Chapter One Kagome.

Ten years had passed since Naraku's defeat and now two girls sat side by side lost in their thoughts. One nursed her young child; tenderly stroking the silver hair from the peacefully sleeping face, while the other held a tiny clawed hand in her own and wondered what it would be like to hold her own babe. The chance had been lost five years before and would never be regained, at least not with the man she still loved but had betrayed.

She had not betrayed him with another; no one else had known the secrets of her body, her betrayal was nothing he could fight against. She wondered not for the first time how everything had gone so wrong; she could trace the events but not always her reasons and now it was too late to turn back the clock.

Kagome thought back to those dark days inside the Shikon Jewel when she was alone with just the cruel cold whispering in her mind. The jewel knew she really wished to go home, but Inuyasha had reached her and saved her sanity by helping her to form the wish for the jewel to vanish completely. But because her wish was selfless, a more gentle whisper had told her she would have her own wish too and the well had appeared and allowed her home in any case; although it took Inuyasha away.

She missed Inuyasha every day for three long years during which time she finished her education and lived mainly as most young girls do in the latter teenage years; studying hard, playing well and earning pocket money from part time jobs. Then that marvellous day when she was finished with school and her thoughts turned seriously once again to Inuyasha's absence in her life, the well had surged with power again and opened the portal.

She never questioned why it had allowed her back, perhaps it had something to do with her heartfelt wish to go home and finish her education before becoming Inuyasha's mate that she'd had deep inside. Whatever; the miracle had occurred and she was welcomed back into his very loving arms and back into the lives of Miroku, Sango and all the children.

Everything had been fine as she became Inuyasha's mate with her own hut and housekeeping. She'd helped out Kaede and teased Sesshoumaru when he visited with Rin and sparred with Inuyasha, and she'd played with Sango's children and chatted as a housewife while their men went and earned their wages. There was always plenty to eat as grateful villagers would pay in kind for her miko services and she was always cheerful and willing to help, much as her incarnation had been.

They had found that the well was not permanently opened as it had been before, but all they had to do was wish to return and it recognised the desire that had been granted to the holder of the Shikon jewel and her guardian mate. So now Kagome had the best of both worlds literally and found she enjoyed both equally. At least at first, but soon the novelty wore off; Inuyasha could be away a week or more at a time, Sango had her hands full and there was no real joy in washing and scrubbing by hand instead of machine.

Her hands were becoming rough and calloused again as they often were when fighting Naraku, but that had seemed a good reason at the time. Since she had been home, life had not been so tough and Kagome was feeling lonelier as time went by. She missed her friends when she was in the past and all the things they did together; with the evenings being the worst when Inuyasha and Miroku were away. Inuyasha couldn't help but notice his mate's growing despondency; she had started to use the rosary again if she thought he was being annoying or rude.

Sango had tried to reason with her friend, Inuyasha hadn't been 'sat' for three years and had never needed to be. But Kagome was not to be swayed, the hanyou was still often coarse and her mother was not used to such language when they went home, he needed to learn. Inuyasha did learn, he learnt that Kagome was actually much more contented in her own time than in his and he tried as a good mate should to make her happy, so he ended up staying with her for longer and longer.

But it was not easy; Kagome got frustrated with him often as he didn't want to do the things she did all the time, hanging out with her friends at the mall shopping or enduring the overloud sappy films at the cinema with his ears permanently covered was not working out. Why could he not try to fit in with her life more, instead of bucking against it all the time? She had tried to fit in with his life, wearing the clothes of the time however strange; yet Inuyasha hated to dress in modern things.

Of course neither she nor her mate could carry on living at her mother's expense as they had done while she was a schoolgirl, and therefore Kagome had found an office job where her knowledge of antiquities was fast becoming recognised. Inuyasha also needed to work, it was his job as her mate to provide but this was harder to find; he took on heavy lifting jobs and other unskilled labour because he had no other credentials and couldn't read or write much.

The money they brought in combined was enough to pay for the rent of a couple of rooms on the shrine site that had been transformed from an office especially for them to be independent of the main house. But because her responsibilities didn't allow her to take a few weeks off here and there, visits to the past became few and far between limited to the weekends and when they were not socialising.

Pretty soon the strain was beginning to show, money was tight and eaten up by bills and shopping and Kagome didn't see why she couldn't go out with her friends as much as she used to, she worked hard enough. But she hadn't fully taken into account her mate's nature; he still was over protective of her and possessive, it was part of being an Inu hanyou and any time that he heard bad news about girls attacked or raped, he would drop whatever he was doing to come and check that she was alright.

At first it was sweet and thoughtful, but it cost him several jobs and eventually, the rest of her colleagues were finding it funny and laughing at her expense and Kagome started to be embarrassed. It didn't matter how often she explained that she was safe, the modern world was so strange to him that he found it imperative to protect her from it.

Usually Kagome could vent out frustration at her mother who could see it always from Inuyasha's point of view as well, having seen the pair of them growing up for a few years. Mama was worried for them though, Inuyasha also talked to her and had confided that Kagome had been pushing him away and he was confused; he had so much passion for her, but she was refusing him more and more.

It all came to a head after they had been together for a couple of years, Kagome had rushed into the kitchen of the shrine in tears to see her mother, complaining that once again Inuyasha had lost his job as he wasn't there when she got to is place of work. Mama said that she was jumping to conclusions only to have Kagome start to wail. Her mother asked what the real matter was.

"I had to go to see the doctor today, I passed out at work; he says I am stressed. What a laugh after all I have been through in the last few years, he says I should take it easy for a bit."

"Why not have a holiday, go and see your friends in the past and slow your pace down a bit?"

"No, Mama; we can't afford to take time off, money is so tight as it is and Inuyasha doesn't help by keep losing his jobs. No wonder I am stressed; thank the gods it wasn't because I was pregnant."

"Inuyasha would love you to have children Kagome, he would make a wonderful father and I know he is looking forward to it."

"We can't afford kids Mama we have to wait."

"You will never be able to afford children darling, it's one of life's mysteries."

"Well not now, I want to live a little before I settle down to having a family besides…"


"What would we do with hanyou children Mama, how could I hide them for the longest time what they were; they would have to have to have hats on permanently and suppose they lost control of their youkai, what then? I don't think I can risk it; it wouldn't be fair on them."

"Kagome have you spoken to Inuyasha about this?"

"Of course not, he wants pups and won't understand; he doesn't know I'm having birth control shots, but eventually he'll just accept we can't have them. It's incredible really, but I do now understand Kikyou; things would be so much better if Inuyasha was human."

"Kagome!" Her mother was shocked and Kagome grinned ruefully.

"Perhaps I can purify him on a regular basis maybe that would get rid of his youkai." She was only half joking and sounded bitter especially to the shocked hanyou standing by the door. Inuyasha had come and stood waiting while his mate spoke with her mother, neither of whom had noticed him as he was so quiet. He held in his hand a considerable amount of money which he slowly put on the table.

Kagome felt guilty and afraid of what he had heard and lashed out angrily asking him where he had got such a large sum and to take it back where he'd got it from. There was silence for a long time and Mama got up to draw him to the table, she could see the horror in his eyes and knew he had heard all of Kagome's unguarded words. But Inuyasha was shaking now and pulled away;

"I ain't no thief Kagome, the money's mine but I give it to you…be happy." Then he rushed out and down the well before anyone could stop him. Grandfather was nearly bowled over in the passageway but came in to see what the others thought of Inuyasha's good news. Mama asked him to explain as Inuyasha was not there and the old man told them that Inuyasha had been making intricate carvings from fallen trees and making benches and chairs from them.

An exclusive shop's representatives had been visiting the shrine and offered to buy the benches and any more that Inuyasha made or to make him a contract for a percentage of what they sold for. It would be at the very least a respectable and regular income with the possibility of even more. It was now time for Kagome to feel guilty; she would have to make amends and she too rushed out to the well and the past.

But Inuyasha was not to be found, he was not with Miroku and Sango, they had not seen him although Miroku knew that he had activated the well and he was not at Kaede's or their own hut. Kagome waited and decided to cook a delicious stew with which to apologise to her mate and help him calm down knowing that he would soon scent her and the dinner and come to her as he always did.

Kagome waited three days and still no sign of the hanyou, she later found out that he had returned to her mother and told her that he was leaving and that he would free her daughter to marry in the human tradition. Should she wish to mate another youkai that would have to wait till he was dead. Mama tried to speak with him but could tell that this time Kagome had gone too far, her soul had not changed in all this time and had hurt Inuyasha to the very depths of his being. All Mama could do was assure him of her love and let him know he would be free to come to see her whenever he wished.

Kagome had hardly seen him again; she had visited far more often with Sango and Kaede and become friendly enough with Rin, but only ever glimpsed Inuyasha when he came back with Miroku or Kohaku who had been helping his brother in law during Inuyasha's absences in the future. They had spoken once when Inuyasha had freed her telling her the same things he had said to her mother. He had said that this wasn't just about pups was it, she had deceived him and she had not been able to deny she would now prefer him human. Inuyasha had not been able to forget her scent which spoke of her embarrassment of the things he did because he was hanyou.

Then one day when she came he had gone, left the village for good. No one knew where he had gone although he had said goodbye and Miroku said he would not be dissuaded. It seemed that he too had had a wish from the kindly voice inside the darkness as had Kagome; although apart from the fact he had not believed it until it had come true, he was warned not to speak of it in case it went wrong.

When it became obvious to everyone that something different had occurred, Inuyasha was already decided, and he left the house with all the things in it to Kagome before slipping away. None of them saw him again; he spoke lastly with his brother and vanished into the forest while no one was watching him.