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It's Time to Sleep

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"He's up late again," Frederica murmured to herself after seeing lights in the room ahead. She quietly opened the door to the study of the highest ranking officer in the Iserlohn Republic, Yang Wenli. A stray beret lay slightly crumpled on the sofa and empty paper cups cluttered the coffee table in front of it. There was a glow coming from the desk as the study's occupant watched yet another history documentary. The man himself looked slightly disheveled like the rest of the room, a far cry from the hero of democracy he was hailed to be. In other words, things weren't that much different from usual.

 

Frederica approached Yang quietly, slipping around to the backside of his desk without him noticing. He remained fixated on what he was watching and scratched his head absentmindedly. Frederica gazed lovingly at the man that she was proud that call her husband, the man who appreciated her, trusted her, and even came to love her. She gladly reciprocated these feelings, so she couldn't help feeling a pain in her heart as she saw his anxious expression. She hated the tired eyes and worried frown he constantly had.

 

He deserves far better, she thought as she ran her fingers through his hair and placed a kiss on the top of his head. Yang looked up to see the fond smile of his wife.

 

"You should head to bed, dear. You've been busy lately and that will not change anytime soon. Please rest yourself while you can," she softly suggested.

 

Yang looked down briefly and let out a short sigh. "Yes, of course," he looked back up at her, returning a smile of his own. The documentary was promptly turned off and the scattered parts of his uniform were collected. With that finished, the couple headed to their room.

 

As they entered the cozy room, Yang noticed an open photo album that now sat next to his collection of books. When did she find the time to do this? Yang wondered, finding himself walking towards it as Frederica headed to the bathroom to get ready for bed. Taking the album into his hands, he examined it carefully. There were pictures from a picnic they had back on Heinessen, one of the few dates they had been able to have. Despite her large amount of duties, she had gathered all these photos and arranged them so nicely. Running his hands over the labels with his wife's clean handwriting, he stopped to admire their wedding photos. Just as a yawn overcame him, a hand was placed on top of his.

  

"You looked so uncomfortable dressed up like that," Frederica giggled as she took the album and stepped forward to return it back to its place, "I wanted to make something special just for us. I think it turned out pretty well. Well, Mrs. Cazellnu helped out a bit but-" Two arms surrounding her from behind interrupted her sentence.

 

"You did great," he said softly into her hair, "Thank you, Frederica."

 

Suddenly in his arms, Frederica couldn't help blushing slightly. She closed her eyes, appreciating his warmth. They didn't stay closed for long, however, since she started to feel his weight shift onto her as he began to lean forward.

 

"Yang? Dear?" she brought her hand up to rub his upper arm, "We have a bed for a reason, you know."

 

Yang snapped to attention. "Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to start falling asleep," he said sheepishly while rubbing the back of his neck. Now somewhat awake, he got ready for bed as quickly as he could. Frederica had long since beaten him to the bed and snuggled into their sheets. Yang always thought she looked so cute like that. He himself slipped into the bed, stretched out in a large yawn, and snuggled his face into one of their soft pillows. Frederica turned her head toward him as he did so, looking slightly amused. She always thought he looked so cute when he did that.

 

"Night, Frederica," he mumbled, voice slightly muffled by the pillow.

 

"Good night, dear," was her reply, as she leaned over to turn off the light. Frederica easily slipped into a light sleep, her busy day far behind her and rest just ahead. That is, until she was woken up by a light beside her. She groaned a little as she rolled over to see her husband with a flashlight in one hand and a book in the other.

 

"Oh, sorry. I just wanted to check this one thing quickly before going to bed," he gave her another one of his apologetic smiles.

 

Once he returned to his reading, Frederica sat up and frowned. She pulled the hand with the flashlight so that it pointed away from the book. "I have to get up early again, Yang. It's time to sleep," she stated firmly. It was as much for his sake as it was for hers. They were both exhausted from everything: the constant decisions to be made, the threat of death constantly looming, and, she knew in Yang's case in particular, internal struggles. She reached out her hand to stroke cheek, sighing as she saw the lines in his face that had started to form from anxiety and exhaustion. It hurt her to see the person she loved and admired above all else like this.

 

Yang brought his hand up to stroke hers with his thumb. "You're right," he conceded, sensing Frederica's concern, "It's not like I'll find some magic answer to all our problems by reading half asleep in the middle of the night."

 

"You can always talk to me if something is keeping you up at night, you know..." she said quietly.

 

"I know, I've done that and will continue to, Frederica, but right now is kind of late for that sort of discussion. Who was it told me that it was time to sleep again?"

 

While Frederica was chuckling at his reply, Yang used his fingers to brush back part of her hair and kissed her gently on the temple. She scooted over to lean her head on his shoulder in response. It was Yang's turn to softly chuckle. A moment later, with the book and light put away, the two laid down to finally go to sleep. Frederica hummed in contentment as Yang wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her close.

 

Thank you for letting me stay by your side, she whispered internally while reaching up to run her hands through his hair.

 

Cazellnu was right. She's definitely too good for me, a small pang of guilt hit him as he rubbed slow circles into her back.

 

"Frederica, where would I be without you?" he whispered.

 

"Julian would make sure you would take care of yourself, I suppose."

 

"Jeez, I was trying to be romantic."

  

"I appreciate the thought, but it's time to sleep, you know."

 

Yang sighed in mock exasperation and squeezed Frederica tighter. The couple had just shifted to get more comfortable when Admiral padded onto the bed and laid across both of their bodies. They weren't going to be able to move any time soon, not that either of them minded as they drifted off to sleep together.