Kiss-Fist Means 'I Love You' by cakeiton


I don't own anything Inuyasha.


The world was hazy. Time was an illusion. Simple pleasures such as being clean, eating a full meal, and body autonomy were distant memories. There was only Rin and what she needed.

The lack of sunlight outside was his only true indicator of the early morning hour. Sesshoumaru felt semi-lucid, his body rising from the bed on its own, as if it had always been this way, as if he had a choice either way.

"Your turn, I handled the last shift," he joked to the empty side of the bed. Many times, he had daydreamed about the moments that would never be. The stressed, groggy bickering as they cared for their baby. The sardonic jokes and hormonal mood swings. He would never hear her groan and drag herself out of bed. She would never rightfully gripe about her aching breasts or laundry or diapers. She would never turn her tired eyes to little Rin and have them light up, her protests shifting to coos and praise. They would never celebrate over Rin's little triumphs together. She was never given the chance and it still felt wrong not to have her there. So, sometimes, he spoke to her.

It did not hurt to do so, which he really thought it would. He did not pretend she was there, just tried to correct a horrible wrong, fruitless as it was.

Sometimes, he would reach over for her in the  middle of the night to pull her close, as was their custom before. Those times did hurt.

Rin's cries began to become more insistent and he shook his head, trying to clear the fog. His feet shuffled to the kitchen to start warming her formula then went to her crib, leaning most of his weight over the edge. He wiggled the remaining part of his left arm against the side to support her as his hand snaked underneath to pick up the small, wiggling bundle.

Every night her cries were stronger. Sure, it felt like she was sucking his own life force for her own gain, but he would happily comply if that were the case. It meant she herself was getting stronger, yes, but her distress seemed to grow since they came home as well. He could not figure out why. 

Sesshoumaru changed her, leaving the pink zip-up pajamas off, and unsuccessfully tried to swaddle her. The blanket bunched around her shaking limbs as she grew more and more upset and insistent. He frowned, then abandoned the blanket all together.

He did not coo or speak softly her way. He knew she could not hear him anyways, and he thought it would be insulting to try. Again, he leaned over to position the small baby by his shoulder, then used his hand to lift her up, propping her high in his chest, and began to bounce. 

Even with the gentle motion, she did not calm. He had learned early on that if she got too upset she would not eat, which would not bode well for either of them getting any more sleep. The timer on her bottle warmer clicked off, and in his daze of exhaustion and noise, Sesshoumaru said, "Rin, it is ready."

His voice cracked, raspy from the days upon days of disuse, and it was unsettling to hear it. He sounded ready to break. Rin, however, seemed to respond.

It was slight, but he could have sworn while he was considering the rough edge of his voice, that the little girl had held her breath in response to it.

He listened for it again, but when he fell silent she cried loudly.

"Rin, what is wrong?"

Again, her cries dimmed.

Sesshoumaru's brows furrowed. He knew logically that she would be unable to hear him, but he could not disregard the reaction.

He cleared his throat then kept talking, speaking about nothing important. He counted his steps to the kitchen. Told her that the formula was not too hot. Asked if she was ready. With each sentence her cries lessened, until she was just taking in big, shaky breaths as she calmed.

It wasn't until he positioned to feed her, removing her from his shoulder, did he understand.

She had not heard him. She had felt him. Pressed closed to his chest, his low voice has vibrated through her, connecting her to him. He cradled her against the remaining upper arm of his left side, and kept her body pressed to him as he offered the bottle.  He felt shamed for talking to someone who wasn't there instead of the person that was.

"I did not realize you wanted me to talk," he said in a way of an apology. "I am sorry, little one. I just do not know what to say."

Rin greedily drank from the bottle, her still infant eyes barely able to focus on anything more than a few inches from her face.

He brought her closer, her soft, chubby skin against his chest as they made skin-to-skin contact. "We will figure out a way to talk more. I promise."

Soon, she was back over his shoulder for a burp. Since Rin's release, they had stayed inside. When he needed groceries, he had them delivered. When he needed air, they opened the windows. The prospect of going outside grew more daunting the more he avoided it. There were too many questions he asked himself that he would not be able to handle others. He did not want to face their inquiries, or face how he would answer them...

He did not want their inquisitive looks or unsolicited advice of strangers. Their interest did not reflect true concern, but curiosity, and Sesshoumaru did not have the internal fortitude or the social aptitude to placate them. She was a preemie. She could not hear them. He was not babysitting for mom, he was the father. Mom was not taking a day off, she was no longer with them. He did not want to catch their not-so-careful stares at his missing arm. He did not want to see the question that danced in their eyes...

How was supposed to do it on his own?

Because he was not too sure either.

He knew that he did not have to be alone. Inuyasha had been there when he was called. Friends of his late wife had texted and dropped things off. One even planned the funeral, as he was in no shape to do so. He still struggled with reaching out, as if admitting the need for help automatically made him a failure. Yes, he knew this wasn't true, but he kept putting off accepting it. He had always done so, and he discovered trying to change himself while everything else in his life had been uprooted exceptionally difficult.

So, he would tell himself, 'Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will reply to some people. Tomorrow I will call. Tomorrow, I will let someone else in. But, I can handle this today.'

He looked down at the sweet girl held close to him, felt her melt into his arm and slowly drift back to sleep, and promised, "Tomorrow, I will. Today, it is just us."

It was late morning when he woke again and Sesshoumaru felt like he could sleep for a millennia more. In their quiet, dimly lit room and listened for Rin stirring in her crib across the way. She was on her back, her round stomach moving up and down with each sleepy breath, and a tension eased within him. He rolled over to retrieve his phone, the habit his wife had tried to break sticking to him again. The blinking indicator light had become white noise to him at this point, and he mainly used it for the time, order delivery, and web searching hundreds of questions about infants a day.

Rising from the bed, he took the phone and baby monitor with him to the kitchen for some much deserved coffee and a moment of autonomy.

It was instinct that kept him walking softly and moving as silently as possible. He even winced when the empty mug clattered against the counter, but of course, it wouldn't wake her. The phone laid on the counter, blinking away as he poured his coffee and enjoyed the first hot sip of it. It seemed like a lifetime ago when he was able to enjoy a cup while it was still hot.

His cell phone lit up again. An incoming call this time, and he groaned at the caller.

Sesshoumaru traded the almost full mug for the phone. He had promised Rin last night that he would allow others in, but he was not expecting to have to talk to this person first.

"Father," he said as a greeting.

"Oh good!" the boisterous man on the other end said. "You're up."

The line went dead. Barely awake and confused, Sesshoumaru stared down at the device and almost jumped at the knocking on the door.

It was too sudden. He was not ready to actually face someone who would most certainly judge any sort of weakness. His father was not a bad man, but one who prided himself on the strength of his family. Running his long fingers through his hair, attempting to detangle and put himself together as fast as possible, he went to answer the door.

"Sesshoumaru!" his father said loudly, then frowned. "My god, my boy, you look like hell."

"A pleasure, as always," he responded, moving so that the man could come through the door.

The older man clapped his hand over Sesshoumaru's shoulder, then did a double take to ensure he had not grabbed onto the injured one. His father's smile of relief bit into his own pride.

"I have been calling and trying to get in contact with you. I am starting to think you have been avoiding me." After taking off his boots, the man went into the main living area and toured around uninvited. He could see his thinly veiled derision as he noticed the unfolded laundry on the couch, the takeout containers by the fridge, and the general entropy that came with having children.  "Looks like you have your hands full here." This time, his father did not catch the mistake, and continued through the place as if looking for a place to rest that was worth accommodating him. 

"We are managing," he answered.

"And we are worried about you," he countered. "We have not seen you since the funeral."

Sesshoumaru fought the urge to roll his eyes at the word 'We'. He had never been close with Izyori, had never wanted to be, and certainly did not care for her concern now. "I've had other things to attend to." He took a long pull from his coffee, now lukewarm.

"Of course, now, where is my granddaughter? It is a crime that I have not been able to see her yet."

He bristled. "Did the circumstances of her birth inconvenience you?"

The cluelessly callous man waved his empty hand dismissively. "Don't start up with that. You know that is not what I meant."

"She is sleeping."

"Ah," his father responded, not hiding his disappointment. "So, any improvement on her hearing? You know, those tests aren't always accurate when they are young. There is a chance she can-"

Sesshoumaru cut him off. "Is there a particular reason you came by?" he asked pointedly, his eyes glancing at the package in his other hand.

With that, the older man held up a large manilla envelope and sighed. "Straight to the point, as always." The thick envelope was tossed on the counter between them. The motion of it trailed in Sesshoumaru's overly tired eyes and it stopped only a few inches from him. "The lawyers are finished fighting over her life insurance policy."

"I did not realize there was much to fight about."

"You know these types," his father responded with a shrug. "Quick to take your money, never to pay out."

Sesshoumaru stared at it, his frown deepening. Then, the tiniest sound echoed through the monitor. His father brightened. Sesshoumaru's gloom hovered closer to him.

"I can get her," the new grandfather said, already heading towards the bedroom.

"No!" Sesshoumaru stopped him, moving faster than he thought his exhausted body had the energy for. "I will. Wash your hands, we will be out in a minute."

No one else had seen her yet. Suddenly, all of his foreboding and anxiety was becoming clear. He was not worried about strangers judging him. He wanted to protect Rin from it. He has handled scrutiny and disapproval before. He was above it. The vulnerability he felt from losing his arm had weakened his confidence, but had also masked his real concern until now. Peoples' opinions did not affect him, but Rin was better than him. She was too sweet and too strong to have to deal with the ignorant 'well meaning' advice and comments of others. He had to protect her from it. Needed to. Her life should not have to come with a disclaimer to why she was valid just because there were things different about her.

He gathered her close to himself and tried to steady his breathing while she squirmed against him. He had panicked while she was in the NICU. He had fretted over her recovery and had been nervous about taking care of her alone at home. Now, this was a new phase; introducing her to the world.

He did not want his father to be the first. Oddly, he was suddenly wishing Inuyasha was there, even if he got on better with their sire than Sesshoumaru ever had. They were very similar, where he had taken after his mother.

The thought sobered him. She was another person he longed to be here. His wife and his mother both deserved to have this moment, to hold their first child and grandchild respectively. They should have had the opportunity to spoil the girl beyond redemption. To have girl's days and hard talks and the bonding that seemed so special and so unapproachable between women. 

Holding Rin now, he knew she deserved anything in the world, and he could not offer what she would need the most.

Swinging the door to his room open with his foot, he came back into the room as composed as he could manage at the moment. The lack of sleep and constant vigilance had frayed his nerves and lowered his standard for the time being, but as he got closer to his father he was becoming keenly aware of how he must have appeared.

His dark sweatpants most assuredly had a spit-up stain or two. His hair, though tied back, must have looked like a greasy nest of tangles. He had no shirt on and was in need of a shower. The bags under his dry eyes felt puffy and stung whenever he blinked. Sesshoumaru waited for comment from his father, and when none came, he dared to look him in the eyes.

But the older man was not looking at Sesshoumaru at all. The wide smile and hopeful brightness in his eyes was shocking to see. He sat on the couch and held out eager arms, almost giddy.

Still not sure if he was ready to share her with the world yet, Sesshoumaru gently placed her in his hold.

His father looked so at ease holding Rin. So practiced and confident. "There she is!" he announced softly down at the baby. She kicked out, beginning her normal fussing cues for a bottle, and looked around unfocused. She yawned, cooing loudly afterwards, and Sesshoumaru watched the elder man melt.

"Well done, my boy," he said, still staring at Rin. 

A weight dropped in his stomach. Whether it was relief or shock, the acknowledgement had pulled the rug out from under him. He did not hate the feeling, but was more unsure of what to do with it.

"I will need to prepare her a bottle. Are you okay with her?"

He scoffed through his unrelenting smile. "Of course we are! Aren't we, Rin?" He had no second thoughts about speaking to her, and Sesshoumaru got the sense that it was more for his own sake than for the girl's. He seemed desperate for the interaction.

His eyes did not leave the two for more than a moment while he sanitized the bottle, measured formula, and got it up to temperature. When he returned to their side, his father held out a hand as if to take it.

Sesshoumaru frowned. "I will feed her."

"Nonsense," he responded, missing the severity of his son's tone. "I might be out of practice, but I am an old hand at this." His charming smiled stretched, assured of his eldest's answer.

"No," the younger man countered. He watched the steady arm that cradled his child and the outstretched one awaiting the bottle. Both whole. Both strong and confident. He resented them. "I can manage."

"Come now, this isn't about managing, it is about letting someone give you a break! And, about humoring your old man."

Sesshoumaru's displeasure deepened, holding the bottle out of the other man's reach and felt adrenaline further souring his mood. "She is mine." Perhaps it was because his brain was only halfway functional, but the logic of the statement made sense to him. It wasn't until he said it out loud that its meaning could be seen as overly possessive.

His father's arm dropped and he looked, really looked, at his first born for a long moment. Rin was beginning to cry, angry that she had been denied her normal comforts, and the new grandfather bounced her instinctually. "Well then," he said, a little softer. "Let me make some room."

Carefully, he scooted over to one side of the couch, silently inviting Sesshoumaru to join them. His scowl remained, but he sat, securing the bottle between his knees, and snaked his arm around Rin.

As soon as she was against him again, he eased. It was unsettling and welcomed at the same time. Such a little thing had so much power over him. He could only be assured of her safety and health if she was with him. The tension in his shoulders lessened and Rin took the bottle eagerly. 

His father looked on at them, his smile returning. "Now there is a girl who knows what she wants."

Sesshoumaru almost rolled his eyes. "She is merely a few days old."

Toga again waved a dismissive hand, a move he had always hated. It was as if whatever he said, no matter his knowledge on a matter, was not comparable to the opinion his father held. "Nonsense, you can tell. You might not be able to see it until they are older, but all of their personality is there already. Why, with you, I swear you are the same today as you were the day we brought you home."

He was silent for a while. They never really discussed matters such as him as a child. Usually, those conversations would lead to ones about what went wrong, and the contemptuous atmosphere would surround their interactions for months afterwards.

Sesshoumaru swallowed hard and asked, "Are you implying that I am being childish?"

The hearty laugh that filled the room jarred his half-lucid state of mind. "Your words, not mine, Sesshoumaru," Toga joked before settling and reaching over to play with one of Rin's bare feet. "You were a quiet child, but obstinate. Oh, you could have stared down demons and have them scurrying away, I tell you." He continued to bounce her chubby foot as the two men sat together, learning to be comfortable together in this new situation, and listened to the sucking and bubbling sounds as the formula ran low.

"She is strong, Sesshoumaru."

"Yes," he responded. He expected it to sound bored. Instead, it was reverent. Would he ever get tired of praising her?

"Are you going to get those retests done?"

The warm feeling soured. "Leave it alone, father. Do not insinuate that I have not done everything I can for her myself."

The foot stopped bouncing. "I only want to help."

"No, you want to try and fix her. To fix us." His glare deepened. "We do not require you to fix us. If you truly wished to help, then perhaps ask what I might need instead of interjecting where you are not welcome."

Toga's wide eyebrows knitted together. "Perhaps you should ask for what you need then I would not have to 'interject' myself."

As the tension rose between them, he could feel Rin's calm dwindle and her tiny limbs tensed. 

"If I needed anything from you, I would ask," Sesshoumaru continued, "Like with the insurance."

With a loud huff, Toga rolled his eyes and squared his shoulders to his son. "And you are acting exceedingly grateful for my help. Is it too much to ask for a grandfather to spend time with his grandchild? Or to ask about her health?" He looked to the stump of Sesshoumaru's arm. "Or yours?"

Sesshoumaru bristled and felt his overly tired eyes sting ad head throb.  Rin tore her mouth away from the bottle, a stream of formula running down her chin and onto his lap, and her eyes filled with tears. He scowled at his father, clearly blaming him for upsetting her.

Toga lifted himself off the couch with another roll of his eyes. "See? Obstinate, just like when you were a child."

'Just like Mother' Sesshoumaru immediately thought, but kept it to himself. He positioned Rin over his shoulder and watched his father retrieve his boots.

"Do not expect me to stay a stranger, son," he called from the front door. "And do not expect to be able to do this on your own."

Had he been more lucid, Sesshoumaru was sure he could have come up with a biting retort. However, he had just stared until the older man was out the door, relieved to finally be alone and uncomfortable with the thought of it at the same time.

After a little while, he was able to calm Rin down enough to clean her up for the day. She laid on her stomach in the living area, protesting the position with small grunts and bubbly coos, and Sesshoumaru finally retrieved his now ice cold cup of coffee off the counter.

He downed it in one pull, grimacing at the bitter, gritty taste. The mug landed on the counter with a hard clunk as he stared at his phone.

Of course he could not do it on his own, but dammit he was going to determine who would help him.


The first call he made was not the one he expected himself to. Initially, he wanted to reach out to Inuyasha, but the visit from their father left a bad taste in his mouth. Sesshoumaru knew his half-brother would have heard all about how 'difficult' he had been toward their old man and how 'unreasonable' it was for him to be alone at this time.

He did not want to be alone, but the person he wanted to share it with was gone.

Sesshoumaru barely remembered the funeral. He had just been released from the hospital and was still on a regular regiment of painkillers for his arm at the time. Rin had been through a tough touch-and-go the night before as well. The friend who had organized everything, Kikyo, also drove him to the service. There were far too many people for his liking, and they all wanted to share their grief with him. Sesshoumaru found that wildly unfair. He could barely keep it together with his own, why should he be burdened to know of others? Theirs could not compare to his, anyhow, and seemed so nonconsequential. He could not even remember who all was there, just that there were too many and they felt like invaders.

He did remember the flowers. He had stared at them most of the time. The arrangements were classy and mostly understated, with wild sprays of magenta blooms that seems to capture how she had colored his life.

Now, as he began the phone call, he could smell those flowers and was able to fully feel how grateful he was for all of Kikyo's previous help.

"Kikyo, hello," he greeted. " I was hoping you would be able to assist me tonight."

Sesshoumaru listened to her steady, solemn voice on the other end. She was always a more serious person, much like himself. His wife had always seemed to attract those types to her.

"Seven is more than acceptable. Thank you."

Rin was fed up with her tummy time exercises and was letting him know with increased wailing. Rolling her over, Sesshoumaru smiled down at the fussy babe.

"I believe we have some cleaning up to do."



This went through the quickest of edits, so sorry if there are mistakes. Normally, I comb through a chapter over and over again trying for 'nerely perfect', but I am starting to feel like that is getting in the way of just writing? So, while it might have more pronouns and less environmental influences/themes than I normally like, I still feel like this gets the emotional point across I was going for.

Mostly, I just hope you like it. :)


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