Since the events with Kirinmaru and the Grim Comet, things had been slowly becoming more normal. However, after deciding to live in the Feudal Era with her sister and parents, Towa found herself increasingly more out of place. For so long, she had had this goal of finding her sister, restoring her memories, and getting back to the present day. When the plans had changed, and they needed to rescue her mother, father, and then everyone in the future, she realized that things were never going to go back to the way they were. Parting with Mei again had been difficult, but being with Setsuna was where she truly belonged.
So, once the dust cleared and things were okay again, she expected for her reunion with her parents to go similarly to Moroha’s. She had wanted the dad that picked her up and told her how much he had missed her. She wanted the touching moment of being told how much she had been missed and how excited they were that they could finally see her. When Rin was finally able to hold her and Setsuna in her arms, it had almost felt like that, but something was missing. Sesshomaru had been slightly distant in that moment. He was there, but too far away to be considered part of the moment. Rin’s tears and joy were overshadowed by how conflicted Towa felt. She knew that she shouldn’t have expected much from her father, but after sharing so much of her life with Papa Sota, she realized how much Sesshomaru lacked as a parent.
“Girls, you don’t know how long I’ve wished to hold you in my arms. It’s all I’ve thought of,” Rin had cried, smiling through the bittersweet tears. “My girls…”
Towa was grateful to be reunited with the person who gave birth to her, but the feeling just wasn’t the same. She had always felt out of place, and even in this moment, the sentiment rang true. She glanced at Setsuna, but found that her sister was crying as well, clinging to the woman who was holding them both in a tight embrace. She frowned slightly, remembering that Setsuna had never known what a mother’s love was. It was yet another thing that they were opposites in. Towa had been surrounded by love and affection where Setsuna had been forced into a cruel world and made to fight for her survival. Towa knew what mothers were like, for she had had one. Setsuna had not.
The trip back to Kaede’s village was a strange one. Sesshomaru had flown away not long after Rin had suggested that they all head back home. Towa wasn’t sure what she had been expecting, since her father had always been extremely distant, but she had thought that he would want to be at his wife’s side since they had been apart for so long. When she glanced at Rin, however, the woman didn’t appear to be the least bit concerned or affected by her husband’s absence. In fact, she was beaming from ear to ear. Towa looked Setsuna’s way and found the same to be true for her sister. How could they not care that their father wasn’t part of this important family moment?
They settled down in Kaede’s hut and Towa was once again shocked to find that despite being married, Rin still technically lived with the elderly woman. Did Sesshomaru have no home for her? Did he care so little about his wife that he would leave her to live with the village elder forever? Towa knew that her father was a cold man, but she didn’t think he would be like this even to his beloved. Or… perhaps he didn’t actually love her? Maybe he thought of her as he did Jaken– his underling. Looking at her mother’s bright face, the very idea of it enraged her. Rin didn’t deserve someone so cold, she deserved someone who could shower her with the love that she showered others with so generously. Towa excused herself and moved to sit out on the patio. In the distance, she watched as Inuyasha and Kagome began telling Moroha stories of their adventures, Inuyasha’s arm around both his daughter and wife. Jealousy pained her heart. If her father and Inuyasha were brothers, they were certainly polar opposites, she decided with a shake of her head.
Her thoughts turned to her family back in the future. How she longed for the warmth of Papa Sota’s hugs again. Tears pricked her eyes as she thought once again of the stark difference in the life she had chosen over the one she had in the future. So long as she was with Setsuna, she had thought, it would be okay.
She needed for it to be okay, for her sister’s sake. If Setsuna was going to be happy here, then she would find a way to be happy as well. She would never say a word to Setsuna of anything otherwise, and it would all work out.
“Towa? Are you alright?” she heard a voice ask her. By now, however, that mellow voice had been etched into her heart so deeply, she could never misplace it. Setsuna sat down beside her, looking at her with concern.
“Hey sis, yeah, I’m alright. How are you holding up? It’s been a crazy day,” she asked, diverting the attention from herself. Setsuna’s brow quirked and it reminded her of their distant father. Towa tore her gaze away from her sister.
“I’m fine. I noticed you came outside. Is something the matter?” she pressed, not being one to be thrown off from any goal.
“It’s just… There’s a lot of feelings, you know? Still, I’m glad to be by your side through it all,” she assured her sister, reaching over and giving her hand a squeeze. Setsuna smiled slightly at this.
“I feel the same for you. Mother Rin is worried for you, are you coming back inside?” she asked, her face searching her twin’s. Towa looked off in the distance again at the warm light coming from Inuyasha’s hut. Even from this distance, she could hear the faint laughter emanating from inside.
“Yeah, I’ll be inside in a bit. I’m just getting some fresh air,” she nodded, not making eye contact. Setsuna seemed appeased by this and patted her sister on the shoulder before rising and going back inside.
Towa let out a quiet sigh once again before letting her head fall into her hands. She needed a short walk to clear her head.
As she walked, she thought of everything that had transpired. All the heartache and victories that she had shared with her companions rushed back to her as she found herself drawn to the Tree of Ages. She looked up at it, wondering if it would ever work as a conduit between worlds again. She placed her hand against its rough bark and sighed. The longing in her heart felt so complicated.
A whoosh of air was her only warning before she turned her head and saw Sesshomaru standing at her side, gazing at the tree as well. Towa had never felt so conflicted before. Should she be grateful that her father was beside her? Should she brush him off in hopes of getting a message through to him? If Setsuna were there, she was sure that her sister would enjoy a companionable silence, but that was yet another thing they differed in. To Towa, the silence was as sharp as her father’s blade.
“Something troubles you,” his low voice cut through the quiet. “What is it?”
Towa’s eyebrows rose in surprise. She hadn’t expected him to be the one to bridge the silence.
“Nothing really,” Towa answered, looking away from the man whose gaze made her shiver in discomfort. She knew there were a few pieces of herself that looked like him, but she hoped that the resemblance was few and far between. “It’s just been a long day.”
“Hn,” he responded, though his response did little to comfort his daughter. “This was the tree Inuyasha was sealed to for 50 years,” he stated quietly. Towa analyzed the tree, thinking that maybe she did see some sort of impression of a figure against its bark.
“Kagome freed him, right?” she asked, trying to remember what Sota had told her.
“Yes, and the priestess Kikyo was the one who sealed him here,” he offered, his gaze remaining on the tree.
“Why would she do that? Inuyasha isn’t a bad demon,” Towa asked, her brows furrowed in confusion.
“A misunderstanding. She thought his intentions were evil, he thought she had betrayed him,” he explained, his voice even and unreadable as always.
“A misunderstanding made her seal him to a tree for 50 years? She sounds awful,” Towa commented, her nose scrunching in distaste.
“She was not. Misunderstandings can destroy any relationship,” he added, turning his gaze to his daughter. Towa found herself unable to meet it.
“You are upset with me,” he stated simply. Towa whipped her head quickly to him, her eyebrows high in surprise.
“What? No! I’m not upset, I’m fine! I-”
“Do not lie, I can smell it,” he interrupted her. His eyes locked with hers and she found herself feeling trapped against his gaze. In that moment, she felt very small.
“It’s not that I’m upset, I’m just… I don’t understand you,” she admitted quietly, looking down at the ground. Her father was silent, though his gaze remained intensely on her, as though he was waiting for her to continue. “You don’t stay with Rin, you abandoned Setsuna and I to fend for ourselves, and even when…” her voice trailed off as she thought of Setsuna’s death and the meaninglessness of it, she shook her head. “I just don’t get you, is all.”
Everything was quiet for a long time. Crickets chirped in the background as the noises of the forest suddenly roared loudly in her ears. Her father’s gaze never seemed to drop, and she felt silly for having said anything at all. She felt like an eternity had passed before her anger started to grow. He wouldn’t say anything even when it was very obvious that he was supposed to. Towa scoffed quietly before kicking the roots of the tree.
“Goodnight, Sesshomaru,” she muttered as she turned around and headed back to the hut where her sister and mother were. Even as she continued to walk away, Sesshomaru’s gaze remained on her.
Weeks went by and life in the village was boring and largely uneventful. There was little to worry about other than the chores of every day. Towa stayed with Rin most of the day, helping her with the chores and learning the ways of healing. It was nice to grow closer to the person who had given birth to her. Rin’s love was warm and constant, something she took great comfort in. Since her confrontation with Sesshomaru, she had seen very little of him. He was always either on the roof of their home or just not around at all (though this wasn't much of a change from before). This never appeared to bother her mother or her twin, which continued to shock her. Towa had thought that maybe she could get used to the distance, but it was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable for her to stay in the village. She had grown to be wary of Sesshomaru. He was an ominous figure where she had wanted him to be a comforting one. Seeing him flying in the sky made her heart seize with anxiety. It was as though her confrontation with him had left her feeling more nervous around him.
As she and Rin were sorting through the herbs, a thought came through her mind. Perhaps her mother had more insight into the intentions behind her father.
“Mama Rin?” she began, her voice quiet. Rin looked up at her daughter with a smile.
“Yes, Towa?” she asked, continuing to hum as she sorted through the herbs.
“Why do you like Sesshomaru?” she asked, initially unsure how to breach the topic but deciding that being direct would be for the best. Her mother’s eyebrows rose and she looked at her daughter with a tilt to her head.
“What do you mean, Towa? I love Lord Sesshomaru,” she answered, her tone obviously hiked in curiosity. Towa began to feel bad for even bringing it up.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I meant more like… what is it about him that made you fall in love with him?” she asked, trying to be a little more tactful with her words. She watched as Rin smiled brightly.
“Oh, do you want to know the story of how we fell in love?” she asked, her voice holding a somewhat teasing edge to it. Towa blushed a little and shrugged.
“Well, if you want.”
Rin clapped her hands together and sat down instead of kneeling. “Very well, get comfy, because this story is long,” she explained, clearly excited to tell her story. Towa sat down, finding a comfortable position as she listened to her mother speak.
She listened to her mother’s tale of meeting an injured Sesshomaru and trying to take care of him. She listened to her mother speak of her dying and Sesshomaru bringing her back to life. She listened to the stories of her mother’s travels with him and the many times he came to save her. She listened as her mother recounted dying for the second time and being brought back once again by Sesshomaru. She listened as Rin told her of Sesshomaru leaving her in the village to decide for herself what sort of path she wanted to walk and how he would visit her regularly with gifts.
“And then, he proposed,” she said, blush staining her cheeks. Towa raised an eyebrow. Obviously for them to be husband and wife there had to be some kind of proposal, but she just couldn’t picture her cold, quiet father being able to say enough to create an actual proposal.
“How did he do it?” she asked, curiosity getting the best of her.
“It was my 18th birthday and it was finally time for me to decide what path I wanted to walk in life. He came to meet me as he often did and asked me how I was doing and if I was enjoying my life in the village. He told me how our hearts are tied together and that I could always call on him. It was an incredibly tender moment that I cherish deeply,” she recounted, closing her eyes happily.
Towa considered her mother’s story for a moment, trying to picture her father being capable of expressing his feelings in such a way, but she just couldn’t.
“That sounds wonderful, mother,” she agreed instead, nodding her head and giving her mom a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.
“What made you want to know about it?” Rin asked, her joy still radiating from her body. Towa shrugged.
“I guess I just want to see him like you do,” she offered, unsure of how much she could confess to Rin. “Have you seen him today?” she asked, looking down at the herbs they had been sorting.
Rin didn’t respond for a beat, making Towa worry that she had said something she shouldn’t have, but when she looked up, she saw Rin blushing and holding some herbs thoughtfully.
“He’s always within reach,” she answered softly, looking up at Towa with a gentle glow. Towa’s brows furrowed and she pursed her lips in disbelief. She tried sniffing out the area, but since Rin always sort of smelled like Sesshomaru, she really couldn’t get anything.
“Where? I never see him around except when he hides out on the roof or if he’s flying far away from here,” she muttered, placing the herbs in their respective baskets and gathering up her things. “You know, I really don’t know how you do it, because I couldn’t,” she whispered to herself, standing to her feet and going to move.
“Towa?” she heard Rin call to her from behind. “Are you upset with him?” she asked, her voice quiet. Towa’s heart fell at the hurt in her mother’s voice. Though she didn’t feel as attached to Rin as maybe a daughter should, she still felt like it was her responsibility to be careful of her mother’s feelings. She didn’t know how breakable Rin was, so Towa always felt like she had to walk on eggshells. Her shoulders became stiff but she kept her gaze forward.
“What? Of course not! He hasn’t done anything for me to be upset– why would I be upset?” she asked, trying to duck out of the conversation. “Anyways, I’m going to take these to Kaede. I’ll see you in a little bit!” she called, waving back to Rin before moving to walk away.
“Okay, I’ll see you then!” she heard Rin call back, though Towa could hear that she didn’t fully believe her.
As she walked, Towa began to realize that there really wasn’t anyone she could talk to about this. Setsuna was busy working with the demon slayers and training, Moroha was happy with her family, and Rin clearly was blinded by her obsession with her husband. Towa let out a sigh as she arrived at Kaede's hut. She set down the herbs and glanced out at the forest not too far off in the distance. Maybe if she took a walk she would feel better?
She made her way towards the forest and drew her sword. Demon energy pulsed around it in a blue light as she sliced at a tree. She didn’t let the blade hit, however, as she knew that it could cut clean through the wood. She practiced her technique for a moment before hearing a louding crashing noise coming deeper within the forest. When she went to check on it, she found her cousin, Moroha, in a clearing by the corpse of a large demon. It was clear that there had been a fight, but Moroha seemed more hurt than normal.
After talking with her for a moment, she realized that for Moroha, things weren’t as perfect as Towa had thought that they were. Moroha was feeling out of place too and uncertain of the love that her newly discovered parents had for her– something that Towa found herself relating to greatly. They argued for a moment, Moroha’s words cutting deep into Towa’s heart.
“Moroha, what I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter what you do, your dad’s not going to just stop loving you because you guys didn’t agree on something,” she explained.
“Yeah? What if you did something to really piss off Sesshomaru? Do you think he would still love you? Do you think he would want you to keep being his daughter?” Moroha shot back. Towa’s heart sank deep within her chest. No, she didn’t think that he would want her as his daughter anymore. Honestly, she wasn’t sure that he wanted her in the first place.
“That’s different. Sesshomaru hasn’t ever been very loving or… well… he’s never really claimed us as his daughters anyways so it’s just a way different scenario!” she defended. “Besides, he probably loves us in a different way… I mean, he went to great lengths to make sure we would be safe!” she tried to reason, her words more to persuade herself than anyone else.
“But when Setsuna died, where was he?! When the forest got set on fire, where was he?! Wasn’t he the one who stole Setsuna’s memories? At the end of the day, these people who say they are our parents don’t actually care that much!” she shouted, letting her words spew from her lips with malice.
“You think I don’t know that already?! The only people in this stupid time that I know care about me aren’t my parents and guess what? It’s fine! I’m not going to stop trying to make a life with them anyways! Don’t you want to keep them in your life?!” Towa asked, tears now falling down her face. She knew deep down that it didn’t matter how much she tried to make a life with them because their ‘family’ was never really going to be complete. Time had ripped them apart and it was that same time that was going to keep them apart.
“Of course I do, but they don’t want me !” Moroha yelled, pulling her arm back to throw a punch. Tears blurred her vision, making it easy for Towa to grab her fist. Moroha let her tears fall freely now, crying loudly. “Nobody ever wants me! Not the wolf clan, not you guys, not even my parents!”
Towa shook her head, hearing the words from her cousin made her heart break. Though the words were untrue, Towa empathized with her greatly. She wrapped her arms tightly around her cousin and shook her head.
“Moroha, I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I should’ve let you explain your feelings better instead of trying to invalidate them. We’re already here so let me go get Rin, okay? We don’t have to talk about this if you don’t want to,” Towa offered, pulling away from Moroha. “I’ll be right back,” she assured her, turning her back and running towards Kaede’s hut.
When she went to find Rin and brought her back, things had already settled down with Moroha. Apparently, she had already made up with her dad by the time they had gotten back from the village. As Inuyasha and Moroha walked away, Towa felt Rin’s gaze shift to her.
“Thanks for coming out here with me. I guess things weren’t as bad as I thought they were,” she sighed, feeling alone once again in her feelings. She had thought that she had found a kindred spirit in Moroha’s plight, but when it came down to it, Inuyasha’s love for her was just too strong– just as Towa had thought it was.
“Absolutely! I’m glad you called for me,” she heard Rin say as she started to walk back to the village.
“C’mon, let’s get back. Kaede’s probably wondering where we went off to,” Towa called as she walked.
“Towa, wait!” she heard her mom call out, her light voice echoing in the trees. The eldest twin turned around to look at her mother with a raised eyebrow and watched as Rin’s smile warmed. “When you do that, you look like your father,” she commented. Towa laughed awkwardly.
“That’s what I’ve been told. Anyways, what did you want?” she asked, her hands at her sides uncomfortably. She watched as Rin fiddled with her hands before furrowing her brows in determination.
“You’re feeling upset about something and I think it has to do with Lord Sesshomaru!” she declared, her voice raising in pitch slightly. Towa’s eyebrows rose as she listened to her mother become stern. “If you are unhappy, or if you are feeling down, please talk with me! I’m sure we can figure something out to make things better!” Rin insisted, her hands clenched in fists in front of her.
Towa looked at her mother in disbelief. She saw the stubborn determination in Rin’s eyes and realized that she was looking into a mirror. Her mother’s tenacity had been passed down to her– and she had been too blind to notice. Even still, she knew that her mother couldn’t really fix anything that was going on. Her mother couldn’t make Sesshomaru become the warm, caring father like the one she had grown up with. Her mother couldn’t make her suddenly feel like she was in the right place. Her mother couldn’t make her feel any less alone.
“I’m sorry that I’ve worried you, Mama Rin, but there really isn’t any reason to be troubled by me. I’m just missing my family on the other side of the well, is all. I’ll be fine in a little bit,” she assured her. This did not seem to assuage her mother, however, as Rin shook her head.
“I’ve fought for you for too long to ever give up. If there is anything within my power to do, I will, and if I can’t do it, then your father will!” Rin asserted with a nod of her head. Towa scoffed at her quietly and shook her head.
“I’m sorry, mom, but I don’t even know where he is half of the time, so I have to say that I just can’t rely on him to help me with this! I want to be part of this family, but this family is so broken that I don’t know how to do that!” she shouted, turning her back on her mother as tears started to fall. “Everything was fine with just me and Setsuna. We didn’t even know that we were missing anything. Now, all I can see are the things that I’m lacking. My father on the other side, he was there for me– always. He gave me warm hugs and kisses and supported me in everything. Inuyasha smothers his daughter with love and never ceases telling her how proud he is of her– I used to have that too, Rin! I had a dad who loved me so much that he let me go to this stupid time and help my sister who had her dreams stolen by my birth dad!” she shouted, knowing that her words were hurtful. She knew that what she was saying would only hurt Rin’s feelings, but she couldn’t keep them from coming out. She had been building this up for weeks, months even, and had no one to say any of it to. “I know that the circumstances weren’t your fault or even his fault, but the least he could do after everything we’ve been through is to say ‘I love you,’ but unfortunately that’s too difficult for the mighty ‘Lord’ Sesshomaru,” she spat, using air quotations around his title. The air around them was quiet for a moment, the sounds of the forest ringing in the background. Not far off, Towa could still hear Inuyasha and Moroha walking and talking together.
“ I love you, dad,” Moroha had said.
“ I love you, Moroha ,” he had responded in kind. The conversation felt like a kick in the side and Towa shook her head at the irony of it all.
“I’ll see you at the hut,” Towa bid to Rin after a short moment of silence. She wasn’t going to let a repeat of last time happen with her mother as well.
“You’re wrong!” she heard the light voice of her mother call out to her from behind. Towa turned her head slightly, giving her mother a sideways glance.
“Lord Sesshomaru loves you girls with all his heart! He may seem distant to you, but if you were ever to need him, he would be there in a heartbeat!” Rin shot back. “Try calling his name! He would be right beside you! Everything he’s done for the past fourteen years has been to protect you– to protect all of us!” she asserted, her face contorted in defiance. Moroha’s words bounced around in her head.
“Yeah? Well, where was he when the entire forest was burned down? Where was he when we were fighting Kirinmaru and Setsuna died ?!” she shouted. “He showed up after the fact to resurrect her, but he could have easily prevented it, right? If you say he would be there for us in a heartbeat, where was he for her?!” she nearly screamed, falling to the ground with a sob. She felt so tired from this argument, so tired of being the only one upset that Sesshomaru wasn’t this amazing father that everyone kept saying he was. She shook her head and brought her knees to her chest, clinging to herself tightly. When she felt small hands wrap around her frame, she knew that Rin had brought her into an embrace. It was warm, but it did little to comfort her. In that moment, she longed for the wise, gentle words of Papa Sota.
“Let’s go home and wind down, I’m sure that Setsuna will be glad to see you after her long trip with the slayers,” Rin suggested quietly, her voice reassuring and gentle. Towa sighed and knew that Rin wanted to give her a little space from the feelings that she needed to process still. As they headed back, Rin kept her arm wrapped around Towa’s, holding her closely as a way of trying to comfort her daughter. Towa appreciated the sentiment even if it did little to help.
When they returned to the hut, Towa hoped that her eyes and nose weren’t red still from crying, but she cared very little at this point. When she saw Setsuna playing her violin on the porch of the hut, Towa felt a small smile creep to her face. Seeing Setsuna always seemed to make her feel a little more at home anywhere that she was.
“Hey sis,” Towa called, waving a hand as they approached. Setsuna paused in her playing and waved back at her twin with a small smile.
“Hey. Good to see you, mother,” she greeted with a small bow. Rin smiled and let go of Towa to approach Setsuna with a warm embrace.
“Welcome back, my dear! I’m glad to have both of my girls home. Let’s make a hot pot!” she called, entering the hut before them. Towa stopped at the stairs, unable to bring herself to go up them. When Setsuna saw her hesitation, she paused in her steps.
“Towa, what’s wrong? Talk to me,” she asked, concern lacing her tone. Towa knew that there really wasn’t a way to get out of the conversation. She knew that her face still held the evidence of her upset and that Setsuna could sense her discomfort.
“I just…” she sat down on the bottom of the stairs. “There’s a lot,” she decided after a moment. She was too tired to hash out her feelings all over again. She heard quiet creaking as Setsuna sat down beside her on the step.
“Very well. Start from the beginning,” she ordered, leaving no room for argument.
Towa considered her sister for a moment. She was still so unsure if her saying anything would ruin the family that Setsuna was only just now getting to experience.
“What do you think of our father?” she asked instead.
“He’s an excellent warrior and the strongest demon there is. Why?” her twin responded immediately, her head tilting in confusion.
“What do you think of him as a parent?” Towa clarified, still trying to gauge her sister’s response.
“He protects us from danger and is there when we need him to be,” she answered after a moment of thought. “Towa, are you upset with him?”
“Ugh! Why does everyone keep asking me that?! I’m not upset with him! I don’t have any reason to be upset with him! He’s never around long enough for me to feel anything about him!” she shouted, blinking when she realized that she had just shouted that for the whole village to hear. Her face went pink immediately and she looked at the ground in embarrassment.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell,” she apologized, shaking her head. “I’ve had a long day, so maybe we could talk about this some other time?” she offered, looking at her twin with pleading eyes. Setsuna sighed and relented.
“You aren’t getting out of this conversation, I hope you are aware,” Setsuna warned as they stood up to go inside.
That night, as Towa laid on her mat trying to sleep, she thought back to what Rin had told her. Rin had made her father seem like a knight in shining armor– an otherworldly being who could sense when people were in danger and could rescue them at a moment’s notice.
“Try calling his name! He would be right beside you!”
Towa silently sighed at the thought. She wasn’t even sure if she wanted him around at this point. The damage had been done– he had been absent for her entire life and he would continue to be absent for the rest of it. The thought made her eyes prick with tears. The half demon sat up silently, looking around the room at the little family she had found. Rin slept soundly, her hand holding Setsuna’s as they rested side by side. Kaede was on the other side of them and Towa on the other side of Setsuna, closest to the door. With careful movements, she quietly slipped out into the night.
She looked up again into the stars, wondering what her family on the other side of the well was seeing. Were they looking at the same stars she was? A sigh fell from her lips and she stood at the bottom of the stairs, looking out into the village. Inuyasha’s hut was silent aside from the gentle snoring from Inuyasha and Moroha. Sango’s hut too was silent. Only the crickets and frogs sang in the night.
It reminded her of how lonely this old time was. Tokyo was busy and bright and there was always noise coming from somewhere but this place was silent as the dead.
“Try calling his name! He would be right beside you!”
Her mother’s voice echoed in her head again. She wanted so badly to believe her, but it would hurt so much for her to be wrong. Still, there wasn’t much to lose…
“Se…” she let her voice trail off, realizing that she had nothing to say to him if he did show up. Her shoulders slumped and she shook her head. “What’s the point?” she whispered.
The forest suddenly became silent and everything around her was still.
“Towa,” she heard a smooth, low voice call from right beside her. She whipped her head to the side to see the tall frame of her father looking down at her, his golden eyes piercing through her.
Her eyes widened in surprise at what she saw. How was it that he had actually come? She hadn’t even called his name! She was once again taken back by the intensity of his gaze and found herself shivering at the coldness of it. Drawing her eyes away from his, she looked at the ground.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, picking up a stick and making circles in the dirt.
“You called for me,” he stated simply. “What troubles you?” he asked, his question sounding eerily similar to the one he had asked her weeks ago. She shook her head at the question.
“You asked me that last time, remember?” she responded quietly. “Nothing has changed.”
Silence once again filled the air and Towa was pulled back to their last conversation. Maybe she could just talk and he would just sit there and keep saying nothing?
“You needed me,” he stated, his words more of a confirmation than a question.
“Yeah, I guess so. Rin said that you would come if we called you, so I thought I might try it but I realized that I didn’t know what to say, so that’s why I tried stopping but you got here anyways,” she muttered, now digging a small hole into the dirt.
Silence passed over them once again. Towa now grew to expect the silence, so she just let it sit there, poisoning the air around them.
“If you call, I will always come,” he reiterated after a few moments. His words stung, though she was certain they were delivered with the intent to make her feel better. Though she hadn’t called his name as a child, she was certain that if he had wanted to, he could have helped her.
“What about when we didn’t know how to call? What about when Setsuna and I were trapped in a burning forest? What about when Setsuna died ?!” she asked, her voice raising slightly at him. Though he seemed mostly unresponsive, he did raise an eyebrow at her slightly, an action that only made her more enraged as it reminded her once again that this brick wall of a being was her “father”. “Where were you?” she asked after a moment, looking down at the ground once again, her voice now quiet and small.
“It was a rite of courage and cowardice,” he answered after a deafening silence. Towa was beginning to notice a trend in his responses and how they were always cryptic and never really answered the question being asked. It was almost as if he preferred to be the one above the conversation– an idea that nearly brought her to punching his lights out. She let the silence grow thick around them once again as she waited to respond. It was aggravating to hear nothing from Sesshomaru except the steady and slow rhythm of his heartbeat; where hers was racing and thundering within her chest. There were so many things she wished that she could say about his stupid “rite.” She wished she could tell him how dumb it was for him to abandon Setsuna to survive on her own. How stupid it was to let his daughters get trapped in a burning forest. Even still…
“Setsuna dying was part of this rite?” she asked, her voice like ice– a trait that she cringed to remember made her sound just like her father. His posture disclosed nothing, though he did close his eyes and she thought she saw his eyebrows lower slightly. It felt like an eternity passed, and when Towa thought that he had clammed up for good once again, she sighed and rose to stand. There was really no point to this conversation, just as she had thought there wouldn’t be.
“I was not fast enough,” he interrupted, his voice cutting through the night with fierce efficiency. Towa whipped her head to look at him, her expression one of surprise and confusion. When she locked eyes with him, she saw the intensity of his eyes boring down on hers. Eyes that, no matter how much she denied it, reminded her of Setsuna. Cold, distant, and entirely guarded from years of learning to survive and trust no one. Had he just admitted to lacking something? Such a notion would mean that he was admitting to weakness and from what she had learned about him– he never had weakness.
“You had just barely left, how far could you have been that you couldn’t have been there before Kirinmaru tried to split her in half?” Towa asserted, questioning his response. She watched in awe as his head lowered, his bangs covering his face in a dark shadow. There was more silence, though she felt the air shift around them. It was in that moment that she realized how vulnerable Sesshomaru was being. He was the kind of person to never allow anyone to speak down on him or accuse him of anything, but here he was, letting his daughter rail into him.
“I was tracking Zero when I felt Rin wake and Setsuna die,” he admitted after a moment. “I returned but knew there was little I could do for her,” he answered, his voice less stern and much more repentant.
The air around them seemed to shift and swirl, and Towa’s heart pounded against her chest as she searched her father’s posture. When his head rose, his eyes were full of some emotion that Towa couldn’t put a name to.
“It was your power that saved her, Towa,” he reminded her, the statement holding in the air as though some sort of underlying message was implied.
Your power, not mine. She finished for him silently, narrowing her eyes at the realization. Such an admission would never leave her father’s lips, and even she knew that it would be foolish to think it would, but the admission was certainly implied.
Towa tried to wrap her head around what was being said to her. Did Sesshomaru regret not being able to save Setsuna? Was he trying to say that he felt bad? Was he saying that he was proud of Towa for being able to help? There were so many more questions than answers, and it made her head spin.
“So, you… feel bad that Setsuna died?” she asked, furrowing her brows. Her father’s expression betrayed nothing, though he closed his eyes and lowered his head once again.
“It was needless,” he answered quietly, his voice barely above a whisper.
“Ooookay…” she muttered, looking at the ground uncomfortably. It wasn’t really an answer to her question, but it was more than nothing. Since he seemed to be more talkative than last time, she decided it might be useful to ask him some more direct questions.
“So… why are you never around?” she asked, her voice sounding weaker than she wanted to admit. At her question, Sesshomaru looked at her, his eyes unblinking and aloof. Towa couldn’t read anything from his expression– something she was realizing that she may never be able to do– and it frustrated her. Once again, silence was their company as she stood before him, waiting for a response. When enough time passed that Towa felt like he had had enough of her questions, she sighed and shrugged.
“Kay, well, I’m going to head back in then. Goodni-”
“Should you call, I will always come,” he interrupted her, his brows lowered sternly. Towa felt frustration creep up her neck. She was getting tired of hearing that stupid phrase.
“I’m sorry, but if you are really my dad, you should just be there. I shouldn’t have to ‘call’ you. You could just be my father instead of my guardian,” she scolded him, her face set in determination and defiance. She saw Sesshomaru’s eyebrow quirk up slightly at her words and she felt her face flush in frustration at how often people told her she looked like her father from the small action. When he said nothing, she decided he was just going to have to sit and listen to what she had to say.
There was no one else who she could say any of this to. She didn't want to ruin the relationships she had built with Setsuna and Rin, but she hadn't even had one with Sesshomaru, so she had nearly nothing to lose.
"Most fathers would be so excited to see their long-lost daughters, but you just ignored us and left us to fend for ourselves. When Inuyasha finally met Moroha, it was the happiest I've ever seen him; but for you, it's like you don't even care that we exist. If it weren't for all the times that people have said that I look like you, I wouldn't even believe I was your daughter," she ranted, her hands gesturing aggressively. "You come and go as you please, as if you don't have a wife or children you leave behind. Do you even…" she paused, her voice trailing off as tears stung at her eyes. It made her feel impossibly foolish and weak to be crying in front of a man who even as she spoke, left nothing for her to read from his apathetic expression. "You don't even really love us, do you?" She asked in a whisper, breaking her father's gaze as she looked up at the starry sky. "What are we to you? Possessions? Dolls you can discard when you are done with us? Are our lives so little to you?" She continued, realization setting in. A great demon like her father would live for centuries, maybe millennia. Her life, the lives of her mother and sister-- these were merely episodes within his eternity.
"Towa, don't say such silly things," she heard her father's voice cut, the tone of it much rougher and even angrier than she had heard it before.
“Then don’t make me feel these silly things!” she shot back, her voice a loud whisper. “Please…” she nearly whimpered, feeling her chest tighten with stress. “Prove me wrong.”
Her challenge rung through the air like a gunshot. She knew that he wasn’t going to change and become the father she had experienced with Sota, but it wasn’t unreasonable to want to know that he loved her or that he cared that she was his daughter. He still hadn’t even acknowledged her as his, and it was always clear in her mind that he didn’t think she was worthy to be so.
His face remained impassive, his hands at his sides and covered by the long sleeves of his haori. When the silence Sesshomaru seemed to always carry with him enveloped her like a sick slime, Towa knew that she had had enough. She turned away from him, not willing to bid him farewell, and took a step on the stairs. It was then that she felt bars clamp around her chest, imprisoning her to the spot she was in. A hard wall pressed against her back, two sticks pressed against her side. She looked up and behind her to find that Sesshomaru’s face was once again hidden by his bangs as he held her in his stubborn embrace. Strangely enough, his arms felt warm around her, though they were as hard as concrete.
This was the moment she had been waiting for– the moment when she could be held by her father and know what it was like to feel his warmth. Still, no matter how she had pictured this moment or daydreamed about how it would be, she knew that his embrace came from a place of necessity and not out of love for her. Her challenge had met his ears and this was his answer to the call– nothing more. Regardless, Towa couldn’t help the way her heart fluttered in her chest.
He’s so warm. I thought he would be colder than this.
Years of longing caught up to her and though she tried her hardest, she couldn’t stop the tears that spilled over her lashes and down her cheeks. He held her there for a long time, long enough for Towa to stop crying, and remained entirely silent. She wished that she could rub her head against his chest as Inuyasha had held Moroha against his, but she supposed that this was the most she could get from him.
“Towa, our hearts are tied together. You were created from the bonds that hold my heart to Rin, and that thread extends to you and Setsuna,” he confessed to her, his voice gentle and even. She felt him turn her around and as she looked up at him, she saw that his intense gaze had softened as he looked upon her. A clawed hand reached up and pressed gently against her cheek, the rough pads of his fingers warm against her chilled skin. “My duties lead me to journey often, but your life is always within my path,” he assured her, still quiet and gentle.
She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. This was the first time she had ever felt any sort of paternal connection to Sesshomaru since she had met him. As he spoke to her, she remembered Rin’s story from earlier that day. He had told her mother the same thing on the day that he proposed– that their hearts were tied. Towa felt her heart flutter once again in her chest and a strange warmth began to bubble up.
“Trust in this Sesshomaru,” he added after a moment, his words a little sterner, but still gentle. “For you are my daughter and I have trusted you.”
As she looked up at him, eyes wide at his words, she began to realize more about her father than she ever had. Sesshomaru was a man of action. Every moment they were left to fend for themselves was because he had faith in their abilities to take care of themselves. Though the loneliness still hurt, she couldn’t deny that his reasoning made sense in only the way Sesshomaru could. At his acknowledgement of her being his daughter, she realized just how badly she had wanted to hear it. Tears fell down her face and she found herself throwing her arms around her father’s waist, rubbing her cheek against the cold steel of his armor. She felt a hand rest on her head and warmth immediately spread through her heart.
She knew that this wasn’t going to mean that everything would be completely normal and exactly as she wanted it to be, but she felt a little flicker of hope that with their newfound understanding, she would grow to know him the way that her mother did.
“You look like your mother,” she heard him whisper as his hand rubbed her head softly.
“Thank you… father.”
When the next day came, Towa emerged from Kaede’s hut and looked up at the bright blue sky with a new sense of clarity. Creaking of wood followed soon after.
“Towa, you stepped outside last night, why?” she heard her mother ask from behind. The older twin smiled a little, feeling a lot lighter than she had in a while.
“I tried calling his name,” she answered instead, still looking up at the white clouds above.
“Did you two have a good talk?” Rin asked, somehow never doubting if he had actually shown up. Towa chuckled and shook her head. It was then that she watched the figure of her father fly across the sky, his mokomoko gently swaying behind him.
“I think it was his rite of courage and cowardice,” Towa responded gently after a short silence hugged the air around them.