Hush - Oneshot
He’d never known he’d miss sleep so much until Ted came along. The infant brought diapers and bottles and four-am wake-up calls. Hours of restless walking, begging and pleading.
The terror of making a mistake, something that plagued him since the beginning, never disappeared, but it faded to white noise in the back of his mind when he leaned over the crib to lift his son into his arms.
Fears aside, there was something soothing to the process, to the warm weight against his shoulder and the nonsense being spoken in his ears, to small hands on his face and shockingly loud laughter whenever he bumped into something while carrying the little boy around.
He had to wonder, sometimes, who this was really for.
If the rocking and talking, the nights spent curled up on the couch playing the role of nightlight didn’t do as much for him as it did for the child.
If being responsible for something so delicate wasn’t the only thing keeping him alive.
Tony thought about this whenever he he let his cheek rest on the edge of the crib in the middle of the night, hand resting against the little boy’s back as he slept, the reactor casting a blue glow in the darkness of the room.
The fear would come back then, edging up from the corners of his mind to cloud everything, and it usually forced him to his feet after a few minutes. He’d move carefully, pulling himself away as quietly as possible, fleeing the room to curl up on the sofa downstairs and pretend he’d been watching television.
This gave him sanctuary for an hour, but then Ted would find himself alone and Tony would be called back.
Yes, he missed the sleep, and the nights where he could easily lock himself away without a thought. When it took three days for anyone to notice he was gone. But some things were more important, and those days seemed distant, now.