Disclaimer: All rights to Inuyasha and any other related material belong to Rumiko Takahashi, not me.

Summary: Inuyasha cheats and winds up becoming a father-to-be. He's faced with giving up his entire life, including his long-time girlfriend Kikyo, to become the father that he never had. He's too afraid to tell the truth, but will the mother of his child keep things interesting? Inuyasha/Kagome, rated M for mature content.

Apologies for the late chapter. My friend came to Japan and we did our trip, which was fun but exhausting!

Thanks to all who read and reviewed! Onto the next chapter (which also gets a lemon/lime warning).

Feedback is always appreciated.

Chapter Six: Sweet Dreams are Made of This

"I-Inuyasha?" she stammered, completely trapped by his violent gaze. She knew this look. She remembered it – it was something he called being "out of control". How exactly an out of control half-demon had ended up in her bed – again – after she clearly remembered going to bed alone last night, she couldn't say. What was more important was what to do now, if anything could be done.

He responded to her stuttered question with a smirk that made the purple marks on his face writhe darkly.

Awareness was coming at her like a freight train now, and she realized some key things. His boxers were pushed down low around his knees, and her panties were moved aside. Her tank had been pulled down to expose her breasts to the cool morning air. She was absolutely and thoroughly soaked. And Inuyasha was not only fully immersed in his unpredictable demon energy…he was inside her.

He seemed content she was awake; the nostalgic rumbling in his chest was vibrating through her whole ribcage. He dipped his head down and nipped her neck as a mild punishment, but soon after followed with the soft pad of his tongue. He soothed both the spot he had bitten and the rest of her neck. "Inuyasha," she breathed. It felt good, what he was doing. It was bringing back memories of the night they'd slept together and he'd gotten her pregnant. She never thought she'd get to feel his touch again. But how and why was he here? She needed answers.

"Inuyasha, stop," she said firmly, letting the annoyance creep into her voice. Despite how good it felt, this was the same man who'd called her a mistake and had been so careless to her at her family's shrine. Did he expect her to melt in his arms after he snuck into her apartment in the middle of the night? Undressed her while she was sleeping? 'It's not exactly like you were pushing him away Kagome, unconscious or not!' she reminded herself.

She felt him freeze at her command, his whole form stiffening as he pulled away to look at her.

The look on his face was absolutely murderous. 'Shit…maybe telling a dog-demon to stop when he's in full-on instinct mode wasn't a good idea…' she thought. But damn it, she couldn't just let him do this, even if every nerve of her body was still on fire.

"What the fuck did you say?"

Refusing to be bullied by him she began pushing at his chest with her hands, somewhat fruitlessly, but it got her point across. "Get. Off. Me," she growled, sounding like a half-demon herself. "GET OFF!" she screamed again when he didn't move.

The half-demon above her began to shake, his shoulders quaking with emotion or effort, she couldn't tell. His head was bowed, eyes hidden by a fringe of white bangs. He put both hands on the bed beside her, digging his claws into the sheets and effectively shedding through sheets, comforter, and mattress all. 'He's mad…he's really really mad. Crap…' Kagome was beginning to believe the half-demon wasn't aware of what was really happening. The demon she remembered would never force himself on her. But this one was acting damn appalled that she would even think to refuse him.

'Did I make some kind of weird agreement in my sleep? What is going on?'

The half-demon slowly pulled himself away and out of her, and she relaxed a fraction. Not only could she think better when she wasn't burning with desire from the inside out, but she was relieved that he was coming to his senses. From what she knew of demons and sexuality, there were a lot of unspoken rules and roles – who took control, who was the boss, who gave commands. It made sense that they would be particularly strong in a dog demon. But Kagome couldn't really care about that in the face of what was happening. She wouldn't be pushed around by some psycho alpha male.

He slowly sat up, allowing herself to free her legs from beneath him and kneel across from him. She faced him, but his eyes were still hidden from view. "Inuyasha?" she whispered.

He slowly raised his eyes to meet hers, and she gasped, her hands covering her mouth in shock when their gazes met. She was in trouble. Deep deep trouble.

"Mate," he ground out. Somehow his voice seemed deeper, darker, and more alien than ever before. Like it was coming from his very soul, and the blackest part. She felt the timbre of it surround her, and the word resounded in her ears mate, mate, MATE, MATE! She fell forward on her hands, her breaths coming out in pants. 'Mate? What does that mean and why…why does that word seem to have power over me?'

"You will learn your place," he growled slowly, advancing on her.

'My PLACE?!' she thought indignantly, but she couldn't find her voice to scream. Her body wouldn't move. It stayed half-bowed, hands and knees, like she was begging for forgiveness, like she wanted to accept whatever punishment was coming. Not only that…but her arousal was coming back full force, so powerful it made her legs start to shake. 'Why am I reacting this way?' she wondered.

The half-demon grabbed her roughly and turned her around so he was pressed into her from behind. He quickly shredded what was left of her clothes, not bothering to sweep them from the bed. Leaning over her, he growled into her ear, in a voice as strong as a binding spell, "Stay on your hands and knees, bitch."

Again his words held her still and again they made blood rush hot and tingling all over, concentrating between her legs with enough intensity to make her moan aloud. She lifted her hips more in anticipation, looking back at him with lust-lowered eyelids.

As worked up as she was, as badly as she needed the half-demon back inside her now, as much as she wanted to let go, Kagome felt her mind and heart resisting. Her reactions were primal, instinctual, and from a place deep within that cared little for rationality, or even emotion. Perhaps she couldn't stop her body's frantic craving, and perhaps she couldn't even prevent this half-consensual, half-awake encounter from happening (if she even wanted to prevent it).

But blurred, vague images of her trip to the hospital, of wet pain smearing hotly down her thighs, of dark dreams and anxiety, of abandonment and rejection, began flashing behind her eyelids until they poured quickly down her cheeks, dripping onto what was left of her cotton sheets. She waited tensely, on all fours for the amazing pressure of him inside her body, and the agonizing pressure of him in her heart, but several moments passed and nothing happened. She felt his grip on her hips go slack, his weight on the mattress shift, and heard him release a long, ragged breath.

"Kagome?" he said, his voice absolutely full of guilt and self-loathing and colored with confusion.

Slowly she turned to face him, gathering the tattered sheets to her naked form. With a sigh of relief she noted that his eyes were fading into harmless gold and his face no longer terrified with purple marks as jagged as wounds. He held a hand to his head as control returned. As his demonic energy faded into dormancy, Kagome found her arousal dispersing, as if the two were connected. Reason returned to her, and modesty, and anger.

"Explain yourself," she rasped, sliding away from him on the bed. How did he even know where she lived? How did he get in? Why was he able to control her with a word, and why would he say that word to her? Mate. As far as Kagome knew, "mate" was the strongest term you could give another person in the demon world. Stronger than husband or wife, stronger even than love or duty. Mate was something altogether different, and almost impossible for a human to ever fully understand, with their ever-changing, unreliable views about relationships.

"I-I…I don't know why I'm here…" he stammered, staggering to his feet and hastily gathering the only piece of clothing he seemed to have worn over – a loose pair of black sweatpants. He slid them on over his boxers, his cheeks and chest totally pink with embarrassment. "I'm sorry, I…I didn't…did I…force you?"

The half-demon turned towards her, a wild fear in his eyes, all color drained from his face. Despite her confusion and anger, Kagome couldn't deny it. He didn't force her. What she had thought was a dream – which she now realized wasn't – showed her clearly what had happened. If anything, she had climbed on top of him first, taking exactly what dream-Kagome had wanted. But that still didn't explain why he was really here. Sure, she'd had more than one dream or fantasy about him in the last few months. But she hadn't woken up to him those times either.

This needed talking out. Kagome rose, still clutching the ruined sheet, and walked over to the dresser to grab a change of clothes. Without answering she pulled on an old college-T and shorts, all the while feeling his gaze on her back. When she turned around he hastily looked away.

"Kagome…please. Tell me. Did I force you?"

"Let's go to the dining room. I can't stand to be in here right now."

Wordlessly he nodded and followed her down the hallway and into the tiny dining room. The table was covered with textbooks and half-finished worksheets. They took seats opposite each other, and after a deep, calming breath, Kagome spoke.

"No. You didn't force me, Inuyasha. I thought I was dreaming last night…about us…doing that. I took melatonin before bed to help me sleep. I think I was still a little out of it. I couldn't tell what was reality. I…wanted to do it all. Then I woke up, and realized you were really there and…wanted to stop. Sort of. I'm not sure."

The half-demon didn't answer. He kept his gaze trained on his hands that were clasped together in his lap.

"I need answers, Inuyasha. Look at me."

He lifted his gaze but kept it trained on the space beside her head.

"What were you doing in my house? How do you know where I live? Why did it seem like you had no idea what was happening? Why was I reacting like that?! What is going on?! LOOK AT ME."

Her volume had risen slowly with each question, with each moment he wouldn't look at her face. 'Even now he's rejecting me! Even now he is disgusted by me, even after he was in my bed with me!' His ears were flat to his head, though she wasn't sure if it was guilt or the sheer pain of her voice reaching his eardrums.

"I don't know," he whispered.

Kagome gripped the edge of her seat, hard. She was thoroughly done with this bullshit. No more wistfulness for the night they shared. No more fantasies, no more daydreams, no more yearning for this asshole. What was his problem!

"I…went to bed last night in my own apartment. I woke up here. Hell, I knew I was here. I knew it was you. I knew what we were doin'. But it seemed…right, in my mind, somehow. There was no problem at all. And trust me…if there was a problem, I'd know. I could sense it. This was like…the most natural thing ever. I didn't question it. And then…you started…rubbin' all over me and I let go of my control. I knew I would never hurt you in that state…I'd never do anything you didn't want. But I caught the scent of your tears…it was like you'd doused me with a bucket of 'em. That's when I realized."

Kagome stared at him, mouth open in surprise. "Why...I haven't seen you or done that with you in over a month…more! Why now? Why last night?"

"I don't know. It's like I was drawn here. Instinctually. My body did all the work while my mind was either asleep or…overcome."

"Why would your instincts lead here?" she said, standing up. Her chair slid back noisily, making the half-demon look up at her in surprise. "You don't even know me! You can't just show up here and do all of that and blame it on your stupid instincts!"

The half-demon's ire finally seemed to be rising. He stood, too, facing off against her. "You don't know me either, bitch! Explain why your instincts had you all worked up, throwing yourself at me!"

"Because I actually liked having sex with you, Inuyasha! I thought we both did, 'til you told me what a giant mistake I was," she all but screamed, fists clenched at her sides. She felt tears brewing again, but savagely shoved the weepy emotions away. "What's your excuse, dog-boy?" The half-demon growled at the name, grabbing one wrist and spinning her so she was pressed into the wall and he could glare down into her face. Kagome gulped, his nearness wreaking havoc on her again.

"Keh," he scoffed. "You wanna know my excuse?" There was an unrestrained look in his eyes, and for the first time, Kagome noticed signs of stress in the half-demon's face, like he'd been holding back from something for a long time.

"How about the baby, Kagome? Hmm? How about that?"


Inuyasha watched the shock, the confusion, the anger, and the longing pass over her face as he held her pinned to the wall.

"You knew?" she whispered, her wrist going limp in his grasp, as if he'd sucked the very energy from her marrow.

He stared hard down at her, refusing to speak. He wasn't ready to talk about this. He wasn't ready. But for God's sake! His instincts were refusing to be pushed aside. He woke up fucking her. No…he knew it was her. But in his mind, under the influence of his annoyingly powerful demon instinct it seemed right. Perfect. In that mind frame, Kikyo didn't exist. Their entire relationship was meaningless. All the sweet moments they'd shared. All she'd done for him, when most women wouldn't look his way. She'd bandaged so many old hurts from his childhood. She'd been his first and only and the single most important person in his life for years.

All of it was erased in this girl's presence. And not just because of the life she carried in her now. That was slowly solidifying their bond, yes. But the night they met he'd felt a want like nothing before grip him and toss him roughly in Kagome's direction. She'd completely bewitched him, still was. Even as disgust began to color her gaze, as she realized he'd known about the baby and hadn't said anything, he felt himself wanting her so badly, especially with the way she was pressed helplessly between him and the wall.

"When? How?" she demanded, silver tears swimming in her eyes.

"That time…at your family's shrine," he whispered. "I knew. I heard you talking about it in your room…while you cried."

She squeezed her eyes shut tightly and lowered her head as if she were trying to forget a bad dream. His grip went slack on her wrist, but he continued the contact – had to feel her in front of him.

"Why…" she started to say, but Inuyasha interrupted her.

"Why didn't I say nothin'? Is that what you wanna know?" The accusatory look in her eyes was annoying him, his ire rising with that wounded victim expression settling on her face. "Well let me ask you the same thing, Kagome," he spat her name, feeling all the stress and terror and anxiety building up and threatening to break everywhere, messily. "Why the fuck didn't you tell me?"

She didn't answer. Only stared at him guiltily, sadly, almost as if she were embarrassed for him, the poor half-demon who'd gotten lucky with her and made a mess of things, but who she wanted nothing more to do with. An exotic lay. A rough night of fun with the dangerous beast that could satisfy her twisted desires. That's all it had been, hadn't it? She had no intention of ever telling him or ever asking for his help.

Even though he realized he'd wanted to avoid just that, the realization stung. 'Too good for me,' he thought sarcastically, feeling a hot pain in his chest. 'Too fucking good.' And he meant it. No. He would make these stupid, overprotective, possessive feelings disappear if he had to chain himself down every night. The truth had finally come out, that he'd known, and she seemed downright horrified, no hint of relief in her face that her child's father knew about their existence.

"Forget it," he growled, releasing her.

"No!" she screamed, her small hand hooking his arm. "You can't just walk away! We need to talk about this, Inuyasha."

Turning, a scowl on his face, he crossed his arms and said, "I get it Kagome. I get why you didn't tell me. You don't know me. You were probably pissed at me for taking off after I took your virginity – yeah, don't think I didn't notice. You were drunk – probably too gone to say no to the half-demon. What was it you said? We're crude, rough, and unpleasant?"

"You remember that?" she whispered, hand still clutching his arm like he'd vanish if she even loosened her grip.

"Keh," he scoffed, turning and breaking her human grip anyways. "You don't gotta explain nothin', Kagome. It was a mistake, on both our parts. You just happened to get the lion's share of the consequences."

He glanced back at her, watched her sink back into her chair and put a hand to her forehead.

"Even still," she started, unseeing eyes working out some unknown details far and away in her mind. "Even still. You've known all this time…about me. About your child. And you said nothing?" She looked at him, her gaze holding him like iron bars on prison walls. "You didn't want to know if I…if the baby…was okay? You didn't even want to ask me what my plan was? If I was even going to keep it?"

"Keep it?" he asked, brows furrowing and dark instinct reacting to some tone in her voice. "What to do you mean keep it? You're obviously…aren't you?"

She dropped her gaze to the floor. "Don't think it hasn't crossed my mind."

"Why would you have waited this long?" he whispered, hands starting to shake. "If you weren't going to keep it…wouldn't you have just gotten rid of it already?"

"You have to wait a while before you can do the procedure. Plus…I was weighing my options."

"Was weighing?"

She looked sad. Tired. Hurt. Like she'd all but given up – perhaps on the most important thing of all.

Inuyasha felt his control slipping again as his demon side processed such an unnatural, utterly maddening idea. He imagined some strange doctor, putting his hands all over her, extinguishing his bloodline, taking joy in destroying the abomination that was a half-demon. Metal claws spreading her open, blood freely flowing, and the screams of his pup resounding in his ears almost brought him to his knees with rage. He saw red. Before he knew what he was doing he'd approached her, picked her up, and pinned her to the ground beneath him so she could understand the severity.

"Don't you fucking dare. I won't let you. I'll kill anyone who even tries, bitch. Do you understand me? Do you fucking understand me?!"

She began crying, first little rivers of tears streaking her pale cheeks, until they built, bursting forth, trailing over her lips and chin and neck. She sobbed, her voice crying out her grief, her fear, and her oppression.

"It's not fair," she moaned, pushing his hands off and curling into a ball beneath him. "It's not fair, Inuyasha..." She continued crying, her whole form jerking with the force of it, her eyes red from the strain, tendrils of midnight hair sticking to her face and lips. "You weren't there," she cried. "I could've died. We could've died. And you weren't there."

Coming to his senses at last, he sat back and watched her shake. What had he done? What was he doing? The conflicts between them, the complicated situation, were aggravating his demon blood into resorting to intimidation, violence, and harsh words. Where a mate would usually treat and care for his bitch in the most tender way possible, he was being driven to punishment. Because nothing was reconciled, because he was driven to protect them both, claim them both, but was being pushed away by himself and by Kagome, there was a certain danger and darkness to their interactions.

'It shouldn't be this way,' he lamented, watching the human girl sink lower into despair.

He saw himself, for a moment, through her eyes. A half-demon she'd slept with once. Got her pregnant. Met her again by chance. Found out she was carrying his child. Said nothing. Carried on for weeks while she suffered – and almost died. No calls, no contact, no care whatsoever, save his pathetic attempt at stalking her. Shows up in her bed, half-ready to force her to sleep with him again, using his demonic influence over her body to persuade her, when she was obviously conflicted about him and the situation. Then screamed at her – told her she had to keep his child, yet with no reassurance he would be there to care for her, or it.

What had he done?

The demon inside was warring with the human in a bloody, horrific battle with only one casualty – her. 'Make that two, you asshole,' he thought, glancing at her stomach, which she cradled with her palm. No more. He couldn't do this anymore. Put her through this. What right did he have? What right did he ever have to even approach her? Why couldn't he seem to control himself when it came to her?

He couldn't ask her to keep the child, and he sure as hell couldn't force her. Not unless he was willing to take responsibility, and even then.

Slowly he stood, backing away from her as if by leaving he could fix the hurts he'd inflicted. "I'm sorry," he whispered, eyes wide and chest heaving. "I'm sorry. I won't come back."

And with that he bounded out the door, not even bothering to shut it behind him.


It took Kagome some time to leave the floor. Long after the tears dried and the shock abated she lay gazing at the ceiling. It was one of those popcorn ceilings – oddly textured with little bubbles that she sometimes found shapes in. Her apartment was older. The landlord had first started renting over twenty years ago, but he kept the rooms in decent condition. Still, some of the fixtures and amenities had a weathered look, an outdated style that somehow reminded her of home. From the wood floor she could faintly smell years of wood polish, as well as the original scent of the grain. There were faint nicks and chips in the wood here and there, from years of renters scuffling about, dropping things, moving furniture.

How many had lain in the same spot as she, Kagome did not know. It was more comfortable than one might expect. Smooth and warm, she felt the floor grounding her to Earth, keeping her from fading away into another dimension. It was hard and real against her shoulder, as the soreness that soon crept in reminded her. Eventually she picked herself up and stood, looking around the room in silence. 'A bath,' she thought, heading for the bathroom.

As she turned on the faucet and undressed, the morning light spilling over the tile floor, she tried not to think. She tried to notice the copper rust forming on the faucet, the faint cracks in the weathered porcelain, the stray threads escaping the rug at her feet. The tub filled quickly and she lowered herself in, all the way in, 'til she lay beneath a layer of water. It separated her from the outside world quite nicely, putting a transparent barrier between her and reality.

'Violent,' she thought unwittingly. 'Vulgar. Abusive.'

Her teeth clenched together as she came up for air. 'Insane. He's totally insane.'

She stayed in the bath even longer than she'd lain on the floor. She drew her knees to her chest and blew cold bubbles that popped, leaving droplets clinging to her eyelashes. When she finally started shivering, she left the bath, wrapping herself in a robe, and going back to her room.

The bed was a mess of shredded sheets and tattered clothes. She picked up the ruined articles – her tank, a pair of panties – and felt a wave of nausea run through her. 'Disgusting. He's disgusting, and you…you're no better.' She shoved the ruined bits of clothing and bedclothes to the floor and lay back down in the bed, naked and still beaded with moisture.

As she closed her eyes and tried to forget the disaster her morning had become, fully on board with staying home and letting her nerves settle, she decided a few things. She was done tormenting herself over Inuyasha. He knew. He'd known all along as she'd wrestled with the choice to tell him or not, and he hadn't stepped up. So that was that. In a way she was relieved. Her hands were free of the responsibility, now. The ball was in his court, and he'd decided on his play. She could at least move forward knowing what options she had and which ones she didn't. She also decided that first thing tomorrow she was going to call Kouga. Her nurse had agreed that a demonic male presence might make her pregnancy easier, might keep her baby healthier. She had to give them their best chance since the father wouldn't be around.

'Some heavy duty locks for the doors and windows couldn't hurt either,' she mused. 'Oh, and no more one night stands – especially with half-demons.'

She didn't know exactly how she'd wound up in this position. She knew there was explosive chemistry between the half-demon and herself, but she didn't fully understand why. She also didn't know why he was resisting it so much, why he regretted her so much. She understood his position – not wanting to take responsibility for the child. But he obviously wanted her to have it, too. It wasn't making any sense, and her limited knowledge of half-demons didn't help.

'Maybe…I could get some information from that young monk guy…Miroku, wasn't it? I was planning on visiting the shrine this Saturday anyways. He always drops by…or maybe I should just leave it alone.'

Despite it all, she was curious about Inuyasha. She no longer hoped he could help her. She no longer wished they could have another magical night. She no longer believed they could be a family, whatever small hope had ever been in the first place. But maybe if she could understand, if she could rationalize, it would somehow ease the cold, heavy pain that was settling in the base of her heart and she could go into motherhood with a clearer mind. If only she could stop her body from yearning for him, her mind from wandering to him, her heart from opening to him, no matter how estranged they truly were.


Kagome grasped the brass doorknob with more force than necessary, her hand going white with the effort. She took one calming breath, then another. 'For the little one,' she thought firmly, steeling herself. With a final nod, she wrenched open the door, and put on a serene smile.

"Hi, Kouga. Thanks for coming."

She stepped aside so the wolf demon could enter. "No problem, Kagome. Anything you need, all you gotta do is ask." He flashed her a handsome smirk, one small fang glinting between his lips. He seemed entirely too pleased about being there, and as Kagome closed the door, the only escape route, she gulped.

Something about the wolf demon always made her nervous. It was probably because he constantly showered her with compliments, propositions, and unwanted attention. He was jealous over her, possessive of her, absolutely committed to the idea that one day she would come around and they'd live happily ever after. He made no secret about his desire for her, and any time they were alone she felt that any moment he might make a move. So far he had yet to cross any major lines. He'd throw his arm around her sometimes, or take her hand, or sit closer to her than necessary, but they were all easy things to evade without hurting his feelings.

Still, his eyes seemed over bright as he made himself comfortable in her living room. "So, how does this work, exactly?" he said with an easy smile, propping his feet on the table.

She took the armchair opposite to him, which he seemed to frown at, and said, "I don't really know, to be honest. My nurse said that, in most cases, half-demon and human pregnancies go easier when the father is around. But…well, you know. He isn't." She squirmed uncomfortably while the wolf appraised her.

"Kagome...I don't mean to pry but…c'mon. What were you thinkin'? He was a stranger, right? I mean, why?"

She blushed under his penetrating gaze – ice blue, cutting straight through any excuses and leaving her defenseless. 'Maybe that's why I'm always so nervous around him. He is too astute. Too direct.'

"I'd really prefer not to talk about that, Kouga. It doesn't matter. It's done."

"Well, does he know about the pup?"

"Yes. And he doesn't…he isn't going to…" She stared at the floor again, the floor Inuyasha had pinned her to, forbidding her to get rid of the baby. Not even that she was seriously considering it but yesterday had been a low point for her. Feeling hopeless after discovering that he'd known all along, her strength had wavered, but only for a moment. She felt ashamed it have even come to such a dark place, but all she could do was learn from it and pick herself up.

"Yeah. I get it. Say no more. Well…I'm not the father, unfortunately," he threw in a wolfish wink partly for her benefit, she suspected, and partly because he was serious. "How can I help?"

"Well, my nurse said that in my case, it might help me simply to be around a male demon. Something about demonic energies affecting the pregnancy. In a good way, I mean. A strong, male, demonic presence may keep the child healthier, or me healthier, or might make it all just a bit easier. I'm not really sure why…and she said that the father is one hundred percent preferable. But this is what I'm working with. You are my closest male friend who is a demon."

That seemed to please him immensely. "Well, it can't be helped then, can it?" he said with an arrogant smirk, running a clawed hand through raven hair coolly.

"I suppose not," she said wryly.

"Well, what do you want me to do? Just give me the word. I'm all yours."

She ignored the innuendo in his words and the half-lidded lusty look he was casting her way. She didn't know what he had in mind, but she didn't think they were on the same page. It wasn't that Kouga wasn't attractive. On the contrary, he was gorgeous. He'd always been a bit too showy, too competitive, too much of a jock for her to ever fall for, and she considered him too good a friend to sleep with carelessly. Perhaps now that she'd finally taken the leap into an "active" sex life, she could rethink it someday, but for now, it was the last thing on her mind.

"I know you are busy with school and you probably have a million better things to do but…I was hoping you could start coming by a couple times a week. Maybe even every day. And just…sitting with me. Maybe…touching my stomach or…or talking to the baby. Whatever feels natural." She flushed as she told the wolf demon what her instincts were telling her might be best. 'This isn't his pup…of course it won't feel natural! Gah, you better start being way nicer to him, Kagome.'

"Kagome," he said, eyes near-shining. He knelt before the armchair and took her hands. "I swear to you, I'll do all that I can to make this easier on you. I'll protect you and the pup to the best of my ability. I'm not the father…but please. Ask me anything. Anything at all. Don't be shy. There's nothing better for me to be doing…I promise you that."

Despite the pushiness and the bullheadedness when it came to their relationship, or lack thereof, Kagome found herself honestly touched by the wolf demon. What friends were willing to go so far, even if his feelings towards her were misplaced? She felt tears building in her eyes as she let the wolf demon take her into a hug. She couldn't lie…it felt so good to be held. To be given some kind of support and comfort. His arms were incredibly warm around her, and he had a soothing, masculine smell. He rubbed her lower back, and she could tell that he sensed that now was not the time to be anything more than platonic, that his friend was in need and was touched by his generosity. He patted her gently, and an eerily similar rumbling came softly from his chest.

She pulled away, wiping a rogue tear. "Thank you. Thank you so much, Kouga. I'll never be able to repay you for this. Ever."

"No, you won't," he grinned, pulling her to her feet. "Well, if it's closeness to a male demon that you want, I think I know where we can start."

Kagome looked at him in mute horror, not knowing how to tell him gently that it wasn't going to happen. She was startled when he burst out laughing.

"Get your mind out of the gutter, Kagome. Just come here."

She let him lead her to the couch where he sat back against the arm, letting his legs stretch over the length of cushions. He pulled her down between his legs and pushed her back against his chest, before winding his arms around her middle. She felt frozen, a tiny squeak of not-quite-protest coming out.

"I know it's not exactly comfy, but you're gonna have to trust me, Kagome," he said from behind her. She forced herself to relax a fraction, as the wolf demon boldly slid his hands under her shirt and began rubbing her tummy the same way she did when she felt anxious.

At first it felt all sorts of wrong. Her body tensed up, goose bumps covering her skin unpleasantly, heart hammering, some deep instinct saying "no". But she made herself lean back, close her eyes, and let the wolf demon step in as surrogate for a few minutes. 'Maybe it'll take time for my body…for the baby to accept him…' she thought, refusing to even think that the nurse's plan wouldn't work, at least to some degree. 'Just relax.' It got a little better when the wolf began rumbling behind her again. It was different from Inuyasha's. The half-demon's sounded closer to purring, or whining, like air passing through his chest deeply – like thunderclouds rolling. Kouga's was more of a soft growl, but not in a menacing way. After a time, it actually began to relax her, and she felt…satisfied somehow. Soothed. In a more profound way than she could really understand.

'Maybe this was the way after all,' she thought, pushing the last bits of her doubt away to chew on another time. The wolf nuzzled her neck the slightest bit, and Kagome tried not to stiffen up too much. She didn't want to hurt him, and she was sure that he was only trying to simulate the experience – or so she hoped. But it felt very strange knowing it was Kouga wrapped around her and not the white-haired apparition who conflicted her so much.

She must have dozed off, because the next time she opened her eyes it was dark out. The wolf-demon was still growling softly behind her, though when she glanced back, his eyes were closed, a happy expression on his face. She stretched as much as she could with his iron grip around her. His clawed hand no longer stroked the sensitive skin of her belly, but it still rested under her shirt. She shifted, clearing her throat a bit, and the wolf-demon opened his eyes.

"Hey," he said softly, smiling at her tenderly.

'Oh boy,' Kagome thought.

"I must've fallen asleep. Sorry about that," she said, sliding from between his legs and standing with another stretch.

"No problem. You need to rest. How do you feel? Any better?" He looked hopeful.

She took a moment to assess her physical state. She really did feel rested. Both body and soul seemed content for the time being – at least more than usual. "It's hard to tell fully if it really helped, or if the nap was what did it but, yeah, I feel good."

"Well, either way, you got some Z's! Guess you like cuddling, huh?" he asked, grinning ear to ear.

"It wasn't cuddling!" she huffed. "It was a very formal and medical treatment for my condition, okay?" He only continued laughing, making her go redder, until she giggled too.

"I've gotta get goin'," he said, standing up. "But just let me know when you want me to come by again. These 'medical treatments' may even help me," he chuckled. "That's the best nap I've taken in years."

She smiled shyly at him. "You got it. I'll give you a call."

Before she could react he leaned down a pressed a kiss to the top of her hair, pulling her into his chest one last time. "Later, babe," he smirked, before he was just gone.

'Damn demons and their demon speed,' she grouched, padding to the kitchen to make food. Her stomach, for once, was screaming for it instead of retching it up everywhere.

She could tell a fine line would be treat here, and she would have to be careful. But for the first time in a while she felt hopeful. She wasn't alone. She could do this.

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