InuYasha sat cross-legged in the shade beneath a tree behind his house. It was a warm spring day, but he ignored the vista before him, and looked down at the small bundle he held very carefully in his arms.
“You know, little guy, you gave your mama a really hard time getting here. That was like the hardest night of my life.” He blew through his white bangs. “She worked so hard and it hurt, bad. I could hear it and smell it, but I couldn’t do anything about it. ‘It’s a woman’s mystery,’ they told me, and there wasn’t anything I could do. They wouldn’t even let me get anywhere near her until you got here.” He sighed at the memory. “Think Miroku was gonna put an ofuda on me if I gave them any trouble. You gotta watch that monk - he’s sneaky like that.”
The small face looked up at his father, small amber eyes working to focus on the amber eyes that studied him. InuYasha smiled a little.
“It was like the most amazing thing when I heard you cry that first time. Suddenly, you weren’t just that bump in your mama’s tummy anymore, but really, really here. My child. There was nothing any of them could have done to keep me away from you and your mama.”
InuYasha carefully touched his son’s cheek. “I’ll be honest with you. I’m damn lucky your mama is crazy enough to love me. She and I went through a lot of hell to take care of a really bad guy. That’s when I fell in love with her. When we were done, she had a chance to live in a world where she had family who loved her and a lot of nice things that I’ll never be able to give her, but for whatever reasons, she wanted to come back to be with me. And then, when she could have said no, she decided we would make you.” InuYasha looked up for a moment, staring into space, and then sighed. “I never thought anybody would want to make a child with me. We’re both damn lucky, I guess.”
The infant’s tiny fingers, poking through the sleeve of the blue baby’s shirt he was dressed in, wrapped around his father’s strong, claw-tipped finger. His fingers also bore tiny claws much like those of the finger he held. “You got a strong grip there, boy. It’s a good thing. We live in a world where some people don’t really think we have much of a right to exist.”
He cupped his son’s tiny head, looked at the child whose head held no human ears at the end of his jaw, but tiny flaps perched on his head between a small tuft of silvery hair. “People will look at your ears funny, your eyes funny, and even your hair. Humans will give you a rough time for having Inu Youkai blood. And youkais, they won’t like it either, but fuck’em. Long as I’m around ain’t nobody going to hurt you or your mama, and I sort of expect that even that ass of a brother of mine will do his bit to keep an eye on you. Lately, he’s been acting different than when I was young, more like family. I saw how much Rin ooohed and aaahed over you. And I know he ain’t gonna do anything, really that makes that girl unhappy. Who knows, maybe one day she’ll be your aunt.”
He grew quiet again. After a few moments, he said, “My dad was a great youkai they tell me. They called him the Great Dog Leader. But I don’t remember him at all. He died fighting a monster when I was too young to remember. Growing up was hard. I promise you, son, to do my damnedest to be here for you. I may never be remembered the way he was, but I want you to have a life with a father. Don’t know much about how to be a dad, but I swear I’ll do the best I can.”
His son gurgled in his arms. “Like that, don’t ya?” InuYasha said. He looked up, and saw Kagome walking towards him. She wore a new kimono of red silk worked with blue and white flowers he had one of the village women make for this occasion. Her dark hair shone in the sunlight as she walked towards the two men in her life, and her smile was a happy one. InuYasha swallowed, as feelings he couldn’t quite put words to filled his heart.
She looked down at her husband, and rested her hand lightly on his shoulder. “Miroku and Sango are here,” she said. “Have you decided on his name?” She bent over and took her son from his father’s arms.
“I think so,” InuYasha said, standing up. “I’d like to name him Atae.”
“Atae,” she said, rolling it over her tongue. “The gift.”
He moved behind her, wrapped his small family in his arms. “Heaven’s gift to me. You. Our son, the godsend I never expected out of life.”
She turned around in his arms, reached up and touched his cheek, her eyes shimmering. “I like it.” Suddenly, the baby began to cry. “But I’m not so sure your son does yet.”
InuYasha smiled. “He’ll get used to it.” He took the child from Kagome’s arms and the baby quieted. Kagome made a face, but InuYasha kissed her on the forehead. Slowly, and happily, they walked back to the house.