I own nothing. English is not my first language, so all the mistakes are mine. Posted this on tumblr a few days ago, but I'm only sharing it here now after (peer pressure) finding a title. Congrats if you caught the reference. Review if you want.
To my tiny asian baby, because she wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote this.
Prompt: "Who in your OTP asks the weird questions in the middle of the night and who hits the other in the face with a pillow? Authors choice what question to use."
"Beckett, what happens when we die?"
She startles awake. Squinting at the clock on the nightstand, she can read the neon blue glaring 2:17AM through her half closed eyelids. Not this again.
He's been battling insomnia for the past 3 days, and she's been all too privy to the insufferable effects. Without fail, every night he's been waking her up at an ungodly hour with some kind of difficult question, expecting an answer because apparently in his times of doubt he likes to think she holds all the answers.
The first night she'd been mildly amused, indulging his "Is there a god, and, if so, what is her nature?" question at 1:39AM that led him into a lengthy explanation about why he thought god would be a woman, his deep voice spinning a fantastic tale and lulling her back into sleep. Last night it had been "Who am I?" at the staggering hour of 4:28AM; she'd been asleep for barely 3 hours, a particularly gruesome double homicide draining all of her mental energies and leaving her brain feeling like jelly. She'd gotten cheeky, turning over to kiss his frown and rolling atop him, making him forget all of his doubts with the heat of her mouth on him, around him and his name falling breathily from her lips.
He sighs. Loudly.
She loves this man. Her sweet, funny, intelligent and curious husband. But her sleep hasn't reached the double digits this week and she's on call and too tired for distractions. And he just won't let her sleep. So she grumbles, "Do you wanna find out?" Because if he keeps talking, she might not even have to leave their bedroom to arrive at the next crime scene.
Apparently, he has no regard for his well-being, because he ignores her and keeps going. "What's the meaning of life?"
She brusquely climbs out of their bed, grabbing her pillow and yanking the covers from his body. She's halfway across the room, stomping grumpily towards the office before he can comprehend what she's doing; hastily rolling out of bed, she crosses the room with quick steps. He finds her in the office, settling into the cushions of the couch they'd picked earlier that month. She's huffing, her face marked with creases from being previously mashed into the pillow and her eyes are red. She's the picture of exhaustion.
He suddenly feels like a jerk, a wave of guilt washing over him. He hadn't noticed how tired she'd been lately. For the past few days by the time he'd manage to wake up after finally getting a few hours of blissful sleep she'd been long gone. But now he sees it; while he'd been able to sleep in and give his body the rest it craved, she'd most certainly been waking up in the wee hours. They'd probably missed each other's sleep schedules by only a couple of hours.
He calls out to her, in a soft voice, "Kate, come back to bed." Her eyes snap open; she must be really exhausted to fall asleep this fast and he feels flush with shame. "I'm sorry," his tone is remorseful as he looks at her, "I've been having trouble sleeping lately but that's no excuse for keeping you awake. I can sleep later, you can't."
He extends his hand to her, and she sits up. She pulls him down into the cushion next to her and pushes him onto his back as she drapes her body over his, sighing softly as his arms encircle her back and she closes her eyes.
They both finally sleep soundly that night.
He wakes to her quiet voice. He's a light sleeper lately, always on alert for any sounds coming from her that might signal it's go time. They're at the last stretch now, and sleep is seldom; the baby won't let her sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time. She's been constantly tossing and turning, trying to find a viable position to sleep in. He's been anxious, and mostly worried about her, eyelids flying open at the slightest sound of discomfort coming from her side of the bed.
"What if I'm not cut out for this?" comes in a dejected tone. "I mean what if I forget him in the car or something? What if I roll over on top of him during naptime? What if I forget to burp him and he chokes, and what about pollen and bombs and earthquakes?" She's winding up, her voice getting louder and sentences faster, as her mind is overtaken by worry and he turns around. She looks troubled; her eyes wide in alarm as she clutches her swollen stomach and his funny remark dies in his tongue.
He's no stranger to her doubts these past few months, from the silly which brand of fabric softener to use on the baby's onesies ("Kate, I really don't think our son is going to care about his onesies anytime soon") to the labor-related fears (he'd needed to call reinforcements; his mother was a huge help) and the absurd "will you still want me when I look like a beached whale?"His hands and mouth had been quick to eradicate that one.
Sitting up, he cradles her face gently and kisses her with a softness that makes her weep. Damn hormones. He pulls back a fraction, resting his forehead against hers gently as he waits out her tears.
She calms down after a few minutes, and he brushes his thumbs over her cheeks, wiping away the tracks left by her fears. She pulls back and rests her head on his chest and his arms come around her, pressing her against his side. He feels a light kick in his ribs; baby's awake.
They don't talk about it. Not because he doesn't care, but because she's taken to feeling embarrassed by all her hormonal outbursts lately; there have been a plethora of conversations about parenting ever since she'd entered the "safe" stage of her pregnancy.
They've made plans, talked about upbringing styles and she had voiced her fears. They'd gone over them at length: No, she doesn't need her mother to teach her how to be one. Nobody really knows what they're doing when raising a child; they just try their very best and hope it's enough. Yes, her job is dangerous and she may not come home one day, but nobody's tomorrows are guaranteed. She sees death every day, in all shapes and sizes, striking everyone equally. Her mother had a "safe" job, and that didn't mean anything in the end.
He shares what he remembers feeling from Alexis' childhood. How crippling the fear felt, how he never wanted her to go outside and how he hovered as his little girl took the world by storm, gaining more and more independence every day. How he broke down into tears when she had her first serious accident; a tumble from the monkey bars at the jungle gym. He'd put on a brave face all day, frantically checking his baby girl over and over for injuries but she'd been perfectly fine but for a few scrapes, whining at him to "let me godaddy, I wanna go on the slide!" He'd smiled, but later that night as she slept soundly in her bed, he'd come back down to cry into a glass of scotch, a mix worried and relieved salty drops spilling from his eyes.
She's terrified, and she always will be. He explains that with time, her fears will just change; going from worry over causing their baby harm, to worrying about the outside world and eventually the most crippling: what if my child isn't happy? She'd given a small smile at that, reading into his reference to Alexis' struggle over the past few years as she'd started to fully grow into herself and take charge of her own life.
"We'll make it work", he'd assured her over and over. They'd been through too much, overcome too much for parenting to be the thing that they'd fail at. Plus they'd have Alexis to remind them that it's indeed possible to raise a wonderful child.
His fingers comb softly through her hair and her eyelids drop as she lets out a yawn, the tears and the frenzy she'd worked herself into taking its toll on her exhausted and overwhelmed body. He touches his lips to the crown of her head, places his hand on top of the place where their son rests and closes his eyes, joining his wife in the land of dreams.