Asami woke to warm lips on her neck and a gentle hand caressing her side. She sighed, lashes fluttering, but kept her eyes closed. She wanted to savor this: relaxing in bed, with her mate’s arm draped around her waist, lying amidst tangled sheets that smelled like them both.
“Good morning,” Korra murmured, brushing Asami’s hair aside to place a kiss under her ear. Asami opened her eyes then, because doing so meant she got to see Korra’s face—one of her three favorite views in the morning, as well as any other time of day.
“Good morning to you, too.”
Korra beamed. She leaned forward, and Asami tipped her chin for a kiss, moaning as their lips met. It was sweet, how gentle Korra was with her in the mornings, as though the alpha almost believed she would wake alone, and was pleased to find she hadn’t. Asami could relate. She’d spent her share of mornings alone, wishing things were different.
Reluctantly, she drew back before the kiss could become too heated. Things were quiet, suspiciously so. Getting deeply involved with one another was asking for trouble. Korra whimpered and tried to chase her lips, but Asami caressed her face to keep her at bay. “Have you checked on the pups?”
“Not yet, but I haven’t heard a peep.”
That only made Asami more suspicious, but she didn’t see any sign that Hiroshi was awake in his crib, and didn’t hear any sounds that implied Yasuko had snuck out of her room. Naga snoozed at the foot of the master bed, snoring softly. From the slant of the morning sun shining through the window, it was time for everyone to wake up, but maybe they’d been granted a rare reprieve?
Undeterred, Korra leaned in again. As they kissed, Asami let her morning grogginess transition into a different kind of haze. Warmth gathered in her lower belly. She slung a leg over Korra’s hip, shifting forward until their breasts brushed.
“Love you,” Korra mumbled, tugging softly at Asami’s bottom lip.
“Love you too.”
Korra’s tongue tried to push deeper, and Asami allowed it, not caring about the taste of morning in her mouth. Her mate’s hands, which had roamed lower to squeeze her rear and hitch her pelvis closer, were far too distracting. Korra's slow descent from her lips was even more distracting. Asami soon found herself flat on her back, although she didn’t release the hook of her knee from Korra’s waist. She dug her heel into the small of Korra’s back as a warm mouth suckled her neck, lingering on her mating mark before skimming along her collarbone.
“You’ll have to be quick,” Asami whispered, running her fingers through Korra’s messy hair. “They won’t stay asleep long.”
Korra switched to the other side of her neck, trailing kisses there before moving down her chest.
Asami spread her thighs, gasping as Korra’s muscular stomach pressed between her legs. It was the perfect surface to grind against, warm and firm, and she was already wet…
Korra released Asami’s nipple, burying her face in the pillow of her breasts and moaning with disappointment. “Tell me I didn’t just hear that.”
A soft whuff from the foot of the bed confirmed it. Naga lifted her head and gazed at Yasuko’s door with baleful black eyes, her tail thumping gently on the floor.
“You did." Asami rolled out from beneath Korra’s comforting weight, pulling the sheets under her arms. “Get ready. Here she comes.”
Korra’s face brightened. Her annoyance was instantly forgotten, and her smile shone brighter than the sun as she scrambled out of bed and threw on some underwear from a pile of discarded clothes. Naga wagged harder, climbing to her feet and trailing after Korra, pushing aside the rest of the clothes with her big, fuzzy paws.
Normally, Asami disapproved of that kind of mess. The only clutter she tolerated was office or garage-related—the kind of clutter she was more likely to be responsible for. But with Korra, she found that she didn’t mind. She fell a little more in love as Korra tiptoed to Yasuko’s door on quiet feet.
Korra waited, then yanked the door open, lunging forward to grab their eldest pup around the middle and tickle her tummy.
Despite Yasuko’s protests, Asami recognized the joyful giggling as encouragement. Korra scooped their daughter up, twirling her around while avoiding the kicks of her chubby legs.
“Yasu! How’s my little Otter Penguin?” She tossed Yasu into the air, then caught her safely, cradling the little girl against her chest. “Ready for breakfast?”
“Good. ‘Cuz I’m hungry.” Korra gave Yasuko a toothy grin that made Asami’s heart melt. “Know what I wanna eat?”
Korra pressed kisses all over Yasuko’s face, making om nom nom sounds and causing their pup to devolve into delighted squeals. Naga’s ears perked. She trotted in a circle around them, sneaking in a few affectionate licks on the side of Korra’s arm. Korra laughed and held Yasuko up for the polar bear dog to sniff, which Naga did, tickling Yasuko’s face with her whiskers and giving it a thorough tongue bath.
As adorable as the sight was, Asami was tempted to put a stop to it. They were being quite loud, and if they weren’t careful…
A cry from Hiroshi’s crib confirmed her worries. With the speed of a concerned mother, Asami abandoned the warmth of her bed and hurried to comfort her youngest. “That was a little much,” she said, arching an eyebrow in Korra’s direction as she cradled Hiroshi.
“Sorry,” Korra mumbled with a sheepish grin. She set Yasuko on the floor, holding the pup’s hand in one of her own and scratching Naga’s head with the other. “Hey, Yasu? How about we get dressed and start making your Mama breakfast? She has a big day today.”
Yasuko’s green eyes widened. “Big day?”
“Uh-huh. Mama is going back to work at Future Industries. But don’t worry. I’ll spend all day with you and your brother and Naga, and she’ll be home tonight for dinner.”
Asami couldn’t help but be grateful for Korra’s excited tone. Phrased a different way, the news might have been very upsetting to Yasuko, who had always been rather attached and disliked being parted from her. Getting her used to staying with Pema before Korra’s return had been a trial in itself, although the omega’s experience and warmth had eventually won the fussy pup over.
This time, Korra’s enthusiasm worked. “All day?” Yasuko said, bouncing on her tiny toes.
Korra nodded. “All day. Just the four of us. Then, after dinner, the five of us can have Mama’s favorite dessert. Except Naga.” She gave the polar bear dog a sidelong look. “She’s getting a little fat under all that fur.”
Naga snorted at the sound of her name, still wagging happily.
“Dumpins? Yes!” Yasuko scrambled back to her room to get dressed, while Korra trailed after her, blowing Asami a saucy kiss goodbye on the way. Naga trotted along as well, her blunt claws clicking on the floor.
Asami smiled and sat on the bed, nuzzling Hiroshi’s thin, sweet-smelling brown hair. Although he didn’t have Korra’s dark skin tone, he had her stunning blue eyes, and his dimpled smile melted Asami’s heart just the same.
Unfortunately, his smile didn’t last long. Hiroshi began hiccuping, and his round, squishy face turned bright red. He wailed, flailing his fists. Asami brought him to her breast. Although she no longer needed to feed him as frequently as she had a few months earlier, he was still a very hungry, demanding baby.
She leaned back against the pillows and closed her eyes, stroking Hiroshi’s head. Nursing her youngest was soothing, and she’d never actually gotten out of bed, so the temptation to drift off was strong. Her breaths deepened, and the remnants of Korra’s scent amidst the sheets put her even further at ease…
So much at ease that she almost wasn’t nervous about returning to work. Almost.
Although she’d visited Future Industries several times since Hiroshi’s birth, usually with both pups in tow to show them off to her more family-oriented business associates, she had yet to stay for an entire day. She’d kept up with the most urgent paperwork and phone calls, of course, but it had been a long time since she’d spent more than a few hours in her work office.
Part of her was looking forward to it. As much as she adored being a mother, she also loved her job and her company, and she was eager to dive back into work. On the other hand, the thought of leaving Hiroshi for more than an hour or two was quietly excruciating.
“You’ll be okay without me for a while, right?” she murmured, clutching her son a little tighter. At times like this, she really missed her father. Their relationship had been complicated, especially at the end, but he might have had some reassuring words for her…
“We’ll miss you like crazy, but we'll be fine.”
Asami opened her eyes to see that Korra had returned. The painful ball in her chest loosened, and she sighed quietly. Hiroshi unlatched at the sound, gazing up at her with alert, curious eyes. Asami passed him into Korra’s outstretched arms so she could stand up.
“It’s hard,” she murmured, letting her forehead fall on Korra’s shoulder.
“I know,” Korra said. She leaned in close, allowing Asami to hug both her and the baby. “But you’ll be amazing. You always are, Asami.”
Asami kissed the crook of Korra’s neck. “Thank you.”
“What for? I’m just telling you the truth.”
At that moment, Yasuko scampered back into the room, clutching three jumpers in her hands. “Mama! Which one?”
A laugh bubbled in Asami’s chest. She had to admit, seeing her daughter so excited to spend the day with Korra eased some of her worries. “Hmm. How about the blue one? The one with the otter penguin on it.”
Yasuko made a face. “Nooo!” She threw the blue jumper on the ground, along with a green one, and held up a red one with a Fire Ferrets logo on it instead. “This.”
“If you already knew which one you wanted, why are you asking my opinion?”
“Because I gotta match.”
Asami discovered what the pup meant when Naga came back into the room, looking rather put out. Yasuko had pulled two large, Fire Ferret themed socks — some of Korra’s, Spirits knew how Yasuko gotten them — over her ears. The polar bear dog whimpered, her tail drooping between her legs.
“Aw, Naga,” Korra chuckled. “You don’t wanna play dress up?”
Naga growled and shook her head, sending both socks flying off into the distance.
Asami laughed. Her worries dissolved, and she savored the moment, taking joy in her family. As long as she had them, everything else would work out.
“I’ll take care of the kiddos,” Korra said, holding Hiroshi upright against her chest. He peered over her shoulder at Naga, who had returned to the foot of the bed to sulk, and gave a gurgling smile. “You should grab a shower and get ready for work.”
The thought of a hot, steamy shower, and a few precious moments to herself, sounded like perfection. Asami planted a grateful kiss on Korra’s lips, then moved on to Yasuko, who bounced excitedly on her toes. “Come here, my love,” she said, crouching down to draw the pup into a tight hug.
Yasuko crashed into her arms, and Asami held her close, inhaling her daughter’s scent. Yasuko squirmed, obviously too excited for a long hug, but Asami struggled to let go. As wonderful as the shower would undoubtedly be, her instincts as a mother demanded she linger.
“Mama,” Yasuko whined, “too tight!”
“I’m sorry.” Asami let her go, kissing her mop of sleek black hair. “Go help Mom with breakfast. I’m going to shower.”
“Why? Did you get dirty?”
Korra snickered, and Asami shot her a look. “Unfortunately, no.” With a playful tousle of Yasuko’s hair, she headed into the bathroom, stretching along the way. She sighed in relief as her spine and shoulders popped. All in all, it was shaping up to be a perfect start to her first official day back at work.