"Ma-maaa! Inu pushed me down!"
Kagome looked down at her almost-four-year-old daughter, who was clutching her leg and staring up at her with wide, innocent gold eyes. Two long black pigtails were gathered neatly on each side of her head- although the purple ribbons were untied and dangling- and her purple sundress was smudged.
"And why did he do that?" the wise mother asked, knowing precisely what her "angelic" daughter had been doing.
"Ummm…" Izayoi mumbled, sticking her finger in her mouth as she pondered her answer. "'Cause he's mean?"
"Nooo… why don't you tell me the real reason?"
Izayoi sighed. "'Cause I pushed him in the mud first?"
Kagome nodded, turning back to the sandwiches she was making for lunch. "That's what I thought. You need to go apologize to your brother and then you're both getting a bath before lunch."
The little girl groaned as she slowly headed out the door, whining the whole way. "Awww…"
Minako sighed as she helped put sliced turkey and ham on the bread slices for her mother. "Izayoi acts more and more like Daddy every day," the strangely-mature-acting little girl commented.
It was amazing how fast Minako had matured in three years. Her hanyou blood had increased her aging, making her seem more like seven or eight rather than four.
Although, in Kagome's opinion, she often sounded more like she was thirty.
One would think that someone related to Kouga would be as hot-tempered and childish as he is. Not Minako. She was quiet, reserved, and the total opposite of her blood-uncle and her adoptive father.
"Oi, wench! Where's my lunch? I'm starved!" Inuyasha barged into the kitchen, his traditional fire-rat haori and hakama ripped, dirtied and all around disheveled. His silver hair was a bit wild too- it was clear he had been fighting. Again.
Kagome sighed. "It'll be ready in a minute. Your children were fighting again."
Inuyasha puffed out his chest with pride. "I would hope so. Makes 'em stronger."
Brown eyes glared at him. "They're not even four yet. They're not training- they're just bickering. You need to do something."
The hanyou waved a hand negligently. "Don't worry so much. It's not like they'll do any real damage to each other."
The patio door slid open before Kagome could retort and a tiny, purple blur flung itself into Inuyasha's lap.
"Papaaaaa!" Izayoi squealed, oozing little girl innocence. She looked up at her grinning father with the same wide, innocent gold eyes she tried to use on her mother. "Inu pushed me in the mud."
Immediately he stood up, one arm wrapped around his daughter. "Where is that scamp? Doesn't he know he shouldn't push girls!"
Kagome tapped his shoulder. "Don't you think you should ask her why he pushed her?"
Slight wariness entered his golden gaze as he looked over at the imp in his arms. "Izayoi," he said warningly, "why did Inusouta push you in the mud?"
Izayoi opened her mouth to answer when she caught the Look her mother was giving her. She swallowed hard and gave her father a weak smile. "Um… I… kinda… pushed him… first."
Minako rolled her eyes.
Inuyasha stared at her for a moment, then threw his head back and barked out a laugh. "That's my girl!"
Kagome made a low growl that made all three hanyous turn and stare at her in surprise. "Inuyasha," she warned, glowering at her mate.
The poor hanyou's eyes went wide and his ears flattened. Minako shook her head as she turned back to the sandwiches. Izayoi flinched.
Turning back to their daughter, Inuyasha took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Little girl, that wasn't very nice. Nice little pups don't push their brothers in the mud."
Izayoi looked very sad. "Even if they deserve it?"
Flicking a glance at his still-glaring mate, Inuyasha nodded at his little girl. "Hai. Even if they deserve it." He set her down on the floor and folded his hands inside his sleeves as he stared down at her, trying to scold her. "Have you apologized to your brother?"
Izayoi sniffed as she looked at the floor, the toes of one foot propped up behind the other and fidgeting with the floor. She nodded sadly. "Hai, Papa."
"And where is Inusouta?"
Izayoi pointed out the patio door. "Sitting under Goshinboku," she replied. "'Cause he can't jump into the branches yet."
Inuyasha walked over to the door and yelled out into the yard. "Inusouta! Get in here!"
Soon a little boy appeared in the doorway, walking slowly into the house. His blue shirt and jeans were splattered with dirt and a little mud, and his face was smudged, yet he walked as if he were dressed in silk robes. "Hai, sir?" he said respectfully.
"Did you push your sister in the mud?"
"Did she push you first?"
"Did she apologize?"
Gold eyes flickered to his sister, who was making faces at him behind their father's leg. "Hai, sir."
"Did you apologize to her?"
The boy's eyes snapped up to his father's. "No, sir."
"I felt justified in retaliating because she accosted me originally."
Inuyasha turned to Kagome. "What did he say?"
Kagome's mouth slightly curved. "He says he didn't need to apologize because she pushed him first."
"Well, why in all the hells couldn't he just have said that!"
Inusouta was a book worm. He was already reading at a high school level and had studied every one of his mother's old school books with an endless thirst for knowledge. It irked Inuyasha to no end, because he was certain any male child of his would be a fighter, like he was.
Kagome was proud of her son. She only hoped Izayoi would follow her brother's example later on- right now, she was simply a little Inuyasha-clone.
Turning back to their son, Inuyasha gave him a Look. "You still need to apologize, pup."
Inusouta turned slightly to his sister and bowed quite respectfully. "Gomen nasai, baby sister."
Izayoi stuck out her tongue at her brother. "Don't call me a baby!"
The boy looked up at his mother as if to say "I tried."
Kagome shook her head as Minako handed her the plate of completed sandwiches. "That was very nice, Inusouta. Now, upstairs and into the bath. I want you clean before you eat."
"Hai, Mother." He bowed to his mother before walking serenely up the stairs.
Inuyasha stared after his son with a completely baffled look on his face. "Can't understand where he gets all this fancy language and behavior from. He acts more like Sesshoumaru than Sesshoumaru does."
He flicked a glance at his mate. "Are you sure he's really mine and not my bastard brother's pup?"
Inuyasha landed in a disgraceful heap face-first on the floor. Izayoi looked down at her prone papa in concern. "Papa! Are you hurt?"
Minako snorted very delicately. "Only his pride."
Kagome stared at the box in her hand. She had her suspicions, but still…
The twins were almost four now, and although she and Inuyasha had not used protection against pregnancy since they had agreed on it, she had not once conceived again.
It wasn't for a lack of wanting, though. She wanted more children- more desperately as the twins grew older. Was she to have only one pregnancy to experience?
She had had several "scares," where she was convinced she was pregnant only to discover that it was only wishful thinking yet again. She had cried and cried, feeling as though she had failed once more. It felt almost like losing a child, although there had never actually been one in the first place.
This was probably just another one of those "scares."
Sighing, she opened the box and took out the test. She knew the instructions by heart- she had taken these tests so many times it was impossible not to. She knew that if this test was negative, again, she'd end up miserable and depressed for the next few days, but still, she had to know. She had to hope.
Taking a deep breath to gather up some courage, she opened the foil wrapper and pulled out the little plastic stick. It was the kind that you inserted into a "reader," and gave you a digital result, either "Pregnant" or "Not Pregnant," rather than one or two lines.
It was now or never.
"Oi, wench! What the hell is taking so long in there?" Inuyasha yelled through the closed bathroom door.
A soft sobbing could be heard through the wood as he paused. His eyes flew open wide in surprise. What in all the hells was she crying about now?
He put his hand on the doorknob and flung the door wide, looking ready to do some damage. "Why are you crying? Are you hurt?"
His mate only cried harder, a small stick of plastic in her hands. She was sitting, partially slumped on the floor in front of the tub, her hands limply holding onto whatever that was.
Inuyasha looked closer. "Oi… isn't that one of those pregnancy predictor things?"
She sniffled and nodded her head slightly, still crying. "A pregnancy test."
Ohhhh… she had taken one of those again. When was she going to learn that they just weren't meant to have more pups? "Kagome, it's okay. Just don't cry anymore, all right? I can't stand it when you cry."
He moved over beside her and crouched down, wrapping an arm awkwardly around her shoulders. He glanced down at the plastic stick in her hand, which was about to fall on the floor.
Carefully he lifted it out of her hands and glanced at the digital result.
That's all folks! I look forward to having you join us in my sequel to "As Fate Would Have It," titled:
"It Must Be Destiny"
Thanks again for all your comments and reviews!
-The Amber Dragonfly