Inuyasha belongs to Rumiko Takahashi.

1,000 words, originally posted 1-24-12.

(Quick note: Kiyoshi = purity, Miu = beautiful feather, Amaya = night rain, Hotaru = firefly, Isamu = courage)



"Faster, Uncle Inu, faster!" Kiyoshi screamed in the hanyou's ears, making them flatten but succeeding in the effort to increase their speed.

"You'll never catch me and Daddy, Kiyo-chan!" Miu retorted, squealing as her father tightened his hold on her chubby calves and streaked down the mountainside.

"Oh, yeah?" Inuyasha goaded, "watch me, kid!"

With a flying leap that had Kiyoshi shouting in excitement, awe, and just a touch of fear, Inuyasha landed in front of the speeding Kouga and skidded to a halt at the determined finish line, the wolf only seconds behind him.

"Who won, Kagome?" Inuyasha panted, Kiyoshi giggling from his secure perch on his shoulders.

Kagome tapped her lip thoughtfully and scrunched her nose, pretending to be deep in thought. Her children giggled at the affected display, Miu waiting with baited breath.

"I don't know…" she teased, placing both hands on her swollen belly and rolling her eyes skyward. "It's almost too close to tell…"

Kiyoshi squirmed to be let down and scrambled to his mother's comfortable furs, staring deep into her eyes with a seriousness that only a six-year-old can muster. He tugged on a lock of her hair to bring her ear close to his mouth and whispered too-loudly, "If you want to tell Miu and Daddy they won 'cause they're sore losers, that's okay."

Kagome stifled a giggle as Kouga swooped up his son, careful not to dislodge his daughter. He tickled his belly, growling, "I don't need you to cheat for me to win, you little liar!"

Kiyoshi squealed with laughter until Inuyasha retrieved the giggling boy and girl, ushering them toward the cave.

"C'mon, runts," he offered gruffly, "Let's give your parents a minute to themselves." The cubs protested, Kiyoshi wondering who would protect Kagome in his absence, but they were placated easily enough with the promise of sweets from Shippo.

Kouga leaned next to his mate and twined their fingers over her stomach, grinning when their cub gave a firm kick in greeting.

"This one's gonna be a handful," he whispered, kissing her ear and resting his cheek against hers.

"Just like his father," Kagome teased, turning to nuzzle his neck.

"Hey!" Kouga protested, unable to hide his smirk, "I'll have you know I was a model cub, thankyouverymuch."

"Are you basing that off the time you tied the elder's pelt to the tallest, scraggliest tree you could find and pretended it was a flag to your domain, or the time you took all your father's favorite bone knives and buried them for 'safe-keeping'?" Ginta chuckled, handing Kagome a fresh drink of water from the stream before plopping next to them.

Kouga narrowed his eyes and Hakkaku added, "I remember that! Your ass was red for a week when he found out!"

When his best friends and mate burst out laughing, Kouga growled and ground out, "Yeah? How about the time you got caught spying on the ladies' bath? I seem to remember some girl named Amaya beating you so hard you couldn't sit down for a month, with a bloody nose and black eye to boot."

Tears of mirth ran down Kagome's cheeks and Ginta laughed so hard he snorted.

Hakkaku shoved Ginta hard enough that he toppled, still howling with laughter, and Kouga growled, "Are you trying to send her into labor?"

"But… you're… the one… who made… me laugh!" Kagome managed, clutching her sides. "Oh! It hurts!"

Kouga was hovering within seconds, feeling her stomach and rubbing her back. "I was kidding! You're not really in labor, are you? !" he yelped.

This sent Kagome into another round of giggles that had Inuyasha rushing out of the cave. "Oi! Wench! Cool it! I just got your cubs to settle and you're seriously gonna rupture somethin'."

He rounded on Kouga, muttering, "You trying to get that kid of yours out early, wolf-shit?"

Kagome calmed and scolded, "Language, Inuyasha! And I'm fine! Laughter certainly never hurt anyone, and that includes pregnant women. I just got a stitch in my side." She chortled again and smiled at her mate. "If this baby is as model a cub as you were, my hands are going to be more than full."

"Yeah, yeah, I get the picture," Kouga grumbled, but draped a proprietary arm over her shoulder and allowed her to lean in all the same.

"When do you think you'll have him, Kagome?" Ginta asked, winking surreptitiously at Hakkaku for the argument he knew was to come.

"Oh, I'm sure she'll be ready any day now," Kagome preened, studiously looking everywhere but at Kouga.

"Yeah," Kouga agreed, "My son is sure to make an appearance one of these days."

"Haven't you two given that up yet?" Inuyasha complained. "You should be picking out names by now."

"Oh, we've decided on a name," Kagome assured, patting her stomach lovingly. Kouga nodded in agreement.

"Really?" Inuyasha asked skeptically, eyebrows raised.

"Hotaru," Kagome answered, just as Kouga confirmed, "Isamu." The couple looked at each other and narrowed their eyes.

"Uh, Kagome? Those are two different names," Inuyasha grinned, unable to resist pointing out the obvious. "And for two different genders."

"Oh well," Kagome brushed off his concern with an airy wave of her hand. "At least this way we have a name, no matter what the baby is."

"CUB!" Four male voices chimed, correcting Kagome for what had to be the hundredth time in years.

"Yes, yes," Kagome countered breezily.

"You'll never learn," Kouga mumbled, nuzzling her hair and smiling indulgently.

"They've always been babies to me," Kagome grinned sheepishly, cuddling back. "Would you have it any other way? If I called them cubs, I wouldn't be me."

Kouga pulled back, smiling softly at his wife before planting a kiss on her lips that had Ginta and Hakkaku blushing brightly and Inuyasha muttering about privacy issues.

"I wouldn't have it any other way," Kouga agreed, giving Kagome one last kiss on the tip of her nose. "You are… Everything… is perfect, just the way it is."