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Whispers in the Dark
They were lying on the large bed in their room, Emily between them. Casey was kissing the bottom of her little feet, making the baby giggle and coo. When Daniel lowered his head to kiss the soft, sweet baby cheek, Emily reached out and grabbed his glasses.
"Hey, Princess, give those back, Daddy needs them," he said, gently taking them from the baby’s grasp. "Mommy says they make me look sexy." He grinned and winked at his wife.
"Well, it’s true," Casey replied. She reached over and grabbed one of the stuffed animals that Emily loved so much, offered it to her daughter. The baby cooed and grabbed at the brightly colored fur of the creature, took it and stuffed it into her mouth. Casey shook her head. "Good thing that dragon is washable," she said.
There was a soft tap on the door that connected their room to her parents’. Emily was actually sleeping in her grandparent’s room, but Casey wanted to be able to get to her if she wanted, without going into the public hallway. Connecting rooms was the perfect solution.
"Come in," Daniel said.
Aaron opened the door and stepped in, smiled when he saw that the young family together on the bed, obviously in the midst of games and fun. "Just wanted to let you know that Erin and I are going for a walk on the beach."
"That’s fine, Dad. Have fun," Casey said with a smile.
Aaron grinned. "Oh, I intend to."
"Dad! Too much information!" she complained.
The Ancient laughed. "You and Daniel aren’t the only ones who went through the Ceremony of Fire, my darling daughter."
Casey took a pillow and tossed it at the man. "You’re starting to gross me out. Nobody wants to think about their parents doing it!"
Aaron looked at Daniel. The linguist explained in the Ancient tongue. He looked at his daughter, his eyes dancing, then threw his head back and laughed. "We won’t be gone long. We will certainly be back in time for dinner," he said. Still chuckling, he went back into his room and quietly closed the door.
"What did you say to him?" Casey asked.
Daniel shrugged. "Same thing you said, babe. Just in Ancient terms."
"Which would be?"
"That you were horrified that your parents were still sexually active."
"That is not what I said!"
Daniel grinned. "He heard what you said. He just wanted a bit of clarification. And that’s what you meant."
Casey looked down at Emily, who was busy watching Daniel. "Emmie, your Daddy is something else, isn’t he?"
The baby looked up at her, cooed and smiled, then looked back at Daniel.
"You sure do love your Daddy, don’t you, Baby?" she said softly, watching as Daniel kissed the hands that were waving in the air.
"Yeah, well Daddy sure loves his Princess," Daniel said softly. "Pretty fond of her mommy, too."
Casey smiled, reached out and put her palm against his cheek. He closed his eyes, pressed his face against her hand. "Love you, too, sweetheart."
He smiled at the endearment. Ever since she had learned about a certain time in his childhood, and his fondness of that particular term, she used it often. It made his heart swell with love to know that she cared enough to do such a simple, yet significant, thing.
She laid down on the bed beside the baby. "What do you think, Emmie? Think we should take a nap?"
Emily turned her head and looked at her mother, her hands reaching for Casey’s face. Casey caught them and kissed the little fingers.
"I’ll get her bottle," Daniel said, getting up off the bed and heading toward the small refrigerator that came with the room. He tossed a diaper toward Casey.
After making sure that her daughter was clean and dry, Casey snuggled her into an embrace. Daniel pushed the pillows against the headboard, settled against them, then put his arms around his wife as she leaned back against him. He rested his chin on her shoulder, watching as Emily took her bottle.
"Love holding you and Emmie like this, Angel," he said softly.
"I love it too, Daniel. It just feels so…right."
"Yeah, it does."
Another knock, this time on the door to the hallway. The team had taken to leaving the doors to their rooms closed but not latched during the day when they were in them, so that it was possible to visit one another.
"It’s unlocked," Casey called out. Sam and Jack peeked around the corner.
"I’ll bet Tessa could make a beautiful sketch out of that scene," Sam said, smiling. She lowered her tall frame onto the bed beside them, her hand rubbing her stomach.
"Maybe I’ll have her come over and take a picture," Casey said, thinking that the idea was an excellent one. She could hang that one in the dining room.
Jack flopped into one of the chairs by the table. "I sure could go for another day or two or ten here," he said. The team was leaving the next afternoon.
"Me, too," Casey replied. She rubbed her finger over Emily’s cheek to wake her up enough to finish her formula. When it was obvious that the baby wasn’t going to take any more, she handed the bottle to Daniel, then put Emily over her shoulder to burp her. Once she had, Casey settled her back into her arms. She and Daniel had sat like this before, just watching their precious daughter sleeping.
Sam shifted on the bed. "General, you need to have a talk with your daughter. She’s already done a ten mile hike," she complained.
Jack grinned, and slid to his knees in front of his wife. He put his head against her swollen belly. "Hey, Pumpkin, this is your old man talking. Lay off and let your mom have a rest, huh?"
Casey giggled, Daniel chuckled. "When Daniel would rub my stomach, Emily would calm down," Casey said.
"Not this one," Sam said, shaking her head. "This one must have the same problem with ‘the man’ as her father does."
Jack grinned. "She’s my kid, what can I say?"
Sam shook her head, then yawned. Jack took one look at her and pulled himself to his feet. "Okay, colonel. Time for a nap. We’re still having dinner at the restaurant downstairs, right?"
"See you there." He led Sam out, closed the door quietly behind them.
Casey snuggled back against Daniel, careful not to wake the baby. Her arms rested comfortably on his, and she leaned her head back against his shoulder.
"Why don’t you get some sleep too, Angel. I’ll stay right here and hold you, both of you," he said quietly.
With a smile Casey closed her eyes. She was asleep within minutes.
Daniel sat watching his wife and daughter sleep. His love for them was like a sweet ache that filled his entire being. He smiled as Emily made sucking motions, her little lips pursed like a bow. He pressed his lips against the side of Casey’s head, watching as a tiny smile appeared on her lips. He thought again about what Sha’re had told him. If his love was all that was needed to protect his wife and daughter, then he would never have to worry about either of them.
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