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afraid to call this place our own

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“Hurry up,” Madi groused.

“Hey, pictures are important,” Bellamy teased.  “And move that way a little, you’re squinting.”

“You know you can take pictures after graduation too, right?” Madi said as she moved out of the direct light.  The football stadium stood behind them, rapidly filling up with families and graduates.  “I don’t have to turn this thing in until tomorrow.”

“Trust me, you’re not gonna be taking pictures with us once it’s done,” Bellamy said.  “You’re going to be taking them with your friends and you’re going to kind of forget we exist.  Okay, just a few more with your mom and then I promise I’ll stop.”

“Grandma Abby and Grandpa Marcus aren’t gonna be able to save this many seats alone,” Madi sing-songed.

“They’ll be okay,” Clarke said and put her arm around Madi’s shoulder.  Madi was an inch or so taller than her now but sometimes she still saw the fierce little girl she’d been when they first became a family.  Part of Clarke missed that little girl, no matter how proud she was of the woman she’d become.

“He was even worse at my graduation,” Octavia said with an eye roll.  Octavia and Madi got on like a house on fire and had from the moment they met, usually because they were ganging up on Bellamy.  It was terrifying and endearing, to be perfectly honest.  “He didn’t trust his phone’s storage yet so he had to take every photo twice, once with his phone and once with his camera.  It took forever .”

“Yeah, well, I still got good pictures,” he grumbled.  “Okay, there, we’re finished.”

“Finally,” Madi said, pulling off her mortarboard, but she elbowed him with a grin.  Bellamy smiled back and mussed her hair.  “O, Lincoln is coming, right?” she asked.

“He’s coming straight from the office.  Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Octavia said.  “Are we ready? Then let’s go up and get you graduated.”  Raven linked arms with Madi and Wells was already ahead a few paces, sweating through his suit in the sun.

Clarke hung back while her family— her family — walked on ahead.  Everyone else was waiting for them in the stadium to watch her daughter— her daughter — graduate from high school.  Bellamy noticed that she wasn’t with the rest and hovered by the side of the walkway until she reached him.  “You okay?” he asked, kissing her temple and draping an arm over her shoulders.

Clarke leaned her head against his chest.  She watched Madi walking up ahead, loudly arguing about last night’s UFC fight with Octavia and Raven.  She blinked back her tears and smiled.  “Yeah.  Everything’s perfect.”