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Ride

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“I don’t know why this is necessary. I have two legs that I get around on just fine!” The blonde indignantly crossed her arms over her chest trying her best to ignore the amused twitch of the brunette’s mouth.

She was standing next to a paddock that contained four horses of varying shades of color and temperament. But they all had one size. Large. Very large. They were the Trikru Commander’s war horses.

She eyed them warily as they leaned their necks over the rails and huffed in her general direction. She took a step back, her heart beating a little faster. She eyed the split, weathered rails worried that they would not hold against the combined weight of the ferocious beasts that continued to stamp their cloven hoofs and nicker their thick lips at her. She was sure at least one of them had breathed a little smoke in her direction. She inched her way closer to Lexa’s side.

Lexa pretended not to notice that the blonde was trying to inch closer to her without being noticeable about it. It was…cute. She smiled slightly and reached out running her hand along the graceful neck of a young paint, who turned and snuffled at her. She continued to pet him.

“Klark, these are the best trained horses of my clan. I raised each of them, and they will guide you well in battle.”

“But we aren’t in battle, Lexa, the war is over. We won,” protested the blonde.

“The war is never over, Klark, not here. Not on the ground. Not in this life.” The brunette smiled sadly and leaned in and lightly brushed her right cheek against his velvet nose. She briefly closed her eyes, enjoying the brief moment of respite, basking in the gentle warmth of his nickering. She only pulled back when she felt his inquisitive lips nibbling at one of her braids.

She smiled again and pushed his nose away, “No, Roshka.” He huffed at her, and she swore he rolled his eyes at her. She leaned in quickly and then jerked back when she realized Clarke was watching her. She tried not to blush. But she knew it was too late. She knew she’d seen what she’d done.

Clarke smiled despite her nervousness. It was…well…rather adorable watching the strong, stoic Heda pet his nose and then…yes, kiss his nose. She coughed, trying to cover the giggle that shuddered in her chest. The mighty Heda had just kissed her massive warhorse.

“Ahem, as I was saying, Klark, it is important to know how to ride, to communicate with the horses. They are extremely intelligent, and they know their way through these woods as well as any warrior. There is no reason to be afraid.”

“I’m not afraid,” scoffed the blonde as she shuffled her feet awkwardly, refusing to meet Lexa’s knowing eyes. That was a lie. A blatant, bold-faced lie. She was terrified of these large beasts, and Lexa knew it. Lexa saw right through her.

Lexa softened her voice, “they can keep you safe, Klark, when I am unable. There is no reason to be afraid,” she implored tenderly.

Clarke groaned at that. There really wasn’t much she could say about that. Her one argument was that she was capable of walking, and these giant beasts had made that a moot point. And she was quickly learning that she was not particularly good at denying Lexa when she looked at her with soft green eyes.

Lexa tried not to smile triumphantly as she watched the resignation slowly sweep across Clarke’s face. She felt the small coil of worry in her chest slowly loosen. Teaching Clarke to ride would help ensure her safety, and it was an excuse to be near the blonde.

“Ok. Fine. I will ride one of these,” she gestured at the horses, “monsters,” she said with ill-concealed grace.

Lexa turned away quickly to hide her smile. She grabbed the loop of leather holding the gated closed to the piling and threw it off and opened the gate. “Hop! Hop!” She shooed the four horses away from the gate and grabbed a leather halter. She walked over to the horses milling around, and quickly slipped it over the nose and head of a solid gray and led her through the gate to where Clarke stood.

“What? No, Lexa. Not that one!” The blonde protested and raised her hands backing up slowly. “Lexa, he’s huge! He’s one of the bigger ones!”

Lexa sighed quietly and patted the big gray, leaning her shoulder into the bottom of the horse’s shoulder as the gray turned its head and snuffled at her hair, casually blowing air in her face. She smiled and nudged the horse.

“She, Klark. She. This is Runyon, she is Roshka’s older sister. She is steady and strong. More importantly, she is patient, Klark. She will suit you well.”

The brunette unwound the long braided rope that was looped over her shoulder and efficiently tied it to the halter under the horse’s chin. She held the rope out to the blonde, who simply looked at her as if she had gone mad.

“You can’t be serious!”

“Take it, Klark.” The brunette jiggled the end of the rope at her, quickly losing her patience. The blonde must have noticed the edge that colored her voice, and she meekly took the end of the rope, holding her arm straight out in front of her, so as not to be too close to the mammoth sized head. She tried not to cringe as Runyon turned her head, and focused one large dark eye on her.

Lexa sighed and pushed the horse out of the way and walked over to one of the rails, grabbing the blanket, saddle, and bridle.

“Come, Klark, first you need to learn to properly saddle her.”

“Right,” muttered the perturbed blonde, “that’s exactly what I want to learn.”

“What did you say, Klark?” The brunette arched an eyebrow at the blonde, waiting for her to approach with Runyon.

“Can’t wait, Lexa. Can’t wait,” the blonde lied in an overly cheerful voice.

Lexa smirked and hefted the gear in her arms. “These items are not light, Klark, perhaps you could come here and bring Runyon with you.” She ignored the muttering from the blonde, who trudged over to her, with her arm held out straight in back of her, and out to the side. The blonde was adorable in her discomfort, and Lexa felt the familiar warmth pool in her belly at the sulking blonde.

Thirty minutes later, Runyon was finally saddled and ready. The blonde had been reduced almost to tears when Lexa had lost her stoic calm and snapped at Clarke the third time the saddle had shifted and slid to the ground with a resounding thump. She had instantly felt bad when she noticed the blue eyes puddle and the lower lip tremble before it was caught between strong, white teeth.

She felt the warmth in her belly grow as she remembered gazing at the pink lips, remembering how they felt against hers; the silk plumpness that fit perfectly against her own. She shook her head slightly, banishing the thoughts from her mind. Now was not the time.

“Ok, Klark, we are finally ready. I know Runyon is large, but she is steady. She will take care of you, Klark. I promise that soon you will be comfortable with her.” She smiled, “soon you will be one with her.”

**************************************

Two hours later, Lexa stood in the middle of the training paddock, utterly perplexed at how one person could be so inept, so klutzy. She shook her head as she gazed at the blonde who was leaning against a piling, dirty and disheveled, her blonde hair sticking to her sweaty and red face. She was panting and rubbing her bottom with one hand.

“That was….” She hesitated at a loss of words as she turned and walked over to the blonde. It had taken thirty minutes of coaxing and cajoling just to get the blonde to be able to sit atop the horse. The moment Runyon had taken a step, the blonde had panicked, sawing on the reins and then had abruptly slid to the side and off of Runyon.

She gazed again at the blonde, the words drying up in her throat as she watched, mesmerized at the slim hand that rubbed the blonde’s bottom. She flickered her eyes over the curve of the supple muscle and clenched her jaw, her fingers twitching and itching to reach out and caress the firm curves.

She stifled a groan as she remembered the night before the Battle of the Mountain, when she hadn’t been able to resist her own desires any longer. Their night had been slow and tender, neither of them knowing if they would live to see the day after tomorrow. Afraid and unsure, they had both tried to hide it, instead choosing to live in those few hours before dawn.

But they had survived, and they hadn’t spoken of that night since, nor had come together again, despite the brunette’s longing. She hadn’t known how to approach the blonde, to ask, to demand, or to explain her want, or her fear of how much she desired the blonde. Her growing need sometimes frightened her, and sometimes she reveled in it, imagining what it would be like to have her, to take her, to live again.

She ruefully shook her head again, now was not the time. Maybe the time would never be right.

The blonde glanced up at Lexa, glaring at the brunette who had forced her into this predicament. Her muscles ached, she was hot and tired, and her bottom hurt the most. She was sure she would have a very large bruise covering a good portion of her bottom.

Her glare faltered a little at the look on the brunette’s face. She noticed the twitching fingers and the sharp jawline. Her breath caught in her throat as she noticed the burning green eyes. She had seen that look before in a mirror when she had been applying kohl to her eyes. She had glanced up and seen the brunette off to the side and behind her, staring at her with such longing. She had felt Lexa’s gaze ripple across her skin, leaving behind a trail of goose bumps. The brunette jerked when she noticed that blonde was staring back at her, and she had quickly turned on her heel and strode out of the tent.

“Awful,” she whispered, “It was awful, Lexa. I’m awful. I can’t ride! I don’t want to ride! And I hurt, Lexa! All over!” She straightened and walked within arm’s reach of Lexa. “This isn’t going to work. Maybe I can just ride in a cart of something?” She touched Lexa’s arm gently.

Lexa sighed and ran her fingers lightly over Clarke’s hand, smiling at the feel of the warm skin against her own. She clasped the hand gently and squeezed.

“Klark, we rarely use carts, and usually only to haul goods and other items. It is more efficient to use a horse. They are reliable, swift, and strong. You need to learn to ride.” Her voice trailed off, as she wondered how she was going to teach Clarke to ride.

She flicked her gaze over at Runyon who eyed her for a brief moment, and then made a point of turning her large back to the commander and swished her tail at her. Lexa grit her teeth.

“See, Lexa, even Runyon agrees with me. I shouldn’t be riding.”

Lexa huffed irritably and glared balefully at the horse, but her glare was unappreciated by the large gray. She simply swished her tail at the commander again. Lexa ground her teeth and turned back to the blonde.

“You must, Klark, but we will continue this another day. Come.” She gestured for the blonde to walk with her, and they slowly made their way back toward camp. They walked for a couple of minutes, passing a larger fenced off area that contained sturdy but significantly smaller horses than the warhorses.

“What about those, Lexa?”

“Those are ponies. They are not made for war, but are for training children and helping to carry our gear. They aren’t suitable for you.”

“Oh. Figures, the smallest horses aren’t suitable,” mocked the blonde as she started back towards camp again.

“Mockery isn’t the product of a sound mind, Klark.”

Clarke slapped her on the arm. Lexa just smiled.

A Few Hours Later…..

Lexa slumped in her throne, shuffling her feet uneasily. It was unbecoming of a Heda, but she was tired and discouraged. She had truly been surprised by how inept the blonde was at riding. She knew it stemmed from her fear of the horses, which is why she had decided to teach her herself, instead of letting one of the hosas train her. She had hoped that her presence would help Clarke feel safe.

She sighed grumpily and tilted her head back, resting it against the back of her antlered throne. Her eyes fluttered shut, and she felt the weariness settle into her bones. She would have to teach Clarke how to ride, it would keep her safe by giving her the ability to travel distances quickly and assuredly. She just didn’t know how to teach her or help her feel safe.

A small smile tumbled across her lips as she thought about how many times the blonde had fallen into a graceless heap, but had gotten up each time, usually uttering a string of what Lexa assumed were curse words.

She sighed again and this time the smile twisted across her lips wasn’t as warm or happy. Images flashed through her mind: Clarke backing her into the table, Clarke kissing her the first time and Lexa kissing her for the fourth or tenth time, Clarke tilting her head back and laughing, Clarke biting her lip, Clarke rubbing her bottom.

She groaned. Her relationship with Clarke since the Battle of the Mountain had progressed from earnest kisses to earnest fumblings under clothing. She ached and burned, but each time Clarke hastily drew back with wet, bruised lips. She would shyly step back, her hands still fisted in Lexa’s clothing. She would slowly loosen her grasp, her breaths tumbling out of her mouth in shallow gasps.

And each time, Lexa accepted it, let her trembling hands fall to her sides as she tried to force a smile on to her face, tried to fight the urge to grab Clarke and pull her to her. She would step back and hastily right her clothing trying to gather her fraying self-control around her like armor.

But sometimes…sometimes Clarke looked at her like she was waiting, expecting Lexa to not step away, to not let go of her. And when she did step back from Clarke, she thought sometimes there was a shadow of disappointment flitting through the other girl’s eyes.

She knew the Skaikru were not as open about sex. They weren’t particularly comfortable discussing it, and while they did their best to not appear shocked and apprehensive about the Trikru coupling that often happened at the feasts; they were rarely successful in hiding their feelings. And sometimes she wondered if Clarke was simply hoping that Lexa would push past Clarke’s cultural unease and give them both what they wanted. But no, she always stepped back and away, because she did not want to hurt Clarke, her Klark.

But now…well now, she was tired of accepting of it, tired of waiting, tired of worrying. She growled low in her throat, feeling the rumble tremble in her chest.

“Heda.”

She jerked upright and glanced at her general.

“Indra. What do you want?” she sighed.

Indra raised an eyebrow at the uncharacteristic dejection in her Heda’s voice. She walked further into the room, her hand tightening around the hilt of her sword. She was slightly unsure as how to respond to the apparent gloom the Heda was feeling. Expressing feelings other than irritation was not necessarily a strength of hers. She sighed under her breath.

“Heda, is there something that you need?”

Lexa straightened in her chair, trying to shake off the sadness she felt. She jerked her shoulders and fixed Indra with a stare, glowering slightly from under her eyebrows. She opened her mouth to snap at Indra, but hesitated. Indra was her most fearsome and trusted general. True they rarely spoke of their feelings, but Indra was loyal and smart. Perhaps she could help.

“I ha-have…” she cleared her throat and tried again, “I have been attempting to teach Clarke how to ride.” She glared at Indra’s unamused snort.

“I see, Heda. And it has been going…”

“Not well, Indra.” Lexa heaved herself out of her throne and stalked across the floor, brushing past her general. She stopped and pivoted, stalking back towards her again. And did it again. And then again.

Indra refrained from rolling her eyes. Barely.

“I see.”

“Klark is afraid of horses, and her fear overtakes her. She fell so many times!” huffed the brunette as she continued to stalk back and forth, feeling the unease bubble inside of her. How could she keep her Klark safe if she couldn’t guarantee that she could travel safely and quickly.

Indra watched as the Heda continued to prowl back and forth like a caged animal. It was unsettling to see her so agitated. She wondered if it was something other than her frustration at Clarke’s incompetence. She eyed the Heda, noting the flushed cheeks and sparking eyes. Perhaps it was a different type of frustration.

It was a known fact that the Skai Prisa sometimes slept inside the Heda’s tent, but in the morning the Heda never seemed particularly…satisfied. As a matter of fact, she was often slightly peevish to her guards.

Indra bit back a sigh. There was nothing she could do to help the Heda with this particular issue, but perhaps she could help her teach Clarke to ride the horses.

“Perhaps, Heda, you should teach her to ride something smaller? The warhorses are large, and she is not particularly.” She bit back a smirk at the thought of Clarke atop one of the Heda’s warhorses. The thought of her falling to the ground amused her to no end, but she knew better than to voice such a thought. The Heda had a sharp knife, and she preferred her head on her shoulders.

Lexa paused mid-stride and slowly turned to her general. “Something smaller?”

“Yes,” said Indra, thinking of the ponies in the back field. They were smaller and sturdy, they would probably be suitable for teaching Clarke to ride.

Lexa tore her gaze from Indra’s and stared off into the corner. Her belly tightened, and she felt the anxiety slowly ease.

“Of course,” she murmured, “something smaller. Something that wouldn’t frighten her. Well not much,” she smirked.

She turned back to her general and smiled. With her teeth.

Indra blinked in surprise. She had not expected that, but she quickly schooled her features. Ponies were a good idea, and she would do her duty, and help her Heda.

“You are dismissed.” The brunette casually flicked her fingers at Indra.

Indra turned and strode outside the tent calling for Octavia, waiting patiently for the girl to scramble to her side.

“Yes, Fos?”

“Come. We are going to the back fields. We need to round up a couple of ponies for Heda and the Skai Prisa.”

“Ponies?” Octavia looked uncertainly at Indra. Were Clarke and Heda going somewhere?

“Yes, ponies. Apparently Heda has been trying to teach Clarke how to ride,” she smirked slightly, “and it has not been successful. The ponies are smaller and will be easier for her in her training.”

“I see.” Octavia tried not to chuckle at her friend’s expense. She well knew of Clarke’s intense dislike of horses, and she also knew of her Heda’s love for the creatures. She could only imagine the chaos of trying to teach a stubborn Clarke to mount one of those giant beasts.

“Come. We will need to pick out the best and bring them back to the Heda, and then stable them near her tent.” She gestured for Octavia and quickly strode off towards the back field, with Octavia scrambling to keep up.