Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha...
A/N: This is a SEQUEL...top understand later events all those who want to read THIS story should first read "So Much for the Hanyou's Happy Ending." And becuase I had someone complain about the name of this story, I've changed it slightly you'll notice...it still describes this story but now it's different enough so that that reader won't (I hope!(winks)) take any offence to it...Sorry to all for the delay again...I haven't had much time to write...I've been REAL busy...play practice, V-day fundraisers for my journalism class, trying to find a date for prom, Homecoming just last weekend, and now tonight, a concert for Journalism...(sighs)...and this morning an ensemble judging thing...(dies) I had to get up at 8 AM, this Saturday Morning, it's just criminal, they stole my sleeping time! (cries)...well anyway, to those who've been waiting for this Ihope this lives up to your expectations, and for those who are new: READ THE OTHER STORY FIRST! Please? Kay...enjoy...leave me a review...(note: shaved ice is basically a snow-cone. I use that term becuase it's used in the fabulous book, "Memoirs of a Geisha." and b/c do you honestly think that in Feudal Era Japan they called the snack that? They probably didn't have it at all! But so what...(grins) I added it anyway...)
Prologue: Patience is a Virtue
"Are you deaf old man? I said a baby's kimono! Not a sissy's!" the old shopkeeper blinked unsteadily at the black-haired, blue-eyed man before him for a moment longer before he withdrew the tiny pink baby's kimono and began searching through his collections for something different. His old, arthritic hands shook as he did so; he was, literally, painfully slow.
The two men that were waiting on him could almost have been brothers for their most basic features—but anyone who knew them better than just looking at them could tell you that they were completely unalike in most respects. One of them wasn't even completely human.
The first man, demanding the baby's kimono, was the half-demon Inuyasha, though because the sun had just set and it was the night of the new moon, he now appeared completely human. But his personality remained unchanged. He was in a hurry and the old man wasn't helping, not in the least. Shopping for the women at home had taken long enough as it was, and now the most important part of their trip—as far as Inuyasha was concerned—was taking forever!
The other man was Miroku, of course, with his short black hair and blue eyes. He hung behind Inuyasha a bit, frowning at the hanyou's rudeness, although he certainly could understand it, considering what was happening back at the estate. On either side of him were his sons, Kohimu on the left, Tisoki on the right. His only daughter, Kasai, now about nine months old, was at home with Sango, Shippo, and Kagome. Both boys were eagerly munching on some cherry flavored shaved ice—the autumn air was still fairly hot after the summer months. Kohimu was jabbering wildly in between his bites, though Miroku wasn't sure if he was trying to talk to Tisoki or not—the boy was a simple chatter bug, if someone listened to him that was fine, but if no one listened, hey that was good too.
Inuyasha had lost his patience. "Look old man, just give me a boy's kimono! But make sure it's nice…I'll pay, don't you worry…" he growled and began to fumble about his red haori, searching for his bag of currency, "But hurry up! My wife's at home about to have our first son!"
The old man wearily produced a dark blue kimono and a red under robe to go with it. He eyed Inuyasha amusedly as the hanyou fingered the material, trying to determine its value and whether or not it was acceptable for the likes of his offspring, his son, his pup…finally he nodded with an almost reluctant grunt and began to count out coins. Nothing would please him completely…
As he collected his fee the old man decided to try and challenge the hanyou, "All this money for a babe that's not even born yet? Hmm…what if it's a girl?"
Inuyasha snorted and began bundling up the small kimono in tissue paper that the old man handed him, "It's not." He answered curtly.
"But you can't know that yet, it's not born!" the old man's eyebrows were abruptly discernable from the shadows of his eyes, like jumping caterpillars.
Inuyasha stopped what he was doing and glared at the old man in warning, "I can. I've smelled it for months now. It's a boy as sure as I live and breathe." His fingers began working over the coins and paper once more simultaneously counting out money and wrapping his as yet unborn son's first gift and first kimono…like mother like son, I'll raise Koinu in the finest of everything, just as I spoil Kagome…his face blushed through the dark, burning red, and the hanyou-turned human was grateful suddenly for the new moon and its lack of light hiding his expression. There'd been many a time when one of the kimonos he acquired for Kagome had come to need tailoring for a nasty tear in the embroidery—the result of Inuyasha's hasty, hungry, and passionate hands reaching for her when they were alone, claws and all…
The old man shook his head, recapturing Inuyasha's attention, "You can't smell a baby's gender…"
Inuyasha growled and didn't bother to tell the man otherwise. It was pointless to argue. Besides, should he indulge the old man he'd have to reveal himself as part demon. That wouldn't go over well. It'd be likely that the man would screech in fear and try to drive him off. Though if it saved Inuyasha from having to pay for the kimono…the hanyou shook the thought off—he'd been hanging around Miroku too long. The monk was a clever scam artist when the occasion called for it.
The coins rattled pleasantly as Inuyasha handed them over and slipped the tiny tissue-wrapped kimono into his haori. The old man had abandoned conversation and instead was sifting through the coins with his gnarled fingers, counting. He nodded to himself as his lips moved silently, apparently approving of Inuyasha's payment. Finally he looked up and bowed, "I am pleased to do business with you, great lord…" he searched Inuyasha's face for a moment, likely seeking a name, or an official title. It was obvious that the man before him wasn't poor, and he wasn't descended from mere peasants either.
The hanyou had already turned mostly away, but he paused a moment and looked quickly back at the old man, crossing his arms so that his hands disappeared into the red folds of his haori. "Hmm…" he pursed his lips. Just beyond him Miroku was comforting Tisoki, who'd started to cry when he dropped his shaved ice onto the ground, and Inuyasha listened to the cries with a strange stirring in his gut…baby cries…
He nodded at the old man and said, "I'm Lord Higurashi, pleasure doing business with you old man!" then he turned swiftly on his barefooted heel and grabbed Kohimu up into his arms, hoisting the boy onto his shoulders. Kohimu squealed with surprise and delight, clinging to Inuyasha and laughing. Tisoki, seeing this, was distracted from the current crisis involving his snack and began to squeal and reach for Miroku, trying to get his father to do the same trick for him. Miroku shook his head and threw Inuyasha's retreating form a glare. He'll only do that tonight. Any other night and Kohimu would pull on his dog-ears. The monk chuckled to himself and then scooped Tisoki up high into the air and onto his shoulders. The youngster grabbed hold of his hair and held tightly—painfully actually, but Miroku bore it without so much as a wince.
"Hurry up Miroku!" Inuyasha barked from up ahead, his pace already picking up, his steps eager and quickened with his anxious thoughts of Kagome. Miroku caught up as swiftly as he could while at once trying not to jar his son too much, but it wasn't good enough for Inuyasha.
"Miroku! Come on! At the rate you walk my son will be celebrating his first birthday by the time we get home!"
"Patience is a virtue, Inuyasha…" Miroku answered the hanyou tightly as he caught up and they began walking, the boys on their shoulders, giggling gleefully.
"So is timeliness!" the hanyou snapped back, "Besides, I've waited long enough for this!"
Miroku was unimpressed, "Stop it Inuyasha, it hasn't been that long. We've only been shopping for a few hours now…"
"No, monk, you don't understand—I've been waiting for this pup with Kagome all my life."
Sango grimaced—if she survived this with the bones in her hands unbroken it'd be a miracle.
The room was dark, not only had the sun set but during the day the shades and screens had been drawn to keep the room dark and peaceful for Kagome. Now no one had taken the time to light the candles, and thus the room and most of the estate was shrouded in an eerie darkness—which was compounded by the fact that this was the night of the new moon. Only the stars provided light and Sango was suspicious that clouds had moved in during the evening, darkening the world faster than normal. But Sango hadn't been outside of Kagome and Inuyasha's room for hours, she had no real way of knowing…the only thing she did know was that she needed Inuyasha and Miroku back to help and comfort Kagome—and that her hands were being squeezed into oblivion.
Kagome had awoken with minor contractions some 24 hours ago. Everything started out calm enough—Kagome walked about the estate trying to keep herself busy to stimulate the contractions and speed delivery as her mother had instructed, Miroku and Sango tended to the estate and retrieved the midwife, and Inuyasha had trailed Kagome like a stray dog looking for scraps. But things quickly spiraled into slight chaos—Kagome announced that the village's midwife wouldn't be involved with her pup's birth, she had some past grudge with the midwife that none of the others understood (A/N: (winkwink) If you don't understand this it comes from "So Much For The Hanyou's Happy Ending," the chapter called "Rin Returns." This same midwife betrayed Kagome to Rin, thus the grudge Kagome feels now…). And then the laboring woman snapped at Inuyasha as well—his pacing beside her and continuous worrying was making her nervous.
Thus Sango had ordered the men to go shopping for the day so that Kagome could progress through her labor in the quiet and mostly abandoned estate. Mayuko, the couple's housekeeper, remained to help watch Shippo and Kasai, the only children who hadn't left with the men to shop. Kasai was still a baby, watched and entertained entirely by the housekeeper in a different room while Sango helped with the labor, but Shippo's youkai senses were actually called into service while Kagome labored.
Without a midwife trained to spot danger signs and to assure that the baby wasn't dying inside its mother, Shippo's nose and ears came into play. The young youkai could smell changes in Kagome's and the pup's scents, as well as hear their separate heartbeats. If Inuyasha had been there he would've provided the service, but when the hanyou did it he bothered Kagome by worrying. While she'd paced earlier in the day the hanyou had followed at close proximity and announced each coming contraction—as if Kagome couldn't feel its obvious approach.
Now, with the men gone and Shippo taking a breather—seeing his surrogate mother in such pain deeply bothered the young kitsune—Sango alone remained with the laboring soon-to-be mother, sitting behind the other woman, letting Kagome squeeze her hands with each contraction. The pains had begun to pick up, finally, and Kagome was growing too tired to continue walking. Her forehead was beaded out with sweat, her hair matted with the stuff, her breathing shaky. Sango tried to reassure her but she knew—from three brushes with labor herself—that Kagome probably couldn't hear or understand her words—and likely couldn't have cared less.
Finally as the latest pain passed Kagome, quietly catching her breath, murmured quietly, "Inuyasha…" Sango leaned forward, trying to place her ear next to the other woman's lips, to hear the words this time.
"What is it Kagome, I'm here, I'm listening, you're doing wonderfully…"
Kagome's weight fell onto Sango then, the contraction leaving her exhausted. Heat radiated from her skin as her body worked and suffered. Somehow, through all of this, Kagome tried to repeat her words, "Inuyasha?" her hands on Sango's grew limp as dead fishes.
"He's coming soon, Kagome, honey. It's okay. You're through the waiting—you're baby's going to be born soon…"
The exhausted mother-to-be shook her head weakly. "I can't do this anymore Sango…"
Sango felt her insides tighten up; she bit her lips worriedly. "I know it hurts, honey, but you've done well. It's nearly over. A few more hours. Then you'll be able to hold your baby…think about the baby. Think about it—him." she remembered at the last moment that Inuyasha had been proclaiming that the baby, or pup as the hanyou called it, was a boy without any doubt. Miroku had done the same when Kasai was born and been dead wrong when their first daughter arrived. Sango held the quiet belief that the couple would have a daughter as well—though Shippo seemed to agree with Inuyasha strangely. She tried to soothe Kagome again, "Think about what the baby will be like. What're you going to name it?"
Kagome let out a long tired breath—something that might've been a sigh if she weren't in so much pain and stress, "Koinu. It's a boy."
Sango nodded against the other young woman, smiling at the couple's apt name(for those of you who don't know or forgot, "Koinu" means "puppy" in Japanese). "Everything will be fine…" she looked to the door and moved away from Kagome slightly to yell for the kitsune. "Shippo!" she could feel Kagome tensing against her as she prepared for the attack of the next pain, and almost yelled again before she heard the sound of the kitsune's paws scrabbling over the floor, heading their way.
Kagome took a deep breath and whispered something Sango barely caught, "I don't know if I can do this here…Mom…Sango…Inuyasha…hospital…" Sango blinked at the last word, confused. She'd never heard it before.
"What do you mean, Kagome?" she asked, but already she knew the terrible pain of birthing was reabsorbing the laboring woman. At that moment, just as Kagome's fingers clenched on Sango's hands, crunching tendons and bones together, making the demon slayer wince, Shippo entered the room and ran to perch himself atop Sango's shoulder, panting, ears pricked.
"Inuyasha and Miroku are coming!" he announced happily, green eyes sparkling sharply in the dim light.
Sango nodded, ignoring the pain in her hands as Kagome labored onward, "Shippo, listen to her for me, smell her for me, is everything all right?"
Shippo was silent for a time and all that could be heard was Kagome's labored, rough breathing as the pain stretched over and through her, knives of it, cutting her in two. Then, slowly the kitsune nodded through the darkness, "I think they're both fine, Sango. How much longer?" his voice trembled a little at the end.
Sango shook her head, "I honestly don't know, I'm only a mother, not a midwife…" she swallowed nervously remembering how Kagome had insisted on doing this without the midwife's help, although no one else had agreed with her. Did she regret now?
Abruptly Shippo sniffed and began quivering on Sango's shoulder. She looked at the kitsune fearfully, "What is it Shippo? What's wrong?"
"She…it smells like…" he continued quivering and words left him, failing…but at that moment the door slid open roughly and a new, large, and powerful form stood enveloped in the light of the doorway. Sango felt a rush of relief swarm her senses. But just as she felt this she noted that Inuyasha seemed sterner than he should've been, worry tinted her relief swiftly.
"What is it?" the demon slayer demanded, and then felt Kagome fall slack against her once more, spent with the latest contraction…and looking over Kagome's shoulder she knew immediately what both demons had sensed—there was a spreading pinkish stain growing on the sheets between Kagome's legs…her water had finally broken.
It was Inuyasha who spoke as he entered the room, his voice dark but full of anticipation, answering Sango's question. "It's the pup—he's coming."
Endnote: Yes I left you a cliffy! Ah! Write in and tell me what you thought and how much you hate me for it! (snickers) but no more threats on my life. Some weirdo wrote in and said they'd kill me. If that happens anymore I'm going to turn off the annonymous accepting thing on my review alert thing, and then I won't be able to hear from everyone! I don't want to have to do that...but having one flake say they'd kill me is more than enough...just saying...thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed everything! Until the first official chapter is up and posted. It's called: "Birth." Hehehe...(grins) see ya then!