Her breathing was calm, face the color like her mother's. Tiny hands curled instinctively to her chest as she gazed up at her with deep emerald eyes, dark lashes barely ghosting her soft cheeks as she blinked. The newborn was still trying to get a grasp on the new world that surrounded her.
Shayera could hear voices coming from outside, the other founding members were still waiting for the time when they would be able to see the baby. J'onn, after the delivery, had gone to tell them that she and John were now the proud parents of a beautiful little girl. The Martian though had told the visitors to allow the couple a bit of rest before bombarding them with questions and fighting to get to hold the new little bundle. Also he had to tend to the Green Lantern's newly broken hand.
Shayera clearly heard Wally crack a joke that was followed by the sound of Diana reprimanding him for what had been said. Clark laughed nervously at the joke his friend had made while Bruce responded with a statement dripping with sarcasm. Her tired eyes returned to the precious bundle she cradled in her arms. The newborn had now begun to bunch one tiny hand into a fist and swing it in a somewhat slow punching motion. She chuckled quietly as she gently patted the fist with her hand.
"Maybe you will get lucky and I'll be able to figure this all out somehow," The baby's eyes briefly met hers again, tiny fingers curling around one of hers. The comparison in size nearly made Shayera tear up from how fragile this tiny being truly was. "At least you have your father; he'll know what he's doing more than me. I guarantee, he's the best one you could ask for. He's been so excited for your arrival. I do have a small complaint about you though. You caused me quite a few issues."
It was true. Shayera had been warned that, since it was her first pregnancy, it was sure to be no walk in the park. The Thanagarian had particular trouble with morning sickness for the first five months. The symptom turned out not to be limited to only the early hours of day either. Quite a few times the poor, expectant mother had woken up in the middle of the night sick and falling asleep the next night feeling the same way.
But even after that and the excruciating pain of childbirth, she didn't regret a thing. The love had been written plainly across her face as she gazed into her daughter's eyes for the very first time, the color so much like her own.
"I was awaiting your arrival too," Her voice was quiet as she watched the baby amusedly as she attempted to stick Shayera's finger in her mouth curiously. "Though I'm kinda scared of you to tell the truth, I can't help but be excited at the same time."
Her daughter snuggled deeper in her arms. The lights in the medbay seemed brighter than usual. Perhaps it was just Shayera's new perspective on life. It seemed like everything had become brighter in the past fifteen minutes.
"You want to know something funny?" Shayera didn't expect a response so, when the baby girl looked up at her curiously as she then yawned, she continued on, "I'm supposedly one of the most powerful people on this planet. I have defeated countless numbers of super-powered freaks, been faced with a number of intergalactic invasions on this planet, and jumped onto the battle field during war without hesitation on my home world but the prospect of being a mother makes me terrified and worried to no end."
She had expressed some of her worries with John, who had in turn, rolled his eyes at her silly fears of accidentally dropping their child because she wasn't holding her correctly, or hugging her too hard and accidentally breaking her. He had reassured her that she would be a perfect mother.
But that didn't quell her fears.
"We'll figure this all out together," Shayera murmured as she yawned. The Thanagarian took a moment to tenderly stroke the back of her finger against the soft cheek of her daughter. She looked so much like her and that terrified her even more.
Inside the doorway to the room John stood watching her, leaning his back on the door-frame. She didn't know he was watching her and he liked it that way. Hearing Shayera like this was much more comforting to John than hearing her agonized screams from just little over twenty minutes prior. He simply stood there, just watching as mother and daughter shared a moment, both taking the other in. It was an unforgettable sight.
"You're a natural," Shayera's eyes widened a bit as she ceased her stroking and turned to face her husband. She wore a content smile that warmed his heart. It didn't matter that her amber hair was in a sweaty tangle or her face was lined with fatigue after childbirth, she was still beautiful to him.
John returned her smile, walking over to the side of the bed and gently sat on the edge of the mattress, careful not to jostle his surely sore wife, "You should be asleep."
"I wanted to bond with her first before I conked out," John could see there were faint circles under her eyes as she fought to stay awake. "It's still so strange."
"That she's ours and we defied destiny by not having Rex?"
"No," Shayera shook her head as she yawned. "I can believe that. It's just so strange that she's finally here. I was the one that had to carry her for eleven months. I sometimes thought I would stay pregnant forever honestly. It just seemed to drag on. Though giving birth isn't exactly on my top favorite things to do."
The Green Lantern's gaze turned sympathetic as his wife's emerald eyes looked up to meet his glowing ones, "I'm sorry. If I could have taken all that pain away from you, I would have. Even if it meant having to go through it all myself."
"I know you would have," Shayera gave him a soft smile. "Besides, I put you through enough pain and trouble today. How's your hand?"
"It'll heal. Thankfully you didn't break the hand I normally wear my power ring on. It would have been a pain if I had to use my other hand."
"It's ok Shayera. Like I said before it'll heal." He had been an extremely good sport, putting up with Shayera's screams, curses, and abuse without a word of complaint. As if reading her mind, John said, "Babe, this isn't the first time you cursed me out."
"But I said horrible things," She protested.
"You were cursing and speaking in Thanagarian most of the time so I didn't understand a word you said anyway," He casually stated with a shrug.
"Well I'm still sorry," She murmured. "I should have controlled myself better. You can't even hold your own daughter because I had to break your hand like an idiot."
"Shay, it's ok. I know you didn't mean it," John said. "You were in pain and pain does weird things to people."
"But," She began to protest but fell silent after she saw the look on his face. "Alright fine, I'll let it go for now."
"Do you want to invite everyone in now?"
The new mother nodded, her smile growing, "I almost forgot that everyone hasn't met her yet. Sure let's get it over with so that I can finally sleep."
Pulling himself from the room, John made his way to where the other founders were waiting for him. The four had now become quiet, having heard the electronic hiss of the door open down the hall.
Clark immediately stood from his place beside Diana and Bruce on the couch, "How is she?"
"She's awake for now. She wanted me to come get everyone before she falls asleep," John said to the group as Wally quickly stood. The young speedster looked particularly worried.
Diana and Bruce stood now as well. Bruce, though face emotionless, voiced what everyone else was thinking, "Let's just meet this kid already."
The visitors all let themselves into the room, each hesitating slightly but becoming curious as their gazes met the sight of Shayera cradling her newborn daughter proudly.
Wally, though not normally much of a worrier, was the first to walk over to her side. Uncharacteristically affectionate, he placed a brief kiss on the crown of her head.
"Are you okay Shayera?" He asked as he nervously fidgeted. "I mean...you know...the pain's gone right?"
Shayera laughed softly at his hesitant words, knowing full well that childbirth wasn't one of his favorite things to discuss, "I'm fine Wally, really I am."
Clark looked down at the bundle she cradled, "So this is her?"
Bruce snorted from his spot behind him as he muttered, "I don't see any other newborns in the room."
"She's beautiful Shayera," Diana commented as she nudged Bruce.
"Yeah real cute," He stated deadpan as the Amazon sighed.
John rolled his eyes, "That's probably the best reaction we'll be able to get out of him."
Wally cocked his head to the side in curiosity, reaching a tentative hand out to softly poke the child's hand. "She's so squishy." Out of pure protective instinct Shayera quickly swatted away his hand and the new parents glared at him. "What?"
John looked very unamused, "That's the first thing you're going to say about your niece, that she's squishy?"
"Hey she needs to know that, from this moment on, her Uncle Wally always speaks his mind."
John quietly spoke to his daughter, "First rule then, ignore your Uncle Wally. It'll make your life a whole lot easier."
Bruce raised his eyebrows, "I'm sure she would have picked up that knowledge sooner or later."
Diana, wanting to avoid having to listen to a battle of wit, cut in quickly, "Have you decided on a name yet?"
Shayera's lips upturned into a soft smile, a gleam in her eyes appearing, "Yeah I did."
"You did?" Clark asked as he looked surprised.
Shayera looked slightly offended by this. "I can easily handle naming my daughter. Besides John already had a name picked out if it was a boy," Shayera stated as John and Bruce glanced at each other. "So naturally I got to decide if it was a girl. And don't worry, I wasn't even remotely planning on naming her anything Thanagarian."
Wally looked at John, "So what's her name?"
He shrugged, "She wouldn't even tell me."
Shayera's face turned up to meet the gaze of her husband, a smile evident on her features, "That's because I used my twisted logic to decide. I read through those books you gave me Wally that had all of the names. I went for the meanings of the names and one of the meanings of her name was universal."
"So how did you decide to name her something that meant universal?" Clark asked.
"Because the first thing I thought of was the universe and how it took two beings from opposite ends of the universe to come together to create her. Once again this is my twisted logic that thought of this connection," She stated with a shrug. "It also means whole or complete and I'm sure that's obvious."
"That she completes your life and makes you feel whole inside?" Diana asked.
"Yeah that pretty much sums it up," Shayera said.
"That's not twisted in the least," John said to her. "Your reasoning makes sense and it's sweet Shay."
"Are you going to tell us her name?" Bruce asked.
"Emma," Shayera stated softly. "Her name's Emma Rachel Stewart."
"How did you come up with Rachel as her middle name?" Wally asked.
Shayera looked over at Bruce and the two smirked. She turned back to Wally, "She's a friend that helped me out."
After awhile Shayera gently, and somewhat reluctantly, passed the bundle into Wally's arms. The baby squirmed a bit to find a more comfortable position as she was exchanged between the two.
"So," Wally casually began as he held his niece awkwardly in his arms, "Are we taking bets on who Emma is going to take after yet or is it to soon to bring that up? Cause my bet is totally on Shayera."
"Wally!" Shayera exclaimed exasperatedly, though not surprised that he would bring up something so ridiculous at that moment in time.
"My bet's also on Shayera," Diana stated. "There's no way that kid could look so much like her and not end up getting her attitude or fighting spirit."
Clark shook his head, "No my bet's on John. She is too calm to take after Shayera. Most children would be screaming their heads off right now."
Shayera shook her head as the people in the room continued to call out their bets while Emma was passed around the room, everyone showering the newborn with more attention than any child could ever ask for.
"You still worried about being a mother?" John asked her.
Shayera chuckled softly as she watched Clark awkwardly craddle their child and quickly passing her off to Diana, "Of course I am."
She laid her head on his shoulder, her eyelids beginning to droop as John wrapped an arm around her, "Well, just keep in mind it could be worse. Every time you worry about what kind of a mother you'll be, just remember what Wally and Clark looked like while holding our daughter."
Shayera had to laugh at that, a calm washing over her at that moment.
Maybe he was right.
As Diana passed the child off to a resistant Bruce, Shayera realized that maybe this new chapter in her life wouldn't be as difficult as she thought it would be.