Ella was finally asleep. She was a happy, sweet-natured little thing, but it was always a relief when she closed her eyes and snuggled into her blankets. Not just because it meant that Lor could finally get some sleep, either.
It wasn’t easy settling into a new relationship around jobs and a child, but they were trying. A few minutes snatched here and there were the most they managed over the first couple of months, but it was worth it just the same.
Lor’s alarm beeped, and he sighed, unwilling to move away.
“I’ve got to head off. Can’t be late – we’ve got a new shipment of Alcron coming in, and Cassie wants me to make a couple of satellites for the lab.”
Malik rested his head on Lor’s shoulder and sighed, before pressing a quick kiss to his neck. “Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back. I’ve found a couple of books that I think Ellie might like, so I’ll read to her for a bit.”
Lor smiled into the other man’s hair and hugged him tighter for a brief second before letting go. “Sounds wonderful, Mal.”
“So, I was thinking maybe we could install one outside the greenhouse?”
“That could work. There wouldn’t be anything getting in the way of the signal if we put it there.”
“Do you think they’ll come and visit us here?”
Her eyes shone with excitement. She’d been hoping for this for ages, but now she had definitive proof that the signal they’d designed actually worked.
“They might.” Lor said, grinning at her. Honestly, he was tempted to simply ring up Major and a couple of the others and get them to visit. Maybe when Ellie was older he’d throw a party and get everyone together that way.
“Maybe they’ll get you pregnant again! It only seems to work on men, so you’re our only hope for that.”
“Cassie! The poor boy’s only recently given birth – don’t be so pushy.”
“No buts. Sorry, Lor.”
“It’s fine. I do want more children, just not right away. Ella’s taking up all of our time, and we want to be able to give her all the attention she needs.”
Cassandra raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah, me and Mal.”
“The boy that was making doe-eyes at you when you were teens?”
“Cassie…” came the warning from behind her.
“But he was, Yuki!”
“I think you just like embarrassing him.”
Lor rolled his eyes. He’d missed this during his time off.
“As much as I love having my private life dissected, I have satellites to make.”
Malik was waiting for him when he arrived home.
“How was work?”
“You know, the same old thing. Cloning fruit, setting things on fire, contacting spaceships. I even got to work on the rocket! How are you?”
“I’m good. Managed to get a couple of naps in, played with Ellie, cleaned the kitchen…”
“How is she?”
“Sleeping for now.”
A soft crying brought them back to reality.
“I’ll go and see what she wants. You go get out of your uniform.”
“Are you sure?”
Most days went along the same sort of schedule, the main variation being who was working and who stayed home.
“Will you be my boyfriend?” Lor’s voice was hesitant, as if he were afraid the answer would be negative. Mal could feel the trembling through the other man’s lips.
He opened his eyes and moved so his forehead was resting against Lor’s. “Yes, I will.”
They moved in for another kiss, only to be interrupted by a tiny wail from the nursery.
“I’ll get her this time” Lor said, standing up.
Malik watched him go, filled to the brim with happiness. They were a couple.
“She’s already trying to climb out of her crib whenever we turn away. I swear, she’s going to give us grey hairs before too long. Clay spends half his time trying to catch her – I never knew she could crawl so fast!”
“Maybe he’s just slow” Lor said, grinning as she laughed.
“You might be right there. Hey, when Ella’s a bit older, maybe we could all go to the park together? They might become friends.”
A year or two ago, the idea would have been unthinkable, but now was different. Any child with her as a mother would grow up well. He wouldn’t let his old experiences with Clay hold his daughter back.
“I’d like that.”
Work had run on, and he arrived home after the sun had set. Malik was out in the garden, tending the plants.
“Happy Anniversary. One year since our first kiss.”
“You’ve been counting?” Malik asked, smiling as his boyfriend took the watering can out of his hands and placed it on the floor.
“Of course. Haven’t you?”
They kissed, growing more passionate and frantic as the night wore on.
“Mal, do you want to…”
Malik looked into his eyes, making sure that he’d heard right. The heat in Lor’s gaze was all the answer he needed. He took his hand and they half ran to the observatory. Just as he was about to open the door-
“… she’s awake, isn’t she?”
The crying got louder.
Lor took Malik’s hands and kissed them, holding onto them as he lowered them back down.
“Don’t be. I understand.”
“I love you.”
They kissed once more, softer this time, and walked inside with their hands still linked. Malik started to walk back to his room, when Lor stopped him.
“My room, tonight. Stay with me.”
It had taken a bit longer than normal to get her to stop fussing, but finally she was asleep again. He took off his jacket, laid it on the chair and walked into his room.
He smiled at the sight that greeted him.
This wasn’t how he had imagined their first night together. Still, he thought as he slid under the covers and looked at his boyfriend’s sleeping face, it was perfect in its own way.