Night fell, and it was almost time for dinner when Sesshomaru was wandering alone in the corridor. He eventually ran into Rin.
Rin paused for a split second. Then she bowed and said in a formal tone, in her attempt to display indifferent friendliness, “Good evening, milord….I hope you are enjoying your leisurely walk”
Sesshomaru’s eyes narrowed at that. Rin blinked in confusion. The demon lord deliberately advanced towards her, as she reflexively backed off from his proximity. Rin was trying hard to look normal.
“Are you suggesting that this Sesshomaru is idle?” the demon asked in an icy, accusing tone. Nevertheless, it was true. Sesshomaru WAS idle, and he knew that he was. Also, he was well aware that Rin never meant it in such a degrading sense. But this was his opportunity to convey what he wanted to convey without telling what he wanted to tell her.
“Never, milord! I’m sorry!”, Rin replied, keeping control on her nervousness.
As always, she was cornered; this time, a wall behind her, instead of a tree. Sesshomaru placed his right hand on the wall, close to left side of her head; his golden eyes, penetrating hers.
Rin’s own indifferent façade began to crumble at his actions… Rin’s anxious eyes scrutinized the corridors, “The servants may see us….”
He scoffed and replied, “Do any of your servants dare to spread rumours and defy me?”
“No, Milord. None!” Rin said promptly.
He leaned forward at such a speedy pace that Rin reflexively shut her eyes. This time, Rin found Sesshomaru’s face at her head’s right side. Her eyes widened and breathe got caught at his closeness. Her cheeks were coloured when they were brushed by Sesshomaru’s silver strings.
“……Then why have you disreputed me?.....” Why have you neglected me, Rin?
Rin was bewildered, “……I…I-I haven’t, Milord”. Her mask of indifference was so damaged that she could no longer continue her ‘act’.
His lips hovered over her ear which jolted foreign pulses up and down her spine.
“……you have a bad memory, Rin…..” Sesshomaru said in his deepest tone which struck lightning in her body. Then his nose pressed against her cheek; his breathe heating her already heated cheek; his long eyelashes caressing her face.
Rin who was blushing the whole time turned tomato red at the subtle contact. She could have broken away from his clutches, it if was not for the mysterious spell he had cast upon her from moving a millimetre. She could not help the small smile of satisfaction that flowered across her lips due to Sesshomaru’s ‘once in a million years’ advances. Sesshomaru’s eyes which were hardly open noted her reaction. He was content.
“memory”……. “YES! You’re right, Lord Sesshomaru!” Rin declared as if she realized something.
Sesshomaru was so puzzled at her affirmative tone that he withdrew a little to have a better look at her face.
“I’m very sorry, milord. I’ll get it back right away!” with that she ran off, leaving the puzzled Sesshomaru behind.
In a matter of few moments, Rin returned panting at the exercise of running. She held out his Haori she had borrowed earlier.
“Thank you so much for this, Lord Sesshomaru! I’m sorry I took so long to return. I had actually forgotten all about it” Rin said, chuckling and scratching her head nervously.
That was not exactly what Sesshomaru had in mind. In fact, he had no intention of getting it back from her. He had decided…… or more like desired that something of him should remain with her to keep him in her memory and let the ‘something’ be his haori. Not only that, but he had one other reason why he had wanted it to remain with her. He will never tell that frankly to Rin.
“Rin. I had never intended this….” Sesshomaru said and walked away without giving her a chance to reply, for if he did, he may end up, taking back the souvenir he gave her.
I shall deal with you later, Rin….. perhaps, tonight…… Sesshomaru thought with an evil smirk in his mind.
All were assembled at the dinner hall. Sesshomaru and Rin entered almost at the same time.
Jaken (who seemed awfully upset in Sesshomaru’s eyes alone), a happy-looking Kenji…… and a young man were seated already. Both Rin and Sesshomaru studied this new company: a human; young; a warrior; tall with broad shoulders; wide chest; exceedingly good-looking; sharp blue eyes; shiny black hair, tied in a long braid; a blue four-spiked star painted on the forehead; a smile that was both charming and haughty. Indeed the man had a good masculine physique, befitting a warrior.
“Welcome, Lord Sesshomaru. Come, my Rin…. Please be seated” Kenji invited in excitement.
The puzzled duo took their seats. Sesshomaru was having a very bad feeling about whatever the new development was to be.
Then Kenji proceeded to introduce Bankotsu to others: that Bankotsu is a great warrior; from an honourable family; strong; trustworthy etc…….
“Bankotsu, meet Lord Sesshomaru, the heir of the Western lands…….. and you do know Rin” Kenji introduced.
Sesshomaru nodded, while Rin bowed, “Pleased to meet you, Master Bankotsu”
“Beautiful maiden. The pleasure is mine” Bankotsu said, smirking, his razor-sharp eyes cutting into Rin’s eyes.
Rin blinked, but nodded.
The praise “Beautiful maiden” didn’t do any good to Sesshomaru’s nerves. He wanted to tug at his tongue till it slits from his mouth.
“GOOD NEWS, ALL! Bankotsu is to be engaged to my lovely daughter, Rin…..”
To say that, this was a shock to both Sesshomaru and Rin was an understatement.
“Not to worry, my dear. Bankotsu has agreed to live here at our Mansion even after the wedding…..you can be with your mother and continue to take care of her”
This was such a blow for Sesshomaru and Rin. But Rin was able to accept the reality sooner when she recalled her mother’s desperation for her love and care.
“father…. It is all so…. sudden….” Rin said, unable to assent or dissent.
“It is so, even for me, my dear. You do know my visit to the gathering was only official. It is where I met this fine young man….” Kenji said as he glanced at his future son-in-law proudly. Bankotsu returned the glance, with a proud and confident look on his face.
“He said that he saw you somewhere in Village Kyoda. He said, he *CHUCKLES*…. he fell in love with you, at sight”, Kenji said, all-smiling.
Bankotsu’s gaze fell on his bride-to-be; the former wore a confident smile while the latter blushed. Rin’s eyes fell to the floor, in embarrassment. Sesshomaru couldn’t stand the scene, as rage edged the boundary. This time Sesshomaru wanted to rip the human warrior’s overly confident eyes out the sockets.
“Only after discussing, I came to know he’s the son of one of my friends. His family has been in our acquaintance for decades; a reputed and honourable family in the village….. As I told Bankotsu of you and Misao, he agreed to whatsoever terms that would win your hand in marriage. What more can I ask for?” said Kenji overwhelmed in enthusiasm.
It was too obvious that he was overjoyed at the rarest prospect. Yes. Getting a good bridegroom from a respected family, that too, of Kenji’s long and trusted acquaintance is rare; having the bridegroom agreed to live with his in-law’s household (i.e. Kenji’s) permanently, is the rarest. Because, usually, male of disposition, from an honourable family would never agree to those terms as it will tarnish their pride and their family’s reputation.
Rin forced a smile at Bankotsu who was already smirking at her.
“Are you happy, my dear?” Kenji asked. Unfortunately, this is not a question to be asked in public, particularly, in the presence of the bridegroom himself, if Rin is expected to give an honest answer.
“Yes…. if you are” Rin said honestly, with a soft smile on her face.
HOW DARE SHE?! Sesshomaru had never felt so betrayed in his life.
Sesshomaru wanted to get the hell out of that Mansion; of that village…. And never to see Rin again…… WOMEN! I knew they were untrustworthy!! For the first time in his life he felt as if he had been used. He felt like a fool for falling into the same pit every male ended up eventually; the pit which he had vowed long ago that he’d never fall into…..
But his inner being stopped his line of thoughts and reasoned with him. Rin was not ANY WOMAN…. She’s honest; self-less; kind-hearted; what not? Sesshomaru clearly knew that she has accepted the wedding alliance only because it benefits her mother and pleases her father. Consequently, she has buried her own desires whatever they may be. The inner being also reminded Sesshomaru that he had come for Rin all the way from his palace to this village, also to village Kyoda….. all for Rin….. He’s not one to give up that easy, is he? He wouldn’t accept failures that lightly…..
Dinner went on in grave silence. Bankotsu was trying hard not to gaze at his bride-to-be too often like a love-struck lunatic. Rin and Sesshomaru were having a hard time avoiding each other’s eyes. Jaken could only observe in silence. But Kenji was in too much joy to notice the tension in the atmosphere.
Before Kenji starts asking his trademark question, Sesshomaru answered which surprised the audience, as he got up to leave, “We shall stay her for a few days, till we set certain unsettled matters right”. Unbeknownst to the audience, Sesshomarushot a sharp glare at Rin as he left, which did not escape her attention.
Rin gulped nervously.
The spare time after tending to her mother, was spent by Rin with Bankotsu. Bankotsu held her hand while walking, whenever he got the chance to. Rin let him have at least that privilege, for when he wraps his arm on her shoulder, she’ll somehow slip away from his grip in moments; when he managed to pull her into embraces (rarely though) despite her best efforts against it, she’ll break away too soon from his grasp; and from the beginning she was most vigilant not to let his face trespass a safe radius around her head, particularly her face. For all these precautions, she chose to take him around and spend time with him in those places, where they won’t have much privacy. Yes. Only then she’ll be safe. During nights, Rin will retire in her quarters right after dinner, to escape Bankotsu’s company in private.
However, she was trying to enjoy herself; only ‘trying to enjoy’, not ‘enjoying’ itself. She felt that having a fiancé and spending time with him will easily keep her mind off Sesshomaru. But whether her ideas were wrong or her mind went haywire, she knew not, because the outcome was not as she had expected.
Because, all these were making things only worse for her. The presence of another male as a fiancé and hanging around with him, only made her feel revulsion of his touch and company. Her mind was drawn to Sesshomaru more often than not. To make things worse, he hadn’t left yet.
The only during supper Sesshomaru and Rin met each other. Both hardly met each other’s eyes. But they stole glances at one another when they knew the other was not watching. However both were watched by the sad, helpless Jaken. The only thing Jaken helped in doing was, shooting glares and harsh remarks at Bankotsu, whenever he got the chance. Oooo! Just when I my Lord was falling for a woman, that worthless human appeared out of nowhere, and foiled everything! Jaken seethed inwardly.
Rin felt awkward, while Sesshomaru felt fury. Only God knew, How Sesshomaru was able to put a firm harness on his temper, during the past two days, after the arrival of Bankotsu. He would have scared away any suitor to Rin, if it wasn’t for her ailing mother.
Sesshomaru had a hard time in fathoming his own feelings. He knew that he was feeling uncomfortable having Rin to be engaged to another male. He was so disturbed, that he couldn’t deny that truth even to himself. All these days, he had been fooling himself be insisting that he only desired the company of the kind and sweet girl; and nothing more. Even now, he keeps telling himself that he feels uncomfortable because, her marriage will deprive him of her company forever. But for how long is he going to dupe himself?
Jaken was well aware that Sesshomaru stayed back in the mansion, only for Rin, even though she is to be engaged. He knew that Sesshomaru’s inner being wanted to put an end to the wedding arrangements and do something about the vague connection between him and Rin. But the demon lord’s pride was always an obstacle, which made him inert for two days and he had not done anything about himself and Rin. He must be at war with his own feelings for this girl…. If we are at this pace (i.e. too slow) Rin will be well engaged! By the time he realizes his true feelings for her she’d probably be married! OH NO!!
“Make Sesshomaru comprehend his feelings for that girl, Rin. Ensure that my son and the girl get together….”
Lord Inu No Taisho’s private command to Jaken before departure for the mission reverberated in the toad demon’s head. The senior demon lord had told what Jaken had to do. But how should he do? It is Sesshomaru he’s dealing with!
Poor ol’ Jaken is sandwiched between the Inu father and son.Then an idea bumped into his head that made him smirk evilly.