Awakening

Neither of them could remember the last full night's sleep they'd had, not since their tiny bundle of joy had arrived. From feeding shifts to nappy changes, the two of them were exhausted and only barely able to stay awake at times. On the whole though, John Stewart had thought that they had been doing rather well considering that neither of them had ever had a child before. The baby monitor that sat on the bedside cabinet chirped, bringing John's attention to the sounds that could be heard and transmitted from its brother. He had been ready to settle down for the night, goodness knew his body ached with tiredness to the point that he had simply collapsed into bed, too fatigued to care about anything. His ears prickled as he heard Shayera's voice from the monitor, quietly shushing tiny Rex and attempting to settle him down for the night.

When Rex had been born they had initially had little trouble getting him to sleep, in fact he seemed to enjoy it, but ever since the couple had decided that he could sleep in the nursery he had been nothing but restless and aggravated. If Shayera had her way she would have him still sleeping in their room but John had told her flatly that he would have to sleep in his own room eventually. John continued to listen, spread eagle on his stomach with one leg hanging out of the bed where he had thrown himself, a pillow crushed against the side of his face as he struggled to fix his senses on the monitor in front of him. She was murmuring quietly to their son in Thanagarian, soft words which John somehow determined the meaning of. It wasn't the words themselves he understood, he'd tried several times to pick up the odd Thanagarian phrase or admonishment with little success. In truth it was her voice he understood, the basic tones, the emotion, the roll of her syllables. He understood every word of it. Shayera was unaware of it, but as she soothed Rex to sleep with tales of heroes and friends, she was also soothing John into a relaxed state, his nerves having been pushed to their limits of late.

John's eyes were closed when she entered their bedroom, the weariness was there in her own eyes and movements as she wandered around to her side of the bed, wings drooping tiredly and her feet dragging on the floor. She knew John was still awake, knew from the rise and fall of his back that his breathing hadn't slowed as it did with sleep.

"He's restless tonight." She told him as she slid into bed, shrinking down into the sheets and curling up next to him as she often did.

"He's always restless." John countered as he automatically adjusted his position for her, allowing her to sidle even closer.

"You said he should sleep in his own room." She paused as she slipped an arm around his waist and pressed her nose to his shoulder from behind "I told you that you could deal with the consequences of it."

She felt him grumble, mumbling something about never opening his mouth again about another domestic household issue. Her smile could be felt by him as she caressed his arm with her fingers, "I'm sure that won't last very long John." His determination to keep his mouth shut on the day to day happenings of their home never did "It never does." Was her final conclusion as she let out a long sigh and snuggled down behind him, ready at last for the welcome of sleep. John likewise made himself more comfortable, bid her goodnight and attempted to get some sleep. However, he was under the distinct impression that he wouldn't be asleep for very long.

In the early hours of the morning, when Detroit was at its quietest and only the hum of the apartment could be heard, John Stewart was awoken by the baby monitor. The usual chirpiness of its static filled his ears before the distressed sound of tiny Rex was heard. Subduing his own groan into the back of his throat, silencing it lest he wake his sleeping partner, John raised his hand to the monitor and silenced the device. His next challenge was to somehow detach himself from Shayera who had shifted throughout the night until the quilt and herself was a complicated tangle about him. It seemed she loved to treat him like a giant teddy bear and it took him several minutes to escape her snuggled clutches. Before he left to tend to their son, he smoothed her mussed hair and took a moment to appreciate the innocent beauty of her that could only be witnessed when she was sleeping.

Rex gargled again and pulled his Father's attention back to the task at hand, forcing John to move his feet and head in the direction of the nursery. It would seem that he had gained little from the sleep he had managed for his body was still aching and his eyes still drooping. Rex by comparison was energetic and spirited, waving his tiny fists in the air and kicking out with his small feet. It was all John needed to raise a smile from his lips and make him forget the fatigue that had been so adamantly wearing him down.

"I knew you weren't going to be able to sleep the whole night." John chuckled as he scooped up the tiny bundle into his arms, cherishing the tiny figure against his broad frame and not for the first time being mesmerised by the sheer frailty and helplessness that was his son. There was a tenderness in John's eyes and movements which seemed to make him instantly forget his lack of rest.

With care, John rocked Rex back and forth, wandering around the room as he did so and peeking out of the window, all the while talking to Rex about all kinds of things, just concentrating on letting Rex hear his voice. When Rex continued to fidget and remained restless, John decided that perhaps he would give him his feed and allow the tiny baby to continue with his much needed rest. It was dark beyond the doorway but John had long since memorised the steps and walked with ease into the kitchen, Rex tucked into his shoulder as he went to the fridge to extract a pre-made bottle of milk. Shayera believed in keeping a fresh supply there continually and he had to admit that on this occasion she hadn't been wrong. Shutting the fridge door, John glanced towards their bedroom, listening closely to detect whether or not the slumbering Thanagarian had woken up in his absence. Sometimes he couldn't leave her for one minute before she was awake and demanding to know where he was. Personal teddy bear indeed.

With a bottle in hand, freshly warmed up and ready to be drunk, John sat down on the couch and offered the bottle to his son. To his surprise Rex didn't put up a fuss, perhaps he was relaxed from John's strong embrace and soothing voice or maybe he was just hungry to begin with. John didn't care which one, just that Rex was drinking and would soon be able to go back to sleep.

In the next room Shayera Hol began to shift in her sleep, tiredly seeking out the warmth she was accustomed to sharing her bed with. Her hand slid over to where this warmth normally was and when it was only able to discover the cold and empty space, she awoke in an instant softly calling John's name as she did so. A moment passed and her initial startle at not finding him subsided to the point where she was able to deduce that he had more than likely left her to tend to Rex. Regardless she wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep without him so she decided that she'd go the whole hog and get up to find him. Maybe she could help him get Rex back to sleep and then they could all go back to bed. Slipping out of the bed on John's side, Shayera adjusted her nightgown and noticed that the baby monitor was off, another sure sign that John had decided to allow her to sleep while he tended to their new born. Of late she had been taking most of the shifts telling him in no uncertain terms that she was fine to do so and that he should rest and sleep. Unlike her he was still working for the League, albeit part-time but working none the less. He needed his rest whereas she could always catch a nap during the day.

The door of their room was ajar and with a quietness she had long ago honed in her Espionage days, Shayera pushed open the door and moved to the doorway. The sight that befell her stopped her in mid step, her eyes raking over the forms she saw on the couch. John was asleep, his head lulled back as he clutched Rex closely and securely to his chest, Rex who was also fast asleep and uttering soft snores of comfort. She had to take a minute to watch, to lean up against the doorframe and just stand there looking at them. The feeling that surged within her and filled her up was unlike anything she had ever felt before, such a deep rooted happiness and contentment, such peace and love. In that instant everything certainly was right and everything had been worth it.

Of course she couldn't let them stay that way for the rest of the night so she plucked herself from the frame and approached the pair of them, still quiet in her steps. Gently she slipped her hands around Rex, ready to bring him out of his Father's arms and settle him into his own cradle in the nursery, John however seemed to have other ideas. When she began removing Rex, his arms instantly tightened protectively, daring her to try again. Smiling she leant down and nuzzled his cheek, pressing a kiss against his skin as she whispered into his ear.

"It's okay, John. I've got him."

His reaction to her voice was immediate, his arms relaxing and his tension melting away. Shayera then took Rex, rocking him gently so that the disturbance wouldn't awaken him completely and then she took him to the nursery. She tucked him in with all of the tenderness and love that she had, which to her surprise had been much more than she had given herself credit for, and then just as she was done, she kissed his forehead and bid him a goodnight.

Re-joining John in the living room she noticed that he remained asleep and hadn't moved since she had left him. He was sweet when he slept, a pure calm about him and perhaps one of the only times where the little notch between his eyebrows was absent. He truly worried too much, had fussed around her since the day she had told him she was pregnant and hadn't ceased since. She appreciated his care more than anything, thrived in his ever present safety and security where for perhaps the only time in her life she had truly felt as though she were protected and utterly, unconditionally loved. In the dark her slender fingers found the line of his jaw, traced his ear and smoothed his eyebrows until he slowly, but surely awoke to find her emerald eyes looking lovingly down into his.

"Come back to bed." She told him, holding his face in her hand as she awaited his response.

He was tired she could see, tired enough that he really shouldn't have taken it upon himself to tend to Rex in the night, but she knew it to be his constant caring nature that had seen fit to do so. For a moment he seemed reluctant to move, perhaps even the couch, lumpy and old as it was felt as comfortable as their bed to his tired body. Deciding that she needed to offer some encouragement, Shayera grasped his larger hand in her smaller one, tugging a little in order to coax him from the couch.

"You'll be more comfortable in bed." She reassured him as he dutifully followed her, she would scold him in the morning for choosing to let her sleep instead of him, but for now her only interest lay in getting him settled and sleeping, ready for tomorrow.

Like she had already done with Rex not five minutes ago, she settled John down and tucked him in, caressing his face and bidding him sweet dreams. Sidling around her side of the bed, she returned to her space beside him, pulling in her wings as she did so in order to get them under the sheets. When she was comfortable she huddled up against John's form, resting her head on his chest and rubbing his shoulder with her hand. Perhaps she would call J'onn in the morning and ask for John to have a day's leave to catch up on his rest, while she spent the day fussing over him and making sure he felt as cared for as she did.