Starlight’s sitting on the couch again when he comes home.
And again, it wouldn’t be all that weird, except this time she’s staring at him like he’s sprouted a third horn. But he’s only been gone for a few minutes, just enough to tote the trash down the steps and out to the public bin, and she had been sleeping so soundly on the couch when he left, so it can’t be anything life-changing, right? Right.
“What is it?”
She motions for him to come closer, and he does. Taking his hoof in hers, she tugs him down until he's sitting next to her and Starlight places them on the bulge of her stomach and lets them rest. Nothing happens. Though, if she wanted him to grope her so badly, all she had to do was ask. He starts moving his hoof downwards, but her hooves grasp his and pull them back up to her stomach once more. So much for that idea.
Then he feels it.
“Luna’s stars…!” He looks at her with wide eyes and she smiles, her hoof curling tighter around his. “That was…I mean…”
Starlight nods with a grin almost impossibly wide for her face. “He’s kicking.” He doesn’t ask about the pronoun, there would be time for that later, but just turns his attention back to her stomach and the fact that by Starswirls beard there’s a living, kicking pony in there. Suddenly, parenthood feels all the more real.
He realizes then that they’re in the halfway point now. Five more months left of just the two of them (not that they’d been doing too many “just the two of them” activities lately…) Five months left of hassle-less trips, foal sitter free budgets, five months left of sleep. A small, tiny part of him mourns for that, the rest of him can't wait for the baby to arrive.
“Ah! He did it again. Did you feel it?”
He nods, since his voice suddenly doesn’t work, despite of all the words he wants to say and yet, he knows there aren't enough words in the dictionary to express how he feels. His throat’s too tight, his hooves are shaking too much, and holy crap it’s kicking! That’s their baby in there. It’s…It’s…
“S-Strong little thing, isn’t he?” He chokes, his voice refusing to come out normally. How come Starlight is so calm!
“Mmhmm. Takes after his papa.” And isn’t that just the sweetest, most parental, lovey-dovey comment she’s ever uttered to his face. Must be a mood swing. But when she doesn’t pull a 180 on him, Sunburst allows his smile to widen, if possible. Maybe, he ponders, it’s just one of those parent things.
“Really? And here I was going to say that it makes him like his mother.” There’s another kick while Starlight is busy laughing, and he laughs along with her. He can’t help it, it’s contagious. The chuckle rises from the pit of his stomach and is a full-blown laugh by the time it reaches his mouth. Because there’s a baby under her skin. His. Hers. Theirs. A new life.
“I love you. So much.”
Her smile only brightens.
“I mean, I understand making changes because of the nature of the charm, but the whole point of charms is to focus on what object does and not on what the object is, you know?”
Sunburst ends his rant, but keeps lightly petting Starlight’s mane. By now he’s probably just warming her head, too distracted by all the problems he still can’t let go from an old book he read on magic to focus on petting her mane. He looks down at his lap where Starlight’s head rests, her legs stretched out to the other end of the couch, and guesses it probably doesn’t matter how lacking his touches are right now because Starlight’s sound asleep.
Ever since the baby started kicking, her sleeping schedule has increased exponentially. Now she takes naps after work and stays in bed with him until it was time to get ready to face the day. Not that he’s complaining by any means. But Starlight is, she says the baby is more active at night and likes to wake her up by kicking her guts when she’s about to fall asleep. He feels selfish, enjoying this part of her pregnancy that she mostly finds inconvenient. However, he lets himself enjoy it because he can’t help but think about how much she’ll miss this, how much they’ll both miss getting to sleep through the night with only Starlight’s trips to the bathroom to disturb them.
He closes the book he hadn’t been reading and puts it on the lamp table, gently placing a hoof on her shoulder. He needs to wake her up, she wont sleep well on the couch—sometimes it’s hard for her to get comfortable even on a surface that’s wider than her belly—her eyes move under their lids and she’s making noises that sound like words trying to escape the back of her throat.
He’s pushing her bangs from her face, delaying the inevitable, when her hoof suddenly waves around until it makes contact with his foreleg, and she finally mumbles out the words she’s been trying to say in her half-sleep state.
“Tell your son to go to sleep.”
He smiles and places a hoof on her stomach, tapping gently on her taught skin. “You heard that champ? Time to settle down.”
As soon as he finishes the sentence, he feels a defiant kick under his hoof.
Starlight doesn’t open her eyes, but he can see her annoyance in the knitting of her eyebrows. His smile widens.
“He’s going to be a trouble maker, I can already tell.”
He can’t tell how serious she is right now. Half of the time she gives heartfelt, spontaneous speeches while she’s completely unconscious and the other half is randomly strung together words that only resemble sentences.
“How can you be so sure?” It takes a minute for her to respond, so he starts stroking her hair and asks again.
“I’m the mom,” she moves a hoof to the top of her bump. “I’m the mom and I know he’s going to drive us absolutely crazy.”
But he doesn’t argue with that, just nudges her head to the side just enough to slip from underneath her, ignoring the tingle of his legs as he bends closer to kiss right below where her hoof rests and says “Time for bed” to both the future and current restless sleepers in his life. She wakes up just enough for him to lead her up the stairs and under the covers, where her eyes shut tight again.
A son. He wonders if Starlight is right, if his energy will follow him the rest of his life, if his kid is going to come out dancing. And for a brief moment he’s jealous—jealous that Starlight gets to experience and know things about their baby that he never will.
But then she lets out a soft grunt and rubs her hoof over her belly again and he’s thankful and grateful that she’s doing this for them instead.