After Riley was born, a part of Matt was constantly on alert, especially when he was asleep. The smallest noise or slightest movement was enough to wake him. It meant that although he and Keith were trying to alternate who woke up for Riley, the both of them still got the same amount of sleep. He knew Keith still woke up when it was Matt’s turn, and he did the same when it was Keith’s.
He shouldn’t have been surprised when he was woken at three o’clock in the morning then, but this time was different. It was quiet. Riley was still fast asleep in her bassinet. Matt listened out for more noise, but there wasn’t any. He closed his eyes, already falling back asleep.
Matt jolted awake, positive he had heard Keith talking to someone. He flicked on his bed side lamp, dim enough not to disturb Riley and checked on his mate. He was still asleep.
“Lance, stop it.”
Matt smiled and couldn’t help the giggle that escaped his lips. Keith was sleep talking again. He hadn’t done it since Riley was born, probably slipping into too deep a sleep every time he closed his eyes. Matt had nearly forgotten that it ever happened.
Keith was frowning in his sleep, his hands twitching where they lay near his head. Matt lay down again, facing Keith this time.
“What’s Lance doing, starlight?” Matt whispered. He couldn’t help conversing with Sleep-Keith. He had the craziest dreams sometimes, and Matt didn’t mind losing some sleep to talk to him.
“The clouds, Matt. The clouds. Tell him they aren’t green.” Keith said, reaching out to Matt. That was pretty standard too.
“Lance, the clouds aren’t green,” Matt whispered. Keith’s frown only deepened. He shook his head, and pressed closer to Matt.
“What did he say, sweetheart?”
“The ponies want them to be green so they’re green,” Keith mumbled.
“But what about what you want?”
“I want a rainbow. Oh no, a Riley.”
“A Riley cloud?”
Keith didn’t answer, just nuzzled into him. Matt pressed a kiss to his forehead and fell back asleep.
“You had another dream last night,” Matt said as he came out of the shower. Keith frowned when he looked up from where Riley was nursing. Keith didn’t even know he was a sleep talker until a few months ago, so Matt suddenly talking to him about the dreams he didn’t even know he had was a bit of a shock.
“Did I?” he asked, adjusting Riley so he could get a bit more comfortable. Matt came to sit next to him in the nest, dropping his towel in the wash basket. Keith didn’t remember having any dreams, but then again, he rarely did.
“Yeah,” Matt smiled and pressed a kiss to his cheek, “You don’t remember?” He leaned over Keith’s shoulder, watching Riley nurse. She was sleepy, despite having just woken up, but that made Keith’s job easier. Matt’s breath tickled his neck, just over his mating bite. He snorted and tried to wiggle away without jostling Riley.
“You know I don’t remember; I never do! What was it about?”
Matt sighed and flopped onto his back. “Well, Lance was in it.” Matt laughed when Keith rolled his eyes.
“That sounds more like a nightmare.”
“Hush, you. Anyway, Lance was in it, and he wanted the clouds to be green, I think? You asked me to tell him that they couldn’t be green, but he said that the ponies wanted them to be. And then you said you wanted a rainbow cloud, and something about Riley.”
Like a flash from a past life, parts of the dream came back to him. Lance was there with Kalternecker, and he insisted on calling the poor cow a pony. Matt was sitting in the clouds, trying to colour them rainbow because Keith asked.
Riley was on a low-lying cloud, about waist level. She looked a bit older than she was now, sitting up by herself. Her dark hair was in pigtails, but they were a complete disaster. She was clapping her hands and calling out to him.
Keith couldn’t wait until that day came but dreaded it at the same time. She was only a few weeks old, and already she was growing up too fast.
“So, does that ring any bells?” Matt asked, eyes shining with curiosity. His pine sent was happy and excited. Keith smiled.
“Actually,” He paused, and Matt leaned in closer. “I think I might, wait nope. Nothing, sorry.”
“Keith,” Matt whined, dramatically draping his arm over his eyes. “You’re so mean to me, why would you get my hopes up?”
Keith laughed again. Riley released his nipple, full and milk drunk. He gathered her up, so she was lying on his shoulder instead. “I didn’t get your hopes up, I was just thinking out loud.”
Matt squinted at him, before reaching forwards to take Riley. “Sure, you were. I’ll burp her, you can go have a shower.”
“Oh, thank god. Even though I showered yesterday, I feel gross.” Keith dove into their disaster of a closet to try and find something that didn’t have baby spit up on it. Not that it really mattered, since it was guaranteed that Riley would puke on him by the end of the day. Still, he wanted to feel nice and clean, even if it was only for a few minutes.
Keith paused at the doorway into their bathroom, watching Matt and Riley. His heart fluttered every time he saw them together, they were just too cute. Matt had been nervous with her at first, but he really grew into his role as a dad. Keith couldn’t be prouder of him.
Keith sighed and turned back to the bathroom. It was nice to know that Riley would always have someone to love and protect her, whether that be her parents or her multitude of aunts, uncles and grandparents. His daughter would be spoiled rotten, and he could wish for it to be any other way.