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“Hold her arm up.” Clarke ordered the new King of Azgeda and immediately Roan pulled his mother's handless limb upright.

With shaking hands, the blonde tried to concentrate on the fallen Ice Queen. Adrenaline was still coursing through her body, making her heart beat wildly in her chest.

“You take orders from her now, boy?” Nia grunted out, but neither of them acknowledged the injured woman.

Clarke rotated Nia's arm in Roan's grip until she could get a clear view of the damage Lexa's winning blow had left behind. The force and sharpness of the Commander's blade had created a clean cut across the limb, sheering the hand off completely. Through the blood, Clarke could just see the bright white of the woman's wrist bone.

Even with her body twisted away from Nia, the Commander shorn the hand off perfectly.

“Do you fetch when she orders you to? Do you roll over like a dog?” Nia continued to goad deliriously.

Ignoring his mother's jibes, Roan pushed a piece of his own shirt into Clarke's hand. Clarke quickly folded the material, leaving it wide enough to wrap over the stump that had once been the injured woman's hand.

It didn't surprise Clarke in the least that the former Ice Queen barely flinched when she pushed the coarse material against the bloody stub of her wrist.

“Lexa!” The blonde called behind her.

The Commander had run out the room at Clarke's initial request for cloth to wrap the wound. If Lexa intended to keep Nia alive, then stopping her from bleeding out in the middle of the throne room floor would have to be their priority.

Clarke looked down at the woman, her eyes scouring her body. Nia's face was already beginning to pale, the skin turning ashy and sticky with her own sweat. She was going into shock. Quickly.

“Why are you doing this?” Roan questioned, his eyes looking at the blonde curiously.

“Blood must not have blood.” Clarke distractedly explained. Her fingers were pressed against Nia's neck and with her lips moving in time, counting the pulse.

It was slowing.

Let me go.” Nia muttered, her voice beginning to slur as she slipped into her native tongue. Blue eyes that were once cold and steely began to well with tears. “Let me be with my son.

Bitterness twisted in Clarke's stomach.

Everything she had seen that day. All the pain. All the suffering. All the death. All of it had been because of Nia. All of it because of her own selfish desire to bring the title of Heda to the people of Azgeda.

Before she could stop herself, Clarke was pushing the cloth tighter against Nia's arm. “You don't deserve death .” She seethed, ignoring the woman's surprised whimper of pain. “ You're going to live knowing you failed.”

The door to the throne room pushed open behind them, forcing Clarke to loosen her grip on Nia's arm. As best she could, Clarke turned her head just enough to see Anya and Lexa entering with two women she had never seen before.

The two mystery women quickly huddled beside Nia and it took the blonde's frazzled mind a moment to realise they were both healers.

With the older woman being taken care of, Clarke's gaze sought out Anya and Lexa once more.

From her position on the floor, Clarke could see the Commander's hand tightly clenched around the hilt her sword. There was still a frenzied energy practically rolling off the young woman, and Clarke wondered how much longer Lexa could keep it up.

Anya didn't look much better. Dirt and blood were now covering virtually every part of the woman, whilst her hair had been become a tangled mess of leaves and mud. The leer she was giving Nia had Clarke fearing that she was about to lunge across the room and kill her.

The General retreats into the tower.” Nia commented slowly, her unsteady gaze looking over Clarke's shoulder.

“The great Queen Nia of Azgeda.” Anya scoffed, her arms crossing. “Haven't you heard?”

Heard what, girl?” The strength returned to Nia's face for a moment before her head lulled back against the floor at the gentle push from one of the healers.

It was only when Clarke heard one of them drop a small tin onto the floor that she caught on to what Anya was implying.

“The gunfire has stopped.” She realised. “We won.”


Slowly, the cage crept back down to ground level.

It was only when she and Lexa had stepped back into the lift together that some of the frantic energy started to slip away from them both. Lexa had taken longer to calm down though. Even in the cage, her hand had continued to clench around the hilt of her sword, and it was only when Clarke started to gently tap at the back of her hand that her grip started to loosen.

“Victory is ours.” The brunette muttered with her eyes fixed on the grating.

They had won. Nia and her army had been defeated.

Yet.

It didn't feel like a victory. To Clarke, it felt akin to the moment she had defeated the Mountain. Her people had been safe, but her heart had ached for all she had lost to win.

“Does it always feel like this?” Clarke asked.

Lexa looked at her curiously for a moment before reaching out to squeeze at Clarke's hand. “For those who care, yes.” She eventually replied.

Silence lapsed between them once more and Clarke tried to clear her mind of the darkening thoughts that were threatening to drag her back to the same pit of despair she had felt at Mount Weather.

It was when the cage finally passed the first floor that Clarke spotted Rhea waiting for them. Subconsciously, she straightened her back and released Lexa's hand. There were more scrapes over the older woman's skin than there had been before they ascended. The sword in her hand wasn't the same one Clarke had seen her with before they entered the tower either.

“It is done?” The woman asked as soon as the cage shuddered to halt.

“Nia has been taken care of.” Lexa replied, throwing up the grating so they could both exit.

It hadn't been long after Clarke's realisation of their complete victory that Nia had finally lost consciousness. The strain the fallen Ice Queen's body was feeling from the shock of her injury was simply too much for the older woman to handle. Lexa had left Anya to watch over her. She had already slipped from their grasp once and Clarke knew they couldn't afford her escaping again.

Rhea studied her daughter for a moment. “You did not kill her.”

“No.” Lexa revealed. The other woman's features tensed and Clarke watched her jaw click to the side. “I cut off her sword hand. The fight was won.”

“A missing hand will not make her any less dangerous.” Rhea warned darkly.

“I will not let her become a martyr.” The brunette replied, her tone sharp. “The decision has been made.”

From the intensity of Rhea's stare, Clarke thought she was about to argue with her daughter. She was surprised when her head bowed instead. “Of course, Heda.”

“Have any of the Azgeda warriors been left alive?” Lexa asked as they followed the leader of the Trikru back into the main room at the base of the tower.

Both of them froze at the state of the room.

The heavy doors Anya had blocked shut were hanging off their hinges and a make shift ram of concrete and iron was lying discarded between them. Blood was stained across the floor, the marks scraping back out the door from where the bodies had been dragged outside again.

“I've already issued the order for the bodies to be cleared.” Rhea said, her single eye watching them stare at the empty room around them. “Those who surrendered have been taken to the lower floors.” Turning to face them fully, Rhea looked directly at Clarke. “Except those who now follow you, Wanheda.”

It felt more like an accusation, and the blonde couldn't help trying to defend herself. “They warned us about the attack on Polis.”

“Something that could have been a trap-”

“They swore it in blood.” Lexa interrupted.

Rhea looked taken a back. “In blood?” She inquired, scoffing lightly when Lexa nodded. “The legend of the Wanheda threatens to eclipse your own, Heda.”

“Where are they?” Lexa asked, ignoring her mothers taunt.

“Outside the tower.”

“Thank you, Rhea. Wanheda, come with me.” The Commander dismissed, turning her back on the woman and walking straight towards the entrance of the tower.

Some of the tension had returned to Lexa's shoulders as Clarke watched her hands flexing.

“Hey.” Clarke whispered once they were far enough away. “This was your victory, Lexa. Ignore her.”

“She worries,” Lexa replied just as quietly. “I am her daughter and her Heda, another rising to power threatens both those things.”

The blonde felt her eyes widen. “Rising to power? That's- no, that's not what I want.”

“Some things do not happen by choice, Clarke.”

The blonde didn't get the chance to reply. She knew what they would see outside would make the room they were in pale in comparison. She knew that, yet she still gasped at the sight of it.

Silently, they both looked out at the bloodied square in front of them. The dying light of the day cast deep shadows across ground, the blackness covering the bodies that still littered the space. Trikru and Azgeda warriors lay in a tangled mess, some of them with limbs cleaved from their bodies and others with the telltale red circular bloodstains from the bullets that had killed them.

Clarke wasn't sure how long they stood there, but it was Lexa who finally spoke first. “The pyres will burn for days.” She stated solemnly. “Many have been lost.”

There wasn't a choice, and Clarke knew Lexa was well aware of that. She also knew the other woman would feel every death as if it were her who had dealt the killing blow.

Reaching out, Clarke tapped her fingers across the back of the brunette's hand again. “Nia left you no choice.” She tried to reassure. “There was no peaceful solution to this.”

“It does not make it easier.” Lexa said sadly.

Both of them lapsed into silence again as they watched the body of the warrior who had been shot in front of them just a couple of hours before being carried away from the battlefield.

“Who was she?” Clarke asked.

“One of Rhea's warriors.” Lexa replied sombrely. “Do you wish to attend her ceremony?”

Clarke nodded, but her gaze remained on the woman until the warriors had carried her out of sight. “What happens now?”

“There will be council meetings to arrange, funeral pyres to attend, the trials of the Ice Nations Generals will need to begin.” The brunette sighed, and Clarke could almost see the heaviness of everything that was yet to come bearing down on the woman's shoulders. “And a festival will need to be planned.”

“To celebrate the victory?”

“And to remember those we've lost.”

Shifting her gaze from the working warriors in front of them, Clarke scanned the crowd for the woman they had come outside to see.

“Come.” Lexa said, indicating in the opposite direction. “They are this way.”

Weaving their way through the bodies and debris of the battle, Clarke tried to keep her attention on the gathering of warriors they were approaching. They had won. They had fought and they had been victorious. Yet walking through the piles of dead Grounders, she couldn't help feeling a hollow pang in her chest.

It didn't feel like a victory with so many dead around her.

“Echo.” She called, once they were close enough.

“Wanheda. Heda.” Echo greeted, and the group of Azgeda warriors behind her bowed their heads in respect. “We've gathered the Maunon's weapons.” She said, indicating to the guns that were piled up beside them.

“I'll have them taken back to Arkadia.” Sighing heavily, Clarke turned back to Lexa. “We need to decide what to do with our weapons.”

“The guns?” The brunette asked and Clarke nodded.

“It feels wrong to keep them.”

“Disarmament?” Echo asked, a frown setting deep on her features as if she was trying decipher what such an action would mean.

“Maybe. Look at what they did,” the blonde replied, indicating towards the scene around them. “This almost became a slaughter.”

Lexa hummed low in her throat. “For now, they will remain in the care of the Skaikru. Echo, you and your people are welcome to use the barracks tonight.”

“Thank you, Heda.” The woman acknowledged, her head bowing once more before she left them to join her followers again.

“They are welcome to stay here until they decide where they wish to go.” Lexa informed her. “King Roan will not risk accepting them back so early into his reign.”

The change of leadership in Azgeda was going to be a testing time. If Nia's lies and control of the Azgeda ran as deep as Clarke feared, then she knew Lexa was right. Roan couldn't risk anything lowering his standing in the eyes of the Ice Nation.

“She was only doing what she thought was right for her people.”

“Something we both understand well.” Lexa commented. “By getting to you early in the battle, she thought she was protecting her people from the wrath of Wanheda.”

The realisation was startling, and Clarke felt her mouth dropping open. “She shifted my focus to Nia and not the Azgeda army.”

Lexa nodded. “It was a sacrifice." Clarke was beginning to hate the word. “I need to have word of our victory sent to our army.”

Your victory and your army.” The blonde clarified.

A smile twitched at Lexa's lips, but she didn't argue the point. “Do not stray far.”

With Lexa striding away from her and Echo and the Azgeda warrior's preparing to leave for the barracks, Clarke scanned the crowd for any sign of a familiar face.

It was after a minute of searching that she spotting Lincoln and Octavia huddled together on the steps of a building. The Grounder's arm was slung across Octavia's shoulder, pulling her body into his own as he whispered something to her.

A familiar feeling started to stir in Clarke's stomach again, and it took at moment for her to realise exactly what it was. She was jealous. Seeing the pair of them show their love so openly had her longing to do the same with Lexa. It had her wishing their lives were simpler all over again.

Slowly, Clarke approached the softly talking couple.

“You weren't there, Lincoln. You didn't see the look on her face.” Octavia said, her fingers on the bridge of her nose.

The stoic man lifted his head slightly, nodding towards Clarke. “Wanheda.” He greeted.

Octavia only gave her the barest glance before she was darting her attention away again. “Clarke.”

“Are you two okay?” She asked, uncertain of whether either of them would welcome her presence.

“Yeah,” Octavia replied, but her head stayed bowed towards the the ground. “I'm going to stretch my legs.”

Without another word, the brunette pushed herself to her feet. Lincoln remained seated though, his dark eyes studying Octavia as she offered to help clear the battleground in front of them.

“She is scared.” He eventually revealed.

“Of me?” Clarke ventured, still remembering the terror on Octavia's face when she had loomed over her with a sword in hand. It seemed like forever ago.

“Of what the ground does to people.” He stated simply. “She's scared you're her future.”

Sitting on the step beside him, Clarke rubbed her hands over her face. They hadn't had the chance to speak since the attack on the Grounder's camp. Since she had almost killed Octavia whilst consumed by the monster killing the Wolfanda had released in her.

Her anger was a problem. Something Clarke knew she had to work to control. She couldn't afford to lose herself like that again, not if her people were going to see her as their Chancellor and not just an angry ill-disciplined product of the ground.

“I'm sorry.” She finally said.

Lincoln shifted his gaze away from his lover to look at her curiously. “Why?”

“For what we did to you when we first landed. For you being kicked out of the Trikru.”

“I betrayed an order from Heda. She has shown me a kindness by letting me live.” He replied.

Absentmindedly, Clarke rubbed at the aching bite on her arm. “Would you go back to the Trikru, if they let you?”

Lincoln's reply was immediate. “I would go where Octavia wished me.”

“Wanheda.” An unsteady voice called from beside them. The Grounder wasn't one Clarke recognised, but from the sash tied to his shoulder she knew they were one of the towers guards. “Heda is asking for you.”

“You should go.” Lincoln prompted her. “It's best not to keep Heda waiting in times like these.”

Despite the man's instruction, Clarke continued to watch Octavia for a few more moments. The now familiar envy started to swirl in her stomach once more. Unlike Clarke, the brunette had the freedom to leave, now the war was over. If she wanted to escape from the horror she had witnessed in battle, all she had to do was ask and Lincoln would take her away.

“She's already asked to leave, hasn't she?” Clarke guessed.

Lincoln barely flinched at the question. “She needs to find her place.”

Clarke nodded in understanding. With the kill order lifted on Lincoln, they would be free to travel wherever they pleased. Whenever they pleased.

They would be gone by the time the night was over. Clarke was sure of it.

“Look after her.” She requested, her eyes pleading with Lincoln.

“Always.”


Clarke found Lexa back at the entrance of the tower, the woman's form looking increasingly weary. “You needed me?”

“Rhea wants to meet with Roan to discuss the terms of the Ice Nations surrender.”

Smoke was still rising from the battlefield and the dead were barely cold, but already the politics of Polis were pushing forwards. “You should rest.” Clarke pushed instead.

The woman beside her let out a low chuckle. “My mother would eat him alive.”

Looking over Lexa's shoulder, the blonde frowned at the man approaching them. “Great.”

A smirk tugged at the corner of the brunette's mouth when she caught sight of who Clarke had spotted. “Would you like me to turn a blind eye to you shooting him?”

Clarke grit her teeth. “As if you would really let me.”

“Titus.” The Commander greeted, her chin jutting out and her hands clasping behind her back.

“Heda,” he said whilst bowing his head. “Congratulations on your victory.”

“I trust the Nightblood's are safe?”

Titus looked hesitant before answering. “Ontari has gone missing.” He revealed, and Clarke watched as the brunette's jaw instantly tensed. “She escaped during the chaos.”

“Nia?” Clarke suggested, but Lexa shook her head.

“No. Ontari has even less power amongst the Azgeda than Roan.”

Creasing her brow, the blonde tried to figure out why else she would have left. “Maybe she was tired of being used?”

Lexa looked thoughtful for a moment before nodding. “Perhaps.”

“I thought it prudent to send a search party after her.” Titus continued. Since her first day in the tower, Clarke had always been able to read the expressions on the man's face. And right now everything about his shifting eyes and quivering lip told her he was holding something back from them.

“There's something else.” Clarke prompted, studying the man even closer as he nervously shook his head.

“What have you done?” Lexa asked darkly.

“Someone else is missing.” He replied unsteadily. Immediately Clarke's heart plummeted as her thoughts rushed to Nia. “A prisoner also escaped.”

The brunette's brow crinkled together. “Prisoner?”

“A personal prisoner, Heda.” He said, and Clarke could already hear a tone of regret in his voice. “A member of the Skaikru.”

In a flash, anger was flooding through her veins.

“Why am I only being informed of this now?” The Commander snapped from beside her, the same wrath sparking through her too.

“I did not want to concern you-” Titus began.

“Who was it?” Clarke interrupted, her mind racing of the names of everyone she knew on the Ark. Everyone she thought hadn't made it to the ground.

Titus looked to Lexa first. “He called himself John Murphy.”

Clarke felt her anger spiking once again. With her hands balled into fist, she stepped closer. “Murphy? Murphy was here and you didn't think to tell anyone!”

“It did not concern you, Wanheda.” He rebuked, his expression suddenly turning wild.

Once again, Clarke stepped closer, forcing Titus to stumble backwards. “What happens to my people is always my concern.” She seethed, her control quickly slipping away from her.

“Heda- Lexa if you'll just let me explain-”

“Enough.” The Commander snapped and Clarke had to stop herself from stepping back at the overwhelming need to submit to her domineering tone. “This is not the end of this topic, Fleimkepa. Now leave us.” The man looked completely lost, his mouth simpering open in confusion at his Heda's dismissal. “Now!”

“Yes, of course, Heda.” He practically whimpered. He offered Clarke nothing but a scathing look before he was walking into the tower behind them.

“I'm sorry.” Lexa immediately apologised. “If I'd known-”

“I know.” Clarke interrupted, before sighing heavily. “I can't believe Murphy was right here.”

“I am sorry though, Clarke. Every day Titus pushes his position. I should have kept a closer eye on what he was doing.”

“You had a war to plan, Lexa.” She argued, knowing that the other woman had already stretched herself insanely thin trying to outmanoeuvre Nia. “You couldn't have done anything more.”


The previously bare hallways of the tower were once again glowing warmly with the lanterns that hung from the walls and ceiling.

After Lexa had left her to oversee Roan's first meeting as King, Clarke had found herself in one of the infirmaries helping the Polis healers with the injured. She hadn't been able to shake the adrenaline of the battle, her hands twitching to do something and it felt good to be undertaking a task so familiar; to lose herself in the routine of caring for others again.

It was where Anya had found her hours later, hungry and still covered in dirt and blood.

“You fought well today.” The woman suddenly announced as they made their way through one of the towers upper corridors.

“I didn't do much fighting.” Clarke muttered. It wasn't she who had fought their way through half an army with Lexa. All it took was the sight of her for the Azgeda army to part. Twice she had lost sight of Anya in the heat of battle, and twice the woman had fought her way out alive. “I'm glad you're okay, Anya.”

“It will take more than a war to kill me, Sky girl.” Anya quipped back. “Your wound needs cleaning again.”

Clarke flexed the muscles in her forearm, wincing at the burn of the bite. “It can wait.”

The other woman scoffed. “No. We're here.”

“What?” The blonde asked in confusion.

Anya ignored her and swung open the door in front of them instead. It was only then Clarke realised she had been led right to the General's quarters.

“Inside.” She ordered.

Clarke thought about resisting and excusing herself to her own room, but from the stern look on Anya's face she knew there really was no point arguing.

“Take off your jacket.” She demanded the moment the door was shut again.

“Traditionally, you buy someone a drink first.” Clarke smirked, knowing it would irritate the woman.

Anya rolled her eyes before grabbing a cup from one of the shelves that lined the walls and with her eyes trained on Clarke's she filled it with water before slamming it down on the bed side table. “There. Now take off your jacket.”

Following the other woman's instruction, Clarke peeled off her jacket. “Sit.” Anya said, pointing towards the bed behind her.

With gentle hands, Anya unrolled the bandage. Clarke watched her brow crinkle in concern. “Was it this red this morning?”

Clarke winced at the sight of the wound in the low light of the candles. With her jacket moving over the bandage and the scrapping of bodies against her as she fought through crowds of warriors, the stitches had become exponentially more inflamed than they had been in morning. Each piece of thread looked like it was straining to keep the skin closed.

“No.”

“Wait here.” Pushing her back to her feet, Anya walked behind the partition that separated the bedroom from the small wash room.

The blonde had stayed in the room once before, back when Anya's injuries had left her passed out in Clarke's own bed.

Not much had changed since then.

The shelves of the room still lay mostly bare, the personal affects few and far between. There was now a bear skin on the floor though, and Clarke wondered if it was from the two Lexa had killed whilst she was a second to the woman.

A knock sounded from the door, and before Clarke could ask who it was, it was already pushing open.

“The guards said you were in here.” Lexa smiled at her.

Clarke felt her shoulders relax at the sight of her lover. They had only been apart for a couple of hours, but Clarke's thoughts had never strayed far from her. “Over already?”

“Until tomorrow.” The woman muttered, tiredness slipping into her tone. “Roan will be travelling to the Azgeda army in the morning. Your arm?”

“Anya wants to clean it.” The blonde informed her and Lexa furrowed her brow as she sat beside her.

“Does it hurt?”

“No.” Clarke lied.

Before Lexa could call her out on her obvious lie, Anya was walking back around the partition with a bowl of water in her hand. “Heda.”

“Anya.”

The older woman dropped to her knees and handed Lexa the bowl. “Move your arm.”

“It's just inflamed.” Clarke noted, when she felt Lexa's body tensing at the sight of the angry looking bite.

“You are sure?” The brunette asked with concern.

In truth, Clarke was starting to fear that maybe the wound was becoming infected. Except, other than the dried poultice the healer had lathered on the stitches that morning she couldn't see anything that looked like the seeping of an infected wound.

“I should have been resting my arm today, instead I was- well. Not resting.” Ignoring Anya's presence, Clarke reached out to squeeze at Lexa's hand reassuringly. “It'll be fine, Lexa.”

Apparently satisfied with her answer, Lexa dipped her hands into the bowl. The brunette rung out one of the cloths Anya had place in there before handing it to the older woman.

The wet fabric felt cold against her warm skin, and Clarke hissed at the feel of it.

Anya halted her movements, waiting for the blonde to settle again before continuing. “This will not take long.”

Despite the flashes of pain each dab of the cloth was causing, Clarke felt a strange warmth settling in her chest at the sight of Anya and Lexa working together. With short sentences muttered in Trigedasleng they cleaned the wound, gradually wiping away the dried poultice the healer had applied that morning. There was a scent coming from the water too, sharp yet fragrant.

“For the swelling.” Anya answered when Clarke asked about it.

“The healers gave me a jar of poultice for it.” Anya looked at her expectantly for a moment. “It's at the camp.”

Lexa sighed, her shoulder gently knocking into Clarke's. “I will have it brought here for tomorrow.”

Do not drain the cloth too much.” Anya requested. At her instruction, Lexa lessened her twisting, leaving the cloth wetter than it had been.

The pair continued in silence. Whilst Anya gently washed her arm, Lexa set about preparing the next cloth for her to use. They didn't need words and in the quiet of the room, Clarke felt the tension that had settled in her muscles since the morning, start to loosen.

She was sure it was having the same effect on the other two women. The more time that passed, the more Anya's shoulders seemed to dip lower as her whole body started to relax. Lexa was much the same, her tightly held form was slowly slouching forwards and closer to Clarke's body.

The horrors they had faced that day seemed to be drifting away with the simple act of cleaning her wound.

Reaching onto the bed behind her, Anya unravelled the fresh bandage she had placed there before beginning the cleaning.

“The bandage has the oil on it too. It will help with the healing.” She explained, whilst gently wrapping it around her arm. “And do not think I haven't seen the wound on your side, Heda.” Lexa's relaxed form stiffened. “I trust you can treat it, Clarke?”

Clarke's head snapped round to face the brunette. “You haven't had it treated yet?”

“I'm sure Clarke is more than capable.” Lexa replied, ignoring her question.

“Good, I need to sleep.” Anya dismissed abruptly, grabbing the bowl from Lexa's hands. “Go celebrate your victory, Heda.” She continued her eyes full of amusement as she looked between the pair of them.

To Clarke, it felt entirely like the time her mother had caught her with her first boyfriend on the Ark. In a horrifying move, her mom had abruptly left again whilst telling them to “continue exploring what they had learnt in health class.”

Her face flushed at the combination of Anya's knowing stare and the memory it sparked.

“Wanheda, if you'll come with me.” Lexa requested seriously, and Clarke knew the use of her title was purposeful.

“Heda.” Anya called before the younger woman could reach the door. Clarke turned back around with her.

The jovial look on Anya's on face had been replaced with something all together more serious.

“Anya?” Lexa asked with concern clear in her voice.

Clarke could see the pride on the other woman's face. “You fought well today, Lexa.” Anya said quietly.

Thank you for fighting beside me once more.” Lexa replied, her hand extending towards the other woman.

After a moment of hesitation, Anya reached out to hold onto her forearm. “Be careful not to overwork Wanheda's arm.”

Clarke's cheeks flushed anew.


“She's going to be insufferable.” Clarke muttered as they walked through the door to the Commander's bedroom.

“You are saying she wasn't already?” Clarke looked at her in confusion. “Anya has been aware of my feelings for you, for some time. She has not made things...” Lexa hesitated. “Easy.”

Clarke ducked her head and smiled. She could just imagine the dry barbs the usually stoic woman had been throwing at her.

“I'm glad she was the one you sent to find me.” The blonde said, her tone turning serious.

Lexa hummed before groaning loudly as she pulled her coat off and threw it over the back of the couch. “I thought she was using it as an excuse to leave Polis again.” She confessed. “After I refused to avenge her parents, she vowed to never return here.”

“What changed?”

“You.” Lexa smiled. “I meant what I said, Clarke. It was you who brought her back to me.”

Sighing, the brunette walked to the other side of the room, to the dark patches on the wall that Clarke noticed the first time she had been there. “When she left, she told me I was as cold as he was.” Lexa said, whilst rubbing her hand over the dark stains on the wall.

Clarke hadn't known what the stains were the first time she was there, but having seen the dark hue of the Commander's blood, she knew exactly where they had come from. “You never had them washed away?”

“Our blood stains deep.” Lexa noted her finger circling one of the darker patches. “I use it as a reminder of what I could become.”

“You could never become him.” Clarke whispered, her arms wrapping around Lexa's middle. “I would never let you.”

Clarke felt the brunette's sigh as she leaned back into her touch. “I like you being here with me.”

“In your room?” She asked, kissing at the bare skin of Lexa's neck.

The woman in front of her shook her head gently. “After battle. You ground me.”

Clarke let her relax for a few more moments, their bodies gently swaying.

“I need to clean your wound.” She said quietly before unwrapping her arms and pulling the brunette back towards the couch.

Quickly, Clarke gathered everything she needed. Despite the task at hand she could feel her whole body flushing at the sight of Lexa waiting for her on the couch with her top off. There were bruises all over the brunette's torso, making it a patchwork of purple and grey. Clarke knew her own body was in a similar state and she longed for the warm waters of the bath Lexa had bathed her in the night before.

Setting the fresh bowl of water onto the table in front of them, Clarke carefully started wiping at the edges of the cut. Despite the amount of blood that had been dripping from Lexa's side during the fight, the wound was already sealing itself shut.

She remembered her mom showing her Lexa's blood and the way it quickly congealed. Biting her lip, Clarke wondered if that meant Lexa's whole body healed faster.

“Do you wish I had killed Nia?” The injured woman asked out the blue.

Clarke remained quiet for a few moments, choosing to concentrate on cleaning the cut as she thought over her question.

“No.” She finally replied. “Blood must not have blood has to start with you.”

Lexa hummed in understanding. “Rhea was not pleased with my choice.”

“Maybe, she should meet my mom, they can be disappointed in our choices together.” Clarke replied, and she was pleased to see a smile breaking out across Lexa's face, her nose crinkling. “I'm sorry for trying to interrupt.”

“I would have done the same.”

“Did you like it?” Lexa looked at her curiously, her head cocking to the side. “Us. Fighting together.” Clarke clarified.

“Yes,” the brunette admitted, her cheeks flushing, ”but it is not an experience I wish to repeat. You seem to have a habit of putting yourself in danger.”

Clarke grimaced because she wasn't sure what event from the past day, or the past week that Lexa was referring to.

Letting out a contented sigh, Lexa's whole body relaxed into the back of the couch. “This peace will hold.”

“Yeah?”

“The Yujleda may present a problem in the future, they have lost more than the others in this war. Actions like the ones Nia took against them can fuel a bitterness that only comes to fruition years later.” The brunette explained.

“What about the Azgeda?”

“They will need time to rebuild, and with Roan as our ally they will not threaten the coalition again.”

“Now, I just need to keep Pike under control-”

“You will.” Lexa said confidently. “In peace, your people will see that he was wrong. That we're not savages.

“Peace.” Clarke said wistfully.

“Once we're through all the politics.”

The sounds of cheering echoed up from the streets below.

“Would you like to join the celebrations?” Lexa asked, but Clarke shook her head, dropping the cloth back into the bowl of water.

Shifting off her seat, Clarke threw her leg over Lexa's before settling on the woman's lap. “No, not tonight.”

Gently tipping Lexa's chin up, she leant forwards to capture her lips with her own. If there were any tension left in her body, it was gone in that moment. The brunette's hands settled under the fabric of her top, her fingers rubbing at the small of her back and pulling her body closer.

They had made it.

Despite the world trying so desperately to destroy them, they had made it out together.

Tilting her head, Clarke deepened their kiss. They had been leaders to their people all day, warriors fighting in a war that could have killed them. They had been Heda and Wanheda, fighting to protect their people from Nia.

In that moment it was just them though. It was just Clarke and Lexa. Two girls who had been dealt a hand tougher and harsher than either deserved. Just two people hopelessly in love.

Pulling away enough to look into the other woman's eyes, Clarke smiled. “I love you.” She whispered, her fingers gently brushing Lexa's loose hair from her face. “You feel like home.”

Lexa tugged at her until she fell forwards enough for the woman to embrace her. It felt good to be held by the brunette. To have her strong arms wrapped around her.

The day had been long and Clarke knew the days to come would only feel longer. It would be worth it though. In the end, when there was finally peace and the clans were truly united again, it would be worth it.

As if she could read her thoughts, Lexa gently kissed at the skin of her neck. “One day we will make our home together.”

Pushing herself out of the woman's hold, Clarke smiled down at her. “Yeah?”

“Yes. Will you stay with me tonight?” Lexa asked, her brow knitting together. Clarke looked towards the door where she knew the Commander's guard were still standing. “They know we have many things to discuss, Wanheda.

Turning back around, Clarke raised her eyebrow. “So many important things, Heda.”

Lexa's warm lips pressed against hers, and with the sounds of celebration outside filling the night air, Clarke lost herself in the feeling completely.


Clarke sighed at the soft glow of the morning light that was starting to warm Lexa's room. In the next couple of hours they would both be dressed and Clarke would be preparing to return back to Arkadia.

Three days had passed since Lexa had led her army to victory against Nia.

Three excruciatingly exhausting days.

The Commander was being pulled from pillar to post causing Clarke to notice the weariness that was starting to weigh heavy on Lexa's shoulders. Clarke herself hadn't been fairing much better. The infirmary in the city was overrun with patients, and when the blonde wasn't in council meetings she was helping the healers of Polis treat the injured.

The Skaikru she had brought to war were safe at least. The morning after their victory the Skaikru guards had arrived in the capital. It was where they had continued to stay for the following two nights, all of them recuperating before their journey back to Arkadia.

All except Lincoln and Octavia.

By the time Polis had begun to awaken on the morning after the Commander's victory, the pair had already left the city.

The Trikru ambassador, Mae, had already been to Arkadia under Clarke's and Rhea's instruction. With the Ark's supply of food rations running low, they would need to grow more food. The land that crossed the Skaikru and Trikru border was the perfect place for it.

There was another reason though.

Nia's vendetta against Lexa had wreaked havoc on the Ice Nation's supply of food, driving the non-warring citizens to the very brink of hunger. Without the fresh harvest the fast growing grains would provide, they would have a mass starvation on their hands.

It was one of the other hundred arrangements it felt like she was making. Clarke didn't think it was possible for post war to be busier than pre-war, but she was consistently being proven wrong.

The nights belonged to her and Lexa though.

Ever since their return to Polis, the room Clarke had used whilst staying in the capital as the ambassador had been all but abandoned. It was the Commander's bed she found herself in every night.

A strong arm wrapped around the blonde's middle, and Clarke smiled at the warm lips pressing against her bare shoulder. Her fathers watch was still hanging snugly around Lexa's wrist.

“How did you sleep?” The brunette mumbled, her voice heavy with slumber.

“Fine.” The only benefit of the all-consuming exhaustion was by the time they had both crawled between the furs of Lexa's bed, Clarke's mind didn't have the chance to drift into its usual routine of nightmares.

Reaching out blindly Lexa's fingers tapped against the skin of her bandaged forearm. “And your arm?”

“Hurts.” Clarke replied, feeling Lexa's puff of laughter on her skin. “We need to get up soon.”

The brunette behind her whined low in her throat before burying her face into the space of Clarke's shoulder blades. “I want to ask you to stay.” She eventually mumbled.

“I want to ask you to come with me.”

“Maybe I should.”

Titus would most likely have her killed, if she took the Commander away from Polis so soon after the war. “Have you spoken to Titus yet?”

Lexa grunted. “I will leave him for a few more days. He thinks I want to replace him.”

“You can do that?” Clarke asked hopefully.

“No. Only the council of the Fleimkepa's can have him replaced.” Clarke hadn't even realised there was such a thing and she felt her shoulders drop in disappointment. “The Commander can influence their decision however.”

“Yeah?”

Lexa hummed into her back. After a few moments, she felt the woman's breath starting to even out as she fell back into slumber.

She would miss the mornings they woke up together most, especially the ones where she woke before Lexa. The woman looked beautiful when she relaxed into sleep, her body lying bare beneath the furs of her bed.

Turning around in Lexa's grip, Clarke pushed her head under the woman's chin until she could start dotting kisses across her collar bone.

“Mmm, Clarke...” The brunette moaned.

“I want you.” The blonde husked. She could feel the shuddering breath the other woman took as she slowly trailed her hand between their bodies. “Let me give you something to remember.”


“Wanheda.” A voice called through the door. Clarke knew what it signalled, and with a sigh she opened the door. “Your people are ready.” The guard told her.

Nodding, Clarke smiled at him. “Let me gather my things.”

None of Lexa's guards had asked any questions of her spending her time in the Commander's room night after night. Whether it was out of respect for their Heda or fear of Wanheda, Clarke wasn't sure.

Yes, Wanheda.” He replied stiffly.

“Is it time?” Lexa asked when the door clicked shut again.

“Yeah, they're here.” Clarke sighed, selfishly wishing her people hadn't kept to quite such an accurate schedule. “Two weeks and I'll be back again.”

“Let me walk you down.” Lexa offered before moving behind the partition beside her bed to finish winding her hair into a simple braid.

Looking around the room a final time, Clarke pulled her jacket off the back of the couch. The sound of something small hitting the floor drew her attention downwards, and Clarke frowned at the item that fallen out the pocket. In all the chaos that had been the war against Nia, she had completely forgotten about the little blue chip she had taken off Jaha.

“Lexa!” She called as she knelt down to pick it up.

The other woman poked her head back around the corner. “Clarke?”

“I wanted to show you something.” With her brow creased, Lexa dropped the hair she was twisting together. “Jaha, he brought this back to Arkadia.”

Lexa froze, her eyes widening as she stared down at the chip in her hand. “How many?” She asked sternly.

“There were hundreds of them.” Looking up, Clarke was shocked to see the unrestrained panic in her green eyes. “Why what's wrong? Lexa?”

Her hand shaking unsteadily, Lexa picked up the chip. “She's back.”


The bright blue capsule burst into life.

“Score for the nuclear scientist.” Raven beamed, the smile threatening to overtake her face completely.

“You're not a nuclear scientist.” Bellamy sulked from beside her.

“Well done, Raven.” A.L.I.E's voice suddenly echoed around the room and moment later she was in front of her. “The installation was successful.”

The brunette couldn't help grinning back, her hand spinning the spanner she had just used to secure the module into place. “Told ya I could do it.”

“What do we do with him?” Bellamy grunted, his foot kicking at Wick's lifeless body.

Raven felt her chest burn for the briefest moment, a twinge of pain and regret starting to kindle into something more until it stopped abruptly. Wick had tried to stop them and Bellamy's jaw was already blossoming with a bright purple bruise from a wayward punch the other man had sent his way.

It wasn't that Raven wanted him to die. She doubted Bellamy wanted to kill him either. But for A.L.I.E, they had to. Wick had been a good man-

Once again her thoughts halted abruptly, then Raven stared at the body on the floor. She didn't recognise the dirty blonde haired man.

“You should bury him.” A.L.I.E offered.

“Who was he?” Bellamy asked. “Who killed him?”

Raven was sure she recognised his features. They were undeniably familiar, but there was something in the way, something-

“There's somebody I would like you to meet.” A.L.I.E interrupted, smiling widely. “Close your eyes.”

It was a strange sensation, one that Raven would struggle to describe other than her brain being turned around the other way whilst her body stayed where it was. In fact, if her body had come with her, she was fairly sure she would have just vomited.

“Open.” At A.L.I.E's command, Raven blinked open her eyes.

They were no longer in the repeater station. The familiar stark metal walls had been replaced with the wet rock of a cave. They were no longer alone either.

“Murphy?” Bellamy asked in surprise, but the cut and bruised face of the boy sitting in front of them did nothing to acknowledge their presence.

“He cannot hear you. He refuses to have the chip implanted.” A.L.I.E explained.

“Then how come we can see him?” Raven asked. “He looks terrible by the way, like, way more terrible than usual. Jesus, I can't believe he's living in a cave.”

A.L.I.E smiled gently. “You are seeing him through the eyes of one of my servants. Her mother brought her to me when she was still a child.” An image of a young girl flashed through Raven's mind, clearly implanted by A.L.I.E herself as a point of reference for them. “You would be surprised by how much she has helped shape this world. All it takes is a whisper, just a hint of a rumour to the right person. I named her Pheme. It seemed fitting for the tasks I had set for her.”

Raven couldn't help scoffing. Of all the obvious things to call the girl. “Rumour? That's not very original. Pretty sure the Greeks got there first.” Looking around the room, Raven pointed towards the girl sitting against the wall. Scars swirled across her face and her dark hair was drawn back in a simple braid as she rested. “Who's small, dark and broody?”

“That is Ontari, she is about to become the most important asset we could hope for. The missing piece of our plan.”

Bellamy crossed his arms over his chest, his feet planting firmly apart. “Asset?”

“Yeah, also, what plan?” As far as Raven was concerned, implementing the amplifying module for A.L.I.E was the last thing she required of them. After that... Well after that Raven was perfectly happy to go to the utopia that the chip let her access and stay there forever.

A tingling went straight up the brunette's back, and suddenly they were being pulled back to their bodies. Sickness rolled in her stomach at the unfamiliar feeling once again. “Oh God, lets just never do that again.”

“I was created to make life better for humanity and I found two problems.” A.L.I.E explained. “The first was too many people, a problem I resolved 98 years ago.”

Raven could feel her eyes widening at the revelation. It was her. No one on the Ark had ever known why every country on earth had decided to nuke the world to high heaven. War, greed, a mistake. But this? An AI gone wild?

“I have a feeling there were some serious flaws in your programming.” Raven scoffed in disbelief.

“The second is humanity cannot be trusted to rule itself.”

“I think we were doing a pretty okay job of it until you decided to blow everyone up.” Raven argued back.

A.L.I.E's head cocked to the side. “Would a being that can control itself create so many weapons to destroy itself? Would it kill so many of the creatures it shares its world with?”

“You can't write off every person because of the actions of others.” Bellamy argued, finally finding his voice again.

“No. I don't suppose I can.”

Raven squinted her eyes at the apparition. It felt like the woman was purposefully leading them in the direction she wanted the conversation to head in. A part of Raven wanted to test that theory and not ask A.L.I.E what the options other than “destroy all humanity” again were.

Reluctantly, Raven asked anyway. “Then what do you suggest?”

“There are systems in this world, some of them small and easy to control, others are prone to chaos, but all of them come together into a whole.” She explained. “Help me control that chaos.”

“You want to rule the world?” The brunette asked incredulously. “You really aren't one for originality are you?”

“Raven.” Bellamy said in warning before he nodded for A.L.I.E to continue.

“If I can control the parts, I can control the whole.”

Raven scoffed. “Right, great idea, how exactly are you going-”

Pain erupted in the back of her neck, and Raven pressed her hand over the still healing incision. It felt like her nape was on fire and the brunette clenched her jaw as more and more data started to stream into her head.

It was a confusing mess at first, bits and pieces of a picture that were in the wrong order.

“Relax, Raven.” A.L.I.E said, but there was no affection there, no comfort. Even if there had been, she wouldn't have been able to relax. It felt like she was going blind from the sheer agony of it.

“Stop- Sto-” Her legs buckled underneath her.

“You're killing her!” Bellamy roared. Raven was sure if A.L.I.E were at all tangible the man would have physically attacked her.

“She can take it.” A.L.I.E assured him calmly.

More and more data started to stream into her. It was nothing compared to the boost in knowledge A.L.I.E had gifted her earlier. “Please-” She managed to choke out.

Then there was nothing.

“Raven? Raven look at me.” Bellamy's arms were wrapped around her, his large hand pushing the hair off her sweat drenched face. She was lying on the floor, her body completely overcome by the data A.L.I.E had uploaded. Lifting her hand, Raven winced at the blood leaking from her nose.

The plan was clear to her now. Each step would need to be undertaken with the utmost care. Every action was going to be for the greater good A.L.I.E was going to offer them.

Looking up into Bellamy's eyes, Raven felt her head cocking to the side.

“Our mission has just begun.”