This here one-shot is actually the kind-of sequel to ARCtheElite's story, Countdown, and he graciously let me write this up. So, a big thanks to him for sure!!

Disclaimer on profile.

Putting away the last of the dried dishes into the cupboards, Sora repressed the urge to flop down on the table until the fatigue vanished from her weary bones and the throbbing in her temple subsided. Her exhausted state couldn't take much more of this. Never before had she appreciated how much Yamato did around the house. In the past month and a half, she had cooked and cleaned more than she had ever before, and the kids were simply driving her crazy. Yamato was usually there to keep them occupied with video games or a walk to the park while she took some time for herself, but with him gone up in space and all, that role was also put upon her shoulders.

Her shoulders were getting very sore.

Instead of rendering herself unconscious by means of the frying pan on the stove—the one item she hadn't washed that evening—Sora meandered over to the balcony. Once outside, the fine summer night air breezed around her bare ankles as she looked straight up at the starry sky. By now, she could pinpoint several constellations without Yamato's help. They were familiar faces to her, and brought her comfort in knowing that her husband was most likely looking at the same thing she was—except in a larger, much more fantastic way.

She had been surprised when Yamato had taken her out to the countryside for their very first date. He'd been very secretive about it, telling her to be patient and wait while he set everything up. "Everything" consisted of an immense blanket spread out in the field, some snacks for them to munch on, and Yamato's prized telescope. She hadn't even been able to tell if he was nervous or not as he cited all of the stars they could see and explained their origin with flawless detail. A new side of her long-time friend had come exposed that night. Along with him she had explored the possibility of life on other planets, of how vast the universe actually was, and what it would feel like to walk on the moon for the first time. When Yamato's dream had finally come true; when all of his hard work learning to become the best possible astronaut he could be, Sora had been there with him, just as ecstatic and joyful as he was. That journey had been long and obstacle-ridden, but they had finally made it, and she couldn't have been prouder.

Smiling, Sora went back inside, intent on getting herself ready for bed. No doubt the kids were sound asleep already, tucked away snug in their beds. A warm bath sounded about right at the moment… maybe she'd even use some of that facial mask stuff Mimi had sent her.

Entering the bathroom clad in her bathrobe, Sora gazed at herself in the mirror, noting the appearance of slight wrinkles around her eyes. Laugh wrinkles were all right though, weren't they? It didn't mean she was getting old or anything, she was just laughing too much. She'd have to learn to be more serious like Koushirou. She swore that guy only ever cracked a smile when he bought new software for his computer.

Sora removed her wedding ring and placed in on the countertop so that the muck from the facial goop wouldn't ruin its shine. Yamato had picked that one out especially for her, after all, and she'd hate to ruin it with beauty products. The diamond wasn't large or blindingly spectacular, but in typical Yamato-fashion, it sparkled as if it were still brand-new. As twinkly as a star in the sky, and as precious to her as those endless nights spent under the cover of dark sky, curled up with a hot cup of herbal tea and nothing but each other's company. He'd wanted to take her to the actual moon for their honeymoon, but unfortunately he'd never gotten his wish and instead, they'd gone sailing for a week out at sea where the undeniably spectacular view of the astros made up for his crushed plans completely.

After a long week of taking care of the kids and working hard, the relaxing aroma of the bath was just what she needed to finally unwind. The kinks in her neck were loosened and the knots in her back came undone by the magic of bubble baths. A sigh of relief, and the doorbell ringing.

Sora frowned and was tempted to hide under the cover of lavender-scented bubbles, but she knew that whoever it was wouldn't go away so easily, and it just wouldn't be fair to the kids to let someone knock at the door repeatedly and wake them up when they'd only fallen asleep an hour earlier. She slipped out of the bathtub quickly and threw on her bathrobe, sprinting silently out into the hallway with her hair half-up, her facemask cracking off, and with her ratty bathrobe tied hastily around her body. Rushing to the door without peering through the peephole, Sora unbolted the lock and swung open the heavy door to reveal the person who had interrupted her bath.

Yamato smiled at his flustered wife and her hassled appearance. He could almost see the blush forming under Sora's facial mask (what was that about anyways?) as she realised that she was not exactly dressed appropriately for greeting people at the door.

Without a word he stepped inside the house he had missed so dearly during his journey. The lingering scent of lasagne permeated the house, along with the unique floral perfume Sora carried around with her. He could see the kids' homework still out on the table, and a lone coffee mug sat by the sink bearing the slogan, "Home Sweet Home."

How true.

Embracing his wife for the first time in over a month, Yamato grinned at her stupefied expression, resisting the urge to chuckle at her—he knew she wouldn't like that very much—and revelled at being back where he belonged. His wife, as haggard as she was at the moment, couldn't have been more beautiful to his eyes. It had been hard, seeing the Earth from afar and knowing that at any moment, some sort of freak accident could steal his family away from him, just like that. Knowing as well, that the spaceship could malfunction and he would be unable to make it back to his precious, precious family.

Yamato simply held his wife for a while, before the sound of padded feet caught his attention. Rubbing their eyes and yawning adorably, the Ishida children came around the corner, taking in the sight before them. Without a word, or even a cry of astonishment, the children rushed forward in a flurry. Sora stepped out of the way, granting her offspring the chance to say hello as well. They latched on to their father, holding him close to them with their strong yet fragile little arms.

The youngest started to cry and the older one copied his sibling's example, whispering softly, "We missed you, daddy."

Yes, Yamato agreed, I missed you too.

Alrighty... let me know what you think!! Thanks!