swell, she is still ever so slightly sore from their barely finished love making, but talking openly about her feelings makes her blush. “That-” she clears her throat, “is how long my love for you will last.” 

 

Sesshomaru  gives her a look she’s gotten surprisingly used to these last six months, one of reverence - of love. He is not blushing. “And mine for you.” It is that love, he vows to himself, that will keep her alive whether she walks this earth or not.

 

Rin brings a hand to his face, the threat of tears brimming once more. They need no more words to understand each other, no further explanations of the fears and joys in their hearts. They never really have. “Towa and Setsuna. That sounds exactly right for the children of Rin and Lord Sesshomaru”

 

Family

 

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!”

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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.