John watched his son eat in fascinated wonder. Rex had only lately progressed to using utensils and took such extreme care to not spill even one morsel that it even set John a bit on edge.
Once again he waited, breath held, as Rex manipulated the colorful, plastic utensils with chubby fingers. Only when the shaking spoon reached its intended destination did a sigh of relief escape him.
The sound roused Shayera from her total absorption in their daughter as she played with Emma in the adjoining living room.
Her smile as she regarded him was dazzling, alive with affection and delight, "Nerve wracking isn't it?"
"Yeah it is," He smirked. "It's exhausting just to watch. He's very precise and meticulous. He must have acquired those traits from you."
He saw her roll her eyes just the slightest, "Thanks, I think."
"They're good qualities to have sometimes," John refuted.
Shayera lightly laughed as she planted a kiss on her daughter's cheek, who was more interested in her toys than her mother, before getting up and walking over to John and Rex.
"Ni'rih!" Rex shrieked in joyous abandon. He beamed up at Shayera.
"Right Ni'rih," She repeated and the boy whacked his spoon against the edge of his bowl.
Unable to restrain his son in time, John could only sit and watch as the bowl tipped, straight into his lap.
Shayera avoided his eyes as she passed him a pile of napkins, hastily suppressing a sound suspiciously like a chuckle, "I guess that means he's had enough."
Amused, John mopped at the sticky mess that now stained his once immaculate pants. "It appears so. I still can't believe you taught him Thanagarian."
"Well I told you I'd get one of them to say something in Thanagarian as their first words. You should have known better than to have challenged me. Besides, Emma doesn't want anything to do with it and Rex only knows two words. It hardly qualifies as being taught Thanagarian. Those two words are all he's going to know unless he wants to learn more when he's older," She stated, pausing slightly as she slowly continued. "Now are you sure you can handle both of them without me here? I mean I'm sure they can find someone else to go on the mission besides me. Or we can switch, I stay and you go."
"Shay, I got it covered. Don't get yourself worried," John said. "It's more like if you're going to be able to handle not being around them. This is the first deep space mission you're doing in over four years."
Shayera smiled, "I should be able to handle it. At least I hope they'll be able to handle it better than I will. They've never been separated from me before," She lifted an awaiting Rex into her arms and placed a kiss on the top of his head. She reached out and grabbed John's hand and he gave it a gentle squeeze, "I have to go."
"Be careful Shayera," John said to her and pulled her into a soft yet quick kiss.
"Don't worry I will be," She passed Rex off to him and spoke to her son, "Mene sakk'het ur'sevah Rex," John loved when Shayera spoke in Thanagarian. He honestly couldn't imagine how she screamed out commands as a lieutenant. Her tone was much softer and delicate than when she spoke English, which still held the same faint accent as when he first met her.
"What does that translate to?" John asked.
"Roughly I'll miss you and be good."
"M'aih Ni'rih," Rex said happily, not understanding that his mother was about to leave.
Shayera softly and somewhat sadly smiled at him, "That's right m'aih Ni'rih." She turned her attention back to John. "I'm going to go see whether or not Emma is too engrossed in her toys to say goodbye. Why don't you try to put Rex down for his n-a-p and then Emma for hers. They both haven't taken any today. They're going to be cranky and out of control later if they don't take one soon."
John smirked, "I have it covered Shayera. Don't worry."
Shayera quietly moved next to and knelt besides her daughter. She took notice that her daughter wasn't playing anymore and that she heard a soft sniffle come from her.
"Mommy has to go bye-bye?" She asked desolately. Though she did not cry, Emma hugged her mother's waist.
Shayera wrapped her arms around her. "I promise I'll be back as soon as I can honey." Shayera kissed her forehead. "Be good for Daddy ok?"
She pulled away, placing a finger to her commlink. The three watched as the Thanagarian was teleported away.
"Ni'rih," Crestfallen, Rex pouted as he looked up at John. It was the first word Shayera had taught him to say, the Thanagarian equivalent of 'mommy'. The second being m'aih meaning 'love'. "Ni'rih gone. Rex want Ni'rih."
John had little defense against the soft plea, yet he was unable to console the boy the exact way Shayera would have done. With a calming breath, he said to the toddler, "Mommy will be home before you know it."
John then felt a tug at his pant leg. He looked down at Emma. The little girl was also pouting, "Me wants Mommy."
His dark eyes took in the boy and girl who both looked up at him pleadingly to go get their mother now.
The workload of the Green Lantern Corps and the Justice League kept him away from home more than he liked. In the meantime Emma and Rex had become dependent largely on their mother, not that they didn't love him but they were more attached to Shayera. They had mainly known Shayera's devoted love and protection. They took their child fears to her and expected kisses or hugs from her whenever they fell or bumped themselves. Nonetheless, John recognized that Shayera's abundant time with her children was unfortunately coming to a close. It was only a few days ago when Shayera, surprisingly being somewhat reluctant, agreed to go back on active duty with the Justice League. Shayera had been toting the kids with her to her monitor duty shifts for roughly two and a half years now; they had become practically glued to her.
The two half-Thanagarians were going to have to learn how to cope without their parents being there 100% of the time. As much as they didn't like this notion, both John and Shayera knew this would eventually happen as they refused to retire from the superhero business. If they wanted to continue their lifestyle then there were things they were going to have to sacrifice as parents, namely quality time with their children.
"Ni'rih," The tugging at his shirt brought John back from his thoughts and he looked down into the round, emerald eyes of Rex. "Ni'rih come back."
Emma, it seemed, was growing impatient. She looked at him with anticipation, "Me and Rexy wants Mommy back!" That was Emma's nickname for Rex, only she could call him "Rexy". If Shayera or John tried to call him that, they would get an ear full from their precocious daughter.
John sighed lightly, "Princess, I promise Mommy will be back soon."
"Me wants Mommy now!" She demanded with a stamp of her foot.
"Wants Mommy!" Rex repeated.
Though not in complete unison the two began chanting, "Wants Mommy."
John sighed. There was no winning with these two; they were stubborn, their mother's children. He placed a finger to his commlink, "Shayera you didn't leave yet did you? Good cause I think we might need to switch places."