I know I promised to start working on 'All Of Me' again, but I am suffering from a mild case of writer's block. And then I had an idea for this one- shot, so I decided to write it. It is from 'The Babysitter' universe. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha

THE SECRET

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Kagome woke up slowly; taking pleasure in a long stretch - the kind of stretch that involves your whole body. Her fingers brushed the headboard as she arched her back, groaning in satisfaction before relaxing limply back into the mattress.

She opened her eyes to find herself staring at the empty pillow next to her head. For a moment she pouted. Did she oversleep? She had been a little tired lately, but that was no excuse to spend the entire day lazing in bed. A slight twist of her head brought the digital clock into her line of sight. It was only a little after seven.

Her expression cleared as she remembered Inuyasha saying that he would be going into work early for the next several days. The deadline for a major project had been unexpectedly shortened and everyone was working like mad to fulfill the contract. Kagome debated about wallowing in the comfort of her bed for a few more minutes, but then she sighed and pushed the covers back.

She pulled on a robe and padded down the hall. Faint singing could be heard behind one of the closed doors. Kagome smiled. Little Kohana seemed perfectly content to lie in her crib and sing to herself until her mother came to get her up.

"Time to greet the day, my little flower," Kagome chirped, pushing open the door and walking across the room to raise the shade. Kohana stopped singing and rolled over before pushing herself to her feet.

"Kona gweet day," Kohana chirped. "Sing good mo'ning." She held up her chubby arms and laughed as Kagome swung her over the side of the crib.

Kagome blew a raspberry on the side of the two-year-old's neck. "Let's go wake up your brother."

"Brover! Brover!" Kohana chanted, clapping her hands.

Shiro's room was still dark, the shade pulled firmly across the window. The wake-up alarm shrilled, the sound strangely muffled. Kagome frowned at the pillow on the bedside table, under which could be heard the insistent alarm.

"Time to wake up, Shiro!" Kagome called.

"I am up," the bundle in the middle of the bed mumbled sleepily.

Kagome put Kohana on the floor and, navigating the junk-strewn mess that was Shiro's room, reached the window and pulled up the shade. Bright sunshine streamed into the room. Shiro grunted in protest and burrowed into his blankets like a turtle into its shell.

Kohana crawled over to the head of the bed. She leaned closer to the hairy lump that was all that could be seen of Shiro's head. "Wake up, 'Iro!" she shrieked.

Shiro yelped and jerked away from the loud shout in his ear. He lost his balance and tumbled out of bed, landing in a heap with the blankets twisted around his body.

He blinked accusingly at his little sister who was giggling at the funny look on his face.

"Do you have to do that?" He groused.

"If you would get up when your alarm goes off, then we wouldn't have to go through this every morning." Kagome scooped up her giggling daughter and threaded her way among the toys to the door. "Breakfast will be ready in fifteen minutes. Better hurry or you'll miss the bus."

Kagome fixed breakfast for her family, half listening to the thumping coming from upstairs. Shiro made more noise in the morning than anybody she knew. Kohana banged her sippy cup on the tray of her high chair and threw a handful of cheerios at Sachi. The dog, who had long since learned that the most interesting things found their way to the floor if he waited by the high chair, happily crunched the treat.

"Mom!" Shiro thumped down the stairs, sounding like a herd of overweight kangaroos. "Have you seen my permission slip?" He skidded into the kitchen, dragging his backpack by one strap. "Miss Kari said that you can't go to the museum without it! And I want to see the dinosaur exhibit!"

"I have it right here." Kagome pointed to the piece of paper on the counter. "Hurry and eat your breakfast. The bus will be here in ten minutes."

Shiro shoveled pancakes into his mouth, following it with gulps of orange juice. Kagome swallowed against the queasy feeling in her stomach as the smell of maple syrup reached her nose. She nibbled half-heartedly at a piece of dry toast.

"I have soccer practice this afternoon," Shiro announced, pouring himself another glass of juice. "You're coming to the big game on Saturday, aren't you?"

"I don't know." Kagome pretended to think about it. "I might have some errands to run. And I really should scrub the bathtub."

"Mo-om!" Shiro made a face at his mother's teasing.

Kagome laughed. "I wouldn't miss it! And I know that Dad is really looking forward to it."

"That reminds me." Shiro swallowed his last bite of pancake. "Coach said that Dad could come if he promises not to insult the referee or try to pick fights with the parents of the other kids."

"I'll see that he behaves." Kagome frowned at Shiro as he slipped down from his chair and reached for his backpack. Shiro sighed and gathered up his dirty dishes, depositing them in the sink. "We don't want a repeat of last time."

Mother and son shuddered at the remembrance of Inuyasha's tantrum when the other team won by a single point. He called the referee every dirty name he could think of and was still shouting insults when an embarrassed Kagome managed to drag him from the field before someone called the cops.

"I gotta go!" Shiro grabbed his backpack off of the floor and dashed for the door. The distinctive rumbling of the school bus could be heard coming down the street.

Kagome followed Shiro to the door. "Don't forget this!" She waved the permission slip in the air. Shiro reversed course to snatch the paper out of her fingers.

"Thanks, Mom!"

"Did you remember lunch money?" Kagome shouted after him as he disappeared into the bus. Shiro responded with a vague motion that she took to mean he did. She stood at the door and watched Shiro's dark head as he exchanged greetings with school chums until the bus drove out of sight.

Kagome returned to the kitchen to find that Kohana had managed to pry the lid off of her sippy cup and dumped the contents on top of Sachi. The happy dog busily swiped his long tongue over his muzzle, trying to lick up as much of the juice as he could. She tossed the cup in the sink and attacked her daughter's sticky hands and face with a wet washcloth. Despite Kohana's squirming and protesting, Kagome managed to get her reasonably clean. Maybe Inuyasha would watch both kids tonight and she could take a nice, soothing bath.

"Let's go, baby." Kagome slipped a yellow flower-print dress over the toddler's head before grabbing the first skirt and blouse combination she could find out of her own closet. "We have an appointment at the doctor's. And we don't want to be late."

"Doctor?" Kohana echoed, and then she screwed her face up into a determined pout. "No doctor! Kona no wan' shot!"

"No shot, baby," Kagome reassured her. "This is Mommy's appointment."

Kohana didn't look exactly mollified. "Mommy get shot?"

Kagome turned around to lock the door behind her. "No, Mommy just wants to confirm something before telling Daddy." She waved at Mrs. Takameda who was busily watering her flowers.

"Daddy be mad?"

Kagome buckled Kohana into her car seat. "I just don't want Daddy to worry until I know for sure."

"Is everything all right, dear?" Mrs. Takameda inquired. She felt that it was her duty to mind the affairs of her neighbors, whether they wanted her to or not. Kagome didn't answer. She just gave an absentminded wave as she backed the car out of the driveway. Mrs. Takameda was left alone to speculate on what could possibly be wrong.

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Kagome liked her doctor. She was a nice young woman who loved children and small animals in equal amounts, and was possessed of a wonderful bedside manner. Inuyasha liked her to, the most obvious reason being that she was female. There was no way in hell Inuyasha would ever let a male doctor touch his wife in an intimate manner, not even for an annual checkup.

"Kagome Takashi?" The nurse's pleasant voice carried across the waiting room. "The doctor will see you now." Kagome told Kohana to be good before walking into the indicated room. Another nice thing was the play area where toddlers could be safely left while the parent was busy. Kohana didn't look up, being busy trying to fit brightly colored shapes into the correct hole.

Kagome left the doctor's office in a bit of a daze. How could this have happened? She'd had so many plans? And what would Inuyasha think? And poor Shiro.

Deciding that a walk would give her time to sort things out, Kagome and Kohana left the car where it was and headed downtown. "How about some ice cream, my little flower?"

"Yay! I'e gheen!" Kohana clapped her hands and tried to skip like she had seen her brother do. Her feet got tangled and she would have fallen if Kagome hadn't grabbed her, settling her into a comfortable carrying position on her hip.

Sitting on a low bench outside of the ice cream parlor, they proceeded to enjoy the treat and the sunshine. With Kohana happily licking her strawberry cone, Kagome allowed her thoughts to wander. They inevitably returned to the news she had just received from her doctor. She sighed.

"What am I going to tell Inuyasha?" She wondered out loud.

"Kagome?" Kagome started, jerked out of her thoughts by the familiar voice. She looked up to see Kouga standing in front of her.

"Is something wrong?" Kouga regarded her with concern. Kagome didn't answer. But before he could say anything else she stood up and took his hand. Tugging him out of the way of the people passing by on the sidewalk, they found a relatively private spot near the corner of the building. Kohana was also retrieved and told to stay put and enjoy her cone. Kagome didn't see the curious glances being sent their way by Miss Tama, Shiro's old daycare provider.

"I've got news," Kagome began without preamble. "I went to the doctor today and the test came back positive." Her eyes slid to her daughter and then back to Kouga's face.

Kouga wrinkled his brow in confusion. Kagome looked significantly at Kohana again. You could almost see the sudden flash of understanding in his eyes. "That's wonderful!" He pulled her into a tight hug. "I'm so happy! When are you going to tell Inuyasha?"

Kagome gently disengaged his arms. "That's the problem. I don't know how Inuyasha is going to react." She sighed. "This wasn't supposed to happen."

Kouga hugged her again. "Don't worry about it. If Inuyasha doesn't like it, he can just go jump in a lake. Remember, I'm always here for you."

Kagome smiled for the first time since she heard the news and hugged him back. "You're a wonderful friend. I don't know what I'd do without you."

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Eri frowned in concentration. This was the toughest thing that she had ever attempted. Her hand hovered over first one and then the other. She bit her lip, cursing her indecision. Well, here goes nothing. Closing her eyes, she reached out and grasped the first one she touched. Opening her eyes, she examined her choice for a moment before turning to the young man standing next to her.

"I would like to buy this one please." The young man smiled and took the melon from her to ring it up.

"It's shameful really. I pity that poor boy."

"I would never have imagined this type of behavior from Kagome. She seems like such a sweet young thing."

Kagome? Eri looked around at the sound of that name. Two women were standing over by the tomatoes, gossiping while they filled their plastic bags. Curious about what these women had to say about her friend, if it was the same Kagome, she inched closer.

One of the women nodded. "I saw it with my own eyes. And with that dashing young race car driver, Kouga, no less."

The second woman squinted at the tomato in her hand before slipping it into the bag. "The young have no concept of fidelity. But from what I heard, Inuyasha is never home. The last several days he has been seen leaving his house early and returning late. After being saddled with two children, one of whom is not even hers, and a husband who is never around, I don't blame the girl for seeking comfort elsewhere."

The first woman uttered a short cackle of laughter. "Kouga seemed rather eager to offer that comfort. And Kagome returned the affection if that hug was anything to go by."

Continuing to gossip, the two women moved out of the produce section until their voices faded with distance. Eri clutched her bag tightly, nearly forgetting about the melon she had purchased. Kagome was having an affair? She knew that Kagome and Kouga were close. And that Inuyasha wasn't happy about it. She bit her lip.

Maybe she should ask someone else for advice? Yuka would know what to do, and she was in town for college break as well. She set her jaw, her chin firming with determination. If Kagome was unhappy, then it was up to her friends to fix it. Eri took her melon and went in search of Yuka.

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"This feels soooo good! Whatever you do, don't stop!" Sango closed her eyes, letting her head drop forward. She sighed with pleasure as her husband's skillful hands continued to knead the tension out of her shoulders.

"Sorry, love. My hands are getting tired." Miroku dropped a kiss on Sango's shoulder and abandoned his position behind her to slide into the chair on the other side of the table. He reached for his glass and made a face as he discovered that all the ice had melted. Getting the attention of one of the wait staff during the busy lunch rush was a bit of a problem, but he was soon enjoying a nice ice cold drink.

"This was a wonderful idea!" Sango leaned her elbows on the table and propped her chin on her hands. "Having Kohaku watch Hiroshi and treating me to lunch. You can be so sweet!"

"This is going to be a great day," Miroku assured her. "After lunch we can go to the cinema and catch a movie. And I know just the one."

Sango's smiled turned brittle. "'The Punisher?'" At Miroku's nod, she heaved a sigh. "I knew this was too good to be true. I guess since you are being so sweet, I can manage to sit through a movie of violence and explosions. But afterwards I want to do something that I'm pretty sure we'll both enjoy."

Miroku smirked. "I know that I'll enjoy it. And I can guarantee that you will, too." Sango blushed at the lustful look on his face.

"It's such a tragedy."

"Poor Kagome. And poor Inuyasha."

Sango looked around at the mention of those names and saw two women sipping coffee at a nearby table. Miroku touched her arm to gain her attention, shooting a puzzled glance at the old women.

"It's Mrs. Takameda," Sango hissed. "Kagome and Inuyasha's neighbor."

"I know that," Miroku hissed back. "What are they talking about?"

Sango shushed him and concentrated on eavesdropping without being obvious about it.

"Poor Kagome seemed so distracted when she left for the doctor this morning," Mrs. Takameda informed her companion.

"Doctor?" Sango mouthed silently, exchanging a worried look with Miroku.

"Said she didn't want Inuyasha to worry." The old woman had a faintly concerned look on her face. "The poor girl had such a woebegone expression when she returned that even that sweet little girl of hers was upset. I heard her tell Kohana that the test was positive and not to tell anything to Inuyasha or Shiro until she said to."

"What do you think is wrong?" The other woman stirred creamer into her coffee, sounding sympathetic.

"It must be bad," Mrs. Takameda asserted. "And let me tell you, I have been concerned for a while. Kagome has gotten so skinny in the last several months and whenever she stops to chat, I can see the dark circles under her eyes."

"Didn't your husband die of cancer?"

Mrs. Takameda nodded. "That's right. If anybody would recognize the signs, it would be me." She sighed and stared morosely into her coffee. "I just can't imagine how Inuyasha is going to react."

"And they seemed so happy with each other." The second woman finished the last of her coffee and reached for her purse. "And the children will be devastated. Thanks for the coffee. I really need to pick up some stuff from the pharmacy on the way home." The two old women bustled out of the café, their talk turning to less disturbing topics.

Sango met Miroku's worried look with one of her own. "Why didn't Kagome tell us?"

Miroku shrugged. "You know Kagome. She never likes to burden her friends with personal problems."

"This isn't a personal problem." Sango stood up just as their food arrived. "We need to find out how bad it is and let Kagome know that we will always be there for her." Miroku lingered long enough to have their meal packed in to-go containers, before following his determined wife out the door.

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Inuyasha loitered against the building, enjoying the sunshine. This project was killing him. At the office before the sun was properly risen and home long after it set. He missed his family. The children were always asleep by the time he got home and, recently, Kagome usually was too. He didn't have the heart to disturb her just for a cuddle. Taking classes and mothering two hyperactive children was really taking it out of her. As soon as everything was finished, he would take a couple of weeks off and devote it to spoiling his loved ones. Well, break was over, time to get back to the grind.

"Hey, Inuyasha!" He looked up to see a vaguely familiar girl waving at him from across the street. Outraged drivers blasted their horns as she blithely dashed across the street without waiting for the light to change.

"I'm so glad I saw you," She said breathlessly as soon as she was safely on his side of the street.

Inuyasha frantically wracked his brain for the girl's identity. Wasn't she one of Kagome's school friends? "Oh, hi,... um... Eri, wasn't it?" The dark-haired girl nodded, indicating that he had guessed correctly. "Is Kagome okay?" He couldn't think of any other reason why one of Kagome's friends would come looking for him.

"That's why I'm here," Eri agreed. "We just want you to know that sometimes these things happen. And we know that things will work out between you. Kagome normally isn't that type of girl, but she has been under a lot of stress lately."

This just served to confuse Inuyasha even more. He held up a hand to stop Eri's babble. "Hold on. Who's we? And what's wrong with Kagome?"

"You mean you don't know?" Eri looked at him with an expression that Inuyasha would swear was pity. "I was talking with Yuka and Ayumi. We think this is a phase that Kagome is going through. There's no way she would prefer Kouga over you. I mean she turned him down before. You can still win her back."

"Why would I need to win Kagome back?" Inuyasha asked, honestly bewildered. "And what does Kouga have to do with anything?"

Eri fiddled with the fabric of her skirt, obviously reluctant to tell him. When she looked up, her eyes were filled with resolve. "I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but Kagome and Kouga are having an affair. They met at the ice cream parlor today and there were witnesses who saw them being very friendly." She looked upset at the stunned expression that had come over Inuyasha's face. "Look, I gotta go. Don't worry about it. I'm sure it's nothing too serious. If you ever need to talk... Well, see ya."

Inuyasha barely registered Eri's hasty departure. His mind was still reeling. Kagome would never be unfaithful. True, he hadn't had much time for her lately. But that wasn't his fault. He shook his head, as if to banish unwelcome thoughts. Kagome and Kouga, together? That was ridiculous. Inuyasha turned to go back inside, but he couldn't shake the little niggling doubts at the back of his mind.

Kagome had promised to stay by his side forever. But then, so had Kikyo once.

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Kagome was just finishing the dinner dishes while Shiro did his homework and Kohana played happily on the floor when Inuyasha walked in the door.

"Inuyasha!" Kagome cried with pleasure, not noticing how tense he looked. "I didn't expect you home so soon. I thought you had to work late tonight?" Shiro and Kohana came running from the living room, squealing happily at the sight of their father. Uncharacteristically, Inuyasha ignored them; not even responding to Shiro's excited recitation of his day at the natural history museum.

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" Inuyasha spat out. Kagome's expression dissolved into confusion. "Upset that I came home early and ruined your little tryst? Was he going to come over as soon as the kids were in bed?"

"Inuyasha, what's wrong?" What did she do? Mentally, Kagome ran over a list of the last several days, but couldn't think of anything that would make him this upset.

"Shiro, take Kohana and go upstairs." He didn't look at them, but kept his eyes fixed on Kagome.

"But, Dad--"Shiro began.

"Now!" Inuyasha roared. Shiro grabbed Kohana who looked like she was about to cry and bolted up the stairs, abandoning his half-finished homework.

"What was that about?" Kagome put her hands on her hips, glaring at her husband. "What gives you the right to yell at the children? They haven't done anything wrong!"

Inuyasha gave a bark of humorless laughter. "No, they haven't done anything. It's you! Sneaking around behind my back! Always in bed when I get home so you wouldn't have to talk to me! I had to find out from someone else!"

Kagome took an involuntary step back from the heat of Inuyasha's anger. "What are you talking about?"

"That idiot Kouga! What did you think you were doing, letting him touch you like that? Is this the kind of example you want to set for your daughter?"

Kagome's eyes blazed and she marched forward until she was almost nose to nose with Inuyasha. "Are you accusing me of something, jerk? And why should you care, anyway? You're never home! The kids are starting to wonder if they still have a Daddy! The office is so much more important than your own family. All you ever talk about is work! And furthermore, I don't see how it's any of your business who my friends are! And Kouga is my friend!"

Inuyasha gritted his teeth. "I'm putting a roof over your head and food on your plate, bitch! I expect you to take care of the house and the children like a good little wife, not have a fling with some oversexed race car driver!" At that moment, Inuyasha knew he'd gone too far.

The look of fury on Kagome's face slid off, to be replaced with a blank expression. "Fine. If that's the way you feel, I'm going to mother's."

Inuyasha flinched at the coldness in her tone, but he had too much pride to back down now. He crossed his arms over his chest and huffed. "Just like a woman. Always running away instead of accepting her responsibilities."

"Running away?" Kagome paused with one hand on the doorknob. "If that's what you think, then I'll just leave you in charge of the children. Then you'll see what kind of responsibilities I'm running away from." Kagome shut the door quietly behind her. She considered taking the car, but decided the walk was more suited to her present mood. The door opened behind her and, for one glorious moment, she thought that Inuyasha was going to stop her and apologize.

"Bitch!" Inuyasha yelled after her retreating back. "See if I care!" And he slammed the door with a satisfying bang.

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Kagome moped around her mother's house the next day, already regretting half of the things she had yelled at Inuyasha. Truthfully, she'd started having second thoughts almost as soon as the house was out of sight. But after everything he accused her of, she couldn't just go back and beg for forgiveness when she hadn't done anything wrong. She lay back on the bed of what had been her room, but Mama had transformed into the guestroom.

"Kagome?" Mama's voice floated up the stairs. "Someone's here to see you." Blinding hope filled her that it was Inuyasha come to apologize. But it was Sango, bursting in on her self-imposed isolation. She seemed to be alone, but then a happy squeal could be heard downstairs. Mama had probably agreed to keep Hiroshi entertained. Kagome sat up, wondering what could be dire enough that Sango had come here to seek her out. Could she have already heard about the little fight she'd had with Inuyasha?

"Why didn't you tell me?" Sango wailed, throwing her arms around the startled young woman. "I thought I was your best friend?" She sobbed into Kagome's shoulder, babbling something about how sorry she was.

Kagome pried Sango's arms from around her neck, snatched a handful of tissues off the bedside table, and thrust them at her. "What are you apologizing for? This is all Inuyasha's fault."

Sango wiped her eyes and blew her nose with a handful of tissues. She shot Kagome a puzzled glance from red-rimmed eyes. "You can't blame this on Inuyasha. I know it's hard, but you have to be strong."

"Of course it is! You didn't see the way he was yelling at me! Accusing me of keeping secrets from him!"

"Now, now." Sango patted Kagome soothingly on the shoulder. "He's just worried about you. We all are. But I'm sure if we start now, we can fix everything."

Kagome felt like tearing her hair out. What was with everyone? "There is nothing to fix!"

"Denial is always the first stage." Sango offered her a watery smile that was meant to look encouraging. "A lot of people have gone through the exact same thing. I'm sure we can find you a nice support group." She suddenly pulled Kagome into a fierce hug. "Don't worry. We'll beat this thing together!"

Kagome started to have the glimmerings of a suspicion. She pushed away from Sango, looking into her face. Sango wore an overly cheerful smile and she kept blinking away tears.

"Okay, Sango," she said slowly. "Why don't you tell me what you're so concerned about? This has nothing to do with Inuyasha, does it?"

"Oh, Kagome you're the bravest person I know. Of course this concerns Inuyasha. This will affect everyone you know."

"Just humor me, okay?"

"We heard from Mrs. Takameda that your test was positive." Kagome nodded, wondering how their nosy next door neighbor could have heard about that. She had been so careful to not let anybody know until she was sure. Suddenly, Sango threw her arms around Kagome and buried her face in her shoulder again. "Why didn't you tell us that you have cancer?"

"WHAT?!"

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Inuyasha did a good job of ignoring Miroku while he fed Kohana her lunch. He didn't know why Miroku had decided to drop by and, frankly, he didn't care. Somehow, Inuyasha had gotten Shiro off to school on time and managed to get himself and Kohana dressed and prevented his daughter from trying to find out if the dog's ears were detachable. All of this meant that he would be taking sick leave until Kagome came to her senses or he could find a reliable babysitter.

"So, Kagome is staying at her mother's for a few days," Miroku ventured in a pathetic attempt to start a conversation.

"Yeah," Inuyasha grunted, wiping Kohana's face with a wet washcloth.

"Don't feel too bad. A girl needs her mother at a time like this." Miroku flinched under the glare Inuyasha leveled at him.

"And what would you know about what a girl needs, pervert?"

"I just meant that you should be patient, Inuyasha," Miroku tried to placate his friend. "This comes as a shock to us too. We just think you should be a little more understanding of what Kagome is going through."

"What Kagome's going through?" Inuyasha threw the washcloth on the table. Kohana stared at her father with wide eyes, sticking her thumb in her mouth. "What about what I'm going through? Do you think this is easy for me? I had to find out from one of Kagome's friends! She didn't even have the decency to tell me herself!"

Miroku drew himself up straight, annoyed at his pig-headed friend for being so selfish. "This is not about you, Inuyasha! Stop being so self- centered and think about Kagome for once! Try to make whatever time she has left as pleasant as possible!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Inuyasha was thoroughly confused now. He suddenly had the sneaking suspicion that he and Miroku were not talking about the same thing.

"How far advanced is the cancer?" Miroku persisted. "Didn't the doctor say anything?"

"What cancer? What doctor?"

"We heard from Mrs. Takameda that the test was positive." Miroku was beginning to sound a little less sure of himself.

"Mommy went to doctor," Kohana piped up, drawing the attention of both men.

"Why did Mommy go to the doctor, sweetie?" Inuyasha asked gently.

"Mommy had test." Kohana squirmed, tired of being confined to her high chair. "Nice lady give Kona sucker."

"What are you doing?" Miroku asked as Inuyasha reached for the phone.

"I'm going to call Kagome's doctor and find out what is going on. Uh, hello, I'm calling about Kagome Takashi. I heard that she had an appointment today. Yeah, that's right. The test was positive? Is Kagome sick? No, she's perfectly healthy. No, no, that's everything. Thanks."

Inuyasha hung up the phone and turned to Miroku. "Kagome does not have cancer. She is perfectly healthy."

"Then what was the test for?"

Inuyasha's smile of relief faded. "I don't know. I forgot to ask."

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Kagome could see that the light was still on when she and Sango reached the house. She heaved a relieved sigh; at least Inuyasha hadn't gone to bed yet. Maybe she could kill these rumors once and for all.

They walked in to find Miroku and Inuyasha sitting at the kitchen table, cans of soda in front of them. She almost melted when Inuyasha looked up and she saw the hope that flared briefly in his eyes. That was damped down almost at once, to be replaced with wary suspicion.

Sango looked back and forth between the two of them. Hiroshi ran for his father, climbing into his lap with a joyful shout. She pulled Miroku to his feet and started urging him towards the door.

"We'll just be going and leave you two to have a nice talk. Come along, Miroku. We need to feed Hiroshi his dinner. I'll see you tomorrow, Kagome." Sango called the last bit over her shoulder as she pushed Miroku out the door, leaving Kagome and Inuyasha exchanging uncertain glances.

Kagome was the first one to break the silence. "Where are the kids?"

"In bed." Inuyasha's expression turned sour when Kagome made a move as if to go upstairs. "Don't you trust me?"

This was a perfect opening. "Of course I trust you Inuyasha. But why don't you trust me?"

Inuyasha swallowed and avoided her question. "Miroku was over here with some wild story about you having cancer."

"It's not true," Kagome said at once.

"I know." Inuyasha nodded. "I called the doctor."

A small silence fell between them.

"But why didn't you tell me about you and Kouga?" The words burst from Inuyasha's lips. "Are you really that unhappy with me?"

"There's nothing going on between me and Kouga," Kagome insisted.

"Then why did Eri tell me that you two met at the ice cream parlor? And why were you kissing?" Inuyasha met Kagome's gaze squarely, letting her see the pain in his eyes.

Kagome's mouth formed a small 'oh' of comprehension. "Kohana and I went to get ice cream after my appointment and Kouga happened to come by while we were there. And we were not kissing."

"But you were touching?" Inuyasha seemed determined to make things seem as bad as possible.

"We hugged." Kagome's let a hint of impatience creep into her voice. "He's a friend, Inuyasha. There's nothing going on between us. He was just happy for me."

"Happy for you?" Inuyasha pounced on the last statement. "Then there is something you haven't told me."

"I wanted to tell you, but I didn't know how you'd react." Kagome took a deep steadying breath. "I'm pregnant."

Inuyasha fell silent with shock at her words, then his eyes widened as he jumped to a completely unwarranted conclusion.

"It's yours, jerk," Kagome snapped before he could accuse her of sleeping around on him. She closed her eyes briefly to calm herself. "I know that we agreed to wait until I was finished with school. You were so pleased with my academic progress. And I'll probably have to drop out of school for a while once the baby's born." She lowered her voice to a whisper, but Inuyasha still heard her. "And I thought that you would think it was my fault. We spent all that money on my schooling and now this. I'm sorry."

Kagome started to wilt as the silence stretched on. Tears stung her eyes. She should have known that Inuyasha would be annoyed with her. Blindly, she turned to head for her room and squeaked in surprise when she was yanked off her feet to land in Inuyasha's lap.

"You little idiot." Inuyasha buried his nose against the side of her neck. "Is that what you were worried about? I love you Kagome. And I love any children you will consent to bear for me. I knew your education was important to you, which is why I agreed to wait. But if you think I'm unhappy about this, then you really don't know me very well."

Kagome squirmed until she freed her arms and could wrap them around Inuyasha. "You're not mad?"

Inuyasha drew his head back far enough to plant a kiss on her lips. "You have made me the happiest man in the world." He shifted his grip, placing his hands gently on her stomach. "How can I be mad when the woman I love most will be bearing me another child?"

Kagome blinked hard against the tears that flooded her eyes. "I love you, Inuyasha!"

Inuyasha stood up and placed Kagome on her feet, but kept one arm looped loosely around her waist. "Why don't we go upstairs and I'll show you how much I love you?" He suggested. "And tomorrow we can inform Shiro and Kohana that they will be getting a new little sibling."

"Of course. I have to keep my man happy." Kagome fluttered her lashes coyly. "Or people might start to talk. And that's one rumor I can do without."

And the sound of laughter filled the air as the young couple ascended the stairs together.

The End.

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What do you think?

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Food for thought:

Opportunity only knocks once, but temptation leans on the doorbell.