She wanted him to be the first to know.

He was her husband of three years, after all. It was only right that he be informed now, and first among their ring of friends.

But then again, would he even be able to comprehend what she was going to tell him? She was certain he wasn't very good at this sort of stuff; she'd known him long enough to know that much.

She paced, the old floorboards of their young home creaking beneath her featherlight feet, planning ways to tell him, making fake situations appear in her head. Her red hakama flailed about as her feet strode restlessly atop the floor, her movements swift and agile as if repeating this rapid movement would send her to some other fraction of time if she continued it for long enough.

A time, perhaps, when Inuyasha was already well aware of the information she was about to present to him, and had gotten over his initial reaction, which she suspected would not be smooth or suave by any means.

He might reject the idea of it, deny it. He could also laugh, and pretend like she had simply told him another of her jokes that didn't even merit any sort of genuine mirth. Or maybe he'd accept it, claim he was ready to be a father to their unborn child and protect it like he protected her.

Now, she thought, I must be delusional if I were convinced he were to ever act that way.

She could already imagine it, picture his face distorting into a severely wry one at her sparse, simple words.

"Inuyasha, I'm pregnant," she would say, and then, maybe, he would reply, "Kagome, is this some kind of joke?"

Then there would be osuiwaris thrown around and all the world would be suffocated by her usual outpours of anger at his lack of understanding emotions other than his own.

She had never expected this, a baby of her own. She was only twenty-one, a ripe and youthful age she had intended to enjoy. And now, she was buried deep in responsibility she had never asked or wanted from the very start.

Kagome, of course, had eventually wanted children. But now? No. The both of them were young, unprepared.

Then again, it seemed a bit like Inuyasha would never grow up, even into his elder years. Ten years from now, and she was convinced he still wouldn't be ready for something like this. Something so…big, and yet…very small and fragile.

Kagome kneeled down onto the floor, as if the burden of these thoughts was beginning to weigh her down to the breaking point. She knew she shouldn't be so worried, as no matter what, she knew Inuyasha would stand by her. Even if he feared to now. It wasn't like he could run away from this; somehow, now, he would always be connected to her, even thousands of miles away.

Dawn light at last began to seep in, dripping purples and soft petal-pinks onto their hut's floor, lighting up a world she wished would remain dark for just a little while longer.

She needed more silence, as if her spirit craved it. She needed shelter in shadows, to hide that tears that prickled like clear clouds over her soft sienna stare. She needed support, help, and wisdom. She also needed a husband who could comprehend easily; but when she accepted his proposal a few years back, she knew she could never have that.

Just tell him, she advised herself, it's not like you can keep this sort of secret locked away forever.

Kagome, gingerly and frailly, placed her hand on her stomach, and closed her eyes, as if she could already hear the soft beat of her baby's heart within her. There was a connection already between them, one she feared Inuyasha would never feel.

Finally, the tears slipped slowly from her eyes, dampening her pale cheeks. She couldn't hold these tears back anymore than she could stop herself from telling him.

Choking, stifling sobs burned and dried her throat out like an untouchable fire, burning and singeing. Her heart drummed furiously at her chest, and she leaned forward, the heels of her palms pressing harshly against the floor as she attempted to hold her weight up and keep herself from collapsing.

Then, he wandered in, just when she didn't want him to.

"Kagome!" Inuyasha yelled as he surged over the wooden threshold and came quickly to her side. He grabbed her and pulled her close immediately, running his claws cautiously through her raven-black hair. "What's wrong?"

"N-nothing," Kagome responded, though obviously everything was wrong, and Inuyasha knew it.

"Kagome," he repeated, but sternly this time, "what's wrong? What happened?"

"I'll tell you when I'm ready," she whispered, her voice like a fallen soldier as it limped from between her drenched lips.

Inuyasha blinked, unsure of what she meant. Seeing as she wasn't going to tell him now, he let her lean against him and cry until her eyes went dry.

xxx

Today, Inuyasha refused to leave her side, even as she worked in the fields and perused herbs amid the bracken and undergrowth of the woodlands. He trailed after her like – well - a lost puppy, still insisting on knowing why he found her in such a broken state the night before, with her continually telling him that she would tell him eventually.

But that simply wasn't enough for the stubborn hanyou. He wouldn't leave her alone until he pried an answer from her.

Kagome, secretly, was enjoying this sort of lavish attention from her pursuer. She always felt safe knowing he would come to rescue her even if he wasn't around, but this was new to her. The chatter and squabbling kept her distracted and her mind away from thoughts of her pregnancy.

He was wrathful, his arms crossed beneath his huge, scarlet sleeves, but she was used to this lack of tolerance. She took it in stride, strolling across the landscape taking the scenic route here and there and dragging him along with her to see how far he would follow.

Maybe, she thought with a bittersweet smile, to the ends of this feudal land.

"What're you smiling for?" he asked bitterly as they sauntered along.

"Nothing," she replied, her tone of voice singsong.

"As usual," he muttered beneath his breath. Why wouldn't she properly answer any of his questions? It was frustrating him, being in the unknown like this. Especially when it came to Kagome. He wasn't used to her being so distant from him, and it pinched and poked at his heart like a leaf suspended between two of his claws.

Finally, they wandered onto the land where they had first met. The thousand-year old tree still stood like a bark-peppered behemoth, its April-fresh canopy brimming with pallid blossoms. The petals sprinkled down onto their heads like a thick, soft, and gentle rain. Kagome smiled again as a few drifted lazily onto her head, while Inuyasha grumbled something inaudible again and flicked a few from behind his ears.

Kagome looked around, wondering how she had even ended up here. Maybe it would be the perfect place for her to tell him at last and sweep the clutter from within her heart.

She placed her basket down on a nearby stump, stood on one of the winding roots that lifted like a curled finger above the ground, and turned to face him with slight tension nipping at her face.

Inuyasha leaped right after her, now standing over her on the very same root, though only by a few inches now. His ears flicked forward, alert and intent on her forming words. "Okay," he said at last, "let's hear what you have to say."

Kagome took a deep breath, then let all the heaping air free from her chest with a great and lush sigh. "What I'm about to tell you," she began, "promise that you won't overreact."

He snorted, but didn't say anything.

"Promise," she repeated, pointedly sneaking a glare at the subjugation beads that rolled about his neck.

He got the idea before she had to say it aloud. "Promise."

"This is where we first met," she said, stating the obvious. Kagome leaned back against the tree, the very place where Inuyasha had once been cursed to remain forever. The hole where the arrow pierced the tree still stayed, as if to forever mark their memory. "And this is where…we begin again." The words were cryptic, in a way, which furrowed Inuyasha's forehead and clouded his head with thought he couldn't process.

"What? How can we begin again if we already started?"

I can't just come out and say it, she thought, her head spinning, he'll reject it right away if I do. She bit her lip, her heart buzzing with their closeness and with anxiety. "There is a new life…for us on the horizon. Nine months, actually."

He still wasn't getting it.

"Someone else will be joining our fairly small family," she continued.

No response.

She sighed, and it suddenly felt like the world around her had frozen in time. "We will beginning something else, Inuyasha. We will be responsible for a new life. One made from us." Now she felt perverse, but she was running low on hints, and her words intelligence-wise simply couldn't get any…simpler.

His eyes narrowed a moment, then expanded again. His mouth fell open, then nothing.

Kagome couldn't take it anymore. The anger welled in her stomach and churned it into an acidic storm, until the venom spilled out with her scream. "I'm pregnant! Can you not conceive? A baby. A child! A kid. We're going to have a baby!"

There, she thought as her voice snagged birds from the branches and ripped blossoms from the tree with its power, now I've told everyone at once, and technically he was the first to know.

Satisfied, she closed her eyes and smiled as the moment was at last over and gone…

"Wait, what?"

…or so she thought.

Inuyasha, even after the yelling, stared bewildered and dumbfounded at her. She swore she could pound the words right into his head and he still wouldn't get what she was trying to say.

"I. Am. Pregnant," she repeated, her words like frost.

A long silence, then, "With a baby?"

She seethed. "What the hell else would I be pregnant with… your missing brain?!"

"Um, that'd be a bit gross."

Her teeth and fists clenched as she prepared to beat him into his senses. Or beat him senseless…both sounded like brilliant ideas to her. "Yes, with a baby."

He blinked, his amber eyes no longer smoldering like they once were. "Our baby? Like, you and me?"

"Whose baby could it possibly be beside yours?"

"I dunno." He winced, then murmured, "Maybe Kouga's."

"Inuyasha," Kagome hissed, "We haven't seen Kouga for well over four years now and you know it. Don't you even trust me?"

"Sure I do now, but maybe not four years ago."

"How could I possibly be pregnant with a someone's baby that I didn't love and that I met with, at the latest, four years ago?"

"I don't know. Mystical things happen all the time."

"In your head, maybe." Kagome's eyes finally opened, cased with ice. "But in the real world, it is only logically possible that it's your child. So get it through your head: This baby is ours."

He blinked, his stare bleak again. "Okay."

Kagome couldn't contain it any more than she could the night before; she began to cry again, then whispered through the sobs, "How did I know it would come to this?"

"Kagome," he murmured, reaching out to her as he saw more tears drizzle down her cheeks.

"Leave me alone." Before he could reply, or chase her, she had bolted past him and deep into the woods to be by her lonesome for a while.

Kagome rushed through a river, putting dirt over her footprints – any way she could throw him off her trail for as long as possible. The water was frigid like her eyes were with her fury, and it oozed through her clothing and onto her skin, soaking it. She seemed scared now, and took a drier piece of fabric from her priestess garments and swaddled her stomach, as if she feared the baby would catch cold, even when it just wasn't possible yet.

Is this sorrow sucking up my mind? she thought as she sat on the other side of the riverbank, letting the sunlight seep in and letting the darkness of that blank, amber stare out.

"Kagome!" he called, but she refused to answer any longer.

xxx

It had been two days since she'd run away without him, and Inuyasha now felt like he was made of nerves. Every bit of him fidgeted daily as he trekked through the woods to find her, always ending up empty-handed. He always swore to protect her, and now she was on her own somewhere, carrying…their child.

The thought dizzied him for a moment, made him feel unsettled as if some ominous aura was running rampant in his veins. He let it pass, then sink in.

I am going to be…a father? Inuyasha thought, the words heavy with memory of his own lack of a father. That is, only

if I find Kagome.

He growled and slammed a clenched fist into a beech tree, hearing it rattled then collapse inwardly. He felt like that now, a strong exterior but an inside that was crumbling as the daylight passed by without her there beside him.

I am not going to lose you, or that baby. A new determination set his golden eyes ablaze, and real, true words finally perched on his tongue as he saw her at last, laying by a riverbed with various herbs and victuals sitting in a pile beside her.

Apparently, she could do well on her own in the woods.

Her eyes were stark, as if sealed within the stars. The look sent shivers up his spine as he approached her, his steps precarious and thoughtful.

Wait a minute, he thought with hesitation, she ran away from me. I should be the mad one. His insensitivity shone brightly as he came over, and hung his head over her blank expression angrily. "Where have you been? You know how worried I was? I could have lost you, and I don't want to go through that again."

She just laughed, an empty, meaningless laugh.

"Idiot," he muttered, sitting cross-legged beside her, subtly drinking in the comfort of her scent again. He looked towards her, laying in disconcerting quiet, and then noticed an excess piece of red cloth draped gently over her stomach. "What's that for?"

"Why should I tell you? You wouldn't understand." Kagome turned away, and gripped the patch of cloth tighter, and then, he realized.

"Is the baby…alright? Cold?"

She was surprised to see the concern in his eyes, and even more so, his acceptance of the situation they had now been shoved in to. "I thought…maybe this would help it, or something."

She was far more shocked by his next gesture. His hand seemed as fragile as glass for a moment, as it trembled and hovered over her abdomen. Finally, he quietly and softly placed his palm where the cloth was, as if he, too, could feel the beat of its heart beneath the light pressure. Her brown eyes wandered into his amber gaze, an unspoken question frothing within.

"I guess…it won't be so bad," he murmured, "being a father, and all. I never had one…so I know what it's like to live without one…and I don't want somebody else to go through that again." The words themselves were frail, collapsing beneath the pressure of the emotion in them.

Kagome's eyes watered slightly, and she placed her hand lightly over his, grabbing it gingerly and letting the warmth of his hand spread and flood hers. "No, Inuyasha, I don't think it will be bad at all."

Xxx

Author's note:

Just a random one-shot that takes place after the manga that I had the sudden urge to write. But I read / watched Inuyasha over the summer, so my idea of their character is obviously a bit off.

But then again, in a situation like this, I have an excuse. It's not like they've dealt with something this serious before in their lives ….especially Inuyasha…right?

Anyway, I might make this a two-shot but…maybe later. I like it the way it is now.

I hope somebody else does, too.

So if you did…please rate and review?