"Will I bear your child?!" the sorceress spat, backing away with a scowl. "I have never heard such a sick request before. But, if it is a child you truly wish to have, then I shall now make it so you can bear your own..."

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or anything in association with it.

Chapter One: No Longer a Harmless Question

During the early hours of the morning, Miroku usually found solace in walking about as the others remained asleep. It could become troublesome to attempt to slumber for him, especially considering that Sango now involuntarily slapped him across the face as she slept, even if he hadn't touched her at all. He still had red marks all down his face as proof of this.

The village was uncomfortably silent, so he instead this day traveled down towards the stream, hoping to replenish himself. He scrapped the staff's end along the ground, carving out unnoticed, arcane pictures in the mingled sands and dirt as he watched the water near.

He was almost tempted to take an early bath this morning with the surprising warmth of the water but resisted the urge to. The previous night had been so terribly hot that none of them had been able to fall asleep until late hours of the night, sleeping as far away from one another to avoid any unnecessary body heat. Not a single cool breeze had blessed them throughout the night, and considering this Miroku simply cupped the clear water in his hands and drank it briskly, hoping next to search the village for any needed exorcisms he could perform. It was at least something to keep him preoccupied with their conquest against Naraku at a temporary halt.

Kagome had returned to her era and would return this coming afternoon. Inuyasha was impatiently awaiting her even now by the well, probably slumbering in its shadow with her forgotten item, a simple school notebook, tucked in his arms. Miroku never understood why he would never admit his feelings for Kagome, especially when he showed his emotions in so many different outlets, whether it was protecting her or rescuing her or just simply risking his life for her. But then, he wasn't really one to talk when even now, a girl of similar affection in his heart was sleeping soundly in Kaede's hut, completely unaware of his feelings for her.

He stood once more, watching his reflection for a moment while looking deeper beyond the distorted image in the ripples. Every day he had convinced himself he would tell her, reveal to her the inner workings of his heart, but every day he cowered from doing so. And each time he did this, it became harder to face himself.

He sighed and turned, preparing to journey back to the village and await the first awakened life of this day, when he saw a figure standing just a few yards from him, seeming to contemplate whether they should confront him or remain silent. He turned and faced the stranger, deciding to speak first since they seemed too fearful to.

"Are you in need of something?" he asked, and the figure raised their head just enough so their face could be faintly seen in the predawn light.

She was beautiful, so much so that he nearly dropped his staff absentmindedly as he stared. His reflection once staring from below vanished into the rapids, almost seeming to look away from him as it did so.

"I was wondering if you knew which way it was to the nearest village," the woman requested simply, and Miroku was for a moment so stricken that he didn't answer, his expression frozen in a state of awe. Finally he shook it away, rubbing his eyes as though he had just been looking into a brilliant light before answering.

"The nearest village is up this hill right here, just follow the path and you'll see it ahead," Miroku directed using his staff, and the woman's once concerned features shifted into one of faint happiness as a smile formed on her face.

"Thank you very much for your kindness dear monk," she replied, beginning to walk towards the designated walkway to the commune.

"Excuse me, before you leave there's something I must ask you," Miroku said, setting a hand on her shoulder. She didn't seem suspicious of anything, as she turned her head immediately, still smiling vaguely as she awaited his question.

It was almost like a ritual, a tradition now to him, and so systematic that he hardly realized what he was doing. He removed his hand from her shoulder and then took her hands in his quickly, and she at first seemed surprised, but it was nothing compared to the look that came over her when the question itself was unveiled.

"Will you bear my children?"

Her expression distorted first into one of horror, and then one of disgust. Miroku was surprised; usually the women he asked blushed and kindly refused, or simply slapped him across the face with a scowl. But she looked so distraught over this he immediately regretted what he had just done.

"How dare you! Do you think a sorceress of my esteem would honestly bear the children of a monk? And you dare to break the code of your order by asking this of me?" she spat, but he only happened to catch a single word in all of her accusations.

"Did you just say 'sorceress?'" he asked, taking an instinctive step back.

"Yes, and I plan to put my abilities to good use this moment," she hissed angrily, and Miroku instantly felt his hair stand on end. She looked so livid that he half-expected to burst into flames at any given moment.

"The very nerve. Will I bear your child?!" the sorceress spat, backing away with a scowl. "I have never heard such a sick request before. But, if it is a child you truly wish to have, then I shall now make it so you can bear your own..."

Miroku didn't like the sound of this, but before he could do anything he suddenly felt a strange pain surface from within him. It began in his abdomen and then spread throughout him, as though something were sprouting from his flesh and tearing it asunder. He grasped himself in a pained self-embrace and gasped in desperation for aid, looking up to merely see the nameless sorceress vanish into the forest without another word or glance.

'What's happening to me? Surely she couldn't have…' he thought fearfully to himself, and while he was still suffering the anguish of whatever she had done to him, he reached up with his shaking hands and carefully undid his robes until he could see the origins of his pain.

His stomach was strangely enlarged and rounded without explanation, and he stared at it for a moment before he reached down and gently rested the tips of his fingers against the taut flesh of it. He felt something move as he did so, and fearfully he removed his hand and tumbled backwards in disorientation, stunned still and silent as the truth finally impacted him.

"Oh my Lord, she did make it so I bear my own children! She made me pregnant!"