In the mean time, Rin was taking Sesshomaru’s dried haori, which was hung to dry, after she washed it by herself. As her eyes ran across the haori, the waterfall episode and the ‘fall into the water’ episode were broadcasted in her mental screen. Her face was burning. She inhaled and exhaled several times to control her galloping heart, which was pounding against her chest.
I can deal with anything about him….except for….. His eyes! Those cold eyes, which displayed glimpses of sizzling molten gold, when he seemed pleased…. His irresistible eyes…. They keep following me wherever I go; whatever I do…. I just can’t keep my mind off from those eyes…. That’s how he charmed me…. That deceptive demon lord! She mentally accused him. And as her eyes fell on the haori again, she felt as if Sesshomaru himself was there, wearing it. Her eyes twinkled mischievously. Now, you’re trapped in my hands…. she started blushing at the thought, her teeth biting her lower lip.
She took a glance around, to make sure no-one was watching her. Then she stealthily slipped into his fresh haori. She daydreamed that Sesshomaru was wrapping his arms around her from behind. She hugged herself, as if hugging him back. She was wearing a wide smile. Then she turned round and round, till her head spun; she was ringling throughout the whole exercise. She felt as if, a part of him was near her, by her side, although his true self is far away.
“I gave you something, to remind you of me. And what did you give me?”
Her prior accusation chimed in her head. She smiled. So this haori is to remind me of you, is it?.... Her smile only broadened.
Should I keep this with me?.... as his gift?... He’d never ask me to return it; he’d never even mention about it to me in our next meeting….. So I can still keep it with me, for as long as I choose….
But what will he think of me, if I don’t return it? that I’m ‘forgetful’?.... or ‘ungrateful’?....
But then again how will he react if I return it to him?..... That I’m such a low, cheap, simple-minded human who foolishly thought that he’ll ever wear his haori tainted by the touch of a human woman….
Rin was totally confused at her thought process. But one thing was clear: that she was only keen on finding some lame excuse to keep it with her…. but her intellect told otherwise…. Her feelings must be halted as soon as possible and this memento will only be in the way. She bitterly decided to return it to him, even if he takes her for a ‘low, cheap, simple-minded human.’
Sesshomaru was back at the Manor of his uncle Naraku. He was sitting alone at his desk in his chamber; he was drawing up the plots and schemes for his mission. Settling demon-human issues and setting a cordial relationship between them are no child’s play. He had already gone through the scriptures of the past, to know the history. He used Jaken to inquire and gather sufficient information about the current state of affairs in the village. He has to design viable remedies and pacts to have a permanent solution.
Sesshomaru was brought out of his in-depth thought process at the interruption. “Enter”
“Sesshomaru…. I see you are slogging as always….”, said a deep coaxing female voice.
“Kagura…. What do you seek of me?” Sesshomaru said, in his usual unfeeling tone, without turning his head to face her. But Kagura was able to note the slightest concern in his tone.
Sesshomaru always had a secret compassion for Kagura, as she had always been dictated by her father Naraku. She had never experienced freedom in her life. From childhood she had always wanted to be free. But Naraku was such a tyrant, even to his own daughter. But the girl is not one to give up that easy. She furtively hopes for liberation and she will even put up a fight, if needed to attain it.
Kagura was indeed very beautiful, just as Rin described. She came and boldly sat on his bed, her beautiful eyes admiring her cousin.
“Guess it” she said as her painted crimson lips curled into a smile.
Sesshomaru stifled a sigh and said, “I have no time for your childish games, Kagura”
“*GIGGLES* It is indeed a pity that a powerful, charming demon like you, is not able to comprehend the feelings of a girl….” Kagura teased.
Sesshomaru was about to shoot a cold remark at her, before those words echoed in his mind: “….not able to comprehend the feelings of a girl….” “….the feelings of a girl….” His mind obviously ran to Rin.
“Why do you not utter a word?.....” Strange….. It’s not like you….
“……Why should I?” Sesshomaru asked. Under normal circumstances, he would have either ignored her or left her presence. But this time, he wanted her to elaborate her point. He also didn’t want her to know his interest in the subject. So he gave an indirect reply, which would only provoke Kagura to go on.
Kagura giggled again, as she laid on his bed.
“Sesshomaru…. When a girl, keeps seeking you, to be in your presence; gifts something to you that is dear to her….” Kagura’s eyes fell on the small gem of a crystal that was on the desk, which she gifted him casually and not for any special occasion. Besides Sesshomaru, the gem was one thing, she had treasured for years from her childhood.
“…..or even blushes in your presence…..” Kagura went on with pinked cheeks. Then she turned her body sideways, bent one of her hands and rested her head on her palm. Her eyes upon Sesshomaru’s pondering figure.
“……doesn’t that imply that she has some…… special feelings for you?”
Sesshomaru rewinded the memory and replayed it.
‘keeps seeking you, to be in your presence’: “Have a good journey, milord. Please visit again, soon” “ It’d be a great honour if I get to see you again”
‘gifts something to you that is dear to her’: Rin’s painting of the white dog and a young girl….
‘even blushes in your presence’: She blushes almost every time she sees me….
“…………………….” ‘Special feelings’….? Does Rin have such ‘special feelings’….for ME….? Sesshomaru lips twitched 1° upward to form a microscopic smirk of success.
Sesshomaru’s silence and demeanor told Kagura that her words are entering the stony head and heart and is reacting inside him. Poor girl, didn’t just know yet that it was not about her that Sesshomaru is reacting to.
The memory of Rin’s blushes generated a sudden desire in Sesshomaru to witness the sight again. His mind began searching for some discreet excuse as always, to visit her mansion, but it got interrupted when he heard Kagura humming, “Hmmm?”
“like I care….” Sesshomaru lied.
“You don’t have to be so stiff, Sesshomaru” Kagura persisted in flirting.
Sesshomaru wanted to know more about ‘comprehending the feelings of a girl’….. or more like ‘the girl’ . He must get it out of Kagura’s mouth without seeming interested, “Women are never trustworthy. They think in one way but act in another”
“*GASP*! Sesshomaru! Why such a heavy charge against my race?” Kagura said.
Sesshomaru scoffed and went on, “A girl’s keenness for my company, her special presents or her coloured face doesn’t have to imply ‘special’ feelings, as how you put it. She can be like that with any male….. or ‘many’ males”
Kagura was surprised at his words; she could hardly guess what he was thinking, but she was indeed offended, “Don’t be ridiculous, Sesshomaru! A girl would never act in such a despicable manner! Nor is she capable of displaying such affections to ‘any’ male!...... or ‘many’ males as how YOU put it!”
Kagura had been the only person who had the privilege to criticize and even yell at him rarely, and get away with it. Sesshomaru’s reaction would be silent submission, most of the times rather than firing back at her. Reason was his deep compassion for her. Deep within him, he feels that, the unfortunate prisoner of a girl, could at least have some liberty with him, her cousin. But on the outside he’d only hide the compassion and soft-spot for her, he’d not even admit it. However, Kagura was able to notice it, having been with him for so many years. That gave her comfort; some hope for his love.
“Such deeds only show that you are special to her……” Tears were welled up in her eyes, which she managed to control from spilling. She went on in a whisper, “…..that….. you are her love……”
Sesshomaru was too preoccupied to notice Kagura’s despair.
‘SPECIAL’…? ‘LOVE’….? hmm…..Perhaps….. but what is the evidence to substantiate them….? “Too hypothetical”
“YOU’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND!” Kagura retorted.
Kagura finally got Sesshomaru’s full attention.
“YES!..... If you choose to remain so dense, you’ll NEVER understand her!”
“…………. Kagura….” Sesshomaru stated softly without turning his head around and exposing his gentle expression; but Kagura didn’t miss the softness in his tone.
“Don’t you dare suspect my feelings for you, Sesshomaru” Kagura said earnestly, as she placed her hands on Sesshomaru’s shoulders. Kagura’s head hung low and was bent forward, meeting Sesshomaru’s silver locks. Her sad eyes were hidden behind her bangs. Sparkling tears were streaming down her face.
This time Sesshomaru sighed without resistance. He was not enjoying her touch, but having her crying like that, he could not move a muscle and hurt her feelings. Her hands slowly began creeping on his chest. Sesshomaru knew by then that he could no longer stand this idiocy. He got up and turned around to face her, so that he was beyond her reach. He could have let her touch him like that, at least as her cousin. But for some unknown reason, he couldn’t. Nevertheless his intuition hinted to him that the reason was Rin.
“…………….” Sesshomaru waited for Kagura to speak.
Kagura’s shocked, tear-stained face looked at Sesshomaru at his rejection of her touch. Then her eyes were contorted with sadness, as her head dropped, “you do know that I love you, Sesshomaru….. from childhood…….”
“………….…” Normally, Sesshomaru would have shot some cold remark to make sure that he is not bothered by the proposing woman again. But this time, it was Kagura. He didn’t want to hurt her, although he has no such feelings for her. Whatever he may be saying, would only mean his rejection; would only wound her. He chose silence as the best answer, which is a ‘rejection’ by itself.
He left the chambers right away, leaving his distraught cousin behind.
It has hardly been a week since Sesshomaru saw Rin, and now he finds himself and his loyal servant at the doorsteps of Rin’s Mansion. The moment he entered the mansion, he was greeted by the one he had secretly wished to be greeted by.
He witnessed the brilliant Rin with her dazzling smile, floating gracefully towards him; clad in one of the finest kimonos. Although the beauty seemed to walk gracefully, there was something about her stride that told Sesshomaru that she was walking a bit faster than needed. Is she that eager to see me? Sesshomaru’s delight and pride inflated.
“Welcome, Lord Sesshomaru. Welcome, Master Jaken” Rin greeted warmly and bowed. Both nodded.
“Father is away. He will be back by afternoon”
“…….Is that so?” That is good….. Sesshomaru inwardly celebrated the prospective solitary moments he can enjoy with Rin.
The human-demon eyes were locked. Jaken was throttling the “hoo-hoo-hoo”s that was about to erupt through his throat.
Rin was obviously flushed; she wanted to ease the tension before she faints.
“…….Th-thank you, milord…. for the visit…. You have indeed honoured me” Ideally Rin should have ended the sentence with ‘us’ rather than ‘me’. But his sudden visit got her off guard that she blurted out the hidden truth.
Even a nod from Sesshomaru would imply that his hidden truths of his desire to see Rin and to honour her request were facts. So he answered, “I have come to discuss with Master Kenji about the new Mission. I had told him about my plans of frequent visits to this Mansion for the stated purpose (A/N: i.e. the mission).”
Sesshomaru thought that he gave a tactful reply; unfortunately he hadn’t yet realized how tactless it was….Rin felt the pang of disappointment that struck her heart. That’s it?..... and I had thought…..