CHAPTER 48

JAN. 7: MORNING: NOTTINGHAM HOUSE

            "Dad"

            Ian looks toward the door "Come in."

            Emma enters the room holding up a pair of tangled shoes. "Help."

            "How did that happen?" Sara asks as she walks out of the bathroom.

            Emma shrugs

            "Just find another pair of shoes." Ian suggests

            "These go better with this outfit."

            "Emma I don't have time for this. We're already running late and I have a meeting at 10 and I still have some work to do before the meeting."

            "But"

            "Emma today really isn't a good day to get really behind schedule. Either wear another pair of shoes or wear something else. You have 10 minutes to be in the car or else you're grounded."

            "That's not fair!"

            "I don't care if it's fair... now go!" He orders

            Emma stomps out of the room muttering under her breath

            "And watch the language." Ian calls

            "Honey calm down."

            "I am calm."

            "No you aren't. You've been running yourself ragged since Christmas."

            "He moved the deadline up on the upgrades and I am almost done."

            "Are you going to be there this afternoon?" Sara asks

            "I'll be there." Ian promises "I told him no matter what I was leaving at one."

            "And are you going to ignore him if he says he needs you to stay?"

            "Yes. I'll be there... I promise."

            "Good."

            "I love you Sara"

            "I love you too." Sara steps up to him "Do me a favor?"

            "You know I would do anything for you."

            "Apologize to Emma for snapping at her."

            "Yes my love." Ian bows his head slightly.

            "I'll see you this afternoon."

            "I'll be there."

20 MINS LATER: SCHOOL

            Ian looks at Emma and sighs at her silent form. "Emma I'm sorry for snapping at you, I've had a long few days."

            "I know."

            "Tonight I'll untie that knot for you OK?"

            "You gonna be home tonight?"

            "I'll try."

            Emma nods

            "Have a good day."

            Emma leans across the seat and kisses her Dad's cheek. "Bye."

            "Goodbye." Ian watches as Emma gets out of the car and joins her friends.

1 PM: VORSCHLAG

            Ian looks up startled as he hears his secretary call his name. "Sorry." He says sheepishly.

            "It's one." She informs him

            Ian nods "Thank you. I was so caught up in this I must have lost track of time."

            "You looked it."

            Ian stands grabbing his overcoat off the coat rack. "I should be back in a few hours. I'm going to turn my phone off while I'm there."

            The secretary nods, "All right."

            "Also can you gather all the background files on the people who will be working at the new building?"

            "Sure in any particular order?"

            "Any order is fine. I want to take them home tonight."

            "Staying late?"

            "No. I promised Emma I would be home at a decent time." Ian answers as he starts out of his office.

            "And what about Mr. Irons?"

            "He knows where I'll be."

            "Is there anything else?"

            "No that's it. Thank you." Ian nods as he steps into the elevator.

HOUR LATER: DOCTOR'S OFFICE PARKING LOT

            Sara smiles when she sees Ian step out of his car. "You made it."

            "I said I would." Ian cups her cheek.

            "You sure you want to go in there with me?" Sara asks "I know you hate doctors."

            "More than anything" Ian says grimly "But I will shove my dislike aside for you."

            "Another thing I love about you."

            "What is that?"

            "That despite not liking things you do them for me."

            "It's because I love you." He says solemnly.

            "You better Nottingham." She takes his hand, "Come on."

WHILE LATER: EXAM ROOM

            "Did you and Emma talk?" Sara asks as they wait for the doctor.

            "Yes. I apologized for snapping. I promised her I would be home at a decent time tonight." His eyes go to the door and seconds later the door opens and the doctor opens.

            "Hey Doc" Sara greets

            "Sara, how are you doing?"

            "Good. Dr. Everett this is my husband Ian Nottingham."

            "Congratulations. When did you get married?"

            "Almost a month ago." Sara smiles at Ian.

            "Well it's nice to meet you Mr. Nottingham."

            "You too Doctor." Ian nods in greeting.

            "Well" the doctor looks at the file in her hands "it looks like you've gained some weight... do you want to know how much?"

            "I can guess." Sara says dryly.

            Dr. Everett chuckles "Now how about we check and see how everything is going."

            Sara squeezes Ian's hand "Oh yeah."

            "How was your day so far my love?" Ian asks as he keeps an eye on the doctor moving about.

            "Long." Sara reaches up brushing an escaped curl away from his face. "What about you?"

            "Meeting finished at noon and I have been going through paperwork since."

            Sara nods lying back on the exam table.

            "How is your daughter taking her impending role as big sister?" Dr. Everett inquires as she puts on some surgical gloves.

            "Pretty good though it's a tie on who's looking forward to Number 2 the most." Sara laughs

            "Emma's been asking for a brother since she was a child."

            Sara squeezes Ian's hand "We'll see." She watches as the doctor moves the wand over her still flat middle.

            "Ahh here we are" Dr. Everett says after a few moments of watching the screen.

            Sara looks at Ian and smiles seeing his awed expression as he looks at the screen, 'Ian is loving this.'

45 MINS LATER

            Sara wraps her arms around Ian's neck as they stand in the parking lot beside her car. "What did you think when you saw the baby?"

            "Incredible, amazing…" He brushes her hair back, "Ours."

            Sara grins "Yep... our baby."

            Ian rests his forehead against hers. "We should get back to work."

            "I know." Sara murmurs "Though I would rather go home and have my way with you."

            "Sounds promising but..."

            "We have work." She scowls

            "I'll make it up to you tonight."

            "You better." She brushes her fingers down his beard. "I love you."

            "I love you." Ian watches as she gets into the car and pulls out of the parking spot then heads to his own car.

CHAPTER 49

3 MONTHS LATER: MID APRIL: DR'S OFFICE

            "All right, let's see if we can find out baby's sex." Dr. Everett muses as she runs the wand over Sara's middle.

            "God I can't believe I'm five months." Sara shakes her head. "These last few months have gone by in a blur." She looks at Ian and smiles squeezing his hand.

            Ian smiles back. "That they have."

            "Here we go." Dr. Everett announces "Good heartbeat, right on target for size and weight"

            "I swear when this baby is born he or she better be a chunk considering all I've been eating." Sara scowls at her middle.

            "What was your daughter's weight at birth?" Dr. Everett inquires

            "If I recall correctly her birth certificate said 7 pounds 5 ounces." Ian says thoughtfully.

            "Recall correctly?" Sara lifts her brow "You are never wrong."

            "I'm sure I've been wrong."

            "Oh please Brain Boy." Sara rolls her eyes "As long as I've known you you've never been wrong."

            "I'm sure I'm wrong occasionally."

            "Well it looks like you are going to have a healthy baby boy."

            Sara and Ian look at the doctor startled "A boy." Sara says stunned

            "A boy" Dr. Everett nods "Congratulations."

            Sara looks at Ian and smiles, "Well what do you think?" She reaches up scratching his beard.

            "A boy." Ian says awed.

            "Mmm Emma's getting the brother she wanted."

            Ian turns his head pressing his lips to her palm. "I love you." He murmurs

HOUR LATER: NOTTINGHAM HOUSE

            Sara laughs as Ian closes and locks the door behind them, "Ian what about work?"

            Ian pulls her close, "This is more important than work." He kisses her deeply.

WHILE LATER

            Sara groans in announce as Ian's phone rings and he pulls away. "Don't get it." She pleads as he reaches for the phone.

            "I have too." Ian reaches over and grabs his phone off the nightstand and presses talk. "Yes Father?" He says in greeting.

            Sara scowls

            "I know Father. Yes sir."

            Sara listens to Ian's 'yes sir. No sir. I know' for a few minutes then becomes annoyed and snatches the phone from his hand.

            "Sara" Ian protests

            Sara glares at him as she brings the phone to her ear. "Irons I'm borrowing my husband for the rest of the day." She hangs up and returns the phone to the nightstand, "See saying no is easy."

            "Sara"

            Sara sighs at his troubled expression and moves to sit astride his lap. "Tell him hormones are to blame."

            "Do you have to provoke him?"

            Sara brushes her lips over his, "We're celebrating. Work can wait." She gently shoves him on his back. "Besides could you really concentrate at work knowing your pregnant wife is home without you and very horny?"

            "No" he groans

            "Good. Now where were we before he interrupted us?"

            Ian shifts so he's above Sara, "Right about here." He trails his lips over her cheek and jaw.

COUPLE HOURS LATER

            Sara leans back against Ian as he runs his hands over her middle as they sit in the large bathtub. "So there is a mini-you in there, I told you so."

            "That you did." Ian kisses her temple.

            "He's going to look like you." Sara remarks turning her head she nuzzles his neck as she rests her hands over his.

            "Could look like you."

            "Nah... I think he'll look just like you."

            Ian chuckles, "So does this mean no more kids?"

            "He's not even born and you're already planning on knocking me up again?" Sara says in mock disgust.

            "I was just wondering."

            "Well it might be up for discussion... after this one is a little order."

            "Better not be another 14 years." Ian teases

            "Hell no it won't be another 14 years." Sara laughs "So when are we going to tell Emma?"

            "How about we tell her when she gets home?" Ian suggests

            "That sounds good." Sara agrees

            "The water is cooling down."

            "I know."

            "We should dry off and get dressed." Ian murmurs

            "Yeah we should. Besides I'm getting hungry again."

            "We can't have that." He kisses her shoulder

WHILE LATER

            Sara smiles as Emma walks into the kitchen dropping her backpack on the floor. "Hey kiddo"

            "Hi" Emma greets opening the refrigerator.

            "Please eat something decent Emma." Ian requests as he joins his family. "Where's Martha?"

            "She dropped me off. She's heading to the grocery store." Emma replies grabbing an apple out of the crisper she closes the refrigerator and sits on the counter, "So how's Number 2?"

            Sara looks Ian and smiles before answering, "Oh he's fine."

            Slowly her Mom's words register and Emma looks at them, "I'm getting a brother?"

            "You're getting a brother." Ian confirms

            "Finally" Emma huffs "I've been asking for almost 10 years."

            Sara and Ian laugh

            "I'm getting a brother." Emma sing-songs as she bounces happily. "I'm getting a brother."

            "Well she's happy." Ian chuckles

            "That she is." Sara agrees watching amused at her daughter's reaction.

            "I'm going to go change my clothes."

            "What are you doing this afternoon?" Ian asks

            "I'm not sure yet." Emma hops off the counter grabbing her backpack and walks out of the kitchen.

            Sara shakes her head her arms going around his waist. "Well if Emma's any indication of what he'll be like we are going to have our hands full."

            "Definitely, especially if he takes after your side." Ian teases

            "Hey" Sara protests "you probably caused your own brand of havoc as a child."

            Ian shrugs "I guess."

FEW DAYS LATER: 11TH PRECINCT

            Sara enters the office to find Ian and Danny talking. "Hey what are you doing here?" She asks setting the papers in her arms down on her desk.

            "Well" Ian reaches into his overcoat pocket and removes a folded set of papers, "I thought you would like to see these."

            Sara frowns taking the papers and unfolding them a smile appearing, "Really?"

            Ian nods, "Really."

            Danny looks between the two confused, "OK" he drawls, "does someone want to fill me in?"

            Sara looks at her best friend, "I signed the adoption papers and even though she wasn't adopted my rights were still terminated. But now I am legally her Mom again."

            "That's great." Danny says

            "Yes it is." Ian agrees enjoying the excitement on Sara's face.

            'I have my baby girl back.' Sara smiles at Ian.

            "I should get back. His meeting is almost over." Ian says reluctantly.

            "Going to be home at a decent time tonight?" Sara asks

            "Yes."

            Sara nods

            "I'll see you at home." Ian nods goodbye to Danny then walks out of the office.

            Sara looks at the paperwork and smiles refolding the papers she looks at Danny, "Come on Partner let's get to work."

LATE EVENING: NOTTINGHAM HOUSE

            Ian kisses Sara's knuckles as they sit on the couch facing each other "We should tell her Sara."

            "What do we tell her? What does she know?"

            "She knows you signed the papers. We tell her everything... she deserves to know."

            "All right." Sara nods

            A few moments later Emma walks into the living room where she finds her parents talking quietly on the couch. "Hey parents." She rests her chin on the back of the couch. "What's going on?"

            "What makes you think anything is going on?" Ian inquires

            Emma shrugs

            "Actually there is something we need to discuss with you." Ian begins

            "OK" Emma falls over the back over the couch and lands beside her Dad, "What's up?"

            "You know your Mom signed the adoption papers" Ian looks at Emma "by doing that her rights to you were terminated."

            "I know."

            Ian squeezes Sara's hand "A few months before we married I spoke to a lawyer and asked him to look for a way to reinstate your Mom's rights. As of today... your Mom's rights have been reinstated and she's legally your Mom."

            Emma grins "Really?"

            "Really" Sara nods

            Emma sits in silence absorbing the news.

            "You OK with this Emma?" Sara asks

            "Yeah... I am." Emma rests her head on her Dad's shoulder. 'I have a Mom now.'

SAME TIME: DELANEY/SUMMERS HOUSE

            "What?" Connor yells as he hears a knock at his door. He scowls as Angel enters "What?"

            "There's something I want to talk to you about. Can you pause the game?" Angel requests as he closes the door behind him.

            "Yeah sure" Connor presses pause. "So talk"

            "All right" Angel pulls the desk chair up to the bed. "Connor you know Buffy wants to wait to get married until she's finished with college."

            "Yeah, so?"

            "She has a quarter left."

            "And that concerns me how?" Connor tilts his head "I mean it's not like I didn't know you two were going to get hitched one day."

            "True but there is something neither of you know about that I've been thinking about... a lot lately."

            "What you have another kid out there." Connor snorts

            Angel ignores the remark and continues "It's important and I wanted to know how you feel about it first. I know it's an odd thought because you two are close in age."

            "Spill it Angel."

            "You get along with Buffy don't you?"

            "Yeah I guess." Connor shrugs

            "The overall decision is yours and Buffy's of course." Angel says in an uncharacteristic show of nervousness.

            "What is it?" Connor says annoyed.

            "I know it's a crazy idea but since she'll be your step-mom and you two get along better than you do with Darla." Angel takes a deep breath, "If it's OK with you I want to discuss with Buffy the possibility of her adopting you once we're married."

            "WHAT?!" Connor exclaims loudly "She's only 7 years older than me!"

            "Connor, hear me out here." Angel pleads "Connor I love you and I love Buffy. I know it's an odd idea and all but there are some very good reasons behind it."

            "Like what?"

            "Like, if I died neither Darla nor her family could take you."

            "They didn't want me when she was pregnant with me what makes you think they'd want me if you were dead." Connor says bitterly.

            "This way they couldn't get you no matter what."

            "Darla may hate me but there is no way in hell she'd allow Buffy to adopt me."

            "Darla has no legal right to you. We've just always allowed her to be in your life."

            "What do you mean no legal right?"

            "Her parents made her relinquish all rights to you." Angel explains "Mom and I just agreed to allow her to spend time with you."

            "Would it mean no more Darla?"

            "No it would just mean Buffy would be your legal mother." Angel looks at his hands "I know it's an odd request but I want you have a Mom who is actually in your life and cares about you. I had hoped Darla would have been that way but she's proven that she hasn't been the most reliable Mother in the planet."

            "What makes you think she'd want to adopt me?"

            "I don't know if she would but I would like to discuss it with her. Will you think about it?"

            "Would you make me call her Mom?"

            "No."

            "Would you make me consider Dawn my Aunt?"

            "No."

            "Would I have to call Hank Grandpa?"

            Angel scowls "God, no."

            "So nothing would change?"

            "No."

            "I do like Buffy." Connor muses

            "Take some time and think about it."

            Connor sighs "Sure"

            "Thank you Connor." Angel says seriously

            "Angel, why didn't you marry Darla? I know Granma would have been happier if you had."

            "I couldn't see myself married to her for the rest of my life." Angel shrugs "I did love her but I don't know if she loved me. By the time you were born we couldn't stand each other. You, my boy, are the only good thing that came out of that dysfunctional relationship."

            "Even if Darla has no legal right to me you know she'd do anything to keep you from doing this. She hates Buffy... and you."

            "I know. I will deal with her."

            Connor nods

            "Come on dinner is almost ready."

NOON NEXT DAY: SCHOOL

            "Hey Emma" Connor leans against the locker next to Emma's.

            "Hey"

            "Can we talk?"

            "What's up?" Emma asks curiously

            "I need your opinion on something."

            "Don't you have Zan to give you opinions on whatever skank you want to date now?"

            "It's not that. It's something else. Something he wouldn't understand."

            Emma nods "Library?"

            "Sure."

FEW MINS LATER: LIBRARY

            Emma and Connor settle in the stacks of the empty library, "What is it? Is some girl ignoring your flirting?" She teases

            "No."

            "So?"

            "Last night Angel asked me something I never thought he'd ask" Connor shoves his hair back. "He asked me how I'd feel about Buffy adopting me once their married."

            "Wow. What did you say?"

            "I told him that I'd think about it."

            "What did Buffy say?"

            "He hasn't talked to her about it. He wanted to know how I felt about it first."

            "What do you think about it?"

            "Weird." He admits "I mean I like Buffy and all but it's a weird thought. I mean she's only seven years older than me."

            "True but do you get along with her?"

            "Yeah"

            "So that's on the good side."

            "True." Connor agrees "It's just weird. I've never had a full time Mom. Darla's always been the type to be around when it benefits her."

            "And you're used to it."

            "Yeah." Connor groans "What am I supposed to do?" He shoves his hair back.

            "Do what you need to do. Do what feels right."

            "I know." He closes his eyes "What would you do Emma?"

            "I'm not sure. I think I'd do what would make my Dad happy and what thinks is best for me. But that's just me."

            "He said that it's basically a safety precaution in case he died." Connor explains "I know he's trying to look out for me."

            "What do you want?"

            "I'm not sure."

            "You go to do what you think is the right thing."

            "I wish I knew."

            "Take some time and think about it." Emma advises "Trust your feelings."

            "That's what Angel said. I think I have some time... I don't think he's going to bring up the topic with Buffy until he proposes."

            "And when's that?"

            Connor shrugs, "Who knows with them."

            "So think about it and go over the good and bad."

            "Thanks Emma. It's easier to talk to you about this stuff than it is to talk to Zan or even Dawn."

            "It's cool." Emma shrugs