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to bed, to sleep

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“For the last time…”

Ariael curses as the machine once again makes a loud buzz before shutting itself down. It’s possible that she’ll have to do a complete disassembly and rebuild in order for it to work again, which she is not looking forward to at all. She really doesn’t have time to do that with her workload, but this machine is necessary for Shin’s maintenance and with the war that never ends…

“Ariael.”

Whipping around, Ariael nearly stabs her visitor with her pen, although it isn’t like she doesn’t recognize Jupiel’s voice. It’s more the…frustration she feels at this moment. She shouldn’t take it out on the poor woman though. With a wry smile, Ariael puts on her best shrug. “Jupey, what’s up? Couldn’t sleep?”

Jupiel isn’t here for small talk, though. Hands on her hips, she states, “I’m taking you to bed.”

Ariael blinks. “What?” It takes her a moment to connect the words that Jupiel says to the fact that it is Jupiel who just said that. Ariael knew Jupiel could be bold, but she never thought…

“It’s late and this room is a mess,” Jupiel explains. “You need proper rest. You can continue tomorrow.”

Oh, so taken to bed to merely sleep. That seems more like it. But Ariael bristles at the comment about her room. “This is how it’s always been,” she shoots back. “Why’s that matter now?”

“I removed some of the pink stuff in my room,” Jupiel says, answering a tangential thought rather than the actual question. “Lord Shin wasn’t too fond of it either.”

“Of course not.” Ariael doesn’t know how anyone who wasn’t a young child could have lived in a room that had so much pink and so much…fluff. The fact that Shin just dealt with it for so long was a testament to how harsh his job was, which they have been trying to make easier, but… Which is why she should stay here so she can fix the machine. “So?”

Jupiel glares. “So you should come to our room to sleep.” When Ariael doesn’t budge, her glare turns into puppy eyes. “Please.”

Ariael caves after a minute. She has become weak to that look over time as they have gotten closer, as Jupiel has become precious to her just like Shin. And, well, maybe a change of scenery would be better for her and this machine will magically start working again tomorrow morning. “Alright, fine.”

Ariael steps forward and lets Jupiel take her hand.

*****

Jupiel holds onto Ariael’s hand tightly, the primary reason being that she cannot let Ariael escape back to her room and tinker with machines without any rest first. But the secondary reason is that no angels will come harass Ariael with Jupiel around. And the tertiary reason is that she is fond of the woman even if the woman is aggravating, and she enjoys the warmth that comes from holding hands.

Ariael doesn’t say anything on their walk from Ariael’s laboratory to their bedroom, nor does she attempt to pull away. There are also no other angels about so their walk back is uninterrupted. Jupiel is happy about that, for a peaceful little stroll before bed will make the sleep even more restful. She had done one such walk earlier with Shin, and…

“So he’s already asleep?”

Jupiel nods. When she senses hesitation from Ariael, she squeezes Ariael’s hand. “It’s fine. Pick whatever side you’d like.”

“Are you sure?” Ariael is frowning. “I mean, it’s your bed.”

Technically true, but clearly Shin is already sleeping in it. “It’s our bed.” Jupiel states this clearly, definitively. She wants to will this into reality. “It’s our bedroom now.” It was a bit hard to put her collection away, but when she saw Shin look more comfortable sitting in it, she thinks maybe Ariael will also… But she’ll ask some other day.

Ariael looks doubtful as she shrugs. “I guess.” When Jupiel lets go of Ariael’s hand, she walks over to the right side of the bed. “Well, can’t say I’ll be a good bed partner since I haven’t done it before, but…”

While Ariael hovers at the edge of the bed, Jupiel removes the covers from the top half of the bed. She’s a little impatient, mostly because she just wants Ariael to accept this already. “Get in.”

Ariael chuckles. “Jupey, are you tucking me in?”

Jupiel doesn’t deem it worthy to respond to that, and after a moment Ariael obediently lies down on top of the mattress. Jupiel pulls the cover over her. “Good night, Ariael.”

Ariael yawns and closes her eyes. “Night, Jupey.” Within a few seconds Jupiel can see her entire body relax. Jupiel takes that as a good sign and walks over to the left side of the bed. Having three of them in the same bed isn’t too bad although she’ll have to sleep right against Shin if she doesn’t want to fall off in the middle of the night. But last night they ended up sleeping like that anyway, so it probably won’t be an issue, right? Which is how Jupiel had enough courage to ask Ariael to join them and…

When Shin unconsciously turns to face Jupiel and murmurs incoherently into her hair, Jupiel relaxes completely and too succumbs to sleep.

*****

Shin wakes up feeling extra warm. He thought he was getting used to waking up feeling warm, but this is…oh.

If it had been a few weeks ago, Shin would likely have panicked if he had woken up with two female bodies pressed up against his sides, but with everything that happened, he finds it strange but not necessarily bad. Although the feeling of Ariael against him is rather…well, he does like it a lot to be honest. Jupiel has done them a solid getting Ariael to come sleep here.

Shin wonders what time it is. They are still fighting a war, so he will have to get up and train with Jupiel, and Ariael will have to go back to her machines, but… They look so peaceful right now. He really doesn’t want to wake them.

So he wills his breathing to slow down. He feels for their hands, grabs one of each, and brings them to rest on his chest. This is the right feeling, the three of them connected as one. It wouldn’t be right if one of them is missing; it would be too painful. He doesn’t want to imagine that anymore, wills that thought away. Instead he fills his mind with gratitude, for the two people who stay by his side, literally and figuratively, and closes his eyes once more.

“Thank you,” he murmurs halfway between a wish and a lullaby. “I…”

Someday he’ll say those other words, but maybe when they are all awake. For now, it is back to sleep.