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learn to love in kind

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David presses his palms against the tabletop, his expression strained. "Okay," he says, over and over. His face cycles from disbelief to horror, then to what almost looks like excitement before it's tamped back down into shock. "I don't – I never really thought this is something you would want?"

"Well," Alexis says. She tilts her head, biting her lip. "I never did either?"

She's about to explain further, to tell him about the night Twyla approached her after a long work day, eyes worried and face tight, when David interrupts. Typical. "So like, you do? Or you don't?"

"I – I do." Saying it aloud to her brother, though, feels too much serious, and she wavers. "I mean, I think I do."

He closes his eyes, shaking his head. "This isn't something you just do, Alexis. You can't just get a kid and hope for the best."

She huffs, brows furrowing. Alexis hadn't exactly expected David to jump for joy at the news, but that doesn't mean she isn't waiting for him to break the old habit of second-guessing all her decisions. This is how things go for them, though: they push and pull at each other, and it's typically through her own self-defenses that Alexis finds clarity.

That doesn't mean she's going to give him the self-satisfaction of knowing he's helping, even in his own way. Even if he likely knows it already.

"Thank you," she says primly, using the voice she puts on when she's steering a difficult client away from making terrible decisions. After all, she's a grownup now. She has a degree, a burgeoning career, and a gorgeous wife. In nine months or so, give or take, she might even have a baby. And even though the very thought of it causes her chest to tighten, she chooses to focus on her next words and not her anxiety. "I appreciate your input, David, I really do. But that isn't what I'm doing. What we're doing, I mean. Twy and I, together."

Maybe it's the impact of her serious voice, or maybe David's grown up, too. Alexis can't imagine that's the case, but she can give him the benefit of the doubt. "I'm listening."

"Thank you." Alexis thinks back to that night: Twyla had been distant for a couple of days after a trip back home to Schitt's Creek, visiting extended family, until they'd talked everything through. She takes a deep breath. "It's just that like, Twy has always wanted this? Wanted a family, I mean."

"She has one," David points out. "She's a Rose now."

"I know." Despite the heart-to-heart that they're finally managing to have, Alexis can't help but smile. "And that's like, the point. 'Cause like, I never thought I'd be so into someone taking my last name –"

"I don't need details about your marriage's intimacy, Alexis."

She raises one eyebrow archly at her brother, and he holds his hands up in a silent apology. "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by a pervert..." Alexis looks around, even though she knows they're alone in David's house and her brother will tell Patrick everything once Alexis has driven back to Toronto.

"You know what her family's like. I never thought she'd want to go by Rose, but." Alexis takes a deep breath, steeling herself. Her brother is her confidant, and she his, but that doesn't mean they often tell each other details of the private worlds they've built with their partners. "She told me it'd be an honor to be part of a family that supports and loves each other, even at their worst. How much light we've all brought to her life and how she wants to give that back to us every day."

David tilts his head, blinking rapidly. She knows the feeling; her throat's tight, even though every night Twyla whispers sweet incantations of her love like a secret just for them. They've been together for years, but she still hasn't gotten used to it. Letting herself be loved by Twyla never gets old.

"So anyway," Alexis says brightly, hoping to lighten the mood. "Twyla has always wanted this, and I want... I mean, I'm never gonna come anywhere close to making her as happy as she makes me? But if I can do this for her... and I want to do this for her." Despite her earlier wavering, Alexis knows she's never needed to do anything more than this. "Twyla was meant to be a mom. And maybe I can learn how to be one, too."

David lets out a long-suffering sigh. "I'm not doing diapers," he says. He smiles, though, eyes crinkling. "Or tantrums. Or spit up, or colic. That's all you."

"I once cleaned up after the first son of Greenland after he soiled his pants," Alexis says, shrugging one shoulder. "I think I can handle a baby's amount of poop."

"Okay..." Her brother presses his lips together, scowling away that mental image. "So how are you guys gonna do this? Adoption, biological pregnancy..." Alexis knows she has his implicit support by now, so she can find amusement in the disgust that's settling back on his features. "Are you going to be pregnant?"

"We talked about that, actually?" Alexis tries to not let her relief show as she adds: "Twy wants to do it."

"Oh, thank god. Twyla's hips are much better for childbirth, and she'll wear that indignity much better than you will."

"David." She's trying so hard to be stern, but a laugh escapes her before she swallows it down. "Don't talk about my wife's hips."

"I'll talk about whatever I want." He leans in, reaching for the glass of wine she'd suggested they each have when they'd first sat down at his kitchen table. "And as your ever-suffering older brother, I can appreciate the fact that you've trusted me first with this decision."

She clinks her glass against his. "To new Roses," she says, then takes a sip. "And to the future Uncle David."

He shakes his head, mouth drawn tight. "No. Let's... not do that."

"Twy's gonna insist." Alexis beams across the table at him. "And if her big brother David's going to tell her no, at least let me be there to watch."

"Ugh." David scoffs, his eyes rolling up to the ceiling, before the corners of his mouth twitch. "Fine."