How Green Becomes Wood

"Exactly." Dark said, and after Xander brought Alec inside, he sat down in one of the chairs, took a deep breath, and listened to the evening insects until he felt ready to go inside. He hadn't lied when he said he wasn't saddened by how different he felt, but the conversation was something he felt regrets over. He hadn't planned it, it just sort of... happened. But he hoped it didn't hurt.
Xander got Alec into bed first and then himself. They got up a little later than usual the next morning, and neither said a thing about what had happened the night before. For Alec, he didn't want Daizi to feel left out. For Xander, he was still trying to understand what he and Dark had talked about. He still didn't understand exactly what Dark had told him, and that was frustrating him because he felt that it was probably obvious. That perhaps he was overthinking. For both of them, it had been a special moment and neither regretted a single second of lost sleep.
In the morning, Dark seemed exactly like he always did. Unlike Alec, he had told Daizi about last night. When he finally crawled back in bed with her, he had accidentally woken her, so he explained where he had been. She didn't mind: yes, she would love to have been able to see the stars, but she couldn't, so sitting out there would only have made her feel worse. And she was glad he had taken some time to bond with his sons independently.

He was sitting in his chair with Ivy in his lap, having a 'serious' conversation with her and looking directly into her eyes, while Daizi was washing the dishes. "I was wondering when you two would come down. We have breakfast in the microwave to keep it warm."
"I think it would be really pleasant to go nowhere and speak to nobody," Dark replied and then looked at Ivy, "Would you prefer that, too, my dear?" When she cooed, swatting at his face, he smiled, "She is in agreement."

"He needs time to recharge. And it's not a problem, you two are growing, you need a lot of sleep. Just like her," she nodded towards her baby, "But she has decided she will not be sleeping anymore."

"It is because she is growing that she is not sleeping," Dark said, putting Ivy back into a seated position after she began to slump over.
"What does that mean?" Alec asked. "Why would she stop sleeping because she's growing?" He went to the microwave to get his breakfast as Xander was already at the table eating his.
"Basically, until recently, she hasn't been making her own melatonin, but now she's started to, so she's been going through sleep cycles more similar to ours, but it's normal to wake up when switching from one sleep cycle to another as she adjusts into it. But that little waking period sometimes makes it more difficult to get her back down to sleep," Dark explained, occasionally interrupting himself to ask Ivy for her input, which he took extremely seriously.

Daizi chuckled and leaned in towards Xander, "He's never related to her more."

"Do you recall when you would tease us for not wanting to put her down to sleep? Lying her down is actually part of what makes it difficult for her to soothe herself. I read it described as... Imagine you go to sleep on a cozy pillow, but when you wake up in the middle of the night, it has completely vanished. You probably would not go back to sleep until you found it, either." Dark explained, allowing his daughter to grab at his face.
"Then maybe let her fall asleep in the crib so the pillow doesn't vanish?" Alec suggested thoughtfully as he made his way to the table. "Or put in a shirt that smells like one of you! That... would only work for so long. Then you'd have to find something else, huh?"
"You're probably right," Daizi said, resting her chin in her hand and listening to the way Ivy 'talked' to Dark, "but she falls asleep right after nursing most of the time, and I'm already holding her, and she likes being rocked to sleep. But I guess we could, theoretically, lie her down just before she falls asleep..."

"But sleep regression is extremely normal," Dark waved off, using Ivy's hand, which made her giggle, "It should not even last too long. She just needs to adjust."
Alec took a breath to start offering more suggestions when Xander reached over and tapped him gently on the head with his spoon. "Dude. Let the parents parent. They'll figure it out. They get enough advice just walking down the street. Usually from complete strangers."

Alec blushed and nodded. "Sorry."
"But I appreciate you want to try to make our lives easier," Daizi said, getting up and smoothing Alec's hair, "I'm going to go check on the rats. I'm concerned about Adrienne."

"We have done pretty well so far. Everyone who has met her, even those who do not wish to give us credit, has admitted Ivy is a very happy baby." Dark said, rather proud of that achievement.
"She must get it entirely from her mother," Xander mumbled around a mouthful.

Alec gave him a light smack. "And cute, too. Happy and cute. You can't go wrong with happy and cute!"
Alec glanced at Xander. "Do personalities work like that?"

"How should I know? You've got a higher grade than me in science," Xander said, finishing off his breakfast.

"Only because you doodled in the margins and the teacher didn't like your subject matter," Alec pointed out.

Xander shrugged. "I prefer to think of it as him not being a connoisseur of the arts."
"You were the one who suggested they could be inherit--" He frowned, removing Ivy's fingers from his nostril, "Ivy, my daughter, do not. Now I have to wash your hands--you are the one who suggested they could be inherited. What did you do to your science teacher?" Standing, he walked Ivy to the sink and carefully washed her hands for her, although she tried to fight it.
"Nothing," Xander said just a hair too quickly. "Just homework."

"Not the homework I got assigned, judging by your answers," Alec mumbled, eyes on his plate.

"So, are you going to be doing anything today?" Xander asked Dark, hoping to move the conversation along. "I might head out if you don't need me."
"I believe my plan for the day is..." He took a pause, to seem like he was thinking, then he shut off the faucet, and drying Ivy's hands, looked squarely at Xander, "Trying to figure out what you did to your science teacher."
Xander held up his hands. "I didn't do anything to him! I'm not even physically at the school, remember?" he protested. "All I did was make a few doodles, and he took it like a personal attack on his person."

Alec rolled his eyes and took his dishes to the sink.
"Should I ask what sort of doodles they were? Or am I better off left uninformed? Your teacher is my coworker, you understand." He asked, the word 'doodle' sounding strange in his accent.
"It was of a man with a chicken head," Xander huffed. "Whoop-de-doo. Loads of others have done way worse."

"It was actually a pretty good chicken head," Alec told Dark.