"Give her to me Lee," Kara ordered holding out her hands.
"You just held her."
"Like an hour ago. You're going to have your own kid soon. Give her up."
"Nice Kara," Lee shot back at the tiring dig. "Shouldn't you be packing up for your trip."
"Already done," Kara said pointing to her bag in the corner before taking Emma from Lee. "Don't need to bring much since it's a shopping trip,"
"I thought it was an artist tour of Italy."
"Slash shopping adventure," she replied with a grin.
"It's not fair," Zak groaned playing with his black labrador puppy. "You get to go to Italy and we have to spend a week in Moscow with Papa and Grandma."
"Sucks doesn't it? What can I say? My mom is way cooler than yours."
"At least you'll get to relax and play with Lobo. I have to work the entire time."
"Enough with the chit chat," Bill ordered entering the room. "Papa will be here any minute and I want you boys and Tasha to meet them at the car. If they come in and see Emma they'll insist on staying another week. Lee help Tasha with her bags and get her downstairs. Zak take Lobo outside - you'll have a long car ride."
"Yes sir," the boys moaned reluctantly but obediently following orders.
"And you Miss," he said turning to Kara. "Give me Emma, get your bag and meet Di downstairs. You need to leave for the airport in 15 minutes."
"You're not even going to pretend to miss us," Kara teased, picking up her bag and heading downstairs.
"I'll miss you plenty - but not tonight," Bill said following her to the kitchen. "After a week long parade of visitors I'm very much looking forward to a quiet night."
"I'm not offended. I won't miss you either," Kara shot back sticking out her tongue.
"You won't miss me?" Laura asked with fake indignation hearing the tail end of the conversation.
"Maybe tomorrow. Tonight Di and I will be busying exploring Rome."
"We'll be just like Audrey," Diana affirmed. "Perhaps, I'll find a Joe Bradley."
"Please don't," Laura moaned. "No chasing after boys."
"Boys!" Bill hollered at the sound of the car.
"You don't have to yell," Lee replied rolling his eyes. "We're already at the door."
"Oh," Bll said his cheeks flushed with embarrassment at his less than subtle attempt to empty the house. "Okay."
"We'll get out of your hair," Zak assured putting a leash on Lobo. "Go somewhere we're wanted."
"You're wanted. You all are," Bill assured. "Papa less so."
"Right Dad," Zak laughed giving Bill a hug.
"You boys have fun. You too, Tasha. Stay out of trouble."
"We'll get out of your way too," Diana said joining the group of departing Adamas.
"Do you have your passport?" Laura asked Kara playfully pulling on her ponytail.
"Do you have your vitamins Tasha?" Laura asked, continuing the parental inquiry.
"Yes. And I have Addison's number if there are problems," Tasha replied eager to cut off the uncomfortable conversation.
"Lee, did you grab the allergy medication. It's going to be a long ride with Lobo."
"Gott'em," Lee said holding up a pill container.
"What about me?" Zak asked indignantly.
"You get a kiss," Laura said kissing his forehead.
"Better hurry," Laura urged guiding Zak to the door.
"Bye Dad. Bye Laura."
"Let's go Girlie. We've got a plane to catch."
"Bye Mom," Kara said giving Laura a hug. Purposefully bypassing the General Kara gave her sister a kiss before making her way to the door. "Bye Emma. I'm bring you back something awesome."
Kara stopped at Bill's words and waited for what was coming.
"What do you hear?"
"Nothing but the rain."
"Grab your gun and bring in the cat."
"Do you hear that?" Bill asked walking over to the bed to join his wife and daughter.
"No. What?" Laura asked with concern looking up from a nursing Emma to better listen. "I don't hear anything."
"Exactly. Silence. No screaming or fighting or loud music or complaining or whining," Bill replied with a knowing smile, taking a seat next to Laura. "No eager grandparents giving 'helpful' suggestions or waking a perfectly peaceful baby."
Laura suppressed a grin at Bill's remarks. "It is an unusual occurrence."
"How's our girl?"
"She's good. She's hungrier than usual."
"A growing baby," Bill noted grabbing something from the nightstand.
"What are you doing?" Laura asked curiously.
"Wanna trade?" he asked holding out a small box wrapped in pink paper.
"That's for me?"
"Kind of," Bill teased a playful glint in his blue eyes.
"Kind of? What does that mean?"
"Give me Emma and you can find out."
"Fine," Laura reluctantly agreed handing over the baby. "This better be good."
When Laura picked up the box she froze at the sound of a faint but recognizable jingle.
"Open it," Bill encouraged.
With shaking hands, she managed to remove the wrapping and take off the lid from the box. Brushing a tear away from her cheek Laura picked up a sterling silver rattle and shook it gently.
"I can't believe you kept this," Laura said in disbelief, recalling the morning she spent packing up the painful momentos so many years ago. "I thought you got rid of everything."
"I put it in storage. Just in case you ever wanted it. I'll admit it didn't occur to me that we might actually have a little girl to give it to," Bill admitted gazing down at Emma. "But it just goes to show you - Never lose faith. Read it."
"Read it?" Laura repeated surprised. Putting on her glasses she noticed the engraving for the first time.
Emerson Elizabeth Adama, Sine Qua Non.
Thank you everyone for reading! There's one more part to the series left. It's short but hopefully sweet.