Author's Notes: All right, here's the next one-shot for everyone! I know, I keep promising an update on "Impossible Dreams", and it still remains as elusive as ever, but I mean it when I say I am working on it. I'm just struggling with a bit of writer's block in how to finish the chapter, so I've had to approach it from a few different angles to try and break through the barrier. Hopefully that will be up in a few days.
This is an Inuyasha/Kagome piece (high demanded) of when Kagome learns she's pregnant and tells Inuyasha. I tried to stay true to the story, but also give it a little bit lighter tone since this should be a relatively happy occasion. I'm not entirely happy with it, but I can't see how much more I can change at this point. So enjoy!
Dedication: Eowyn Organa; Moonglow Gal
Title: Little Bundle of Surprises
Rating: PG-13 (rated for language and implied sexual situations)
Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha, nor do I take credit for any of the historical facts, ideas, or realities mentioned below.
As a young girl, Kagome Higurashi had always longed for true love, freedom, and marvelous adventures that involved racing her beloved white mare across the country as she rescued the innocent from harm. She and her older sister Kikyou had even gone so far as to try and run away from the Higurashi mansion at the ages of nine and twelve, bow and arrows in hand, dressed in gowns they'd borrowed from some of the younger servants who still had a sense of adventure. Unfortunately, a few of the servants had been too young and still very loyal to the lady of the house, meaning the Higurashi sisters hadn't made it any further than the front gates before they were stopped by the Marquess herself, dressed in her sleeping attire, her pixie-short hair sticking up in several directions, a frown on her face as she commanded her rebellious children back to their bedrooms. Thus had ended Kagome's innocent delusions of grandeur.
Within six months Kikyou had been sent to court to "complete her education", and Kagome had formally been given a stern, gray-haired tutor with a horrendous cough, replacing her mother who had up until that moment personally seen to her education. It was no secret that the Marquess had always spoiled all three of her children horribly, but it was also no secret that after her complacency nearly cost her the lives of her beloved daughters the older widow became much more strict.
Still, Kagome was happy, and soon her anger and frustration faded away to be replaced by the excitement of the knowledge her sickly tutor brought with him, educating her as though she were a son, and not merely a second-born daughter since her mother insisted to the man that the deceased Lord Higurashi had desired for all three of his children to receive an equal education.
Gradually, however, her sense of adventure began to return, as Kagome grew more adept at reading; soaking up the English stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table just as the sponges in her bathes soaked up water. She longed for her own loyal knight, her own crusade, and her own unique path in life.
Unfortunately, the path life had in store for her would reveal the cold and cruel reality that adventure is never so fun or rewarding, that knights aren't always free to give their hearts to their maidens just as maidens aren't necessarily free to accept them, and, more than anything, that the heroines in a story don't always live to see another day.
Arriving at court an embittered sixteen year old woman who believed herself trapped in a loveless marriage and a loveless life, Kagome was immediately swept away on the tides of romance, scandal, and intrigue as she not only did the unthinkable and fell in love with the High King, but also earned the heart of the man behind the crown, subsequently stealing him away from her beloved sister Kikyou. For almost a year she would feel nothing but strain, stress, and grief as she struggled to choose between what was right morally and what was right for her heart. And in the end she would realize that she made the wrong choice as she was forced to watch Kikyou stand trial for ridiculous charges of treason, and then watch as the proud woman succumbed to the sweat, which she contracted while in the Tower, her unborn child dying with her.
No, her own adventure had ended up being absolutely nothing like she'd dreamed and longed for as a young girl of nine when she'd bravely saddled her horse and prepared to ride out and rid the world of evil once and for all with nothing more than a child's bow and arrows.
Mercifully, once the tragedy that had so thoroughly rocked her world began to numb in her heart enough that she could at least continue to live, she discovered the peace of a boring, mundane life, and the benefits of knowing exactly what would happen from day to day. She thanked God daily for giving her Inuyasha, the High King and her lover, along with her loyal friends and family, always there for her as she slowly began to assimilate back into the routines of the court; attending evening dinners, dancing at masques, riding her horse on a daily basis, writing letters to her new allies throughout the country, mending clothes for the poor, helping embroider alter cloths for the church, and otherwise moving about in regular court society.
If everyone knew she was the mistress of the King (and she had no doubt that they did) they at least had the decency for once to remain discreet about it. There were no blatant rumors, no gossip, no whispers, and no pointed stares as she walked through the halls. In fact, people frequently inclined their heads in respect of all that the young woman had accomplished, and if they had to whisper about anything, it was usually that she deserved happiness after suffering for so long to save poor, deceased Kikyou from her sins.
And that's unfortunately exactly how people referred to the two sisters any more. There was poor, deceased Kikyou and innocent, brave Kagome. Both were to be pitied just as much as they were to be admired and respected. And Kagome supposed that would have to do, though she suspected Kikyou's pride would have recoiled at the idea of anyone referring to her as "poor" anything.
She always chuckled at the thought, frequently at inconvenient times such as dinner, thus receiving curious and puzzled stares from those around her, including from Inuyasha, though he usually just cocked an eyebrow before shaking his head and looking away to continue conversing with Miroku, who was as always at his side just as Sango was loyally at hers.
Thus was Kagome's life; completely boring and mundane…and absolutely perfect for someone who's heart had been pushed and pulled in so many directions that it longed only for peace.
Unfortunately, fate was yet again prepared to be unkind.
It happened one morning in the middle of May, during the celebrations to welcome spring and summer. Flowers were everywhere throughout the castle, placed there by the court children who were always brought to visit their families at such a time, and the normally lonely stone hallways were filled with joy for a time, the scent of life and joy everywhere as girls laughed and curled their hair, leaving it free of clips and bonnets to entice the young men in a romantic dance as old as time.
In the midst of this happiness, Kagome woke feeling ill and calling for Yuka desperately. Her loyal maid came instantly with a chamber pot, and held it patiently while her mistress thoroughly emptied her stomach several times.
Finally, lifting her head, Kagome rolled back fully into her bed, her head sinking heavily into her pillow, the hair at her temples damp with the sweat of her exertion. "I'm sorry, Yuka," she whispered when she finally dared to speak, feeling ashamed that she had vomited for at least the sixth time in the last few weeks, nauseous at all other times and appearing weak and dizzy everywhere she went.
The young maid waved a hand impatiently as she quickly took the chamber pot to the other side of the room where it would not disturb her mistress. "You needn't apologize for things beyond your control, my lady. We all have times when our stomachs simply don't agree with us."
"But mine has been disagreeable for several weeks now," Kagome replied in annoyance as she used her elbows to prop herself up, Yuka immediately placing a pillow behind her back. She couldn't help but smile at that. "How you spoil me, Yuka."
The woman winked in response, vainly trying to keep a serious expression on her face. "If I don't, then who will? Your mother is back in the country, your brother has become infatuated with some little wisp of a girl, and that worthless King of yours is off running errands in the South and East."
Kagome winced at Yuka's choice of words. "They're a little more important than just errands, Yuka. He and Bankotsu felt it was necessary to firmly reprimand Kagura once and for all for her role in bringing Naraku back to court. She may be a Queen in her own right, but Inuyasha felt it important to make her understand that didn't mean she was above the law and above common sense and duty."
"If you ask me, I think those men are just looking for someone to blame for what happened so they can really put the matter behind them." Yuka grimaced and began folding a blanket Kagome had been embroidering the night before, currently abandoned over the end of her bed, carefully extracting the needle as she did so. "I don't understand why people can't just accept that the whole thing was a mistake on the part of everyone, and we can do nothing more than learn and move on."
Kagome's expression saddened, though she appreciated the way Yuka so skillfully avoided mentioning Kikyou's name. Even though she'd slowly been able to move back into the mainstream world, there was still a painful scar over her heart that ached every day of her life. The last thing she needed was someone completely reopening the wound.
"Kagura still should answer for her part in all of it, I suppose," Kagome muttered absently, distracted by the beautiful morning, the rays of the sun trickling through her open windows to the sound of birds, a slight breeze rustling the trees and vines she knew were lining the outside walls of the palace.
Such moments were always bittersweet, since she knew of someone very dear who could no longer see such a sight. "Although perhaps what she is able to see is even better," she whispered to herself.
"What's that, my lady?" Yuka looked up from where she was placing the neatly folded blanket on a nearby chair.
"Nothing." Kagome shook her head to rid it of such thoughts. "When is Inuyasha expected back today, Yuka?"
The woman shrugged. "Who knows? Probably earlier than he said, though, since you know how he secretly misses you." She winked.
Kagome groaned at the implication before playfully throwing a pillow at her friend. "Cease such fowl thoughts, Yuka."
"You don't know what I was thinking!" The maid protested innocently, though Kagome knew exactly what had been running through the maid's mind. After all, she was the one who always secreted Kagome out of the King's chamber in the mornings when no one was looking.
Shaking her head and chuckling, Kagome began to rise from the bed as she sucked in a deep breath to steady her spinning mind, accustomed now to the dizziness that greeted her every morning. Yuka immediately offered her a glass of cool water, which she accepted, and then she extended her arms for her blue silk robe to cover her white sleeping gown, her long ebony hair falling down her back in a tight braid.
Inuyasha always preferred her hair down and free, she thought absently, but she also had to admit that it was getting long enough to be an inconvenience, so whenever he was gone she didn't hesitate to clasp it down her back.
"How are you this morning? Any better?" Yuka inquired after a time, watching as a little color returned to Kagome's cheeks while she drank the water and adjusted to standing.
"I suppose I'm alright," she finally replied when she was finished. "Though I am very confused about why I'm feeling this way. I don't feel ill in any other way. I can still eat, I don't have a fever…I don't understand."
"Perhaps I should call for a doctor?"
"No." Kagome laughed. "The last thing I need is for Inuyasha to fly into one of his protective moods, and if I call a physician he'll do just that. Ever since Kik…" She trailed off and swallowed the lump in her throat. "Ever since that time, he's been paranoid about physicians. It's like he doesn't trust them."
"Hn," Yuka grunted and straightened the cap on her head, covering her short brown hair though a few wisps escaped around her ears and forehead. "He needs to get over that fast. Physicians do the best they can."
"I know." Another wave of nausea hit, and Kagome almost called for the chamber pot again, but mercifully the sensation passed. Still, she was left very pale. "Perhaps I should summon the physician."
"Yes, perhaps…" Yuka looked like she was deep in thought. "But what do you suppose could be the matter? You don't seem all that sick. If I didn't see you eat myself, I'd say you were just suffering from malnutrition."
"I know, it is very strange." She gratefully sat down on one of her plush couches for some relief. "It's been going on now for how long?"
Yuka appeared to think for a moment. "I'd say about four weeks off and on."
"Four weeks…" Kagome frowned. "So perhaps it's time for my courses and this is a precursor to that?"
"A precursor that lasts four weeks?" Yuka looked skeptical at best. "My lady, that would mean your body has been preparing for your courses ever since your last cycle." Kagome started to nod, but then froze suddenly, her eyes going wide. Yuka saw her fingers turn white as she gripped the arm of the couch and frowned in response. "My lady? What's wrong?"
"It can't be…" Kagome whispered the words, and it suddenly became very difficult to breathe.
How could she have been so blind? How could she not have seen? Not have noticed? Yuka had mentioned her previous month's courses, and yet…Kagome now realized she'd had no courses the previous month. In fact, she was having trouble recalling the last time she'd been forced to refuse Inuyasha because of her body's monthly ritual.
And she'd been waking up ill each morning for the past four weeks…
"Oh god…" She breathed. It couldn't be possible, yet all the signs were adding up and pointing in one direction. A direction she really didn't want to go.
But she may not have a choice now.
"My lady?" Yuka's voice was tentative as she reached out and placed a hand over Kagome's, her steady fingers highlighting how unnaturally clammy her mistress' were.
"Oh Yuka…" She looked up with wide, deep eyes. "It's not possible, is it?"
Looking utterly lost, Yuka simply blinked for several silent seconds before speaking. "What's not possible, Kagome?"
The young woman looked up with wide eyes, their dark colors swirling with terror, awe, and wonder all at once. "Is it possible that I'm with child, Yuka?"
The chambers went immediately still and silent as both women looked at one another, blinking rapidly and swallowing, trying desperately to regulate their breathing and calm their racing hearts. But the possibility had been put forth, and now that it was out it became more and more likely.
A single question hung in the air: what would happen now?
Unfortunately, just as Yuka opened her mouth to try and reassure her childhood friend that all would be well the door swung open and Gideon came striding in dressed proudly in the blue and white colors of Kagome's family, obviously having no qualms about alerting the world to where his loyalties lay. Both women swung their heads to face him in dismay, and he immediately sensed that something was wrong. "My lady, you look pale…is everything alright?"
Yuka heaved an annoyed sigh and placed her hands on her slender hips. "No, Gideon, everything is not alright! My lady has been sick these past several weeks, it concerns her, and to add insult to injury you have possibly the worst timing ever!"
Accustomed to her temper by then, Gideon simply put up a placating hand and smiled calmly. "Dearest, I meant no offense; I'm merely concerned about Lady Kagome, as are we all. I'm well aware of the fact that she's been feeling ill these past few weeks."
"Well what do you want then?" Yuka demanded.
"Why are you here, Gideon?"
"Oh!" He seemed to recall where he was, and even with the shock of being with child Kagome still found it possible to smile at his antics. "I'm here to announce that His Majesty has just returned and should be here momentarily."
And just like that the smile was gone again. Kagome simply couldn't face Inuyasha…not now. The shock was too great. She didn't want to worry him after he'd already suffered so much. "Yuka…I can't see him. I just can't. Not right now." Her voice was small and weak and very uncharacteristic of her.
Immediately the maid was at her side with an encouraging smile. "Don't worry, my lady; you don't have to see him right now."
"Um…actually…" Gideon started to speak, but Yuka silenced him with a single icy stare.
"The King will simply have to wait," she announced.
"Yes, Gideon; tell His Majesty that Kagome will see him later, but is currently indisposed."
The poor man's eyes grew very wide as images of a red-eyed Inuyasha flared up in his mind. Those claws of his weren't exactly dull either... "Um…Yuka…that may not be as simple as you think. He's already on his way, and…"
"I don't care where he is," she interrupted. "My lady is not in a position to entertain company."
"He's a little more important than normal company," Gideon muttered.
"Then go tell His Majesty he'll have to wait to see Kagome."
"Don't "dearest" me, Gideon. How often do I ask you to do anything for Kagome?"
At that even Kagome couldn't help but snort in a very undignified fashion. Not only did Yuka ask her poor lover to do such errands as fetch Kagome's food and clean linens, but she also frequently used him to deliver important (and usually bad) news to the King on Kagome's behalf. And by the expression on Gideon's face, it was obvious he was doing a tally of his own as silence filled the room.
"Oh for pity's sake," the young maid sighed in exasperation and shot to her feet, taking Gideon to a far corner and whispering fiercely in his ear. Kagome didn't have long to wonder what they were talking about since the man's eyes immediately grew very wide as he peered around Yuka's shoulder to look directly at Kagome…or, more specifically, her belly.
"Truly?" He swallowed and blinked several times before leaping to Kagome's side and taking her hand in his as he fell to his knees. "My lady, such news is a blessing for your house! A royal child!"
"A royal bastard is more like it," Kagome muttered. "I'm not married to the King, remember?"
"As if he would refuse to marry you," the young man guffawed sincerely.
Kagome opened her mouth to reply, but at that exact moment there came a knock at the door, and in a rare display of comical panic, Yuka hit the floor as though the very earth was shaking. Everyone remained silent, Gideon desperately trying to reign in his laughter at the sight of his lover, normally so composed and in control, cowering behind a chair with her head under her clasped hands, clearly not having forgotten the intimidating experience from the last time she'd tried to deny the King entrance to Kagome's chambers.
"Kagome? Are you in there?" They all heaved a collective sigh of relief as they recognized Sango's voice.
"Yes; come in Sango."
The door opened and revealed not only Sango, but Miroku as well (not that it was a surprise since the man trailed after his intended as though he feared she'd change her mind at any moment and needed to be there to convince her otherwise).
"Kagome, how are you feeling today?" Sango immediately inquired after her friend.
"Not much better, but I'll manage," Kagome bravely smiled.
"Well I'm glad you're at least not hugging the chamber pot any more," Miroku added in his usual blunt manner. "I don't think Inuyasha would care for that very much. He's back, you know…" But the black-haired man immediately trailed off into puzzled silence as he spotted Yuka on the floor. "What on earth are you doing down there?"
The maid glanced up and turned immediately red. "Um…I…"
"I just heard that Inuyasha's back," Kagome hastily covered for her friend. "Gideon came here immediately. Have you seen him? Is he well?"
Miroku shrugged. "Of course. When is he not well? Aside from his temper tantrums, of course…"
"Miroku!" Sango elbowed him affectionately in the side. "Such treasonous words!"
He looked absolutely unrepentant. "Well it's true."
Kagome chuckled. "Between the two of us, Miroku, we should have been thrown in the Tower about ten times each."
"Yes, well…I know he would never put you there, Lady Kagome, but I on the other hand am an entirely different matter." They all laughed about that before Miroku pushed ahead. "So would you care to explain exactly why there was so much tension when we entered the room, and why Yuka was on the floor looking like she was preparing for the apocalypse? Unless you're practicing a new kind of bow that I'm unaware of, Yuka…"
"Watch it, Miroku," the maid hastily snapped back, her temper covering her humiliation as she moved back to stand beside Kagome, smoothing out her simple skirts as she did so and trying to appear as dignified as she possibly could.
Everyone went silent, telling the newcomers that something was indeed wrong, and this time it was Sango who raised an eyebrow in concern. "Kagome? Is something wrong?"
"It's nothing!" She replied in a far too cheerful voice.
"Indeed." Sango and Miroku replied together, both comically crossing their arms in a parallel fashion. They really were a match made in heaven no matter how much Sango tried to insist she'd agreed to the engagement under protest.
"Well…" Kagome bit her bottom lip. "Actually, I suppose there is a small problem now that you mention it…"
Sango's eyebrows disappeared behind her hairline at that one. "Just how small, Kagome?"
"Um…well…you see…" She fumbled with her hands for a moment before decidingg to just take the plunge. These were her best friends, after all. "I think I'm with child."
The couple blinked several times in stunned silence before Miroku cleared his throat. "I see. So is the child Inuyasha's?"
The immediate sound of skin smacking skin could be heard as Sango gave him a good whack on the cheek. "How can you ask that, you fool? Of course it's Inuyasha's baby! You dare to imply that Kagome would take more than one lover?"
"Sango, dearest…" He pleaded with her as he backed away from her enraged stare. "I meant no offense. It just sort of came out…really…" When she backed off slightly he dared to rise back to his full height. He turned back to Kagome. "How far along are you then?"
"I don't honestly know," Kagome replied with a shrug. "I haven't really been keeping track of my courses…obviously…or else I would have noticed this a lot sooner."
"Well I'm happy for you, Kagome," Sango proclaimed.
"Of course! A baby! You'll be such a wonderful mother!"
"Without a husband, Sango?"
"Ha! As if Inuyasha would need any sort of an excuse to marry you!"
Kagome raised an eyebrow. "Everyone seems to be saying that these days…"
"Well it is true," Miroku chimed in. "He's refrained from proposing only out of fear that it would offend you since…well…"
"I understand," Kagome replied with a sigh, not really wanting to be reminded of the fact that her sister had been his wife first. It was something that would trouble her for many years to come, even knowing they had never consummated their marriage together.
There was another pregnant pause, quite literally.
"So…um…" Miroku yet again managed to awkwardly break the silence. "Sango dear, do you suppose that since Kagome is now pregnant, that we could…you know…"
She turned and looked at him steadily. "Excuse me? What on earth are you talking about, Miroku?"
For the first time he actually seemed nervous. "Well, it just seems like Inuyasha will surely marry Kagome after he hears the news, and that would mean it would not be considered so terribly wrong for other couples to risk pregnancy by…well…you know, before they are married…um…"
Comprehension slowly dawned, and Kagome watched as her friend's face turned several shades of red, each darker than the last, before flying at her betrothed again. "You unrefined, pigheaded pervert! How dare you imply such a thing! As if I would ever let you put your hands on me! You'll never take them off if I do!" She sniffed haughtily. "I'm not sure you'll even be allowed after you're married, since that's the case!"
"Sango!" She smacked him over the shoulder. "I only meant that…" She smacked him again, and again, though Miroku admirably held his ground. "Please, dearest, you're overreacting!"
She was fuming now. "I'm overreacting? I'm overreacting? Do you know what you just implied in front of our friends, Miroku? I'll strangle you for this, I swear I will!"
Deciding she needed to intervene before Sango did just that to the King's right-hand man, Kagome unsteadily rose to her feet and called for silence. "I hardly think that's necessary, you two. Please calm down." They both looked at her, and she grinned impishly. "Though I must say, I didn't know that you two had never…well…"
They both had the decency to blush at that particular implication.
Another knock, this time stronger, came at the door, and everyone turned as still as stone, knowing that unmistakable sound anywhere. It was Inuyasha.
"Um…Yuka, why don't you get the door," Kagome whispered. "And remember, I'm not here."
Yuka nodded and reluctantly made her way towards the door, clearly not looking forward to another confrontation with the High King.
Opening the door, she was greeted by Inuyasha's trademark scowl, his amber eyes harsh, though there was a trace of softness that had steadily been growing behind the mask which everyone knew was due to Kagome's influence. "Um…Your Majesty…what a surprise!"
He raised an eyebrow at that. Since when had his coming to call on Kagome ever been a surprise? "Indeed. I'd like to speak with Kagome."
"She's not here, sire."
At that Inuyasha actually rolled his eyes skyward, praying for patience. It all felt a little too familiar, and he knew he'd caught the sound of her voice a moment before. Besides, he smelled two other familiar men in the room, and that idea was enough to make him growl and demand entrance. "Yuka, please don't make me knock down the door."
"Kagome wouldn't like that very much, Your Majesty," Yuka replied shakily, swallowing in a nervous sign that told him she was definitely hiding something.
Having no patience, Inuyasha did the first thing he could think of. "Miroku!" He called out to the man he knew was in the room.
"Inuyasha?" He appeared around the corner of the door innocently.
"Where is Kagome?"
"Kagome?" Miroku had the decency to look puzzled. "I have no idea."
"She's not in her room?"
"But you are?"
"It would appear so."
Inuyasha growled and grit his teeth. "Why?"
Miroku smiled innocently. "I like it in here. Kagome's rooms are so pleasant. She decorates them so beautifully."
"Indeed." He swallowed and turned his attention back to the maid. "Yuka, I can smell Sango beyond the door, along with that ridiculous man of yours, and I refuse to believe they're all in there but Kagome isn't. So open the door or I will send you to the Tower where you can learn a lesson in proper etiquette when addressing royalty, something I believe you are sorely lacking."
Yuka swallowed again, but did not budge, though she did chance a glance over her shoulder, confirming Kagome was indeed inside. And then, finally, she moved away and allowed the door to swing open as she scrambled away from his sharp gaze.
He casually swept over Sango and Gideon (who was sitting too close to Kagome for Inuyasha's taste) before his eyes settled on Kagome herself, looking radiant as ever in her morning robe and sleeping gown, though her hair, to his disappointment, was restrained in a braid instead of falling freely down her back as he preferred.
She met his gaze confidently. "Still intimidating my servants, Inuyasha?"
He grunted. "They need to be taught a lesson."
"I believe they are already perfect as they are."
"Keh." He took a few more steps into the room. "And what are all of you doing in here? Having a private party?"
"That was a rhetorical question, Miroku."
Kagome sighed. "You seem to be in a bad mood, Inuyasha. Did you have a bad trip?"
"I had to deal with that ridiculous Queen Kagura for almost two weeks, Kagome. I hardly think that would put me in a good mood."
She grinned flirtatiously. "But I would think coming back home to see me should clear up your anger in an instant."
His eyes softened slightly at that, though he was unaware, and he allowed his eyes to drift possessively over her entire body, making his claim. But then he froze, noticing for the first time how pale her skin was, the scent of vomit in the air, her brow slightly damp from sweat. The soft look vanished to be replaced by concern as he crossed the room in one leap that startled everyone else. "Kagome!" He took her in his arms and began touching her face, her cheeks, and her hair. "What's wrong? You're ill!"
"I'm fine, Inuyasha," she replied, though he could easily see through the lie. There was something he was missing…but what was it? He'd only been gone three weeks; what could have possibly gone wrong in that short time?
"I don't believe you," he snorted, and continued his inspection of her body, sniffing occasionally and trying to cut through the heavy smell of roses telling him she'd been taking regular baths.
"Inuyasha!" Kagome exclaimed, scandalized that he would touch her so in front of her friends. "Honestly, I'm fine!"
"Something's wrong, Kagome. I can tell. Now what is it?"
"Kagome's pregnant!" The other four occupants of the room finally exclaimed in exasperation. Inuyasha's hands froze just above her breasts, and she turned a bright shade of crimson for that and many other reasons.
Finally the hanyou managed to turn around and look at his friends. "Kagome's what?"
"She's pregnant," Sango replied, stepping forward slightly. "She is carrying your child."
Inuyasha blinked so many times people began to wonder if he'd lost the ability to understand English. Finally he exhaled a long breath and took in another…and then another…and another…
Whirling around, he looked at the woman he loved more than life itself with a suddenly fearful, uncertain expression. "You're certain?" If the situation weren't so serious, Kagome could have laughed…Inuyasha looked like the child that had done something horrendous and had just been caught.
As it was, however, she kept her face sober and carefully blank of all emotion; frankly uncertain of just how this news would affect the man she loved. She knew he would never reject a bastard child, but even so, he may not be happy about it either (and she wouldn't blame him either way). "Yes Inuyasha…I'm certain. At least, mostly certain. I don't see what other explanation there could be in this case."
He took another deep breath before exhaling again, and this time he moved forward so that his forehead touched hers as he placed a tentative hand over her belly and closed his eyes. Searching beyond his thoughts and the racing of his heart, he calmed his mind and took a few deep breaths through his nose, forcing his senses to cut through all the surrounding smells until he found what he was looking for. Subtle, easy to miss, it was there nonetheless, and the reality brought a stupid grin to the hanyou's normally stoic face.
"Kagome…" He pulled away slightly and framed her face with his hands. Her wide, intelligent dark eyes looked back up at him with complete trust. "I'm going to be a father…" The wonder and awe in his voice humbled everyone in the room.
"Yes, Inuyasha," Kagome replied with a shy smile. "Your child."
"Our child," he corrected. "A pup like me."
She laughed at that. "I don't know if I like the idea of any son or daughter of mine being referred to as a pup, but we can discuss that later."
"So I suppose now we'll have to get married." Her body immediately stiffened, and Inuyasha knew he'd said something wrong.
"You suppose?" Kagome narrowed her eyes slightly and stepped back, just out of his reach. "Do you have to sound so thrilled about it?"
"Kagome…" She moved further away and this time he clearly saw Sango and Yuka shaking their heads in disappointment while Miroku and Gideon just looked confused while cowering and giving him subtle signs of encouragement under the noses of their lovers. Inuyasha sighed. "What the hell did I saw now, woman?"
Tears came to her eyes. "You just had to propose that way, didn't you?" Kagome was no fool. She knew that it couldn't exactly be romantic and planned since the poor man had no idea before that moment she was even pregnant, but still…he could have at least tried to make it sound like a little less of a chore to marry her. Now, her already unstable hormones raged and she teetered dangerously between absolute despair and dangerous rage. "Just once can't you do something the normal romantic way?"
Inuyasha blinked. "What?"
"Ugh, you're hopeless!"
This time the hanyou was ready and responded in kind, not appreciating feeling so humiliated in front of his friends. "Well it's not like you did the best job of telling me about this, woman! You weren't even going to tell me, instead hiding in your room, and it was your friends who told me, not you! So don't accuse me of being inappropriate!"
"Maybe I didn't want to tell you right away because I wanted to make it special, Inuyasha," Kagome snapped back, hugging herself with her arms. She looked so vulnerable dressed in her sleeping attire while everyone else was already dressed for the day. Still, she stood up to the situation with the usual defiance he'd come to expect from her. The defiance that always sparked so much love and admiration in his heart. "You, on the other hand, just don't think! 'I suppose we have to get married'? What kind of a statement is that for a woman who's been with you through thick and thin these past fourteen months? Hm? Is that your idea of romantic?"
"Damn it, woman, you're not being fair! And if this is what I have to look forward to for the next nine months, then maybe I'll just move away until after the pup is born!"
"It's a baby, you baka!" And that's all it took for Kagome to collapse into tears, sitting down on a luxurious couch and rocking back and forth.
Uttering several oaths against his family, against women, and against God for creating said women, Inuyasha quickly crossed the room and reached Kagome's side, kneeling before her and putting his hands over hers. "Kagome, please…I hate seeing you cry. Please don't."
She sniffed. "Would you really leave me, Inuyasha?"
He swore again, and her eyes narrowed, causing him to gulp. "Of course not, Kagome. I would never leave you. I shouldn't have said that."
Her eyes narrowed further, if that were possible. "And you're sorry for proposing to me in the way you did…if you can even call that a proposal…right?"
Muttering something only he understood, Inuyasha stared at the floor for several moments in silence, wishing a hole would open up and swallow him before he was further humiliated in front of his friends, whose stares were beginning to annoy him just as much as he was distressed by Kagome's tears.
Whirling around, he glared at them all in defiance. "Do you eavesdroppers mind? I'd like a little privacy! It's bad enough that you all knew about Kagome's condition before me, but now…"
"What's wrong with Kagome? Inuyasha, what did you do now?" Shippou chose that precise moment to walk in, looking around innocently. That was the final straw.
"Get out now!" He bellowed, and everyone scrambled over each other to leave, Miroku dragging Shippou with him even as the kitsune demanded entrance to check on Kagome and make sure Inuyasha wasn't doing anything awful.
It wasn't until the doors finally closed that the hanyou felt like he could even breathe.
"Inuyasha?" Kagome's voice now sounded uncertain, and he looked up to meet her wide eyes, clouded with fear, guilt and uncertainty. "I'm sorry. You…you don't have to marry me. I can get by just fine. I don't need…" His lips crushed hers, and all she could do was wrap her arms around his neck in response, her fears momentarily forgotten.
After several minutes Inuyasha lifted his head, savoring the feel of her arms once more around his neck, having sorely missed her while he was away, traveling with that arrogant Eastern King who, it was well known, was in love with Kagome. Inuyasha knew instinctively that Bankotsu's code of honor would never allow him to make a move, but even so, the hanyou still felt so insecure and undeserving of what he'd found in Kagome, and every day was difficult enough without being reminded of the fact that the woman could probably choose anyone in the country to be her husband besides him.
Running his thumbs over her cheeks to wipe away her tears, Inuyasha allowed his eyes to soften and the harsh lines of his mouth to curve upward in a gentle smile. "Kagome…of course I want to marry you. I don't think I've ever wanted anything so much in my entire life. I thought the question was if you'd want to marry me. I don't want you doing something because you feel it is your duty. I would take care of our pup…er….child, no matter what. And I would not love you any less, even if you decided you would want a different life."
And in that moment Kagome felt like he gave her all the romance she needed. No, he'd never gotten down on one knee (though technically he was currently on his knees to meet her eye to eye) and outright asked her, but then again, in all honesty if he'd done that Kagome would have started checking his food for drugs. Inuyasha just wasn't that kind of m an. But she loved him anyway. She loved him with her whole heart and soul.
Smiling brilliantly, she chuckled. "I don't think we'll ever get the hang of the whole unspoken communication thing, will we?" She looked down and ran her thumbs over her other fingers silently. "Of course I want to marry you, Inuyasha. I want to marry you more than anything. I just want us to marry for all the right reasons, not the wrong ones."
"I know." He placed a hand on her belly again, knowing soon he'd be able to feel it swell with their unborn pup. "But then again, I can't think of a much better reason than this, can you? I want our child to be born with wedded parents, so that no one can deny his or her claim to the throne when the time comes. And besides, I want my children to feel loved all their lives, without any shadow of doubt."
Kagome's eyes softened to molten pools of love and desire, and she decided her hanyou had never looked more appealing to her than he did in that moment. "I love you," she whispered as she reached for him and brought his lips back to meet hers again. "And Inuyasha?" She whispered against his mouth.
"I guess you can call them pups if you want."
It was such a ludicrous thing to say, and Inuyasha found he couldn't contain his heartfelt genuine laughter as he threw his head back and savored the moment between them. "I love you, you beautiful, wonderful woman," he finally stated, firmly sealing his declaration with another kiss.
The doors banged open once more and all of their friends came spilling awkwardly into the room, clapping and cheering and otherwise showing their excitement and happiness for their friends.
"Congratulations, Inuyasha, I knew you'd get her eventually!" Miroku announced happily. "I just never thought you'd get a woman to bear your child before I did."
"Miroku!" Sango smacked him on the shoulder before stepping forward and shoving the hanyou abruptly to the side so she could hug Kagome. "I'm so happy for you, Kagome. You're like a sister to me, and I couldn't ask for more for your sake."
"Thanks, Sango," Kagome giggled.
"Hey!" Inuyasha looked positively livid where he sat on the floor. "I'm still the King here, and I thought I told all of you to get out!"
"You did, sire," Yuka calmly replied, allowing Gideon to place an arm around her waist. "But you didn't specify that we had to remain outside."
"You…" Inuyasha's growl was abruptly halted as a ball of fur landed in his face.
"Inuyasha, are you really going to be a father? Are you ready? Can you handle it? I promise I'll help whenever I can!"
"Get off of my face, runt!" Inuyasha all but screamed in protest, launching Shippou halfway across the room in retaliation. The little kitsune just stood up, shook himself off, and jumped onto the couch beside Kagome as if nothing had ever happened. "And the rest of you…don't you all know the meaning of privacy?"
They all went silently momentarily before unilaterally shrugging and replying honestly: "No."
That gave him pause, and Inuyasha suddenly just looked lost. "Oh."
Kagome's laughter suddenly rang throughout the room, and all who heard couldn't help but smile. There would soon be another royal wedding, and soon after, a royal child…but this time all could see that the union would be blessed, and that the struggle was final over for their friends…at least until Inuyasha had to change his first diaper. But that was an entirely different matter.