AN: As promised – the final tidbit to add the icing on the cake. I just want to add a final thank you to everyone who read, reviewed, beta read, or collaborated with me to help me make this fic a reality. This final scene, believe it or not, was the reason I wrote the story. Between this scene and the scene where the cave collapses on them, I simply knew I had to write this story. I've had this in my head for so long that it is a relief to get it out.
Now, if only Jason would leave me alone…
Sleep. I love sleep. I never knew how much I loved it until I was forced to wake up every two to three hours. How Kate did this all day was beyond me. At least I got some time away from Eric at the music hall, not that it did me much good. It was all I could do to hold my eyes open sometimes. Three weeks of parenthood and I'd been reduced to sneaking off to a private rehearsal room to sleep.
Somewhere distant in the building, I heard the crash and shatter of someone dropping something large and breakable. The wailing cry of a baby soon followed. Next to me, Kate groaned and buried her head in her pillow.
I yawned and forced myself to sit up. "I'll get him," I said sleepily.
"Bottle in the fridge," she mumbled, still half asleep.
I dragged my feet into the kitchen and retrieved the bottle, thankful that Kate had the foresight to prepare it before we went to bed, only to moan in complaint when I remembered I would have to heat the darn thing up. Now would be a really great time to figure out the whole heat vision thing. Talk about something that would make my life a lot easier tonight.
I placed the bottle in a pot full of water on the stove and went into the nursery to try to calm the screaming infant. His fists were balled up and his face was red in anger. "Hey, little guy. No need to make such a fuss," I said to him.
Gently, I picked him up and cradled him against my shoulder, patting his round little bottom and bouncing him slightly to try to soothe his crying. "It's okay," I whispered. "Shhhh. You're fine."
His tears turned into tiny whimpers as I headed back out to the kitchen to get his bottle and rock him back to sleep. He must have been hungry, because as soon as the bottle came close to his mouth, he glomped down on it and began sucking away like mad. I held him in the dark and slowly rocked back and forth in the chair, letting my eyes drift shut while he drank down the milk.
In the room above us, a stereo switched on and music sounded through the air. Eric stirred in my arms, fussing and longing for quiet.
"I'm sorry," I whispered to him. "The noise bothers you, doesn't it? We're looking for a house, so pretty soon you won't have any noisy neighbors to deal with. Until then…" I thought about it for a moment. "Maybe we can get you a white noise maker. Maybe that would hide the other sounds in the air."
His eyes fluttered closed and he snuggled against me.
"I'm really sorry about the noise. Not much I can do about that right now. Believe me, I know it's annoying…and it's only going to get worse." I brushed my fingers over the side of his perfect little face, thinking how clearly I now understood things that had always seemed so puzzling to me before.
"You will be different. Sometimes you'll feel like an outcast, but you'll never be alone. You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father becomes the son."
I'd heard those words nearly twenty years ago, and yet I'd never understood them as perfectly as I did right now. I placed a soft kiss on his forehead. "I love you, little guy."