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Lonely Hearts by Chie

Starvation

Chie: This is a two-shot I wrote for SessKag Week 2019, for days 5 and 7 respectively.

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Rin was a carefree child who was never afraid to show her affection to Sesshoumaru.

He sat through it all – the multitude of hugs, the playing with his hair, the occasional moments she'd climbed into his lap.

But now that Rin was older, and living in Edo under the old miko’s tutelage. Sesshoumaru didn't see her as often, and when he did go to visit her the young woman Rin was becoming was more poised and less free with her affections.

Sesshoumaru had not even consciously noticed this or realised the consequences of his current deprivation of physical contact.

Not until one fateful afternoon.

Naturally, Inuyasha’s miko was the one to startle Sesshoumaru into realising how dire his current situation was.

She was always making friendly overtures and treating him as if they were close companions. Sesshoumaru did not understand why; he had certainly never given her any reason to assume they were anything more than uncomfortable allies.

And to his understanding, the miko was educated and reasonably intelligent for a human, so it was mind-boggling that she could misunderstand their relationship so completely.

But then again, the miko had always defied expectations and, incredibly, had never seemed to show any fear of him.

For that, he couldn’t help giving her his respect – albeit grudgingly.

On that fateful afternoon, Sesshoumaru had happened to be in the vicinity of the village. And by sheer chance, or by the cruel prompting of jesting kami, the miko’s path had crossed his.

She was crouching down and picking up blue flowers.

For a moment, it struck him that she faintly resembled Rin, and that was why he stopped and came to stand next to her.

She started when his shadow fell over her and looked up, her eyes wide.

At the sight of him, however, the surprise and alarm faded. She flashed him a smile.

Sesshoumaru raised an unimpressed eyebrow.

The miko truly did not possess survival instinct of any sort.

“Sesshoumaru! It’s been a while.”

“Hn,” he replied, noncommittal.

That didn’t deter the miko, of course.

She stood up, clutching the flowers in her hand and continued babbling at him.

Sesshoumaru had all but tuned her out and was wondering how to get rid of the infuriating female, when it happened and he was jolted back to reality.

“Sesshoumaru?”

His nostrils flared.

His entire body had grown tense, like a bowstring pulled taut. His golden eyes were fixed on the small feminine hand lightly resting on his arm.

Under his intense scrutiny, those soft fingers twitched and Sesshoumaru reacted, moving with startling speed.

His hand settled firmly over the diminutive one, trapping it in place before the miko had a chance to pull away.

“Sesshoumaru?” she asked again, although this time her voice was trembling and the sour scent of her nervousness permeated the air.

Sesshoumaru’s mind raced as he pondered the dilemma he was in.

The solution, he mused, staring at the miko, could in fact be fairly simple.

Although there was little incentive for the miko to agree to such a scheme.

“I’m sorry,” she said, once again beginning her babbling. “I didn’t mean to offend –”

“You have not offended me,” Sesshoumaru cut in.

The miko spoke again, hesitant and hopeful. “Then maybe you can let me go?”

“No,” Sesshoumaru replied at once. Not when he could feel the warmth of the miko’s touch.

“Why not?” she asked, frowning at him in apparent confusion.

Deciding he had nothing to lose, Sesshoumaru chose to trust her with the truth.

“May I be frank with you, miko?”

She nodded quickly. “Sure, of course.”

“Inuyoukai typically live in packs, and although I do not possess one at the moment and prefer my solitude, certain ingrained behaviours still remain.”

The miko nodded again, this time more slowly. “That makes sense, I mean genetics dictate a lot of our lives.”

He tilted his head at her peculiar nonsensical word but ignored it. It wouldn’t do to get side-tracked right now.

“Because inuyoukai are pack-minded, it is natural to be in a close proximity with one another. Physically. And when one goes without the touch of another for an extended period of time, it will begin to have an effect.”

“Wait… I’ve heard of this! What you’re talking about sounds a lot like skin hunger. Or being starved for touch.”

Sesshoumaru blinked. He had never heard of either description before, but they felt… apt.

“I had not realised how long I had gone without contact before you touched me.”

The miko bit her lip and stared at her hand, still resting on Sesshoumaru’s arm and engulfed by his hand.

Then, she looked up at him.

“Is it bad?”

“It is nothing this Sesshoumaru cannot bear,” he replied dismissively.

There was a limit to how much of his vulnerabilities he dared to let show at a given time.

“Is… Is there something I could do?”

Astonished, Sesshoumaru looked into the soft and sincere blue of the miko’s eyes.

Something warm and vaguely resembling gratitude welled in his chest.

He had thought he would have to try to coax the miko, perhaps threaten her; use whatever means he could to persuade her into compliance.

Instead, here she was, offering her assistance unprompted.

Kindness like that was as rare as it was remarkable.

“Indeed, there is,” Sesshoumaru said, wrapping his fingers around the miko’s hand, giving it a light squeeze. “In fact, this Sesshoumaru has a proposition to make.”


 

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