Kagome felt happy.

She also felt terrified.

Her hands trembled as she stared down at the little stick before her on the bathroom counter with a mixture of joy and dread. Positive. She was going to have Sesshomaru's child. His hanyou baby.

Would he be happy?

Kagome had been dreading this for years now since she had come to accept her place at Sesshomaru's side. While she had never been happier in her life, she had also avoided the possibility of getting pregnant by feigning disinterest in his sexual advances during her highest times of fertility. It had worked well all this time, until she'd messed up.

To be perfectly fair to herself, any woman would have given in had they been so romanced as she was. Sesshomaru had really outdone himself this time. She had returned from work to find the house covered in candles and peony petals littering every surface. After a well crafted dinner, her favorite dish, he gave her a thorough oil massage.

They had conceived a child, apparently.

Kagome pouted and scowled at the offending stick of plastic. Somehow she just knew that Sesshomaru had planned this. He had been hinting at children for some time now, and while Kagome knew it was unfair to keep him hoping, she wasn't sure if he really understood what he was implying.

He couldn't possibly want to have children with her. She was a failure. Her only child had died before their second birthday. How could he possibly want to have such a tragic option as mother to any of his offspring?

Her hand went to her abdomen and she gave out a slow breath. It was too late now. The damage was done. She was going to have a baby. With a frown, she tossed the test into the trash and went to seek advice from her mother.

"Why do you think this is a bad thing, Kagome?" Her mother questioned as she sat across from her over warm tea. Her daughter sighed and rubbed small circles around her abdomen as she recounted how she had been such an utter failure before and how Sesshomaru deserved better. The elder woman laughed lightly. "Don't you believe that decision should be up to him?" Kagome shifted uncomfortably and her mother pursed her lips before standing. "I'll be right back."

When the woman returned she had a box Kagome had never seen before and she opened it after sitting again. Sifting through the contents, she finally pulled out a small picture that was dark and faded. Handing it over to Kagome with both hands, the young woman's eyes widened and she took it from her mother with as much respect as the elder was showing before looking down at the image of what appeared to be a sleeping baby.

"Who is this?"

"Your brother."

Kagome raised an eyebrow at that and scrutinized the photograph again. "Souta?" It didn't look like what she remembered him to look like, but that had been so long ago.

"Your other brother." Her mother pulled out a folded piece of paper, handing it to Kagome as well before taking a slow drink of her tea.

Perhaps her mother had gone a little crazy. She didn't recall having another brother. Kagome frowned and opened the paper to reveal a certificate of death. Her breath hitched as she saw the date. Nearly three years before her birth – a son born to her mother and father date of birth and death the same – stillbirth was listed as the cause of death.

Kagome's hand trembled as she looked up at her mother in suddenly a new light. She swallowed hard. "How did you…" Her voice cracked as she tried to ask what she wanted to say, but found she was failing. She wanted to ask her mother how she survived through it and still managed to have both her and Souta. She wanted to ask how her mother slept through the night without crying for her lost baby.

Her mother sighed. "It never gets easy, Kagome. For some time I thought I was a failure as well. Your father's family hadn't wanted us to be together – he had another woman already picked by his parents to be his bride – but we were in love and chose to go against their wishes. After… after losing Hiroshi, it was surprisingly my mother in law who helped me heal. I felt lost and went to apologize to her for having failed her son and her family." Her mother laughed and shook her head.

"She scoffed and slapped me, then held me as I cried and told me that I was the woman her son had chosen and that made me infinitely more qualified to bear his children than any other woman." Her mother paused, taking a drink of her tea before continuing. "I knew she was right. I was dishonoring my child's memory by failing to be a good mother to future children and dishonoring my husband's choice to have me as his children's mother, simply for something that was beyond my control."

The younger woman nodded, taking it all in, but it was not until her mother came to kneel next to her and pulled her into her embrace that she truly allowed herself to cry. Kagome knew her mother was right, she always was. Sachiko's death was not her fault and was something she could not have prevented.

By blaming herself for that and feeling that she was inadequate for the duty of having another child, she was essentially saying that Sesshomaru had made a poor choice. More than that, she was ruining the memory of what time she had been a mother – a good mother, to Sachiko. They all deserved better, Sachiko, Sesshomaru, and her.

Kagome left her mother's home with a newfound sense of purpose. She would no longer live worrying about if she was suitable for the task at hand, but assume that she was. Destiny would decide how long she would have the opportunity to prove that this time.


Months later, Kagome awoke to the feel of a hand brushing against her forehead. She looked up to see Sesshomaru, content and exhausted, sitting beside her in a rather uncomfortable shaped chair.

"How is he?" She asked.

"Perfect." A faint smile came to his lips as he leaned back and rested. "I have waited some time for this moment."

"Oh? What moment?" She expected him to say something cheesy, like about how he had been waiting to have a child with her but she'd been avoiding it. What he said next both startled and amazed her.

"For the birth of my true heir."

Kagome blushed and blinked in confusion. "I don't understand. I thought your heir should be one that had all the qualities that your pack was looking for?"

Sesshomaru nodded and placed his palm on Kagome's chest, over her beating heart. "My pack has changed significantly." He stared down on her amazed and bewildered face, knowing that she may not fully ever understand that she had once been lost to him and that having a child born of his love for her was worth far more than any status. Kagome was his now, and he would cherish all that entailed. Leaning down, he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

Yes, the beautiful, lovely woman that he loved – his mate. May she never forget it.

FIN