“You’re doing it all wrong, Clarke.”
The voice sounded mostly monotone behind her, not disappointed or annoyed, but it still made Clarke let out a heavily frustrated sigh. She shook her head and scowled at the ground before she made the beginners stance again.
Lexa was in her field of vision, watching her intently. The sword in her hand was from Lexa’s own scabbard, and Clarke was pretty sure Lexa didn’t let anyone touch it except the blacksmith when it got sharpened. Though here she was, in the middle of a small clearing in the forest, with Lexa teaching her how to sword fight like a grounder. Or should she say, trying to teach her to sword fight.
Clarke looked at her feet and shuffled them slightly to perfect her ready stance before Lexa gave her the queue to try the strike again, trying to remember exactly the position they are in relation to your shoulders and direction she’s facing.
As much as Lexa keeps saying that fighting like this is mostly about flowing with the sword as an extension, and not about memorizing positions, it really doesn’t feel that way. She keeps messing up her footing or leaving blind spots on herself by moving her arms and torso the wrong way. Lexa will stop her every time and tell her she would be dead. As (surprisingly) patient Lexa is being with her, Clarke sure isn’t with herself. The constant start and stop is making her anxious and frustrated.
Lexa started walking towards her and Clarke stood absolutely still, being sure that her ready stance is perfect this time. Lexa started to circle behind her and check for open blind spots. When she got back to face her, Clarke could see in her face that she had gotten it right.
“Now Clarke, I know what you’re lacking in is technique, but I promise you this isn’t hopeless,” Lexa backed up a few steps to make a fair enough distance between them so when Clarke striked it wouldn’t hit her. “Show me again.”
Her hands came together on the handle and in one quick motion she made multiple movements, striking down and up, moving her back in relation to where to sword was facing and being swung. It was fast-paced, and Clarke was trying to remember every single step and turn in the process. Her movements became strong and hard, and with her confidence rising quickly she thought she had finally gotten the hang of it.
In a matter of seconds, Lexa was in front of her and had a small knife to both her neck and stomach, while Clarke’s sword was mid-air. They were both frozen and their eyes were locked.
“Your movements were becoming messy, you can’t let your physical strength overpower you,” Lexa was talking in nearly a whisper. They were still standing in the same position, neither having moved their weapons. Clarke was panting, and her hair stuck to her face. She stared directly at Lexa, hearing her words but hardly paying attention. Their faces and bodies were too close and that’s all she could think about. Her chest heaved while Lexa looked calm and determined. Lexa finally drew away her daggers and stood up straight again. Clarke dropped her arms and wiped her hair away, moving into ready position again. Lexa started to walk around her again, but this time before coming to face her again, Clarke felt movement close behind her. Lexa’s front was pressed to her back, matching her position and reaching for Clarke’s arms. She stood still as the commander took her hands in her own, beginning to slowly move. Lexa brought their hands together at the handle, and the four hands clasped the sword together.
“Feel my movements,” Lexa’s voice was right beside Clarke’s ear and it made her heart race. She hadn’t been this physically close to anyone in a long time. Lexa began to slowly glide them together, slicing the air in near dance-like movements. It flowed together like water running, and Clarke felt as light as a leaf caught in the stream. She began to move with Lexa, feeling and understanding the motions like they came naturally to her. Lexa’s grip loosened and before Clarke knew it she was moving across the forest floor swinging the sword more gracefully and smoothly than she ever thought was possible. She ended in a final swing, and paused for a second in the pose before turning around to where Lexa had left her body. Clarke was pretty sure her face was covered in a grin and eyes bright. She didn’t care though, she had finally been able to understand what Lexa meant by becoming one with the sword.
Lexa was stood, arms crossed, and her small smile creeping across her lips. She looked proud, like a grounder would for their second. In a moment burst of excitement and happiness, Clarke ran the few feet between them, dropped the sword, and enveloped Lexa in a hug. Lexa hesitated, her arms not wrapping back around Clarke, taken aback by the sudden action. Clarke was so wrapped up in the moment that she didn’t realized Lexa might not be comfortable with it. They had become even closer, and after Lexa had kissed her there had been moments where Clarke wasn’t sure what was okay and what she should keep her distance from. But in that moment, Clarke was too happy, and the person she was with made her even happier. Lexa had slowly put her arms around Clarke in return and Clarke could feel her grip tighten around her, it made Clarke smile.
She pulled away, and Lexa’s face was light and relaxed. Clarke could tell that she had finally let the hard commander front down around her. Their arms lingered around each other’s sides and Clarke’s ended up resting somewhere near Lexa’s waist.
“Sorry… I just,” Clarke looked down, kind of embarrassed about the whole thing, “I felt the movements and I felt so free. I didn’t know I could even feel this way before.” Her chest was bursting with all sorts of happiness, and Lexa’s smile that had finally grown to her face was not helping calm her down whatsoever.
Their faces stood apart, just looking right at the other for what seemed like an eternity. Lexa’s hands had rested on Clarkes arms and squeezed them ever so gently.