Lexa was not often a friend of mistakes. Too much rested on her shoulders for that. She didn’t make many, but all the same, mistakes were a part of the unwritten “terms and conditions” of being a leader and she knew she was still victim to them. Everyone was. But mistakes were costly.
So when she finally got the courage to ask herself, she did. Was Clarke Griffin a mistake?
She wondered this as she trailed through the forest, the sounds of her Clan growing more and more distant. Her face was still sticky with blood and her heart had not yet shed its newfound grief. It was sickening. The recollection of Clarke’s face, so broken and stripped of hope, was still etched on the front of her mind. She willed it to leave, but knowing it would not was half the reason she was stalking through the dark now, intent on fixing what she had done.
Lexa knew she could not ask her people to sacrifice themselves for her. This mission was hers and hers alone. A way to right her wrongs, to prove to Clarke Griffin that she was not what she believed her to be. Heartless.
She was breaking the terms she had agreed to with the Mountain Men, but she did not fear her actions would spark a fire. Her people were already free, and once she helped Clarke destroy the Mountain Men the terms they had agreed upon would be washed away.
This solitary mission, she knew, was absolute proof that allowing herself to feel for Clarke was a mistake. She was defying everything she had been taught, everything she knew, everything her people thought about her.
But she could not help it.
Lexa figured the safest way to enter was through the Reaper tunnels. She felt exposed, being by herself, and it made her even more tense than usual. She came upon the giant metal doors to the Mountain, to the place where she had betrayed Clarke, and she winced. She sought out the Reaper tunnels, desperate to escape the openness and the threat of being spotted. When she did locate them, she paused at the mouth and sighed deeply before sidling inside. She wandered aimlessly down the long, dark underpass for a while, rock walls surrounding her on every side, seeming to close in and suck the air from her lungs. She did not enjoy the stuffy and damp space, but continued on nevertheless.
She ran into several forks in the tunnels, which caused her to pause in a moment of uncertainty and panic, before she managed to locate the prints left by the soldiers who had come through the tunnels earlier. She followed them, sighing with relief.
She finally came upon a door, a fluorescent white light shining in her eyes as she rounded a corner. She walked up to it warily and froze, uncertain. Would the door even be unlocked? She reached out and caressed it with her fingertips, quick to notice its coldness. Silly as it was, Lexa had never used a door like this before. This was more like Sky People tech, that of which she had never used either. Swallowing, she gripped the steel handle and tore backwards. To her relief, it opened, only to reveal a long stone corridor on the other side that offered several routes. Grabbing the hilt of her sword, she sucked in a breath and entered the Mountain.
Wandering through the Mountain like a lost dog probably cost Lexa more time than she could afford to lose, but eventually she ran into a few guards who were able to offer her some use. She was not, however, prepared for the onslaught of bullets that were fired at her. She stayed superior to fear, knowing her armor would protect the majority of her as she lunged for the guards, ripping her sword from its belt and slicing it across abdomen, legs, anything she could reach. Her blood was pumping with adrenaline and the familiar feeling of bloodlust consumed her humanity as her breath came in ragged pants. She brought down the men with ease once she was within touching distance of them. Her sword tore long lacerations across their pale skin, drawing streams of crimson that splattered across the cold stone floors and puddled at her feet. A surge of triumph overpowered her as the three men lay about her, two dead and the other likely to support a gruesome concussion later.
“It’s the Commander!” came a sudden shout but as she turned around she knew only a searing pain tearing through her shoulder. She gasped and dropped her bloodied sword, collapsing to her knees as another shot sliced through her leg. A guard was rushing towards her, a gun in one hand, a radio gripped in the other. Lexa’s head was pounding as she watched the man approach, his gun lifted and aimed at her cranium.
At least I’ll die knowing I tried to atone for my betrayal, she thought, dark rivulets of blood slipping down her hand as she pressed it against her shoulder. The gun shots felt like kindling had been placed in her muscle tissue and set aflame, leaving her to surely burn. She raised her gaze to the guard, pinning him with a glare. She would die nothing other than a gallant death. She was prepared for a shot through the head, anything, when a screaming gunshot and the exit wound of a bullet ripped through the guards’ chest. He collapsed, dead at her feet, and Lexa looked up in a panic, still gripping her shoulder. Down the corridor stood Clarke, her gun raised and a look of thunder painting her face. Seeing her shot had been successful she ran towards Lexa, bending down towards her and cupping her face, looking her over.
“Lexa, what are you doing here?” she asked, almost frantically. Then, more hopefully, “Did you bring your army back?”
Lexa couldn’t help but smile in the slightest. However small her smile was, she was sure Clarke still saw it. “No, Clarke. It’s just me.”
Clarke’s brows furrowed in confusion. “But.. why? Why did you come back?”
“I..-” Lexa clenched her teeth as a great agony trembled in her wounds, forcing out more blood, forcing her closer to unconsciousness.
“Lexa, you’re hurt. Just hold on,” she commanded, tearing a strip of cloth from Lexa’s armor and wrapping it around her leg, tightening the wrap so as to extend the pressure and stop the bleeding. Lexa winced but did not complain as Clarke tried to stop the bleeding in her wounds. Lexa noticed her hands were trembling and unshed tears still sparkled in her gunmetal blue eyes. The sight made her heart ache.
“I came back… because I couldn’t leave you to die. Once my people were safe it didn’t matter,” she murmured weakly, gritting her teeth at the pain in her shoulder.
Clarke paused for a minute but didn’t say anything, just kept working. The sting from Lexa’s betrayal was still fresh, Lexa was sure, but she prayed Clarke understood despite being hurt. Part of her decision was knowing Clarke would understand that her people came first.
“How did you know I was here?” she asked, her eyelids fluttering with the desire to close and carry her into a slumber.
“I was with Bellamy and Monty in the command center. I saw you through the cameras,” she said simply, trying to apply pressure to her shoulder. Unfortunately, the gunshot was at an odd angle.
“I was hoping to be of some use but it appears my heart deceived my head for once,” Lexa said lightly, her heart pounding as she said the words.
“Well, now that you’re hurt you’re pretty much useless. And they’ll…. they’ll come looking for us soon,” Clarke said, her voice flat. Lexa brought her hand up to touch Clarke’s cheek, pausing her in her work. The two locked eyes for a moment, their gazes alive with electricity.
“Just go. I will remain here, and if I die….. then that is the price of my mistake,” Lexa said softly before adding, “Your people come first.”
Clarke’s eyes, so devoid of hope, darkened just a bit more as she nodded weakly before standing and gazing down at Lexa with remorse. Lexa understood.
“If you can walk, get to the Reaper tunnels as quickly as you can. I’ll come look for you when this is all over.” She hesitated a minute longer before turning and disappearing down the corridor, nothing but a shadow of blue studded attire and blonde hair once she had gone.
Lexa, as much as she just wanted to lay there and slip into unconsciousness, was not raised with the mentality to do so. Struggling to her feet, she limped back the way she had come, down the long halls, down the blood streaked corridors, until she reached the door to the Reaper tunnels. Shoving it open, she collapsed in the rubble outside, breathing heavily. Leaning against the wall she sat there, thinking about her choice, slipping in and out of consciousness, until Clarke came to find her as promised. And when she helped her to her feet the first thing she said was, “I made the same choice.” Lexa looked upon the blonde, saw the darkness in her eyes, the self-loathing and hatred, and realized she felt the same.