A.N: I know, I need to be working on "Hold On To This Lullaby" but my life has been incredibly busy as of late and on top of that, motivation has been slow to come back after I posted the second chapter. But I won't abandon the story, that's a promise.
But hopefully, you can still enjoy this little oneshot. I got to thinking about how I used to snuggle with my parents when I was a kid, and for some reason this ficlet was born from those memories. I don't know, my brain is weird.
-If you're curious, the cover photo is of a family in bed with multi-colored socks on. I think it's pretty cute and it seems to convey the act of snuggling very well. It even had a pair of Mommy socks and another little girl, but I couldn't fit them in. So, I just had to stick with the Daddy socks and the boy and girl.
-Jinora is 8-years-old, Ikki is 5 and Meelo is 3.
Ikki shuffled down the hallway, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, on her way back to her bedroom from the bathroom. As she passed by her parent's room, just a couple doors down from her own, she gave a wayward glance inside. But then something caught her eye and she immediately stopped, turning to face the scene with an almost horrified expression. Her drowsy stupor was quickly chased away with the first stings of jealously that clawed at her belly, as she noticed Meelo was sleeping soundly in between her slumbering parents. For some reason, this unnerved her; she didn't like the idea of Meelo sleeping with them, not one bit. Feeling oddly threatened and compelled to take back her territory; she stepped into the bedroom, crossed the floor and then silently crawled into bed. She went over to her mother, sandwiching herself between the wall and Pema's side.
Her mother's eyes fluttered open as she realized the disturbance, but then she quickly settled back down with a warm smile as she realized who it was, and granted Ikki a soft kiss to her temple as she drew the little girl into her side.
Ikki finally felt content and at ease as she snuggled deeper into Pema's side, and with a soft sigh, closed her eyes and drifted off back to sleep.
Despite the sleepy haze that still gripped Tenzin's mind, he could tell something was different. He sensed not just two, but four different presence's in bed with him, as the air they expelled from their quiet breaths were tickling his ear. It seemed much more difficult than it should have been to shift his legs and he felt oddly suffocated. Becoming more and more alarmed, and with an intense curiosity eating at him, his eyes snapped open as he was thrust into wakefulness. And what he saw startled him with surprise.
Jinora was sleeping beside him on his left, nearly hanging off the bed as she was granted little room between his side and the edge. He immediately extended his arm and secured it around her, so she was no longer in danger of falling out of bed and she instinctively snuggled into his side. Then looking over to his right, there was Meelo and Pema, but then on the other side of his wife was Ikki. All three of his children had crept into bed with them, and while he certainly wasn't adverse to it, it still caught him off guard.
Meelo was a given, he'd been sleeping with them for a week straight now and it looked as if he wasn't going to stop anytime soon. For reason's unknown, he didn't like sleeping in the big boy bed he'd been given for his third birthday and favored his parent's bed instead. He'd come in like clockwork at precisely three hours past his bedtime every night, and to be honest they were barely even stirred anymore; they'd grown so used to it.
But Ikki, on the other hand, hadn't come in for snuggles in at least a year and for Jinora it was even longer. He was dumbfounded at why in the world both of his daughters would all of a sudden want them now.
Pema then stirred and yawned, and as she opened her eyes, she caught Tenzin's gaze. She couldn't help but be amused by the look of confusion and surprise on his face, and she smiled at him. "Good morning," she greeted him softly.
He smiled back at her and then nodded his head at their contently slumbering children. "Do you know why . . .?" he let the sentence hang, figuring the evidence was clear enough.
Sitting up a little more, she looked over on his other side. "Oh, Jinora's here too. Wow," she was slightly taken aback.
"Well?" he prodded her.
"I think the girls feel threatened by Meelo," she told him.
"Threatened?" Tenzin considered, "How so?"
"Dear, think about it, when was the last time either of them has wanted snuggles? It's been at least a year," she reminded him. "And suddenly Meelo shows up in our bed, and then they both follow right in behind him. You don't think that's just a coincidence?"
"I didn't know what to think, but I am happy that they're all here."
"Me too," she ran a gentle hand over Ikki's head, softly playing with the girl's curls. Her daughter didn't even stir at her touch.
Pema looked back up at Tenzin. "I think Ikki saw Meelo in here and felt threatened by it, and then Jinora came in later and was just feeling left out."
Tenzin smiled warmly down at Jinora, "Well, I'm glad that they decided to snuggle with us, it's good that they don't think they're too old for this."
Both giving off a simultaneous sigh of content, they settled back against the pillows. They were well awake, but didn't want to get up for fear of waking the children, so they resigned to lounge in bed a little while longer.
"You know it won't be like this forever," Tenzin began, freely speaking his mind, "Jinora's already eight-years-old, soon she'll be a teenager and spending quality time with her parents will be the last thing on her mind. It makes me wonder how many snuggles we have left with them."
"Tenzin," Pema sighed, slightly exasperated. He always had to be the one who thought way too far ahead. "But they're here now, right now, with us. Get your head out of the clouds, and just hold your daughter, would you?" she smiled at her husband, giving Ikki a little squeeze.
"I guess you're right," he nodded in agreement and proceeded to wrap both his arms around Jinora, drawing her closer to him.
They settled into a companionable silence before Pema broke the quiet with, "Now, this one on the other hand," she gave a pointed look at Meelo, who was snoring softly. "He'll probably want snuggles for a long while yet."
"I really don't understand why he likes our bed better; he was so excited to get rid of the crib."
"He can stay here as long as he likes," Pema affirmed.
"Pema," Tenzin admonished, "You're going to have to let him grow up sometime," he smirked at her.
"But he's my baby boy." An unmistakable, yet still adorable pout formed on her face.
"Not unless we have another," his smirk grew wider.
"Is that an invitation?" she deadpanned, raising a skeptical eyebrow. "Because as you can see, that might be a little difficult right now," she nodded her head at the kids.
"Well, I am an airbender, I'm sure we could figure something out."
She laughed softly at the hilarious image that came to mind. "You'll get your own snuggles with me later, Tenzin."
Sighing in resignation, he settled back against the pillows and squeezed Jinora in a small hug. He gave the top of her head a swift kiss and then locking eyes with Pema, he said, "I really love you, Pema."
The warmth infecting her heart was overwhelming when he spoke those words, "Love you, too Tenzin." She brushed her hand softly over Meelo's head, "Really."
A.N: I just love Pemzin so much! Gah! The fluffly feels! I guess I needed to get this out of my system before I get back to the more angsty family drama that is "Hold On To This Lullaby."
Thank you for reading!