The plane was waiting for them, and Maggie, Calvin, and Juliet had beaten them back from the task Solomon had sent them on. Everyone got on board after saying goodbye to Gianni, and the plane lifted off.
"You can relax now." Solomon saw that Kate's fingers were boring into the armrests of her seat.
Kate looked up at him. "Maybe now. But I won't feel completely safe until we touch down in New York."
"OK, anybody want to clue me in?" Nikko had left his seat and come over to his dad and aunt.
Kate and Solomon looked at each other and smiled.
"We have been pretending for the last 10 years that we have had profession AND personal differences of opinion." Kate glanced at Nikko to check if understood her, then she walked over to Vincent and grabbed him in a long, deep kiss.
"Boy, pick your jaw up." Solomon laughed at the expression on Nikko's face.
Nikko looked at his dad. "Kate and Vincent?"
"For the better part of 20 years." Vincent smiled at Nikko's discomfort.
"It's been that long?" Kate looked at Vincent with a bit of shock on her face.
"You were only 20 when we met, and I believe that you…."
"Don't say it! I absolutely refuse to admit to being that old!"
"It's really not that bad." Maggie out her arm around Kate to comfort her.
"Says me." Solomon got right into Kate's face.
"That's right. You'll always be older than me!" Kate brightened up. "I noticed we have more of an audience," nodding towards Calvin and Juliet.
"You remember Calvin, don't you? And Juliet was Nikko's tutor for his last year of high school." Solomon introduced his former students to Kate.
"Calvin, I had you in Intro to Archaeology before…." Kate's voice trailed off.
"Before what?" Nikko asked.
Kate looked somberly at Nikko before she replied, "Before my life changed completely. It's a very long story that I'll tell you soon."
Nikko let the matter drop, but he made a mental note to ask Cal or Juliet if they knew what was going on.
Kate turned toward Maggie. "Did you get everything out of Paul and Terezia's home?"
"I think we got everything, including the crates Terezia sent with us."
Kate was pleased. "Good, those crates are my presents to the Foundation."
"Did I hear that you brought me goodies?" Solomon called from across the plane.
"Yep, I got some good stuff. But it's down in the cargo hold, and I am NOT going to freeze my butt off to satisfy your curiosity." Kate stuck her tongue out and gave Solomon the raspberries.
"Old Man." Kate walked over to Solomon.
"God, I missed you." Solomon drew her in for a hug.
Just after the plane landed safely back in New York, Maggie took one vehicle back to the office along with Calvin, Juliet, and all of Kate's things from Rome.
"Solomon, can we stop someplace first?" Kate looked at him with serious eyes.
"Is it to where I think it is?"
"Yes. I have to…."
"Yeah. I know." Solomon got into the drivers seat as Vincent steered Nikko towards the passenger seat. Kate got in the back along with Vincent.
The car steered towards a beautiful cemetery. Solomon knew exactly where to go once they cleared the front gates. Once he got to the right row, he stopped the car, and Kate jumped out. Vincent followed more slowly, while Solomon and Nikko sat in the car for a silent minute before getting out to join them.
Nikko saw that the headstones to the left were for his grandparents Jonathan and Katherine Cayce, his mother and Kate's parents. He was shocked by the fact his mother had a stone next to her parents, even though they had never found her body. He was definitely confused by the stone Kate was in front of—a small stone that said "Augustus Hale Siminou".
Nikko nudged his father. "Who is Augustus Hale Siminou?"
Solomon took a deep breath. "Your cousin. Kate and Vincent's son."
"Dorna took him from us. Before he was even born." Kate got up and dusted her hands off. She looked at all her men. "Let's go home."
The next morning, Solomon was enjoying a cup of coffee, hovering over Maggie's shoulder as they both read the test results from a previous days' work. Calvin and Juliet were over at another work station while Nikko was coming in from the kitchen.
Kate stopped as she and Vincent walked into the office. She got kind of misty-eyed as she looked at her fellow team members, finally able to be back in their midst.
Solomon looked up. "Hey, you're late!" He laughed as he caught Vincent's eye.
"We had a lot of catching up to do." Vincent was in a great mood that morning.
"Oh really?" Maggie turned to give Kate a look of pure curiosity.
Kate started laughing hysterically. "Oh great, my sex life is now the talk of the office!"
Solomon groaned. "I don't want to know anything!"
"You still think of me as little sister." Kate patted him on his cheek as he reached for a chair.
"So, little sis-in-law, what did you bring me?"
"On to the real work. Cal, can you and Nikko go grab those two crates?"
"Yeah." The guys went over to another part of the office and each got a crate. Once they had set them in the middle of the room, they pried the lids off. The crates were full of computer disks.
"This is what you brought me?" Solomon had a disappointed edge to his voice.
"You think Uncle Paul or the Italian government would let me out of Italy with everything I would have liked to bring back?"
"Of course not." Vincent jumped into the conversation.
"I have detailed analyses on every artifact of interest both currently on display in Paul's museums, and on the contents of warehoused artifacts that have never been seen in public."
"And by analyses you mean…." Solomon wanted to know the extent of these many disks.
"By analyses I mean the precise measurements, physical mass, extensive photographs from every conceivable angle, detailed sketches of the artwork, text files of the actual text, translations or rough estimates. You know, the usual stuff." Kate pointed to the top disk. "Maggie, this is the index of the disks."
"And those red ones?" Maggie was already reaching for the flagged disks.
Kate closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Those are very special." She turned toward Solomon. "What is the one major thing that has gotten out of our hands in the last twenty years?"
"Three of the crystal skulls?" Solomon asked.
"The power source in Antarctica?" Nikko piped up.
"da Vinci's diary?" Calvin added.
Kate leveled a look at everyone. "I see we have been losing things since I haven't been around. Think really hard. What have we been looking for since the minute we lost it?"
Solomon looked amazed. "You didn't."
Kate smiled. "Yep, I did."
Nikko was confused. "What did you get?"
"It took a bit of work, and Vincent and Solomon may kill me when they find out how we got it, but I got a copy of a computer disk that has Haley's artifact catalog on it. Almost all of it."
Solomon and Vincent glanced at each other. Solomon had the nerve to ask the question, "How did you get this?"
Kate looked guiltily at the men. "Gianni and Franco found out that it was accessible from Tollan's base in Geneva."
"You broke into Tollan's chateau?" Vincent was angry with his wife at risking so much.
"Actually Gianni and Franco did. I was out in the van, getting their feed from the computers."
"Wait, you said it was almost all of it." Solomon shook his head to clear it.
Kate looked him in the eye. "It's missing the contents of 2 digs. France and Peru."
Nikko joined in. "France would have been that Templar church where you got the ring, right Dad?"
Solomon nodded. "And Peru would have been the Temple of the Veracoche."
"I don't know where those artifacts are. Gianni and Franco asked around a bit, but nothing ever turned up."
"What matters is that Kate is back, and now we have some cataloging to do." Maggie tried to get everyone's thoughts to what they got instead of what they were missing.
"Okay, let's get to work!" Solomon started doling out disks for everyone to analyze.
Later that night, Kate and Vincent were enjoying a quiet, romantic dinner for two in their flat.
"I have missed you." Vincent took his wife's hand and kissed it.
"I was so numb that first year after losing Augustus. I couldn't feel a thing. It was so much worse than when I lost my parents and later Haley."
"They say losing a child is the worst pain you will feel." Vincent tightened his grip on her hand.
"Then the second year I was just angry. It didn't matter who or what. I was just angry." Kate laughed. "I think if Tollan had come in the room, I would have torn him to shreds."
"That would be a sight to see." Vincent chuckled.
"Then I have just been missing you." Kate leaned forward to kiss her husband. "And Solomon, and Nikko, and everyone else here in New York."
"And the Foundation."
Kate looked under her lashes at Vincent. "You know me too well."
"Haley and Solomon raised you to be a bit of a work-a-holic."
"I may have the answer."
"Does Solomon know who the benefactor REALLY is? I know he knows him as Jacques DeMolay, but does Solomon have any clue that DeMolay is one of Dorna's Council of Nine?"
"Should we tell him?"
"If DeMolay wants Solomon to know, he will tell him. He will be safer by not knowing the truth."
Kate looked skeptically at Vincent. "Are you sure? This is Solomon and Nikko's life we are talking about."
"Solomon and Nikko are safer by not knowing that part of the truth. For now." Vincent pulled Kate closer to him.