Bankotsu’s accusing words and scorching glare chilled down their blistering temperature so much that, the demon and human both froze. The only thing Sesshomaru did, the very moment he saw Bankotsu’s intrusion was that he immediately adjusted Rin’s kimono in place and used his haori to cover even the limited part of her front from exposing. His inner being thanked Gods that her back was already covered from Bankotsu’s eyes.
Bankotsu began charging at Rin, “Are you not ashamed?!..... Is this how a woman of decency-”
“She did nothing” Sesshomaru interrupted, unable to bear such heavy allegations against Rin.
Bankotsu’s glare shifted to Sesshomaru.
“So….” Bankotsu dragged with revulsion, his eyes narrowing at Sesshomaru, “you’re the culprit! You rebellious demon! You bewitched my wife-”
“SHE IS NOT YOUR WIFE!” Sesshomaru roared; his eyes turned crimson red; fangs expanded; vile demonic aura surrounding his intimidating form. All the accusations such as ‘culprit’ and ‘rebellious demon’ fell on deaf ears. What was heard by the pointed elfin ears was ‘my wife’ and that has caused demon rant and rave.
Bankotsu was stunned at the vicious demon in front of him.
“Lord Sesshomaru!” Rin gasped. It was her exclamation that brought the demon back to earth.
“Leave…..” Sesshomaru growled, “….before I have your head.…”. Fresh poison oozed from the demon’s claws and burnt the grass on the ground.
Bankotsu could have put up a fight against Sesshomaru, but it was obvious that the demon lord was much stronger than him, physically and politically. He didn’t stand a chance against him. He had other objectives than just marrying Rin. He didn’t wish to endanger his life, in the process. The baffled man shot the best daggers he could muster at Rin and left without a word.
There stood Sesshomaru and Rin, alone again. But neither had the desire to resume their ‘congregation’ which had just been interrupted.
Silence for several moments. Jaken who was hiding behind the bushes, was drenched in sweat. If only Sesshomaru knew Jaken was behind this meeting, the toad demon was sure to be killed.
Sesshomaru heard rustles of clothes behind him; but even the valiant dog demon hadn’t the guts to turn around and face her. He saw his hoari and obi offered to him by her from behind. She spoke not a word. Her silence was even more aching for him, as how his silence was agonizing her. He received it from her.
The girl couldn’t stand it any longer; she left towards her quarters, hoping Sesshomaru would stop her. But he only disappointed her.
Rin was in her chamber; laying on her futon; sleepless; loving every moment of the midnight meeting up till Bankostu’s entry; she is one, too innocent but she was not even feeling guilty or repentant for what just happened to her; or even for what Bankotsu accused of her; her inner self felt that, it was the most proper thing to happen to her, although it was the most inappropriate thing to happen to any other virgin. She never had anything held in her heart for Bankotsu, even when they were to be engaged; she was not even worried about the consequences of the confrontation with her fiancé, upon her wedding. Now, she was actually looking forward for the wedding to get cancelled.
The moment the demon lord evaporated away, her sense of self-control, she realized that there is no point in fooling her heart. She can no longer deny to herself that she is in love with him, to the very depth of her soul. She knew not, for how long she can hide the same from Sesshomaru.
“SHE IS NOT YOUR WIFE!”
Besides, his words and actions few hours ago were a confirmation by themselves that he does have some deep feelings for her. Her love, when she had branded as hopeless all these weeks seems to stand a chance. There is still some hope…...
*GASP* What about mother?... Rin panicked till her wits convinced her that whether the wedding will take place or not, her love for Sesshomaru is true and that she doesn’t resent their midnight interaction one bit. Her heart has become courageous enough to receive the blows that she may have receive, for harbouring her love for the demon lord.
Sesshomaru was settled in his own chambers. Regret and shame competed with each other in engulfing him. He had never lost his control on his senses before. Even worse, he had never even desired to touch a female; he had disgusted them so much. It was HIS LOVE for her that has caused his emotional outburst; his invasion of her private space – way beyond pardonable limits.
But he’d never acknowledge his love, even to himself. His reckless pride fooled his mind by claiming that he had only punished her for her offenses and that his ‘past attraction’ towards her has caused the momentary loss of mental balance. But when his common sense asked him what the ‘offenses’ were that has bestowed such prosecutions upon Rin, he had no answer…. or more like he didn’t want to know the answer.
His mind was at wreck as it constantly recalled the midnight episodes for over a hundred times. Only when he heard commotion outside did he realize that morning came. He could guess of what it might be. But he didn’t dare to investigate, till he heard Rin’s voice. Curiosity was overpowering. Sesshomaru finally gave in.
He saw a disconcerted Kenji seated, heaving his forehead on his palms. Rin’s hand on his shoulder. Kohaku’s hand on Rin’s. Sesshomaru’s eyes went wide for a moment. …..Kohaku…. Kohaku had come to attend the engagement function of Rin.
“It is alright, father. He is not the only male on earth for your daughter….” Rin said in a confident but comforting tone.
What….is going on?... Sesshomaru was puzzled and searched Jaken’s face for an explanation.
Jaken caught the cue and explained to him that Bankotsu left a note that the engagement has to be called offed and that he cannot marry Rin. No other explanation or deliberation.
Sesshomaru did threaten Bankotsu to leave. But he meant only to leave from his presence, not to leave the mansion once and for all.
“Trust me, father. Everything happens for the good” Rin made her best attempt to console Kenji.
“Rin’s right! Thank goodness he fled before the engagement! If he had done so later, it would have been a total disgrace” Kohaku made his own efforts which did well to Kenji’s nerves.
It was not just the cancellation of engagement that bothered the girl’s father but the improbability of getting a bridegroom who will agree to live in his mansion, post-marriage.
Sesshomaru was dumbfounded. The engagement got called off….. because of him….. If it wasn’t for his thoughtless acts the previous night, the tragedy would not have happened. The feeling of guilt joined the competition in plaguing him.
The only consolation was that Bankotsu hadn’t elaborated the reason for which he had absconded. Else Rin’s reputation would have been shattered…… Sesshomaru pondered. In the thought process of guarding Rin’s reputation, his apprehension for his own reputation, which was politically more significant slipped his mind.
The entire mansion was mourning over the adversity. Servants loved their Master Kenji and Lady Rin so much, they hadn’t spilled out both the engagement and its cancellation to the outsiders.
Sesshomaru was on his way to his chambers when he met up with Rin. FREEZE…. Both ran their eyes everywhere but those of each other. Rin was blushing redder than usual. Sesshomaru wanted to disappear from her very badly, while Rin wanted him to handle her the same way he did last night, so desperately….. Contradicting emotions….
Sesshomaru knew he is liable to dispel the embarrassing silence, so having his gaze fixed, inches above Rin’s head, he began, “I…..”
Rin’s eyes shot at his eyes which seemed to have focused on something behind her. So she immediately turned her to see whom he was addressing to. Sesshomaru stopped at the girl’s sudden movement and his gaze fell on her head, which swiftly turned. Two pair of eyes finally met; accidentally though. The fair maiden’s face and her alluring eyes pained Sesshomaru. His guilt multiplied, like a contracting disease. He immediately turned to the side to break their gazing. He knew he had to swallow the pride this time and convey something which she deserved at the least.
“I owe you an apology….” Sesshomaru said in a tone that sounded gentle to Rin’s ears.
It took a moment for Rin to understand that it was his apologize for being the sole reason for the cessation of her engagement. Rin gave a sad, small smile and said “and I owe you my gratitude”
Sesshomaru was puzzled. He looked at Rin for clarification.
Understanding his confusion she went on with her bright smile, “Yes, Lord Sesshomaru. That man had said that he was in love with me. Then how could he renounce me, whom he claimed as his ‘wife’ so simply? Without even putting up a fight? Or even a quarrel?...... Forget about that! He didn’t even seek any explanation! It is very clear that his feelings for me are too shallow to end us up in Holy Matrimony….. you have once, saved me from the fate of death (A/N: Sesshomaru saved Rin from the crow demon). I, now, thank you for saving me from a fate worse than death…. a wedding with a man who is only attracted to me, without the least trace of ‘love’ for me”
Sesshomaru was stunned at the wisdom of the girl. Even his own intellect had missed this vital issue. His heart warmed at her words, as the feeling of guilt gradually dissipated from his being. For the first time over the recent days, his mind relaxed and his eyes were smiling again.
Rin was generous enough to forgive Sesshomaru that quickly, but the demon lord knew that Kenji deserved to be apologized as well. As if she read his mind, she said, “I request you, Milord, not to bring this up to my father. The consequences will be adverse if you do. Firstly, he will be terribly upset about….uh-um… he will be terribly upset” Rin was flustered for a moment when she was about to mention what had conspired between them last night; then, she went on, “secondly, it will not do any good for your Mission. My father’s co-operation is crucial for this Mission and I know we will lose his support if he knows”
“That is no justification for non-disclosure to your father” PROMPT! It seems, Sesshomaru is no longer bothered about the critical Mission.
“No, Lord Sesshomaru. As of now, I’m the only person who is directly affected by the cancellation of the engagement which I hardly consider as a misfortune. If you tell my father, then your Mission will fail, thus the humans and demons will always suffer a sore association in our village. This Mission must succeed, thereby establishing peaceful co-existence between humans and demons throughout the Western Lands”
Such wisdom! Sesshomaru was indeed amazed. All these years, he never knew women, humans at that, can be so wise and empathetic. His lips unconsciously parted to convey ‘thank you, Rin’ but got interrupted by his loyal-annoying servant.
“Lord Sesshomaru! There you are! I have made all arrangement for our departure, just as you said! We can leave-” Jaken stopped abruptly when Rin came into his view. Jaken slowly mumbled what he was about to say, his eyes fixed on Rin, “…..right…away…..”
Sesshomaru turned to Jaken and quickly glanced at Rin only to see the hurt in her eyes and shock in her face. She unconsciously stepped backwards by few inches. Jaken panicked that he had made his entry at the most importunate time and he was rewarded by a death glare from Sesshomaru.
*THUD- THUD- THUD- THUD- THUD*
Sesshomaru turned to find Rin running away from him. Sesshomaru couldn’t imagine how hurt Rin must have felt, that she didn’t even greet him before taking leave of him; she didn’t even walk away, she ran! As if he was some kind of disgusting monster! Yes! He was disgusting! He was ashamed of himself! He hated himself!
Jaken informed Kenji that the preliminary plans shall be implemented. Subsequent action plans will be conveyed to him periodically. It was an implication that Sesshomaru had no intention of making revisits. Although Kenji did not understand their sudden decision to depart, he agreed.
“Lord Sesshomaru….” Kenji seemed to be hesitant to tell something, “…..Er….”
Sesshomaru glanced at him for a moment; he understood what was coming up; he diverted his gaze to vacuum and said, “Confidentiality of the matter (i.e. Rin’s engagement and cancellation) shall be strictly maintained…..”. Then his gaze fell on Jaken, which seemed more like a glare to the little imp.
“Those who infringe shall die” with that Sesshomaru walked off. Jaken gulped as he perspired.
Jaken’s only consolation was that Sesshomaru didn’t come to know of Jaken’s mischief of playing ‘messenger’ on both sides. If only he had known, Jaken would be in his grave by now.
Sesshomaru and Jaken finally departed. Sesshomaru felt uneasy inside, as before. He heaved several sighs to relieve that odd feeling, but in vain. But this time he has realized that it was pain of parting with Rin…. permanently…….Forgive me, Rin….. Enough of the afflictions you have undergone in your life due to demons…. I shall not plague you with my presence, any longer…. FAREWELL…...