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The Ruse by Discord

A Plan is Hatched

The Ruse

By: Discord

A/N:  When a nearly-teenage Rin decides she needs a mother, Sesshoumaru enlists the help of his new assistant in a plan to rid her of such notions.  A Sess/Kag, Fake Dating AU. 

I seem to have way more luck outlining and finishing Sesshoumaru/Kagome stories than ones for any other couple in any fandom.  So weird.  Took me two decades to find this ship, and now they go and tackle-glomp me with plot-bunnies I actually see to fruition (without it spanning years).  I present the results of my latest attack, catapulted upon me while I was feverishly editing a new chapter for an ancient InuKag story of mine.  Methinks Sesshoumaru infuses these insidious ideas with something more potent than dokkaso, and Kagome follows it up with a knowing glint in her eye.

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Chapter One – A Plan is Hatched

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Sesshoumaru steepled his fingers, resisting the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose in exasperation.  His human daughter sat in one of the chairs arrayed around his desk, ignoring the neat stacks of paperwork in front of him in favor of gazing up with big, hopeful eyes.

Tall stacks.  He had so much research to catch up on.

"Please?"  She implored, bunching handfuls of the school uniform at her knees and leaning forward.  Her small side-ponytail had started to wilt after a long day of classes, and he could see bits of grass clinging to the glittering collection of keychains attached to her backpack zipper.  Her favorite – a two-headed dragon – looked particularly battered.

"Rin," Sesshoumaru couldn't believe he had to say this aloud.  "I am not taking your teacher out to dinner."

"But she's so nice, and so pretty," she rushed.  "You'd like her!"

"No."

"Pleeeease?"

The start of a frown pulled at his mouth, revealing fangs.  He would not repeat himself.  His daughter had initiated a search for a mother promptly after her formal adoption, and her entreaties were becoming overbearing, a constant barrage of questions that grew more ludicrous and intrusive the longer he dismissed them.

As simply his ward, Rin had been soft-spoken and decorous, deferring to him almost as if he were still a lord of long-ago western lands.  He didn't miss the polite distance, seeing the love and trust her adoption had coaxed out as a welcome thing.

He just didn't need it manifesting into a twelve-year-old matchmaker hell-bent on seeing him happy.  Gone were the days when a gifted, schoolbag trinket could appease – now it seemed only a companion for the rest of eternity would do.

A soft knock interrupted the beginnings of the girl's pout, and Sesshoumaru ground his teeth, knowing who was behind the door. 

She is wearing more of that cloying perfume today, he thought, fighting back a grimace.  And, as always, has a knack for timing.

He paused, trying to decide what tactic to employ.  He had purposefully kept his recent hire from Rin, knowing the young woman would likely be a prime candidate for her ill-conceived campaign.  Kagome Higurashi came from a long line of shrine priestesses, which Rin would instantly romanticize as fate – two relics from a forgotten age.  She was single, intelligent by mortal standards, and, were he the type to comment or think on such frivolous matters, rather stunning.

She was also unendingly talkative, doling beaming 'good mornings' and opining on how he wore his hair, or what he should have for lunch with a familiarity that still galled.  Centuries spent adapting to the trappings of a modern world hadn't prepared him for such unfettered, insufferable cheer.

The knock came again, louder this time, and Rin swiveled in her seat.

"Come in!"  She called, robbing him of strategy. 

The knob turned and the door swung wide, revealing his new assistant.  She wore a simple, blue dress with a muted pattern, a slight frill to its hem its only attempt at daring.  Her long hair was up in a high bun, wisps of black trailing around her ears and face, and the lightest sheen of lip gloss glazed her mouth.  Her casual professionalism and daily fresh-face were a welcome reprieve to the stilettoed, overly-done women who thought a cake of color could distract and ensnare anytime he visited the lower floors.

Blue-gray eyes in need of no penciled embellishment widened, surveying Rin in surprise.

"Sorry to interrupt sir," Kagome started.  "I just thought you wouldn't want to wait.  I have the updated file on the new sword you've been seeking."

Sesshoumaru beckoned her forward with a wave, watching Rin carefully.  The girl gauged Kagome with a shrewdness he was almost proud of, weighing her merit.

To his surprise, her brow furrowed, and a shade of irritation entered her scent.  She didn't like her. 

Interesting, he mused, turning attention to the folder tucked under Kagome's arm.  "Anything useful?" 

He asked more for Rin's reaction, than for any type of worthy answer.  Seldom did he seek the input of others, disinterested in estimations he could easily glean himself.  His daughter knew this, and would have much to consider by the action.

Kagome crossed the room and cracked a smile, oblivious to the question's rarity given her short tenure.  "Oh yes," her modest heels sank into carpet as she stopped before his desk.  "Totosai has outdone himself.  This one is named So'unga."

Rin's furrow spread and deepened to a scowl as she glared at the errant hairs straying from the woman's bun, seemingly incensed by their existence. 

Contending with the oddness of her verdict – for she obviously saw Kagome heinously unfit – Sesshoumaru almost missed her mention.  "Oh?"  He asked.

A second question.  He spotted a line in his daughter's jaw, and his pointed ears twitched as a murmured grumble rose up under her breath.  Her glare intensified, as if she could light his poor assistant aflame with its smolder, and he looked on silently, mystified.

"It's the same sword of a hundred deaths you saw mentioned in that text from the Sengoku period last week," excitement lit Kagome's eye and sped her speech.  Her enthusiasm was why he had not released her the first time she had bought him a coffee without asking, complimenting his tie as she'd handed the steaming beverage over.  She hadn't done so to engender favor, simply to be… friendly.  Ridiculous.

But the evident delight she took in history was a winning asset; he could give her any scroll, any text, and she would pour over it with relish, making inferences from small details others missed.

"Excellent," Sesshoumaru offered, reaching for the file.  Their fingers momentarily brushed as she passed it over, and Rin let out a dramatic huff, surging to her feet. 

"I'll see you at home, Father," she declared, reclaiming her jingling backpack from the floor.

Sesshoumaru arched an eyebrow high.  Although her adoption had been three years ago, she was sparing with the title, once confiding she worried overusing it would make the magic of her new life run out.  He thought it more because trust was as fragile and fleeting as a human's lifespan, and she didn't want to give it all away at once.  Now, hearing her dole the name almost as a challenge, he could envision her as a youkai pup, warning off an interloper. 

The beginnings of a plan began to simmer and solidify in his mind.  Rin had selected each would-be mother with her own preferences as a guide – perhaps her little pastime would end if he chose someone she didn't care for?  She could realize, on her own, that he needed no partner.  He had endured centuries without one, and would continue doing so, quite contentedly.

Unaware of her employer's thoughts, Kagome gawked at the girl storming for the door, turning to the daiyoukai only when she'd flounced from the room and down the hall. 

Sesshoumaru allowed himself an outward frown, staring at her gaping mouth in distaste.  Of course, he didn't care for her either.  Maybe Rin would outgrow her machinations without having to resort to such drastic measures.

Kagome appraised him, as if viewing him for the first time.  "You're… a… dad?" 

Had he thought her intelligent?  She was decidedly slow now.  "You are surprised?"  He intoned, opening the folder and thumbing through its contents.

"I've worked here almost two months, and you've never mentioned you had a daughter."

"I do."

"Yes, I see that," Kagome gestured to the now-empty doorway.

He was quiet as he skimmed her latest addition of notes, written in her excessively-loopy, studiously-thorough script.

Her stare bored into the top of his head.

Evidently, she was not done prodding into affairs that were none of her business.

"These are the things people mention in an office, sir," Kagome groused.  "To be polite."

He continued to read, intentionally prolonging her annoyance.  Why humans thought to share the most intimate details of their lives with colleagues, claiming it was 'small talk', was beyond him.  After a long moment, he graced her with a response.  "That is a mortal custom, Miss Higurashi.  I assure you, I do not prescribe to such proclivities," golden eyes flicked up at her.  "Why is Rin's existence so shocking?"

Kagome flushed.  "I just had you pegged for someone different is all," she said lamely.

A brow quirked.

"A grumpy, aloof loner," she fidgeted, aware describing one's boss to said boss was not the time for honesty but somehow unable to stop herself.  "Someone who'd gotten his adventures all out of the way two hundred years ago, and was ready to just sift over dates and events of the past in the safety of an armchair."

Sesshoumaru couldn't tell what surprised more, how off her assessment was, or the fact she seemed bothered by its inaccuracy.  What female sought out the leadership of a boring male who puttered about in the annals of history, content merely to spectate?  He voiced his incredulity.  "You almost sound disappointed."

"I've had enough adventures," she said softly, looking down at the carpet.  "I just wanted somewhere quiet and safe to be left alone."

"My being a parent does not preclude you from having those things," he returned to her notes.  "I am not one to go on a rampage of change and flux, and will most certainly continue leaving you alone."

Her audible sigh of relief made him curious.  A dull employer, daily predictability… what was she hiding from?  Had she chosen his company – an unassuming artifact-recovery consortium – simply to disappear into the background?  One more insignificant human, unnoticed and unremarkable next to the PR delight of a thousand-year-old daiyoukai?

The cellphone in his pocket vibrated, announcing a text message and interrupting his thoughts.  Pulling it out as Kagome turned to leave, he blinked at its glowing face, uncomprehending. 

 

Remember that lady at the flower shop I like? 

Saw her in the lobby and gave her your number! 

Call her!

 

"A moment, Miss Higurashi," he called, vowing to have a more strongly-worded discussion with Rin later.  "I have another question to ask you."

 

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