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You Will Be Happy Tomorrow

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Clarke was in pain. She always hurt, but this pain was different. It wasn’t the pain of being beaten. It wasn’t the pain of being hit with a shock baton, and it wasn’t the pain of being forced to submit to the alphas on the Ark over and over again every single day.

Life was hard for the solitary omega. Clarke was used to being beaten. As the only omega on the Ark, it seemed every alpha, and even the betas sometimes, felt the need to put the lone omega in her place, as if she needed the reminder that she was low man on the totem pole. The people, especially the elders and the council members loved to remind the poor omega that she was only alive by their grace. If they perceived that she had disobeyed or had done something she wasn’t supposed to, she would often be taken to the public common area where she would be tied to the support column. Any alpha that wanted to could then take a shot at her. None of the hits were life threatening, but many were debilitating, and she was often left a bloody mess. She would then be dragged to her cell to recover without any medical care.

She had no one to comfort her. Not even her mother. Her mother didn’t even recognize Clarke as her daughter. It was only because of her father that she was kept alive after she was born. Babies on the Ark were not made the natural way. Babies were created in the lab to ensure no omegas were born. Clarke was an anomaly, a mistake.

As a child, she wasn’t allowed to socialize. She was isolated and mostly used as an experiment to try and find out what had gone wrong when she was created. She endured daily blood tests, poking and prodding, and unimaginable cruelty.

As she became older and could work, she was given any and all tasks deemed too dangerous or too disgusting for any alpha or beta to do. She cleaned toilets, dug out sewer pipes, and mucked out clogged drains. Once, even though she had no experience or training, she was forced to spacewalk to clean debris off of the solar panels. Normally they would have sent out the zero g mechanics to do the job, but it was during a meteor shower. They wouldn’t risk those lives. Everyone figured if Clarke died, it would be no loss.

The task she hated most, but the days she loved the best, were the days she had to clean out the algae tanks. The smell was far worse than the sewer pipes, and the odor would cling to her for days, but when she was finished, a beta boy name Monty, always snuck a plate of food from the farm to her. His mother ran the farm and would surely punish the boy if she found out, but he risked it anyway. It was one of the few kindnesses that the omega experienced. She just wished he would talk to her. She desperately wanted someone to talk to.

The only other person who was sort of kind to her was Raven. A mechanical genius, Raven was the one who very quickly taught Clarke how not to die when they sent her out on the space walk. If Raven saw her in the halls, she would purposefully bump into Clarke. Sometimes she would push her into the wall. It would hurt, but almost every time, Clarke would then find something in her pocket to make her day just a little bit brighter. It might be something as small as a piece of chalk, or sometimes it would be a coveted ration bar. Sadly, Raven wouldn’t talk to her either. She wouldn’t even look Clarke in the eyes.

It was a lonely life, but Clarke endured it. She always had hope that one day things would change. She held onto this hope for years until the day she was sent into the air ducts to find out why one of the turbines wasn’t working. She found the affected fan. It was huge, and it was stuck, but this wasn’t the reason air wasn’t flowing. Syncing the tablet she was given to the wall panel in the duct, Clarke found the problem. The life support systems on the Ark were failing. The oxygen levels were tapering off and would continue to do so for about the next nine months until there was no air left to breath. There was nothing Clarke could do to fix this problem.

She crawled back out of the ducts to where Sinclair and Marcus Kane were waiting. She handed over the tablet and started to explain what was wrong, but she was abruptly cut off and was led to the council chambers. Inside waited Theloniou Jaha and Abby Griffin, her mother. She could feel the anger and agitation radiating off of them. The dominant pheromones instantly brought her to her knees. She immediately turned her head in submission, unable to deny the power they held over her.

Abby stepped forward to take the tablet from Kane who had stepped into the chamber after Clarke. She looked it over then down at Clarke. With a speed and power that surprised both of the men in the room, she backhanded Clarke across the face. Clarke crumpled to the ground, whimpering. Blood welled from the cut in her left cheekbone and tears leaked from her eyes. Why did she always get hit even when she hadn’t done anything wrong?

Abby looked at Jaha and said “We knew there was a possibility that this was what was happening when you sent this mutt into the ducts. We can’t keep her alive now, knowing what she knows. She will tell someone”

Clarke tried to protest and say that she would never tell anyone. All it earned her was a kick in the gut from Jaha.

“It would appear that it is finally time to float her. She has definitely outlived her usefulness” Jaha said. The tears streamed faster from Clarke’s eyes. She always knew she would eventually be floated despite her everlasting hope, but now that it was a reality, she couldn’t handle it. Her whimpers grew and she began to sob.

Abby looked down at her daughter in disgust then back up at the two men in the room. “I have a better idea, “she said. “I’ve had Raven working on an escape pod. She has it functioning, but it still may not make it to the ground in one piece. We need to see if the ground is survivable. We will send her to down to Earth in the pod. I can affix a collar to her that will send us her vitals and some other crucial information. As long as she can survive for about four hours, we will be able to get all of the information that we need.”

“And what if she doesn’t survive?” Marcus asked.

“It doesn’t really matter. We had always planned to send the delinquents from the sky box anyway. We will just wait another month or two to make sure they survive long enough to get the readings that we need,” Abby said.

All the while, Clarke stayed curled on the floor suffering while they casually talked about her impending death like it meant nothing.

“The decision is made then.” Jaha said. “When do we launch?”

“Immediately.” Abby said calmly. She looked down at Clarke. “Get up subject 319.” Clarke was too petrified to make a move. “I told you to get up 319.” When Clarke didn’t move fast enough, Abby grabbed her by the hair and forced her to her feet. Not letting go of the punishing grip she had on her, Abby pushed Clarke out of the room and down several different halls. No one even gave them a second look as they passed, used to seeing the poor omega getting pushed around.

~~~

Clarke woke with a jolt. She felt like she was floating at the same time as being restrained. Remembering where she was, Clarke could only surmise that the pod must have landed badly. At least it landed, she thought bitterly. She was hanging at an odd angle from the safety belts. She could feel something dripping on her from above, sliding around both sides of her neck to drip on the floor. Her head pounded, her chest felt like it was caved in, and it was hard to breath. She could barely see. It was dark except for a few red, blinking lights.

Struggling with the restraints for a way to get free, Clarke began to feel dizzy. The swaying movements of her head brought stars to her eyes. She closed her eyes trying to stop the nausea then froze. Struggling to listen, Clarke could swear she was hearing noises from outside the pod, but everything was muffled. If she didn’t know better, she would swear it was voices. She figured she must be hallucinating.

Suddenly, the door to the pod went crashing to the floor. Blinding light flooded in, bringing tears to Clarke’s eyes. She tried to move her arms to her face to wipe the wetness away, but she was just too weak. Head hanging and vision blurred, Clarke could barely make out the forms moving into the cramped space.

Clarke looked on with wide eyes. There aren’t supposed to be people down here.

Feeling fingers roughly clutch at her hair, Clarke’s head was lifted. She found herself staring into the eyes of the most intimidating alpha she had ever seen. She could feel the power radiating off of her, and not being able to help herself, Clarke immediately turned her head in submission, whining as the scent of the alpha began to make her head pound even harder than it had been.

“Please,” Clarke began, only to be cut off by the alpha. Having let go of her hair, the alpha looked over her shoulder at her companion and said “Cut her down, and prepare her. Remove that thing from around her neck, but bring it with us. We need to get her to Heda by tomorrow.”

With that the alpha moved away, and her companion, another very intimidating alpha came forward carrying the biggest knife Clarke had ever seen. She began to panic and struggle in her restraints, trying to get away from the man with the knife.

“Stop,” he said with so much authority that Clarke froze, unable to deny his command. He began to cut her restraints and let her crash to the floor. Falling flat on her face, Clarke had to gasp to catch her breath. Before she could move, she felt her arms being forced behind her back. Something rough was being wound around them, securing them firmly in place. The pain it caused in her chest was almost unbearable.

“Please stop. You are hurting me,” Clarke said to no avail. The male alpha simply picked her up and threw her over his shoulders. Before she could even react, she was being hoisted into what Clarke could only imagine was some kind of covered wagon. She couldn’t even get her first glimpse of the outside world before door to the wagon was slammed shut and, once again, Clarke found herself in darkness.

 

Lying on her side, the irony was not lost on Clarke that she was basically in another cage. She grew up in a dark cell on the Ark, then she was sent to die in the pod, and now she was trapped in some kind of moving wagon. She assumed it was made of wood, but not having seen any real wood before, she couldn’t be sure. Was this really her lot in life? To spend all of it trapped in the dark, to never get to be see the light?

Clarke tried to get comfortable, but every time she thought she found a position that didn’t hurt, the cart would jostle, reminding her of all of her pains. Her head ached less, but it was still hard to breathe, and having her hands tied behind her back only made it worse. She couldn’t help the tears that leaked from her eyes or the sobs that broke from her chest. She was so frightened. She didn’t know what was going to happen to her. If the people of earth were anything like they were on the Ark, then Clarke knew her life was only going to get worse. Before being sent down in the pod, Clarke had thought there was no way that things could possibly be worse than they had been, but now, not knowing what was going to happen, Clarke couldn’t help but imagine all of the horrible things that could happen to her. Crying harder, Clarke's sobs turned into wails.

Chapter Text

Chapter two

Clarke woke with a jolt when the door to the wagon swung open and for the second time in who knows how long, light flooded in to blind her. She was unceremoniously dragged out of the cart and her eyes were covered with a blindfold. Having resigned herself to whatever horrible thing was about to happen, Clarke kept her head low and simply let herself be guided to whatever fate awaited her.

She felt like they had made her walk for hours, but was probably only a few minutes. She was weak, cold, exhausted, hungry, and she was still in so much pain. She could barely remain on her feet with how much the pheromones of the two alphas affected her.

She was disoriented, but she could tell that she had been brought inside of a building. She could hear the voices of other people around her and with each alpha she could sense, she felt herself getting weaker. Every one of them was stronger than the most powerful alpha on the Ark.

Suddenly she was stopped, and she felt the floor lurch under her feet. She couldn’t help but squeak. It felt like the room was moving, but she couldn’t imagine how it was possible. It seemed, however, that as soon as the room started moving, it had stopped.

She was pushed out of the moving room and lead into another. Even not being able to see it, Clarke could tell that this room was bigger. Noises echoed off the walls and she would hear more voices. There was a hushed conversation coming from in front of and slightly above her.

Clarke was getting overwhelmed. The two alphas that had led her to this room had multiplied by at least four more. Two new alphas flanked each side of her and there were the two that were having the quiet conversation in front of her. She had never felt such power. Before she could help it, she was crashing to her knees and craning her neck so far to the side that she thought it might break. She was gasping for breath, unable to clear her lungs of anything but the overpowering scents of the alphas.

“Please stop,” she cried. “Please. It’s too much. I can’t breathe. Please, you are killing me.”

Clarke was hyperventilating, and she could feel her world closing in on her. She was certain that she was about to die, and not a single person had laid a hand on her. She was being killed by the cloying scents of too many powerful alphas. She wanted to lie down, but she was being held up by a hand on each shoulder. Why don’t they just finish it, Clarke thought. Is it really that interesting to watch an omega die?

“Out,” a voice boomed. All chatter in the room stopped. “Everyone get out. Leave her.”

Suddenly the hands on Clarke released her and she slumped over on her side. She tried to curl up into a ball, but with her hands still secured behind her back, all she could do was bring her knees up to her chest.

As the room cleared, Clarke was slowly able to take in a few deep breaths, the pheromones clearing from the air. She continued to quake in agony, but she no longer felt like her death was imminent.

“Please,” Clarke begged, not even knowing what she was begging for anymore. “Please.”

“Breathe, little omega. No one here is going to hurt you,” said the female alpha that had commanded the others to leave.

“Said every alpha ever before hurting me,” Clarke said under her breath.

Having been heard, Clarke heard the female say, “No alpha or anyone under my rule is allowed to harm an omega. It is an offence taken very seriously. Tell me, who of my people hurt you?”

Clarke didn’t say anything. She was being trapped, she was sure of it. The alphas on the Ark always tried to trap her this way. If she accused an alpha of hurting her, she would be punished worse. Alphas were untouchable.
Clarke just continued to lie on her side, no longer having the strength to move. She could feel the alpha approaching and couldn’t help but begin to tremble again. Small whimpers escaped unwillingly.

“I am not going to hurt you. I am going to remove the bindings from your wrists, and then you can remove the blindfold.”

Clarke felt the alpha move behind her, and she used the last of her energy to try and inch away. She had barely moved before she felt a calming sense come over her. It was the alpha. She was releasing calming pheromones to help ease Clarke’s distress. She didn’t know what to do, so she simply stopped moving. She had never felt this way before. No alpha had ever tried to calm her.

Clarke could feel the woman leaning over her, and suddenly, her hands were released. Instead of pulling off the blindfold, Clark just brought her hands forward and curled into a tighter ball. The alpha moved around to her front and gently placed her hands on Clarke’s head in order to remove the cloth restraining her vision. The hands moved to stroke her head and Clarke heard whispered words.

“Who did this to you? Who turned you into this?” she heard. The hands continued to smooth Clarke’s hair, calming her further. She didn’t know that a touch could be so tender. She couldn’t remember a single time in her life that she had been touched without it hurting.

 

 

Lexa looked up from her conversation with Indra and watched as the mysterious omega was brought into the throne room. She wasn’t supposed to be trussed like a prisoner, and Lexa made a note to herself to have strong words with her two riders. The girl was scrawny, and clearly malnourished. She could see that the girl was trembling in Anya and Tristan’s grasp. She was also clearly in a great deal of distress.

The girl’s head hung low, and her hair fell in a curtain hiding her face. Lexa could see that there wasn’t an ounce of fight in the girl. Despite her disheveled appearance and the cloth hiding her eyes, Lexa could see that the omega was absolutely beautiful.

Lexa had seen the bright orange ball falling from the sky. Somehow she knew that she had to get to it first. She had to get to whatever it was before the Ice Nation could send their riders. She sent Anya and Tristan, her fastest riders, to discover any secrets the orange ball might hold. She never imagined that it would hold one lone girl.

Before she had even made a move from her throne, the girl went crashing to her knees. She was submitting in a way Lexa had never seen before. The girl was being overwhelmed by the alphas in the room even though none were exerting any dominance. This girl was broken. It took years to break a spirit like that.

“Please stop,” the girl cried. “Please. It’s too much. I can’t breathe. Please, you are killing me.”

Every person in the room froze, confused by the omega’s words. No one was touching her save the two riders who were flanking her. No one was hurting her. It was only Lexa who realized what was going on.

“Out,” Lexa commanded. “Everyone get out.” When the Anya made a move to lift the girl to her feet, Lexa said, “Leave her.”

Confused eyes looked to the commander, but all obeyed. The room quickly emptied leaving Lexa with the frightened omega on the floor.

“Breathe, little omega. No one here is going to hurt you.”

“Said every alpha ever before hurting me,” the omega muttered.

Lexa smiled just a little. The omega had just a little fight left in her after all. “No alpha or anyone under my rule is allowed to harm an omega. It is an offence taken very seriously. Tell me, who of my people hurt you?” Lexa watched as the girl froze. She could feel the omega’s fear rising, like she was waiting to be struck.

“I am not going to hurt you. I am going to remove the bindings from your wrists, and then you can remove the blindfold.” If possible, Lexa could feel the omega’s fear climbing even higher. Suddenly, without even realizing what she was doing, Lexa began to pour out calming pheromones. Whoever this girl was, she was calling to her, and all Lexa wanted to do was ease the omega’s suffering.

Slowly the panicked omega began to calm. Lexa cut the rope from her wrists, but the girl didn’t move to take of the blindfold, she just curled herself into an impossibly tight ball.

Lexa moved to the girl’s front, and she gently took off the blindfold. Not being able to stop herself, she began to softly stroke the girls head. The poor thing let out a few whimpers, but gradually she calmed down.

“Who did this to you? Who turned you into this?” Lexa wondered aloud.

Lexa climbed to her feet, startling the omega. “Shh,” she said. “I am going to call for a doctor. You have been hurt, and he will be able to make you feel better.” Lexa continued to calm the omega the best she could. After calling for Nyko, she returned to where the omega remained curled on the floor.

“I am going to pick you up now,” she said. The girl whimpered again, and Lexa said “Shh, I promise, I am not going to hurt you. I just want to move you to somewhere more comfortable.”

Lexa picked up the skinny omega noting that she could feel every bone in her body. She had been cruelly underfed for a very long time. Lexa wondered what type of people could treat an omega this way. Omegas where to be cherished, worshipped even. No one deserved to be treated the way this poor creature had been.

Lexa walked out of the throne room and carried the girl to her quarters. She gently placed her on top of the furs on her bed. Once there, the omega finally uncurled, just a little and opened her eyes. What Lexa saw almost brought her to her knees.

Looking up at her were the bluest eyes she had ever seen, and they were so filled with pain that Lexa vowed that if she ever met the people who did this to her, she would annihilate them.

Looking into the girl’s eyes, Lexa said “My name is Lexa. Will you tell me your name?” It came out almost as a plea. Lexa desperately wanted to know this girl’s name.

The blue eyes began to water. “I-I-I am s-subject 319,” the girl stammered out. Tears began to leak from the girl’s eyes, and Lexa wanted to cry too. Lexa tried to calm her again by stroking her hair. She moved a piece revealing the raw tissue around her cheekbone. Someone had recently hit the poor thing. Lexa gentled her thumb over the tissue and said, “Was it one of my people who did this to you?”

“N-no,” the girl said and then paused. She was hesitating, but finally blurted out, “It was my mother.”

Lexa looked at her incredulously. This girl was a something to be treasured, not beaten. “I am so sorry. No one deserves that. Did your father not protect you from her?”

“No,” the omega said with vehemence, Lexa was startled. “My mother had him killed. She blamed him for me, even though she was the one who created me.” Not understanding, Lexa didn’t push for more. It was beyond her comprehension to understand how a person could be created. It was becoming apparent that these were a people very different from her own. She changed gear a little, and asked, “Did he not have a name for you?”

Watery eyes found hers and for a few moments the girl said nothing. Lexa feared that maybe she really didn’t have a name. Finally though, the girl spoke up and said, “He called me Clarke.”

Lexa let out a breath that she didn’t know she was holding. “Well Clarke, it is very nice to meet you, and as Commander of the 12 clans, you have my word that you are safe here. The people who threw you away will not ever be able to hurt you again.”

Lexa heard a knock at the door. Clarke startled and tried to move off of the bed. Lexa placed a gentle hand on her and said, “That is just the doctor. He needs to assess your injuries, and he will have something to ease your pain.”

Her words didn’t appear to reassure Clarke. Clarke curled back in on herself and let out a low whine. “My mom is a doctor too.” Catching on to her meaning, Lexa tried to reassure her. “I can promise you that Nyko will not hurt you. He is a very nice man. Would it help if I were to stay while he examined you?”

Clarke uncurled again, looking for the truth in Lexa’s words. Lexa guessed Clarke must have decided to trust her because she began to struggle to sit up and said, “Okay.”

Lexa helped Clarke sit at the edge of the bed, and said, “I will be here the whole time, and if any time you want him to stop, just tell him. He will.”

Getting a nod from Clarke, Lexa rose to let Nyko into the room. Sensing the omega’s unease, he approached slowly. He knelt on the floor in front of Clarke so that she could look down on him. “My name is Nyko,” he introduced. “If it is okay, I would like to help you.”

Chapter Text

Lexa stood close and watched as Nyko assessed his patient. Clarke was initially very nervous. She was fidgety and would not look into the doctor’s eyes, but as the exam went on, she started to relax a little. The beta had a very gentle demeanor and could always calm even the most unruly patient. It was no different with Clark, and eventually, she had allowed him to fully examine her.

Clarke was now sleeping under the furs on Lexa’s bed. Nyko had treated her as best he could, and he had given her something for the pain. It wasn’t long before Clarke had fallen asleep, the sedative having done its job.

Nyko had pulled Lexa aside to tell her what he had found. Nothing was immediately life threatening, but she did have several broken ribs and her breast bone was also broken. Clarke would find it painful to breath for a while. She also had a minor concussion. He surmised that this had happened when her pod had crashed. One set of injuries he couldn’t explain. Clarke had a series of evenly spaced red marks going around her neck.

More concerning to him were the numerous scars and clear starvation. She was also severely dehydrated. Nyko told Lexa that improving Clarke’s nutrition was imperative. He was surprised she had survived as long as she had. Because of her poor state, he told Lexa that he doubted Clarke had ever experienced a heat before. He told Lexa that she should have started having regular heat cycles years ago, but he doubted she was ever healthy enough to have one. The long lasting effects of not having a cycle could severely affect both her physical and mental health in the future. He advised that Clarke be introduced to a few trusted omegas so that she could have a good support system when the symptoms of her first heat began. He also said it was likely going to be many months, up to a year, before this would happen. Clarke had a long recovery ahead of her.

Lexa watched as Clarke slept. She sent for food and fresh water to be delivered. After Clarke ate, she had arranged for Clarke to meet the two omega’s Lexa trusted with her life, her mother, Myra, and her sister, Costia. Lexa desperately wanted to know more about this poor creature and who sent her into Trikru lands, but her curiosity would have to wait. The girl was too fragile to question yet.

Lexa figured she had a few hours before Clarke woke, so she moved to her desk to work. She glanced up frequently to make sure Clarke was okay. She would hear the occasional whimper from Clarke as she slept, but it seemed that the omega mostly slept undisturbed.

After a few hours, Clarke began to stir, and she slowly looked around the room. She initially seemed confused by her surroundings, but gradually she seemed to calm. Lexa had remained sitting at the desk so as not to frighten the sleepy omega. When Clarke met her eyes and didn’t seem too afraid, Lexa rose and slowly approached her.
“Are you feeling better, Clarke?” Lexa asked. Clarke lowered her eyes and said “Yes, th-thank you.”

“I am very pleased to hear that. If you have rested enough, then it is time for you to eat. I had a table prepared.”

Suddenly Clarke looked alarmed. Her eyes traveled wildly around the room like she was looking for a way to escape. “N-no. I, uh, I am fine,” Clarke stammered. “I don’t need anything.”

“Clarke, you need to eat to heal. At least come and try a little something. That contraption we found you in crashed over thirty six hours ago, and you haven’t had anything to eat or drink.”

Clarke got even more nervous. She wouldn’t look at Lexa and fidgeted with the furs underneath her. Based on the little she had guessed about Clarke’s people, Lexa figured no meal that Clarke had ever eaten was freely given.

Lexa made an effort to pump out as much of a calming scent as she could. She walked over to the table of food and first poured Clarke a large cup of water. Thirst was a tricky thing to deny, and she figured she could at least get Clarke to drink. If she was successful with that, then she would try the food.

She slowly approached Clarke at the edge of the bed. “Please at least drink the water. Surely you must be thirsty.” She held out the cup which Clarke tentatively took. With shaking hands, Clarke sniffed at the cup. She finally looked up at Lexa as if asking for permission. Lexa gave her a nod, and Clarke lifted to cup to her lips. After a hesitant sip, she gulped the rest down.

Clarke rested the cup in her lap and looked from the pitcher of water on the table to her cup several times before Lexa said, “You can have as much as you want, Clarke. Do you want more?”

Clarke didn’t answer and continued to stare down into her cup. Lexa lifted it from her hands and moved to refill it. “It is okay to want things, Clarke. No one here is going to punish you for wanting things. Besides, in this case, I would say you need it.” She placed the full cup back into Clarke’s hands, and this time, Clarke did not hesitate to drink.

After Clarke had had her fill of the water, Lexa tried to coax her to come over to the table to eat. She got as far as getting Clarke to within three feet of the table before Clarke froze. She could hear Clarke’s stomach grumbling at the sight of the food, but she couldn’t get Clarke to come any closer. “Please Clarke, it would honor me if would eat at the table with me.”

To Lexa’s surprise, Clarke took a step backward, not forward. “Omegas don’t eat at the table,” Clarke stated flatly. Lexa tipped her head, trying to understand what she had just been told.

Still trying to comprehend, Lexa asked, “If you don’t eat at the table, where do you eat?” Clarke looked ashamed and said, “319 eats off the floor.” Rage flared through Lexa’s veins, but she kept herself in check not wanting to further frighten Clarke. Lexa decided to give up on trying to get Clarke to eat for now. She went to her door and told the guards to bring in her mother and sister, hoping that the two omegas might be able to sooth Clarke enough to eat.

 

Lexa stood in the background as Myra and Costia introduced themselves to Clarke. Clarke had practically backed herself into the corner as they entered the room, and it wasn’t until Myra started speaking softly to Clarke that she reemerged into the room. Lexa had a feeling if anyone could get Clarke to come out of her shell, it would be her mother. She was the kindest person Lexa had ever known.

Before the two had been able to enter Lexa’s quarters fully, she informed them of the situation and of the suspected abuses that Clarke had suffered. Despite Clarke having somewhat calmed in Lexa’s presence, she could tell that Clarke was mistrusting of her. She told her mother and sister that she had a feeling that Clarke had never been treated well by any alpha or beta. It was decided that Lexa would stay for a few minutes, but then excuse herself so that the two omegas could be alone with Clarke.

Clarke was extremely alarmed when Lexa announced her departure. She looked as if she might cry, but only one stray tear escaped. Myra, always playing mother to everyone, approached Clarke and told her she had nothing to fear. She carefully reached up to wipe away the tear while attempting to sooth Clarke with her scent. She guided Clarke over to the sitting area and tried to get her to sit on the couch. Instead, Clarke sat on the floor, looking miserable.

“Clarke, why don’t you join us? Wouldn’t you be more comfortable on the couch?” Costia asked. Clarke wouldn’t meet her eyes when she said, “Omegas are only allowed to sit on the floor.” Myra and Costia both gave Clarke a look of sympathy. “Nonsense,” Myra said. “You don’t see us sitting on the floor.”

Clarke looked at both of them like they were stupid. “You’re not omegas,” she stated flatly.

Myra let out a sigh before moving to sit with Clarke on the floor. “Then what are we?” Myra asked innocently. Clarke looked uncomfortable, like she was being asked a trick question. She was beginning to breathe a little rapidly. “Shh, Clarke it is okay. I think I understand now. You have never met another like yourself before, have you?”

“’It’s, it’s not possible. There is no one like me.” Clarke stammered. “I was told…I was told that I was the only one. I was told that I was a mistake. They told me that omegas are worthless, and no one wants us. I was told no other omegas existed. I have always been alone,” Clarke wailed.

“You are not alone any more, little one,” Myra said, drawing Clarke into the first hug she had ever experienced. Both Myra and Costia used their scents to help ease the pain of the sobbing omega. Myra held Clarke close while cooing into her ear, telling her that she was never going to be alone again. After a while, Costia helped her mother ease Clarke onto the couch. Once all her tears had dried, the two led Clarke over to the table of food, and with no small amount of persuasion, finally got Clarke to sit in the chair.

Clarke sat staring at the food in front of her. She had never seen such abundance. She simply watched as Costia and Myra filled their plates full of food. She was still reeling over the fact that she was sitting with two other omegas. She initially resisted believing that they weren’t alphas. They carried themselves with such strength and pride, just like every alpha she had ever known, but even she had to admit that something was different about them. They were kind, and their scents were soothing in a way that even Lexa’s calming pheromones were not.

****

When Myra had hugged her, Clarke had lost it. She let out all of the agony she had held in for years. Myra had just rocked her back and forth while Costia carded her fingers through her hair. Clarke had never thought she would ever be treated so carefully. These people were absolute strangers, but they cared enough to hold her and touch her in ways she had never been touched. She never wanted them to let her go.

After a while, Myra had sat Clarke upright again. Clarke was feeling weak and wrung out. Her head was beginning to ache again. The pains in her chest had never really gone away. Costia, sensing Clarke’s discomfort, suggested they go over to the table to eat.

“You will feel better with a full stomach,” Costia said. “Nyko left us some of the draught he gave you earlier to help ease you pain. You can take it if you want, then we will show to your quarters, and you will be able to rest.”

Clarke hesitated, and it took a lot of persuasion, but eventually she let them lead her to the table. Every instinct told her not to sit in the chair, that she would be punished if she sat, but after many reassurances from the two omegas, Clarke sat. They filled their plates with food then looked up at Clarke expectantly. She hadn’t made a move to put anything on her plate.

Myra took pity on her and began to fill her plate with a little bit of everything on the table. Once it was placed in front of her, Costia pointed to each item and told her what it was. Clarke looked unsure. She hesitantly reached for a piece of bread and took a bite. She almost cried at how good it was. She looked up to see both Myra and Costia with smiles on their faces. Costia pointed to one item in particular and said, “Try that one. That is my favorite.” Clarke took it in her mouth and let out a low moan of satisfaction. Never had she eaten anything that had tasted so good. After that, Clarke eagerly tried everything on her plate. Before she knew it, it was all gone. She looked at the rest of the food on the table with longing, but she didn’t reach for more.

“It is okay, Clarke,” Myra said. “Please take whatever you want. There are no punishments for eating your fill.” After that, Clarke ate with gusto. She ate until she thought she would pop. Not once could Clarke remember a time where she had eaten and had her hunger satisfied. When she was done, she sat back in her chair a bit embarrassed. She had been so consumed with eating, she had forgotten all about the two other women sitting with her. She looked up to find them smiling at her. She grinned back at them.

Suddenly to door to the room opened and Lexa walked in. The grin faded from Clarke’s face, and she tried to escape from the table. She knew she shouldn’t have sat there. She was sure the alpha would punish her. She felt like she had been led into a trap.

Chapter Text

In her haste to get up from the table, Clarke knocked down the chair. She spun around the room looking for a way to escape, but she had nowhere to go. She lowered herself to her knees and exposed her neck, hoping that by submitting the alpha wouldn’t hurt her too badly. She closed her watery eyes and repeated “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Clarke waited for the blow, but it didn’t come. When a gentle hand was placed on her shoulder, she was so startled, she almost fell over.

“Clarke, look at me,” Lexa said softly. “Please.”

Clarke hesitated, but slowly lifted her eyes, a few tears escaping. “I don’t know what your people did to you, and I know you have no reason to trust us, but I promise you that we aren’t going to hurt you. I hope that one day we will be able to earn your trust.”

Tears still leaked from Clarke’s eyes, but she held Lexa’s gaze. “I…I’m sorry. It’s just…it’s just that no one has ever been nice to me. Some would pretend to be nice to me and then, if I let my guard down, they would hurt me. They would make fun of me. They…they would humiliate me.” Clarke was crying freely again. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I will try to do better. I have never been allowed to sit at a table before.”

All three women were on their feet now, surrounding the devastated omega. Lexa kneeled down so she could be at eye level with Clarke. Clarke tried not to flinch when Lexa moved a piece of hair out of her eyes, but she couldn’t help it. “Clarke,” Lexa started. “It’s okay to be afraid. It is impossible for us to know what you have been through, and I hope that with time, you will see that there is no need to be frightened. There is so much for us to show you. I hope that we can prove to you that life is about so much more than just surviving. I want you to know the joys of this world.”

“You deserve to be happy, Clarke.” Costia said.

“Not according to my people.” Clarke said bitterly as she swiped at her wet cheeks.

“Well, your people are not here, are they? They can’t control you anymore,” said Myra.

Suddenly, Clarke was on her feet again. Her hands flew to her neck slowly touching each red bump. “They put a collar on me before they sent me down.” Clarke looked at Lexa and asked, “Do you know what happened to it?” Clarke was frantic now. “Please…please tell me you know where that collar is.”

“Hold on,” Lexa stated as she walked out of the room. After a few minutes, Lexa returned carrying something. She handed it to Clarke and asked, “Is this it? Why is it important?”

Clarke grabbed the two pieces from Lexa without answering and violently threw each piece at the wall, shattering them to bits. She walked over to the mess and crushed one of the larger bits in her hand. She turned around and saw three sets of startled eyes staring back at her. “The collar was designed to send back information.” Clarke said by way of explanation.

“Clarke, we don’t understand. It is some form of tech? Where are your people? Only the mountain men use tech.” Lexa said, getting suspicious.

Clarke pointed up and said, “I came from up there, and they aren’t my people. They have never been my people. I wasn’t even considered a person to them. That collar was forced around my neck so that it could send back information to them to let them know if the earth is survivable. They believe that they are the last of humanity. They don’t know that people already live down here. If that collar was on me long enough it might have sent them the information that they need. They are running out of air, and they want to come down. They can’t come down here. They can’t.” Clarke was getting agitated again. “If they come down, they will find me, and they will take me back. They will kill me.”

Watery blue eyes turned to Lexa. “Please, Lexa, I don’t want to die.”

“Clarke, it’s okay. Your people are not here, and it is very unlikely that the collar even sent any information to them. Anya said they found it hanging from your neck. It was not attached. She didn’t know what it was, so she brought it with her. And, Clarke, even if your people do come down, we will be ready. You will be protected. I will not allow anything to happen to you.”

“You can’t promise that, Lexa,” Clarke cried. “You can’t, and even if you could, why would you protect me? You don’t even know me. Why would you do that for me?” Clarke was pacing back and forth like a caged animal. Wild eyed and breathing rapidly, Clarke started to worry about all the things her mom and the council would do to her if they found her. Clarke spotted another larger piece of the collar and crushed it with her sock-covered foot. She continued to pace.

At a loss for what to do for the panicking omega, the three women just stood there for a moment. Suddenly, Costia was pulling on Lexa’s sleeve. Lexa briefly turned her head away from Clarke’s frantic pacing and said, “What, Costia.”

“Look.” Costia said, pointing at the floor. A simultaneous gasp escaped from Lexa and her mother’s mouths. Clarke was leaving behind a trail of bloody, black footprints in her wake.

All three women stared at the floor in shock, forgetting for a moment that the pacing omega in front of them was having a full-blown panic attack.

“How is it possible?” Myra asked. “There hasn’t been an omega with nightblood in over a hundred years.”

Perplexed, Lexa didn‘t have an answer. She just knew she needed to get Clarke to stop moving and get some answers. She had wanted to give the omega time to adjust to her new life, but it was becoming evident that she was going to have to get some answers from her sooner than later. Her eyes trailed Clarke as she continued to pace the floor. Clarke was muttering to herself and becoming more and more distressed. With each step she took, Clarke left behind another black footprint. Lexa called to her gently, but Clarke was so engrossed in her own world at the moment that she didn’t hear. Lexa hadn’t wanted to use her power over her as an alpha, but she needed to get Clarke to halt her pacing and pay attention to her.

With all the authority she used as commander, Lexa simply said, “Stop, Clarke.”

Clarke froze where she was, unable to disobey. She narrowed her eyes and looked at Lexa with hurt and betrayal in her eyes.

“I’m sorry, Clarke. Please believe me when I say I didn’t want to command you to stop, but you didn’t hear me, and you are bleeding.”

Clarke’s narrowed eyes widened almost comically. She looked down at her feet and at the trail of black blood behind her. Lexa could only watch as she saw Clarke’s world crumple before her eyes. Clarke remained frozen in her spot, but her body began to quake violently. She looked for a long moment at the dagger at Lexa’s side then in a small voice that Lexa almost couldn’t hear said, “You’re going to kill me now, aren’t you?”

“What,” Lexa asked dumbfounded. “Clarke,” she began before Clarke cut her off.

“It’s okay, Lexa.” Clarke said sadly. “I don’t want to die, but I understand. It’s a disease, and diseased animals get put down.”

“Clarke, no.” Lexa started.

“Please, Lexa. Just do it, please. In a way, it is a relief. All I have ever known is pain. At least it will finally end.”

All three of the other women now had tears in their eyes. The broken soul in front of them who was afraid to die was now begging for death, thinking that the color of her blood made her unworthy of life.

Lexa slowly drew the dagger from its sheath and approached the trembling omega. In an act so brave, Clarke never took her eyes off of Lexa. Clarke didn’t even flinch as Lexa lifted the knife. What did make her flinch was when Lexa drew the blade across her own palm. Lexa held her fisted hand in front of Clarke and let the black blood drip to the floor. “You are not diseased, and you are not some animal to be brought to slaughter. That blood, that black blood, means you are a nightblood, just like me. It is a rare and precious gift to be born with it. You are a rare and precious gift. We celebrate the birth of all nightbloods, and there hasn’t been an omega nightblood born in many generations. You are to be celebrated, Clarke, not put down.”

Too stunned to fully comprehend, Clarke said, “The doctor, my mother, told me I was diseased. She told me that my blood made me inferior. She said it made me weak. She told me that was why I was just a disgusting omega. She…she called me a mutt.”

Myra was the next to speak. She slowly approached Clarke and pulled her into a hug. “You are a gift, Clarke. You are a rare and wonderful gift,” she whispered into Clarke’s ear. “and I have been waiting all my life to meet you.”

Before Clarke knew what was happening, Lexa and her family were kneeling before her. After several seconds, Lexa turned her head and looked up at a confused Clarke. “You were born to rule at my side, my queen.” All three women then turned to bear their necks to Clarke before standing again. Too overwhelmed by the yo-yoing of her emotions and this new revelation, Clarke fainted.

Chapter Text

Clarke woke with a start. She was back on the fur covered bed. Blinking a few times to clear her eyes, she spotted Lexa asleep on a chair adjacent to the bed. While sleeping, Lexa wasn’t nearly as scary or intimidating. Clarke slowly let her eyes rove over the alpha. The commander had changed into a loose shirt and pants. Her soft hair tumbled over her relaxed shoulders. Lexa was stunning. Clarke had just been too upset and afraid to notice. She hadn’t really paid attention to how anyone around her had looked, except for the frightening alpha, Anya. At least that is what she thinks Lexa had called her. That was a face she would never forget, not with her striking cheekbones and dark, golden brown eyes. She was terrifying.

Clarke carefully got out of the bed, afraid to disturb the sleeping alpha. Her head seemed much better, but her chest and ribs still hurt. It also still hurt to take a deep breath. She saw that her damaged foot had been bandaged. She gently padded around the room looking at the different personal items. She went to pick one up, but then got distracted when she spotted the large balcony across the room. She walked over to it, and after a bit of hesitation, she went outside. She had no real concept of how long she had been on earth now, but she was finally getting her first glimpse of the outside world. She was in awe. It was dark outside, not unlike how it always was outside the windows of the Ark, but this was different. It was alive. She was almost overwhelmed by the smells. She couldn’t identify a single one of the scents, but she imagined that she was smelling the fresh air, smoke from the fires below, the trees, and maybe even flowers. Looking down, she was surprised at just how high up she was. She could just make out the orange of the fires below, and she could almost make out the forms of people moving around the streets. Looking up, she could see the stars. There were so, so many stars. In space, everything was just black, but here there were too many stars to count.

After what was probably an hour or two, the sky began to lighten. Rich hues of purple and blue, orange and pink, then red and yellow streaked across the sky. Clarke just stared as the whole world changed around her. She was in awe. The Ark was filled with nothing but greys and whites. It was rare to see any color at all. Even the prison uniform that Clarke was still wearing was grey. Gradually, the city below her became a hive of activity. She could see people below pushing carts, dragging children, and going about their days. The smells changed too. She wanted to know what every one of them was. Some of the smells were definitely making her hungry, but she tried to tamp that thought down. After yesterday’s spectacularly embarrassing meal, Clarke didn’t want to think about food or how she almost ruined everything by sitting at that table.

Clarke didn’t know how long she stood at the balcony rail looking at her new surroundings, but eventually she could hear Lexa calling for her from inside. She could hear a trace of worry in Lexa’s voice. She didn’t know what to do, so she didn’t move. She didn’t know if she was allowed to be out on the balcony. She should have asked for permission, she thought. She should have just stayed in the bed.

Eventually Lexa found her, and Clarke bared her neck and began to kneel in submission. “Please don’t, Clarke.” Lexa said as she placed a hand on Clarke’s elbow preventing her from going to the ground. “Down here, you submit to no one.”

“But,” Clarke began until Lexa cut her off.

“No buts, Clarke. You met my family. My mother and my sister are both omegas. Did you see them submitting to me?” Clarke shook her head no, and Lexa continued. “That’s right, Clarke. Down here we do not force our omegas to submit. We don’t force them to do anything that they don’t want to. They are their own people. They choose what they want to do in life. They can work in any capacity they want. Many are farmers, blacksmiths, fishermen, and cooks. Many have stalls down in the market below. They get married, and many have children, but there are others who choose not to. Many even become warriors.”

Clarke’s eyes widened at the thought of an omega warrior. The thought of an omega being allowed to fight was beyond her comprehension. “Really,” Clarke asked.

“Yes really. No one is limited to what they are allowed to do because of how they are born. Everyone is allowed to choose their own path.” Lexa said.

Clarke looked down toward the streets again. When she looked up, it was with watery eyes. “Except for me,” Clarke said. “I don’t get to be any of those things.”

“I don’t understand.” Lexa said. “You can be anything you want, Clarke. You can do what you want.”

“No.” Clarke began. “You said I had to rule by your side. You called me a queen. That sounds like a life of forced servitude to you. How could I do any of those things if I am serving you?”

Lexa walked over to Clarke and grabbed both of her hands. Clarke flinched a little, but she figured she had better get used to the alpha touching her if she was going to have to serve and service her. Lexa led her to the sitting area and sat with her on the couch. Clarke tried to move to the floor, but the alpha held her hands firmly and didn’t let her move.

“I am so sorry that that is the impression I gave you.” Lexa started. “I would never force you into anything that you don’t want. The three of us just got so excited when we saw your blood. It has been prophesized that one day a pair of nightbloods, an omega and an alpha, would lead together and bring lasting peace to the 12 clans. I have strived to do that alone by uniting the 12 clans, but it is a very hard peace to maintain, and there are still many who wish to destroy my coalition. I just want peace for my people, and when I saw your blood, I assumed you were sent from the sky to me, that it couldn’t be a coincidence that you were here. I’m sorry, Clarke, it would appear I was overzealous in my assumptions. I, uh, I will send for the servants to help you get bathed and to get you some new clothes. You have quarters here in the tower for as long as you want them. As a nightblood, you are entitled to them. I will have Titus come and speak to you. He can begin teaching you as he does all nightbloods. If you find something you are especially interested in, he will arrange an apprenticeship for you. I,” Lexa choked a little now, “I won’t bother you again.”

Lexa gave Clarke a sad look then got up from the couch and began to walk away. “Wait, Lexa. Please.”

Lexa stopped and turned to look at Clarke. She looked lost and defeated. Clarke felt a pang in her heart seeing Lexa so crestfallen. “I’m sorry too.” Clarke said. “Since I was shoved in that pod and sent down here, everything has been a whirlwind for me. I came from a life of servitude. I was treated like a slave, maybe even worse than a slave. The people on the Ark are mean, and they are cruel. If they make it down here, they are going to feel entitled, like it is their birthright to live here. They will try to destroy what you are building. If you say that I was born to help you lead, and bring peace to this world, then I want to help you do that, but you are going to have to be patient with me. I don’t understand this world. It is hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I am free. I have never been free to do what I want, and it is going to take some time, maybe even a lot of time, for me relearn who I am supposed to be. I don’t know if I will ever be able to overcome all of the things they did to me, and I may try to submit every time you walk in a room, but I will try to get better. Please just have patience and don’t give up on me, especially when I want to give up on myself.”

Lexa’s eyes sparkled with happiness, and Clarke was mesmerized. They were a shade of green that Clarke hadn’t ever seen before. “Clarke,” Lexa said. “I won’t give up on you if you don’t give up on me. Already I have failed you by forgetting that you know nothing of the earth we live on. I aim to change that. I want to show you everything, teach you everything that I know, but most importantly, I want to show you that you can be happy here. From what you have told me, you are long overdue for some happiness in your life.” Lexa walked back toward Clarke, and this time Clarke did not flinch when Lexa grabbed her hands. “Would it be okay,” Lexa asked in a shy voice, “if I hugged you?”

Clarke gave a surprised squeak, then stood up and took the initiative to wrap her arms around Lexa’s small frame. Lexa hesitated for a moment then wrapped the girl in her arms. Clarke tucked her head against Lexa’s chest. She could swear she could hear the alpha purring. It was the sweetest sound Clarke had ever heard. “Welcome to the first day of the rest of your happy life.” Lexa whispered into Clarke’s ear.

Chapter Text

Lexa held Clarke in her arms for a few minutes and couldn’t deny that it felt right. The two of them seemed to fit together perfectly. For the first time in a long time, she felt herself purring. She felt herself falling for this girl, but she knew she had to be careful. Clarke may not ever feel the same, and Lexa could easily see her heart getting broken. The alphas on the Ark had clearly broken this poor girl, and Lexa feared that even though Clarke was already doing better, Clarke may always fear and mistrust her.

After a while, Lexa reluctantly released Clarke. “Would you allow me to show you to your quarters? I am sure you would like to get clean. There are clean clothes waiting for you, and if there is anything you need, all you need to do is ask, and please, don’t be afraid to ask. I realize that may be hard for you.”

“Okay.” Clarke said. “And I will try to not be afraid. When you have spent your whole life living in fear, it is a hard not to be paranoid about everything. Can I ask a question?”

“Of course, you can ask as many questions as you like.”

“Does my room have a balcony like yours? I want to wake up every day and see that sunrise. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

Lexa smiled and said, “It does have a balcony. It is the balcony just below mine, so you will always be able to see the sun rise. You can also see the market better from your balcony. After you are clean, and you have eaten, I would love to show you the market, unless you feel the need to rest.”

Clarke’s smile was radiant then. “I would love to see the market. I haven’t officially been outside yet, and I want to see everything.”

“Then come with me.” Lexa said. “I will take you to your quarters.”

***
Lexa led Clarke through the tower and down to the floor her rooms were on. She described little, interesting things about the tower to Clarke. She told her that all of the nightbloods lived in the tower, and that some of the dignitaries from the other clans would stay in the guest quarters on the lower floors. This time the ride on the elevator wasn’t so scary, since this time Clarke was able to see what was happening.

Clarke gasped in surprise when Lexa opened the doors to her room. “This can’t be for me. I can’t stay here.”

Lexa couldn’t imagine what was wrong with the room? “If the suite isn’t adequate, I am sure we can find you a better one.” Lexa said.

“What, no. That isn’t what I mean.” Clarke said. “It’s too much. I don’t deserve all of this. I don’t need this much space. This room must be twenty times the size of my cell on the Ark.”

Lexa didn’t reveal how startled she was by Clarke’s statement about how tiny her cell was. “Clarke, all nightbloods have rooms like this, and if you don’t take this room, it will simply sit empty. There is no one else to use it. It has been waiting for you. It has always been reserved for an omega nightblood, and so far you are the only one.”

Clarke took a few steps into the room and turned in a circle. The room was filled with sunlight. She could see shelves filled with books and little trinkets. On the far wall sat a cupboard. She walked over to it and opened the doors. It was filled with weapons. Knives of different shapes and sizes, a wooden sword, and a bow sat inside. “Those will be your training weapons.” Lexa said.

Clarke gently closed the doors and stepped away from the cupboard. “I don’t want those in here.” She said vehemently. “I don’t want to learn how to hurt people.”

“We don’t teach you how to use them so that you can hurt people Clarke. We teach you how to use them so you can defend yourself. This is a dangerous world. Everyone learns how to defend themselves.”

“I don’t know. I don’t know if I can use those. Can I think about it, please?”

“Of course, I will have them removed. Maybe soon you can watch a few of the training sessions with some of the younger nightbloods. If you change your mind, we can always have them returned. Now, if you go through that door, you will find the bathroom. Clothes have been set aside for you to put on after you have bathed. I will wait out here for you.”

Clarke walked into the bathroom and looked around in amazement. She had never seen a bathroom like this. In the Ark, they used communal bathrooms. Water was strictly rationed, and for Clarke, she was allowed even less, much less. She looked around the room, but couldn’t seem to find the shower.

“Lexa,” Clarke called out. “How do I shower?”

Lexa walked into the bathroom. Since Clarke hadn’t yet closed the door she assumed Clarke was still decent. “What is a shower?”

“Don’t tease. How am I supposed to get clean without a shower?”

Lexa pointed at a large vessel in the room. “You bathe in the tub. Have you not seen a tub before?”

Clarke looked into curious green eyes. “No. There are only showers on the Ark, and water had to be recycled, so it was rationed. I had to clean the bathrooms each day, and I was only allowed to shower once per week, before I cleaned them. I wasn’t allowed to use as much water as the others. I was barely allowed enough water to get clean. Even after showering, the alphas would tell me that I stink.” Clarke said, looking down in shame.

Lexa gently lifted Clarke’s chin so she could look into her eyes. “No matter what they said, I hope you didn’t believe them. Your scent is like no other. It smells of sunshine after the rain with hints of fresh cut grass and summer wheat.”

“That’s kind of you to say, but I can’t imagine I smell like all of that after being stuck in this uniform for so long. So, how do I use this tub?”

 

Clarke lowered herself into the water and sighed in bliss. Never had she felt anything as wonderful as the warm water surrounding her. She had had an embarrassing moment before getting into the tub. She had started to step out of her of her one-piece prison uniform, and tried to remove her bra, but she hadn’t been able to her because of the stabbing pain it caused in her chest and ribs. She couldn’t reach behind her back to undo the clasp. She pulled her uniform partially up and covered her front with a towel, and after several minutes of hesitation, she called to Lexa. Lexa hadn’t done anything to hurt her, so she figured it was worth trying to trust the alpha.

“What is it you need, Clarke. Do you need me to get you something?” Lexa called through the door.

“I, uh, I need some help removing my bra. I can’t get my hands behind my back to undo the clasp.”

“Of course, I am going to open the door now.”

Lexa moved through the doorway and slowly approached Clarke. She hadn’t been sure what a bra was, but seeing Clarke’s current state of undress, she understood. It was similar to her chest bindings, but it looked much more uncomfortable.

Clarke didn’t speak. A soft blush colored her skin. When she turned around so that her back was facing Lexa, she heard Lexa gasp softly. Suddenly gentle fingers were tracing all of the scars on Clarke’s back. She could feel the anger rolling off of Lexa, and she started to tremble. As soon as Lexa noticed, Clarke was bathed in calming pheromones. “I’m sorry.” Lexa said. “It is hard for me to control my temper seeing what they have done to you. You must be amazingly strong to have survived all of this.” Clarke’s blush deepened at the compliment.

Clarke felt the clasp coming undone and turned to face Lexa again, still holding the towel to her chest. “Will you tell me what each of the bottles on the tub is for?”

Lexa looked delighted. She carefully opened each one and told Clarke what each scent was and what it did. Clarke liked the lavender one best, so Lexa added a good bit of it to the bath water. Clarke was surprised when the tub stared to fill with suds. She had never seen anything like it. “When you are done bathing yourself, I can come back in and wash your hair if you like. With the pain you are in, I don’t think it will be easy to wash.”

Clarke wasn’t sure she was ready for something like that, but then realized how long it had been since it was washed. She couldn’t even imagine how awful she looked. “I think I would like that. It must be pretty gross by now.”

“I will step back out then. Call for me when you are ready.”

Clarke sat in the water and played with the suds for a while before getting down to business. She grabbed a cloth and the bar of soap and began to clean. She wasn’t sure if she had ever felt so clean in her life. After a while, she could feel the water beginning to cool. The suds were also starting to disappear. She didn’t want them all to be gone before Lexa washed her hair. The layer of bubbles felt like a form of protection. She called for Lexa.

Lexa stepped in and took a deep breath. “The lavender suits you.” She said. “The way it combines with your scent elevates it somehow. It makes it sweeter. If you are ready, I will wash your hair now. Lean forward.”

Clarke could have fallen asleep with how gentle and caring the alpha was being. Again she marveled at how nice it was to be touched like this. On the Ark, any touch was followed by pain, but Lexa’s touch sent delightful shivers down her spine. She was beginning to feel hope for her future thinking that maybe she really could be happy on earth.

When Lexa was done, she stepped out again. Clarke dried herself quickly and dressed in the clothes that had been put out for her. She wasn’t sure what to make of them. All she had ever worn was a rough prison uniform. These clothes were soft and comfortable. She felt a little self-conscious. The material was thinner than the thick, heavy-duty cloth that made up her daily uniform. The shirt was a soft blue, and the pants were black. Shoes had even been provided and somehow fit her perfectly, not like the clunky hand-me-down boots Clarke was forced to wear on the Ark.

When Clarke stepped out of the room, she could smell food, and she got nervous. She didn’t want to try and sit at the table with the alpha. She was doing better in her company, but she wasn’t sure she could overcome her conditioning. She looked over at the table, but there wasn’t any food on it. She didn’t see Lexa either. “Lexa,” she called out.

“Over here,” came Lexa’s reply. Clarke looked over to a sitting area similar to the one in Lexa’s room. Lexa was sitting on the floor. Food of all sorts sat on a cloth on the floor. “I figured you wouldn’t be comfortable at the table, so I thought we could have a picnic down here.”

Clarke was flabbergasted. She wasn’t used to someone taking her feelings and needs into account. She was still nervous to eat with the alpha, but half of her nerves disappeared at seeing this kind act.

Clarke carefully sat on the floor so that she didn’t upset any of the food. She kept her eyes down until she caught sight of a cup being held before her. “Here,” Lexa said. “Try this. It is the juice from a fruit that grows near here. The fruit is picked in the fall. It can be eaten whole, or turned into many other things, but my favorite way to have it is baked into a pie or like this, as juice.”

Clarke tentatively took the cup and sniffed. She hadn’t smelled anything like it. She took a small sip and smiled. She took a second, larger sip and looked up at Lexa. “This is wonderful. Thank you.”

“Please, try what you want. Most of what is here is different than what you first had. I want you to be able to try everything we have to offer.”

Clarke took another sip of her drink before setting it next to her. She looked at the wide assortment of food, but was still nervous to eat in front of the alpha. Lexa seemed to sense this and since Clarke had been willing to take the cup from her, grabbed various items and handed them to Clarke. After Clarke tried a little of everything, Lexa handed her a small bowl of her favorite food.

“This,” Lexa said, “is venison stew. It has a broth made with the bones of the deer, and the large chunks are vegetables.”

Clarke clumsily grasped her spoon and took a bite. A sigh ecstasy escaped from her lips. “This is amazing. The little bit of food I got on the Ark was bland and practically tasteless. I ate it to survive but never enjoyed it. All except for the rare occasion that one boy would give me some of the vegetables from the farm section. It was always past its prime, but it was better than anything else I was ever given. This seems like such a luxury. You eat like this every day?”

Lexa smiled, pleased that the omega was enjoying the food. She noticed that Clarke seemed to be relaxing and not so uptight about eating in front of her. If Clarke’s people ever did make it to the ground, Lexa was going to relish force feeding them gruel for days on end before killing them all slowly.

“This is everyday food, Clarke. Wait until you get to taste the food at one of the festivals or feasts. The people from the other clans bring all sorts of different foods to us here in the capitol. Each region has its own specialty. A particular favorite of mine are these little fried fish that we can only get when Floukru attends one of the festivals. I find it to be a real treat but many people do not like it.”

“I don’t know what a fish is.” Clarke said, so Lexa explained. Clarke made a face at the thought of eating a fish, but she would be damned if she didn’t at least try everything this world had to offer. She was getting comfortable in the company of the alpha, and now that she was full, she hoped to be allowed outside. Lexa had promised to show her the market, but she was afraid to ask her about it in case Lexa had forgotten the offer.

Seeming to read her mind, Lexa said “If you have had enough to eat, we can head to the market. After, if you aren’t too tired, my mother and sister hoped that I would bring you to their house. They would like to spend some time with you.”

“I would really like that. I still can’t believe there are other omegas. The fact that I was the only one on the Ark was literally beaten into me every day. For so long, I was alone thinking I was the only one of my kind. It would be nice to spend time with them, just to know that I am not alone anymore.” A solitary tear slid down Clarke’s cheek.

Lexa used her thumb to wipe away the tear. “I can promise you that you will never be alone again. You have friends in all three of us, and I am sure you will have many more. This place is your home now, for as long as you want it, and everyone here will protect you and keep you safe. So, let’s go see the market and get you a few things to put in your room. I am sure you would like to add a few personal touches.”

Clarke was touched by the alpha’s words. The thought of being able to go to the market to pick something out for herself made her smile. Her cell on the Ark literally had nothing in it except a lumpy pillow and a threadbare blanket. That was it. She told Lexa this, and about her tiny cell, as they descended to the ground floor on the elevator. Lexa once again had to reign in her anger, and promised Clarke that she would get her whatever she wanted.

They walked the streets of the city, and Lexa told her all there was to know about Polis. Clarke was initially overwhelmed by all of the people, and without realizing scooted closer to Lexa. Lexa pumped out calming pheromones to help ease the omega’s fears. Gradually Clarke relaxed and started to enjoy seeing everyone. Many came up to greet the commander and the new omega. All welcomed Clarke with smiles and promises to meet again. Lexa showed her many of the stalls at the market and, as promised, got Clarke several items to put in her room. When they got to the artist’s stall, Clarke froze. With huge eyes, she slowly looked at every item. She was enthralled. There were so many pieces of art. Vibrant colors splashed across canvases and skilled drawings were done in charcoal. One piece, a forest of many greens with a small secluded pond caught her eye. Before she knew it, Lexa was having it wrapped for her. When Clarke protested and said it was too much, Lexa simply smiled and guided her over to the drawing implements. Having successfully distracted Clarke, Lexa bought her another piece that had seemed to catch the omega’s eyes.

Lexa looked at the stall owner and said, “Can you also wrap up that leather notebook? It looks big enough for Clarke to practice in. She will also need some of the black and colored charcoals, and anything else you think might help her start drawing for herself.” Very pleased with this announcement, the stall owner began to grab various items from all over his stall. “Can you have them delivered to the tower, please?”

“Of course, Heda,” he said.

Clarke looked up from a watercolor that she was studying when she heard this. By now, she had learned not to protest and was secretly tickled that Lexa was getting her all of this stuff. Clarke had hoarded the few tiny pieces of charcoal she had gotten on the Ark, and when she was especially sad, she would draw on her walls. She decided the first thing she would draw would be something that she would give the alpha in way of saying thanks.

After another hour of wandering, Lexa asked if she would like to take a short walk to see a special spot outside of the city walls. Clarke agreed, and they slowly strolled out of the city until they hit the forest line. Clarke couldn’t keep her head from moving from one thing to another. She often had to stop to touch something. She stopped to touch the rocks, the dirt and grass. When a butterfly flitted past them, she almost gave chase. She was amazed by every little thing that she saw. Everything was a wonder to her. “I’m sorry,” Clarke suddenly said, “I know I keep getting distracted, but I have never seen such things before. I had seen a few pictures in the books I was able to steal glances from a few times, but I never imagined that this is what the earth looked like. It was impossible to imagine, really.”

Lexa beamed at Clarke “It’s okay. Take as long as you need. What I want to show you isn’t much further.”

Clarke continued to touch everything as they entered the tree line. Small gasps would escape her mouth and her nose was constantly sniffing out the new scents. She was overwhelmed but in the best possible way. After about fifteen minutes of walking in the forest, they made their way over a small hill. Clarke stopped so suddenly that Lexa didn’t realize that Clarke wasn’t with her until she was about ten feet away. Lexa turned to find an amazed omega staring at the view in front of her. “It’s the picture,” Clarke said in amazement. “It is the picture that you just bought me.”

“It is. This is the little pond in that picture. It is a favorite of many, yet most don’t come here to enjoy its solitude. I often come here to meditate. There is just something about it here that is calming to the soul.”

Clarke had tears in her eyes, but for the first time ever, they were happy tears. Surprising the alpha, and herself, she walked over to the alpha and drew her into a hug. “Thank you. Thank you for showing me this.”

For a while, the two sat on a rock that overlooked the pond. Lexa relaxed while Clarke tried to look at, listen to, and smell everything. Lexa caught Clarke’s attention and slowly pointed to a bird sitting on a branch of a nearby tree. It was just a crow Lexa pointed out, but Clarke was delighted. It was the first bird she had ever seen. By the time they got up, she was also lucky enough to see a rabbit.

They slowly strolled back to the city, and Clarke was happier than she had ever been. As they walked, Clarke told Lexa everything about her life and the people of the Ark, but she didn’t let it dampen her mood. It was freeing to finally have someone to talk to. She could sense the alpha bristling at some of the things she told her, but she was grateful that Lexa didn’t let her anger show too much.

Chapter Text

The walk back to the city went a bit faster, but Clarke was still easily distracted by everything that she saw. Instead of heading to the tower, Lexa led them down a path towards a quaint little cottage.

“This is my nomon’s house.”

Clarke looked up at Lexa with a confused look. “What is a nomon?”

“It means mother in our native language.” Lexa said.

For a moment Clarke looks sad. “I wish I had had a nomon. My mother was cruel and harsh. I think she treated me worse than everyone else because I was her fault. I don’t think she ever wanted to be seen as favoring me in any little way. She was certainly good at proving I meant nothing to her.”

“She doesn’t deserve the term of mother. She proved that she wasn’t one. No mother should treat their child the way she treated you. No child deserves to be mistreated simply because of their presentation. I hope, with time, you will come to see my nomon as yours. She always told us she wanted another daughter.” Lexa winked, smiling and gently bumping Clarke’s shoulder with hers.

“Would you like to go in?” Lexa asked.

“I think… I think I would like that. You are sure it is okay?”

“Of course, I told you that they would really like to spend some time with you. They like you, Clarke.”

The two stepped into the cottage and for the second time during the day, Clarke was assaulted with the wonderful smell of many different kinds of food. Once again, she couldn’t seem to figure out where the smells were coming from.

Lexa led her through a sitting room and into a big kitchen in the back. Myra and Costia both looked up and smiled. They were both in the process of cooking. They wiped their hands and walked over to greet their guests. Myra pulled Clarke into a hug and said, “It is so wonderful to see you again, Clarke.” Costia pulled Clarke into a hug next.

“Did you have a good day?”

Clarke was surprised but pleased to receive the hugs from both women. She grew excited and told them about everything Lexa had shown her. She didn’t think she has ever spoken so much in her life. Both women smiled and asked questions. Lexa stood back and watched as the omega gestured wildly while explaining all of the wonders she had seen. It reminded her that they often take for granted the things they see every day. She smiled as she saw Clarke beginning to relax with her family.

After Clarke finished talking about her day Costia offered to show her the garden. She led the blonde omega out the back door of the cottage. Clarke looked around, amazed. The garden was massive. Vegetables of all sorts took up the entire outdoor space. “You grow all of this?” Clarke asked.

“Actually,” Costia said. “Lexa grows most of it.”

“R-really? I thought she was the Commander. Why would she do this? Isn’t it beneath her to do this? On the Ark, no alpha would be caught dead doing something like growing vegetables.”

Costia just smiled and said, “You’re right, my sister is the Commander, but before she was called to lead our people, we were farmers. There is a great amount of satisfaction to be had knowing that the food on your plate is something you nurtured and grew from just a tiny seed. There is nothing as satisfying as providing for your family. It’s also a lot of fun getting your hands dirty. Come see, there are a few cabbage plants that need to be put in the ground. I will show you how to plant them.”

***
After a little while, Costia led Clarke back into the house, but not before they had cleaned their hands in a basin of cold water. The two were talking and Costia was promising the other omega that she would take good care of the plants Clarke had put into the ground. She told Clarke she could come as often as she wanted to see how they progressed over the growing season.

Lexa and Myra were sitting next to each other on the couch when the two came back in. Lexa immediately stood and offered Clarke her spot. Clarke couldn’t help but hesitate to sit feeling it was wrong to take the seat from the alpha.

“Please, Clarke, surely you are tired after all of today’s activities.” Lexa said.

Clarke timidly sat just at the edge of the couch cushion, in case she needed to slide to sit on the floor. She could count on one hand the amount of times she had been allowed to not sit on the floor. She was sure that the alpha would eventually want her seat back. Instead, Lexa walked over to a cabinet and grabbed four glasses and a bottle with amber colored liquid in it. Lexa filled each glass then handed one to each omegas before grabbing her own. “Let’s have a toast.” Lexa said.

Clarke watched as the three women lifted their glasses up, clinking them together. They all looked at Clarke expectantly. She slowly lifted her own glass. The other three women smiled and clinked their glasses with hers.

“To new friends.” Myra started.

“To new experiences.” Costia said next.

“To new beginnings.” Lexa finished.

Clarke watched as they all took a sip from their glasses. She lifted her glass and sniffed first. She sneezed. Whatever was in the glass was strong. She took a small sip. Whatever she was drinking was fruity, but with a strong bite at the end. “Wh-what is this?”

Myra was the first to speak. “It’s a special liquor that we make from the pears we grow in the orchard. Be careful not to drink too much. It will catch up with you.” Clarke didn’t fully understand what she meant, but she nodded like she did.

The four continued to talk while they sipped the pear liquor. Clarke eventually relaxed into the couch and mostly just listened as the family talked and joked with each other. It was nice to sit and observe what a real family was like.

Myra got up and went to the kitchen. After a few minutes she came back out to announce that dinner was done. “I hope you are hungry, Clarke. I think we made enough food to feed Lexa’s army.”

They led her to a small dining room, and although she was still uncomfortable, Clarke immediately sat in the chair that was offered to her. She was surprised when Lexa deferred to her mother and let Myra sit at the head of the table. Costia served each of them a plate of food and after waiting for the others to start, Clarke dug into her food. It was all amazing, and Clarke couldn’t help her moan when she bit into a warm roll with butter for the first time. The three women looked at her with amusement in their eyes.

“This,” Clarke exclaimed. “This is my favorite thing so far. I could eat this every day.”

Myra and Costia snickered. “You are a woman after Lexa’s own heart. Those rolls are also one of Lexa’s favorite foods. When she was little and I would make these for her, she would move around the food on her plate and say she was full, but then continue to eat roll after roll with more butter than was healthy for her.”

“I can see why.” Clarke said around a mouth full of bread. “These are delicious.”

Lexa just watched as the three interacted. She could see Clarke’s walls coming down and she couldn’t be happier.

As the evening wore on, Lexa could see Clarke was getting tired. They were back in the sitting room, and Clarke’s eyes were beginning to droop. Lexa stood. “I think it is time I got Clarke back to the tower. It was a lovely evening, nomon. Thank you.”

 

Lexa gently helped Clarke to her feet. Clarke yawned and swayed on her feet. “Today was truly the best day of my life. Thank you all so much.”

“You are welcome here anytime,” Costia said. Myra shook her head in agreement. Lexa led Clarke to the front door. Before the two could leave, Costia ran up to Clarke and offered her a canvas bag filled with several of the rolls that liked so much.

“No one makes them better than nomon. They will still be good tomorrow for breakfast. I am sure Lexa will find you some butter for them.” Costia said as she gave Clarke another quick hug. “I hope I get to see you again soon.”

“I hope so too, Costia. Have a good night.”

Chapter Text

Lexa let Clarke slowly wander back to the tower. She delighted in watching as Clarke took in the sights of the city at night.

When they got to Clarke’s quarters, Clarke hesitated to go in. “Are you sure all of this is really for me?”

“Of course,” Lexa said. “Everything in those rooms is yours, and if there is anything you need, we will get it for you. And,” Lexa stressed, “no one will take any of it away from you. It is your space to do what you want.”

Lexa walked with Clarke into her rooms. Clarke’s eyes widened with surprise. The pictures Lexa had gotten for her were already hanging on the walls, and all of the other items were distributed around the room.

“Feel free to place your stuff anywhere you want. If you would prefer the pictures to be moved to a different place, just tell one of the guards outside your room and let them know where you want the pictures to go. Someone will take care of it.”

Clarke looked around at her new home and smiled. “Thank you…for everything. I never imagined that I could have a life like this. Not even my wildest fantasies were as good as this.” She walked back over to Lexa and hugged her without any hesitation.

“Get some rest, Clarke. I will bring breakfast in the morning, and then I will take you to meet Titus. I have a few meetings that I must attend, but I think you will enjoy your time with him. He has much that he can teach you. Goodnight, Clarke.”

Lexa walked to the door then turned back to look at Clarke. The omega was distracted looking at all of her new belongings. Lexa smiled and gently closed the door.

 

Clarke looked up as the door clicked closed. She couldn’t believe that the day she had experienced wasn’t a dream. She had been so certain when she was shoved into the pod that she was going to die, but it turned out that her certain death was actually a new lease on life, a life she never dreamed she could have. She certainly never thought she would be treated kindly by an alpha, and she never thought she was going to be able to have friends. It seemed that her fate was changing, and she couldn’t be happier about it.

Clarke walked over to the desk and noticed the leather bound sketching pad. There were many little surprises around the room from Lexa, but this one was her favorite. She flipped through the blank pages but decided to use a loose leaf of thick paper that was stacked next to the drawing implements. She picked up a piece of charcoal, determined to draw a picture to give to Lexa in the morning.

Sitting down at the desk, Clarke began to draw. Soon a picture of the evening they had shared took shape. It was a picture of Costia sitting with her mother on the couch. Lexa was seated in a chair, and all were laughing at something that had been said. It was the kind of family moment Clarke had only ever dreamed of. After a while, she could feel her eyes struggling to stay open. She added a few finishing touches then headed to bed.

Walking toward the bed, she found that a soft pair of pajamas had been set out for her. She had never had pajamas before. She had simply slept in her prison uniform. As she changed, she marveled at how soft the material was. She climbed onto the bed and got under the covers. The soft furs tickled her nose. She was asleep within minutes.

It was probably only a couple of hours later when Clarke began to stir and mutter in her sleep. She began to pant before finally launching herself into sitting position, gasping for breath. She clutched her arms to her broken sternum and sobbed.

In her dream, she was being forced to space walk again, but this time her mother was holding the tether that connected her to the Ark. Over the Comm system, Clarke could hear her mother speaking to her.

“You don’t deserve to be there 319. You think because an alpha gives you nice things and a soft bed that you deserve to be happy? You are nothing but a parasite. That pretty alpha knows this. She will tire of your weakness, but maybe not until she has fucked you and bred you like the bitch you are. Once she has sired a child, she will drop you from that balcony you love so much and laugh as your head cracks open on the street below. You are nothing 319 and that alpha of yours knows it.”
In the dream, Abby lets go of the tether connecting her to the Ark. Clarke screams as she floats away from the Ark, watching as it gets further and further away with no way for her to get back. Somehow, she can still hear her mother.

“This is the death you deserve. Floating you would have been too fast, too easy. Now you will live on for hours watching as we float away. We will be long gone before your oxygen runs out and you die gasping for breath.”

Clarke couldn’t control her sobbing. In the dream, her mother had been right. She didn’t deserve any of this. Dark thoughts flooded Clarke’s mind until she couldn’t take it anymore. She stood and paced in her room. In the dark, all of the items that Lexa had purchased were taunted her. Was Lexa going to use her and throw her away like her mother said? Would Lexa really do that to her? She was so certain that Lexa, and her family, were genuinely good people, but as her thoughts continued to spiral out of control. Clarke could no longer be sure. The words from her dream continued to poison her mind.

Clarke was frantic in her pacing. She was muttering to herself, certain that she didn’t deserve this new life of hers. The malignant trappings of her mind kept her pacing until the early morning hours. Whispered mutterings soon became loud yells.

Clarke was too far gone to notice when her doors came crashing in. She just continued her frenzied pacing and yelling.

 

Lexa woke to her guards pounding on her door. They told her what was happening one floor below, and she launched herself out of the bed. She skipped the elevator and took the steps down two at a time almost crashing into the wall when she got down to Clarke’s level.

The doors to Clarke’s room were already open. Anya was standing in the room with her sword drawn and in a defensive position. Just beyond her, she saw an oblivious Clarke pacing the room in a panic. Wide blue eyes skittered over her, completely unaware that there were now several people in the room. Distress pheromones permeated the entire space.

Lexa watched as Clarke spun on her heels and paced the other direction. Clarke was so caught up in whatever was going on in her mind that she wasn’t aware of what was happening right before her. The omega was hyperventilating, and it wouldn’t be long before her panic would cause her to pass out.

Clarke spun again and seemed to be heading on a collision course with them. Anya raised her sword higher, ready to strike if needed. Before Clarke reached them, she changed course again and headed toward the balcony doors. Clarke fumbled with the handles on the doors, but she couldn’t seem to get them open.

Lexa pointed to the guard closest to the door and instructed him to go and get her mother and Nyko. Glaring at Anya, Lexa said, “Put your sword away now. She is not a danger to us.”

“Heda, you can’t know that. Look at her. Have you listened to what she is saying? She is crazy.”

Lexa bristled. “She is not crazy. She is stuck in a terrible dream. She’s having a panic attack. We need to calm her down before she hurts herself.” As if on cue, Clarke suddenly got the balcony doors open and charged to the railings. Lexa raced over to the troubled omega and grabbed her around the waist before she could fall.

Lexa dragged her back into her quarters and Anya quickly shut and locked the doors so that the omega wouldn’t be able to go back out onto the balcony. Lexa wrestled the frantic omega to the ground while furiously trying to calm her. Lexa could feel the omega’s rapid heart rate pounding in her tiny frame. Pinning Clarke’s arms to her sides, Lexa did her best to quiet the omega. While rocking her back and forth in her arms, she whispered into Clarke’s ear. “Shh. You’re okay. You are safe. It’s just a dream.” Lexa gradually felt the omega’s heart beat calming. She looked up as Nyko and her mother entered the room. Costia stayed in the doorway, looking sad that her new friend was having such a difficult night.

Myra and Nyko approached slowly, but it didn’t really matter. Clarke was still unaware of her surroundings. She had a glazed, faraway look in her eyes. There were few times that Nyko could say that his Heda looked helpless, but this was one of those times.

“Can you help her?” Lexa asked.

“What happened?” Both Nyko and Myra asked in unison.

Anya spoke up first. “I was getting ready to retire for the night, when I heard yelling coming through the door. I thought the girl was being attacked, so I ran into the room. All I found was her. She was acting strange, pacing around the room and yelling to herself about how she should be put down. The girl is disturbed and unpredictable. It is not safe for her to be in the tower with Heda.”

Lexa looked up from where she still held Clarke on the floor and gave Anya a withering stare. “Anya, you need to leave and wait for me outside the room.”

“Heda,” Anya began, but Lexa cut her off.

“I said to wait outside.”

Anya bowed her head to Lexa, re-sheathed her sword and left the room, closing the doors behind her.

After Anya was gone, Lexa looked down at a now inert Clarke then back up at Nyko who stood above them. “All I can think is that she must have had a nightmare. When I came in, it was like she was awake, but not really. She wasn’t even aware that others were in the room. She was just so panicked. She was muttering and yelling, and I think that she might have fallen over the railings of the balcony if we hadn’t been here.”

“Was she trying to hurt herself?” Costia asked from near the doorway.

“I don’t think so.” Lexa replied, and Costia sighed in relief. “She didn’t seem aware of what she was even doing. What could have caused this? She had had such a good day.”

“I have seen behavior like this before,” Nyko said, “but only in battle-weary warriors who witnessed or experienced great trauma.”

“But Clarke isn’t a warrior.” Costia said, finally entering the room. She sat down on the floor next to Lexa and began to stroke Clarke’s hair.

“Isn’t she though?” Lexa asked, looking up from where Clarke still sat motionless in her arms. “From the little we know about her, Clarke has been fighting and surviving one long battle her whole life. I imagine that none of us could withstand everything that she has gone through.”

“You may be right, Heda.” Nyko said. “She is very strong, but I fear she will many have more moments like this. She has clearly withstood a tremendous amount of both physical and mental abuse. I have found that the battle-sick warriors often have a more difficult time during times of peace. They get used to a certain level of stress, and when the stress decreases it gives the mind too much time to ponder over everything that has happened. It often comes out in warped dreams and night terrors causing them to act erratically, sometimes causing them to harm themselves or others.”

“What can be done to help her?” Myra asks.

“We need to make it a priority to get her healthy. She needs to recover from her recent physical injuries, and she needs to gain quite a bit of weight. I would also suggest that she begin training. She needs to learn how to defend herself both physically and mentally. It will help build her confidence.”

“How will she learn to defend herself mentally?” Costia asks.

“First, through meditation, and second, it is imperative that she learn to resist her instinct to constantly submit. She, essentially, needs to learn to stand up for herself.” After a pause, Nyko continued. “Heda, I think you could be instrumental with teaching her mediation techniques, and while it will be very trying for Clarke, I think after another week or so, she is going to need to be exposed to low levels of alpha dominance. When she can withstand that, whoever is training her will have to ramp it up until she can withstand even the strongest alpha.”

Lexa looked down at Clarke. She hated the thought of having to expose Clarke to such things. She was already traumatized enough, but if what Nyko was suggesting could help, then Lexa was willing to do whatever it would take to make the beautiful young woman in her arms strong and healthy. She just hoped it wouldn’t be the final thing that broke the omega completely.

Lexa stood and carried Clarke to her bed. She gently deposited her on the mattress and covered her with the furs. She sat at the edge of the bed and softly stroked Clarke’s golden tresses until the omega’s eyes closed and she began to sleep.

“Nomon, will you stay with her tonight? If she wakes again, I don’t want her to be alone, and I think it may frighten her if I am the one who stays.” Lexa said.

“Of course, strikon (little one), I will stay out on the couch and wake her in the morning so that she can see the sunrise. I am sure tomorrow will be a better day.” Lexa looked worried and in a moment of weakness let a solitary tear slide down her cheek.

“Do you really think the things Nyko said will work?” Lexa asked quietly.

Myra looked down at the sleeping figure in the bed and said, “They have to. Otherwise I fear we will lose her.”

Chapter Text

Myra slowly rose from the couch she had slept on. She arched her back and popped a few joints before heading to Clarke’s bedroom. What she found almost broke her heart. At some point after Lexa had placed her in the bed, Clarke had risen. She was now curled up in a corner on the floor with only one small fur to cover her. She noted, with surprise, that the omega was sleeping soundly.

She hated to wake her, but the sun was rising, and Lexa had told her how much Clarke had loved watching her first sun rise. So, Myra bent down and tenderly stroked the blonde’s cheek. “Clarke,” she began softly. “It is time to wake up.”

With surprising speed, Clarke shot to her feet and pressed herself into the corner, arms raised up to shield her face and chest. She felt wrung out, and a deep sense of dread filled her to the core, but she didn’t know why. Her gaze found Myra’s and she calmed just a bit.

“I…I’m sorry,” Clarke stammered. “Being woken is usually a painful thing for me.”

“It is me who should be apologizing. I shouldn’t have touched you. It’s just that the sun is about to rise, and I didn’t want you to miss it.” Myra said. Clarke brightened at that, and strode toward the balcony. When she reached to doors, she found them locked. Puzzled, she looked back at Myra.

“They’re locked.” Clarke tried the doors again. “Am I not allowed to go out there anymore? Did I…did I do something wrong?” Clarke’s sense of dread doubled.

Myra walked over to where Clarke was standing by the balcony doors, and she undid the lock. She stepped out onto the balcony and beckoned Clarke to follow her. For a few minutes both women simply watched as the sun rose in the sky. Myra finally looked away and sighed. Clarke was watching as the colors splashed across the lightening night sky, but Myra could see that she wasn’t taking any pleasure in it. Instead Clarke looked troubled, and she was trembling just a bit.

“Do you want to know something, Clarke? You remind me of the sunrise.”

Clarke looked over at Myra, confused. “I…I don’t understand.”

“Up until this point, you have been living your life in darkness, like the night, but now that you are here you are getting a chance to rise up until you can shine like the person you deserve to be. Just as the colors of the sky change as the sun gets higher in the sky, so too will you change, and it may take a while for you to get there, but someday, you will rise up to shine so radiantly that it will bring tears of happiness to those around you.”

Clarke was sincerely flattered by Myra’s kind words, but she had a hard time believing them. “I hope what you are saying is true, but it’s impossible for me to imagine. I don’t…I don’t.” Clarke didn’t know what she was trying to say, so she changed the subject. “Why are you here? Did something happen?”

Myra lowered her eyes for a moment trying to decide how to tell Clarke about last night’s events. She had been hoping to avoid the conversation until Lexa had returned. When she looked up, worried blue eyes met her gaze. “Do you remember anything after Lexa walked you to your room last night?”

Clarke froze, wracking her brain to try and figure out why Myra would ask such a question. “After Lexa left, I stayed up for a while. I wanted to draw a picture for her in thanks for the wonderful day. After that, I went to bed. That’s it, but that’s obviously not it…is it?”

“A few hours after you went to bed Lexa’s general, Anya, heard a commotion in your room. She entered thinking you were in danger, but you were the only one she found. You were yelling and pacing.” Myra explained. “It seemed you were awake, but we are not sure if you were. It was like you were stuck in a nightmare. You weren’t even aware that any of us were in the room. You almost went over the balcony railings. That is why the doors were locked.”

Clarke was horrified and deeply ashamed of her actions. “I think I am going to be sick.” Clarke sprinted for the bathroom.

 

***
After Lexa had left Clarke’s quarters, she headed toward her throne room, ignoring her general who followed closely on her heels. She remembered telling Anya to wait for her, but she was really in no mood to deal with her former mentor.

“Heda! Heda, please.” Anya called after her.

“What, Anya. What do you want?”

“That girl…that stranger, she needs to go. She is clearly troubled, and it is not safe for her to be in the tower. She could have hurt you. She could have hurt one of the natblidas (nightbloods).” Anya stated vehemently.

“You are right, Anya. She is troubled, but she is not a danger to any of us. She is special.”

“How can you know that? She came out of nowhere. It has only been a few days. You can’t possibly know what her motives are. You know nothing about her.”

Lexa was getting angry. She should not have to defend her actions, especially to Anya. She sat on her throne and tried to calm herself. She couldn’t fault her general for trying to protect her. “Clarke’s only motive is survival, and it is you that knows nothing. She has survived the unthinkable. Her people are up in sky, and she was the only omega. She was treated terribly, and she has survived horrors that I don’t even think you or I could survive.” Lexa paused to catch her breath, her anger mounting at the thought of what the poor omega went through.

“From the time she was just a small child, she was isolated. She was kept in a tiny cell. Her mother, a doctor, did grisly experiments on her. They called her a mutt, Anya.” Lexa knew she was ranting, but she continued.
“They told her she was diseased. They forced her to submit over and over again, every single day. She was beaten, and she was starved. Today was the first day of happiness that she has ever had.”

“That doesn’t discount that fact that she was just acting like a wild animal caught in a trap.” Anya stated. “She is not your personal responsibility, Heda. She is not one of your people.”

Narrowed green eyes stared daggers into the general. “She was thrown away by her people like she was a piece of trash, and she landed in Trikru lands, MY lands. She IS my responsibility! I will do everything in my power to help and protect her.”

“Heda, I don’t understand. Why? Why this girl? Any other invader would be dealt with harshly. Why treat her any differently?”

Lexa took a menacing step toward her general. “When you opened the door to the metal pod you found her in, did she seem like an invader to you? Did she attack you? Did she make threats? Did you even bother to see that she was injured and scared? NO! You didn’t do any of those things. If you had, maybe you would have realized that she is harmless. She is just a scared girl who was thrown away by her people, people who were willing to sacrifice her life to save their own. And, when you say that she isn’t one of my people, you are wrong. She is more like me than any of you.”

Anya was hurt by the last statement. She had trained Lexa from the time she was just a small child, and she considered Lexa the little sister that she had never had. Lexa was family. To hear her say that a stranger was more similar to her, than Anya herself, cut deeply. She tried to reign in her emotions, but Lexa caught on.

Lexa sighed and put a hand on Anya’s shoulder. “I am sorry, Anya. That came out wrong. It’s just…she’s a natblida, Anya, an omega natblida.”

Anya gasped. “Are you sure? What if it is some kind of trick? How do you know she is a natblida?”

Lexa went on to explain everything that happened leading up to Clarke cutting her foot. “When she realized she was bleeding, she almost shattered. She was convinced that I was going to kill her. To her people, night blood is a disease. They treated her like she was scum, and they made her believe that she was. She feels undeserving and worthless. They broke her because she was different from all of them. We are going to put her back together again.”

Understanding flooded Anya. She was floored by the revelation that the scared little omega was a night blood. She had come to expect that there would never be one again. “Those people are fools,” Anya said, “and if they ever make it to the ground I will be happy to destroy them for you.”

“I’m happy you finally understand.” Lexa walked back to sit on her throne. She was exhausted. “Clarke is special. Even if she wasn’t a natblida, it would be true. She has an inner strength that she doesn’t even know she possesses. Surviving as she has only proves it. For the time being, your assignment is changing. I need you to be her fos (first).”

For a few seconds, Anya just blinked dumbly at Lexa. “Why me?” she finally asked.

“Because there is no one better than you. Look how well I turned out.” Lexa said, winking at her former fos. Anya rolled her eyes.

Lexa explained what Nyko said needed to happen. “I will spend a few hours each day to work on mediation, and Titus will be in charge of instructing her as he does all natblidas. You will probably have the most important job, and it’s not going to be easy. You are going to have to patient with her in a way you never were able to be with me. She is fragile, and if we push too hard she may break, and she is already broken enough.”

Anya looked up to where Lexa sat. She got down on one knee and said, “I will not fail you, or her, Heda.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

Lexa entered Clarke’s room carrying a tray laden with enough food for three. She saw her mother sitting on the couch looking concerned. She gave Myra a questioning look, but just then, Clarke came out of the bathroom. Flat, almost gray, eyes barely looked at her. Lexa noted the deep circle under her eyes. The bruise from the vicious hit Clarke had taken from her mother Abby only made her look worse.

“Clarke, are you okay?” Lexa knew it was a stupid question because clearly the omega was not okay, but she had to ask.

“I’m sorry,” Clarke said in a tone barely above a whisper. She wouldn’t meet Lexa’s eyes, but she hadn’t tried to submit. Lexa thought that was at least something.

“I get them too, Clarke.” Clarke looked at her in confusion. “I also have terrible nightmares. The things I have had to do to unite the clans will haunt me for the rest of my life. So many lives have been lost in my fight to bring our people peace. Those lost lives visit me in my dreams as a constant reminder that I need to keep fighting so that one day all of the lost souls might finally rest.” Clarke finally met Lexa’s eyes.

Lexa took this as a sign that Clarke was listening to her, so she continued. “So many of the things that happen in my dreams, my nightmares, try to convince me that everything I have been doing is wrong, like everything I have ever done since becoming Commander has been a mistake. Nightmares are like poison, Clarke, long lasting and hard to cure. Even after waking, my nightmares sometimes haunt me.

Lexa paused. She could see that her words were having a positive effect on the brittle omega. She knew it would help Clarke to know that she wasn’t the only one to suffer from terrible dreams. “If you want, I can teach you how to deal with the dreams. Titus taught me mediation techniques when the nightmares began to affect my dealings with the coalition. It is no different than the techniques we use when warriors come back from war battle-sick. What you are experiencing is the same thing as them.”

Lexa barely heard it when Clarke said, “But I am not a warrior.” Lexa thought it ironic that Costia had said almost the same thing about Clarke.

“You have been fighting, and surviving, one non-stop battle your whole life. I can’t imagine what it took for you to wake up each morning. The strength it must have taken to rise and fight just to stay alive every single day is the same as any warrior going into battle with his enemies. You are just as much a warrior as them. Your battles have just been different.”

“I wish I could believe you, but I am no warrior,” Clarke repeated.

“You don’t have to believe it, Clarke. I will believe it for you until you believe it for yourself.”

“Me too,” Myra piped up. She stood up from the couch and walked toward Clarke. “Right now, you might only have the mewl of a kitten, but I just know that someday soon, you will have the roar of a lion.”

“What’s a kitten?”

Both Myra and Lexa smiled, and Lexa was deeply grateful that her mother had been able to distract Clarke. “As soon as we eat, I will have Costia show you what a kitten is. First, let’s go out on the balcony and have some tea while it is still hot.” Lexa held out her hand to Clarke. It took about thirty seconds for Clarke to respond, but she finally took it. Lexa led her out onto the balcony, but not until after wrapping Clarke in one of the large furs from her bed. Lexa handed her a hot mug of tea pleased that the omega took the offering. Lexa offered the next mug to her mother.

“You know, Clarke, I have heard that kittens are very good at keeping bad dreams away. Maybe if you see one you like, you can keep it.” Myra said, winking at Lexa.

Clarke took a sip of the tea, staring down into the cup. After some consideration, she looked back up. “Whatever this kitten is, if it can help me, then I want it. I want to get better, and if you two think I can be something different, something better than this, then maybe I need to start believing it too. I am so tired of being afraid all of the time. I want to be able to fight for myself and start winning battles instead of always losing them.”

 

Myra pulled Clarke into a gentle hug. “See. The lion in you is already beginning to come out.”

When they stepped apart, Clarke said, “I don’t know what a lion is either.”

Mother and daughter both smiled again. “Don’t worry. We will make sure you know what that is too, but, I am sad to say that you can’t have one of those.” Myra said

“I am beginning to think you are going to be late for your meeting with Titus.” Lexa said. “Let me go tell a guard to inform him that we are rescheduling for tomorrow.”

 

The trio ran into Costia as they were leaving the tower. Myra told Costia the plan to get Clarke a kitten and Costia was delighted.

“Just you wait, Clarke. We will find the right kitten for you. Lincoln has a new litter and they are ready for new homes.”

Both Lexa and Myra had to part ways with them, and Clarke was a bit nervous to see them go, but she decided to trust the other omega to keep her safe. Lexa also promised to catch up with them in a few hours.

While they travelled the streets of Polis, Costia explained that Lincoln was a scout for Heda. While scouting, he would gather useful herbs and other things to help make medicine for Nyko. He was also the resident softie who couldn’t pass by an animal in need. He would nurse them to health, and release them back to the wild or find new homes for them if needed.

Costia guided Clarke down a smaller lane and to a modest home with colorful flowers lining the path to the doorway. It was beautiful, Clarke thought.

Costia knocked on the door. After a few moments, a huge figure darkened the doorway, and Clarke unconsciously moved to stand behind the other omega. The man standing in front of her had to be over six feet tall and he was nothing but muscle. He was the largest person Clarke had ever seen.

“It’s okay, Clarke. This is Lincoln. He may look imposing, but he is just a gentle giant. Besides, wait until you meet Lexa’s personal guard, Gustus. He’s even bigger.” Clarke shuddered at the thought of there being someone even bigger than Lincoln.

Lincoln stepped out of the doorway, and with the sunlight shining on him, he wasn’t quite as intimidating.

“It’s nice to meet you, Clarke.” The beta went to touch the bruise on Clarke’s face, but she flinched away. Costia gave him a look, but he continued. “If you want, I have a poultice that I can give you to help that heal faster. It will also get rid of any lingering pain.”

Clarke had stepped back behind Costia, but she thought back to her words from a little while ago, and decided to try and not be afraid. “I…I would like that,” Clarke began, shyly. “Thank you.”

“So, what brings you hear today?” Lincoln asked.

Costia began to bounce on her heels excitedly. “We are here to get Clarke a kitten. You still have some right?”

“I still have all of them. It was a large litter, and they are all ready for homes. Come on in, and we can see what you think of them, Clarke.”

Lincoln led them into a surprisingly light and airy room. It held a large, well-worn chair, a table for four, and a couch.

“I will leave you to it then, Costia. You are familiar with the process.”

Clarke looked up surprised that he was leaving already. She stood in the room and fidgeted awkwardly. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do.

“Come here and sit on the floor with me.”

Clarke sat beside Costia facing the couch. They were silent for a few minutes until Clarke finally asked, “Are we supposed to be doing something?”

“Just wait, you will see.”

Clarke continued to sit, but slowly became aware of movement under the couch. It was too dark to see anything, but she was sure she saw something.

“There is something under there.” Clarke said with alarm. She tried to get to her feet, but Costia carefully grabbed her arm.

“Just wait. I promise it is worth it.”

All of a sudden, a bunch of furry demons spewed from under the couch and made a beeline for her. Clarke was on her feet like a shot, trying to get away. Costia didn’t mean to, but she couldn’t help but laugh as the omega tried to get away from the harmless kittens.

“Clarke, it’s okay. Those are the kittens. They won’t hurt you. They are just curious about you. If you sit back down, they will stop chasing you.”

Clarke looked at the furry balls warily, but decided to listen to Costia. She slowly returned to her original seat on the floor. Nine fluff balls made their way over to her. As her heart began to calm, she could see that they really were just tiny little animals. She stayed still as they all came over to check her out. They quickly became bored. All but two moved on to play with each other. Clarke became anxious as a little black one with a white star on its chest climbed onto her lap only to quickly settle down to go to sleep. Another stayed in front of her and fended off any other kitten that strayed too close.

Clarke tentatively reached out to stroke the fur of the little black kitten. Her eyes widened a little when the tiny creature began to purr. The one in front of her, a mostly white kitten with various brown patches, then climbed onto her lap to snuggle with the black one.

“It looks like you will be leaving with two, not one, kitten.” Lincoln said.

Clarke startled a little, not having realized that he had come back into the room. Costia smiled and reached out to stroke the two kittens.

“Not fair.” Costia said. “You have only been here a few days and get to have two kittens. I have been asking nomon for one for years, and she won’t let me get one.”

“That is because you won’t get anything done. All you will do is play with your cat.” Lincoln teased.

“What’s a cat?” Clarke asked.

Two sets of eyes looked up at her in surprise. Clarke noticed and got embarrassed. Her cheeks pinked a little, and she lowered her eyes back down to look at the kittens.

“I wasn’t allowed an education on the Ark.” she explained uncomfortably. “If I ever got caught looking at the pictures in a book, I was punished. So, I don’t know what a cat is.”

Costia took Clarke’s confession in stride, despite how deeply she was disturbed by it. She also sent Lincoln a look saying she would tell him about it later when she saw his confusion. “Oh boy,” she began. “Just wait until you meet Titus. He is going to have you studying so hard to catch up that you will know more than me in no time.”

Clarke looked worried, but Costia put her fears at ease. “Don’t worry, Clarke. Titus is an amazing teacher. He is very patient, and he will only push as hard as you are able to handle, and he loves it when his students ask questions. I bet you could ask him anything, and he would have an answer for you.”

Clarke was relieved that they didn’t make a big deal out of her lack of education. She continued to pet the two kittens on her lap. They really were cute, and they were helping her keep calm. When she looked up again, a larger kitten was just emerging from under the couch.

“What kind of kitten is that? It is so much larger than the rest.”

“That,” Lincoln said, “is a cat, not a kitten, and she happens to be the mother to all nine of the furry monsters. It is what those two little guys on your lap will grow into.”

“So kittens turn into cats.” Clarke said in understanding. Clarke looked down at the two kittens in her lap and couldn’t imagine them growing bigger. When she looked up again, Lincoln was holding a wooden box filled with various items. A small crate was sitting on the floor.

Lincoln gestured to the kittens and said, “This is everything you need to take care of them. Costia will help you. Fortunately, kittens are much easier to care for than puppies.” Clarke kept her mouth shut. She didn’t want to admit that she didn’t know what a puppy was.

Clarke watched as Lincoln picked up a small, red ceramic pot and handed it directly to Clarke.

“This is for the bruise on your cheek.” He rummaged through the crate and took out a different, yellow pot. “This will ease any other aches you might have. Just rub it into your skin, but don’t use it on your face. You will know when it starts working.”

Clarke took the lid off of the red container and sniffed. It didn’t smell like much, but when she opened the yellow container, she didn’t need to lift it to her nose. She could smell it immediately.

“What is this one? I haven’t smelled anything like it yet.”

“It is a combination of herbs that I grind together to make a paste, mostly mint and camphor. Next time you are at Costia’s, she can show you where the mint grows in her garden. There is also an herb in her garden called cat mint. Your new little ones will go crazy when they smell it.”

Clarke looked up at Lincoln. “Thank you for everything. You are sure it is okay if I take these two kittens? Won’t they miss their mother?”

“Nah, kittens this age all leave their mother anyway. They need a good home and I have no doubt that you will be a very good mother to them. Oh, and with the ointments I gave you, use the red one twice a day on the bruise under your eye. The other can be used up to three times per day. Don’t use it more than that though because it can irritate the skin.”

“Okay, Lincoln. Thank you again for everything. Myra told me that kittens can help keep bad dreams away. I hope she is right.”

“You will be surprised at just how much these two will help you with that.”

Costia picked up the crate from the floor. “You will need to put the kittens in here while we walk back to your quarters, Clarke. If you try to carry them, they will get away and we may never be able to find them.”

Clarke first put the patchwork kitten into the crate, then the sleepy black one. Neither seemed too disturbed being put into the dark crate. Clarke carried the boxed up kittens while Costia carried everything else.

“Goodbye, Clarke.” Lincoln said. “It was an honor to meet you. I am sure we will see each other again. I will want to know what you end up naming those two.”

“Bye, Lincoln.” Clarke and Costia said in unison.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

The walk back to the tower was pleasant. Costia chit-chatted about all sorts of things. Clarke found her easy to talk to. Costia answered all of her questions about how to care for the two kittens, which to her surprise, didn’t sound like it was going to be too hard. As Costia talked, Clarke took in all the diffences between her and her sister. Lexa was exceedingly polite and more reserved while Costia had an uncontained exuberance and playfulness. Lexa’s eyes were a deep green that held an intelligence beyond her years. Costia’s eyes were green, but softer. She had also had softer more rounded features. A trait of being an omega, Clarke figured. While Lexa’s features were visually arresting, Costia had a prettiness that couldn’t be denied. The two sisters were very similar, but they also couldn’t be more different.

When they had arrived at her quarters, Costia told Clarke to let the kittens out of the crate. They both bolted out of it and started exploring Clarke’s rooms. The two omegas sat on the couch to watch. Costia started telling funny stories about her and Lexa’s childhood.

“How old are you two?” Clarke asked.

“Lexa is twenty three, and I am nineteen. How old are you?”

Clarke hesitated, but finally admitted that she didn’t know how old she was. “I think I was probably between six and eight years old when I was forced to live in the prison. Each Unity day, I marked the wall with a piece of chalk or charcoal. That cell was my home for over 12 years.” Clarke could feel the anger rolling off of Costia in waves.

“But they let you out each day, right? Lexa told me that they made you do all the terrible jobs that no one else wanted to do. So, you only had to sleep in your cell?”

“No,” Clarke began sadly. “I think sometimes they would forget about me. Sometimes it would be days before I saw anyone. If I was being punished, sometimes it would be weeks.”

Costia looked at Clarke with watery green eyes. “How did you not go insane?”

Clarke shrugged. “I slept and zoned out a lot. Days could go by, and I wasn’t even aware of them. I drew when I had something to draw with, and I had a wonderfully active imagination. I dreamed about what it would be like to live on earth. I never dreamed I would actually get to come here. Being here is so much better than I imagined.”

Two wrestling kittens drew both of the omegas away from Clarke’s sad reminiscence.

“Is it okay if we don’t talk about that anymore? Tell me another story about the two of you.”

Costia launched into more stories but not until after tucking the last bit of information away. Lexa slipped in unnoticed as Costia was telling a particularly embarrassing story about her.

“So, nomon told us to stay away from the fields while the grapes were being processed, but Lexa never did like to listen. She struggled to climb over the edge of one of the giant tubs that all the grapes were being crushed in. The edge was wet, and she fell right in. She sloshed around in the grape juice trying to get out, but she couldn’t. It wasn’t until nomon found us that she was finally pulled out. She was purple for days. I still don’t think she likes grape juice.” Costia was laughing.

Suddenly Clarke was laughing too. It surprised her so much she covered her mouth with both hands, not believing the sounds coming from her body. She honestly couldn’t remember if she had ever laughed before. It felt good. It felt really good.

“I see Costia is telling you all the embarrassing stories about me.” Lexa said as she walked into the room.

Clarke ducked her eyes and began to apologize for laughing at the alpha’s expense. Lexa stopped her immediately.

“Costia can tell you all the funny stories she wants about me if it will get you to laugh again, Clarke.”

Clarke’s cheeks turned a deep crimson, but she didn’t say anything.

“I am actually here to take you to meet Titus today after all. The meetings went better than expected, so he has time to meet with you. He will begin teaching you in the morning.”

 

 

Lexa walked Clarke to a different level in the tower to meet Titus. He had bowed low to Clarke telling her what an honor it was to meet her. After the introductions were made, he led her into a room with multiple desks not dissimilar to the desks Clarke had seen in some of the classrooms on the Ark. He sat her down in one and asked her questions about her level of education.

When Clarke didn’t say anything, Lexa said “It’s okay, Clarke. He just needs to know where to start.”

“I can count, and I know my colors. That’s it. They didn’t allow me to learn anything else. They punished me when I tried to learn new things. They told me I was too stupid to learn anyway.” Clarke didn’t look up to see Titus’ shocked reaction.

The beta moved in front of Clarke’s desk and gently lifted her chin. “Clearly you are not stupid, Clarke. You learned to survive in an unimaginably hostile environment while underfed and with stress levels most of us could not withstand. You were hurt on a daily basis, and yet you persevered. Learning to be a survivor is harder than learning to read or write.”

“How long did it take you to learn your numbers?” Titus asked.

Clarke couldn’t fathom why he was asking, but she answered him anyway. “I learned them faster than anyone else. If I made a mistake, I was punished, and then the other kids would make fun of me.” Clarke remembered that when the others made mistakes, the teacher, Mr. Pike, simply corrected them. He constantly called on Clarke to answer impossible questions just so he could punish her. He was just as cruel as her mother. Even when she started getting his questions right he still called her names and found ways to hurt and embarrass her.

Titus looked at her with sympathy. “Do you realize how smart this made you? You worked harder and learned faster than all the others, and they weren’t under the stress you were. I have no doubt that once given the proper tools you will excel with your education. Why don’t we start with a lesson now?”

 

That had been a week ago. Now Clarke was sitting on her bed surrounded by books. Granted, they were the primers that all of the younger children used, but Clarke poured over them. She had already learned the alphabet, and she was starting to learn to read and write. Titus was teaching her the history of Polis and about life on the ground. He was gentle and extremely patient with Clarke, especially when she asked questions unrelated to the lesson he was teaching. Costia had been right, so far, he did know the answer to everything.

She hadn’t met the other nightbloods yet because both he and Lexa thought it was a better to keep her identity as a natblida a secret for now. When Clarke asked why, they explained that once it was announced that there was an omega nightblood there would need to be a formal celebration to introduce her to the people of Polis and the ambassadors of all the clans. They felt she wasn’t ready for the fanfare her status would create. People would expect things from her, and Lexa’s enemies might try to use her, or even harm her, to get to Lexa.

Clarke was happy to remain anonymous. She was still too skittish around people. The markets and crowds still made her nervous. All she wanted was to look at her books, draw, and spend time with Lexa and her family. She did want to see Lincoln again. She found out that both of her kittens were girls, and she had named one of them.

It had been while Lexa was sitting on the balcony with her one night teaching her about the stars and the signs of the zodiac. Since her little black kitten had a white star on her chest, she decided to name it Zodiac. The other, she named Minx. Actually, it had inadvertently been Titus who named the kitten.

Clarke had made her way to meet with Titus one morning and the little kitten had followed her all the way to the classroom. He had told Clarke in no uncertain terms that he would not allow an animal in his classroom, but then the kitten had started purring and rubbing against his legs. Titus tried to shoo the cat away, but she had just sat there and stared him in the eyes while she continued to purr. It was a cute little meow that had Titus caving and allowing the kitten to stay for the day. He called the cat a little minx, and that was the name that stuck.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

Time was going by, and Clarke was settling down to life on the ground. Her meditation exercises with Lexa, and probably the kittens, had helped to keep any more nightmares at bay, and she was beginning to come out of her shell. She turned out to be a faster learner than anyone could have anticipated, and Titus had already moved her on to more difficult learning materials.

Her bruises were gone, and her ribs and breast bone rarely hurt anymore. It was the longest she had ever gone without having any pain. She did find herself missing Lexa. Lexa and a handful of her warriors were called away to take care of some bandits that had been raiding the nearby villages, so Lexa had been gone for several days. Clarke spent quiet lunches speaking with Titus after he finished his morning lessons with her and then the other nightbloods, and she spent her evenings with Costia and Myra.

 

One evening, Clarke was standing in the kitchen helping to prepare the meal. Myra and Costia were teaching Clarke how to cook. Myra had tried to teach Clarke how to chop with a knife, but holding the knife made Clarke nervous, so Myra redirected her and had her tearing lettuce leaves for a salad. Costia had taken over knife duty, and Clarke found the rhythmic sound of the chopping rather soothing as long as she didn’t look at the knife. Costia and Myra chatted about their days, and Clarke was happy to just listen. She had been a little quiet since Lexa had left. She missed the alpha terribly and hoped she would be home soon.

As meal preparation went on, Myra asked Clarke if she would help set the table. Clarke had finished putting out all of the plates and bowls and now carried the wooden salad bowl out to the table. Suddenly the front door burst open. Lexa came in, but it wasn’t the Lexa Clarke was used to. Lexa was dirty and covered in blood. Her dual swords were sheathed on her back, and the war paint on her face made her a frightening sight to behold. Clarke froze and her heart began to thunder.

When a second figure came in to stand next to Lexa, Clarke’s world sped up again, and the salad bowl went crashing to the ground. Standing next to Lexa was her general, Anya, the same woman who had helped to shove her in the wooden cart when Clarke’s pod had crashed and hadn’t helped Clarke even when she was in agony. The horror and fear of that ride to Polis came crashing down on the omega.

Her body began to quake, and she could feel her knees weakening under the gaze of the two powerful alphas. She could hear that Lexa was speaking to her, but she couldn’t look away from the terrifying woman next to her to concentrate on Lexa’s words. When Anya took a step toward her, Clarke bolted. She ran through the kitchen to the back door of the house, to the surprise of both Costia and Myra, and soon found herself lost in the maze that was the garden.

Clarke knew there was a way out that led back to the streets of Polis and to the tower, but in her panic, she couldn’t find it. She zig-zagged through the rows of vegetables only stopping when she realized she had passed the same plants three times. She finally made her way behind the tool shed, trying to hide. She didn’t want the two alphas to find her. In her rational mind, she knew she did not need to fear Lexa, but she could not get the image of the two women covered in war paint and blood out of her head. She was afraid of Anya.

She had probably been hiding for less than a minute when she heard Lexa calling for her. Clarke held her breath and hoped she wouldn’t be found, but she knew it was hopeless. She knew Lexa would be able to scent her wherever she was in the garden. Clarke tucked herself as far behind the shed as she could get and hoped that the shadows wouldn’t give her away. No luck. Within seconds, Lexa was standing in front of her.

“Clarke,” Lexa said, “what happened? What’s wrong? Let’s go back inside.”

Clarke didn’t respond. She turned her head away so that she didn’t have to look at the blood-covered hand being held out to her. She let out a low keening whine.

“Lexa,” Clarke heard Myra say. “Why don’t we go back inside and let Clarke have a moment. Costia will stay with her until she is ready to come inside.”

“But…”

“Now, Lexa.”

 

 

Lexa followed her nomon back inside, glancing over her shoulder toward the shed.

“What were you thinking branwada goufa (foolish child)? For being the Commander, sometimes you can be so obtuse. Look at yourself. You came busting into the house, covered in blood and grime, and wearing your weapons. Clarke has never seen such things. You terrified the poor child.” Myra said, gently cuffing Lexa’s ear.

“At least she didn’t submit. That’s something.” Lexa said stupidly, only to have her ear cuffed again.

“Ow. Nomon, stop.” Lexa said, rubbing the right side of her head.

Myra spun to glare at Anya. “And you,” she said, “you are no better.”

At least Anya had the decency to lower her eyes in shame.

Myra was fuming as she pointed at the two alphas and told the both of them to go clean up and change before Clarke came back in. Lexa’s shoulders slumped and she let out a resigned sigh. She knew she had screwed up. She had just been excited to see the omega again after having been gone for a few days. It hadn’t even crossed her mind that her appearance would frighten Clarke.

 

The two alphas finished cleaning themselves up and sat waiting for Costia to return with Clarke. It was just under an hour later when Costia returned through the front door not the back. Clarke was not with her.

Lexa stood and asked, “Where is Clarke?”

Costia took several strides over to Lexa and got in her face. The fun-loving omega who rarely got angry, was pissed.

“Do you know what you did tonight? Do you have any idea what seeing you looking like that did to Clarke? She only has a vague notion of the things you have to do to protect our people, and she certainly doesn’t understand that sometimes your duty requires you to fight and to kill. She was so frightened that you probably set back any progress she has made.” Costia said pushing further into Lexa’s personal space.

“You need to back up, Costia.” Lexa said, getting agitated at being challenged by the omega.

“Like hell I do. Someone needs to get it into your thick head that you did something incredibly stupid tonight. Clarke has been getting better, but we still need to walk on egg shells around her. You basically came in and threw the damn egg in her face.”

“Costia, I am warning you.”

“What are you going to do, Heda,” Costia said, spitting Lexa’s title at her. “Gonna run me through with your sword? Go ahead. Get some more blood on yourself then go see Clarke. Bring Anya with you so that she can relive the fear of her first meeting with people on Earth.”

“THAT IS ENOUGH.” Myra roared while pushing herself in between her two daughters. “You two need to stop fighting now. What is wrong with you two?”

Instantly the fight went out of them. “Sorry, nomon,” the sisters said at the same time.

Ashamed, Lexa looked at her mother and said, “I didn’t think, nomon. It was a rough couple of days, and I just wanted to see Clarke, and my family. I should have realized.”

“I understand Lexa, I really do, but we need to think through all of our actions, and we need to be more careful when Clarke is involved. I know each life you take chews a huge hole into your soul, and I know that you come here to find comfort. Next time just make sure to clean up first. It may not be as frightening for me as it is for Clarke, but every time I see you covered in blood, my own heart bleeds a little. Every single time I think that one day it is going to be your own blood that you are covered in.”

Lexa’s head sunk low. “I’m sorry, nomon, I didn’t know.”

Myra grabbed Lexa’s shoulders and pulled her into a hug. Since the day her daughter had become Heda, Myra had feared for Lexa’s life. Times were peaceful now, but the years leading up to the formation of the coalition were hard on Myra. She was sure that every battle Lexa fought would lead to her daughter’s demise. Lexa was the strongest alpha in the coalition, but even she could be felled by an enemy. Lexa was always at risk. Even with lasting peace, Lexa still had enemies that wanted the coalition to fail. There were people who wanted the throne for themselves.

Costia came over and nudged Lexa’s shoulder. “I’m sorry about how I reacted. It’s just…you should have seen her. Clarke was so afraid and embarrassed. It took me twenty minutes to calm her down. I couldn’t convince her to come back inside, so I walked her back to the tower. She’s become a very good friend, and I just got so mad at you for scaring her. I know you didn’t mean to.”

Costia looked over at Anya who was still sitting on the couch. “You terrify her, you know.”

Anya hung her head. She knew now that she had reacted badly when she found Clarke in her pod. She knew that Clarke was hurt and scared, but she treated her like any other enemy or invader in Trikru lands even while seeing that she couldn’t possibly be from any of the other clans. Instead of taking measure of the situation, she had Tristan truss her up and throw her in a cart. She had heard Clarke’s wails of agony, and she had ignored them. She was deeply ashamed of her behavior that day.

“I know,” Anya started, “and I aim to change that. I need to apologize to her. I want to be her fos.”

Costia looked incredulous. She looked at Lexa and could see that she was on board with this. “Do you really think that is a good idea? How exactly do you plan to earn her trust?”

Anya gave her a lopsided smile. “I got this one to trust me,” pointing at Lexa. “I am sure if I am careful I can earn Clarke’s trust and be a worthy fos to her.”

Costia was dubious. Anya was a true and loyal friend to her family, and while she didn’t show it often, she could be sweet, soft, and even playful. At the same time, she was a fierce and fearsome warrior, and there was no alpha stronger than her, except for Lexa. Costia wasn’t sure that Anya could put away the warrior for long enough to allow for Clarke to see beyond the hard exterior.

“I promise you, Costia, I will do everything in my power to make amends. I want to help Clarke.”

“I may not be an alpha, but if you hurt her again, I will kick the crap out of you.” Costia threatened.

Anya smiled. “If I hurt her again, I will let you.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

Lexa listened as Anya and Costia talked to one another then quietly excused herself to go check on Clarke. Costia warner her that Clarke was still in pretty rough shape and may not want to see her.

“I have to try, Cos. I won’t be able to forgive myself if I don’t make this right.”

“I know, Lexa. Good luck.”

Lexa walked toward the tower all the while mentally kicking herself for being so stupid. She was Heda, and she couldn’t afford to make mistakes like this. She was so enamored with the omega that she just couldn’t think straight when her thoughts wandered to Clarke.

Standing at Clarke’s door, Lexa hesitated to knock. She could hear small sounds coming from inside, and she was certain she heard sniffling. She was afraid that she would no longer be welcome. She was afraid that Clarke would see her as a monster.

Bracing herself against what she was certain would be rejection, Lexa finally knocked. She heard a chair scrape against the floor as several small items hit the floor. A small yip indicated that her knock had startled Clarke. After about a minute of no answer, Lexa sadly accepted defeat. She placed her palm against the door and whispered, “I am so sorry, Clarke.”

She was halfway down the hall when she heard Clarke’s door creak open. When she turned, Clarke was not standing there, but the door was halfway open. Lexa hoped it was an invitation to enter. She walked back to the door and slowly pushed it. She called out to Clarke, not immediately seeing her. Glancing around the room, she saw a mess of pencils and other drawing implements of the floor. She walked over and began to pick them up. When she went to set them back on the desk, she noticed a drawing.

It was a picture of Lexa and her family. It was remarkably done, and it captured their likenesses perfectly. Clarke was really very talented.

“It’s not finished yet.”

Lexa jumped. She hadn’t heard Clarke come up behind her. Lexa slowly turned around to face the omega. Frightened blue eyes met hers, and Clarke took a step back.

“Clarke, I am so, so very sorry about earlier. I didn’t think. We didn’t mean to frighten you. It had been a rough couple of days, and I was excited to see you. I should have known that our appearance would make you uncomfortable.” Lexa inwardly cringed at her last word. She and Anya had made the omega more than just uncomfortable.

Clarke was standing in a deep purple nightdress. She was barefoot, and her eyes were red and puffy. Despite her puffy eyes, Lexa found her radiant. She immediately chastised herself for such thoughts. Lexa took another step toward the omega, but again Clarke took a step back. Lexa stopped, keeping her arms at her sides.

“You killed people.” Clarke said matter-of-factly.

Lexa sighed. “I did.”

“I don’t understand. Why did you have to kill them?” Clarke was becoming visibly upset. She looked away from Lexa, more frightened than she wanted to admit. “Why did they need to die?” She whispered.

Lexa had wanted to protect the omega from the gory details of what being Heda meant, but she had to explain that her job wasn’t just meetings and politics. She was also the protector. It was her duty to respond when others were being threatened.

Suddenly exhausted, Lexa found that she needed to sit. She walked past the omega and sat on her couch. Running her hands through her hair, she looked back up to see that Clarke hadn’t moved.

“Clarke, I wish I could tell you that there was never a need for violence, but sadly, this world we live in is full of dangerous people. The bandits that were raiding the villages weren’t just stealing, they were hurting and killing people. When we got there, they were holding a mother with two children hostage in their home. The father was dead. There were at least twenty men, and they had ransacked the whole village, killing the elderly and using the women. Other women had been rounded up with the remaining children and locked in a barn. The men were threatening to burn the whole thing down with all the people in it. We had to kill them, Clarke. There was nothing else we could have done. If we hadn’t, the innocents would have died instead.”

Lexa scrubbed her face a few times with her hands before looking back up. “Even if we could have just taken the men as prisoners, they would never have been reformed. Even locked up, they would have remained dangerous.”

“Okay,” was all Clarke said. She couldn’t look Lexa in the eyes.

Lexa felt a pain in her chest that she had never felt before. She looked at Clarke with watery eyes. “I understand if you see me as a monster, Clarke. I have done terrible things to protect my people. I will have to continue doing so. After days like this, I see myself as a monster too.” When Clarke didn’t say anything, Lexa said, “I fear my presence here is not doing either of us any good. I think it is best if I take my leave.”

Lexa forced herself to her feet and walked toward the door. Clarke was still rooted where she stood. The look on Clarke’s face was unreadable. When Lexa reached the doorway, she took one last look at Clarke before she headed out.

“You are not a monster.” Lexa barely heard Clarke’s whispered words.

She turned back and sighed. Clarke didn’t look as frightened, but Lexa knew she had caused a lot damage with her actions tonight. “Come find me when you are ready to see me again, Clarke. I am so very sorry I ruined your evening.” With a heavy heart Lexa ducked out of the doorway and headed to her room.

 

It was two stress-filled days before Clarke saw Lexa again. As soon as Lexa had walked out her door that night, the omega had wanted to run after her, but she didn’t. She was ashamed to admit that seeing Warrior Lexa really had scared her.

She wanted to see the alpha, but she just couldn’t bring herself to go looking for her. Lexa did not seek her out. True to her word, she was letting Clarke come to her when she was ready, and Clarke was ready. She was just too afraid to take the initiative to find her. Clarke was fully aware that she had hurt Lexa’s feelings the other night by not saying more. She never even verbalized that she accepted Lexa’s apology. Because of this, she was afraid that Lexa would not want to be her friend anymore, so Clarke avoided her.

On the second day of not being able to pay attention to Titus during her lessons, he guided her out of her desk and sat her on the more comfortable couch. He handed her a hot mug of tea and had her explain everything that was going on.

Clarke didn’t want to tell him, because she was certain he would think she was stupid. Lexa was his Heda, and Clarke was afraid he would stop teaching her because she had hurt her. With careful persuasion, he was able to coax the story out of the miserable omega. She had tried not to cry, but she couldn’t stop the tears from falling.

“I screwed up, Titus. I reacted poorly when all she wanted to do was apologize. What if she doesn’t want to see me anymore? What if Costia and Myra don’t want to either?” Clarke was terrified of losing her only friends. “I don’t want to be alone again.”

Titus scooted closer to Clarke and pulled her into his side. “First, you will not lose their friendship over a misunderstanding. Second, you need to remember that Lexa hurt you too. While she didn’t mean it, it still happened. She gave you a fright by not thinking her actions through.”

“But that is just it. She shouldn’t have to think things through like that. What happened is just a part of her life, a part of all of your lives. She shouldn’t have to change for me. If she wants to see her family after a battle, she should be able to do that without having to worry that I will freak out. No one should have to change because of me.”

“Maybe we should try to change. I am sure the first time Lexa arrived home from battle was very frightening for Myra and Costia, but as time went on, and Lexa had to wage more wars, they probably got used to her showing up bloody and dirty from her battles. The last thing you want to do is clean up when all you want to do is reassure yourself that your loved ones are safe, but maybe that is something that should change. Maybe it isn’t something we should just get used to. There are so many things that happen in this world that we just get used to, like violence and injustice. Maybe we need to strive to be better than that. Maybe that is why you were sent to us, to make us remember who we really are and who we are supposed to be, and not just the people we have gotten used to being.”

Clarke blinked a few times, trying to digest Titus’ words. She swiped at a stray tear. “So what we need to do is try to live instead of just survive?”

Titus smiled. “That is exactly it. We just needed someone to remind us. Now I would suggest you go talk to Lexa. I know she has been saddened by your absence. You really have come to mean a lot to us, Clarke. I hope you know that. You aren’t going to lose any of us.”

“Thank you, Titus, for everything. I think I will go find her.”

“Try the training field. She should be with the other nightbloods.”

 

Clarke headed out of the tower in search of Lexa. In her excitement to see her, she didn’t pay attention to where she was going, and she crashed into someone. She immediately started to apologize, but when she looked up and saw who she had bumped into, the words dried up in her throat. Anya was staring down at her.

“Clarke, I am sorry. I should have been paying more attention. I was actually just coming to see you.”

Clarke frantically looked for an escape route, but couldn’t find one. She started to sink to her knees.

“Don’t.” The word was said with so much authority that Clarke froze mid-stance. She slowly stood back up. Anya’s next move baffled her so much that Clarke could only gape at her, forgetting her fear for a moment.

Anya slowly got on her knees and presented Clarke her sword, resting it on hands extended in front of her. Clarke noted that Anya’s hair was loose, without braids. It was hanging over her shoulders, and she was without war paint. She wore soft, loose-fitting clothing. She almost looked nonthreatening…almost.

“Clarke Natblida, I wanted to apologize and tell you how deeply sorry I am for my actions when I first found you at your pod. If you would allow me, I would like to make up for my deplorable actions.” Anya paused, waiting to see if Clarke was paying attention. Seeing Clarke’s eyes on her, she continued. “I swear my fidelity to you, Clarke Natblida. I vow to treat your needs as my own, and I will protect your life just as I would protect Heda’s or my own life. I vow never to hurt you again, and if I inadvertently do, I will accept any punishment that you see fit to give.”

Clarke was floored and didn’t quite know how to react to such a gesture. She was still afraid, but to see the alpha like this, almost prostrate in submission, she wasn’t certain what to feel. Looking into Anya’s eyes, she could see the sincerity in them. She still wanted to run. She really did, but she also knew that she wanted to change. She was sick of being afraid all the time. Aside from her very first experience on the ground, the people had gone out of their way to be nice to her.

She thought back to Myra’s words telling her that she might only have the mewl of a kitten but would soon have the roar of a lion. Now that Clarke had heard the mewl of a kitten, she felt pathetic. She didn’t want to be weak anymore.

“Please put the sword away, Anya.” Clarke had hoped it wouldn’t, but her voice cracked a little, showing the fear she was desperately trying to squash. “I accept your apology.”

Anya slowly re-sheathed her sword as she stood up. She was only a few inches taller than Clarke, but Clarke felt like she was towering over her and took a step back.

Anya noticed and took her own step back in order to give the omega more space. “I want you to know that I am deeply ashamed of my actions on your first day. I didn’t understand the situation, and I didn’t take the time to assess what was happening, but please understand that as one of Lexa’s generals, it is my job first to protect Heda, and second to protect the people. Had I understood…if I could have had any idea of what was going on, I would have reacted differently. I hope you can forgive me.”

Once again, Clarke could see the sincerity and true regret in the alpha’s eyes. “I forgive you.”

A huge smile appeared on the alpha’s face. Clarke hadn’t thought her capable of smiling. The tension in the alpha’s shoulders visibly relaxed, and Clarke could see Anya’s relief.

“I know I don’t deserve it, but I promise to make it up to you, in fact, it is why I was looking for you. I wanted to talk to you about something. Can we go somewhere private to talk?”

Clarke looked up in alarm. Clarke didn’t really want to go anywhere alone with the alpha. She might forgive her, but she certainly didn’t trust her. She didn’t feel like she could say no though. Not to an alpha.

Anya could see Clarke’s struggle. “Listen Clarke, I want you to know that you have a choice. You always have a choice. No one, and I do mean no one, has a right to make you do anything that you don’t want to, and if you don’t want to come with me, that is fine. I understand that I make you nervous. It’s just that Lexa and Nyko had an idea, and they thought I could help you. I just didn’t want to speak to you about it in the open.”

Clarke didn’t know what to do. She still didn’t feel like she could say no, despite what the alpha said, and if this idea was one that Lexa sanctioned, maybe it was something she should listen to. Maybe she could try a compromise.

“Can we go back to the classroom? Is it okay to talk in front of Titus?”

Anya brightened. “That is a fine idea, Clarke. It would be good to get his opinion on this.”

 

Clarke and Anya walked back into the tower. Anya encouraged the omega to take the lead, but Clarke wouldn’t do it. She stayed several steps behind the alpha. It was something that Anya would have to work on, she thought. Titus looked up in surprise when the two figures entered. “What happened?” he asked. “Wasn’t Lexa with the nightbloods?”

“I am afraid I interrupted Clarke on her way. I have something I need to talk to her about, and she isn’t comfortable being alone with me.” Anya said sheepishly. “So, she thought it best that we talk in front of you. It would be a good idea to get your opinion on this anyway.”

Titus took in the two women. Anya was uncharacteristically weaponless (she had left her weapons outside the room to make Clarke more comfortable). Clarke was standing back, like she was afraid to be too far away from the door in case she needed to make a quick escape.

Titus gestured to Clarke and said, “Why don’t we sit and listen to what Anya has to say.”

Clarke made to move toward her usual desk, but Titus guided her back to the couch she had been seated on earlier. Titus placed himself next to Clarke on the couch in order to provide comfort to the nervous omega. He could feel the tension rolling off her.

Anya stayed standing and fidgeted with the strings of her shirt. Titus enjoyed watching the usually unflappable alpha fight to control her own nerves.

Finally, the alpha found her words. “The night you had your nightmare, Nyko had some suggestions for how to help you get better, to get stronger. One of the suggestions was having you work with an alpha trying to control your inability to fight your urge to constantly submit. He thought if you were slowly exposed to an alpha’s dominance that you would eventually be able to fight it. The hope is that you will become strong enough to never feel the need to submit again.”

“It isn’t a bad idea.” Titus stated. He turned toward Clarke to give her his full attention. “What your people did to you, the way they took your innate response as an omega and turned it into a weapon to use against you wasn’t just cruel, it was evil. If Anya can help you resist your submissive urges, it will go a long way to making you the person you deserve to be. You won’t have to fear that an alpha will be able to control you just by exerting their dominance on you. It will no longer be a tool that someone can use to hurt you. Surely that is something you want. It would go a long way toward giving you peace of mind.”

Clarke looked back and forth between Anya and Titus. It was a sound idea, but she didn’t feel she was capable of that kind of strength. She told them that.

“Clarke,” Titus said. “You often doubt your own abilities and strength, but look how far you have come in this life. You survived the unthinkable, and you have made huge strides since you arrived in Polis. You are so very strong. You just have to believe it.”

Even though she was doubtful and afraid, Clarke said, “O-okay. I will try.”

Anya smiled and crouched down so that she was eye level with the blonde. “I know it isn’t easy for you to agree to this, and maybe we can start with having Myra or Costia present. They will be able to help you. Now, there is one more thing I want to ask you, and remember that you always have a choice. You do not have to agree to this if you don’t want to. I want you…I was wondering if you would be my seken?”

Clarke heard Titus gasp in surprise. “I don’t know what that means.”

“It means I want you to be my second. I want to train you. I want to teach you everything I know. I want to help you get stronger, and I want to teach you how to defend yourself. I think, with time and training, you can be something extraordinary, Clarke.”

“What would training entail?” Clarke felt like she knew what the alpha was going to say, but she wanted confirmation.

“I want to train you in self-defense, and you need to become proficient with a weapon.” Anya said, deciding to be brief.

The thought of using a knife or sword made Clarke ill. She couldn’t imagine any scenario where she would be comfortable raising this kind of weapon against someone.

As if reading her mind, Anya said, “It doesn’t have to be a sword or knife, Clarke. There are many weapons that a person can use to protect themselves. We just need to find the right one for you.”

“Maybe try her with a bow first.” Titus piped in. He saw Clarke’s look of confusion, and clarified. “It is a long range weapon. It doesn’t require close combat, and it would also be useful for hunting. For some reason, I see you being very proficient with a bow.”

“I think…I think I need to see a bow, and the other weapons, before I can make a decision. I saw a few weapons that were in the cabinet that used to be in my room, but I didn’t really know how they were used. I just don’t know if I am ready for this. I will be honest and say all of this makes me very uncomfortable.”

“Why don’t you let me take you to see my former seken? She should be able give you some insight into what being a seken means. I believe you were heading there anyway.” Anya chuckled when Titus rolled his eyes at her.

“Who was your seken?”

“Come with me if you want to find out.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

Clarke followed Anya to the training fields. There were warriors littering the sparring area, and she could see Lexa in the distance with two children. She assumed they were two of the nightbloods. Clarke had yet to meet any of them.

She glanced at the many faces, and wondered who Anya’s former second was. She finally got impatient and asked again.

Anya smirked and pointed.

Clarke was so surprised that she stumbled mid-step.

“Lexa? Lexa was your seken?”

“She was. She was a difficult little twit at first.” Anya smiled as she reminisced. “She thought that being the big, bad alpha would mean I would take it easy on her. She was stubborn. There were days that she would fight me tooth and nail just to get out of her lessons. I can’t tell you how many buckets of cold water she got doused with while under my tutelage. It was one of my tricks to get her under control.”

“If I am your seken, are you going to throw cold water on me?” Clarke asked nervously.

“Nah.” Anya looked at Lexa then back at Clarke. Shrugging she said, “I doubt you could give me even half the trouble that branwoda goufa (foolish child) did. Let’s go over and see what she is up to.”

Clarke followed behind Anya, her apprehension growing. She was excited to see Lexa, but she was also extremely nervous. She had avoided Lexa for two days, and she didn’t know how she would be received. She still feared that she may have ruined things despite Titus saying that she hadn’t.

When Lexa saw the pair approaching, she stood tall and gathered the two nightbloods to her. Her face was an unreadable mask, and it only added to Clarke’s uneasiness. She gave a curt nod and stated, “Anya. Clarke.”

Clarke felt like her chest was going to cave in at Lexa’s cool greeting. She had been right. She had screwed things up. Anya walked up to the two nightbloods and ruffled the male’s hair. He was about twelve years old. The girl who was with him was probably only nine. Anya could sense the distress coming off of Clarke, and she was certain the others could as well. She knew that Clarke’s thoughts were beginning to spiral in a bad direction, so she decided to intervene.

“Clarke, I would like you to meet Aden and Zso. They are two of the natblidas that live in the tower. If it is okay with Heda, I would like to take these two through a small training exercise.”

Clarke’s eyes widened. She was suddenly afraid to be alone with Lexa because she knew that whatever Lexa had to say to her was going to hurt. She decided she would rather avoid a painful interaction.

“I, uh, I think it is best if I go back to the tower.” Clarke stammered. “I forgot that I had something I was supposed to do.” She finished lamely.

Without another word, she spun on her heels and headed back to the tower.

 

Lexa’s heart had sped up when she saw the blonde omega approaching with Anya. She had done her best to stay away from Clarke until the omega was ready to see her, and it had been two very difficult days. She hadn’t realized just how much it meant having Clarke in her life. She was unusually anxious as the two approached.

She didn’t know what to expect from the omega, so she put on her Heda “mask” and greeted the two rather coolly. She instantly regretted it. She felt the instant spike in Clarke’s distress and wished she could just bury her head in the sand. Since she got back from taking care of the raiders, she didn’t seem to be able to do anything right when it came to the timid omega.

She silently thanked Anya when the other alpha offered to take the two nightbloods off her hands, but her elation at the thought of being alone with the omega plummeted when Clarke made an excuse to leave and abruptly turned to go back to the tower. Lexa only stared as Clarke walked away from her, heart sinking the whole time.

Anya had shooed the nightbloods far enough away before saying, “Go after her branwada goufa.”

Lexa began to walk quickly after the omega. She would have run, but it would have drawn too much attention to her. It took her a minute to catch up. Clarke was amazingly fast when she wanted to be.

“Clarke.” Lexa yelled as she got closer. “Please wait for me.”

Clarke didn’t turn around, but she did slow her steps. “Can we please talk, Clarke? You have no idea how much I have missed you.”

Clarke finally stopped walking and faced the alpha. Glassy blue eyes searched for the truth of Lexa’s words.

“Really, you aren’t mad at me?”

“No, Clarke. I could never be mad at you.”

“But I hurt your feelings. When you came to my room the other night, I was still scared. I tried so hard not to be, but seeing you like that, it just…it just…unsettled me. Then hearing the things you had to do, even understanding that it had to happen, was a shock. Up on the Ark, death was always quick and bloodless. Criminals were floated.” When Lexa didn’t understand, Clarke explained what floating entailed. “There wasn’t really any violence on the Ark.”

“Except against you.”

“Except against me.” Clarke looked down, ashamed.

Lexa reached forward and pushed a piece of unruly blonde hair behind the omega’s ear. The tightness in her chest eased a little when Clarke didn’t flinch. “I guess we both still have a lot to learn about each other, and I promise that I will think about how my actions might make you feel in the future.”

“Thank you, Lexa, but this has to work both ways. Anya told me about how you think if I am exposed to dominant pheromones, I may be able to start resisting them. I really don’t know if it will work, but I am so tired of being afraid of everything, and I especially don’t want to be afraid of you. I am willing to do whatever it takes.” After a few seconds, Clarke shyly said, “I missed you too, Lexa, so much.”

Lexa smiled. “Are you hungry, Clarke? It is a beautiful day to grab some food. We could go back to the pond.”

“I would really like that. When we get there, will you tell me what it means to be a seken?”

“Of course,” Lexa said, smiling. “Although I doubt that your experience will be anything like mine. I can admit now that I was quite the brat at first.”

Clarke returned Lexa’s smile with a small one of her own. She blushed deeply when her stomach growled.

“Come on. Let’s go get you some food.

 

The two walked through the market, and Lexa bought them various items to eat for when they got to the pond. She took them on a different path so that the omega could have a different experience from her first.

When they got there, the two leaned against a large boulder and shared the food. Lexa told Clarke what it would mean to be a second to Anya making sure to let her know that she would never be expected to actually fight anyone. She also made it clear that if she agreed, she could stop at any time. That seemed to relieve the omega.

After a while of telling the omega stories about her life as seken, Lexa took off her boots and started to roll up her pants. When Clarke gave her a questioning look, Lexa simply walked over to sit at the edge of the pond then dangled her feet in the water. She patted the spot next to her in invitation. Clarke wasn’t certain, but she copied the alpha and took off her shoes and rolled up her pants. She tentatively put her toes in the water, only sinking in to her calves when she felt how nice that water was.

The two sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes until the omega felt an unusual tickling sensation on her toes. She looked at Lexa, but the alpha seemed blissfully unaware of Clarke’s situation. With growing alarm, the omega suddenly pulled her feet from the water and scooted back a few feet from the edge. Lexa looked over and questioned why Clarke had pulled her feet out of the water.

“Was it getting too cold, Clarke?”

“N-No. Something was touching me. I think something was trying to bite me.”

Lexa smiled and beckoned the omega closer to the edge again. “If you look closely, you will see what you were feeling.”

Clarke didn’t think that made any sense, but she cautiously moved back to the edge of the pond. Lexa pointed into the water where her feet were gently moving back and forth. Clarke could see little silver flashes of movement. She got on her hands and knees so that she could look more closely.

“Fish?” Clarke questioned. “Those are fish.” She said with sudden confidence, proud that she figured it out.

“They are.” Lexa beamed at the omega’s new excitement. “They were nibbling on your feet. They are just as curious about you as you are about them.”

Clarke spun around so that she could sit back down. She slowly placed her feet back in the water. After a few minutes, she felt the sensation on her toes again. This time she watched as the tiny fish softly bit at her feet. She relished this new sensation.

Lexa watched as Clarke gazed into the water. She was happy that the two of them were reconnecting. Lexa hadn’t wanted to admit it to herself, but the two days with no contact with Clarke had physically hurt. Her stomach had been in knots the whole time, and she had barely slept.

“Did Costia ever tell you that we used to have a dog named Fish?”

Clarke looked up, happy that she finally knew what most animals looked like. Clarke chuckled. “Why Fish? It seems like an odd name for a dog.”

Lexa laughed. “It was when we were still very young, and Costia was just learning her animals. She was in love with the idea of having a fish, but we had no way to keep fish as pets, so when nomon brought us the dog, Costia decided if she couldn’t have a real fish then the dog would be named Fish.”

Clarke laughed again trying to picture a dog named Fish. She had finally seen a few dogs, and now she was picturing a dog with the tail of a fish. When she laughed again, she told Lexa what she was picturing. The alpha chuckled and asked if Clarke would be able to draw a picture of Fish for Costia if the dog was described to her.

“I can try.” Clarke said.

“Good. After that I want you to draw her a picture of Fish the way you just pictured her, with an actual fish tail. I think she would get a kick out of that.”

“I will see what I can do.” Clarke snickered, resuming watching the fish in the water.

After a while, Clarke’s feet did get cold. Lexa helped her to her feet. After they re-donned their shoes, they started walking back to Polis. Clarke wasn’t even aware when her hand sought out Lexa’s hand. A jolt of surprise went through the alpha, but Lexa didn’t say anything. It was Lexa’s turn to relish in a new sensation. The knots that had been in her stomach for two days turned into butterflies.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

Clarke was standing in a large, empty room in the tower. Sweat was pouring off her brow, and she was doing her best to fight against Anya’s onslaught of dominant pheromones. Her head ached, and she could feel her nose beginning to bleed, but she was still standing. She just wasn’t able to do anything else. She was frozen in her spot.

It had taken her weeks to get to this point. Day after day, she and Anya had done this same exercise. Initially it had been disasterous, leaving Clarke weeping and on her knees. Never had she been exposed to such strong pheromones. The people on the Ark just weren’t as strong as the people on the ground. Her first few experiences with Anya had left her so weak that she had to be carried to her room. It had brought back her fear and mistrust of the alpha. As much as she hated it, she kept up the exercise with the alpha. Every day, she would remind herself of how it felt to have to submit up on the Ark, and Clarke was determined that she wasn’t going to let that happen to her again.

When she wasn’t busy trying to stay on her feet, she was either meditating with Lexa or learning how to defend herself with Anya. She was learning to use a bow, and Titus was right (again). She was very good at it. After some initial discomfort using the bow, because of her former injuries, she had been able to wield the bow with surprising accuracy. She was to the point that she was even better than Lexa at hitting the stationary targets, and that was saying something considering Lexa was an expert at just about any weapon she put her hands on. She was not as good hitting moving targets.

Clarke still refused to pick up a sword, but Anya and Lexa had convinced her to learn to use a dagger. They taught her the practical applications first, like using it to cut objects and hunt, then Anya started to teach her how to use it defensively. She wasn’t comfortable with it yet, but she was no longer afraid of it.

“Good, Clarke. You are doing great.” She heard Anya say, interrupting her thoughts. The pheromones suddenly diminished, and Clarke sank to her hands and knees trying to catch her breath. She lifted her head when she heard the door to the room open.

A guard walked in and whispered something in Anya’s ear. Anya straightened, and her face turned into an unreadable mask. It reminded Clarke of when she first met Anya at the pod. She sat back on her heels and tried not to show how disturbed she was by the sudden change in Anya’s demeanor.

“Clarke, I am sorry. I have to cut our session short. I have been summoned to a meeting with Heda. I must go now.” Anya abruptly turned and left, saying nothing more.

Clarke was left alone to ponder what had happened to call the alpha away in such a hurry. She finally stood up and walked over to where a cup of water waited for her. There was also a foul smelling concoction waiting to be drunk to help with the lasting effects of trying to fight off Anya’s pheromonal attacks. She decided to forego the awful brew. It usually made her sleepy, and she wanted to stay awake long enough to know what had called the general away from their session. She knew that if she could stay awake that she would see Lexa for dinner.

As she walked back to her rooms, she noticed that there were more guards than usual posted in the tower, and especially on her floor. She started to feel apprehensive, but she tried to tamp down the feeling. Deciding it was probably nothing she entered her room and headed straight for her bathroom. She needed to clean off the layer of sweat from her body.

It was little while later, and Clarke was lounging on her couch with her sketch pad and two sleeping kittens in her lap. She had picked up the charcoal at least fifteen times, but she hadn’t been able to draw a single line. Her apprehension over Anya’s abrupt departure had returned. She hadn’t heard a peep from anyone, and she was on the verge of going to look for Lexa. As she was closing her sketch pad, she heard a knock on her door.

Rising from the couch, she suddenly heard Lexa’s voice through the door. “Clarke, it’s me. Is it okay if I enter?”

Clarke rushed to the door to swing it open. Her relief at seeing the alpha was obvious. A handmaiden was standing next to Lexa with a tray full of food. She entered Clarke’s abode and quickly set the table for the two then backed out of the room.

Lexa walked to the table and pulled out the chair for the blonde omega. Clarke sat immediately. She was amazed that it really hadn’t been that long ago that she was still eating off of the floor. In a way, it was a lifetime ago.

Lexa made small talk with her, but Clarke could tell that there was something weighing down Lexa’s mind. She could see the worry in the deep green eyes of the alpha. Clarke knew it has something to do with Anya being called away. She finally asked.

“Will you please tell me what is happening? Why did you have to pull Anya away from our training session?”

Lexa paused in her eating. She pulled apart the roll in her hands while searching for the words she had been avoiding.

“There has been an incident near Ton DC that I need to attend to. I am going to need Anya, Lincoln, Gustus, and my usual guards to go with me.” Lexa paused. She could feel the spike in the omega’s pheromones and knew that Clarke getting nervous. “It is uncertain how long we will be gone.”

Clarke knew she sounded desperate but asked, “Can I come with you?” Except to walk into the forest a bit to sit near the pond, Clarke hadn’t left Polis yet.

“I’m sorry, Clarke, but the situation is too uncertain, and I don’t think you are ready to handle such an arduous journey yet. As soon as I know it is safe, I will return. Or, if need be, I will send Anya back to fetch you.

Clarke knew that what Lexa was saying was true. She was far from ready to explore the world, especially if Lexa was going to deal with a dangerous situation, but it didn’t sting any less knowing this. She was being left behind because she was a liability.

“In the meantime, I am assigning several guards to you. You are to go nowhere alone, and that includes going to see Costia and my mother. The guards I have assigned will continue to help you with your training, and Titus, of course, will continue your education.”

Clarke sat for a moment pondering what Lexa had said. “Am I the only one getting extra protection?” she finally asked.

“Yes,” Lexa said flatly.

Clarke’s eyes reflected her concern at this revelation. “Why am I getting protection and no one else?” Her mind began running through the reasons that she might need more security. “Did someone figure out that I am a nightblood? Am I being targeted?”

Lexa sighed. All she wanted to do was protect the vulnerable omega, but she knew she couldn’t lie to her. “Clarke, I need you to remain calm when I tell you. Do you think you can do that?”

Clarke’s anxiety peaked, and Lexa could sense it despite the omega stating, “I can do that.”

“Please sit, Clarke.”

Clarke had started pacing the room. She couldn’t reign in her nerves. She sat back down, but then started to bounce her knees up and down.

“Clarke.”

“I’m sorry. I am trying. Please just tell me what happened.”

Lexa took a deep breath, unable to put it off any longer. “Another, larger, pod landed. From the news I received, it appears that it was filled with a group of about one hundred juveniles.”

Lexa watched as Clarke’s face drained of all color. “No.” Clarke whispered. “No. No. Nonononono.”

Clarke catapulted out of her chair and began to pace about her room again, not unlike how she did when she was gripped by her nightmare. In a way, Lexa knew that this was worse than her nightmare. One of Clarke’s biggest fears had just become a reality.

Lexa steadily pumped out pheromones to try and calm the pacing woman in front of her. “Clarke, please listen to me. It doesn’t appear to be any of the elders. There are no adults, and all of the children seem to be wearing similar uniforms to the one you arrived in. Were there other juveniles in lockup?”

Watery blue eyes looked over at the alpha as Lexa’s words began to sink in. No adults had come to the ground. Her mother, Jaha, Pike, none of them were here. She was still shaken to the core, but she was able to calm herself just enough to answer Lexa’s question.

“I didn’t see many of the prisoners. My cell was away from all of the others, but I could still hear them. Many did sound young. I only ever saw a few of the other prisoners when I was dragged from my cell to complete my work duties.”

“Do you know why they would send down a bunch of kids?”

“I don’t…” Clarke started to say that she didn’t know, but then a memory from the day she was sent crashing to earth came back to her. “My mother, she said that if they didn’t get any readings from the collar they put on me that they would send down the delinquents to see if earth is survivable. I guess they didn’t get anything from my collar. I hope they all think I am dead.”

Lexa looked at Clarke with sympathy. “I know this is going to be hard on you.”

Clarke simply nodded. “When…when do you leave?”

“We leave at first light.”

“Please let me go with you.” Clarke pleaded.

“I am sorry, Clarke, but I can’t. We don’t know the situation, and it may be too dangerous. I can’t put you at risk.”

“C-can’t you just send Anya. C-can’t you stay here?”

“You know that I can’t, Clarke.”

Tears were streaming down the omega’s cheeks. She was an emotional mess. She was scared, and she was worried. What if her people came after her? What if they hurt Lexa or her people? There were so many what ifs, but one hit her harder than the rest and had her reeling. She gasped and staggered on her feet. What if her people convinced Lexa that Clarke really was just a mutt? What if they convinced Lexa that she really was a worthless omega that needed to be put down?

Clarke started to hyperventilate. Between breaths she pleaded with Lexa, “Please! Please don’t listen if they tell you bad things about me. They are horrible people, and they will tell you lies about me. I am a good person. I swear I am good.”

Lexa finally got Clarke within her grasp and pulled her into her chest. She held the trembling girl until her tremors started to subside. “Listen to me Clarke. Nothing, and I mean nothing, that they say could ever make me believe that there is anything bad about you. I know you. Your heart is pure. You are good.”

Clarke sniffled and buried her head in Lexa’s chest. “I have to leave tomorrow, but I’ll have Anya stay here with you. Would that be okay? You have made so much progress with her, so maybe it would be best if you continue training with her. If the situation is safe enough, I will send for the two of you. I want you to be at your best when you come.”

Clarke looked up, thankful that Lexa had decided to leave Anya with her, but it was Lexa that she didn’t want to leave.

“I hate this.” Clarke said.

“I know, Clarke, I know. I do too.” Lexa said while pulling Clarke closer.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

It was morning and Lexa had said her goodbyes. Clarke was inconsolable. Anya led her away from the gates of Polis and over to Myra’s house. Anya hoped that Myra would be able to sooth the distraught omega.

As soon as they reached the house, Clarke collapsed into Myra’s arms. Myra just held her close until the sobs turned into whimpers that eventually subsided completely. “Clarke, I don’t know what I can say to assuage the fears you have about your people landing, but I promise you that no one here is going to allow any harm to come to you.”

Clarke listened, but she didn’t say anything. She didn’t understand what she was feeling. She was absolutely terrified that some of the people from the Ark had made it to the ground. It wasn’t just the adults that hurt Clarke. Some of the teens had been particularly nasty to her too. She was an easy target because no one cared what happened to her. The terror she understood.

It was the sadness and distress over Lexa’s absence that she didn’t understand. She couldn’t grasp why it hurt so much that Lexa was gone. Her chest ached and her stomach roiled, and she couldn’t make any sense of it. Never had the absence of someone affected her this way. Before she was sent to earth, she was used to prolonged periods of being alone. She often enjoyed it. It meant she wasn’t being harmed or made to do some unpleasant task, but Lexa being gone made her feel more alone than she had ever felt despite the fact that she was in a room with three other people.

“Why,” Clarke croaked. “Why does it hurt so bad that she is gone? I don’t understand.”

Anya looked uncomfortable while the two omegas looked at Clarke with sympathy. Costia walked over to Clarke and put a supportive hand on her shoulder. Myra, who was still holding onto Clarke, pushed her just far enough away so that she could look into her eyes.

“I think what you are feeling is love, Clarke. I think that maybe you have fallen in love with my daughter.”

Clarke jerked violently. “No.” Clarke said as she struggled to get out of Myra’s arms, startling the older omega. “No.” she said again, more adamantly. “Love is weakness, and I am already weak enough, so that is NOT what I am feeling. I may already be weak, but I will not ever fall prey to that.”

Anya growled. “Who taught you that? Love is not weakness. Love is power. Love is strength.”

Clarke turned to face the three stunned women. They all stood silently while witnessing a hardening come over the agitated omega. They had seen a lot of emotion from Clarke, but they had yet to see anger. “Really,” Clarke said, “because everything I have ever loved has been taken away from me, and any time I have loved something it was always followed by pain. All love has ever brought me was agony and loss.”

Costia started to approach her friend, but Clarke held up her hand. Clarke looked at Anya and said, “Can we go to the training grounds? I think I am finally ready to learn how to use a sword.”

The trio looked at each other with concern, but no one said anything. When Clarke walked out the door, all Anya could do was follow.

 

“Good, Clarke. Again.”

Anya had followed while Clarke stormed to the training grounds. Clarke walked directly to the rack holding the training swords. She went to lift one, only to drop it back onto the rack. It was too heavy for her to lift. With an angry huff, she accepted a wooden training sword from Anya. Clarke didn’t know it, but Anya was a little nervous by the sudden change from the omega. Not once had any of the others seen Clarke mad. It saddened the alpha greatly to think that the people on the Ark had damaged the poor girl so much that she now had a polluted vision of what love was meant to be. Anya did, however, decide to use Clarke’s anger to her advantage.

Anya had Clarke hitting a practice dummy with the wooden sword. Initially, the omega was focused and excelling at her first venture into sword play. As she fatigued, Clarke’s form slipped and she got sloppy. Anya didn’t bother to correct her though because what Clarke didn’t realize was that Anya was pumping out dominant pheromones the whole time, and Clarke was completely un-phased.

“I think that is enough for the day, Clarke. You have been at it for hours.” Clarke took the cup of water that Anya was holding and downed it. She picked back up her wooden sword and started hitting the dummy again.

“I said enough, Clarke.” Anya grabbed Clarke’s wrist on the next downward swing, stopping her momentum.

Clarke looked up at Anya. She was still angry and irritated, and she couldn’t understand why. She could feel that she was out of control and couldn’t figure out how to reign in her emotions. She had never been this angry and unsettled before.

“Please, Clarke. It is getting late and you are tired. You did very well today, and tomorrow will be even better. Here,” Anya handed her a cloth, “your nose is bleeding.”

Clarke swiped at her nose and was surprised to see the cloth stained with black blood. She stared at the cloth for a moment before looking back up at the alpha in confusion. “You have been so focused on beating that dummy into submission that you didn’t even notice that I wasn’t able to force you to submit.”

“I don’t,” Clarke started before being interrupted.

“The whole time I have been instructing you, I have been trying to force you to submit. You didn’t even notice. I have never witnessed anything like it. You were so focused, or maybe I should say distracted, that you weren’t even aware of the pheromones floating around you. If any other person had entered this training ring, they would have been on their knees in seconds.”

Clarke just looked up at her in astonishment. “Do it again.” Clarke commanded. “Do it now that I am paying attention.” Anya did, and nothing happened.

A smirk lifted the corners of Clarke’s lips. She demanded that Anya go get other alphas to see if the effects would be the same. They were. After ten different alphas were not able to force Clarke’s submission, Anya finally called an end to the exercise. Everyone on the training field was stupefied, especially Clarke. She didn’t know how it happened, but she was thrilled.

Anya and Clarke started to walk back to the tower, but not until after a round of congratulations from the alphas on the field. As Clarke went to open her door in the tower, Anya placed a hand on her shoulder to stop her progress.

“I am so proud of you, seken. The things you have achieved since you got here have been nothing short of amazing. You have excelled in everything you have done. What you have accomplished would take most people years. You are special Clarke Natblida. I hope you know that. There is one thing I want you to think about tonight. Consider it a training exercise. You say love is weakness, but do you think you could have done what you did today without those feelings of love in your chest?” Anya gently placed a fingertip over Clarke’s heart. “What you felt today, actually, what you tried to deny feeling today, is what made you strong. Love makes you strong, Clarke, and today you proved that your strength knows no bounds.”

 

Clarke stood in her doorway for a few minutes after Anya walked away. Her elation from earlier diminished somewhat, but she still felt good. After walking into her suite, Clarke shed her clothes and got into the bathtub. She methodically cleaned herself and washed her hair, but she didn’t leave the water immediately. She was too deep in thought. She repeated Anya’s words in her head over and over again.

Could it be that she was wrong? All Clarke had ever known of love was pain, so she had stopped loving anything. She had certainly never loved another person. She imagined that maybe she would have loved her father, but she never knew him, just little bits about him like how he had given her a name. For that she was deeply grateful.

She sat in the water contemplating all of her feelings for Lexa, and she wondered if Lexa had the same feelings for her. All of the little touches, the soft conversations, and time spent together pointed at Lexa feeling the same, but there was no way for Clarke to be sure. If what she was feeling was love, but if Lexa didn’t feel the same, then Clarke knew she was being set up for another heart break. She tried to steel her heart against her feelings, but she couldn’t. She cared for the alpha. She cared for the others as well, but her feelings for Lexa were different. They settled in the core of her heart, and no amount of trying could dislodge them. She growled and splashed the water in frustration. She felt like these feelings made her weak, but if what Anya had said, and with her success today, maybe it really was strength.

Clarke finally got out of the water, more confused than when she got in. She dressed and settled under her covers. As soon as she did, two purring kittens settled in beside her, calming her and allowing her thoughts to ease into the blissful nothingness of sleep. She did not dream.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

Lexa gripped the branches of the tree she was perched in with white knuckles as she watched the children from the Ark. As far as Lexa was concerned, most really were delinquents. They were brash and undisciplined. They had been on the ground for several weeks, and still hadn’t set up a proper camp. The group was healthy mix of alphas and betas. There were no omegas that she could see, but Lexa expected that, of course. The alphas tried to exert their dominance on everyone. One alpha, with floppy unkempt hair, seemed to take a cruel delight in forcing the betas to their knees, making them crane their necks to the side until they started to weep. Lexa’s anger grew imagining that this is how Clarke was treated on a daily basis.

There was another, older, boy who seemed a bit out of place. He didn’t wear the same uniform as the delinquents. He was an alpha, but he seemed to have a bit more control. He tried to organize the unruly teens but hadn’t been successful yet. With a group of a few other alphas and betas, he was at least able to provide some food for the others. None were brave enough to stray far from where they landed. All in all, while the behavior of the group disgusted her, Lexa found them to be relatively harmless…for now.

Lexa dropped down from the tree and silently headed back to the relief camp that had been set up halfway between TonDC and the drop site. She headed straight for her tent and sat on the makeshift throne. It wasn’t long before she could hear Indra and Lincoln asking the guards stationed outside the flaps of the tent for entry. “Let them pass.” Lexa said.

The two entered and stood stiffly in the presence of their Commander. “Heda,” they both said in greeting. Lexa gestured to the two to sit in the chairs near a table that was laden with thick paper maps.

“What are your observations?” Lexa asked. “Do you think it is safe for me to send for Clarke and Anya and have them meet us in TonDC?”

Lincoln spoke first. He had been watching the delinquents longer than any of the others. “They are a bunch of foolish, undisciplined children. They are so focused on having fun or fighting with each other that only a few have bothered to try and make sure they survive. Most haven’t even lifted a finger to try and help. For now, they seem harmless. If they don’t get their act together soon, most won’t survive the coming winter.”

Indra was the next to speak. “I think we should end their misery and kill them all now.”

A hint of a smirk graced Lexa’s lips, but it went unnoticed by the others. Indra was always so quick to leap to the harshest of suggestions. While Lexa was certain that there were probably many unredeemable criminals wondering the ground at the dropship, she needed to make sure that any innocents weren’t hurt. She couldn’t imagine that all one hundred people from the Ark had actually committed unforgivable offenses, not at such young ages. From what Clarke had told her of the Ark, the adults weren’t above taking extreme measures against their population.

“That doesn’t answer my question, Indra.”

“I agree with Lincoln. They are harmless…for now.”

Lexa stood and strode to the opening of her tent. She spoke to one of the guards then returned to her seat. If all went well, Clarke would be by her side again in about two and a half days.

 

In the time Lexa had been gone, Clarke’s progress had been nothing short of remarkable. She was now sparring with Anya’s best soldiers, and she had bested many. She hadn’t mastered the sword, but she had a deadly precision with her daggers and bow. She could now hit any moving target with her bow. She did weep when she killed her first animal, but after Anya told her the words that were recited after the animal’s sacrifice, the omega calmed.

While Anya and Titus were thrilled with the change in the omega, Costia and Myra worried for her. Clarke had become hyper-focused, training from dusk until dawn, leaving little time in her day for anything else. She crashed into her bed almost every night, too exhausted to even eat dinner. Anya told them that she figured it was Clarke’s way of coping with Lexa’s absence. They both hoped she was right.

One morning while Clarke and Anya were doing warm-up stretches, a messenger arrived. He handed the general a piece of paper and quickly departed. After reading the contents of the paper, she handed it to Clarke.

It took Clarke a bit longer to comprehend what the paper said as she wasn’t quite fluent with her reading yet, but when she finally finished, the smile that lit up her face brought a smile to Anya’s own.

Clarke had a gleam in her eyes that Anya hadn’t seen since Lexa left. “When can we leave?”

“We will leave for TonDC in two hours. Go pack. I will arrange for Costia to take care of your pets. Meet me at the stables.”

Clarke faltered. “Um, Anya, I haven’t ever ridden a horse.”

“Don’t worry, seken, I will teach you as we go. If your training is anything to go by, you will be a natural.”

 

Two hours later, Clarke had said her goodbyes. Myra held her in an embrace and told her to be careful. Costia was surprisingly weepy. She had grown very close to the other omega and was sad to see her go. She held Clarke closely to her for a long moment.

“Please, please be careful. I can’t come now, but if you need me, I will find a way.” Costia said. When she let go of Clarke she fiddled with the buckles and straps on Clarke’s newly acquired armor. “You look amazing, my friend, like a real trikru gona (warrior). You really are the strongest person I have ever met. I hope you know that.”

Clarke’s eyes glistened at the compliment, but she didn’t let any tears fall. She pulled Costia into another hug and held her tightly. “Thank you,” she whispered. “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Clarke walked over to a steed named Steltrona. He was an impressive size and pure white. Anya explained that he belonged to Lexa. “He was feisty. None of the stable hands could control him, and he bit every one of them.” Clarke visibly paled. “Don’t worry, seken, he no longer bites. Lexa was the only one who was able to tame him. She was amazing with him. After only an hour, he was hers. She can whisper a word in his ear, and he will instantly obey.”

“But will he obey me?” Clarke asked nervously.

“Let’s find out. Here, take this,” Anya handed Clarke an apple. “Go see if he will take it from you.”

Clarke walked over to the huge horse instinctively staying in its line of sight. She slowly lifted the apple and offered it to the horse. Its enormous lips reached out and gently took the apple from Clarke. She snickered when its whiskers tickled her hand. After crunching the apple, the horse took a small step forward and rested its head on Clarke’s shoulder while she stroked its cheek.

Anya let out a laugh. “I don’t think you are going to have any problem with him, strik gona (little warrior). It appears there is nothing that you can’t do.”

That was a day and a half ago. Clarke was mounted on the horse, and she miserable. The muscles in her legs burned in their attempt to keep her from falling from the horse even if the horse was behaving like a dream. Clarke just couldn’t get used to riding. She couldn’t get comfortable. Her fear of falling outweighed her need for comfort.

The first day hadn’t been so bad, but as soon as she got off her horse for the night, her legs had rebelled and cramped up all night so that she couldn’t sleep. The next morning, she was barely able to get into her saddle. Anya had told her that she would eventually get used to riding, but Clarke was pretty sure that after this trip she would never want to ride a horse again.

“Anya,” Clarke whined, “when can we take a break?”

The alpha looked over her shoulder and could see that the omega’s energy was flagging. “If you can hang on for just another hour, we will be there.”

Clarke sighed. An hour wasn’t that long, but another hour on a horse was going to feel like an eternity.

Eventually TonDC came into view. It was nowhere near as big as Polis, but it was still impressive. There were people everywhere, and it made Clarke nervous. She didn’t know if she would ever get used to being in big crowds. She scanned the people to see if she could find Lexa, but the alpha was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly she felt a hand on her calf and she startled so badly that she almost fell off her horse.

“I am sorry,” Lexa said sheepishly, “I should have warned you of my approach. I must say that I think you look better on Steltrona than I ever have.”

Lexa offered her hand and helped Clarke from the steed. Waves of nervousness washed over the omega. The new-found confidence, won during her exhaustive training, quickly vanished. She was back to being the shy and timid before the regal Commander. Clarke tried to stand tall and still, but her weary legs and nerves got the best of her. She kept her eyes downcast and played with the dirt with the toe of her boot.

“Clarke, are you okay? How was your journey?” Lexa asked with concern lacing her voice.

Just as Clarke was about to answer, Anya’s hand thumped into her back so hard it made her stumble forward. Anya wrapped her arm around her second like they had been friends for years. The proud look Anya was giving her helped the omega regain some of her confidence.

“Is she okay?” Anya mocked. “She is better than okay. She is amazing. After you left, something in her just clicked. She trained harder than even you did, and…and I just can’t explain it.” The usually stoic alpha was getting animated. She let go of Clarke’s shoulder, gesticulating wildly with her arms. “Lexa, she has bested some of your toughest soldiers, and her accuracy with her daggers is…it’s just…I have no words.”

Lexa smiled while the unusually excited alpha puffed up like a peacock regaling her with the accomplishments of her seken. She looked the omega up and down and took in her appearance.

Clarke had filled out considerably. She was nothing but hard, lean muscle now. The scrawny girl that had first appeared on the floor of her throne room was gone. While she was definitely nervous, the omega stood tall instead of hunching over herself to make herself look small, and she had her own gleam of pride in her eyes. Lexa took note of how fierce she looked in her trikru armor. Clarke’s hair had even been braided in the style typically worn by trikru gona. Lexa’s heart sped up a bit as she took in the amazing site of the girl in front of her. Some of the changes she was certain had taken place before she had even left, but she probably didn’t notice the differences because she saw the omega every day.

Anya had rattled on, and Lexa didn’t focus back in on her words until she heard Anya say, “and that isn’t even the best of it. Clarke did all of that while being blasted with pheromones. Not once did she submit. They didn’t even faze her.”

Lexa went bug-eyed at this. She looked up at Clarke and noticed she was a deep shade of red. “Why do you blush? That is truly astounding. You have accomplished so much in such a little time. I hope you are proud of yourself. I told you that you were a warrior. Do you believe me now?”

Clarke finally looked directly into curious green eyes. “I don’t know that I would call myself a warrior. I just want to be something that you can be proud of.”

“I don’t know if there is a word for how proud I am of you, but that isn’t what is important. I hope that you are proud of yourself.”

“I am. I really am.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

Clarke followed when Lexa beckoned her into her tent. She still felt uneasy in the company of the alpha. She just couldn’t get a handle on her feelings for the other woman, even after all the time spent apart. Every day while Lexa had been gone, she would train herself to the point of exhaustion, but at night, the silence of her room was deafening. On the Ark, there was always noise, be it the whirring of the air purification system, or the constant drift of voices that would reach her cell. The silence of her room in the tower was truly that, a total absence of noise. It left her too much time to think, and the chaos it left behind kept the omega thoroughly confused. Now, however, seeing the powerful alpha again, Clarke was able to grasp what she was feeling in Lexa’s absence. It was the resounding feeling of loneliness. She had spent her whole life lonely, but this was different. This was devastating emptiness, and Clarke had just kept herself too busy to truly let herself feel it. Clarke felt the burning hole in her heart start to fill when she finally recognized it for what it actually was. It was a hole that only Lexa could fill. The unease she had been feeling was quickly replaced by contentment. The insecure feeling that Lexa didn’t feel the same remained, but Clarke decided she could be at peace with that for now. She could be happy with just Lexa’s friendship. And, if what she was feeling for Lexa was love, then she didn’t care if it made her weak or made her strong. She was just happy that she had someone that she cared about and who cared for her in return, even if it was just as friends.

Clarke was so deep in her thoughts that she jumped just a little when Lexa cleared her throat, drawing her attention back to the alpha. She was probably blushing, but it was dim enough, despite the massive amounts of candles, that Lexa probably hadn’t noticed. Clarke smiled then let out a laugh when she noticed the large amount of lit candles in the space.

“Care to share what you are thinking about?” Lexa asked a little timidly.

Smile still plastered on her face, Clarke decided to share. “Titus has been sharing some stories about you when you were much younger. He told me about your absolute fascination with candles.”

“Oh, did he now?”

“He did.” Clarke chuckled. “He told me that when you were about nine years old he sent you to buy some candles from the candle maker, but the merchant was busy and told you that you would have to come back later. You decided to wait because you thought you would be punished if you returned without what Titus needed. He said that he found you hours later, with melted wax matting down your hair, and reeking of all the different scents the merchant used to make the candles. You had stayed and helped the merchant make the tapers for the upcoming winter celebration. The merchant told Titus you were a natural and hoped you could come back the next day. He also told me he forbade it, but that you snuck back every chance you got. It has been a love affair ever since, he said.”

Lexa looked around her tent and noticed that she really did have maybe just a few more candles than were necessary to light the space. It was Lexa’s turn to blush, but this time it was noticeable, and Clarke was thrilled.

“It is lucky that I care for Titus and Costia so much. I am sure they have told you every embarrassing story about me.”

“I am sure they have a few more to share,” Clarke teased, “unless you want to share them first.”

“Come sit, Clarke. I can see your legs trembling. I imagine you are quite tired after your journey here. I have sent for food. We can eat and maybe I will tell you a few embarrassing tales about Costia. If you think I was always getting into trouble, wait until you hear some of the stories about her.

 

The two sat for hours in Lexa’s tent talking softly. At one point, Lexa had Clarke laughing so hard at a story about Costia’s antics that her stomach started to hurt. It was wonderful. When it got late, Lexa walked Clarke over to the tent next to hers. It was smaller but well appointed. It even had a soft cot with ample furs to keep her warm while she slept.

“If you need anything, Clarke, you can come get me. If you need Anya, her tent is over there.” Lexa pointed to where the general’s tent sat. “I want to assure you that you are safe here. There are guards stationed all over and there will always be a couple nearby.”

“Thank you, Lexa. I missed you.”

“I missed you too.”

Clarke undressed and crawled into her bed in her under-cloths. She was too exhausted from her ride to bother to change. Clarke slept so well that she never even moved.

The next morning Clarke woke, and TonDc was in a buzz. Clarke could feel that everyone was on edge. Something was happening and it made her nervous. In her excitement to see Lexa she had forgotten about the Ark delinquents. A cold wave of fear washed through her body.

Clarke had only taken a few steps in the direction of Lexa’s tent before both Anya and Lexa were before her. Both wore their armor and weapons. Lexa’s face was free of war paint, but Anya’s was not. Another zing of fear shot through the omega, but she squashed it down. Over the past couple of months, she had come to trust the fierce alpha, and Clarke even considered her a friend and confidant.

“Wh-what’s happening?” Clarke stammered out.

It was Anya who spoke first. “A messenger came this morning. There has been movement at the delinquent’s camp. Five people have left their camp and seem to be heading directly toward the relief camp. Their movement towards us seems purposeful. We aren’t sure how, but somehow they seem to know we are here.”

“We are moving to intercept them.” Lexa said. “Clarke, we feel it would be best if you stayed in TonDC until we can fully assess the situation.”

Clarke couldn’t keep herself from trembling at the thought of her people moving in on the relief camp. “N-no.” She said. “No,” she said more forcefully. “I did not spend all that time exhausting myself with my training just to cower away in some corner while you deal with something that is my fault. I am going.”

“This is in no way your fault, Clarke, if…”

Clarke interrupted Lexa. “It is. My mother and the council sent the delinquents down because my collar stopped working. If I could have destroyed it immediately, or done anything, then maybe they wouldn’t be here. If they sent the prisoners, that means they will be next.”

Anya stepped in front of Clarke and grabbed her by the shoulders. “That is a load of skrish (shit), and you know it. There is nothing that could have been done to prevent this, and if you want to place blame on someone, place it on me. I took the collar off you.”

“Em pleni (enough)! We don’t have time for this right now.” Lexa said. Soft eyes implored the omega to stay in TonDC, but Lexa knew she had to let Clarke come to the relief camp. “Clarke, if you think you are ready, then you can come. You will be protected at all costs, so you have nothing to fear. Anya and I will protect you with our lives.”

Clarke didn’t feel ready, and she knew she was transmitting her fear, but she had to be strong. She had trained for this. It was only five people, and she would be protected. Lexa and Anya would not allow her to be hurt.

“L-let’s go.” Clarke cringed when her voice broke.

Clarke groaned when a gona walked forward with Steltrona. She did not want to get back on the horse. Lexa seemed to sense her distress and said, “The camp isn’t far Clarke, but it’s best if we do not walk.” Clarke just sighed and mounted the horse.

Lexa had been telling the truth, and the ride to the camp was not too bad. Clarke legs were only mildly aching by the time they arrived. Just as Clarke dismounted, she was wrapped in enormous arms. She smelled the familiar scent of her favorite beta.

“Lincoln,” Clarke turned in his arms to face him.

“I have missed you, strikon. I have heard you have become quite the warrior.”

“I don’t know about that, but I have been working hard.”

“I look forward to sparring with you.” Lincoln said.

Clarke smiled. “I don’t know if I am ready for that.”

Anya walked up behind her seken. “Don’t let her fool you Lincoln. She will have you face first in the dirt in two minutes.”

Clarke blushed when she heard Lexa say, “I look forward to seeing that. Word of Clarke’s newly acquired skills is spreading.” Lexa looked directly at Clarke. “I look forward to sparring with you myself.” A thrill pinged through Clarke’s chest at the thought of that.

The reunion with Lincoln was interrupted when a tall, very intimidating alpha approached. “Clarke, this is Indra. One of my most trusted generals and the chieftain of TonDC.”

Indra held out her hand and grabbed Clarke’s forearm. After shaking she said, “It is nice to finally meet you, Clarke. I have heard much about you from Lexa. I hate to interrupt, but the Skai goufas (sky children) are getting close.”

A shudder ran up Clarke’s spine before she could stop it. Both Lexa and Anya looked at her with concern.

It was Anya who reached out first to comfort her. “Clarke, I know you have trained hard, but if you are not ready, no one will fault you if you do not come with us.”

“No one will respect you any less, Clarke.” Lexa adds.

Clarke shakes herself out. “I am coming with you. It is just five people. I will be fine.”

Lexa looked Clarke over. She walked back to her horse and dug through the saddle bags. When she walked back over to Clarke, she handed Clarke her armor. “Here. You left this behind. Let me help you put it on.”

Clarke held Lexa’s gaze for a few moments before nodding her head. Soon, Lexa had Clarke looking just like any other Trikru gona.

“Indra, give us a moment.” Lexa dragged Clarke over to her horse and again dug through the saddle bags. She came up with a clay jar in her hands. When Clarke gave her a questioning look, Lexa told her it was her war paint. “I need to put this on. Will it frighten you to see me in it?”

Clarke’s heart warmed over the consideration Lexa was taking. “No. I will be okay.”

“Would you like me to apply some to you too?” Lexa asked hesitantly. “I know it is just paint, and it just creates a mask, but I find that it gives me a strength that I do not possess when I am not wearing it.”

“I…I would be honored for you to do it.” Clarke said, lowering her eyes a little in embarrassment.

Lexa reached forward with both hands and tucked Clarke’s long blonde hair behind her ears. There had been no time for Clarke to braid it. Dipping the fingers of her right hand into the paint, Lexa gently started to apply it to Clarke’s face. It took several minutes, but Lexa finally looked up with a satisfied grin lighting up her face. Once again Lexa started digging through her bags. When she procured what she was looking for, she proudly held it up to Clarke.

It was a large piece of broken mirror. The sharp edges had been smoothed and didn’t pose a threat. Lexa held the piece up to Clarke so she could see herself, and Clarke gasped. She almost didn’t recognize herself. Looking back at her was a fierce looking woman, not the scared and skinny omega that Clarke usually saw herself as. This woman looked like one that could fight and win against anyone she encountered. The paint was almost a replica of Heda’s mask except that several of the streaks going down her face went all the way to her jaw line. Clarke rotated her head back and forth several times before looking back up at Lexa. “You are right,” Clarke said, “I feel like I could take on the world. It does make me feel stronger.”

The smile Lexa gave Clarke made her knees weak. “You are so strong, Clarke. You have proven that every day. Are you ready to go and face the skai goufas?”

Clarke’s heart raced at the thought of seeing any of her people. She kept reminding herself that it wasn’t any of the adults, and it was only five of them. She puffed out her chest and let a hard resolve come over her. “I am ready.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 19

Lexa and Clarke walked over to where the others were waiting. They all shared matching looks of surprise seeing the design on Clarke’s face, but they all quickly recovered. Anya gave Lexa a knowing look then walked over to her seken. “You look like you have been a Trikru gona all your life. Are you sure you are ready?”

Clarke sighed. “I am. I have to be.”

Clarke stepped in between Heda and the general as they led the way to meet her people. She wished she could stop calling them her people in her head, but she had no other way to think of them. Indra, Lincoln, Gusus, and a few other gona followed just a few steps behind. They all stopped at the outskirts of the makeshift camp.

She could see figures approaching, but they were still too far away to make out any features. She couldn’t help it when she started to tremble. As soon as she did, she felt Lexa and Anya blast her with calming pheromones. Lexa turned her head toward her. “We won’t let anything happen to you. You have my word.”

“I know. I’m sorry, it’s just…”

“There is no need to apologize, Strik gona (little warrior). We understand.” Anya said.

The intimidating group stood and watched the careful approach of the others. For now, they kept their weapons sheathed. Clarke could tell that her people were being cautious. Even from a distance, she could see that they were nervous. As they got closer, she was able to see that it was a group of three women and two men. After another minute or so, Clarke inhaled sharply. She recognized two of the others. Raven was in the lead, and she could see Monty at the back of the little group. While the two had been the only ones to be sort of nice to her, she had still hoped never to see them again. It wasn’t as if they had ever spoken to her or tried to help her when others hurt her. The three others she didn’t know. One girl had blonde hair and her eyes skittered constantly from side to side, trying not to look at the people they were approaching. She was scared. The other boy of the group looked older. He was carrying the final girl in the group. She didn’t appear to be conscious.

Anya and Lexa moved forward at the same time. “Stop,” Anya bellowed. “You are trespassing on Trikru lands.”

The five people froze in their tracks. Raven and Monty looked past the two alarming women and focused on Clarke. She could see them puzzling out who she was. She took an unconscious step back. Raven’s eyes widened in surprise and recognition. Even with her war paint on, Clarke had been recognized. She wanted to flee, but she didn’t want to be weak.

“319?” Raven whispered to herself. “Oh my god, it’s you.” Raven shouted. She started to run forward but was blasted with a dual attack of pheromones from Lexa and Anya. The four standing sky people found themselves on their knees in an instant. They turned their heads in submission, unable to fight the powerful pheromones. The unconscious girl tumbled to the ground as the boy who had been holding her lost his grip.

As soon as he was clear of the girl in his arms, Clarke got a good look at him. She didn’t know him, but she panicked anyway. He was wearing a guard’s jacket. He was a guard, and that meant he was an alpha. Terror shot through the poor omega as she had flashbacks of how she was treated by the guards.

The Trikru warriors all felt the sharp spike in Clarke’s fear and moved to surround her. All weapons were unsheathed.

Lexa stepped toward the group that was still on their knees. She had both swords in her hands and she was growling. She stomped over to Raven and put a sword to her throat. “Who are you? How do you know this woman?” Lexa pointed to Clarke with her other sword.

The four kneeling people were quaking with fear. “Please,” Raven stammered out, “we don’t mean any harm.” She pointed to the unmoving figure on the ground. “Please. She needs help. She was attacked by some of the others in our group. If we didn’t get her away, she would have been killed.”

Lexa pushed her blade slightly harder against the terrified girl’s neck. “Answer my question. How do you know this woman?”

Tears were leaking out of Raven’s eyes, and bright red blood was beginning to trickle out of her nose. Despite her terror, a look of defiance overcame her features. “Lay off the pheromones, and I will be able to answer your question.” As an afterthought, she said, “Please.”

It was Anya who made the next move. “You dare to speak to the Commander of the 12 clans this way. I will take your head.”

Lexa held up her hand and Anya stopped moving. Lexa let up on her pheromonal attack causing Anya to let up on hers.

The four kneeling people fell forward onto their hands and knees, gasping in huge gulps of air after their sudden release from the dominant hold.
Lexa’s voice was deadly when she said, “On your feet. NOW!” The four sky people moved to obey. The older boy moved to pick up the injured girl from the ground, but Lexa stopped him. “Leave her. We will take care of her.”

Lexa motioned to Lincoln who immediately strode forward and carefully picked the girl up. He turned around and walked back to the camp. The older boy bristled and began to growl.

“Where are you taking her?”

“Do not fear for her, she will receive the care she needs. Do,” Lexa stressed, “worry for yourselves. I expect answers to all of my questions. If I feel that any of you are trying to deceive me, I will let my general cut out your tongues. Now follow me.”

Lexa turned back toward the camp. She made eye contact with Clarke silently asking if she was okay. Clarke gave her a single nod and fell into step next to her as Lexa walked toward her tent. Lexa entered and went to sit on her throne. Clarke wordlessly stood on her left trying to stand tall and not show her fear. Anya took up a place on Lexa’s right.

Part of Clarke’s training had been learning more about Heda’s role in the coalition and the different protocols that were in place. While she had never seen this side of Lexa, or Anya for that matter, she at least knew what to expect, and how to act, during this meeting. She was fighting dueling emotions of fear and excitement, seeing the Heda’s true power.

After a minute, the four sky people were led in by Gustus and Indra. The two flanked the opening to the tent. Even if they wanted to, the sky people weren’t going anywhere.

Lexa took out her dagger and started fiddling with it. It was a clear intimidation tactic, and it was working. “Who is your leader?”

Raven and the older boy both took a hesitant step forward. The older boy gave Raven a blast of pheromones. Raven exposed her neck in submission to him then stepped back.

“I am. My name is Bellamy.”

“Fine, Bellamy, you will stay silent while this one,” Lexa pointed at Raven with her dagger, “answers my original question.”

Bellamy frowned but stayed silent.

“Step forward.” Lexa commanded. “Tell me how it is that you think you know my warrior.”

Raven moved as Lexa commanded. She kept her eyes downcast. When she finally looked up, it wasn’t to look at the Commander. She locked eyes with Clarke’s. “319. I thought you were dead.”

Lexa stood from her chair. “You will speak to me. Not to her.” Lexa boomed.

No one in the room was immune to the authority in Lexa’s voice. They all stilled then bared their necks, all except Clarke. Lexa took notice, but it was something to delve into later.

“I’m…I’m sorry Commander. She…I think…she lived with us up on the Ark.”

“And why did you think she was dead?”

“I..I mean they…because they sent her down in the pod,” Raven finally blurted out. She closed her eyes for a moment trying to calm herself and focus her thoughts. “319 was someone I knew on the Ark. She was different, and because of that she was treated terribly. The council, and even her mother, encouraged all of us to treat her differently. They encouraged us to be cruel. I didn’t want to, but they were always watching us, evaluating us. If we had gone against them, we would have been hurt too.”

“Clarify.” Lexa said.

“The ark is made up of alphas and betas. When each of us was created, Doctor Griffin ensured that no omegas would be made. Alphas rule everything. Betas are tolerated. Omegas are forbidden, so when 319 was created, it was a huge issue, especially because she was made with Doctor Griffin’s DNA. Doctor Griffin is technically her mother.”

Lexa still didn’t understand how the people in the sky were creating babies, but there wasn’t time for her to get an explanation right now.

“I am honestly surprised that she wasn’t destroyed.” Raven said.

Clarke whimpered and all of the warriors growled. “I’m sorry, 319, but it is true.”

“SHE HAS A NAME.” Lexa shouted.

Raven was back on her knees. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. No one ever called her by her name. I’m sorry.”

Lexa tried to calm herself. She returned to the throne and sat. More gently, she said, “Her name is Clarke.” Lexa looked over at Clarke who was holding up better than she expected, but she could see a few cracks starting to show. “Tell me why you would have been hurt for ignoring the orders to treat Clarke cruelly.”

“Everything on the Ark is about power, and if you are weak, you are exploited.”

Lexa gave a low menacing growl and leaned forward in her seat. “So you have hurt Clarke?”

Raven started to weep. “I tried not to, but I am sure that I have. They were always watching. I am sorry, Clarke. I am so, so sorry.” Anya was growling now too.

“You always made it up to me.” Clarke whispered. Raven lifted her head and sobbed when she saw how upset the omega looked.

“I’m sorry, Clarke. I tried. I really did try. I didn’t want to be mean to you.”

Lexa addressed Clarke. “Did any of the others hurt you?” Lexa pointed at the others with her dagger.

“No.” Clarke said quietly. “That boy, Monty,” she said pointing to the boy cowering at the back of the group, “he is the one I told you about who gave me food sometimes. The other two, and the girl who was taken to the healer, I don’t know.”

Lexa looked back at the sky people. “Why did your people hurt one of your own? Why did they hurt that girl?”

It was Bellamy who spoke this time. He was angry. “They hurt my sister for the same reason they hurt Clarke. She is an omega too.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 20

Black dots swam at the edges of Clarke’s vision. Another omega. It couldn’t be possible. Every single day, she was told that she was alone, that she was an aberration. She had gotten a good look at the girl, and she didn’t see scars or any evidence of lifelong abuse. She even looked well fed. Aside from a few new bruises, she looked unharmed. Why was Clarke so horribly abused and this girl allowed to live without pain? Why was Clarke the target? Why was she the one subjected to daily humiliation and terror?

Clarke’s vision continued to narrow, and she had to grab the back of Lexa’s throne to keep herself from falling. “Why?” she muttered before everything went dark.

 

When Clarke opened her eyes again, she was laying on a cot in the dark. She was flooded with shame. Her first test in the real world, away from Polis, and she had failed. She was the epitome of weakness. She had failed in front of Heda. Tears leaked from her eyes as she struggled with a new realization. She was weak. She would always be weak, and no amount of training was going to change anything. She had tried so hard these past few months and none of it had amounted to anything. A sob escaped unbidden.

Clarke felt a presence next to her and turned her head. Lexa sat on a chair next to her bed. She was free of war paint. Another sob escaped Clarke’s lips. “I am sorry I failed you, Heda.”

Lexa narrowed her eyes. Clarke had never called her Heda before, but she thought she understood. “Clarke, you didn’t fail me. You didn’t fail anyone.”

“I did,” Clarke sobbed, “I was weak. I…I wanted to show you that I could be strong, but I wasn’t. I am sorry.” She rubbed her hands over her eyes and they came away smudged with black war paint. This made Clarke sob harder. She had felt so strong when Lexa applied the paint to her face. What a joke.

“Clarke,” Lexa said, “I need you to listen to me. You did not fail me, and you were not weak. Your whole world was just turned upside down. Your reaction to finding out about Octavia…”

“W-who?” Clarke interrupted.

“The other omega from the Ark, her name is Octavia. I know what you are thinking, Clarke, and…”

Clarke interrupted again. “You have no idea what I am thinking.”

“I can guess. You saw Octavia. She is hardy and whole. She looks like a perfectly healthy girl, and you are wondering why you suffered abuse when she was obviously loved and well cared for.” Lexa reached down and wiped away the tears that still streamed from Clarke’s eyes. The two women now had matching black smudges on their hands.

“I want you to go and meet her Clarke. You need to hear her story. While she doesn’t have obvious scars, they are still there. She just earned hers a bit differently than you.”

Clarke didn’t want to go meet this omega. She didn’t want to meet the omega who got to live on the Ark and not get beaten. She didn’t want to meet the omega that didn’t get made fun of or called names. She didn’t want to meet the omega that shouldn’t exist because if she existed then everything that had ever happened to Clarke was that much more horrible, and that much more unjustified. It just wasn’t fair, and she didn’t want to meet her.

Clarke rolled onto her side to face away from Lexa. She couldn’t control the tears or the sobs, so she tried to bury them in her pillow. She heard Lexa get up from her chair and speak with someone outside of her tent, but she couldn’t hear what was said. After a minute, she felt the edge of the cot dip down. Lexa was sitting next to her.

She felt fingers carding through her hair, and she couldn’t help the next sob that escaped. “It isn’t fair, Lexa. It isn’t fair.”

She felt Lexa moving to lie down next to her, and suddenly she was being enveloped by a warm body. Lexa’s long arm reached around her and pulled her close, and Clarke could feel herself calming as Lexa pumped out soothing pheromones. Clarke rolled over so that she was facing the alpha. She buried her head in Lexa’s chest and continued to cry. “It isn’t fair.” She said one more time.

 

Lexa’s heart was breaking as the omega cried into her chest. Clarke was right, it wasn’t fair. The sweet, caring omega in her arms didn’t deserve how she had been treated, and Lexa marveled each time she saw her that Clarke hadn’t turned angry and bitter. It had surprised Lexa when Anya confided in her that Clarke considered love weakness. It made Lexa want to weep. It also made her afraid to confess her feelings to Clarke. She had been having feelings for Clarke for quite some time, and she thought maybe Clarke was having feelings for her too, but after hearing Anya’s confession, she was more uncertain than before. Lexa also never felt it was the right time to broach her feelings with Clarke. Clarke was healing and learning who she was. She didn’t need Lexa complicating things by professing her love to her. For now, all she could do was be there for Clarke and hope that one day it would be the right time for them.

Lexa hugged Clarke closer to her and cared for her the best she could. “I am so sorry, Niron (loved one).” Lexa cringed at the slip of her tongue and hoped Clarke didn’t notice. Lexa bent and kissed her on the forehead. She couldn’t help herself. “I know your world has been turned upside down, but I vow to help you turn it upright again. You deserve all the happiness this world has to offer, and I am going to try and give that to you. I will do everything in my power to help you.”

There was a rustling at the entrance to the tent, and Lexa sat up. “Sometimes help comes when it is the last thing we want, Clarke, and I think meeting Octavia and listening to her story will help you more than anything else. It is the best I can do for you right now.”

The flap to the tent opened and a slight girl, maybe a few years younger than Clarke walked in. Lexa gestured for the girl to sit in the chair next to Clarke’s bed.

“Hi, Clarke,” the girl said timidly. “I’m Octavia.”

When Clarke didn’t move or make a sound, Lexa looked at Octavia and encouraged her to go on.

“I have heard about you my whole life. You are the omega with the black blood.” Clarke still didn’t respond, but Octavia pushed forward. “I am the omega who lived under the floor.” Clarke finally looked at the omega sitting in front of her. “My mom, and my brother, they had to keep me hidden. With the rules on the Ark, I wasn’t supposed to exist. When my mom got pregnant, she had to hide it. She already had Bellamy, and no one was allowed to have more than one child, especially a child born naturally because it is forbidden. To top it off, I was born an omega. If the council had found out, my mom would have been floated and I likely would have been killed too, so my mom and Bellamy kept me shut away.” Octavia paused then. “I never got to leave our quarters, and if someone came, I had to hide under the floor. I spent fifteen years in that apartment and under the floor.”

Clarke had new tears streaming down her face, but this time it was for the poor girl sitting in front of her.

“My mom told me stories about you and how you were treated. Sometimes it was the only way she could keep me in our apartment. I wanted out so badly, but she knew what would happen to me. She used to tell me stories about the things they did to you and said that if I went out there the same things would happen to me. She told me the stories so that I would be afraid to leave. It worked.”

“I’m sorry,” Clarke whimpered. “I’m sorry you had to live like that because of me.”

“No, Clarke, that isn’t what I meant. Crap, I am communicating this wrong, and you’re misunderstanding me. I don’t blame anything on you. If anything, I am alive because of you. Over the years, my mom told me stories about you, and they were horrendous, but what I took away from those stories was the strength you must have had to survive each day. I was too scared to leave our apartment, but you were out there every day despite knowing what they would do to you. You still got up each morning and did what you needed to do to survive. All I ever did was hide away. You were fighting while I was being a coward.”

The younger omega now had tears in her eyes too. “When I was finally brave enough to leave, it was probably just a few days after you were sent to earth. I begged and begged Bellamy into getting me a mask to wear to the masquerade ball on Unity Day. I convinced him that with the mask no one would know who I was. He finally gave in, and everything went horribly wrong. I got caught, and my mother was floated not even an hour later. I was thrown in a cell. I know that children under eighteen aren’t allowed to be floated, but I think they would have made the exception with me even though I had done nothing wrong. If it hadn’t been for the plans to send us all down in the dropship, I would probably be dead.”

Clarke felt sorry for the other omega. It was remarkable that her mother and brother were able to keep her a secret for so long. Clarke wanted to ask Octavia questions about Bellamy. He was wearing a guard’s jacket, so he had to be an alpha. She wanted to know why he wasn’t floated along with his mother. She also wanted to know how he turned up on a dropship with a bunch of delinquent teens when it was obvious that he was older than all the rest. She had a lot of questions because Bellamy was an Ark alpha, and Ark alphas were not good people.

Clarke’s train of thought was interrupted when Lexa squeezed her knee. She was so caught up in her head worrying about Bellamy that she had stopped paying attention. Octavia must not have noticed though because she was rambling on about being on earth and the fact that they had finally met some of the grounders.

“Grounders?” Lexa asked.

“Yeah, you know,” Octavia said, “you guys. Everyone on the Ark believes that the earth has been uninhabitable and that there couldn’t possibly be anyone on the ground, but all of you have proven them wrong. Thus grounders.”

Clarke’s head was pounding, and all she wanted to do was curl up on her bed and go to sleep. She felt better after hearing Octavia’s story, but she didn’t feel well enough to go join the others for dinner. She also didn’t want to face the others after the embarrassing events in the Commander’s tent. Lexa finally noticed that Clarke was uncomfortable when she saw Clarke rubbing her temples.

“Octavia, why don’t you join the others outside by the fire? I am sure that dinner is ready.”

“Oh, okay.” Octavia got up and stood in front of Clarke for a moment. “It really is an honor to meet you Clarke. I know meeting me was a shock, but I hope that someday we can be friends.”

Before Clarke could respond, Octavia was out of the tent. Clarke collapsed back down onto her cot and rolled away from Lexa again. She was confused and didn’t know what to think. She was nervous about her people being in camp. She was embarrassed by the weakness she had shown earlier. She was awed by the omega that lived under the floor, but mostly she was tired. The blows just kept coming, and she couldn’t stop them.

Emotions were spinning through Clarke’s head, but after a long while of mulling things over, she realized something new. She may not be able to stop the blows from coming, but she could fight them when they came. She was weak today, but who wouldn’t have been by such a shocking revelation? She was thrown off her game, but she hadn’t survived this long and trained so hard just to give up. Everyone kept telling her she was strong. It was time for her to believe it and truly embrace her it. She was done taking each blow, one by one. She was going to start landing some of her own, and the first blow she was going to land was one that should have landed a while ago. There was something she should have taken care of before. Something that she had been hiding from because she thought it made her weak, but then Lexa had let the word niron slip from her mouth. Weakness be damned, Clarke thought.

With a new resolve and a different outlook on life, she turned to Lexa who was still sitting next to her. Curious green eyes widened when Clarke placed her hands on either side of Lexa’s head. Before Clarke could chicken out, she kissed her. Lexa was too startled to react at first, but soon she was kissing Clarke back. It was soft and slow, and it was everything Clarke had ever dreamed it would be. Eventually Clarke pulled away. “Let’s go get some dinner…niron.” Clarke stood up and started to walk out of the tent.

Chapter Text

Chapter 21

Before Clarke could leave the tent, Lexa halted her progress by calling out her name. The omega slowly turned around. She could see that the alpha’s face was a deep crimson.

“I…uh…you, you…” Lexa stammered.

Clarke smirked and said, “I don’t think I have ever seen you at a loss for words, Lexa.”

Lexa rubbed her fingers over the lips that had just been kissed while her eyes searched Clarke’s. “You kissed me.”

“I did. Is that a problem?” Clarke asked hesitantly, suddenly shy again.

Lexa sensed Clarke’s sudden unease. She walked up to Clarke and rubbed a thumb over her cheek. “It is not a problem. It was a surprise, a wonderful, and unexpected, surprise.” Lexa tilted her forehead so it could rest against Clarke’s. “I have wanted to kiss you for a very long time, Clarke.”

“Then why didn’t you?”

“You were…are, still healing. I didn’t want to make your life more complicated than it already is. Plus, with how alphas have treated you in the past, I wasn’t sure how you would feel about me. I didn’t want to lose your trust if I did something you were not ready for.”

“Thank you, Lexa. I do trust you, and honestly before just this moment, I didn’t know I was ready. I have been feeling things for you that I just didn’t understand. It was your mother that told me what was happening to me, and I kind of freaked out then.”

“Why?” Lexa asked. She knew what Anya had told her, but she wanted to hear Clarke’s version.

“Because up on the Ark, things were so harsh for me, and anything I ever loved was taken from me or used against me. It made me think that love made me weak, weaker than I already was. It made me feel worthless and exceedingly vulnerable, and when I looked around at the people on the Ark, those that expressed their love or showed any softness were preyed upon. Maybe it wasn’t the same way as I was, but it still happened. It made the people cold and hard. I think that maybe I thought if I started having feelings for you that you would be taken away from me too, or become cold and hard just like the people on the Ark.” 

“You will never lose me, Clarke. The things I feel here,” Lexa took Clarke’s hand and put it over her heart,
“are things I have never felt before. When I see you, things get a little bit brighter. When I hear you laugh, I think I must be hearing an angel, and when you touch me…I feel light. It’s like you lift a load from my shoulders just by being there. Being the Commander is such a heavy burden, but since you arrived, I feel lighter. Mostly, Clarke, you make me feel. I feel so much with you, and it makes me feel stronger than I have ever felt before.”

“I make you feel strong?”

“Yes, Clarke. So strong.”

“I thought what I was feeling made me weak.” Clarke began. “When Myra told me what I was feeling, I got so angry, and like a fool, I stormed out.” Clarke looked down, a little ashamed of her previous actions. “I got to the training field, and I was out of control. Anya helped me channel my anger into something productive. I didn’t even realize that the entire time I was beating the hell out of the training dummy that she was trying to use her pheromones to make me submit. I was so conditioned to react to even the slightest bit of dominance up on the Ark, but on the field that day, I was so distracted and enraged that I was able to turn it off. I didn’t even react to her, and not to the ten others that tried to make me submit after her. Anya made me realize that what I was feeling wasn’t something that made me weak. It made me strong. I will admit that it took me some time to get to that realization.”

Lexa’s green eyes were bright. “I will be honest and tell you that Anya told me a little bit of what happened that day, and I was so sad to think that you thought your feelings made you weak. You have proven, over and over again, that you are not weak. Then hearing about your progress, and the stunning advances you made with your training, it made me so proud.”

Blue eyes met green. “That’s all I have ever wanted, Lexa, for you to be proud of me.”

“I have always been proud of you.” Lexa paused then smirked. “So, you love me, huh?”

The color rose in Clarke’s cheeks. “I feel things for you that I haven’t felt before, and it is different than how I feel for everyone else. I think…I think that maybe I am falling in love with you.” Clarke looked up uncertainly. “So, what do we do now?”

“We don’t have to do anything, Clarke. I don’t want you to feel pressured to do anything that you don’t want to do.”

“I don’t know what any of this means.” Clarke said, and she really didn’t know. Until she landed on the ground, she had had no one in her life. She didn’t know how to have a relationship with another person. She was still learning what it meant to have friends. “I know that I want to spend more time with you, and I know that I hate it when you are gone, but I don’t know what I am supposed to do.”

“Like I said, you don’t have to do anything.” Lexa grabbed Clarke’s hand and kissed it. “Why don’t we just take this one day at time, and we will see what happens.”

“Okay.” Clarke said.

Lexa took a step back from Clarke. “I hate to bring us back to reality, but we should go and eat. Do you think you will be okay eating with the sky people?”

For a brief time, Clarke had completely forgotten about them. “Do you trust them?” Clarke asked, a little afraid of the answer.

“No, not at all.” Lexa reassured. “Octavia maybe, and I do feel like Raven is truly sorry for her behavior toward you, but the others I can’t be sure about. I feel that Monty and the girl Harper are probably harmless, but I can’t get a good feel for Bellamy. He presents as the brother that would do anything for his sister, but I can’t be sure that he doesn’t have some ulterior motive for something. Maybe it is because I know he is an alpha from the Ark, but I just feel like maybe something else is up with him.”

“I had wondered myself.”

“For now, you don’t need to worry about him. Both Anya and Indra are watching all of them like hawks, and I have others watching from a distance. If any of them so much as steps a toe out of line, I will know about it immediately.”

“Okay.” Clarke said, a little more confident. “Let’s go eat.”

“There is one more thing to do first.” Lexa said.

“What’s that?”

Lexa stepped forward and placed a lingering kiss on Clarke’s lips.

“That. That is what needed to be done.” Lexa grinned. “You asked me why I haven’t kissed you. Now I have.”

 

The pair walked through the camp toward the cooking fires. After grabbing a plate of food, they walked over to sit where the Arkers sat with Indra, Anya and Lincoln. Octavia sat in quiet conversation with Lincoln, and surprisingly, Anya and Raven were in a heated discussion. Both were discussing something that had them gesturing wildly with their hands. Monty and Harper sat stiffly on a log eating and watching everything around them, and Bellamy sat alone. He sat ramrod straight, and his eyes shifted every few seconds, but he did seem to focus mostly on his sister, not able to hide his disdain for Lincoln. Indra sat off to the side, appearing to casually observe everything that was going on.

When Lexa and Clarke entered the circle of people, all conversation halted. Octavia jumped up exuberantly and strode over to Clarke. Clarke froze.

“Clarke, I am so happy you decided to come out and have dinner with all of us. I thought that maybe we wouldn’t see you again tonight.” Octavia said.

Clarke looked at the other omega. It was clear that the younger omega was excited to be in the camp. After being sheltered for so long, who could blame her? Clarke thought. For just a second, Clarke felt a bitter resentment toward the brunette. Perhaps it was really jealousy. It was clear that Octavia was happy. Clarke only knew that she had been attacked by some of the other delinquents for being an omega, but already she seemed recovered.

“Thanks, Octavia. I admit I wasn’t sure if I would be coming out tonight. It’s been a bit of a shock meeting all of you…or re-meeting in the case of Monty and Raven.”

Raven stood next and approached Clarke and the Commander with more caution. It was clear that she was afraid of Lexa, understandably so after being forced to submit to the powerful alpha. “Commander, would it…would it be okay if I spoke to Clarke for a few minutes?”

Lexa eyed the beta up and down and Raven shivered under the scrutiny. “Why are you asking me? Ask Clarke. It is up to her, not me if she wants to speak with you.”

“I…I’m sorry.” Raven stammered. “Clarke, do you think I could speak to you for a few minutes…privately?”

Clarke looked over to Lexa, alarmed, but Lexa discreetly patted her back and then softly hip-checked her, reminding the omega of her sheathed daggers. At that moment, Clarke realized she was perfectly capable of defending herself against the beta should Raven try something toward her.

“Sure, Raven.” Clarke said with more confidence than she actually had. “Why don’t we go to my tent. I hope you don’t mind me eating in front of you since it looks like you have already finished.”

 

“No…no of course not.” Raven smiled then. “I have to say, I wish I could have had more. The food here is amazing.”

Clarke walked them back to her tent, only after getting Raven another helping of food. She directed Raven to the chair while she sat at the edge of her bed. For a few moments the two enjoyed the food. When both were finished, and plates set aside, Clarke nonchalantly unsheathed the dagger from her thigh, setting it beside her on the bed. Clarke didn’t miss it when Raven gulped. Good, Clarke thought.

“So, what did you want to talk about?” Clarke asked.

“First, I wanted to apologize to you for how I treated you. I never meant to hurt you, but I am sure that sometimes I did. It’s why…it’s why I always tried to sneak something into your pocket. I know it wasn’t much, and it doesn’t make up for my behavior, but I needed you to know that I wasn’t a monster. I’m not, I swear.”

Tears glistened in the beta’s eyes. “I hate how the alphas on the Ark treat people, but I especially hate how they treated you. Never once did I see you do anything wrong, yet you were always being punished, and the times you would disappear for days, I worried that they had finally floated you. Then you would come back skinnier and more haunted-looking than the last time I saw you. I wish I could have talked to you and that I could have been your friend, Clarke. I am sorry that I couldn’t do more for you.”

Clarke tried to keep her face impassive so that Raven wouldn’t see the fissure starting to break her façade. She could see that Raven was being sincere, but at the same time she wanted to push the beta to the ground and beat her to a pulp for not doing more for her. She knew that wasn’t fair to Raven. Raven couldn’t have helped Clarke any more than she did. Otherwise, she would have been punished too, and Clarke didn’t wish that for her. Clarke also couldn’t deny that what Raven was able to sneak her helped keep her sane, and sometimes it even helped keep her alive.

“Thank you, Raven. Sometimes what you did hurt, but not ever as much as what the others did to me, and the things you were able to sneak into my pocket, they helped more than you could know. Sometimes the food literally helped keep me alive.”

Raven looked ashamed when she said, “I wish I could have done more.”

“The fact that you tried to help at all is enough, Raven. So, what is the second thing you want to talk about?”

“Your mother.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 22

Cold fear washed over Clarke like a tidal wave. She unconsciously grabbed her dagger in her left hand and swung it toward Raven. Raven gasped and pushed herself back in her chair. Raven turned her head and exposed her neck in submission to the omega, stunning Clarke.

“Raven, I am sorry. I don’t know why…” Clarke said as she lowered the dagger.

Raven tried to laugh it off. “What is it with you and the grounders thrusting sharp, pointy objects at everyone?”

“Lexa was just protecting me,” Clarke defended, “and I…well how do you think I am going to react when you bring up that horrible woman? She was NEVER a mother to me.”

“I know. I’m sorry. I would never have brought her up, but there are a few things you need to know. Things that happened after they sent you down in my pod.”

“What do you mean ‘your pod’?” Clarke snarled.

“Your mom made me work, or rather slave, over it. I rebuilt the whole thing. Clarke, she was already planning to send you to the ground well before they figured out that the air was running out. She didn’t care if you survived. I don’t think she actually wanted you to.” Raven said, apologetically.

 

Clarke whimpered. “She is obsessed, Clarke. She wants to come to the ground. She feels like the alphas deserve the ground, like they have earned the right to live down here. I don’t think she even cares if everyone else survives. She wants the upper echelon to have all the power.”

Clarke whimpered again and the tent filled with distress pheromones. Raven startled and almost tipped out of her chair when the tent flap was moved to the side and Lexa walked in. The Commander walked past Raven and sat next to Clarke on the cot. She took in the state of the omega and glared at Raven.

“Why is she so upset?” Lexa asked, voice slightly menacing.

“She didn’t do anything wrong, Heda.” Clarke was careful not to say Lexa’s name in front of the Raven. She didn’t know if it would be okay in front of a virtual stranger and possible enemy. “She was telling me about my mother and her plans to come to earth. It has me a bit disturbed.” Understatement of the year, Raven thought.

Lexa turned toward Clarke and carefully placed a hand on the side of her head while caressing her thumb across Clarke’s cheek. “Are you sure this is a conversation you want to continue tonight, niron? You have had a trying day, and this is clearly upsetting to you.”

“Niron? What does that mean?” Raven asked. She was ignored.

“I think that maybe it would be a good idea to stop.” Clarke confessed.

Lexa turned back to Raven. “Is this a conversation that can be continued after breakfast tomorrow? Clarke has had a long day as I am sure you can imagine.” Lexa thought for a moment then asked, “Do you know the timeline for the arrival of the rest of your people?”

“They put wristbands on all of us to try and get information on the survivability on earth. Most of us have destroyed the bands, so hopefully they think we are all dying of radiation poisoning. Even if they think we are all dead, they will be coming eventually. The Ark is failing. They have no choice but to try and come down.”

“When will that happen?” Lexa asked, starting to get alarmed.

“They have rigged some of the systems to keep limping along, so probably not for at least another six weeks, eight weeks tops.”

“Okay, good.” Lexa said, relaxing a little. “We have time. Why don’t I show you to where you and the others will be sleeping tonight. We will continue in the morning.”

“Uh, yeah. Sure.” Raven said. She stood then looked at Clarke. “Clarke, I am so glad that you are okay. I hope you know that. I have been rooting for you since the first day I saw you.”

“Will you be okay for a little bit, Clarke? I will only be a few minutes.”

“I will be fine.” Clarke said, not really believing her own words.

Lexa ushered Raven out of the tent, but after a moment, Raven popped her head back in. “I just wanted to tell you that you look amazing. Earth really looks good on you. You’re like some kind of grounder princess now, and it is obvious that Commander Heart Eyes is totally into you. I’ll see you in the morning.” Raven winked and then her head disappeared.

 

Once Lexa and Raven were far enough away from the tent, Raven cleared her throat to get the Commander’s attention. “You need to know that while I don’t think anyone on the Ark cared if Clarke lived or died when they sent her down, her mother WILL want her lab rat and punching bag back.”

Lexa bristled. “Explain…and use plain words. I don’t understand your confusing way of speaking.”

“S-sorry. What I mean is that if they, especially her mother, know Clarke is alive, they will want her back to do medical experiments on, like a lab rat. They will want to know how someone they perceive as the epitome of weakness is able to survive down here. And as for being a punching bag, I mean that they will want her back so that they can exert control over her. They will punish her. You already know what happened to Clarke up there,” Raven pointed to the sky, “but you need to understand that some of what happened to Clarke was a way to keep the rest of us in line. They used what they did to her to control us too. They rule with fear.”

Lexa was vibrating with anger, and the pheromones were making it hard for Raven to continue walking. “C-commander, please tone it down a little.” Raven said. The pheromones dissipated immediately.

“I am sorry. I usually have better control.”

“I understand, believe me. It makes me mad too.”

The two arrived at the tent set up for the sky people. “Thank you for your honesty, Raven kom Skaikru. Please get some rest, we have much to talk about tomorrow.” Raven started to push into the tent, but before she did, Lexa stopped her. “Before you go, please tell me what ‘heart eyes’ means.”

Raven couldn’t help it and barked out a laugh. “I am sure you can figure that one out on your own, Commander.” Raven disappeared before she could be stopped again.

 


Clarke took the few minutes that Lexa was gone to change into proper sleep clothes. She tried to distract herself, but thoughts of her mother and the rest of the Ark coming down to the ground flooded her mind. She felt like she had barely survived the day. How was she going to survive when the rest of the Ark arrived? She wondered if it was wrong to ask if Lexa would bring her army and decimate them, then she felt horribly guilty because she had just considered asking Lexa to wipe out an entire civilization.

Clarke looked up when the alpha returned. “I brought you some tea. It will help you sleep tonight.” Lexa said, handing the warm mug to Clarke.

“Thank you.” Clarke said quietly. She took a sip, then looked back up at Lexa. “What am I going to do? If my mother figures out I am alive, she will kill me.”

Lexa crouched in front of Clarke and grabbed both of her hands. “She will have me and my entire army to deal with Clarke. She will be getting nowhere near you. You have my word. If what Raven says is true, we have time to prepare.”

“I am scared, Lexa. I am so, so scared.”

“I promise you that I will protect you, as will every other warrior out there.” Lexa said, kissing the top of each hand she was holding.

“Thank you, Lexa. I hope it doesn’t come to that.” Clarke looked away for a moment, then looked back at Lexa. She was a little afraid to ask because she didn’t want to be denied, but finally she said, “Do you think we can spar in the morning? I want to see if I can withstand your dominance. If I can, then at least I know that no matter what happens, the people of the Ark will never be able to make me submit again.”

Lexa didn’t want to try and force Clarke’s submission, but she knew she couldn’t deny this to Clarke. Even if Clarke only withstood a few seconds of Lexa’s dominance, she would stand a better chance against her people.

“Of course, Clarke. It would be my honor to spar with you. The tales of your amazing progress are becoming the stuff of legends.” Lexa winked, teasing the omega into blushing. “You are beautiful when you blush.”

Clarke’s blush deepened at the compliment. “Do you…do you think you can stay with me tonight?” Clarke asked shyly. “I don’t want to be alone.”

Clarke watched as Lexa stood and slowly removed her armor. Once she was in her underclothes, Lexa sat in the chair by the bed. “I will stay all night if it makes you feel better.”

“I didn’t mean in the chair, Lexa. I meant in the bed. I just need you near me tonight.”

Lexa looked surprised, but she stood up and moved to the bed. “Clarke, are you sure?”

“I just want you to hold me. Please.” Clarke begged.

Lexa carefully moved to the other side of the bed and lifted the covers. Once she was lying on her back, she beckoned Clarke to lie next to her. When Clarke was finally comfortable, Lexa turned and moved closer. She pulled Clarke into her arms. “Is this okay, niron?”

Clarke snuggled her head into the crook of Lexa’s neck and sighed. “It’s perfect.”

Lexa smiled and held the omega a little tighter. As she was falling asleep, Lexa heard Clarke whisper. “Thank you for everything you have ever done for me. I had never known kindness before you. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

Lexa kissed the omega’s forehead softly and said, “It is I who got lucky.” She began to purr until they both fell asleep.

 

Then next morning, it was Anya’s task to wake the sky people. All bolted out of bed at the arrival of the intimidating alpha, except for Raven. Raven stayed sound asleep. Anya cleared her throat hoping the beta would wake. When she didn’t, Anya pushed on an exposed shoulder just a little. Octavia eventually stepped in and told Anya that she would have to force Raven to sit up if she wanted her to wake.

“She sleeps like the dead.” Octavia said, “I have never seen anything like it.”

An evil grin spread across Anya’s face. “Octavia, why don’t you go and meet Indra. I believe you had wanted to talk to her about what it is like to be a warrior on the ground. I will wake Raven. I need to take her to Heda and Clarke. There are some important things they need to discuss.”

“Um, okay.” The omega seemed hesitant to leave Raven with the powerful alpha, but her excitement about seeing Indra won out. “Just be ready. Raven wakes up rather violently when she isn’t allowed to wake on her own.”

“Fair warning. I will be ready. I just need to go and get something first.”

Octavia gave her a confused look but quickly darted off when she saw Indra standing by the food tent. Anya strode in the opposite direction. She grabbed an empty bucket on her way.

 

Anya stood in the sky people’s tent laughing uncontrollably. When she was able to catch her breath, she said. “Raven you should have seen yourself. Octavia warned me, but I didn’t expect that.”

A soaked Raven glared at the amused alpha. “It’s not funny.” Raven woke to a bucket full of water in her face. She was so startled that she launched off her cot, fell into the wall of the tent, slid under it and got caught in the guylines holding the tent up. She nearly pulled the whole thing down before she even realized what was happening.

“It’s a little funny.” Anya said, winking at the beta. Anya turned on her smile then offered the soggy dark-haired girl an apology. “I am sorry, Raven. It was a temptation I couldn’t resist, and after having talked last night, it seemed like a prank that you would appreciate.”

Raven huffed, shaking her head and spraying the alpha with water. “Sure, I would appreciate it if I was the one to do it. It’s a very different thing to be on the receiving end of a prank.”

“One of the first things you will learn down here, strik sora (little bird), is that you have to learn to take what you dish out.”

“I think I just learned that the hard way.” Raven took a few steps up to the alpha and looked her directly in the eyes. “So, I believe you owe me breakfast. I think you promised that it would be the best breakfast I have ever eaten.”

“From what Clarke told me about the food on your Ark, it will be.” Anya dramatically flung her arm out and held the tent flap open for the beta. “After you.”

Anya discreetly looked at the beta as they walked to go get their food. She felt an affinity toward the beta that she hadn’t felt before. She chuckled to herself. If Clarke figured out how Anya was feeling, she wasn’t going to hear the end of it. After the amount of grief she had given Clarke over her feelings for Lexa, Anya just knew she was going to be in for it…double.

 

Anya and Raven walked to the training grounds a short while later. Anya was still astounded at how much the skinny beta was able to eat. It was easily twice the amount of Anya.

When they neared the training rings, Anya saw that a crowd had gathered but was rather far away from the ring itself. She could see that Lexa and Clarke were in the ring sparring together.

Raven watched for a minute then asked Octavia, who was standing with Indra, why they weren’t standing closer so that they could get a better view.

Octavia’s eyes were bright when she said, “I am fine here, but you go ahead. Take a closer look. Those two are amazing.” Anya didn’t miss the wink Octavia sent Indra’s direction.

“I think I will. I haven’t ever seen fighting like this except for in a few movies.” Raven took about fifteen paces forward then looked like she hit a brick wall. She fell to her knees then scrabbled backwards.

“Wh…what the hell! What was that?”

“That is your little sky omega battling our Heda while Heda tries to force her into submission.” Anya said.

“Holy crap. How is that possible? How is Clarke even still standing let alone fighting back?” Raven said, panting while still trying to recover from the wall of pheromones she hit.

“I don’t know, but it is absolutely amazing.” Octavia said, a look of wonder in her eyes. Raven looked at Indra and Lincoln and could see the astonishment in their eyes as well. The only one who didn’t seem surprised was Anya. “How is she doing this?”

Anya took her eyes off the fight and looked at Raven. “Clarke has been training to fight submission for a while, but one day, a really bad day for her, she wanted to learn to use a sword. She was angry and distracted, so I tried to see what would happen if I tried to force her submission while she fought a training dummy. I don’t know what happened that day, but ever since, it is like she is immune to us.” Anya said, gesturing to the other gathered alphas. “She is the most remarkable being I have ever encountered, and it has been my honor to train her.” Anya said with pride. She continued to watch the match as her previous and her current sekens battled it out. She knew it wouldn’t be today, but the day Clarke was able to beat Lexa in a match, then her days as a fos would be over. There would never be two sekens like the two sparring in the ring right now.

Chapter Text

Chapter 23

 

Lexa hated to admit it, but she was staring to fatigue. Sparring while pumping out so many pheromones was beginning to take its toll, and while Lexa could admit that she was holding back, she was still putting up a good fight against the omega. They had been going at it for at least three quarters of an hour, and Clarke was still meeting her blow for blow. It didn’t seem that the omega was ready to call it quits any time soon even if it did look like she was getting tired.

Lexa decided it was time to end the session. She advanced on Clarke and sent a volley of blows her direction. She moved so that Clarke would have to defend her right side, and as soon as Clarke did, she moved left and swept Clarke’s legs out from under her.

 

Dust flew up around Clarke when she landed, but she was grinning wildly. It was infectious and soon Lexa found herself smiling too. She reached down an arm and offered to help pull the omega back to her feet.

Once Clarke was on her feet again the gathered crowd roared and cheered for the little omega and their Heda. No one had ever seen a match quite like that one before.

Raven and Octavia raced forward to the edge of the fighting ring as soon as the pheromones cleared enough for them to get closer. Lexa could see the excitement on their faces, and the pride she felt for Clarke only grew. It was good for the sky people to see just how strong Clarke had gotten. Gone was the scared and abused omega who first came to the ground. Before them stood a powerful woman that could even fight against the most powerful alpha on earth.

The two sky girls practically vibrated in their excitement. “How did you do it, Clarke?” asked Octavia. “None of us could even get near the ring, but you, you were able to fight with the Commander all while being blasted with pheromones. It’s the most amazing thing I have ever seen.”

Clarke was wiping her nose of black blood with a cloth that Lexa had handed her. She had not been immune to the pheromones being blasted at her by the commander. The whole time she was fighting, she had to resist the urge to just give up and sink to her knees. The biological imperative to submit was hard to resist, but she refused to give up. It left her with a pounding headache, but she was proud of what she accomplished in the sparring ring. She knew Lexa was going soft on her, but it was still the hardest match she had been in yet, and she was proud to have lasted as long as she did before hitting the ground. No other warrior she had sparred with even came close to matching Lexa’s skills and power. Lexa made every other opponent Clarke had faced seem weak by comparison.

Clarke looked up at the two girls after accepting a cup of water from Lexa and downing it in one go. “Thanks, Octavia. I don’t know if I can really tell you how I did it. I’ve been training with Anya. Maybe she, or one of the others, can help you.” Clarke walked over to the table holding the pitcher of water and refilled her cup.

Raven spoke next. “All I know, Princess, is that after seeing that, you have nothing to fear when the Ark lands.”

Clarke’s mood instantly dampened, and she frowned. She didn’t want to think about the people still on the Ark.

Octavia turned to the beta and smacked her in the shoulder. “Way to kill the mood, jackass.”

“I didn’t mean…I just meant….I’m sorry, Clarke. I just meant that there isn’t an alpha on the Ark that will be able to force you to submit now. Knowing what you were on the Ark, and comparing it to what you are now, they are going to be in for the surprise of a lifetime. What you just did, resisting the Commander, I didn’t know such a thing was possible.”

Anya stepped up behind the beta and dropped a heavy hand onto her shoulder. Raven jumped, not having heard the approach of the alpha. “None of us knew it was possible. It has never happened before.”

Raven looked over her shoulder at the taller alpha. “I’m going to have to put a bell on you or something so that I can hear you coming next time.”

Anya winked and said, “I would like to see you try.” She then stepped around Raven and walked over to her seken. “That was the stuff of legends, strik gona. By tomorrow, all of the villages surrounding TonDC will have heard about what you did today.”

Clarke shuffled her feet, a little embarrassed. “It wasn’t that big a deal.”

“Are you kidding? It was the biggest of deals. Never has an omega been so strong as to hold her own against one of the Commanders. “

“She wasn’t even trying as hard as she could.” Clarke protested.

“Why do you think she ended the fight? You exhausted her. Look at her.”

Clarke did. When she caught Lexa’s gaze, she could see the fatigue in her eyes. “Anya is not wrong, Clarke,” Lexa said, walking closer to the group. “You put up as good a fight as any of my gona, and I don’t try and force them to submit. It wouldn’t be a fair fight.”

Indra walked up to Clarke and clapped her on the back. “I have lived through three other Commanders. I dare say that you would have beaten any of them. No one is as strong as Lexa, and I think with more time, you will even be able to defeat her.”

Clarke was getting uncomfortable with all the attention, and her fos decided to take pity on her and change the subject albeit to a subject no one wanted to broach. “Commander, I hate to break this up, but I believe that you wanted to meet about the information Raven has to share with us.”

Both Lexa and Clarke sighed heavily. “Anya is right. This has been fun, but it is time to get to work.” Lexa looked over at Octavia. “Indra, Octavia has expressed interest in becoming a warrior. Perhaps you could take her to where the other sekens are training and let her train with them for a while.”

Indra narrowed her eyes at Lexa but said, “Of course, Heda. Octavia, come with me.” Octavia practically bounced away as she followed Indra.

“Raven, Anya, can you give us a minute?” Clarke asked. Anya looked to Lexa who only nodded.

“Raven come with me.” Anya said.

“What is it Clarke, are you okay?” Lexa asked, concerned.

“I am fine. I just wanted to know where Bellamy is. I haven’t seen him this morning.”

“I sent him with Gustus to go get more supplies for the relief camp. I didn’t want him to see our match this morning.”

“Why not?” Clarke was confused.

“Because I do not trust him. I didn’t want him to see what you can do. I don’t want him to see your strength or the power you possess to resist alpha dominance.”

“I don’t understand.”

“We don’t know where his loyalties lie. He is clearly devoted to his sister, but how is it that a noncriminal, alpha guard, got onto that dropship? What did he have to do to secure his place? I just have a feeling that there is more to Bellamy than he is letting on. I am hoping that Gustus and the others with him will be able to sus out more information about him.”

“Do you think he could be some sort of spy for the Ark?” Clarke asked nervously.

“I don’t know yet, but I aim to find out.”

“How does not seeing me fight help anything. Wouldn’t it be better for him to see how strong I have gotten? If he is a spy, wouldn’t it be better for him to relay how strong I am? Besides, he is going to hear about what happened this morning anyway, so how does hiding it from him help?”

“If he is typical of the other alphas on the Ark, he isn’t going to believe a bunch of betas or grounders, as Octavia calls us. Based on what he knows of you from the Ark, what he has seen of you is enough already. You are no longer the cowering girl that you once were. He doesn’t need to see just how extraordinary you are. If he is somehow relaying information back to the Ark, or if he does when they land, we need them as ignorant as possible. Knowledge is power, so we need them to have as little of it as possible.”

“Okay, I think I understand.”

The two walked over to the Commander’s tent where Anya and Raven were waiting. Clarke smiled when she saw that the beta was holding a chicken leg in her hand with a huge bite taken out of it.

“Didn’t you just eat breakfast?” Clarke asked.

“I did, but I got hungry. Hitting the Commander’s wall of pheromones took a lot out of me.”

“I am sure that was it.” Anya said, hip checking the beta.

Lexa smiled at how familiar her general already seemed to be with the beta. Anya was a good judge of character, and it made her trust the beta even more. Dropping the smile, she said, “Come, it is time to get down to business. We need to hear what Raven has to say.”

 

It was three and half hours later, and the four still hadn’t left the Commander’s tent. Food had been sent for and picked at by all except for Raven who ate with gusto. Clarke was a nervous wreck, and while Anya and Lexa were good at hiding it, they weren’t unaffected by Raven’s words either.

They had learned that Raven is a mechanical genius, which is why Abby Griffin tasked her with building Clarke’s pod, but Abby didn’t actually care if the pod, or Clarke, survived. She just wanted Raven to ensure that she got as much information about the conditions on the ground as possible. She forced Raven to slave over the pod for weeks without much respite. Because Raven knew it was Clarke being sent to the ground, Raven secretly made modifications to the pod to help ensure her survival while at the same time designing the collar that would be affixed to Clarke to fail as quickly as possible.

When Clarke landed and Abby didn’t get the information she wanted, she punished the beta severely and threw her into the sky box with the other prisoners. Each day, Raven was punished then forced to work on the dropship, but under heavy guard. Per Ark laws anyone under eighteen should have been floated if thrown in the sky box, but Abby had other plans. She planned to send Raven down with the other delinquents. Abby forced Raven’s submission at the same time as making her promises.

If the dropship got to the ground safely, and Raven was able to send back information, Abby promised that Raven would become one of the elite once the Ark was on the ground. She even promised Raven a spot on the council, which Raven knew was a load of crap. Raven played along, but made it her first priority to sabotage the dropship so that it couldn’t send any information back to the Ark. Once on the ground, Raven also helped convince most of the delinquents to destroy their wristbands. She couldn’t convince everyone, so the Ark was receiving some information from the wristbands, but only from a few people. Not that it mattered, however, because the Ark was coming no matter what. They were running out of air and had no choice.

Raven then spent a long time telling the others about the Ark, the systems and most importantly the weapons it possessed.

This left the other three women extremely unsettled.

“Anya, send messengers, we need to gather the armies of the coalition. We will be no match for the Ark if they truly possess the weapons that Raven speaks of. We need the full army.” Lexa turned to Raven and said, “How do we know where the Ark will land?”

“They will aim to land close to where the dropship landed. It isn’t too far from where Clarke landed either. It is the area that they feel has the most resources to exploit, including the delinquents they sent down. They promised to forgive all crimes if any of the delinquents survived, but I don’t believe it. Besides, it isn’t as if they treated us very well to begin with.” Raven thought for a moment then looked back at Lexa. “I think it would be a good idea to try and form an alliance with the delinquents before the Ark arrives. Many of these kids, especially the betas, hold no love for the Ark. If you can bring a few things, like food and blankets, it will go a long way to showing that you want to help. The Ark is a cruel place. The delinquents will look at any gifts as a huge kindness, a saving grace. And, the more delinquents on your side, the less who will be carrying guns against you.”

“What of the ones who won’t see our arrival as a saving grace? I, and my scouts, have watched your camp for weeks. I have seen a fair number of the alphas, and a few of the betas, who appear to act just like the elders on your Ark. I don’t think they will take our arrival kindly.”

“They won’t,” Raven said, “but they are fools. The first thing they will try to do is make you submit. They think they are the strong, but they are just bullies. I say force them to their knees and show them who is boss. Keep them on their knees while showing the others what this world has to offer them. Many of the prisoners were sent to the sky box for minor infractions. They have no love for the council or the petty Ark laws. Many also have family. Good families. If we can get these kids on our side, then it is likely that their families will be too. Like I said, the more people on our side, the fewer people the Ark has to fight with.”

It wasn’t lost on Lexa that Raven had used the word ‘our’ to describe which side she was on. Lexa’s trust, and fondness, kept growing for the beta. She was charismatic and smart. She also seemed to be honest to a fault.

“I believe you are right, Raven, an alliance with the delinquents is a good idea. We will leave for your camp in the morning. Go get some rest.” Lexa looked to Anya, who had returned after sending out the messengers. “Have a few of your people gather some supplies and food to bring to the dropship tomorrow. We will leave at first light.”

Raven walked out of the tent with Anya. After they were several steps away, Raven asked to speak with Anya privately. The two walked away to look for a place to speak safely.

Chapter Text

Chapter 24

After Raven and Anya walked out of the tent, Clarke quickly turned to Lexa. “Before you say anything, I am going with you tomorrow.”

Lexa walked over to Clarke and brushed a gentle finger over her eyebrow before giving her a simple kiss on her forehead. “I know. As much as I want to leave you here and protect you, I know that you have to go. I actually think that your being there will help many see that we actually mean to help them. From what I gather, most at least know who you are and how you were treated. Many will have seen it firsthand. What they will see now is a beautiful, strong women who has overcome her worst nightmare. You will give them hope for a better future.”

Clarke leaned into Lexa’s embrace and sighed. “I don’t know. Those people, the delinquents, they see me as less than nothing. I don’t know if seeing me as I am now will change that.”

Lexa held Clarke a little tighter. “But what about people like Raven, Octavia and Monty? They don’t see you as nothing. I even think that Octavia may have a small case of hero worship.”

Clarke scoffed. “I am no hero. I have done nothing.”

“Place yourself in Octavia’s shoes. If you were Octavia, how would you see yourself?”

Clarke thought for a moment. “I guess I see what you mean.”

“Clarke, you always sell yourself short. Look at what you did in the ring today. I can tell you with certainty that there is no other person on this earth who can stand against my dominance. You are a singularity. You are special. Some might even say that you are a miracle.”

Lexa felt the vibrations in her chest when Clarke chuckled. “I think you may be biased, but I get what you are saying.”

“Let’s just see what happens tomorrow.” Lexa said. “For now, let’s go get some food. You have eaten nothing since breakfast. Then we should rest. I fear tomorrow is going to be an exhausting day.”

 

Lexa led Clarke out of the tent and over to where several gonas were mingling with the sky people. Lexa noticed the absence of Anya and Raven. She sent a glance to Lincoln who told her that the general and Raven had gotten on a horse a little while ago and left the camp.

Lexa thought it odd that Anya would leave the camp this late in the day, but she had noticed that her general seemed rather fond of the beta. She smiled when she thought that maybe they had left to go have a tryst. It would be a little fast, but Anya had never really expressed an interest in anyone before. Her general deserved some happiness. Lexa let go of her thoughts about Anya when she saw that Clarke had seated herself next to Monty and Harper. All three looked a bit uncomfortable, so Lexa decided to sit herself next to where Lincoln sat with Octavia. She didn’t want to make the other sky people more uncomfortable than they already were, and it gave her time to talk to some of her other people about what was planned for tomorrow.

 

When Clarke sat, Monty and Harper couldn’t help but show their surprise. The three sat in silence for a minute. Clarke could tell she was making them nervous, and her spirits fell. She had been hoping that they would talk to her. If these two wouldn’t talk to her, how was she going to help convince the delinquents at the dropship to talk to her? She would be of no use tomorrow. Sighing, she said, “I’m sorry I interrupted. I’ll go.”

“No three…I mean Clarke. Please don’t go.” Monty said. “We’re sorry. It’s just that you are a little intimidating.” Clarke’s eyes widened in surprise. “We saw what you did today with the Commander, and it’s just a little scary to sit next to someone with so much power.”

“I…” Clarke was at a loss for words.

“What you did today,” Harper began, “it was something I never thought I would see. It wasn’t anything I could have ever imagined. It gives me hope that maybe the rest of us can get stronger so that we can fight when the Ark comes down. I don’t ever want to go back to living that way. I know that how we were treated was nothing compared to what you went through, but it was oppressive living up there. If you weren’t an alpha, or if you didn’t have political ties with the council, life could be hell, and once you were thrown in the sky box, it only got worse. Most of us didn’t deserve to be there.”

Suddenly, the conversation flowed freely. The three commiserated together over their different experiences on the Ark. Clarke never realized just how bad it was for some of the others. Harper was right, it didn’t compare to her treatment, but it was still bad enough. Monty explained that it was like the different groups on the Ark were being pitted against each other, like the council was trying to weed out the weak.

Eventually, the conversation flowed to friendlier topics. Harper asked what it was like living with the grounders, and Monty asked about how they survived without any tech. There were so many questions, but Clarke did her best to answer all of them. By the end of dinner, the three were laughing together, and Clarke felt good. She was certain that she had made new friends tonight.

Just as Clarke was about to get up, she spotted Gustus returning with Bellamy and the others. Many carried cloth bags overflowing with supplies, and a couple lead a horse-drawn cart filled to the brim with even more stuff. Bellamy was smiling. He carried a deer between himslef and Gustus. The two seemed to be having easy conversation. She still didn’t know what to think of Bellamy, but she thought it could only be a good thing if he was getting along well with the others. Gustus was a hulk of a man, and she hadn’t seen him smile even once, so to see him doing so now made her think that maybe Bellamy wasn’t all bad. She just wished she could be certain.

She finally stood. She turned back to Monty and Harper. “Thank you for talking to me tonight. I never dreamed that I would get to talk to anyone from the Ark. It was lonely up there with no one to talk to.”

Monty looked sad. “I am sorry I never spoke to you, Clarke. I wanted to, but I knew I would have been punished. I’m sorry I was a coward.”

“No, Monty. No. I wouldn’t have wanted to you be punished for me. What you did, when you gave me the food, it meant so much to me, and just like the little bit that Raven snuck to me, I think there were a few times where it literally kept me from starving to death. You risked everything to do that for me. You are no coward.”

At that moment Lexa arrived. She had heard that last bit of what was being said. “Monty, I have to thank you for what you did for Clarke. I have heard much about what was done to her, and you were one of only two people who were ever kind to her. For that you have my eternal gratitude.”

Monty had the grace to blush, and Clarke saw Harper mouth a silent ‘wow’. “C-commander. Thank you. I just wish I could have done more.”

“I am sure you did as much as you could. I hope you don’t mind if I steal Clarke away from you. I need to speak with her before tomorrow morning. Will you two be going with us back to your dropship?”

The two looked surprised by the question. Lexa went on. “If you are willing, I think it would be helpful for you to come, and you don’t have to stay. You are welcome to come back here. You can even go to TonDC or Polis.” Monty and Harper looked excited by those words. “I was just hoping that you would help us. We would like to form an alliance with the willing delinquents. Surely there are more like you in that camp, others that want to do more for themselves. From what I have observed, your people are barely surviving, and I saw that a few of the alphas are taking extreme advantage of the others. We want to help those who want it, and I think that you two could be helpful in convincing them.”

“And those that don’t?” Harper asked.

“They will be dealt with accordingly.”

Harper shivered. She had felt firsthand the power of the Commander, and she never wanted to feel it again. She knew there was a faction at the dropship that would resist any offers of help. They would look down upon Lexa’s people thinking they could easily overpower them. She looked forward to watching them kneel before that Commander, especially Finn, Dax, and Atom. Finn and Dax were alphas who told everyone what to do and gleefully pushed around the betas in the camp. Atom was a beta, but he followed them around like a puppy, willing to do anything they told him to do. Atom was the only one they didn’t force into submission just because they could.

“I think I speak for both of us,” Monty said, “when I say we would be happy to help. Already your people have showed us more kindness than most of ours ever have.”

“I am glad. We leave at first light, so you may want to get what rest you can now.”

 

When Clarke and Lexa arrived at the tents, Lexa invited Clarke into hers. Clarke smiled when she saw that a vast number of candles had already been lit. “Aren’t you afraid that you tent will burn down one day?”

Lexa tilted her head in confusion then realized what Clarke was talking about. She laughed and said, “I don’t know how it is made, but the tent material is made fire resistant, so I don’t worry too much about it. Does it make you nervous?”

“No, I was teasing anyway. You just have a lot of candles.”

Lexa pretended to be offended. “I need all of them. I wouldn’t be able to see my maps or read my correspondence if I didn’t have each and every one of them.”

Clarke walked over to one of the bigger candles and blew it out. “So, does it mean you can’t see me at all now?”

“Of course I can see you.”

Clarke blew out another. “How about now?” Before Lexa could reply, Clarke blew out another.

Lexa walked up to her and gently grabbed Clarke by her hips and spun her around. “I can still see you Clarke, and you are beautiful.”

Clarke looked down, embarrassed. “Do you really think so?”

“I do. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. From the first time I saw you, on the floor of my throne room, I thought you were stunning.”

Clarke looked up at her in disbelief. “I doubt that.” She said. “I was a skinny, beaten, and terrified wreck. There is nothing beautiful about that.”

“You are wrong, niron. Maybe my first impression of you was that you were completely broken, but you proved me wrong almost instantly, and the first time I looked into your blue eyes I was done for. I have felt drawn to you ever since that first day. I have never felt anything like it.”

Clarke smiled brightly. “I feel it too. Can I kiss you?”

“You never have to ask.”

Lexa took the initiative. She leaned down and captured Clarke’s lips with her own. She cradled Clarke’s head and deepened the kiss. When she sought entrance to Clarke’s mouth with her tongue, the kiss became clumsy. Lexa bumped her nose with Clarke’s as she tried to change the angle of the kiss, and they both burst into a fit of giggles.

When they calmed, Clarke innocently asked, “Have you ever kissed anyone else before?”

Lexa blushed, and Clarke thought it was so cute that she vowed to try and get it to happen more often. It was several seconds before Lexa responded. “I haven’t.” Lexa admitted “I guess my inexperience shows. Was it that bad?” Lexa asked anxiously.

Clarke’s eyes were sparkling when she said, “It was perfect, and it makes me so happy to know that I am your first.”

“I think maybe I have been waiting for you. All my life I have been fascinated with the stars. Maybe on some deeper level I knew that you were up there waiting for me too.”

“Maybe you are right except I just didn’t know it. I never dreamed I would meet someone like you. You have given me something I thought I would never have, Lexa.”

“And what is that?”

“Happiness.” Clarke said. “I never once dreamed that I would actually be happy. I am still so afraid of what tomorrow might bring, and I am even more afraid of what will happen when the Ark comes down, but I know you will be by my side, and that gives me the confidence I need to not give up or run away and hide. Just knowing you are there for me makes me feel like I can take on the whole world.”

Lexa pulled Clarke in closer and began to purr. When she heard Clarke purring in response, she almost cried. “You make me happy too. So very happy.”

 

After a while, the two pulled apart. “Do you know where Anya took Raven earlier?” Clarke asked.

Lexa looked up and deliberated what she wanted to tell Clarke about what she thought Anya and Raven were up to. “I…uh…I think that maybe they went somewhere so that they could have…some privacy.”

“I don’t understand. What do they need privacy for?”

“Well, I think that maybe they have feelings for each other.”

Clarke blinked a couple of times then a look of understanding crossed her face. “Oh, so you think they went somewhere so they could kiss?”

Lexa smiled at Clarke’s innocence. “I think they may be doing more than that.”

The omega tilted her head in confusion. “What more would they be doing?”

Lexa didn’t know what to say. She was NOT going to be the one to tell Clarke about ‘the bird and the bees.’ They were just beginning to explore their feelings for each other, and Lexa wanted to preserve Clarke’s innocence for as long as possible. There was already so much going on in Clarke’s world that Lexa didn’t want to add to it. The blonde deserved to just live for a while before ever learning about the type of things Anya and Raven could be up to.

Lexa found herself back peddling. “They are probably talking and getting to know each other.”

“That’s nice. I think it would be good for Anya to have someone in her life, and I know we are just getting to know Raven, but I think that maybe she really is a good person.” Clarke said then yawned hugely.

“You are tired, Clarke. Would you like me to escort you to your tent?”

Clarke was embarrassed to ask, but said, “Will you stay with me again tonight? I hate to admit it, but I am a little afraid to be alone tonight.”

“Of course, I will stay with you. Actually, if you would like, you can stay in here. It is more comfortable.”

Clarke was feeling shy again. “Only if you are sure. I don’t want to intrude.”

“Your presence is never an intrusion, Clarke. I enjoy every moment I get to spend with you. Why don’t you go back to your tent so that you can change, then come back here. I will be waiting.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 25

Clarke woke many times during the night, heart racing and sweat trickling down her neck. She knew she was keeping the alpha awake, but she couldn’t deny that having Lexa near kept her more at ease than if she had slept alone in her own tent.

The next morning, Clarke woke to an empty bed. She blinked her eyes a few times to clear the sleep from her mind then looked around for Lexa. She felt the other side of the bed, but it was cold. Lexa had been gone for at least a little while.

Clarke stretched, then sat on the edge of the bed. Her stomach was in knots. She was more than a little afraid of what was going to happen today. She finally dragged herself out of bed and started to get dressed. As she was finishing, Lexa returned, carrying a tray of food that also had two steaming mugs on it. The alpha looked as if she hadn’t had a restless night at all. In fact, she looked bright-eyed and ready to take on the world.

“Clarke, you could have slept a little longer. The sun hasn’t even started to rise yet.”

“I’m too nervous to sleep.” Lexa bent down and kissed the omega on the top of her head.

“I know today won’t be easy, but we will all be there with you. You have nothing to fear from your people today.”

“I know.” Clarke said, “Can I be honest and say that I had hoped never to see them again?”

“There is nothing wrong with being honest, and if it was me, I wouldn’t want to see them either. You do know that you don’t have to go, right?”

“I do, but I have to go. If there is one thing I have learned since landing on the ground, it is that I have to face my fears head-on.”

 

“I see that Titus’ lessons have been sinking in.” Lexa teased. “Do you want something to eat?” Lexa walked over to the table where she had set the tray of food.

“I think if I eat, I might puke, but I wouldn’t say no to tea, if that is what’s in the mugs.”

Lexa finished eating a piece of toasted bread then handed Clarke one of the mugs, but not before blowing it off to cool it a bit. Clarke was touched by the small gesture.

“I need you to know, niron, that you have nothing to fear today. None of those people will even get near to you. I expect some will have some very nasty things to say, but at least you can be reassured that none will be able to make you submit.”

Clarke took a few sips of her tea before replying. “I know, I really do, but some of those people abused me all my life. It’s hard for me to imagine standing up to them.”

“Let’s just go and see what happens. If you need to, you can just watch as Anya and I talk to your people.”

“I will. Is it almost time to leave? I want to get this over with.”

“The sun should be rising in about half an hour. We will leave then. I don’t think you should wear any war paint today. I actually think it would be best if you can look as much like one of them as possible.”

“I get it. If they can see how good the ground has been to me, then they should be able to see how good it can be to them.”

“Exactly,” Lexa said proudly, “but please don’t feel obligated to try and make your people see reason. There are always people, in any group, that are going to be dissenters. They are going to attack and belittle you just because they can.”

Clarke looked up with sad eyes. “I know, I am used to it.”

 

Clarke stood in the chilly morning air next to Lexa while waiting for someone to bring their horses. Just as she could see the horses being led their way, Anya and Raven arrived back at camp. The two looked exhausted.

“Have a good night, general?” Lexa asked sarcastically.

Anya grunted. “It isn’t what you think.”

“Care to tell me what you were up to last night?”

Anya dismounted then helped Raven off the horse. “No. I don’t think so. If you can give us ten minutes, we will be ready to leave. We need a fresh horse, and this one,” Anya pointed to Raven, “needs to grab something to eat.”

Lexa growled. She did not like to be kept waiting. “Ten minutes. That’s all you get, so be ready or be left behind.”

“Yes, Heda.”

Once everyone was mounted, Clarke rode next to Lexa and Lincoln. Anya was off to the back with Raven sitting behind her in the saddle. The blonde was no more comfortable riding Steltrona than she was the first time, and this time was worse because she was nervous. It was making the horse jittery. Lincoln sidled his horse closer to hers so that he could rest a hand on her thigh.

“Don’t worry, strik gona (little warrior), no one will let anything happen to you today. I have watched the camp for several weeks now. I can say with certainty that no one will be able to harm you. They are disorganized and they have no weapons. They can barely start a fire.”

Clarke knew he was trying to comfort her, but she couldn’t help but fear the people she was about to face. She was conditioned to fear them, and that wasn’t something that was easy to let go.

“Thank you, Lincoln. I know none of you will let anything happen to me. It’s just hard for me to let go of my nerves. I am trying.” She looked over her shoulder to where the relief camp was fading in the distance. She almost regretted not staying behind. Raven was the only one of the sky people who had opted to go on this trip. She had told Lexa and Clarke that there was some tech that she wanted to get off the dropship. She said there was also something that she needed to grab for Clarke. When Clarke asked what it was, Raven had just smiled.

Octavia had wanted to come, but Bellamy refused. He didn’t want to put the omega in any more danger. She had a concussion from the assault at the dropship, and he feared she would be attacked again. The healers had agreed that it was probably best for Octavia to sit this one out. She had pouted, but Indra, who was staying behind with some of the guards to protect the camp, offered to let her begin some simple training moves. Octavia’s attitude changed and she happily bounced after Indra as she walked away from the group. Bellamy just glared at everyone.

In the end, Harper and Monty decided to stay back. They admitted they were just too afraid to return to the dropship. They had no desire to see most of the people there. Monty did beg Raven to talk to Jasper and try and talk him into coming back with them to the relief camp. Jasper had been reluctant before. He was working on building a still for moonshine. It wasn’t going well, but he refused to abandon his attempts. Raven said she would try, but it was Lexa who stepped and offered real help. She promised to bring Jasper a bottle of spirits to let him try, and she said she would have someone teach him how to make it if he wanted. Monty was thrilled. He wanted his best friend by his side. As Lexa was walking away, she asked, “How will I know who he is?”

Harper responded. “You can’t miss him. He always has a pair of goggles on his head or around his neck.”

The commander mounted her horse then had to lean in to ask Raven what goggles look like.

 

After riding for some time, Lexa slowed her horse so she was even with Anya and Raven. “Raven what do you think is the best way to approach the camp?”

“I think when we are about ten minutes away, we should ditch the horses. None of the kids at camp have ever seen a horse before and seeing you two with your scary face paint will be frightening enough. Add horses, and the kids will scatter. It will be chaos, and you will never get it under control.”

They were far enough away that Clarke could not hear the conversation, so she asked, “What about Clarke? How do we present her?”

Raven looked ahead to where Clarke was talking to Lincoln. Even from behind, Raven could see how nervous Clarke was. “I think you were smart to make her look less like a grounder. Clarke doesn’t know it, but many of us on the Ark looked up to her. She took everything that was thrown at her and never complained. Those who never met her, know of her. We were all taught to despise the thought of omegas. They made us think that being an omega was the epitome of weakness. She was the omega allowed to live but made to suffer. Many saw her suffering as strength. She survived everything done to her. A lot of people respected that. They just couldn’t show it. A lot of people also didn’t agree with how she was treated, but there was nothing they could do about it.”

Lexa and Anya began to growl quietly. Raven ignored it and kept on talking. “There are plenty of others who believed that crap that we were fed. They will think she is trash. They are going to want to ridicule her and treat her exactly as they were taught to, and no matter how strong she has gotten, they will only see her as the weak omega that they were taught to see.”

Suddenly, Raven shrugged out of the red jacket she was wearing. “Have Clarke put this on. She may not look like the two of you right now, but she still doesn’t look like one of us. That could be good, but it could also be bad. I think wearing something familiar to them will help them accept who Clarke is. I am just guessing, but I suspect that probably half of the people at the dropship will accept Clarke and welcome her. They may even apologize for the things that were done to her. I also think they will be accepting of your help. The other half…let’s just say that they are going to be resistant. Either way, it would be better if she looked less groundery for now.”

“Thank you, Raven. I hope you are right. If even just a few of your people show support for Clarke, it will do wonders toward building her confidence. She has come a long way since she arrived, but I doubt that she would ever believe that a single person from the Ark might accept her for who she is. She constantly doubts herself. It would do wonders for her if even only a few of your people believed in her.”

“A few of us already do. At least I do, and I know Octavia, Monty, and Harper do. I don’t know about Bellamy. He’s just all growly all the time, but I think he just wants what is best for his sister.”

 

Lexa rode back up to Clarke. She handed Clarke the jacked and told her what Raven said. “She thought it would make you look less groundery.”

“Groundery?” Clarke asked as she sniffed the jacket, taking note of Raven’s subtle beta smell.

“Her word, not mine.” Lexa smirked.

After a few more minutes of riding, Lexa called the group to a halt. “We leave the horses and go on foot from here. Take thirty minutes to rest first.”

She helped an unsteady Clarke off Steltrona. Clarke was no more comfortable on the horse than she was the first day she had to ride. The omega was putting up a good front, but Lexa could feel the anxiety pouring off the blonde.

“Before you say anything,” Clarke began. “I can do this. I admit, I am scared…so scared, but I am also ready to slay my demons, and the dropship, it represents one of those demons. I have to go.”

Lexa led Clarke into a thick copse of trees where they could have a few moments of privacy. She pulled the omega into her arms and said, “You are so very brave. Most people run from the things that scare them, but not you. You face your fears head-on.”

“Thank you for always believing in me.” Clarke leaned in and kissed Lexa. After a few seconds, the kiss got heated but eventually they had to come up for air. Green eyes fixed on blue.

“There is one thing I want you to remember today, no matter what happens.” Lexa said.

“What’s that?”

“I love you, Clarke Natblida.”

 

When the two walked back to the others, Anya could sense that the omega was more at ease. She narrowed her eyes and scrutinized her seken’s face. “Soooo,” Anya drawled, “where did you two go?”

Clarke opened her mouth a few times, but nothing came out. Lexa stepped in and saved her. “We needed to have a few words in private.”

“Oh, I am sure the words were few.” Anya winked, and both girls had the grace to blush. Raven looked between the two and began to laugh.

Lexa straightened up and went into commander mode. “I suggest that if you two don’t want to be the ones pulling the cart you start walking, away from me, immediately.”

It was Anya’s turn to straighten. She didn’t want to pull the cart. “Apologies, Heda.” She grabbed Raven’s elbow and dragged her away.

 

When the dropship camp came into sight, Clarke’s steps faltered. She began to hyperventilate as she watched the kids run around the site like they didn’t have a care in the world. Anya, Lexa, and even Raven were around her in a second pumping out calming pheromones. Anya put a hand on her shoulder. Clarke’s heart rated slowed, and she shrugged out of Anya’s grasp. “I’m okay. Really, I am okay. I can do this.”

“We know you can,” Lexa said, “but if you need a minute, take it, and once we are there, if you need to leave, just walk away. If needed, signal to Lincoln and Gustus and they will take you to safety.”

It had been decided that it would only be Lexa, Anya, Clarke, and Raven who would approach the sky people. The others were scattered and hiding in the forest, ready to step in and protect them if needed. Raven thought it would be better to approach with only a few of them. They carried some of the supplies. The rest would be brought in once Commander saw that the situation was safe.

It had also been decided that Clarke would stay to the back. She was going to observe and not draw attention to herself. Lexa wanted to see how the delinquents reacted to their presence before introducing Clarke. Clarke nodded and waited for the others to start walking again before she followed.

 

Lexa stared in amazement when Raven nonchalantly walked into the camp. “I’m back bitches, and I brought help.”

She watched as several of the teens unconsciously huddled together as they stared at the newcomers. A couple of others strode directly up to them, and one got in Raven’s face. Lexa recognized this one from her time scouting the camp.

“Where the hell have you been, Raven? I told you that you weren’t to leave the camp.”

Lexa and Anya stepped in front of Clarke, shielding her from the irate alpha in front of them, but they did nothing more. They wanted to see how things played out. They could tell that the alpha was furiously trying to make them all submit, but they felt nothing. Only Raven wasn’t unphased. The two could see that Raven was trying to resist, but soon she was sinking to her knees.

“H-hey, Finn. Meet the grounders.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 26

Anya stepped forward and hit Finn with a short blast of pheromones causing him to stumble back and release his hold on Raven. They hadn’t wanted to show their strength too early, or even at all, but Anya couldn’t just let the puny alpha abuse Raven in such a way. She looked over her shoulder to make sure that Clarke was okay.

Anya then got in the boy’s face and said, “She comes with help, and this is how you treat her? What gives you the right to treat her, or anyone, this way?”

Finn puffed up his chest trying to stand tall in the face of the clearly stronger alpha. “I am an alpha. That is what gives me the right.”

Anya smirked. “I guess that gives me the right to do this.” She hit the floppy-haired boy with a blast so powerful that he was on his knees and bearing his neck in one second flat. She kept him on his knees until he was whimpering and begging for her to stop.

“It doesn’t feel good, does it, little man?” Anya let up on her invisible attack. It took a few moments before he was able to regain his feet. He now had a look of fear in his eyes, and he stepped back to where his two lackies were standing. Several of the other delinquents were trying hard not to laugh at the weak alpha.

Finn brushed himself off and tried to look strong. “Whatever.” He pointed at Raven. “Don’t leave camp again. If you do, you won’t like the punishment I have in store for you.” He started to walk away, proverbial tail tucked between his legs.

Raven shivered but held her ground. “You aren’t the boss of me, Finn.” She yelled as he walked away.

A crowd had gathered around them, and surprisingly, most seemed eager to meet the grounders, especially after watching Finn get put in his place. It was mostly betas that stuck around, but it was a good many of them. Raven introduced the Commander and her general, but she purposefully didn’t draw attention to Clarke. The two grounders answered questions and handed out food and blankets to the eager delinquents. Clarke stuck close to Lexa’s side but didn’t say a word. Her fear had spiked when she first saw Finn. She was very familiar with him and his particular brand of cruelty. After he walked away, she was able to relax a little and observe the other delinquents.

Clarke wasn’t familiar with most of them, and that was a relief. A few observed her with curiosity, and some looked at her as if they recognized her. As soon as she noticed it, Clarke stepped behind Lexa again. Clarke felt like the jacket Raven had given her to wear was a bad idea. It brought attention to her, although none of the delinquents pointed it out yet.

Overall, it seemed that the introduction of the grounders to people who thought they were the last of humanity, was going well. A few of the alphas were even talking to the grounder leaders. When Lexa signaled to the other grounders in the forest to bring the rest of the supplies, she also offered refuge in the relief camp and TonDC. She stated it would take a few days to prepare, but after that there would be relief for the suffering delinquents. Many were excited at the prospect of leaving, again mostly betas. They were tired, cold, and hungry. The Ark alphas kept most of the food for themselves, and they forced the betas to sleep outside the dropship, keeping the shelter for themselves, so the idea of warm food and shelter was extremely appealing.

As plans were being made and people were starting to relax, a tall, dark-skinned alpha came out of the confines of the dropship. The mood dampened considerably. It was apparent that he had been paying attention despite having just arrived from inside the ship. He strode directly to Lexa and offered his hand.

Lexa felt fear spike all around her, none more noticeable than Clarke’s. Giving away nothing, she reached forward and clasped the alpha’s forearm. He looked down with mild disgust but grasped her forearm as well. “I am Wells Jaha, son of the Chancellor, ambassador of the Ark, and the leader of these people.”

“Lexa kom Trikru.” Lexa replied flatly. “Commander to the coalition of the 12 clans and their armies. You are trespassing on Trikru lands…but,” she emphasized, “we have come to offer help.”

Before more could be said, Raven stalked up to stand next to the Commander. “Who made you king of the world? You’re just a prisoner like the rest of us.” She snarked.

A restraining hand was placed on the beta’s shoulder, and Anya drew Raven back a couple of steps. Clarke had shrunk back and was edging away from the others. Two gona moved to flank her.

The two leaders ignored the outburst, sizing each other up. It was clear to everyone present that Wells thought he was the superior alpha. Lexa wasn’t of the mind to correct him…just yet.

“Thank you for bringing us much needed supplies. We were sent down here thinking we were the last of humanity. You can imagine our surprise when you appeared today.”

Lexa said nothing and waited for him to continue. When it was clear that the Commander wasn’t going to speak, he cleared his throat and continued. “As you can see, we were quite unprepared to survive down here. Your arrival couldn’t have been more perfectly timed.”

Again, Raven spoke up. “It was perfectly timed because I went and found us help, while you did nothing.”

Wells growled, and this time he didn’t ignore her; he did not, however, exert any dominance over her. “I have been keeping this camp going and making sure everyone does their part.”

“Really,” Raven said incredulously, “because all I ever saw was you bossing people around and making them submit. I didn’t see you lift a finger to help any of us.”

Lexa could see that the Ark alpha was getting more and more agitated, but he was trying to keep his cool. “Someone had to keep everyone in line.”

“We didn’t need to be kept in line. We needed help. We needed help hunting, building shelter, keeping warm, but you and the other alphas barely lifted a finger, then you took most of the food that WE gathered and made us sleep outside even though there was plenty of room for others in the dropship. That’s not being a leader, that is being a dictator.” Raven’s face was flush with anger, and Lexa could see that many of the other betas and even a couple of alphas were angry too. She needed to diffuse the situation before things devolved into chaos.

Lexa turned to Raven and focused a wave of calming pheromones directly at her. When the beta began to relax, she gave her a look as if pleading with her to restrain herself. “Whatever,” Raven said, rolling her eyes. “I have a few things to grab, then I’m outta here.”

Lexa shot a look at Lincoln and he followed the beta into the dropship.

“Sorry about her,” Wells said. “She’s a bit temperamental.”

Lexa sighed. “Let’s start over.” She said. “We are here to offer help and refuge for your people. It is clear you are suffering. We can offer shelter and teach you how to survive on the ground. In a few days, we will return, and any who want, can join us when we return to our relief camp. From there, those who desire to do so, can go to any of the villages of Trikru. As long as they show a willingness to learn and help, they will be welcome.” She paused to let her words sink into the rest of the sky people standing around her. “We will return in a week’s time. There are enough supplies to hold you over until then.”

Wells pretended to consider the offer. Lexa and those surrounding her could see that he wasn’t about to relinquish his control over his people. “Commander,” he said, voice dripping with disdain, “thank you for the help you offer. We will make sure the provisions do not go to waste.” He now looked directly at Clarke who he had pointedly been ignoring.

“We also thank you for returning Ark property to us.” For a moment Lexa was confused, but then she heard the pitiful whimper behind her. Wells pointed at several of the Ark alphas. “Take the omega mutt in the red jacket and put her in the cage. I will deal with her personally.”

Whispers broke out among the crowd, and several of the sky alphas moved toward Clarke. Chaos erupted at once. Every grounder, including Clarke, had their weapons raised. Lexa and the others smirked at the weak attempt by the sky alphas to get them to submit. One bold alpha, with a jagged piece of metal in his hands made a move toward Lexa. That was all it took for the others to follow suit and attack the grounders.

It was embarrassingly easy to disarm the sky alphas, and in only a couple of minutes, all the attackers were on the ground either unconscious or too stunned to move. As soon as she could, Lexa’s eyes searched for Clarke. What she found shocked her to her core.

Clarke was kneeling over the chest of an alpha twice her size. Her chest was heaving, and her dagger was pointed at the boy’s throat. Her other dagger was jutting out of his thigh. He was whimpering and begging her not to kill him. Clarke’s eyes were wild with rage and her body trembled, but the hand on the dagger at his neck was still.

Clarke pressed the dagger a little harder and blood began to trickle from the boy’s neck. “You don’t get to make me submit to you, and you don’t get to throw me into a cage like some kind of dog. I am not a piece of property, and I am not a piece of trash.” Clarke was yelling. “You want to hurt me?” Clarke pressed the dagger harder. “I will hurt you first.”

Lexa made a move to go to Clarke, but it was Gustus who got to her first. The hulk of a man got on his knees next to Clarke’s quivering body, and he placed a restraining hand on the wrist holding the dagger to the sky alpha’s throat. Leaning in, he whispered a few words in Clarke’s ear. She looked over at him. The look in her eyes gradually softened, and her rigid body relaxed.

A collective sigh of relief was heard from around the camp. Clarke stood and brushed off her knees. Leaning back over the boy, she viciously ripped her dagger out of his thigh. She snarled as she looked at the attackers.

“I think most of you have figured out who I am.” She said, addressing the whole group. “I am the omega who the Ark tortured, belittled, experimented on, and then threw away like a piece of garbage. They beat me into submission and told me I was weak.” Clarke paused as the group began to whisper again. “Just like you, the Ark sent me down here to die, but as you can see, I am still here, and I am no longer the weakling that the Ark made me into.”

Clarke looked at the crowd as she continued. “I was mistreated my entire life and made to think that I was something less than the rest of you,” Clarke gestured to Lexa and her people, “but these people have shown me nothing but kindness, and they have helped me reach potentials within myself that I didn’t know I was capable of. One of the most important things I have learned is that we are all equal. No one is better than or more deserving than anyone else.”

Several of the sky people scoffed that this, but many were enraptured by Clarke’s words. “The Commander is here offering you help and refuge. These people are willing to show you how to not only survive on the ground but thrive here. There are so many things to learn, and so many things you can be. If you let them help, you will see that you can have good lives here. You can be happy.”

When Clarke finished her speech, she saw something in the eyes of the crowd that she hadn’t seen in the sky people before. What she saw was hope.

She turned her head and locked eyes with the Chancellor’s son. Bloody dagger still in hand, she walked over to him. “If there is some way that you are communicating with the Ark, I want you to let them know that I am still alive, and I am not their slave anymore. I won’t be bullied or made to submit. You tell them that there are already people down here, and it is their world. If the Ark thinks it can come down here and take over this land, they will be treated like an infestation and squashed like the insects that they are.”

Clarke looked over to Lexa, and they had a silent conversation. Gazing back at the crowd, she said, “Any that wish to leave with us right now are welcome to join us. It will take a few days for real accommodations to be found for all of you, but I can guarantee that you will still be more comfortable than you have been. You will be warm, you will be fed, and you will be able to get clean.”

Just as a few cheers were erupting from the crowd, Raven reappeared from the dropship dragging a skinny boy with goggles around his neck with her. The beta looked around at the scene before her, smiling wickedly at the alphas on the ground. “I leave for ten minutes…ten minutes, and you go and have a party without me. I always miss the good stuff.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 27

Clarke could feel the anger radiating off the Wells, but she simply turned around and walked away from him. Already several of the sky people were grabbing their meager belongings (and the new supplies that had just given to them) and heading to where the grounders were organizing them for the trip back to the relief camp.

 

Clarke could see Raven talking with the boy, Jasper, and several other teens from the Ark. The grounders were all busy helping the delinquents who were choosing to leave the dropship, and the others who were staying behind just glared everyone.

Suddenly, Clarke felt a tickle at the back of her neck, and she turned to look over her shoulder. Wells had a frown of concentration on his face. When she was facing him fully again, a look of rage clouded his features. He clenched his fists and looked as if he was about to attack her. She put her hand on her dagger. “I told you, I will no longer submit to anyone, especially someone as weak as you.”

The alpha began to surge forward, but Clarke drew the dagger, stopping him short. “You saw what I did to your friend, so don’t think that I won’t hesitate to put you in the dirt too. I also won’t hesitate to use my weapon if I have to.”

Clarke felt the tickle again as Wells roared. “You will submit to me, 319.”

A slow smile spread across Clarke’s face further enraging the alpha. “I told you. I will no longer submit to anyone. The power you think you hold over me is gone, and like I said, go ahead and tell that precious council of yours too. Of course, maybe you don’t want to tell them. Imagine the embarrassment of having to tell them that you couldn’t make one little omega submit to you. How humiliating.” A few of the nearby betas snickered.

This time when Clarke turned away, she didn’t look back.

 

All told, 43 of the delinquents left the dropship. Person after person kept coming up to Clarke to thank her, and Clarke wasn’t sure what to make of it. She had expected hatred and ridicule, not appreciation. The boy with the goggles was especially effusive. He had been the target of many of the alphas and sported a black eye to prove it.

When the group reached the area where the horses had been left behind, Anya and Lexa approached their favorite omega. They both had looks of pride on their faces.

“Seken, what you did today showed courage and strength. You should be proud of yourself. I know I am.” Anya said.

Lexa smiled and said, “She is right. You showed that you have the courage of any of my finest warriors. I just wish I could have seen you take down that boy. It is clear all of your hard work has paid off.” They reached the horses and Lexa offered to help Clarke onto hers.

“Thanks,” was all Clarke said. She was feeling light, but the heaviness of her words and the threat to Wells and the Ark were beginning to weigh her down. She was starting to feel like maybe she had said too much. Convincing some of the delinquents to leave with them was one thing. Threatening the Ark was a whole other thing. She knew that both would have serious consequences. “I think I am going to walk for a while. Raven can ride Steltrona if she wants.”

The two alphas looked at Clarke with concern. “Clarke,” Lexa began but was cut off by the omega.

“I just need a few minutes…please.” She pleaded.

Lexa walked up to Clarke and placed a callused hand on her cheek. “We understand, Clarke. We both have to ride, but please get one of the others to stop us if you need to, and please don’t wander too far from the group. It may not be safe.”

Clarke leaned into the touch. “Thank you.”

 

Lexa looked on as Clarke slowed her pace and lingered at the back of the group. She looked at her fos. “Do you think she will be okay? I know her, she is going to worry about the things she said back at the dropship.”

“Give her time.” Anya said. “Do you remember your first battle? You won, but you were a nervous wreck after, and you second-guessed every move and decision you made. You and I may not consider what happened today a battle, but for her, it was. She just inspired almost half of those kids to leave their new home, pathetic as it was, and come live with strangers who they didn’t even know existed.” Anya looked over to where Clarke was now walking alone. “She also just outed herself.”

Lexa looked confused, not knowing Anya’s meaning, so Anya said, “When she took down that alpha that attacked her then refused to kneel before that weak excuse of a leader, she let every person at that dropship know that she cannot be made to submit. While I am sure it was an empowering feeling for her, it was probably also frightening. She not only embarrassed the most powerful alpha there, she also threatened him and the entire Ark. She essentially invited the sky to rain hell on her.”

“Skrish.”

“Skrish, indeed.”

Lexa looked longingly at the Clarke from her perch on her horse. Her desire to comfort her omega almost had her vaulting out of her saddle. It didn’t slip past her that she had just referred to Clarke as ‘her’ omega. The Commander hoped that one day Clarke would be her omega. She hoped for it more than anything she had ever hoped for before.

 

It wasn’t long after the group had started out for the relief camp that Lexa called for a break. She could see that the delinquents were already fatigued, but her reason for stopping was Clarke. She could no longer see the omega at the back of group, and it didn’t seem that anyone knew where she was. Lexa started to panic.

As soon as she was off her horse, she started asking the others if they had seen her, and a boy named Miller told her that he had last seen her about fifteen minutes ago. He pointed to an outcropping of rocks in the distance. He said that Clarke had stopped to look at something and said she would catch up.

Lexa was on her horse in a flash and galloping back to where the boy had last seen Clarke. It only took a few minutes to reach the area. Lexa tied her horse to a tree then went searching. She couldn’t catch Clarke’s scent because of the wind, but she could see evidence of the path Clarke had taken. She followed a narrow deer path through the tall rocks. Her heart stuttered when she finally saw Clarke perched on a narrow rock high above her. Lexa couldn’t even guess how Clarke had gotten herself up there. As she circled the rock, Lexa started to relax. The way up was evident when she came to the front of the boulder.

Lexa called Clarke’s name, but the blonde didn’t respond. She was staring up into one of the trees, focused on something that Lexa could not see. Clarke’s perch was narrow, but Lexa figured it was just big enough for two, and she started to climb.

Clarke didn’t look at the alpha when Lexa finally sat next to her, but she did reach out and grab her hand. She pointed with the other so that Lexa could see what she was looking at. “Look at her.” Clarke said. She was watching a mother bird feed its chicks in a nest. “She is taking such good care of her babies.” Clarke got quiet. “Why couldn’t I have had a mother like her? What did I ever do to her that she treated me so horribly?”

Lexa turned Clarke to face her. “You did nothing wrong. The wrongness is in her. Some people hate what they can’t understand or those different from themselves. You were different from what she expected, and she could not accept that. It does not excuse her behavior, however. She should have cherished you.” Lexa leaned her forehead against Clarke’s. “Know this, ai hodness (my love), you are cherished now, and if I can, I will make up for every day that you felt unloved.”

Clarke gave Lexa a small smile, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “I think I made a mistake today.”

“I promise, you did not make any mistakes. You were brilliant, and you showed not only your strength, but your ability to become a good leader.”

“I didn’t do anything but call attention to myself, and now, when the Ark lands, they will know I am alive. I threatened them Lexa, and I know them. Even if I was an alpha, they would come after me for making that threat. They think themselves superior, and they will not allow a threat to go unanswered. Plus, you said you didn’t want Bellamy to know what I can do. I just showed one hundred people. You said knowledge is power, and now they will know everything.”

Clarke looked away, shaking her head. “What did I do…what did I do?” Clarke said, more to herself than to Lexa.

“Look at me, hodnes.” Lexa waited until she had the full attention of the omega. “You did what needed to be done. You were brave, and you even stood up to their leader. Your show of strength convinced 43 people that there is a better life out there for them. They know of your struggles, and now they know of your strength. It is because of you that they now have hope for a better future.”

“But I also basically threatened the Ark with annihilation…by your armies.” Clarke protested. “I over stepped. What authority do I have to say such things?”

“You are a nightblood omega, Clarke, that alone gives you authority.” Lexa said vehemently. “I know you still don’t believe it, but you were born for this, and watching you today proved to me that you are a natural.”

Lexa tucked a piece of blonde hair behind Clarke’s ear. “We should probably get back to the group if we want to make it back to camp before nightfall.”

The pair climbed off the rock and headed back down the deer path. Before they reached the end, Clarke pulled Lexa into a tight embrace. “Thank you for always knowing the right things to say.”

“I only speak the truth, niron.”

 

The two arrived just as Anya was getting everyone back on the move. Clarke chose to ride with Lexa on her horse. She was still feeling a little insecure and wanted the alpha near her. Raven smiled smugly at Anya who rode next to her. “Someday maybe we can race, general. I think I am a natural born rider” Raven said, just as she bobbled in the saddle, losing her balance. She was no more comfortable on a horse than Clarke.

Anya only chuckled. “If you are not careful, strik sora (little bird), you will fall and harm your leg.”

 

“You’re right. I need two healthy legs if I am going to be chasing after you.”

Anya tilted her head in confusion. “Why would you be chasing after me?” Raven just rolled her eyes.

When it was Clarke who chuckled, Lexa asked in a whisper, “Why would Raven chase Anya?” It was rare that Clarke understood some of the subtleties that went on between two people, but Anya had teased her enough about her feelings for Lexa that she thought she knew what was going on.

Clarke leaned into Lexa’s ear and whispered, “I think Raven is flirting with your general, Heda. I think she is saying that she plans to pursue Anya…in a romantic way.”

“Oh…OH!” Lexa exclaimed as she finally got it. “I think Anya will give her a good chase. As far as I know, Anya has never had anyone serious in her life. Just a few partners to help her through her rut.”

“What’s a rut?” Clarke asked innocently.

Lexa cursed herself internally. “I..ah. I…I think perhaps it would be better to ask Costia or my mother that question.”

“I don’t understand. Why won’t you answer?”

Lincoln, who had been watching the exchange with amusement saved the day. “Our Heda is embarrassed Clarke. It is a well-known fact that alphas don’t like to talk about the birds and the bees.”

Clarke was even more confused now. “Why? What’s wrong with talking about birds and bees?” Several nearby people laughed now, all having tuned in to the conversation.

“Wait until we are back in camp, princess,” Raven said, “and I will teach you about the birds and the bees.”

“I already know about birds, and I am well familiar with bees.” Clarke said while rubbing a spot on her arm that had been stung just the other day. “I want to know what a rut is.”

At the same time Anya was saying. “You will do no such thing, Raven.”

Lexa sighed and cursed herself inwardly. She sent a withering glare at all around her stopping all conversation and teasing. She then leaned into Clarke. “I promise that when the time is right, you will learn what a rut is. This is not the proper place to have that conversation.”

Clarke huffed in resignation. “Fine.”

Lexa pushed the group to move faster. She wanted to reach the camp soon. She could only hope that getting the dropship refuges settled would keep everyone busy enough that Clarke would forget about this conversation. She had a feeling, however, that Clarke wouldn’t be forgetting any time soon, and she tried to prepare herself to give a talk that she really didn’t want to give. You did this you yourself, branwada.

Chapter Text

Chapter 28

 

A rider had been sent back to the camp in order to prepare Indra and the others for the large group that would be arriving. Tents were being erected and multiple hunting teams had been sent out so that there would be enough food for everyone. Lexa was pleased with the progress that had already been made. She looked around at the delinquents and was happy to see that most looked excited. She was especially happy when she saw the boy with the goggles barrel into his friend Monty. Harper also looked happy to see the boy.

Lexa walked over to the three of them and formally introduced herself to the newcomer. “I am Lexa kom Trikru, Commander of the 12 clans.” She held out her arm to Jasper, and he went to grab her hand. Instead, she grasped his forearm. Catching on, he clumsily did the same. “Your friends told me of your desire to set up a still. If you want, I can introduce you to our master distiller and brewer. He lives in TonDC and brews the finest spirits in all 12 clans. He would be happy to show you how to set up your own still, in fact, I believe he may be looking for an apprentice.”

“Jasper,” Monty said excitedly. “I knew that coming down here was the best thing that happened to us. Now that we are away from the Arkers, we can make our own moonshine. Legally?” Monty now looked to Lexa.

“Yes legally. If you work hard and start making your own, you can even trade it at the markets…as long as it is safe. Artigas is currently the only supplier of spirits to Trikru lands, and his product is sought after by many of the other clans. There is too high a demand for his supply. We need more people like him.”

The two boys jumped around and squealed, chattering to each other. Harper timidly approached the Commander. “Do you think we could all learn and eventually have our own business, or do alphas run all the businesses?”

The two boys keyed into what Harper was saying and sobered up immediately, spirits sinking at what they thought the answer was going to be.

Lexa smiled at the girl, knowing where she was coming from. “To answer your first question, I think Artigas would be happy to teach the three of you, and as to the second question, anyone can run a business if they want to. Artigas is an omega.”

The three sky people gasped in unison. “Are there a lot of omegas? Clarke was the only one on the Ark.”

“Yes, there are many omegas, probably as many as alphas and betas. I know of Clarke’s struggles on the Ark, and I know of the hierarchy, so I imagine that you three weren’t always treated as equals. I want you to know that everyone is equal down here, and there are laws against alphas forcing submission without a very justifiable reason.” Many of the delinquents were now listening to Lexa. “I think that you will find that if you abide by the established laws and work hard, you will thrive and be happy here. You can learn what you want, be what you want, and you can love who you want. All we ask is that you help out and do your fair share. We all work together to keep our communities going.”

 

While the grounders were helping everyone get settled, a dust-covered Octavia ran up to the group. “Clarke, I can’t believe it. Look how many people came with you. How did you do it?” Before Clarke could say anything, more rapid-fire questions came. “Did you get to go in the dropship? Did the Commander make everyone submit, because that would be awesome? Were Wells and Finn assholes? Did you have to fight anyone?” And, the question that stopped all conversation, “why do you have blood all over your hands?”

Clarke’s heart bottomed out when she looked at her hands. They did indeed have blood all over them. How had she not noticed? When she looked at Monty and Harper she perceived looks of horror on their faces, and when Bellamy walked over to Octavia, stepping in front of her, Clarke assumed it was because he thought the omega needed protection from Clarke. When she looked at Indra and Gustus, she thought she saw looks of disappointment in their eyes.

Clarke frantically tried to scrub the dried blood from her hands by rubbing them on her pant legs, but it didn’t work. “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.” She cried.

She kept scrubbing at the blood until two hands grabbed hers, arresting her movement. “Look at me, seken.” Clarke didn’t want to look up. She couldn’t bear it if she saw disappointment in Anya’s eyes too.

“Please look at me, Clarke.” When Clarke finally looked at her mentor, she didn’t see disappointment, only concern. “Please tell me why you are troubled. You did exactly what you needed to do, what I trained you to do.”

“I hurt that boy, Anya. I almost killed him. I wanted to kill him.”

“You defended yourself. Were you supposed to just let him hurt you and put you in that cage?”

“I...I don’t…I didn’t…”

“Come with me.”

 

Clarke kept her eyes on her feet as she shuffled after her fos. She didn’t look up until they were in the shelter of her tent. Anya pointed to the chair. “Sit.” Anya was by no means compelling her, but she did obey. She didn’t know what to expect, so she stared at her knees. What she really wanted to do was rest her head in her bloody hands. What she didn’t expect was for Anya to start gently cleaning the blood from her hands. Anya had somehow gotten warm water, and she was dipping a rag into it. She passed the rag over Clarke’s hands again and again until all the blood was gone. After the skin was clear of any blood, Anya grabbed a small wooden pick and carefully scraped it under Clarke’s fingernails until they were clean too. When she was finished, Anya patted Clarke’s hands dry with a soft towel.

“You have faced such horrors during your life,” Anya finally began, “and you carry such heavy burdens with you, but what you did today should not add to the weight of those things. If you ask me, which I know you didn’t, but I am going to tell you anyway, what you did today should make you feel lighter, not heavier. You fought against one of your oppressors today, and you won.” She tapped a finger to Clarke’s temple. “You need to get out of that head of yours. You should be celebrating, not burying yourself under a blanket of doubt and remorse.”

“But I hurt him, Anya.”

“If you hadn’t hurt him, he would have hurt you first. I’ll ask you again, should you have let him hurt you?”

Clarke was falling into a pit of self-doubt. She was an omega. She wasn’t supposed to fight back. Anya grabbed the chair and shook it violently, bringing Clarke back to her current situation.

“It’s not a hard question, Clarke. The answer is no. No, you shouldn’t have allowed him to hurt you.”

Clarke practically vaulted from the chair. “I know that, okay.” She yelled. “I know that, but you can’t expect me to forget the harsh lessons that I was taught all my life in just a few months. Besides, didn’t you see the look in everyone’s eyes when they saw the blood on my hands? They were horrified.”

Anya had to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds before she lost her patience completely. “Not a single person out there was looking at you like that, Clarke. You saw what you thought you were supposed to see. The only thing I saw out there was awe and respect. Octavia was positively gleeful at the thought of you taking down one of those foul alphas.” Anya sat in the chair the Clarke had vacated. “I wish you could see yourself as we see you, Clarke. You have the courage of a lion, the cunning of a crow, and the strength of a pauna. You showed all of that today and convinced forty-three people to follow you out of that camp and into the unknown. Those children look up to you Clarke. They don’t see the battered omega from the Ark; they see the person who overcame the odds and survived when death should have been the obvious outcome. You have inspired them. How can you not see that?”

 

Lexa was standing outside the tent, listening to Clarke and Anya hash things out, and it was killing her to not go to her omega. All she wanted to do was hold her, but she knew that Clarke needed to struggle through things on her own. Lexa couldn’t be objective right now, and it would not be helpful to Clarke.

It was a long while before Lexa sensed the mood in the tent shift. She peeked through the flap only to see her fos warmly hugging the omega. For only split second, she was jealous. Not once had her fos ever hugged her, and there were many times that Lexa could have used a hug while training to become the Commander. She didn’t begrudge the omega though. Anya had changed over the years but none so much as in her time training Clarke. Anya was softer, kinder, and more patient around Clarke. She was still the battle-hardened general that her warriors feared, but she was just so different with Clarke. It warmed Lexa’s heart to know that not only had Anya helped Clarke in her greatest time of need, but Clarke had helped Anya too. Anya would never admit it, but Clarke had had a calming effect on the general. Lexa thought it a good thing for Anya not to be wound so tightly all the time.

Lexa watched the touching moment until the two others parted. Anya caught Lexa’s eyes and flushed a brilliant shade of crimson. “Don’t worry Anya,” Lexa teased, “I won’t tell anyone that you have turned into a big softie.”

Green eyes lit up with amusement as the other alpha grumbled something about needing to take down a few of her warriors in the ring before supper time. “That’s a good idea, fos.” Lexa called after her. “You do have a reputation to uphold.”

Lexa continued to smile as she turned to Clarke. “I don’t know what you have done to melt her icy exterior because I have never seen her hug anyone before, and I have known Anya since I was a small child. Come here.” She pulled Clarke into an embrace of her own. “Do we need to talk about what happened today?”

“No,” Clarke said, tucking her head into the crook of Lexa’s neck. “Anya helped me get things straight in my head.”

“Good, because it hurts me to see you get so upset.” Lexa placed a kiss on the crown of Clarke’s head. Before more could be said, Raven was peaking her head into the tent. “Commander, I am sorry to interrupt, but I have something that I have wanted to give Clarke for a long time.”

“You may enter.”

Raven entered, holding something behind her back. Lexa looked at her suspiciously but held her tongue. Clarke didn’t let go of Lexa, but she did turn her head to look at Raven.

Raven approached with a mix of nerves and excitement. “I’ve had this for a long time, and I wish I could have given it to you before, but it would have been taken away, so I couldn’t. I brought it down here hoping that if you were alive, I could give it to you. I know it isn’t much, and it’s a bit ratty. I tried to clean it but was afraid it would fall apart.”

Clarke turned to face Raven fully. “You’re rambling, Raven.”

“Sorry. I just…here.” Raven thrust something into Clarke’s hands.

Clarke looked down at the object and a guttural sob was ripped from her lungs. Before Lexa could react, Clarke had launched herself at Raven and was crushing her in a hard embrace. She continued to sob, but muttered words of thanks could be heard. Clutched in Clarke’s left hand was a tattered and dirty stuffed raccoon.

Clarke remembered when she found the stuffed animal. She was being forced to sort through the trash that day to make sure there was nothing that could be recycled. She spotted the raccoon under a particularly slimy pile of refuse. Before she could be caught, she stuffed the toy into her uniform. That evening she used half of her allotted water to clean the thing up, and it became her constant companion, her only companion, for months. It wasn’t until one day that Clarke was being forced to strip out of her uniform that the toy was discovered. Her mother routinely strapped her to a medical table and did ‘tests’ on her. When Abby found the hidden toy, she was livid. She tossed it to Raven, who happened to be in the medical bay fixing an EKG machine and demanded that the beta dispose of it. The doctor then proceeded to beat the poor omega.

It was the first thing Clarke had ever loved. When it was taken away from her, that was when she decided that love was weakness.

Clarke leaned back a little but didn’t let Raven go. “Thank you for this. Thank you so much. You must have had this for years. I didn’t think I would ever see it again.”

“It’s the least I could do.” Raven leaned in and whispered something in Clarke’s ear. Both girls looked at Lexa and began to laugh.

Lexa side-eyed the girls and asked, “What’s so funny?”

“It’s nothing, I swear.” Clarke said, voice filled with mirth.

“Why don’t I trust you right now?”

Clarke walked over to Lexa and showed her the stuffed animal. She snickered before saying, “Raven pointed out that the raccoon face looks a lot like yours when you are wearing your war paint. That is all. It’s cute.”

“Mockery is not the product of a strong mind, Clarke. I am not cute,” Lexa said with feigned displeasure, “and I do not look like a racoon.”

“I hate to say it, but you kind of do.” Raven piped in. When Lexa sent her a withering glare, Raven held up her arms in mock defense, “Hey, don’t blame me, it was your general who pointed it out.”

“Did she then?” Lexa looked at the stuffed raccoon’s face then back up at Clarke. “I think I will go join my general in the ring. It would appear I have some excess energy to wear off.”

After Lexa was gone, Raven grinned at Clarke. “I just got Anya in trouble, didn’t I?”

“Maybe,” Clarke grinned back. “Let’s go. I don’t want to miss this.” Clarke began to exit the tent then remembered the stuffed animal in her arms. She walked over to her cot and carefully placed it on her pillow but not before squeezing it to her chest first. She looked at it then at Raven. “Thank you again. You have no idea how much this means to me.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 29

 

The two raced to the sparring ring just in time to see Lexa and Anya sizing each other up. The crowd watching the fight was big. Every delinquent in the camp was watching. Several spotted the pair’s arrival, and a couple of them walked up to Clarke.

The girl spoke up. “I’m Zoe Monroe, this is Miller. We just wanted to thank you for what you did back at the dropship.” Clarke was speechless.

“Yeah,” Miller said, “I think I can speak for every one of us when I say that what you did was epic. The way you took down Sterling, then stood up to Wells. It was an awesome thing to behold. I have been waiting to see Wells get taken down a few notches for a long time. He thinks just because he’s the Chancellor’s son that he can bully all of us.” Miller was about to go on, but then the clashing of weapons brought all eyes to the training ring.

Lexa and Anya were circling each other. Lexa had drawn her dual swords, and Anya was holding a sword in her right hand and a war hammer in her left. Lexa saw Clarke in the crowd and winked at her. Anya took the moment of distraction to attack. Clarke flinched when she saw Anya swinging the war hammer at Lexa’s head, but at the last second, Lexa side stepped, and Anya missed completely. Lexa used her momentum to spin and smack the flat edge of her sword against Anya’s backside.

“Come on, general, you can do better than that.”

 

Anya snarled and pressed the attack again. Suddenly the blows were coming from both sides in such rapid succession that, to the untrained eye, it was hard to tell what was happening. During the fight, the two alphas continued to trade barbs, trying to taunt one another into making a misstep. Both had landed blows, and Lexa had a bleeding cut on her eyebrow, and Anya was sporting a slash across her shoulder.

Clarke winced every time one of them injured the other. She felt bad for her fos, but every time that Lexa was hit, she wanted to run into the ring and stop the fight. She wanted to tend to the alpha. She also felt an overwhelming urge to protect her, even though she knew that Lexa was in no danger. After a vicious swipe of the hammer that had Lexa skittering backward, Clarke could hear Raven saying something.

“Hey, down girl.”

Clarke was confused. “What?”

“You’re growling, Clarke, and it looks like you are ready to murder Anya right now.”

Clarke hadn’t realized she was doing anything, but as soon as Raven said it, she felt the rumbling in her chest die down. “Oh.” She said stupidly.

Raven smirked and said, “It looks like Commander Cutie isn’t the only one who has it bad.”

Clarke didn’t grace Raven with a response to that. She looked back to the fight only to see that both alphas had abandoned their weapons and were now using their fists to fight. They were both grinning, and they were still insulting each other.

“Seriously, old woman, even one of Clarke’s kittens could keep up with you. You are slowing down.” Lexa taunted.

“Kittens?” Raven tapped Clarke’s shoulder to get her attention again. “You have kittens? I have never seen a kitten. Can I have a kitten? I want a kitten.”

“Raven, let the poor girl be.” Octavia said. Clarke had no idea when she had appeared next to them. “Can’t you see that she’s going to have a meltdown if this fight doesn’t end soon?”

Apparently, Lincoln was also nearby, because Clarke heard him teasing her too. “Octavia is right, Clarke. You looked ready to jump in there and wipe the floor with Anya when she made that last move.”

Clarke didn’t get a chance to respond because just then, Lexa charged Anya, and Anya lost her balance. Lexa had her general pinned on her back. She drew a dagger from her hip and held it to the alpha’s throat.

“Do you yield?” Lexa asked.

Anya growled but turned her head exposing her neck in submission. Lexa leaned in and whispered in Anya’s ear. “Just so you know, general, I do not look like a raccoon.”

Laughter erupted from Anya’s chest. “If you say so, Commander. If you say so.”

The two grinned at each other, and Lexa helped Anya to her feet once she had regained her own. Before Lexa knew it, she was being barreled into by her omega.

“Are you okay? Did she hurt you?” Clarke spun to Anya and pointed a finger at her. “You better not have hurt her.”

The alphas wore matching looks of astonishment. “I am fine, niron. It was all in good fun.”

Clarke huffed but didn’t say anything. She pressed a thumb to the cut above Lexa’s eye causing the Commander to wince. “Niron, why don’t you come with me. You can help me get patched up.”

“Go get em tiger.” Raven called out and fist bumped Octavia. The two alphas turned and sent scathing looks at the two girls who pretended to look anywhere but into the fighting ring. As Lexa passed with Clarke, she heard Raven mutter. “Sorry. I was only teasing.”

Lexa gave Raven a soft look. “I know, Raven.” Lexa appreciated the teasing of the sky people. She hoped that the fun-loving attitudes of the two girls passed off to Clarke. Lexa had a feeling that they were just the right people to help bring more fun into Clarke’s life.

 

Lexa and Clarke arrived at the Commander’s tent just as two of her warriors were exiting. Clarke watched curiously as they walked away but said nothing. When they entered the tent, a large wooden chest sat in the middle of the floor. Lexa ignored it and led Clarke to the private quarters in the back.

“Please make yourself comfortable, Clarke. I want to clean up a bit.”

“Let me tend to that cut first and make sure you don’t have any other injuries that should be addressed. Sit.” Clarke commanded and Lexa obeyed.

Clarke grabbed a clean rag and some water and pressed it to the cut in Lexa’s eyebrow making the alpha wince again. Once the blood was gone, Clarke saw that the injury was not as bad as she thought. She finished cleaning it, then grabbed a fresh rag and slowly washed Lexa’s entire face. When that task was completed, Clarke first kissed Lexa’s forehead, then the tip of her nose, and finally her lips. It started slow and gentle, but quickly heated and became more demanding. Soon there was a clashing of lips and tongues and neither girl stopped until the urge for air won out over desire.

Lexa gasped for air while staring into piercing blue eyes. Her core was on fire, but she knew she had to get herself under control. It didn’t work. As soon as she caught her breath, she was leaning in for more. This time the kiss stayed slow and gentle. When they finally pulled apart again, Lexa said, “Let me change out of my armor. Give me three minutes, and I will be back.” She leaned in one more time and stole a kiss on the cheek.

Lexa stepped behind a partition in the room and began to undress. Clarke could see a sliver of Lexa exposed through a crack in the material. Lexa’s lean back and part of a tattoo were exposed. The omega’s sudden desire to walk over and run her hands up and down the alpha’s exposed skin overwhelmed her. She didn’t understand what she was feeling and quickly turned her head away in embarrassment.

It was only a few minutes before Lexa was back in the room, wearing more comfortable clothing. Clarke wished she could see the tattoo again.

Lexa eyed the omega and could see that she was embarrassed, but she couldn’t discern the reason why. She held out her hand for Clarke to take and led her back into the main section of the tent.

“I have something for you.”

She pointed at the wooden chest on the floor and said, “Open it.”

Clarke walked over to the chest and knelt in front of it. She ran her hands over the wood. The smooth, polished lid had ornate carvings on the top of it. She looked back up at Lexa who urged her to open the lid.

“It is beautiful.” Clarke said. She lifted the latch and opened the case. The inside was lined with a deep blue material. Clarke gasped. Cradled in the material was a bow, an embossed leather quiver, two daggers, and a very lethal-looking sword.

Clarke looked up at Lexa again, overwhelmed by the gift. She then looked back down at the contents of the chest. She lifted the bow in her hands and stood. It was a made with a light-colored wood and polished to a high gloss. The grip was made with tightly wrapped black leather, but most noteworthy were two brilliant blue gems set just above and below the grip.

“Lexa,” was all Clarke could say.

“Look at the rest.” Lexa urged.

She reached for the daggers next. They were similar to what she was used to carrying, but the metal was unblemished. The handles were wrapped with the same black leather as the bow, and she spotted another blue gem set into the pommels of each knife. She gripped each one in her hands and did a few moves with them. They were perfectly balanced.

Finally, she reached for the sword. It also had a matching black leather grip, but the gems inset into each side of the pommel were different from the other weapons. These gems changed color depending on how the light hit them. For a second they flashed blue, but when moved, Clarke noticed the color turn to a stormy green. Clarke moved the sword back and forth in the light watching the color change. She was mesmerized.

“I have never seen anything like it. Thank you, Lexa. What did I do to deserve such a gift?”

“You did not have to do anything, niron. I would give you the world if I could. I just thought it was time for you to have a proper set of weapons to call your own.”

Clarke carefully placed each weapon back in its place. She then walked over to Lexa and pulled her into a tight embrace. “I don’t know how I got so lucky.” she said. “I sometimes have a hard time believing this is real and not a dream.”

“I promise you, Clarke, this is very real.”

“Good.” Clarke leaned in for yet another kiss, but this time after a minute she moved her lips and grazed them over Lexa’s jaw then she slowly started pressing kisses to the left side of Lexa’s neck, her collar bone and finally over her scent gland. Lexa gasped.

“Clarke.”

Clarke didn’t stop. She nuzzled into the spot and sucked at it until it started to turn a deep purple. A sudden tingling in her teeth and a desire to bite had her pulling back, confused. She looked up into Lexa’s eyes thinking perhaps she had gone too far, but all she saw there was desire. Almost all traces of green were gone. Only black remained. She could feel the alpha trembling beneath her hands.

“Clarke.” Lexa said again.

They remained entwined for several minutes. Clarke suddenly felt bold. “You have given me so much, but can I ask for one more thing?”

“You can ask me for anything, and if it is in my power to give it to you, I will.”

“Will you show me your back tattoo?”

Lexa huffed out a small laugh. That was the last question Lexa had been expecting.

 

Without saying anything, Lexa took several small steps away from the omega, and while still facing the Clarke, she lifted her shirt. She let the shirt fall to the floor and saw Clarke’s eyes widen in surprise and hunger. The alpha’s excitement doubled under Clarke’s unabashed scrutiny. She slowly turned so that her back was facing eager eyes and started to unwind her breast binding, letting it fall on top of her already discarded shirt. She quivered in anticipation, and she wasn’t disappointed when she felt the first tentative touches from Clarke’s fingers.

She felt a myriad of sensations as delicate fingers roved over her tattoo, but what shocked her the most was how vulnerable she felt under Clarke’s scrutiny. She worried that Clarke might find her multitude of scars disturbing and off-putting, but that worry vaporized when soft lips started kissing each and every scar on her back.

“T-turn around,” came a whispered command.

Lexa knew at that moment that she was a goner. She would never be able to deny her omega anything.

Taking a step forward, she slowly turned around. The hunger she had seen in Clarke’s eyes before paled in comparison to what she witnessed now. She watched as Clarke took in every facet of her half naked body.

“You are so beautiful, Lexa. C-can I touch you?”

Lexa couldn’t form words, so she nodded her assent.

Clarke stepped close and lifted shivering fingers to Lexa’s skin. Her fingers first traced the tattoos on Lexa’s arms then flowed over to a tattoo on her right side. Lexa sucked in a breath when Clarke placed her flat palms on her abdomen, and she didn’t let it out until both of Clarke’s hands were cupping her breasts.

“So, so beautiful.”

Lexa couldn’t stop her trembling as soft thumb pads gently caressed her hardened nipples. She had never been touched like this before, and each touch of Clarke’s fingers was doing things to her body that she had never felt before. Sure, she had desired others before, and her pent-up sexual desire built up until she thought she would go crazy after every rut spent alone, but nothing compared to what she was feeling now. She knew she could have spent her ruts with someone to help give her relief, but somehow she knew. She just knew that her omega was out there somewhere, and now she knew that she was not wrong.

Clarke was just leaning in to kiss Lexa’s exposed flesh when the pair noticed the flap of the tent moving. The growls that erupted from their chests had whoever was at the entrance of the tent, dropping the flap back into place and scuttling backward.

“I am sorry for the interruption, Heda,” it was Indra, “the meat from the hunt has been prepared, and the bonfires are lit. Everyone awaits your arrival to begin.”

Lexa took a step back from Clarke and gave herself a few moments to compose herself. “Thank you, Indra. We will be there shortly.”

Lexa was both frustrated and relieved by the interruption. She felt that perhaps things were heating up too fast just now, and she wasn’t sure she would have been able to control herself if Clarke’s touching had lasted much longer. She bent down to pick up her discarded clothing. When she looked at the omega again, she could see self-doubt and embarrassment clouding the blonde’s eyes.

She grabbed Clarke and kissed her so thoroughly that it had all doubt and embarrassment leaving the omega’s mind.

“I am sorry, Clarke. Duty calls.”

“I-I know.” Clarke said breathlessly. She smiled and touched the mark she had left on Lexa’s neck. “You better make sure to cover that up, Heda.”

 

As they two were leaving the tent, Clarke knew that she needed to find someone to talk to about her building, confusing feelings for Lexa.

Chapter Text

Chapter 30

It was the next morning and Lexa was walking the camp. The sun had just barely begun to rise. Delinquents and grounders alike were strewn across the camp. Clarke was safely tucked away under her furs.

The feast had been like no other that the delinquents had ever witnessed. The food had been plentiful, and the spirits had flowed a little too liberally. It was lucky that it had been a warm night because many people never did make it to the shelter of their tents. She knew that the healer was going to be busy treating headaches and sore stomachs. Lexa smiled remembering the night.

She had watched as Clarke made new friends and had fun, and perhaps the omega had also had too much to drink, which she would regret as soon as she woke, but it had allowed her to open up and simply enjoy the evening. She had even danced when a few of the grounders had started playing music on crudely made instruments.

Her relief was immeasurable when her sweet omega passed out leaning against a log while talking to her new friends, a half empty cup of wine in her hands. She had lifted the sleeping girl into her arms and carried her to the tent that the two were sharing more and more space in. She settled her under the furs and counted her blessings that the omega didn’t wake. As much as she had enjoyed the private time with Clarke the night before, she hadn’t wanted it to extend to the bed. Clarke needed more time, and someone to talk to, before they took anything further. She hoped to remedy the problem before the day’s end.

She walked past a sleeping Lincoln. He was also leaning against a log, and Octavia’s head rested in his lap. The omega’s protective brother was nowhere to be seen, but Lexa didn’t give it much thought. As she was passing the food tent, the ever-alert Indra walked out with a disheveled looking Anya. Anya was holding her hand to her head.

“Too much to drink last night, general?”

“It is that sky girl’s fault. Raven asked me what kind of alpha I was if I couldn’t keep up with a little beta like her. She told me she would drink me under that table.”

“And I did,” the laughing beta said as she came out of the food tent with an overflowing plate and a full mouth, clearly not feeling the effects of the previous night’s excesses.

“It looks like you had fun,” Raven said, using one finger from the hand holding her plate to point at Lexa’s neck.

Lexa’s hand instantly went up to cover the spot, and she growled at the girl. Her two generals tried and failed to keep straight faces. Lexa just turned and walked away. The remaining three burst out laughing. In a rare show of humor, Indra said, “It looks like out little girl is all grown up.” After another minute of chuckling, Indra said, “We had better get to our duties before Heda has our heads.”

 

Lexa walked back to the tent and gazed at the sleeping omega. The sleeping form was peaceful and relaxed, and Lexa was so happy that Clarke was able to find some peace. She knew the next few weeks were going to be especially trying for the omega as they waited for the Ark to come down.

As quietly as she could, she packed a bag for the both of them. Clarke didn’t know it yet, but they would be returning to TonDC today. She planned to have some of the delinquents accompany them along with her regular guards. She had business to attend there, and she had someone important that she needed to speak with.

After she had finished packing, she walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. Reaching out, she caressed omega’s cheek. Leaning in she inhaled deeply, smelling the scent that was distinctly Clarke. She didn’t have the heart to wake the girl just yet. Deciding to give the omega another hour or so to sleep, Lexa climbed under the covers. She sidled up to Clarke’s warm body, not able to stop her purring when Clarke instinctively moved even closer to her.

Lexa had almost been lulled back to sleep when two blue eyes opened, and a yawn left the girl’s mouth.

“Good morning. How are you feeling, my love?”

Clarke stayed still for a few moments, assessing how she was feeling. “Not too bad. I think I have a bit of a headache. I imagine that many feel worse than me.” She leaned over and stole a quick kiss from Lexa.

“You woke early, didn’t you?” Clarke said.

“I did. I hope I didn’t disturb you.”

“You didn’t. I was going to get up too, but I was too comfortable.” Clarke admitted sheepishly.

“I am glad you stayed in bed. You deserve the rest, niron.”

Clarke smiled and sat herself up. She scooted over so that Lexa could sit next to her.

“I need to go to TonDC today” Lexa noticed Clarke’s smile faulter and hurried to go on. “I was wondering if you would like to join me.”

“What do you need to do there?” Clarke asked, curious.

“I have formal coalition business that I need to take care of that can’t easily be done here, and I need to make arrangements to meet with the ambassadors of the clans. I have sent word to prepare their armies for the arrival of the Ark, but they are going to have many questions for me.”

“I get it.” Clarke said with sympathy. “A commander’s work is never done, is it?”

“Sadly, no. Even in times of peace there is much to do to keep the coalition running smoothly.” Lexa put her hand on Clarke’s knee. “So, would you like to go with me?”

“I think I am figuring out that I would go to the ends of the earth if it meant you were with me, so yes. I will go with you.”

Lexa smiled. She squeezed Clarke’s knee and stood. She reached out her hand and helped Clarke to her feet. “Why don’t you get yourself cleaned up, and I will get us some breakfast.” She started to walk away then turned. “I also thought some of the delinquents would want to come with us. We will need to start helping them find new homes. This camp can only house them temporarily, and I think many will find TonDc comfortable. If not, Polis has room for all of them, and they would be welcome there.”

“I am pretty sure Monty, Jasper, and Harper will want to come. I think they are pretty eager to meet that man, Artiguss, that you talked to them about.”

“Ah, yes. You mean Artigas.” Lexa winked at Clarke’s mispronunciation of the name. “I think you are right. I will have someone fetch them, that is if they are in any condition to ride. The three of them hit the spirits fairly hard last night. They seemed particularly fond of the whiskey.”

“That they did.” Clarke responded. “While you are out there, can you get me something for my head? It aches a little more now that I am standing.”

Lexa returned to Clarke’s side. She kissed her forehead. “Hopefully that will make your head a little better until I get back.”

“It already has.”

 

It turned out that the entourage that headed to TonDC was much larger than Lexa expected. About half of the delinquents tagged along for the trip. Most were ready to leave their old lives behind and start new ones. Monty, Harper, Raven, and Jasper all made up part of the group. Miller and Monroe stayed behind. They weren’t comfortable with leaving the dropship so far behind. They still had friends at the ship and were hoping that maybe those friends would have the courage to leave it behind. They wanted to be at the camp if any stragglers dropped in.

Horses had been provided for several of the delinquents, but most opted to ride in the wagons instead. Having never seen the giant beasts before, many were too uncomfortable to try and ride for themselves. Octavia had insisted, despite Bellamy’s protests, on coming on the trip. She also insisted that she was going to ride a horse. Bellamy grumbled, but where Octavia went, so did he. So now he found himself riding on a horse behind his sister.

Raven had also chosen to ride her own horse. Her clumsy antics had everyone laughing. When she learned her horse was named Silver, she dubbed herself The Lone Ranger. She teased Bellamy about his discomfort and called him Tonto the entire trip, much to the alpha’s dismay.

Clarke watched jealously as Octavia mastered riding her horse within just a few minutes. The girl showed no fear. Clarke reached forward and patted Steltrona’s neck. She still didn’t like riding, feeling as if she was constantly on the verge of falling. She hoped that one day she would get the hang of it.

As the trip continued, Clarke found herself watching all the delinquents. Almost all of them kept looking around warily like they thought some danger was lurking just behind the trees. Octavia and Raven were a different story. They looked at every new thing with awe and amazement. They chatted constantly with each other and asked the grounders numerous questions. Their eagerness to learn impressed every grounder in the group, including Lexa.

As chieftain of TonDC, Indra was among the group. She watched Octavia closely, admiring her spirit. She had been impressed with Octavia’s dedication while she had been teaching her the simple fighting moves the other day and was seriously considering taking the girl as her seken.

 

The arrival of the group went smoothly. The residents of TonDC had been prepared for the influx of visitors and greeted the delinquents warmly. They started to help them get settled in immediately. Most of the delinquents offered to help in any way that they could, not wanting to take advantage of their host’s hospitality. Lexa couldn’t have been more pleased.

Lexa walked up behind Clarke, slightly startling the omega. She hadn’t even realized Lexa had been gone for a few minutes. She had been too busy watching the delinquents interact with the people of TonDC.

“I have some business I need to attend to for a few hours, but I have a surprise for you first. Come with me.”

“Another surprise?” Clarke said, thinking of the weapons Lexa had given her the day before. The weapons Clarke had donned, with Lexa’s help, just that morning. “You have already given me so much.”

“I don’t think I will ever be able to give you as much as I want to, but this isn’t a physical gift.”

“Huh, I don’t understand.”

“Just trust me.” Lexa said. “You will see.”

 

Lexa led Clarke to one of the larger homes of TonDC, It was one of the only fully wooden structures that Clarke could see.

“This is Indra’s home.” Lexa said as she guided Clarke inside. “She has some special guests waiting for you.”

Clarke wanted to ask who, but before she could form the words, a familiar body was crashing into hers.

“Clarke, I have missed you.”

“Costia.” Clarke said warmly, hugging her friend. “I’ve missed you too.”

“Do I get a hug too?” Clarke looked up to see a figure standing in the doorway leading to another room.

“Myra.” Clarke exclaimed. She ran over and hugged the woman fiercely. She hadn’t realized just how much she had missed the two omegas until they were back in her arms. She nuzzled her head into Myra’s neck and took a deep breath. A sense of comfort and warmth eased through Clarke’s body, and she wondered if this was what a mother’s touch was supposed to feel like. She sniffled and hugged the older omega tighter.

“Hey, hey, it’s alright, Clarke.” Myra said, rubbing soothing circles on the young omega’s back.

“I’m sorry. I just missed you two…so much.”

“We missed you too, my little lioness. From the things I have heard, it sounds like you may have finally found your roar.” Myra teased.

Clarke pushed her face further into Mya’s neck, trying to hide her embarrassment.

“Tales of what you have done have reached Polis, Clarke.” Costia added.

Clarke turned, cheeks blazing.

“Don’t be embarrassed, stikon (little one). You should be proud of yourself.” Myra said.

“Nomon,” Lexa interrupted, “I have business that I need to take care of. I trust you can keep Clarke entertained for me.”

The two shared a knowing look. Lexa had spoken to her family for a few minutes before bringing Clarke to them. Costia smiled as she looked at her sister and said, “Actually, I thought I would take Clarke bird watching with me. I just hope there aren’t too many bees out there. I don’t want to get stung.”

Lexa had to bite back a growl. “That sounds fun,” she said through clenched teeth. “I am sure nomon would like to go too.”

“Nah, nomon told me she scorched her best pot and needs to go to the market to get a new one. You know that the best ones can only be found here.”

Lexa wanted to growl at how her sister was sabotaging her plans. “I see. Well, let’s give Clarke and nomon a few minutes together, and I can catch up with you. Why don’t you walk with me for a few minutes? Nomon, Costia will be right back.”

Lexa turned and cupped Clarke’s face. She kissed her sweetly. “I will see you in a few hours.”

 

Costia walked out the door with Lexa, and as soon as it was shut behind them, Lexa spun toward her sister and growled.

“Hey,” Costia said, holding up her hands then placing one on the agitated alpha’s chest, “don’t worry. I promise I will approach the subject of sex delicately with Clarke. I love her just like I love you, as a sister, and I can see just how much you two love each other. I know she has a lot to learn, and I promise not to tease or make fun. I promise that I won’t scare her.”

“Why couldn’t you just have let nomon teach her?”

“Would you want to learn about sex from nomon? Do you really think you would have been comfortable asking her questions? I just thought that Clarke might feel more comfortable asking someone closer to her age any questions she might have. Trust me, it was nomon who told me about sex, and I was mortified. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t look her in the eyes for two days.”

“I see what you mean.” Lexa let out a laugh. “It was Anya who taught me. That was horrible too.”

“I’ll take care of her, Lexa. You don’t need to worry. You just better name one of your pups after me one day.”

“Thank you, sis.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 31

Trying to be sort of true to her word, Costia led Clarke out into the wilderness where the two actually would be able to watch for birds. They walked for a while, chatting and catching up with each other. Costia asked all sorts of questions about the sparring match she had with Lexa, and she couldn’t help but ask about the meeting with the delinquents.

Clarke was embarrassed at first to talk about everything, but after a while, she spilled. Costia just had a way about her that let Clarke know she would never judge her. She eventually spoke excitedly about her match with Lexa and how good it felt to withstand her pheromones. She also talked about how it was also exciting to stand up to the alphas at the dropship. What was harder was telling Costia about how she reacted when Octavia asked her about the blood on her hands.

“I yelled at Anya.” Clarke confessed.

“No,” Costia gasped in mock horror, “and you are alive to tell the tale?”

Clarke laughed and playfully slapped the other omega’s shoulder.

Costia slowed her pace and pointed to a narrow, slanted path. “That is where we are going. Be careful on the way down.”

When the two finally reached the bottom of the path, Clarke looked around in awe. An enormous lake spread out before her, and it had been completely invisible until the two had breached the tree line. Clarke was stunned. Costia stood a little behind her as her friend took in the view before her.

Clarke’s head practically whipped around from side to side as she tried to see everything at once. They stood on a rocky shore, and the water was crystal clear. If she looked, she could see several large fish swimming near the shore. Costia got Clarke’s attention and pointed.

“See those birds in the water? The ones that look like they are wearing a helmet? Those are wood ducks. The mottled black and white one with the ring around its neck is a loon. If we get lucky, we might get to hear one call out. It’s kind of an eerie, sad noise. You will know it when you hear it.” Costia then pointed out any other bird she could see. They were mostly water birds, but she also spotted a few in the trees. One thing she didn’t expect to see, and wasn’t a bird at all, was a moose. Costia excitedly pointed nearly halfway up the coast. Clarke couldn’t see it at first, but when she did, her eyes grew to the size of saucers. She had never seen an animal so huge. It easily eclipsed the size of Steltrona. The beast slowly waded forward until it was half submerged in the water. It then proceeded to eat the floating feast of water vegetation. It was several minutes before they were able to move their gaze away from the magnificent creature.

“I’m glad there are no bees.” Clarke said innocently. “I know you were worried.”

Costia couldn’t help but laugh. She guided Clarke to a place that they could comfortably sit down and decided it was time to get down to business. She cleared her throat and said, “So, it looks like you and Lexa have gotten close.”

Clarke blushed but didn’t deny it. “We have. I’m crazy about her.”

“Do you love her?”

“I tried not to, but I do. I really, really do.”

“What happened to ‘love is weakness’?” Costia asked teasingly.

“I was a fool, and I was wrong.”

“You weren’t a fool, Clarke. You were scared, and that is understandable.”

“I guess.”

Here it goes, Costia thought. “So, have you had sex?” Costia already knew the answer.

“No, I mean yes.” Clarke was flustered. “Actually, I don’t know.” She finally confessed. Clarke was now an impressive shade of red that reached all the way down her chest. She began to squirm and looked like she wanted to flee.

“Hey, it’s okay.” Costia said, reaching for the other omega and pumping out calming pheromones. “The topic of sex can be a scary one until someone teaches you about it.”

“H-have you ever had sex?” Clarke asked shyly.

Costia smiled. “I have. There was a beta boy I liked for a while. I shared my heat with him once.”

Clarke looked confused. “What’s a heat, and what’s a rut? No one will tell me.”

Costia spent the next hour telling Clarke everything she knew about sex, heats, ruts, and mating. Costia watched, amused at the ever-changing color of Clarke’s skin as she described everything. Clarke changed from pale to ruby red and back again multiple times. She went almost purple when Costia described how the anatomy of a female alpha changed during rut. She asked numerous questions, and Costia answered them as honestly as she could. Something eventually dawned on the shocked omega.

“How come I haven’t ever had a heat before?” Clarke asked quietly. “Is there…is there something wrong with me?” Clarke started to tear up.

“No. I promise, Clarke, nothing is wrong with you.” Costia said, trying to reassure the distressed girl. “Your body just needs more time to recover from everything you went through before you came to us. When an omega has a heat, it means that it is the ideal time to conceive and have pups. You have come such a long way, but your body must not be ready for that yet.”

Clarke mulled over Costia’s words. She couldn’t make sense of them. “I don’t get it. Babies are made in a lab.”

“I don’t know what your former people do up there, but whatever it is, it isn’t natural. Pups can only be conceived when an omega has a heat. Did you not notice any of the pregnant omegas in Polis?”

“I don’t think so. No.”

“Oh, Clarke. I am certain you saw at least a few pregnant women. You probably just didn’t know what you were seeing.”

Clarke looks down, ashamed at her ignorance.

“Clarke, please don’t be ashamed. You can’t know what you are looking at if you have never seen it before. Should you have known what the moose was even though you had never seen one before? What about the loon and wood ducks?”

“No.” Clarke said, getting Costia’s point. “So, if I have a heat,” Clarke began but Costia interrupted.

“You mean when you have a heat.”

“Okay, when I have a heat. Do I…do I have to spend it with someone? You said it is painful to go through it alone.”

“You never have to do anything you don’t want to, Clarke. You can spend it alone, or with other omegas who are in heat at the same time. It can bring you great comfort to be around other omegas. There are also teas that help decrease the effects of your heat. But,” Costia emphasized, “if you do want to spend it with someone, it should be with someone you love or are at least attracted to, and I know a certain someone that would be overjoyed to help you with your first heat.”

“But what if I don’t want to have pups. I don’t think I am ready for that.” Clarke said, starting to panic.

Costia gave Clarke a reassuring smile. “There are teas for that too, to help prevent an unwanted pregnancy.”

“Oh, okay. Good. Do you think…do you think Lexa has had sex before?”

“I know that she has spent her ruts alone if that is what you are asking. Plus, when we were talking earlier, didn’t you tell me that Lexa said you were the first person she had ever kissed? I think it stands to reason that she hasn’t had sex with anyone then.”

The relief that washed over Clarke was visible. She didn’t know if she would ever have a heat, and she didn’t know if she would want to spend it with anyone, but if she did, she was happy to know that she would be Lexa’s first too.

Clarke thought of another question that she hadn’t had yet. “Can you only have sex during a heat or rut?”

Costia had to bite her tongue and not tease her friend. “No, if you are attracted to someone, you don’t have to wait, and you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant.”

“What if I’m not ready?” Clarke got tears in her eyes again. “What if I’m not ready and Lexa doesn’t want to wait? What if she decides she doesn’t want me anymore?”

“That will never happen, Clarke. Never. My sister is madly in love with you. I have never seen her like this. She would wait until the end of time for you. Of this I am certain.”

 

While Costia and Clarke were busy bird watching, Lexa was also having a very important conversation with Gaia, one of her top advisors from Polis.

“You should have told me, Commander. I should have been informed immediately that an omega natblida had been found.”

“I know, and I apologize, but Clarke wasn’t ready. You have to understand. She was broken when she came to us. Her people, they are cruel, and she was horribly abused. She was afraid of everything and everyone.”

Lexa proceeded to tell Gaia everything about Clarke.

“So I have to ask,” Gaia said, “why did you ask me to come to TonDC? Why tell me about Clarke Natblida now?”

Lexa was unusually nervous. “I asked because I need your advice, as my advisor and my friend.”

“Go on.” Gaia urged.

“I want to ask Clarke to bond with me, and I need to know if it will be acceptable to the coalition without an actual mating.”

“Why would you bond to someone you have not mated?”

“I doubt that Clarke is ready for that, and” Lexa hesitated, because she was sharing something personal about Clarke, “Clarke has never had a heat.”

Gaia paced back and forth while she thought. “That is not a problem. It really isn’t anyone’s business. The people will celebrate an omega nightblood. I think most believe that there would never be another one. Do you intend to mate with this girl?”

“That will be up to Clarke, but yes, if she will have me, I want her to be my mate.” Lexa said. “She is my forever, Gaia. I never expected to feel this way about anyone, but Clarke, she is it for me.”

Gaia smiled. “And Clarke, she feels the same?”

Lexa’s face lit up. “I know she feels the way I do. Of that I am certain, but she is so innocent, Gaia. She came down completely uneducated, but she is unbelievably smart. She excelled with Titus’ help.” Lexa went on to describe all of Clarke’s achievements.

“She sounds amazing, and I look forward to meeting her. You say she is innocent. Does she understand what a bonding and eventual mating would entail?”

“Costia is with her now. She, ah, she is helping her with the more delicate parts of her education.”

“Then I guess all you need to do is ask, and if Clarke says yes, then you have my blessing, and I doubt the leaders of the coalition will give you any problems. An omega nightblood is something to be celebrated. A bonding ceremony between the Commander and an omega nightblood, well that, that is something that will go down in history. Also, as far as the ambassadors go, you do not need to seek their permission. You are Heda.”

“If she says yes, when can you perform the bonding ceremony? I don’t know how much longer I can wait. I just love her so much.”

Gaia smiled at her friend. She walked over and clasped Lexa by the shoulder. “I am not going anywhere. I will perform the ceremony any time you are ready.”

“Thank you. Thank you, my friend.”

 

Lexa said her goodbyes to Gaia and promised to see her later. She wandered through TonDC, greeting the residents and trying to calm herself down. She was both excited and nervous to see Clarke again. She couldn’t wait to ask Clarke to bond with her, but she wanted to do it right. She was endlessly curious to find out how Clarke’s talk with Costia went, and she hoped the omega wasn’t too overwhelmed.

As she was walking the market, she saw her nomon shopping. She was indeed looking for a new pot. She walked over to her. “I thought Costia was making it up when she said you scalded your pot.”

Myra smiled. “No, I really did burn it. It is unusable now.” The older omega continued to scan the wares at the booth then gave Lexa a serious look. “I saw you walking with Gaia earlier. Want to tell me what that was all about?”

Her mother always was too observant, Lexa thought. Lexa looked around to make sure no one was listening to their conversation. “I am going to ask Clarke to bond with me. I know she hasn’t had a heat yet, and she may not be ready to mate, but I love her, nomon, and I know that she loves me. I want to show her that I am ready to commit to her, and that I don’t ever want to be with anyone else. I want to prove to her she is my equal in every way. I want her to be my queen.”

Myra hugged her daughter. “Oh, my beautiful alpha girl. I had always feared that you would be alone. You never expressed any interest in anyone and took your duties as Commander too seriously. Do you remember when you told me ‘to be Commander is to be alone?’ I feared a life of loneliness for you, but then Clarke came into our lives, and you changed. The first time I saw you looking at her, I knew she was going to be the one for you, and I could only hope that she felt the same. I am so happy for you baby girl.” Myra let go, grabbed the pot she wanted then faced her daughter fully. “I take it you sought out Gaia for advice. I can only assume that she believes you will have the blessing of the coalition.”

“She does. Can you help me shop for something to give Clarke? When I ask her to bond with me, I want it to be special.”

Myra smiled. It was rare that her daughter asked he for help anymore. “Of course, child. I would love to.”

The two wondered the market looking for the perfect gift for Clarke. Lexa bought various delicacies from food vendors, and she made several small purchases of drawing supplies. The omega hadn’t had much of a chance to draw lately, and Lexa wanted to remedy that. Another vendor was just putting the finished touches on a wrapped package when Lexa spotted Clarke and Costia shopping several stalls over from them. Lexa quickly shoved her packages at her mother.

“Can you keep these safe for me until I am ready?”

“Of course, Lexa. Go get your girl.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 32

Lexa tried to walk nonchalantly toward her sister and Clarke, but she felt she was having trouble hiding her nervous excitement. She slowed her pace and decided to watch as the two looked over some of the goods at the market. She grinned as they haggled with a seller over the price of an item Lexa couldn’t see but then her mood faltered as she watched the leader of Floukru approach the two friends. She couldn’t help the short growl that escaped the confines of her mouth.

Luna was a known lothario. She was a seducer of women and breaker of hearts. Lexa admired her as the leader of her clan and her vow to refrain from violence, but she did not respect the way the alpha treated omegas. Luna was famous for her charm, and she was certainly appealing. She was a beautiful woman, but she wielded her beauty the same way she used to wield her sword, with deadly precision. She never forced anyone. She didn’t have to. She wooed each omega until they willingly fell into her bed, sometimes two at the same time. In the morning she would leave them, never to grace them with her presence again. She was unfeeling and uncaring of the hearts she left broken in her wake.

Lexa could see that Luna was speaking to Clarke just like any of her other conquests, and she was pouring on the charm. Lexa felt her chest constrict in anger when Luna casually grabbed Clarke’s hand and held it for too long, and she practically exploded when the other alpha tucked a piece of loose hair behind Clarke’s ear. Clarke was blushing profusely, but Lexa felt vindicated when she saw that Clarke was uncomfortable with the alpha’s unwanted touches.

Lexa puffed up her chest and walked over to where they were standing. “Luna kom Floukru. I hadn’t expected to see you here. I see you have met Clarke. You already know my sister.” She greeted Luna with the traditional grounder forearm shake and squeezed Luna’s arm until she winced.

She looked over at Clarke. “Niron,” she said pointedly, “did you enjoy your day with Costia?” She leaned in to kiss her on the cheek.

“I did. Very much. We went to the lake and even saw a moose.”

“You were lucky. They are very elusive.” She turned back to Luna. “So, what brings you to TonDC?” Lexa asked.

“I was already on my way here when I was intercepted by a messenger asking for my presence in Polis since we don’t already have an ambassador there. I am here to trade goods for my people. I saw these two beautiful ladies and had to come speak to them.” Luna smiled and edged closer to Clarke again. “I didn’t know you had started playing the field, Commander. You have been alone for so long. Had I known I would have made sure more of my clan’s omegas were with me. I would love to give you a sample of what Floukru has to offer.” She winked. “You might just find your mate.”

A growl erupted from both Lexa’s and Clarke’s chests. Luna acted as if she was oblivious and looked directly at Clarke. “When she tires of you, come find me. I will show you a good time. Unless you want to share. Two alphas at…” Luna didn’t get to finish her sentence. She had a dagger at her neck and a livid omega in her face.

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence, ambassador.” Clarke spit out.

“You’re a feisty one. I like it.”

Before Luna knew what was happening, she was pinned to the ground, a very angry omega on top of her. The dagger was still at her neck. Lexa smirked. It wasn’t dissimilar to how she had pinned the alpha at the dropship.

Luna was no longer smiling, in fact, she was pissed. She started to pump out her most aggressive pheromones, but nothing happened. The omega continued to press the dagger into the soft flesh of her neck.

“You may be the leader of your clan, but you will not speak to me, and you will especially not speak to your Commander, that way. Do you understand me?” Luna didn’t move, so Clarke pressed the dagger even harder. “Do you understand?”

Luna quickly nodded. Clarke released her hold on Luna and stood. She dusted off her pants and smiled at the market goers who had witnessed the whole affair. She saw Myra in the background. Fierce pride gleamed in the woman’s eyes.

Just as Luna regained her feet, she was immediately knocked back on her ass by a tremendous blast of pheromones from the Commander. Lexa leaned over and whispered threateningly into Luna’s ear. “If you ever speak to Clarke Natblida that way again, I will cut out your tongue. Learn to keep your mouth shut.”

Luna craned her neck to the side, showing her submission. “I am sorry, Commander. I didn’t know. It will never happen again.”

“You are right, it won’t. I will see you tomorrow to discuss why you are needed in Polis. Now get out of my sight.”

Luna started to walk away.

“Oh, and Luna,” Lexa called out, “I think it best that your bed stay empty tonight.”

Luna bowed her head. “Yes, Commander.”

 

Lexa walked back over to Costia and Clarke. Myra had joined them and was holding her new pot. The alpha wasn’t sure what her mother had done with the purchases she had been holding for her.

As the alpha approached, Lexa’s protective instincts kicked in, and her eyes roved over every inch of Clarke, making sure the omega was uninjured. She knew that Clarke was alright, but she couldn’t help it. Something in her warmed when she noticed the omega doing the same thing.

“I am so sorry, Clarke. I did not know Luna would be here. She is a good leader to her people, but as a person, she leaves a lot to be desired.”

“It’s okay, Lexa. You couldn’t have known she was here. Besides, I think she learned a lesson that may have been a long time coming.”

Lexa smiled and pulled Clarke to her. “I think you may be right, and I doubt she is ever going to cross you again. I will have some explaining to do about you, but that is for tomorrow. For tonight, I was wondering if you would do me the honor of having dinner with me.”

“I would love to. Would you mind if I got cleaned up first? We got a little messy out in the woods.”

“I wouldn’t mind at all. I hope you don’t mind, but I had all of your stuff put in the house that I use when I am in TonDc.” Lexa got a little shy. “I assumed it would be okay. If it isn’t, I can have it moved elsewhere, or I can have a tent set up for you.”

“It’s fine. Of course, I want to say with you. Lead the way.”

“Follow me. It’s the house just after the one Costia and nomon are sharing with Indra.”

Clarke and Lexa walked with Costia and Myra back toward the houses. As they were walking, Costia came to a sudden halt. She looked at Clarke and asked, “Who is that boy?”

Clarke looked over to where she was pointing. “That is Bellamy. I told you a little bit about him while we were walking earlier. His sister is the other omega from the Ark.”

“I’m going to go introduce myself.” Costia said, a little dreamily.

“Costia,” Lexa warned. “We don’t really know him yet. I don’t know if we can trust him.”

“Don’t worry so much. I am just introducing myself.”

Before Lexa could protest again, Costia was walking off. Lexa gave a look to one of the guards to follow. “Try not to be seen but protect her if you need to.”

Lexa was emitting a low growl as she watched Costia introduce herself to Bellamy. She saw the alpha smile and blush, looking surprised to see another omega. She twitched slightly when a calming hand was placed on her shoulder.

Myra leaned in to whisper in Lexa’s ear. “Don’t worry about your sister; she can handle herself. You have a dinner date with a pretty girl tonight. Don’t keep her waiting.”

Lexa turned and returned to Clarke’s side.

“I don’t think you need to worry about Costia.” Clarke said. “I doubt Bellamy is any more competent than the rest of the alphas from the dropship.”

“I know. I just can’t get a read on him. Gustus seems to like him though, so that is a few points in his favor. I still have a watch on him anyhow. He just doesn’t know it.”

“See, you have nothing to worry about. Let’s go have that dinner.”

 

The two parted ways with Myra and entered Lexa’s official quarters. On the way, she had explained that each clan had quarters dedicated to her. She tried to encourage the clans to give the homes a better use as she rarely stayed in any of them, but they all insisted that as the coalition’s Commander she should have her own place to stay when she visited.

Clarke looked around the home. It was small, maybe twice the size of Lexa’s tent, but it was warm and cozy. Clarke could see the personal touches of the Commander gracing the different surfaces in the house. She walked to the wall directly opposite of the door and looked at a hanging picture with wide-eyed surprise. She turned to look at Lexa, tilting her head in confusion.

Hanging on the wall was a framed picture that Clarke had drawn but discarded. She had been dissatisfied with it and had left it in a pile of similarly discarded drawings. She had intended to repurpose the paper.

“I kind of stole it, I guess.” Lexa said, looking down in embarrassment. “I saw it on your desk, and I had to have it. It is beautiful, and I hated for it to never be seen.” The picture was of the view from Clarke’s balcony in Polis, and to Lexa, it was perfect. “I brought it with me when I came to scout the dropship.”

“You know, I have several other, better, pictures that you could have had.” Clarke said.

“I know, but I like this one.”

“Okay.”

“Let me show you were your stuff is so that you can get ready.”

 

While Clarke was in the bathroom getting herself cleaned up, Lexa spied several of the items that she had purchased while shopping with her mother. She also noticed that the small table in the kitchen area had been set up for dinner. It was a small room hidden behind a door, and Lexa was happy that Clarke hadn’t continued her exploration of the home. Lexa was also pleased to see two small pots and a pan warming over the cooking fire. She marveled at the scene. Candles were lit and the wrapped package sat in the middle of the table with a few of the other gifts Lexa had purchased. She didn’t know how her mother got this done in the short time Lexa was dealing with Luna, but she made a mental note to thank her profusely when she saw her nomon again.

She added some of the delicacies from her purchases to the plates on the table then went back out to the main living area to wait for Clarke. Lexa had just enough time to change into something more comfortable when Clarke stepped out of the bathroom. She was wearing a simple white top with a black shawl wrapped around her shoulders. Flowing black pants and thin strappy sandals finished the ensemble.

“Clarke,” Lexa gasped, “where did you get that outfit? You are gorgeous, niron.”

“I thought you got it for me. It was with my stuff.”

Lexa made another mental reminder to thank her astonishing mother. “I think you can thank my nomon for that. Are you hungry? Food is ready.”

 

Lexa led Clarke through a doorway that led to a quaint little kitchen, and she was immediately assailed by multiple enticing aromas. She took in the scene before her and couldn’t help but be amazed. There was a modest window in the room letting the last bits of sunlight into the room, and there were several lit candles that left the room glowing. The table was set, and Clarke noticed the small packages in the center.

Looking up at Lexa, she saw that the alpha was holding out a chair for her.

“Please sit, ai hodnes, I will serve you.”

Before Clarke could protest, the alpha was dishing up food on her plate. Lexa placed the plate in front of Clarke then handed her an ornately designed crystal wine glass. Clarke held the glass up to the candlelight and marveled at its beauty. She had never seen anything like it.

“Anya and I found these glasses when I was still her seken. We were exploring an old bunker and came across these in one of the cabinets. Out of eight, there were four that were still intact. We carefully packed them up to bring home. I have these two, and she has the others. It was a lucky find, and we were even luckier to get them home intact.” Lexa smiled, remembering the day.

“They are so pretty. Why don’t you have them in Polis?”

“It’s hard to explain. They are special to me, and they remind me of a day that Anya and I were just having fun together. We didn’t have any training or duties to attend to. I can only remember a handful of days that the two of us just got to goof off.” Lexa paused, remembering how stoic Anya used to be.

“Anya is always so serious, but that day she relaxed and enjoyed herself. When we stumbled on the bunker, we spent hours exploring it. There were so many old-world items in it. We didn’t know what most of it was and left it behind. When I opened one of the cabinets and found these glasses inside, we were both shocked. We have many skilled glass blowers, but none that can create anything like this. After looking at them for several minutes, Anya congratulated me on my find. When I insisted that she take two of the glasses, she tried to say no.” Lexa was silent for a few moments, remembering the conversation they had.

“We argued about it, but she finally relented and took two of the glasses after I told her that one day, she would have a special someone in her life. When she was ready to settle down, she would want to get the glasses out to commemorate the occasion. I was certain that if she ever found anyone worth sharing such a treasured possession with then it would mean that she had found her life partner.” Lexa looked down at her wine glass and added quietly, “I have never used these glasses before today.”

Clarke just stared at Lexa. She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, but no words came out.

“I held on to these glasses for the same reason, Clarke. You are my special someone, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and unlike these glasses, you are the real treasure. There will never be anyone else for me, and I was wondering…I wanted to ask…will you…will you bond with me…will you go through a bonding ceremony with me?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 33

Clarke was speechless for a long while, and Lexa’s heart stopped. An overwhelming sense of rejection flooded her entire being. She took a shuddering breath and was about to speak, or leave, or do anything to get out of this horrible situation when Clarke finally spoke.

“Is bonding like getting married?” Clarke asked quietly. Clarke had been forced to clean up after several weddings on the Ark. The unions had never seemed like happy ones, more like political pairings, but she thought that maybe bonding was the same except this time it would be a happy occasion.

Lexa had read about marriages in some of the ancient books that she had in her room in Polis. “I think it is.” Lexa said carefully. She was still nervous that Clarke was going to say no. “When two people bond they are showing their love and devotion to each other. It is a way to show others that they are committed to each other in a way that is different from any other relationship they have. They vow to protect each other and take each other’s pain. They vow to love each other through everything good and bad. They are equals in every way.”

“How is it different from mating?” Clarke asked. Costia had told her about mating but had not mentioned bonding.

Lexa was chewing her bottom lip. She hadn’t anticipated the conversation going quite like this. “To put it simply, a bond can be broken…for many reasons. Mating, it is forever, completely unbreakable.”

Clarke looked sad, and Lexa didn’t understand why. “So, you only want to bond with me? You don’t want me as your mate?” The omega’s eyes started to water.

Before she knew it, Lexa was out of her chair and kneeling before Clarke. She reached up and took both of the omega’s hands in her own. “Clarke, of course I want that. I want everything with you. You have no idea how honored I would be to be your mate, but I want it to be on your terms. I want you to be ready, and I would wait until the end of times for you if it meant I got to be your mate.”

Relief washed through both women when Clarke stood, dragging Lexa up with her. She pulled her into a crushing hug. “Then my answer is yes.” Clarke pulled back a little so that she could look in Lexa’s eyes. “You have told me so many times, and I have been afraid to say it back, but I want to tell you now that I love you, Lex. I am sorry I took so long to say it back.”

They were back to crushing one another. “I love you too, so much. I can’t believe you are going to be my houmon (wife/spouse).” Lexa lifted Clarke up and spun her in a circle. “You have made me so happy.”

When Clarke’s feet were back on the ground, she pulled Lexa in for a bruising kiss.

“I have something for you.” Lexa said, grabbing the wrapped package off the table. She ignored the other little gifts. “Open it.”

Clarke carefully unwrapped the package and opened the little box. She sucked in a breath when she took in the contents. Inside there were two objects. Clarke lifted the first one into her hands. She was holding a braided bracelet of gold, silver and copper-colored metal that held a central medallion with the impression of an impressive tree on it. It had winding branches and scattered throughout were tiny shards of green gemstone making up the leaves of the tree. It was extraordinary.

All Clarke could do was whisper, “Lexa,” when the alpha reached for her hand and placed the bracelet around her wrist.

Clarke’s eyes watered when Lexa said, “Before you came down to us, you didn’t have a people. You were alone. The symbol of that tree symbolizes Trikru and all the people in it. They are all your people now Clarke, as are all the people of the coalition, but even if every person on earth disappeared, you would still not be alone, Clarke. You will always have me. Otaim, ai hodnes (always, my love).”

A few tears slipped out of Clarke’s eyes as she whimpered and buried her face in Lexa’s chest.

“There’s still one thing left in the box, love.”

Clarke’s hands were trembling when she reached for the second item. It was a ring made of the same metals, but somehow, they had been melted together to make a smooth surface while still maintaining the braided look. There was no tree this time. Instead a brilliant red gem had been sunk into the metal. Lexa took the ring and slipped it onto Clarke’s finger.

“This next gift,” Lexa began, “is even more precious. A circle has no end, and it represents my love and devotion to you. The red represents my heart, and I give it to you freely, Clarke. As long as you hold my heart, I know I will always be strong. I will always be happy.” Now Lexa had tears glistening in her eyes. She pulled Clarke back into her and whispered in her ear, “For so long I felt like a piece of me has been missing, but ever since you came into my life, I feel whole. You complete me, Clarke.”

Clarke was sobbing now and clinging to Lexa like her life depended on it. Lexa just held her as her own tears of joy streamed down her face.

After a while, Lexa said, “I hope those are happy tears.”

Clarke lifted her head and sniffed. She reached for a napkin off the table and wiped her eyes and nose. Blue eyes glistened when she finally looked up.

“They are.” Clarke’s voice was raspy from crying. “I still have a hard time believing that this isn’t a dream.” She gazed at the ring on her finger. “This is so much better than a dream.” Then, looking into piercing green eyes, she said, “You are so much better than a dream.” She kissed her alpha again, thoroughly.

 

The two finally sat down and had their dinner. They also drank enough wine to be pleasantly tipsy but not drunk. As Lexa was stacking dishes by a basin full of water after having carefully washed her fragile wine glasses, Clarke walked up behind her and wrapped her arms around her waist.

“I have something for you too.” Clarke said.

Lexa spun to face her. “Really?”

Clarke stepped back and reached for something she had placed on the table. She hid both hands behind her back. “Pick a hand.”

Lexa pointed to Clarke’s right hand and the omega extended her arm, a neatly packed gift in her hand. She placed the wooden box in Lexa’s outstretched fingers.

It was a simple wooden box, but Lexa handled it carefully. She lifted the lid and pulled out a pottery pot. The outside was glossy black but etched into it was a scene depicting Lexa’s first victory in battle after having just become Heda. It showed the alpha holding one of her swords in the air and roaring. The attention to detail was so precise that Lexa knew that whoever crafted the vessel must have been at the battle that day.

“Clarke, this is stunning. Did the seller tell you what it represents?”

“He did, and he let us know just how proud he was to be a member of your coalition. Your people really look up to you.”

“Our people.” Lexa corrected.

Clarke just smiled. “I thought you could put your war paint in it.”

Lexa looked over the scene on the little jar again then said, “I don’t know. I am afraid it might break if I travel with it.”

Clarke held out another box. “That is why I got you two. It is exactly the same, but the color is different.”

Lexa opened the second box. The scene on it was the same, but this one was more of a deep amber color. “The color is almost the same as Anya’s eyes.” Lexa said. “I will have to show her.” Lexa looked at the two gifts again. “Thank you, ai houmon. I will cherish these.”

Clarke chuckled. “I am not your houmon yet. I have one more thing for you.” This time she extended her left arm. In her hand was a leather pouch closed with a string at the top.

Lexa took the pouch and felt the leather. She moved it up to her face and rubbed it back and forth on her chin. Clarke gave her a funny look, and Lexa had the omega do the same thing. “It takes a lot of work to make leather this soft. You can feel it with your fingers, but by doing this, you can get a better sense of just how soft the leather really is.”

 

“You’re right, but it still looks funny.” Clarke responded. “Are you going to open it?”

Lexa pulled the string open on the pouch. She reached in and pulled out two thick leather wrist cuffs. They were a deep brown color and were embossed with each of the symbols of the twelve clans. The leather was thick and rigid.

“Clarke, these are beautiful.”

“The man who made the pottery said it was his houmon who made these.” Clarke became a bit unsure of herself. “I thought that you could wear them when you train…or if you have ever have to fight anyone again.”

“I will. Anya always told me I needed to protect myself with more armor. I guess great minds think alike.” Lexa tried on the cuffs then moved her forearms and wrists around. “I never like wearing wrist cuffs because they were always made with metal. They felt clunky and uncomfortable, but these,” Lexa said, twisting her wrists some more, “it is almost like they aren’t even there.”

“Thank you, niron. I will try them the next time I train with Anya. Hopefully tomorrow if there is time.”

Clarke smiled then yawned hugely.

“It is late, niron, and it was a long day. Why don’t we get ready for bed.”

 

Lexa sat on the edge of the bed waiting for Clarke to finished getting ready. After lighting far more candles than was sensible, including two that were scented with pine, Lexa began to fiddle with one of the war paint pots Clarke had given her. The craftmanship really was remarkable. She got lost in thought, remembering the battle depicted on the pot, so much so that she didn’t notice Clarke coming out of the bathroom; not at first.

When she finally did notice, her mouth went dry, her core got wet, and her ability to think failed her.

Before her stood a goddess. Clarke wore a silky red negligee that came down to just above midthigh. There was only one clan that made such material, and it was expensive. Lexa couldn’t fathom how Clarke had gotten her hands on such an item, but, at the moment she didn’t care.

Clarke had been unsure about putting the small piece of clothing on, but after her talk with Costia earlier in the day, she knew she was ready to take the next step with Lexa. Costia had helped her pick it out, but when the two had heard the price, they had started to walk away from the vendor. When the vendor had told them that they could have it for free if Costia could get her a few minutes with Heda to discuss expanding her trade into Polis, Costia had readily agreed. Clarke had been deeply embarrassed when Costia thrust the package in her arms, but when she was able to look at herself in the polished metal mirror in the bathroom just now, her confidence had soared. If the alpha’s thirsty look and blown pupils were anything to go by, she knew she had made the right decision tonight.

Lexa stumbled her way to her feet. “C-Clarke. I…you…wow!”

“You like it?” Clarke asked shyly.

“Y-yes,” was all Lexa could say.

“I learned a lot from Costia today, and it helped explain all the confusing feelings I have been having. It also explains the near constant desire I have to touch you and have you near me.” Clarke pause, embarrassed. “Lexa, I want you. I want to touch you, and I want you to touch me.”

It was all said so innocently, but the thoughts running through the alpha’s head were anything but innocent.

“I never did get to finish what I started,” Clarke said boldly, “when you let me see your tattoos.”

Lexa’s voice trembled when she asked, “Do you want me to take my shirt off?”

Clarke was feeling just tipsy enough from the wine to say, “I want you to take everything off.”

For a moment, Lexa was afraid to move, but when two gentle hands started to lift the hem of her shirt, the alpha grabbed her nightshirt and practically ripped if off herself. She had already taken off her breast binding, so she now stood half naked in front of her omega. When Clarke’s hands started to push at the alpha’s shorts, Lexa grabbed them to stop their movement.

“Are you sure, Clarke?”

Clarke reached up to touch Lexa’s exposed torso, and Lexa shivered. “Yes, I am sure.”

Lexa placed her hands over Clarke’s and guided them to the waistband of her shorts. “Y-you can if you want.”

The omega took a shuddering breath and hooked her fingers under the material. She slowly lowered the shorts down Lexa’s well-muscled legs.

She stood up with the shorts in her hands and let her eyes rove over the exposed alpha, while Lexa shuffled from foot to foot, unusually nervous.

“You’re nervous, my alpha.”

“I am.”

“Why?”

“Because I have never done this before.”

Clarke stepped back and got serious for a moment while never taking her eyes off the naked alpha. “You always worry about me and what I need or want, Lex. I think that sometimes I forget that you need worrying about too.” She tucked her fingers into Lexa’s hair. “Are you okay with this? I’m not the only one who needs to be ready.”

Lexa turned her head so she could kiss Clarke’s palm. “You don’t need to worry about me. I am nervous, but I want this. I want you…so much.”

“You have me. All of me.” Clarke lifted the red negligee over her head and let it drop to the floor. Any green that had been left was gone. If it was possible, her pupils were even more blown than before, and Clarke’s eyes were no better.

 

Two sets of eyes roved over the naked bodies before them. Lexa had numerous scars but not nearly as numerous as Clarke. It didn’t make Clarke any less beautiful.

“You are gorgeous, ai hodness.”

Clarke’s skin flushed at the compliment. “So are you. I want to touch you.”

Lexa grabbed Clarke’s hands with her own and guided them to her waist. She dragged them up and down the skin of her torso then let go. Clarke’s hands continued to wander edging higher until both hands were on her breasts. The alpha leaned into the touch and moaned when two thumbs began circling her nipples.

“Clarke.” Lexa gasped out, causing the omega to stop what she was doing. “Please don’t stop.” Lexa hurried to say. Lexa squeaked when Clarke’s mouth took over for one of her thumbs.

Clarke nipped and sucked then moved to the other side to do the same. All the while, Lexa was trying to keep her knees from buckling. The alpha drew Clarke to her feet and led her to the bed.

“I want to touch you too. I want to make love to you.”

“I am yours, Lexa.”

Lexa gently urged Clarke to lay on the bed. She stood above her and let her eyes devour the sight before her. Her eyes traveled from the golden hair splayed out on the pillow, to eyes so blue that they rivaled the blue of the sky, to full kiss-starved lips, to the neck Lexa hoped to mark one day, to breasts that were fuller than her own and had nipples the color of one of her favorite flowers, and finally to the thatch of damp dark blonde hair between the omega’s legs. Lexa’s previously dry mouth watered in anticipation of tasting every inch of Clarke’s skin.

Lexa got on the bed and straddled Clarke’s hips. She leaned in and kissed the omega soundly and didn’t let up until she was satisfied. She moved her lips down the omega’s jaw and then nuzzled her head in Clarke’s neck. She sucked and bit at the flesh, leaving a mark behind to match the one that Clarke had left on her. Taking a deep breath of the scent that was only Clarke’s, the alpha lifted her head and lingered over her lover’s breasts. She couldn’t help herself and whispered, “Mine.”

“Y-yes, yours.” Clarke threaded her hands through Lexa’s hair and pulled her into her chest. The alpha immediately began to nip and suck at the ample flesh causing the omega to whimper and writhe beneath her. She then moved at a tortuously slow pace as she worshipped each and every scar on Clarke’s stomach. She washed her tongue over each one before kissing it softly causing mewls and moans to escape Clarke’s lips.

When she reached her final destination, she hovered over glistening curls and looked directly into Clarke’s eyes, silently asking permission.

“Lexa, please.” Clarke begged.

It was all the permission Lexa needed. She lowered her mouth to Clarke’s center and had her first taste of the nectar of the gods. As she guided her tongue through the omega’s folds, she had to hold down Clarke’s bucking hips before they were toppled off the bed.

“Oh, oh, Lexa. Please don’t stop. Keep going…just like that.” Lexa moved her tongue faster and thrust it into Clarke’s tight core a few times before moving up and sucking on the bud of flesh that had Clarke holding the alpha’s head tightly to her while bucking her hips even harder.

 

Clarke thought she was going to explode. Lexa’s tongue was doing things to her that she had never felt before. She felt herself soaring higher and higher.

“Jok. Jok. Jok. Please, Lexa.” Clarke didn’t even know what she was begging for. Lexa doubled her efforts and when Clarke finally fell over the edge, she was screaming Lexa’s name.

After Clarke finally recovered enough to open her eyes again, she saw vibrant green eyes staring back at her. Lexa gave her a few more swipes of her tongue causing the omega to jump and then the alpha was moving back above her. Lexa leaned in and kissed her omega sweetly. Clarke blinked in surprise when she tasted herself on Lexa’s lips.

“Was that okay, ai hodnes? Are you okay?”

“I am more than okay. That was perfect. You were perfect.” She lifted her head to kiss her alpha again. “I didn’t know it could…”

Clarke didn’t get to finish her sentence. Her alpha had already moved back between her legs and had her screaming again.

Chapter Text

Chapter 34

After Lexa and Clarke made love twice more, the omega quickly fell asleep. The alpha pulled the sleeping form into her arms and fell asleep with a silly grin spread across her face. When she opened her eyes again she was staring up into Clarke’s bright blue orbs. Clarke was straddling her hips.

“Good morning.” Clarke smiled sweetly.

Lexa looked toward the window to see that the sun was coming up.

“I’m sorry I fell asleep on you, but I am going to make it up to you right now.” Clarke leaned in and gave Lexa a searing kiss, and the alpha could feel herself getting drenched in anticipation.

“Y-you don’t have to.”

“I want to.” Clarke said as she started to trail feather-light touches down the alpha’s body. When she got to the mark she had left on Lexa’s neck the other day, she sucked hard. She wanted it to be dark. She wanted everyone to know that the Commander was hers. She felt her gums itching and wanted desperately to bite down. At least she now understood why she wanted to bite so badly.

Clarke lifted her head just enough to speak. “When I have my first heat,” Clarke didn’t want to think about the possibility that she might not have one, “I want you there with me. I want your mark, Lex. I want to be your mate.” She gave another hard suck to the purple mark on Lexa’s neck.

Lexa moaned. “I want that to. I want forever with you.”

After that, there was no more speaking. Clarke sat up fully again so that she could gaze into her lover’s eyes as her hands played with her alpha’s breasts. She couldn’t help but smirk when Lexa arched her back trying to get more contact from Clarke’s wandering hands.

Clarke let her fingers drift over hard abs for so long that she had her alpha whimpering and squirming under her touch.

“Please, Clarke.” Lexa begged.

“I’m sorry. Am I teasing you?” Clarke said with an evil grin.

“Y-yes.”

“Should I put you out of your misery?”

“Hodnes…I…please…”

Clarke didn’t torture the alpha any further. She moved the rest of the way down her alpha’s body and pressed her nose into the damp curls. Lexa’s natural scent was stronger here, and Clarke breathed deep. An intense sense of calm washed over the omega. She realized at that moment she had something she never thought she would have before. She had a home. Lexa was her home.

Looking up from below, the omega could only see love and affection in the alpha’s eyes; and desperation. She finally lowered her head and tasted her alpha for the first time, and she couldn’t be sure who’s moan was louder.

She learned something new about her alpha that morning. Lexa was loud. She cursed and screamed out Clarke’s name over and over as the omega swiped her tongue through Lexa’s folds, and she was sure the entirety of TonDC heard the Commander’s final scream when Clarke latched onto her clit and pushed a finger into Lexa’s tight opening for the first time.

 

When Lexa came, it was eruptive. She had felt it building and building, and when she finally blew, she almost launched the omega off the bed. Clarke didn’t let go though and kept licking until Lexa came again. It wasn’t until Lexa gently pulled the omega’s head from between her legs that Clarke ceased her administrations.

The alpha was panting and shuddering. When she was finally able to focus her gaze again she saw Clarke staring down at her, a smile so blinding it beat out the rays of sun starting to come in the window. Clarke bent down for one final lick, making the sensitive alpha jump, and then the omega was kissing her alpha. With a final pull of teeth at Lexa’s lower lip, Clarke said, “Mine.”

“Y-yours.”

 

The two sprawled on each other in the bed while Lexa recovered. The alpha rolled onto her side and propped herself on her elbow.

“Hodnes, I have a question for you. Do you think it would be too soon if I asked if you wanted to have the bonding ceremony tonight?”

Before Clarke could say anything, Lexa plowed on. “It can be just a small ceremony if you want. We just need Gaia to officiate, and a few witnesses. My mother and Costia would need to be there, and Anya. Anya would kill us if she didn’t get to attend. Oh, and Indra, Lincoln and Gustus. They have been with me since I became Heda. I…”

Two lips on hers kept Lexa from saying anything else. “I would love to bond with you today, if arrangements can be made that quickly, and I don’t care who is there as long as it is you and me, and it is official.”

“It will be. At the end we will sign a parchment and seal it in blood.” Clarke paled at this. “It’s just a small finger stick, niron.”

“And what of the coalition?” Clarke asked.

“No need to worry. Gaia assured me it won’t be a problem. You are special, ai hodnes, and when the people learn you are an omega nightblood, you will be revered. The people have been waiting for you for a very long time.”

“What if they don’t like me?” Clarke asked, chewing on the inside of her cheek.

“Have you met anyone down here that hasn’t liked you?” Lexa asked honestly. “And, the people at the dropship do not count.”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“Then you have nothing to worry about.”

Lexa rolled over and pinned the omega underneath her. Clarke shivered at the predatory look in her alpha’s eyes. “You had your turn, now it’s mine.”

 

The day was a whirlwind of activity. Lexa dragged the well-sated omega out of bed, and they hurried to get themselves cleaned up. On the way to meet Gaia, they ran into a grumpy Raven and an excited Octavia.

Raven glared at the pair, deep circles under her eyes. “It isn’t bad enough that you kept everyone awake with your sexy-time shenanigans, but then you had to wake us all up with more of it. Don’t they know how to soundproof the walls down here?”

“Don’t mind her, she’s just mad that she didn’t get to give Clarke the sex talk.” Octavia said. Clarke blushed deeply.

The young omega was about to drag her friend away when she noticed the ring on Clarke’s finger. She tilted her head before realization spread over her features. She looked from Clarke to Lexa then back to Clarke. “You’re getting married. Raven, look.” She pulled the beta closer so she could get a look at Clarke’s ring.

“No wonder you two were so loud last night.” Raven winked. “It was a celebration.”

The younger omega was positively vibrating in excitement. “Clarke, that’s amazing.” Octavia started asking multiple questions about grounder weddings. She wanted to know if Clarke would wear a dress. Could she come to the ceremony? Did Heda think she would be able to marry Lincoln one day because she really, really liked him. The questions didn’t end until the Commander finally intervened.

“Octavia kom Skaikru, Clarke and I have to meet with my advisor, Gaia. We plan to bond tonight. You and Raven are both welcome to attend. If you will excuse us, we really must go. There is a lot to do before then.”

Lexa reached for Clarke’s hand and the two started to walk away. They couldn’t help but hear the excited chatter from Octavia and Raven.

“I am sorry, niron. I didn’t know of any other way to get away from the young Skai omega. If you don’t want them there, I will make sure they are kept away.”

Clarke huffed out a laugh. “I think they would find a way in no matter what, and it’s okay. I like them both.”

“Me too. Octavia has spirit. She will make a fine warrior someday. Raven, well, I am still deciding what she is, but I do like her, and she looked out for you when no one else could, even if it was only in tiny ways. She also brought you back your treasured possession. She has a kind heart.”

 

It turned out that all of TonDc would be at the bonding ceremony that night.

 

After Clarke met Gaia, who bowed deeply to the omega, she was whisked away from Lexa to be fitted for attire befitting the bonding of a nightblood omega to the Commander of the 12 clans. All the citizens were in a tizzy having heard that after so many years an omega nightblood had been found. Clarke couldn’t even count how many times she heard the words nightblood and natblida during the day. Everywhere she went that day, the people stared, pointed, and whispered. Many bestowed gifts upon the increasingly stressed out omega, and too many people touched her. It was like they all wanted to confirm for themselves that she was real.

When she was finally able to break away, she practically ran back to the Commander’s little house. She dropped all the gifts she was carrying on a chair then leaned over with her hands on her knees. She was hyperventilating. She didn’t know if she could do this. She wasn’t ready for all the attention.

This was how Myra found her. She had been making her way to go assist her soon-to-be daughter and spied Clarke making a break from the growing crowd. Myra had frowned at the attention being paid to the obviously overwhelmed omega.

She followed Clarke into the house and approached the distressed girl carefully. She had seen the many unwanted touches that the omega had suffered through.

“Clarke, ai yongon (my child), slow your breathing, just take a deep breath. You are going to be okay.”

“It’s too much.” Clarke panted. “It’s too much. I don’t think I can do this.”

“Oh, my sweet girl.” Myra said. “The fervor will die down. Right now, you are myth come to life. It has been so long since an omega nightblood has been born that the people gave up hope. I know the attention is overwhelming.”

“Will it always be this way?”

Myra opened her arms inviting Clarke into a hug, not sure if the omega would want to be touched. She was pleased when two shaky arms wrapped around her.

“No,” Myra assured, “it was like this when Lexa became Commander too. My girl is so strong, and she would never admit this, but the attention and reverence got to her. It wore her down, but it did get better. I swear that it will get better for you too. The people are just excited, but after the ceremony, things will calm down.”

“Okay.”

There was a knock at the door then Costia stepped in. She took in the sight before her. “What’s the matter? Did something happen?”

“No, everything is alright.” Myra said. “The attention just got to be a little too much for Clarke.”

Costia walked over and gave Clarke’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “I remember it used to get to Lexa too.”

“I was just telling her that.” Myra said, smiling at her younger daughter.

“Clarke, I have your dress and a few other things to help you get ready.”

The blonde lifted her head off Myra’s chest. “Will you two help me?” She asked nervously.

“Of course, my child. We both will. It would be our honor.”

“Who’s helping Lexa?”

“Anya and Gustus are with her. It won’t take as long for her to get ready. Since she is Commander, she will wear her traditional regalia and war paint. She’s finishing up a few things to help get the ceremony and feast ready.”

“F-feast?” Clarke stammered out. “I thought this was going to be a small affair.”

“Not anymore. Once word got out that their beloved Commander was bonding with a nightblood omega, all the people wanted to attend. It’s an historic day. The people deserve to witness it.”

It was several hours later, and it was finally time for the ceremony. Clarke walked stiffly in between Myra and Costia as the two omegas poured out pheromones to help soothe the worried omega. The sun was just setting, and TonDc was aglow with a multitude of torches. As the trio walked toward a tree-lined field where the ceremony was being held, Clarke noticed that the streets were empty. Looking into the trees, Clarke noticed that colorful lanterns and strings of white flowers had been hung from the branches. The look was magical.

The field before her held a crowd of people with a path cleared down the middle of the gathering. At the end, Clarke could see Lexa, who was standing tall. Even from a distance, the omega could see the look of pride, love, and devotion in the Commander’s eyes. It helped to calm her, but only a little.

Clarke whimpered. She understood what the day meant to everyone, but the people and crowds made her nervous. She didn’t like the attention. She didn’t feel worthy of the attention.

Myra halted her progress with a squeeze to her shoulder. She could feel the anxiety rolling off Clarke in waves. “It’s okay to be nervous on your bonding day. Don’t focus on the people. Just focus on the beautiful woman standing before you. She is why you are here. I know the crowd makes you anxious, but they are only here to witness the love that you two share for one other.”

Clarke nodded then squared her shoulders. She took a deep breath and continued forward. She stared straight ahead at her alpha, and suddenly it seemed that the crowd disappeared.

 

Lexa was unable to blink as she watched the stunning omega approach. Her mouth was suddenly so dry she had to try and swallow a few times. If she didn’t know better, she would say that Clarke was glowing.

While Lexa had on her war paint making her look every bit like the Commander that she was, Clarke’s look was much softer. She had no braids, but her hair had been loosely curled and was framing her face. Her cheeks, neck and arms had been dusted with gold powder, the likes of which Lexa had never seen before. Long, coiled gold arm bands wound around the omega’s upper arms, and she wore the bracelet and ring that Lexa had gifted her the night before.

Clarke’s dress was also like nothing she had ever seen. It was a deep navy with little flecks of gold scattered throughout the fabric. It reminded Lexa of the night sky, and she couldn’t think of a more appropriate dress for the omega to wear. The alpha was certain that she had never seen anything so beautiful as the creature slowly approaching her, and she had a hard time believing that such an alluring woman wanted to spend her life with her.

As Clarke got closer, flashes of everything the omega had been through and accomplished during her short time on Earth flashed before the alpha’s eyes, and Lexa could barely contain the love and pride trying to burst from her chest.

When the omega was finally before her, the world around her disappeared. New images of her future crossed her mind. Lexa had never allowed herself to dream of a future where she might be allowed to grow old and be happy, but in this moment, she knew it was a distinct possibility. With Clarke at her side, she was certain that she was going to be able to bring peace to her lands; long lasting peace. She pictured the two of them raising their pups to be strong, successful adults who would never have to suffer through wars or famine, but mostly she saw the woman before her living the life that she deserved. She saw Clarke living a life filled with happiness, love, laughter, friends and family. She silently vowed to do everything in her power to make Clarke as happy as humanly possible.

Lexa’s reverie was interrupted when Gaia began to speak. She could barely make sense of the words. She was too lost staring into the deep oceans of Clarke’s eyes to pay attention. It wasn’t until Gaia produced a length of cord and had the two grasp hands that she was able to tear her gaze away from her omega.

“With this cord, I bind your lives together.” Gaia started to weave the thin rope around Lexa and Clarke’s hands. “Just as each strand has been woven together to make it stronger, so too will the weaving of your lives together make the two of you stronger. Each fiber represents the aspects that will bind you together forever; love, joy, hope, respect, strength, happiness, forgiveness, and commitment. When there are times of trouble, the knot this binding makes will only get tighter, bringing the two of you closer together.”

Gaia had finished wrapping the cord around their wrists. “Do you both agree that once I finish the knot that you two will honor and love each other through all things good and bad; you will reconcile after every fight, work together through every hardship and celebrate all victories in hopes that it will be the last battle?”

“I do.” The two said in unison.

Gaia turned to the crowd. “Then I present to you Heda Lexa kom Trikru and her houmon Clarke Natblida kom Trikru.”

The crowd roared and cheered when Lexa leaned in to kiss her new wife. When the people started to quiet down, Lexa got on one knee and took Clarke’s hands. “Ai haiplana (My queen).”

Suddenly the entire crowd was taking a knee and bowing their heads. The delinquents were just a bit slower to follow suit, not fully understanding what was happening. “HAIPLANA CLARKE.” They all yelled, and Clarke thought she might faint.

Chapter Text

Chapter 35

Clarke stood, a solitary figure among a sea of kneeling people. Over and over the people chanted out her new title. Her knees wobbled until she thought she might fall, but Lexa rose and with reassuring hands held the omega steady.

“Ai houmon. Ai haiplana.” Lexa said with all the reverence befitting her new queen. She leaned in for another kiss then beckoned the crowd to rise and join them for a celebratory feast. Clarke briefly thought that the delinquents were going to think that all the grounders did was feast and drink.

As Lexa lead her through the crowd of well-wishers, Clarke spied a teary-eyed Myra, a smitten looking Costia who was holding hands with an equally smitten Bellamy, a proud-looking Anya, and a fully stunned looking group of delinquents who had just witnessed the rise of an omega from what was once considered the absolute lowest position on the echelon to the highest possible position in any hierarchy. Many stood thoughtfully by, struck by the sudden realization that if someone considered so low on the totem pole could rise so high, then they too could rise and be whatever they wanted to be. It gave many a sense of hope for their uncertain futures.

Just like many of the delinquents, Clarke too was stunned. In the space of just a few minutes, she had been put in a position of leadership, a position of power, and she was not quite sure what to make of it. All she wanted was to spend a life with Lexa, but she was beginning to realize that her with her new life came many new challenges. For a moment, she was scared, but she looked back at everything she had overcome in her lifetime, and she decided that if she could survive what happened to her on the Ark, then she could survive anything that was thrown at her on the ground, and she would do it with grace and humility. Right then she vowed to learn as much as she could about the 12 clans and what it took to help run the coalition. If she were to be a queen, then she needed to have the strength and know-how to act and perform like one. She also vowed to try and stop second-guessing herself and trust her instincts.

When they finally reached their seats at the feast, the line of people waiting to congratulate them was already winding around the other tables, and the first in line was Anya. She helped Clarke to her feet then kissed both of her cheeks. She said, “I am your servant until death,” before bowing her head and turning her head in submission. Anya then surprised everyone by lifting Lexa out of her chair and giving her a tight bear hug. She squeezed until Lexa started to cough.

Once her Heda was back on her feet, Anya said, “I told you to be Commander wasn’t to be alone.” Before she took her seat, one that was near Clarke’s, she leaned over the table and said, “If you ever hurt my seken, there won’t be any place on this planet that you can hide from me.” She then winked and finally sat.

Clarke was initially alarmed, but Lexa just chuckled. “If I ever hurt her, fos, I give you permission to take me down.”

It went on like that for quite some time. People came up and offered congratulations, anecdotes about married life, and advice on how to keep one’s omega happy. Clarke had a near constant blush tinting her cheeks.

When the food was finally served, everyone waited patiently for Clarke to take the first bite before taking one of their own. The food was plentiful and the wine free flowing. Clarke was careful not to overindulge, not wanting to experience a hangover quite so soon again. Looking at the delinquents, it didn’t seem that they had the same feelings. It seemed her houmon (just thinking the word took Clarke’s breath away) didn’t have any qualms about drinking too much that night either. The omega looked on while Lexa seemed to have a permanent smile on her face as she laughed and joked with her people. It warmed her heart. Lexa often had a smile to share with her, but she did not often have the chance to take off the mask of Heda in front of her people.

As the night wore on, music was played, people sang, and Clarke danced so much that she thought her feet might fall off. She danced with all her new friends and even had a quick dance with Bellamy before Costia cut in. She smiled, and she laughed until her sides hurt.

When the night was winding down and Clarke thought she couldn’t stay on her feet another minute, the music changed, and Lexa pulled her into a slow dance. Her alpha guided her moves and gave her enough support that she felt like she was floating on air. Never had she had a night like this one, and it was all because of her houmon. What Lexa had done, pulling the whole celebration together in just one day, proved to Clarke just how loved she was.

During the slow dance, Clarke took note of the different couples that had joined them. Octavia unsurprisingly was dancing with Lincoln. Raven held a stiff and formal Anya in her arms. Costia and Bellamy moved gracefully to the rhythm. Indra was dancing with a woman Clarke and never seen before, and Myra was dancing with Gustus.

Clarke tapped Lexa’s shoulder to get her attention then pointed at her mother with Gustus. “Is that new?”

Lexa huffed out a laugh. “Those two have been skirting around each other for years. I am glad that one of them finally took the initiative and made a move.”

Clarke wanted to ask about Lexa’s father, realizing that Lexa had never mentioned him before, but she decided now was not the time.

Clarke had to blink a few times when she saw Monty and Jasper dancing together, but then she saw them snickering and poking at each other. Harper finally cut in to dance with Monty, and Jasper happily made his was to get another drink.

She tucked her head into Lexa’s neck and let the alpha guide her around until the music began to fade. All in all, it was a magical night.

 

Lexa woke the next morning next to her houmon. The two had walked back to the house after just about everyone else had left the celebration. Clarke was so tired she stumbled a few times on the way, but her alpha caught her every time.

Clarke had been tired, but not too tired to quietly make love with her new wife before falling asleep.

Lexa leaned over her sleeping wife and traced the dark veins twisting under the pale skin of Clarke’s left shoulder.

Blue eyes opened. “That feels good.” Clarke hummed.

“How are you feeling today, ai houmon?” Lexa asked.

Clarke reached up and drew Lexa into a kiss. “I feel good. Tired, but good.”

“You should rest. I have some meetings to attend but should be back after an hour or two. Maybe we can celebrate some more when I get back.” The alpha winked.

Clarke moved and brought her legs off the edge of the bed. Sitting fully, she grabbed Lexa’s hand and kissed it. “Had I known that I would be getting married last night I wouldn’t have done this, but I promised Octavia that I would go hunting with her today. She wants to try and use a bow. I think she wants to prove to Indra, and probably Bellamy, that she can take care of herself.”

“It seems to me she has nothing to worry about with Bellamy. He only seems to have eyes for Costia right now. Did you see the way he was ogling my sister? I didn’t like it.”

“Don’t worry about Costia.” Clarke leaned over to kiss Lexa’s other hand. “I told her about Bellamy and our worries when we were talking at the lake. She knows we have concerns. She won’t let anything happen, and you know that she can take care of herself, right? Besides, did you see the way he was looking at her? I think the next bonding ceremony might be theirs.”

Lexa looked at her in horror. “I will not allow that. She is too young.”

Clarke chuckled. “And what about me? Am I not too young? I can’t be certain exactly how old I am.”

Lexa sighed and stood up. “You make a fair point, niron.”

Lexa pulled Clarke to her feet. “Let’s eat a quick breakfast, and then you can take your new friend hunting. Please promise me that you will be careful. Would you be opposed to taking Gustus or Lincoln with you? You are our queen now. You need protecting.”

Clarke didn’t really want to be followed all day, but she knew it would put her alpha’s mind at ease. It would only be for an hour or two. She didn’t want to be away from Lexa for too long.

“I will ask Gustus. It will give me a chance to tease him about his dance with your nomon.”

“Our nomon. She considers you a daughter, you know.”

Clarke choked up a little. She had a real family now.

 

Clarke traveled lightly through the forest while trying to teach her fellow omega how to step more quietly. Gustus followed behind at a respectful distance trying to give the girls a sense of privacy.

The two went to the training grounds for about half an hour for target practice before heading off into the woods. Clarke had taken the time to try and get a rise out of Gustus, but the man was an oak. The best Clarke got was a tiny smirk. She wasn’t sure if she really saw it, or if she just made it up in her head to make herself feel better.

Now the two were tracking a boar. Gustus had been kind enough to set them on the right path after he spotted some fresh hoof prints.

They had just crested a rise in a copse of trees when Clarke caught site of their prey. She silently pointed and they both crouched down. Gustus stayed a good distance back, not disturbing them.

She helped Octavia line up her shot and waited patiently for the girl to fire. Octavia held her aim the let her arrow fly. The shaft buried deep into the beast, but it wasn’t a kill shot. Before Clarke could say anything, Octavia was off like a shot chasing after the boar as it ran away. She got about fifty feet away before her foot hit a divot in the ground, twisting her ankle painfully and sending the young omega sprawling on the ground.

Clarke and Gustus ran up to the fallen girl. Even through her pain, Octavia was grinning. “Did you see? I got it. I don’t think it will get far. Help me up so we can go and get it.”

Gustus beat Clarke in offering a hand, but when he went to hoist the omega to her feet, she gasped and crumpled back to the ground.

Octavia tried again to get to her feet, but to no avail. “Stop,” Clarke said. “You are going to make it worse.” Clarke looked at her friend’s ankle and noticed that it was swelling rapidly. She looked up at Gustus.

“I don’t think she is going to be able to walk back. Do you think you can carry her?”

“Easy,” was all the man said before lifting Octavia bridal style into his arms, earning him a squeak from the girl.

They all started to walk back the way they had come, but Octavia stopped him. “Clarke, please go get the boar. It’s my first kill.”

Clarke sighed. “I’ll do what I can. I can’t carry the whole thing back by myself.”

“Just get me one of the tusks, or a tooth, or something. I don’t need the whole thing to prove I killed it.”

Clarke closed her eyes and shivered. The thought of dismembering an animal that way grossed her out.

Gustus saved her. “Just track the beast to where it falls. I will come back and help you. It shouldn’t be hard to track you. Both of you walk with the grace of a pauna.” He nudged Clarke’s shoulder with his elbow. “I will be back soon, Haiplana. Be careful.”

“Don’t forget my tusk,” Octavia yelled out as Gustus carried her away.

“Branwoda.” Clarke muttered.

 

Clarke had to wander further than she thought she would have to before she found the boar. It was barely alive. She made quick work of slitting its throat. She didn’t like killing it, but she knew it would feed a good number of people.

Clarke set about field dressing the boar just the way Anya had taught her and became so engrossed in her work that the world around disappeared. She had nearly completed the task when she heard a branch snap nearby. She didn’t think anything of it, assuming Gustus had finally made his way back to her.

Another snap had her lifting her eyes. She stilled and slowly grasped her bow with bloodied hands. “Who’s there,” she called out as she stood, quiver of arrows now slung over her back. She spun in a slow circle but saw nothing. She was about to kneel back down, thinking it was her imagination when an alpha she was well familiar with stepped out from behind a tree. A beta boy she didn’t know stepped out from behind another. They both had evil sneers on their faces.

Clarke had an arrow nocked before she had even realized she moved.

“Lookie what we have here. It’s the black-blooded omega bitch from the Ark.” Dax, the alpha, said as he took a step forward, brandishing a steel bar that he had hidden behind his back.

“We saw what you did at the dropship. You think you are so powerful now, don’t you because you took that weak excuse of an alpha, Sterling, down. Well we have news for you, omega scum. We won’t be making it easy for you. In fact, we plan to make it hard…and painful. A filthy piece of trash like you doesn’t get to get away with hurting another alpha, no matter how pathetic.” Clarke could tell he was trying to make her submit, sneer changing to a grimace of anger as nothing happened.

The beta boy hadn’t said anything, but he also took a step forward and to the side of Clarke. They were trying to flank her.

Clarke kept her arrow trained on the alpha, but a sudden move by the other boy had her setting it loose. With a sickening thud, it pierced straight through the throat of the beta. The boy grasped his neck in a vain attempt to keep the blood from seeping out. It was no use. He collapsed, dead, to the forest floor.

Dax roared and charged at Clarke. Before he had even taken two steps another arrow went sailing through the air, and the boy was dead instantly, arrow sticking out of his eye.

Clarke stood, frozen, while her heart hammered in her chest. What had she done? Her shock was so great that she didn’t hear the footfalls behind her until it was too late. Something large slammed into the back of her head, and the world went black as she fell to the ground.

When she was able to open her eyes again, a figure was kneeling before her.

“Hello, princess.”

“F-finn.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 36

Clarke couldn’t move. She was too scared. Next to her mother and Pike, Finn was her biggest nemesis. He was single-handedly responsible for at least two dozen of Clarke’s beatings on the Ark. The subtlety of his attacks was genius. Not that he needed to be subtle. He could have attacked Clarke, and no matter what, she would have been blamed, but Finn relished getting her in trouble and making seem like it was really her fault.

The first time he had spoken to her, he had made it seem like he wanted to be her friend. He lured her in with a ration bar, then when she started to eat it, he accused her of stealing it. She was beaten and not let out of her cell for a week. The next time, he purposefully walked past her while carrying his food tray. He dropped it on the floor and said she had pushed him. This beating was worse because wasting food was a huge offense. Her mother pushed to have her floated, and the council agreed. They put her in the air lock. Clarke had screamed and cried until she couldn’t take it anymore, thinking her death was imminent. She finally gave up and sat on the floor, waiting for them to open the door to space, and then there was nothing.

It was the first time she ‘zoned out’. She essentially became catatonic and was completely unaware of her surroundings. The first time she woke up from ‘zoning out’, she was in medical. She was hooked up to beeping machines. She had lines and tubes coming out of her body, but it wasn’t like they were trying to keep her alive. She overheard her mother pondering how she was still alive after five days in her state with no food or water. She even heard her tell Jackson to keep running tests on her. He mother had pulled her from the air lock not because she wanted to save her, but because she wanted to experiment on her.

Finn’s attacks after that were different. It wasn’t any fun if he didn’t get a shot at her, so he made sure that whatever he did, led her to being tied to the support post in the common area. He enjoyed his alpha status, and since he was the ‘wronged party,’ he got to hit her first. He didn’t hold back, in fact, he always managed to hit the most tender spots that would lead to Clarke having pain for days.

“I’ve missed our play time, 319. Did you know that it’s your fault that I ended up in the sky box?” Finn asked. “I went looking for you one day, but you were nowhere to be found. No one would tell me where you were, and I may have lost control…just a little. So, the way I see it, you owe me some pay back.”

Clarke whimpered. Her mind was addled from her head injury, but she knew he was going to kill her. She just knew it. She tried to move her hand to grab for one of the daggers Lexa had given her, but Finn was suddenly in her face.

“Looking for this?” He flashed the bejeweled dagger at her. “It’s fancy. How did a piece of filth like you get a dagger like this? Did you steal it from that alpha that knocked me on my ass? Maybe I will bring it back to her then stick it in her gut for what she did to me.” He snickered to himself. “Hey, Roma. Come here.”

A girl Clarke had never seen before walked over. “Here.” Finn produced a length of wire that he must have stripped from the drop ship. “Tie her to that tree. I want to see how this thing works.” He pointed at the bow.

“Make one wrong move, mutt, and I will slit your throat.” He warned.

Clarke stumbled when she was dragged to her feet. She was dizzy and her head was starting to pound. She was having a hard time concentrating, and she wanted the spinning to stop. Reaching up, she put her hand on the back of her head and found it to be sticky. Looking at her hand, she saw thick black blood.

“Ew, gross. Get away from me with that,” the girl, Roma spit out and pushed Clarke forward. “I don’t want to catch whatever disease you have.” She shoved Clarke against the tree. The omega didn’t struggle. She couldn’t figure out a way out of this. She was too woozy. Shame filled her chest. All the training with Anya had been for naught.

As the girl tied Clarke to the tree, all she could think about was Lexa. She hoped the alpha would be okay after she was gone. Costia had told her that mates often succumbed to failure to thrive when their partner died, but they hadn’t mated yet. So, Lexa should survive. She could only hope that the alpha would find happiness, and even love, again. She knew that Anya and Lexa’s family would be there for her houmon, and she prayed that Lexa would allow them to help her. Clarke didn’t care if Finn hurt her, she just didn’t want her alpha to suffer.

Tears flowed from her eyes as she resigned herself to her fate. Clarke watched as Finn clumsily picked up the bow. He was holding it upside down when he nocked his first arrow. Roma had to jump out of the way when he accidentally let it fly.

“Hey, let me get out of the way first. You almost hit me,” the beta accused.

“Oh, please. It didn’t even come close to you.”

He shot at Clarke a few times, and thankfully, all his shots went wide. He was getting frustrated, and he fiddled with the bow and string until he finally figured out that he was holding it wrong.

“Ha. I think I’ve got it.” He walked until he was only inches from the defenseless omega’s face. “You know, 319, I used to enjoy our time together, but I think this will be the last time. I am going to enjoy turning you into a pin cushion.”

“You’re a coward, F-finn.” Clarke eeked out.

Clarke felt a wave of alpha pheromones hit her. She held her head high, but it hurt. Her head injury was making it harder to not submit.

Finn palmed her cheek with a sweaty hand.

“I am not a coward. I am smart.” Finn squeezed her face between his hand, making her wince. “I saw what you did to my boys, and I wasn’t going to allow you to point this thing at me.” He lifted the bow unnecessarily.

Clarke knew it was useless, but she had to try, so she said, “Untie me and fight me fairly. If you are such a powerful alpha, surely you can beat me.”

“Nah,” Finn said, evil grin lighting his face. “I want to see what it looks like to have one of these,” he waved an arrow around, “sink into your flesh. I wonder how many it will take to kill you. I was just a little too late to see you take out Dax and Myles, but I saw you got each of them with one shot. I’m no expert, so I expect it will take a few more.”

 

Clarke’s heart was practically beating out of her chest. She knew this was it when Finn let go of her and took only a couple of paces away. Clarke closed her eyes and waited for death to come. He was too close to miss.

Ai hod yu in, Lexa was Clarke’s last thought before all awareness slipped away.

 

To say that Lexa was angry when Gustus and Octavia arrived back without Clarke was an understatement. Lexa waited until Octavia was safely tucked away with the healer before she hit Gustus with a blast of pheromones so powerful that not only did he drop to his knees and expose his neck, but his nose began to bleed too.

“You were supposed to be protecting her,” Lexa roared, “but instead you left her in an unfamiliar forest by herself. If anything has happened to her, I will have your head.”

“Heda, please. It isn’t his fault.” Somehow Octavia convinced Indra to bring her back to the Commander. “If anyone is to blame, it’s me. I was foolish and didn’t watch where I was going. I got hurt and Clarke asked Gustus to bring me back. He was only doing what Clarke asked him to do.”

Lexa spun and glared at the omega, but when she saw the look of shame and regret in Octavia’s eyes, she softened and released Gustus from her invisible hold.

“Someone get me my horse. Anya and Indra, you are with me. Something is terribly wrong. I can feel it.” Lexa’s chest was constricting painfully.

 

A remorseful Gustus pointed them in the right direction, and then the three riders were racing through the woods. It wasn’t long before they found the spot where Octavia had hit the boar. They slowed the horses, and Indra jumped off hers. The chieftain inspected the area, found the trail and followed it carefully. It was slow going after that. Lexa didn’t want to risk losing their only lead toward Clarke.

When they got to the body of the boar, they were stunned to find two additional, human, bodies on the ground. Anya got down from her mount and looked at the arrows.

“These are Clarke’s,” she said. “What the hell happened here?” Anya muttered, more to herself than to the others. “Where are you?” Anya was now feeling Lexa’s sense of dread.

Lexa was also looking over the area, and her sense of uneasiness continued to climb. She saw two other sets of footprints and drag marks in the dirt. She let out a distressed whine when she found a large rock with black blood on it.

She sniffed the air trying to catch any scent of Clarke, but the scents of death, blood and fear hid any trace of her omega. She knew whoever had taken Clarke couldn’t have gotten far. It wasn’t easy to drag a body through the forest. Lexa prayed that the omega was still alive.

Riddled with anxiety, the Commander wanted nothing more than to crash through the forest until she found her houmon, but instead, Lexa pushed aside her fears and readied herself for the hunt. When she found whoever it was who hurt Clarke, she would kill them slowly. Nobody hurt her Queen.

 

It was ten minutes before Lexa found who she was searching for. When she saw the boy Finn pointing the bow at Clarke from only a few feet away, she moved on instinct. Her knife was sailing through the air and hitting the sky alpha before Anya or Indra had even caught up to her. The beta girl with Finn tried to run, but Anya was on her in a flash. The girl tried to hit Anya with a rock, and the angry alpha repaid her with a dagger to the heart.

“Secure this nomonjokker. We will bring him back to TonDC. He will die on the tree.” Lexa growled out as she sped over to her omega.

Her hands were shaking as she tried to untie the wire holding Clarke to the tree. When the omega was finally loose, she crumpled to the ground and was motionless. The omega’s eyes were open, but she didn’t react, not even to break her fall.

When she landed, Clarke’s arms got trapped underneath her body and her head was craned at an odd angle. From her position above her, Lexa could see the nasty gash on the back of Clarke’s head that was still sluggishly bleeding. The alpha knelt before her wife and carefully moved the omega’s flaccid body so that she was lying on her back.

Without looking away from Clarke, Lexa called out to Indra. “Get something to clean and bandage her head.”

Lexa’s eyes were beginning to sting, but she didn’t let any tears fall. “Niron…Clarke. Please look at me. I’m here. You are safe.” No reaction. Lexa begged and pleaded for another minute with the same, distressing results.

The alpha’s chest was heaving when she walked over to where Anya was holding the boy. “What did you do to her?” She yelled.

“To that thing?” He sneered. “Only what it deserves.”

Lexa saw red. She booted the boy in the chest sending him flying backwards. There was a satisfying snap when he hit the ground. He had tried to catch himself with bound hands behind his back. At least one arm broke.

“Bitch,” he screamed, “you broke my wrists.”

Lexa straddled the fallen alpha. She was seething, spittle leaking from the corners of her mouth. “You think that is bad little boy? That is nothing. Do you know the penalty for hurting our Queen?”

Finn tried to stay defiant. “That thing is no queen. It’s a failed lab experiment. It’s just a foul, black-blooded animal that should have been put out of its misery a long time ago.”

Metal flashed in the sunlight and the weak alpha screamed. A knife was embedded in his shoulder.

Lexa roared and squeezed Finn’s neck. Once he was gasping for air, she let up…a little. “That woman is my wife, and she is our Queen. She is worth more than one hundred of you.”

Lexa leaned over the Sky alpha until she was just inches away from his face. She started pumping out pheromones so that he had to submit.

“Now I am going to tell you what happens when someone attacks our Queen. They are sentenced to death by a thousand cuts. Every person who desires gets to cut you, anywhere on your body. It could be across one of your eyes, across your belly, or even down the length of what I am sure is a tiny, little penis.”

The boy paled. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I am an alpha.” He said weakly.

“That does not give you the right to hurt another person.”

“It gives me every right.” He said as he tried to fight her dominance.

Lexa slapped him hard across the face. She was lifting her fist when Anya stopped her.

“If you kill him now, Clarke won’t get her justice.”

Lexa ripped her knife from the boy’s shoulder, causing him to scream again. She got up and went back to Clarke. “Make sure he doesn’t die. My houmon WILL get her cut.” She walked back over to Clarke and picked her up bridle style. “I want a blockade set up around that damn dropship immediately. Kill anyone who tries to get past it.” Indra nodded.

 

It was no easy task getting Clarke onto Lexa’s horse with her. She had tried to lift the omega herself but wasn’t able. She had growled at Indra and Anya when they tried to help, feeling protective of her wife, but she had to concede and let them assist her. Once Lexa was on her horse, the two handed Clarke’s floppy body to her. They had to position Clarke so that she was facing Lexa in the saddle. It was the only way she was able to keep a safe hold on her love. Lexa’s sour distress pheromones filled the forest. The only thing that reassured her was that she could feel the rise and fall of Clarke’s chest against hers.

They made their way back as quickly as they could, but it wasn’t fast enough for Lexa, her fear and anxiety quickly getting the best of her. When she finally made it back to TonDC, Lincoln and an extremely distraught Gustus were waiting to help her get Clarke down from her horse. She grabbed the inert form of her wife from the two men and carried her into the house while yelling for every healer to come attend to her houmon.

It wasn’t long before everyone with healing experience poured into the house and examined the unresponsive omega. No one could figure out what was wrong with her. They tortured Finn until he confessed that he had only hit the omega once on the head with the rock. He didn’t do anything else to her besides tie her to the tree. The healers determined that the resulting concussion shouldn’t have put Clarke into the state she was in.

Lexa was desperate enough that she had some of the delinquents come in to check over the omega. Raven and Monty had no explanation. It was Bellamy who came up with a possible answer.

“It’s almost like she is in a fugue state.” He said.

Everyone looked at him in confusion, so he explained. “I read about it once. A fugue is a loss of awareness often coupled with flight from one’s environment.”

“But Clarke isn’t running away.” Raven said. She looked at her pale friend with glistening eyes.

“Isn’t she though? She may not be physically trying to get away, but mentally, maybe she is.” Bellamy said.

Lexa looked up from where she was sitting on the bed next to the still form of her wife. Her eyes were rimmed with red, the whites bloodshot.

“Bellamy,” Lexa pleaded, “please tell me you know how to treat this.”

“I’m sorry, Heda,” he said with regret, “I don’t. It was just something I read about once.”

Costia took his hand, and he looked at her, grateful for the contact.

“Clarke told me about this once. She called it ‘zoning out’. She said that when she was being punished that sometimes she would be stuck in her cell for days or even weeks. When I asked her how she didn’t go insane, she said she would just zone out. Do you think that is what she is doing now?”

“Maybe. I don’t know. She’s safe now, so why won’t she wake up?” Lexa asked with a cracked voice.

Myra sat down next to her daughter. “She isn’t sleeping, strikon (little one). If Bellamy is right, she has retreated deep within herself. It is probably a form of self-protection.”

Lexa said nothing. She stared down at the unmoving form of her wife willing Clarke to move.

 

Eventually the house cleared out and it was just Myra and Lexa who remained. They hadn’t moved from their positions on the bed. They lifted Clarke’s body and attempted to give her water, but the liquid had dribbled back out of Clarke’s mouth.

Lexa finally broke down. She sobbed into her mother’s shoulder. “She wasn’t even my houmon for more than a day, and she is already leaving me.” She sputtered. “I failed her, nomon. I shouldn’t have gone to those stupid meetings. They could have waited. I should have stayed with her. Our bonding had just been made official and I left her.” Lexa looked up from her nomon’s saturated shoulder. “Why won’t she respond, nomon? Why is she leaving me?”

“She isn’t leaving you, my sweet alpha.” Myra cupped Lexa’s cheek with her hand. “She is strong, just like you, and she will come back to you. She is on a path that only she can travel, but I promise that her journey will lead her back to you.”

“I hope you are right, nomon.” Lexa said as tears streamed down her face.

Chapter Text

Chapter 37

It had been three days, and still Clarke hadn’t responded. Aside from the rise and fall of her chest, her only other movement was a slow blink every minute or so. The omega hadn’t closed her eyes. She hadn’t slept, and she hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink. Her alpha was becoming frantic with worry. In her anger, she had gone to Finn’s cell and beaten the crap out of him. It was the only time she had left Clarke’s side, and it didn’t make her feel any better.

 

Lexa was pacing behind Nyko. She had sent for him from Polis and he had arrived late the night before. He had been at Clarke’s side ever since.

“Please tell me you have seen this before.” Lexa pleaded.

“I have.” He looked at her with sympathy. He had grown quite fond of the omega lying before him, so he was hesitant to tell the Commander what he knew. “I have seen this happen three times. It seems to be a stress response. It is my belief that the person withdraws into themselves to get away from extreme levels of duress in the outside world.”

Lexa didn’t want to, but she had to ask. “What happened to the three people that had this?”

Nyko coughed. “Two recovered. They simply came back to themselves after a couple of days. The, ah, the other, they succumbed to dehydration. There is only so long a body can go without proper nutrition and water.”

“H-how long can someone go without water?” Lexa asked timidly.

“Three, maybe four days. In Clarke’s case, maybe five because she isn’t moving around.”

A guttural sob escaped before the Commander could stop it.

“I think you need to ready yourself, Heda. I fear if she doesn’t come back to us soon, she may not come back to us at all.”

Lexa let out a stuttering breath. She opened her mouth to say something but closed it again. There was nothing more to say.

“There is nothing more I can do. It’s up to her now. I am sorry, Heda.”

Nyko packed up his bag and left the house leaving the devastated alpha behind.

 

People came to visit as the alpha stayed by her houmon’s side. Octavia came multiple times and cried over her omega friend. Her guilt was eating her up. She felt like it was her fault that Clarke got attacked. Lincoln was the only one who was able to calm the young omega.

Lexa remained at Clarke’s side. She looked past the others. She only had eyes for her wife. Myra had to coax her to eat and drink after she growled and snapped at her sister for trying to get her to do the same thing.

 

The day came and went without change, and it was now the morning of the fifth day. Lexa had barely slept, and she hadn’t left Clarke’s side. Nyko was back, checking on the omega.

“Her breathing is shallower. I think you should be prepared, Heda.” He grabbed the alpha’s trembling hands. “I’m going give you some privacy. Please send for me if something changes.”

Lexa leaned over Clarke and pressed their foreheads together. “Hodnes, please come back to me. I need you.”

After an hour of pacing back and forth, hoping for a change, Lexa had finally come to grips with the fact that Clarke was probably going to be leaving her soon. If she was, Lexa didn’t want her to spend her last hours surrounded by four walls. The omega had spent enough of her life trapped inside.

Lexa carefully slid her an arm under Clarke’s legs, and another under her shoulders. When she lifted her into her arms, the alpha couldn’t help but notice that already the omega felt lighter than she should. She carried Clarke outside and headed for the lake. The alpha wanted to bring her houmon somewhere that reminded her of the pond that Clarke had liked so much near Polis.

When she stepped out of her home, it seemed that every resident of TonDC was on the streets. Even the delinquents were amongst the crowd. Raven and Octavia were holding hands, trying to comfort each other. They all knew what was happening and many openly wept for their nightblood Queen. Lexa almost cried too when she saw her gona lining the streets, standing tall with spears pounding rhythmically on the ground. Many had watery eyes but not one shed a tear. Lexa puffed her chest in pride. She nestled her head into her omega’s ear and whispered, “They are all out here for you, ai hodness. You should know that you are loved. If you came back to me, you would see.” Lexa hoped that the commotion on the streets would somehow make her omega ‘wake.’ It didn’t.

The commander’s destination wasn’t far, but she had to shift and readjust Clarke’s dead weight in her arms a few times so that she didn’t accidentally drop the fragile omega. When she finally spotted her destination, she quickened her steps. An ancient, wizened tree stood at the edge of the lake, winding roots reaching out for the water. After searching, she found a dry, moss-covered area. The alpha gently placed her wife so that she was cradled between two large roots. She had to position Clarke so that the omega’s head wouldn’t fall forward.

“You are missing the view, ai hodnes. It’s beautiful here. It reminds me of the first time I took you to the pond near Polis.”

Lexa settled next to her omega and held her limp hand. The alpha didn’t see the view before her. All she could see was the stunning form of her wife, propped against the tree. Even in her current state, Clarke seemed to have a glow to her. The wind ruffled her blonde hair, and Lexa couldn’t help but reach forward and put the stray hair back in place. She then ran her hands down cool cheeks, brushed her thumbs over eyebrows and ears, and finally placed a soft kiss on slack lips. The alpha could no longer hold in her tears.

She begged, pleaded, got angry, and finally sobbed, but what truly shattered the unbreakable alpha was when blue eyes, that had been open for days, fluttered closed.

“No, no, no, no, no.” She panicked. She screamed when the omega’s head tipped forward and to the side; a last act of submission. “NOOOO!”

*

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*

*

*

Lexa didn’t know how long she spent weeping, moaning, crying, sobbing and screaming while collapsed on the lap of her omega. She didn’t want to move. If she moved, she would have to accept that her omega, her love, her life, was gone. Every few minutes she would shake the omega under her and say, “yu gonplei ste nou odon (your fight is not over). Wake up. Please wake up.”

She felt a pressure and a ruffling of her hair. She raised her hand to shoo away the flies that she knew were coming to claim a body that wasn’t theirs to claim. She felt the disturbance again and lifted her head, determined to make the bugs go away. When she saw alert, blue eyes staring back at her, she almost fainted.

“Clarke, niron.” The alpha couldn’t form a coherent thought. “How? I thought you had…I thought you were…”

An unsteady hand reached forward, and Lexa caught it in her own. “How did you come back?” Lexa asked, truly awed. “I watched you die. How did you cheat death?” The alpha was having a hard time comprehending what was happening.

Clarke gave a weak cough and tried to speak. Her throat was too dry. The alpha immediately jumped up and got her water from the lake. She had to go back and forth four times, cupping water in her hands, before her omega was able to speak. She ended up drenching her front, and Clarke’s, with more water than Clarke got to drink.

When Clarke was able to speak, she only got out one word. “Hi.”

Clarke gave her alpha a shaky smile and reached for Lexa with her other hand, but the alpha captured that one too. Feather kisses were on placed fingers, hands and finally face. When Lexa leaned back, a steady stream of tears was rolling down her face.

“You left me.”

“I’m sorry I scared you, Lex.” It came out as a whisper. “I’m right here. I didn’t leave.” Clarke struggled to lean forward.

Lexa helped her then crushed the omega to her body, not letting go even when the omega chuckled slightly and said she couldn’t breathe.

“But you did almost leave me. It’s been five days, Clarke.” Lexa cried, still holding the omega to her. Lexa didn’t want to let go. She needed to feel the reassuring warmth from Clarke’s body.

It was several long minutes before Lexa stopped weeping into her houmon’s shoulder.

“Please don’t cry, my beautiful alpha. I am right here.”

“I thought you were gone. I thought you were dead.” Lexa’s voice broke.

Clarke held her wife and let her cry. She was too tired to do much more than that.

Lexa’s tears finally died down, and the two sat together, taking each other in. Lexa finally spoke again. “Do you think you stand, ai hodnes? It’s getting late, and I know the others will want to see you. Everyone thinks you are gone.” Lexa voice hitched and another stray tear fell.

Clarke was tired, so tired, but she tried to stand. She got on her feet, with Lexa’s help, but the alpha had to keep her steady.

“I can carry you if you feel too weak.” Lexa offered.

“Just hold me for a minute. I think I will be able to make it.”

While Lexa kept her upright, feelings of shame washed over the omega.

“I am sorry I worried you, and the others.”

“No, niron. Please don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong.”

Clarke’s knees suddenly gave way as she remembered the events after the hunt. Lexa caught her and lowered her to the ground again.

“I k-killed those boys.” She whispered.

“Were they going to hurt you?”

“Y-yes, but…”

“Then you did what you needed to do; what you were trained to do.”

Clarke knew Lexa was right, but it was no less shocking. “I was stupid. I was so caught up in what was happening that I didn’t hear Finn come up behind me. I let my guard down, and I almost paid the price. He was going to kill me.” Clarke realized that she had no idea what happened after she let the world around her go black.

“What happened to him?”

“We found you just in time. That coward was standing only about five feet from you with your bow in hand. He was going to shoot you. I got to him first, and now he will pay for what he did to you. He will die on the tree. You will get the first cut.”

Clarke surprised herself when she realized that she wanted that cut. Finn had been tormenting her all her life, and it was time for a little payback. She didn’t want him to die on the tree though. She had a different idea.

“When you have recovered your strength, the boy will die.” Lexa said.

“I look forward to it, but I don’t want him to die on the tree. I want to fight him in the ring.”

Lexa paled. “NO! He almost took you from me. I won’t allow him to try again.”

Clarke bristled, even as the rest of her was flagging. “You don’t get to do that. I deserve to face him, and I won’t have you protecting me when I don’t need protection. You know I will beat him.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry. It’s just…I thought I lost you. The thought of anyone hurting you, hurts me.” Lexa pointed to her chest. “It hurts me right here.”

“I don’t want you to feel that way, Lex, but I want him to face justice, and I want him to face it my way.”

Lexa closed her eyes then nodded her head, giving the omega what she wanted.

“You’re not going to like this, but I also want to wait until the Ark is down.”

“What? Why?”

“It’s not going to be long before they are here, and they are going to think that this world is theirs. No matter what happens, they are going to see your…our people as a threat, a weak threat. They will need a demonstration of power, and what better way to show them than to watch one of their people fall before a weak, little omega.”

Lexa didn’t like it, but she could not deny her Queen, and perhaps Clarke was right. She wouldn’t admit it, but she feared the arrival of the Ark and its people. She didn’t know if her people could fight against the weapons Raven described. A display of power, especially from the nightblood omega Queen, might deter the Ark from using those weapons, especially if the fight happened not just before the people of the Ark, but also before the armies of the coalition.

Ever the Commander, thoughts raced through Lexa’s head. How had Clarke survived the last five days? She always knew Clarke was special, and very powerful, but now a new realization hit her and left her gasping. Perhaps there was a reason Clarke was so quick to grasp her studies with Titus, and perhaps there was a reason that Clarke was able to master her lessons with Anya so rapidly. Even Clarke’s ability to fight alpha dominance pointed Lexa to a conclusion that she hadn’t considered until this very moment. Clarke was Wanheda, Commander of Death.

Chapter Text

Chapter 38

Clarke was Wanheda, Lexa thought. It was the only explanation for how Clarke had survived the past five days.

 

The legend of Wanheda was a story told to children at bedtime, and Lexa hadn’t believed in it before, but she had also not believed that there would be another omega nightblood. Walking back into TonDC with her very much alive houmon, Lexa was beginning to think that Clarke really was Wanheda. The people of the town, and Lexa’s own gona were shocked when Lexa walked down the street with Clarke at her side. The last they all saw of their queen was just a limp body being carried into the forest by their Commander. They all knew that the omega was close to death. Now, the people looked at Clarke with awe. Lexa could hear the growing chorus of whispers of ‘Wanheda’ coming from her people.

 

The trip back to town hadn’t been an easy one. Clarke was horribly fatigued, dehydrated, and hungry. She was weak, but she insisted on trying to walk. After she had to stop and sit for the fifth time, she relented and let Lexa carry her. She insisted, however, that Lexa put her down and let her walk when they reached the limits of TonDC. Clarke didn’t want to be seen as weak, and no amount of reassurance from Lexa that the people wouldn’t see her that way would convince the omega otherwise.

 

Lexa looked at her wife as the two strolled past all the people. It was subtle, and none but the Commander seemed to notice, but Clarke was struggling to walk back to their house. The omega also had a frown on her face. She didn’t like the way the people were staring at her. They kept whispering a word that she hadn’t heard before, and it was all very confusing to the omega.

Clarke cringed when she saw Indra approaching with Octavia, but she breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Lexa make a small hand gesture that had Indra leading the other omega away. Octavia looked over her shoulder at Clarke like she really wanted to speak to her, but Indra just grabbed her arm and dragged her away.

When their home was in view, Clarke breathed out a sigh of relief. Lexa held the door open for her, and the omega found herself reaching out blindly when she stumbled and almost fell. Her alpha kept her from hitting the floor. Before she knew it, she was being scooped up and placed on the bed.

Clarke closed her eyes and leaned into Lexa’s touch when the alpha sat on the bed next to her and cupped her cheek.

“Nyko will be here soon to check you over, and I am going to be right back, niron. I need to get you some food and water.”

Clarke hated asking, because she knew she had put the alpha through so much already, but she said, “Can you stay? I don’t want to be alone, even if it is just a few minutes.”

“Of course, ai hodness. I won’t go anywhere. When Nyko gets here, I will have him arrange for something. As it is, I have a feeling that my nomon and Costia will be here soon. There were a lot of people that were worried about you.” Lexa brushed sweaty strands of hair from the omega’s face. “I doubt I will be able to keep Octavia away for long either. She thinks it is her fault that you got hurt.”

Clarke creased her brows together in a frown. The events that had transpired were no one’s fault except for Finn and the other boys.

Lexa took a deep breath. She was exhausted, but she couldn’t settle down. Anxiety had her stomach in knots. The last five days had been more trying than any battle.

Clarke noticed Lexa’s fatigue. “Lex, your tired. You need to rest too.”

The alpha knew that she wouldn’t be able to rest until she was assured that Clarke was okay, and that included making sure her houmon had plenty to eat and drink. She hadn’t yet recovered from the shock of almost losing Clarke and tending to herself was the least of her worries. She had to be sure that, if she fell asleep, Clarke would be there when she woke up.

Lexa fidgeted and paced the room, waiting for Nyko to show up.

Clarke knew that something was troubling the alpha. “Lexa. Something else is wrong. Will you tell me what is bothering you?”

The alpha stopped her pacing. “You didn’t tell me that this happens to you.” Lexa cried. “I had to hear it from Costia. If I had known beforehand, maybe I could have done something. I would have sent more guards with you. I could have made sure that you weren’t left alone.”

Clarke fumbled with the covers on the bed and managed to sit herself up. “Lexa.”

The alpha wouldn’t look at her.

“Lexa.” Clarke said again. She reached out and grabbed Lexa’s wrist when the alpha still didn’t respond.

“I’m sorry.” Clarke finally said.

Lexa pulled her wrist out of Clarke’s grasp. She did it gently, but Clarke felt the sting of the gesture just the same.

“How am I supposed to protect you if I don’t know these things?” Lexa yelled. She knew that what she was feeling was just leftover anxiety from the past few days, but she couldn’t help but feel that she had failed her wife. She was angry at herself, but she was taking it out on Clarke. She also knew it wasn’t intentional, but it hurt her feelings that Costia knew something about Clarke that she did not.

Lexa was aware that her anxiety and fear were irrational, but she couldn’t let go of the feelings. What if this happened again and Clarke didn’t ‘wake up’? Lexa’s whole life as Commander had been about control, but this was a situation that she couldn’t manage or do anything about, and it left the alpha feeling powerless.

Just when Clarke was about to say something, Nyko walked in. “Heda, Wanheda.”

Clarke opened her mouth to ask something, but Lexa quickly intervened and kept the omega from asking the question she knew was coming. The Commander didn’t have the energy to explain what the meaning of Wanheda was to her wife. She knew Clarke was going to be displeased by the title, and Lexa didn’t have the heart to burden Clarke with anything else tonight.

“Nyko, thank you for coming.”

“It’s my pleasure, Heda.” He walked over to Clarke and took her hand. “I am so very happy to see you again, my queen. It appears I was hasty in my final diagnosis.” He looked at Lexa apologetically. “I am sorry, Heda.”

“I don’t think you were wrong, healer. I think it is just that Clarke is something special. Something we have never seen before.” She gave him a hard look indicating he should not continue with this particular conversation.

Fortunately, the man was good at taking subtle hints.

“Haiplana, how are you feeling?”

“I’m just tired, and very thirsty. And please, just call me Clarke.”

“Of course, Clarke. Fatigue and thirst are to be expected. Arrangements have already been made for some broth and bread to be brought to you. I think, for a few days, you should try to eat lightly. I fear anything heavy might make you feel ill. You might not even be able to keep it down. I also want you to drink a lot of water.”

Nyko finished his inspection of Clarke. “It would seem you are otherwise healthy. If you start to feel ill or off in any way, please send for me. Good night, Heda, Wan…um…Clarke.”

Lexa could see the wheels turning in Clarke’s head when Nyko slipped and almost called her Wanheda. She was saved when Anya walked in carrying a tray of food and a pitcher of water. Anya hastily put the tray and pitcher aside and strode over to her seken.

Clarke was still sitting on the side of the bed, and Anya took advantage of the position to sit next to her and pull her into a hug. “Please don’t ever do that again, strik gona. We all thought you were going to die.”

Anya’s hug was almost as crushing as Lexa’s had been earlier, but Clarke was grateful for it. Without the support of the alpha, she feared she would fall over. She had been sitting up for too long. When Anya finally released her, Clarke asked her to help her lie down. Anya started to comply, but a low growl came from where Lexa was standing, and the alpha immediately stepped back.

Lexa strode over and returned her omega to the bed. She took several pillows to help the omega partially sit so that she could eat.

Anya watched on in silence as her former seken fussed over the omega. Lexa handed Clarke a cup of water first, but when her houmon’s hands were too shaky, she helped her bring it to her mouth. Lexa made her drain the cup twice before she let the omega try the broth. Clarke made it halfway through the bowl of broth before her eyes started to droop. Lexa placed the bowl on the bedside table and tucked her wife into the covers. When she was assured that Clarke was soundly asleep, she walked with Anya to the door.

“I apologize for growling at you, my friend. I’m still feeing unsettled and overprotective. I keep thinking that if I fall asleep, she will be gone when I wake.”

The older alpha placed her hand on Lexa’s shoulder. “I think that is understandable. I think we are all a little unsettled. You know what the people are saying, right? They think she is Wanheda.”

“I don’t think they are wrong, Anya. I had the same thought myself. It explains everything about her.”

“She’s going to hate it.”

“I know.” Lexa looked through the doorway at the now dark sky. “She hasn’t had any time to grasp that she is now queen.” Lexa let some of her fears show when she asked, “What if she zones out again when she finds out she is Wanheda?”

Anya thought for a moment. “I think you two should return to Polis. You need to resume your meditation lessons, and I think Titus would be a huge help to her. He can teach her about Wanheda while helping her cope with being queen. The only thing is, by now, the people of Polis know about the bonding. Clarke is going to need to be prepared for that because it also means they know she is a nightblood. You two are going to need to make a public appearance and maybe have a celebration to satisfy the people. It is the only way the initial fervor will die down.” Anya paused again to think.

“Clarke needs to learn about Wanheda soon. The people will know of her miraculous recovery by the time you return. She needs to be prepared for that too.”

Lexa groaned. How was she going to get Clarke ready for all the attention? The bonding ceremony almost had Clarke at her wit’s end. Lexa’s stomach churned at the thought of how overwhelmed the omega was going to be with all the added attention. She wished she could take Clarke away somewhere so that she would have time to decompress, but with the landing of the Ark likely to happen in just a few weeks, Lexa couldn’t take the chance.

“As always, your council is appreciated. I don’t know what I would do without you, fos.”

Anya gave a small smile before she said her next words. “There is something else. I want to take my gona for some specialized training Raven has been helping me develop. I want my warriors to be ready when the Ark comes down.”

Lexa furrowed her brows. “What kind of training?”

“Just something Raven thinks will help us have the edge over the Ark.”

Lexa could tell that Anya was being deliberately vague, but she ignored it. She was about to drop where she stood and wanted to lie down next to her wife.

“That’s fine. Just make sure to touch base with me before you leave.”

“Of course, Heda. I will see you in the morning. Just so you know, your nomon and Costia wanted to see Clarke tonight. Should I ask them to wait until the morning?”

“Please. I know they won’t be happy, but I don’t think either one of us can take any more tonight.”

Lexa walked over and looked at her sleeping wife. She was about to strip out of her clothes when her stomach growled. She doubted Clarke would wake again before morning, so she grabbed the bowl of broth and downed it in one go. She also snatched the bread off the platter and washed it down with a cup a water. She was still hungry, but she could wait until morning. Her need to hold her wife was becoming unbearable, and it overcame her desire to do anything else.

She stripped down to her small clothes and slipped into bed next to Clarke. She had to take a few pillows away so that she could position Clarke on her back again, and then she pulled herself in as close as she could. She held Clarke’s supine form to her, but she couldn’t fall asleep. She couldn’t stop the thoughts that kept racing through her head. It wasn’t ideal, but she tried meditating from her position next to Clarke. That didn’t work. She tried breathing exercises, and those didn’t work either. It wasn’t until she placed her head on Clarke’s chest that she was finally able to relax. Clarke’s steady heartbeat helped lull her to sleep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 39

It had been a turbulent night for Lexa. Every little move or noise Clarke made had the alpha’s heart thudding in her chest. She would wake and watch the omega breath, just to reassure herself that Clarke was still alive. She hated that she couldn’t get over the new, paralyzing fear that she was going to lose Clarke.

She now felt that the faster she could get her to Polis the better, but she knew she was going to have to give Clarke at least a couple of days to recover first, and they were going to have to do a lot of talking. She already knew that the day was going to be a long and hard one. When she woke to the sounds of hiccups and sniffling, her thoughts were confirmed. She watched as Clarke tried to keep her emotions quiet.

 

Clarke had woken early. Her alpha was clinging to her, but instead of comfort she felt dread, and shame, and a myriad of other emotions that had her eyes filling with tears. She carefully pried herself out from under Lexa and sat on the side of the bed. She was dizzy at first, but it quickly subsided. She decided, however, that she would rather feel dizzy than the host of things overtaking her head and heart.

She felt Lexa shift in the bed, and suddenly the alpha was sitting next to her. Clarke tried to turn her face and hide her tears, but she knew it was no use, so she turned back to face her wife. Unreadable green eyes stared back at her causing her to shift uncomfortably.

“You’re mad at me.” Clarke stated with certainty.

Lexa sat silent for longer that Clarke could bear. “I’m sorry.” The omega whispered, more tears flooding her eyes.

“I’m not mad, Clarke.”

“You are.” Clarke said, thoroughly convinced. “You’re mad because I didn’t tell you that sometimes I have these episodes where I lose time. I don’t have any other way of describing it except to call it zoning out, and I didn’t know it would happen again. It hadn’t happened in a long time.” Clarke grabbed her stuffed raccoon and clutched it to her chest. “I didn’t exclude you on purpose. It was just something Costia and I were talking about one day.”

Lexa closed her eyes and scrubbed her face. “There are so many things that I am right now, niron, but mad isn’t one of them.” The alpha reached over and grabbed one of Clarke’s hands. She still couldn’t look her in the eyes though because she wasn’t being entirely truthful. She was mad. She was mad at Finn, she was mad at the other boys because Clarke had to kill them and she knew that when things settled that fact would eat away at Clarke, and she was also mad at herself. She was a bonded alpha now who had vowed to protect her houmon, and not even a day into their official relationship Lexa had failed.

Clarke was staring at Lexa with watery eyes. “Please tell me what is troubling you. Costia told me that it isn’t until one is mated that they could feel their spouse’s emotions, but I feel yours, and it hurts. My heart hurts so deeply, and I know it is because of me you are hurting.”

 

Lexa finally looked at Clarke’s devastated features, and it broke her heart. Her own face crumpled. “I’m sorry, hodnes. I am sorry I yelled at you last night, and I swear to you that I am not mad, not at you at least. I can’t seem to find the peace that I should be feeling right now. By some miracle you came back to me, but all I see are images of your dying, and maybe you didn’t really die, but it looked and felt like you did, and I think it may have broken something in me that I might not be able to fix.” Lexa whimpered but when on. “I am so afraid that I am going to lose you.”

“I’m right here.” Clarke whispered.

“I know, Clarke. I am trying. I just…”

Clarke leaned in and pulled Lexa into her. “Shh, I’m right here, and I am not going anywhere. I promise.”

Lexa’s body trembled in Clarke’s arms while thought after thought raced through the omega’s head. “Maybe we should resume the meditation training. Maybe if I can get stronger mentally, then if something happens again, I won’t lose time.”

For Clarke, the previous five days had felt like only minutes. The last she remembered was Finn pointing the arrow at her. When she woke, she had a sobbing alpha on her lap. She couldn’t even imagine what Lexa had been going through. All she knew was that if it had been Lexa who had been unresponsive for five days, she would have gone insane with worry. Maybe she was able to imagine what Lexa was going through after all.

Lexa mumbled something into Clarke’s shoulder that she didn’t quite catch. She told the alpha as much, so Lexa lifted her head and said it again. “I think we need to go back to Polis.”

“Why?” Clarke asked. She was confused. She had thought that they would stay in TonDC until the Ark came down. They would be further away in Polis.

Lexa sighed. “There is much we need to discuss today, but you need to eat before we discuss anything. You fell asleep before you could finish the broth last night. The little you had isn’t enough to sustain you for the conversation we need to have.”

Clarke didn’t like the grim tone to Lexa’s voice.

The alpha stood and dressed. “Give me a few minutes to get us some breakfast. Then we will talk.”

Clarke couldn’t help the whimper that escaped.

Lexa walked back over to Clarke and kissed her forehead. “You will only be alone for a few minutes, I promise. I don’t have to go far.”

“Okay.” Clarke gave a defeated sigh.

 

As soon as Lexa was out the door, Clarke started to fret. She decided to try and calm herself with a cup of water, but when she stood to get the pitcher, she got dizzy and fell to the floor. This was how Lexa found her when she returned no less than five minutes after she left.

“Clarke.” Lexa cried out, alarmed, running to her omega while balancing the tray.

“I’m okay. I just got dizzy when I stood. I’m not hurt.”

Lexa plopped the tray of food on the bed and scooped Clarke into her arms. She managed to move the tray without disturbing the food and put the omega under the covers.

“I’m sorry, Clarke. I should have thought to give you some before I left.”

Clarke watched the guilt that crossed Lexa’s face. “Don’t do that, Lexa. You can’t possible predict everything I am going to need, nor should you need to.”

Lexa wanted to argue that as Clarke’s alpha, she was supposed to provide for her, but that was an argument for another day, so she didn’t say anything. She just fluffed some pillows and propped Clarke up so that she could eat. She was going to make sure that Clarke ate enough that she wouldn’t get dizzy again when she stood.

 

The alpha ignored Clarke’s last words and picked up the broth bowl from the tray. The food wasn’t much different that the night before, but there was also some porridge with honey and berries on the tray. Lexa figured if Clarke was able to handle the broth, she could try the porridge next.

She held the bowl to Clarke’s lips. “Drink…all of it.” Lexa commanded.

Clarke did.

 

When Lexa was satisfied that Clarke had eaten enough, she ate the remainder of the tray’s contents. Just as she had last night, she remained hungry, but Clarke needed the food more than she did.

Lexa set the tray aside. She wanted to get their talk out of the way, but Lexa knew that her family and friends wanted to visit with Clarke. She could see that Clarke was already getting tired, so she figured their talk would have to wait until later in the day anyhow.

“Do you think you can handle it if nomon and Costia come to visit? They are desperate to see you, as are some of the others.”

Clarke groaned. “I thought we were going to talk.”

Lexa pressed a kiss to Clarke’s lips. “I can see that you are tired, niron. You need more rest. Let the others visit for a few minutes, and we can talk later.”

Clarke reached for Lexa so that the alpha would kiss her again.

“Okay.”

Lexa stood. “I need to attend to some business while they visit.”

Clarke’s hand shot out and grabbed Lexa before she could turn. “No.” Fear clouded the omega’s eyes. It appeared that it wasn’t only Lexa who had a new fear. It seemed that Clarke did too.

Lexa sat back down and stroked her fingers through the omega’s golden tresses. “I think I know what is happening to us.”

“What do you mean? I don’t understand.”

“We may not yet be mated, but we are newly bonded, and I think I have figured out that you and I aren’t the same as a typical bonded pair. We are more than that. It is almost as if we are already mated.”

Clarke shook her head, still not understanding.

“Newly mated pairs have a constant need to be close, to touch one another. It isn’t unusual for new mates to feel physical pain if they are parted for too long. Our life as houmons had barely started before we suffered an almost catastrophic event. I think our bond is reacting to that.”

“I get it, I think, but that doesn’t mean I want you to go any more than I wanted you to before.”

“I know, and I don’t want to go, but I neglected my duties the past few days. There are just a few things I need to take care of, then I promise I will be back. If it really becomes unbearable, just have Costia come get me. I will come back.”

After several more kisses and a multitude of reassurances, Lexa left, and a steady stream of visitors came in. Clarke’s new family came in first and didn’t leave until the last visitor was gone.

Octavia came in and cried. It took a heavy amount of convincing to get the young omega to see that she was not at fault for what happened to Clarke. Raven and a few of the other delinquents visited but didn’t stay long out of respect for the obviously weary omega. Indra and Lincoln visited, and finally Gustus came in.

He smelled of sour distress, and he apologized profusely for failing to protect his queen. Clarke told him he simply followed her orders, but it didn’t placate him. It wasn’t until after Clarke agreed to let him be her personal guard that he finally relaxed a little.

When everyone finally left, Clarke was completely drained, and the aching pit in her stomach didn’t go away. She was trying to force herself to stay awake until Lexa returned. Myra and Costia stayed behind to wait with her. They could sense Clarke’s anxiety that her alpha was not near.

Costia stood from the chair she was sitting in. “I’m going to make you some tea, Clarke. Do you want some, nomon?”

“That would be nice. Maybe bring a plate of the cookies Indra brought. I don’t think Clarke has ever had the honor of trying one.” It was a little-known fact that Indra liked to bake.

“I thought Nyko said that Clarke shouldn’t have anything too heavy.”

“Psh. One cookie never hurt anyone.”

Costia made a noise of derision. “That wasn’t what you said when I was little and wanted a cookie before dinner.”

Clarke smiled weakly as Costia and Myra teased each other.

 

Lexa finished taking care of her correspondence and met with some of her generals. Armies were on the move from all over the coalition, and the ambassadors were heading to Polis. She had sent Luna to Polis in her stead with information and instructions for each of the ambassadors. Gaia had been sent with her and was to meet with Titus to make preliminary preparations for her and Clarke’s eventual return, with formal announcements of their bonding being made prior to their arrival. Lexa wanted to organize the chaos before it could even start.

She walked slowly back to the house, still fatigued from the stress of the past few days. She sat on a bench in Indra’s courtyard. It was another little-known fact that Indra had a penchant for gardening. With a heavy thunk, Anya appeared beside her.

“You look like hell, Heda.”

“I feel like hell.”

“Did everything go okay after I left last night?”

“I don’t know.” Lexa said. “I feel off. Something in me won’t settle, and it is causing tension between me and Clarke.”

“What do you mean?” Anya asked.

“I honestly don’t know. I can’t shake this intense fear that I have that I am going to lose her, and it physically hurts to be away from her.”

Anya had an unusual sparkle to her eyes, like she had a secret that she wasn’t sharing, and Lexa waited for the older alpha to say something, but when she didn’t, Lexa went on.

“When I woke up this morning, Clarke was crying. She thought I was mad at her.”

“Are you mad at her?”

“No,” Lexa said, jumping off the bench, pacing in front of her fos. “no. I could never be mad at her. I…I am mad at myself. I failed her. I am her alpha, and I couldn’t protect her and because of that, I almost lost her.”

Anya stood and got in front of Lexa, halting the alpha’s progress. “Let me ask you something. Why are you out here right now with me instead of in there with her? Your meetings ended twenty minutes ago.”

“I just told you. I failed her, and it is making me sick. I can’t concentrate and my stomach hurts. All I want is to be with her, yet I can’t make myself walk through the door.”

“Your beating yourself up over something you had no control over is not a failure, and you aren’t doing Clarke any favors by avoiding her. She needs you. You two need to be together right now. The longer you stay away, the worse you are going to feel. Trust me.”

“You are right, fos.” Lexa’s shoulders slumped. “You are always right.” Lexa started to walk the short distance to the house. She noted Anya following her.

“I want to say goodbye.” Anya said. “I want to leave with my troops soon. We won’t be back before you head to Polis.”

 

Clarke waited uneasily for Lexa to return. The knots in her stomach grew with each passing moment. She could hear Costia and Myra talking quietly in the other room, and she wanted to go and join them, but she was just too tired. She wondered why she had never felt so horrible after an episode of lost time before, but then she realized that she had never actually been healthy before now. She had always felt horrible on the Ark.

It didn’t really matter what she felt on the Ark, all she knew was that she felt awful now, and it seemed to be getting worse. Her limbs felt heavy, her head felt muzzy and the cramping in her stomach was increasing. Clarke made pathetic mewling sounds as she tried to get more comfortable on the bed. She didn’t understand what was happening to her. All she knew was that she felt like she was about to combust. She needed her alpha.

 

As soon as Lexa and Anya neared the door of the house, Anya faltered in her steps. Both alphas sniffed the air. They could both smell Clarke from outside the house, and a change came over Lexa instantly. Her eyes dilated and she emitted a low growl. Her own scent changed. Her chest was suddenly heaving, and she clenched her fists at her side.

Anya took a step back. “So, I think you will have to say goodbye to your houmon for me. I’m just going to step away before you decide I am a threat.”

Lexa shook her head, trying to clear the sudden haze in her vision. Lexa had a sudden urge to fight Anya and get her away from the house. “What’s happening to me?”

Anya took another step away from the agitated alpha. “It’s your rut. Your omega is in heat.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 40

Clarke heaved a sigh of relief when she heard the front door bang open and caught a whiff of her alpha.

“L-lexa.” Clarke cried out. She desperately needed her alpha to hold her.

She could hear Myra’s voice in the other room. “Lexa, calm down. She’s okay.”

Clomping feet approached and Lexa came through the door. “Lexa.” Clarke cried out again, this time in relief.

The alpha had her arms around her in a flash. “You’re okay, Clarke. You’re okay.” Lexa smoothed the sweaty strands of hair sticking to the omega’s forehead.

“What’s happening to me? I don’t feel good.” Clarke whined.

“Your heat is starting, niron.” Lexa pulled Clarke closer.

“It hurts.”

“I know, ai hodnes. Costia is getting Nyko. He will be able to help.”

“I don’t want him to come.” Clarke writhed in Lexa’s arms as a strong cramp wracked her body.

“He will have something that will help with the pain.”

“Why does it hurt so bad?”

Lexa was having a hard time concentrating. Clarke’s scent was causing changes in her, but she knew it would be at least another two days before Clarke was ready for her. Until then, Lexa vowed to ignore her own discomfort and only focus on helping Clarke through her own pain.

“It’s your first heat Clarke. Nyko anticipated that when it hit it would hit hard. I promise I will do whatever I can to help you through it.”

“Hold me.”

Lexa did. When Nyko arrived, she couldn’t help the growls that escaped. She took a protective stance in front of Clarke.

He held up his hands and turned his neck trying to placate the agitated alpha. He knew the newly bonded alpha would have a hard time controlling herself after everything that happened the past week. He was going to have to get the pair settled with everything they needed, and then everyone was going to have to clear out for a few days. It wouldn’t be long before Lexa would attack anyone that came too near to her houmon.

He looked at Clarke, who was writhing on the bed. Her face was flushed, and she was sweating. “Haiplana. I have a tea for you that will help with the symptoms. It won’t make them disappear, but it will help.” He placed his hand on her forehead and Lexa’s growling amplified.

“Lexa.” Myra chastised from the doorway.

The growling stopped, and Lexa lowered her eyes, ashamed. “I am sorry, Nyko. I am finding it hard to control my feelings right now.”

“I understand. I have a tea for you too, Heda. It will help.”

Nyko looked over his shoulder to Myra, but she anticipated what he was going to say. “I already have Costia gathering enough food and water to last until Clarke’s heat ends. They will have everything they need.”

Nyko placed his hand back on Clarke’s forehead, and Lexa growled again. “Sorry.” She muttered. “I’m going to go in the other room until you are finished.” She started to step away.

“No.” Clarke cried.

“Okay, niron. I am right here. I won’t go anywhere.” Lexa said as she used every bit of her self-control to keep herself from attacking Nyko as he examined Clarke.

Nyko stepped back from the omega and grabbed her hand. “You’re going to have fever on and off for the next couple of days, and with that, you will have fluctuating bouts of nervous energy and extreme exhaustion. The cramps, I am afraid, will be a constant. Everyone’s first heat is different, but you can expect yours to last at least five to six full days. It’s the first two that will be the worst. After that, Lexa will be able to help you through the rest.”

Costia popped in briefly, and of course Lexa growled at her. “Relax, sis. I am just here to say you have enough supplies to last you a week. I already brewed the different teas that you will need. You will just need to heat them up, otherwise they are going to taste terrible. I brought extra honey to put in them.”

Costia walked over to where Clarke was in the bed, ignoring her sister’s snarl. “Oh please, you know I am no threat to her. Knock it off.” She leaned over and whispered into the suffering omega’s ear. “Remember everything I told you, Clarke. You are going to be fine. After the next two days, this is going to be the best experience of your life.”

Costia stood and hugged her rigid sister. The only touch Lexa wanted right now was Clarke’s. She leaned in to whisper in Lexa’s ear too. “I know you. You are going to be a nervous wreck the first time. Just relax and let your instincts guide you. You are both going to be fine, and maybe in nine months I will have a niece or nephew.” Lexa paled and pushed Costia away. Costia snickered.

“I…we…we haven’t…”

Costia guffawed. “I guess that is something the two of you need to talk about. That tea is ready too if you decide you need it. Have fun ladies. See you in a week or so.”

Costia walked out with Myra and Nyko, but not before Myra walked over to Clarke and said, “I know you are scared Clarke, and I know that a lot has happened since you bonded, but try to remember that you are going to be fine. When your heat ends, you two will be stronger than ever before. You two will be mated forever, and no one will ever be able to take that from you. I love you, strikon (little one).” She kissed Clarke on the cheek then embraced her still stiff daughter.

“You have always made me proud, ai goufa (my child). You are ready for this. I know your urges will try to get the better of you but remember to be gentle with her. I also know it has been said that the next two days are going to be rough for her, but she will have moments where she feels pretty good. You must take that time to talk about pups with her.”

Lexa ducked her head, embarrassed. “I know, nomon.”

“I love you girls. Have fun.”

 

When they were finally alone, Lexa tried to step away so that she could get the tea that would help with Clarke’s cramping, but the omega clamped onto her.

Lexa held her tight for a few moments. “Niron, if you don’t let me get the tea you will suffer unnecessarily. You need to let go.”

“No.”

Lexa didn’t have to will to force herself away from her omega. “Do you feel strong enough to go to the kitchen with me? If you don’t, I can carry you. You need the tea, Clarke, and you probably need to eat.”

In answer, Clarke pushed herself up to the side of the bed and then to her feet. When she wavered, Lexa caught her.

“Are you dizzy again?”

“No.” Clarke waited until she got her footing. “I just feel weak. Why did this have to happen now? Why did my stupid body decide that now was the time for my heat? Haven’t we been through enough already?” Clarke started to cry.

Lexa hugged her close. “Shh, ai hodnes.” She brushed Clarke’s tear-stained cheeks. “Your body wouldn’t do this if you weren’t ready. You are so strong, Clarke. I can’t wait for you to be my mate.”

Clarke looked up at her alpha and gave her the first real smile she had seen in days. “I can’t wait either. Ai hod yu in, Lex.” Lexa’s heart almost burst with joy.

The two managed to make it to the kitchen and Clarke drank the tea. It took about twenty minutes, but she did start to feel better. Lexa drank her tea too. Her urges were getting uncomfortable, and Clarke was nowhere near ready for a randy alpha.

 

After Clarke surprised herself by eating three plates of food, she felt much better. The fever seemed to be gone, and so were the hot and cold flashes. She still had some cramping, but it was better too. Her energy was back, and she was feeling more like herself. She had a question for her alpha, and she was going to make her answer.

“What is Wanheda?”

Lexa, who had been chewing a piece of food, choked. She coughed and finally swallowed. She had to use a cup of water to wash it down.

“Clarke, I don’t think now is the best time…”

Clarke cut her off. “Why are you avoiding telling me? I heard it being whispered when we walked back from the lake, and Nyko said it too. Is it something terrible?”

Clarke watched from her chair as Lexa stood and paced the room. It was making her nervous.

“Promise not to over-react when I tell you.”

The food in Clarke’s stomach turned to acid. It was something bad. She nodded, and Lexa continued.

“It’s isn’t bad, niron, I promise. It’s a title of honor. The people, they believe you are Wanheda.”

Clarke stood. “But what does it mean?”

Lexa busied herself by putting the dishes by the basin of water to be cleaned later.

Clarke walked up behind the alpha, put her arms around her waist and forced Lexa to turn around.

“Please tell me.”

Lexa dropped her head to Clarke’s shoulder before she straightened again. “Sit back down and I will tell you.”

Clarke sat.

“Wanheda is a legend. In the stories I was told growing up, Wanheda is always an omega from far-away lands. He or she is a quick study, able to master anything taught to them. Wanheda is someone smart, cunning and strong. He or she has unbridled passion for their people, always caring for others before caring for themselves, and no one can force their submission. In fact, some believe that Wanheda is so strong that they can take control and force others to submit to them despite being an omega. Wanheda is the bringer of peace and the Commander of death.”

“NO…NO!” It was Clarke’s turn to pace. “I am none of those things. No.”

“Clarke…”

“No,” Clarke spun to face the alpha, heat-addled mind snapping. “I am not some Commander of Death.”

Clarke kept Lexa away when the alpha tried to embrace her. Instead she cried and beat her fists into the alpha’s chest. “I am not a Commander of Death. I’m not. I’m not.”

Lexa caught her wrists and pulled the distraught omega into her now sore chest. Clarke couldn’t help but let the warmth of her alpha’s body calm her some.

“Why me?” Clarke whispered.

“First, hodnes, I want you to know that Wanheda is an honorable title. It is a title that holds power, maybe even more power than Heda.” Clarke shook her head in denial against Lexa’s shoulder, but Lexa went on. “To be Wanheda is to be loved, and respected, and I’ll admit, feared if it comes to that. It is simply a title that lends strength to the all the things you already are, Clarke.”

Clarke leaned back and looked into excited green eyes. “I know you still doubt yourself but look how far you have come. You can’t deny that a lot of the legend seems to point to you.”

Clarke was about to protest, but Lexa went on to list everything that pointed to the omega being Wanheda.

“You come from a place that we didn’t know existed, and you survived the heavy oppression you experienced there. You have the black blood that we thought we would never see in another omega. You have excelled in your learning and in your mastery of weapons. No alpha can force you to submit. You easily killed the boys who tried to kill you. You have risen to be a queen, and you denied death its victory when you woke up and came back to me.”

Lexa smiled radiantly. “You have nothing to be ashamed of. You make me so proud, and I am blessed to have you has my wife and queen. You honor me, Clarke.”

 

Clarke’s heat was causing her emotions to yo-yo, and she couldn’t decide if she wanted to cry or laugh at the thought that the people, her people, would think of her as some almighty mythical Commander of Death. She had been on the ground long enough to know that the people were very strong in their beliefs and culture, but she could not wrap her head around the fact that she could be this Wanheda person. She had done nothing to deserve such a title, but if her people believed it, maybe she would embrace it, especially if it helped in the fight against that Ark.

“Okay.” Clarke said.

“Okay?” Lexa asked, confused.

“Yeah. Okay. If you, and our people, believe that I am Wanheda, who am I to disagree? Since I crashed in that pod, you have all been telling me how special I am. It is time I start to believe it.”

“Ai hod yu in, Wanheda, ai Haiplana. The alphas on the Ark won’t know what hit them when they land. With you at my side, there is no way we can fail, and I have no doubt that we will bring peace to our people.”

Clarke smiled and kissed her alpha. “How did I get so lucky? I still don’t know what I did to deserve you.”

“You didn’t have to do anything, Clarke. We were meant for each other.”

“I think you are right.”

Lexa took Clarke’s hands and had her sit again. She hoped this time the omega would stay put. They had another serious matter to discuss.

“We have something else that we need to discuss.” Lexa said.

Clarke’s heart stopped. What else could there be to discuss? Wasn’t learning that everyone thought she was Wanheda enough? She dropped her forehead onto the table. “Now what?”

Lexa smiled. “We have to talk about pups, Clarke.”

Clarke’s head whipped up so fast she hit it on the back of the chair with a hard clunk. The overprotective alpha was before her in an instant and rubbing the back of her head.

“I’m okay, Lex. It’s just you are throwing a lot at me right now.”

“I know it’s a lot. I’m sorry, niron, but it’s something we must discuss before your heat and my rut fully kick in. Once we, ah, once we start to…well you know…” Lexa couldn’t finish, too embarrassed to speak.

“Once we have sex?” Clarke asked trying to encourage her alpha to go on.

“It’s more than that, Clarke.” Lexa swallowed her embarrassment and went on. “Once we are tied, it is likely that you will get pregnant. You need to decide if you want that. If not, we have a tea that almost always works to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.”

Clarke looked into Lexa’s serious green eyes, and then she moved her hands up and down her stomach. Her talk with Costia had been enlightening, but she was still so ignorant on how all of this worked. She did know that she was not ready.

“I don’t think I am ready to have children Lexa. I have barely begun to accept that I am a queen and this Wanheda person.”

Clarke watched as bright green eyes turned dull with sadness, and she quickly went on. “That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever want them, Lex. It just means I am not ready…not yet.”

The omega watched as relief washed over Lexa’s features. “I do want pups with you Lexa, but I cannot be carrying a child when the Ark comes down. What if they capture me? The things they would do, the experiments they would run, I wouldn’t survive it if they hurt our child.”

Lexa let out a ferocious growl. “I will kill every one of them before I let them hurt you or our pups, Clarke.”

“I know, Lex, but either way, we can’t take the risk.”

Lexa sighed. “I know.” The alpha brightened and suddenly Clarke found her alpha kneeling before her and lifting the hem of her shirt. Lexa looked into Clarke’s eyes before the alpha leaned forward and kissed the omega’s belly. “You will be so beautiful when you are pregnant, Clarke. I never dreamed that I would be able to have a family of my own, Clarke, but already you have given me one. You are my family, hodnes, and no matter where I am, I know I will always be home as long as you are with me.”

Lexa ran callused hands over the soft, but scarred, skin of Clarke’s abdomen. A sudden thought had Clarke stopping the alpha’s hands.

Lexa noticed the change in her wife. “What’s wrong, hodnes?”

“What if I can’t have pups?”

Lexa leaned in and kissed her wife’s belly again. “Then we don’t have pups, but if you want them, there is always adoption. There are always children in need of a good home, and it does not matter if our children are biological or adopted, I know we will love them just the same. I also know that you will be the most amazing mother, Clarke.”

Clarke cupped Lexa’s cheek and pulled her into a kiss. “I love you, my alpha. As soon as the time is right, I would love to start a family with you.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 41

The first two days of Clarke’s heat passed agonizingly slow and too fast all at the same time. Both women relished the time alone together. It was the most time the two had ever spent together without interruption. Clarke’s mood shifted constantly, and the fever and cramps were terrible at times, but with Lexa’s help, and the tea, she made it through.

The two days gave them time to talk about their impending trip back to Polis. Clarke fretted about the attention she would get, and she worried about the rumors being spread about her being Wanheda, but there was nothing she could do about it. Whether she felt worthy of the title or not, it had been bestowed upon her, and she would try to live up to the honor.

She hated to admit it, but there was one thing she was looking forward to. While she dreaded the coming of the Ark, she was looking forward to her fight with Finn. She would make him pay for everything he had ever done to her, and she was not ashamed to admit that the thought of eliminating him made her happy. Plus, she would do it in front of the people of the Ark. No longer would she be their punching bag. It was her turn to throw the punches, and they would finally see how powerful she had become. She knew that they would never respect her, but they would certainly be surprised by how much she had changed.

 

Lexa may have had a harder time over the two days than Clarke. Her body had completed its transition, and she was uncomfortable. The tea only did so much, and her level of arousal had only grown. The constant close proximity to her omega didn’t help. She had had ruts before, but she had always been alone, and she had always been able to use her own hands to help relieve herself, but she was far too embarrassed to do that in front of Clarke. She was so afraid of how Clarke was going to react to the changes in her body that she was careful to make sure that Clarke didn’t see anything. She was also careful not to press too hard against the omega when they were lying in bed.

Lexa was feeling unusually vulnerable, and she didn’t know what she was going to do if Clarke didn’t like what she saw. Realistically, she knew that Clarke’s body was priming her for exactly what Lexa had, but what if she was disgusted by the changes in Lexa’s body?

They were nearing the end of the second day of Clarke’s heat, and Lexa was especially fidgety. She kept excusing herself so that she could adjust the tightness of her pants. Clarke’s scent was changing, and it was driving her crazy. All she wanted to do was bed the omega.

She didn’t know how many times she had excused herself, but the last time, just as she was reaching down to adjust herself, Clarke surprised her by coming up behind her and grabbing her wrists.

Lexa whined when Clarke lowered her hand and cupped the alpha’s new anatomy. “Clarke.” She squeeked.

“You don’t have to keep hiding, Lex. Costia told me about the changes that happen during a rut.”

“I know, but I…what if you don’t like it?”

“Lexa, it is a part of you, and I love everything about you.”

“But…”

Clarke turned the alpha to face her. “You don’t need to be shy, Lex.”

“I know, it’s just…no one has ever seen me like this before.”

Clarke traced gentle fingers down the nervous alpha’s hair line. She turned her head and exposed her neck. “I am ready for you, my alpha. I want your mark.” She reached down and cupped the alpha again. “I want what you have down here…NOW.”

Lexa groaned then inhaled the sweet aroma of Clarke’s pheromones. They were at their peak. It was true, Clarke was ready for her, and suddenly she couldn’t wait any longer. She pulled the willing omega toward the bed. She only paused long enough to take off her shirt and breast binding. Clarke did the same.

The two met in the middle of the room with a searing kiss. Hands groped, eager to feel every inch of exposed skin. When Clarke’s hands moved to push at the waistband of Lexa’s pants, she stopped her, nervous again. She was having a hard time concentrating, and it was hard to form the words because her desire was getting too hard to control, but she had to be certain.

“Are you sure, Clarke?”

“Yes,” she said emphatically. “I want this more than anything else I have ever wanted. I want you, Lexa, all of you.”

“I am yours, always hodnes.” Lexa released Clarke’s hands and immediately the omega started to push down Lexa’s pants.

Clarke stood back up and Lexa kicked her pants away, untangling them from her feet. Clarke stared, unblinking at Lexa’s hard length. She stared for so long that the alpha started to get nervous again.

“Clarke.”

The omega’s eyes shot up to her face. “You’re so beautiful, Lex. So, so beautiful.”

Clarke reached out and touched her with both hands causing the alpha to shudder violently. “I hope you know what to do with this, because I need it, and I can’t wait much longer.”

Lexa picked up Clarke and threw her on the bed causing the omega to squeal in delight. The blonde splayed out on the bed, exposed for her alpha. She was still only half naked, and that was something Lexa could no longer abide. The alpha knelt on the bed and slowly crawled up to her, like a predator ready to strike. Clarke watched intently as her alpha grasped the material still clinging to the omega’s body and lowered it slowly down her legs. Lexa kissed each inch of skin as it became exposed.

Once all clothing had been disposed of, Lexa nipped and bit her way back up to Clarke’s core. Her scent was strongest there, and it was calling to the alpha, demanding that she take what was being so freely offered. Lexa nuzzled her nose against Clarke’s clit and then took a tentative swipe at the omega’s glistening folds. Clarke shuddered and goosebumps erupted all over her skin.

“You are so sensitive, niron.” Lexa licked again, causing another shudder.

“Please, Lexa.” Clarke begged.

“Tell me what you want.”

“You. I want you.”

Lexa licked again. “Be more specific,” the alpha teased.

“I want you inside of me,” Clarke gasped when Lexa licked again. “I want to come with you inside of me.” Another lick. “I want you to come inside of me,” the omega wailed.

Clarke practically growled when she felt the alpha smile against her folds.

“All of that will happen soon, niron, but first I need another taste.” Lexa dove in and built Clarke up so fast that the omega was coming in less than a minute. Lexa relished the feeling of fists tightening in her hair as toned thighs squeezed her head, keeping her tongue exactly where Clarke wanted it. Lexa kept her eyes trained on Clarke’s face and didn’t look away until the omega’s release was complete. It was the most amazing thing Lexa had ever witnessed. It was so amazing that Lexa was having a hard time keeping herself from grinding into the mattress to gain her own release.

She carefully pried herself from between Clarke’s legs and crawled until she was staring down into Clarke’s eyes. “It seems you liked that, niron,” she teased. “Maybe I should let you rest before we do anything else.”

This time Clarke really did growl and before she realized what was happening, the alpha was on her back being straddled by a feisty omega. Lexa had to reign in her inner dominance when the omega pinned her wrists above her head.

 

Clarke smirked at the surprised look on the alpha’s face. “Two can play that game, my love.”

Clarke leaned down to whisper in Lexa’s ear. “If you can be a good alpha and keep still, I promise the reward will be worth it. Can you do that for me?”

Lexa nodded vigorously.

“Use your words, Commander.”

“I can stay still.”

“Good. Keep your arms where they are. No touching.” Lexa whined, but complied.

Clarke proceeded to drive her alpha to the brink. Her lips and tongue discovered places on Lexa that had the alpha squirming and crying out Clarke’s name. When the omega finally took Lexa into her mouth, the alpha thought she might die. She moaned, and unable to keep still, she bucked her hips. Clarke spluttered at the sudden movement, but she didn’t faulter. She tightened her grip on the alpha’s hips, effectively holding her wife down, and she didn’t let go until Lexa started to come.

Clarke released the alpha from her mouth with a pop, and then she watched in fascination while the alpha released herself all over her own stomach. Lexa was panting and her face was a shade of red that Clarke had never seen on the alpha before.

“You’re embarrassed.” Clarke said, giving her houmon a soft smile. “You have nothing to be embarrassed about. That was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.”

Lexa turned her face to try and hide it in the pillow, but Clarke stopped her with a kiss. It was the first time the alpha had ever tasted herself. Her face grew hotter. Once again Clarke leaned in to whisper in her alpha’s ear. “I am ready for you. Make me yours, Commander.”

Clarke rolled off the alpha and spread herself out on the bed again. Lexa pounced.

“Promise me you will stop me if I hurt you.”

“You won’t hurt me, Lex. I trust you.”

Lexa lined herself up and said, “I love you,” before slowly pushing into her wife for the first time ever. She couldn’t be sure who moaned louder. When she started to hesitate, thinking that she must be hurting Clarke, the omega wrapped her legs around the alpha, causing her to thrust in deeply.

“Yes,” Clarke screamed. It was all the encouragement Lexa needed. She began to thrust in earnest. The omega panted, moaned, and made little mewling noises that drove Lexa to thrust harder. She could feel her knot forming. “Clarke, I need…I want…can I?”

“Yes, do it. I want your knot. Do it…now.”

Lexa did, and as soon as her knot locked into place, both women screamed. The alpha felt a stinging bite in her neck, and maybe for the first time, she felt pure joy. She instinctively bit down on Clarke’s neck, giving her a matching mark. Tears of happiness streamed down her face. They were finally mates.

 

For three blissful days, the two made love over and over. Lexa was always very careful to make sure that Clarke drank her tea, and she always made the omega eat before she would feed herself. At the end of the third day, Lexa could sense the change in Clarke. Her heat was fading. She also felt an uncomfortable shifting in herself as her body returned to its normal self.

Clarke looked at her alpha, a little sad. “I guess we have to return to real life again, don’t we?”

“If I could, I would whisk you away so that it could be the two of us, just for a few more days, but there is too much going on. I’m sorry, niron. We will have to leave for Polis tomorrow or the next day.”

“I know, it’s just that between what happened after Finn, and then my heat, I’m a little afraid to face everyone again.”

“Why?” The alpha tipped her head in confusion.

“I don’t know. What if they see me as weak?”

“Niron, they see you as Wanheda, a symbol of strength. No one thinks you are weak, quite the opposite in fact.”

Clarke gave a small smile. For the last three days of her heat, she had forgotten about the whole Wanheda debacle. “Maybe they forgot about all of that.” Clarke said hopefully.

Lexa huffed out a laugh. “Not likely. Wanheda is one of the most important figures in our culture, meaning you are now one of the most important people on the planet. Don’t be afraid of it, ai hodnes. Embrace it. You are more powerful than you know.”

Clarke sighed and closed her eyes. “You’re right. I’ll try.” She felt her alpha rest her chin on the top of her head.

“We have a few more hours before anyone is expecting to see us. Let me make you something to eat, and then we might have time for one more quicky.” Lexa winked and Clarke laughed heartily.

“I love you, Lex.”

 

After sating themselves, in more ways than one, the pair finally left the house. It was dusk, but there were still a bunch of people on the streets. They walked to where they knew most would be gathered, eating their evening meal.

When they were spotted, the people clapped and cheered for the new mates.

“Heda, Wanheda. Would you care to join us?” Indra asked. The two sat and accepted cups of wine, but declined the offer of food, having recently eaten.

Costia came running up the them and swept her fellow omega into a tight embrace. “Clarke, I am so glad to see you.” She brushed the blonde’s hair to the side so she could see her mating mark.

“I’m proud of you, sis,” she said as she pushed Lexa’s hair aside to see her mark too. “I can’t believe you are finally mated.” She hugged her sister tightly. Myra strode over with Gustus at her side. Her mother beamed at the alpha, but Gustus, he looked guilty.

Before the giant of a man could say anything, Lexa said, “I forgive you, old friend, just don’t let it happen again.”

“It won’t. I swear it on my life.” He bowed and showed his neck.

Lexa turned and looked at her mother. “So, you two finally decided to get together?”

“We did. Thank you for forgiving him.” Myra whispered so only Lexa could hear. “He has been beside himself for his failure.”

Lexa looked at the man as he talked quietly with Clarke. “He has always been like a father to me.” Lexa admitted. She knew she would never be able to stay angry at him.

 

Clarke sat and got tipsy as the people of TonDC, the delinquents, and Lexa’s warriors all came to congratulate them on their mating. It felt like the line was longer than the one at the bonding ceremony. The gona bowed respectfully and displayed their necks to Clarke all stating, “We are at your service, Wanheda.” It was overwhelming, but Clarke was trying to have a different attitude about her new status.

The line of well-wishers was long, and it took some time for Clarke to realize that two of the people most important to her were missing. “Where are Anya and Raven?”

“Anya was vague about what she was doing. All she said was that she needed to train her gona in something new that Raven has developed.”

Clarke shook her head. She couldn’t even fathom what Raven could teach a battalion of seasoned warriors. “They didn’t say goodbye.” Clarke said sadly.

Lexa put a comforting hand on her omega. “Anya was on her way to say goodbye to you, but then my rut started. It wouldn’t have been safe for her to see you. I don’t think I would have been able to control myself if she had gotten too close to you.”

Clarke smiled, remembering the image of her alpha all growly and protective. A small zing of desire shot straight to her core. The astute alpha’s nostrils flared. She was very in tune to Clarke’s scent. The alpha gave her a curious look wanting to know what she was thinking of.

Clarke smiled coyly at her mate. “Why don’t we go for a walk? I have been cooped up for too long. I need to stretch my legs.”

Costia snorted with laughter. “I doubt that any of you needs stretching after the three days you two just had.”

Clarke blushed and Lexa growled. Lexa grabbed Clarke’s hand and pulled her to her feet. The two walked away to catcalls and whistles.

Chapter Text

Chapter 42

Clarke was miserable. They were all on their way back to Polis, with only about a half-day journey left to go when Clarke’s horse decided to play games with her. Just as she thought she was starting to get the hang of riding her horse had to go and ruin it for her.

Lexa and Clarke were in the lead of the group with some of Lexa’s guards when they spotted a fallen log in the road. Clarke tried to slow Steltrona so that a few of the warriors could move the giant limb, but the horse had something else in mind. It lurched forward and started to gallop. All Clarke could do was flatten herself out in the saddle and hold on for dear life. She screamed when the animal jumped over the log and continued to run. It was Lexa and Octavia that finally got the beast under control.

The omega was red-faced and gasping when the horse finally stopped. She got off the horse, spitting mad. “What the hell is wrong with him? Jok.” If she didn’t think she would end up with a hoof in the face, she would kick the damn beast.

“Calm down, niron. He got stung by a bee.” Lexa said.

“I don’t care. I am not getting back on him for a while. I’ll walk.” Lexa started to protest, but she didn’t get the chance. “Don’t worry. I will get back on him when we get closer to Polis. I know I can’t just go walking back into Polis. Not as Queen.”

Lexa gave a small smile and kissed her forehead. “You know I have to ride, right?”

“I do. I am fine. I just want to walk for a bit. My legs need a break anyway.”

“If it is okay, I wouldn’t mind walking for a while too.” Octavia said. “Would you mind if I walked with you, Clarke?”

Clarke hadn’t had much of a chance to talk to the other omega and thought it might be nice. “I’d like that.”

Octavia beamed. The two talked about nothing and everything as they walked the path to Polis. Octavia’s relationship with Lincoln was growing, and the girl admitted she was falling in love with him.

“I think he is falling for you too,” Clarke said, “if the looks he keeps giving you from atop his horse mean anything.”

“He’s been good to me. He’s gentle and patient, and I have learned so much. Bellamy doesn’t seem to like him though.”

“Speaking of Bellamy, where is your brother?”

“He stayed behind in TonDC. He found a historian who had a lot of books. He wanted to see what he can learn from the man. He has always been fascinated with earth’s history. I think he is hoping he’ll let him study the actual texts. Bell has always been a nerd.” Octavia smirked.

Clarke was surprised. “I can’t believe that Costia didn’t stay with him. I thought they had something starting.”

“They do. Myra wouldn’t let her stay though. Bell promised to come to Polis in another week or so.”

The talk of reading and books made Clarke excited to resume her teachings with Titus. She hadn’t had much of a chance to work on her reading and writing, and she was eager to learn more about Wanheda. The omega was sad that Anya wasn’t with them. She wanted to continue her training, and while Lexa had offered to take over the mantle of fos for the missing alpha, Clarke knew that Anya was better suited for the job. She knew that Lexa wouldn’t be as hard on her as Anya, and Lexa had her duties as Heda. Clarke didn’t want to interfere with that. Lexa had been disappointed when Clarke had denied the offer to mentor her, but the alpha also knew it wasn’t realistic to offer her services when she was going to be so occupied getting ready for the arrival of the Ark. The two did promise to spar whenever they got the chance.

In the end, it was decided that Myra would be her fos until Anya was back. To say that Clarke was shocked was an understatement. To her, Myra was soft and caring, but after a demonstration of skills that landed Clarke on her ass, Clarke was thoroughly convinced that the older omega would have plenty to teach her.

Octavia interrupted her thoughts. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course.”

“Do you remember anything from the days you were ah…zoned out? Did you dream? I mean, your eyes were open, which was kind of creepy, but were you sleeping?”

Clarke frowned. She had tried not to think much about those days. “I don’t know if what I was doing was sleeping. I can’t really say. Lexa asked me if I could hear the voices when I was being spoken to, but I don’t remember hearing anything. It was almost like I was somewhere else. I remember seeing large gray structures and a figure in red.”

“A figure in red?” Octavia asked. “You mean like a person?”

“I don’t know.” Clarke shook her head in frustration, trying to remember. “Maybe, I guess it could have been.”

“Maybe that Titus guy can help you remember, or maybe Lexa when she helps you with your meditation. It could be that there is nothing to remember, but if nothing else, it might help so it doesn’t happen again.” The young omega took a deep breath. “It was scary, Clarke. I know everyone says it wasn’t my fault, and I know that it wasn’t, but I still feel responsible. I am so sorry, Clarke.”

Clarke grabbed Octavia’s arm to stop her. “You need to stop blaming yourself, O. What happened wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t have known that you would hurt your ankle any more than I could have known that some of the delinquents would have wandered so far from the dropship. It was just bad luck.”

“You two are pathetic,” came a voice from behind them. Finn was being led behind one of the horses. He had a collar around his neck that had a long rope attached to it (both of his wrists had been splinted because when it came time to fight him, Clarke didn’t want to be accused of having an unfair advantage). They had considered leaving him in a cell in TonDC, but both Clarke and Lexa didn’t want to risk his escaping. They knew it was a long shot, but they didn’t want to leave anything to chance.

“Says the alpha who is tied up like a dog.” Octavia snarked. Finn lunged at her and then coughed when he choked himself.

“Who’s pathetic now?” Octavia taunted.

Clarke took a good look at Finn. He was badly bruised. Lexa had done quite a number on him. She shuddered in distaste just looking at the boy. She pulled Octavia away from him. “Leave him be, Octavia. He’s not worth the effort.”

She could hear Finn spewing foulness as they walked away.

When they got closer to Polis, Clarke mounted Steltrona again, but not before having stern words with him. Lexa smirked but said nothing.

 

The return to Polis was a quiet one. They arrived in the middle of the night and were only greeted by the guards on duty and a few of the residents. They clapped and cheered for their newly-mated Heda, but all in all it was uneventful. It was planned that Lexa would introduce Clarke as her nightblood omega mate in the afternoon after introducing her first to the ambassadors of the coalition.

 

The next morning, Clarke woke with a start. She had slept poorly. She was nervous about meeting the ambassadors and even more nervous about announcing their mating to the people. It didn’t help that she had two not-so-small kittens crawling all over her during the night. The two cats had fought for her attention, and they had snuggled on either side of her head once she was able to settle down on the bed. Minx had gone so far as to hiss at Lexa when the alpha tried to get her fair share of cuddles from the omega. Lexa had hissed right back.

Clarke had been ecstatic to see her two kittens. She had forgotten just how much she had missed the little fur balls, and it seemed that they had missed her just as much. She had been exhausted, but the playful creatures had kept her up much later than she wanted to be.

“Are you okay, niron?” Lexa asked, handing Clarke a cup of juice.

Clarke took a big gulp. Her face soured when the juice hit her stomach. “I am fine. I just didn’t sleep well.”

“There’s no need to be nervous. You will be well-received.”

“I know, but I can’t help it. A lot has happened in the past two weeks, and it’s just going to get worse. The Ark could fall any day now.”

Lexa hugged her wife. “It won’t always be like this. Let’s just get through today. Tomorrow you start your training with nomon.”

Clarke rubbed her hands over her sore backside. “I am looking forward to it,” she said sarcastically.

“Anya may have been my fos, but it was nomon who first taught me how to fight. She gave me my first sword when I was just a small girl. From the stories I have heard, she was a great warrior. She retired from that life when she had me. I think she always knew I would be Heda one day. She made sure I knew everything that she did.” Lexa smiled at the memories.

“Your nomon is an amazing woman.” Clarke said before she kissed the alpha. “So are you.”

Lexa returned the kiss then pulled away. She didn’t want to get carried away. “You need to get dressed, ai hodnes, we need to meet the ambassadors soon, and you need to eat first.”

Clarke looked at the food on the table. “I don’t think I can eat.” The thought made her a little green. “I’m too nervous. Maybe after.”

Lexa poured her a cup of tea. “Try to at least drink this. It will help calm you.”

Clarke took the cup and held it to her chest, using the warmth to calm her further. She looked around her new quarters. Her belongings had been moved to Lexa’s rooms before their return. Whoever had done the moving had incorporated Clarke’s things into the rooms seamlessly. It looked like she had been living in the rooms with Lexa for years. Everything had its place, including the pictures that had been on her walls. The idea that the suite of rooms was now theirs, and not just Lexa’s, made her a little giddy. When everything was said and done, she was going to enjoy spending time with her wife in the rooms. She briefly wondered what they would do when they decided to expand their family. The thought brought a small smile to the omega’s face.

Clarke shook herself out of her thoughts, quickly finished her tea, and got dressed. Lexa had to help her with her outfit as it was one that she had never worn before. It was almost identical to the light armor Heda wore for such meetings, but instead of a pauldron with a red sash, hers had a blue sash. Both wore light makeup. War paint was not needed at this meeting, and since Clarke didn’t take the time to eat, Lexa had time to braid her hair.

Clarke moaned as Lexa’s fingers deftly moved through her golden locks. “Why haven’t you done this for me before? Your fingers feel wonderful. Will you teach me how to do yours?”

Lexa smiled and kissed the top of her wife’s head. “I would love to teach you, my love. Now stand up. You are done.” Lexa playfully swatted Clarke on her rear when she finally stood up. She turned the omega so that she was facing the mirror. “Look at yourself, niron. You are beautiful.”

Clarke looked at herself, and she couldn’t deny that she looked good. She imagined that she even looked fierce. She mustered up all her courage to feel as fierce as she looked. Lexa handed over her jeweled daggers (which Clarke was very happy had been recovered after her encounter with Finn) to complete the outfit.

“Are you ready?” Lexa asked.

“As ready as I will ever be. Let’s go.”

 

Titus met them in the hall before they entered the meeting room, and Clarke flung herself into his arms. “I missed you too, little one,” he said, smiling at the young blonde. He bowed his head to Heda.

“Are all of the ambassadors assembled?” Lexa asked.

“Yes, and I must warn you, Queen Nia is here.”

Lexa rolled her eyes and groaned. “Is she going to be trouble?”

“One never knows with her.” Titus replied. “She has been civil and made no demands so far.”

“That means nothing.” Lexa said. “Let’s just go in and get this over with.”

Before Lexa could move, Clarke stopped her. “Who is Nia?”

“She’s the queen of Azgeda, the ice nation. She is power-hungry and a troublemaker. She won’t respect you. Before being admitted into the coalition, she had to agree to abide by my rules. Before that, the omegas in the ice nation weren’t treated much better than you were up on the Ark.” Lexa said.

“She will likely try and get a rise out of you, my Queen. Don’t let her.” Titus warned. “She likes to show everyone that she is a strong alpha. She won’t try to make you submit…”

“Because I would skewer her.” Lexa said, interrupting Titus.

“but she will try to use her pheromones to make you uncomfortable.” Titus went on. He smiled. “I will enjoy watching her come undone when it has no effect on you, Wanheda.”

Clarke frowned. She still didn’t like being called Wanheda, and she was now looking even less forward to the meeting than before. She did not want to meet this Nia person.

 

Clarke wrinkled her nose when she walked in to where the ambassadors, and Queen Nia, were waiting for them. The scent of the different alphas was cloying, and Clarke could see that the omega ambassadors were slightly uncomfortable. It would appear that the alpha ambassadors weren’t as controlled as Lexa when it came to restraining their pheromones.

Titus walked in first. “All rise for Heda and the Queen.”

Every ambassador rose to their feet and bowed deeply while exposing their necks in submission. Clarke noted that Nia, at least she assumed it was Nia, was a little slower to rise, a little slower to bow, and a little slower to expose her neck. She couldn’t help the low growl she emitted at the disrespect the woman showed the Commander. Clarke felt Lexa place a calming hand on her back. The omega reluctantly stopped growling.

Lexa led Clarke up to two thrones sitting on a dais in the front of the room. She pulled Clarke to her and introduced her to the room. Most of the ambassadors were beside themselves with joy. They couldn’t believe that an omega nightblood had finally been found, and most were truly happy that Lexa had finally found her mate.

Nia, of course, was one of the few dissenters. She was not pleased that they were just finding out about the nightblood omega. She felt that Clarke should have been introduced to all the other clans as soon as she had been found. She accused Lexa of keeping the omega to herself, ensuring that Clarke would mate with her. Clarke could feel her anger rising as she watched Nia rile up a few of the other ambassadors, and she practically blew her lid when Nia said, “How do we know she is not an imposter? How do we even know she is who she says she is? There is no way this pathetic creature is the nightblood Wanheda.”

Clarke rose from her throne, unsheathing her dagger at the same time. She walked in front of Nia and drew the knife across her palm. She let the black blood drip from her hand and onto the table in front of the aging alpha. She let it drip as close as she dared without letting it splash the Azgedan. “I think this is proof enough.”

“You need to control your omega, Commander.” Nia rose from her chair. Clarke could smell the alpha’s pheromones rising. She leaned across the table, getting in Nia’s face. “Whatever it is that you are trying to do,” Clarke waved her hand in front of her face as if she were waving away an offending smell, “it isn’t going to work. Your pathetic alpha pheromones don’t hold any power over me.”

Nia roared. She stood at her full height, which was a good bit taller than Clarke, and leaned over the table until she was mere inches from the omega. “How dare you!” She looked to where the Commander was still calmly sitting on her throne. “You dare to let your omega bitch speak to me this way? I am a queen.” Nia moved to stand in front of Clarke.

Clarke’s chest was heaving. “She doesn’t let me do anything. I do what I want, and I say what I want, and you would be wise to remember that I am also a queen. I am your Queen, and you will bow to me.”

Nia’s pheromones continued to rise, and it was making Clarke even angrier than she already was. She wasn’t about to let this alpha, who had been disrespecting Lexa all morning, get away with trying to push her around. Unexpectedly, a sudden rush of pheromones left Clarke’s body, and everyone in the room gasped, including the Commander. Nia’s knees wobbled, and she was suddenly kneeling before the omega, bearing her neck to her. Clarke looked around the room. The ambassadors had also moved to show their submission to Clarke.

Clarke was taken by surprise, but she hid it with a snarl. “Does anyone else wish to challenge me? Ai laik Wanheda. (I am Wanheda).”

Chapter Text

Chapter 43

Clarke stood in the middle of the throne room. She was practically vibrating. Lexa had dismissed the ambassadors and Nia was the first to scamper through the door, but not without leaving with a parting sneer. Clarke had made an enemy today.

Lexa approached the shocked omega. She called to her, but Clarke couldn’t move. She was frozen in place trying to figure out what had just happened. “Niron.”

Clarke flinched when Lexa touched her. “What did I just do?” she whispered.

“You did what I knew you could do. You just proved to everyone that you really are Wanheda.”

“But how did I make them submit? I’m an omega. I can’t do that.”

“I don’t know, Clarke,” Lexa said, taking the omega’s hands and leading her back to her throne so she could sit, “but what I do know is that you never cease to amaze me. I knew you were born for this.”

Clarke shook her head. “It’s too much, Lexa. I don’t think I can do this. Am I even an omega anymore? I just made a room full of people submit. Omegas can’t do that.”

Lexa got on her knees in front of her omega and grabbed both of her hands. Earnest green eyes sought blue. “Maybe not other omegas, but you can. You are special, Clarke. Even you can’t deny it now.”

Clarke pulled Lexa onto her lap. “It is all too much. I don’t know if I can handle it. So much has happened in the time I have been down here. I don’t know if I can take much more.”

“I know it is a lot, but if anyone can handle it, it is you. You are powerful, Clarke, quite possibly more powerful than me. I think together, we really will be able to bring peace to our lands.”

“How? How are we going to do that? The Ark is coming, and they are going to try and kill me. After today, I am pretty certain that Nia is going to want me dead too.”

“Shh, niron. It is all going to be okay.”

Clarke stood, unceremoniously dumping the alpha on the ground. Just like that, the omega’s fears evaporated, and she started to laugh. It was easier to laugh at the absurdity of it all. If she didn’t, she would probably just find a dark hole to crawl into and never come out.

Lexa smiled at her from the floor. “Do you feel better now?”

Clarke looked down at her, then offered her a hand to help her up. “No,” she admitted. “not really. I honestly don’t know what I am feeling. I want to laugh. I want to cry, and I want to scream at whatever is out there to just give me a break. Just for a few days.”

Suddenly there was a knock at the door, and Titus walked in. “Sorry for the interruption, Heda. A messenger came. Anya and her troops will be back in two days. It appears she is satisfied with the results of her training exercise.” He strode forward and handed the Commander a piece of paper. “She reported that she would keep half of her troops in TonDc and bring the other half here. There was also a message that the blockade is holding. Only two of the alphas at the dropship have tried to break through. Everyone else has stayed put. I believe there are many that have regretted their decision to stay. They are finding food, but it is just barely enough to stay alive.”

“Thank you, Titus. Is that all?”

“No, Commander. Some of the scouts believe that they have been able to communicate with the Ark.”

Clarke paled. If they were communicating with the Ark, that meant that her mother most likely knew she was alive, and they would know of the threat she made.

“I need some air,” Clarke said.

Lexa moved to follow her, but Titus held her back. “Let her go. She needs some time and space to come to grips with what happened. After that unexpected display of power, there is no denying that she is Wanheda. I can’t imagine that fact is sitting well with her right now.”

 

Clarke wandered outside, but it started to rain. She didn’t want to get her clothes wet, so she headed back up to the top of the tower. She was about to go through her door when Myra stopped her.

“What are you doing here?” Clarke asked.

“I heard what happened with Nia and wanted to make sure you were okay.”

Clarke frowned. “News sure does travel fast around here.”

“It does when an omega makes a room full of people submit to them.”

“I don’t even know how I did it. Nia just made me so mad.”

“You have a little time before the announcement is going to be made in front of the people. Why don’t we go train in one of the empty rooms. Let’s see if we can make it happen again.”

 

When Lexa found them, Clarke was red-faced and sweaty. Myra had knocked her on her ass more times than she could count, and Clarke was frustrated. It had been a while since she had been able to train, but Myra was making her feel like she had never fought before. Lexa’s nomon was just that good.

Lexa could see that Clarke was about to get knocked down again. Myra hit her on her left side and was just about to sweep the younger omega’s legs out from under her when, suddenly, Myra was stumbling back and falling onto her own backside. Even Lexa took a few steps back when she felt the powerful wave of pheromones hit her.

“Well done,” Myra said from her position on the floor.

Clarke grinned and helped her up. “Now,” Clarke said, “I just need to figure out how to do that without getting mad or frustrated first.”

Lexa walked up, pulled Clarke in close and kissed her.

Clarke protested. “Don’t, I’m sweaty.”

Lexa leaned in close so Myra wouldn’t hear. “I like it when you are sweaty.”

“I heard that,” Lexa’s nomon said. The Commander had the grace to blush.

“It is time for us to go, niron. The people are gathered.”

Clarke sighed. “Can’t we just pretend that I have a headache or something?”

“Come on, love, it won’t be that bad.”

 

It wasn’t bad at all, in fact, it was beyond anything that Clarke could have imagined. They stepped out onto one of the lower balconies of the tower, and all Clarke could see was a wave of people. She had never seen so many people. She didn’t realize that Polis was so big. Clarke wasn’t sure, but she felt like it had to be thousands of people crowded on the streets. She could see people holding banners with the word Wanheda. Others were holding signs congratulating their Heda. The people already knew what was going to be said, but they wanted to hear it for themselves and catch a glimpse of the new mates.

It was Titus who announced that Clarke was a nightblood and the legendary Wanheda. The people clapped and cheered, but when he announced the Heda had taken Wanheda as her mate, she was certain that she would never be able to hear again. The roar of the crowd was deafening. She had been afraid to face the crowd and didn’t want the attention, but she couldn’t deny that their acceptance of her made her feel good.

When Clarke noticed everyone raising their eyes to the top of the tower, she asked, “What are they doing?”

“The flame of Wanheda has been lit. For as long as we live, the twin flames will remain,” Lexa said.

Clarke moved to the edge of the balcony and craned her head to see, but she wasn’t able to. She had noticed the single flame on the top of the tower on one of her first outings all that time ago. It was Titus who explained what it was. She had no idea that there would now be a flame for her.

“I want to go and see,” she said. She grabbed Lexa’s hand and headed for the door, but before she could move, two figures strode through the door.

“Anya! Raven!” Clarke leapt into the older alpha’s arms. “I thought you weren’t coming back again for another two days.”

“We wanted to surprise you.” Anya said, smiling at her seken.

“Don’t I get any love?” Raven asked. Clarke turned and hugged the girl.

“You didn’t say goodbye.” Clarke said, still a little sad that the two had left without a word. She knew it was because of her and Lexa’s combined heat/rut, but she couldn’t help feeling a little hurt.

The new arrivals smiled at Clarke. “We would have,” Anya began, “but this one,” she pointed at Lexa, “would have ripped our throats out. I wasn’t going to tempt fate during your first cycle together.”

Raven laughed then said, “Yeah, there was no way we were going to get in the way of Heda Hottie’s hotrod.”

A chorus of exasperated gasps rang out. “Raven,” Anya warned.

Raven just shrugged her shoulders. “What? It’s not like it isn’t true.”

Lexa closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She didn’t say anything. She might not have known what a hotrod was, and she doubted Clarke did either, but she got the gist of it. She knew that Raven meant no harm by her words.

Clarke’s face was pinched up in embarrassment. “I know, I just missed you. That’s all.” Eyes looking brighter, she said, “How was the training? What is it you were doing?”

Raven and Anya gave each other a look, then Anya said, “I don’t want to bore you going over military tactics. This is your day. Let’s go get some of the street food. All the best vendors are out today.”

Lexa rolled her eyes and still didn’t say a word. It was clear that Anya and Raven were keeping their secret, and the Commander trusted her general implicitly.

 

The entourage walked the streets eating their fill, but not until after Clarke stared in awe of the blue flame atop the tower. She marveled at the two flames, one yellow and one blue. She asked how hers was made to be a different color, and Raven went on in great detail about how all sorts of things can make fire change color.

Anya finally tugged on Raven’s ear, making her stop. “Okay, that’s enough strik sora (little bird). I think she’s got it.”

Raven spun her head toward Anya to say something, but Clarke stopped her. She moved Raven’s hair, looking at a deep purple bruise on her neck. The omega narrowed her eyes and looked at Anya’s neck too, spying a matching bruise hidden under carefully braided hair.

Clarke’s grin turned evil. “It looks like I wasn’t the only one riding the hotrod, Raven.”

Lexa burst out in laughter, which was music to the omega’s ears because it was so rare to hear the alpha laugh so heartily. Anya hid her blush in her hands while Raven was unapologetic.

“Well, you know what they say about taking a gift horse in the mouth.”

Lexa’s laugher doubled, as did Anya’s blush. Anya grabbed Raven and pulled her away.

“Raven!” Anya exclaimed.

“Looking. I meant looking. Looking a gift horse in the mouth.” The look in her eyes told them that that wasn’t what she meant at all.

“Okay. So, we are going to leave now,” the general said. “Heda, I will find you later. There are some matters we need to discuss.”

After the two had walked away, Lexa said, “It looks like they will be the next mated pair. I am happy for them. Raven is going to keep my general on her toes.”

“That she will, Heda, that she will.”

 

They finished walking the streets with Myra and Costia in tow. Clarke graciously accepted gifts, praise, and well wishes. By the time it was over she was ready to get away from it all. The attention was making her edgy, and she needed a release.

Lexa had to go to more meetings, so Clarke asked Myra if they could train some more. It was Costia who offered to spar with her.

“Really?” Clarke was surprised by the offer. Costia had never seemed interested in sparring before.

“Absolutely,” Costia said cheerfully. “It’s been a while since I have practiced, but I am ready to go up against the mighty Wanheda.”

They went back up to the empty room instead of to the outside training facilities. Clarke wanted to get away from prying eyes. She had had enough attention to last her a lifetime.

 

They had been at it for almost an hour, and Clarke was struggling. Costia was an effective foe, and it was clear to Clarke that Costia had been trained just as Lexa had. The fighting styles of all three women in her new family were very similar, and Clarke vowed to pay more attention so that she could best them more easily.

Costia had taken to taunting Clarke, and fully admitted that she wanted to see the power of Wanheda. Clarke was trying her best to give her what she wanted. She knew she needed to learn how to control this new ability of hers. She didn’t understand it, and doubted she ever would, but she knew it was a skill she needed to master before the Ark fell.

She was getting frustrated again. She had been trying to push her pheromones out and make Costia submit, but she felt herself holding back. It wasn’t in her nature to try and force submission.

Costia seemed to sense this and changed tactics. She continued to taunt Clarke, but she stopped fighting. She childishly took two fingers and nudged Clarke in her shoulder.

“Come on, Clarke, hit me with it.” She nudged her again. When nothing happened, Costia used both hands to push Clarke back. Nothing. She pushed her again.

“Stop it,” Clarke yelled and Costia went stumbling without Clarke even touching her.

Costia whooped. “That is what I am talking about. Wow. I have never felt anything like that. Do it again.”

 

For three days, Clarke did almost nothing but practice and train. She did attend a few of the key meetings with Lexa. Anya and Raven were also at these meetings. The Ark was discussed during each of these sessions, and Raven was instrumental in helping the ambassadors understand the Ark and its weapons and technology.

Clarke hated these meetings. She wished she could say that she was bored, but she wasn’t. She was scared. It would be any day now that the Ark fell, and her anxiety was climbing. In a way, she wished the Ark would just arrive already. The anticipation was killing her.

The training helped. She didn’t have her new ability under full control, but it was getting easier. They all learned that the pheromones affected alphas, betas, and omegas differently. With the alphas and betas, it was like any normal reaction. They submitted. When Clarke had succeeded with Anya, the alpha had fought against the pheromones fiercely, but she had failed. She fell to her knees, exposing her neck as she went down. It was the same with the alpha and beta gonas that she sparred with. It was different with Lexa, but that was to be expected since Clarke was her mate. Now that Lexa had been exposed to the pheromones a few times, she was competely unaffected, however, if the two of them emitted their scents at the same time, Lexa’s dominance seemed to be amplified. She was able to command someone’s submission from much further away.

With the omegas, they initially lost concentration, giving Clarke the upper hand, but then it seemed that they developed an urge to protect Clarke, and it was an urge that lasted long after Clarke’s pheromones dissipated.

Raven, who had been watching some of the training sessions was fascinated. She looked at Clarke and said, “It’s like you are the queen in a chess game.”

“I don’t understand,” Clarke said. She didn’t know what chess was.

Raven looked at the others, but they were equally confused. “You don’t know what chess is? It was only the most popular game in the world before the bombs dropped.” She went on to describe the game. Lexa abruptly left the room only to return with a wooden board and pieces to a game.

“Wor (war),” The alpha said. “We call it wor.” She smiled triumphantly.

“Okay, let me set up the game.” Raven placed the pieces then described what each piece did and how they moved. “While it may be the king that, if it falls, loses the game, it is the queen who is the most powerful. The queen must be protected at all costs, because if the queen falls, the king almost always does too.” Raven was getting excited. “The way your new power seems to be working is to get all of the other players on the board to protect you or bow to you until the others can take them out.”

Clarke still didn’t fully understand, so Raven went on. “Think of the pawns as omegas. If you surround yourself with omegas, and hit them with your pheromones, you’re going to get extra protection, just as if you blast the alpha and beta enemies, you will get them to submit, also protecting you. It will leave them open for the omegas to take them out.”

“But what if the attackers are also omegas?” Clarke asked.

Raven’s grin was huge. “It doesn’t matter. I think if you hit them with your scent, they are going to have the same reaction. It will turn their allegiance and they will fight to protect you at least until the effect wears off.”

Clarke wasn’t convinced, but it seemed that everyone else was. She walked out onto the balcony. She needed to think, and the others were still engrossed in the conversation about how Clarke’s new ability could help them defeat the Ark if it came to a fight. She watched as the sun set and a riot of color filled the sky. It reminded her of her first sunrise. She watched until the colors faded, and the sky darkened. She felt warm hands circle her waist, and she could smell her alpha behind her.

“Everyone has gone, niron. I know you don’t like talking about the coming war.”

Clarke was about to respond when, suddenly, the night sky lit up and a tremendous boom shook the whole tower. She watched on in fear as the yellow light fell to the ground.

The Ark had arrived.

Chapter Text

Chapter 44

Clarke was laying on the floor in the middle of the tent she shared with Lexa at the relief camp dreaming of the days after she had first arrived in Polis, wishing she could get them back. Ever since her first arrival in the camp, it felt like her life had been a constant whirlwind, and she couldn’t get her balance. Granted, some of the things that had happened since her arrival the first time had been wonderful. She had made new friends, bonded and mated with Lexa, and discovered that she held powers that no other omega did, but these amazing things were dampened by the constant anxiety and fear of the arrival of the Ark.

Now that the Ark was on the ground, it seemed that Clarke was constantly on edge. She was grumpy and extra snippy.

When she had watched the Ark drop from Polis, she had had a complete meltdown. She had been ushered off the balcony and up to the safety of their rooms, but she had been unaware of it. She had been hyperventilating and unable to concentrate on the people surrounding her. Clarke’s family, Anya, Raven, and Octavia (who had arrived just as the Ark was falling) all witnessed her breakdown.

She could feel that everyone was emitting calming scents, but it didn’t help. She could feel herself slipping away to the nothingness. It wasn’t until Octavia walked up and smacked her in the face that she came back to her senses, and it was a good thing she did because Lexa almost killed the girl for hitting her mate. It was only Clarke’s protests and Anya, who physically kept Lexa from getting to the young omega that kept the Commander from taking Octavia’s head.

After Clarke (and Lexa) had calmed down it was decided that the best course of action was to relocate themselves back to the camp. The armies of the coalition were to move to TonDC and await the Commander’s orders. Clarke hated to leave Polis again so soon after arriving, but the arrival of the Ark left them no choice.

So, now she sat with idle time on her hands. It was rare that Clarke was alone these days, and she knew that Gustus, and a new guard named Ryder, were just outside the tent walls, but at least she could pretend that no one was around her.

She was happy to have this time, but also nervous. A contingent of others, including Anya and Lexa, had left. They decided to go and greet the people of the Ark, and offer supplies and food, and even medical aid to anyone injured in the crash. Raven, Octavia and Clarke had all argued vehemently against this, but Lexa said it wasn’t a true offer of aid. It was a way to feel the Arkers out. It would give them a chance to scope out their security, weapons, and provisions. It would also give them a chance to observe the people. It was Anya who reminded Clarke just how many of the delinquents went to TonDC from the dropship, and all of them had assimilated into the population without any problems.

“If that many people left with us from the dropship, just think how many will want to leave the Ark. From the sounds of it, the council has been oppressing the people for ages. Those people will want a fresh start, and they could be very valuable allies if it comes down to a fight.”

Clarke sighed. “I know you are right, Anya, but it makes me sick to think we are offering to make things easier for them. Watch your backs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they thank you for the supplies then shoot you in the back as you walk away. They won’t see you as anything but savages.”

“You worry for nothing, niron,” Lexa said. “Our best archers will be hiding in the tree line. The first person to even reach for a gun will get an arrow to the throat.”

 

Lexa had worked with Clarke on her mediation exercises, and Clarke was trying to put them into practice while lying on the tent floor, but she couldn’t focus. It was easy for Lexa to tell her not to worry, but it was impossible not to, especially when her mate was so far from her. The only relief she had gotten that day was when she was told she was being left behind. She didn’t even try to pretend that she was upset that she wasn’t going because she wasn’t. Raven and Octavia had also stayed behind. They didn’t want any of the former residents from the Ark to accompany them on the first visit.

She wished Costia was with her. The other omega always had a way to calm her fears. She was a master of distraction, and Clarke appreciated that skill. Costia and Myra had stayed behind in TonDC. Myra had been retired for some time, but she opted to re-don her armor and help with organizing the armies. Costia stayed behind because Bellamy was there.

Clarke sighed and sat up. She decided that moping around wasn’t doing her any good. She left the tent and went in search of Raven and Octavia. Gustus and Ryder followed.

She found the two of them sitting at a crude wooden table. Raven was fiddling with something similar to the electronic tablets the Ark used to analyze critical systems. She vaguely remembered Raven going into the dropship the day they went to offer the delinquents aid and ended up leaving with almost half of them. The acid pit in her stomach grew when she remembered threatening Wells and the Ark.

Clarke sat down next to Octavia. “What are you doing?”

“I’m trying to figure out how to charge this puppy,” Raven said, not looking up from her work. “I think if I can charge it and fool with its range, I may be able to use it to listen in on conversations on the Ark, or at the very least, hack into the systems and alter the security defenses.”

“You can do all that?” Clarke was familiar with the devices. She had used them when they forced her into the air ducts. Then, however, she was told what buttons to push and where to plug in the cords into the wall. She never fully understood what they were capable of.

“Haven’t you figured it out yet? I am a genius.” Raven laughed. “I would have been the youngest zero-g mechanic in fifty-two years,” she said proudly, “but they didn’t want to risk me going out there…it’s why they sent you,” she said more quietly.

Clarke looked down and a shiver ran through her whole body. She didn’t want to remember that terrifying time.

Raven reached across the table and placed her hand on Clarke’s. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to dredge up bad memories.”

“I know you didn’t, and if you can make that thing do everything you said, then it will be worth it.”

Clarke sat with the girls and watched Raven fiddle with the device. It was soothing, in a way, just to watch. Octavia and Clarke startled when Raven leapt from the table.

“I think I did it.” Raven took the wires she had attached to the tablet and shoved them into the sun.

Clarke looked at her curiously but before she could say anything, Raven said, “I think I was able to rig it so it can use solar power to charge. I will know in about five minutes if it is working.”

The girls waited anxiously for enough time to go by. Raven fooled with the wires and frowned.

“Damn. I really thought I had it. If I could get back into the dropship, I could get what I need, and probably a few other things. If there is still fuel, we could use it to make some things go boom” Raven smiled wickedly.

“By now, I am betting that the dropship has been abandoned. I am guessing that the delinquents who stayed behind hightailed it to the Ark as soon as it landed,” Octavia said.

“What about the blockade?”

It was Clarke who replied. “Lexa moved the forces back to TonDC as soon as the Ark landed.”

“Perfect. If that’s true, we can sneak in and get what we need.”

Clarke and Raven started speaking excitedly about how to get back to the dropship.

Octavia spoke up. “There is no way that Heda is going to let you go back to the dropship, Clarke. I doubt Anya will want you to go either, Raven.”

Clarke deflated a little, but then she perked up again. “You know what, I am the Queen, and I am Wanheda. If I am going to be worthy of either of those two titles, I need to be able to make some decisions for myself. I have every right to lead missions and make plans. I am supposed to be Lexa’s equal in all of this.”

Octavia shifted uncomfortably. “Let me know before you two propose this to Heda and the general. I don’t want to be anywhere near when that argument starts.” With that, the young omega got up and left the table. Clarke and Raven continued to make plans.

 

“Absolutely not!” Lexa shouted.

Clarke had barraged her wife with the plan to sneak into the dropship and take what they needed to get Raven’s tablet working. She hadn’t even waited to hear how the meeting went at the Ark.

Lexa was pacing back and forth in the tent. “I will not allow you to go traipsing into enemy territory to get yourself killed.”

“You said yourself that the dropship has been abandoned, and you cannot deny that it is a good plan. If Raven can get what she needs, then we will have the upper hand.” Clarke was trying to stay calm, but she was starting to get agitated.

“That may be, but I cannot allow you to go. Raven can take someone else.”

Clarke erupted. “No, she can’t. I am the only other person here that has ever seen the stuff that she needs. I may not understand how it works, but at least I will know what to look for.”

Clarke could feel Lexa’s own agitation. “I’m sorry, Clarke, you will not be going.”

The omega started to growl. “Is that a command, Heda?”

“Clarke.”

“No, tell me. Is it a command?”

“I…yes. I forbid it.”

Lexa stepped back when her houmon stalked up to her and got in her face. She could feel the powerful pheromones radiating off the omega.

“You know what, fuck you, Lexa.” Clarke’s face was pinched up in anger. “You give me fancy titles and tell me I am your Queen, but then you go and treat me no better than the alphas on the Ark.”

Clarke spun away from the stunned alpha and headed out of the tent. She held the flap open and looked at her distressed wife. “I hope you enjoy sleeping alone tonight.” The tent flap fell, and Clarke was gone.

 

Lexa sat and rested her head in her hands. The meeting with the people of the Ark had not gone exactly as planned. The offer of aid was met with demands and threats. The Ark alphas immediately tried to force the grounders to submit, and tensions grew when none of Lexa’s people were affected. That is when the guns came. The archers in the tree line let loose a volley of arrows that landed just in front of each person holding a gun.

The people of the Ark looked around in alarm. They could not see where the arrows had come from. Finally, the Chancellor showed up, telling the people to put their guns away. The Chancellor was not who Lexa was expecting. She was expecting the man Clarke had described to her, but instead she was met by a detestable woman who could only be Clarke’s mother. She radiated the sour smell of an alpha trying too hard to control her people. She was pathetically weak, but she also clearly had control over the people.

The woman’s stench increased as she approached the Commander, and her shock at Lexa’s lack of reaction was plain on her face. She turned and faced the general, and her face grew red when there was no reaction from Anya either.

“I demand you tell me where the rest of the children from the dropship are. I expect them to be returned to us.”

Anya and the others growled at the woman’s insolence, but Lexa held up her hand and the growling stopped.

“We came to the children, just was we did to you, with offers of aid and a new life on the ground, and several of your delinquent alphas chose to attack us instead of taking the offer. Despite this, our offer stood and many of your people decided to come with us. Since that time, they have been fully accepted into our society. They are enjoying their new lives on the ground. It would appear that many are happier now than they have ever been. I will not force anyone to return who does not want to.”

“They are our people. They belong here.”

“You lost the right to call them your people when you threw them away and sent them here. They are my people now.”

Lexa was getting angry, but she kept her pheromones in check, as did the others. They did not want the people of the Ark to know just how strong they were. Not yet.

The Chancellor’s face was practically purple. She was not used to her authority being challenged.

Before she could say more, Lexa spoke up again. “You are in no position to be making demands. You are on my lands, and my people outnumber yours one hundred to one.” She enjoyed the look of shock on the faces of the people standing behind the Chancellor. They had no idea how many people lived on the earth.

Lexa puffed up her chest and bellowed out, “People of the Ark. We come offering peace. Those of you who would like a fresh start are welcome in all my lands. We can teach you not only how to survive, but we can teach you to thrive. You can be happy here.” She watched with a satisfied smirk as many of the people looked excited at the prospect of getting away from the Ark.

 

“Know this, however,” she went on, “any further threats against my people will be met with violence. We will not hesitate to take this land…my land…back from you.” She had to admit that she was impressed that Abby Griffin stood her ground in front her. In fact, Lexa could sense that Abby was about to let her feel her full alpha power. Lexa smiled and let loose just a small amount of her own and Abby staggered back.

“We will be back in ten day’s time. Any who wish to leave with us will be welcomed into our society.”

Lexa turned to walk back to their horses, but a bony hand grabbed her wrist. Anya’s sword was immediately at the Chancellor’s throat. “You will take your hand off the Commander,” Anya growled.

Abby held up her hand when her people began to raise their weapons. Lexa had Anya lower hers as soon as the hand was removed from her wrist.

“There is one thing we need to discuss before you go.”

“What is that Chancellor?” Lexa was ready to leave.

“You have something that belongs to us.”

Lexa feigned ignorance. “I’m sorry, I am not sure what you mean.”

“You have a piece of our property, and I want it back.” The Chancellor’s tone was aggressive.

Lexa took a calming breath. “I believe, Chancellor, that that is a discussion for another day. Why don’t you bring some of your people to our camp in a few days and we can discuss it then? I think it might be good for you and some of your people to see more of this world.”

Abby looked like she wanted to argue, but she reluctantly agreed instead. Lexa could see her scheming. Anya drew them a map, and they were on their way.

 

Lexa lifted her head from her hands when someone stepped into the tent. She knew better than to hope for it to be Clarke. It was Octavia.

“You heard the whole thing, didn’t you?” Lexa asked.

“Everyone heard it. It was pretty loud.”

Lexa looked down, ashamed.

“You need to go and make it right, Heda.”

“I know.”

“I don’t think you actually do. I may have been hidden under the floor, but I know how Clarke was treated. Never once did she have a choice in what she did. Since she got down here, she has been free to make all her own choices, but you just took that away from her. Imagine, for a second, how that must feel to her.”

“I am only trying to keep her safe. Those people will hurt her.”

“I know, but you can’t keep her locked away forever. She can take care of herself. You know that. She’s a great warrior, and hell, she has the power of Wanheda. She can have all of them submitting to her in the blink of an eye.”

Lexa lowered her head back into her hands. “I know. I just don’t want to risk losing her.”

 

“You risk losing her by not letting her make her own decisions. You have done so much to build her up, and you have told her that you two will lead this world to peace. You can’t do that if you don’t actually let her lead or take risks. She didn’t survive so long on the Ark by making poor decisions. She isn’t stupid, and she won’t put herself in harm’s way. You have to trust her, Heda.”

“I know, Octavia, you are right. I made a huge mistake. It’s just hard to let the ones you love walk into a potentially dangerous situation.”

“I know, but Clarke loves you just as much. Do you think Clarke would try and forbid you from going off into battle?”

“No,” Lexa conceded. The alpha rose from the chair. “I need to go find her. I need to apologize and make things right.” Lexa walked off without another word.

Chapter Text

Chapter 45

Clarke let arrow after arrow fly at the base of a large oak. It was getting dark, but she never once missed her target. When she ran out of arrows, she threw her daggers. She was about to draw her sword and attack the tree when she heard footsteps behind her.

“What did the tree ever do to you?” Anya asked.

“Go away.”

“No.”

“Fine. I hope you brought your sword because I don’t feel like talking.”

Anya grinned and unsheathed her sword. She got into a fighting stance and waited for Wanheda to make her move. She didn’t wait long.

Clarke was on her in an instant, giving Anya barely enough time to defend herself. She swung at the alpha with everything she had, and she used every move Anya had taught her against her fos. Anya couldn’t get in a single offensive strike.

This went on for twenty minutes, and both women were breathing hard. Clarke kept pressing the attack, and Anya moved to defend. When the alpha finally found an opening, she knocked the sword from the omega’s hand, but it didn’t stop the attack. Clarke’s fist punched out and hit the alpha squarely on the jaw, and the alpha dropped to the ground, unconscious.

Clarke stood over the alpha waiting for her mentor to get up. When she realized the Anya was unconscious, she freaked. She dropped to her knees next to the alpha.

“Oh no. No. Anya, get up.” She shook the alpha. “Please get up. What did I do?”

Clarke was about to run and get help when the alpha lifted her head. She gave the omega a bloody grin.

“That is what I am talking about,” Anya hooted as she spit out a glob of blood. “Keep fighting like that, and no one will be able to defeat you.”

The alpha unsteadily climbed to her feet, and Clarke immediately ran to her. She clutched the alpha to her and cried. “I’m sorry. Anya, I am so sorry.”

“Shh, strik gona. I’m okay. It will take a harder knock than that to take me out for good.” Anya pushed Clarke just far away enough to look her in the eyes. “Look at me, Clarke. I am okay. What you just did was excellent work. You executed everything I have ever taught you perfectly.”

“But I hurt you,” the omega protested.

“I’m okay.”

“I was so mad, and I took it out on you. I hurt you. I’m so sorry, fos.”

“Clarke, I said I am okay, and I am. Truly. What you just did is exactly what I want you to do when you face Finn in the ring. He won’t even last three minutes.”

“I know what you are doing. You are trying to distract me.”

“Is it working?”

“No,” Clarke said as she reached up and gently traced her thumb over the alpha’s quickly bruising chin. “I shouldn’t have taken my anger out on you. I need to control myself better than that.”

“Clarke, I heard the two of you fighting, I think everyone did, and you have every right to be mad, but I want you to think of it from Lexa’s point of view.”

Clarke turned her back on the alpha and walked to pick up her sword.

“Clarke, it wasn’t that long ago that she thought she had lost you forever. She only wants to protect you and keep you safe. It’s in her nature. It is in an alpha’s nature to do whatever it takes to keep their mates safe.”

“Then maybe she shouldn’t have told me that we would be leading together, and maybe she shouldn’t have made me feel that I was finally equal to her. I guess it’s because I’m not though. I was a fool to think that an omega could ever be equal to an alpha, especially to the alpha Commander. I was a jokking fool to think that she would ever see me as an equal.” Clarke walked over to the tree and started aggressively pulling the arrows and daggers out of the trunk. She was getting angry again, but she was also getting sad. An unexpected sharp pain squeezed her chest, and she brought her hand up to her mating mark. She could feel that Lexa was in pain too. She turned around to find her wife standing about twenty feet away. The alpha had heard everything Clarke had just said, and she looked devastated.

Anya walked over and squeezed her shoulder. “I am going to let you two talk.” Anya quickly walked away.

Lexa slowly approached the upset omega. “Niron…”

“I don’t really want to talk to you right now, Commander.”

Lexa flinched at the use of her title. “Please, Clarke.”

The omega turned away from her alpha, “No. I don’t want to talk to you right now, but don’t worry. I’ll be the obedient omega and warm your bed tonight.”

Clarke felt the sharp pain again. She looked over her shoulder at Lexa. The Commander’s head was hung low, and she could see that the alpha was fighting back her tears. She was starting to feel guilty, but she shook it off. She was just too hurt and angry. She ignored the alpha and continued dealing with her weapons.

“Okay, Clarke,” Lexa’s voice broke. “I’m sorry. I will leave you alone. Please do not feel like you have to come back tonight. I don’t want to force you to do anything you don’t want to.” The alpha started to walk away.

Clarke spun around. “So, you won’t force me to do anything I don’t want to do, but you will force me not to do something that I do want to do. Got it, thanks.”

The alpha’s tears started to fall. “I am sorry, Clarke. I just want to keep you safe.” Clarke was about to say something so the alpha rushed on. “When I met those people today, I was horrified. The alphas, they are terrible people Clarke, and your mother, she is the worst. I didn’t even get a chance to tell you that she is the Chancellor now, and she is already making threats about you. She said we have her property, and she wants it back, and I have no doubt that she is going to do whatever she can to get to you. I just want you to be safe. It goes against everything in me to send you into a situation that might not be secure, but I know now, that it is something I need to let you do. I won’t ever forbid you from doing something you want to do ever again. I swear it.” Lexa took a shaky breath. “If it makes you feel better, you are right, we aren’t equals.” Clarke gasped. “You are far above me, Clarke. I will always be beneath you.” Now Clarke was gaping at her. “I’ll leave you alone now, niron. I’m sorry.”

Clarke was too stunned to move for a minute, and Lexa was getting away. When she came to her senses, she ran after the alpha.

“Lexa, stop.”

The alpha stopped but didn’t turn. “I don’t want to fight anymore, Clarke. Please just let me go. I already said I am sorry, and I meant it. I don’t know what more you want me to say.” Lexa started to walk again.

“Lexa, please,” Clarke cried.

Clarke saw the alpha clutch her chest and touch her own mating mark. It wasn’t just Clarke who was feeling the other’s pain.

“I’m sorry too. It’s just that you made me feel like I was on the Ark again, telling me what I can and cannot do. You’ve never done that before, and it hurt. I know, now, where you were coming from, but at the time, it was just painful. I was excited about our plan and you immediately shot it down. You wouldn’t listen to me.”

“I’m so sorry, Clarke. I never meant to hurt you like that or make you feel like your ideas and plans don’t matter. They do. You just surprised me, and that day had already been tough enough. The whole way back to the camp, all I could do was worry about you, knowing that your mother is going to come here and demand you back.”

“What do you mean that my mother is going to come here?”

“The whole meeting with the Ark felt like a bust. We offered aid but were met with threats. When Chancellor Griffin finally came outside, she demanded we give the delinquents who left the dropship back to them. I refused and told her that they are a part of our society now. We offered relocation to those that want it and were leaving, but Abby stopped me. She said we have property that belongs to her, and she wants it back.”

Clarke’s voice was quivering when she asked, “But what did you mean when you said she is coming here?”

“I wasn’t about to discuss you in front of everyone, so I invited her to bring a contingent of people from the Ark to the camp.”

“You did what?” Clarke was astonished.

“It isn’t a real invitation, niron. I only did what you wanted.”

“That isn’t what I wanted,” Clarke yelled.

“You told me you want them to see when you fight Finn. How else is that supposed to happen? I did it so that you can show them who you really are. I did it so you can demonstrate to them just how powerful you are, and I did it so that they will see how loved and accepted you are. You could have been a shining star on the Ark if only they had let you. I want them to see what they missed out on when they decided that you weren’t worthy of them, and I want them to see you destroy that pathetic alpha before you make them all submit to you.”

Clarke didn’t know what to say, so she walked up to her wife and pulled her into a tight embrace while offering her neck to the alpha. Lexa nuzzled her nose against the offering and inhaled deeply, calming when her lungs filled with the sweet, and ironically, earthy scent of her omega. “I love you, Lexa.”

“Ai hod yu in, Clarke.”

 

The two walked back into camp after promising not to fight with one another ever again. Neither one liked the way it made them feel, and while they knew that it wasn’t realistic to promise that they would never have another fight, it made them both feel better.

It was dark by the time they got back, and the people gathered around the cooking fires offered their places to their leaders, but Lexa declined for the two of them. She knew that they both needed to spend some quiet time together. The alpha walked hand in hand with her omega to their tent. She heard Octavia telling Raven to grab a plate so that they could bring food to the pair. When Raven grumbled, Octavia reminded her that Lexa and Clarke wouldn’t have been fighting if it wasn’t for Raven needing to go back to dropship to steal what she needed. After that, Raven grabbed a plate and cup and delivered it silently to the couple. She didn’t even make a quip about them needing to have make-up sex.

 

Lexa and Clarke sat at the table in the front of the tent and quietly ate their supper. Clarke could see the exhaustion in Lexa’s eyes, and Lexa could see the small amount of pain still lingering in Clarke’s. They didn’t say much, and when they did, they were overly polite and careful with their words. Neither wanted to upset the other.

It was Clarke who silently stood and cleared the table of their plates. She went to take them back to the group outside, but the ever-present Gustus took the plates from her and bid her a good night. When she turned around, Lexa was standing right behind her.

“I need you, Clarke.”

Clarke smiled softly and reached up to kiss the alpha. “Make love to me, I need you too.”

Lexa led Clarke to the back of the tent, holding the furs open that served as a partition to the bed in the corner. The bed was a simple cot, and it wasn’t as big as their bed in Polis or in TonDC, but Lexa almost preferred this bed to the others because of its smaller size. It meant that her omega was that much closer to her when they slept.

They were both shy as they undressed each other, and they acted as if it was their first time making love. Their touches were timid and the kisses sweet. When they came, it was together. After, Clarke rested her head on the alpha’s chest, dosing as she listened to the alpha purr.

Lexa tipped her head forward so that she could nest her nose into Clarke’s hair. “I am so sorry I hurt you, Clarke.”

Clarke lifted her head to look at her alpha.

“I never meant to hurt you that way or make you feel like you were something less than me. I am still so frightened that I am going to lose you and knowing that that horrible woman is now the leader of the Ark, I can’t shake the feeling that she is going to do something to take you away from me. All I want to do is protect you, Clarke. I love you so much, and it will destroy me if something happens to you.”

Clarke leaned in and rested her forehead against Lexa’s. “I understand, Lex, and you are forgiven. I feel the same way. I don’t know if I could survive if you got hurt, but we need to accept that we are both going to be put into dangerous situations, and if we get too wrapped up in protecting each other, others might get hurt. You are the Commander, and I am Wanheda. Our people must come first, even if it means one of us gets hurt in the process.”

“I know, niron, it doesn’t make any of this any easier.”

Clarke lifted her head again so she could look into Lexa’s eyes. “I want you to know that I am sorry too. I could feel your pain, and I know how my words devastated you. I wasn’t being fair to you. I was angry, and I lashed out at the last person I ever meant to hurt. I should have let you tell me about the meeting before I launched into the plan to go back to the dropship. If I had stopped long enough to listen, I would have realized why you didn’t want me to go. I was being an ass. In the future, I promise to listen better, and I will try not to overreact. I love you, Lex, and I don’t ever want to be the cause of your pain ever again, and just so you know, I am not above you. Please don’t ever say that. You are everything to me, and I would be nothing without you. I hope you can forgive me.”

“Of course, I forgive you.” Lexa rolled them over so that Clarke was underneath her. “Let me show you how much I forgive you.”

 

Clarke was dreaming. She was back on the Ark, and Lexa had been taken from her. She wandered empty corridors, chilled by the always too cold air. She knew the alpha was there, but she couldn’t find her. She could hear Lexa’s cries of pain, but every time she thought she was getting close to finding her wife, she would turn a corner and the corridor would be empty and longer than the one before. She searched endlessly, for what felt like days. When she finally did find her alpha, Lexa was lying on a cot with her eyes open, but she was completely still. She was no longer crying out. She didn’t respond to Clarke’s attempts to rouse her. Her breaths were shallow, and she didn’t blink. All Clarke could do was try and get her houmon to respond. Clarke had never felt so helpless in her life. When Clarke reached for her one last time, Lexa suddenly vanished into thin air, and her mother was standing behind her.

“It is your fault she is gone. You will never see her again, 319.”

Clarke woke with a gasp. Her chest was heaving, and her heart hurt. She let out a stuttering sigh when she found that her alpha was sleeping safely next to her. She stared at Lexa almost not believing it was her. Tears steamed down her cheeks as she finally realized exactly how Lexa had felt those five days that she had been ‘gone.’

She reached out a trembling hand, touching her wife and making sure she was real. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” she whispered.

The alpha stirred and opened her eyes. “Clarke, what’s wrong?”

“Y-you w-were gone, and…and I couldn’t find you. I searched everywhere, but you were gone. It…it took me days to get to you, but when I did, you wouldn’t wake up,” she cried. “You wouldn’t wake up, Lexa, and then you disappeared. You left me. Y-you left me.”

“Shh, niron, I am right here.” She clutched the distraught omega to her chest.

“I’m so sorry, Lexa. I didn’t know…I didn’t know. I didn’t know how it made you feel when I was gone those five days. I left you, and I never acknowledged how that must have made you feel. I am so sorry.” Clarke continued to cry, and it broke Lexa’s heart, but it also lifted some of the weight off it.

Lexa didn’t realize it, but she had needed Clarke to realize how she felt while she was in her coma, or whatever it was. She hugged her wife to her, rocking her back and forth until she calmed down a little. “Niron, we are both okay. You are okay.”

They both fell asleep again, but not until after the two talked more about their feelings. “I think I know now what it is like to be in your shoes, Lex. I’m sorry it took me so long.”

Lexa nuzzled her nose into Clarke’s hair. “It’s okay, ai hodnes. I am sorry you had a bad dream, but thank you for acknowledging how I was feeling. It’s made me overprotective. I know that. I will try and do better.”

“I will too, Lexa. I’ve been such an ass. I am sorry.”

“Maybe you have been a little bit of an ass,” Lexa held up her finger and thumb indicating that she had been, just a little bit, “but you are my ass, and I love you.”

“Thank you for being so understanding, Lex. I love you too.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 46

Everyone was moving around Clarke at a frantic pace. Scouts had come running into the camp to announce that a group of people from the Ark was heading toward the camp. They would arrive in no less than an hour.

There was an instant flurry of activity as Clarke was whisked away to get ready for her fight. Lexa was belting out orders, and every gona left to don their armor and grab their weapons. The Commander had every intention of showing the new arrivals just how powerful they were.

It was Anya who helped Clarke into her armor. She had also spent a good amount of time lacing Clarke’s head with intricate braids, some of which she wove brilliant blue beads into. The alpha was just finishing with the braids when Lexa walked in. The Commander was holding the two pots Clarke had given her on their bonding night.

“Come here, niron. I will do your warpaint for you.”

Lexa had the omega sit in a chair facing her. “Close your eyes, ai hodnes.” Clarke did, and she kept them closed until Lexa finished applying the paint.

When she opened her eyes, Lexa was holding up the same piece of broken mirror that she had first used to show Clarke her warpaint. Clarke felt like that was a lifetime ago.

The omega studied her image in the mirror. Her first thought was that she didn’t recognize herself. Her warpaint was almost a duplicate of Heda’s, but this time there were streaks of blue running down her face with the black, and where the black paint extended from her temples into her hair line, the blue was used over the black to form a sideways V with the point just at the crease of each eye. Her second thought was that she looked badass.

Clarke looked up at Lexa, speechless.

“You look…there are no words for how you look, ai Haiplana. There has never been another living creature as stunning as you.”

Clarke leaned forward to kiss her alpha, but Lexa stopped her. “The paint isn’t dry, niron.”

Clarke frowned nervously. “Do you think they will recognize me? I mean, Raven and Monty did, and I had my warpaint on then.”

“I would be shocked if they do. They will be expecting the scrawny omega that they threw away all that time ago. Even if that alpha, Wells, has told them about you, they are not going to believe it. You have changed so much, Clarke, all for the better.”

“I wasn’t that scrawny,” Clarke tried to tease. She was trying to cover her nerves.

“The first time I picked you up to place you on top of my bed, I could feel every bone in your body. You were skin and bones, but now you are healthy and robust. You were beautiful then, but now, now you are radiant. I think you may even outshine the sun.”

Clarke smiled. “I think you are just a tiny bit biased, Heda.”

Lexa returned the smile. “That may be, but I will cut out the tongue of any who try to deny it.”

Clarke chuckled. “Thank you. Thank you for always knowing the right things to say to put me at ease, and I am not talking about the cutting out tongues part.”

“I only speak that which is true, Wanheda.”

Lexa handed Clarke her daggers and had her turn so she could sheath the omega’s sword. “I know you will defeat that wretched excuse for an alpha in the ring today, but I need you to know that I won’t hesitate to step in if I have to.”

“I know, but I have had time to train, and I am ready. You will not need to step in for me.”

“I look forward to watching you make him submit to you before you end his fight.”

“I am looking forward to it too.” Clarke paused then said, “You know that chaos is going to erupt as soon as they realize who I am, right?”

“I do, and you don’t need to worry. They are not going to be allowed to bring their weapons into the camp with them, and if it comes to it, you will help me bring them all to their knees.”

“Now that is something I am looking forward to.”

 

Clarke and Lexa sat on makeshift thrones, sitting atop a dais that had been erected just the day before. They had decided to move the thrones outside, knowing their tent would in no way hold everyone arriving from the Ark.

They watched from afar as Abby and the others from the Ark argued that they would not give up their guns. It was Raven that solved the stalemate. She told them they could keep the guns if they emptied them of the bullets. The Chancellor agreed to this, but only if it was Raven who kept the bullets, not the grounders. Raven gave an exaggerated smile and held up a bag for all the ammunition to be put into. She personally inspected every weapon to make sure it was empty, and Anya frisked every person from the Ark before they were allowed into the camp, making sure that no bullets were hidden on anyone’s person.

Anya ushered the group to within about twenty feet of the dais then halted their progress. “You will kneel to the Commander and the Queen.” The group, about twenty-five people from the Ark, looked back and forth at one another, but finally knelt when Abby gave a reluctant nod.

“Abby kom Skaikru, welcome. I assume you have come to talk about whatever property of yours it is that you think we have. Is this correct?”

The Ark alpha rose to her feet, followed by the others. Some from the group were mumbling, not understanding Lexa’s first words.

“It means sky crew you doofs,” Raven said. “You know, people from the sky?”

Abby shot a glare at Raven, and the girl faultered when she got a whiff of the alpha’s sour pheromones. Anya stepped in front of Raven and gave her own pheromone-laced glare to the leader of Skaikru.

“You will control yourself in the presence of our Heda, Chancellor. Raven,” Anya said more gently, “please refrain from such comments.”

“Sorry, Ahn.”

Lexa rose from her throne. “Before we address the issue of your lost property, we need to address an issue we had with one of your alphas.”

The Commander walked closer to the nervous group of sky people. “I am sure you have already heard of the blockade we had to put up around the dropship.”

“Yes,” Abby said. “I heard about it, and I would like…”

Lexa held up her hand to stop the Chancellor’s words. “It was erected because one of your alphas attacked our queen. It was a cowardly attack. He hit her from behind, leaving her unconscious, then bound her to a tree, leaving her defenseless against his next attack. The injury he caused left our queen in a coma-like state for five days.”

Several of the sky people gasped, but Abby’s face remained neutral. Lexa went on. “You happened to arrive on the day of his punishment.”

Now Abby spoke up. “Whatever this boy’s crime, I think it is a matter for our people to deal with.”

Lexa gave her a mirthless smile. “That is where you are incorrect. The crime happened on my lands, to my queen. It happened before you arrived and was perpetrated by a boy that you sent down here because of his own crimes. He will be punished as I see fit.”

“What is his punishment?” Abby was getting nervous.

“Any crime against our queen is met with death. His punishment would normally have been death by a thousand cuts.” Most of the sky people paled. “But…our queen has chosen to be merciful.”

Several sighs were heard from the Chancellor’s people, and Lexa had to keep herself from chuckling.

“Our omega queen has chosen to fight your alpha in the ring. It will be a fight to the death. If he wins, he is free to walk away and return to your people.”

Abby was sputtering. “What trickery is this? There are no omegas.”

Lexa finally did chuckle. “I think you will find, if you care to learn, that many of the beliefs you held while floating above this planet are wrong. There are thousands of omegas in this world, and each and every one of them is a valuable and cherished member of this society. They are the lifeblood of this world.”

Abby’s face was turning purple. It was clear she had a lot to say on the subject, but she held her tongue. She had to clear her throat before she spoke again. “I guess I can expect our alpha to be returning to us tonight then. There is no way an omega can best an alpha.”

“That remains to be seen. Follow me. I would like to get this over with, and then we can discuss your lost property.”

 

As soon as Clarke heard Lexa’s last words, she got up from her throne and headed for the ring. She met Lincoln and Octavia there and they helped her start warming up. She was swinging her sword with her left hand, trying to loosen up her shoulders when she saw Lexa usher in the Chancellor and the rest of the sky people. She shivered when she noticed Abby staring at her, but there was no look of recognition on her face.

She continued warming up and stretching until she saw Finn being led in by Gustus. Finn was sneering at the crowd of grounders, but his demeanor changed when he noticed the people from the Ark in the crowd. He puffed out his chest and sauntered into the ring. Gustus had already told him what was happening, and Clarke could tell by the look in his eyes that he thought he was going to win.

Gustus led him to a rack of weapons and let him pick. He snorted when he saw Clarke warming up with her sword and grabbed one to match.

Lexa stood from the chair that had been placed for her. All others were left to stand. She summoned everything in her that made her the Commander, and her voice boomed when she spoke directly to Finn causing the Ark alpha to shiver. He hadn’t forgotten the beating he had taken at her hands.

“Finn kom Skaikru, you have been told the rules?”

He jeered at the Commander. “Yeah, that big oaf,” he pointed at Gustus, “told me what is going on. Let’s get on with this so I can kill the bitch? I am ready to go home. Your hospitality sucks.”

Lexa wanted to wipe the arrogance off his face, but that was for Clarke to do. “By all means then, begin.”

Clarke was ready when Finn stalked over to her. He swung his sword clumsily and Clarke easily dodged. Her sword flashed out, grazing him on his shoulder before he could move away. A thin line of blood seeped from the small opening. It was a small hit, but it was enough to enrage the alpha.

Clarke could tell that he was trying to use his pheromones to make her submit, so she laughed at him. He roared then charged at her. Clarke stood there as swing after swing missed. He was so clumsy with his sword that Clarke barely had to move to dodge him. She didn’t even lift her sword against him again. Her face had changed from one of amusement to one of boredom, and this really pissed off the sky alpha.

He lifted he sword above his head and swung it down at Clarke’s head. She stepped out of the way this time, and the sword stuck in the ground. As Finn tried to pull it out of the hard-packed earth, Clarke used the flat of her weapon to smack him on his ass…hard. He fell forward onto his knees.

“What’s that matter, Finn? Can’t the big, bad alpha beat the tiny little omega?” Raven yelled from the crowd. The grounders hooted with laughter, while some of the sky people growled.

When Finn stood again, he stood without his weapon. “I don’t need a damn sword to destroy this mutt.”

Clarke played with him for a while longer. She let him get close only to strike out at him at the last second. She left the alpha with a series of bleeding cuts, none too deep or life threatening. He was angry and uncontrolled. The sky people tried to cheer him on. Even Abby encouraged him to slay the grounder omega, although her words were less crass than her companions. She was standing next to the grounder’s Commander, after all.

Clarke dropped her sword and taunted the alpha. “Come on, Finn, bring it. You used to love hitting me.” From the corner of her eyes, Clarke noticed Abby tilting her head. The words seeming to register something there.

Finn stalked over and took a swing at her head, she ducked under it and punched him in the gut. She let his next swing connect, but just barely. She jabbed out her left fist and caught him in the eye. She could feel his pheromones rise again.

He finally flung himself at Clarke and she let his fist hit against her stomach. He screamed when his barely healed wrist crumpled under the hard metal of Clarke’s armor.

This time it was Octavia who yelled. “Such a puppy. You hit like a girl, Finn.” If Finn wasn’t such a weak opponent, the storm that crossed his face would have frightened Clarke.

He held his broken wrist to his chest and tried again with the other hand. Clarke let him hit her again with the same result. “Bitch, you fucking bitch. I will kill you.” He lunged his body at her. She took a step to the side and waited for him to try again.

 

Clarke had purposefully maneuvered them so that they were in front of the sky people. When he made his final move, she hit him with a powerful blast of pheromones. Not only did he drop to his knees, so did the other sky people.

Clarke turned casually to the people from the Ark. She could see them trying to fight her control, but she didn’t let up on them. She walked over to a bowl of water that had purposefully been set out for her and grabbed a soft cloth. She carefully washed all the warpaint from her face. When she was satisfied that her face was clean, she stepped back over to the still kneeling sky people.

“Ai laik Clarke natblida en ai laik Wanheda. Ai laik de Haiplana,” Clarke yelled, (I am Clarke nightblood and I am Wanheda. I am the Queen), “but most of you know me as 319.”

Raven, who wasn’t sure why she wasn’t being affected by Clarke’s pheromones, carefully walked over to the alpha leader, and whispered in her ear. “Take a good look Abby. That omega you are kneeling to is your daughter. You know, the one you tortured all her life then sent down here to die. I’m guessing you don’t know what she said. She said she is the Commander of Death. She is the Queen, and if you haven’t figured it out, she is the Commander’s mate. She’s one of the most powerful people on the planet. I suggest you don’t try and fuck with her.”

Abby’s face transmitted absolute fury. Her nose was bleeding with her attempts to rise and fight off Clarke’s hold on her.

Lexa walked over to stand next to Clarke. “Finn kom Skaikru. You have lost, and I hereby sentence you to death. Yu gonplei ste odon (your fight is over).”

Clarke’s sword shot out so fast it could barely be seen. Before anyone knew what was happening, Finn was falling over, dead. Clarke’s sword had been buried in his heart.

The grounders chanted. “Wanheda, Wanheda.”

Lexa walked over to Clarke and made a show of kissing her deeply. The grounders cheering became thunderous.

The alpha leaned over and whispered into Clarke’s ear. “That was the sexiest thing I have ever seen.”

Lexa walked over to the kneeling grounders and crouched down in front of Abby, who was now shaking in her effort to fight off the pheromones.

“So, that piece of property that you believe should be returned to you is my wife, and as you can see, she is quite powerful. She is the queen of my people. Down here, she is respected, and she is revered. I’m afraid that we won’t be returning her to you.” Lexa stood. “I hope you learned something today, Chancellor. Every person in my coalition adores that woman,” Lexa pointed to Clarke, “and my armies will fight to make sure that you never lay a hand on her ever again.”

Clarke walked over to Lexa. She let up on the pheromones and allowed all the sky people to rise, all except for Abby.

Clarke looked each person from Skaikru in the eyes before she spoke. “You see this woman, your Chancellor? I am her daughter, but like I said, most of you know me as 319. She poisoned you to me. She tortured me and threw me in a cell. She spewed lies about omegas and encouraged all of you to hurt me. Since the time she threw me away and sent me down here to die, I have learned that many of you have also been mistreated. The alphas on the Ark have taken advantage of their status and used the rest of you to build themselves up. They have abused their power. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. Down here, everyone is equal. Look at the people around you. They are happy. Can you say the same?”

She walked back and forth in front of them. “The Commander has offered peace to all of you. Those of you who want to can leave the Ark and join the society here. The people of the coalition are prosperous. They can teach you how to survive down here. If you choose to stay in the Ark, you will be lucky to survive the coming winter.”

Clarke tried to gauge the reaction of the people Abby brought with her to the camp. She recognized only a few of them. Some were still too shocked from watching Clarke kill one of their own. Others looked hesitant, and still others looked convinced by her words.

“Any of you who would like to join us are welcome to stay, but we will also give you time to think about it. We will come back to the Ark in a few days. If you would like to see all the wonders that this world has to offer you, we can show you. Talk to your families. We are ready to welcome you with open arms.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 47

Clarke eased up her hold on Abby, and she was impressed when Abby immediately got to her feet. She wobbled but gained her balance after a few seconds. She wiped her nose with the sleeve of her jacket to remove the blood.

She took several steps toward Clarke, but Clarke sent out another, smaller, wave of pheromones that had Abby stopping in her tracks.

“I don’t know what that thing has done to put you under its spell, but it is no queen,” Abby spit. “It is a failed experiment, garbage, and it belongs to the Ark.”

Lexa stepped next to Clarke. “If she is garbage, why do you want her back?”

“BECAUSE IT IS MINE!” Abby yelled. “We need to do studies,” Abby said defiantly. “We need to figure out how it survived. When 319 was sent down here, it was expected to die. We need to figure out how, with its filthy black blood, it was able to live.”

Lexa let out a low growl. “Call her an ‘it’ one more time, Chancellor, and I will personally rip out your tongue.” Lexa gave Abby a small taste of her pheromones, causing the vile woman to expose her neck to the Commander.

“As to that filthy black blood, you better watch your mouth. Down here it considered a high honor to have nightblood.”

“It’s a sign of weakness. It’s a disease,” Abby spewed.

Lexa got within inches of Abby’s face. She drew her dagger and the Chancellor flinched. “DO I LOOK DISEASED? DO I LOOK WEAK TO YOU?” Lexa was done holding back her anger. She swiped her dagger down an inch of her forearm. Abby gasped when she saw the blood. She blasted the Chancellor with the full force of her pheromones. Not only was Abby on her knees, she had to use her hands just to keep herself from collapsing completely.

“C-commander,” Abby started, only to be cut off.

“I am done speaking with you. You are a vile human being. You have taken advantage of your people, and you have done despicable things to Clarke. How your people call you Chancellor is beyond me, and I will make sure that is rectified.”

Abby began to whimper, thinking herself about to be killed. Lexa gave her an evil grin and addressed the rest of the sky people.

“I will let your Chancellor live…for now, but know this, when we return, if she hasn’t been replaced by someone more reasonable, someone more willing to change the ways of the Ark, my armies will lay waste to it. I offer peace, but I will not stand by and let someone as cruel, and as loathsome as this woman continue to rule. I expect you to go back and find someone better to lead in her place. She isn’t a leader. She is abusing her status as an alpha to keep control of you. Find someone who can lead with compassion and has ALL your best interests at heart. The needs of the many must now become more important than the needs of the few.”

The group nodded eagerly. It was evident that some agreed with the Commander. Others looked like they were agreeing so that they could get away as fast as possible.

“One more thing,” Lexa said. “I expect you to come up with a fitting punishment for this creature that calls herself a leader, and for any other person that abused their status at the Ark. As long as you stay on my lands, know that such behavior will not be tolerated.”

Lexa turned her back on the group and walked away. Clarke remained where she was, looking at the doctor who did have to struggle to her feet this time. Now that Lexa had walked away, she could feel Abby trying to get her to submit.

“That’s not going to work anymore, doctor. Your control over me is at an end.” Clarke grinned when she felt Abby withdraw her attack. “I have a question for you. How did it feel to submit to a filthy, black-blooded, omega mutt? It didn’t feel good did it?”

Abby lunged at Clarke, but two people that the omega recognized held her back. Commander Shumway an evil beta and head of the guard, and another beta named Marcus Kane, grabbed the livid alpha. Shumway sneered at Clarke as he pulled Abby away. Kane gave her a sympathetic smile.

“I will kill you, you piece of trash. I am the Chancellor, and no one gets away with treating me like that. You are nothing. Do you hear me? These people will figure that out, and they will throw you away.” Abby continued to spew out curses as she was dragged away.

Shumway led the Chancellor away, but Marcus remained behind. “I am so very sorry for what we did to you up on the Ark, Clarke, and I know we will never be able to make it up to you but know that I will try to make things right. I am glad you found happiness here.” He turned to follow his group back to the Ark.

 

As soon as Skaikru was out of sight, Clarke sank to her knees, exhausted and trembling. The control she had to exert to force that many submissions had taken its toll on her body, and her mind. She felt terrible knowing that she forced a few members of the group to submit who probably wanted nothing more than to get away from the Ark, but she had to prove to them, to Abby, that she was no longer the broken omega that they threw away. She hoped that those who wanted to leave wouldn’t take offense and decide to stay at the Ark. She could only hope that the use of her power would show the others that they could be powerful too and that they could get out from under the thumb of oppression the Ark had come to represent.

“You never cease to amaze me, seken.” Anya reached out her hand to help the tired omega from the ground.

Clarke reached up to rub her temples. Her head was pounding. “She’s going to find a way to come after me.”

“She would be a fool to try,” Anya said.

“That’s just the thing,” Clarke said as she walked back to her tent and to Lexa. “She isn’t a fool. She is wickedly smart. I don’t know what happened to Chancellor Jaha, but she obviously must have pulled strings and made back-handed deals to become the new Chancellor.”

“You are probably right, strik gona. Politics is a detestable business, and I don’t think I have ever met anymore more detestable than that woman. She gives me the heebie-jeebies.”

“Heebie-jeebies. Really, Anya?”

Anya’s lips quirked up. “It is something I learned from Raven.”

“I am sure it is. I don’t even want to know what else she has taught you.”

Anya chuckled this time. “No, you probably don’t. Let’s go find your mate and some food. I imagine you are starving after that display of power. It was pretty incredible by the way.”

“Thanks,” Clarke said, “and yes, let’s find food. I think I could eat a whole deer.”

Raven and Octavia came walking up, Lincoln in tow. “I wish I could have taken a video of you making that monster submit to you Clarke, did you see the look in Abby’s eyes when she realized it was you? It was priceless,” Raven said.

“It was also seriously badass.” Octavia grinned.

“What is a video?” Anya asked.

“If I can get the tablet working, I will show you. Ooh, I will also be able to show you a movie. Maybe we can watch to Lone Ranger first, or maybe something super sad, like Steel Magnolias or The Notebook. They will make you cry.”

“I do not cry,” Anya stated flatly.

“Let’s make a bet. If you don’t cry watching either of those movies, I will clean your weapons for a month,” Raven said.

“Make it two months and you have a deal,” said the confident alpha.

“And what do I get if you do cry?”

“I will not cry.”

“Okay, you keep telling yourself that tough guy. I will decide what I get when I see you weeping like a little girl.”

Clarke and Octavia couldn’t help but laugh at the pair, causing Clarke to clutch her head when it started to pound.

Anya smacked Raven on the shoulder. “Now look what you’ve done.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Raven pouted.

“Okay, let’s go find Lexa, something for your head, and food,” Anya said,

“In that order, please.” Clarke needed her alpha. Her remaining energy was beginning to flag, and more than anything she wanted Lexa.

It only took a couple of minutes to find Lexa. The Commander had purposefully wandered away, wanting to give Clarke the time to address her mother as she saw fit. She knew everything was under control, so she decided to watch as a new tent was being erected. It would be her new command tent. The alpha had decided that she no longer wanted to perform coalition business in the front of the tent she shared with Clarke. She wanted their personal space to be just that; personal.

The Commander watched as the small group approached. “You look tired, niron, and you head hurts. Let’s get you something for that.”

“How can you tell my head hurts?” the omega asked.

“Your shoulders are tense. Your brow is furrowed, and you keep rubbing your temples. Anyone would know that you have a headache, ai hodnes.” Lexa held out her arms for her omega to walk into. She could sense Clarke’s need.

A sigh of relief escaped the omega as soon as Lexa had her arms around her.

“How are you?” Lexa could feel that Clarke was unsettled.

“Aside from tired, hungry, and in pain? I honestly don’t know.” It wasn’t even dusk yet, but Clarke wanted nothing more than to hunker down under the furs on the bed with her alpha. She wasn’t yet ready to face her actions of the day.

Knowing exactly what Clarke wanted, Lexa gave Anya a look, and the older alpha ushered Octavia, Lincoln and Raven away. “Why don’t I get you everything you need, and I will bring it to our tent. You look like you need to rest, niron.”

Clarke gave a small but grateful smile and walked away. Lexa went to gather food, juice, and some herbs that would help Clarke with her pain and make her sleep. The alpha knew that once Clarke had time to think, the reality of what just happened was going to sink in. It never ceased to amaze the alpha that Clarke constantly doubted her own abilities, but then could step up when it was really needed. The first time she had done it was at the dropship, then with Nia. This time the omega knew what she was going to have to do, but Lexa knew that Clarke wasn’t ready to deal with the ramifications of her actions.

The Commander knew that the Ark would find a way to retaliate. Clarke had just committed huge offenses against the Ark. Not only had she killed of their people, but she had also made her mother submit to her. That wasn’t something Abby Griffin was going to take laying down. No, the doctor would be planning some sort of attack, and all Lexa could do is try and be ready.

When she returned to the tent, Clarke was sitting on the edge of the bed. She had changed out of her armor and into sleep clothes. Her eyes were glazed over and she had a faraway look.

She had Clarke stand, only to sit her on a stool. She handed her a cup of juice that had the herbs mixed in. When Clarke had finished it, she hand fed her queen morsels from the plate before setting it aside. She walked behind Clarke and gently began massaging her shoulders. Up until this point, the omega had been silent, but she couldn’t help but moan when Lexa’s hands deftly rubbed out her tired muscles, helping to ease her headache. When Clarke’s head began to droop, she lifted her up and carried her to the bed. The alpha gently tucked the furs around her wife and went to take up residence on the stool Clarke had just vacated.

The sleepy omega protested. “No.” It came out slightly slurred. “Want you…next to me.”

Lexa informed the guards that they were not to be disturbed until morning. She quietly removed her armor, grabbed a book, then snuggled next to Clarke. The omega sighed and pushed her back more firmly against Lexa’s front. “Love…you.”

“I love you too,” Lexa said. She then whispered, “You were magnificent today.”

Clarke didn’t hear her. She was already asleep.

 

Lexa was content to watch her omega sleep. Clarke never stirred; the herbs having done their job. She absently ran her fingers through the omega’s hair as she picked up the book to occupy the time until she was sleepy. It was a book she had always meant to read, an ancient copy of a book from long ago called the Art of War by Sun Tzu. Being the Commander, she probably should have read it by now, but for some reason she just couldn’t get into it. She flipped through a few pages, but she couldn’t concentrate, so she put the book down. The arousal she had felt during Clarke’s fight was making it hard to focus. It wasn’t long before her hand travelled to the waistband of her pants. She stopped though, embarrassed, and pulled her hand back up. She didn’t feel right pleasuring herself while her omega slept next to her. The alpha decided to use the quiet time to cuddle her omega instead. She pulled Clarke closer to her, and the omega started to purr in her sleep. It wasn’t long before she too was asleep.

 

The alpha woke to feather-light kisses being placed over her mating mark and hands traveling over her torso. She hummed her pleasure, and bright blue eyes looked up to meet hers.

“Good morning, my alpha.” Clarke leaned in to kiss the Commander properly. Lexa grabbed her around the waist and rolled them over.

“Good moring to you too, ai hodnes. I take it you slept well?”

Clarke smiled up at Lexa. “I did, better than I thought. I know the herbs helped but having you by my side is what did the trick, I think.”

Lexa returned Clarke’s smile, but then she got serious. “How are you feeling this morning?”

Clarke gently pushed at the alpha so that she could sit up. “I think I am okay. Yesterday, well, if I think about it, it was overwhelming. I mean, I felt so incredibly powerful and alive. I felt like nothing could hurt me, but then I think about what I did, and I start to feel icky. I…I killed Finn, and let’s face it, even though he had a sword, he was practically defenseless. He didn’t stand a chance against me, and that isn’t fair.”

“It was fair,” Lexa protested, also sitting up. “He hurt you, so many times, and the last time he almost killed you. There was nothing unfair about what you did.”

“You’re right. I know, but it’s so hard for me to forget that I am not the victim anymore. I can stand up for myself and fight my own battles now.”

Lexa was about to say something, but Clarke went on. “I know I am powerful now, but I feel like maybe I took advantage of that power yesterday. I forced those people to submit. How does that make me any different from them?”

“It is different because, unlike when you were forced to submit, they weren’t innocent. Even if some of them have felt the oppression on the Ark, none of them is innocent. They all knew what was happening to you, and none of them stood up for you even though they had the power to do so. They were too cowardly to help the one person on the Ark that needed it the most, so forgive me if I think you putting them on their knees was completely justified.”

This time it was Lexa who went on as Clarke was about to speak. “Stop. I can tell what you are thinking. You did nothing wrong, in fact, you did everything right. In a way, you showed mercy to that alpha scum, Finn. He would have died by a thousand cuts, but by allowing him to fight you, you gave him a quick and painless death, and as for that rotten woman, the Chancellor, she got only a taste of what she deserves. For every time she hit you, and for every scar she left on you, she deserves double. If I could, I would skin that woman alive, let the skin grow back, and do it all over again.”

Lexa was fuming, thinking of cruelty Clarke had endured. The alpha hadn’t even realized that she had started to frantically bounce her legs up and down until the omega placed two gentle hands on her knees.

“I’m sorry, niron. Those people, especially that woman, make me so angry. What they did to you is sickening, and it makes my stomach turn. I want to kill that woman. I wanted to yesterday, but I know we can’t yet. We need to see how the Ark handles our ultimatum before we can do that.”

Clarke started rubbing her hands up and down Lexa’s legs. “Is it wrong that I am completely turned on by this rant of yours?”

Lexa froze then blinked a couple of times. “Really?”

“Yes, really. It’s still early. Let’s get back into bed.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 48

Lexa sat on her throne, now in her new command tent, with her head in her hands. “Please don’t go today, Clarke.”

“Today is the best day to do it, Lex, you know it. Your scouts have said that the dropship has been abandoned, and the group from yesterday has barely been home long enough to finish licking their wounds. It’s our best chance of getting in and out of the dropship without being seen.”

“I really wish you would pick a day that I could go with you.”

Clarke narrowed her eyes and emitted a low rumble from her chest. “Is this really a conversation you want to have again, Lexa?”

Lexa let out a defeated sigh. “No, Clarke. It isn’t. I just…I’m sorry.” The alpha looked at Clarke and tried to see her not as her omega wife, but as Wanheda. “It’s always going to be hard for me to let you go on missions without me. There is something inside of me,” Lexa pointed to her heart, “that drives me to do everything I can to protect you. It’s part of being a mated alpha, but it is something more, I think. I think it is something about being mated to you. You are undeniably special, Clarke, and this world needs you, and there is something in me that is driving me to make sure you stay in it.”

Clarke let go of the anger that was starting to build. “I understand that, and I appreciate it, I really do, but this is something that I need to do. Raven, Anya and Gustus will be with us. Octavia and Lincoln will be too.”

Lexa held her breath for a moment. “I know, and I know that you are capable of taking care of yourself. I can’t help it if I worry.”

Clarke sat on Lexa’s lap and leaned in for a peck on the lips. “I know you will, but try not to. I will be in good hands. No one knows that land better than Lincoln, and who better to protect me than Gustus and Anya?”

“And Raven?”

Clarke snorted. “Raven will throw a screwdriver at anyone who dares to attack us.”

Lexa let out a laugh. “Fine, Wanheda. Please just promise me that you will be careful.”

“I will. We all will, and if all goes well, we will be back a few hours after nightfall.”

Lexa walked Clarke to the opening of the tent, but she didn’t raise the flap. She hugged the omega to her and kissed her soundly. “Come back to me without a scratch, and I will make your return extra special, niron.”

“Mmm,” Clarke hummed. “I look forward to it.” She winked at the alpha then walked away. The Commander wanted to follow her, but she had a meeting starting in five minutes. She went back into the command tent and looked down at her maps on the war table.

 

The trip to the dropship was uneventful. Lincoln scouted ahead and used it as a teaching opportunity for Octavia. Clarke teased Gustus about his relationship with Myra, and the man finally admitted to Clarke that he had been in love with the omega for years. He had simply been too shy to approach the omega. He had been shocked when Myra made the first move. She had come up to him and confessed her own feelings.

Gustus smiled and smoothed a hand over his beard. “I feel like a young pup again. I had forgotten what it felt like to be in love.”

Clarke had been about to ask him some questions, but they had suddenly arrived at the dropship. Anya walked the perimeter, and when she gave the all clear, the rest of the group approached.

“Raven, let’s make this as fast as we can. This place gives me the creeps,” Clarke said as she entered the ship.

Clarke sneezed when she got a whiff of the rank odor of the place. Octavia walked in behind her. “Geez, is this what teenage alphas smell like? Yuck.”

Anya made a face of distaste. “Don’t blame it on being a teenager. Blame it on posturing. I am betting it is the leftover stink of that boy Wells trying too hard to keep control of the rest of the delinquents.”

“Either way, it’s gross. It’s making me sick to my stomach.” Octavia decided to wait outside with Lincoln. They moved about a hundred yards off, and Lincoln taught the young omega how to climb a tree in order to keep a lookout from above.

The rest stayed inside. Raven taught Gustus how to use a screwdriver and had him pulling panels off the walls. Once the panels were off, Anya was tasked with pulling certain wires out.

“Not the red ones,” Raven barked, “the orange ones.”

Anya growled. “They look the same to me.”

Raven got up from what she was doing and showed Anya that the orange wires were slightly thinner than the red ones. Clarke had sympathy for the alpha. She thought they looked the same too. The color differentiation was small.

Raven and Clarke lifted a hatch in the floor and descended under the floorboards. Clarke was told to harvest the red wires.

“Why can’t we just take the red ones from up above?” Clarke asked, frustrated because there were plenty of red wires being pulled out by Anya.

“They aren’t the same. They do something entirely different. The ones I have you pulling will help me make bombs because I,” Raven banged her knuckle on a large tube, “just found the fuel.”

It wasn’t long before Clarke was regretting her decision to come on this mission. She was bored. Anyone could have been pulling wires.

“Is this enough, Raven?” Clarke finally asked.

“More than. Bring yours up to Anya’s but make sure not to mix them up, then I want you to climb the ladder and go up top. See what you can find that looks mechanical. I am guessing that there is some useful stuff up there, and somewhere there should be some sort of radio. If they really did communicate with the Ark, it’s got to be around here somewhere.”

Raven remained down below. For as smart as she was, she forgot that they would need to transport the fuel. They had no way of doing that, so she was trying to figure out a way to burn it off. She didn’t want any of Skaikru to come back and take it.

Clarke was more than happy to get out of the cramped space. She looked around the dropship and spotted the ladder. Gustus went up first to make sure the coast was clear.

“It’s all good. Come on up, Wanheda.”

Clarke climbed the ladder and wrinkled her nose. The smell was worse up here. She looked around and spotted several items that Raven might find of use. She gathered them by the hatch and kept looking. She didn’t find anything more than evidence of suffering. From the looks of things, the delinquents had barely been surviving.

She was surprised when she found piles of discarded clothing. She couldn’t fathom why it had been left behind. She sorted through the piles and found one last curious item. She put it in one of her pockets for later inspection.

The group was gathering the items they were going to carry back with them, and Raven was still fiddling with how to burn off the fuel when Gustus started growling and moved in front of Clarke.

Raven popped her head up from below when she heard the noise. “Murphy!”

A boy, no older than Clarke ran up the ramp of the dropship. He was wearing a black leather jacket, gray t-shirt and black pants. He was filthy, and it looked like he had recently been in a fight. He bent over and put his hands on his knees while he caught his breath.

“What the hell are you doing here, Murphy?” Raven was growling as she approached the boy.

He held one hand up to hold her off. When he could finally speak, he stood up. Fresh blood was dripping from a cut above his right eye. He looked over his shoulder before speaking. “They’re coming, and if they find us, we are all dead.”

His eyes nervously shifted from person to person as he spoke.

“Who’s coming?” It was Anya who spoke. She was standing by Raven, hand on the hilt of her sword.

“Griffin’s lackeys. The guards. I don’t know how, but they know you are here. They’re packing some serious heat, Raven.”

“And you graciously came here to warn us?” Raven sneered.

“I came here to save my own ass. I admit that. I’m not much lower on the kill list than her.” He pointed at Clarke.

A shiver ran down the omega’s spine.

“Don’t worry, princess, I heard the order. Kill everyone but you and the genius. They want both of you back.”

It was Raven’s turn to shiver. She looked at Clarke. “What do we do?”

Clarke looked at Murphy. He looked genuinely scared. “How many of them are there, and do we have time to get away?”

“There’s at least forty of them, and there are a few in the rover. You better figure something out fast because they will be here any minute. There’s no time to run.”

Just as he was finishing his last statement, the rover skidded in front of the dropship. Anya’s eyes widened when she saw the vehicle. She had never seen anything like it.

“Skrish. We need to close the door,” Anya yelled. “How do we do that?”

Raven ran to a panel next to the door and pushed a button. Nothing happened. “Shit. I had you pull too many wires. Hold them off until I can get this fixed.”

Four people filed out of the Rover. All were heavily armed and pointed their guns at the current inhabitants of the dropship. “In five minutes, we will have you surrounded.” It was Shumway.

“Give us the omega mutt and the other girl, and maybe we will let you live. You can even keep the cockroach,” he said, pointing at Murphy. Clarke wished she could just make them all submit, but they stayed too far away for pheromones to work on them.

Murphy flipped them the bird.

“You’re not getting anyone you cowards.” Clarke moved to reach for her bow, but a shot rang out, and she froze. She looked at everyone and was thankful that no one had been hit.

“Make another move bitch, and I won’t hesitate to take you out. I don’t care what the Chancellor said. Dogs like you need to be put down.”

Shumway pointed at one of the guards. The guard pulled a grenade from his pocket.

“Fuck, it’s a gas grenade. Raven hurry up,” Murphy yelled.

“I’m going as fast as I can.”

The rest of the guards arrived and started to fanned out. The dropship was surrounded.

“I got it,” Raven yelled. She pressed the button to the door, and it began to close. The instant it did, shots rang out. Raven yelped as she crumpled to the floor.

“Raven,” Clarke and Anya yelled.

It was Murphy who ran up to Raven and pressed a bunch of rags to her wound. “We need to keep pressure on it.” Raven was whimpering, but she was conscious.

The door to the dropship was almost closed when the gas grenade came flying in. It bounced in just before the door fully closed and sealed shut.

“Cover your mouths and noses,” Murphy yelled.

Everyone scrambled to cover their faces. Anya helped Raven press a rag to hers.

“Can we use the fuel?” Clarke gasped out.

“Yes…great idea. Burn them,” Raven stuttered out.

“T-tell me how?” Clarke was getting drowsy despite the rags over her face.

Raven lifted a hand and pointed to a lever. “Just pull that and burn the fuckers. If you don’t, we are all dead.”

Clarke stumbled over to the lever. She was already off balance from the gas. She hesitated. She could hear the shouts and gunfire from outside. If she pulled the lever, she was going to kill forty-four people, and what about Lincoln and Octavia? Where the hell were they?

Her knees buckled, but she caught herself. What if she pulled the lever and she killed her friends?

“Do it, Wanheda.” It was Gustus. Murphy, Anya and Raven had already passed out.

Clarke gripped the lever, but still she paused. She could hear Commander Shumway barking orders. He was instructing someone to breach the door. It was only seconds later that she heard the banging on the metal ship.

“Clarke.”

She looked at Gustus, and he nodded his head, just once.

She pulled the lever. For a few seconds, nothing happened, but then suddenly the dropship groaned, and a fiery roar could be heard. The screams only lasted seconds, but somehow Clarke knew that she would be hearing them for years. Clarke’s vision went black and she was no longer able to fight the effects of the gas. She fell to the floor unconscious.

 

Lexa’s meetings had ended, and the sun was just beginning to set. She had been endlessly pacing the camp waiting for her omega to return. The pit in her stomach told her something was wrong, but she had promised to let Clarke do this on her own, so she fought the urge to jump on her horse and gallop to the dropship. That was until she saw the huge cloud of smoke coming from the direction of where Clarke was.

She screamed orders as she ran to her horse. She was on him and racing out of the camp before any of her gona had even mounted.

The Commander raced through the forest, pushing her beast to its limits, and she didn’t stop until she reached a site of devastation. Acrid smoke filled her nostrils, and her mount reared up in fear, almost throwing her from its back. The smell of death was everywhere, and burnt bones littered the ground.

“Clarke,” Lexa screamed. “Clarke.”

It wasn’t long before her soldiers rode in behind her. They had similar looks of horror on their faces.

“Clarke,” she yelled again.

Lexa was frantic. There were bones and ash everywhere, and Lexa was convinced that some of the bones must be Clarke’s.

She was about to call out again when the dropship door started to open. Lexa ran to the door, trying to pull it open faster. It didn’t work, but it soon moved enough that Lexa could see Clarke standing inside, being supported by Gustus. Anya was kneeling on the floor pressing rags to a wound in Raven’s back and a boy she had never seen before as leaning against a wall, legs splayed out in front of him.

A wave of relief washed through the Commander as she impatiently waited for the door to finish opening. She had Clarke in her arms the instant she was able to get inside.

“Niron.” She breathed in Clarke’s scent, further helping to calm her. “What happened here?”

“I’ll tell you on the way home. We need to get Raven back to the camp. She needs a healer.”

Raven stirred. “The rover...try the rover. If it didn’t burn, Murphy can drive me back.”

Clarke started to walk out of the dropship, but she halted when she saw the carnage. Her eyes slowly filled with tears as she scanned the charred earth. “What have I done?” Her voice was barely above a whisper.

Clarke fell to her knees. “Octavia…Lincoln. I killed them.” She let out a wail of despair.

Gustus put a hand on the omega’s shoulder to get her attention then pointed up an enormous tree. Octavia had her head buried against Lincoln’s chest and her fists clutched his shirt. They both looked a little crispy, but no worse for wear. The alpha looked down at the sight below him in a daze. He didn’t move.

Clarke’s weeping doubled at the sight. Tears of relief dripped from her chin. She looked at Gustus. “Can you help them get down?”

 

As much as Lexa wanted to sit and comfort her wife, she needed answers. “General, I expect to be told what happened. NOW!”

Anya stood after Murphy shuffled forward to attend to Raven. She approached the Commander and told her what happened as quickly as she could.

“I don’t know how, but they knew we were here.”

“A bug,” Murphy said from the ground. “they probably planted a bug.” He rolled his eyes when he got looks of confusion. “It’s a type of listening device.”

“C-can we do this later? I kind of need medical assistance.” Raven’s face was pinched with pain.

Lexa nodded, giving Anya permission to go to her lover. In the meantime, Clarke had recovered. “Murphy, can you go see if the rover is functional? We need to get Raven out of here, and we can’t be sure that the Ark isn’t going to send backup. We need to be long gone if they do.”

Murphy sprinted to the rover. It was just beyond the blast radius. “Get in. It works. Tell me where I need to go.”

Anya ran over, Raven in her arms, and Clarke helped get the two of them settled in the back. Lexa was hesitant to get in the contraption, but finally got in when she realized that someone needed to tell Murphy where to go. Anya was too busy with Raven and there was no way she was leaving Clarke’s side.

Lexa climbed into the only available seat and pulled Clarke onto her lap. She was thankful that the rover was big enough that the two weren’t too uncomfortable. She let out an undignified squeak when the vehicle lurched forward and started speeding through the forest.

Chapter Text

Chapter 49

The rover skidded to a halt just inside the camp, and the grounders milling about initially reached for their weapons. They couldn’t conceal their looks of surprise (and mirth) when their Commander spilled out of the vehicle, running to puke in the nearest bush.

Lexa stood, stomach still roiling, trying to look dignified. She was grateful that the attention was taken off her when Clarke exited the rover and hurried to help get Raven out of the back. While Clarke was helping, the Commander called for the healers. Her gona went to help Anya, but the alpha growled at all but Clarke. The soldiers stepped away and went back to what they were doing.

 

Raven had remained conscious during the ride back to the camp, and aside from the occasional whimper, she remained silent. This was worrying. Raven always had a snarky comment to say. Anya had even tried to engage the beta, but it didn’t work. From the front seat, Lexa looked at her general. It broke her heart to see the older alpha looking so helpless.

Lexa followed behind as Anya carefully carried Raven to the healer’s tent. The healers had run ahead to prepare when they heard the seriousness of the injury.

“Place her on her stomach,” a healer named Mika said, pointing to a fur lined table. It stood tall enough for the healer to work comfortably on his patient. Anya moved Raven almost tenderly until she had the beta lying on her front. She gave a weak growl when the healer approached Raven, but she quickly backed off.

He used a knife to cut off the beta’s shirt and everyone gasped. The bullet had struck Raven in her low back, and a large area of the surrounding skin was deeply bruised. The bullet hole was clean. It was a fortunate thing that it wasn’t a direct hit to her spine.

As Lexa’s eyes traveled over the injured area, she noted that Raven’s darker skin was unusually pale. The wound was only leaking slowly now, but she had lost a lot of blood in transit. The Commander lifted her eyes when the healer gave Anya a cup to hold. “Help her to sip it slowly. It will put her to sleep so that I can remove the bullet.”

With a gentleness rarely seen from the general, Anya softly drew her hand down the beta’s sable hair. Raven whimpered from the table. “It has to be done, strik sora (little bird). I will be with you the whole time.”

 

Clarke looked on helplessly. For as much time as she spent in medical up on the Ark, she wished she had paid more attention, but her time there had always been unpleasant. Her whole body shuddered when the healer brought out a gleaming knife and approached Raven. An irrational spike of fear shot through the omega, and she had to turn and leave the tent.

Clarke wandered the camp aimlessly, but she knew her alpha had eyes on her the entire time. She was deeply unsettled, and she felt like a failure. Everything had gone wrong today, and as a result, she had killed forty-four people, and she had almost killed two of her own. Now her friend was being cut open because she had been shot, and Clarke felt like it was her fault.

She sat on a log at the edge of the camp and buried her head in her hands. “Wanheda,” she muttered to herself. She slowly lifted her head and looked at the nighttime sky. “I guess I really am the Commander of Death.” She sat for a few more minutes, convinced that Lexa would appear at any moment. When her wife didn’t appear, Clarke stood. She took off suddenly, sprinting into the darkness of the forest.

 

Lexa’s keen eyes watched as Clarke left the healer’s tent. She followed her out, but kept her distance, figuring that her wife needed some time to process the events of the day. Things certainly didn’t turn out how they had planned, and she knew that the omega would be beating herself up about it. As much as she wanted to, she knew she needed to give Clarke her space first before she approached her. It also gave her time to calm down from her own fears of what happened today. She had always had a bad feeling about the trip to the dropship, and those feelings had been confirmed. She needed time to calm herself so that she didn’t rush to the Ark and do something foolish.

It wasn’t until Clarke got up and sprinted into the forest, alone, that she made her move. Lexa cursed herself for leaving Gustus at the dropship with Lincoln and Octavia. She went after the omega, running as fast as she could. It took her some time to catch up. She had never seen Clarke move so fast.

She was about fifty feet away when the omega skidded to a stop. Lexa stopped her progress and watched curiously as the omega tilted her head to the sky and yelled. The sound that Clarke emitted from her throat was the one of the eeriest sounds the alpha had ever heard. It was almost as if she was howling to the moon, but the sound was both one of deep sorrow and one of empowerment.

Lexa’s eyes widened when the forest around her filled with returning howls. It appeared that the local wolf pack knew exactly how Clarke felt.

Clarke’s eyes darted back and forth when she heard the wolves. The Commander saw the omega go rigid with fear, so she walked forward.

“You have nothing to fear from them, ai hodnes. It would appear that they are simply showing you the respect you deserve. You did well today, Clarke.”

“Did well? Did well? Are you kidding me right now? Everything…everything went wrong today.”

“How? What did you do wrong?” Lexa wondered how many times Clarke would have to have this conversation before it wasn’t necessary. Every time something like this happened, Clarke had to be talked through it to see that she wasn’t at fault.

Clarke looked flustered. “I…I…”

“Exactly. You can’t think of anything because you did nothing wrong. You did exactly what you needed to do.”

“I killed over forty people,” Clarke yelled.

“And just like those boys in the woods, they were going to kill you. You made the hard decision, Clarke, and you protected your people.”

“No, I didn’t. Lincoln and Octavia could have been caught in the blast, and Raven got shot.”

“But they are alive…because of you. You did what you needed to do, and you protected your people.”

“Not Raven, I didn’t protect her.”

“She is alive, and the bullet can be removed. It didn’t hit her spine, so she will recover.”

Clarke stared at Lexa, frustrated that she was so calm. The omega’s eyes glistened but no tears fell. “How do you do it? How do you make decisions like this and remain so calm?” Clarke wanted to know because she felt like the anxiety was eating her alive.

“It’s not easy, Clarke, but if you always remember to put our people first, the decisions will make themselves. You did that. You made the decision for the people in your care today, and everyone made it home.” Lexa watched as Clarke thought about what she said.

“Will Raven really be okay?”

“Yes, I assure you. She will have some difficulty walking for a while, but I believe she will make a full recovery.”

The pair turned their heads when they heard the howls of the wolf pack again. Clarke shivered.

“They are further away now,” Lexa reassured.

“Next time I go running off into the woods, remind me not to cry out. I don’t want that kind of attention again.”

 

When they got back to camp, Lincoln and Octavia were just returning from the dropship. The young omega was back to her usual exuberant self, and she bounded over to Clarke. “Clarke, what you did back there, that was seriously bad ass.”

Clarke frowned. “No, I mean it. You are a badass. It was scary, up in the tree, because those flames got awfully close, but you should have seen it. One second I thought you were all doomed, then whoosh, everyone had been turned to ash. I saw Commander Shumway’s face, just before he got hit. Pure fear. That jokker got what he deserved.”

“She’s not wrong,” Lincoln said. “I seriously thought that those men were going to breach the door. You would have been no match for the weapons they carried if they had.”

Lincoln looked at Clarke in awe. “I don’t know how you made the fire, but I bet they could see the cloud all the way in Polis.”

Octavia looked at Lexa. “After the attack on the dropship, do you still plan to go back to the Ark with your offer of peace?”

The Commander was surprised by the question. “I think we must,” she said solemnly. “We know there are people who want to get away from there. I fear that if we don’t help, the situation there will only get worse. They may not be my people, not yet, but I won’t leave them to suffer under the Chancellor any longer than I have to. I swore to protect our people. They must come first, but I can’t leave others to suffer under someone else’s rule. Besides, they are on Trikru land. It is my responsibility to get it back.”

“When you go, can I come with you?” Octavia gave Lexa a pleading look. “Lincoln and Indra have shown me so much, I know I can help.”

“You can come, Octavia.” Lexa winked at Lincoln. “I expect you to keep her out of trouble.”

Octavia couldn’t contain her excitement. She begged Lincoln to continue her training right then and there, even though it was dark outside. He rolled his eyes but followed the omega.

It was a sight that had Clarke forgetting about her own worries, if only for a moment. “They make a handsome couple, don’t you think?”

Lexa’s eyes followed as they walked away. “They do, niron.”

 

The next morning, Lexa and Clarke left their tent with the intention of going to see how Raven was doing. Clarke had not slept well despite her alpha’s best efforts. She, not unexpectedly, had had bad dreams, full of fire and death, and she had to decline her alpha’s offer of breakfast, promising to try and eat later. Her dreams had left a bitter taste in her mouth, and the thought of food made her queasy.

When they stepped outside, the omega was surprised to see Octavia already sparring. That, in and of itself, wasn’t surprising, it was who she was sparring with. Her floppy-haired brother was in the ring, doing his best not to let the smaller girl best him. Clarke smiled. She knew that meant Costia was nearby. She scanned her surroundings but didn’t see Lexa’s sister anywhere, so she continued to follow Lexa to the healer’s tent. She made a mental note to herself to go and find Costia later.

 

Lexa entered the healer’s tent with a hesitant Clarke. A haggard looking Anya sat on a chair next to Raven who was still on her stomach. Anya looked at them with bleary eyes. “You should go get some rest, Anya. We will watch over her.”

Anya stood. “Thank you. She’s been in and out of it for a while.” She pointed to a cup on the table. “The healer wants her to drink this, but I haven’t been able to get her to. Maybe you can try, and maybe you can also get her to stop singing. She keeps singing this horrible song about falling into a ring of fire. It was funny the first time, but it got old quick.”

Lexa and Clarke gave her a perplexed look. The beta, who had her head turned to the right, was silent with her eyes closed. “We will, old friend. Go rest.”

Anya was walking away when Raven mumbled “It’s Johnny Cash…he’s a legend.” Anya rolled her eyes and kept walking.

Clarke sat on the chair vacated by the alpha. She reached out, and Lexa handed her the cup. “You need to drink this, Raven.”

The Latina kept her eyes closed. “But it’s yucky. I don’t want to.”

“It’s Commander’s orders,” Lexa said firmly.

Raven clumsily lifted her right hand to her forehead in salute. “Aye aye, Commander.” Her arm dropped with a thump back onto the table. She didn’t resist when Clarke held the cup to her lips. Only a little of it dribbled out of her mouth which was something Clarke was quite proud of. It wasn’t an easy task, having someone drink from a cup while on their stomach.

Raven squinched her eyes then popped them open. “Thank you for pulling the lever, Clarke. It was a good idea to use the fuel that way, and it saved our lives.”

Clarke silently accepted the credit despite it being Raven’s idea to rig the fuel to burn that way. It may have been her idea to use the fuel against the Ark guards, but without Raven, they would all be dead.

Raven’s eyes were drooping again. “We’ll talk about it later. You need to rest now,” Clarke said.

Lexa placed a comforting hand on the beta’s shoulder. “The healer said you will make a full recovery.” Raven’s eyes reluctantly opened again. “I want you to know that your efforts to aid our people will not be forgotten, Raven. You may have come from the sky, but you have the heart and soul of one of us. You were made to be on the ground.”

Raven gave a lopsided smile. “Thanks, C-commander.”

They stayed with the injured beta who slept fitfully then would jolt to wakefulness. She was mostly incoherent, whatever was in the cup doing its job. She did sing on occasion, and it instantly put Clarke on edge.

“I fell in to a burning ring of fire….I went down, down, down…and the flames went higher…and it burns, burns, burns…the ring of fire…the ring of fire.”

The flap of the tent was moved quickly aside, and Bellamy walked in, startling an already edgy Clarke. “Good old Johnny Cash. Great song.” He ignored the presence of the Commander and Clarke and walked straight over to Raven.

“I heard you made the dropship go boom,” Bellamy said, and Raven chuckled lightly.

“Clarke’s idea,” Raven muttered. Bellamy raised an eyebrow in surprise.

Bellamy looked over at Clarke. “You really have taken on the mantel of Wanheda.” He said it casually. Clarke didn’t like his tone. “I heard you made our people submit to you when you killed Finn.”

Ice blue eyes gave him a piercing look. “They aren’t my people, and I thought they weren’t yours anymore either.” Bellamy just shrugged.

Lexa gave him a hard look. “Look, I still have a lot of friends on the Ark,” he explained. “I may not agree with how they governed us, but…” He let what he was saying trail off.

Clarke stood abruptly. “Where’s Costia? I would like to see her.”

 

Clarke left the tent in search of Costia. She didn’t know if Bellamy was intentionally being an ass or if it was her bad mood making things seem worse than they were. Either way, her foul mood got worse.

She was walking the camp, still looking for Costia, when her hand brushed against her pocket. She had forgotten about the item she took from the dropship. She hastily reached into the pouch and pulled the item out.

She looked at it curiously. It looked like a miniature of the clocks that hung on the walls of the Ark. No one had ever taught her how to read one, but she knew they were meant for telling time. This one had a metal band on it. She figured that maybe it was to be worn on the body. She flipped it over in her hands and the back of it gleamed in the sunlight. She gasped. On the inside was inscribed To Jake Griffin: In recognition of 15 years of service.

Chapter Text

Chapter 50

In the end, it was Costia who found Clarke. She found her friend staring at something in her hands, and Clarke was so engrossed in what she was looking at, she didn’t even hear Costia calling her name. The omega jumped and almost dropped the item when Costia tapped her on the shoulder.

Clarke briefly looked at her but became consumed again by whatever it was in her hands. “Clarke, what is that? Are you okay?”

When Clarke finally tore her eyes away, her face held a sense of wonder. “I…I think it may have been my father’s.”

“Can I see it?”

Clarke was reluctant to let it go, but finally handed it over. “I know what this is, it’s a watch. I have read about them.” She flipped it over in her hands and tried to make it work. It made Clarke nervous watching her move it around so casually.

Costia read the inscription, raising her eyebrows when she finished. “Was your father’s name Jake?”

The expression on Clarke’s face was so pained that she almost regretted asking. “I don’t know. I never knew his name.”

Costia grabbed her hand and pulled her back toward the healer’s tent. “I bet Bellamy or Raven know it.”

Clarke wasn’t keen on seeing Bellamy again, but if he knew her father’s name, it would be worth it, so she let Costia guide her, and they ducked into the tent together.

Bellamy was still in the tent with Raven. The healer was just finishing helping the omega sit up. Bellamy stood a few feet away. Clarke could see that he was concerned for the beta, so she chalked up her feeling from before to her bad mood. Lexa was gone. Clarke had been hoping to show her the watch.

Costia and Clarke waited silently for Raven to get comfortable. It was clear that the woman was in pain, but Raven gave them a smile anyway.

“Costia, it’s good to see you. I hear you are still dating this guy. Whatever do you see in him?” Raven teased.

“Hey now, Rae, I didn’t come in here for you to tease me,” Bellamy said. He walked over to Costia and grabbed her hand affectionately.

“Would you rather I give you relationship advice?” Raven gave him an evil grin.

“Ah, no. Definitely not. I’m going to step out and give you ladies some time to catch up.”

Before Bellamy could leave, Clarke reluctantly spoke up. “Hey Bellamy, can I ask you a question?”

He paused. “Sure. Ask away.”

Clarke looked at Raven. “You might know the answer to this too. Do either of you know my father’s name.”

Bellamy shook his head. “Sorry, Clarke, I don’t.”

Raven, on the other hand, answered in the affirmative. “His name was Jake. I never met him, but my mentor, Sinclair, talked about him all the time. He said your father was an amazing man and a brilliant engineer. Why do you ask?”

Clarke held out the watch. “I found this in the dropship.” Raven grabbed it more carefully than Costia had, and she inspected it closely.

“It’s a magnificent piece. You didn’t see too many watches up on the Ark. If you let me, I bet I could get it working again.” She flipped it over and read the inscription. “I am betting this was your father’s. He was the only male Griffin on the Ark that I know of, but this had to have belonged to someone else first. I am guessing it was probably your grandfather or maybe even great grandfather. They didn’t have the tech to make an inscription like this on the Ark. Too frivolous.”

“Do you mind if I look at it?” Bellamy was almost shy when he asked.

Raven waited for Clarke’s consent then handed the watch to Bellamy. His eyes grew big. “Wow. Clarke this is truly a stunning find. It’s an Elgin watch. It’s old. Very old. They started making these in the 1860’s, and only made them for about a hundred years.”

Costia blinked a couple of times. She had never seen anything as old as the watch.

“You’re such a history nerd, Bell boy.” Raven snarked.

“Yeah, well, someone needs to remember the past.” He handed the watch back to Clarke. “This is priceless, Clarke, something to be cherished. Maybe someday you can hand it down to one of your pups.”

Clarke blushed but gave the alpha a genuine smile. “Thank you, Bellamy.”

“You’re welcome, and let me give you some advice, do not let Raven try to fix it. Something that old should be left as is. It is more than likely one of a kind, and it would be a shame if it broke.”

Raven scoffed. “You doubt my skills.”

“No, Rae. I just think that sometimes some things are better left alone.”

 

Clarke left with Costia and Bellamy when Raven got tired and needed to lie back down. Anya had arrived to stay with the injured beta. The omega still wanted to find her wife and tell her about the time piece. When she spotted the alpha, she was sitting and talking with the newest arrival to the camp.

Murphy had been cleaned up and given new clothes, but he kept his ratty jacket. He was holding an empty plate in his hands. He was chatting easily with the Commander. The two looked up as they approached. As soon as he saw Bellamy his demeanor changed. He greeted the alpha frostily. “Bellamy.”

Bellamy was no better. “Murphy.”

Costia, in typical fashion, went right up to the newcomer and introduced herself. “I’m Costia. The Commander is my sister.”

Murphy’s eyes lit up as he stood to greet the omega. He bowed, grabbed her hand and placed a delicate kiss on the top of it. It was the first time Clarke had ever seen her fellow omega blush. She could tell that Bellamy was filled with barely contained jealousy.

 

Lexa, amused as she was by the attention Costia was getting from the two boys, didn’t want to stick around for their posturing. She could also tell that Clarke was eager to tell her something, so she stood and said her goodbyes. She took Clarke’s hand and led her away.

“Are you ready to eat yet, ai hodnes?”

Clarke’s stomach grumbled in response causing the omega to smile. “I guess I am.”

Lexa grabbed them both bowls of stew then walked them away from everyone else. When they sat, she looked at the omega expectantly.

Clarke reached into her pocket and handed Lexa the watch. The alpha looked at her curiously.

“I found it in the dropship,” Clarke said by way of explanation.

Lexa inspected it carefully, starting first with the metal links of the band and working her eyes up to the watch face. She gazed at it for several minutes before finally flipping it over. A soft puff of air escaped her lips when she read the inscription.

“Did this belong to your father? Was his name Jake?” She looked at Clarke expectantly.

“I think it was his. Raven told me that his name was Jake.” Clarke gazed up at her with sadness in her eyes. “I never did know his name.” Lexa placed a comforting hand on her knee.

“Anyhow, she said it may have even been my grandfather’s or even my great grandfather’s. It had to have been handed down to him. Raven said that they didn’t have the tech to make such an inscription.”

Lexa ran her fingertip over the delicate wording then turned the time piece back over. “It’s extraordinary, Clarke. It was in the dropship?”

“I was looking for anything useful that Raven could use, and I found it hidden under a bunch of junk.”

“I wonder how it got there,” Lexa mused. She gently placed Clarke’s wrist in her lap and fastened the watch to it.

Clarke looked surprised. She hadn’t even thought to put the watch on.

Lexa smiled. “It suits you.”

Clarke didn’t look up. She was staring at her arm. Tears has started to slide down her cheeks. “I wish I could remember him better.”

Lexa pulled Clarke into a side hug. “I don’t really remember my father either. He was taken by the mountain when I was very young.”

Lexa had never talked about her father before. “The mountain?”

“Maun-de (Mount Weather). They have taken our people for generations.” Lexa sighed. “Most are never seen again, but some…some they turn into reapers.”

“Reapers?”

“I don’t know what the mountain men do to them, but somehow they turn them into grotesque versions of what they used to be. Nomon told me my father was a gentle soul, but my mother said that when she saw him again, he didn’t know her. He attacked without thought. They turned him into a blood-thirsty animal. It was nomon who had to kill him.”

“Oh, Lex, I am so sorry.”

Lexa looked at her, eyes glistening with unshed tears. “It’s okay, niron. Like I said, I don’t remember him. I do remember nomon being very sad. For a long time, she was merely a shell of herself.”

Clarke was silent for a few moments. “Is the mountain still a threat?”

“It is,” was all Lexa said.

“Why haven’t you taken your armies to defeat it?”

“Our people have tried, but the mountain is impenetrable, and they have weapons just like those from the Ark. They have technology that we do not possess.” Lexa thought for a moment and then her body was wracked with a full-body shudder.

“Lex, what’s wrong?” Concern laced Clarke’s voice.

“The Ark…they are just like the people from the mountain.” Lexa paused, a look of horror crossing over her face. “The Ark didn’t crash too far from Maun-de. If…if they somehow come together, there may be no way of stopping them. They would be able to defeat the coalition.”

Lexa jumped up. “I need to go. We need to reinstate a blockade…around the Ark. We need to ensure that they do not come into contact with the Mountain.” Lexa was flustered. “Can you go talk to Raven? I know she is injured, but if she can, I need her to see if she can get that device to work. We need to make sure that the Ark cannot communicate with Maun-de.”

Clarke could feel Lexa’s nervous energy crackling through her own chest. She caught the alpha’s wrist before she could walk away. “Hey, don’t worry. If the Ark could have communicated with the mountain, I highly doubt that they would have stayed put. We will be able to stop them.”

“I hope you are right, niron.”

 

Clarke hurried over to the healer’s tent. What she saw when she entered had her freezing in her tracks. Anya was sitting on the cot, legs outstretched, with a sleepy beta leaning against her. There was a pillow between them to protect Raven’s wound. Tears were streaming down the alpha’s face.

“Anya,” Clarke exclaimed, “what’s wrong?”

Raven turned her head and grinned. “I got the tablet working and we just finished watching Steel Magnolias. It would appear that our general here really does cry.”

Anya hastily wiped the tears away. “That poor woman, Shelby. She died and…and”

Raven reached back and patted the alpha on the cheek. “It’s okay, Anya, it wasn’t real. That woman was just an actress. She didn’t actually die, well, she did but it was a very long time ago. Way before the bombs.”

“But…”

“It’s okay, Ahn. I will explain it to you later. Did you want to watch a movie with us, Clarke?”

It was such a tempting offer. Clarke had only ever seen bits and pieces of movies when they were shown in the common rooms. She had never been allowed to watch.

“I wish I could, Raven,” she said regretfully, “but we have a problem, and we need your help.”

Anya’s face instantly cleared. “What’s going on? Did something happen?”

“We don’t know. Lexa and I were talking about the mountain…”

“Maun-de?” The alpha interrupted, paying full attention now.

“Yes, Mount Weather,” Clarke clarified for Raven. “We were talking about the mountain, and the reapers…”

“Reapers?” It was Raven’s turn to interrupt.

“We’ll tell you about that later, Rae. Lexa realized that with the technology the Ark has, and with its proximity to the mountain, that they might find a way to communicate. If they team up…”

 

“If they team up, they could destroy the coalition,” Anya finished.

“That is what Lexa said too.” Clarke directed her next words to Raven. “If you are well enough, we need you to work with whatever we got from the dropship and try to see if the Ark has reached out to the mountain or vice versa.”

Raven smiled. “I’ve already been working on that. It’s not like I can do much more than that right now with my back the way it is.” She looked at Anya. “If you can tell me more about the mountain, I might be able to hack their systems too and see what’s up.”

Anya quickly started telling Raven everything she knew about the mountain.

Clarke left them to it and went to find Lexa. She ran into Murphy first.

“Hey, it’s Clarke, right? I want to make sure I get it correct. They only call you 319 at the Ark.”

Clarke only nodded.

“Your friend Costia wanted me to say goodbye for her.”

“She left? Where did she go?” Clarke’s shoulders slumped at the thought that Costia was gone again already. She had barely even gotten to speak to her.

“Bellamy pulled her off somewhere. I don’t know where they were going. I don’t think he liked the competition.” Murphy smirked. “Do you think I would ever have a chance with Costia? She’s something else. I really liked her.”

Clarke rolled her eyes. “Honestly, Murphy, I don’t know. She seems pretty into Bellamy.”

The beta shrugged. “Well, you never know. If I see her again…” He let his thought trail off.

Clarke had a sudden thought. “Hey, do you know if the Ark has tried to contact Mount Weather?”

Murphy was surprised by the question. “Actually, I do know the answer to that. They have tried to contact them, but they haven’t been successful. Something about the signal being blocked. I didn’t pay much attention. I was too busy trying to stay under the radar.”

“It isn’t much, but can you go to the healer’s tent and tell Raven everything you know about what was going on at the Ark? If they contact Mount Weather, we may all be dead.”

“If I have information that keeps me alive, I will tell her everything.” Murphy started to walk off.

Clarke went in search of Lexa again.

Chapter Text

Chapter 51

Lexa was pacing back and forth in her command tent. The gravity of everything that was happening was heavy on her shoulders. Anya had been on her back about wanting to just wipe out Skaikru, and Lexa didn’t feel that much different about it, but she had to be careful in her approach of the Ark. It had been several days since the talk about Maun-de, and things had been too quiet. Raven had successfully hacked into both the Ark and Mount Weather systems. The Ark had been trying to contact the mountain, but Murphy was right. The mountain was blocking the signal. They didn’t know they were intentionally blocking the Ark or not, but it was a relief for Heda to know that the mountain was not a problem…for now.

The blockade had gone into effect, another relief for Heda. There was a kill order in place if the Chancellor tried to cross the line, but Lexa had made allowances for anyone traveling for diplomatic reasons. It was Lexa’s hope that by now the Chancellor would have been dealt with. The man, Kane, seemed reasonable, and it was her belief that he would make an excellent Chancellor.

Anya pushed open the flap to the tent and held it for Raven. She was using a pair of crutches that she had designed and one of the handier gona had helped her build. Her cadence was slow, but she was getting around, and she was happy to be out of the healer’s tent. Anya had moved the mechanic into her own tent under the guise of keeping an eye on her. No one was fooled.

“Where’s Clarke?” Lexa had wanted her at this meeting.

“Lincoln is teaching her and Octavia how to fish,” Anya replied. “I think she needed a distraction. Knowing that we will all be leaving for the Ark in the morning has her stressed.”

Anya caught the flash of fear on Lexa’s face before she was able to hide it. “Don’t worry, Heda. Gustus and Ryder are with them.”

Lexa relaxed knowing her omega was protected. “Where is Murphy?”

The flap to the tent opened again and Murphy walked in. “I’m right here.”

“Good, then let’s begin.” Lexa regretted that Clarke was not by her side, but she couldn’t deny that Clarke needed something other than talk of the Ark and the Mountain to distract her.

“I need you two to tell us what we can expect when we approach the Ark tomorrow.” Lexa directed the statement to Raven and Murphy. “Do you believe that Abby will have been removed as Chancellor?”

“Yes,” Raven said, while Murphy scoffed and said, “No.”

“Raven, explain.”

“You saw the people after Clarke made the Chancellor submit. Most were in awe, and after the speeches you two gave, you could see that you had swayed many of the people.”

Murphy scoffed again. “That doesn’t matter. You lived up there for just as long as I did, so you know what it is like. They rule with fear, and they use their dominance to influence everyone else. If you don’t toe the line, they use their dominance to force you to submit. Step out of line again and you get thrown in the sky box or floated. Abby has made promises to the people around her, and she has the support of most of the guards. I don’t think anything at the Ark will have changed.”

This news disheartened Lexa. She could see the disappointment in Anya’s eyes too. Lexa watched curiously as Anya looked to Raven and gave her a knowing look.

Anya straightened and formally stated, “Heda, if this is true, I would like to take the best fifty gona from our time training out to prepare. If Murphy is right, I don’t see this going smoothly, and I think we need to be ready.”

Raven looked at her in disbelief. “No. This is our plan. You aren’t going without me.”

“Raven,” Anya said softly, “there is no other way. I have a feeling that things are going to be escalating soon. We need to be in position.”

Raven used a crutch to point at Anya. “But I can’t go with you. You need me.”

“We have been over everything a hundred times. I am ready. My men are ready.”

“But…”

Anya cupped Raven’s cheeks with her hands and kissed her forehead. “I know we were meant to do this together, strik sora (little bird), but time is of the essence. I want you next to me, but you are already injured, and I can’t risk you getting hurt again. I…I love you, Raven, and when all of this is over, I was hoping you would take me as your mate.”

Three pairs of eyes widened at the declaration, but none wider than the mechanic’s. Raven dropped her crutches and held out her arms for the alpha who very gently lifted the beta into a warm embrace. Their kiss became heated until someone cleared their voice.

“That’s gross you two.” Murphy made a face, and Raven stuck her tongue out at him, only to resume kissing her alpha.

They finally parted when Lexa asked Anya if she was finally ready to divulge what they had been up to.

“Heda, you know I tell you everything, but I honestly think that it is best to keep you in the dark. I can tell you that what we have been doing relies on the element of surprise, and if you go to the Ark knowing what we are up to, you might give us away.”

Lexa’s frustration was showing, but she backed down and let Anya and Raven keep their secret. Raven continued to argue that she should be allowed to go.

Anya wasn’t eager to be without her either. Her face brightened when she had a sudden idea. “You know where we will be. Rest for a few more days, and if the healer gives the okay, then you can get Murphy to bring you in the rover. That is if it is okay with Heda.”

“If the healer gives the okay, then I will allow it.”

“What are you allowing?” Clarke had pushed her way into the tent. She was carrying a string of fish over her shoulder. She walked over to Lexa and handed them to her. “Here, Gustus said they are your favorite.”

Lexa had to bite back her laugh. “Yes, hodnes, they are, after they have been cleaned and cooked.”

Clarke’s cheeks pinked a little. “Ah well, uh, Gustus told me you would teach me how to clean them.”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “I am sure he did. Come I will tell you what we have been discussing while I teach you how to clean a fish.” Clarke’s entrance effectively ended the meeting.

 

It was some time later, after Anya and Raven had explained to Clarke that Anya would be leaving. Clarke wasn’t pleased, but she understood. Lexa had shown Clarke how to expertly clean and cook the fish she had caught, but not until after she made Gustus dispose of the guts and grime. Clarke thought that it may have been the best meal she had ever eaten, probably because she had had a part in making it.

The fishing trip, and the time spent with Lexa had done a lot to alleviate some of the fears she was having about the next day. This time, she would be going on the trip to the Ark, and she wasn’t afraid to say that it scared her senseless. She had hoped to never see the Ark again.

“Clarke, you did well today. It takes a delicate touch to be able to cook a fish perfectly. It was delicious. Thank you.”

Clarke beamed at the compliment. “You did most of the work.”

“I only did the first one. You did the rest after that. I look forward to teaching you how to cook, niron.”

“How is it that I didn’t know that you could cook?”

“As Commander, I don’t often have time to indulge in such pleasures. It is the same reason why Indra takes the time to bake and garden during her rare free time.”

“You should write a book,” Clarke teased, “and you can call it the Secret Lives of Warriors.”

Lexa chuckled. “I fear that it would only be you who found it entertaining.”

 

The rest of the evening was spent pleasantly around the fire. Clarke appreciated the effort made by everyone to keep things lighthearted. She knew that they were doing it to help keep their Queen’s fear at bay, and it mostly worked. It warmed her heart to know that no one held it against her that she sometimes wore her weaknesses on her sleeve.

 

It was the next morning, and the trek to the Ark seemed to drag on for Clarke. They had left before dawn, and the day was dreary. The drizzle had already soaked through her hair. She was glad that Lexa had the forethought to give her a waterproofed leather coat.

The closer they got to the Ark, the more Clarke’s spirits sank, and her sense of dread rose. The plan was to arrive and offer the people of the Ark sanctuary. They were to offer refuge, a new life, to any who wanted it, but even Clarke knew it was too much to hope that Abby had been ousted as Chancellor, and the people would be free to make their own choices. Her gut was telling her that Abby had found a way to keep her power. Lexa obviously felt the same way. It was why two hundred of her warriors marched with them.

Lexa halted the battalion of warriors at the tree line on the ridge above the Ark. Clarke stared in awe of the monstrosity before her. Somehow, on the ground, it looked more menacing than it ever had before. She stared in horror when she realized that a good portion of the Ark that had landed safely was the med bay and the sky box, the two places she feared and hated the most. It was clear that this was just one of the stations from the Ark, the same station she had once lived on, and she wondered what happened to the others. The scouts had been able to tell the Commander that several of the stations had crashed in other parts of the coalition with no survivors, and they knew of at least one that fell into Azgeda lands. Heda didn’t yet know the condition of that station.

Clarke blinked and looked away when she felt a hand light upon her shoulder. “You don’t have to go any further than this if you don’t want to, Haiplana,” Lexa said.

“I know, but I will not stay back here and hide while you go and put yourself at risk.”

Lexa moved her hand from Clarke’s shoulder to her face. She stroked her thumb over the omega’s cheekbone. “Have I ever told you how brave you are?”

Clarke gave a tight smile. “Let’s get this over with. The sight of this place makes me uncomfortable. It’s too quiet.”

“I agree niron, we stick to the plan.”

It had been decided that Clarke and Lexa would lead about fifty of the gona forward bearing a flag of truce. The hope was that word would have spread around that Ark that the grounders were coming to offer help and freedom to those who wanted it. The other one hundred and fifty warriors would remain in the tree line, hidden from sight. The archers were already in the trees. Clarke could see Lincoln standing with a ferocious looking Octavia. The girl looked just like any other grounder warrior. The Queen wasn’t even sure that Bellamy would recognize her, not with the face paint adorning her skin. Octavia and Lincoln were part of the fifty that would move forward with them.

Clarke knew that those remaining behind were ready to step in if things went poorly with the diplomatic mission, so she took the first step towards the Ark. Lexa stepped in next to her, and the remaining fifty followed in formation behind them.

They were halfway between the forest and the Ark when warning bells went off in Clarke’s head. Her steps faltered, and she stopped. Everyone else stopped behind her. She scanned her surroundings, but nothing was amiss. She looked at Lexa, and while the alpha also seemed to sense that something was wrong, she couldn’t immediately place what it was either. They resumed the walk to the Ark. They made it another thirty feet before all hell broke loose.

Clarke watched in horror when several grenades were launched over the walls of the Ark. She expected explosions, but instead the air filled with smoke, obstructing their vision. She could hear the gates of the Ark opening, and she could sense that people were streaming out of the doors. They were being fenced in.

When the smoke cleared, their group was surrounded by armed Ark guards. All had their guns pointed at Lexa and Clarke. A tall blonde female broke through the group. Her weapon was not raised. “I’m Major Bryne. You are trespassing, Commander.”

Lexa took a step forward and all the guards moved to train their guns on her. “I come offering peace to your people,” Lexa said, calm voice not betraying the rage building inside of her.

“Is burning forty-four of our people considered making peace to your people?”

Lexa let a hard edge into her voice when she said, “You know as well as I do that your people were sent to the dropship to kill my people and steal our Queen. Your commander, Shumway, said as much. He was even going to kill one of your own. John Murphy is a beta who has to come to us for safety. My people simply did what they needed to survive.”

“That is what our people are trying to do as well, Commander. We just want to survive.”

“Then why is it that your Chancellor wants our Queen?”

“Your Queen,” Bryne spit the words out, “is Ark property.”

“MY QUEEN IS NO ONE’S PROPERTY! She is a human being just like me and you, and she has nothing to do with the survival of your people. I, however, have everything to do with your survival. Can I safely assume that you are in charge of your army now, Major, now that Shumway is dead?”

“That’s correct.”

“Then I guess I can safely assume that your Chancellor informed you that my army ranks in the thousands. It doesn’t matter how many guns you have. Bullets run out. My people will not. If your people persist in the attempt to take my Queen from me, your people, and the Ark will be flattened.”

Clarke watched as the Major’s face fell. It was clear that Chancellor Griffin had not informed her Major about the size of the grounder army.

Clarke stepped forward. “Major Bryne. I remember you. I never had any dealings with you, but I saw you. You were kind and compassionate. You treated the delinquent prisoners as the children they were, not criminals. I don’t think you want a war with us. It’s not a war you can win anyhow.”

The guard standing next to Bryne stepped up and got in Clarke’s face. “How dare you speak to her, you filthy black-blooded mutt.” He raised his gun to shoot, but before that could happen a sword flashed out. The hand holding the gun was now lying on the ground.

Before Clarke could react to the fact that there was a twitching hand in the grass, she was boxed in by the gona. Lexa was next to her, blood dripping from her sword. Guns fired and two of the warriors protecting them dropped. After that everyone moved. More guns fired. Swords, spears, and arrows met with the soft bodies of the Arkers, and for just a few seconds, Clarke stood frozen in the middle of it all. She watched as her wife cut down two Ark guards with one slash of her sword.

“Enough,” Lexa yelled. Pheromones swamped the people standing closest to the Commander. Guns and swords alike hit the ground, but Lexa wasn’t strong enough to force everyone’s submission. Some were too far away. Clarke almost panicked when a gun was lifted and aimed directly at the Heda’s head. She stepped next to her houmon and released her own wave of pheromones. The gun dropped and Clarke heaved a sigh of relief. The rest of the Ark guards had submitted. Clarke’s power, combined with Lexa’s, was enough to get the rest of the people to stand down.

Clarke thought it was over. She looked at Lexa only to find her wife staring at the gates of the Ark settlement. She turned her head and her knees almost gave out. Three figures from the Ark were moving forward, pushing along a grounder whose head was covered by a sack. Abby and Wells strode forward with smug smiles on their faces. It wasn’t until they moved apart from each other that Clarke was able to see who the third figure was. Her heart squeezed painfully in her chest at the betrayal before her. Bellamy stood before her. He forced the grounder to their knees, face completely emotionless. Nonononononono!

Bellamy reached down and roughly pulled the bag from the grounder’s head. A badly beaten face stared back at Clarke, but she knew who it was right away.

“COSTIA!”

Chapter Text

Chapter 52

“COSTIA!”

Clarke wobbled where she stood, but Lexa remained seemingly unphased, outwardly at least. Clarke’s chest squeezed painfully again, and she knew she was feeling Lexa’s pain.

Abby and Wells continued to walk forward. Bellamy stayed behind, gun pointed directly at Costia’s head. Lexa let out an almost deafening growl.

“You play a dangerous game, Chancellor.”

“I play no game at all.” Abby’s voice dripped with arrogance. “I simply want an exchange of goods. You have a piece of our property, and now I have a piece of yours.”

Clarke was about to try and make them submit, but Lexa carefully placed a restraining hand on her wrist. Clarke understood why. Even if she could make them submit, Bellamy might be able to fight just long enough to shoot Costia in the head.

“Ah,” Abby sneered. “I see that you can bring the mutt to heel. Good.”

Lexa’s other hand tightened on the hilt of her sword. “I wouldn’t do that, Commander. What would your poor mother think if you let your sister die today?”

Clarke’s chest squeezed again. It was getting hard to breath between the pain she was feeling from herself and Lexa.

“Give me 319 and we will let your sister go. Think about it. You have two hours.” The Arkers turned and dragged Costia away.

 

The anguish filling Lexa’s heart was almost more than she could stand. Everything was happening too fast, and no matter what she did today, she was going to lose someone that she loved.

She was standing off with Clarke, away from everyone else. The omega already looked broken. Her blue eyes were dull and defeated. She had shucked off her leather coat and had handed her sword and daggers over to Lexa.

“You have to let me go, Lexa.” Clarke carefully took off the bracelet and ring that Lexa had given her what now felt like a lifetime ago. She clutched the ring in her hand before handing it over. “I don’t want them to get their hands on it,” she whispered.

The tears the Commander had been fighting finally broke free. “Clarke.”

“You know it is what you have to do. I won’t let your sister die for me. Enough people have already died today.”

“No. We can find a way…”

“You know that we can’t,” Clarke said sadly. “It was always going to end this way. I always knew that my life would end at her hands.”

Lexa let out a guttural sob and crushed the omega to her chest. “At least I got to meet you,” Clarke said, tears of her own falling. “I never dared to dream that I would find happiness, or have friends, or be loved, but you made all of that possible for me. You gave me everything, Lex, and I am so thankful that I got to have you in my life, even if it was only for a little while.”

“I can’t lose you, Clarke. I just got you.” Lexa’s voice broke over the words.

Clarke moved so that she could look into Lexa’s eyes. “You won’t, because I will always be in here.” Clarke placed her hand over Lexa’s heart. Lexa’s sobs doubled.

“Please don’t do anything stupid when I am gone. Keep our people safe, but don’t you dare do anything that will get yourself hurt. I am not sacrificing myself only to have you die doing something foolish. Do you hear me?”

Lexa could only nod her head.

“Promise me,” Clarke demanded.

“I…I promise.”

Clarke kissed her alpha soundly. “It’s time for me to go,” she whispered.

Lexa hung her head. “I will find a way to save you,” she muttered. “I know that she won’t kill you right away, so I will find a way to get you back.” The Commander lifted her head, a new determination in her eyes.

“Lex, you promised not to do anything stupid.”

“And I won’t, but I will find a way.”

“Lex, please don’t.”

“Trust in me, niron, and stay strong. Don’t let them win. Don’t let them break you. I need you to hold on long enough for us to find a way.”

“There is no way!” Clarke was yelling now.

“You don’t know that. I made you a promise, now you promise me. Promise you will hold on.”

Clarke sighed, defeated. “I’ll try, Lexa. I promise.”

 

They walked back to their people, and Clarke struggled to hold herself together. Gustus stepped forward and hugged her to his chest. Ryder bowed his head to her. Lincoln was the next to come forward. “Stay strong, strik gona. Show them why you are Wanheda.”

Clarke looked over all the people standing before her, her eyes finally landing on Octavia. The younger omega was also barely holding herself together. The betrayal of her brother nearly crushing her. “I’m so sorry, Clarke.”

“Don’t. Don’t apologize for him.”

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

“I know, O, but you know better than most that life is unfair.” Clarke hugged the girl to her. “Say goodbye to Raven for me.” Octavia finally cracked and started to cry.

“No, I won’t do that. We are going to get you back. I know we will.”

Clarke gave her a mirthless smile. She knew that she wouldn’t be seeing any of her people again. “I have to go. My time is up.”

 

Clarke and Lexa walked back toward the Ark with heavy hearts. Everyone else had been instructed to stay behind. When they were halfway there, Clarke stopped. “Please tell Anya goodbye for me and tell her that I love her. I need you to tell Titus and your nomon too.”

Lexa could only nod. They hugged and kissed again.

“I love you, Lexa kom Trikru. I am so proud to have been your mate.”

Lexa hugged Clarke one more time, clutching so tightly that she knew she was probably hurting the omega. The alpha took in a deep breath of the omega’s scent. “I love you too, ai Haiplana. This isn’t goodbye. I will come for you.”

Before they could say anything else, Wells came up with a limping Costia. “It’s time. Take your omega filth and get out of here.” He took the gun he had pointed at Costia and pointed it at Clarke. “Don’t do anything stupid, Commander.”

Clarke was able to look into Costia’s sorrowful green eyes for just a second before Wells was dragging her off. She chanced a look over her shoulder as they reached the gates of the Ark. I LOVE YOU she mouthed to her alpha.

 

Lexa stood, immobile. She was unable to look away when the gates to the Ark closed even though she could no longer see Clarke. Her chest instantly seized, and she knew that they were already hurting her mate.

She wanted to rush forward and storm the gates, but she knew she couldn’t. Her sister was clinging to her, barely able to stand. Lexa swept her into her arms and started back to the tree line.

“I’m sorry, Lexa, this is all my fault. I thought he loved me. I…I…” Costia buried her head into Lexa’s neck and sobbed. “I’ve killed her. I’ve killed her.”

Lexa got Costia back to the tree line and set her gently on a pallet of furs someone had had the forethought to make. The omega curled herself up into a ball. She was inconsolable.

“Costia. You didn’t do this. This wasn’t because of you. I also trusted Bellamy despite my initial misgivings. So did Clarke.” Lexa was breaking inside, but she couldn’t let her sister believe that this was her fault.

Octavia cautiously approached the pair. She knelt next to the other omega and gentled some blood crusted hair out of Costia’s eyes. “I am so sorry he hurt you. I didn’t know my brother was capable of this.”

“H-he didn’t hit me, but he didn’t stop them from hurting me either…now they are hurting Clarke”, the omega wailed. “Lex, where’s nomon? I need nomon.”

Lexa bolted into action. She barked out orders. Lincoln was to go back to camp and have the entire thing moved to their location. A messenger was sent to find her nomon to get her here as quickly as possible and move all the armies forward. She instructed that Raven was to be brought to her in the rover. She needed answers about Skaikru, and it was time to find out what her general was up to. She needed Anya at her side. The alpha rushed about, trying to figure out how to save her wife. She had to ignore the constant sharp pain in her chest and mating mark. If she didn’t her omega was as good as dead.

 

As soon as the gates of the Ark closed, Clarke’s vision exploded into stars and she fell to the ground. Wells had hit her with the butt end of his pistol.

“That’s for humiliating me at the dropship, and this,” he kicked her in the gut, “is for killing Finn.”

“That’s enough, Wells.” Bellamy came up and stood next to the boy. “The Chancellor wants it alive. She wants 319 in medical in an hour. I’ve been ordered to strip it and force it into the shower to get all the goop off its face before the doctor has to touch it.”

As soon as Bellamy pulled her to her feet, Clarke’s fist shot out and connected with Wells’ chin. The alpha dropped to the ground. She turned to face Bellamy, but he had a gun pointed at her. Several guards stood around him. They also had their guns raised.

She curled her lip at Bellamy then turned her head to spit on Wells. “Stupid, weak nomonjokker.”

One of the guards backhanded her across her face.

“Stop,” Bellamy commanded. “The Chancellor wants it mostly intact until she’s done experimenting on the mutt. If it survives that, then you can beat it to a pulp.”

Bellamy pulled Clarke away from the group of guards. There was a crowd of Skaikru watching the interaction. She saw many familiar faces, including Kane’s, but no one stepped forward to help her. She held her head high as she was marched past them, despite the crushing despair she was feeling.

Once out of sight of the people, Bellamy started to speak. “Clarke, you need to know that I didn’t know that any of this was going to happen. It’s my fault that Abby got her hands on Costia. She wanted to see what the Ark looked like, and I thought we could sneak up and see it. The only reason we got past the blockade is because Costia is the Commander’s sister.”

Clarke glared at Bellamy as he continued. “I didn’t know the Ark would have guards posted near the trees. When they caught us, I had to make it seem like Costia was my hostage. It was the only way they wouldn’t kill us both. I thought they would lock her up and I would be able to help her escape. I didn’t know that they would use her to trade for you. I’m so sorry, Clarke. I promise I will find a way to fix this.”

Clarke could sense his sincerity, but it didn’t change the fact that it was his fault that she was going to die in this place, away from her people, away from Lexa. She didn’t say anything.

They reached the showers, and Bellamy told her she had to strip. A ferocious growl erupted from Clarke’s chest.

“Clarke, I’m sorry.” He looked up to indicate the camera in the corner. “They are always watching. You know that.”

Bellamy got in her space, blocking the camera. He took her father’s watch off her wrist and pocketed it discreetly. “I will keep this safe for you. I meant it that you should be able to pass it down to one of your pups one day.”

Clarke reluctantly stripped but left on her underwear and breast bindings. She stepped into the, thankfully, private shower stall. As soon as she did, freezing cold water pounded her body. She heard Bellamy tell her that she had to undo her braids and get all the warpaint off her face. She cursed the alpha for not telling her to take her braids out while her hair was still dry. It would have been easier.

When she got out of the shower, she was shivering with cold. She knew it was too much to expect a towel to be able to dry off. It was a surprise when she wasn’t offered new clothes or shoes. She had expected to be given a prison uniform.

Bellamy looked remorseful when he handed her off to two guards who marched her, barefoot and practically naked, to the place Clarke feared more than any other. She could feel the fear trying to take her over and she felt herself slipping away, so she filled her head with thoughts of Lexa. If she slipped away now, she knew she would never come back.

When the doors to the medical bay slipped open, Clarke could see Abby standing there, syringe in hand and smug grin on her face.

“Place it on the bed. Make sure the wrist and ankle straps are secure.” The guards started to pull Clarke toward the bed, but she went ballistic. Pheromones flooded the room, from all occupants, but it was Clarke who had the upper hand. She had the three people on their knees in seconds.

In her feral state, Clarke took out the two guards and destroyed the room. Glass shattered, leather restraints were ripped off the bed, and blood that wasn’t hers splattered the walls. Her breath was ragged in her chest when she slowed down enough to face her nemesis.

“Get up,” she screamed at Abby.

The alpha got to her feet, clearly shaken, but still grinning her evil grin. “You won’t hurt me 319. I am your maker.” Abby sneered, exuding a confidence that only a person who always got their way could have. “It is me who gets to decide your fate, not the other way around.”

Clarke watched as the doctor looked above her shoulder and nodded. The omega felt a tiny prick in her shoulder and knew she had just been hit with a tranquilizer dart. Before it could take effect, Clarke grabbed the Chancellor by both wrists and pulled her to her. She headbutted the woman and was satisfied when she heard a crunch and blood spurted from the alpha’s nose. She kept her hold on the Chancellor’s wrists and twisted them painfully until she heard them both snap. Abby screamed.

Clarke pumped out her pheromones for as long as she could before the tranquilizer took effect. She knew she would probably die now, but at least she was going to go out on her terms. “My fate is my own, you fucking weak alpha coward.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 53

Clarke woke up gasping for breath and shivering. She couldn’t get in enough air. When she opened her eyes, it was to bright fluorescent lighting. She was in an empty room she had never seen before. The front wall was two glass panels that sealed together in the middle. Looking up, Clarke could see that they were actually doors. The back wall had a thick metal door that was sealed from the outside. It didn’t have a handle. There was no escape.

She looked at her arm and saw that the crease in her elbow was bruised. Abby, well someone who had functional hands, had taken her blood. She stuck out her naked hand only to feel it shake. The effects of the tranquilizer were still affecting her, or they had injected her with something else.

Clarke struggled to get to her feet, but only made it to her knees. The movement left her feeling weak and gasping for air.

“Now that is the position you belong in, mutt.”

Clarke scanned the room on the other side of the glass. It was dark, but Clarke could see the Chancellor standing in the shadows. Her wrists were splinted, and her face was sporting a hugely swollen nose with two black eyes to go with it.

“L-looking g-good there, Ch-chancellor.” Clarke had to struggle to get the words out.

“Having trouble? It’s terrible being such a weak creature, isn’t it?”

Clarke forced herself to her feet. She tried to get as much air into her lungs as she could before she said, “If I am th-the weak one, w-why are you th-the one h-hiding behind th-the gl-glass?” Clarke had to shake her head to keep Abby in focus.

Abby ignored the question. She walked closer to the glass. “It’s really kind of brilliant, and I wish I could take credit for the idea to put you in an airlock, but it was actually Bellamy’s idea.”

Clarke’s eyes widened in surprise at the double betrayal. Bellamy had made it sound like he was on her side. He had been lying to her the whole time.

“You see, the airlock also acts as a negative pressure room. Any pheromones you emit will just get sucked away, so even if you weren’t a feeble mess, you couldn’t force anyone under whatever perversion it is within your body. There’s an added bonus, too.” Abby paused for effect. “I get to control just how much air you get to breath.”

Clarke could only watch as the doctor walked over to a control panel on her left and pushed a button. The omega didn’t notice anything at first, then suddenly there was no air at all. Try as she might, she couldn’t get in a breath. She fell back to her knees, then onto her side. Her vision went black around the edges. Just as she was about to pass out, her lungs flooded with more oxygen than she had had since she woke up. She gasped, filling her lungs, until her breathing returned to normal.

“How long do you think you would survive like that, 319? You were turning blue.”

Unbidden tears leaked from the omega’s eyes as she caught her breath. It was a struggle, but once more she got to her feet. She felt a little stronger now, but still had to use her hands to prop herself up against the glass.

“Why don’t you come in here, and we will see how long you survive? I don’t need my pheromones to make you submit.” Clarke was proud that her voice didn’t faulter this time.

Anger flitted across the doctor’s face before it disappeared. She pretended to ignore the insult.

Abby turned to address the guard in the room. “It’s to be left as it is. Decrease the oxygen if it gives you any trouble, but don’t you dare let it die. I have a lot of plans for the mutt, and I don’t want it dying before I get a chance to turn it inside out. I need to know how a lowly omega can make an alpha submit.” The Chancellor walked out of the room.

The guard stalked up to the glass and banged on it hard with the butt end of his gun, startling Clarke. She opened eyes that she hadn’t even realized had closed as she rested her head against the glass. “You’re nothing more than a zoo animal now.” He laughed and walked away.

 

Clarke didn’t know how long she was left alone in the room. She hadn’t moved. She couldn’t. She must have passed out at some point and been tranquilized again. Familiar figures danced in and out of her of her vision, always just beyond the glass, and she was certain that she was hallucinating.

At one point, she saw her fos. She reached out, but Anya turned and left her when another familiar figure floated by. It was Major Byrne. She stared at the omega for a long time, then walked over to the control panel, and to Clarke’s relief, the glaring bright lights dimmed down.

The Major looked like she was about to say something, but she changed her mind and floated away.

Clarke’s hallucinations continued and she saw many familiar faces, but everyone looked all wrong. They wore Ark clothing and carried guns. At one point, she started to cry because she thought she saw Lexa. Only it wasn’t Lexa. The person, if they were real, looked like a version of Lexa. They also wore Ark clothing and had a gun, but this person had short hair. The figure was boyish and too flat-chested to be her alpha. Clarke, in her drugged state, barked out a gasping laugh at the thought of a flat-chested Lexa. Her mate was by no means large, but she couldn’t pass off as a boy either. Her laughter petered out into a choking cough, and then into a sob because the ‘not Lexa’ started talking to the Chancellor, and her Lexa, the real Lexa, would never do that.

Abby walked up to the glass and squatted so that she could be closer to eye level with the drained omega. She was speaking, but Clarke could no longer make sense of what she was saying. The ‘not Lexa’ faded into the dark background of the room beyond the glass. That was all her world was now. Everything she witnessed was beyond the glass.

Time went on. It could have been hours, or it could have been days. Clarke had no way of knowing. All she knew was that she hadn’t been allowed to have anything to drink, and now everything was painful. Her head felt like it was going to implode, and her muscles ached, twitching constantly. Her throat was so sore she thought it was on fire. She closed her eyes, and even if it wasn’t her Lexa, she wished she could see the ‘not Lexa’ again.

 

It had been a day since Clarke had given herself up to the Ark, and it took everything in Lexa not to charge the station and flatten it with her army. She felt an occasional pain, but it was never actually her own. It was her omega’s. At least if she was feeling Clarke’s pain, it meant she was alive. The camp had been moved, and the army was waiting, deep in the woods. Her ambassadors and generals had been encouraging her to attack the Ark, but Lexa knew that it would likely result in the death of her houmon. It would also mean the end to many innocent people.

Myra, who had come to tend her youngest daughter as soon as she had gotten word, was now tending to her eldest. “Your plan is going to work, ai goufa (my child).” Myra touched the back of Lexa’s head, then gentled a finger over her newly acquired black eye, courtesy of Gustus. “If I didn’t know it was you, I would not have recognized you.”

Raven limped into the tent and took in the scene. “Heya, Alex,” Raven looked at Lexa then at Myra. “Sorry, mom, I need to take the newest member of Farm Station with me. There are a few last-minute things we need to go over before her rendezvous with Anya, and she needs to change.”

Myra smiled at Raven, then addressed Lexa one more time. “She’s going to be okay. I have faith that you will get to her in time.” Myra put up her arms to embrace her daughter. She ran her fingers over the back of Lexa’s head one more time. “It’s so different. It’s going to be hard to get used to.”

Lexa ran a hand up and down the back of her own head. “I can’t stand it. My head is cold.”

“Don’t worry, Commander, it will grow back.” Raven smiled at her. She was thankful that Anya only had to restyle her own hair instead of having to cut it. She loved her alpha’s dirty blonde hair. She especially liked it now. It was free of braids and pulled into a single ponytail. Anya had growled when Raven said it made her look girly. She turned her attention back to Lexa. “Besides, you need to look the part. Anyone from the group who came to camp would have recognized you. I mean, you are the Commander, after all. Now there isn’t a chance in hell of that happening. Especially not with the black eye and cuts. You will absolutely pass off as a victim from Farm Station.”

Lexa grumbled. Anya was recognizable too, but for some reason she got to keep all her hair.

 

When Lexa had ordered the return of her General, Raven and Murphy raced away with the rover to go and collect her. The rest of the gona would catch up and return to camp as soon a possible.

Anya’s distress over Clarke’s capture broke the General’s normally stoic façade. She hugged her Commander to her then vowed to kill every last one of the Skai scum. The two then quickly pulled Raven, Murphy, and several other generals into the command tent to formulate a plan to get their Queen back.

Raven and Murphy had been busy going over everything they knew about the Ark, and Raven was able to intercept information that the station that fell into Azgeda lands was Farm Station. The first part of the plan was to move the Army forward. It would serve as a distraction to the Ark so that the second part could take effect. The plan was to have the group of gona arrive at a different part of the Ark as survivors from the station. The story would be that they barely survived the trek, having been set upon by the grounder savages. They would all be sporting various injuries to make the story more authentic. They had also stolen the discarded clothing from the dropship. Each gona who was part of the infiltration team was carefully chosen. None could have exposed tattoos or scars, and none could be too big. The Ark just didn’t grow them as big as the ground. Like Lexa, many were given haircuts too, all in an attempt to make them look less groundery.

 

Raven wouldn’t admit it, but she had cried when Gustus had given Anya her facial injuries. He said he had to hit both sides of her face in order to hide Anya’s strong cheek bones. He had also used his knife to leave a deep cut in the alphas upper arm. The healer cleaned it to ensure it wouldn’t get infected, but it couldn’t be stitched up. They had to make it look like it had been hastily dressed.

Octavia was also going to be part of the group. She was a little-known entity at the Ark and she had barely been on the ground before she was whisked away to the grounder camp after getting attacked by the delinquents. Not many had ever seen her before, and they all doubted the delinquents would recognize her. When she had been discovered on the Ark, she had been taken by the guards and thrown into the sky box. It was Shumway that locked her away, and he was dead. No one on the council had ever seen her before either. They took the guards at their word that the omega had been safely locked away and her mother floated.

It was going to be Octavia’s job to listen and get a feel for what the people of the Ark felt about the grounders. When she could, she would try to subtly talk up the natives and sway opinion when she could. The hardest part for her would be avoiding Bellamy.

Initially, Lexa had not wanted her to come along. She was afraid that Octavia’s loyalty to her brother would outweigh her loyalty to her people. It was Indra who convinced her that the omega could be trusted. As long as the girl could keep her emotions in check and not give herself away by her scent, she would be fine.

Raven came up with the idea to have Anya scent mark Octavia. It wasn’t uncommon for the alphas on the Ark to scent mark their intendeds as a way of keeping other alphas away. Anya’s scent would keep any omega overtones in check, and others would think she was an unavailable beta.

When Raven had first smelled Anya’s scent on Octavia, she had growled. She instantly apologized for her jealousy.

 

 

Lexa was changed and she was uncomfortable. Anya didn’t look like she felt any better. Eighteen ‘Farm Station survivors’ were to arrive at the Ark in an hour. Lexa, newly christened Alex, would arrive in the first group. It was nearly dusk. Anya’s group of twenty, would arrive in the morning. Both would have tales of how they got separated from each other.

Anya and Lexa, as the leaders from Farm Station, would make it their mission to ‘befriend’ the Chancellor by spewing hate and tales of violence against the people of the Ark. They would profess to have a special hatred for the omega population which didn’t know its place in the world.

All would steer clear of Bellamy, but if it came to it, one of them would figure out how to take him out of the equation.

Everything they did was to help them find a way to rescue the Queen as quickly as possible.

 

Lexa’s team was about to depart for the Ark when Costia limped up to her sister. Her face was a myriad of purple and green bruises. “When you see Bellamy, cut his balls off for me.”

“If I have my way, sis, I will be cutting the balls off every disgusting alpha in that place.”

 

 

Clarke’s eyes were dry and gritty when she opened them again. She was still in the airlock, but she was more comfortable. The relief of that brought tears to her dry eyes.

She wasn’t on the ground anymore. She was on a cot, ankles and wrists secured with thick leather restraints. An IV was infusing in each arm.

A man, she thought his name was Jackson, was standing over her. She flinched when he placed a hand on her forehead. He leaned in, pretending to adjust the needle in her arm, and whispered in her ear. “Your people are here, Clarke, just hang in a little longer. Can you do that?”

She didn’t know if she could trust him, but she gave the man a weak nod.

He quickly straightened when he heard someone enter the room. “Abby, good to see you. The fluids are helping to revive the mutt. Next time, make sure to give it a bowl of water if you want it to survive long enough to do whatever you have planned.”

Abby scowled. “The survivors from Farm Station have been keeping me busy. We need to try and find the rest of them. From the sounds of it the savages have already wiped out a good portion of them.” She walked over and hovered over the omega. “If we could just get to Mount Weather, we would have the weapons we need to wipe every single one of them out.”

“Do what you need to do, Abby. I will keep subject 319 alive. It will be here when you are ready.”

“Thank you, Jackson. If you need a break, Alex from Farm Station can relieve you. He’s expressed a special interest in my studies. I think he might make a good doctor someday.” The Chancellor took one more look at the omega on the table. “Don’t let it get too comfortable. That thing killed forty-four of our people. I have plans to kill it slowly.”

As soon as Abby walked away, Clarke started to tremble. She didn’t know who Alex was, but she was sure things would get worse for her if there was someone else out there who was as interested in the doctor’s “studies” as Abby herself.

“I’m going to go get Alex.”

Clarke whined. She was trying to keep her promise to Lexa and stay strong and keep the spirit of Wanheda within her, but it was getting too hard, and she didn’t know if she could believe what Jackson had said about her people being there. She didn’t know how it could be possible.

 

Clarke’s eyes opened when she heard the glass doors sliding apart. Her mind was fuzzy again, and she was finding it hard to focus. She was happy that whoever it was that arrived at the Ark had caused Abby to put off whatever she had planned for the omega. She blinked a few times until her vision cleared. She jerked violently. ‘Not Lexa’ was standing over her, undoing the wrist and ankle restraints. A hand came up to touch her face, but Clarke flinched away.

“It’s okay, ai hodnes. I’m here to take you home.”

The omega’s eyes roved over ‘not Lexa’s’ face, but she wouldn’t look her in the eyes. Tears leaked down her cheeks as she tried to make sense of what was going on. The person in front of her couldn’t be Lexa. This person’s hair was shorn short, and the face was littered with cuts and bruises. The clothes were all wrong. She shook her head back and forth, trying to understand.

“It’s me, niron, I swear it.” ‘Not Lexa’ reached into her pocket. “Look, it’s your ring. I am going to place it on your finger.”

Clarke curled her fingers into a tight fist before the ring could be slipped into place.

The alpha’s voice was getting distressed. “Clarke, please. Just look at me.”

The omega reluctantly looked at ‘not Lexa,’ this time gazing directly into her eyes. Piercing green eyes stared at her and willed her to believe what she was seeing. A wretched sob shook her whole body.

“L-lexa?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 54

“L-lexa?”

Clarke shook her head. She wanted to believe that the person in front of her was her beloved, but this person didn’t look like her Lexa. She tried to take a deep breath in through her nose. She couldn’t because her nasal passages were dry, but the little bit of scent she captured didn’t smell like her alpha either. It was close, but it was still wrong, leading her to the conclusion that the person before her was not her mate.

“Y-you’re not L-lexa.” She whispered, feeling slightly short of breath.

Alarmed green eyes met hers, then ‘not Lexa’ slid back behind the glass doors, and while Clarke’s confused thoughts wouldn’t allow her to figure things out, she did feel the loss immediately. She watched as ‘not Lexa’ fiddled with the panel on the side, not seeming to know exactly what to do with it. Clarke could see their growing frustration. The person finally punched the device, and sweet air started flowing through the vents and into Clarke’s lungs. Abby must have decreased the flow into the airlock.

Clarke greedily took in deep breaths of air. In a way, it was an elegant sort of torture, completely bloodless but no less effective. Maybe Clarke hadn’t been drugged at all. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen keeping her confused.

The person came back into the room, and Clarke startled when the doors closed together with a loud ‘snickt’. It meant the doors were locked. Anytime someone else came into the room, the doors would always open and close as the person approached. They only ever locked when she was being left alone.

Clarke’s head began to clear as her breathing became easier. She watched as ‘not Lexa’ hurried toward her. Why had she locked the door?

 

“Ni…”

Clarke cut the word off by placing two fingers against the other’s lips. “Let me look at you.” The words came out as a whisper, but at least she was able to get them out without a struggle. The omega took in every inch of the person before her while her fingers explored the face, using fingertips to trace over each injury. She slowly slid them down to the neck. Her befuddled mind was screaming that this person wasn’t Lexa, but her heart cried out that it was. Her face crumpled when her fingertips landed on the mating mark, and they started to tingle. The feeling, the sensation, it felt like home.

 

Lexa knew the instant Clarke figured out that it was really her. Her heart soared and broke at the same time as her wife struggled to figure out what was going on. She could feel Clarke’s relief, but she could also feel her confusion and fear. She knew that her houmon was struggling to figure out what was real. Jackson had told her what the symptoms of oxygen starvation were, and she knew it could be some time before Clarke’s mind was her own again.

 

It had taken longer to get to Clarke than she had wanted it to when her team of “Farm Station” survivors entered the Ark. Abby and her guards had been suspicious when the ragtag group of “survivors” had shown up. If not for Raven’s briefing and quick teaching sessions on Ark culture and Farm Station duties, the entire plan would have been doomed. Lexa had quickly been able to befriend the Chancellor, much to her own disbelief. She knew she looked completely different from how she presented herself as the Commander, but she thought for sure that Abby would have seen through her ruse. Years of learning to control her scent helped. Kane and Sinclair hadn’t been fooled for long, and Lexa was relieved to find out that they had already been working on a way to get the Queen out of the airlock.

She had almost killed Bellamy when she found out it was his idea to put Clarke in the airlock to begin with. Going against her own orders, she had cornered the alpha when she was able to get him alone, and he begged her to listen to why he had suggested it.

Bellamy said he was setting up his own plan to rescue the omega, and the only way he could think to do it was the airlock. It was the only place that had two doors. If Clarke had been taken to a cell in the Skybox, there would have been no chance for escape, and while the glass doors to the airlock were constantly being monitored, the metal door at the back was not. It was sealed from the outside, so Abby was confident that Clarke would not be able to escape. She overlooked the fact that the back door led directly out of the Ark. He didn’t know how he was going to do it, but he was planning on trying to help. The fault in his plan was that he didn’t know that Abby would keep weaken Clarke by depriving her of oxygen.

Bellamy was tearful during his retelling of Costia’s capture. He told Lexa that he feared that if he had interfered in any way, the guards would kill her. He handed the Commander Clarke’s watch and swore that he would accept any punishment that she saw fit, even if it meant his death.

Lexa chose to take Bellamy at his word..for now. She informed the delinquent alpha that if he helped get Clarke away from the Ark alive, she would consider being merciful when it came time for his punishment. She also informed him that if she sensed any betrayal from him, he would be killed slowly by death from a thousand cuts.

The alpha paled then promised he never meant for anyone to get hurt.

 

Clarke clung to Lexa. She couldn’t wrap her head around how her alpha was here with her, and she just couldn’t figure out why she looked so different. She hadn’t fully believed that it even was her alpha until her fingertips started to tingle when they brushed over the mating mark.

Lexa started to pour out soothing pheromones. “It’s me, ai houmon. I swear it. I am getting you out of here.”

Clarke held on even tighter, burying her head in the rough cloth of Lexa’s shirt.

“H-how? We are both locked in her now.”

Lexa pressed her nose deep into Clarke’s hair and took in her scent. It was slightly off, because of the omega’s prolonged distress, but it was close enough to reassure the alpha that Clarke would be okay.

“Be patient, ai hodnes. You have more friends here than you know, and we have all been working together to get you home. It will just be a few more minutes.”

Clarke finally lifted her head, and to her alarm, saw Abby approaching the glass. She crashed her head back into her alpha, hoping that if she couldn’t see the woman then maybe she would go away. The omega was trembling again, but maybe she had never actually stopped trembling since all of this started.

“Alex, what is the meaning of this?”

Lexa slowly pried Clarke off her and turned to face the Chancellor. Clarke couldn’t help but whine at the loss of contact, and any fear that might have dissipated returned knowing that Lexa was now locked in with her.

Clarke watched as Lexa approached the glass. She could feel the change in Lexa as she put back on the mask of the Commander.

“You are a fool, Abby Griffin. Did you really think you would be able to take my Queen from me?”

The Chancellor’s eyes clouded with confusion. “Alex.”

“You are a narcissist, Chancellor, and that made you an easy mark. You refused to see what was standing right before you. You have allowed your hate and fear to cloud your judgement, and that is why you are a weak leader.” Lexa was just inches from the glass now. “I am not Alex. I am not some refugee from Farm Station. I am Lexa kom Trikru, and I am here to collect my wife.”

Abby’s confusion slowly faded only to be replaced by rage. Beneath her bruised skin, her face began to turn red. Her upper lip curled into a sneer. “You will never get it. I created that…that abomination, and I will be the one to destroy it.”

“I feel sorry for you Abby kom Skaikru.” Lexa walked back over to Clarke and helped her sit up fully. The omega had to lean against the alpha’s torso in order to remain upright. The Commander looked directly into her houmon’s eyes when she said, “This creature before you is not an abomination, or weak, or dirty. She is perfect. She is kind and compassionate. She is soft when she needs to be, but fierce when she has to be. She mourns every death she has been a part of but still celebrates life. She doesn’t take anything for granted.”

Lexa propped Clarke up then walked back over to the seething alpha on the other side of the glass. “Did you know that she learned to read faster than most, and that she can draw? It is truly stunning the images your daughter can create. She has a love of animals but hates riding a horse. She excelled in her training and is an expert marksman with a bow. You wouldn’t know those things because instead of loving her, you labelled her. You had the chance to have this perfect, wonderful, beautiful woman in your life, but you threw that chance away, instead holding onto your fear and hatred. You didn’t just poison her, you poisoned yourself and those around you, and that is sad. You are a sad, pathetic being. You chose hatred over happiness, and that will be your downfall, Chancellor.”

“SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN ALPHA!” Abby screamed.

Lexa remained calm. “So. So what? If you hadn’t been so blinded by your need to punish her for your own failings, you would have known that she has the heart and power of an alpha.” Lexa snickered. “But you do know that already, don’t you, Chancellor? She’s had you on your knees a few times now.”

Abby roared, and in her anger, hit the glass with her splinted arms. She cringed but stood her ground. “Shut up, just shut up.”

“Why? Because the truth hurts?”

Abby stepped back from the glass and looked at the panel on the wall. “You know what’s going to hurt? The air leaving your lungs. You made a mistake, Commander. You locked yourself in with that thing, and now you will die with it.”

Abby pressed a button on the panel, but nothing happened. Lexa walked over so that she was standing in front of her again. “Sorry, Doctor. I broke it.”

The Chancellor smirked. “Doesn’t matter. I will have my guards get the doors open, and when they do, they will gun you down like the dogs you are.”

It was Lexa’s turn to smirk. “That isn’t going to happen. They are going to be a little preoccupied.”

BOOM!

The whole structure shook. Abby screamed in frustration. Alarms started sounding and lights started flashing. Clarke whimpered and covered her ears.

“We are not finished here. That door is only opening if I open it.” The Chancellor turned and ran to find out what the hell was going on.

Lexa ran back over to Clarke and braced her ears for her. “It won’t be long now, hodnes.”

It wasn’t. There was another boom and the metal door at the back of the chamber came flying open. Smokey daylight, and people, streamed in. It was chaos, and Clarke was overwhelmed. She didn’t understand what was going on. All she saw were people coming toward her who belonged to the Ark.

The shell-shocked omega stared in confusion as Anya, also in Ark clothing, raced to her side. “Ai Haiplana. We are here to take you home.” The alpha swept Clarke into her arms and raced out the door. Lexa led the way, barking orders while making sure the path was clear to get her omega out.

Clarke couldn’t see anything as she was whisked away. She could smell smoke, and she heard several more explosions. Gunfire filled the air and a couple of people around her dropped. She squeezed her eyes shut. All she could do was cling to Anya and hope they all got away with their lives intact.

 

Clarke didn’t open her eyes again until she was being gently placed on a bed of furs. Anya’s concerned copper eyes stared down at her.

“You are safe, ai Haiplana.”

Clarke didn’t say anything. She stared at the alpha who still had on the dull-colored Ark clothing. There was a pistol holstered at her thigh. It was such a departure from Anya’s normal appearance that it made the omega nervous. Her eyes searched the tent she was in, but it wasn’t familiar. It wasn’t the tent she shared with Lexa.

Anya sensed her discomfort and started to pump out pheromones to help calm the omega. “It’s alright, strik gona, you are in the healer’s tent. Nyko has come from Polis. He is going to take care of you.”

Clarke’s nerves spiked even higher. She didn’t want to be anywhere near a healer or a doctor. She struggled to sit up. Anya placed a gentle hand on her shoulder to keep her in place. “Clarke, stop. You are safe. No one is going to hurt you.”

Clarke didn’t start to calm until Myra and Costia walked in. The familiar faces, scents, and clothing helped ease the omega’s troubled mind. Myra swept Clarke into her arms while pouring out her motherly scent. Slowly the younger omega relaxed into her arms.

Myra gave Anya a chastising look. “Can’t you see that she is still confused? You can’t hold her down like that.”

Clarke lifted her head from Myra’s shoulder. “It’s okay. She didn’t mean to scare me. Everything is just a little much right now, and I don’t want to be here. Where’s Lexa?”

Costia gave Clarke a sympathetic look. She knew Lexa wanted nothing more than to be with her omega, but her duties as Heda had to come first. “She’s taking care of the people from the Ark who escaped when you did. It’s a lot of people, Clarke. There’s a lot that needs to be done to get them settled, but I know she will be here as quickly as she can.”

Clarke held back the whimper that wanted to escape and took in Costia’s bruises instead. “I am sorry you got hurt because of me,” she whispered.

“Oh, Clarke, you know that none of this is your fault. Please don’t think that it is.”

Clarke knew that she was right, but she still felt guilty for Costia getting hurt. She decided to drop the subject for now. They would have time to talk later. She looked at the three women in the tent. “Please don’t make me stay here. I don’t want to feel trapped anymore.” It felt like a weakness to admit it, but she felt like the walls were closing in on her.

“Heda will likely kill us, but okay,” Anya said, relenting to the omega. She helped Clarke dress in more appropriate clothing. She was still in just her underclothes. “Do you want to try and stand?”

Clarke couldn’t hide her gratitude. “Yes, but I might need help.”

All three women moved to help their Queen to her feet. Clarke stood on shaky legs and needed more support that she wanted to admit, but she didn’t fall. Anya and Costia stayed on either side of her as she took unsteady steps out of the tent.

She regretted her decision almost instantly. Outside, there were people everywhere. There were gona rushing around helping frightened-looking members of Skaikru, and she could see Lexa directing the injured to a large, open-air tent. She, once again, felt guilty, knowing that the enclosed healer’s tent had been reserved for her when there were likely others who needed it more.

She stared at her wife for a long while. Lexa was still in her Ark clothing and she was covered in blood, but Clarke could see no obvious injuries, so she figured none of it was her alpha’s. She watched Lexa move about the camp yelling out orders to get things under control. It was with a sense of disquiet that she watched her wife. She wanted nothing more than to have a few private moments to get reacquainted with this new version of her alpha. She would never admit it, but seeing her wife looking more like someone from Skaikru than Trikru left her feeling deeply disturbed. Despite this, the need to have her alpha near was getting overwhelming.

“I…I need to sit down.”

Anya and Costia led Clarke over to a tree and helped her sit against it. Just that little bit of activity left the omega weak and trembling.

Myra walked over. “When is the last time you ate, ai goufa (my child)?”

“Um, before I entered the Ark, I think.” Clarke really didn’t know.

Myra growled lowly. She grabbed a passing gona. “Bring food and water for your Queen, now.”

The warrior did as he was told, not eager to disobey the mother of the Commander. A few minutes later a warm bowl of food was being thrust into Clarke’s hands. She lowered it into her lap, not wanting the others to see how badly her hands were shaking. She gathered her energy then slowly lifted it up to her mouth, foregoing the spoon, knowing that she would end up with all the stew on her chest if she tried to use it.

Clarke looked around the camp, thankful for her placement against the trunk of the tree. It was far enough away from the chaos that she was able to watch, unobserved. She wasn’t ready to face her people just yet.

When her bowl was empty, Anya was there to take it away from her. She handed Clarke a cup of water which the omega greedily drank. She didn’t realize how thirsty she was until the water hit the back of the throat. She looked up from her cup and her eyes met Lexa’s from across the camp. The alpha made to move toward her, but Clarke shook her head, silently communicating that she knew Lexa needed to stay exactly where she was. She knew they both hated it, but the needs of the people had to come before hers.

“Do you want more?” Costia asked, pulling Clarke’s gaze away from her wife.

“I do…if you don’t mind.” Clarke was a little embarrassed, asking for more.

Costia smiled. “You know I don’t mind.”

“When you get back, I need to know how all this happened. I didn’t think I would see any of you ever again.” Clarke started to get teary, realizing the gift she had been given. “I love all of you, you know that, right?”

Myra squatted down next to Clarke. “We know that, and it is because we love you too that we couldn’t let them keep you.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 55

Clarke was in the private tent that she shared with Lexa. Her fatigue had gotten the better of her, and despite wanting to stay outside, Anya insisted that she go and lay down for a while. The alpha was prepared to sit with Clarke until the Commander came back. Costia and Myra got called away to help the new arrivals in camp get settled, but fortunately, not until after they told Clarke what had happened while she was locked away.

She had obediently gotten into the bed as Anya requested. She then fought with more energy than she had to get Anya to give her some privacy. She needed space and time to clear her head. As Anya left the tent, Clarke pleaded with her to change back into her regular clothing. She also begged her fos to have Lexa change before she returned to see Clarke. The omega knew it was ridiculous, but she didn’t think she would be able to stand it if Lexa came in looking like ‘not Lexa.’

Clarke stayed in the bed for a few minutes trying to wrap her head around everything that had happened, but she was having difficulty. Her brain had been too starved for her to make sense of everything that was happening at the time, so now her memories were a jumbled mess. She didn’t know what was real and what was not, and she doubted she would ever be able to make sense of the events that played out while she was captured.

Not being able to lie still, she flung herself out of the bed and began to pace the floor, which meant she only took six or seven steps before her energy was gone. She had to lean over and support herself on the table to catch her breath and keep from collapsing. This was how Lexa found her.

 

“Niron,” Lexa said, alarmed to see her wife out of bed. She hurried over to where Clarke was standing.

“Lexa.” The omega said her name like a prayer had just been answered.

The alpha lifted her wife into her arms and carried her back to the bed. Instead of laying Clarke on the furs, she sat instead and kept the omega in her arms. “I am so sorry it took me so long to get to you.”

The double meaning wasn’t lost on her wife. “I know you did everything you could to get back to me as quickly as possible, both at the Ark and today,” Clarke said while hugging Lexa closer to her. “Thank you for saving me,” Clarke dug her head into Lexa’s chest and took in her rich scent. “and thank you for changing your clothes first. I know it’s silly but I…I needed to see you as you.”

Lexa rested her chin on the top of Clarke’s head. “I am sorry that my appearance disturbs you.”

“It doesn’t, not now.” It was a tiny white lie. Clarke was still slightly upset by it. The alpha shivered when Clarke tentatively ran her fingers through the short hair at the back of her head.

“Things are so messed up in my head,” Clarke admitted. “The first time I saw you, I thought I was hallucinating. It was you, but it wasn’t you. I didn’t know if you were real.”

“I am so sorry that I wasn’t somehow able to communicate with you. Abby was already so suspicious of us when we first arrived. I couldn’t risk her figuring out who we were. She would have killed you. I will say that it nearly broke my heart seeing you trapped in that room. When you started to cry, I almost killed Abby right there, but I couldn’t. We didn’t have a way to get you out yet, and the door to the airlock was too well guarded. I’m sorry, Clarke.”

Clarke continued to run her fingers over the back of Lexa’s head. Both women seemed to find comfort in it. “You saved me, Lexa. I never thought I was going to see you again, but you got me out. Please don’t apologize for doing what needed to be done to bring me back to you.”

The alpha shivered again when Clarke leaned in and placed a kiss over her mating mark. “I need you, Lexa.”

Lexa stiffened in surprise. “I don’t know if that is a good idea, hodnes. You need time to recover.”

“Please,” Clarke begged. “Please.”

The alpha relented. She carefully moved Clarke so that she was sitting on the edge of the bed then stood and walked to the entrance to the tent. She told the guards that they were not to be disturbed. She then moved back over to Clarke, undressing as she went. When she was completely bare, she helped her omega doff her own clothing.

After helping the omega to lie on her back, Lexa started to pepper her skin with kisses. It wasn’t long before the two of them were worked up. The Commander yelped when Clarke abruptly switched their positions.

“I need to look at you,” Clarke said by way of explanation.

Lexa stayed still as she watched Clarke’s eyes move over her body. She started to get self-conscious when the blue eyes got stuck on her hair. She raised a hand to it. “You hate it.”

“I don’t. It’s just so different.” Clarke ran her fingers through it again.

“It will grow back.”

“I know.” Clarke leaned forward so that she could kiss the skin around Lexa’s injured eye. “Who did this to you?”

“Gustus.”

The omega leaned up again and growled.

Lexa jumped in before Clarke could get upset. “I needed to look like someone from Farm Station. It wouldn’t have been realistic to say we had been set upon by grounders if I didn’t have at least a few injuries. It’s also why I had to cut my hair. I am too identifiable as the Commander. This way, I look so different. I’m not sure I even recognize myself.”

“I promise I don’t dislike it. It’s just going to take some getting used to. That’s all.”

The alpha was about to speak again when she was silenced by a passionate kiss. A nose then nestled into her ear. “I never thought I was going to see you again, Lex. I…I just need to touch you, and look at you, to reassure myself that you are real.”

Lexa let her, and lips, tongue, and fingertips traversed every inch of the alpha’s skin. Clarke spent a good while just tracing over Lexa’s tattoos and scars. “You are so beautiful. Ai hod yu in, Lexa. (I love you).”

Lexa squeaked when the omega’s mouth latched onto a stiff nipple. Clarke could feel her energy slowly returning, and she was certain it was because her alpha was in her arms. She was suddenly overcome with the love she had for her houmon, and she wanted to show her just how much she appreciated being rescued. She knew she would never be fully able to repay her alpha, but she was going to try.

She switched her mouth to the other side and sucked gently while her fingers delved lower. She was not surprised when she felt the overflowing wetness between her alpha’s legs. She smiled and lifted her head.

“It was thoughts of you that kept me sane while I was stuck in that cage, Lex. There were a few times when I felt like I was losing myself, but it was you, and your love for me, that kept that from happening.”

“Clarke.”

The omega’s tongue teased the alpha’s belly button before going lower. “Oh, Clarke,” Lexa moaned out when Clarke’s mouth locked onto her. The omega pushed two fingers into her wife, causing another moan. She began a slow push-pull that turned the alpha into a whimpering mess, and while her tempo was slow, Lexa’s climax was not. It didn’t take long for the alpha to reach her peak.

When Clarke finally looked up, it was to teary green eyes. “Ai hod yu in, otain en feva (I love you, always and forever), Clarke.” She pulled her wife to her and kissed her thoroughly while switching their positions. “I need to see and touch you too, Clarke. I, too, need to make sure you are real.”

 

It was the next morning and Lexa woke alone. She had slept more soundly than she had in a while, and it was because she was able to hold her omega tightly to her while she slumbered. She was certain that she kept purring long after they fell asleep.

She stretched while her eyes searched to see if Clarke was in the tent. She saw that Clarke’s clothes, weapons, and armor were missing, so she quickly dressed to see what her wife was up to. They needed to plan the siege of the Ark. They had gotten out all the Skaikru who wanted to leave, and there was no longer any reason to hold off. Lexa was going to greatly enjoy flattening the Ark while taking the Chancellor with it.

A bright, chilly morning greeted the Commander. Her eyes traveled the camp until they landed on what she was looking for. She found her wife, but what she didn’t expect to find was the army of omega warriors, including Octavia, Costia and Myra, that surrounding her. As if sensing her presence, Clarke turned her head and smiled at the alpha. The traces of the previous days’ events were no longer visible on the omega. She had already painted her face, and she looked ready for battle. Her sword was sheathed on her back, and Lexa was able to see multiple daggers strapped to her body. Her bow was lying nearby. Heda could see a hard, steely determination in the omega’s eyes. She was surprised but extremely pleased to see that Clarke didn’t seem to have any lasting ill effects from her cruel ordeal at the Ark. If she was having any, she was hiding it well.

Lexa walked over to where her wife was standing with the impressive amount of people. It numbered in the hundreds. She already figured out what the omega was up to, but when Clarke addressed her with a stiff “Heda,” she knew she was going to be in for a trying day.

While Lexa had been busy yesterday with organizing the relocation of the refugees, Ambassadors had been running after her, begging her to attack. She assured them that come morning, the armies would march forward and attack the Ark. It appeared that her wife was already a step ahead of her.

The Ark had already suffered heavy losses. While she had been busy getting Clarke safely away, Anya’s ‘Farm Station’ warriors were busy planting Raven-made bombs. The first explosion, the one that happened while Lexa was in the airlock with Clarke, was the Ark’s armory. They also targeted the food stores, and the control center. The bombs had left the Ark with very few defenses and almost no food.

“Haiplana. Care to fill me in on what’s going on?”

“I think you already know, Heda.” Clarke smirked at her alpha. Lexa returned the smile.

“You are right, I do, and I have to say your army of omegas will only add insult to injury when the Ark finally falls. You do know that your warriors will not be the only ones to march on the Ark, right? The full force of the coalition army will be at your back, and I will be right at your side.”

“I am counting on it, Heda.” Clarke grinned.

Costia walked over to stand next to Clarke. Myra followed a few steps behind. Lexa smiled when she looked at their face paint. It was a match to Clarke’s. She slid her eyes over the omega army. All the omega gona had warpaint that matched their Queen’s. Pride like Lexa had never known blossomed in her chest.

Costia moved so that she was standing directly in front of Lexa. “Where’s Bellamy?”

“Don’t worry, Costia, he is well secured and being guarded by more gona than are needed. When this is over, you and Clarke will decide his fate.”

For just a moment, Costia’s eyes turned sad. “I know that if I hadn’t wanted to see the Ark, I would never have been captured, but he didn’t stand up for me, and in the end, it was his cowardice which led to Wanheda’s capture. That is an unforgivable crime.”

Lexa, Myra, and Clarke all nodded in agreement.

Lexa wanted to stay near her family, but she had some last-minute organizing to do before the armies moved on the Ark. She grabbed Clarke’s hand and kissed it. “I need about twenty minutes with my generals, and then I will be back, ai Haiplana.”

“We will be here awaiting your orders, Heda.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 56

The Commander was getting agitated. Wanheda was standing with her army of omegas, ready to go, but she needed Raven and her General to appear before she could move her armies forward. They were ten minutes late, and Lexa was about to give up on them and march on the Ark. Just as she was about to give to command, she could hear a low rumbling noise. She turned her head and was so shocked by what she saw that for a minute she just froze, unblinking, at the spectacle before her.

About one hundred of the General’s gona were marching toward her, in perfect alignment. They marched five rows deep, twenty to a row. In addition to swords and spears, each carried a large assault weapon; the likes of which Lexa had never seen before. It was a surprising sight. The armies of the coalition were well disciplined, but none as disciplined as this. What was even more surprising was that the army was being led not by one, but three vehicles. One was the rover, but it was easy to see that it had been modified. The commander couldn’t even begin to fathom where all the weapons and the other two vehicles came from.

Every warrior who had been waiting to fight watched in awe of the General’s group. Clarke was equally awed. She walked over to stand by Heda’s side.

“Did you know about this?” Clarke was curious if this was part of Lexa’s plan.

“No. We both knew they were up to something, but I have to admit, this is not what I imagined when they went off to do Raven’s special training.”

The vehicles slowed and stopped before their Commander. Lexa’s eyes nearly bugged out of her head when the gona raised their guns in the air in unison and yelled, “Aroo, aroo, aroo. Heda of the twelve clans, we salute you.” Clarke’s heart filled with pride for her Commander.

Anya got out of the driver’s side of the rover, and Murphy got out of one of the other vehicles, which Lexa and Clarke soon learned were called trucks. Raven stayed sitting in the passenger side of the rover but rolled down the window so she could hear what was going on.

“You have some explaining to do, General,” Lexa said as the two approached.

 

It all began the night Anya and Raven had gone off on their own, the night before the grounders approached the delinquents at the dropship the first time. The two had gone off to have a tryst but found a bunker full of weapons instead. Anya initially was in favor of destroying the weapons, but Raven argued that if the Ark ever came down, it would give the grounders a huge advantage over the Ark if they knew how to use the weapons. Raven explained that the Ark would have similar weapons, but it wasn’t until after Raven demonstrated the destructive force of each different weapon that Anya was convinced.

The two hatched a plan to train Anya’s battalion, but had to find a place large enough for them to practice unseen. Raven obviously didn’t know of any such place, but Anya did. As soon as they got the chance, Anya gathered her warriors and brought them to an underground structure that Anya had found long ago. They also had to be convinced. Guns were taboo in their culture.

To Raven’s delight, it was an underground parking garage that was still full of cars. The beta could barely contain her glee when noted that most of the vehicles were still intact. It sent her into a near frenzy, trying to scavenge and collect any useful item she could find. She led Anya and the others to a lower, emptier level and showed them how to use the weapons. As soon as she could, Raven left them to practice and ran back to the cars. It took some convincing, but she was able to get the warriors to help her move two of the trucks to locations that she could work on them. Between pilfered parts, and items she had collected from the dropship, Raven was able to make the two trucks functional. The hardest part was finding belts and tires that hadn’t fully dry-rotted. It took a lot of time and energy, but Raven was successful. The gona even placed bets on whether she would be able to get the vehicles working. Most lost those bets.

Anya had surprised the mechanic when she suggested trying to mount weapons on the roof of the trucks. That was when Raven decided to sup-up the rover too. She also taught Anya how to drive. It turned out Anya was a natural.

 

Lexa interrupted the General multiple times during her story, but Clarke stayed silent. She was looking over the tiny fleet of vehicles.

“What is this for?” Clarke pointed at the front of the rover. It was sporting a new front ledge and upright support bars. The middle pole had the flag of the coalition flying from it.

Raven’s grin turned wicked. “That is for you and Heda to stand on as we approach the Ark.” She pointed to a gona who went to the back of the rover and procured two large metal shields. “Those are to protect you from any stray shots the Ark might get off as we ride in. Just think how badass you will look to the rest of the people in the Ark…and to your army.”

“We are not standing on that thing. It makes us easy targets, even with the shields,” Lexa said.

She looked over at Clarke, sure that she would agree. What she found was her wife with a calculated look on her face. “We won’t be easy targets if you put half of Anya’s gona on horses. With their guns, we will be protected. They will go forward when we do.”

Lexa sighed as her meticulous plans were undone, but she knew better than to be upset. It was war and the best laid plans were constantly being changed. She stood back as a new plan was hatched.

 

They were finally on their way, and Lexa had to admit that standing on the front of the rover, with her Queen next to her, was exhilarating. She could only imagine what the people of the Ark thought of their intimidating approach.

Their rate of speed was fast, but no faster than that of the galloping horses next to them. She grabbed Clarke’s hand to get her attention. The omega was staring straight ahead with a grim look on her face.

“We will win today, ai Haiplana. I have no doubt about that.”

“I know,” Clarke yelled over the noise of the engine. “It’s just that I can’t look at that place and not get nervous, but I know that after today it and the people within won’t hold any more power over me.”

“No, it won’t, and no one in it will ever be able to hurt you again.”

 

They were getting closer and gunfire erupted from both sides. Clarke watched in horror as one of Anya’s warriors fell from her horse, but then looked up to see several people fall from the walls of the Ark. One of the gona, who rode out in front of the others, chose to forego his gun and threw his spear. It landed with deadly accuracy.

Clarke barked out in surprise when several bullets hit the shields they were holding. So many guns were firing now, she could no longer hear the engine on the rover. The firefight went on for at least ten minutes, and Anya’s gona had the upper hand. The Ark was woefully prepared for a gun fight, and the guards had never had any real training. They carried guns while the Ark was still in space, but they couldn’t actually fire them. They couldn’t risk breaching the hull with a stray bullet.

Raven popped her head out the passenger side window. “Hold on you two, we are about to blow the gates.”

The rover rolled to a stop and all horses halted their progress. Two burly gona jumped down with huge tubular weapons. Clarke watched in awe as they put the weapons on their shoulders and aimed for the gates. With a whooshing sound, two missiles went flying, sending the gates off their hinges with an explosive force.

Clarke could hear Raven cackling from inside the vehicle and couldn’t suppress her grin when she saw the Commander staring in astonishment at the destruction she just witnessed.

The horses and rover began to move again until they were just outside the Ark. That was when the omega warriors flooded by. Stepping over the wreckage, they streamed into the confines of the Ark with Anya’s warriors. They all had weapons raised, ready to defend their Commander and Queen. Clarke could hear fighting and gunfire.

The rover slowly rolled to the center of the outside common area after the signal was received that it was all clear. It was eerily quiet. Bodies littered the ground, and Clarke was happy to see the it was mostly people from the Ark. Several of the gona were badly injured.

Clarke and Lexa quickly unstrapped themselves from the rover and assessed the situation. “Where’s everyone else?” Clarke looked at the bodies on the ground. None were of the Chancellor, Wells or the Major.

Murphy got out from the back of the rover. “Unless they found a way to escape around the blockade, I am betting they are hiding inside.”

Raven clumsily got to her feet and Anya handed over her crutches. Octavia also approached.

Lexa looked to the former delinquents from Skaikru for their expertise. “Where would they hide?”

“All the best areas were destroyed with the bombs I made for the infiltration team,” Raven said. “The only one that I can think of now that would be big enough to hold them is the classrooms.”

Octavia hesitated then said, “Heda, as you know, I grew up under the floor. I got pretty good at finding my way around without anyone knowing I was there. If you let me, I could make my way under the floor to see if they are there. The classrooms weren’t too far from our rooms.”

Lexa thought for only a moment. “Go, and if you find them, do not alert them to your presence. Return to us as quickly as possible.”

 

It was a tense few minutes while they waited for Octavia to return. No one spoke. Clarke spun her dagger in her fingers, and Raven could be heard creaking on her crutches. Lexa and Anya stood rigid, not moving at all.

 

Octavia returned with a stymied look on her face. “You were right, the classroom is being used as a hiding place, but it’s only the Chancellor with about eighty to a hundred others. Most have guns, but most of them are pistols. They also have shock batons. Wells and the Major and anyone else who might be alive are not there. I took a few extra minutes to look around, and I don’t think there is anyone else in the Ark.”

Lexa unsheathed her sword. “We cannot worry about those who are not here. Murphy, you will lead us to the classroom then stand back. I plan to draw the gunfire to the doorway until they run out. No one is to make them submit unless it is me. They asked for this fight, and they will get it. I will not make them submit or allow them to surrender.”

Lexa turned to Clarke. “Are you ready for this to be over, niron?”

Clarke nodded then reached for her houmon. She gave her a chaste kiss then whispered in Lexa’s ear. The Commander’s eyes widened then narrowed as she gave a lopsided smile.

“That is ingenious, ai Haiplana. We will make it so.”

“Announce our arrival, General.”

“People of the Ark, you are trapped and there will be no surrender. You are all complicit in the capture of our Queen. Jus drein jus daun. Blood must have blood.” The warriors outside the door all started chanting jus drein jus daun menacingly.

The door, of course, was locked.

“Break it down.”

Raven quickly hobbled forward on her crutches. “Allow me, Commander.”

The beta reached into her jacket pocket and pulled something out. She leaned forward and gently set it atop the doorknob so it wouldn’t fall.

“I would stand back if I were you.”

Everyone in the vicinity stepped away. Clarke, expecting an explosion, covered her ears. To her disappointment, when Raven set off the bomb it only made a soft popping sound. She uncovered her ears.

“Did it fail?” Clarke was certain that it had.

Raven’s smile was brilliant. “Nope.” She pointed to one of the gona. “Touch the knob, push the door, then stand back because the bullets are going to fly.”

The gona did as commanded. When he touched the doorknob, it simply fell off and the door swung open. Raven had been correct. The occupants of the classroom started to shoot. It didn’t take long for the pistols to run out of ammunition.

Anya taunted the Arkers and got them to shoot off their last few rounds.

“I hope you have prepared to die. Your fight is over. All but Abby will die this day,” Lexa yelled as she stepped into the room.

It was larger than she expected, and she could smell the fear and pheromones as Skaikru tried to make her submit. Their weakness was laughable.

Clarke stepped in next to Lexa followed by Myra, Costia, and Octavia.

“You had your chance at a real life on this world,” Clarke said, “but you squandered it.” She was addressing the people surrounding the Chancellor. “Why? To protect her?” She pointed at Abby. “All she ever did was fill your heads with lies. Do you see these women next to me? They are all omegas too, and it will be by my hand and theirs that you die this day. Jus drein jus daun.”

The omegas, along with Lexa, brandished their swords. Lexa signaled for Anya, Lincoln, Gustus, and about twenty other omega warriors to enter. Even though the odds were in their favor, one hundred-ish Skaikru to just five grounders were too many.

The members of Skaikru brandished their own weapons. Most carried shock batons, but several also carried clubs and crow bars.

“Kom wor,” Lexa yelled before leaping over a desk at the closest Skai person. After that, all that could be heard was the clash of weapons and the zaps of the shock batons. The guard nearest Lexa held his baton out in front of him. She could see that sparks coming off his electrified weapon.

“Come on you bitch. Just try and hit me with your sword. I will electrocute you.” He made to attack the Commander. She sidestepped, but not before he barely grazed her left shoulder with his weapon. The shock almost brought Lexa to her knees, but she remained on her feet and easily rounded on him to stab him through his chest despite her left arm now being completely numb and useless.

After that there was no thought. She attacked and slashed and cut. Bodies dropped around her. She looked up in time to watch Clarke slash her sword across the back of a woman’s legs who was about to swing at Octavia with a crowbar. She watched as her wife almost elegantly fought more men from the Ark. Her face was savage and covered in blood, but her movements were graceful, even as she struck each man down. Myra and Costia were fighting back to back easily taking out anyone who came at them. Anya, who was covered in blood, fought with a grin spread across her face.

“You are all pathetic,” Lexa heard Anya say as she cut down one of the last guards protecting the Chancellor.

 

The Chancellor had backed herself into a corner and was holding up a shock baton. She had made no move to enter the fight. She had a determined sneer plastered across her face.

“Clarke, is this really what you want to do? Do you really want to kill me? I am your mother.”

Clarke stalked forward. Blood was dripping from her sword. “You make me sick, Abby kom Skaikru. You try now to say that you are my mother? Do you really think that will work? You have never been a mother to me. You have never claimed me as your daughter. You see that woman over there?” Clarke pointed at Myra.

“She is the mother I always dreamed of having. Before she even knew who I really was, she cared for me, and helped calm my fears. She held me when I cried. She told me it was okay to be who I was and to be an omega. She did everything for me that a mother should. She did everything that you should have done.”

Clarke looked at Lexa who gave her a nod, and the omega released a targeted blast of pheromones that had Abby falling to her knees. The alpha lost her hold on her shock baton and it rolled to the floor in front of Clarke who stopped its progress with her foot.

Wanheda picked the baton up in her left hand after sheathing her sword. “Is this the same baton that you took such pleasure in using to abuse me?”

Abby stayed silent, so Lexa moved to stand next to her Queen. “Answer her,” she demanded as she added her own powerful pheromones to the mix. Abby bared her neck then fell onto her hands. “Y-yes. It’s the same one.”

Clarke gave a mirthless smile. “Good, because I want you to know exactly what it feels like to be hit with one of these things.” The omega adjusted the setting to low and pressed it against the Chancellor’s neck until the alpha was screaming and begging her to stop.

Clarke lifted the baton off her skin. “Why should I stop? You never did. You never showed me any mercy, so why should I show any to you?” Clarke upped the setting and hit her again. She didn’t stop until the alpha had collapsed onto her belly.

“You deserve death, Abby kom Skaikru, and you will get it. You are sentenced to death by a thousand cuts, but…not until after you have served a sentence of hard labor in Polis. You will spend your days mucking out horse stalls, cleaning sewers, picking up trash, and doing whatever any omega asks you to do. You will be surrounded by omegas Chancellor. They will be your guards, your bosses, and your punishers. In the end, they will also be your executioners. Step out of line, and they will get to punish you as they see fit.” Clarke grabbed Abby by the hair and lifted her head, forcing her to look in her eyes.

“Your cell will be the smallest, darkest, and coldest one in the dungeons with only a bucket to piss in. You will receive no comforts, and you will eat only if I allow it. Then, when I see fit, you will be tied to a tree and you will be cut. One thousand times. It might be across your chest, or it might be across your eyes. By the time we are done, there won’t be any place left on your body to cut, but don’t worry. I will make sure the healers keep you alive long enough to endure every cut. You will be begging for mercy, but you will receive none. You will live until my Commander takes her sword and plunges it into your foul, black heart.”

She hit the Chancellor one last time with the shock baton and didn’t let up until the alpha had passed out.

Lexa carefully approached the omega and took the baton out of her hand. “It is a perfect punishment, Wanheda. The warriors will secure her and take her to Polis.”

“Good. I need to get out of here. I don’t ever want to step into this place again.” Clarke grabbed Lexa’s hand and the two of them walked out of the Ark together.

 

Raven walked up to Lexa and Clarke on her crutches. She could hear her leaders and some of the generals talking about what to do with the Ark. Clarke was arguing for its destruction. “If you want, Wanheda, I can make the whole place go boom.”

Clarke smiled and looked at Lexa. For several minutes, the grounders discussed if the Ark would have any value if left intact. In the end a unanimous decision was made to let Raven work her magic.

“Have the gona strip anything useful from it first, Rae, then make it go boom. Just be sure I am around when it happens. I want to watch.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 57

It was barely dawn. Clarke watched from the ridge near the tree line while Raven, Sinclair, and several of the other refugees from the Ark set up the final bombs to bring the Ark down. She purposefully stood near Abby, who was in a cage. The omega wanted the ex-Chancellor to watch as the Ark fell. It was just the beginning of the doctor’s punishment.

“It’s a shame really,” Clarke began, addressing the caged woman, “the people of the Ark could have remained there, and had a home, but because of you it is being destroyed…but once it falls, the metal and anything useful will be used to build a new community for Skaikru. Too bad you won’t be around to see that. The people of Polis are expecting you and have already compiled quite a list of undesirable chores for you to complete.”

Marcus Kane walked up next to her. He had been named ambassador to Skaikru. He looked at the Ark and sighed.

“You’re sad it’s being destroyed,” Clarke said.

“I am, but not for the reasons you would expect,” he explained. “That station kept us alive for ninety-seven years, and up until very recently, we thought we were the last of humanity. I am sad, because once it is destroyed, we will no longer have anything to remind us of what we were capable of. But, with it gone, it will also force us to live in this world, not the one from the past. Without it, we will no longer be able to hold onto the idea that we are somehow superior and deserving. We will have to prove ourselves if we want to survive down here.”

Clarke heard Abby scoff from her cage. “Have something to say, prisoner?” Clarke played with her dagger as she glared at the alpha. The alpha rolled her eyes but kept quiet.

Clarke looked back at the metal monstrosity and waited impatiently as the rover drove up the ridge to her. She tried to hide the look of amusement on her face as the rover drove, slightly erratically, on its path. As it neared, the driver braked too hard and sent it fishtailing on the muddy earth. Clarke burst out laughing.

Lexa got out of the driver’s side. “It isn’t nice to laugh at your houmon, ai Hiaplana.”

Raven got out next, now using only one crutch, and said, “I don’t get it, Anya caught on so fast, but Heda Hotpants can’t remember her right from her left while she is driving. She may be the most powerful person on earth, but she’s a skrish driver.”

Raven, who was walking better every day, handed Clarke a remote. “I thought you should do the honors. The place has been cleared, so if you want, push that red button and everything will go boom.”

Lexa came to stand next to her omega when Clarke hesitated. “It is only fitting, niron.”

A crowd had gathered. Myra and Costia stood near, as did Anya. Octavia stood further away, holding Lincoln’s hand. The coalition armies had been released from their duties and could leave at any time, but most stayed, wanting to see the Ark fall. It would be like nothing they had witnessed before, and tales of its destruction and the omega who blew it up would be told for years to come.

Lexa grabbed Clarke’s unoccupied hand and brought it to her lips. “Bring it down, Wanheda. It is time to end this era of hatred.”

Clarke looked at the Ark one last time then pushed the button. A few muffled explosions could be heard from within the Ark, and then the ground shook. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The Ark came crashing down and everyone, except for the caged alpha, cheered.

 

Clarke took one more look at the remnants of the Ark and walked away, still holding Lexa’s hand.

“There is one more thing we need to do before we head to Polis, hodnes.”

Clarke looked up to the sky then closed her eyes. “I know.” When she looked back down her eyes locked with Lexa’s. “Let’s get this over with. I want to go home.”

 

Bellamy was already tied to the tree. His shirt had been removed and the pale skin of his back was exposed.

Lexa stood before the crowd of onlookers. Costia and Clarke stood to either side of her, heads held high. She moved to the opposite side of the tree so that she could look Bellamy in the eyes.

“For your actions, or lack thereof, that led to the capture and injury of Costia kom Trikru by the Ark, you have been sentenced to fifty lashes.” The Commander watched a shiver of fear go through the Skai alpha. “For the actions you took, which included holding a loaded weapon against your Queen’s head and locking her in the airlock, you are sentenced to one hundred and fifty lashes. I consider this a light sentence for the extreme cowardice you showed, Bellamy kom Skaikru, but it is by the mercy of the omegas who you hurt that you do not receive a sentence of death. You will be given one hundred of these lashes today then will be allowed to heal for three days before you receive the other one hundred. After that you will have five days to heal at which time you will be banished from all coalition lands.”

Bellamy kept his mouth shut, but he couldn’t help the shudders that radiated through his body. Abby, whose cage had been placed on a cart and wheeled over so she could witness the delinquent’s punishment, sneered and called him pathetic.

Anya and Gustus were both holding whips. Anya struck first with only a second passing before Gustus struck with his. They were efficient and brutal, and in the end, Bellamy was weeping and begging for mercy, his back a bloody mess.

After the one hundredth strike, Clarke and Costia grabbed each other’s hands and walked over to Costia’s tent. They didn’t say anything, but once they had privacy, they hugged each other and Costia cried. While Bellamy’s actions had been those of a fool, the repercussions of those actions would be long-lasting for them both.

Lexa gave them some time alone before entering the tent. “We are ready to leave. Nomon will oversee his next punishment and his banishment.” She walked over and hugged her sister. “I am so sorry, Cos, that he turned out to be such an ass. I know you really liked him.”

Costia wiped her eyes. “I did, but I will get over it.”

 

The trip back to Polis felt more arduous than usual. It was slow. Many of the people from the Ark were traveling with them, and they were not yet used to so much activity. Clarke could at least be happy that it was the last day of travel.

She rode with Lexa on her horse as often as she could. She sat in front of Lexa but found herself reaching back and up frequently to touch the alpha’s hair. It had become something of an addiction. She longed for Lexa’s long hair, but she also couldn’t stop touching the short hair on the back of Lexa’s head. She smiled to herself, remembering the last night in their tent when she painstakingly created tiny little braids in the longer hair on the top and sides of Lexa’s head, only to undo them one by one before they made love.

“If you keep doing that, niron, we are going to have to stop everyone so that I can find a tree to hide you behind and ravish you.”

Clarke pretended to scan the surroundings. “I would be okay with that.” She moved impossibly closer to Lexa, pushing her rear into the alpha’s core and felt the alpha shiver.

“We are almost home, hodnes, and as much as the idea appeals to me, I would rather ravish you back in our bed and not against a tree.”

Clarke moaned at the thought of sleeping in their soft bed back in the tower. “Hmm. You’re right. That sounds much more appealing. Can you make everyone move faster?”

 

“Have patience, hodnes. It won’t be long now.”

 

It took much longer than Clarke had hoped to get up to their rooms. The celebratory mood of Polis, greetings from Titus, and the settling of the prisoner seemed to take forever. It wasn’t that Clarke didn’t enjoy it, she just wanted to get her alpha alone. She had also helped get Costia settled back in her home. Her friend was still sad about Bellamy, and Costia also worried for her nomon who was taking the delinquent alpha to the edge of coalition lands. It didn’t help that Lexa wasn’t with her. The alpha, of course, had official business to attend to before being able to relax in the confines of their quarters. Clarke felt lucky that she didn’t have anything more to attend to.

Clarke puttered around, enjoying being home again. She also relished the time alone. She wanted Lexa with her, but since she couldn’t be, she preferred to relax by herself. She had found herself with very little alone time since her capture, so she was now sitting on the couch lavishing her quickly growing kittens with attention. She didn’t even know if they were still considered kittens. Titus assured her that they had been well taken care of and the amount they had grown was a testament to that.

Minx and Zodiac had curled up to nap, so Clarke got off the couch. She went over to one of the bags that she needed to unpack and pulled out something that she had gotten Raven to get for her. She walked into the bathroom to wet her hair. She thought about her wife, who she knew was still self-conscious about her hair, lifted the pair of scissors and started to cut. Golden hair began to fall to the floor. She wasn’t brave enough to cut it too short, leaving it just barely touching her shoulders, but to her the change was drastic. She felt it was only fair since her alpha had taken such an extreme measure to change her own looks in order to save the omega.

Clarke was just coming out of the bathroom when Lexa arrived. Her hair was shorter than she intended, not having taken into account the fact that it wouldn’t be as long when it dried. She was nervous about how her alpha would take the change. Her hair hung halfway between her shoulders and her chin, so really it wasn’t too bad. At least she hoped it wasn’t.

“Clarke, your hair…”

“Do you hate it?” She hesitated then said, “I just thought since you had to change, that maybe I should too. It…it was a stupid idea, wasn’t it?”

Lexa walked up and put her fingers into the newly shorn hair. “It wasn’t stupid at all, niron. I think it is sexy.”

“Really?”

“Mmm,” Lexa hummed. She pulled Clarke into a kiss. “Let me show you just how sexy you are.”

Lexa led Clarke over to the bed, and by the time she was done with her, all of Polis knew how much the Commander liked her omega’s new haircut.

 

Ending #1 (Bellamy gets it in the end)

It was a dark, misty night. The weather was changing and soon the snow would fall. While her footsteps were silent, her companion’s were not. They were clumsy and noisy. It was lucky that there was no need for stealth where they were going.

“Can we stop for the night soon? I’m tired and it’s getting too cold to keep going,” the grumpy alpha asked. Now that it was just him and Myra trudging through the forest, he had progressively gotten bolder with the omega, making brash statements and talking up the previous Skaikru regime. He also tried to make Myra submit, but she brushed it off like nothing was happening which angered the alpha.

“We only need to walk a little further, Bellamy kom Skaikru. Until then, let’s talk about what I overheard before you received your second lashing.”

The alpha’s steps faultered. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Please don’t play stupid with me.” Myra turned to face the alpha who was now not moving at all. She rested her hand on the hilt of her sword. “Because of what you did to my daughter and Clarke, I decided to stick near to the tent you were being held in after our Queen was rescued. I heard you petitioning other members of Skaikru to help you escape. I also heard you say that the missing members of the Ark went to the Mount Weather. If this is true, you should have shared this information with Heda immediately, but you didn’t. Why is that Bellamy?”

He shrugged. “I didn’t think it was important.”

“You’re a bad liar, alpha. I also heard you say that you had wanted to try and convince Costia to go with you to the Mount Weather. Did you love my daughter, Bellamy?”

“Sure, I liked her.”

“Yet you let those foul people beat her.”

“If I hadn’t, they would have killed me.”

Myra gave the alpha a withering glare. “I see. You selfishly decided to save your own neck at the expense of my daughter’s. What if they had killed her? Would you have cared?”

The alpha shuffled on his feet then shrugged again. “I would.” He said it so casually that Myra could tell that it wasn’t true. “I couldn’t let them kill me. I have my sister to think about.”

“That’s a load of skrish (shit). You have barely paid attention to your sister.”

Bellamy was getting angry. “That’s because she would rather be with you filthy grounders than with me.”

“Is that why you wanted to take Costia to the Mount Weather? We took your sister from you, so you want to take my daughter from us?”

“No…no it isn’t like that,” Bellamy was flustered. “I just wanted to be with her.”

Myra stood at her full height. It was a couple of inches short of being as tall as Bellamy, but she was still imposing enough to make him step back. “Do you know what happens when they are taken into the Mountain? They never come back, and if they do, it is as a reaper. I already lost one member of my family because of them, I won’t risk losing another, and that is why I can’t let you go, Bellamy. I can’t risk you coming back and hurting my daughter.”

“I AM AN ALPHA! She is just an omega. I would protect her. I wouldn’t let them hurt her.”

Myra huffed. “Oh please, Bellamy. You didn’t even try to protect her from your own people.”

Myra took a step closer to the alpha. “The sad thing is that I think you really believe what you are saying, but you are a fool and a coward, and that is a dangerous combination. You also don’t think before you act. I can’t risk that you may come back for my goufa.”

Before Bellamy knew what was happening, Myra’s blade slashed out, striking the alpha in the heart. His eyes widened in surprise and pain before he sank to his knees.

“I am sorry Bellamy. I liked you, I really did, but I can’t let you live. You hurt my daughter, and you hurt our Queen. Intentional or not, it is an unforgivable offense.

Myra watched as the life left his eyes. She couldn’t help the few stray tears that she shed. She wept for the lost life of the young man before her who, if he had made better decisions, could have lived a happy life. She wept for her Clarke who had endured so much at the hands of the people of the Ark, and she wept for her daughter whose heart had been broken. After a few minutes, she dried her tears. She leaned over the alpha’s body and touched her fingers to his forehead. “Yu gonplei ste odon (Your fight is over).”

She began the long walk back to where she had left the other gona. It was time to go back home.

 

Ending #2 (Bellamy gets banished)

It was a dark, misty night. The weather was changing and soon the snow would fall. While her footsteps were silent, her companion’s were not. They were clumsy and noisy. It was lucky that there was no need for stealth where they were going.

“Can we stop for the night soon? I’m tired and it’s getting too cold to keep going,” the grumpy alpha asked. Now that it was just him and Myra trudging through the forest, he had progressively gotten bolder with the omega, making brash statements and talking up the previous Skaikru regime. He also tried to make Myra submit, but she brushed it off like nothing was happening which angered the alpha.

“We only need to walk a little further, Bellamy kom Skaikru. Until then, let’s talk about what I overheard before you received your second lashing.”

The alpha’s steps faultered. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Please don’t play stupid with me.” Myra turned to face the alpha who was now not moving at all. She rested her hand on the hilt of her sword. “Because of what you did to my daughter and Clarke, I decided to stick near to the tent you were being held in after our Queen was rescued. I heard you petitioning other members of Skaikru to help you escape. I also heard you say that the missing members of the Ark went to the Mount Weather. If this is true, you should have shared this information with Heda immediately, but you didn’t. Why is that Bellamy?”

He shrugged. “I didn’t think it was important.”

“You’re a bad liar, alpha. I also heard you say that you had wanted to try and convince Costia to go with you to the Mount Weather. Did you love my daughter, Bellamy?”

“Sure, I liked her.”

“Yet you let those foul people beat her.”

“If I hadn’t, they would have killed me.”

Myra gave the alpha a withering glare. “I see. You selfishly decided to save your own neck at the expense of my daughter’s. What if they had killed her? Would you have cared?”

The alpha shuffled on his feet then shrugged again. “I would.” He said it so casually that Myra could tell that it wasn’t true. “I couldn’t let them kill me. I have my sister to think about.”

“That’s a load of skrish (shit). You have barely paid attention to your sister.”

Bellamy was getting angry. “That’s because she would rather be with you filthy grounders than with me.”

“Is that why you wanted to take Costia to the Mount Weather? We took your sister from you, so you want to take my daughter from us?”

“No…no it isn’t like that,” Bellamy was flustered. “I just wanted to be with her.”

Myra stood at her full height. It was a couple of inches short of being as tall as Bellamy, but she was still imposing enough to make him step back. “Do you know what happens when they are taken into the Mountain? They never come back, and if they do, it is as a reaper. I already lost one member of my family because of them, I won’t risk losing another, and that is why I can’t let you go, Bellamy. I can’t risk you coming back and hurting my daughter.”

“I AM AN ALPHA! She is just an omega. I would protect her. I wouldn’t let them hurt her.”

Myra huffed. “Oh please, Bellamy. You didn’t even try to protect her from your own people.”

Myra took a step closer to the alpha. “The sad thing is that I think you really believe what you are saying, but you are a fool and a coward, and that is a dangerous combination. You also don’t think before you act. I can’t risk that you may come back for my goufa.”

Myra’s knife flashed out but stopped just before it pierced the skin about Bellamy’s heart. She held the knife steady and pulled the alpha to her. “Let me tell you this, Bellamy kom Skaikru, if you ever return to coalition lands, I will kill you. I have people everywhere, so I will know the second you step foot on our lands. There will be no one to protect you, and I won’t hesitate. The only way you save your hide is by not coming back. Do you understand?”

The alpha nodded fervently, tears pooling in his eyes.

“Then run, Bellamy. Go before I change my mind and kill you now.”

Myra watched as the alpha ran. When she was sure he was far away, she turned and walked back to where she had left her gona. It was time to go home.

Chapter Text

Chapter 58

 

One year later.

 

Clarke was standing on the balcony watching the sun rise. She was tired, and she was achy, but the aches were in all the right places. Her heat had just ended, as had Lexa’s rut, and she was hopeful that she was carrying a pup or two.

She felt Lexa’s presence behind her and turned her head. “How long have you been standing there?”

Lexa walked up to her and wrapped her arms around her waist from behind. “Not long. You’re glowing, niron.”

Clarke chuckled and reached back, digging her fingers into Lexa’s hair. The omega’s obsession with her houmon’s hair hadn’t disappeared, and she enjoyed sliding her fingers through the soft hair that now almost reached the alpha’s shoulders. “I am only glowing because of the sun, my love.”

It was Lexa’s turn to chuckle. “That isn’t it at all. Your scent has changed too. It is subtle, but I think it means that you are pregnant.” The alpha tenderly rubbed a hand up and down Clarke’s belly.

Clarke turned so that she was facing her wife. She smiled. “Do you really think so?”

“I do. I can feel the changes in me too. I am feeling overly protective of you.”

“Ha. You have always been overly protective of me.”

Lexa leaned in for a kiss. “That is because I love you so much. I just can’t help it.”

“I love you too.” Clarke turned to look at the brightening sky one more time, and her shoulders slumped. “We have to get ready. It’s time.”

“I know, niron, are you certain you are ready for this?”

Clarke grabbed Lexa’s hand and led her back inside. “I am as ready as I will ever be. Abby Griffin’s punishment has been sufficient, and sadly, I don’t think she has changed at all. I have been watching her. She still sneers at the omegas and makes such hurtful remarks. Only once have I seen her smile. It was at a young omega boy. The sad thing is, I don’t know if she was smiling at his innocence and youth or at the things she thought she could do to him if she got her hands on him.”

 

When Clarke had arrived back in Polis a year ago, she had what Lexa called a crisis of conscience. She wasn’t able to fully implement the punishment she had planned for Abby in the heat of the battle. At the time she was still hurting and angry and wanted nothing more than for Abby to experience all the pain that the alpha had put her through. In the end, she decided that the doctor should be treated as any other prisoner in Polis. It wasn’t the harsh punishment Clarke had originally conceived, but it wouldn’t be easy for the alpha either. It would still be a sentence of hard labor, but she would be fed and cared for just as any other prisoner. Clarke’s only stipulation was that she still wanted the alpha to be surrounded by the omega guards. At the end of a year, she would be put to death.

It wasn’t a decision Clarke made lightly. She dearly wanted to the alpha to suffer, but if she was the cause of the alpha’s suffering, then what did that make her? She wouldn’t allow her pain and anger turn her into a monster like her mother.

 

They arrived at Abby’s cell dressed in their full regalia. They were an imposing couple, but it didn’t faze the alpha who sat behind the bars, filthy, and just a shadow of what she used to be.

It had been a long time since the Commander had seen the former Chancellor, and she was startled at the resemblance she had to Clarke the first time Lexa had ever seen the omega. It was so long ago, but the image was burned into her mind. Clarke had been emaciated and scared, but her brilliant blue eyes had radiated power, strength, and determination, and even then, she had been stunningly beautiful. Abby wasn’t nearly as emaciated, but still her eyes held a similar look to Clarke’s.

Abby could have been beautiful, but her hate colored everything she did, and it had tarnished her soul beyond repair. She did radiate a certain determination, even as she sat on the dirt floor. It was that determination that would ultimately lead to her end. If she were allowed to live, she would never stop in her quest to spread her hatred and lies.

The woman got to her feet and approached the bars of her cell. She purposefully kicked over the bucket she used as a bathroom, causing its contents to splash near the couple. They had to step back in order to avoid the mess. She sniffed over the stink she created. “Commander, I see you have finally figured out the one thing an omega is good for. You finally bred her like the bitch she is.”

Lexa didn’t take the bait, and to Abby’s disappointment, Clarke didn’t react either. “Abby kom Skaikru, today is the day of your death.”

Abby’s eyes widened and she finally showed a little fear, but she hid it away as quickly as it surfaced. “What, I’m not a good slave anymore? Did I not pick up yesterday’s horse shit to your satisfaction?”

It was Clarke’s turn to speak. “You mean like the slave you believed me to be up on the Ark? You weren’t imprisoned to be a slave, Abby. You were imprisoned for the crimes you committed against me and so many others. Your punishment was the same as those locked up around you. It could have been worse. It was supposed to be worse, but unlike you, I didn’t want you to suffer unfairly.”

“That is why you are weak,” Abby spewed.

“The thing is,” Clarke went on, ignoring the alpha, “it could have been so different, but you couldn’t see past your hatred, which I know stemmed from your disappointment in yourself. Your failures became my punishments. I had hoped that this year would have given you some clarity, but you have not changed. You will never change, but that doesn’t matter now, because by the end of the day, you will be dead.”

Clarke signaled to the guards behind her. They opened the cell door and secured the prisoner as the Commander and Wanheda walked away.

 

Abby leaned with her head bowed in the center of the market square in Polis. The only thing holding her up was the rope bonding the alpha to the thick wooden pole she was tied to. Blood dripped from every conceivable place on her body. Clarke had stood unmoving, but not uncaring, as she made the first cut across the skin protecting the alpha’s heart. “This is just the beginning of your end, Abby kom Skaikru. This will be the location of the first cut, and it will be the location of the last when the Commander finally uses her blade to end your fight.”

Clarke had then stepped back. Myra approached the alpha. The older omega’s cut wasn’t deep, but it was long and excruciatingly painful. She took her blade and dragged it down the entire length of the alpha’s back. Costia was next. Hers was a nearly identical cut, but it was down the alpha’s front. Both remained silent and resolute, green eyes turned to hard steel. After that, it was a steady stream of omegas that swarmed in to make their cuts. Abby growled at the first few, but it became too painful, and then only whimpers escaped. Then it was the former Arker’s turn. Clarke was surprised at just how many people from the Ark wanted a cut. Raven and Marcus Kane were the first. Raven’s cut was so deep that the healers had to intervene in order to keep the alpha alive long enough to make it to the end. Octavia had made her cut when the other omegas had.

Clarke stood back and masked the pain she felt as each cut was made. She felt foolish and weak having compassion for the monster before her.

The Commander leaned in and whispered in her ear. “I feel your pain, niron. It doesn’t make you weak.” Clarke was still amazed every time Lexa seemed to know what she was thinking. “I actually think it makes you strong…to have compassion for another human being, no matter how black their soul is.”

“Thank you.” She briefly grasped Lexa’s hand. Anya made the second to last cut then signaling to Heda that it was time.

Lexa approached the now silent alpha. She lifted the weakening alpha’s head before addressing her. “Yu gonplei ste odon, Abby kom Skaikru.” She unsheathed her sword and leveled it with the alpha’s heart. She let it rest against the cut Clarke had made earlier before slowly pushing the blade in. A soft gasp left Abby’s mouth before she died.

Lexa looked back at Clarke as a small pain rose in her chest followed by a wave of relief. It was all from Clarke. “It is over.”

 

It was very late, and Clarke was sitting around a table with her family, friends and several people from Skaikru. Most were already drunk, but Clarke had abstained after Jackson told her that it wasn’t wise to drink during her pregnancy. Since Clarke couldn’t drink, Lexa chose not to either. She may have had an ulterior motive. She wanted to be sober when she made love to her wife that night.

Once again, they were all discussing what to do about the Azgedan Queen and Mount Weather. It had been a relatively calm and happy year, but Nia was insisting the Commander destroy the guns that had been used to help destroy the Ark. It was only Lexa’s insistence that they would be essential in the fight against Mount Weather that kept the Ice Queen off her back.

Reaper attacks were up slightly, and the Mountain had deployed their acid fog a few times, but luckily no one had died, although there had been some serious injuries. It had been worrying when Myra had told the Commander that Wells and the others had indeed escaped to the Mountain. It was also concerning because Raven had discovered that most of the files Abby had kept on Clarke were gone. She seriously doubted that Abby deleted them. It was more likely that they had been given to Wells to take to Mount Weather, but no one could figure out why.

Raven who had moved permanently into the tower with Anya, had been working tirelessly to hack into the Mountain’s computers, but the signals were still being blocked. Monty, who had recently moved to Polis with Harper and Jasper to set up a distilling business, was trying to help her. He had also been instrumental in helping the former residents of the Ark set up a medical facility. Everything that could be saved from the Ark prior to its destruction was taken and was now being used to advance medical practices on the ground. Jackson promised Clarke and Lexa that in a few weeks he would be able to do several tests to make sure Clarke’s pup or pups were okay. Lexa didn’t fully understand how these tests would work, even after both Jackson and Raven explained them to her, but she was excited, especially after she was told that they would be able to determine the sex of the baby or babies. They wouldn’t know the presentation until after the birth.

 

Lexa and Clarke were in bed basking in the afterglow of their love making. Lexa was falling asleep as Clarke played with the soft hair of her wife’s eyebrows. The omega was reminiscing about everything that had happened to her since she landed in the pod. So much had happened that it was hard to remember everything, but it was this past year that she remembered most fondly, aside from her officially being mated with Lexa. It had been a year of relative peace. The coalition was strong, aside from a few petty squabbles and Nia’s constant interference, and Skaikru was beginning to thrive. Instead of rebuilding where the Ark had landed, many people had relocated to different parts of the coalition, but most came to live in Polis. There was no official Skaikru anymore because they had been absorbed into the already existing clans. Marcus did remain an ambassador in order to represent the needs that might arise as the new additions settled in, and eventually it was figured that he would remain in Polis as an advisor. It still wasn’t clear what had happened to the people from Farm Station. An investigation had been launched and it was found that the station landed mostly intact, but it looked as if the people had fled. There just wasn’t any trace of them.

 

It had been a year of many bonding ceremonies including those of Anya and Raven, Lincoln and Octavia, Monty and Harper, and surprisingly Myra and Gustus. Everyone thought that Lexa’s mother would wait just a little longer. It was no surprise that Clarke was the first to get pregnant, in fact, Raven had started a betting pool. Anya made no secret that she was betting that Raven would be the first to get pregnant, but she lost that bet. She couldn’t hide her disappointment, but Clarke could see a new determination in her eyes and placed her own bet that Raven would be next.

She thought about the first time she had seen Anya and how terrifying she was. Now, the alpha was one of the most important people in her life, and she often confided in her. They had a bond that was stronger than that of just fos and seken. They had spent many nights around the fire, after a successful hunting trip, talking and joking, while everyone else slept. They confided hopes and fears that they weren’t quite comfortable sharing with their mates to each other. The first time they had talked like this, Clarke felt guilty. She thought she should be telling these things to her wife, but Anya assured her that it was okay. Everyone needed someone to talk to that wasn’t their mate, and if it was something that the alpha thought Clarke should tell the Commander, she told her. Anya also continued to train her seken, and Clarke’s skills were becoming legendary around the coalition.

 

She thought about Myra and Costia who were the family she never had. Clarke and Costia were becoming master pranksters together, and Raven was hard put to rival some of the things they had done. Lexa took the brunt of many of the pranks, but she always took it in stride and never got mad. The alpha was just pleased that Clarke was able to have her fun and playful moments.

Myra was her biggest cheerleader and supported Clarke in everything she did. She was also teaching Clarke to cook and bake. Myra was sharing recipes that she had kept secret from her other goufas but decided to hand down to her newest daughter.

All in all, it had been an amazing year. She had friends, a family, a home, and happiness. It was a life she had never dared to dream of, and no one would be able to take it away from her.

“Thank you for everything you have done for me, Lex,” Clarke whispered, thinking the alpha asleep. “I love you so damn much. You make me happier than I ever thought I could be.”

 

Lexa rolled over to face her wife. “I will do everything in my power to keep it that way, ai hodnes. I want you to know that whatever happens, I will be there to make sure you will always be happy tomorrow.”

Chapter Text

Hi, everyone. This isn't a chapter. I just wanted to let anyone who is interested know that I have started posting part 2 of this story.