Clarke extends her arm in bed expecting to wrap it around her sleeping wife but, much to her surprise, finds an empty bed instead. Lexa is never up before Clarke. Matter of fact, Clarke usually has to push her wife out of bed in the mornings.
Clarke wipes the sleep from her eyes while looking at their bathroom door. She gets no response.
Clarke asks slightly louder.
Clarke untangles herself from the warm silky sheets before setting out to find her wife.
Clarke walks out of the master bedroom and makes a right heading towards the children's rooms. Clarke peeks into the first door and finds her soon-to-be five year old daughter gently snoring on one side of the room as her three year old drools on her pillow on the other side. She slowly backs out of the room, making sure to gently close the door behind her. Clarke moves a few feet down in the direction of her son's room and that's when she hears Lexa.
The door to Jake's room is cracked open. Clarke rests her shoulder on the door frame and crosses her arms. Within seconds she's fully engrossed in the spectacle unfolding inside. Lexa - in grey boxers and a red shirt with a slept on braid pouring hair out in every direction - bounces the fourteen month around the nursery while raptly recounting some fantastical story. Jake rests his head on Lexa's shoulder listening to her attentively while sucking on his thumb.
"The brave commander of the thirteen mighty clans puts a spear through the chest of the evil queen and crowns the noble prince as the king of the northern clan."
Lexa thrashes her unoccupied arm around the air as if it were wielding a sword, one she was using to defend herself in a battle against some invisible offender. His mother's commitment to the tale and the liveliness of it all makes the little boy giggle. Lexa spins on her heels as she pretends to swing the sword around and that is when she notices her wife standing at the door.
"Look Jay. Mommy's awake."
Lexa tenderly grins at the woman on the door and the baby lifts his head excited whilst pulling his pruney thumb from his mouth.
Clarke approaches him with a warm smile on her face and as soon as she reaches him she attacks his face with a plethora of sloppy kisses. The baby giggles loudly in response and Clarke promptly backs away not wanting to wake up the girls. Clarke turns her attention to her wife.
"You're up early". Clarke leans in for a tender kiss. "Good morning." Lexa rests lazily against Clarke.
"Morning." Lexa kisses Clarke's forehead. "This dude has been up for almost two hours and refuses to go back to sleep."
"Baby...what's going on?" Clarke squeezes Jake's tummy which makes him squirm and chuckle. "I thought we'd gotten you to sleep through the night already." The baby leans his head back onto Lexa's shoulder and returns to sucking his thumb.
"I'm taking him with me today."
"What do you mean?"
"To work. I checked my schedule and I have no meetings today. I just need to do a lot of reading for the Martin case. I'm bringing him and he can just hang around with me."
"I hate leaving him crying every morning Clarke."
From the minute Jake was born him and Lexa bonded. That baby was nothing short of obsessed with his mother. Jake was so attached to Lexa that he would sob and shriek every time he saw her exit a room. They had to distract him and keep him busy if Lexa needed to remove herself from his immediate vicinity for whatever reason. This means Jake cried every single morning when Lexa left for work. Unless he was still asleep when she left, there was going to be a defcon five level situation.
"I talked to him about it and he agrees. Don't you Jay?" The baby doesn't answer. "He agrees. Promise. I already gave him a bath and packed his bag. He's good to go. I was just waiting for you to wake up so I could go shower."
"Lexa you can't take him to work."
Lexa utters in what some could consider a whiney voice.
"Because it's work and I know how you get when you're working on a new case."
"How do I get?"
"You dive into it and the world around you disappears. That's how you get."
"That's not true Clarke." Clarke rolls her eyes. "Please. If it doesn't work out I'll bring him back immediately. I just don't want to hear him crying today. I can't do it today."
"When did you become such a softie? Remember in school when people would move out of the way in the hallways because everyone was terrified of Lexa Woods. What happened to her?"
"She started dating you. It's all gone downhill from there."
"You promise to bring him back if he can't handle it?"
"He can handle it. He's a big boy. We'll bring Pauna and I packed other toys in the bag too. I'll set up a play area in front of my desk if he needs distractions. Please Clarke."
Clarke smiles because she knows she can't say no to Lexa once she starts begging for anything.
Lexa kisses her and then kisses Jake.
"Ok. I gave him a bottle when he woke up but he probably needs to eat something before we leave. Do you want to do that so I can go shower?"
Lexa asks as she hands Clarke the reluctant baby.
Jake pleads distraught and grasping for Lexa the moment she begins to walk away.
"I just need to go get ready bean. I'll be right back."
Lexa covers him in kisses while Clarke does her best to distract him so Lexa can leave the nursery. Clarke's efforts seem fruitless because Lexa hears him wail as she closes the door behind her.
Clarke is in the kitchen feeding Jake bits of a pancake when Lexa walks out dressed in a pristine looking dark grey suit and a blue shirt. Anya and Costia are now both up and sit at the table having breakfast. Lexa walks up to the girls and kisses both of their heads.
"Morning. Everyone had nice dreams?"
Anya yelps excitedly and Costia grumbles. Costia hates mornings just as much as Lexa does.
"Your bowl is on the table."
Clarke looks at Lexa as she walks up to kiss her and rub Jake's head on the way to the coffee pot.
"I got a call from Luciana. They need me to go over a deposition. I can't stay for breakfast. Is he good to go?"
"Lex, sit down and eat."
Lexa pours some coffee into her travel mug.
Lexa takes a sip from the steaming cup and hisses when she unsurprisingly burns herself. Lexa furrows her brow in pain while she tightens the lid.
"If you don't eat now then you won't eat until you come back tonight. I know you. Sit down."
"We can't file with the judge unless I sign that."
"I'm sure whoever's handling the case can wait twenty extra minutes."
"She really can't."
"She will. Go sit down and eat."
Clarke shoves Lexa towards the table and places the bowl of fruit and granola in front of her.
"I will call her myself and excuse you for being late if I need to. If you spent less time arguing you might be halfway done with that already. E A T."
Lexa looks at her daughters who are currently too busy eating and too sleepy to care.
"Is she a tyrant with you guys too?"
"Less talking, more eating Lexa."
"She's so mean in the mornings."
Lexa scrunches her nose making a funny face and Anya chuckles in response. In an impressive feat, Clarke manages to juggle the baby, a glass, and a bottle of juice as she attempts to pour Lexa a drink. Once she has succeeded, she places it in front of her wife while Lexa hastily works her way through the bowl.
"Good girl. I'm going to go change him. Are you sure you packed everything in his bag?"
Lexa speaks with a mouthful of fruit.
"Am I going to get a call an hour from now saying you forgot something if I don't double check the bag?"
"Ok. I'm double checking the bag THEN changing him."
Clarke leaves the kitchen and heads for Jake's room.
"Such a tyrant."
Lexa turns to her second eldest again and winks. Anya snickers as she bites down on a hefty chunk of syrupy pancake.
"Mom says Jake is coming with you to work. Why can't we come to work?"
Anya inquires curiously.
"Because you guys have pre-school."
"We don't have to go to school."
"I'd love to see you having that argument with your mom."
Anya pleads almost convincingly.
"Another time. I promise."
Lexa finishes most of her food, kisses Anya's head followed by Costia's, and places the bowl in the sink.
"Clarke, I ate! Am I free to go now?"
Lexa screams from the kitchen. A minute later Clarke turns the corner with a shirtless Jake, his tee bunches up in her hand, and the baby bag on her shoulder.
"You forgot baby wipes Lexa. Every time. How do you forget them every time?"
Clarke perches the baby down on the counter in order to finish getting him dressed.
"I keep you around so you can remember to pack them."
Lexa manages to sneak her head between her wife and her son to steal a quick peck from Clarke.
"Brushing my teeth then leaving. Yes?"
Clarke cranes her head over Lexa's shoulder in order to look into the sink at the bowl Lexa put in there.
"You barely ate."
"I ate enough."
Clarke looks at her sternly.
"I'm brushing my teeth now."
Lexa practically runs out of the kitchen so Clarke can't force any more food on her.
Lexa reenters the kitchen a few minutes later smelling minty fresh. She finds Clarke at the table eating with the girls and the babbling baby straddled on her thigh. Lexa walks up to Clarke and takes Jake from her arms.
"You ready bud?"
Lexa lovingly kisses the little boy and he beams in response.
"He'll probably need a bottle at like eleven. If he starts being fussy around that time just try and feed him."
Lexa leans down to kiss her wife goodbye. Clarke immediately reciprocates the show of affection and they stay like that, lost in each other, for longer than would've been acceptable in public. The moment Lexa begins to retreat Clarke brings both her hands to either side of Lexa's face holding her in place so they can look into each other's eyes.
"You're going to bring him back if this doesn't go well, right?"
"If he is at all unhappy at my downtown office with a great view of the New York skyline and a lot of women cooing over him I'll personally return him, but if he really is anything like me as you all insist I don't anticipate any of those things being a problem."
Clarke rolls her eyes and kisses her again.
"I love you."
"I love you. Give mommy a kiss Jay."
The baby does as told and plants a wet sloppy kiss on Clarke's cheek. Clarke laughs at the effusiveness before turning her face and kissing him back in kind.
Clarke tells her son as if he had any understanding of what that entailed.
"Have a good day at school."
Lexa kisses Anya's head.
"And you putting bad guys away."
Anya replies with a mouthful of food.
"I will try my best Nana."
Costia rolls her eyes and grunts as she pushes her empty plate away.
"Oh, I know the feeling Cos."
Lexa kisses Costia's cheek with a smile on her face as she grabs Jake's bag, her briefcase, her coffee travel mug, and her phone.
Lexa turns to look at Clarke.
Lexa doubles back to the handmade bowl that lived on the counter, the one that Costia had made in school and which they had repurposed as a keyholder. She picks up her set and jingles the keychain, showing them off to Clarke.
Lexa practically runs out the door.
"Ok. You two. Up. Time to shower."
Anya runs towards the bathroom. Costia grunts and brings her head down to rest on her arm.
About an hour later Clarke drops the girls off at school and heads back home. The gallery was closed for renovations for the next few weeks and that meant Clarke had her first real day off - away from the kids and everyone else - in an incredibly long time. Clarke had every intention to take advantage of each rare second of serenity and silence she got in that apartment for as long as it lasted. Chores be damned.
Clarke fixed herself a warm bath and after she soaked (and napped) in the bubbly water for a few hours, she decided to dedicate some time to the few commissions she had in progress. Maybe Lexa taking Jake to work wasn't such a bad idea after all because this was a welcomed change in her daily routine.
Lexa spent the day with Jake in one hand and a file on the other while pacing in front of her office window as she tried to break the Martin case. Jake was dotted on by everyone at the office, he had a nap, he ate his food, and he didn't cry. Not once.
That day was the start of a common pattern where Lexa would find any excuse to spend full days or the hours after school with Jake hanging out in her office.
One of those afternoons at work with Lexa ended up getting Jake killed.