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My Sunshine by Tsuki no Tennyo

My Sunshine

Author's Note: Modern AU Sess/Kag through Rin's eyes, because I cannnn, and I know y'all want to see Sess in a fatherly role, don't lie. A bit of a gloomy start, but then it's nothing but unapologetic fluff.

.

Rin still remembered the day the accident happened, reliving it frequently in her nightmares. It was supposed to be an innocent drive home, but snow had started falling dangerously fast, obscuring her father's vision as he tried to drive carefully through the thick powder. She sat in the back, feeling fear creep into her belly, but she smiled in spite of herself when her mother glanced back and tried to reassure the young girl.

They were going through an intersection, but the car perpendicular to them could not stop in time, slipping through and slamming into her family's car. The impact immediately knocked her out and when she woke, she was lying in a hospital bed staring into the faces of her doctor, nurses, and a strange woman.

"Where is…" she winced, feeling a strong throb of pain through her body. She continued in spite of her injuries, "Mama. Papa. Where are they?"

The adults exchanged saddened looks before the strange woman stepped forward. Her voice was shaky, but she tried to muster up her best comforting voice, "I'm sorry, my dear…"

She did not get far before Rin realized what she had meant.

She was only nine then.

.

She remained in the hospital for over a month as her injuries healed and the social worker—Megumi, she remembered vaguely—searched for her closest relative to be her next guardian. Even though she was young, she highly doubted that the woman would succeed. Her parents were only children, so she had no aunts or uncles. Likewise, all of her grandparents were gone, so she had no one left in the world.

Her injuries left her bedridden, so she spent her days daydreaming of a time gone by. Occasionally, the nurses would come to speak with her and she appreciated their company as they all played and sang. Eventually, though, the nurses would have to leave to resume their duties or to head home, and then Rin would remain alone again in her room staring at the ceiling and just wondering if one tiny thing had happened differently that day, would she still have her Mama and Papa now?

She let her tears drenched her pillow that night.

.

"Hello? Rin, dear?"

She looked up from the tray of the lackluster hospital lunch she was eating, seeing Megumi stood at the door.

"Hello, Megumi," she answered, smiling politely.

"My, your injuries are healing quite well!"

She nodded. "Dr. Sasaki said I should be able to leave soon." She paused and then stared at her miso soup with despondence. "I don't have any place to go when I leave…"

Megumi immediately rushed over to reassure the young girl. "No, no, don't think like that! As a matter of fact, that's why I am here today, Rin."

She looked up, confused.

"I found someone. He was your father's childhood friend and he's also your godfather, as a matter of fact," Megumi explained before laughing quietly, "It took us some time to track him down. He had been on an extended business trip in America, but he is here now." She took Rin's hand in hers, giving it a gentle stroke. "Would you like to meet him, Rin?"

She stared with wide eyes, still trying to absorb all of the information told, and then she nodded weakly, watching as Megumi stood up and walked back out towards the hallway. A minute later she entered with a tall man in a crisp gray business suit.

"Rin, This is Sesshoumaru."

"He-Hello," the young girl greeted meekly, feeling a little intimidated under the stranger's cold stare.

He gave her a curt nod.

Two days later, Rin went home with her new guardian, unsure of what the future would bring the two of them.

.

"I've had my assistant gathered your belongings," Sesshoumaru explained as he showed the young girl her current room. The room, once an office, had been hastily converted into a child's bedroom with only a bed, dresser, and desk.

Rin looked around the gray walls and then walked over, picking up her favorite stuffed frog that was on the bed next to a duffle bag full of some of her clothes. She gave it a gentle squeeze. "Thank you."

Sesshoumaru was about to leave, but then he paused at the door. "I will have the room redecorated later." He stopped again. "What is your favorite color?"

"Yellow," she answered, not looking at her guardian. "Do you have Mama and Papa's things?"

"Not yet," Sesshoumaru answered, "I will make sure my assistant gather those as well."

She nodded, hearing the door clicked shut quietly as she lay down on her bed. It felt so lumpy, but she shut her eyes and fell asleep anyway.

.

"Um, what should I call you?" Rin asked over her first dinner with Sesshoumaru. They were at a fancy restaurant, because she quickly learned that her new guardian had no domestic abilities to speak of. Her legs swung idly under the table as they waited for their waiter to return with their meals.

"Sesshoumaru is fine," he answered, taking a drink from his glass of water.

She drank from her own glass of orange juice. She looked around the room, seeing other esteemed patrons in their expensive clothes. She turned her attention back to Sesshoumaru again. "What do you do?"

He seemed unpleased with her constant questions, but he answered them anyway. "I am CEO of Mori Tech. We develop the latest technology mainly used by scientists and the government."

Rin furrowed her brows. "What is…a CEO?"

He seemed more annoyed with her. "It stands for chief executive officer and it means I lead the company."

"So…you're a leader then?" she asked, wondering why he didn't just say that in the first place to save them both the trouble.

He nodded, seemingly grateful when their waiter had returned with their meals.

Rin, on the other hand, wrinkled her nose at her plate.

Sesshoumaru let a sigh slipped. "What is wrong?"

"Nothing," she mumbled, taking a strange look at the chicken on her plate.

"Would you prefer to eat something else?"

She shook her head. "It's fine," she answered, cutting into the chicken that had been pan seared and laid on top of a bed of roasted asparagus and couscous. She liked it enough, but she would still prefer her mother's home-cooked and traditional Japanese meals.

"It's delicious," she said, not paying heed to the dubious glance of her guardian.

.

It had been more than three months since she had transitioned into her new life, but Rin was still plagued with nightmares about the accident. When she awoke in her bed, she was covered in cold sweats as she recalled her parents' screams and her own shriek. After these nightmares, she rarely was ever able to fall back to sleep, being gripped by cold loneliness.

One particular night, Rin had remained awake for over two hours, watching as the digital clock on her nightstand changed digit painstakingly slow. Sesshoumaru had had her room immediately repainted as promised, and he had also bought her new furniture to fit a young girl's aesthetics. He had provided her with clothes and even toys, but none of that could replace the sadness she still felt.

She was grateful to her new guardian, but she was still so very, very lonely.

Wanting a glass of water, Rin climbed out of her bed and made the short trip to the kitchen, surprised to see her guardian was sitting at the counter with his laptop and many documents scattered around.

Hearing her footsteps, Sesshoumaru had immediately looked up over the laptop at the young girl.

"Rin, why are you not in bed?"

"I could not sleep," she answered, and then licked her upper lip. "I also wanted a glass of water."

He nodded, turning his attention back to his task.

She retrieved her glass of water but stood in the middle of the kitchen observing the older man. Sensing her stares, Sesshoumaru looked at her again.

"Why are you working so late?" she asked.

"I need to go over these documents before my meeting in the morning."

She took a sip as she listened to his reply. She climbed onto the stool next to him, peeking at the various documents with bored interest. She set her glass far away from the papers and then turned to her guardian, seeing he had become immersed back into his work again.

"Do you have a girlfriend?"

He paused, but then he carried on as if he hadn't heard her innocent question.

"You don't have a wife," Rin continued in her childlike insightfulness, "But I've never seen you with a woman around here."

"That is because I do not have a girlfriend," he answered, not looking at her.

She frowned. "Why not?"

Sesshoumaru stopped, sighing quietly. He closed his laptop and pushed it slightly away before he turned to the young girl next to him. "I am busy and do not have time for such trivial things."

She wrinkled her nose at him, surprising him momentarily. "But aren't you lonely?"

"I am not."

"I don't believe you," the little girl sniffed, and then she said quietly, "I'm lonely."

Sesshoumaru looked at her, unsure of what to say. They remained quiet for a few minutes before Sesshoumaru lifted her off of the stool and guided her back to her bedroom.

"It is late. You have school in the morning and I have work," he said leading her to her bed. He picked up her stuffed frog and handed it to her, watching as she settled under her cover. "Good night, Rin."

"Good night, Sesshoumaru…"

She watched as he left the room, turning off her lights. She kept her eyes on her clock, waiting until fifteen minutes had passed before she snuck out of bed again, and tiptoed quietly down the hallway. She poked her head out from around the corner, glimpsing into the kitchen to see Sesshoumaru had resumed his earlier task.

He stared at the documents intently, his eyes skimming over each word with careful consideration. Occasionally he would write notes down before he continued reading again.

Rin turned back and leaned against the wall, her eyes scanning around the monochromatic and masculine apartment. She remembered all of the quiet dinners at restaurants and late night working. She realized suddenly that she had never seen her guardian smile before.

She was lonely and so was he. They both needed someone to make them smile again, Rin decided, as she scampered back to her room before she was caught and reprimanded.

She settled under her cover and yawned, smiling quietly as she imagined a warm home filled with laughter and happiness again.

.

The following morning, Rin wrinkled her nose as Sesshoumaru placed a plate of eggs and toasts in front of her.

"You burned the eggs again," she observed. She picked up her toast and took a nibble of that instead.

Sesshoumaru frowned at her. "Just eat around the burnt parts."

"Where?"

He turned away, annoyed. "Just eat your toast then."

She had decided on that anyway, but she could sense that he was in no mood for any wisecracks, so she kept her mouth shut on the matter. After finishing her breakfast, Rin grabbed her school bag just as Sesshoumaru was picking up his briefcase and keys.

They walked down into the parking garage in silence, and along the way, Rin replayed the questions she had planned. They were mostly questions about the type of woman Sesshoumaru would prefer, but given his stoicism and bland taste in everything else, the little girl surmised that she might have to offer her own preference during her search.

Once in the car, Sesshoumaru pulled out into the road, heading in the direction of Rin's school.

"What type of woman do you like?"

They had stopped at a red light, and she could see Sesshoumaru's eyebrow twitched for a moment in annoyance again.

"Quiet ones."

She frowned, having expected such answer. She couldn't imagine much of a relationship if both parties did not speak to one another. She remembered her parents always talking and laughing, making jokes and trading affections. She wanted to see that for her guardian, too.

"Do you like long hair or short hair?"

Right before the light changed to green, Sesshoumaru tossed her a curious look. "What are you up to?"

"Nothing," she mumbled, "I'm just curious."

"Hn."

"Does age matter—eek!" Rin felt herself jerked back when Sesshoumaru's foot stepped a little too hard on the accelerator. She believed he did it on purpose.

She kept her mouth shut the rest of the drive.

.

Operation: Find Sesshoumaru a Girlfriend had proven to be a difficult task for the young girl, as two months had already passed since she had started her plan and in all of that time, she found no one suitable. She disliked the catty women at Sesshoumaru's workplace, though she realized they were rather fond of him. She grimaced at the thought. None of the teachers at her school seemed to fit either of their ideals. Some were meek, others were just plain nasty and strict. Having one strict guardian was enough, Rin couldn't help thinking.

"You look down, Rin," she heard her friend Souten commenting as they sat under a tree eating their lunch.

"I'm fine," she sighed. She bit into the curry bun she had bought at school. "I'm just a little frustrated."

"About what?" her other friend Shiori asked.

She fiddled with her fingers, ignoring the half-eaten bun that now rested in her lap with crumbs littering her skirt. "Well," she started, "I've been trying to find Sesshoumaru a girlfriend, but…"

"Your guardian?" Shiori questioned.

Rin nodded, flicking a crumb off her lap and watching it disappeared into the grass.

"He seems lonely," she explained. "He says he's not, but…I don't think anyone is happy being alone."

"He seems scary," Souten said, picking up a cherry tomato from her bento box with her chopstick.

Rin shook her head. "He's strict, but he's not that scary once you get to know him."

"Why is this hard, Rin? Maybe we can help," Shiori offered.

Rin's shoulders slumped, but she smiled gratefully at her friends. "I just haven't met any woman that seems right. She has to be nice, pretty, and cheerful, but everyone I've met was the opposite of all of that!"

"Hmm," Shiori hummed thoughtfully before her face brightened. "Will your guardian let you hang out with us after school? I think I know someone that you might like."

She looked at her friend, surprised. She nodded, beaming. "I'll text him and ask for permission. He'll probably say yes."

.

Shiori led the way down a quiet neighborhood with little shops and businesses.

"Here we are!" she announced, stopping in front of a modest café. Through the large window that stretched across the building, Rin noticed the décor had a very natural feel, reminding her of forests with one wall completely covered in wood with a long booth extending across it.

Rin read the café's name, "'Sunshine Café'"

"Come on!" Shiori pushed the door open and entered smiling widely. "Kagome!"

Rin and Souten followed after the other girl, stopping when they noticed a woman stepping from behind the counter to hug Shiori.

"Did you bring some friends, Shiori?" the woman asked, smiling as she greeted each girl.

Shiori nodded. "Kagome, this is Rin and Souten. Everyone, this is Kagome. This is her mother's café, but she works here, too."

"Your usual order, Shiori?"

"Oh, yes, please," she answered as they walked up to the counter.

Rin admired all of the delicious pastries in the glass display. Souten had already placed her order eagerly.

"And you, Rin?"

She looked up, meeting Kagome's kind gaze.

"Um," she bit her bottom lip, taking another look at the display. "A red bean bread, please."

"Is that all?"

"And a croquette," she added, grinning, "And a small lemonade, please."

Kagome smiled again. "One moment, girls."

After she had turned her back, Rin pulled her two friends closer and whispered excitedly: "She is perfect!"

.

"You seem particularly happy this evening," Sesshoumaru observed as they ate dinner at their usual restaurant. "Did you have a good day at school?"

"It was okay," she answered, humming quietly. She took a bite of the grilled salmon she had ordered, appearing nonchalant. She had grown fairly used to eating Western food, particularly gourmet cuisine. She wondered if Kagome would enjoy meals like these, too. "I passed my math and history exams."

"That's good," he answered, giving her another questioning glance.

"Sesshoumaru?"

"Yes?"

"May I spend some time again with my friends after school tomorrow?"

"I suppose so."

"Jaken would be pleased to not babysit me," she added, as if he needed another reason.

"Just don't forget to do your homework," he said, returning to his meal.

"I won't!" she promised, grinning as she thought of the woman at the café and all of the things she wanted to ask her. She didn't even notice Sesshoumaru's suspicious looks the rest of dinner.

.

"But you're so pretty!" Rin wailed from across the table at Kagome. "How can you not have a boyfriend?"

Rin was pleased that the young woman was more than happy to entertain her invasive questions. That alone was a sure sign to the young girl that her instincts were right about this person.

"I don't enjoy dating much," Kagome admitted to her young friends. She picked up a cookie from a plate she had placed in the middle of the table for them all to enjoy. "Most guys I've dated were…dull."

"Dull?"

"Too nice," she clarified, taking a bite.

"But how is that bad?" Souten wondered, drinking her bubble tea. "Don't you want a nice boyfriend?"

"Of course," Kagome answered, unsure of how to explain these complex feelings to these young girls who only saw feelings as black and white. "But you want to have someone that can…stimulate your mind."

The three girls gave the woman a blank stare, not following in her poor explanation.

"You want someone that won't agree with you all of the time," Kagome tried again.

"Did your last boyfriend agree with everything?" Rin asked.

"He was not my boyfriend, but yes, I did not like him being so agreeable."

Rin took this into consideration. She had never remembered Sesshoumaru being a fairly agreeable person. If anything, he found faults with everything, if his constant criticisms of his assistant and other employees were anything to go by.

"Well," Shiori started, helping Rin with her questions, "What type of guy do you like, Kagome?"

She considered the question. "Smart, assertive, polite, and…" she trailed off, blushing lightly, "Good-looking wouldn't hurt, right girls?"

The three girls giggled immediately with Rin being especially pleased, since she found all traits fitted her guardian perfectly. Confident in her selection, Rin started thinking about the next phase in her plan: the meeting!

.

Sesshoumaru had allowed her another day to spend with her friends after school, but Rin had decided to visit Kagome alone after explaining her plan to Shiori and Souten. The other girls wished her luck before they parted ways at the school entrance.

She sat in the café with her homework laid out on the table as she enjoyed the treats she had ordered.

"Where are your friends, Rin?" Kagome asked, wiping down the table in front of the girl.

"They're busy," she fibbed.

Kagome accepted the flimsy explanation. "Are you working on your homework?"

"Yes, I promised my guardian I would have them finished by dinnertime."

"Your guardian?"

"Oh," Rin blushed, realizing she had never revealed her situation to Kagome before. She rushed through her explanation, unaware of the worried creases in the woman's face. When she had finished, Kagome had sat down from across her table and gave her hand a consoling stroke.

"I'm sorry to hear about your parents, Rin."

Rin was surprised by the solace, but then she smiled shyly. "Sesshoumaru treats me well."

"That's good," Kagome said, smiling and standing up as she went to help with some new customers that had just walked in.

Once she was gone, Rin looked down at her notebook filled with math equations. Off to the side, she carefully wrote the kanji for Sesshoumaru and Kagome's names, admiring the way they looked together. She wrote her own name below them before erasing it all as she returned her attention back to her waiting homework.

The hours passed by, and once it was almost to closing time for the café, Rin sent a text message to Sesshoumaru asking him to pick her up. She had finished her homework a long time ago, so she sat around doodling on a blank page in her notebook as she waited. Occasionally she and Kagome would talk, but the young girl realized the other woman still had her work to concentrate on.

She was so bored she could feel herself falling asleep.

"Rin?"

Her head jerked up, seeing Kagome had walked by again with concern in her eyes.

"We are closing up soon. Do you have anyone picking you up?"

"Oh," she flushed, "I think my guardian should be here soon."

She waited, but it wasn't long before the rest of the patrons had left and Kagome had finished clearing everything. She walked over to the door and flipped the sign to "closed" before walking over and sitting down across from Rin.

"Are you sure he's coming?"

Rin felt an uneasy feeling in her stomach, but she reaffirmed her earlier statement. "He might still be stuck at work. It happens."

Kagome frowned at the comment.

They waited another fifteen minutes before Rin recognized a black car pulling up to the café as Sesshoumaru's. She grabbed her school bag and ran out with Kagome following closely behind.

"Hello, Sesshoumaru!" she greeted brightly when he had stepped out of the car to see her.

"How could you leave her alone for so long?" Kagome demanded, walking up to the other man, surprising both persons. She placed her hands on her hip, her glare still prevalent. "She had been alone here for hours and you did not have the courtesy to come pick her up sooner?"

"Kag…Kagome…" Rin started feebly, trying to calm her.

"Woman, you make it seem as if I had abandoned the child," Sesshoumaru spoke back, his tone icy. Rin felt her heart racing. This was not how she had wanted them to meet.

"It sure seems like it," she snorted. "From what I hear, it sounds like you are always leaving her alone."

"Rin," Sesshoumaru acknowledged the little girl for the first time, "Where are your friends?"

"Um…" her eyes darted from her guardian to Kagome, realizing she would be caught in her little fib no matter what she said. She instantly regretted her ill planned meeting.

"Don't you try to blame this on her!" Kagome interrupted.

"Are you questioning my responsibilities to this child?" Sesshoumaru demanded, more angered than Rin had ever seen him before since her arrival into his life.

"Stop this!" she yelled, tears were welling up in her eyes. She suddenly felt overwhelmed by the situation. "It's my fault! I started all of this!"

Both adults turned to look at the little teary girl standing between them with shock.

"Rin," Sesshoumaru spoke, losing the anger edged in his voice just seconds ago, "explain yourself."

"I…I…" she hiccupped, but she couldn't force the words out.

"Rin," Kagome spoke even gentler, kneeling down so she was at eye-level with the girl. She wiped away some of the tears with the back of her hand. "What do you mean it's your fault?"

She sniffed and looked at Kagome guiltily. She gathered herself and began her rushed explanation, ending with, "I just wanted you two to meet!"

"Why would you…?" Kagome was confused, and it seemed Sesshoumaru was no better.

Rin sighed, having calmed herself considerably after confessing everything. "Sesshoumaru has no one in his life and neither do you, Kagome!"

Kagome flustered, understanding the implication now and realizing what all of those nosy questions the other day was about. "We-well, that's not true. Sesshoumaru has you."

"That's not the same!" she insisted. "I just thought I would…well, I…"

"Rin, you are dawdling. Were you trying to be a…matchmaker?" He seemed to inwardly cringe at the latter word. Receiving a meek nod, he sighed. "Get in the car. We will need to have a discussion about fibbing and deceptions later."

Her stomach turned, dreading the impending conversation.

"And since you've been here all afternoon, I trust you have already filled up on sweets and the like?"

"Um…" she bit her lower lip, realizing withholding dinner was probably just the beginning of her punishment. She smiled weakly, hoping to allay his anger. "I finished all of my homework?"

"Get in the car."

She hurried without another word.

As Sesshoumaru turned to head to his side, he was stopped by Kagome. He looked at her, puzzled.

"Um, hey, I'm sorry about what I said earlier," she started, blushing from embarrassment, "I was just worried about her. She had explained her home situation to me and I just…"

"I suppose it's an understandable jump to conclusion." He was about to turn away again, but was stopped once more.

"And, um, go easy on her, would you?" Kagome added, giving a glance to the left passenger seat and noticing the despondent look from Rin. Sesshoumaru had followed her gaze and only nodded once. "Children are resilient, but it seems she is still searching for something."

They both understood the implication in Kagome's words, but said nothing more to it.

"You seem to be good with children," Sesshoumaru noted quietly, earning a small smile in return. He thought for a moment before surprising them both with a small request, "Perhaps, you could keep an eye on her after school for a bit? I will compensate your time, of course, and…"

"Hey, just send her over here. Don't worry about money, she pays enough with her orders," Kagome interrupted, smiling, "She can have fun with her friends and work on homework, and I'll make sure she won't get into too much mischief."

Sesshoumaru agreed gratefully. "Have a good night, miss…"

"Kagome," she interrupted again. "Have a good night, Sesshoumaru, and I apologize again for my earlier rash behavior."

He nodded and gotten into the car, driving off, and leaving Kagome alone outside her café.

.

Rin was more than surprised that she was allowed back to the café the next day and all of the days afterwards. She stretched in her seat, grinning at Shiori and Souten.

"No more Jaken babysitting!" she cheered with her arms over her head. "Not that I mind, but Kagome is much prettier to look at."

"How can your guardian stand having an assistant like that around? He is just a…a…" Souten struggled with what she wanted to say.

"A butt kisser," Shiori offered, blushing and earning two surprised looks from her friends, who would never expect the polite girl to ever say anything so crass. They giggled, but agreed with the fitting description.

Rin sighed suddenly, lowering the merry mood.

"What's wrong?" Shiori asked, concerned.

"Sesshoumaru and Kagome did not have a good meeting the other night. I think I made it worse."

"Maybe we could try something different?" Souten wondered aloud, already thinking.

Rin picked up her lemonade and took a long slurp through her straw. She kept the straw in her mouth afterwards as she continued thinking.

"Are you girls doing alright?" Kagome asked, stopping by when saw all of the sullen faces from across the room.

"Kagome, sit!" Souten commanded, pulling the woman down into the empty seat next to her.

She had gasped in surprise, not expecting the strength from the nine-year-old. She landed with an ungraceful "oof."

"How may I help you then?" she asked, overcoming her shock.

"Do you hate Sesshoumaru?" Shiori asked suddenly

"I…Rin."

Rin shrugged. "They're the ones asking."

"Yes," Souten agreed. "Now answer our question!"

Kagome sighed. "No, I do not hate him. I don't even know him. We've just gotten into a bit of a scuffle, but that's all in the past now."

"But would you like to get to know him?" Souten asked, catching only the part that mattered to her. She gave a strange leer that caught Kagome off-guard.

"Stop that, all of you," Kagome said, about to get up.

"He really is not a bad guy," Rin protested.

"I've never said he was. Listen, girls, I understand what you are all trying to do, but adult relationships are much more complicated than that."

"How?" Rin asked. "It doesn't have to be complicated."

"From the looks of it, we are just two different people with different ideals and—"

"But don't they also say opposites attract?" Shiori asked innocently.

"I—just do your homework!" Kagome made her hasty retreat, unsure of just where she had lost control of the conversation with a couple of nine-year-olds.

"They need help," Souten said blankly once Kagome had disappeared behind the counter and was out of earshot.

Rin and Shiori agreed quietly before they all turned their attention back to their homework.

.

Unless she asked for Sesshoumaru specifically, it was usually his assistant Jaken that had to pick Rin up from her daily after school retreat and then dropping her off at the office for her guardian. One particular night, she made the timid walk to Sesshoumaru's office, knocking on the door quietly.

"Come in."

She opened the door slowly and then shut it just as softly.

"I will be done with work soon, Rin," Sesshoumaru said, not looking up from the monitor as he typed something out.

Without a word, she strode over and sat in one of the two large chairs across from him. She fiddled with her fingers as she waited, but after two minutes of the inane act, she spoke up, "Are you hungry?"

"We'll eat soon. I just need to finish this one thing…"

"Kagome sent some treats for us. For free," Rin explained, reaching into her school bag to pull out a medium-sized cardboard box.

Sesshoumaru stopped and watched his young ward opened the box, taking out an éclair.

"I do not eat sweets," Sesshoumaru said, about to turn back to the monitor, but he stopped, catching sight of the frown from the girl. Mentally sighing, he accepted the éclair, taking a bite and was pleasantly surprised that it was fairly good, not being overly sweet or too bland.

"Do you…like it?"

"It is adequate," he fibbed.

Rin grinned. "They also have savory stuff, and Kagome makes a delicious bubble tea. She learned how to make it when she was in Taiwan a few years ago. I also like her matcha—"

"You are fond of her?"

She nodded eagerly. "She's my friend! She listens to my problems and she also helps me with my homework if the café is not too busy."

"I do not do the same for you?"

Rin was surprised by the serious question. She looked down at her hands again. "You…take care of me, but Kagome does it differently, too. She takes care of something else…"

"I provide you with the necessities and she deals with emotions."

"Um, yeah…are you mad?"

"No," he said, surprising her once more, "I'm just realizing once more that our arrangement is far from perfect."

"You…" Rin felt an uneasy feeling in the bottom of her stomach. As tensed as their initial meeting was, Rin had grown fairly used to Sesshoumaru's company. He was also far from the cruel and neglectful guardians depicted in orphan movies, so she couldn't imagine being with anyone else but him. "You're not going to send me away, are you?"

"No," he answered, quelling her doubts and worries. "You are still my goddaughter and I will not dishonor my promise to your father."

She breathed a sigh of relief, though she could do without the talk of honor and promises. For the third time that night, though, Sesshoumaru surprised her again with something he said.

"What would you like to do on Saturday?"

"You're not working?"

"I'll have Jaken clear my schedule."

She grinned. "Can we…go to Kagome's café?" Seeing Sesshoumaru arched his eyebrow at her, she quickly added, "For breakfast, I mean?"

"Very well," he said, realizing her persistent nature could not be defeated.

.

Rin was disappointed when Saturday morning came and upon arriving at the café, Kagome was not there.

"Sorry, Rin dear," said her mother behind the counter, "Today is her day off."

"That's alright, Mrs. Higurashi," Rin answered, accepting gratefully her cup of lemonade.

Sesshoumaru took a look at his sad ward, thinking. "Rin, take this tray to a table. I'll be with you in a moment. He helped her put her lemonade on the tray before handing it off to the little girl. Once she was out of hearing range, he turned and spoke softly to the older woman.

He returned to Rin's side moments later, sitting down opposite of the girl. She was munching on her curry croquette quietly. He picked up his cup of coffee and took a sip.

"What else would you like to do today?"

"Go home," she answered, not looking at him.

"I have cleared my schedule for you."

"Sorry."

"Do you need new clothes?"

"No."

"School supplies?"

"No."

"Rin, this behavior is far from becoming."

"Sorry."

They ate in silence with the little girl, for once, not barraging her guardian with incessant questions. He felt strangely displeased with her quiet nature, and could only hope that his earlier request was made. Nearly half an hour later, Rin had finished her breakfast.

"Can we go now?"

Sesshoumaru took a sip of his coffee again. "What is your hurry?"

She shrugged, not noticing when Sesshoumaru had lifted his gaze higher.

"Hi, Rin."

She quickly turned around, surprised to see Kagome leaning over and smiling at the young girl.

"Kagome!" She quickly hugged the woman. She pulled back, admiring the floral sundress she was wearing with a denim jacket and sandals. "You look so pretty!"

"Thank you," she replied, unaware that Sesshoumaru was also looking at her a few seconds too long. "I was doing some errands nearby when my mother called. Did you want to see me?"

She nodded. "Will you spend the day with us?"

Both adults looked at her with surprise.

"We have errands to do, too. I need new clothes and some school supplies, right Sesshoumaru?"

Sesshoumaru gave her a suspicious look, but decided to humor her since it pleased him to see the child smiling again. "We do."

Kagome nodded. "Alright. I'm going to go check on my mom real quick and I'll meet you outside."

Once she was gone, the two walked outside with Sesshoumaru giving Rin another hard look.

"Are you up to something again?"

"Nope!" she beamed at him, which was far from reassuring, in his opinion.

.

Today was the best day in her life in a long time, Rin decided as she licked the ice cream Kagome had bought earlier. Well, she was about to pay anyway, but Sesshoumaru had intervened and paid for everything himself in spite of Kagome's protests, but Rin was not one to hang up on technicalities.

They sat around a fountain in the park, enjoying the warm day and cold treat.

"Is it good, Rin?" Kagome asked, from one side of the girl.

"Yup!" she smiled giving her two-scoop strawberry ice cream another lick. She looked to her other side at her guardian. He was wearing his sunglasses, so she couldn't quite make out his expression as easily as Kagome's. "Are you having fun, Sesshoumaru?"

"Yes," he said, sounding unconvincing to both females.

"What would you like to do after this?" Kagome asked. They had already gone to department stores, stopped by an arcade, and ate and ate and ate.

Rin did not want the day to end.

"Um," she tried to think of something real quick, "Can we go to the zoo? My mama and papa used to take me there all the time!"

Both adults were quiet, giving a silent look to the other.

"Of course," Sesshoumaru answered.

"I think we are closest to Ueno Zoo," Kagome suggested.

"Ueno Zoo, it is!" Rin cheered, not noticing the small smiles from the adults.

.

Rin had skipped on ahead to get a closer look at the tigers. She admired the large feline, giggling when she noticed one lounging lazily under the shade and yawning. They seemed like just regular housecats to her. She turned around, surprised when she noticed Sesshoumaru and Kagome talking quietly amongst themselves. Kagome was smiling and laughing, and Sesshoumaru did not look annoyed. This was a much better development than even she could have anticipated.

She wondered if she could get the two to kiss by the day's end.

Phase three of Operation: Find Sesshoumaru a Girlfriend was underway, she decided with boundless energy and determination.

.

Rin spent the rest of the afternoon at the zoo focusing more on her precocious plan than observing the animals. Her future could depend on this one day, after all. She had failed with her "love at first sight" plan, so now she needed them to at least start developing gradual feelings. Adults were so exhausting and stubborn, Rin thought.

She had walked between the two adults, innocently holding each person's hand before she had bounced away to look at gorillas and leaving the two inadvertently brushing hands. She caught a quick glimpse of the light blush across Kagome's face. Sesshoumaru pretended he didn't notice. It was a decent start, Rin thought, but not enough.

She next tried to get both to come to the petting zoo attraction. Kagome was easy, but Sesshoumaru took a bit more pleading and pitiful pouts before he finally gave in.

Once inside, Rin played with the sheep, and just as she had hoped, Kagome was startled by the chickens squawking at her and flapping their wings. An overly friendly goat caused Kagome to back away and nearly tripping over a rock, but Sesshoumaru had quickly caught the woman in his arms before any embarrassing incident could occur in public.

"What are you two doing?" Rin asked with a knowing smile when Sesshoumaru was still holding Kagome in his arms.

"No-nothing!" Kagome squeaked, pulling from his embrace with a mumbled "thanks".

"Can we go look at flamingos?"

"Yes, please!" Kagome squeaked again, already shuffling out of the petting zoo.

"I think she likes you," Rin casually remarked to Sesshoumaru, skipping ahead and not seeing that her guardian's face was slightly redder than normal.

.

Playing Cupid was exhausting, Rin decided, nuzzling closer to Sesshoumaru's neck. By the end of the afternoon, she was about ready to collapse right in the middle of the zoo, having used up all of her energy to create meaningful situations for these two adults of hers. Sesshoumaru had picked her up in his arms and carried her the rest of the way out of the zoo.

Her eyes were closed, appearing to be asleep, but she was still conscious enough to catch the adults' conversation.

"She had a long day," Kagome remarked, giving Rin's cheek a gentle stroke. She really liked Kagome's tenderness. It reminded her of her mom. She yawned, hearing a soft giggle from the woman.

"Indeed, and she was rather mischievous, too," Sesshoumaru noted, though Rin couldn't hear any anger in his voice.

"Was she?"

"Petting zoo?"

"Oh…" Kagome sounded embarrassed. "Let's not relive the traumatizing incident."

"I don't think that was any accident."

"She is not still playing Cupid, is she?"

Rin almost tensed at that, but she stopped herself, realizing Sesshoumaru would notice her eavesdropping. She pretended to snore quietly.

"She is a stubborn child, I've come to learn."

"You are doing very well with her."

"I feel like I am not doing enough."

"Hey, don't be like that. You are doing the best you can, which is better than most people, I assure you."

They had stopped walking, Rin noted. She could hear the doubts in Sesshoumaru's voice. It upset her more than she would have thought. Unconsciously, she tightened her hold around his neck.

"You are a good influence on her, Kagome."

"Thank you, but I don't really do much."

Rin felt Sesshoumaru shaking his head. "She smiles more lately because of you. Her nightmares have lessened, and…we also talk to one another more in these past weeks than the first five months—because of you. About you, actually."

"Oh—oh…"

"Perhaps we could…"

Rin's stomach chose this moment to gurgle loudly. She instantly cursed it.

"Someone's hungry," she heard Kagome's teasing voice.

Rin straightened up, wiped at her eyes, and blushed in embarrassment. "A little," she mumbled, disappointed that she couldn't hear Sesshoumaru finishing his thought.

"We can go out to dinner here—"

"I could make dinner," Kagome offered instead, smiling when Rin's face brightened. "I remember you mentioning missing a home-cooked meal."

"Sesshoumaru has nothing in his home," she remembered, much to Sesshoumaru's chagrin, "Except maybe alcohol, but I'm not allowed to go near them. And eggs, which he burns all of the time!"

Kagome laughed. "A quick stop at the grocery store then. Think you can hang in there for a bit?"

"Yup!" Rin wiggled in Sesshoumaru's arms, waiting until he dropped her back down on her feet. She settled at her place between the two, holding both hands. "Lead the way!"

.

To her delight, Rin noticed at the grocery store Sesshoumaru and Kagome were walking closer to one another than before, and without need for her interference! She felt quite pleased with this development.

She watched in fascination as Sesshoumaru helped Kagome bagged the produce, carrying the shopping basket as the other woman examined the items. They looked just like a couple, she couldn't help but noticed. Sesshoumaru also seemed more relaxed and happier than she had ever seen him.

She skipped over and tugged on Sesshoumaru's sleeve. "Can we get some pears?"

"I suppose so," he said, his eyes returning to Kagome as she bagged up some onions.

Oh, he's got it bad, the girl thought mischievously, running over to the other aisle to get her pears.

.

Rin helped Kagome with making dinner at Sesshoumaru's home, showing the woman where her guardian kept the few pots and pans he owned. She was absolutely ecstatic that Kagome was making her favorite food, tonkatsu, for dinner. She had had enough of quinoa and poached fish to last her for a lifetime, thank you very much.

Dinner itself was very pleasant. She talked a lot, but she also noticed Kagome and Sesshoumaru were freely speaking to one another more often now. They no longer seemed like the argumentative strangers like during that first meeting.

"No way!" Kagome laughed, "I was just in L.A. last year around that time, too! It's so different from Tokyo, right?"

"A bit," Sesshoumaru agreed, having looked at her far longer than even he realized.

"How's the food, Rin?" Kagome gave the girl another smile.

"Delicious!" Rin announced, taking another bite of the tonkatsu Kagome had cut into portions. "Sesshoumaru always takes me out to restaurants since he can't cook."

"Well," Kagome laughed, "he is a bachelor, though more men are cooking now, so that's not a really valid excuse for him to have."

"He has money and people at his beck and call," Rin reminded the woman.

"Very true," Kagome agreed with an impressed nod at the girl's insightfulness. She received a giggle from the same child, which prompted her own laugh.

"You are both having fun at my expense."

"Just a bit," Kagome said, winking at him. "How's the food?"

"…delicious," he agreed.

.

After dinner, Rin went to bathe and change into her pajamas. She returned to the kitchen later, seeing everything had been cleared and Sesshoumaru and Kagome were kissing in the middle of the room. What a development! She stood at the threshold, mouth wide, wondering just what on earth had happened in her absence to prompt this delightful incident. She made a quick mental note to share this exciting event to Shiori and Souten at school on Monday, who were all bound to be just as delighted as her.

Kagome was the first to notice the gaping child, pulling back, blushing. "Oh, Rin! I—We didn't—"

Rin leaned forward on her toes with hands clasped behind her back, grinning. "Were you two…kissing?"

"Rin, go to bed," Sesshoumaru commanded in a tone that left zero room for argument.

"Good night, Kagome!"

She quickly shuffled off down to the hall, but paused at the edge. She stomped her feet loud before gradually softening the steps until it sounded like fading footsteps. She lowered herself to the floor, lying on her stomach, and peeked around the corner, barely able to hide the gleeful gasp when she caught Sesshoumaru and Kagome kissing again.

She cupped her face in her hands and watched the two with admiration, unable to contain the smile spreading across her face.

"Rin…"

She squeaked and hurried off to bed. As she pulled up her cover, she sighed happily. Operation: Find Sesshoumaru a Girlfriend was a complete success!

She closed her eyes, smile still wide on her face, dreaming that night of a home full of laughter and happiness again.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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