Disclaimer: The characters from Gilmore Girls and the place Stars Hollow belong to their rightful owner, I'm just borrowing them. The OC characters are mine and any resemblance to people alive or dead are coincidental (unless signposted) :)

AN - Hi everyone, welcome to the sequel of my story the Pursuit of Happiness. This story will follow a similar structure but obviously joins our favourite family a couple of years later. I will post regularly but not as rapidly as POH (because I have no idea how I managed to write that so fast!). If anyone hasn't read The Pursuit of Happiness (and doesn't fancy reading a 250k word story) pm me and I can give you a briefish overview of where everyone is at and some of the themes etc. Or if you did read it and want a recap. As ever, I have no beta, it's all my own work. Hope you enjoy the story, let me know what you think. x


LIFE AND LIBERTY

Chapter 1 – Here We Go Again

Emily pursed her lips slightly as she watched Kitty, her three-year-old granddaughter, scribble across the colouring book. "Kitty, you need to colour between the lines," Emily spoke gently as she gestured to the book, "like Willow is doing," she nodded towards Kitty's twin, the child's identical sister carefully colouring a rainbow in her own book with her tongue pushed between her lips.

"No," Kitty shook her head vehemently, the child's wild dark curly hair fluttering around her head. "Mommy says it feedom of spes…espesson," the little girl paused slightly as she considered her word choice and then gave a frustrated sigh. "A big word. Mommy says I can colour how I want but I gotta colour on paper," she nodded to her book and looked at her grandmother insistently.

Emily pressed her lips together stifling the desire to tell her grandchild that the purpose of the line drawing in the book was to colour within the lines. She gave a faint sigh and nodded her head slightly. "I see." Satisfied Kitty gave a beaming smile and went back to her colouring and Emily studied the children in front of her. Her granddaughters were completely identical to the uninitiated but while the twins were physically identical they were chalk and cheese in temperament and personality. Willow was quiet and careful whilst Kitty was chatty and boisterous, though both had inherited their parent's stubbornness in spades. And they looked exactly as Lorelai had as a child to the point that Emily had to remember they were grandchildren and not her daughter.

Emily did not always understand the decisions that Lorelai and Luke made when it came to raising the twins but they were the most beautiful things in Emily's life and she relished every moment she got to spend with them, especially as she was so keenly aware that she had missed this magical time with Rory.

With the twins occupied with their colouring Emily glanced around Luke and Lorelai's kitchen for something to occupy her time while they waited for her daughter and son in law to return from the doctors office. The waiting was driving her insane. Luke and Lorelai hadn't called but that didn't mean something wasn't wrong. Emily had known almost as soon as Lorelai had, she'd seen the nervous excitement and of course the trying to find excuses for not having alcohol at Friday night dinner. Emily had taken over the drinks from Richard the past few weeks, giving her daughter a meaningful look when she had surreptitiously handed her the first mocktail. Lorelai hadn't officially told her, but there was an unspoken understanding of what was going on. It was why Emily was babysitting now. The twins would normally be with at their childminder but Lorelai was scared the appointment would go wrong just as it had before nearly two years earlier. Lorelai had wanted Emily to be at home just in case she didn't come home tonight. Emily frowned frustrated at herself for thinking the worst, she had to think positively. She glanced at her watch again, an action that did not go unnoticed by Willow who looked at her curiously.

"Grama, why you keep looking at the tick tock clock?" the little girl put down her colouring pencil.

"Just seeing what the time is," Emily tried to keep her voice level, Willow gave her a look of uncertainty and nosily pushed her chair back, sliding down from the booster seat and then scurrying round the table to stand beside her.

Willow grabbed Emily's arm and studied the watch face, her face screwed up in concentration. "Big hand on the 3 little hand on the 2," she paused a moment. "So it 3, 2," she frowned and shook her head. "No, when little hand 2 its ten," she looked up at Emily nervously. "It 3 10?"

"That's right!" Emily smiled indulgently at the small child, running her hand over Willow's curly hair and then bending down to give her a kiss. "You are a very clever little girl to know how to tell the time."

"April teached me," Willow gave her a beaming smile.

"She is," Emily nodded in understanding. She looked up from Willow as Kitty moved, pushing her chair back and slipping down from the table. "Where are you going Kitty?"

"Bafroom," Kitty told her, trotting out of the kitchen.

"Do you need help?" Emily asked gently.

Kitty spun on her heels and gave Emily a look of annoyed affront. "No! I a big girl Grama!"

"Alright," Emily called after her. With a smile she flexed her hands inviting her other still hovering granddaughter to sit on her lap. Stifling a groan she pulled Willow onto her knee and hugged the child to her. The twins were getting a bit too big for her to lift but she was going to do it for as long as she was able. Drinking in the smell of the child shampoo Emily rocked from side to side slightly as Willow snuggled into her.

"Love you Grama," Willow mumbled.

"I love you too Willow," Emily kissed the child's crown. She jumped slightly as Willow's head shot up narrowly missing colliding with her jaw. As she opened her mouth to tell the child to be careful she caught sight of the awful green truck that Luke drove pulling into its space and she let the child slide from her lap.

"Mommy and Daddy," Willow bounced slightly, and skipped a few spaces towards the door and then turned and gave Emily a serious look. "You fun too Grama."

"But I'm not Mommy and Daddy," Emily bent over and kissed the child earning her a beaming smile.

"No, you Grama." Willow giggled and skipped over to the door.

Emily followed and peered through the glass. She gave a sigh of relief, Lorelai was glowing with happiness and Luke looked like he was levitating. "Stand back from the door Precious," Emily gently coaxed Willow back. She too took a step back and waited for the door to swing open.

"Mommy," Willow beamed at Lorelai as she stepped into the house.

"Well look at that, a welcome committee," Lorelai bent over to greet her daughter. "How do Babaloo?"

Willow giggled and gave her a messy kiss. "We bin colouring and reading. Grama did voices."

"Those split personalities paying off, eh Mom?" Lorelai whispered cheekily.

Emily tried to keep her face straight as Lorelai gave her a twinkling teasing smile. She knew that Lorelai was teasing her but she still hadn't got used to it, even though they now had had several years of the better relationship

"One of those personalities stolen Thing 1?" Lorelai scanned the downstairs.

"She's in the bathroom."

"I better go check," Luke slipped past Lorelai. "Hi Wills, Hi Emily."

"Hello Luke," Emily nodded to him. "She said she was alright by herself."

"Oh the going their fine, the hand washing, not so much," Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Speaking of which. I got you some liquid soap," Lorelai gave a low chuckle as Emily tried to stifle a grimace. "It's what they are used to Mom, or do you want another argument with Kitty about Flower rocks and otherwise sticky little fingers all over your lovely trinkets," Lorelai gestured with her fingers her tone light and airy.

"Jam hands," Willow nodded seriously, "on the shiny."

"Jam hands on the shiny," Lorelai nodded in agreement.

"Really," Emily scoffed as she shuddered. She shimmied her shoulders slightly and looked her daughter up and down, Lorelai was bouncing on her toes, her eyes shining with happiness. "Well?"

"Well?" Lorelai smiled innocently at her.

"Lorelai," Emily frowned and gestured her eyes downwards towards Lorelai's fuller middle.

"Ah well, as well as jam hands there are little ears, so be patient," Lorelai told her carefully.

"Why Grama got to be patient?" Willow looked up at them curiously. She turned her head before they could answer as Kitty stepped out of the bathroom beneath the stairs. "Check jam hands Daddy."

"I not gotted jam hands," Kitty scowled and held her wet hands up to show Luke. "Daddy you wanna see my pictures."

"Did you wash your hands with soap?" Luke studied his daughter's hands.

"Um," Kitty mumbled sheepishly and then shook her head. "Help me Daddy."

Luke guided the tot back into the bathroom and Lorelai gave an amused chuckle. "Little fingers, the harbingers of doom. Wills, why don't you go pick a picture for Grandma to take home."

"But it in the book Mommy!" Willow looked at her aghast.

Lorelai scrunched up her nose. "Hmm, maybe you'll have to draw her one now on a piece of paper so she can take it home to put in her gallery."

"You got a gallery Grama?" Willow looked up at Emily curiously.

"No, but I do keep all the pictures you give me," Emily told the child gently, she smiled indulgently as Willow gave a delighted chortle and broke away from Lorelai rushing back into the kitchen to carry out her new task.

"Come on then Mom," Lorelai beckoned into the living room.

Emily followed her, studying Lorelai's every move as her own excitement began to bubble. Lorelai was glowing, the relief palpable in her demeanour and Emily could feel her own worry dissipating. From the moment she had realised that Lorelai was pregnant she felt she had been on edge. The days leading up to today had been so stressful as she had silently shared Lorelai's nerves. Lorelai had called her every single day just for a chat about nothing in particular. Normally Emily would have found it an intrusion, to have her time taken up with frivolous pointless conversation but she had understood Lorelai's fear; that today would go badly, just as it had two years ago when they had been told that there was no heartbeat. "It went well?" Emily asked softly.

"Very well," Lorelai nodded excitedly as she rooted in her purse. "Now be mindful of little ears because we want to tell all the daughters together when Rory and Spencer come up at the weekend but this Mom is your new sea monkey."

"What on earth is a Sea monkey?" Emily scoffed as she took the proffered printout Lorelai was holding. She smiled as she took in the image.

"Never mind Mom, so grandbaby," Lorelai grinned at her and gestured at the paper. "And the heartbeat was racing away, everything is normal. Your new spoiling target arrives in March."

"Oh Lorelai," Emily chewed her lip as she tried to keep her emotions in check. "I'm so happy for you."

"Thanks Mom," Lorelai took the image back and stowed it back in her purse.

"Will you find out what it is?"

"Maybe," Lorelai shrugged noncommittedly.

"Oh, do find out!" Emily clasped her hands excitedly in front of her, bouncing on her toes slightly.

"What you got to find out Mommy?" Kitty asked as she peered at them from the hallway.

"If I can bottle cuteness and I think I've found a possible source," Lorelai rushed towards her daughter, catching the child and tickling her mercilessly. Kitty let out a squeal and squirmed out of her grip rushing towards the kitchen table for safety.

"You shouldn't tease them like that," Emily frowned slightly and shook her head in mock annoyance as Lorelai shrugged and chased after Kitty. Emily stepped alongside her son in law, the much taller man stood with his arms loose around his side, his normally tense face lit up with a large smile. "Congratulations Luke," Emily whispered lowly.

"Thanks Emily," Luke gave her a sideways glance before returning to study Lorelai. "You staying?" He cleared his throat "Would you like to stay for dinner?"

"I would love to but I have to get back to Richard. He's lesson planning and if he gets too frustrated with the laptop he goes stomping about which is very hard wearing on the floor and the flowers," Emily gave a tired sigh. "Would you mind mentioning to April that he might need some help on Friday."

"Sure," Luke nodded taking a step forward as he saw Lorelai going to pick up Kitty. "Lorelai."

Emily smiled serenely as she watched Luke grab the child before Lorelai could, admiring the protective energy that he exuded and how Luke managed to say so much with only a single pleading look. Lorelai nodded and resorted to tickling the child in his arms.

"Grama," Willow whispered as the child crossed to her. "Your picture," she held out a piece of paper. "It's a heart," she explained needlessly as Emily took the paper which featured a large red heart. "Coz I love you."

"It's beautiful," Emily leaned down to kiss her granddaughter.

"It's yours," Willow told her seriously. "Not Gampa's. I do him another one. How many days till Friday?"

"Three," Emily told her gently, holding up 3 fingers to confirm her answer. "Is there anything you would like to eat?"

"Um," Willow thought for a moment. "I want meatballs but Rory coming and that special so something special."

"Alright Precious," Emily kissed the child again. "I'll pick something special."


xXx

"And they all live happily ever after," Lorelai whispered as she closed the book she had been reading to the twins. She smiled as she looked across at Kitty, the child already asleep while her counterpart was snuggled into Lorelai's side desperately fighting the call of sleep. "Sleepy time Willow."

"One more Mommy," Willow mumbled, feebly reaching for the book.

"No honey bunch," Lorelai gently coaxed herself out of bed and crouched beside Willow's bed. Tenderly she fixed the covers around the three year old and then smoothed Willow's hair. "It's time to go to the land of nod, you got to have lots of sweet dreams and grow big and tall."

"I do?" Willow sighed sadly.

"You do," Lorelai kissed her. "We can have another story tomorrow. I love you."

"Love you too," Willow mumbled as her eyes began to drop. "From tip of toes."

"To the top of your head," Lorelai kissed her once more. "Night baby girl."

Lorelai pulled herself to her feet and then kissed the sleeping child in the bed the other side of her before slowly creeping out of the room. She padded across the landing of the house to her and Luke's bedroom and gave her husband a wide smile as he sat on the bed folding laundry. "Kitty's zonko, Willow's fighting it."

"I'll check on them in a bit," Luke nodded as he threw a small pink t-shirt onto a pile. "Did they all live happy every after?"

"Uh huh," Lorelai mumbled as she crossed over to him and pushed the laundry out the way so she could sit beside him, "and we love from the tip of their toes to the top of their head." She lent in and kissed Luke softly. "Think we can cope with 3 under 5?"

"Gonna have to," Luke gave her a wide smile as his hand came down to stroke the beginnings of the evidence of their new child. "How you feeling?"

"Like 10 tonnes has been lifted off of my shoulders." Lorelai rested her forehead against his and looked downwards with a happy smile. "I mean those 10 tonnes are gonna find their way to my stomach and ass but I'm very happy they will be because we'll have a new baby at the end of it." She looked up at him with a hint of uncertainty. "You're happy too, Mr Cranky's gone."

"At least until I have to deal with Taylor again," Luke gave her an apologetic smile. "Sorry, I just didn't want what happened last time to happen."

"I never want that," Lorelai gave an involuntary shudder. Slowly she got up and moved to look out the window. Her eyes fell on the rose bush planted in their garden. It had been an unexpected gift from Richard and Emily two years ago when she had suffered the miscarriage, when their happiness had come crashing down around them. They hadn't been trying trying to have another child just trying to see if nature would take its course and they had been surprised that they had fallen pregnant so quickly. Then, they had been faced with 3 children under 3, but it had not been meant to be and they had pushed the idea of having another baby to the back of their minds as they dealt with the shock and sadness of losing the baby and focused on raising the twins, and April and supporting Rory from afar as she lived her new life in New York.

It had only been a few weeks ago when Lorelai started to feel out of sorts that she had even considered the notion, but that consideration had become fact and now, she had a printout of the baby alive and growing inside of her, tucked in her bedside table until they told their daughters they were getting a new sibling. With a soft sigh she looked back across at Luke, her hand resting lightly on the gentle firmness of her stomach "You gonna cope with having a fat wife?" Luke gave her a tired look and she giggled. "Or is that the least of your worries?"

"I'm ready for anything you might throw at me, you're doing the hard part," Luke shook his head and resumed folding the laundry. "You ready to cope with me being overprotective?"

Lorelai made a growling sound and joined him on the bed. "You're always overprotective," she pointed out as she grabbed a small pair of socks and bundled them. "But I'll keep the extra fuss over the having to put up with my moods and obeying the cravings." She threw the socks onto the pile and grabbed a t-shirt. "We're going to have really little things to wash again. Do you think we'll smell pink again or …" she paused and frowned. "What do little boys smell of?"

"Do you want me to answer that? Because I don't think it's the cute answer you're after," Luke shook his head in amusement.

"All babies smell cute, until they fill their diapers," Lorelai rolled her eyes at him. "It's just when they get big they smell gross."

"I smell gross?" Luke cast her a sideways look, his lips pulled into a slightly smirk.

"Maybe, after you've been lifting boxes but most of the time I like how you smell," Lorelai gave a contented sigh and sank back into the bed. "It's really happening."

"Yeah," Luke leaned back and kissed her cheek softly. "It's really happening."


xXx

Lorelai frowned slightly as she heard Luke gave a grunt of annoyance as he drove the car towards her parents' house. Glancing over her shoulder, her eyebrows rose as she took in Kitty's foot perilously close to the back of his seat and she realised what had happened. "Kitty Kat don't kick Daddy's seat."

"I not kicking it, it in the way of my feet," Kitty answered her with a soft huff. "I got happy feet coz we going to Grama and Grampa's and we gonna see Rory."

"And Spencer," Willow added clapping her hands delightedly. "April coming too?"

"Yes April's coming too," Luke nodded as he guided the car onto the street that lead to the Gilmore mansion.

"Ok but try and keep your happy feet away from Daddy's seat huh bubba?" Lorelai reached back and grabbed her daughter's sandaled foot. "Now Mommy gets first squadge with Rory," Lorelai told her daughter's seriously as she peered over the seat back at the girls in the middle row of the minivan. She chuckled as Kitty gave her a sad look. "You guys can go straight after."

"If Rory wiv Grama, Grama gived her a squadge before us," Willow pointed out. "I hug Grama then Rory."

"I hug Grampa then Spencer then Rory. Daddy you hug April," Kitty stated seriously.

"Alright Kits," Luke nodded as he neared the gates, he shook his head in mild frustration. "They are just as bad as you," he smirked at Lorelai as she lightly poked her tongue at him. "You feeling OK?"

Lorelai nodded softly and then gave him a nervous smile. "Nervous I guess"

"Why?" Luke looked at her curiously, as he pulled into the Gilmore's immaculate driveway.

"Dad," Lorelai mused as she reached to undo her seatbelt. "I didn't tell him about them, Mom did and well the last time I was at this rodeo he was…he was rightfully upset."

Luke gave a soft sigh and undid his seatbelt. "He's going to be rightfully elated."

"What's elated?" Willow asked curiously, as she fumbled with her car seat straps.

"Happy," Lorelai told her softly. "Come on let's make the twosome, a foursome."

"Big sisters!" Kitty shrieked excitedly as she slithered out of her seat and tried to open the door.

"Big sisters!" Lorelai nodded and climbed out, opening the side door of the red minivan and helping Willow out as Luke did the same on the opposite side for Kitty. "Remember we have to use our inside voices when we are inside."

"Ok Mommy," Willow took her hand and swung it happily as the family moved towards the large wooden doorway. "April here," the child nodded towards the old sand coloured jeep parked to one side.

"And Rory" Kitty nodded pointing at the silver Prius. "BIG SISTERS!"

"Alright, get it out of your system," Luke hefted the child onto his hip in a way of keeping his rambunctious daughter under control. "Who's turn to push the doorbell?"

"ME!" Kitty bellowed excitedly and lurched forward in his arms to push the brass button. "DING DONG!" She gave a little yelp as the door was pulled open almost immediately. "WOW!" Kitty sat up slowly in Luke's arms and regarded Emily with awe. "That fast Grama!"

"Thank you Kitty," Emily smiled graciously at the child. "Hello everyone, come in, come in."

The family piled into the foyer of the mansion and Willow pulled her hand out of Lorelai's and took Emily's. "Hi Grama, Mommy wants to squadge Rory."

"Squadge?" Emily looked at her bewildered and then up at Lorelai for clarification.

"Hug," Lorelai told her quickly as she handed her purse to the waiting maid, "within an inch of her life."

"I see," Emily nodded with a bemused expression. "Everyone is out on the patio. Are the twins wearing sunscreen?"

"Of course they are," Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Make way," she pushed past Emily and Willow and trotted out towards the patio. With a delighted chortle, she threw her arms up as she saw Rory sat talking with Richard. "DAUGHTER!"

"MOM!" Rory jumped up from her seat, the twenty four year old took a few steps before she paused and regarded her mother with curiosity.

Lorelai closed the gap and threw her arms around Rory. "I don't know, you never call and then you come here first," Lorelai hugged Rory tightly to her.

"What are you talking about women? I call you all the time and I'm here first because there was barbeque," Rory peeled her chin away from Lorelai's shoulder and holding her mother's shoulders so she could observe. "Have you been eating too much barbeque, chunky monkey?" Rory winked at Lorelai knowingly.

"Mean," Lorelai shrugged out of Rory's grip and fiddled with her short cardigan.

"Everything alright though?" Rory dipped her head lower and gave Lorelai a nervous look.

"Everything is perfect, and proper announcement comes with dessert." Lorelai gave her eldest a beaming smile.

"A sweet with our sweet," Rory trilled and pulled Lorelai in for another hug. "Congratulations Mom" she whispered into Lorelai's ear.

"Thanks Kid," Lorelai whispered back. "Now ready for Thing 1 and Thing 2?"

"Of course." Rory took a step backwards and held her hands out to the two tiny curly haired brunettes stood moderately patiently to one side. "Hello baby sisters."

"Hi Rory," the twins called as they rushed to her enveloped her in a tight hug.

"Hello Dad and Spencer," Lorelai greeted the two men, acknowledging their presence for the first time now that she had greeted Rory. "Hi Apricot, Jeep behaving?"

"So far so good," April nodded with a smile from her position on the patio furniture. A curious look flushed across her face as she took in Lorelai's demeanour and then broke into a wider smile. "So is this going to be an interesting evening?"

"Oh I think it might," Lorelai blushed slightly as she watched April's eyes flick over her middle. "Has it been that obvious?"

"I had my suspicions," April shrugged nonchalantly and stood up so she could catch Kitty who had decided to start running in the general direction of the barbeque.

"Lorelai would you like a summer cup?" Richard asked with a wide smile as he moved to the drinks cart.

"Um, no idea what that is, the twins like to drink from my glass so probably best to steer clear of the booze," Lorelai shook her head and smirked slightly as Emily gave Richard an alarmed look.

"I see," Richard fumbled with his cart. "I think I have some juice in the kitchen."

"There is some diluted orange juice, in the fridge. I made it for the twins" Emily told him rushing forward and clicked her fingers at the maid who was busy setting up a basket of bread on the dining table inside. "Get the juice for my daughter and granddaughters."

"Please," Lorelai finished, her eyes trailing to Willow who was watching Emily intently.

Emily frowned slightly but as she turned back to face the outside and caught where Lorelai was looking and mumbled a half-hearted, "please," as she moved to sit in her chair. Seated she held her hands out to welcome Willow onto her lap and held her current youngest grandchild close to her "Did you bring a picture for your grandfather?" Emily asked the child softly.

Willow gave a sad sigh and shook her head. "I forgetted."

"You can bring it next time," Emily assured her. The older woman smiled as April and Rory swung Kitty between them and brought the other three year old over to the patio furniture. "It's so lovely to have all our grandchildren together for once."

"Your fault," Lorelai poked her tongue out at Rory as Rory sank into her seat between Spencer and Lorelai.

"It's no one's fault Lorelai," Emily shook her head tiredly. "I was just commenting that it is so nice to be all together for once. It doesn't happen often enough."

"No it doesn't," Lorelai nodded. "You could come up more often, it's only a couple of hours drive."

"I could say the same for you," Rory bumped her hip against Lorelai's. "Though you can't all stay at ours at the same time. I do have roommates you know."

"Kick them out, Moms and Grandparents slash Landlords are more important," Lorelai sank into her seat and grinned across at Luke who had lifted Kitty onto his knee and was holding her tightly.

"I prefer no bills thank you Mom," Rory shrugged.

"Do you need extra money?" Richard looked at Rory with concern. Richard sank into his seat beside Emily "I know how expensive New York can be."

"Oh no Grandpa, I'm just messing with Mom, we are fi…comfortable," Rory gave her grandfather a beaming smile.

"Well let me know," Richard nodded succinctly. "So Lorelai, Luke what is new with you this week?"

Lorelai blinked rapidly three times and looked across at Luke for assistance. They had planned to make their announcement with dessert and her father's question had thrown her, to answer no would feel odd to then announce the new baby later. "Um…"

"Yeah Mom, anything new?" Rory gave Lorelai a pointed look.

"Well," Luke bounced Kitty slightly and gave Lorelai an encouraging nod.

"Well," Lorelai smiled nervously. "Luke and I made a trip to the doctor this week to…um… to have a scan," she blushed as she caught Richard's eyebrows rise in surprise. His blue eyes darting first between Luke and Lorelai and then fixing on Emily who had sat forward and was gently swaying Willow from one side to the other in a serene happy movement, "and, well, we are having a baby," she glanced at her younger daughters. "Kitty, Willow, Mommy and Daddy are having a baby

"Oh," Kitty looked unsurely around the group. Slowly she swivelled round to look at Luke and then looked back at Lorelai with a nervous expression on her face.

"Isn't it wonderful!" Emily bounced Willow excitedly.

"Yes," Willow nodded obediently her own expression one of confusion.

"The baby is going to come in March," Lorelai told the bewildered children gently. "It's quite a long time but Mommy is going to get a big fat tummy and then you get a new brother or sister."

"Boy!" Kitty looked alarmed.

"It might be a boy," Luke told her gently. "Or it might be a girl. We don't know, it's a surprise"

"Oh," Kitty mumbled again. The little girl looked up as Richard rose from his seat. "Good?"

"It's marvellous, Congratulations to you both," Richard held his hand out for Lorelai and pulled her standing so he could hug her. "What wonderful news,"

"Grama and Grampa say good," Willow shrugged in the general direction of her twin and then looked around at Emily "Grama, baby good?"

"It's very good. You are going to be wonderful big sisters," Emily cuddled the child tightly. "It's such wonderful news."

"Big sisters," Willow whispered and shot a wide eyed look at Kitty.

"We big sisters," Kitty whispered in awe.

"Yes you'll be big sisters," Emily frowned slightly not quite understanding why the three year olds were fixated on this aspect.

Lorelai smiled at the awed expression on the two children's face. "They are quite fond of big sisters Mom. It's exciting to be one huh Bubbas?"

"I see," Emily watched the twins with a bemused expression as they nodded excitedly in Lorelai's direction. The movement of the maid caught her attention and she shifted Willow to the ground "The starter is ready to be served,"

"Couldn't even delay it for news of a new grandbaby," Lorelai rolled her eyes good naturedly. "I don't know Mom."

"Don't be ridiculous Lorelai," Emily blushed slightly. "It is wonderful news, you know I am thrilled."

"We should do something to celebrate," Richard pointed out. "I would suggest champagne but Lorelai would not be able to imbibe."

"I have a cake," Emily told him softly as she held her hand out for Kitty to take.

"A cake?" Lorelai and Richard repeated looking at each other in surprise.

"Oh honestly," Emily shook her head in impatience, her blush deepening and she began leading her youngest granddaughters to the table to hide the fact. "Richard I've known for weeks and Lorelai, did you really think I wouldn't do something to mark the occasion in a way that we could all enjoy?"

"Mmm, Cake," Rory jumped to her feet and waited for Spencer to stand up before taking his hand. "We're in for a treat. The bakery were Grandma gets her cakes from are amazing!"


xXx

Rory threw her bag onto the couch in her room in the attic space of her parents' house. With a soft sigh she smoothed her hands over the soft blanket over the back of the couch and stared around the space. It had not ever really been her room, She had stayed in it over the summer and at odd weekends but it still felt as much as home as the building where she now lived in New York. She looked around as she heard footsteps and pouted slightly as her boyfriend climb the steps.

"You were expecting your Mom?" Spencer gave her a defeated look as he came to a stop at the top of the stairs. "Kitty's gone cuddly, apparently, me carrying her up unsettled her a little."

"They love you really." Rory gave him a warm smile and moved to give him a hug. "just when they are sleepy only Mom and Luke will do. Maybe Grandma."

"Well she shouldn't be carrying things." Spencer kissed Rory's crown and rubbed her arm tenderly. "I'm don't mind helping out."

"I had a feeling this was what we were going to find out this weekend. I knew she was keeping something a secret," Rory sighed with a faint nervous edge.

"You also went through every possible awful scenario as well," Spencer pointed out kissing her again and pushing her towards the couch. "You think we can sleep in tomorrow?"

"I'm not sure my sisters will let us, but we can try" Rory flopped onto the couch. "I didn't go through every scenario." She elbowed him as he gave her a knowing look. "Most of them."

"Yup." Spencer nodded, he stretched, pulling his arms over his head and giving a low groan. "Can I have the first shower? I was so worried when your Grandma gave me that hug that she was going to kick me out the house. Even with the aircon that drive was a nightmare temperature wise."

"Don't think it helps where the car was parked the last few days. We shall have to review shade spots."

"At a premium, unless you want to get a camera on each of the 'good' spots and go out at ridiculous o'clock when people move their cars," Spencer shook his head. "So can I have first shower?"

"Yeah, I want to talk with Mom…" Rory paused as she heard the downstairs doorway open. "Speak of the devil."

"Excuse me," Lorelai's voice filtered up the staircase. "Do not speak ill of those that give life. What are you crazy kids nattering about?"

"How hot the drive was," Rory told her as she bumped her hip against Spencer's. "He was worried Grandma would kick him out the house for stinking."

"I don't think you smell in that way," Lorelai gave Spencer a comforting smile. "Very Axey. And if Mom did notice anything, Miss Manners would have stopped her from actually kicking you out. Though if she did, she'll do the super subtle thing of buying you bath products." Lorelai crinkled her nose in amusement. "So may I borrow my first born?"

"Sure. I'll go de-Axe." Spencer nodded. "I'll say goodnight now," he kissed Rory softly on the jawline. "Have a good chat."

"We will," Lorelai told him with a smile as she held her hand out to guide Rory back down through the house. The two women walked in silence down the two flights of stairs and through the back of the house out onto the back part of the porch which overlooked the main part of the garden and the play area.

Lorelai paused as they rounded the corner seeing April deep in conversation on her cell phone. The sixteen-year-old jumped as she realised she was being watched and with a deep crimson blush whispered down the phone. "I gotta go… I'll see you tomorrow… yeah I do too."

"You didn't have to stop," Rory told April pleasantly.

"It's late," April glanced at the time on her cell phone. "Jess isn't allowed to talk after 10."

"Jess?" Rory looked at her step sister curiously.

"Oh not Jess, Jessica. She's my… friend," April gave Rory an awkward smile. "I'll leave you two to it."

"You don't have to go," Lorelai told her reaching out to take April's hand.

"It's OK. I should get some sleep. I still have some homework to finish for school which I really should start tomorrow." April shrugged with a good natured grimace.

"Seeing as you go back week after next it's probably a good idea," Lorelai rolled her eyes. "What have you got?"

"Dickens novel, Tale of Two Cities. I just didn't fancy that type of book about gloomy England when it's hot and sunny." April pushed her glasses up her nose and waved half-heartedly, "Night."

"Night Apricot," Lorelai called after her step daughter and then pulled her older daughter into the chair that April has just vacated. "I like it like this," Lorelai wrapped her arms around Rory's shoulder. "All my babies under one roof."

"Hello Emily," Rory teased gently and sank into her Mom's embrace. "So this was what the keeping schtum was about?" Rory glanced down at Lorelai's abdomen. "New baby."

"Yeah," Lorelai nodded. "We didn't want to say anything, just in case."

"But everything is fine?" Rory asked nervously.

"Everything is fine. 12 weeks' yesterday, baby is due to arrive 8th March," Lorelai assured her, squeezing Rory's hand. "You OK with it?"

"It's great Mom. Well the new baby part is. The gestating and actually having it, I am fine with the cliff notes version, thank you very much," Rory grimaced slightly.

Lorelai chuckled. "Still sickened by it?"

"Yup," Rory shuddered. "We are happy to be a SINK family and when I finish in a couple of years hopefully we will be a DINK."

"Explanation required."

"Single Income no kids, Dual income no kids," Rory explained, "my maternal needs are furnished by looking after Gigi or the twins. And best part of all I get to give them back at the end."

Lorelai pouted slightly, "So no grandbabies?"

"You might get a furgrandbaby; a cat, possibly a grey tabby cat called Mini," Rory joked lightly.

"A cat called Mini?" Lorelai frowned, "wait in honour of McGonagall."

"Uh huh," Rory giggled. "But you don't need grandbabies you've got babies."

"I want to do the whole spoil thing," Lorelai shrugged. "It's different somehow, not sure how, but it is."

"It's the get-to-give-them-back thing," Rory told her lightly. "Though I'm pretty sure that you would have the whole 'mine' thing that Grandma has."

Lorelai poked Rory. "Ok you have compared me to my Mother twice in as many minutes. You are supposed to be nice to me. I am in a delicate condition after all."

"How delicate?" Rory asked, her voice laced with nervousness.

"As delicate as I need to be to get what I want and so that people are nice to me," Lorelai squeezed Rory's hand once more. "Honestly, I'm fine, just dealing with a rapidly shrinking wardrobe, though not as badly as with the twins. No more recreations of the exorcist, I feel less tired then I was a couple weeks ago. Everything is going how it should."

"Ok," Rory sighed and looked out across the garden, she smiled slightly as she took in the trees and well-tended flower beds, the careful area of shade and the neatly tended to wood chipped area by the playground. "Does Luke do all this by himself?"

"Sometimes Zach and Brian pitch in when they are short on the rent but mostly, why?"

"It's so pretty," Rory snuggled Lorelai as tightly as she could. "I'm surprised he has time."

"He comes out here for a break," Lorelai sighed softly. "He needs his peace and quiet sometimes. Pulling weeds stops him from pulling Taylor or Kirk's head off. And Mom does the picking of the planting just so she is certain that there is nothing poisonous for the twins. So it's just the physical work bit. Speaking of Brian and Zach are you gonna see Lane anytime soon?"

"The band is back from tour next week, last gig is in New York on Thursday so they are sleeping in the apartment Wednesday and Thursday before coming back here. Lane has to get back for registration. Why?"

"Mrs Kim was muttering about something" Lorelai shrugged "You know, the world is ending because we're all sinners. I corrupted Lane with my music. She gets like this when she is nervous. Remind her to call her Mom."

"I'll tell her," Rory rested her head on Lorelai's shoulder. "Am I OK on that front?"

"Yes," Lorelai rested her head on Rory's "As well as you can be seeing soooo faaaarr away. But you are a very good first daughter."

"Pleased that I pass," Rory smiled as she took in the night sky a light mauve following the recent sunset. "I like coming home, even if it's just for the weekend."

Lorelai rubbed Rory's bicep lovingly and then leaned in so she could kiss the crown of her grown daughter's head. "Always welcome Kid."