Chapter Thirty-Six: A Mother's Gift is Her Love

He held the bloody infant in his hands while it screamed at the world, staring at it in a bit of awe and a bit of confusion. They had thrust the child into his hands to see to the afterbirth and here he was, walking to the little cleaning table with his child in his hands.

She was so tiny. Yes, a girl. It would figure that she would give him a girl first. Aiko, that's what Kagome had called her. He supposed it was appropriate. Not that it mattered much to him what she was called, she had ten fingers and ten toes and lungs that broke glass. She was healthy, that was all that was important.

Her little white ears turned slightly, she had inherited her late uncle's appearance, much to Sesshomaru's chagrin. The child looked very much like InuYasha, not only did she have the little dog ears atop her head but she also had whiter hair, instead of the smooth silver strands that her father claimed. Also, she had taken to the family eye color of amber, that was pleasing, but her eyes were wide from Kagome and so that only added to her looking like her uncle.

He set her down on the cleaning table and a set of nurses rushed over to see to her, calling out figures and asking for items. Stepping back he merely watched the baby lay there and cry until another cry drew his attention. Kagome's mother was upset by something.

"No! Sweetie, don't do this! She's beautiful, you should just see her! Come on, stay with us. Please! Kagome!" Sesshomaru's eyes widened slightly and he rushed over to the bed, sitting gently next to his wife.

She was very pale and wouldn't open her eyes. This was familiar. Too familiar. "Kagome." He spoke gently but firmly and she stirred a little. "You promised you would not do this again."

Kagome sighed a little and nodded, very slightly. "I can't... help… so… cold." She shivered and he reached out, pulling several fur blankets over her as well as wrapping his own arms around her to try and comfort her. "Aiko…"

"She's all right. Quite healthy, you did fine. But you need to rest now. She'll be here when you wake." He looked over to see Kagome's mother begin to shake with sobs and shook his head slightly, indicating to her not to allow her emotions to overwhelm her.

Then he turned to look at her, lying among the pillows on their bed and breathing very slowly and shallow. He ran his hand over her hair, smoothing it back and she sighed a little before her lungs began trying to gasp for breath. One... she shivered and wheezed a little. Two… Her pulse began to race, trying to catch up but failing horrible. Three… Her heart stopped suddenly and her body convulsed slightly before going still.

Sesshomaru stood and everyone watched him as he slowly walked to the bedroom closet. The only sounds in the room were the scuffling of his movements and the crying of the baby, who now wailed louder than before. He returned with his trusty sword, yet another thing in his life that he had once shunned only to come to appreciate.

Tenseiga hummed happily, it had been a while since he had held it. Yet, it seemed that there was a problem. Sesshomaru stood there for a moment, staring towards the woman lying in bed. Nothing was happening.

Perhaps he should get closer. He walked towards the bedside and stood there, right next to her, but still nothing came. An hour passed. He stood there, waiting, but no sign of the little demons from hell. Kagome's mother was now sobbing horribly and the baby would not stop crying.

She was dead. Really dead, what had happened? He glared over at the midwives and they slunk back, lowering their heads. A complication in the pregnancy, they told him. It's a rare occurrence except with hanyou birthing and because of the rarity of those not commonly diagnosed. They explained that Kagome had been well warned of the risks and had been stressed upon to think of getting a cesarean.

Kagome had adamantly refused them.

He dropped the sword and turned to walk to the baby who was now lying under a heating lamp. She was all he had left now. Taking the child in his arms once again he looked at her carefully and then whimpered to her, she stilled and then became quiet. She knew her father and now that was a vital part of her survival.

They buried her that weekend there on the family grave site. It was dotted with old grave markers and mausoleums which were well cared for. Kagome was placed to rest in the center one, a circular round building between two smaller ones.

The left had a plaque which read "InuYasha – Kikyo" and the right had a similar one which said "Miroku – Sango". Just ahead to the south was another mausoleum that was rectangular, apparently planning for a larger group. The plaque simply read. "Children", everyone found it odd how weird it felt to wish that the place would be filled but knew that it could never be.

However… the middle one was halfway there already. On it's plaque it merely read "First Wife"… a monument to her place within the stoic lord's life and heart.

Sesshomaru did not attend the funeral. He remained within the house, wandering the halls with the small infant hanyou girl in his arms. People whispered rumors that it was possible the great youkai had gone mad. He was said to have begun talking to himself lately, even.

Kagome's mother knew this was wrong, though. She had overheard him talking one day and was a little surprised at what she heard. He was walking the halls slowly, the baby staring at him intently, and in that smooth gentle voice he would say. "Aiko… I'm going to tell you a story. A story about a beautiful princess…A princess who taught a lonely prince the true meaning of family honor…"

FIN