Neek was supposed to be working on another report. He hadn’t sent one home in almost a month and he knew his leader was probably getting impatient with him but it was near impossible to stay focused on work these days. He could hear his wife and two children playing upstairs, their laughter filling the house so he longed to join them. He eagerly looked at the stairs when he heard their youngest running down, laughing hysterically all the way, his mother soon followed, sweeping him off his feet as she proclaimed “I got you!” She glanced over at Neek “how’s that report coming baby”
He looked down, seeing he hadn’t even finished a paragraph. She could tell by the look on his face he wasn’t getting anything done so she said “why don’t I go to teh store with the kids. I can think up something special for dinner and you could work”
“I dont want you three to leave”
“you need to send a report in, it’s your job”
“Kiss me first then?” she set their youngest down and walked over to him, laughing as she said “it’s only the store” she kissed him then he answered “I love you and our life so much though. I don’t like missing any of it”
“we’ll be back, the sooner you get that completed the sooner we can have some fun together. I’ll have my phone”
“Okay” She yelled up for her older son ” Get ready to leave Baek!”
“Yes mam!” He yelled down so she started looking for her youngest shoes. Once they were all ready the boys hugged their father then followed their mom out. He looked sadly at the door a few moments before making himself finish his report so he could be with them.
“Hey mom, do think tomorrow dad will come out with us tomorrow?” Baek asked.
“I’m sure he will honey. He’s just been busy, but I’m sure as soon as he finishes with work, he’ll go with us anywhere you want.”
Baek’s eyes brightened up. “Do you think he’d go with us to look at the eagle babies we found?”
“I bet he’d really love that.”
Neek decided to write an extra letter before sending everything thing through, asking that he be given time to spend with his family without worrying about work. He enjoyed his work and both Johana and their boys had made it even more enjoyable, but he knew he needed to spend real quality time with them. He didn’t want his children growing up thinking their father didn’t care. He knew if Johana could hear his thoughts she would tell him how unfounded his fears were, but he wanted to make sure they never doubted him.
He impatiently paced by the box, checking it repeatedly until finally, something came back. “Of course you can take a break Neek. You do good work and deserve time to simply be with your family. Just bring them back here soon, we all want to see the boys and Johana again” He felt both relieved and excited as he left his ship and rushed back to the house. First thing he did was call Johana “Hey, you finished that report right? If not get off the phone and do it, we’re fine” She said before he could even speak. “I’m done and I asked for time where I don’t have to worry about studying or reports. I’m free just to be with you and the boys for awhile”
“he didn’t specify so I’m sure he doesn’t care”
“That’s amazing, in fact, Baek wants you to come see these eagles we found”
“I’d love to see when you guys get home”
“well, we wont stay out much longer then. Could you clean up the kitchen for me?”
“Of course I can”
“Thank you Neek, we love you, so much”
“You’re welcome, please hurry back” she smiled “we will after I find these spices I need. You’re going to love dinner, at least I hope”
“I’m sure I will. I’ll let you go and get to work on the kitchen”
“Daddies going to see the eagles!?” Baek asked excitedly, causing his mother to giggle “daddies going to see the eagles” She quickly grabbed what she needed and went for the checkout, both her boys seeming happy. She truly loved this life she had with Neek and couldn’t wait to get home to him.
Neek was impatient has he cleaned, wanting his family home and he was excited when he heard their voices as they came up the driveway. He was out the front door and helping her with the groceries before they had even touched the porch. Johana giggled and he leaned down to press a kiss to her lips. “Sorry, I missed you, all of you.”
“Honey, we weren’t gone that long.” She said with a laugh as they stepped inside.
“I know, but I still miss spending real, quality time with you and the boys.”
“You’re going to love the eagles dad.” Baek said. “I spotted the nest the last time mom took us hiking and I could hear them. She wouldn’t let me climb up there though, she said it was too dangerous to go alone.”
“She has a point, but how about tomorrow, I take you up.” He turned his gaze to Johana. “Would that be alright?”
“Of course, you know I trust you.”
Iseul wandered out of the kitchen so Neek said “I’ll play with the boys while you get dinner ready” He looked at Baek “lets go see what Iseul wants to get into”
“Okay” Baek rushed out and he kissed Johana one more time before leaving her to get dinner ready. She happily put what remained of the groceries away then started their dinner, referencing her cellphone for what to do each step of the way. It ended up being an amazing evening and just when Johana told the boys it was time for bed Baek asked “could we make a fort in the living room and all sleep together?” She looked at Neek who smiled “of course we can, you and mom go grab some blankets and I’ll grab some chairs” Iseul ran after Johana and Baek, making Neek lightly chuckle at how adorable their youngest was trying to help tug in a blanket.
They worked together getting it set up so they would be comfortable for the night then Johana ran around switching lights off, happily finding her place among her men when she returned. Johana was half asleep by the time her boys were soundly sleeping so to help her get the rest of the way there Neek gently rubbed her forehead. He would have rubbed her back but Iseul fell asleep with his head on her stomach. “I love you Johana”
“I love you too” her voice was so soft, he knew she was mere moments from finding rest too so he gave her a feather light kiss goodnight. He felt sad when her breathing told him she was out. His family slept so long, even his boys. They took the sleeping habits of humans rather than his species but he went to sleep for the moment, eager for their day tomorrow.
The next morning, Neek slipped silently away from his family, finding himself admiring them for a moment. How beautiful Johana was lying next to their two children. It warmed him and he realized how truly lucky he was to have found Johana. He went quietly into the kitchen and started breakfast, humming to himself as he put on a pot of coffee and then started on the bacon, eggs, and hash browns. It was Baek who woke first and came into the kitchen yawning and rubbing his eyes. “Dad, can I help?” He asked.
“Of course, why don’t you set the table for me.”
“Okay, I’ll pour mine and Iseul’s milk too.”
“Sounds good.” He pulled plates and cups down for Baek and let him take them to the table on his own. He couldn’t help but dwell on the fact that his oldest was growing up so fast, that he was becoming more independent with each passing day. It amazed and frightened him.
When everything was ready he walked back to the fort in the living room. He felt a little guilty now that he realized he hadn’t waited long enough to cook for her to get enough rest but at this point she would have had five hours and he hoped just for today that would be enough. “Johana” he spoke her name with deep affection as he gently rubbed her arm “mm?” He smiled, kissing her ear then whispering into it “breakfast is ready, I know you’re tired, I’m sorry. I was just so excited to spend the day with you guys. If you want to nap later I’ll watch our boys” She smiled and he felt relief she wasn’t mad. Johana didn’t feel ready to get up but he was being so sweet she forced herself, rubbing her eyes and hoping there was coffee so she wouldn’t end up making him feel bad with her exhaustion.
She knew in general he struggled with the fact there was a four hour difference in the amount of sleep they needed and she found that incredibly sweet. So many partners can’t wait for alone time but Neek wasn’t like that at all. He helped her out of the fort and walked ahead of her to the kitchen to pull her chair out. “I’ll grab you some coffee my love”
“Morning mama” Baek said cheerfully and she smiled “starting to sleep more like your dad?”
“I think I was just excited too for our day with dad”
“He helped set the table and poured the milk. Go wake your brother now alright Baek?”
“Okay dad” Baek ran out of the kitchen and Neek took his place by Johana. She sipped down a few gulps of coffee then began eating “so, eagles first today?” she asked him and he nodded. Soon Iseul was in the kitchen and sitting at his spot. He ate slowly, obviously not ready to get up but he was only three, Johana knew he’d find energy soon. Worst case scenario he could nap with her later. It would give Baek time alone with his dad.
Once they were finished eating, Johana got Iseul in the bath, while Neek and Baek did the dishes. Baek was next to bathe and they had him watch his baby brother while they got clean. Neek couldn’t help but pull her into him and kiss her lips. She giggled. “Neek, be good.”
“I’m sorry, I just can’t help myself.”
She gave him another kiss. “You’re so sweet, but we can spend some time alone together later. I don’t want to leave the boys alone for too long. Baek is a wonderful older brother, but you know how toddlers can be.”
“I know, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
They quickly cleaned and got out, both of them pulling on clothes for hiking. Johana was glad to find the boys both still watching TV when they came down. “You two ready?” She asked as she switched of the TV.
“yeah” they cheered almost in unison. Once they were outside Neek lifted their youngest onto his shoulders where the little boy giggled happily. Baek took his mothers hand, keeping it until he got excited about the journey and began running all around. They had taken this path many times but it never seemed any less amazing to their children. It seemed they had inherited the curious nature of their fathers people and Johana wondered if they’d want to do what their dad did when they grew up. If that was the case she was glad they moved out here when Freg invited them to build a home. Living out here in the mountains their curious minds could truly be nurtured every day since there was always something new to discover.
It took them an hour just to get to the path but they were in no hurry. Both Neek and Johana knew when they agreed to this it would take at least most of the day. Neek stopped to admire even the branches the eagles had chosen to build the nest on. This mother had obviously taken great care in her nest and what supported it and he prayed it wouldn’t be hostile to them when he took his sons up “Okay, lets let Baek go first since this was his thing, alright Iseul? Can you go to your mom?”
“I brought candy” she said cheerfully and her toddler eagerly went to her. Neek smiled, almost laughing as he lifted Baek “be good Iseul” he told his young son before taking his other son up. Johana fed him candy as she tried to keep her son as silent as possible so he wouldn’t upset the mother. When Neek returned with Baek she adored how happy her son looked “Okay Iseul, I’ll take you now” Iseul went right to his father and Baek sat with Johana “how was it?”
“great, I’m so happy dad came”
“do you think he’d take us to space too”
“tomorrow perhaps” He made an adorable excited noise which caused her to laugh and embrace her son “want some candy little man?”
“yes please” Things seemed to go well with Iseul up there but Neek didn’t let him stay quite as long as he had let Baek stay. It was mostly out of concerns the younger child might hurt the babies or the mom on accident since he was still too young to really be trusted with animals. Neek looked at his cellphone “I’m surprised you guys haven’t complained about being hungry” He pulled out a little box and his sons knew what it was instantly. He gave each of them and Johana a ball about the size of gum drop candies and they popped it in their mouths, feeling full instantly. It was something from his home world that he liked to keep on hand. It was delicious and made eating easy when they were out like this.
“Where to now?” He asked as he lifted Iseul back onto his shoulders.
“The river.” Baek answered. “Uncle Freg said there are crawdads and I want to see them. He says they taste really good so maybe we could come back sometime with a net and bucket and you could get some for me dad.”
“All you want buddy, I’ll catch enough to feed all of us.”
“Oh and dad, can we go to space tomorrow? I really want to see the stars and planets and I bet the moon looks even cooler up close.”
Neek chuckled. “Whatever you want.”
“Is there anything you want love?” He asked Johana as they continued walking.
“Just to spend time with my sweet husband and two beautiful children.”
“You must want something?”
Johana thought about it. “A date night.”
“Of course, I’ll plan something extra special for you.”
She smiled, her heart warming as they walked along with their children. Johana spent most of her time when they arrived at the river taking pictures of the boys playing with their dad. They all looked so happy and she couldn’t wait to make a scrap book of it for them to keep forever. Scrapbooking hadn’t interested her in the slightest before kids but now she loved it and had a book shelf dedicated to them. It wasn’t incredibly full yet but she knew by the time they were grown she might even need another. That night just the boys slept in their fort. Neek wanted to just be with his wife for a little bit and the boys didn’t seem disappointed at all but they were normally happy children. They had the same easy nature their father had.
“could we soak again? I’m sore from hiking all day”
“If you’re sore, you just take the tub and I’ll pour you some wine. While you relax I can check the ship. If I’m taking you three away from the planet I want to inspect it closely” She kissed his cheek “are you sure? I can help you after we both soak”
“No, you know its better with just one person if you’re doing it because you hurt. You’re always taking care of the boys, you definitely pull more weight than I do when it comes to them so please, soak, enjoy some wine and let me tend to the ship on my own quickly”
“Okay, just make sure Iseul doesn’t sneek out after you. Anything could get him in the dark”
“Not while I’m out there. I promise I will make sure neither of the boys leave the house” Johana ran herself a bath while Neek went to the kitchen to pour her a glass of wine. When he brought it to her she was already covered in water and bubbles “thank you Neek”
“Thank you for being such an amazing wife and for giving me those boys in there”
“I’m incredibly happy” He sat there with her a few moments before going to his boys to see if Baek was still awake “Hey”
“hey dad, didn’t you and mom go to bed?”
“Not quite yet, I need to go check the ship if I’m taking you three up. You boys need to stay inside.”
“I’ll make sure Iseul doesnt try to follow you”
“You’re a good big brother Baek” Neek was as quick as he could possibly be while still making sure he checked absolutely everything. He even double checked the child safety mechanisms he had added to the ship since Iseul was still so young. Once comforted that his family would be safe he returned to Johana, happy to find her reading, still soaking in their bathtub.
He let out a contented sigh once he was sitting behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her against him. “What are you reading?” He asked and brushed a kiss to her shoulder.
“It’s one of the books you had on the ship.” She showed him the cover.
“I am always so amazed by how quickly you picked up my native language. You’re incredible, you know that?”
“You’re pretty amazing yourself.”
“Not as amazing as you.” He kissed her cheek this time, causing her to giggle.
“Are we going to have a war over who’s more amazing?”
“You’ll lose, my love. I have so many wonderful ways to describe you, so many amazing memories that show just how amazing you truly are.” He ran his nose over her ear, causing goosebumps to rise on her skin. “You’re so perfect.”
“I swear you get sweeter and sweeter every day.”
“I just feel so blessed to have this family and I want to make sure you always know that”
“well you do show us. I promise I never feel like we’re not what’s most important to you. I practically have to make you do your work unless its the fun stuff like us going somewhere new”
“well once I do start working again I want you to pick somewhere I haven’t explored yet. That way we have something fun to segway me back into work”
“You didn’t tell me when that is by the way”
“I didn’t ask for a set amount of time and Jeans son didn’t tell me when I had to return to work. I doubt they care how long I take off. I mean, while my people crave knowledge most wouldn’t leave our planet and take all the risks I take living here. I’m sure you’ve noticed, myself and the ones like me who go to collect knowledge are highly respected. I could probably take a year or two off and they wouldn’t bat an eye”
“I still want to tell everyone about aliens once you’re done studying earth so lets not take that long off. Freg and my relatives shouldn’t have to hide who and what they are. Neither should you and our boys. They don’t care now but I worry they might feel bad about how they look later or just the fact they aren’t allowed to look like themselves unless we’re home. I want my children to be free to look like themselves if they want to”
“You shouldn’t worry baby”
“they always look human though, even when we’re home…I don’t know..I just love them so much and I want them to love themselves. It took a lot of convincing to get you to love yourself”
“I’m pretty sure they just like looking like their mother. They’re mommas boys through and through.” He kissed her head then said “I’m thinking at max a few months of us just being happy together. I’ve discovered so much here, so many things even you didn’t know about your planet and others dont seem to know. We’ll have a lot more to reveal than just my kind existing. They live among wolves and demons and somehow don’t know. They are all clever creatures”
When the water started to cool, they quickly washed and got out, Neek drying both of them, a smile pulling at his lips when she blushed. It was still one of his favorite things. “So, where are you going to take me on our date?” She asked as she pulled on a pair of panties and one of his t-shirts.
“I’m not sure yet, but I wouldn’t tell you anyway, I want it to be a surprise.”
He chuckled as he lifted her, making her cling tightly to him in surprise. “I’m sorry my love, but you deserve something extraordinary.” He climbed under the covers with her and shifted his shape.
His heart stuttered as she snuggled closer to him and pressed a kiss to his chest. “I already have extraordinary.” She let out a contented little sigh. “Even after all this time, I still can’t get enough of how warm you are. I really love you so whatever you plan, I’ll be happy, even if it’s Taco Bell and movies.”
When Neek woke four hours later he carefully lifted his wife and began carrying her out to the ship. It was like a second home so she could rest there along with the boys while he got them into space. He had a specific destination in mind and in the time it took them to finish resting he could get them within an hour or two of it. Once he had her settled inside he went back in, grabbing clothes for each of them in case they decided to stay gone a long time. Getting everything he thought they would need and their boys on the ship took longer than he expected it but he still had a good amount of time to cut out of the traveling they would have to experience. The first one up was Baek again “huh, you really are starting to sleep more like me aren’t you?”
“I guess, I seem to need to sleep less and less”
“I wonder if Iseul will lose the need to sleep so long as well”
“Maybe, can I help drive dad?”
“do you want to shift to do it? Your mother can manage driving but it’s truly meant for bigger creatures. You’ll have an easier time if you look like yourself” Neek was asking to see if his mothers concerns were valid at all but just as Neek thought Baek shifted and came over without a worry in the world. He guessed what he thought was probably accurate, they just wanted to be the same size as their mother.
“Remember what I said about debris and make sure you tell me if you see something strange on the monitor.”
He patted his son’s head. “You’re a natural you know that? Maybe someday you’ll be able to pilot your own ship.”
“I don’t see why not.”
“I hope so, then I could see everything.”
“I’m going to go check on your mother and brother.”
“Alright dad, I got this, so don’t worry.”
Neek left Baek to pilot, knowing he could trust his oldest to act responsibly. He peeked in on Iseul first, happy to see he was still sleeping peacefully. Next he went to Johana, his entire being instantly warming at the sight of her. He crossed over to her and sat down on the edge of the moment, just wanting to admire her. It was overwhelming sometimes how beautiful she was and he found himself pressing a gentle kiss to her lips, being careful not to wake her. He pulled the covers back up over her since she had kicked them off then went back to Baek.
“where are we going dad?”
“a galaxy I think is particularly beautiful and there are a few things there you and your brother will love seeing. You just need to tell me if you see a dragon when we get there. I don’t see how I’d miss it but we need to be watchful once we get there, both of us”
“a dragon in space dad?”
“it’s dangerous then?”
“incredibly, this type of dragon is known to be very hostile but I know how to deal with them so don’t worry. I just need to know as quickly as possible”
“You always keep us safe out here. I’m not worried. How big is it?”
“you know how huge my ship is?”
“If its a girl it could easily fit ten of my ship in it and if it’s a boy…lets just hope it isnt. If you feel comfortable with the ship on auto I can fetch a book that has pictures of them”
“I can do it dad” Neek smiled proudly at his son before running to fetch one of his books. Johana understood the importance of him knowing where certain books were so even though she was frequently going through his shelves he easily found it, right where it was supposed to be. Neek brought the book to his son and flipped to the chapter on teh dragon he was talking about. “woah, its so pretty. How can it be so pretty and so mean”
“we don’t know, I’m sure something must have happened to them far back to make them that way though. As you see from these notes over here” Neek pointed to the notes as he continued “we think travelers just scare them because as long as you don’t try to hurt it and slowly move the ship away they don’t tend to harm anyone but thats why I’d need to know right away because I wouldn’t want us to accidentally run into it or give it any other cause to believe we want to hurt it”
“are there very many”
“No but that also feeds the theory something happened to them before my species was around because we’ve learned they always have two to four babies at a time. As high on the predatorial chain as they are it makes it odd we don’t see more with that kind of birth rate”
“That’s so sad dad”
“I wish more species were peaceful”
“yeah…I mean, we almost didn’t have momma because of wars right? Freg was the last of his kind before he came to earth”
“yeah” it actually made his heart sink a little to even think of a world without his wife and sons. No Johana would mean no Baek and Iseul as well.
“Do you think Uncle Freg will ever get married again?”
“I don’t know.”
“I hope he does. Mom says he’s too nice to be so sad.”
“I didn’t realize he was sad.”
Baek nodded. “He’s happy, but I think he feels lonely sometimes. Mom thinks so too.”
“Well, maybe someday he will, but he was very much in love.” Neek knew if it had been Johana, he would never be able to move on. She was so precious to him that losing her would be the death of him. He commended Freg for living even after his wife’s passing, it took true strength to keep going.
“could you study your own blood or the blood of the other immortal things on earth or something like that to see if you could make mortals immortal? What if I love a human…I wouldn’t want them to die either”
“Thats a good idea. Upon studying the wolves and demons I’ve found they have their own ways of making humans they fall in love with like them so why couldn’t we do it” Neek couldn’t wait to tell his leader about the idea his son had. It was an exciting idea and he was bursting with pride that it had come from his son. When Johana woke up she almost laughed when she saw she was already on the ship that adorable man she thought to herself as she got up. She checked the boys room and upon only seeing her three year old she guessed Baek was up with his father so she went to the front of their ship. “morning boys”
“Morning mom, can we have french toast?”
“sure, if we have stuff for that on here”
“we should” Neek answered so she left to start cooking.
Iseul woke while Johana was cooking so Neek went and got him and took him back to the bridge so he could see the stars. Johana brought their breakfast and drinks out, not minding she had to make a few trips. She loved how engrossed her children were in space, how much like Neek they truly were. Baek was already so curious about everything and Iseul tended to follow everything his older brother did. She couldn’t bring herself to tear them away from what they were doing. “You should have asked me for help love.” Neek said.
“I can manage, besides, you all looked so cute, I couldn’t make you put Iseul down.”
He smiled as he pressed a kiss to her lips. “You really are perfect.”
“Oh hush.” She said, her cheeks tinting pink. They all sat together and ate as the ship moved through space on auto. Johana loved that they could have days like this just surrounded by beautiful twinkling stars.
Neek decided to tell Johana first of their sons idea and she smiled brightly “that would really be amazing”
“Yeah, I imagine we can, it’s all in figuring out how. I mean, I never thought of it so I’m sure we only don’t have a way because nobody had the idea until our son”They talked about different personalities and how they would ever get someone to let them test whatever Neek came up with. Johana felt her siblings significant others might be willing so that they could live forever with their spouses. They had happy relationships, at least as far as she knew so that should be something they’d want. Their journey through space to get where Neek was taking them stayed peacful and soon his entire family was gasping. He had never even brought Johana here so she had a chance to be amazed yet again by space as well.
“Neek…wow” she said almost breathless. This place almost looked like a gorgeous, abstract painting “dad says there are dragons here though so we need to be watchful”
“Oh, really, those huge hostile ones?”
“but we’ll really be okay as long as we don’t startle it right?”
“Yes, I’ll keep us safe, don’t worry”
“I know” Just like their sons, she had absolute faith in Neek. He was probably the safest being in the world to be out in space with since he and his people were so vastly intelligent when it came to everything out here. “can we stay here awhile?”
“I brought extra clothes on board just incase you guys would want to”
Neek took over control of the ship while Baek kept Iseul entertained and Johana sat the dishes in the sink. It had taken her awhile to get used to the fact that the ship did most things automatically. She came back and stood next to Neek, watching as they approached the planet. He slowed and pressed a button, enabling the cloaking device that hid him from most living beings. He kept glancing at the radar and altered their course when a dot appeared on it. “A dragon?” Johana asked.
“Yeah, I want to avoid it if I can. We’ll stay on the other side so we won’t risk running into it.”
“Have you ever tried talking to one of them?”
He shook his head. “They tend to be too hostile, I don’t think one would respond if I did.”
“It might be worth a shot one of these days when we don’t have the kids.”
“Maybe someday, but for now I’ll keep away from it. I don’t want to have to hurt it to escape and I definitely don’t want to put any of you at risk.”
With Neek keeping a watchful eye the rest of their journey through space proved peaceful. Neek was eager for some one on one time with his wife so the first thing they did when they got back to earth was ask Freg and the rest of the family in his home to watch over the boys for the day. They were happy to so Neek and Johana finally got their date. He made the day as sweet and romantic as possible. He wanted her to always know how happy she made him. He needed her to always know that there wasn’t anything he could discover that he would ever consider more precious or beautiful than the amazing woman he found on his very first assignment.
~ The End