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(Lex, wake up)

 

Lexa rolls to her side, blocking the sunlight coming in from her window with her arm over her eyes. She’s tired, she’s always tired but this time it’s a good thing. She was out with Clarke last night. Afterwards, they returned to her dorm room and proceeded further into their relationship.

 

(God, why can’t you ever just call it sex?)

 

(Shut up, Cos) Lexa rubs her eyes against her forearms as she laughs at her comment.

 

(You seem incredibly happy) 

 

(I am)

 

(I’m glad)

 

Lexa stills, her eyes feeling heavy as she stares at Clarke’s ceiling. It’s been painted the evening sky, complete with glow in the dark stars. Beside her, Clarke is sleeping soundly, her back exposed because Lexa hogged most of the covers. She carefully trails her fingers across Clarke’s spine to the small of her back, remembering details from the night before.

 

 

(What am I doing, Cos?)  

 

Clarke is so very peaceful, unaware of the turmoil going on inside of Lexa’s head. For her sake, Lexa hopes, she never has to know.

 

(You’re living)

 

(No one will ever blame you for that, Lex)

 

(My happiness is always, most certainly, short lived.)

 

(Then you better enjoy every iota of it that you get)

 

(Did you just…?)

 

Costia always made fun of Lexa’s speech pattern. You sound like my great grandfather. She always countered with an even older expression and Costia would laugh even harder. Lexa has never been good with jokes, she takes them too literally sometimes or she reveals the punch line too soon but she was always rewarded by Costia’s hearty laugh, often because she failed to deliver it correctly. But she kept on trying, just to hear Costia’s joy echo around the room.

 

Now she does it to hear her laugh inside her head.

 

(Yes, yes)

 

(I stole that one from you)

 

(I live inside your head, there’s not much going on here)

 

(Well, I apologise for being such a poor host.)

 

(You’re lucky I like you)

 

(You have my heart, Cos)

 

She’s silent, unable to answer their private way of saying ‘I love you’. Lexa personally thinks it’s messed up, while she’s lying in bed with Clarke and saying she loves Costia in her head.

 

(It is messed up, Lex)

 

(But you know you have my heart too)

 

(At least, when I still had one)

 

(But at some point, you’ll have to let go)

 

(It isn’t fair to Clarke)

 

(I’m sorry, Cos. I can’t let you go. Not yet.)

 

(Stop being an idiot and make up your mind soon)

 

(Or you’ll end up an orphan with your dead girlfriend’s consciousness festering in your brain and without your hot, blonde gal pal)

 

(I am trying. You know I am.)

 

(Go wake up your girl and feed her breakfast)

 

(It’s the proper thing to do)

 

(I will. Thank you, Costia.)

 

***

 

Lexa carefully searches for her clothes, making sure not to wake Clarke up. She’s planning to make a run to the mess hall and get Clarke coffee and pancakes before she wakes up. She found their cafeteria food unspectacular but nobody can mess up breakfast, yes?

 

(Right)

 

(Remember that time you tried making omelette and your dad had to call the fire department?)  

 

(I really do not want nor need your commentary right now, Costia.)

 

(You also really didn’t want it last night but you got it anyway)

 

Lexa is grateful that Clarke cannot read her mind because she imagines the girl would be horrified knowing Lexa’s old girlfriend was technically with them last night.

 

(Lex, you have nothing to be embarrassed about)

 

(She had fun, you had fun)

 

(Even I had a little bit of…)

 

(Shush now, Cos. I am begging you)

 

Lexa manages to find her pants and underwear and not much else of what she was wearing last night on Clarke’s floor. She spots Clarke’s sweatshirt, the one that she likes because it had ‘I’m not an ESPer’ on it and pulls it over her bra.

 

She’s in the middle of putting her pants on when the door bursts open and Clarke’s friends barge in without warning. All she could do was silence them with her index finger over her mouth then pointing at Clarke soundly snoozing on the bed.

 

(I think she’s Octavia and this one is Raven)

 

‘Are we in the wrong room?’ Octavia, as Costia has very helpfully told her, asks Raven.

 

‘No, that bum sleeping over there is obviously Clarke. Check that, naked bum.’ Raven eyes her suspiciously. It would all be very tense, if only Lexa were wearing her pants. However, she is not so she turns away and puts on her slacks.

 

(I am not laughing, I swear)

 

(This is not funny, Cos)

 

(Obviously not)

 

(That time your dad caught me climbing out of Lincoln’s room is way funnier)

 

(I remember. He gave you the talk and poor Lincoln had to sit there all uncomfortable but he took it like a man.)

 

She faces Raven and Octavia with a look she hopes is not too grim, trying to make a good impression on Clarke’s very good friends.

 

‘I am so sorry we had to be introduced this way.’ Lexa is speaking as soft as she could because she still wanted to surprise Clarke with breakfast. ‘I am Lexa Woods, Clarke’s um….’

 

Raven and Octavia both cross their arms at Lexa’s wavering tone. ‘You’re Clarke’s um…?’

 

‘I’m Clarke’s friend.’

 

Costia snorts inside her head. (Seriously, Lex? That was so weak)

 

‘Well, O, clearly we’ve been getting a terrible deal. Seeing as we’re also Clarke’s friends, how come we don’t get the benefit of naked cuddling?’ Raven challenges Lexa with a smirk and Octavia gets between them before it gets out of hand.

 

‘Raven, let’s not scare Lexa away.’ Octavia tugs on Raven’s arm, gaining a look of disdain from her friend. ‘Can we talk in the common room?’ She asks Lexa with a smile.

 

‘Yes, that would be best.’ Lexa glances one more time at Clarke before leaving the room with Raven and Octavia. They walk on either side of her, with alternating looks of curiosity and caution.

 

(Talk to them before they bite you)

 

(Sometimes, I think you nag more than Anya)

 

(And sometimes, you’re even more sappy than Lincoln)

 

(We can’t all be perfect, Lex)

 

Lexa coughs once before attempting to converse with Clarke’s friends. ‘That was extremely diplomatic of you, Octavia. Considering what I heard from Clarke, I deduced you were a bit of a hot head.’

 

Raven laughs loudly and Octavia makes what Lexa could only describe as a death stare. ‘Well, now I want to sic Raven on you.’

 

‘I apologise.’

 

(Stop thinking so hard)

 

(Just be yourself)

 

That is the same advice Costia gave her when Clarke walked into the study room. Lexa was listening to Kanye West (Costia is a big fan) and reading Poe’s Tell Tale Heart as Clarke appeared before her.

 

She thought Clarke was cute, (Beautiful), Costia promptly corrected her and that’s where this all began.

 

This complication, this problem, this predicament.

 

Lexa likes Clarke too much.

 

Normally, that would not be an issue. But right now, after what had happened with Costia and her father’s current condition, liking someone becomes really problematic.

 

They get to the common room and Lexa sits upright on a chair that undoubtedly smells like alcohol and dried drool. The other two plop down on a loveseat opposite her.

 

‘We don’t know anything about you.’ Raven starts, her eyes going over every bit of Lexa she could. Lexa wonders whether her psychometry would reveal everything, Costia, her dad, all the things that she’s done. Then she realises that Raven has not sensed anything about her and that the psychic shield has done its job.

 

(Tread carefully, Lex)

 

(Is this what it’s like having a conscience?)

 

(Only if your conscience used to be super-hot and smart)

 

‘I care about Clarke.’ Lexa decides to be as honest as she can. ‘Very much.’

 

(More than I can tell her)

 

(Why don’t you?)

 

(Because it would be a terrible idea)

 

‘What are your abilities?’ Octavia asks. Being a seer, it must be difficult for her not to see into Lexa’s future, or anything about Clarke that relates to her. ‘Do you nullify ESP?’

 

‘No, I do not.’ Clarke has asked her that before. She explained about psychic shields, which might be interfering with their gifts. ‘I’m a mind reader.’ That’s the simplest explanation to what Lexa is. Which is about the same as describing a battleship as a raft.

 

Raven takes her turn at the questions. ‘Are you reading ours right now?

 

‘No. Clarke asked me not to read her mind. I thought I must extend the same courtesy to her friends.’

 

(Who ever said you don’t know how to deal with people are crazy)

 

(You were the only one who ever said that, Cos)

 

(Oh yes, sorry)

 

They share a look and Raven gives her a subtle nod. ‘Where were you going before we caught you?’

 

‘I was going to get Clarke pancakes and coffee for breakfast.’

 

Now Octavia gives Lexa what one could refer to as a nod of approval then comes an advice. ‘Get her waffles and hot chocolate. Maybe some aspirin for the headaches.’

 

Lexa doesn’t want to be the one to tell them that if she’s around, Clarke’s head is pain free. She thinks Clarke will tell her friends in time.

 

Lexa hopes they have time.  

 

 ‘Ugh, what the hell, let’s just go get breakfast together.’  Raven pulls up Octavia from the sofa and signals for Lexa to follow them.

 

 

***

 (Lexa?)

 

Clarke’s voice has this rough, uneven quality to it that Lexa adores almost as much as Clarke’s hair because it sounds a hundred times better in her head.

 

‘Clarke’s awake.’ Lexa tells them plainly.

 

Raven nearly chokes on her egg sandwich and has to spit some of it out onto her napkin. ‘What? Do you have some weird telepathic shit that detects that?’

 

Lexa shakes her head and passes some more napkins to Raven. ‘No, she called me just now.’

 

‘You’re talking telepathically? With Clarke?’ Octavia seems confused. ‘Our Clarke? She’s never been able to do that.’

 

‘I believe I am quite excellent as a teacher.’

 

Raven gapes at her, grabbing at Lexa’s hand. ‘I don’t know if that’s some sexual innuendo shit but I am down for it. Teach me.’

 

(Clarke, you better come to the mess hall because I think Raven is falling for me.)

 

(You’re with Raven?)

 

(And Octavia. We’re having pancakes and sandwiches.)

 

(You’re having breakfast with my friends? Why?)

 

(They saw me in your room and brought me here.)

 

(Did they see you naked?)

 

(Partly.)

 

(I am so sorry, Lexa.)

 

(It is no trouble, Clarke. Please hurry though because Raven just asked whether she could bring me to her ESPers and Society lecture)

 

Clarke shows up around ten minutes later, wearing Lexa’s white button down shirt from last night and grimacing aggressively at Octavia and Raven.

 

(There’s my shirt.)

 

(And that’s where my jacket went.)

 

(Good morning, Clarke)

 

(Good morning. I was worried when you were gone. I thought last night was just a product of my head going haywire.)

 

(I wanted to bring you food but we got side tracked by their breakfast buffet.)

 

(God, you two are adorable) Costia, of course, couldn’t keep quiet for too long. She respects that Lexa does need peace of mind and the ability to concentrate properly but Clarke’s presence animates her.

 

‘Look, O, they’re doing it. Talking telepathically. Ignoring us as they give heart eyes to each other. Who knows what thoughts are being exchanged right now?’ Raven could give Costia’s commentary a good challenge if she wanted to.

 

Clarke sits beside Lexa and slyly puts her hand into the sweatshirt’s pocket.  ‘Only murderous thoughts, Reyes, seeing you kidnapped Lexa before she could even wear a shirt.’

 

‘I can’t believe you told!’ Raven throws a crumpled napkin at Lexa.

 

‘I did not say anything.’

 

‘I know since I can’t feel anything under it. I don’t need ESP to know you would behave this way.’

 

(You’re not ticklish?)

 

(I am not, Clarke.)

 

Octavia suddenly exhales, as something dawns on her. ‘So this is why Clarke gets mad at us. I just figured we’d do something to piss you off, didn’t know it would be because of Lexa.’

 

(See why I don’t like divination? It’s practically useless.)

 

(It helps when need a really accurate weather forecast or whether to avoid the student plaza because the Mindsweeper team lost.)

 

(Mindsweeper?)

 

(Don’t ask.)

 

(Okay, I will not.)

 

‘Okay, that look. Can we just discuss the fact that you two just gave a new, literal meaning to the word mindfuck?’ Raven continues to endear herself to Lexa. Perhaps they can discuss puns together. Clarke seems to enjoy those.

 

‘Raven, seriously.’ Octavia just shakes her head and bites off a piece of her toast. She then stuffs one into Raven’s mouth, who think it’s wise to continue talking.

 

‘What? They were probably doing weird telepathic stuff and…’  Raven suddenly stops chewing.  

 

Lexa sends a very curt message into her mind. (It would be in your best interest not to finish that sentence, Raven.)

 

‘Raven?’ Octavia pats her cheek gently.

 

Raven quickly stands up and turns to Clarke. ‘Your girlfriend can definitely blow someone’s head up by accident.’

 

‘What?’ Clarke looks at the three of them one by one, staring the longest at Lexa, waiting for a reaction.

 

Lexa swiftly sends another message to Raven. (We have not called each other that.)

 

Raven’s face is mildly horrified and amused. She says, ‘Reyes out,’ then she proceeds to run out of the cafeteria.

 

‘I’ll go see what’s wrong with her.’ Octavia calmly wipes her upper lip with a napkin before waving goodbye to the two of them.

 

‘Sorry about Raven.’  

 

‘I am just glad she can pick up on social cues.’

 

‘Would you be okay with that though? Being my girlfriend?’ Clarke is careful not to sound so eager, hoping not to make any hasty decisions.

 

(You don’t think it’s too fast?) The question from Clarke floats in Lexa’s mind.

 

(Absolutely not. Everyone has their own pace.  I think we are doing great.)

 

Lexa pushes a plate of waffles towards Clarke and leans on her hand to watch her in wonder. ‘I think that would make me happy.’ 

 

‘Me too.’

 

Clarke happily eats her waffles and pancakes and she’s pain free without thoughts in her head other than her own, just a girl having breakfast with her girlfriend. If they were normal. If, if, if.

 

Lexa takes in the sight of Clarke carelessly cutting her waffles into pieces and dipping it onto syrup. She shakes her head when Clarke offers her a bite but a quiet and insistent Please echoes in her head. Lexa is already quite full but she gives in anyway.

 

(It took you less than a month to fall in love with her) Costia murmurs and Lexa is ready to deny it but she had never been able to lie to her.

 

(How do you know that?) Lexa wants to ask her for tangible, quantitative proof, for evidence in triplicate. However, sitting with Clarke in this place and eating her much too sweet waffles and taking in Clarke’s scent off the sweatshirt every time she could is already quite substantial.

 

(I know the feeling. I remember how you are when you’re in love. And I kind of know everything)

 

(I’m sorry Cos.)

 

Lexa doesn’t even know what she’s apologising for, whether it’s for falling for Clarke, for still being in love with Costia despite falling for Clarke or for falling in love with either of them in the first place.

 

(Stop apologising)

 

(It’s very unbecoming on you, Lex)

 

She looks at Clarke and reaches to wipe the side of her lips smudged with a bit of chocolate with her fingers.

 

‘Thanks,’ Clarke mumbles shyly as she takes another bite.

 

‘Anytime.’

 

(I love Clarke.)

 

Lexa repeats the thought over and over in her head. It does not make sense and yet, it does.

 

(Yes, you do)

 

(But I love you too.)

 

(It doesn’t have to be one or the other)

 

(But you do need to keep in mind, pun intended, that I am gone and Clarke’s there)

 

(And Clarke loves you too)

 

(She just doesn’t realise it yet)

 

(Be your usual patient and kind self. Just be you around her. You’ll be fine)

 

(How come, even in this screwed up situation, you’re still the more rational one?)

 

(Because I’m smart, Lex)

 

(That’s why you picked me)

 

(Yes, I remember.)

 

Lexa remembers how they fell in love and how she got sick and how she betrayed Costia’s trust in the end.

 

***

 

Clarke is busy with her classes the whole day so Lexa chooses to catch up with her reading, finding an old copy of Eleonora and filling time with the meandering thoughts of Poe.

 

She’s almost finished when Gustus comes into the study room, clutching his favourite cooking magazine.

 

‘Find anything good? I think their cafeteria menu here will make me ill. Also, Clarke would love to try your crème brulee. ’ Lexa notices Gustus is face is more sombre than usual, possibly because the recipe he found calls for ingredients that are not organic or sustainable. ‘What’s wrong?’

 

‘Monty Green is the one we’re looking for.’ His usually gruff voice is gentle, letting the words sink into Lexa’s mind.

 

Of course, he is. Of course they need to kidnap one of Clarke’s friends for the job. The universe really has a sense of humour when it comes to Lexa’s happiness.

 

‘Are you sure?

 

Gustus does his best not to roll his eyes at Lexa. In addition to his excellent psychic shields, he’s also able to sense people’s gifts and potential or hidden abilities.

 

‘Yes.’

 

They were sent to the Academy to look for someone with unique apportation or teleportation abilities. Monty Green unfortunately fit the description, according to Gustus.

 

Her normal job usually involved reading minds of political leaders, royalty in some cases and on rare occasions, businessmen and then changing them if necessary.

 

 All in the name of the greater good, according to their leader.

 

Mind reading and mind control are just the most basic abilities with her gift. Just infinitesimal functions with endless possibilities of abilities existing in her mind.

 

Yet, there is a fragment in her mind that gives her doubt. The part where she holds Clarke above everything in her life at the moment.

 

‘Are we sure he can get full mastery of his ability?’

 

Lexa knows the answer to this as well. She can help Monty unlock his ability to the highest extent possible.

 

Gustus puts down his magazine beside Lexa’s book, his serious expression has changed to one of barely contained glee.

 

‘You waver, Miss Woods.’ He guffaws then he remembers Lexa could literally hurl him into the ceiling and to the floor again within milliseconds. ‘Is it because of Clarke?’

 

 ‘Why do we waste time asking questions we already know the answer to?’ This is her father’s favourite saying. He didn’t like it when they ask questions from people whose minds they have already perused.

 

People in the institute has no restrictions in using their gifts, using telepathy as a form of communication and teleportation is a means of transportation for people who are adept at it. Their abilities are to be nurtured and trained so that they can be of good use to society.

 

Their people are mostly recruited to be, but certainly not limited to, scientists, researchers, investigators, negotiators, soldiers and spies.

 

Some become mercenaries, operating on many different sides all at once.

 

The gift to use their mind’s limitless potential is something you cannot put a price tag on, but people definitely try.

 

Lexa was sent on this job because it had to be done quickly and quietly, without complications or delay.

 

If she had followed protocol and consulted the seers, she would have been told to avoid Clarke at all costs.

 

She is glad she didn’t. This all the more heightens her indifference to fortune telling.

 

(Don’t let Anya hear you call her a fortune teller)

 

(I will not, I still like living.)

 

‘You of all people know that sometimes our heads do not speak the same language as our hearts.’ Gustus hammers the point further, ‘What we think is not always what we feel.’

 

It seems so contradictory, because thoughts and feeling both come from the same source, the brain. How can that be possible? Lexa always asked her father when she was young. It’s a mystery of the universe, Lex, he would reply without fail.

 

‘What if we’re wrong?’

 

They are not wrong. They need Monty Green’s teleportation abilities to get where Lexa has to go.

 

 ‘Why do we waste time asking questions we already know the answer to?’ This time Gustus laughs his booming laugh, only heard when he’d been cooking with Lexa assisting him, providing insightful, inexperienced backseat chef comments.

 

‘I knew you will rub that in my face.’ Lexa shakes her head at Gustus.

 

(He got you there, Lex)

 

‘You read my mind. But that’s not a visual I want in my mind’s eye, Miss.’  

 

Gustus has always been there for Lexa. Since she was young, he’s been training her, taking care of her, teaching her how to braid her hair and to centre her mind. He was there before Costia and after her. Now, he’s supporting Lexa as she tries to help her father.

 

‘What if I ask pleasantly? They have been willing to help at this point.’ Lexa has been consulting the doctors and professors in the Academy, regarding her endeavour about teleportation, assuring them it is pure conjecture, all theory. She has had check-ups done to gather her vitals and check, via mental simulation, whether she could withstand being teleported into another dimension by another person.

 

And whether she can get back to her reality.

 

Gustus strokes his beard and cheekily says, ‘Possible, you can be quite charming if you wanted to be. Mr Green seems like a man who needs very little persuasion. If all else fails, you can always make anyone do anything.’

 

‘You know I usually ask first to make them think it was their idea.’

 

Mind control has always been her forte. Almost nobody ever realises it. Once she’s inside someone’s head, she will prod and twist and tweak until she has gotten the results she wanted. It’s exhilarating, having that much control on someone. Lexa admits she feels a certain rush but all her life, her father and Gustus have disciplined her in self-control.

 

‘Clarke?’

                                              

Gustus asks her whether she would dare using her abilities on Clarke. Before she asked Lexa not to read her mind, she had glimpsed Clarke’s many thoughts. A lot of them about her friends, her mother. Someone called Finn and a handsome man Lexa deduced to be Clarke’s father.  Her sensing of feelings and emotions has always been weakest but she felt Clarke’s strength. Lexa surmises she’s liked Clarke since then.

 

Clarke’s smile is tired but sincere, her laugh unpractised and broken, sometimes she worries that Clarke is choking on food but she’s laughing. Lexa has never thought she would care about another person as much like she did Costia.

 

But there’s Clarke. With her loud thoughts always bubbling, threatening to overwhelm everyone around.   

 

Lexa does not wish to control those thoughts, she doesn’t even know if she could keep her mind off them.

 

‘I have never had to.’

 

‘Really? Not even when she wants to have you watch Next Top Model?’

 

‘I do not want to use my abilities on her, Gustus. Also, I don’t mind Tyra Banks.  Did you read that off her mind?’

 

‘She’s extremely loud.’

 

(Figuratively and literally.)

 

(Stop reading my girlfriend’s mind, Gustus. Also, I told you to wear headphones whenever we are back in my room.)

 

Very well. Have you considered just telling her the whole plan? She would likely help you, knowing her thoughts.’  

 

(Stop moseying in her head.)

 

(Teach her calming exercises. It would benefit everyone. Especially when you’re in your room.)

 

Gustus smirks at her and Lexa tries her hardest not to pull at his beard, like she did when she was young and wanted piggyback rides.

 

(I can’t carry you on my back anymore.)

 

(I have my own responsibilities now, Gus.)

 

(You will always be under my wing, Miss.)

 

‘Clarke is very kind but with the risks involved I do not think she would be willing to sacrifice her friend. That is what this is, basically.’  Lexa leans back on her chair, Poe’s short story forgotten along with Gustus’ magazine. Their job has always been of utmost importance, especially this one.    

 

Find a master of teleportation, bring them here and then we’ll find a way to get your father back. That is the job. Plain and simple. Only it’s not.

 

(Are you forgetting you’re also involved? You’re the one Mr Green needs to transport in another realm. What will she say about that?)

 

(She will strongly disagree.)

 

‘Unfortunately, your father does not have the luxury of time to wait for Clarke Griffin to be amenable to our plan.’

 

Lexa wonders what her father would think of Clarke. That has become one of the reasons why they should succeed, so her father could meet Clarke and be enamoured by her too.

 

(He will like her.)

 

(I know.)

 

Lexa wishes there is another way but the way things are turning out, it seems that they have to bring Monty Green back to the institute, whether Clarke likes it or not.

 

‘It’s basically your fault. You were the one who let her walk up to me when you left your post to search for more cooking magazines.’

 

That lapse in Gustus’ judgement led to her own failing to stop falling for Clarke.

 

(Sure, blame me for this.) Gustus beams at her. (I really am glad to see you this happy due to my mistake.)

 

Lexa’s happiness has been Gustus’ priority all his life. He took care of skinned knees, of scars and scratches, he learned how to cook healthy and delicious meals because Lexa was a picky eater and she was so skinny and she kept on tripping and being injured.

 

Gustus taught her how to weather pain and hurt. When Costia became very ill and succumbed to her illness, Gustus helped her regain her balance. When her mother died, Gustus became their family’s rock.

 

(Thank you, Gustus. You’re my favourite uncle.)

 

(I’m your only uncle.)

 

‘Would you consider just tinkering with her mind for a bit?’

 

Lexa knows what Gustus is asking. They need to act quickly. They have no time to waste.

 

She has always been the one they asked to come whenever they dealt with inflexible minds. A little bit of Lexa’s persuasion and all minds are pliable.

 

‘I do enough screwing up in my own head to mess around with hers.’  

 

She thinks of Costia and what she did and how her consciousness ended up being fused with Costia’s before she died.  

 

(I’m afraid of what I might do inside Clarke’s head.)

 

Clarke is strong but Lexa is not sure she would understand her situation without breaking down. Lexa cannot and will not do that to Clarke.

 

It will have to take as long as it takes.

 

‘Indra will come and get us if we are late.’

 

‘Let her come. I will handle it.’

 

(They’re coming soon, Lex)

 

***

 

(Clarke, stop trying to send me telepathic nudes.)

 

Lexa laughs alone in her room while Clarke is back at her own dorm, forehead probably scrunching in concentration as she transmits more visual messages to Lexa. Clarke has become particularly adept at telepathic communication under Lexa’s tutelage.

 

(It was Raven’s idea.)

 

Raven has been very intense about learning telepathy and Lexa thinks she should be able to use her own latent telepathy any day now. As divination is not in Lexa’s area of interest, Gustus took Octavia under his wing to teach her how to focus her seeing and increase her range to more than a week.

 

(I do not think they count if they are all in Cubism.)

 

Clarke goes on to relay some images that Lexa could really not describe in words. Soon, she would have to teach Clarke how to properly render images and thoughts in other people’s minds. In the meantime, she’ll just enjoy the unpolished quality and child-like pictures Clarke is sending her.

 

(Are you complaining?)

 

(I was just making an observation.)

 

(Just be happy that they don’t look like the Persistence of Time. Then everything will be droopy.)

 

Lexa decides that it is time to tell Clarke about the plan. There’s not much point in delaying it, Indra and the others are coming to get them soon. Lexa and Gustus has already stayed more than the two months, four weeks more than their supposed timeline.

 

(Is Raven still there?)

 

(No, she left already. Is Octavia still at your place?)

 

(Gustus took her out for dinner.)

 

(You didn’t go with them?)

 

(No, I only like Gustus’ cooking.)

 

(I’ve seen you eat cafeteria food.)

 

(Yes but eating is not equal to enjoyment, Clarke.)

 

(Jerk.)

 

(Clarke, I have to tell you something.)

 

(What is it?)

 

(It is very important and I am afraid to tell you in person.)

 

Lexa is afraid Clarke will think lowly of her or hate her or worse, think that she’s insane.

 

(Are you sick? Please don’t tell me you’re dying)

 

(Well, that escalated quickly)

 

(Cos…)

 

(Sorry, I’m zipping it now)  

 

(I am not dying, Clarke. We are not a comic book cliché. We will grow old and wrinkly with each other.)

 

Silence. There’s just silence on Clarke’s side. Lexa considers what she said and waits for a few more seconds before talking again.

 

(Was that a bit too much? I am so sorry for being extremely forward, Clarke.)

 

(Just go on, you nerd.)

 

Clarke is happy. Lexa senses a warm glow from her, not unlike the one whenever she thinks of Raven and Octavia. It is a little brighter though, Lexa gladly notices.

 

(Before I tell you, can I ask about Finn?)

 

Silence. A louder silence. The warm glow diminishes and Lexa tries very hard not to just read Clarke’s mind and figure out all she needed to know on her own.

 

(I saw him from before you asked me to stop looking into your thoughts. I asked Raven.) She explains patiently, hoping Clarke will understand.

 

(What did she say?)

 

(That I should ask you.)

 

(Finn was)

 

The thoughts stop, they are intermittent, like the signal is fading and Clarke is unsure how to continue.

 

(Finn is someone very important to me.)

 

 (What happened to him?)

 

(He got sick.)

 

There is a beat. Lexa wonders whether his sickness is physical or mental. Sometimes it is both. People’s brains become ill then they have a mental break or vice versa. 

 

(He had a breakdown.)

 

(He was smart, funny, and really sweet.)

 

(Then he got sick.)

 

(We didn’t know what to do, how to help him.)

 

Lexa knows what Clarke is talking about. Only, what happened with Costia was the opposite. They knew exactly how to help her, it just did not work.

 

(Sometimes our actual brains cannot handle our abilities. We are still very much human, in spite of our gifts. Grief, sometimes, make it malfunction. Too much joy renders us unable to think clearly as well. )

 

Too much grief makes us go haywire for a little and accidentally entrap someone else’s consciousness into our own without their permission, Lexa privately thinks.

 

(Lex)

 

(Sorry, Cos.)

 

(He’s in a secluded care facility right now.) 

 

(Did you break up with him because he was sick?)

 

 (I…)

 

(It is not something to be ashamed of, Clarke. It could not have been easy.)

 

(I think I may have contributed to what happened to him. I think I saw some signs and just kept quiet. His thoughts kept echoing in my head and I didn’t do anything.)

 

(There are just many things we cannot do anything about, Clarke.)

 

Costia dying, my mother’s accident, my father becoming ill. Falling for you. Lexa enumerates the many things she has no control over.

 

(I don’t really feel comfortable talking about Finn. I’d rather you make me eat glass or talk about…)

 

The thoughts are cut and she worries because that never happens. Clarke usually can never shut off her thoughts.

 

(Clarke…?)

 

(My dad.)

 

(I won’t ask about your father but I’ll talk about mine.)

 

Lexa hopes that someday, Clarke will tell her. She hopes that they could have a future together.

 

(He’s very sick.)

 

(We came here to look for help so we can him back.)

 

(So you need my help?)

 

(No, Monty Green is the one we need.)

 

(Clarke, I don’t want you to think that we are terrible people. But the actual plan was to kidnap him and have him assist us in a complex apportation.)

 

(Kidnap him?)

 

(Clarke…)

 

(I am going there right now. Do not move.)

 

Lexa follows and Clarke finds her lying in bed still. Breathing even and shallow. She stands at the foot of Lexa’s bed, her face stoic, unreadable.

 

‘You are planning to kidnap Monty.’

 

‘Were. Now I am telling you and consulting whether he would be agreeable to our terms.’ Lexa patiently explains, not used to the process because usually when the people from the institute receive instructions, they take it without further questions. ‘If he does not agree, more powerful people from our Institute will come after him.’

 

‘Are you just using me to get to him?’

 

‘No, Clarke. You absolutely were not a part of the plan. Nor my plan. You just happened. You were there, I was there and now we are here.’

 

‘I can’t tell if you’re lying to me or not.’

 

‘Do you trust me? Do you trust how I feel about you?’

 

(Do you trust what you feelabout me?) Lexa asks her in her mind, her thoughts the softest it could go, barely reaching Clarke’s.

 

Clarke takes a moment to answer. ‘We internalise so many things. Our thoughts and feelings, all of our emotions. We almost never act on it. Being an ESPer has its downsides. We think everyone knows how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking.’

 

(I think saying things out loud or doing what makes us feel good is important.)

 

‘My mind is all I am good for, Clarke. I cannot lose it thinking about you. However, that is what keeps on happening and I cannot do anything about it.’ Lexa stands to look at Clarke directly, saying words she never thought she would say again to anyone.

 

(That’s pretty much you guys’ I love you. I’m losing my mind thinking about you. Cute.)

 

Whenever Lexa said to Costia, ‘You have my heart’, it represents all the things they cannot control seeing as they were both brilliant at mind control. ‘Losing their mind’ to another person means giving up all the things they hold dear, Clarke with her telepathy and inability to read Lexa’s mind and Lexa, gifted with mental manipulation and more than willing to not use it all that due to Clarke’s request.

 

‘Don’t you have a special training regimen where you can have both?’ Clarke asks her. (Keep your mind and keep me as well?)

 

‘My father would think it is insane.’ Lexa takes hold of her hand and she knows of the inert electricity around them because Clarke suddenly tenses up.

 

‘He had you right? He probably doesn’t mind, maybe he can give you a few pointers as well.’

 

‘My father is in a coma. His consciousness is trapped in an alternate reality which he himself created unknowingly, wherein my mother is alive and they’re staying together in our summer home. He hasn’t opened his eyes in almost a year. He has not walked or talked using his actual voice. He relays his messages via telepathy.’ Lexa has not said this to anyone. Everyone in the Institute knows what happened to the Leader and this is the first time she actually said the words. She remembers Gustus once joking that maybe she needs to see a psychiatrist then having the joke’s punchline be that everyone in the Institute is one.

 

‘That’s crazy.’ Clarke whispers and Lexa is not surprised but she wonders how come Clarke is not recoiling in fear or disdain. ‘But I don’t think my mum would mind being in a world where my father is alive. It’s crazy and I get it.’

 

(I like her)

 

(Shut up, Cos)

 

(Still, I think what uncle did is not as bad as having your dead girlfriend’s consciousness trapped in yours, by accident I might add)

 

(I have apologised more than I can count for doing this to you, and I will continue apologising as long as I live if you need me to.)

 

(I need you to let me go, Lex)

 

Lexa does not say she does not want to let go not does she tell her of her actual inability to get her out of her mind. Lexa cannot release Costia’s consciousness because she does not know how. She holds on to Clarke’s hand tighter and wishes so badly that Clarke could read her mind.

 

(Go on, kiss her)

 

(You most definitely want to right now)

 

(You don’t need my permission, Lex)

 

‘Quiet, Cos.’ Lexa quickly realises she spoke out loud and not in reply to Costia.

 

‘I’m sorry?’

 

‘Clarke, I need to kiss you right now because I am definitely losing my mind.’  

 

(I love you, Clarke.)

 

***

 

‘Where’s the girl?’

 

Lincoln casually walks into her bedroom, a serious look plastered all over his face, searching Lexa’s bed for any sign of another person.  

 

‘The subject is named Monty Green, clearly identified in the brief as male.’ Lexa smiles at her brother.

 

‘I meant the girl who delayed your mission. I figured you two are canoodling right now.’  

 

‘Canoodling? Have you been snooping around in my brain, Linc?’

 

‘It’s clear that right now, your mind is in the gutter, Lex.’ He sits on the far end of the bed, opposite her. (She hot?) He raises his eyebrows at her.

 

(She is beautiful.) Lexa thinks of Clarke concentrating on her notes, of Clarke sleeping with drool running on the side of her mouth, of Clarke kissing her neck and then pulling away unabashedly.

 

(Not an image I want in my head, sis.) Lincoln pats her head gently. (It’s only been two months and you’ve already become a sap. This girl is masterful.)

 

(I personally think she is amazing. I may be biased though.)

 

(I’m glad you’re happy.) Lincoln’s cheer reminds Lexa why they are there.

 

(How’s Dad?) She cannot bear to say the words out loud. It has become an unspoken rule, only talk about the Leader telepathically.

 

(No changes, no improvements. He asked about you though. I talked to him before we left.)

 

Being willingly trapped in an alternate universe, there are many things their father is not aware of. He’s not privy to the thoughts of people not in the same reality as him, he can only communicate via telepathy and he cannot use any of his other abilities. One of the most brilliant minds in the universe literally paralysed with grief.

 

(What’d he say?)

 

(Bring back your sister soon.)

 

Lincoln shifts and sits beside her, leaning on the headboard and partly on her shoulder. ‘Indra is discussing the situation with the Academy’s chancellor. It seems that Monty Green has agreed to our proposition.’

 

‘Clarke and her friends are going.’ Lexa already had the discussion with Clarke and of course, Raven and Octavia will not let her go on her own to support Monty. ‘I talked to her mother about it.’

 

‘You spoke with Clarke’s mother? Well, this must be serious.’

 

‘I think so, Linc.’

 

‘Thank goodness you didn’t go through all the will they, won’t they drama that you usually bring forth.’

 

‘Clarke can be very persuasive.’ Lexa recalls the time she was harangued by Clarke to teach her how to quiet her mind. They are still working on that, Gustus still has to wear noise cancelling headphones whenever Clarke comes by to visit.

 

‘I hope that’s just in arguments, Lex.’ She scoffs and he nudges her with his elbow. ‘So you’re taking her to meet Dad?’

 

‘I thought it would be a good thing.  Dad is a brilliant telepath, Clarke will learn a lot from him, even though he’s in a coma. He’s still better than most.’

 

Lexa feels like she is listing grocery items and it is very forced and contrived because she has never gone to the grocery in her lifetime. Lincoln, knowing his sister’s tendency to worry about everything, puts an arm around shoulders.

 

‘You’re concerned whether Clarke has nigh omniscience or not?’  When Lexa answers with a questioning gaze, Lincoln explains, ‘Gustus said she’s particularly loud. Like Costia was before.’

 

Costia’s abilities are the reason she died. It was too much for one person to bear. The knowledge of everything, well almost everything. She did not see the part where she dies at twenty one. She was most definitely surprised when she found herself inside Lexa’s head afterwards.

 

‘I think Dad will be able to tell us if she is.’

 

‘I’m not sure, Lex. He’s not really himself right now.’

 

‘He is not the only one who lost Mom.’

 

‘You aren’t the only one who lost Cos.’

 

Lincoln is not calling her a hypocrite, he’s pointing out very real facts.

 

‘You should tell Clarke.’ Lincoln adds telepathically, (Tell her about Costia.)

 

There are many things Lexa does not talk about. Her gifts, her parents and Costia. But Clarke deserves to know. And Lexa, more than anything, needs her to understand.

 

***

They have finished packing and everything is set for them to go in the morning.

 

Octavia, Raven and Monty are sprawled on the living room of the guest house where Lexa has been staying.

 

A party of some sorts had transpired, Lexa is not very sure since there’s not much she can remember.

 

She wakes beside Clarke, who is clutching at her shirt and adorably whining in her sleep.

 

(Why are you awake?) Clarke’s voice ripples through her head. Her eyes remain closed though.

 

(The floor is not made for comfortable sleep, Clarke. Let’s get to bed.) Lexa tries to get up but Clarke refuses to cooperate. She hugs her tighter.

 

(I like this.)

 

(I think you will hate it when it is morning and your back is aching like a bitch.)

 

(You’ve been hanging out with Raven too much.)

 

Lexa then attempts to get Clarke up but her limbs fell limply on her sides and it is impossible to move her.

 

(They have taught me some more puns. You like those, yes?)

 

(I like you.) Clarke smiles sleepily and she opens her eyes to look at Lexa. She holds out her hand and Lexa helps her stand. (You’re right, my back is aching now.)

 

(Perhaps a massage? It will do wonders for reliving pain) Lexa leads her into her room and Clarke dramatically plops into the bed.

 

(It’s 1am and I am not amused.) Clarke’s voice muffled by the sheets.  ‘Will you ever tell me about your abilities?’

 

‘You have first-hand knowledge ofmy abilities Clarke.’

 

(Did Raven tell you to say that?)

 

‘No.’ Lexa lies down beside her, carefully stroking Clarke’s hair and enjoying the small sounds of pleasure from Clarke.

 

(Yes.) She truthfully confesses in Clarke’s mind.

 

 Clarke turns over so she is looking at Lexa too. ‘I meant your actual abilities.’

 

‘I suppose you have clearance now.’

 

There is a pause as Clarke wonders when everything changed.

 

‘Who gave me clearance?’

 

‘I did.’ Lexa laughs and Clarke moves her head closer to Lexa’s shoulder.

 

(Seriously, Lexa.)

 

‘The very broadest term is mental manipulation.’

 

‘Like, mind control?’

 

‘In the simplest of terms, yes. Mind control is one of my abilities.’

 

‘Did you…’ Clarke suddenly sits up and there is a look of panic in her eyes. She’s trembling a little and Lexa reaches for her hand to steady her but Clarke is quickly out of reach.

 

(Lex, you’ve got to explain faster or Clarke will run out of here before you can say dead girlfriend in my head)

 

Clarke starts pacing up and down the room, all the concentration exercises forgotten, her thoughts jumping out of her mind, seeping into Lexa’s even though she’s trying so hard not to read it.

 

Clarke remembers how they met, the memory of their first kiss plays in her mind and Clarke begins questioning her own feelings.

 

‘Clarke, where do you think feelings come from? Certainly not your full sized aortic pump.’ Lexa leans on the headboard as she watches Clarke process the news.

 

(Are you still drunk? This is not the time to be funny)  

 

Clarke’s eyes are unreadable but when Lexa sees little drops of tear pooling on the side of her eyes. She realises her joke went a little too far.

 

(I am only joking, Clarke.)

 

(That’s not fucking funny, Lexa.)

 

‘I will never do that to you.’  Lexa’s face is solemn while Clarke is still a little rigid and she can feel anger and incredulity emanating from her.

 

(You’re supposed to be on your knees, you idiot)

 

‘I cannot believe you would joke about that.’

 

‘I may be a little drunk, still.’ Lexa admits she is not good at handling alcohol but she is definitely not drunk.

 

Lexa actually kneels before Clarke, beseeching her to look.  (I am so sorry, Clarke.)

 

‘Is it possible? To control feelings?’ Clarke is hesitant and unsure but she is not angry anymore. Lexa knows soon she might have to deal with Clarke’s anger again.  

 

‘Yes.’

 

‘Have you ever done that to anyone before?’

 

‘Yes. It’s a part of my job in the Institute.’

 

Most of the time, her job to manipulate people’s thoughts and feelings to have control over the outcome of negotiations, business deal or new laws. All for the greater good.

 

‘Have you ever done that to anyone you care about?’

 

‘Yes.’ Lexa’s answer stuns Clarke a little but she doesn’t pull away from her.

 

(Tell me.)

 

Lexa sits on the floor, staring straight at the wall while Clarke is holding her hand as she settled at the edge of the bed.

 

(Her name was Costia.) Clarke stiffens at the past tense used. (She used to be my world. She was generous and highly intelligent. My father brought her to the Institute because of her abilities. We met in a class and I fell for her mind. She adored Kanye West and science fiction.)  

 

(Don’t say nothing about Yeezus, Lex)

 

(She was amazing, her gift and her aptitude in using it was incredible. Until she became sick because her brain could not cope with her ability.)

 

(She was so weak that she was unable to stand or even talk. Every day she withered away before my eyes. Near the end, she chose to stop the treatments our doctors are giving her.)

 

(I changed her mind. I manipulated her will. I made her want to live because I was not ready to lose her.)

 

(I didn’t want to go)

 

(I lost her anyway.)

 

Clarke is not crying but she’s looking at Lexa with glassy eyes, as if she’s seeing her for the first time and Lexa realises her fears might be coming true.

 

‘I know it seems insane and terribly selfish of me. If you had met her, you will understand. You’ll do anything and everything to keep her.’

 

‘That’s crazy and I get it.’

 

Clarke reaches to hug her and they lie in bed, with Clarke’s mind suddenly filling Lexa’s with images of her father and Finn and she tells Lexa that it is okay, that everything will be okay.

 

***

 

‘I do not see the point of doing this right now. You are very tired from the journey.’

 

They arrive in the Institute late that evening, everyone is busy with dinner and Raven has already been challenged in a mental joust by an engineer in the foyer moments after alighting from the bus.

 

Clarke immediately suggests they see Lexa’s father after they have carried their bags to the guest rooms.

 

‘You sound like my gramma, Lexa. I’m fine. I would like to meet your father now before Raven and Octavia kidnap me to explore this castle.’ Clarke grabs Lexa’s hand and swings their clasped hands as they walk in the suspiciously empty corridor.

 

‘We are not in a castle. This is a fort, Clarke.’

 

‘Thanks for the architecture trivia, Miss Woods. Now, where’s your father’s room?’

 

‘He is in the hospital wing.’

 

‘I can’t imagine what it’s like growing up here.’

 

‘Quite normal, except we get mental locks when we misbehave.’

 

Clarke’s curiosity over the intricacies and workings of the institute continues to grow.  ‘Mental locks?’

 

‘Our abilities are nullified for a while, it creates terrible inconveniences, believe me.’

 

Lexa thinks having her gifts limited is equal to depriving her of basic necessities. Her abilities are integral part of who she is and to have that taken away would be brutal.

 

‘Have you ever been locked?’ Clarke giggles. ‘Forget it, you seem like too much of a goody-goody.’

 

‘I’ll have you know it has happened more than once. Lincoln and I got into trouble a lot with Costia.’

 

‘You guys were really close, huh.’

 

‘We only had each other growing up. Our parents were busy running this place.’

 

‘Gustus?’

 

‘Gustus trained us and cooked for us and broke up fights that always started because Costia badgering us about something we have not done yet. I swear Linc cried every time.’

 

Lexa stops walking in front of a plain door, just like all the doors of the hospital wing. Clarke is expecting guards and retina scans but Lexa easily opens the door with Woods, L. clearly written by an erasable marker.

 

 

 

‘Here we are.’

 

The room is average in size but it is divided in two. The part where they are standing on is separated from the patient’s bed by a glass wall. The door to the next room is not visible but the man lying down on the bed is.

 

There are no tubes, he doesn’t have to breathe with assistance from a machine, no wires, not even a status monitor.

 

‘What’s your father’s name?’

 

‘Lysander.’

 

‘Really?’

 

‘Yes, really. Yours?’

 

‘Jake.’

 

‘I’m sorry I’ll never get to meet him. I think he would give me a really hard time for dating his only daughter.’

 

‘Are you trying to psych me out? Because I’m freaking out right now. I’ve never done this before.’

 

‘Meeting someone’s parents or talking to a comatose person?’

 

‘Both.’

 

‘Here.’ Lexa stands in front of Clarke and cradles her face in her hands.

 

(Relax. I am here, you’ll be fine. He’ll love you.)

 

(We’ve both lost our minds, right?)

 

(Yes, we have.)

 

Lexa motions for Clarke to sit on the chair in the far corner of the room. She notices there are trays of food there and it is obviously not for her father.

 

‘The food is from Lincoln, I think.’

 

‘You’re brother’s nice.’ Clarke was able to talk to Lincoln on their way to the institute and she decided to talk to their father then, because how can a man who raised Lincoln and Lexa be scary?

 

‘Lincoln and I take turns shaving him. He picked the short straw so he’s in charge of catheters too.’

 

Clarke almost chokes on the vegetables she’s nibbling on at the pronouncement.

 

(Really, Lexa?)

 

(Sorry.)

 

‘Let’s go.’  Lexa presses a button on the screen at the edge of the glass wall and then she loudly says, ‘Daddy.’

 

There is no sound that comes at first but then someone’s voice echoes in to Clarke’s head. (Lexa, sweetheart. Welcome back. I hope you had a good trip.)

 

The telepathic amplification technology they have developed became useful in projecting the Leader’s thoughts while he’s in a coma.

 

‘I did. How are you?’ She sits beside Clarke and leans her head against the wall, looking at the white ceiling and not the bedridden man from whom the thoughts are originating.

 

(Great. We just finished fishing in the old pond. I hope you’d like fish for dinner.)

 

‘I would love that, Dad.’

 

(Let me just wake Mom up, she’s been napping since we got back.)

 

‘No need to bother her, I cannot stay very long.’  Lexa slowly turns her head to smile at Clarke, who has been listeing to the exchange in awe. ‘Dad, I want to introduce someone I met on my trip.’

 

(Oh. You met someone?)

 

‘Yes. This is Clarke Griffin.’

 

Lexa motions for Clarke to just speak normally.

 

‘Hello, sir.’ There is a little tremor in her voice, it almost cracks in just two syllables.

 

(Greetings. I hope my little girl has not been too much trouble, miss.)

 

‘She’s been great.’

 

(She does sound happier. Less grouchy.)

 

‘Dad.’ Lexa surprises Clarke by sounding like a whiny child.

 

(What? You do, Lex. If she’s ever grumpy, just pull at her cheeks and kiss her forehead, she can’t resist that.)

 

‘That hurts, Dad.’ Lexa instinctively pull on her cheek, wondering if she would ever feel her father do that again.

 

(Shush, sweetheart. Clarke and I are speaking.) There is a pause in the thoughts streaming into her head and then a sigh. (Now, Clarke, I suppose Lexa has already told you about her abilities and…)

 

‘Dad, Clarke has telepathy too.’

 

(I see, then you wouldn’t mind showing your prowess, Clarke?)

 

‘Sir?’ Clarke’s abilities have greatly improved because she is not hindered by the noise anymore due to Lexa’s presence.

 

(Would you be able to read my mind?)

 

Lexa is still and quiet as Clarke attempts to read one of the most gifted minds in the world.

 

‘You’re thinking about your broiled fish.’ Clarke smiles as she gives the correct answer. Lexa frankly does not see the delight her father takes in eating fish.

 

(Correct. This one’s a keeper, Lexa. How did you two meet?)

 

‘We met in the library and it all started from there.’

 

(Was she reading Poe? Again?)

 

‘Yes, sir.’

 

(I see she was listening to her godawful music again.)

 

‘How did you know?’ Clarke wonders how he figured out that she is thinking about Kanye West leaking from Lexa’s headphones.

 

(You’re recreating the memory in your mind, I am merely receiving the signal. That was adorable, girls.  The sweatshirt looks good on you, Clarke.)

 

‘Dad!’

 

‘I don’t know if I can wear it again, sir. Your daughter already stole that from me.)’

 

(Lexa! I taught you more manners than that.)

 

‘I like it because it smells like Clarke.’ Lexa says quietly, looking anywhere but Clarke who is definitely laughing at her.

 

(You two are endearing.) Clarke puts aside her tray of food and scoots closer to Lexa. (Clarke, I know my daughter can be quite high maintenance, she’s very stubborn and doesn’t listen to anybody.)

 

‘I sincerely hope there is a ‘but’ there, Father.’ Lexa mumbles against Clarke head.

 

(However, she’s very earnest and kind and reliable. I may be underselling her looks too, because our cheekbones somehow won the genetic lottery.)

 

‘Yes, sir. All that’s true.’

 

(I sense there is some doubt in your mind, dear?)

 

‘It’s just, I’m worried.’

 

Lexa quickly looks at Clarke as she isn’t sure where it’s all going.

 

(Go on.)

 

‘I’m not sure how she really feels about me.It’s nothing against Lexa, it’s me. I just find it difficult to trust her completely.’

 

(Sometimes she jokes about things that aren’t funny.) Clarke concentrates and sends that that last bit in Lexa’s mind.

 

(You should have seen me at Costia’s funeral. I giggling and crying at the same time.) Lexa replies with a hint of regret in her thoughts. She was laughing because Costia was making jokes in her head and at the same time she was burying her.

 

(I have known all of my daughter’s thoughts since she was in her mother’s womb. Lexa feels very strongly for you. I think she has never been more sure in her life.)

 

(I do too sir. It’s just that, I’ve never met anyone whose mind I couldn’t read.)

 

(People lie in their minds too, dear girl. We’ve been trained specifically not to reveal our thoughts. Lexa here has a psychic shield held up by three persons.)

 

‘Why?’

 

Lexa has forgotten she has not informed Clarke about the mental shields from Gustus, Lincoln and her father.

 

(Well, because…)

 

‘Dad, I think that’s enough information for one day.’

 

(Of course. You kids can handle your own business. I have fish to broil.)

 

‘I’ll come back soon, Daddy.’

 

(That’ll be wonderful, sweetheart.)

 

(Bye Mr Woods.)

 

(Until next time, Clarke.)  

 

Lexa stands up and she presses the button on the glass wall again.

 

She slowly strides to Clarke’s side and kisses the top of her head. ‘That went well.’

 

‘Your father seems like a good man.’

 

‘You should see him when he’s awake.’ Lexa knows Clarke is expecting answers and so she prepares more deflecting statements in her head.  

 

Clarke holds her hand and gives her an assuring smile instead. ‘I’ll be here when you’re ready to tell me everything.’

 

‘Thank you, Clarke.’

 

***

 

Clarke is in the midst of slowly unbuttoning Lexa’s shirt and leaving a trail of kisses in every bit of skin becoming exposed when her bedroom door opens.

 

John Murphy walks in unsuspectingly, his eyes on a piece of paper that looks like a mission brief, only to be surprised by Lexa’s tattooed back.  ‘Woods, Anya and Indra are looking for you. Frak, my eyes are burning!’ He covers his eyes with the brief and turns away from them.

 

Clarke quickly pulls on a shirt and silently urges Lexa to resolve the situation fast.  

 

‘That’s too much of an overreaction, John.’ Lexa lazily pulls her shirt back on, only buttoning the first two back on because she knows Clarke will just pull on them in impatience once Murphy goes.

 

‘I’m not sure I can ever recover from this, Woods. I might literally have to burn my eyeballs.’

 

‘You have eidetic memory, John. That will not work.’

 

‘Seriously.’ He shakes his side as he tries to focus.

 

Lexa introduces them quickly. ‘Clarke, this is John Murphy. He works as an explosive specialist for the Army.’

 

‘Which army?’ Clarke asks after shaking his hand.

 

Lexa answers in her mind. (That is the question.)

 

‘That’s the question.’  Murphy replies with a wink then his eyes started twitching again as he remember the scene he just walked on. ‘Damn you, Woods.’

 

‘Charming.’ Clarke has not met many people in the institute. Wherever they (Clarke, Raven and Octavia) are out exploring the fort, the place seems eerily empty. Sure, there’s Lincoln and Anya, who has become Octavia’s divination tutor and of course, Indra who scares the hell out of Clarke. Lexa mentioned she could do astral projection and Clarke wonders if Indra has ever seen into her soul.

 

‘We really have to go, Woods.’

 

‘Should I come?’

 

 Lexa shakes her head and offers Clarke a soft kiss on the cheek. ‘I think that would be unnecessary, Clarke. You’re always on my mind.’

 

Murhy makes a very loud gagging sound behind them.

 

‘We communicate telepathically, John.’ Lexa rolls her eyes at him.

 

‘Whatever, let’s just go. Also, your girlfriend needs to stop thinking about you shirtless.’

 

(Sorry)

 

(That is not a problem with me. I will see you later.)

 

They walk out of the door without Clarke, heading to the conference room where most missions are given.

 

‘Are you still talking to her?’

 

‘Yes.’

 

Clarke is whispering in her head but Lexa does not find it hard to concentrate. Most of the time, Clarke’s thoughts just pull at her and they stay in her mind for a long time. Even just the smallest things, the hellos or did you have a good morning or can you teach me more concentration drills, everything about Clarke is imprinted on her brain.

 

‘You have it bad, Woods.’

 

‘If it is for Clarke, I do not mind the worst.’

 

Murphy nods and he grimaces at her but Lexa notes that is his natural way of smiling. ‘It’s great to see you like this again.’

 

‘Like what?’

 

‘Disgustingly in love. This place seriously needs it.’

 

‘Have you run out of people to match make?’  

 

Lexa is able to control and manipulate people’s feelings and thoughts so she can do this as well, but Murphy has been the Institute’s secret cupid, creating incidental scenarios in his head to make people fall in love, organically.

 

Lexa regards his reality altering powers to be great but very, very limited.

 

‘It’s been incredibly boring lately.’

 

‘Well, Clarke is here with some friends from the Academy. Maybe you can help them.’

 

‘College students, really?’ His disdain is obvious. Murphy has been kicked out of many schools before due to accidental incidents they have attributed to him without proof. He did all of what they accused him of, they just had no proof, so he thought it was unfair.

 

‘One’s a seer, another has psychometry and the other one is the apportation master we were looking for.’

 

‘Okay, interesting.’

 

They divert from the usual route to the conference room as Lexa takes very slow steps, ‘John, I have a favour to ask.’

 

‘Anything for you, Woods.’

 

‘When my mind transported to wherever the leader is, watch over Clarke and her friends for me.’

 

‘Why not Gustus?’

 

‘Because Gustus does not take orders from me.’

 

Gustus, no matter how much he loves Lexa, will always put the Institute’s best interest before anyone else’s. Lexa thinks the same way. Rather, she thought that way, before Clarke.

 

‘You’re worried the powers that be are interested in her.’

 

‘A precautionary measure.’

 

‘Nigh omniscience. I’ve heard the rumours. People think you brought her here because of that. They don’t know you’re crazy head over heels for Clarke.’

 

‘They think it is just a ruse.’  

 

 ‘I think you’re being a little too paranoid.’

 

‘Paranoid is better than complacent.’

 

‘Does Clarke know this side of you?’

 

‘I would like to say yes but for now, she does not.’

 

‘Stop internalising everything, Lexa.’

 

Lexa stop walking and she faces Murphy, his eyes defiant but she knows he’s on her side.

 

‘Do you say yes to my request?’

 

‘Well, I do take orders from you. I don’t see how I can say no. You still owe me from what I saw back there.’

 

Lexa lets out a relieved breath. She pats Murphy on the shoulders and they proceed to the conference room without any more disruption.

 

‘Would you like a continuation?’

 

‘Gross.’

 

When they get there, Indra is sitting at the head of the table, flanked by Anya and Lincoln. Monty is sitting on the right hand side, reading a folder of notes.

 

‘Okay, so you’re saying, my mind has to teleport Lexa’s to that man’s mind and I have to get us out too? Sounds simple enough.’ Lexa hears him say as they come nearer.

 

‘Mr Green, it is not an easy endeavour, we have tried it in the past before and did not succeed.’ Indra mentions their failure but not the casualties, more than ten people have been lost in the same mission.

 

Monty gestures at Anya. ‘What does the seer think?’

 

‘I cannot see your future at the moment. It’s all clouded and hidden.’

 

‘That’s a positive sign.’ Monty laughs nervously and goes back to reading the papers in front of him.

 

Lincoln offers a small nod in his direction. ‘We will be forever in your debt, Monty.’

 

Monty takes a deep breath and looks at everyone in the room one by one. ‘Okay,’ he mutters more to himself than anyone else. He speaks louder, ‘Okay. When can we go?’

 

‘There’s a month of training to complete, we need to run simulations and tests as well.’ Indra points at the listed schedule on the folder file.

 

‘I can do that.’

 

‘Let’s hope you can, boy. Lincoln will not take it lightly if you fail.’

 

Lexa steps in before Indra can threaten him any further. ‘No one is taking this lightly. The leader is very important but so is Monty’s life.’

 

‘Thank you, Lexa.’

 

(Also, I don’t think Clarke will be very happy if I fail to bring you back.) Lexa is surprised when she hears Monty talking to her telepathically because she did not know if he is a telepath.

 

It inspires something within her.

 

She thinks it’s hope.

 

(Thank you, Monty.)

 

***

 

A month goes by quickly and now they are in the hospital wing again, Lexa reclining on a bed with Clarke sitting beside her.

 

Monty is the room opposite hers while her father is in the upper floor.

 

Everything has been set up, Monty just needs to teleport them inside her father’s mind. Then get them all out safely.

 

They have a minute before the scheduled time.

 

 ‘Here we go.’ Lexa grips Clarke’s hand, she manages to remove any trace of worry in her face and present a smile that’s not scared or pained or Murphy-like to Clarke.

 

‘I will see you soon.’  

 

(I need you to come back to this reality.) Clarke loudly echoes in her head.

 

‘We are not a cliché, remember?’ Lexa repeats with conviction. She kisses Clarke’s hand and relaxes back into the pillows.  

 

‘I think I’ve lost my mind too, Lexa.’ Clarke captures her mouth softly, slowly, her eyes open and memorising every part of her she could. Her grey eyes that are full of life and promise.

 

(I love you as well, Clarke)

 

And just like that, they are gone. Clarke is not superstitious and she doesn’t believe in God but she’s offering prayers to the universe, to get Lexa back to her safely. For her father to come back alive and well, because she knows how it is to lose one parent. She cannot even begin to imagine losing two.

 

She sits by Lexa’s side, still for a minute or so, she notices the noise does not come back. The thought is after Lexa’s consciousness is teleported, the quiet will leave as well.

 

It does not.

  

She tries to read Lexa’s mind, for the billionth time probably, expecting it to be closed off and blocked as usual.

 

It is not.

 

(Clarke, you shouldn’t be snooping in here)

 

(Lexa?)

 

(Sorry, Lexa’s not here at the moment)

 

(I’m so sorry we had to meet this way)

 

(My name’s Costia)