"Kagome! Sit down! You need to rest." an angry and worried Sesshomaru yelled as he rushed forward and grabbed his pregnant mate from the ladder and placed her on the couch, rushing back over to the ladder to grab the herb book she had been reaching for.
"I'm just pregnant, I can move around and exert myself. It's better for our baby if I do."
"Yes, but I don't want you climbing the ladder, you know you are someone clumsy." smiling at her pout, he leaned down to give her a quick kiss.
"Really, can't you two not do that when I'm around."
"Then maybe you should stop coming around, Inu-baka" Sesshomaru quipped back.
Walking in with his own mate, Kikyo, the two sat down and the group immediately struck up conversations.
"I can't believe it's been 5 months since you got pregnant Kagome" Kikyo raved as they heard giggles down the hall.
A smile graced the women's faces as a squeal echoed through the halls and a little girl ran in, tailed by Miroku.
The girl was 4 years old, long silver hair that shimmered blue in the sunlight. Amber eyes held mischief as she ran behind her father's red haori for protection.
"Kaoru, why are you hiding" Inuyasha asked as he turned to look at his daughter. "You need not fear Miroku. But you should, Fear me!" he yelled as he turned and pounced on his daughter, tickling her relentlessly as Sango waddled into the the room, beaming at the sight before her, herself also with child.
"Everyone's here now!" Kagome squealed in delight as she waddled towards her equally large friend. "I'm so glad. Kirika and Kouji are coming to visit today."
"They know sweetheart, that's why everyone is here right now."
"Well we all do live in the fortress and village, it's not like we don't see each other everyday anyway." Sango replied back as the group stood and smiled at the young girl, still being tickled relentlessly.
"Inuyasha, let her breathe." Kikyo suggested as she placed a hand on her mate's shoulder to stop him.
The group burst into laughter as the young girl feigned unconscious when her father relented. Poking an eye open, she shot from behind him and rushed to her uncle's safe keeping.
"Now what makes you think I'm a safer Inu-Lord to hide behind?"
"Because Auntie Kagome will protect me from you!" Kaoru replied with a triumphant smile as Sesshomaru lifted her into the air and the room once again burst into laughter.
A soft knock on the door caught their attention as they all calmed down and turned to the sound. Jaken bowed before the group as he spoke.
"Lords and Ladies, Lady Kirika and Lord Kouji have arrived."
"Thank you Jaken, and there is no need to address us so formally" Kagome berrated for the millionth time.
Raising his head, he motioned the group to follow as he lead them to their visitors.
Arriving in the dining hall, the women waddled their way to Kirika as the guys gave each other an knowing gaze from a friendly yet manly distance.
Pleasantries and stories were exchanged as the group caught up. As night fell, the group enjoyed a dinner and bid each other a goodnight as they all separated to see one another the next day, Kirika and Kouji were there to visit for the week – a tradition they've maintained every year since the fiasco was resolved.
Once the group had returned to the fortress all those years ago, Kirika had forsaken her father just as he had her. Believing he deserved death, she launched herself at him, only to be stopped by Kouji. Shira had managed to heal some of Kirika's emotional wounds caused by her father and shown her the error in his ways and hers as well.
Instead of sentencing him to death, Shira and Kikyo devised a more appropriate punishment – he would serve his daughter and her new found mate, Kouji. They created bracers that bound his demonic powers and limited his strength, and now he stood subdued and obedient in the corner – silent and behaved.
Staring out at the night sky, her hand rested on her belly as her head rested on the balcony door frame, Kagome allowed her thoughts to drift.
"Penny for your thoughts?" a deep, yet gentle voice whispered from behind her.
"I'm just thinking about how great it is to have Kirika and Kouji visiting, and then we get to go visit the Higurashi's for a week. "
"I know, and I know you're looking forward to going back to see them as well."
"They are my second family. I'm glad I can still go back and see them, and I'm glad they understand my choice to stay here with you and everyone here."
"Remember, you're half demon and Kikyo is now Inuyasha's mate. She is bound to his lifetime and you have our Inu-demon longevity. So long as we take care of one another, we may live to be with them permanently one day."
"I know. And I know that's why you worry about me so much."
"I worry about you and our mischievous little boy that I love and adore." wrapping an arm around her waist, he placed his palm over her belly.
"Our unborn child. We don't know if it'll be a boy or a girl. And, we love you too daddy." snuggling closer to him she felt his breath on the back of her neck as she too began to allowed herself to succumb to sleep.
The two drifted off to sleep as their thoughts and dreams no longer lingered on the nightmares of the past, but of the future that held each other, their loved ones, and their unborn baby.
I'm so sorry that took so long to finish. I just had the most hectic and probably worst week of school and work ever. I hope you enjoyed it, that is the end of the story. Once things calm down a bit and if my creativity doesn't fail me, I may return once again with another story. Thank you all for your reviews.