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Like a Flower in a Stream, Chapter 2

No, I didn't forget this.  I just got thrown off my rhythm when FF brought down the hit counter that week...but here is chapter 2.



Chapter Two


“Now sleep little one,
the snow has all gone,
spring in the mountains,
spring in the village,
the cherry trees bloom.

“Now sleep little one,
the springtime has come,
spring in the mountains,
spring in the village,
the cherry trees bloom.

“Now sleep little one,
the birds are singing
spring in the mountains,
spring in the village,
the cherry trees bloom.”

Rin gently rocked Atae back and forth, singing softly, until satisfied he was soundly asleep, she laid him down on the blanket, covering him with the cloth Kagome handed her.  Her fingers gently brushed his silver hair, and touched one of his triangular ears.  Lost in thought, her eyes drifted away, staring off into the distance.

“You’re very good with him,” Kagome said softly, smiling, as she put away their used dishes into a basket.   “I can see why Sango-chan’s children like you so much.”

The girl smiled at the older woman.  “Babies are easy to love,” she said, then bowed her head. 

“And,” Kagome replied, “Babies know those who love them back.”

“Keh,” InuYasha said, leaning towards his wife.  “If I get some more firewood, would you make some more tea?”

Kagome met his eyes, questioning.  The afternoon was getting late.  InuYasha glanced at Rin, and looked back at his wife. “Of course,” she answered.  “I’ll be glad to.”

“I’ll be back in a little bit, then,” he said, then stood up and walked across the clearing until he was out of sight.  Kagome watched him go and  wondered what to say next, when Rin broke the quiet.

“Iya is having her mogi next month,” the girl said, not looking at Kagome.  “Her father is marrying her to a cousin who lives in Edo the day after that.” 

“Really?” Kagome said.  “I will have to offer my congratulations.”

“Her cousin is a fisherman.  She told Rin she’s scared of living so close to the water.”  Rin plucked a small blooming weed in the grass near the edge of the blanket she sat on, then twirled it in her fingers. 

“Maybe she’s more nervous about leaving the village.  Getting married means a lot in life changes.  Edo, though, isn’t very far away.”  Kagome picked up an uneaten chimaki, and began to unwrap it.

“Her cousin’s parents are dead. I think she’s afraid of being alone.”  Rin looked up at the older woman.  “Fishermen are gone a lot, she says, and she doesn’t really know anybody there, except for an old aunt or two.  Moving to a new place can be hard. Loneliness is hard.”

“Yes, that’s true,” Kagome replied, looking thoughtfully at the girl.  She looked at the sweet in her hand, and wrapping its bamboo cover back over it, put it back down.

“Do you miss them, Kagome-sama?” Rin asked, surprising the older woman.  “Do you miss your family you left to come here to be with InuYasha-sama?”

Kagome sighed, then looked off into the distance.  “Yes,” she said after a moment.  “I miss them all, but I think I miss  my mother the most.  There are times when I really wish I could tell her all the good things that have happened, or cry on her shoulder when things are going bad.”  She tucked a stray bit of hair behind Rin’s ear.  “Nowadays, though, I usually go talk to Kaede-baachan.  She’s like a second mother to me.”

“Kaede-sama is kind, and Rin tells her a lot,” the girl said, agreeing.  “Rin doesn’t remember her mother that well, though she dreams about someone warm and kind, like Kaede-sama. But sometimes . . . ”  She looked up to the trees, swaying in the afternoon light.  A breeze blew by, and flower petals drifted down to where they were sitting.  One landed on the blanket covering Atae. Rin leaned over and picked it up.  Atae didn’t stir.

“Sometimes what, Rin-chan?” Kagome asked. 

“Rin wonders if Kaede-sama remembers what it was like being lonely.”  The girl sighed.  “Everybody in the village looks up to her and talks to her.  Nobody whispers as she walks by.  Nobody turns around and goes the other way.”

Kagome scooted closer to the girl, and wrapped an arm around her.  “Do you feel too alone, Rin?  Are people doing that to you?”

Rin looked up at Kagome.  Her eyes glistened, and she chewed on her bottom lip.  She nodded once and rested her head on Kagome’s shoulder.  “It didn’t used to be like this,” she said.

Kagome ran her hand across the length of Rin’s hair and down her back, gently rocking the girl.    “You know you can come talk with me any time you feel too lonely or need to talk,” she said.

“When Rin first came to the village, everybody was very nice.  Sesshoumaru-sama came and visited a lot.  The girls would talk to Rin, and some of the boys would, too. ” Her voice trailed off for a moment, and she rubbed her nose with the back of her hand.  “They don’t think Rin hears them when they talk.”

Kagome gently rocked the unhappy girl and looked up at the trees beyond the clearing. She could sense that InuYasha was close.  She suspected he was sitting in a tree nearby listening.  After a moment, the girl straightened up and smoothed her dress.

“Doesn’t Sesshoumaru-sama  come and visit you regularly?” Kagome asked.

Rin looked down at her hands, which were turned palm up in her lap.  “Sesshoumaru-sama . . . he must have more important things to do lately.  He has not come to see Rin since leaf-fall.”  She breathed sharply.

Kagome breathed deeply, trying to find the right thing to say, and  rested her cheek on the girl’s head.  “I’m sure there is a good reason why he hasn’t been around.  I’ll talk to InuYasha and see if he can find out something.”

The girl looked up at her, her eyes torn between hope and fear.   She was about to say something, when InuYasha walked back into clearing, carrying a bundle of dead wood.  Kagome could tell from the look in his eyes that he had overheard their conversation, but his eyes softened as he neared the women and put down the wood.

“Hmm,” he said, grabbing the chimaki Kagome had started to open earlier.  He finished unwrapping it, and popped it into his mouth.  After chewing for a moment, he said, “It’s getting late.  Maybe we should wait on the tea.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” Kagome replied, as she finished putting the last of the dishes away in her basket.  “Rin, would you like to come home with us and have dinner?”

“Thank you, but Kaede-sama is expecting me,” Rin replied, standing up.

“Come by tomorrow, though,” Kagome said.  “You can help me with Atae and the garden if you’d like.”

InuYasha picked up his sleeping son carefully so Kagome could fold up the ground cloth they had been sitting on.   “Get her to show you how she makes those special pickles of hers,” he told Rin, grinning.  “They’re really good.”

Kagome laughed.  “We could do that, too.”

“InuYasha-sama, you like pickles too much,” Rin said, smiling.  “If Kaede-sama doesn’t have other plans, Rin will try.”

Waving goodbye, she turned and left.

After Rin was out of earshot, Kagome stood up, and took Atae from InuYasha.  “I think I need to have a talk with Kaede-baachan.  I wonder what’s going on in the village about Rin.”

“You do that.  And I think I’m  going to have a talk with someone else,” InuYasha replied as he picked up the basket. 

Together, they walked back to their house.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
kiramaru7
Apr. 22nd, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC)
OOh... I like this story & I'm dying to know what happens next, KK! Poor Rin-chan... *sighs* I wonder what happened.
inuyashaloverr
Apr. 23rd, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
Ah crap, I missed the first chap!? *goes back to look*
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )