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And Then There Was You

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After the wedding, life was quick to fall back into order. The only difference that Ontari and Madi had to put up with was Clarke and Lexa’s sickening amount of affection. They were newlyweds, and Clarke and Lexa were clearly finding it difficult to keep their love and gushiness at a tolerable level.

A week had passed, and it was clear that neither woman intended to let up on their regular pda.

“Can we not bare witness to this again?” Ontari asked as she ate her cereal, or at least attempted to, on a Monday morning.

“It was just a kiss,” Lexa said past a laugh as she looked at the teen who was clearly exasperated.

“There was lip biting. You two shouldn’t be doing that at 7am!” Ontari insisted as she grabbed her bowl and started to head for the stairs.

“C’mon, don’t be upset,” Clarke said as she also started to laugh. “Where’re you going?”

“To eat my cereal in peace,” Ontari explained, only making her mothers laugh a bit harder. “I’m glad this is so amusing, but I’d rather not watch my moms suck face this early in the morning.”

“Hear that, we’re sucking face,” Lexa said to her wife who nodded her agreement.

“Yes, exactly. I like my coffee with a side of face sucking.”

“I can’t hear you, la la la la la!” Ontari said as she made it to the top of the steps.

“Most kids would love to have parents this in love,” Lexa reminded, but it was too late as the door of the girls’ room shut and Ontari effectively blocked her out.

“What a drama queen.”

“She’s not a morning person,” Clarke reminded before she pulled Lexa in for another long kiss.

“Stop sucking face,” Madi spoke up as she finally glanced up from her book.

“Do you even know what that means?” Lexa asked the child who gave a small shrug.

“I’m guessing it’s when you look like you’re eating mama’s face.”

Clarke instantly blushed while Lexa burst into another fit of giggles.

“Why don’t you hurry up and get ready for school,” Clarke suggested to the child who shrugged once more before shoveling her final bite of cereal into her mouth and moving to do as suggested.

“No more face eating,” Madi reminded as she set her bowl in the sink and turned to leave the kitchen.

“No more being a wise ass,” Lexa rebuttaled as she playfully used her foot to push Madi’s butt.

Madi giggled at the nudge and the small profanity before she ran up the stairs.

“Ass? Really?” Clarke asked as she rolled her eyes. “I thought we agreed to lessen the cursing around the seven-year-old.”

“I could say a lot worse. Besides, give her two more years and she’ll be able to read books that have way more bad words in them than she hears on a regular basis. There’s no stopping her from there,” Lexa said, which made her wife sigh.

“Some parents have to monitor their child’s internet activity, we have to monitor our child’s reading activity. Aren’t we lucky?” Clarke asked sarcastically before she finished up her coffee and set the mug in the sink.

“Very,” Lexa agreed as she turned on the tap and reached for the sponge.

Clarke grabbed the dishtowel to start drying when a knock at the door stopped her.

“I’ll get it,” the blonde said before leaving her wife with the dishes and heading for the door.

When Clarke opened it, she was surprised to find a fairly large stranger at her door.

“Clarke Griffin?” the man asked, making the blonde nod unsurely.

“That’s me. And you are?”

“I’m Roan Murray. I’m with child protective services. May I come in?”

Clarke felt like her heart was in her throat. Every fiber of her being was telling her to shut the door and lock it behind herself, but that would be a crime considering Madi and Ontari’s weren’t legally her’s yet. So, numbly, Clarke stepped aside and allowed the man to enter before shutting the door behind him.

“Is there somewhere we can talk?” Roan asked, making the blonde nod.

“Right this way,” Clarke said as she led the man upstairs.

Once upstairs, Lexa seemed to notice the presence of a new person and turned to see the man behind her wife.

“Lex, this is Mr. Murray. He’s with CPS. Mr. Murray, this is my wife, Lexa,” Clarke introduced, making Lexa shut off the water before she dried her hands and approached the man. It was clear that she was in as much confusion as Clarke was.

“Please, call me Roan,” the man said as he shook Lexa’s hand. “I need to have a word with you both regarding Ontari and Madi’s case.”

“Of course,” Lexa said as she nodded and led Roan to the living room.

“I’m going to let the girls know that they’re walking to school today,” Clarke said before hurrying upstairs.

Clarke knocked at the girls' door before pushing it open. “Ontari,” Clarke said as she entered the room and found the teen packing her backpack.

“Did you finally pry Lexa off your face?” Ontari asked with a small smirk as she zipped her bag shut.

“There’s someone here from CPS. I need you and Madi to walk to school,” Clarke said, deciding to cut to the chase so she didn’t leave Roan waiting for long.

“CPS? Why? They’re not going to take us, are they?” Ontari asked nervously as she paled significantly.

If there was one thing Clarke didn’t need right now, it was a panic attack from Ontari.

Quickly, the blonde wrapped the teen in her arms and lovingly kissed her forehead.

“Don’t worry. It’s probably regarding your mom. Lex and I will take care of it, okay? Nothing bad is going to happen.”

“You don’t know that,” Ontari argued as her throat tightened. “I don’t want to leave until I know what’s wrong.”

“Baby, deep breaths,” Clarke instructed as she held Ontari’s cheeks. “I promise that everything is okay. This is just routine. For all we know, Simone couldn’t make it today and sent someone else in her place.”

“Okay,” Ontari agreed when a reasonable explanation was provided. “It’s just a check-in.”

“It’s just as check-in,” Clarke promised as she thumbed at Ontari’s cheeks which were finally getting some colour back. “Now I really need you to help me out and take Madi to school. Can you do that?”

Ontari nodded and regained her composure before grabbing her bag.

“Can mom tell me what happened when she gets to school later?” Ontari asked, allowing herself to refer to Lexa as her ‘mom.’ While Clarke was starting to just be called ‘mama’ by the older girl, it was still a back and forth with Lexa’s name.

“I’ll make sure she does, okay?”

A bit more eased than before, Ontari nodded and allowed Clarke to hug her once more before she gathered her things as well as Madi’s.

Once Clarke and Ontari got Madi from the bathroom where she was brushing her teeth, Clarke led both girls down and saw them out the front door with the promise to see them when she gets back from work later.

After shutting the door and taking a composing breath, Clarke returned to the living room where Lexa and Roan were chatting and drinking coffee together.

Lexa’s calm disposition helped Clarke fully relax as she sat next to her and grasped her hand.

“I’m sorry for interrupting your morning like this,” Roan began to say as he pulled out two files from his bag.

“It’s no bother. It’s only a twenty-minute walk for the girls and the fresh air does them some good,” Lexa said, making the man smile and nod his agreement.

“I guess I’ll just cut right to the chase then. Simone has recently been terminated from her position after several complaints were made against her. All of her cases have been handed off to other social workers, and I am now in charge of Madi and Ontari,” Roan explained, making both women briefly glance at one another before they returned their attention to him.

“What happened? Are we allowed to know why she was fired?” Lexa asked, though she and Clarke already had their suspicions.

“From what I was told, Simone was working with un-licensed families and failed to properly conduct bio parent and child meetings. A recent incident in one of the homes was brought to CPS’s attention and she was finally investigated.”

Clarke froze as she thought something over before she finally spoke. “Did the incident occur at the home of Mark and Nia?”

“How did you know?” Roan asked as he looked at the blonde in confusion.

“Ontari’s shared her stories about them. We know what Mark did to her.”

“Well, I guess you’ll be relieved to know that both Mark and Nia have been arrested and are going on trial for several offenses.”

“And Simone?” Lexa asked, shifting the conversation to who she thought was the real criminal in all of this. “She just lost her job?”

“And her license. She’ll never be a social worker again. I know it isn’t comforting, but it’s better than nothing,” Roan reasoned, making Lexa bristle slightly.

Clarke was quick to grasp her wife’s hand and squeeze it as a comforting reminder that Ontari and Madi were safe and away from Simone for good.

“What does this mean then? Can we move forward with the adoption of the girls?” Clarke asked, deciding it would be best to focus on the future of the girls.

“Did you already start the process?” Roan asked in confusion as he flipped through the folders of the girls.

“I asked Simone about it back in April. She said she would take care of it.”

“I’m not seeing anything here,” Roan said with a defeated shake of his head.

“I can’t believe this,” Lexa said with an unamused laugh. “That awful woman just couldn’t let our kids have one good thing in life. She had to go and try to ruin every opportunity they had at getting a family.”

“I don’t want to even think about what she would’ve done if she wasn’t fired,” Clarke sighed as she rubbed her forehead. “So what does this mean?” Clarke asked as she returned her attention to Roan. “Are we going to have to wait another year? Ontari is less than two years away from aging out of the system and after everything she’s been through I think she’d like to turn eighteen with the guarantee that she’s adopted and legally protected by me and Lexa.”

“I understand your concern. And I appreciate how much you care for Ontari’s comfort. That being said, all I’ll need to get is a home check performed when the girls’ are around and we can move forward. You’ll be looking at an adoption day within the next six to eight months.”

“That quick?” Clarke asked with a hopeful smile.

“Once we have everything in order all I need to do is set the court date.”

“Simone really was prepared to drag this along until Ontari aged out,” Lexa said, frowning when the sad realization set over her. “She’s gone for good, right? She can’t hurt Ontari anymore?”

“I know that this situation must make it difficult to trust the system,” Roan acknowledged. “Simone was unfair to Ontari and Madi and she no doubt hurt them a lot during their time in the system. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I need you both to trust that I have the best interest of the girls at heart. As soon as I know that this is a safe and loving environment for them to grow up in, I’ll do everything in my power to make this a permanent situation. I’m rooting for you both and I’m rooting for your family.”

“We appreciate that,” Clarke said with a weak smile. “Those girls deserve everything and more.”

“Agreed,” Roan said with a curt nod. “On another note, I did bring along some things that belonged to the girls’ mother. Most of her belongings were binned or donated, but anything that had a connection to Ontari and Madi have been sent to me.”

Roan went back into his bag and started to pull out several little things. There was a stack of photos, the popsicle stick picture frame that Ontari made, two baby hats, a worn-down winnie the pooh plush, and a letter with Ontari’s name messily written on the back.

“It’s not much but I’m sure the girls will appreciate having some of these things back,” Roan said as he slid the items over to the women.

“Look at these pictures,” Clarke mumbled as she briefly shuffled through the stacked photographs. They weren’t well kept, and some were stained with foreign substances, but the images were clear. For the first time, Clarke and Lexa had the opportunity to look through a small window and see what their children looked like before they met them.

Clarke felt tears well in her eyes as she looked at photos of Ontari as a baby, then a toddler, and then a young child. She went from small and chubby, to long and lanky. There were photos of her missing teeth, and others of her striking ridiculous poses. And then there was her smile. In every photo she had a wide smile, wider than Clarke had ever seen. It was untouched, unaltered, and straight from the heart.

It hurt to realize that Ontari may never be able to smile like that again, even if she was in a good situation. The world already broke her spirit; a part of her smile would always reflect that.

Shuffling some more, Clarke found a few photos of Madi. She was a tiny baby with wide blue eyes. And despite some time gapping the growth in her photos, Clarke was able to see baby Madi become the Madi she knows today. Her smile, thankfully, was still as bright as it was as a toddler. Clarke found some relief in the fact that the system, Simone, didn’t have a chance to completely destroy both her girls.

“I wonder who’s this was,” Lexa spoke up as she grabbed the old toy and stroked its pale-yellow fur.

“Probably Ontari’s. Madi has Pauna but I don’t think Ontari ever had a comfort item that she brought around,” Clarke said as she reached for the note with Ontari’s name on it.

The blonde thumbed it open and froze when she found out who the letter was from.

“Look at this,” Clarke said as she pointed at the signed portion of the letter.

“Beatrice wrote this,” Lexa said as she quickly scanned the letter for a date.

“She’s needed something like this. Something that could bring her real closure,” Clarke said as she started to smile lightly.

“She wrote it after the girls were taken the first time,” Lexa observed as she read the first bit of the letter. “Ontari’s really going to appreciate this. Thank you, Roan.”

The social worker smiled and nodded at the thanks.

“I know these last few months have been chaotic to say the least with Simone, but I just want to tell you now that I am here for your family and I will do what’s best for the girls,” Roan said as he began to pack up his bag in preparation to leave.

“We appreciate that,” Clarke said with a smile. “They need more people looking out for them.”

“Well, they clearly lucked out with you two,” Roan dismissed. “But I’m happy to step up for them as well.”

-----

When Ontari found Lexa during lunch, she was left with more questions than answers, not that it was the other woman’s intentions.

Lexa, who didn’t want to say anything without Clarke around, opted to tell Ontari that she had nothing to worry about, but that they needed to have a family meeting in order to go over a few things.

Having a family meeting was an entirely new concept to Ontari and she was rendered pretty useless for the rest of her school day as her anxiety gnawed at the pit of her stomach and made her too nauseous to even think about what her teachers had to say.

Lexa seemed to notice Ontari’s pallor and green tint when she met the two girls at her car at the end of the school day.

Ontari tried to bat off Lexa’s worried hand, but the older woman persisted until she landed her hand on Ontari’s forehead and then cheeks.

“Are you okay? You’re pale. Did you have a panic attack?” Lexa asked as she continued to feel for a fever.

“I’m just nervous,” Ontari dismissed as she pulled back from the hand and pulled at the car door handle. It was still locked so she gave it a few tugs as a hint to Lexa. “Can we please just go home?”

Lexa glanced at Madi to see if the little girl had a clue as to what was bugging Ontari, but the little girl was too invested in the small container of slime that she made in her science class.

“Okay,” Lexa relented as she unlocked her car and moved to get into the driver’s side. “Why’re you nervous?” Lexa decided to ask as she sat down and shut her door.

“Can we please just wait for mama to get home?” Ontari asked, almost desperately, as she tried to keep a handle on her emotions.

Lexa nodded her agreement and started the car after double-checking that both girls were buckled in.

“Clarke’s probably going to beat us home, anyway.”

“Why? Isn’t she at work?” Ontari asked as she began to shuffle in her seat a bit.

“She was. But she finished the piece she was working on and wanted to call it an early day.”

“So we have to talk when we get home?” Ontari asked, her wavering voice catching the ear of Lexa who furrowed her eyebrows.

“Okay, kiddo, I know you want to wait for Clarke, but there is something bothering you and I want to help. You can talk to me.”

“I just don’t know what you mean by family meeting,” Ontari revealed, though it cleared up very little for the older woman.

“We just have a few things we need to discuss as a family, that’s all,” Lexa promised, which made Ontari shake her head in the negative.

“That never ends well for me,” Ontari said, a frustrated edge coming to her voice.

The occasional squelch of Madi’s slime came to a halt when she heard her sister’s voice pick-up.

“Sweetheart, I told you earlier that you had nothing to worry about. I wouldn’t lie to you about that,” Lexa said as she reached out and gave the teen’s hand a comforting squeeze.

“'Trust', mom. I’m still working on trusting what you say,” Ontari said, finally voicing where her doubt came from. “And I don’t want you to think it’s because I don’t love you-,”

“Hey, hey, no,” Lexa quickly interrupted with a shake of her head. “I do not think that, Ontari. I know you love me, and I love you. I understand. Trust is still a work in progress for some things. I should’ve never been so vague about what happened with the social worker. I just wanted to wait until Clarke could be there.”

“You promise it isn’t anything bad?” Ontari asked as she glanced at Lexa while nervously chewing her bottom lip.

“Some news just takes a bit of time to digest. But all things considered, everything we will tell you is good.”

Ontari sighed out a breath of relief and nodded her understanding. She could already feel some of her colour return as her breathing regulated and the fog in her brain cleared.

The car ride that only took two minutes felt like an eternity until Lexa offered Ontari some explanation. Now, the teen was a bit more eager to learn about what happened, which prompted her to hurry inside the house the second that Lexa pulled up in front of it.

Lexa and Madi took their time to follow in, and by the time they entered, Clarke had already gotten Ontari situated in the living room with a big paper bag in front of her.

“First their things and then the news?” Clarke asked her wife after they quickly kissed each other in greeting.

“Sounds good,” Lexa agreed before joining Ontari in the living room.

“Mama, I made slime,” Madi proudly proclaimed as she held up her neon pink slime container.

“Look at that!” Clarke enthused as she stroked back some of the hair that slipped out of Madi’s braid. “Did your teacher show you how to do that?”

“Yup,” Madi agreed with a satisfied nod. “I can teach you and mommy and Tari. We just need chemicals and boogie-woogie monster snot.”

“That is a sweet thought, but chemicals and boogie-woogie monster snot doesn’t sound like a delightful mix. Why don’t we leave the slime making to Mr. Watson, yeah?”

“Okay,” Madi said with a shrug before skipping over to the living room as well. She clearly got the hint that everyone was needed to gather there. Clarke followed after her youngest and sat on the single, just diagonal to her girls.

“So, girls, mom and I had a visit with a social worker this morning, as you already know,” Clarke started to say, making both girls nod. “And we have a few things we need to talk about. The news is good, though, so I don’t want either of you to worry.”

“Ontari and I already had a chat about that in the car. Unfortunately, when I phrased this as a ‘family meeting’ she got nervous,” Lexa explained as she gave Ontari’s hand an apologetic squeeze.

“Family meeting? Really, Lex? You couldn’t think of a more basic traditional family thing for us to do?” Clarke asked with a playful roll of her eyes. “My mom tried hosting those. My dad and I made fun of her until she stopped, so it clearly wasn’t successful.”

“Well excuse me,” Lexa shot back. “As you remember, I went through like ten different homes as a kid. 90% of them hosted family meetings. I was doing what the majority did.”

“Do your parents even have family meetings?” Clarke asked, making her wife sigh before she flopped against the back of the couch.

“No,” the older woman huffed. “We have family interventions.”

“So, this is an intervention?” Ontari asked skeptically, reminding both women that she and Madi were still present.

“No, this is a discussion,” Clarke said.

“A family - meeting,” Lexa said, putting emphasis on both words to prove her point.

“Family meeting sounds boring,” Madi interjected. “Can we call it a family jamboree?”

“There’s no music,” Ontari reminded her little sister who shrugged before motioning to all three of them.

“We can put music. There’re three phones here,” Madi argued.

“Okay, we are getting way off topic,” Clarke said as she regained her family’s attention. “This discussion-,”

“Family meeting,” Lexa interrupted.

“Jamboree,” Madi added.

“Let’s call it a freaking circus and move it along,” Ontari sighed before motioning for her mama to continue.

“Thank you. Okay, so, the man you saw earlier was Roan. He’s from CPS and he had a few things to talk to us about. But first, we wanted you guys to have the things he brought from your mom’s apartment. Anything that had some connection to you two was thankfully saved,” Clarke explained as she shuffled the paper bag closer to the girls. “You can look at what’s inside.”

Ontari, always the more shy and reserved, held back as Madi started to pull things from the bag. First the baby hats, then the pictures, followed by the picture frame, note, and Winnie the pooh plush.

Madi, who seemed rather indifferent to the items, began to shuffle through the pictures.

Ontari, now being able to see the items laid out on the coffee table, swallowed thickly before grabbing the foot of the plush and pulling it onto her lap.

Her hands shook as she stroked the dusty old material before she grabbed the toy once more and pulled it towards her stomach.

Ontari shut her eyes and took a long, deep breath. She was grounding herself and allowing her emotions to flow before she proceeded to look at the other items.

Grabbing the letter now, Ontari seemed to freeze as she flipped it open to find who it was from.

“Mom,” Ontari whispered as she looked at the sighed portion.

“Do you want us to leave so you can read it?” Clarke asked as she reached up to wipe at the stray tear that ran down Ontari’s cheek.

“No,” Ontari breathed out as she quickly folded the letter back up and set it beside herself. “I’m not ready.”

“Do you want to look at the pictures?” Lexa asked as she motioned to the stack that Madi was still shuffling through. Once again, Ontari was quick to decline the offer.

“Can you tell me about what the social worker had to say?” Ontari asked as she continued to hug the old bear to her mid-section.

Clarke and Lexa briefly shared a glance before nodding and looking back at Ontari.

“Well, he wanted to let us know that he is legally your caseworker now-,” Lexa began to say before Ontari interrupted her.

“What about Simone?”

“She’s been removed from her position,” Clarke explained, before deciding to add some context. “CPS did an internal investigation and found out that she was working with un-licensed parents. She put a lot of kids in danger, including you and your sister.”

“Your license?” Ontari asked skeptically, making Clarke quickly shake her head.

“My license is good. Roan would’ve mentioned it if it wasn’t. But one of the homes you’ve been in was unlicensed,” Clarke explained, leaving it in the air briefly to see if Ontari could figure it out on her own.

“Mark and Nia?” the teen asked after a minute of thinking it over.

“Yeah, honey,” Clarke said with a weak nod of her head.

“She never checked on us,” Ontari said, mainly to herself as she began to rack through her memories. “Some homes she did it every month but in others… she just left us there until something really bad happened.”

“How many homes were like that? Do you remember?” Lexa asked, making the teen shrug.

“Four, maybe? I can’t believe she would fucking leave us like that,” Ontari seethed as she shook her head.

“Ontari,” Clarke began, only to stop herself when she realized that now wasn’t the time to chastise the kid for swearing. She had every right to. “You get to be upset. What Simone did was terrible, and dangerous, and so incredibly selfish.”

“So what now?” Ontari bitterly asked as she fought the tears that welled in her eyes. “Simone loses her stupid job and those awful people get to walk freely?”

It was clear that Ontari was angry by the news. She wanted justice for her pain, and Simone’s job loss wasn’t going to cut it.

“Mark and Nia were arrested,” Lexa said, almost instantly making the once seething teen simmer down. Unfortunately, she pulled herself into the opposite direction and began to suck in shallow breaths as a new wave of emotion flooded her.

“They did it again,” Ontari whimpered out as she began to realize how Mark and Nia ended up getting arrested. “They hurt another kid, didn’t they?”

Clarke, now sensing that this conversation was getting to a darker area that Madi shouldn’t be privy too, quickly turned to the little girl and asked her to go and start her homework in her room before she returned her attention to the teen.

“They did it again,” Ontari sobbed out once her sister left the space and she could allow all of her emotion to flood out of her. “I let them do it again.”

“No, sweetheart, this isn’t on you,” Lexa cooed as she set herself on the floor in front of Ontari while Clarke took to the child’s side.

“Even if you reported it, they were unlicensed and the only person that had control over them was Simone. She was going to keep placing kids in there no matter what you, or any other kid, said,” Lexa reminded, though it seemed to do little to calm the girl.

“I should’ve still said something,” Ontari continued to cry as she shook her head. “I could’ve protected someone else.”

“Baby,” Clarke sighed as she pulled the girl into her arms. Words seemed to do little to comfort Ontari at the moment, but physical love would make all the difference.

Ontari was quick to turn and hug her mama back, allowing all of her frustration, sadness, and pain flood out of her with each sob.

Ontari wasn’t sure how long Clarke and Lexa sat with her for. But she needed the comfort more than anything else, and her mom and mama were willing to give it to her by the bucket full.

“This wasn’t on you,” Lexa promised as she pressed a loving kiss to the side of Ontari’s head. “You survived Mark and Nia, and you survived the system. Now that Simone is out of the way, that means that other kids can survive it too.”

“You said it was good news,” Ontari whimpered out. It nearly broke Clarke and Lexa’s hearts when they realized the accusation was true. They said it was good news, but there was some bad in the middle of it too.

“It’s good because it’s over,” Clarke began to say as she stroked back some of Ontari’s hair. “But sometimes you need to face the bad to see the good. It’s there, Ontari. I promise. You just have to look a little deeper.”

Ontari nodded her understanding before she cuddled a bit closer to her mama. She began to regain some control over her emotions as she shuffled through her thoughts to find the good.

Whoever fell victim to Mark and Nia must be in pain right now. Ontari can sympathize with them. But then she remembered what it was like to be in the back of Simone’s car as they drove away from the house. To look back at what could only be thought of as her worst nightmare and see it grow smaller and smaller until it disappeared entirely. To feel the relief flood her before the dread of what was to come filled her back up again.

But this was different. Ontari knew to expect something bad because she was with Simone, but whoever was with Mark and Nia last got something that Ontari didn’t.

A chance to feel peace.

Driving away from that house must’ve felt like driving away from all the bad that Simone let happen, and Ontari knew, she just knew, that the child must’ve been so relieved that they cried.

And that’s when she realized that her own tears weren’t all due to her sadness. Some of them were from her relief too. She was relieved to be free of Simone. Relieved to know her worst nightmares were being punished for their crimes. Relieved to know that maybe, just maybe, this made her free.

-----

After the family discussion - meeting, jamboree, circus - Ontari decided to not let anything she heard or received that day alter her life in any negative way. It would give too much power to those who hurt her, and she wasn’t willing to do that.

Ontari allowed her moms to keep the photos and baby hats, while she set her pooh bear onto her bed and the letter from her mom into a drawer until she felt brave enough to read it.

And their lives carried on as normal.

Roan conducted his necessary evaluations and meetings, though these seemed to go over both girls’ heads as they deduced that it was appropriate to have their social worker be more present in their lives. Neither was aware that Roan’s regular appearance was due to his rushed efforts to get them an adoption date.

Not a month later, Roan performed the miracle of a lifetime and got Clarke and Lexa the date for the adoption. What Simone refused to do in nine months, Roan did in one, and both women were incredibly grateful for his efforts.

Christmas was the following day, and Clarke and Lexa were just given the best gift they could not only receive but give to their children as well.

Christmas morning, Madi was the first one to rise. She giggled wildly as she quickly jumped from her bed to Ontari’s, earning a grunt front the teen that received the heavy impact of her little sister to her mid-section.

“Ribs, Mads,” Ontari coughed out as she rolled her sister off of her.

“Santa came!” Madi insisted before she scurried off the bed and out of the room, no doubt with the intention to do the same wake up all to her moms as well.

Ontari rolled until she fell off the edge of her bed. She laid on the floor of her room and looked up at the ceiling until she heard both Clarke and Lexa loudly groan at their rude wake-up calls as well.

“Madi,” Clarke whined in the distance.

“What did we say about keeping the ninja kicks to a minimum?” Lexa followed up with. Madi broke out into a fit of giggles as she was no doubt tickled by the two women.

Ontari giggled herself as she heard the delight in Madi’s laughter.

Just as quickly as it started, however, Madi was insisting that Santa came and that everyone had to go downstairs.

The sound of running feet had Ontari sitting up quickly in preparation for another surprise attack. She tensed up when the door was pushed open quickly and shut her eyes as a way to brace for impact.

“Ribs-,” Ontari quickly said before she realized that Madi’s running had gone down the stairs and that the person at the door was one of her moms.

“She got you too?” Lexa asked with an amused smirk as she approached the teen and offered her a hand. Ontari nodded as she grasped her mom’s hand and allowed the older woman to hoist her to her feet.

“Square on the plates,” Ontari explained as she allowed Lexa to hug her before they started to head for the kitchen.

“She punched Clarke’s chest pretty aggressively. Maybe you two can share war stories,” Lexa said with a laugh.

“It wasn’t funny, Lex,” Clarke pouted as she caught the tail end of her wife’s sentence.

“It was pretty funny,” Lexa concurred as she allowed Ontari and Clarke to hug.

“Merry Christmas, my girl,” Clarke said as she hugged the teen tightly before kissing the side of her head.

“Merry Christmas, mama,” Ontari returned before releasing the embrace.

“I know we agreed to do gifts after breakfast, but your mom and I have something that we want you two to open now,” Clarke explained as she began to lead Ontari over to the tree that Madi was already sorting through.

“Hey missy, don’t go sneaking any presents yet,” Lexa said as she playfully tickled Madi’s sides, making the girl fall into another fit of giggles.

“I’m not!” Madi insisted past her laughter before she sighed out in relief when Lexa finally let up.

“That’s what I thought,” Lexa said playfully before she sat on the couch and watched as Clarke retrieved the wrapped manila folder that they set under the tree. Clarke also joined Lexa on the couch with Ontari following close behind.

“Who’s that for, mama?” Madi asked as she moved to sit on Lexa’s lap. The little one looked at the to/from tag and read it out loud. “To: Madi and Ontari. From: mommy and mama. Is it a puppy?”

Clarke, Lexa, and Ontari all rolled their eyes in unison as they laughed at the question.

“You are a smart child but that is a very silly question,” Lexa said as she grabbed the folder. “How does a puppy even fit in here, Mads?”

“You shrunk it down real small,” Madi explained as she pinched her fingers together.

“And how do you unshrink a shrunken puppy?” Ontari asked her sister who sighed in exasperation.

“Put it in water, duh?!”

“Yeah, Ontari. Duh,” Clarke teased as she gently nudged Ontari. “Now, why don’t you two actually open the gift to see what’s inside?”

Ontari shrugged and nodded before allowing Madi to do the honours.

Madi ripped into the wrapping paper and turned the manila folder open to find a document inside it.

“Notice of adoption,” Madi began to read aloud. “of Ontari Neva Norwood and Madi Flo Norwood.”

“What?” Ontari asked as she quickly stood up and went to her sister’s side to see the form.

“Please present yourselves,” Madi continued to read slowly as Ontari scanned the document at a lightning speed.

“On February 14th,” both Madi and Ontari said at the same time.

Madi carried on her reading while Ontari took a step back and began to pace.

“Wait? Does this mean we’re getting adopted?” Madi asked as she stopped her needless reading of the legalities of the situation.

“Yeah, baby,” Clarke said excitedly as she cupped the child’s cheeks. “You’re going to officially be a Woods-Griffin.”

“We’re getting adopted!” Madi cheered as she jumped off Lexa’s lap and began to run around the living room in glee.

“Ontari,” Lexa spoke up when she realized that the teen hadn’t fully responded to what she just learned.

“It’s happening?” Ontari asked as she continued her pacing, not even batting an eye as her sister ran past her several times.

“Yeah, sweetheart,” Clarke said as she extended the document out to the teen. “We’ve got a date and everything.”

Ontari took the paper and read over it once more.

Notice of adoption.

Notice of adoption.

Notice of adoption.

Ontari read the same line over and over before it became so overwhelming that she had to sit.

Not finding any better place than where she stood, Ontari sank to her knees and continued reading the same line.

“Sweetheart,” Lexa said in concern as she and Clarke crouched by the semi-catatonic teen.

“This is really happening?” Ontari asked as she held the paper close to her chest.

“Yeah, my girl. It’s really happening,” Clarke affirmed, hoping with every fiber of her being that this is what Ontari wanted.

“You’re-,” Ontari began to say before a sob broke past her lips.

Clarke and Lexa both froze as they realized that maybe Ontari wouldnt' want this. Maybe she preferred to just live with them without any legal bounds that kept her there forever. This gift that they thought would bring the teen joy might've been what she wanted the least.

Ontari stifled her sobs and took in a shaky breath before continuing her thought. “You’re going to be my mommies.”

The relief that flooded both women was so immense that they couldn’t stop themselves from crying as well.

“Yeah, baby,” Clarke cooed as she pulled the girl close. “We’re going to be your mommies.”

“Why are you all crying?” Madi asked worriedly as she stopped her sprinting and looked at her moms and sister.

“We’re just happy,” Lexa explained as she wiped her cheeks before pulling Madi into her arms. Lexa moved herself and Madi closer to her wife and other kid before forming a large group hug.

Ontari continued to cry until she felt Madi’s little hand reach up to pat her wet cheek.

“Don’t cry, Tari. This is good. We get to stay here.”

“I know it’s good,” Ontari affirmed as she pressed a kiss to the palm of her sister’s hand. “This is it, Madi. This is our forever family.”