In the Classroom

BY : kuronekosama
Category: InuYasha > General
Dragon prints: 11925
Disclaimer: I do not own InuYasha, nor make money from this story.



~~~~~~8 a.m., Monday~~~~~~

Rin Ginta, a senior at Loyola High School, was one of the smartest in her class. Loyola was a private school where the well-off parents sent their children. It had a few acres dedicated to the aesthetic quality of the school, dotted with benches that were sometimes hidden from the rest of the world by trees. Rin wasnít going to be valedictorian at this school, but many thought of her as being exceptionally bright. No one could say they knew her, though, because Rin did not invite friendship. She was kind, but distant. Working in groups with her was strained because while other groups goofed off, talking to each other as they worked, Rinís group was always on task. The other girls would whisper theories about her personalityósome funny, some concerned, and many of them cruel. Rin ignored them all, glad that her last year was upon her so that she could get out of high school and away from these types of people, away from home.

Pulling books out of her locker and stuffing them into her bag, Rin shut the door firmly and hefted the book-bag onto her shoulder, smoothing the front of her uniformís skirt. Her first class of the day, of the school year, was senior advanced English, taught by a younger woman. Rin ignored the stares that freshmen boys threw her way, and gladly noticed that the senior boys ignored her, too. Stepping into room 135, Rin took a cursory glance of the room, of the teacher sitting behind her desk, and of the students already in the room. Finding a seat next to the windows, Rin pulled out her book, notepad, and pencil, and then let her eyes roam to the outside. She loved to do thisówhen they were given free time and she had nothing to do, or when class had not yet started, Rin loved to look out the window, wishing she was there instead of here. Well, thatís probably one thing I have in common with the rest of the school.

It felt too soon, though, when the bell rang and class began...

By lunchtime, Rin already had a homework assignment. Reading the first chapter of her Spanish book, though she would rather have learned an Asian language, she nibbled on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich she had packed for herself. Sitting on a bench underneath an oak tree perhaps a hundred yards from the nearest school entrance, Rin enjoyed the quiet that the outdoors provided. No one else sat on this bench. Rin liked the fact that it was so far off from the rest of the students eating outside, but some people thought it was a little creepy, or at least she had heard they did. After completing the chapter, she still had ten minutes and finished off the last of her sandwich, gulping down some milk before gathering up her things and slowly walking back. About twenty yards to her right, a little closer to the school, she noticed someone walking back as well. At first she thought it might have been another student, but the trees thinned out and she saw that it most certainly was not another student.

He was very tall, wearing a nice suit, with short black hair. He had a lunch pail in one hand and his jacket in the other. Rin slowed down a bit to let him get ahead since they were headed towards the same door. Unable to see his face, Rin wondered if he was a new football coach, judging by his athletic body. Blushing as she realized that she was ogling a faculty member, Rin dropped her gaze to the ground, and didnít bring it back up until she was ten yards from the schoolís side entrance. By then, the man was gone.

~~~~~~Lunchtime, Outside~~~~~~

Already, Sesshoumaru Hakkaku was starting to feel a headache coming on. Who knew that high school seniors were always so immature? He grabbed up his lunch pail, and locked his classroom door once all the students had vacated the room. Sesshoumaru was the newest teacher at Loyola High School. He had worked in public schools before, but the pay was so bad that he was forced to work in a private school. Loyola was surely a big break. The pay was close to twice what he earned before, the facilities were nicely maintained, and the staff didnít seem nearly as incompetent as those who called themselves teachers back in the public domain. The students were the same, though...

Walking in a random direction to find an empty bench somewhere inside the school grounds, Sesshoumaru had walked a good hundred yards when he spotted a bench that was barely visible behind the trees. He would have missed it if he hadnít heard someone clear her throat. Coming closer, he felt his heart beat a little faster. She was obviously a student, bent over a book and holding a half-eaten sandwich. Everything about her was beautiful, and Sesshoumaru found himself peering at her from behind a nearby tree. Her incredibly long, black hair, braided and sitting heavily against her back was what he first noticed. Then it was her profile, perfectly shaped. The skin over the curve of her cheek looked glossy underneath the noonday sun. As his eyes traveled down, he noticed the swell of her young breasts and the way her shirt tucked into her skirt. Her legs were well shaped, and Sesshoumaru couldnít help but wish that a breeze would come along and blow her skirt a little farther up those pale thighs. Realizing the lecherous bent of his thoughts, Sesshoumaru shook his head and backed away, walking off to his left to find another bench. On his way back to the school, he was determined not to look over at her as she walked twenty yards to his left.

~~~~~~Last Class, a Meeting~~~~~~

Having clarified the homework assignment with the teacher from her previous class, Rin walked to her last class of the day, senior advanced history. She kept her mind on where she was going, but flashes of a man in a dark suit with a white shirt popped up as she went. Nearing room 209, Rin forced his image out of her head and stepped into the classroom. It took all of her willpower not to react when the man she had seen at lunchtime was the one currently writing on the board. No other students had arrived yet, though they would soon, but Rin couldnít take her eyes off of the teacher. As if he sensed someone watching him, the teacher turned around and visibly but subtlety flinched upon seeing her. It was perhaps only two seconds, but it felt like twenty had gone by before Rin moved. She could hear two male students about to come inside and forced herself to keep walking, breaking eye contact and taking her usual seat near the window.

Sesshoumaru was grateful that she ended the staring contest because his heart was starting to beat painfully inside his chest. He turned himself back to the board, barely able to write legibly and correctly as he thought about what had just happened. It was as if if she knew him. Heh...she was probably just freaked out because her teacher was staring at her. Sesshoumaru wished he could bang his forehead against the chalkboard. Thatís right...Iím her teacher...she is the student, and thatís a boundary that I canít ever pass.

Once all the students were seated, Sesshoumaru got up from his seat behind the desk, and thankfully most of the students quieted down.

"Good afternoon. My name is Mr. Sesshoumaru Hakkaku, and despite the fact that this is your last class of the day, I expect you all to pay attention the entire period. Thereís no talking when Iím talking," he said a little louder, successfully shushing two girls in the back. "In this class, there will be lectures, five writing assignments, one group project, two homework assignments every week, and three tests. The tests and project are worth the most, but failing to do the homework assignments will also get you failed in my class. I would like to get to know everyoneís name for today, so weíll go around the room. You donít have to stand up, but state your name and something about yourself. After that, your first assignment is on the board, and itís due on Wednesday. Letís start with you." Pointing at the seat closest to the door, Sesshoumaru listened to everyoneís names, attempting to pay attention when all he really wanted was to know the name of the young female student currently watching the others as they spoke.

After a few chuckles from wittier students, it was finally Rinís turn, and she didnít move a muscle when everyoneís eyes landed on her. Clearing her throat, Rin quietly said,

"My name is Rin Ginta. And something about me is that I like dogs." Sesshoumaru had asked others a couple of things about what they said, and was dying to hold a mini-conversation with Rin. Rin had been hoping he would move on since looking at him was making her blush.

"Do you have any dogs?" he asked, and Rin sat a little straighter in her seat.

"Three. Theyíre all German Shepards." Feeling her cheeks grow warm, Rin silently pleaded him to move on. He was relentless, though.

"How old are they?"

"Uhm, two are about eight years old. The other is a puppy I just bought about a month ago. The older dogs are still getting used to him," Rin replied, fidgeting with her skirt underneath her desk. Sesshoumaru could tell she was embarrassed by the red tint to her cheeks and finally let her go, mentally slapping himself for forgetting the distance he wanted to put between her and him.

The rest of the period went by smoothly, and Rin couldnít help but sneak a peek at Mr. Hakkaku once in a while. It was unnerving, though, that every time she looked, he was looking at her, too.

~~~~~~After Class~~~~~~

Rin hurriedly gathered up her things once the bell rang, hoping to leave the room within the throng of students in order to hide the intense blush that was on her cheeks and that wouldnít go away. However...

"Miss Ginta, would you stay a moment?" Watching as the other students left, smiling and goofing around with their friends, Rin felt a keen embarrassment waiting on the sidelines for the right moment to come and swallow her up once she and Mr. Hakkaku were alone. In perhaps thirty seconds, the last student ran out of the room, calling for her friends, and Rin walked to the front where Mr. Hakkaku sat on the edge of his desk. Heís so handsome...and I canít seem to get over that fact! She looked at him expectantly, trying to judge the look on his face.

"I noticed that your cheeks look flushed," he began, which got Rin blushing even more. She dropped her gaze. "I was wondering if you perhaps were getting sick. The first day at school spreads around a lot of germs and someone might have given you something." Pressing his palm to her forehead, Sesshoumaru tried to gauge her temperature, but she jerked back.

"IóIím fine, Mr. Hakkaku. Itís just a little hot today." Rin realized how dumb she sounded since it was only 80 degrees outside and the building had air conditioning.

"Well, when I saw you at lunchtime, you seemed fine. Just let me check," he said, wrapping his fingers around her upper arm and pulling her a little closer. Rin wondered if she would soon burst into flame...he saw me at lunch?! Sesshoumaru didnít seem to notice his slip and pressed his palm to her forehead again. "Here, step a little closer." He pulled on her arm, and Rin stood close, her thigh brushing his knee. With the backs of his fingers against her forehead, Sesshoumaru looked to be carefully gauging her temperature and then looked up into her eyes. Such a warm brown color...

Looking directly at her teacher, whose eyes were an odd shade of hazel, Rin suddenly felt a little dizzy. Clutching at his shoulders, she watched as his face put on a concerned expression. Feeling her knees give out, the world slowed down as she dropped, but it wasnít too long before Mr. Hakkakuís strong arms were around her, holding her up.

"Rin! Are you okay? Rin?" Her mind quickly came back to her, and so did a strong headache. Rin took stock of where she was. Her side was pressed tightly between his thighs and her fingers were holding fistfuls of the material over his shoulders. Though he didnít seem to be aware of it, in her teacherís attempt to keep her from falling, one of his hands was holding her right breast tightly. Gasping, Rin planted her hands on his pecks, pushed, and stumbled back.

"Iíll see you tomorrow, Mr. Hakkaku!" she called as she picked up her bag and ran out of the room. Jogging to her locker, Rin checked her watch. She had three minutes until her ride was downstairs...and he never wanted her to be late. Sesshoumaru was still watching the door a full minute after she left. He wanted to tell himself that what he felt for her was only affection, a strange crush on a girl ten years younger than him. He wanted to tell himself that he didnít want to probe into her personal life or know more about her other than that she liked dogs and was in his final period history class. He wanted to tell himself that holding her hadnít felt good...that he didnít want to hold her again, didnít want to taste her, didnít want to touch her...but he knew he was kidding himself. What a crappy Monday...

Suddenly galvanized to move, Sesshoumaru picked up his jacket, briefcase, and lunch pail, and locked the classroom door behind him. Walking down to the first floor, he exited the building through the other side entrance towards the parking lot, just in time to see Rin running up to a large, expensive black car. From far away, her voice sounded just as heavenly as up close.

"Iím so sorry, father! I wonít be late tomorrow!" Scrunching his eyebrows together in curiosity, Sesshoumaru began to walk towards his own car, in the same direction as Rin. Her car finally pulled away when he was perhaps ten yards from it, and he saw Rin looking at him as it sped away. Though the windows were tinted, there was no mistake that her eyes shined with tears.

~~~~~~8 a.m., Tuesday~~~~~~

Rin stopped off at the restroom before heading to her locker. Seeing that no one else was in the restroom, she stepped close to the mirror and checked how well her make-up was holding up. Seeing a bluish tint on her right cheek, she pulled out her compact and brushed on some more concealer. The bluish tint was finally gone, and she washed her hands before leaving the restroom. After running to her fatherís Mercedes, she had hurriedly tried to explain her tardiness and apologize at the same time, which seemed to anger her father instead of placate himóone method didnít always work. After slapping her hard enough to leave a bruise, he quietly told her to never be late again. Rin then looked out the window as tears borne of the pain that her fatherís hand had wrought spilled silently down her cheeks, and saw Mr. Hakkaku looking right at her. She thanked the powers that be for making the windows tinted.

At lunch, Rin checked her make-up again since the physical education class had gone outside that day to jog around the school grounds. She quickly covered up the bruise that was beginning to show underneath the powder and then walked out to her favorite bench. It was a long walk, but Rin enjoyed the quiet that sitting that far out brought to worry too much about how long it took to get there. Bringing her head up once she was close, Rin paused when she saw Mr. Hakkaku sitting on her bench, looking at her with a very serious face. Rin backed up a bit and looked to her left to see if the other bench further back was open, but her teacher spoke up first,

"Miss Ginta, I need to speak to you, if you donít mind me intruding upon your lunch hour." Rin scuffled her shoes in the grass for a little bit. She didnít want to put off her teacher since he seemed to be a nice person, but he just made her so nervous... Making up her mind, Rin walked over to the bench and sat down. Without looking up, Rin said,

"Iím sorry for running out like that yesterday. I was late for my ride." Sesshoumaru could feel his blood boiling. Though it was barely visible, he knew what he was looking for, and it was obvious to him that she had a new bruise on her right cheek.

"Itís perfectly fine, Miss Ginta. Would you mind if I asked a few personal questions?" Rin was glad for the make-up today because her cheeks were starting to flare up again. Sesshoumaru could see that she was on the edge of the bench and that she was fidgeting again.

"Uhm, I suppose so, Mr. Hakkaku." What does he mean by personal? Sesshoumaru suddenly noticed how vulnerable she suddenly seemed. He felt angry that her father might be the cause of it.

"What does your father do for a living?" Trying to start out small, Sesshoumaru laced his fingers together and set his elbows on his knees.

"Heís a lawyer for Driskel, Riley, and Sons," Rin answered, caught off-guard by the nature of the question and wondering where he was going with it.

"Does he have a lot of pressure on him at work?"

"Oh, yes...theyíve been bogged down with cases for the past year, and father hasnít gotten a single break." Starting to see where he was going, Rin clenched her hands in her skirt.

"What about your mother? Does she work?"

"My mother died a year ago. Leukemia," Rin said quietly, almost a whisper.

"I see...does your father always pick you up after school?" Rin grimaced down at her skirt, upset to find out that he had seen her getting into the car, and had probably heard her gushing out apologies to her father.

"Yes, usually...unless I tell him that Iím staying later. Then I usually take a taxi home. Fatherís schedule is very tight." Swallowing and feeling a bit queasy as unhappy memories flooded her mind, Rin desperately hoped that Mr. Hakkaku would be finished with his Inquisition soon.

"Is he the one who hit you?" The abrupt question jarred Rin, and she was quickly off the bench. Her book-bag fell to the ground and her lunch toppled onto the bench.

"Whówhat are you talking about? My father doesnít hit me," Rin lied, failing miserably as tears gathered over her eyes. She was backing up when Sesshoumaru snatched his hand out to grab her wrist. He pulled her back down to the bench and brought up his other hand to cup her chin. Turning her face so that her right cheek facing him, Sesshoumaru brushed his fingers over her face, coming away with a lot of make-up powder and revealing two streaks of blue skin beneath. Holding his fingers in front of her eyes, he said,

"Then why is there a hand-sized bruise on your cheek, Rin?" he asked. His voice had changed. It was lower, quieter, and less professional. Rin pulled her chin out of his palm and covered up the bruise with her hand.

"I fell down, Mr. Hakkaku," she said quietly, avoiding eye contact.

"Did you fall onto his fist?" he said, a little angry. Rin flinched at his tone.

"I fell down!" Grabbing her book-bag, Rin left her lunch where it was and ran. Going back inside the school, she ran to the closest bathroom and re-applied her make-up. Then spending the next twenty minutes hiding in the stall furthest from the restroom door, Rin stared at her hands, thinking about the look on her teacherís face.

~~~~~~Final Period, Tuesday~~~~~~

Not looking at her teacher as she entered the classroom, Rin sat in her usual seat, glad that more students filed in before he could say anything. Briefly taking her eyes away from the window, Rin looked to the girls sitting down close to her seat. One of them must have noticed the darkness on her face and stared for a bit before being distracted by a friend and turning away. Rin brought her hand up to her cheek, staring down at her notepad. My father is a good man...heís just under stress. I would get upset, too, wouldnít I? Taking a chance and looking up, Rin was surprised to see the way her teacher stared at her. Mr. Hakkaku he wanted to help...but it was more than the way a teacher would look at a student. It held so much more wanting...

Breaking eye contact, Rin let her braid drop down over her shoulder, concealing some of her cheek, and picked up her pencil. After that, the class proceeded quickly. Rin had to look up once in a while to write things down, but Mr. Hakkaku never looked her way again. As the time neared for the bell to ring, Rin quietly began to gather her things to leave. Mr. Hakkaku dismissed the class about five seconds before the bell rang, and Rin left with the rest of the students, not looking back. In the classroom, Sesshoumaru sat back on his desk, drumming his thigh with his pencil and watching the empty doorway. Letís hope your father isnít stressed tonight...Rin.

Rin was about a minute early that day, and felt a sense of relief when she realized that her father would be happier that she was on time. His Mercedes pulled into the parking lot right on time, and he pulled up alongside the curb in front of her.

"Hi, father! How was work today?" Rin asked, closing the door behind her.

"Ohhh, not too bad. We did better in court today with the McKenzey trial. Hopefully, his ex-wife will get a clue and drop the alimony charges." Pulling away from the school, Rinís father turned up the A/C a little higher and pulled on the neck of his silk tie. It was a fifteen-minute drive to their house, which was a verifiable mansion with a single housekeeper who left before five every night, leaving their dinner on the table. The housekeeper was also good enough to let her dogs out into the backyard a couple times a day and to make sure that her newest puppy was on the path to being house-trained. Rin and her father ate in silence with the dogs sitting expectantly outside the dining room. She was in the process of clearing the dishes once they were done, but as soon as she picked up her fatherís water glass, his cell phone rang. Answering it, her father walked to the hallway with it, listening intently. Rin was in the kitchen was she heard him yell into the phone.

"What?! When did this happen?" he bellowed. Rinís two older dogs whimpered and ran up the stairs, while the puppy sat there wagging his tail. "...Well, I donít care how you stop it, but it better be damned fast! ...Jesus, what a I know why McKenzey divorced her. ...Yeah, fine...fine...see you in the morning." She heard a few more curse words as he walked into the den, and then the clinking of glass as he poured himself a drink. Oh, God... Washing the dishes as fast as she could, it was still forty-five minutes before she was drying her hands and ready to head upstairs to do her homework. By then, her father was very drunk. Walking into the dining room and pushing in the chairs, Rin shut off the light. She attempted to tiptoe past the den, but her father was drunk, not deaf.

"Rin...come in here for...a few seconds," he drawled out, nursing a glass of brandy. Rin walked into the dim room, only lit by a small lamp over the billiard table. Her father sat in a hard leather chair near the table, and was motioning with his hand. Rin walked forward, standing in front of him. He opened his arms, asking for a hug, and Rin sighed in relief, glad that he wasnít angry anymore now that the alcohol had numbed his mind. Kneeling she leaned forward and hugged him, smelling the brandy quite clearly. Pulling back, Rin looked at her father, wondering where the one she remembered from a year ago went. He reached forward and brushed a random hair off of her forehead, setting his hands on her shoulders.

"You look so much like your mother," he sighed, blinking slowly.

"Wasnít mom shorter than me?" Rin asked softly, trying to keep his mind on good memories.

"Yeah...just a little. But your much like your mother." Rin smiled softly, wincing only a little when the act hurt her cheek. When his face suddenly turned angry, Rin flinched and was about to heave herself away from him when his hand shot out and slapped her left cheek, hard enough to leave a second bruise. Rin fell back, landing hard on her rear. Tears silently rolled down over her burning cheeks. "Why did she have to die?! Every time I see you, you remind me of her! And I hate for you that!" He kicked her in the stomach, still wearing his shoes, and Rin gasped for breath. Her stomach rolled sickeningly, and she knew that she was in danger of throwing up. Thankfully, her father left off and stomped out of the room, leaving Rin lying there on the floor, clutching her innards. Nothing felt broken, but Rinís heart was in pieces.

~~~~~~7 a.m., Wednesday~~~~~~

Rin sat at the table the next morning, carefully forking eggs into her mouth, which felt sore and stiff. The housekeeper was obviously upset, but she didnít say anything. When she left to go back into the kitchen, Rinís father spoke up.

"I...Iím so sorry, honey. I drank way too much. Once this case is over, Iím going to take a two-week break. Iíll make it up to you..." He held his water glass in his hand, turning it slowly as he watched for his daughterís reaction. Rin could feel her puppy nudging her calf with his muzzle.

"I have to stay late at school today, father. I need to spend some time in the library, if thatís okay." Seeing as how she dropped the subject, her father sighed in relief, hoping it meant that she would forgive him.

"Will you be able to take a taxi home? Iíll give you the fare for it, of course." Rin nodded in response, putting more eggs into her mouth. Her father looked over at the housekeeper when she came back in, and the woman gave him an expressionless stare. Looking back at his daughter, who had to put on a lot of concealer that morning, Rinís father looked down at his plate and sighed.

~~~~~~8 a.m., Wednesday~~~~~~

Rin wore her hair down that day, hoping that everyone would ignore her as usual. After checking her appearance in the restroom, she was about to close her locker when the girl who had looked at her in history yesterday walked by with some of her friends. Though the friends were distracted by a good-looking boy at the end of the hall, the girl looked right at Rin, and Rin turned her face away, making as if she was searching for something inside her locker. The girl continued on her way. Rin watched the girlís back as she walked down the hall. Yukino Hanazawa...Rin didnít know her at all well, but from what she had seen, Yukino was a nice person. Shutting her locker, Rin hurried off in the opposite direction to her classes.

~~~~~~Physical Education, Wednesday~~~~~~

This was the class Rin dreaded most on days like this. Her ribs hurt so badly that walking without wincing was hard. She feigned a female problem with the P.E. teacher, acting shy the whole time in order to score extra points. The teacher, young and female, was sympathetic enough to let her just sit out, but she had to change. Rin didnít want to push her luck and decided that she could just change in the bathroom stalls inside the locker room. No one gave her a second glance the entire time, and Rin breathed a sigh of relief when she got away with it. She just hoped that her body was feeling better tomorrow.

~~~~~~Lunchtime, Wednesday~~~~~~

Rin was dying to find some quiet time for herself, forgetting that her history teacher might be there again on her bench. It was hard to hurry since her ribs ached. She needed to be away from school, away from her father, and by herself for at least an hour. Coming upon her favorite bench, Rin blanched when she saw Mr. Hakkaku sitting there again. She was about to veer left and simply walk past him to a further bench, but Rin knew better than to think heíd let her go.

"Miss Ginta, we need to I can see the new bruise on your left cheek from here," Sesshoumaru calmly said. She could hear the anger in his voice, and though she knew that he wasnít angry with her, it still felt like it was being directed at her. Rin didnít want him to get involved. She didnít want him to care about her, or to be close to heróafter all, the blushes that his presence elicited were becoming an annoying habit. She began to slowly back away, fidgeting with her hands and trying to come up with something that might make him back off.

"It would be best, Mr. Hakkaku, if you ignored me. Just teach...Iíll turn in the work you need, and thatíll be it. Can we just do that?" Rin hated the look on his face and dropped her gaze to the bench. He looked incredulous, and his ire was obviously rising.

"You know I canít. Itís part of my duties as a teacher to look out for students like you. But even if it werenít, I, myself, wouldnít be able to let this go. Stop backing away from me," he commanded, coming to a stand. Rin only backed away faster. When her teacher took a step towards her, she panicked and ran.

"Rin!" Sesshoumaru called, trying not to yell too loudly. She was obviously gone, though, and he sank back down to the bench with a sigh. Iíll just have to corner her, then. His near-obsession for her was growing. She was such a beautiful girl, and seeing her complexion marred by some manís made him angry and protective. She didnít want my help, though...doesnít she know that she needs help? Looking up, he saw her disappear into the school, and wondered if he was even really helping.

~~~~~~After School, WednesdayóThe Library~~~~~~

Her history class went by awkwardly, but Rin was grateful that Mr. Hakkaku hadnít made her feel more nervous than she already was. The bell rang, class was dismissed, and she was able to leave without a second thought. After stopping by her locker, Rin walked to the far end of the buildingís first floor and entered the library. It had a lot of current materials and broader-range literature like encyclopedias, perfect for high school projects. Rin went quickly about her work, looking up the right books and writing down their call numbers. Though her father wasnít going to be there to pick her up, if she wasnít home within five minutes of when she said she would be, then thereíd be hell to pay.

Wandering down one aisle, Rin saw the only other person in the library walk up to the circulation desk to check out an item. She found her book and tugged it off the shelf, browsing the index quickly. Deciding that it wasnít what she needed, she put it back on the shelf and crossed off its call number. She walked to another aisle, hidden from the librarian at the circulation desk, who was using a loud typewriter to make new book labels. Finding the book she wanted, Rin was reaching up to the top shelf to get it, but winced and curled a little into herself from the stab of pain from her bruised ribs. I canít even get my book...who am I kidding here?

"Which call number is it?" a low voice said. Rin clutched at her heart in surprise and did a 180. The other book in her arm fell to the floor. Looking up at her history teacher, Rin realized again how tall he was. The typewriter was still going, meaning the librarian hadnít heard the book drop. Mr. Hakkaku braced his hands against the bookshelf on either side of Rinís head and leaned down. He...smells good. "He must have done more than slap you last night. Did he kick you?" Sesshoumaru was desperate to get a confession out of her. If she could at least admit it to him that her father was hitting her, perhaps she would be able to admit it to herself. "He probably blames you for getting him angry. He hits you and when youíre down on the ground, he kicks you some more, angry at you for something heís going through. And youíre embarrassed. You think that people will make fun of you and your father, so you cover up your bruises. You make excuses for him." Rin only stared at him, panting lightly and clutching a sheet of paper to her chest. "Rin...does your father beat you?" Seeing a shimmer of tears over her eyes, Sesshoumaru thought he had gone too far.

"YóYes..." she said with a small, soft voice. Rin wasnít able to look at his expression any longer. She closed her eyes, dropping her chin to her chest as two small tears fell to the floor. Feeling him lean away from her, Rin covered her mouth with her free hand while the other rubbed at the ache in her ribs. She felt his fingers firmly but gently pull her away from the bookshelf, and then his arms surrounded her, loosely holding her against his warm, hard chest. She could hear him shushing her, trying to calm her down, but it only made her want to cry more. She pressed her face into his chest to muffle her sobs, and was vaguely aware that the librarianís typewriter was still going. One of his hands was brushing over her hair, and Rin, for the first time in a long time, felt comforted. And for that, she found herself liking Mr. Hakkaku...a lot.

Rin quieted down after a couple of minutes, and became aware that she was clutching the back of Mr. Hakkakuís jacket and had gotten a lot of her make-up on his shirt. Keeping her head down, Rin wiped at the wetness beneath her eyes, sniffing. Mr. Hakkuku gave her a couple of tissues from a Kleenex mini-pack in his jacket pocket, and Rin cleaned up her face as best as she could. Looking in front of her, smears of tannish cover-up were all over his shirt.

"Oh! Iím sorry, Mr. Hakkaku! Thereís make-up all over your shirt!" Using the other clean tissue in her hand, Rin attempted to wipe some of the make-up off of his shirt without working it into the fabric. Sesshoumaru stiffened a little, reacting to her hands. Her right hand was working on the stain, but her left was simply braced against his chest, and her palm was quickly getting his male nipple distended. Rin looked up at him finally, and Sesshoumaru gasped at how badly her face was bruised now that the make-up had either been washed off or rubbed off. But her eyes were so beautiful, a warm brown color... "Itís not coming off," Rin said meekly. Sesshoumaru swallowed. Yes, but your hands are getting me off...

"Thatís fine. Itíll wash out, Iím sure. Now...which call number do you need?" Sesshoumaru asked, trying to get his mind off of the hand still touching him. Rin looked down at the ground for her slip of paper and quickly found it, removing her hands from his chest. Reading the number out, Rin turned toward the bookshelf and pointed at a red book on the top shelf. Sesshoumaru reached up for it, and Rin bit down on her lower lip when she felt his pelvis brushing her backside. Handing her the book, Rin thanked him with a shaky voice and flipped through the index, trying to remember what it was she was looking for. Seeing it listed, Rin was about to turn and pick up her other book, but Sesshoumaru already had it in his hand.

"Are you researching for the group project already? Itís not due until November," Sesshoumaru asked, looking at the title of the book. Rin blushed, gently pulling the book from his hands.

"My father always told me that I should get my work done early," Rin said, setting the books on a clear space in the shelves and digging through her shoulder bag for her make-up compact.

"Your father, huh? ...Rin, what do you want to do about this?" Sesshoumaru asked, watching her re-apply her make-up and feeling his anger rising again. Rin seemed to have realized that he was now thoroughly immersed in her personal life and looked at him behind her compact mirror.

"Father says that heís going to take a two-week break after his current case is over. I...think I might confront him about getting some help after he has had a week off to cool down. After that, though...I donít know what to do." Rin closed her compact, dropping it back into her purse and taking a deep breath. Rin then picked up the two books from the shelf and looked up at her teacher, whose hazel eyes were inciting a riot inside her chest. "IóI have to be home in twenty-five minutes, so I need to check these out now."

Mr. Hakkaku seemed to snap out of it and reached down to close his jacket, thus hiding the make-up stains on his shirt. Rin waited for him, watching his fingers and wishing those fingers would unbutton her own clothing. What are you thinking?! Heís your teacher! Rin couldnít help but secretly imagine Mr. Hakkaku putting his hands on her breasts again, though, and turned towards the circulation desk once he was finished. The librarian was quick and efficient, checking out the two books to Rin and sending her on her way. As Rin and Sesshoumaru left the building, he set his hand on her shoulder and turned to ask,

"How are you getting home?" Rin blushed from the warmth of his hand, but pointed to the payphones sitting near the parking lot.

"I was going to call a cab. I did it a lot last year. Father didnít want me driving yet since it worries himó" Rin stopped upon seeing the look on Mr. Hakkakuís face brought on by the mention of her father. Her hand fell back to her side.

"Iíll give you a ride home. Itíll save you some cab fare. Sound good?"

"Sure. Itís not that far." Sesshoumaru had the nagging feeling that he wanted to hold her hand as they walked to his car. Glad that he had just washed it, he unlocked her side and then walked around to his own, feeling awkward for opening and holding the door for her. Rin gave a direction once in a while on the way to her home, but otherwise, they didnít speak. The situation was still a little too tense. Pulling up into the circle drive, Sesshoumaru thought to himself that being a lawyer in this city must be lucrative because Rin lived in a palace. Yet her father was so was too tragic to be believed. "Thanks for the ride, Mr. Hakkaku." Rin was about to open the door when Sesshoumaru spoke.

"Would you mind if I asked for your phone number, Rin? I want to speak to your father about something," he began, but he was cut off before he could further explain.

"Please donít tell him you know! Heíll be furious with you! And with me! Pleaseó"

"Rin, Iím not going to tell your father that I know. I just want to tell him that Iím starting a research project and Iím going to ask for your help, meaning youíll be staying late at the school almost everyday." Rin sat there for a moment with her mouth open, not sure where this came from. Sesshoumaru was sorely tempted to kiss her.

"Uh...uhm...what research project?" Sesshoumaru leaned forward, but then clenched his fist, forcing himself to stop. Jesus, can you be so tempting? Clearing his throat, Sesshoumaru explained the projectís main purpose of exploring the histories of local legends. It was going to involve road trips and a few hours at the high school and public libraries. "Why are you researching local legends?" Rin asked, surreptitiously checking his carís clock.

"The subject fascinates me...and itís more fun to research with another person," Sesshoumaru said, hiding his real reason. He actually just wanted to get Rin out of her fatherís house for a little while, give her some fun, and help her escape his wrath if he couldóat least until Rin could confront her father. And Sesshoumaru wanted to be there when she did.

"Oh...well, I think I have time for that, so if father is all right with it then...I better go. I have to be inside soon. Dinner is probably getting cold." Rin gripped her book-bag tighter and opened the car door, throwing back a small smile as she walked to her front door. Her father was in the dining room, having started his meal.

"How much was the fare?" he asked, gesturing towards her plate, which was still steaming. He must have re-heated it. Rin set down her bag and sat down in the chair. She hadnít eaten since breakfast and was starving.

"My teacher gave me a ride home, so I didnít have to take a cab. I left the fare money on the hallway table." Rin knew it would be nice like this for a few days, long enough for her to heal. And then his anger would build up again. After her mother died, it was only a month before he started hitting her in order to get his grief out. Father must have a lot of grief.

"Oh, you can keep the money, Rin. Buy yourself something nice next time Miss Yaki takes you out to the mall." He shoveled in some more food, ending the conversation. Rin nodded, eating her food in silence.

I have a break now...three or fours days...before it happens again.

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