One Night 20 – Epilogue
John was awakened to a thirty pound weight being dropped on his chest. He opened his eyes with a grunt to see a mass of curly black hair with mischievous sky blue eyes and an infectious smile looking down at him.
"Happy Birthday to me, Daddy!" his daughter bounced off his chest and onto the bed next to him.
"Happy Birthday, Lily," he smiled, gathering her into his arms. "How old are you now?"
"Four!" She said, brightly. "Mommy said," she looked over toward the door where Helena stood, smiling.
"Well, we never argue with Mommy," John said.
Elizabeth, whose nickname became Lily after Evan Lorne insisted on calling her "Li'l E.", giggled. "That's because she's in charge of our food."
Helena laughed at the running joke. "Get off with you, young lady. Go pick out your clothes."
She stood on the bed and walked to the end of it, bouncing slightly as she walked. "Uncle Ronon's going to let me shoot his gun today!"
Sitting up, John looked at Helena, who shook her head with a raised eyebrow. "He said when you're older."
Lily rolled her eyes in a fair imitation of Teyla and shook her mass of curls. "Well, today I'm older," she said in a 'well, duh' tone of voice.
Before Helena could say another word, John spoke. "We'll talk about it after breakfast. Go get dressed."
Lily jumped off the bed and through the bathroom to get to her bedroom on the other side.
"That child is far older than her years, you know," Helena frowned after her.
"Probably because she's the only kid in the city," John nodded, patting the space on the bed next to him and wiggled his eyebrows at her.
Smiling, Helena walked over to the bed and sat down. "Good morning, handsome."
He put his arms around her and kissed her. "Good morning, yourself, gorgeous." He kissed her again. Then he smiled at her, "Marry me?"
She narrowed her eyes but smiled. "Are you going to ask me that every year?"
He shrugged, still grinning, "I figure that every year there's a chance you'll say yes."
Helena blushed in a way that still turned him on. "Well, what if I said I was thinking about saying yes, this year?"
"What?" he looked surprised. He narrowed his eyes. "Don't tease me, woman."
She grinned, "I said I was thinking about it."
"But I want you to understand what you're getting yourself into."
He frowned. "What do you mean by that?" He looked over toward where their daughter had disappeared. "After all this time, I think I have a pretty good idea – "
His eyes widened and he jumped up. "What?!"
"Really? You're sure?"
She nodded. "Your airmen hard at work again."
He picked her up and swung her around. "That's fantastic!"
"I found out yesterday, but I wasn't going to tell you, yet. I don't want anything to take away from Lily's day."
John nodded. "Of course," he grinned. He took her face in his hands and kissed her until he felt her knees weaken. Delighted that he could still get that kind of reaction from her, he pulled back and looked into her eyes. "So does that mean you're going to finally make an honest man out of me?"
Nodding, happily, she repeated. "I don't want to take away from Lily's day." She smiled coyly. "So why don't you ask me again tomorrow?"
John pushed her back until her back was against the wall, then, again taking her face in his hands, he kissed her, deeply and thoroughly, eliciting a groan from her as he pressed against her. Then he heard a giggle from behind him and pulled back to see Helena's hooded eyes blink hard as if to clear her vision. With a smile, he turned. "What is so funny, Miss?"
"You were kissing Mommy," Lily giggled, again.
"And now it's your turn!" he lunged for her, but she dodged him with a peal of laughter.
Helena sat on the bed as she watched the man she loved chase the love they made around the room. Her insides trembled with the fear of the unknown, but that was quickly tamped down by the swelling of her heart in her chest. There still were a lot of things that would be difficult in their future – they were, after all, a galaxy away from Earth, entering into another high risk pregnancy, and the big "M" word that they had both confessed to being total failures at previously – but she was sure they would be able to work through it, as they had worked through everything they'd faced up until now.
And to think, she smiled, it all started with one night on their made-up Caribbean vacation.
A/N: And thus ends the Alternate Universe story of what could have been. I really appreciate all of you who have followed the story through to its ending and who have left reviews. They truly are what keeps me going.
A special thank you to Duchess, who acted as Super Beta From Heaven for much of this story…feel better soon, my friend!