Jaken shifted nervously by the long walkway. He held Nintojo in two nervous hands. Every so often he fisted the wood until it splintered against his nails. He was terrified. Sesshomaru would be landing at any moment. He stood at the pristine white promenade that stretched from what was now considered the public part of Sesshomaru’s home in the field of daisies thirty feet out. It was connected to the public entrance, which led to the large dining hall, the guest quarters and a large kitchen where the servants milled busily making meals. Rin and the children had their own private smaller kitchen where Rin’s attendants Atsuko and Akari tended to their needs away from the eyes of the villagers and visitors. The sky was golden with hues of sunset kissing the horizon casting a flaxen glow on the stone edifice. The house was overly large and imposing. Just the way Sesshomaru wanted it.
The little green imp shook terribly. “He’s going to kill me this time, I know it.” He and Hisato, Rin’s nearly pure blooded inu-yokai guard had made a large mistake. Hisato was taller than Sesshomaru, by several inches. Unlike his Lord, he had a black mokomoko that looped over both his shoulders. He was not yet old enough to have two like Sesshomaru. On his back were strapped two short swords he used in battle.
“If he’s anywhere near he’ll be able to smell her blood already, it hasn’t stopped oozing since you found her.” Jaken prattled. His voice was a soft alto to Sesshomaru’s tenor. His hands worked nervously on his obi.
Hisato nodded his head in agreement, “we’re both dead men walking. I was supposed to protect her.” Hisato wore a deep green Haori that contrasted his black hair and golden eyes. On his face were jagged red stripes on either cheek and triple stripes along his wrists. Both of his arms sported deep cuts, and his stomach was lightly bandaged from the battle that he had fought. Demons attacked the village two days before in the morning. Someone, or something had brought down the barrier that protected the village and the estate. Hisato was sure that they would never make it past the village, to the estate, but something had.
Rin instructed Hisato to aid the village as there were only a few strong warriors who could. She insisted she would be fine. She took the children into the garden. Behind the garden a large forest full of Hinoki Cypress trees and Camaphor trees huddled together. The forest led to the river where boats were readied. Only those closest to the family knew of the secret exits to allow Rin and the children escape should an attack happen. Something had gone into the garden. It pursued her into an open grove of trees where large boulders protruded from the ground and around the circle of Cypresses was open pined forest floor. Marks of a battle riddled the forest. When Hisato caught wind of Rin’s blood, he flew into the air leaving the village and sped as fast as he could to the grove. Deep in the forest trees behind the garden, he found Rin in a puddle of her own blood. She had a deep gash in the top of her head. Her face was black and blue. A large lump on the back of her head, and her back had been slashed open so deeply, the whites of her ribs peeked through the tangled muscles. He grabbed her and brought her back to the Lord and Lady’s bedroom. He called the town Healer, while he tried to staunch the red tide fleeing her body. What was worse was that no one had been able to find the children.
“You shouldn’t have left her Hisato,” Jaken rebuked the guard. He wrung his hands in fear. “He’s going to kill me. No one has found the children either.”
“She told me she could get herself and the children to safety. She is deft with that sword of hers. I trusted Rin-sama would be fine,” Hisato argued. In Sesshomaru’s absence he was also tasked with training Rin, on more than one occasion Rin had ripped into his skin and caused damage with her whip. She was far from helpless. Whatever she was met with had over powered her. Their daughter Yuki wasn’t helpless either. The damned little thing as Hisato thought of her held poison in her deadly claws. More than once he had been on the receiving end of one of her temper tantrums leavings his arms bloodied and burned. “He’s coming,” the scent of forest and pines bled into Hisato’s nostrils. Even his heart was racing. He prayed to still be alive in the next hour.
There it was the streak of light that marked Jaken for death. It didn’t stop in front of the house as Jaken had hoped. He wanted to break it to Sesshomaru slowly, but the amount of blood that was spilled on the forest floor two days before and what Rin had lost in their bedding it would be impossible for Sesshomaru to not smell it and not gauge the amount from the smell alone.
Rin now lay in a deathlike trance. The town healer Torikku laid poultices and bandaged her wounds, however her body was weak and the wounds were unyielding and refusing to close. Rin’s body was so weak from blood loss that the healer said recovery was impossible. She would be dead within hours.
“He’s going straight to the bedroom,” Hisato flew into the air. All were forbidden from the Lord and Ladies private garden, but he would risk it this one time, to access the bedroom faster and explain to Sesshomaru-sama what happened. Hisato wrung his hands. If he walked out of that room alive, he would never make the same mistake again.
Her blood, Sesshomaru smelled it clearly miles from his home. It flooded his senses with fury. He had been gone for three weeks. It was longer than he had ever left Rin by herself. It was necessary, ensuring that his time with his family would be extended beyond a few days. His borders were finally secure, after eight years of fighting, they would be able to rest for what he hoped would be at least a month. He left her in capable hands, the staff they had, were trust worthy. It wasn’t just her blood, the smell of sulfur and burned wood was emanating from their safe haven, the village Rin had insisted he create. So much blood, Rin. The scent was coming from two places, deep in the garden where one of the exits had been built in the forest and from their home. The smell in the forest was older, the smell of death and fresh blood came from their bedroom. As he flew over the house he saw Jaken twitching nervously with Hisato next to him. He ignored them and flew into the garden. He was met by Hisato who appeared next to Sesshoumaru moments after Sesshomaru’s feet hit the ground. Hisato immediately started bumbling out apologies, that Sesshomaru didn’t listen to. He strode into his bedroom to find Rin covered in blood and bandages.
There were thick dressings across her stomach that were already soaked in fresh crimson. Her head was swollen. Her beautiful heart shaped faced was marred by gashes. Her breaths came out shallowly. Her lungs sounded wet and crackled as she tried to breathe. His heart skipped several beats. He tensed his hands. My heart…
Jaken groveled on the floor, begging forgiveness. Sesshomaru kicked Jaken out of the way. He didn’t need excuses. Not yet. He needed Rin. Her servants Akari, the hanyou mixed with a fire cat, with bright red hair and red eyes sat by Rin’s side holding her hand. The human servant Atsuko who was married to a horse demon was on Rin’s other side. Their eyes shot to Sesshomaru when he landed. They stood and backed away from him respectfully bowing their heads. The air wreaked of fear as the people milling in the room split like the waves of an ocean as he strode to Rin’s side.
Sesshomaru fell to his knees next to her limp body. He touched her soiled face running his thumb along the broken skin of her lip. She could barely breathe, “she’s on deaths door,” he ground his teeth.
He dug the claws from his right hand into his left wrist slicing through his veins until blood pooled out of the gashes. Nearby, Torikku the healer, a pure blooded serrow demon wearing a black cloak, who had asked for refuge in their village grabbed Sesshomaru’s arm, “it’s not safe to mix such strong blood with a human.” His face was grey and pointed. His horns twisted on top of his head.
Sesshomaru ripped his arm out of Torikku’s grasp, “leave us, all of you!” He roared, “except you two,” he snarled at Jaken and Hisato. “You will explain how this happened.” Sesshomaru held his blood-soaked arm over Rin’s head, letting his lifeforce flow into the cuts and bruises on her scalp. He dug his claws into the swelling on the back of Rin’s head, pus came out, but withered away as soon as his blood began to mingle with it. The swelling decreased. He sliced open the bandages wrapped around her waist. His stomach constricted when he turned her thin body over trying to find the wounds. He could see the cartilage and muscles through the deep slices in her back, “what happened?” It took every ounce of control not to rip into Jaken and the guard. “Hisato, where were you? Where are my children?” His eyes glowed red with fury. He forced himself to focus on healing his injured mate. She had hours, even he could smell that. His blood dripped onto the whites of Rin’s exposed ribs. Her muscles absorbed the scarlet thick liquid. “Answer me!”
“Someone lowered the barrier. The village was attacked. Rin-sama asked me to assist in the village,” the guard spoke plainly, “she took the children into the garden. She assured me they would be safe,” he was on one knee. His head bowed in shame trying to avoid the angry eyes that were on him.
“She will shake with fever soon,” he gingerly laid Rin back down, both of his arms were now soaked in her blood and his own. He touched Rin’s forehead that was only somewhat swelled. “Your job was to protect Rin, not the village. What happened to her?”
“We don’t know Sesshomaru-sama,” Jaken cowered on the floor like the imp he was. “We found her two days ago near the grove at the edge of the garden. Close to the forest, like this. We called the Healer. He has been struggling to keep her alive.”
Sesshomaru stood up howling in anger, “where are my children?” He released his whip at Hisato lifting the pathetic dog off the ground and suffocating him as it snaked around the black inu-yokai’s neck.
“Rin-sama took them into the garden,” Hisato gasped. “I have searched for two days but I haven’t been able to…” Hisato was cut off by Yuki running into her parents room.
“Chi-chiue!!” She screamed and flew against his chest. The action caused her to dump Harutoga who was on her back right onto the stone floor. She was eight now, with long gangly legs. She came up to his hip bones, “it’s safe now Haru. Chi-chiue is home.” Sesshomaru wrapped one arm around Yuki and another around Harutoga when his son ran into the room, “we did what you said if the house was ever attacked. We stayed hidden. I masked my scent and kept Haru safe. I came home when I smelled you. What’s wrong with Ka-san?” The little girl with big golden eyes turned to her mother whose face was flushing red. “Ka-san?” Yuki’s hands shook, jangling the many bracelets she wore around her wrists.
Sesshomaru was even more enraged, “you couldn’t find two children?” His hands were shaking. Sesshomaru stood up, “go to the forest where you found her. Bring me back answers now!” He picked up a nearing stool and threw it at Hisato in rage before releasing his hold of the whip. Yuki flinched at her father’s anger. “Jaken, take the children and see to their needs. If you can’t manage that, then perhaps the time has come for me to get rid of you.” He cracked his knuckles threatening Jaken with his razor sharp claws.
“Yes, Sesshomaru-sama,” Jaken’s hands could barely hold Nintojo, “Yuki, Harutoga, come with me,” he took Harutoga’s hand.
“No!” Yuki screamed attempting to slash at Jaken, “what happened to Kasan!?”
“Chichiue, there was something in the forest but I can’t see it,” Harutoga said. He was five now and shorter than Sesshomaru had expected. He still sported the black streak of fur along one of his pointed ears that faded into his silver hair. His cheek stripes were the same as his father, and so were his wrists. They shook in fear as his small face stared at his injured mother.
Sesshomaru took Harutoga’s hands trying to calm himself, “were you with Ka-san when this happened?” He prayed his children had the answer. Did they see who did this? Could they lead him to the one he would kill?
Yuki shook her head, “he was with me. Something, I couldn’t see it,” Yuki rubbed her left temple as her feet almost gave out beneath her, “ow!” She cried holding her head. Sesshomaru steadied her, “I can’t remember. Ka-san said to take Haru to the tunnels, the ones that lead to the river where the boats are hidden. Chichiue my head really hurts,” her nose wrinkled and small tears formed around her golden eyes.
“Let me see,” Sesshoumaru ran his fingers through Yuki’s silver hair feeling her scalp. He felt no lumps or bumps. He checked the skin around her forehead and by her ears and neck. There were no injuries. “Jaken take them to Akari. Get them something to eat and then put them in bed to rest.” Sesshomaru ordered. His voice was less angry now.
“Is Ka-san going to be okay?” Harutoga asked. He was still holding his father’s hand, “is she going to die?”
“She will live. She will be well soon, you will see. Jaken take them,” his voice went back to its harsh tone, “go with Jaken, Harutoga,” then it was soft as if all his anger and frustration was gone while he spoke to his children.
Yuki looked at her mother with tears in her eyes and touched her own head once again feeling faint. Before she left she hugged her father, he wrapped his arms around Yuki, “I am home, you are both safe now.” She took her brother by the hand and followed Jaken towards the kitchen.
Sesshomaru removed the rest of Rin’s clothing carefully and wrapped her in the gold cotton blanket that covered their bedding. “My heart,” he whispered into her sleeping ear, “what happened to you?” He touched his lips to her forehead and mournfully closed his eyes against her warming skin. He took a moment to just breathe. He wanted to kill something, more specifically Jaken and Hisato who were meant to protect her and keep things like this from happening. He picked her up and flew towards the river. Her temperature was already rising. Soon her body would burn with fever as his blood slid through her injuries forcing the muscles and skin to close. She would wake without a scar to show for the battle she fought.
“I’m not hungry!” Yuki screamed at Akari slamming her fork down, splashing the wall of the private dining room with red tomato soup. “I don’t want this,” she picked the bowl and slammed it into the wall. The glass shattered, splashing the ground and the floor with clear slivers.
“That’s enough,” Akari came forward with an orange glowing hand. She knelt down carefully avoiding the glass on the floor. “You can be upset but you will not destroy this house.”
“Leave me alone kitty cat!” Yuki’s claws erupted in a thick green mist. “I’ll melt your ugly face!” She shrieked at the hanyou fire cat.
Akari caught her hand heating her palm near to producing a fireball. “You really want to have this dance again Yuki? Your mother is hurt and you are behaving like this.”
“I hate you!” She screamed at Akari struggling in her grip. Beyond having knife like claws, the child produced dokkasu similar to her father’s. “I’m going to kill you!” She screamed at the top of her lungs, “let me go, let me go!! I want Chichiue!”
“What’s going on?” Atsuko poked her head into the kitchen.
“Another Yuki tantrum. Please say Hisato is on the other side of that door,” she increased the temperature of her hands.
Steam rose off Yuki’s wrists. “Ow! You’re burning my wrists!” She squirmed. She flung her feet up meaning to dig her toe claws into Akari’s stomach only to be hauled into the air by a green whip.
Hisato stood in the kitchen, energy whip extended, teeth gnashing. “You stop that now.”
“I wouldn’t burn your wrists, if you wouldn’t try to melt my face you little brat!” Akari rubbed her burned hands. “You’re lucky I’m a hanyou and these,” she held up blistered hands, “will heal quickly. This isn’t the right time for you to have a tantrum.”
“Shut up!” Yuki shouted attempting to free herself from the whip.
“Hold her there until she calms down,” Akari stood up knuckling her back. “Harutoga,” the child had been sitting dumbfounded with his chopsticks and rice. “Let’s go take a bath.” She held her hand out to the boy.
“Stay away from my brother you bitch!” She hissed at Akari. “I’m going to kill you! I’m going to kill you!” Her eyes bled red around the edges. “Let me go! I hate you!”
“Yuki your being mean,” Harutoga jumped off his chair, over the table, missing the shattered glass and landing by the door. “Chichiue is going to be mad at you.”
Yuki howled in rage.
“What’s wrong with her?” Hisato turned his head to Akari, “she’s never been this out of control before.”
“Don’t ask me. For as long as I’ve known this little one, she’s always been like this,” Akari laughed taking Harutoga by the shoulder.
“I don’t want you stupid dog!” She slashed at the serpentine green whip that held her prisoner in the air. “I want Ka-san! I want Ka-san! Now!! Let me see my Ka-san!”
“Should we get Sesshomaru-sama?” Atsuko leaned against the doorframe rubbing her shoulders. “What’s wrong with her eyes?”
The red advanced nearing her golden irises.
“Her yoki is rising,” Hisato gave the whip a good shake, “stop it Yuki. You’re too old for this behavior.”
The skinny child snarled, her fangs growing, her claws getting sharper.
“Get Sesshomaru-sama. He is most likely by the river. If this is what I think it is, we have no way to change her back,” Hisato sent more of his yoki through the whip that restrained the little girl. “Atsuko go now. Get Hideyoshi or my brother Sato to bring him back. Quickly.” He scrutinized the red in her eyes. He considered knocking her out to stop the transformation. He was sure she was too young for this.
“You’re dead if I get loose, you asshole!” She kicked her feet.
Atsuko ran from the kitchen. She knew Sato, Hisato’s black haired twin brother spent most of his time guarding the village. He had his own small hut that sat near the barrier. Hideyoshi was easier to find as he was one of the only other sentinels to be found in the home. He feet padded quickly, “Hideyoshi!” She called to the dog demon. “Hideyoshi!”
“I can find him,” she hadn’t noticed Harutoga trailing behind her. “Come with me,” the little boy with striped hair grabbed her hand. “Come on!” He pulled her out a side door. “He’s this way.” The small face glanced back at Atsuko. His eyes were unlike either of his parents. Under his white ear was a golden eye like his father’s, and beneath the black ear was a brown eye like his mother’s. “You’re not fast enough Atsuko. And your clumsy.” He noted how she was tripping over twigs and branches on the ground.
Atsuko pulled to a stop just paces from the house. “Then you find him. Tell him your sister is out of control again. We can’t calm her. Hurry.”
“Okay,” he jumped into the and bounded into the forest. He wasn’t as good as Yuki was about jumping from branch to branch, or from the forest floor to a boulder, but he could run quickly. His father’s scent was near the river. He could still smell his mother’s blood too. His heart pounded within the small confines of his chest. A light sheen of sweat covered his arms as he fled through the forest. “Chichiue!” He called, knowing his father was near. He lost his scent just before the river. He knew he was somewhere. “Chichiue!”
“Here Harutoga,” the tenor voice came booming through the forest.
Harutoga burst through the bushes, almost landing face first in the river. “Yuki is out of control. Hisato has her all tied up. She said she is going to kill everyone. She tried to put dokkasu in Akari’s face. Is Ka-san okay?”
“Dammit,” Sesshomaru cursed carrying Rin to the bank of the river. He set her down by the rocks so her body was still half covered in cold River water. “I should fire them all,” he said under his breath.
“Why?” Harutoga asked.
Sesshomaru pulled his son down near Rin. He wasn’t sure who to tend to. Rin whose breaths were more steady now or his daughter who had lost control of her senses. “Can you keep Ka-san’s head out of the water?”
“I think so,” Harutoga answered. He sat down with his legs extended. Sesshomaru lifted Rin’s head up and rest it on his son’s lap. “I will send Hisato to bring you both home.” He paused not liking the idea of leaving them. “Here,” he handed Harutoga Tenseiga. “Listen to me,” he knelt down helping his son grip the sheath. “This will provide a barrier if anyone tries to attack either of you. Do not let it go.”
“Is she okay now?” Harutoga stroked his mother’s hair. “She looks like she is sleeping.”
“She is sleeping,” Sesshomaru flew into the air. He cursed quietly to himself. She would choose a time like now to completely lose it. Ever since Yuki was a baby it was if he was the only that could calm her. She was high strung. Before Sesshomaru had left Rin confessed she didn’t know what to do with Yuki. She was getting too big to restrain. He bit his bottom lip to keep himself sane as the terrain changed from the thick forest trees to the open field of daisies. He landed by the kitchen window, knowing she was there from her scent and her howls.
“Your father is going to be upset with you,” Hisato barked at Yuki, “stop struggling.
“Shut up asshole!” Yuki had one arm loose. Her eyes were nearly completely red. The stripes on her cheeks had become jagged.
“Yuki,” Sesshomaru bellowed at the little girl climbing through the large stain glass window. Did he really have to leave Rin in Harutoga’s care to deal with this? “Release her,” he spoke angrily. “Hisato, go to the river and bring Rin to her bed.”
The green whip dissipated dropping Yuki on her head. Sesshomaru growled at Hisato as the black inu-yokai flew through the window.
“Uh-oh,” Yuki rubbed her sore head staring at her father.
“Did you make this mess?” His tone was furiously low.
Yuki nodded nervously standing up. “I’m sorry?”
“Clean it up, then come to my room,” he strode passed her, crunching glass beneath his feet.
“Dammit,” Yuki sighed picking up the napkins from the table. “How am I supposed to clean this all up?”
“It’s called a broom,” Akari came around the corner, “here you go. And you can use this bucket of water to wash the soup off the walls.”
“It’s your job,” Yuki stuck her tongue out at Akari.
“Yuki!” Sesshomaru reprimanded her from the hall.
“Yes Chichiue,” she rolled her eyes. Stupid Chichiue, it’s all your fault and you know it.