“You’re going to WHAT?” Abby exclaimed, her voice rising in disbelief as she whirled around to stare at her daughter.
Clarke winced at the sound of shattering glass as the phial Abby had just picked up to fill with one of her concoctions slipped from her fingers. She frowned as she silently berated herself for her careless timing, knowing full well that her mother’s ire will be tenfold because of the damn broken crystal phial.
“I am going to let Lexa turn me.” Clarke repeated defiantly. “It is not up for discussion, mother.” She added for emphasis. ‘If I am going to piss off the most powerful witch of the last millennium I might as well do a thorough job…’
She saw the tiny visible signs of how much effort Abby made to remain calm. The subtle flare of her nostrils and the tightening of her skin around her temples, they were well-known tells of her mother’s temper. Over a century of practice in annoying her mother has taught Clarke to read her to perfection.
“It damn well IS up for discussion, young lady.” Abby hissed the words through clenched teeth, her gaze hardening as she pointed towards the door leading out of her work den.
“Mother, I am a hundred and forty-six years old. Young lady hardly applies to me any more.” Clarke deadpanned in a flat tone, sass and defiance having always been her go-to defence whenever she pissed her mother off.
“We can broach that subject when you’ve reached the five hundred year mark. ALIVE.” Abby replied in a tone that tolerated no defiance. Her arm never swayed or trembled, outstretched as it was, her finger rigidly pointing towards the door. “Now move your fury backside into the living room, Clarke, or so the Divine ones help me, I will move it for you. We need to talk.”
Clarke stomped out of the den, tense with the indignation she felt for so many reasons. She knew their lives were measured in centuries and millennia rather than decades but her job to interact with mortal humans left a lasting impression on her. After a mere century she was already growing tired of suffering her mother’s control and expectations.
Flopping down on one of the well-worn leather armchairs Clarke hoisted her legs up, draping them carelessly over the armrest as if this discussion was of no consequence to her. It was another reason her soul raged against her predicament for she literally had to obtain her mother’s consent if she did not wish her eternal marriage to a vampire lord to turn into bloodshed. ‘Well…blood other than my own.’ For therein lie the problem. Lexa, as all vampires and other creatures of the night, was considered a cursed Dark eternal who prayed on humanity rather than attempting to guide the bumbling hapless creatures. While Clarke knew Lexa had grown to become different, that she strove to guide her kind onto a new path, Abby was sceptical and distrustful of such a development. Abby’s vehemently vocal scepticism had put a significant strain on their relationship as it was and Clarke came home to visit less and less in the decade since Lexa had robbed her of her heart. Her father’s intervention had allowed the relationship to blossom undisturbed despite her mother’s heavy bias but Clarke feared that if she were to cross from light to dark, even though Clarke liked to think of it as rather an ambiguous shade of grey, without her mother’s prior blessing she might do something rash. The Great Fire of London was no mundane bakery accident after all.
“I am listening.” Abby declared imperiously, her voice tight and controlled as she sat perched on her favourite wooden chair, the one Clarke mockingly referred to as her throne more than once. Abby’s features were nearly blank, not giving away a single thought or emotion. To the unsuspecting bystander, she would almost seem calm and at peace were they to find themselves stumbling into the argument but Clarke knew the deadly stillness that cast the glamour of calm onto Abby. It was but the calm before the storm. A storm she desperately sought to avoid but not to the point of denying her innermost desires.
Clarke shot her a devastating glare, one she had honed to perfection throughout the decades of carrying out the righteously sought pleas of vengeance mortals and eternals alike wrecked on one another for having been wronged. While strictly speaking her death glare was no prerequisite to causing either madness or persecution she had developed a taste for inducing fear in the monsters, both figurative and literal, that crossed her path. It was much to her dismay that her own mother had seemed to be entirely immune to it. Abby merely stared at her expectantly from beneath her veneer of serenity, the lack of effect Clarke’s glare had on her casually dismissing her efforts as the temper tantrum of a wee child.
“What do you want me to say?” Clarke asked coldly, her eyes boring into her mother’s with something akin to disdain.
“You can start by telling me what possessed you to commit suicide by vampire.” Abby’s own salty flavour of sass never failed to amuse Clarke even when they were going at each other’s throats but the implications of what she had said angered her far too much to allow herself to be placated by her mother’s underhanded attempts at humour.
“It is not suicide, mother. I will not be dead.”
“Yes, you would be worse. You would be UNdead.” Abby said matter of factly. “Why would you want to curse your soul and condemn yourself?”
“Lexa is neither cursed, nor condemned. And you know that.” Clarke said hotly. “She has been leading her kind towards a new future.”
“Yes. Yes I know. Vegan vampires drinking coconut water instead of human blood.” Abby snorted dismissively. “It is very noble of her but it is only a matter of time before she falls back on her species’ natural habits. A vampire must have blood.” Abby declared unwaveringly.
Clarke pursed her lips as she considered her next words. One of her mother’s many skills was literally smelling a lie. She could not very well tell her mother that Lexa had not had blood in centuries for her mother would immediately smell the untruth behind her words. Remembering the sharp sting of Lexa’s canines penetrating her skin made something tighten in her lower extremities. She pushed the thought away ruthlessly, not allowing the lustful memory to fog her mind.
“Lexa has not preyed on humans for two centuries, mother.” Clarke said with conviction for she knew this much was absolutely true. When she saw Abby raise an eyebrow in curiosity Clarke knew she had taken a step in the right direction.
“Two centuries? And the rot has not yet set in? How…interesting.” Abby said with a tut but seemed genuinely perplexed.
“Rot?” Clarke asked, her brows knitting in confusion.
“Do you think Lexa is the first vampire to attempt sustaining themselves through other means than the blood of humans?”
“What are you talking about?” Clarke had to fight to keep the uncertain tremble from her voice. Her mother’s quip about this rot had nearly taken the wind from her sail. She made a mental note to ask exactly why Lexa had failed to mention this to her before…
“Ever since the first vampire was cursed into being there have been those noble fools who raged against their cursed condition and attempted to free themselves from the slavish need for human blood. They all rotted in the end.” Abby said in a tone Clarke could almost believe held a grain of sympathy.
“Clearly Lexa does not.” Clarke deadpanned, wrapping her defiance around her defensively as the cold chill of dread hollowed her chest. The mental image of seeing Lexa’s beautiful face bloated with rot was enough to chill her to the bones. She rubbed her arms, attempting to chase the cold away but it had seeped deep into her skin and clung to her like kappa slime.
“Her dietary crusade notwithstanding, it remains a fact that her soul is cursed. Why would you bring down upon yourself the curse of the ancient ones?” Abby changed the subject.
“She is NOT cursed. You keep saying that but it is not true.”
“You don’t know much about vampires, do you, daughter?” Abby commented in such a flippant way that Clarke could not dismiss the insult.
“I live with one. I dare say I am better-versed in vampirism than you…” Clarke said darkly, her temper slowly running short.
“Clearly I know more than you. Clarke… vampires are literally cursed. A mortal human was cursed by three of the most powerful of the Ancient Ones. The accumulation of their curses formed the creature that we understand to be the first vampire.”
“I don’t care.” Clarke said petulantly. If her mother would not yield to reason she would try with stubbornness.
“ I DO.” Abby countered hotly, her temper flaring for a moment before she reined her ire in. “Clarke do you even have an idea what you are tampering with? A fey becoming a vampire? What if you come back a monster?”
“What?” Clarke asked, genuinely stunned at her mother’s suggestion.
Abby’s stoic and controlled facade cracked as she pinched the bridge of her nose between her fingers. “You didn’t even think about this, did you?” She said with a sigh. “Clarke. You are a fey. A magical creature, far more than human. Have you not considered what you might become? What if you become a night hag?”
“Why would I become a night hag, mother?” Clarke asked defiantly. She was enraged by the very thought. True enough, night hags were undead witches but they were witches to begin with and Clarke has never dabbled in fey magic throughout her century long life. Furthermore, they had to offer their souls to a demon with malicious intent.
“Because you are a fury. AND the daughter of a fey witch. If you part with your soul…”
“VAMPIRES ARE NOT SOULLESS!” Clarke yelled. “Lexa’s soul returns to her body every single night.”
“Is that why she has no reflection in the mirror?” Abby asked, her tone superior, bolstered by her confidence that her argument would not be thwarted.
“Except she does have one.” Clarke countered, her eyebrow raising in surprise as it dawned on her that her mother’s views of vampires may well-be centuries out of date. The genuine shock on her face, the way her pupils subtly dilated confirmed in Clarke’s mind that she may well have cracked her mother’s best defence. “Mother, when was the last time you have spoken to a vampire with genuine openness?”
“How have they reacquired their reflection in the mirror?” Abby asked, not deigning to answer her daughter’s question. Her expression became guarded, her body hiding in a stillness that most living creatures were unable to achieve. They breathe and they blink, there would be a twitch of a muscle or an eye movement. Most living creatures were not capable of such stone-like immobility but Abigail Griffin’s craft often required such precision from her that a millennia of practice has taught her a control of her body that would easily rival that of vampires even.
“Human technology’s advancement.” Clarke said cryptically before elaborating, strategically opting to attempt to further unbalance her mother’s already shaken resolution. “Vampires used to not have a reflection in the mirror because silver was used to craft them. Modern mirrors use aluminium which reflects their souls perfectly well.” The explanation made Clarke wonder if Lexa’s body would have a reflection during the day whether in a silver or aluminium mirror, but she deemed that thought be best kept under wraps for the time being. ‘Who the hell would even think to look at vampires who have died for the day in mirrors anyway…’
To her surprise and despair her mother recovered rather quickly from her shock but her response rather lacked the desired effect. “So…the ore of purity remains effective against the creatures. Their souls remain cursed and fleeting.” Abby declared her verdict. “You cannot risk becoming a monster that will need to be put down.”
“Dammit, mother. Really? A night hag literally nails her soul to a demon’s altar. Lexa is not a demon. And she would only bite me.”
“But why, Clarke… You will live up to thousands of years. Centuries will pass before the first wrinkle shows upon your features. Why are you in such a hurry?”
Clarke was fearful it might come to this. She was not naive enough to think that her mother’s stubbornness would not force her hand. She dreaded the notion of sharing such intimate details with her mother for she was firmly convinced that she would consider it an abomination.
“Mother… I need to tell you something.” Clarke said solemnly. She scoffed at the notion that a century and a half old fury could be reduced to a tremble mess of nerves. ‘Only by my mother…’ She mustered her courage as she looked into her mother’s keen and expectant eyes. “But you must promise to let me finish.”
When Abby’s only response was to cock her head to the side in enquiry Clarke repeated. “You MUST promise, mother.”
Abby stared for long seconds before she slowly nodded in consent. It was good enough for Clarke. Her mother’s word was her honour and she has never known her to go back on it. Once her consent was acquired she would stand by her oath no matter the consequences. Clarke drew a deep breath to steady her nerves as she slowly reached up to pull her cloak to the side to reveal the neat fang marks marring her skin.
“She’s already bitten you!” Abby exclaimed in shock. When Clarke only nodded in agreement the expected question tumbled from her lips. “How many times?”
“Once.” Clarke said, her voice timid but clearly audible. “I planned on taking the second bite tonight. After we have spoken.”
“You made me promise to allow you to explain in full without interruption. So explain.” Abby said in a seething tone, her voice shaking with her attempt to control it.
Clarke blushed furiously. Despite the countless crude descriptions of the most heinously lecherous crimes mortals assaulted her ears with, the notion of explaining something so intimate to her mother left her feeling helplessly shy. The ultimate act of intimacy between vampires was sharing their own blood with one another. It was, after all, the way they were once created, Clarke remembered Lexa’s explanation vividly. When Lexa proposed to her she asked if she would grace her with this gift. Lexa had been thoughtful and patient, telling Clarke that she had all the time in the world to think before she gave her an answer. She was not, after all, getting any older. If need be Lexa would wait for all eternity to share this last part of themselves. Clarke had taken Lexa’s word for it and she toyed with the idea for a while before she consented.
“So… you want to become undead for a sex thing…” Her mother crudely summarized when Clarke had fallen silent after her monologue.
“It’s not just a sex thing, mother…” Clarke in annoyance, her upper lip twisting into a slight snarl at the hurtfully dismissive way her mother belittled this act of intimacy. “It’s…” Clarke struggled to find the right words. “It’s the most intimate act one vampire can do for another…it’s…it’s the vampire version of merging your auras.” Clarke finally blurted out in the hopes of swaying her mother. When she saw her mother’s eyes round in disbelief and horror Clarke knew she would be met with resistance and tried to head her off.
“Don’t give me that look, mother. Lexa siring me would create the magical bond and the repeated act of drinking each other in is basically described in much the same terms as the Book of Life describes a merged aura. We would perpetually feel each other, in our thoughts, in our souls, in our bodies.” Clarke said earnestly. She had spoken with a bonded vampire whom Lexa promised was trustworthy and reliable to keep her secret.
“If that is true…” Abby started slowly. “Clarke. This is an insoluble bond. You have only known Lexa a decade… I think you are being terribly rash. I only merged my aura with your father’s after three centuries of marriage.”
“I know what I’m doing, mother.” Clarke said confidently. She heard the change in her mother’s tone. The ire and indignation was slowly leaving her to be replaced by… something much softer Clarke had yet to identify. It was her chance. “My soul belongs with Lexa. I just feel it in my very bones.”
“And if something goes wrong, Clarke?” Abby insisted.
“Then… I do believe my mother is the strongest witch to walk the Earth in the last millennium.” Clarke said with what she intended to be a playful smile and a knowing look. The deep sigh she elicited from her mother was not the response she was fishing for though.
“Do not be careless or flippant about this, Clarke. As powerful as I may be, I am not a necromancer, honey. My magic is seated in life, not death.” Abby said, her voice sounding more tired than Clarke had ever heard it.
“Lexa’s aura is not permanent, mother. This is the only way.” Clarke said, adjusting her tone to something softer to match her mother’s increasingly less harsh resistance. The ghost of sadness strummed her heart string in a painful pang as she thought about Lexa’s aura. It had been one of her own contentions when Lexa first courted her. When Lexa’s soul departed for the day to only the Divine ones knew where… her aura faded along with it, leaving nothing but the cold shell of Lexa’s corpse. If she were to merge her aura to one that faded every day…She would be choosing the truest form of condemnation known to the fey. Clarke would suffer the pains of hell, her aura wide open and raw where Lexa’s should be, her other half ripped from her over and over as though she were bearing the spiritual equivalent of Prometheus’ burden.
“Lexa has an aura?” Abby asked, not even bothering to hide her surprise any more. When Clarke shot her a confused look from beneath drawn eyebrows she elaborated. “Vampires don’t have auras.”
“Lexa does.” Clarke replied. She had inherited enough of her mother’s natural ability to be able to sense someone’s aura and she certainly felt Lexa’s. Admittedly, she had never even attempted to feel any other vampire’s, she felt the act far too intrusive. However, her mother being quite above such trifling moral quandaries, a thought wedged itself in Clarke’s mind. “You’ve met Lexa maybe half a dozen times this past decade, are you saying you never even looked?”
Abby shrugged with such unnatural grace that can only be obtained through several centuries of practice. “I never bothered. In the nine centuries I have lived I have never heard of vampires having auras. It is a semi-corporeal manifestation of your soul. Something I am still not entirely convinced vampires do not lack.” Abby replied unapologetically.
“Would you believe that the love of my life is not a soulless monster if she allowed you to touch her aura?” Clarke asked, her voice hardening somewhat. But there was also a speck of hope, hope that this might just be the offering that would convince her mother.
“Would she let me?” Abby asked, her curiosity piqued. Clarke knew quite well what sparked her mother’s interest. Touching one’s aura consensually granted her mother the ability to see…everything. Not specific memories per se, that required quite a complex sacrifice and the blessing of the Divine but Abby would be able to feel a condensed accumulation of impressions from Lexa’s entire life. The way Abby leaned forward, her rigid posture breaking into something resembling human normalcy told Clarke how eager her mother would be to accept the offer.
“She is adamant that we secure your consent. I believe she would.” Clarke confirmed with as few words as possible but when Abby raised an eyebrow in inquiry she knew it was a moot effort. “She remembers the Great Fire of London, Mother.” Clarke said darkly, failing to keep the accusation from her tone.
“Do not give me that tone, Clarke. Those bastards deserved the fiery pits of hell brought to Earth for what they had done.” Abby said, temper once again incensed.
“I know, mother. But Lexa was human when the fires ravaged the city. She was terrified.” Clarke changed tactics one again. She knew the information had hit home when she saw her mother’s eyes softening.
“I want to talk to Lexa privately before you take the second bite.” Abby said so abruptly Clarke wondered if she had actually heard her mother utter the words. The fact that Abby said before rather than something conditional planted a seed of hope in Clarke’s soul and she quickly murmured a silent prayer of gratitude to the Divine ones for her mother’s efforts to be agreeable.
Clarke paced the cold flagstone floor of their dining room anxiously as she waited for Lexa’s arrival. Her stupid, stubborn, noble-hearted fool of a partner was absolutely immovable in her resolution to visit her prospective mother-in-law alone. Clarke had argued, pleaded, yelled and wept but Lexa remained firm in her resolution. Uncharacteristically firm as far as Clarke was concerned. Sure enough, she had seen Lexa lead her clan bravely and confidently, even ruthlessly when necessary but she had never personally experienced Lexa’s cast iron will directed against her. If she persevered, Lexa had always aligned her will with Clarke’s, if not always immediately.
Despite her restlessness Clarke was growing tired of pacing, or rather of it not helping an ounce. She stalked over to one of the large windows, its heavy thick curtains drawn to the sides to allow moonlight to cast its eerie glow on the metallic surfaces of the dimly lit room. Clarke had once been surprised to find Lexa living on a relatively modest estate with ample grounds rather close to a large city. When Lexa asked her what she had expected…Clarke felt rather vexed at Lexa’s amusement over her…apparently archaic expectations. So what if she had assumed that Lexa lived in a largely decayed castle perched atop a remote and inaccessible cliff? She was well within her rights to assume that a vampire would set up her abode far from the prying eyes of the humans she preyed upon. The double shock of finding out that she neither preyed nor slithered into the depth of wilderness to hide was the first of a series of surprises that forced Clarke to reconsider her rather biased light fey assumptions.
As she gazed out the window she was met with one of Lexa’s completely ridiculous, un-vampiric… pet projects. ‘For lack of a better word.’ As far as her eyes could see across the grounds rows upon rows of tall glass houses were erected. Hot houses, as Lexa called them. They glittered and sparkled beautifully in the moonlight, that much Clarke happily admitted but the practicality of it... it was Lexa’s little dream to grow her own coconuts year-round, despite the unfavourable climate. Clarke was surprised to find that Lexa enjoyed puttering about in these hot houses, pruning and caring for her trees. ‘A vampire who loves midnight gardening...who would even believe me.’ Clarke found herself smiling fondly at the thought of all the ridiculous things her girlfriend did. She was over three hundred and fifty years old yet strove to keep with the times far more and better than Clarke ever had after a measly century and a half on this planet.
She fell a little more in love with Lexa every time she was confronted with how well she merged the remnants of her long lost humanity with the curiosities of a supernatural life. As if she had conjured it from thought, one such curiosity scampered across the floor behind her but as it was their unspoken agreement she did her best to take no notice of it. A goofy grin spread across her features as Clarke remembered the first time she and Lexa did possibly the most ridiculous thing she could imagine: they had gone…grocery shopping. In an auto-mobile. A vegan vampire and a fury went to mingle with humans in a round-the-clock supermarket.
“How do you even know how to operate this…metallic contraption?” Clarke asked as she gingerly settled in the seat next to Lexa and softly pulled the door until it gave a gentle click.
“That’s door isn’t closed properly, Clarke. You need to open it and shut it firmly.” Lexa said absent-mindedly as she meticulously checked a variety of small things Clarke did not understand. She looked around somewhat helplessly for a moment, trying to remember how Lexa opened the door for her in the first place. ‘She’d touched something that vaguely resembled a door handle…’ She spotted a tiny plastic…thing that looked like it might do the trick and after a few attempts she managed to operate the devilish thing. A surge of triumphant joy surged through Clarke when she managed to open the door and she pulled it shut with significantly more force.
“Hey! I said firmly…but it’s not a john ya know…” Lexa said disapprovingly.
“What?” Clarke asked in confusion. “John?”
“You never heard that expression before? You slammed that door like the wind would slam the outhouse door…” Lexa asked, perturbed herself.
“Um… no? Where do you even pick up these ridiculous sayings from?”
“Oh you know… I travel. This one I picked up in a wee central European country called Hungary.” Lexa said, her tone easy and flippant but Clarke did not fail to notice the slight curl of her upper lip.
“Unpleasant memories?” She probed gently.
“Quite…they were, not very vampire-friendly a hundred fifty years ago.” Lexa said dryly.
“Eh, I still have not gotten used to the fact you had been around for two centuries and were gallivanting around the world just as I was being born…” Clarke said good-naturedly.
“Sorry. I don’t mean to keep reminding you of the age difference.” Lexa said with a wince as she made the car come to life. Clarke jumped slightly at the unexpected motion beneath her but when she saw Lexa remain calm she assumed that it was the expected outcome of whatever she did.
“So how DO you even know how to operate this thing?” Clarke changed the subject.
“It’s called driving, Clarke. Much the same way as you would drive a cart. And cars have been around for about a century. I thought it’s a useful thing to know. Helps me blend in.” Lexa said as she set the car in motion. She glanced sideways briefly to look at Clarke before turning her attention back on the road. “How do YOU get around if you don’t know how to drive?”
“I walk if I’m in the mood. Or I just manifest where ever I am called.” Clarke said matter-of-factly.
“Geeze, that must be nice.” Lexa commented with a measure of envy in her voice.
“Well… but you can fly too, can’t you?” Clarke shot back.
“You mean like on an aeroplane?” Lexa asked, never taking her eyes off the rode. When several seconds passed by without a response from Clarke Lexa glanced sideways again to take in Clarke’s genuinely affronted features. “What?”
“Vampires can’t fly??”
“You’ve read way too many spooky stories, princess.” Lexa said, grinning.
Clarke just stared at Lexa’s profile, her happy grin making her features all the more attractive even with the flash of a single fang.
“Okaaaaay. So where are we going again?” Clarke changed the subject abruptly. She had only been… dating… Lexa for a couple of weeks but it was like a very anti-climatic crash course on what vampires actually were like, compared to all the biased expectations and grisly myths surrounding their species.
“Grocery shopping. We’re here by the way.” Lexa said with a happy smile. “One of the perks of being perpetually stuck in the night shift. No traffic whatsoever.”
Clarke trailed after Lexa, mildly confused. There were very few humans up and about at 11pm but they passed enough of them for Clarke to expect trouble. She expected at least one of these mostly oblivious bumbling creatures to recognize that there was something odd about the pair of them. That they somehow did not belong. She expected screaming and terror to ensue and was quite surprised by their rather uneventful entry.
“Why aren’t they running in terror?” Clarke whispered after walking past a gaggle of young humans.
“Because most people would not recognize a vampire unless they literally bit them in the ass… and I am not stupid enough to flash fangs.” Lexa said discreetly. And sure enough, Clarke noticed that her girlfriend had turned her head in way as if she wanted to whisper into her ear, her words somewhat mumbled on account of Lexa’s effort to not move her lips much.
“Okay…so we’re just going to buy a bunch of coconuts? Don’t the humans find it weird that you only ever buy coconuts?” Clarke wondered as they passed a number of shelves stocked with an assortment of things she had never seen before.
Lexa stopped the gigantic rolling metal basket to look at her. “I don’t just buy coconuts, Clarke.”
“Why, what else do you need?” Clarke asked in confusion. When all Lexa did was blink at her slowly several times, disbelief clearly etched across her features her frown deepened.
“You mean apart from cleaning products, personal hygiene, and cream and honey for the brownies?” Lexa asked, nonplussed.
“Did you just say…cream and honey for the brownies?” Clarke asked rather more loudly than she had intended. When Lexa’s eyes darted around to see if they had attracted any unwanted attention Clarke realized her mistake and lowered her voice to a hush. “WHY would you have brownies, Lexa, when you can’t eat them?”
Clarke immediately knew that she had said something stupid when she saw the look of pure horror in Lexa’s eyes. “Eat the brownies? Are you insane, Clarke?” Lexa whispered somewhat harshly, looking and sounding every bit as flabbergasted as Clarke herself felt. “Even if I was capable of ingesting anything solid I would not be eating my brownies! They get testy if I buy them low fat cream for crying out loud…I would find myself quite suddenly brownie-less if I were to start snacking on them…”
The conversation had taken such an abruptly surprising turn that Clarke felt compelled to stop and clarify. “Wait. So when you say brownies… you don’t mean the ridiculously sweet brown cake thing humans are so fond of?”
A crash brought Clarke out of her musings and she whipped her head round snarling, hand flying to her belt for her knife as her eyes inspected her surroundings for any intruder. The sight in front of her made her muscles lax immediately as she watched one tiny creature dragging another towards her by its large hairy little ear. The gruagach, or as Lexa liked to call them, the brownies, typically preferred to stay out of sight so much so that the brownies in their employment were even willing to work during the day to accommodate their mistress’… nocturnal lifestyle.
“I beg your pardon M’lady. The young ones can be so dreadfully clumsy.” The older of the little gruagach, or household spirits, said in a thick accent. He shook his captive by the ear as if to make a point. “Petalbeam here has also yet to learn that the mistresses are active during the night.”
“That is quite fine, Cinnamonvine.” Clarke said, crouching so that the two tiny creatures would not be forced to crane their necks to look at her. It was one way to honor a brownie when circumstances made conversing with them necessary. “Your help is much appreciated, even if there are mishaps on occasion.” She said appeasingly. The elvish features of the little fairy lit up with pride before he ducked his head to modestly hide what Clarke expected was a much pleased grin. When Cinnamonvine failed to release Petalbeam’s ear despite the compliment it was on the tip of Clarke’s tongue to attempt to reaffirm her gratitude with an offering of extra cream and honey but experience had stopped her in time. The Gruagach much preferred their transactions with their masters to happen without any attention drawn to it, much the same way as they went about their chores without being told to do so, they expected their offerings to appear without talking about it. Instead of committing the faux pas, Clarke tried another compliment. “I am quite confident Petalbeam will be invaluable to us in no time, particularly under your tutelage, Cinnamonvine.”
The tiny fey blushed even more furiously and finally let go of his companion’s ear who used his newfound freedom to bow its little head towards Clarke in gratitude. “Mistress is much too kind. Very kind.”
Clarke was pleased to have averted the minor household catastrophe and watched in amusement as the two brownies scurried away. Her attention not diverted any more, her thoughts gravitated towards Lexa again, wondering when, and more importantly, how her girlfriend would arrive home.
She walked from the dining room down a set of hallways to arrive at the main foyer, tempted to open the front door and hover there, anxiously waiting for her partner to come home. Just as she was teetering on the edge of succumbing to this unbecoming desire the door opened and Lexa walked in, demeanour calm and easy, her eyes rounding in surprise when she found her arms full of Clarke before she had completely closed the door. Their combined weight pressed against the antiquated wood of the door and slammed it shut behind them.
“Lexa!” Clarke’s voice was no more than a strangled yelp as her hands slid from her girlfriend’s shoulder up to her cheeks. “Are you okay? What happened? How did it go? What did she say? Are okay?” Clarke’s eyes roamed every visible part of Lexa, seeking confirmation that there were no wounds or signs of curses.
“Clarke, Clarke, ease down, love. I am fine.” Lexa said soothingly in an attempt to stop the flurry of questions Clarke was drowning her in. “Everything is alright.” She said with a fond smile.
Lexa’s causal ease temporarily calmed Clarke’s nerves and she stopped to look the devastatingly beautiful vampire in the eyes. “The Divine ones above, Lexa. I was so nervous.” Clarke said before she moved in for a kiss. Her lips wrapped around the vampire’s bottom lip and she sucked it between hers before realigning her head to deepen the kiss. It had taken her some practice to be able to kiss Lexa without skewering her tongue on her fangs. Clarke vividly remembered the first time it happened. It had been…awkward. Their sexy time had been interrupted by the need to share emotions. She had been very surprised when Lexa hold her that she had not tasted blood in any way in over a century by then. The notion that Lexa had not had anyone to lose herself in that completely had broken Clarke’s heart a little. She had never considered what it would truly mean for a vampire to swear off of blood until then, not truly understanding how the sharing of blood could become so intimate. They slowly disentangled from their embrace far enough to be able to look at one another.
“So…what did she say?” Clarke repeated the most urgent question pushing at her mind.
“She’s given us her blessing, Clarke.” Lexa said, her lips stretching into a wide, happy grin flashing her pointed canines again. Her eyes wandered to Clarke’s trembling lips briefly before she looked into watery eyes again. Clarke felt the thin sheen of tears wet her eyes, blurring her vision somewhat. She imagined the relief and joy Lexa must have seen on her face because the next thing she said was “Lord above, Clarke. If my heart could beat it would break my chest for you.”
Clarke did not hold herself back when her lips descended on Lexa’s again. She boldly pressed her tongue between Lexa’s lips, revelling in the sharp sting of Lexa’s teeth scraping at her tongue hard enough to draw blood. The sweet metallic taste of their kisses had become a bit of a kink for Clarke and she cherished the rare occasion Lexa allowed it to happen. Her arms snaked around Lexa’s shoulders and she pressed herself against her vampire’s front as if intent on merging their bodies through their clothes. Her hips shamelessly ground against Lexa’s and she groaned into her mouth. A single touch from Lexa was enough to turn Clarke on beyond coherent thought.
“Not…here…” Lexa panted between frenzied kisses. “Bed…” Her hands confidently trailed down Clarke’s back until she could grasp Clarke’s buttocks. Clarke instinctively understood the implied command and she launched herself upwards, wrapping her legs around Lexa’s waist to allow her vampire to use her supernatural strength to carry them up the stairs. That much was true of vampires and Clarke was forever grateful for it. When she found out exactly how strong Lexa was her first lecherous thought had been a silent prayer for Lexa to use that strength to fuck her.
There were no more words necessary to occupy their lips and they had not stopped their familiar explorations of the other’s mouth until they reached their bedroom. As an understandable safety precaution there were no windows. When Lexa nudged the ajar door fully open with her foot to let them inside the pitch dark room, Clarke’s hand blindly found the switch and twisted the dimming dial to give the room a comfortable soft glow of light. While Lexa’s vision was perfect at night, hers was not and she preferred to see her vampire as she took the second bite from her.
When Clarke’s back softly landed on the bed she opened her eyes to gaze into impossibly vivid greens gently searching hers. “Are you certain you want it tonight?” Clarke had already taken the first bite, and both their lips were freshly smeared with Clarke’s bright red blood and this gorgeous creature of the night still needed to be reassured that Clarke had no doubts. Clarke’s still beating heart filled with warmth at her soon-to-be wife’s thoughtfulness.
“Yes, Lexa. I feel your pull. I love you. I want you. I want to be with you. To be like you.” Clarke whispered the solemn words before turning her head to press a gentle kiss into Lexa’s palm, leaving a smudge of red there from her own lips. Lexa had warned her that that would soon change, as vampires’ blood blackened during the transformation phase. When Clarke shot her a disbelieving look Lexa countered with a mischievous one while she nicked her own tongue on her fang and stuck her tongue out at Clarke in the most hilariously childish expression Clarke had ever seen. Clarke grinned softly at the fond memory before she strained upwards to recapture Lexa’s lips and lick them clean.
Sounds and noises took the place of words. The rustling of clothes as they disrobed one another, Clarke’s traditional fury garb falling from her body once Lexa’s deft fingers loosened its fastenings, soft sighs elicited by knowing touches. When Clarke took Lexa’s first bite she was surprised by Lexa’s almost timid, reverent touches which the vampire explained were owing to the fact that she was damn well aware that she was taking a finite life, regardless of how long it may naturally be, in order to gift her the possibility of infinity. It was an act of intimacy that deserved to be worshipped with love and gentle attention.
When Clarke’s hips started moving against Lexa of their own accord and Clarke’s unrestrained whimpers inundated Lexa’s ears in an endless string, the vampire’s lips made their way down Clarke’s throat, readying herself to strike. She settled a thigh between Clarke’s and steadily ground down to urge Clarke towards her orgasm, lips gently caressing the skin her fangs had once broken already. Clarke felt the ever increasing warmth grow between her legs and slowly spread, her breathing becoming erratic. Lexa’s cool lips against her throat were like an intoxicating aphrodisiac Clarke had never before experienced and she desperately clutched at Lexa’s naked back in encouragement. “Ah…Lex… I’m so close…” She breathed the words into Lexa’s ear, her hot breath warming Lexa’s perpetually cool skin. When Clarke’s body tensed, her spine bowing as the first tendrils of her orgasm rippled through her, Lexa’s canines penetrated her skin and she drank the flow of warm life that flooded into her, getting lost in the moment as the taste of Clarke’s orgasm hit her tongue and triggered her own release she had carefully built grinding herself against Clarke’s thigh.
Lexa collapsed against Clarke’s panting chest, her own treacherously still, slightly souring Lexa’s experience with the reminder that she had just drank down a living creature, one that still needed oxygen. She felt her body shake the cold of the grave as warmth coursed through her for the second time since she had resolved to substitute preying on humans with coconut water two centuries ago. A single side-effect of coming off blood was that Lexa would never be warmed by life but she was content with her sacrifice. They both knew tonight was different, for tonight Lexa had feasted on Clarke, still a warm, live creature of daylight and tonight Lexa would be warm beside Clarke as they curled around one another. Lexa had forewarned Clarke to commit the feeling to memory for the first two bites were the only time they would experience this. On their wedding night Lexa would be warm once more but Clarke would not be there to share the experience. She would lie alone, cold and dead in her coffin for the three days it took her soul to return to her body.
Delirious with blood loss and her mind still addled by the force of her release, Clarke struggled to open her eyes. Her lips opened and closed silently, much in the same way a fish would, the ability to work her muscles to formulate words leaving her entirely.
It was only Lexa’s supernatural hearing that picked up the soft sounds of Clarke’s effort and she raised herself off Clarke to tend to her. A bottle of that disgusting blue liquid humans had invented to more efficiently replenish fluids was thoughtfully placed on the night stand in advance, knowing that it would help Clarke combat the ill-effects of blood loss. Lexa pulled her girlfriend into her lap as she manoeuvred the bottle’s neck between her lips and helped her drink.
“Th…thanks” Clarke whispered hoarsely. “Mm…cold. Come …here and curl around me. Warm me.” She whispered as she turned on her side and Lexa dutifully curled around her from behind to try to give her back some of the warmth she had taken from her.
“Are you really sure it’s the right time, Clarke?” Abby asked once again as she worked her magic to secure Clarke’s curls in place.
“Mother… tell me you did not just ask me that on my wedding night.” Clarke said, her clear blue eyes darkening to the blue of ocean depths.
“I’m sorry, honey, it’s just…what about children?”
“What about children?” Clarke asked, momentarily distracted from her anger.
“An undead womb can’t exactly bear children.” Abby deadpanned.
“I guess I’ll just have to ask you to make me one of those fertility potions you’re so good at” Clarke said, decidedly uninterested in the subject.
“Living. Creatures. Clarke.” Abby emphasized each word individually. “You ALWAYS forget. My magic does not extend beyond the realms of the living.”
“Fine, then if I decide sometime down the line that I want children I’ll ask aunt Maggie…” Clarke said defiantly, but regretting her words as soon as she looked into stone cold eyes.
“You will do no such thing, Clarke, particularly not alone. As much as I love my sister, I will not allow my daughter to deal with necromancers. Maggie wouldn’t want it either…” Abby said forcefully.
“Fine, fine. I’m sorry. I don’t want children of my own anyway. And if I ever do I’m sure my siblings will be more than happy to ask me to baby sit theirs. Can we get back to being happy for me?” Clarke said, her hands up in the air in defeat.
“Yes, Clarke, we can. But you have to cut me some slack. It’s very unusual for a mother to experience the best and worst of her dreams come true at the very same time.” Abby said softly.
Clarke’s own gaze softened in return, knowing well what her mother was referring to. She would be getting married tonight and the height of her wedding ceremony would be her death by her wife’s hands, or rather fangs, as part of her oath of loyalty.
“It’s going to be fine, mom. I’ll be back in three days.” Clarke said softly, turning in her chair to face her mother.
“I know….” Abby said, her eyes misting over. “I just hope you come back right.”
“You and Lexa will be there to make sure of that.” Clarke said confidently, reaching out to squeeze her mother’s hand in encouragement.
Abby nodded, but her eyes lacked real conviction before she mastered her features. “So what’s on Lexa’s side of the wedding party?” Abby attempted to change the subject.
‘What…not who…’ The word hit Clarke’s ears immediately. She narrowed her eyes, giving her mother yet another strict look.
“Don’t give me that look. It’s a fair question.”
“Everyone on Lexa’s side knows that…the pre-deceased guests are off the menu, mother. No one is going to be snacking on anyone.” Clarke said tiredly. She had been through this conversation with quite a number of family members. ‘Light fey… what a bunch of stuck up purists we are.’ She turned back towards the mirror to let her mother continue working on her hair.
“Still. Indulge me, please?”
“Fine. Lincoln is a werewolf. He’s Lexa’s best man. But you know him already, he’s Octavia’s husband.” Clarke relented and starting ticking off all of Lexa’s closest friends. “Indra is a banshee, an…” her mother’s interruption stopped her from finishing the list.
“Oh, great, there’s going to be a banshee at the party. Has she taken a draught to stop her from screaming to foreshadow your death?” Abby asked, rolling her eyes in annoyance.
“Her lineage has never been tied to our family, mother. There will be no screaming involved.” Clarke said testily. True enough, banshees wailed when they sensed the impending death of a noble fey but they were typically tied to specific families and no one in Indra’s lineage has ever wailed for the Griffins. Clarke had asked specifically. “There’s also going to be some vampires obviously, and no not all of them are vegans, mother.” Clarke answered her mother’s unasked question pre-emptively. “But they have given their oath to behave. You know how much a word of honour means to vampires. They will not break it. Then…some of Lexa’s ancestors were called from their graves so there’ll be zombies and ghosts.” Clarke continued, ticking off the various species on her fingers.
“Oh, Lexa’s mother’s been roaming the Earth as a lost soul for centuries, she’s quite excited to finally see her daughter be married so she can rest in peace. And I think they managed to find her father’s skull so he’s being resurrected as a zombie...I think there’ll be a couple of ghouls, cousins and the like and… oh yeah, Lexa’s uncle Gustus is a poltergeist.”
“Oh my…what a…translucently colourful family.” Abby said dryly.
“Yeah. As colourful as ours is. Land wights, nymphs, Witches and necromancers. Speaking of… you have spoken with Aunt Maggie about laying off trying to thrall all the undead folk, right?” Clarke asked, giving her a pointed look. “You know how she gets once she starts using her mojo… resurrecting Lexa’s father is going to get her in quite a state.” Clarke said with a slight sneer in her tone. “I swear, she had the ickiest gleam in her eye when she realized I’m asking her to get funky with a four hundred year old corpse.”
“Yes, yes. She even promised to wear the Necklace of Submission I had crafted for her to ensure that the undead don’t start clamouring around her as soon as she enters the room.” Abby said defensively.
“Good. The last thing I want is Lexa’s family taking offence at her new wife’s family forcing them on their knees.” Clarke deadpanned.
“I’m sure it would be a tragedy if she stole the show from you being ritually murdered in front of a crowd.” Abby said dryly, her eyes flashing with a rather unpleasant emotion.
“Kissed into the afterlife. Mother. You promised.” Clarke said in a pained voice.
“I know. I did. And I am truly sorry, Clarke. You know I do not make a habit of breaking my promises. It’s bad for my karma. But I just cannot help but be nervous.” Abby replied in defeat. “Your hair is finished.”
“Thank you.” Clarke said as she stood. She approached her mother calmly and hugged her, encircling her in her warmth one more time. “Don’t be cruel to Lexa in my absence, okay?”
“I promise, Clarke. She’s family now.” Abby said solemnly.
[Suggested listening: Blinding Lights by The Weekend]
As open-minded as Clarke was about everything she would have to adjust to, she had still not expected her wedding night be quite so topsy-turvy. As she and Lexa discussed decorations and guests it dawned on her that they would have the party before the commitment ceremony. ‘Makes sense if one thinks about it… I would not want to miss my own wedding party on account of…being dead.’
Clarke surveyed the crowd with gleeful amusement. If a mortal were to stumble in they would likely have the fright of their life. The large banquet hall of Lexa’s estate had been decorated as if they were throwing the most luxurious Halloween ball as a safety precaution against their human neighbours. ‘Seriously…humans will believe whatever you tell them despite what’s right in front of their eyes…’ Clarke grinned, wondering how on earth anyone seeing these creatures congregating here would assume they were humans in costumes.
There were zombies tearing up the dance floor, or rather tearing each other up on occasion. Aunt Maggie had reassured Clarke that every single zombie had been thoroughly fed before she brought them and they would not even consider snacking on anyone…per-deceased. She stayed by their side, telling Clarke it was just in case, but in reality she knew that her necromancer aunt was drawn to the dead just as much as they were drawn to her, despite the powerful amulet hanging around her neck. She was currently engaged in playing a morbid sort of limbo with them where both she and each zombie took turns trying to pass below the…severed legs of Lexa’s uncle Henry. Clarke snorted into her Sewer Cider as, she had to think for a moment to recall the name, Aunt Isobel’s ligaments failed to support her and her knees made a clean break, her entire body flopping down with a thud while her feet kept walking. Clarke could faintly hear Aunt Maggie’s high voice declaring that all of her body had to make it under the legs if she wanted to make it to the next round before she turned her attention towards the rest of the crowd.
Lincoln was already in half-man form, hairy chest on display as he danced with his siren wife, surprisingly agile on his elongated paws. She spied cousin Bella, a water nymph making a valiant effort at seducing one of Lexa’s clansmen whom Clarke could not decide if he was uncomfortable because of his oath or enjoying the sweet torture of her attention. Clarke’s eyes narrowed as she spotted her niece, Madi, attempting to spike the already spiked Shark bite punch. Before she could move in to intervene, her sister caught on and grabbed the sneaky little witch’s wrist before she poured whatever was in her phial into the bowl. Clarke made a mental note to ask later what it had been. ‘Might have been fun to see unfold.’
Suddenly she felt arms circling her waist and she was wrapped in the familiar cool embrace of her soon-to-be-wife. “Hey there, beautiful.” Clarke grinned as she turned in Lexa’s embrace, her hands snaking behind the neck.
“Dance with me.” Lexa said seductively as she guided their bodies into the dance floor.
I'm going through withdrawals
You don't even have to do too much
You can turn me on with just a touch, baby
Clarke gave her body over to the sway of the music and Lexa’s touch. Lexa was the perfect leader, and while Clarke herself had it in her, she preferred to follow Lexa’s lead on the dance floor. Lexa effortlessly dictated the twirls and steps, rocking her body to the bounce of the rhythm, every movement telling Clarke exactly where and how she wanted her. It was a blissful sort of submission and Clarke happily let her body be carried away with the flow.
I'm running out of time
'Cause I can see the sun light up the sky
So I hit the road in overdrive, baby, oh
Lexa’s touches were earnest and eager as if she were attempting to commit all of it to memory, her eyes never leaving Clarke’s for a moment. Clarke guessed that it might be close to dawn for Lexa to be quite so frenzied. On the next twirl she exerted enough of her own will to land back in Lexa’s arm and she whispered in her ear “Is it time yet?”
“Yes. I came to have the last dance with you before the ceremony.” Lexa whispered back, her arms tightening around Clarke’s waist. “I love you, my beautiful fury.”
Lexa was nervous, standing by the altar in the ceremonial tux she had been buried in more than three centuries ago. Once the music had been switched off the hall had been transformed into what must have looked like to outsiders as a grisly morbid amalgam of a wedding and a funeral. As it was meant to be. Lexa’s nerves particularly threatened to fail her when she glanced at Clarke’s mother sitting on the first bench looking like she was trying to brave through watching her daughter’s cradle be robbed. She knew it not to be the case but it was always difficult for the living at first. There was a reason such weddings were not often held, but she, as leader of her clan had not had the luxury of opting out of it. Clan leaders were expected to follow tradition and Lexa’s crusade against blood had severely pushed vampire society’s limits. Lexa could simply not allow herself to break with yet another tradition.
When the orchestra sounded and Lexa spotted Clarke, her arm draped around her father’s, all thoughts of political unease flew out of her mind. Clarke was absolutely breathtaking in her white dress. Lexa stood there more thoroughly enthralled to Clarke’s radiant beauty and fierce soul than any necromancer ever could thrall her.
When Clarke reached her the world ceased to exist to Lexa, she stared at Clarke with what was sure to be a dumbstruck expression. She saw herself mirrored in Clarke’s pools of blue. Her eyes were wide as she took in Clarke’s beauty, her lips ajar in disbelief that this magnificent creature of the light wanted her to kiss her into the afterlife. Lexa was so mesmerized she almost failed to hear the Master of Ceremonies begin the ritual.
“We have gathered this evening, to witness the last kiss being gifted by this vampire unto this fury as a symbol of their eternal dedication to one another.” The Master said, his deep baritone carrying his words to the last pews. “You may share your vows.”
Lexa saw Clarke swallow, the muscles in her throat contracting enticingly before taking a deep breath to steady her nerves. Her lips trembled as she said the first words but her voice grew bolder and steadier with each passing syllable. “I, Clarke Griffin, commit myself to you, Alexandria Woods, as wife and a part of your kiss to learn and grow with, to explore and adventure with, to respect you in everything as an equal partner, in the foreknowledge of joy and pain, strength and weariness, direction and doubt, for all the waning and waxing of the moon. I take your last bite to symbolize our connection to one another. It represents our trust in each other and our combined strength together.”
Clarke’s oath moved Lexa and her eyes misted over with a thin sheen of tears. As Clarke finished her oath, Lexa reached out for Clarke’s hands and squeezed before she pledged her own oath: “I, Alexandria Woods, commit myself to you, Clarke Griffin, as wife and sire to learn and grow with, to explore and adventure with, to respect you in everything as an equal partner, in the foreknowledge of joy and pain, strength and weariness, direction and doubt, for all the waning and waxing of the moon. I kiss you into the afterlife to symbolize our connection to one another. It represents our trust in each other and our combined strength together.”
“We have witnessed this couple’s vows and they rang strong and true. If anyone should have knowledge of any reason why this union should not commence, speak up now or remain silent for all eternity.” Boomed the authoritative voice of the Master of Ceremonies. Lexa swallowed the odd thought fleeting through her mind about the words ‘all eternity’. The ceremonial oath greatly resembled the wedding oath of humans…foolish creatures whose natural lifespan was barely more than a moment in history yet they arrogantly set their sights on mastering time. Three hundred years removed from her humanity the words rang with a weight in Lexa’s ears, but she meant them all the more for it.
After a few seconds she became aware of the uncomfortable ache as her shoulder tensed, ears picking up what were unmistakably her mother-in-law’s strangled sobs but to her relief no words came forth to sabotage her union with Clarke.
“No one has presented an objection to your union. You may now kiss your bride into the afterlife.” The Master’s voice brought Lexa back to attention. Staring at her wife Lexa was once again awed by her beauty. Her eyes rounded in a sweetly enticing mixture of fear and anticipation. Lexa could see the gentle tremble of her bottom lip, the perspiration forming on her temple as she waited for Lexa to close the distance between them.
She leaned forward, eyes open and staring into pools of blue and pressed a gentle, reassuring kiss to her lips before moving down her throat to where the twin puncture marks of her bites have healed over. Her canines pierced warm skin for the last time and she relished in it, allowing her body to instinctively enjoy the kill, the fatal rush of blood gushing down her throat, a final time. Her arms tensed around Clarke’s back as she greedily drank her wife down, feeling life pouring down her steadily convulsing throat, the excess blood already overflowing past her lips despite her valiant effort. Not losing herself entirely in her prey, she tipped Clarke’s body backwards as she continued to feed. It was not for dramatic effect but rather to help Clarke swallow when the time came for her to accept Lexa’s blood.
As she felt Clarke’s grip on her shoulders slacken she guided Clarke’s head towards her own neck, her head tipping to the side without stopping her own feeding. The silver fangs fitted onto Clarke’s humanoid canines would serve to puncture the necessary wound. Lexa was prepared for the sharp burning pain of the silver but it was yet to come. Her lips sealed around the wound tighter to contain the overflow and she slowed her own feeding to give Clarke more time and she pressed harder against the nape of Clarke’s neck to encourage her to bite down on her neck. To her relief Clarke was still conscious enough and she finally felt Clarke’s lips part, the silver immediately burning her skin as it pressed against her. Applying more pressure to Clarke’s neck to aid her, Lexa felt her skin give way beneath the sharp metal and her blood gushed into Clarke’s mouth when her borrowed fangs retreated. She felt the metaphysical change between them, death magic binding them together as Clarke instinctively sucked at the wound, drinking her down every bit as much as Lexa had been drinking her.
The kiss took several minutes, Lexa patiently orchestrating the transition, her enhanced hearing focused on Clarke’s steadily slowing heart. Once slackened and barely holding on, Clarke’s arms now rigidly clung to her as they exchanged blood, Clarke’s heart desperately trying to keep her circulation up even though there was less and less blood to keep flowing. Eventually Lexa recognized the sluggish pounding as Clarke’s death throes, recalling the memories of past kills from centuries before. Her arms tensed, body at the ready to catch her wife when her muscles inevitably failed as life faded out of her with a last shuddering breath.
It was a deafening moment when Clarke’s heart ceased beating and a small part of Lexa mourned the loss of the beautiful sound she spent countless hours listening to before her death each morning. Clarke’s arms slid from Lexa’s shoulders lifelessly as Lexa picked her dead wife up in her arms. She was a grisly sight to behold, her deathly pale skin and white dress stained with both crimson and black stains, both of their blood flowing freely down their chests. Clarke was well and truly dead, a limp weight securely held in her embrace as she solemnly made her way towards the back yard where Clarke’s grave had been prepared with great care.
Lexa’s heart broke a little when she heard her mother-in-law’s wail of despair. Lexa thought no mother should be subjected to seeing such a horrifying vision of their daughter, drenched in blood in their wedding dress. Abby’s cries were far more alarming than any of Indra’s wails ever could be, Lexa thought gravely, fighting to keep her tears in check. Internally she winced at Abby’s pain but she kept a straight face, honouring Clarke’s sacrifice for an afterlife together.
Lexa carried Clarke outside where an elaborately carved white coffin had been prepared. It was a unique design patented by a vampire some centuries ago, specifically crafted to aid the newly risen in digging their way out of their grave come the third night. For it was the cruel reality Lexa had prepared Clarke for. She would stay with her each night whilst her mother had been adamant to stay with her during the day as Lexa lay dead to the world herself in the soft comforts of her bed, but she could not be helped. She must dig herself out and crawl to the surface alone. A vampire can only rise for the first time from an undisturbed grave.
Lexa gently set Clarke down, arranging her limbs as she had been taught. She knew how much Clarke hated sleeping on her back but she dared not veer from tradition, lest Clarke should come back wrong. The comforts of a better sleeping position for the first three days was not worth experimenting with and possibly endangering the afterlife of someone they had just brought over. Despite the fey world’s misconceptions, vampire society respected life beyond anything and would have considered it a gross violation against one and their family if they had brought someone back wrong. Vampires would do just about anything to ensure they did not have to slaughter any members of their kiss, whether they be old or new.
When Lexa had finished arranging Clarke’s cooling limbs as tradition demanded, flat on her back with her arms crossed above her chest, she leaned into the coffin to press one last gentle kiss upon cold lips. ‘May we meet again.’
Lexa glanced around, eyes seeking her in-laws but as neither of them were to be found she nodded in Lincoln’s direction, who, along with his brother from his pack, would lower Clarke’s coffin into the grave. Both the living and the undead stepped closer, their faces sombre as they wished Clarke safe passage on her journey, throwing blood red roses onto the coffin as they passed Lexa. There were no condolences offered, everyone knew Clarke would rise in three days, yet the visage of a coffin being lowered into the ground inspired sombre feelings even among the undead.
One by one they left until only Lexa and the already fading ghost of her mother remained. Lexa stared into the milky white features of her long passed mother, happy for her that she would finally be able to rest. When Lexa first found out that her mother had condemned herself to stay in purgatory until the day she could watch her daughter be married, she had been devastated for her. When her previous partner, Costia, a selkie, had been murdered before their wedding Lexa was burdened not only with the grief of losing a partner but the guilt of not being able to provide relief to the ghost of her mother. The guilt had plagued her for centuries but now that she had seen her mother’s ghostly tears of joy she was happy for her.
“Can you stay with me until she rises?” Lexa asked, her voice trembling, selfishly reaching out to her mother for support. “Just three more nights. Please.” She was over three hundred and fifty years old yet she shamelessly begged, needing the cold comfort of her mother’s ghost lingering while her wife found her way to back to her. To her immense relief, her mother nodded in mute consent, her faded white complexion solidifying slightly once more. Even if Lexa had not been able to converse with her mother in a little over three centuries her encouraging smiles and gestures would be enough. They had to be enough. 'Only three days.' Lexa attempted to soothe her own nerves. Only three days until her wife would rise from her grave.
The first night Lexa tore out their bedroom the moment she had risen, not even bothering to go for the door, she simply jumped out the first rear facing window in her haste to get to her wife’s grave. She was relieved to have found everything as she had left it at dawn, Lincoln faithfully sitting beside Clarke’s undisturbed grave. She had asked the wolf to keep Clarke’s mother company, in case the witch lost her mind to grief and attempted to dig up her daughter.
“How was she?” Lexa asked by way of greeting.
“She seems stable, Lexa.” Lincoln offered. “She never once tried to disturb the grave.” It was fairly obvious whom Lexa referred to, for neither of them would know anything about Clarke until the third night.
“Good. That’s good.” Lexa nodded to herself. “I would appreciate if you stayed the other two days too?”
“Of course.” Lincoln agreed through a yawn. “I don’t think you have reason to not trust her though. She didn’t try to go near your room either while you were out of it.” He stood and stretched his limbs, much the same way as he would in his wolf form. “It would be good though, if you could talk to her about what it’s like to be in the coffin. She didn’t believe me when I told her that Clarke can probably hear her grieving.” He patted her shoulder encouragingly as he walked past her to give her privacy.
Lexa rubbed her face with her palm in annoyance, nodding to Lincoln in thanks for his support. Listening to your loved ones desperately wailing over your grave was not a fun way to spend your first three days of afterlife but none of the living seemed to ever believe them when they said they could hear. She couldn’t honestly blame them, they were supposed to be dead after all. And perhaps their bodies were…and yet…their souls could hear, where ever they departed for the day. She barely had any recollection of those days, over three centuries had considerably dimmed the memories which had been vague and disjointed to begin with. The single thing that refused to fade from her memory was the sound of her mother’s heartbroken cries and pleas. Lexa simultaneously dreaded and hoped to get a hold of Abby the coming morning before she died for the day. She foresaw that it would not be a pleasant conversation.
“I’m sorry, babe. I’ll try to talk to your mother about toning it down…” Lexa said affectionately, sadly smiling at the spot where she knew Clarke’s head lay several feet beneath the ground.
When Clarke opened her eyes she felt dizzy with confusion and try as she might, she could not make sense of her current predicament. She knew that she was supposed to know what was happening but it was all so fragmented and the sentences slipped away so easily if she didn’t hold onto them with all of her willpower.
She was sitting on the ground and as she took in her surroundings with quick, haphazard glances she found that the familiarity helped ground her whirling mind. ‘This is our home. I’m in our back yard. It seems to be early morning.’ Clarke thought sluggishly, happy that she had managed to grasp this comforting thought. Lexa’s radiant smile and penetrating gaze took shape before her mind’s eye with surprising clarity and she felt an odd tickling sensation spread from her chest as she thought of her. It was a comforting sensation but somehow it felt foreign, like she had never experienced such a thing before.
As Clarke looked around more thoroughly, she noticed a dark skinned burly man sitting beside her, seemingly oblivious to her presence, or rather to her awakening, he was so engrossed in his book. Clarke stared at him for a good few seconds before his face started showing up in her memories and she slowly managed to put a name to him. “Oh hey, Linc!” Clarke said, happy, almost triumphant that she remembered. When the man did not acknowledge her greeting she frowned slightly. “Lincoln?” Clarke tried again, louder, figuring that he really must be into his reading. When there was still no reply Clarke looked down at the ground, vaguely annoyed at being ignored, and confused as to why she would be. Lincoln was her friend.
She noticed that she was sitting on a mound of fresh dirt that was piled quite high beneath her. ‘That’s odd…what…’ Clarke thought as she twisted around to have a better look, only to jump to her feet in alarm when she realized that she was sitting on a grave. Her eyes darted to the tombstone and a gasp of shock rushed from lips as her eyes danced over the elegantly chiselled letters of the name etched into the rock. ‘My name. My…grave.’ The thought came unbidden, only to be followed by words of shock “Oh my god. My grave? I died?” Clarke stared at Lincoln helplessly, willing the wolfman to say something. When no words of reassurance was offered to placate her rising panic Clarke approached him, intent on shaking him out of his stupor.
When her hand melted through Lincoln’s skin and the man continued sitting there unphased, Clarke…felt numb. She felt small and numb and insignificant, and try as she might she could not catch the man’s attention. Desperately flailing her hand through his skull, pushing her own head through his book to look him in the eye, nothing seemed to do the trick. At that point, Clarke would have been happy to hear any word of acknowledgement from him, never mind any reassurances.
‘What in the world is happening? How did I die? And where’s Lexa?’ Clarke thought with increasing alarm. Her eyes darted to the patch of wall on the estate, the brick undisturbed by windows. Clarke’s body was moving before the thought had fully formed in her mind, deciding to march into their bedroom to see if Lexa was safe and…dead in their bed. ‘She’d be a pile of ashes if she were truly dead.’ She only managed to take a few steps before she felt compelled to stop. It was not a gentle nudge, Clarke felt as if the air had solidified in front of her and she had walked face first into it. Growing frustrated she walked along the perimeter of the invisibly wall blocking her from… pretty much everything that was farther from her grave than a few feet. ‘Oh bloody hell, WHY am I tied to my grave?’ Clarke groaned, enough of her personality bleeding through the haze of her foggy memory to become thoroughly annoyed at being thwarted.
Sitting down atop the mound of dirt again with a huff, Clarke contemplated her strange predicament. She vaguely remembered that she should know why all this way happening but the words eluded her. Finding that it was easier to recall older events than grope around for fragments of her most recent memories, Clarke decided to sit for a while and let her mind work the puzzle that was her memory. ‘The frame is easy enough to build. I’m a fury…nearly a hundred and fifty years old, daughter of the most powerful witch this side of the Atlantic, my job is to punish those who have wronged others. And I’m living with a visionary master vampire who wishes to lead her kind towards a kill-free afterlife…’ At this point Clarke frowned, a mist gathering around her thoughts, the echo of the word kill somehow resonating with her, telling her it was somehow important.
If Clarke thought she had been shocked and confused before, her mother’s appearance through the archway leading from her and Lexa’s house into the gardens intensified those feelings tenfold.
“Mistress Griffin.” Lincoln greeted politely when her mother was within hearing distance. To Clarke’s surprise Lincoln snapped his book shut and stood from his chair, politely deferring to her mother who…did not look like she was mourning particularly heavily. She still wore the traditional garb of light witches, a flowing dress of cream colour that covered her body from foot to neck, the high stiff collar coming up almost to the hinge of Abby’s jaw. Her eyes were red rimmed and tired, Clarke could tell that she had been crying but her dress…lacked all the symbols of a witch in mourning.
Knowing that her mother would have already acknowledged her had she been able to see or even sense her, Clarke refrained from trying. ‘I can spare myself the heartbreak of falling through my mother’s body as I try to hug her…’ Instead, Clarke sat in front of her on her grave, her mother perched upright on the chair Lincoln had offered her.
“Will I see anything? Or feel anything?” Abby’s voice rang for the first time, oddly devoid of its usual commanding tone.
“I should think not, Mistress Griffin.” Lincoln replied in his usual attentive manner.
“Abby will do.” She permitted the use of her given name. Clarke wondered what had happened since…since she could not remember, for her mother rarely gave her friends that privilege.
“Abby.” Lincoln said her name, almost as if he were testing it against his tongue. “I have never seen or experienced anything the first two days and nights. Nothing has ever happened until the third night.”
‘Three. Three nights. Why does that sound so important?’ Clarke thought, her eyes moving rapidly between Lincoln and her mother. She felt the truth on the tip of her tongue, could almost taste the words but they were yet to come to her.
“Have you much experience then, wolfman?”
Clarke winced at her mother’s harsh address of the man attempting to console her but Lincoln seemed to be quite unphased and offered a reply instantly. “Clan wolves are blessed with a lifespan several times longer than a human’s. Having sworn allegiance to Lexa’s clan has given me many an opportunity to stand sentinel over newly rising vampires.”
Lincoln’s words winded Clarke and she stared at the man, her jaw slack in surprise as the memories suddenly flooded her. The wedding party. Zombie limbo. Vows being shared. Lexa biting her. The memory of her lower belly twisting in desire as Lexa’s lips closed on the wound left by her canines, the dizzying, heady feeling of Lexa feeding on her for the last time. The sudden panic as her body realized it was dying, clinging to Lexa’s steadily warming body, accepting her blood. It all came back to her and she stood from her own grave, staring at the tombstone in wonder. ‘THIS is what happens during the first three days?’
As if Lincoln’s words had acted as a cleansing spell cast on Clarke’s mind, she had fully regained command of her memory and with it came the flood of emotions, Clarke’s personality now fully come back from… ‘Where ever I had been stuck before I came back….’
Her mother had fallen silent while Clarke battled with her own emotional meltdown over processing the fact that she was on her way to rising as a new vampire. Lincoln had taken a few polite steps back, possibly in a bid to offer some privacy to Abby. She recalled the many times she and Lexa discussed what was to happen. During the day Lincoln would stand watch to ensure her grave remained undisturbed and at night Lexa herself would join her. ‘Lexa.’ Clarke felt overjoyed at the thought of soon seeing Lexa again. ‘There it is again. That odd twinge. It’s never been there before.’
The majority of the day slipped past uneventfully as Abby wordlessly sat by her grave, only occasionally disturbing the silence. As Clarke sat on the ground next to her mother, helpless to communicate with her, Clarke examined the excruciating ebb and flow of her own feelings. At first she wished her mother would speak, keep her company but after each memory that surfaced from Abby’s mind, or rather the hopeless, heartbroken manner in which she voiced them made Clarke dread the next occasion her mother’s lips would open.
As the light faded from the sky Clarke felt more and more herself, morsels of what used to be her finding their way back from the mysterious abyss to make her whole again. She also felt, to her shame, relieved. Relieved and hopeful because her mother would leave for the night and Lexa would soon rise and even though they could not communicate, she would still find solace in seeing the beautiful pale face of her wife. The word wife suddenly left Clarke feeling stupidly giddy, the idea still so raw and new, she savoured it with delight.
What she had no way of anticipating was that she would feel the moment the sun set, an oddly stinging sensation she wasn’t sure how she was able to feel per lack of a body…and then there was darkness.
Lexa stopped reading aloud when her supernatural hearing picked up the soft sounds of gentle steps on grass. She looked up and was confronted with her mother-in-law’s regal but guarded features as she…glided towards her. Or she appeared. Lexa could certainly hear her footsteps but they were so unnaturally elegant the cloth of her skirt never creased even though her knees were supposed to break the smooth surface of her dress. And yet her stride was efficient, covering ground at a speed that Lexa only had a few moments to recover before being met with her wife’s mother for the first time after having kissed her into the afterlife.
“You wished to speak with me.” Abby stated the obvious. Lincoln had delivered the message that Lexa needed to speak to Abby privately before she would take the next day watch over Clarke’s grave.
“Yes. Lincoln tells me you did not believe him when he told you that Clarke can hear you.” Lexa opted to remain objective, removing all emotion from her tone and entire demeanour.
“Clarke is dead.”
“Temporarily.” Lexa internally hissed at her in-law’s brutal words.
“That does not change the fact that she is currently dead.” Abby countered just as impassively as Lexa. “And the dead can’t hear anything unless they walk among us.”
“I can assure you my mother’s wailing and grieving has stayed with me since my death.” Lexa said, allowing sadness to creep into her voice. If Clarke’s mother would not be swayed otherwise, she was willing to let her own emotions of the leash.
Almost as if she had conjured her mother by mentioning her, the ghost of Lexa’s mother materialized out of thin air and cast a sad look over her daughter from round, heartbroken eyes. Lexa had the shape of her mother’s eyes and lips but her original complexion was entirely her father’s. Although over three centuries of a nocturnal afterlife had given Lexa a much paler complexion her skin was far from the unearthly white many of her more thoroughly Caucasian kin had. Her mother was British through and through but her father had something of a Spanish heritage, her skin naturally more golden then her mother’s milky paleness.
“Do not feel guilty, mother. You could not have known.” Lexa spared a kind, reassuring glance at her mother’s ghost before turning back her… somewhat shaken mother-in-law. “You could not have known either, Abby. But now you do. Please. Don’t make this harder for Clarke than absolutely necessary.”
When Abby’s gradually softening features hardened again Lexa knew she had said the wrong thing. She internally cursed as she readied herself for the onslaught of words she could see forming in Abby’s eyes.
“I am making this harder for her? She DIED for you. She died because of you.” Abby hissed the words through clenched teeth.
“Temporarily.” Lexa spat the word, momentarily losing control over her temper before she reigned the beast back in. It was not a mere coincidence that her clan animal was the werewolf. Not only did it grant her a powerful ally but she was intrinsically attracted to the beast inside them. She saw their animal form as the corporeal manifestation of the beast that lived inside her as well, viewed their animal side enviously for their freedom to let the beast out. Unlike her. Per force of nature and her stature she was condemned to eternal self-control.
“That will not make her less dead in two days than she is today.” Abby answered stubbornly.
“It truly will.” Lexa replied sincerely. “She is dead, but she will wake, she will walk. She will stand in front of you and she will be every bit the Clarke you have known for a century and a half. Unless you have enhanced hearing to pick up the lack of a heartbeat, you would not even notice the change. Not yet.” Lexa tried to placate her in-law.
“Unless she comes back a monster.” Abby said grudgingly, although her tone held a hint of worry somewhat stronger than her anger. Lexa recognized it for the silent plea to be reassured that it was.
“We have everything in place to contain such a highly unlikely event, Abby.” Lexa said sincerely. Worry gnawed at her own soul as she wondered what Clarke might become. It was not unheard of for vampires to bring over creatures that were than human but it was always a hit or miss. Over the centuries they had come to acknowledge that wereanimals could not be brought over, only bonded to one’s clan. It was the best they could do for them in terms of extending their lifespan. There were a few other fey brought over throughout the centuries, elves, nymphs, satyrs… Abby’s fear that Clarke would become a nighthag was highly unlikely… true, the last witch that had been turned had come into such powerful necromancing abilities that she had to be assassinated. But she did not become a nighthag. ‘And Clarke is a fury.’ It was the mantra Lexa calmed her own misgivings with since Clarke had taken the last bite.
“Ensuring that we do not unleash a magical apocalypse on the unsuspecting human population will not bring back my daughter though, if I have to put her down, will it?” Abby said, her tone cruelly cold as she stepped closer to Lexa, her eyes throwing her accusation at her like daggers. Lexa was sure her mother in law was powerful enough that if she willed it, her glare would pierce Lexa’s heart like a silver knife.
“I very much doubt it will come to that.” Lexa said in a cool, measured tone, unwilling to lose her temper over her wife’s grave as she was rising. It was sacrilegious to even think it. “I have every confidence that she will be who she was once her initial bloodlust is sated.”
“Blood lust??” Abby asked, mortified.
“Yes. Blood lust. Clarke will rise with an uncontrollable hunger that must be sated. We cannot substitute the first feeding with coconuts.”
“So on top of everything else in two days time my daughter will become a murderer.” Abby said with some disdain.
The ridiculousness of Abby’s statement caught Lexa off guard to such an extent that for a moment she could do nothing but open and close her mouth.
“Firstly, Abby…your daughter is a fury.” Lexa deadpanned when she finally found her voice but before she could continue Abby cut in.
“She’s killed before, yes, but within the bounds of her duty. Not to sate an unholy hunger.” Abby decreed imperiously.
“…secondly, we do not necessarily need to kill in order to feed.” Lexa continued, unconcerned about Abby’s injected words.
“Why have you become a vegan then, Lexa?” Abby asked, voice laced with curiosity and scepticism. Her tones changed so swiftly, Lexa had difficulty keeping up with her. She almost seemed genuinely interested.
Lexa briefly wondered how to answer Abby’s question. Her reasoning would have been multi-faceted and rather long-winded ranging from logistical troubles and the need to blend in more to ethical concerns but she was conscious of time, she could feel dawn creeping closer and closer in her very bones. She stood by Clarke’s grave this late against her very instinct which told her to flee to a safe space before she dropped unconscious, at the mercy of her resentful mother-in-law to carry her to safety before the sun’s rays reached her. Rationally she knew Lincoln would appear before that and if it came to it, he would carry her inside even at the cost of his own life, but instincts were rarely rational.
“Dawn is approaching. It does not grant me enough time to tell you all my reasons but if you were genuinely interested I would be happy to discuss one evening." Lexa said curtly before dropping what she knew would be the verbal equivalent of an atomic bomb. “The short answer is, over the years I had developed a distaste for fucking my food.” Lexa opted for direct assault, hoping that her crude words would shock the often snobbish witch enough to dismantle some of her resistance. She could see from the quiver of her nostrils and the rapid dilation of her pupils that she had indeed achieved some sort of effect. Not waiting to find out what it was she decided to retreat into the windowless safety of her sleeping corridor. “Dawn is at my heel. Please, Abby. At least try. For Clarke.” She vanished into the house before her mother-in-law could say anything.
When Clarke became aware of her existence again, she opened her eyes to a greyish sky peppered with the barely visible glow of the brightest stars undeniably making way for the sun to outshine them. She felt quite disoriented again albeit for a very different reason. “Where the hell did I go?” She asked no one in particular, frustrated that her soul seemed to have travelled somewhere she could not remember as night set and she not managed to catch a single glance of Lexa. ‘And what IS this tingling sensation?’ Clarke wondered for the hundredth time since…since her death. She was certainly still getting used to the thought of that.
As she stood from her grave, oddly enough she had found herself lying in the same position she had found herself the previous day, she was less surprised when her eyes landed on her mother. ‘She’s come earlier today…’ Clarke thought absent-mindedly. Knowing it was useless to attempt to interact with her Clarke contented herself with taking a walk for lack of anything better to do, vaguely remembering the perimeter of the inexplicable boundary her soul could not breech. ‘If only I had kept more in touch with Aunt Maggie…perhaps she would know…’ Clarke silently berated herself for not thinking of asking her necromancer aunt if she knew anything about vampire transformations. She foolishly thought that her vampire fiancé was more likely to know, ignoring the glaringly obvious fact that these first few days were so utterly confusing it is no wonder no vampire truly remembered a thing. ‘And why the hell would a necromancer not know…’ Stuck in the wholly upsetting predicament, Clarke was not at all prepared for the familiar lilt of her name falling from her mother’s lips.
“Clarke? Can you hear me?” Abby asked after a lengthy period of contemplative silence.
In a few short strides Clarke was knelt by her side, frustrated when her attempt to put her hand on her mother’s knee resulted in her fingers slipping right through her. Her mother did not appear to register her presence at all. ‘Son of a banshee… she really was always serious about her magic being grounded in life.’ Clarke cussed internally.
“Lexa told me this morning that you can hear everything.” Abby continued to address her despite Clarke’s complete inability to affirm her presence.
“I’m here, mom. I can hear you.” Clarke said aloud, violently choking back a sob that appeared out of nowhere. Tears welled in her eyes. It didn’t seem like her mother had heard her but she felt compelled to try.
“I don’t know what to think about all this, honey. But if you can hear me… know that my love for you is endless.” Abby hiccuped as she swallowed back her own sob before shaking her head defiantly. “I’m sorry I’m making…these days… difficult for you. But it was not exactly easy to see you die either. If only temporarily. The Divine above, I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”
“You kind of are…” Clarke agreed sadly although she could not find it in herself to be truly upset at her mother. She could only see a ghostly pale, semi-transparent version of herself but even so she could see that her wedding dress was a hideous mess of dried blood. Guilt threatened to choke her as she imagined what her mother might have felt seeing her lifeless body in that state.
“I promised I would try.” Abby whispered, not aware that her daughter was crouched beside her, hand hovering just over her knee, although this sad illusion of comfort was more for her own benefit than her mother’s.
“I remember when you were just a wee toddler… the Divine above, it was a century and a half ago… your powers started showing, nothing much, just flashes of accidental persecution or madness here and there.” Abby said, forcing a watery smile on her face as she relived some of her fondest memories of her baby. “Your father and I couldn’t immediately decide what sort of fey you would be. When the garden gnomes started acting oddly we thought you might be a mesmer.”
Clarke vaguely recalled the incident her mother was remembering so fondly. She sat and listened with rapt attention. It had been many decades since her mother last spoke of her childhood antics.
“You were rolling on the floor giggling at their odd behaviour and the spiteful little fiends seemed to be delighted by your laughter rather than insulted, they continued vaulting each other into the air, it was a veritable circus show.” Abby continued her recount of the memory as if she could see her daughter, a loving smile gracing her lips as she spoke.
“A mesmer, huh?” Clarke asked, knowing well that her mother wouldn’t hear but pretending felt soothing enough. “I can’t say I would have complained even despite the added hardship.” She knew mesmers were extremely rare because they were feared so much. A few centuries ago they were killed as soon as their powers manifested, fey elders not willing to risk one becoming mighty enough to force them all on their knees. The complete control they had the ability to force on the bodies of living creatures was among some of the most terrible powers a fey could possess. Clarke shuddered at the thought of countless inexplicable ‘suicides’ that made no sense among her brethren over the course of history. Modern day mesmers were still mostly outlaws unless they were willing to be branded and forced to wearing a ring of submission. “Okay, maybe I might have complained a little…” Clarke amended her previous thought even though no one could hear her.
“I was so nervous for you…but Jake…Jake was confident that we would face it if it came to that. Of course we realized you were a fury when the gnomes began hunting each other down…you were always more talented with persecution. The poor little devils… took me an entire moon cycle to cure them of your persecution and madness.” Abby continued after a while.
The slightly scolding tone was enough to make Clarke duck her head sheepishly, suddenly feeling emotionally transported back a century, a vague sort of guilt blossoming in her soul at the thought of the havoc she unintentionally wrecked on their tiny guardians. “As if it had been my fault…” She grumbled softly.
“You probably think you were very smooth and slick in your teenage decades…” Abby said, a mocking smirk forming on her lips. “How you always accused be of being so strict…you have no idea how much I allowed you to get away with.” Clarke was surprised by the gentle, motherly smile on Abby’s lips, her gaze cast far away, seeing things Clarke could not. Always the severe matriarch of the family, such softness almost unprecedented as far as Clarke could remember.
“I know you cursed Elder Titus with persecution after he sentenced the Abbots to exile.”
“That pretentious prick deserved it!” Clarke snapped heatedly, despite her shock that her mother knew about that. She had done it so gently, put so much planning into it, stretched her righteous revenge over such a long period of time.
“If you can really hear, Clarke…” Abby said, but before she continued she spared a brief glance in Lincoln's direction. “I trust nothing I say shall ever leave the grounds?” Her tone hardened. It was not unpleasant but her voice lost its hitherto unheard gentleness. She was polite but firm, the mask of Mistress Griffin firmly in place.
“I am fully bonded to Lexa’s clan, Abby.” Lincoln's gruff reply was immediate. “Even if I were of the inclination I could not go against her and you are now a part of her kiss by association.”
Abby acknowledged the answer with a nod, head still turned to the side to peer at Lincoln from the corner of her eye. Clarke watched her mother’s face visibly transform as she turned back. It was uncanny to say the least, watching her mother’s features warm and soften as her eyes looked right through Clarke, gaze directed at her tombstone.
“Clarke, I never confronted you about it because I was secretly so proud. So very proud of you.” Abby admitted.
Clarke stared at her mother in awe, jaw slackened in surprise. “AND YOU COULDN’T TELL ME THAT IN A HUNDRED YEARS?” Clarke yelled as she jumped to her feet, temper flaring in indignation. The fact that her mother remained seated as if nothing had happened only served to infuriate her more. “I always sought your approval so hard! It would have meant so much if you had just… ARGH!” Clarke stomped farther away.
“I imagine you would have liked to know…” Abby said wistfully almost as if she were plucking the thoughts from her daughter’s head.
“Oh you IMAGINE, MOTHER?” Clarke seethed, spitting the words between her clenched teeth. “Gee, I wonder what made you think I’d care so much. Is it because of god damn witch apprentice program I underwent to please you?? Despite not having an ounce of magical affiliation… or maybe because I never went against any of the damn council decrees I knew you agreed with??” Clarke spat, spitefully cussing as humans do even though she knew she couldn’t annoy her mother with it. “Or…wait wait. Maaaaybe” Clarke drawled sarcastically, stomping back to face her mother. “Maybe it’s because I turned on my best friend and struck him with persecution and madness when you told me I had to! I turned on my best friend to earn your praise!” Decades of frustration exploded in Clarke’s mind as she raged against her mother’s deaf ears. The fact that her mother would not hear her had given her the momentum to actually speak the words of guilt tainted disappointment she had always held back.
Not able to look at her mother’s unaffected, sadly peaceful face Clarke whirled around, intent on stomping towards the cherry trees lining one side of the garden, only to be shocked once again when she marched straight into the invisible barrier again. ‘Dammit…this wasn’t here yesterday.’ Clarke thought in frustration clearly remembering that the day before she could walk farther from her grave. Being forced to make due with a distance of only a handful of feet, Clarke satisfied her need for separation by firmly keeping her back to her mother, steadfastly tuning her voice out from her thoughts.
“Anything noteworthy, Lincoln?” Lexa asked as she walked out through the back door of her home, considerably calmer than the night before.
“She was better today, Lexa. Less grieving, more reminiscing about the past.” Lincoln reported from his sitting position on the ground. The chair Abby had vacated about an hour ago stood empty beside him. He much preferred the natural feel of grass against his calves.
“I see she left before nightfall.” Lexa commented, voice empty and nonchalant, as if her statement was no more than a mere observation. Centuries of vampire politics has refined her control of her facial expressions and even the tone of her voice to a point of perfection where she could easily hide behind a mask of pleasantly stoic indifference. It was her safe place, her bastion to fall back to. Lexa steadfastly believed that it was what saved her remaining friends from harm after Costia’s death. It had also become her vice to occasionally hide behind her mask among the inner circle of her own. The less anyone knew of what sparked any reaction in her, the less opportunities her foes had to harm her and anyone she cared about. It was Clarke’s slow but unrelenting work that taught her to unlearn the principle that love was weakness. In Clarke’s temporary absence it was almost second nature to her to fall back on old habits even with her personal wolf to call. The only indication that she cared at all about her mother-in-law’s whereabouts was the very fact that she voiced her observation.
“Something about things to do, people to see.” Lincoln responded. “I could not smell a lie on her. I don’t believe it’s a sign of rejection.” He had known Lexa for several decades, had learned her habits and mannerisms through careful observation. While she could fluidly change her mind from an open book to a shrouded mystery to present to him as she saw fit Lexa expected Lincoln to more or less accurately guess what was troubling her.
Lexa nodded once, a sharp movement from the neck before she took a seat beside Clarke’s grave. She stared at the ground ‘Tomorrow night, my love.’
Clarke’s eyes snapped open. For a moment she thought she was in bed in the perfect darkness of their bedroom. ‘Had I dreamed it all?’ Was her next thought, wondering if the surreal memory of becoming a disembodied spirit, of having a one sided argument with her mother, if her wedding was real at all. But something was not right. She her body to move, her hand to reach out for Lexa’s familiarly cool body limp beside her. But her body defied her. She could not move from her position. She felt the length of her body cushioned on something soft, she felt her arms crossed over her chest but not a single muscle in her body was willing to heed her will. ‘Okay, stay calm, Clarke. You must be dreaming now.’ She attempted to take a calming breath only to realize that her body rejected even the most basic of life-sustaining acts. She couldn’t breathe. A muted feeling of panic swelled in her mind, but it was as though it was a mere shadow of what it should have been. The familiar rush of adrenaline should have flooded her body. Her heart rate should have sped up. But there was nothing. ‘I must be dreaming. The divine above, I must be dreaming.’ Lying in the pitch dark Clarke visualized the act of taking a breath. She imagined her ribcage expanding, she imagined the stretch of muscles across her sides as they accommodated her inflating lungs, the brush of material against her skin, but her thoughts failed to manifest as acts.
‘Lexa!’ Clarke thought, still clinging to hope that if she was lying in this all encompassing darkness that meant it was broad daylight and Lexa was beside her, albeit dead to the world. It was then, as though Lexa’s name had acted as a spell to awaken her senses, that she heard the comfortingly familiar murmur of Lexa’s voice. It was distant, muted as though she were talking to her from behind an impenetrable barrier. Clarke focused her mind on her hearing, desperate need to cling to that voice washing over her, the desire to understand what Lexa was saying blotting out everything else.
“…sense of beauty, and whose wounds are like red roses.” When Clarke could finally make out Lexa’s words her voice became clear, much like a difficult picture one stared at, willing her mind to make sense of it and once it had accomplished the task it was impossible to unsee it. “Soul and body, body and soul--how mysterious they were! There was animalism in the soul, and the body had its moments of spirituality.” Lexa’s voice had a curiously rhythmic lilt, one that felt familiar to Clarke. ‘Is this some kind of incantation? What is happening, Lexa?’
“The senses could refine, and the intellect could degrade. Who could say where the fleshly impulse ceased, or the psychical impulse began?” The more Lexa spoke, the stronger Clarke’s senses became. She could hear her speaking clearly, all too clearly as if Lexa were speaking into her mind directly. And there were smells. The smell of blood and earth. ‘Blood! My blood. And hers. It wasn’t a dream.’
“Was the soul a shadow seated in the house of sin? Or was the body really in the soul as…” Lexa’s next words forced realization upon Clarke, hitting her in waves, harshly, one after another, drowning her in memories. ‘The Divine above, my soul is IN my body. I’m in my coffin.’ A renewed urgency to fight briefly drowned out Lexa’s words as Clarke struggled to make her limbs work. Her minded flooded with images of terror at the thought of being buried alive, of suffocating, the panic of her unexplained paralysis lashing her mind into a frenzy as her body laid uselessly inert. ‘LEXA!’ Clarke screamed to her wife in her mind, hoping that if she could hear Lexa so Lexa would hear her if she projected her thoughts loud enough.
“I can feel her!" Lexa exclaimed abruptly in the middle of a sentence. Clarke had been reading Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray recently and Lexa thought perhaps Clarke would appreciate the entertainment. Her eyes rounded in surprise, not expecting the muted sting of Clarke’s feelings to flare up on the second night. Although the last of her brethren she had personally kissed into the afterlife was well over two centuries old her memories of those three nights were far clearer than the muddled fragments of what her own transformation had been like. She had not been able to feel Aden at all until he had risen and even afterwards his feelings had never left such an acute impression on her. “She’s… not happy. I cannot make out her exact feelings but they are not pleasant.” Lexa said, her brows creasing in concentration as she closed her eyes to focus on Clarke.
“Perhaps she’s not in the mood for a dreary gothic novel moralizing about sin and the corruption of one’s soul.” Lincoln deadpanned.
“Perhaps.” Lexa agreed without paying much attention to what her wolf had said, distracted by the sting of Clarke’s discomfort. Vampires rarely bonded with one another, chiefly because humans had hunted them so efficiently in their frightened need for self-preservation, the pain of losing one’s bonded pair far outweighed the benefits of the spiritual experience. In her three centuries on Earth Lexa had never personally met a vampire, Lord or youngling, who had lost their bonded mate. Most were said to have not outlived their mate by more than a few agonizing nights, rather choosing to perish in the Sun than live with the raw open wound their mate’s absence left on their souls. And to bond with one’s sire was nearly unheard of, for the extinction of one could bring about the death of the other as well. Lexa had very good reasons for wanting to lead her kiss to a bloodless future. One where her people would be free to love and bond without the fear of imminent death by the hands of their equally terrified prey.
“I’m sorry, my love.” Lexa said sincerely as she closed the book in her lap. “Perhaps a lighter subject for tonight?”
When Clarke came to her consciousness again her mind flooded with relief as her eyes took in the shape of leaves in the early morning half-light. Bolting from her position on the ground she sat up with such momentum that she had to steady herself, she nearly tumbled into a crouch as she overcompensated her previous inability to move. Another flood of relief washed over her when her limbs finally obeyed her command again.
Finding her mother seated in her usual spot had not surprised her, each day Abby had appeared diligently at the crack of dawn to keep an eye on her daughter. When Clarke moved to roll onto her knee and move to Abby’s side it shocked her to realize that she could not even leave the heap of dirt that was her grave. The invisible barrier that left her unable to leave her mother’s presence after her one-sided argument with her now left her stranded on the little island of fresh dirt upon the sea of grass.
“What preparations have been made for tonight again?” Abby broke the silence, her voice even and calm.
“The newly rising most often need some time to orient themselves but Lexa will be…here as soon as the sun sets.” Lincoln said, hesitating only a moment, making Clarke wonder what he would have said had he chose not to word his answer differently. “I will offer first blood, but my pack will be in attendance as well…”
Clarke’s back straightened with a start before she remembered the many conversations she and Lexa had had upon the subject, Lexa grievously assuring her that if there was another way she would not force Clarke to take blood at all but foregoing first blood was simply far too dangerous. Vampires needed immediate sustenance to regain their personalities when the fog of blood lust descended on their minds and Lexa feared that Clarke would remain more animal than person if she were to break tradition.
Dread filled Clarke’s stomach as she listened to her mother’s and Lincoln’s detailed discussion of what safety measures had been taken for the unlikely event of Clarke coming back a monster. She had blissfully remained ignorant of these preparations of her own volition, dismissing the possibility altogether. Only now, as she felt the first pangs of bodily feeling return to her she wondered if it had been an altogether wise decision.
Tuning her mother’s voice out she concentrated on the familiar yet new sensation of feeling her body and she felt…empty. Dread of what state she might return in hollowed her chest but it was only a faint discomfort compared to the gnawing emptiness she felt in her stomach. Clarke realized that she was hungry. Hungry and uncertain, she hunched her shoulders, instinctively attempting to rub the chill she could not feel in her arms, her mind projecting the memory of sensation it knew she ought to feel.
As time steadily trudged along so had her hunger intensified throughout the day, the slow trickle of more fey appearing as night closed in on them only making it worse. The sun being still visible in the sky those in attendance were all pre-deceased, their life force throbbing on Clarke’s tongue enticingly. The vivid energy that seemed to ooze from their very pores forced the vision of attending a banquette only to be cruelly forbidden from partaking in any of the offered goods. She prowled restlessly atop her grave, much akin to some of those aggravated animals humans kept in cages, praying for time to liberate her.
Upon Lincoln’s insistence the majority of those in attendance refrained from discussing the more dire outcomes of the night, although the air was heavy with tension the closer nightfall drew. Several of Lincoln’s brothers had arrived, some of whom Clarke knew at least in name, some completely unfamiliar to her. Her mother had of course not left the side of her grave, although after one unfortunate incident she refrained from approaching too closely again. Abby had attempted to soothe her own nerves by laying a hand on Clarke’s tombstone but when Clarke made to grab it, they were both startled that Abby had registered the touch. Yanking her hand back from the ghostly touch, a shock of cold energy as Abby described it to an instantly alert Lincoln, the experience had left mother and daughter distraught, albeit for slightly different reasons.
When Octavia informed them that sunset was expected in approximately thirty minutes Clarke felt panic boil in the pit of her stomach, fear riding the sour taste of bile up her throat. “Dammit. No. No. I don’t want to be trapped in my coffin again. No. No. Please.” Clarke said aloud, the agony of not being heard at all intensifying her lonely terror all the more. Her pleas fell on deaf ears as people walked up and down along her grave, readying items that were not for her.
With each passing minute Clarke felt more confused as if she were losing the ability to think clearly. It had happened gradually, first she lost interest in the conversations, which she merely subscribed to her growing worry but then to her surprise the words themselves seemed to make less sense, diminishing to an unintelligible murmur, an aggravating noise to her ears. Clarke only had a fleeting thought of her consciousness slowly disintegrating, vaguely remembering something about animals or being animalistic before she was unable to think complex thoughts any more.
Two of the creatures who smelled so enticing, so full of life had gotten into a fight, once which Clarke cared nought for, could not understand the noises they were making, her interest only piqued by their raised voice and their spiking levels of adrenaline, waking an ancient instinct to hunt inside Clarke. She snarled at her would be prey, nose twitching in excitement as she smelled the fresh blood pumping inside their veins but was unable to stalk and capture, still trapped atop this raised ground from which a barrier she could neither see nor touch.
Lexa appeared through the doorway within a minute of nightfall, rushing to Clarke’s grave with as much feigned calm as she could muster. She had to keep up the pretence of level headed confidence, lest her kiss see her as weak, less her mother-in-law, the most powerful witch this side of the Atlantic had seen in a millennia deem her unable to control the events. Lest the necromancer whose presence she was forced to accept step in.
Several of her kiss were in attendance, having arranged to die for the day in the basement of her estate and would stand as solemn sentinels to preside over the rise of their new queen. Lexa knew Clarke had been loathe to accept such a ridiculous title but such was the nature of vampire society. The majority of them had come from ages when such titles were the accepted norm and most vampires very much cherished the little they left of their humanity.
When Clarke’s eyes snapped open to complete darkness she was all mindless instinct without coherent thought. Hunger was her dominant feeling but when she tried to sit and realized she was trapped inside a tiny space she snarled furiously, moving in any which direction she could, trying to find the way out. With each failed attempt she grew more aggravated, throwing her weight against her confines, the instinct to fight to survive kicking in. The cracking noise of wood breaking as she slashed against it with open fingers, triumph sparked in her chest. The wood gave and earth tumbled atop her, forcing another snarl from Clarke’s lips as she began digging her way towards what she hoped was freedom.
“It’s already begun!” Someone exclaimed with surprise, forcing Lexa to whirl around from a discussion she had been having with Lincoln. Indeed, the dirt of the grave had begun to collapse on itself which could only mean that Clarke had already begun to fight her way out. She chastised herself silently for not expecting Clarke to orient herself quite so quickly. ‘As if her fey blood wasn’t likely to cause some irregularity.’
Lincoln silently took his position by Clarke’s grave, readying his stripped arm to offer a vein to Clarke as soon as she had clawed herself out enough to feed. His brothers had lined up around the grave at a distance, ready to intervene if the need arose with Lexa crouching right beside Lincoln. Once Clarke’s initial blood lust had been sated she needed to taste her sire’s blood once again to regain full command of her higher faculties. She had commanded everyone else, even her protesting mother-in-law to step back as a safety precaution.
Lexa felt her nerves fray as the mound of earth collapsed and dirty fingers appeared from beneath, considerably faster than Lexa had ever seen. Dirty blond hair followed within a minute and a snarling Clarke faced them with a hungry rage in her eyes both Lexa and Lincoln knew far too well despite the differences of their species.
Although Lincoln had been prepared for the pain he winced and hissed as Clarke’s fangs penetrated his wrist, the brute force and animalistic lack of consideration for his comfort making this feeding a far more traumatic experience than the many he had witnessed before. Lincoln grunted in pain as he attempted to at least get into a more comfortable position on his knees as Clarke, whose body was still mostly confined within her grave, greedily drank him down.
Lexa watched silently, only momentarily distracted by the steady constriction of Clarke’s throat as gulped life into herself. She watched with a steely gaze, focused on the speed of Clarke’s feeding, intent of prying her wife’s lips off Lincoln’s wrist when her feeding frenzy slowed.
“I’m going to need to tap out soon.” Lincoln’s voice was strained. He had not moved much, only to steady himself on the ground as he allowed Clarke to feed but Lexa saw his normally dark complexion visibly paling. One of his pack by the name of Ryder had stepped up to take his place but when he grabbed Clarke’s hair to help his brother pull her off him Clarke snarled viciously and dug her teeth further into his flesh.
Just as Lexa moved to intervene she was alarmed to see Clarke’s eyes glow an electric blue as she grabbed Lincoln’s jaw with her free hand, forcing the werewolf to look into her eyes. Lincoln’s guttural screams were painful and frightened enough it would have turned Lexa’s blood cold had she not been already dead.
“What the hell is happening?” Abby’s voice instantly demanded.
Lexa merely shook her head, not sparing words on answering as she thought through several options. “She must be using her fury powers on him to keep him from fighting back.”
“Ey…eyes…. Blood…GOD, get them off me…’” Lincoln babbled incoherently as he slumped in Clarke’s hold, three of his brother’s now trying to pry Clarke’s off his wrist without tearing the man’s hand clean off the injured ligaments. She knew if it came to it they would do it. The loss of a hand was far more preferable to the loss of life altogether but they would first attempt to save him with all of his limbs intact. “GOD GOD GOD, I didn’t, I didn’t do it! It wasn’t me… I was paying with the goat horns, I didn’t kill her…” Lincoln’s babbling was increasingly frantic and nonsensical. As Lincoln slumped to the ground from blood loss so had Clarke followed, lips inseparably attached to her prey, effortlessly freeing herself from the confines of her grave.
Lexa, having made a decision, moved closer. Just as she raised her own arm to nick a vein open on her wrist she felt magic flare in the air. It was death magic, Lexa immediately recognized. It felt vile and threatening as if the very air had began to throb with power, looming ever closer, its dark promise of submission and subjugation raising Lexa’s hackles. If she were younger or less powerful the lure of necromancy would feel safe and inviting. Her own magic was the only safe haven against it’s deceptive lure for her as well as her kiss. There was a reason necromancers used to be murdered before they came into their power. She instinctively wanted to rub her arms to rid herself of the feeling of thousands of ants marching up and down her skin. “ DON’T YOU DARE INTERVENE, MARGARET!” She yelled without bothering to look up, knowing that it couldn’t have been anyone else but the necromancer present. “I haven’t given up on her yet.” She snarled the words, eyes set with determination as she approached her wife.
Only vaguely registering the diminishing threat of Margaret’s magic, Lexa bit her wrist at just the right angle, willing her normally unbeating heart to pump, something she rarely did for it cost her a considerable amount of energy. Black blood oozed from the wound and she thrust her wrist under Clarke’s nose, hoping the smell of her sire’s blood would distract Clarke enough to release her prey willingly.
When Clarke released Lincoln with a snarl and the electric colour of her eyes faded, relief flooded Lexa, only to be replaced by a stinging pain as Clarke latched onto her wrist savagely. To say that Lexa had stopped the beating of her heart to force Clarke to put more effort into her feeding would not have been entirely accurate. Rather, she stopped putting effort into making it beat. ‘Although if it could beat it would break my chest for you…’ It had been one of Lexa’s recurring corny lines she knew Clarke secretly adored. Lexa silently sent a prayer to whomever would be willing to hear a vampire’s prayer that she be given the chance to woo her wife anew with the corniest vampire pick up lines she could muster.
Clarke’s feeding became an uncomfortable experience as she forced Clarke to work for every drop of blood. Her wife did not seem bothered by being forced to work for it, greedily sucking and kneading at the wound. As a newly risen vampire her sire’s blood was something the remnants of the human, or in Clarke’s case, the fey in her craved above all else. Their sire’s blood was the lifeline the higher being, the person forced behind the cursed animal’s mind could follow to see the light of moon once again. The wretched creatures left to rise without their sires were condemned to prowl the night as savage revenants, more animal than rational creature until they were slain to prevent them from exposing their kind.
Lexa only saw Lincoln from the corner of her eye, her attention trained on Clarke. She could hear the cracking and rearranging of bones and the wolf’s howl confirmed that Lincoln had shifted to heal his wounds. And likely to feed. She trusted him and his pack to take him into the woods on her extensive grounds. There were plenty of deer to hunt. She could not turn to confirm his well-being despite the sense of obligation she felt for him. For Lexa, there was nothing but Clarke.
When Lexa slightly pulled at her arm, not in an attempt to pull away, rather to change positions Clarke’s eyes snapped open once again. Lexa did not see Clarke in those savage eyes, it was still very much the gaze of an animal even as her eyes eyes glowed an eerie blue. But unlike Lincoln, Lexa had not only been prepared, she was also far more well equipped to fight off Clarke’s attempt to bewitch her. She willingly looked into Clarke’s eyes, touching the well of her own power as she did so, following the magic of their dual bond to thrust her will into Clarke.
Lexa could imagine what they looked like, both their eyes glowing with an eerie light as if they were lit from within, their magic working to compel the other to submit to her will. Clarke was perfectly disorganized, the animal’s bid to overwhelm its prey with brute force, throwing everything in its arsenal into the fray, whereas Lexa was the epitome of precise focus. In her mind’s eye she envisioned her power hacking at the strangling vines of the jungle Clarke’s mind had retreated into, intent on freeing the personality from the confines of instinct.
When the animal in Clarke felt the danger of the penetrating gaze she had fallen into she attempted to flee, her instincts to preserve herself kicking in but her addled mind and sluggish reflexes were no match for Lexa’s confident determination. When she felt Clarke release her wrist her other hand struck lightening fast, grabbing the nape of Clarke’s neck to force her wife’s lips back onto her wrist also at the same time forcing her to maintain eye contact.
In her frenzied attempt to flee Clarke had fallen backwards but Lexa was relentless, she had ridden her to the ground, straddling her lap as she forced her newly risen vampire to maintain their connection. The flash of fear in her eyes stung Lexa but she soldiered on, telling herself it was not Clarke’s fear but the animal’s. It was not her wife in that body that feared her, it was her newly risen base instincts. Lexa had thought of the sire’s incantation, thrusting her magic into Clarke once again, willing her to come back to her whole again. “Come back to me, Clarke.” The moment the K of Clarke’s name clicked against the roof of her mouth it appeared as though Lexa had finished a spell. The glowing light in Clarke’s eyes faded and Lexa saw the moment the familiar eyes filled with Clarke, the animal withdrawing somewhere deep into Clarke.
“L-Lexa…” Clarke whispered, choking on the syllables, when Lexa released her hold on Clarke.
“Yes. Clarke. Yes.” Lexa reassured her, falling on her backside beside Clarke to pull her into her arms. “I’m here. You’re back. You’re back.” She murmured softly, gently brushing stray hairs from Clarke’s temple. Her face was a beautiful mess, bits of dirt still stuck in the intricate curls she had had fixed for their wedding, the majority of them somehow still intact despite Clarke’s laborious escape from her coffin.
“Clarke…honey…” A voice broke the strangled silence that fell upon them. Before she could warn her mother-in-law to approach with caution she had already knelt on Clarke’s other side, arms pulling her daughter into her arms. Lexa did not begrudge the need for closeness from Abby, far from it, but she knew from experience that Clarke was likely to be overwhelmed. Still, she allowed her arms to lax on Clarke’s shoulders, watching possibly the tenderest moment she had ever seen transpire between them in the decade she had been a part of their family.
Lexa dared not spare a glance at Abby’s face although she could feel the woman’s eyes boring holes into her for several seconds. She had only eyes for Clarke, and her reactions. Soon enough, although later than Lexa had expected, Clarke began to squirm in her mother’s embrace. When Abby refused to let go and Clarke’s struggles became sharper, more desperate, she laid a gentle hand on Abby’s arm.
“Abigail, please.” Lexa said gently, looking her wife’s mother in the eyes for the first time. There was a hardness in her gaze Lexa had half expected but it wasn’t nearly the menacingly threatening gaze the witch was known for. The mixture of relief and begrudged gratitude in her eyes had taken the edge of her stare away.
“Uh…. Mo…mother…let go. Please. I need…away…You smell like food.” Clarke managed to croak the words out, her need to distance herself from her mother obvious in her voice. Lexa could only imagine the thoughts of repulsion and instinctive excitement warring in Clarke’s mind. Although she had been over a day dead by the time she had sought out her inconsolable mother, who had been crying by her empty grave, the smell of fresh blood rushing beneath her skin smelled so enticing Lexa’s stomach lurched violently with the need to open the beautifully throbbing vein. When her mother rushed at her to smother her in a violently strong hug it had taken all of her willpower to refrain from striking at the skin so conveniently placed beneath her lips.
“Abby.” Lexa tried again, seeing the hurt confusion in her eyes. “Please. Let her adjust to her…new circumstances. The first night is always the most difficult.” Lexa said tenderly as she gazed at her wife, brushing away locks of hair as Clarke burrowed her face in her side to hide from the world. She likely smelled safe and secure, Lexa thought. The newly risen could be rather clingy the first couple of days. “Everything is so overwhelming the first night and she’ll constantly be hungry. She cannot be left with the living unsupervised, particularly if she’ll likely tap into her fury powers to feed.”
“Is she going to get better from...this?” Abby asked, vaguely referring to everything she had just heard, possibly not even sure what she wanted to know.
“I'm sure she will.” Lexa said, mildly annoyed that despite the tender moment they had just shared Abby had already allowed her practical side to take over.
“How…how long must I stay away?” Abby asked, surprising Lexa with the unexpected change of tone. It was as if Abby had read her mind, her voice as well as her eyes softened for a brief moment as she glanced at her daughter. Lexa had the privilege of watching the fascinating yet terrifying change as her gaze hardened when their eyes connected.
“Tomorrow. I promise, Abby. Give her until tomorrow to get her bearing.” Lexa replied.
Defiance slowly morphed into something akin to grief and finally acceptance in her mother-in-law’s eyes and the tension locked in Lexa’s shoulders released as Abby nodded in consent. She shot one last grateful glance at her as Abby retreated before directing all of her attention at Clarke again. “I told you I’d always be with you.” She whispered gently into Clarke’s hair. Her Clarke’s. Her wife. The newest vampire in her kiss. Forever. They had forever to look forward to. And it had just begun.