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keeping together is progress

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Clarke had been sitting on on her couch for nearly twelve hours now. The same quilt she wrapped around her shoulders after Finn raced out of the room was still there. Her apartment’s previous occupant left it behind when they moved on and Clarke loves it dearly; the yellow sunshine patterns and the soft fuzz of fabric worn down with age always smelled faintly of summer. Well right now, it smells like tears and a little bit of sweat, but Clarke gives herself a pass on that. Showers were for happy people.

She buries her nose in it and huffs out a breath. She supposes that technically she didn’t do anything wrong, but she still feels like shit. Fun new boyfriends were not supposed to have other angry, committed girlfriends.

Then, unbidden and unwelcome, a quiet knock against her door makes her groan. Finn hadn’t stopped texting her apologies until her phone died. For all she knew, he was still typing away even now as he stood outside her door.

“Finn, get the fuck away from me and my door, you slimy little ass-weasel.” Clarke’s voice was slightly muffled by the quilt but she hoped her message still got across.

The knocking stopped. “Ass-weasel?”

Clarke frowned. That was not Finn’s voice.

“Um, hold on, sorry. I thought you were someone else,” she mumbled. She manages to struggle up into a standing position and checks to make sure she’s wearing pants. She is, but they’re holey grey sweatpants, rolled up into cuffs above her ankles. She supposes they’ll have to do. After all, they do go quite nicely with her under-eye shadows and her hairdo that was less of a bun and more of a pile at this point.

When Clarke sees who’s behind her door, she unconsciously flinches. An overwhelming urge to retreat back into the save haven of her smelly quilt bubbles up.

“Woah, woah, chill.” The girl standing in front of her, holding up her hand in a placating gesture, is gut churningly familiar. Clarke had seen her just yesterday, in fact. She’d been standing in the open doorway to Finn’s kitchen, silhouetted over top of Finn’s head, which was buried between Clarke’s legs. Clarke put the pieces together the second she saw the girl’s face. Her dark skin had paled in realization and her mouth fell open with a little, “oh,” but Clarke only had to see the tears gloss over her eyes, and she just knew.

What followed after was an awkward scramble back into her pants and a dodge around the girl who was starting to roll past her devastation and head straight into full-on fury.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t know,” Clarke managed to choke out as she slipped past her in the doorway, but she didn’t even know if the girl heard her. Clarke hightailed it home as fast as she could manage without her shoes, which were probably still sitting where she kicked them off behind Finn’s couch hours earlier. It was really too bad; she fucking liked those shoes.

The girl gives a little wave to pull Clarke’s attention back to the present. “My name’s Raven. Can I come in?” Clarke blinks at her. Raven stares back, waiting. Clarke stands for another moment, wondering when exactly Raven is going to try and hit her, but she doesn’t make any move other than to rock back on her heels; a picture of calm. Clarke follows the motion with her eyes and sees that Raven’s left leg is in fact a shining metal prosthetic.

“Oh- um, yes?” Clarke finally replies, and then cringes again as her voice squeaks embarrassingly upward at the end.

“Thanks.” Clarke moves to the side and lets Raven walk slowly past her. As if Clarke wasn’t confused and embarrassed enough already, the other girl looked exceptionally well-put together in comparison to Clarke’s hoodie and sweats. She had her hair slicked back into a neat ponytail and was wearing ripped jean shorts and a clean-cut white V-neck with an army green long sleeve thrown overtop of it.

Raven glances around her apartment, a small but open kitchen and living room and a short hallway leading to the bathroom and her bedroom, before settling onto the couch. Clarke wants to make a dry, ‘make yourself at home’ jab, but bites her tongue when she notices what Raven’s holding.

“Are those my shoes?”

Raven sighs and turns one of Clarke’s sneakers over in her hands. For the first time since Clarke opened the door, she looks unsure.

“I really hope so. Because if they’re not, then Finn is even more of an asshole than I thought he was.” Clarke can tell that Raven means her words to sound offhand and unaffected, but her voice wobbles a little bit when she says Finn’s name and it makes the pit of Clarke’s stomach seethe with anger.

“I swear to you I didn’t know you existed, Raven. I never would have touched him if I had any clue. God, I’m going to kill him, what a-”

“Slimy little ass-weasel?” Raven finishes with a hint of a grin. A rush of affection for this sad stranger who is smiling even with tears in her eyes almost bowls Clarke over. It cools the anger in her belly and makes Clarke flop down beside Raven on the couch.

Raven follows her lead and sets Clarke’s shoes carefully down on the floor before relaxing backwards into the cushions.

“No offense, but you look like shit.”
“It’s my signature look, actually,” Clarke dramatically jerks her chin to the side, trying to flip her hair, but only manages to destroy the rest of her messy bun pile.

Raven snorts at her antics and leans her head back onto the couch to look at the ceiling. Clarke hopes she’s not observing too closely because there’s an accidental scorch mark over near the window from a Fourth of July incident that was definitely not her fault. She really needs to get that painted over before her landlord notices. Anya is scary as shit and could definitely beat her up.

“Well, at least Finn has good taste in girls,” Raven tries to joke, but it falls flat coming out of her mouth. Clarke tries to soldier past it as best she can, “You just told me I looked like shit!”

Raven leans over to offer a placating pat on her knee. “I can see past the shit. I have an inkling that you’re actually a good person.”

“Gee, thanks.”

They both sat silently for a few moments, watching the dust motes float in the sunbeams from Clarke’s living room window. It was her favorite feature in her apartment; it had cracked white paint but a wide enough sill for Clarke to load it with with small succulent plants and one tiny venus flytrap that she was trying to coax into growing. She’d taken a botany class her second semester freshman year and had gone a little nuts buying plants from the end of the year campus greenhouse sale.

“I moved here to surprise him, you know.” Raven let her head loll sideways to look at Clarke. There was a small crease between her eyebrows, but other than that, her face was blank.

“A moving truck is currently en-route from five states over and I have nowhere to put my stuff.” She shot a glance at Clarke and kept talking before Clarke could say anything, “I’m not completely stupid, though, if that’s what you’re thinking. I didn’t just drop everything for a boy. I got early entry into Polis’ grad school here and they offered me a student position in one of their mechanical engineering labs. I didn’t tell Finn earlier because I wanted it a surprise. I know the long distance thing has been hard on him but…”

“He didn’t exactly cope with it very well, did he?” Clarke scoffed. “What a dick.”

“What a dick…” Raven repeated. “You know, even if he didn’t love me, I at least thought I was worth more than that in his eyes.”

Clarke sat up straight and poked her finger into Raven’s shoulder. “You are worth more than that. Jesus, just look at you! Obviously a genius, incredibly put together, and hot as hell to just put the icing on the cake. Boys are fucking idiots.” Clarke threw her hands into the air, more than frustrated at this whole situation. “It’s a damn good thing girls exist or I might never date again, to be completely honest.”
Clarke didn’t know for sure, but she thought Raven’s eyes might have flickered down her body and back up to her lips, but the other girl didn’t do anything other than flash her that closed mouth grin again.

“You know, I wasn’t sure about it, but I’m quite glad I came over here.”

“I have been wondering why you did actually- not that you’re not welcome! I just thought you were going to want to punch me or something and that hasn’t happened yet so…” Clarke pauses, “Also, how do you know where I live?”

Raven rolls her eyes, “I’m not going to hit you. I’m of the opinion that women should stick together, especially when this is all Finn’s fault. I believe you when you say you didn’t know.” Clarke looked at Raven for a few seconds, really looked, and then relaxed back into the couch when she liked what she found.

“As for how I found you, I’m pretty sure Finn would give me the US nuclear launch codes right now if he had them. The boy is hardcore groveling.”

Clarke frowns. “As the other woman, I think it is my duty to advise you to probably not get back with your cheating boyfriend. Also, what the fuck, if you had been out for revenge he totally led you straight to me.”

Raven chuckles at that, “He made me promise not to do anything rash, actually. He might have made bad decisions recently but believe it or not, he’s a pretty decent human being most of the time.”

Clarke side-eyes her, still somewhat suspicious. “Forgive me if I say I’m not a fan.” Raven turns to face her on the couch, using her hands to pull her prosthetic into a cross-legged position.

“No forgiveness needed, I’m not his biggest fan right now either. Dude isn’t getting back into my pants ever again. Besides, he’s definitely not the only hottie in this city.” This time, when Raven rakes her gaze across Clarke’s chest, she doesn’t try to hide it.

“Seriously?” Clarke deadpans, but inside, she’s twitching with the need to scoot closer to Raven on the couch. She is fascinated with the strange girl whose relationship she unknowingly shattered, and yet who decided to return her shoes and sit with her and talk for nearly an hour on a warm summer’s day in which she could probably be doing anything else in the world. Also, Clarke was human, and Raven was really, really attractive.

“Even through those god awful sweatpants, I can see you have some potential, Clarke.” Raven winks at her and Clarke can feel a blush lighting up across her cheekbones.

To cover it up, she whacks at Raven with a pillow, “Some potential? Some! I’ll have you know that I’m positively bursting at the seams with potential.”
“Why Clarke,” Raven drawls, with a hand to her chest, “are you offering to be my rebound?”

An explosion of tingles runs down Clarke’s arms, all the way to her fingertips. Raven was new, and exciting, and definitely not Finn. Clarke wants to know her, wants to be in her life, wants to be her friend. She wants her.

“It’s only been a day, Raven. For both of us,” Clarke says softly, dropping the bantering tone that they’d been dancing around all afternoon, as she slides her leg across Raven’s lap so that she’s hovering over her, not quite touching.

Raven looks up at her, and the sunbeam catches on the tops of her eyelashes and the flash of her front tooth biting into her lip. Her face is completely serious, and she doesn’t move her hands from where they were resting on her lap. Clarke is nearly quivering with her desire for Raven to just touch her.

“I know. If you don’t want to, say the word and we can order a pizza and I’ll tell you all about my sick new job and you can help me look through the newspaper ads to find an apartment close by. But if you do…” Raven looks up at her, and Clarke can’t tear her gaze away. There is lightning gathering behind her hooded eyelids. She wants to run her fingertips along Raven’s sharp jawline. She wants.

“If you do,” Raven continues, “then I would say that I do too. I’m feeling rather heartbroken and rebellious right now. That is usually a dangerous combination for me, but for some reason, you make me feel like it’s going to be okay.” For the first time, Raven breaks eye contact. She looks down and away, obviously embarrassed. “Sorry, that was cheesy as hell, wasn’t it?”

Clarke lets herself touch Raven (finally, finally), and drags her chin back up to meet her eyes. “For only technically meeting you an hour or so ago, I am remarkably intrigued by you. And I really, really want to kiss you right now.” Raven’s eyes flicker down to Clarke’s lips, and she bites down on her own. Clarke lowers herself down (about time, her thighs were starting to burn with all that hovering nonsense) and Raven’s hands settle lightly on her hips.

“But-” Raven groans and Clarke chuckles, “But, I want to make this clear that I am not in the market for anything romantic right now. I myself am a little bit heartbroken and I need a friend, not a new fling. A friend who I really want to fuck, but a friend nonetheless.”

“I got it, I got it, no romo. I completely agree. BFFs for life or whatever you want, I just really need to blow off some steam and I really really need you to kiss me right now.”

Clarke leans down and pauses to really savor the moment. When she woke up this morning, she had a crick in her neck from sleeping on the couch and was positively wallowing in self-pity. Now, mere hours later, a girl made of steel and sparks had her head tilted back, eyes closed, waiting for Clarke, trusting in Clarke. She wants. She lets herself have.

The moment Clarke sinks her mouth onto Raven’s, the kiss takes off in a flash of heat. It’s more teeth, more tongue, more electric than anyone Clarke has kissed in a long, long time. Raven tongue licks across her own, it feels like a live wire, and before she can help it, Clarke’s hips are grinding down against Raven’s.

They moan together and Clarke nearly whimpers at the feeling of Raven’s hot breath against her neck when she breaks the kiss to scrape her teeth across Clarke’s pulse.

“I am so glad I left my shoes behind,” She pants.

Raven nips at her jaw and Clarke slips her ponytail out of its tie and tangles her fingers in Raven’s dark mane of hair. She tugs a little bit at the roots and Raven ducks her head down to groan against Clarke’s collarbone. Her hips buck up against Clarke’s and Clarke accepts them with a roll of her own.

Raven kisses her once more before she tugs gently on Clarke’s waistband. “These pants really are atrocious.”

“If you hate my pants so much, why don’t you take them off?” The line would have sounded cooler if Clarke wasn’t as breathless as a teenager at her first game of spin the bottle.

Raven didn’t seem to mind. “Oh wow, that was smooth. Gonna have to up my game.”

“I told you. Bursting with potential.”

“Oh my god.”

Clarke laughs, bright and clear, feeling wonderfully lucky. She lets Raven tug off her pants, then loses her shirt and bra before she realizes it. They only pause once, when Clarke taps wordlessly at her left hip to ask if Raven’s okay with taking off her shorts. She shimmies out of them with only a brief fumble, and Clarke helps unhook the belt loop from the metal edge of Raven’s kneecap.

Clarke kisses once at the juncture where prosthetic met skin, and then moved down to kneel in front of Raven. When she licks into Raven for the first time she figures that maybe this will dull the ache of having to walk in on her boyfriend doing the same to Clarke. Even if it doesn’t, she knows it feels good anyway judging by how Raven is gasping quietly into the back of her own hand.

Raven finishes quickly, with Clarke’s lips pressed reverently against her and she doesn’t waste any time in pulling her back up onto the couch. Then she’s kissing Clarke so hard she almost sees stars, and when her fingers slide into her and Clarke really does see stars. Entire galaxies behind her eyelids. Raven doesn’t waste any time teasing. When Clarke bites down on the meeting of Raven’s neck and shoulder, Raven shudders along with her as she orgasms.
“Jesus,” Raven sighs happily a while later.

“No, my name’s Clarke,” Clarke barely gets the line out of her mouth before Raven is smacking her ass. She squeals and tries to roll away but almost tips off the edge of the couch.

“Looks like you’re stuck with me.” Clarke could tell Raven was doing that haughty half-grin without even having to look.

“This is my house, technically I think it’d be you whose stuck with me,” she grumbled.

“Well this apartment is quite nice. And I really do like this blanket.”

Clarke picks her head up off of Raven’s chest. “Oh no you don’t, that’s my favorite quilt. Hands off!” and then Raven’s previous words register in her mind. “Oh my god!”

Raven startles underneath her and her arm tightens around Clarke’s waist, “What?”

“Apartment 12C, just across the hall! The guy who used to live there moved out last month and Anya’s been trying to find a new tenant to fill it.”

“No shit?”

“Yeah, it’s a mirror image of mine too so if you like this one, and your moving truck situation really is urgent…”

“Then I’d be a fool not to take it, right?” Raven propped herself up on an elbow and gave Clarke a real, toothy smile. “You know, Clarke, I’m really glad you left behind your shoes, too.”

“If you’re lucky, Anya’s sister might help you move in. She lives up in the penthouse apartment with Anya and she likes to do a lot of the handiwork around the building.” Raven’s smile turned into a positively shit-eating grin.

“What?” Clarke sits up so she can see Raven’s face more clearly.

“You like her!” Raven crows, poking at Clarke’s ribs with her finger.

Clarke tries to wiggle away and definitely doesn’t blush. Nope, not at all. “Who, Lexa? What are you even talking about?”

“Oh my god, you totally do, you should have seen your face go all gooey when you said her name. I have to meet her.”

“Would you shut up, we’re barely friends. Stop poking me!”

After she finally gets Raven to shut up about Lexa and put her clothes back on, Clarke shoos her out into the hallway. She finishes tapping her number into Raven’s phone and gestures towards the elevator at the end of the hall. “Just press the top floor button and knock on their door, I’m positive Anya will let you live here.”

“Thank you, Clarke. You’re really saving my ass, here.”

“I know. I’m pretty much the greatest.” Clarke tugs Raven into a loose hug before prodding her down the hall.

“Hey Clarke!” Raven calls over her shoulder as she reaches the elevator.


“What’s your last name dude? Don’t think I caught it.”

Clarke can’t help but laugh. “I never gave it to you. It’s Griffin. Clarke Griffin.”

Raven laughs back. “Pleased to make your acquaintance Clarke Griffin, my name is Raven Reyes, and I hope you like me because you’re going to be stuck with me for a while now.”

Clarke rolls her eyes as the elevator doors close on her new friend. “What a day,” she mumbles to herself. What a weird, new, wonderful fucking day.