Calling Rafe

Epilogue

By B.L.A. the Mouse

The chatter from the main walkway followed her in. She shut the door quickly and walked past haphazardly ordered baby clutter to the small crib in the corner of the cabin. Leaning over it, she reached down and brushed the perfect skin of the tiny cheek with a single finger, whispering, "Hey, baby girl, wake up. It's not quite midnight snack, but Mommy wants to show you off."

The baby in the crib stirred, but didn't fully wake. Her mouth opened in a silent yawn.

She leaned more heavily on the crib's side. "Aw, come on, Helen. Just open your eyes, please?"

"Maybe you ought to let her sleep and just carry her out as is." The voice was as quiet as hers, and emanated from the person moving out of the corner shadows. "After all, you spend enough time trying to get her to sleep."

"Tyr!" Beka jumped back from the crib. "I thought you had Command duty tonight."

"Dylan let me off at the last minute and told me to spend time with you and Helen. When I saw that you were busy with repairs, I came in here. Why are you waking her up?" He nodded in the direction of the crib.

She smiled. "You could have disturbed me. It's not like I would have minded all that much. In fact, I might have even been cheerful about it." When he didn't respond, she looked back down at the crib. "I thought it would be better to wake her up like this, instead of all the crew out there doing it. This is the last batch who haven't seen her yet, apparently, and they're pretty noisy. Dad used to wake me quietly whenever he could, and it was nicer than being blasted awake."

"And more effective, as far as I can see," Tyr said, craning his neck to get a better look at the somnambulant infant.

Beka ignored the dry comment. "Aren't you going to come out with us?" Studying the baby, she noticed that the blanket had slid off somewhat and she adjusted it automatically, touching the little shock of auburn fuzz as she did. The color looked odd against the dusky skin, but it was cute.

"I might as well. I'll keep the horde from rushing at you, at least." Tyr moved to stand behind her. Starting at her shoulders, he rubbed his hands down her arms. Finally reaching her hands, he interlaced their fingers and rested them on the side of the crib as he looked down at Helen. "She looks like you, now, more than she did."

"I guess," Beka replied dubiously, "but I'm still not sure how she ended up with red hair."

"Did I ever tell you that my grandmother had red hair?"

"No, but that would explain it." Pulling her hands free, she reached down and picked the baby up carefully, letting her snuggle closer to her body. "Do you realize we have to move to the Andromeda soon?"

"Yes. It'll be safer and more convenient than the Maru."

"I know, but I did grow up on it." Beka shifted the child uncomfortably- she was still getting the hang of it.

Tyr looked over at the door as a particularly loud burst of laughter could be heard. "I take it your brother rounded up the strays?"

"Yeah. I think he just wants to make a better impression on Carrie- you know, Lieutenant Sawyer? He's been inviting her over all the time and playing the proud uncle. He doesn't mean it, though; he's got another babe in mind, and as soon as they go splat he's going to take off." She looked down at Helen, hooked a pinkie finger through the small paw. Even in sleep, she fisted her hand around it. "Not that you aren't reason enough to stay, don't you worry about that."

Tyr turned her to face him, Helen cradled in her arms between them. He leaned over and kissed her, longingly, then dropped a careful kiss on the baby's forehead. He smiled at both of them, even though Helen was still asleep. "If you're going to disturb her rest for this, we might as well get this over with."

"All right. I actually want to do something other than greet people all night." Beka adjusted her hold on their daughter again and glanced up at Tyr. "I actually want to spend some time with my family." She grinned.

The End

Author's (final and lengthy) Note: That's all she wrote. I never really intended for it to grow beyond the one, sappy little scene, but it did. I enjoyed writing it as much as I hope you enjoyed reading it. If you're wondering about the name I chose for the baby, I was thinking of Helen of Troy at the time (because Nietszcheans seem to name their children after heroes and gods). I must say, though, I'm sorry I could never find a good reason for that particular title.

I'd like to extend a thank you to: all you guys who read this far, for your patience and the excellent reviews; friends and family for putting up with my rants, raves, and scribbling fits during the course of this story; my friend John in particular, for unwavering support, encouragement, and flattery; and my ex-boyfriend Mike, for partial inspiration of the original vignette.