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How Times Have Changed

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*0*0*

“What you up to?” Anya asked, sticking her head through the door, and Lexa looked up, frowning.

“What does it look like? This is a mess, did Miller even go over-” Lexa began, looking back down to the forty page document she had in front of her. Project Zero was going to run them into the ground if they didn’t get a handle on it, and that was excluding any fines they picked up along the way for poor practice and risky business practices and-

“Yeah, great, we can talk about that later. Have you been online today?” Anya didn’t waste time, walking into Lexa’s office, closing the door behind her and moving towards the desk.

“No,” Lexa said, slowly. She’d woken up late, hitting the snooze button one too many times, and hadn’t had a chance to delve further than her work email.

“Well, got something you might like to see.” Anya, ever the polite one, pushed Lexa’s work aside and began to take over the mouse and keyboard, loading up a new browser and searching.

Clarke Griffin on the record off the chart full interview

“This went up this morning,” Anya explained, finding the website she was looking for.

“Why do you think I’ll want to see this?” Lexa asked, frowning still.

She did her best to avoid any and everything that was Clarke Griffin.

“Trust me.” As if Lexa did anything else.

A video appeared on the page, and after a second of buffering, the image came up of Clarke. She looked every bit the same as she did in high school, and Lexa shot Anya a look, wondering what the purpose of this really was.

“You can watch the full thing later if you’re interested, but the bit you really need to see is from seven nineteen.” With a few clicks, Anya had the video loading from there, and then she hit play, stepping back, letting Lexa watch.

“Okay, so, we have to ask, what about your character’s mean streak? I mean, she hates people. She despises some of the other characters, how easy or hard is that for you to do?” the interviewer asked, and Lexa struggled to remember his name.

Clarke was taking a drink from her water bottle as he spoke, but smiled and nodded, swallowing, towards the end.

“Oh, they’re fun, some are actually hard. When working with Raven, I find it hard. I don’t like being mean to her, but we have a laugh and the second they yell cut we’re back to being friends,” Clarke explained, and Lexa looked back to Anya to see what the fuss was about.

Lexa didn’t watch Clarke’s show. She didn’t follow her career. This was not of any interest to her.

“What do you use to get yourself into that frame of mind? Do you pull that hatred from somewhere else in your life like a bad ex or...?”

“No, not at all. I actually get back in the mindset of seventeen year old Clarke Griffin-”

“You hated people when you were seventeen?”

“Doesn’t everyone?” Clarke asked, smiling, before shaking her head. “Seventeen year old me didn’t hate people, I hated one person in particular, and I initially struggled to get into those scenes with the venom needed, but calling on that time of my life, that person, I was able to nail it.

“Who was this person?” the interviewer asked, smiling, as if loving this turn of events.

Lexa could already feeling her stomach rolling.

“A girl I went to high school with; we didn’t see eye to eye and it was petty, but I hated her. Absolutely detested her.”

“She steal your boyfriend or something?” it was a joke, a cheap shot, and Clarke clocked it, too, if her face was anything to go by. Her smile became contained and she shook her head, pursing her lips.

“No, it wasn’t over a boy.” Clarke’s distaste at the words were clear, and then she went on. “ I was actually too scared to ask her to my girlfriend so thought hating her would be the better approach.”

And just like that, the interviewer stopped laughing and did a double take.

Lexa did, too.

“I’m sorry, you were what?”

“I liked her, alot. She was stunning and I didn’t know how to ask her out, because I wasn’t quite comfortable with the thought of dating a girl, so I hated her for it.”

There was a pause, as the interviewer looked down at his notes and then off camera, as if needing instruction, while Clarke sat perfectly poised.

“Did-did you ever tell her?”

“No. Last I saw of her was graduation.”

“And so she’s- she’s why you can- how you can-” he was struggling, still stuck on what had just been said, and Clarke came to his aid.

“Yes, when I’m yelling at Raven during a scene, I just recall how I felt back then and it helps. We both can-”

Anya hit pause at that and Lexa looked round to see why.

“She goes on to talk about the show, that’s all there is on you.”

“That might not be about me,” Lexa said, shaking her head.

“Please. Who else did Clarke detest?”

Lexa wracked her brain, trying to think, but knew there was no point. It was her. It was most definitely her. And what was all that about Clarke liking her?? Was this the ultimate end to the cruellest joke in history?

“She’s fucking lying,” Lexa muttered, angry now, and Anya snorted, shaking her head.

“You fucking wish she was,” she said back, and maybe that was part of it, yes.

“She didn’t like me. She couldn’t even stand to look at me. She was grossed out by me!” Lexa called, standing, moving, feeling the need to do something to process this new information.

“I think, and from the sounds of it, she was scared, Lex.”

“So?” Lexa fired back. “That doesn’t make up for what she did to me. She was fucking cruel.”

“Yeah, she was.” Anya remembered, being a skype call away as Lexa checked in. It was never great news, but then again, being the only out lesbian at an all girl’s boarding school was never going to go over well. Especially not back then.

“Why did you show me this?” Lexa asked, stopping her pacing.

“Because it’s been picked up on twitter and tumblr and not just the news that Clarke is bisexual, but that she hated a girl due to her crush, people are curious. The fact you two never made up…” Anya let the sentence hang.

“You think they’re going to try and find me?”

“I think they probably already have,” Anya shrugged, “not some blogger, but if there’s going to be a follow up story, you’re definitely going to be brought up.”

“No way.” Lexa shook her head.

“Please, talk to any alumni of that year and they will all be able to tell them that you two hated each other.”

“I didn’t hate her,” Lexa protested.

“You hit her with your lacrosse stick,” Anya fired back.

Shit, yeah, she did.

“That was an accident,” Lexa said, going back around the desk, to hopefully get back to work, where Anya was heading towards the door.  

“Yeah, and I’m sleeping with Octavia Blake,” Anya muttered, rolling her eyes, on her way out, but Lexa grinned.

“I knew you did!” she called after her, before sinking into her chair.

Her work was still waiting on her, but Clarke’s video was still on her screen. It wouldn’t hurt to watch it one more time, would it? Just to be sure. Just in case it was different this time.

*0*0*

Are you still watching?

“Yes Netflix, I am, do not judge me,” Clarke moaned, rolling across her couch to grab the remote. It was a little after one in the afternoon, and so far Clarke had been able to sleep in, have a lazy breakfast in front of the TV, and throw on some clean sweats so she at least looked presentable.

All Clarke had on the agenda today was to lounge about her place, maybe go buy some groceries later, but that was at a push. She’d been so busy promoting the show lately, she just wanted to chill the fuck out. And today was a day she could do that.

Hence the Netflix, with its rude interruption. But it wasn’t the only one.

Just as she was about to hit x on the handset, the buzzer went on her door, and that earned another moan because now she had to get up.

Throwing a look around her place, Clarke made sure it was semi-decent before going to the intercom.

“Who’s this?” Clarke asked, straight to the point.

“Octavia, let me in, it’s cold as f-” Hitting the buzzer, Clarke stepped back and to the door, waiting for the knock.

As soon as she saw Octavia through the peephole, and then the knock, she opened it with a smile. She certainly hadn’t expected to see her today, and casting a look at the bottle of wine in Octavia’s hand, she had planned on staying, and it was going to be a good afternoon ahead.

“What are you doing here?” Clarke asked, grinning, and Octavia moved forward, giving her a hug as she walked in.

“You liked Lexa, huh?” Octavia said instead, her grin now turning cheeky.

“Please tell me that’s not why you’re here.” Clarke wanted to thump her head against her front door.

Of course that would be why Octavia was there. Of course.

Octavia had been there, throughout high school, had watched the train wreck that was Clarke around Lexa first hand. Of course she’d want to know the details, especially since Clarke had never told her about the crush she had on Lexa.

“Afraid so. I saw your interview with Fuckboy Collins and couldn’t resist coming to see the mess that is you in person.” Octavia made herself right at home, going into Clarke’s kitchen and grabbing two glasses, along with the bottle opener, before coming back through.

“Octavia,” Clarke whined, flopping onto the couch.

“What made you think that was a good move? Lexa’s going to see that.” Clarke had already heard that exact question from her agent earlier, and it was not a conversation she wanted to relive.

“No she won’t,” Clarke mumbled, sighing.

“Yeah, she will,” Octavia chimed, shaking her head as she uncorked the bottle and started pouring the wine.

Okay, so it wasn’t even half one, but people drank wine with lunch, it was fine.

All they needed to do now was order some lunch.

“No, she won’t. She hates me,” Clarke repeated, looking longingly at her TV and that stupid Netflix question.

“No, she doesn’t. She had the gayest crush on you.” That caused Clarke to do pause, and then look Octavia’s way.  

“What? No she didn’t.” Octavia rolled her eyes and nodded, taking a drink, and passing Clarke hers.

“Yes, she did. Anya told me,” she admitted, like that was an everyday occurrence.

“Anya? Winters? From the year above?” What the hell did she have to do with anything? Octavia wasn’t friends with her, nor was Clarke for that matter. It was Lexa that was closest with Anya.

The two of them were inseparable throughout Anya’s final year, and when she graduated, Lexa had been even more isolated. She did have friends, Costia fucking Green was her friend alright, but there was a noticeable difference without Anya there.

“Yeah,” Octavia said, nodding. “Anya Winters, Lexa and her were like a set, how could you forget her?”

“I haven’t forgotten her, I’m just surprised. Why did she tell you that?” Clarke asked, curiously. It seemed strange Anya and Octavia would even be hanging out.

“Doesn’t matter, but she did.” Vague much.

“Why didn’t you tell me that?” Clarke then asked, because if she’d known that Lexa...if she’d known...well, things definitely would have been different, for sure!

“Because I didn’t want you hating on her more, it was just sad,” Octavia replied, like it was obvious.

“I wouldn’t have done that!” Or, at least, Clarke doesn’t think she would have. Seventeen year old her was mean as fuck, but still. If she’d known, it might...

“Clarke, you decked her during lacrosse practice,” Octavia added, like that explained everything.

“She hit me with her stick!” And it wasn’t a little tap. It was a slam. Clarke was bruised for weeks!

“That was an accident,” Octavia said, having another drink.

“You sound just like Lexa,” Clarke replied, swirling the wine about in her glass. She could actually hear Lexa’s voice in her head saying as much, protesting when Clarke tackled her and hit her, and then giving her side of the story to their coach.

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Octavia teased, and christ, as if it couldn’t get worse.

“Stop it.” Clarke needed to drink more.

“You going to talk to her?”

“Who?” Clarke wondered, making good and having a drink.

“Lexa,” Octavia replied, rolling her eyes.

“Why?”

“Because you might have just fucked up her life a little?” Please, no way.

“This doesn’t have traction. By tomorrow, everyone will have moved on,” Clarke said, making a face, like all was fine, no worries.

“Yeah, and I’m dating Anya Winters.” Clarke narrowed her eyes at Octavia, and chose not to rise to that bait.

She was serious, by tomorrow, this would be old news.

*0*0*

“Well, at least it’s a good picture of you,” Anya said, dropping the tabloid paper down on Lexa’s desk.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Lexa groaned, seeing her face looking back at her.

It wasn’t even eight a.m., she didn’t need this nonsense.

“I like this one even more, though,” Anya added, placing down a printout of a web article, with Lexa’s photo the main attraction.

At least this photo was more recent, with her attending an award ceremony for Winters & Co. They also happened to have Anya on Lexa’s arm, so of course Anya would like that one better.

“Tell me there aren’t lots of these,” Lexa asked, hoping beyond all hope, but Anya grinned and that was enough. “Christ. Clarke Griffin opens her mouth and my life becomes a spectator sport, I feel like we’re back in high school.”

“Yeah, you also received four messages this morning, asking for comment and one asking if you’d be interested in doing an exclusive interview.”

“How did you get my messages?” Lexa wondered, looking back over the articles in front of her.

“I bribed the new girl on the desk,” Anya said offhandedly. “So, do you want to read these or shall I take them away?”

“Leave them, I’ll read them later, you know, when we’re not meant to be working,” Lexa said, raising her eyebrows as a challenge, and Anya rolled her eyes back.

“Boring. But I’ll see you later, we need to talk to Miller. Try and schedule some time in, if you can tear yourself away from those,” Anya said, pointing to the articles, as she made her way to the door.

Rather than call back and argue, Lexa sunk back into her chair with a sigh. This was not how she saw her morning going. Last thing she wanted to do was get dragged into some pseudo limelight.

Even now, years after the fact, Clarke Griffin could still make her life hell. Why was that not surprising?

*0*0*

“So I might have been wrong,” Clarke said, out, meeting Octavia for lunch.

The two of them were settled down in some little cafe, awaiting their food, and sipping wine like it was going out of fashion.

“Oh?” Octavia asked, although she already damn well knew.

“The story with Lexa, it hasn’t died down.” No shit. But Octavia wasn’t going to phrase it quite like that, because Clarke was paying.

“No, if anything, it’s gotten hotter. Do you know she’s been named as one of the top out bachelorettes in the city? And do you know she’s currently single? And do you know that although you haven’t spoken to her since graduating, people already think you two would make an amazing couple?” Octavia’s smirk said it all.

“Fuck my life,” Clarke moaned, dropping her head slightly. “And wait, back up, when was she named one of the top bachelorettes in the city?”

“Last three years running, she keeps jumping up the list. Top fifty, first year, she was forty four; then second year, she was twenty nine; and then last year, she was eleventh.”

“How do you know this?” Clarke asked, confused as to how Octavia could recite that like it was everyday knowledge.

“I read about it, online, because it’s everywhere.”

“Jesus.” Taking another drink, Clarke tried to work out what her next move was going to be. It felt like she needed to do something.

“You need to talk to her, before she starts talking herself,” Octavia said, as if reading her mind.

“Lexa wouldn’t do that,” Clarke replied, shaking her head.

“How do you know? You weren’t friends with her in high school, you haven’t seen her since graduation, you do not know her, Clarke.”

Octavia had a point, but even the thought of Clarke going face to face with Lexa ran a chill up her spine. It was daunting, to say the least. Especially now that the past was out there and Lexa would know Clarke had a crush on her. Talk about awkward.

“Maybe I should give it some more time. I mean, I don’t want to jump the gun, and look, you even said that she’s been named a top out bachelorette, but has she ever given an interview?” Clarke reasoned, prioritising her desire not to see Lexa.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Octavia replied, grudgingly, knowing Clarke had her beat, there. “But, you might want to apologise to her anyway, for fucking up her week, at least.”

That was a good point. God, could Octavia stop making them?

“Let’s see the week out, okay? I’m sure this will blow over, it has to.”

And with another drink, Clark left it at that, with Octavia giving her a knowing look.

Uh huh.

*0*0*

By Friday, Clarke could only take Octavia’s advice, and that of her agents, to go and speak to Lexa in person. She had debated emailing Lexa, but apparently that screamed too cold, and given the nature of the situation, maybe it was better to do it face to face.

Not only would that allow Clarke to read what kind of mood Lexa was in, how well she was taking what was going on, but also, ensure there was no email trail for anyone else to view later on.

So that’s how Clarke found herself entering Winters & Co, without an appointment, and going up to the reception, asking to see Lexa. She had expected a little push back, but it was as if the receptionist realised just who she was, and lo and behold, suddenly Lexa was available, and was being called.

It felt a little surreal, even for Clarke.

Those few moments to herself, knowing Lexa was on her way, gave Clarke time to pull herself together. She was there for a reason, she had a goal in mind, it wasn’t going to be that hard to see it through. It was only Lexa, after all. And thanks to those articles, Clarke had seen her enough to get over the initial ‘oh’ at just how good Lexa looked.

“Clarke,” Lexa said, her tone doing well to mask the surprise in her voice, as she came round into reception.

“Hi,” Clarke replied, standing, and giving Lexa her best ‘it’s good to see you again smile’. Whether she sold it or not, she wasn’t sure.

Her brain was still trying to catch up, because although she’d prepped, and she’d thought she’d done a good job, nothing quite prepared her for seeing Lexa in person. Lexa was...she was exactly how Clarke remembered her, and her seventeen year old self was anxious and her stomach was rolling and why the fuck did Lexa have to be so goddamn pretty?

“What are you-” Lexa began, and then, as if remembering her manners. “Come on through, my office is back here.” She paused, and Clarke stepped forward, making it clear she was coming, before Lexa led the way.

“Thanks,” Clarke said, once they reached Lexa’s office, and she followed her inside, with the door closing behind them.

“Feel free to take a seat, what can I- What are you doing here?” Lexa asked, moving to stand behind her desk, putting a little more distance between them.

Given she was still standing, Clarke didn’t take a seat, and instead opted to stand. It was probably better anyway. She had no intentions of getting comfortable. This was awkward enough as it was, no need to drag it out.

“I felt that I should maybe come and apologise for…” her eyes scanned the desk and neatly stacked in a pile at the side were magazines and printouts on the matter. “Well, apologise for that. I honestly didn’t mean for this to happen.”

“What did you think would happen when you mention having a crush on a girl you hated in high school?” Lexa replied, and there was that tone seventeen year old Clarke knew so well.

Lexa was still cold, still aloof as she always had been. Some things never changed.

“I thought it would blow over quickly, I didn’t think they’d come looking for you, or find you for that matter.” Clarke let that hang in the air, licking her bottom lip before continuing. “I’m sorry, for the offhanded comment and the invasion of privacy you’re now enduring. My agent is trying to control it, but they’re going to ask you if you want to do interviews-”

“And that’s why you’re here,” Lexa said, smiling humorlessly as she dropped into her chair.

“No, that’s not why I’m here, I did come here to apologise, but they will ask and you have every right to do them, if you want-” Clarke continued, only to be cut off once more.

“But, let me guess, you’d rather I didn’t?” Lexa asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

“It would be better if you didn’t. It would be like adding fuel to the fire.” Lexa must have known that, too.

“You don’t have to worry, I’m not going to do any interviews or make any comments. I have already turned them down, and made it clear that will be my stance going forward. I have no desire to stir up the past, unlike some.” Clarke knew she deserved that dig.

“Again,” she began, “I’m sorry for this, and...and I’m sorry for how I treated you at school. It was immature, and I shouldn’t have used you as a way to deal with my issues. You were...you deserved better,” Clarke finished, giving Lexa a parting nod and heading towards the door.

She took a deep breath as soon as her back was turned to Lexa, feet still moving, and wanted to shake her head. That was not how she imagined that going. Not at all.

“Did you mean it?” Lexa called, just as Clarke was about to open the door.

“What?” Clarke turned to ask.

Lexa was standing now, pursing her lips, as the silence rang on. Clarke was beginning to wonder if she’d misheard and Lexa hadn’t actually said anything at all.

“I’m sorry, too, for my behaviour towards you during those years,” Lexa then said, and Clarke didn’t quite know what to make of it.

Gone was Lexa’s defensive stance, and instead, she looked genuinely remorseful.

“Look, it’s behind us, we’re both different people now. I’m happy to say it's water under the bridge.”

“Agreed,” Lexa said, nodding.

And then they were left looking at one another, taking the other in, seeing the younger version looking back as if they were seventeen again.  So many memories, of dirty looks, eye rolls, heated words, petty arguments, and the occasional physical altercation. And then the other side to the coin, the shy looks when the other didn’t notice, the adrenaline rush from their spats, and then the desires, which were only entertained late at night, lying in their beds, before falling to sleep.

For Clarke, she couldn’t work out quite why she hated Lexa so much, why she didn’t want her there but yet wanted to be around her all the time, too. For Lexa, she knew exactly how much she liked Clarke, and thought of herself as nothing more than masochistic for having a crush on girl who hated her. Pathetic. She was pathetic for carrying a flame for Clarke Griffin.

“I’m glad we could…” Clarke began and then shook her head. “Thanks for your time, Lexa. Take care.”

“You, too.” They regarded each other one final time, before Clarke made her leave, gently closing the door behind her.

She let out a deep sigh as she made the walk back to reception. God. She needed a drink. That was- well, who knew Lexa Woods would still be able to knock the wind right out of her?

It was like she was back on that lacrosse pitch, winded, when the stick came down, jarring her.

Thank God she never needed to do that again. Thank God she’d never seen Lexa again after that. Thank God it was over and done with.

“How’d it go?” Octavia asked, not missing a beat, when Clarke called her outside the building.

“Fancy getting a drink?”

*0*0*

After Clarke’s departure from her office, Lexa let out a deep sigh, trying to wrack her brain for the details of the conversation just had. She’d been a little combative, a little sharp, and maybe that hadn’t been the right stance to take.

Then again, she never asked for this, she never asked for the attention she was getting, and really, it was Clarke’s fault they were in this mess. She just had to keep reminding herself of that fact, when thinking over how good Clarke looked.

She still help all the power and authority she had at seventeen, with a look that made Lexa think twice, but she also had softened, willing to apologise, where seventeen year old Clarke would have doubled her punishment rather than apologise to Lexa.

It definitely highlighted while they had both grown and changed, they still many things the same as back then. And perhaps that was why had Lexa off her game most of the day.

History was being dredged up. She could recall the small things, the way Clarke smirked and smiled, the way she rolled her eyes at Lexa, and the feeling of her breath across Lexa’s skin as she got close, speaking lowly, threateningly and it had Lexa swallowing.

Work was impossible, or at least it felt that way, for the rest of the day. Lexa slogged through it, but she knew she was going to have to double check everything she’d done next week.

Not only had Clarke reminded Lexa of their animosity, but her visit also reminded Lexa of the animosity from others. The loneliness. The fear. The sadness. It wasn’t a time she wanted to dwell on, but it right then and there it was at the forefront of her mind.

Of course, there was one saving grace throughout high school, and that had been Anya, who still never failed to disappoint.

“As promised,” she said, walking into Lexa’s office, just as the clock struck seven o’clock, with a pizza box in one hand, and a bag of burgers and fries in the other.

“You're making my day,” Lexa said, moving things on her desk to clear space.

“Oh, that’s unfortunate, because I might ruin it now,” Anya said, placing everything down, and then going over to the cabinet by the door, grabbing the napkins they stashed there for their normal Friday night office binge.

“How’s that?” Lexa asked, opening the brown bag and pulling out the containers, the smell growing stronger, and her mouth watering.

“Rumour has it that Clarke was here today,” Anya said, watching Lexa for her reaction.

“Bribed Harper on the front desk again, I see,” Lexa murmured, and thinking that definitely wasn’t going to ruin her night.

“Actually, it’s on twitter, and a few of the blogs have picked it up,” Anya replied, and Lexa looked up.

“What?”

Instead of answering, Anya thought it best to just show Lexa. She reached into her back pocket and pulled out her phone, and then loaded up the screenshot she’d taken earlier, lest she not find the tweet again.

Handing it over, Lexa took a close look, and right enough, a tweet was staring back at her.

‘Look who just left @WintersAndCo offices?? Is Clexa on? @thClarkeGriffin #clexa’ which was then followed by two photos; one, Clarke coming out of the building’s main doors, and two, of her walking away, both showing her on the phone.

“Fucking hell,” Lexa groaned, knowing this was the fuel to the fire Clarke had spoken about. This had reignited everything. It must have. And she’d been oblivious all day.

“So what did she want?” Anya asked, accepting her phone back from Lexa, and pulling the chair closer to the desk so she could eat.

“To apologise,” Lexa said, doing the same.

“You accept her apology?” To that, Lexa nodded. “You apologise, too?” And again. “Wow, there might be hope for the two of you, yet.”

“Don’t say that.” Anya tried not to roll her eyes. “People already think we’re something, hell, Clexa? We have a name now?”

“You’ve had that since the interview came out,” Anya added, seeing Lexa was missing the obvious. “And relax, this will die down again, and you’ll be able to get on with your life.”

“I don’t think so, not now, not after this, not at least for a few weeks while everyone moves on. I mean, what if I was dating, or wanted to date someone? This would ruin that.”

“Lexa, who are you kidding? The last girl you dated was Costia, and before that, the last girl you wanted to date was Clarke.”

There was no need to attack her like that, and Lexa took a bite of her burger with a frown in place. So her dating history was limited. That wasn’t to say she hadn’t ‘dated’ girls after Costia, but it was more of a one night sort of thing...Still, that was neither here nor there.

“Well isn’t that good, because if I did, I’d not stand a chance now.”

“Unless you wanted to date Clarke, in which case, it would be easy,” Anya mused, and Lexa stopped mid-chew.

No.

Resuming eating, she shook her head and shot Anya a ‘are you kidding me’ look, which then moved Anya to elaborate.

“You’re both older, grown up, you know she’s interested in women, and come on, you can’t tell me she didn’t knock you for six this morning when you saw her.”

“We don’t know each other,”

“Get to know her.”

“I’m not going to use this opportunity to try and fulfil some high school fantasy,”

“Why not? If I was in your position, I would.”

“Want me to track down Octavia Blake for you?” Anya’s grin in return was filthy, and Lexa quickly moved on. “Anyway, I’d prefer to pretend this never happened. It’ll take time, but I can be patient.”

Anya didn’t say anything to that, because she knew that there was no point pushing Lexa to make a move, or entertain the thought. So instead, she started talking about her weekend plans, and moved the pressure off Lexa, returning their night to an easy session before breaking for the weekend.

*0*0*

“Hey...so it’s Clarke, in case you couldn’t tell...I’m sorry for the photos that came out today. I didn’t...I didn’t think again, I didn’t think they’d have a camera on your office, and yeah...I keep fucking this up, and your life, and I’ve probably done enough of that to last us a lifetime...just know that I’m sorry, Lexa, and if I can fix this, or make it easier, don’t hesitate to let me know.” The voicemail message rang out around the silence of Lexa’s apartment when she returned home that Friday night, just shy of midnight. Anya had dropped her off on her way home, and Lexa’s plans had been to simply crawl into bed, but seeing the flashing light on her answering machine, she had to see what it was.

Of course Clarke would contact her again, Lexa shouldn’t have been surprised, despite it not going so well last time. And how the hell did she get Lexa’s home number?

That was a mess for another time, right now, Lexa was going to bed.

And no, no, she was not going to think back on Anya’s suggestion to make the most of this opportunity, and finally explore whatever Clarke and her could have. There was nothing there. It was in the past. And Lexa was not going to bring up the past.

*0*0*

Clarke never heard from Lexa after that day in her office, and assumed that she had either ignored or deleted the voicemail she’d left her once she knew who had called. And okay, fair enough, that didn’t sting.

Given they had no contact, though, and that there were no sightings of the two of them together, after a few weeks, things did, eventually, start going back to normal. Clarke was back promoting the show, and getting ready for the run up to its second season airing.

Occasionally, she’d get the odd question on it, but tended to be brief and to the point; no, nothing is going on there. It worked for most, and a week before Clarke’s show was to air, for one of her final interviews that week, it was clear her answer wasn’t going to cut it, even though it had been months now.

Her and Raven were doing the interview together, covering the relationship of their characters, that hatred and animosity, and the interviewer was hinting at it, before plunging straight in.

“Clarke, we have to ask, Lexa.” Which, wasn’t even a question, so they weren’t asking anything.

Raven smirked at the name, having heard all about Clarke’s antics, and having seen the original interview it came from.

As Clarke didn’t say anything in response, the interviewer continued on.

“What about you and Lexa now? We have to ask, your fans have sent us thousands of tweets on the two of you, they’re chomping at the bit to find out how clexa is today?

“Well, to be frank, there is no clexa, and there never was,” Clarke replied, stating the obvious.

“What about the photos of the two of you?”

“There aren’t any,” Clarke said, knowing she wasn’t going to get caught out.

Lexa and Clarke had never been photographed together. Except maybe a few times in high school, but she highly doubted that’s what he was referring to.

“You were seen leaving her office, does that mean you two are talking, are friends? Have things developed since then?”

“No, we’re not. Lexa and I are just two people who went to high school together, we had a rocky start, but now amends have been made for that time, and we're getting on with our lives. And they don’t involve each other.”

“So you have now made amends?” he clarified, and Clarke wanted to roll her eyes.

“Yes, I took the opportunity to talk to Lexa, and apologise for my behaviour.”

“And how did she take that?” Christ, would he not stop?

“I’m not going to talk about Lexa,” Clarke said, drawing the line, putting an end to it, before it derailed the whole interview.  

It was clear they were done, and the interviewer moved on, to Raven, with safer topics. But Clarke sat there, stewing, annoyed that she’d had to say anything, annoyed that she had said something, and now wondering if Lexa was going to end up splashed across the web, in articles and blogs and tweets, because Clarke opened her goddamn mouth again.

*0*0*

The following night, Clarke was lying on her couch, Netflix back on, with her tablet next to her, scrolling through her twitter mentions and replying to the odd fan. The interview had come out that morning, and she was checking the impact on Lexa. It was mentioned, of course it was, and the guy went as far to say that Clarke was not open to discussing Lexa, which was right, but then following up by saying perhaps there was more Clarke didn’t want to tell. What even?

Did they not get she didn’t want Lexa getting caught up in the mess?

Either way, it could have been worse, but still wasn’t great.

Interrupting her netflix session, her phone began vibrating, and chancing a look, Clarke didn’t recognise the number calling her. Then again, that wasn’t surprising, but she briefly debated answering, before playing it safe.

“Hello?” she answered, hitting the mute on her tv.

“Clarke?” a voice replied, and okay, they clearly had the right number, but just who the fuck were they?

“Who’s calling?” she said, not wanting to confirm or deny that she was indeed Clarke; if her number had been leaked online, then it could be anyone calling.  

“Lexa. Woods.” There was a pause between her names, and Clarke found herself smiling, pleasantly surprised.

“Oh. Hi.” She sounded far chirpier than she was, but Lexa calling had never entered the realm of possibility.

“I had your number from when you called…” Lexa went on to say, and okay, so she had heard her voicemail.

“Yeah,” Clarke replied, not quite sure what to say.

“And I wanted to call you, as I saw your recent interview.” There it was. And gone was her smile.  

“Look, I couldn’t do anything, I had to say something and he just-” Clarke began, not wanting to hear more disappointment from Lexa on this. It really wasn’t her fault. This time, anyway.

“No, I was- I was actually calling to say, don’t worry about it, and to thank you for not openly discussing our conversation,” Lexa said, which okay. Right.

“Oh, no, it’s fine. It’s not their right to know, anyway. That’s between us,” Clarke said, agreeing.

“Like a lot of things,” Lexa said, offhandedly. “But anyway, thank you, and apologies if I interrupted you in anyway.” Her words made Clarke smile again, because as always, so polite, something seventeen year old Lexa used to go overboard with.

“You didn’t, I just got home, and I’m watching Netflix, and debating between Thai or Chinese,” Clarke said, knowing she’d need to eat soon.

“Thai,” Lexa replied, and Clarke sunk a little deeper into the couch, smile on her lips.

“You think? I could really do with some kung pao chicken right now.”

“That does sound good, actually,” Lexa mused, and Clarke was curious.

“What are you doing right now, anyway?”

“I’m just about to leave work.” Glancing at the clock on the wall, Clarke wondered if Lexa stayed at work past seven o’clock on a regular basis. And then that had her wondering about Lexa in general.

It didn’t feel weird talking to her, that was for sure, and it probably should have, but yet, there was just something.

“Want to...I don’t know, do you maybe want to hang out or something?” Clarke asked, biting her lip as she finished speaking, wondering if she’d miscalculated somewhere.

“Now?” Lexa asked, surprised.

“Yeah, I mean, I’ll order the kung pao chicken and whatever else, and just...it was stupid, you’re probably busy-” God. Why did she say anything? Of course Lexa doesn’t want to hang out.

“No. I’d like- that,” Lexa replied, although her tone made it sound as if she was thinking the exact opposite.

“Yeah?” She could say no. Clarke was a big girl. She could take rejection.

Maybe.  

“Yes; and I can pick the food up on the way, if that’s easier,” Lexa offered.

“No no, I’ve got it covered. There’s a great place nearby.”

“Where about is nearby? Just so I know where I’m going.” Yeah, Clarke’s bad, it wasn’t like Lexa knew where she lived.

“Oh,” Clarke then rattled off her address, with Lexa humming, acknowledging that she knew where she was headed.

“So I’ll see you soon?” Lexa asked, cautiously.

“Yes, I’ll see you soon,”  Clarke agreed, feeling her stomach doing flips, and not just because she was hungry.

They both hung up, after saying bye, and Clarke was left sitting on her couch in a bit of disbelief. Had she really…? Had she…? Yes, yes she had.

And why was she so fucking nervous at the thought of Lexa coming over?

Getting up, Clarke glanced at the clock on the wall again and realised she had about thirty to forty minutes before Lexa would get there, so that was plenty time to order the food, to clean up, to look presentable, and to stop thinking of this as anything other than just two people hanging out.

Two people  who have so much history and so many convoluted memories of the other. Two people who probably could cut their losses and have an easier time of it. Yet, there was Clarke trying to make the most of the moment.

They’d fucked up the past, but that didn’t mean the same had to be said for the future.

Clarke set about doing exactly what she needed to do before Lexa came by. Food was first, and given she didn’t know what else Lexa liked, she ordered far too much, but whatever. Worst case scenario, she’d invite Octavia and Raven over to binge on the leftovers.

Next was the apartment, which wasn’t in a bad state by any means, but she had a few dishes in the sink, and some clutter laying out. It was a painless cleanup, and that meant she could focus on herself next.

Her hair was fine, after a quick brush, and she wanted to look casual, as Lexa knew she’d been hanging out watching Netflix, but also, not look too unkempt. That meant the pyjama pants she was wearing had to go. There was an old stain by the pocket, and a hole on the knee, and no.

Out came some casual leisurewear her mother had bought her, almost brand new, and Clarke opted to keep the hoodie. She wasn’t trying too hard, but just hard enough. And jesus, did that mean she should maybe put on some makeup? Would Lexa notice?

It wasn’t a date.

It was not a date.

It was just Lexa.

Jesus, she was a mess.

The food arrived before Lexa, which, thank fuck, because Clarke opened the door with what she realised right after was the creepiest smile she possessed. Could she not just play it cool? Was it really that hard?

Yes. Yes it fucking was.

It was not just Lexa.

It was Lexa Woods. The Lexa Woods. The girl she decked and punched, and loved arguing with. The girl who had the prettiest smile, reserved, soft, and kind. The girl who pushed back every time Clarke did, who matched her step for step, and who still seemed to have that spark.

Or maybe, maybe Clarke had built Lexa up to be someone she wasn’t. Maybe it was all in her head, but either way, she needed to find out.

Seventeen year old Clarke regretted never sussing her feelings out and actually asking Lexa out. Twenty-six year old Clarke was not going to miss out on the opportunity to explore what if.

Which was why, when there was a knock on the door the second time, Clarke calmed her racing heart, and answered with an ease about her.

“Hey,” she said, smiling at the sight of Lexa, her hair a little wild from the wind outside, looking as put together as she had last time, long black coat, white shirt, black pants, and Clarke bit her lip, still a little taken aback at how good she looked.

“Hi,” Lexa said, smiling too, heat on her cheeks from chill, and she accepted Clarke’s invitation to come inside by following her, closing the door behind herself.

“Food just got here, so good timing,” Clarke said, now trying to make conversation.

She probably should have spent longer planning what to say than rearranging the bottles in the bathroom, in case Lexa saw behind the shower curtain, as if that was happening.

“Great,” Lexa began, “-I’m starving.”

“Did you find the place okay?” Clarke asked, pulling out plates and cutlery, and stacking the containers of food on tray so they could take it back into the living room.

Lexa went on to answer, not over familiar with the area, but she knew it enough to work it out. Plus, Google maps. As she spoke, she took her coat off and placed it on the table at the edge of the kitchen with her bag.

Clarke replied in kind, talking about how she was lost without Google maps, and then going on to ask what Lexa wanted to drink. While conversation wasn’t exactly flowing, it wasn’t stale either, and the two of them were trying.

That continued throughout the meal, with the tray of food taking up most of Clarke’s coffee table, and them opting to watch a show on netflix neither of them had seen. That was pretty easy where Lexa was concerned, who admitted to hardly watching it.

As nights hanging out with friends went, this was quite far off the mark. There was a tension, and try as they might, Clarke couldn’t dispel it, and Lexa couldn’t either.

“It’s weird, isn’t it? I shouldn’t have-” Clarke said, after they had eaten, with netflix now on low, sitting on the couch together.

“No, I mean, yes, it is weird, but I think that’s more to do with everything that’s been left unsaid, than that which has been said,” Lexa replied, and it was like a flashback to high school in her mannerisms and tone.  

“You really haven’t changed that much, have you?” Clarke said, looking at her, taking her in once more.

“I’d say the same about you,” Lexa remarked, doing the same, much like they had in her office months ago.

“So what needs to be said?” Clarke asked, straight to the point, and god only knows why she enjoyed watching Lexa squirm a little at that. “Come on, Lexa, you can’t throw down a gauntlet like that and then not expect me to pick it up,” she teased, as pinkness spread across Lexa’s cheeks.

“Did you mean it?” Lexa then asked, and Clarke wasn’t sure she heard her correctly, because the context didn’t fit.

“Hmm?” she hummed, frowning.

“You had a crush on me?” Lexa clarified, recalling Clarke’s words from the original interview.

“Yeah,” Clarke said, not ashamed, nor embarrassed, at that moment. “I did. I just didn’t realise that.”

“Did you...did you know that I liked you, too? Is that why you were-” Lexa was going to say cruel, but fell short. “Is that why you were so angry with me all the time?”

“You-” Clarke stopped, frowning, before shaking her head. “Holy shit, Octavia was right-”

“I’m sorry?” Lexa asked, confused now. What the hell did Octavia Blake have to do with anything?

“You liked me?” Clarke asked, checking, and Lexa nodded, once. “But I was horrible to you,” she said, still frowning, trying to understand how Lexa could have even entertained the thought.

“I don’t think I was very kind to you, either, Clarke,” Lexa said back, and okay, good point.

“No, that’s true. You hit me with your lacrosse stick.”

“That was an accident,” Lexa stated, standing firm on that.

“No, it really wasn’t.”

“It honestly was. I hadn’t...I hadn’t been paying attention, and then ball was flying towards you and you were never paying attention  either so of course didn’t see it coming.” How both of them survived that sport without frequent concussion or black eyes, Lexa didn’t know.

“Are you trying to tell me you were being noble?” Lexa made a noise at that, smiling.

“I wouldn’t go that far. It was going to hit you, hard.”

“So instead, you hit me, hard.”

“And then you hit me, hard,” Lexa smirked, recalling Clarke’s face, full of rage, as she turned and realised it had been Lexa that had struck her.

Three seconds later, Lexa was flat on her back on the pitch, with Clarke trying to knock the crap out of her.

“Yeah…” Clarke bit her lip, recalling the same memory. “Sorry about that. I probably shouldn’t have jumped you.”

“If I’d known, I would have suggest a less violent way of jumping me,” Lexa said, and Clarke smiled, wondering if Lexa meant the innuendo or not.  

“If I’d worked out I was bisexual back then, and there was no reason to hate you, I probably would have gone for that, too,” Clarke mused.

And then there was a pause.

“So what’s stopping you now?” Lexa asked, going for bold and brave and all the things she’d pushed down in school when it came to Clarke Griffin.

And god, if that question wasn’t an invitation.

Clarke was convinced she hadn’t heard that right, because no way was Lexa saying what she thought she was. Except, Lexa was moving closer, slowly, eyes fixed on Clarke’s lips, and she tilted her head as she leaned in.

Holy shit.

Lexa closed the distance, with Clarke playing catch up, and kissed her; her lips soft, pressure almost absent, allowing time for Clarke to reciprocate, and then, it was if she realised what was happening, what was really happening, and Clarke inhaled, sharply, her lips chasing Lexa’s into the next kiss.

This was really fucking happening.

Lexa seemed to realise this too, pillowing Clarke’s bottom lip between hers, so tender and careful, but there was an edge, an increase in pressure into the next kiss. There was a longing, a moment missed one too many times, that was coming to fruition, and it was as if they both realised, both kissing back, both reaching out, their hands on the other, trying to move closer, pull them nearer, and God, this was long overdue.

Clarke opened her mouth into the next kiss, letting her tongue swipe across Lexa’s bottom lip, which had Lexa’s breath catching and a groan as she followed in kind, her tongue meeting Clarke’s, and jesus, that had the desire burning like an inferno.

“Are we crazy for this?” Lexa then asked, breaking the kiss, leaning her forehead on Clarke’s, taking her in, breathing her in, and Clarke was weak.

“I think we were crazy for not doing this sooner,” she replied, her thumb caressing Lexa’s cheek, as she leant back in for another kiss, desperate for more.

“Mmm, that might be the case, but really?” Lexa said, pulling back for a second, her pupils blown and gaze heady.

“What’s the worst that could happen?” Clarke asked, her mantra of late.

“You hated me.” And that wound still stung.

“I don’t think I ever knew you, but I’d like to.” It was an offer, to stay, to see this through, to find out where tonight would take them; and Clarke waited, but rejection never came.

“I’d like that, too,” Lexa admitted, a small smile playing at her lips, and Clarke kissed her, smiling into the next kiss, and the one after.

*0*0*

“Can you believe this?” Anya said, walking in, unannounced, like usual, while Lexa tried to get some work done. She was holding up a magazine, and with a little squinting, Lexa realised it was the special edition for the top 100 out bachelorettes.

“Why do you read that?” she asked, already knowing where this was going.

“Because one day I’m going to be in it,” Anya replied, taking a seat across from Lexa, opening up the magazine, flicking through the pages, perusing each page briefly.

“You have to tell people you’re out, Anya, to be out,” Lexa reminded her, knowing very few people were aware that Anya was bisexual.

“Semantics.” Lexa rolled her eyes at that, and waited, because she knew it was coming. “So, do you want to know what number you are this year? Eleven last year, just outside the top ten, what about now?”

“I don’t care, but you’ll tell me anyway.”

“You’re right I will. You’re number two, jumped nine places. I’m proud of you,” she teased, and Lexa sighed.

“Second?”

“Yep.” Her smirk was far too telling though.

It didn’t take three guesses to work out who was number one.

“I should probably congratulate Clarke on being top.” Anya grinned at that, and Lexa backtracked- “Do not- no. Congratulate her for being number one. Number one.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Anya said, still grinning. “Because she’s on top, literally.”

And with that, Anya placed the magazine down on Lexa’s desk, page open, and with Clarke’s photo and article taking up the top half of the page, where Lexa’s was beneath it.

“Fucking,” Lexa muttered, shaking her head, but that was only met with laughter.

“It’s like they know you.”

And that was exactly the same reaction Clarke had, when Lexa saw the whatsapp message from her later that day; a photo of the page, next to Clarke’s smug face, captioned ‘even they know I’m the top!’

Well, she’d just see about that.

“They’ll lose their shit when the find out the two of you are banging,” Anya remarked.

“Dating,” Lexa corrected, shooting her a look, which had Anya smiling, softer than before.

“Knew you could do it,” she said, without any hint of judgement or mirth. “Happiness looks pretty good on you.”

“Who would have thought Clarke Griffin could make me happy?” Lexa said, feeling her chest tighten at Anya’s words, a lump in her throat, and she needed to break the moment.

“Not seventeen year old Lexa, that’s for sure.”

And Anya was right, because seventeen year old Lexa was convinced Clarke was out to make her life miserable, to ruin her high school experience, and make her hate herself for being into girls; but now...now it was different. Now it was oh so very different.

Thank God they’d grown up, they’d changed, and they’d still had the sense to see if whatever connection, although volatile before, was worth exploring.

Lexa might have hated Clarke once, but now, she could say without a shadow of a doubt, she loved her.

My, how times have changed.

*0*0*