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Mes Cœurs

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Ariadne got up for the fifth time, bleary eyed and exhausted, padding over to the nursery. She was at her wit's end at this point, and didn't know how to comfort her daughter. Gabrielle had been an easy birth the month before, but couldn't seem to settle. She ate well, and gained weight the way the pediatrician said she should be. She was alert, and drawn to the sound of Arthur's voice as well as Ariadne's face. She fit the curve of Ariadne's chest so nicely, and that baby smell of old wives' tales did make Ariadne smile.

But Gabrielle didn't sleep well. She had a hard time settling down for more than an hour or two at a time, and Ariadne felt like a zombie. It was a wonder how anything got done around their apartment at all, but she supposed the all nighters she had pulled as a student or working on levels in dream share had prepared her somewhat.

Arthur woke this time, maybe because Ariadne had made a frustrated groan that was closer to a wail when Gabrielle began to cry again. She was just so tired, and she felt so empty as a result of that. As much as Ariadne loved Gabrielle and holding her, that wasn't enough to soothe her to sleep. She was near tears, and Ariadne was tough. She could understand why some women had post partum depression now, because this was hard and she felt so alone, even though Arthur was trying to help as much as possible.

He followed her to the nursery, concern etched on his features, and Ariadne was thankful and resentful all at once. She wasn't alone in this moment, but he'd slept through four other crying episodes. Ariadne could feel her exhaustion in her bones, and her eyelids felt as though they were weighted down with stones. Arthur's smile had her hackles up. How could he be so cheerful and lighthearted when all she wanted to do was curl in a ball and sleep for a hundred years?

She picked up Gabrielle tenderly in spite of her exhaustion and offered a breast. Nope, not hungry this time, either. The diaper was dry again, so it wasn't a wet or soiled diaper. Gabrielle flailed and wailed, making Ariadne's head pound from the noise. She wailed harder when Arthur tried to take her from Ariadne, so he soon gave up. Arthur tried rubbing Gabrielle's back in a soothing manner, making little crooning noises. That didn't stop the cries, though it might have been a little bit softer. He tried singing a lullaby, but Gabrielle didn't respond to it and kicked her little legs.

Arthur kept one hand on Gabrielle's back and leaned in to touch his head to Ariadne's. "I'm sorry," he murmured mournfully. "I wish I could help. Je t'aime," he murmured.

That made Gabrielle hiccup and not flail as badly, so Ariadne turned her tired eyes to him. "French is calming?"

"Worth a shot," he said with a tender smile. He tried singing in French, going in a slower tempo to make the song he sang a lullaby.

Gabrielle hiccupped and her cries slowed. Ariadne closed her eyes and leaned into Arthur, swaying a little. He propped her up, knowing how exhausted she was, and continued to sing to them. Gabrielle soon stopped crying entirely, and stuck her fingers in her mouth, her head on Ariadne's shoulder. Arthur kept singing until Gabrielle fell asleep, and gently guided Ariadne back to their room. "Never wake a sleeping baby," he added in the middle of the song, making Ariadne smile. He helped prop up pillows so that she could lie down mostly upright, Gabrielle cradled against her chest. "I'll stay up and watch over you both. You rest," Arthur sang, stroking Ariadne's cheek. "I'll protect my girls."

"I love you," Ariadne murmured, sinking into the pile of pillows gratefully.

She fell asleep to Arthur singing "Je t'aime mes cœurs."

The End