Long Road Home

I don't own InuYasha.

Chapter Ten Home

A light rain had begun to fall from the pale grey sky above. The morning had dawned bright and beautiful but by mid afternoon the weather had taken a definite turn. The wind had started to pick up as well bringing a deep chill to the air, perhaps as the first inklings of winter soon to come.

A pair of dim headlights pierced through the rain's misty fog as InuYasha and Kagome made their way back down the mountain. The rough mountain road joined again with the now seemingly more civil road that led to Kaede's home. They had spent most of the morning relaxing or wondering the beautiful sandy beach of the mountain lake. When the weather had started to changed they had decided, somewhat reluctantly, that it was time to leave.

The old truck pulled to a slow stop at the end of the dirt road.

"So ... should we make a run for it?" InuYasha asked as he peered through the windshield at the miserable weather.

"Or maybe we should just stay here where it's warm a bit longer." He continued as he reached over and took Kagome's hand. Kagome looked over at him to see a smirk on his face and rolled her eyes.

"InuYasha, as nice as that sounds and as wonderful as the last day has been ... I'm hungry! And I'm dying for a hot meal from Kaede's stove!" Kagome said as she slowly pulled her hand away from him and opened the truck door to get out. Kagome slid out the door and closed it behind her. Despite wearing her sweater, she shivered slightly as the damp cold air met her skin. A second later InuYasha appeared behind her and draped a thick warm blanket over her shoulders which he had retrieved from the back seat. Kagome gave him a thankful smile and they started up the path through the trees. They walked in silence as they emerged out onto the grass and made their way up to the house. As they passed the barn InuYasha stopped,

"I'm gonna grab a change of clothes before dinner!" InuYasha said as he turned towards the barn,

"I'll meet you up there in a minute!" He called as he dashed off. Kagome watched him for a moment before turning back towards the house.

InuYasha reached the barn and went in. He shook the dampness from himself and quickly moved towards the rear of the barn. Though Kaede had packed them some fruit and sandwiches to sustain them until they came back, the change in weather also had InuYasha craving a hot meal and he was eager to join Kagome up to the house. He jumped straight to the forth rung of the ladder and started up to his loft when suddenly he heard a loud shuffling noise behind him. He stopped and turned to see what had made the noise thinking maybe Kagome had followed him, or one of the animals had gotten loose from their stall. He searched the shadows from his perch on the ladder but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He was just about to turn back when he heard the noise again, this time quieter and from the far side of the barn coming from the hay.

InuYasha suddenly felt a strange feeling in his gut and stepped down from the ladder. Cautiously he made his way towards the sound. There was a broom leaning against the wall and he grabbed it as he passed. He turned it in his hand so the handle was extended in front of him like a sword. As he got close he tentatively jabbed the broom handle into the hay to see if something moved. Nothing happened. InuYasha stepped closer and slowly leaned over the nearest stack of bales. Something suddenly came flying out making InuYasha jump back. He brought the broom up in front of himself again ready to fight off the terrifying... cat?

InuYasha blinked a couple of times as he watched the calico barn cat walk daintily across the top of the hay holding her head aloft as if to say, "Ha ha I got you!". Relaxing InuYasha couldn't help but laugh at himself as he stepped forward and ran a hand over the cat's head and gave her a scratch behind the ears. The cat purred thankfully against his hand.

InuYasha threw the broom in a loose pile of hay off to the side and turned to head back to the ladder. Instead he came to a sudden halt again as a figure suddenly appeared blocking his way.

"Hi, InuYasha ..."

InuYasha felt his blood freeze as Kikyou stepped towards him. Another figure followed her but stayed several passes behind, a guy InuYasha recognised as the man from the theatre. InuYasha stood stunned, rooted to the floor, unable to believe what he was seeing.

"What? Are you surprised to see me?" Kikyou asked. Her voice was light and friendly, but her face was stern and her eyes were fierce.

"How did you get here?" InuYasha asked still having difficulty accepting what was happening.

"Hmm well that's a funny story." Kikyou started. She turned and slowly started walking back and forth as she spoke.

"Well, although these mountain roads can be hard to find and difficult to navigate, at the very least they almost all lead to the same place! You see, I got a very interesting phone call from my friend," Kikyou casually motioned towards the guy behind her.

"He called me late last night with some very interesting information. He saw you with a girl at a fair, apparently having a rather good time. At first I was hurt that you had apparently moved on so quickly, but then again you didn't exactly seem upset when you left me the other day. To be honest I had found your reaction very unexpected... so it was even more interesting to me when I found out that this whore you were with was pregnant... Naturally I had him follow you so I could confront you!" Kikyou paused to allow InuYasha a second to absorb what she was saying. InuYasha's face remained blank and unreadable as he tried to imagine all the ways this could possibly play out.

"Tell me InuYasha," Kikyou continued again,

"Who is she? Cause after you, 'Mr. Fidelity', lied to me about being faithful I think you could at least tell me who she is?"

InuYasha considered Kikyou carefully. He, better than anyone, knew how deceptive and cunning she could be. She was out for revenge and she wasn't going to stop until she buried him six feet under. The only thing he wasn't sure of was if she had decided how she was going to do it yet, and whether he could protect Kagome from her. It was clear from the way she was taunting him that Kikyou still didn't know about Kagome.

At that moment the barn door at the far end creaked open and then closed again. InuYasha felt a terrified jolt go through his stomach as the last sound in the world he had wanted to hear came from the far end of the barn. Kagome's voice,

"InuYasha ... InuYasha? Kaede's already got dinner ready, what's taking you so long?" Kagome said as she rounded the last stall and emerged into the larger open end of the barn. She had expected InuYasha to be up in the loft but she stopped suddenly as she noticed three people standing just off to the side of the barn.

InuYasha's eyes swiftly shifted from Kikyou to Kagome and back again. He watched as Kikyou took in Kagome's appearance. Kikyou's eyes went wide and her mouth opened and closed wordlessly. Obviously Kagome had been the last person she had expected to see come around the corner.

Kagome looked from Kikyou to InuYasha with uncertainly.

"InuYasha ...?" She asked nervously as she tried to make sense of the scene before her.

"No!" Kikyou said as she finally found her voice. She turned back to InuYasha starring at him with a sinister glare,

"No! You tell me it's anyone! ANYONE but her!" Kikyou screamed as she pointed a finger at Kagome. InuYasha watched Kikyou carefully before speaking,

"Kikyou I'm sorry ..." He started.

"Shut up!" Kikyou yelled.

"I don't want to listen to your lies!" Kikyou continued.

"I NEVER lied to you!" InuYasha said raising his voice above Kikyou's.

"How can you say that?" Kikyou snapped.

"Clearly you've been lying to me for several months at least! God only know how long before that ... and with HER!" Kikyou pointed her finger at Kagome.

"I never lied!" InuYasha repeated.

"Is that your child or not?" Kikyou yelled pointing at Kagome again. Kagome put her hands over her stomach as if shielding the baby from her outraged cousin. InuYasha looked at Kagome for a moment before nodding his head,

"Yes ..." InuYasha answered in a quiet voice. Kikyou simply let out a disbelieving laugh.

"Are there things I've done that I'm not proud of? Yes! Were they wrong? Yes! But I never EVER did anything knowingly with the intension of hurting you." InuYasha continued trying desperately to keep his own anger from escalating.

"What happened between Kagome and I was an accident ... neither of us even remember the incident to be honest! And other then that night I have never been with another girl but you! I have never knowingly done anything that I knew would hurt you Kikyou." InuYasha said trying to sound as sincere as he possibly could.

"You expect me to believe that?" Kikyou yelled as she started pacing back and forth again.

"Kikyou you can believe whatever you want! It still isn't going to change anything. And anyways what about you? I know you way too well to believe that this guy here was the only one you ever invited to the theatre behind my back. You're too flashy and egotistical to not have some guy on your arm to show off. When I was gone so often you needed to have someone around to manipulate and seduce... since we're baring all truths here why don't you tell me how many times you were unfaithful?" InuYasha asked. He regretted raising his voice, but his temper was starting to get the better of him. He had to calm down if he didn't want to make a bad situation worse. At the moment Kikyou still held the high ground and how well Kagome and himself faired at the end of all this greatly depended on what she ultimately decided to do.

As Kikyou and InuYasha spoke, Kagome had slowly been moving across the floor, making her way towards InuYasha's side. She was almost there when she tried to break into the argument,

"Kikyou please," Was all Kagome got out before Kikyou viciously cut her off.

"Shut up Bitch! I don't want to hear anything you have to say so keep your fucking mouth shut!" Kikyou's words dripped with anger as she yelled at the younger girl, who jumped back fearfully.

"Kikyou leave her alone!" InuYasha yelled. He reached his arm out to the side as if to create a barrier between Kikyou and Kagome.

"This is my fault. Not Kagome's, don't take your anger out on her!" InuYasha continued.

"No! This is Her fault. It's all Her fault. Everything is Her fault!" Kikyou yelled. She was getting so angry her whole body shook as she spoke.

"I've never understood that Kikyou. You secretly rant and complain about Kagome as if she's the source of all your problems, but she's your flesh and blood. She's your cousin, one of the few family members you have left! In all the time I've known both of you she has never done anything to warrant the animosity you have for her?" InuYasha asked.

"SHE STOLE MY FATHER AWAY!" Kikyou screamed.

"What?" InuYasha and Kagome asked almost simultaneously.

"You never found it strange that suddenly after your dad died you had some random cousin you had never heard of before come live with you?" Kikyou asked now directing her question at Kagome.

"I dunno ... It was so long ago. I was so young ... I was trying to understand what happened to my dad ... I never really thought about it ..." Kagome confessed.

"Well I did!" Kikyou responded.

"I thought about it a lot ... even for years before they died. Your father met my mom before he married to your mom and I was nothing but a forgotten mistake that he never told anyone about. When he started coming around again, he would talk to my mom about you. I never understood why you were so much more special, so much more important than I was." Kikyou glared at Kagome as she spoke.

"Wo ... wait a minute ... you're not implying what I think you're implying are you?" Kagome asked.

"You're not trying to say that you two are ..." InuYasha added in disbelief as he looked from one girl to the other.

"Sisters!" Kikyou finished for him. There was a long pause while everyone tried to absorb this startling information.

"No ... No ... Dad wouldn't ..." Kagome started to say.

"He did! He abandoned me for you! Even when he visited on rare occasions it wasn't for me ... it was just to see my mom. She never denied him what he wanted and I hated her for it." Kikyou said. Kagome just stared at her in response still not sure how to take in what she was hearing.

"Wait ... what about Mom? And Grandpa?" Kagome asked,

"How could they not know ... And not told us?" Kagome continued.

"Grandpa knows. He was disappointed that his only son could do something so disgraceful but he also couldn't bear the thought of his granddaughter being raised by strangers so he played along with the story that I was "a long lost niece" and insisted I come live with you. He never told your mom but she always looked at me strangely ... I wasn't sure if it was because she suspected the truth ... or because at first she just associated me with what she had lost. Either way over time she accepted it and life went on ... But it still wasn't fair!" Kikyou raised her voice again.

"Kikyou ... I ... I didn't know, I'm sorry." Kagome said not sure what else she could say.

" 'Sorry' doesn't fix anything!" Kikyou yelled. InuYasha could see that Kikyou was getting beyond angry now. He was starting to worry that any chance they had of being able to resolve this matter was slipping away. InuYasha decided to intervene again to try and take control and find a way out of the situation. He needed to put Kikyou's focus back on him and off Kagome.

"Kikyou ..." InuYasha started in a calm controlled voice.

"I'm sorry for everything ... but I don't know what you want ... what do I need to do to help you?" InuYasha asked. As he spoke he moved slowly sideways so he was directly between Kagome and Kikyou.

"Leave her!" Kikyou snapped. InuYasha paused before answered,

"I ... I can't do that ... besides do really want to go back to what we had before knowing everything that has happened?" InuYasha answered.

"I don't care if you're with me or not! All I want is for her to know what it feels like to be abandoned! To be forgotten and alone!" Kikyou said. This time her voice cracked slightly and InuYasha could see she was reaching her limit. One way or another, this was going to end very soon.

"I won't leave Kagome ..." InuYasha said again.

"Why is she so dammed special?" Kikyou asked. She sounded on the verge of tears now.

"Kikyou ... that's not what this is about. I'm trying to do the responsible thing. I won't leave Kagome ... I'm sorry I just can't do it." InuYasha answered. He wanted to say it was because he had fallen in love with Kagome and he needed to take responsibility for the baby but he knew that would only enrage Kikyou even more.

Kikyou starred at InuYasha with a look of disgust and rage and then suddenly she became very calm. Her entire body suddenly changed. Her shoulders shifted downwards and her hands unclenched at her sides as she became relaxed. Her face changed to, becoming softer and less angry and her eyes showed a sort of resolve that made InuYasha nervous.

"Ok ... you won't leave her?" Kikyou started as she turned towards Sam who had been standing behind her the entire time wearily watching without saying a word. Kikyou marched right up to him and without any warning reached into his jacket. Sam protested and tried to grab her hand almost fearfully as if he knew exactly what she was after. Unfortunately he was a second too late in reacting and Kikyou jumped back and rounded on InuYasha holding a revolver in her outstretched hand.

"If you won't leave then I'll just take you away from her!" Kikyou said. Her voice had become calm again which sent a cold shiver running along InuYasha's skin.

"Oh my god ..." Kagome said from behind InuYasha.

"You're freaking crazy!" Sam suddenly yelled as he backed further away from Kikyou.

"I'm having nothing to do with this. You are on your own!" and with that Sam ran out of the barn. Kikyou didn't even seem to notice.

"Kikyou ... come on think about this ..." InuYasha said as he raised his hands in front of him.

"I have!" Kikyou answered.

"I know you!" InuYasha continued.

"You wouldn't do this!" he added.

"Maybe you don't know me as well as you think!" Kikyou answered aiming the gun straight at InuYasha's chest.

"You're going to throw away your entire life for this?" InuYasha asked trying to make her see reason.

"Shut up InuYasha! Just shut up!" Kikyou was losing control again. Her need for revenge, the fulfilment of her own personal justice was so great she was prepared to pull the trigger. But, even if things had not been perfect, there was still a glimmer of what she had felt for InuYasha in her heart and it was just enough to stay her feelings of grief and rage.

"Kikyou ..." InuYasha started again in a low calm voice.

"Put the gun down ... this can't be how you want this to end?" he asked as he took a few slow tentative steps towards her.

"Don't come near me!" Kikyou answered shaking the gun at him.

"Just put the gun down ... we can work through all of this." InuYasha said taking one more step closer.

"Please Kikyou ... listen to him!" Kagome added. InuYasha could tell Kagome was trying to sound calm but he could hear the tell tale quiver in her voice that told him she was terrified.

"No ..." Kikyou answered.

"Kikyou ... put the gun down!" InuYasha said again.

"NO!" Kikyou screamed. She closed her eyes and jerked her hands in a haphazardly motion through the air, unconsciously clenching her fist against the gun as she did so.

InuYasha's heart actually missed a beat as the shot discharged from the gun. The sound was so loud it seemed to hit his whole body like a powerful shockwave. The sound hung in the air for several seconds while everyone including Kikyou stood starring in shock. Shaking uncontrollably, InuYasha waited for the pain to set in but his whole body seemed numb. He slowly looked down and ran his hands along his chest and stomach but there was nothing there. No hole, no blood, nothing. Finally he allowed himself to take a breath and looked up at Kikyou,

"You missed ..." he started to say sounding relieved, but stopped as he noticed the look on Kikyou's face. She was still standing with the gun stretched out in front of her but she had turned white as a ghost and was starring not at InuYasha but past him. Slowly InuYasha turned to see what had happened.

Kagome was standing several paces behind InuYasha. She was staring at him with a strange look of almost peaceful bewilderment on her face, her hands resting casually on either side of her belly.

"Kagome?" InuYasha asked nervously as he took a step towards her.

"I ... I don't feel well all of a sudden ..." Kagome answered quietly. As she said it a small red streak began to stain the white material of her dress beneath her left hand.

"Oh God ..." InuYasha said as he realized what had happened. Kagome looked down to see what InuYasha was starring at and lifted her hands. Her left hand was covered in blood which was now flowed from a wound in her side. Kagome felt her legs growing weak and she staggered backwards. InuYasha rushed to her side, catching her just in time and helping her gently to the ground.

"Oh my god ... No No No!" InuYasha said as he tried to think of what to do.

"InuYasha?" Kagome asked.

"It's ok Kagome. I promise you're gonna be ok!" InuYasha continued as he took off his shirt as fast as he could.

"InuYasha?" Kagome asked again.

"What?" InuYasha asked as he pressed his shirt against the wound to try and stop the bleeding.

"It doesn't hurt ... it doesn't hurt at all" Kagome answered in a quiet voice. InuYasha stared at her for a second before turning back to where Kikyou was standing,

"Kikyou go to the house. Get help!" but Kikyou had vanished. Panicked by the idea that she had actually pulled the trigger and shot Kagome, Kikyou had fled leaving nothing but the gun on the floor where she had been standing.

"Kagome ..." InuYasha started as he turned back to the injured girl laying in his arms.

"I need to go get help! Can you hold this here?" InuYasha asked guiding her hand to his shirt. Kagome tried to do as he said but she was in shock and couldn't muster the strength to hold the material down hard enough to stem the flow of blood.

InuYasha couldn't believe this was happening. All the outcomes to this disastrous turn of events went through his head at once and none of them seemed to end well. He knew he had to get help but he didn't want to move Kagome. At the same time if he left her and took the pressure off the wound she could bleed to death. As it was the blood seemed to pouring past his shirt onto the floor around his knees. InuYasha needed to find out where all the blood was coming from.

"God what do I do ..." InuYasha said out loud. He took a few quick deep breaths. Slowly he removed his shirt to inspect the wound,

"Kagome I need to turn you over so I can see if the bullet came out ..." InuYasha said as he tried to roll her over. Kagome just nodded her head. The bullet had exited out her back at an angle to the wound in the front which is why InuYasha hadn't noticed it right away. InuYasha now had to put pressure on two spots and the fact that he needed help was becoming more desperate by the second.

At that moment Kaede's voice came floating down the barn.

"InuYasha ... Kagome? ... Where are you?" Kaede said.

"DOWN HERE!" InuYasha yelled.

"Kaede, help me!" InuYasha continued. Kaede was startled by the panic in InuYasha's voice and came running the rest of the way. When she found InuYasha and Kagome she gasped in surprise.

"My God, I heard a loud bang from the house ... What happened?" Kaede asked as she rushed to InuYasha side.

"Kikyou found us ... she shot Kagome ... what do we do?" InuYasha asked looking up at the old woman for help.

"Let me take a look!" Kaede said not giving InuYasha much of a chance to comply before pushing him back.

"InuYasha run to the house. Fire up that old CB radio and get on the emergency frequency. Tell them what's going on!" Kaede ordered. InuYasha didn't say a word he just jumped to his feet and started for the house. He had only gone a couple of meters when Kagome suddenly let out a loud moan. InuYasha stopped short and turned back.

"Kagome ...?" He asked.

"It hurts ..." Kagome yelled through gritted teeth.

"It's really hurts!"

"What do you mean? Where does hurt?" Kaede asked nervously.

"Just ... I dunno ... it's hard to explain." Kagome answered as she clutched at her stomach. Kaede turned and looked at InuYasha,

"InuYasha Get Moving!" Kaede ordered again. This time InuYasha didn't stop until he got to the house. He ran through the doors and headed straight for the den. On a small desk in the back corner under a sheet was an old CB radio. Kaede had taught him how to use it years and years ago but he hadn't even looked at it since. Kaede kept it for emergencies like this one, though InuYasha was sure it hadn't been used for an emergency since her husband was killed.

InuYasha held his breath and prayed as he flipped the power switch. The radio sputtered to life and InuYasha grabbed the radio. He flipped it to channel 9, the emergency channel, and started yelling for help,

"Hello? ... Hello? Anyone there? I need help! Please someone?" InuYasha pleaded. A moment later a woman's voice crackled over the old speakers.

"Who is this? What's the matter?" She asked. InuYasha breathed a huge sigh of relief before answering.

"There's been an accident. A young pregnant girl has been shot. We need help NOW!" InuYasha spoke quickly but the woman on the other end was clearly experience in dealing with these situations and walked InuYasha through the process. She took down his location and information and then informed InuYasha that an air evac helicopter was already in the area and was on its way and would be there very soon.

InuYasha was afraid that in the growing darkness the helicopter wouldn't be able to find them so he ran and turned on every exterior light on the property before heading back to the barn.

"I got through, they're sending a helicopter." InuYasha announced as he knelt back down next Kaede.

"How she doing?" InuYasha asked as he looked down at Kagome. The site of her blood soaked dress made him feel sick.

"She's holding on!" Kaede said trying to be reassuring.

"InuYasha .." Kagome said in a weak voice.

"I'm here, what it is?" InuYasha asked as he grabbed Kagome's hand.

"I'm scared ..." Kagome answered.

"I know ... but you're going to be ok!" InuYasha said trying to muster a smile for her.

"I'm not scared for me ... it's her, the baby. I can't feel her moving." As Kagome spoke tears started running down her face. InuYasha gripped her hand tighter as he tried to appear calm and strong but inside he was falling apart.

"You are BOTH going to be ok!" InuYasha answered.

Suddenly Kagome cried out in pain again startling InuYasha.

"It hurts again ... AAwwww god it hurts!" Kagome cried out as she gritted her teeth and close her eyes. InuYasha looked up at Kaede searching for an answer,

"What's wrong? What's happening ...?" He asked her. Kaede didn't answer right away but she gave InuYasha a very worried look that made him feel even more fearful. Once Kagome finally seemed to relax again and the pain seemed to have lessened Kaede looked up at InuYasha again,

"I think she's in labour ..." Kaede answered quietly. Kagome looked up at InuYasha. He could see she was scared by this news but he could also see that she had already had an idea of what was going on.

"But ... she can't be ... it's way too early?" InuYasha answered.

"InuYasha." Kaede said cutting him off,

"Go get Kagome a blanket."

InuYasha didn't say anything. He reluctantly released Kagome's hand and ran up to the loft to get the blanket from his bed. The whole time he was listening for the approaching sound of a helicopter, hoping and praying that they would hurry.

When he returned he draped the blanket over Kagome and took her hand again, but he noticed something was off. Her grip on his fingers seemed weaker. Looking at her face he noticed how pale she seemed to have become. Her eyes seemed to be unfocused as she tried taking slow deep breaths.

"Kagome..." He said as he placed a hand on Kagome's cheek and felt that her skin actually felt cold. She was losing too much blood.

"Kagome ..." InuYasha started again but he was cut off as Kaede suddenly looked up to the roof and hollered,

"They're here! You hear that Kagome, help is here you're going to be ok. InuYasha get over here!" Kaede motioned for InuYasha to take over what she was doing. InuYasha did as she said. Without another word Kaede ran out of the barn to meet the paramedics.

InuYasha didn't hear anything right away but he knew better then to doubt Kaede's ears. Sure enough a moment after the old woman had left the distinct sound of helicopter blades beating through the air could be heard from above.

"See Kagome! They are here! Everything is going to be ok!" InuYasha said looking back down at Kagome. The momentary relief he felt at hearing the helicopter vanished as he watched Kagome's eyes slowly flutter and close.

"Kagome ... Kagome ... wake up. Please wake up!" InuYasha begged but she didn't respond. A second latter two men carrying bags and equipment appeared.

"Step back sir." One of the men said as he pushed InuYasha away from Kagome.

"No, I got make sure she's ok!" InuYasha protested refusing to move.

"Sir let us do our job. Now move back!"

"Come on InuYasha." Kaede said as she to suddenly appearing at his shoulder. InuYasha finally yielded and moved back. He stood and watched as the men examined Kagome and hooked her up to various tubes and machines. Kaede had filled them in on everything on the way in so there was little need to talk. InuYasha felt completely helpless as they finally lifted Kagome off the ground and moved her out of the barn to the helicopter. InuYasha followed them staying as close as he could the whole way. InuYasha still hadn't seen Kagome open her eyes again as the men slid her into the helicopter. InuYasha tried to follow but one of the paramedics stopped him saying there was no room and he would have to meet her at the hospital. InuYasha had no choice but to step back. The helicopter took off and Kagome was gone.

InuYasha stood starring into the dark sky for several minutes, watching as the helicopter disappeared into the distance. Kaede came to stand next to him,

"InuYasha ...?" Kaede asked tentatively unsure of what was going through the young man's head. InuYasha didn't say anything. His mind was numb. His body was numb. He looked down at his hands and clothes. He was covered in blood. Kagome's blood. It shouldn't have been Kagome who took that hit, it should have been him. Kikyou wanted to shoot him, should have shot him.

InuYasha's mind was in such a state of turbulent thought he couldn't focus. He tried to sort through what had happened but it all just seemed too surreal. Kaede put a hand on his arm,

"InuYasha why don't you take a minute to just breathe and then get yourself cleaned up before we head to the hospital?" Kaede suggested. InuYasha shook his head and stepped away from her,

"No ... I need to leave right now ... I've got to get to Kagome, I have to know if she's ok ..." InuYasha answered as he staggered towards the trees.

"InuYasha you need to calm down first!" Kaede said trying to stop him but InuYasha kept going. Kaede followed him all the way to his truck where she finally put her foot down. She stood against the driver side door, blocking InuYasha's way,

"InuYasha you are in no condition to drive!" Kaede said.

"Get out of my way!" InuYasha answered.

"NO! You are no good to Kagome if you get in an accident on the way there cause you're not thinking straight!" Kaede snapped giving him a stern look.

"If you are hell bent on leaving now then at least let me drive!" Kaede said holding her hand out for the keys. InuYasha wanted to argue but he was so exhausted he couldn't muster the energy and finally handed the keys over.

As soon as they turned onto the highway InuYasha found his cell phone in the back of the truck and called Sango. She was a lot closer to the hospital and he wanted someone to be at there for Kagome if something happened. The phone rang and Sango's voice came on,

"Hello?" she asked.

"Sango! It's InuYasha! I need you to go to the hospital. I need you to go find Kagome!" InuYasha said.

"Wo, wait! What's going on? What happened?" Sango said sounding confused.

"There was an accident, Kagome is hurt really badly. Please just go and see if you can find her. I'm trying to get there as fast as I can!" InuYasha pleaded. Sango could tell from InuYasha's voice that he was distraught and felt there wasn't much she was going to get out of him on the phone so she agreed and hung up.

The drive to the hospital was the longest InuYasha had ever taken. The road ahead just seemed to stretch out forever in front of them and it seemed like the town would never come into view. Finally after over an hour of driving they arrived in town and went straight to the hospital. Kaede pulled up to the emergency entrance and InuYasha jumped out even before the truck had stopped.

"InuYasha wait!" Kaede called after him but he was already gone.

InuYasha ran into the hospital and looked around. There were people and nurses and doctors everywhere but he had no idea where he had to go to find Kagome. A friendly looking nurse sitting behind a desk looked up and gasped at InuYasha's shocking appearance. He had never gone back for his shirt so all he had was the white t-shirt he had been wearing underneath which was now smeared with blood. His hands were red and his face had blood smeared across his cheek and brow as well from resting his head against his hands.

"Sir are you ok?" The nurse asked as she quickly moved around the desk.

"I need to find Kagome." InuYasha said as calmly as he could.

"Sir are you hurt?" The nurse asked trying to move him to a chair.

"No I'm fine." InuYasha said pulling away from her.

"I need to find Kagome ... she was flown in by a helicopter, she was shot. She's pregnant. I need to find her!" InuYasha was getting frustrated and starting to ramble. Then he heard a familiar voice,

"InuYasha?"

InuYasha turned quickly to see Sango and Miroku striding down a hallway towards him. He ran to meet them ignoring the nurse as she called after him. InuYasha came to a stop in front of Sango who shuddered to a halt. She starred at him with a horrified look as she took in the site of all the blood he had on him.

"Oh my god ..." Sango said quietly.

"Where is Kagome?" InuYasha asked without noticing Sango's reaction.

"We don't know." Miroku answered

"What?" InuYasha answered.

"All we know is that she arrived and they took her to surgery or something. They won't tell us anything because we're not family." Sango added. InuYasha turned and started pacing back and forth across the hallway. He ran his hands over his hair as he tried to figure out what to do.

"InuYasha ... calm down. We can't do anything now except wait." Sango said trying to calm her friend down.

"Miroku why don't you take him to the washroom and get him cleaned up." Sango suggested especially since InuYasha was starting to attract some awkward looks from the hospital staff. Miroku agreed and tried to direct InuYasha towards the nearest washroom. InuYasha was reluctant at first but finally allowed himself to be steered away down the hall.

There was one other guy in the men's room when they entered who took one look at InuYasha and made a quick retreat. InuYasha staggered to one of the sinks and rested his hands on the counter. A red hand print smeared across the wet counter top where InuYasha touched it. He looked up into the mirror and saw himself for the first time. He really was a mess. Blood stained his shirt and pants and skin. Slowly he began to absentmindedly try and wash the blood away. He turned on the hot water and tried scrubbing at his arms and hands and face but the blood wouldn't come off. It just seemed to cover him even more.

Miroku came up beside him carrying a handful of paper towels and offered them to InuYasha. InuYasha looked up into the mirror and stared at Miroku's reflection. In true male like fashion, they didn't say a word. Instead Miroku simply placed his hand on his friend's shoulder to let him know everything was going to be ok.

InuYasha picked up a handful of towels and started to remove the blood from his skin. His clothes on the other hand were a completely different matter. He didn't have a change of clothes with him but he didn't want to wonder around the hospital covered in Kagome's blood. Suddenly there was a soft knock at the bathroom door before it opened. Kaede appeared carrying a pair of black sweatpants and a red t-shirt that she had bought at the hospital gift shop for InuYasha to change into. InuYasha took the clothes gratefully.

A little while later InuYasha emerged from the washroom changed, clean and much calmer than before. Miroku and Sango wanted some answered so they all found a quiet corner at the end of a hallway and InuYasha finally told them everything that had happened. They could hardly believe his story. Miroku and Sango discussed what had happened and what they should do now. InuYasha tried to pay attention to the conversation but he was so exhausted he could barely string two thoughts together. After a minute Sango looked over at InuYasha only to see he had fallen asleep. She moved her hand towards him to wake him but hesitated at the last second.

"Maybe we should just let him rest." Kaede suggested and the three of them moved off a little ways so they could still talk without disturbing InuYasha.

InuYasha woke to an empty hallway. Everything seemed quieter now without the hustle and bustle of doctors and nurses running around. Even the beeping and whirling sounds of the countless machines and medical devices from rooms and along the halls seemed to be much more distant then before.

InuYasha got to his feet and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He looked around to see where everyone had gotten to, but they seemed to have all disappeared. He walked a ways down the hall peering into waiting rooms and adjoining hallways but he couldn't find anyone. InuYasha started back to where he had fallen asleep in the chair thinking that his friends would come looking for him there.

As InuYasha passed by a room something compelled him to stop. Slowly he turned and looked in through the open door. There was a girl lying in a hospital bed. She was lying on her side facing away from InuYasha so he couldn't see her face. All he could see was her long dark hair cascading over her back. Still there was something very familiar about her and he moved into the room. He moved slowly so he wouldn't frighten her if she was awake. InuYasha came to a quiet stop at the side of the bed and leaned over. The blanket covered most of the girls face but InuYasha felt a rush of emotions run through him as he recognised her as Kagome. He rushed around the bed and gently pulled the blanket back just enough so he could see her face completely. The rush InuYasha had felt seemed to almost collapse in his chest. He stiffened and leaned away as he realized it wasn't Kagome. It was Kikyou.

InuYasha took a step back from the bed, confused by what he was seeing. Before InuYasha could make sense of any of it, Kikyou's eyes suddenly opened and she sat up in the bed. She starred at him for a second before pulling a gun from under the blanket and pointing it directly at his chest. It was just like in the barn as a shot rang out through the room. The sound in his ears, the feeling against his chest was all exactly as before. InuYasha felt like he couldn't breath as he looked down to see a hole in his t-shirt directly over his heart. Blood slowly began to stain the material. InuYasha slowly raised his hand to inspect the wound as everything started to become blurry...

The next thing InuYasha knew he was being shaken awake by Sango,

"InuYasha ... InuYasha you need to wake up now!" Sango said sounding worried.

"What? ... What is it? ..." InuYasha said as he slowly woke up and tried to make sense of what was happening.

"InuYasha Listen!" Sango said in a stern voice.

"A dream ..." InuYasha muttered to himself as he wiped his palm across his forehead and slowly pieced together what he had just seen.

"Kagome! Where's Kagome?" InuYasha asked suddenly as he tried to stand.

"InuYasha stop! You need to listen to me very carefully!" Sango said pushing InuYasha back down into his chair. InuYasha looked at Sango confused by her actions.

"InuYasha Kagome is ok." Sango started.

"Are you sure? How do you know? And what about the..." InuYasha started to say but Sango cut him off again.

"InuYasha trust me, you need to listen. Kagome's family is here. Her mom and Grandfather have been in to see her. They are very upset, they won't even let Miroku or I in to see Kagome. Somehow they know everything about her and you, what's happened ... Everything! I don't know how but they know and they want your head for it!" Sango said. She starred InuYasha directly in the eye as she spoke so he knew she was serious. Before InuYasha could say anything he was stopped by Kagome's mother's voice,

"You bastard!" She yelled as she marched towards InuYasha. Sango jumped out of the way as Kagome's mom strode straight up to InuYasha and slapped him hard across the face. Truthfully InuYasha understood Kagome's mother's reaction but he was getting a little tired of being slapped. Miroku and Sango quickly stepped in to try and calm Kagome's mother down as she raised her hand again,

"Mrs. Higurashi stop, Kagome wouldn't want this!" Miroku said. Kagome's mother pushed everyone away ignoring their words and kept her eyes firmly on InuYasha.

"You lied to me about knowing where she was ... you handed that letter to me and lied to my face. And now I find out that you got her ... You were the reason she ..." Kagome's mom couldn't bring herself to say the words.

"Mrs. Higurashi .." InuYasha started to say but she wasn't interesting in what InuYasha had to say and shouter louder,

"So help me god you will never see Kagome again. I will never let you lay another finger on her. Do you hear me?"

"You can't ..." InuYasha protested.

"She is MY daughter and you will stay away from her or I will call the police and have you charged with anything and EVERYTHING I possibly can!" Kagome's mom threatened as she pointed a finger at InuYasha. She didn't even allow him the chance to say one word in his own defence before she marched away again.

InuYasha began to pace back and forth again across the hall as he watched Mrs. Higurashi disappear.

"Well that went well! What the hell am I going to do now?" InuYasha asked as he ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. The question wasn't directed at anyone in particular but everyone present averted their eyes. They all knew Kagome's mom was serious. She was not a woman who got angry easily but when she did she was a force to be reckoned with.

"I can't leave Kagome ... I need to know ..." InuYasha said muttering to himself out loud.

"I just ... need to see her ... I need to know if she's ok ... if the baby is ok." InuYasha continued. Again no one said anything. Then a quiet voice spoke up,

"InuYasha?" everyone turned to see Kagome's younger brother standing in the hall way behind them.

"Did you really hurt my sister? And make her leave?" Souta asked.

InuYasha felt his heart sink into the pit of his stomach. He wasn't sure what to say to the boy.

"Souta you should really get back to your mom before she gets worried. She probably wouldn't be very happy that you're here!" InuYasha said trying to avoid answering his question. Instead of leaving Souta took a few steps towards InuYasha.

"Don't treat me like a little kid! Mom and grandpa aren't telling me anything because they think I won't understand but I hear them talking and hear the doctors to... just tell me the truth." Souta said.

"I'm sorry Souta I just don't know what to tell you!" InuYasha confessed.

"Just tell me the truth."
InuYasha sighed deeply before kneeling down so he could look up at Souta instead of down at him,

"You're sister and I made a mistake ... Something happened that shouldn't have. But I promise you I NEVER hurt Kagome and I didn't force her to leave. I really do care about her and I just want to make sure she's ok." InuYasha answered. Souta gave InuYasha an appraising look before speaking again,

"Kagome was scared when we showed up. When she saw mom she looked worried. She kept asking where you were. Then after I heard Kagome saying your name while she was asleep. I don't think she would be asking for you if you had hurt her..." Souta said. InuYasha didn't know what to say to that but he couldn't help but smile for the first time in hours at Souta's words.

"I think I might know how you could get in to see my sister ..." Souta continued. Everyone present suddenly perked up as Souta told them his plan.

Fifteen minutes later Souta strode towards his mom who was standing at the nursing station just outside Kagome's room. She was talking with one of the nurses about a form or something that needed to be filled out. From around the corner Sango and Miroku watched as Souta casually wondered up and started pulling on his mother's sleeve. At first she ignored him but finally she relented and turned to see what he wanted. Souta informed his mom that he was starving and wanted some real food, not from the vending machine. Kagome's mother tried to tell him to be patient but after a few minutes of complaining she gave in and asked the nurse where the cafeteria was. After letting Kagome's grandfather know they were leaving for a minute, she led Souta off down the hall. Then it was Miroku's turn. He was responsible for distracting Kagome's Grandfather who luckily enough was also standing outside the room at that moment. Sango couldn't hear what Miroku was saying but he attempted to casually start up a conversation. The old man simply crossed his arms and starred at Miroku with an annoyed look on his face. Miroku shifted so Kagome's grandfather's back was to the door and Sango signalled for InuYasha to go. As discreetly as he could InuYasha snuck around the corner and down the hall. The door to Kagome's room was open a crack and as quickly and quietly as he could he slipped in and shut the door behind him.

InuYasha paused with his hand pressed against the door half expecting Kagome's grandfather or security or someone to come barging in after him. Instead everything remained quiet. InuYasha relaxed and took a deep breath as he slowly turned to face into the room. There were two beds in the room. The far one was empty but there was girl lying in the bed closest to the door. It was just like the dream InuYasha had before. All he could see was her back and her hair but he knew it was Kagome. He moved around the bed and felt a lump lodge in his chest as he finally laid his eyes on Kagome. She appeared to be sleeping quietly.

InuYasha felt his chest tighten further as he sat down in the chair next to her bed. He took in the site of Kagome with the various wires and monitoring devices and tubes and he felt a resounding sense of guilt. He slowly raised his hand and gently ran his fingers along Kagome's hand being mindful of the IV.

"I'm so sorry Kagome ..." InuYasha whispered as he lowered his head and rested it against Kagome's hand.

"InuYasha ...?" Kagome asked in a groggy voice.

InuYasha quickly brought his head up and smiled as he saw Kagome's eyes open and her face brighten as she smiled at him. She looked tired but she lifted her hand and placed her palm against InuYasha's cheek.

"Where have you been? What took you so long to get here?" Kagome asked still smiling warmly.

"Believe me I got here as soon as I could!" InuYasha answered. He took Kagome's outstretched hand and turned into it, giving her palm a soft kiss.

"Are you ok? Are you in pain?" InuYasha continued.

"Doc says I'll be fine. He says I was really lucky." Kagome answered raising her eyebrows sarcastically. InuYasha was so glad to hear that Kagome was ok but he still felt an uneasy feeling in his chest.

"What's wrong?" Kagome asked after a moment as she looked at InuYasha curiously.

"What do you mean what's wrong?" InuYasha responded sounding surprised that she even needed to ask.

"InuYasha, I just got shot and went through labour and I still feel like I look better then you do right now!" Kagome answered. InuYasha couldn't help but let out a slight laugh. Despite everything that had happened Kagome could still joke and lighten his mood.

"That's because you're beautiful no matter what!" InuYasha answered as he gently pushed a stray strand of hair from Kagome's face. It was Kagome's turn to laugh as she rolled her eyes at him. Still, she knew there was something InuYasha was hiding from her. Sure enough InuYasha's smile quickly disappeared again and he became very serious.

"Kagome we don't have a lot of time ... is ...?" InuYasha tried to ask if the baby was ok but he was scared of what Kagome's answer might be. So far no one had said anything about the baby which left an awful feeling in InuYasha's gut.

"The um... the baby." InuYasha finally managed to say,

"Was it a girl ...? I mean ... is she ok?" InuYasha asked diverting his eyes so he could avoid Kagome's gaze.

"... What do you mean we don't have a lot of time?" Kagome asked looking confused again.

"Please Kagome is the baby ok?" InuYasha persisted. Kagome continued to look at his with a confused expression,

"Didn't the doctor or my mom or someone tell you?" Kagome asked.

InuYasha didn't like the sound of that response. He couldn't bring himself to answer her so instead he just shook his head 'no'.

"InuYasha I'm confused. Why don't you seem to know what's going on? And why did it take you so long to come see me?" Kagome asked. InuYasha looked up at Kagome again. Clearly Kagome's mother had not expressed her feels to Kagome about the situation in the same way she had to InuYasha.

"Kagome ... any minute your mom is gonna come in here and she is probably going to threaten to have me arrested again." InuYasha answered quietly.

"What?" Kagome exclaimed.

"Ssshhhh ... It's ok Kagome." InuYasha said trying to keep Kagome calm.

"Why would my mom do that?" Kagome asked.

"She's holding me solely responsible for getting you pregnant and taking you away. She's furious and she threatened to have me arrested and charged if I so much as looked at you ever again." InuYasha answered.

"She can't do that!" Kagome started,

"I told her it wasn't your fault. I told her that you helped me, that you took care of me!" Kagome said.

"My mom already knew about everything that happened when she came in ... I thought you had spoken with her. Isn't that how she knew I was here?" Kagome asked.

"I didn't tell your mom anything!" InuYasha answered shaking his head.

"Then how did she find out ...?" Kagome asked. InuYasha thought for a moment.

"You don't think ... Kikyou called her?" InuYasha asked. Kagome looked at him thoughtfully,

"Kikyou said she was going to take you away from me ... she missed you with the gun ... maybe she found another way to keep us apart by telling my mom what happened ... and probably her own sick twisted version of the truth to!" Kagome said. She sounded angry now as she wiped a tear from her cheek.

"God! I still can't believe this happened!" InuYasha added.

Kagome watched InuYasha carefully. He looked tired and warn out.

"InuYasha ...?" Kagome asked in a quiet voice.

"Yeah?"

"Can I ask you a question ... and I get if you don't want to answer it but ... I really hope you will ..." Kagome said avoiding InuYasha's eyes as she began tracing a small circle on her blanket.

"What's your question?" InuYasha said as he reached over again and put his hand on hers.

"Seven months ago I had no idea who you were ... I mean who you really were. And now that I see you I can't help but wonder why you were ever with Kikyou ... when were with her you acted so different. I guess I just want to know what you saw in her?" Kagome asked. InuYasha took a deep breath and thought for a moment.

"Kagome ... I'm not sure. She just kind of found me. When I came to live in the town I was really young and alone. Kikyou was a girl who was nice to me and who seemed to also have secrets in her past and I guess I thought somehow we could relate. But neither of us was ever willing to open up about our pasts and honestly I don't think we ever really wanted to. Looking back now I see it was because we never truly trusted each other. There was only one thing we wanted from each other and we based an entire relationship on it ..." InuYasha hung his head down as he spoke feeling somewhat ashamed to admit how shallow he had been. Kagome didn't say anything. She just rubbed his arm reassuringly. After a moment InuYasha looked up again,

"You showed me I could have more ... that I wanted more ... even if it was a rather messed up turn of events that led us here ..." InuYasha finished with a smile.

"Now that we're here ... I think it was worth it!" Kagome added in a soft voice. Then Kagome realized she hadn't answered InuYasha question about the baby. She imagined the worst was going though his mind which was why he was avoiding talking about it.

Kagome smiled and took InuYasha's hand again,

"InuYasha I have to tell you something about the baby ..." Kagome said. InuYasha looked Kagome straight in the eye as she spoke. He mentally prepared himself for anything. He watched Kagome uncertainly but remained quiet as he waited expectantly to hear what she had to say.

"InuYasha you have a daughter." Kagome said. She tried to keep a straight face but the sight of the relief that washed over InuYasha's face was too much for her not to smile.

"We do? And she's ok? Where is she?" InuYasha asked as his face brightened up. Kagome nodded her head before continuing,

"She has to stay in the NICU for a little while but she's going to be fine. There's something else to ..." Kagome added as her smiled widened even further.

"What is it?" InuYasha asked.

"InuYasha ... you have a son to ..." Kagome paused to allow InuYasha a moment to understand what she had said. She watched as InuYasha's smile faded to confusion and he stared at her speechlessly.

"Wait ... two? ... I mean ... two?" InuYasha stammered as a huge smile reappeared on his face. Kagome laughed at InuYasha's reaction,

"Twins InuYasha! A girl and a boy!" Kagome said. InuYasha was so surprised all he could do was smile. He stood suddenly and leaned over Kagome kissing her deeply.

"The doctor said it was a miracle." Kagome added when InuYasha finally pulled away from her.

"He said that normally babies, and especially twins, born this early would be very small and would need a lot of care. He said although they are small, they are very well developed and once they have gained some weight they'll be fine!" Kagome told InuYasha. InuYasha had never felt such a feeling of joy in all his life. He couldn't stop smiling

"I told the Doctor it was a sign they were gonna be strong and stubborn like their daddy." Kagome added giving InuYasha's hand another squeeze.

"I'm stubborn?" InuYasha laughed.

"If they grow up to be stubborn and hard headed it'll be your fault!" He said. He was so happy he couldn't wipe the smile off his face. He wanted to run down the hall and tell everyone he saw that he was a father. He wanted to climb all the way to roof and shout it out for the whole world to hear! But there was still another question needed to ask Kagome.

"So does this mean that you are going to keep the babies?" InuYasha asked somewhat tentatively. Kagome looked from InuYasha to the table next to the bed.

"There is an envelope in that drawer ... could you get it for me?" Kagome asked as she pointed at the table. Slowly InuYasha opened the drawer and pulled a blank white envelope out. Kagome motioned for him to open it and he did. Tipping the envelope over InuYasha was surprised to see the ring he had given to Kagome land in his palm.

"A nurse put it in there for safe keeping. I think I'm ready to give you my answer now ..." Kagome said. InuYasha put the envelope down and slowly reached out for Kagome's hand,

"Kagome ... will you marry me?" InuYasha asked.

"Yes." Kagome answered smiling again. InuYasha let out a grateful sigh and slipped the ring back onto Kagome's finger before giving her hand a warm kiss. Then he stood again and gave her a proper kiss. Kagome caressed his face with her hands pulling him closer. Suddenly she let out a quick yelp,

"Are you ok?" InuYasha asked pulling away from her.

"Yeah I'm fine ... just a slight twinge in my side!" Kagome said almost jokingly.

InuYasha sat down again.

"Are you sure you are ok?" InuYasha asked again.

"Yes InuYasha! The bullet didn't hit anything important ... just muscle and connective tissue and stuff ... another miracle according to the doctor!" Kagome told him. InuYasha's eye's lingered on Kagome's side for a moment longer, although he couldn't see Kagome's wound under the blankets he knew it was there.

"I'm so sorry for all of this Kagome ... it should have been me and not you!" InuYasha said.

"InuYasha don't say that ..." Kagome answered.

"If Kikyou had hit what she was aiming for you'd be dead!" Kagome argued. InuYasha didn't say anything.

"Besides ... do you really think we would have ended up here, together, like this with everyone knowing what happened if it wasn't for this crazy situation? It kind of forced us back to face reality." Kagome added.

"You're mother still wants to kill me you know ..." InuYasha said giving Kagome a worried look before glancing quickly towards the door.

"How are we going to handle your family?" He asked.

.

.

.

.

Kagome's mother strode purposefully down the hall with Souta following quickly behind her. Souta stayed quiet as he chewed on the straw in his drink as he followed his mom. He hoped that whatever InuYasha and Kagome were doing, InuYasha hurried and got out before they found him. Souta had never seen his mother so mad in all his life. There was nothing going to stop her if InuYasha got in her way.

They rounded a corner into the hall where Kagome's room was and Souta noticed Miroku and Sango outside his sister's door. Miroku was still trying to talk to Kagome's grandfather who was looking as unamused as ever. They all instantly exchanged worried looks. Sango glanced nervously towards Kagome's door unsure if she should try and warn Kagome and InuYasha that Mrs. Higurashi was coming. But it was too late, if InuYasha tried to leave now he would be seen. Kagome's mother was not an idiot though and seeing the nervous look in her daughter's friends faces told her something was up. She slowed just for a moment to look each person in the eye before she sped up suddenly moving straight for Kagome's room.

"Mrs. Higurashi ...?" Kaede said suddenly appearing at Kagome's mother's side.

"Mrs. Higurashi, my name is Kaede." She started. Kagome's mother stopped and looked at the older woman.

"I was hoping I could speak with you ... about your daughter?" Kaede asked.

"Who are you?" Kagome's mother asked sounding impatient.

"I'm a friend of Kagome's ... she came to live with me about six months ago." Kaede explained.

"What? Did you help that bastard abduct my daughter?" Kagome's mother snapped as she rounded on Kaede.

"Please ... let's sit down and talk." Kaede said in a patient voice as she moved towards a set of chairs. Everyone watched nervously as Kagome's mother looked from Kaede to Kagome's room and between each of them in turn. Finally she turned and sat down next to Kaede.

"Thank you Mrs. Higurashi. I understand how difficult this has been for you." Kaede began,

"But please understand that InuYasha does not mean Kagome any harm."

"How can you say that after what he did?" Kagome's mother snapped. She made to get up but Kaede stopped her again.

"I'm not sure who told you want happened but please just listen." Kaede said.

"Several months ago Kagome stumbled onto my farm. She was afraid and alone. I convinced her to stay with me because I was worried about her being off on her own considering the circumstances. She wouldn't tell me where she was from and didn't really have any idea where she was headed.

InuYasha comes to visit me regularly to help manage the farm. The first time he came and Kagome saw him she was very worried. She wanted to make sure he wouldn't find out she was there. She was adamant that InuYasha never find out about any of this. Fortunately for both of them, fate it seemed had a different plan for these two young people. InuYasha did find out, and it changed everything. He became single mindedly dedicated to ensuring Kagome did not have to deal with this situation on her own, no matter how hard she tried to push him away. Kagome was trying to protect InuYasha in her own way from the ridicule and other potential repercussions, and InuYasha felt responsible and he needed to help Kagome.

I understand that the last few months have been unimaginably hard for you and your family, but for Kagome and InuYasha this has been a remarkable time of change. I have watched as they've grown and learned so much about themselves and each other. I swear to you, InuYasha will not hurt Kagome. I just hope that you can give them the chance to continue to learn together, and deal with this situation in their own way." Kaede spoke in her usual warm friendly tone that gave her an air of wisdom and sincerity.

Sango and Miroku were watching from next to Kagome's door, ready to act if Kagome's mom couldn't be persuaded to give InuYasha a chance to prove himself. But Kagome's mother remained quiet as she considered what Kaede had said. Finally after a moment Kagome's mother spoke,

"Kagome told me InuYasha took care of her, but I couldn't believe her ... Kikyou called me ... told me what InuYasha had done ... that he had manipulated her, taken advantage of her ... that he was keeping her from us so no one would find out what he had done to Kagome." Kagome's mother sounded tired as she spoke. She was worn out and didn't know what to believe. It was easy for her to blame InuYasha. She could pile all her anger, and frustration and the responsibility and blame on him focussing everything on just one enemy.

But if what Kagome and Sango and Miroku and Kaede said was true then InuYasha was not solely at fault. She herself had played a part in this as well. As Kagome's mother, Kagome should have been able to come to her and asked for help but instead Kagome had seen her only option was to run instead of confiding in her own family.

Kagome's mother hung her head and let out a deep sigh as she thought everything through. Then after another moment she slowly got to her feet and walked towards Kagome's room. Sango and Miroku slowly backed away from the door to let her pass. She hesitated for a moment before turning the handle and pushing the door open.

Inside the room InuYasha and Kagome both jumped as the door to the room slowly swung open revealing Kagome's mother standing in the doorway. Kagome felt InuYasha tense nervously, but she tightened her hold on his hand to let him know she wasn't going to let her mother force him to leave. They both held their breath waiting for the onslaught they knew was coming. Instead, Kagome's mother just stared at them. She didn't step into the room or protest or anything. She simply gave them both appraising looks and then to Kagome and InuYasha's great surprise she simply turned and walked away.

Kagome's mother knew she was going to have to face the fact that InuYasha was not leaving. That InuYasha and Kagome were now responsible for two small lives, her grandchildren, and that whatever decisions Kagome had made and would make, she would support her daughter to the end. But right now everything was still just too fresh and she needed time to think and steady her feelings before she could confront InuYasha with the understanding and acceptance that her daughter expected from her.

InuYasha and Kagome were still starring wide eyed and surprised at Kagome's mother's unexpected reaction to seeing InuYasha with Kagome when Miroku and Sango finally came rushing into the room.

"Kagome?" Sango said as she made a bee line for her friend.

"Are you ok?" she asked.

Kagome smiled and nodded her head at her friends, laughing at their worried expression.

The four friends sat together and talked for a long while. Sango was so excited to hear that Kagome and InuYasha were now in fact the parents of two babies that she actually squealed when she heard the news. They even started to discuss options for names since InuYasha and Kagome had never even thought about names before. When they were still intending to give the babies away it had felt like a bad idea to try and name the baby. Now, however, they had to think of two names.

After a while Kagome started to get tired and InuYasha decided it was time for her to rest again and shooed Sango from the room. She and Miroku gave their friend a hug and then headed for home. InuYasha decided to head for the nursery.

When he reached the hallway with the glass observation area for viewing the babies, he was surprised to see Kaede there. She was standing a foot or so from the glass watching the little babies wiggle and squirm inside their warm and cozy incubators. She wore a content smile that made InuYasha wonder what she was thinking.

"Hey ..." InuYasha said as he approached. Kaede turned and looked at him,

"I overheard the good news and couldn't help but come see the little ones for myself." Kaede said nodding towards the window.

"I have no idea which babies are yours of course but I thought I would come see anyways." Kaede laughed as she turned back towards the window. There was a sadness to her laugh that sent a twinge through InuYasha's chest. He knew Kaede had always loved children and would have had a house full of her own if it had been up to her.

"Kaede ... I can't remember if I have ever thanked you ... for everything you've done." InuYasha said quietly. Kaede continued to stare through the glass,

"It's no problem InuYasha, you know that!" Kaede answered.

"Besides, it's been nice having company these past few months." She continued.

"I didn't just mean the last few months with Kagome ... I meant everything." InuYasha said. This time Kaede turned and looked up at InuYasha. She didn't say anything but she nodded her understanding and smiled at him before returning her gaze to the room on the other side of the glass.

"So ... would you like the kids to call you grandmother? Or granny?" InuYasha asked. Kaede's eyes shot to InuYasha's again. This time a wide smile spread across her face and her eyes glistened with unshed tears. InuYasha smiled and stepped forwards giving the old woman a hug.

"Thank you, InuYasha!" she said.

After a moment Kaede pulled away. She casually passed off a sniffle by turning away and picking up a bag that had been sitting against the wall.

"Here ..." Kaede said handing InuYasha the bag.

"I made these for the baby ... I just happened to finish them the other day and I was going to give them to you both at dinner before all this happened." she added. InuYasha wasn't sure if he should wait until Kagome could open the present or if he should open it right away. Finally he decided to open the bag since Kaede was watching him expectantly. Inside he found a large hand knit blanket and two sets of white booties and two tiny white hats.

"I guess it's lucky I made extra sets!" Kaede laughed. InuYasha laughed to as he looked at the little hats. Kaede had knitted tiny little triangular ears on top of each of them making even a macho guy like him be forced to admit they were cute.

"It feels so weird standing here knowing I have a son and a daughter in there ... and I don't even know which ones they are!" InuYasha said after he had put the gifts away and turned back to the glass. Neither he nor Kaede were permitted into nursery because they didn't have the plastic wrist bands that said they were a parent or guardian of a child. Then something very unexpected happened.

"I can take you in to see them ..." came a voice from behind them. InuYasha turned surprised to hear Kagome's mother's voice. She was standing a few feet away and watching InuYasha with an unreadable expression on her face. An uneasy silence passed between them until Kagome's mother finally turned towards the entrance to the NICU and made her way towards a nurse who was standing just outside in the hall.

InuYasha turned a questioning look to Kaede who gave him a reassuring smile and a gentle push in the right direction.

Kaede watched as InuYasha followed Kagome's mother into the room. A nurse dresses them in gowns and then escorted them over to the incubators where InuYasha and Kagome's babies were. Unfortunately InuYasha couldn't hold them yet but the look on his face as he gazed down at them was priceless. It was a wonderful combination of amazement and terror. Although Kaede couldn't hear what was going on beyond the window, she could see InuYasha and Kagome's mother's eyes connect for the briefest of moments.

Acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, these were things that would not come easily but Kaede could already see the processes starting and she knew everything would turn out fine.

Over the next few days Kagome and InuYasha's entire story came out. Everything from how they had gotten into this situation to the final events in the barn with Kikyou. It had been hard for Kagome to confront her mother and grandfather about what Kikyou had told her about what her father had done. But Kagome also believed she had kept enough secrets from her mother and she had a right know the truth.

As for Kikyou, she had disappeared. She was never seen or heard from again in the town. Her fear, it seemed, was stronger than her need for revenge.

.

.

.

A week later InuYasha and Kagome pulled into InuYasha's driveway with two car seats in the back of InuYasha's truck. They got out and each retrieved a sleeping baby from a seat. Kagome couldn't help but smile every time she laid her eyes on the adorable little hats Kaede had made.

Kagome and InuYasha stood outside the house starring at the front door somewhat apprehensively. This was the first time either of them has been to the house since the babies were born. Sango, Kaede and Kagome's mother had expressly forbidden them to enter the house until now. Neither InuYasha or Kagome was entirely sure what to expect when they went inside. The only thing they had been told was that, "Everything was being taken care of!".

"Are you ready?" InuYasha asked looking at Kagome. Kagome just smiled and nodded her head. InuYasha opened the door and together they walked in.

Everything seemed normal at first, perhaps a little tidier then what InuYasha had left it, but over all nothing seemed different or out of place. Kagome walked slowly into the kitchen still cradling her little boy in her arms. As she looked around the kitchen her eyes lit up and she called for InuYasha. InuYasha walked in behind her and his eyes went wide. His kitchen looked as if it had had a makeover. There was a new stove and fridge. Everything had been cleaned until it shined and the counter tops were covered in all sorts of baby paraphernalia. Bottles, soothers, formula, packages of diapers and much more as well as everyday food items. Someone had clearly thought InuYasha's cupboards had been a little bare.

"Wow ..." was all Kagome could say as she looked around at everything. InuYasha left Kagome to inspect all the new items and quickly ventured onwards to the bedroom but stopped when he noticed something different. The door next to his bedroom, which he had always used as storage, now had a small plaque hanging on it with the word 'Nursery' written on it in elegant letters.

"Kagome come here ..." InuYasha called quietly so as not to disturb the baby he had nestled in the crook of his arm. Turning the door knob InuYasha opened the door and turned on the light. His jaw nearly hit the floor. The surprise in the kitchen was nothing in comparison to this. Kagome appeared a second later at his side and her breath actually caught in her throat when she saw the room.

The room wasn't very big but it had been painted a pale green which made it seem bigger and refreshing. A large beautiful dark wood crib dominated the far end of the room while a changing table and dresser lined the far wall. A mural of beautiful pictures had been painted on the wall of various jungle animals playing and sleeping amongst the jungle plants and trees. Multi coloured flowers dotted the foliage, many of which hid little fairies that looked as if they might be playing hide and seek. Kagome recognised Sango's creative handiwork and laughed as she pictured her friend diligently painting each creature with care. Kagome sniffled as she fought back tears. She was so touched by what her friends and family had done for them she could barely contain her emotions. InuYasha knew what Kagome was thinking and reached over with one arm and pulled her against him.

Since the babies were already asleep, they decided it would be a good time to break in the crib. Together they walked across the room and laid them both down. Above the crib on the wall hung two signs with the baby's names on them, 'Chase' and 'Brooke'. Kagome smiled at the names and then gently tucked the babies in with the blanket Kaede had given them. Then quietly InuYasha and Kagome back out of the room and turned out the light.

Everything was perfect as InuYasha and Kagome sat together outside on the back porch of the house. They had two beautiful and healthy babies, they had a cozy house to live in, and most importantly they were together. It had been a long journey to reach this place and the road had made many surprising turns along the way. But finally, they were home.

The End

OMG that was the last Chapter! I can't believe I finished this story!

Thank You everyone for all your wonderful reviews! I hope you have enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it! There are a lot of minor revisions I want to make to it but that will come in time, for now it is DONE! : D

If you did like this story try checking out some of my other ones. I've got one or two more that might be worth a browse. ; P

I would also like to leave you with a preview of another story I have been trying to work on for some time, and will hopefully try and start publishing soon. This is an excerpt from the first chapter of, "My Key" ….

Beep bip... Beep bip... Beep bip...

Slowly InuYasha opened his eyes. Everything was dark and quiet, a welcomed change from the chaos of before. He breathed deeply and almost choked on the smell. This place he was in reeked of sickness and death and other strong odors he didn't recognize. Feeling disorientated and sick InuYasha tried to sit up but found his arms and legs where being uncooperative. Looking over he realized he was strapped down. Thick restraints held his wrists and ankles firmly to the sides of the bed.

Pulling on the restraints InuYasha felt his heart begin to race as panic began to set in. The unremitting beeping sound coming from somewhere out of site began to speed up increasing his nervousness. The pain in his head had not completely diminished and seemed to be getting worse again, but he had more important things to worry about.

Where was he? How did he get here? Had he been captured?

InuYasha didn't even remember being in a fight let alone being captured. He couldn't seem to remember much of anything.

An image of his mother came to him along with a searing pain in his head.

"Mother?" he said aloud, but his thoughts where stopped short as the sound of footsteps approaching caught his attention. Distant muffled voices floated from the far end of the room, probably from behind a door.

"His heart rate suddenly jumped so he's probably awake ... now remember we don't fully know the extent of his injuries ... this situation maybe unpredictable ... he may even act viol ..." the doctor's voice trailed off as he swung the heavy door open and walked in. The nurse that was with him stopped short at the sight that lay before them.

It was a typical ward with six beds lining the walls. Three up one side and then three more on the other. The furthest bed on the left hand side was sitting askew to the others, the white linen was ripped and hanging off the sides. Also hanging from the sides where the remains of four thick leather and steal restraints. The previous occupier of which was nowhere to be seen, but the straps still swung slowly back and forth from the railings meaning he couldn't be far.

Cautiously the doctor approached the far end of the ward. Taking a closer look he realized the thick leather had not been undone but ripped apart as if they where nothing more than cheep plastic. The doctor cautiously reached over and turned off the monitoring machines that where now emitting an unwavering '' sound.

The nurse hung behind moving along the wall towards the light switch. Reaching it she flipped the switch bathing the white room in bright light. Suddenly there was a loud commotion behind her and she turned to see the doctor suspended in the air. The hand of a very angry hanyou gripped tightly around his neck.

"Who are you?" InuYasha barked loudly.

"I'm a doctor ... doctor Williams" the man chocked out.

"What? ... Where the hell am I?"

"Please calm down ..."

"WHERE AM I" InuYasha yelled tightening his grip

"You're in a hospital ... you where hurt ... we just want to help" squeaked the helpless nurse from the end of the ward. InuYasha turned and growled at her sharply.

"I've never heard of this ... hospital ... how did I get here?"

"Your friend brought you here ... you're hurt very badly ... Aaaaaaa"

"Let's try again shall we" said InuYasha throwing the man against the nearest wall.

"How did I GET HERE!" InuYasha yelled.

The doctor could tell he was confused. His condition appeared to be worse than they had originally thought.

"A friend of yours ... she brought you in ... "

"I don't have friends! ...Rrrrrr." InuYasha looked around, growling in frustration.

"How do I get out of here!" he barked as he advanced towards to man in the white coat again.

"You can't ... Aaaaaaa!"

"RrrrrrRRRRRrrrrrrr" InuYasha growled viciously as he grabbed the man again and lifted him into the air. Small rivers of blood began to run down the man's neck as InuYasha's claws dug into his flesh. All InuYasha could think about was getting out of this infernal place and back into the trees.

"STOP IT!" Yelled the nurse.

"You SHUT UP! ... and make these dammed light go away!" InuYasha barked.

The nurse quickly stood and flicked the switches making the room dark again. The darkness was much easier on InuYasha's pounding head then the strange, painfully bright lights. He took a deep breath and spoke again,

"This is the last time ... How. Do I. Get out. Of here?" he said putting emphasis on each word.

"I told you ... you can't leave"

"Wrong Answer!"

Stay tuned!