While Kagome was gone...

At first he didn't have much to do. At the very beginning he felt lost, and just did whatever task was placed in front of him without much thought. It was difficult to feel like he had a purpose.

Before Kagome, he was stuck to a tree. So there was that. But even before that, he had been with Kikyou. Not that he was thinking too much about her now, but that had been what was up at the time.

Back then, the miko hadn't totally changed his daily life all that much. He was still struggling to survive everyday, with the Shikon Jewel as his real goal at the end of the day.

But what now? There was no Kikyou, he wasn't spellbound to a tree, Naraku was gone, the Jewel didn't exist, and he no longer had to run away and find a place to stay for the night because he was welcomed here in Keade's village. There was no hunger, no desperation, no real reason to do much of anything. No Kagome...

The first few weeks he spent droningly rebuilding the village. Every hut that was damaged was scraped and reconstructed, and he did a hell of a job from what everyone else told him. He never had so much experience creating homes versus destroying them. He learned a few things, all the while moderately quiet and obedient to the instructions given to him.

He wondered what Kagome would think about the changes. In a little over a month's time, the village was absolutely flourishing. The spring had brought a decent harvest despite the disaster, and the summer was even more bountiful.

Sango and Miroku were married, and the place they built together (with the help of Shippou, Kirara, Kohaku, and himself) was one of the most sturdy and splendid homes. It seemed a bit big for just the two of them, but it wasn't two months later that that changed when Sango discovered she was pregnant.

And it wasn't that he didn't love his friends or Sango, but being around the woman during her pregnancy would drive him insane. She went from calm and collected, and strong, and proud, to really loud and constantly sick and annoyed. Miroku, bless his fucking heart, seemed to deal with it. Actually, he was the only one that could really calm her down, never mind that he was usually the one who set her off... but with her brother around, a round belly, a husband that was surprisingly devoted, and a new place to call home, Sango seemed downright joyous when she wasn't heaving from morning sickness.

Kaede had tried to explain to Inuyasha exactly what Sango was going through, but he ran out covering his ears. Nope, nope nope. He knew well enough how it happened and what was going on, but he refused to hear the details! Especially not when it was about Sango. Sango, for crying out loud!

Maybe if it was Kagome, he'd be more willing to hear her out...

Eventually a shock wave of demons seemed to emerge in nearby towns. Demons who had heard of Naraku's disappearance were looking to become the next new baddy, especially now that the "hanyou and his band of friends" had stopped roaming around the country.

So off Miroku and he went, with the monk sighing in relief when Sango basically threw him out to take care of it and let her breathe. He had been a bit overbearing once he felt the kicking in her stomach. It was like a protective switch flipped in his head, but the taijiya wouldn't take being treated like a frail flower, even if she had found it amusing and sweet at the onset.

At first it gave Inuyasha something to do. It eased to humdrum of village life, and scratched the itch that he had to fight.

But eventually he got bored of that too, especially because the caliber of demons that they faced tended to be extremely poor. They were often weak things that he could exterminate in one hit. Too easy. No fun. It felt like chores. More interesting than building houses and doing repairs, but pretty mindless nonetheless.

He found that every time a demon surfaced, he'd still feel compelled to go after it and eradicate the thing. It wasn't until one day when he was feeling particularly lazy, that it happened.

Sango was nearing the end of her pregnancy, and Miroku was on edge. The village that had requested their aid was a few days away, and with the demon slayer due any day now, her husband was far too apprehensive to leave her side and gamble missing the birth of his first child. Children, he'd find out later.

No, Inuyasha didn't particularly feel like doing anything that day. He knew that he would, and it'd get taken care of, but just as he was about to grumble about putting it off for just a little, a voice popped into his head.

"Inuyasha, you should go and take care of it as fast as possible. There are people getting hurt, and they need you."

It was like being splashed with cold water. Kagome's voice had rung out in his head so clearly, he had thought for a second that she could have been right in front of him, looking at him with serious, yet pleading eyes.

Kagome had never thought about demon extermination as chores. It was always about helping the people.

Like he had caught a second wind, Inuyasha set off and quickly took care of the job, and for the first time since she had left, he actually felt good about it. Not because it took the edge off his boredom, not because it placated his warrior's spirit, but because he had done something right. He had been this whole time, but this time he felt like there was something more. He had a purpose, and he thought of how Kagome would beam at him if she were walking alongside him then.

The day he came back, the twins were born. Twins. Two little girls, all red and puffy looking.

Miroku looked at their chubby, unmarred hands and called them perfect. Sango smiled all teary eyed after everything that had happened, relieved at Miroku's reaction knowing that he had for so long wanted a son to carry on his legacy. But the monk was just overjoyed, so much so that it confused Inuyasha. He didn't know what was going on with Sango either; some torrent of emotions from the labor, the birth, the babies, her life and husband. For a woman with sweat all over her and hair sticking to her face, Inuyasha thought Sango had never looked more happy, nor more exhausted.

He felt relatively calm during the whole thing, a little grossed out at the smell. Actually, he was kind of awestruck by the whole ordeal. He'd never had anyone close to him produce life before. Lives, in this case.

When Miroku offered one of his girls for Inuyasha to hold, he was completely taken aback. He stared at the little bundle as if it would explode if he touched it.

"Go ahead, Inuyasha," Sango said encouragingly from her bed.

Miroku gently placed the baby in his arms, while Keade gave him advice on how to properly hold her. The hanyou didn't realize he had been holding his breath the entire time, until he heard the monk say, "I'll take back my daughter if you're just going to pass out. Relax, Inuyasha."

He'd never held a babe in his life. Not once. He hadn't known anyone that would have one. Women tended to cradle their kids protectively around him, shield them away from him. Now he had friends who actually trusted him with their newborn. He felt he hadn't held anything more frail in his whole life. The last time he had ever held anything so precious had been the last time he had Kagome in is arms.

His eyes began to feel hot and wet, because he couldn't help but feel overwhelmed.

If only Kagome could see him now; see the life she gave to him, because he knew that he couldn't be here, holding the child of his friends, if it hadn't been for her. Kagome, who gave him these friends in the first place.

Quickly, he gave Miroku his child back, and with a wrinkle of his nose for convincing, he muttered something about needing to leave because the scent was overwhelming, and he dashed out before anyone could utter a word otherwise, especially the kit!

The girls grew up, and Inuyasha wondered just how the hell he ended up being the babysitter and their favorite playmate. Play toy, he thought unamused as the girls soon became mobile enough to grab at him. It only got worse when they learned how to climb on him and fell in love with his ears.

Ugh, they were brutal. He could already tell they had the strength of their mother, the way they'd yank at him. Fucking hurt!

And while he did have, somehow, the patience it took to handle the twins, he didn't have the heart to pull them off and scold them properly. His excuse was that they'd probably grab hold of him somehow anyways, and he'd end up hurting himself trying to pry them off. Everyone knew that Inuyasha just did not want to make them cry. Sure, it'd be murder on his sensitive ears, god those girls could wail, but he liked being their favorite. He liked that there were two beings in this world that somehow only adored him, and thought nothing bad of him whatsoever.

Once Sango was pregnant with their third child, Inuyasha's babysitting duty doubled, especially because Kohaku had left. What a smart boy. Their home was happy, but crowded and busy, and the young teenager wasn't super fond of how loud it constantly was. The girls babbled, Miroku was... Miroku, and throw in a stressed and now pregnant sister? He was out of there.

He took Kirara and said he'd be off to get stronger, maybe rebuild their old home as repentance for what he'd done under Naraku. He'd help with demon problems across the land, to the farther places that Inuyasha and Miroku could not reach easily by traveling on foot alone.

Sango was saddened to see her brother go, but it was apparent she was also proud of him. In his childhood, she knew he was a gentle boy. He wanted to avoid fighting and was nervous. Now he was healthy again, and strong, and so skilled. Now he wanted to fight, not for himself, but to help others. It was the heart of their mission as taijiya.

Inuyasha wondered if Sango would raise her kids in the same way she and Kohaku were raised. He pondered when they'd begin training, and what they'd do about weapons. He was more excited for that period of their lives than he was about the hyper, explorative little mobile bundles they were now. But he'd cherish the time he had while they were both small enough to fit in each of his arms.

Ah, if only they'd stay tucked in there instead of roaming over his shoulders with their tiny hands and feet, treating him like a personal playground.

"Inu!" they gurgled excitedly.

It had been their fourth word.

And he wouldn't hear the end of it from anyone. How precious, they'd all coo. It was only when Shippou came back that he called him out on it.

"You're a plaything."

Earlier that day, the runt had even outed him out to Keade, telling her about how he'd visit the well every three days just incase.

"Once every three days? What amazing tenacity..." she mumbled in astonishment. How embarrassing. Everyone already knew he missed Kagome. He actually confided in Miroku about the whole ordeal before, but that was a long time ago. He had seen the concern on Sango's face, and he endured the pestering questions of an incredibly nosey Rin.

Yeah, yeah, so he checked on the well every three days. So he thought about Kagome every night, sometimes getting lost looking at the stars and wondering about her until the sun rose. Sometimes, though he was happy with his life now, he felt lonely. As much as she had done to build him a life here, he had thought it long ago that being by Kagome's side had become his home.

Alright, he missed her. So what?

When she had been over on this side, her family had missed her, cried over her. It was safe in Kagome's time, and on most days he could content himself on that thought. Maybe if he lived long enough, he would see her again... He dreamt about it sometimes... that the well worked and he could leap through it. Kagome would be in her room, and he would open her window and find her there. He could still hear her voice in his head. He cherished everything he had that connected them still... Goshinboku, the beads around his neck, the well. He thought though, that nothing could honor her memory more than caring for the people around him... the friends that he made because of her.

Still, it didn't mean he had to like it when- Ow!

More cries of "Inu! Inu!" came from the merry girls as they tugged, Ow!, on his ears simultaneously.

"Hey," he grumbled. "Do something about the twins."

Miroku, helping his wife with the laundry, turned and saw what was happening. Nonchalantly he replied with no real fire, "Not the ears, kids." As if he cared.

Sango did, however, give him a heartfelt, "Sorry, Inuyasha." She did feel a bit guilty, but there was no one that the girls adored more than their hanyou uncle. Even if she pulled them off, they'd scramble right back to him anyways. Really, she thought with a pout, He ought to just tell them no. But she knew that Inuyasha loved her daughters just as much as they did him.

The hanyou wanted to sigh as the girls continued on with their play, not relenting in the least with their squeals and squirming about.

And that was his life. It was a peaceful day with his makeshift family, and everything was normal.

But then he caught the scent of something in the air...