Mornings & Monikers

A/N: Fluffy. Almost drabble-y. My mind is all over the place. Kinda/sorta spoilers for 6x14. It was requested, and I am a sucker for anything LP-baby related lately. And reviews, I'm a sucker for those, too.

"The family you come from isn't as important as the family you're going to have."

-- Ring Lardner

He wakes up and stretches lazily; and that's when it hits him again, and he can't wipe the big, stupid grin off his face. He's going to be a father. It still feels almost surreal, but also very, very real. It's the strangest and also the greatest mix of emotions.

He turns to face Peyton – she was still half-asleep even after he woke her up the night before, and he thinks that he'll kiss her (tummy and forehead) and get up, make her something to eat.

To his surprise and disappointment, she's not there. The covers on her side of the bed are thrown back, her pillow is cold. He frowns worriedly and sits up.

He gets out of bed immediately, unable to shake off his concern, calls her name softly. He doesn't get a response, so he walks out of the room, glances into the bathroom and his mom's room. She's not there.

His heartbeat calms back to its normal cadence when he spots her on the couch in the living room, half-lying, half-sitting, eyes closed. But she's awake, he can tell by the pattern of her breathing. There's a glass on the table next to her with only a little bit of water left in it.

"Hey," he says softly, perching on the edge of the couch next to her.

Her eyes flutter open and she sighs tiredly but manages a smile for him. "Hey," she whispers back, reaching for his hand, intertwining their fingers.

He lifts his free hand to stroke her hair, pushing her wavy locks away from her face. "You okay? How long have you been up?"

She squinted at the nearest clock and shrugged. "A couple hours, maybe? I'm okay, just…" She swallowed hard., "Nauseous."

"Morning sickness, huh?" she breathes quietly, fingers still tangled in her hair. He's well aware that he's just said those words with a lot more reverence in his voice than most people would, but he's still dazedly amazed.

Peyton makes a face at his admiring tone, but smiles softly, sweetly. She understands. "Yeah," she whispers back, her voice raw, resting their linked hands on top of her stomach.

His big, giddy grin returns, but he tries to stifle it for her sake. "Can I do anything? Are you feeling any better?"

"I'm fine; I feel…a little better. Give it an hour or so and I think I'll be fine."

"Okay." He reaches for her glass. "I'll get you some more water…I'm guessing you don't want food?"

She shakes her head emphatically at the mere mention of the word and he nods.

"Right, okay. Will you be okay if I jump into the shower?"

She laughs at him fondly, shaking her head. "I'm a big girl, I can take care of myself. Go."

He grins bashfully and leans in for a kiss, but she sticks her hand in front of her lips, wearing an adorably apologetic expression. "Mm, no, I still feel like I have puke breath."

Lucas chuckles and kisses her forehead instead, rubbing the knuckle of his index finger gently against her tummy as she released his hand. "Don't be too hard on your mama, okay?" he asked quietly, and Peyton smiled softly at him, tears sparkling in her eyes.

-x-

The next morning he finds her lying on the floor in the bathroom, towel bunched up and tucked under her head.

"Oh, babe," he says sympathetically, joining her on the floor. "Why didn't you wake me up?"

She sits up and runs her hand over her eyes, giving him a weak smile. "It's not like you can take on my nausea for me," she laughs. "And you were tired."

"But so were you," he protests. "Those boys are a handful, huh?"

"Yeah," she sighs tiredly. "But it was good, we did good."

The night had exhausted her, not just physically, but emotionally. She hadn't spent a whole lot of time with kids in her twenty-two years of life, and it was like a revelation, this is what it's like. Tickling Jamie on the couch and hearing his laugh sound in her ears, feeling her heart jump into her throat when Andre tripped over the leg of a chair, reading to them both, the feeling of them falling asleep with their heads resting on her arms.

The moment that really got to her, the moment that had her heart pounding and her eyes watering, happened just after she washed the dishes, and had walked into the room to see Lucas playing with the boys, surrendering his strength and letting them tackle him. She saw how happy they were, how happy he was, how perfect those seconds, frozen in time were. She placed both hands lightly on her stomach and Lucas, from his position, caught her eye and smiled warmly, an understanding passing between them. It was the same as it had been when they used to look after his baby sister. She'd never been able to actually open her mouth and say, This is what I want, I want this, you and me, our baby. But he'd known, he'd understood, he saw it in her eyes then just like he did now.

And now they could have it.

"Yeah, we did," Lucas agrees, giving her that special, heart-warming smile of his. "You think you can get up from the floor, come back to bed?"

She shakes her head. "Not…yet. You can go back to sleep, though."

"No chance. Let's…talk about something. Maybe if you stop thinking about feeling sick, you won't."

She nods; she already has a topic on her mind. "Have you been thinking about names?"

He grins, "It's early for that, isn't it?"

Peyton huffs, annoyed. "Do you want to distract me, or not?"

"Okay," he chuckles, point taken. "I don't know…Anna, Elizabeth, Penelope. Keith."

She touches his face, cupping his cheek in her hand, smiling in understanding. "If it's a boy, his middle name should definitely be Keith."

He kisses the corner of her mouth instead because he knows she'll freak out about vomit breath if he kisses her for real. "Thank you," he murmurs. "What about for a girl?"

She shrugs. "My middle name is already Elizabeth. But maybe Anna, for her middle name. I just never understood the need to name children after people who are already in your life. I get it in Keith's case, honey; it's an honour and a memory. But otherwise…we're more creative than that, aren't we? Unless you want to name your son Nathaniel."

He wrinkles his nose and she giggles. "Why?"

"James Lucas Scott," she points out.

"Right," he laughs. "But Nathan's full name isn't –" She shoots him a glare that effectively cuts him off, and he holds his hands up in surrender. "Right, I get your point." He pauses to think. "I don't know…Georgia, Virginia?"

"Nuh-uh," she protests. "I'm not naming my child after a state."

"Matthew?" he muses. "Daniel? Nicole, Carolyn, Courtney, Katherine, Madison?"

She shakes her head again. "Madison has been the most popular name for a girl in the U.S. for the past three years. I don't want our baby to have the same name as everyone else. Same goes for Aidan."

Lucas rolls his eyes. "Fine, so you pick a name."

"No, I like listening to your voice," she says softly, and he can't say no to that face.

"Um…Claire, Maria, William, Hannah, Grace, Lauren, Jonathan, Eric."

"I like William," she agrees. "It's a maybe." The name Eric sparks something in her mind and she lists, "Vanessa, Serena, Blair, Charles, Rufus."

Lucas' jaw drops as he looks at her. "Peyton Sawyer," he says with an overly dramatic gasp. "Have you been watching Gossip Girl?"

She pouts. "There's nothing good on TV at four o'clock in the morning! Besides, how do you even know the names of the characters, huh?"

"I work in a high school," he says simply, and she sighs, defeated.

"Well, I don't feel good and I need something mindless to watch…and read," she adds.

He gives her a suspicious look and she hides her face in her hands before she blurts, "Edward, Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, Emmett, Isabella, Rosalie."

"You read Twilight," he states, shocked.

"Only half of the first book!" she cries, peeking up at him from in between her fingers.

He laughs. "You are full of surprises, you know that?" He smiles at her. "I like Isabella."

"Isabella Scott," she tries it out. "Yeah, I like it, too."

"Emma, Alexander, Alexandra…"

"I like the last two," she agrees. "We could call the baby Alex until it's born," she laughs. "It would make things easier."

He wraps his arm around her shoulders, pulling her close. "We've got a while to figure it out." He shakes his head. "I cannot believe, in my house with shelves full of some of the best literature ever written, that you read Twilight."

"It's actually good," she admits, wincing. "And I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie."

"Oh, now you want to see the movie?" he asks incredulously, playfully.

"Rob Pattinson's kinda hot," she admits, a teasing note in her voice.

"Too bad you don't have a chance with him."

"Hey!" she cries, punching his shoulder.

"You're pregnant," he reasons, and she giggles, just out of sheer happiness.

"Yeah," she grins.

He rubs the upper part of her arm. "Are you feeling better?"

"Pretty much. Now I'm just tired."

"So take a nap, I've got the kids."

"No, Luke, I'll help you…"

On cue, Jamie and Andre appear in the doorway and say in unison, "We're hungry."

Peyton laughs, sitting up fully. "Good morning to you, too."

"Go into the kitchen, okay, guys? I'll make you chocolate chip pancakes," Lucas offers.

"Yes!" Andre cheers, and turns to go, but Jamie lingers.

"Are you sick, Aunt Peyton?" he asks as Lucas stands and then extends his hands, helping her to her feet.

She loves it when he calls her aunt, it warms her heart the way little else can. "No, kid, I'm fine," she assures him gently. "Hey, Jamie, what do you think we should name your cousin?" It can't hurt to get another opinion, and she knows he'll like being included.

"Chester," he says instantly, and both parents-to-be laugh.

"Andre's waiting for you in the kitchen, bud," Lucas reminds him and he scampers off. He turns back to Peyton, about to tell her to get some sleep – not entirely prepared for the look on her face. "Hey, what is it?"

She sniffles back her tears and shakes her head. "You're amazing," she says quietly, unable to keep from sounding just a little bit cheesy and entirely enamoured, her eyes drifting to the spot where Jamie just stood.

He nods, smiles, and kisses her on the lips before she can protest. "So are you."