She moved through the aisles of painting equipment, her eyes scanning for the right shades of blue. She wanted to choose a new color for the living room walls. A new color, a fresh coat of paint would hopefully freshen up the space.
When she got to the cashier, paint cans in both hands, she tried her best to ignore the building across the street. She had specifically chosen the aisle where she could turn her back to it. Out of sight, out of mind, she hoped. The parking situation had been of similar circumstance. It was the venue where Lincoln and Octavia had gotten married. But she couldn't blame it all on chance.
If Clarke were to be honest with herself, it was because of Lexa's ridiculous anniversary gift that she had decided to come to this paint store, and not the one on the other side of town, the one that was closer to their house. But now, standing meters away from the place, she elected to wholly ignore it, and she blinked away the recollections in favor of clenching her jaw and fiddling with the bills in her wallet.
Quinn noticed her discomfort, the set of her jaw, the tension in her shoulders as she accompanied her mother on her quest to find paint. She didn't ask until they had opened the car doors and sat down. "Mom?"
"Hmm?" Clarke acknowledged distractedly as she busied herself with the dials on the radio. She tucked a stray hair behind her ear, fiddling with the gold wedding band with twitching fingers.
"Why are you acting so weird?" Quinn looked at her with a quizzical expression. Clarke checked the side-mirrors, avoiding her gaze.
"No I'm not." She lied. She hadn't moved to turn on the ignition, and Quinn, being her mother's daughter, was not one to notice something odd and not take note of it, especially if her mother had been jumpy and exhibiting strange behavior for the entirety that they'd been in the paint store.
"Then why haven't we left yet?" Clarke sighed, and Quinn prodded further. "Mom, does it have something to do with that building you're refusing to look at?"
"I'm not refusing to look at-" Clarke caught herself, before she finished with: "What building?" Quinn rolled her eyes.
"Come on, I'm not blind." Quinn snorted. "The building across the street, is it another place that you and Mom went to?"
The older woman groaned lowly, wishing in the rarer of times that her daughter wasn't so sharp. "Yes sweetie." She finally said. She glanced at the building through the rear-view mirror. "That was where your aunt Octavia and your uncle Lincoln got married." Clarke smiled wryly before she added, "that was also where you became a possibility."
"Excuse me, coming through." Lexa squeezed through the crowd of people around the bar, two drinks in her hands. Under the dimmed lights, a gaggle of people were dancing closer to the band, playing some cheesy 90s song to the delight of the crowd below.
Lexa found her way back to Clarke, who was sitting at one of the tables off to the side, massaging her feet, high heels abandoned for the rest of the evening. "What took you so long?" Her eyes lit up as the brunette passed her requested drink to her side.
"I had to separate Raven and that guy she brought." Lexa explained as took the seat next to her wife. Her hands now unoccupied, Lexa worked on the straps of her heels, uncomfortable and tired. "She – literally – had her tongue shoved down his throat." She shuddered even as the words left her mouth, but when she was met with silence instead of the atypical laugh from her wife – which she had hoped for with vigor, especially since she had worked in a Parks and Recreation reference – she turned her head to Clarke, who was looking off somewhere in the crowd of dancing people.
"I can't believe they finally got married." Clarke grinned, her eyes fixed dreamily on the couple dancing wildly in the center of the ballroom. Lexa's head swiveled to where Clarke was looking, and she was met with the sight of Lincoln and Octavia, the newly-weds, dancing wildly in the center of the crowd.
"I fear for the safety of the people within a five foot radius to them." Lexa commented dryly as Lincoln dropped low to attempt a handstand, his legs floundering, and Clarke batted her shoulder in admonishment.
"Come on Lex," Clarke settled against her wife's shoulder. "You have to admit that it's endearing." She cooed, and Lexa resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Instead, she chose to mime gagging, and Clarke giggled reluctantly before she elbowed her wife again, and Lexa grinned, pleased to have squeezed out a laugh from her wife tonight.
"Okay, sure." She agreed, exaggerating the way she drew out the words, smirking. Clarke chuckled once more, and reached out and took Lexa's hand, pulling it into her lap as she rested her chin on her shoulder.
They enjoyed the lull in conversation as the dancing group continued to tear up the floor, and at some point Anya joined them, pulling up a chair. "All the booze is gone." She said in lieu of a greeting.
"Wow, drank the bartender dry already?" Lexa asked mockingly. "It's only been," She glanced at the fancy watch she wore for the occasion, "two hours since the banquet started." She smirked defiantly, and Anya flipped her off casually, tying her hair up into a bun.
"Coming from the woman who was strong-armed into getting that expensive couch the other week? Can you say 'whipped'?" Anya mimed holding a whip, lashing it in the air, a triumphant gleam in her eye. Lexa opened her mouth to retaliate when Clarke interrupted them.
"Lexa," The blonde stood suddenly, surprising the brunette as she pulled her to her feet. She gripped Lexa's arm tightly, and the brunette was about to complain about Clarke's nails biting into her skin when she exclaimed: "It's my favorite song!"
"What?" Lexa strained to listen. It was a slow song, and the other remaining individuals began pairing up, but before she could even comprehend what was going on, Clarke had dragged her onto the dance floor. Lexa glanced back at the table, a silent request for help ignored as Anya simply mimed lashing a whip again in her general direction.
Her arms automatically went around Clarke's waist, the blonde looping her own arms at her neck, pulling her close. Despite her aversion to dancing, Lexa had to admit that the feeling of her wife's body flush against her certainly made the conundrum more bearable. Feeling more at ease with the situation, Lexa dropped a chaste kiss on her forehead.
Clarke sighed in contentment, swaying them side to side. They stayed in that position for several minutes, relishing in the close proximity, in the tenderness of the moment, until Clarke finally broke the silence. "Lex?" The brunette hummed in acknowledgement, and Clarke met her attentive gaze. "I want to start trying again."
"Trying what?" Lexa asked in confusion, and Clarke rolled her eyes.
"Trying to have a baby." Clarke clarified, sounding out each syllable slowly so that she would not have to repeat herself again.
That statement had Lexa stunned for a few heartbeats, blinking in surprise at the blonde. "Lex?" Clarke repeated. "Say something." Her eyes searched the depths of green that had were lost in thought. Clarke shook her by the shoulders, and Lexa snapped into attention.
"Are you sure?" Lexa asked nervously. They had avoided the topic of children for months, not after what had happened earlier in the year. She wanted to be sure, to allow the words to sweep over her, and to truly understand what her wife meant. She didn't want to get her hopes up again, only for them to come crashing down in a compilation of heartache and a broken wife.
"Yes." Clarke's voice was filled with conviction, a determined look on her face. "I know it's only been ten months, but I think I'm ready." Lexa swallowed thickly.
"Are you sure?" Lexa repeated slowly, and Clarke nodded with a glint in her eye that the brunette knew was not caused by the cheesy lighting in the room.
"I'm sure." Lexa could no longer contain the excitement and joy at hearing that confirmation, a smile forming rapidly over her face and reaching her eyes. Without warning, she swept Clarke up into her arms and swung them around in a circle.
"Lex!" Clarke yelped, her arms tightly wound around her neck, her legs hooked around her waist as she spun around and around until finally she stopped. Clarke released her hold on Lexa's waist, standing on her own two feet to meet the delighted gaze of her wife.
"We're going to have a baby!" Lexa crowed in excitement, her eyes shining brightly. Clarke nodded eagerly, allowing herself to be swept up into her wife's exhilarated state. She brought both hands up to cup Lexa's cheeks, holding her in place as she planted a wet, passionate kiss on her lips.
When Clarke finally disconnected their lips, regretful but needing the oxygen nonetheless, she beamed at her enthused wife. "We're going to have a baby." Clarke repeated her wife's words in an unwavering voice, and Lexa caught the meaning laced within the fabric of it.
"We are." Lexa agreed firmly, and she pulled her wife close, holding her tight and shielding her from the world as they swayed gently in time with the music.
There was a lull in conversation as Clarke finished the story, and Quinn reached over to hold her mother's hand. "I miss Mom." She sighed.
"Me too." Clarke agreed easily. Quinn examined her mother's face, and then opened the car door, beckoning for the older woman to follow suit.
"Come on." Quinn gestured impatiently with her hand, and so her mother followed her daughter up the stairs to the doors of the ballroom.
The inside of the building had not changed at all, Clarke mused as her daughter led her inside. There was a security guard posted at the front desk of the reception area, and Quinn strode over confidently. Clarke walked after her in a slower pace, just catching the end of the conversation.
"…go and see the ballroom?" Quinn asked.
"Go ahead." The guard nodded kindly to her daughter, and then Quinn was dragging her by the wrist down the hallway and through the enormous oak doors. The ballroom was just the same as it was nineteen years ago.
If Clarke closed her eyes she could hear the music that had been playing, the feel of Lexa's sweet kiss on her forehead as she stood in the middle of the dance floor. She cracked a grin as she recalled the eager smile on her wife's face, the indomitable glint in her green eyes when Clarke announced that she wanted to have a baby.
"We had no idea what we were in for." Clarke chuckled to herself.
It was the middle of the night – or very early in the morning – when Lexa felt a hand push at her shoulder insistently. Her groan was muffled by the pillow, and with bleary eyes, she chanced a look over at the clock on the nightstand. Either she was having a nightmare, or the clock hands were truly pointing out the time to her. Another shove in the middle of her shoulder blades had her burying her face deeper into her pillow. Nightmare, this must be a nightmare. "Lex?" Definitely a nightmare.
Clarke nudged her wife again, her breath tickling the small hairs on Lexa's neck as she shuffled closer to the woman who lay flat on her stomach. "Lexa, are you awake?"
The woman in question mumbled incoherently, her face still hidden in the pillow. Silently, she prayed for a semblance of patience before she finally answered her wife. "What is it?" She asked, her voice low and hoarse from slumber.
"Could you check if I locked the door? I don't remember if I did when I came home after work." The request made Lexa want to swear in all the languages she knew, but the insistent tugging on her shoulder and the swell of her wife's belly at the small of her back had her sitting up slowly.
"Honey, I was the last one home last night." Lexa mumbled sleepily. "I'm pretty sure it's locked."
"Can you double-check? Please?" The note of anxiety in her pregnant wife's voice was what made her finally open her eyes. With a heavy exhale, she swung her legs over the side of the bed, blinking the sleep away from her eyes.
"Okay." Lexa sat there for a few heartbeats, trying not to fall asleep on the spot. She looked over her shoulder to check on Clarke. The woman was resting comfortably on her side, one hand propping her head up as she waited for her wife to do as she'd asked with a grateful smile.
"Thanks, you're awesome." Lexa blinked once more, sighed once more. This was why she was awake at ungodly hours for the past few weeks. She returned the smile between clenched teeth, and then her legs were taking her out of the bedroom and down the hallway.
It had been a tiring six months for both of them; Clarke because she was carrying another human being in her body, and Lexa because her wife had somehow become more and more forgetful as she pregnancy continued. It was as if carrying another living thing inside of her scrambled her brain. Just the other day, Lexa had found the house keys in the freezer. The day before that, she had gone to the laundry room to discover in horror, that a red pair of socks had mingled its way into the whites.
The worst week however, remained as the first night that she'd woken Lexa at three in the morning. She had a trial at eight am, her suit pressed and hanging in preparation. Clarke had been craving pineapple, and so Lexa had found herself running down to the store across the street. She had almost cut off her own finger while she had been preparing it for her wife, and literally thirty minutes after her head had hit the pillow, her alarm had sounded, loud and obnoxious. It had taken five cups of coffee to get her through the day.
She wouldn't have it any other way. She repeated the sentence under her breath as she had fulfilled each and every request that her wife had doled out to her. Anya had chuckled herself silly the other day when she saw her sister, dark bags under her eyes and a slump in her shoulders.
Lexa's fingers contacted the metal of the door knob, checking the deadbolt and the lock. They were both, as she had remembered herself, secured heartbeats after she had closed the door when she'd returned from work. "I love Clarke, I do." She said in a low, grunting growl as she retraced her steps back to the warmth of their bed.
She returned to the bedroom to find Clarke snoring loudly, her mouth open, her body spread-eagled across the majority of the mattress. Lexa closed her eyes, shaking her head in despair. She simply did not have the heart to push her wife out of her way, and neither did she want to deal with an irritable Clarke the next morning – in a few hours. As quietly as she had on her way back, Lexa snuck out to the living room and settled into the sofa, trying not to compare the lumpy surface with the heavenly mattress a few walls down.
When Lexa woke, it was to the smell of bacon and eggs in the frying pan. She opened her eyes, stretching her arms above her head. "Coffee's ready." Clarke's voice was chirpy and energetic. Clearly she had had a restful slumber, which was more than Lexa could say for herself.
She got to her feet, folding the comforter she had used last night and dropping it onto the sofa before she looked over at her wife. Clarke was standing at the stove, wearing nothing but Lexa's white blouse. "Morning." Lexa shuffled tiredly to the other side of the island, her arms encircling the blonde's waist. Her hands gently cradled the bump of her wife's belly, a lazy grin on her face. Clarke pressed her hand against Lexa's.
"She was moving around this morning." Clarke informed her wife with a proud smile. Lexa rested her chin on Clarke's shoulder, leaning against her.
"I don't feel anything now." Lexa said, a twinge of disappointment in her voice. Her hands fell to the blonde's hipbones instead. Clarke chuckled breathily, and removed the pan from the stove before she turned to face her exhausted wife.
"Be a little more patient." She chided her light-heartedly as she returned Lexa's hands to their previous position. "Just wait." She felt the baby moving around in there, and she watched her wife's face.
"Oh my god." Lexa breathed. She felt it, felt the kick. She knelt down, her face an amalgamation of affection and wonder. She was looking at their unborn child with that same gaze that was reserved only for Clarke. Lexa pressed a tender kiss to the bump over the thin material of the shirt. "Hey little girl." She whispered, and in the early morning light, Lexa promised the sun, the sky, and the stars.
"Aunt Octavia said she made it to Manhattan ten hours after you went into labor, and when she got to the hospital, you still hadn't finished yet." Quinn's voice echoed around the empty expanse of the ballroom.
"Well you forget that your aunt has quite the disposition for hyperbole." Clarke shook her head. The birth had taken quite the while though. Her water broke sometime in the afternoon, while she had been cleaning out the fridge. She was home alone at that hour, and she had almost slipped on her way to the counter to grab her phone. "Your mother was still at work."
"So I assume she rushed home right away?" Quinn asked as she padded over to Clarke's side.
"No, that is the incorrect assumption." Clarke chortled. "Her cell was dead, and when I tried to call the station, they said she was out handling a hostage situation at one of the banks across town in Brooklyn." She laughed now, but Clarke did not forget her panic at the time, and her annoyance that in her moment of need, Lexa had been unreachable.
Quinn let out an impressive whistle. "Wow, Mom was a bad-ass."
"That she was." Clarke agreed. "But the job always took up too much of her time."
"Then how did you reach her?" Quinn asked. "Because I recall her always telling me how you fractured her hand during the birth." Clarke rolled her eyes.
"Okay, first of all, I didn't 'break'-"
"'Fracture'" Quinn corrected her midsentence, and Clarke swatted her on the shoulder for retribution.
"Fine, I did not fracture her hand, despite what she told you." Clarke started. "And I called her old partner from Vice squad and told him what was happening." She chuckled. "And even though I really thought that I had a handle on the pain at the time, Lexa told me later that he thought his ears would go deaf."
"You were screaming at him?" Quinn raised both eyebrows.
"Unintentionally, but yes." Clarke confirmed. "He drove down to Brooklyn and pulled her out of there. She made it to the hospital just in time for when the real fun began."
"By fun you mean torture." Quinn muttered under her breath, and Clarke elbowed her daughter.
"Childbirth is a wonderful experience that I actually don't regret at all."
"Really? Because I remember Mom telling me different."
"I really, really hate you right now!" Clarke's grip on Lexa's hand was bone-crushing, and she had to clench her teeth to resist the urge to groan in pain. Her wife's face was sweat sheened, her hair plastered to her scalp.
"I know babe, but let's not focus on that right now. Focus your energy on the task at hand." Lexa said in a pacifying manner, and Clarke shot her a glare between narrowed eyes. The other woman was still wearing her holstered weapon on her hip, her badge hanging on her neck and resting against the bulletproof vest strapped to her chest, the letters 'NYPD' printed clearly in white on the front. Her ponytail, typically neat and tidy, was messy and wild, but Clarke would rather trade that look for her own physical state right now.
"You're not the one who's got a tear down her-"
"Almost there, a just a few more pushes!" The resident interrupted the conversation from her position between Clarke's legs, preparing to catch the infant. Lexa swept away some of the sweat gathered on Clarke's skin with a damp towel.
"You're very close honey." Lexa encouraged her, and Clarke groaned, steeling herself to push once more. Her face was red, the veins in her neck bulging with effort. Lexa wasn't sure if she'd ever be able to use her hand again.
A shrill cry filled the air, and Lexa's eyes widened at the baby that was quickly tended to by the nurses. Then the child was placed into Clarke's arms. The blonde held the newborn tightly to her chest, a worn smile plastered on her lips as she gazed into shockingly green eyes that blinked wildly, taking in her surroundings for the very first time. Lexa hovered by the side of the bed, watching as her wife interacted with their baby. Clarke tickled the infant under her chin with a tender smile, and Lexa leaned down to press a proud kiss on first her wife's forehead, before directing her attention to the newest addition to their family. The babe blinked at Lexa, her mouth open in wonder as she looked into the face of her other mother for the first time.
Clarke had tears at the corners of her eyes, and Lexa swept down to kiss them away. "I'm so proud of you." She murmured against her skin. "Look at what we've made." She said with wonder, and Clarke tilted her chin to capture her wife's lips in hers.
"This is our baby." Clarke said with a giant smile. "Our little Quinn."
"Wait a minute." Lexa raised one eyebrow, as she looked at her wife. "What happened to agreeing to name her Buttercup?"
"Lexa, when did I agree to name her Buttercup?" Clarke's eyes barely left her child's face as she cooed to her newborn daughter.
"When we were," Lexa paused, remembering that there were other people in the room, cleaning up. She moved closer to Clarke's ear, "having sex a few weeks ago." When Clarke just looked at her in confusion, Lexa elaborated, her face partially flushed. "When I got you off so well you said that you'd never had such a great org-"
"Okay! Now I remember." Clarke said hastily, her cheeks turning a shade of red. "And absolutely not, look at her, she's definitely a Quinn, and definitely not a Buttercup." Clarke returned her gaze to their daughter.
"But-" Lexa began to protest, but Clarke stopped her before she could debate the name for any longer.
"Lexa I love you, but I am not naming our daughter after a movie character."
"Not just 'a movie', the Princess Bride!" Lexa groaned, and Clarke rolled her eyes. "Come on, you love that movie as much as I do." Clarke sighed loudly in exasperation, before an idea sprang to Lexa's mind.
"Okay how about we keep the name Quinn, but I get to choose the middle name?" She suggested.
"Lex, I swear to God if you say-"
"Robin." Lexa announced. She said the name with a triumphant gleam in her eye. "Quinn Robin Griffin-Woods." Clarke's mouth had opened in preparation to contest the suggestion, but at the sound of her daughter's name whispered through her wife's lips, she found herself without objection.
"That sounds wonderful." Clarke admitted begrudgingly, and Lexa gave her a shit-eating grin.
"I was named after Robin Wright?" Quinn asked, incredulous. Clarke rubbed her on the shoulder with a goofy smile.
"Yup, you had no chance kid. You were destined to be a nerd, just like your mom." Clarke joked. "If it's any consolation though, I had no idea that was the actress's name. I didn't know until Anya dropped by the hospital and high-fived your mother."
When Quinn gave her a quizzical look, Clarke explained. "Anya and Lexa had a bet that I would never let you be named anything remotely related to The Princess Bride."
"That's so Mom." Quinn smirked. "What did she win?"
"20 crisp dollar bills." Clarke shook her head.
"That's...anticlimactic." Quinn snorted, and her mother chuckled too.
"It was the bragging rights more than anything else that they competed over." Clarke explained. "And those twenty dollars came to good use. Your mother used it to buy your first stuffed toy."
It was after Clarke had fallen asleep, snoring lightly, when Lexa sat on the hospital chair with Quinn cradled against her chest. She held the newborn gently in her arms, cautious about hugging her too tightly. Her child blinked up at her, her eyes so familiar and warm. She was a wonderful, delicate creature, and she stole Lexa's breath away with her perfection.
"Hello baby." Lexa whispered. "You mother's sleeping, and it's night-time. It's just the two of us." She chuckled lightly. "You're even more adorable than I could have ever imagined." She confessed to her, an index finger running soothingly over her daughter's cheek. A small hand reached up from the fuzzy yellow blanket, wrapping around her mother's finger. Lexa chuckled at the astonishingly strong grip, moving her hand gently to mimic a hand-shake.
Her daughter cooed, her little mouth forming an oval shape, and Lexa had to blink away the tears of happiness that threatened to fall. "Want me to let you in on a little secret?" She asked "You are best thing that's ever happened to me." She said softly. "Besides your mother of course." Lexa added sheepishly, before she continued her speech. "It is my duty to protect you and to watch over you, and I will always be with you for as long as I live."
Little Quinn gurgled happily as she grinned up at Lexa, not understanding the weight of the words but smiling all the same. Lexa rocked her gently in her arms, feeling content and whole.