When You Come Back to Me Again 

By:  tayryn and Mônica

Rating: NC17

Disclaimer:  I don’t own them.  I just play with them and make them happy.

 

Notes: This story is based on my sister, Mônica’s story, “Until I reach our Promised Land”  Again, if by some chance you have yet to read this wonderful story, I highly urge you to do so, before reading mine.  If you have read it, then by all means, continue.

 

It is with the utmost love and affection that this story is undoubtedly dedicated to my sister, Mônica.

 

eu te adoro, minha irmã!
mais do que palavras possam dizer!!
sempre!!!

 

abraços e beijos de sua pequenina

 

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Now… onto the story!!  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

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Helena Russell looked up from the report she held in her hands, a shocked, disbelieving expression on her face.

 

“There has to be some kind of mistake, Bob.”  She said, shaking her head.  “A mix up in the lab…”

 

“Those are the correct results.”  Bob Mathias told her.  “I had the lab run them through twice and performed a third run myself just to be certain.”

 

“Oh… my…” Helena released a deep breath and sank down on the couch in her office; still clutching the test results from her annual physical that morning.  She looked at them again, as if checking to see if they’d changed in the last few moments.  They hadn’t.

 

“Are you worried about what the Commander will say?”  Bob asked, slightly confused at her reaction.

 

Helena shook her head and looked back up at him.

 

“Then what?”  He asked.  “I thought with all the work you’ve done on the Life Support Systems…” It suddenly dawned on him.  “You weren’t expecting this, were you?”

 

“No.”  Helena answered.  “I wasn’t expecting this.  At least, not this soon…” 

 

Her voice trailed off as she looked back at the papers, taking another deep breath.

 

“Hey, Chief.”  Mathias said softly.  “Why don’t you take the rest of the afternoon off?”

 

“I can’t, Bob.”  She said, shaking her head.  “I’ve got too much work…”

 

“Which you won’t be able to concentrate on.”  Bob interrupted her, watching as she rose and walked slowly over to her desk.  “It’s not busy right now, so it’s the perfect time for you to take some time for yourself to fully process the news.”

 

Helena sat in her chair, flipping on her computer.  She looked up at Bob and smiled softly.  “I appreciate your concern, Bob but I’ll be fine.”

 

Mathias regarded his boss and friend and shook his head, knowing he’d lost yet another ‘fight’ to get her to relax a little.  “You’d think after all these years, I’d know better then to even suggest you taking some time off.”

 

Helena chuckled.  “You’d think it.”

 

Bob moved towards the door.  “But if you change your mind…”

 

“I won’t.”  She said, glancing down at her calendar.  “But thank you.”

 

Mathias nodded once and just as he was about to leave her office, she called to him, stopping him.  He turned to see her switching her computer back off.

 

“I think…” she said as she stood, a small smile on her face.  “I think maybe you’re right.  I am going to take the rest of my shift off.”

 

Bob just stared at her as she came out from behind her desk and moved towards him.  She pointed at her desk.

 

“Would you see that those results are put into my file?”

 

Mathias simply nodded as she left the office, humming quietly to herself.  He shook his head disbelievingly. 

 

“I actually won a round.”  He said as he stepped over to her desk and picked up Helena’s test results.  As he did, he noticed the calendar; and in particular, the date circled on it.

 

“Today’s date.”  He said, noticing also what was written on it.  He shook his head again, this time chuckling to himself as he left her office. 

 

“Won a round indeed.”   He thought.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Still humming, Helena headed down the corridor towards the travel tube; she couldn’t help but smile as she remembered the look of shock on Mathias’ face when she’d decided to take the rest of the afternoon off.

 

She really had intended on staying in her office and working on those reports, despite the surprising news of her test results, but when she’d seen her calendar and the date on it, she changed her mind.

 

“I can’t believe I almost forgot.”  She thought to herself as she mentally went over the events of the morning, realizing that the thought of her physical that day had pushed all other thoughts out of her head.  “And John didn’t mention anything either.  I wonder if he’s remembered what today is?”

 

A huge smile grew on her face.  “And boy do I have a surprise for him.”

 

“…Doc!”

 

Helena turned and chuckled as she saw Annette Fraser walking slowly in her direction, her year and a half old son toddling along beside her.

 

“Doc.”  He said again, laughing and smiling as he pulled his hand out of his mother’s grip and ambled towards Helena.

 

“Will.”  She laughed as she scooped the youngster up in her arms as soon as he was within reach.  She hugged the little boy and then smiled at his mother.  “Hello, Annie.”

 

“Doctor Russell.  How are you?”  Annette asked.

 

“Doc!”  William Fraser said again, placing his pudgy hands on Helena’s cheeks.  “Doc.”

 

Helena couldn’t help but chuckle again.  “I’m fine, Annie.”  She answered and looked back to William.  She tickled his ribs, delighting in his laughter.  “And how are you young man?”

 

“Doc!”  He squealed with laughter as Helena tickled him again.

 

“I see you were listening to your Uncle John after all.”  Helena commented.

 

“I was wondering where he picked that up.”  Annette said with a smile.  “He’s been saying it for the last two days.”

 

Helena smiled fondly at the little boy in her arms, the first child born on Alpha since the Life Support System had been modified and improved to allow the Alphans to start having children.  Since William’s birth there had been six more births and currently, five more women were expecting, with one of them due any day now.

 

“John worked on him all night…” Helena laughed, remembering the other night when she and John had baby-sat little William.  “But he wouldn’t say it.”

 

Annette smiled, laughing lightly and held her hands out to her son, who happily transferred over to his mother.  “Well, we should get going.  It’s almost time for someone’s dinner.”

 

Helena nodded.

 

“Say good bye to Doctor Russell, Will.”  Annette said to her son.

 

“Bye… Doc!”  He said, waving his hand.

 

The women laughed and then Helena watched them as they disappeared down the corridor, William still gurgling happily.  She smiled and then continued on her way as well.

 

 

Ten minutes later, Helena keyed in the code to the quarters she shared with John Koenig, her mind on the ideas she’d come up with while riding the travel tube, on how to surprise John and make this evening a special one.

 

The door slid open and she stepped through it.  John looked up from what he was doing with surprise to see Helena walk through the door.

 

“John!?”

 

Helena!?”

 

“What are you…?”

 

They stopped and smiled at each other as they spoke at the same time.

 

Helena reached out and closed the door, making sure to lock it before moving further into the room and into John’s outstretched arms.  She turned her face up and accepted his welcoming kiss.

 

“I see we had the same idea.”  She said after the kiss, looking around the room to where he’d placed various candles.

 

John’s arms tightened around her waist.  “You didn’t think I’d forget our anniversary did you?”  Helena smiled and shook her head.  John chuckled, seeing the look in her eyes.  “You’re a terrible liar, Helena.”

 

“Let’s just say the thought crossed my mind.”  She admitted, omitting the fact that it’d slipped her mind.  She squeezed him gently.  “Are you finished… setting the mood?  Or do you still need a little time?”

 

John returned the squeeze.  “I could use a few more minutes.”

 

Helena reached up and brushed her mouth against his then pulled herself from his embrace.  “Well then, I’ll leave you to it… and go freshen up.”

 

John watched her with a smile as she moved to the closet, then turned back to begin lighting the various candles.

 

Helena glanced over her shoulder and smiled before turning back to the closet and reaching in to grab her negligee; John’s favourite.  She held it against her then headed into the bathroom.

 

“I’ll be out in fifteen minutes, John.”  She called over to him.

 

“Take your time… I’m still waiting for dinner to be delivered.”

 

She flashed him a smile then allowed the bathroom door to close.

 

John watched the door cut her off from view, and continued his preparations.  About ten minutes later he turned as the door buzzer sounded.  He walked over, opened the door, bent down to pick up the tray of food, and then retreated back into the room, once again locking the door.

 

He heard the shower stop as he carried the tray over to the table and couldn’t help but smile as an image of Helena, naked and wet; stepping out of the shower filled his mind.  He quickly laid out the food and then went to change out of his uniform as well, dimming the lights and flipping on the CD player as he went.

 

 

Helena stepped out of the shower, reached for the towel, and began to dry off.  She quickly toweled her hair and then slipped into her nightgown.  She hung up the towel and reached for her brush, running it through her hair.

 

After placing the brush back on the counter, Helena glanced at her reflection in the mirror.  She ran her hands down her sides, adjusting the full skirt, making sure the thigh-high slit rested exactly where it should to show the most generous amount of leg when she moved.  Her hands then moved up to the lacey bodice; she paused a moment, a soft smile forming on her lips as she glanced down at her hands where they rested on her abdomen.

 

Shaking herself out of her inner musings, Helena looked back in the mirror and ran her fingers through her hair.  She took a deep breath, raised her hand to the door mechanism, and then stopped, suddenly feeling a little nervous.

 

“Come on, Helena why are you so nervous?”  She chided herself.  “You’ve had romantic evenings with John before.”  She glanced down again at her abdomen and smiled, shaking her head slightly, releasing a bemused chuckle.  “Except tonight… I’m going to be giving him one hell of a surprise.”

 

 

John looked up when he heard the bathroom door open and inhaled sharply when he saw her.  It didn’t matter how many years he and Helena had been together, the sight of her always took his breath away and now she stood, barefoot, wearing his favourite black negligee, in the bathroom doorway; the light behind her illuminating her curvaceous figure, causing John to consider forgetting about dinner and move straight on to dessert.

 

Helena watched John watching her and felt a warmth run through her.  He always had this effect on her, especially when he looked at her like he wanted to devour her.  And when that look came on John’s face, Helena felt her heart-rate increase and found herself more than willing to be devoured by this man.

 

“You look stunning, Helena.”  He said softly, smiling as she slowly glided towards him, stopping just within arms reach.  “You get more beautiful with each passing day.”

 

Helena smiled, blushing slightly; moving into his arms as he reached out for her.  She ran her hands over his bare chest, her fingers moving through the soft, dark hairs; noting that he only wore the bottoms to his pajamas.  “I see you decided to get comfortable yourself.”

 

John ran his fingers up along her arms and over her throat, slipping them into her still damp hair, his smile growing as she shivered slightly in response to his faint touch.  He simply nodded, pulling her closer.

 

Helena saw the look in his eyes and moaned softly as his mouth closed over hers.  Her eyes closed and she gave herself over to his kiss.  She slid her hands up his chest and over his shoulders, winding her arms around John’s neck as the kiss deepened.

 

John ended the kiss and smiled down at his lady.  He caressed her cheek with his fingers and when he spoke, it was in a soft voice.  “Happy Anniversary, Helena.”

 

“Happy Anniversary, John.”  She replied softly, returning his smile.

 

John moved his hands down her arms and encircled her waist, pulling her back against him as he began to move them to the soft strains of music floating around them.  She slipped her arms under his and wrapped them around his back as she laid her head on his shoulder, allowing her body to relax against John’s as they swayed slowly.

 

Neither one said a word as they simply enjoyed this all too rare moment alone; wrapped tightly in each other’s arms, losing themselves in their love for each other, the world outside the closed door of their quarters disappearing.

 

John’s arms tightened around her as he turned his head slightly, brushing a soft kiss against her forehead before resting his cheek against her hair.  Helena responded with a soft, contented sigh, tilting her face up slightly to place a kiss on the underside of John’s chin.

 

Resting her head back on John’s shoulder, Helena inhaled deeply.  She smiled softly as the lingering trace of John’s cologne, mingled with his body’s natural scent washed over her.  She’d always found John’s unique scent to be a heady and extremely arousing combination.  One that was capable of arousing her more than she thought possible and often at the most inopportune times.  She inhaled again and her embrace tightened.

 

A small while later, after having danced through three or four songs and sharing long, tender kisses, Helena lifted her head from his shoulder and smiled lovingly at him.  John returned her smile as he leaned in to kiss her yet again.

 

“Mmm.  This is wonderful, John.”  She told him and then her lips curved into a bemused smile as she tilted her head slightly to one side.  “You did say something about dinner earlier though, didn’t you?”

 

John chuckled and nodded as he began to leisurely dance them over to the table.  “Good idea, Doc.  The sooner we eat…” he paused and ran his hands up her sides, his thumbs brushing the sides of her breasts.  “The sooner we get to… dessert.”

 

Helena looked into his smoldering blue eyes and entertained the thought of skipping dinner and moving directly to the ‘dessert’ John was referring to. 

 

John could see what she was thinking; reading the growing desire in her eyes and smiled.  He brushed another kiss across her lips and then pulled himself from her arms.  “Let’s eat.  We have all night for dessert.”

 

Helena laughed lightly as John pulled out her chair for her and sat down.  She watched as he opened the chilled bottle of wine, pouring them each a portion and handed her a glass before sitting across from her.

 

John held up his glass, tilting his head to the side for a moment as he gazed at her.  A tender smile came his lips as he began to speak.  “To you, Helena.  You who are more than my friend, more than my lover... you’re my partner, my soul mate… my life.  You’re my reason for waking in the morning, my reason for making it through each day, the reason I’m able to endure all that this life throws at me.  Without your presence in my life… I would have no life.”  He paused and reached across the table to clasp her hand.  “I love you, Helena.  With all my heart and all that I am… I love you.”  He brought his glass to hers.  “Happy Anniversary, my love.”

 

Helena gazed at him through tear-filled eyes.  “Oh, John…” she whispered, unable to find her voice.  She brought her glass to her lips, only allowing the cool liquid to moisten her lips as she tried to find the words to express to him all that she was feeling.  Helena looked down at their clasped hands, before looking back up and meeting his eyes.  She smiled softly.  “I wish I could be… as poetic as you, in telling you just how very much I love you.  To tell you what a vital part of my life you are.  But the words escape me…” she paused and he squeezed her hand.  “I love you, John.  I love you more deeply… more intensely then I ever thought possible.  Thank you for sharing your love… your life with me.”

 

They brought their glasses together again.  After taking a sip each, they simply sat and gazed at each other.  John smiled then as he stood slightly and leaned towards her, bringing her hand to his lips, pressing a kiss to her knuckles.

 

As he sat back down, he gave her a lopsided grin.  “Shall we eat now?”

 

Helena laughed and nodded.  John joined in her laughter as they began to eat, their conversation turning to the events of the day.  As she listened to John tell her about his day, Helena found herself growing increasingly nervous and unable to eat.  Her thoughts turned inward and her earlier confidence in John’s reaction to the news she had to share with him waned. 

 

Helena?”

 

She blinked and looked up at him.  “Hmm?  What?  Oh, John I’m sorry.  I got lost in my own thoughts.”

 

“I can see that.”  He said with a slight smile that was touched with concern.  He’d noticed that Helena had barely touched her food, and could sense her sudden uneasiness.  He reached out and took her hand in his.  “Anything you’d care to share?”

 

Helena gave his hand a slight squeeze as she took a deep breath, swallowing hard.  She opened her mouth to tell him, but closed it just as quickly.  She lowered her head, shaking it slightly as she couldn’t find the words to tell him and didn’t want to just blurt it out.

 

“Hey… Helena…” he said softly, getting up from his seat, still clasping her hand as he moved around the table to kneel beside her.  He rested their joined hands in her lap.  “…Talk to me.”

 

When she didn’t look at him right away, John reached up with his free hand and turned her face so he could look in her eyes.  He grew even more concerned when he saw a single tear slip down her cheek.

 

Helena… Honey… what’s wrong?”  He asked, reaching up to wipe the tear away.

 

“You remember that I had my physical this morning?”  She asked.

 

John nodded, smiling ruefully.  He remembered.  She wouldn’t let him make love to her last night because of it.  She’d also complained bitterly about it all night and this morning, sounding as bad he got when it was time for his physical.

 

Helena saw the look on his face, knowing that he was thinking about last night and smiled slightly.

 

“I… the results were… not what I expected.”  She told him shakily.

 

John felt a momentary sense of panic seize his heart; fearing the results indicated something wrong, something that would take Helena away from him.  He swallowed the lump that had suddenly formed in his throat and pushed the disturbing thought from his mind.  If the results had been that negative, he was quite certain she would have said something to him by now.

 

“What was so unexpected?”  He asked quietly.

 

Helena could hear the concern in his voice and also a slight tremor of fear.  She felt her love for him swell and turned in her chair so that she was facing him directly.  She reached out with her free hand and caressed his cheek.

 

“I love you so much.”  She said quietly, a loving smile gracing her lips.  “You’ve given me so much over the years.  Your friendship, your patience… your love.  I don’t know how I would have made it all these years out here in space without you.”

 

John felt the panic slowly beginning to return.  She was beginning to scare him.  Helena…?  Whatever it is… you know I’ll be here for you.”

 

She shook her head slightly, her smile growing.  “And now… now you’ve given me the most wonderful gift you could have ever given me…” she faltered; choking on the tears she refused to let fall.

 

John looked at her, still concerned but also confused.  He couldn’t figure out what it was that was making her so nervous that she was having a hard time telling him.  If there was one thing he knew, it was that Helena had no trouble speaking her mind.

 

Helena…”

 

“It’s a gift I’ve wanted so long to give you… one I hope you’ll be happy about…” she took a deep breath, her hand moving on his cheek again in a soft caress.  When she finally spoke again it was in a whisper.  “…I’m pregnant, John.”

 

John’s eyes grew wide and his mouth fell open as he fell back on his heels, stunned.  This was not the news he was expecting.

 

Pregnant.

 

The word echoed in John’s ears.  His eyes fell immediately to rest on her abdomen as he tried to absorb what she’d just told him.  Pregnant.  A torrent of emotions rushed through him.  Shock, disbelief, pride, shock again. 

 

Helena watched his reaction, holding her breath as she saw the different emotions play across his expressive face.  She watched as the shock gave way to relief, which quickly changed again… this time to utter joy. 

 

John moved back onto his knees and took her face in his hands, bringing his lips to hers for a passionate kiss, which left her breathless when it finally ended.  He rested his forehead against hers, the tears coursing down his cheeks. 

 

“Pregnant?”  He whispered, pulling his head back to look at her.  “Helena… a baby?”

 

All Helena could do was nod; the tears spilling down her cheeks as well, a wave of relief mixed with joy washing over her.

 

“A baby.”  He repeated, a huge grin spreading across his face and making his sapphire eyes light up.  He quickly got to his feet, pulled Helena up out of her chair, into his arms, and swung her around, laughing joyously.  “Helena!  A baby!  We’re having a baby!”

 

Helena wrapped her arms around his neck, laughing with delight as she replied.  “Yes John!  We’re having a baby!”

 

Even before he finished twirling her around, their lips met in a loving kiss, which lingered long after he stopped spinning.  The kiss slowly ended and they smiled at each other.

 

“And here I thought I was the one with a big surprise for tonight.”  He said, still grinning.

 

She looked at him curiously as he stepped away from her, his hand reaching into the pocket on his pants.  Before she realized what was happening, John knelt before her and reached for her left hand.

 

“I had the whole night planned… a romantic dinner for two, soft music, making love to you by candlelight… and at the right moment, I was planning on asking you to marry me.”  He paused as she gasped and smiled as he held up the ring for her to see.  “I even had a special poem memorized… but your news has me so completely floored, all I know… is that… is if you’ll marry me… I’ll be the happiest man on Alpha.”

 

“Oh… John…” she whispered, tears streaming down her cheeks again.  “Of course I’ll marry you.”

 

John smiled and slipped the ring onto her finger, pressing a kiss against it before standing and taking her into his arms again for a long, tender kiss.  As they kissed, John stooped slightly, lifting her effortlessly into his strong arms and carried her across the room to their bed.

 

Still kissing, John knelt on the bed and slowly lowered them down, covering her body with his.  He broke off the kiss and raised himself slightly to gaze down at her, smiling as he reached up to gently wipe away the lingering tears in her eyes.  He traced his fingers lightly over her lips, along her jaw and down her throat, resting his hand just above the swell of her breasts.  He leaned in and kissed her again, murmuring his love for her against her lips as his hand slipped under the bodice of her negligee to cup her breast.

 

Helena moaned softly into his mouth as his fingers moved slowly over her breast in ever-smaller growing circles until they brushed over her taut nipple then moved to do the same to her other breast.  She arched into his hand, her hands sliding down his back and over his sides.

 

John broke off the kiss and, giving Helena a heated look, hooked the thin straps of her negligee with his thumbs and slowly drew them off her shoulders, pulling the material away from her breasts.  He immediately dipped his head and took one of her nipples in his mouth, laving his tongue over the rosy peak and nipping it gently with his teeth.

 

“…John…” Helena moaned, arching into him again, her hands moving to tangle in his dark hair, clenching tightly when his lips closed around her other nipple, bestowing the same sweet torture.

 

As he suckled at her breasts, John little by little, managed to peel away more of her negligee, pushing it down until it bunched at her hips.  His mouth left her breasts and he kissed and licked a trail down her body, pausing to dart his tongue in her navel.

 

Helena couldn’t help the giggle that escaped her lips at the ticklish sensations it caused and smiled at him when he glanced up at her.  She watched as he placed soft kisses all over her belly, whispering soft words that she couldn’t quite make out and tears welled in her green eyes when she realized he was talking to the life growing inside her; their child.

 

John inched lower on the bed, and Helena lifted her hips as he completely removed her negligee, tossing it onto the floor.  He sat up and took a moment to run his gaze over her body, his eyes hungry with desire when he brought them up to meet hers.  He ran his hands lightly over her thighs, just brushing against her curls before he moved off the bed and stood.

 

Helena watched as John quickly removed his pants, a rush of desire washing over her at the sight of him, naked and extremely aroused.  John held still for a moment and watched Helena as she moved her eyes up and down his body.  When her eyes met his, they held the same hungry look.

 

He moved back onto the bed, leaning over to capture her lips in an ardent kiss and then once again kissed his way down her body, stopping only when he came to the blonde curls between her thighs.  John shifted on the bed and then pressed his mouth against her.

 

“John!”  Helena gasped and then released a whimper of protest when his lips moved to nip and kiss her inner thighs.  John smiled inwardly and once again moved his mouth against her, eliciting a low moan from her as his lips closed around her aroused flesh.  She reached down, threading her fingers in his hair and arching her hips against his questing lips while moaning his name again.

 

John continued loving her with his mouth until her writhing body, coupled with her moans and gasps of pleasure were too much for him to handle and he knew he had to be inside her.  With one last loving kiss to her sensitive flesh, John slowly moved up and covered her body with his, capturing her mouth in a searing kiss.

 

Helena responded to his kiss with equal fire, her hands gliding along the sides of his body; slipping one between them to wrap around his hardness, stroking him softly.  She smiled against his lips when she felt his body tremble slightly, his moan lost in her mouth.

 

Helena…” he moaned, lifting his head to look into her face as she continued to stroke him.  He buried his face in her neck, nipping her gently with his teeth as the sensations her nimble fingers were causing, traveled deliciously through his entire body.  John moved his lips back to hers, his hand moving between their bodies and wrapping around hers, stilling her distracting and highly pleasurable touch; wanting and needing to be inside her.  He broke off the kiss, raising himself up on his arm to look down at her, his gaze locking with hers.

 

Helena smiled softly and removed her hand from him; sliding her legs up along his to wind them around his hips.  She moved her hands up around his back, telling him with her eyes that she was ready; that she wanted him… needed him inside her as much he needed and wanted it as well.

 

With a deliberate slowness that belied the urgency he was feeling, John pressed his length inside her.  He heard her gasp and looked down in time to see her eyes close and her head fall back as he completely filled her.  He held still, waiting for her to open her eyes and look at him before beginning to move.

 

 

The feel of John as he first joined their bodies, was a feeling Helena always loved; always longed for; feeling him stretching and filling her so completely always took her breath away; the sensations it caused, streaming through her, creating an intense and burning fire throughout her body.  A fire John started.  A fire only John could extinguish.

 

She moaned softly, her eyes closing, savouring the joining of their bodies.  When she slowly opened her eyes moments later, she found John gazing down at her, a knowing and loving smile on his face.  She returned his smile and lifted her head to brush a soft kiss against his lips.

 

Slowly, with measured, controlled movements, John began to move inside her; withdrawing almost completely before pressing his entire length back inside her, moving deeper inside her with each thrust.  Helena moaned his name, her legs tightening around him as she arched into him, meeting his thrusts; matching his rhythm perfectly.

 

John bent slightly; kissing her fervently as his thrusts became less controlled and more erratic with his approaching release.  He broke off the kiss and looked into her shimmering, green eyes as he felt her body begin to tremble beneath his; her release approaching fast as well and he began to thrust into her quicker.

 

Helena gasped and clutched at his shoulders, her body arching off the bed against him as the turbulent sensations, beginning where their bodies joined, erupted; rushing over and through her entire body.

 

“JOHN!”  She cried out as her body tightened and then thrashed wildly beneath him.

 

Her passionate cry of his name was John’s undoing and with a final, deep thrust, John gave himself over to his release; calling out her name as he exploded inside her, his body quaking with the force of his orgasm. 

 

His energy sapped, John collapsed on top of her; Helena’s arms tightened around him as their bodies continued to shudder against each other, the waves of pleasure still washing over them, carrying them farther and farther; their hearts and souls joining once again in blissful oblivion.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Mmm… this is heavenly.”

 

“Anytime I can hold you in my arms is heavenly.”  John said against her hair, running his hands down along her arms.

 

Helena tilted her head back to look at him and smiled, placing a soft kiss against his cheek.  She adjusted her position so that she was lounging more comfortably between his legs, her back resting against his chest with her head on his shoulder.  She sighed happily when she felt his hands move under the water and slide around her waist to rest on her abdomen, pulling her closer.

 

Helena had been surprised and delighted, when after a second round of lovemaking; John had suggested they move their celebration into the bathroom for a long, leisurely soak in the tub.  She’d smiled and readily agreed.

 

They’d soaked and talked on and off in the bubble-filled tub for over an hour when John brushed his lips against her temple and sat them up to reach out and grab the soap.

 

He washed her arms and back and then lathering his hands again, he reached them around her and began to soap her chest.  Helena sighed and let her head fall back against him, her hands falling to rest on his thighs, enjoying the feel of his soapy hands moving over her breasts.

 

John smiled when he felt her respond to his touch, her nipples hardening under his palms; he bent his head and placed a kiss on her shoulder, moving his lips up her throat to whisper words of love in her ear as his hands slid down to caress her belly.

 

“Have I told you yet tonight, just how very much I love you, Helena?”  He asked quietly.

 

“Mmhmm.”  She murmured, becoming lost in his caress, which was slowly beginning to move lower.  “But… mmm… you can tell me again.”

 

John smiled.  “I love you, Helena.”  He breathed against her ear, catching her earlobe between his teeth as his one hand moved to stroke her inner thigh.  “Let me show you how much…”

 

She replied with a soft moan, her legs opening a little wider as his hand covered her; stroking her lightly.  Helena closed her eyes, and let the sensations John was creating, slowly build and wash over her.

 

John felt her body quiver slightly as he slipped first one finger inside her, then another, moving them slowly in and out of her, his thumb continuing to stroke her tender flesh.  His other hand moved up her body and cupped her breast, holding her tight against him as the hand between her thighs continued its exquisite torture.

 

“Mmm… John…” Helena inhaled deeply, her body moving in time with his hand, the feelings streaming through her body growing in intensity, threatening to overwhelm her at any moment.  “…John…”

 

Still whispering in her ear, all the things he wanted to do to her and for her, John felt the tension in Helena’s body coil, almost ready to spring forth.  He nibbled his way down her throat, nipping her lightly with his teeth, the pressure, and motion of his hand increasing slightly.  John felt her nails dig into his thighs; her body stiffening and lifting away from his as her orgasm surged through her body, leaving her trembling in his arms.

 

Helena moaned his name as her body fell back against his, and felt another, smaller orgasm pass through her as his hand gradually began to slow and finally stop moving inside her.  When she felt her co-ordination return, Helena turned her head, her hand coming up to cup his face and bring his mouth to hers for a passionate kiss.

 

“Mmm… I do so love you, John Koenig.”  She told him when the kiss ended.  “Thank you.”

 

“My pleasure.”  He smiled.

 

Helena shifted against him so she could look into his eyes, her hand trailing down his body, beneath the water to take his hard member in her hand.  She cut her eyes at him and spoke in a low, sultry voice.  “Well… what do you say we get out of this water and move to the bed… and we can… discuss… your pleasure?"

 

John’s smile turned into a grin as he nodded. 

 

They quickly climbed out of the tub and toweled each other off.  Helena grabbed John’s hands and without a word, led him out of the bathroom and back to their bed. 

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena sighed happily and John smiled as he watched her; sleeping stretched out beside him, her one hand resting on his chest, the other flung over her head.  He reached out and gently fingered a lock of her silky, blonde hair as he let his eyes drift slowly over her body, only partially covered by the blanket.

 

When his eyes came to her belly, his smile grew.  Pregnant.  After years of talking about children, they were going to have a baby.  John felt a sense of pride shoot through him even as the love he felt for Helena intensified and grew even stronger.

 

John shifted lower in the bed, careful not to wake Helena as he lifted the blanket away and laid his head gently on her stomach.  He moved his hand softly over her belly, smiling again.

 

“Hello, little one.”  He spoke in a quiet voice.  “Do you know how long your mommy and I have been waiting for you?”

 

His hand caressed her smooth skin again as he continued to speak to the life growing inside the woman he loved.

 

Helena’s eyes fluttered open at the feel of John’s caress and the hushed tones of John’s voice; a sleepy smile came to her lips as she glanced down and realized that he was talking to their child.  Her eyes filled with tears, hearing the emotion in his voice as she listened to what he was saying.

 

“You have no idea how lucky you are, little one.  How lucky we both are… to have your mommy.”  He paused and Helena felt tears on her skin, as his voice grew softer.  “I’m going to tell you a secret, little one… I fell in love with your mommy the first time I laid eyes on her.”  Helena could feel him smile and her smile grew as well at the memory of their first meeting.  “Oh… you’ll no doubt hear that your mommy and I didn’t get along too well after we first met… that we argued a lot.  And we did… still do for that matter.”  He chuckled.  “But in that first moment I met your mommy… and looked into her gorgeous green eyes, I knew she was the woman I was meant to spend the rest of my life with.”

 

Helena swallowed back her tears and closed her eyes, remembering feeling the same way about John at that first meeting in her office.  The instant attraction and electricity between them shocking her; having never in her life experienced anything like it before.  She’d known then that John was the man she was destined to be with.

 

“And I have just one little favour to ask of you…” John continued and chuckled softly.  “As you grow inside your mother… try not to kick her too much at night.  She works too hard and will no doubt insist on working right up until she’s ready to deliver you… so no kicking at night.  Let Mommy get her sleep.”

 

He pressed another kiss against her abdomen and then slowly, with feather-light kisses, John worked his way up her body, his fingers caressing soft lines up along her sides.  When his lips finally met hers, Helena’s eyes opened and she gave him a sleepy smile.

 

“Good morning, Beautiful.”  He smiled at her after finishing the kiss.

 

“Mmm… good morning.”  She ran her hands up along his sides and over his shoulders, pulling him back for another kiss.  “How long have you been awake?”

 

“Oh… about an hour.”  John replied, settling back against the pillows.  “I was watching you sleep and having a conversation with our child.”

 

“So I heard.”  She said as she cuddled up against him, slipping her arms around him and resting her head on his shoulder as her legs moved against and entwined with his.

 

“And just how much did you hear?”  He asked, rubbing her back.

 

“Enough.”  She replied, pressing a kiss to his chest.  “I just hope he or she listens to their daddy and doesn’t kick too much at night.”

 

John chuckled and pressed a kiss to her forehead before pulling back slightly to gaze at her.  He brushed a stray lock of hair out of her face, tucking it behind her ear.  A small smile lit his eyes as he noticed the happy glow that shone from Helena’s face and his hand trailed down between them to rest on her belly.

 

“I still can’t believe we’re going to be parents.” 

 

“I know.”  Helena said, hearing the awe in his voice.  She looked up at him and smiled, seeing the wonder in his eyes as well.  She reached up and caressed his cheek.  “You’re going to be a wonderful father.”

 

“I hope you’re right.”  He said.  “I’m sure as hell going to try.”

 

Helena raised her head to give him a quick kiss.  “I know I am and you will be.”

 

“So… how far along are we?”

 

“Well… we... are only seven weeks along.”  She answered with a smile and soft chuckle, shifting so that she could look into his face.

 

“How long before you begin to show?”  He asked, rubbing his hand over her, trying to imagine how it would feel when the baby started to show.

 

“Well, generally not until the second trimester.”  Helena answered and couldn’t help but laugh at the look on John’s face.  “Not for another few months.”  She clarified.  “Anxious to see me get fat are you?”

 

“You won’t be fat.  You’ll be pregnant.”  He said, his hand moving from her belly to stroke her hip, his voice growing husky.  “And you’ll still be the sexiest woman I know.”

 

“I’m going to hold you to that, John Koenig.”  She laughed.

 

“I’m just planning on holding you… soon to be Helena Koenig.”  He said with a grin, drawing her closer.  “And speaking of… when would you like to do that?”

 

Helena shifted so she was once again lying with her head on his shoulder, lifting her hand to gaze at the ring; smiling at the way the emerald sparkled in the low light.  “As soon as possible.”

 

John chuckled.  “I was hoping you’d say that.”

 

She chuckled softly herself and snuggled closer to him, closing her eyes as she stifled a yawn.

 

“Well… how about next week then?”  He asked.  “It’s not like there’s all that much to plan.”

 

“Mmm… that sounds good.”  She replied in a sleepy voice.

 

“Then next week it is.”  John confirmed.  “Now… what about the honeymoon?”

 

Her only response was an un-intelligible mumble, followed by a quick yawn.  John glanced down and saw that she’d fallen back asleep.  He shook his head softly, smiling as he remembered that she hadn’t eaten much last night and that they had been quite active during the night.  He reached over her, grabbed the blanket, and drew it over them.

 

John reached out to his nightstand and grabbed his commlock.  After placing a few quick calls, he placed the commlock back on the table and settled back against the pillows, drawing Helena tighter into his embrace.  Soon, he too joined her in a peaceful slumber.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena awoke with a satisfied sigh, sensing immediately that John was no longer beside her in bed.  She smiled when she heard the shower going and gave into her urge to stretch before climbing out of the bed.

 

Pulling her robe on, she quietly slipped into the bathroom.  She reached for her toothbrush and paused momentarily as she heard a sound coming from the shower.  She tilted her head to listen closely and her lips curved into an amused smile.  John was humming to himself.  She chuckled and began to brush her teeth as she suddenly recognized the tune, an oldie from the seventies.  By the time she finished brushing her teeth, Helena found herself humming along with him. 

 

She heard the shower stop and her gaze caught John’s in the mirror when he opened the door to reach for a towel.

 

“Good morning.”  She smiled at him.

 

John quickly dried himself off and secured the towel around his waist then stepped up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist. 

 

“Good morning.”  He replied, bending his head to nuzzle her neck.  “How long you been up?”

 

Helena sighed happily and leaned back against him, laying her hands on his, where they rested on her abdomen.  “Long enough to hear you humming…” she smiled at him in the mirror.  “I haven’t heard that song since… well, for many years.”

 

John laughed and tightened his arms around her.  “Well… it just sort of popped in there, seemed appropriate somehow.  And I thought I heard some humming other than my own.”

 

Helena laughed as well, sighing again as his lips moved up her throat to nibble on her ear and he began to hum the song again, swaying softly as his humming turned to soft singing against her ear.

 

“Having my baby, what a lovely way of saying how much you love me.”  Helena couldn’t help the giggle that bubbled out of her as he continued to sing, his smiling gaze meeting hers in the reflection in the mirror, his hands rubbing softly over her belly.  “Having my baby, you’re the woman I love and I love what it’s doing to ya.”

 

He sang a couple more lines of the song, grinned at her, and then pressed a kiss into her hair, as Helena pulled his arms tighter around her.

 

“I’m so happy you’re happy about the baby… even if you are singing cheesy old songs...” She chuckled, her smile telling him that she loved his little serenade.  He chuckled and nodded.

 

“The shower’s all yours.”  He spoke against her ear, his hands slipping into her robe, moving slowly up her stomach to cup her breasts, smiling at her in the mirror when he heard her soft moan.  “And… I’ll be more than happy to… wash your back for you.”

 

Helena chuckled and turned in his arms, wrapping hers around his neck.  She stepped up on her toes and gave him a quick kiss.  “As wonderful as that offer is…” she smiled.  “Do you know what I’d really like?”  John gave her a questioning look and she continued.  “Breakfast.  I’m ravenous.”

 

John smiled and his eyes sparkled mischievously. 

 

“For food, John.”  She laughed, seeing the look in his eyes.

 

John chuckled and placed a soft kiss against her lips.  “Take your shower, I’ll go order breakfast.”

 

Helena gave him another quick kiss and a squeeze.  “Thanks, Honey.”

 

John smiled, returned her embrace, and then left the bathroom.  Helena watched him leave and smiled as she disrobed and stepped into the shower, humming the song to herself.

 

Twenty minutes later, John looked up from the table to see Helena step out of the bathroom.

 

“Feel better?”

 

“Much.”  She said, walking towards him.  “And I’ll feel even better once I get something in…” she paused mid-sentence as she glanced at the clock.  Her eyes grew wide.  “Oh God, John… the time!  We’re going to be late!” 

 

“No we’re…” John began as she turned sharply to head for her closet.  John watched as she stopped and swayed.  He jumped up and out of his chair and was by her side in an instant, catching her in his arms.  Helena!”

 

She placed her hand on his chest and shook her head gently.  “Just a little dizzy… I turned too quickly.”  She told him and then smiled when she felt her equilibrium return.  She moved to leave his arms, but he wouldn’t let her go, instead he scooped her up into his arms and began to carry her to the bed.  She looked at him.  “John, we don’t have time…”

 

Her protest was cut off as his mouth covered hers.

 

Helena grasped his face in her hands, pulling his mouth away.  She shook her head.  “John… we…”

 

John silenced her protest with another kiss, laying her on the bed as he did.  This time, he broke off the kiss and looked at her.  Helena, we’re not going to be late.”  He placed his finger on her lips, stopping her from speaking.  “If you’ll let me finish…” she nodded.  “I’ve given us the day off.  I arranged it all last night and meant to tell you…” he grinned then and placed his hand on her belly.  “But I got a little distracted.  Sorry.”

 

Helena covered his hand with hers.  “Well in that case, you’re forgiven.”  She leaned back against the pillows and a slow smile came to her lips.  “So… just what have you got planned for us today?”

 

John grinned and leaned in to kiss her.  “I plan on pampering my bride-to-be, the mother of my child, all day long.”

 

“Mmm.  That sounds nice.” 

 

“And to start…” he said, standing up.  “I think a little breakfast in bed is in order.”

 

Helena watched him with an adoring look on her face as he moved across the room to the table and loaded up the tray.  She made herself more comfortable on the bed and smiled at him as he sat on the other side of the bed and carefully placed the tray in front of them.

 

“Breakfast is served, milady.”

 

Helena simply smiled at him and reached for a piece of fruit.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena quietly slipped back into bed, noting with an affectionate smile that John hadn’t moved and was still asleep.  Laying her head on her pillow, she curled up on her side and as she pulled the blankets up around her shoulders, she felt John roll over and press himself against her back, his arms moving around her.

 

“I’m glad you’re back.”  He said sleepily against her ear.  “Everything okay?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  She replied, snuggling back against him.  “Sandra is in the first stages of labour, but since she still has a ways to go yet, Bob kicked me out of Medical.”

 

John chuckled softly against her shoulder.  “How’s Alan?”

 

“Typical first-time father.”  Helena answered.  “He’s beyond nervous and trying not to show it for Sandra’s sake.”

 

“I can sympathize.”  John said, placing his hand over her protruding belly.  He smiled into his wife’s hair as he felt movement under his hand.  “I’m nervous about it myself and we still have a couple months to go yet.”

 

Helena laced her fingers with John’s as they rested on her belly and turned her head slightly to look at him a soft smile on her face.  “You’ll do fine, John.  I have every confidence in you.”

 

John returned her soft smile and leaned in to brush a gentle kiss on her lips.  He settled back on the pillow, burying his face in her hair.  “Remind me…” he yawned and pulled her closer.  “To put a note of commendation in Bob’s file in the morning for sending you home.  Now I can go back to sleep.”

 

Helena chuckled softly and pulled his arms tighter around her.  After a few moments, she could hear John’s deep, even breathing and knew he was sound asleep.  Still a little wound up from answering the call to Medical, Helena found herself thinking back on the last few months since she’d told John they were pregnant and all that had happened since.

 

She lifted her left hand and smiled at the sight of the plain gold band; identical to the one John wore, resting there.

 

They’d married a week after John had asked her to become his wife, in a simple ceremony attended by anyone on Alpha who wished to attend.  Victor had proudly walked her down the aisle to John as Alan and Sandra stood up for them as their best man and matron of honour respectively.  Tony had officiated and a small reception had followed.

 

A month later, they discovered to their utter surprise, that not only were they pregnant, but that they were pregnant with twins.  Helena’s smile grew, remembering the shocked look on John’s face and the huge grin that followed.  A grin he’d had a hard time wiping off his face for the next few days.

 

Helena glanced down, brought out of her musings when she felt one of the babies kick and her smile changed into a tender one as she felt John’s hand slowly rub her belly, as if trying to soothe the restless child inside her.  Moments later, the kicking stopped.

 

Helena sighed happily, nestling back further into John’s embrace.  She covered his hand with hers and soon drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

John looked up from the computer again when he heard another soft moan come from the bed.  He watched, his eyes furrowing with concern as Helena shifted restlessly under the covers.  Wanting to help his wife, but not really knowing what he could… or should do, John sighed softly and turned his attention back to his work.  He knew if Helena needed him, she’d call him.

 

“Oh… this is pointless!!”

 

John looked up to see Helena throw off the covers and slowly get out of bed.

 

“I give up!”  She said, throwing her arms up in despair as she walked into the living area of their quarters, her nightgown billowing about her legs and began to pace.  “I can’t get comfortable to save my life.”

 

“Anything I can do to help?”  He asked after watching her pace for a few moments.

 

“I think you’ve done quite enough already, thank you very much.”  Helena snapped, shooting him a dirty look.

 

“Don’t give me that look.”  John replied evenly, hitting the button that would save his work, knowing he wouldn’t be getting anymore of it finished tonight.  “You’re as responsible for your condition as I am.  It takes two to tango.”

 

Helena stopped pacing and covered her face with her hands as she released a ragged sigh.

 

“I know…” she whispered through her hands.  “I’m sorry, John… I… I don’t know what’s the matter with me.”

 

John allowed the corners of his mouth to turn up slightly in a bemused smile as he stood and made his way over to her.  He reached out and pulled her hands away from her face; seeing the tears he knew would be in her eyes and on her cheeks.

 

“You’re being emotional… and that’s allowed, Honey.”  John told her, gathering Helena into his arms.  He stroked her hair and pressed a kiss to the top of her head.  “You’re also seven and a half months pregnant, with twins and haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in a month… so it’s understandable.”

 

John felt her hands clutch the front of his shirt and her shoulders begin to shake as she started to cry harder.  He tightened his hold on her.

 

“There’s something else bothering you too, what is it, Helena?”  He asked softly.  She didn’t respond so he gave her a slight squeeze.  “C’mon, Honey, tell me.”

 

“I’m tired of being pregnant… my hands are swollen… my ankles are swollen and I can’t see my feet anymore… my back hurts… I’m scared I won’t be a good mother… and… and you haven’t made love to me in weeks…”

 

It came pouring out of her as she sobbed into his shoulder and all John could do was smile tenderly into her hair before slowly leading her over to the couch.  He pulled her into his lap as he sat down and slipped his fingers under her chin, preventing her from burying her face back into his shoulder and made her look at him.

 

“First, I know you’re tired of being pregnant and tired of the swollen hands, ankles and sore back and if I could switch places with you, I would.  But the twins will be here soon and that will all be over with.  You’ve said so yourself.  Second, you’re going to be a wonderful mother.”  He paused, placing his fingers over her mouth to silence her protest.  “Seeing you with the all the children that have been born here is testament to that… and I know you.  I know with all my heart that you’re going to be an exceptional mother.”

 

John moved his hand up her cheek and brushed away her tears.

 

“As for not making love to you… it’s not cause I haven’t wanted to or from lack of trying.”  He smiled affectionately at her.  “But you won’t let me because you have this idea in your mind that you’re unattractive and undesirable right now.”

 

“That’s because I am.”  She said softly, looking down.  “I’m bloated and fat.”

 

Helena, you’re pregnant and still the sexiest woman I know.”  John said with conviction, once again lifting her face so he could look into her eyes.  “I still find you very attractive and very desirable…”

 

“You’re just saying…”

 

Helena’s protest remained unfinished as John’s mouth covered hers in a passionate kiss.  She moaned softly into his mouth, her arms winding about his neck as she returned the kiss.  When they eventually parted, Helena gasped breathlessly, her eyes wide.

 

“I love you, Helena.”  John whispered as he placed little kisses around her mouth, trailing his lips down her neck.  “And I want to make love to you… in the worst way… if you’ll let me…” 

 

All Helena could do was moan as John’s hand moved down into her nightgown, cupping her breast, his thumb moving over her nipple.  She felt him smile against her throat, as it grew hard beneath his touch.  He raised his head, smiled at her; pulling his hand out of her nightgown and slipped his arm under her knees as he slowly stood, cradling her in his arms.

 

“And now, Mrs. Koenig…” he said in a throaty voice as he carried her to their bed.  “I’m going to show you just how desirable you still are…” 

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

John sat back in his chair in Command Center and rubbed his eyes.

 

“Rough night?”

 

John looked up into the grinning but tired face of Alan Carter and nodded.

 

“You could say that.”  John replied.  Helena had a restless night again last night.”

 

“Say no more.”  Alan chuckled, holding up his hand.  “I read you loud and clear.  Sandra was like that too just before Bobbie was born.  Couldn’t get comfortable for anything… and when the wife can’t sleep…”

 

John chuckled as Alan’s voice trailed off and nodded his head with the pilot’s assessment.   He stifled a yawn and glanced back at the report still on the monitor, one he’d been staring at all morning but hadn’t gotten very far on.  His mind was in a fog from lack of sleep; having gotten up with Helena when she’d declared after an hour or two of tossing and turning, that she was getting up and going for a walk around the base.  They’d walked around in circles for hours until Helena felt tired enough and simply passed out the moment her head hit the pillows.

 

“Ah, just think, John.  When the kids are born… you won’t have to worry about Helena not being able to get comfortable.  Instead… it’ll be the two a.m. feedings that will be keeping you both awake.”  Alan chuckled again as he stifled a yawn this time.  “And speaking of feedings… I’m off to give my son his lunch.”

 

John chuckled and watched his friend leave.  He swallowed back another yawn and determined to get through at least this one report before the end of his shift.  Two hours later, he turned off the monitor, the report finally finished.  He sat back in his chair and closed his eyes, releasing a deep breath.

 

“I thought you were going to try and take a nap?”  He asked quietly, without opening his eyes as he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder.

 

“I was but your children had other plans.”  John opened his eyes and looked up into his wife’s tired face.  “So, we decided to come and see if their father was up for a late lunch.”

 

John smiled as he reached up to grab Helena’s hand, bringing it to his lips.  “That sounds wonderful.”  He slowly stood.  “Tony.”

 

The younger man turned around to look at John.

 

“I’m going to the cafeteria for lunch.  I’ll be back in an hour.”

 

“Okay, John.”

 

John nodded then turned to Helena and slipped his arm about her waist as they made their way out of Command Center towards the awaiting Travel Tube.  Halfway down the corridor, John suddenly stopped.  Helena looked up at him.

 

“I forgot something at my desk.”  He told her.  “Wait here, I’ll be right back.”

 

“I’m not going anywhere.”  Helena said with a small smile as she watched him hurry back down the hall.  She slowly leaned back against the wall and released a deep breath as she reached for her commlock, activating it as she brought it up to face level.

 

Medical Center.”

 

“Bob.”  Helena said as his image appeared on the tiny screen.  “I’d like you to start getting the delivery room prepped.”

 

“You’re in labour?”

 

“Early stages.”  Helena told him.  “There’s still plenty of time.”

 

“We’ll have everything ready for when you get here.”

 

“And that won’t be right now.  At this moment, I’m going to lunch with John.”  She noticed that he was about to protest and continued before he could interject.  “It’s nothing to be concerned about yet.  I’m not in any pain… just a little discomfort.”

 

“And we both know how quickly that can change…”

 

“And when it does, you’ll be the first person we contact.”  Helena interrupted.  “But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy lunch with my husband.”

 

“Whom you obviously haven’t told yet.”  Bob said, knowing that if Koenig knew Helena was in the early stages of labour, he’d not only be insisting that she be in Medical Center; he’d be carrying her there himself.

 

“No, I haven’t told John.”  She admitted.  “And I won’t until it’s necessary.”

 

Helena…”

 

“Bob, you and I both know it could be hours before I go into actual labour and John is nervous and worried enough as it is.”  She said.  “There’s no point in making him even more anxious.”

 

On the tiny screen, Helena watched Bob sigh and bit back the smile that threatened to come to her lips, knowing that she’d won yet another ‘argument’.

 

“Fine… no point in arguing with you.”  He said.  “Just do me one favour?”

 

Helena smiled.  “What’s that?”

 

“Don’t wait until the last minute to get down here when it’s time.”

 

“I won’t.”  She chuckled.  “Thanks, Bob.”

 

“Hmmm.”  Bob muttered under his breath as he closed the link.

 

Helena returned her commlock to her belt just as she noticed John coming down the hall towards her.  She smiled at him as she pushed herself off the wall.

 

“All set?”  She asked as he came to a stop in front of her.

 

“Yeah.”  John nodded, placing his arm about her shoulders.  “Now… I believe that I have a lunch date with my beautiful wife.”

 

Helena shook her head softly as they resumed their walk to the Travel Tube.  A couple of minutes later, they entered the car and John programmed their destination.

 

As the car started to move, John looked at her.  “You should be sitting down, Helena.”

 

Helena shook her head.  “I’m too restless to sit.”

 

John regarded her for a moment then smiled softly at her as he leaned back against the wall, pulling her back against him; wrapping his arms around her waist.  He heard Helena sigh softly as she laced her fingers with his and rested them on her belly.  He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall.

 

Helena turned her head slightly to look at him and could see in his face how tired he was.  “John, why don’t you take the rest of the day off… get some sleep?”  She suggested.

 

“Can’t.  Too much work.”

 

“I could make it a medical order.”  She threatened with a small smile.

 

He opened one eye and gave her a slight grin as he shook his head.  “You can’t.  You’re on maternity leave.”

 

“And your point is?  I’m still the C.M.O around here.”

 

“My point is…” John began, tightening his arms around her a little more.

 

His sentence remained unfinished as the Travel Tube suddenly lurched, causing them both to stumble.  John held tightly to Helena as the car shook again, this time with more force, the jolt sending them both tumbling to the floor; John doing his best to hang onto Helena and keep her from impacting with the hard surface.  The lights flickered as the car came to a sudden halt.

 

Helena?”  John asked anxiously, reaching out to her as she’d rolled out of his arms as the car stopped shaking.  “Are you okay?”

 

“Yes, I’m fine.  Just a little shaken up.”  She answered, reaching out to take his hand; returning his firm squeeze.  “You?”

 

“I’m okay.”  He answered, sitting up.  He helped her to slowly sit as well, his eyes moving over her.  “You’re sure you’re alright?  The twins?”

 

“We’re all okay.  John, if you hadn’t…” She swallowed hard and gave him a grateful look before glancing around.  “What happened?”

 

“Let’s find out.”  He said reaching for his commlock and punched in the code.  “Tony?”

 

“John!”

 

“What happened?”

 

“Moonquake.”  Tony replied.  “Are you and Helena okay?”

 

“As okay as we can be, stuck in the Travel Tube.”  John answered as he got to his feet; helping Helena to stand as well, indicating with a look that he wanted her to sit.  “We’re not injured though.  What’s the status of the rest of the base?”

 

“Reports are coming in now.  For the most part though, it looks like only minor damage.”  Tony answered.  “And I’ve already sent a team out to get you and Helena out of there, however the tube has stopped in between sections… it could be a while.”

 

“Understood.”  John said, glancing at Helena who was leaning back in the seat with her eyes closed.  He looked back at Tony’s image and continued with a small grin.  “Tell them to do their best.  I guess this just means I get to spend some quality time alone with my wife.”  He closed the channel, sank down in the seat beside her, and smiled at her.  “Looks like it’s just you and me, Honey.  Got any ideas on what we can do to pass the time?”

 

Helena moaned softly and nodded slowly.  “As a matter of fact, I do.  I think you should call Tony back and tell him to tell the repair team to make it fast.”  She said in a tight voice.  “Or… you won’t be alone with your wife for much longer.”

 

John’s eyes grew wide.  “You don’t mean…?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  She nodded.  “I’m going into labour.”

 

“But you were fine just a moment ago…” John stood suddenly and began to pace.  “It was the fall, wasn’t it?  That’s what brought it on, isn’t it?”

 

“Calm down, John.”  Helena told him, shifting slightly in her chair.  “The fall is part of it but we’ve still got time… I’ve been in the early stages of labour all morning.”

 

“All morning!?  Why didn’t you say anything?”  John asked incredulously.

 

“Because I knew it could be a while before actual labour set it in.”  She told him and inhaled sharply.  “And I wasn’t expecting to be trapped in a Travel Tube.”

 

John knelt down before her, concern etched in his features as he reached for his commlock.  “How long?”

 

Helena shook her head and gave him a look.  “I’m not really sure… it’s different for everybody.  Could be ten hours or five minutes, depends on how anxious your children are to make their entrance.”

 

John nodded his understanding and activated his commlock.  “Tony!”

 

“Yeah, John?”

 

“Slight change in plans.  Tell the repair team to get a move on!  And have Bob standing by with a med-team.  Helena’s gone into labour.”

 

“Right away, John.”

 

John turned back to Helena and saw the slight grimace on her face.  “What can I do to help?”

 

Helena gave him a small smile.  “Nothing much at the moment, except… hold me… and hope that the repair team works fast.  We should be okay for a little bit, otherwise…”

 

Her voice trailed off, both of them sharing a look, knowing exactly what she wasn’t saying.

 

“Well, holding you I can and will do with pleasure.”  John said moving back up onto the seat and slipping his arm about her shoulders.  “Come here, Mrs. Koenig.”

 

Helena leaned back against John with a sigh, willing the repair team to work faster.  She felt another small contraction and closed her eyes, reaching out to grab John’s hand.  She smiled slightly as she felt him squeeze her hand gently.  The contraction passed and she relaxed once again.

 

“Hold on, babies.  Please hold on.”  Helena thought at her children, not knowing that John was thinking the exact same thing.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

In Command Center, Tony looked away from the big screen as he terminated the link with the repair team.  He shook his head as he slowly sank down into his chair.

 

“Tony.”  Victor said, walking over to the younger man and putting his hand on his shoulder.  “We have to tell them.”

 

“Yeah, Victor I know.”  He said, hearing the concern in Victor’s voice and knowing that he thought of both John and Helena as his children.  “I’m worried about them too.”

 

Victor patted Tony’s shoulder and gave him a small smile.  “I know you are.”

 

Tony returned Victor’s worried smile then turned back to his desk.  He moved his hand over his console, pausing with his finger over the button.  This was not something he was looking forward to doing.  He took a deep breath and pressed the button, aware of Victor pacing nervously behind him.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Curled into a tight ball, half-sitting in John’s lap; Helena groaned loudly as another contraction began.  Feeling completely helpless for what his wife was going through, John continued to rub her back vigorously like she’d told him, as he felt the contraction take hold of her.  When it ended, Helena took a deep breath and relaxed against John, laying her head on his shoulder.

 

Continuing to rub her back, John reached beside him for his commlock just as it beeped.  Helena raised her head from his shoulder as he answered it.

 

“Tony.  Tell me you have good news.”

 

“I’m afraid not, John.”

 

“Tony, we’ve been in here for an hour already and Helena’s labour is progressing.”  John said in an impatient voice.  “What’s taking the repair team so long?”

 

“I just spoke with them… it appears that most of the circuits for the Travel Tube blew out when the quake hit.”

 

“What about the backups?”  John asked and watched as Tony just shook his head.  “How much longer are they expecting it to take?”

 

“They’re not sure, John.  All I know, is that they’re attempting to bypass as much as they can, enough to get the tube moving.”

 

John cursed under his breath and glanced at Helena as he felt her body tense; another contraction was beginning.  He turned back to his commlock and the look he gave Tony left no room for argument.  “Tell them to work faster.”

 

He didn’t wait for Tony’s response as he tossed his commlock back onto the seat beside him, not realizing that he hadn’t closed the channel.  He turned to Helena, just as she clutched at his arm.

 

“Oh… God… John!” She moaned.  “They’re getting closer together.”

 

“I know, Helena.”  John answered softly, rubbing her back.  “I think we should consider the possibility…”

 

“No…” Helena shook her head, gasping for breath.  “I will NOT give birth to my children in a travel tube!”

 

Helena…”

 

“No!”  She repeated and then exhaled deeply as the contraction finally ended.  She looked up at him with tears in her eyes and when she spoke, it was in a quiet voice.  “John… I don’t want our babies born here.”

 

“I know, Sweetheart.”  He said softly, pulling her further into his embrace and pressing a kiss into her hair.  “I know.”  Not knowing what else to say, John simply held her, smoothing her hair as he continued to rub her back.

 

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen.”  Helena muttered against his shoulder.  “We should be in Medical Center…” She stopped suddenly and lifted her head, her eyes wide.  “Oh no!  Oh no… no… no… no… no… not yet!”

 

They both looked down at the same time to see that both John’s pants and Helena’s skirt were soaking wet.  Helena looked up into John’s eyes; her own filled with tears that were slowly making their way down her cheeks.  She opened her mouth to speak, but was stopped by John’s fingers on her lips.  He shook his head.

 

“Don’t worry about it.”  John said as he reached for her commlock.  “But I think it’s time we call Bob.  I’m going to need some help, cause it looks like I’m going to be delivering our children.”

 

“No.”  Helena protested, shaking her head.  “We still have time.”

 

Helena, your water just broke.”  He said, starting to punch in Mathias’ code.  “Now, I may not be a doctor, but I do know that’s a sign of something happening.  And your contractions are running closer together.”  He raised the commlock up to face level as Mathias’ face appeared on the small screen.  “Bob, I’m going to be needing your help.”

 

“How far apart are the contractions?”  Bob replied over the screen, not needing John to explain further, he’d been waiting for the call.  That and Tony had patched John’s still active commlock, through to his.  So he’d been well aware of the situation.

 

“About ten minutes.”  John answered and then felt Helena’s body tense; heard her gasp sharply.  He placed the commlock down beside him as he moved to help her work through it.  “Make that less than ten minutes.  Her water also broke just before I called you.”

 

“Mmm!”  Helena moaned, gripping tightly to John’s arm.  “Oh… Oh GOD!”

 

“Commander,” Bob continued, even though he couldn’t see John through the commlock.  “As soon as this contraction passes, I want you to grab the emergency medical kit, remove both your jackets and then help Helena to lay on the floor.”

 

“That’s it, Helena.  Breathe through it.  It’ll pass in a minute.”  John coached her softly, rubbing her back again.  He felt the change in her body and knew the contraction was over.  He smiled at her as he slowly stood them both up.  He left her side briefly to grab the med-kit and quickly returned to her.  “Come on, let’s do as Bob says and lay you down.”

 

Helena continued to shake her head, even as she allowed John to remove her jacket and then slowly lower her down to the floor of the travel tube.  No sooner was she seated and about to lie back, she was hit with another contraction.  She cried out, reaching out to grab John’s hand.

 

“UUHHN… oh, John!  They’re getting worse!”  She panted, gritting her teeth.  “I can feel… oh God… I can feel the baby!  I want… to push!”

 

John winced slightly as her grip on his hand tightened fiercely.  He reached out with his free hand and grabbed her commlock, placing it on the seat beside him so he could see Bob’s image from the corner of his eye; all the while, talking Helena through the contraction.

 

“Bob?!  She’s lying down and you heard the rest.”  John said, glancing at the commlock as he removed his jacket, placing it on top of Helena’s on the seat.  “Now what?”

 

“Okay, Commander, this means the baby is no doubt in the birth-canal.  I want you to look… tell me if you can see the baby’s head.”

 

John nodded and turned back to his wife.  “It’s going to be okay, Helena.  I promise you.”  He told her as he moved closer and raised her skirt.  He peered down between his wife’s bent legs and then lifted his head, nodding towards Mathias as he smiled at Helena.  “I can see the head.”

 

“Very good, Commander.  Now on the next contraction, Helena’s got to push.  And keep pushing.  She knows this.  And this… is what you’ve got to do.”  Bob said.

 

As John listened to Bob explaining what it was he had to do, he reached out, pulled the med-kit to the floor beside him, and opened it.  He turned back to Helena in time to see her face contort with pain.

 

“Okay, Honey this is it.”  John said, pushing up his sleeves.  He gave her an encouraging smile.  “I’m going to be here with you every step of the way.”

 

“No!  John… not here!  I don’t want my babies born here!”  She managed to repeat her earlier sentiments between gasps.

 

“I know, I know.  But I’m afraid we have little choice in the matter.”  John told her.  “Our children appear to have decided that now is the right time to make their entrance.”

 

Helena nodded, her eyes locking with his as she inhaled sharply.  “They no doubt have their father’s stubborn streak.” 

 

“And their mother’s too.”  John thought wryly, but knew better than to voice that sentiment at this time.  He felt her reach out and grab his hands as she cried out his name; followed by a scream unlike any John had ever heard from his wife’s lips as she began to push.

 

“That’s it, Helena.  You’re doing great.  Keep pushing.”  John encouraged her, holding tight to her hands.  “It’s coming, Honey.  I can see it.”  Helena groaned and let go of John’s hands.  He looked up at her.  “The head’s out.  One more push, Helena.  Just one more, you can do it.”

 

Helena took a deep breath and then bore down again, another scream leaving her lips as she felt her first child leave her body. 

 

“That’s it, Helena.  I got it… him!”  John told her, glancing up at her as she fell back on her elbows.  He grinned, his eyes bright with unshed tears.  “It’s a boy!”

 

Helena returned his tear-filled smile as John held their son up for her to see.

 

“All right, Commander, now you have to cut the umbilical cord and then clean out the baby’s nose and mouth.”  Bob told him and then continued, explaining to John exactly what to do and how to get the baby to take his first breath. 

 

Moments later, the car was filled with the strong cries of a new-born baby as the new parents looked at each other, both half-laughing, half-crying.

 

“Good work, Commander.”  Bob said.  “Now wrap him in one of your jackets.”  John reached over, pulled his jacket off the seat, and began to wrap his son up in the black garment.  “You should have a couple of minutes before the next one, so I’d take this moment to let Helena check him over.”

 

“Way ahead of you, Bob.”  John called over his shoulder as he moved up beside Helena, handing her their son and then slid his arm down around behind her; supporting her as she sat up slightly.  He pressed a kiss to her temple as he watched her check him over.  “How is he?”

 

“He’s perfect.”  Helena said, looking up at John with a smile, before looking back at her son.  “Oh, John, look at him.”

 

“I am.”  John said, the pride evident in his voice as he rested his free hand on his son’s chest.

 

“He has your hair.”  She told him softly, fingering her son’s dark locks and smiling up at John again.  She placed her hand over John’s and rested her head against his shoulder as the fell into a happy silence.

 

John glanced down at Helena a moment later when he felt her hold on the baby loosen a bit.  He noticed that her eyes were drifting closed.

 

Helena?”

 

“Take the baby…” she murmured to him, shifting slightly.  “…John…”

 

Helena?  Helena, what is it, Honey?”  John asked her, worry edging his voice as he took the baby from her arms.

 

“I… I… something’s not… oooh.”  She gasped softly.

 

John quickly reached around her to grab the commlock.  “Bob!  Something’s wrong!”

 

“What is it, Commander?”

 

“I don’t know.  One moment she was fine and now…” he pointed the commlock at Helena so Bob could see her for himself.  “She’s… I don’t know almost listless, she looks like she’s in pain, and I don’t mean from a contraction.”

 

“When the tube stopped, did she fall?”  Bob asked.

 

“Yeah… we both did.  But I managed to fall between her and the floor.”  John answered.

 

“That was smart… but even so… she could have hurt herself and not know it.”  Bob said.  “And is now feeling it.”

 

“Bob…” John began, glancing down at his son, whom he was still holding.  “What about the other baby?  Is it in any danger?  And, Helena?”

 

“There is always some danger when giving birth, Commander.”  Bob answered.  “I know that’s little comfort right now, but at the moment and not being there, that’s all I can tell you.”

 

John nodded, understanding though not liking it as he placed the commlock back on the seat.  He looked at Helena again; worry etched on his face as he reached out to stroke her cheek and smooth her brow; noticing as he did so, that she was stirring.  Suddenly her eyes flew open and he heard her take in a deep breath and moan softly.

 

Helena?”

 

“John?”  She called quietly, reaching her hand out for him and he could see that she was trying to focus on him.  She moaned again and when she spoke, her voice held a touch of fear.  “Something’s wrong…  the baby…”

 

She didn’t finish her statement; her body doubling up as a contraction suddenly ripped through her body.  She bit her lower lip and groaned loudly.  She felt John slip his free arm about her shoulders, holding her tightly, offering what little comfort he could at that point and tried to give him a small smile but the pain was too great.

 

“Commander,” Bob’s voice came over the commlock.  “I know you want to remain at Helena’s side and help her through the contraction but you have to get into position and be ready for your next child.  And as much as you’re not going to like it… you’re going to have to lay your son down as well.”

 

John nodded.  Bob was right, he didn’t want to leave Helena’s side, not yet; not when she was in so much pain.  But he also knew he had little choice; he had to be ready to help deliver their second child.  John gave her a quick squeeze and brushed a kiss into her hair then moved back so that he was kneeling in front of her.  He carefully laid his son down next to him and then turned back to Helena, his heart aching for the pain she was experiencing.  He placed his hand on her knee, the other reaching out for her hand, squeezing both gently; letting her know he was there. 

 

She smiled weakly at him as the contraction passed.

 

“I love you.”  He whispered to her, giving her hand and knee another gentle squeeze.  “We’re going to be fine… all four of us!”

 

“I know…” She gasped, reaching out for his other hand as another contraction started.  “I love you too.”

 

John held tightly to her hands, glancing quickly at their son then back at her.  He gave her an encouraging smile.  “Okay, Helena...”

 

“JO… OHN!” 

 

“I’m here, Honey.”  He told her as her grip on his hands lessened and she fell back slightly.  He glanced down then looked back at her.  “I can see the head…” He paused as he felt her grip tighten again and knew she was getting ready to bear down.  “You can do this… you gotta push!  I’m right here with you…”

 

“OOH… GOO… OOD!!”  John’s words of encouragement were drowned out by Helena’s scream as her body strained to deliver their second child.

 

“That’s it!  Keep pushing, Helena.”

 

“I AM PUSHING DAMMIT!!”  Helena yelled at him, her face red with the effort.  She slumped back, breathing heavily.  She looked up at John with tears in her eyes.  “John…”

 

John shook his head, smiling lovingly at her, dismissing her apology before it started.  He glanced down and Helena saw his face pale as he turned towards the commlock.

 

“John?!”  She asked, a slight tremor of fear edging her voice.  “John, what is it?”

 

“Bob… I’ve got a problem here!”  He said.

 

“John?!”

 

“What is it, Commander?”

 

“The cord is around the baby’s neck.”  John told him, trying to keep the panic he was feeling from surfacing any more than it already was; knowing it would only upset Helena more; as it was, he saw her face blanche.  “What do I do?”

 

“Relax, Commander.  This isn’t all that uncommon.”  Bob told him.  “This is what I want you to do.”

 

John took a deep breath and followed Mathias’ instructions to remove the umbilical cord from around his baby’s neck.  Only when the cord was removed did he release the breath, looking up at Helena and smiling as he did.

 

“Okay, Bob.  I’ve got it.  Now what?”

 

“Good job, Commander.”  Mathias told him, the relief evident in his voice as well.  “Now… you both…” His explanation was interrupted by a loud groan from Helena.  He continued with a small smile.  “…Have to finish delivering that child of yours.”

 

John glanced down and then back up at Helena, giving her yet another encouraging smile.  “This is it, Helena.  The last one… I’m not going to tell you what you already know… except that I love you.”

 

“I love you… TOOO!”  Helena cried out as the contraction ripped through her body.  She pulled herself up using his hands, pushing with every fibre of her being.  “But… you’re never…” she panted.  “…Touching me… AGAIN!!”

 

John let go of her hands as she screamed the last word and reached down to guide their second child out of his wife’s body.  He held the slippery bundle in his hands and lifted his wide blue eyes to meet hers. 

 

“It’s a girl.”  He told her quietly, his tears sliding down his cheeks.

 

“A girl?”  Helena repeated, her eyes welling with tears as well when she heard her baby’s strong new cries and John held her up to see.  “We have a daughter too?”

 

“Yes.”  John smiled and nodded.  “A beautiful baby girl.”

 

“Good work, Helena.  You too, Commander.”  Bob’s voice sounded over the commlock as John wrapped his daughter up in her mother’s jacket.  “Now, Commander, there’s one more thing you have to do.”

 

John nodded, handing their daughter to Helena and reaching for his son as well, as Bob explained about the afterbirth and what John would have to do.  He handed their son to Helena, continuing to nod as he listened to Bob.

 

When he was finished doing as instructed, John helped Helena arrange herself, pulling her skirt back down; knowing she’d want to appear in a somewhat dignified position for when they were finally joined by the med-team.  John slid up to rest beside her, slipping his arm about her and placing a gentle kiss against her lips when she turned to look at him.  “Good work, Mom.”

 

“You too, Dad.”  She whispered back.  She rested her forehead against his.  “Thank you, John.”

 

John’s response was to press a kiss to her temple and move a little closer, gazing down at his children, nestled happily in their mother’s arms. 

 

“I was hoping one of them would at least have your hair.”  He said quietly, fingering his daughter’s dark hair.

 

“Well, maybe she’ll have my eyes.”  Helena told him, looking up at him with a smile.

 

John returned her smile as he gazed into her eyes.  He leaned closer, brushing his lips against hers.  “How you feeling?”

 

“Sore.  Tired.  Glad it’s over.”  She answered and then nodded softly at the look of concern in his eyes.  “I’m okay, John.  I must have pulled a muscle in the fall, that’s all.”

 

John was about to comment when they felt the Travel Tube lurch and then begin to move.  They smiled at each other, John hugging her closer; feeling a small wave of relief pass over him, knowing that very shortly, Helena and his children would be in Medical Center, under medical supervision.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Okay, easy now, Helena.”  Mathias was saying as he and John helped her onto the stretcher.  “Let’s get you to Medical Center.”

 

“There’s no need to fuss, Bob.”  Helena said, shaking her head.  “I am perfectly capable of getting on the stretcher…”

 

“Would you stop arguing and let us help you.”  John said, squeezing her arm affectionately.

 

“I’m not arguing…”

 

“No… you’re just being stubborn.”  John told her, smiling down at her.

 

Helena shook her head, returning his smile as she lay back on the stretcher, releasing a deep sigh.  She could see and shared John’s relief that they were finally out of the travel tube and were heading for Medical Center.  But she also knew that John would not be able to fully relax until he knew for certain that both she and the twins were completely all right.

 

“Any word on the twins yet?”  She asked, glancing at Bob.

 

As soon as the travel tube had arrived, Bob had his staff take the twins from their parents and bring them immediately to Medical so that they could be properly checked out and cleaned up.  Naturally, both parents were a little anxious.

 

“Ben is looking at them over now, Helena.”  Bob said.  “And you know as well as I do, if there were any problems, he would have called by now.”

 

Helena nodded, looked back at John, and gave him a tired smile when she felt him squeeze her hand gently.  She yawned suddenly and closed her eyes as they finally began to make their way to Medical Center.

 

As they were moving down the corridor, John felt her grip on his hand loosen and glanced down at her, noting then, just how pale she was.

 

“Bob…?” 

 

“She’s just sleeping, Commander.”  Mathias told him, hearing the worry in Koenig’s voice and knowing exactly what he was thinking.  “After all, she’s just given birth to twins, in less than normal circumstances.”

 

John nodded, the panic he felt starting in his chest, easing somewhat.  He glanced back down at her and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“What did he say when you told him?”  Helena asked Bob, her gaze on her husband’s sleeping form, lying on the bed next to hers, in the small area her staff had sectioned off for them.

 

“He was extremely relieved to hear that other than a pulled muscle and some bruising around the ribs, that you’re really okay.”

 

Helena smiled, noticing that John’s hair was damp and then looked up at Bob.  “How did you convince him to leave and go take a shower?”

 

“It wasn’t easy, as he didn’t want to leave your side at all.  Even Victor had a hard time getting him to co-operate.”  Bob told her.  “Finally I had to threaten him.”

 

“How?”  She asked, having a pretty good idea of what the threat was.

 

“Either he took a shower or he wouldn’t be seeing you or the twins until tomorrow morning.”  He answered and shook his head at the memory.  “He grumbled a little more and then finally agreed but only to use the showers here.”

 

She chuckled, knowing that not being able to see her was enough of an incentive for her husband.  “And the sedative?  How’d you get him to take that?”

 

“I didn’t give him one.”  Bob told her and couldn’t help the smile at the surprised look on her face.  “The moment he heard you were, indeed okay and so were the twins, he passed out.”

 

“Well, he hasn’t had much sleep lately… and then having to deliver the twins…” she glanced once more at John, an affectionate smile gracing her lips.  “It’s a wonder he held up as long as he did.”

 

“I think you should follow his example and get some rest yourself.  Your body’s been through a lot.”  Mathias said.  “If you’re up to it later, I’ll see about bringing you something to eat.  You’re going to need that too.”

 

“Bob… the twins?”

 

“They’re fine.  You know as well as I do, that keeping them in the ICU is just a pre-cautionary measure because they were born early.  Both of them are strong, healthy and doing great.”  Bob answered and then proceeded to answer her next question before she asked it.  “And your daughter is none the worse for her experience, thanks to her father.”

 

Helena smiled and nodded.  “Can I…”

 

Bob shook his head.  “In the morning.  Right now, you need to sleep.  I promise you, they’re being looked after.”  He told her, holding his hand up to stop her protest.  “Don’t make me sedate you.”

 

“You wouldn’t dare.” 

 

Mathias simply gave her a small smile as he turned and began to head back to the main area of Medical Center.

 

“You know what I think?”  She called out, catching him just as he was about to pass through the partition.  He turned to look back at her with one eyebrow raised.  “I think you’re having too much fun being the temporary C.M.O.  Being the one to give all the orders.”

 

“Sweet dreams, Helena.”  Bob simply said, flashing her a crooked grin and leaving.

 

Helena laughed softly as she settled back on the bed.

 

“I think you’re right.”

 

She turned to see that John was sitting up in his bed, the blanket tossed aside.  She smiled at him.

 

“He is enjoying himself.”  He said, standing and making his way over to her.  He sat down on the edge of the bed, leaning over to give her a gentle kiss.

 

“I thought you were sleeping.”  She said, cupping his cheek in her hand.

 

“You know I can’t really sleep, unless I’m holding you.”  He smiled, turning to kiss her palm.  “Besides, I was waiting for Bob to leave so that I could be alone with my wife.”

 

The sound of someone clearing their throat interrupted them.  John turned and smiled.

 

“Victor.”

 

“I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”  He asked, moving towards them.

 

“Not at all.”  John said, standing to shake the offered hand of his mentor and friend.

 

“Of course not.”  Helena agreed and grinned as she watched Victor pull John into a fatherly hug.

 

“Congratulations, my boy.”  Victor said with a smile, patting John on the shoulder as he released him.  “Not only on becoming a father, but on doing such a good job delivering those two bundles of joy.”

 

“Thanks, Victor.”  John said as Victor moved over to Helena; bending over to gently embrace her and give her a kiss on the cheek.

 

“Congratulations, Helena.”  Victor smiled as he straightened up. 

 

“Thank you, Victor.”  Helena smiled as John once again sat down beside her, slipping his arm about her shoulders.  “Have you seen them?”

 

“Just came from there.”  Victor nodded and smiled.  “They’re beautiful.”

 

John and Helena beamed.

 

“You know…” Victor said, folding his arms in front of him.  “I have to admit… you two gave all of us in Command Center, quite a scare…”

 

John glanced at Helena, a somewhat sheepish smile on his face; it wasn’t until they were leaving the Travel Tube, that he’d noticed his commlock had been on an open channel the whole time they’d been busy having the twins.

 

“…What with the cord around the baby’s neck and you nearly passing out.”  Victor continued, his gaze on Helena.  He paused, running his hand over his head.  “Thank God, you came through it alright.  All four of you.”

 

Helena reached over and grabbed John’s hand.  “I’m just grateful John was with me.  If that quake had hit when I was on my way to Command…”

 

Her voice trailed off and both she and John shivered at the thought.  John pulled her slightly closer as she squeezed his hand.

 

“So, what are the two newest Alphans going to be named?  Or have you decided yet?”  Victor asked, sensing that neither of them wanted to dwell on what could have happened.  “I know you didn’t want to find out the sex of the babies before hand…”

 

“Well, we tossed a few names back and forth these last few months.  And had narrowed it down to four; two of each.”  John answered.  “But haven’t had much time these last few hours to really decide on which ones.”  He paused as he felt Helena squeeze his hand again and looked at her, reading the look in her eyes.  He smiled at her, nodding slightly and sighing dramatically for Helena’s benefit.  “Although, my wife here has been stuck on one particular name for a boy and nothing I’ve said has changed her mind.”

 

“John.”  Helena gave him a look, rolling her eyes slightly.

 

Victor chuckled softly, enjoying watching them banter lovingly.  “Well, don’t keep an old man in suspense.  What’s your son’s name?”

 

“Jonathan Martin Koenig.”  John answered with a smile and glanced at Helena to see that she was beaming.  He gave her shoulder an affectionate squeeze.

 

Aah… Jonathan for his father.”  Victor smiled and then chuckled again, nodding his head.  “And Martin for Helena’s favourite actor.”  He repeated the name, continuing to nod his head.  “A nice strong name.  And your daughter?”

 

“We were hoping to name her after her god-father…” Helena began and looked at John who smiled and nodded.  “How does the name, Victoria Jocelyn Koenig, sound to you?”

 

“Vic… Victoria?  Me?”  Victor stopped, his eyes growing wide.  “You want me to be her god-father?”

 

John and Helena exchanged a quick smile and nodded.

 

“Of course you.”  John said.  “Who else?”

 

“I… I’d be honoured.”  Victor said softly, his eyes misting with tears.  He nodded his head and smiled.  “Yes.  I’d be honoured to be your daughter’s god-father and have her named after me.”

 

“Thank you, Victor.”  Helena said as John stood and stepped over to Victor, placing his hand on his friend’s shoulder.  “We’re pleased that you’ve agreed.”

 

“Yes thank you, Victor.”

 

Victor simply smiled and then glanced down at his commlock.  “Well, I should be going.  I promised Dr. Mathias that I wouldn’t stay long.”

 

John nodded and patted Victor on the shoulder.  “Thanks, Victor.  For stopping by and also for agreeing to be Victoria’s god-father.”

 

Victor returned the gesture and then stepped over to Helena, leaning over to give her another kiss on the cheek.

 

“Get some rest you two.”  He said as he moved towards the partition.  “I’ll come back in the morning to be properly introduced to my namesake and her brother.”

 

With that, he turned and left.

 

John looked back at Helena and smiled.  “The only other time I’ve seen him that happy was the day we got married.”

 

“I think you’re right.”  She agreed as he moved back to her, sitting beside her on the bed.  She yawned suddenly.  “Oh my…”

 

“I think we should take everyone’s advice and get some sleep.”  John said.

 

“I think you’re right.”  Helena agreed as she yawned again.  She saw him glance at his bed and frown as he began to stand and placed her hand on his arm.  She smiled as he looked at her and carefully shifted over in the bed.  “And I know I’ll sleep better with you holding me.”

 

Helena?  Are you sure?”  He asked, wanting nothing more than to hold her in his arms but not sure if he should.

 

“I’m sure.”  She told him, lifting the blanket so he could crawl in next to her.  She sighed happily as his arms went about her and snuggled close to his chest.  “Being in your arms is the best bed I could ever ask for.”

 

“For me too.”  John said, kissing the top of her head.  She raised her head and gave him a loving smile as he leaned in to give her a gentle kiss.  “I love you, Helena.”

 

“I love you too, John.”  Helena replied, laying her head back on his chest.

 

Moments later, having decided to check on his patients, Bob smiled as he leaned against the partition; both John and Helena were sound asleep.  Knowing they’d rest better the way they were, he dimmed the lights and left them, locked tightly in each other’s embrace.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena slowly opened her eyes as the sound of soft singing broke into her subconscious and turned her head to see John rocking gently in a rocking chair, their children cradled in his arms.  A tender smile came to her face; her eyes misting up with tears as she watched him, realizing that he was softly singing their twins a lullaby.

 

John looked up suddenly, aware of her gaze on him and smiled at her.  “Good morning.”  He said quietly.

 

“Good morning.”  She replied, sitting up more fully on the bed, her smile growing.  “I see we have a couple of visitors.”

 

John nodded.  “Mmhmm.”

 

“How long have they been here?” 

 

“Not long.”  He answered.  “I woke up early and when I saw Bob, he said that they were ready to leave the ICU.  So after I checked in with, Tony, I went and got them, knowing you’d want to see them as soon as you woke up.”

 

“You could have woken me.”  She smiled.

 

“You needed your rest.”  John said as he slowly stood.  “Besides, it gave me and the twins a chance to talk.”

 

“About what?”  Helena asked as he stood beside the bed.

 

“Oh… different things.”  John answered as he carefully placed the twins in her outstretched arms and then leaned over to give her a gentle kiss.  “Mostly though, I was telling them, how happy we are that they’re here and how very much their parents love them.”

 

Helena gazed down at her children and smiled, leaning back against John as he sat beside her, his arm going about her shoulders.  “Your daddy’s right, little ones.”  She said softly.  “We love you both, so very much.”

 

Helena looked up at John when she felt him press a soft kiss into her hair; she smiled at the happy look in his eyes. 

 

“I know I said this yesterday,” he said quietly, bringing his fingers up to gently stroke her cheek.  “But good work, Mom.”

 

“Thanks, Dad.”  She replied, leaning into him and brushing her lips against his before turning her gaze once more onto the twins.  “I know all new parents say this… but they really are beautiful.”

 

John chuckled and nodded his head in agreement, reaching down to take Victoria’s hand in his; a smile lighting his eyes as her tiny fingers tightened around his index finger.  He gently stroked the tiny digits with his thumb, marveling again that he’d been instrumental in not only conceiving these two wonders, but also being there to bring them into the world.  He rested his cheek against Helena’s head as she leaned back against him and heard her sigh happily.

 

 

On the other side of the partition, Alan was walking towards the new parents, about to join them when the gentle touch of his wife’s hand on his arm stopped him.  He turned to look at her, a question in his eyes.

 

Sandra shook her head as she gestured back to John and Helena.  Alan turned back to see Helena placing one of the twins in John’s arms and the two of them cuddle closer together on the bed; cradling their children between them.

 

“We should come back later.”  Sandra said quietly.  “Give them some time alone with the babies.”

 

“Yeah.”  Alan agreed, slipping his arm about Sandra’s shoulders.  “Guess you’re right.”

 

He glanced back through the partition in time to see John give Helena a gentle kiss; he smiled and nodded as he allowed Sandra to lead him away and out of Medical, leaving the new family alone to bond.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Hearing a sound, John slowly opened his eyes.  He glanced next to him to see Helena still sleeping and was about to close his eyes, when he heard the sound again.  He nodded slowly to no one in particular as he quietly got out of bed and slipped on his robe as he padded barefoot across the room to look down into his children’s cribs.

 

He smiled and then leaned over to pick up his month old daughter, shaking his head in quiet bemusement.

 

“You, young lady…” he said quietly, smoothing a finger over her cheek as he moved to sit in the nearby rocking chair.  “…Are supposed to be sleeping.”

 

Victoria simply cooed softly as she gazed up at her father with her mother’s dazzling green eyes, her tiny hand gripping tightly to his finger and pulling it into her mouth.

 

“Getting hungry are we?”  John asked softly, glancing over at the clock.  He nodded softly as he looked back down at her.  “Well, it is almost that time.  But what do you say, we give mommy a little bit more time to sleep, hmmm?”

 

As if in agreement, Victoria released a contented little sigh and wiggled in her father’s arms, settling back against him; continuing to stare up at him and suck on his finger.

 

“That’s my girl.”  John smiled affectionately.  He began to softly hum the first song that came into his mind while gently rocking in the chair, the soft humming turning into gentle singing.

 

A few minutes later, he heard movement from his son’s crib.  He slowly stood and took the couple steps over to stand by the crib.  He looked down; blue eyes meeting blue eyes and smiled. 

 

“So, you wanna join the party too, huh?”  John said softly, shifting Victoria to one arm so he could lift Jonathan out of his crib.  “Well, c’mon.  The three of us will sit and wait for mommy to wake up.  How’s that?”

 

John settled back in the rocking chair, where he once again began to softly sing to them while rocking slowly.  He gazed down at them both, a warm smile in his eyes.  If anyone had told him when the moon was blasted out of Earth’s orbit, that he could be happy and content with his life on this runaway rock, he would have laughed.  But sitting here; in the rocking chair, singing lullabies while holding both his children; children he’d created with the most beautiful woman he’d ever known, the woman he loved more than life itself; John realized that he wouldn’t easily give this up.  He was happy, happier than he’d ever been before.

 

“Next to having you beside me in bed…” John looked up as his wife’s soft voice broke into his thoughts.  “…This is the sight I like most seeing first thing in the morning.”

 

John smiled, his eyes lighting up at the sight of her.

 

“Were they fussing?”  Helena asked, walking over to him.  She gave him a gentle kiss before crouching down beside him, caressing both babies’ cheeks.

 

“No.”  John replied.  “Not really.  But I do know that, Miss Koenig here is hungry.”

 

Helena smiled and stood, taking their daughter from his arms.

 

“Do you want to sit in the rocker?”  John asked as he watched her slip open the top of her robe so that she could nurse the baby.  She shook her head.  “You sure?”

 

“Mmhmm.  I’ll go sit on the bed.”  She said as she turned slowly and made her way across the room, glancing back at him with a smile.  “But you can come and join us if you like.”

 

John looked down at his son.  “What do you say, Sport?  Shall we go join the women?”  John chuckled as his son hiccupped slightly in response.  “I’ll take that to mean yes.”

 

Helena watched from her position on the bed; propped up against the pillows, Victoria happily nursing away and chuckled as John stood and made his way over to them.  He sat beside her, leaning over to give her a kiss, this one a little longer than the last.

 

“Good morning.”  He whispered against her lips.

 

“Good morning.”  She replied with a smile.  “Glad you decided to join us.”

 

“I wouldn’t miss this for anything.”  John said as he moved closer, slipping his arm about her shoulders, resting his head against hers.  “You know I love watching you nurse the children.”  Helena nodded, adjusting Victoria in her arms.  John chuckled softly as he continued.  “But I do have to admit to being a little jealous too.”

 

Helena looked up at him with a bemused smile as she felt him shift; pulling his arm from around her so that he could run his finger down over her shoulder.  She shivered slightly as his hand slipped beneath her robe to cup her full breast in his hand; running his thumb ever so softly over her nipple.

 

“I want their mother too.”  He said in a low voice.

 

“It won’t be too much longer, John.”  Helena told him, taking in a deep breath as his hand caressed her softly again.  She met his eyes, hers mirroring the want she saw in his blue depths.  “My six week checkup is only a couple weeks away.  And once Bob gives us the okay…”

 

Her voice trailed off as John nodded and she released a soft sigh, almost a whimper as John pulled his hand out from under her robe and once again put his arm around her shoulders.

 

“I know, Honey.”  He said, pressing a kiss to her cheek.  “The next two weeks had better fly by.”

 

Helena laughed and nodded her agreement.  She glanced down at Victoria when she felt her stop nursing and gently pulled her away from her breast.

 

“This one’s finished.”  She said and gestured to Jonathan.  “Your son’s turn for breakfast.”

 

They switched babies and John gently patted Victoria on the back until she burped, while Helena began to nurse Jonathan.  John glanced up at the time again and sighed.  He got up from the bed, carrying his daughter over to her crib and before laying her down, checked to see if she required changing.

 

Helena watched, with an affectionate smile as John carefully and expertly changed their daughter’s diaper and then place her in the crib. 

 

“You’re getting to be quite good at that, Dad.”  She chuckled as he walked past the bed, heading for the bathroom.

 

“Thanks.  I learned from the best.”  John flashed her a grin as he ducked into the bathroom.  Seconds later, his head popped back out with an even bigger grin on his face.  “…Mom.”

 

Helena laughed as she watched him disappear again.  She looked down at her son, running her finger over his forehead as he suckled hungrily.  “Your father is one crazy man, Jonathan.”  She glanced back up towards the bathroom as she heard the shower start.  “Crazy… but I do love him so.”  She smiled and shook her head gently.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena walked quietly into Command Center to see Victor standing in front of John’s desk, excitedly waving a handful of papers in the air.

 

“This is it, John.”  She heard Victor saying excitedly.  “According to Computer, this is the planet we’ve been looking for.”

 

“The planet you were telling me about last night?”  Helena asked softly, coming to stand beside John, resting her hand on his shoulder and returning his smile.  “The one in the system we’ve entered?”

 

John nodded. 

 

“It’s more than that.”  Victor said, placing the papers on the desk in front of John.  He jabbed a finger to a particular spot.  “Computer is also saying there is a ninety-eight percent chance that we’ll go into orbit of this planet.  A far orbit by the looks of it, but an orbit nonetheless.”

 

“Orbit?  Really?”  Helena asked, leaning closer to John to read over his shoulder.  “That would make things easier.”

 

“Yes, it would.”  John agreed and then looked up slowly.  “I think it’s time we take a closer look at this planet, a Phase Two probe.”  He paused and turned to Helena.  “You think you’re up to a little recon?”

 

Helena paused before answering.  She’d gone back to work just after the twins turned six months old and had for the last three months, only been working half days until recently and was finding adjusting to being back on full duty and taking care of the twins a little difficult and was tiring easily; despite all of John’s help.  She met his eyes, knowing he was asking out of concern and smiled softly as she nodded. 

 

“I think some fresh air is just what the Doctor ordered.”  She told him.

 

“Alan.”  John said.  “What is the travel time between us and the planet?”

 

“At our present position, ten hours.”  Carter answered.

 

John looked up at Helena, a question in his eyes.  Ten hours.  That meant that they’d be spending the night on the planet; making it the first time both of them would be leaving the twins overnight.  Their eyes met, John’s silently telling her it was up to her if she still wanted to go or not.  He watched her take a deep breath and then nod her head.

 

“Okay then.”  John said, standing.  “Have Eagle one nine ready and on the launch pad in thirty minutes.”

 

“Right, John.”  Alan acknowledged as he stood.

 

“And, Alan,” Carter turned back and John continued with a smile.  “You better let your wife know you won’t be home tonight.”

 

Alan smiled and gave John a thumb’s up as he strode out of Command Center.  John turned to Victor.

 

“Victor, I want you with us, so grab whatever equipment you may need and meet us at the Eagle.”  Victor nodded at him and left, whistling quietly to himself as John then turned to face Tony who’d come over.  “You’re in charge, Tony.”

 

“Okay, John.”  Tony said.  “Let’s hope this is the one we’ve been waiting for.”

 

“You can say that again.”  John said and then turned to his wife, his arm reaching out to wrap around her waist.  “C’mon, let’s go say good-bye to our kids.”

 

Helena nodded and allowed John to lead her out of Command Center.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Thank you, Sandra.”  John said to the petite brunette twenty minutes later, glancing over at Helena who was hugging both babies tightly to her.  “We appreciate this.”

 

“No problem at all, Commander.”  Sandra replied.  “I am happy to do it.”

 

John smiled at her then moved over to Helena and their kids.  He reached out and placed a hand on her shoulder and she turned to look at him.  John chuckled softly as he gathered all three of them into his arms, placing a kiss on each of his children’s cheeks.

 

“It’s time to go, Helena.”  He said softly and she nodded slowly.  He took Victoria from her arms; hugging her to him and kissing the top of her head before placing her in the playpen, then turned back to do the same with Jonathan.  He looked down at them and smiled as he felt Helena step up to him and clasp his hand.  “Now you two be good for Aunt Sandra and Mommy and I will be back before you know it.”

 

Helena reached in and brushed her fingers against both of their cheeks, whispering her love to them, then turned to face John, taking a deep breath and nodding.  She gave his hand a slight squeeze then moved over to Sandra and embraced her.  “Thank you, Sandra.”

 

“Anytime, Helena.”  Sandra responded, returning the hug.  “And don’t worry too much, I will take good care of them.”

 

“We know you will.”  John said, stepping over to them, once again taking Helena’s hand in his.  “Time to go.”

 

Helena smiled at Sandra and with a parting glance at her children, allowed John to lead her out of the Carter’s quarters.  Out in the hall, John slipped his arm about her shoulders and pulled her closer as they made their way to the awaiting Eagle.

 

“They’ll be fine, Helena.”  He said softly.  “And we’ll be back before you know it.”

 

“I know… it’s just…” she began.  “John, this is the first time…”

 

He gave her shoulders a gentle squeeze.  “I know, Honey.  I know.”

 

Helena glanced up at him and smiled softly, seeing in his eyes that he was having a hard time with this as well.  She slipped her arm about his waist, reaching up with her other hand to cover his where it rested on her shoulder.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“It looks good, John.  This planet could support us.”

 

“Yeah, it’s sure looking that way, Victor.”  John nodded, glancing up into the slowly darkening sky as the four of them sat around the small campfire.

 

“And if the moon does go into orbit, it’ll make evacuating the base all that much easier.”  Alan said, poking a stick into the flames.  “Especially for those of us with kids.”

 

John glanced down at the time on his commlock.  “Well, Computer will have had enough time to analyze the data by now.”  He activated the device.  “Tony.”

 

“Yeah, John?”

 

“What does Computer have to say?”

 

“Exactly what we were hoping, John.”  Replied Tony.  “This planet is perfect.  Just what we’ve been looking for.”

 

“Anything else on whether or not we’re going to achieve orbit?”  John asked, glancing up again into the sky, looking at the now visible moon in the distance.

 

“The computer has confirmed that we are indeed going into orbit.”  Tony confirmed.  “In fact, we’ve already begun to slow down.”

 

John turned to look at his companions, his smile matching theirs.  He met each of their eyes, silently asking them their opinions but knowing the ultimate decision was his.  He nodded slowly as glanced around at the unfamiliar landscape.  He brought the commlock back up.

 

“Tony… begin Phase Three of Operation Exodus.”  John told him.  “We’ve finally come to the end of our journey.”

 

“With pleasure, John.”  Tony’s smile filled the small screen.

 

“Uhm… John.”  Victor said, stepping over to him.

 

“Hold on a moment, Tony.”  John said and lowered the commlock to look at his old friend.  “Yes, Victor?”

 

“I don’t think we should completely evacuate the base.”  Victor said.  “Why not leave it, at least, partially operational.”

 

“For what reason?”

 

“As an outpost.”  Victor began.  “And also, Alpha has always been a valuable asset in the development of scientific and technological research… it would be a waste to lose that.”

 

John considered this.  “Well…you have a point, Victor.  But I think, for the next while, all our efforts are going to focused on building and developing our homes here.”

 

“Of course, John.”  Victor nodded.  “But it makes sense to keep the base somewhat operational, would it not?”

 

“Yes it does.”  John agreed.  “And I think, in order for this to work out properly and fairly, we’ll all take turns serving on Alpha to make the necessary changes to ensure it’s continued operation.”  Victor nodded his agreement and approval of John’s plan as John raised the commlock back up.  “Tony, I want you to have Computer select a forth of Alpha’s population to remain on Moonbase… as we’re not going to completely evacuate her just yet.  Then, I want you to have a rotation schedule drawn up utilizing all personnel.  More details will follow when we return.”

 

“Understood, John.”  Tony acknowledged, having heard the conversation.  “We’ll begin right away.”

 

“Good, Tony.”  John said and then smiled.  “And I guess we’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

“Pleasant dreams.”  Tony said and closed the channel.

 

John hooked his commlock back to his belt, glancing at the others.  “Speaking of dreams, I think we should call it a night.”

 

“Sounds good to me.”  Helena said, stifling a small yawn.  She gestured to the Eagle with her head.  “I’ll go grab the sleeping bags.”

 

“I’ll help you.”  Victor said, moving to follow her.

 

As Helena and Victor disappeared inside the Eagle, John and Alan gathered a little more wood for the fire.

 

“I can’t believe after all these years, we’ve finally found a planet to call our own.”  Alan was saying as he placed the wood on the fire.  He glanced around and smiled. 

 

John simply nodded, his mind already hard at work planning and figuring out what needed to be done to establish the colony and keep Alpha partially operational.  He was so into his thoughts, he didn’t notice Helena and Victor emerge from the Eagle.

 

“John?”  He turned to look at his wife, a smile coming to his face as he watched her approach; a sleeping bag under each arm and a lantern in one hand.  “Can you give me a hand with this?”  He walked over to her and was about to relinquish her of her burden when she shook her head.  “Grab the bag from Victor and then follow me.”  She said with a smile as she brushed past him, rubbing up against him only slightly.

 

Helena?”  He began, taking the duffle bag from Victor, not noticing the small smile playing on his old friend’s lips as he watched Helena walk past Alan.  He glanced back at Victor.  “Do you know…?”

 

“She’s your wife, John.”  Victor answered, holding up his hands to ward off any further questions.  John frowned slightly, slung the bag over his shoulder, and began to follow after his wife, calling her name again; not hearing Victor’s soft chuckle.

 

Helena caught the bemused smile on Alan’s face as she walked past him, heading out of the base camp and flashed him a quick smile as she glanced over her shoulder at her fast approaching husband.  Her smile grew as she continued walking, despite the small, annoyed look on John’s face; a look she knew would not be there long.

 

Alan turned as Victor joined him, the two of them sharing knowing smiles as they watched John close the distance between him and Helena.  Alan laughed softly.  “He really has no idea what’s in store for him, does he?”

 

“Not a clue.”  Victor answered with a chuckle. 

 

 

Helena?”

 

“Do you trust me, John?”  Helena asked, glancing up at him as he placed a hand on her shoulder.

 

“You know I do.  With my life.”  John answered, reaching out to take one of the sleeping bags from her as he walked beside her.  “But you know we shouldn’t be leaving the camp.”

 

“Mmhmm.  I do know that.”  She answered, slipping her now free arm through his.  “But I have a surprise for you… and we need a little privacy.”

 

A soft smile came to John’s face as he nodded slowly.  “It has been some time since it’s been just the two of us, hasn’t it?”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“Not that I don’t love our twins…”

 

“I know, John.”  Helena said.  “But we could use a little time for just us.”

 

John pulled his arm away from hers and slipped it around her shoulders, drawing her closer against him.  “So, where are you taking me, Mrs. Koenig?”

 

“A little spot I found earlier today when Alan and I were exploring.”  She answered.  “You’re going to love it, John.  It’s beautiful.”

 

They walked along in silence for another ten minutes and then John stopped suddenly as he saw where Helena was leading him.  He gave a low whistle and turned to smile at her.

 

“You’re right, it is beautiful.”  He said, his gaze once more taking in the scene before him of a small lake, half surrounded by tall, reaching trees.  Helena smiled at his reaction and then moved away from him, indicating with a slight jerk of her head that he should follow her a little further.  He slowly moved after her.  “So, what’s this surprise you have for me?”

 

“Help me spread out the sleeping bags… and then I’ll show you.”  She gave him a sly smile, placing the lantern on the ground at her feet.

 

John removed the duffle bag from his shoulder, placing it next to the lantern and then moved to help Helena open and spread out the sleeping bags.  When that was finished, John straightened up and reached out to pull Helena into his arms but she shook her head as she opened the bag and pulled out two pillows.

 

“Not yet.”  She smiled.  “Turn on the light first, before it gets much darker.”

 

As he turned on the light, Helena sat on the sleeping bags, removed her boots and socks, as well as her belt, and placed them on top of the duffle bag.  She stood slowly just as the lantern began to glow and moved slowly towards John.

 

“I do believe that today’s date has totally slipped your mind.”  She said softly, stopping within arms reach of him, reaching out to undo and remove his belt, and tossing it over to join hers.

 

John gave her a quizzical look.  “It’s not our anniversary.  I do know that much.” 

 

“You’re right, it’s not our anniversary.  You remembered that.”  She smiled, moving closer to him as she ran her hands up his chest to circle her arms about his neck.  She stretched up on her toes and whispered softly against his lips.  “Happy Birthday, John.”

 

He returned her soft kiss and then pulled back slightly.  “It’s not…” A small grin grew on his lips.  “I guess today is my birthday.”

 

Helena chuckled and nodded.  “It is.”

 

John slipped his arms around her waist and pulled her tight against him.  “I take it then…” his grin grew.  “…That you’re my birthday present.”

 

“Mmhmm.”  She smiled and slipped her fingers into his hair.  “And I’m ready to be unwrapped.”

 

John ran his hands down her back as he leaned down and covered her mouth with his, kissing her deeply; hearing her moan low in her throat as his tongue fully explored her mouth.  He moved one hand up her back to the zipper at her collar and began to slowly move it down her back.

 

He broke off the kiss as his hands reached down for the hem of her shirt and Helena raised her arms as John began to raise the material little by little, pulling it up gently over her head and away from her arms and tossing it aside.  John smiled as he reached out a finger to trace the lacey pattern on her bra; his smile growing as he watched her nipples harden beneath the lace.  His fingers moved to the front-closure and with a snap of his fingers, it opened.  He peeled the flimsy material away from her breasts, pulling the straps off her shoulders and down her arms.

 

Helena moaned softly as his fingers returned to her breasts, tracing the same patterns as before on her now bare skin.  She sighed his name and as he leaned forward, cupping her breasts in his large hands and rained tiny kisses on her chest; Helena reached out and drew the zipper on his tunic down his arm, trailing her fingers back up along the bare skin of his arm.

 

John straightened up and quickly pulled off his top, tossing it over onto hers and then reached out and pulled Helena back into his arms, his mouth joining with hers for another passionate kiss.  Helena wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed herself tight against him as she eagerly returned his kiss; both of them savouring the feel of her breasts cushioned against his chest.

 

As they continued to kiss, John’s hands leisurely moved down her sides to the waistband of her pants; his hands slipping inside to rest on her backside between her panties and her pants, caressing her gently.  Helena moaned softly and broke off the kiss to nuzzle at his neck; her own hands sliding down his body to push his pants down over his hips.

 

“A little anxious are we?”  John chuckled, placing a kiss on the tip of her nose.

 

Helena merely nodded as she dropped down before him, removing his shoes and socks and then pulling his pants and underwear the rest of the way off and throwing them aside.  She placed little kisses over his thighs, releasing a hot breath over his hardened member as she slowly straightened up and moved back into his arms.

 

“I thought I was the one unwrapping you?”  He commented, sliding his hands up and down her bare back.

 

“I’m just saving us a little time.”  She smiled as his hands moved back down to her waist and began to push at her pants, sliding them down her hips.  Helena loosed her fingers in his hair as he bent low and helped her step out of her pants and panties.  Her hands dropped to his shoulders as he stood, nipping and kissing his way up her body.

 

They moved back into each other’s arms, kissing hungrily as they slowly lowered themselves down onto the sleeping bags, John’s body covering hers as he pressed her into the soft material.  Helena trailed her hands down his back, scoring him lightly with her nails as she hooked her leg behind his knee, pulling him closer.

 

Helena moaned softly as John dipped his head and took one of her nipples in his mouth, swirling his tongue around the already stiff peak; teasing till it grew even harder and then moving to do the same to the other.  As he continued to nibble at her breasts, John shifted slightly and slid a hand down between their bodies; his fingers seeking out and finding her sensitive flesh to slowly begin stroking her.

 

“John!”  She gasped his name as she arched slightly into him.  John smiled against her breast and kissed his way back to her lips, smothering a second gasp as he continued to move his fingers over and inside her.  Helena broke off the kiss, breathlessly calling his name again.  “…John… now!”

 

John raised his head and smiled down at her as he pulled his hand from between her thighs and propped himself up on his elbows above her, moving his body once again completely over hers and settling himself between her legs.  Helena returned his smile as she reached a hand between them to wrap her fingers around him, guiding his throbbing erection into her body.

 

Helena moaned; her eyes closing and her head falling back as John pressed himself totally inside her, causing a small tremor to pass through her body.  She felt his lips rain little kisses all over her face and slowly opened her eyes to smile at him as she brought her hand up to cup his cheek and bring his lips to hers. 

 

As they kissed, John began to move inside her, building a slow and steady rhythm, groaning low in his throat as he felt Helena squeeze her inner muscles around him in time to his thrusts.

 

“Helena…” he moaned against her lips as he felt her slide her legs up along his, cradling his hips with her knees; arching against him as she clutched at his backside, pulling him closer.  John ground his lips against hers, kissing her ravenously before rising on his arms above her, still moving slowly inside her.

 

Helena smiled sensuously at him and trailed her hands up along his sides and down his arms to hold his wrists as she wound her legs around his hips, urging him to increase the speed and depth of his thrusts.  John returned her smile and began to move his hips faster against her; driving deeper and deeper inside her, causing her to moan and then gasp his name as the sensations grew and began to stream up throughout her body.  She released his wrists, her hands gripping at the sleeping bag.

 

John felt his release nearing and knew Helena’s was close as well when he felt her body begin to quiver beneath his.  His thrusts soon grew erratic as his self control slipped away and he was solely in this moment, moving in and above his wife’s body.  John felt her legs tighten and lock around him, drawing him closer still and with a final thrust and a cry of her name, his release poured out of him, leaving him gasping for breath.

 

Helena’s release came seconds later as she felt John’s orgasm move through his body, crying out his name and arching her body high off the sleeping bags into him, her grip on the sleeping bags tightening.

 

John slowly lowered his body down to hers, meeting her lips for a long, loving kiss as the residual tremors passed through their bodies.  When he felt he could finally move, John slipped from her and rolled over onto his side, pulling Helena into his arms.  She snuggled into his embrace, kissing his chest as their legs entwined. 

 

“Now that, is what I call a birthday present.”  He murmured against her hair.  “Better than a tie any day.”

 

Helena chuckled against his chest and then raised her head to smile at him.  “You’re welcome.”  She reached out for the other sleeping bag and drew it over them as she snuggled back into his embrace.  She sighed happily, her eyes drifting upward.

 

“They’re fine, Helena.”  John said softly some moments later as he heard her sigh again and glanced down to see his wife’s gaze on the still approaching moon which was a little more visible now.  “You know if anything were wrong or had happened to either of them…”

 

“Sandra would call us.  I know.”  She finished with another sigh and then glanced up at him.  “I’m being silly, I know.”

 

“No, you’re not.”  John said, his hand coming up to stroke her cheek.  “You’re being a mother.  A mother, who for the first time in nine months, is spending a night away from her kids.”  He paused and glanced up at their moon then looked back down at her.  “Would it make you feel better to give Sandra a call and check on them?”

 

Helena chuckled and nodded.  “Yes it would, but Sandra is probably asleep so…”

 

“We’ll call her first thing in the morning.”  John said, pulling her closer.  “How’s that?”

 

“That works.”  Helena said and shifted against him, forcing him onto his back as she slid her body on top of his.  She smiled down at him as she felt his hands slide down her sides and grasp her waist.  “You know… it’s not midnight yet.  So that means…”

 

“It’s still my birthday.”  John grinned.

 

“It’s still your birthday.”  Helena echoed as she lowered her lips to his for an enticing kiss.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena awoke the next morning to the sound of gentle splashing.  Her eyes still closed, she relished the feel of the warm sunshine on her face for a moment, before reaching out beside her for John.  When she didn’t feel him beside her, she slowly opened her eyes, letting them adjust to the bright light and glanced around.  She smiled and propped herself up on her elbows as she spotted her husband, wearing only his uniform pants, standing at the edge of the lake. 

 

She watched his head tilt slightly to one side and his arm come back as if winding up to pitch a ball.  His arm shot forward and Helena watched as a small stone sailed from his hand to skip half a dozen times over the calm water before sinking to the bottom.  She chuckled softly as he nodded his head in satisfaction.  He straightened up and Helena knew that he was aware she was watching him when he turned slowly and flashed her a small, boyish grin that melted her heart.

 

John sauntered over to her, dropping to his knees beside her and leaned over her with his arms on either side of her body.  His lips covered hers for a warm, tender kiss.

 

“Good morning, Beautiful.”  He said softly as the kiss ended.

 

“Good morning.”  Helena replied with a smile as she lay back on the pillow, slipping her arms around his neck and pulling John with her.  “How long have you been up?”

 

“Not long.”  He answered, reaching out to brush a lock of hair out of her eyes.  “Did you sleep well?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  She replied as she stretched.  “I always do with you.  We could sleep on a bed of nails and as long as I was in your arms… I’d sleep like a baby.” 

 

John chuckled, brushed a quick kiss against her lips, and then sat up, bringing her with him.  He looked around at their surroundings and spoke quietly.  “I can’t believe we’ve finally found a planet.”

 

Helena slipped her arms around him and gave him a gentle hug.  “And knowing you like I do, I bet your mind’s already been hard at work, figuring out all the details.”

 

“Well, not all of them.”  John laughed.  “But yeah, I have been thinking about it.”  He paused, turning to look at her, running his fingers down her bare arm.  “We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us, Helena.”

 

“Yes we do.”  She agreed.  “But everything will be fine, John.  You know as well as I do, that everyone on Alpha will give one hundred percent in making this work.  After all, we’ve finally found our promised land, all that’s left, is to make it our home.”

 

John gave her another quick kiss then reached over and grabbed her uniform, handing it to her.  “Come on, get dressed.  I don’t know about you but not only am I anxious to begin colonizing this planet, I’m anxious to get back to Alpha and see our kids.”

 

Helena laughed and quickly set about getting dressed as John took care of the sleeping bags and finished dressing himself.  Once they were dressed and packed up, they placed a quick commlock call to Sandra to check on the twins and then walked hand in hand, back to the Eagle, eager to begin building their new lives. 

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Things moved slowly but little by little, they managed to settle in on the planet they’d named Nova Canaan.  A sense of permanence settled on the small community as houses were slowly built and moved into and the larger structures for housing Medical, Command, and other technical facilities were erected.

 

They’d been on the planet for two months when John arranged to have some time off for both him and Helena to spend with their family.

 

 

 

John and Helena sat at the head of the table, a twin on each of their laps; surrounded by their closest friends, they smiled as they watched Alan and Sandra slowly approach, each carrying a small cake with one burning candle in the middle.

 

As they got closer, everyone gathered began to sing, ‘Happy Birthday’, while the twins watched wide-eyed as the little cakes were set down before them.  With their parents’ help, they blew out the candles and clapped and giggled happily with everyone else.

 

John glanced over and smiled at Helena just as Victoria, who was seated in her mother’s lap, reached out and grabbed a handful of cake.

 

“Mama… some.”  Victoria said as she turned in Helena’s lap and pushed the handful into Helena’s face, smearing cake all over Helena’s nose, mouth, and cheek.

 

Everyone, including Helena, burst out laughing.

 

John reached out and drew a finger down her cheek, slipping the finger in his mouth and licking the cake off.  “Mmm.  Good cake.”  He said and then leaned towards her, kissing the cake off her lips.  “Very good cake.”  He murmured against her lips and grinned at her as he kissed the tip of her nose, his tongue darting out to lick the icing off.

 

Helena reached for a napkin and wiped the rest of the cake off her face as John straightened back up in his chair, still grinning.  He watched his son reach out and like his sister, grab a handful of cake and turn towards him, hand up.  John caught his hand, laughing.

 

“I don’t think so, young man.”  He chuckled.

 

“What’s the matter, John?”  Alan laughed.  “Don’t think you’ll look good with chocolate cake smeared all over your face?”

 

John laughed.  “Not as good as my wife does.”

 

Helena shot him a mock irritated look as everyone laughed.

 

“Dada… cake.”  Jonathan said, trying to pull his hand from his father’s.  “Some, Dada, some.”

 

“Alright, Daddy'll have some.”  John said with a smile as he looked down, bringing his son’s hand closer and taking a bite of the now very squished cake.  “Mmm, thank you, Jonnie.  Your turn, you eat the cake now.  You too, Vicky.”  He looked over at his daughter.  “Eat your cake.”

 

Both twins grinned and turned to their cakes, each of them taking handfuls and shoving them in their mouths, while their parents and everyone else looked on and laughed. 

Before too long, both the twins and their parents were covered in chocolate icing.

 

 

 

Later, after almost everyone had left, John walked over to Helena, who was talking to Sandra and slipped his arm about her shoulders.  She smiled up at him and brought her hand up to cover his. 

 

“Look over there.”  He indicated with his head, a soft smile on his lips.

 

Helena followed his gaze and smiled.  “He couldn’t be more proud and devoted to them if he was their biological grandfather.”

 

“That is so sweet.”  Sandra said with a smile as she too looked on.

 

“What’s sweet?”  Alan asked as he joined them, his arm sliding about Sandra’s shoulders.

 

“That…” Sandra pointed across the room to where Victor was dozing in a chair; Jonathan and Victoria cradled in his arms and Bobbie nestled on his chest between the twins, all three of them sound asleep.  “…Is sweet.”

 

The four parents smiled.

 

“Now that is definitely a picture worth taking.”  John said with a grin.

 

“Right you are, John.”  Alan agreed and whipped a camera out of his pocket.  He grinned at them then silently made his way across the room to snap the picture.  He made his way back to them.  “I’ll have to make sure to make lots of copies of that one.”

 

“We should probably put them to bed.”  Helena commented as she glanced at the time.  “But they look so comfortable.  All four of them.”

 

As if sensing he was being watched, Victor slowly opened his eyes and looked over at his friends.  He glanced down at the three sleeping children in his arms and then smiled back up at their parents.

 

The four of them moved over to him.

 

“Looks like I’ve been designated the bed.”  Victor commented softly, still smiling.

 

“You do look comfortable.”  John said.

 

“Well, with three little angels in my arms, why wouldn’t I be?”

 

They all chuckled while Alan reached out and lifted his son from Victor’s lap. 

 

“Thanks for watching over the little tyke.”  Alan said.

 

“Ah, my pleasure.”  Victor said as both John and Helena lifted their sleeping children into their arms as well.  He stood and glanced around.  “I see the party’s broken up.”

 

“Yeah, just a little while ago.”  John said.

 

“Well then, I suppose I should be getting along as well.”  Victor commented.

 

“We’ll walk with you, Professor.”  Sandra said, then turned to Helena, and placed her hand on her arm.  “It was a lovely party, Helena.”

 

“Thank you, Sandra.”  Helena said.  “And thank you for making the cakes for the twins.”

 

“My pleasure.”

 

“Goodnight, you two.”  Alan said as they moved out the door.

 

John followed and locked the door behind them.  He turned to Helena as he shifted his daughter carefully in his arms.

 

“Let’s get these two to bed and then head there ourselves.”  He said.

 

“Are you telling me, you’re tired?”  Helena asked lightly, glancing over her shoulder as she headed up the stairs, John following her.

 

“Did I say anything about being tired?”  He grinned.  “I said we should go to bed.”

 

Helena chuckled softly.

 

 

 

Thirty minutes later, bathed in the moonlight streaming in through the window, Helena sighed as rested her head on John’s shoulder and felt him draw her closer as they swayed to the soft music floating around their bedroom.

 

“Mmm.  This is nice.”  She said softly, kissing his neck.

 

“Yes it is.”  John said, his hands caressing her back through his shirt; one she’d slipped on after their mutual shower.

 

“A perfect way to end a lovely day.”

 

“Oh, our day ain’t over yet, Sweetheart.” 

 

Helena lifted her head from his shoulder and smiled coyly at him.  “Is that so?”

 

“It is.”  John grinned as he pulled her closer, his hands slipping under the hem of the shirt and caressing her bare flesh.  “It’s far from over.”

 

“I thought you had to be up early tomorrow?”

 

“Not that early.”  John said as he lowered his lips to hers, silencing her laughter with an ardent kiss and danced them over to the bed.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

Helena sat quietly, alone, in the back of the Eagle as it made it’s way towards Alpha.  She smiled as she looked over the report in her hands; so far, after just over four months on the planet, all the Alphans, including the children, seemed to be adjusting fine.  And while almost all the medical supplies she needed were planet side; there were still a few items that she felt should be down on Nova Canaan; just in case, so she was going up for the day to see about them having sent down.

 

“Okay,” she thought to herself, her smile growing.  “So that’s not the only reason I’m going up there today.”

 

John had been up on Alpha for the last week and a half, overseeing the modifications being made to the Moonbase.  And even though they’d hoped he would be back on the planet early this morning, when he’d called her last night to say goodnight to her and the twins, he’d informed her that he’d most likely be there for another couple of days.

 

 

“What do you mean another couple days?”  Helena asked him.  “John, you said this was only going to be a short stay, a week at the most.  All you had to do was check on the modifications, see how they were coming along, and then you’d be home.  It’s been a week and a half already.”

 

“I know, Helena and I’m sorry.”  John told her.  “You know I’d rather be down there with you and the kids.  Especially tomorrow.”

 

Helena sighed and nodded.  “I know.  It’s just…”

 

“I promised you we’d do something special for your birthday.”  John said.  “Believe me, Honey, I’d like nothing more…”

 

“But you’re still the Commander and you’ve got a job to do.”  Helena sighed again.  “It’s okay, John.  We’ll just celebrate when you get back.”

 

“I’ve got a better idea.”

 

“And what’s that?”

 

“Come up here tomorrow.”  He told her.

 

“John…”

 

Helena, you’ve been wanting to come up here and see about those few items from Medical you want down in the clinic.”  He said and leaned closer to the screen and gave her a sly smile.  “And I would like the chance to wish my wife a Happy Birthday in person.  So… why not kill two birds with one stone?”

 

“You’re not making this easy, you know.”

 

“I know.”  He grinned at her and she couldn’t help but laugh and nod.

 

“All right, I’ll come up tomorrow.  But just for the day.”  She told him.  “I can’t ask Sandra and Alan to take the twins overnight on such short notice.  It’s not fair.”  She watched John nod and thought she saw something flash in his eyes, but dismissed it as something in the transmission.  “How early do you want me there?”

 

John grinned.  “I want you here now.  But as that’s not possible, how about calling Fraser, I know he’s scheduled to fly up here tomorrow morning with some parts that should have remained on Moonbase.  Arrange to come up with him.”

 

Helena nodded and then yawned softly.

 

“I should let you go to bed.”  He sighed and Helena saw the look in his eyes.

 

“I wish you were coming to bed with me too.”  She smiled and reached out to touch the screen, running her fingers over John’s image.  “Have a good sleep, John.”

 

“You too.”  He said, reaching out as well, his fingers connecting with hers through the screen.  “I love you.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

 

 

Helena looked up from her report as she felt the Eagle land and shook her head.  She’d been so engrossed in her reading; she hadn’t noticed the time go by.  She set about gathering the few things she’d brought with her, glancing up briefly when she heard Bill Fraser’s voice in the passenger section.

 

“Thank you for flying Fraser Eagle Airlines, non-stop flight to Moonbase Alpha.  We hope you enjoyed your flight and hope to see you again soon.”

 

Helena laughed as she looked up at him, rolling her eyes as she shook her head.  “Better not let Alan hear you saying that.”

 

“You’re right.  He likes us to say, ‘Carter Eagle Airlines’.”  Bill grinned and then headed for the hatch as it opened.  “Catch you later, Helena.”

 

“You bet, Bill.”  She said, turning back to finish gathering her things.  She slowly stood, turning to grab her jacket.

 

“Hello, Gorgeous.” 

 

Helena jumped and dropped her case onto the seat as she felt John’s warm breath on her ear and his arms slide around her waist from behind.  She leaned back against him and smiled.

 

“You know, we shouldn’t be meeting here like this.”

 

“And why’s that?”  He asked, nibbling on her neck.

 

“It’s too dangerous.  My husband is the Commander here, if he were to catch us…”

 

“I like the danger.”  He said, moving his lips up her throat to her ear.  “Besides, you’re worth it.”

 

Helena turned in his arms and slid her hands up his chest to wrap her arms around his neck, pressing herself against him as his lips covered hers in a passionate, welcoming kiss.  She felt his arms tighten around her and pull her closer as the kiss lingered.

 

“Mmm… hi.”  She murmured against his lips as the kiss ended.

 

“I’m glad you made it.”  John said, not releasing her.  “I’ve missed you.”

 

“I’ve missed you too.”  Helena told him and then gave him a bemused smiled.  “So, am I going to be allowed to get any work done while I’m here?”

 

John chuckled and pulled her closer.  “Well, I guess I can let you out of my sight for a couple hours.”

 

“Only a couple?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  John murmured.  “I have plans for us to celebrate your birthday.  Speaking of which,” he moved his mouth to hers.  “Happy Birthday, Helena.”  He whispered softly before kissing her tenderly. 

 

“Thank you.”  She cupped his cheek as the kiss ended, smiling adoringly at him.

 

“C’mon, I’ll walk you to Medical.”  John said, reaching to grab her things off the seat and slipping his arm around her waist.  “The sooner you start, the sooner we start.”

 

Helena laughed and allowed John to lead her out of the Eagle.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Several hours later, Helena looked up to see John standing in the doorway watching her with a smile on his face.

 

“You almost done, birthday girl?”

 

She smiled.  “Just a couple more minutes, John.”

 

“You mean you’re not finished yet?”

 

Helena looked up at him to see an innocent look plastered on his face.  She shook her head, rolling her eyes slightly as she chuckled.  “Well, if you’d give me a hand with this last box, we can get out of here quicker.”

 

John grinned as he pushed himself off the door and moved towards her.  “Okay, so what is it you’d like me to do?”

 

Helena smiled and quickly showed him what she wanted him to do.

 

 

 

An hour and a half later, after a quiet dinner in the cafeteria, they walked arm in arm down the corridor, enjoying a comfortable silence, which was suddenly broken by the sound of John’s commlock going off.

 

He reached for it, activating it as he brought it up to face level.  “Koenig.”

 

“John,” Tony’s image appeared on the small screen.  “Fraser’s in Eagle two one, ready to depart.  Is there anything else going down to the planet other than Helena’s medical supplies?”

 

“No, that’s it, Tony.”  John said, holding his hand up to stop Helena’s protest before it began.  “Tell Bill he’s clear to depart.”

 

“Very good, John.”  Tony said.  “Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

 

“Thanks, Tony.”  John said, terminating the connection and slipping his commlock back on his belt.

 

“John… I needed to be on that Eagle.”  Helena said, giving him a look.  “Alan and Sandra are…”

 

“Going to watch the kids overnight as planned.”  John finished for her, placing his hands on her shoulders and smiling at her.  “I asked them the day before yesterday if they’d watch them for us.”

 

“You… planned all this?” 

 

“Well, I didn’t plan on being up here this long but, yes.  I already had this evening planned when I called you last night.”  He said as his smile grew into a small grin.  “You didn’t really think I was going to let you leave here tonight, did you?”

 

Helena shook her head in amazement, a smile slowly spreading across her face as she moved closer to him, slipping her arms around his neck.  She brushed a soft kiss against his lips.

 

“Thank you.”  She said softly.  “Can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday, then in your arms.”  John smiled, his hands sliding down to rest against the small of her back, as he pulled her closer.  When he bent to place a loving kiss on her mouth, Helena felt the unmistakable beginnings of John’s arousal pressing against her stomach.  She broke off the kiss and smiled sensuously at him, trailing her hand down his chest and spoke in a low, throaty voice.  “Why don’t we move this party some place more private.”

 

“Excellent suggestion, Mrs. Koenig.”

 

“I thought so.”

 

John chuckled, giving her another quick kiss before clasping her hand in his and leading her down the corridor. 

 

Less than ten minutes later, they entered their quarters.  As the door slid shut, Helena moved to go further into the room but was stopped by John as he grabbed her wrist and pulled her into his arms, his lips hungrily seeking hers.

 

She moaned into his mouth as he guided her backwards a couple of steps and pinned her against the wall, pressing his body against hers.  His hands came up and clasped her face, his fingers threading into her hair just below her ears, his thumbs caressing her cheeks as he continued to kiss her so that all she could do was clasp his elbows in her hands and hold him to her as she returned his hungry kiss.

 

John pulled her with him as he took a step away from the wall, one hand removing her belt, the other pulling the zipper of her shirt down her back.  He quickly removed both and let them fall to the floor as he moved her back up against the wall.  He reached out and unclasped her bra, his hands immediately moving to cup her breasts, kneading them gently in his hands; smiling as her nipples reacted to his touch and grew taught.  Helena moaned again as he bent low and took first one nipple into his mouth and then the other, swirling his tongue over the sensitive peaks.

 

Helena’s hand moved to his zipper pulling it down his arm as her other hand undid his belt, tossing it aside.  John could feel her pulling at his top and straightened up, taking a half step back to pull the tunic up over his head, feeling her hands on his chest before the top hit the floor.  Before moving back to her, John kicked off his boots and removed the rest of his clothes.  Helena smiled at the sight of his gloriously naked body as he knelt down in front of her and helped her to quickly shed her boots, socks, pants, and panties.

 

“…John…” she gasped as his hands caressed a soft trail up her legs, his lips following the same path; reaching out and entangling her fingers in his hair as he nibbled on her inner thighs; his fingers moving to and stroking the sensitive flesh hidden in the nest of blonde curls.  He pressed a kiss against her as he continued his upward journey, pausing to once again tease her breasts with his tongue.

 

John clasped Helena’s hips as he straightened up fully and lifted her into the air, his hands gliding down to her thighs and pulling her legs around him as he took a step forward and pinned her, once again, against the wall.  His mouth met hers as he shifted slightly and pressed himself inside her.

 

Helena moaned his name against his lips and clutched at his shoulders as he began to immediately thrust into her, grinding his pelvis against hers.  She tightened her legs around his hips, trying to arch against him as the pleasure centered between her thighs grew in intensity and began to work it’s way throughout her body.

 

Their eyes met as Helena began to gasp his name over and over, her nails biting into his shoulders as she suddenly shuddered in his arms.  Her head fell back slightly and John stopped moving as she cried out his name, her orgasm tearing through her body, intense and fast.  Moments later, her head dropped to his shoulder as she continued to gasp for breath.

 

John moved his hands around to cup her backside and hold her to him, as he took a small step backwards, then turned and began to walk towards their bed.  Helena moaned softly as the movement caused another small tremor to pass through her and nuzzled his neck, placing tiny kisses along his jaw.

 

When he reached the bed, John kneeled on the edge and slowly lowered them down onto the mattress.  He smiled down at her, seeing the passion still burning bright in her green eyes and went willingly as she reached up and pulled him down for a long, soul-searing kiss.

 

A small whimper of protest left her lips as he broke off the kiss and she felt him withdraw from her.  Her small whimper soon turned to low moans as John licked, kissed, fondled and caressed every inch of her body; from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.  He leisurely worked his way back up her legs, in the same manner, pausing when he came to the juncture at her thighs. 

 

“John!”  She moaned his name loudly as he slid two fingers inside her and began moving them in and out of her, his other hand rubbing and stroking her already stimulated flesh.  She arched against his hands, her own hands clutching at the blankets as she moaned his name again.  “God… John…”

 

John felt her body tremble and her inner muscles tighten around his fingers and glanced up at her, smiling as he saw her eyes close and then resumed his previous journey; kissing his way up her body.  When his lips met hers, he pulled his hands away and settled his body over hers, sliding into her slowly, moaning as he felt her muscles contract around him.

 

Helena opened her eyes as John ended the kiss, moving his lips along her jaw to her ear; whispering his love to her as he began to move inside her.  She wrapped her legs around his hips and moved with him as her hands moved to entangle in his hair, bringing his mouth back to hers.

 

John’s lips left hers as he raised himself up on his arms and began to thrust into her with more urgency, feeling his own release to be close; knowing she was close as well and wanting to take her over the edge with him.  He moaned softly as her hands trailed down his chest, over his sides and up along his back, where she clutched at his shoulders, arching her body into his.

 

They cried out each other’s names simultaneously as John drove himself into her one last time and Helena pulled him to her as they reached their release together.  They lay gasping and trembling; arms and legs still entangled as they floated on the waves of their blissful union.

 

“Do that…” Helena paused and took a deep breath before continuing, moving her lips against his ear.  “…Do that for all my birthdays… and you’ll not only, never have to give me a gift ever again…” John lifted his head and smiled down at her.  “But I won’t ever complain about aging another year.”

 

John chuckled as he rolled off her and gathered her into his arms.  “Tell you what.  I’ll do my best to do both, for all your birthdays from this day forward.”

 

“Mmm… I was hoping you’d say that.”  Helena laughed and snuggled closer against him, enjoying the feel of his skin against hers.

 

They lay together in a comfortable silence, using only their hands to communicate with each other in gentle caresses for a time until Helena began to chuckle and shake her head.

 

“What?”

 

“I was just remembering the first time we made love.”

 

“And it’s making you laugh?”

 

Helena raised her head from his shoulder and looked down at him, seeing his blue eyes sparkle with mischief.  “Okay, so I phrased that wrong.”

 

John chuckled.

 

“I should have said, I was remembering all the times we tried to make love for the first time.”  She laughed lightly.  “All those romantic dinners and being so close…”

 

“Only to be interrupted by some emergency or other.”  John smiled at the memories and shook his head.  “I remember being very frustrated and wanting nothing more than to grab you and take off in an Eagle… or even hide away in one of the outer structures.  Anything to be alone with you… and finally be able to make love to you.”

 

“I felt the same way.”  Helena smiled as she shifted so that she was propped up on her elbow, her other hand tracing lazy circles on his chest.  “But I couldn’t be happier with how it did happen that first time.  You were incredible.”

 

“Were incredible?”  He asked with a smile.  “You mean I’ve slipped over the years?”

 

“Oh… no!  You haven’t slipped in the least.”  Helena leaned towards him and gave him a small kiss.  “In fact, you’ve only gotten better.  But that first night…”

 

John reached out and took her hand in his, lacing their fingers together as he nodded, the memory of that night still fresh in his mind.  It had been during a couple of weeks when the moon had been traveling through an unremarkable region of space and both had been hoping to take some time to spend alone together and uninterrupted; but events had conspired against them and all the minor, little problems that there had never been time for had come to a head and they found themselves swamped with work.

 

 

 

“It’s getting late.  I should be going.”  John said softly against her hair as they sat cuddled together on her couch, enjoying a rare moment of peace and quiet.

 

Helena lifted her head from his shoulder and smiled softly at him as she nodded.  She uncurled her legs and moved over, allowing him to stand and then reach a hand out to help her up.

 

With their arms around each other’s waists, they made their way towards the door.  Once they were standing before it, Helena moved into John’s arms, wrapping hers around his back.

 

“I’m glad we were able to spend this time together.  Even if was for just an hour.”  She said against his shoulder.  “I’ve missed you.”

 

“I’ve missed you too.”  He said, pulling her closer and resting his cheek against her hair.  “So much for that uninterrupted time alone together.”

 

“We’ll get that time soon, John.”  Helena chuckled softly and lifted her head to smile at him, bringing her hand up to cup his cheek as she saw his controlled desire for her in his deep blue eyes.  She released a soft sigh.  “I’m anxious to be with you too.”

 

John smiled as he lowered his lips to hers for a tender kiss.  “I love you.”  He whispered against her lips as he kissed her again.

 

“I love you too.”  She whispered back and moved herself further into his embrace, pressing her body against his, as the tender kiss slowly grew more passionate.  Helena moaned softly and broke off the kiss to look into his face, seeing the control he had over his desire, slipping.  She smiled and pulled his mouth back to hers for a hungry kiss.

 

John moaned deep in his throat and lifted her into his arms; his hands reaching down to pull her legs around him as he stepped closer to the wall, pinning her between him and it as they pulled at each other’s clothes.

 

 

Helena sighed contentedly with the memory of how they’d finally consummated their relationship and glanced down to see that his eyes were bright and that he had a small smile on his lips.

 

“How long was it before we finally made it to the bed?”  She asked, moving her foot against his leg, smiling softly.

 

“Much, much later in the evening.”  John grinned up at her.  “Or rather, the morning.”

 

“We were all over the place, weren’t we?” 

 

“Mmhmm.”  John chuckled, pulling her closer.  “I don’t think there’s one spot in your old quarters that we hadn’t christened, either that night or any night thereafter.  As I recall, you were quite insatiable.  Still are for that matter.” 

 

Helena blushed slightly, causing John to grin.  He pulled her lips down to his and gave her a loving kiss.  They smiled at each other when the kiss ended and then Helena shifted to snuggle back against him.

 

“Before you do that.”  John said, feeling what she was about to do and rolled away from her, towards his nightstand.  “I have something for you.”

 

“John?”  She watched him reach into the drawer and rummage around.

 

“There it is.”  He said as he closed the drawer and rolled back to her.  He held out a small, unwrapped box.  “This is for you.”

 

“You… I wasn’t expecting a gift.”  She told him, eyeing the box he held in his hand.

 

“I know.”  John smiled, gesturing for her to take it and then shifted slightly so that he was propped up on the pillows to watch her.  “Open it.”  She took the box and gave him a look, which told him he shouldn’t have.  “Just open it, Helena.”

 

He watched her intently as she slowly opened the box.

 

“Oh… John!  It’s beautiful.”  Helena gasped.  “Where did you… how?  Oh my!”

 

John smiled and reached out to take the box from her hands, removing its contents and tossing the box over onto his nightstand.  “It’s a family heirloom.”  He told her, holding up the chain and letting the heart-shaped locket dangle back and forth.  “My great, great grandfather on my father’s side had it made for my grandmother.”

 

Helena reached out and took the locket into her hand, letting it rest against her palm as she ran her finger over the boldly engraved ‘K’ on the face of the locket.  At his prompting, she opened it and inhaled sharply, her eyes filling with tears.

 

“My grandfather had it made when my grandmother gave birth to their first child, my great grandfather, and had both his picture and their wedding picture placed inside.”  John explained softly as he watched Helena move her finger over the tiny photos.  “It was passed on to my great grandfather upon his mother’s death and when my grandfather was born, he gave it to my great grandmother, with their wedding photo and their son’s picture in it.”  He paused and reached up to brush the tears off her cheeks.  “And so, it’s become a tradition in my family, to hand this locket down to the first-born Koenig male, for him to give to his wife, the mother of his children.”

 

Helena smiled over at him through her tears before looking back at the locket that now held a tiny picture of their twins and a smaller version of their wedding picture.

 

“I love it, John.”  She told him as she leaned towards him and gave him a gentle kiss.  She straightened up and held it gently in her hand for a moment before closing it and holding it out to him.  “Would you?”

 

John took the locket from her hand, opening the clasp and when she turned, he slipped it around her neck and secured it.  She turned back to him, glancing down to where the locket rested just above the swell of her breasts, watching as he reached a hand out and touched the locket.

 

“I knew it would look right on you.”  John said with appreciation.  “I’ve been waiting for the right moment since the twins were born, to give it to you.”

 

Helena smiled and shifted, snuggling up against him; resting her head on his shoulder.  She placed a kiss on the underside of his chin.  “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome.”  He replied and pulled her closer.  “I would have given it to you anyway.”  John said quietly some minutes later, sensing her slight change in mood.

 

“Hmm?”  She raised her head slightly to look at him.

 

“I said, I would have given it to you anyway.”  John repeated, his hand gently rubbing her back.  “You were thinking about what I would have done with it if we hadn’t have had the twins.”  He paused and smiled, the look on her face indicating she was thinking just that.  “I still would have given you the locket, Helena.  Regardless if we’d had the kids or not.”

 

“Would you have told me about the tradition surrounding it, as well?”

 

“Yes.”  He said.  “I would have but only as the story is part of the tradition.  No other reason.  Whether or not if we’d had children… the locket is also a symbol of love.”  He raised his hand and caressed her cheek with his fingers.  “And Lord knows, I love you.  With every fibre of my being, I love you.”

 

“I love you too.”  Helena glanced down at the locket then back up at him and smiled at him before laying her head back on his shoulder.  “But I’m glad we’re able to carry on the tradition.”

 

John smiled and pulled her tighter into the lock of his embrace as they talked quietly before falling into a peaceful sleep, holding each other tight.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena awoke the next morning to the feel of John pressed tightly against her back; his right arm wrapped around her, his hand covering her breast.  She smiled as he absently ran his thumb over her nipple in his sleep.

 

She sighed happily when she felt him shift slightly and press closer to her, burying his face in her hair and inhaling deeply.

 

“Good morning.”  Helena said softly.

 

“Morning.”  He murmured into her hair before raising his head a little to place a gentle kiss on her shoulder.

 

Helena turned slowly in his arms, sliding her legs along and between his and placed her hands on his chest as he wrapped her in his arms and pulled her closer.  Their lips met in a loving kiss.

 

“I wish I didn’t have to leave today.”  She said a few minutes later, burrowing her head into his shoulder, under his chin.  “I really hate waking up alone.”

 

John chuckled softly.  “So do I.”  He slipped his hand between them and under her chin, raising her face so he could look in her eyes.  “I’ll only be up here for a couple more days and then I’ll be home.”

 

“I know.”  She sighed with a sad smile and then rolled away from him to lie on her back.  “I know I’m being selfish but we’ve both given so much to Alpha and everyone here over the years, that I just…”

 

“Just what?”  He asked as he propped up beside her and looked down at her; already knowing what she was going to say.

 

“I just want some time for us, John.”  She finished finally.  “Us and our kids.”

 

“And we’ll have it, Helena.  Soon.”  John promised.  “You know as well as I do that we’re moving to automate the base so that no one has to stay up here.  And as soon as that’s finished, all we’ll have is the colony.”

 

“But you’ll still be Commander.”  She pointed out.  “And everyone will still look to you for guidance.”

 

“I know.  Which is why, when the base is fully automated and everyone is down on Nova, I’m going to suggest that we elect a council… of about a dozen people from all the various departments, where we can vote on what we want to see happen on our new home.”  He told her.

 

“And if they want you to serve on the council?”

 

“Then I will.”  He answered.  “But my point is, it won’t simply be my decision on what happens on this planet.  It’ll be everyone’s.  And that will free up a lot of my time… time I can spend with my family.”

 

Helena slowly smiled.

 

“You and the twins mean more to me than anything, Helena.”  John said.  “Never doubt that.”

 

“I know, John.”  She said, rolling back onto her side so that they were lying face to face.  She reached out and stroked his chest.  “You and the twins are my life too.  I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost you or…”

 

Sssh…” John whispered, pulling her closer and brushing a kiss against her forehead.  “Don’t say it.  In fact, don’t even think it.  I’ll never leave you, Helena.  There is no force in the universe that can truly keep us apart.  And our kids are strong and healthy and will grow up into fine adults.”  Helena nodded against his chest as she suddenly shivered in his arms.  “We’ve finally come to the end of our journey, our fight to survive in space is over.  We have a home on a planet that is abundant with all that we need to build a strong community and we’re going to be fine.  In fact, we’re going to be better than fine.”  She looked up at him as he paused.  “Because we have each other.  And that’s all I’ll ever truly need to be happy.”

 

Helena smiled and brought her lips up to his.  “I love you.”

 

“I love you too.”  He whispered back.

 

They held each other close for a little while longer until John glanced up at the time.  He looked back down at Helena who nodded reluctantly.

 

“I know.”  She sighed dramatically, a small smile tugging at her lips.  She raised her eyebrows slightly.  “Do we have time for a shower?”

 

John laughed as he rolled away from her and out of the bed.  He kneeled back down and reached out to pull her into his arms, lifting her into the air.

 

“What do you think?”  He asked over her amused laughter as he walked towards the bathroom.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Now remember you promised me.  Only a couple more days.”

 

“I know.”

 

Helena sighed and gave him a sad smile as they stood in each other’s arms in the passenger section of the Eagle.

 

“I wish you were coming with me now.”  She said.  “I know the kids miss having their daddy at home as much as I do.”

 

“And I miss them too.”  John said.  “I’ll be home in two days, Helena.  I promise.”

 

Helena nodded and moved closer to him, her arms tightening around his neck.

 

“Commander, we’re ready to lift off on your signal.”

 

John reached out and pressed the button on the wall of the Eagle, never taking his eyes from Helena as he opened the channel.

 

“Just give me one more minute, Bill.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

John closed the channel and then pulled her closer, covering her mouth with his, kissing her passionately.

 

“Give the kids a hug and a kiss each for me when you get home.”  He said softly against her lips.  “And tell them their daddy loves them.”

 

“I will.”

 

“I love you.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

They kissed again and then slowly, with reluctance, they broke apart.  John reached out and caressed her cheek.

 

“Two more days, Honey and then I’ll be home.”  He told her.  “I’ll call you every night.”

 

“I’ll be waiting.”  She smiled.

 

John leaned forward and brushed another quick kiss against her lips, again whispering his love to her and then turned and left, closing the Eagle door behind him.

 

Helena watched him leave and sank down into the seat with a sigh, fighting to keep the tears she felt from spilling and feeling a little silly for being so emotional.

 

“Come off it, Helena.”  She told herself as she felt the Eagle begin its ascent.  “It’s not like you and John haven’t been apart before.  And he’ll be home in two days.”

 

She glanced up at the receding picture of Alpha on the view screen and took in a deep, ragged breath while trying to still her pounding heart.

 

“So why am I feeling so ambivalent about John remaining on Alpha?”  She asked herself.  “It’s not like the moon is going to breakaway again or anything.”

 

The thought actually made her chuckle and she shook her head.  Knowing that most of what she was feeling was because they had finally found a planet and she wanted John there with her to make that planet a home.  She smiled slowly and felt herself relax a little more. 

 

John would be home in two days.  Of that she was certain. 

 

She glanced up once again at the image of the moon now on the screen and smiled, her thoughts turning to seeing her children.

 

Two days.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

Walking side by side on their way to pick up their children from the nursery, Sandra couldn’t help but smile as she noticed the spring in Helena’s step.  She chuckled softly as she watched Helena keep glancing up into the slowly darkening sky.

 

“Would you like me to take the twins for you tonight, Helena?”  Sandra asked with a small, knowing smile.  “Give you and the Commander some time alone?”

 

Helena glanced down at her friend and smiled as she shook her head, blushing slightly.  “Thanks, Sandra but that won’t be necessary.  I know John’s anxious to see the kids.”  She chuckled and shook her head slightly in amusement.  “Almost as anxious as I am for him to come home.”

 

Sandra chuckled as well.  “What time will the Commander be arriving?”

 

“Well, we spoke just before I left the clinic and John said that he should be leaving Alpha in about two hours.”  Helena answered, her eyes once again drifting upwards to the moon.  “Which still isn’t soon enough for my liking.”  She glanced back at Sandra and sighed.  “But what can I do?  That’s what I get for falling in love with and marrying the Commander of the base.”

 

The two friends laughed and continued on their way, Sandra continuing to chuckle as Helena’s gaze remained skyward.

 

“Watching the moon is not going to bring him home any faster.”

 

“I know.”  Helena sighed.  “I just can’t help myself.  I want…”

 

Her voice trailed off as the sky suddenly lit up.  Seconds later, both women were thrown off their feet as the ground shifted below them.

 

Helena?!”  Sandra called to her friend as she struggled to get up as the ground continued to shake.  Helena, are you all right?”

 

Helena didn’t respond, didn’t even hear Sandra calling her as she got to her knees.  Her gaze was focused on the sky.  Her eyes filled with tears and her breath caught in her throat; her body beginning to shake even as the ground beneath her began to still.

 

Getting to her feet, Sandra ran over to Helena and knelt down beside her, placing her hands on her shoulders, noticing that Helena was shaking and gasping for breath.

 

Helena, are you hurt?” 

 

Helena shrugged off Sandra’s hands as she shakily got to her feet, her eyes still on the sky as she took a couple of steps away from the petite brunette. 

 

Helena?”

 

“Sandra, are you all right?”  She turned to see Alan at her side and nodded as he pulled her to her feet, the both of them turning back in time to see Helena take another step and suddenly collapse back onto her knees.  Helena, are you…”

 

“Oh… God… no… JOOOHN!”  The scream tore out of Helena’s throat with such force and so suddenly, that it stopped Alan and Sandra dead in their tracks.  She struggled to her feet again, blinded by her tears, calling John’s name over and over as she reached for her commlock.  She frantically keyed in his code.  “John!  John, can you hear me!?”

 

Alan and Sandra followed Helena’s gaze upward to see the moon hurtling away from Nova Canaan.

 

“Oh my God!”  Sandra gasped.

 

“John!  Oh, please… John!”  Helena held her commlock out, her hand trembling violently, her eyes not once leaving the departing moon.  “John!”

 

 

 

John strolled into Command Center, whistling softly.

 

“Someone’s happy.”  Tony commented with a chuckle.

 

John grinned and nodded.  “How are things going?”

 

“Everything is running smoothly.”  Tony answered.  “So smooth in fact, that if you wanted to leave now and surprise your wife, you could.”

 

“Exactly what I was thinking.”  John’s grin grew and he quickly glanced around.  “Keep me posted.”

 

“Sure thing, John.”  Tony said.  “And give the kids a hug from their Uncle Tony for me.”

 

“As soon as I give them mine.”  John said and with a final nod, he turned to leave.

 

“Commander!”  Maya suddenly called him, alarm in her voice, stopping him in his tracks.

 

“What is…”

 

John’s question remained unfinished as he and everyone else in Command Center were pitched forward over their consoles.  John raised his head just in time to see Maya’s console explode and send her flying back against his desk.  He heard Tony cry out her name as they were all suddenly thrown backwards.

 

“Oh, God… we’re going out of orbit!”  John thought as he landed hard on the floor between the open door behind his desk.  Helena!!”

 

“John!  John, can you hear me!?”  He lowered his eyes as he heard Helena’s voice, crackling on his commlock; calling to him frantically.  Fighting against the G-forces, much like he had the first time the moon had been hurtled away from it’s home, John struggled to reach for the device.  “John!  Oh, please… John!”

 

After what felt like an eternity, John’s hand closed around the commlock and slowly he managed to pull it from his belt, activating it as he fought to bring the device up to his chest.

 

“John!”

 

Helena…” he said hoarsely, finding it difficult to speak, the pressure on his lungs too great.  There was no picture on the tiny screen as he stared at it, but he could hear her voice, even over the alarms that were sounding around the base, but it was growing fainter as the moon continued to move.  He managed to move the commlock further up his chest.  “…Helena!”

 

“John…”

 

“I love you, Helena.”  John called to her, feeling tears form in his eyes.  “I love you!”

 

“I love you too… John!”

 

“I’ll find my way back to you, Honey!  I swear it!”  John told her, the tears now streaming down the sides of his face.  “Someway, somehow… I love you, Helena!  I’ve always loved you… always will.”

 

“John… I’ll always love you too… Oh please, God no… don’t leave me!!”  He could hear the tears in her voice and it broke his heart.  “John!”

 

Suddenly the commlock went silent.

 

John closed his eyes against his tears, the ache in his heart already too much for him to bear; hoping like hell he would soon wake up and find that this was all a horrible nightmare… that he wasn’t being separated from his family… from Helena.

 

 

 

Alan took a step forward as they heard John’s voice, barely audible, come over Helena’s commlock, but was stopped by Sandra’s hand on his arm.  He looked at her and she shook her head.

 

“But…”

 

“I know but not yet.  Let her…” Sandra’s voice shook.  “It is the last time they’ll…”

 

Alan wrapped his arms around his wife and pulled her tightly into his embrace as her voice trailed off, understanding what she was trying to say.  Alan raised his eyes to the disappearing moon, shaking his head sorrowfully.

 

 

 

“John…”

 

“I love you, Helena.  I love you!”

 

“I love you too…John!”  She stopped dead in her tracks, the moon barely visible through her tears.

 

“I’ll find my way back to you, Honey!  I swear it!”  John vowed over the channel and she could hear the tears in his voice as well.  “Someway, somehow… I love you, Helena!  I’ve always loved you… always will.”

 

“John… I’ll always love you too… Oh please, God no… don’t leave me!!”  Helena cried, feeling her heart breaking.  “John!” 

 

Suddenly the commlock went silent.

 

“John…” Helena shook her commlock, the fear in her voice escalating.  “John!?  JOOHN!!”


Helena slowly sank to her knees, clutching her commlock to her chest.  Her tears spilled down her cheeks as she continued to call John’s name over and over; her eyes never leaving the sky, despite the fact that the moon was no longer visible until at last she simply crumpled to the ground.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Ed Spencer walked out of his office to see Helena walking slowly towards the clinic’s front doors. 

 

Helena?”  He called to her.  When she didn’t answer and continued towards the door, he hurried over to her and placed his hand on her arm.  “Hey… where do you think you’re going?  You need to rest some more, Helena.”

 

He moved his hands to her shoulders and turned her around to look at him.  Seeing a void, haunted expression on her face, Ed could tell that even though she was looking at him, she wasn’t really seeing him.

 

“C’mon, let’s get you back to bed.”  He said gently, steering her back into the clinic, genuinely surprised and worried when she didn’t resist or put up a fight.

 

Alan, Sandra, and Victor had entered the room just as Ed had walked over to Helena and watched as he gently took her arm and led her back away from the clinic’s entrance.  They saw the blank expression on Helena’s face and caught the worried look on Spencer’s face as he moved past them and the three of them exchanged worried glances amongst themselves.

 

“I’ll stay with her.”  Victor said softly as his eyes followed them.  “She shouldn’t be alone when she finally comes out of her shock.”

 

“We’ll go get the twins and take’em home with us.”  Alan said, glancing down at Sandra who nodded.

 

“Do you think she’ll…” Sandra began to ask and then stopped, not wanting to finish her question.

 

Victor reached out, placed his hand on Sandra’s arm, and slowly nodded.  “It will be extremely hard on her at first… but she’ll be fine.  Helena is a strong woman.”  He paused and ran his hand over his head.  “And let’s not forget, she has those two beautiful children…”

 

His voice trailed off as all three of them looked in the direction Spencer had taken Helena; all three of them hoping that Victor was right, that Helena would be all right.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Bob Mathias walked into the office he had, for the last few months and until just several hours ago, shared with the wife of the weary looking man who was sitting on the couch, his eyes distant; his gaze directed at the ceiling.

 

“Commander.”  Bob called to him.  “Commander.”

 

John slowly brought his gaze down from the ceiling as a voice broke through the constant ringing of Helena’s voice in his ears; begging him not to leave her, to come back to her.  He blinked once and then focused on Mathias, standing in the doorway.  He shook his head and slowly got to his feet.

 

“Well?”

 

“We were lucky.”  Mathias answered, stepping further into the office.  “Mostly minor injuries, except…”

 

Koenig nodded sadly.  “There was nothing you could do?”

 

“Nothing.”  Bob replied sadly.  “Her neck was broken.  She died almost instantly.”

 

“How’s he?”  John asked, gesturing with his head through the glass to the prone figure on the bed.

 

“He took it hard, as expected… I had to sedate him.”  Bob said.  “As for the restraints well, that’s just a precaution for when he wakes up, for us and him.  He got violent when he learned… well… he’s in shock.”

 

“We’re all in shock, Bob.”  John said flatly, glancing down at his left hand and seeing his wedding band.

 

Bob noticed this.  “Commander, I know this is useless to even suggest but why don’t you try and get some rest.”  To Bob’s surprise, John simply nodded his agreement.

 

“Keep me posted on his condition.”

 

“I will, Commander.”  Mathias said and watched as John slowly walked out of the Medical Center, his shoulders slumped and made a mental note to himself to keep an eye on the Commander over the next few days.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Standing just inside the door of his darkened quarters, John closed his eyes and took a deep, ragged breath.  He slowly opened his eyes and sighed, fighting against the tears he could feel threatening to spill down his cheeks.

 

He glanced around, even in the dark seeing everything in the room, the twins’ cribs, an unfinished sculpture Helena had started on her last duty shift on the moon, even some of her clothes still hanging in the closet.

 

He shook his ruefully as he leaned up against the wall; a small smile pulling at the corners of his mouth as he remembered making love to Helena, just the other day, against this particular wall.  Closing his eyes again, John pictured her face as he moved within her… could hear her crying out his name in pleasure.

 

With a despairing groan, he pushed himself away from the wall and stumbled his way to the bed; collapsing face first onto the mattress, burying his face in the pillows as his tears finally began to fall.

 

“Oh, please, God no… don’t leave me!!  John!!”  He heard her voice cry in his mind in a never-ending loop.

 

John rolled over onto his back and reached over to grab the copy of their wedding picture he kept on his nightstand.  He ran his fingers over Helena’s smiling image.

 

“I will find my way back to you, Helena.  I swear it.”  He said aloud.  “Someway, somehow, I will return to you and the kids… or die trying.”

 

He clutched the picture to his chest and closed his eyes.  He was soon fast asleep as exhaustion, both physical and emotional, claimed him.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

As she slowly moved towards consciousness, Helena was immediately aware that she was not home in her own bed, but in one of the recovery rooms in the clinic.  She also knew, without opening her eyes that she was not alone in the room and who it was who was with her.

 

“It wasn’t just a bad dream, was it?”  She asked quietly, not opening her eyes.  “The nightmare is real?”

 

“I’m afraid so.”

 

Helena slowly opened her eyes and turned to look at Victor, seated in the chair next to her bed.  She tried to smile at him, but found she couldn’t and reached her hand out to him as she sighed.  She could see in his eyes that he’d been crying and returned the gentle squeeze of his hand.

 

“Was anyone hurt?”  Victor shook his head and Helena breathed a small sigh of relief as she sat up.  “That’s reassuring at least.”

 

“Alan and Sandra have the twins.”  Victor told her, watching as she played with her wedding band, knowing that would be her next question.

 

She nodded.  “How long have I been here?”

 

“Almost twenty-four hours.”

 

“Has there been…” Helena stopped and looked down at her hands.  “Any communication at all with Alpha?”

 

“Sadly, no.”  Victor answered and watched her close her eyes.  “The last that was heard from them was…”

 

His voice trailed off and Helena looked up at him, her eyes bright with unshed tears as she nodded, knowing that she’d been the last one to communicate with them… with John.  She took a deep breath, swung her legs over the edge of the bed, and stood.

 

“And where do you think you’re going?” 

 

Helena looked up to see Ed and Ben standing in the doorway, both of them wearing slight frowns on their faces.  She reached down and pulled on her boots, not answering them.

 

Helena, you need to rest more.”  Ed said as she straightened up and looked at him.

 

“What I need…” Helena said moving towards the door, stopping in front of Ed and Ben who blocked her way.  She gave them each a hard look as she continued.  “What I need is for the two of you to get out of my way so that I can go collect my children and go…” her voice cracked slightly.  “…Home.”

 

Ed and Ben glanced at each other and then at Victor who shrugged at them, indicating that they were on their own.  He knew better than to tangle with Helena when her mind was made up.

 

“Now please, move aside.”  Helena said, taking another step forward and brushing past them as they each stepped out of her way.

 

They met Victor’s gaze again as he stood and joined them at the door, the three of them watching Helena stride out of the clinic.

 

 

 

As soon as she stepped outside of the clinic, Helena stopped and released a deep breath, fighting back the tears as she glanced up into the darkening sky, almost hoping to see the moon still shining down on her, despite knowing it was no longer there.

 

“John.”  She whispered sadly, a single tear escaping her eye and slipping down her cheek.  She swiped at it and then began to make her way to the Carter’s house to pick up her children.

 

Less than ten minutes later, Helena knocked on the door, which was immediately opened by a tired looking Alan.

 

“Hey, Helena.”  He said quietly, taking a step towards her but stopping when he saw her take a step back.  He gave her a look.  “How you doing, considering?”

 

“I’m fine, Alan.”  Helena said, surprisingly calm.  “I’m here to pick up Jonathan and Victoria.”

 

“Sure, come on in.”  Alan said, stepping aside and gesturing for her to come inside.  “The kids just got finished eating supper and are in the living room playing with Sandra and Bobbie.”

 

Helena nodded and headed into the room.  “Thanks for looking after them for me.”

 

“You know it’s not a problem, Helena.”  Alan said, walking behind her.  “We adore the twins.”

 

At the sound of their mother’s voice, the twins turned from the blocks they were playing with and smiled as they clamoured to their feet and ambled towards her.  Helena couldn’t help the smile that came to her face when she saw them.

 

“Mama!  Mama!”  They shouted in unison, throwing themselves in her arms as she knelt down before them, hugging and kissing her.

 

Victoria pulled herself back slightly and glanced around behind her mother.  “Dada?”  She pulled herself out of Helena’s arms and began to walk towards the door.  “Dada?”

 

Standing off to the side, Alan and Sandra exchanged glances as they saw the pained look flash across Helena’s face.

 

“Daddy’s not here, Sweetie.”  Helena said softly, reaching out to grab Victoria’s hand and pull her back to her.  She gathered both twins into her arms and then slowly stood up.  “Say good-bye to Uncle Alan and Aunt Sandra.”

 

“Bye.”  The twins said simultaneously and waved.

 

“You sure you wouldn’t like to stay for dinner, Helena?”  Sandra asked, picking up her son as he walked to her and tugged on her leg.

 

“Thanks, Sandra,” Helena said, moving towards the door.  “But I’m not hungry.”

 

“Are you sure, Helena?”  Sandra said, walking behind her as Alan scooted around them to open the door.  “It’s no trouble.”

 

“Yes, I’m sure.”  Helena said, stepping out onto the porch and turning back to them.  “I just want to get these two home and into bed.”

 

“You know if you need anything…” Sandra began.

 

Helena nodded and gave her a small smile.  “Thanks, Sandra.  And thanks again for watching these two for me.”

 

“You’re welcome, Helena.  Anytime.”

 

Helena nodded again and shifted the twins in her arms as she turned and walked off the porch.

 

Alan slipped his arm around Sandra’s waist and pulled her closer, reaching out to ruffle his son’s hair as they watched Helena slowly walk home, her children held tight in her arms.  Alan squeezed her shoulder and Sandra looked up at him and gave him a soft smile; she was grateful that they were together too.

 

 

 

An hour later, having changed the twins into their pajamas and put them in their cribs, Helena stayed and watched them until they fell asleep and then slowly made her way towards her bedroom. 

 

She hesitated at the doorway, swallowing hard before finally entering the room.

 

Making her way to the window, her gaze was drawn to the moonless sky.  She released a small sob as her eyes once again welled with tears.  She whispered his name as she leaned her forehead against the glass.

 

“I’ll find my way back to you, Honey!  I swear it!”  She heard John’s voice in her head as she turned and moved to the bed.  She crawled on top of the covers, grabbed John’s pillow and hugged it tightly to her chest as she curled up into a tight ball, her tears beginning to spill down her cheeks.  “Someway, somehow… I love you, Helena!  I’ve always loved you… always will.”

 

“I love you, John.”  She cried into the pillow, holding it tighter to her.  “Please… please find your way home.  I need you.  I need you so much.”

 

She continued to cry until she cried herself to sleep, clutching John’s pillow.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

“I now pronounce you, husband and wife.  You may kiss your bride.”

 

John smiled as he gazed into Helena’s delighted face, her emerald eyes sparkling with happiness as he leaned towards her for a slow, loving kiss; the first one as his wife.  He’d always thought Helena was beautiful, but today she was more than that.  When he’d first seen her approaching him on Victor’s arm, his only thought was that she was utterly breathtaking and that he loved her more than life itself.

 

As her warm lips moved gently under his, John felt completely at peace for the first time in his life.

 

“I love you, Helena Koenig.”  He whispered against her lips.

 

“I love you, John Koenig.”

 

Something was suddenly very wrong… her reply was too faint… and he could no longer feel her lips under his.  John opened his eyes to see her being pulled back down the aisle, further and further away from him, as if by some invisible force.  He could see her arms reaching out for him… hear her voice calling to him…

 

“John!  John!”

 

He reached out for her.

 

HELENA!”

 

Jolted awake by the echoes of Helena’s voice calling out for him, John bolted up in his bed, struggling in anguish for breath, her name on his lips, his heart pounding in his chest.

 

He slowly climbed out of bed and went into the bathroom to splash some cold water on his face.  As he did, he caught his reflection in the mirror and closed his eyes against the image.  He didn’t need a mirror to tell him how he looked.  He knew. 

 

He opened his eyes, the image of a weary man with sad blue eyes looked back at him, reminding him of his reality for the last couple of years.  He was still the leader of a group of Alphans, albeit a smaller group, who had unbelievably, been cast away, once again.

 

John sighed, whispering Helena’s name softly.

 

Knowing he wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep, he decided he might as well get dressed and head over to Command Center.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“I now pronounce you, husband and wife.  You may kiss your bride.”

 

Helena smiled as she gazed into John’s smiling face, his blue eyes dancing happily as he leaned towards her for a slow, loving kiss; the first one as her husband.  She’d always thought John to be a handsome man, but today he was more than that.  When she’d first seen him as she approached him on Victor’s arm, her only thought was that he was drop-dead gorgeous and that she loved him more than life itself.

 

As his warm lips moved gently over hers, Helena felt completely at peace for the first time in her life.

 

“I love you, Helena Koenig.”  She heard him whisper against her lips.

 

“I love you, John Koenig.”

 

Helena suddenly knew something was very wrong… she could no longer feel his lips against hers.  She opened her eyes to see that she was being pulled back down the aisle, further and further away from him, as if by some invisible force.  She reached out for him… calling out to him… could see him struggling to reach out for her…

 

“JOHN!”

 

Helena was jolted awake by a strangled cry calling out John’s name and realized it was her own voice.  She sat up in bed, her hand automatically reaching out to touch his pillow as she tried to catch her breath, her heart pounding in her chest.

 

“Mama?”  Came a soft voice at the door.  “Are you okay?”

 

Helena pulled on her robe as she climbed out of bed and slipped over to the door, opening it to reveal both her children standing there in their pajamas, looking both frightened and startled.

 

“I’m fine, Sweetie.”  Helena smiled softly, seeing them reminding her desperately pounding heart of the reasons it should continue beating.  “I just had a bad dream, that’s all.  Mommy’s fine.”

 

“You sure, Mommy?”  Victoria asked.

 

“I’m sure.”

 

“When we have bad dreams, you stay with us till we go back to sleep.”  Jonathan told her as he yawned.  “Would you like us to stay with you too?”

 

Helena couldn’t help but smile. 

 

“Sure.  I’d like that a lot.”  She nodded as she stepped aside to let them into her room.  “Come on.”

 

They followed her back to the bed, Jonathan crawling in first, curling up on his father’s pillow.  Helena slipped in next, pulling Victoria in beside her.  She pulled the blankets up around them as the twins cuddled up against her, resting their heads on her shoulders.

 

“You’ll sleep better now, Mommy.”  Jonathan said tiredly.  “Cause me and Vicky are here to protect you from the monsters now, right?”

 

“Yes, Sport.”  Helena said.  “I’ll be safe from the monsters.”  She paused, kissing the tops of their heads.  “Now, go to sleep.  You two have a big day tomorrow and we have to get up early.”

 

“Night, Mommy.”  They yawned together.

 

Helena lay staring at the ceiling, her eyes welling with tears as she held her children close and listened to their gentle, even breathing.  She hadn’t had that particular dream; that nightmare, for a couple of years now and knew the reasons behind it. 

 

First the argument with Victor, Alan and Sandra in the lab, where she knew she’d lost her temper, but she’d been concerned with her children and their memories of their father and had lashed out at her three closet friends.  Not only about what they had said to the twins, but also because of what they and the other Alphans were planning.

 

And then, still concerned about the twin’s memories or lack thereof about their father, Helena had determined that they should and would know all about John and how much he loved them both.  It had been difficult for her to sit there, hearing John’s voice and seeing John’s face and not having him there to touch and had to excuse herself at one point, while the kids sat mesmerized; their faces alive with delight and wonder.

 

The nightmares invoked by this would be a small price to pay if it helped to keep John’s memory alive in their children.  As long as she was alive, her children would not forget their father.

 

“John.”  She whispered sadly, turning her head to stare out the window, knowing sleep would not come back easily.  Her tears slipped down her cheeks.  “Oh, John.”

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Sandra looked up as Helena entered the Monitoring Center.

 

“Good morning, Sandra.”  Helena smiled as she approached her friend.

 

“Good morning, Helena.”  Sandra said slowly.  “I did not think you would be talking to me.”

 

“Sandra, I may not agree or even support what you guys are doing,” Helena told her, moving to stand beside her and leaning up against the desk.  “But that doesn’t mean we’re not still friends.”

 

Sandra smiled.

 

“I know I lost my temper and for that, I do apologize.”  Helena said.  “But I meant what I said last night.”

 

“I know.  And we’ll respect your wishes.”

 

“Thank you.”  Helena said, placing her hand on Sandra's shoulder.  “So, with the kids and the men gone camping, what do you say we have a girl’s night, just the two of us?  Lots of girl talk and junk food just like the old days.”

 

“That sounds wonderful.”  Sandra nodded.  “What time?”

 

“Right after our shifts.”  Helena answered.  “Sound okay to you?”

 

Sandra nodded.  “Why don’t we get a small head start and meet for lunch too.  We could meet up with Tanya and Carolyn.”

 

“Deal.  I’ll see you then.”  Helena said and pushed herself off the desk, giving Sandra a small smile and wave as she went back to her duties.

 

Sandra sat back in her chair thoughtfully as she watched Helena leave the room and sighed.  After all these years, she could still spot a hint of sadness in her friend’s eyes, even when she was smiling.  Most of the time, the gentle doctor managed to hide it quite successfully… but not always.

 

Sandra knew she was very lucky to still have Alan with her; both him and their children and wished it could be the same for Helena.  Losing the Commander had almost killed her and would have if it hadn’t been for Jonathan and Victoria.  It was almost as if an important part of Helena’s soul had been ripped away from her when the Commander was taken away; lost to them, on the once again rogue moon.

 

It was a strange feeling but over the years, Sandra had the distinct impression that Helena had the Commander constantly with her.  Sometimes she would move as if he were by her side or she would enter a room and pause… as if waiting for him to catch up with her before continuing. 

 

“Or maybe,” Sandra thought to herself.  “It’s just wishful thinking on my part that the two of them should be together or that we’re wrong and Helena is right.”  Remembering again, the argument from the night before.  “Perhaps the Commander and everyone is still alive and she can sense it.”

 

Sandra sighed again as she straightened up in her chair and got back to work.  Either way, she felt sorry for the pain her friend was in and wished there was someway for it to end.  But Sandra knew, the only way for that to happen, would be for the moon to find it’s way back to Nova Canaan and for Helena to be reunited with her husband.  And the chances of that happening were about a billion to one.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

 

Tony quietly entered the Observation Room, stopping just inside the door to let his eyes adjust to the darkness of the room.  Walking further into the room, he wasn’t surprised to see John sitting in the far corner, staring out the window at the ever-changing, always unfamiliar stars.

 

He slowly made his way across the room, stopping beside the low couch to look down at his Commander and friend.

 

“Mind if I join you?”

 

John looked up at Tony.  “Only if you brought some beer with you.”

 

John chuckled and shook his head as Tony pulled two large thermoses out from behind his back, handing one to John as he lowered himself to the couch, following John’s gaze out the domed glass.  The two of them sat quietly as they sipped their beers.

 

“Either my taste-buds are dead… or your beer is finally tasting like beer.”  John said, with just the barest trace of humour in his voice.

 

“Your taste-buds are dead.”  Tony replied dryly.

 

They glanced at each other, sharing weary smiles, before turning to look back out at the stars.

 

“Couldn’t sleep, huh?”  John took another swallow of the bitter liquid.

 

“Nope.”  Tony replied.  “You too?”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“I saw her tonight…” Tony began in a low voice a few moments later, pausing to take a sip of his drink.  “When I closed my eyes to sleep… I saw her.  I haven’t done that for a few years now.”  He paused again and smiled softly.  “She looked so beautiful… her hair loose and flowing about her shoulders, wearing that one dress of hers.  You remember that dress don’t you?  The one with the feathers?”

 

John nodded.

 

“I tried to touch her but every time I’d reach for her hand… she’d get farther and farther away.”  He paused again, swallowing another swig of beer.  “And then she spoke to me… told me it wasn’t quite time yet.  That she was waiting for me, and that we’d be together again one day, but not yet.  Then I woke up and realized that soon… it’ll be five years since she…”

 

His voice trailed off as he blinked back his tears.

 

“And obviously, I couldn’t get back to sleep.”  He shook his head.  “I thought I’d gotten past the hurt but obviously, I was wrong.  I suppose it never really goes away, does it?”

 

“Nope.”

 

Silence once again descended on the two friends as they continued to drink their beers and watch the stars slowly drift by; both of them lost in their own thoughts, each fighting their own demons.

 

Helena’s birthday is this week.”  John said quietly, not taking his eyes off the stars.  “This will make the fifth one that I’ve missed.”

 

Tony could hear the emotion in John’s voice but didn’t say a word. 

 

“I’ve not only missed her birthdays… but the twins’ birthdays as well.”  He paused and sipped his beer, fingering his wedding band.  “Not to mention our… anniversaries.”  He shook his head, slapping the arm of the couch with his hand, laughing bitterly.  “We were so close.  So close to having everything we’d dreamed of… a life together off this rock.  Me, her, and the twins.”

 

He took a long drink of beer before continuing, still speaking softly.

 

“I sometimes think… what’s the use in waking up in the mornings?  What reason is there for me to open my eyes?  My reason for living was left behind on that planet.  So why not simply end the suffering now?  And then I hear her voice… roll over and see her picture on my nightstand… and I know the reason I continue to endure… to wake up.”

 

Tony looked over at John upon hearing his admission.  He knew those feelings.  Not only knew them but shared them as well.  There’d been many mornings when he’d wondered just why it was he bothered to wake up at all. 

 

“I swore to her, Tony.  As we were breaking out of orbit and all I could hear was her voice over the commlock… hear her frantic cries begging me not to leave her, I swore to Helena that I’d find a way back to her.  Someway, somehow, I’d find my way back to her.”

 

John turned and met Tony’s eyes. 

 

“And I swore to myself that I’d find my back to Nova… or die trying.”

 

Both men fell silent again; turning back to the view of the stars and drinking their beers as neither one knew what else to say or what else could be said.  Both had suffered very large, very personal losses, more so than anyone else that had been unfortunate enough to be trapped on Alpha at the time of the second breakaway.

 

Finishing the last of his beer, John put the lid back on the thermos and handed it Tony as he slowly stood.

 

“You’re right, my taste-buds are dead.”  He commented.

 

Tony was about to comment, when the base and the moon it clung to suddenly began to shake, and a red alert sounded.

 

“What the hell?”  John swore as he was thrown back over the couch.  He gripped the back of the couch and pulled himself up onto his knees.  His eyes growing wide as he saw a vortex of swirling lights outside the windows of the Observation room.  He quickly got to his feet, patting Tony’s shoulder.  “C’mon, let’s get to Command Center.”

 

Both men ran out of the room, working on keeping their balance as the base continued to shake.

 

“Report!”  John yelled over the alarms as he ran into Command Center, Tony right on his heels and moving to his station.

 

“Computer indicates that we’ve entered some kind of time warp.”  Kano shouted back to him.  “One minute we were fine… and suddenly…”

 

John nodded at Kano, not needing to hear the rest.  There wasn’t much they could do except sit back and hold on tight.  He sighed.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena relaxed back in her chair and sighed, her eyes focusing on the now familiar stars outside her bedroom window.  She sighed.

 

In a week it would be her birthday.  She had tried to forget about it and hadn’t said anything to anyone, hoping her friends and family would all forget about it as well.  But they hadn’t and as they had every year, they were planning a small party.

 

She sighed again. 

 

She knew they meant well and were simply trying to help her forget, at least for one day, that the one person she wanted most with her, to help her celebrate, was forever lost to her.  Taken away from her by some weird, sadistic twist of fate, just when it’d seemed that they’d had everything they’d ever wanted.

 

She reached into the opening of her robe and pulled out the locket John had given to her on the last birthday they’d celebrated together.  Before he was taken from her.  She ran her finger over the engraved ‘K’, until the tears welling in her eyes caused the image to be nothing more than a golden blur.

 

“Oh, John…” she whispered, turning her gaze once more to the window and the stars beyond it.  “John… I miss you so much.”

 

“I’ll find my way back to you, Honey!  I swear it!  Someway, somehow…”

 

Her tears began to roll silently down her cheeks, clutching the locket tightly in her hands as she heard his promise ring in her ears again.

 

“I love you, John.”  She said quietly but passionately.  “Wherever you are, know that I still love you.  I always will.”

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

From his station in Command Center, Tony was watching Alibe.  He could tell that she was beginning to get excited by something she’d seen on her console.  He watched her get up, walk over to Yasko to check something and then move over to Kano’s desk for another verification.

 

After that last time warp, three days ago, they’d found themselves entering a new planetary system and just yesterday, the long-range scanners had detected signs of what could be some form of civilization on the fourth planet.

 

With John holed up in his quarters, sporting some very bruised ribs from his fall over the couch, Tony had been left in charge to find out all he could about the planet and if they should even bother sending an Eagle down to look.

 

Turning his attention back to the present, Tony looked over to see the three of them approaching him, astonished looks on their faces.

 

“Must be something big.”  Tony thought.  He looked up as they stood in front of his desk.  “What have you found out?”

 

The three of them glanced at each other and then Alibe stepped closer and spoke.

 

“We’ve been monitoring some radio transmissions from that planet… land to land transmissions… that we picked up about two hours ago.”  She paused.  “At first I thought I was hearing things as I listened to bits and pieces of conversations but as we’ve been moving closer… well, the similarities are too great for this to simply be a coincidence, Tony.”

 

“What similarities, Alibe?”

 

“The number and position of the planets; and the scans of the fourth planet.”  She handed him a report.  “And the voices I heard in those conversations… they were Dr. Koenig’s and Sandra's voices.  I had both Yasko and David check it out.  They’re our people, Tony.”  She glanced back at Kano and Yasko and then met Tony’s eyes.  “The fourth planet is Nova Canaan.”

 

Helena.”

 

All four heads turned at the whispered name to see John standing in the Command Center doorway, his eyes wide, and his face hopeful as he stared at the image of the planet on the big screen.  A planet he thought he’d never really see again.

 

“Tony, let’s see that report.”  John said, holding out his hand, not taking his eyes away from the screen until he felt the file in his hand.  Only then did he glance down, quickly reading the findings.  He looked up at the screen again and then turned his eyes onto his people.  “According to Computer, not only is that planet, Nova Canaan but we appear to be once again, going into orbit.”

 

“Can we really trust the Computer on this one again, John?”  Tony asked.  “It said that five years ago too and we all know what happened.”

 

“You’re right, Tony.”  John nodded understandingly and tapped the report with his finger as he considered all his options.  Alibe, I want you to see if you can establish a communications link with the planet.  Tony, I want you and Fraser to take Eagle One and head down there.  If for some reason, it’s just Computer playing tricks on us due to that last warp… we’ll recall you.”

 

“John…” Tony began.  “Why don’t you go?  If it really is Nova Canaan… you should be the first one to go down.”

 

“Tony, that’s generous… but I have a responsibility to this base.”

 

“Yeah… and you’ve carried it out fully for the past five years.”  Tony countered, seeing in John’s eyes that he really did want to go down there; only his dedication to duty was preventing him from voicing that desire.

 

“Tony is right, John.”  Mathias said from behind Koenig, having entered Command Center in time to hear the announcement.  “You’ve been on duty for the last five years… and then some.  We can manage to get Operation Exodus under way ourselves.”

 

John looked around the room at the other Alphans who had slowly stood from their stations and moved closer, meeting their eyes and seeing that they all agreed with Tony and the doctor.  He had to be certain.

 

“Are you sure?”

 

Everyone nodded and smiled.

 

“Get going, John.”  Tony said with a smile.  “Get down there and see your family.”

 

John swallowed back the lump that had formed in his throat, as he looked at his friends in grateful defeat, nodding wordlessly as he turned towards the door.

 

“Oh and, John…”

 

John stopped and turned back.

 

“Yeah, Tony?”

 

“Don’t forget to give the twins that hug from their Uncle Tony.”

 

John grinned and gave Tony a thumbs-up.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Sandra sat at her console, working hard on figuring out why the communications network they’d established hadn’t been working properly for the last few days.  There was some kind of interference but she had no idea where it was coming from.

 

“Any luck?”

 

Sandra turned at the sound of Victor’s voice and shook her head.

 

“None.  We’ve traced all the links, checked out every station in the colony and they are all in working order… but we still cannot locate the source of the interference.”  She told him.  “It does not make sense.  But perhaps with some dinner and a good night’s…” the sudden blinking and beeping of her console interrupted her.  She turned back to her station.  “Professor!  Someone… someone is trying to contact us.  It’s an audio signal only.”

 

Victor stepped closer to her as she reached out and hit a button to allow the message to be heard, not realizing she’d just opened the community wide channel.  His eyes grew wide at the message that came over the speakers.

 

“This is Moonbase Alpha calling Nova Canaan.  Do you read us?  Repeat, this is Moonbase Alpha calling Nova Canaan, come in please.”

 

“Professor?  Can it really be them?”

 

Victor looked down at her and ran his hand over his baldhead, nodding slowly.  “It is possible.  Let’s find out for sure…”

 

Sandra nodded, reaching out once again, only this time to press the button that would allow her to talk back.

 

“Alpha?  This is Nova Canaan.”  Sandra said and then asked.  Alibe, is that you?”

 

 

 

Already in her nightgown and relaxing on her couch, after enjoying a rare day off, Helena suddenly sat up as the community link sounded and Alibe’s message came over the speaker of her commlock, which was sitting on the coffee table.

 

 

 

On Alpha, Alibe’s smile grew as Sandra's voice came over the speakers and she didn’t have to turn around to know that everyone else was smiling as well.

 

“Sandra!?  Yes, it’s Alibe!”  She laughed.  “It’s good to hear your voice.”

 

“Same here!”

 

 

 

Sandra looked up at Victor and the two shared a smile.

 

Alibe, is John there?”  Victor asked, leaning closer.

 

“Professor Bergman?  No… the Commander’s not here…” Alibe answered.  “He’s in Eagle One on his way down there.  Hold on, I’ll patch you through.”

 

Victor grinned and glanced over at Sandra. 

 

“Sandra, I think… I think you should let Helena know… that her husband has returned and is on his way down.”

 

Sandra nodded and moved to open a link to Helena and stopped.  She chuckled and pointed.  “I think she already knows.”

 

Victor looked at the console and nodded.

 

“Victor?”

 

“John!  It’s good to hear your voice.”

 

“Yours too, Victor.”  John replied and even over the link, Victor could hear the smile in John’s voice.  “Yours too.”

 

 

 

In a daze, Helena reached out and grabbed her commlock, clutching it tightly in her hands as she slowly stood, her heart pounding in her chest, her breath catching in her throat as she heard John’s voice replace Alibe’s.

 

“John, what’s your E.T.A?”  She heard Victor ask.

 

“Well, I’m pushing this bird as hard as I can… so I estimate that we should be touching down in about two hours.”

 

<<Two hours!>> Helena’s heart sang.  <<After all these years… John will be here in two hours!>>

 

She laughed with joy and headed for the door, her commlock clutched tightly to her chest.

 

“I’m quite anxious to see my wife and kids, Victor.”  She heard John say and grinned.

 

“Oh… I’m anxious to see you too, John.”  Helena said aloud to herself as her hand closed around the door handle.

 

“It’s been a long five years.”

 

Helena’s hand slipped from the door handle to fall to her side, the commlock falling from her other hand to crash on the floor. 

 

 

 

“It’s been a long five years.” 

 

Victor glanced down at Sandra and frowned slightly.  “Uhm… John… I think there’s something you should know.”

 

 

 

“Victor… has something happened to Helena and the twins?”  John asked anxiously, his hands gripping the Eagle’s controls tighter at the sudden change in Victor’s voice.

 

“No… no, they’re fine.  In fact, they’re all perfectly healthy and doing very well.”  Victor replied and John breathed a sigh of relief.  “But there is something very important you should know before you get here.”

 

“Well, I’m listening, Victor.  What is it?”

 

 

 

Back in the Monitoring Center, Victor and Sandra glanced at each other and then Victor took a deep breath.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“I’m surprised Helena is not here yet.”  Sandra commented as they closed the link with John. 

 

“So am I.”  Victor murmured.  “So am I.”  He reached for his commlock, keyed in Helena’s code, and waited for her to respond.  “That’s strange.”  He said a few moments later.  “She’s not answering.”

 

“Perhaps she is in the shower?”

 

“No… she would have put her commlock on stand-by, if that were the case.”  Victor shook his head as he began to pace a little.  “She had today off, did she not?”

 

“Yes she did.”  Sandra answered.  “I do know that she was hoping to spend some time with Callie.  Perhaps that is where she is.”

 

“Perhaps.”  He said, keying in another code on his commlock.  “Perhaps.”

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“MOM!” 

 

The door flew open and Victoria ran into the house, her face flushed from her run over to the house, her green eyes bright with excitement.

 

“Mom!  Have you heard the news?  They’re back, Mom!  They’re back!”  Victoria shouted into the empty room.  “Daddy’s come home!”

 

A sound near her feet caused her to look down.  She bent down and picked her mother’s commlock up off the floor.  She pressed the button to answer the page.

 

“Finally, we’ve been trying to reach you for an hour, HeleVictoria?  Where’s your mother?” 

 

“I don’t know, Uncle Victor.”  Victoria answered.  “I just ran over to see if she’d heard the news but she’s not here.  Her commlock was on the floor in front of the door.”

 

“We’re thinking she might be with Callie.”

 

Victoria shook her head.  “No, Callie’s at the nursery.  I just came from there.”

 

“I find it hard to believe that your mother would not want to be here when your father’s Eagle lands.  Not after all these years.”

 

“You and me both.”  Victoria said and glanced up when she heard a creaking from upstairs.  “I have an idea of where she might be, Uncle Victor.  I’ll get her there, don’t worry.”

 

On the tiny screen, Victor nodded before closing the channel.  Clutching her mother’s commlock tightly in her hand, Victoria headed for and ran up the stairs.

 

“MOM!  They’re back, Mom!  Daddy’s back!”  She said as she moved to enter her mother’s room, a shocked expression crossing her face when she discovered the door was locked.  She knocked.  “Mom?  Mom, are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine, Victoria.”  Came Helena’s response from the other side.

 

“Mom… The moon’s back.”  She said, the excitement still in her voice.  “Mom, did you hear me?  The moon… it’s back.  Daddy’s come home!”

 

“I heard you, Vicky.”

 

“Well come on then, Mom!  What are you waiting for!?”

 

“You go ahead, Vicky.”

 

“Mom?”  Victoria shook her head, confused.  “Aren’t you coming?  Don’t you wanna be there when Dad’s Eagle lands?”

 

“Vicky…” she heard her mother sigh from the other side of the door.  “Please… don’t ask questions.  Just… just go.  Go see your father.  I’m sure he’s anxious to see both you and your brother.”

 

“He’s anxious to see you too, Mom.”  Victoria told her, trying the door again.  “Didn’t you hear him tell Uncle Victor that he couldn’t wait to see you, me and Jonnie?  C’mon, Mom, you know Dad will want to see you.”

 

Victoria.”  Helena said again, this time in a firmer voice.  “Would you please... just go."  She paused and Victoria heard her sigh again.  “I’ll… I’ll be along… shortly.”

 

“Are you sure?”  Victoria asked, not liking the tone of her mother’s voice.  Something was off.

 

“I’m sure.”

 

“Okay…” she said, moving away from the door.  “See you… there.”

 

 

On the other side of the door, Helena walked over to the window, her gaze drawn up to the slowly darkening sky, where she could just make out the slowly approaching moon.  She sighed, blinking back her tears.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Victor’s words echoed in the cockpit of the Eagle as the two men turned to look at each other, their eyes wide with shock.

 

“It’s been… oh my God!  My babies aren’t babies anymore, Bill.  And Helena…” John said, the news still registering.  He turned to look out the window at the fast approaching planet.  Helena.”  A slow smile came to his face as he whispered her name.  “In just over an hour, I’m going to be holding my wife in my arms again.  And this time, I’m never letting her go!”

 

Bill smiled at the boyish grin that was now plastered on his Commander’s face, noting that John would, despite the fact that his wife was now a number of years older, still be as madly in love with her as he was when they were last together.

 

“I’m never letting her go of her again.”  John repeated, still grinning.  “And I’m never letting her out of my sight from now on.”

 

“I’m sure Helena’s thinking the same thing about you, John.”  Bill said with a smile.

 

John laughed and nodded.

 

“What do you say we push this bird a little harder and see if we can’t shave a few more minutes off our arrival time?”  Fraser suggested.  “Get you back in her arms a little sooner.”

 

“Sounds great to me.”  John agreed with a grin.

 

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

“Where’s Mom?”

 

“She said she’d be along shortly.”  Victoria answered her brother, giving him a look as she stepped up beside him, amongst the small, ever-growing crowd of people waiting for their former Commander to land.

 

Jonathan regarded his twin, understanding the look she was giving him immediately.  There was something else. 

 

“What is it, sis?”

 

“I… I don’t know.”  She answered quietly so that she wouldn’t be overheard.  “If I didn’t know any better, I’d almost say that Mom wasn’t happy that Dad’s come back.”

 

“That doesn’t make any sense.”  Jonathan said.  “You and I both know Mom’s always believed that Dad would find his way back here somehow.”

 

“I know that.”

 

“Well… maybe she’s just nervous.  It has been a while.”  He said.  “Or maybe… maybe she just wants their reunion to be in private.”

 

Victoria looked at her brother and nodded slowly.  “Maybe.”

 

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Nice landing.”  Fraser said with a smile as the Eagle touched down.

 

“Thanks.”  John chuckled as he released his harness and pushed his seat back.  He climbed out of his seat and headed towards the passenger compartment, Bill following.  When he got to the outer door he paused.

 

“What is it, John?”  Bill asked, noticing his Commander’s hesitation.

 

“I’m… nervous.”  John admitted with a small laugh, shaking his head.  “I’ve dreamed of this moment for five years… and I’m having a hard time believing it’s really here.”

 

Bill just nodded, saying nothing and then placed his hand on John’s shoulder.  John looked at him.  “They’re waiting for you.  So get out there and go be with your family.”

 

John nodded and took a deep breath as he pressed the button that would open the door and reunite him with his wife and children. 

 

 

 

As the door on the Eagle slowly slid open, Victor saw the twins reach for and grasp each other’s hands tightly as John stepped up into the open hatch and glance around at the gathered crowd.  Victor smiled slightly and took a step forward, placing a hand on each of their shoulders.

 

They turned to look at him.

 

“Uncle Victor?”  Victoria asked, a slight tremor in her voice.  “Is that…?”

 

“Yes, Victoria.  That’s your father.”  Victor answered.

 

All three of them turned their attention back to the Eagle.

 

 

 

John stood in the open door, his eyes scanning the crowd, looking for Helena.  His eyes fell on Victor and he felt his breath catch in his throat as he watched him place his hands on the shoulders of the two young, dark-haired people in front of him; knowing without a doubt that they were his children.  He couldn’t help but smile and felt a surge of pride pass over him.

 

Growing more anxious, he finally stepped out of the Eagle, followed quietly by Fraser, and began to make his way towards Victor and his kids; his eyes continuously scanning the crowd for the one person he wanted more than anything to see.

 

 

 

Victor patted the twins’ shoulders and moved past them as he saw John and Bill begin to make their way towards them.  When he reached John, the two friends embraced.

 

“It’s good to have you back, m’boy.”  Victor said softly.

 

“It’s good to be back, Victor.”  John replied.  He smiled at his old friend and as they pulled apart.

 

“Welcome home, Bill.”  Victor said, turning and extending his hand to the pilot.

 

“Thanks, Professor.”  Fraser smiled, returning the handshake.

 

Victor saw John glance over at his kids and then search the crowd once again.  He clapped John on the shoulder.  “Come on, I’ll re-introduce you to your kids.”  John nodded, feeling suddenly nervous.  Victor chuckled.  “Ah, you’ve nothing to worry about, John.  Your kids are as nervous and anxious to see you as you are to see them.”

 

“That’s good to hear, Victor.”  John said as he followed his old friend to be reunited with his children, his eyes still combing the crowd.  “Victor, where’s Helena?”

 

“Jonathan.  Victoria.”  Victor said when they were all standing together, having ignored John’s earlier question.  “This is your father.  John, these are your kids.”

 

“Hi.”  John said with a nervous smile, the pride he’d felt when first setting eyes on them from the Eagle returning.  He wanted to reach out and pull them both into his arms but wasn’t sure how they’d react after so many years of not seeing him.

 

“Welcome home.”  They replied together.

 

Standing just off to the side, Victor glanced at Bill and both men smiled; watching as both twins moved together and embraced their father.  Victor saw the tears in John’s eyes as he returned his children’s embrace and nodded silently in approval.

 

The crowd surrounding them broke into quiet applause as they watched their former Commander reunite with his children, yet all of them very aware of the one person who was missing.

 

“Where’s your mother?”  John asked quietly as they parted, his eyes once again moving through the throng of people.  He saw Victor step closer and gave him a look.  “Victor, you said Helena was okay.  That nothing had happened to her.”

 

“She’s fine, John.  Nothing has happened to her.”

 

“Then why isn’t she here?”  John asked, a feeling of despair beginning to wash over him, despite Victor’s reassurances.  He saw both Victor and Jonathan glance over at his daughter.  Victoria?”

 

“She said she was coming.”  Victoria said, seeing the hurt and disappointment in her father’s eyes.  She glanced at her twin, knowing he was seeing it as well and then looked back at her father.  “We think she may be… a little nervous and…”

 

“And what?”

 

“That she wants your reunion to be in private.”  Jonathan finished for his sister.  “That’s the only reason we can think of for her not being here.”

 

John nodded slowly.

 

Victoria reached out and placed her hand on her father’s arm.  “Come on, I’ll take you to the house.  That’s where she’s at.”

 

John smiled and then turned to Victor.  Despite his anxiousness to see his wife, he still had a duty to the men and women up on Alpha.  “Victor…”

 

“We can meet with the council tomorrow, John.”  Victor told him, already knowing what John was thinking.  “We’ll work everything out and get everyone down here as soon as possible.  For now, go see your wife.”

 

John smiled.  “Bill…”

 

“Don’t worry about me, John.”  Fraser said.  “When I return to Alpha, I’ll let Tony know what’s happening.”

 

“Thanks, Bill.”  John said and then turned to smile at his daughter.  “Well, let’s go.”

 

Victoria returned her father’s smile and together they made their way through the slowly parting crowd.  Everyone gathered knew where John was heading and no one wanted to delay the reunion they thought would never happen.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

John knocked on the bedroom door again.

 

Helena!  Please, Honey let me in.”  He asked her again.  “After all these years… Helena… please.”

 

“John… go away.”  Came her reply through the door.

 

John placed his hand on the door, trying to curb the frustration he was feeling.  “Open the door, Helena.  I want to see you.”

 

“No.”  She called out.  “I don’t want to see you.”  There was a pause and John could swear he heard a sob come from behind the door.  “Please, John just go away.  Leave me alone.”

 

Resting his forehead against the door, John took a deep breath and fought back the tears he could feel forming in his eyes.

 

“All right, Helena.  I’ll go.  I won’t force you to see me.”  He said.  “But, I’ll be around if you change your mind.”  He paused and lifted his head, speaking in a quieter voice.  “I love you, Helena.”

 

He stepped away from the door, pausing to stare at the closed door that was separating him from his wife and bowed his head.  Heaving a deep sigh, John slowly made his way down the stairs.

 

 

 

On the other side of the door, Helena leaned her head against the door as the tears streamed down her cheeks.

 

“I love you too… John.”  She whispered.

 

<<Then why wouldn’t you let him in?!>> her heart screamed at her.  <<You’ve waited years for this moment… for him… and yet you wouldn’t open the door!  Why?!>>

 

Helena straightened and moved to her bedroom window.  She stood off to the side and looked out.  She saw Victoria pacing back and forth in front of the house and watched as she looked up suddenly.  Helena’s breath caught in her throat.

 

“John!”  She whispered, her tears flowing again.  “Please forgive me… I’m doing this for you.”

 

 

 

Victoria continued to pace back and forth; a habit, she’d recently discovered that she inherited from her father, as she waited to see her parents emerge from the house; finally reunited after all these years.  She heard the front door open and looked up expectantly.

 

“Where’s Mom?”  She asked, the surprise evident in her voice.  It was then that she noticed her father’s sullen look and walked over to him.  “What happened?  Why isn’t Mom with you?”

 

“She wouldn’t let me see her.  Wouldn’t even open the door.”  John answered softly.  He looked at his daughter.  “I don’t understand… I… I thought she’d be as anxious to see me as I am to see her.”

 

Victoria glanced up to her mother’s bedroom window then looked back at her father.  The look on his face pained her greatly.

 

“I don’t understand it either, Daddy.” 

 

John smiled softly as did Victoria when she realized that this was the first time she’d called him dad since he arrived back on Nova Canaan.  She squeezed his arm affectionately.

 

“Wait here.  I’ll go talk to her.”

 

Victoria moved to walk past him, but was stopped by his hand on her arm.

 

“No.”  He said, shaking his head.

 

“But why not?  You want to see her, don’t you?”

 

“More than anything else.”  John answered, nodding his head.

 

Victoria glanced back up to her mother’s window just in time to see Helena step out of view.

 

“But, Dad…”

 

“No, Vick.”  John said, shaking his head again.  “Leave her be.”

 

“I don’t get this.”  Victoria said.  “You say that more than anything else, you want to see Mom… but…” she paused, shaking her head.  “I just don’t… if you love her as much as you say you do… then why?”

 

“It’s because I love your mother that I won’t force her to do anything she’s not ready for.  And that includes… seeing me.”  John explained, glancing up into the darkening sky at the moon that was once again in orbit, this time, hopefully for good.  He looked back down at his daughter; still not quite over the shock that she was a young woman and not a rambunctious six year old.  “It’s been a lot of years for her, Vick… she’s in shock.”

 

“I understand that… but I also know how much Mom still loves you.”

 

John smiled wistfully.  “We have to give her time.  When she’s ready to see me… I’ll still be here.”

 

Victoria opened her mouth to argue, but closed it again at the stern look on her father’s face.

 

John reached out, squeezed his daughter’s arm, and began to step away.

 

“Where are you going?”  She asked.

 

“For a walk.”  He answered.  “And then I’ll probably end up at Victor’s.”

 

Victoria nodded and smiled at him.  “I’m glad you finally made it back, Daddy.”  She said.

 

John smiled and pulled her into a light embrace.  “So am I, kiddo.”

 

He let her go and began to walk off.

 

 

 

Helena watched from her window as John embraced their daughter and then begin to walk away.  She stepped aside again, when she saw him pause and glance back at the house, his eyes on her window.  Even from this distance, Helena could see the pain in John’s face and felt her heart constrict.

 

With a sad shake of his head, she watched as John turned and continued to walk away, his head bowed.

 

“John.”  She whispered, her hand coming up to rest on the window.

 

<<Go to him!  Ease his pain!  Ease yours!>> her heart screamed at her again.

 

“I can’t.”  She whispered sadly.  “I’m doing this for him… in time he’ll see that.”

 

She jumped slightly when she heard the front door fly open and bang on the front of the house, followed by her daughter’s angry voice.

 

“MOTHER!”

 

With an air of calm she was far from feeling, Helena walked over to her bedroom door, unlocked, and opened it as she heard her daughter barrel up the stairs.  She walked back over to the window and looked out in time to see John disappear into the shadows of the night.

 

<<John!>>

 

“What in the hell is the matter with you?!”  She heard her daughter ask angrily as she burst into the room.

 

“Watch your tone young lady.  I am still your mother.”

 

“How could you do that to him?”  The anger was still in Victoria’s voice.

 

“I did what I had to do, Victoria.”  Helena replied quietly, not turning from the window.

 

“What do you mean, what you had to do?”  Victoria asked, beginning to pace.  “Why wouldn’t you open the door?  Why wouldn’t you see him?  After all these years…?”

 

“You wouldn’t understand.”  She said.  “But I did what was best… for both of us.”

 

Victoria stopped pacing and looked at her mother’s back.  “You’re right, I don’t understand.  I don’t understand any of this.  So why don’t you explain it to me.”  She paused and took a step closer.  “Explain it to me so I can understand.”

 

Helena simply shook her head and continued to stare out the window, her hand coming up to tightly grip the locket.

 

“How can not seeing Dad be the best thing for him… for you?”  Victoria asked.  When her mother still didn’t answer, she continued quietly.  “Then I guess I was wrong.  You must not love him as much as you’ve always said you do.”

 

Helena whipped around suddenly to face her daughter, her green eyes flashing.  “How dare you question the depth of my love for your father!?”

 

“What else am I supposed to think?”  Victoria retorted, not flinching at all under her mother’s furious gaze.

 

“It’s because I love your father…” Helena choked on a sob.  “…That I’m doing this.”

 

Victoria could see the tears welling in her mother’s eyes and took a step closer, placing her hand on Helena’s shoulder.  “Mom…”

 

In that moment, Helena could hold it in no longer and her tears began to fall.  Victoria gathered her mother into her arms and led her to the bed, sitting them down and letting her mother cry.

 

“Five years… it’s only been five years.”  Helena sobbed as Victoria held her.  “How can I… how can he still…?”

 

Suddenly it dawned on Victoria what the problem was.  She tightened her embrace around her mother and then lifted Helena’s face so she could look into her eyes.

 

“I understand now, Mom.”  Victoria said softly.  “You’re scared… scared because you think… because twenty years have passed for you… and not for Dad… that…”

 

“I’ve aged and he hasn’t.”  Helena finished then stood up and moved back to the window.  “I’m not the same woman he was taken away from.  The woman he’s expecting to see.”  She paused and choked back another sob.  “I… can’t expect him to feel the same way about me now.”

 

“Oh, Mom…” Victoria said from the bed, a small smile on her face.  “You don’t know how wrong you are.”

 

Victoria stood and moved to stand beside her mother.

 

“When Dad stepped off the Eagle, it was obvious to everyone that he wanted to see you.  That nothing else mattered to him but that.”  Victoria said, remembering the hurt and disappointed look on her father’s face at not finding Helena there to meet him.  Victoria caught her mother’s gaze in the reflection of the window.  “Mom… when Dad’s Eagle landed… he already knew about the time difference.”

 

She saw her mother’s eyes widen a little and continued.

 

“After Uncle Victor… re-introduced Jonathan and I to Dad, I brought him home to see you.  By the time we got to the house… it was obvious just how nervous and anxious he was to see you.”  Victoria said, a soft smile playing on her lips as she remembered watching her father pace around the living room for a few moments to collect himself.  Victoria looked at her mother.  “Before he came upstairs, he saw the picture of you and Callie.”

 

“He what?”  Helena asked, turning to look at Victoria.

 

“He saw the picture of you and Callie.”

 

 

 

John stopped pacing and turned to finally head upstairs, but not before a framed photo resting on the mantle caught his attention.  He moved, as if in slow motion, over to the fireplace and reached up with a shaking hand to grab the picture.

 

Helena!”  He breathed, running his fingers over his wife’s image.  Without looking up from the photo, he asked.  “When was this taken?”

 

“Just a few days ago.”  Victoria answered.  “The little girl… that’s Callie.  My daughter… your granddaughter.”

 

John nodded, his eyes barely noticing the small blonde child in Helena’s arms.  “A few days ago…” he repeated softly. 

 

“Are you all right?”  Victoria asked softly.

 

John nodded again and when he finally lifted his gaze from the photo to look at his daughter, Victoria saw that his blue eyes were bright with tears.

 

“She’s still the most beautiful woman in the universe.”  He said softly, his voice choking with emotion as his gaze drifted back to the picture in his hands.  “Oh… my beautiful Helena… Lord, how I’ve missed you.”

 

 

 

Helena swiped at the tears in her eyes and looked back out the window.

 

“So you see, Mom… he knows.  He knows… and he doesn’t care that you’ve aged some.”  Victoria said and reached out, putting her hand on her mother’s arm.  “And from all you’ve told us about Dad over the years… the love you two shared… and obviously still feel for each other… did you honestly expect anything else?”

 

Helena didn’t answer.  Instead, she suddenly spun around and rushed out of her bedroom, her robe billowing behind her.

 

“Where are you going?”  Victoria called out to her as she followed her mother out of her bedroom.

 

“To see your father.”  Helena called back.

 

“But how will you find him?  He could be anywhere?”

 

“I know exactly where he is.”  Helena answered as she ran out the front door, nearly knocking over her son in her haste.

 

Jonathan watched his mother brush past him.  “Mom?”

 

Helena didn’t respond as she quickly made her way along the same path John had taken earlier.

 

Jonathan looked up at his twin as she joined him on the porch, both of them watching their mother’s retreating form.

 

“Where’s she going in such a hurry?”  Jonathan asked.

 

Victoria smiled at her brother.  “To see Dad.”

 

“But I thought… didn’t you bring him here to see her?”

 

Victoria hooked her arm through her brother’s and led him back into the house.  “Let’s have some coffee and I’ll tell you the whole story.”

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

As she neared the lake, where she knew with absolute certainty that John would be, Helena slowed her pace.  She stopped suddenly when she walked out of the line of trees that surrounded the water.

 

She saw him; illuminated by the moonlight, his hands crammed into the pockets of his jacket, his head hung low, and his back to her.  She felt her heart constrict momentarily, knowing he was hurting and that she was the cause of that hurt.

 

She approached quietly, feeling her heart begin to pound in her chest.  As she drew closer, she saw him raise his head and tilt it to the side; he knew she was there.

 

When she was within arms reach of him, she stopped.

 

“When the moon was ripped out of orbit of Nova Canaan…” he said softly, not turning to face her, but knowing she was listening.  “I thought I was going to die.  My life… my reason for living… you… weren’t with me.  You were here.”  He paused and looked up at the moon, once again locked into orbit around the planet.  “And after five years of hell… when the scanners told us that by some miracle we’d re-entered this system… and that you were all still alive here… all I could think about was getting down here.  Seeing you.  Nothing else mattered.”

 

He turned his head slightly so that he could just make out her shape behind him.

 

“Even finding out that twenty years had passed here… and finding out that the twins were no longer babies, that they were adults… still… all I wanted… was to see you.  To hold you in my arms; to look into your beautiful eyes and see that you still loved me.”  He paused a moment, swallowing back the tears that threatened to spill over into his voice.  “And when you wouldn’t open the door… wouldn’t see me… oh God… it killed me.  I knew it was because you were scared… scared because so much time had passed for you and not for me.  Afraid that I couldn’t… or wouldn’t still love you.”

 

“John.”  It came out as a whisper as she reached out her hand, placing it on his shoulder.

 

Suddenly, John turned and pulled Helena into his arms; wrapping them tightly around her, crushing her body against his.  Helena gave a small cry and buried her face in his chest, her arms going around his back, holding him just as tight.

 

John buried his face in her hair, his tears streaming down his cheeks into her white-blonde tresses.  Helena was here.  She was in his arms and he could feel her heart pounding against his chest, knowing his was pounding just as hard.

 

Helena.”  He breathed into her hair.  “I’ve missed you so much.”

 

“I’ve missed you too, John.”  She cried, her arms tightening around him; feeling more alive in this moment; in his embrace with his scent drifting over her then she had in years.  “So much.”

 

John pressed a kiss to her hair and then moved his hands up along her back, over her shoulders to cup her face in his hands, lifting it from his shoulder.  As he brushed her hair away from her face, Helena lowered her eyes, still somewhat afraid of what she might see in his eyes.

 

Helena.”  John said softly.

 

When she finally lifted her eyes to meet his, she began to cry softly, seeing nothing but utter love and devotion in his cerulean depths.  John moved his thumbs over her cheeks, wiping away her tears, smiling softly at her.

 

“You are so beautiful.”  He told her quietly, lovingly.  “I’ve dreamed of this moment, over and over for the last five years.  Of seeing you again; of looking into your eyes and seeing your love for me shining in their green depths.”  He paused and threaded his fingers into her hair.  He gazed into her face and when he spoke, it was with an intense passion.  “It makes no difference to me about the time difference… whether it be five years, twenty years or fifty years.  I love you, Helena.  I’ve always loved you.  Nothing can or will ever change that.”

 

Helena’s eyes filled with fresh tears as he continued.

 

“Don’t you know… don’t you realize, it doesn’t matter to me that you’ve aged a little.”  John paused and he brought one hand from her hair to caress her cheek.  “You could never be anything but beautiful to me, Helena.”

 

“Oh… John.”  Her lower lip trembled as she stared into his eyes, seeing the truth of his words in the blue depths before her and feeling the truth in her heart and in his touch.  “I love you too.  I’ve never stopped loving you… could never stop loving you.”

 

John’s eyes filled with tears at her words and he pulled her back into a fierce hug.  He sighed, a wave of relief washing over him.  “I was so afraid…” he whispered into her hair.  Helena pulled away slightly to look up at him again, the question in her eyes.  He took a deep breath and continued.  “I was afraid… when I’d learned of the time difference… that after twenty years, you might have… moved on… found someone else.”

 

Helena smiled softy this time and shook her head gently.  “That would mean giving my heart away… and it’s not mine to give.”  She paused as her arms tightened around him.  “My heart belongs to you, John.  It always has… and always will.”

 

“As mine does to you.”

 

They stared at each other, still not quite believing that they were together, and then slowly, John pulled Helena closer, his hands moving to frame her face, tilting it up so he could look deeper into her eyes.  Her hands slid up his chest and came to rest on his shoulders.

 

“John…” she whispered softly, her breath caressing his lips, which were so close to hers and moving closer.

 

John brushed his lips lightly against Helena’s; pulling away slightly to rain gentle kisses over her face; kissing away her tears, only to return each time to her lips; each kiss, just as soft as the one before it yet barely concealing the passion that was simmering below the surface, waiting to be released.  He paused before kissing her again and gazed into her face.

 

Helena could feel him holding back, not wanting to rush her or force her, and lifted her hand from his shoulder and cupped his cheek.  She smiled, a slow, seductive, almost shy smile as she moved her hand along his cheek to thread her fingers in his hair, pulling his face back to hers.  “Kiss me, John… kiss me.”

 

John’s mouth covered hers and his tongue moved into her mouth, both of them moaning softly as their tongues met.  Helena’s arm snaked up around his neck and her hand tightened in his hair; John’s hands swept down along her back to cup her backside and draw her even closer to him as the tender kiss quickly grew more intense.

 

They clung to each other; neither one wanting to be the one to end the long-desired, passionate embrace they were now sharing.  Finally, in need of air, they broke apart at the same time and smiled breathlessly at each other.

 

Helena…” John whispered huskily, his hands moving softly along her sides and over her back in the way he knew excited her.  He was rewarded when she shivered in his arms, her eyes beginning to glow with an excited light.  Helena… I want to make love to you… need to make love to you.  To know you’re real.  That this isn’t just a dream.”

 

Helena felt her heart begin to beat rapidly in her chest at his words and she slowly nodded.  “I… want… need you too, John.”  She whispered back, running a finger along his jaw and up to trace the outline of his lips.  “Make love to me, my darling.”

 

John reached between them and untied her robe, slipping it from her shoulders, but not letting it fall from his hands.  He stepped away from her and Helena watched as he laid the satiny robe out on the grass.  John turned back to Helena and held his hand out to her, which she took and moved quickly into his embrace, their lips meeting in an ardent kiss as they slowly dropped to their knees before the robe. 

 

As they held each other, locked in a heated embrace, neither Helena nor John noticed their children standing at the edge of the trees, watching them.

 

 

 

Victoria and Jonathan looked at each other and smiled.

 

“Come on.”  Jonathan said softly, grabbing his sister’s arm.  “Let’s leave them alone.”

 

Victoria nodded and with a parting glance at her parents, still locked together, she walked away from the lake with her brother.

 

 

 

Continuing to kiss Helena with a fervent passion, John gently maneuvered and lowered them onto the robe, covering her body with his.  A small whimper of protest left her lips when John ended the kiss and suddenly rolled off her. 

 

“John?”

 

He leaned back over her and gave her a tender kiss.  “Oh… I’m not going anywhere, Sweetheart.”  He murmured, his eyes smiling at her as he kissed her again and sat up.

 

Bending her arm under her head, Helena watched as John removed his jacket, tossing it aside, his belt and uniform tunic quickly following.  He then removed his boots and socks before standing to divest himself of his pants.  Seconds later, his pants and underwear having joined the rest of his clothes, John stood before Helena, completely naked and fully aroused.

 

Helena let her eyes travel over her husband’s form, noting that he was leaner and more muscular than she remembered and unconsciously her tongue darted out to lick her lips as her eyes came to rest on his engorged member.  She felt her body flush with desire and she brought her eyes up to meet his, communicating her desire for him, to him, without words.

 

John knelt beside her and then leaning over her, he captured her lips with his and gave her a long, amorous kiss.  Slowly he ended the kiss, leaving her breathless as he gazed down at her; his blue eyes bright with desire and longing; mirroring the desire and longing in her luminous green ones.

 

His gaze left her face and John turned his attentions to reacquainting himself with his wife’s body.  In a feather-light caress that caused her to gasp softly, John traced his fingers over the swell of her breasts, following the line of her nightgown, and then repeated the gesture with his lips.  His fingers hooked the thin straps at her shoulders and eased them down her arms, gently tugging the gown down off her breasts.

 

A small smile came to his lips as he reached out to finger the gold heart nestled between her breasts.  She smiled in return and nodded slightly to his unvoiced question. 

 

Helena then watched through lidded eyes as John, cupped each breast in his hands and then bent over to take first one nipple in his mouth, then the other; licking, sucking and nipping them gently, until they grew tight and hard, then moving to kiss her entire breast.  She moaned softly. 

 

John released her breasts and continued his exploration of Helena’s body; pushing her nightgown lower and lower, he paused to kiss and touch each new area of flesh that was revealed to his questing eyes, hands, and lips.  Knowing he had to see all of her, John completely removed her nightgown, tossing it onto the pile of clothes nearby.

 

Helena bent her left leg slightly as John straightened up and simply stared at his wife’s naked body, which was flushed with desire.  He inhaled sharply and brought his gaze to her face.

 

“You’re still as beautiful as I remember.”  He told her softly in a throaty voice, choked with emotion.  He let his eyes travel completely over her body, reaching out to run a line from between her breasts, to the thatch of curls between her thighs, threading his fingers in the soft hair.  He murmured again in a lower voice.  “So beautiful.”

 

“John!”  Helena gasped as his fingers began to stroke her.  She moaned his name again when she felt him slip a finger inside her and arched up to meet him.  As he continued to stroke her, John slid his other hand up her body, reaching out to once again touch her breasts, running his thumb over her nipples.  Helena closed her eyes, letting the sensations he was creating, after so long, wash over and consume her.

 

John continued to stroke and stimulate his wife, a small smile forming on his lips as he watched her control begin to slip away.  Seeing her body begin to quiver as the beginnings of her orgasm took hold of her sent a jolt of pleasure through John’s body; he felt himself throb in response and ached to be inside her, to join their bodies again after so many years apart.

 

Helena could feel her release nearing and more than anything, she wanted John inside her, to feel his body on hers.  She opened her eyes and looked at him.  “John…” 

 

It came out as a whispered moan as she reached her hand out to clasp his hand on her breast.  John looked into her eyes, smiled, and nodded slowly, knowing what she was asking him. 

 

Without removing his hand from her, John shifted his position and eased his body over hers, supporting his weight on one elbow.  He lowered his mouth to hers for an ardent kiss.  As they kissed, he pulled his finger from inside her, grasped his hard member and he slowly, and gently eased into her.

 

Helena’s cry of pleasure was lost in his mouth; her body trembling under his as the feel of him filling her so completely, after so long, triggered her release; sending a stream of tingling sensations shooting through her body.

 

John broke off the kiss and held still, watching as Helena lost control in his arms, the sight of her, giving herself over to her release, almost his undoing.  As her body stilled, Helena looked up at him; a soft smile on her lips, her face glowing and her eyes bright with her love for him.  In that moment, John fell in love with her all over again.  He leaned in and caught her lips for a long, tender kiss. 

 

Helena wrapped her arms around his neck, sliding her legs up along his as she felt him begin to move inside her and moved her body with his.  Her hands left his head as he broke off the kiss to nuzzle her neck and she slid them down his back, scoring him lightly with her nails and then moved them back up to clutch at his shoulders.  She heard his moan of pleasure and couldn’t help but smile.

 

They moved together; two bodies; one heart and one soul, in a passionate dance that both had hoped and prayed they would share again with each other, and yet had secretly feared would never happen.

 

John moaned as Helena moved her hands lightly along his sides and over his back, spreading her thighs a little wider as she grasped his backside, urging him to thrust deeper inside her.  He gave her a searing kiss and then raised himself onto his arms as he moved inside her with long, sure strokes.

 

“John.”  She moaned his name as wave after pleasurable wave of fire-hot sensations coursed through her body.  Feeling him move in and out of her, she moaned his name again and moved her legs up around his waist; her hands moving up to grasp his shoulders as she arched into him.  “Oh… John…”

 

“…Helena…” John groaned, feeling Helena contract her inner muscles around his thrusting member.  He knew she was close to her release; knew he was too.  John reached a hand between their bodies and began to stroke her, moving his fingers in tandem with his thrusts.  As his release grew more imminent, John felt his control begin to slip away.  Helena…”

 

She felt the change in his body; the tightening of his muscles, his loss of control as his thrusts grew faster, more erratic, and knew he was on the edge.  She also knew that John would hold back as much as he could, wanting her to have her pleasure before him.  Tightening her legs around him, she thrust her hips up against him, squeezing her inner muscles tighter, urging him to let go.

 

Helena moved her hand to his cheek, bringing his gaze to hers.  “John… let it go…” she whispered softly, and moved up against him again.  “…Take me with you…”

 

“…Helena!”  He groaned loudly and thrust into her a final time; burying himself deep inside her; his release powerful and surging out of him.  He collapsed on top of her, calling her name again.

 

Helena wrapped her arms around his fiercely trembling body and held him tightly, his release triggering hers.  She cried out his name, her body shuddering under his as the intense sensations of her orgasm consumed her.  “John…”

 

John and Helena clung to each other, their bodies still trembling as they soared higher and higher through the moonlit sky on the wings of blissful satisfaction; both feeling the years they were apart, falling away to nothingness.

 

Slowly, John lifted his head from where it was pillowed on her breasts and gazed down at Helena with a soft, tender look on his face that couldn’t disguise the still-burning passion blazing in his cobalt eyes. 

 

“I love you, Helena Koenig.”  He whispered softly, his voiced choked with emotion.

 

“I love you, John Koenig.”  She whispered back, tears of happiness welling in her eyes.

 

John lowered his lips to hers for a long, tender kiss, before rolling off her.  He reached out for her nightgown and covered her with it as he gathered her into his arms.

 

“Oh… my love… how I’ve missed you.”  Helena breathed against his chest, her tears slipping down her cheeks onto his chest as she snaked her arms around him.

 

“I’ve missed you too, Honey.”  He replied, pulling her even closer.

 

They held each other, arms wrapped tightly around each other, afraid to let go for fear they would be torn away from each other again as they talked softly, telling each other about their lives during their forced separation.

 

A while later, Helena shivered and snuggled closer against John as a cool breeze blew off the lake.  John’s arms tightened around her.

 

“What do you say we get dressed and head home?”  He suggested, pressing a kiss against her hair.

 

Helena pressed a kiss to his chest then lifted her head and smiled down at him as she nodded.  “Yes… let’s go home.  Our home.”

 

John returned Helena’s smile and pulled her down for a quick kiss.  They separated and dressed as quickly as they could, while touching each other as much as possible.  John bent and picked up Helena’s robe, giving it a good shake before holding it out for her to slip on.  He then wrapped his jacket around her shoulders as another breeze blew by and she shivered again.

 

Just as they were about to set off for the house, John happened to glance down and noticed that Helena had nothing on her feet.

 

“Do you always run out in the middle of the night in your bare feet?”  He asked her, the amusement in his voice as he watched her look at her feet.  She looked up at him.

 

“My mind wasn’t exactly on my feet when I left the house.”  She said, smiling sheepishly.

 

John laughed and scooped her up into his arms, placing a firm kiss on her lips.  Helena returned his kiss as she wrapped her arms about his shoulders.

 

“Are you planning on carrying me all the way back?”  She asked, still smiling; already knowing he would do just that.

 

“Absolutely.”  He said with a grin as he began to walk, pulling her tighter against him.  “So, relax and enjoy the ride.”

 

Helena smiled and rested her head against his shoulder, sighing happily.

 

“Besides, I’ve finally got you back in my arms…” he turned his head slightly and brushed a kiss against her forehead.  “And I don’t intend to ever let you go again.”

 

“Mmm.”  She tightened her arms around him.  “I like the sound of that.”

 

“Me too, Sweetheart.  Me too.”

 

They fell into a comfortable silence as John pulled her tighter against him, walking as quickly as he could back to the house.  Helena nuzzled his neck and smiled softly to herself as she felt John step up his pace even more.

 

“In a hurry?”  She asked, laughing quietly, moving her lips to nibble on his earlobe.

 

John growled softly and then stopped suddenly.  Helena lifted her head to look at him and was happily surprised when John’s mouth covered hers for an ardent kiss.  John released her lips and replied breathlessly in a low voice.  “Yes.”

 

Helena exhaled a deep, longing breath as she heard the barely controlled desire in his voice.  Her eyes met his and she could see that desire clouding over in his blue eyes.  She felt a warmth rush through her entire body.

 

John gave her another quick kiss and then smiled at her as he resumed his hurried pace to the house.  Helena smiled softly and once again settled her head against his shoulder, continuing to nuzzle his neck.

 

As they neared the house, Helena felt John slow.

 

“Tell me something…” he began quietly and she raised her head to look at him.  “Are the twins… still living at home?”

 

Helena laughed and shook her head. 

 

“Well then, we’ve got a reception committee.”  He commented with a small smile.

 

Helena turned her head towards the house and saw Victoria and Jonathan sitting on the porch, cups in hand, watching them approach.  She smiled and looked at John.  “It appears that way, doesn’t it?”

 

“It’s about time you two got home.”  Victoria said with a smile as she watched her father walk up the stairs onto the porch, carrying her mother.

 

“I wasn’t aware we had a curfew.”  John said with a grin as he glanced at Helena.  She smiled at him.

 

Victoria and Jonathan smiled at each other, both of them noticing the happy, contented glow emanating from their parents; the fact that their father continued to cradle their mother in his arms and that she didn’t seem at all eager to leave his embrace.

 

John leaned back against the railing of the porch for a moment to look at his children.  He felt a sense of pride wash over him as he looked from one to the other.  They’d grown into fine young adults, as he’d always hoped they would and it was clear to him, just how much they loved and respected their mother.  John smiled and couldn’t help but remember them as he’d last seen them… rambunctious one year olds… getting into everything where their little legs would take them.  He blinked back the tears that came to his eyes as it suddenly dawned on him, just how much he’d missed out on, both in his children’s lives and Helena’s.

 

Helena regarded John and reached up to place her hand on his cheek.  He turned to look at her and she smiled gently, knowing exactly what was going through his mind.  John returned her smile and pulled her slightly closer, leaning in to brush a soft kiss against her forehead.

 

He turned back to his children as he straightened up and stepped towards the front door.  “Well, if you two will excuse us.  It’s been an… eventful day.”  He said.  “I think we could all use some sleep.”  He glanced at Helena when he heard her chuckle softly, the look in her eyes, mirroring his; sleep was the furthest thing on their minds.

 

“Of course, Dad.”  Victoria said glancing at her brother and smiling, both of them knowing their parents would be getting little sleep that night.

 

Helena reached out to open the door and turned back to look at her children.  “Why don’t you join us for breakfast?  Callie too.”

 

The twins nodded their agreement as Jonathan stood and walked over to them, stepping behind them to the door to hold it open for them.

 

He clasped his hand on John’s shoulder.  John turned to look at his son who smiled at him.  “Welcome home, Dad.”

 

John returned Jonathan’s smile.  “Thanks, son.  It’s good to be home.”

 

Helena smiled at her son as John carried her into the house. 

 

Jonathan and Victoria watched, standing in the doorway as their father moved towards the stairs.  They smiled at each other as they turned to leave.  They heard their father’s voice call out to them from the stairs and they stopped and turned back.

 

“Hey kids… make it brunch tomorrow instead of breakfast!”  John called over his shoulder.  “Better yet, lunch!”

 

They heard their mother’s amused, delighted laughter and called out their okays, not really certain that their parents had even heard them.  They glanced at each other and then Jonathan set the lock and they left the house, shutting the door behind them.

 

 

 

“You’re terrible.”  Helena laughed, a huge smile on her face as he carried her down the hall towards her bedroom, chuckling himself.

 

“Yes I am.”  John said as he stopped before the door of her bedroom and looked at her.  He smiled tenderly at her and leaned in to give her a quick kiss.  “I am also in love.”

 

Helena’s eyes sparkled as she brought her hand up to cup his cheek tenderly.

 

“And…” his smile slowly grew into a grin.  “I plan on keeping you up quite late tonight.”

 

Helena laughed.  “Oh… I hope so.”

 

Their lips came together again as John slowly passed through the doorway, kicking the door closed with his foot.  Helena moved her hand down his cheek to the zipper on his collar and slowly drew it down his arm as far as she was able and then slipped her hand inside.

 

John knelt on the bed and gently laid her on top of the covers.  He straightened up and gazed down at her; reaching out to caress her cheek.  “…Helena… my beautiful Helena, I…” he paused, suddenly too overcome with emotion and at a loss for words.

 

Helena smiled and raised her arms invitingly to him.  “You don’t have to say anything… I know.”  Her smile softened.  “You’re home, John.”  John moved into her arms, his body pressing hers into the mattress as he buried his face in her neck.  Helena wrapped her arms tightly around him and whispered in his ear.  “Welcome home, my love.”

 

John raised his head and his tear-filled eyes locked with hers.  “It’s so good to be home.”

 

They shared a soft smile and then slowly, their lips came together.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                            **

 

 

Helena rolled over in her sleep, her hand reaching out for John.  She bolted up in the bed when her hand encountered empty mattress.

 

“John?”  She called out, glancing around the room.  Not seeing his uniform anywhere, or even a sign that he’d been in the room, her eyes began to well with tears and she felt a tightening in her chest.  “Oh, God no… please…” she gasped.  “Not another dream.”

 

At that moment, the bedroom door opened.  Helena sprang out of the bed and was in his arms in a heartbeat, throwing her arms around his neck and burying her face in his chest.

 

John’s arms immediately went around her, holding her naked body tight as he felt her trembling.  “Hey… Helena…?”

 

“I thought… last night… I thought I was dreaming.”  She sobbed, her tears soaking his robe.  “I woke up… you were gone…”

 

“Oh, Honey, I’m sorry.”  He said, his arms tightening around her as he slowly maneuvered them over to the bed and sat down, pulling Helena into his lap.  “I didn’t mean to frighten you.  I had to check in with Tony and didn’t want to wake you.”

 

Helena shook her head against him before lifting it to look at him.  “It doesn’t matter.  You’re real.  Last night wasn’t a dream.”  She took a deep, shuddering breath and smiled softly as she cupped his cheek in her hand.  “You really have come back to me.”

 

John smiled and nodded as he turned his face into her hand, pressing a kiss into her palm.  “I’m home.  I promised you last night, Helena, I’m never leaving you again.”  Helena’s smile grew and John drew her back to him in a tight embrace, resting his cheek against her hair.  “I never want to go through that kind of hell again.”

 

She nodded against his shoulder, her arms tightening around him as well.  “Neither do I.”

 

John settled back on the bed, resting against the pillows as they quietly held each other, gathering strength and reassurance from their nearness.  He pressed a kiss into her hair and pulled her closer still.  Helena released a contented sigh and raised her head to gaze into his face before leaning in to kiss him.

 

John’s hands slid up into her hair, as the kiss grew longer and deeper.  Finally, in need of air, John broke off the kiss, his fingers remaining threaded in her hair.  He smiled adoringly at her, part of him still not believing that he was holding her again.  He brought her lips back to his for another long kiss, this one more passionate then the last.

 

Helena slowly ended the kiss and moved from John’s lap to stand beside the bed.  She reached out for his hands and pulled him up with her.  “Let’s go take a shower.  The kids will be here soon.”

 

John smiled; his eyes moving appreciatively over her naked body and nodded as he allowed Helena to pull him towards the bathroom.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

The front door opened and Jonathan stepped into the house, followed by his twin.

 

“Mom?  Dad?”  Victoria called out, heading for the kitchen from where she could smell coffee brewing.  “We’re here.”  She stopped as she entered the kitchen and glanced around, seeing that it was empty and turned to head back to the living room.  “They’re not in the kitchen.”

 

Jonathan nodded, a strange look on his face as he answered quietly.  “I know.”

 

“How do you…” she began to ask and then stopped as Jonathan put his finger to his lips and motioned for her to listen.  Victoria’s eyes suddenly grew wide and her expression soon mirrored her twin’s.  “Oh… my… God!”  She whispered and then covered her mouth with her hand to stifle the giggle that had risen in her throat as she realized just what she was hearing.

 

They looked at each other and in silent agreement, quickly moved out onto the porch, where as soon as the door was closed, Victoria and Jonathan dissolved into a fit of laughter.  They laughed until they each had tears streaming down their cheeks and both were clutching their sides as they gasped for breath.  They glanced up at each other as their laughter died down and began laughing again.

 

“That was…” Victoria began as her laughter finally subsided.  “…Eeew… I mean... we both knew they would be… that they were… well…  But to hear… actually hear them.”  She paused and made a face.  “And in the shower no less… eeew!”

 

“Now I know how Bobbie and the others felt.”  Jonathan said and chuckled at the memory of their friends’ reactions to unwittingly hearing or walking in on their parents having sex when they were younger.  He glanced at this twin.  “Just be glad we only heard them.”

 

Victoria shot him a look as she sat on the porch step.  Jonathan joined her.

 

“Despite how… strange that just was…” he paused and glanced at her with a small smile.  “I’m happy for them.  They’ve been reunited.  Against incredible odds… Mom and Dad are together again.”

 

“Mom always said Dad was still alive… and that somehow, he’d find a way to come back to us… to her.”

 

Jonathan nodded and looked at his sister.  She smiled and nodded before both lifted their gazes up to the moon, visible in the blue sky; the moon that had taken their father away but had also brought him back home to them and more importantly, home to their mother.

 

 

 

Figuring they’d given their parents enough time, the twins re-entered the house twenty minutes later to see their parents descending the staircase, arm in arm.

 

“Good afternoon, you two.”  Helena called out with a smile and then turned a curious gaze on her daughter.  “Where’s Callie?”

 

“With her other grandparents.”  Victoria answered.  “I figured it would be a late night last night, and with Robert on that survey mission, I asked them to take her overnight.”

 

Helena sighed and nodded understandingly.  “I wanted your father to meet her.”  She said and then looked up at John.  “You’re going to love her, John.  She’s such a delightful child.  Very much like how Vicky was when she was a baby.”

 

“I can’t wait to meet her.”  John said with a smile.  “But, right now, let’s go eat.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m ravenous.”  He shook his head, smiling to himself at the amused look that passed between the twins and began to lead Helena towards the kitchen, the twins following.  “Let’s go into the kitchen where we can eat and I can get re-acquainted with my children.”

 

 

 

“So, Dad.  What are your plans for today?”  Jonathan asked as they sat around the table thirty minutes later eating their food.

 

“Well, I’m supposed to meet with Victor and the other council members to talk about bringing everyone down from Alpha and what we can do to re-integrate everyone.”  John answered, munching on a piece of toast.  “And then, I’ll be heading up to Alpha to get things under way there.”  Next to him, John felt Helena stiffen.  He reached out and covered her hand with his, giving it a reassuring squeeze.  He glanced at her then turned back to his son.  “Correction, your mother and I will be heading up to Alpha.”

 

Helena looked at John uncertainly.  It’d been many years since she’d been on an Eagle, let alone on Alpha.

 

Seeing the look in Helena’s eyes, John turned his body and Helena’s so that they were facing each other and placed his hands on her shoulders.

 

“…John…” 

 

Helena, I told you, I’m never leaving you again.” 

 

“I know… but… John.  It’s been so long since…”

 

“You’ve been on either an Eagle or Alpha.”  He finished and she nodded.  John smiled at her.  “I understand… but I’d really like it if you came with me.  I do have to go up there… but I also don’t want to leave you.”

 

Helena smiled softly and nodded.  “I’ll go with you.  Besides,” her smile grew and her eyes twinkled as she brought her hands up to grip his wrists.  “I’ve finally got you back in my arms…” she paused and winked at him.  “…And I don’t intend to ever let you go again.”

 

John laughed as she finished quoting him, leaned forward, and placed a loving kiss on her mouth.

 

“I love you.”  He whispered against her lips.

 

“I love you too.”  She whispered back.

 

Across the table from their parents, Jonathan and Victoria simply smiled.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Walking arm in arm, John and Helena slowly made their way to the center of town, when Helena felt John suddenly stop.

 

“John?”  She began to ask then stopped when she saw what he was looking at.  She sighed softly.

 

“What is that?”  He asked, pointing to what looked like a fairly large replica of the moon and Alpha.  He led them over to it, his eyes growing wider as he saw that it was indeed the moon.  He read the inscription on the plaque attached to the base of the monument and then turned to look at Helena.  “A memorial?”

 

Helena nodded silently. 

 

John looked back at it and re-read the inscription.  “Everyone who was on Alpha for the second Breakaway is listed here, except…”

 

“Except you.”  Helena finished for him, nodding her head.  “It’s not an error, John.”

 

He gave her a questioning look and she sighed. 

 

“It’s a long story.”

 

John glanced around and then led Helena over to a nearby bench and sat, pulling her with him.  He grabbed her hands and gave them a gentle squeeze.  “Tell me.”

 

Helena regarded him for a moment, letting her thoughts turn inward for a moment.  She refocused on John, took a deep breath, and began to tell him.

 

 

 

“Do you think Mommy will like it?”  Helena heard Victoria ask, as she stood outside the door to Victor’s lab, about to enter.

 

“Will I like what?”  She asked, walking into the room, a smile coming to her face as her children turned and seeing her, rushed over to hug her.  She knelt down and hugged them both to her, wishing, not for the first time, that John were still here to see how much they’d grown.  She kissed each one on the cheek and then asked again.  “What is it that you think I’ll like?”

 

“A… mem… mem… ori…” Jonathan began, stumbling on the word.  “A memory.”

 

“A memorial, Jonnie.”  Victoria corrected her twin.  She looked at her mother and smiled.  “It’s something people make to…” her forehead furrowed as she thought about it and then glanced back to the other adults in the room, then back at her mother.  “...So that they don’t forget people who are died.”

 

“You’re right, that’s what it’s for, Vicky.”  Helena told her daughter, not bothering to correct her grammar as her gaze shifted to Victor, Alan, and Sandra, all of who had the good sense to look uneasy and look away.  Helena looked back at her children.

 

“Daddy is dead.”  Jonathan said all of a sudden.  “That’s why Uncle Alan and Aunt Sandra and Uncle Victor said that we can put Daddy’s name on the…” he paused and glanced at his twin.  “...Mem-or-ial.”  He sounded it out and smiled as he realized he got it right.

 

Helena took a deep breath and slowly stood, ushering the twins to the door.  “I want both of you to wait outside for me.”

 

“But…”

 

“No buts, Victoria.”  She said in a firm voice.  “I want you and your brother to sit and wait for me on the steps.  No running around, is that understood?”

 

“Yes, Mommy.”  They answered together and stepped outside.

 

“I won’t be long.”  Helena said and shut the door.

 

“…Helena…” Alan began and stopped as she whirled around to face them.

 

“I don’t ever, EVER, want to hear of anyone telling my children that their father is dead!”  She said in a tight voice, her green eyes flashing angrily.  “Is that clear?!  Never again!”

 

Helena… it’s been five years…” Victor began; trying his best calm her down.  “Surely you don’t believe that John is still alive?  And even if, by some chance of a miracle they survived that second breakaway, with so few people to run the base… they can’t have survived this long…” his voice trailed off.

 

“John is still alive.”  She said, her voice still tight, but filled with conviction. 

 

“…Helena…” Victor began again, but was interrupted by Sandra.

 

Helena, we all know how much you want to believe that.”  Sandra said softly.  “We all do, but it has been five years… we all need closure; we need to move on with our lives.  To move past the grieving.”

 

“Sandra is right, Helena.”  Alan said, placing a hand on his wife’s shoulder.  “That’s why we’ve designed this monument.  To pay respect to those lost on Alpha and honour their memories.”

 

Helena shook her head, her hands balling into tight fists, as she fought to control her anger.  “No.  John is still alive and I will not let you erect some… monument… a tribute to their deaths… they are not dead!  John would not let them die!”

 

Helena, I know this is difficult for you.”  Victor said.  “I know how much you loved John.”

 

“Love… Victor.  I LOVE John… present tense.”  She said, her voice beginning to grow louder.

 

Helena…”

 

“NO!  I will not allow you to do this!”

 

“It is too late, Helena.”  Sandra said quietly.

 

Helena turned her angry gaze on her friend.  “What do mean, it’s too late?”

 

“Construction on the monument has already begun.”  Alan told her.

 

Helena closed her eyes briefly and took a deep breath.  She opened them again as she exhaled.  “Fine… build your memorial… just don’t put my husband’s name anywhere on it.”

 

Helena… you can’t mean…”

 

“You heard me, Alan.”  She said, her voice growing hard.  “I don’t want to see John’s name on that thing.  Not even a reference to him in any way!”

 

“Helena, John was Commander of Alpha… people are going to wonder why…”

 

“Let them!”  She said in a loud voice, turning to face Victor.  “John is MY husband!  And I will not allow you to place his name on some monument meant to honour his memory… his death… when John is NOT dead!”  She stopped and glared at each of them in turn before turning and walking to the door.  Helena placed her hand on the door handle and turned back to look at them once again.  “And, so help me God, if I see John’s name, or even his title on that thing… I guarantee you, it won’t be there long!”

 

Helena… you would not…” Sandra said uncertainly.

 

“Try me!”

 

With that, Helena turned and left the lab, slamming the door behind her, startling her children sitting on the steps.  They jumped up as she descended the stairs, their smiles fading at the look on her face.  Still upset and not wanting to take it out on her children, Helena simply grabbed each twins’ hand and began walking home.

 

 

 

“Mommy!  Mommy, slow down.”  She heard Jonathan call up to her.  “Please, Mommy.  We’re sorry.”

 

Helena stopped suddenly and looked down at the twins; noticing that they were both a little out of breath from trying to keep up with the brisk pace she’d been unaware she’d been walking.

 

“Yeah… we’re sorry.”  Victoria said.  “We didn’t mean to make you mad, Mommy.”

 

Helena knelt down and gathered Victoria and Jonathan into her arms, hugging them tightly against her as her eyes welled with tears.  “Oh, babies, mommy’s the one who’s sorry.”  She pulled back and looked into their concerned, confused faces.  “I’m not mad at you guys.”

 

“You’re not?”  Jonathan asked.

 

“No, Sweetie.  I’m not.”  She chuckled softly, smiling at them now.

 

“Then why are you mad, Mommy?”  Victoria asked.

 

Helena took a deep breath and looked at her daughter.  “Oh, Vicky… it’s too complicated to explain.”

 

“Is it because of the memorial, Mommy?”  She asked, both she and her brother having heard their mother yelling something about the memorial back at the lab.

 

“A little, Honey.”

 

“Mommy?”  Jonathan ventured quietly.

 

Helena turned to look at her son, noting the serious look on his face.  “Yes, Jonathan?”

 

“Why don’t Vicky and me have a daddy?” 

 

Helena’s eyes grew wide and she was momentarily at a loss for words.  “You do have a daddy.”

 

“We don’t have one here like Bobbie does.”  Jonathan pointed out.

 

“That’s cause our daddy is on the moon, Jonnie.  On Alpha.”  Victoria said and then looked at her mother with a smile.  “Right, Mommy?”

 

“Right, Vicky.”  Helena replied.

 

“Why did Daddy leave us then?”  Jonathan asked.  “Didn’t he love us?”

 

“Oh, Jonathan…” Helena began, placing her hand on his cheek.  “Your daddy loves us very much.”  She paused, thinking back to that horrible day five years ago when the moon was suddenly ripped out of orbit, tearing her world apart.  “Your daddy didn’t want to leave us.”

 

“Mommy…?”

 

“Yes, Vicky?”  Helena turned to her daughter.

 

“Is Daddy dead?  Like Uncle Victor and everyone says?”  Victoria asked quietly.

 

“No, Honey.  Daddy isn’t dead.”  Helena immediately replied.

 

“How do you know?”  Jonathan asked.

 

Helena smiled at them.  “Because I can still feel him.  In here.”  She said, placing her hand over her heart.  “I know, with all my heart, that your daddy is still alive.”  Helena placed her hands over each of the twins’ hearts and looked from one to the other.  “I want both of you to remember, no matter what anyone else tells you… your daddy is still alive!  And that he loves you both very much and is doing everything he can to come home to us.” 

 

She reached out and grabbed each of their hands, placing them over their hearts.

 

“If you ever start to forget that… just listen to your hearts and you will feel him and how much he loves you.  Okay?”

 

Jonathan and Victoria both smiled and nodded, replying together.  “Yes, Mommy.”

 

Helena smiled and slowly stood up, reaching for their hands again to resume their walk home.

 

“Mommy… what’s Daddy like?”  Jonathan asked suddenly.

 

“He’s a good singer, Jonnie!”  Victoria answered with a smile and Helena chuckled at her answer, surprised Vicky remembered John singing them to sleep each night.  “Don’t you ‘member him singing us songs?”

 

Jonathan’s brow furrowed in concentration.  He shook his head and looked up at Helena with a worried look.  His lower lip trembled as he spoke quietly.  “I don’t ‘member, Mommy.”

 

Helena reached down and ruffled her son’s hair.  “That’s okay, Sport.  You were very little when your Daddy was taken away…” her voice trailed off as she also came to the realization, that except for a few photos of John around the house, the twins’ really had no idea what their father was like.

 

“But I wants to ‘member, Mommy.”  Jonathan sniffled.

 

Helena looked down at her son then glanced at her daughter as well, coming to a decision.  And even though she knew it would be difficult, she decided that they were old enough to see what their father was like.

 

“Come on.”  She said gently, tugging on their hands.  “Let’s go home, I’ve got a surprise for you.  Something that will show you what your Daddy is like.”

 

The twins smiled and went eagerly with her.

 

 

 

“We went home and I showed them the video we took of their first birthday.”  Helena finished.  A soft smile came to her face, remembering the delighted wonder on the twins’ faces at seeing their father on the monitor, laughing and playing with them.  Her own reaction to watching the video would go unsaid.  “They loved it and every night after that, we watched a different one, until we’d watched them all.  And then, we started all over again.  Neither one could get enough of watching them, even as they got older.”

 

John smiled and then chuckled.

 

“What?”  She asked, giving him a quizzical look.

 

“I was just picturing you, laying into Victor, Alan and Sandra.”  He answered.

 

Helena chuckled softly as well then grew serious.  “…I couldn’t let them do it.  I knew you weren’t dead.  And nothing anyone said could convince me otherwise.”

 

John lifted his hand to her cheek and caressed it.  He smiled tenderly at her.  “And you were right…” He paused and glanced up at the moon.  “…For the most part anyway.”

 

“What do you mean, John?”

 

“Not all of us survived the Breakaway that second time.”  He answered quietly, meeting her eyes. 

 

“Who?”  She asked softly, almost afraid to hear the number of casualties Alpha had sustained.

 

“Maya.”

 

Helena closed her eyes and lowered her head for a brief moment.  She looked back up at him.  “How did she…”

 

“When the moon was ripped out of orbit, she was thrown onto her console.  It exploded and that, combined with the G-forces, threw her back against my desk… she hit it with her head…” he paused.  “She… her neck was broken and there was nothing Bob could do.”

 

Helena squeezed his hands.  “How did… how did Tony take it?”

 

“As you’d expect.  He was inconsolable for months.”  John said, returning the pressure of her hands.  “I understood the pain he was feeling… somewhat… for although we’d been separated… I at least knew you were still alive.”  He paused, held her gaze, and shook his head at the question in her eyes.  “There were no others.  Just Maya.”

 

Helena nodded silently and moved willingly into his embrace when he opened his arms to her.  She buried her face in his neck and released her tears at the loss of her friend.  John held her tightly and Helena knew by the pressure of his arms that although he’d come to terms with the loss of their friend, he shared her grief.

 

A few minutes later, Helena lifted her head and looked at him through her tears.  She smiled sadly at him, her eyes telling him that she understood and shared his relief that they hadn’t lost each other in that way.  They moved back into each other’s embrace again and held each other tightly for a few moments longer before John pulled back slightly and slipped his fingers under her chin.

 

He raised her face, gazing into her eyes as he ran his thumb lightly over her lips, his other hand caressing up and down her arm and then slowly moving up over her shoulder to tangle in her hair.  John smiled warmly at her as he leaned closer and brushed his lips against hers.

 

Despite the sad news of Maya’s death, Helena still felt too much joy and relief at not having lost John in that way... to have him home with her.  Knowing that there would be time later to sit and remember her old friend, Helena smiled at John to let him know she was all right.  She returned his soft kiss and then slowly stood, pulling him to his feet as well.

 

“Come on.  Victor and the others are waiting.”  She said and then smiled, slipping her arm around his waist.  “And, I believe I have a date with my husband up on Alpha.”

 

John smiled and draped his arm around her shoulders.  “I hope this meeting doesn’t take long.”

 

Helena chuckled, hearing the controlled desire in John’s voice and gave him an affectionate squeeze.  “I hope not either.”

 

John gave her a quick kiss and then they resumed their walk to the Community Recreation Building.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena released a soft gasp as the Eagle, flown down once again by Bill Fraser along with his family, left Nova Canaan’s atmosphere and entered open space on its journey back to Alpha.  Feeling John’s eyes on her, Helena turned to meet his smiling gaze.

 

“I’d forgotten how beautiful it is up here.”  She told him, turning her gaze back to the window.

 

“It is beautiful.”  He agreed.  “And for the first time, in a long time… I am able to see that beauty again.”

 

Helena turned back to him and gave him a tender look, reaching out to take the hand he held out to her, feeling him squeeze her hand gently.  She returned the gentle pressure of his hand and looked back out the window.

 

“How long before we get to Alpha?”  She asked.

 

“Five hours.”

 

“Five hours?”

 

John nodded and then looked at her, flashing her a big grin and winking at her.  “If you like, I could always throw this thing on auto pilot… I’m sure we could find some way to pass the time.”

 

Helena laughed.  “I’m sure we could.”

 

John joined in her laughter as he went back to his flying.  A few moments later, out of the corner of his eye, he caught Helena get up out of her seat and stand over him.  He glanced up to see her smiling at him, her green eyes sparkling. 

 

Helena continued to simply smile at him, not saying a word; her smile growing as she watched John flip on the auto pilot and jump up out of his seat.  She reached out, grabbed his hands, and led him into the passenger section of the Eagle.

 

 

 

Five hours later, the Eagle safely docked on Alpha, John, and Helena emerged arm in arm from the ship… both smiling widely.

 

Helena.  It’s good to see you again.”

 

“Tony!”  She smiled and stepped away from John to embrace the younger man.  “Oh… it’s good to see you again too.”  She pulled back and looked at him, noting that he’d gotten a little grey.  “How are you?”

 

Tony looked into her eyes and could see that John had told her about Maya.  He smiled softly and shrugged his shoulders.  “I’m doing okay, Helena.”  He paused.  “Happy to be back.  How are the kids?”

 

“All grown up and doing very well.”  Helena responded, smiling as John slipped his arm about her shoulders. 

 

“That’s good to hear.”  Tony said and then turned to John.  “I know you’re probably tired from the flight back here…” he paused momentarily, not missing the glance John and Helena shot at each other and smiled to himself.  “…And would like to return to your quarters, but we have some very anxious people up here wondering when they can pack up and move down there.”

 

John nodded.  “I’m sure they are.”  He looked down at Helena and smiled.  “What do you say we go to Command Center and give everyone the good news?”

 

Helena smiled.  “Sounds good to me.”

 

“Tony…” John said.  “Lead the way.”

 

“With pleasure.”  Tony replied.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

Several hours later, Helena stood in John’s arms, covering his hands with hers where he rested them on her stomach.  She leaned back against him and pulled his arms tighter around her as she shook her head in silent amazement, taking in her surroundings.

 

“John… ”  She said softly, her eyes continuing to move about the rooms she’d shared with him so long ago.  Clothes she hadn’t had a chance to pack and bring down to Nova Canaan still hung in the closet.  Her sculpting tools still occupied the far corner, along with an unfinished sculpture.  The twins’ toys were still strewn around the room, their clothes and their cribs still set up across the room from the bed… their bed… everything was as it was the last time she’d been here.  She felt her eyes well with tears as she tilted her head back to look at him.  “You didn’t…”

 

“I couldn’t…” John interrupted as he rested his cheek against her hair, pulling her even closer.  “…I couldn’t bring myself to pack any of it up.  It would have been like giving up on you; admitting that I’d lost you.  You and the twins.”  He paused and brushed his lips against her temple.  “And it also gave me a reason to wake up each morning and work on ways to get back to you and our family.”

 

Helena turned in his arms, resting her hands on his chest as he settled his hands on her hips.  She smiled up at him through the tears on her lashes.

 

“Like you, I knew you were still alive... could feel it in my heart.  Despite what everyone here thought… that the moon’s sudden departure from Nova had, like on Earth, disrupted the planet and…” he swallowed and shook his head as he slowly smiled.  “But none of that matters now.”

 

“No.  None of that matters now.”  She echoed, rising up to brush a soft kiss against his lips.

 

John returned her light kiss and then pulled her close.  He began to sway gently as he maneuvered them further into the room.  He paused momentarily and reached out to flip on the CD player.  Helena smiled lovingly at him and laid her head on his shoulder as they began to slowly dance to the soft music.

 

The first song ended and as the second song began, Helena released a contented sigh.  Lifting her head from John’s shoulder, Helena reached up to give him a gentle kiss; sliding her hands up his chest and around his neck as the kiss deepened.

 

John’s hands caressed up and down her back as the kiss ended and her dancing green eyes met his smiling blue ones.  He brushed another soft kiss against her lips and drew her back against him.

 

Helena smiled, listening to the steady rhythm of his heart as her head rested on his chest.  “I remember the last time we were alone up here.”  She murmured softly.

 

John slid one hand up to rest on her shoulder, holding her tighter as he nodded gently.  “Your birthday.”

 

Her arms tightened around his neck and she raised her head again to meet his eyes.  The soft smile on her lips turned into a playful one as she caught the look in his eyes, both of them remembering that night very well.

 

“What are the chances of a repeat performance?”  She asked in a husky voice, drawing her finger down along his jaw.

 

“Oh…” John replied in a low voice as his hands moved down her back to cup her rear, pulling her closer.  “…I’d say the chances are pretty good.”

 

Helena’s delighted laugh was smothered by John’s mouth covering hers in a passionate kiss.  She moaned low in her throat as she returned the heated kiss, clinging to his neck as he moved them towards the bed.

 

As they reached the foot of the bed, John’s commlock sounded.  They both groaned and pulled apart.  John gave her an apologetic look and reached for the device.

 

“Koenig.”

 

“Sorry to disturb you, John.”  Came Tony’s voice as his image filled the tiny screen.  “But you’re needed in Command Center.”

 

“Can’t it wait till morning, Tony?”  John asked, looking at Helena.

 

“I’m afraid not, John.”

 

“All right, Tony.”  John nodded.  “I’ll be right there.”

 

John closed the channel and looked back at Helena as he placed his commlock back on his belt.  Helena smiled at him.

 

“Go.”  She said, putting her hands on his shoulders.  “The sooner you go, the sooner you get back.”

 

John nodded and leaned down to give her a quick kiss.  “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

 

Helena nodded and watched with an affectionate smile as he ran out the door; chuckling softly as the door shut behind him.  Taking a deep breath and holding her desire in check, Helena glanced around and decided to re-familiarize herself with her former home.

 

 

 

Returning to his quarters much later than he anticipated, John paused for a moment outside his door and released a frustrated breath.  The whole time he’d been in Command Center with Tony, his mind kept wandering back to Helena, waiting for him in their quarters; hoping she wouldn’t be too upset with him for being gone so long. 

 

Keying in his code, John opened the door and stepped in the room, allowing the door to shut behind him as he came to a stop.  The lights in the room had been dimmed; the soft music they’d been dancing to earlier still playing, and a few small candles burned, creating a romantic atmosphere.

 

John looked around for Helena as he kicked off his boots and was just about to call her when he saw her… lying on the bed.  Slowly, he made his way to her, removing his belt and shirt and tossing them on the chair as he went.  He paused at the foot of the bed and inhaled sharply at the sight before him.

 

Helena lay on his side of the bed, sound asleep.  Her one arm was flung over her head, and she was wearing his favorite black negligee; the skirt of which had fallen open where it was split up the side, revealing her long legs to him.  She had a peaceful, relaxed smile on her face and to John, she’d never looked more beautiful.  He quietly made his way to the side of the bed and kneeled down beside her, never once taking his eyes off her. 

 

He soon lost track of time as he continued to feast on the vision before him, greedily taking in every nuance, almost as if he was afraid he was going to suddenly awaken and find this was all a dream.  She sighed softly and rolled over towards him, her white-blonde hair falling in her face as she continued to sleep.

 

Not wanting to wake her, John reached out and gently brushed the hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear.  And then, unable to stop himself, he moved a little closer and with a feather-light touch, drew the back of his fingers along her cheek.  He closed his eyes as he felt the tears begin to well up.

 

“John?”

 

He opened his eyes at the whisper of his name to see Helena smiling sleepily at him.

 

“What’s wrong?”  She asked quietly, seeing the tears in his eyes.

 

He shook his head.

 

“Nothing’s wrong.”  He answered softly, reaching out again to caress her cheek.  He smiled tenderly at her.  “Nothing at all.  In fact, everything is wonderful.”

 

“Then why the tears, John?” 

 

“It just really hit me that I’ve woken up from a very long, very horrible nightmare.”  He answered.  “Walking into our quarters and finding you asleep in our bed…” he smiled at her.  “…Wearing that negligee…” he paused.  “…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamt of this… only to awaken to find myself alone in bed.”  John paused again and drew in a deep breath before continuing.  “The nightmare is over… this is a dream come true.  You’re really here… and in our bed.”

 

Helena smiled lovingly at him.

 

“It was a nightmare, for both of us, John.”  She told him, reaching out to cup his cheek, her own eyes filling with tears.  “I’ve dreamed of this too… so many times and every time I’ve woken up to my own sobs calling your name.”  She paused, running her fingers over his lips.  “And now… if I’m dreaming again… I hope I never wake up.”

 

“I love you, Helena.”

 

“I love you too, John.”  She smiled, leaning towards him as she slid her hand behind his head into his hair, pulling him closer.  John went willingly as Helena pulled him to her, their lips meeting in a gentle, loving kiss.

 

The kiss slowly ended and John placed his hand on her shoulder, gently pushing her down, so that she was once again lying on her back.  He sat back for a moment and Helena watched as his gaze moved over her body.  When his eyes returned to hers, the tears were still on his lashes but she could also see the rising passion in his cerulean depths.

 

She smiled invitingly at him as he reached out with his hands and with just his fingers, began to trace the features of her face.  She sighed softly at his light touch, his fingers following the lines of her eyebrows and moving down the shape of her nose.  He brushed his fingers over her lips, trailing them back up along her jaw and down again over her high cheekbones to once again trace the shape of her lips, before leaning over and repeating all his movements with his lips.

 

Placing a second gentle kiss on her lips, John straightened up, his hands moving delicately over her throat, along her right shoulder and down her arm.  When his fingers came to her hand, he lifted her hand in his and traced each of her fingers with his, using the same soft touch to trail back up along the inside of her arm; again, leaning over to follow the same path with his lips.

 

Helena watched him as he kissed each of her fingers then press a loving kiss to her palm; moving them slowly up her arm to capture her lips again, before reaching over to do the same thing to her other arm.  She moaned softly, her skin tingling everywhere he touched.  She reached out to pull him to her as he kissed her yet again, but he shook his head, grabbing her hands and placing them at her side.

 

She smiled softly and nodded, watching through lidded eyes as he reached out and cupped one of her breasts.  She lifted her gaze to his face and saw the intense look on his face as he began to caress her breast through the lace of her negligee with his other hand.

 

John was aware of her gaze on him as he circled her breast lightly with his fingers, running his palm over her hardening nipple, but didn’t turn to meet her gaze.  Instead he leaned over and pressed a kiss against her lace covered breast, then moved his hands to her other breast, caressing it as he had the first.  This time when he leaned over her, he drew the taut nipple into his mouth, suckling her through the lace.

 

“…John…” she gasped, arching slightly at the sensations shooting through her body as his tongue moved against her through the lace.

 

John released her breast and raised his face to smile at her before moving up to capture her lips for a long, deep kiss.  Leaving her breathless as he ended the kiss, John’s hands and lips continued their journey down her body.

 

Helena closed her eyes, allowing the sensations of John’s worshipful touch to wash over her as his hands and mouth moved lower on her body.  A soft whimper left her lips as his hands and lips moved over and between her thighs, barely touching her before continuing to move down her legs.  By the time John reached her feet, Helena was quivering with pleasure, aware of nothing but the fire burning deep inside her at his masterful touch.

 

She opened her eyes when she no longer felt John’s hands on her and saw him stand and quickly remove his pants.  She couldn’t help the appreciative smile that graced her lips at the sight of him, naked and fully aroused.

 

John glanced down at her, smiling at the smile on her face and then walked to the end of the bed, kneeling on the mattress between her legs.  He ran his hands up her legs, pushing her negligee up as he went.  When the skirt was bunched at her waist, John placed one hand on her stomach, the other on her thigh and leaned over, pressing his mouth against her.

 

“John!”  Helena cried out his name; body trembling and hands clutching the sheets as her already stimulated body reacted to the pressure of his lips closing around her sensitive flesh. 

 

John smiled inwardly, continuing to love her with his mouth as Helena’s orgasm passed through her body and moved his hand over her thigh; brushing his fingers through her curls before slipping two fingers inside her, moving them slowly in and out of her.  She cried out his name again, another orgasm working it’s way through her body.

 

When her body quieted again, John withdrew his fingers and with a last loving kiss against her, reached out for her hands and gently pulled her up so that they were now face to face.  He reached for the bunched up negligee and pulled it up and off her, throwing it to the floor.  He leaned forward, giving her a passionate kiss as his hands closed around her waist.  He drew her closer, lifting her slightly and entering her slowly as he settled her across his thighs.

 

They moaned into each other’s mouths before breaking off the kiss to gaze into each other’s eyes.  Neither one moved, both too overwhelmed by the emotions they felt and saw in the other’s eyes.  Their lips came together again in a loving kiss as Helena slid her legs around him, pressing her body tightly against his, causing him to moan into her mouth.  Little by little, Helena began to move on him, rocking her hips slowly against him.

 

John’s mouth left hers, trailing down to nip lightly at her throat before continuing down to take one of her nipples in his mouth.

 

“…John…” Helena gasped and arched against him, her hands moving to his head, her fingers entangling in his hair, holding him against her.

 

John smiled against her breast then raised his head, the smile still on his lips as he slowly ran his hands up and down her back, causing her to shiver against him.  He caught her lips in another ardent kiss as his hands moved down her back one last time to cup her bottom; guiding her movements as he lifted his hips to meet hers.

 

Their bodies moved together, matching in a gentle, perfect rhythm; both content to love each other slowly.  Helena’s hands moved to his shoulders as she broke off the kiss to gaze into his face; her breath catching in her throat at the look of raw desire she saw in his eyes.  She tightened her legs around him, arching against him again, urging him to thrust deeper inside her. 

 

John’s hands slid up to her hips, tightening his grip as he complied with her silent request.  He thrust deeper inside her; smiling at the low moan that sounded in her throat.  John pulled her closer, wanting and needing to have his lips on her body; needing to taste her.

 

“John…” Helena moaned his name softly, her hands gripping his shoulders tightly as her head fell back, her body quivering.  “Oh… God… John…”

 

John felt her quiver and pressed another kiss to her breasts before lifting his head to smile at her; the throaty way she moaned his name sending warm shivers through him.  He moved his hands up her body, pulling and holding her tight against him, his lips seeking hers for a fervent kiss as he slowly lowered her down to the mattress; covering her body with his.

 

Helena moved to wrap her arms around John’s back when he suddenly rolled over, pulling her with him.  She ended the kiss and favored him with a luscious smile as she rose up on him, leisurely drawing her nails lightly down his chest.  She chuckled softly at John’s sharp intake of breath.

 

John inhaled sharply, his eyes locked on Helena as she began to move on him; raising and lifting her hips; taking him deeper inside her each time.  He skimmed his fingers up along her thighs, to grasp her waist in his hands, meeting her thrust for thrust.

 

“…Helena…” he groaned her name; the sight and feeling of her moving on his body almost his undoing; sending a wave of absolute pleasure through him.

 

Helena felt John’s body tremble slightly under hers and laid her hands on his chest and began to move faster on him; knowing they were both close to their release.  John held tight to her waist, matching her faster rhythm, watching as her head fell back and she gasped for air.

 

“Mmm… John!”  She panted and John could feel her inner muscles beginning to clench tightly around him.  She repeated his name over and over in a breathy pant; her movements growing more erratic as the feelings that were building quickly began to explode throughout her body.  Suddenly she stopped moving, crying out his name as the sensations overwhelmed her.

 

At her cry of his name, John thrust into her one last time, crying out her name as his world burst into a kaleidoscope of sensations.  He reached up and pulled her down to him, joining his mouth to hers as their bodies trembled together.

 

Still kissing, Helena stretched her body out over his, keeping him inside her.  As their bodies slowly stopped trembling, so did their kiss.  Helena laid her head on his chest and exhaled deeply.

 

“Ooh… my…” she kissed his neck, still trying to get her breathing under control; smiling as she felt his embrace of her tighten.  She sighed happily as she lifted her head to look into his face.  “That was… mmm… wonderful, John.  YOU are wonderful.”

 

John chuckled.  “You’re pretty wonderful yourself.”

 

Helena’s smile grew as she laid her head back on his chest.  A few moments later, she shifted, releasing another sigh as she felt him slide out of her and nestled against his side; her leg bent across his thighs, her head resting over his heart.

 

John wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer; his one hand stroking her hair, the other hand caressing her exposed arm, from her shoulder to her elbow and back.  He too released a happy sigh.

 

“I’ve been thinking.”  He murmured against her hair some minutes later.

 

“About?”

 

“What do you think about having the kids come up here?  To see Alpha… their birthplace?”

 

“You going to show them the Travel Tube as well?”  She asked with a touch of humour in her voice.

 

“Well, of course.”  He chuckled.  “That is after all, where they entered this world.”

 

“How well I remember.”  Helena commented and then nodded against his chest.  “I think it’s a great idea.  They’ve always been curious about Alpha.  Especially, Vicky.”

 

“Good.  Then I’ll call them in the morning to make the necessary arrangements… the Eagle… quarters.” 

 

“Sounds good.”

 

“Do you think Vick will want to bring, Callie?”  He asked and she could hear in his voice how anxious he was to meet his first grandchild.

 

“More than likely.”  Helena answered, her hand beginning to wander over his chest, playing in his chest-hair.  “One of Callie’s first words was Alpha.”

 

“Really?”  John chuckled, becoming distracted by the direction her hand was beginning to move in.

 

“Mmhmm.”  She murmured, her hand trailing down over his abdomen.  “Dada.  Mama.  Alpha.  Gramma.  Grampa.  Papa.  Nana.  And in that order.”  She finished, circling her finger around his belly button.

 

“Our granddaughter sounds like a smart kid.”  He said and then took in a deep breath as her hand moved lower still.

 

“John…” she purred, lifting her head from his chest to smile seductively at him.  “Do you want to keep talking about our children and grandchild?  Or…”

 

She was cut off as John pulled her mouth down to his, at the same time, rolling them over so that she was pinned beneath him.  He kissed her until she was breathless and raised his head mere inches from hers.

 

“Does that answer your question?”

 

Helena simply moaned an affirmative as she pulled his lips back to hers.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena released a contented sigh as she felt the gentle finger trailing up her bare arm and rolled over without opening her eyes to nestle into the warmth of his body; her legs intertwining with his as she pressed a soft kiss to his chest.

 

“Good morning.”  She felt his breath caress her hair as he spoke softly.

 

“Mmm… good morning.”  Helena replied, a slow smile coming to her lips as she snuggled further into his embrace; feeling his caress moving from her arm to run up and down her back.  “Now this… this is what I’ve really missed.  Waking up in your arms.”

 

She felt John smile, pull her closer, and nuzzle her neck; his lips slowly working up to her ear, where he whispered softly.  “And I’ve missed waking up holding you in my arms.”

 

Helena leaned her head back slightly and opened her eyes, her smile growing.  She brought her hand up to caress his cheek, her fingers trailing over and around his ear before slipping into his dark hair and pulling his lips down to hers.

 

They parted breathlessly some moments later and John rolled onto his back and settled against the pillows, pulling her with him.  Helena settled her head on his shoulder and slipped her arms around him.  Together they released contented sighs.

 

“So…” Helena began softly, tracing lazy patterns on his chest with her finger.  “How long will it take to totally evacuate the rest of the base?”

 

“About a week, maybe less.”  John answered, his hand stroking her hair.  “And then, I’m taking a vacation.”

 

Helena chuckled and raised her head to look down at him, her eyes twinkling.  “Well, I’d say you were about due for one.  Any special plans for this vacation?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  John murmured, drawing her closer.  “I plan to spend each and every minute of it with my wife.  Making love with her, talking with her, catching up with her.”  He paused and ran his hand along her arm.  “Making love with her.”

 

“You said that already.”  Helena pointed out as she rolled onto his chest and smiled down at him.  

 

“What can I say?  I’m can’t get enough of her.”  His smiled as his hands moved under the covers to stroke down her back.  “You see... I’m addicted to her.”

 

“Mmm… good.”  Helena said as she felt him grow hard beneath her and shifted slightly against him, smiling when he moaned softly in response.  “Because I happen to be addicted to my husband as well.”

 

“Is that so?”  John asked, his eyes sparkling as he grasped her hips, shifting her so that his growing erection pressed against her soft curls.

 

“It is.”

 

Suddenly, John rolled them over and smoothly entered her, both of them moaning at the union.

 

“I’m so glad you share my addiction, wife.”  John smiled, dipping his head to catch her lips in a searing kiss.

 

“So am I, husband.”  Helena replied, pulling his lips back to hers; moaning into his mouth as he began to move inside her and soon forgot all about conversation.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena stood just outside the hanger, watching with a small smile as John paced nervously back and forth in front of her.

 

“John… relax.”  Helena told him.  “There’s no reason to be nervous.”

 

“Nervous?  Who’s nervous?”  He said, continuing to pace.

 

“You are.”  She chuckled; finally reaching out to grab his hand when he passed close to her, stopping his pacing.  “John.”

 

He looked at her and released a deep breath as he reached out to grab her other hand.  “Okay, so I’m a little nervous.”  He admitted and she smiled.  “It’s just… the kids haven’t been up here in so long… and then there’s Callie… and…” he stopped and released another deep breath.  “I’m being silly, aren’t I?”

 

Helena stepped closer to him, wrapping her arms around his waist as she shook her head.  “No.  You’re not being silly.  You’re being a father.”  She smiled up at him.  “Not to mention a grandfather.”

 

John chuckled, slipped his arms around her waist, and drew her closer.  He lowered his head and just as his lips met hers, he heard the door slide open.  He quickly brushed his lips against hers and straightened up, keeping his arm about her waist as he looked up to see his children walking towards them, followed by…

 

“Alan!  Sandra!”  John smiled and moved forward to greet his old friends with a hug.  “I’m so glad you two came up.”

 

“It’s good to be here again, John.”  Alan said, returning the friendly embrace.

 

“Sandra, you look wonderful.”  John said, bending low to place a kiss on her cheek.

 

“Thank you, Commander.”  Sandra replied as John stepped back to Helena.

 

“Sandra, what have I always told you about that?”  John smiled.  “Call me John.  Besides, we’re family now.”

 

Sandra smiled and nodded.

 

“Speaking of family.  John, you remember Robert don’t you?”  Alan said, moving over and placing his hand on the shoulder of a tall, young man who was standing just behind Victoria.

 

John nodded, stepping over to the young man and held out his hand.  “Good to see you again, Robert.”

 

“Good to meet you again too, Commander.”  Robert said, taking John’s hand and shaking it.  “I wish I could say I remembered you from when I was little, but…”

 

John shook his head.  “Say no more.  I understand completely.”

 

“And this…” John’s attention was drawn to his daughter as she spoke and the small child she held in her arms.  “This is your granddaughter, Callie.”

 

“Hello, Callie.”  John said with a gentle smile, holding out his hand to her.

 

Grampa!”  Callie said excitedly and launched herself into John’s arms.  “Grampa!  Grampa!  Grampa!”

 

Helena watched, her eyes filling with tears as John laughed with delight, hugging Callie tightly to his chest and felt her heart swell with happiness when she met John’s eyes and saw his joy reflected back at her through tears of his own.  She glanced at Victoria and the two women shared a smile.

 

“Now, this is definitely a picture worth taking.”  Alan said with a smile, not quite hiding the emotion in his own voice as he reached into his pocket and snapped a picture just as Callie placed her hands on either side of John’s face and flashed him a big smile.

 

“Welcome home, Grampa.”  Callie said, still smiling.

 

“Thank you, Callie.  Your grandmother was right, you certainly are beautiful young lady.”  John smiled at her, tickling her ribs, delighting in her laughter as she tried to tickle him back.  “As beautiful as your mother and grandmother.”

 

At the mention of her grandmother, Callie turned suddenly in John’s arms to look over at Helena, reaching her hand out to her but not moving to leave John’s arms. 

 

“See, Gramma… I was right!  I was right!”  Callie smiled as Helena moved over to them, reaching up to place a kiss on her granddaughter’s cheek.  Grampa brung the moon back to you.”

 

“Yes, Honey.  You were right.”  Helena smiled up at her, glancing at John with bright eyes as she placed her hand on his arm, squeezing him gently.  Grampa brought the moon back to me… to all of us.”

 

John smiled at her as he noticed out of the corner of his eye as Robert slipped his arm about Victoria’s shoulder, the two of them sharing a tender smile.  He grinned at them as he once again hugged Callie to him.  “Well, I could stand here all day and tickle this little munchkin, but I suppose I should take you all to get settled in and rest from the flight up here.”  He turned to look at Alan and Sandra.  “I’ve arranged for you to have your old quarters while you’re here, if that’s all right with you?”

 

“That’s great, John.”  Alan said.  “In fact, we were kind of hoping that’s where you’d put us.”  He grinned down at his wife and pulled her closer.  “Give me a chance to, uh… relive, some fun memories with the wife here.”

 

Everyone laughed as Sandra blushed and poked him in the ribs.  “Alan!”

 

“Tell you what, John.  Why don’t you show the rest of these guys to their quarters, Sandra and I can find our way to our quarters on our own.”  Alan suggested.  “There’s one or two places I’d like to check out first.”

 

“You sure?”  John asked and caught the look in Alan’s eyes.  He nodded and chuckled softly.  He turned to his family as he lifted Callie up onto his shoulders, causing her to giggle with delight and smiled.  “Okay, then.  Follow me and we’ll get you settled.” 

 

Alan and Sandra watched their family walk away, both of them smiling as they saw John and Helena slip their arms around each other’s waists, pulling each other close as they walked.

 

“Honestly never thought I’d see the day the two of them would be together again.”  Alan said quietly.

 

“Me either.”  Sandra replied, watching until the small group disappeared around a corner.  “She was right all along.”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Alan agreed.  “She was.”

 

“What are you thinking?”  Sandra asked him, reaching up to stroke his cheek as he fell silent.

 

“Of a way to make up to Helena for doubting her all these years.”  He answered.  “And also a way to welcome everyone back home.”

 

“Care to tell me about it?”

 

“Later.  I’m still thinking on it.”  Alan said as he pulled her closer, slipping both his arms about her waist.  “Right now though, I think I’d like to… re-explore some of those old memories of ours.”

 

“And where would you like to begin?”  Sandra asked with a smile, her eyes twinkling.

 

“Right here.”  Alan said with a grin as he led her back inside the Eagle.

 

The hatch closed on Sandra’s delighted laughter.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Hope you don’t mind,” John asked, glancing at his son.  “Staying in your Uncle Victor’s old quarters?”

 

“No… this is great, Dad.”  Jonathan said, looking around the room at some of the equipment Victor had left behind.

 

“Good.  I think Victor would approve.”  John smiled.  “I wish he could have come up too.”

 

“Well you know Uncle Victor.”  Jonathan chuckled.

 

“Yeah… always some experiment or other going on.”  They laughed and John grinned.  “Some things never change.”

 

There was a moment of silence as Jonathan placed his bag on the bed.

 

“Well, why don’t I go and let you rest.”  John said, heading for the door.

 

“Dad?”  John turned back to see Jonathan take a step towards him.  “Would you mind staying?  There is so much… I’ve waited a long time for the chance for the two of us to sit and have…” he paused and grinned.  “…A man to man talk.”

 

John returned his son’s grin and nodded as he walked over to him and placed his hand on Jonathan’s shoulder.  “I’ve been waiting for that too, son.”

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“She’s so excited,” Helena looked up from the couch as Victoria came out of the bedroom.  “I doubt she’ll settle down enough to sleep, so Robert’s going to stay with her and try to get her to calm down and no doubt, pass out himself.”  She chuckled as she sank down onto the couch beside her mother, curling her legs under her and smiled.  “Dad was quite taken with her, wasn’t he?” 

 

“He was indeed.”  Helena leaned back against the couch, smiling as she remembered the look of joy on John’s face when Callie had flung herself into his arms, hugging his neck with all her might.  Helena chuckled.  “I have a feeling… that little girl is going to have her grandfather wrapped around her little finger in no time, if she hasn’t done so already.”

 

Victoria laughed and nodded.  She glanced around the rooms she and her family would be staying in while on the moon.  Except for the furniture, there was nothing else in the room to indicate who’d lived here.  “Whose quarters were these, Mom?”

 

Helena turned her head to meet her daughter’s eyes.  “These used to be my rooms.”

 

“Really?”  Victoria asked.

 

“Mmhmm.”  Helena murmured as she looked around, a soft smile coming to her face as numerous memories of times spent with John in these rooms, came to mind.  She turned back to Victoria.  “Of course, that was before your father and I got together.”

Victoria smiled as she looked at her mother.

 

“What?”  Helena asked, several moments later as Victoria continued to gaze at her. 

 

“I was just thinking…” Victoria answered, still smiling.  “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy.  In fact, I know I haven’t.  You’re positively glowing, Mom.”

 

Helena blushed.

 

“And, Dad…” Victoria laughed.  “Wow!  I think that smile is permanently etched on his face.”  She grinned and reached out to place her hand on top of her mother’s where it rested on the back of the couch.  “I am… so happy that he found his way back here…to you… and that you two are back together.”

 

“So am I, Honey.”  Helena smiled.  “So am I.”

 

“I was also amazed that the two of you came up for air long enough to meet us when we got here.” 

 

Victoria!”  Helena exclaimed, blushing again.

 

“It’s true and you know it.”  Victoria chuckled.  “Dad hasn’t been able to keep his hands off you since he got here… and you… you’re just as bad.”

 

“Well… we do have…” Helena shook her head, still blushing.  “…A lot of time to make up for.”

 

“Were you two like this before Breakaway?  Or is this a recent development?”  Victoria asked and then grinned.  “And can I expect to have this great of a sex-life when I get older?”

 

“As a matter of fact, we were.  Your father and I have always enjoyed a rather…” Helena paused; shaking her head slightly as it hit her she was having this conversation with her daughter.  “…Exciting sex-life.”

 

Mother and daughter smiled at each other and suddenly broke out laughing.

 

“So,” Victoria asked a few moments later, having calmed down a little.  “What do you think Dad and Jonnie are talking about?”

 

“Oh… I don’t know…” Helena drawled.  “I’m sitting here talking to my daughter… about my sex-life with her father.  Which, although a little awkward, isn’t really all that strange because I’ve been here to watch you grow up to become a young responsible adult; married and with a child of your own.”  She paused, as she grew serious.  “But John… Victoria, when the moon broke away, you and your brother were just over a year old, younger than Callie is now.” 

 

Helena sat up.

 

“He’s returned to a lot of unexpected changes.”  She pointed out.  “In your father’s eyes, you and Jonathan should only be six years old.  So, he’s come back to not only find that his children are all grown up but that he’s a grandfather as well.  Not to mention that his wife is also twenty years older then when he last saw her.” 

 

“But we both know that he doesn’t care about that.”  Victoria said.  “Hell, anyone can see that he’s still crazy about you.”

 

“True.”  Helena smiled and nodded.  “Your father is an amazing man.  Not many men in his shoes would have been able to cope with the changes.”  She paused again and smiled at her daughter.  “And your brother isn’t a little boy anymore, he’s a man.  So I suspect Jonathan and your father are probably having a long, overdue, father and son talk.”

 

Victoria smiled back at her mother.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“And then Mom took Vicky and I home and showed us the video taken of our first birthday.”

 

John leaned back on the couch and regarded his son as Jonathan continued to talk.  Part of him still couldn’t believe this was the same little boy who only five years ago, tried to put a handful of chocolate cake in his father’s face.  John smiled and chuckled at the memory.

 

“That was a good day.”  His grin grew, as did his laughter.

 

“What?”  Jonathan asked, wanting to know what was so funny.

 

“I was remembering your mother’s face when Vick smeared the cake all over her.”  John answered, still laughing.

 

Jonathan smiled and laughed as well.  “We loved those videos, Vicky and I.”

 

“So, your mother has said.”  John nodded.  “She told me the three of you would sit and watch them together.”

 

“Well, it would start off that way.”  Jonathan began and then his voice trailed off as he looked away from his father.

 

“What is it, son?”

 

Jonathan took a deep breath and turned to meet his father’s eyes.  He sighed as he tried to find the words.  “Every time we’d watch the videos, halfway through them, Mom would get up and go into the kitchen.  She’d come back with snacks, so we never thought anything of it, until one time… she seemed to be taking too long.  So Vicky and I decided to go see if she needed any help.  When we got to the door…” his voice trailed off and he glanced down at his hands, then continued; his voice low.  “She was crying, Dad.”

 

John reached out and put his hand on his son’s shoulder, giving him a slight squeeze as Jonathan continued.

 

“We’d never seen her cry before or at least, not like that and we didn’t know what we should do.  Obviously, she didn’t want us to know that watching these videos was painful for her, so Vicky and I went back and sat down and never ever told Mom that we’d seen her.”  Jonathan looked at his father and saw the pain in John’s eyes.  “She didn’t tell you about that, did she?”

 

John shook his head.  “But I had a feeling.  I could see it in her eyes when she told me about showing you and your sister the videos.”

 

“And I’m guessing she didn’t mention what happened last month either.”  Again John shook his head and Jonathan took a deep breath.  “Well, to make a long story a little shorter; one day last month Vicky and I were in the attic looking for something when I came across a home video that we hadn’t seen.  Naturally, we were curious.  So we went downstairs and put it on.”

 

 

 

“Hey, Vicky check this out.”  Jonathan called over to his sister.  She moved over to him and looked at what he was holding.  “A home movie we haven’t seen?”

 

Victoria took it from his hand and turned it over, searching for some clue as to what was on it.  “There’s no label.”

 

“Yeah, I noticed.”  Jonathan said and then met her eyes.  “You thinking what I’m thinking?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Victoria nodded.  “I’ll go get it set up… you finish up here.”

 

Jonathan nodded and watched his sister leave.  Ten minutes later, he joined her on the couch in their mother’s living room.

 

“Well, let’s see it.”

 

 

 

“It was yours and Mom’s wedding.”  Jonathan told him.

 

John smiled softly.  He remembered that day very well.  He met Jonathan’s eyes.  “What happened?”

 

Jonathan took a deep breath.  “You and mom had just been pronounced husband and wife…”

 

 

 

** I now pronounce you husband and wife.  You may kiss your bride. ** 

 

Jonathan and Victoria glanced at each other, smiled and turned back to video in time to see their parents share their first kiss as husband and wife; neither of them aware of the figure standing in the doorway.

 

“Oh…”

 

Victoria and Jonathan whipped around on the couch as they heard the anguished sob, to see their mother standing behind them; her eyes wide, with tears streaming down her cheeks.

 

“Mom!?”  Both twins shot up and were over to Helena’s side in an instant.  They steered her gently to the couch.

 

“Where… where did you find this?”  Helena asked softly, choking on her tears.

 

“Upstairs.”  Jonathan answered.  “It was mixed in with all our baby-stuff.”

 

Helena simply nodded, her eyes on the screen, watching as John hugged her tightly, his lips moving against her ear and even though the video hadn’t picked up the words, Helena could still hear them ringing in her ears.

 

Jonathan reached out and shut the movie off, turning to his mother.  “We’re sorry, Mom.  We didn’t mean to upset you.”

 

“You didn’t really.”  Helena sniffled, wiping at her tears.  “It’s just seeing it… brings back so many memories… and…”

 

“Makes you miss Dad even more.”  Victoria finished for her.

 

Helena nodded and then sighed as she glanced down at her wedding band.

 

“I know what you’re thinking, Mom.  So stop it now.”  Victoria said.  “Remember what you told us if we ever started to have any doubts about Dad?”

 

“If you ever start to forget… just listen to your heart and you will feel him and how much he loves you.”  Jonathan said softly with a gentle smile.  “And if anyone can feel his love, despite the distance, it’s you.”

 

Helena looked at her son; her gaze resting the features that looked so much like his father’s it was sometimes unbearable and nodded as a small smile slowly formed on her lips.  She reached out for his hand, looking over at her daughter and grabbing her hand as well.  “How did you two get so smart?”

 

“Good genes.”  They said together and grinned.

 

Helena laughed and then slipped her arms around her children, hugging them to her.  “Well, why don’t we watch the rest of the video?”

 

“Mom, are you sure?  If it’s too painful…”

 

“I’m sure.”  Helena said to Victoria.  “It is painful… but that is only because the memories are such happy ones.  I can’t promise not to cry… but I promise I won’t fall apart.”

 

 

 

Jonathan looked over at his father to see tears in his blue eyes.  “So, we watched the rest of the movie, Mom doing her best not to cry but not succeeding.”

 

John sat back on the couch and released a deep breath, blinking back his tears.

 

“I’m sorry, Dad.  It wasn’t my intention to upset you by telling you this.”

 

“I know, son.  I know.”  John said.  “And you didn’t.  I know it was difficult for all of you.  Especially your mother.”

 

“And for you.”  Jonathan said.  “I mean… the three of us at least had each other.  You… you were all alone up here.  And then to finally return and find out that twenty years had passed here.”

 

“It was a shock to say the least.”  John admitted.  “But it didn’t… and still doesn’t matter.  I’m home.  Home with my family and that, is all that really matters.”

 

Jonathan smiled at his father.  “I know I said this the other day, but I really am glad you found your way back here, Dad.”

 

John reached across the couch and pulled his son into a strong hug.  “So am I, Sport.  So am I.”

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Looks like someone has finally conked out.” 

 

John glanced down, an affectionate smile forming on his lips at the sight of his granddaughter, curled up and sound asleep in his lap.  He reached out and gently stroked the fine, blonde hair that was so much like his wife’s.  He lifted his head and met his wife’s smiling gaze.

 

“You can say that again.”  John chuckled softly.

 

“She’s had an exciting day.  As have we all.”  Victoria said with a smile as she looked over at Robert.  He nodded in silent agreement and stood with her, watching as she moved over to where her parents were seated together on the couch.  “I’ll take her, Dad.  We’re going to go back to our room.”

 

John nodded, leaning over to brush a soft kiss against the top of Callie’s head before lifting and handing her to her mother.

 

“Good night, Vick.”  John said. 

 

“Night, Daddy.  Night, Mom.”  Victoria said as she cradled her daughter in her arms.  She looked at Robert who slipped his arm about her shoulders.

 

“Night, folks.”  He said, glancing at both his and Victoria’s parents.

 

Alan glanced at his wife then back to John and Helena.  “Yeah, we should be going too.”  Alan said, standing and extending a hand to his wife.

 

“Tired are you?”  Sandra asked with a soft smile as she took Alan’s hand and allowed him to help her up.

 

“Not really.”  Alan said with a grin, causing everyone to laugh.  Alan slipped his arm around Sandra’s waist as they headed for the door.  “Good night all.”

 

“Good night you two.”  Helena called out.  “Don’t stay up too late.  We’re meeting for breakfast, remember?”

 

“Just be sure to follow your own advice.”  Sandra called back with a laugh as they left the Koenig’s quarters, following behind Robert and Victoria.

 

John laughed and stood as he watched his son stand and walk over to them.  He smiled as he watched Jonathan lean over and give his mother a kiss.

 

“Sleep well, Mom.”  He said softly.

 

“You too, Jonathan.”  Helena said, resting her hand on his cheek.

 

“I will.”  He said and straightened up.  He walked with his father to the door.  “Dad?”

 

“Yes, Jonathan?”

 

“Would it be okay if I took a stroll around the base?”  He asked, meeting his father’s eyes.  “I’m not very tired.”

 

“Sure, go for it.”  John said, placing his hand on Jonathan’s shoulder, giving him a slight squeeze, and nodding slightly.

 

“Thanks, Dad.”  Jonathan said and then stepped closer and gave his father a hug.  “See you tomorrow.”

 

“Good night, son.”  John replied, returning his son’s embrace and then stepped back.  “Enjoy your walk.”

 

Jonathan smiled, nodded, and left, John locking the door behind him.

 

“Those are amazing kids we have.”  John said as he slowly made his way over to her, smiling as he watched her put her feet up on the coffee table, crossing them at her ankles.  “And as much as I enjoyed having everyone over…” his voice trailed off as he sank down onto the couch, placed his commlock on the table, turned and laid back; resting his head in her lap.  “I’m glad we’re alone.”

 

“So am I.”  Helena smiled down at him as she loosed her fingers through his hair, leaning over to brush a kiss against his lips.  She moaned softly as his hand came up, his fingers threading in her hair and held her lips against his, deepening the kiss.  They parted breathlessly a few moments later as Helena sat back up, her green eyes smiling at him as she leaned back against the couch, sighing happily as she rested her hand on his chest, the other one still combing through his hair.  “Mmm, yes… I’m glad we’re alone.”

 

John chuckled and reached up to stroke her cheek, his fingers brushing against her hair.  He smiled.

 

“What are you thinking about?”

 

“Our granddaughter.”  He continued to smile.  “What a bundle of energy that one is.”

 

Helena laughed.  “She is indeed.”

 

“I’m happy to see someone has inherited your beautiful blonde hair.”  John said, his fingers gently pulling a lock between his fingers.  “I’ve always loved your hair.”

 

“I know.”  She said with an affectionate smile, her hand on his chest beginning to move around absently. 

 

“I’ve been meaning to ask you something all day.”  John said a moment later, his eyes meeting hers.  She gave him a look that told him to continue.  “That comment Callie made when they first got here.  Something about her being right and that I brought the moon back?”

 

Helena smiled down at him. 

 

 

 

Trying to hide away from the world for a few hours by losing herself in her work, Helena looked up from her microscope as she thought she’d heard a noise outside the lab.  She tilted her head slightly to one side and listened for the sound again.  A smile came to her face as she heard it again; a sound that never failed to bring a smile to her face.  And realizing she only had a couple minutes, the doctor decided she’d better hurry and put any and all breakable objects in a safe place… out of reach of Hurricane Callie.

 

Helena chuckled at the thought of her granddaughter and how that little girl had fully inherited all the energy of both her grandfathers.  Callie was indeed the perfect mix of the Koenig-Carter genes.  In other words, she was barely manageable.

 

Opening the laboratory door, Helena had only a split second to brace herself as her granddaughter blew through the door and flung herself into Helena’s arms.  The two of them giggled as Callie kissed her grandmother repeatedly, not leaving one spot on Helena’s face uncovered.

 

“It’s a good thing I was prepared for you, young lady or we’d both be both crumpled on the floor.  You’re getting to be too big for me!”  Helena laughed, twirling the little girl around.

 

“I’ll never get to big for hugs and kisses, Gramma.  Will I?”  Callie asked as Helena set the little girl on one of the lab stools.

 

Helena smiled fondly, smoothing Callie’s blonde hair and then leaned over and spoke quietly as if telling Callie a big secret.  “Nobody ever really gets too big for hugs and kisses, Sweetie.”

 

Callie beamed at her as Helena straightened up.  She smiled back, continuing to run her hand over her granddaughter’s unruly blonde curls.  She thought of John, who was never really out of her thoughts, and remembered how he had hoped that Victoria’s hair would be blonde like her mother’s.  And now, here was Callie, blonde and impossible.

 

<<John would simply be crazy about her!>> the thought caused Helena’s smile to falter a bit.

 

She shook her head and looked back at Callie.  “So, what brings you here, Honey?”

 

“I made you a new picture, Gramma.”  Callie told her, indicating the rolled up piece of paper clutched in her small hand.

 

“You did?  That’s wonderful.”

 

“It’s a picture of the moon.”  Callie said, beginning to unroll the paper and continuing excitedly.  “With Grampa piloting Alpha in the sky.”

 

Helena chuckled as she tried to envision the Moonbase being ‘piloted’ across the sky, but before she could get the picture in her mind, Callie pushed the paper into her hands and then changed the subject.

 

Gramma, we gotta have a big birthday party.”

 

“Why’s that, Honey?”

 

“Cause, Grampa’s bringing the moon home.”  Callie said matter-of-factly.

 

“I… I bet he would if he could, Callie.”  Helena tried to keep smiling.  “I know your Grampa would love to be here for all of your birthdays.”

 

“He’s gonna, Gramma.”  Callie insisted.

 

“And what makes you say that?”

 

“Cause he told me.”  She said simply.

 

“He told you?”

 

“Yeah.  I dreamed him last night.”  Callie told her.  Grampa told me that he was bringing the moon back to you.  That I should tell you.”  She smiled.  “And that’s why we need a big party.”

 

Helena didn’t know what to say.  Hopes and dreams could be very cruel; as she’d learned over the years and she hoped Callie wouldn’t be able to sense her fight to hide her pain.  She was saved by a voice from behind her.

 

“Callie Rose Carter!  I thought I told you not to run off.”

 

Helena turned around to see her daughter standing in the open door, her hands on her hips, giving her own daughter a stern look.

 

“But, Mommy…”

 

“Don’t, but Mommy me, young lady.”  Victoria said.  “You were supposed to wait for me.”

 

Callie hung her head and spoke in a small voice, peaking through the hair that had fallen in her eyes.  “I’m sorry, Mommy.”

 

Victoria met her mother’s eyes and the two of them shared a small grin.  Victoria shook her head and walked over to them, kneeling down in front of her daughter, moving the hair out of Callie’s eyes.

 

“I know you are, Sweetie.  Just don’t do it again.”

 

“Okay, Mommy.”  Callie said, smiling at her mother.

 

Victoria chuckled and stood up, meeting her mother’s eyes.

 

“She’s your daughter.”  Helena said chuckling at the somewhat exasperated look on her daughter’s face and held up her hands.  “Now you know what I went through with you and your brother.”

 

Victoria laughed and lifted her daughter off the stool and into her arms.  “So, did you give Gramma the picture you drew?”

 

“Yep.”  Callie said proudly.  “And you like it, right, Gramma?”

 

“I love it, Honey.”  Helena told her, reaching out to place her hand on the paper that was still on the lab table.  Callie beamed.

 

“Well, we should be getting home.”  Victoria said, moving towards the door.  “Would you like to join us for dinner, Mom?”  Helena smiled but shook her head.  “You sure?”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“Okay.”  Victoria said.  “Say good-bye to Gramma, Callie.”

 

Callie leaned towards Helena and gave her a hug and kiss.  “Bye, Gramma.”

 

“Bye, Honey.”  Helena replied, returning the hug.

 

“See you later, Mom.”  Victoria said, leaning over to give her mother a kiss on the cheek.

 

Helena walked them to the door of the lab and watched them walk away for a moment, then shut the door.  She walked over to the picture Callie had drawn and looked down at it, remembering her granddaughter’s words from just moments ago.

 

“Oh, Callie… I wish your grandfather could be here for all our birthdays too.”  She said softly, tracing the picture with her finger.  “I wish it so much.”

 

She smiled sadly, feeling the tears well in her eyes as she continued to stare at her granddaughter’s drawing of her grandfather.  In the child’s drawing, John was as young as when he’d been taken from her; ripped from her life and the lives of their children by the moon’s sudden departure from Nova Canaan.

 

Callie’s image of her grandfather, Helena knew, was from the home movies… from when her own mother was even younger than Callie was now.  The home movies that showed a young, strong, happy John; the happiest man in the universe, as evidenced by the gleam in his eyes.  She was too, the happiest woman in the universe.

 

Back then.

 

Back when those videos were taken.

 

Back when John was still a very real, very active part of their lives.

 

Now… now she was just…

 

<<Old.>> she thought.  <<I’m no longer that young mother and woman who thrilled John’s heart; who made his eyes light up and his passion rise.  Now… I’m just old.>>

 

Helena took a deep breath as she picked up and folded the picture, putting it in her pocket.  She would, as she had with all of Callie’s drawings of the moon and her grandfather, put it up in a spot that would be seen by Callie and show her that her grandmother did indeed love her drawings, but also a spot where Helena would not have to see them everyday.  A spot that would not be a painful reminder of what she’d lost.

 

 

 

“Over the years, I grew to dread those parties.”  She told him, her hand still absently stroking his hair.  “They were just a cruel reminder of another year spent without you.  And then with Callie being born on my birthday… needless to say, the parties were now for both of us.”

 

John reached up and brushed the tears off Helena’s cheeks.  She caught his wrist in her hand, turning her face to press a kiss into his palm.

 

“That’s right, she was born on your birthday, wasn’t she?”

 

Helena nodded and smiled.  “The first and only birthday I didn’t have a party.”  She chuckled.  “I was too busy delivering our grandchild.”

 

John smiled.  “You delivered Callie?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Helena murmured, sliding her hand under his top to caress his bare chest.

 

They fell into a comfortable silence, relishing simply being together.

 

“Did you and Jonathan have a nice talk?”  She asked a few minutes later, once again running her fingers through his hair, her other hand still absently moving under his top.

 

“Mmhmm.”  John murmured and shifted his head over slightly in her lap as he reached up and fingered the top button on her blouse.

 

“What did you talk about?”  Helena asked, glancing down with a small smile as John unbuttoned the top three buttons and slipped his hand inside her blouse, running the tips of his fingers over the swell of her breasts.

 

“Well, to be honest, Jonathan did most of the talking.  I sat and listened as he told me about learning to play baseball, his dream of becoming a doctor like his mother, his interest in girls.”  John told her, smiling as he watched her nipples grow hard through the thin material.  “Turns out he’s a breast man like his father.”

 

Helena chuckled.  “Is that so?”

 

“It is.”  John said, pulling his hand out of her top to undo a couple more buttons, pulling her blouse open and then undoing her bra.

 

“…John…” It came out in a soft moan as John moved closer, lifting his head to place tiny kisses on the smooth skin between her breasts.

 

“Yes, my love?”  He murmured as his lips began to move across her left breast.

 

“Aren’t you going to tell me what else you and our son talked about?”  She asked him softly as his lips closed around her nipple.  She moaned, her hand in his hair tightening slightly.  “John…”

 

John released her breast and raised his eyes to meet hers.  “I thought my intentions were obvious.”  He leaned closer and placed light, little kisses over her breasts again.  “I’m planning on doing some serious making out with my wife.”

 

“Is that so?”  Helena gave a low, throaty laugh as she moved her hand out from under his shirt, down over his stomach to slip her fingers into the waistband of his pants.  She moved them teasingly back and forth under the elastic, her gaze moving away from his to see him responding to her touch.

 

“It is.”  John grinned and moved closer.  Just as his lips grazed her breast, his commlock sounded.  John groaned and his head fell back into her lap as he reached out to grab the offending device.  “Who could that be?”  He pressed the appropriate stud.  “Yes?”

 

“Sorry to bother you, Dad…” came Victoria’s voice through the device.  John bit back a grin as he watched Helena blush slightly and pull her blouse closed, even though Victoria couldn’t see her.  “But Callie woke up and can’t find Luna… and won’t go back to sleep without her.”

 

John glanced up at Helena.

 

“Her bear.”  Helena answered with a smile, beginning to do up the buttons on her blouse.

 

“Oh.”  He sighed as he watched her do up the last button and then sat up as he pressed the button that would open the door. 

 

“Thanks, Dad.”  Victoria said as she breezed in and headed for the seat she’d vacated earlier and retrieved a well-worn teddy bear, still talking away.  “We just put her down to bed and she woke up looking for Luna and if she doesn’t have this bear then she won’t…” she stopped suddenly, seeing the expressions on their faces and couldn’t help but grin.  “Did I… interrupt something?”

 

“Yes.  As a matter of fact you did.”

 

John grinned and glanced at his wife as she responded, seeing the amusement in her eyes.  He chuckled and reached out to grasp her hand, pulling it to his lips.

 

Victoria laughed and headed for the door.  “Well then, I’ll let you two get back to it.”

 

Helena chuckled as she stood, walked over to Victoria, and embraced her tightly.

 

“Have a good night, Mom.”  Victoria said softly against her mother’s ear as they hugged.

 

“Oh, I plan on it.”  Helena replied with a soft laugh.

 

The two women parted and smiled at each other as Victoria moved to the door, reaching out to press the button that would open it.  She stepped through the door as it parted, calling over her shoulder.

 

“Try not to wear him out, Mom.”

 

The door slid shut as John laughed at the look on Helena’s face.  She shook her head and reached out to lock the door.  When she turned back to face him, he was stretched out on the couch; his arms bent behind his head, his gaze on her. 

 

Helena walked over, stood beside the couch, and smiled affectionately down at him.  “Comfy?”

 

John didn’t answer as he moved one of his hands from behind his head, reached out, grabbed her hand, and pulled her down on top of him.  Helena shifted against him so that her body was partly covering his, her back resting securely against the back of the couch, her head resting on his shoulder.  John reached out and lifted her hand from his chest, bringing to his lips.

 

“Now I’m comfy.”  He told her softly, bringing his other hand out from behind his head to rest about her shoulder, his fingers brushing against her hair.

 

Helena smiled, stretching up slightly to kiss his jaw.

 

They relaxed in each other’s arms, talking quietly; doing some more catching up and making some plans for when they were back on Nova Canaan, together.  After a time, they fell silent and simply cuddled, savouring the feel and the comfort that they were again in each other’s arms, the reality of the situation still not completely having sunk in.

 

Helena…” John called her softly, turning his head to brush his lips across her forehead.

 

“Mmm?”  She snuggled closer to him, her hand sliding up his chest to rest on his other shoulder.

 

John moved his head and glanced down at her, smiling as he saw that she had fallen asleep.  He’d wanted to talk with her about something, but as he gazed at her relaxed, peaceful face, he decided that it could wait. 

 

Slowly John sat them up and cradling her in his arms, he gently stood and carried her to their bed and laid her on it.  Carefully, so as not to wake her, John removed her clothes, his own quickly following.  He crawled in beside her and drew the blankets over them, reaching out to dim the lights.  As he settled back against his pillow, Helena rolled over and cuddled against him, releasing a soft contented sigh as her head pillowed on his chest.

 

“Good night, Love.”  He whispered against her hair as his arms tightened around her.

 

“…Love you, John.”  Helena murmured in her sleep, shifting closer; a soft smile on her lips.

 

John smiled as he closed his eyes.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

The following morning, sitting next to Helena with his arm draped over her shoulder, John was only half paying attention to the conversation that was drifting around the table; his attention was more focused on the woman beside him as she added her comments to the story Alan was telling about something the kids had done when they were little.  And although he heard the words, they didn’t really register, and he knew it was because he was paying may more attention to the sound of her voice.  Being able to hear it again and having it sound so close to his ears was making him deliriously happy.

 

“And the next thing you know, Alan is stomping over to pull the kids out of the mud, slips and falls face first into it.”  Helena said with a laugh.  “It was priceless.”

 

John chuckled.  “I bet it was.”

 

“Not half as priceless as when Helena fell into it.”  Alan laughed.

 

John laughed and pulled Helena closer and brushed a kiss against her cheek as he inhaled the scent of her hair.  He moved his lips to her ear.  “Now that I would have liked to have seen.”

 

Everyone at the table laughed as Helena brought her hand up and swatted him gently on the cheek.

 

The conversation drifted onto other topics and at one point, John looked down to see that his cup was empty.

 

He leaned towards his wife.  “I’m going to get another coffee.  Would you like another?”

 

“Mmm… yes please.”  She smiled at him and handed him her cup.

 

He gave her a quick kiss and then stood with cups in hand and made his way across the room to the coffee urn. 

 

“I think I’ll help myself to another cup as well.  You?”  Alan said, looking at his wife.

 

Sandra shook her head.  “No thanks, I’m fine.”

 

Alan nodded, pushed his chair back, stood, and followed after John.  As he approached, he noticed that John had placed his and Helena’s cups on the counter before the urn and realized that a new batch of coffee was being brewed.  He placed his cup beside theirs and looked up at John.

 

He was not surprised to see that his friend’s gaze was locked on Helena, who was sitting across the room, still talking away with Sandra.  He glanced back up at John and smiled at the look in his eyes.

 

“Wake up, Skipper!”  Alan clapped John on the shoulder.  “The way you’re mooning over her, you’d think you hadn’t seen her in years.”

 

“Am I that obvious?”  John laughed as he tore his gaze away from his wife and looked at his friend.

 

“Yeah, but it’s understandable.”  Alan said still smiling.  “This is real, John.  The two of you are really together.” 

 

“I know.”  John smiled and then leaned back against the wall, his eyes once again falling on his wife.  He continued.  “I can’t tell you how much I missed this, Alan.  This…” he gestured to himself and Helena and looked back at Alan.  “Simply being able to watch her from across the room.  Just being able to do it is such a wonderful feeling.”

 

Alan watched as Helena looked up, smiled at John as their eyes met and then went back to her conversation with Sandra.  He chuckled softly as he watched John’s face light up.

 

“I was dying without her, Alan.”  John said in a quiet voice a few moments later, his eyes still on Helena.  “Every day I’d wake up, hoping that it was just a bad dream, that I’d roll over and find her beside me.  And every morning, I’d die a little more inside as I realized that I was actually living the nightmare.  That my wife and kids were billions of miles away from me.”

 

Alan nodded silently as he met John’s gaze, knowing he would have felt the same way if he’d been ripped away from Sandra and Bobbie like that.

 

“It was like that for Helena too.”  Alan told him quietly.  “If it weren’t for the twins… I don’t think she would have survived.  And I know we didn’t help matters…”

 

John looked at Alan as his voice trailed off.  “The memorial?”

 

“The memorial.”  Alan nodded.  “We knew it would hurt her but in the long run, we figured it would be better for her.  Help her to come to terms with… with losing you.  To move on.”  He shook his head sadly.  “I’m sorry now we didn’t have her faith.  Despite what everyone else thought and said, Helena never doubted that you were still alive and would somehow find your way back.”

 

“You did what you felt was right.”  John said.  “I don’t know if I would have done it any different had I been in your place.”

 

“Well, I’m glad she was right and we were wrong.”  Alan said as both of them turned to look at their wives again.  He smiled.  “I haven’t seen Helena looking this happy and this radiant in a long time.”

 

Both men suddenly chuckled as they watched Callie scramble out of her mother’s lap to slip under the table and hop up into Helena’s lap, startling her.

 

“Alan, I’ve been thinking about something.”  John said with a smile as he watched his granddaughter steal a piece of fruit off Helena’s plate and squeal with laughter as Helena tickled her ribs.

 

“Lay it on me.”

 

Helena’s birthday is in two days.”  John said and then smiled.  “Callie’s too.  I know you guys were planning a party already…”

 

Alan smiled.  “Say no more.  Just tell me what you would like me to do and consider it done.”

 

“Thanks, Alan.”  John said.  “I already have Jonathan working on few things, but he’s going to need some help.”

 

“No need to thank me, John.  I’m happy to do it.”  Alan said and thought to himself.  “And this will also give me a chance to take care of that other little detail.”

 

John smiled and as they turned to the now finished pot of coffee, John told Alan what it was he wanted him to do and then both men returned to their family.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Mmm… it’s nice to be home.”  Helena said softly as she stood in John’s arms on their front porch, having returned from Alpha only twenty minutes earlier.

 

“Yes it is.”  John agreed as he dipped his head and brushed his lips along her neck to her ear where he whispered softly.  “But home for me, is wherever you are.”

 

Helena pulled his arms tighter around her as she leaned back against him.  “For me too.”

 

“So tell me, Mrs. Koenig.  What would you like to do, now that we’re home?”  John asked her as he continued to nibble on her neck.

 

Helena turned in his arms, sweeping her hands up his chest to wind them around his neck, a slow, seductive smile playing on her lips.  “Well, Mr. Koenig… a few things do come to mind.”

 

“Is that so?”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“You have a one track mind.”  John laughed, kissing the tip of her nose.

 

Helena smiled and pressed herself closer against him.  “Well… I do have twenty years of unreleased sexual energy to use up.”

 

“Is that what it is?”  John asked with a grin as Helena simply smiled.  “Here I thought it was because I’m so irresistible.”

 

“That too.”  Helena chuckled as she threaded her fingers in his hair and pulled his lips down to hers for a leading kiss.

 

“I’d like nothing more right now, then to take you upstairs and help you release some of that sexual energy.”  John told her as he slowly moved out of her arms.  “But I’m afraid it will have to wait for a little while longer.”

 

Helena gave him a curious look as he grabbed her hands and began to pull her towards the door.  “Why’s that?”

 

“Because of this.”  John said as he swung open the door and gestured for her to enter before him.

 

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

 

Helena stopped in the doorway and looked around at all her friends and family gathered in her living room.  She felt John place his hands on her shoulders, felt his warm breath against her ear and her eyes welled with tears as she heard him whisper for only her to hear.  “The first of many birthday parties you no longer have to dread.”

 

She reached her hand up behind her to cup his cheek as she turned her head to smile at him.  She placed a loving kiss on his lips and whispered back.  “Thank you.”

 

John smiled at her and gave her another quick kiss.  “Happy Birthday, my love.”

 

Helena shook her head softly as she turned to look at the gathered crowd, seeing them all smiling at her.

 

“Happy Birthday, Gramma!”  Callie said as she pulled her hand out of her mother’s and ran over to her grandmother.

 

“Happy Birthday to you too, Callie.”  Helena smiled at her as she lifted Callie into her arms.

 

“See, Gramma, I told you we’d have a big party and that Grampa would be here.”  Callie said with a smile.

 

Helena laughed and hugged Callie tightly as she glanced at John who’d moved beside her.  “Yes you did.”

 

John smiled and slipped his arm about Helena’s waist as he leaned over and placed a kiss on his granddaughter’s cheek and wished her a happy birthday.  Then he led his two favourite blondes further into the room to celebrate their birthdays.

 

 

 

Some time later, the party having dwindled down to just their closest friends and family, Helena slowly sank down onto the couch beside John, who was leaning back with his feet propped up on the coffee table.  She curled her legs up under her and leaned against him, smiling as he draped his arm around her shoulders.

 

“Have a good time?”  He asked her softly, reaching up with his other hand to brush his fingers against her cheek.

 

“Mmhmm.”  She murmured, placing her hand on his chest and leaning closer to kiss him.  When the kiss ended, she settled back against the couch and glanced at Alan, Sandra, and her kids.  “Now I know why you guys left Alpha so soon.”

 

She shook her head as they simply grinned.

 

“Well, the party’s not quite over yet.  There’s one more gift you haven’t opened yet.”  Alan said reaching behind him on the chair he was sitting in.  He brought out a large, flat, wrapped item and held it out to her.  “It’s a gift from the whole community.”

 

“Alan.”  Helena gave him a look as she took the gift from his hands, surprised at the weight of it.  “You guys have done more than enough already.”

 

“Well… it’s more than just a birthday gift.”  He told her.

 

Helena looked at John who shrugged his shoulders and shook his head, indicating that he had no idea what it was.  She slowly began to unwrap it.  As the paper fell away, she gasped and tears welled in her eyes. 

 

John leaned closer and a smile came to his face as he saw what she held in her hands.  He met Helena’s eyes and squeezed her shoulders gently before he began to read the inscription on the stone plaque she held in her hands.

 

“This monument, once a reminder of those we thought lost to us in the moon’s second Breakaway, now stands as a tribute to them and their strength of will.  Men and women who despite all odds, not only survived but found their way home again.”

 

John’s voice trailed off as he finished reading the inscription and his eyes moved over the list of names, beginning with his own.  He saw Helena reach out and gently run her fingers over his name and then glance up at him with a soft smile.

 

“Does it meet your approval?”

 

Helena glanced over at Alan and nodded.  “It’s perfect, Alan.  Thank you.” 

 

“We were also hoping you’d be the one to take down the old plaque and put this one in it’s place.”

 

“I’d love to.”

 

Everyone in the room smiled.

 

Helena rewrapped the plaque and placed it on the table in front of her before turning to look at John, who’d resumed his earlier position.

 

“Comfy?”  She asked him with a smile.

 

He shifted so that he could lay his head on her shoulder and replied as he reached out and clasped her hand in his, resting them in her lap.  “Now I am.”

 

Helena shook her head and chuckled but made no attempt to move him.  Instead she slipped her free arm about him, running her hand lightly back and forth along his arm and joined in the conversation around her.

 

A short time later she felt John’s head slide a little off her shoulder and glanced down to see that he’d fallen asleep.  She felt him shift against her and before she knew it, he’d pulled his legs up onto the couch and his head was resting in her lap.  She glanced up to see everyone had a bemused smile on his or her face.

 

“Do you remember,” Helena began softly all of a sudden, her hand absently stroking John’s hair.  “The time those radiation-hungry creatures were on Alpha?”

 

“Radiation-hungry creatures?”  Jonathan asked as he saw everyone else nodding their heads.

 

Alan and Tony quickly explained the ‘adventure’ to the kids.

 

“And your father, after having ordered everyone on Alpha to be knocked out and complaining about having to wait for them to wake up,” Helena paused and the amusement was evident in her voice.  “Proceeded to fall asleep in his chair.”

 

Everyone laughed.

 

“Dad really fell asleep in his chair?”  Victoria continued to laugh, trying to picture her father doing just that.

 

“Oh yeah.”  Tony told her, still chuckling.  “He was out cold.”

 

“Much like now.”  Alan said with a laugh, looking over at his sleeping friend.  He met Helena’s eyes with an amused sparkle.  “Wore him out already eh, Helena?”

 

Sandra swatted her husband’s arm as Helena blushed and shook her head.  She glanced down at John with an affectionate smile and moved her hand down along his cheek, caressing him softly.  Just being able to do it, to touch him like this again, sent a wave of joy coursing through her heart.

 

Around her, everyone exchanged smiles, enjoying seeing Helena looking so radiantly happy.  The conversation then continued with Tony telling everyone about some of their adventures over the last five years.

 

Helena!?”

 

The conversation was interrupted as John suddenly sat up, calling her name in an anguished whisper.

 

“What, Honey?  I’m here…” Helena reached out to him, concern on her face.

 

John looked at her and grasped her outstretched hand, holding it tightly, willing his pounding heart to calm down.  He took a deep breath and returned the gentle pressure of her hand, nodding his head slightly to let her know he was okay.

 

“You all right, John?”

 

At the sound of Victor’s voice, John turned with a slightly embarrassed smile to see that everyone was still around.  He nodded.

 

“Yeah, Victor.  I’m fine.”  John said then admitted sheepishly as he shifted on the couch and drew Helena into his arms.  “Just a bad dream, that’s all.”

 

“Are you sure?”  Helena asked him softly, feeling his heart still pounding where her hand rested on his chest.

 

Again he nodded and brought her fingers to his lips.  “So, what did I miss?”

 

With a small chuckle, Alan filled him in and the conversation once again turned to the moon’s adventures of the last five years.

 

 

 

John slipped his arms around Helena’s waist from behind and rested his chin on her shoulder as they stood on their porch and watched everyone leave.

 

“What’s that old saying,” John said softly against her ear.  “Alone at last?”

 

“And high time too.”  Helena smiled, leaning back against him.

 

“So, Mrs. Koenig… now that we’re finally alone, what would you like to do?”  Helena felt John smile as he began to nibble on her neck, paraphrasing the question he’d asked her only a few hours earlier in this very spot.

 

Grinning to herself, Helena answered with a mock yawn.  “I’d like nothing more than to go to bed and sleep.”  She felt his lips pause on her neck and it was all she could do to keep from laughing.  She turned around in his arms and placed her hands on his chest as she smiled at him, her eyes sparkling.  “But only after my husband has made mad, passionate love to me.”

 

A delighted laugh escaped her lips as John suddenly swept her up into his arms, his mouth seeking hers for a long, ardent kiss.  He broke off the kiss and smiled at her as he carried her into the house.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Mmm…”

 

John glanced over his shoulder as he made his way to the window, to see Helena stretch luxuriously and then recline back against the propped up pillows, a satisfied smile gracing her lips.

 

“Now this is the birthday present I’ve been waiting all day for.”  Helena commented as she made herself comfortable, her smile growing as she let her eyes roam over his naked body; enjoying the way the moonlight bounced off his glistening skin.

 

“Is that so?”  John asked with a grin as he opened the window to allow the warm breeze into the room and then slowly made his way back to the bed.

 

“Mmhmm.”  She murmured as John crawled back into the bed and settled himself between her legs, leaning back against her with his head resting back against her shoulder.  Helena ran her hands down over his arms and then moved them to play her hands across his chest.  She wrapped her legs gently around him as she leaned forward and nibbled on his ear.  “Do I get seconds?”

 

John laughed as he ran his hands over her legs, caressing from her thighs to her calves and back again.  “What do you think?”

 

“I think… I think that I am going to die, one very satisfied woman.”  Helena chuckled.  She felt John stiffen slightly and reach for her hands, bringing them to his lips.  “John?”

 

“What is it?”  She asked again a few moments later when he still hadn’t spoken.

 

John closed his eyes, images from his dream earlier, playing across his eyelids; he shivered and squeezed her hands tighter as he slowly shook his head, willing the images away.

 

“John?  Does this have anything to do with that dream?”  He nodded slowly.

 

“Tell me…”

 

John shook his head.  “I’d rather forget it.”

 

“That bad?”

 

“More disturbing than anything else.”

 

“Maybe if you talk about it… it’ll help.”  Helena suggested, leaning her head against his.

 

John took a deep breath and pulled her arms tighter around him.  “We were sitting in our chair.”  He began, gesturing with his head at the large, overstuffed chair under the window.  “You were curled up in my lap and we were star gazing.  We weren’t talking… simply enjoying holding each other.”

 

He paused and Helena could feel him smile at the image of them in the chair.  His grasp on her hands tightened as he continued.

 

“It was nice.  Just the two of us and then… and then it changed.  You were still with me.  Still in my lap… but you…” his voice trailed off and Helena could hear a touch of fear in his voice and when he continued his voice was very low.  “…You were… you were sick and you were having trouble breathing.  There was nothing I could do.  I felt helpless, then you began to fade away, and I could no longer feel you”

 

Pressing her body tightly against his, she pressed her lips against his shoulder.  “Oh, John!  Oh, Honey… no!  Don’t even think that!  I’m fine.”

 

John tilted his head sideways to rest against hers as he took in a deep breath, nodding slightly, still clutching her hands tightly, and continuing to press them to his lips.

 

Helena pulled her hands from his and unwrapped her legs from around him as she shifted and quickly moved so that she was now sitting in his lap; his face cradled in her hands.  She looked into his eyes and smiled softly at him.  “John… I swear to you, I’m fine.  I’m in perfect health.”

 

“I know…  I know you wouldn’t keep something like that from me.” 

 

“That’s right.  I wouldn’t keep something like that from you.”  She stroked his cheek.  “And I have no plans on leaving you any time in the near future.”

 

John moved his hands up along her back, pulling her closer so that their foreheads rested together and when he spoke, it was in a quiet voice.  “It’s just… I’ve just gotten you back and part of me is still having a hard time believing that I’m home and that I’ve actually got you in my arms.”

 

“I know, John.  I know.  I feel the same way.”  Helena nodded gently.  “I keep expecting to wake up and find out that the last couple of days have all been a dream.”  She paused, slipped her fingers into his hair, and brushed her lips against his.  “And I know this isn’t exactly the most romantic of topics but there is something we need to discuss.”

 

“What?”

 

“The age difference that’s between us now.”  She told him.  “Because no matter which way you look at it… I’m now older than you.”

 

“And I’ve already told you, it doesn’t matter.”

 

“Maybe not now.  But, John what about in another fifteen, twenty years?”

 

“What about it?”

 

“You’ll be my age now and I’ll still be a number of years older than you.”  Helena said.  “Can you honestly say it won’t matter then?”

 

“Yes I can.”  John pulled back and met her eyes as he nodded.  Helena, I don’t care about the age difference.  This…” he caressed her shoulders.  “…This… holding you, being with you and just being able to love you is all that matters.  The age difference isn’t important.”  He paused and moved his hand up to her cheek.  “I love you, Helena.  You.  There is nothing, nothing… that can make me stop loving you.”

 

“I love you too.”  She said softly, still stroking his hair.

 

They gazed into each other’s eyes and then moved even closer together, their lips meeting in a ravenous kiss; needing to show each other with actions what they’d just shared with words.

 

Helena’s hands tightened in John’s hair, holding his mouth to hers as she moved her legs from behind him to bend them on either side of him, then leaned into him and pushed him back onto the pillows and covered his body with hers.

 

As they continued to kiss each other feverishly, John’s hands slowly moved down along Helena’s body, caressing her back and sides before slipping one hand between their bodies; seeking out and finding her warm, tender flesh.

 

Helena broke off the kiss with a gasp, meeting his dark, passion-filled eyes.  She gasped again then moaned as his fingers became more insistent, delving inside her and stroking her.  She bent low and rained small kisses over his chest, pausing to play her tongue over his nipples, smiling to herself at his gasp and then kissed her way back up to his lips.

 

John moaned softly as Helena drew her nails down his chest as she slowly straightened up on him and straddled his hips; lifting herself slightly so that his fingers could continue stroking her.  He smiled as her hand moved to his wrist, but didn’t stop him and then groaned as he felt her other hand reach down, encircle his hard member and begin stroking him.

 

They continued to stimulate each other with their hands until John felt Helena grip his wrist tighter and draw his hand away; raising herself up a little higher.  John met her eyes and could see her need swimming in her bright green depths; his hands went to her hips as she guided his throbbing erection to her waiting entrance and then very slowly, lowered herself down on him.

 

“…John…” his name was a low moan on her lips as their bodies joined completely, causing a small tremor to pass up and through her body.  She stretched herself out over him and gave him a long, deep kiss before straightening back up and lacing her fingers with his where they still rested on her hips.

 

Their eyes locked and Helena began to slowly move on him, undulating her hips in tiny circles.  John moaned her name softly as she then lifted her hips, raising herself up off of him and then with a deliberate slowness, she slid back down on him; doing this numerous times until John’s hands tightened on her hips.  Helena smiled at the look of blissful need in John’s eyes, unlaced her fingers from his, and placed them on his chest.

 

At the feel of her hands on his chest, John suddenly felt the need to feel more of her skin against his and sat up, wrapping his arms around her; pulling her close and covering her mouth with his for a passionate, hungry kiss.  He trailed his lips down her throat, whispering his love for her as he kissed and nipped the soft skin.

 

Helena slid her hands up his chest, over his shoulders and into his dark hair, moaning as his lips moved down to her breast and captured her nipple in his mouth, swirling his tongue over the sensitive peak before moving to do the same to her other breast.  He slowly kissed his way back up to her lips.

 

“I love you.”  He whispered against her lips, kissing her again as he began to thrust gently into her.

 

Helena moaned into his mouth as the sensations, once again, began to build in intensity, her whole body beginning to tingle with her oncoming release.  She broke off the kiss and pushed him back onto the bed as she increased the pace of their thrusts.  Her head fell back as she began to pant for breath, John’s hands moving back to her hips as the sensations almost overpowering, until finally she cried out his name; her whole body shaking with the force of her orgasm.

 

John held still, watching as her release surged through her.  Moments later, she looked down at him, a look of delicious rapture on her face.

 

“Do you have any idea how beautiful you are when you’re lost in the throes of your orgasm?”  He asked her in a husky voice, smiling at her.

 

Helena simply smiled and grabbed his hands, pulling them from her hips.  She stretched herself over him, lacing their fingers around the spindles of their headboard and began to move on him again, grinding her hips against his, her breasts brushing against his chest; urging him onto his own release.

 

John held onto the headboard with her, lifting his hips in time with her thrusts, feeling his own release to be very near.  He moaned her name and pulled his hands away from the headboard, one hand grasping her hip the other moving between their bodies to stroke her, wanting her to reach her release with him.  He moved his hand from between them to her hip and held her to him as he thrust into her one last time.

 

“John!”

 

Helena!”

 

They cried out each other’s names as they reached their releases together, their bodies shuddering against each other as the sensations overwhelmed them both and left them breathless.

 

“Oh… God…” Helena breathed against his neck, letting go of the headboard as she rose up slightly, allowing him to slip out of her as she slowly stretched out her legs along his and then shifted to slide off him.

 

“Don’t.”  John rasped, holding her tight against him.  “Don’t move … I wanna feel you close to me.”  He felt Helena smile and nod against his shoulder and settle back against him.  He caressed her back and brushed his lips against her temple, whispering softly against her hair.  “Happy Birthday, Honey.”

 

They lay together, bathed in the moonlight, simply holding each other and not talking; enjoying the silence and the comfort of each other’s presence.  Before long, they fell into a deep, satisfied sleep; Helena still locked tight in John’s embrace, as he held her securely on top of him.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

With a satisfied sigh, Helena moved towards consciousness; the feeling of being cocooned in total warmth and happiness pulling her from her peaceful slumber a little quicker than normal.  Her eyes slowly opened and she looked straight into her husband’s sleeping face.

 

Helena smiled and as she became more fully awake, her smile grew.

 

Her head was pillowed on his left arm as she and John lay on their sides facing each other, their legs entwined; his right arm draped over her waist protectively.  Her arms were curled up between them and her hands rested against his chest.  She could feel his breath on her face and could hear his gentle snoring, which was music to her ears after so many years.

 

She smiled again, loving the sensation of waking up and being held in John’s embrace.  This, she realized with a contented sigh, she would never get tired of.

 

Helena gently lifted her hand from his chest and moved it up to brush an errant lock of his hair out of his face.  As she did, the increased number of grey hairs that now ran through his raven hair once again caught her attention.  It was especially prominent around his temples and Helena thought it made John look even more handsome.

 

She luxuriated in his arms for a few more minutes, simply enjoying being held by him and then, with a glance over his shoulder at the clock, she decided to get up and see about starting breakfast.

 

Gently, so as not to wake him, she brushed a kiss against his lips and then reached out to grasp the wrist of the arm he had around her waist.  She’d just begun to lift it and also untangle her legs from his, when John’s hold of her suddenly tightened and he woke up, a half-startled expression on his face.

 

Wha...?”  He groaned, more asleep then awake.  Helena?”

 

“I’m just going to make breakfast.”  She told him softly, continuing her effort to move out of his arms.  “Go back to sleep.”

 

“Mmm… no… not hungry.”  He murmured, closing his eyes again, his arms tightening even more, pulling her closer as he buried his face in her neck.  “Stay.”

 

Helena glanced at the clock again, smiled, and then snuggled back into his arms, pressing a kiss against his hair.

 

“Breakfast can wait.”  She thought with a happy sigh and closed her eyes.

 

Within moments she’d fallen back asleep, still locked in her lover’s arms.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

John awoke early and glanced over at his wife who lay curled up on her side facing him, her one arm stretched out so that her hand lay on his chest.  He smiled as he watched her and then his smile grew even more as he remembered what day it was. 

 

And more importantly, what he had planned for today.

 

He gently lifted her hand from his chest and brought it to his lips, kissing her palm tenderly, then placed it on the mattress and then gently climbed out of bed.  He grabbed his robe and pulled it on.

 

With a final glance at his sleeping beauty, he quietly left their bedroom, leaving the door slightly ajar.  As John moved silently down the stairs, his thoughts turned back to the last few months.

 

Although he and Helena had pretty much fallen back into their lives together, it hadn’t been all sunshine and roses.  They’d had to learn to live, actually live, together again and deal with the few habits each had developed during their separation.  And when things would look like they were going to get out of hand, they would both suddenly remember, at the same time, the time they’d spent apart, the hell they’d had to endure apart and would pull each other into a fierce embrace; after which they would calmly discuss the matter at hand and reach an understanding.

 

John grinned as he set about making the coffee, admitting to himself as he gathered up some various fruit for breakfast, that even though he hated fighting with Helena; their fights always leaving him feeling restless and unbalanced, he’d sure as hell missed it.  More importantly, his grin grew; he missed the way they’d make up afterwards.

 

He chuckled as he arranged the fruit on the tray and as the coffee finished brewing, he stepped out through the kitchen door and moved over the rose bush they’d planted together just after they’d built their house.  He looked over all the blooms and selected the fullest one.  He carried it back inside, carefully removed all the thorns and extra leaves, and then placed it in the vase on the tray.

 

John poured the coffee into the two waiting mugs and placed them on the tray.  Satisfied that he had everything, he picked up the tray and headed back upstairs.

 

Entering their bedroom, John smiled again as he saw that she was still sleeping.  She’d turned over and was now facing the door, but was still curled up in a loose ball.  He placed the tray on the dresser and reached for the rose, pulling it out of the vase.

 

Quietly, he made his way over to her and sat gently on the edge of the bed beside her.  He drew the rose softly down her bare arm, smiling softly as she shifted slightly.  He did it again and watched as she rolled onto her back, the sheet that was covering her, falling so that it just covered her breasts.

 

With the faintest of touches, John drew the rose along the swell of her breasts, moving it slowly up her neck and over her face.  He traced her cheekbones with the soft petals, noticing the soft smile tugging on the corners of her lips, but able to tell by her breathing that she was still sleeping.  He moved the velvety petals over the lids of her eyes and down the bridge of her nose to softly caress her lips before resting the deep, red bloom against her lips, under her nose.

 

Helena inhaled deeply, the scent of roses seeping into her subconscious and slowly rousing her.  Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled up at him.  She glanced down and saw the rose he held against her lips.  She brought her hand up to cover his as she inhaled the sweet fragrance.

 

“Good morning.”  Helena said softly, moving her hand up along his arm and over his shoulder to slip behind his head and pull him down to her for a long, loving kiss.

 

“Good morning.”  He replied just as quiet against her lips.  He smiled lovingly at her and brought his hand up to caress her cheek.  “…Happy Anniversary, Helena.”

 

Her eyes went wide for a moment and then a big smile came to her lips and lit her eyes.  “Happy Anniversary.”

 

Their lips came together again in another long kiss.  They parted breathlessly some moments later and smiled lovingly at each other.

 

“I smell coffee.”  She said and then gave him a coy smile.  “Does this mean I’m getting breakfast in bed?”

 

John grinned, nodded and gave her another quick kiss and then stood and walked over to get the tray.  When he turned back to her, tray in hands, he found Helena sitting up and watching him with a smile on her face, the sheet pulled up around her.  He walked around to his side of the bed and carefully sat on the bed, placing the tray between them.

 

“This is wonderful, John.”  Helena said, lifting one of the cups of coffee to her lips and taking a sip.

 

John simply smiled at her as he reached for his coffee and a piece of fruit.  “So,” he asked a couple minutes later.  “What anniversary is this for us?”

 

Helena glanced up to meet his eyes and then smiled.  “I… ooh… that’s a good question.”

 

“I thought so.”  He said with a small chuckle, reaching for another piece of fruit.

 

“I don’t know.”  Helena said, munching on a piece of fruit.  “I mean… for me, it’s our twenty-first anniversary and for you, our sixth.  I…” she paused and shrugged her shoulders.  “…I don’t know.”

 

Their conversation turned to other things as they continued to eat.  Twenty minutes later, John placed his empty cup back on the tray and reached for the last piece of fruit at the same time as Helena.  They glanced up at each other, smiled and then John removed his hand.

 

“Enjoy it.”  John told her and lifted the tray away as she took the piece of fruit and popped it into her mouth.  He slipped out of the bed and carried the tray over to the dresser.  He walked back over and sat on the edge of the bed beside her, taking her left hand in his, glancing down as he fingered her wedding band.

 

“What are you thinking?”  She asked, reaching to touch his cheek, seeing the thoughtful look on his face.

 

“I’m thinking…” he began and lifted his gaze to hers and smiled.  “That I am married to the most beautiful woman in the universe.”

 

“You always were a sweet-talker.”  Helena said, moving her hand from his cheek to run her fingers over his lips.

 

“I was also thinking of a way to solve our anniversary dilemma.”

 

“And… did you come up with a solution?”

 

“As a matter of fact, I did.”  John smiled at her and slid off the edge of the bed to kneel on one knee before her.  Still holding her left hand in his, he raised her knuckles to his lips and pressed a kiss against her ring.  Helena… would you remarry me?”

 

“Of course, I’ll remarry you.”  Helena laughed with delight as she nodded.  She slipped her hands around his neck as he moved back onto the bed and leaned across her.  “And when did you want to do this?”

 

“Today.”  John said, covering her mouth with his, pressing her back against the pillows.

 

“Today?”  She asked breathlessly.

 

“Today.”  He said, kissing her again.  “So, what do you say…”

 

His lips moved down her throat.

 

“You hop into the shower.”

 

He brushed his lips over the swell of her breasts.

 

“Make yourself look even more gorgeous than usual.”

 

He kissed her shoulders.

 

“If that’s even remotely possible.”

 

Helena tangled her fingers in his hair as his lips moved back up the smooth skin of her throat to once again move against her lips.

 

“And meet me downstairs in thirty minutes.”

 

“Thirty minutes?”

 

John raised his head and chuckled at the look on her face.  “Forty-five?”

 

She smiled and nodded.  “Forty-five.”

 

John smiled and kissed her again as he sat them up.  He broke off the kiss, stood and then reached for her hands and pulled her out of the bed and into his arms.

 

“Just what do you have planned, John Koenig?”  She searched his eyes.

 

John simply smiled and steered her towards the bathroom.  “C’mon, get going.  Your time is running out.”

 

Helena laughed, gave him a quick kiss, and then ducked into the bathroom.

 

John chuckled and grinned to himself as he gathered the tray and left the bedroom.

 

 

 

Forty-five minutes later, John was standing by the fireplace, dressed in the same dark suit he’d worn the first time he exchanged vows with Helena.  He smiled as an image of her wearing that simple, white, spaghetti-strapped, knee-length dress, coming down the aisle towards him, on Victor’s arm, came to his mind.

 

“…John…”

 

John turned, his eyes growing wide, his breath catching in his throat as he let his eyes drift over her.  She stood on the bottom step, a soft smile on her face; dressed in the white slip dress. 

 

“Oh… God… Helena!”  He breathed.  “You look…”

 

Helena smiled at him as his voice trailed off.  She stepped down off the stair and glided towards him, her smile growing as she watched his eyes follow her every move.  She stopped before him.

 

Helena…” he whispered softly, lifting a hand to brush his fingers across her cheek; the soft curls framing her face caressing the back of his hand.

 

“I wasn’t sure this dress would still fit.”

 

“Oh...” John said, letting his eyes move appreciatively down her body.  “It fits.  It fits beautifully.”  He brought his eyes back to hers.  Helena… you look… stunning.”

 

“Thank you.”  Helena smiled at him and reached out to run her hand up his chest.  “You look pretty good yourself.”

 

John smiled at her and drew her close for a gentle, loving kiss.

 

“So… now what?”  She asked softly.

 

“Now…” John said, taking her hands in his and leading towards the door.  “We’re going for a little walk.”

 

“And where are we going?”

 

“You’ll have to wait and see.”  John said, pulling her through the door with him.  When they were on the porch, he stopped them.  “But first thing’s first.  Do you trust me?”

 

“With my life.”  She gave him a look as he moved to step behind her.  “Why?  Just what do you have planned, John?”

 

“To insure that you can’t peek or otherwise guess at where I’m taking you.  I’m going to blindfold you.”  He slipped a soft, white scarf over her eyes and secured it gently behind her head.  “That’s not too tight is it?”

 

Helena shook her head.  “John… is a blindfold really necessary?”

 

“Yes it is.  I know you.  And I know you can’t resist peeking.”

 

Helena chuckled as she felt him move to stand beside her.  “And just how am I supposed to walk wherever it is we’re walking to, if I’m blindfolded.”

 

“Well… that’s the added bonus to this little plan of mine.”  Helena let out a small gasp of surprise as she felt herself being swept up into his arms.  “I get to hold you in my arms.”

 

“Like you need an excuse.”  She smiled and slipped her arms about his neck as he began to walk towards their destination.

 

Twenty minutes later, John stopped and gently lowered her to her feet and placed his hands on her shoulders, turning her gently.

 

“Okay… let’s get this off you.”  He said as he reached behind her and carefully removed the scarf.

 

Helena slowly opened her eyes, allowing them to adjust to the brightness and when she could see without squinting, she found herself facing John.  Even without looking around, she knew that they were at the lake as she could feel the moisture in the air.  Helena smiled at him.

 

“You ready for your surprise?”  John asked her with a soft smile on his face.  She nodded and with his hands on her shoulders, he slowly turned her around.

 

“Oh… John…” Helena whispered softly.

 

Gathered before them, all with smiles on their faces were, not only their closest friends and family but also the entire Alphan community.  Off to the side, a large canopy had been raised and there were tables and chairs set up underneath it.  And just at the lake’s edge, at the end of the makeshift aisle, there was a beautiful, wooden arbor with intricately carved climbing roses on each of the four posts.

 

“…John…” Helena whispered his name again, bringing her hand up to cover his where it still rested on her shoulder.  “How… when did you do all this?”

 

“My secret.”  He whispered against her ear as he leaned closer.  He kissed her cheek and then moved to stand beside her.  He offered her his arm.  “Shall we go get married again, Mrs. Koenig?”

 

Helena smiled and slipped her arm through his.  “By all means, Mr. Koenig.  Lead the way.”

 

“With pleasure.”  He grinned at her.

 

Soft music began to play and everyone stood as they slowly made their way down the aisle between the rows of their friends.

 

“Doesn’t Gramma look pretty, Daddy?”

 

Helena smiled as she heard her granddaughter’s not so quiet compliment and was surprised when John suddenly stopped in the aisle beside where Callie was being held in her father’s arms and leaned towards her.

 

“You’re right, Pumpkin.  Your Gramma does look real pretty today.”  John said with a wink at his granddaughter.  “In fact, she looks much better than pretty, don’t you think?”

 

Callie nodded her head enthusiastically as John chuckled and straightened up.  He smiled at his wife and the two of them continued their journey down the aisle.  He felt Helena squeeze his arm and glanced over at her as she noticed their children waiting for them by the arbor with Victor, who was standing on the raised dais between the twins.

 

“The twins…” she whispered.  “You asked them to stand up with us?”

 

John smiled and nodded.  “And I asked Victor to officiate.”

 

“You look fabulous, Mom.”  Victoria said softly to her mother, who smiled her thanks as her father led her past she and Jonathan to step up onto the arbor.

 

Jonathan shared a smile with his twin as the two of them stepped up behind their parents and moved to stand beside them.

 

Victor smiled, cleared his throat, and began the ceremony.

 

John and Helena turned to face each other, reaching for and holding each other’s hands tightly as Victor’s words faded into background noise.  They lost themselves in the brightness of each other’s eyes; everything and everyone around them disappearing, leaving just the two of them alone in their own little universe as they re-affirmed their love and commitment to each other.

 

 

 

“Happy, Mrs. Koenig?”  John whispered against her ear as they held each other close and swayed slowly to a softly playing love song.

 

Helena raised her head from John’s shoulder and gave him a loving smile.  “Delirious, Mr. Koenig.”

 

John smiled and leaned down to give her a gentle kiss.

 

“So, how do you like my solution to our little dilemma?”

 

“I love it.  It’s perfect, John.”  She glanced around at all their friends, some of them dancing, others sitting at the tables and talking.  She looked back up at him, reaching up to cup his cheek.  “Everything is perfect.”

 

John smiled and pulled her close again as another slow song began.

 

 

There’s ship out

On the ocean

At the mercy of the sea

It’s been tossed about

Lost and broken

Wand’ring aimlessly

And God somehow you know

That ship is me

 

Cause there’s a lighthouse

In a harbour

Shining faithfully

Pouring it’s light out

Across the water

For this sinking soul it sees

That someone out there

Still believes in me

 

On a prayer

In a song

I hear your voice

And it keeps me hanging on, on

Raining down

Against the wind

I’m reaching out

Till we reach the circle’s end

When you come back to me again

 

 

Helena lifted her head and met John’s eyes.  Soft smiles came to their faces.

 

“Our song?”

 

“I’d say so.”

 

Their lips came together for a soft kiss.  Helena moved her head back to his shoulder and slipped her arms under his to wrap them around his back.  John’s arms tightened around her and he brought one hand up to stroke her hair as they held each other tightly and continued to dance.

 

 

There’s a moment

That we all come to

In our own time

And our own space

Where all that we’ve done

We can undo

If our heart’s in the right place

 

On a prayer

In a song

I hear your voice

And it keeps me hanging on, on

Raining down

Against the wind

I’m reaching out

Till we reach the circle’s end

And you come back to me again

 

And again I see

My yesterdays in front of me

Unfolding like a mystery

You’re changing all that is

And used to be

 

On a prayer

In a song

I hear your voice

And it keeps me hanging on, on

Raining down

Against the wind

I’m reaching out

Till we reach the circle’s end

When you come back to me again

 

When you come back to me again

 

 

The song ended and Helena raised her head off his shoulder and sighed happily as John’s mouth covered hers in a passionate kiss, which caused everyone around them to smile and applaud.  They broke apart, smiling sheepishly. 

 

“Come on, Mrs. Koenig.  Let’s go get something to drink.”  John said, slipping his arm about her waist and leading her off the makeshift dance floor as a faster song began.

 

Helena slipped her arm around his waist as she chuckled.  “Whatever you say, Mr. Koenig.”

 

They sat out the next few songs, neither one really interested in the fast ones.  Just as the next slow song began, they saw Jonathan walking towards them.

 

“May I have this dance?”  Jonathan asked his mother.

 

Helena smiled.  “I would love that.”

 

John smiled as he watched his son lead his mother out on to the dance floor.  He glanced around and then stood.

 

 

 

“You look happy, Mom.”  Jonathan told her as they glided across the floor.

 

“That’s because I am happy, Sweetie.”  Helena smiled up at him.  “I have two wonderful children, a precious granddaughter and I have my husband back.  I couldn’t ask for, nor want, anything else.”

 

Jonathan smiled at the happy look on his mother’s face.  “Well, you always said he’d come back to you, despite the odds.  And he did.”

 

“Yes, he did.”

 

“And it’s so obvious how much Dad loves you.”  Jonathan said.  “You can see it on his face when he looks at you.” 

 

“What?”  Helena asked as he suddenly grinned and began to chuckle.

 

“You should have seen him working on that arbor.  Making sure that every detail was precise and accurate.”

 

“You mean… your father made that?”  Helena’s eyes grew wide as Jonathan nodded.  “When… when did he find the time to work on it?”

 

“Well… you know all those little emergencies we had in the Med Center that needed your attention?”  Jonathan smiled sheepishly.

 

“No… you mean to tell me…”

 

“Yep.”  Jonathan nodded.  “Dad asked us to keep you occupied while he was working on it to keep you from getting suspicious.”

 

“Oh… my…” Helena’s eyes filled with tears as she shook her head in silent amazement.  “I can’t believe you guys did all this.”

 

“We didn’t do much.  Dad did everything.”  Jonathan told her.  “It was his idea.  He made all the plans, got everything organized.  All we had to do was keep you busy and show up.”  He paused and smiled.

 

Helena simply shook her head and then smiled.  “C’mon, show your mother what a good dancer you are.”

 

Jonathan chuckled.  “Yes, ma’am.”

 

 

 

“I have never seen Mom look so happy.” 

 

John smiled at his daughter as they danced and glanced over at his wife and son.  “She is glowing, isn’t she?”

 

“Yes she is.  And it’s all because you’ve come back.”  Victoria said and smiled.  “She never doubted that you would return.  Wouldn’t let us doubt it either.”

 

“Your mother is an amazing woman.”  John told her.  “The most amazing woman I have ever known.  And being back with her… is the fulfillment of all my dreams.”

 

Victoria smiled at the love she heard in her father’s voice and could see on his face as he glanced over at her mother dancing with Jonathan.

 

“Hers too, Dad.  Hers too.”

 

John looked back at Victoria and smiled at her as he hugged her to him.  “C’mon… your daddy wants to dance with his baby girl.”

 

Victoria smiled and laid her head on her father’s shoulder as he began to lead her around the dance floor.

 

 

 

Helena glanced over her son’s shoulder to see John dancing with Victoria and smiled as she met his eyes across the floor.

 

Jonathan saw the smile on his mother’s face grow and light up her eyes and nodded to himself when he followed her gaze to see his father dancing with his sister but gazing at his mother.

 

As the two couples danced closer together, Jonathan suddenly stopped dancing, turned to his father, and smiled.

 

“Wanna switch partners?”

 

“Not that I don’t like dancing with your sister,” John answered with a smile.  “But I thought you’d never ask.”

 

All four chuckled as they switched partners.

 

“Come here, Mrs. Koenig.”  John pulled Helena into his arms with a grand flourish, lifting her and twirling her in the air as she laughed with delight and wrapped her arms around his neck.  And then much to the delight of their children and everyone else, John pulled Helena into a passionate kiss.

 

Oblivious to the cheers from their friends and family, John and Helena continued to kiss as they began to slowly dance to the soft music; their bodies pressed tightly together.

 

“You are an incredible man, John Koenig.”  Helena said softly against his lips.

 

“Why’s that?”

 

“I just found out from our son, that you made that beautiful arbor.”  She said, slipping her hands into his hair.  “And that you’re responsible for all of this.”

 

John simply smiled and pulled her closer.  “I wanted today to be special for you… for us.”

 

“Just being back in your arms makes it special.”  Helena told him, pulling his lips back to hers.  “And for the last twenty years, it’s the only present I’ve wanted.”

 

John moved his hands slowly up and down her back as they continued to sway to the music, resting his forehead against hers as he whispered.  “Likewise.”

 

“I love you so much, John.”

 

“And I you, my love.”

 

Just as their lips met in another kiss, Helena felt a tug on the hem of her dress.  She pulled back slightly and smiled as she glanced down.

 

“And what can we do for you, young lady?”  Helena asked her granddaughter.

 

“Want to dance with yous.”  Callie told them.

 

Helena and John smiled.

 

“What a wonderful idea, Pumpkin.”  John said as he stepped back from Helena, stooped over, and hoisted his granddaughter into his arms.  He shifted her so that she could slide her legs around his middle, while he held her securely with one arm and pulled Helena back to him with his free arm; wrapping it around her waist as she slipped her arms around both of them.  Grampa would love to dance with his two favourite blondes.”

 

“Me and Gramma, right, Grampa?”  Callie asked with a smile as she wrapped one arm around his neck, the other moving around Helena’s shoulders.

 

“Right, Pumpkin.  You and Gramma.”  John smiled as he once again began to move to the music; feeling happier and more content then he had in years.

 

 

 

“What do you say we get out of here?”  John whispered into his wife’s ear much later in the evening.  “I have a few other plans for this evening, that I’d like to put in motion.”

 

Helena lifted her head from his shoulder and cut her eyes at him.  “Oh really?  And what are these plans of yours?”

 

“Well,” John began; sliding his hands down sides to her hips and pulled her closer.  “I’d like to take my wife home, bring her upstairs and make mad, passionate love to her for the rest of the night.  That is, if she’s agreeable.”

 

Helena gave a soft laugh as she ran her hands down his back to cup his rear, squeezing gently.  “Oh… I think she’s most agreeable.”

 

“I’m so glad.”  John grinned, gave her a long, deep kiss, and then slipped her arm around her shoulders as he led her across the dance floor.  “Come on, Mrs. Koenig.  Let’s blow this pop-stand.” 

 

“Right beside you, Mr. Koenig.”  Helena said with a laugh.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Tending to her garden, Helena sat back on her heels for a moment, pulling off one of her gloves to brush an errant piece of hair out of her eyes and surveyed her handy work.

 

“Well, what do you think?”

 

Sitting on the bench he’d added to the arbor since their anniversary three months earlier, John looked up from the toy he was carving for Callie at Helena’s question.  His eyes moved over the flowers she’d planted and he nodded.

 

“Looks good.”  He said.

 

“You really think so?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  John said.  “I especially like how you’ve got the white marigolds surrounding the rose bush.”

 

Helena smiled and then slipped her glove back on and went back to her weeding and transplanting.

 

John watched her for a moment longer, an affectionate smile forming on his lips and then went back to his woodcarving.

 

A short while later, they both heard approaching footsteps and looked up.

 

“If it isn’t my favourite physician coming to pay a visit.”  Helena smiled and stood up, removing her gloves as Jonathan came closer.

 

Hiya, Sport.”  John waved at his son with a big grin.

 

Jonathan gave his father a small smile as he waved back and then continued over to his mother.  He gave her a kiss on the cheek and then took her gloves from her hands, dropping them to the ground as he reached for and took her hands.

 

Helena gave her son a quizzical look and felt her heart skip a beat at the look in his eyes.  “Jonathan, what is it?”

 

Jonathan pulled his mother into a protective hug, one hand going to the back of her head as he bent low to lay his head on her shoulder and met his father’s eyes; the look in his, causing his father to freeze.  When he spoke, his voice was quiet and trembling but still loud enough for John to hear.

 

“Uncle Victor… he died last night in his sleep.”

 

Jonathan felt his mother suddenly begin to sob and saw his father’s eyes grow wide and then mist with tears before he hung his head, whispering his friend’s name.

 

Helena slowly disengaged herself from her son’s arms and brought her hand up to his cheek.  “Thank you for coming to tell us.”

 

Jonathan simply nodded and then watched as his mother moved over to join his father on the bench.

 

Helena slowly sank down beside John and took his hands in hers, bringing them up to rest on her chest.  Holding them against her with one hand, she brought her other hand up to gently run her fingers through his hair and then cup his cheek to lift his gaze to hers.

 

Their eyes locked and then suddenly they were in each other’s arms, holding each other in a fierce embrace; both of them sobbing openly.

 

Jonathan remained where he was, watching with some small relief; once again thankful that his father was here, that they would be able to face this together and be there for each other.  He hung his head, feeling his own grief at the loss of his uncle and unofficial grandfather. 

 

“…Jonnie…”

 

He looked up suddenly when he heard his mother call his name and then slowly walked over to them as she waved him over.  He knelt down before them and began to cry in earnest as his father pulled him to them in a protective hug.

 

The three held each other and cried at their shared loss.

 

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

Knowing Victor would not have wanted a long, drawn-out affair surrounding his death, his funeral was held the next day.  A simple ceremony and then a gathering afterwards for everyone to share their memories of the brilliant man who’d touched all their lives.

 

From across the room, Helena watched John wrap his arms around his daughter and pull her into a protective hug as she began to cry again, after having shared a memory of the man who’d been a grandfather to her.  Victor and his namesake had been especially close and his death had hit Victoria pretty hard.

 

Helena sighed, suddenly feeling very tired… very tired and very old.  Victor’s death had shaken her too; more than she’d been willing to admit and in that moment she had a very clear sense of her own mortality.  And the age difference that was now between her and John rose up to meet her like a giant wave, almost consuming her; the sight before her, John comforting Victoria, changing to one of Victoria comforting John.  It caused her to shiver.

 

She turned suddenly when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

 

“You okay?”

 

“Mostly.”  Helena answered, turning to face Bob with a sad smile.  “Just being pensive.”

 

“I think given the circumstances, we’re all feeling a little like that today.”  Bob said and looked at her a little more closely.  “There’s something else bothering you.  What is it, Helena?”

 

Helena glanced back over at John, who was stroking their daughter’s hair as her tears began to subside.  She sighed; keeping her eyes on John and Victoria and when she spoke her voice was almost a whisper.  “Oh, Bob… I so wish I never had to leave him, to put him through the pain of losing me again but…”

 

“But what?”  Bob asked as her voice trailed off.  Helena, you’re in perfect health.”

 

“I know.”  She said and then turned back to him, her eyes filled with tears.  “But I’m also so much older than him now, Bob.”

 

Helena, both you and I know, age has nothing to do with when a person dies.”  He told her.  “No one can predict what the future holds.  The odds could be just about even… for both of you.  One never knows.”

 

Helena shivered at the thought as she nodded and suddenly pinned a look on her friend and colleague.  “Bob?  Is there something you’re not telling me?  John’s okay, isn’t he?”

 

“He is perfectly healthy.  As are you.”  Bob said, reaching out to take her hand and giving it a friendly squeeze.  “My advice to you is to not dwell on it.  You two have been given a second chance at a life together.  Enjoy it.  Not many people are given the gift you and John have been given.  And odds are, the both of you will live a long and happy life… together.”  He paused and smiled at her.  “In fact, I’d bet money on it.”

 

Helena returned his smile and stepped forward to embrace him.  “Thanks, Bob.”

 

“What are friends for?”  Bob replied, returning her hug.  As they parted, Bob placed his hand back on her shoulder.  “C’mon, what do you say about getting a cup of tea and share some memories?”

 

“That sounds nice.”  She glanced over once again at John and Victoria and smiled at the small smile that was now on her daughter’s face as she rested her head on her father’s shoulder, his arm still hung protectively over her shoulders.  She looked back at Bob and then slipped her arm through his and let him lead her to another corner of the room.

 

 

 

Walking through the crowded room, looking for her husband, Helena spotted her son standing off to the side of the room; his arms wrapped around a petite brunette.  A small smile touched her lips as she slowly made her way over to them.

 

“How you doing, Sport?”  She asked her son as she placed her hand on his shoulder.

 

“I’m doing okay I guess, Mom.”  Jonathan answered, untangling himself from the woman with him to embrace his mother.  “As okay as anyone can be at a time like this.”

 

Helena nodded understandingly and turned to her son’s companion, pulling her into a hug.  “And what about you, Susie?”

 

“I’ll be okay, Mom.”  Susan said quietly.

 

“I know you will.”  Helena smiled at her future daughter-in-law as Susan moved back into Jonathan’s arms.  Susan was a tiny young lady who looked just like Tanya, her mother.  Susan had been born three months after they’d settled on Nova and over the last year, she and Jonathan had become quite serious about each other and were planning on marrying in a few months.

 

“How are your parents doing?”  Helena asked.  Jonathan had told her that Ed had been the one to find Victor in bed, after Victor hadn’t reported for his yearly physical.

 

“They’re doing okay.”  Susan said.  “I think Dad’s still in shock, but Mom’s with him.”

 

“Speaking of your folks,” Jonathan said.  “I think they’re getting ready to leave.  You said you wanted to talk to them.”

 

“That’s right, I did.”  She stepped over and embraced Helena again.  “We’ll see you later, Helena.  Give my best to John.”

 

Helena nodded, accepted a kiss on the cheek from Jonathan and watched as the two of them walked away, arm in arm.  She smiled softly; glad Jonathan had someone to lean on.  She sighed and then resumed her search for her husband.

                      

 

 

“Lord, am I beat.”  John said as he crawled into bed, pulling the sheet up and reaching for his wife.

 

“So am I.”  Helena yawned softly as she settled into his arms.

 

They lay together, the sound of their breathing mixing with the various sounds of the night that drifted through their open window.

 

“I still can’t believe he’s gone.”

 

“I know.”  Helena replied in the same soft voice John had spoken in.

 

“I guess I thought… he’d live forever.  He was always so full of life.  So full of energy.”  He felt Helena move closer to him and slip her arms around him.  “There was so much I wanted to talk with him about; show him some of the things we’d discovered when we were gone.”  He paused, blinking back the tears that had suddenly formed in his eyes.  “I feel like I’ve lost another parent.”

 

“Me too.”  Helena said, hearing the tears in his voice.  She shifted so that she could look down at him, tears in her own eyes as she brought her hand up to brush through his hair and leaned over to kiss away his tears. 

 

“And the kids… it’s like they’ve lost their grandfather.”  John continued; growing slightly distracted as Helena’s lips brushed against his and then moved down his throat.  Helena… maybe we should…”

 

“John…” Helena whispered in a throaty voice as she pressed her body against his, continuing to kiss his neck.  She raised her head to gaze into his eyes.  “I need to feel alive…”

 

John looked into Helena’s tear-filled eyes and could see, not only her desire for him, but also her need to re-affirm that life goes on.

 

“Let’s make love, John.”  She murmured against his ear, running her hands down his chest, raining tender kisses over his face as she rolled onto his chest.

 

Feeling her warm body pressing against his and also feeling the sudden need to embrace life, John slid his hands into his wife’s hair and pulled her mouth to his for a passionate yet gentle kiss; their tears intermingling as John rolled them over, pinning Helena beneath him.

 

He broke off the kiss to move his lips over her face, tasting her tears as he kissed them away.  He heard her moan softly as his lips soon followed his hands down her body; touching and kissing her everywhere, worshipping every inch of her.

 

“John…” Helena moaned his name softly; her body tingling everywhere his fingers and hands touched.  She reached out with her hands, touching him where she could, trailing her fingers in his hair, and kneading the muscles in his shoulders.

 

John slowly kissed his way back up her body to her lips.  Helena wrapped her arms around him, her legs moving to entangle with his and they simply held each other as they continued to kiss.

 

Slowly, after giving her a long, lingering kiss, John rolled over onto his back, pulling her with him and then sat up.  Her legs moved to either side of him as she straddled him.  She wound her arms about his shoulders and her hands moved into his hair as he dipped his head to place little kisses all along her chest and again on her neck and shoulders.

 

Helena pressed light kisses into his hair and down over his temples sighing softly as his hands began to move, very softly in a feather-light caress, up and down her back.  She shifted closer to him as his lips began to make their way down to her breasts and tightened her grip to his hair as his mouth closed around one of her nipples.

 

John moved his lips back to hers and gave her a passionate kiss and then locked his eyes with hers as his hands moved to clasp her hips gently in his hands, lifting her and then slowly lowering her onto his rigid member; pressing into her deeply but gently.

 

Neither one moved.  John laid his cheek against her chest, listening to the pounding of her heart as her hands leisurely caressed his back.  He pressed a tender kiss against her breast and then lifted his head to once again meet her eyes.  She smiled lovingly at him as she leaned towards him and placed soft kisses on his eyelids.

 

“I love you.”  It was whispered together as they began to move in an age-old rhythm of love, their bodies rocking together gently. 

 

John reached up to capture her lips as he continued to slowly move inside her; keeping a slow and steady rhythm; his hands moving once again up and down her back, enjoying the feel of her warm, damp skin beneath his fingers.

 

Helena’s moan of his name was lost in his mouth as the sensations increasingly grew throughout her body.  She slid her hands up his back and over his shoulders to entangle in his hair as she shifted against him, encouraging him to increase the speed of his thrusts; a low sigh escaping her lips as she felt John begin to move faster.

 

John’s lips left hers to trail down her throat to her breasts, licking and kissing her already stiff nipples; smiling as they grew even harder beneath his tongue.  He continued to suckle at her breasts, feeling her body begin to quiver as the beginnings of her orgasm began to take hold.

 

Her hands dropped to his shoulders and she leaned back, biting her lower lip as she arched her lower body against him, increasing the connection of their bodies and allowing the sensations that were growing and beginning to course throughout her body, to intensify.

 

“John!”

 

John held Helena tightly in his arms as she shuddered with her release; his name a low moan on her lips.  She slowly leaned forward, resting her forehead against his, trying to catch her breath, even as the sensations continued to move through her body.

 

As her body continued to quiver, John slid his hands up her back, over her shoulders and into her hair; bringing her lips back to his for an ardent kiss as he lay back on the bed.  He pulled her with him and rolled them over, covering her body with his own. 

 

Helena moaned into his mouth, wrapping her legs around his hips as he broke off the kiss, raising himself onto his arms and began to thrust into her.  Her hands moved restlessly over his back, her nails scoring his flesh lightly as she felt him sliding in and out of her.

 

John could feel his release nearing and began to move faster inside her, his thrusts becoming shorter and faster.  Suddenly Helena’s legs tightened around him and she clutched at his shoulders, crying out his name as another, stronger orgasm took hold of her. 

 

He stopped moving; burying himself inside her and holding himself up on his arms above her, watching her body tremble beneath his; her eyes closing as she rode out the wave of pleasure that washed over her.  She opened her eyes to see John looking down at her with a tender smile on his face and gave him a breathless smile as she slid a hand from his shoulder to cup his cheek; her eyes sparkling at him.

 

John leaned down and gave her a hungry kiss as he began thrusting into her again.  They moaned into each other’s mouths before John raised himself back up onto his arms to thrust into her with more urgency.  Suddenly he cried out her name as his release exploded from deep inside him with such force that he collapsed on top of her, his body trembling violently; his face buried in her neck as he struggled to catch his breath.  His release triggered another smaller orgasm in her and Helena held him to her tightly, pressing a small kiss against his neck as she sighed his name.

 

Some time later, pressing a kiss to her shoulder, John raised his head and they smiled at each other.  He placed a long, loving kiss against her mouth and then rolled off her onto his side and gathered her into his arms.

 

“How you feeling?”  He asked softly, his lips moving against her forehead, his hands caressing her back.

 

“Very… alive.”  Helena looked up at him with a look that was still touched with sadness but also filled with love as she settled herself further into his arms, enjoying his soft caress.  “You?”  She asked him as she sighed, her lips moving against his chest.

 

“Would you believe… happy?”  John murmured, pulling her closer, entangling his legs with hers.  “Happy… and very alive.”

 

Helena smiled against his chest, knowing that’s what Victor would have wanted.  They cuddled some more and then fell into a deep, peaceful slumber.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

John slowly crossed his arms over his chest and met his wife’s cool gaze.  He spoke in a low, warning voice.  Helena…”

 

“Oh… no… don’t even think of using that tone with me, John Koenig.”  Helena responded, stepping closer and poked a finger into his chest; her chin lifting defiantly as she pinned him with a piercing look.  “I am not Callie or one of the twins or even one of the Alphans you can simply order around.  I am a grown woman and will do what I want to do… when I want to do it.  And despite your earlier sentiments… I am not old…”

 

Helena!  I never said that and you damn well know it.”  John’s hands clenched at his sides as he tried to stay in control of the anger he felt welling inside.

 

“Well, you sure as hell implied it.”  She said in a low voice.  “So much for the age difference not really mattering.”

 

“You know it doesn’t make a difference.”  John told her emphatically.  “I’ve told you that over and over.”  He reached out to place his hands on her shoulders, trying to lower and soften his voice, not wanting to fight with her but still feeling some tension.  “…Helena… Honey…”

 

He was surprised when she placed her hands on his chest and shoved him away, giving him a dark look.

 

“Don’t…”

 

“What the hell’s gotten into you?”  John demanded, his voice rising again, the anger returning.

 

“Me?!”  Helena’s voice rose to match his.  “What’s gotten into you?  Actually giving me an order?  I am not one of your subordinates, Commander!  And I never will be!”

 

And then to John’s surprise, Helena turned on her heels and stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind her.  John stood rooted to the spot, a surprised look on his face.

 

“Where the hell did that come from?”  He said out loud to himself, his thoughts racing as he replayed the last thirty minutes in his mind.  He’d come in from his run, hoping to talk her into spending a quiet afternoon by the lake and found her heading out to help out at the clinic.

 

 

 

“Where you going?”  John asked as he stepped up behind her and slipped his arms about her waist.  He nuzzled her neck.  “I was hoping to talk you into spending some quiet time with your husband down by the lake.”

 

“Oh, John… I would love that.”  Helena sighed, leaning back against him, turning her head to accept his kiss.  “But, with this cold virus still going around… I can’t afford to take any time off.”

 

Helena…” John sighed, unable to hide his disappointment.

 

“John…”

 

“Sweetheart…” he pulled her tighter against him.  “You need to take a break…”

 

 

 

He’d not been able to finish his sentence as Helena suddenly moved out of his arms…

 

“And all hell broke loose.”  John said aloud, moving out onto the porch as their fight once again flashed through his mind.  He shook his head again.  He still had no real idea what the hell they’d been fighting about.

 

He sighed and then frowned as that restless, unbalanced feeling he always got when he and Helena fought, began to creep up on him.  He nodded to no one as he reached out and shut the front door.  He knew what he had to do and set out after his wife.

 

 

 

By the time she reached the clinic, Helena’s mood had not improved.  She stormed into the building and headed straight for her office, not speaking to anyone.  She shut and locked the door behind her, leaning up against it as she released a ragged sigh.

 

Slowly she moved to her desk and sank down into her chair, her mind on her fight with John, trying to figure out exactly what it was they’d been arguing about and why.  The more she thought about it, the more she realized that John hadn’t really said or done anything wrong and that she’d flown off the handle for no reason.

 

Helena leaned back in her chair, closing her eyes as she went over the events of the morning, trying to find that one thing that had triggered her temper.  She remembered John whispering in her ear that he was going out for a morning run by the lake and that he wouldn’t be too long.  She’d mumbled some reply as he kissed her cheek and had fallen back asleep, clutching his pillow.

 

That in itself wasn’t anything unusual.  Since being back on Nova, John had periodically gotten up early to go for a run around the lake and she didn’t mind, as on those mornings, she would wake up a little after he left and head down for the lake for a morning swim, where, after his run, John would usually join her for the refreshing dip.

 

“Face it, Helena.”  She said to herself, suddenly remembering waking up wanting nothing more than to hit something; a well of anger unlike any she’d felt before washing over her.  “You simply woke up itching for a fight and John was the lucky target.”

 

In fact, she realized, she’d woken up feeling like that for the last couple days.  She sighed again and opened her eyes, the doctor in her being pushed aside as she leaned forward and buried her face in her arms on her desk and gave into her urge to cry.

 

 

 

John stopped and watched Helena storm into the Med Center.  He debated on whether or not he should follow her, and then decided against it.  Judging by the way she was carrying herself and the way she’d flung open the door, she was still upset.  And if she was still upset, John knew that they’d only end up fighting some more and he didn’t want to do that; especially not in the clinic.

 

He sighed and glanced around.

 

Deciding that he’d be better off to wait till later to work things out with her, he reached for his commlock and keyed it in for emergencies only and then turned and headed for the lake.  He’d do some thinking there, the serenity of the area always helping to calm him down and clear his head.

 

 

 

Helena sat up, the tears streaming down her cheeks as she reached for the box of tissues on her desk.  She pulled a couple sheets out and wiped the tears from her face.

 

She hated fighting with John.  It always left her feeling exhausted and so…

 

“Lonely.”  She whispered to herself as she started to cry again.

 

A few minutes later, she dried her tears again.

 

“You know what you have to do, Helena.”  She told herself, sitting up in her chair and reaching for her commlock.  “You’ll feel better once you’ve made up with John.”

 

She keyed in John’s code and waited anxiously for his face to appear in the tiny viewer.  Seconds later, instead of John’s face, she saw the words, ‘Emergencies Only’ flash across the tiny screen.

 

She sighed and debated on whether or not to punch in his emergency code.  She shook her head; she’d just have to wait and apologize to him later.  No doubt he was still upset and she wanted to give him a little more time to cool off.

 

She sighed again and heard a knock on her office door.  She stood; then walked over to unlock and open her door to find Bob standing there.

 

“Yes, Bob?”

 

Bob regarded her for a moment.  “You okay, Helena?”

 

“I’m fine, Bob.”  Helena said and then moved back to her desk, sniffling a little.  “What can I do for you?”

 

“You sure?  You’re not catching this cold are you?”  He said, moving to stand before her desk, noting that her eyes were a little puffy.

 

“I’m not catching the cold, Bob.”  She managed to smile at him.  “So…”

 

Bob nodded, knowing she wouldn’t divulge any more information.  “It’s Susan Spencer.  She’s come down with the cold and it’s hit her pretty hard.  Jonathan’s with her but…”

 

“He’s not thinking like a doctor at the moment.”  Helena nodded understandingly; she’d been in his shoes before with his father.  She stood once again, this time in doctor mode and moved towards the door.  “Let’s go and attend to my future daughter-in-law, Bob.”

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Victoria opened her front door.

 

“Daddy!”

 

“Hi, Vick.”  John said, hoping the smile on his face didn’t appear as fake as it felt.  “Okay if I come in and visit with my daughter and granddaughter?”

 

“Of course it is.”  Victoria said, standing aside and ushering him in.  She gave him a look after she shut the door.  “You okay, Daddy?”

 

“Yeah, I’m okay.”  John said, pulling her into a gentle hug.  “So, where is that little bundle of energy?”

 

“She’s in the living room but, not quite as rambunctious as usual.”  Victoria said leading him into the other room.

 

“Hey, Pumpkin.”  John said, an easy smile coming to his face as he saw the tiny blonde laying on the floor, colouring on a piece of paper.

 

Grampa!”  Callie dropped her crayon, quickly got to her feet, and ran into John’s waiting arms.

 

“How’s my girl?”  John asked, hugging her to his chest.

 

“I gots a cold, Grampa.”  She told him matter-of-factly as she pulled back and looked at him with her grandmother’s green eyes.  “I don’t feel so good.”

 

Vicky stood in the doorway with a bemused smile on her face as she watched her father slip down onto the floor to colour with Callie.  She shook her head and left them alone to have their time together.

 

Grampa…” Callie said softly, looking up from her picture.  “Did you and Gramma have a fight?”

 

John looked at her with wide eyes.  “Why do you ask that, Pumpkin?”

 

“Cause your eyes aren’t smiling, Grampa.”  Callie said softly.  “And you always have sad eyes whenever you and Gramma fight.”

 

John couldn’t help but be amazed at how insightful his four-year-old granddaughter was.  “Is that so?”

 

“Yep.”  Callie said and turned back to her colouring.  “You should tell Gramma you’re sorry, Grampa.  Then you won’t have sad eyes no more.”

 

“You’re absolutely right, Pumpkin.”  John agreed, reaching out to stroke Callie’s silky blonde hair.  “I should, but Gramma’s at work right now.  But I tell you what… I promise to apologize to her as soon as she gets home.  Okay?”

 

“Okay, Grampa.”  She turned to look at him with a smile and then handed him a crayon.  “Colour with me, Grampa.  We’ll colour a picture to give to Gramma to say you’re sorry.  Gramma always likes pictures.”

 

John chuckled and took the crayon and scooted closer to Callie and began to colour with her; his fight with Helena not completely leaving his thoughts, but moving aside enough for him to enjoy this time with his granddaughter.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena walked wearily up the steps and knocked on the door.  She’d promised Victoria that she’d come and check on Callie later that day, as she was just getting over her own bout with the cold sweeping through the community.  She glanced around as she waited, wanting more than anything to simply head home and talk to John.  She was still feeling terrible for the way she’d laid into him and wanted to apologize to him.

 

She was so lost in her thought of what she could do to make it up to him that she didn’t hear the door open and her daughter step out onto the porch with her.

 

“Mom?”

 

“Oh… hi, Sweetie.”  Helena said, turning and giving Victoria a small smile.

 

Victoria regarded her mother for a moment.  “You okay, Mom?  You looked like you were a million miles away.”

 

“I’m fine, Vicky.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Mmhmm.  Just tired, that’s all.  It was a long day and I… I’m a little anxious to get home to your father.”  Helena said.  “So, where’s that’s granddaughter of mine?”

 

Still looking at her mother and not completely believing that it was simply being tired that was bothering her, Victoria shook her head softly, knowing better then to push the issue.

 

“She’s in the living room.”  Victoria said and then smiled.  “And, come to think of it, you got here just in time.”

 

“Just in time for what?”  Helena asked as she followed her daughter into the house.

 

“You’ll see.”  Victoria said softly, holding her finger to her lips as she walked quietly towards the living room.  “It’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.”

 

Moments later, a soft smile graced Helena’s face as she leaned up against the doorway leading into the living room.

 

Reclining in the chair, John was sound asleep with Callie curled up on his lap, her head on his chest as she too slept peacefully.

 

“How long has he been here?”  Helena asked her daughter in a whisper.

 

“All afternoon.”

 

Helena simply nodded.

 

 

 

John’s eyes fluttered and slowly opened as he sensed that his wife was nearby.  He turned his head slowly and saw her standing in the doorway talking to their daughter.  He slipped his arms under Callie and slowly stood, cradling her against him and then just as he was about to lay her down in the chair, Victoria stepped forward.

 

“I’ll take her, Daddy.”  She said softly, taking her sleeping child from John’s arms.

 

John remained standing where he was as he watched Victoria leave the room.  His eyes moved to his wife, who was still standing in the doorway, fidgeting with her wedding ring.  He slowly walked towards her, stopping within arms reach of her.

 

“I’m sorry, Helena.”  He said quietly, meeting her eyes.

 

Helena stepped closer to him, closing the distance between them and reached up to give him a gentle kiss.

 

“I’m the one who should apologize.”  Helena said, laying her hands on his chest.  “It was my fault.”  She placed her finger against his lips to stop him from interrupting.  “I started the fight and for no good reason other than that I woke up feeling… angry.  And I don’t why… and I took it out on you.  And for that I’m sorry.”

 

They gazed at each other for a long moment and then John’s hands moved to her waist, drawing her closer.

 

“Apology accepted.”  He whispered against her lips as he leaned down to give her a kiss.  He felt the tension leave both their bodies as Helena slid her hands up around his neck and deepened the kiss.

 

“What do you say,” Helena said softly, laying her head on his chest.  “That we go home so that I can make it up to you properly?”

 

John smiled and brushed a kiss against her hair.  “Sounds good to me.”

 

Helena raised her head and smiled at him.  “Just let me go check on Callie and then I’m all yours.”

 

John nodded and gave her another kiss before letting her go to check on their granddaughter.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Helena looked up as John sneezed again.

 

“Bless you.”

 

“Thanks.”  He said, reaching for a tissue and blowing his nose.  He sneezed again.

 

Helena stood and moved around the kitchen table to stand beside him and placed her hand on his forehead, which he immediately brushed away.

 

“I’m fine, Helena.”

 

“You’ve got a fever, John.”  She told him.  “And judging by all the sneezing, I’d say you’ve caught the cold that’s going around.”

 

“Helena… I’m fine.”  John said, dismissing her fussing.  “And if I am catching that cold and I stress if, I don’t want you getting too close and catching it too.”

 

“Relax, Honey.  Doctor’s don’t catch their patients’ colds.”  Helena said, walking over to get her medical bag.

 

“Oh no, of course not, Doctor.  They just catch Viral Pneumonia and almost die.”  John teased her, finally surrendering to her ministrations.

 

Helena simply smiled at him as she ran her scanner over him.  “I was right.  You’ve caught the cold.  And no doubt you’ve caught it from our granddaughter.  Seeing as how you spend practically all your free time with her, I should have seen it coming.”

 

“I don’t spend all my free time with Callie.  Just the time I can’t spend with you.” 

 

“You really can’t stand not seeing her every day, can you?” 

 

“Nope.  She is after all,” John grinned at her and reached out for her hand, bringing it to his lips.  “My baby version of you.”

 

“Oh boy!”  Helena laughed.  “You must be delirious.”

 

John laughed with her.

 

“Come on, Sweet talker, let’s get you upstairs and into bed.”

 

“Mmm.  I like the sound of that.”  John said as he stood, pulling her into his arms and nuzzling her neck.  “Tell me, Doctor.  Are you going to join me… you know… for some… hands on medical treatment?”

 

“Upstairs to rest, John.  Sleep is the best thing to help fight this cold.”  Helena said, shaking her head as she chuckled.  She slipped her hands between them to push on his chest.  She met his twinkling eyes as he raised his head and couldn’t help but smile.  “But I tell you what.”

 

“What?”

 

“If you’ll be a good boy and come upstairs willingly…” she cut her eyes at him as she reached for his hands and began to lead him out of the kitchen.  “I’ll consider slipping under the covers with you.”

 

“Best offer I’ve had all day.”  John smiled and allowed her to lead him upstairs.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

John sat on the edge of the bed, reaching out to brush an errant lock of blonde hair out of her face.  He couldn’t help but smile as he watched her sleeping; her face peaceful and relaxed, making her look even more beautiful.  He ran his fingers softly down her cheek and spoke in a soft voice.

 

Helena.  It’s time to wake up.”  She mumbled something he couldn’t make out and curled into a tighter ball.  He placed his hand on the mattress, on the other side of her body and leaned closer, moving his lips against her ear.  “Come on, Honey.  We’re going to be late.”

 

“Mmm… no… five more minutes.”  Helena murmured, pushing on his chest as she rolled over and away from him.

 

“Guess I should call Bob then, huh?  You’re obviously not feeling well.”

 

John grinned as she suddenly sat up.  She gave him a look as she realized what’d he’d done.

 

“That wasn’t very nice.”  She said as she moved into his open arms and gave him a gentle kiss.

 

“It worked didn’t it?”  He chuckled, pulling her into his lap and giving her a longer kiss.  “Besides, we’re going to be late for the picnic.”

 

“We are?”  Helena asked suddenly, angling her head to look at the clock.  Her eyes widened at the time displayed and she quickly crawled from his lap.  “Why’d you let me sleep so long?”

 

John simply shook his head and chuckled as he watched her head for the bathroom and then headed downstairs to finish gathering their picnic supplies.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Callie looked up from her spot on the edge of the lake, a huge smile coming to her face as she saw her grandparents approaching.  She dropped the tiny rocks she held and broke into a run.

 

Gramma!  Grampa!”  She cried out happily as she threw herself into John’s arms, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck.  “You made it.”

 

Hiya, Pumpkin.”  John grinned, hugging her tightly and then passed her over into Helena’s waiting arms where Callie proceeded to rain kisses all over her face.  John grinned at the sight.

 

Callie scrambled down out of her grandmother’s arms and scampered off as John and Helena walked over to join the rest of their extended family.

 

 

 

A short time later, reclining back against John’s chest as they sat on the blanket watching their granddaughter playing with her parents and cousins in the lake, Helena shifted, trying to get comfortable.

 

“Something wrong?”  John asked her softly, his hand absently caressing her thigh.

 

“I’m hot.”  She answered, shifting against him again.

 

“I’ll say you are.”  John grinned as he moved his other arm around her waist and pulled her back tighter against him.

 

Helena laughed and placed her hand on his where it moved on her thigh, stopping him from moving it higher.

 

“Don’t you two ever stop?”

 

They both turned to look at the amused face of their son, who was sitting with his arm draped around Susan’s shoulders.

 

“Not if we can help it.”  John answered and then he placed a kiss on the curve of Helena’s neck.  “How about going for a dip?” 

 

She turned her head slightly to grace him with a sly smile, pressing back against him, her smile growing when she heard him moan softly.

 

“Sounds like a wonderful idea.”  Helena said softly as she pressed back against him again, feeling the beginnings of his arousal pressing against her backside.  “Because I can feel that you need to cool off as well.”

 

John chuckled as she stood and removed the wrap she was wearing to reveal a dark green, one-piece bathing suit.  His eyes traveled over her body appreciatively, enjoying the view.  He stood quickly and much to the amusement of everyone, scooped her up in his arms and headed for the water.

 

“You are one sexy lady, Helena Koenig.”  He told her as he slowly entered the cool water.

 

Helena simply laughed with delight and nuzzled his neck as he carried her further into the water.  “You’re not so bad yourself.”

 

John waded a little further in, until the water was about waist high and then looked at her with a grin.  “Are you ready?”

 

“Ready for what?”  Her eyes widened as she read his intention in his eyes.  “Don’t you dare, John…”

 

Her threat remained unfinished as John suddenly dunked them both under the cool water.  They surfaced several seconds later, their arms around each other, both of them laughing.

 

 

 

“I can’t get over how affectionate your folks are.”  Susan commented to Jonathan as they watched Helena push John under the water and then swim away.

 

“Me either.”  Jonathan laughed as he watched his father surface and take off after his mother.  “Seeing it on the home movies was one thing… but to actually see it happening before my very eyes.”  He paused and smiled at her.  “It’s… great.”

 

“Yes it is.”  Susan smiled, laying her head on his shoulder.  “And I’m very happy for your mother.  You can see how much your father adores her and she him.”

 

Jonathan simply nodded and smiled, settling back to watch his parents enjoy themselves.

 

 

 

John and Helena stayed in the water for a couple hours, playing with Callie and the other children for a time before swimming off to the far side of the lake to enjoy some time to themselves.  They remained apart from the others until it was time to eat.  They moved out of the water and walked hand in hand over to the blanket to grab their towels.

 

“Ooh… that was refreshing.”  Helena said as she wiped the water from her face and smiled at John.

 

“Yes it was.”  He said as he quickly toweled himself off.  He stepped up to her and wrapped his towel around her head, drying her hair for her as she continued to dry off her body.  “And the best part… I was the only one with his own personal water-nymph.”

 

“I’m a water-nymph am I?”  Helena laughed softly, wrapping her towel around her body and smiled up at him.  She shivered slightly as a breeze blew off the lake.

 

“You are indeed.”  He said, seeing her shiver.  He pulled her into his arms and rubbed his hands slowly up and down her back to warm her.

 

Helena sighed happily, placing her hands on his chest as she snuggled into his embrace, laying her head on his shoulder.  A few minutes later, she placed a kiss on the underside of his chin and then raised her head to smile up at him.

 

“Come on.”  She said, moving out of his arms and reaching for her wrap.  She pulled it on and then reached for his hand.  “We should at least be a little sociable.”

 

“Well, if we must.”  John chuckled as she rolled her eyes and allowed her to pull him over to the group.

 

 

 

“Didn’t you work up an appetite with all that swimming, Helena?”  Tanya asked Helena from across the table as she noticed that Helena hadn’t touched much of the food on her plate.

 

Helena looked up at Tanya and gave her a wry smile.  “Guess not.”

 

“You’re not dieting are you?”  Sandra asked, joining in on the conversation.  “Because you most certainly don’t need to be doing that.”

 

“No.  I’m not dieting.”  Helena answered.  “Just not very hungry, that’s all.”

 

“You okay?”  John whispered against her ear as he leaned towards her, hearing the conversation.

 

“I’m fine.”  She answered back, laying her hand on his thigh under the table.  She smiled at him.  “Really.”

 

John nodded and then turned back to his plate.

 

“Well, John’s eating enough for both of you.”  Tanya commented with a laugh. 

 

All the adults turned to look at John who had a mountain of food piled on his plate.

 

“What can I say?  I have an insatiable wife so I have to keep my energy up.”  John grinned and then laughed as Helena swatted his shoulder much to everyone’s amusement.

 

“Mommy?”  Callie turned to her mother as she shoved a forkful of potato salad into her mouth.  “What’s it mean that Gramma’s in… insa... insatiabable?”

 

John choked as he laughed and swallowed at the same time, seeing the look on Helena’s face as she answered for her daughter.

 

“It means that Gramma never gets tired, Sweetie.”  Helena said, reaching over to pat her husband on the back as he continued to cough, being none too gentle.  “And that Grampa likes to be able to spend all his time with me.”

 

“Oh.  Okay.”  Callie said and went back to eating, satisfied with the answer.

 

The adults simply laughed and shook their heads.

 

“You okay?”  Helena leaned against John, her chin on his shoulder.

 

He glanced at her and could see the concern in her eyes.  He smiled and nodded.  “I’m fine.  Just went down the wrong hole.”

 

“Serves you right.”  She said with a smile and then kissed his cheek.

 

John chuckled, kissed her back.  “I love you too.”

 

Helena brushed another kiss against his temple and then turned back to continue her conversation with Sandra and Tanya.

 

 

 

Having said goodbye to their kids, John slipped his arm around Helena’s waist and she about his as they headed for the shore of the lake to enjoy the now roaring bonfire Alan had started for the older adults.

 

“This has been a wonderful day.”  John commented softly.

 

“Mmhmm.  It has.”  Helena replied and gave him a soft squeeze.  “And it’s far from over.”

 

“I like the way you think, Mrs. Koenig.”

 

They chuckled and continued walking.  As they neared the shore, John felt Helena’s grip around his waist tighten as she stumbled slightly.

 

Helena?!”  John stopped and slipped his other arm around her.

 

“Whoa.”  She moaned softly, clutching at his shirt as another wave of dizziness passed over her and she swayed in his arms.

 

“Honey?  You okay?”  He asked her as she leaned against him, nodding her head.

 

“Just a little dizzy, that’s all.  Must have been all the sun today.”  Helena told him.  She smiled softly at him, seeing the concern on his face.  She reached up and placed her hand on his cheek.  “I’m fine, John.  Really.  So come on, I want to enjoy that fire wrapped up in my husband’s arms.”

 

“You sure?  You’re not catching that cold are you?”

 

“No, I’m not catching that cold.”

 

“Okay.”

 

John then led her over to the bonfire, where for the rest of the evening, under the light of the full moon; they held each other tightly.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

“Hello, Gorgeous!”

 

Helena looked up from her work and smiled.  “Hi!”

 

“What are the odds of my being able to steal my wife away from here a little early; whisk her home and make mad, passionate love to her for the rest of the evening?”

 

Helena’s smile grew as John moved closer with every word, pulling her up out of her chair and into his arms. 

 

“As wonderful as that sounds.”  She slid her hands up his chest and around his neck.  “I’m afraid the odds are a little slim.”

 

“And why’s that?”  John asked, brushing a soft kiss against her lips.

 

“Because I have one of the tech guys coming over to look at a malfunctioning monitor.”

 

“Will it take long?”

 

“Your guess is as good as mine, John.”  She told him.  “Depends on what’s wrong with it.”  She paused.  “But I tell you what.”

 

“What?”

 

“If you promise to wait patiently…” Helena’s smile grew sensuous as she drew her finger down the line of his jaw.  “I will make it worth your while when we do get home.”

 

“Is that a promise?”  John asked with a grin, sliding his hands down to rest on the small of her back and pulling her closer.

 

“It’s a promise.”  She said, reaching up to give him a long, loving kiss.  She broke off the kiss just as a knock sounded at her office door.  “That would be the technician.”

 

“Good.  Maybe this won’t take long after all.” 

 

Helena laughed.  “You have a one track mind, John.”

 

“Only where you’re concerned, my love.”

 

“Stay here.  I hopefully shouldn’t be too long.”

 

John nodded and then moved to lean up against the doorframe; watching and listening as Helena explained to the young technician what was and wasn’t happening with the equipment and what should be happening. 

 

“Good afternoon, John.” 

 

John glanced to his left, just as the technician opened the monitor’s panel, to see Mathias standing beside him.  He smiled in greeting.

 

“Hi, Bob.”  He said absently, his attention focusing back on Helena.

 

“While you’re waiting, John.”  Bob began, hoping to use John’s distraction to his advantage and get him in for his physical.  “What’s say we take care of your physical?  Get it over and done with.”

 

John chuckled and turned to Mathias with a bemused expression on his face.

 

“I know…” Bob sighed.  “Good try.”

 

John simply nodded and opened his mouth to say something when both he and Bob heard the anxious voice of the technician.

 

“Doctor Koenig, please be careful.  Don’t lean too close… that’s a live wi  DOCTOR!”

 

John heard his wife’s yelp of pain, mixed in with the technician’s cry and turned back in time to see her face contort with pain as the wire touched her arm, sending an electrical current through her body and slamming her back against the wall.

 

HELENA!”  John cried out her name, running towards her as she crumpled into a heap on the floor.  John dropped to his knees beside her and carefully turned her over.  Helena?  Oh God… Bob…” John said, sparing a glance over at the other Doctor who was kneeling on the other side of Helena, his face growing pale.  “Bob… she’s not breathing.”

 

“She’s breathing, John.  She most likely just knocked the breath out of herself when she hit the wall.”  Bob told him, seeing the faint rising of her chest as he checked for her pulse.  “And her pulse is nice and strong.”

 

“Bob… will she?”

 

“She’ll be fine, John.”  Bob told him, seeing the fear in his friend’s eyes.  “It was a powerful current… but luckily she wasn’t exposed to it long enough for it to have done any permanent damage.”  He watched John breath a sigh of relief and then continued.  “Come on, help me move her to one of the beds.  We’ll run some scans just to be sure that there’s no damage.”

 

John simply nodded, clinging to the words that she’d be all right, as he gathered Helena into his arms and carried her over to one of the examination beds.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

John held tightly to her hand, gazing into her pale, sleeping face.  He glanced towards the door as it opened.

 

“Ed’s taking care of the scans now.”  Bob told him softly.  “But everything looks good, John.”

 

“How long until she wakes up?”  John asked, reaching out to smooth his fingers over her forehead.

 

“The sedative we gave her should be wearing off in another hour or so.”  John simply nodded at the news, his attention focused entirely on his wife.  “I think I’ll go see if I can give Ed a hand and speed things up.”

 

“Bob.”  John called to him as he reached the door.  He met the doctor’s eyes.  “Thanks.”

 

Bob smiled, nodded, and then left.

 

John turned back to his wife, bringing the hand he held up to his lips as he continued to stroke the smooth skin of her face.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Ed?”  Bob stuck his head in the room and looked for his colleague.  Spotting him standing in front of a set of scans, he moved further into the room.  “Ed, come on, what’s taking you so long?  You know what John’s like?”

 

Ed didn’t answer, but simply pointed at the scans he was staring at.

 

Bob glanced at the scans, noting with a small smile that whoever’s they were, they were soon going to be having an addition to the Alphan community.  But at this moment, his mind was on Helena and her very worried husband.

 

“Ed, where are Helena’s scans?  John’s getting rather impatient, so we can look over the new mother’s scans later.”  Bob said turning to glance around the lab for Helena’s scans.  “By the way, who’s the lucky mom?”

 

Helena.”

 

Bob looked at Ed, clearly flabbergasted.  “What?”

 

“These are Helena’s scans.”  Ed said quietly.

 

“They can’t be.”

 

“I said the same thing, Bob.  But I developed them myself.”  Ed told him as he looked back at the scans that showed a three-month-old fetus.  He shook his head slowly.  “Can you even begin to imagine how shocked they’re gonna be?  I mean… if John was nervous about the twins… and we both know how nervous he was about the twins… can you imagine…” his voice trailed off at the glare Bob was shooting at him. 

 

“For crying out loud, Ed.  She’s sixty-five years old!  And judging from the age of the fetus in the scan… she’ll be sixty-six when the kid’s born.  That is if this pregnancy doesn’t kill her first.”

 

Ed took Bob by the shoulders.

 

“Calm down, Bob.”  Ed said.  “Look, I know it’s very rare for a woman her age…”

 

“Very rare?  Very rare?!  How about EXTREMELY RARE, Ed.”  Bob practically shouted and under the pressure of his friend’s hands on his shoulders, he calmed down a bit.  “Okay… you’ve been her doctor for the last two decades, Ed.  You tell me.  Can she… will her body be able to handle this?  And should we even let her?”

 

“She’s in great shape, Bob and very healthy.  I believe she could carry this child to term with little or no problems.”  Ed answered and looked back at the scans.  “Besides… it’s not for us to decide.  It’s up to John and Helena.”

 

“You’re right about that.  It’s up to them.”  Bob said and then grinned at Ed.  “And with that said, you get to tell John.  I think I’d rather be behind you when you hit him with this piece of news.”

 

“Thanks a lot.”  Ed shook his head, a wry grin on his face.  “And who’s gonna tell Helena she’s three months pregnant?”

 

Helena’s what?!”

 

Both Bob and Ed whirled around to see John standing behind them with wide, shocked eyes.

 

“Would you care to repeat that last statement?”  John said, looking at Ed.  “My wife is pregnant?”

 

“Your wife is pregnant, John.”  Ed confirmed.  “Three months, to be exact.”

 

“But… I thought… she said she’s…” John exhaled a deep breath as he looked from doctor to doctor.  “Bob… Ed… this can’t be.  Helena told me… explained to me, that she was going through menopause and that it was safe for us to… and that we wouldn’t have to worry about anything.”

 

“Going through menopause and having gone through menopause are two different things, John.”  Ed explained.  Helena was still having a menstrual cycle, albeit, not as regular as was her norm.  And that alone, meant she was still capable of bearing children.”

 

“Pregnant.”  John murmured as he reached for and sat in a chair.  He shook his head; still trying to process the news that he and Helena were going to be parents, again… the thought brought a smile to his face.  Parents at their age!  His smile faded slightly as he glanced up the two doctors.  “How will this affect her health?  Can she… can Helena have this baby?”

 

“We can’t be certain, John.”  Ed told him.  “But Helena is in excellent health and I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t be able to carry this child to term.”

 

“And the baby?  He’ll be okay won’t he?”

 

“Well, we haven’t done any tests on the baby yet… but I don’t foresee any major problems.  With Helena being in such good shape, the baby should be fine.”  Ed said.

 

“Bob?”  John looked up at him, wanting his opinion as well.

 

“Ed’s pretty much covered everything, John.  And he’s been Helena’s doctor for the last twenty years, so he knows better than I what kind of shape she’s in and how healthy she is.  So if he thinks she can carry this child, I can’t see why she shouldn’t be able to.”  Bob told him.  “However, I think we should keep all the options open.”

 

“You don’t mean…?”

 

“Just as an option, John.”  Bob said.  “Nothing more.  It’s something you and Helena need to discuss.  We can only offer our opinions but in the end, it’s yours and Helena’s decision.”

 

John nodded understandingly, already knowing exactly what his wife would say and then he slowly stood.  “I should be getting back.  I want to be there when she wakes up.”

 

Bob and Ed nodded and watched him leave. 

 

“I’d say he took the news rather well.”

 

“Let’s hope his wife does too.”

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

John slipped quietly back into the room, pleased to see that Helena was still sleeping peacefully.  He moved over and once again sat in the chair beside the bed, reaching out to stroke her hair.

 

“Oh, Honey… wait till you hear what I have to tell you.”  He shook his head, still not quite believing what Bob and Ed had told him; although, it sure explained a lot of Helena’s moods and reactions over the last few months.

 

“You wanted to feel alive… to re-affirm that life goes on.”  John yawned as it suddenly occurred to him when this baby had been conceived.  “We’ve certainly done that.”

 

She mumbled softly in her sleep and then rolled over onto her side away from him.  John yawned again and then smiled as he got an idea.  He stood and kicked off his shoes.  He slipped into the bed behind her, spooning up against her and curling his arm about her waist; resting his hand on her abdomen.  He laid his head on the pillow and buried his face in her hair, inhaling deeply as he waited for her to wake up, wondering how he was going to tell her the news.

 

 

 

“…Mmm…”

 

His eyes flew open as he heard her moan and realized that he’d fallen asleep.  He glanced at the clock and noted that he’d been asleep for almost an hour.

 

 “…John…?” she moaned softly.

 

“I’m here, Honey.”  He whispered softly against her ear.

 

“My head hurts.”  She told him as she reached down to pull his arm tighter around her and move back against him, seeking the comfort she knew she would find in his embrace.  As she did, she moaned again and mumbled in a groggy voice.  “Ooh… I hurt all over too… wha… what happened, John?”

 

John brushed a kiss into her hair and was about to answer when she spoke again.

 

“The wire…” she said quietly.  “The last thing I remember is the wire touching my arm… and the wall…”

 

“You received a pretty good jolt from that wire.”  John explained softly.  “It threw you back against the wall and knocked you out.”

 

“Am I…” She began as she slowly rolled over in his arms to face him, seeing the relief in his eyes as their eyes met.

 

“You’re going to be fine.”  John told her as he leaned towards her and gave her a soft kiss, his hands caressing her back lightly.  “Ed and Bob have checked you over, done a bunch of scans and other than some bruising and a minor burn on your arm from the wire, you’re perfectly okay.”

 

“There’s something else you’re not telling me.”  She said softly a few moments later as he fell silent, his hands continuing to move over her back in a soothing motion

 

“What makes you say that?” 

 

“Because I can read you like an open book, John Koenig and I know when you’re keeping something from me.”  Helena leaned her head back and met his eyes.  “What is it?  Did Ed and Bob find something in the scans?”

 

John simply nodded.

 

“Well?  What is it?  Nothing bad I hope.”

 

“No… it’s not bad.”  John said slowly.  “Just shocking and very unexpected.”

 

“Shocking and unexpected how?”  Helena asked.  “Tell me, John.” 

 

Deciding the easiest way was to simply come out and say it, that’s exactly what John did; after taking a deep breath.

 

“You’re pregnant, Helena.”

 

“John, be serious.”

 

“I am being serious.”  John said, his eyes locking with hers.  “You’re pregnant, Honey.”

 

“…John… women my age don’t get pregnant.”  Helena said, shaking her head.

 

“Tell that to the child you’re carrying.”

 

They turned to see Ed and Bob standing in the doorway and both of them sat up on the bed. 

 

“Are you two in on this too?”

 

“It’s not a joke, Helena.”  Ed told her as he came forward and held up the scans.  “You’re pregnant.  Three months pregnant to be exact.”

 

Helena reached out to take the scans from Ed and held them up to examine them herself.  Her eyes grew wide and she released a small, surprised gasp.

 

“I’m pregnant.  I’m really pregnant.”  She said softly and then turned to meet John’s eyes as she felt him place his hand on her abdomen.  “We’re really having a baby.”

 

“I know.”  John said with a small smile, reaching out with his other hand to caress her cheek, seeing in her eyes that she too realized when the baby had been conceived.

 

“Ed… how did this happen?”  Helena asked, turning to look at her doctor and then chuckled.  “Well… I know how it happened.”

 

The others chuckled with her.

 

“But… I’m sixty-five years old and going through menopause.  I mean yes, I was still getting a period every so often… but… this isn’t supposed to happen.”  Helena said, glancing down at where her and John’s hands had laced together on her stomach.  She shook her head and looked back at Ed.  “In fact, it’s impossible.”

 

“Rare, yes.  Impossible… no.”  Ed told her.  “I checked through some medical records and back on Earth in nineteen-ninety-seven, a sixty-three years old woman not only got pregnant but gave birth to a very healthy baby.”  He paused and glanced at Bob.  “Now see, if we were back on Earth… we’d really have a case for the medical journals and a record for Guinness.”

 

“Thanks a lot.”  Helena said with a small laugh, seeing the teasing look on Ed’s face.  “But seriously… where do we go from here?  Is the baby okay?”

 

Bob and Ed glanced at each other.  Ed nodded.

 

“From what we can tell so far, yes, the baby is fine.”  Bob said.  “We haven’t run any tests on the fetus as of yet because… well… we didn’t know until about an hour or so ago that you were pregnant.”  He paused.  “We’ve scheduled an ultrasound and a few other tests for the morning.  Tonight I’d like you to get some rest and then tomorrow, after the tests, we can discuss all the options available and go from there.”

 

“Available options… Oh, Bob, please tell me you’re not suggesting…” Helena asked him, a slightly shocked expression on her face.

 

“No.  I’m not suggesting anything.”  Bob told her.  “But as I told John earlier, it’s an option we might have to consider and should keep open, that’s all.”

 

Helena nodded understandingly.  “Okay.  So what time do you want me back here?”

 

“Oh… you’re not going anywhere.”  Bob said, giving her a look that said he wasn’t even going to argue with her about it.  “You’re spending the night here.  I’ll make sure some dinner is brought over for you both and I won’t bother to even suggest a cot for your husband here.”  He glanced at John and cracked a small smile.  “I know better.”

 

“I’ll have one of the nurses pop in later to check on you.”  Ed said as he and Bob moved towards the door.  “Get some rest you two.”

 

“Are we predictable or do they just know us too well?”  Helena asked with a small smile as she watched the two doctors leave.

 

“A little of both.”  John answered with a chuckle as he turned to look at his wife.  His face grew serious as he gazed at her.  “How are you feeling?”

 

“For the most part… okay.”  Helena said, giving him a small smile.  “For the rest… utterly shocked.”  She sank back against him as she released a deep sigh and asked him quietly.  “…John… what are we going to do?” 

 

“I don’t know, Honey.”  John sighed as he slipped his arm about her shoulders and kissed the side of her head.  “All I know is that I love you and I want whatever is going to be less harmful for you.”

 

“Are you suggesting…” her voice trembled.  “…That we…”

 

John shifted and reached out with his free hand to cup her chin and tilt her head so that he could look into her eyes.

 

“I’m not going to lie to you and say the possibility of terminating this pregnancy hasn’t crossed my mind; because it has.”  He told her, seeing her eyes widen a little.  Helena… there is nothing more important to me than you.  Yes, I already love this child.  How can I not?  He’s a part of both of us; another life we created out of our love for each other.  But if it comes down to a choice…”

 

His voice trailed off and Helena could see what he didn’t voice in his eyes and nodded slowly; letting him know she understood and accepted.

 

“Ed says he can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be able to carry this baby to term.  That you’re in excellent health and in great shape.”  A slow, almost mischievous smile formed on his lips.  “Then again, I could have told him that, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to knock you up in the first place.”

 

Helena simply laughed and shook her head while twisting closer so that she could give him a light kiss.  She settled against him, laying her head on his shoulder as she placed her hand on her abdomen, sighing as she felt John stroke her hair.

 

“But back to being serious.”  John said softly.  “We can discuss this until we’re blue in the face but in the end, what it all boils down to is… do you think and feel you’re able to carry this child?”  He moved his lips against her hair.  “Do you honestly feel, without one single doubt that you can carry this child?  Because despite whatever Bob, Ed or even I say… the final decision is yours.”  He paused and pulled her a little closer.  “And whatever your decision, I will stand behind you and support you one hundred percent.”

 

Helena lifted her head and met his eyes.

 

“And if I should decide to terminate the pregnancy?”

 

“If that is the decision you make… then I will support it.”  John answered without hesitation.  “It’s your body, Helena.”

 

“But it’s our child, John.  Ours.  Not just mine.”

 

“That’s true.”  John agreed.  “It is our child.  But as I said, it’s your body and I can’t, in all good conscience, force you to have or not have this baby.”

 

“Do you want this baby, John?”  Helena asked him quietly.

 

“Of course I want this baby.”  He reached down and laid his hand on her abdomen.  “I know it must sound like I don’t… but I told you, I fell in love with him the moment I overheard Ed and Bob say that you were pregnant; just as I know you’ve fallen in love with him too.”  

 

“Yes… I have fallen in love with him already too.”  Helena said with a soft smile.  “I’m carrying your child, how could I not love him?  He’s a part of me and you.”

 

John leaned forward and gave her a gentle kiss.

 

“John… there’s something else we need to discuss, something we need to be aware of should we decide to have this baby.”  Helena’s voice grew soft, almost a whisper.

 

“What is it, Helena?”

 

“Because of my age…” she began.  “The risks of having, for lack of a better word, an unhealthy child are very high.”

 

“Unhealthy how?”  John asked in a quiet voice.

 

“Well… genetic deformities, kidney troubles and… there is a very real possibility he could have Down syndrome.”  Helena paused, watching John swallow hard as he brought his eyes up to meet and lock with hers.  “If I decide to have this baby… it won’t be easy.  And not only could I be risking my health… I could be risking our baby’s health as well.”

 

John sat up and then stood, moving over to look at out the window.  “Down syndrome?  Kidney problems?”  He said quietly, shaking his head.  “The thought of the baby being anything but healthy hadn’t crossed my mind.”

 

“…John…”

 

“I know… even with Downs he’d still be healthy… just not…” his voice trailed off and he took a deep breath.  “And if that’s what you decide… that you want to have this baby… even at the risk of your own health,” John said slowly, turning to look at her; able to see in her eyes in what direction she was leaning.  “I’ll stand behind you and support you.”

 

Helena could see the thought of losing her terrified him but that he would indeed support whatever decision she made.

 

“I will support you wholeheartedly, Helena.”  John repeated as he moved back over to the bed and slipped back in beside her, pulling her into his arms.  “And no matter what… I will love this child.”

 

She shifted closer to him, gazing into his eyes; seeing that he meant what he said and then reached up to give him a loving kiss.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“For what?” 

 

“For everything.  For… trusting me to make the right decision for us and this baby... for saying what you said about loving him… for being here… for loving me.”

 

Her voice trailed off.

 

“I trust you with my life, Helena.  I always have.  I always will.”  John said, slipping his fingers under her chin and tilting her face up so he could look into her eyes.  “Of course I’ll love him… I told you, I already do.”  He reached up and wiped away the tears on her cheeks with the back of his fingers.  “As for being here… I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”  He smiled at her as he loosed his fingers in her hair.  “And loving you is the easiest of all.”

 

Helena simply smiled and slid a hand up behind his head and pulled him to her so that their lips came together for another loving kiss.  When the kiss ended, Helena snuggled further into John’s arms and released a contented sigh; knowing that whatever decision she made, John would be there to support her; one hundred percent.

 

They cuddled together in a comfortable silence for a while until Helena reached for and laced her fingers with John’s; resting their joined hands on her belly.

 

“…John…”

 

“Yes, Dear?”

 

“What do you think of the name Joshua?”

 

“I love it.”  John said as he pulled her closer and pressed a kiss to her temple.  “Just promise me one thing.”

 

“What’s that?”

 

“No Travel Tubes.” 

 

Helena smiled and chuckled softly as she nodded.  “Deal.”

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Bob?”

 

Matthias met Helena’s anxious glance as she gripped tightly to her husband’s hand.  He glanced at Ed, then looked back at his patient and smiled.

 

“So far, all the tests indicate that the fetus is in excellent health, as are you.”  Bob told her, watching as both parents breathed a sigh of relief.  “I take it then… you’ve decided to have this child?”

 

Helena turned to look at John.

 

“I told you…” John said.  “…It’s your call.  And whatever you decide, I’ll support you.”

 

Helena smiled as she leaned towards John and brushed a gentle kiss against his lips.  “Thank you.”  She whispered and then turned to look at Bob.  “Yes.  We’ve decided to have this baby.”

 

“We both figured that would be what you’d decide.”  Ed said, with a small smile.  “So, we’ve come up with a strict diet and routine we expect you to follow.  Especially if you want this pregnancy to work out.”

“Just name it, Ed.”  John said, squeezing his wife’s hand.  “She’ll follow it to the letter, I guarantee it.”

 

The two doctors nodded as they looked at each other and smiled.  Both of them knew that John would make sure Helena followed their instructions.

 

“And now, we’ve saved the best for last.”  Ed said as he pulled a cart over to the bed Helena was lying in.  “The ultrasound.”

 

“Ed…?”  Helena began as she pulled her top up, flinching slightly as the cool jelly hit her skin.  “We’re sure the baby is…  really okay, right?  There are no abnormalities?  No genetic defects?”

 

“We’ve told you, all the tests indicate that everything is fine, Helena.  We can schedule an amnio for next month if you’d like.  Just to make absolutely certain.”  Ed told her as he began to move the probe over her stomach.  “Now what do you say we take a look at the newest Koenig.”

 

“That sounds good.  Both the amnio and seeing the baby.”  Helena nodded as she glanced up at John, who slipped an arm about her shoulders and leaned closer to her.  He brushed a soft kiss against her cheek before turning to look at the monitor and the first glimpse of their baby.

 

“There he is.  Our little miracle.”  John whispered against her ear.  “Look at him, Honey.”

 

“Would you like to see if we can find out the sex of the baby?”  Ed asked them, not hearing John’s whispered comments to his wife.

 

“Thanks, Ed.  But we already know.”  Helena said with a small smile as she glanced at John.  Both of them were already certain of the sex of the baby.  They didn’t know how they knew, but they did.  She reached up and covered John’s hand with hers as her eyes returned to the monitor and she said softly.  “Hello, Joshua.”

 

John’s eyes widened slightly as the image of his son on the monitor, moved.  He squeezed Helena’s hand and pointed to the screen.  “Please tell me you saw that?”  He glanced down, met Helena’s eyes, and could see that she had.  “Our son just waved at us?”

 

“Our son just waved at us.”  Helena said, her voice cracking in a joyful cry as she returned the pressure of his hands.  She turned to look at the other two men in the room and saw them exchanging relieved looks, the same feeling washing over her.

 

John saw the looks, misinterpreting them as he straightened up and turned to them.  “What?  What’s with the looks?”

 

Helena looked back up at her husband; seeing the look of wonder on his face slowly change to one of worry and concern as John looked up from the monitor to glance between the two doctors.

 

“Is something wrong with the baby?” 

 

“John… no!  It’s nothing like that.  In fact, just the opposite.”  Helena told him as she squeezed his hand, pulling him closer to her.  “With that simple little movement… our son has just indicated that the chances of him having Down syndrome are very slim.”

 

“That’s a relief.”  John breathed as he regarded his wife for a moment then turned to look at the image of his son.  He leaned closer to Helena and brushed a kiss against her cheek.  “Not that it would have made any difference in how much we’d love him.” 

 

Helena beamed at John’s words, knowing in her heart that he meant each one and then turned back to the screen as Ed began to once again move the probe over her stomach.

 

“Everything looks good.”  He told her and then chuckled softly. 

 

“What?”

 

“You were right about him being a boy.”  Ed said with a smile as he indicated a certain area on the screen.  He saw John and Helena beam at each other as he moved the probe again, nodding to himself.  “It looks good, Helena.  I’m not detecting any CPCs.”

 

“What about his kidneys?”

 

“His kidneys look good, no sign of dilation.”  He paused and then moved the probe until a really good image of the baby appeared on the screen and then reached out to hit a button before removing the probe from her stomach and shut the machine off.  “And I’ve just printed your son’s first picture.”

 

“Thanks, Ed.”

 

“You’re welcome.”  Spencer said, handing her a towel as he stood.  “Now… I want you to go home and get some more rest.  And I mean rest, Helena.  I’m still concerned about that impact with the wall and want to be sure there are no hidden complications.”

 

Helena nodded as she wiped off her stomach.

 

“Complications?”  John asked, the worry evident in his voice.  “I thought you said both Helena and the baby are okay.”

 

“They are, John.  Both of them are fine.  And I want to make sure they stay that way.”  Ed said.  “My biggest concern is miscarriage.”  He paused a moment when he saw the colour leave John’s face and his grip on Helena’s shoulders tighten.  He met Helena’s eyes and knew then that she had told John and nodded imperceptibly.  “You hit that wall pretty good and thus far there’s no indication of any bleeding or anything else wrong… so I also want to be informed if for any reason you feel lightheaded or experience any pain.  I want to be able to stay ahead of any problems that may occur.”

 

Understanding that Ed was simply covering all bases and keeping the welfare of his wife and child at the forefront, John nodded.  “You can bet we’ll let you know, Ed.”

 

Ed nodded and glanced at Bob, then turned back to John and Helena.  “Well, I’ll let you head back to your room to change and while you do that, I’ll go get your son’s picture and schedule the amnio.”

 

“Sounds good.”  Helena said, sliding off the exam table as both doctors left.  She smiled at John as he stood and pulled her into his arms.

 

“Our son’s okay, John.”  She whispered against his chest as she tightened her arms around his back.

 

“And, thank God, so is his mother.”  John thought as he nodded, resting his cheek against her hair, his arms tightening about her as well.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Jonathan saw his twin rush through the Med Center door and held up his hand as he shook his head before she could even utter a word.

 

“I just found out myself.”

 

Victoria came to a sudden stop in front of him, her hands on her hips.  “What do you mean you just found out?  You work here, don’t you?”

 

“Doesn’t mean I’m privy to everything.”  Jonathan said.  “I’m not the CMO.  I’m just her son.”

 

“Sorry.”  Victoria said.  “I was just upset to learn that my mother spent the night in the clinic and no one thought to inform me and I had to find out from your girlfriend.”

 

“That’s how I found out.”

 

“What happened?”

 

“She was mildly electrocuted.”

 

“What?  How?”  Victoria shook her head and gave him a look.  “Electrocuted?”

 

“Mildly electrocuted.”  Jonathan repeated.  “Seems she was showing one of the tech guys a faulty monitor and when he opened it to look inside, she hit a live wire with her arm.”

 

“If it was only mild, why’d they keep her overnight?”

 

“I don’t know, sis.”  Jonathan said and then looked up as movement beyond her shoulder caught his attention.  He gestured behind her with a nod of his head.  “Why don’t we ask them?”

 

Victoria turned around to see her parents walking out of the private rooms, their arms wrapped around each other with big smiles on their faces as they looked down at a piece of paper held in her mother’s hands.

 

“Well, for two people who’ve spent the night here,” Victoria called out as she and her brother walked towards them.  “You two seem awfully cheerful.”

 

John and Helena looked up at the sound of their daughter’s voice and Helena quickly rolled up the paper in her hand.

 

“Hi, kids.”  Helena said with a smile.

 

“Yeah, hi.”  Victoria said, placing her hands on her hips and giving her parents each a look.  “So… would either of you care to tell us why Mom was in the hospital and why no one bothered to call either of us?”  She gestured between herself and Jonathan.

 

“It seems I’m not exciting enough for your mother anymore, so she had to go and get friendly with a live wire.”  John said, glancing at Helena with a twinkle in his eye, catching the amused smirk on her face.

 

“Dad.”  Victoria exhaled.  “Be serious.”

 

“We’re sorry, Sweetie.”  Helena said, laying her hand on John’s arm, the smirk still on her lips.  “It was an accident, my arm got in the way when Barry was working on the monitor and I received a small shock, that’s all.”

 

“There has to be more to it than that if you were kept here over night, Mom.”

 

“She was also thrown back against the wall and knocked unconscious.”  John told them.  “So, Ed wanted to keep her here overnight for observation.”

 

“Are you okay?”  Jonathan stepped forward and reached a hand out to her arm.

 

“I’m fine, Sport.”  Helena said with a smile.  She glanced up at John, who nodded slightly.  “But there is something else we have to tell you.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“Not here.”  Helena said.  “I’d prefer to do this at home.  Can you…?”

 

“Sure.  I wasn’t scheduled to work today anyway.”  Jonathan admitted.  “I… ah…”

 

Helena nodded with an understanding smile and then glanced at her daughter.

 

“Lead the way.”  Victoria told her, gesturing for her folks to proceed.

 

As they neared the doors, John stopped them. 

 

“Wait here.”  He told Helena.  “I’m going to get us a buggy.”

 

“John… that’s not necessary.”

 

“Yes it is.”  He said, bringing his finger up to her lips to stop her from talking.  “Don’t argue.”

 

Helena released a sigh as he brushed a kiss against her forehead and ducked out of the Med Center.

 

Jonathan and Victoria exchanged worried glances.

 

“Mom…?”

 

Helena turned to look at her son and shook her head.

 

“Your father is just being over-protective, that’s all.”  She told them and then smiled.  “I’ve learned that once in a while it’s best to just humour him.”

 

“So, you’re humouring me now, is that it?” 

 

Helena jumped slightly as she felt John slip his hands around her waist and moved his lips against her ear.  In response, she simply laughed and nodded her head.

 

John nuzzled her neck for a moment and then released her and offered her his arm.  “C’mon, let’s get you home.”

 

The twins watched their parents move through the door; exchanged confused glances and then followed them.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

Their eyes grew wide as their mouths fell open as they looked from their parents to each other and back again.

 

“You’re what!?”  Victoria asked incredulously.  “Please tell me we heard you wrong.”

 

“You heard me right.”  Helena said, glancing at John beside her with a small smile before turning back to their children.  “I’m pregnant.”

 

“I don’t believe this!”  Jonathan said in a loud voice as he shook his head and then met his mother’s eyes.  “You’re sixty-five years old for heaven’s sake!  And you’re having a baby?!  Please tell me this is all just a bad joke.”

 

“It’s not a joke, Jonathan.”  Helena told him and then glanced up at her husband.  She nodded and gave him a soft smile.  “And we’ve decided to have the baby.”

 

“This is crazy!  How can you…?  Why would you…?”  Jonathan stuttered on the words.  “At your age…”

 

“Are you guys nuts?”  Victoria asked them.

 

John glanced down at Helena when he felt her squeeze his hand to see her smile slightly; they were both expecting this reaction to their news.  He looked back up just in time to see Jonathan heading out the door, shaking his head.  He met Helena’s eyes again and gave her hand a quick squeeze; stood and then followed his son outside.

 

 

 

“Jonathan?”  John called to him as he watched him pace back and forth in front of the porch.  “I’m terrified too, son.”

 

Jonathan stopped pacing, sighed, and ran his hand through his hair to rub the back of his neck, a gesture that was entirely his father’s.  He looked up and met John’s eyes; seeing his father’s fear of losing his mother clearly in the bright blue eyes.

 

“Then why are you letting her go through with this?”  Jonathan asked quietly.

 

John released a deep sigh as he stepped down off the porch and walked over to his son.  “If you had seen your mother’s eyes when I mentioned that I’d considered the possibility of her terminating the pregnancy… the sadness that filled her eyes.  The fear.”  John paused and met his son’s eyes.  “I can’t do that to her.”

 

“But you can let her die?”

 

“She won’t die!  I won’t let that happen!”  John said with quiet determination.  “Your mother is my world, Jonathan.  And both she and your brother are going to be fine.”

 

“Brother?”  Jonathan looked at his father, his eyes wide.  “She’s having a boy?  I’m going to have a brother?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  John nodded.  “…She’s afraid too, son.  And she needs all the love and support we can give her.  And your support, Jonathan, means the world to her.  If you could have seen the look in her eyes when you walked out…”

 

Jonathan hung his head.  “I’m sorry.  I don’t want to hurt or upset her.  But, Dad… having a baby at her age…” he shook his head.  “I just can’t… There are so many things that could go wrong…” Jonathan paused again and met his father’s gaze; giving him an apologetic look.  “I’m sorry, Dad.  I can’t support this decision.”

 

“Jonathan…”

 

“I promise I won’t do or say anything to upset her.”  He told John.  “But I can’t support either of you in this.  I’m sorry… but I just can’t do it.”

 

John nodded his head.  “I understand, son.  You are your own person and you have to do what you feel is right.”  He paused and glanced up at the house.

 

“Do you think Mom will understand?”  Jonathan asked quietly, following his father’s gaze.

 

“Yes, your mother will understand.”  John told him.  “She’ll be saddened about it but yes, she’ll understand.”

 

Jonathan sighed.

 

 

 

Helena watched John follow their son outside and then turned to meet Victoria’s eyes, noticing that in these few moments, she’d managed to calm down a little.

 

“I’m sorry I went off like that, Mom.”  Victoria apologized as she sat beside Helena on the couch.  “But your news was quite a shock.”

 

“I know.”  Helena said with a slight chuckle.  “I didn’t believe your father when he first told me either.  But as soon as I saw the scans… I knew that I really was pregnant.”

 

“And you’re serious about having this baby?”  She asked and saw her mother nod.  “What are the risks?”

 

“The same as with any pregnancy…” Helena nodded and continued.  “Yes there are some added risks due to my age, but I am in perfect health… and so far, so is the baby.”

 

“That’s good to hear.”  Victoria breathed a sigh of relief.  She regarded her mother carefully for a moment.  “How’s Dad with all this?”

 

“Thrilled beyond words.”  Helena answered with a smile, remembering the look on John’s face as they saw the baby on the monitor.  “You should have seen the look on your father’s face when he saw Joshua on the monitor.  The smile on his face was as big as the first time he saw you and your brother’s first ultrasound.”

 

“Joshua?”  Victoria asked and then smiled.  “A little brother?”

 

Helena nodded.

 

“Mom… now I know that you and Dad are thrilled about this.  And I can’t say that I blame you… but let me play devil’s advocate here for a minute.”  Victoria paused and at her mother’s nod, she continued.  “Now, I’m not saying this is something you should do but have you and Dad discussed the possibility of terminating the pregnancy?”

 

“Yes, we talked about it.”  Helena told her in a quiet voice.  “In fact, it was your father who brought it up.  But he didn’t push it, despite how petrified he is by the possibility of losing me or of something happening to my health…” she trailed off as she reached down to absently run her hand over her stomach.  “Your father knows me so well… better than anyone; better than I know myself… and he knows how much it would kill me to abort this baby.”  She looked up and met Victoria’s eyes.  “So he left the decision up to me, with the promise to support whatever I decided.”

 

“And you decided to keep the baby.”  Victoria nodded, knowing she would have decided the same thing if it had been her.  And then she smiled again and reached out to grasp her mother’s hand.  “I’m going to have a baby brother.”

 

“Well, technically…” Helena began with a smile and then winked at her daughter before joining her in a muchly needed laugh.  “So I take it I have your support in this?”

 

“Of course I’ll support you in this, Mom.”  Victoria told her.

 

“What about you, Jonathan?”  Helena asked as looked up to see her son step into the house, followed by John.  “Do I have your support?”

 

Jonathan didn’t answer as he moved to stand behind his mother.  He knelt down behind her and put his arms around her as he laid his head on her shoulder.

 

“I’m sorry, Mom… it’s not my intention to upset you… but I can’t support you in this.”  Jonathan said in a quiet voice.  “Having this baby could kill you.  And I know it’s selfish, but I don’t want to lose you.”

 

“You won’t lose me, Sweetheart!”  Helena told him, reaching up behind her to caress his cheek.  “I’ll be all right.  As long as your brother is okay… I know everything will turn out fine.”

 

“Oh, Mom… I wish I had the faith you do.  But I can’t overlook all the facts.  Your age…”

 

“My age is only one aspect, Jonnie and I am in excellent health.”

 

“Nevertheless, there is so much that could go wrong.”

 

“I had to give to birth to the medical version of John Koenig, didn’t I?”  Helena quipped with a wink at her husband who was sitting on the arm of the couch, stroking their daughter’s hair as the two of them watched mother and son.  “Nothing will go wrong, Jonathan.  Both the baby and I will be fine.  I promise.”

 

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”  Jonathan said as he stood and moved around the room.  He turned to look at his mother with tears brimming in his blue eyes.  “I don’t want to hurt you, Mom… I really don’t.  But I just can’t…” he swallowed back his tears as he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see his twin standing beside him.  He looked back at his mother.  “I… hope you can understand, Mom.”

 

“I do, Jonathan.”  Helena told him quietly as she nodded.  “I understand.”

 

“Come on, Jonnie.”  Victoria said softly as she pulled on his arm.  “Let’s go make some tea.”

 

Jonathan nodded and followed her quietly into the kitchen as John and Helena exchanged quiet looks.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Well… that was interesting to say the least.”  Helena sighed, drawing her husband’s arms around her as she curled up in his lap, her eyes on the stars outside.

 

“It was that.”  John agreed, resting his cheek against the top of her head as he gazed out their bedroom window.

 

They sat quietly together in their favourite chair; their hands laced together on her abdomen.  Helena shifted slightly, turned her face into his neck, and released a deep sigh.

 

“Jonathan?”  John asked quietly as he felt her warm breath on his skin, knowing their son’s reaction to the news was upsetting her.

 

“Mmhmm.”  She murmured.  “Truth be told, I was expecting this reaction from Vicky not Jonnie.”

 

“Really?”  John asked, the surprise evident in his voice.  “I would have thought it was the opposite.”

 

Helena chuckled and raised her head from his shoulder to meet his eyes.

 

“Our son may look like a young clone of his father…” she reached up and caressed his cheek.  “…But it’s our daughter who has his temper.”

 

John smiled and chuckled.  “Is that so?”

 

Helena simply nodded and then settled back against him.

 

“Do you think Jonathan will come around?  That he’ll accept this?”

 

“Yes.  I think he’ll come around.”  John answered her, remembering his son’s reaction to learning he was going to be having a brother.  “You should have seen his eyes when I told him you were having a boy.” 

 

“He always wanted a baby brother...”

 

Her voice trailed off and John didn’t need to see her face to see the pain in her eyes.  John leaned his cheek against her hair and tightened his arms slightly.

 

“And now he’s getting one.”  He said softly.

 

“…John?”  She asked a few moments later, running her fingers over his hand as it lay on her stomach.  “Do you…”

 

“Do I what?”  He prodded her.

 

“Do you think I made the right decision… deciding to have this baby?”  Helena asked in a soft voice.  “I know you’re afraid something’ll happen.”

 

“Yes, I am scared.”  John admitted, nodding against her head.  “I lost you once…” his voice cracked and he swallowed hard before continuing.  “But I just got you back and I don’t believe the universe is that cruel to take you away from me again this soon.”  He peered over her shoulder as his hand caressed her belly lovingly.  “So yes.  I think you made the right decision.”

 

John felt her relax in his arms and then shift so that she could once again gaze out at the stars and the glowing orb that had brought them together.  He smiled into her hair as he brushed a kiss into the blonde strands.

 

“I love you, Helena.”  He breathed softly.

 

“I love you too.”  Helena replied, pulling his arms tighter around her and re-lacing her fingers with his. 

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **

 

 

 

“Do you understand what we’ve told you, Pumpkin?”

 

Callie looked back and forth between her grandparents and then slowly nodded.

 

“I’m going to have a baby uncle.”

 

John and Helena chuckled.

 

“That’s right, Sweetie.”  Helena said, reaching to tuck a lock of unruly blonde hair behind Callie’s ear.  “A baby uncle.”

 

Callie tilted her head slightly to one side as she regarded her grandmother.  Gramma?”

 

“Yes, Callie?”

 

“Will your belly get big like Auntie Ryanne’s?”

 

“Yes it will.”

 

“Will you let me feel the baby kick?”  Callie asked with wide, hopeful eyes.  Helena nodded.  “Anytime I want?”

 

“Anytime you want.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Really.”  Helena nodded again, smiling as she watched Callie’s eyes light up.

 

“When will the baby get here, Gramma?”

 

“Oh, not until after our birthday.”

 

“That long?!”  Callie sighed deeply as she crawled up onto the couch and sat between her grandparents.  She turned to Helena, a serious expression on her face.  “I think you should have him right now.”

 

Helena bit back a grin as she glanced over Callie’s head to meet John’s eyes and could see he was biting his lips as well.  She shook her head slightly in amusement and then looked back at her granddaughter.

 

“I’m afraid that’s not possible, Sweetie.”

 

“Why not, Gramma?”

 

“Because the baby isn’t big enough yet.”  Helena explained to her.  “He needs to stay in Gramma’s belly and grow some more first.  And when he’s big enough… then he’ll come out.”

 

“Just like Joey did?”  Callie asked, referring to her newest cousin.

 

“Yes, just like Joey.”  Helena nodded.

 

“Okay.”  Callie nodded, seemingly satisfied.  She then hopped off the couch and turned to look at her grandparents.  “Is it okay if I go outside and play now?”

 

“Sure, Pumpkin.”  John smiled.  “Go on.”

 

“Thanks, Grampa.”  Callie yelled as she scampered off.

 

John met Helena’s eyes and the two shared amused smiles. 

 

“Well, Mrs. Koenig,” John began, reaching for her hand and giving it a gentle squeeze.  “What do you say to spending the rest of the afternoon lying in a hammock with your husband?”

 

Helena slowly stood, reaching out for his other hand and pulled him up to stand with her.  She slid her hands up his chest and around his neck, pressing her body against his.  “I say that’s a wonderful idea, Mr. Koenig.”  She reached up and brushed a light kiss against his lips.  “I’ll go tell Victoria that we’re heading outside and then meet you in the hammock.”

 

John nodded and watched her head for the kitchen with a smile on his face and then turned and headed outside.

 

 

 

                             **                                      **                                      **