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Shared Spaces

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Life wasn’t really meant to go like this, Lexa thought as she hauled the last box of her belongings up the disheveled staircase to her new apartment. Well, new to her. She didn’t want to know how many years had gone by since the space could even remotely be described as “new”. ‘It’s only temporary’ she consoled herself as Lexa kicked open the door with peeling paint and the crooked apartment numbers haphazardly nailed to its surface, closing it behind her with her rear and unceremoniously discarding the box on top of the nearest pile.

Lexa had never thought she would be here. Had never even questioned the fact that her life would not go according to “The Plan”. The plan she’d spent countless hours putting together and meticulously tweaking as a child and young adult so she was positive it was attainable. And yet here she was, nearing 30, with no friends, no career, no partner, and with zero boxes on her list checked and moving into an apartment that didn’t even have it’s own bathroom. The room in question which was stationed between hers and the apartments over contained several musty smelling cubbies for personal belongings(if anyone trusted to leave them there), two enclosed toilets, and a single stand up shower.

“Could be worse,” Lexa says aloud while she scans the shabby living space “I could be uhh…” She narrows her eyes at the portable stove on top of what looks to be an old dresser, “terminally ill.” Her eyes then drift to the spluttering light bulb over the rusted sink in the corner, “in a comma.” She pauses and moves further into the apartment and distrustfully eyes the water stains on the ceiling that happen to reside over the only convenient space to place her mattress. “I could be…” Lexa then rather ungraciously lets her body fall to the dirty carpet and sighs heavily, “no, no this is pretty bad.”

***
“This is perfect!” Exclaimed Clarke as she scoped out the apartment space she planned to turn into her and Ravens private work space.

Raven pushed herself up onto the makeshift counter in what somewhat resembled a kitchen and raised her eyebrows dubiously. “I’m no snob, Clarke, but I wouldn’t exactly describe this place as…” She flicks what looks eerily similar to rat feces off the counter to the floor. “Perfect.”

“You’re looking at it all wrong, Rae! It’s got character! Plus it’s not like we’ll be living here.” Clarke presses.

“Bless the poor souls that do.”

Clarke playfully slaps her best friends arm and laughs, “Oh come on, it’s not that bad!”

“Grrrrl,” Raven laughs and waves her hands in front of Clarke's face, “I think you need your eyes checked. This place is a dump.”

“Yeah Rae! A dump with cheap as fuck rent with plenty of room for BOTH of our projects and whose original smell,” She takes a dramatic sniff, “might actually be improved by the smell of paint and…” Clarke looks to Raven with her most charming smile, “burning flesh.”

“That was one time Griffin!” Argues Raven as she leaps off the counter at her friend plastering an unconvincing frown over her smiling features.

“Yeah well we all have the scars to prove it.” Counters Clarke. “Just imagine it. The windows open-”

“ALL the windows.”

“Yes, all,” Clarke counts, “two windows open! A stereo playing all our old tapes. My easel in that corner over there and your work bench over there. Maybe a couch. A fridge full of beer. All our old posters from our college dorms on the walls. This will be OUR work space Rae. Where everyone knows to leave us be and we can finally get some work done without anyone barging in and demanding god knows what.”

Raven watches on as her childhood friend dramatically shows off the space with sweeping arm gestures and her blue eyes sparkling. She can cover the entirety of the apartment in a matter of seconds and has to do several laps while she tries to sell the possible work space. What Clarke doesn’t know is that Raven had known the moment they walked through the door that this was it. The chipped paint and stains only making the space that more endearing to them. When Raven had imagined the hard grind of early projects and “roughing it”, this is what she envisioned. Weird smells and leaky faucets included. It only made sense to make their dreams come true in the space she had imagined when those dreams first came to fruition.

Raven takes the few short steps around the makeshift kitchen counter towards her blonde haired friend while she spits in her palm, a ritual since childhood the two shared, and holds out her hand, “Looks like it’s ours then doesn’t it?”

Beaming, Clarke spits in her own palm and completes the ritual, loudly clapping their hands together and shaking. “Welcome to your new lab, Raven Reyes.”

“Welcome to your new studio, Clarke Griffin.” Raven mirrors. “Now, where can a woman take a piss around here?”

Chapter Text

To say Lexa feels sick is putting it mildly. To say Lexa feels like she is knocking on death’s door is closer to reality. She’s been feeling progressively worse since the middle of the week and having a harder time holding any food or water down. She’s trying to quietly destroy the bathroom one visit at a time so she doesn’t have to awkwardly run into the neighbors she is yet to meet. Like a shit ninja she thinks as she tiptoes into the shared space yet again.  She doubts she could hold a conversation long enough to come up with some sorry lie about her not being the one wrecking the bathroom every 10 minutes let alone make any more noise beyond the groans of pain she’s been failing to hold back. Especially when she realizes she sat on the toilet when she actually needs to be on her knees in front of the toilet. Oh wait. No, sitting. Oh no. “guuhhhfuuuuuuuk.” Lexa could care less about being discreet anymore and lets herself fall into a sweaty fever dream of pepto bismol and sweat soaked clothes. 




***

 

Raven tears Clarke's attention away from her painting by turning down the cassette player currently blasting Cindy Lauper. “Rae! She Bop!?!?! Really?! Couldn’t wait till it was over?”

 

“Shush dude,” Raven comes to Clarke's side, speaking in a low voice, “I found the ninja dumper in the bathroom. She looks fuckin’ out of it man. I think you should come check on her.”

 

“Wait really?!” Clarke might be a little too excited to finally put a face to the noises she’s been hearing through the thin walls since she came over to work on her painting. Based off the lingering scents when she herself had gone to the restroom, Clarke had conjured up an image of a boil covered ape person. 

 

“Yeah man, like a human sweat sack all crumpled up on the floor. Half her body is poking out from under the stall.” 

 

“Shit.” Raven’s words send Clarke into action. Her and Raven might have been snickering about the noises coming from the bathroom earlier but that was when they thought it was just a hung-over occupant of the building. Now her mother’s voice is ringing clear in her head and “Doctor Clarke”(lovingly dubbed by Raven) is getting ready to make an appearance. Clarke may have dropped out of med school but she still deeply cared about helping people. Stinky neighbors or not. She hurriedly wipes what paint she can off her hands as she goes to grab a bottle of water from the case tucked in the corner of the kitchen. 

 

“Shit might be an understatement, Clarke. Shit’s definitely involved in the situation but I’m thinking more along the lines of-” 

“Rae come off it,” Clarke interjects, now genuinely worried about the stranger in the bathroom. “This could be serious.”

 

“I KNOW Clarke, that’s why I came to get you instead of dropping a deuce right next to the dying lady.” 

 

Clarke yanks open the front door and tosses a “Nice Raven”, over her shoulder as she makes her way to the bathroom. 



***

 

Lexa’s head hurts and her mouth tastes foul and… “Where the fu-” She’s interrupted by a coughing fit and a plump nurse with a kind face handing her a styrofoam cup full of ice chips. 

 

“You’re in the hospital honey. You’re friends brought you here. Looks like you’ve got a case of the Beaver Fever.” 

 

The words “beaver fever” cause Lexa to choke on the ice chips she was cramming in her mouth and it takes her several minutes to clear her airways while the nurse rubs encouraging circles on her back. 

 

“Beaver..” cough cough “fever? Isn’t that from drinking like lake water or something?” Lexa questions. She didn’t remember consuming anything questionable recently. Well, more questionable than normal. And she definitely doesn't remember any friends being made.



“It sure is dear, although I should technically be calling it by its medical name, Giardia. It’s more likely you contracted it from someone else. It spreads pretty easily.”

 

“It’s contagious?” 

 

“Why yes dear. Usually a case of poor sanitary practices.” Lexa’s mind highlights the most probable culprit. The dirty guy she is more often than not paired with on her shifts as a line cook at the local greasy spoon. On multiple occasions she had caught him waltzing out of the employee bathroom just after hearing the toilet flush still with his apron on and having obviously not washed his hands. She of course had said something to the man and even went so far as to report it. But apparently it was a little too late for her case. Hopefully she was the only victim of his poor habits and none of the food had been contaminated. God, this is how you start a fucking pandemic. Thinks Lexa as the nurse continues to talk,  “Maybe a not too savvy hiker made themselves sick and decided it would be a good idea to share the beauty of the great outdoors.”

 

“Are you trying to make a joke?” Lexa looks up at the nurse, edging on annoyed. She just woke up in a hospital she doesn’t remember being taken to by, she’s assuming, one of her neighbors she embarrassingly, very unsuccessfully, hid her unpleasant bodily functions  from. 

 

The nurse busies herself with Lexa’s IV muttering something about “just trying to be friendly” under her breath while Lexa’s eyes search the room looking for something familiar. She doesn’t come up with much more information than yes she is indeed in a hospital and that it’s just past 8 o’clock in the evening according to the analog clock hanging on the wall.  Meaning she’s been out of it for a few hours. 

 

That’s when the door to the room cracks open and the most breathtaking blonde slides in and quietly shuts the door behind her. She’s wearing a worn grey t-shirt smeared with paint and blue jeans that are in a similar state of splattered and torn. Her forearms have streaks of yellow paint running up to her elbows and she’s even sporting a couple smudges on her cheeks and dimpled chin. Lexa can’t help it and her eyes dart all along the blondes body, her shapely curves and wild locks of golden hair. The pale skin of her arms and neck. Her... are those crocs? Ew. But it’s when the other woman’s gaze meets her own, that Lexa finally understands where the saying, “love at first sight”, comes from. It’s also then that she realizes the most beautiful woman in the world is most likely the person who discovered her on the bathroom floor in god knows what kind of state surrounded by what Lexa can only imagine, horrific sights and smells. “Oh dear god” Lexa blurts and feels her face immediately get hot with embarrassment. 

 

“I think Satan had the bigger part to play in this scenario.” The blonde quips back in a surprisingly gravelly voice. A surprisingly sexy gravelly voice. Great, thinks Lexa, sexy and cheeky. This woman’s trouble.  “I’m Clarke by the way. I’m your neighbor. Or I’m assuming we’re neighbors since I found you in our bathroom. You were pretty out of it. Decided taking you to the hospital would be for the best.” 

 

Lexa clears her throat to buy her some time. Time to recover from her embarrassment and time to remember her name. “Uhhh...Beaver...um...Lexa fever. Oh hell.” Lexa feels her face reach peak hotness and hates to envision the shades of red she is turning. “My name is Lexa and I have beaver fever. Giardia... I'm sick.” 

 

Lexa watches as Clarke tries to hold back a giggle by pulling her bottom lip into her mouth and looking to the floor. “Right. Well at least you’re no longer Jane Doe. I couldn’t find a wallet or even a phone on you to maybe call someone or anything.” 

 

“Uhm, yeah I don’t really have those things or anyone to call so...yeah.” Clarke looks up from the floor at Lexa’s response and her eyes are no longer holding in a smile but something akin to... sadness? Why would this woman feel sorry for Me?  Lexa thinks. Besides maybe the obvious. Their eyes lock again and neither woman has it in them to look away. Instead finding themselves drowning in blue and green and silent conversation that neither of them really knows the language to. 

 

The nurse finally decides to break up the awkward stare down by clearing her throat and asking for Lexa’s last name. 



***

 

“Woods.” The beautiful brunet says as she reluctantly turns her gaze from Clarke to address the nurse. 

 

Holy shit I’d like to get lost in your woods. Thought Clarke before immediately reprimanding herself internally. Jesus woman, get your shit together. You’re objectifying a woman you found passed out in a pile of sick just a few hours ago. The last thing she needs is a woman dressed like a bum oggling her . Clarke turns her gaze downward in order to stop herself from staring at the woman in the hospital bed only to suck in a quick breath when she notices the atrocities on her feet. Oh sweet fucking shit, I’m wearing crocks in front of my hot ass neighbor. Please don’t notice. Maybe I can casually let it slip that I only wear these while I paint?

 

Clarke gets pulled away from her inner dialogue by Lexa's voice, scratchy with dehydration, “Uhm, Clarke?” 

 

“Hmm, Yes?” Clarke looks up to find green eyes staring at her. “Did I miss something?”

 

“I asked if you were going to be waiting around till Miss Woods here goes home?” The nurse asks. 

 

“Oh uhm.” Clarke looks back to Lexa, a question in her eyes. Do you want me here? I want to be here. 

 

“No.” Lexa shakes her head and looks to the nurse. “She can go home. I’ll be fine.”

 

“But how will you get home? You don’t even have any clean clothes.” Argues Clarke. It’s not a lie. The majority of the clothes Lexa was wearing were spoiled beyond saving when Clarke found her passed out on the bathroom floor. Sure, the hospital can provide some cheap scrubs to send Lexa home in, but Lexa doesn’t know that. And I so badly want to make sure you’re ok.

 

Lexa blushes again. A recurring theme since Clarke walked into the hospital room, “Oh. That’s...unfortunate. Did I…? I mean… were they?” 

 

“Oh don’t worry about it, hun." The nurse cuts in, "Happens to the best of us. But the clothing will be no good to go home in. They definitely need a good hot wash or perhaps a toss into a fire pit.” She pauses to chuckle at herself. “Good news is we’ve got some cozy scrubs we can send you home in. I will however be needing my fancy dress back.” The nurses kind response seems to distract Lexa enough from her embarrassment to address Clarke again. 

 

“See? It’s fine. You’ve done more than enough. Especially for a stranger.”

 

Clarke opens her mouth to argue but is cut off by Lexa's hand being held in the air to stop her. “Please, Clarke. This will be locked away with all my most embarrassing moments. It probably takes the cake. Let me try to retain some amount of dignity. It’s hard to forget I was covered in my own sick when the woman who found me covered in it is standing right in front of me.” 

 

Clarke manages to hold in all her objections and instead says with what she hopes is a charming smile, “Well, when you put it like that.” Clarke can see Lexa visibly relax. “I guess I’ll just go then. I’ll uh... see you around.”

 

“Yes. Thank you, Clarke.” Lexa says rather quickly. Obviously glad to be getting rid of her. 

Clarke tries to save some pride and make a smooth exit. “No, thank you.” As soon as the words leave Clarke's mouth she mentally berates herself for being so awkward.

 

Lexa quirks her head. “What? Why?”

 

“Uhm. No sorry, I didn’t mean...,” Clarke fumbles to the door and tries to make a hasty retreat. “Sorry, I don’t know why I said that. I’m leaving now. Feel better, ok? Ok. Bye.” Clarke shuts the door behind her and shakes her head. “Jesus tits Clarke. One day you’ll be able to talk to a beautiful woman without making a fool of yourself.” She takes a deep breath to calm her nerves and heads down the hall. 

 

***

Lexa’s eyes go wide and she blushes yet again when she hears the blondes words just outside the door. 

 

The nurse clears her throat, “Seems like she might have had ulterior motives when she scraped you up off that bathroom floor, love.”

 

Lexa awkwardly laughs in response. “Just please tell me what I need to do to get out of here so I can pretend like today never happened.”

Chapter Text

3 weeks later…

 

Lexa was yet to run into Clarke in either the hallways of their building or the shared bathroom. But then again, Lexa had been careful to use the bathroom at times of the day most people were at work or sleeping and spent most of her time either working her main job flipping burgers across town, or at the library searching for side or better jobs on the public computers. Needless to say. Lexa had invested in a can of dry shampoo since her traumatic experience with the blonde.

 

  Lexa gets lost in her thoughts as she walks the blocks from the bus stop to her apartment. Maybe the event might not have been so traumatizing if Clarke wasn’t the most beautiful blonde Lexa had ever encountered. If only she had met Clarke in better circumstances. If only she was the person she was meant to be. Not a greasy line cook, not living in a poor excuse for an apartment, and most definitely not covered in her own sick. If only they could have met in college Lexa thinks. Top of the class. Jobs lined up for her after graduation. A fucking savings account. Lexa sighs and fights the urge to throw the water bottle she’s been toting around since her illness at the ground. She’s been making sure to stay well hydrated but she still feels sick to her stomach most days. A symptom Lexa suspects has more to do with her mental well being than any kind of ailment. Focus on your breathing. Count backwards… 10, 9, 8, 7 ,6, 5, 4, 3, 2,-. Lexa collides with a body on the sidewalk and is pushed back into the people walking behind her. Thankfully they prevent her from falling on her ass. 

“Look out lady!” A masculine voice calls out to her.

By the time Lexa has straightened herself out and made sure the pedestrians who she fell into are okay the unknown assailant is gone. “Fuck. Fucking asshole.” Lexa turns a circle looking for the guy, “FUCK YOU DUDE!” She yells into the passerby only to get silence and questioning looks. “Ugch!” Lexa shakes herself, an attempt to rid herself of the anger and embarrassment of the situation. “ONE!”  Fucking one. 

 

***

Lexa slams her apartment door when she gets home and starts pacing the small space to calm herself down. She focus’ on her breathing, clenching and unclenching her fists. What she wouldn’t give to have her punching bag right now. But that was lost along with everything else in her life. With everyone else. Her mind starts to bring her back there. To fire and pain and screaming. To her eyes burning from the smoke and the burning of her lungs and the feel of blood hitting her face, her chest, her arms. She can feel rough, large hands around her throat again, constricting her airway, the edges of her vision getting blurry. Worst of all, she hears her family’s screams. Costia and Anya, Indra and Gus. Hears them begging to be released, for Lexa to hold on, to keep breathing. “No!” Costia cries from the dining room chair she’s tied to. The same set of chairs they had spent years sitting side by side, playing cribbage and eating in comforting silence. The same chairs and table they sat at studying for tests and then pouting when said tests managed to get the best of them. The table they had loved each other at. The table they had sat at when they realized they weren’t in love anymore. That they were destined for different things. Different colleges on separate sides of the country. “No! Lexa, please!” 

 

“I’m sorry!” Lexa cries, “I’m so so sorry.” She slides down the wall to the floor and lets her head fall back against the wall. Silent tears making tracks down her face, dampening the collar of her work polo. “I’m sorry.” 

 

***

 

“Clarke?” Raven asks as she walks into her and Clarkes shared space, “Did you know they have 1⁄2 off blue sticker days at the thrift store on the north side on Wednesdays? And that all the cassette tapes are blue sticker items? AND that they are usually like 50 cents on a normal day!?”

 

“Well I do now.” Clarke responds as she puts down her brush and wipes the paint off her fingertips onto the front of her apron. 

 

“Why people stopped using tapes is beyond me, Clarkey.” Raven swings her backpack off her back and unceremoniously dumps the contents onto the worn couch they had picked up off the side of the road. Raven had kept the “free” cardboard sign that was resting on the cushions and had pinned it on the wall above the worn piece of furniture. 

 

“Jesus, Rae.” Clarke starts examining the unnecessarily large pile of cassettes. “Maybe because they are bulky then lets say a cd or better yet, a phone.” Clarke waggles her iphone in front of Ravens face. “It’s almost like we could listen to anything we could think of using this little advancement.” 

 

“Fuck your technology!” Raven retorts.

 

“Says the fucking engineer.” Clarke flips a cassette over, reading the tracklist and tossing it aside in favor or another, ignoring Raven’s mumbling about ungratefulness. “Oh nice. I love this album.” 

 

***

 

Is that… The Chain? Lexa follows the steady bass drum out of her darkness. Damn that’s loud. Pulling herself up from the floor using the wall as support, Lexa shakes her head, an attempt to rid herself of all her demons and foggy vision. Usually her neighbors loud dad rock annoyed Lexa but today she might actually have to thank them for their unusual loudness. Pulling Lexa out of what she referred to as her darkness was no simple task. Often times she would just zone out and come to up to 24 hours later. She’d had a hard time explaining that one to her managers when she showed up late or not at all for a shift or appointment. But the phenomenon had been happening less and less. Mostly because Lexa kept herself out of triggering situations. 

 

Lexa breathes deep and pushes away from the wall to drink directly from her kitchen tap. “Fuck.” I can’t do this anymore. I’m fucking wasting away in this shit hole. No friends. No family. I’m not using my degree. Lexa stares into her sink, eyes pointed at the rusted rim of the drain where it meets the cracked porcelain, Fleetwood Mac bleeding through the thin walls. Do I even deserve those things again? How could I possibly allow myself those things when everyone I love will never be able to experience them again? I should have been the one to die. Not them. Not them. Lexa allows herself a few more silent tears, watches them fall into her sink before she sighs heavily and straightens her back. It hurts. She hasn’t cared much about her posture or anything else for that matter in years.. 

 

How would I even start?



***

 

It’s late and Clarke stopped painting hours ago but her and Raven had broken into their stockpile of wine and blown through about half the cassette tapes Rae had brought over. All while talking about their plans with their current projects, and the projects after that, and then well...then they had started dancing. But now. Now Clarke really has to pee. “Babe, wait up!” Oh, and Raven has to pee too.

 

Clarke stumbles into the bathroom and heads for the nearest stall, closing her eyes and sighing in relief. “Ahhh.” She hears Ravens similar experience next door. But when Clarke opens her eyes, right at eye level is a folded up piece of paper taped to the stall door with her name neatly scrawled. She carefully removes the paper and unfolds it reverently, like an archaeologist unrolling an ancient papyrus. 

 

Clarke,

I’m sorry for cornering you in what is a sacred space for most but seeing as we share ours and I don’t know which apartment is yours. (Although I’m fairly certain yours is the unit constantly blasting the B sides of some rather interesting music choices. You do know side A is meant to be played first right?) Anyways, I figured why not submit a formal apology for my standoffish behavior in the very space we first met. However incoherent I may have been. So here I go…

Clarke, thank you for pulling my miserable ass off these truly putrid floors and making sure that I was well attended to. You saved me from a nightmarish waking up by putting yourself through the nightmare instead. And if said nightmare happened to get on any of yourself or your cars upholstery(I hope not), please allow me to clean/replace these things for you. It’s the least I can do. And if you are willing, allow me to do one better and gift you the possession of an IOU. Perhaps your unit is in as dire circumstances as mine and you need a quick fix? I’m quite handy. Maybe you need some errands run for you on a busy day? Fingers crossed, you never need a ride to the hospital but I am offering those services as well(when I get a car). I apologize for any gruffness in the hospital and my inability to reach out to thank you earlier. 

All my gratitude, 

Lexa 

 

P.S. I posted two copies of this letter, one in each stall, to ensure you received one. Please save me the embarrassment of one of our neighbors coming across this pitiful thing and remove the letter in the opposing stall for me? I’ll add another IOU to the aforementioned one if you do. And if not well… I just might deserve our neighbors knowing I’m a rather useless person. 

 

“Awwwwwwww! Clarke!” Ravens voice caries from the stall next door. “If you don’t marry her I will!” 

 

“Rae! What about a letter with my name written on it makes you think it’s for you to read!?” Clarke plays at anger while the smile she wears burns her cheeks with it’s force. 

 

“Hey! I helped! I’ll have you remember I was the one who found her. AND helped you hose her off and get her to the car. AND went to the hospital with you!” 

 

They both emerge at the same time and Clarke throws Raven her meanest glare, “Well I was the one there when she woke up so…” She sticks her tongue out for added measure at her brunette friend. 

 

“Well lucky you then. Too bad an orgasm wasn’t on that list of hers.” Taunts Raven as she holds out the matching letter for Clarke to take. 

 

A blush rushes to Clarkes cheeks as she yanks the folded paper out of Ravens hands. “Fuck off Rae.” 

 

“Never, Clarke. Never.” 

 

Chapter Text

Lexa makes her way next door to the shared bathroom a bit too eager for someone who just needs to use the restroom. It’s been two weeks of little notes taped to bathroom stalls and Lexa would never admit it but she’s been drinking way more water recently to have an excuse to visit the space more often. Her and the blonde are yet to run into each other in person but the notes give Lexa the distance to confidently dust off her social skills without the distraction of a beautiful blue eyed blonde waiting for a response. 

 

Lexa pushes open the stall door to find it note free.  No note today I guess.  She goes about her business and when she flings open the swinging door to the hallway she hears it and feels it connect with a body on the other side. “Oof!” 

 

“Oh fuck!” Lexa hurriedly makes her way out the bathroom and around the other side of the door where an attractive brunette lies sprawled on the floor, hands holding a bloody nose. “Oh my god, I am so so sorry.” Laxa says as she bends to scoop the woman off the hallway floor. “Are you ok? You’re bleeding. Did I break anything?”

 

The bleeding woman looks up then and gargles nasally, “Lexa?” 

 

“Wha…?” Lexa stops mid-bend, dumbstruck.  How does this woman know who I am? Oh no, unless this is the roommate. Clarkes best friend she’s mentioned in several of her notes. What was her name? Rachelle? Riley? Raven?

 

  “Raven?” Lexa questions. 

 

“The one and only.” Raven replies as she takes Lexas offered hand up with one hand while the other cradles her oozing nose. “You should be a detective.” 

 

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t even know that door could swing open that hard. I mean. I know it could but I didn’t think I was pushing it that hard. Fuck. I’m so sorry.” 

 

Raven waves Lexa off as she makes her way into the bathroom, Lexa trailing closely behind. “I’ve had worse. One time Clarke thought it was a good idea to learn cupping.”

 

“Cupping?” Lexa’s not sure she wants to know what cupping is. She watches raven examine her nose in the mirror and staunch the flow of blood with paper towels. 

 

“Yeah you know, it’s like a massage therapy thing, you attach cups to someones back and it’s meant to release toxins from your body or something.” Raven turns on the faucet and rinses the blood running down her chin off. “My back was massacred. I didn’t even know that you could bleed from that. I’ve still got some marks.”

 

“Jesus. Remind me to never let Clarke near my back.” Lexa thinks aloud and immediately blushes. Her and Clarke hadn’t even had a real conversation in person let alone be anywhere close enough to be touching each other’s backs. Not that Lexa would be adverse to that. 

Raven picks up on Lexa’s train of thought, “Well, as long as you give her your front I doubt you’ll hear her complain. I mean. Most people start there before they move to the back.” 

 

“I...uh…” Lexa’s mouth seems incapable of forming a coherent sentence as she goes over the fact that Clarke might be as attracted to Lexa as Lexa is to her.  

 

“Oh come on,” Raven continues as she tips her head back pinching her nose, distorting her voice further. “How many people leave adorable love notes to each other in grungy bathroom stalls?” 

 

“They aren’t love notes…” Lexa mumbles shyly. “Also, don’t tip your head back. You could get a stomach ache. Or pneumonia.” 

 

“Hmm.” Raven stares at Lexa disbelievingly while ignoring her advice and continues to keep her head tilted. “I have a hard time believing any of that. Pneumonia? Coming from the person who didn’t know she was so sick she should have gone to the hospital?” Lexa tries to cut in to defend herself but Raven isn’t having it and continues on. “Anyways, Clarke seems to view them as love letters. You should see how happy she is every time she comes back from a piss. It’s…well it’s a bit weird since pee and poo are involved but besides that…I mean, she likes it, whatever you’re doing.” 

 

“Oh, god.”Lexa rubs the back of her neck nervously. “I need to stop trying to connect with a person via a bathroom. When you actually say it out loud it is really weird.” That earns a laugh from Raven. 

 

“Don’t worry gorgeous, Clarke likes em weird.” Raven looks Lexa up and down dramatically. “And hot. Even covered in puke you’re pretty cute.” 

 

“Oh thank god.” Lexa exhales heavily. “I thought I was covered in other...things. As weird as it sounds I’m glad it was that as opposed to the other...thing.” 

 

“Oh no. There was shit too. Just more puke. And your pants were down.” Raven corrects. “Undies on though. Good look.”

 

“Oh fuck.” Lexa can’t even look Raven in the eyes anymore. Choosing to look down at the cracked tiles under her feet instead. 

 

“Hey, it’s fine. Clarke is an almost doctor. She’s seen worse. She’s cleaned me up from much filthier floors covered in worse than shit and puke.” 

 

“Ew.”

 

“I know.” Raven laughs. “Plus, we rinsed you off real quick in the shower before anything so nothing got anywhere… unsavory.” 

 

“Wait.” Lexa looks up to meet Ravens eyes at that. “We? I thought it was just Clarke?” 

 

“Oh no, girlfriend. I’m the one that found you. I went and got Dr. Clarke once I realized the kind of state you were in.”

 

“Well shit.” Lexa says. “I guess I owe both of you then.” She blushes and drags the toe of her sneaker along the tile. “I don’t really have much but if you ever need anything...I owe you.” 

 

“How about you come over to the studio and we’ll call it even?” Suggests Raven. “It might get Clarke to shut up about you and your charming little letters too. I need some quiet to be able to focus on my designs.” 

 

Lexa feels her stomach clench at that and just about gives herself whiplash looking back up to Raven.  Talking to Clarke in person? I’m not ready for that.  “I...I don’t know... I don’t think that would be such a good idea.” 

 

Raven throws her arms out dramatically and sighs. “Fine, fuck it. Don’t talk to the beautiful girl who is obviously into you. Go back to your shitty apartment and wilt away thinking about all the ways you could finally approach her and completely fuck off the opportunity I’m presenting you right now. I don’t give a shit.” Raven plants her hands on her hips and glares at Lexa. “So, Romeo? What’s it gonna be?”

 

*** 

 

“Ohhhhhhh Clarkey!” Raven calls over the music playing through their studio. “I have a surprise for you!” 

 

“If it’s an animal AGAIN Raven, I swear to god!” Clarke immediately pictures the time Raven brought home a turtle she had caught at the parks pond. “If you took it from its home that doesn’t mean WE are its new home.” She sets down her brush and wipes her fingers on the front of her apron. “It means YOU STOLE IT from its home.” She turns to face Raven and stops dead in her tracks. “Oh.”

 

Standing awkwardly in her entryway is a blushing Lexa next to a grinning Raven. “Uhm, hi.” Lexa says as she reaches up to nervously rub at the back of her neck and look sheepishly to the floor. Clarke takes the opportunity to give the brunette a once over. Lexa looks even more beautiful now that she has recovered from her illness. Her sickly gray pallor replaced by a tan as well as rosey cheeks and lips. She’s wearing black skinny jeans that look well worn and hug her toned legs deliciously. Upon further inspection Clarke can tell that all of Lexa’s clothes are rather worn looking. Her pocketed white t and torn vans that look like they used to be a navy blue look like they had seen better days. But she wears it well. Lexa looks casual and comfortable and  so fucking effortlessly attractive.  Her hair is up in a loose ponytail with flyaways tucked haphazardly behind her ears.  Be still my beating heart  thinks Clarke as she absorbs the beauty in front of her. 

 

Lexa’s green eyes travel up Clarkes body to meet her own gaze and Clarke’s mouth goes dry. She knew she was attracted to the brunette and the letters her and Lexa had exchanged over the last couple weeks had only added to the attraction but she wasn’t ready for her body to respond so... so...fucking intensely. Clarke wanted to dive straight at Lexa and devour her. ALL of her. She’s shaken out of her stupor by Raven clearing her throat. 

 

“Should I leave so you guys can eye fuck each other in private or…?” Raven gestures between the three of them. “Or should I join in? A little three way eye fucking? Could be fun, I’ve never tried it before but you know how I feel about new experiences Clarke.” 

 

“Rae, stop, please.” Clarke begs. “I was just taken off guard is all.” Clarke pleads with her eyes as she looks to Raven,  please don’t embarrass me.   The look Raven responds with is decidedly not sympathetic. In fact Raven rubs her hands together like the evil fucking scientist she is. 

 

“Well, snap out of it Griffin. Romeo here tried to knock my ass out and I wanted her to see Dr. Clarke in action.” Clarke looks between a blushing Lexa and a mischievous Raven in confusion. 

 

“Whaa?”

 

 “I may have hit Raven with the bathroom door.” Lexa explains quietly. “And given her a bloody nose in the process.” 

 

“Rae!” Clarke exclaims as she goes to take a closer look at her friends nose. She steps closer and can see that it’s a little red and swollen. “Are you ok?” 

 

“Oh sure. I’ve had worse. But you should know,” She says as she turns to Lexa, “if you want to see Clarke, it would be a lot less painful for everyone involved if you just came and knocked on the door.”

 

“That’s…” Lexa stutters, “that’s not what I was doing.” She looks to Clarke pleadingly. “It was an accident I swear.” She pauses before adding, “But, it is nice to see you.” Lexa’s tongue pokes out to nervously wet her bottom lip.

 

 Clarke smiles widely at Lexa’s words and feels the butterflies in her stomach up their already frenzied pace. Oh fuck. Kill me now. I can’t handle how attractive this woman is. Be cool, Clarke. Be. Cool. . “It’s good to see you too, Lexa.”  Good job, Clarke. Words. Use more of them.  She turns to her friend and begins further examination of her nose. “Well. It looks like no serious harm was done. And don’t feel too bad about this one,” Clarke nods towards Rae, “she’s tougher than she looks.” At that Clarke reaches up to tweak Raven’s nose in retaliation of her meddling, who in response swatts away Clarke’s hand to protectively cup her nose. 

“Owww! Damn bitch.” 

 

“You deserve that for trying to make Lexa feel guilty.”

 

“I deserve love and affection.”

 

“Oh do you now?”

 

“Yes. In fact.” Raven drops her hands to reveal a cheeky smile and a quirked eyebrow. “I think we all do.” 

 

“Ok. Ok.” Clarke waves Raven off to turn to Lexa before Raven can embarrass her further. “Do you want something to drink? We’ve got water beer and…” Clarke opens up the fridge to peer inside. “More beer.”

 

The corners of Lexa’s lips turn up, “Water would be great, thank you.” 

 

Clarke reaches for a water but is startled by Raven yelling “NO!” She whips around to glare at her friend and catches the tail end of Lexa clutching at her chest in fear. 

 

“Jesus, Rae. What now?!”

 

Raven shrugs. “I don’t think water is a very celebratory drink is all.” 

 

Lexa speaks up then. “What are we celebrating?” 

 

“For one, the fact that my nose isn’t broken.” Raven states as she pushes Clarke out of the way to get at the fridge herself and grab them all beers. “Annnnd the fact that you too are actually speaking in person as opposed to your little love notes.”

 

“They’re not love notes!” Clarke and Lexa respond simultaneously in exasperation. 

 

“We just haven’t been able to get our schedules to match up is all.” Clarke offers as she looks to Lexa for some help. 

 

“Yeah, and I don’t have a phone so...yeah...notes.” Lexa shrugs and reaches for the beer Raven is holding out for her. “Plus, it’s nice to write letters. People don’t do it anymore. I think it’s endearing.” 

 

“Thank you!” Clarke exclaims as she accepts her own beer from Raven. “It’s very endearing.” Clarke tags on with what she hopes is a charming smile directed at Lexa. By the blush creeping up her cheeks Clarke assumes the slight flirtation landed. 

 

“Well then. Cheers to NOT love letters and uhhh…” Raven looks between the both of them, “endearing ourselves to each other.” 

 

They clink their bottles together and all take a hefty swig of their beers. “Proud of that one, Rae?” Clarke asks. 

 

Raven pops her lips off the mouth of her beer as she finishes her swig. “Yup!” 



***

 

Well now what?  Lexa thinks as she looks awkwardly around Clarke and Raven’s work space. She brings the bottle of beer back to her mouth to look busy enjoying her drink instead of standing awkwardly silent. The space is nicer than hers Lexa notes.  It must be less depressing because they don’t actually have to live here.  The various projects set up against the walls and in the corners actually fit in the rundown space. Better than her mattress on the floor and unpacked boxes pushed in various corners. 

 

Lexa’s eye catches on a painting set up on an aisle in front of the window. She assumes it’s Clarke’s work since the colors running up her arms match that on the actual canvas.  It’s beautiful.  She thinks. It’s a view out the window and onto the street below. Lexa has never taken the time to appreciate their neighborhood and had honestly never thought to, what with the overgrown weeds and brick buildings with tags spray painted along the sides and trash pushed into all the cracks and corners. But somehow Clarke’s portrayed it as something beautiful and lovely and dare she say, homey.  Why do I only see something to be ashamed off when I walk around here? Why can’t I see the world the way Clarke does? 

 

“Ahem.” 

 

Lexa’s pulled from her reverie by Raven clearing her throat. She turns to find both Clarke and Raven watching her.  Shit. How long have they been watching me zone out and stare at all their things like a creeper?  Lexa takes another long drink from her beer before clearing her own throat. “I like what you guys have done in here. It’s...it’s very lovely.”  

 

“Thanks.” Clarke smiles warmly at Lexa and Lexa feels her knees go a little weak. Her head a little woozy.  Maybe that one’s the beer.  Lexa thinks as she realizes she’s already downed most her beer in a matter of minutes.  Oh god, they must think I’m some kind of alcoholic.  She can feel the warmth as another blush plagues her face and she ducks her head. 

 

Raven seems to sense Lexa’s plummeting social skills and comes to the rescue with a conversation topic, “I saw you admiring Clarke’s painting. Quite the talent huh?” 

 

“Oh yes.” Lexa nods eagerly and looks to the piece again. “I forget how lost I get in my own world sometimes. How it looks to me. And then I see something like this,” Lexa nods to the painting, “and it kind of resets the way I see some things.” She turns to Clarke then and looks into her ocean eyes, tries to convey how appreciative she really is of the painting with her eyes as well as her words, “it’s nice to be thrown into someone else’s perspective. It’s refreshing. I probably need more of that in my life.” 

 

Clarke’s brow furrows and she looks almost impossibly deeper into Lexa’s eyes and Lexa finds herself willingly drowning. “And how do you see it?” 

 

“See what?” Lexa asks even though she’s pretty positive what Clarke is asking her.

 

“Your world?”

 

Lexa swallows and feels herself lean away from Clarke. Like the question took some physical effect on her. Like the intensity of it might blow her over. “I don’t know.” She finishes off the last of her beer and turns fully to the painting. “Not like that.”  On fire. That’s how I see it. Charred and broken. All the energy removed from it to be dispersed somewhere else. Somewhere more beautiful. Somewhere like Clarke’s world.

 

Lexa turns back to the two friends to find them staring again. “I should go.” A knee jerk reaction. 

 

That startles the two from their staring and they both speak at the same time, tangling reasons for Lexa to stay together in the air between them. Lexa holds up her hand to silence them. “No really. I’m the one that owes the both of you for helping me. And here I am invading your space and drinking your beer.” Lexa tries to send them her warmest of smiles and doesn’t find it that hard. Her communications with Clarke have proven to her that she likes the blonde more than on just a physical level and she was finding the spunky brunette was growing on her only after the one interaction. Well the one she could remember anyways. 

 

Clark reaches across the space between them to grasp Lexa’s forearm and the contact immediately sets Lexa’s skin ablaze. “Don’t go. Really it’s not a big deal. We’ve got plenty of beer. You can just bring a six pack or something the next time you come over.”  Next time.  Lexa thinks.  She wants to see you again at least. That’s something, right?

 

“Yeah Lexa.” Raven chimes in. “You’re letters are nice and all but I prefer you in person. No offense.”

 

“You? You read my letters?” Lexa is immediately embarrassed. Those were meant for Clarke’s eyes only. It’s not like she had confessed her undying love for the blonde or anything. It was just personal. Special. 

 

Clarke releases Lexa and slaps Raven’s arm, “I didn’t let her! I came home to our apartment to find her lounging on my bed with a bag of popcorn reading them! She had to do some serious snooping to find them.” Clarke blushes and Lexa wonders why.

 

“Yeah.” Raven adds as she rubs her arm. “I haven’t seen a “love stash” of Clarke’s like that since high school and she got her first kiss from… oh what was his name?” She turns to Clarke for help.

 

“Stanley.” Clarke admits dryly. 

 

Raven snaps her fingers, “Stanley! Seriously, Lexa, the only thing missing was little hearts drawn on the shoebox I found the letters in.”

 

“Rae!” Clarke cries out and hides her face in her hands.  That must be the cause of the blush then.  Lexa thinks and feels her back straighten out a bit in pride.  A beautiful woman is tucking away my letters like they are precious to her. I might actually have a chance with her.  Lexa let’s the surge of confidence take over, “Well, I can only hope one day that box will be covered in hearts.” 

 

Clarke whips her head up at Lexa’s words and if Lexa wasn’t so terrified at the words that just escaped her mouth she would laugh at the wide eyes and gaping mouth that were currently residing on Clarke’s face. Raven nudges her friend and nods her head vigorously. “Agreed, girlfriend!” 

 

“Uhm. Anyways.” Lexa looks around nervously.  Escape!  “I should go. Thank you for the beer. I’ll uh... I’ll hit you back.” Lexa walks to the front door and opens it, turning to say her goodbyes only to find Clarke still staring at her dumbstruck. Raven reaches over comically to shut Clarke’s mouth and Lexa can’t help but chuckle at the duo. “Bye.”

 

Clarke seems to snap back to the present at that and throws her hand up in a wave along with Raven. “Bye, Lexa.”

 

“Yeah see ya Romeo!” Raven shouts as Lexa shuts the door behind her. 

 

Lexa can hear Raven squealing with delight as she walks back to her apartment and she doesn’t even try to wipe the grin off her face. It feels too good. 

 

Chapter Text

Clarke opens her apartment door as silently as possible. It’s late and she’s hoping that her roommates won’t hear her and come asking questions. She had snuck off to the studio hoping to find a note from Lexa, anything, but had returned home empty handed again. It had been a week now of radio silence from the beautiful brunette. The last time Clarke having seen her being when Raven drug Lexa into their work space for a beer. Clarke’s relieved to find all the lights off in the apartment. Good. Now I don’t have to share my embarrassment with the girls. Clarke gets lost in thought as she gently places her keys into the bowl on their table by the door. Everything seemed fine when Lexa came over. Sure, maybe it was a little awkward. But all first interactions are with your crush aren’t they? Lexa even flirted with me before she left. Sure I responded like a deer caught in the headlights but she’s gotta know I’m into her. Where did she go? What did I do wrong?

 

Clarke moves into the dark living room and sinks into the couch, not bothering to flip on a light. She sighs deeply to try and calm her negative thoughts. She saw you again and realized you aren’t her type. She’s too attractive for you. She can do better. You said something stupid. She saw your art and thinks you’re a joke. Maybe after meeting Raven, Lexa realized she’d rather pursue her. Maybe-

 

As if on queue, the table lamp across the room switches on to reveal Raven sitting in their lounge chair, a smirk on her face. Clarke jumps with fright and hears herself let out an unnaturally high pitched yelp. “Jesus, Rae! What the fuck?!?!”

 

“And where have you been, Miss Griffin?” Raven questions as she tilts her head to the side. 

 

“Not being a fucking creeper in the dark like you! Shit, how long have you been sitting like this?” Clarke demands as she crosses her arms in anger, readying herself for the questions about to be thrown her way. 

 

“That is not important right now.” Raven says as she stands from the chair to collapse next to the blonde. “What’s important is why you thought it was a good idea to leave our home at 3 in the morning, I’m assuming, to go to the studio in search of a very particular green eyed hotty. Do you really think Lexa would leave a note between the last time you went searching for one and now?” 

 

Clarke slumps deeper into the couch in shame, “Maybe.” 

 

Raven drops her voice, “Babe, you were just over there today. If she wanted to talk to you, she would have. Kinda hard to not notice we’re there when you’re blasting Steve Miller Band for the better part of the day.” 

 

“I know Rae.” Clarke snaps. “I know.”  

 

“Don’t go all bossy Clarkey on me. I’m just trying to be a friend here.” 

 

Clarke glares in return.

 

“Fine. Be that way. I’ll just say what I have to say and you better fucking listen to me.” Raven turns her body towards Clarke on the couch and reaches for Clarkes hand still tucked up tight with her other across her chest. “You’re acting like a crazy person.” 

 

Clarke scoffs and tries to scoot away from Raven on the couch. “That’s offensive Raven! You don’t say that.” 

 

The brunette isn’t having it though and just follows Clarke to the next cushion. “No, listen. You don’t know this girl. You don’t know if she is on a trip. You don’t know if she’s going through some shit right now. You don’t know if she’s been working non-stop. Maybe she has family over or something. And I know you, Clarke. I know you’re thinking that you did something wrong. But you didn’t. What you’re doing right now though, obsessing over this girl that you just met and overthinking it is wrong. Give it time, give it space. I know you haven’t felt this way about someone in a long time. I know it’s weird for you to be feeling this. But...You can’t…” Raven looks around them searching for the right words. “You can’t rush this. You can’t jump to conclusions like you’re prone to do. Especially when you barely know this girl. If you really want to know her, you have to give it time. And NOT WORRY so much, babe. You’re a catch. Her not reaching out has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with her. She doesn’t even have a phone. Maybe she ran out of paper?” Raven nudges Clarke with her elbow. “Maybe she sprained her thumb writing you the most epic of epic love letters and is waiting to heal so she can finish it.” Clarke shakes her head at her best friends attempt at humor. “But you putting all this pressure on whatever you two might have, it could ruin it before it even has a chance to turn into something good.” 

 

Ravens words penetrate Clarkes defenses and she slumps down towards her best friend. “Ugh. I’m so embarrassed, Rae. I just…” 

Raven moves to wrap her arms around Clarke. “You just what?”

 

Clarke looks down to her hands. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. I can’t even describe it. I feel...I feel out of control. Like a good out of control but maybe teetering on the edge of bad. I don’t know, Rae. I feel dumb. I feel like a middle schooler all over again. But WORSE. Way worse.” 

 

“Well. She is pretty hot.” 

 

  Clarke nods. “So hot. And smart and thoughtful and-”

 

“Yeah, yeah yeah.” Raven interjects. “I read the letters too you know. I think I’m in love with her too.”

 

“Raven!” Clarke pushes away from her friend feigning mock anger. “I’m not ‘in love’ with Lexa!” She pushes at her friend. “And here I thought you’ve been pining after me for years!” 

 

Raven climbs onto her best friend rather ungracefully, “Suuuuuure, Clarke. Whatever you say. Also, who said I can’t have 2 beautiful women?” She puckers her lips dramatically and tries to chase down Clarkes face ducking and weaving in avoidance. Clarke laughs while trying to push her friend off of her. “You’re impossible, Rae, you fuckin’ doof!” 

 

The overhead light switches on then, bathing the two friends in bright light and exposing their rambunctious embrace. They squint their eyes from the sudden brightness and turn towards the culprit. Octavia stands in the hallway, hair askew and sleep shirt on inside out. “What the fuck are you loosers doing?” 

 

***

 

Lexa gets off the greyhound bus and steps out the way of the line of exiting passengers so she can stretch her back out. Fuck that was a long ride. She glares at the woman she sat next to as she watches her walk towards the attendant removing luggage from under the bus. The woman had promptly fallen asleep once the bus left the station and proceeded to snore loudly for the next 10 hours, effectively ruining any kind of sleep Lexa could have nabbed on the long overnight trip. Lexa suspects some prescription drugs were involved in the womans marathon napping and even considered rifling through her purse to nab a pill for her own use. Instead Lexa choose to quietly seethe and stare out the window of the bus as she watched the darkened landscape pass by. The woman catches Lexas gaze and smiles, oblivious to the situation. Lexa throws the woman a quick nod and fake smile before securing her backpack on her back and walking away, “Have a great fucking day lady, you fucking sleep monster.” She says quietly through gritted teeth. 

 

Once Lexa exits the station she looks around and finally lets the reality of where she is hit her fully in the chest. Home. It feels weird to be back. Like she’s caught in some kind of daydream. It looks the same to her and it makes coming back almost feel worse. The world kept spinning, the city kept on thriving, like nothing happened at all. All while Lexa’s life was turned upside down, effectively ostracising her from the place she once loved. She takes a steadying breath and heads down the main street to the public bus plaza. At least the next bus trip would only need to take her up town. 

 

She climbs into the familiar bus and drops her fair into the bus’ dash before making her way to the back, claiming a window seat. Her thoughts drift to Clarke as the bus pulls away. Maybe I should have left her a letter before I left. Told her I was going out of town. But that would have just brought up questions. Questions I’m not ready to answer. Lexa sighs and wrings her hands together nervously. She’s got to at least know I’m interested in her. Lexa thinks back to what she said about Clarkes box full of her letters. God what a cheesy line. Hopefully it was successful at declaring her intent with the blonde though. Fuck. I should have just written her another letter. Or gotten a phone. I should have gotten a phone. That way I could be destracting myself by talking to a beautiful woman and trying to decifer emogis instead of wondering what the fuck I’m doing back here. Lexa sees the familiar landmark of the park up ahead and pulls the cord hanging throughout the bus, alerting the driver to stop at the next stop and stands up, moving to the rear exit. The bus’ breaks sigh loudly at the stop and the doors swing open for Lexa to hop out as she sends a quick wave up to the bus driver in thanks. 

 

The bus has long since pulled away but Lexa stands in place looking out across the familiar stretches of green the park offers and the duck pond across from that. Suck it up. She tells herself. You knew what you were getting yourself into when you got on that greyhound. Now follow through. Lexa forces her legs to move toward the grass, past the play structure, along the pond, past the parks flower gardens and into the surrounding neighborhood containing some of the oldest homes in the city, painstakingly and beautifully maintained with manicured lawns, picket fences and fresh paint. She makes it a few blocks before she can see the empty lot in the distance. It stands out amongst the perfect homes. The space has been overtaken by weeds and the foundation is exposed and cracked, the concrete being the only thing remaining after the fire. There’s a short chain link fence surrounding the lot with “no trespassing” and “private property” posted. 

 

Lexa slows her pace, dragging out the inevitable and breathes deep preparing herself to face what was left of her once happy life. She reaches the padlocked gate and fishes out her keys from her backpack. Unlocks the gate and wades through the tall weeds and grasses until she reaches the border of her old homes foundation. Dropping her bag on the ground Lexa climbs down into what used to be the basement of her childhood home and makes her way to the center. There is trash collected in the corners, blown in by the wind and remnants of what looks like local wildlife scattered around the now dirt covered floor. There are a few burnt timbers leaning against the walls of the foundation and scattered nails, screws, and broken glass. Some persistent weeds growing out of the piles of dirt and cracks. Lexa lays on her back amongst the rubble and stares up at the brilliant blue sky and cotton ball clouds passing by. The beauty of the day mocking Lexa as she lets silent tears run down her cheeks. 

 

It could be moments or hours later when Lexa hears approaching footsteps and the tinkling of pebbles falling onto the basement floor from above. “You can’t be here miss.” A soft voice calls out to her. One Lexa recognizes but can’t quite place. “This is private property. You need to go.” 

 

Lexa rolls onto her stomach and looks up at the person talking to her trying to blink away tears so she can clearly see who it is. 

 

“Lexa is that you?” 

 

Lexa swallows hard and wipes her face with the sleeve of her hoodie as she nods to the old woman leaning over the edge peering down on her. 

 

“My dear sweet Lexa. What are you doing down there? We haven’t seen you in years.” 

 

Lexa’s vision clears and the familiar face of her elderly neighbor, Abel, looks down at her with obvious pity. “Sorry Miss A. I just… it’s been a while and I figured it was time to come check on the property.” Lexa goes to stand while she brushes debris from her clothing. 

 

“Oh Lexa. This is your property, you never have to apologize about being here. I just thought you were one of the neighborhood teens up to no good. I’ve caught several of them enacting all sorts of rebellious acts down in this basement. I suggest a hot shower after being on that floor for god knows how long.” The elderly woman shudders obviously and it’s almost enough to make Lexa smile, knowing that Abel was an “old fashioned” woman prone to clutching her actual pearls at just about anything beyond a chaste kiss or sun tea on the front porch with friends. 

 

Lexa doesn’t really know how to respond to that as she scrambles up the retaining wall to face her once neighbor. “You look a little worse for wear dear.” Abel looks Lexa up and down as she reaches out to grasp her shoulder supportingly. “How about some tea and sandwiches over at my place?” She tilts her head towards her house across the street.

 

“That sounds…” Lexa looks around herself once more. “That sounds really nice. Thank you.”  

 

***

 

Lexa and Abel are settled around her kitchen table with tea, sandwiches and a hot washcloth for Lexa to clean her tear streaked face. Abel hasn’t said much accept to ask, “Herbal or caffeinated?” and “ham or turkey?” The lack of questions are nice and Lexa collects herself as she wipes the grime from her face and hands. Abel settles herself across the table from Lexa and watches silently. 

 

“Thanks again Miss A.” Lexa says as she carefully folds the dirtied cloth and lays it on the table next to her. 

 

Abel waves the thanks off as she reaches for her tea. “It’s nothing dear. It’s just nice to see you again.” 

 

“It’s good to see you too.” Lexa says as she reaches for her own cup.

 

“Oh no need to lie to an old woman.” Abel chuckles around her tea. “I’m sure this is the last place you want to be.” 

 

Lexa looks down at the table in shame. Abel’s right. If Lexa could, she would never come back to this town ever again. Never taint the memories of her childhood home with the burnt out bones left behind. Why am I here?

 

“But seeing you here.” Abel reaches across the small table to tilt Lexa’s chin up, effectively regaining eye contact. “I’m proud of you. For whatever reason that brought you back. Closure is good. I’ve watched you grow into a beautiful woman, Lexa. You’ve always been so strong. The little ringleader of all the neighborhood kids.” They both chuckle at the shared memories. “But it’s okay to not be alright. And it’s okay to disappear for a while. Everyone’s experience is different. But it’s also good to get back up, dear.” 

 

Lexa feels another tear escape and her lip quivers with unsaid emotions. “I don’t know what I’m doing here.” 

 

“You don’t have to, Alexandra. I know you’ve always been the one with the plan. Always so prepared. But it’s okay to let your emotions take a turn at the wheel too. Let your heart steer you in the right direction and let your head take over from there.” 

 

Lexa nods slowly, thoughtfully. They eat their sandwiches in comfortable silence and it’s only when Lexa finishes her tea that she does speak. “Do you happen to have a weed eater?”

Chapter Text

 

It’s hot. Lexa can feel the heat of the sun’s rays through the thin fabric of the t-shirt on her shoulders. She works to the beat of the weed eaters motor, to the scraping of a rake, the bass-like impact of the shovel hitting soil. It’s been two days of sleeping in the old canvas tent Abel lent her on the burnt out lot. Two days of cutting back old weeds and leveling torn and scarred earth, raking away debris. Lexa’s arms shake with exhaustion when she takes breaks for water or food or sleep. And she’s filthy, covered in sweat and dirt, cobwebs and tears. But she can’t stop. You’re almost done. Just a quick hose down and it should be good enough. Good enough for what, she’s not sure but… It’ll come to me, she thinks as she makes her way to the neighbors yard.  

 

Lexa drags the hose she had asked the next door neighbors to use across the property line, drapes it over the chain link and hops over herself not bothering with the out of the way gate. She squeezes the nozzle of the attachment to douse the lot with water, her sore hands protesting against the simple act. It settles the dust and waters the variety of wild flower seeds Abel had quietly handed over to her earlier in the day. The droplets of water hit the sun and Lexa is transported to years earlier when she was younger and happier, standing in the same spot, watering garden beds and grass. Occasionally turning the hose on an unsuspecting family member or playing with the family dog. Lexa sighs heavily and turns the hose on herself in an attempt to wash away the painful memories. Settle the dust of me. Fuck. Please. Put out the fire inside me. It’s desperate and Lexa knows how ridiculous she must look as a full grown woman practically drowning herself with a hose in an empty lot but she doesn’t have it in her to care anymore. 

 

“If you want a shower honey, I’ve got two of them.” Lexa is pulled from her self-dousing by Abels voice. She awkwardly drops the hose and takes in her sopping clothes and sneakers. 

 

“Right. I uhm… It was just…” Lexa looks up to Abel and shrugs, “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. Sorry.” 

 

Abel chuckles and makes her way through the gate and over to Lexa. “Language.” She reprimands. Then, “No one ever does.” She pauses to inspect the now manicured lot. “It looks good. They would be proud of you.”  Abel doesn’t have to say who she means by “they” and Lexa’s thankful for Abels delicacy when referring to her family. 

 

“Thanks Miss A. For the tent. And for feeding me.” Lexa rubs at the back of her sun-burnt neck. “And making sure I have water. And lending me the tools. I owe you.” 

 

Abel lightly slaps Lexa’s arm, “Not necessary. It’s just good to see you. Now I’ll be reminded of your beautiful face when I look out my window at this place instead of all the sadness and pain it used to give me when I saw it. You’ve really grown up since last I saw you.” 

 

Lexa breathes in deep, absorbing the smell of water on hot concrete and dirt, freshly cut grass’ and weeds. “Good. That’s good. I’m glad this wasn’t a waste of time.” 

 

“Does it feel like a waste of time?” Abel secures Lexa’s gaze with her own and watches as Lexa tries to put a label on her past two days. 

 

“I honestly don’t know.” Lexa starts. “Rationally, I know this should be me physically trying to work through this, you know. Cleaning it up. Putting a neat little bow on the top. I thought maybe it would help but…” Lexa looks around thoughtfully before she turns back to Abel. “I still feel so empty. If anything being here just brings it all back up. Re-opens the wound so to speak.” 

 

“Ok. Well. Look at it this way dear.” Abel reaches across to grab at Lexa’s dripping fingers.  “I’ve been waiting for you to come around here for years. Maybe that “wound” as you call it, maybe it has tried to heal, the cut has closed but inside it’s been festering and continuing to make you sick all these years. Maybe this is you lancing it? Maybe now you can truly begin to heal?”

 

Lexa looks up to the blue sky begging Abels words to be true, “I hope so, Miss A. I hope so.” 

 

“Come on. Let’s roll this hose up and get you cleaned up. I made soup.” Abel makes her way back towards the gate. 

 

“Soup?!” Lexa can’t help but laugh and shake her head. “It’s too hot for soup, Miss A!”

 

“It’s never too hot for soup!” Abel calls back over her shoulder. 

 

                                                                                                                            ***

 

After a dinner of hot soup, much to her dismay, Lexa finds herself at Greenwood Cemetery. It’s one of the oldest cemeteries in Lexa’s home town and it takes up several rolling hills of plush grass with intentional thickets of bushes and small groves of trees. As teenagers her and Costia would walk the rows of graves, searching for the oldest headstone, reading names, reading dates. For all the sadness that a cemetery can hold, she had always found them quite beautiful. Or at least she used to. Anya would always tease them and call them morbid when they got home, but Lexa always had the sneaking suspicion that she was just jealous for never being invited to tag along. 

 

Now Lexa stands straddling the imaginary line the open iron gate makes and stalling with a handful of random flowering weeds she had cut and kept from the burnt out lot. This is the first time she had been here since the fire. Lexa couldn’t even bring herself to see the graves after the funeral. She didn’t even go to the funeral. Lexa was still in a medically induced coma in order to heal some of the most painful burns she sustained as least traumatically as possible. Not that she would have gone if she was in the shape to be able to. Lexa thought she would never come here. 

 

It’s Lexa’s fear of destroying the delicate flowers in her anxious hands that inevitably drive her further into the cemetery. She knew where the plots were, had been informed of them upon waking in a hospital bed surrounded by doctors and nurses and not a single face she recognized and given a printed map of the cemetery with four x’s marking the plots where all the people she cared for the most were now buried.  Deep breathes Lexa. You can do this. You owe them this. You owe this to yourself. 

 

Lexa follows the neat gravel path deeper into the cemetery until it splits in two. Who first? Why do I feel guilty choosing one grave over the others? Ultimately Lexa takes the path leading over another hill and to a patch of birch trees marking the plots her grandparents had purchased and been buried in before she was even born. She would visit them every time she came when she was younger, but now the three new headstones were glaringly obvious to Lexa and the surrealness of it all almost had her turning back. Stopping momentarily to shake out her shoulders and scrounge up some courage, Lexa makes the final climb up to her family. 

 

It’s quiet and coming up on dusk and if Lexa didn’t know who’s graves she was standing at, she would have found the scene peaceful. Beautiful. “Fuck.” Settled between her father and mothers headstones is Lexa’s sister, Anya, and Lexa falls to her knees there, as close to a family embrace as she’ll ever have again. “Ahn.” Lexa reaches out tentative fingers to run over the engraved stone before wiping at her own eyes. “I miss you.” She looks to the graves of her mom and dad. “Fuck I miss you guys so much.” Lexa stretches and crawls around the space evenly dispersing some of the flowers between the three headstones before standing and wiping the grass from her knees. “I’m so so sorry I couldn’t save you. I...I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m trying.” Lexa scoffs at herself for talking to her family's graves. Something she never fully understood why people did. “You guys can’t even fucking hear me but I...god...I wish you could. I wish I could tell you how much I love you.” Lexa stops to breathe. Wondering who chose the headstones. It wasn’t her.  “Graves are fucking selfish aren’t they? You guys don’t give a shit what’s going on. You’re dead. You’re dead and now you’re all here for me to fucking cry over and give myself some kind of physical evidence of you ever existing. How much of you is even buried down there?” Lexa knows it’s not much. Knows the local fire and police department did their best to recover as many remains as possible and identify them. Hard to do after a fire like that. For all Lexa knew, the bones of their attacker could be buried along with her family. “It’s so weird. It’s fucked up.” Lexa wipes her nose. “I’m sorry. That was...I guess I’m still mad about how it all happened. Sorry.” 

 

Lexa spends the next while just standing and looking at the view over the cemetery. It still is beautiful. You’re somewhere beautiful. 

 

Lexa runs her hands lovingly over each headstone once more. “I’ll come visit more often. I’m just... still trying to come to terms with what happened. I’ll get better. I promise.”  

 

Lexa turns reluctantly from the graves, not sure how to say goodbye to her family. I never have to say goodbye to them I think. I don’t ever want to. 

 

The mental image of the cemetery map, marked with x’s is burned into Lexa’s mind and for once it proves useful to her as she picks her way over the next hill to Costias grave. It’s alone and in nowhere near as unique as Lexa’s immediate family. If Lexa was coherent when they were all buried she’d like to think she would have insisted Costia be cremated like she had expressed interest in before, or at least buried in Lexa’s designated plot next to Anya, Indra and Gustus. But she wasn’t and it breaks Lexa’s heart to see her alone and buried amongst strangers. Lexa sits and leans her back against Costia’s headstone, not able to face the engraved stone with her best friend and first love’s name and short lifespan mocking her. 

 

“Hey, Cos.” Lexa sits silently and fiddles with the remaining flowers in her hands and tries to steady her breathing, tries to stop the tears rolling silently down her cheeks. “I can’t stop crying, Costia. You should have seen me at Mom and Dad and Anya’s graves. You would have laughed at me. A blubbering fool.” Lexa reaches down a hand to dig into the lush grass. “I brought flowers. Well, weeds actually.” She scoffs. “Fuck. Weeds. When did I get so pitiful, Cos? I picked them at the house. Or. Where the house used to be. Thought it might be meaningful or something but now that I’m saying it out loud it sounds fucking stupid. They’ll just go to seed and infest the place.”  Lexa forcefully throws the now rather mangled flowers on the ground next to her and leans her head against the headstone behind her and sighs. “Sorry.” 

 

“I’m sorry I haven’t visited. I’m sorry you’re buried alone by strangers. I’m sorry I brought you weeds. I’m sorry I chose school and a career over us. I’m sorry we wasted all that time away from each other. I’m sorry I’m wasting my life when you should be the one here crying over my dumb ass. I’m sorry I didn’t take you seriously when you told me about being followed. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.” Lexa turns to face the headstone. “I thought you were being dramatic. I hadn’t seen you in a couple of years and I thought maybe it was some ploy for attention or to get back with me or something. It was selfish and self obsessed and I can’t help but think if I had taken you seriously, really listened, you would all be alive right now.” 

 

Lexa picks up the crumpled flowers and tries to straighten the bent stems and untangle the various little flowers. “There’s some pineapple weed in here. I saved it for you. I know you always liked the smell after we mowed.” She lays the little bundle against the headstone and stands. “It’s starting to get dark.” Lexa wipes her eyes and nose with the front of her shirt. “I’m planning on being in a better place next time I come here.” She shakes her head at herself. “Less of a fucking mess.” 


It’s awkward saying goodbye to someone that can’t reciprocate. To bones. Lexa thinks as she clenches her jaw, the tension in her body overflowing to spill into her mouth. In the end Lexa chooses to leave without a goodbye, again reminding herself that she never has to say goodbye to her family. She’ll carry them with her wherever she goes. And the thought is oddly comforting as Lexa slowly makes her way back to the front gate.

Chapter Text

Clarke wakes up in a tangle of limbs. Not the limbs she would prefer but good ones nonetheless.

 

“Octavia” She groans as she tries to extract herself. “Your fucking elbows.” 

 

Clarke pokes at the nearest mass of dark hair. “Octavia. Shit you’re killing me.” 

 

The mass of hair lifts it’s head to groan back, “Fucking stahhhhp.”

 

“Oh. Sorry, Raven.” The sleepy brunette collapses back into the pillow she had nabbed mid-night and Clarke gets another sharp jab in the ribs. “Ouch. Fuck! O!” 

 

“Noooooooo!” Octavia cries out as she finally spins away from Clarke, taking the comforter with her leaving Clarke and Raven exposed to the chilly morning air. 

 

“Wut no! O!” Raven starts to crawl over Clarke to retrieve the stolen blankets. 

 

Clarke wishes she could “Hulk out” as she attempts to shove her friend off her. “Oh my god, Rae!” She finally succeeds and sits up amongst the pile of her roommates. “That’s it. Everyone up! Coffee!” 

 

Octavia and Raven grumble in response until Clarke starts playfully smacking their asses, “Nope. My bed, my rules! Get up! If I can’t sleep neither can you fools”   

 

Ravens face makes another appearance, “Clarkeyyyyyy, can’t you just bring us coffee in here?” 

 

“Are you for real?”

 

“Momma…” Octavia chimes in dryly as she rolls onto her back. “We were up late last night talking girls with you. It’s the least you can do.” 

 

“Oh, how nice of you to join the conversation when it counts, O.” Clarke snaps. 

 

“Alright, alright, alright.” Raven sits up her hands up in surrender. “I say we all get up. Make coffee. And move this cuddle puddle to the couch. All in favour say, ‘butt stuff’.” 

 

Octavia throws up her hand, “Butt stuff!”

 

Clarke just glares at Raven. “Really?” 

 

“Say it Clarke or we aren’t leaving this fucking mattress.” Demands Raven. 

 

“Fine. Fuck.” Clarke half-assedly raises her hand. “Butt stuff.” 

 

“Yassss!” Raven cries out as she slaps Clarke’s hand and shoots out of bed. “I’m telling Lexa you’re a big ol’ perv obsessed with her ass!” 

 

“Raven!” Clarke calls after the brunette as she runs out of Clarke's room towards the kitchen. 

 

“How can she go from zero to a hundred like that?” Octavia questions as she starts to gather the comforter to bring to the couch. 

 

“I’ve given up trying to figure it out.” Clarke sighs as she stumbles out of the bed and after Raven. 

 

***

The roommates are halfway through their second movie when Clarke’s phone vibrates on the coffee table. Octavia moans, stretches to retrieve it and hands it to Clarke all while not taking her eyes off the screen. Clarke peeks at the screen. It’s an unknown number and the text simply says, “Clarke?” 

 

“Hmm.” Clarke hums aloud as she unlocks her phone. 

 

“Who dat?” Raven distractedly asks. 

 

“I don’t know. Are you guys giving my number away to strangers again?” 

 

“Uh Unh” Octavia responds. 

 

“Not since high school.” Raven says. 

 

Clarke throws a glare at Raven. “I knew that was you! You bitch.” 

 

Raven leans over to kiss Clarke's cheek before falling back into the cushions, “Love you!” 

 

Clarke opens her messages and responds to the mysterious texter...

 

C: Who’s asking?

 

Soon after Clarke's phone vibrates again. 

 

Unknown Number: Oh sorry. Lexa. 

 

Clarke gasps in surprise and chokes on her spit, sending her into a coughing fit. 

 

“Woah.” Raven says as she sits up to pat Clarke’s back. 

 

“Yeah you’re supposed to swallow that shit.” Octavia chimes in. 

 

“That’s what she said!” Raven adds energetically. 

 

“Stop!” Clarke slaps away Raven’s hand and stands up and heads for the kitchen. “I’m gonna get some water.” Her phone vibrates in her hand as she makes her way to the sink.

 

Unknown Number: I just impulse bought a phone and remembered you had left me your number at the end of your first letter back to me. 

 

Unknown Number: Well. Not really impulse. I’ve needed one for a while. That and I came home to a worried note pushed under my door from you. I’m fine. Just been out of town. Didn’t mean to worry you. 

 

Clarke blushes. She had indeed left a rather desperate note under Lexa’s door the previous day. 

 

C: Sorry about that. I can be a bit of a worry wart I guess. 

 

L: It’s ok. Nice to know someone cares. I apologize for disappearing on you like that. I should have left you a note. Told you I was leaving. 

 

“Clarke!” Raven calls making Clarke jump and nearly drop her phone. “You okay, babe?” 

 

“Yeah. Yeah I’m good.” Clarke calls back as she hurries to fill a glass with water. Texting a response on the way back to the couch. 



C: Don’t worry about it. Not in my place anyways. Did you have a good time?

 

Clarke carries the glass of water back to the couch with her and tries to act as casual as possible, plopping herself back on the couch. By the time Clarke’s re-situated herself she has another message waiting for her.

 

L: I don’t know if fun is the word I would choose to describe the trip but it was good. Something I needed to do. 

 

Cryptic much? Clarke thinks as she stares at her phone. What do you say back to that? 

 

“Who is it?” Raven asks as she moves to lay her head in Clarke's lap for a view at her phones screen. 

“Oh just uhm…” Clarke purses her lips and prepares herself for her friends response. “Just Lexa.” 

 

Octavia and Raven both turn to face Clarke, wide eyed. “Really?!” “Lexa!?” 

 

“Yeah.” Clarke shrugs her shoulders. “She finally got a phone and I had given her my number before so yeah.” 

 

“And?” Octavia urges.

 

“And what?” 

 

“Did she say anything about dropping off the grid?” Raven asks. 

 

“She said she was out of town. Although the way she’s talking about it makes it seem like it wasn’t a vacation or anything really fun.” 

 

“Hmmm.” Both girls respond in unison as they turn back to the movie and settle in again. 

 

“You should invite her over for movie day.” Octavia suggests, voice muffled by the pillow she was cozying up to. 

 

“Yeah Clarke.” Chimes in Raven. “We told you she wasn’t ghosting you. Invite her over. Maybe you’ll get lucky.” 

 

“Yeah and let you two scare her off?” Teases Clarke. “No thank you.” Clarke finally turns her attention back to her phone and sends off a quick text before turning back to the movie. 

 

C: Well I’m glad you’re back. 

 

Lexa’s response comes back a few minutes later. 



L: Me too, Clarke



***

 

The next day Clarke and Raven are back in the studio working quietly. Clarke’s been anxious to go look for a letter or even knock on Lexa’s door but was trying to take Raven’s words to heart. I’ll just wait till I actually have to pee. And if there’s a letter, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too. Lexa’s probably back at work after being gone so long. She texted, it’s all good.

 

“You think too loud, Clarke.” Raven interrupts Clarke’s thoughts. “Just go knock on her fucking door.” 

 

“But you said-”

 

“I said not to overthink it all. This lip bitey, anxious thing you got going on is overthinking it, Clarke.” Raven waves her hands around Clarke. “Look at you! You’ve barely gotten anything done. AND you totally skipped music today.” 

 

“Well shit, Rae! You could have put something on.” Defends Clarke. 

 

“You and I both know you would have been a grump about anything I chose because music would just make your nerves worse.” 

 

“Fuck you, Raven.” Clarke growls at her friend. 

 

“Fuck you too!” Raven calls back as she makes her way to the blonde. “Honey, are you ok?”

 

“I just really like her, Rae.” Clarke admits, dropping her voice. 

 

“No fucking shit.” Raven says as she cups Clarke’s face in her hands. “You’re a catch, Clarke. You have nothing to worry about.” Raven playfully smacks her cheek. “Now go get your girl.”

 

“Ow, Rae.” Clarke rubs at her cheek. “That smarts.” 

 

“I know I am.” Raven grins back and forcefully turns Clarke towards the door. “Go bring her over here for another beer or something.” 

 

Clarke feigns a frown but her eyes are smiling. Somehow Raven always knows how to make her feel better. 

 

“But what if she’s not there?” Clarke asks, stalling at the front door that Raven has already swung open. 

 

“Oh no!” Raven says dramatically. “How horrible to knock at a door with no one to answer it. A metaphor for our constant struggle to find love. Tragic really.” She gives Clarke one more good push before smacking her ass. “Then come back and drink a beer with me, doofus. I’ll do my best Lexa impression for you.” 

 

Clarke giggles at her friend’s antics as she makes her way down the hall. 

 

“I’m not  kissing you though!” Raven calls after her. 

 

“Shhh! Rae!” Clarke turns to reprimand her friend yelling down the hall and motions for her to go back in the apartment.   



***

Lexa has a six pack of Pilsner( everyone likes pilsner right?) in one hand and a letter addressed to Clarke in the other as she swings her front door open. Her intent was to leave Clarke another note and some beer to replace what she drank in the bathroom. Lexa knew she could just text the blonde but was pretty stuck on the act of exchanging letters. It was more romantic, Lexa thought, and she had spent the last night laying awake in bed thinking about her beautiful neighbor. It seemed Lexa was either going to fully embrace her crush on Clarke or she would try to fight the inevitable. Lexa had concluded to fully dust off her social skills and make her intent known to the blonde. I could use a good embrace. 

 

Lexa steps out her apartment and nearly collides with the woman that had been occupying her thoughts. “Oh!” Lexa gasps in surprise. “Clarke.”

 

Clarke reaches her hands out, grabbing Lexa’s upper arms to brace herself and stop the two of them from colliding. The tank top Lexa’s wearing allows for Clarke’s hands to touch her bare skin and the feeling sets goosebumps racing along her arms and heat to flood her cheeks. 

 

“Lexa. Hi!” Clarke gives Lexa’s arms an experimental squeeze and if Lexa hadn’t been so focused on not moaning at the simple touch, she would have noticed Clarke’s eyes widen before dropping her hands like she had been burned. “Sorry.” Clarke say awkwardly. “You’re...you’re like ripped.”

 

“Oh.” Lexa says as she tries to get moisture back into her suddenly very dry mouth. “Well. Thanks.” 

 

They both stand in an awkward silence taking each other in. One of Clarkes cheeks is redder than the other and she still has her apron over her casual t-shirt and shorts.  She looks like she’s not wearing pants under that apron. Lexa chuckles internally. Why is that dorky and so fucking attractive at the same time? Wait. What are you doing Lexa? Say something. Stop gawking like an idiot!

 

“You’re-” “I was just-” “not wearing-” “gonna see if you-” “-your crocs.” “-wanted to come over.”

 

They both speak at the same time and awkwardly laugh it off. “Sorry.” Lexa says. “What was that?” 

 

“Oh uhm.” Clarke bites her bottom lip nervously and looks at Lexa under her lashes. Oh fuck. She’s got to be doing that on purpose. How can someone look so good all the time? “I was gonna ask you to come over and have another beer with us. Wait? Did you say something about my crocs? How do you know I even own a pair?”

 

Lexa chuckles, “You were wearing them in the hospital. Hard not to notice something as hideous as those.” 

 

The blush that races up Clarke’s throat and cheeks has Lexa hypnotized. “Hey! Don’t talk shit about my crocs! I only wear them to paint in. They’re cozy and I don’t have to worry about keeping them nice.” 

 

“Hmmm.” Lexa tries her best at a charming smile as she points down to Clarkes bare feet. “Did they run away on you then?” 

 

Lexa looks back up to Clarke but she’s just staring back at her. “Do I have something on my face?” Lexa reaches up to wipe at her face with the back of her hand but Clarke reaches out to stop her, wrapping her hand around Lexa’s wrist. 

 

“No. No.” Clarke chuckles. “I just was thinking about something is all.” 

 

“Oh. Ok. I didn’t know my jokes were so bad that you had to distract yourself to make it through one.” Lexa jibes.

 

“No!” Clarke shakes her head and squeezes the wrist she still has captured between her fingers. “That’s not it at all. I just um…” She blushes again and Lexa has to resist the urge to run her thumbs along the blushing skin. “You have a really nice smile.” 

 

“Oh.” Lexa’s surprised at the comment and feels her own blush creeping up her cheeks. “Thanks.” Lexa smiles softly at Clarke before adding, “I like your smile too.” 

 

If Lexa wasn’t holding a letter in her hand she’s not sure she would have been able to stop herself from entwining her fingers with Clarkes. But for now she’ll have to do with the warm grip around her wrist. She clears her throat when Clarke doesn’t respond to the compliment and instead takes a step closer. “You said something about beer?” 

 

“Whaa?” Clarke shakes her head and takes a step back, releasing Lexa’s wrist. “Yeah. Yeah I did.” 

 

“Well.” Lexa hefts the six pack in front of her to display. “I was actually planning on trying to hide these somewhere in the bathroom for you along with this.” She lifts up the letter, slightly crumpled now. Clarke reaches for the letter and Lexa pulls it back at the last second, tucking it into her back pocket. “Uh-unh. Now I can make you work for it.”

 

Clarke scoffs. “Oh please.” She grabs for the six pack and Lexa lets her take it. Their fingers brush against each other and Lexa really needs to get a handle on the butterflies that keep threatening to burst from her stomach. She watches Clarke turn back and walk towards her apartment, shamelessly enjoying the view. Clarke looks over her shoulder and catches Lexa staring. “You coming?” 

 

Lexa swallows hard and jogs to catch up, “Yeah. Yes. Sorry.”

Chapter Text

Clarke closes the door behind Lexa and leans against it sighing dramatically. It’s been a couple weeks since Lexa came back and they’ve shown up at each other's door a few more times, offering six packs or a bottle of wine. 

 

Raven calls from across the small space. “Have you kissed her yet?” 

 

Clarke pushes away from the door. “No, Rae. You’ve been with us every time we’ve hung out. When could I have kissed her?”

 

“I don’t know.” Raven looks up from her project in front of her. “Just now at the door? Earlier when I was in the bathroom? Whenever you fucking wanted?” 

 

“I love you Raven, but I’m not trying to sneak a first kiss from Lexa while you’re around.” 

 

“Probably for the better.” Raven says as she turns back to her project. “I’d enjoy it too much.” 

 

“Gross, Rae.” 

 

“I’m just saying. You better hurry up and kiss her before I go give it a go.” 

 

“Hardy fucking har, you bratt.” Clarke throws a bottle cap from the counter at her friend and watches it wildly miss her mark. “I’m gonna do some clean up and then I’m ready to go if you are.”

 

“Yeah, yeah.” Raven respondes. “I might need an extra set of hands real quick but then I’ll be ready to go too. Let this set up.” She points to a delicate looking thing attached to glass chambers and electrical wiring. 

 

“What is that?” Clarke asks stepping closer for a better look. 

 

“I’m not really sure yet.” Raven responds with. “It’s pretty volatile so watch yourself.” 

 

Clarke backs up immediately. “Don’t have to tell me twice.” Her phone goes off in her pocket and she fishes it out. 

L: I loved hanging out with you today. Sorry to distract you from your painting. I noticed you didn’t get much done. :/ 

 

Clarke smiles to herself as she goes about collecting brushes and bringing them over to the sink. 

 

C: What can I say? You’re pretty distracting. 

 

C: But I like it. 

 

She goes about washing her brushes and straightening out her supplies while waiting for Raven. 

 

L: Wish I didn’t have to work so early tomorrow morning. I would have liked to spend more time with you. 

 

L: And Raven I guess. 

 

L: Mostly you though ;)

 

Fuck. Why didn’t I kiss her? Clarke berrates herself. She definitely was more comfortable with Lexa now. Conversation flowed easily and Clarke found herself stumbling over her words around the beauty less and less. There had been moments where it was possible to sneak a kiss. When Clarke had noticed Lexa leaning into her. Or when she caught the brunettes green eyes looking at her lips. The tension was there for sure. And the constant touches and lingering glances weren’t helping the situation. Clarke took a deep breath to calm her raging hormones. It’s like highschool all over again. I haven’t been so worked up over someone like this in ages. Just getting a whiff of her shampoo sets my insides on fire. Clarke responds to Lexa’s texts before she can overthink it. 

 

C: I wouldn’t mind a Raven free hang out. It’d be nice to have you all to myself ;) 



***

Lexa balks at her phone when she gets Clarkes response. Is she hinting at what I think she is? Fuck I should have kissed her. Lexa walks to the shared bathroom, deciding to shower tonight rather than having to wake up early tomorrow morning to do it. Plus a cold shower would do her good right now. The way Clarke had been looking at her all evening had not helped Lexa stop imagining all the places besides the blondes lips she’d like to kiss. Those blue eyes and those soft hands always finding a reason to touch her had Lexa’s skin on fire for most the night. 

 

Lexa quickly undresses in the shower stall and sneaks her clothes out the door to lie them on the bench just outside the stall. Clarke had been a good distraction when she had first come back from her hometown but Clarke meant more to Lexa than just a distraction from her pain. She found herself wanting to actually tell the blonde about her life, her past. Something she’d never had the urge or want to do since before meeting Clarke. If I tell her how broken I am. She could run. I might scare her off with all this baggage. Lexa sighs as she tilts her head back into the running water. She lets herself think about her family. Imagines the words of encouragement she would get from them if she were to tell them about Clarke. She chuckles when she hears Anya’s voice in her head telling her to “Pussy up, buttercup!” and “If it were me I would have slipped a nude into one of those letters of yours.” Lexa lets a full blown laugh escape her then and feels tears start to fall from her eyes. It had been years since she had been able to accurately conjure up her sisters voice. Just being able to properly imagine her sisters sharp tones simultaneously eased Lexa’s pain as well as painfully remind her that she would never hear that voice again. 

 

Lexa lets the tepid water run over her shoulders as she gives into the tears, adding to the pooling water at her feet. It isn’t until she hears the door to the bathroom being roughly pushed open and hurried footsteps approach the shower that she fully snaps back to the present. 

 

“Wha-” Lexa’s about to ask what is happening to whoever is barging into the bathroom when the shower door is flung open and a streak of blond hair pushes her way under the water. “The fuck!?” Lexa cries as she jumps out of the way. “Clarke?!” 



***

“Ok Clarke. Come help me out here.” Raven waves Clarke over. “Grab that ammonia for me will ya?” 

 

Clarke bends to pick up the jug of ammonia off the floor. “Raven. Are you gonna kill us?” 

 

“No. No. I just need a drop of it.” She hunkers down over her contraption. “Could you fill up this eye dropper for me?” Raven passes back an eye dropper without taking her eyes away from her project. 

 

“Ok.” Clark unscrews the top of the container and tips the jug slightly to be able to reach the liquid with the eye dropper. 

 

Clarke sees a spark and hears a pop in the corner of her eye just as Raven cries out, “Oi! Fuck!” The mass on Ravens worktop shatters while hissing smoke out of the electrical components and Raven is jumping back off her workstool to avoid any flying glass. Clark tries to back out of the way, jug of ammonia still in hand, only to trip up on the rug in the middle of their work space. Clarke hits the floor hard and hears Raven swearing as she in turn hits the deck too. However unintentional Clarke’s fall to the ground was, it proved to be the best thing to happen because the rest of Raven’s design suddenly blows itself into bits, sending shards of glass, plastic, and metal all over the apartment. The both of them shield their eyes and turn away from the miniature explosion. 

 

Clarke knows all is safe when she hears Raven start to laugh in relief. “Jesus, Rae! What the fuck was that!?” 

 

“I have no idea!” Raven cries out a little to gleefully as she hops to her feet, checking the apartment for any signs of potential hazards. 

 

Clarkes groans as she sits up, her back protesting at the sudden fall on the floor. Why am I all wet? Clarke reaches up to her wet chest and quickly pulls her hand away to inspect the wetness. Well it’s not blood. Then the smell of ammonia hits Clarke’s nostrils and she spots the bottle spilling the rest of its contents on the floor as it lies on its side next to her. “Oh fuck, Rae!” 

 

Raven spins on her heels to take in a soaked Clarke and an empty bottle. “Oh shite!” Raven runs over to haul Clarke off the floor. “You gotta wash that shit off you, pronto! You could get some nasty burns!” 

 

“Damnit, Raven!” 

 

“You should be fine as long as you get it off ASAP. Make sure it didn’t get in your eyes. You gotta get into the shower like NOW and I’ll clean this mess up.” Raven pushes Clarke towards the door. “Just stay in there until I come get you with some clean clothes. Lot’s of soap Clarke. Make sure you get it all off.” 

 

“Fuck.” Clarke grumbles as she hurriedly makes her way out of the apartment and towards the bathroom. “Fuck fuck fuck.” Clarke’s mind immediately conjures up images of chemical burns she had seen in school and online, working her up enough to actually run into the bathroom in fear of key body parts melting off her bones. 

 

Clarke bursts through the bathroom door and even though she sees the pile of clothes and towel outside the shower stall, can hear the water running, it doesn’t register that there is someone currently occupying said shower. Instead she just thanks her lucky stars that the water is already on and it’s one less step she has to take to start washing this shit off her. 

 

When Clarke flings open the shower door, she sees a pink and brown shape jump in the air in fright as it calls out and moves out of the water. Oh thank god. Get the fuck out of the way. Clarke thinks as she practically dives under the streaming water, clothes and all. She puts her face in direct line of the water and lets it run down her as she immediately goes for the hem of her shirt to rip it off her body. 

 

“Clarke?!”

 

Clarke hears the questioning voice but still hasn’t quite registered the implications until after she’s pulled the clinging fabric over her head and is reaching behind her for her bra’s clasp. 

 

“Clarke! What are you doing?!” That sounds like Lexa’s voice. Weird. Ohhhhhhh shit! 

 

Clarke stops what she’s doing to see a very shocked, very red faced, very naked Lexa gaping at her. “Lexa!?” 

 

“Clarke!?” Lexa yells out again as she tries to cover her chest and groin with her hands. “Clarke what the fuck!?”

 

Clarke’s mind draws a blank and all she can do is point at herself and yell “Ammonia!” over the sound of the running water. 

 

“Ammonia?” Lexa repeats the word and Clarke can see her mind working. Lexa’s eyes grow wide as she realizes what Clarke must be desperately trying to wash off. “Ammonia!” Lexa says as she reaches for the elastic waist of Clarke’s leggings and starts peeling them down with her underwear as Clarke finishes removing her bra. Lexa pulls the water logged clothes off from around Clarke’s ankles and immediately moves to grab her bar of soap, shoving it into Clarke's hands. “Here. I’ll get your back.” 

 

Lexa moves behind Clarke and she can hear the sound of a soap bottle emptying out some of it’s contents before she feels Lexas hands on her back scrubbing off the chemical. “Did any get in your eyes? Is Raven ok?” 

 

“Yes and No.” Clarke responds and she lathers up her face and chest. 

 

“What!?” Lexa cries out. 

 

“No! Sorry!” Clarke spits water out her mouth as she rinses her top half. “Ravens fine. My eyes are fine.”

 

“Fuck Clarke.” Lexa sighs in relief as she squats down to soap up Clarkes legs. “I’ll let you get your...uh...the rest.” 

 

And that’s when the reality of the situation hits Clarke square in the chesk. She’s naked. Naked in a shower with Lexa. Naked in a shower with Lexa who also happens to be naked. And washing her body! Not very gently but still...Clarke’s skin starts to burn for an entirely different reason and the feeling of Lexa’s calloused palms running up and down her legs are not helping. Clarke gasps and stills completely. Lexa must be able to feel the change because she stands up slowly behind the blonde. “Clarke? Are you ok?” 

 

Clarke covers her eyes in shame and hunches in on herself. “This is really dumb but I kind of only just fully realized that I’m naked in a shower with you.” 

 

Lexa chuckles behind her and lays a comforting hand on her shoulder. “This is true but circumstances kind of called for it. I’m just glad you’re ok. I’ll uh...I’ll get out. Sorry.” 

 

“Wait!” Clarke spins and grabs Lexa’s arm, preventing her from leaving the small space. What am I doing? Why am I stopping Lexa from getting out? What are you trying to do Clarke? Clarke focuses on Lexa’s face and finally notices her red and puffy eyes. “Lexa? Are YOU ok? Did I splash some in your eyes?”

 

“What?” Lexa startles and tries to avert her gaze from Clarke all together. “Oh no. No.”

 

Clarke moves her head, following Lexa’s gaze to regain the brunettes attention. “Were you...Were you crying?” 

 

Red rimmed, green eyes flash up to Clarke before turning away again. “Clarke I…” Lexa huffs out a sigh “I’m…” She pauses and takes another calming breath. “I’m...broken. I’m broken and I don’t know how not to be this way. I’ve spent so long alone and then you showed up and it’s just thrown me off balance. And… And… I like you, Clarke. I don’t want to be like this anymore. I need to change for my own fucking sanity. I don’t want to keep living like this. And I’m really trying but it’s hard and sometimes I feel fine and other times I can’t even remember what I did that day because I’ve just been lost in it all...” 

 

Clarke watches Lexa’s body language as she rambles and lets herself actually take a good look at the brunettes body as she physically deflates in shame. She’s in wonderful shape, with soft curves and long, lean muscles. But her skin is covered in a patchwork of scars. Some look painful and like they are tugging uncomfortably at the surrounding skin. Others look like a healed cuts one would get on the playground as a kid. Her arms are relatively scar free and Clarke wonders why she hadn’t noticed before. What happened to you? Clarke thinks as she reaches out to lift Lexa’s chin. 

 

“...and this is really not how I imagined telling you I was fucked up. Or really any of this.” Lexa gestures between the two of them as she meets Clarkes gaze. 

 

Desperate to lighten the mood Clark asks teasingly, “So you imagined this?” She waggles her eyebrow obviously hinting at their nakedness. 

 

Lexa’s posture stiffens as much as she can while still trying to cover herself. “Clarke.” It sounds like a plea. 

 

“Lexa.” Clarke tries her best to hold the brunettes gaze. The alternative would be looking at the rest of Lexa and Clarke isn’t sure she could handle that. 

 

“I told you I’m fucked up and your response is to come onto me?” 

 

Clarke cringes at herself. “It might not have been my best idea.” 

 

“Listen, Clarke.” Lexa side steps around Clarke in an attempt to reach the shower door. This time Clarke lets the woman reach her destination. “I like you. I really do. But you need to know I can’t just be a quick fuck in a dingy shower.” 

 

“Wha...Lexa...I know!” Clarke stumbles through her words. “I just was trying to lighten the mood. I don’t care that you’re fucked up!” 

 

Lexa scoffs and pulls open the shower door, stepping out and reaching for her towel. “You should care Clarke. At the very least you should be running away from me as opposed to just glossing over it all.”

 

Clarke’s blood was already heated, being naked in the shower with her crush and all, but Lexa’s words make her blood boil. She wrenches the sliding door back open as Lexa tries to slide it closed behind her. “Do not mistake my attempts to make this situation less awkward for me not caring, Lexa.”

 

Lexa turns to face Clarke wrapped in her towel now, wearing the face she had worn back when they first met in the hospital. Her chin tilted high in defiance and her jaw clenched. “I might not know you well, Lexa, but you don’t know me all that well either. You would never be a ‘quick fuck’ in a shower and I would never run away just because you have a fucked up past. Assuming that of me is not how you show me that you have feelings for me. It’s how you push me away.” 

 

Lexa’s stance stays the same but Clarke can see her eyes soften, her jaw grind in a desperate attempt to contain her emotions. “I would really like to learn more about you.” Clarke presses. “If you’d be willing to tell me, of course. And I apologize for bursting in here and making a pass at you. In my defense, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and have been fantasizing about just kissing you for the past couple months. My brain just kinda melted once you were naked and in front of me. That and I got ammonia dumped all over me.” 

 

Lexa’s jaw finally relaxes into the smallest of shy smiles. “It wasn’t my fault. You were the one busting in here like a madwoman.” 

 

“Well Raven decided it would be fun to play with some chemicals so I think we could probably blame this whole thing on her.” Counters Clarke as she takes a step towards Lexa. The brunette had definitely seen her body and there wasn’t much point in hiding it anymore. “And thank you by the way. For helping me wash all that shit off.” 

 

Lexa takes a hesitant step closer as well, mirroring Clarke’s actions. “You’re welcome.” She says quietly. “And I do. By the way.”

 

Clarke bridges the gap between them, reaching out with her hands to run up Lexa’s arms in an attempt to calm the upset woman. “You do what?”

 

“Want to tell you.” Clarke can feel Lexa relaxing under her touch and learning into the embrace. “There’s so much I want to tell you. I want to tell you everything. And not just the big and scary things.” Lexa takes another step towards Clarke bringing them toe to toe and staring intently into her eyes. Clarke can feel the towel wrapped around Lexa against the skin of her belly. “I want to tell you about what the idiot at my work did during my shift. Or about why my favorite color used to be yellow but now I’m not too sure. Or what I think about people who chew with their mouths open. What I saw on the bus on my way home.” Lexa pauses to lick her lips and the motion draws Clarke's eyes down. “And it’s terrifying,Clarke.” 

 

Clarke has to make a physical effort to look from Lexa’s mouth and back to her green gaze. “I’m going to kiss you now. Is that ok?” She waits for Lexa’s response and watches as Lexa’s pupils swell to swallow most of the brilliant green Clarke had grown so fond of the past weeks. 

 

Warm hands come up to grab Clarke by the waist, gently moving Clarke back into the shower and against the cold tiled wall, crowding into her space. “Is this ok?”  Lexa husks out as she squeezes Clarkes hips for emphasis. She leans down to run her nose up Clarkes neck to nuzzle just under her ear. Clarke nods her head emphatically, her mouth suddenly incapable of forming words. 

 

“You could have kissed me weeks ago.” Lexa whispers into Clarkes ear and that’s all the blonde needs to hear before she turns into Lexa, crashing their lips together. The kiss is surprisingly gentle for how desperately Clarke had sought out Lexa’s plump lips. They kiss languidly until Lexa moves to press herself even tighter against the blonde, changing angles and humming into Clarkes mouth when Clarke brings her hands up to tangle in dark curls. Clarke gently bites at Lexa’s bottom lip before soothing it with her tongue.

 

“Ugggh. Fuck, Clarke.” Lexa pulls away to pull her bottom lip in her mouth, tasting Clarkes bite, as her eyes hungrily take the blonde in. Clarke smiles deviously back before she pulls Lexa by the back of her neck back into the kiss. Lexa runs her tongue along Clarke’s bottom and Clarke opens her mouth granting her access. 

 

“Mhmm.” Clarke moans into the kiss. Lexa’s mouth tastes amazing and if she thought Lexa’s gentle, sweet kisses where fantastic, her deeper kissing is enough to send the blonde into convulsions of pleasure. The thought of whatever else the brunette could do with that tongue was enough to make Clarke weak at the knees. 

 

Clarke and Lexa are drawn out of their bubble by a new sound in the bathroom. Almost rhythic. Is that a...slow clap? Clarke thinks before Lexa abruptly pulls away coming to the same realization at the same time. 

 

Raven is standing in the bathroom, indeed slow clapping for the two women. “Wow, Clarkey. Spilling ammonia on yourself to jump Lexa in the shower was quite the ploy. I gotta hand it to ya. That’s dedication.” 

 

“Raven!” Clarke cries out as she tries her best to hide behind a still toweled Lexa, desperately reaching for the shower door to close behind them. 

 

“What!?” Raven yells back. “It’s not like I haven’t seen you naked before and Little Miss Hot Ass has a towel on.” 

 

“That’s not the point, Rae!” Clarke calls. “It’s fucking embarassing!” 

 

“Oh well in that case.” Raven mocks. “I’ll just leave your clothes over here…” She deposits a pile of clothing next to Lexa’s on the bench. “And uhh…leave you to it.” 

 

Lexa’s been hiding with her face pressed in Clarkes neck during the whole exchange and Clarke is pretty sure she can hear the brunette mumbling, “Please leave. Please leave. Please leave.”, into her skin there. 

 

“Jesus Rae. Just wait in the studio. I’ll get dressed real quick and we can go.” 

 

“If you’re sure. I don’t want to get in the way of…” Raven gestures to the tangle of limbs, of green and blue and blonde and brunette.

 

“Trust me Raven.” Clarke grumbles. “The damage is already done. Please just get the fuck out.” 

 

“Right. As you were.” Raven solutes the two and makes her way out of the bathroom chuckling. 

 

Clarke shuffles her and Lexa back out of the shower, turning off the water as she does. “Is she gone?” Lexa asks.

 

“She’s gone.” Clarke says as she pushes Lexa’s shoulders lightly to get a look at the brunettes face. 

 

“I don’t remember the last time I was embarrassed like that.” 

 

“Are you sure about that?” Clarke teases. 

 

“Ughhhh!” Lexa throws her arms up in defeat. “Ok. Besides that.” She pushes her bottom lip out in a convincing pout. “I was sick.” 

 

Clarke throws her head back laughing, “Oh I’m aware.” She moves them out of the stall and reaches for the towel Raven had included in the pile of clothes. “And it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Neither is this. Raven’s just an ass.”

 

Lexa remains quiet as she pitifully tries to ring out her towel that had become soaked during their embrace in the shower while keeping it on her body. 

“Here.” Clarke holds out her used towel to Lexa as she reaches for her clothes. Lexa takes it before self consciously dropping her own towel to dry off and dress herself. They dress in silence but can’t help stealing glances at each other under lashes with bit lips. 

 

“So…” Lexa says once she has a loose cotton t on and some baggy sweat shorts. “Did you really dump ammonia on yourself to climb in the shower with me? How did you even know I was in the shower?” 

 

“I assure you I did not do that on purpose.” Clarke defends herself as she steps into Lexa’s space. “Raven’s dumb ass experiment blew up in our faces and I ate it while trying to get out of the way resulting in…” Clarke boldly chases Lexa’s smiling lips with her own and gives her a warm, solid kiss. “Finally getting to kiss the woman I’ve been crushing on since I first saw her conscious.” 

 

Lexa laughs and steals another kiss. “Glad you added the whole conscious clause in there.” 

 

“What can I say? I’m classy.” Clarke grabs the collar of Lexa’s shirt, pulling her in for a slightly sloppy kiss. 

 

“Well.” Lexa says, licking her lips and putting space between them. “I’m glad the both of you are ok.” 

 

“Mmm.” Clarke follows Lexa, not letting her gain any space for long. “I’m glad I finally got to kiss you. Definitely worth the dangers.” Clarke leans in for another kiss which Lexa grants.

 

“You know.” Lexa starts between kisses. “You can” kiss “kiss me” kiss “again” kiss “this Friday.” kiss. 

 

Clarke pulls back to stare at the brunette. “Friday?” 

 

“Yeah.” Lexa responds with a quick kiss to Clarkes nose. “When I take you out on a date.” 

 

The smile that finds itself on Clarkes face surprises even her. “Woah.” Clarke plants her hands on her chest. “That was so smooth I can hardly take it.” 

 

Lexa blushes but refuses to be teased. “Oh shut up and go out with me. I gotta make you work a bit for all the goods you got to see tonight.” 

 

“Oh and viewing my goods aren’t good enough payment?” Clarke feigns offense.

 

“Oh they were good.” Lexa smirks as her eyes flit over Clarkes now clothed body. “But don’t you want to see what a date will get you?” 

 

Now it’s Clarkes turn to blush as she imagines all the things Lexa deems worthy of a date. She swallows dryly, “Well, now I can’t wait till Friday.” 

 

Lexa chuckles at Clarke’s distress as she bends to pick up Clarke’s sopping clothes from the shower floor and starts wringing them out. Clarke moves to help but Lexa waves her off. “Go. Raven’s waiting for you and I need to get to bed. I don’t trust my self control around you at the moment. I’ll hang these to dry in my kitchen. They’ll be my hostage to insure I see you again.”

 

“Oh you’ll see me again.” Clarke bites her lip in thought. “One more kiss for the road?” 

 

Lexa straightens up and slowly moves towards Clarke. “One more. But then seriously-.”

 

“I know, I know!” Clarke closes the distance and keeps the kiss as chaste as she can. Lexa doesn’t make it easy though when she dips her tongue into Clarkes mouth for a quick taste. 

 

“Call me tomorrow?” Clarke asks after they separate but stay close, both desperate to lean in again. 

 

“I promise.” Lexa say sweetly, her breath washing across Clarke’s lips. 




***

Chapter Text

Ch9




It’s late the next day and Lexa is walking up the stairs to her apartment. She had worked her normal job at the restaurant and then spent the rest of the day cataloguing some creepy mans book collection. If she wasn’t so strapped for cash she would have turned around as soon as she entered the second hand book store. It smelt like old cheese and the owner was swarmy and stared way too openly. But the extra fifty bucks would mean she wouldn’t have to choose between eating during the week or being able to take Clarke out for a somewhat decent date. 

Clarke. Lexa sighs audibly as she shoulders open her apartment door. I’m like a lovesick puppy. I can’t even think about more than just the sound of her name without melting into a puddle of mush. What kind of sap have I become? Lexa drops her keys and mail on her counter before collapsing on her mattress in the corner. She lifts her arm over her head rotating her wrist to check her watch. 9:48. That’s not too late right? I mean, I did promise to call her. Fishing her phone out of her pocket, Lexa takes some calming breaths. Ok. don’t overthink it. She wants you to call her. You were making out with her naked yesterday for fucks sake. Thoughts of the night previously invade Lexa’s mind and she has to wet her lips and cross her legs to relieve some of the need that starts immediately building between her legs at the thought of creamy skin and soft lips. 

 

Lexa blows hot air out her mouth as she dials Clarke, self consciously smoothing out her frizzy curls and straightening her back to lean against the wall behind her. The phone only rings once before it’s picked up. 

 

“Is it Friday yet?” Clarkes voice fills Lexa’s ear and she feels herself immediately start to relax into her pillows. 

 

Lexa chuckles. “Well hello to you too. I’m not calling too late am I?” 

 

“Oh no no. I’m a bit of a night owl actually. You can always call me whenever you want. You get special privileges.” Clarke’s voice is dripping with flirtation and Lexa becomes very aware that she stands no chance of keeping any kind of cool around the beautiful blonde. 

 

“What um…” Lexa nervously clears her throat. “What kind of privileges?” 

 

“I’ll guess you’ll just have to find out.”

 

“Do any of them happen to be about getting more of those kisses from last night?”

 

Clarke’s response is a gravely hum. “That could be one of them.”

 

“And perhaps a date with me?”

 

“You know I already agreed to that one.” 

 

“Oh I see.” Lexa smiles so hard it hurts. “But kisses aren’t apart of the date agreement?”

 

“Well it depends on the date. I’ve definitely not kissed plenty of people who have taken me on dates before.” 

 

“I certainly hope so.” Lexa laughs. “No one deserves a kiss just for taking someone on a date. And judging by your kisses, it has to be quite a date to get one.” 

Clarke laughs into the phone. “Are you saying my kisses are special, Ms. Woods?”

 

“I’m saying your kisses are other worldly, Ms. Griffin.” 

 

More laughing. “Ok, Casanova. You might have just earned another kiss just from that line.” 

 

“I’ll hold you to that.” 

 

“I count on it.” 

 

“So. How was your day? How hard of a time did Raven give you once she had you alone last night?”

 

Clarke sighs. “My day was good. Came to the studio and worked on the painting you were distracting me from last night.” 

 

“Sorry not sorry.” Lexa jokes. 

 

“Annnnd I thought I was gonna get away scratch free with Raven ‘cause she didn’t say anything about walking in on us on the way home. Turned out she was just waiting till we got home to fucking explode with happiness and get Octavia in on it.”

 

“Ahhh. The other roommate. Well I hope they didn’t give you that hard of a time. I’d hate for their ribbing to deter you from seeing me.” 

 

“Oh I’m more than used to their ribbings by now. Although they are demanding you come to our apartment for a party night. Mostly to embarrass us I’m sure.” Lexa can practically hear the eye roll on the other line. 

 

“An invite to your apartment? And not just the studio? I’m honored. And even before seeing how the first date is going to turn out.” 

 

“Don’t let it get to your head. I still expect a good date.” 

 

“I aim to impress ma’am.”

 

“Oh god!” Clarked laughs “Don’t you dare call me ma’am again. That will for sure put you on my naughty list.” 

 

“I don’t know if I’d complain about that.” Lexa’s quick to respond. The thoughts that roll across her vision are enough to make her light headed and by the quick intake of breath she hears in her ear, Clarke is having the same response. 

 

“Well that’s not what I meant but now that you say that…” 



“Yes…?” 

 

Before Clarke can go into any detail, Lexa hears a commotion on the other line. She recognizes Ravens voice and one other as well as some pretty heavy footsteps like running and doors slamming. 

 

“Uhm. Clarke?”

 

“Yes this is Clarke.” It is most definitely not Clarke. Lexa’s pretty sure she can hear Clarke’s muffled voice in the background although she can’t understand what she is saying or more yelling by the sound of it. 

 

“You uhh… you don’t sound like Clarke.” Lexa is suddenly very nervous. 

 

“Oh this is most definitely Clarke and I need to tell you that if you break my heart or take advantage of me in any way, my good friend, Octavia, will end you. Do you understand?”

 

The line is silent except for Clarkes protests in the background. “Yes ma’am. I mean, Clarke.” 

 

“Good. I’m going to start using my normal, gravely, sexy, seductive, dolcet voice now.” 

 

Lexa swallows hard. “Yes ma’am.” She hears more noises of a struggle on the line and banging before Clarke’s very welcomed voice rings in Lexa’s ear again. 

 

“Lexa. I am so fucking sorry.”

 

“It’s ok, Clarke.”

 

“No, it’s not. My friends are assholes. I’m on the market for some new ones if you know any.” 

 

“Oh. Well. No not really. I don’t really have any friends.” Lexa feels the awkwardness set in and chides herself for not just laughing it off. 

 

“You don’t have any friends?” Clarkes asks in a soft voice breaking the run of silence.  

 

“I used to. But uhhh… some things happened and I fell on some hard times and uhhh...yeah. No friends anymore.” Lexa drops her head to anxiously run her hand over her eyes and forehead. The line goes silent and Lexa would rather talk to who she’s guessing was Octavia again than be having this conversation. “Wow. I sure had to go and make it weird, didn’t I?” Lexa says, desperate to save the conversation. “Anyways, Friday. So I’m thinking-”

 

“I’m your friend.” Lexa is cut off by Clarkes statement. 

 

“You are?”

 

“Yes. If you want.”

 

Lexa nods. “It is. Yes. But….”

 

“But what?” Presses Clarke. 

 

“Can friends still take each other on dates and kiss each other?” 

 

Clarke chuckles. “Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s called umm…” she pauses to think of the right words. “special friends.” 

 

“Ahhhh. I see.” 

 

“Yeah.”

 

Another bout of silence. 

 

“Clarke?”

 

“Yes, Lexa?”

 

“Will you be my special friend?” 

 

“I’d love that.”  



****

 

Friday rolled around much too quickly and much too slowly all at the same time for Clarke. The excitement and nerves of her impending date only filled her days with thoughts of longing for the green eyed beauty and anxiety over her want to not fuck it up. 

 

“Calm down, Clarkey.” Raven came up behind the nervous blonde checking herself over in the mirror. “You look fucking hot. Lexa won’t be able to keep her hands off of you.” 

 

Clarke motions at her attire. “This is not hot, Rae. This screams dorky doof.” 

 

Clarke had found another letter from Lexa slipped under their studio door the day previous informing her to dress casually. Under the guise of her two best friends Clarke found herself in some high waisted jean shorts and a white v-neck with her converse sneakers. Her makeup was light and her hair hung in loose curls around her shoulders.  Raven pinches Clarke’s sides to gain her attention. 

 

“It does not scream dork at all. It reads young hot thing on a casual date in the summertime.” 

 

Clarke huffs and turns away from the mirror, still less than thrilled by her appearance, to throw her wallet and sunglasses into her purse. 

 

“Clarke.” Raven follows her friend down the hall to their living room where Octavia is lounging on the couch watching one of her shows. “You do know Lexa don’t you? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out she doesn’t have the money to take you out on a fancy date. Anything more than a casual date would be disingenuous and her putting on a show to impress you. Trust me. You aren’t going to be underdressed for anything that woman has planned.”

“Yeah C!” Octavia chimes in. “She’s probably gonna take you on the best fucking date. Having less money makes people more creative. I mean. Remember all the fun shenanigans we got into during college?” 

 

“It’s not the money guys!” Clarke throws her arms up in exasperation. “Or being fancy! I just want to look hot! I want to impress her. Shorts and a t shirt are just kind of plain ya know? I wanted to dress up for her.” 

 

“Oh I’m sure you impressed her enough over the weekend with that hot bod, Clarke.” Raven says encouragingly. 

 

“Yeah babe, you’re fucking hot.” Octavia extends over the back of the couch to playfully slap Clarkes ass. “If tonight goes well, there will be future dates for you to dress up nice for Lexa.” 

 

“Look at it this way.” Raven says. “Lexa wants to make out and do all kinds of dirty things to the Clarke who hangs out in paint covered rags and crocs all day. That’s the Clarke she’s expecting.” 

 

“Oh fucking hell, guys!” Clarke hides her face in her hands. “You’re right but that doesn’t make me feel any better. It’s embarrassing.”

 

They all laugh together at Clarke’s obvious nervousness. But before the two best friends can calm the blonde any further the doorbell rings alerting them of the arrival of Lexa. They all stop mid giggle to stare at each other in a silent showdown. Clarke begging with her eyes to her friends to not do what she thinks they will, and Raven and Octavia deciding who is going to bolt for the door first and who is going to hold back Clarke. They all break in a mad dash for the door at the same time, pulling each others arms and backs of shirts in able to reach the door first. In the end it’s Clarke who reaches the door with Octavia and Raven on the floor in a tangled ball of limbs and disappointment. 

 

Clarke wrenches open the door to reveal Lexa. She’s dressed similarly to Clarke in a pair of black, cut off shorts, worn vans, as well as an old baseball cap and jersey t sporting the logo of their city's local minor league baseball team. 

 

“Hi!” Clarke exhales, winded from her struggle in the hallway. 

 

Lexa tips on her toes to gaze over Clarke’s shoulder at her gawking friends still on the floor. “Uhm. Hi.” She waves awkwardly at the two on the floor who throw up waves and smiles in return doing their best impression of casualness. As if they find themselves in this predicament every other weekend. They kind of do. 




Lexa turns her attention fully to Clarke then and her emerald eyes take in Clarke. “You look great. Are you ready to go?”

 

“Yes! Get me away from these ding dongs!” Clarke playfully begs as she closes the door with a “Later losers.” 

 

Lexa chuckles and shoves her hands into her pockets as they walk in awkward silence down the hallway. 

 

“How-” “You-” “was-” “look-” “your-” “really-” They both start at the same time. 

 

“Oh jeez, sorry. You first.” Clarke chuckles and reaches for Lexa’s arm. Her face burning up immediately at the touch. 

 

“No. No.” Lexa replies, waving Clarke off as she adjusts Clarke’s grip on her forearm to lace their fingers together. “You first.” She smiles charmingly and nods to Clarke to continue. 

 

Clarke has to swallow hard to calm her raging butterflies before she can answer. They get to the elevator before she finds her words. “I was just going to say you look really cute.” 

 

Lexa blushes and looks down at herself. “Are you sure it’s not too much with the logos and all?” 

 

Clarke chuckles and tugs at the jersey on Lexa. “I mean. I’m assuming you’re taking me to a game?” 

 

“Oh no, Clarke.” Lexa’s voice drops and her eyes widen. “I was gonna take you to Burger King.” 

 

Laughing, Clarke pushes Lexa away from her as the elevator dings the first floor to them. “Shut up you dork.” She walks confidently out of the elevator and towards the exit, hearing Lexa scrambling to keep up with her. God I hope she was joking. What if she really is taking me to Burger King!? 

 

Lexa catches up to Clarke and slides her hand into Clarke’s once again. I could get used to this. 

Lexa squeezes Clarke’s hand. “Just so you aren’t panicking about a possible date over chicken fries...I’m taking you to a game.” 

 

Clarke can’t help the grin that hurts her cheeks as she turns to the brunette. “Too bad. I was pretty stoked on the idea of The King. I bet you look cute in those paper crowns.”

 

Lexa throws her head back in laughter as she holds the exit door open for Clarke. “They still have those?”

 

“Oh yes!” 

 

“And you know this how?” Lexa asks.

 

“Did you see my roommates just now?” 

 

Another laugh. “How could I not?”

 

“Do I need to elaborate?”

 

“Nope.” Lexa pops. “Not at all.” She pulls sunglasses out of her back pocket and slides them on her face and Clarke nearly dies at the look. Fuck my panties. How can she look so fucking hot? Lexa must sense Clarke’s staring because she turns to the blonde as they walk down the sidewalk. “What?”

 

Clarke bites her lip and decides to lay it on thick. “Those sunglasses. I didn’t realize I was going on a date with a movie star.” 

 

Lexa scoffs and bumps her shoulder with Clarkes. “I’m the one who should be saying that. You’re fucking mouth watering.” 

 

Lexa stops alongside a beaten up Jeep and tugs Clarke’s arm, getting her to turn to face her. “Before I get you in my dumpy ride…” Lexa’s voice drops as she reaches out her hand not already holding Clarke’s to gently grab her waist. “I’d really like to kiss you.” 



****

 

“Mmmm, fuck. Lexa.” Clarke pants as Lexa slides her thigh between Clarkes. Her mouth is hot on Clarke’s neck and the brunette’s hands have left a burning path up her shirt to scrape her nails along the blonde’s shoulder blades. 

 

“Is this ok?” Lexa asks, pulling away from Clarke to gaze into her eyes with pupils blown. 



“Fuck. Yes.” Clarke nearly cries out as she rips Lexa’s baseball cap off her head and pulls her in for a kiss full of tongue and teeth and heat and want. 

 

Lexa continues to kiss Clarke deeply against her entryway wall and if Clarke didn’t already think she was living her dream, Lexa reaching to roughly grab at Clarke’s ass and lift her so that she can wrap her thighs around the gorgeous brunette, she was sure of it now. 

 

Lexa starts carrying Clarke to her bed in the tiny space, kissing her way down Clarke’s neck to the top of her breasts revealed by her v-neck. 

 

“Did you enjoy the game?” Lexa asks between nibbles and soft kisses. 

 

“Mmmmhmmm” Clarke responds as she pulls Lexa’s wild hair out of her ponytail to tangle her fingers into. She drags her nails along Lexa’s scalp and the brunette purrs into her neck at the action. “Especially the post game celebrating. That’s my favorite.” 

 

Lexa laughs softly into the space behind Clarke’s ear as she drops their mass of limbs as gently as she can on her mattress. They land with a humph and Lexa leans back from Clarke leaving her laid back while she stares from above. 

 

“You’re beautiful.” Lexa states as she teases the exposed skin of Clarke’s stomach. 

 

“You’re stunning.” Clarke respondes. And Lexa really is. 

 

The date had been wonderful. It was carefree and flirtatious and the dimming sun of the day provided the perfect backdrop to them getting to know each other even better. Lexa had been guarded when the subject of family was brought up and Clarke dropped it, seeing the immediate pain in the brunette’s green eyes. Besides that small hiccup, Clarke had been able to steal kisses throughout the game while getting to know the beauty beside her and had found herself only wanting more. 

 

Lexa runs her hands over Clarke’s smooth stomach and she can’t help but cant her hips up towards the brunette. 

 

“Clarke?” Lexa’s voice is soft and desperate, pulling Clarke from her memories of the evening. 

 

“Mmmhm. Yes?” Clarke responds as she runs her fingers up Lexa’s arms. Gently scraping her nails back and forwarth, leaving trails of goosebumps. 

 

“I want you.” Lexa admits, green eyes boring into blue. “I really, really like you.”

 

“I like you too.” Clarke coos. “I want you.” 

 

Lexa nods as she leans over Clarke, supporting her weight on her forearms on either side of Clarke’s head. “I want to taste you. I want to be inside of you.”

 

Lexa’s words send fire up Clarkes spine and she groans in need. “Fuck, Lexa.” 

 

“But you need to tell me if you want me to stop. If I’m hurting you. If you want something different. You need to tell me.” 

 

Clarke nods desperately at Lexa above her and cranes her neck for a sloppy kiss. Before things can go further Lexa breaks the kiss to look Clarke in the eyes. 

 

“I need to hear you say it.” 

 

Clarke moves her hands from Lexa’s arms to cup her face. 

 

“I want you, Lexa. Let me lose myself in you.” 

 

Lexa doesn’t wait for any more words of encouragement before she pulls her shirt over her head, exposing  a flat stomach and soft skin hidden behind a lacy bralette. 

 

“Fuck, Clarke.” Lexa dives in to attack Clarke’s neck once again. “I’ve been dying for you since you ran into my fucking shower.” 

 

Clarke chuckles as she reaches for the button and then zipper of Lexa’s shorts. “I’ve wanted you since you woke up in that hospital bed.”

 

Lexa groans and pulls on Clarke’s lower back, effectively pulling her into a sitting position in able to rid Clarke of her shirt. “I’m going to set aside the fact that you found me attractive sick as a dog in order to tease you about totally hearing you talk to yourself outside the hospital room door.” 

 

Clarke falls back onto the bed laughing at herself. “Oh my god! You heard that!?” 

 

“Yes.” Lexa says as she attaches her lips to the newly exposed skin. “And the nurse.” 

 

“No!” Clarke cries out as she jerks into a sitting position again, shocking Lexa to fall back onto the carpet shirtless. 

 

Lexa scrambles back onto the mattress from the floor and delicately runs her hands over Clarke’s body. “Did I hurt you?” 

 

“No! No.” Clark grabs Lexa’s hands to place them on the waistband of her own shorts. “My mom went to school with her. She’s a family friend.” 

 

Lexa laughs hard and falls onto the bed next to Clarke. “That’s amazing.” 

 

“Lexa Woods, it most definitely is not.” Clarke moves to straddle the brunette now laid out next to her. 

 

“Well maybe not to you…” Lexa’s brow quirks teasingly as she reaches for the thighs encasing her body. 

 

“Shut up and fuck me already.” Clarke demands as she leans down for another deep kiss. 

 

“Yes ma’am.” 




Chapter Text

 

Clarke wakes up from the early morning light making its way through the blinds and the shifting of the warm body pressed against her side. As Lexa squirms in her sleep the bed sheets fall to her waist, revealing a torso littered with scars. Scars that Clarke had just hours ago been mapping with her tongue and lips. She reaches out to softly caress the angry lines pulled taut across her body. 

 

“Mmm” Lexa mumbles as she finally starts to wake from Clarke’s timid touching. “That tickles.”

 

“Sorry.” Clarke says softly as she moves to kiss along the brunettes exposed chest, slowly making her way up to those perfect full lips. 

 

Lexa moans into Clarke’s mouth and tangles her fingers into blonde hair. “I could get used to waking up like this.” 

 

“Hmmm. Me too.” Clarke says between slow morning kisses. Her hands still trailing softly over marred flesh. “Can I ask you a question?” 

 

“Have I always been this good with my mouth?” Lexa jokes as she rolls Clarke onto her back and begins to sensuously kiss and nip Clarke's neck. “Yes.”

 

“Nooo.” Clarke giggles as she pushes at sculpted shoulders causing Lexa to look down at her as she hovers over the blonde, hands on either side of her head supporting her. Green eyes already stormy in anticipation of the question Lexa knows Clarke is about to ask.  Clarke knows with scars like those the subject of how they came about must be a touchy one. But over the course of getting to know Lexa, Clarke has come to find that she really, really likes touching the brunette. 

 

“Your scars.”

 

Lexa sighs heavily and rolls away from Clarke onto her back staring up to the stained ceiling. “What about my scars?” 

 

Clarke follows the beauty as she rolls off and lays on her side facing Lexa, head propped up on her arm. “You have a lot of them.” Clarke leaves the woman space. Doesn’t reach out to touch her as badly as she may want to in the moment. They sit in silence for an agonizing beat before Lexa responds. 

 

“Have you ever heard of the rule of nines?”

 

Clarke watches Lexa grind her jaw and continue to stare at the ceiling as she answers. “Uhm a little. My mom’s a doctor so I understand the basics of it.”

 

Lexa’s hand reaches for the skin of her chest and belly, subconsciously running along the scars. “So you know, say my abdomen is considered nine percent of my body if it’s covered in burns. My back another nine. My ass. My thighs.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“When I was brought into the hospital I had burns covering around 40 percent of my body.” Lexa turns to Clarke then, making eye contact with Clarke’s already tearful eyes. 

 

“I woke up cuffed to a hospital bed accused of burning down my family home with everyone I ever loved inside of it.” 

 

“Oh, honey.” Clarke says softly as she reaches for the slow tears falling down Lexa's face, wiping them away with her thumb before replacing the space with a soft kiss. “I’m so sorry.” 

 

“Why would they think I would do that?” Lexa begs as she grabs desperately at Clarke's wrist. “I was trying to save them. They meant everything to me.” 

 

Clarke waits silently for the fresh wave of tears to pass and offers what little comfort she can to the woman next to her. 

 

“I was 23.” Lexa starts. “Just graduated with a BA in criminal justice and was home celebrating…”

 

“Mom! Dad! Anya!” Lexa calls as she kicks her shoes off in the entryway of her childhood home. “Costia?” The smell of home cooking welcomed Lexa into the kitchen where she heard laughing and soft music. 

 

“Lexa!” A burly man Lexa had grown to love and call father took the few steps between them and wrapped the lithe young woman in a bear hug. “We didn’t hear you come in, little bug!” 

 

“Dad, please. As cute as a nickname that was when you picked me up from the home, I think I’m a bit too old and big now.” Lexa begs between bursts of added pressure to the already tight hug. 

 

“Gustus! Let the poor girl go, you’re crushing her.” Indra, Lexa’s foster mother turned adoptive mother swings her damp tea towel at her hulking husband. “And I agree, Lex.” She says as she wraps Lexa in her arms once she’s freed from Gustus' grip. “I’m thinking more along the lines of strong, powerful, independent, social justice warrior, big bug.”

 

“Oh, come on!” Lexa laughs as she wraps her arms around her mother. She looks around the kitchen. “Where’s An?”

 

“Oh you know Anya. She went chasing tail as soon as she got home.” Gustus quips, earning another smack from the tea towel. “What?!” 

 

“Her and Costia went down to the pub to kill time till you got here. Told us to send you over once you got home.” Indra says. 

 

“Oh, ok.” Lexa moves back to the front door, her parents following her as she does. “I’ll go get the trouble makers then and bring them home for dinner.” 

 

“No rush, bug. Let’s set dinner for 8.” 

 

“Ok, mom.” Lexa says as she pulls open the front door and makes to leave. 

 

“Oh and Lexa!” Gustus calls out. 

 

“Yeah, dad?” 

 

“We’re so very proud of you.” 

 

Lexa blushes and smiles hard at the two people who helped her get to where she was today. That filled her life with so much love. Love they freely gave her when they came across her in the foster care system; thirteen, mad at the world, and broken. Loved her by making sure she never went to school without clean clothes and a packed lunch. Loved her when Lexa came home from her first school dance, heart broken from watching the girl she liked, dance with the most popular boy in school after turning her down. Loved her when they asked her if she would like to permanently join their family. Loved her when they packed up Lexa’s old Jeep and sent her off to college with notes of encouragement snuck in all her belongings. And continued to love Lexa with care packages and weekend phone calls. Without them, Lexa knows she would be a different version of herself. One she’s not sure she would like as much as the version of herself she is now. 

 

“Shut up.” She says, smiling goofily at them as she practically skips down their walkway . 



***

 

Lexa finds her adoptive sister and best friend sitting at the bar of their neighborhood pub. “Hey punks!” She calls from behind them, smiling and ready to throw herself at them in greeting. 

 

“Lex!” They call out as they scramble from their stools and encase the graduate in their arms. 

 

“Hey you two.” Lexa says as she gives her family a good look over in turn. They hadn’t seen each other since the summer previously. “You look good.” 

 

“As do you, stud.” Costia says sweetly as she pushes playfully at Lexa’s shoulder. 

 

“Ughh!” Anya fakes disgust as she turns back to the bar. “You two have been broken up for years now. You’re supposed to hate each other. Not call each other ‘stud’ and ‘babe’ and whatever fuck else you weirdos do.” 

 

Lexa holds her hands up in mock surrender as she takes the stool next to her sister. “Sorry if we just so happen to be best friends too. Some people are capable of an amicable break up. Some say it’s even healthy.” 

 

Anya scoffs as she waves over the bartender. 

 

“Yeah, An.” Costia chips in as she takes the seat next to Lexa. “Lex and I actually cared about each other before we even dated. We had an actual relationship. Not an awkward one night stand and then pretend to not even recognize each other afterwards.”

 

Anya orders them another round before turning to the duo. “Well, excuse me if I don’t want to be tied down by unnecessary feelings.” She shudders at the thought. “I can barely stand having to put up with you two and you're family.” 

 

“Damn right we’re family!” Lexa calls out as she lifts her beer in the air before taking a hefty swig. “So stop complaining and help me catch up to you two before we gotta go home for dinner.” 

 

Three beers later, Lexa and Anya stand waiting by the exit of the pub while Costia closes the tab. 

 

“So you two are good then?” Anya asks. Nodding towards Costia talking to the bartender cheerfully. 

 

“Of course we are.” Lexa says. “We might not have been each others end all be all relationship but what we had was good. It’s still good.” 

 

“And what DO you have?” 

 

Lexa smiles as she thinks about her relationship with Costia. About how closely knit their lives are. “We’re family, An. We’re all of us, family.” 

 

Anya chuckles. “You fucking sap. Are you sure you want to be a big bad lawyer? You should be writing love poems with all those mushy feelings you have.” 

 

“Oh I’m sure.” Lexa says as she watches a greasy man make his way to Costia at the bar. “I’ll just write on the weekends.” She spares Anya a cheeky smile before turning back to watch the interaction at the bar. 

 

The man had clearly had a few drinks too many and by the look of things was coming on rather strongly to Costia. Lexa couldn’t blame anybody for trying to flirt with her ex-girlfriend and best friend. The woman was gorgeous, with curly chestnut hair that bounced just above her shoulders, big amber eyes and a dark complexion, plus a smile that could light a room. But when Lexa sees Costia’s polite decline go ignored by the insistent man she squares her shoulders and makes her way over. 

 

When Lexa reaches Costia’s side, the man had boldy reached out to forcefully grip Costia’s shoulder. 

 

“Don’t touch me.” Costia warns as she pushes the hand off. 

 

“Babe!” Lexa calls out as she makes eye contact with Costia’s panicked gaze. “There you are. Are you ready to go home?” Lexa forces herself between the man and Costia paying him zero attention. Instead she places her hands protectively on Costia’s hips and in a soft voice reassures her friend. “You’re ok. I’ve got you.” Costia nods her head and plays along. 

 

“I was just about to tell this rather rude man that I was very happily taken.” 

 

“Mmm. I like the sound of that.” Lexa says as she wraps her arm around Costia, leading them both towards the exit and Anya, leaving the man to balk in their wake. 

 

“You ok?” Anya asks as they exit the pub together. 

 

“Yeah. That guy was a fucking asshole.” Costia says. “He propositioned some pretty nasty things to me before you came over, Lex.” 

 

“I know you don’t need me to protect you, Cos.” Lexa says, her arm still wrapped around her friend. “But people like that just piss me off, you know? They have zero self awareness.”

 

“Fucking pigs” Anya adds. 

 

“You can always protect me.” Costia teases as she smiles up at Lexa and gives her side a squeeze. 

 

They’ve made it about halfway down the block from the pub when Lexa hears a voice calling after them. “Hey you! Hey!"

 

Lexa stops in her tracks. Jaw working to contain her anger. Costia tugs Lexa along. “Come on, Lex. He’s not worth it. He’s just some drunk piece of shit with a sore ego.” 

 

“Yeah, Lex.” Anya says as she tugs on the other side of Lexa. “He’s just mad you’re prettier than he is.” 

 

Lexa looks back at the man stalking down the sidewalk towards them. He’s grabbing his crotch at a drunken attempt at a lewd gesture while flipping them off with his other hand. “Yeah that’s right! Why don’t you come over here and I’ll show your pretty little girlfriend what she’s missing.” 

 

“Oh fuck no.” Lexa says as she pulls away from the two women. 

 

“Lexa, don’t.” Costia calls out to Lexa who is already making her way back to the man. 

 

“Lex!” Anya chases Lexa down and grabs her arm, pulling her back towards an anxious Costia. “Don’t do this in front of Cos. He’s just some drunk fuck. This is what he wants.” 

 

Lexa tears her arm away from Anya and points to her sister. “You take Costia home right now. Do you understand?” 

 

“Lexa, please. Come home with us.” Anya begs. 

 

“Anya. Take Costia home. Now.” She turns her sister back towards Costia. “I’m right behind you. I promise. I’m just gonna have a chat with our little buddy over there.”

 

“Lex.” Anya holds Lexa’s gaze. The whole while the drunk man keeps yelling at them from down the street. “Be careful.” 

 

“Don’t you dare tell mom and dad about this!” Lexa yells, pointing to her sister as she starts jogging away from Anya. She doesn’t spare another glance back as she makes her way to the man. 

 

When she reaches him he looks her up and down, his gaze dark and unfocused. “I was talking about the other one but if you’re looking for a ride.” He snorts back phlegm as he readjusts whatever situation he’s got going on in his ripped up jeans. “I am more than willing to provide.” 

 

Lexa doesn’t offer the man a response. Instead she cocks back her right arm and puts all her weight behind her fist as it connects with the man’s nose. She feels the crunch of cartilage and bone before she snaps her fist back and watches the man fall to the ground. Lexa huffs triumphantly at the man on the ground. 

 

“Fucking bitch!” The man cries out as he quickly rolls onto his knees, surprising Lexa and  wrapping his arms around her legs, pulling her down to the ground. The man moves to straddle Lexa, his large hand pushing down hard on her chest pinning her down. “Bitch!” He yells as he throws his first punch at Lexa’s face. She throws her hands up to defend her face, glancing the mans blow into the pavement by her ear. “Ow fuck!” The man screams in pain from hitting the pavement and in retaliation aims his next punch at Lexa’s ribs. “Fucking!’’ Punch. “Bitch!” Punch. 

 

Lexa manages to pull a leg out from under the man on top of her, fits her boot against the man’s hip and straightens her bent leg, effectively pushing the rest of her body out from under the man. His drunkenness and Lexa’s unexpected move puts the man off balance and he falls to his belly trying to reach after the woman rolling backwards and away from him. Lexa just uses the man’s head as her next point of leverage to push herself even further away from the man before standing up. She cries out in anger as she closes the distance between his face and her boot, throwing all of her weight behind the kick and nearly falling in the process. Another satisfying crunch echoes through the evening air before the man falls limp to the ground. 

 

“Fuck you!” Lexa yells at the knocked out man. “Fuck!” She kicks him in the ribs. “You!” Another kick. Lexa bends over, her hands on her knees and tries to suck in some much needed air. 

“Piece of shit.”

 

 Lexa painfully straightens back up and jogs off back towards home. 



“Jesus, Lexa.” Clarke says, shocked. “That doesn’t even sound real.” 

 

Lexa shrugs and turns back to the ceiling. “Yeah. I don’t know. I’d been harassed before but nothing like that. And. And it just made me so mad. What right did he have to make the people I love not feel safe?”

 

“But to just go and hit him?”

 

“I wasn’t worried about not holding my own if that’s what you mean. Indra and Gustus put Anya and I both into all kinds of martial art programs growing up.” She turns to Clarke sheepishly. “We both had a lot of anger issues coming from the system. It was a good way to get out all that pent up emotion.” 

 

“Oh, honey.” Clarke cooes as she runs her hand along Lexa’s arm. 

 

Lexa sits up, leaving Clarke alone among the pillows. Her back is even more severely scared than her chest and stomach and Clarke knows that they extend down her buttocks and back of her thighs. “I dropped my wallet in the fight.” Lexa says quietly and defeated, her back still turned to Clarke like she is afraid of what she’ll see in blue eyes when she tells the rest of her story. “My I.D. still had Mom and Dad’s address on it. I meant to change it when I got my apartment in college but I...it just was one of those things I kept putting off. Never thought too much about it.”

 

Clarke can hear Lexa swallow hard and watches as the woman moves her hands to wipe away quiet tears. “Turns out the guy who's ass I kicked was the son of some fucking big time drug lord just making his way through town. He wasn’t even supposed to be there, Clarke.” Lexa turns back to Clarke and scoffs. “His fucking car got a flat and he was drinking at the bar waiting for Tripple A or some shit to come fix it. He wouldn’t even change his own fucking tire.” Lexa sighs exasperatingly. 

 

“I guess getting your ass kicked by some random chick doesn’t look too good when you’re the son of a big time drug dealer. The next day a bunch of men showed up at the house looking for me, to kick my ass or kill me or whatever. Save face. I don’t think they were expecting as many people to be there as there were. I think they were just expecting me.” Lexa sniffles and wipes her nose with the back of her wrist. “Anyways. All hell broke loose once they showed up. They said they just wanted me but my family wasn’t having it. My dad threatened the guy who seemed to be in charge and then it all happened so fast. They were holding guns in our faces and tying up everyone. Then the fucker from the pub shows up with these baton things and…and he…”

 

Lexa starts to shake with her tears and Clarke can’t watch the woman in pain in longer without trying to comfort her. She sits up beside the brunette and wraps her arms around her and waits to see if Lexa wants to keep talking. 

 

“Those fucking sticks broke both my wrists, my eye socket, nose, some ribs. I just remember lying there and all I could hear was my family telling me they loved me, that everything was going to be okay. Hear them crying. And then I smelt gas and I panicked. I knew what they were going to do as soon as I smelt it, but I couldn’t do anything to stop it, I was so spent and beaten. They poured gas all over us and the house. I don’t know what changed their minds but they decided to pull me out of the house with them and make me watch. I kept blacking out and coming back to. I think I remember calling out to everyone but...I’m not sure.”

 

“I remember hearing sirens and trying to crawl back to the house once they left me out in the yard. They just drove away and left me to watch my family burn. I tried to get back into the house to save them but the gasoline on my clothes ignited and that’s the last thing I remember before waking up in the hospital.”

 

“Detectives thought I lit the house on fire before turning the match on myself. That I was some disturbed orphan from the system. But I wasn’t an orphan, Clarke.” Lexa leans her head heavily on Clarke’s shoulder. “I had parents. A sister. Best friend. A family.”

 

Clarke doesn’t know when she started crying but by the time Lexa had finished her story she feels a wreck. “Lexa.” She pulls the woman fully into her lap and in her arms. “Lexa.” Clarke doesn’t know what else to say, she can’t comprehend losing everyone she loved all at once and in such a brutal way. Incomprehensible. Clarke drops her forehead to rest against Lexa’s. “Lexa.” 

 

In the end, Clarke never finds the words to comfort Lexa because she doesn’t believe any exist. Instead she holds her body close to hers and cards her fingers through soft brown curls and softly kisses tears from stormy green eyes until they both fall asleep, emotionally exhausted. 

 

They wake up at the same time. Slowly, quietly, somber. Clarke wordlessly takes Lexa’s hand and wraps them in blankets, leads them down the hall, and gently washes the sleep and dried tear marks from Lexa’s body. Clarke washes and combs Lexa's hair with her fingers and holds her to her chest under the stream of hot water. When they are out of the shower and dried and Clarke has braided Lexa’s curly hair into a single french braid Clarke says the first words since waking up the second time together into her phone. 

 

“I’d like to place an order.” 

Chapter Text

 

Lexa’s stomach audibly growls when Clarke pops the lid open of the delivered curry and it’s scent wafts over the both of them. A small smile graces Clarke’s lips as she starts to dish up the meal. Lexa had sat on her mattress as she watched Clarke slowly pace her small apartment and place an order for Indian food in a soft voice. It had almost been a full day since her confession and the blonde was still by her side. Lexa couldn’t believe it. She was still waiting for Clarke to slip out of her apartment with a “this isn’t what I signed up for” and to never hear from the beauty again. 

 

Instead, Clarke is approaching the bed juggling two plates of food and some water glasses for them. Lexa reaches out to relieve the blonde of a plate and cup with a timid smile. They settle on the end of Lexa’s mattress. Water glasses set on the floor next to their feet. Plates resting on the tops of their knees bent high due to the fact that Lexa’s bed consists of a mattress on a floor and there isn’t much room for their legs to stretch before they hit dingy carpet. 

 

Lexa takes a long drink of water to soothe her burning throat. “Clarke” She croaks once she’s cleared her throat in preparation for what she needs to say. 

 

“Yes?” Clarke responds softly, turning her body to face Lexa. 

 

“Thank you.” 

 

“For what?” Clarke looks around like she’s confused. “The Indian food? I didn’t even ask if you liked it before I ordered it. Kinda rude of me actually.” 

 

“No, Clarke. Not the food.” Lexa takes the plates from their knees and places them on the floor in front of them. She turns fully to Clarke and takes her hands. “For being here. I told you some pretty fucked up shit and you’ve been so kind to me.”

 

“Well yeah, Lex. I’m not a monster.” Clarke says like anyone would do the same thing if in her position. It almost makes Lexa laugh. 

 

“Even before that.” Lexa says. “You agreed to go on a date with someone who sleeps on a mattress on the floor and lives in a place like this.” She waves at the space around them. “You gave me the light of day when I left you weird little notes in the bathroom.”

 

“I love your letters.” Clarke squeezes Lexa’s hands for emphasis. “They’re really nice. And of course I’d agree to go on a date with you. How could I not?”

 

“Well besides all the things I’ve just listed?”

 

Clarke raises an eyebrow in question. 

 

“I have a shit job. Well, multiple shit jobs. Nothing nice. No friends. A fucked up past. There’s not much going for me Clarke. You literally picked my up out of a pile of sick on the bathroom floor.” 

 

“Lexa.” Clarke scoots closer. “I wanted to.” She starts running reassuring circles with her thumbs along Lexa’s palms. “You are more than this shitty apartment building and the jobs that I know you are overqualified for. Plus those are hard jobs, Lex. I wouldn’t want to work in a hot kitchen all day or go clean office buildings or organize peoples shit or any of the other odd jobs you do. How could I not want to get to know the mysterious, letter writing, sweet, charming, beautiful woman living next door? How could I not fall for this” Clarke extends her hand and splays her fingers over Lexa’s chest and heart.  

 

“So it was just for my looks then?” Lexa let’s a small smile play across her face.

 

“You caught me.” Clarke jokes. “This is purely physical for me. That tongue. Mmm!” 

 

Lexa throws her head back in a laugh. “Good. Good, that’s good. Cause while you’ve got all this going for you.” Lexa motions to Clarkes body. “You’re kinda boring.” 

 

Clarke throws her hands to her chest in mock pain, “Ooof. Wow, Woods. Ok. Has anyone ever told you that you’re fucking hilarious.” She says sarcastically. 

 

“Yes actually.” Lexa quips. “I’ve been thinking about going to an open mic down the road for some while now.” 

 

“Ohhh yes, you should most definitely do that. The world deserves to hear you tell shitty jokes.”

 

“Hmmm. Maybe I should just stick with sappy letters for beautiful women.” Lexa manages to say through her chuckles. 

 

“Women!?” Clarke pushes Lexa on her side. 

 

“One woman!” Lexa corrects as she rights herself next to Clarke and reaches for her face. “Just one.” She says as she grabs at Clarkes face, pulling her in for a quick kiss. 

 

“Better.” Clarke says as she rights herself on the bed. “Now give me back my food, I’m fucking starving.” 

 

 

                                                                                                          6 Months Later

 

“Stop boning and get the fuck out here!” Raven yells at Clarke’s closed bedroom door. Her best friend was not very good at hiding when she was messing around with her girlfriend. 

 

The door cracks open and Clarke sticks her rosy face through the gap to glare at Raven. “We’re not boning, Rae!”

 

“Then why is your face all red?”

 

“My face is red because we were wrestling and…and telling jokes.” Clarke awkwardly shuffles in the door before the door opens the rest of the way to reveal Lexa standing next to the blonde. 

 

“Wow, Clarke. When you say it like that it actually does sound like we were boning.” Lexa kisses her embarrassed girlfriend on the cheek before sliding through the doorway, making her way to the kitchen. 

 

Raven jabs her finger at her friend. “See! Boning!” 

 

Clarke scoffs and slaps Ravens accusatory finger away. “If I hear the word ‘boning’ one more time I swear to god I’m going to-”

 

“Boning!” Lexa’s voice carries down the hall. 

 

Raven can’t help the grin that spreads across her features. Over the past months her and Lexa had grown quite close, much to Clarke’s dismay. Even Octavia had grown a liking for Lexa as much as she might try to hide it. She had still maintained her constant threats of death to Lexa if she hurt so much of a hair on Clarke’s head but at this point it was mostly all for show and had become a strange bond between the two women. 

 

“Look at what you’ve done to her.” Clarke scolds as she bodily pushes past Raven, her t-shirt on inside out, the tag sticking out from Clarke’s loose waves. Raven rolls her eyes at Clarke’s failed attempts at hiding her and Lexa messing around as she follows the blonde into the kitchen. 

 

“I didn’t do anything that Lexa didn’t willingly consent to.” Raven says as she butts her way between the two lovers to get at a water glass. Lexa chuckles and nods her head in agreement. 

 

“Consent is key.” Lexa says as she smiles goofily over at Clarke. 

 

“Consent is no laughing matter!” Clarke barks back. Raven can see the smile begging to be released on her friends face. 

 

“Did I say it was?” Raven says over her shoulder, filling her glass at the sink. 

 

“I wasn’t talking to you!” Clarke waves Raven off, “I was talking to my girlfriend who seems to side with MY best friend lately. The girlfriend who coincidentally thought she was going to be getting lucky tonight but given the current circumstances…” Clarke lets the threat go unsaid as she glares pointedly at her gawking girlfriend. 

 

“Whaaa?” Lexa cries as she reaches for an obstinate Clarke. “That’s uncalled for. You know you’re my number one.” Lexa wraps her arms around a frowning Clarke and kisses her forehead. “We just love teasing you because you’re so damn adorable.” Lexa looks over Clarke’s shoulder to wink at Raven. 

 

“Yeah and perfect.” Raven chimes in. 

 

“Shut up, Rae.” Clarke grumbles as she loosens in the brunettes hold and nuzzles into her neck. “I’m trying to listen to my girlfriend say sweet things to me.” 

 

Raven throws up her hands in surrender, shaking her head and chuckling at the two. “I swear it’s like you’ve never been in love before. The way you act around each other.” 

 

“Not like this.” Clarke says softly as she places a gentle kiss to the underside of Lexa’s chin.

 

“Ughh, gross.” Octavia announces her presence as she walks into the space. “Go do that shit at Lexa’s place.” 

 

“Lexa doesn’t have a place, remember.” Clarke states. “She’s in between places and crashing with us until her new apartment is ready.” 

 

Lexa nods sheepishly. “Thanks again, guys. In all seriousness, I really appreciate you letting me crash here.”

 

“In all seriousness,” Octavia mocks “I’d really appreciate you just going ahead and calling it the both of yours new apartment. We all know Clarke won’t be spending any time here anyways.” 

 

Raven giggles at her friends antics and nods while adding, “And you are very welcome, Lexa.” 

 

The couple across from Raven blush. “About that…” Clarke starts so say before Octavia interrupts. 

 

“We know, Clarke. You and Lexa are soulmates or whatever, it was only a matter of time before you moved in together. Plus now I’ll get your room to use as MY special space.”

 

“You knew!” Clarke says as she looks between her two roommates.

 

“Moaning isn’t the only thing we can hear through these walls, Griff.” Raven says. “I hear a lot of I love you’s and all your gross couply plans for the future. It’s gross really.”

 

“Agreed.” Octavia says. “I’d prefer to just hear sex.”  

 

“Okayyyyy then.” Lexa says awkwardly as she distances herself from Clarke. “I am thoroughly embarrassed now. I’m going to get dressed and head to the office. There’s a couple case files I need to look over again.”

 

Raven watches as Lexa slips into the hallway and towards Clarkes room. “So she’s it huh?” Raven asks, turning to Clarke. 

 

“Yeah, Rae. I think so.” 

 

“Good. I like her.” 

 

“As long as she’s good to you.” Octavia adds. 

 

“She is guys.” Clarke reassures them. 

 

“I know.” Raven adds. She reaches out to reassuringly clasp Clarke’s shoulder. “I know.” 

 

Clarke clears her throat. “Whelp. I’m gonna go get dressed too.” She saddles out from between her friends. 

 

“Is that what the kids are calling it these days!” Raven yells after Clarke, only to receive the finger thrown over the blondes shoulder. 

 

Octavia moves to lean against the sink next to Raven. The both of them looking out over the open space of the apartment. “It’s gonna be weird without her here.” 

 

“Yep.” Raven nods.

 

“We’re gonna have a lot more time just the two of us.”

 

“Yep.” 

 

“I might steal Clarke's coveted number one spot in your heart.”

 

“Yep.” 

 

“I’m going to turn Clarke’s room into a home gym.”

 

“Yep.”

 

“Raven?”

 

“Yep?”

 

“I’m sick of you already.”

 

“Ditto.”