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Sesshoumaru doesn't think he’s ever seen hands quite so small. 

 

All of her little fingers can wrap completely around three of his own, the tips barely touching, and the sight makes something in his throat horribly tight. He isn’t sure if the tightness is good, but he thinks that it may be, thinks that he might like it, and welcomes it with open arms when looking at her gets to be too much to handle by himself.

 

Her tiny, tiny hands are fat and scarred and multiple shades darker than his own, but he loves to look at them anyway. They stand out starkly against the white of his kimono when she fists her trembling little hands in his sleeves, staring up at him with hollow, tear-filled eyes, darker than the night and so, so sad. 

 

(When she gets like this, Sesshoumaru does not hesitate to pull her into his lap and hold her there as she sobs, fingernails scratching at and tickling his collarbone as she tries to find something, anything, to hold onto, desperate for comfort. He does not hesitate to rock her, slowly, side to side, until she’s calm again, safe and secure in his arms because she knows that he will always, always, always protect her.)

 

She often has dirt under her chipped nails.

 

He notices this when she runs her fingers over his much larger hands, babbling about the stars and their meaning, and tracing the shapes of constellations into his palms. He notices this when she’s holding so, so tightly to his hakama, deeply asleep as flames flicker faintly in the dying fire. He notices this when she’s speaking animatedly about bugs and bouncing in place, splattered with mud up to her knees and in desperate need of a bath. He notices this when she holds her hands out for him to look, look! palms up, and there’s a tiny green frog clicking anxiously within them, but she’s grinning so largely and so brightly that he can’t bear to tell her to put it back where she found it because her human oils are harmful to its weak amphibian belly. 

 

He notices this, too, when she’s walking beside him, his steps slowed considerably so that she can keep up, and he’s rhythmically massaging his thumb in circles over her cracked knuckles. 

 

(Sesshoumaru wishes that she would never, ever let go, and that he could wrap her up in a cloud and keep her there, safely out of harm's way and happy because she can see the sun, the moon, the stars, that much closer.)

 

He notices how puny her tiny, human hands are the most when he’s gifting her expensive new kimonos, fit for the princess she is, obi folded neatly on top, and she’s grinning up at him with so much affection that he doesn’t know what to do, and her dark skin is soft, and her knuckles are no longer cracked, nails no longer yellowed at the base.

 

He notices, of course, when she cleans her hands after he agrees to stay for dinner, even though he doesn’t really eat human food, and her skin is rubbed red and raw as she serves him a bowl of poorly-made stew that he swallows in three gulps and eats an entire pot of, even though it isn’t very good, because he loves her and her hands and everything they make. 

 

(Sesshoumaru will leave after dinner, like he always does, and hover close for another day or so. Rin will always wear the kimono the next day and get it dirty, because she doesn’t understand that some fabrics aren't meant to weather farming, and it makes him smile because he loves her, and he loves her muddy little hands, much, much smaller than his own and caked in dirt and moisturizing salve and vegetable juice.

 

Sesshoumaru will bring her another dress in a month, this one blue because her wardrobe, vast and fancy for a village this size, is severely lacking in the color. And when he brings it, he will make sure to be wearing his hakama with the purple trim, flowers printed around the hem of his sleeves, and pretend not to notice that they match, because it will delight her to discover this fact herself.

 

He will stay, again, for dinner, and the process will repeat.)