Actions

Work Header

Catch Me, I'm Falling

Chapter Text

Today was the day.

A fresh start. A new beginning!

Another hectic morning in the Woods-Pine household.

Aden had moved in with his Aunt Indra and Uncle Gustus at the end of the last school year, as his own parents were needed abroad for business, and didn’t want to drag their children with them, away to a new environment with a language neither of them spoke.

Aden, of course, had been ecstatic at the prospect of moving in with his aunt and uncle, who were among his favorite people in the whole world, as well as Anya, who was, by his standards, the coolest cousin ever. His older sister, Lexa, however, had been much more reluctant for the change of pace. In her eyes, switching high schools meant that she would have to completely re-establish herself in the social hierarchy, and have to find chemistry with an entirely new football team. Aden knew that she was overreacting, because, from what Anya had said, everyone at Arkadia already adored his sister, and she would have no trouble whatsoever fitting in.

Either way, today marked a huge milestone for Aden.

His first day of high school.

Anya, of course, was completely befuddled as to why he was excited, citing that: “Aden, high school is four years of your own personal hell, why are you excited to go?” Aunt Indra had clipped her daughter on the head in passing reprimandingly, which only served to worsen the blonde’s mood, but Aden continued on being as chirper as ever.

He’d had the day planned to a T.

But then Anya, being the bitter, exhausted teenage girl she was, had snuck into his room and changed the time on his alarm clock, resulting in the family waking up with only thirty minutes before school began.

It was a warzone.

Both Woods siblings wanted to make good first impressions, for different reasons, but good impressions all the same, and thirty minutes didn’t allow enough time for the proper preparation.

Aden had barely escaped the clutches of death, leaping over the small brawl that was Lexa and Anya wrestling for the hairbrush—both of them conveniently forgetting that there were several others in the bathroom—silently thanking whatever higher forces of nature existed that his hair was easily tamed and naturally well-kept.

Within ten minutes, he had shimmied his way into black skinny jeans, which were about the only pants that fit his lithe frame, a white t-shirt, tying a flannel around his waist as he fixed his black beanie on just the way he liked it.

In his haste to make it out the door, he forgot a sneaker, which Anya threw at the back of his head, causing him to tumble forward and knock into Lexa, who was hopping on one foot, trying to lace up her combat boot while balancing. He scowled, rubbing the back of his head while Anya laughed heartily, doubled over at the garage door, snapping a picture of the two siblings sprawled out on the floor.

“You look ridiculous,” she wheezed, clutching at her stomach, “oh, I’m going to cry—ow! Mom!”

“Stop harassing your cousins,” Indra’s voice was as low and commanding as ever, and Aden smiled cheerfully as she hoisted him up off of Lexa, who looked positively murderous, handing him his bookbag, which he’d left on the stairs.

“Thanks, Aunt Indra,” he quipped, smiling radiantly back at the usually stoic woman when she graced him with a small smile of her own, “I’ll make sure they don’t kill one another during school.”

“I trust you to do so,” Indra responded gravely, clasping a hand on Lexa’s shoulder as she pushed the two in the direction of Lexa’s car, an expensive looking Audi A7 that Anya called “gaudy” and “too expensive for a senior in high school”. Lexa knew her parents were particularly wealthy. She also knew it was a consolation prize, given to her as a meek apology for missing a year of her life, to be abroad on business. She still yearned to be like her parents. So formal, so exotic and important. The car seemed to be doing its duty of filling their roles in her life. And it looked damn good.

By some miracle, they arrived on time, right before the ring of the first bell, signifying the end of summer and the beginning of the school year.


 

It wasn’t that Clarke was dramatic, or anything.

Really, she wasn’t.

She merely wanted her senior year of high school to be…different. Palatable. She wanted to feel eighteen, like she was. She wanted to forget about Finn Collins and move on. She wanted a drama free year with the greatest friends she could ever ask for. She wanted to have sophisticated conversations about art, poetry, and the great institutions and places she could travel to, and study.

She really didn’t want to talk about another so called “star” of a new kid, coming into the system and crowning herself at the top of the social hierarchy.

When Lexa Woods first arrived at Arkadia High, every single student, parent, and faculty member was in awe of her.

They’d heard stories, seen her compete several times at the local level. They’d crafted elaborate myths and legends about her skills, her family life, where she came from…everything.

The stories preceded her in ways that annoyed Clarke Griffin to no end.

Okay, she got that there would be rumors, and little bit of mystery. It was the new star quarterback of the Grounder’s illustrious varsity team, after all.

But Clarke wasn’t a ‘jock’, like everyone else at school. She couldn’t wrap her head around the idea that anyone would idolize someone merely over the idea of how good they were at a sport. She enjoyed art, music, intellectual pursuits….

And no, she was not, as Octavia had so eloquently put it, a ‘snob’.

She just, couldn’t understand all the hype.

And then, she actually saw Lexa Woods for the first time.

It wasn’t life shattering, or anything like that.

It wasn’t like time froze, and Raven and Octavia’s cacophonous chatter tuned out for the first time possibly ever.

It wasn’t as if the fluorescent class lights revealed a goddess, with brown locks framing a chiseled, angelic face.  

It wasn’t like Clarke dropped her notebook right onto Lexa’s passing shoes, clad in combat boots and the most enticing skinny jeans Clarke had ever seen, leading up to a tight fitting shirt and a black jacket that completed her image of what Clarke then dubbed, “formal badass”.

Raven and Octavia later corrected it to, “Fine stud”, which Clarke was just now beginning to understand.

Okay, maybe it was like that.

But Clarke wasn’t about to admit it to anyone, let alone accept it herself.

So, in her rush to reach over the desk and grab the textbook, her fingers brushed over long, delicate looking hands, and she froze, unable to breathe, to think, to utter a single word.

“You dropped this?” Lexa Woods stood, towering over Clarke’s seated position, hands reaching out to pass Clarke’s sketchbook back to her.

Her eyes were like intense virid gardens, bright and dark simultaneously, sizing Clarke up before she could muster the courage to speak.

Clarke’s lips parted, but words never left her mouth. She wasn’t sure if that was good, or bad, because she was sure that if she had been able to come up with anything, it would have been inherently stupid, or embarrassing.

Silence, however, was a short lived glory.

Lexa glanced away, and then back at her, sculpted eyebrows raised in what could only be described as an expectant look.

She glanced at her wrist, where Clarke saw a dark black and gold watch gleam, conveying the time, and Lexa’s eyes widened slightly, as she noticed the room was filling up rapidly.

“Uh.” Clarke breathed for the first time in that long while. “Thanks. Sorry.”

Lexa offered her a quick smile.

Clarke had never seen anything like it.

It was arrogant, cocky, but oh…it gave Clarke some sort of electric feeling, coursing through her, like a chill or a shock, but pleasant.

With that smile, or smirk, even, Lexa Woods turned and took a seat directly across from Clarke, though there were plenty available behind or around her.

Clarke fought off the urge to frown. Was it something she said? It couldn’t have been. She hadn’t said much of anything. Her eyes widened. Did she sound rude? No, Lexa was the one smirking like that. Why was she over analyzing such a simple exchange?

Feeling foolish, Clarke leaned back into her seat with a huff, eyes falling to the door as Raven and Octavia came in, breathless, right as the bell rang.

Clarke glanced up towards the front of the bustling room.

No teacher in sight.

“Hey, Griffin.” Raven clapped a hand on her back, sliding into the seat beside her, while Octavia took the one to her left. “Sorry we’re late.”

Clarke shrugged, trying not to show that she’d been so deep in thought.

Apparently, she’d failed to hide her blushing cheeks.

Octavia’s baby blue’s lit up at Clarke’s features, a smirk sitting on her lips. “Clarke’s found someone she likes.”

Raven smirked. “Weird…I don’t see Bellamy here.”

Clarke rolled her eyes, sinking further into her seat, praying that Lexa wouldn’t hear their whispers. “I don’t like Bell like that, lay off.”

Octavia grinned. “ I hope not. You’d make a pretty shitty sister in law.”

Clarke feigned a look of hurt. “Hey! Okay, firstly, I would make an awesome sister in law, thank you very much. And secondly, we’re eighteen! I don’t want to get married, like…ever.”

Raven shrugged. “You’d marry art if you could.”

Clarke sighed. “Too bad art doesn’t seem to like me very much.” She huffed dejectedly.

Before Raven and Octavia could protest, however, the door swung open, revealing the perfectly sculpted form of Niylah Crewe, perhaps one of the most ethereal looking teachers Clarke had ever had the fortune of seeing. From a strictly artistic point of view, the woman was stunning. Her jawline appeared as though it was chiseled by the gods themselves, and her muscles were toned and well defined.

“Cool it with the hearteyes, Griffster.” Annoyed at the interruption of her purely aesthetic appreciation of their english teacher, Clarke tore her cerulean eyes away from the woman at the front of the room to glare at Raven, who was smirking at her.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she huffed under her breath, before turning her head to once more fixate on Niylah, who was introducing Lexa Woods to the rest of the class. As if anyone didn’t already know who she was. The girl was practically all the school could talk about. Every other phrase was ‘Lexa Woods this’ or ‘Lexa Woods that’. Honestly, it was maddening. “And I don’t have hearteyes.”

“Whatever you say, Griff,” Raven said, propping her legs up on the desk in front of her and tilting her chair back precariously.

“...be sure to be welcoming—Miss Reyes, what have I said about putting your feet on the desk?” With an apologetic smile at Niylah, Clarke shoved Raven’s feet off of the desk for her, and the other girl yelped as they slammed back into the ground, her chair following their lead.

“Sorry, teach,” Raven grimaced, pulling herself closer to her desk, “nervous habit.”

“Make sure it doesn’t happen again, Reyes.” It seemed, for a moment, that the goddess of an english teacher was going to burn holes through Raven with the intensity of her glare, and Octavia and Clarke couldn’t hide the snickers that escaped them as their usually bravado-filled friend slunk lower into her chair, looking as though she wanted to melt, before Niylah looked away.

“Not. Funny.” Raven’s disgruntled scowl, however, only made Clarke and Octavia more amused, and she began muttering under her breath about traitorous friends and evil english teachers.

“Admit it, Rae, it was kinda funny,” Octavia shot back when Niylah wasn’t listening.

“I hate you.”

At least Raven and Octavia were the same idiotic buffoons as always.


Aden, of course, had already memorized his schedule, as well as a map of the school so that he wouldn’t get lost in the sea of people on his first day. That, and Anya told him that all the freshmen who could be seen clutching school maps looked like dweebs, and he certainly didn’t want to look too obviously like the lost, over-excitable puppy his cousin informed him that he was. 

His mood dampened slightly when he remembered that his first class was Honors Algebra 2, which would doubtlessly be filled with students older than him who wouldn’t want to associate with a freshman, but he walked into the class with his head held high and with a spring to his step. If Anya could see him, she would without a doubt call him a nerd.

His eyes scanned the classroom for a place to sit, one of the biggest decisions a student could make. The seating chart basically determined your happiness for the remainder of the quarter, or for however long the teacher allowed you to sit there, and he wouldn’t make a horrible choice. Not since the incident in seventh grade when he’d been stuck sitting next to Reese Lemkin, who had always kicked his desk to annoy him and never stopped talking.

Relief flooded his body when he spotted a girl sitting in the left corner of the room, who had a school map on clear display on her desk. Bingo. Another freshman.

He walked over to the red-haired girl tentatively, placing his bag on the desk next to her.

“Mind if I sit here?”

She took a moment to regard him, dark brown eyes scanning his face while Aden’s own traced the constellations of freckles mapped across her pale skin, before she shrugged and nodded her head in the direction of the seat.

“I mean, if your conscious won’t be too weighed down by kicking Banquo’s Ghost out of his spot, then go ahead.” He grinned widely as he sat down next to her, knowing that they’d get along swimmingly.

“I’m Aden,” he introduced himself, “Aden Woods.”

“Ellis Abrams,” the girl shot back, gripping his hand firmly, “nice to meet you. The idiot snoozing behind me is my friend Nam Bui.” He almost hadn’t noticed the boy behind Ellis, as he’d hidden himself underneath a discarded hoodie, but he snapped up at the sound of his name, blinking exhaustion out of his eyes.

“Sup?” the vietnamese boy greeted with a half-hearted wave, before turning to Ellis, “is Trikru here yet?”

“No,” she informed dutifully, “you’ve got a minute or two left of peace.” He grinned thankfully before once more retreating into the darkness of his hoodie, and Aden turned towards Ellis questioningly.

“Titus Trikru, the resident horror of Arkadia High,” she elaborated, “I’ve never had him as a teacher myself, obviously, but I’ve only heard horror stories.” Aden grimaced at the mention of their math teacher’s name, as he’d been trying to deny the fact for as long as humanly possible.

“My cousin, Anya, told me about him,” he shuddered, “I think we’re going to need to form a study group, or something.” Titus Trikru was known for being one of the worst teachers in the history of math teachers ever, and also one of the meanest. It had been theorized commonly between past students of his that the only reason he hadn’t yet been fired was because Principal Jaha himself was scared of the balding, no-nonsense man.

Aden really wasn’t looking forward to this class.

At the loud slam of the classroom door, effectively jolting Nam out of his half-asleep state, and the dark mumbling of the man about how much he hated children, Ellis pulled a similar face, slinking into her chair.

“You may be right,” she muttered under her breath.

“Open your textbooks to chapter one,” the man drawled from the front of the room, hawk-like eyes scanning the crowd of students, searching for a weak link, anyone out of line in any way. They rested for a moment on Nam, who was trying his best to look as awake and aware as possible, and passed over Aden, much to the blonde boy’s relief. He didn’t want to make enemies with the math teacher on his first day of class. “Take notes and then complete the entirety of the homework assignment, due on my desk at the beginning of class tomorrow.”

Ellis looked positively horrified, and Aden knew his face must have mirrored her.

Relatively no instruction in an advanced math class was a recipe for disaster, especially seeing as Aden absolutely abhorred the subject, and he groaned internally as he realized just how utterly fucked he was.

He wondered if Anya knew any good tutors, because he was surely going to need one.


 

Lexa didn’t flinch under the intense stares and gazes she’d received since she’d first set foot into Niylah Crewe’s honors senior english and literature class. She did notice them, however.

She’d noticed them from the wide-eyed freshmen in the window, who’d peered at her like she was a saint, or a rockstar. She’d noticed them from her fellow classmates, who had the audacity to gaze at her like they hadn’t just been whispering about her.

She noticed them from the blonde who’d so smoothly dropped a textbook on her combat boot.

Of course, Lexa wasn’t complaining. She was conditioned, trained to be in the center of the spotlight. And that was where she thrived, on and off the football field. She lived for the stares, the gaping and widened eyes in awe of her prowess.

She’d spent the entirety of her childhood and teen years working for it, after all.

But this was different. Something about that girl, with the cerulean gaze and the slightly parted lips…

Lexa narrowed her eyes at the girl, taking in her features. Her beauty was the first thing to strike Lexa. Her blue eyes seemed to glitter under the intensity of the classroom lights just overhead. And then there was her pearly smile, flashing when her two apparent friends walked in the room.

Lexa glanced away, hoping to stave off the blush she felt rising when all three of them glanced her way.

‘Dammit, Lexa, this isn’t you’. She thought to herself.

Before she could hone in on their conversation, Niylah Crewe herself stepped into the class, ever fashionable and ever beautiful.

Lexa resisted the urge to roll her eyes when she saw all the boys’ eyes locking on their new teacher, mostly her chest and below, even though her face was virtually flawless.

And then her eyes found the blonde’s gaze, intently locking on the teacher’s face with an intense expression of…was that attraction?

Lexa’s eyebrows shot up.

Was the blonde into girls? This was certainly a development.

Of course, she’d never have admitted that aloud, if Costia were around. The last thing she needed was Costia suspicious of her.

She’d realized that she’d zoned out for a great portion of Ms. Crewe’s lecture.

“Students.” Niylah clapped her hands once, clasping them together, demanding the attention and silence of the unruly bunch of careless seniors before her. “Today I have the pleasure of introducing our new star quarterback, Miss Lexa Woods!” Niylah stepped forward, and Lexa felt inclined to rise from her seat, offering a small smile to the class in thanks.

The class roared their approval, and as Lexa’s emerald gaze scanned the room, she felt a little stab of something awfully resembling disappointment as she noticed the blonde’s energy was spent not clapping, but examining their teacher from over Lexa’s shoulder.

“Now, I know she’s already such a hit here, but…Let’s be sure to be welcoming-—Miss Reyes, what have I said about putting your feet on the desk?”

Lexa’s eyes widened slightly at the abrupt change of pace, and with a sinking feeling, she realized her moment under the sun was cut off abruptly by the Latina girl’s bold move of resting her feet atop her desk.

Lexa rolled her eyes, mumbling something along the lines of, “heathens.” She sat back into her chair, eyes finding their way back to the blonde, who’d just knocked her friend’s feet off the desk in an apologetic manner.

Okay, so she was a kiss ass. Brilliant.

Lexa just knew there had to be something wrong with her.

She tried her best to tune into Niylah’s excited rambling, something about them reading Pride and Prejudice, Catcher in the Rye, and other books Lexa had read ages ago with her advanced tutoring and education.

She glanced away boredly, trying to focus on something worth her time.

It looked to be another dull year, as far as literature was concerned.


Arkadia’s library was one of the most fantastic things Aden had ever seen. 

As soon as the bell for first lunch had rung, he had practically bolted out of his history class to reach the library before it was crowded, having promised he would meet Ellis and Nam there. As it turned out, they shared all of their classes together except third and fifth period, which was a complete relief, as Aden now had two people to sit next to who he was already on a friendly basis with.

A friendly junior in Trikru’s class had informed the three completely lost freshmen that there was tutoring sign up available in the library, and they’d quickly jumped at the opportunity, knowing that tutoring was on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Took you long enough, Woods,” Ellis teased, leaning up against the counter where the sign up sheets were, causing the blonde boy to scowl good-naturedly. Despite his rushed exit, the red haired girl had still managed to beat him to the library.

“Seen Nam yet?”

“Nope,” Ellis responded, popping the ‘p’, “he probably won’t be here for a couple more minutes, that boy’s practically a sloth before noon, and then he finally starts waking up.”

“Has he always been that tired?”

“His mom’s intense, has him signed up for so many things outside of school that it’s a wonder he manages to sleep at all,” Ellis laughed, quickly jotting down her name in neat penmanship, passing the pen to Aden, who scrawled his own in his loopy handwriting.

“Yikes, sounds rough.”

“I’ve known Nam since preschool, and Mrs. Bui hasn’t gotten any better with time. You should’ve seen her at his soccer games in first grade, if you looked up a picture of tiger mom in the dictionary, it would probably just read Phuong Bui.” Aden smiled at her joke, perking at the mention of soccer.

“Does he still play?”

“No,” Ellis responded quickly, “broke his arm tripping over the ball in fourth grade so his mom pulled him out and put him in swim, saying that it was a much safer sport. He’s actually pretty good at it.”

“Shame,” Aden said, shaking his head jokingly, “would’ve loved to try out for the school team with him.”

“You play soccer?”

“It was either that or football,” Aden shrugged, “and I’m much too small for the latter. Besides, wouldn’t want to constantly live in my sister’s shadow now, would I?” Ellis laughed at that, having already heard plenty about Aden’s sister, who was practically all the school could talk about at the moment.

Nam stumbled in five minutes later signing his name quickly, and as the three of them began to make their way out of the library and to the cafeteria, two students entered, seniors, by the looks of it.

Aden’s eyes widened at the sight of the blonde girl passing him. He could only see her clearly for about two seconds before she had moved past him, but he was still struck to the core at her physical beauty, with wide cerulean eyes and pale skin, and he could feel the blush heating his neck all the way up to his ears when Ellis playfully shoved his shoulder.

“Careful there, ladykiller,” she teased, “you might catch flies.” Sufficiently mortified, Aden scowled and looked at the ground, ignoring the laughter from his two new friends.

“Shut up, she’s pretty, is all.”

He was never going to live this down.


 

Why are we in the library again?” 

“I needed to sign up to be a tutor, the extra money goes towards art supplies.” Money had been tight after the death of Jake Griffin, as Abby’s job as the school’s athletic trainer didn’t offer much money, and Jake’s job as an engineer at NASA had provided the bulk of funds, so Clarke was left to pay for her own supplies more often than not. 

“So that’ll take two seconds?”

“Yes Monty, I just wanted someone to come with me and everyone else is too lazy.”

Monty was truly a “cinnamon roll”, as their friend group had colloquially dubbed him, and definitely the most reliable person in Clarke’s said group, which had been dubbed fondly the Delinquents by Aurora Blake, who had chased them out of her pantry on too many occasions to count. He’d gotten up to go with Clarke to the library no questions asked, his loyalty one of his most prominent qualities.

“Done! We can head back now.”

“Great! I have a piece of chocolate cake waiting for me with my name on it, and if Jasper steals it again I’m going to need you to help me bury his body.”

“Of course,” Clarke agreed solemnly, a bright smile crossing her face at how serious Monty sounded. If there was one thing that the korean boy loved more than physics, it was his mother’s homemade chocolate cake, which he practically worshiped. Jasper had a bad habit of stealing it and evoking the wrath of his usually peaceful best friend, and Clarke would’ve thought he’d have learned by now, but Jasper was nothing if not consistent in his ways.

As they approached the table they’d sat at since freshman year, she could see the chemist’s hand snaking into Monty’s bag.

“If you want to keep that hand I suggest you remove it from my bag, Jordan.” The floppy-haired boy threw his hands up into the air in surrender, smiling innocently up at Monty.

“Was just looking,” he promised, fiddling with the goggles that always rested on top of his head briefly, “definitely wasn’t going to eat any cake that you may or may not potentially have with you today.”

Sure.” Upon inspecting the cake in question to make sure that Jasper hadn’t eaten any of it, Monty resumed his typically happy nature, smiling at his friends.

“There’s everyone’s favorite princess!” She scowled at Bellamy’s nickname for her, laughing as he pulled her onto his lap. “Could’ve sworn you were avoiding us.”

“Must have something to do with how awful you smell,” Clarke teased, sliding off of Bellamy’s lap and into the empty spot to his left, “honestly, Bell, do you ever shower?” The male Blake twin clutched at his heart, eyes widening in faux horror.

“If I had anything to say about it, he wouldn’t,” Octavia complained, “the idiot spends forever in there gushing about his hair.”

“Hey!” Bellamy laughed. “Beauty like this doesn’t come naturally. And Clarke, I’ll have you know that I smell fantastic. I didn’t spend thirty dollars on lavender oil for my hair for it to not smell heavenly.”

“And you call Clarke princess,” Raven snarked, “if anyone here’s the princess, it’s you, Bell.”

“You bet your ass I am,” Bellamy shot back, flipping his hair to emphasize his point, “I mean, have you seen my body? I’m hot as hell.”

“And so modest,” Octavia mocked.

“If you had my genes, you’d flaunt it too, O.”

“Bellamy, we’re literally twins.”

“Yeah, and it’s obvious that I stole all of the beauty in the womb.”

“Whatever helps you sleep at night, Bell.” The group of friends kept conversation flowing smoothly, Raven and Jasper already excitedly discussing what sort of experimentation would be going on in Chem 2 and promising to be one another’s lab partners. Usually Jasper paired up with Monty for everything, but the korean boy drew the line at chemistry, because he didn’t want to constantly worry about his safety with Jasper as a lab partner, as the brown haired boy was almost as bad as Raven when it came to blowing things up.

“Oh hey, it’s Woods.”

Almost unconsciously, Clarke’s head snapped up to where Raven was pointing, blue eyes fixated on the new girl. She couldn’t help but appreciate how she looked, with her vivid green eyes and easy charm. Really, she was perfect.

“Wow, Griffin, is that drool I see?”

“Shut up, O,” Clarke glowered, tearing her eyes away from Lexa for a moment to glare at her grinning friend.

“Am I missing something here?” Bellamy asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Griffster’s got a lady boner for Woods.”

“I do not—” her cry of denial was cut off by Bellamy dramatically gasping.

What? You mean to tell me that you’re thirsting after someone who isn’t me? I’m hurt, princess, I truly am.”

“I mean it’s not her fault, Bell, Woods is, uh-oh.”

And then she went and walked up to Undesirable no.1 within the group, Costia Greene.

The rivalry between Clarke Griffin and Costia Greene was one for the history books, dating back to the early days of pre-k at City of Light Nursery School when Costia smeared paint into Clarke’s hair and tore up her drawings, and had only grown since then. The two girls were always at the top of their art classes, and competitions would have ended in bloodshed if it weren’t for the intervention of Raven and Octavia, who had to forcefully restrain their best friend from physically attacking the other girl at times. It was a hatred so deep rooted that, upon first hearing Monty’s last name, Clarke had interrogated him fiercely to find out if the two were related, regardless of the fact that Monty was definitely not black.

The sight of Lexa, with her arm casually flung around Costia’s shoulders, made Clarke’s blood positively boil, for some strange reason that Clarke couldn’t quite place. Of course the new darling of Arkadia High would be dating it’s other doll, the head cheerleader and apple of the faculty’s eyes.

The others would privately admit that they didn’t think Costia was all that bad, but kept those thoughts to themselves in order to avoid Clarke’s long, well rehearsed rant on how Costia was secretly some sort of heathen that the world had sent specifically to exist as Clarke’s archnemesis.

“Whoa, is there a reason blondie’s stabbing her food as though it personally offended her?”

“Fuck off, Murphy,” Clarke groaned, slamming her head on the table rather dramatically.

“Why, Griffin, I didn’t know you were into voyeurism.” Bellamy snorted, coughing on the iced tea he was sipping, raising a hand to offer Murphy a silent high-five, which the other boy readily accepted.

“You’re an asshole,” Clarke glowered, to which Murphy smirked and jauntily waved.

“At your service, milady,” he snarked before turning to Monty and wordlessly handing over a wad of cash, to which Monty fished through his backpack for a few altoids tins, “pleasure doing business, as always, Jordan, Green.”

“Make good life choices!” Monty called as he walked away, before turning back and focusing his full attention on his cake.

“So, back to Griff’s thirst for Woods—”

“Not happening, Rae,” Clarke interjected, still in a sour mood, “even if she wasn’t dating Little Miss Perfect over there, the two of us obviously aren’t compatible, so drop it, okay?”

“Alright, alright, I’ll drop it,” Raven appeased, Clarke missing the quieter “for now” muttered under her breath.


 

There was something about the way the football field looked, that lit a fire within Lexa.

She didn’t know what it was.

Maybe it was the way it made her feel, free and alive, running across it’s green expanse, the feeling of the gritty turf under her shoes.

“Lexa, hey!” Anya’s wave was quickly transformed into a high five as Lexa jogged past her, wearing a tight fitting tank top bearing her new team’s mascot, the armed warrior wielding two swords with a position of poise and power. 

The sound of their high-five brought the rest of the team to attention, the closest friends of Lexa and Anya making their way over to their captain expectantly.

“Lexa!” Lincoln Forrest, her best wide receiver, jogged over, sweat beading above his brow. He ran his hands over his shaved head, grinning when he saw Lexa bearing the team uniform. “It’s like a dream come true, seeing you here.”

Anya smirked at her friend. “You have a thing for her, too? What, one slice of the Blake cake not enough for you?”

Lexa’s sculpted brows furrowed at Anya’s statement, her hands on her hips expectantly.

“The Blake cake?” She repeated, unsure.

“Octavia and Bellamy Blake.” Lincoln clarified with a grin.

“Only the most beautiful family in all of Arkadia High…” Anya spoke in a teasing tone, as if mocking the words spoken by every other student on campus. “Oh, their genetics are to die for…” Anya teased, feigning a fainting motion. “Lincoln’s hitting that.”

“Okay first of all, I’m not hitting anything.” Lincoln rolled his eyes. “It’s official. I’m dating Octavia Blake.” The muscular boy gave a wiggle of his eyebrows, and Lexa’s eyes narrowed.

“You’re dating? In the pre-season?” She inquired.

“Like you and Costia aren’t?” Anya scoffed, stretching her hamstrings simultaneously.

Lexa glanced away momentarily. “That’s different. I’m captain.” She added with a smirk.

Anya stood, matching Lexa’s smirk with one of her own. “Sweetie, you may be captain, but I’m your older cousin. What are you gonna do?”

“Laps. Four of them.” Lexa grinned when she uttered the order, and Lincoln let out a low whistle.

“Ordering laps to your own family? That’s brutal, commander.” Lincoln shook his head in disbelief.

Lexa smirked at the nickname.

Anya rolled her eyes. “I’m not running a mile in this weather.”

Lexa shrugged, giving her a good-humored smile. “I suppose I could let it slide this one time…”

The school bell rang, signaling the end of the day, and the beginning of after school practices. Lexa’s eyes immediately searched the entrance to the field, where several students began pouring in for various reasons, many of them just aching to see the new teams practicing for the first time.

“Aden will be here.” Anya assured her with a knowing glance. “But, so cute of you to worry. How...sisterly.”

Lexa rolled her eyes, hands moving up into her brown locks to tie them deftly into a beautiful bun, using the tie that sat unused on her wrist all day, just waiting for this moment. “I’m not worried.” She retorted, noticing many eyes on her as the students made their way to the bleachers, coming for the various teams that were now taking up various parts of the field. “I’m just making sure he survived his first day. Freshman year was…” She paused for a moment, biting her lip. “-Not without its difficulties.”

“So, captain.” Lincoln turned to Lexa, bowing over dramatically. “Tackle drills?”

Anya and Lexa smirked at each other, a vicious, competitive fire in their locked gaze.

“Oh boy.” Lincoln muttered to himself, turning to get the attention, and labor, of the newcomers to the team. “I’ll go set up the tackle dummies, in case you decide you want to hit something other than each other.”


 

Aden was seriously considering diving off of the bleachers, just to give him something to do. 

Watching his sister and his cousin try to tackle each other was only amusing for so long, and he had no patience for practices. Real games against actual opponents were much more interesting, but Lexa was his ride and thus, Aden got stuck staying after for evening practice with her.

The stands were relatively empty, making him seem even more alone than he actually was.

A girl with brown braids was watching keenly near the front, eyes tracing every move the players made and hastily jotting down what he assumed to be notes in her notebook, as though if she studied them hard enough, she could absorb their skills. He recalled seeing her in his history class, Tris, if he remembered correctly.

The blonde girl from before was lounging around the top of the bleachers next to an equally attractive dark-haired girl who Aden vaguely remembered from pictures as Lincoln’s girlfriend, Octavia. The blonde’s name rested at the tip of his tongue, but he couldn’t quite place it.

His phone provided amusement for a while, blasting Wannabe on repeat while perusing the dark depths of tumblr, as well as playing miscellaneous games. He really should have been working on his math homework, which was staring directly into his soul from its position on the bleachers next to him, but Aden wasn’t in the mood to cry, so he left it there to marinate in his cloud of self-loathing and procrastination.

Overall, it hadn’t been a terrible first day of high school.

Other than his class with Titus Trikru, his teachers were competent and agreeable, and seemed genuinely happy to be teaching a classroom filled with teenagers. There wasn’t actually a lot of work that happened, because they all knew that the incoming freshmen were still on a rush from the last days of their summer holiday, as well as excited at the brand new environment that came with coming to high school. Classes had been filled with ice-breakers and get-to-know-you activities, including one too many games of human bingo, which Anya had told him to look forward to and cringe inwardly at just how tacky the activity was.

Absentmindedly, Aden joined in on the chorus to the music drifting through his ears, bouncing his knee to the beat, closing his eyes as he leaned back into the bleachers in an attempt to distract himself from his boredom.

“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.”

“Well, well, well, boys, look what we have here, a little fairy all alone, singing to himself.” Light blue eyes snapped open, righting himself immediately, and he groaned silently as he saw the trio approaching him. Anya had mentioned that wannabe—which was an apt description considering the song he was listening to—jocks hung around the field towards the end of night practices, blazing up and just generally being annoying, and had warned him to keep his distance. At the head of the pack was a block-faced boy with messy brown hair that he probably thought made him look cool, but in all actuality just emphasized his horrid bone structure.

“Really, ‘well, well, well, boys’? That’s what you’re going with? Is this some weird rendition of West Side Story? Where you’re the stereotypical bullies who pick on innocent bystanders such as myself?” He’d been told on numerous occasions that his mouth would get him in trouble, but he had never paid the words any mind until now.

“Stuff it, runt,” the boy, who Aden now recognized as Dax Mulligan, who Anya constantly complained about as being the world’s biggest idiot, sneered, motioning towards his two lackeys.

“Really? Three against one? I hardly think that’s fair. Especially seeing as someone as tough and mean as you shouldn’t need backup, right?” The older boy considered this for a moment before shrugging, and Aden sighed as he felt himself be lifted from the bleachers by two strong pairs of hands, pulling him forcefully to the back of the metallic steps. He turned his head as he was being carried away, and frantic blue eyes made eye contact with narrowed green ones from across the field, a silent plea for help.

Once they’d successfully made it to a more secluded area, Dax motioned for his two sidekicks to move aside, and lifted Aden up with his own two closed fists, sneering up close to Aden’s face.

“Aw, Dax, if you wanted to be alone with me, you could’ve just asked. No need for all of the rough-housing. But I’d suggest mints before you try and proposition a guy, last week’s barbeque doesn’t exactly scream kissable.” Inwardly, Aden knew he ought to shut up, but watching the bully’s face go from chalky white to dark red to deep purple was quite the spectacle, and Aden wondered if anyone had ever so closely resembled a prune before.

“Why you little fa—

“I’d carefully consider those words before they leave your mouth, Mulligan.” Well that certainly wasn’t the voice of the person Aden expected to swoop to his rescue, though he could hear Lexa’s angry mutterings in the distance, and his blue eyes widened as he took in the sight of his savior, the blonde haired angel from before, whose name he still couldn’t quite place his finger on.

“Stay out of this, Griffin,” the bully sneered, turning his head away from Aden for a brief moment, allowing the blonde boy a much needed moment to breathe—because his breath really did reek—quickly gulping in a mouthful of air, to sneer in the blonde’s general direction.

“Just leave the kid alone and get out of here,” she shot back, crossing her arms over her chest.

“I don’t think I will, Clarke,” he spat out her name as though it was an insult of some sort, and the metaphorical lightbulb went off in Aden’s head. Clarke. That was her name. He knew it started with a ‘c’. “You’d do to remember your place, preferably underneath me, on my bed, begging—” Whatever he was going to say was cut off as the girl—Clarke!—swiftly and deliberately lashed her fist out and hit the jeering boy directly in the throat, and Aden grinned as he was released, noticing his sister’s wide-eyed gaping from several yards behind the blonde.

“I’m sorry, repeat that? I’m not sure I heard you correctly.” Clarke’s voice was simply dripping with her uncontrolled amusement at watching him topple over in pain.

Coolest.

Girl.

Ever.


 

The “fight” was over as soon as it started. Clarke’s strike was precise, clean, and efficient. Just like Jake had taught her. 

Dax hit the pavement beneath him, writhing around as his own hands clawed at his throat.

He choked, coughed, and sputtered as Aden’s eyes widened, watching the scene unravel before him.

As for his lackeys, they quickly made themselves scarce, having been embarrassed at Dax’s inability to do anything other than cry out in pain at Clarke’s assault.

“Hey…” Clarke nudged him with the toe of her boot. “You’ll breathe easier if you stop struggling. Then again…” She shrugged. “Not a huge loss if you don’t.” She turned and guided the smaller boy away by the shoulders, trying not to listen to Dax’s whining about how much agony he was in.

“You okay?” Clarke asked, her tone softening as she chanced a smile on the boy. She took him in. He was adorable, definitely a freshman, by the looks of it. His eyes were wide as he gaped up at Clarke, like he’d just seen a miracle.

“I..Yeah, yeah!” The boy nodded enthusiastically. “Thanks for uh...punching him in the throat.”

“My pleasure.” Clarke faked a little curtsy, which got the boy laughing.

“Can I...have my hero’s name?” Aden enquired, cheeks rosy just from being such close proximity to the goddess apparently called Clarke. He wasn’t sure where he’d gotten that line from, but it seemed to do the trick, as she cracked a grin.

“I’m Clarke Griffin. Senior artist and puncher of throats, at your service.” She offered.

Aden grinned back, extending his hand for her to shake. His father, before leaving on his business trips, would always tell Lexa and him that the proper way to greet and impress someone was with a firm, hard handshake.

So maybe Lexa was the sibling who’d become the formal, business, cut-throat type. But still, Aden had to try, right?

“Aden here. Freshman and apparently damsel in distress.” Aden beamed when Clarke shook his hand with a surprised smile.

“Aden.” Clarke repeated, nodding. “I’ll remember that.”

“In case I need more saving?” Aden quipped, getting a laugh out of the blonde, until she froze, straightening up, her blue gaze going past him.

Clarke stiffened, hands falling to her sides.

Lexa Woods had frozen a few feet behind her new friend, arms folded. 

Clarke couldn’t help but notice how stunning she looked, her black jersey complimenting a fit frame, with toned arms revealed under the bulk of her shoulder pads, her hair tied in a neat bun that allowed Clarke to see more of her face since their run-in that morning. And of course, the tights.

But that didn’t mean Clarke suddenly enjoyed football, or anything.

She simply knew how to appreciate art.

Lexa glanced disdainfully at Dax, who’d stopped sputtering, but instead now heaved for air, ever the dramatic victim.

Before she could open her luscious lips, which Clarke was infinitely curious to hear the contents of, she was interrupted by a shrill cry.

“Clarke Griffin!”

Uh oh.

Clarke knew that voice, that tone, and that anger. Hell, she’d probably hear it on her deathbed.

Lexa’s eyes widened as she took in an older blonde woman, with several distinct facial features that likened her to Clarke, kneeling over by Dax’s fetal position, likely sent for by one of his lackeys. 

Dax wheezed, muttering. “She hit me, Dr. Griffin. In the throat.”

Abby glanced down at him pointedly. “Yes, Dax, I’ve gathered as much. Come on, let’s get you up, huh?” She motioned behind her, and her student TA, Jackson, stepped forward, bending over to help Dax up. Abby motioned to him, muttering, “Just get him into my office. I’ll make sure he’s not...injured, and then we’ll get him out of here.”

“Yes, Dr. Griffin.” Jackson nodded, ever the faithful assistant, and began helping Dax limp away, though Dax was, in no way, unable to walk normally.

Clarke rolled her eyes. It was all for show, and Dax was just dying to get her into trouble.

“Clarke.” Abby stood, putting her hands on her hips, voice stern as ever. “ You punched him? Are you kidding me?”

Clarke glanced at Aden, and then Lexa, before locking gazes with her mother. She didn’t want to bruise Aden’s ego, not knowing how he’d react to her admitting that she’d saved him.

“He was making sexually inappropriate comments. No big deal.” Clarke shrugged, deciding, for some idiotic reason, to play it nonchalant and cool.

Not to impress Lexa Woods, or anything.

Wrong choice.

“Clarke!” Abby seethed, stepping forward threateningly. “I...do you want me to go back to working at the hospital? Is that it?”

Clarke’s cheeks burned as she felt Lexa and Aden’s gazes awkwardly boring into her as the slowly began to shuffle away, unable to handle the heat of the moment between the mother and daughter. “No, I-”

“Then you can serve detention, like any other student.” Abby sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose.

Clarke’s jaw dropped. “Detention? What?! But mom, I never-”

“Clarke.” Abby’s tone was firm. “I can’t be biased. I didn’t hear him say anything, unfortunately, but it’s very clear that you hurt him. Rules are rules.”

Clarke shook her head in disbelief, biting her lip to keep from saying something particularly unsavory and spoiling what was left of their strained relationship.

“Come on.” Abby jerked her head. “Let’s go. You can clean my office.”

Clarke’s eyes narrowed, but she said nothing, turning to Aden who’d been in a stunned silence. “You’re good, right?” Her voice was gentle, and she even chanced a smile. “I’ll see you around.”

Aden nodded apologetically. “Okay. Sorry, Clarke…”

Clarke shook her head. “No worries. I did hit the guy.” She shrugged, winking at Aden as she followed her mother to her office, several buildings away.

Lexa turned to Aden once the blonde was out of earshot, her voice dripping with worry. “Are you alright? I was on my way over.”

Aden nodded good naturedly. “Yup.” He smiled. “She totally decked him. It was awesome. I think...I think she might even be able to take you.”

Lexa rolled her eyes, but smiled relievedly nonetheless. “Doubtful.” She muttered, eyeing the blonde’s retreating figure. “Aden.” She turned back to her brother, putting her hands on his shoulders. “Go to Anya, and stay there.”

Aden’s brows furrowed. “What? Why?”

Lexa bit her lip. “I’m going to go confront Dr. Griffin. You stay with Anya, she’ll keep an eye on you.”

Aden rolled his eyes. “Lex, I’m fifteen! I don’t need anyone to watch me like-” he trailed off when he realized that he’d almost been...he wasn’t really sure, but he knew Dax didn’t exactly have a day of fun in the sun planned for him. “Okay.” He muttered. “Fine.”

Lexa winked at him, her softer side showing ever so slightly. “Just until you can find a kru of your own to back you up.” She teased, referring to what the school had already dubbed her group of athletic, no-nonsense friends.

Aden smiled up at his sister. “You are my kru.”


To Lexa’s surprise, Abby Griffin was a surprisingly quick woman, dragging her daughter alongside her. She could hear the two of them bickering as she approached, and she couldn’t help but grimace, remembering some of her own arguments with her parents, which never ended nicely. 

“—why don’t you ever believe me on these things?”

“All I saw was a boy on the ground and you standing over him! What was I supposed to think, Clarke?”

“I don’t know, that your daughter was telling the truth?

“Hey, that’s not fa—”

“Doc!”

Both Griffins froze when Lexa called, jogging lightly to catch up with them, the elder immediately placing a sweet smile on her face while her daughter continued to scowl mutinously. Lexa couldn’t help but take a moment to think that, though the blonde was obviously in a rather precarious mood, she looked, well adorable. Kind of like that one internet meme that Aden had been obsessed with for a while… Grumpy Cat! That was the one. He’d forced her to buy him a giant plush of the cat as well as watch Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. It was horrific, and only worth watching because Aubrey Plaza voiced the cat, though Aden claimed it was a “modern day cinematic masterpiece ahead of it’s time”.

“What can I do for you, Lexa?” Dragging her eyes away from the younger Griffin and ridding her thoughts of the frowning internet sensation, Lexa turned to observe the team doctor.

“She’s telling the truth.” There was an awkward pause as both of the Griffin women stared at her, Abby trying to comprehend her words, and Clarke openly gaping as though she didn’t expect Lexa to defend her.

Lexa couldn’t deny that the utter befuddlement on the girl’s face stung a little. Had she really made that bad a first impression on the blonde? It had been her who dropped her sketchbook on Lexa’s feet, it wasn’t as though she’d done anything wrong.

Or had she?

Whether or not Lexa made a bad first impression on Clarke Griffin was irrelevant at the moment, however, because currently Lexa needed to pay back a debt. The girl had rescued her baby brother, and she wasn’t about to let her get punished for it.

“About Mulligan, I mean,” Lexa elaborated, taking Abby’s bewildered look as confusion, “he and his two friends had Aden pinned up against the bleachers. I was on my way to help him when Clarke stepped in.” She paused, locking gazes with the other girl, which was a mistake on her part. She could get lost in their depths, more expansive than the sky and deeper than the ocean.

“He was essentially sexually harassing your daughter, Doc,” Lexa continued, “even I was uncomfortable from the things he was saying. All she did was defend herself and Aden, she shouldn’t be punished for that.” Abby took a long moment to consider this, scrutinizing Lexa as though to find a single shred of dishonesty, but she wouldn’t find one.

Lexa was being one hundred percent genuine, and it showed. 

“Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Miss Woods,” she finally said in a clipped voice, nodding once, “I’ll make sure Mr. Mulligan is punished for his actions.” Lexa nodded, shooting an awkward half-smile at Clarke, which she inwardly berated herself for as soon as it happened, she was not awkward. She was Lexa Woods, the legendary Commander, badass extreme.

“Not a problem, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Before she could make an even bigger fool of herself, she began jogging in the other direction, back to her teammates, who were waiting patiently.

Anya was standing close to Aden, her arm protectively slung over his shoulder, eyes scanning as though to find invisible bullies. For all the other girl teased him, Lexa knew that she would protect him with the fierceness of a mother bear. There was something about Aden that drew out the protective instincts of everyone.

“Practice is out early, guys,” Lexa announced, “gotta get Pipsqueak home.”

Aden scowled at the nickname, crossing his arms over his chest as he glared at his sister, who laughed and ruffled his hair.

“Honestly, Lex, I’m fine, they’re just idiots,” he protested, “you don’t have to end practice early. And also, I’m not that small.”

“Yeah but I want to end practice early,” Lexa laughed, “and yes, you are that small. It’s a wonder they even let you in here, you look like you belong in the elementary school down the street.” With narrowed eyes, the younger boy launched himself on his sister, who pretended to stagger, though she could easily support his weight.

“I’ll show you small!” he laughed, climbing up Lexa as though she were a tree, ignoring the sticky sweat clinging to her uniform in an attempt to get her to squirm.

“Tiny hands, my only weakness.” It was an ongoing joke between the two siblings, as Aden had loved to cover Lexa’s eyes with his little sticky hands as a toddler and yell “Boo!”, to which Lexa would always feign surprise.

“Alright, you two, knock it off,” Anya teased, shaking her head, “let’s get out of here and go get food.”

“Chicken fries!”

“Aden do you know how unhealthy those are?”

“Lexa if I see another quinoa salad I might actually die.”

“Melodramatic much?” Lexa rolled her eyes.

“He gets it from you.” Anya chimed in.

“I’m not dramatic!” Lexa protested, ignoring the raised eyebrows of her friends. “I’m not.”

“You’re a literal gay puddle,” Anya deadpanned, causing Lexa’s eyes to narrow.

“Excuse me, I am a badass, not a gay puddle—”

“You cried when we watched Dolphin Tale, Lex.”

“Lincoln, you’re supposed to be on my side!” The gentle giant of a young man raised his hands in faux surrender, though a grin crossed his face.

“Sorry, Lex, but even I have to admit you’re a little extra.”

“Extra Lexa. LEXTRA. I’m a genius.”

“Aden?”

“Yeah Lex?”

“Shut the fuck up.”

Chapter Text

“No.”

“Please?”

“Aden, it’s August, we aren’t watching Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever .”

“It’s never too early for Christmas!”

“If we watch that trainwreck of a movie one more time somebody’s going to die, and I’ll give you a hint, their name rhymes with Hate Him .”

“Harry Potter marathon?”

“Acceptable.”

Friday nights in the Woods-Pine household were always filled with good-natured bickering over what movies to watch, as had become a tradition. Harry Potter marathons were commonplace, and Aden was donning his favorite pair of Hufflepuff sweatpants and an old gray t-shirt, perfect movie watching attire.

“Wanna go get Linc, Pipsqueak?”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.”

On his way out of the in-home theater, Anya threw a pillow at the back of his head, as she always did whenever he exited a room. His cousin claimed that watching him fall was one of the funniest things in the world, and sent projectiles flying at him often, to ‘keep him on his toes’. He’d just gotten better at dodging and keeping his balance.

“Hurry up or we’re starting without you!”

In a flash, Aden was bolting down the elegant staircase, not paying much attention to what was in front of him, as his blue eyes were fixated on his own feet, concentrating on not tripping and flying down the steps face-first.

“Whoa there, kiddo.” Aden yelped as he collided head-on with the soft, yet firm form of his mountain of an uncle, who was making his way towards the stairs from the first floor. Aden looked up sheepishly, a half-smile on his face.

“Sorry, Uncle Gus, Anya said they’d start without me if I didn’t hurry.” Gustus was a tall, bulking man, who looked extremely intimidating upon first glance. He had a beard worthy of a bear-wrestler, and tattoos covered the expanse of his exposed skin, a product of running his own tattoo parlour, but he was a gentle giant, filled with bad jokes and deep belly-laughter and the warmest hugs. Aden often wondered how his aunt and uncle had gotten together, what with Indra’s strict, no-nonsense behavior—which had come as a result of being a highly feared lawyer—being the complete opposite of Gustus’s demeanor.

“Of course she did,” Gustus chuckled, shaking his head and maneuvering Aden so that the blonde boy was no longer pressed up against his stomach, “just as impatient as her mother, that one.” While Anya was adopted, there was no doubt that she was Gustus and Indra’s child, right down to her mannerisms. “Better get going if you don’t want to get left out.”

“Sir, yes, sir!”

With a faux salute and cheeky grin, Aden bolted out of the door, not taking time to worry about such trivial things as shoes, feet gliding over the smooth pavement of their driveway down to the wrought-iron gate, which he scaled quickly, knowing that opening it would take much too long. The community that they inhabited was definitely a high standard of living, what with Indra’s income as a top-notch lawyer, as well as her share of the Woods family fortune. While Indra was only a Woods through adoption, Aden’s own father, Alexander, loved her dearly, and she’d always been included in the business aspect of things, and often helped with legal matters.

The run to Lincoln’s home a few doors over didn’t take very long, especially with Aden’s speed, flying over the sidewalk and up the driveway to the equally impressive home, rapping on the door several times in rapid succession.

On the fifth knock, the door was opened sharply, and Aden almost fell forward, not prepared for the door to move. It usually took Lincoln much longer to open the door, as he was almost always occupied with homework, or art, or cooking something or other.

“I’m assuming you need Lincoln?”

Aden blinked owlishly as he noticed, for the first time, that the person who had opened the door was decidedly not Lincoln, but a bright smile tugged its way across his face when he recognized her.

“You must be Octavia!” he exclaimed, mischief shining in his eyes, “Lincoln’s said a lot about you.”

“Only good things I hope,” her eyes were sparkling, amusement evident, and she leaned against the doorframe as she talked to the blonde boy, who was considerably shorter than her.

“The best,” Aden confirmed.

“O, who’s at the do— oh. ” Aden shook his head disappointedly when Lincoln approached, covered in flour and definitely not ready for movie night. “It’s Friday, isn’t it.”

“What’s special about Friday nights?”

“It’s movie night ,” Aden sighed dramatically, “and here Lincoln is, breaking tradition, you little natrona .” He slipped into the made-up language, trigedasleng, as easily as breathing. It had been Lexa’s idea, when they were younger, to make a language so they could talk without the grownups knowing what they were saying. Now, Lexa used a few of the words for football plays so that the opposition wouldn’t know what they were saying.

“Sorry, strikbro ,” Lincoln laughed, ruffling Aden’s hair, “it’s date night, we’re making pizza.”

“Looks like you’re getting more flour on your face than in the dough,” Aden teased, and Octavia laughed, “I’ll let it slide this once, but if you miss next week, it’ll be war.”

“I’ll make sure he keeps out of trouble,” Octavia assured, and Aden nodded, before scampering off in the direction of his own home, leaving the couple behind to enjoy their time together. His eyebrows furrowed when he saw a car pulling into his driveway, unaware that they’d been expecting any company, and he ran behind it, barely squeezing through the gate before it closed again.

He slowed alongside the car as it came to a halt, and peered curiously into the window, stepping back when a girl exited. He recognized her much more quickly than he had Octavia, the carmel colored skin and wildly curly mocha hair a dead giveaway.

“Costia!” he greeted his sister’s girlfriend cheerfully, though inwardly he fought the urge to frown. “I didn’t know you were coming over.”

“Hey, Aden,” Costia greeted, coming over to walk next to him as they strolled towards the front door of the elegant home. “Lexa invited me, movie night, right?”

“Yeah, we’re marathoning Harry Potter.” Costia made a noncommittal noise of recognition as they entered the home, and they made their way up the stairs in relative silence.

While Aden was on relatively good terms with Lexa’s girlfriend, he couldn’t help but be a little upset at her intrusion on the family tradition. While Lincoln wasn’t family by blood, he was the closest thing to a brother Aden had, and wherever Anya was, the peaceful boy was sure to follow. Costia, on the other hand, was a relative outsider, who’d come into their lives rather suddenly over the summer, welcoming Lexa to the football team, as she was the head cheerleader at Arkadia. She was kind, and filled with good intentions, but Aden couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t as serious about his sister as Lexa was about her. Aden loved Lexa dearly, but she had the tendency to fall too hard too fast, usually resulting in only pain for herself.

“Took you long enough, dweeb… Costia? What the fuck are you doing here?”

“Nice to see you too, Anya,” Costia deadpanned, rolling her eyes before plopping herself down on Lexa’s lap, kissing her in greeting. While the two of them were wrapped up in one another, Aden exchanged an annoyed look with his cousin, before feigning gagging, noises and all.

“I invited her,” Lexa voiced once she had untangled herself from the clutches of the cheerleader, “that’s alright, right?”

“Sure,” Anya drawled, doing her best to sound disinterested, “probably should’ve warned us first, though, I would’ve brought some bleach to pour in my eyes.”

“The two of you are sickening, honestly,” Aden agreed, nodding solemnly, his tone light and teasing.

“Deepest apologies,” Costia laughed, “I can’t help myself, your sister’s hot, little dude.”

“Using me for my body, are you?” Lexa growled, eyes narrowed.

“Well I’m obviously not using you for your intellect,” Costia quipped, “seeing as you got…” Aden tuned the two of them out as he sat down next to Anya, holding a silent conversation with his cousin through a series of looks. She patted his arm comfortingly, as she knew he had an issue with anyone calling him little without express permission, as it was something he’d been bullied about frequently, and hadn’t lessened upon his entry to high school. Indra assured him that he was just a late bloomer, but he couldn’t help but shy away from the subject.

“Turn on the movie,” he whispered, nodding in the direction of the large screen spanning the wall, “I need a distraction.” Not even Hedwig’s Theme was enough to drown out the sound of giggling and much-too-loud whispers, and the two blondes settled themselves for a night of third and fourth wheeling.


 

“Girls! Come help set the table!”

“Coming Mama G!”

Saturdays were always filled with life in the Griffin household, as brunch was becoming a weekly tradition.

It had started off with just Abby and Aurora coming together to make food, as they were both coping with the loss of their husbands, and bonded over shared life experience. That, and Clarke was already best friends with the Blake twins, so having them over was no struggle at all. Raven had been the next to tag along, because she spent most of her time drifting between the two houses either way, her mother neither caring nor aware of whatever it was her daughter was doing, so much so that she had a room in both places, which touched her to no end.

Bellamy had continued on to invite Murphy, because the boy needed someplace to escape from his home life, which was just as bad, if not worse, than Raven’s, and the snarky, guarded boy flourished somewhat under the nurturing care of ‘Mama G’ and ‘Mama B’, warming up to the rest of the gathered audience.

Clarke still thought he was an asshole, of that there was no doubt, but he was a manageable asshole, and he was her friend first and foremost, so she put up with him as one would with an annoying cousin. Somewhat reluctantly at times, but all the same, because he was family.

With the majority of her daughter’s friend group already there, Abby had just thrown caution to the wind and told her to invite Monty and Jasper, to which there were obvious pros and cons.

Abby and Aurora absolutely adored Monty, who would help them cook and clean without asking, because that was just the sort of person Monty was, and he gossiped with them about the latest drama within the Food Network , and swapped recipes for baked goods, especially his mother’s chocolate cake. Jasper, on the other hand, was regarded with a certain level of wariness, because both mothers knew that he, like Raven—who they’d both begun to regard as their own daughter—had a talent for blowing things up, so the goggle-wearing boy wasn’t allowed within a ten foot radius of the kitchen.

“What’s cookin, Mama B?” Aurora smiled at Raven as the latina girl paraded through the kitchen, placing a cheek on the woman’s cheek. “Oooh, I smell bacon.”

“Indeed you do, Raven,” Abby laughed, swatting her playfully with the towel she was drying her hands with, “now, get out of my kitchen and go help Clarke set the table.”

“Alright, alright, I’m going,” Raven muttered, throwing her arms up in surrender, “girl can’t even innocently ask what we’re eating without getting attacked.”

“You know it’s because you try to eat everything and end up burning yourself,” Clarke pointed out from behind an armful of stacked plates, which she set down on the long dining table gently.

“I do not!” Raven protested hotly. “O, back me up!” The dark haired girl looked up from her phone as she walked into the formal dining room, looking like a deer caught in headlights for a moment, before easily siding with Clarke.

“We left you alone on Thanksgiving for thirty minutes to watch the turkey and when we came back you’d eaten a quarter of the mashed potatoes and almost half of a pie.” She paused, as though considering for the first time how much food the girl had actually managed to consume. “I don’t know how you managed it, but you did.”

“Hey! I was hungry!”

“Aren’t you always?” Clarke teased, and Raven’s eyes narrowed.

“Are you insinuating something there, Griffin?” Raven motioned towards her body, clearly posturing. “My body was sculpted by the gods themselves. If you look up perfection in the dictionary there are two words following it: Raven Reyes.” As she said her own name, she spread her hands, as though framing an invisible marquee.

“And you guys call me the conceited one,” Bellamy grumbled as he entered, brandishing silverware in hand, “Raven’s way more self-absorbed than I am.”

“That’s because I , unlike you, have a reason to be self-absorbed, Bell. I mean look at me!”

“I’d pick you first, anytime,” Clarke assured seriously, and Raven nodded victoriously, smiling brightly and sticking her tongue out at Bellamy, who was doing his best impression of a wounded puppy.

“Of course you would, I’m awesome.” The four continued to bicker about who was the most attractive among them, and were interrupted only by the ringing of the doorbell.

“It’s open!” Clarke would have gotten the door herself, but she was too busy holding Raven back, gently lowering her friend’s hands, which had been poised to throw forks at Bellamy’s head, the freckled boy cowering behind the cover of a plate.

“The awesome has arrived!”

At the sound of her partner-in-pyrokinetics, Raven was sufficiently distracted, and went to high-five the boy, who was brandishing a pitcher of lemonade which he almost dropped in the process, held steady by Monty, who was prepared for these sorts of things.

“Is Monty here?” Aurora peeked her head out of the kitchen and grinned when she saw the korean boy, beckoning him forward. “Come on in and help.”

“On my way, Aurora,” he assured, “we can talk about our predictions for the finals of Worst Cooks in America .”

“How come Monty gets to go in the kitchen?” Raven whined, a small frown tugging on her lips.

“Because Monty knows how to cook, not blow things up,” Octavia reasoned patronizingly, causing her friend to scowl.

“Hey, cooking is a science too, and there’s no science that I haven’t been able to master… except this one. Cooking is tricky, but I’ll get eventually, and then you’ll all feel terrible for doubting my skills.”

“Raven,” Clarke deadpanned, “the day you cook something edible is the day that I befriend Costia Greene.”

“Wow, Clarke, I really appreciate how loving and supportive you are, what a great friend.”

“Anytime, Rae.”

As always, Murphy managed to slink in at the exact moment when everything was already set up and prepared, weaseling his way out of doing any actual work, preferring to reap the benefits and then make his hasty retreat.

“Alright, Raven, you can finally eat.”

“Fuck yeah!” At Abby’s sharp look, Raven smiled sheepishly. “Sorry Mama G, you know how I feel about your french toast.”

“Yeah, Rae, keep it G, we have children in our presence,” Clarke teased, eyes shining, “and by children I mean Monty, who is the purest, most innocent of them all.” The korean boy shot her an unamused look, discretely flipping her off while pretending to scratch his cheek, escaping the notice of both Abby and Aurora.

“No fighting,” the latter suggested firmly, “we don’t want a repeat of the Great Food War of Halloween, now, do we?”

Clarke’s assembled friends all immediately launched into their retellings of the horrific events of that tragic night, and she sat contentedly in her chair, the stress of school and art and the new thorn in her side named Lexa Woods all but forgotten.


 

Monday morning hit Lexa like a metaphorical anvil.

It was a dire fate, compared to movie night just a few evenings ago, with Costia in her lap, fingers roaming ever so gently under the hem of her shirt. They’d giggled and smirked silently to each other throughout the first two movies, Lexa occasionally stealing a kiss when she thought Aden hadn’t noticed.

She, of course, hadn’t heard Anya’s begrudging little mumbles of “get a room” and “don’t start exploring her chamber of secrets.”

Aden seemed to get a kick out of that.

But, like everything beautiful in Lexa’s life, the weekend withered away like a distant memory of a once beautiful, blooming flower, and she was left with Monday.

But of course, Monday had its merits as well. Lexa had been waiting to hear from her coach all offseason about the distinct possibility of scouts coming from the most prestigious institutions to see her play.

She wanted the scholarship more than she’d ever wanted anything in her life. It wasn’t a fiscal issue, Lexa’s family could afford to send her to college twelve times over, if she were so inclined. It was the principle of the matter. Lexa’s parents never really paid enough attention to Lexa, or Aden. Lexa was the one who knew about Aden’s insecurities, like his height, or his anxiety when it came to math. Her parents were rapidly becoming a vacancy in her heart.

But Lexa knew she could change that. She could get their attention, even if they were continents away, across vast oceans of apologies and poorly timed skype calls with the “best intentions of putting food on the table and clothes on Lexa’s back” as Indra had so staunchly defended them.

The scholarship was a game changer. It meant she’d finally have concrete evidence that she’d mastered something. It meant she could show her parents that she’d thrived under their teachings.

It meant that she’d finally be good enough for them, and that they could come home.

If not for her benefit, then for Aden’s.

So Lexa had risen with her game face on, donning her tight fitting leggings and a black shirt to match, knowing she’d end up working out with the team before the day was done. She brushed her locks, with soft, rolling wavy texture, parting it over to the side like she always did.

She could feel it within her. Today was the day.

She hustled out of her room when she heard Anya call out, impatiently pacing downstairs, “Woods! If you don’t get your ass down, Aden and I are stealing your car!”

Lexa snorted disdainfully at that, a knowing smirk on her lips as she stepped out extra slowly just to worry and annoy Aden and Anya further.

The ride, though relatively short, felt incredibly long, with Lexa behind the wheel, while Aden and Anya were arguing over the radio station.

“Anya!” Aden whined, eyes desperate to make contact with Lexa’s from the rearview mirror so that he might get assistance from his sister, who got the final say.

Lexa’s thoughts were annoyingly centered on a certain blonde, and then Costia, and then schoolwork. She was practically blind to Aden’s puppydog eyes. She did, however, feel his arms brush past hers when he leaned out of his seat, stretching the seatbelt, to turn the dial, effectively sending the speakers into overdrive playing 90s music, the familiar tone of the Spice Girls filling the car.

Anya jerked her head back to glare at him, immediately switching it back to her ever popular hiphop station, which was blaring rap lyrics that Lexa imagined were far too profane for Aden. Then again, he wasn’t naive, and she didn’t feel like jumping in.

But she did feel the onset of a migraine kicking in. “Guys.” She warned, pressing her lips in a firm line.

They didn’t seem to hear her.

“This is lame!” Aden complained, kicking the back of Anya’s seat.

Lexa’s fist clenched around the wheel a little tighter, trying not to imagine the mark his shoe left on the leather interior. “You two…” She warned, tone rising slightly.

“Hey!” Anya rolled her eyes. “I have a rep to protect! No one fucks with me! I can’t very well be that badass if we roll in listening to some angsty theatrical bullsh-”

“Okay!” Lexa snapped, hitting the pre-set button once herself, and the car began blasting Bach’s Cello Suite in G, effectively relaxing Lexa almost instantly, while Anya and Aden covered their ears for dear life.

“That’s why they call you the commander.” Aden mumbled, folding his arms in the seat.

“Classical?” Anya scoffed. “Of course. Why am I surprised? You’re the most disciplined, boring person on the planet. Like this is gonna help you get laid.”

Lexa smirked. “I have no trouble in that department, Anya-”

Before Lexa had fully pulled that car to a stop in the senior parking lot, Aden had thrown the door open, running for dear life at the mention of Lexa’s (possibly nonexistent, as far as he knew) sex life. “Bye!” He threw over his shoulder, his backpacking bouncing as he fled.

Anya smirked. “Oh, next time I want him out, I’ll just do that.”

Lexa rolled her eyes, stepping out with a quick stretch of her back as she made her way to the trunk, lazily slinging her backpack over her shoulder. She then heard the bell ring, and widened her eyes. She thought she had time to leisurely walk to class.

Anya nodded knowingly. “That’s what happens when you pine after Costia in the shower, Lex. You damn us all.”

Lexa blushed, knowing that Anya was just making things up at an attempt to get her to talk about it. Instead, she yanked a crumbled piece of paper from her trunk, courtesy of Aden’s messy lifestyle, and hurled it at Anya, who’d just started walking away, hitting her smack on the back of the head.

Anya turned around and flipped her off, muttering, “It’s a good thing you’re gifted, or else I’d yank that arm off.”

Lexa hustled after her, making her way to the main entrance, stopping as she felt a hand on her shoulder. She whipped around, eyes taking in the familiar face of Titus Trikru, the head football coach who had, essentially, what was a bit of an (athletic) obsession with Lexa.

“Ms. Woods.” He cleared his throat.

Anya turned around to eye the intrusion, and upon noticing just who it was, turned tail, muttering a quick, “Hey coach, I’ll uh...leave you to it.”

Titus watched her go, eyes falling back to Lexa’s inquisitive emerald gaze. “My office, for a moment?”

Lexa looked surprised. “I...actually have class now.” She admitted, her voice not giving anything away.

Titus waved his hand in the air nonchalantly, and Lexa knew the kind of authority he carried. “I have to teach a class as well. It’ll only be a moment. I’ll write you a note.”

Lexa nodded slowly, following him, eyeing the way he looked so threatening in his crisp shirts and suit jackets, like he owned the place.

She was never fearful of him, like the other students. The simple fact of the matter was: Titus doted on her. He thought she was the greatest player to ever set foot in Arkadia High, and he wanted to be the one to harness her potential and showcase her abilities to the country.

“Who’s your first teacher?” Titus asked, making his way along the sidewalk, following the green lawn of the main entrance, towards the administration building.

Lexa thought for a moment, the name escaping her for a second. She’d even been introduced in that class. But all she could remember was Clarke Griffin. The blonde, with the intense gaze and the soft hands. The one who’d saved her brother from what certainly would have been a bleak outcome.

“Niylah Crewe.” Lexa replied after a pause. “Why?”

Titus nodded. “So I know who to make the note out to.” He replied, ascending up the steps to the front of the administration building, holding open one of the swinging double doors, so that Lexa could enter first.

Lexa was led past the secretary’s empty desk, down into a hall lit by fluorescent lights, all the way down into the largest office at the end of the hall.

Lexa had heard rumors, mostly sourced from Anya, that Titus strong-armed principal Jaha into giving him his office. Lexa hadn’t ever seen that side of Trikru, but she knew he was capable. She’d been lucky- he was floored from the moment he saw her try-out for the typically all-men’s team, with Anya as the only other female player. And Anya was a kicker.

Titus didn’t forbid her. He didn’t say anything, actually. He merely observed, pulled her aside right then and there, and asked her what she thought about a position of leadership. The team later voted her co-captain. The rest was history.

Titus flicked the lights on with a sigh, turning to a huge stack of papers on his desk. The walls were adorned with photos and plaques of past teams, all of them champions for the last decade or so. Lexa felt a fire burn within her, just seeing the pictures. She wanted to badly to be a part of that tradition.

“For you.” Titus muttered, throwing one of the envelopes at Lexa.

She caught it between nimble fingers, eyeing the address. “It’s open.” She replied carefully. “And it’s addressed to you. I don’t understand.”

“It’s about you.” Titus smiled, a rare sight. “I’ve gotten one from nearly every school on either coast with a decent football league.”

Lexa’s eyes widened. “What?” She gaped. “These are from universities?”

Titus nodded. “They’re astounded, Lexa. Hell, even the local newspaper wants to do a piece on you.”

Lexa gaped. “I haven’t even played yet.” She spoke, her voice stunned. “I mean, at my old school, yes, but-”

“I promised. If you showed me results, I’d pull the strings.” Titus spoke smugly, a satisfied look on his features. He smoothed a hand over his bald head. “And you did. So here are the connections Lexa.” He motioned to the stacks upon stacks of letters. “Each one is a scout. Different days, different games, different times.”

Lexa’s heart was hammering in her chest. She’d expected one or two, but this? Surely it was a mistake. Or a miracle.

“Now, don’t let this get to your head, Lexa.” Titus murmured, stroking his chin. “I want you to treat every single one of these games like a championship.” He glanced at the wall fondly.

“I want to see you up there.”

Lexa nodded, trying desperately to hide her excited smile. Titus respected her for her stoicism, her pragmatism. She had to maintain that, even if it was a facade.

“Oh!” Titus rose, looking at the clock. “We should get moving. I just wanted to let you know.” He reached for a pen out of a mug on his desk, bearing the Arkadia High logo and Grounder warrior on the front. He scribbled a careless note for Lexa, tearing it with a sharp tug and handing it to her.

“Ms. Woods.” He began as they started out of his office, down the hall. “Are you finding all of your classes tolerable? Anything I can do to ease your transition into the coming season?” His voice was deep, promising. He wanted to make sure Lexa had no reservations going into the season, and Lexa knew that.

So she milked it.

“Actually…” Lexa blew out a sigh, and Titus stopped dead in his tracks, glancing at her. “I wanted a friend of mine in Niylah Crewe’s class, but the class was full. She couldn’t get in.”

Titus raised a brow questioningly, but Lexa was at it again before he could begin to respond.

“-and I would really appreciate someone reliable to take notes for me in that class, so I could focus on...other things.” Her voice was demanding, and she hoped that she wasn’t being too forward with her gamble.

Titus nodded stoically. “Her name?” He asked.

“Costia Greene.” Lexa answered instantly, excited at the prospect of having someone to sit with in her next class. So everyone, including Clarke, could see her beautiful girlfriend. “She’s in economics class now.”

Titus nodded, motioning for Lexa to follow as he slipped into one of the inconspicuous doors on the side of the hallway.

Lexa just barely registered that the plaque said “Principal Jaha” on the edge.

Lexa smirked to herself. Scholarship potential and Costia switching into her english class. Today was turning out to be quite the success.


 

The English class was dead silent when Lexa walked in nearly twenty minutes after the tardy bell had rung, all smirks and confident looks as she held hands with Costia, who looked equally as relaxed.

Niylah had been lecturing at her podium in the front of the class, going on and on about a stack of books and how the class got to vote on three that they could then read for the rest of the year.

As soon as Lexa stepped in, hand laced with Costia’s, Ms. Crewe froze, her mouth parting slightly, her eyes raking Lexa up and down reproachfully.

“Twenty minutes late and you brought a guest, Ms. Woods?” Ms. Crewe asked, disapproval seeping into her usually warm tone. “It is my understanding that student athletes are supposedly held to the highest standards of decorum.” She lifted a brow.

Lexa’s smirk never faded, but she did dip her head apologetically, and the class erupted into childish whispers.

In the corner of her eye, she saw Clarke’s blue gaze piercing her back, and she suddenly felt herself flush slightly.

“Griff, ease up.” The Latina, Raven Reyes, hissed. “If you break your art pencils with that grip, you won’t be able to afford new ones.”

Clarke’s pencil clattered to the desk, her mouth still agape, and Lexa realized that she wasn’t staring at her, necessarily, but Costia.

Lexa wasn’t sure why that made her stomach drop a little in disappointment, the way it did.

“Not a guest, Ms. Crewe.” Lexa spoke loftily, and anyone but Clarke could admire her eloquence. She was, after all, the daughter of business tycoons Alexander and Anastasia Woods. Formality suited her. “My deepest apologies for our tardiness, but here’s a note from Principal Jaha and Mr. Trikru.”

Niylah excepted the pink slip in Lexa’s hand with a sharp breath, her eyes scanning the contents of the paper.

“Well…” Niylah exhaled after a moment, a smile returning to her features. “I wasn’t aware we had space left, Ms. Greene. I welcome you to the class, then.”

Costia smiled back at Niylah and thanked her, allowing Lexa to take her hand and guide her to the seat beside her.

Clarke let out what was best described as a hybrid of a choke and a cough, just barely uttering, “You’ve got to be kidding”, and Octavia leaned forward, hitting her back somewhat uselessly, as if it would coax her to stop.  

Niylah was by her desk in an instant, kneeling so that she was face to face with Clarke. “Are you alright Clarke?” She asked gently.

Clarke’s cheeks were red and Lexa stared at the way she murmured some bashful response.

Lexa resisted the urge to roll her eyes at that, glancing towards Costia, who’d been whispering to the boy beside her. Lexa had grown accustomed to it. The head cheerleader and star quarterback were bound to be popular, after all.

“Alright.” Niylah rubbed Clarke’s back reassuringly for just a moment before stepping back to the podium. “So, since you came in late, Ms. Woods…why don’t we hear from you? A student has suggested that Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice be our first novel of the year, with a solid amount of support.”

Lexa scoffed at that, leaning forward in her seat.

Was Niylah challenging her?

“Hardly fit to be called a novel.” Lexa responded somewhat pompously, unable to keep a little venom from her tone.

“Are you kidding me?” Clarke Griffin spoke up from her seat, leaning forward, as if to smack Lexa for suggesting such a thing.

Lexa’s eyes widened as she took in the insulted looking blonde before her.

So it was her suggestion.

“No, Clarke, I am not.” Lexa replied evenly, a smirk on her full lips.

Clarke looked so surprised that Lexa had remembered her name that she actually froze in place.

Niylah smirked, lifting a brow. “Alright. I enjoy a little passion for the subject, ladies, but let’s keep this civil. Clarke, in a few brief statements, defend the novel. Lexa, you may have your rebuttal.”

“Here we fucking go.” Raven mumbled under her breath as Clarke began with gusto.

“Firstly, it’s a classic.” Clarke began, looking at Lexa pointedly. “It is the quintessential love story. It features a brilliant female protagonist, class struggles, and the beauty of family.”

Clarke spoke as if the latter two concepts would be foreign to Lexa, who came from a wealthy, broken background.

Lexa’s jaw tightened and Costia whispered, “Babe, don’t.”

But the die had already been cast.

“Ms. Griffin-” Lexa began airily.

Niylah glanced at her sharply and she rephrased.

“Clarke.” Lexa spoke and the name sounded sharp and oddly sweet on her lips.

Clarke raised a brow expectantly in response, and the class oohed and aahed at the little rivalry that was rapidly blossoming between both girls.

“If you think that novel is what a romance should be, I’d suggest either investing in therapy, or a boyfriend.”

“Or a girlfriend!” Someone chimed from the back of the room with a snicker.

Lexa looked as if she’d been slapped. A girlfriend? So, Clarke Griffin was attracted to women.

Clarke looked about ready to attack Lexa, her face reddening slightly, teeth gritted.

“Whoa, no.” Niylah shook her head. “Personal attacks won’t be tol-”

“Well maybe it’s just outside of your grasp, Woods.” Clarke jabbed in a sing song voice. “Might I recommend something for the…athlete in you? Perhaps…AirBud?”

“Holy shit.” Octavia’s eyes widened as the class erupted into jeering, laughing, and “Ohh’s”.

Lexa was beyond furious. Who was this girl? Her audacity, her nerve; It riled Lexa to no end. No one had ever spoken to her like that before. And just what was she insinuating? That Lexa, daughter of one of the most successful couples in the country, was a simpleton? An idiot who couldn’t appreciate fine literature and hacked balls around all day?

Costia’s jaw was agape as she put a hand on Lexa’s shoulder. “Lex-”

Niylah pinched the bridge of her nose. “Okay! That’s enough, ladies. I will handle both of you after class. I don’t want to hear another word out of either of you until then.”

Lexa rolled her eyes when Niylah glanced away, leaning back into her chair, eyes boring into Clarke’s furious blue gaze.

“Now, let’s put it to a class vote.” Niylah announced with a sigh of exasperation. “You two are exempt.” She added with a sharp glance at Clarke, who looked down shamefully, and then Lexa, who bit her lip in response to keep from saying anything.

“All in favor of Pride and Prejudice as our first book?” Niylah called out, and the hands shot up around Lexa.

Lexa’s jaw clenched as she went ahead of Niylah’s silent counting and found a grand total of sixteen hands up.

One less and it would have been null.

Clarke smirked at Lexa for a split second before returning back to stoicism.

Niylah smiled. “Alright then. It’s settled. Pride and Prejudice, guys. Get your copies by next class.” She glanced at Clarke with a friendly smile. “It’s a favorite of mine, too, Griffin.”

Clarke smiled brightly at her, cheeks rosy, so obviously infatuated.

Lexa resisted the urge to gag.

“Now, we’re going to have partners.” Niylah addressed the class once more. “Study buddies, if you will. I know this is an AP course, and you all think you’re above it, but come exam week, you will thank me and shower me with gifts and praise.” Niylah smiled as the class let out a collective bark of laughter. “I’m allowing you all to pair up. No more than two people together, please, there’s now an even amount of you, thanks to our addition today.” Niylah smiled at Costia, who beamed right back.

“Babe.” Costia grinned, taking Lexa’s hand, re-lacing it with hers. Lexa smiled and pressed a kiss against it, earning some “aww's” from nearby students.

Lexa watched as Raven and Octavia awkwardly smirked at each other, completely forgetting Clarke. Clarke, on the other hand, turned to a particularly familiar boy with an easy going smile.

“Who is that?” Lexa asked aloud, taking in the boy’s features.

“Who, Clarke Griffin?” Costia whispered back, fingers still entwined with Lexa’s. “She’s an all around perfect student, in the art program…”

“No.” Lexa responded quickly, but the words remained with her. So this Clarke was an artist like Costia? “Him.”

“Oh, that’s Nathan Miller.” Costia answered, ever the data-base for all things school related. “He’s on your team, Lexa.”

Lexa nodded slowly. “I thought I recognized him. He just joined up.”

Costia shrugged, “You’ll meet him soon, I guess. Why? Did he say something?”

Lexa turned to her with a half smile. She shook her head and brushed her thumb over Costia’s hand.

“Should we get to work?” Costia asked lowly, clearing her throat.

The rest of the class period was spent in relative silence as everyone discussed their own personalities, prejudices, and thoughts before delving into the story. Lexa wanted nothing more than to be out on the field, preparing for the scouts that were coming in less than a few weeks’ time, but she knew she had no choice.

Costia busied herself by going on twitter, admiring how many follower she’d gained since she’d started dating Lexa, the two becoming quite the iconic couple, though Lexa wasn’t much for publicity.

The bell rang eventually, and everyone shot out of their seats, including Costia, who looked down at Lexa with a sympathetic glance.

“I can wait.” She offered quietly.

Lexa stood, pulling her forward to give her a small, soft kiss. “No, go. I don’t want to make you late.”

“See you at lunch?”

“Yes.”

Costia slung her bag over her shoulder and turned, and Lexa’s vision was filled with Clarke Griffin, who’d apparently been watching them, gaze hardened, lips curled slightly.

“Girls.” Niylah sighed, smoothing out her skirt as she rose from her desk, making her way forward once the room emptied. “I’m really not the type of teacher to hand out detentions. That’s more of Trikru’s approach.” She added that last part with a glance at Lexa, who frowned slightly. “That being said…what happened here today?”

Lexa swallowed the lump in her throat, eyeing Clarke venomously. “I’d like to know as well.”

Niylah shot her a glare, but Clarke spoke up first.

“I can’t speak for her, but I apologize, and it won’t happen again from me, Ms. Crewe.” Clarke bowed her head and Niylah nodded.

“Do you two have a…history of some sort?” Niylah asked, folding her arms.

Lexa scoffed. “Hardly, Ms. Crewe. I met her less than a week ago.”

“But everyone knows you.” Clarke shot back. “Can you even keep track of all the people you know?” There was some sting in her words, and that wasn’t unnoticed by Lexa.

“Okay, you two.” Niylah shook her head. “Listen. This class is more than just literature. It’s advanced, which means the students are expected to be on their best behavior. I looked into both of your records. Clarke, you are by all means, a perfect student.” Niylah smiled at her, and Clarke beamed, chest puffing with pride.

Lexa glanced at Niylah expectantly.

“And Ms. Woods.” Niylah clasped her hands together. “You yourself are nothing short of incredible as well.”

Lexa smiled and this time Clarke’s face fell.

“I don’t see why there’s reason for this…discourse.” Niylah commented. “So as of right now, I’m making you two partners for the next few sections of the novel.”

“What?” Clarke scoffed.

“Ms. Crewe, what kind of preposterous-”

“Save the words, Lexa.” Niylah smiled through her scolding tone. “I know. You two think I’m crazy.”

“What about Costia?” Lexa demanded.

Niylah shrugged. “She can work with Nathan Miller.”

Clarke’s jaw almost hit the floor. “Really?” She asked in disbelief.

“Yes.” Niylah nodded. “Show me you two can handle this, and I’ll let you return to your original pairings in a month’s time, maybe longer.”

Lexa folded her arms, jaw tightening, while Clarke fumed silently.

“Understood?” Niylah proposed swiftly.

“Yes, Ms. Crewe.” They answered in unison, avoiding each other’s gazes with great dedication.

“Excellent. I’ll see you ladies next time. Lexa, I’ll look forward to seeing your game.” She smiled, and Lexa nodded mutely. “Same for your art show, Clarke.”

With that, they found themselves stalking out her door, both girls cursing under their breath.

“You know, I liked you better when you were sticking up for me.” Clarke mumbled, whipping around to find Miller waiting for her, eyes widened slightly as he saw his captain approach with Clarke.

“Miller, is it?” Lexa glanced at him.

“Yes.” Miller nodded quickly, straightening up at her glance.

“Take care of my girlfriend.” She muttered, voice threatening as she whipped around, leaving him stunned in confusion.


 

“You did what?”

Busy scrolling through tumblr and ignoring the math homework eyeing him from the desk, Aden almost didn’t hear Anya’s surprised, somewhat affronted, words.

While he wasn’t usually one for eavesdropping, arguments between his sister and his cousin were always amusing to listen to, so the blonde boy rolled unceremoniously out of his bed, dropping softly onto the carpeted floor, and stealthily making his way closer to Lexa’s room, which was where the argument was going down, pressing his ear to the door.

“I asked Titus to get Cos into my English class, no biggie.”

Aden frowned into the door, eyebrows furrowing. He didn’t need to hear Anya’s next words, because they were echoed in his own mind.

While Lexa had all the complaints in the world about Alexander and Anastasia Woods and their arrogance, she sure was acting pretty similarly.

He would never voice his opinions, though, because he knew how much resentment his sister held towards their parents, who had been absent for the majority of his life. It hurt, knowing that they prioritized their business over their own children, and Aden still longed for that parental relationship he was lacking. He wanted to be able to joke around with his dad, and tell his mom about his soccer games, but those weren’t the sort of parents that they were.

But Lexa was quickly turning into someone that Aden didn’t recognize.

He didn’t know what was driving it.

Perhaps the change in schools had affected her more than the girl let on, the utter adoration of the students and faculty going to her head. He’d noticed it, and it was obvious that Anya and Lincoln had as well. Her girlfriend, Costia, did nothing to stop these changes. If anything, the brunette only spurred on Lexa’s preening, as the quarterback fluffed up like a peacock whenever Costia was around.

The Lexa Aden remembered, the Lexa who had practically raised him, taught him how to dribble a soccer ball, how to ride a bike, had driven him to self-defense classes when she found out he was getting picked on for his height, that Lexa would never have taken advantage of someone like that.

Well, that was a lie. She might have, because there was a certain level of cunning that the girl possessed, but it wouldn’t be for something as trivial as a class in school. There was a reason that Aden bought the girl blue scarves instead of green ones.

He tuned out the arguing as he walked silently back to his own room, returning to his bed and resting in complete silence to just think.

Aden decided then that what Lexa needed was someone new in her life.

Not necessarily a new girlfriend—though he wasn’t opposed to the idea of her breaking up with Costia, far from it, actually—but just someone new. Someone that Lexa didn’t know well.

Someone who wasn’t infatuated with the idea of Lexa Woods. Someone who would see Lexa for who she was, and challenge her on her arrogance and call her out when need be.

He wasn’t sure who that person was yet.

But he was going to find her.

Putting in his headphones to drown out the sound of yelling, Aden allowed himself to be lulled to sleep by the melodies of the original Star Wars soundtracks, formulating plans in the back of his mind.

As always, Aden woke up at the first sound of his alarm, shooting up quickly, as though the loud, blaring noise had startled him awake. Unlike most mornings, he actually felt awake for once, and went through his morning routine much quicker than usual, leaving him with twenty extra minutes to kill before Lexa drove them to school.

The brunette in question was currently scowling at Anya from across the table, pushing around her oatmeal rather than eating it, and Aden shifted restlessly at the unresolved tension surrounding the two girls. He’d never met a pair of people more stubborn in his entire life, so he knew that neither would apologize any time soon, and that it was up to him to make peace in some way.

The soccer ball resting next to his backpack offered the most logical solution.

“Wanna practice for a little bit? I’m a tad rusty.”

This, of course, had been a very, very bad idea, but had worked out in the end.

In her attempt to kick the ball to hit Anya in the face, Lexa had accidentally nailed the back of her little brother’s head, allowing the ball to ricochet and knock into Aunt Indra’s favorite vase, an ivory one with intricate blue detailing.

The three had fled the crime scene quickly, chased out by a yelling Indra, Lexa shouting promises over her shoulder that she would replace it, much to Gustus’ despair. He hated that vase.

Nothing brought a family together quite like running away from an angry, towel-weidling lawyer.

As per usual, Aden dropped off the majority of his belongings in his locker upon his arrival to school, trying to delay the inevitable journey to math class for as long as possible. While Trikru favored him because he was Lexa’s little brother, the man was still the shittiest teacher he'd ever had the displeasure of encountering, and the mere thought of the class filled Aden with dread.

“Hey! Woods!” Aden turned, closing his locker on instinct, as though preparing himself for a confrontation, but relaxed when he saw the girl from his history class approaching him. Her name was Tris Michaels, a studious girl with a penchant for mischief, who strived to be an athlete above all, hence her intense study of the football practices.

“What's up, Michaels?”

Trailing her was another freshman, a fluffy-haired, brown-eyed boy named Atom Zedd, who Aden only recognized from a game of human bingo in which he'd discovered that the boy had been born in St. Louis, Missouri.

“I was wondering if you could ask your sister if I could shadow a few practices?” Inwardly, Aden couldn't help but roll his eyes. At least she was blunt about it. Most people would try to befriend and then manipulate him in order to establish some sort of connection with Lexa. “I want to try out for the team next year, and want to get as much experience under my belt as possible.”

“I'll see what I can do,” Aden assured, opening his locker once more, “see you in history.”

“Awesome! You're the best Woods, catch you later.” She turned to move, motioning for Atom to follow her, but the boy paused, signaling that he'd be a moment.

“Do you want an inside with the football team too?” Aden drawled sarcastically, to which the other boy laughed and shook his head.

“Sorry about her, she can be a little over-enthusiastic about sports. And nah, not really into football, at least, not that kind,” he grinned, nodding to the soccer ball wedged on top of a stack of textbooks, “you play?”

“Nope, just keep that there to look athletic,” Aden quipped, “yeah, I'm gonna try out for the team. Why?”

“We should play together sometime,” Atom offered with a sheepish half-smile, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly, “it'd be nice to be able to talk to someone about real football for once.”

“I might just take you up on that,” Aden responded lightly, warmth spreading in his chest. The prospect of more friends was nice, especially ones he could play soccer with. “Hold on a sec, I'll give you my number.”

The two of them exchanged information quickly, finishing right before the first bell rang. The blonde boy’s good mood dropped considerably upon entering his own personal nightmare brought to life, but brightened as he saw Ellis doodling on a napping Nam’s face.

“He should really learn by now that falling asleep isn't the best course of action,” the redhead smirked, finishing the curve of the black mustache with a flourish. “The opportunity for face graffiti is too fantastic to ignore.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Aden snorted, “no falling asleep when Ellis is around.”

“Damn right,” she muttered, straightening in her seat and tucking the marker into the sleeve of her jacket—it was surprisingly cold in hell, Aden had discovered—as Titus walked into the room, hawkish eyes scrutinizing his students.

“Mr. Bui.”

Nam’s head snapped up so quickly Aden felt the phantom whiplash on his own neck, eyes startled and expression dumbfounded. He could see Ellis biting the insides of her cheeks to keep from laughing, and Aden wasn't much better off.

“I know that freshmen find it particularly hard to acquire facial hair, but might I recommend finding some other way to synthesize it? Marker looks rather juvenile…” His eyes locked onto Ellis for a brief moment, who quickly transformed into the perfect picture of innocence. “Go wash up, this is your first and only warning. No horseplay in my class. Now, turn to chapter…”

Halfway through the class, with Nam snoring softly into his textbook and Ellis attempting to draw fractals, Aden was contemplating how hard he’d have to slam his head onto his desk to earn a concussion to flee the class for the nurse’s office, boredom overtaking his hyperactive mind. Staring at the wall had lulled him into a trance-like state, and the soft vibration of his phone from his back pocket nearly made him jump.

Unknown Number

Is this Aden? This is Clarke Griffin. I've been assigned as your math tutor. What meeting times are most convenient for you? I'm free after school for about an hour most days.

Young Padawan

Yeah this is Aden. Nice to hear from my savior again. After school works, bc my sister stays after most days. Does starting tomorrow work? I have to grovel to my aunt for breaking her vase tonight.

Master Jedi Clarke

Of course. Good luck with the grovelling. I find there aren't many things chocolate can't help.

Young Padawan

Thanks! I'm gonna need all the luck I can get lol. See you tomorrow, if I live to see another day.

Master Jedi Clarke

May the force be with you, young padawan.

The fact that the ethereal blonde savior was his tutor was exciting enough to lift Aden’s spirits once more. The fact that she was apparently a Star Wars fan only made it better, and Aden couldn't help the small grin from gracing his face.

He’d have to get her something as thanks for punching Mulligan in the throat. Chocolate, probably.

Yeah. Chocolate would work.


 

Lexa had just finished practicing with the team, spending her time getting to know the various traits, strengths, and weaknesses of her new family.

She had learned several things in that short hour and a half.

Lincoln was one hell of a wide receiver. Well worthy of Lexa’s intensive practice and dedication. This team was certainly an adequate home for her skills to flourish.

She’d also learned that she was undoubtedly the leader of this elite group. She made the calls, the plays, and the final decisions.

Titus was content to simply watch while he graded papers from his shady spot in the bleachers, nodding whenever Lexa offered advice to one of her lesser teammates.

So when they finally returned to the sidelines to grab their waters, all sweaty and bruised and battered from Lexa’s intensive workout regimen, Anya was the only one who noticed Lexa’s fingers flying away at her phone.

“Texting Costco again?” Anya snarked, taking a long sip from her bottle, sweat beading on her forehead.

Lexa rolled her eyes at the nickname. “Why is it that you refer to my girlfriend as a warehouse store?”

Anya smirked at the opportunity. “Because while she’s pretty on the outside, her interior is…lacking, and you need to have a certain income to get inside her.”

Lexa’s eyes widened and her jaw set. “Anya, I swear to fuc-”

Lexa’s phone went off several times and Anya seized the opportunity to yank Lincoln’s arm, turning away. “Let’s make a break for it!” She hissed.

Lincoln just froze, unsure if it was safe to leave without Lexa’s dismissal. Lexa, however, was grinning at her phone, completely forgetting that she was still in the middle of an active practice session.

“Cap?” Lincoln asked unsurely, and Anya smacked her forehead at his politeness.

“Dismissed.” Lexa through up a hand, and every player sighed in relief, yanking their helmets off, some falling down onto the hot turf with an assortment of thuds.

Lexa eyed her phone, smiling a little at the little hearts beside Costia’s name in the messaging app. It read:

Costia <3: 3:45 PM

Lex.

Baby when r u done with practice?

Lex: 3:46 PM

Just now.

You’re still at the art studio?

Costia <3

Yes

Can u come? I wanna show u something.

Lexa

Of course. I’ll be there after I change.

Costia <3

Just come, babe.

Besides, I like a woman in uniform ;)

Lexa chuckled at that, slipping her phone into her bag as she nodded her farewell to Titus before hustling over to the locker room, eager to at least throw on a cleaner jersey and maybe take off her shoulder pads and apply some perfume, knowing Costia was just daydreaming about her in a jersey.

Once Lexa had cleaned up, changed, and managed to look a little less like she’d just ran a marathon in the hot August sun, she made her way all the way across campus, slipping into the cool, welcoming embrace of the air conditioned art studio.

Lexa bit her lip as she quietly left her bag over by the side of the door, not wanting to disturb any of the diligent working artists inside. She saw students and teachers alike, working with any and every medium imaginable, including pottery, paints, and even some stained glass.

Lexa felt strangely out of place. Surely it wasn’t from lack of exposure- Lexa was cultured. Her parents had dragged Aden and her through nearly every museum, to every great art exhibit all over the country, hell, even to Europe’s magnificent works. And yet, something about the silence of it all frightened Lexa.

It was as if the prospect of being alone with her thoughts was intimidating. Almost as if, if she really got to know herself without the roar of the crowd and the rivals stampeding her at every turn, she wouldn’t like who she was.

Art was so introspective and painstakingly truthful. Lexa wasn’t ready for that.

She made her way over to the back, passing rows of tables, filled with students working and honing their craft. Towards the back, two canvases stood on easels, sporting great unfinished works. It appeared as if the canvases, and easels themselves, were privileges to use, since most everyone else slaved over at a mere table.

Lexa’s eyes found Costia, grinning as she motioned to her unfinished work to a lady in a formal looking suit, whom Lexa guessed was the representative from a nearby art school. Her emerald gaze roamed the expanse of Costia’s canvas. It was a simple painting, yet very intricate in its design. A flower bloomed at the center, its vines tracing all the way around to the edges of the canvas in intricate loops that gave way to thorns and curls.

Lexa’s eyes brightened at the sight, and she couldn’t help the way her competitive nature took over and her eyes found the canvas beside Costia’s, clearly the work of someone else.

Her breath hitched in her throat.

It was otherworldly.

Dollops of mint green paint sat on a pallet nearby. Lexa’s eyes found that the artist was painting what appeared to be a forest, filled with dense spruce trees that extended to the horizon, their edges tipped with the soft white ridges of fresh snow, just powdering the tips. The very points of the trees extended into a dark blue, purple, indigo sky- alight with constellations that appeared as if they came from another universe altogether. The placard beneath the easel had tentative handwritten scrawling, reading: Title: “When Earth meets the Sky” by Clarke Griffin, Senior.

And there she was, coming from the back storage room with blue paint on the edge of her fingers, brush in hand, hair pulled into a gorgeously messy blonde bun, her eyes unmistakably widening at the sight of Lexa, roaming the expanse of her jersey clad body before her cheeks went rosy and she flicked her attention back to the work at hand.

“Hey babe.”

The voice shook Lexa from her musings. Lexa allowed her gaze to fall to Costia, who had just finished speaking with the representative, who’d strolled away with an approving smile.

Hi.” Lexa answered, allowing Costia to give her a hands-free kiss, unable to melt into it because she was in a paint covered smock. “That’s beautiful.” She murmured, her eyes tracing each vine.

“You like it?” Costia smirked. “That lady was a rep from the scholarship program.”

Lexa’s eyebrows raised as she nodded, impressed. “I thought as much. Good news, I take it?”

“Two of us here at Arkadia qualify for the regional art scholarship, and Azgeda High doesn’t even have a candidate. If I get that, Lex, I’m in.” Costia grinned. “Whatever the school…”

Lexa grinned back, leaning forward to kiss her cheek in a congratulatory manner. “I’m sure you will.”

Clarke hadn’t said a word, meticulously dapping at a white-hot comet that burst through the sky she’d so expertly crafted.

Lexa felt an odd pull in her stomach. Costia had mentioned she was one of only two who qualified…That must have meant Clarke was her competition.

Lexa shoved down the thoughts that threatened to spill over in her mind. Clarke’s piece wasn’t better. Art was subjective, it wasn’t sports. There was no clear, defining way to see which side had truly conquered.

It wasn’t better.

You ready to go to the Dropship and grab some late lunch?” Costia asked with a smile, returning her brushes to the sink.

Clarke seemed to perk up at the name of the local diner, but did nothing to acknowledge Lexa’s presence.

“Yes.” Lexa smiled. “But wouldn’t you prefer I showered first?”

“The uniform is sexy, Lexa.” Costia replied in a sultry voice, taking off her art smock and laying it on the chair beside her. “But…I’ll allow it.”

Lexa smirked as Costia leaned in to kiss her jaw.

Clarke dropped her brush, and Lexa bent to pick it up for her, but this time, Clarke was much faster, a frown on her face.

“Thanks. I got it this time.” Clarke mumbled, whipping away as quickly as she could to go wash it off.

Lexa frowned, and Costia quirked a brow. “This time? She’s dropped things on you before?”

“Yes.” Lexa hummed, lacing her fingers with Costia’s. “It’s become our way of greeting.”


 

Mornings were quickly becoming Aden’s personal hell.

Not mornings themselves, really, because Aden loved waking up to the smell of his Uncle Gustus’s freshly made pancakes and the crackling of bacon on the stove, as well as the spectacle that was his sister and cousin in the morning, but school was now wearing on his cheery resolve. Specifically the class of one Titus Trikru, which he couldn’t even complain about at home anymore, seeing as Lexa wouldn’t hear a single word against the bald man. Ellis and Nam made it more bearable, but even their presence wasn’t enough to relieve him of the ever-growing stack of unfinished homework assignments and the dismal grade sitting in his online portal.

If his parents were around, they would surely kill him.

Alexander and Anastasia Woods were obsessed with perfection, and dedicated their lives to the pursuit of it. He’d grown up in a world filled with seemingly impossible standards and plenty of displeased looks, lived for the rare moments of approval and genuine smiles, craved their affection with every fibre of his being.

Lexa made it bearable, manageable, and now, away from the harsh, judgmental gaze of his parents—it was hard to judge him when they were off in Paris—he knew that he could flourish… if only he had a better math teacher.

“C’mon, brat, we’re leaving.”

“Chirper as ever, I see, An,” he teased, practically skipping ahead of her, expertly dodging the swat she aimed at the back of his head.

“One of these days,” she threatened with a shake of her head, “one of these days I’m going to kill you, Ades.” He turned, walking backwards, to observe his scowling cousin, a brilliant smile on his face.

“I’m too cute to kill, though.”

“I wouldn’t count on it,” Lexa quipped, “she probably kills puppies in her spare time.” Anya made an offended noise, scrunching up her eyebrows and scowling even deeper than she already had.

“I think you’re mixing me up with Ontari Queen, which, first of all, fuck you …” Aden rolled his eyes as the two girls began bickering once more, putting in his headphones and tuning them out, as he usually did.

Upon walking into the bustling halls of Arkadia High, a small smile graced Aden’s face when he noticed Atom waiting awkwardly by his locker, hair as fluffy and dishevelled as always, lanky arms swinging at his sides, as though he didn’t know what to do with them.

“Hey, Atom,” Aden greeted as he walked up, quickly opening his locker and grabbing the things he’d need for first hour, “what’s up?”

“Oh, nothing really,” Atom said with a shrug of his shoulders, “just wanted to, y’know, say hi.” Aden grinned brightly, bending under the weight of his math book slightly.

“Oh—here, let me—” before Aden could protest, Atom had taken the stack of books and notebooks out of Aden’s overflowing arms and into his own. Usually, he’d protest at the help, but Atom looked so genuinely concerned and happy to assist that he couldn’t help but smile.

“My hero!” Aden cheered, batting his eyelashes overdramatically, missing the way that Atom’s throat jumped at the action, pink tinges rising on the taller boy’s neck. “How can I ever repay you?” Atom laughed, smiling widely.

“Let me walk you to class?”

“Your wish is my command, brave knight.”

The two boys made their way through the bustling halls to Aden’s math class, and, for the first time, Aden wasn’t dreading entry, mood lifted considerably by Atom’s companionship. He opened the door with a flourish, beckoning the fluffy-haired boy inside.

“After you, good sir.”

“Where do you sit?”

“Up there, in the front, by the redhead and the sleeping idiot.”

As though summoned by his name, Nam shot up, looking around as though there was someone waiting to attack him.

“Whuzzah.”

“Nothing, you fell asleep again.” Aden grinned at Ellis’s teasing tone. “Nobody’s going to attack you, you can go back to sleep.” The redhead then turned to eye Atom appraisingly as he set Aden’s things down on his desk.

“Who’s pretty boy?” At the nickname, Atom flushed bright pink, coughing awkwardly.

“That’s Atom,” Aden said brightly.

“...and he carried your books here for you?”

“Indeed he did,” Aden quipped, turning to bat his eyes at the boy, who was still blushing furiously, “isn’t he the perfect gentleman?”

“Erm, hi,” he offered, waving half-heartedly, still trying to recover from his embarrassment. Ellis regarded him coolly for a few moments longer, before nodding as though in approval.

“I’m Ellis,” she introduced herself, “and that sleeping mess behind me is Nam.”

“Nice to meet you,” Atom responded genuinely, looking up as the first warning bell rang, “I should get going.” He shrugged apologetically, before making hopeful eye contact with Aden. “I’ll see you later?”

“Of course,” Aden agreed, and Atom grinned as he left the room. The blonde boy turned to find Ellis staring at him with a raised eyebrow.

“What?”

“Oh, Aden, my sweet, naive child.”

What?”

The rest of the day progressed rather smoothly, and Aden found himself eagerly anticipating his tutoring session, which was something he’d never thought he’d admit to. The prospect of finally understanding what the hell was happening in his class, as well as seeing his stunning blonde savior was understandably exciting though.

Especially the blonde savior part.

Lexa T-Rexa

You coming to practice tonight?

Strikbro

Nah, got tutoring tonight. See you after?

Lexa T-Rexa

I mean I guess. Later, nerd.

Strikbro

You say the nicest things.

Before he knew it, the day was coming to a close, and he waved to Ellis and Nam as he walked leisurely to the library, where he’d arranged to meet with one Clarke Griffin. She was there waiting for him, conversing with a duo that he immediately recognized as the Blake twins.

Octavia smiled at him in greeting, and he responded in kind. As opposed to with Costia, Aden was quickly coming to adore Lincoln’s girlfriend, who was filled with a fiery competitiveness and sharp humor that made him laugh. Her brother, though, he knew nothing of except his name.

Bellamy Blake, while not on a sports team, was one of the most popular students in all of Arkadia High. There was something about his easy charm, wavy hair, and bright smile that made boys and girls alike melt. Anya had complained about him on more than one occasion, citing that she wanted to wipe the smug little smirk right off his face, but wouldn’t because he was commonly involved with her friend, Echo.

“Did I keep you waiting?” Aden worried, moving to sit across from Clarke.

“No, don’t worry,” Clarke assured him, “I just got let out of sixth period a little early, and was telling these two idiots that they didn’t have to wait with me.”

“Idiots? I’m wounded, Griffin,” Octavia balked, “I mean, we all know Bellamy’s an idiot, but me? I deserve better than that.”

“Hey—!” Aden grinned as the two siblings began bickering, reminding him much of Lexa and Anya, who acted more like sisters than cousins. Clarke rolled her eyes and shooed them out of the room, before turning to face Aden.

“So, what can I help you with…” she trailed off as she noticed Trikru’s course outline, and winced. “Trikru?”

“Yeah.”

“Looks like you and I are going to be seeing a lot of each other.”

“Yup, sounds about right.”

Clarke, Aden soon decided, was an angel sent down from the heavens.

Her explanations actually made sense, and she was patient with him in a way that most of his private tutors in the past hadn’t been. There was something about her voice that made him relaxed and more willing to listen about the intricacies of a subject that he completely and utterly abhorred.

Their session ended up running longer than the designated hour, bleeding into two, but it barely felt like a moment. By the end of it, Aden was the proud owner of an impressive stack of finished homework and completed revisions, and overall felt incredibly satisfied with his progress, which Clarke mirrored, ruffling his hair fondly and offering him a piece of chocolate from the small mountain he’d presented her with as a gift.

They probably would have continued longer, but Aden was interrupted by the constant buzzing of his phone.

“Sorry,” he apologized, “that’s my sister, I’ve gotta skedaddle.” Clarke brushed his concerns off, smiling kindly.

“No biggie,” she assured, “Octavia was gonna be here soon anyways to pick me up, we work at the diner together…” she trailed off, peering down at her own phone. “But you did a great job today, we’ll work on the rest tomorrow, and you said you’ve got a unit test coming up?”

“Yeah.”

“Alright, then we’ll start on that in two days, gotta make sure you make it through your first Trikru test alive, don’t we?”

“Of course, Master Jedi,” Aden teased, and Clarke rolled her eyes at him.

“You have much to learn, young padawan.”

Oh yeah. Definitely the best tutor ever.

Chapter Text

Clarke had thought, coming into the year, that english was going to be her favorite class.

How could it not be?

She shared the period with two of her best friends, who amused her endlessly with their antics, and everyone with eyes had to admit that Niylah Crewe was hot. That, and she would get to spend the year reading some of her favorite books and just generally enjoying literature.

But then Lexa Woods had waltzed into her life and ruined it all.

Perhaps the statement was a bit overdramatic, but Clarke couldn’t find it in herself to care.

For a person who craved routine, she’d been dealing with a lot of change recently, and Clarke didn’t quite know how to cope with it. She was already under a considerable amount of stress, what with her father’s passing, having to work to make ends meet, and the looming challenge of a competition for art scholarships on the horizon. She didn’t need anything to make her life even more difficult.

But, alas, fate was not on her side and, for whatever reason, she’d been cursed with the company of one Lexa Woods, Arkadia’s new darling superstar.

Perhaps she’d done something horrible in another life to deserve this sort of treatment.

It must have been something awful, like genocide of an entire people.

And, as though life wanted to torture Clarke even more , she’d brought Costia fucking Greene into the classroom as well, a final “fuck you” to Clarke’s mental stability and happiness.

Of course, Lexa Woods, the new football superstar, would be dating Arkadia’s head cheerleader, and Clarke’s self-assigned archnemesis. Of course. As if she’d be dating anyone else.

Most people didn’t understand the level of loathing Clarke possessed for the cheerleader, and she didn’t expect them too, because sometimes she didn’t even understand it herself.

It had originated in preschool, which was an odd place for a rivalry to start, because more kids in preschool were just worried about snack time and squirrelling around when they were supposed to be sleeping. But not Clarke. No, Clarke had always been an artist, throughout the entirety of her life, so she had spent ever available moment in preschool painting. In the beginning, Clarke and Costia had had a tentative friendship, bonding over their mutual appreciation for bright colors and mutual distaste for drooling little boys.

But then, Costia had committed a betrayal of the highest offense.

She’d smeared paint into Clarke’s hair, and, while the blonde had been rushed off to try and clean it, the other girl had taken her painting and ripped it to pieces, effectively sabotaging Clarke’s art and taking the gold star sticker for the day.

It seemed insignificant, and Costia probably didn’t even remember it, but Clarke never forgot, and her burning hatred for the girl only grew from that day onward, especially after the incident freshman year that Clarke refused to speak of, because they couldn’t seem to escape each other. Wherever Clarke went, Costia was bound to follow, because the universe just loved to make Clarke’s life hell on earth.

So, she wasn’t particularly interested in spending time with the girlfriend of the girl she hated, educational or not, especially when said girlfriend had insulted Jane Austen. Jane Austen .

What a stuck-up bitch.

“Whoa, there, who shit in your cereal this morning?” Clarke sent a withering glare in Raven’s direction, causing her friend to flinch slightly, before grinning apologetically up at her friend. “Hey, Octavia and I already apologized for conveniently forgetting you were a person, but Crewe would’ve paired you with Lexa anyways, in the spirit of peace and unity.”

“How long till Clarke punches her?”

“You think it’s gonna be Clarke who snaps first? Nah, it’s definitely gonna be Woods, our princess here has that effect on people.”

“I’m right here, you two,” Clarke scowled, sketching angrily into her notebook, trying to prolong the time before the first bell rang and she’d be forced to discuss the first chapter of Pride and Prejudice with Lexa.

Unfortunately, like fate, time was not on her side, and she flopped her head onto her desk dejectedly as the bell rang, clearly resonating through the halls.

She watched through a veil of light hair as Lexa strutted into the room, arm slung casually over Costia’s shoulder, a confident smirk—that she definitely wasn’t attracted to—planted firmly on her lips. Oh, how Clarke loathed her.

“Alright, class, simmer down, simmer down.”

She sat up at the sound of Niylah Crewe’s voice. Regardless of her anger towards her best friend or her burning hatred for Costia Greene and Lexa Woods, Niylah Crewe was still the highlight of the class.

“Now, I’m assuming you’ve all read chapter one of the book as I instructed, and this class period will be dedicated to you discussing the text with your partner, as well as beginning to track the key themes throughout the book, which will be crucial for the final essay you’ll have to write once we finish…” Clarke sighed, the kind of sigh that one would expect from a jaded war veteran resigning themselves to the damnation of the world, and drew her shoulders back, composing herself as Lexa prowled towards her.

“Woods.”

“Griffin.”

There was a moment of poignant silence, in which the two girls appeared to be sizing each other up, and Lexa slunk gracefully into the seat next to Clarke, lightly placing her items on the desk.

“So, what criticisms do you have today?” Clarke posed the question as a sort of challenge, a raised eyebrow accompanying her words, as though she was daring Lexa to say something bad about the book, to test Clarke and set her off.

“Well, I have a bit of an issue with the opening line,” Lexa started, lips upturned, and Clarke scowled.

“It’s one of the most iconic lines in literature,” Clarke shot back, “‘ It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’, which introduces the societal expectations of the time, as well as the class struggles.”

“It’s heteronormative and sexist,” Lexa responded equally as quickly, “because, first of all, who’s to say that a man needs to have a wife to be successful, and what if the Bennet daughters don’t want to get married.”

“You have to understand that this doesn’t take place in the twenty-first century, Lexa, their ideals are different than ours.”

“But that doesn’t make them right —”

“—I’m not saying it does , but you have to get into the mindset—” The two of them stopped arguing abruptly as soon as Niylah walked around, observing the different arguments, and stopped at them.

“How are things going, girls?”

“Fantastically,” Clarke responded dryly, to which Lexa sent her a sharp look, “we were just discussing how the first chapter introduces the role of marriage and its importance in their lives, as well as the class divide.” Niylah nodded in approval, a soft smile on her lips.

“Excellent, I knew I was right to expect great things from you, Miss Griffin,” she paused, and Lexa looked up at her expectantly, a smirk planted on her face, “you as well, Miss Woods.”

“Always a pleasure,” Lexa laughed with a faux salute, and Niylah rolled her eyes and stepped away. As soon as she was out of earshot, Clarke turned in her seat to fix Lexa with a glare, which the brunette seemed relatively unaffected by other than the slight narrowing of her own green eyes in acknowledgement of the challenge.

“Why do you have to be such an asshole all the time?” The words left her mouth before she had a chance to really consider them, and Lexa had the gall to look affronted.

Me? I didn’t do anything. You , on the other hand—”

“No,” Clarke interrupted, “you constantly disrespect Miss Crewe what with the way you saunter around like you own the place, and you take advantage of your connection with Trikru to get your girlfriend into your class for your own selfish reasons. Not to mention, your general holier-than-thou arrogance, which generally makes you a horrible person to be around.”

Lexa, at this point, looked as though if she clenched her jaw any harder it’d shatter.

“Need I remind you who rescued you from your mother?”

“I didn’t ask you to do that,” Clarke shot back, “I can fight my own battles.” She paused, taking a deep breath. “Alright. You don’t like me.”

“That’s an understatement,” Lexa coughed under her breath, looking away innocently when Clarke fixed her glare back on her.

“And I obviously don’t like you,” she continued, “but if we want to get out of this arrangement, we’re going to have to get along and keep our cool. So, truce?”

“You’re the one who called me an asshole,” Lexa pointed out, but mellowed under the intensity of Clarke’s gaze, “but I guess you’re right.” Her eyes flitted down to Clarke’s outstretched hand. “Truce?”

Clarke pursed her lips as Lexa took her hand, nodding.

“For now, at least.”


 

“Stretch until you feel something!” Titus bellowed out at his prized varsity team, actually deciding to coach for once, instead of letting Lexa do the heavy lifting.

The late August sun had all but turned them to dust, and they were preparing for what looked to be a, and Lexa would never admit this aloud, challenging opener against their biggest district rival, Azgeda High’s Vikings.

Titus knew that, in order to get Lexa on the radar, the team couldn’t afford to lose. That was why he was pushing them so intensively. Lexa didn’t mind, she thrived under pressure.

She thrived on hatred, too. And that was certainly the case with Azgeda’s players, particularly the human embodiment of every vile force of evil known to man, Ontari Queen.

Lexa knew she was just as strong of a player in terms of fire, raw want, and ability.  

But she was a miserable excuse of a human being. Lexa had heard the rumors. She’d also experienced a three-year rivalry with Ontari, dating back to her years at the “Mt. Weather Academy for the Intellectually Advanced”, which did nothing for her football career.

So it was with burning fury that Lexa embarked on her endurance run, as usual, heading the team, faster and more efficient than her heavier counterparts, with the exception of Anya, who was hanging back to talk to Lincoln.

She didn’t look up from the sponge-like turf of the track until she saw a shadow eclipsing her own. Her emerald eyes shot up to find Nathan Miller, Clarke’s (now-ex) partner, hardly breaking a sweat as he ran beside her, not trying to overtake the captain.

“Miller.” She grunted, and he had the nerve to smile at her, wholly and genuinely.

“Captain.” He responded as they rounded the corner.

“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” Lexa asked.

She saw Nathan’s eyes flicker towards Titus, who stood with his hands on his hips, watching his players throughout their hour of conditioning.

“We’re not supposed to-”

“I’m the captain, remember?” Lexa offered him a small smirk. “Exemptions and all that.”

Nathan grinned, shaking his head. “What can I do for you, then?”

“A bit about yourself.” Lexa responded. “I like to know about my team. For instance, I heard Lincoln calling you ‘thief’. Why?”

Nathan smirked. “I’m good at forcing turnovers.”

Lexa smirked back, lifting a brow. “Ah, you steal. I get it.”

“So…” Nathan heaved a little, surprised that Lexa showed no signs of wear. “What was that about your girlfriend, this morning?”

Lexa’s jaw set. “You’re her partner in English now, since I was so generously offered Clarke Griffin.” She rolled her eyes.

“Clarke’s great.” Nathan smiled, but immediately wiped it off when he felt Lexa’s virid gaze boring into his very soul. “Or not.”

“You’re friends with Griffin?” Lexa asked, guardedly.

“Well, I…Yeah, kind of.” Nathan nodded. “We’re part of the same friend group.”

“So you’re an athlete and a…” Lexa’s lip curled in disdain. “- delinquent .”

“Well, I’m trying, but Green won’t notice me.” He sighed with a shrug, puffing a little to keep up with Lexa.

Lexa froze, his body slamming into hers, yet barely moving her an inch. “What?” She hissed.

Miller’s eyes widened. “What?” He asked in surprise. “Green? Monty Green? You know him?”

Lexa visibly sighed in relief, and her shoulders relaxed as she loosened her grip on his shirt. Her cheeks reddened. “My apologies, I…”

“You…Oh! You thought I meant Costia Greene?” Miller had a shit eating grin on his face. “No, I’m not…I’m gay.”

Lexa blinked, mortified by the entire conversation. “Run.” She jerked her head back to the track.

“But we were just getting comfortable.” Miller grinned, knowing this was his one and only opportunity to sass Lexa.

Lexa’s eyes narrowed. “Run, or I’ll bench you.”

Miller smirked. “Is it because I’m gay?”

Lexa’s grin was priceless. “That card doesn’t work on me, Miller.”


 

“Woods!”

Aden winced as he heard the voice, ducking into his lunch as though he could hide from her. He, Ellis, and Nam had found a nice, shaded corner in a courtyard where they gathered to eat, and so far he’d done a great job of avoiding Tris and her pestering about Lexa and Anya.

It seemed as though she was everywhere that Aden went.

Every time he turned a corner, or went to walk between classes, there she was, eyes scanning the crowds as though to look specifically for him, just to ask him about football.

While she was a smart student, Tris definitely wasn’t the best at reading social cues.

If she had been, she would have dropped the matter altogether and just asked Anya and Lexa herself, rather than practically stalking Aden in an attempt to gather information. The only positive of her increased persistence was Atom’s frequent visitation, as the brunette boy was often accompanying his… intense friend, for lack of a better word, and it was often him who distracted Tris long enough for Aden to make a quick getaway, to which the blonde boy was endlessly grateful.

“Oh, pretty boy’s coming.” Aden perked up considerably at the mention of the fluffy-haired boy, reluctantly rising from where he’d placed his head in between his food and Nam’s, a rice dish that the vietnamese boy guarded with his life. “And he’s brought a friend this time. Goodie.”

“Yeah, Michaels?”

“Did you ask about shadowing?”

He had, actually, and Anya had puffed up like a peacock when he told her that there was a freshman who looked up to her specifically, and then Lexa had added in that there was no way that she didn’t think that Lexa was equally amazing, and then the two of them had gotten into yet another fight. In the end, they hadn’t actually given Aden a clear-cut answer, because they’d been too busy wrestling on the ground, but he assumed by their reactions that they wouldn’t mind.

“An says it’s cool,” Aden told her, “and Lexa didn’t protest so I’m assuming you’re golden.”

“Awesome, thanks, Woods.”

She moved to leave, but noticed the way that Atom was shifting nearer and nearer to the table, eyes narrowing in realization. “Actually, mind if we sit here?”

Aden looked over at his two friends who were already seated, echoing the question silently. He had no qualms about Atom joining them, because in the short time that he’d been talking to the other boy, he’d discovered that the two of them had so much in common it was almost uncanny. Tris, on the other hand, he knew relatively nothing about, and he was concerned that she and Ellis would clash personality wise.

“Sure, make yourselves at home.” Ellis took the liberty of answering for him, and Aden sagged in relief. If Ellis was okay with it, that meant that Nam was okay with it, because the two of them were able to communicate almost telepathically, or so it seemed.

A few minutes later, Aden knew that he would come to regret that decision.

Tris just wouldn’t shut up about football.

“Alright, Michaels, while your in-depth analysis of the strategies employed by Aden’s siblings is absolutely riveting, could you please stop? I’m trying to enjoy my moment of serenity.” Atom startled at Ellis’s words, looking between her and Tris with trepidation, as though one of them were going to explode. Probably Tris, who was doing a rather impressive impression of a tomato at the moment.

“I’m educating the ignorant,” Tris shot back.

“Alright, so, how’s about, if I tell you one football related fact that you don’t know, you shut up about football and we’ll talk about something else?”

“Alright,” Tris shot back with a smile, thinking that there was nothing she didn’t know about the sport. Aden couldn’t help but smirk at her overconfidence. If there was anyone who was the queen of useless trivia, it was Ellis. She would randomly spout out facts throughout the day that had no correlation with anything that anyone was discussing, but were still interesting nevertheless.

“A cow has only a 1 in 17,420,000 chance of becoming an NFL football,” she said, very clearly, and Aden could see Tris’s face sink, morphing into a scowl.

“That’s not even—”

“Ah, ah, ah,” Atom jumped in, making a disappointed tsking noise with his tongue, “rules are rules, Tris, you agreed.” Sufficiently embarrassed, the girl settled down, mumbling mutinously into her food.

As it turned out, the five of them got along better than Aden had thought they would.

After Tris finally stopped talking about football, she discovered that she and Ellis shared a common love for Oliver Twist , and the two of them began eagerly conversing about the dynamic between Artful Dodger and Oliver himself, as well as how the novel itself reflected the class struggle of the time, quickly turning into something that changed so quickly Aden got whiplash trying to keep up.

Atom, on the other hand, was eased into conversation by Nam, who was much more awake and engaging at this hour, his calm and easygoing attitude quelling the taller boy’s anxiety over meeting new people. Somehow, the two boys had gotten into the conversation of different youtubers that they watched, and Aden eagerly jumped into the conversation, and the debate began on which gaming youtuber was the best.

This conversation went nowhere, as they were all loyal to their favorites, and instead, they began talking about their favorite collaborations, and Aden pulled out his phone and soon the three of them were doubled over laughing at the general antics of the three of them. When the bell rang and they parted ways, Aden found himself feeling happier than he had in awhile, considering that school was sucking the life out of him, and when he looked down to see the notification, ‘ @fluidfootball started following you’ from Twitter, he had no hesitation in following back.

Tris may have been annoying, but somehow, she was quickly worming her way into his heart, which was wide and always welcoming.

It was nice to have a kru of his own.


 

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Clarke’s eyes narrowed through her goggles as she squinted in disbelief at the front of the classroom, where her AP Chemistry professor, Charles Pike, was warmly shaking the hand of the latest addition to the class.

“What?” Bellamy leaned over from his lab table, where he’d been saving a seat for his “not girlfriend”, Echo.

Raven and Octavia, faithful lab partners to Clarke, smirked at the sight of Lexa Woods, whom, as Pike had just announced, just joined their fifth period chemistry class.

“Who did I murder?” Clarke muttered to herself.

“Huh?” Raven scrunched up her face in confusion.

“Who did I kill in my last life to get such shitty karma?” Clarke elaborated, lifting her goggles up to rest on her forehead, a la Jasper Jordan.

“Someone hot.” Octavia shrugged, eyes raking Lexa innocently. “What’s the big deal anyway?”

“Um, did you miss our giant argument in English?” Clarke turned to face Octavia indignantly.

“I wasn’t even there and I know better than to ask that.” Bellamy tsked, watching as Pike sought out a space for Lexa to join up.

“Pine!” He called, a smirk on his features.

Clarke’s head whipped around and to the lab table to the left, she saw Anya Pine, the school’s resident badass and Lexa’s cousin, attractively smirking.

Maybe it ran in the family, then.

“Come on Lex.” Anya motioned her over, and Clarke just knew Lexa was going to pass her table on the way to Anya’s.

Bellamy’s eyes shot to Anya and lingered perhaps a little too long there, luckily unnoticed by a fuming Clarke and her snickering tablemates.

“You have any questions; Raven Reyes is your girl. Either her, or our Brainiac Clarke Griffin. Introduce yourself.” Pike jerked his head towards Raven with a knowing smile.

Raven straightened up with a mock salute. Even though she was more of an engineering type of girl, ever since freshman year, science teachers adored her.

Clarke was lucky that Pike had a soft spot for them, too. He was brutal on people he didn’t like. It was rumored that once, he was so blinded by rage from a sudden divorce, that he gave all three-hundred innocent students in his various classes detention.

But no one was that cruel, right?  

Lexa’s eyes locked with Clarke’s and her emerald gaze crystallized. She pouted slightly with her full, beautiful lips, a look of disbelief on her features.

“Yes, sir.” Raven grinned back at him, earning a pinch from Clarke under the desk that made her yelp.

“No.” Clarke grumbled. “No fucking way.”

“Clarke, it’s not that bad.” Octavia sighed, watching as Lexa made her way over, bag slung over her shoulder, eyes taking in Clarke’s entourage.

“Lexa Woods.” She stuck out her hand to Octavia first. “I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure. You’re Lincoln’s girlfriend, right?”

Octavia smiled genuinely when Lexa mentioned her boyfriend and shook Lexa’s hand without question.

Lexa turned to Raven. “Reyes. You’re quite storied, in this department.” She smirked a little, knowing she’d just schmoozed her way into Raven’s heart.

Raven smirked proudly. “I’ve been known to…heat things up.”

“Hey!” Pike bellowed from across the room. His broad shoulders stiffened slightly, making him look all the more threatening. Except he was smiling at Raven like she was his daughter, his pride and joy. “No fires with Woods around, Reyes! She needs those quick hands.”

Lexa let herself smile just a little, and Clarke’s eyes fell to Lexa’s long, elegant fingers. They wrapped around the strap on her shoulder, while the other loosely drummed on the table surface, back and forth, like a pendulum.

She felt an odd feeling rush over her and she looked away quickly, slamming her textbook closed.

Lexa frowned for a half a second, before cocking a brow. “Clarke.” She offered Clarke a half smile in the name of peace, her emerald eyes twinkling.

Clarke really tried not to notice the way her name rolled off Lexa’s tongue.

“Lexa.” Clarke gave her a curt nod, passing her a pair tongs. “Here. You’ll need these for the lab today.” She murmured, and she swore that something inside of her short-circuited when Lexa’s long fingers brushed against her own.

Lexa must have felt it too, because she quickly thanked Clarke in the quietest manner and turned to Anya, who was watching everything with a lazy smile.

“Feet off the desk, Pine!” Pike huffed without looking back from the equation he was writing on the board.

Anya rolled her eyes and swung her feet off the desk, patting the seat next to her. “Welcome to hell.” She muttered before throwing her textbook open to search for directions.

Clarke was relieved to find that, if she and her partners kept their voices low, they’d be out of earshot and free to talk about Lexa as they pleased.

Except, she didn’t want to talk about Lexa.

But it sure seemed like Octavia and Raven did.

“So.” Octavia nudged Clarke gently as she read the directions aloud to Raven, who,  with her tongue poking out in great focus, had already gone off on her own side experiment, heating the test tube under a Bunsen burner.

“You’re not supposed to apply heat, Rae.” Clarke mumbled under her breath.

“Shhh.” Raven patted her arm gently. “Mama’s at work.”

Octavia smirked and Clarke rolled her eyes. “So, Clarke…” Octavia drawled, their blue eyes meeting to form a tumultuous ocean of uncertainty. “You don’t like Woods. But why?”

Before Clarke could open her mouth to say another damned word about her English class, Raven butted in, as per usual. “And don’t say anything about English. I know you don’t get pissed that easily.”

Clarke huffed and folded her arms. “What’s the point of asking if you don’t want the truth?”

“True.” Octavia shrugged, smirking still. “Looks like we’ll have to get it out of you.”

“She is arrogant, full of shit, and thinks she owns the place.” Clarke grumbled under her breath.

“Those are three different ways of saying she’s got confidence.” Raven shrugged, eyeing the now bubbling clear liquid in the test tube. “That’s hot.”

“It most certainly is not.” Clarke bit her lip, cheeks reddening. “Well, I mean, confidence is, but she-”

“Holy shit.” Raven breathed, grinning at Octavia. “Clarke has the hots for our new commander.”

Octavia looked as excited as she did when Lincoln had asked her out for the first time. “Clarke!” She smirked, voice a little too loud.

“Guys!” Clarke hissed, glancing back to look at the beautiful brunette in question, who was diligently at work while Anya was clearly asleep, head on her backpack.

“So, what’s wrong with that?” Raven pressed, eyes widening when the test tube began to shake. “Oh, that’s probably enough heat.” She muttered, lowering the flame considerably.

“Everyone loves her. It’s normal. She’s hot as hell. And smart, to boot.”

Clarke still had no idea what she was up to.

“I don’t like her! I hate her! Can you guys lay off?” Clarke grumbled.

Octavia smirked. “That’d make for some hot sex.” She teased, knowing how sensitive Clarke was about the issue.  

“One day I apparently like Bellamy, the next I want to sleep with Woods…” Clarke rolled her eyes. “You guys are insane.”

At that, Clarke felt a hand brush her shoulder. She whipped around to see Lexa standing there, face contorted in slight confusion, the most adorable pout on her lips.

Clarke’s cheeks turned crimson and Octavia’s jaw dropped, but she heaved a sigh of relief when she realized that Lexa hadn’t heard.

“I’m sorry to interrupt.” She spoke formally, as always. “I just…where are the beakers? I tried to wake up Anya, but now I’m pretty sure she’s comatose.”

“Um.” Clarke swallowed the lump in her throat. “By the back sink. Over towards the window.” She murmured, eyes unable to find Lexa’s gaze.

“Thank you, Clarke.” Lexa nodded before turning away.

Clarke’s neck burned from where Lexa’s fingers had brushed against her, moments ago.

When she turned back around, Raven and Octavia were smirking at her mercilessly. 

“Shut up.” Clarke growled emptily before burying her head in her textbook.


 

The so called delinquents were always rowdy, stirring up trouble wherever they went, hence the nickname, so excursions together were usually filled with lots of running and not a lot of time for explanation.

Really, they should have known by now that leaving the comfort of the Griffin home or Arkadia High all at the same time was a bad idea, but they continued to go on their little group field trips anyways.

Today’s destination was the mall, which was always filled with life.

Clarke could see some of the security guards eyeing them warily, Monty and Jasper specifically, because the last time they’d been here, the korean boy had managed to tap into the intercom system and soon Jasper’s lovely rendition of the elements of the periodic table song could be heard throughout the entire facility.

Of course, there’d been no tangible proof that Monty and Jasper had done anything of the sort, so they hadn’t been able to ban them. Kicking them out, however, was a different story, but the two boys remembered the day fondly.

The usual suspects were all there.

Raven was currently situated on Bellamy’s back, the freckled boy carrying her around piggyback style, much to her never-ending joy. Clarke often speculated on the logistics of their relationship, but knew that Bellamy was currently infatuated with a girl named Echo, who was in Lexa’s friend group. Not that Clarke noticed who Lexa hung around or anything. No, of course not.

Octavia was walking alongside the two, whining about how she wanted a piggyback ride, and Bellamy merely shushed her while Raven stuck out her tongue at the other girl.

Really, they acted like they were five year olds.

Monty and Jasper were walking close together, Jasper’s arm slung around the shoulders of his best friend, and Clarke grinned at the sight of them. If she didn’t know just how much of a straight white boy Jasper really was, she would’ve assumed that the two of them were dating, but she knew that Monty’s attention was currently focused on a certain football player Clarke was friends with.

Trailing slightly behind Monty and Jasper were perhaps one of the most surprising couples in all of Arkadia: Murphy and one Emori Wilde.

Clarke thought they were adorable.

Murphy was all bark and no bite, using his sarcasm and general asshole tendencies as a wall to shield him from the cruelness of the world. Emori, on the other hand, was all bright smiles and over-exuberance, a pure concentration of energy. From a distance, people often wondered how the two of them had managed to get together, and it was a story that only those closest to them really new.

Post the Murphy Incident of sophomore year, the scruffy, disillusioned boy had been a broken shell, and retreated even further into himself. Bellamy, who’d been friends with the boy since nursery school, hadn’t even been able to pull him out of his fit of depression and general anger. Emori’s transfer to Arkadia had been a godsend.

For some reason, she’d taken an instant liking to Murphy, depressed state and all, and had coaxed him out of his shell and back into his usual, less-of-an-asshole self. Her smiles balanced out his scowls, and she was perhaps the only one who could keep up with him in terms of sarcasm. Whenever he had relapses, she was there, gently holding him when he cried or spooked, and he, in turned, helped her deal with her kleptomania, stealing things back from her and putting them on their shelves where they belonged. It had become a game of sorts between the two of them.

They were perfect for each other, really.

“Alright, delinquents,” Clarke said, clearing her throat, “what’s the game plan?”

Seven voices broke out once, a cacophony of requests, and Clarke held up her hand, and they quelled. “One at a time, please.”

“I wanted to buy a mini board,” Jasper said, and Monty looked at him incredulously.

“Do you even know how to—”

“—no, but that’s besides the point,” Jasper grinned, “it’ll look cool.” Monty rolled his eyes at his best friend, pursing his lips. Jasper would do anything to impress girls, even at the risk of his own health.

“I need some new shirts,” Bellamy said proudly, “the others are getting a bit tight.” His words were in obvious reference for his attempts to beef up and gain more muscle mass, but Octavia ignored this, poking his stomach.

“You’re right,” she said solemnly, “you’re getting fat, Bell.”

“Honestly,” Raven added, “it’s like you don’t even work out.” He laughed with them, but jolted Raven slightly, causing the latina girl to yelp and cling to him even harder.

“Careful with what you say, Reyes, I could throw you anytime I want.”

“Never,” Raven teased, “I’m always on top.”

“I’m running suspiciously low on black in my wardrobe,” Murphy said dryly, “but I’ll go wherever you idiots drag me.”

“I saw a really cute muffin patterned button-down last time we were here,” Emori added excitedly, glancing sideways at Murphy, “it’ll look good on you, babe.”

“Is it black?”

“Nope, baby blue with pastel pink muffins.” He sent a look skyward, as if praying for his own sanity, but Clarke knew that it was just for show. Murphy would wear anything Emori gave him proudly, though he’d bitch and complain every step of the way.

“Can we visit the puppies?” Octavia pleaded, knowing full well that none of her friends could resist the small adoption clinic on the upper floor, Polis Pets.  

“At the end,” Clarke agreed, rolling her eyes when Octavia and Monty cheered, “because I know you’ll never want to leave if we go there first. Alright, so we’ll do some clothes shopping and then stop for lunch and maybe ice cream? And then we can go get Jasper’s board and look at the puppies.”

“Sounds good, princess,” Bellamy confirmed, nodding at the others, “alright, delinquents, move out!”

Shopping as a group was one of the most amusing things Clarke had ever experienced.

It became a competition of who could find the ugliest piece of clothing, and they’d spend forever in the dressing rooms trying on the ridiculous clothes they found and parading them around for the others to rate. For some reason, Monty and Jasper had ended up sharing a giant t-shirt that was still loose with the two teenagers within it, waddling awkwardly around the store. Bellamy was rocking a sundress and heels, while Murphy had begrudgingly put on the shirt Emori had mentioned earlier, along with a pair of khaki shorts, which was a huge difference from his usual black jeans and dark t-shirts.

Raven had somehow found a hideous sweater with a cat on it, and flung it over Clarke’s shoulders, and Clarke smiled good-naturedly when Octavia went to take a picture with her.

Eventually, they stopped messing around and actually made their purchases, except for Clarke, who didn’t buy anything as she: a) didn’t need new clothes, and b) saved up all of her money for art supplies. She pretended not to notice Murphy folding up the muffin shirt and putting it in his bag while Emori beamed.

“Ice cream!” Jasper cheered, and Bellamy frowned at him.

“You have to make sure you eat an actual meal first, Jasper.” The goggle-wearing boy ignored him however, echoing his own cheer.

“Ice cream!”

While he would never admit it, Bellamy was definitely the mother hen of the friend group. He was always the one to make sure everyone had a jacket when the weather was cold, and monitored Jasper’s eating habits, as the gangly boy would eat nothing but sugar without Bellamy’s stern eye. Whenever any of them were sick, it was Bellamy who would drive to their home and deliver a bowl of his mother’s famous homemade chicken noodle soup, and he fretted constantly over the physical and mental health of his friends.

“Don’t worry, Jasper, we’ll get you ice cream,” Clarke assured, and the boy grinned widely, scooping the blonde into a hug.

“This is why you’re my favorite,” Jasper told her, and she rolled her eyes when Monty made an offended noise.

“Don’t worry, Monty,” Jasper said, winking at his best friend, “you’re still my ultimate favorite.”

“Of course I am,” Monty responded, “have you met me?”

“Shut up and walk faster, mama needs her ice cream.” Clarke laughed when Raven pushed forward, speed walking faster than a white suburban mother trying to outrun menopause, Jasper trailing loyally behind her.

“They’re going to have a sugar high and blow something up,” Bellamy sighed, shaking his head and shooting a disapproving look at Clarke, “you shouldn’t encourage them.”

“Who, me?” Clarke laughed, tone light and teasing. “I would never.”

The rest of the delinquents made their way into the food court at a languid pace, far behind Raven and Jasper, who had travelled surprisingly quickly for a girl with a brace and a scrawny boy who never exercised.

As usual, it was bustling, and filled with people, a normal friday at the mall.

After a moment, Clarke saw Raven hurrying back towards them.

This was the first warning that something was wrong.

Raven never left the opportunity to get something sweet.

She pulled Clarke and Bellamy away specifically, nodding at Octavia to keep the others occupied silently, her eyes narrowed and tone low.

“We have to maneuver Murphy away,” she hissed under her breath, “we’ve got Cerebus at three o’clock.”

Clarke felt her blood run cold at the codename, which was entirely too appropriate.

There wasn’t a better word than the three-headed beast situated at the entrance to hell to describe the Queen triplets.

Her blue eyes scanned the crowd in the direction that Raven had instructed, and felt anger rise in her chest when she saw Nia Queen meeting her gaze readily, standing still in the bustle. To her right was the least horrible of the three, Roan, who was of an extremely terrifying build, with a scar slicing across his left eyebrow that he’d gotten in a streetfight. But what really made Clarke’s blood boil was the girl standing to Nia’s left.

Ontari Queen.

“Get Murphy out,” Clarke affirmed, and Bellamy turned back to the group, but his heart fell when he saw Murphy’s previously happy facial expression twist into something much darker, much more ugly.

It was too late.

Like a shot, Murphy was racing in the other direction, leaving his friends behind.

Bellamy made to follow him, but Emori shook her head.

“I’ve got this,” she promised, before rushing off after her boyfriend, leaving the others to stand awkwardly together. Clarke turned back to look at the triplets, and Nia raised her eyebrow at Clarke, before saying something that she couldn’t make out from that distance, and the three siblings slunk away through the crowd and towards the exit.

The silence was broken a moment later when Jasper arrived, happily eating an ice cream cone, confused by the solemn demeanor of his friends.

“What’d I miss?”


 

“Well, that went splendidly.” Clarke mumbled as the last few members of the group retrieved their ice cream cones, the mood sullied by the Queen Triplets’ appearance.

However, the bustle of the mall wasn’t quelled by the appearance of “Cerberus”, and parents still passed with their laughing children, old couples rambled on, hand in hand.

Maybe they were the root of all evil, but life did seem to go on, even for the Delinquents, who’d made themselves at home once more, thanks to Bellamy’s efforts.

“I got a table, guys.” Bellamy announced, cupping his hands around his mouth to make sure everyone had heard him.

Bellamy, ever the mother hen, had pulled three separate tables together in the dining area, with enough seats to fit all of them, save for Murphy and Emori, who’d taken their leave, understandably.

“Thanks, mom.” Octavia smirked, licking her cone.

Bellamy gave her a subtle push and her nose went into her ice cream. “Hey!” She narrowed her cobalt eyes at him.

“Oops.” Bellamy grinned, taking a seat beside Raven, who’d watched the twins with great interest.

“I could get that for you.” Jasper smirked at Octavia, teasing suggestively as he twirled his ice cream cone around in his hands.

“Hard pass.” Octavia winced and then smirked when she saw Jasper roll her eyes.

“So, that was weird, right?” Raven chimed in, after a particularly daring mouthful of sprinkles. “Cerberus never show their faces without…I don’t know…doing something.”

Monty chimed in, analyzing the situation like a true science enthusiast: systematically. “Well, maybe they felt outnumbered?”

“They fucking better have.” Octavia grumbled. “After what that bitch Ontari did to Mur-”

“Holy shit.” Raven stopped eating her ice cream, turning her head, eyes widening and adjusting to something behind Clarke.

“What?” Clarke whipped around unsurely, cheeks reddening as she froze at the sight. “Oh, come on, you’ve got to be kidding me.” She practically growled.

There she was, in all her glory.

Lexa Woods, beautiful as ever, in a simple leather jacket and oh so tight pants. Her brunette locks were unbraided, loosely parted, falling over her shoulder in luxurious waves.

And of course, of fucking course, Costia was draped over her like some model in a photoshoot, with her perfect curls, her dress, and her cheerleader’s physique.

Honestly, they were so beautiful, it was sickening.

“Please don’t notice me.” Clarke mumbled to herself. “Please, please, please…”

“Hey CLARKE!” Jasper grinned excitedly, clearly not in the loop. “Remember that game we were looking at? It’s on sale now! Look!”

Clarke wanted to bang her head against the sticky mall table, hoping that it would open up a void and suck her straight into it.

Upon hearing Clarke’s name, Lexa froze for a split second in mid stride, emerald gaze catching Clarke’s blues in a heated little lock.

Clarke’s cheeks burned as she dreamed of killing Jasper in sixteen different ways.

Lexa, arms occupied with Costia’s waist, offered Clarke that stupid shit eating smirk she tended to wear on those full lips, paired with a little wink.

Clarke clenched her waffle-cone so hard that it cracked, and lines of vanilla ice cream ran down her hand, accompanied by an orchestra of Clarke’s various known profanities.

Lexa watched with widened eyes, smirk widening, and Clarke could practically hear her amused chuckle. Costia then tugged her arm, pulling her into some shoe store. Lexa pressed a quick kiss to her forehead, allowing Costia to do whatever she wanted with her.

“Fuck me.” Clarke mumbled as she gratefully accepted Bellamy’s readily offered napkins.

“Swoon.” Raven mumbled, grinning as she licked her ice cream. “Nice, Griffin.”

“Look at her.” Clarke rolled her eyes. “Look at them. How…How…”

“Hot?” Octavia supplied. Bellamy nodded his approval as well.

“Guys, come on…” Monty sighed, glancing at Clarke sympathetically. “When did you all turn into traitors? This is Costia Greene we’re talking about here. Hello? Clarke’s worst nemesis?”

“True.” Octavia clicked her tongue in approval. “Sorry Griffin. But you do have to admit…they’re straight out of a movie. Or a magazine. I don’t know, but whatever it is, Lincoln and I should try out for it.” She puffed her chest proudly, thinking of her boyfriend with a goofy smile.

“Oh.” Raven rolled her eyes. “Look at that. I’ve suddenly lost my appetite.”

“You think I haven’t seen the way you stare at Anya Pine?” Octavia challenged, wheeling around in her seat.

Raven immediately reddened, and Clarke jumped in on the attack. “Yeah, Rae. What’s that about?”

Raven glanced at Bellamy, swallowing the lump in her throat. “Bell, back me up?”

Bellamy coughed, his voice husky. “I don’t know. Yeah. No. Oh, look!” He shot up out of his seat. “Is that Monroe? I better go say Hi. Good for class president publicity and all that.” He winked in a hurry, nearly leaving so fast that he almost blurred.

“Whoa.” Clarke lifted a brow. “Looks like it’s a weird year for everyone.”

Chapter Text

Though they’d established a truce of sorts, that didn’t mean that the two girls didn’t fight.

Quite the contrary, the two of them fought all the time .

Of course, under the watchful eye of Niylah, it was considerably less aggressive than it had been in the beginning, the two deciding to approach conflict through diplomacy, but they were both just as stubborn as one another, and neither of them were willing to back down from their viewpoints.

If there was an award for open-mindedness at the school, neither would even be considered as nominations for it.

Their conversations were a constant back and forth.

Clarke, of course, defended the novel staunchly, and Lexa fought her every step of the way.

“Clarke, the first thing Darcy does is insult Elizabeth, that isn’t exactly the proper foundation for a relationship—”

“Well he doesn’t know she heard him, and besides, people can change, and grow and—”

“—so would you date someone who called you ugly the first time you met?”

“Nobody would,” Clarke shot back. She was many things, but self-conscious about her appearance was not one of them. She knew very well what sort of effect she had on people, “I look fantastic .”

“Oh and I’m the one with the ego problem,” Lexa bit back, and there was something about her tone that was almost teasing, her eyes sparkling with amusement as she watched Clarke falter slightly, fixing her with a glare, but it didn’t hold the previous malice that Clarke had possessed for the brunette.

For some unfathomable reason, Clarke couldn’t bring herself to hate Lexa as much as she previously had. The football player had a sort of annoyingly persistent charm, and while she still irritated Clarke to no end, she couldn’t help but be amused by her antics. Clarke wasn’t sure what caused the change in their dynamic. Perhaps it had been the truce, the promise of a ceasefire between them.

She was still annoyed by Lexa’s arrogance and her over inflated ego, that was for sure, but she now found herself looking forward to their debates in English. If they could even be called that. Debates implied a level of agreeance, and Lexa and Clarke definitely did not agree on things.

“Is that a small smile I see?” Lexa gasped, only furthering Clarke’s scowl as the blonde swatted her on the shoulder somewhat playfully.

“Let there be no miscommunication,” Clarke responded, “I still think you’re an ass.”

“Sure you do, princess.” Clarke’s brows furrowed at the use of the nickname that Bellamy had given her, but she turned back to the work, pointing out the continuation of the themes throughout the story, and Lexa took notes diligently along with Clarke’s words.

It was in the moments like these, where Lexa was actually working, not arguing or sassing or generally making an ass out of herself, that Clarke was the most perplexed by her. Because in these moments, Lexa seemed like just another student trying to get by and do her homework, not some stuck-up football superstar. Clarke’s attentive eyes traced the contours of her face, the gentle hollows of her eyes, the curve of her chin, the sharpness of her jawline… the plumpness of her lips.

She searched for any imperfections, but she couldn’t find them.

In her concentration, Lexa frowned slightly, and Clarke watched the small pull to those pouty, perfect lips, that she had traced with her eyes countless times already—purely from an artist’s points of view, of course—stopping to rest on the small freckle on her lip, but even that was cute. Honestly, it wasn’t fair.

“Hem.”

Cerulean eyes snapped up to meet forest green, that were shining with confusion and a degree of amusement, and Clarke cleared her throat awkwardly, shrugging.

“Sorry, was staring off into space.” The words were said with finality, as though daring Lexa to question the validity of them, and the brunette just smirked her annoying smirk, returning her focus to the notes she was taking.

“Whatever you say, Clarke.”

It was perhaps the first time that Lexa had ever addressed Clarke by her first name to her face without malice or bite, and Clarke hated what it did to her.

There was something about the way Lexa’s tongue curled over the ‘c’ and clicked on the ‘k’ that sent shivers down the blonde artist’s spine, it was almost unsettling. Clarke’s mind couldn’t help but wander…

“BOO!”

Clarke nearly jumped out of her skin when Raven slammed her hands down on Clarke’s desk, effectively startling her friend out of her thoughts, and she started laughing hysterically when Lexa, equally as startled, slammed her head into the desk. How, Clarke would never know, but it caused quite the scene either way.

Lexa drew back, hands flying to her nose, where droplets of blood were beginning to escape with rapidly increasing frequency. She sent her most withering glare in Raven’s direction, but the latina girl had collapsed to the ground in a fit of raucous laughter, clutching at her stomach and wheezing.

Quickly, Clarke pulled tissue out of her bag—Bellamy had insisted she always carry some with her—and handed it over wordlessly to Lexa, who nodded in thanks, still clutching at her nose.

Niylah made her way over, alarmed by the amount of noise from that section of the room, and frowned curiously at the sight of one of her students rolling around on the ground, one clutching at a bleeding nose, and Clarke sitting, still looking like a deer caught in headlights.

“What happened?” she sighed, and shook her head when Clarke and Lexa both pointed to Raven, who was still in near-tears on the ground. “Of course, why did I even ask. Reyes, detention after school.” The girl was still laughing too hard to respond, but Clarke assured Niylah that she’d remind the forgetful girl before school ended.

“What’s happ—oh, Lexa, baby, are you alright?”

Clarke instantly felt her good mood sour when Costia came rushing over, fretting over Lexa as though she’d been shot. Clarke’s opposing artist had always had a flare for dramatics, but she’d forgotten just how much Costia blew things out of proportion, and not even the embarrassed pink tinge on Lexa’s cheeks could revive her previous contentment.

“It’s just a bloody nose, Greene, calm down,” Clarke muttered mutinously, and the other girl turned to fix her with a glare, the other still caressing Lexa’s cheek in what she must have thought to be a soothing manner.

“I’m just worried about my girlfriend,” Costia shot back, eyes narrowing, “not that you’d understand, or anything.” Clarke felt a fire ignite in her chest, and she opened her mouth as though to say something she’d later regret, as well as her usual spiel about being the daughter of a doctor , for christ’s sake, but she felt a hand on her shoulder, and looked back to see Octavia, whose eyes were wide with hidden warning.

“Let’s make sure the idiot can still breath,” Octavia offered instead, bending over to hoist a still cackling Raven up from the ground, “can’t have her dying from laughing too hard, Bell would kill us.”

Clarke rolled her eyes and fixed her attention on Raven, a much welcomed distraction from the disgusting coddling taking place behind her. There were legitimate tear tracks running down Raven’s cheeks, and she was wheezing, sucking in gulps of air in an attempt to calm herself down, but the attempts only made her laugh harder.

“The mighty commander,” she wheezed, still deep in her fit, “defeated… by a boo .”

Clarke would admit it was funny that Lexa, who claimed to be the biggest badass in the entire school, had been so horribly startled by one of Raven’s horrid attempts at scaring people, but not as much as Raven was making it out to be.

“Oh my god Clarke I’m actually crying .”

“I can see that, Raven,” she responded dryly, and Octavia awkwardly slapped Raven’s back to prevent the girl from choking on her own breaths.

“Woods, I’m sorry but you should’ve seen your face , oh fuck, I wish I’d had a camera, everyone needs to hear about this… Clarke, you should write in the Gazette about it… on second thought, maybe not, I don’t wanna die.”

Badass indeed.


 

Aden’s life had quickly fallen to a routine of studying, studying, and more studying.

Oh, and did he mention studying ?

He couldn’t really complain, though.

Clarke was great.

Better than great, even, she was fantastic .

Of course, Aden was probably biased, since he harbored the tiniest of crushes on the senior—how could you not , she was kind, smart, funny, and gorgeous, what wasn’t there to swoon over?—but she had really been a godsend to him throughout the process. Without her help, he would have still been slumped over a pile of neverending math homework and zero clue how to finish it all.

His school days went as such:

First, he’d arrive earlier than necessary as a byproduct of Lexa wanting to spend time with her girlfriend before class, and find Atom waiting for him at his locker. Somehow, the brunette boy always managed to make it there before him, and Atom would carry Aden’s things to Trikru’s room, where they would hang around until the first bell rang. Sometimes Ellis was there to talk with them, and most of the time Nam was already snoozing away by the time they arrived.

The classes he was in passed quickly now that he had a friend in every single one, and Aden found his happiness rising and stress falling the longer he spent with them.

Tris was perhaps the most energetic person Aden had ever met, which was saying something.

Her words moved at miles a minute, seemingly able to find passion about whatever subject suited her fancy that day.

Nam was her polar opposite, lethargic and tired most of the time, with a relaxed attitude and general view on life. Aden didn’t think he’d ever seen the boy stressed, though his friend claimed that he’d been stressed for so long that he no longer felt it, and was completely numb to the world around him. That couldn’t be healthy, but Nam waved off Aden’s concerns, telling him that there was nothing that energy drinks and a lot of sugar couldn’t solve.

Ellis was, quite frankly, a little piece of shit, but Aden adored her.

Her personality was as fiery as her hair, and she took no nonsense from anyone, never afraid to say what was on her mind, which usually ended up in a lot of sarcastic insults and sly digs at character. That, and she was so genuinely smart that Aden wondered how she hadn’t skipped a grade or two.

And then there was Atom, who was quickly becoming Aden’s favorite person in the entire world, who was perhaps the nicest boy he’d ever met. There was something about his bright smiles and sometimes awkward behavior that Aden found endearing, and he played soccer. It was like a dream come true.

Anyway, back to the schedule.

After the initial arrival to school, the day would fly by quickly, and lunches were always an interesting time, because Tris was currently doing a lot of research on gender and sexuality, which intrigued Aden to no end. His knowledge was relatively limited—which seemed odd, because his sister was a lesbian and his cousin was poly—and was utterly befuddled by some of the things Tris told him. Especially when Tris dutilly informed him that some days she was not a she at all, and in fact a he called Tristan. Once he’d gotten past his initial confusion, Aden caught onto the whole pronoun business rather quickly, and told her to text him whenever it was a Tristan day so he wouldn’t misgender his new friend.

And then finally, after the bell signifying the end of the school day rang, Aden would hurry over to the library where Clarke was waiting, and dutifully start revising for his first Trikru test.

It wasn’t even as big of a deal as Aden was making it out to be, but he wanted to do well to prove to himself—and Trikru, though that was less important—that he could .

Math had always been a hard subject matter for him, but with Clarke’s assistance, he could see the visible improvement. As it turned out, all he had needed was a competent teacher and a little encouragement.

Lexa, however, was slightly grumpy about the situation, as she loved having her little brother around at practices so she could keep an eye on him.

“Where are you spending all of your time after school, again?” the question was brought up one night at the dinner table, and Aden paused, mid-bite of his tortellini, looking like a deer-caught-in-headlights.

“Tutoring,” he answered dutifully, trying to act as nonchalant as possible. He could feel the weight of Lexa’s narrowed eyes on him, and he busied himself with eating.

“With who?”

“Oh, y’know, just one of the school assigned ones,” he shrugged, “you probably wouldn’t know them.”

In any other situation, he would have taken a moment to brag about how great of a tutor Clarke was, but not to Lexa.

He’d heard the blonde girl complain about his older sister firsthand—he didn’t think that she knew that they were siblings yet—during some of their tutoring sessions, and while he would have defended Lexa, he couldn’t help but agree with some of the points Clarke made, specifically about Lexa’s arrogance and general snobbish attitude. So Aden knew all about the fights that the two had, in and out of the classroom, as well as the tentative truce that Clarke had established in an attempt to maintain her sanity. If Lexa knew that Clarke was tutoring her little brother, she would probably bring it up to the girl, and Aden didn’t want to risk losing the best math teacher he’d ever had just because she didn’t like his sister.

So he remained quiet.

“It’s not Jasper Jordan, is it?”

Aden almost choked on his food as he laughed, and Anya rolled her eyes as she smacked his back, a little harder than necessary.

“No, Lexa,” he chuckled, “I’m not buying drugs from Jasper Jordan after school.”

“Monty Green, then?”

“Nope.”

“C’mon, Lex,” Anya added, “Aden’s too much of a nerd to do drugs, you know that.” Aden almost opened his mouth to protest, but clamped it shut quickly, knowing that any belligerence would be taken as though he was considering or already involved in the Jordan-Green drug cartel.

Which he wasn’t .

Not yet, anyways, he was much too busy to even consider seeking either of the boys out, even now that he had a connection to them by means of Clarke, who he would never exploit to gain favors.

There was a reason that Aden was a Hufflepuff and not a Slytherin, after all.

Not telling Lexa outright who his tutor was probably wasn’t the best decision he could have made, though.

Aden always, always , got out of tutoring before Lexa got out of football practice, because she loved drilling her whining, aching teammates for as long as she could, regardless of how many times Anya called her a sadist or the intensity of Lincoln’s puppy dog eyes begging her to let them be done for the night. Lexa was a perfectionist, even more so than Trikru, and obsessed with winning, especially when their opening game was against Arkadia’s biggest rivals: the Azgeda Vikings, and, more specifically, Ontari Queen, who everyone in Arkadia seemed to hate, for reasons unknown to Aden.

Well, not entirely unknown. He had heard the rumors, but found it difficult to fathom in all of his good-heartedness that someone could stoop so low, and he didn’t want to ask for further details and stir up memories that were better off left buried, so he bit his tongue and went along with his own business.

So, because of Lexa’s sadistic tendencies with running drills with her team, Aden hadn’t thought he’d ever have to worry about her doing something as unthinkable as picking him up .

It had been a regular tutoring session.

Clarke was doodling in her sketchbook as Aden worked diligently on the problems she’d assigned him, keeping her wits about her in case the smaller blonde had a question that she could help with, which happened with exponentially less frequency, as Clarke’s lessons were always comprehensible, and Aden knew how to do the work after she showed him.

As a rule of thumb, because they worked in the school library, which was a fairly public space, there was a large amount of students wandering in and out of its expanses, some to find books, others to find an alcove to make out in—those Clarke usually made fun of with Aden—and some who were just bored and stranded after school, with nothing to do with themselves. So hearing footsteps wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, and no cause for concern.

That is, until Aden saw Clarke’s fist clench around her pencil out of the corner of his eyes, and noted that whoever was walking was suspiciously close to his back.

“Woods.” Clarke’s voice was clipped, losing all semblance of the lightheartedness it had possessed when she was joking around with Aden, and he looked up to see narrowed cerulean eyes, trained firmly to the figure standing behind him, and he didn’t need to turn to know that it was Lexa. “What do you need?”

“What do you think, Griffin?” there was a layer of humor underneath the heavy weight of sarcasm in her tone, and Aden winced as Clarke’s eyes narrowed even further. “I thought tutors were supposed to be smart.” He could see the jump in Clarke’s jaw as she gritted her teeth, observed the brief flicker of confusion in the blue depths of her eyes as they flicked up and down between him and Lexa, saw the minuscule widening of realization as she finally put the pieces together.

He felt the soft pressure of a hand on his shoulder, and turned around sheepishly to look at Lexa, who was watching him with a raised brow.

“I thought you had practice,” he said meekly, and the older girl narrowed her own emerald eyes at him, cocking her head to the side slightly.

“I let them go early,” she said, a small smirk tugging at her lips, “I decided to be kind for once.” His well-trained ears heard the small noise of disbelief from Clarke, though the blonde masked it with a cough as soon as Lexa’s eyes snapped, attention diverted away from Aden.

“Well, then,” she said as she stood up, gathering her sketchbook and pencils into her bag, “I guess this concludes our session, since your sister —” the word was awkward on her tongue, unfamiliar in this situation “—is here to pick you up.” She moved to walk away from them, pausing for a brief moment to nod at Lexa. “Woods.” Aden held his breath as her eyes moved to him, but relaxed as the gaze softened and she smiled. “Aden.” And then, with a flourish, Clarke walked away, presumably to go and find Octavia, who was her ride to work later in the evening, Aden knew.

“Clarke Griffin is your tutor?” Lexa asked dryly. “I didn’t think she was the type.” Aden felt indignation spark in his chest as he shoved Lexa lightly, gathering up his homework and textbook, oddly protective over the blonde girl.

“Clarke’s brilliant,” he informed her dutifully, the same stubbornness in his eyes that were so often mirrored in Lexa’s own, chin jutting out slightly as though to issue a challenge. “Without her, I’d probably be failing math, because lord knows Trikru is a horrible teacher.”

Lexa tastefully ignored the dig towards her beloved football coach and instead picked up Aden’s textbook for him, ruffling his hair distractedly. Her eyes had a faraway look in them, which puzzled Aden to no end, and he followed her line of sight out of the library window to where Clarke was walking next to Octavia Blake. There was something about the intensity of Lexa’s gaze that seemed eerily familiar, and when he placed it, there was nothing that could stop the shit-eating grin from spreading across his face.

“See something you like, Lex?”

“Huh?” Sufficiently snapped out of her reverie, Lexa turned to look at her little brother, who was grinning innocently at her, before scoffing nonchalantly. “Who, Griffin? Nah, she’s got nothing on Cos.” That , Aden knew, was a blatant lie, because he had eyes and knew that, which both girls were beautiful, there was just something about Clarke that set her apart from the rest of the crowd. And besides, he knew when his own sister was checking someone out, he’d seen it far too many times to not recognize the signs of attraction in his sister’s eyes.

He shrugged in lieu of a response, and Lexa rolled her eyes at him.

“Hurry up, I’m delivering you to Anya and Lincoln to go home, I’ve got a date.”

Maybe Clarke and Lexa knowing that he was a link between the two of them wasn’t such a bad thing….

Aden had an idea.

One that was probably going to get his ass kicked—by Lexa, of course—but, oh, it was perfect.

Now he just needed to plan.


 

The Dropship was the local diner for students of Arkadia, and even occasionally, Azgeda High. For good reason, too. While it was situated smack in the middle of town, making it accessible to all, the food was always reliably good, and the waitresses were the finest around.

Why, was that, exactly?

Because the waiting staff featured Clarke Griffin and Octavia Blake, both of whom were competing viciously to get better customer reviews and tips, resulting in the eventual award of employee of the month.

It was a newly introduced concept from their manager, and one of Clarke’s best friends, Wells Jaha, son of Thelonious, the famed Arkadia principal.

Clarke needed the wage bump. She knew that, since Jake’s death, Abby had been reluctant to leave Clarke alone for long evening shifts at the hospital. So, when their family friends, the Jaha’s, offered them both jobs: waitressing and the school’s athletic trainer, respectively, neither girl declined. That meant a gargantuan dip in salary for Abby, and extra hours for Clarke, as she could barely afford art supplies anymore.

Of course, she and Abby had grown closer, because of it.

Except when Abby gave her detention.

But Wells was kind and always a great friend, and though he was a year older than Clarke and attended a local college, he was more than reliable and kind.

Naturally, Clarke had a bit of an advantage, and Octavia wasn’t keen on letting her forget it.

“Hey, Clarke.” Wells smiled when she approached the counter from the back room, in her server’s uniform, her blue eyes sparkling when she saw him. “How’s my favorite senior?”

Clarke leaned in for a quick kiss to his cheek, smiling as she finished tying her apron. “Not bad, all things considered. A few…bumps…here and there, but can’t complain.”

Wells nodded, eyes taking in Octavia, who ran in behind Clarke, eyes shooting to the clock. “Ha! Made it with two minutes to spare!” She nodded to Wells with a smile. “Sorry, class was let out late.”

Wells chuckled. “I know the feeling, no worries. So, you two ready for your little competition?”

Octavia smirked, and Clarke rolled her eyes. “How, exactly, is this to be determined?” She asked loftily.

“I have eyes and ears around the place.” Wells shrugged nonchalantly. “Just…do your jobs, and remember…Smile, it’s customer service that got us that amazing review in the paper.”

“Well, Clarke’s been doing a whole lot more than smiling at the customers.” Octavia teased.

Clarke whipped around on the brunette, jaw agape. “What? What’s that supposed to mean?” Octavia merely smirked at her blonde friend and waggled her eyebrows, before focusing her attention on tying her hair up into a messy ponytail in preparation for their shift.

The front doors opened, and that marked the official beginnings of the lunch boom. Schools had all just been let out, and nothing brought in business like the smell of comfort food wafting in the air and beautiful, friendly, waitresses.

Honestly, this had to be some sort of exploitation. Clarke glanced down, realizing her outfit was about as uninteresting and suggestive as could be, consisting of an apron that covered a white top and a white skirt, her hair pulled into a messily cute bun.

“I’ll let you two get to work.” Wells smiled. “I’ll be in the kitchen.”

“Octavia…” Clarke grinned, leaning against the back counter, waiting for the hordes of brain-dead students to file in. “I’ll take table ten.”

Octavia pouted. “No fair! The lacrosse team is sitting there! They always order a lot!”

“That’s more work for me!” Clarke pointed out, grin never fading.

“Yeah, don’t play me, Griffin.” Octavia grumbled, pinching Clarke’s arm playfully. “I know they tip well, too.”

“Hey, don’t let Wells see you frown.” Clarke stated smugly in a faux whisper. “He’s keeping score, remember?”

“Fuck.” Octavia smiled through gritted teeth. She wheeled around, turning and freezing, cobalt gaze widening. “I’ll take three.”

Clarke nodded absently, reaching for her notebook. “Okay sure.”

“You take thirteen.” Octavia spoke quickly, slyly, turning to leave.

“Wait, what?” Clarke glanced up, looking through the small covering of Wells’ stupid indoor plants, eyes falling on her.

“No fucking way.” Clarke’s eyes widened. “Isn’t this place a little too…lowbrow for her?”

“Costia loves it here.” Octavia smirked, matter-of-factly. “She’s pleasing her girl.”

Clarke almost threw up a little in her mouth. “You take it.” She spoke just as rapidly.

“No.” Octavia smirked.

“O, come on!” Clarke hissed, following Octavia as she strode over to the boy’s lacrosse table that Clarke had claimed for herself.

(Even though, and Wells had said this ad nauseum, there were no rights to ‘claiming’ a table).

“Hey guys, I’m Octavia, and I’ll be your server for today.” Octavia grinned, smiling at her classmates with a faux look of excitement.

“No, no…” Clarke stepped in front of her, watching Octavia frown. “I’m Clarke, and I’ll be your server for today.”  

“Huh?” The leader of the pack looked a bit confused, squinting up at Clarke, and then Octavia. The boy’s lacrosse team weren’t exactly known for their superiority when it came to academics, that was the girl’s team, who were known to be quite ruthless and calculating, especially with Emori among them.

“Clarke, beat it!” Octavia hissed.

“No, you can’t-”

Clarke never finished her sentence, because Octavia’s well timed shove caught her completely off guard, sending her careening backwards into table thirteen.

Clarke felt her fingers brush against hers, and she knew she was a dead woman.

Whipping around, cheeks burning, trying to gain her composure, Clarke’s eyes settled on Lexa and Costia, side by side in the booth, Lexa on the outermost part, fingers steadying Clarke’s fall.

Well, at least she’d managed to catch herself.

Lexa’s silky hair was tossed over her shoulder, her other hand laced with Costia’s above the table. Her green eyes were wide with surprise.

“Clarke?” She asked unsurely.

Costia smirked. “Clarke, don’t tell me you’re a waitress as well as a tutor. A woman of many hidden...talents.” There was something in the jab that made Clarke’s blood boil. Before she could fire off a comment about how not everyone could simply live as comfortably as those two, without having to work for it, Lexa was valiantly between them without being overt.

“Hello, Clarke.” She cleared her throat, voice ever formal.

“Hey.” Clarke swallowed the lump in her throat, the anger dissipating at the distraction that was Lexa. “Your nose…” She motioned to her own nose, lamely. “It uh…looks good.”

Lexa lifted a brow, her telltale smirk falling into place. “Thank you.”

“Is this how you normally greet your customers, Clarke?” Costia fired off smoothly, playing it off as a teasing joke.

Clarke suddenly felt a soft prickle on the back of her neck. Turning, she saw Wells taking notes on all his servers in the corner of her vision.

Clarke cleared her throat awkward, straightening up. “Hello, welcome to the Dropship. I’m Clarke, and I’ll be your server. Have you dined with us before?”

Costia smirked, and Lexa couldn’t help the amused laugh that tumbled out of her luscious lips, and Clarke felt utterly humiliated.

“I haven’t.” Lexa folded her arms in faux curiosity, batting her eyelashes at Clarke. “Enlighten me.”

Son of a bitch.

“Well…” Clarke took in a breath, just imagining how red her cheeks looked. “We have several soups and salads each day, today’s special is creamy tomato soup and Caesar. If you look to the left of your menu, here, you’ll find a list of specials straight from our locally sourced ingredients list, and if you-”

Lexa’s hand found the edge of Clarke’s fingers, which had been nervously drilling into the side of the table.

Clarke nearly recoiled at the electric-like shock that ran through her.

“Thanks.” Lexa hushed her mercifully, smirking still.

Oh, she was so getting a rise out of this.

“Can I start you two off with any drinks?” Clarke asked gently.

Costia didn’t bother looking up from her phone. “A water.” She mumbled.

Lexa glanced at her and then made eye contact with Clarke. “You wouldn’t have sparkling, would you?”

Clarke wanted to scoff. She wanted to throw her hands up and yell, “Sure, of course, madam! A Pellegrino, perhaps? Calistoga? Perrier? Why not just screw it and grab some champagne from our top shelf?”

“I can arrange for that.” She smiled tightly, pain evident in her eyes as she left them to deliberate.

“Nicely done.” Wells clapped her on the back. “The look you gave that brunette girl over there was just…intense. That’s great customer service, Griffin.” He smiled.

“Thanks.” Clarke muttered, moving a blonde curl out of her vision with a huff. “We have sparkling water here?”

Wells nodded. “Yeah, but no one here ever orders that.” He chuckled.

“They do now.” Clarke grumbled, turning back to her duties. Stupid elegant Lexa with her stupid smirk and her stupid, piercing emerald gaze, and her obnoxiously long fingers. And Costia, with her attitude and her inability to even give Lexa the time of day-

“Hey.” Octavia smirked, passing her. “Nice work, Casanova.”

“You are dead to me.” Clarke rolled her eyes, smiling just a little bit at Octavia’s retreating figure.

Sure, it was hell, but at least she had her friends.

The rest of their dining went on without a hitch, as Clarke simply kept her head down, avoided Lexa, and took their orders with little to no complaints.

She didn’t notice Lexa’s wandering gaze following her toned legs back towards the kitchen each time, and it was for good reason, as Clarke was already embarrassed enough for one day.

If Costia was a regular, Lexa was a regular.

“Do it for the art supplies.” Clarke muttered to herself as she approached their table one final time.

“Everything alright?” Clarke clasped her hands together, watching the two banes of her existence share a sundae. “Can I interest you in anything else?”

Costia shrugged and Lexa took the helm of the conversation once more. “Just a check, please, Clarke.”

Clarke blinked in surprise at the use of her name and the formality before taking it out of her front pocket and handing it to them, anticipating that they’d be done afterwards.

“Take your time, alright?” Clarke smiled. “See you in Crewe’s.” She murmured, offering her smile to Lexa, before turning around and leaving.

Clarke hadn’t noticed Wells slip past her, casually approaching Costia and Lexa’s table, with a look of professionalism on his features.

While Clarke disappeared into the back, Wells approached the table with a friendly smile.

“Hello ladies, sorry to interrupt you.” He clasped his hands together. “I understand it was your first time here? I’m the manager. I was wondering if you found everything to be up to your standards?”

Costia glanced at Lexa, knowing she was the target of this question.

Lexa offered a charming smile, seeing as it was the easiest way to pass this awkward conversation. “Excellent, thank you.” She nodded, setting the check down.  

“And your server?” Wells asked, a little more quietly.

“Good.” Costia shrugged absently, scrolling through her social media.

“Excellent.” Lexa repeated, her brain likely calculating that this was a moment of great importance for Clarke. “In fact, I’d like her every time.”

Wells grinned. “Clarke would be very pleased to hear that. Thank you, have a nice afternoon, you two.”

Lexa muttered her thanks and rose, arms slipping around Costia’s waist as the two exited, leaving a grinning Wells to hand Clarke the check.

“Nicely done, Griffin.” Wells winked. “That’s what the boss likes to see.”

Clarke smiled awkwardly, eyebrows furrowing in confusion as she went to take the check. Her eyes widened. A crisp twenty slipped out of the folder, laying on Clarke’s shoe.

“Wait, what?” Clarke mumbled, bending to pick it up. “They left without change?”

Clarke’s eyes widened when she realized that there were two twenties for Lexa and Costia’s simple nineteen-dollar meal. Lexa’s scrawl, cursive and elegant, read: Keep the change.

Clarke felt Octavia nudge her shoulder. “Was it that bad?” She asked, hands busily holding a tray of empty glasses.

“Uh…” Clarke breathed, thinking of Lexa’s smile, her smirk, her ruthless teasing and her snickers shared with Costia. “I…”

“Come on, Clarke.” Octavia heaved. “These aren’t gonna carry themselves.”


 

As the first football game of the season crept forward, Arkadia was ablaze with excitement. If Clarke had thought people were bad when Lexa first came to the school, they were even worse now, if that was possible.

It seemed as though every word that left anyone’s mouth was either “football”, “Lexa”, “Azgeda” or a mix of the three in some way shape or form.

Monroe was having a field day, happily interviewing students as well as the team in order to garner attention to the school paper, the Grounder Gazette , which Clarke edited on occasion, when she wasn’t occupied with tutoring or working at the Dropship.

“Clarke,” she grinned innocently when Monroe rolled over to her in her rolling chair, one of the perks of being the chief editor.

“Yeah?”

“We can’t publish this.” Clarke pouted at Monroe’s raised eyebrow and half-smirk, before sighing dramatically.

“Alright, alright, I guess I’ll fix it.” Couldn’t call the school’s star quarterback an ‘ arrogant know-it-all with a stick wedged up her ass’ in the paper, after all.

“I will be checking before we send it in,” they promised, “and Harper has the pictures for you, if you need them.”

“You got it, boss.” Clarke couldn’t help but smile at the mention of Monroe’s girlfriend, Harper, who was the chief editor of the yearbook. The two of them were perfect for each other, honestly.

The other thing ablaze in Arkadia High was its chemistry lab.

“Reyes! I specifically told you not to put the sodium in water! Everyone knows that it explodes!”

“Whoops, sorry Pike, must’ve heard you wrong.”

Clarke stifled a laugh as Pike buried his head in his hands while Jasper enthusiastically high-fived Raven, who was grinning widely. It’d become a competition between the two of them to see who could blow more things up while still avoiding expulsion. If they weren’t such genii when it came to chemistry, Clarke was sure Pike would have sent them packing already.

“That was awesome!” Raven laughed to herself as she moved to invade Clarke and Octavia’s space, grinning widely. “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Octavia rolled her eyes and shoved her friend lightly on the shoulder.

“I don’t understand why you love blowing things up so much.”

“Uh, because it’s awesome , that’s why. Who doesn’t like blowing things up?”

“Oh, I don’t know, normal people?” Clarke drawled, a teasing glint in her eyes, and Raven pouted at her words, making a small whining noise in the back of her throat.

“Claa- arke , don’t be mean to me, I’m just trying to live my life and fulfil my dream of blowing up as many things as possible.” Clarke grinned and shook her head as Octavia coughed.

“Nottheonlythingyou’reblowing.”

It took Raven a moment, but her eyes narrowed and she shook her finger in Octavia’s face.

“This is a judgement-free zone, O, and don’t be salty because I’m getting more than you.” Octavia and Clarke were among the only people who could tease Raven about the frequency of her sexual partners, as the girl knew that it was just that, teasing. Others, however, had a bad habit for slut-shaming, which she never stood for. Octavia, however, made a noise of protest.

“Hey, I’ve got a boyfriend, I can get it whenever I want.”

There was a groan from behind them and the three girls turned to see Anya banging her head on the table.

“My ears,” she complained, “Lincoln’s like my brother, you can’t just say that.”

“Sorry, An, but that’s what you get for eavesdropping,” Octavia teased, “I mean, I can tell you all about this fantastic thing that he does with his—”

“No no no no,” Anya interrupted, glaring darkly at Octavia, who was grinning widely, “stop right there, Blake. Just because you’re co-captaining the soccer team with me this year doesn’t mean I won’t kick your ass. I don’t want to hear about your sex life.”

“What about yours, Pine?” Raven interjected with a suggestive grin. “I mean, I’ve been told that I’m great with my fingers, so I can help you out anytime.” Clarke’s eyes widened slightly, wincing inwardly, because of course Raven would have to go and flirt with one of the most intimidating girls in Arkadia.

“Are you sure you’re up to my standards, Reyes? I’m pretty hard to please.”

“Oh, believe me,” Raven assured, “I’ll make it worth your while.”

Clarke coughed awkwardly in warning as Pike made his way towards them, likely to check that they were filling out their notes as he’d instructed. They weren’t, obviously, but they made it look like they were working diligently, and that was all that mattered.

Raven looked as though she wanted to continue her conversation with Anya, but Clarke diverted her attention by asking a question about the work that they were supposed to be doing, because she didn’t have time to finish it after class, especially with all the other homework she had piling up on top or working on her portfolio for art scholarships.

Halfway through the class period, there was a sharp whistle from behind them, and Raven turned expectantly, assuming it was Anya, and frowned when it wasn’t.

“Clarke,” Raven whined as she poked her friend’s cheek incessantly, “Woods wants to talk to you.” Grumbling underneath her breath, Clarke turned around in her seat to observe Lexa. It was hard to believe that this girl who had quickly become a thorn in her side was the older sister of the boy she tutored. Sweet little Aden with his bright smiles and quick humor and general enthusiasm for learning. Honestly, it’s like they weren’t even related, she couldn’t fault herself for not knowing, but she had apologized to Aden for constantly smack-talking his sister in front of him, but the petite boy had merely shrugged and told Clarke that he agreed with her, so she shouldn’t be too sorry.

“Yeah, Woods? Do you need something?” Clarke asked, trying to ignore the way that the dark pools of emerald made her feel. She could practically feel Raven mockingly singing the lines from Frozen “ conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know” what with the slightly concerning look her friend was giving her.

“Not really,” Lexa responded smoothly, in a tone that made her appear disinterested, but at the same time, Clarke could see the curiosity in those foresty depths, “I was just wondering if you were going to the game, is all.” Clarke pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes, wondering why exactly the brunette was bringing this up.

“Why, one cheerleader not enough for you?” she drawled. Raven and Octavia snickered and Anya rolled her eyes at the way Lexa was so obviously posturing.

“While I’m sure you in the uniform would give anyone an aneurysm—” Lexa cut her cousin off with a wave of her hand, and the blonde girl stuck her tongue out, sour at being interrupted.

“Just wondering,” Lexa shrugged, and Clarke swore for a moment that she saw a flash of hurt in those green eyes, but that was ridiculous. The two of them weren’t even friends, so there was no logical reason for Lexa to be disappointed at the news that Clarke wouldn’t be attending.

Clarke turned back around, and stifled a groan when she saw Raven and Octavia looking at her expectantly.

“So, how’s that lady-boner working out for you?” Raven asked innocently, and Clarke shot her an annoyed look.

“I told you two already, I don’t have a thing for Woods,” Clarke whispered under her breath, and the two of them just exchanged a look over her head.

“You’re really not going to the game?” Octavia asked, thankfully moving the subject away from Lexa. “C’mon, Griff, it’ll be fun, we’ll all be going. I’m being a supportive girlfriend, of course, and Monty thinks that Miller looks hot in the uniform. And besides, Murphy wants to see Queen get her ass kicked.”

While spending a night with her friends away from work seemed fun, Clarke didn’t want to give Lexa the satisfaction of seeing her there… but seeing Queen get her ass kicked was so appealing .

“I’ll think about it,” Clarke responded succinctly before returning to her work, and by the cheers that escaped her two friends, she knew that the decision had just been made for her.


 

The stadium was alight with tensions and rivalries, war cries and laughter, cheers and jeers. Every inch of the already gargantuan bleachers had been filled with eager faces, all ready for the opening game of the season, Lexa’s debut, and of course, against the great rivalry that Azgeda High brought with them.

Cheerleaders from either side lined the edge of the field by the bleachers, simply waving and grinning and dancing a little to the music that poured out of the speakers that the school service club had spent hours wiring up.

Nightfall had already arrived, and the the varsity game was the final, most anticipated event of the evening. The stadium lights were intensified, forming a halo of light around the great commander Lexa Woods, fresh from Mt. Weather’s Academy for the Intellectually Advanced, ready to christen herself as a fully fledged Grounder.

She wore her uniform, like all her teammates, but her special mark was there. Her eyes were covered in thick black paint, mixing with her traditional eye-black stripes, to create a sort of bandit-like mask, bleeding at the edges.

It was iconic. Students from either side, whether donning Grounder Green or Viking Violet (it was an off-purple, if Clarke’s inner artist had anything to say about it), roared their approval for their newly presented teams.

On the other side, across the great battlefield, the Vikings had stormed the field, catering to the cheers of their full half of the bleachers. Their roars were mighty, their face paint white and menacing, as they enjoyed being contradictory.

Ontari Queen, their star player and prized wide receiver, had sauntered on the field with a look of great apathy, simply enjoying the way her people cheered for like she was some Saint.

She’d intentionally scanned the crowd on the opposing side, eyes finally ceasing when she realized Lexa was not yet out, despite the fact that her team was.

The Grounders had torn through the decorated poster that the poor art club had doted over for nearly two days, and the crowds had not been entirely too pleased to see their Commander wasn't at the vanguard of the charge, just yet.

The Grounders, led by their student president Bellamy Blake, were cheering an onslaught of organized chants, the most popular of which, the unofficial school motto: “Blood must have blood! Blood must have blood!”

Bellamy was grinning beside his delinquent family, waving his hands in the air like a crazed maestro.

All the while, Principal Jaha had been running like a headless chicken, up and down the stretch of the stands, cupping his mouth and shouting, “No! No! Don’t say that! Say….Fun must have fun! Fun must have fun!”

Shortly after, someone (certainly not Raven Reyes), had hurled an ice-cream cone at his pressed, collared shirt,and he retired to watch the game with a silent “damn kids.”

And then came the response from the Vikings, their valiant efforts led by their resident queen bee and ever popular head cheerleader, Nia Queen, of the notorious Queen Triplets.

They jeered, standing up and stomping their feet in a disruptive, unruly manner, shouting, “All hail the Queen! All hail the Queen!” To Ontari’s stretching figure below.

And then of course, it became a selfish battle of the stars, and the Grounders came back with “Go Commander go!” Over and over again, a litany of seemingly pointless war-cries that did little more than put everyone on edge.

Ah, the warring spirit of American football.

Lexa felt that, in some other life, she had to have been a general, a war-leader of some kind.

Lexa had been leaning against the archway to the entrance of the field, never one for theatrics of any kind. Her parents wouldn’t have approved. They would have told her that showboating was ridiculous, and in no way made her a better player. She opted to silently think above the din of the crowd, until she felt someone stumble into her back, though the damage was mitigated by her padding.

Whipping around, Lexa saw a blonde blur keeling over, and her lightning-quick hands shot out and caught a wrist before she knew what she was doing.

With a blink of those emerald eyes, Lexa realized that she’d just caught a very sheepish looking Clarke Griffin.

“Clarke.” Lexa’s voice had such an air of smugness, and yet, her eyes twinkled with delight, genuine and pure.

“Lexa.” Clarke breathed out finally, her blue eyes finding Lexa’s eyes before fixing themselves on her lips for a good few seconds before taking in the prowess of Lexa in her full uniform, shoulder padding and all.

“You came.” Lexa spoke slowly, savoring every moment. This was too good. Clarke Griffin had made it abundantly clear that she hated sports.

“Yeah, well…I finished Crewe’s homework, and Raven asked me to check out her crush, so…” Clarke trailed off, realizing Lexa was still gripping her wrist.

Lexa’s eyes darted away as she immediately let go. She bounced on her heels, stretching her legs a little.

“Your eyes…” Clarke murmured, and Lexa could scarcely hear her above the nearby roar. “They’re beautiful.”

Lexa’s lips parted slightly, and then Clarke did some damage control, by adding, “-In…an artist’s perspective. Who…did that for you?”

“I did.” Lexa smirked amusedly, and Clarke rolled her eyes at the apparent cockiness.

“Why aren’t you out there?” Clarke asked curiously. “Are you nervous?”

“I do not get nervous, Clarke.” Lexa’s voice was sharp, and she enunciated Clarke’s name beautifully.

“Yeah?” Clarke resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “It’s a big one. You’re gonna have to win to make a good first impression, Commander.” Clarke wasn’t sure why she’d just said that, but something about Lexa started this heat, this insatiable fire within her, one that she’d never felt before.

Clarke attributed it to anger.

Lexa blinked once, nodding stiffly. “I’ve trained for this.” She responded calmly, elegantly, her hands deftly reaching up to swirl her hair into a messy bun, which only accentuated the high cheekbones and chiseled jaw lines that Clarke certainly hadn’t been staring at.

“Ontari Queen, huh?” Clarke growled lowly. “Be careful. She plays dirty.”

Lexa nodded, looking unfazed. “Many do. But, our positions vary. She wouldn't have much contact with me anyway.”

Clarke swallowed the lump in her throat, unsure of why she’d just displayed such obvious affection. That was odd.

“You’re wearing my number.” Lexa smirked, eyes drinking in Clarke's figure.

Clarke glanced down at her jacket, realizing it did have Lexa’s number emblazoned on the front. Her cheeks burned. “I was cold, and this was the last one at the student store.”

“Mhmm.” Lexa smirked once more, her full lips pleading for Clarke to just give in.

“There’s no shame in worshipping your commander, Clarke.”

Your commander.

The way Lexa said that caused Clarke’s entire body to flush with an odd heat. What the hell was happening? Worship your commander? Why had Lexa blatantly chosen such…overt words?

“Whatever.” Clarke rolled her eyes. “This entire nickname business is so stupid. The Queen? The Commander? Why do you need a title, anyway?”

“I’ll let my playing speak for itself.” Lexa answered loftily, glancing back at the stadium.

Clarke could see Lexa’s eyes hone in on Ontari Queen, who’d been muttering something to her sister, who threw her head back in a laugh.

Clarke’s fists shook at her side and she thought of Murphy, who was no doubt waiting for the show in his seat, with Emori squeezing his hand and reassuring him every now and then.

“Kick her ass, Lexa.” Clarke muttered finally.

Lexa’s eyes widened in surprise.

Clarke offered her a wry smile. “A Commander beats a Queen, hands down,  doesn't she?”

Lexa watched Clarke saunter away, as they shared a genuine smile in response.

It was game time.


 

The initial coin toss was in Lexa’s favor, and she donned her helmet for the offensive push, after the initial punt. She was greeted by cheers as she stepped onto the field from her seat beside Anya on the bench, who was regally enjoying her time before she had to exert any physical activity.

Lexa swore she saw Anya turn and wink, at some face in the home crowd, but she didn’t have much time to contemplate, or tease, for that matter.

In the corner of her forest green gaze, she saw Clarke sitting a little behind Aden, to whom she frequently smiled at and looked for a thumbs up from. Clarke was beaming, her golden hair illuminated by the stadium lights like a halo, and Lexa felt something stir within her as she jogged to position, post the team huddle.

Her players lined up, and she surveyed the line of scrimmage, judging Titus’ call with an affirmative nod.

It was good.

She eyed Ontari Queen from her spot on the opposing bench, leaned forward, eyes peeled, staring at her brother Roan, the infamous linebacker, towering over nearly every other player with his immense build and physique.

If the Queens weren’t triplets, Lexa would have assumed that he would have been held back a year, or sixty, by his build alone. That wasn't to say he wasn’t smart; All three of the Queen siblings were bright, much to Lexa’s grudging admittance.

Lexa knew Roan was going to be a problem all season long. Her friendship with Lincoln had been growing stronger than ever, and while he was her main runner in most of her handoff plays, she feared Roan’s capabilities. Lincoln was big, built, but lithe and quick on his feet. Roan had the potential to end his career in one fell swoop.

Lexa knew the dangers of the game, but she also felt that being a commander, a team leader, meant more than just calling plays and assigning laps. It was protecting the team and each and every player to the best of her ability.

And of course, Roan practically took orders from his foul sister, seemingly the only wide receiver who called plays from her goddamned seat on the bench.

Lexa’s eyes narrowed as she attempted to loosen up, waiting for the snap.

The amassed students in the bleachers were in an uproar.

Aden was sure that he was going to lose his sense of hearing, what with all the excited screaming, so loud that drowned out even the marching band below.

Not even Nam could doze off with all the noise around them, so he was currently watching next to Aden, his eyes trained on the players. Aden, of course, was specifically watching 13 and 82, his sister and Lincoln respectively.

They’d made some pretty fantastic plays thus far, but it was a close game, almost too close for comfort.

As much as Arkadia hated Ontari Queen, there was no doubt that she was an excellent football player.

But Aden had faith that Lexa was better.

Tris, of course, was having the time of her life, cheering and excitedly babbling to her newfound friends about just how complex the plays were and how fantastically they were all carried out, and her favorite moments were the ones where Anya was on the field, and she marvelled at just how accurate her aim was, sending the football soaring through the air and right between the goalposts. Ellis had joined in with her own analysis of the angles and the force needed, and Aden happily tuned out their conversation.

He was a firm believer of not doing math unless it was strictly necessary.

Atom was grinning from his spot next to Aden, not necessarily understanding all of what was going on, but feeding off of his friend’s excitement. Since Aden had replaced his usual red neckerchief for a forest green Arkadia scarf with the number 13 embroidered on it, the item had found its way around Atom’s uncovered neck, and Aden couldn’t help but think it suited him.

Somehow even more entertaining than the game in front of him were the conversations going on behind them.

By a stroke of luck, Aden and his friend group had found themselves situated in front of the group so fondly called the delinquents , and their conversations were truly… enlightening , to say the least.

He’d heard his sister’s name come up in conversation a minimum of thirty-three times already, most of them stemming from Clarke’s best friends, Raven and Octavia, dropping suggestive comments towards Clarke, which the blonde girl shrugged off rather grumpily, causing Aden to grin to himself. He’d also noticed that Raven would lower her voice to talk to the class president, Bellamy, in hushed tones, and he turned around once to find them both appreciating Anya from a distance, and his cousin, too, took notice, shooting a wink in their direction.

Tris, of course, thought that the wink was aimed towards her, and almost fell off of her seat in excitement.

Halftime had come quickly, and Aden frowned inwardly when Costia pulled Lexa towards her, now that the bulky helmet was out of the way, and into a searing kiss. The younger Woods sibling quickly diverted his eyes, and instead looked to Clarke, who was wearing an expression similar to someone who had just swallowed a bee, and furrowed his brows in confusion as she made a hasty getaway from her friends and out into the parking lot.

Lexa’s gaze found his soon after and he offered his older a sister a thumbs up, noting the small frown that tugged at her lips when she looked behind him and noticed Clarke’s absence.

“What was that about?” Atom, ever attentive, noticed the brief exchange and brought it into question.

“I honestly don’t know,” Aden confessed, “well, I have an idea, but it seems kinda ridiculous right now, but it’ll make sense later, probably.”

Aden couldn’t help but think about the subtle signs of something unusual occurring between his sister and his tutor, and the wheels were already turning in his mind. From Octavia and Raven’s teasing, he knew that they’d picked up on it as well, and their help could easily be acquired, because his little plan wasn’t going to be easy, that was for sure, but he shook the thoughts from his head and instead turned his attention back to the game at hand.

As the clock ticked down, time slowed, and he watched in awe as Lincoln successfully twisted his way through the seemingly impenetrable wall of defense to deliver the final touchdown of the game, a perfectly timed pass from Lexa, and all those around him roared their approval, standing and cheering as Lexa was swept into the arms of her teammates, who were pounding her back in thanks and congratulations.

Almost before he was aware of his actions, Aden’s feet were moving, weaving deftly between cheering onlookers and jumping over the small gate at the edge of the bleachers to make his way onto the open field, beating Costia to his sister and barreling into her side, causing the older girl to laugh and pull him into a hug.

“You did great!” Aden greeted, and Lexa ruffled his hair fondly.

“Only because you were here to cheer me on,” she assured him, “you’ve been my number one fan since the beginning, so really you’re my good luck charm.” Aden beamed back up at his sister, and the radiance dulled quickly upon a familiar cheerleader’s approach.

“Aw, here I was thinking I was your good luck charm.” Aden pulled a face as Lexa released him to embrace her girlfriend once more, and instead made his way over to Lincoln, who now had a very pleased-looking Octavia situated on his strong shoulders.

Hei, strikbro ,” Lincoln welcomed him with a warm smile, pounding his knuckles against the much smaller boy, “did you like the game?”

“Of course,” Aden chirped, “you did fantastic as always. It was fun.”

“Did you talk to Lexa already?”

“Yeah,” Aden responded, with a sour shrug in the direction of his sister, who was still tangled up with Costia, “but she had other things to worry about than her little brother.”

“Honestly, they’re disgusting,” Anya piped, walking up from behind him with a similar look mirrored on her own face, “and not the good kind of disgusting, I don’t like her.”

“You don’t like anyone Lexa dates,” Lincoln reasoned, spinning Octavia around.

“Yeah, but this time it’s different,” Anya insisted.

“Well that’s something you and Clarke have in common,” Octavia offered from her perch, “the two of them have been enemies since pre-k, and then there’s the whole incident from freshman year…” She trailed off, as though she wasn’t supposed to say anything about it, and Anya’s eyes narrowed.

“What incident?”

“Not really my place to say,” Octavia shrugged, “but let’s just say that I don’t think Clarke and Costia will ever get along.” She turned and nudged Lincoln urgently. “Oh, I see Miller! Take me to him please, my steed.”

“As you wish.”

Aden grinned as the two of them made their way towards Miller, who was talking with Monty Green, and began walking alongside Anya.

“I don’t like Costia either,” he confided, and Anya snorted.

“No shit, kid, you may smile and put on a good show but I can read your microexpressions because I’m just that good and you’re too much of a Hufflepuff to lie.” She paused. “I mean, I won’t say anything because Lex is stubborn as all hell, but I can’t help but feel like this is going to end badly for her.”

As Aden watched Costia’s eyes flicker to the other side of the field, suspiciously close to Nia’s cheering squad, he nodded.

Yeah, this wasn’t going to end well.

After a few more moments, Lexa finally seemed to realize that her little brother had disappeared, and kissed Costia one last time before making her way over to her family, who were regarding her with raised eyes, and she pursed her lips at the two of them.

“Honestly, you guys, it’s like you’ve never seen a couple before.”

Aden watched keenly as Lexa’s eyes travelled over to Lincoln and Octavia, who were now surrounded by the remainder of the delinquents, narrowing slightly when she noticed the absence of a certain blonde. Bingo .

She sniffed disdainfully, a small frown tugging at her lips, and Anya cocked her head in confusion.

“What just crawled up your ass and died?”

“Nothing,” Lexa responded sharply, and at Anya’s narrowed gaze, she shrugged, “just tired, I guess. C’mon, let’s round up Lincoln and go home.”

Maybe his idea wasn’t as hopeless as he thought.


 

Lexa was still riding out the euphoria of celebrating her first victory of the season, first with her team and family, and then with Costia.

She’d been greeted with a great round of applause when she’d entered Niylah’s classroom the following Monday morning, even earning a smug little smile from Niylah's herself. Costia detached herself from Lexa with a quick peck on the cheek before going to her seat across the room, a proud little smirk on her features.

Lexa dipped her head in a quick thank you and took her seat beside Clarke, who had her head buried into her copy of Pride and Prejudice, which she’d already read nearly five times, if her boasting was anything to go on.

“Ms. Woods.” Niylah nodded from the back of the room by her desk, prepping her folder for the class. “You’ll excuse my language, but…that was one hell of a game. You have an incredible sight and vision for the field.”

Lexa smiled in response, sitting ever so properly, legs tucked like she was some actress doing an interview.

“I’m proud to represent our school, Ms. Crewe.” She responded, full lips in a lush smile.

Oh, and of course, she had the confidence and charm to go with her looks: today, it was back to business, her shirt sleeves rolled, her collar crisper and more orderly than Clarke’s entire existence.

“Talk amongst yourselves.” Niylah's instructions excited the class a little. “I’m just printing your copies of the assignment we’re about to discuss, shouldn’t take long.”

Octavia and Raven burst into chatter from their seats, going on about some “moonshine” or “rocket fuel”, Lexa couldn’t quite decipher what the hell they actually meant. Clarke kept her face buried into the novel on her desk, completely ignoring Lexa’s existence.

Lexa frowned. Something in her gut told her that something was very wrong, and yet, she had no clue what it was. Leaning forward, rose gold watch gleaming under the fluorescent light, she laid a  hand on Clarke’s shoulder.

Clarke jolted upright as if Lexa had electrocuted her.

Her blue eyes flashed with recognition, and then another emotion Lexa couldn’t decipher. Her flannel was blue, and it brought out a gleam in her eyes, and Lexa couldn’t help but stare.

Clarke Griffin’s cerulean gaze was a mystery to her, ever compelling, ever changing.

“Good morning, Clarke.” Lexa spoke in her normal, direct tone.

“Hi, Lexa.” Clarke’s tone was clipped. She shot her gaze back down to the printed words on the page, hoping to escape Lexa, and instead run into the clutches of Elizabeth Bennet instead.

She felt she at least a little in common with the girl. They were both entirely too caught up and overwhelmed in egotistical, wealthy, materialistic assholes.

“Tell me, does the novel get better each time? Or do you just forget what happens every time you put it down?” Lexa asked in a playful tone.

Clarke lifted her gaze from the book tentatively. “Do you need something?” She asked in a mild sigh of annoyance.

Lexa furrowed her brow. “Are you alright?” She asked. “Usually you save the venom for debate hour.”

“I’ve been better.” Clarke shrugged, clapping her book shut with a loud sound. She watched Lexa’s forest gaze blink in confusion. “Why don’t we talk about you? You’re the talk of the school, Commander.”

Lexa’s eyes searched Clarke’s, and the gaze was so intense she had to shift away slightly. “The first victory is always the loudest.” She shrugged. “Things might settle down.”

“Wouldn’t want that, would we?” Clarke smirked. “The Commander without her adoring fan club.”

“Fan club?” Lexa smirked right back, seeming to coax Clarke out of her cold state. “Are you the president, Griffin?” 

Clarke felt heat rush to her cheeks. “No, actually, I left at halftime.”

“I noticed.” Lexa blurted it before it was controlled.

Clarke’s cheeks burned, and she felt an unfamiliar flutter, (one that she’d only recently developed around Lexa- maybe the girl induced heartburn?). “You…you did?” Clarke repeated unsurely, feeling her heart hammer in her chest.

Lexa looked lost for a response. Before she could muster up the courage to say anything, even to do some damage control Clarke opened her mouth. “You were really really good.” Clarke murmured with a faux encouraging smile.

Lexa felt her heart drop into her stomach for some unknown reason, and then Niylah was lecturing, and all eyes were on her.

“Okay, good morning students. I take it you and your partners have all read up to the assigned chapter?”

“Yes, Ms. Crewe.” An assortment of grumbled, in varying pitches, echoed across the hollow walls of the classroom.

“Excellent.” Niylah smirked. “Then, you’ll be glad to know, that I’ve created quite the project to test your knowledge.”

Several whispers erupted, many of them not so flattering to the teacher who’d just assigned a semi-heavy workload to a class of lethargic seniors.

“The project: You will have to make a detailed tri-fold board, with documentation of communication between Elizabeth and Darcy. Yes, that means letters, pictures, poems, art…be creative. Please, no Facebook posts. Something tells me that Darcy wasn’t sitting around waiting to “poke” Lizzie.”

Raven smirked. “Is that a negative on Instagram, too, Ms. Crewe?”

“What do you think, Raven?”

“Noted.”

“Now, I know you all have your reservations about actually working hard, during your senior year. I also know some of you are gifted athletes-” she smirked at Lexa, who mirrored her expression. “And great, great artists.” She offered Clarke a wink, and Clarke’s cheeks bloomed a crimson red.

Lexa resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

“To make things more interesting…” Niylah continued, and an air of tension seemingly laid over the class like a blanket. “I’ll make it worth extra credit. This story is witty, it’s romantic…it’s passionate. Wow me. Evoke those emotions. Show me you’re working diligently every week, and I will exempt you from ten hours of mandatory community service, and I’ll throw in an extra twenty points to ONE pair. Am I clear?” Niylah asked.

The students were abuzz, a great majority of them feeling the competitive air sink into their systems. Eyes widened, heart rates picked up a little, and smirks and grins were shared amongst partners.

“You have nearly two months!” Niylah reminded. “Do not squander the class time I’ve allotted you, please!”

Niylah allowed them to brainstorm as she went back to her seat.

Lexa turned to Clarke with a telltale smile, eyes raking the blonde’s smirk. “You ready, princess?”

She hadn’t known where that came from.

Clarke cocked an eyebrow. “Princess?” She teased. “You been hanging out with Bellamy Blake?”

“The class president?” Lexa scoffed blankly, shaking her head.

“Oh…” Clarke shrugged nonchalantly. “That’s his thing. Only he calls me that.”

Lexa couldn’t understand why that didn’t sit well with her.

“Anyway, the project.” Clarke cleared her throat awkwardly, shooting a glance at Costia, who looked a little too into it as well, discussing something with her partner in great detail. “I have an idea.”

“You do?” Lexa asked gently, following her gaze to Costia, but somehow ending up watching Clarke’s hands as she rummaged around in her bag, pulling out a particularly short pencil, almost down to the stub.

“Do you need to borrow a pen?” Lexa asked with a wry smile. “That one’s kind of...short.”

Clarke looked away sheepishly, and Lexa felt guilt bubble in her chest. Had she said something wrong?

“It’s my art pencil. It’s the last one in the package, I’ve been trying to make it last.” Clarke sighed, cheeks red, as if this were some sort of sin.

Then again, with Lexa’s bodacious golden watch just glimmering seconds away, Clarke really did feel inadequate with her stub of a pencil that she’d spent nearly three quarters of her allowance on. “I spent your tip on this.” She added softly.

Lexa nodded, entirely engrossed in the way Clarke’s tongue was poking out as she set her hands free on the paper, drawing several lines.

“Your painting…” Lexa began, remembering the vivid scenery of the night sky kissing the forest all over again. “It was amazing.”

Clarke looked up, and her cerulean pools met Lexa’s virid expanse of forest in a hot little gaze before it dropped down to her work. “Thank you.” Was all she murmured in response.

Clarke decided to take a playful tone, feeling a weight akin to an anvil settle on her chest. “Listen up, lover girl.” She smirked, eyes never leaving the sketch.

Lexa cocked a brow, but smirked all the same. “Hmm?”

“I take my grades seriously. In fact, my art scholarship is dependent on my perfect GPA.”

“I hadn’t expected any less from a goody-two shoes like you.” Lexa retorted, craning her neck to see Clarke’s etchings but instead found they were still indiscernible.

“Hey!” Clarke snapped with a smile. “I’m not! I punched a kid, remember?”

“Yeah, but you also live up Niylah’s ass.” Lexa fired back, smirk firmly in place. “Or, is that for another reason?”

Clarke rolled her eyes, blush creeping its way back to her cheeks. “Lexa Woods. I’m telling you this once. I’m your partner, and I’m competitive as hell, and if I so much as catch you shooting your pathetic air-kisses towards your girlfriend during our competition for extra credit, I will end you.” She added the last part with a smirk, hiding the sudden emptiness in her words.

“And you’ll do your part?” Lexa teased.

“What’s that?” Clarke asked with a playful sigh of exasperation.

“Keep kissing Niylah’s ass so we’ll win?”

“Lexa Woods. Shut. Up.”

“Make me. Don’t think that I don’t kn-”Lexa never finished, because Clarke had shoved the sketch into her hands. On it was an elegant, nearly spot-on depiction of two, soft, delicate looking hands, one slightly larger than the other, laced perfectly.

Lexa recognized the scene from the movie almost immediately. “Wow,” she murmured, her fingers tracing the fine lines of graphite in awe. “This is an incredible talent you have, Clarke.”

“Sometimes, the simplest, most innocent gestures are the most romantic.” Clarke sighed, a little too dreamily than intended. “Touch is powerful. It can be so sensual without being invasive.”

Lexa nodded slowly, swallowing audibly. “Crewe would like this.”

Clarke shook her head, smiling numbly. “I can do the art, if you can supply the poems. I hear you’re gifted with that tongue.”

Lexa’s eyebrows shot up, and Clarke backtracked, eyes wild. “I mean, poetically! I’m sorry...I...that wasn’t very smooth…”

Lexa let out a soft chuckle that stopped Clarke dead in her tracks. She smirked. “I am, for the record.”

Lexa blinked. She was usually so formal, so well mannered. Where the hell had that come from?

Clarke rolled her eyes. “Be still my heart.”

The two, in the midst of their heated banter, hadn’t realized how much time had passed. The bell rang, and the students freed themselves with the eagerness of prisoners in a jail break.

Lexa stood, clutching Clarke’s picture with a wry smile. “I’ll see you at my game, Griffin.” She smirked, before tossing her bag over her shoulder, without waiting for a reply.

Costia was in her arms before the two were even out the door.

Chapter Text

In all honesty, Clarke wouldn’t come to the football games if it weren’t for her friends.

That was a lie, of course, as she always felt her eyes drawn towards Lexa’s form as she nimbly dodged people and practically send the ball soaring across the field from muscled biceps and long fingers. Whether or not she liked it, Lexa had some sort of spell over Clarke, and Clarke was drawn to her like a moth to an open flame.

But pregaming with the delinquents was always fun, especially because that’s what they were.

Delinquents.

The majority of the student population tended to forget that they were referred to as such for a reason, but, quite frankly, Clarke needed a bit of relaxation before she was anywhere near Lexa Woods, and the get-togethers with her friends helped satiate that need.

Bellamy, of course, had a reputation to keep as class president, so he acted as the DD, mother hen, making sure his friends didn’t go off and do anything stupid, courtesy of the products of Green & Jordan Inc. In addition to their monopoly on the weed trade at the school, the two of them had also procured a still from somewhere, and thus, Monty’s Famous Moonshine was born.

It tasted like ass and hurt like hell the next morning, but it was worth it for the buzz.

Anything was better than Raven’s half assed drink concoction that she’d named Rocket Fuel . They only pulled that out when something particularly horrible happened. Most games against Azgeda, Murphy could be seen chugging it out of an insulated water bottle that Emori swapped in increments with an identical one filled with actual  water to ensure her boyfriend didn’t get too hammered.

It was at these moments Raven and Octavia’s favorite person emerged:

Drunk Clarke.

Also referred to as Party Girl Griffin, though the frequency of her appearance had lessened significantly after the passing of her father, for obvious reasons.

A few cups of moonshine in, and Clarke could feel her tension melting away, being replaced by contentedness and the inherent need to flirt with someone, anyone. This usually ended up being Bellamy, who would keep up with her rapid-fire pickup lines and inebriated attempts at affection, all whilst convincing her to drink water and laughing off her advances.

It had started as a joke.

Ever since Clarke and Bellamy had reached what people considered to be “dating age”, they’d constantly been bombarded with questions on the state of their relationship with one another, and their flirting had become somewhat of a running gag within their friend group.

They’d known each other since they were in diapers, it’d be weird for them to date.

Besides, Bellamy was like the brother Clarke never had.

At the moment, Clarke was poking the swell of Bellamy’s abs, marvelling at how firm his stomach was, and pressing at her own softer belly in comparison, and frowning.

“Don’t worry about it, Princess,” Bellamy assured, “your stomach makes a much better pillow than mine, which makes it better.” This seemed to placate the girl, and she grinned, before Raven slung her arm over the blonde’s shoulders, grinning ear-to-ear.

“You ready to go watch the Grounders kick ass?”

“Did you mean ready to stare at Lexa’s ass?” Octavia interjected, and Clarke shot her a nasty glare, sticking her tongue out at the smirking girl.

“‘M not gonna stare at Woods’s ass,” Clarke pouted, shaking her head, “I mean, it is a great ass, not that I’ve noticed or anything, but I’m not gonna stare at it. That’d be rude.” Bellamy shook his head in exasperation as the other two girls continued to tease Clarke, passing her a bottle of water and one of the burgers he’d brought along.

“Time to sober you up, Princess,” he laughed, “can’t have Abby knowing you were having too much fun, now, can we.” Grudgingly, Clarke accepted the food and water, and the three girls began to make their way to the field, leaving Bellamy behind to grab Jasper and Monty, who were chasing pigeons around while Murphy laughed at their failed attempts to catch one.

Since the last time, Clarke had made sure to purchase another jacket from the student store, one without Lexa’s number. Instead, it just said ARKADIA on the back, with the number 1957 , the year that the school had been founded. The last thing she wanted was for Lexa to think that she was there for her. No, she was just here for the alcohol, and the company…

Except that was one of the biggest lies ever, and Drunk Clarke acknowledged that.

She was doing an awful lot of lying recently, and the majority of her untruths were Lexa related.

Damn her and her perfect body and wide, expressive forest green eyes, that Clarke could get lost in for hours, trying to explore every shade and every detail.

Somehow, Monty ended up walking next to Clarke, grinning widely as he began explaining to her about some abstract physics concept that she couldn’t comprehend at the moment, because the korean boy had led her away from her initial destination of the bleachers, and towards a secluded area where some of the football players were loitering, obviously waiting for the game to start, and her eyes were trained on a familiar butt.

Fuck Octavia, Clarke was going to stare all she wanted, morals be damned.

As though she could somehow sense the eyes on her, Lexa turned, and Clarke felt her breath catch in her throat.

There was something about the way Lexa applied her paint that seemed to eerily familiar, as though Clarke had seen it before somewhere. But that, of course, wasn’t possible, because she didn’t exactly live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where people would have the need to apply warpaint like that.

Lexa’s eyes narrowed in apparent confusion, and alarm bells went off in Clarke’s mind as the other girl began to approach her, and she frantically turned to look for Monty, who had melted away into the crowd. Some help he is.

“Clarke?” At that exact moment, Clarke wished she had the power to melt into a puddle and seep into the ground, but she didn’t flee. There was something about liquid courage that brought out the worst of her stubbornness.

“Hey, Lexa,” Clarke greeted, and there was a cheeriness in her voice that she almost didn't recognize, and it took Lexa by surprise. The other girl’s eyes widened a fraction, before they narrowed in scrutiny, and she finally stopped to smirk in realization.

“You’re drunk, aren’t you?”

“Only a little,” Clarke assured her.

“Alright, Clarke, what are you doing back here?”

“Monty dragged me along,” Clarke repeated, before looking around once more for the dark haired boy and scowling, “and then left me.”

“How rude,” Lexa chuckled, shaking her head.

“It’s alright, I guess,” Clarke shrugged, “I love Monty, he has a pretty voice.” He absolutely demolished the other delinquents on karaoke night. “You know what else is pretty? Your eyes.” Lexa stopped chuckling abruptly, staring at Clarke as though her head had fallen off, mouth agape, and Clarke made an offended noise.

“What? It’s true,” she insists, “they’re just so green . I could get lost in them.” She and Lexa have somehow managed to get closer to one another, so Clarke could now see the flecks of yellow in the green, and found it utterly fascinating. There was a moment of comfortable silence as the two of them stared at each other, and then someone cleared their throat.

It wass Monty, and Clarke found that she wanted to punch him now much more than she had when he left her, as Lexa stepped away from her quickly, eyes looking anywhere but the blonde, and Clarke swore she saw a pink tinge to the commander’s cheeks, but that’s ridiculous. There was no reason to be flustered, it was just Clarke.

“C’mon Clarke,” Monty urged, nodding his head in the direction of a frantic-looking Bellamy, who appeared to be searching for them, tugging Jasper around by the arm so as to not let the other boy escape, “before Bell has an aneurysm.”

She turned to say goodbye to Lexa, but found that the brunette has already made her hasty getaway, and, for some reason, Clarke felt the tug of something akin to disappointment in her chest.

It was just the alcohol, of course.

She really needed to stop lying to herself.


 

As their tutoring sessions had progressed, Aden found himself talking to Clarke more and more often, the two blondes quickly establishing a close bond with one another. Now, though, Aden had a specific game plan, a goal in mind.

“How’s your week been?” Clarke opened in greeting, pulling out the lesson plan she’d drafted for him in order to keep him on track for Trikru’s class, and Aden pulled a face.

“I’m exhausted,” he confided, “I didn’t believe Lexa when she told me I’d suddenly be tired 24/7, and severely underestimated how much high school drains a person.” Clarke laughed and smiled at him sympathetically.

“Yeah, freshman year was a rude awakening. I have faith that you’ll get the hang of it by senior year though, because you’re a smart cookie.”

“Can cookies even be smart?” Aden laughed, and Clarke rolled her eyes at the younger boy.

“Apparently they can both be smart and smartasses,” she shot back, and Aden grinned shamelessly, “you little menace, I’m trying to compliment you.” He merely continued grinning, and the two of them easily fell into their usual pattern of work, Clarke’s explanations as crystal clear as always. Aden, however, was distracted, wracking his mind for incidents he could bring up, moments that would make his sister look good in his tutor’s eyes.

“―Aden? You with me?”

He snapped to attention, shrugging sheepishly.

“Sorry,” he apologized quickly, “just thinking.”

“About what?” Clarke specifically changed the tone of her voice to let Aden know that he didn’t have to answer her if he didn’t want to, which the blonde boy appreciated immensely. Clarke had never once infringed upon his privacy, and was perhaps one of the most respectful people he had ever met.

“This one time when I was little,” Aden opened, setting up his story, “probably like, five or six, I was at the zoo with Anya and Lexa, and I really wanted to go and look at the monkeys.” He paused, smiling to himself at the memory. “But Lexa wanted ice cream first, and Aunt Indra didn’t want to deal with sugar-deprived Lexa, so we got ice cream cones on our way to the monkey exhibit, and, when we were there, a monkey came right up to me, I was so excited, and then it just snatched the ice cream out of my hand.”

Clarke was probably wondering what any of this had to do with math, but nodded along, intrigued.

“I started bawling, of course,” Aden continued, “and Anya was laughing at me. But not Lexa, she just wordlessly gave me her own ice cream, even though she’d made such a fuss about getting it, just to cheer me up.” Clarke looked at him inquisitively, an odd look on her face that Aden couldn’t quite place.

“Interesting,” she muttered to herself, but then shook her head and turned back to the textbook, “while monkeys are far more interesting than math, I’m afraid you’ve got some studying to do.”

The smaller of the two blondes pouted somewhat, but returned to his work as instructed.

As he scratched his worked into the lined piece of paper, carefully following Clarke’s instructions, he began shaking his leg up and down as was a habit of his, and he yelped as he hit his knee sharply on the edge of the table.

“Nomonjoka ,” he hissed under his breath, and Clarke’s blue eyes snapped up to meet his, widened in both confusion and concern.

“You alright there, bud?”

“Yeah,” he brushed it off, “just hit my knee, is all.”

“Out of curiosity, what language was that?”

Aden blinked owlishly as the question took a moment to register, and his cheeks darkened in slight embarrassment. He was usually so good at not using the secret language around people that didn’t know it.

“Trigedasleng.”

“Trigedasleng?” The word rolled off of Clarke’s tongue experimentally, and she furrowed her brows in confusion. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that language.”

“You wouldn’t have,” Aden admitted, “it’s something that Anya, Lexa, and Lincoln made up when we were younger.”

“Really?”

Aden nodded enthusiastically.

“Yup. We’d always be told to stay out of the action when they had company dinner parties and such, and there’s a treehouse at our parents’ place where the four of us would go hide out until everyone was gone.” He paused. “I think it was Lexa’s idea, to come up with a language that we could talk in without the adults knowing what we were saying, and it’s evolved through the years.”

“Where’d you get trigedasleng from?”

“Well, tri because it was made in a treehouse, geda because we made it together, and sleng is like slang, I dunno it just made sense.” He shrugged. He had fond memories of building the language with his sister, even though he was so young when the idea initially popped into the older girl’s mind. As they grew, the language grew with them, and he could recall many occasions in which they’d used it to subtly make fun of attendees of the dinner parties and balls that their parents would host on occasion, the stuck up men and women none the wiser.

“It’s been our little group secret since then, so I guess you know about it now.” Aden grinned at her teasingly. “Don’t tell anyone or I’ll have to kill you.”

Clarke smiled at him softly, crossing her heart.

“Promise,” she vowed solemnly, “but, out of curiosity, what does nomonjoka mean?” Aden turned bright pink and Clarke smirked at him as he stuttered, stumbling over his words.

“Uh. well, it’s. It’s a curse word,” he admitted.

“I got that from how closely you resemble a tomato at the moment,” Clarke teased, and Aden scowled at her goodnaturedly.

“It means,” he paused dramatically, “motherfucker.” Clarke gasped in faux horror, eyes widening, and the two of them descended into a fit of giggles.

“Can you teach me more?” Clarke asked. “I mean, if it’s not too much to ask? I think it’s interesting.”

“Sure!” Aden beamed. “It’s the least I can do for you, seeing as you’re the only reason I’m passing my math class right now. So, we can start with some of the basics, like colors and numbers, and then work our way up to more complicated things…”


 

"I should've guessed it." Lexa announced with a smirk, acknowledging the way Clarke's eyes scanned her face, then her jersey and her slim fitting jeans before returning to rest on her emerald gaze.

Clarke was sitting at the most secluded table in the far back of the library, the little reading nook and couple's table far away from any commotion. Clarke's blonde hair was free flowing with a crowning sort of braid that caught the rays of light from the window, golden and ablaze.

"Guessed what?" Clarke decided to bite, sliding her chair a little so that Lexa could join her.

Lexa slid her messenger bag over her shoulder, and Clarke noticed the expensive leatherwork. There was no doubt that she was the "Darcy" of their little arrangement.

"That you'd want to meet here." Lexa motioned to the towers of books that surrounded them on either side, the endless bridges of knowledge and light that roared back against the chasm of ignorance and bigotry.

Of course Clarke would be there.

"Who was it that said that Libraries are the fine red line between civilization and barbarism?" Lexa challenged wryly. "Gaiman?"

"So the Quarterback reads." Clarke offered Lexa a smile, and Lexa reciprocated. "Which are you, then?"

"Sorry?"

"Are you civilized?" Clarke smirked. "Or barbaric?"

Lexa's smirk was dripping with a suggestion Clarke dared not consider. "Both, I think, are useful traits, at appropriate times."

Clarke felt chills and immediately returned back to her outline of the latest chapter.

Lexa seemed smug, before she'd even opened her mouth.

"We're not talking about the pre-game comments." Clarke mumbled,  flipping through the pages indignantly.

Lexa, much to Clarke's surprise, let out a soft chuckle. "The feeling is mutual, by the way." Lexa added, reaching into her bag for her book.

"Huh?" Clarke froze, swallowing.

"Your eyes..." Lexa shrugged nonchalantly, a smile pulling at her full lips. "I could get lost in yours, too."

"Oh." Clarke felt the familiar heat of an embarrassed blush creep up her neck, passing her cheeks. "Thank you. You know, you and your brother both have a propensity to chat away the study hours."

Lexa smiled at the thought of Aden talking Clarke's head off.

"Well, we are siblings. But I like to think my 'chatter' is refined." Lexa defended with a fake huff, listening to Clarke's giggle as they set about writing the first of many letters between Darcy and Elizabeth.

They worked together in unison, listening to the hushed whispers from several rows away, occasionally glancing up at each other when they thought they were being discreet.

Clarke learned three incredibly frustrating things, on that fine afternoon.

The first of which: Lexa was almost impossible not to stare at.  She was a goddess amongst mere mortals at Arkadia, and that was saying something, because Clarke had thought the Blakes were the most attractive people she'd ever seen.

But Lexa Woods was simply ethereal. Her brunette locks cascaded over her shoulder, parted elegantly to the side, allowing her emerald gaze to dominate her features. Her jawline was structured and tight, like a marble statue of perfection. Her lips were full and luscious, and Clarke caught herself wondering what they tasted like.

She attributed that to her stupid teenage hormones.

It didn't mean anything.

The second of Clarke's little discoveries was that Lexa had a beautiful smile, that was contagious. It wasn't even a smile, really. It was a smirk, and then, if Clarke was lucky, it would bloom into a toothy sort of smirk, almost a smile.

And it had Clarke, like every other girl within a 100 mile radius, swooning.

But of course, Clarke was different. She knew Lexa Woods was an asshole. Egotistical, showboating...and incredibly fine.

Clarke wanted to be angry. She wanted to be angry when Lexa would glance up from her work and catch Clarke staring, and then throw her a smirk and sometimes a wink before going back to writing her poetry as if it came as naturally to her as breathing air.

But Clarke felt that insufferably warm breeze blow right through her, and her anger dissipated.

She found that she was smiling back, rather dumbly.

"You know." Lexa had interrupted at some point, twirling her pen between her long, deft fingers, and Clarke tried not to think of what else those fingers were good at.

Costia.

Those fingers were currently doing Costia Greene.

And Clarke was back to normal, with those disturbing thoughts.

Stupid teenage mind with its stupid dirty impulses.

"Hmm?" Clarke hummed, setting her pencil down as she turned to Lexa, watching the girl lean forward, her voice dropping.

"Your tongue sticks out when you focus." Lexa commented, so close that Clarke could smell her perfume.

It was good. Intoxicatingly good, not too sweet, not jarringly strong, either.

"Sorry." Clarke shook her head, bashfully. "I-"

Lexa pouted slightly, and Clarke knew it was subconscious. "Don't apologize. It's cute. Just...an observation."

Before Clarke could open her mouth, she heard soft giggling, paired with harsh whispers behind her. She recognized one of the girls, at the head of the flock. It was a freshman girl, Charlotte something or another, who hadn't shut the hell up about Lexa since she arrived.

And that was the third thing she’d learned, or at least, remembered: Lexa Woods had a goddamn fan club, consisting mostly of little girls who cared little for football, but plenty for her undeniably good looks.

Essentially, she was Lexa's number one fan, her stalker, her biggest admirer.

She had the hots for Lexa Woods.

So did everyone else at this godforsaken institution, apparently.

"We don't have time for this." Clarke rolled her eyes.

Much to Clarke's surprise, Lexa nodded in agreement. "You're telling me."

Clarke smirked. "What? Don't tell me your ego doesn't enjoy this."

Lexa frowned. "Clarke. No one wants to be stalked by fourteen year olds."

Clarke nodded. "True." She let out a little laugh.

Charlotte and her friends decided to walk by at that moment, as if it hadn't been completely obvious that they were planning it for some time in the corner.

"Hi, Lexa." Charlotte put on her best sultry voice, which wasn't saying much, as the girl hadn't really even taken the brunt of puberty yet.

At least, not compared to Lexa and Clarke's eighteen year old prowess.

Lexa smiled weakly, waving a little. "Hi Charlotte." She offered unflinchingly, shaking her head with a wry smile as the girl practically scurried off, but not without shooting a hard glare at Clarke.

"Did you see that?" Clarke gaped.

Lexa cocked her head to the side in a silent question, and Clarke swore it was maybe, secretly, one of the most endearing things she'd ever seen in her life.

"Charlotte gave me the death glare." Clarke clarified, turning in her seat to make sure they were alone once more.

"She does that to Costia too." Lexa winced. "By-product of being in my proximity, I'm afraid."

Clarke nodded, shaking her head in exasperation, a sly smile pulling at her lips.

But all of that fun banter ended rather abruptly when the library fire alarms, the nearest one just in line with Clarke's vision on the wall before them, began blasting, lights flashing exaggeratedly.

Lexa's eyes widened in surprise as she heard several library clerks yell, over the din and the commotion, "It's a test! It's just a test! Please remain seated!"

At those words, Lexa relaxed back into her seat, allowing her eyes to fall to Clarke.

At the sight of the blonde, her eyes widened, and her heart seemed to fold in on itself.

Clarke looked absolutely shocked, almost catatonic. Her blue eyes were wide with what Lexa began to perceive as fear. Her hands had flown to her temples, where she seemed to ground herself, her gaze averted past the flashing lights to the solid wood of the table they shared.

Lexa could see that Clarke wasn't coping well, that this had triggered something far more potent within her.

"Clarke?" Lexa called over the blaring of the alarms. She glanced around, but no one seemed to be present in their area. "Hey, Clarke..." She gently reached out to touch Clarke, getting nothing but Clarke's labored breathing in response.

Lexa felt her heart tear up at whatever was happening to the girl before her. Instinct took over, much like it did on the football field, and Lexa's hands were guiding themselves to Clarke's cheeks as she faced the girl fully, tilting Clarke's head towards hers.

Her emerald gaze had locked with Clarke's cerulean stare and she knew she'd broken through.

"Clarke." She whispered, knowing Clarke's eyes could trace her lips, if not hear her, or feel her vibrations  at the very least. "It's okay." She murmured, every trace of humor, malice, competitiveness in her tone, gone.

She felt like she'd known this girl all her life, that her only purpose was to calm her, to get that horrified look out of her once happy, bright gaze.

"You're safe." Lexa told her, and Clarke's eyes traced her lips, nodding almost imperceptibly. "I'm here." Lexa promised.

And Clarke Griffin broke.

She buried herself into Lexa's shoulder, in the nook between her neck and the slight dip of her muscled shoulder, breathing in raggedly as tears streamed down her cheeks.

Lexa didn't think when her arms went around the girl, just as they had so many times when Aden was distraught over their parents' absence, or when Anya had her first bad breakup. She was soothing Clarke with little rubs on her back, allowing the girl to cling to her while she offered solace, safety, warmth.

She fought the urge to bury her nose into Clarke's sweet smelling golden locks.

She watched Clarke recede into the shell of the person she'd been earlier, so competitive and snarky and full of life.

She whispered and cooed silent reassurances, promises she didn't know she could make.

And then it was over.

The alarms stopped, the lights returned to their normal state, and all that could be heard was Clarke's sniffling as she froze, going rigid in Lexa's embrace.

And then she yanked herself back together, standing up, as her hands frantically wiped at the tears in her eyes. She grabbed her bag and whipped around, leaving despite Lexa's soft calls.

She left her sketches on the table, with the little stub of an art pencil she had left.


The hallways were bustling, much like the bumper to bumper traffic on the local freeway on weekends. Hell, the kids even honked and cussed like they had road rage.

Clarke felt like a sardine, packed between rows and rows of monotony, yet, of her own kind.

It was oddly comforting, the normalcy of it all, especially since her incredibly embarrassing run in with Lexa Woods.

God, she was pathetic.

Clarke was in a state of utter confusion. Yes, she'd been triggered, that had happened to her before. What surprised her was Lexa. Lexa's reaction, Lexa's behavior.

She'd expected laughter.

She'd expected Lexa to make fun of her, to point and stare at the senior who couldn't handle the fire alarm, without ever getting to know the reason why and then offering Clarke a meek apology before someone else eventually did it.

Clarke's eyes had been scanning the rows of heads before her, mostly those of shorter freshmen who hadn't quite discovered the wonders of deodorant. And then she noticed them making way.

They never made room.

Of course it was for her.

Lexa Woods was there, parting the red sea of freshmen like Moses himself, as they all took a little moment to stare at her ass, whisper something in awe, or simply grumble something about "owning the hallway".

She watched the way Lexa's emerald eyes found hers throughout the crowd, and how a soft smile pulled on her full lips, nothing like the smirk she'd seen time and time again. Lexa weaved her way in and out of the clumps of students like she was a fine sports car in a traffic jam.

She stopped right beside Clarke, brushing against her, her lips almost by Clarke's ear.

Clarke felt chills shoot through her body at the close contact, but Lexa didn't dare touch her.

"Here." She murmured softly, handing Clarke's sketches and her notebook over.

Clarke wanted to say something. She felt like she had to apologize, even, for ruining a perfectly good study session. Clarke wanted to apologize for being so broken. So poorly bent out of shape and incapable of handling the simplest of tasks.

But Lexa's eyes told her she didn't have to be sorry at all.

"Next time―" Lexa whispered with a friendly smile. "―you don't have to run away, Clarke." She murmured, giving Clarke's wrist the tiniest of squeezes.

Before Clarke could reply, Lexa was gone, leaving her to blink in confusion.

What had just happened?

Clarke glanced down at her weighty sketchbook, biting her lip as she flipped the front cover open. Taped inside were two art pencils, the exact same model she used, new and fully sharpened.

Clarke felt something erupt inside her chest, and realized it was her heart.

The only other person who had these pencils was Costia.

Lexa must have asked for them.

Clarke didn't know whether to feel anger, for Lexa's apparent pity, or overwhelming emotion because Lexa noticed.

Clarke didn't know how to feel at all.

She settled on numbness.


 

Jake had once told Clarke that art was the gateway to the soul, and that it would reflect whatever it was she felt at the moment. He told her that art was patient, creeping, slow, and that it took time. He taught her how to hold her hand steady as she gently caressed the brush over the canvas, telling her that there was no room for shakiness in art. You found a muse and pursued it with as much confidence as you could muster, regardless of whether or not it looked good. The key to art was perseverance.

But Jake wasn’t there to guide Clarke through periods of artistic rut, to strum his fingers on his old guitar and coax emotions into his daughter.

If she closed her eyes, she could see him in the art studio with her, right hand grasped firmly around Clarke’s small left wrist, showing her how to treat her paint with care and how to carefully bring masterpieces to life, how to fill a blank canvas with color and emotion and hope.

He had been there throughout her slashes of dark reds and oranges, the soft strokes of pale yellows and blues, and then the rich, dark purples and dripping ebony. He hadn’t been there for the grey, and then the period of utter blankness, but he had been responsible for it all the same.

Now, however, Clarke was on her own, and in an utter stump in regards for what to paint.

Artist’s block was a bitch.

Especially when there was a due date looming on the horizon.

Clarke needed that art scholarship, and she would do absolutely everything in her power to get it.

Jake might not have been there to play his old guitar, that was now gathering dust in the corner of the room, untouched, but Clarke had her phone, and dozens of playlists that Raven had compiled for her, which was the next best thing.

She wasn’t even listening to the words, but the deep, crashing beat got her going, and before she knew it, Clarke was painting.

It wasn’t too hard to tap into her anger, because there was plenty of it. But, above all, it was an anger fueled by confusion. As she mixed greens on her pallette, Clarke’s lips tugged downward into a small frown.

For the longest time, her life had been very clear-cut.

There were people she liked, and people she didn’t.

People who were rude, and people who were nice.

They were split into two very distinctive groups, and Clarke had always been able to differentiate between the two of them.

Except now she couldn’t.

Because of Lexa fucking Woods.

From the first time Clarke had―quite embarrassingly―dropped her sketchbook onto Lexa’s perfect, even-laced boots, she had known that the two of them wouldn’t get along. There was something about the brunette that exuded arrogance, paired with a haughty smirk that was absolutely maddening.

Quite frankly, Clarke would have been content to not speak a word to Lexa in her entire high school fate, but fate―or rather, Niylah Crewe―had other ideas.

Slowly but surely, that image of Lexa that she’d first had was being chipped away.

Of course, Lexa was still an asshole, but she’d seen a glimpse into the other layers of the quarterback, and Clarke cursed her endless curiosity, because now she wanted to know more about the girl.

Because Lexa had cared .

She’d seen Clarke, broken and shaking, an absolute mess, and instead of ridiculing her and sneering, she’d taken her into her arms and done her best to make her feel safe.

And the worst part was that it worked .

Clarke had been utterly mortified, but then Lexa had gone and surprised her yet again , and softly informed her that she didn’t need to run from her.

It took Clarke a while to notice, but the shades of green making their way onto the previously blank canvas were painstakingly familiar, and she knew that the wide irises staring back at her belonged to none other than the girl she had set out to hate.

A soft rap on the door to her makeshift art studio snapped Clarke of her intrusive thoughts, and she knew before it opened that it was her mother. Raven usually just barged in without asking.

“Hey, mom,” Clarke greeted, turning down the volume to her music and turning to greet the older woman, who smiled at her, holding up a plate of brunch leftovers.

“Hungry?”

Clarke’s stomach grumbled as though on cue, and she laughed softly as she happily accepted the plate.

“You know me so well,” Clarke teased, and Abby scoffed.

“Of course I do, I’m your mother.” She sat down opposite Clarke, cross-legged on the ground, with her own plate of food, and the two ate in silence for a few moments, merely soaking up each other’s presence.

“I heard that angry screeching you kids nowadays call music,” she opened casually, “and figured I should come in here and bring you food before you threw something.”

While Clarke was far from a violent person, she’d been known to get a little too caught up in her art sessions, which was why, in the corner of the room, there was a small hole, framed by an elegant gold piece, with the familiar, loopy handwriting that had signed off on all of Clarke’s permission slips when she was younger, ‘Clarke Griffin. Anger. 2014’. Abby had given Clarke the scolding of her life as she bandaged bruised, bleeding knuckles, and had yelled even more when Jake framed it, but now the hole was a bittersweet reminder of the times Clarke had spent in this room with her father.

“I’m sure the wall appreciates your efforts,” Clarke responded with a tight smile, and she could practically feel her mother’s concern, and blue eyes snapped up to meet dark brown.

“I had another attack today,” she confessed, and her heart panged when Abby’s expression immediately fell, reaching out with her hand to grab her daughter’s, rubbing soothing circles with her thumb.

“I’m so sorry you have to go through this,” Abby breathed, and Clarke could feel the tears forming, and tried desperately to blink them away. “I thought they were getting better?”

“They were,” Clarke said, steeling herself. She’d cried too much this week already. “There was a fire drill, unplanned, after school.” Abby’s lips pursed in understanding, and she moved her other hand to cup Clarke’s face gently, and before she knew it, Clarke was being pulled into a hug.

Clarke had always been her father’s daughter, and there was nothing more she missed in the world than his giant bear hugs, which felt like home, the musk of his cologne as she buried her face in his shoulder, the crinkles in his shirt and the scruffiness of his facial hair, the cool press of the golden watch, which now hung around her own wrist, against her back. She had never been particularly close to her mother, and the two of them had made leaps to fix that after Jake’s passing.

It wasn’t one of her father’s hugs, but there was something about a mother’s embrace that was equally as comforting, and Clarke allowed herself to lean into the hug, leeching as much love and support from her as she could, and she felt safe.

She couldn’t help but think about Lexa’s arms, and how her embrace had made her feel.

Maybe she didn’t hate the other girl quite so much as she thought she did.


 

Octavia had called in sick to her shift at the Dropship, and Clarke knew it was a coverup to spend some much needed downtime with Lincoln, whom she hadn't seen much of due to the hectic football schedule.

It was Wednesday evening, and Clarke was working the 6-10 pm shift.

The Dropship was as barren and desolate as a graveyard, and all that was missing to illustrate its emptiness was perhaps a passing tumbleweed.

Wells was in the back, busying himself with inventory, and chatting with the current cook, namely, Nathan Miller.

Clarke wished she'd been able to converse with them, but she was one of only two waitresses for the evening shift, and she needed eyes upfront.

She'd been attempting to do some of Mr. Kane's history homework when the door swung open, revealing a very tired but regal looking Lexa woods, her hair tied in a messy bun behind her, underarmour black, long sleeved shirt clinging to every inch of her incredibly toned body. And best of all, Costia Greene was nowhere to be seen.

Clarke hated the way she felt a little noise start up in the back of her throat instead of a proper greeting.

Lexa's emerald gaze glinted with some sort of recognition when she saw Clarke, and she offered Clarke a little smile, moving to sit at the secluded little booth in the corner. Besides one lady in the opposite, far corner, they were the only two in the restaurant.

Clarke grabbed a menu and headed over, doing her best to smile, just in case Wells was watching her performance. Making her way over, she set the menu in front of Lexa, meeting her gaze with little mind to the rhythmic thumping of her nervous heart.

"Hi." Clarke settled on the simplest of greetings.

"Clarke." Lexa rolled the C and the L, leaving the K sharp, the way that made Clarke reanalyze her name like it was one of Aden's math equations. "How are you?"

Clarke almost did a double take. No one usually asked.

"I'm...alright." Clarke admitted with a shrug. "How are you? You look...tired. In a good way."

Lexa chuckled at that. "I am. I figured it'd be easier to stop by and grab something for Aden and myself, rather than force our aunt to cook us something."

Clarke had read articles. Lexa's parents were incredibly wealthy business people. They'd moved to France to work on their new startup. Perhaps Lexa wasn't a stranger to parental abandonment after all. They must have resided with Anya's parents, Indra and Gustus. That couldn't have been entirely comfortable.

"Right." Clarke smiled at the mention of Aden. "How is he?"

Lexa blinked, a surprised little smile on her expression. No one usually asked about Aden. "He's well. And, maybe, in love with you."

Clarke couldn't help it. She grinned at that, shaking her head. "It's mutual."

Lexa shook her head at her brother's unspoken antics, pushing the menu back towards Clarke.

"You already know what you want to order?" Clarke asked in surprise. "For Aden, too?"

Lexa laughed lightly, and Clarke found herself in awe at the beauty of the sound, the way waves of little flutters ran over her when she heard it. "Aden wants chicken tenders, that's all the kid ever eats.  I'll grab some for him on my way out."

Clarke nodded, biting her lip to keep from thinking of Lexa's laugh rather than listening to her order. "And for you?"

"Your recommendation." Lexa smirked, folding her arms.

"Um..." Clarke froze. "What do you like?"

"Take a guess." Lexa shrugged. "I'm testing you."

"You look like you like protein shakes and quinoa salads, neither of which are served here...thank god." Clarke rolled her eyes.

Lexa looked insanely amused. "That's...actually true. I suppose I'm too obvious."

Clarke couldn't help the answer before she blurted it out. "I mean, one look at you..." She motioned up and down, and swore she saw a tint of red on Lexa's cheeks. "...Just ask Charlotte." She threw in, and Lexa took her turn to roll her eyes.

"So...a salad." Lexa decided.

"Pretty good grilled chicken salad here." Clarke nodded. "Will that work?"

Lexa agreed, and Clarke set off to place the order, her head spinning with the resonating echo of Lexa's melodious laugh.

Wells was humming to himself as he carried a box of napkins, smiling when he saw Clarke.

"Still mad your shift isn't over?" He quipped knowingly.

Clarke stuck her tongue out at him, calling her order to Miller and his assistants in the back. "As the matter of fact, yes I am. There's no one here, and Kane's homework isn't going to do itself."

Wells let out a chuckle. "Marcus Kane? Had him last year. He assigns a lot, but...if you make a good impression, you're in."

Clarke nodded, taking the advice to heart. "My mom's going in for a parent teacher conference, which is incredibly stupid because she works there, but...I hope she can schmooze him a little. Hell, I could use the relief."

Wells agreed with a low hum. "Worth a shot, right? Sorry I can't pull any strings for you. You'd think having your father as the school principal would do something for you, but...Nope. In fact, I think he expects more."

Clarke shook her head, patting Wells on the shoulder. "It's a cruel world, isn't it, Jaha?"

"I'll say." Wells chuckled, hopping back onto the counter. "And promspects?"

"Huh?" Clarke blinked, wondering if she'd maybe damaged her hearing from the loud fire alarms.

"Promspects. You know, prom prospects? Dates?" Wells tried again, a small smile on his features.

"Wells, are you asking me to prom?" Clarke smirked at her best friend. "In...September?"

Wells rolled his eyes. "I was asking if you had your sights set on anyone." He shot a glance towards Lexa, and Clarke's gaze followed. She was typing away at her phone, a small smile on her face.

It was either Costia, or Aden, and Clarke found herself praying for the latter.

"So, what about Woods?" Wells smirked. "You diggin' Arkadia's Commander? Because it looks like-"

"No. She's dating Costia." Clarke answered abruptly, sharply. "And...she's egotistical, in the spotlight with a weird fanclub, and-"

"Rich, like, filthy rich." Wells added with a look of seriousness. "Yesterday her parents became business partners with the owners."

Clarke's jaw dropped. "What?" She gasped. "Why?"

Wells shrugged. "Don't question miracles, Clarke. You and Octavia get a raise, though. Maybe you ought to be friends with her."

Clarke rolled her eyes. "Don't bribe me into friendship on her behalf, Wells. It doesn't suit you."

Wells chuckled, turning to accept the plate of salad that had just been run out to her. "Whatever, Clarke. Just remember: Don't charge her anymore, and do whatever she asks."

Clarke looked ready to protest.

"Clarke, don't you want to have enough to afford popcorn for our next movie night?" Wells reminded with a sage voice.

"Yes." Clarke sighed. "But I'd have to work for eternity, who charges ten dollars for a small popcorn?"

Wells shook his head. "You and I should marry rich." He teased, turning back to his work.

Clarke laughed at that, carrying the plate over to Lexa, who immediately set her phone aside. She noticed Aden's contact name flashing on the screen, and bit back a smile. At least Lexa was paying attention to him.

"Here we go." Clarke smiled, setting the dish before her. "You need anything and I'll be right back there." Clarke motioned to her makeshift study area, rows and rows of booths away.

To Clarke's surprise, Lexa frowned slightly, an adorable pout that contradicted the personality she'd laid out for herself. "Would you care to join me?"

"I..uh..." Clarke swallowed. What was happening? "I can't. I'm working."

Lexa smirked. "There's no one here, Clarke." She pointed out.

Dammit Clarke. Way to be obvious.

"I should be studying for Kane's first test." Clarke mumbled, heart racing at the prospect of sitting with Lexa. Why? She was just as social, just as popular. This wasn't a popularity issue at all. Was it because of the way Lexa had handled her anxiety attack? Why was she feeling so incredibly nervous around the girl?

Lexa's smirk only grew. "I'm his TA. He's postponing it."

"What?" Clarke's eyes widened, and she gasped a little. "Since when?" She demanded wryly.

"Since this afternoon." Lexa informed. "I'll be switching into his fourth period class to assist."

Clarke went numb. "I'm in that class."

"Oh?" Lexa smiled. "Maybe we'll get a spare second to work on our project."

"Maybe." Clarke nodded.

"So..." Lexa motioned to the booth seat across from her. "Please."

"I feel like you don't take rejection well." Clarke noted with a smirk.

Lexa bit her lip, and Clarke had to admire the feeling it sent through her. "Is that what this is? A rejection?"

"No." Clarke smiled, taking the seat across from her. "I guess I can spare a few moments to catch up with Arkadia's darling."

"You're the darling." Lexa shrugged, taking a quiet bite. "I'm the Commander."

Clarke snorted, blushing when Lexa smiled up at the sound. "Costia's the darling. You two are the cliche couple no one asked for."

Lexa didn't bristle. Instead, she cocked her head to the side, and Clarke felt her insides melt a little. "You two don't get along?" She asked softly.

"Not particularly, no." Clarke shrugged nonchalantly, though she felt heat build within her. "She never mentioned me?"

Lexa shook her head, frowning. She looked genuinely bothered. "Why?"

Clarke rolled her eyes. "To be honest, I'm...not entirely comfortable discussing it with her lover." Clarke's residual venom rang in the last word, and Lexa's gaze found her salad to be very interesting.

"Are you alright?" Lexa asked after a moment of silence.

This time, it was Clarke who cocked her head in confusion. "Hmm?" She asked, unsure.

"You..." Lexa prefaced it with a gentle sigh. "You don't have to talk about what happened, the other day in the library, I just wanted to make sure you're alright."

Clarke felt her resolve melting away at Lexa's tone, her cockiness buried beneath waves of genuine care. "I'm...sorry you had to see that." Clarke's cheeks reddened. "That was incredibly-"

"Okay." Lexa finished, shaking her head. "Don't apologize, Clarke. You certainly don't need my validation for feeling a certain way."

Clarke froze.

That was unexpected. She'd gotten the "I'm sorry" and the "poor baby" lines so many times, she'd forgotten what genuine acknowledgment of her illness felt like.

It was sweetly liberating.

Clarke bit her lip, incredibly unsure about the next words that spilled out of her mouth.

"I think, maybe, we got off to a rough start." Clarke murmured, eyes settling in the eden of Lexa's eyes.

Lexa nodded, her eyes twinkling with amusement. "I should hope I proved that I'm a little more than a brainless jock. Did you know I have received over thirty copies of Airbud?" She smirked and Clarke felt personally attacked by how attractive it was.

Clarke felt her cheeks redden at that. "That was...so uncalled for."

"No, it wasn't." Lexa sighed, sounding as if apologizing tasted bitter. "I...attacked a great novel."

"You think Pride and Prejudice is a great novel?" Clarke gasped, a shit eating grin on her face.

"I...do." Lexa rolled her eyes. "Please, keep this between you and me."

Clarke giggled, and Lexa's expression immediately brightened. "What else don't I know about you?"

"A lot, if you're still going to judge me based on the 'popular Quarterback' theory you seem dead set on believing."

Clarke nodded slowly, taking in a breath. She stuck her hand out, and Lexa eyed it wearily. "Hi, I'm Clarke Griffin. Enthusiast of nature, reading, art, and the color green."

Lexa felt an idiotic smile on her face as she shook Clarke's outstretched hand with her own.

"Alexandria Woods, enthusiast of health, space, and the color blue."

Clarke took it all in. "Alexandria, huh?" She let out a little whistle. "That's beautiful."

Lexa shook her head. "So was your piece, that you were working on the other day. The one where the forest met the sky..." She spoke as if she were in a trance.

"You saw that?" Clarke asked shyly, wishing she'd stop reacting at every damn word that came out of the other girl's mouth.

Lexa nodded. "I...it was incredible. I felt like...I'd seen that, somewhere before."

Clarke nodded, lips parted slightly. "Really? Me too, I-"

The front door to the diner swung open, revealing three particularly entitled looking boys, two of whom Clarke, who'd been facing the door, immediately recognized.

Clarke stiffened, words dying on her lips, and Lexa's head shot around to take in the boys, her eyes scanning them diligently. They hadn't noticed Clarke or Lexa just yet.

"You know them?" Lexa asked, her voice inquisitive, and if Clarke wasn't mistaken, defensive.

"Dated one." Clarke replied evenly, her eyes finding the middle boy, with the shaggy hair and wry smile.

"You dated Finn Collins?" Lexa quirked a brow, taking in their posh uniform coats, buttoned to the ties that haphazardly swung out now that the school day was over.

"You know them?" Clarke fired back in surprise.

"I went to Mount Weather." Lexa shifted uncomfortably. "Not conducive to a wonderful football career. Great for the arts, though."

Clarke nodded, biting her lip nervously. "That's Cage Wallace, the headmaster's son. He...let's not go there. He has a bit of a thing for me."

At that, Lexa's gaze steeled. "Is it mutual?"

Clarke scoffed. "It's harassment. Who...who's the other one? The loud one?" She asked quietly, refusing to look at Finn.

Lexa rolled her eyes. "That's Carl Emerson. He's...a real delinquent."

Clarke nodded, sucking in a breath. "I should go."

Lexa regarded Clarke with a sliver of concern. "Can't the other waiter handle it?"

Clarke shook her head. "I have to afford those art supplies somehow, right?" She offered Lexa a little smile. "But...it was fun, meeting you." She teased slightly, sliding out of her seat.

"The bill, Clarke." Lexa reminded lightly, long fingers nervously tapping away at the table.

Clarke shook her head. "You know you don't get one."

Lexa exasperatedly shook her head in response, pulling out her wallet. "Well let me at least-"

"Hey, babe!" Cage called from his booth, waving Clarke over. "You coming? We're kinda hungry here."

Clarke bit her lip, her fists curling at her sides. "I hate this fucking job." She muttered, putting on a faux smile as she turned around.

Lexa tilted her head, definitely picking up on the threat of Cage's tone.

"Hey Finn." Clarke smiled tightly, brandishing her notepad.

The boy gave her an equally uncomfortable smile, nodding from his small spot in the corner, seemingly trapped behind Cage and the Emerson kid.

"What can I get for you?" Clarke asked, trying her best to sound enthusiastic.

"What's good?" Cage smirked, leaning forward, eyes raking Clarke's body.

Clarke resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "Cage, you'll probably end up getting the steak. What about you guys? Finn? Your friend? Maybe a minute or two?"

Finn nodded slowly, eyes pleading with Clarke to leave.

"Alright I'll get some waters." Clarke nodded, turning around to leave.

She stilled, an exasperated look on her face when she felt Cage pull her back by the back loop of her apron, dangerously close to sexual harassment territory.

"Clarke." His voice was caustic. "Why the rush, baby?"

"Okay, A, don't call me that." Clarke rolled her eyes. "And B, it's called a job. You know, those things you do when you aren't spoon fed millions on daddy's lap."

Emerson's eyes widened and Finn broke out into a fit of laughter, slapping his hand on the table surface.

Lexa, though still turned away and mostly forgotten, smirked in her seat, fingers relinquishing their tight grip on the booth's edge, the result of nervously listening into their conversation.

"Yeah?" Cage licked his lips, brushing his hair out of his eyes. "You miss having a daddy, don't you Clarke? Well, I have a job for you." He motioned to his pants with a smirk. "You can sit on my lap-"

Cage Wallace never saw the punch coming. He never expected the typically peaceable, bright Clarke Griffin to punch him straight between the eyes, sending him toppling back into Finn, clutching his nose with a cry of absolute fury.

Ever loyal, Emerson was up in seconds, towering over Clarke. Vengeance was the clear intent in his darkened eyes, and Clarke knew she was outmatched. He was a hell of a hulking figure, the size of Roan Queen, possibly.

He stepped forward, advancing on Clarke, despite Finn's cry of protest, begging him to stop.

Clarke's eyes widened as she felt herself backing up slowly, trying to maintain her calm, collected state.

Oh, god. She needed Wells, or Miller. They were both deaf over the sound of the grill, way in the back. She felt her heart repeatedly slam against her chest. This was very, very stupid.

She balled her fist at her side, ready for round two. She prayed that maybe, by some freak accident, she'd be lucky and he'd suddenly slip.

She then felt herself back up into something warm, and a hand took her from behind, uncurling the tense fist with a soft, warning touch.

Clarke whipped around to see Lexa, ever calm, relaxed, even, backing Clarke like a damn bodyguard.

Clarke wasn't sure why she felt instantly safer, knowing the athlete was there to provide support. Her pride had certainly taken a back seat to her need to stay in one piece.

"Carl." Lexa tutted, eyes raking him up and down once.

"Woods?" Emerson blinked, immediately stopping in place, hands falling to his side.

"Not a fight you want to start, right now." Lexa spoke lowly, intensely, her words carrying a threat that seemed to still Emerson's thought process entirely. "Take Cage, and leave."

Emerson looked distraught. "Woods, she-"

"Go." Lexa spoke tersely, and that was it.

Emerson's forehead vein was visible as he contained his anger, turning to Finn, who'd been helping Cage stem the blood that had trickled out of his battered nose, into a napkin.

"Help me get him out of here." Finn muttered, pushing Cage off the booth slowly. "He needs a doctor."

Emerson shot a glare at Lexa as he passed with Cage, muttering a string of profanities as he did.

Clarke, still in shock, merely blinked when Finn approached her.

Lexa tensed, but realized his tone and gaze was sincerely apologetic.

"Clarke, I'm so sorry." Finn shook his head. "Cage had a bit to drink, and-"

"It's fine." Clarke shook her head, offering him a tired smile. "Just...go, okay?"

"Sorry." Finn nodded as he turned around, shaking his head in embarrassment. Clarke couldn't help but feel as though his apology went beyond excusing the actions of his drunk friend, and wondered if the undertones were there or her own imagining. 

Clarke wheeled around, eyes finding Lexa's in a post adrenaline induced haze.

"Thanks for the backup." She murmured awkwardly.

"To be quite honest, I didn't think you'd need the help." Lexa teased, tossing her bill on the table. "You have quite the...fire within you, Clarke. Is your hand alright?”

Clarke felt her heart skip a beat when Lexa said her name, and it almost stopped altogether when Lexa’s long fingers were grazing her hand, inspecting it for damage. “That was one hell of a punch.”

Clarke shook her head when Lexa dropped her hand, smiling amusedly. “My dad taught me.” She shrugged, but the words lingered in the air.

Lexa chose to ignore the melancholy tone behind them. She didn’t want to put Clarke on the spot like that. She’d heard what Cage had said. Something was certainly amiss there.

"Does Cage often bother you?" Lexa asked, softer this time.

"Huh?" Clarke blinked. "Oh, yeah. He, uh...I have a feeling that's not going to end until I do something about it."

"Looks to me like you just did." Lexa smirked, folding her tightly muscled arms over her chest.

Clarke's cheeks flushed. "He'll be back, I'm sure."

Lexa's jaw tightened slightly before she grabbed Aden's bag, offering Clarke an apologetic smile. "I should get these to Aden. He'll drive me insane if he doesn't eat soon."

Clarke laughed lightly at that. "I put a little gift in there for him. Tell him I say Hi...and I'm proud of him."

Lexa nodded, a small grin forming on her features. "I will, Clarke. Thank you."


 

Aden had known the second Tris started interning with the editorial staff of the school paper that she’d ask for an interview with Anya.

His excitable friend was very, very obviously enamoured with his cousin, that had been clear from their first interaction together.

Aden didn’t quite understand how , seeing as the two of them had practically never spoken a word to one another, but Tris swooned whenever Anya was in sight. He supposed it was a quintessential part of the high school experience, helplessly pining after someone who was very clearly out of your reach. He’d often noticed a far-off look in Atom’s eyes, but didn’t know who it was the other boy was pining after just yet, and Nam longed for a healthy relationship with sleep, so the theory made sense.

Ellis, ever the outlier, claimed she had no time for such things, and rolled her eyes when Aden asked.

Back to the interview, though. That was how Aden found himself, sat next to a panicking Tris as the two of them waited for Anya to get out of practice and join them in the library.

“What if she hates me?” Tris fretted, pacing back and forth so frequently that Aden thought she was going to wear a hole into the carpet. He continued to flip through the pages of his copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone , not looking up to respond.

“She won’t hate you,” he placated, “An doesn’t really hate anyone unless their last name is Queen .”

“How can you be so calm?” Tris hissed, hand brushing anxiously through her hair.

Aden peaked over the cover of his book to raise a single eyebrow, and she scowled at him.

“Right, you’re her cousin.” She continued pacing for a few moments, before she finally flung her hands in the air. “I can’t do this, Aden, it’s too stressful, you’ll just have to―” Her words died in her throat when Anya slunk gracefully into the library, hair wet from her post-practice shower, towel draped over her shoulder.

“Sup nerd?” she greeted Aden, reaching over to ruffle his hair, and he scowled good-naturedly at her, before she turned to observe Tris, who had frozen in the middle of pacing. “You must be Tris? Anya, Aden’s told me a lot about you.” She extended her hand, and Aden thought for a moment that Tris was going to pass out, but the smaller of the two quickly composed herself and reached out tentatively, grasping Anya’s hand in her own, and shaking firmly twice.

She was going to be fine.


 

“No, Emori.”

Clarke shook her head as the lacrosse player pouted, easily matching Clarke’s somewhat brisk pace as the two of them made their way to Marcus Kane’s classroom, weaving through the bustling halls of Arkadia.

“I’m not saying you have to marry her, or anything,” Emori reasoned, “just give her a shot, go on a date or two with her.”

“Shouldn’t she be asking me this herself?” Clarke deadpanned, turning her head briefly to regard her friend with a raised brow. “Instead of sending you to do it?” Emori rolled her eyes.

“She doesn’t know I’m talking to you on her behalf, of course, who do you think I am, Griffin, some kind of messenger? No, I just thought I’d put in a good word on behalf of my captain, and figured it’d come best from me seeing as the two of us are actually friends.”

If there was anyone in the entire school who could match Lexa Woods in terms of dramatic flare and student-crafted lore, it was Luna Rivers.

In fact, the girl had been perhaps the most talked about member of the student body before Lexa’s arrival, what with her being the most ruthless lacrosse captain the school had seen in decades, as well as her propensity for getting in fistfights with the captain of the boy’s lacrosse team, Derrick Brook. Clarke had always thought the two of them had a secret thing going on, but apparently not, because, according to Emori, Luna had a raging lady-boner for herself truly.

“Just give her a shot?” Emori pleaded, doing her best impression of puppy dog eyes.

“I won’t reject her instantly, if that’s what you’re asking,” Clarke responded dryly, “but I’m not promising anything will come out of it.” Emori grinned widely, clapping Clarke rather firmly on the back.

“That’s the spirit!” she cheered. “We’re young, Griff, now’s the time to go out and live life.” The two of them walked into Kane’s classroom side-by-side, and Clarke’s eyes were drawn almost instinctively to Lexa, who was grading papers at a desk situated next to Kane’s own, and a small smile crossed her face as Lexa’s eyes snapped up to greet hers, pausing from her work momentarily to wave.

“Clarke!” Her attention was diverted to Raven, who was waving her over to her usual seat amongst her friends. “Who do you think would win in a fight: Hamilton or Burr?”

“Well,” Clarke responded quickly, “I think history will answer that one for you, seeing as Hamilton died in a duel with Burr.”

“See, Bell? I told you.”

“But he chose not to fight. When it comes down to it, Hamilton was obviously the better shot of the two…” Bellamy trailed off as the very person Clarke had been discussing earlier walked up to the group of friends, situating herself in the desk in front of Clarke, facing towards her while she straddled the chair.

“Rivers?” Bellamy’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion as he observed the curly haired girl. “What brings you over here?”

“I had to come observe the true beauty closer, of course,” she scoffed, as though it were the most obvious thing on the planet, and her eyes danced playfully as she regarded Clarke, who felt red creeping up her cheeks, “pictures don't do justice, Clarke, you're truly stunning.”

“You aren't too shabby yourself,” Clarke smirked, eyes trailing over Luna’s body, especially the way her tight shirt clung to taut muscles and soft curves.

“You should see me in the gym,” the girl continued casually, “really get a gauge for my physique. For artistic study, of course.” She winked, and Clarke couldn't help but smile at her boldness.

“I might take you up on that offer, Rivers,” she smirked, “but don't get too cocky, at least take me to dinner.”

“Oh, trust me, I plan on it.” The bell rang at that moment, and Luna raised Clarke's hand to her face, pressing a soft kiss to the skin. “I shall see you later, fair lady.”

As Kane walked into the room, Clarke turned to find her friends in various states of shock. Raven, for once in her life, was silent, mouth agape, and Bellamy and Octavia held mirror expressions of bewilderment. Jasper’s jaw was hanging open, and Monty reached over with a frown to close it. Emori, in all her smugness, was just smirking, and Murphy looked entirely unbothered by the entire situation.

“What was that,” Octavia hissed under her breath as soon as she had her wits about her.

“I think I just got asked on a date,” Clarke responded matter-of-factly.

“Just like that?” Raven echoed. “No fuss?”

Clarke sighed deeply, mild irritation rising within her. “Just like that. It doesn't have to be a big deal, guys. It's just a date.” Raven exchanged a helpless glance with Bellamy, and the dark haired boy continued.

“It’s just,” he started, “you don't exactly go on dates a lot, Princess. We’re just a little concerned, is all.”

“It’ll be fine,” Clarke deflected, looking down. “It's just a date.” She wasn't sure if the repetition was to convince herself of her friends. “I don't think it'll amount to much.” Because she's not— Clarke shut down that thought before it could even fully formulate, turning to Monty, who had a pensive look on his face.

“Mon? What are you thinking?”

“Woods looks like she's gonna kill someone.”

True to his word, Lexa had looked up from the stack of papers she’d been grading, and had a stony look plastered on her face, grip on her pen tightened so much that Clarke could see her knuckles whiten, and she couldn’t help but shiver at the intensity of the dark green gaze, which had trailed in the direction of Luna.


 

Lexa had been having a wonderful day.

She woke up five minutes before her alarm, allowing blissful time to just stretch in her bed, and Gustus had made chocolate chip pancakes, a family favorite, with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. She’d arrived at school earlier, missing the traffic, and had been greeted by a kiss from her wonderful girlfriend, and had escaped english without too much bickering on Clarke’s part, a newfound sense of peace among the two girls.

Kane had grinned widely at her entry to his class, beckoning her over, and handed her a stack of papers to grade. While it wasn’t very interesting, the work was easy enough, and she genuinely liked the history teacher, who treated her as just another student and not some sort of prodigy. When Clarke had walked into the room and smiled at her, Lexa had been sure that the day was going to be a good one.

And then Luna came into the picture.

Lexa noticed her as soon as she entered the room, the other girl shooting her a smirk and a jaunty half-wave, stirring the beginnings of irritation in her stomach. Growing up, the Woods family and Rivers family were close associates, so Lexa had endured years of less-than-friendly competition with the lacrosse player. While they didn’t necessarily hate one another, there was definitely no love in their relationship.

In fact, Lexa would have loved to just go about her life completely ignoring Luna altogether, but for some reason, she couldn’t avoid her even if she tried.

So of course Lexa noticed when Luna made her way over to Clarke, straddling a chair as though her life depended on it, and blocking Clarke from Lexa’s view altogether.

She didn’t understand the anger that bubbled inside of her at the sight of Luna flirting, because that’s what she was doing, with Clarke. Didn’t understand the surge of… was that protectiveness? ... that overwhelmed her. Because she and Clarke weren’t even friends, not really. Sure, there was the potential for a friendship, but they hadn’t reached that point, not yet.

And for the life of her, Lexa didn’t understand why she tightened the grip on her pen, as though it was Luna’s neck and she wanted to snap it.

Maybe it’s jealousy.

Lexa dismissed the thought quickly, almost scoffing aloud at it’s foolishness. There was no way in hell that she was jealous of Luna Rivers, she didn’t have any reason to be.

She was the star quarterback of the football team, had an amazing girlfriend who was also the head cheerleader, got astounding grades, and was adored by all the school, staff members included. She wanted for nothing.

But there was still something missing.

And Lexa had no idea what it was.


 

Lexa had never seen so much color in her life. Not at her parents' opulent, extravagant parties and galas, not even at any of the pride parades she'd seen.

This was otherworldly.

As Lexa held the door open to Niylah's classroom, she heard herself mumble, "whoa."

Costia's smile was bright when she nudged Lexa, whose eyes had settled on a mass of balloons of all shapes, sizes, and colors, floating to touch the fluorescents on the ceiling. "Clarke Griffin spares no expense for her birthdays." Costia informed her with a quiet whisper. "Well, her friends don't, anyway."

Lexa nodded, blinking as a balloon narrowly missed her when Clarke turned around to greet someone who wished her a happy birthday.

Niylah was sitting over by Raven and Octavia, all three of whom were wearing party hats, Niylah slightly disgruntled but amused nonetheless.

"Bye baby." Costia pressed a quick kiss to the corner of Lexa's mouth before skipping off to her seat, likely trying to catch up on the daily gossip with her friends.

Lexa mumbled a meek farewell, turning to sit in her seat beside Clarke, who'd been turned away, talking quietly to someone else.

Lexa felt an odd feeling in the pit of her stomach. Was that...guilt? Because she was empty handed? She and Clarke were hardly friends, more like "frenemies" as she'd overheard Reyes say once. She didn't owe Clarke anything, right?

And yet, when Clarke turned to her, blue eyes dimmed, blush on her cheeks from all the attention, she felt that she did.

"Hi." Clarke's voice was small, a little smile on her lips.

"Happy Birthday." Lexa greeted, slightly awkward. "I'm sorry...If I had known-"

Clarke waved a hand with an eye roll. "What, you would've gotten me something? Don't tell me you're going soft on me, Woods."

Lexa felt a smile finding its way to her lips. "Hardly." She scoffed, though she felt a familiar tug in her chest.

"Any celebrations?" Lexa asked after a moment of silence.

Clarke shrugged, jerking her head back at Raven and Octavia, who were whooping and chattering away about their grand plans. "These two always arrange something, whether I like it or not."

"You don't like the attention?" Lexa asked with a wry smile.

Clarke shrugged. "I don't really get off on that like you do." She smirked when Lexa's jaw dropped, satisfied that she'd made her mark.

Lexa feigned a look of hurt, shaking her head. "And to think, I was planning on sparing you today."

Clarke gave her a small smile. "Don't. I...don't like being reminded that today is any different, anyway."

Before Lexa could respond, the bell rang, and Niylah stood, smoothing out her shirt.

There was no group work that day, and Lexa left wondering what exactly Clarke had meant by that.

It seemed that, wherever Clarke went, cheers, laughter, and general obnoxious behavior followed.

Lexa had arrived a few minutes late to Marcus Kane's history class, hoping to slide through the door unnoticed. Instead, she found that she was sliding into what was practically a party, with Kane nowhere to be found.

Lexa was starting to learn that Kane made a habit of showing up approximately ten minutes late to his fourth class period.

Of course, the present Delinquents had taken advantage, and the classroom had been turned into a mini disco of sorts, with music blaring from an apparent speaker in Octavia's backpack, her twin standing on the desk and handing out cupcakes to eager students in Clarke's honor. Raven had been whispering something to Luna, who was eyeing Clarke with her sculpted brow raised, running a hand through her curls.

At that, Lexa's eyes narrowed.

Monty, whom Lexa had learned to be quite bright, just from grading his tests, was trying to console the birthday girl in question, who'd been silent in the corner.

When Lexa stepped in, heads turned, and some people set their cupcakes down with slight disappointment, and fear.

It was a well known fact that Lexa Woods was Marcus Kane's deputy, his second in command, his prized TA. She was supposed to enforce his word, was she not?

But Lexa Woods was also a notorious rebel.

Lexa pushed her way past Bellamy, politely declining his offered cupcake as she strode over to her desk, dropping her expensive italian book bag down with a sigh, leaning back into her seat to take in her surroundings.

Her eyes roamed the expanse of Clarke's dress clad figure as she stood to throw out a paper plate. Her discomfort seemed to be evident only to Lexa, as everyone seamlessly carried on with their party as if Clarke's shoulders weren't sagging slightly and as if she weren't biting her lip anxiously.

Lexa's emerald gaze narrowed when Luna stood to wrap her arms around Clarke, pulling the blonde into her lap.

Well, that was brazen, for such a new couple, wasn't it?

Lexa couldn't hear the words over the ambient pounding of the beat, but she could certainly read lips.

She felt her own nails digging into her thighs when she witnessed Luna coo, in her undoubtedly sultry and hoarse tone, "Hey babygirl."

Babygirl? Lexa felt an unsavory feeling unfurl in her stomach, the one she'd previously attributed to anger, possibly indigestion. It was becoming clear, now, that Luna was not helping the case.

Clarke smiled that soft, warm smile, and Lexa felt a little bit of that anger dissipate. After all, she had the right to protect her english partner, right? Niylah would have wanted that.

"What's the matter?" Luna's lips moved, almost grazing Clarke's ear.

Lexa listened intently for Clarke's response, only to find Raven Reyes blocking her field of vision.

"Hey Commander." Raven chirped, leaning over in front of Lexa, blocking her view entirely.

"Hello Raven." Lexa's response was a sigh. At least she could hear her at this close of a proximity. "Enjoying Clarke's party?"

"This?" Raven scoffed, eyes darting around. "This is nothing. Clarke usually ends up getting a rager at Octavia's before she...." Raven trailed off with a glance at Lexa's cocked brow.

"Maybe I've said too much."

Lexa's lips quirked into a small smile. At least Clarke had a caring group of friends, a good backbone of support. "Can I help you with something? That isn't cheating on Kane's tests, because I can't do that."

Raven smirked. "No, actually." She began cockily, and Lexa had to wonder where the latina was headed with her speech. "I was going to ask if you had a problem with L-"

Raven never finished. Over the pounding of the music, someone had shouted, "Clarke!"

And then everything, in typical Arkadia High fashion, went to hell.

The music, still blaring, hadn't stopped. While most of the delinquents went about business as usual, Raven turned around, giving Lexa a clear view of what was going on.

Clarke was grasping at the seemingly large watch that sat on her wrists, tears sliding down her flushed cheeks. Luna, ever shocked and surprised, was still holding Clarke, but looking up in clear need of assistance.

Lexa recognized the symptoms immediately. Clarke was having another...attack, another episode of some sort. From the looks of it, she was hardly paying attention to Luna's hands securing her by the waist.

Lexa shot up, remembering the moment in the library. It wasn't a choice. Pure instinct kicked in, and Clarke had buried her nose into Lexa's neck, while Lexa had calmed her down.

This time, things went rather differently.

It was Bellamy who nearly leapt the desk in front of him, arms going out to envelop Clarke as she limply transferred herself from Luna to Bellamy, tears staining his shirt as he held her closely, rocking her back and forth.

The other students didn't seem to look, anymore. Octavia turned the music down only slightly, and Lexa realized she was sparing her friend the embarrassment of a silent room while she sobbed. Luna stroked Clarke's back as well, but the poor girl looked overwhelmed.

Lexa watched all this with rage tinting her vision, her fists balled at her side. Clarke needed privacy, and air. She needed to be taken outside, to have peace and quiet, tranquility and serenity. She needed Lexa.

Except, she didn't.

Lexa gritted her teeth in anger at her own confusion. What was going on? Why did she feel so personally affected? Why hadn't Clarke turned to her? It had worked so well in the library. Before Lexa could do anything else, she heard Jasper, who'd been pressed up against the window, acting as a sentry, whisper-yell: "Kane's coming!"

Like clockwork, the music was off, and the students were seated, Bellamy gently tugging Clarke outside, Kane greeting them with a knowing nod before entering the room itself.

Just like that, Clarke was swept away. She was still crying when she'd left. And now she was gone.

Kane looked happily dazed, a stark contrast to the melancholy air of the classroom. "Hello students. Ms. Woods." He nodded to Lexa with a smile. "Gorgeous day, isn't it?"


 

The third time Lexa saw Clarke that day, the atmosphere had changed considerably. There was no posse of delinquents, no raging and shouting, no music pouring from hidden speakers. There were no cupcakes and treats and songs in honor of a very uncomfortable looking Clarke Griffin.

Instead, there was the calming September breeze on the turf field that radiated heat. There were the sounds and grunts of Lexa's varsity team, finishing the day's practice with quiet satisfaction.

There was blue. So much blue. Cerulean and deep, and revealing Clarke's thoughts to Lexa from the blink of her eyes alone.

Clarke had approached Lexa, who'd been watching her team, leaning against one of the towering goal posts, emerald gaze scrupulously scanning the field before meeting Clarke with uncertainty.

"Hi, Lexa." Clarke greeted, as if nothing had happened. As if Lexa hadn't seen her practically tugged out of class by Bellamy Blake, in her weirdly induced haze.

"Griffin." Lexa nodded, feeling a slight heat rush through her when Clarke took in the sight of her in uniform, eyes resting momentarily on Lexa's broad, padded shoulders.

She didn't bother asking how Clarke's birthday was. She had a gut feeling that, if it was anything like what had happened in class, she already knew.

"Sorry I'm a bit early I just...I don't know, I didn't know where to wait." Clarke confessed, playing idly with the strap of her backpack. Lexa noticed she did that when she was nervous.

Lexa's gaze softened at that. "Wait?" She repeated unsurely.

"Yeah, for you." Clarke cocked a brow. "It's...thursday. We work in the library on thursdays."

Lexa blinked, eyes alight with curiosity.

This girl was nothing, if not dedicated.

"Clarke, it's your birthday." Lexa pointed out, feeling Clarke's gaze shift for a split second to her tights before finding their way back up to her.

"So?" Clarke shrugged. "Work still needs to be done. I have a paragraph or two to write for the friday deadline."

Lexa looked incredulous. "I mean, I would just write that for you."

Clarke froze in place, clearly taken by surprise. "You what?"

Lexa felt odd, confessing that for some reason. It wasn't weird, was it? "I just mean...You should go. It looked like Raven was planning a bit of an...event for you."

Clarke smiled sadly, shaking her head, and something in Lexa's chest ached. She took that as a cue to grab her bag, figuring she'd change later, after she'd gotten started with Clarke. She deserved that much for waiting so long.

She signaled something to Anya, who nodded from across the field, and she turned to Clarke, freeing her tied hair with a headshake, running a hand through it. "Ready?"

"Uh..." Clarke nodded slowly, blinking once or twice. "Um, yeah."

Lexa led the way, Clarke finding her place beside her as they took slow strides, making their way off the side of the field with more than several nods in Lexa's direction.

"I know this must be weird." Clarke sighed, her fiery side disappearing.

"Hmm?" Lexa hummed, her heart beating oddly fast. She knew what was coming too.

"You must think I'm crazy, or...a freak." Clarke shook her head. "I know what you saw today in Kane's class, but-"

Lexa wheeled around, and Clarke bumped straight into her, glancing up with narrowed blue eyes.

"I didn't ever say that." Lexa's voice was unlike her usual commanding tone, every ounce of venom and bite had dissipated.

"You thought it." Clarke fired back. "Everyone does. I would. I just..." Clarke trailed off. “Something happened to me. I-”

"Clarke." Lexa spoke gently, her eyes searching Clarke's, forcing the contact. "You don't have to talk about it. I said that before. I just wanted you to know that..." Lexa's voice became smaller, softer by the seconds. "I just want you to know that I'm here, if you want me...need me. In those times, I....I get it." Now Lexa seemed to be stumbling and tripping over her own soft sentiment.

Clarke blinked, eyes wide. "I...Thank you..." She croaked, utterly disoriented by what she'd just heard.

Lexa turned on her heel, smirking. "Who knows? Maybe my fanclub will be at the library."

Clarke felt a smile tugging at her previous frown. "You are so full of shit, Alexandria Woods."

Chapter Text

"Good morning, Clarke." Lexa's voice had an extra cocky ring to it as she slid into her seat beside the blonde, who'd been diligently writing in her english notebook, ever the good student.

Clarke shook her head in exasperation. "Good morning, Commander."

Clarke didn't notice Lexa's reaction to her use of the nickname. It was different, the way Clarke said it. The way it so elegantly and deliciously rolled off her lips.

Lexa forgot to speak.

"Another game won..." Clarke drawled, glancing up at Lexa with a wry smile.

"You came." Lexa noted aloud, and Clarke glanced away bashfully.

"For Anya." Clarke blurted out.

"You have a thing for my cousin?" Lexa's bewilderment, and acidic tone, were not unnoticed by Clarke.

Clarke laughed, blushing. "Uh, not really. But...you know...support your local girl football player and all that."

Lexa narrowed her eyes, but smirked nonetheless. Clarke was teasing her.

"You're on a roll, then?" Clarke asked, leaning forward on her elbow, toothy smile in place.

"We don't plan on losing." Lexa shot back arrogantly, but she matched Clarke's smile.

"Too bad." Clarke whispered, her voice lowering so that Lexa was closer. "You know, you could really stand to be knocked flat on your ass a few times. Take your cockiness down a notch. I'd pay to see that."

Lexa grinned wickedly at Clarke, enjoying their banter like she had come to enjoy most things about Clarke. "You'd pay to see my ass, Griffin?"

"That's not what I said." Clarke scoffed, cheeks turning red.

Lexa's smirk forced Clarke to shake her head, muttering, "You are incorrigible."

Their work began and Lexa's playful mood only seemed to bolster Clarke's own spirits. She too had come to enjoy their banter.

Maybe it had a little bit to do with Lexa's offering of support the other day on the field.

Maybe.

But Clarke began to notice little nuances and changes in Lexa's tonality, in her expression, a softness that perhaps had been absent on their first day. It was endearing.

Towards the end of the class period, Clarke had noticed Lexa's telltale smirk boring into her.

Glancing up, she felt an immediate blush settling in. "What?" She demanded.

"Oh, I'm sizing you up." Lexa announced loftily, shutting her book with a satisfied smile.

"Me?" Clarke snorted. "What for? Planning on taking our arguments to the next level?"

There was a strange intensity in those words. She found herself looking away, while Lexa licked her lips, heat pooling in her stomach.

Okay, so she had frustrating bouts of attraction to Lexa Woods. Who didn’t?

"It's just..." Lexa shrugged. "I'm the so called Commander of the Kru...You're the head of your little group of...Delinquents."

"Yeah yeah, we’re star crossed lovers." Clarke rolled her eyes. "Why is this relevant? You planning on a gang war?"

Lexa's lips quirked up in a smile at that. "No. But I was debating inviting you to a party at my place, Friday evening."

Clarke's brows shot up. "Your place?"

"Anya's, if we're being specific, but my aunt and uncle have fled for some much needed alone time, which I don't care to think about. That leaves Anya and I in charge." She replied lazily, twirling her pen between her long fingers.

Clarke bit her lip. "So you're using your bestowed responsibilities to...throw a rager?"

Lexa shrugged. "Costia wanted to. Who am I to deny her?"

Clarke felt an unpleasant feeling bubble in the pit of her stomach. Of course Lexa doted on her.

"Well." Clarke began, ready to deny. That turned her off completely. "I don't think our groups would get along, you're right."

Lexa leaned forward, wry smile on her lips and glint in her eyes. "Who says it's about them?"

Clarke froze, batting her eyelashes in surprise. Did Lexa just-

"Bring whomever." Lexa shrugged as the bell rang, offering Clarke a lazy grin (but damn if it wasn't the most beautiful thing Clarke had ever seen). "At least...think about it."

Lexa had sauntered off before Clarke had a chance to take another jab. Now she really did have to consider it.


 

Through a lot of stealthy planning on his part, Aden had finally set the beginnings of his plan into motion.

Clarke had cancelled their tutoring session for the day, citing personal reasons, which had given Aden all the excuse he needed to call a meeting to order. With Atom’s help, Aden had successfully located the lockers of all the so-called delinquents , and deposited individual notes asking them to gather at the school library after the conclusion of sixth period.

Aden sat, flipping through the binder he’d prepared, and watched as they trickled in, one by one.

The Blake twins arrived first, with Raven following not long after, and then came Monty Green and Jasper Jordan until, finally, Murphy walked in, hands stuffed in his hoodie pocket, sitting next to the others. They were talking amongst themselves, and Aden gauged that the general mood was one of confusion, and decided to make his presence known, walking over to the table they’d all sat down at, and plopping his binder down on the table.

“You may be wondering why I’ve gathered you all here today,” he opened dramatically, doing his best to channel his inner Lexa.

“Who’s the kid?” he heard Raven ask, and Octavia piped up a moment later.

“That’s Aden Woods.”

“As in the commander’s little brother?”

“That would be the one.”

He cleared his throat, shooting a little glare in their direction, to which Raven answered with a wide grin.

“Anyways, as I was saying,” Aden continued, “you are all here today to help with a plan that I have conceived, and will show to you with the help of my lovely assistant, Atom.” On cue, Atom approached, rolling along with him a borrowed giant whiteboard. Aden quickly rifled through his binder, and pulled out several packets, and Atom handed one to each delinquent.

“Exhibit A,” as he spoke, Aden quickly pulled a picture of Clarke from his binder and taped it to the whiteboard on the left side, “exhibit B,” here, he placed a picture of Lexa on the opposite end of the board, and quickly drew a blue line between the two of them, and wrote, in big, block letters OPERATION CLEXA above the line.

“I like this kid already,” Raven grinned, flipping through the offered packet, which was a detailed task analysis and timeline for Aden’s master plan.

“Now,” Aden continued, “as you can tell, this is an intervention in an attempt to get your friend, Clarke, and my sister, Lexa, together, because, quite frankly, the amount of sexual tension between the two of them is ridiculous.”

“Amen to that, sister,” Octavia grinned, high-fiving Raven from across the table.

“Now, there are a few roadblocks in this plan,” Aden said, motioning to Atom, who had pictures ready in his hand, “most notable exhibit C.” He paused to allow Atom time to place Costia’s picture next to Lexa’s, drawing a pink line between the two. “And, most recently, an unexpected roadblock that will put a dent in my timeline, exhibit D.” Here, Atom placed a picture of Luna next to Clarke.

“Now, while I don’t have anything against Costia or Luna, I just don’t think that the two of them are the best for the people they’re currently pursuing, and would be better suited with a different partner.”

“I can agree with you on that,” Bellamy agreed, pursing his lips, “Luna had no clue how to handle Clarke when she was upset, so I can’t see that lasting very long.” Aden grinned at him widely, and Atom began writing their respective names on the board.

“Now, as you can see, I’ve laid out a comprehensive list of things you can do in order to help Clarke and Lexa realize that they were meant to be―yes, Monty?” The korean boy had a small frown on his face and had raised his hand.

“Yeah, don’t you think we should let the two of them figure this out on their own?”

“Have you met , Clarke, Mon? She’s even more stubborn than Raven―”

“I’m going to take that as a compliment, Jas.”

“I know, but―” Monty trailed off at the looks from his friends, who all looked fully onboard with the idea, sans Murphy, who appeared fairly bored, as per usual, and, outnumbered, the boy sighed. “Fine. You guys win.”

“Excellent!” Aden cheered, clapping his hands together, “now, we have to start off slow, I’d personally recommend…”


 

“I don’t understand why you’re upset.” Anya sighed, putting her feet up on Lexa’s dashboard on the harrowing morning drive to Arkadia.

Lexa was hiding beneath her tinted sunglasses, lips pressed in a firm line, much like her mother did when she was angry. At that thought, she felt another pang. She couldn’t even remember her mother’s stern voice anymore.

“Ow, hey!” Anya protested when Lexa delivered a swift shove to her feet, sending them down. “What the hell, Lex?”

“Feet off my dashboard.” Lexa growled pointedly, her eyes on the road.

Aden sighed, leaning forward from his seat in the back, to whisper in Anya’s ear: “She’s mad because mom and dad have been so busy that they’ve barely caught up with us. You and Lexa have a four game win streak and a perfect season so far.”

“So?” Anya scoffed. “It’s not like you play for them.”

Lexa, quite privy to their hushed whispers, didn’t answer, instead shrinking further into her seat.

“So, come out with the team to the Dropship after practice today.” Anya offered, glancing at her cousin with a pointed look.

“I’m supposed to go out with Cost.” Lexa mumbled, her eyes on the road.

Aden resisted the urge to roll his eyes.

Anya did not.

“Why?” Anya pressed.

“She’s my girlfriend, for starters.” Lexa replied mildly, unwilling to fight so early in the morning.

“Doesn’t mean you have to suck face all the time.” Anya retorted.

“Amen.” Aden quietly murmured from his back seat, catching Lexa’s sharp glance at him through the rearview mirror.

“I’m not in the mood for English.” Lexa sighed, rubbing her temple with her free hand as she stopped at a light, bringing the car, her baby, to a gentle rolling stop.

“Yeah but Crewe almost makes that class worth it.” Anya smirked. “Right? She’s hot as hell.”

Lexa bit her lip. “I don’t even know where we stand, to be honest. She likes my partner, though. Clarke.”

Aden perked up silently, eyebrows shooting up. This was going to be telling.

“How’s that…going for you?” Anya asked, rather awkwardly.

“It’s…” Lexa sighed, shooting a look at Aden. “Okay, I’m only saying this once. I might have overreacted about her. She’s….”

“Amazing?” Aden supplied. “Great? Really attractive?”

At that last one, Anya shot him a smirk and shook her head, though neither one missed Lexa’s tensing at the wheel.

“We’re making it work.” Lexa supplied, pulling to a sharp stop in front of the curb.

“Uh, Lex.” Anya muttered in confusion. “This isn’t the senior lot.”

Lexa put the car in park, glancing at Anya, motioning for her to switch over. “You’re absolutely right.” She fired back, numbly. “Park her. And not a scratch, Anya.”

“Where are you going?” Anya asked, slipping around as she stopped her cousin by the hood of the car.

Lexa shook her head in response, turning away, bag slung over her shoulder.

“She’s going to brood, somewhere.” Aden informed Anya with a helpless shrug. “She ditches, remember?”

“Wow, I didn’t realize how pissed she was. Man, she’s upset.”


 

The morning breeze made the flowers dance up in the northern quad, past the football field Lexa had so diligently spent all her free time on.

And for what?

Nothing.

She was “The Commander”, “Gifted”, the “Star of the School”, and “D1 Bound”.

What did it matter?

For all Alexander and Anastasia Woods knew, she could have been dropping out to pursue a career in the circus.

Lexa sat, setting her bag aside as she bunched her knees up to her chest, resting her chin on her jeans. She took in the sweet aroma of the flowers, the various types swaying all around her, giving off their last glimpses of brilliance before the harsher season of winter.

Perhaps these flowers would be resilient, like her.

Perhaps they’d bloomed in the spring, where everything had been fine, like Lexa.

Perhaps they were determined to stay alive, even in the harsher, more desperate times, like winter.

Maybe Lexa could, too.

Lexa thought about how many times she’d been the one to kiss Aden’s injuries, to pick him up from school. She thought about how many times she’d gotten herself into idiotic situations, ditching class, getting into physical altercations, all because her beloved mother and father couldn’t be bothered to make so much as a goddamn guest appearance in her own adolescent life.

She thought about it, and she cried.

She let tears well in her eyes, ushering them to fall with quiet sighs.

The last time they’d actually spoken to her was a skype call, where all they’d done was gush over Costia.

She hadn’t had a heart to heart about womanhood with her mother in ages.

Her father hadn’t passed her the ball in months.

She knew it was ridiculous, petty, even. She was eighteen. She was an adult. She knew she didn’t need anyone. She knew that no one had to know her innermost thoughts, her secrets and feelings that she feared to share with even those closest to her.

Aden knew not to bother her during these times of refuge, and he wouldn’t be caught dead skipping class.

Lexa wasn’t sure it was within Anya’s capacity to concern herself over such trivial things.

Indra and Gustus were sweet, but they were occupied with making a living, and Lexa dared not interfere with that.

She thought of Costia, her radiant beauty, her sweet smiles.

She could never open up to Costia like that. Not with all the little intricacies Costia busied herself with, like school and the scholarship and the drama and gossip of her status.

Lexa felt alone, not for the first time that day, that week, that month, that year.

Lexa felt entirely, utterly alone.


 

Clarke frowned as the bell for chemistry rang, signalling the beginning of class, and Lexa was still nowhere in sight.

After not seeing the girl in english, Clarke had assumed she was just off doing something with Titus, as she was known to miss one period at a time for miscellaneous reasons, but usually came back by third period, which was chemistry. This time, however, she still remained oddly absent, and Clarke couldn’t help but peel a pang of concern towards the brunette football player. She considered sending her a text asking her if she was okay, but pushed the thought away quickly, as she didn’t want to seem too worried.

“Good morning class,” Pike greeted as he entered the room, the door closing behind him with an echoing click .

“Morning Mr. Pike.” The monotonous, well-rehearsed response of the class reverberated through the chilly classroom, and the man smiled tightly at them, setting his bag down on the desk at the front of the room.

“Now, as I was explaining the other day, today we’ll be doing a lab in regards to the formation of different crystalline structures, so you’ll need to get into pairs of two, no more, no less. I’ll give you a few minutes to decide that amongst yourselves, and you can begin when you’re ready, instructions are online in the canvas module for the day. And please, for the love of god,” he paused to shoot a glare in the direction of Raven and Jasper, “don’t blow anything up today.”

“No promises, sir!” Raven called back cheekily, and the man rolled his eyes before returning to whatever it was he did on his laptop every day. Clarke figured it had something to do with botany, because Pike absolutely adored plants, and even kept a few in his classroom, which was a bold move on his part, especially with how often Raven and Jasper set things on fire.

Clarke immediately turned to Octavia, who greeted her with a grin, patting the seat next to her welcomingly.

“Ten dollars says Raven sets something on fire,” Octavia whispered, and Clarke rolled her eyes.

“I don’t take sucker bets, O, I learned my lesson the hard way,” she paused, “twenty says it’s Bellamy’s shirt.” Octavia grinned and shook Clarke’s hand as she began pulling up the instructions from the internet.

“You’re so on, Griffin.”

Pike had chosen the lab specifically because he knew it was an easy one, and he’d been trying to come up with things for his class to do that didn’t leave any opportunity for either of his more explosive students to create a scene. But there was little that could stop Raven Reyes from making something go boom .

“Alright, which one of you nerds is going to be my partner since my cousin so graciously spared me of her presence.” Clarke couldn’t help but tune into Anya’s conversation, half because she hoped for information as to why Lexa was absent, and half generally curious on which delinquent would pair with the girl for the lab.

“I will.” Clarke exchanged a grin with Octavia when Raven and Bellamy’s voices rang out in unison, and Clarke had the feeling that she’d be walking out of this class twenty dollars richer.

“Ooh, two idiots fighting for my hand in holy chemistry partnership,” Anya deadpanned, “it’s basically all my dreams come true.” Bellamy and Raven, however, ignored her snide remark in favor of glaring at one another.

“I’m about to be twenty dollars richer,” Clarke crowed, and Octavia scowled in response, reading the instructions in favor of listening to Clarke gloat.

“If Anya wanted to fail chemistry, she’d pick you as a partner, Bell,” Raven scoffed, “because your head is filled with nothing more but hot air.”

“Yeah, well I don’t think Anya wants to get blown up, either,” Bellamy shot back, “and don’t be jealous because I’m hotter than you are, Rae.”

“Oh, you? Hotter? Need I remind you who bagged four―”

Choosing to ignore her two friends, Clarke went against her better judgement and pulled up her phone, biting her lip lightly as she tapped on the messaging app.

Clarke Griffin

Hey, you alright? Haven’t seen you today.

She tried to push down her disappointment and concern when there wasn’t an immediate response, and the fact that she needed to push down said emotions at all confused her to no end. She and Lexa were just barely friends… except that was a lie. Clarke wasn’t just ‘ barely friends’ with people who saw her in that state of emotional vulnerability and comforted her.

“Oh yeah? Well at least I’m not obsessed with some dumb musical ―”

“―don’t you bring Hamilton into this! Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius!”

“See? What a fucking nerd ―”

“Ok, how about we calm down, no need to fight over m― holy shit!” Anya’s exclamation of surprise successfully snapped Clarke out of her own thoughts, and the blonde girl was greeted by the alarmed screaming of one Bellamy Blake, who was jumping up and down, trying to put out the bright orange flame that had sprouted on his shirt.

“Stop, drop, and roll, Bell,” Octavia grumbled as she fished through her wallet, grudgingly slapping a crisp bill into Clarke’s outstretched hands. Bellamy, however, was not one for the simple ‘stop, drop, and roll’, so he ran over to the emergency shower and pulled the handle, and the class erupted into chaos as water began pouring down from the ceiling, and the smug class president took the excuse to take his shirt off, revealing toned muscles that were now shining with water.

“Damn you, Bellamy! This was your plan all along, wasn’t it?”

Master Jedi Clarke

If I was looking for a Lexa, where would I find her?

Young Padawan

Probably in the flower field to the North of the school.

Why are you looking for her?

Master Jedi Clarke

….I’m worried

Young Padawan

Good luck!

Pike looked positively murderous , and he threw his arms up into the air in surrender.

“I try to have a nice, peaceful lab and this happens. I need a vacation.” He walked out of the room, bag in hand, leaving a rowdy class in his wake. Raven was still screaming at Bellamy, now in spanish, and Anya looked entirely too amused, while Octavia was trying to coax the quickly assembled blowtorch out of Raven’s hands.

Taking advantage of the chaos, Clarke slipped out of the room relatively unnoticed, and began to make her way off campus, destination clear in mind.

The walk didn’t take very long at all, the small little field was just over the hill to the left of the football field, and Clarke had frequented the spot almost religiously in her freshman year, using the bright colors as inspiration for her paintings.

Lexa was sitting facing away from her, knees drawn up to her chin, on the downward slope of the hill, staring out at the multitude of flowers, looking so much smaller than Clarke had ever seen her.

Wordlessly, the blonde moved to sit next to Lexa, drawing her knees up in a similar fashion.

The two of them sat in silence for a while, just looking at the flowers. Clarke wasn’t sure how she felt in that moment, but there was a flowing sense of calm, of coexistence, and she could feel her stress melting like evaporating dewdrops, coaxed away gently by the mid-morning sunshine. Their shoulders were barely brushing, as Clarke didn’t want to intrude on Lexa’s personal space, but the brunette didn’t shy away from her as expected. After a few long moments, Lexa opened her mouth.

“Do you ever just feel so alone in the world? Like, you’re surrounded by people but you just feel as though there’s something lacking, a piece of you missing, and you can’t quite figure it out? And then you realize that it’s just the dull ache of loneliness thrumming through your bones and nothing seems to stop it?”

Clarke knew the feeling all too well, knew it better than perhaps even Lexa herself did, but didn’t voice those thoughts, because this was Lexa’s moment of introspection, not hers.

“I just,” Lexa paused, unable to form words, motioning widely with her hands, brows furrowed in obvious frustration, “I don’t like feeling like this, and being so helpless about it.”

Wordlessly, Clarke leaned into Lexa slightly, and the other girl melted into her touch, left hand easily accepting Clarke’s right, and sighing contentedly when Clarke began to rub small, comforting circles on the back of her palm.

Clarke didn’t know how long the two of them sat there, Lexa drawing comfort from her silent companion. It might have been an eternity or a few fleeting moments, but they were at peace.

In the distance, the bell for fourth period rang, and Clarke stood, brushing stray strands of grass off of her pants before she lowered her arm in offering. Lexa stared at it for a moment before accepting, and Clarke pulled her from the ground before tentatively pulling the usually arrogant girl into a soft embrace, letting Lexa relax in her arms.

“Lexa?”

“Yes, Clarke?”

“You’re never alone.” As Clarke pulled away from the other girl, she pretended to ignore the sheen of wetness in the emerald gaze, and turned, tugging Lexa alongside her. “Come on, or we’ll be late to Kane’s.” Lexa laughed humorlessly, using her free hand to wipe at her eyes from behind Clarke, before the two of them headed off in the direction of the school once more.


 

The wordless assimilation back to the norm of Kane’s class would have been almost pleasing, if Lexa hadn’t found that staring at Clarke Griffin made the separation almost a thousand times more painful.

Kane himself had made a habit of coming in late, therefore, the students took it upon themselves to absolutely screw the seating chart and simply cajole and converse.

Lexa, on the other hand, had duties to fulfill, loyalties to keep.

She noticed the stack of papers on her designated desk, all exams from last class. She also noticed the key, in a manila envelope marked with Kane’s writing: For Lexa Woods’ Eyes Only. She shook her head at that, wondering if Kane actually thought that would stop anyone.

Luckily, she’d gotten there first.

Slinging her bag of her shoulder with a sigh, Lexa slid into her seat, pulling the papers into her line of vision. With a great sigh, she began to tune everyone out, willing herself to focus on the task at hand.

Instead, she felt a hand on top of hers. Steeling herself, she glanced up, eyes narrowed.

“Hey, Commander.” It was Jasper Jordan, with a cheeky smile, leaning across the desk like it was a bar and he was doing her the favor of ordering a drink.

“Jordan.” Lexa replied curtly.

Today was not the day for delinquent antics, with the rare exception of Clarke Griffin.

“So, I hear you come from a business family?” Jasper wriggled his eyebrows.

Lexa sighed, rubbing her temples. “Was it my parents and last name on the cover of Forbes that gave you that impression?”

Jasper chuckled at that, while Lexa tried to maintain her calm façade. “Anyway, seems to me like you’re a smart cookie.”

“I’m not giving you the exam key to sell, Jordan.” Lexa scoffed.

Jasper’s face fell immediately. The crime would be traced directly to her. Her scholarship opportunities would go down the drain, and maybe then her parents would actually give her the time of day.

Were all delinquents this dense?

“Think about it.” Jasper put his arm around Lexa, not noticing the way her muscled weapon of a body went rigid. “You, me, maybe Monty….Hundreds of dollars-”

“Whoa, Jas.” Clarke Griffin’s husky tone boosted Lexa’s resolve almost instantly. “She’s about ten seconds away from breaking your fingers.”

Jasper noticed Lexa’s tense posture and immediately backed up, eyes wide. “No…Nope, no need for that. I’m just…I’m gonna….you know what? We never had this talk.”

He scampered off in the direction of Monty’s stern glare.  

Clarke chuckled, and Lexa felt her anger evaporate on the spot.

“I’m your English partner. I expect a cut.” Clarke teased, leaning against the desk.

Lexa felt herself fall into a smile. “My hero.” She fired back, watching Clarke’s eyes sparkle with amusement.

“Sorry, about him. He’s…” Clarke shrugged. “We love him anyway.”

Lexa smirked. “Same for Anya. I guess being related helps, there.”

Clarke chuckled softly once more.

Before Lexa could add anything, however, Clarke’s hands were pulled forward and she turned abruptly to reveal Luna, who had an eerily similar confident smirk. She was in a tank top that was kind, to say the least, and Lexa felt something unsavory stir within her all over again.

“Hey.” Clarke breathed, smiling evenly.

“Hey yourself.” Luna offered. “How are you?”

“Alright. Kinda tired, but…Alright.” Clarke offered, seemingly still embarrassed from her attack last time in front of Luna.

Lexa waited, for Luna to ask. To ask how she was coping, if everything was alright, if she needed any support.

Luna decided to avoid the topic altogether.

“Same here, practice gets a little rough.” Luna nodded, as if she knew Clarke’s pain.

Lexa scoffed aloud. It wasn’t even Lacrosse season.

Lexa could practically feel the awkward vibes Clarke was giving out as she, too, struggled to dodge the root of the subject: her attack. Lexa couldn’t believe Luna was so blatantly ignoring it, especially given how poorly she’d handled it earlier.

“Something funny, Woods?” Luna, playing the part of the ever-close family friend, leaned over Lexa’s desk, smirk still annoyingly in place.

Lexa wanted to wipe it off with her fist.

“Your paper.” Lexa shrugged with a tone that invited Luna to bite. “I’m grading.”

“Oh, Lex.” Luna began with an airy laugh. “Always competitive, this one.” Luna turned back to Clarke, who’d been watching the entire exchange rather quizzically. “Did you know we played football together growing up?”

“One of us actually did something with it.” Lexa muttered, trying desperately to focus on the papers before her.

Luna’s smirk was unwavering. “That’s because I was more interested in the finesse of lacrosse.”

Lexa bit back a reply.

“I could’ve made the Grounder varsity football team if I wanted.” Luna shrugged, Clarke nodding, seeming to accept the idea. “Probably would’ve beaten out Woods for captain, here.”

At that, several heads turned. The class fell silent, save for the “oohs” of students trying desperately to rile up a fight between the two dominant Alpha personalities on campus. They were both well built, with wits to match. It would have been a hell of a fight.

Lexa stood up, eyes narrowing, jaw clenching.

Only Clarke knew what kind of day she was having.

“Oh, looks like I hit a nerve.” Luna murmured, though there wasn’t too much malice in her tone.

Clarke didn’t seem to understand their relationship at all. If they were family friends, why did they look like they wanted to murder each other?

Lexa stepped around the desk, and Clarke noticed the way her bicep muscles tightened, much like her jaw.

“Oh shit.” Bellamy mumbled from his seat with the delinquents, standing up, feeling some sense of duty as class president. “Woods…” He tsked, moving behind her cautiously.

Lexa was so clearly not interested in his warning.

“Holy shit.” Raven grinned at Octavia, who regarded the entire scenario with a wry smile. It was so obviously a tug-of-war for Clarke Griffin’s affections.

Aden was sharp.

“Hey.” Clarke turned to Lexa, trying to get her attention. “Lexa.” She tried again, softly. She stepped forward, pressing a gentle hand against Lexa’s chest, forcing the girl back a step.

To everyone’s surprise, she didn’t receive a tongue lashing of any kind. Lexa merely took in a breath, eyes locking with Clarke’s.

“She’s not worth it.” Clarke murmured only so that Lexa could hear, offering her a wry smile.

Lexa couldn’t believe it.

Clarke had taken her side? Over Luna’s? Weren’t they dating?

Before she had any time to process what had just occurred, Kane had walked in, beaming and chipper as ever.

“Morning, lovely students of mine!” He cornily grinned.

Lexa wondered what the hell had gotten into him as of late.

“Hey. I’ll pick you up at seven, right?” Luna smiled in Clarke’s direction, and Clarke nodded vigorously, slipping silently back into her seat.

Lexa gazed crossly at Luna’s exam, hoping she failed.


 

“I’ll see you tomorrow, yeah?”

Aden grinned as Atom picked up the soccer ball that the two of them had been practicing juggling with, a small ding letting him know that his mother was here to pick him up.

On the days that Aden wasn’t in tutoring with Clarke, the two boys would spend an hour or so together after school, just messing around and waiting for their respective rides. Atom’s mom didn’t get off of work until later, and Aden had to wait around for Lexa to finish practice anyways, so it made sense that the two friends would pass the time together.

That, and Aden genuinely loved spending time with Atom. There was something about the other boy that made him feel completely comfortable, and he never had to worry about being someone else in Atom’s presence. Atom accepted him for who he was, nothing more, nothing less, which Aden appreciated endlessly.

“Yeah,” Aden returned, pulling the taller boy into a quick hug, “see you then, nerd.”

Atom pulled away with a small smile on his face, a faint brushing of pink rising on his neck and under his ears, before offering Aden a jaunty salute and jogging in the direction of the parking lot, backpack swung over his shoulder.

Now without a distraction, Aden made to walk away from the courtyard he and Atom had been occupying, whistling absentmindedly to himself. The sun was still high in the sky, and his eyes traced the lines of his shadow, hands stuffed in his pockets as he followed the sidewalk. His expression deepened into a frown when he noticed other shadows approaching his own, as he hadn’t seen anyone else around the courtyard at the same time.

Aden turned around, and felt his heart drop when he observed the familiar faces of Dax Mulligan and his two cronies, Sterling and Myles.

“Mulligan,” he greeted, trying his best to remain calm.

“Woods,” the much larger boy had a rather evil smirk planted on his face, and Aden knew that this wasn’t going to end well. “You two, keep an eye out for the Griffin bitch this time.”

“Which one?” Sterling inquired, and Dax scowled at him.

“Both, I don’t fucking care, just make sure that I’m not interrupted.”

Aden felt a rush of righteous anger rise within him at the bully’s words, because Clarke was one of the most caring people he’d ever met, and didn’t deserve to be slandered as such, and he knew that Abby Griffin wasn’t very different.

“Alright, Dax, on it.”

At that, the two other boys scampered off, and Aden turned once more to face Dax, who cracked his knuckles in a manner that was supposed to be menacing, and Aden did the only sensible thing he could think of.

He ran.

His feet carried him quickly out of the courtyard and into the school, and he looked around frantically for somewhere to run to, but by this time, the majority of the staff had left, and the hallways were barren.

“You can’t escape this time,” Dax laughed, “you don’t have that blonde bitch to rescue you.”

True to his word, it wasn’t long before Dax caught him. Regardless of all the running he did for soccer, Aden’s legs were still much shorter than Dax’s, and he flinched as rough hands grabbed him by his neckerchief, which, while aesthetically pleasing, wasn’t the best aid in escaping from bullies.

Within moments, Aden found himself once more suspended in the air, up close and personal with Dax’s sneering face, back pressed up against the uncomfortable coolness of the lockers.

“You’re disgusting, you know that?” Dax growled. “You and your little boyfriend.” The words took a moment to register in Aden’s mind, and his face scrunched in confusion.

“Atom? But we aren’t―”

Dax, however, didn’t seem to care about the actual status of Aden and Atom’s relationship, and the blonde haired boy didn’t get to answer before there was a sharp blow to his abdomen, and he yelped in pain, dropping to the ground quickly when Dax released him.

He scrambled on the ground as he attempted to get up, but a quick kick to the side of his face stopped his efforts, slamming his head against the metal of the locker doors, and Aden curled into the fetal position, arms covering his head in an attempt to shield himself from further damage.

It didn’t work.

Dax seemed to realize that he’d get away with more my targeting places that most people didn’t see, so he was delivering most of the damage to Aden’s stomach and legs, and the younger boy knew that his body was going to be a collage of bruises soon enough, and he focused all of his energy on trying to breath and keeping tears from falling.

It could have been seconds or hours that Dax unleashed his fury onto the small, limp body in front of him, and all Aden could register at that point was pain, until, suddenly, Dax’s fists were no longer pressing into him.

“Dude, what the fuck? Get off of him!”

A single blue eye peaked out from underneath the protection of a heavy lid, to find his sister’s teammate, Nathan Miller, towering over Dax menacingly.

“He deserves it, though,” Dax sneered, “the little fa―” Nathan delivered a swift kick to the other boy’s balls, and he went down like a deadweight.

“Watch yourself, Mulligan,” Nathan growled, “and pick on people your own size. Scatter, before I decide to teach you a lesson.” Aden flinched slightly when his savior approached him, aching all over.

“Hey, you okay kid?” He reopened his left eye to warily observe the football player, whose own eyes widened in recognition. “ Woods?”

“Don’t,” Aden wheezed, “don’t tell Lexa.” A pause. “Or Anya.”

He knew that if his sister or cousin found out about his predicament, there would be blood to be shed. Neither of them would let Dax get out of this without a severe facial disfigurement, and Aden didn’t want it to come to that. He might have been a bully, but nobody deserved to be hurt so badly.

“Ok, then I’ll call Clarke―” Aden shook as head as much as he could, pushing himself to a sitting position with great difficulty.

“No,” he repeated vehemently, “don’t tell anyone.”

Nathan regarded him with a somewhat bewildered look, before sighing.

“Alright, kid, guess it’s just you and me. C’mon, let’s get you patched up.” Gingerly, so as not to aggravate Aden’s injuries further, he helped the much smaller boy up, and supported his weight so the two of them could stagger over to a locked office.

“My dad’s head of security,” Nathan shrugged, pulling keys out of his back pocket, “and he’s got some first aid shit in here that I can use.” He paused in his opening of the door. “I got beat up a lot, too, freshman year.”

Surprised, Aden looked up as Nathan helped him into the room and onto a stool.

“You did? Why?”

“I was a scrappy little thing, probably even smaller than you,” Nathan laughed, “I know, hard to believe now. Also, being openly gay didn’t make things easier for me, so you and I have quite a bit in common it seems.”

“I’m not even gay,” Aden grumbled, “at least, I don’t think I am. I don’t know. It isn’t really something I’ve thought about.” And that much was true. Growing up alongside Anya and Lexa, Aden had regarded sexuality as something that wasn’t a big deal, and thus hadn’t put much thought into his own.

“Don’t worry about it, kid, you’ve got plenty of time to figure things out.” The older boy frowned. “Pull up your shirt, bud?” Tentatively, Aden did as he was asked, wincing as the movement, and Nathan pursed his lips.

“He broke some skin on your back, and I’ll probably wrap up your ribs just in case. I don’t think anything’s broken, but you’re gonna be sore for quite some time.” He shook his head in disgust. “Bigots like him need to wake up. It’s 2015, not the stone ages.” Aden cracked a small smile in agreeance, and hissed softly as Nathan wrapped the bandage across his midsection, clipping it in place quickly.

“Take these.” Aden opened his mouth obediently as Nathan pressed two pain relievers there, and swallowed the offered water quickly.

“Can you stand?”

Determined, Aden pushed himself up, feeling like a newborn fawn, legs shaky.

He didn’t want to admit how much pain he was in, but he almost faltered as he took a step forward, head ringing.

“Dizzy,” he muttered, and Nathan’s scowl deepened.

“Yeah, he hit your head pretty hard.” He disappeared for a moment and then reappeared with an ice pack, and Aden decided quickly that Nathan was now his new favorite person. “Here, hold this to your head, should help till the pain meds kick in. I can rewrap that for you tomorrow before school if you meet me here.”

“Thanks,” Aden breathed, steeling himself and planting a smile on his face, “now I have to make it to Lex…”

“I’ll walk with you,” the older boy offered, and Aden accepted quickly.

As always, Lexa was waiting with Anya by her car in the parking lot, and her eyes narrowed when she observed the ice pack practically glued to her younger brother’s head.

“What happened?” she demanded, and Nathan cut in smoothly before Aden could open his mouth.

“Took a nasty spill in the hallway, hit his head,” the lie rolled off his tongue easily, and Aden felt a surge of gratitude towards the other boy, “doesn’t look like he has a concussion, but I’d let him rest, and ice his head thirty minutes on and off.” The two girls stared, as though searching for any sign of a lie, before nodding.

“Honestly, you’re as clumsy as a baby gazelle,” Anya snorted, “get in the car, nerd.”

“See you at practice tomorrow, Miller.”

“Later, commander.”


 

Clarke had spent the past hour and a half deciding what to wear.

Article upon article of clothing had been taken out of her closet and haphazardly laid out on her bed, but she just couldn’t make up her mind.

“Griff,” Raven whined as Clarke threw yet another reject at her friend, “it’s just a movie date.”

“Yeah,” Octavia agreed, “it’ll be dark anyways. And you’re hot, Rivers is gonna appreciate your bod no matter what you wear.” Successfully placated by her friends, Clarke finally settled on her high-waisted white skirt, pulling on a shirt and baby blue sweater over her head, the white collar peeking over the neck of the warmer fabric. After quickly pulling her hair up into a tastefully messy bun and making sure she didn’t look like too much of a mess, there was a ring at the door.

Turning to look at the clock, Clarke smiled softly.

Seven o’clock sharp.

Clarke was a sucker for punctuality, Emori must have warned her.

Before Clarke had the chance to open the door, Octavia bolted past her, Raven not far behind, speeding down the stairs like it was their business, and the former reached the door first, yanking it open with much more force than necessary, revealing Luna in all her glory, wearing black skinny jeans that hugged at her hips, and a low cut white tank top with a black bandeau clearly visible underneath.

“Blake, Reyes,” Luna greeted coolly, before her warm brown gaze flickered over to Clarke, drinking in the sight of the blonde with a grin, “Clarke, looking stunning as always.”

“Not too bad yourself, Rivers,” Clarke grinned, accepting the offered arm and smiling.

“Have her home by ten,” Octavia instructed sternly, to which Luna rolled her eyes.

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” Raven added as the two of them made their way towards Luna’s car, arm in arm.

“The question is, what wouldn’t Raven do,” Clarke muttered under her breath, and Luna laughed lightly before opening the door to the passenger seat for Clarke. The blonde in question hesitated a moment before getting in, buckling her seatbelt quickly and taking a few deep, calming breaths to compose herself.

Clarke doesn’t remember the movie.

It’s some post-apocalyptic thriller about kids sent down from space to an apparently radioactive earth who are greeted by people already living there, and she recognized a few of the actors, but the story was generally lacking and after a few minutes, Clarke found herself utterly bored. Luna, who had already removed the armrest between the two of them, took advantage of the situation wholeheartedly, and Clarke found herself thanking their decision to sit in the back, because they certainly didn’t watch the movie.

Clarke prided herself on being a good kisser.

Though her record of relationships was rather lacking, she’d been known to make out with many a people during parties, though it never went further than that. There’d been one particularly embarrassing moment in sophomore year when her liplocking partner had been Raven, but the two girls laughed about it now. So Clarke knew what a good kiss was.

Luna was a great kisser.

In the darkness of the theater, Clarke felt as though her other senses were heightened, and she could detect the slight citrusy aroma on Luna’s hair, and tasted the mint chapstick on her lips. Somewhere along the line, Luna pulled Clarke into her lap so that the blonde was effectively straddling her, one hand resting on the small of her back, while the other busied itself behind Clarke’s neck, pulling her closer to the lacrosse player, who teasingly nipped at Clarke’s lower lip, before moving to trail kisses down the artist’s jaw, creeping down onto her neck, which caused Clarke to shiver, leaning into Luna’s ministrations.

All in all, the date was a relative success, and Luna kissed Clarke sweetly after walking her to the front porch of the Griffin household before leaving with a jaunty wave, but Clarke found herself dreading the next morning and the inevitable inquisition that would come with it.

As usual, Raven and Octavia were ruthless.

Clarke walked into english quickly, making a beeline for Lexa, who was already at her seat.

The brunette football player looked up as soon as Clarke sat down, green eyes searching her face for a moment as her mouth tugged slightly downward, before settling in a neutral position.

“How’d your date go?” For some reason, Clarke couldn’t help but feel there was an odd sense of forced casualty in Lexa’s tone, which made no sense whatsoever, but she smiled softly anyways.

“Pretty great, actually, we went and saw a movie.”

“Oh?” Lexa raised a singular perfectly sculpted eyebrow, a half-smirk now planted on her face. “What was the movie about?” Clarke opened her mouth as though to answer, before closing it promptly with a frown.

“Y’know, I actually don’t remember much about the movie…” she trailed off with a sheepish smug, the implication certainly there, and Lexa didn’t miss it. Clarke did , however, miss the way Lexa’s gaze immediately darkened and the grip on her pencil tightened significantly, knuckles shining white, as her vision was impeded by the two people she’d been trying to avoid most.

“Griffin! There you are, you sly dog!” Raven grinned, sliding in between Lexa and Clarke forcefully. “You don’t mind, do you, Woods? No? Good. So, Griff, O and I were wondering…”

“Is Luna a good kisser?” Octavia continued, and Clarke blanched, a blush rising to her cheeks.

“That’s not exactly something you share, guys,” Clarke hissed under her breath, and Raven rolled her eyes.

“Those marks on your neck beg to differ, Griff― whoa , Woods, you ok there? You just snapped that pencil in half , and it’s mechanical.” Quickly recovering from her prior embarrassment, Clarke shot a concerned look in Lexa’s direction, but the football player waved her off with a grimace.

“I’m fine,” Lexa ground out, before quickly turning to acquire a new pencil. There was a moment of pregnant silence, before Raven interrupted once more.

“So, back to Rivers…” Clarke groaned, burying her face in her hands.

It was going to be a long day.


 

It was a senseless beating, an absolute thrashing. Arkadia High was up, with three times the score of their entirely pathetic opponents, from Mount Weather Academy, Lexa’s old school.

Even students in their section of the bleachers found themselves cheering for Lexa and Arkadia, as it was simply too embarrassing to watch. With only one instance of scoring for all four quarters, it was looking to be a simply dominating performance by Lexa and her team.

The night air was chilled, but that hadn’t stopped Arkadia’s students from massing in their designated bleachers, cheering and screaming for their war-painted Commander, enjoying the high of their undefeated season so far.

Lexa had taken her time, during the defensive plays, to scan the bleachers, out of pure curiosity.

It wasn’t as if she had been looking for anyone in particular. Costia was off to the side with her cheering squad, occasionally smiling at Lexa if they happened to share a glance. Lexa took off her helmet, resting it at her side as she felt strands and curls frame the sides of her face, having fallen loose from her bun.

Lexa’s forest gaze raked the bleachers, noticing many familiar faces from her classes, mixed in with underclassmen she absolutely couldn’t recognize, with Charlotte being the one exception. Lexa had been seeing her everywhere, though she couldn’t bring herself to care. Charlotte was a cute freshman with a good attitude. Lexa didn’t entirely mind her.

And Lexa happened to be in an absolutely chipper mood, having all but secured the game.

So when she waved, ecstatically at Lexa, from behind Aden’s spot alongside his companions, Lexa even gave her a wink, sending her swooning and giggling across the bleachers.

Lexa’s eyes fixed on Aden for a moment, and the two siblings locked gazes, Lexa matching his grin. Aden was her good luck charm, her sense of home and belonging in the bleachers. She felt a pang of regret when she imagine what it’d be like to have her mother, in one of her expensive coats and scarves, cheering Lexa on from beside him. Or her father, in a crisp suit, clapping his hands and booming out unfollowed commands in his proud haze.

She blinked those thoughts away, eyes falling to her current, existing support system.

Lexa’s eyes settled on Clarke Griffin, and she felt her heart fall into her stomach.

Clarke had come, loyal as ever, once again donning the jacket with Lexa’s number 13 emblazoned on the front and back.

Before Lexa could smile at that, a frown pulled to her lips, because Clarke’s face wasn’t entirely visible. That was because she was turned around, currently in a heated lip-lock with Luna Rivers, straddling her knee as she leaned into the kiss, her hands lacing themselves around Luna’s neck. Luna’s hands supported her from the small of her back, and they looked intensely busy.

Lexa felt her jaw clench, her fists balling up beside her tightly.

It made her feel wrong, in every sense of the word. Angry, frustrated, and she wasn’t sure why.

Clarke Griffin deserved better. She deserved someone kind, sweet, and caring; someone who understood her issues and helped her cope with a sweet touch of worry. Not someone cold and flirtatious and sexual like Luna Rivers.

Clarke was rocking ever so gently against Luna’s thigh, and Lexa felt her stomach twist. She felt inexplicably disgusted with herself, because in that moment, she was substituting Luna with herself in her thoughts.

That should have been her hand snaking up the back of Clarke’s sweater, guiding her further into her lips. That should have been Lexa’s knee Clarke was rocking on, pushing against the blonde in sweet agony. That should’ve been Lexa leaving loving bruises on Clarke-

“Woods!” Anya all but shoved her cousin, effectively throwing her out of her reverie. “Game time! Get in there!”

Lexa had seconds to fasten her helmet as she jogged into center field, shaking her thoughts as she tried desperately to listen in to the team huddle.

She didn’t need to listen. She had a plan of her own.

The roar of the crowd was deafening, but Lexa was able to tune it out with razor sharp focus as she awaited the snap, eyeing Lincoln with a sharp gaze. He seemed to get the message.

Lexa had never thrown the ball so recklessly, so daringly, and powerfully in all her years playing the game. The ball was a projectile missile, a torpedo aimed straight for the end zone. Lexa knew Mount Weather had meager defense. Unlike when she was playing with Azgeda and the Queens, Lexa didn’t have to worry about being sacked, especially with Quint and Nyko at the vanguard of her defense.

Lexa had taken a sharp breath, waiting until Lincoln had enough of a start before absolutely launching the ball across the vast distance of almost the entire field.

The stadium was silent.

Clarke had pulled away from Luna, mouth agape in awe.

The stadium only made a sound, specifically, the roar of applause, after Lincoln dove, the ball just landing in his fingertips as he breathed a sigh of relief.

“Un-fucking-believable!” Anya grinned as she rushed Lexa, like the rest of her teammates, all slamming into her in a congratulatory fashion.

Mount Weather’s team looked absolutely perplexed as they moved for a “mercy quit”. They had exams to study for, and the game was beyond over.

Lexa couldn’t help the fact that her eyes wandered to Clarke Griffin before anyone else. Before Aden, before Costia, before Titus.

Clarke was grinning at her, clapping wildly as she openly cheered, perhaps for the first time, for Lexa.

Lexa mirrored her grin, triumphant and suggestive as always, taking off her helmet to offer Clarke a wink.

Clarke blinked, her cheeks rosy as she watched Lexa’s chest rise and fall with the victorious stunt she’d just pulled.

And then Lexa was practically toppled over by Costia, who was kissing her before she’d caught her breath entirely.

“Babe, that was fantastic!” Costia cheered, shaking her head. “Really stupid, unbelievably reckless but….nice.”

Lexa laughed at that, eyes falling back to Clarke.

Except now, Luna was holding her delicate hand, leading her away to the parking lot with a mischievous grin on her face.

Suddenly, Lexa didn’t feel like she was winning anymore.


 

Aden and his friends had once more found themselves in the company of the delinquents, who were just as loud as ever. Tristan and Charlotte, who Aden couldn’t stand , were busy fawning over Anya and Lexa respectively, while Aden was jotting down notes in his binder, trying to brainstorm ways to speed up the flow of his plan.

There was a lull in the game, and Aden made eye contact with his sister, offering her a smile from his position in the bleachers, accompanied by a thumbs up, and a frown tugged at his lips when he saw her face darken, eyes looking beyond him. So, naturally, Aden looked back.

He wished he hadn’t looked.

Clarke was situated on Luna’s lap, and the scene that greeted him was so intense that Aden was compelled to look away instantly, diverting his eyes instead to the other delinquents, who were in varying stages of shock. Octavia reached over to close Raven’s slacked jaw, and Bellamy looked utterly affronted from his position right next to the two. Emori seemed pleased that her captain was getting some action, while Murphy appeared as unphased as ever.

Monty and Jasper were much too high to form a coherent response.

Scowling, Aden pulled his itinerary from the binder, inspecting its contents with a sigh.

This was going to move the plan back significantly .

He paused in his furious recalibrating to watch his sister once more, blue eyes widening as he took in the ferocity and utter reckless abandon that she channelled to throw the football, felt his own jaw open in wonderment as he watched it soar and soar and soar until it found purchase in the endzone, just barely caught by Lincoln’s deft hands.

Looking down at his itinerary, Aden grinned.

Maybe it wouldn’t slow down the plan as much as he thought.

Chapter Text

There was something about the art classroom that fueled Clarke’s creativity.

Maybe it was just the fumes from the paint, but either way, it was, without a doubt, Clarke’s favorite time of day.

Callie Cartwright was an excellent teacher, and she doted on her students, and was a firm believer of painting from the soul, because art was a window to one’s deepest, most personal thoughts. For that reason, she’d tasked them with painting an animal that they felt represented themselves.

Clarke’s canvas was a myriad of warm yellows and browns, each stroke precise and thoughtful. A lioness stared back at her, not yet finished, but amber eyes glinted from behind the curtain of tall grass, intended to make the viewer feel small, as though they were being hunted. Clarke wanted it to look as real as possible, so she was taking her sweet time, carefully using increasingly smaller brushes to capture individual hairs of fur.

Lincoln was painting from a position on the floor, peering up through the skylight to try and capture the different hues of blue, the exact underlying purple in the clouds, face scrunched up in concentration as he carefully outlined his eagle, hands steady.

Across the room, Clarke could see Costia dancing absentmindedly as she mixed hues on her palette, and resisted the urge to roll her eyes. The girl always seemed to be doing something other than painting when Clarke looked, but the blonde had to admit that Costia’s swan was coming along well, though Clarke would have personally chosen to paint the pond under the cover of moonlight, with dark purples and blues in the water as opposed to the different shades of lighter blue, but Costia had decided to make the scene sunny, much like her personality , as Callie would say gleefully.

While the majority of the class seemed to be striving for realism, Murphy, of course, had to swim against the current.

“Fuck realism,” he’d declared once Callie had announced the project, earning him a stern look which he ignored completely, and then made a beeline for the watercolors. It suited him, though, the bright splashes of oranges and reds complementing the overall aesthetic of the fox.

She was touching up the eyes, as they needed more of a shine, more definition to their amber depths, when she felt someone approach her from behind.

“Whoa, Griffin, this is really good.”

Clarke blinked owlishly a few times before turning, a confused smile on her face.

Was Costia Greene complimenting her?

That was certainly a first.

For as long as Clarke could remember, she and Costia had always been the most competitive when it came to art, but Clarke never stirred up trouble, fulfilled by the knowledge that she was the better of the two, in that way a child grins secretively, content in the knowledge that they are the favorite. They’d been in the same art classes since the dark ages of City of Light Nursery School, and Costia had never, not once, gone out of her way to compliment Clarke’s art.

So, naturally, Clarke was suspicious as all hell.

“Thanks, Greene,” she said with a half-shrug, “it’s nowhere near done yet, but it’s coming along nicely.” She nodded in the direction of Costia’s swan. “Yours is looking good, too.” Costia flashed her a toothy grin, eyes tracing the expanse of Clarke’s work in great detail, even crouching down so that she was eye-level with the lioness, and she let out a long whistle.

“I almost feel like I’m being hunted,” she commented, and Clarke couldn’t help the internal victory dance knowing that it had the desired effect, even though it was Costia who was complimenting her.

“Thanks, that’s what I was aiming for,” Clarke continued, somewhat awkwardly, as Costia’s eyes continued to wander, not necessarily on Clarke’s painting, but around the art room itself. Callie would hang up old pieces from the previous years on the walls, liking to keep the place lively and bright, and Clarke couldn’t help but notice the slight… wistfulness? in Costia’s eyes. It seemed as though the cheerleader was trying to commit the image of the room to memory, which made no sense, but nothing about Costia ever did, so Clarke took it with a grain of salt as always.

Costia was effectively snapped out of her thoughts by a sharp ding! of her phone, which she pulled out of her back pocket fluidly, a giggle escaping her lips as her eyes focused on the screen, and Clarke felt herself overwhelmed by curiosity, wondering if it was Lexa behind that little giggle. Not that she cared about Lexa sending Costia cutesy texts or just generally being a doting, perfect girlfriend, it was just only natural to be curious about such things.

Keen cerulean eyes focused on the phone in Costia’s hand, and narrowed slightly when she observed the contact name at the top, darting away quickly before Costia could catch her in the act.

Instead of reading Lexa Woods, or Lexy-loo <3, or Babe <3 , or any of the other names Clarke would’ve expected, it read, very clearly Nia Queen .

While Clarke knew that Costia often befriended girls from other cheersquads throughout the region, the Queens were always trouble, and while Nia wasn’t as bad as Ontari, who was quite literally the spawn of satan, and she couldn’t understand why Costia would willingly be communicating with her, and even laughing at something she had said. Texted. Whatever.

Costia’s gaze once more shot to Clarke, who was still loitering around her painting awkwardly, not wanting to paint while Costia was there, and the other girl seemed to get the message.

“I’ll leave you to it, then, Griffin,” she laughed, making her way over to Lincoln, smile still in place “and if you ever need anything, don’t be afraid to ask.” Clarke’s eyes narrowed once the girl was out of sight, and she muttered under her breath.

“Hard pass.”

Something was up with Costia Greene, and Clarke couldn’t find it in herself to care.


 

Aden’s leg bounced up and down excitedly, a wide grin stretched across his face as he waited near the front door, phone in hand. He’d passed his Trikru test with a stunning 96%, third behind Ellis’s 98% and Nam’s 100%, so Clarke was taking him out as a reward. He rolled his eyes when Lexa almost tripped over him, as she’d been upstairs in the movie room with Anya, phone in hand.

“I’m gonna be going out,” she informed him dutifully, “you think you can keep An under wraps?”

“Sorry,” he laughed, “but I’m gonna be gone too, so it looks like Anya’s gonna have the house to herself.” That in itself was a horrible idea, and Lexa shivered, ruffling his hair fondly.

“Hopefully we still have a house to come back to.” She moved to make her way into the kitchen as Aden’s phone buzzed, signalling the arrival of his ride.

“Bye, Lex!” he called over his shoulder.

“See you later, nerd.”

He got up slowly, still sore from his altercation with Dax. The bruises were healing nicely, but still riddled his body with pain when he moved too quickly, abdomen painted in hues of greens and purples and browns. Taking a moment to compose himself, Aden opened the door and made his way down to Clarke’s rather beat-up looking car, but smiled widely as he entered.

“Hey nerd!” Clarke greeted warmly as he buckled in. “Ready to go get some ice cream?”

“Sugar is fuel for the soul,” Aden agreed, and he smiled when Clarke handed him the aux cord. “I hope you like the Spice Girls.”

“Please, Aden, what sorta person do you take me as? I wanted to marry Mel B.”

The two of them made their way to the mall quickly, belting the lines to their favorite songs, especially Wannabe , which was truly iconic.

After Clarke parked her car, she and Aden made their way into the bustling building, walking side-by-side. To onlookers, they were frequently mistaken as brother and sister, what with the blonde hair and blue eyes going for them. Aden babbled excitedly to Clarke as they walked, talking about his friends, especially Atom, and just generally having a good time.

“I heard you went on a date with Luna Rivers,” he opened casually, fighting the urge to roll his eyes when Clarke’s cheeks tinged pink. He’d seen first hand what she and Luna were like together, and it wasn’t something he would soon forget, “how’d that go?”

“Pretty well, actually,” Clarke laughed, leading Aden through the masses of people, “I mean, as far as dates go. We didn’t really, um, talk much…” she coughed awkwardly and trailed off for a moment, “but I like her. I just don’t know if this is going to go very far, because of the lack of talking.” She shrugged before nudging Aden in the side.

“What about you?” she teased. “Any romantic prospects for my young padawan?” Aden scowled for a brief moment, then shrugged.

“If there are any, I haven’t noticed,” he admitted, “I’ve been too busy focusing on other things.” What he didn’t mention, however, was that the center of his focus recently had been on getting Lexa and Clarke to admit their mutual attraction and get together. Clexa was his new OTP. Clarke quirked an eyebrow at him, as though she knew something, which only heightened the confusion Aden felt.

“...have you noticed anything?” he accused, and Clarke laughed.

“Maaaybe,” she drew out the word, and Aden rolled his eyes at her, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Might want to get your eyes checked then, Clarke.”

The two blondes shifted into easy silence as they dodged between crowds and eventually made their way to Polis Ice Cream Parlour , a higher end ice cream shop that Aden adored , because they served mint ice cream without the chocolate chips. It was like a dream come true.

“Alright, kiddo, order whatever you want, you deserve it.”

Aden ordered two scoops of mint and one scoop of chocolate with hot fudge and pieces of cookie dough, just the way he liked it, while Clarke got a chocolate cone for herself, and the two of them sat down together in the window seat once Clarke paid.

“Do you know what you’re gonna go as for Halloween?” Aden asked between spoonfuls of frozen confectionery.

“I do, actually,” Clarke laughed, “the delinquents always pick a theme and go to a haunted house together on Halloween in celebration in costume, and this year is superheroes or villains. I’m going to go as Supergirl, Rae wants to be Iron Man, and O and Bell are going as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. I think Mon and Jas are going as Spiderman and Deadpool, and Murphy likes to surprise us all. You?”

“Yeah!” he grinned. “My friend group is doing something similar, we’re going as the Teen Titans. I’m gonna be Beast Boy and dye my hair green, Atom’s gonna be Robin, Nam wants to dress up as Cyborg, and Ellis and Tris are going as Starfire and Raven respectively, it’s gonna be great.”

The two of them continued to chat as they ate their ice cream, Aden keeping track on who was texting Clarke throughout the process. Luna had only texted her once, and the majority of the others were from Raven and Octavia, probably bothering her about something. As time passed, Aden spied Lexa and Costia wandering through the small, and smiled softly at his sister when she made eye contact, noting the soft expression that crossed her face when she noticed that he was accompanied by Clarke, who was staring down at her phone at the moment Lexa passed.

“So, speaking of your friends, has Raven blown anything up recently?”

“Oh gosh when doesn’t she blow things up? Did you hear she set Bellamy’s shirt on fire? Yeah, that was a weird day…”


 

The mall was busy as usual, students of Arkadia often coming to spend their weekends somewhere relatively fun, even though the stores ended up bankrupting them.

Lexa and Costia were in the small handful of families that were wealthy enough to be considered an exception to this rule, and as such, frequented the upscale end of the mall, with the boutique and designer shops, the expensive eateries, and the worst people.

“And then, Harper said she wasn’t going to come if Monroe didn’t. Like, can you even imagine what she meant by that?” Costia rambled on, arm in arm with Lexa, as the two took the mall by storm, both affluent girls often spending mountains of money on each other.

“Um, yeah.” Lexa responded lamely.

“Lex?” Costia froze, tracing Lexa’s gaze, which was now focused on perfecting the rolled sleeves of her crisp, collared shirt, a formality that bought her respect and recognition from the pricier stores, as well as Costia’s attraction. “What are you doing?”

“Nothing.” Lexa dropped her free hand quickly, giving her girlfriend’s a squeeze.

“Were you even listening?” Costia grumbled.

“Yes.” Lexa lied smoothly. “Monroe was…And Harper…Babe, who are these people again?” She sighed, completely uninterested in anything that wasn’t football or Clarke Griffin and her Delinquents. Of course, she was having trouble admitting that.

“Oh you’re so cute when you’re confused.” Costia smirked, kissing the corner of Lexa’s mouth playfully.

She found, however, that Lexa’s stoic green gaze had found a different area of focus. Turning around she saw Clarke Griffin and Aden, sharing ice cream together from Polis Ice Cream Parlor, notorious for its great ice cream and absolutely horrific prices.

Lexa wore a warm smile on her face when Clarke appeared to say something to Aden, causing him to grin back at her.

“I didn’t know the little guy was gonna be here.” Costia murmured, satisfied that Lexa was merely staring at her brother.

“I didn’t either.” Lexa replied, eyes fixing on Aden once more, smile fading slowly as she turned back to Costia.

“He’s friends with Clarke Griffin? I mean I know she’s sweet with kids, but…Isn’t it like, social suicide to hang out with a freshman?”

“I suppose she’s different.” Lexa replied, fighting the smile that tugged at her full lips once more.


 

When Costia had said that Clarke was “sweet with kids”, Lexa hadn’t thought this was what she meant.

Titus had recommended she sign up for Little Grounders, an after school program where high school students from Arkadia went to volunteer at the elementary school to the south of them, Polaris Elementary, home of the spacewalkers. It was good service hours, and also good to put on college apps, because volunteering with kids always made you look good. Always.

So, Lexa had signed up. She figured that a bunch of first graders wouldn’t be half as bad as little Aden had been, always getting into trouble.

She hadn't expected to see Clarke there, what with the girl’s already bustling schedule of tutoring, working double shifts at the Dropship, and editing for the school paper. Granted, Little Grounders meetings were only once a month, but Lexa still marveled at how he blonde managed to juggle it all.

Kids were split up into groups based on their interests, so, naturally, Lexa had a swarm of little athletes around her, as well as Lincoln and Miller, who had signed up with her to do little football practices with the kids. Non-contact, of course.

They were situated outside in one of the grassy fields, the air cool and the sun shining, perfect weather for kids at play. Lexa’s favorite so far was a little girl named Niki, who shoved the boy that told her football was only for other boys, and hung on Lexa’s every word.

But perhaps what consumed the most of Lexa’s attention was on the other side of the field, in a little courtyard area.

Clarke Griffin looked radiant, with the light shining off of her hair, surrounded by a small circle of little boys and girls who were staring up at her as though she were the sun, in obvious awe of her artistic ability. She came to teach kids how to paint, how to put down their thoughts and emotions onto canvas, or at least make something colorful. Even with the distance between them, Lexa could see the smudge of purple paint on Clarke’s nose, and thought she looked utterly adorable.

“Lexaaaa.” The brunette quarterback turned to find Niki tugging at the sleeve of her letterman, pouting up at her.

“You ready to show the boys how it's done?” Lexa asked, and the little girl brightened, cheering. “Alright, let's show them how it's done.”

Admittedly, it was some of the most fun Lexa had in quite some time. She missed the days of chasing Aden, too short to even reach the countertops, around their parents’ mansion of a home playing hide and seek.

Niki, however, was a lot more persistent than Aden had ever been. She constantly shot off questions and followed Lexa around like a lost puppy, eerily reminiscent of Charlotte without all of the stalkerish tendencies.

And she was as observant as a hawk, too.

Disgruntled at not having Lexa’s full attention, the little girl searched for whoever did , and quickly noticed how Lexa’s gaze kept wandering to the courtyard where some of her classmates were painting.

“She’s pretty.” Lexa’s emerald gaze snapped to Niki’s innocent one, away from where they'd been situated on Clarke.

“I don't know what you're talking about,” Lexa attempted to brush off, but Niki continued.

“The girl who teaches art,” the little girl paused and furrowed her brow in confusion, before grinning triumphantly, “Clarke! That's her name. I went with her last month.” She paused. “Is she your girlfriend? Because my mom told me that girls can have girlfriends, and it makes sense because you keep staring at her.”

“I do not!” Lexa protested, but at the first grader’s unamused look, she wilted. “But no, she's not my girlfriend.”

“Why not?”

“I already have a girlfriend,” Lexa explained, as patiently as she could, “named Costia.” Niki puzzled this over for a few moments before shaking her head.

“Can’t be as good as Clarke,” she insisted, “Clarke’s the best. She taught me how to draw an elephant.”

“Do you like elephants?” Lexa asked, desperately trying to change the subject.

“They’re big,” Niki responded as though that was answer enough, “and can crush annoying boys.” Lexa laughed at that one.

“You don't like boys then, I take it?”

“Boys are gross,” Niki responded very matter-of-factly, “well, except Cole. He’s alright. But the rest are gross.”

“Amen to that, sister,” Lexa agreed, looking at the time on her watch, “and our time here is almost up, let’s get to the gym for parent pick up.” The hazel-eyed little girl pouted, but followed Lexa nevertheless, walking towards the gym, trying to match the quarterback step for step.

“Niki!” Lexa felt her heart flutter in her chest when the husky tone of Clarke’s voice reached her ears, and she smiled as the girl besides her ran up to hug the blonde, who was accompanied by a small boy that Niki had previously identified with Cole. “Good to see you again, did you have fun with Lexa?”

“Yeah!” Niki enthused. “Lexa’s great! She helped me beat the boys at football. But I still liked drawing elephants with you more.” Lexa made an offended noise, and Clarke shot her a smug grin.

“I'm glad to hear that,” Clarke smiled before releasing the little girl, before narrowing her eyes. “Cole? Where did Sam go?” Lexa didn't bother asking who Sam was, because a few short moments later, she found out, as a small child came tumbling out of a tree, falling to the ground with a small thud.

“Sam falls a lot,” Niki told Lexa casually as Clarke rushed towards the grounded kid, who looked close to tears, bright brown eyes shining suspiciously, and Lexa moved to help Clarke, who was observing the damage.

“No scrapes,” Clarke muttered, “but your knees are going to bruise.” She sighed and shot the small child of asian descent a concerned look. “What did I say about climbing trees?”

“Not to,” Sam sniffed, and Lexa felt her heart tighten as Clarke’s gaze softened, and the blonde scooped the dark haired child into her arms, hugging them close.

“It’s okay,” Clarke soothed, “you're alright. Cmon, I see your mom, let's get you home.” She walked away quickly, and an odd warmth spread through Lexa’s chest, causing her to smile softly. When she turned around, Niki was grinning at her, and Lexa rolled her eyes.

“I'm not interested in Clarke, Niki,” she sighed, and the smaller brunette rolled her eyes in return.

“Ok, Lexa, whatever you say.”

Lexa wondered if all kids were this skeptical, or if it was just Niki. Either way, she couldn't understand the effect Clarke had on her, and she wasn't sure she wanted to.


 

“Rivers, are you sure Woods isn’t gonna beat your face in for showing up at her door after your little stunt in Kane’s?” Raven asked as the entire group of Delinquents marched up the long series of steps leading to The Woods-Pine house, already alight and raging with music.

Clarke tried not to make a face at the sheer number of drunken cheerleaders she spotted, running around with their boyfriends in tow. This was doubtlessly Costia’s doing.

“Listen, Lex and I go way, way back.” Luna spoke, her arm around Clarke. “We’re family friends. She couldn’t deny me if she wanted to, not with Anya around.”

“Right.” Raven nodded. “Free booze, I mean…why wouldn’t you come?”

Luna chuckled at that.

Lincoln was holding Octavia’s hand towards the back, whispering sweet nothings in her ear and making her giggle.

Bellamy had opted to walk side by side with Raven, allowing Luna and Clarke to take the helm of their entrance.

Jasper and Monty were where they always seemed to be, right in the middle of things, gaping at the drunken antics of their classmates, likely wishing they’d arrived a bit earlier.

Murphy and Emori lingered towards the back. He scowled while she giggled something to him, and Clarke had to wonder what their drunken dynamic was going to be like tonight.

They’d come in two cars, Clarke’s beat up, sad excuse of a sedan, and the Blake’s luxurious SUV.

Clarke didn’t blame them for wanting to ride with the Blakes. Her car was what Raven called a “death trap on wheels”.

Clarke had no other choice, already working double shifts at the Dropship to make ends meet. She couldn’t even ask Abby, as she didn’t have the gall. Her mother took a lower-paying job to be with her, and Clarke wasn’t about to let that go to waste.

“Here we are.” Luna marveled as she pushed the front door open, blinking in surprise when Lexa was on the other side.

Clarke took Lexa in, forgetting how to breathe, momentarily. She was in a simple tank top and jeans that accentuated everything good about her, which was, again, everything. Lexa was simply flawless. Her hair was down, save for one intricate braid in the front that Clarke had learned was the result of one of Lexa’s pastimes when she was bored.

“Lex.” Luna greeted with a wry smile.

Lexa rolled her eyes. “Get in here, Rivers.” She sighed, eyeing the rest of the delinquents. “All of you…” She gestured into the bustling house, with teenagers running in and out, music pumping so loudly Clarke could hardly hear anything at all.

Lexa’s eyes settled on Clarke and she froze, a weak smile on her lips as her eyes raked Clarke’s body.

Clarke silently thanked the higher powers that she’d chosen to wear a dress, her hair up in a loose bun. She felt a blush take over her complexion instantly and suddenly wished Luna’s arm wasn’t around her waist.

“Any rules?” Jasper smirked as he strode by.

“Downstairs only.” Lexa shrugged, stopping Reyes by her shoulder. “You…” She paused with a smirk. “No explosions.”

Raven grinned at her. “Yes, Commander.”

Lexa offered her a wry smile.

“Uh, Lexa?” Bellamy boomed over the music.

Lexa cocked a brow in response, arms folded, leaning against the doorway. Clarke tried not to stare at her incredibly toned biceps, eyes falling on the tattoo that wrapped around her arm. It was mesmerizing.

“Where could I find…Anya?” Bellamy blurted out.

Raven wheeled around on him, eyebrows raised.

“Bar.” Lexa motioned with her head, and before she could say anything else, they were off.

Clarke disentangled herself from Luna apologetically, turning to Lexa, whose eyes twinkled at the mere sight of her.

She mumbled something, but Lexa frowned, unable to hear it.

Clarke repeated herself, frowning when she saw Lexa’s look of confusion as Clarke handed her the small but elegant bouquet of flowers she’d been holding, much to Luna’s curiosity.

Lexa’s eyes widened and her mouth parted a little to form a cute little “oh”.

Clarke found herself shooting an apologetic glance to Luna as Lexa had now secured her wrist, tugging her into an isolated hallway up a spiral sort of staircase, where the music could not reach them.

Clarke had one hand on the bannister, the other in absolute awe of the house. If this was only Gustus and Indra’s, she had to wonder what kind of environment Lexa had grown up in.

“I’m sorry.” Lexa apologized as she offered Clarke a small smile. “I couldn’t hear you at all. What did you say?”

Clarke felt the blush creep up her neck and she felt Lexa’s hand over hers.

Come on, Griffin, she has a girlfriend. Grow up.

“I said…these are for you…” She supplied lamely, offering the flowers to Lexa once more.

Lexa let out a soft chuckle that had Clarke absolutely melting on the inside. “You brought a present to a house party?”

Clarke rolled her eyes, gaining her sense of self back. “Where I’m from, people just say thank you.”

Lexa’s expression shifted and softened at that. “Oh, thank you, Clarke, I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just…cute.”

Clarke froze, looking stunned.

Before she could formulate a response, Clarke notice a hand slip around Lexa’s waist, Costia appearing from the room that Clarke now deduced was Lexa’s.

“Hey babe.” Costia pressed what was, thankfully, a quick kiss to Lexa’s cheek. Turning her attention to the unexpected visitor, she offered a genuine smile. “Clarke Griffin? Wow, I’m surprised. Glad you could come!” She tossed over her shoulder as she brushed past Clarke, headed for the stairs.

“H…Hi.” Clarke croaked.

Well, that was fucking lame.

Clarke almost did a double take. Costia Greene being…nice? What just happened?

“Babe! Those are beautiful, don’t forget to put them in water and get your cute ass down here, okay? We need you!” Costia’s call echoed as she flitted down the stairs with the grace of a butterfly.

Clarke didn’t even bother with a response as she freed herself from Lexa’s grasp, turning for the stairs.

Lexa averted her gaze, cheeks red. She hadn’t bothered making eye contact with Costia that entire time. Clarke wondered if they’d been fighting. Costia sure didn’t sound like it.

“Clarke.” Lexa called softly, but Clarke definitely couldn’t hear over the roar of the music, the laughter, the screaming, all the telltale signs of a successful party.

Clarke, absolutely flushed and very confused, made a beeline for the bar.

Hopefully Anya knew how to mix them strong.

Clarke wanted to forget all about Alexandria Woods.


 

“Whoa there, Griff, how many Jaeger bombs have you downed?” Raven’s voice sounded in Clarke’s ear from over the incessant beat.

Clarke was sitting against the bottom of the stairs, beer now in hand, eyes watching the events of the party unfold.

“None, because I have self-respect.” Clarke scoffed, words slurring just a bit. Her mind didn’t feel numb, or hazy. It felt painfully acute.

“Just beer?” Raven cocked a brow, sitting a step in front of Clarke, leaning back between her legs.

“…And a few shots.”

“A few?”

“Get off my case, Raven.”

Raven snorted. “I wouldn’t be on it if it looked like you were having any fun at all. Where’s your girl?”

Clarke’s eyes shot immediately to Lexa, whose arms were wrapped around Costia, as the cheerleader took a shot, taking what appeared to be her lick of salt from Lexa’s neck, and then the lime from the other girl’s lips.

Body shots off of Lexa Woods. What a fucking dream.

“Oh, fuck.” Clarke mumbled, feeling a rush of heat.

“Yeah, they’re seriously nasty.” Raven agreed to what she thought was Clarke’s complaint.

She had no idea how badly Clarke wanted to be Costia. Or the lime between Lexa’s teeth, for that matter.

“But Luna…” Raven nudged her. “I thought you’d be dragging her into Lexa’s bedroom by now.”

Clarke rolled her eyes. “Because that’s so something I would do, right?”

Raven shrugged. “Sounds like a good plan of vengeance to me. Screw her nemesis on her bed.”

Clarke laughed harshly at that, drinking another sip heartily.

“Where is everyone?”

“Okay, watch.” Raven sighed, jerking her head to the far corner couch, where Octavia had straddled Lincoln. “There’s O and Linc. Surprise surprise.”

“What about Jasper and Monty?”

“Stoner’s circle outside.” Raven informed her with a grin.

“And what about-“

“Murphy and Emori were last seen headed outside.” Raven informed her dutifully.

“Yeah, okay.” Clarke smirked, allowing the alcohol to thin her blood and muddle her thinking. “What about Bell? Got to Anya before you?”

“Who got to me?” Anya’s voice interrupted the two girls, Clarke’s eyes widening and cheeks turning red. She hadn’t ever spoken much to Anya, but she’d heard some things. Anya was as threatening as she was beautiful.

“A refill, Griffin?” Anya motioned to her cup.

Clarke nodded, and Raven shot her a look.

“Here, take mine.” Anya handed her the full cup. “I’ll just grab another. Reyes, you coming?”

At that, Raven shot out of her seat. “Bye Clarke!” She threw carelessly over her shoulder, leaving Clarke alone.

Clarke blinked, feeling her world spin ever so slightly as she made eye contact with forest green across the house, her eyes locking with Lexa’s in an intense staring match.

And then Lexa and all her emerald glory was blocked out by Luna, who bent down to caress Clarke’s cheek. She looked a little sweaty, caught up in the dancing and other events of the evening.

“You don’t look good, Clarke.” She noted carefully, guilt tinging her voice.

Guilt for leaving Clarke all alone, when, in reality, it had been Clarke who’d left her at the door for Lexa.

Karma was a bitch, Clarke decided sourly.

“Listen, Clarke…” Luna knelt down, grasping for the blonde’s wrist. “Can we maybe talk for a second?”

Clarke knew what was coming. Either that, or she was going to throw up. She felt something stir within her anyway.

“Come on.” Luna offered her a little smile, tugging her wrist as she led Clarke up the stairs, turning into the hallway Clarke had been in with Lexa, hours ago.

Clarke remembered feeling Lexa’s disapproving glare burn its way into the back of her neck.

Stopping right outside the first door, which Clarke knew to be Lexa’s, Luna leaned against the wall with a huff.

Over her shoulder, Clarke barely made out a vase of flowers that looked familiar, meticulously cut and set by Lexa’s bed. She couldn’t get much else from her sparing view of the room, but something within her stirred once more. Lexa had kept and taken care of the flowers.

“Hey.” Luna put a hand on her cheek, calling Clarke’s attention back to her. “Are you sure you’re alright?”

“Fine.” Clarke groaned, glancing down at the beer cup in her hand.

She had to suffer a little, and then she’d be able to continue numbing herself, as planned.

“Listen.”

“You want to breakup.” Clarke slurred slightly, and Luna immediately frowned.

“Clarke, I-”

“Luna. It’s fine.” Clarke sniffed. “I’m a mess. You’re really hot. We can be friends, it’ll be awkward, but we’ll get over it.”

Luna sighed. “Clarke, you’re not a mess.”

“No point in arguing with a drunk girl, Luna.” Clarke mumbled dejectedly. She actually felt bad for Luna. She thought Luna deserved someone stable, and normal, someone who wasn’t occupied so much with someone she apparently hated.

“Clarke.” Luna ran her hand through Clarke’s hair. “You’re great. Really. I just…don’t see us together, as more than friends.”

Clarke took a minute to regain her composure. “Neither do I.” She admitted. She leaned forward, pressing a sad kiss to Luna’s cheek. “For what it’s worth though…you would’ve been perfect.”

Luna smiled rubbing Clarke’s shoulder. “You’re going to be alright, right?”

Clarke scoffed, trying to shove her emotions down. Sure, she wasn’t head over heels for Luna, but she did like the girl, and rejection always hurt. “Me? Mhmm.”

Luna gave her a curt nod. “I have a ride, so…I think I’m gonna go early tonight. I’ll see you in class, okay?”

Clarke nodded, letting her fingertips fall off the other girl’s arm as she watched Luna walk away with a small wave.

As soon as the coast was clear, Clarke allowed the tears to slide down, slumping against the wall as she slid to the floor, gently wiping at her own tears, careful not to spill her drink, her lifeline.

Over the pounding of the music, combined with the pounding of her head, it was a wonder Clarke didn’t fall apart as badly as she wanted to. She couldn’t hear the footsteps that approached silently, carefully. They weren’t Luna’s, she was long gone, off to greener pastures and happier dates.

Clarke saw someone slide next to her, through the blurriness of her tears. She turned and blinked a few times, immediately backing up when she noticed it was Lexa Woods herself, looking absolutely radiant while Clarke was a drunken mess.

Lexa’s eyes reflected great sympathy for Clarke as she glanced up into Clarke’s cerulean gaze.

“I know, I know.” Clarke sniffled. “You told me so.”

Lexa looked appalled that Clarke would even suggest such a thing. “I didn’t.” She whispered, her voice lamenting, regretful.

Clarke tried not to think about the implications of her tonality. She was too drunk for such a careful analysis.

“How do you feel?” Lexa asked softly.

Clarke snorted a laugh. “Like shit.”

Lexa smiled sadly, reaching out to press a cold hand against Clarke’s flushed forehead. “You’re hot.” She whispered.

“I’m fine.” Clarke offered lamely, leaning into Lexa’s calm, cooling touch.

“You’re drunk.” Lexa replied, beautiful, full lips pressed into a firm line.

“I fucked up.” Clarke shook her head, mourning the loss of what could’ve been a perfectly good night.

Lexa’s smile faded. “You didn’t.”

“Luna-”

“Luna’s an idiot for leaving you like this.” Lexa replied, her voice like a pillow Clarke wanted to lay her head on.

This was the same girl that drove her mad in English.

It seemed that there was a lot more to Lexa Woods than met the eye.

“Would you have?” Clarke couldn’t help the words before they came tumbling out of her drunken lips.

She took in a breath, realizing how tantalizingly close she was to Lexa’s face, to her soft, plump lips. She was so beautiful, like a goddess.

“Would I have…?” Lexa whispered, eyes gazing at Clarke’s lips with a lidded posture.

“Would you have left me.” Clarke answered, just barely managing to breathe.

Lexa shook her head, cupping Clarke’s cheeks, pressing her forehead to Clarke’s. “No.” She shook her head.

She leaned forward, but Clarke made the move, so ready, so willing, thoughts muddled by alcohol and shattered feelings. She wanted so badly to kiss Lexa.

She moved forward, lips just barely grazing Lexa’s.

The kiss never happened.

Instead, Raven Reyes was tugging Anya up the stairs, the two locked in a heated kiss, ricocheting off the walls like stray bullets.

At the sudden sounds, Clarke and Lexa jumped apart, cheeks flushing, Lexa’s eyes filling with shame. What the hell had she been thinking? Seeming to snap back to reality, she shot upright, only to see Anya and Raven moaning and whimpering, moving straight past her to Anya’s room.

Lexa heaved in a breath, turning towards Clarke, who was fishing in her pocket for something.

“Clarke, I-”

“Excuse me!” Bellamy Blake was now running up the stairs, chasing after Raven and Anya. “Hey Clarke!” He threw over his shoulder, tearing at his own shirt as he disappeared around the curve in the hallway.

Lexa watched with a horrified expression. When she turned back around, Clarke was already frantically headed down the stairs, practically tripping over herself in her drunken haze.

“Clarke!” Lexa called boldly, and the blonde whipped around.

Lexa noticed car keys in her hand an immediately paled. The girl was certainly not fit to be driving.

“Where are you going?” Lexa asked, her voice softer this time.

Clarke let her tears fall as she shook her head in disbelief. “Home.” She whimpered, fleeing before Lexa could catch her in the thick crowd of party-goers, many grabbing at Lexa, ushering her to take another round.


 

The party hadn’t truly cleared out until around three in the morning.

Lexa was beyond exhausted, and simply not drunk enough to deal with the feelings that were raging within her. After Clarke had left, Lexa had all but fallen apart, willing herself to stay intact for Costia, and all the other spectators that had gathered in their home for a good time.

She’d danced, she’d laughed along with wry jokes, but she simply couldn’t stop thinking about Clarke.

She was willing to forgo the fact that they’d almost kissed. The fact that they’d had such an intimate, deep display of affection. She was willing to forget it all.

What she worried about was how inebriated Clarke had been for the drive home. She knew little of where Clarke lived. What if it was far? Why hadn’t she stopped her in time?

Lexa couldn’t help the thoughts that infected her brain as she picked up every cup, napkin, and plate that she’d found littered on the floor.

It had almost been four in the morning when she and Costia had retired up to her makeshift room, forgetting entirely about Anya and Aden, both of whom hadn’t been seen since midnight.

Lexa knew Aden had retired to get a decent night’s sleep.

She wasn’t so sure about Anya.

Lexa didn’t bother changing as she sat on the edge of the bed with a huff, head in her hands.

Clarke could have been dead in a ditch, somewhere.

Clarke could have been bleeding out on the sidewalk, thrown from her car by her own reckless driving.

Lexa needed to know that she was okay.

She’d called, three times. She’d sent text after text.

Hell, she even wished she’d had Abby Griffin’s number, just to calm her nerves.

She had no assurance that Clarke Griffin was okay, and it was killing her.

“Baby.” Costia purred into her ear, and she was suddenly aware of her girlfriend’s weight, straddling her back to the bed. “What’s wrong? Too many shots?”

Lexa’s hand ran down the small of Costia’s back, warningly, and her girlfriend was beside her and off in seconds.

“No.” Lexa sighed. She felt the heavy weight of guilt settle in on her chest. “It’s nothing.”

“Babe?” Costia looked up into her eyes, concern glowing through them. “Is this about Clarke driving home? I saw you calling after her.”

Lexa felt her heart clench. Costia didn’t deserve this.

“I don’t really want to talk about it.” Lexa murmured, standing to pull off her tank top.

“Alright.” Costia acquiesced softly, eyes tracing Lexa’s abs, not quite predatorily, but appreciatively. “It’s just…It’d be bad irony if she got into an accident after…never mind.” Costia shrugged with a sigh, eyes saddened for a moment. “I’m going to wash up.”

Lexa’s mouth was slightly parted after she left, and she felt chills coursing through her. After what? What had happened?

Lexa couldn’t risk inquiring further, and yet, she was dying to know.

She couldn’t stop thinking about the damage that was on her shoulders.

She couldn’t stop thinking about Clarke Griffin.

She’d barely noticed when Costia sauntered back in, wrapping her arms around Lexa’s neck, pulling Lexa’s bottom lip into her own as she murmured, her mouth full of Lexa’s kisses, “Go to bed.”

Lexa did not get more than two or three hours of sleep in her fear for Clarke.

Her heartbeat was as erratic as her thoughts, until the soft light of a rainy morning entered her slit window, and Costia mumbled beside her as she stirred with a raging headache.

“Mmm Lexa where are you going?” Costia mumbled into her pillow.

Without a backwards glance, Lexa bit her lip to hold back her frown. “Saturday morning practice.” She whispered, squeezing Costia’s leg from over the cover as she hurried to change, guilt still weighing her down.

If Abby was at their practice, and the athletic trainer usually was, that meant Clarke was okay.

Hypocritically, Lexa had never driven faster in her life.

Anya had stumbled out of her room, hair mussed, wearing a hoody and her athletic gear underneath, a sleepy, happy look in her eyes.

Lexa decided not to interrogate her, as she knew she’d get one in response. Instead, she’d wordlessly handed her cousin a coffee, and the two drove in relative silence.

Anya seemed surprised that Lexa hadn’t broken into snarky or reprimanding remarks yet.

Lexa was simply too worried to care.

She’d parked, and before she could say anything, Anya had decided to leap out and jog ahead, clearly very embarrassed by whatever the hell had happened the night before.

Lexa was alone, on the heart wrenching walk, which would end in the result of Clarke Griffin’s fate.

She’d forgotten her jacket, wearing only her underarmour shirt and tights, and immediately regretted that as her stiff muscles shivered in the cold air. She shut her car door, folding her arms as she made her way up the soaked pavement, noticing that her teammate’s cars were already in the field lot.

She was a little late, but being captain had its privileges.

Lexa tried to tame herself, tried to school her thoughts. She tried not to think of Clarke’s quivering lips, begging to be taken in by hers. She tried not think of Clarke, alone and cold, driving home with bad reaction time and muddled thoughts.

She tried, and failed.

With reckless abandon, Lexa found herself running the rest of the way, eyes scanning the field for the athletic trainer, ignoring Lincoln’s looks of confusion.

She found that Abby was nowhere in sight. Leaning against the goalpost, Lexa heaved in a great breath of air, head hanging, as she tried not to hyperventilate.

God, Clarke Griffin was dead.

“Fuck.” Lexa bit her lip, trying to keep the tears from spilling out. She was thankful her teammates were all the way across the field, dutifully stretching, chalking Lexa’s weird behavior up to nothing more than a hangover.

“Clarke, can you get Woods over here? She needs to wrap her ankles.” Abby Griffin’s voice, sounding from behind the shed by the edge of the field, rang in Lexa’s ears.

“Sure, mom.” Clarke Griffin’s voice was music to Lexa’s ringing ears. It was brightness. It was melodious and soft and sweet, and just a little husky, the way Lexa liked it.

“Lexa?” Clarke’s voice sounded soft from behind her as she felt a shaky hand on her shoulder. “Are you alright?”

Lexa’s gaze shot up, and she was swimming in a sea of cerulean blue, the most beautiful color Lexa had ever seen. Clarke was there, alive and well, bundled up in a large leather jacket, frowning at Lexa’s distraught expression.

Lexa started shaking. She launched herself at the girl, pulling Clarke into the warmest of embraces, burying her face in the slightly shorter girl’s hair as she took in everything that was Clarke: Her scent, her smile, the feel of her arms tentatively wrapping around Lexa.

Clarke let out a whimper of surprise before latching onto Lexa, the curiosity evident in her tone.

Lexa pulled back, only slightly, just to look into Clarke’s eyes. “I thought I lost you.” She whispered, her eyes tracing Clarke’s lips. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again.”

Clarke just nodded numbly, taken aback.

She’d expected awkwardness, maybe Lexa ignoring her, but…never this. Never such immense care, fierceness and protectiveness. She knew she’d had a lot to drink. She’d pulled out of their driveway before resting at the foot of it, downing water and waiting before she thought she’d be able to handle herself.

But Lexa hadn’t known that.

Lexa had worried about her.

“Woods!” Abby called, voice shrill, rolling her eyes. “Like, today, honey!”

Lexa flashed Clarke a weak smile, and Clarke felt her knees buckle.

“So…we’re good…?” Clarke blurted out uncontrollably, thinking more and more about Lexa’s lips than anything else.

“We’re good.” Lexa affirmed, awkwardly clearing her throat as she gave Clarke one last smile of relief, her heart practically exploding with happiness as she ran towards Abby, leaving Clarke to question everything she ever knew.


 

“Ooh, Griffin, it’s your favorite person, coming in hot.”

Clarke scowled and shot an annoyed look in the direction of Murphy, who had recently started working at the Dropship alongside herself and Octavia, working as a chef when Miller was unavailable and a waiter when otherwise. His disposition didn’t exactly scream customer service, however.

True to his words, though, Clarke could spy Lexa and Costia walking in through the door, the latter with her arm slung over Costia’s shoulder nonchalantly, pressing her mouth close to her girlfriend’s ears as though to whisper something, and Clarke couldn’t help but feel a twinge of irritation.

Not that she had any reason to be irritated. She’d known from the very start that Lexa and Costia were dating, and they seemed very happy together, all wide smiles and giggles and shared looks. But she couldn’t help but be… envious?

Everything had been so much easier when Clarke had been set on hating Lexa, and when Lexa had hated her right back.

Now, everything was jumbled in Clarke’s head, and she wasn’t sure what she felt anymore. Lexa had shown time and time again that, for reasons unbeknownst to the blonde, she actually cared for Clarke. Truly, genuinely cared.

She’d held Clarke when she was most vulnerable, and the intensity with which she’d hugged her earlier in the day… it was confusing, to say the least. And not to mention the almost kiss that they’d shared. Clarke didn’t even want to think about that, or about the way it had felt like a flurry of hundreds of butterflies had tried to escape her stomach in that one moment, that she had wanted Lexa to go for it. She didn’t know quite how to face the other girl, especially not now.

“Well?” Clarke stifled a sigh when Murphy quirked his eyebrow at her expectantly. “Wells told me Woods asks for you specifically, so I’m not gonna waste my energy and go over there. And besides, I thought you and Blake Jr. were competing for employee of the month or some shit like that.”

“Indeed they are,” Wells interrupted, causing Murphy to startle slightly, “and if you want that title, Murphy, I’d keep the language G, there are kids here, after all.” Murphy scowled at the older boy with a roll of his eyes.

“Me? Employee of the month? Fat chance.”

While the two continued to talk, Clarke took a long breath, steeling herself before putting on her best customer service smile and walking out of the kitchen, notepad and two menus in hand.

“Hi there, welcome to the Dropship,” Clarke greeted, handing them both menus cheerfully, feeling much more exuberant on the outside than she did on the inside, where she was sleep deprived and grumpy. “As always, I’m Clarke and I’ll be your server for the evening, can I start you two off with some drinks?”

“Just a diet coke for me, thanks,” said Costia.

“Sparkling water, please,” Lexa added, and Clarke nodded.

“I’ll go get those for you really quickly and give you a second to look at the menus.” With another quick, artificial smile, Clarke made her hasty retreat to the kitchen to retrieve their drinks, ignoring Murphy’s smirking.

“Well aren’t you just the cheeriest little thing?” he teased, and Clarke wordlessly flipped him the bird, hiding a smile when he pretended to be offended. “Griffin! How entirely unwelcoming of you!”

“Love you, Murph,” she laughed before walking out, drinks in hand, back to the couple talking quietly amongst themselves.

“Here you go,” Clarke opened, setting down the drinks in front of the two, being perhaps unnaturally friendly at this point, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. What she really wanted to do was go home, collapse on her bed, and sleep for the rest of the weekend. “Are you ready to order or do you need more time?”

“I think we’re ready to order,” Costia responded, doing another quick once-over of the menu, “I’ll have the chicken club, with a side of curly fries. Babe?” Clarke turned to Lexa, who looked up quickly, setting her menu down.

“House burger,” Lexa decided, “with a side of sweet potato fries, please.” Clarke nodded, accepting the menus before heading back to the kitchen.

“Chicken club and a house burger,” Clarke directed Murphy, “and two sides of fries: one curly, one sweet potato.”

“Sweet potato fries?” Murphy scoffed. “Nobody orders those.”

“This is Lexa Woods we’re talking about here, Murph,” Clarke deadpanned, “she orders sparkling water , for christ’s sake.”

Lexa Woods was an interesting one, that was for sure.

“Hey, rich people are allowed to have quirks, I guess,” he shrugged, moving around as he placed a chicken breast and hamburger on the grill, whistling to himself. Asshole he might have been, but John Murphy knew his way around a kitchen.

“I just want to go home,” Clarke groaned, resisting the urge to slam her head into the door, ignoring the smell of grease, which didn’t sit well with her already grumbling stomach, which she ignored.

“I’m sure I can think of something to get you out of here,” Murphy laughed, brushing some of the Dropship’s signature sauce on both items, before moving to lower the fries into the deep fryer.

“Really?” Clarke asked.

“Have you met me, Griffin? I’m practically the king of weaseling my way out of work.” He popped a sweet potato fry into his mouth and made a face. “Man, Woods can have these, fries aren’t supposed to be healthy.”

The two of them made idle chatter for a while, mainly comprised of Murphy making snarky comments and Clarke bemoaning her fate, and she found herself missing Octavia’s company, though she would never admit it to the other girl. She was too busy working on her english project with Raven to come, so Clarke was alone with her sarcastic friend. Not that she minded, she and Murphy got along rather well considering his usual demeanor, but Clarke was exhausted .

“Order up.” Murphy grinned at her, and Clarke shook her head as she accepted the two plates of food, fixing some stray hairs from her bun before walking back out the door and to Costia and Lexa, who were waiting for their food.

“One chicken club and one house burger,” Clarke announced, setting the food down.

“Thank you,” Lexa smiled.

“Can I get you anything else? Refills?”

“Just some water, thanks,” Costia asked politely, and Clarke nodded. As the blonde turned to go walk back in the direction of the kitchen, she saw Murphy exiting, pitcher of water in hand. Cerulean eyes narrowed, wondering what exactly the brown haired boy was up to, and widened slightly in realization when she saw the glint in his own icy blue gaze. Several feet away from Clarke, he “tripped”, and water flew all over Clarke, and she yelped as the freezing liquid sufficiently doused her.

She was dripping.

And not in the good way.

Costia and Lexa both made similar noises of surprise, but were safely out of the splash zone. Murphy had positioned his little “fall” so that the water would spill on Clarke and Clarke only, as even he knew it was best not to nearly drown the daughter of one of their investors.

Lexa reached her hands out as though to help, but withdrew them so quickly Clarke almost laughed, and she could see Costia gaping at her girlfriend. It wasn’t as though she could just reach out and pat Clarke’s boobs… oh sunova…

Clarke drew her arms around her boobs almost protectively, scowling at Murphy, who offered her a cheeky grin as he got up from the ground. White shirts weren’t exactly meant for water exposure, and she thanked whatever higher of forces of nature that existed that today she’d at least worn a cute bra, that was baby blue in color, with decorative lace bits. If Lexa and Costia were going to get an eyeful, she might as well have given them a good one. Though she preferred Costia not been there at all. Lexa, on the other hand…

Clarke shook her head and shivered.

“Oh, so sorry,” Murphy, ever the convincing liar, apologized, “clumsy me.”

Lexa wordlessly offered Clarke her letterman, but the blonde shook her head, teeth chattering slightly. The cool AC in the building didn’t exactly help with her predicament.

“Clarke?” She turned to see Wells looking at her with concern. “Go home early, you’ve got the rest of the night off.” She nodded, and shot a small smile in Murphy’s direction, and the boy offered her a jaunty salute, before she made her hasty retreat.

His methods were efficient, to say the least.


 

Clarke had left school around nearly nine in evening, one of the many consequences of joining the Grounder Gazette’s editorial staff, who often worked ungodly hours to meet the deadlines for printing. As if that hadn’t been tiring enough, she’d also had to watch pre-printing preview after preview of Lexa’s flawless face, as she was, predictably, on the front cover yet again.  

While the newsroom had still been bustling, and Clarke knew it would progress well into the wee hours of the morning, Clarke found herself slipping out early, thanking the higher powers that she was in Monroe’s good graces, as she needed to make a last ditch effort at studying for Kane’s history exam, scheduling for the following day.

Clarke threw her bag lazily over her shoulder, and then her hood, grimacing just a little as she covered her blonde locks.

Clarke had always hated the rain. The rain often meant storms, storms meant terribly driving visibility. Ergo, Clarke hated the rain.

Clarke made her way across the ghost-town of a campus, feeling suddenly very lonely and admittedly, a little scared. The fog had settled in around her in the cool October air, and she could barely see more than fifteen feet in any direction.

There were no sounds, no usual chatter of squawking freshmen, or grumbling, jaded seniors. There was no obnoxious talk of Lexa Woods of football, no teachers yelling at students to stop running.

There was pure, uncut silence.

Clarke felt her heartbeat quicken slightly. She hated being alone, ever since the incident. The storm wasn’t helping at all, either.

As the crystalline drops of rain beat down on her head and soaked her backpack, Clarke hurried to the senior lot, where only three or four cars remained. Clarke figured them to be those of the editing staff. Unlocking her door with a huff, she tossed her bag in the back seat, already soaked from just the short walk from the building to the car.

She slid into the driver’s seat, shutting the door as she flicked on her headlights, turning the key into the ignition, waiting for the car to roar to life so she could warm herself slightly, even though the car would take most of the way home to heat up.

Clarke hated her car. It was embarrassing, to say the least, and not what she was originally slated to receive. Her father had said that however much Clarke had saved by the time she turned sixteen, he would match, and that would be her budget. Diligently and carefully, Clarke had amassed nearly 12,000 dollars, enough for a brand new sedan of some sort, with capabilities from this century.

Unfortunately, with Jake’s passing, the failure of their life insurance, and Abby’s choice to step down from her high paying job, Clarke was left with “Death on Wheels.”

Still, it got her around from point A to point B, and that was all Clarke needed.

Until it didn’t.

Clarke’s face screwed into one of confusion and horror as she turned the key into the ignition more forcefully, waiting for the dilapidated engine to roar to life.

Still, it stalled.

Clarke knew, in this moment, that it wasn’t her battery. It was her engine, just as Raven had chided her about weeks ago. “Clarke, it’s dying.” She had clicked her tongue in annoyance, knowledgeable from her apprenticeship as a mechanic in her uncle’s auto shop. “You’ve gotta come in, let me look at it.”

Clarke never did, and now she was paying for it.

“Come on.” Clarke grumbled in frustration, slamming her fist down on the dashboard, half expecting it to break in half at the measly contact. She turned, reaching into her bag for her cellphone, ready to apologize profusely to her mom, Raven, Octavia, whoever the hell had mercy on her.

The first zipper, where Clarke normally kept her phone, was empty. The second zipper was, yet again, empty. Clarke frantically searched through the third and final pocket, muttering,

“God, please, please, please…”

Of course, her phone wasn’t there. Because nothing was ever easy for Clarke Griffin.

“Goddammit!” Clarke shrieked in frustration, hitting the horn with such intensity that she was sure, if any of her superiors were around, they would have reproached her for.

Clarke’s eyes suddenly closed at the impact of a bright light in her rearview mirror, as she recognized two bright, white headlights shining before rolling up beside her.

There, little rainy beads adorning the hood, was Lexa’s sleek black Audi, the engine roaring more powerfully in its sedentary state than Clarke’s car’s did when it was doing eighty on the freeway.

Lexa parked her car parallel to Clarke’s, rolling down her window, smirk still in place. Clearly, she hadn’t realized the weight of the situation.

Clarke stifled a scream, instead opting to roll her window down, ready to fight Lexa to the bitter end. She noticed Lexa wearing her football scrimmage jersey, tattooed arms muscled, resting on the wheel, wet slightly.

Had she been practicing in the rain? This late at night? That wasn’t suspicious.

“Griffin, you might be too polite to know proper car horn etiquette, but typically, someone has to be there for you to honk at.” Lexa teased, her voice throaty and undeniably comforting to Clarke, who was hating every second of her presence, even though her traitor of a body seemed to be enjoying it.

“Oh?” Clarke cocked a brow, her voice dripping with sarcasm. She slammed her fist down on the horn once more, grinning wickedly when Lexa threw her hands over her ears, cringing. “My bad.” She laughed dryly as she removed her hand.

Lexa rolled her eyes. “Unbelievable.” She muttered.

Well, at least the party hadn’t changed their loveable dynamic.

“Listen, Lexa…” Clarke sighed, jokes aside. “Could I maybe…use your phone? I need to call my mom, or Raven…for a ride home.”

Lexa frowned, and for a moment, Clarke thought she was just going to roll up her window and drive off.

Her next words surprised Clarke. “It’s late.” She responded simply.

Clarke laughed a little, clearly confused. “Um, yeah, it is. Why are you here?”

“Practice.” Lexa replied, blinking her forest green gaze in Clarke’s direction. “I enjoy running the track in the rain. It soothes me.”

Clarke shivered a little at the thought. Running and rain? What a hellish combination.

“Anyway…” Clarke coughed, and Lexa seemed to snap back to attention.

“Right…” Lexa shook her head. “I mean, it’s late. Why don’t you leave your car here, and I can give you a ride home?”

Clarke froze, eyes widening. “You…You’d do that?”

Lexa smiled softly at her, and Clarke felt her heart hammering in her chest. “Of course.”

“But…” Clarke shook her head. “No, it’s fine. I couldn’t ask that. My mom will be here within an hour or two anyway, I don’t think she was home…”

“You’re not waiting here for an hour.” Lexa tsked, and like that, she rolled her window, stepping out of her car.

Clarke blinked. Where did she go?

Lexa made her way around the car, opening her passenger door, and then opening Clarke’s, ensuring it would be a short, mostly dry leap.

“Come on, Clarke.” Lexa offered, standing in the rain, her eyes twinkling.

“I…” Clarke felt thoughts of the incident surfacing and she quickly forced them down, along with the lump in her throat. “I uh…”

Lexa offered her hand to Clarke, and without thinking, Clarke took it, allowing Lexa to haul her her up and guide her into the warm confines of Lexa’s car.

“Watch your hands.” Lexa murmured as she shut the door, grabbing Clarke’s keys as she also grabbed Clarke’s backpack, tossing it into the trunk and locking her doors as she got in beside Clarke, handing her keys back to her.

“Oh, god…” Clarke mumbled. “I’m sorry. I could’ve done that, I-”

“Relax, Clarke.” Lexa smiled at her. “My pleasure.”

Clarke mulled over the words. Her pleasure.

How rapidly things were changing, evolving between the two.

Clarke’s eyes wandered around the leather, expensive interior of Lexa’s car, which smelled like her perfume, which was absolutely heaven in itself. She let out a low whistle and Lexa smirked.

“I bet you get all the girls with this.” Clarke teased lightly, watching Lexa with a small smirk.

“I’m a one lady kind of woman, Clarke.” Lexa responded tightly, her words laced with an urge that Clarke felt rippling within her.

The irony was not lost on Clarke, either, that she was referring to Costia.

Lexa leaned forward and pressed a button by Clarke, and immediately, Clarke felt heat seeping through the chair.

“How’s that?” Lexa murmured.

Clarke shook her head in amazement. She’d forgotten what luxury felt like. “Are you sure you don’t want to be best friends, Airbud?” She smirked.

“Not a chance in hell.” Lexa replied evenly, setting the car into motion.

Clarke felt her stomach lurch nervously, but something in Lexa’s relaxed posture said it all: she was a good driver with keen eyes on the road.

“Where do you live?” Lexa asked as she pulled out of the lot.

“Sounds like something a serial killer would ask.” Clarke responded wryly.

“Or a stalker, like Charlotte.” Lexa added, nodding her head in amused agreement.

“How’s that going for you? I think she’s going to pop the question soon. Or murder Costia.”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “Apart from being my stalker and all…she’s alright. I wouldn’t date a freshman, but…I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” She shrugged. “So when I can, I give her a few smiles. I signed up to be an English tutor, for my mandated community service hours, so…I’ll be seeing more of her.”

“Turn left.” Clarke instructed softly, and Lexa nodded, listening. “And oh, you’re so generous.” Clarke teased. “Sparing a wink every now and then for the needy and the thirsty.”

Lexa sighed in exasperation. “I knew you were going to be trouble.” She smirked at Clarke lightheartedly.

“Some music?” Clarke smirked. “I haven’t been in a car that has working audio in a long time.”

“Poor soul.” Lexa tutted. “I’m afraid my musical tastes won’t cut it for you.”

Clarke’s smirk grew as she reached towards the center console. “Why? You listen to rap? Songs about how many bitches you have?”

Lexa rolled her eyes, smiling through her exaggerated look. “No.” She scoffed. “What do you take me for, Clarke? Firstly, I do not have, nor want, “bitches”. Secondly, you’re so far off, it’s like you’re trying to offend me.”

Clarke cranked the volume, ready for Lexa’s lies to be exposed. Instead, she found the soft echoes and vibrations of classical music reverberating through the car, and the brunette’s smile to accompany it.

“Bach’s cello suite in G?” Clarke scoffed.

“Well, at least you can recognize it.” Lexa offered.

“I mean, of course I can. I’m a classic rock girl myself, but…My father listens to this.”

“He’s smart. Maybe that’s where you get it from, since you certainly have your mother’s determination.” Lexa hummed quietly.

Clarke felt her heart sink into her stomach. She didn’t bother correcting Lexa, she didn’t have the heart. It was too painful.

Instead, she found her hand wandering atop the stick shift, the leather surprisingly soft, smooth like- It was Lexa’s hand.

“Sorry!” Clarke nearly jumped out of her seat.

Lexa chuckled, shaking her head. “That’s alright, Clarke.” She followed Clarke’s directions, tilting the wheel.

“So, you’re Edward Cullen.” Clarke blurted out.

“Excuse me?” Lexa snorted.

“You’re too smart for high school, athletically gifted, and a music snob.” Clarke smirked.

“Get out of my car, Griffin.” Lexa scoffed, stopped outside Clarke’s house, rolling her eyes.

Before Clarke could even open her door, Lexa was out, jogging around, carrying Clarke’s backpack for her as she led Clarke to the door, watching as Clarke fished her keys out of her bag, turning to the door.

“God, Lexa, I don’t know how to thank you.” Clarke mumbled. “My mom’s not even home, I don’t know how long I would’ve waited.”

Lexa handed her bag to her, smiling, rosy tint on her cheeks. Clarke tried not to stare at the way her wet clothes clung to her breathtaking frame. “Don’t worry about it. That’s what enemies are for.”

“Enemies?” Clarke echoed with a faint smile.

“Partners.” Lexa shrugged, turning back to her car. “Goodnight, Clarke.” She dipped her head slightly.

“Night, Lexa.” Clarke breathed, watching the beauty of a girl walk away to her car.

Aden was sprawled across the couch in the movie room, hanging upside down as he played videogames with Nam and Atom, who he was talking to over headsets. Anya was somewhere in the chairs behind him, scrolling through tumblr absentmindedly. A quick glance over his shoulder told him that Lexa was texting someone, and by the soft half-smile on her face, he could guess that it was Clarke.

She had a certain smile reserved for whenever she was talking to the blonde. It wasn’t the usual smirk that crossed her face whenever she was talking to Costia (about what, Aden didn’t want to know), but something much more gentle. He’d seen that look on her face with increasing frequency after she’d spotted him and Clarke at the mall, eating ice cream together, just enjoying one another’s presence.

“Hey Lex?” Anya called without looking up from her phone. “Tell your girl she can’t come to movie night this week.” Lexa scoffed, still busily typing away.

“Why would Clarke come to—” she realized the mistake almost as soon as the words were out of her mouth, which hung open in a horrified manner. Aden felt his eyebrows raise much farther than he ever imagined possible, a wide grin stretching across his face. No matter what excuse he was sure Lexa would come up with, she’d just called Clarke Griffin her girl.

“Wow, Lex, I didn’t realize Griffin was your girl,” Anya snorted, “you sure do move fast. I didn’t even know you and Costco had broken up.”

“I—” Lexa sputtered, “we didn’t. She’s not. Griffin. That is, she’s not my, um—my girl.”

“Really?” Anya teased. “Because I could’ve sworn you referred to her as such just two seconds ago.” Lexa was at a loss for words, and Aden was having a blast. He made a mental note to speed up the pacing in the itinerary, because apparently Lexa was in a lot deeper than he initially thought.

“I was texting Clarke and wasn’t paying attention to what you were saying,” Lexa defended hotly, “Clarke Griffin isn’t and will never be my girl. I’m still dating Cos.” As Anya muttered words of disbelief under her breath, Aden rolled his eyes to himself.

He was positive at this point that those words would come to bite Lexa in the ass.

Normally, Lexa Woods was never swayed by the word “discount” as much as other high school students. While she dealt with her fair share of struggles, her financial situation was never one of them, her parents being the international business tycoons they were.

She and Aden lived a more than comfortable life. They lived in the lap of luxury, a posh and elegant existence.

This year was full of changes to that existence.

Such as moving into Indra’s, which was still worth more than likely all of the other local homes combined.

She’d also switched from the prestigious, private Mount Weather Academy to Arkadia High, for its athletic prowess.

And then of course, there was Clarke Griffin, perhaps the biggest change in her world. And, of course, Lexa wasn’t sure why that was. Clarke was her partner in English, and they teetered on the fine line between friendship and something less kind. That was it.

And yet, Lexa could not escape Clarke. Not in her thoughts, not in her dreams (and oh, how graphic these dreams were, at times), and not even on the night before Halloween, at the school organized haunted house.

Lexa wouldn’t have expected such a turnout, except, for students of Arkadia, the tickets were discounted.

When Aden heard, he went ballistic.

And so she, Aden, and Anya had found themselves in line to enter the admittedly impressive haunted house, erected on the empty lot behind the school, opposite the flower field Clarke and Lexa had…comforted each other on.

Apparently, Anya and Lexa had not received the memo that there was, in fact, a dress code of sorts. Almost everyone else was in costume, and Lexa suddenly wondered why she was there.

Costia hadn’t been feeling well, and while Lexa had originally opted to stay home and dote on her girlfriend, Costia had insisted she go and “be free”.

Lexa never should have listened, the fever probably made her delusional.

This was a childish affair at best. She could have been at the gym, at the very least.

Alas, it was too late, and the line behind them wrapped around the building twice. Only groups of ten to fifteen were allowed in at once, to prevent overcrowding of the large, ghastly looking building, liable to collapse at any moment.

Screams and shrieks echoed from within, and Lexa found herself wondering why anyone would willingly subject themselves to this.

Aden was listening intently, ears perked. And then, after standing on his tip toes to glance ahead, he wheeled around.

“Lex.” He pressed earnestly, elbowing her abs without a care. “Look. It’s Clarke.”

Aden had spoken a bit loudly, and while Lexa suspected that he’d done it on purpose, the damage was done. Already turning, Clarke greeted the siblings and Anya with a smile.

“Hey Woods’ and Anya.” She greeted with a salute, trying not to go beet red when Lexa’s eyes widened at her Supergirl costume, incredibly kind to her thighs and curved with it’s short skirt and tall boots.

“Hey Griffin.” Anya smirked when she saw Lexa’s eyes widen, grabbing Aden’s arm. “Let’s pay a visit to the delinquents, Aden.”

And just like that, Lexa’s traitorous family left her alone, Clarke Griffin’s prey.

Lexa tried to fight off the gnawing voice in the back of her head that told her that was what she wanted all along.

“So.” Lexa tugged her letterman a bit closer, feeling an oddly hot chill rush over her body, contradictory as it was. “Supergirl. Fitting.”

Clarke blushed at the implied compliment, shaking her head. “Where’s your outfit, Woods?”

“I’m a boneheaded jock.” She teased, hands curling in her pockets.

Clarke blinked, tilting her head curiously. “Your eyes are too intelligent for that.” She murmured. “Even in this dim light, they’re so green, I could…” She trailed off, glancing away.

Lexa felt her heart flutter and hated every inch of her own body. “Thank you.” It came out as a half mumble, half whisper.

“Where’s Costia?” Clarke asked, moving with the line.

“Sick.” Lexa replied, shrugging. “I came for Aden, to keep an eye on him.”

Clarke’s expression softened almost immediately. “That’s really sweet, Lexa.”

Lexa cleared her throat, feeling heat creep up her neck. “Thank you, for taking him out.” She murmured. “I know you didn’t have to, so-”

Clarke could see she was reaching into her back pocket for her wallet, pulling out a crisp twenty. She took Lexa’s wrist in her own smaller hand, the contact sending sparks through her body. “Lexa.” She shook her head. “I love Aden. It’s not a chore.”

That sent Lexa’s heart racing and mind reeling as she put the money back, shuffling into the darkened entryway with Clarke, following the group of Delinquents in.

Bellamy had been at the head of the group, along with Monty and Jasper, the former curiously staring at Nathan Miller across the opening.

“Clarke?” He wheeled around for his co-leader of sorts, likely questioning why she wasn’t at the front of the group again.

Anya, immediately smirking when she caught his eyes, chuckled when his call got caught in his throat.

Raven, of course, had beaten him to the punch, walking backwards so she could face Anya as the line inched forward.

“Forrest.” Raven drawled, shamelessly checking Anya out. “Didn’t think I’d see you here. Back for more?”

Anya rolled her eyes, but her smirk was an amused one. “Actually, I’m here for the horror.”

“You scare easily?” Raven licked her lips.

“Hardly.”

“Oh, perfect, you can hold me when I start shaking.” Raven teased.

“Or, she could lean on these.” Bellamy, who’d hung back until he was side by side with the girls, puffed out his chest and flashed his guns.

“Right.” Anya smirked. “Very compelling offers.”

Ahead, Lincoln, hand in hand with Octavia, had just found Aden, who’d given Octavia their handshake in greeting.

“Hey, Strikbro!” Lincoln greeted as he fist bumped Aden. “Didn’t think Lexa would come to this.”

Aden smirked, peering behind them at Lexa and Clarke, who were shyly going back and forth over something. It was so obvious, just from Lexa’s body language, how utterly into Clarke she was. He tried not to think about Costia.

This was for Lexa’s own good.

“Looks like Lexa has incentive.” Octavia offered with a wry grin, following Aden’s line of sight. “How’s that going, by the way?”

“Good.” Aden supplied with a smile. “She accidentally called Clarke “her girl” the other day, so…Time to move things along.”

“Really?” Lincoln nodded, brows raised. “That’s unexpected.”

Octavia shrugged, throwing a glance at Clarke. “Not really. Look at Clarke’s body language. She definitely wants Lexa to fu-“ Octavia trailed off at Lincoln’s widened gaze, jerking his head in Aden’s direction.

Octavia coughed, amending her previous statement. “ahem, uh…to date her.”

Aden tried not to roll his eyes, thoroughly amused by their antics.

Granted, it was a little scarier than any of the Delinquents, or Lexa’s Kru, had expected.

Monty and Jasper flung themselves at each other, unsure of why they were at the helm of the group.

The tall, darkened walls, lined with false cobwebs, often flashed with strobe-like lights, giving way to figures dropping from the ceilings on tight wires, swooping overhead. False thunder sound effects and music were blasting from speakers, and it only served to make the group more cohesive, as they powered on.

The only one who was seemingly unbothered was Aden, who perkily followed Lincoln and Octavia, snickering every time they jumped in fright and screamed in unison.

One particularly high pitched scream had Aden thinking Clarke had been startled. However, upon turning, Aden realized that it was Bellamy Blake, who was now cringing in shame behind Raven Reyes’s shoulder, the latter cling to Anya’s bicep like it was a lifeline in a tempest wracked ocean.

Lexa, mind on anything but the horrors of the fake little building she’d been strolling through, hardly jumped at all.

Clarke, like her, maintained her cool.

Occasionally, a jump scare would startle them all, forcing them together.

There was a point where Clarke slightly leaned into Lexa’s warmth subconsciously, and Lexa stayed close.

Aden had noticed that with a sly little grin.

Everything had gone well until the final scare at the end, where the room went dark, and they were chased out by masked creatures of every kind, un-matching and lacking a central theme, due to either the creative student minds, or the flimsy student budget.

However, it had the desired effect, and it sent the delinquents racing in terror.

Raven threw herself dramatically into Anya’s arms, who smirked upon catching her, resisting the urge to roll her eyes, because she would never admit that Raven’s antics were endearing. (And they totally were.)

Bellamy, supporting the weight of both girls, had stumbled back, sending Clarke face first into Lexa’s chest, tugging at her shirt as Lexa stumbled, toned arms shooting around Clarke to secure her before she went down as well.

Luckily, Lexa had caught a break, and managed to support Clarke.

Clarke’s face was buried in Lexa’s neck for half a second, and her breath was warm and tantalizing when she whispered, “Oh my god, Lexa, I’m sorry.”

Lexa smiled forgivingly, (god, what had gotten into her? Weeks ago she would’ve unloaded on Clarke and Bellamy for their careless misstep). “It’s alright, Clarke.” She murmured, looking into Clarke’s cerulean gaze, shimmering even in the darkness. “It’s not your fault.”

For a moment, the two stayed like that, Clarke’s hands pressed against the flat iron of Lexa’s abs, their faces inches apart. The threat of a kiss seemed all too familiar.

In order to distance herself, at least mentally, Clarke glanced down. Almost subconsciously, she ran her hand down Lexa’s abs, over the thin material of Lexa’s shirt, thankful the letterman wasn’t in her way.

Lexa felt shivers run up her spine as Clarke gasped ever so lightly at the sensation of Lexa’s abdominal muscles beneath her hands, Lexa’s arms locked around her protectively.

Lexa was more than annoyed. She was infuriated that a simple, over the shirt touch from Clarke Griffin had her more turned on than half the sex she had with Costia. She was annoyed at herself because as much as she wanted to push Clark against the wall and ravish her, she also wanted to kiss Clarke so tenderly and sweetly, to whisper her name and caress her soft, blushing cheeks.

She was annoyed because she was supposed to be in love with Costia.

The action was so discreet, and no one else had noticed, still fresh off their high from being chased out of the building.

Lexa’s hand had caught Clarke’s wrist, where it had been tracing an indiscernible pattern on Lexa’s abs, though it didn’t stop her. Instead, Lexa brushed her thumb almost imperceptibly over Clarke’s hand, lips parted slightly in awe.

Clarke Griffin really was beautiful. Incredibly beautiful. In fact, one of the most beautiful girls Lexa had ever seen. No, perhaps even THE most beautifu-

This time, when the fresh outpour of horrified students came running out, the pummeled Lexa’s back, sending her falling forward, through no fault of her own.

Luckily, however, Clarke’s hands were already in hers, and she was quick on the catch.

That seemed to break Clarke from her trance. “Well, looks like we’re both falling.” She chuckled, watching a Lexa formed a soft smile.

They were both falling, just, not in the way either had suspected. Falling deeper and deeper.

Lexa Woods was doubtlessly the most beautiful person she’d ever seen in her life.

“Well, at least we’re here to catch each other.”

Chapter Text

Lexa was wracked with guilt. Every run in with Clarke Griffin left more of an insatiable hunger in the pit of her stomach that she knew all too well. She was, as torturous as it was to admit, developing feelings for Clarke Griffin.

The same girl who’d challenged her on the first day of Niylah’s English class, and every second in between.

It was getting to an unbearable point.

She was constantly glancing at Clarke, sharing soft smiles with the girl. She was in awe of how gentle she was with the children during their community service outings. She adored how much Aden seemed to love her.

She’d occasionally slip into the art room under the guise of visiting Costia, just to watch her at work.

Clarke Griffin was becoming a little like oxygen to Lexa, and she was realizing she couldn’t breathe comfortably without the other girl.

And then of course, were the less than appropriate thoughts.

Lexa Woods prided herself on being an absolute gentlewoman, especially when it came to sexual matters.

Clarke Griffin found a way to ruin that as well.

Lexa had found herself dreaming about the blonde, with her curious blue eyes and the adorable beauty mark above her full, pale lips. She’d dreamt about her laugh, her smile, her husky tone.

She’d dreamt about kissing Clarke until she was breathless, pinning her against the wall of her bedroom, where they’d almost shared a kiss.

She’d dreamt about Clarke’s husky voice and her soft whimpers as Lexa showed her what it meant to be dating her.

It had gotten so bad, on one particular evening, where Costia’s lips were trailing to the meeting of her thighs, s he’d whimpered Clarke’s name, by accident. It was an honest mistake, a Freudian slip. Costia hadn’t heard, but Lexa was horrified.

Clarke’s touch, back at the haunted house event, had sent waves of what could only be described as electricity, charged with sexual tension, pulsing through Lexa.

She knew what it meant.

She’d fallen out of love with Costia Greene, whom she still respected, admired, and loved even platonically.

She had to end things before she did something to endanger that relationship. And so, it was with  a heavy heart that she and Costia planned to meet at the top of the bleachers, after school.

Neutral ground.

It was a symbolism of what was to come.

Long since Lexa was born, her parents had been vacant during the most intense years of her adolescence. They’d missed a great portion of her middle and high school years, where she’d already developed, but needed the nurturing and love they were to offer.

They’d left her to fend for herself, in the care of Indra and Gustus, they themselves gallivanting across the world in their business endeavors. Lexa had vowed to ensure that she was always there for Aden, but their absence left her with a sense of abandonment.

Suffice it to say, goodbyes never came easily to Alexandria Woods.

She tugged her jacket a little tighter as she ascended up the final steps, sliding into her seat beside Costia, her brown curls bouncing as she turned to greet her girlfriend.

“Hi.” Lexa sighed as Costia smiled softly at her, leaning forward to place a chaste kiss on her lips.

“Hey.” Costia murmured, laying her head on Lexa’s shoulder as Lexa’s arms limply went around her.

These weren’t mere formalities; the two girls had grown quite close. That was what Lexa feared the most; the change that would come in her world after Costia left such a void in it.

“Lex, do you remember when we first met?” Costia asked gently.

Lexa nodded, the summer love of her life. How could she forget?

“Training camp. I was announced as captain, and you were sent to greet me with the fakest smile I’ve ever seen.” Lexa chuckled.

Costia nodded, grinning. “I might have expected you to be a horny, arrogant meathead.”

“And?” Lexa prodded teasingly.

“Now I know you’re a horny, arrogant babe.” Costia winked and Lexa rolled her eyes.

“We clicked.” Costia continued, her voice falling an octave. “Right from the start. Our backgrounds, our financial situations, our families…It all just worked.”

Lexa felt the lump in her throat rise slightly. “And now?”

Costia sighed, withdrawing slightly. “Now, things are different, Lex.”

Lexa told herself she’d be okay. Hell, she’d seen it coming from a mile away. But nothing hurt more than abandonment, even if it was a mutual process.

“How?” Lexa found herself pressing, begging to go back, guilt be damned. She couldn’t be alone.

“Lex, listen.” Costia sighed once more. “You know the art scholarship?”

“Of course.”

“Clarke Griffin is incredible.” Costia began.

Lexa’s stomach did somersaults at the mere mention of Clarke’s name. She was an absolute mess.

“I know.” Lexa mumbled quietly.

Costia smiled encouragingly, as if she could read the undertones, the implications in Lexa’s words. “She’s great. But…look, recently, I’ve been looking into Azgeda High.”

Lexa’s eyes widened and she held back her urge to gag. “What? Why?”

“They don’t have an eligible contestant. If I go there, I get more consideration, and the staff won’t be divided.” Costia sighed. “It’s a win-win, for me, and Clarke.”

“You suddenly care about Clarke so much?” Lexa demanded, her temper and tone rising.

Costia’s eyes gleamed with guilt. “Well, not specifically, but it helps her anyway. Besides, Nia Queen said-”

“Costia, what business do you have talking to the Queens?” Lexa hissed, grabbing her shoulders. “You know what they’re capable of.”

Costia blinked in surprise at Lexa’s protective stance. “Lexa, they’re not all the same. Ontari isn’t-”

“They’re all Queens.” Lexa spat. “Costia, you’re better than this.”

“Listen, Lex, I know you’re upset, but I know what’s best for my own future.” Costia murmured.

Lexa’s lip quivered as she shook her head, only to have it steadied by Costia cupping her cheeks.

“Look at me.” Costia cooed.

Lexa averted her gaze, painfully trying to hold back the tears.

“Look at me.” Costia repeated, and Lexa met her gaze tentatively.

The beginning of the end.

“If you’re going to end things, do it.” Lexa growled, but her voice gave away her heartbreak.

“Lex, I will always love you. You and I, we were too similar. But you’re so amazing. God, you’re one of the greatest people I know. I know, whatever you do, you’re going to be successful. Greatness is in your blood, Lexa.” Costia murmured, leaning forward to gently kiss Lexa’s lips. She leaned back, stroking Lexa’s cheek. “This wasn’t your fault. I want you to be happy.”

Lexa didn’t respond, trying desperately to regain her composure. “When do you transfer?” She asked quietly, tears streaming down high, sculpted cheekbones.

“Come Monday, I’ll be an Azgeda Viking.” Costia flashed her a sad smile. “And the ever popular, stunning Lexa Woods will be back on the market. The girls are going to have a field-day trying to get ahold of you, Lex.” She whispered, nudging Lexa gently. She rose, brushing the dust off her skirt as she turned back to Lexa one last time.

“I have faith that you chose the right one.” She winked, and with that, she flitted out of Lexa’s life, as gracefully and seamlessly as she had entered.


 

For the first time in his life, Aden was ditching class.

There was an odd thrill to it, breaking the rules, and he understood now why Lexa did it so often. There was a sense of liberation, of freedom , and it opened the mind and allowed one to think.

He hadn’t gotten much farther than the actual ditching part, so finding a place to go contemplate his entire life was the next step in the plan. He considered, for a moment, the field where Lexa often disappeared to, but decided that was her spot, and he needed to find one of his own.

A ladder on the side of the science building offered him that opportunity, and Aden found himself laying on his back, staring up at the blue, cloud-filled sky, and just letting himself be.

No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t forget his unfortunate meeting with Dax. The gentle throbbing of the bruises still fading on his torso made sure of that, but it ran deeper, much deeper. More than anything, he’d been considering why Dax had even attacked him in the first place, which was something he hadn’t spent much time considering at all during his life.

His sexuality.

Growing up, Aden had never really put much thought into relationships, because he was just a kid . He was more focused on making his parents proud, exploring the world, and getting his older sister to play with him than anything else.

Now, apparently, though, he had to think about it.

“Now why on earth are you up here?”

His speculation was cut off by the familiar tone of Clarke Griffin, who had moved to lay down besides him, folding her hands behind her head.

“Just thinking,” he told her quietly, not bothering to turn his head. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Clarke move one arm from behind her head to point towards a formation of clouds.

“That one looks kinda like a unicycle.” Aden laughed gently, squinting his eyes slightly and looked in the direction Clarke was pointing.

“You know,” he acquiesced, “you’re right, it does.” He paused for a long moment, contemplating voicing his concerns. “Clarke?”

“Yeah bud?”

“How did you know that you were bi?” There was a moment of silence in which Clarke appeared to be formulating an answer, and Aden turned his head slightly to look at her.

“I didn’t really have some mind-shattering revelation,” Clarke started, eyes still fixated on the clouds, “growing up, I would just be annoyed with little boys and thought all little girls were pretty, and then as I got older, and less annoyed with boys, I started appreciating them, too. Entering high school was the first time I actually thought, wow, girls are super pretty , and that I might want to date one the same way I wanted to date boys, maybe even a bit more, and that was that.”

Aden nodded, then looked back up at the sky.

“I think I might be bi.” It was weird, saying it aloud, but also freeing, in a way.

“Welcome to the club, then, bud,” Clarke laughed, propping herself up on the palms of her hands, “us bi blonde babes gotta stick together, right?” Aden rolled his eyes fondly, but smiled at her nevertheless.

“Right.”

“Now let’s get you back to class before Lexa realizes you’ve disappeared, it’s almost lunch.”

“How would she know?”

“She’s Lexa, she always knows everything when it comes to you.”


 

The crisp November breeze chilled the air as it whistled through the fragile, frequently falling leaves. Clarke was wearing a faded UCLA sweatshirt, that had several bright splotches of paint on it from throughout the years, but still held the faint, familiar musk of cedar and cinnamon underneath, and she knew it was because her mother still bought the same cologne, even though there was nobody to use it anymore.

“Should I start on the flowers, Clarke?”

The blonde girl looked up at Emori, who was balanced precariously on a ladder to reach the upper end of the wall, paint brush tucked behind her hair, wielding her palette like a shield.

“Yeah, go ahead,” Clarke called up, taking a few brief moments to mix colors on her own palette. Principal Jaha had given Clarke, as well as some of the students in art club or Cartwig’s class the green light to paint a mural on the east wall of the science building, and they were painting it to look like the inside of a greenhouse.

It was coming along nicely, very nicely.

In the aftermath of Halloween, Clarke had taken a lot of time to really analyze how she felt about Lexa. She couldn’t deny the surge of attraction she’d felt towards the other girl, nor the rush of something more when her hands had found purchase on the taut muscles on the football player’s abdomen. And now, in light of the events earlier in the week, there was also a shred of hope that, maybe, just maybe, her attraction wasn’t entirely helpless.

“You just gonna stare at the wall, Griffin?” Cerulean eyes snapped up to meet playful ones, and the blonde scowled. “Or are you actually going to paint?”

“Smartass,” she called up, and Emori chuckled.

“You know it, Griff.”

She and Murphy were so alike sometimes it was almost eerie, but Clarke supposed they complimented one another in that aspect. Dealing with their snark at the same time, however, was an entirely different battle.

The rustle of falling leaves was Clarke’s symphony as she painted, the gentle humming of bees in the distance and the soft singing of birds from telephone lines. She and Emori made idle chatter as they worked, but neither was concerned with the other, the majority of their focus dedicated to the work in front of them. It was peaceful, and calming, so, naturally, something, or rather someone, had to ruin it.

“If it isn’t my two favorite artists.”

Clarke froze mid-stroke at the familiar voice, anger rising in the pit of her stomach, and she silently thanked whatever forces of nature that Emori was out of ass-kicking range. Without turning, she found her voice and responded, trying her best to remain nonchalant about the situation.

“Queen.” Her tone was cool, steely, something she didn’t entirely recognize. “What brings you here?”

“Oh you know,” Ontari laughed humorlessly, “we’ve got a game here a little later, so I thought I’d take a stroll, see if I ran into any of my lovely acquaintances here…” She trailed off, and Clarke knew that the conversation was about to take a nasty turn, could see Emori tensing visibly from her position on the ladder.

“Wilde, how is that boyfriend of yours doing? It’s been so long―”

The words had barely left Ontari’s mouth before Emori―rather recklessly―lept off of her perch and soundly tackled the dark haired menace to the ground. Ontari hadn’t been expecting such a violent reaction, that much was clear from the way she froze for a solid moment, allowing Emori the opportunity to land a sound punch to her jaw, before the football player began fighting back.

Clarke was at a loss on what to do.

On one hand, she was thoroughly enjoying watching Emori kick Ontari’s ass, but on the other, she didn’t want to see her friend get expelled, which was usually the case after being caught fighting, especially with someone from as prominent a family as the Queens.

She settled for taking a short video and sending it to Murphy, who responded with a picture of a thumbs up captioned ‘that’s my girl’.

“What is the meaning of this!” Clarke, as well as the other two, froze mid-action, and Ontari smirked widely as Principal Jaha himself approached, quickly scrambling out of Emori’s death grip.

“She attacked me, sir,” she said coolly, brushing dirt off of her leggings, “you should really put a tighter leash on your students.” Emori bristled, ready to protest, but Jaha held up a hand motioning for her to remain silent, before turning to Clarke for an explanation.

She’d known the man since infancy, what with him and Jake having been college buddies, and he held her in high regards.

“Queen made a dig about John, sir.” Jaha’s eyes narrowed at that as he turned to observe the two scraped up girls, jaw clenching. Everyone in Arkadia had been furious at the events of Clarke’s sophomore year, especially the principal, who’d always had a soft spot for the sarcastic teenage boy, and Clarke knew that he frequently invited Murphy over for dinner.

“Well, then,” he said coolly, “I see no reason to punish Miss Wilde, considering it was after hours as well as provoked, I’d suggest you get back to your team, Miss Queen.” The other girl gaped, eyes narrowing, but stalked off nevertheless, muttering under her breath as she went.

“Thanks, Jaha,” Emori offered after a moment of awkward silence, and the man offered her a weary smile before turning to walk away.

“Just this once, Wilde, don’t let me catch you again.”

They stood there for a moment, neither exactly sure what to do next, before Clarke looked back up at the ladder.

“How the fuck did you make that jump without breaking your ankles?”

“It’s called skill, Griffin, get some.”


 

No one could tell the Commander had been crying. No one would have even come close to guessing it. The way her dark eye black was designed, a mask across her eyes, dripping like venom down high cheeks. It almost covered the tracks of her tears.

Almost.

Clarke Griffin had noticed.

Though they’d barely had a chance to speak, Clarke had doubtlessly heard the news that had spread across Arkadia faster than that one round of mono in ’92.

Costia Greene had mercilessly dumped Lexa Woods on the very bleachers Clarke was sitting on.  

Or, so the news had presented. Clarke wasn’t sure if that was the whole truth, but the whispers that rattled the stadium with the breeze seemed to imply as much.

Lexa certainly wasn’t herself. She wasn’t pandering to the needs of the audience, “her people”. She wasn’t dancing and getting pumped up like her teammates, huddled and chanting in their corner. She wasn’t scanning the field, imagining up possible plays, or even staring down Ontari Queen.

In fact, she wouldn’t even chance a glance in that direction.

Costia Greene was welcomed to the Azgeda High cheering squad, and she was there, behind enemy lines, already in uniform, giggling with the “Queen Bee” herself, Nia. (Clarke had later learned that Arkadia referred to her as the Queen “B”, and while Clarke wasn’t a fan of gendered slurs and insults, she had to admit, it was…fitting, to say the least.

Nia’s smirk was painted on, but Costia’s smile seemed genuine. Lexa found solace in her happiness, at the very least, though it still felt like a backhanded strike.

Lexa almost jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder, directing her from the sidelines. Whipping around, she turned to breathlessly take in Clarke Griffin, golden hair pulled back by a braid, eyes glinting with concern.

“I hardly recognized you without the smirk.” Clarke murmured, a small smile on her lips.

Lexa blew out a little breathy laugh, shaking her head as her fingers clutched her helmet, limp in her hands. “I thought you’d be in favor of this…new me.”

“Well…” Clarke pretended to contemplate that notion for a moment, her hands jammed into her jacket pockets. Lexa noticed it was the one with her number on it. Maybe Clarke’s other one was in the wash. She tried not to feel hope stirring in her chest. “She’s certainly quieter.”

Lexa nodded, sucking in a breath. Maybe this was divine retribution.

“Okay, don’t let this go to your head, or anything, Commander…” Clarke began with a sigh, watching Lexa’s amused glance. “But I, like many hordes of your screaming fangirls, have grown to love that little…asshole routine you have going on.”

At that, Lexa’s pouty lips pulled into a smirk. “Is that what you call it?”

“Oh, boy…” Clarke rolled her eyes, but her smile at seeing Lexa cheer up was absolutely genuine. “You just expect ladies to swoon and fall at your cleats, don’t you?”

Lexa leaned forward, leaning against the little fence that separated them, eyes dancing with delight as her emerald gaze linked with Clarke’s cobalt response. “Yes, but I’d definitely catch you.”

Clarke’s cheeks burned red, and she searched for an alternative subject, her words failing her. “I uh…I didn’t ask, I’m so sorry it was just incredibly insensitive. How are you holding up?”

Lexa licked her lips, reaching across the fence to give Clarke’s hand a squeeze, the touch absolutely electric to either girl. “I’m better now, thanks.”

Titus’ calls for Lexa were growing increasingly demanding, and Lexa rolled her eyes, smiling at Clarke. “Duty calls, Griffin.”

Clarke’s voice was husky, setting something within Lexa on fire. “You nervous? Azgeda’s been practicing.”

Lexa gave Clarke one of her lady-killing winks, leaning forward to whisper, “But my good luck charm is here.”

With that, she left Clarke blinking, mouth forming a slight “oh” as she jogged back to her team huddle.

Clarke went to slip into her spot on the bleachers, greeting Aden, who’d been sitting beside Atom, quickly scooting over to make a seat for Clarke.

Lexa’s eyes focused on her huddled team as she slipped within their ranks, eyes finding Quint, smirking at her.

“Quint.”

“Woods.” He smirked, saluting her. “Don’t play coy.”

Lexa shot him a curious look, smile tentative on her lips. “Is this about Griffin?”

A couple of the guys wolf whistled, and Miller looked horrified. Lexa hadn’t quite figured out why.

“She’s a fine piece of ass.” Quint nodded his approval. “A little uptight, needs to be fucked real good-”

The tower of a player stumbled slightly when Lexa shoved him, immediately held back by Lincoln and Miller, while Nyko reached out to hold Quint.

“What the fuck, Woods?” Quint demanded, clearly affronted. “You were going to do her anyway, it’s not like I was stepping on your territory-”

“Enough!” Lexa snapped, vein visible in her neck, her voice strained with ever ragged breath. “She is a human being, not something around for your fucking pleasure, to make idiotic, perverted comments about-”

Titus, hearing the commotion, had jogged over, splitting the huddle in two. “What is going on here?” He demanded.

“Get this fucking idiot off my field!” Lexa roared, struggling against Lincoln’s grip.

Lexa knew she owned Titus. She couldn’t let someone like Quint even be near Clarke.

“What?” Titus growled, eyeing Quint, rather than Lexa. “What did you say?”

“She attacked me like a psycho bitch!” Quint fired back, never one to skimp on the slurs.

“Titus, get him off!” Lexa snapped, practically foaming at the mouth.

“Woods, calm down, please…” Titus begged, lowering his voice. “There are scouts here to see you tonight!”

Lexa’s eyes widened slightly, as she sucked in a sharp breath. “If he plays, I walk.” She gritted out.

Titus’ brows shot up. “Alexandria, this is everything you’ve worked for-”

“Sub. Him. Out.” Lexa seethed.

Titus pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. “Woods, Roberts is out sick, and Quint is the only one with enough power to protect you from that….monstrosity of a player, what’s his name…Roan Queen? You hear me? Roan would knock the life out of you, Woods, you’re fast but not that fast. He stays, to protect you.”

Quint shot Lexa a smirk and she lurched forward, pushed back by Titus.

“Another word and I swear to god I’ll beat your face in-”

“Ladies and gentleman!” The announcers, high in their box above the bleachers, began blasting their introductory music. “Your Grounders!”

The stadium went wild with cheering, and Lexa’s jaw nearly snapped with the pressure she was exerting. “This isn’t over.” She snapped.

Little did she know, she was entirely too right. Quint was holding a grudge of his own.


 

Quint’s payback was a bitch.

Lexa was in full commander mode, only aware of a few very key things.

The first: Clarke Griffin was sitting next to Aden, and it took all of Lexa’s willpower to focus on the game rather than their smiling faces, particularly hers. She was going to murder Quint the second the final seconds ran out.

The second: The Grounders were winning. It wasn’t even a tight game. Ontari’s fumble had the stadium roaring with pleasure, and Lexa’s team was on the full offensive. It wasn’t even close.

Lexa had shot Ontari a smirk at halftime, and she glared in response. She’d yanked her brother down by the arm and demanded something that Lexa was too far to hear.

Things had been going swimmingly.

The third, she learned, after halftime: Quint was the only force holding back Roan Queen from attempting to sack her while she scanned the left side for Lincoln’s running figure, positioning himself for the long catch.

She never managed to pass the football.

In fact, she’d only danced backwards on her tiptoes after the snap, inhaling a breath like she normally did, her eyes settling on Lincoln.

And then all the light in her vision was blocked out by Roan Queen, who’d just appeared before her, slamming into her with such force that he took Lexa down in mid jump, landing with his elbow in her face, and his immense, boulder of a body crushing her down with the impact of their jump.

The stadium fell silent.

And then, for good measure, Roan rolled off of her, seemingly crushing every bone in her body like she was made of twigs.

Lexa gasped for air, but found that her lungs couldn’t work.

Lexa knew she was dying.


The moment Lexa went down, the stadium froze.

And then there was chaos.

From where she was seated near Clarke, Abby practically flew out of the bleachers and into the field, as was her duty as the team’s health manager. Clarke had never seen her mother move so quickly in her entire life.

Further down the field, she could see Lincoln holding back Anya, who was frothing at the mouth, trying to make her way towards Roan, who was walking around like nothing had happened. She could see a triumphant glint in Ontari’s eyes, standing alongside her brother, and it filled her with burning hatred.

But more concerning was Aden, just in front of Clarke, who was standing shock-still.

Clarke moved in front of him amidst all the noise and movement, crouching down so that they were at eye-level, and the absolute fear in his crystal blue gaze broke her heart.

“Aden?” she whispered softly, trying to get his attention. “You with me, buddy?”

Sis ,” he uttered back, voice shaking with the weight of what had just happened. In all of his years of watching Lexa play, not once had she ever been hurt to the point where she couldn’t get up right away. “ Kigon yu gonplei.” His words sounded like a prayer, barely audible, and Clarke gathered him into her arms softly, heart aching as he latched onto her for comfort, until she could feel the warm wetness of tears pressing into her shirt.

Em yuj,” Clarke reassured, “ omo gonplei nou ste odon.”

They stood there, just the two of them in their own little bubble, for quite some time, Clarke rubbing comforting circles on Aden’s back as his body shook, coaxing him into breathing with her. Looking over her shoulder, she could see Lexa being loaded onto a stretcher, Abby having obviously called an ambulance, and Lincoln and Anya hurrying to the parking lot, forgetting, in their haste, about the boy situated in Clarke’s arms.

“Come on,” Clarke coaxed, lifting the boy gently and marvelling at how light he was, “let’s get you to your sister.” Bellamy, who’d been waiting for the two of them, took Aden from Clarke wordlessly and followed her to the parking lot, softly lowering the still sniffing boy into the passenger’s seat.

“You good from here, princess?”

“I’ve got him Bell,” Clarke reassured, “I’ll call you later.” He nodded before making his way over to his own car, and Clarke began driving in the direction of the hospital. The silence was almost suffocating, but neither Clarke nor Aden could find it in themselves to talk, too worried about Lexa to even think about anything else.

Though she was trying her best to focus on the road ahead of her, Clarke couldn’t help the rising  panic in her chest. The way Lexa had crumbled like a puppet whose strings had been cut, it was absolutely terrifying. She’d always regarded Lexa as an unmovable wall, stubborn in her ways and unwavering in her strength. To see someone who’d quickly become an anchor to her just… fall like that, it was absolutely terrifying.

The drive could’ve taken minutes or hours, Clarke didn’t know, and she couldn’t find herself to care either.

As soon as the car was parked in the hospital lot, Aden was flying out of his seat, and Clarke wasn’t far behind him, and barely stopped him from crashing head-first into the reception desk, stirring alarm in the receptionist’s eyes.

“Woods, Alexandria Anastasia,” Aden blurted out, breathing still erratic, “where is she?” The concerned looking woman barely opened her mouth before there was a cry of “Aden!” to their left, and Clarke turned to see Anya, who Aden gladly ran towards.

Clarke followed at a more relaxed pace, catching wind of their rushed conversation in trigedasleng that she wasn’t entirely able to keep up with, but she knew they were talking about Lexa. Anya pulled Aden into a tight hug, making eye contact with Clarke as she approached, and her eyes were filled with gratitude.

“Thank you,” she said, clutching Aden tighter to her, “for bringing him.” Clarke had never heard more sincerity from the other girl, so she nodded, before following the two of them to the waiting room, where her mother was talking on the phone with a very worried Indra and Gustus.

From what she could hear, it wasn’t as bad as initially thought. A full rotator cuff tear, or even a partial one, would have taken months of recovery, successfully putting an end to Lexa’s high school football career, which, in hindsight, might have been Ontari’s goal. However, Roan hadn’t put as much force into the blow as needed, so Lexa had escaped with a concussion, a fractured arm, and a broken nose.

That news collectively calmed her worried aunt and uncle, as well as Anya and Lincoln, but Aden remained tense as ever, and Clarke knew that it was because he just wanted to see his sister. Not seeing her was making him anxious.

Anya moved to tug him gently on the arm.

“Come on, Aden let’s go home, Lexa will be here in the morning.” He didn’t budge. He stood there, stubbornly, like a tree deeply rooted to the ground, and shook his head.

“I wanna wait for her,” he insisted, “until she wakes up.” Anya looked skyward for a moment, as if cursing the strong will that ran in the family.

“Aden,” she repeated, “let’s go home. I’m not going to leave you alone in the hospital, and I’m not going to wait here overnight with you.” He looked helplessly to the room Lexa was in, and Clarke cleared her throat.

“I’ll stay with him.”

Aden grinned at her quickly before sobering once more. “See, An? No problem. Clarke will stay here with me.” Anya ruffled his hair fondly, nodded at Clarke, before tugging Lincoln away.

“C’mon, bud, let’s wait for your sister to wake up.”

The chairs weren’t exactly comfortable, but Clarke arranged them so Aden could sprawl out across a couple, his head resting in Clarke’s lap, and she draped her jacket over his slumbering body when she noticed the goosebumps, a byproduct of the chilly hospital air conditioning.

Clarke didn’t get any sleep herself.

She passed the time staring at the walls and running her fingers through Aden’s slightly wavy hair, focused on the pattern of his breathing and making soothing noises every time it stuttered. And above all, she thought about herself.

Her feelings in particular.

Especially those surrounding one Lexa Woods.

Earlier in the day, she’d been ready to attribute her attraction to Lexa as purely physical. She did have eyes, of course.

But she knew, deep down, that she wouldn’t be this worried for someone she was attracted to purely on physicality.

And while she wasn’t entirely sure about the span of her feelings towards the brunette football player, she knew that they were much grander and much more expansive than she could have ever imagined.


Lexa woke up to white walls and cold air and a rising sense of panic.

Breathing through her nose hurt, so she opened her mouth, gasping in the crisp air as green eyes snapped open and looked around frantically, trying to figure out where she was. After a few moments of inspection, as well as the throbbing in her head and arm, which was bound in a cast, she realized she was in the hospital.

It took a few moments before the events of the past week came crashing over her like a tidal wave. The break-up. The game. The game .

White-hot fury rose in her chest when she remembered exactly how she’d ended up in the, rather stiff, hospital bed. She should have seen it coming, but she was far too distracted to notice. Her shoulder ached as though remembering the slam of the body against hers, and her head began to pound even more, reminiscent of a migraine or a really, really bad hangover.

She craned her neck to the left slightly, ignoring the pain it cause, and her eyes focused on the window, or rather, what was outside the window.

A small smile graced her mouth when she saw Aden, sprawled across several chairs, sleeping, but her heart leapt in her chest when she saw who exactly he was sleeping on.

Clarke Griffin was sitting up, very still, in her chair, Aden’s head on her lap, her fingers running through his blonde locks. Her own had been thrown up into a messy bun, and there were dark circles under her eyes from lack of sleep, but Lexa thought she looked absolutely beautiful.

She was glad, in that moment, that she wasn’t hooked up to a heart monitor, because surely the nurses would have come rushing in under the impression that she was having a seizure of sorts, only to realize that Lexa was just. Really fucking gay.

Of course, this realization was tinged with guilt.

She had just broken up with Costia. Or, more accurately, Costia had just broken up with her . Literally the week before. And there she was, already pining like some lovesick puppy over another girl. Logically, Lexa knew that her affection for Clarke had been a long time in the making, but she couldn’t help but feel as though she was betraying Costia’s memory, in a sense.

But with the way Clarke was protectively cradling Aden’s head in her arms, Costia seemed but a distant echo.

That might have been the concussion talking, but Lexa knew that there was something about Clarke Griffin that was… different.

Her eyes drifted shut before she could offer the subject more thought.

The second time she woke up, after a dreamless sleep, she was already aware of where she was, and there was the distinct sound of a sneaker tapping against linoleum. For a moment, she was positive that the person besides her was Aden, before she remembered that his shoes would have left a much more resounding echo through the room, and green eyes groggily opened to find deep cerulean ones staring down at her with mild amusement, peeking over a sketchbook.

“Good morning, sleeping beauty.” Lexa decided then that she could get used to Clarke’s raspy morning voice starting her day, but held the thought to herself, offering the girl a small smile instead, raising an eyebrow in unspoken question. “Aden went to the cafeteria, he was going a little stir-crazy.” Lexa went to scrunch her nose in disgust at the thought of hospital food, forgetting in the moment that it was rather worse for wear, and actually, honest-to-god, yelped in pain.

But then, something came along to ease the pain.

Clarke giggled.

It was perhaps the prettiest sound in the entire world, soft and breathy and filled with joy. Lexa wanted to hear it over and over again.

“Easy there, tiger,” Clarke laughed, “we just got your nose fixed up from Raven’s scare, don’t want to ruin it even more.”

“I think it’s a little late for that,” Lexa responded humorlessly, “what’s the damage, doc?”

“You’ve got a couple of hairline fractures along your arm that should heal up nicely,” Clarke started, “and, as you’ve doubtlessly noticed, a broken nose. The biggest concern right now is your concussion, which is why you’re here. You won’t be doing much other than sleeping for a little while.”

Lexa pouted. If there was one thing she hated, it was being confined to bedrest. She was an active, on-the-go sort of person, and, like her brother, went stir-crazy easily. It would be easy enough, though, as her lids were heavy, doubtlessly bruised and blackened from the impact of the broken nose, so she tried to make the most of her time awake and aware.

“What were you drawing?” she asked suddenly, and Clarke balked, looking down at her sketchbook and then back up at Lexa, a pink tinge to her cheeks.

“I, uhm, it’s not finished yet,” Clarke offered awkwardly, and Lexa couldn’t hide her disappointed sigh, “I’ll show you when it’s done, though, I promise.” There was a softness in Clarke’s voice that Lexa couldn’t quite place, but didn’t worry about for long, as, moments later, the door opened and Aden came waltzing through the door, scarfing down the remains of what appeared to be a bagel sandwich, and watched as his eyes lit up after noticing she was, in fact, alive.

“Lexa! You’re awake!” She winced slightly at the volume of his voice, the thrumming in her head increasing, and Aden sheepishly grinned, before lowering his tone to that of a whisper. “Sorry, my bad, I’m just excited. You scared me.” At the genuine concern in his eyes, Lexa felt her heart hurting more than her head as it practically overflowed with love for her little brother.

“Sorry,” Lexa chuckled with a grin, “my bad.”

“Everyone was freaking out, Lex, seriously,” Aden continued, “Anya and Lincoln even forgot about me.” Even in her half-coherent state, Lexa found that alarming.

“They did what?”

“It’s ok, though,” Aden reassured, “Clarke brought me here, and stayed the night.” That, Lexa had thought she dreamt. But the reassurance that Clarke had been there, the entire night, with Aden’s head in her lap, stirred a deep surge of affection from within the brunette, and she hoped that Clarke could tell, in the way she looked at her, pools of green meeting blue.

“Thank you for taking care of my brother,” Lexa breathed, watching as, once more, a pink tinge crawled its way up Clarke’s neck and to her cheeks.

“It was no problem,” Clarke brushed off, worrying the hem of her shirt with her hands. “Really, he’s an angel.” Aden grinned at the compliment, a full-blown toothy smile, and Lexa’s heart surged once more.

“Angel? More like hellion.” Lexa hadn’t even noticed the entrance of Anya, who was leaning in the doorway. “Nice to see you awake, though, Lex.” Lexa offered a tired grin, and Clarke cleared her throat awkwardly.

“I’m gonna go home,” she explained, standing up and taking a moment to stretch her arms, shirt riding up slightly, hinting at soft looking milky skin, “I’ll see you at school.” She hesitated for a moment before quickly leaning down and pressing a soft kiss to Lexa’s forehead, and suddenly it was as though no conclusion existed.

“Get some rest, ok?”

“Kay,” Lexa whispered, eyes tracing Clarke’s form as she left the room, casting one final smile over her shoulder before she closed the door.

Lexa was fucked.


 

News travelled faster than one of Lexa’s wickedly fast passes during a game. In just a few days, the entire student body, staff, and rivaling high schools knew about the great Lexa Woods incident of 2015. Roan of Azegeda High was one of the most hated people in the neighborhood.

Lexa was somewhat shattered, physically and emotionally.  Costia was gone, and the “thirsty hordes” of girls, as Octavia had dubbed them, had already began their countless attempts to woo the now single quarterback, who had no eye or heart for courtship.

It was honestly one of the saddest things Clarke had ever witnessed in her short years.

Lexa wasn’t herself, not entirely. She’d still looked sharp, dressed simple jeans and a tank top instead of her usual slew of crisp shirts. Clarke had to admit, (to herself and herself alone), that while the formal shirts suited her, her toned, tattooed biceps weren’t a terrible alternative. Her other arm, however, was entirely bandaged and casted from the shoulder down. She sported two faded, almost healed black eyes, and she was lucky enough to remove her nose bandaging before returning. She wore her hair in a messy bun with little strands falling out the sides, and she wore sleek glasses that cost more Clarke’s house, probably.

Clarke felt terrible at how turned on she was.

Lexa Woods in glasses was something she was content with staring at for the rest of her life.  

Clarke also felt guilty upon thinking that, because Lexa was fresh out a breakup, and so clearly not wanting to be objectified.

She kept her unruly thoughts to herself as Lexa slipped into the bustling English classroom, all eyes piercing her as she quietly slid into her seat, slipping her expensive bag off her shoulder.

Her smirk, usually there to greet Clarke in the morning, was wiped clean. Her eyes had a dull glow to them, not nearly close to the vibrant gleam she usually sported. Her beautiful lips were pulled into a pouty sort of frown, as she ran a hand through her brown locks.

Clarke almost felt for her.

Okay, that was a lie, Clarke’s heart was completely broken for the girl, even if she had moved on from a relationship with her sworn enemy.

There was no chipper “Good morning, Griffin”.

Clarke decided, once again, to compensate and bridge the social gap.

“Good morning.” Clarke turned to her with a shy smile, immediately cursing herself for being so perpetually lame.

“Is it?” Lexa cocked a brow, and god, Clarke loved it when she did that.

Clarke winced at her blatant disregard for Lexa’s situation. She heard whispers, bouncing off the walls and the whiteboard, as constant as the flickering in the fluorescent light above them. They were so clearly about Lexa.

Clarke was determined to shield Lexa from it. That was the least she could do, right?

“It could be.” Clarke suggested nervously, instantly trying to backtrack out of her own statement. How insensitive. “I mean, I’m sure you get enough of those “life’s what you make it” speeches and all that, but maybe there’s an underlying degree of truth there. And, at any rate-”

“Clarke.”

“And honestly, I mean, people who say that are full of shit, because life can sometimes be entirely too rough-”

“Clarke.”

“And I know that it’s common practice to compare your problems to others and then feel better about yourself but I think that-”

“Clarke.”

“I mean people need time to mourn because really emotions aren’t a competition, it’s not a comparative issue-“

“Clarke!” Lexa’s little yelp startled her out of her musings and Clarke felt her cheeks redden as she turned in her seat, facing Lexa with an averted gaze, clearly regretful.

“I’m so sorry.” Clarke shook her head. “I uh…I just…I felt bad, and I wanted to tell you that it’s none of my business, but you totally didn’t deserve to have your heart broken, let alone your entire fucking body, and nobody should be whispering about you, you deserve better-”

Clarke’s rambling was cut off abruptly when Lexa leaned forward, long fingers grazing Clarke’s cheekbones as Lexa donned a small smile, brushing a stray strand of hair from Clarke’s bun, tucking it behind her ear.

“Thank you.” Lexa almost whispered, forest eyes finding solace in Clarke’s. “For everything. For Aden, especially.”

Clarke took a ragged breath, wanting nothing more than to lean into Lexa’s touch.

So, she did, morals be damned.

Clarke closed her eyes briefly, licking her lips, still feeling heat flush her cheeks.

“I’m supposed to be comforting you.” She murmured, watching Lexa chuckle as she withdrew her hand.

“Have we reached that stage in our relationship?” Lexa asked, propping her elbow so she could rest her head on it, eyes never leaving Clarke.

Clarke was eternally grateful that Octavia and Raven were so engrossed in conversation, because she’d have killed them if they wrecked this momentary respite for her and Lexa.

“Our…relationship?” Clarke echoed, cocking a brow as she brandished her folder, knowing Niylah was approaching. “You mean this little game we’ve been playing? Enemies, friends. Enemies, friends…”

“What are we right now?” Lexa asked wryly. “It’s a Monday, if that helps. My concussion was bad, but I still have a decent sense of the day of the week.”

“Friends.” Clarke smirked. She tried not to notice the tiny smile pulling at Lexa’s lips. “Don’t want to kick the girl when she’s down.”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “I’m afraid the damage is done.”

Clarke’s heart ached for her, and she wasn’t entirely sure why.

Something was certainly shifting in their dynamic.

And Lexa, cupping her face like that? It felt so right.

“Are you alright, though?” Clarke asked gently.

Lexa nodded slowly, her jaw clenching when she angrily replied. “I’m out. There are a few games before winter hiatus. And playoffs. And state.”

Clarke sucked in a breath. “Right, okay. We…I can help you.”

Lexa tilted her head curiously, and Clarke bit her lip. She looked like an adorable puppy, a streak of hope in her gaze like a star rushing across an emerald sky. “We?”

“My mother, and I.” Clarke informed her. “Listen. I…helped Raven with her physical therapy. I can get you back out there, Commander.”

Lexa smiled sadly, wistfully at the nickname. She was anything but, it seemed.

“But you have to be dedicated.” Clarke informed her, leaning forward slightly. “No runs. Just jogging, first. No lifting whatsoever. Eat what I tell you.”

Lexa felt a grin falling into place. “You’re bossy, you know that?”

Clarke rolled her eyes. “I could retract this offer.”

Lexa reached out, placing her good hand on Clarke’s knee, to let her know how genuine she was.

Clarke took a breath, getting chills at the contact. “We have a deal?”

“Absolutely.” Lexa whispered, gratefully nodding at Clarke.

Clarke grinned then, but it quickly melted into a frown as an unfamiliar blonde approached from the far side of the room, sitting rather boldly on Lexa’s desk, skirt lifting slightly.

“Lexa.” She pouted, leaning forward.

Lexa’s brow was cocked as she wore a wry look. “Hey….you.”

Clarke wanted to knock the girl off. Maybe that way she and Lexa could have matching casts.

“I saw you go down.” The girl licked her lips, reaching out to touch Lexa’s shoulder. “Poor baby. How’re you holding up? You look…great.”

Clarke wanted to puke. Lexa was bruised, and shattered, and this girl had the audacity to hit on her.

Lexa took a breath. “I’m faring alright, thank you. Listen, I don’t mean to sound forward but…”

Clarke’s eyes widened. Lexa was falling for this?

“I’m really not interested.” Lexa murmured, and the girl nodded slightly bitterly, sliding off Lexa’s desk.

Clarke smirked. “Maybe now’s not the best time.” She pointed out, and Lexa bit back a smile.

Lexa sighed as the girl strutted off, earning glances from all the guys in her row.

“I can’t believe that’s happening…I’m a mess.” Lexa motioned to herself.

“It’s the glasses. They’re so hot, and your jawline-” Clarke blurted, and then her eyes widened, and she covered her mouth. What kind of disaster…

Lexa smirked at her, and Clarke rolled her eyes. “Are they now?”

“I mean, probably, that’s what they’re thinking.” She amended.

“What do you think, Clarke?” Lexa rolled her name delicately off her ever so capable tongue.

Clarke felt heat rush through her, but then Niylah was clearing her throat, and Clarke just shrugged. “Oh, look, Niylah’s here.”

She didn’t notice the way Lexa was content on just admiring her beauty for the rest of class.


 

The next period, chemistry, was absolutely no different. Clarke assumed it would take time for everyone to adjust to Lexa’s new state of rest and recovery.

“I can’t believe this.” Pike shook his head, staring at Lexa as she’d slipped in through the door. “This is…an absolute travesty.” He growled. “And just a month or two away from playoffs. These games matter, Woods. They ought to put that Roan kid in prison for the battery he committed.”

Lexa looked entirely too uncomfortable, shifting under his gaze. Many teachers had heartily rooted for her, and had been present at the game when disaster struck. Pike had been known to take things just a smidge too far, based on empirical evidence.

“Right?” Anya glanced up from her seat, feat on the desk, phone in hand, lazily reclining against the lab bench.

“It was my fault.” Lexa shrugged, sliding her bag off her good arm. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

Whispers had filled the school, many of the reproachful parents and students alike muttering, “Well, that’s what you get for playing a man’s sport. She’s lucky she didn’t die. Maybe she’s learned her lesson.”

Lexa had wanted to suffocate every single person who perpetuated the idea that she, a woman, couldn’t do everything, and better, than her fellow teammates. But for now, she was rendered absolutely useless and weak.

Lexa Woods hated feeling useless.

Clarke snorted from her seat beside Octavia, glancing up from the day’s lab instructions. “Shut up.”

Lexa cocked a brow, an amused smile forming on her lips.

Before she had a chance to inquire, Pike was interrupting. “Griffin, you pay attention to sports? Since when?”

Raven smirked and muttered, just a little too loudly, “Since the Commander’s tight ass stepped onto the field.”

Lexa’s cheeks reddened, quite uncharacteristically as she was used to the…flattery, and she turned away momentarily, ignoring Anya’s grin.

Clarke slapped Raven’s arm, ignoring Pike’s shout of “Safety hazard, Griffin!” As he lumbered across the room to check in on the other students.

“My father and I watched football together.” Clarke shrugged. Octavia leaned her head on Clarke’s shoulder momentarily, wordlessly nuzzling up to the girl before leaning back, trading looks with Bellamy, who gave her a short nod.

Lexa noticed how everyone around seemed to fall silent at that, and she opted not to bother Clarke about it more.

Clarke, however, in a surprising act of chivalry, turned to Lexa, rising to meet her eye level. “It was Quint’s slip up. Not yours.” She reminded with a tight smile, heading over to grab a few beakers.

Anya was fanning herself ever so dramatically when Lexa turned back to her, ignoring the way she was rolling her eyes.

“What a keeper.” Anya whispered teasingly.

“What?” Lexa sighed, shooting her a look of exasperation.

“I mean, look at you, Commander.” Anya smirked, motioning to Lexa. “You’re not exactly at your prime.”

Lexa winced at that.

“I mean, don’t get me wrong. You’re still the hottest person here, especially with those glasses, which is really unfair-“

“Anya.”

“Right, anyway, dear cousin.” Anya began with an exaggerated sigh, eyes falling to Clarke, delicately collecting supplies from across the room. “She likes you. Even like this.”

“What?” Lexa scoffed, cheeks quickly turning crimson once more.

“Which is why I’m going to do you a solid.” Anya huffed, turning to Octavia. “And partner up with this slice of the Blake Cake.”

At that, both Raven and Bellamy shot their gazes at Anya, gaping in disbelief.

Octavia smirked, sliding her books aside so that Anya could move her things over. “Works for me.”

“What?” Raven protested. “You have a thing for O?”

Anya rolled her eyes. “No, genius. She’s with Lincoln, who’s practically my brother.”

Raven seemed to deflate in relief, but Bellamy’s eyes bored into his sister’s.

“Hey do you want to hear about the time Bellamy slipped and accidentally-” Octavia’s proposal was cut off by Bellamy’s cry of protest.

“Hey!” He shook his head. “That’s fucked up. Sibling code, or something, O.”

Octavia smirked, turning to Anya, who looked like she’d just struck gold.

Before they could continue, Clarke was hovering over their work area, beakers in hand, biting her lip. “I see you’ve moved on to greener pastures.” Clarke muttered at Octavia, who smiled innocently.

Anya shrugged, tugging at Octavia’s arm. “The heart wants what the heart wants, Griffin.”

Clarke shot a look at Bellamy and Raven, both seething behind their lit Bunsen burner. “Uh huh.” She clicked her tongue. “Well, I brought these beakers for us, but…” She turned to Lexa, donning a genuine smile. “Looks like you’re the lucky winner.”

Lexa gave her a small smirk, pulling out Clarke’s seat for her with her one good hand.

“Such a gentlewoman.” Clarke teased as she set the beakers down.

“Maybe it’s the concussion.” Lexa shrugged teasingly, setting her casted arm down on the table with a sigh.

A few moments passed, and the pairs had begun working diligently, passing Pike’s stare of approval as he walked by every now and again, clicking his tongue and tsking when he saw Lexa’s cast in full display. “Animals.” He’d muttered disdainfully, striding away to the bastion of his desk.

Clarke brushed a golden curl out of the way, glancing at Lexa’s arm.

She hadn’t noticed Lexa’s emerald gaze burning into her until she glanced up.

“Feeling sorry for me?” Lexa murmured quietly, so as not to disturb the now quiet class.

“A little.” Clarke conceded. “How’s your arm?”

“Hurts.” Lexa shrugged like it was nonchalant, an everyday occurrence. Clarke wanted to roll her eyes and kiss her arm, to show her proper care and affection, and- Did she really just think that?

“Well…” Clarke reached into her bag, pulling out a box of what appeared to be markers and pastels, organized by hue. “What ever shall we do?”

Lexa cocked a brow and tilted her head like a lost puppy, and it took every ounce of Clarke’s willpower not to throw her arms around the girl.

“Give me your arm.” Clarke whispered, watching Lexa tentatively reach out with her casted arm, finding soft comfort in Clarke’s grip. Clarke’s gaze was soft and delicate as she held Lexa’s arm in one hand, the other reaching out to the upper area that wasn’t casted, gingerly rubbing in small downward motions, biting her lip when she elicited a gasp from Lexa, subtle and appreciative.

“What are you-” Lexa’s soft whisper was cut off by a merciful smile from Clarke.

“My mom used to do this for me, whenever I broke my arm.”

“Whenever? You mean this was a common occurrence?”

“I was really rowdy back in the day.” Clarke chuckled, and Lexa closed her eyes momentarily, falling in love with the sound.

“Back in the day?” Lexa croaked, not trusting her voice. “What do you call yourself now?”

“Impassioned.” Clarke grinned, her arm slowing as she came to a stop. “How do you feel now?”

“A thousand times better, actually.” Lexa murmured, her eyes trained on Clarke’s pale lips.

“Good.” Clarke popped the lid off a marker, and set about dragging it across Lexa’s cast as she set about writing something.

Lexa’s brow shot up. “Clarke?” She asked wearily. “What are you doing?”

Clarke smirked. “You know people are supposed to sign your cast right?”

Lexa scoffed. “I don’t exactly make a habit of needing one, Clarke. Apologies if my injury etiquette is a bit lacking.”

“Well, in any case…” Clarke smirked, capping the marker with a satisfied gleam in her eyes, and unmistakable husk in her tone.

“Clarke…” Lexa glanced down at Clarke’s eloquent scrawl, her heart racing at the sight. “I already have your number.”

Clarke glanced into her eyes, smirk still drawn in place, and Lexa wanted nothing more than to push her against the lab table and kiss it off her face. Okay, did she really just think that?

“I know. I thought you’d like a reminder that you can actually use it sometime.” Clarke whispered slowly, a teasing glint in her eyes and her breathy tone as she stood, going to wash out one of the beakers.

Lexa felt a stupid grin on her face for the rest of the period, hell, even the day.


 

If there was any day in the year where absolutely anything could happen and Clarke wouldn’t even bat an eyelash, it was Thanksgiving.

It was a massacre.

Growing up, it had just been the Griffins,the Blakes, and the Jahas, but, after sophomore year, the families of the rest of the delinquents were slowly added to the mix, and now it was a conglomeration of way too many people. Fifteen, to be exact.

Clarke was brutally awoken at six in the morning as Raven barged into her room with a megaphone and a vengeance.

“WAKE THE FUCK UP GRIFFIN!” Clarke yelped and bolted upright, toppling off of her bed in a tangle of sheets. “IT’S THANKSGIVING. WHICH MEANS LOTS OF FOOD AND LOTS OF FUN. LET’S GO.”

Blearily glancing at the time on her watch, Clarke scowled.

“What the fuck, Rae?” she yawned, blearily rubbing at her eyes. “Is my mom even awake yet?”

“Mama G? Of course she is, Griff, and Mama B’s on her way. It’s thanksgiving, they’ve got a lot of cooking to do.”

“Does she need me?”

“No.”

“Then why the fuck did you wake me up?”

“I just wanted to annoy you.” Clarke’s eye twitched as her scowl deepened and Raven grinned, but her plots of murder were interrupted by the addition of two more people in her room, looking entirely too exhausted for their own good.

“Morning, don’t you two look like the picture of beauty?” Raven teased, and Octavia grumbled and flipped her off while Bellamy flopped face-first onto Clarke’s bed, his sister joining him quickly.

“See, Rae?” Clarke yawned, moving to situate herself between the two twins in a cuddle pile, which had become tradition throughout their childhood. “They’ve got the right idea.”

“You guys are no fun,” Raven complained, but she joined them anyways, and soon, Clarke found herself once more sinking into the peaceful abyss of sleep.

The second time Clarke woke up, it was again Raven’s fault.

Apparently, Raven had been having a rather intense dream, and threw a punch at Bellamy in her sleep, hitting him square in the jaw, and he bolted up with a loud scream next to Clarke’s ear, causing her to jolt and push Octavia off of the bed and onto the floor.

“Raven what the hell!?”

“Whuzzah?” She shot up, swinging her fist once more, but Bellamy caught it this time.

“Were you some sort of wrestler in your dream? The fuck, Reyes?”

Actually I was defending myself from a gang of kittens, thankyouverymuch .”

“Why am I on the floor?”

Clarke rubbed her eyes and groaned.

It was going to be a long day.

Before blindly stumbling to the bathroom to start her morning, Clarke grabbed her phone. Toothbrush in mouth, she quickly opened it and began typing with one hand.

Clarke Griffin

Happy thanksgiving, Lexa!

Lexa Woods

And here I thought you didn't wake up until ten. Good morning Clarke, and happy thanksgiving.

Clarke Griffin

It's all Raven’s fault. I would still be sleeping if I had any choice in the matter.

Lexa Woods

So what are you thankful for, Clarke?

She paused for a moment before grinning and quickly typing back.

Clarke Griffin

AirBud

Lexa Woods

Ass

Clarke Griffin

You love me.

Lexa Woods

Debatable

The arrival of the Jahas offered some sort of peace, because Wells was perhaps the sanest of Clarke’s friends, for which she was eternally grateful for.

He alternated between assisting in the kitchen and talking to Clarke, who was busy keeping Raven far away from the kitchen, much to the other girl’s eternal disappointment.

Around nine, Wells emerged and plopped down on the couch next to Clarke, pulling the worn chess set out from underneath the coffee table.

“Up for a game?” He offered, and Clarke grinned.

“Only if you're ready to get your ass handed to you.”

“Oh it is so on, Griffin.”

The two of them reconvened to the small table near the window, dubbed ever-so-creatively as “The Chess Table” by six year old Clarke and Wells, back when they were first taught, and Wells chose black instinctively because “they look like me”, causing their fathers to laugh uproariously.

Wells was by far Clarke’s favorite opponent, because she'd grown up playing with him. They knew each other’s strategies to the move, and thus had to adapt on the fly in order to counter and block one another, and were truly evenly matched.

As Clarke delicately moved her rook, her phone buzzed, and Wells quirked an eyebrow.

“Who’s that?”

Clarke peeked at her phone quickly, a small smile crossing her face when the name Lexa Woods flashed across the screen. She’d been giving Lexa a running commentary about her day since her second awakening, while Lexa informed her of all the things Anya was doing to annoy her parents. She looked up to see Wells’ expectant expression, and shrugged sheepishly.

“Oh, no one,” she tried to brush off, continuing her Ruy Lopez maneuver.

“You don’t smile like that for no one,” Wells scoffed, peering at the board before moving one of his bishops. “That’s the sort of smile you get when you see videos of puppies on the internet.”

Clarke shrugged noncommittally, turning back to the board, and yelped as Wells lunged out quickly and snatched the phone from where it was resting atop her leg, arm snaking under the table deftly.

“Wells! Give that back!” Suddenly it was like they were six again and Wells had taken Clarke’s doll, but this time she was much taller, and bounded after him quickly as he tried to make his escape. She was intercepted, however, by Bellamy, whom she collide with headfirst with a silent oomf.

“Why you running, princess?” Bellamy teased, and Clarke scowled.

“Wells took my phone,” she grumbled.

“You’re texting Lexa?” Clarke sucked in a breath as she saw the tell-tale signs of realization dawning on Wells’ face, and prayed silently that the two girls in the other room hadn’t heard, counting silently in her head. One… two… three…

“WHAT ABOUT GRIFF TEXTING WOODS?”

Of course she wasn’t that lucky.

Raven’s yell startled Wells so much that, as the latina girl skidded into the room, he threw Clarke’s phone on reflex, and Octavia, who hadn’t been far behind, snagged it out of the air with ease, and unlocking it quickly with her thumbprint while Clarke cursed herself for forgetting to remove it.

“Oh my god Raven they’re flirting.

“What? No we weren’t, that’s not-”

“The fuck O? Pass it here!”

Clarke groaned and buried her head in her hands, knowing full well that she was helpless to whatever her two friends were planning on doing, and let herself succumb to fate.

“You know, this all could’ve been avoided if you’d just told me who you were texting,” Wells quipped innocently, and Clarke shoved him on the shoulder roughly.

“Fuck off, Wells.”

“Guess I was right about that promspect thing after all.”

“Hey Clarke!” She turned when she heard Raven calling her, mouth halfway to forming a question when the telltale flash of her phone camera went off, and Clarke immediately balked.

“Oh no.”

“Oh, yes.

Before Clarke could make a lunge at Raven, Octavia tackled her, allowing their other friend to do whatever she pleased with Clarke’s phone, which Clarke assumed was to send Lexa pictures.

It was at that exact moment that Murphy swung open the front door, and blinked owlishly at the scene before him.

“Is this a bad time?” he asked dryly, and Wells laughed and clapped him on the back.

“They’re just teasing Clarke, nothing unusual.”

“About Woods?”

“How’d you guess?”

“It’s all they ever talk about anymore.”

“Oh my god Clarke, why do you even have this in here? Oh my god this is gold , wait till Woods sees this one.” Octavia, in a moment of weakness, craned her neck to try and see what Raven was talking about, allowing enough wiggle room with the movement of her body for Clarke to flip her over and finally make a dive at Raven.

“Excuse me you can’t hit a cripple this is ableism!”

Clarke, however, paid no attention to Raven’s flimsy attempts at escaping her inevitable fate, and tackled her in a fashion similar to how Octavia had flattened Clarke moments earlier, finally recovering her phone from the perilous clutches of her rather rude friend.

Lexa Woods

While I appreciate the visual of Clarke’s life, I assume this isn’t her texting me, so you should probably give the phone back to her.

Clarke groaned when she saw the twenty plus images Raven had attached to the conversation, including―

“Oh my god Raven why did you include the one of you doing a body shot off of me from Bell’s party? I don’t even remember taking that.”

“Everyone loves a good body shot pic,” Raven groaned from where she was still pressed to the ground, Clarke sitting on top of her.

Clarke Griffin

I’m so sorry about that, Rae and O stole my phone.

Lexa Woods

It’s fine, don’t worry about it. You were a very cute six-year-old, though.

Eyes narrowed, Clarke took another look at the pictures Raven had sent and groaned as she saw one from her sixth birthday party, with Wells sticking his tongue out next to Clarke, who was blowing out the candles on her cake very carefully.

Clarke Griffin

I was fucking adorable. What happened lmao

Lexa Woods

You got even cuter.

Um.

Yeah

Clarke Griffin

Aw you think I’m cute? That’s adorable.

Lexa Woods

I mean I do have eyes, Clarke

Clarke Griffin

Don’t worry, I think you’re cute too, Lexa.

Almost like a puppy, one might say.

Perhaps.

Airbud?

There was no response from Lexa after that, and Clarke laughed to herself. She was never going to let Lexa live that one down.

“You’re laughing at your phone? That’s disgusting.”

Having forgotten that she was still situated atop Raven, Clarke scowled at the sprawled out girl and stood up quickly, sticking her tongue out at her.

“I will hurt you, Reyes.”

“You wish you could, Griffin, you wish you could.”

Any further bodily harm, however, was avoided by the arrival of the other two families, the Greens and Jordans, who had trays upon trays of desserts with them. Hannah Green specialized in chocolate cake whereas Meredith Jordan had her famous pumpkin and cherry pies with her.

At the end of the evening, there had been minimal damage.

Murphy found his spot in-between Wells and Bellamy, perhaps his closest friends at the table, and remained silent for the most part, offering up snarky one-liners and insults during the lulls in the conversation.

The adults were all situated at the far end of the long table, smartly separating themselves from the high schoolers, who were rowdy and more prone to throwing food, especially when Raven was involved. Clarke could see Thelo observing her with extreme trepidation, as he’d no doubt heard the horror stories from his coworker, Pike, about the absolute chaos she unleashed during an everyday chemistry class.

Monty, in true Monty fashion, had procured a batch of weed brownies for the amassed delinquents, keeping them well out of sight of the parents, and Clarke could already feel the stress of the day leaving her body.

“You can go do whatever it is you delinquents do,” Abby dismissed with a sigh and a look towards Aurora, who smirked knowingly, “just don’t break any of my vases.”

“No promises, Mama G!” Raven called over her shoulder, before leading the group outside to go mess around in the yard. “You coming, Griff?”

“Yeah, one second,” Clarke responded, before she quickly scaled the stairs to her room and gently removed her sketchbook from her bedside table.

Clarke Griffin

[attachment: one image]

I promised you that you could see it when it was done, and it’s done now.

Hope you like it and don’t think it’s, ah, creepy, or anything.

I think I heard someone scream I better go make sure my idiot friends are ok.

And, uh, happy thanksgiving, Lexa.


 

Lexa was grinning down at her phone, when Anya snatched it out of her hands, slyly moving across from her at the dining table.

“Anya!” Lexa growled, panic seeping into her threatening tone.

“What do we have here?” Anya smirked. “Oh, Clarke Griffin! What a surprise!” She exaggeratedly threw up her hands in the air, eyes honing in on the text. “Have you sent her any nudes yet?”

Lexa sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose in exasperation. “An, it’s thanksgiving. Cut me a break, will you?”

Anya’s smirk only grew as she read the texts, right up until Lexa deftly snatched it away from her with her long fingers.

“You like her.”

“She’s a friend.”

“She’s hot.”

Lexa’s eyes narrowed, and Anya pressed on. “Like, really hot. You mind if I ask her out? I hear she likes football players.”

Lexa’s jaw clenched and she rolled her eyes. “Yes, okay, she’s beautiful. And waiting for a reply, so…” She turned away from Anya, who picked up a can of whipped cream from the table.

“Lex, you know what this is?” Anya teased.

“…Whipped cream.” Lexa responded with a sigh, shutting her phone off and slipping it into her back pocket. This had to be interesting.

“That’s right. And you know what to do with it?” Anya grinned.

“Eat it?” Lexa sighed with a shake of her head.

“No, you spray it on Clarke’s-”

“OW, what the FUCK Lex?” Anya cried when Lexa took the can and hurled it at her head, whipped cream exploding everywhere in the dining room.

“That better not have been what I thought it was!” Indra’s voice rang out from the kitchen.

Lexa smirked, folding her arms. “You were saying?”

Anya rolled her eyes, rubbing her head as she picked up the spray can. “I’m just saying you could make a move already.”

“Raven Reyes is rubbing off on you.” Lexa grumbled, turning towards the kitchen.

Anya grinned. “Not at the moment, but last night-”

“No!” Indra clucked in annoyance as she shook her head, her hands busy emptying a can of what appeared to be cranberry sauce into a dish. “No sex talk today, please.”

“Seriously.” Aden flashed a grin at Lexa, who smiled back in response.

He was maybe, secretly, a little more than pleased that Clarke had been texting his sister.

He just wished that, maybe, perhaps, they could speed it up a little. He was getting old. At this rate he’d need a walker before they’d hook up.

“Cute apron.” Lexa teased, come to ruffle Aden’s hair.

“Laugh it up, but he’s the only one of you three that actually contributes around here.” Gustus grunted from his spot beside the oven. When he rose, Lexa noticed that he was wearing a matching apron, only about fifty times larger.

She stifled her laughter, but Anya snorted away. “God, dad.” She smirked. “Way to be cool.”

Gustus rolled his eyes. “Teenagers.” He scoffed. “I run a tattoo parlor. I’m the epitome of cool.”

“Clarke wants a tattoo.” Aden mumbled.

Lexa whipped around at the mention of Clarke’s name, and Aden seemed to know what he was doing.

“Oh, she does?” Anya smirked, catching on as well. “Did she say where?”

Aden nodded. “I think an infinity sign on her hip?” Aden shrugged, trying to recall something he’d overheard Clarke mention to Octavia before tutoring.

Lexa’s jaw was parted slightly and she licked her lips, blinking slowly.

“Hey.” Anya elbowed Lexa in the ribs, wincing when Lexa flinched, clearly still sore from her internal bruising. “My bad. But you could…you know…get her a family discount.”

Gustus grinned, “Lexa here likes someone? Good. I didn’t like your last girlfriend. What was her name? Colorado? Crayola?”

Indra snorted. “People will name their kids anything these days.”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “I think, for future reference, I’ll keep my crushes far away from this family, seeing as Costia was mistreated.”

Anya grinned at Aden. “So…it is a crush?”

Just then, the sound of the front door opening rang throughout the house, and Lincoln’s familiar voice chimed, “Honey, I’m home!” He grinned as he entered the kitchen, carrying a basket of baking supplies. “It’s a care package from my mom. She says she and dad will be over soon.” Lincoln smiled as Indra patted him on the head.

“See this, Anya? It’s called being useful.” Gustus smirked as he high-fived Lincoln.

Anya rolled her eyes, immediately going into the secret Kru handshake, which involved a lot of complicated wrist grabbing.

By the time dinner was ready, Lexa’s phone was going off like crazy. She sat there, analyzing each text, shoulders slumping in disappointment when she realized it was the football team group chat, the boys not even wishing each other a happy thanksgiving, merely “roasting each other.”

Anya and Lincoln had joined in, laughing wildly at the table between bites.

“Now we may talk.” Indra sighed, folding her arms to glance over at Lexa, who quickly hid her phone in her lap. “So, who is this girl?”

“Clarke Griffin.” Anya supplied, immediately jumping in. “She’s an artist.”

Gustus perked up, “Good enough to hire?”

Aden nodded. “Really good.”

Lincoln blinked. “Clarke? The one who went out with Luna? Octavia’s friend?”

Lexa took a sip of her drink, choking a little when Luna was mentioned. “We’re. Just. Friends.” She gritted out.

Aden watched this all with a mild look of amusement, watching the way Lexa flung a mini spoon of mashed potato at Anya’s head when his aunt and uncle weren’t looking, Anya flipping her off with a gasp.

“Hey strikbro, how’s soccer coming?” Lincoln tried, wiping a little potato off Anya’s arm. “You still practicing with Atom?”

“Huh? No. Yes. Uh, I don’t know.” Aden shrugged, suddenly finding the gravy to be fascinating.

“That’s not suspicious.” Lexa remarked carefully.

“Yeah, well…” Aden felt cornered. “Oh, look, Clarke texted you!”

Lexa glanced down at her lap, grinning when she saw the lit screen. She then tried to wipe away her grin as quickly as possible. “Indra, may I please be-”

“God, yes…” Indra rolled her eyes. “All of you. Go. Be free. Give me some peace and quiet.”

Lexa nodded, jumping up to give Indra a quick kiss on the cheek as a thank you, doing the same to her uncle before grabbing her plate.

“And if I find any more food stuck to Anya’s clothes in the wash, so help me-” Indra began, but they were all darting off, Lincoln and Anya running out to watch the game, Aden following cautiously, throwing glances in Lexa’s direction as she sat on the foot of the stairs, grinning at her phone.

“Yes!” He fist pumped in mid-air. Operation Clexa was coming along better than he’d anticipated.

Lexa was completely oblivious to the world, smiling down at her phone as she saw Clarke’s message:

Clarke Griffin

[attachment: one image]

I promised you that you could see it when it was done, and it’s done now.

Hope you like it and don’t think it’s, ah, creepy, or anything.

I think I heard someone scream I better go make sure my idiot friends are ok.

And, uh, happy thanksgiving, Lexa.

The sketch Clarke had done with Lexa, peacefully sleeping on her side, was truly flattering in every respect. Clarke had substituted Lexa’s hospital gown with a normal shirt, and she wasn’t injured, rather, alive and well. It was incredibly well done, and Lexa gasped at the quality of the work.

Lexa Woods

Clarke, this is the most beautiful gift I’ve ever received.

I love it…thank you. Watch out with your delinquent friends.

I’d really miss you if you did something stupid and couldn’t come back to class.

Oh! And happy thanksgiving, Clarke.

For the first time in months, Lexa was truly, fully happy.

Chapter Text

There was something about lazy mornings, when the sun had barely crept over the horizon, the air was cool and misty, and not even the chattiest birds were awake to sing their songs. The peace and quiet allowed for those bundled under warm duvets in their beds to rest longer without interruption, dreaming blissfully…

“WAKE UP EVERYONE IT’S CHRISTMAS FIRST!”

He grinned as a crash sounded from Anya’s room, and she stumbled out, metal baseball bat in hand. Upon blearily noticing that there were no intruders, and the noise was merely coming from an over-excited, santa-hat wearing Aden, she unleashed a string of profanities in trigedasleng under her breath.

Lexa, likewise, stumbled out of her room, rubbing tiredly at her eyes before shooting a glare in Aden’s direction, though the exuberant boy paid no mind.

“Aden,” Lexa groaned, “it is four o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday, why did you feel the need to wake us up?”

“So we can watch Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever before school starts, duh.” He said it as though the answer was the most simple thing in the world, and quickly dropped to the floor as the metal baseball bat flew over his head.

“So that’s a no?” he teased, and Lexa looked skyward.

“I’m so moving to the guest house,” she grumbled, and Aden rolled his eyes.

“So that’s a no on the movie then?”

The matching groans that reached his ears were answer enough, and Aden shrugged, making sure his santa hat was still properly situated on his head, before trekking in the direction of the in-home theatre to watch it himself.

Lexa and Anya were no fun.


 

Clarke had always been a fan of being prepared for things so, as a byproduct of that, she always did her Christmas shopping ridiculously early.

It also helped to avoid large crowds, which were often unsettling for her, and just generally relieved a lot of stress from Clarke’s life, as well as the people she managed to drag to the mall with her, which this year consisted of Raven, Bellamy, and Octavia.

“Oh my god, Clarke, you made a list?”

It was Raven’s first time accompanying the others, as she usually slept through the times Clarke designated for Christmas shopping, and didn’t know how things went down, and Clarke rolled her eyes at the other girl.

“Of course I made a list, Rae,” Clarke sighed, “I’ve been planning your presents weeks in advance, because I want to make sure I get you all something that you actually appreciate. How else does someone go Christmas shopping?”

“I was just gonna wing it,” Raven admitted with a shrug, and Bellamy laughed.

“Of course you were.”

“What’s that supposed to mean, Bell?”

Clarke and Octavia shared a knowing look as the duo began to tease each other back and forth. Their dynamic had shifted visibly since the party at Lexa’s and the almost kiss . Though she hadn’t really been focusing on it at the time, Clarke hadn’t forgotten the way Bellamy had charged into the room after Raven and Anya, hadn’t been blind to the marks covering the trio’s necks afterwards. She wasn’t going to ask them about it, though, because it appeared as though they were figuring it out on their own, but Clarke knew it was more than just casual sex.

“Alright, we can go together to get stuff for Murphy, Monty, and Jasper, because they aren’t here, and then we’ll have to split up to buy each other’s presents, okay?”

“Yes, Clarke.” She rolled her eyes at the monotonous group response, before opening her phone and consulting her list once more.

“Does anyone know what they’re buying people?”

At the silence and guilty looks that ensued, Clarke looked skyward and rubbed her temples. “Right, of course not. You can peruse, I’m going to the pet store to get Jasper and JJ some matching sweaters I saw on their website.”

Octavia opened her mouth, but Clarke cut her off.

“No, Octavia, you won’t be buying a puppy, because Aurora would kill me if she knew I took you there, because you know you aren’t allowed.”

The other girl scowled at Clarke, who merely grinned at her, before trailing along after her. Raven, in usual Raven fashion, was now situated on Bellamy’s back, directing him around like a horse.

“When do you think those two are gonna say something?” Octavia muttered to Clarke, who looked over her shoulder at the pair with a small grin.

“Sooner rather than later, especially with the little game they’ve got going with Anya.” Octavia shuddered at the mention of her co-captain, and Clarke’s eyes widened a fraction as she looked ahead. “Well, speak of the devil.”

Anya appeared as though she was trying to will the crowds away with her glare alone, and, for the most part, it seemed to be working.

“Pine! Over here!” Her scalding gaze snapped up to meet Clarke’s cool cerulean one, and her posture relaxed, before making her way over to the four delinquents.

“Early christmas shopping?” Anya asked, and at Clarke’s nod, she smiled. “Smart, I knew there was a reason I liked you, Griffin.” She paused, turning to Bellamy and Raven. “I assume you two have absolutely no idea what you’re doing?” The two of them, again, shrugged sheepishly, and Anya sighed. “Why did I even bother asking, of course you don’t.”

She turned once more to Clarke, quirking an eyebrow.

“Mind if I steal these two?”

“By all means,” Clarke acquiesced, “they were going to be too much of a handful anyways.” Anya smirked and Clarke shared another look with Octavia as the other two made pitiful noises of protest.

“See? Like I said, sooner rather than later.”

“I just hope Raven doesn’t set anymore of Bell’s shirts on fire,” Octavia added, “mom was so confused.”

They managed to escape the pet store without a dog, much to Clarke’s relief and Octavia’s despair, before making their way around the mall in search of other gifts, Clarke having made sure that Octavia didn’t notice the extra pick-up she made along with purchasing the matching sweaters, one Jasper-sized and one JJ-sized.

“Hey Clarke, do you think Bell would prefer Hamilton or Burr’s autobiography?”

Clarke looked up from where she was picking up a copy of My Drunk Kitchen for Monty, to find Octavia brandishing the two books in question in her hands, as though they were a scale, moving them up and down.

“I’d buy him both,” Clarke responded, “you know he can never get enough of his history.”

“It’s almost concerning how interested he is in old, dead, white men,” Octavia agreed, shuddering slightly at the implication, “I’m surprised he hasn’t asked Dante Wallace out on a date with those qualifications.” Clarke choked on the breath she was taking, an onslaught of laughter escaping from her doubled-over form.

“He’s not quite dead yet, O,” Clarke laughed, fanning herself with her hand.

“Have you seen Dante Wallace? It can’t be much longer, he looks like he’s going to keel over any second.”

“You best hope not,” Clarke reasoned, “he’s the only one keeping his idiot grandson in line.”

“Fair point, but honestly , how old is he?”

“I don’t even think he’s that old, O, maybe in his sixties or something.”

“Doesn’t change the fact that he looks like a walking skeleton.”

The checkout lady gave them exasperated looks as they made their purchases, obviously offput by the amount of noise they’d managed to make in such little time, but Clarke and Octavia paid her no mind.

“Speaking of Bellamy,” Octavia continued, “I wonder what the three of them are up to.” She stopped to reconsider her statement before scrunching her nose in distaste. “Actually, on second thought, not something I want to think about.”

“How do you think Aurora’s gonna react when she finds out?”

“Mom? She’ll probably be a little confused at first, say something along the lines of, ‘ how on earth did you manage to get not one girl interested in you, but two’ , and then start telling Anya baby stories. She loves Raven already,” Octavia grinned at the thought of getting to embarrass her brother in front of Anya. “I think mom’s gonna be secretly upset that you and Bell didn’t get together for the rest of her life, though.”

“Mine as well,” Clarke laughed, shaking her head, “they just want to be in-laws, but I probably would’ve married you before Bellamy anyways.” Octavia pressed a hand to her chest, making an appreciative noise.

“I’m touched, really.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Clarke noticed a small shop situated next to the Barnes and Noble in the mall and began walking towards it.

“Clarke? A candle shop, really?”

“Hush, O, it says they make custom candles, I just wanna go check…”


 

Alright class.” Marcus Kane’s voice of authority rang around the confines of the quietly attentive room. “Now, you know the secret Santa rules.” He smiled wistfully, as if remembering playing the game himself.  “Reach into the hat, pull out one name only, and do not tell anyone who you got.” He sighed when he heard snickers, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Okay, yeah, who am I kidding. Just…don’t tell the person you got, okay? And, please, no sexual toys of any kind. Let’s keep this thoughtful, tasteful, and PG, alright?” Kane sighed when the class broke into an uproar of laughter.

At the mention of sexual toys, Clarke shared a smirk with Luna, and Lexa’s eyes widened. They’d broken up! Why were they still smiling flirtatiously at each other? Why was Luna still seemingly advancing on Clarke?

And of course, she was stuck behind her stupid T.A’s desk. Unable to intervene, to be close enough to Clarke to do anything.

Just the thought of Clarke made her heart skip a beat, and she got worked up. Their almost kiss, twice now, certainly wasn’t helping.

“Lexa.” Kane surprised her by turning towards her. “You get first pick, for being such a lovely TA this semester.”

Lexa gave him a tight smile, reaching into the hat.

Please be Clarke.

Lexa reached in, pulling out a scrap of paper.

Please be Clarke.

She held it in between her long fingers, unrolling it slowly, eyes taking in the illegible chicken scratch.

Bellamy fucking Blake?! The egotistical asshat of a class president Anya was screwing? She tried not to let her disappointment show, flashing a smile when Clarke smiled in her direction.

“You know what?” Kane turned to Lexa with an apologetic smile. “Can you hand them out? I…have to make a few…copies. Keep an eye on the class, would you, Ms. Woods?”

Lexa nodded, gritting her teeth as she stepped forward, passing each student with a sigh as she handed them papers, listening to their cheers and jeers, their whispers and shouts of joy.

She passed the Delinquents, who were busy chattering amongst themselves. Raven and Bellamy were whispering to each other, about, Lexa could only presume, Anya. She shuddered and allowed them to take some, smirking when Reyes saluted her, muttering, “Commander.”

She continued along to the blonde girl behind them, who looked an awful lot like a bad replica of Clarke.

No one had Clarke Griffin’s smile, or the same twinkle as her eyes.

“Hey Lexa.” The girl smiled, reaching into the hat.

“Good morning.” Lexa greeted softly, eyes falling on Clarke, who was chatting away with Luna tirelessly. They never usually sat together. What was their deal?

The blonde brushed her thumb over Lexa’s, smiling up at her flirtatiously. “I hope I get you.” She whispered, somewhat huskily, as Lexa’s eyes widened.

“Hey Woods, you forgetting us?” John Murphy, sitting in the back of the row, arm around Emori Wilde, called her over like an abused waitress.

“Uh, no.” Lexa responded quickly, eyeing the blonde with a look of surprise as she backed away immediately, clearly disinterested. “But if you rush me, I can just assign your girlfriend to someone else.”

At that Emori smirked at Lexa, who returned the smile with a hidden look of approval. The two had caught up when Emori was on her way to practice and happened to walk with Lexa from the locker room. They became fast friends, and other than Clarke, Emori was perhaps the only bearable Delinquent.

“Thanks, Commander.” Murphy smiled in an overly saccharine manner. “Well, I’m fucked.” He grunted, looking down at his paper.

Lexa turned away before she could hear more of his misery, eyes fixed on Clarke, her next taker.

“Hey you.” Clarke smiled, turning her attention from Luna completely as Lexa approached, Luna busying herself with the other students beside her.

“Hi.” Lexa breathed, feeling chills. Dammit, why was she like this?

“So, did you get me?” Clarke smirked, leaning forward.

Lexa bit her lip. “You want me to go against Kane’s explicit directions?” Lexa shot back teasingly.

“Hey, I haven’t seen you in a bit since we’ve been so busy preparing for midterms.” Clarke gently tugged her down, and Lexa kneeled in front of Clarke’s desk, propping her head up on her elbow.

“Afraid I can’t stay long.” Lexa murmured. “Hat duty, and all that.”

“Right.” Clarke nodded, content to stare into her emerald eyes for all of eternity. “So…” Clarke drawled nonchalantly. “Do you like…footballs?”

Lexa smirked. “I like a lot of things. Footballs, pretty girls…”

Clarke’s breath caught in her throat, and she forced an eye roll. “Okay, sorry, that wasn’t smooth. I just…what does Lexa Woods like? I feel like Charlotte’s blog might have some answers.”

You. Lexa Woods really, really likes you. And your eyes. And your lips. And oh god, your curves, and your-

“Poetry?” Lexa shrugged, giving Clarke a nonchalant look. “You probably won’t get me for the secret santa game, so I wouldn’t worry.”

Clarke rolled her eyes, slapping Lexa’s arm, which was surprisingly firm, as she noted to herself. “I mean, Lex, I’m still getting you a gift outside of this.”

Lexa froze, her heart rate picking up. Clarke was so sweet and thoughtful, and she smelled so good-

“You are?” Lexa balked.

“I mean, sure, it might be a copy of Airbud, but…” Clarke grinned when Lexa rolled her eyes, handing her a name on the slip of paper.

“I should be going.” Lexa sighed, rising. She gave Clarke a wink as she turned to Luna, tapping her on the shoulder.

“Woods, hey, how’s the recovery?” Luna asked, swiveling in her seat.

“Slow. Painstaking.” Lexa mumbled. “But…” She traded smiles with Clarke. “I’ve had help.”

Luna cocked a brow, watching their little exchange. “Good to hear it. This school needs you back out there.” She informed Lexa, who tilted her head in surprise at Luna’s kind words, grabbing a piece of paper from Lexa’s hand.

“I’ll be at the desk, if anyone needs me.” Lexa informed the class, turning.

“Wait!” Luna caught her wrist, flashing Lexa a look at the paper.

Of course.

Of course she fucking got Clarke Griffin.

What were the damn odds?

“Hmm?” Lexa tried to seem nonchalant. “You want another one?”

She’d handed Clarke to Luna, quite literally. Dammit.

“No!” Luna responded a bit too eagerly. “I just…What color looks best on her, in your opinion?”

Are my lips a certain color? Behave, Lexa.

Lexa bit her lip. “Blue.” She replied, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.


 

Aden didn’t know when he’d suddenly been deemed the matchmaker of his friend group.

Usually, he wouldn’t mind, especially what with how much fun he was having with Operation Clexa , or excitedly chatting with Nam about his crush on a girl in their history class, but there were some things that Aden wouldn’t stand for.

The first was Charlotte’s rather creepy crush on Lexa.

She needed a hobby, really.

The other girl would bombard him about his older sister constantly, asking him ridiculous things like what Lexa’s favorite foods and colors were, and how she took her coffee, details that nobody in their right mind would ever need or want to know. It was obsessive, really.

Aden had also been rather annoyed with Tris’s crush on Anya, but now that they were friends, he couldn’t help but sympathize with her slightly. She wasn’t nearly as insane about it as Charlotte was, and seemed to genuinely be interested in Anya as a person, not a piece of meat or a prize to be won.

She did , however, worry about what Anya thought about her way too much.

Aden didn’t really have the heart to tell Tris that Anya didn’t think about her very much at all, except when Aden brought her up. Anya didn’t pay attention to most of Aden’s friends, except Atom, who she’d taken an odd interest in for reasons unknown to Aden himself.

“Hey, Aden?”

The blonde boy turned to observe his friend, who was standing sheepishly behind him.

“What’s up, Tris?” He noticed a neatly wrapped package in the brunette’s hands and tilted his head to the side slightly.

“Could you, um, give this to Anya? I mean, if it’s not too much trouble, I just thought I might get her something, y’know, but I don’t want to bother her and-” Aden smiled and took the package.

“Sure, no problem.”

“Thanks, Aden, you’re a lifesaver.”

Tris scampered off before Aden could say anything else, and the boy shrugged and headed in the direction of the parking lot, where he knew Lexa and Anya would be waiting for him, as always.

“Hey, nerd,” Anya greeted, ruffling his hair as he walked up to them, “what’s with the present?”

“It’s for you,” he answered, pressing it into her hands, “from Tris.”

Anya frowned, confusion evident on her face, before it clicked.

“Oh, your friend who watches our practices? Why would she get me a present? We’ve spoken like twice.”

“It’s because she’s in love with you,” Aden responded matter-of-factly, before opening the car door and sliding into his seat, leaving Anya to blink owlishly and Lexa to laugh.

What?”

“Cheer up, An,” Aden grinned as his sister and cousin both entered the car, “at least Tris is relatively harmless. Just think, you could’ve gotten Charlotte .” At the very mention of her name, Anya shivered and Lexa grimaced.

“She’s so creepy,” Lexa agreed as she pulled out of the parking lot, “one moment I’m alone and the next she’s just standing there . And she’s only gotten worse now that I’m ‘ on the market’ to quote her directly.”

“Have you seen her twitter?” Anya added. “It’s all facts about you, like where you like to study, how you take your coffee, the exact shade of purple of your english folder? Like, who takes the time out of their day to figure things like this out?”

“Charlotte,” Aden responded easily.

“And you have classes with her! How do you survive?”

“Headphones,” Aden laughed, “and she’s scared of Ellis, so I try and stick with her.” The redhead had no patience, in any capacity, for Charlotte’s antics, and had already threatened her bodily harm on four separate occasions.

“Can I borrow her?” Lexa asked hopefully. “She’s managed to get into one of my tutoring classes, and she just stares at me, it’s weird.”

“Sorry, you’ll have to find your own Charlotte repellant,” Aden grinned, “I hear she really hates Clarke Griffin.” At that, Lexa rolled her eyes and returned her focus to driving, while Anya shared a look with Aden.

It was bound to happen eventually.


 

Clarke and Lexa had fallen into a routine of sorts, since Clarke had proposed that she and Abby would help get Lexa back on track, in terms of her injury. Abby advised Lexa to lift in small increments, as she’d finally gotten her cast and sling removed,

True to her word, like clockwork, Clarke showed up every single morning at Lexa’s, where she was met at the door, and the two girls would go running. This was all well and good, except Clarke hated running.

When Lexa had found that out, she felt a strange tug in her chest. Clarke was doing this all for her.

With a newfound determination, Lexa pushed herself harder than she had before, chasing after Clarke down the streets of her neighborhood until she eventually began passing Clarke again, her heartbeat like an unstoppable metronome.

Clarke was grinning at her, sweaty and breathless, and actually pulled her into a hug of congratulations. Lexa wrapped her arms around Clarke, sweaty bodies forced together as they panted against one another, separating due to dehydration, reaching for their waters.

Over the weeks of their runs, Clarke had learned so much about Lexa, as Lexa had about Clarke. For instance, Clarke had learned that Lexa was a natural, gifted leader and athlete. She was well spoken and about as wealthy as the tabloids had advertised her famous parents. She was an avid reader, and more than that, she enjoyed writing. Clarke was not privileged enough to have been an audience to one of her works, but she had no reservations about their quality.

Clarke had also, much to her chagrin, fallen a little deeper down the never ending pit that constituted her feelings for Lexa. Yes, there was attraction. So much attraction. Especially since Lexa would run in only a sports bra and tights, revealing tight abs that Clarke felt the urge to feel, to pull towards herself, in order to- Okay, so there was certainly growing attraction. But more than that, she found that Lexa was actually…sweet, protective. Lexa watched out for Aden like a hawk, and Clarke was in love with their interactions.

It made her swoon to see Lexa bend down to kiss Aden’s forehead after a particularly rough day, or ruffle his hair when they returned from their runs.

Lexa, too, had learned much about Clarke.

She had learned that she was so undeniably attracted to Clarke. There was so much depth to that attraction. Sure, Clarke’s looks helped. Lexa often found herself in awe of Clarke Griffin, a goddess amongst mere mortals at Arkadia. Her smile, her full chest and curvy hips, the way she always pulled Lexa into the softest of embraces and occasionally ran her hands across Lexa’s hardened biceps when they were talking. But there was so much more to Clarke than just her looks. Her intellect, for one. Clarke was one of the brightest people she knew, one of few who could match her wit, word for word. Clarke had a sweet sense of humor, and Lexa was in love with the way she handled Aden.

Lexa came to the conclusion that Clarke Griffin was the perfect human being, as infuriating as she had found her in the beginning of the year.

And now, like friends, Clarke was helping Lexa heal, monitoring her progress.

Lexa couldn’t have asked for more.

“So, are you thinking about lifting, or should I head home?” Clarke asked as they ascended up the final steps to the front door of Lexa’s house.

“You could stay, you know.” Lexa’s eyes widened as she realized what she’d said. “I mean, I plan on lifting but…”

“Okay.” Clarke’s cerulean eyes twinkled. “You know, I’ve never been in your room?”

Lexa gave her a wry smile. “I just convinced Indra and Gustus to let me move into the Guest House out back, actually.”

Clarke smirked. “House not private enough for you?”

Lexa seemed to be keen on playing her game. “Depends on what I’m doing.” She shrugged. “Shall we?”

“If you’ll have me.” Clarke teased, following her to the decently sized guest house, looking like a much smaller replica of the first, set aside towards the left backside of the property. “You must be the epitome of an angsty teenager.”

“How so?” Lexa bit, smiling a little as Clarke followed.

“I mean, wanting your own space, not wanting to hang out with your aunt and uncle.” Clarke shrugged. “Do you also play records really loudly and stare at the ceiling thinking about your one true love?”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “I don’t pine, Griffin. I get what I’m after.” She reminded with a smirk. “Remember, captain and all that?”

“Does that still count when you’re broken?” Clarke fired back, but her gentle grazing of her fingers against Lexa’s hand was a sign of her teasing.

“You’re fixing it.” Lexa shrugged, a smile twitching at her lips.

“So, who’s caught your fancy now, anyway?” Clarke asked, trying not to sound curious.

“Are we close enough to be having this conversation?” Lexa balked. You.  

“Sure, I mean, unless you’ve got something to hide.” Clarke smirked, watching as Lexa paused in the middle of the doorway. “Is it that girl from English? Fox, or whatever?”

Lexa made a face, and Clarke couldn’t help her grin. “Madame.” She motioned, allowing Clarke to step in first.

Clarke let out a low whistle. It was only a bedroom, and a bathroom, small in scale, but larger than Clarke’s room, certainly. Lexa’s desk was in the corner, trophies and endless medals adorning it. A few pictures of her, Aden, and her parents sat on the edge. The bed itself was large, and Clarke’s favorite feature was the mini-fridge that sat in the corner.

“What do you think?” Lexa tossed a casual smirk in her direction.

“I think you’re spoiled.” Clarke teased, turning to face her. “Only the finest for Alexandria Woods, right?”

“You’re catching on.” Lexa bit her lip mid smile.

“So, this is your sex chamber?” Clarke shot her a smolder.

Lexa choked slightly. “Ahem…Uh, my what?”

“You know the rumors about you, right?” Clarke rolled her eyes. “This is where you bring the ladies?”

It was Lexa’s turn to roll her eyes. “You’re the first. And ladies? You know I’ve probably spent more time with you than anyone who asked me out in the past month and a half, right?”

She missed the way Clarke’s eyes lit up for a second with that information. “Good. You need to focus on recovery.” She fell back on to the bed, rolling onto her stomach.

“Comfortable?” Lexa smirked.

“Is this okay?” Clarke seemingly remembered she was Lexa’s guest.

Lexa’s voice softened. “You don’t have to ask, Clarke.”

Clarke nodded, swallowing the lump in her throat, motioning to the floor before them. “So, you gonna do pushups?”

Lexa grinned. “You want to watch, Griffin?”

Clarke rolled her eyes. “I want to make sure your form is correct.”

Lexa smiled, nodding as she got on all fours with a sigh. To Clarke’s surprise, she threw one arm behind her back, and then lowered into a perfectly straight position, lowering herself down at the right angle. She grit her teeth, but like she was weightless, she pressed on, bicep muscles bulging, back muscles tensing.

Clarke’s thighs clenched as she let out a squeak. “Oh my…one hand?”

Lexa hummed an affirmative response, slowly lowering her other arm into play. “Fuck.” She winced, and Clarke was by her side in seconds.

“Lex, maybe you should-”

Lexa blinked at the nickname, biting back a smile. “No, that’s fine. I need to do this. “

Clarke nodded, eyes widening as she watched Lexa’s muscles in closer proximity. Lexa was a specimen. No, more than that, Lexa was the most beautiful person Clarke had ever seen.

With the strength not to faint, Lexa finished up and dried herself off with a towel. Nodding in satisfaction, she murmured. “We’re getting there, Clarke.”

Clarke huffed, turning towards her, hands toying with the hem of her tank top. “I can’t do a single push up.” She scoffed. “I will never embody the definition of perfection you do, I mean-”

Lexa’s gaze softened as she stepped forward, taking Clarke’s hands into her own. How couldn’t Clarke see how absolutely perfect she was already? “Clarke.” She whispered, the name barely leaving her full lips.

Clarke stepped forward almost subconsciously as Lexa’s fingertips released hers, barely grazing over the curve of her hips. “Don’t say that.” Lexa continued, voice like silk.

“Because…” Lexa licked her lips, leaning forward, cerulean eyes meeting her forested gaze. “I happen to think that-” Lexa’s lips were hovering right over Clarke’s when Anya burst into the guest house, causing Clarke to jump backward out of Lexa’s release.

“Lex, you’ll never believe- Whoa.” Anya smirked at Clarke. “Hey Griffin.”

“Hey Anya.” Clarke cleared her throat.

“Long time no see.” Anya took a step forward, gaze predatory. That was the plan, of course. Make the moves on Clarke, so Lexa would feel the pressure.

“What is it, Anya?” Lexa demanded, glaring at her cousin.

“Indra just got home, and she brought that famous guy’s case file with her!”

“Aren’t you not supposed to read those?” Lexa rolled her eyes.

She was about to taste Clarke Griffin’s lips, and she couldn’t, for this?

“Come on! Oh, and Indra made some brunch.”

“She calls her mom by her first name?” Clarke asked as Lexa followed Anya out the door, headed back up to the main house.

“When Indra can’t hear her.” Lexa smirked. “She’s probably the only person Anya’s scared of.”

“Not her father?”

“No, Gus is a softie.” Lexa murmured, her hand gently resting on Clarke’s lower back, giving her chills. That wasn’t the only thing setting her on edge, however. Her attraction to Lexa’s showcase back there hadn’t quite went anywhere with their almost kiss.

Or, at least, that’s what Clarke thought it had been.

“Hurry up. You’re crippled, but not your leg.” Anya called from inside.

“Coming!” Lexa called, turning to Clarke, who stopped with her.

“I was just going to say…” Lexa took a breath, her hands turning to graze Clarke’s cheeks. When Clarke seemed to lean into her touch, she smiled softly, cupping her cheeks. “I think you’re beautiful, Clarke…” She whispered as she leaned forward.

Clarke felt her heart racing, hammering wildly in her chest. This had to have been the best day of her life, right? She wasn’t sure when she joined the masses of girls who got hot and bothered for Alexandria Woods, but god, she was one of them.

There was something in the sincerity of Lexa’s tone, however, that implied she was not simply schmoozing Clarke, or trying to get into her pants. It was soft, and gentle, a quiet truth she longed to share.

Lexa tucked a stray curl behind Clarke’s ear, as she leaned forward.

Clarke wanted to taste Lexa’s full lips on hers. Even though Lexa had sweat up a storm running, she’d worn a layer of perfume that was faint and drove Clarke absolutely crazy.

Clarke leaned forward, closing her eyes.

Once again, a harsh shout of, “ALEXANDRIA!” came from the house.

Lexa bit her lip, squeezing her eyes shut as if she wanted to die. “And I’m officially late to brunch.” She muttered.

Clarke chuckled, and Lexa realized her hands were still cupping her cheeks. Clarke leaned forward, pressing her forehead against Lexa’s, her hands coming to cup Lexa’s cheeks as well.

For a moment, the two of them stood there like that, simply caressing each other, dead to the world around them.

But, as all good moments do, it ended, and Clarke stepped back, letting her fingers trail over Lexa’s lips sensually.

“I’ll text you.” Clarke bit her lip suggestively.

“Uh…Yeah.” Lexa nodded, swallowing as she watched Clarke turn for the front of the house, where she’d parked her car.

What had just happened?


 

“I hate this.”

Clarke laughed as Raven toppled forward, face-first, onto the ice for perhaps the eighth time in the short hour and a half the delinquents had been gliding over the ice.

“You can always sit out if you want, Rae,” Clarke offered, easily making her way over to her fallen friend and helping her up.

“And give you the satisfaction of watching me give up? No way.”

It had been Bellamy’s idea to get the delinquents out together, and Octavia had suggested ice skating, much to Raven’s disappointment. When they were younger, the Blakes, as well as Clarke, had taken ice skating lessons every winter, so Raven claimed it was just a chance for them to show off and watch the poor commoner like herself fail.

Monty and Jasper weren’t faring much better, stumbling over one another, as well as into others, quite often.

Murphy, however, surprised the entire group, with skills that were far beyond Clarke or the twins, performing elegant spins and leaps and axels, effectively skating circles around his slack-jawed friends.

“I needed a hobby when I was younger,” he brushed off with a shrug, “mom loved figure skating, dad hated it. So, naturally, I chose figure skating.”

Clarke was nice and toasty, wearing her worn, paint-splatter UCLA sweatshirt, as well as a knitted hat that had been a present from her grandmother the year previous, and a long baby blue scarf she’d made herself.

“Come on, Rae,” Clarke laughed, “it’s just like walking, but on ice.”

“Thanks, Griff,” Raven snarked, “that’s real helpful.”

“Anytime, Rae,” Clarke responded with a salute, before skating off to join Bellamy and Octavia, who appeared to be having a race of sorts. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Murphy having what looked to be an axel-competition with a familiar looking vietnamese boy, and then a blonde blur went speeding into her stomach.

“Incoming!”

A rush of air escaped Clarke’s lungs as she was barrelled into, but she smiled as she steadied the two of them, smile widening into a grin when Aden looked up sheepishly.

“Sorry, Clarke,” he grinned, “Anya said I couldn’t go faster than she could.”

“Is Anya here?” Though she was trying hard to sound casual, Aden noticed the meaning behind her words and shook his head fondly at her.

“Don’t worry, Lexa’s here too,” he assured her, as another boy quickly made his way over to the pair of blondes, eyes wide with worry. Clarke recognized him as Atom, one of Aden’s other friends.

“Aden!” He turned the smaller boy out of Clarke’s grasp to gently cup his face, as though inspecting for cuts or bruises. “Are you alright?”

“Calm down, pretty boy,” the redhead accompanying him deadpanned with a roll of her eyes, “he ran into Clarke, not a brick wall.” She paused to make eye contact with the aforementioned obstacle, as though trying to silently communicate her exasperation with her taller friend, and Clarke winked back at her.

“Ellis, Atom, nice to see you,” Clarke greeted, and Ellis waved back at her. Atom, however, was still too busy searching Aden for any obvious injuries.

“Lexa’s over by the entrance,” Aden called over his shoulder, and Clarke smiled at him once more before skating away towards the archway, passing a still struggling Raven, now accompanied by a smirking Anya, on her way there.

Lexa had yet to step into the rink, and looked entirely too apprehensive.

“The great and mighty commander, scared of a little ice?” Clarke teased as she glided over, and Lexa looked up, emerald gaze snapping to meet Clarke’s cerulean ones.  

“I’m not scared of anything,” Lexa protested, a shimmer of arrogance in her gaze.

“Especially not the cold, I see,” Clarke added, noting Lexa’s lack of warm clothing, “you know, you’re going to get sick.”

“I’m the commander,” Lexa said, as though it explained everything, “I don’t get sick.”

“Whatever you say, Lex.” She failed to notice how the shortening of Lexa’s name made the other girl stop momentarily, just staring at Clarke with an odd look on her face, before she tentatively made her way forward onto the ice, movements awkward, like a baby deer trying to walk for the first time, overly cautious with her arm still in a sling.

“Come on,” Clarke coaxed, grabbing onto Lexa’s uninjured arm and guiding her as she skated backwards, “I’ve got you.”

“I’m not used to being the damsel in distress,” Lexa pouted, eyes glued to her feet as she tried to maintain balance, “usually I’m the one doing the saving.”

“I’m glad I get the so rare opportunity to aid the commander, then,” Clarke teased, and Lexa rolled her eyes at her, “honestly, though, you’d think that an athlete like yourself would be better at something as easy as ice skating.”

“I like it better when my feet aren’t on surfaces that are slippery, thanks,” Lexa deadpanned, seeming to get a better hold of herself as she straightened, but Clarke’s hand still rested firmly on her forearm.

“I’m not going to fall, Clarke,” Lexa whined, and Clarke couldn’t help but laugh.

“You sure?” She couldn’t hide the hint of a giggle from her voice, and Lexa glared. “Because if I let go of you, I may not be able to catch you.” Lexa rolled her eyes at Clarke’s antics and gently shrugged off her hand, but deftly caught it in her own before Clarke could withdraw it all the way.

“For safety,” Lexa assured seriously, and Clarke nodded back, equally as somber, though she couldn’t help the absolute elation she experienced, her hand linked with Lexa’s, who was tracing shapes over the back of her palm with her thumb.

The two of them made their way around the rink at a steady pace, taking time to look at everyone else.

Murphy was now literally skating circles around Raven, who was growing increasingly frustrated as Anya laughed.

“Murphy, get your skinny ass back here so I can kick it!”

“That would require you to be able to lift one of your legs off of the ground, Reyes,” Murphy shot back, smirk planted firmly on his face.

“Anya stop laughing for five seconds and help me kick his ass!”

“But it’s so funny to watch you struggle.”

“I will cut you off.”

At the threat, Anya finally sobered and pushed the angry girl forward, though Murphy easily maneuvered out of the way.

“I see Raven’s already got Anya on a tight leash,” Clarke commented as they passed the squabbling trio, and Lexa scoffed.

“Please, if anything, Anya’s got your two idiots wrapped around her little fingers.” She paused for a moment and shuddered. “I just wish they weren’t so loud .” Clarke laughed, shaking her head, before she swung her arm lightly, Lexa’s following it.

“Think you can try to skate for a bit on your own?” Clarke offered. Lexa looked equal parts reluctant to let go of Clarke’s hand and determined to skate without aid, so she nodded, though Clarke began skating backward so she could anticipate Lexa’s movement.

For about five seconds, Lexa was fine.

“Look, Clarke! I told you I could-” Clarke saw her tilting backwards before Lexa could even yelp, and quickly grabbed Lexa’s waist, pulling her back up towards herself in order to avoid the inevitable fall.

“I’ve got you,” Clarke assured, before noticing in that moment just how close Lexa’s face was to hers, she could practically taste the breathless “Thanks” that escaped Lexa’s lips. Cerulean eyes searched emerald ones desperately, looking for some sort of sign, and when Lexa’s gaze flickered down to Clarke’s lips, the blonde took that as a signal. She leaned in slowly, attempting to savor the moment, forehead pressed up against Lexa’s, and their noses brushed up against one another, but before she could close the distance between them, there was a resounding call of:

“PRINCESS! Hurry up, we’re getting cocoa!”

Moment successfully shattered, Clarke pulled away from Lexa quickly, an apologetic smile on her face.

“Sorry, Lex, duty calls,” she winked and moved to skate away, but Lexa caught her arm.

“I have to thank my hero somehow,” Lexa teased, pulling Clarke close and pressing a soft, lasting kiss to Clarke’s cheek, which was no longer flushed just because of the cold, “now go, wrangle your delinquents.”

Clarke salute, blowing Lexa one last kiss before skating away, leaving Lexa in the capable hands of Anya, who’d made her way over.

“Smooth, commander.”

“Shut up.”


 

“Clarke Griffin.” Anya smirked as she opened the front door to her house, her eyes practically sparkling with delight. She glanced down, taking in the various bags hanging off Clarke’s tired arms. “Mm, that smells good. If you wanted a date with yours truly, all you had to do was ask.”

Clarke smirked, leaning in the doorframe. “That’s cute, Anya. You and Lexa work that routine out together?”

Anya smiled wryly. “Is it working?”

Clarke shrugged. “You could try…you know. Actually asking me out.”

Anya winked, smiling flirtatiously, as per usual. “Much as I’d love to, Griffin, Lexa would have my ass.”

Clarke paused, glancing up at Lexa’s cousin with a look of genuine confusion. “She would?”

Anya winced. “Perhaps I’ve said too much. Anyway, that’s why you’re here, right? Lexa?”

Clarke nodded, face immediately falling into an expression of concern. “She didn’t answer any of my calls, and she shot me one text saying she was sick. I knew it had to be bad if she was skipping recovery, so I figured I’d bring some soup over and check out the damage.”

Anya nodded, jerking her head towards Lexa’s guest house. “I’ll walk you over.”

“Lex!” Anya shouted into the door of Lexa’s room, pushing it open a slight crack. 

A groan was heard from Lexa’s bed area, and Anya smirked.

“How you feelin, kid?” Anya called.

“Like shit.” Lexa groaned. “Everything aches and I’m…” She trailed off when she saw Clarke smiling softly at her in the doorway, bags of supplies and soup in hand. “…Clarke?” She gaped, her voice low and scratchy.

Clarke hated that she was attracted to it.

“I’m…indecent…” Lexa muttered as she glanced down at her body, splayed across the bed. She donned boy shorts and a sports bra, sweating slightly as a result of the fever currently ravaging her body, (because dammit, even the fever had more game than Clarke).

“You’re sick.” Clarke murmured sympathetically, both of them missing the way Anya smirked and shuffled out of the room, closing the door behind her.

“I’m sorry I missed your texts. I was sleeping-” Lexa’s apology was cut off abruptly.

“Hey.” Clarke shook her head, coming to sit by Lexa’s bedside. “Don’t apologize.”

Lexa winced when Clarke’s leg brushed hers. “Should you be this close?” She croaked.

Clarke cocked a brow, looking slightly offended as she slid back, freezing when Lexa caught her wrist with her long, delicate fingers.

“I meant…I don’t want you to get sick.” Lexa corrected softly.

Clarke smiled down at her. “Lex, don’t worry about it. My mom is…was a surgeon. I know my way around this stuff.”

Lexa nodded, gasping when Clarke pressed a cold hand to Lexa’s burning forehead.

“God, you’re burning up.” Clarke murmured. “You’re really hot.”

“I always knew you liked me.” Lexa smirked weakly, and Clarke rolled her eyes, stopping abruptly when Lexa broke into a coughing fit.

“Hey..” Clarke cooed, reaching forward to cradle Lexa’s head. Lexa heaved a sigh of relief at Clarke’s cold touch, and Clarke ran her fingers through Lexa’s glorious brunette waves. “You’re alright, I’m here.”

Lexa felt a pang inside her heaving chest. Clarke Griffin was something else. Clarke Griffin was otherworldly. Who else would so willingly step forward and show her the love and tenderness she so craved from her absent parents?

Clarke was gently, meticulously scrubbing away at Lexa’s hardened edges with every soft whisper and smile they shared. She was learning that Lexa wasn’t at all what she’d expected, so soft and intelligent and brilliant with Aden. Lexa was learning that Clarke was, in fact, exactly what she’d presumed: Brilliant, hardworking, virtuous. The only thing that changed was that

Lexa was now oh so incredibly attracted to it.

“Why?” Lexa whispered between coughing fits, closing her eyes momentarily before gazing into Clarke’s with emerald brilliance.

“Why what?” Clarke pushed gently, handing Lexa the pills she’d procured from Abby’s cabinet earlier, hoping to lower her fever.

“Why are you doing this for me?” Lexa asked. They were friends, right? It wasn't far fetched to believe that Clarke was just being friendly.

“Because I…” Clarke sighed, taking in a breath. “Because I care.” She added in a whisper, reciprocating Lexa’s soft smile as she massaged the other girl’s temples.
Lexa’s heart fluttered.

Where Lexa had fended for herself most of the time, and also for Aden, she’d lost the nurturing touch of her mostly absent parents. Clarke was a dream.

Except, she was real.

This was happening.

“How’s your appetite?” Clarke asked gently, stroking Lexa’s forehead.

Lexa really wanted to crack a sexual joke at that, but was entirely too weak. She’d been shell shocked by Clarke’s tenderness, practically treating Lexa as if they were wives.

Lexa would have been lying if she said she hadn’t liked it.

“Don’t have one.” Lexa mumbled, burying her head in Clarke’s lap, as she had nowhere else to put it. (Or so she told herself).

“Right, but you have to eat something.” Clarke sighed. “I brought soup.”

Lexa nodded, blinking hazily. “You did?”

Clarke nodded, a small smile on her lips. “Mhmm. You want me to feed you?”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “Not unless we’re playing nurse.” She grumbled, her throat vibrating against Clarke’s knee while Clarke turned red, blushing.

“Okay, sit up, Romeo.” Clarke instructed with a roll of her eyes, lifting her pillow and fluffing it slightly, setting it behind her.

Lexa followed instructions quietly for once, sitting up, her tired eyes finding Clarke’s.

“Lexa?” Clarke asked gently, turning to face her momentarily.

“Hmm?” Lexa hummed tiredly, wanting nothing more than to sprawl out over the bed and hold Clarke, or better yet, have Clarke hold her.

“You’re gonna be fine.” Clarke whispered, leaning forward to kiss her forehead gently. Lexa closed her eyes, savoring the feeling of Clarke’s lips against her skin, of Clarke’s loving yet fierce nature.. “It’s okay to feel weak, sometimes. You have to let others take care of you, too.”

Lexa sighed, leaning forward into Clarke’s kiss, wanting nothing more than to kiss her actually, on her pale, beautiful lips.

Of course, she just had to be sick. She wants entirely too weak to try, to function at all.

How pathetic. How embarrassing.

Clarke hummed to herself as she retrieved a styrofoam container of soup, “Smells good, right?” Clarke teased as she un-lidded one of the containers, revealing a still warm noodle soup.

Lexa sniffed disdainfully. “Like I would know.” She rolled her eyes when Clarke grabbed a spoon, leaning back to sit beside Lexa.

“Oh, come on.” Clarke grinned. “You’re so dramatic.” 

“Clarke.” Lexa wheezed, “I’m dying.”

Clarke chuckled at her antics, dipping a spoon into the liquid, pushing it towards Lexa’s lips. “Shut up and eat your soup.” She commanded gently.

Lexa smiled at her, accepting the spoon as she took a sip, murmuring, “I really have to thank you, Clarke. This is too kind.”

Clarke shrugged it off. “Just...get better? I’d miss running with you. Besides…what are friends for?”

Lexa finished her soup shortly after, and Clarke made a motion to shimmy off the bed, but Lexa was faster, catching her wrist.

“Lexa?” 

“Stay.”

The words were so quiet, so innocent and small, Clarke could hardly believe Lexa was saying them. Lexa: the confident, challenging, arrogant girl she’d come to hate. Except she didn’t hate her. Not even close.

“Okay.” Clarke nodded as she felt Lexa shiver. She made a motion to pull the duvet up over Lexa’s body, careful to lie on top of it herself. Lexa’s breathing, though ragged and shaky, what calmed considerably.

“You need sleep.” Clarke nudged her gently.

Lexa snorted. “I’m not sleeping when I have guests over.”

Clarke smirked, cocking a brow. “Maybe I should leave , then.”

“No!” Lexa responded, perhaps too quickly. “I mean…If you want, I…”

“Just close your eyes, Lex.” Clarke muttered, settling back beside her into the pillow, their shoulders touching, though Clarke was propped up. She ran her fingers over Lexa’s forehead, under the guise of testing her for a fever, to which Lexa responded with a low whine of pleasure, shocking Clarke slightly.

Lexa, cursing herself retrospectively, was out like a light. Clarke smiled down at her, pressing a kiss to her temple as she whispered, “Feel better Lexa.”

Clarke was out the door soon enough, and Lexa was thankful she had regained her sense of smell upon waking, because her pillows smelled like Clarke’s perfume, and she wanted nothing more than to bury her face into them.

Chapter Text

Lexa was never one for settling, and certainly not when it came to gifts. Her attitude was one of absolute superiority, coupled with her lavish lifestyle and infantile need to spend all of her parents’ fortune to spite them. She never failed to wow her recipients.

But she managed. She knew how to shop for those dearest to her: Aden, Anya, Lincoln, her Aunt and Uncle. She’d never had to shop much for Costia, and yet Lexa paid dividends doting on her.

Once again, like always, Clarke Griffin had completely changed the game, derailing her entire structured process. Lexa loved structure.

Lexa wasn’t entirely sure what they were. She was a dear friend to Lexa, certainly, what with the love she showed for Aden, and the…affection she’d shown Lexa.

Lexa was terrified.

She hadn’t the capacity to grasp their relationship. She had somehow become completely enamored with Clarke Griffin. The same Clarke Griffin she’d held in contempt for so long.

Now, she realized, it was not contempt, rather, attraction.

Clarke occupied every single one of her thoughts, in a way Costia never had. Clarke’s smile absolutely brightened her day. Clarke's voice set her off like a flame far too near a fuse. And of course, there were the intimate moments. The touches, the glances, the almost kisses, the dreams.

The very rare grazes that left Lexa burning inside, the rare times Clarke pressed soft kisses to Lexa’s cheek or temple. The time Clarke’s eyes raked her body when she would work out and the time Clarke’s soft artist hands dragged against her abs.

She wanted Clarke in every conceivable way. 

How was she supposed to convey that with a mere gift?

She’d realized that gift cards were far too impersonal. She wanted to be memorable, selfishly. And then she took into consideration the fact that Clarke was an artist.

Art supplies.

She’d hit every local art or craft store. She was incredibly disappointed. The kits were for mere amateurs, nothing like what she’d expected for someone as talented as Clarke.

And God, Lexa thought she was talented.

She decided, with a huff, that Clarke Griffin deserved the best. Lexa told herself it would be repayment for the time she spent with Aden in the hospital. Clarke had always been selfless, even in taking Aden out for ice cream, as no other tutor did.

She’d search through endless aisles of art supplies: Brushes, sponges, pallets, easels, pencils, markers…She had no clue what she was doing.

And of course, she’d waited until last minute, and was in an absolute rush.

She’d moped all the way home, empty handed. Falling onto her bed with a sigh, she pulled out her phone.

And then it hit her.

She’d heard Clarke mention once or twice that she often glanced at website for supplies but couldn’t afford half the things on it.

Lexa hurriedly began her research, pouring hours into tracking down the website, even texting Costia for confirmation.

Once she had it, she realized, with a sinking feeling, that the window for delivery was over.

She was too late.

Biting her lip, she glanced at the customer service number at the bottom of the screen. Was she really going to do this?

Just then, a message from Clarke filled her screen:

Clarke Griffin:
Hey Lex, hope you’re resting up. I just wanted to tell you that Aden’s amazing. We got a celebration lunch together and I just…
You did a really good job with him .

Lexa felt her heart melt inside her. Clarke Griffin deserved the absolute best. Lexa wanted nothing more than to be the one to give it to her.

She called a number stored in her phone, one she used only when she needed the absolute unattainable: Her parents’ personal secretary.

After several rings, her cross country call was connected, and she felt empowered and determined. She was the eldest child of the Woods family, dammit. That name carried weight.

“Hi, this is Alexandria. I need you to pull a few strings for an express delivery…”

Clarke would have the best, if Lexa had anything to say about it.


 

The football stadium was surprisingly, eerily calm in the mornings, particularly in December, when school had been officially dismissed for the winter holiday.
Clarke, having had spent the last month and a half training Lexa back to full health, was determined to move things along by getting her back on the gridiron, hoping to get the feel of the turf under her cleats again.

It seemed to have a sort of brilliant effect, as Clarke had hoped, and she was now hoping to test her passing range.

Abby had tagged along with the girls, there in case Lexa threw her shoulder or overworked herself. However, Clarke had ushered her along to her office on campus, explaining,

“We’ll call you if you need anything. You can be a bit…condescending.”

With an eye roll and a comment about appreciating her work as a mother, Abby disappeared down off the field, telling Lexa she’d be back with fresh wrap for her ankles.

Clarke bounded back over to Lexa, rubbing the thin material of her jacket over her arms as she let out a breath, watching it fog over in the chilly air.

“No one should be awake at this hour, let alone in this temperature.” Clarke announced with a huff.

Lexa glanced up at her gratefully, all edge to her voice gone. “I know. Thank you, Clarke. I won’t forget this.” 

Clarke’s jaw dropped slightly. “Is this…Lexa? Our Lexa?” She waved her hand in front of Lexa’s eyes comically. “It can’t be. Because my Lexa would probably smirk and say something like

“This is what it means to be a world class athlete, Griffin”…Or something like that.”

Lexa smirked then, watching Clarke grin back at her. She didn’t miss the subtle “my Lexa.” She quite enjoyed the notion of being Clarke’s anything.

“Your Lexa is a bit…humbled.” Lexa explained wearily, palming the football in hand. Her first passes had been easy going, distance not really a factor as much as technique. Lexa was clearly very nervous about the prospect of re-injuring herself.

Clarke exhaled. “Lex, you’re fine. Your passes are great.”

Lexa nodded slowly. “I just need to get into the rhythm of things. I don’t know how, though.”

Clarke brightened up slightly. “Hey, well…you teach the kids at Little Grounders Daycare, right?”

Lexa cocked a sculpted brow. “Yes?”

“So, teach me. Like you would for them. Revisit the fundamentals.” Clarke shrugged, stepping forward.

“You want me to teach you to pass a football?” Lexa smirked.

“Yes, now wipe that smirk off and show me.” Clarke rolled her eyes. She was inwardly glad that Lexa was finding her confidence once more. She deserved that much.

“Okay, come here.” Lexa motioned her forward. “You have to line your fingers up like this- Just like that. Yeah, see, the trick is in the fingers…”

Lexa’s excited chatter was cut off by Clarke’s gaping in awe of how long Lexa’s fingers actually were as they palmed the football, rolling it slightly.

“…You get that?”

Clarke blinked. “No, to be honest.”

Lexa laughed, and Clarke swooned at the sound. “You’ll get it.” She offered, turning to send the ball soaring down the expanse of the field.

Clarke let out a low whistle. “I guess the commander’s back.”

“She never left.” Lexa offered teasingly, turning to Clarke. “Here, give it a shot.” She picked up the spare football by her cleats, handing it to Clarke with a smile.

Clarke balked. She really shouldn’t have been staring at Lexa’s fingers like that. Not when she needed to showcase a demonstration.

“Uh…” Clarke took the ball, and without thinking, threw her arm back, surprised when she found Lexa’s wrist wrapping around hers.

“You weren’t listening.” Lexa tutted amusedly.

“I…wasn’t.” Clarke confessed. “Sorry. Busy mind and all that.”

Lexa nodded, coming behind Clarke as she leaned forward. “Straighten out.” She commanded in Clarke’s ear, her voice barely a whisper. “May I?”

Clarke had no idea what she was consenting to, but she honestly wanted anything Lexa had to offer, in that moment. “Uh, yeah.”

Clarke felt Lexa’s warmth pressed against her back as she took Clarke’s arms from behind, sliding a hand down to straighten Clarke’s hips. “The key is vision.” Lexa murmured in her ear.

“Execution means nothing, if you don’t have a goal, right?”

Clarke could tell that Lexa held these words close, like a mantra of sorts. Is that what her mogul parents had taught her?

“Stop thinking so much.” Lexa chuckled by her ear and Clarke got chills. “I can hear it from here.”

Clarke smiled wryly, fighting off a gasp when Lexa’s fingers wrapped around hers, over the leather of the football.

“Does this mean I have to attend all your games now or something?” Clarke smirked when Lexa feigned a shocked gasp.

“And to think.” Lexa scoffed. “I was going to teach you my ways.”

Clarke grinned, wheeling around as she ran her fingers down Lexa’s sides, tickling the girl as she yelped at jumped backwards, falling to the floor, Clarke tumbling down over her.

“Clarke…” Lexa wheezed between fits of laughter.

“Submit!” Clarke teased. “Say uncle….No, wait, say Airbud!”

Lexa smirked, her hands blindly fumbling for something off to the sideline. Clarke gasped when she felt icy water drench part of her face, absolutely soaking through her jacket. Lexa had

just squeezed her water bottle onto Clarke.

“Oh my GOD, LEXA!” Clarke squealed, yanking the bottle from Lexa’s hands in retaliation. Lexa was dying of laughter, head falling back onto the false green of the turf, while Clarke struggled to get any more water out, Lexa having wasted it all on her first shot.

“I…H..Ha….hate you..” Clarke stuttered, teeth now chattering.

Lexa paused for a moment, seemingly realizing that Clarke was straddling her in the middle of the stadium, as if all her fantasies had suddenly come to life.

Clarke zipped her jacket, stopping when Lexa’s deft fingers reached up, unzipping it for her, sliding it off her shoulders as Lexa’s eyes met Clarke’s with a glazed look of want, need, even.
Clarke’s shirt, white and entirely see-through, was quite reminiscent of that day Murphy had spilled water on her at the diner, except this time her bra was lacy and nude colored, and left little to the imagination.

Lexa gasped slightly, running her fingers down the sides of Clarke’s shirt, her fingers finding purchase at the hem, where she blinked hard, glancing up at Clarke, who was too entranced with her to notice.

She lifted slightly, revealing the slightest hint of Clarke’s soft skin before she heard a rough bark of, “WOODS!”

Clarke shot off Lexa, extending an arm to help her up as well.

“Shit.” Clarke breathed as she saw her mother standing about thirty feet away, expectantly tapping her foot, ankle wraps in hand.

Lexa bit her lip, turning to Clarke. She noticed the girl’s goosebumps, and immediately took action, reaching for her sweater, that had been sitting on the bleachers. She handed it to Clarke with an abashed little smile.

No, they weren’t going to talk about how they were practically undressing each other in public.

“I’ll uh…” Lexa motioned to Abby.

“Yeah.” Clarke whispered, the ghost of a smile on her lips.

Well, Lexa was certainly getting healthier and healthier.


 

Now that Lexa’s arm was finally free from its cast, she and Clarke had moved on to more exercises than just cardio.

In reality, Clarke knew that Lexa could probably exercise without her supervision anymore, but was never one to miss out on a chance to see Lexa in workout attire, so she kept tagging along anyways.

While Clarke had run with Lexa, she drew the line there, and was content to watch as Lexa tentatively went about her workout routine, lifting much smaller weights than she was accustomed to, idly correcting Lexa’s form to ensure she didn’t strain her shoulder, which was the only reason she watched Lexa so closely. Purely to make sure she didn’t hurt herself.

Not at all because the sheen of sweat against Lexa’s taut muscles did things to Clarke that the blonde didn’t want to admit.

Not at all.

“I’m telling you, Clarke, my shoulder feels fine,” Lexa insisted, “it’s been over a month, and I need to start challenging myself if I’m going to get back out on the field soon.”

“It takes as long as it takes,” Clarke shot back with a wry grin, “I know you have the patience of a two-year-old, but if you mess up your shoulder again you don’t have a chance of being ready before playoffs.”

“But this is too easy,” Lexa whined, pouting up at Clarke petulantly.

“You can do something a little more challenging,” Clarke allotted, “but only while I’m here to make sure you don’t fuck up my progress.”

“Oh, so it’s your progress now?” Lexa teased, a glint in her eyes, “I wasn’t aware it was you who suffered the injury, Clarke. ” She paused to pull her sweaty tanktop off of her body, and Clarke’s breath hitched when well-defined abs were once more revealed to her.

“See something you like?” She sounded arrogant and cocky and everything Clarke hated in a person but dear god was it doing something to Clarke.

“You wish, Airbud,” Clarke shot back, willing herself not to blush when she saw Lexa’s emerald eyes narrow, head tilted as though observing a challenge.

There was silence for a few moments as Lexa moved to do pullups on her bar, testing the strength of her shoulder thus far, and Clarke watched her with rapt attention. Her fingers itched to draw Lexa in all her sweaty glory, trace the lines of her muscles and capture the look of pure determination in fiery emerald eyes.

“C’mere, Griffin.” Confusion clouded Clarke’s cerulean eyes but she stood up nonetheless, and yelped when Lexa’s legs wrapped around her stomach.

“Woods, what are you oof .”

Clarke latched onto Lexa’s waist as she felt herself get lifted into the air, both impressed with Lexa’s strength and exasperated with the brunette’s intense need to prove herself.

It took Clarke all of four long moments to realize that she was pressed up against Lexa’s sweaty, perfect body, and she could feel the outline of Lexa’s abs against her.

“Put me down, Lexa.” It came out as more of a squeak than Clarke was willing to admit, and Lexa was smirking down at her.

Clarke hated it.

She really didn’t.

“Are you not comfortable, Clarke?” Oh, she loathed the way Lexa saying her name made her feel. However, the football player acquiesced, and lowered Clarke back to the sturdy ground.

“Ass,” Clarke huffed under her breath, but Lexa heard and shot her a wink.

“You love it.”

Clarke hated how right she was.

Lexa slunk to the ground elegantly, having decided that push-ups were next on the agenda.

“Wanna help?” She offered with a sly grin, and Clarke rolled her eyes.

“What do you need?”

“Sit on my back?” Clarke balked at the suggestion, and Lexa grinned in response.

“I’ll crush you,” she protested meekly, but Lexa shook her head.

“Nonsense, I know you aren’t that heavy, I just lifted you. And besides, you’ll be helping me build up strength, which is your goal in the first place.” There was a long moment of pause in which Clarke debated whether or not she wanted to go through with Lexa’s idea, but her internal battle was interrupted by Lexa’s smug voice. “Any day now, Griffin.”

There was a challenge in her words and Clarke, stubborn as ever, couldn’t resist rising to it.

She moved to sit near Lexa’s shoulderblades, legs reaching down towards Lexa’s own, before the girl beneath her started pushing.

Clarke would be lying if she said that the show of strength wasn’t doing ungodly things to her. There was something oddly relaxing about it too, though, just sitting on Lexa’s back, feeling her muscles tense and flex, the room silent except for the whirl of the fan and the soft pants as Lexa moved. Oh, how the noises Lexa was making affected Clarke.

The door to the in-home gym opened and Clarke startled as Aden entered, nearly falling off of Lexa, who stilled for a moment for the blonde to regain her balance.

“Aden?” Lexa grunted out from her position, now planking with Clarke on top of her. “What are you doing here?”

“Well, I do live in this house,” Aden teased, moving past the two of them to grab his soccer ball, which was resting in the corner of the room, “but I left my ball here, and Atom’s coming over to practice so I figured I’d get it.” He bent over, quickly retrieving said object, and then moved to leave, but not before accidentally brushing up against Clarke, who quickly toppled over, despite Lexa’s best efforts.

“Oh my god I’m so so sorr―” the apology died in her throat upon realizing the precarious position she had landed in.

Or rather, on.

She’d landed on Lexa’s face.

“You know,” Lexa said as she gently picked Clarke up, moving her so that Clarke was effectively straddling Lexa’s lap, “you could’ve just asked.”

“What, and make it easy for you?” Clarke shot back just as easily, falling into the moment, not noticing how close her face was to Lexa’s. “The mighty commander has to prove her strength somehow.”

Clarke exhaled sharply as Lexa pushed her against the carpeted floor, deft hands moving to pin Clarke’s own above her head before leaning down so that she was almost touching her.

“So that’s how you want to play the game, Griffin?” Clarke’s breath hitched in her throat, and she willed Lexa to move just a little closer, finally end the distance between the two of them and just kiss her already.

“I wasn’t going to let you win that easily, now, was I?” Cerulean eyes locked with emerald ones, before darting down to look at plump, pliant lips, her tongue brushing against her own almost instinctively.

“I guess not.” Lexa used her free hand, the one not pinning Clarke’s arms to the ground, to brush a strand of blonde hair out of Clarke’s face tenderly, before slowly leaning down, closing the distance until―

The door to the gym slammed open once more with a bang, and Clarke yelped and jerked her head upward, barely missing Lexa’s nose thanks to the brunette’s reflexes.

She craned her neck to observe Anya, who was gaping at the two of them, eyes lingering on where Clarke’s arms were still pinned, and the blonde cleared her throat, obviously embarrassed.

“I’m sorry, am I interrupting something?”

If looks could kill, Clarke was sure Anya would be dead at the glare Lexa was shooting her, but she said nothing as she gently pushed Lexa off of her.

“Nothing, I should get going.” Clarke knew her cheeks were on fire, but she still held her head high, and Lexa made an almost unconscious noise in the back of her throat as though to voice her discontent with the idea of Clarke leaving.

“I’ll see you tomorrow?”

Lexa nodded wordlessly, and Clarke leaned in quickly, pressing a kiss to Lexa’s cheek before walking briskly out the door, which Anya was still holding.

“Smooth, commander.” She stifled a laugh as she heard Anya’s comment, accompanied by the telltale thump of a shoe being thrown against a wall, and made her way to her car with a spring in her step.


 

“WAKE UP MOTHERFUCKERS, IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

Clarke shot up like a bolt, slamming in Octavia, who had mirrored her action. Raven stood in the center of the room, grinning, with her trusty megaphone in hand, deftly dodging the pillow that Murphy flung in her direction.

“Who’s idea was it to give her that thing?” Clarke yawned, rubbing at her eyes.

“I don’t know but they can join Reyes in the grave,” Murphy huffed, and Raven rolled her eyes.

“Come on, guys, it’s Christmas, get in the spirit.” It had become tradition for all of the delinquents to sleep over at the Griffin residence on Christmas Eve so they could spend the morning with one another, and every year, like clockwork, Raven always rose before the rest of them.

“But it’s early,” Jasper whined, blinking owlishly from where he’d been cuddled into Monty’s side.

“Yeah, well, mama wants to see what her subjects got her.” Clarke rolled her eyes but untangled herself from the Blake sandwich she’d been caught up in, accidentally kicking Bellamy in the face in the process.

“Hands off the goods, Clarke,” Bell whined, and Clarke rolled her eyes.

“I’m sure your face will be fine,” she assured, accepting the santa hat that Raven offered her with relative ease.

With minimal whining, the group of teenagers made their way downstairs and into the living room, where Abby and Aurora were already waiting with steaming mugs of coffee, which the delinquents readily accepted.

“Alright, who’s first?”

“Ooh, Griff, open this one, it’s from me.” Raven tossed a light blue parcel over to her bleary eyed friend, which Clarke still managed to catch out of the air. Deft fingers plucked apart the wrapping paper and opened the box, only pause mid-opening.

“You did not.”

“You seemed a little uptight these past couple weeks,” Raven grinned, taking pride in the flush to Clarke’s cheeks. “Thought you could use it.” Raven had bought her a vibrator.

A vibrator .

She was going to kill Raven one of these days.

“What is it, honey?” Clarke glared at her friend as Raven’s laughter increased, and she shook her head in the direction of her mother.

“You don’t want to know, mom.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“Murphy, catch.” The boy grabbed the offered present out of the air with ease, looking like a grade a grouch in his grinch pajamas and santa hat, sipping from his mug of coffee as though it were the only thing giving him strength. Though he tried to fight it, Clarke noticed the small tug of his lips when he opened her present, a moleskin notebook with J. F. Murphy embroidered on the cover.

“It’s not horrible,” he drawled, but Clarke grinned and rolled her eyes at him.

“Green, here.”

Present after present got passed around, and Clarke felt herself warm and content at the festivities. There was a lingering sadness behind it all, a melancholy, and she could see it in her mother’s eyes as well.

It was the first Christmas without the usual presence of her father.

Jake, like Raven, would always wake up at the crack of dawn, oftentimes before Clarke, and had always carried her down the stairs when she was little, telling her all about Santa Claus and his reindeer, a smile on his face and an ugly sweater on his body.

She missed him more than anything in the world, felt his absence like an aching hole in her chest.

She hoped that, wherever he was, that he was happy.

“Alright, looks like we’re dwindling towards the end here,” Clarke’s eyes snapped up at the sound of Aurora’s voice, and she smiled softly to herself, knowing this was the signal, “I’m going to step out for a moment, get some more coffee, Abby?”

“Coming.”

The two mothers stepped out of the room, and the delinquents continued passing around gifts.

“Oh my god this is the cutest thing ever!” Jasper was grinning widely at the set of matching sweaters for himself and his tabby, JJ (short for Jasper Junior). “I’m going to put it on him as soon as I get home.”

“If you even can,” Octavia scoffed, “cats are notoriously difficult when it comes to these sorts of things. Dogs, on the other hand, are so much easier to coerce into wearing things.” She sighed wistfully, and Clarke fished another parcel out from under the tree.

“Here, O.”

Octavia accepted the present readily, tearing open the wrapping in moments, before she opened the box itself. She paused for a moment, looking up at Clarke curiously, before she pulled out the object in question, a small leather collar with a tag that read CHEWY .

“Wait a second…” She trailed off, eyes wide, and gasped as a small ball of brown fur came sprinting into the room, tail wagging furiously, followed closely by Abby and Aurora.

“HOLY SHIT IT’S A PUPPY!”

Clarke hadn’t seen Octavia this happy since the day Lincoln asked her out for the first time, cuddling the squirming puppy close to her chest as he licked her face excitably.

“You actually wore mom down.” Bellamy’s eyes were as wide as saucers, and he reached out his hand to pet the puppy, but Octavia maneuvered the bundle of fur out of her brother’s reach.

“Mine,” she huffed, and Clarke pinched the bridge of her nose when she saw Bellamy’s eyes narrow at the challenge.

“Octavia, share with your brother.” She almost laughed at how exasperated Aurora sounded, and couldn’t help but giggle at Octavia’s pout. “Honestly, it’s like the two of you are still a pair of three year olds when it comes to sharing.”

“Thanks, mom,” Octavia grinned as she slipped the collar around the puppy’s neck. “I love him.”

“He’s so cute,” Bellamy whispered, awestruck, as he gently held the puppy in front of him, making a high-pitched, unconscious noise in the back of his throat when Chewy licked his nose.

In the chaos created by Chewy’s arrival, Clarke deftly pulled her phone out of the pocket of her hoodie, quickly typing out a message.

Clarke Griffin:
Merry Christmas, Lex. Hope this doesn’t wake you up. I just wanted to let you know I have your gift(s) . We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?

She often marvelled at how vastly different her relationship with Lexa was from the day they’d first met, in which Clarke had set out to hate the football player and everything she stood for, arrogant persona and all. But she had come to discover, as time passed, the layers underneath Lexa’s fascase, and was endlessly fascinated by the other girl.

Lexa Woods:
Merry Christmas, Clarke. It just so happens that I have your gift waiting here. I’d bring it over, but I’m pretty sure Indra will murder me if I attempt an escape. Why don’t you swing on over? Aden would love to see you?

Though logically she had known that Lexa would buy her a gift, as she’d made her intention to buy the brunette one (or a few) painstakingly clear, but the fact that she had actually gone through with it made a dopey smile appear on Clarke’s face, which only grew at the last line of the text message.

She had Aden’s phone number, and knew very well that the boy would’ve texted her himself if he wanted her to swing by. In fact, he’d texted her earlier in the morning to wish her a happy christmas. Lexa’s eagerness to see her showed, and it made Clarke feel some sort of way.

Clarke Griffin:
Oh, would he now?   

Lexa Woods:
Oh yeah. You know, you’re all that’s been on his mind, lately.

Clarke paused for a moment at the admission, knowing very well that Aden wasn’t the Woods Lexa was talking about.

Her smile must have been obvious, because her daydreams about Lexa were harshly interrupted by a voice she was coming to dread, especially in the early mornings.

“Sexting Woods again, Griff?”

Clarke tore her gaze away from her phone to shoot a scathing glare in Raven’s direction, but the girl was immune to them after years of friendship with Clarke.

“You know I’m not, Rae.”

“I don’t know why ,” Raven shot back, “she’s hot, you’re hot, and she spends ninety percent of her time shooting you hearteyes, the other ten percent she’s glaring at Rivers.” Confusion clouded Clarke’s cerulean gaze for a moment.

“Why? Luna and I broke up.”

“Yeah, but River’s has still got the hots for you, Griff.” Raven rolled her eyes with a sigh. “Honestly, you’re helpless, you can’t even tell when people are thirsting over you.”

“Lexa isn’t thirsting after me, Rae,” Clarke scoffed, “O, back me up.”

The other girl turned her attention away from the puppy for a brief moment before she pulled a face at Clarke.

“Of course she does, you should see the screenshots Lincoln has gotten from Anya about her gushing about you. Oh, Clarke’s so perfect, with her eyes and her smile and her voice and god her bo ―” She cut off Octavia’s rather poor impression of Lexa, cheeks flushed.

“She does not ,” Clarke hissed under her breath, before realizing she was taking too long to reply, pursing her lips for a moment before she quickly typed out a reply.

Clarke Griffin :
Who am I to disappoint? I’ll be there in a few hours.

Lexa Woods :
Please hitch a ride with Raven. I have a feeling she and Anya will be seeing each other today.

Clarke Griffin:
Aww, Lex. You worried about my car?

Lexa Woods :
Yes. More importantly, you.

Raven peaked over Clarke’s phone, and made a face before Clarke could pull it away.

“Oh my god she worries about you,” she exclaimed gleefully, “oh, that’s golden. The big bad commander, a nervous wreck around a pretty girl.” Clarke rolled her eyes and shoved Raven’s shoulder, her friend flopping to the ground dramatically.

“How could you, Clarke? I thought we were friends.”

“You’re an idiot,” Clarke responded matter-of-factly, “but an idiot with a stable car.”

“Ouch, so you’re just using me?”

“Right in one, Rae.”

“That’s cold, Griff, why does Lexa like yo ―” Her words turned into a yelp as Clarke lunged at her, chasing the girl out of the house and to the truck parked in the driveway.


 

"Lex!” Lexa felt hands at her sides, shaking her from her most pleasant morning sleep.

“Huh?” Lexa mumbled, blinking once or twice as her eyes adjusted to find Aden sitting directly before her, Santa hat on, decked out from head to toe in his Christmas pajamas. “Oh. Right.”

“Merry Christmas!” Aden cheered. “Let’s get back to the main house, Lex, everyone’s already there!”

Lexa sat up, rubbing her eyes momentarily. As her emerald eyes took in Aden’s excited features, she grinned, leaning down to kiss his head.

Aden smiled, wrapping his arms around her in a quick hug.

They always had each other.

“You okay?” Aden offered gently.

“Mhmm.” Lexa replied, savoring the feel of her little brother in her arms. It had been like this since he was born. Lexa wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

“So.” Lexa quipped. “When you said everyone’s already up, did you mean-”

“Anya almost murdered me, but yes, I woke her up too.” Aden smirked proudly.

Lexa rolled her eyes. “I’ll kick her ass if she touches you.”

Aden grinned merrily, knowing both Lexa and Anya’s threats were both friendly.

They walked back to the main house together, Aden tugging her to the main living room, where Gustus and Indra sat on the couch by the tree, smiling pleasantly.

Anya was sprawled across the floor, clearly wishing she hadn’t been woken up at what she so eloquently called the “Ass crack of dawn.”

“Merry Christmas, Alexandria.” Indra smirked. “Glad to see you joined us.”

Lexa returned the quip with a cheeky smile, sitting beside Anya, rubbing a hand over her cousin’s back.

“Hey, An.” Lexa smirked. “Raven’s here to see you with Bellamy.”

Anya shot up, much like Indra’s brows at the comment.

“Where?” Anya demanded.

Lexa broke into a fit of laughter, shaking her head. “Nowhere, I just wanted you to make room.”

Anya made an attempt to slap Lexa’s arm, but Lexa caught it deftly.

“I see someone’s healing.” Anya smirked. “Tell me, has Clarke been working out your arm? Or have you been working Clarke out with it-”

“Shut up, you two.” Indra grumbled, sipping coffee from her overly decorated mug, which Aden had no doubt arranged for.

Aden grinned at the scene, feeling more and more at home by the minute. “Uncle Gus!” He fetched the first box from under the tree, tossing it to his uncle. “This one’s for you!”

Gustus smiled through his growing beard, shaking the contents of the box. He thought momentarily. “Hm. It’s from you, right Indra?”

Indra rolled her eyes in response.

“Sounds like….a shaving kit.”

Anya and Lexa jeered. “You cheated! You saw it.”

Gustus let out a hearty chuckle. “No, I just know everything that goes on around here.”

Lexa snorted at that, and Anya rolled her eyes.

Gustus grinned. “You think that’s funny, Alexandria?”

“Ooh, full name, Uncle Gus.” Lexa smirked. “I’m intimidated.”

Gustus tilted his head in satisfaction. “You should be, because you have three texts from Clarke Griffin on your phone.” He nodded his head in the direction of her now lit phone,
Lexa’s deft hands nearly fumbled and dropped the phone in her haste to glance down at it, causing her family to smirk and chuckle at her.

Lexa bit her lip, knowing the betrayal of checking her phone on Christmas morning would be too great. Aden, however, shoved her shoulder gently. “Well, don’t leave her hanging!”

Lexa rolled her eyes in faux exasperation, but her heart was beating heavily in excitement. She pressed a quick kiss to Aden’s forehead in thanks and bolted out of the room.

“Why can’t she just read it in here?” Indra grumbled, sipping her coffee.

“Could be nudes.” Anya’s cocky reply was the last thing Lexa heard as she unlocked her phone, eager to read her message.

Clarke Griffin:
Merry Christmas, Lex. Hope this doesn’t wake you up. I just wanted to let you know I have your gift(s) . We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?

Lexa grinned at her phone, her heart skipping a beat. Clarke had gotten her a gift? She’d gotten one for Clarke, too, it was only fair. Of course, Lexa hadn't thought about getting anything from Clarke. She knew how sappy it sounded, but she genuinely only wanted to see Clarke smile.
Lexa’s thumbs were rapid on the reply, forgetting to “Play it cool” at all.

Lexa Woods:
Merry Christmas, Clarke. It just so happens that I have your gift waiting here. I’d bring it over, but I’m pretty sure Indra will murder me if I attempt an escape. Why don’t you swing on over? Aden would love to see you?

Clarke Griffin:
Oh, would he now?

Lexa felt a smirk tug at her lips.  

Lexa Woods:
Oh yeah. You know, you’re all that’s been on his mind, lately.

A moment passed by, and Lexa wondered if she’d been too forward with her insinuations, her innuendos.
But then, her phone sprung to life with Clarke’s reply.

Clarke Griffin :
Who am I to disappoint? I’ll be there in a few hours.

Lexa Woods :
Please hitch a ride with Raven. I have a feeling she and Anya will be seeing each other today.

Clarke Griffin:
Aww, Lex. You worried about my car?

Lexa Woods :
Yes. More importantly, you.

Just then, Anya sounded off from the living room. “Lex! Sext later, family now!”

Lexa stifled a hiss. “I'm coming, you jackas-“ Her insult was cut off by the sound of the doorbell ringing.

Who was awake, let alone at their door, so early in the morning? Lexa tensed slightly, relieved to find Lincoln grinning behind the door, arms full of presents.

“Sis.” He greeted Lexa, thanking her silently when she relieved the load from his arms, setting them down as he enveloped her in his arms for what came to be known as a legendary Lincoln bear hug. “Merry Christmas.”

“Linc.” Lexa returned his smile and greeting. “Couldn’t wait to come home to your real family, huh?”

Lincoln saluted her cheekily. “I live to serve, Commander. Where’s my little brother?”

“Lincoln!” Aden shouted from the living room, bolting over to practically jump him, the two wrestling to the ground in laughter, plopping a Santa hat onto Lincoln’s shaved head.

“Hey, little bro.” Lincoln smiled as he brushed himself off., rising to meet Anya’s smirk.

“You bring presents?” Anya demanded, arms crossed like a club bouncer.

“What, like you don't know me at all?” Lincoln grinned, chucking a box at her.

Anya caught it with quick hands, smirking at the pleasant wrapping. “You are so cute, Lincoln.”

“Hey, wrapping takes skill.” Lincoln puffed out his chest. “Right, Lexa?”

“I don’t know.” Lexa replied loftily. “I pay someone to do the petty work for me.”

“Oh, shut up.” Anya rolled her eyes at Lexa’s teasing, helping Aden gather the gifts, carrying them back to the tree.

“Let’s go.” Lexa grumbled. “Aden will kill me if I delay Christmas any longer.”

“Delay?”

“Yeah, I got a text.”

Lincoln smirked, and Lexa knew she’d said too much.

“What? Lexa defended meekly at Lincoln’s look.

“You never care about texts.” Lincoln smirked. “So either it was Costia-”

At that, Lexa rolled her eyes, and Lincoln had his answer.

“Or Clarke Griffin.” Lincoln finished triumphantly, watching Lexa’s muscles tense slightly.

“What do you know about that?” Lexa fired back.

“A lot. I have Octavia, one of her best friends, remember? I know all about how she likes the Commander’s abs.” Lincoln teased.

Lexa dropped the box she’d been holding. “She what?!”

“Coming, Aden!” Lincoln darted forward, narrowly dodging Lexa’s grab, thanks to his football skills.

“Lincoln!” Lexa roared, trying so desperately not to think of Clarke’s touch, or her lips, or her laugh.

She had it so, so bad.

And now there was a chance that those feelings could be mutual.

Perhaps it was a merry Christmas after all


 

Clarke’s finger had barely pressed the bell before the door was yanked open, revealing a widely grinning, santa hat wearing Aden.

“Merry Christmas, Clarke!”

She smiled as he immediately wrapped around her middle in a big hug, and laughed when Raven spoke up.

“What are we, chopped liver?” He laughed, too, before smiling.

“Merry Christmas to you, too, Raven, Octavia, Bellamy.” He paused, looking behind his shoulder. “ANYA! LINC! YOUR SIG O’S ARE HERE.”

“Come in,” he beckoned, and Raven, Bell, and O moved past him, gifts in hand.

“I’ve got something for you,” Aden smiled brightly as Clarke passed him a thin package, containing a Spice Girls vinyl on the inside, “from my dad’s collection.” She found herself once more captured in a hug after he opened it.

“Thanks, Clarke! My present for you is still inside, let me go get it.” On his way back in, he collided head on with Lexa’s stomach, stumbling slightly, but his sister caught him.

“Careful there, roadrunner,” she teased, and Aden rolled his eyes.

“Come in, Clarke,” Lexa offered, and Clarke smiled radiantly before stepping in after her, presents in hand.  

“Merry Christmas, Lexa,” Clarke breathed, pressing forward a good sized parcel into her arms, and Lexa smiled at her.

“My gift for you is under the tree, come on, you can meet Indra and Gustus.”

“Who is meeting me?” Clarke turned and saw a severe looking woman, whose demeanor was entirely offset by the fluffy red santa hat on her head.

“Aunt Indra,” Lexa opened, “this is my, uh, friend, Clarke Griffin.” Indra looked Clarke up and down appraisingly before holding out her hand, which Clarke gripped tightly.

“You have a good handshake,” Indra nodded approvingly, “that’s good. Gustus!” She called for his husband as they moved into the living room, where the others were situated. “It’s the Clarke Griffin we were hearing about.”

“Lexa’s Clarke Griffin?” He speculated aloud, and Clarke bit down a grin as Lexa squeaked and made a furious shaking motion with her head.

“What other Clarke Griffins do we know, Gus,” Indra rolled her eyes, before sharing a glance with Clarke, “men, they never listen. Come, sit, you can open the present that Alexandria was so excited to give you.”

“Alexandria?” Raven asked, grinning, and Lexa scowled.

“Yes, Reyes, my full name, which I wouldn’t encourage you to use if you like your tongue.”

“Anya likes my tongue,” Raven quipped, and Anya clipped her on the back of the head softly, causing the girl to make a sharp noise of protest.

“No sex jokes on Christmas,” Indra reminded, and Raven scowled, thoroughly chastised.

“I didn’t have time to wrap it because it just came in late last night,” Lexa shrugged, before offering the box to Clarke, “I hope it’s the right one.”

The blonde gasped as she took in the elegant wooden box, with her initials, C. A. G. inscribed in an elegant font on the lid.

“Oh Lexa you didn’t.” She opened it tentatively, and her jaw went slack when she observed the contents, a full set of prismacolor pencils, which she knew to be way too expensive for a Christmas present.

“Are they the wrong kind? Because I can exchange them for something else― oof .” Her rambling was cut off as Clarke pulled her into a tight hug.

“Thank you, it’s perfect,” she breathed, “way too expensive, but perfect.”

“You’re worth it,” Lexa assured, glaring at Raven’s pointed cough.

Clarke suddenly found herself much more self conscious of the gift she’d given Lexa. How could she compare to something the likes that Lexa had given to her?

“Oh, you got the good pencils, Woods,” Raven smirked, “looks like someone’s trying to get―” Indra raised a brow at her and Bellamy rolled his eyes.

“I see you find people extremely similar to you, Anya.”

Lexa moved to take the wrapping paper of the box Clarke had presented her, and the blonde found herself to be the rambler now.

“I mean, it’s not much, but I just remembered you saying how much you liked them so I figured why not―” Lexa waved her hand and grinned, pulling out three candles and a book filled with Emily Dickinson poetry.

“She likes candles more than she likes people,” Anya laughed, Lexa ignoring them all in favor of blissfully smelling her new candles, “mom has to put a cap on how many she buys in a month, because otherwise she’d burn the place down.”

The custom candle shop had turned out to be quite the success, so Clarke had three made specifically for Lexa. One smelled of old books and incense, another a mix of the flowers that were in the field Lexa frequented, and the last mimicked Clarke’s own perfume, because she knew how infatuated Lexa was with the scent.

“They’re perfect,” Lexa grinned, “like you.”

“Smooth, Romeo,” Raven laughed, and Lexa glared once more.

“Alexandria, why don’t you and Clarke check on the pie?” Indra offered, and Lexa nodded, stepping up and leading Clarke with her to the kitchen, ignoring Octavia’s quip of:

“Is that what kids are calling it these days?”

“I think Indra just wanted an excuse to embarrass Anya,” Lexa whispered, “and with Raven teasing us, it was making that more difficult.”

“Oh, of course,” Clarke laughed, “not like she actually wanted us to check on the pie, or anything.”

“With Aunt Indra? Never.”

“How’s your shoulder doing?” Clarke asked. “Holding up? Your arm good?” She traced her fingers along the bare expanse of Lexa’s arm, watching as goosebumps raised in a trail where she touched.

“Great,” Lexa whispered, eyes moving to look at Clarke’s lips, and the blonde was suddenly intensely aware of how close the two of them were, and she smiled softly when she looked up above them.

“Mistletoe.” There was a sparkle in Lexa’s eyes when she looked back up at Clarke’s own.

“I suppose we should do something about that,” she breathed.

“Maybe we should,” Clarke responded, and right as she cupped Lexa’s cheeks, leaning closer towards her―

“GRIFF! COME ON! MAMA G SAYS MURPHY’S GETTING ANTSY―oh, am I interrupting something?”

“Of course not, Rae,” Clarke sighed, shooting an apologetic look at Lexa, who looked positively murderous, “bye, Lexa, I’ll see you later.”

“Bye, Clarke.”

Lexa was going to murder Raven Reyes.


 

“I’m not one for parties.” Lexa sighed as she ran a hand over the fine leather of her letterman, eyeing it carefully.

“Right. Okay.” Anya rolled her eyes. “You just put all that makeup on for nothing.”

Lexa’s cheeks tinted as she watched her cousin, and Lincoln, eyeing her from the doorway to her room.

“I’m just…not feeling much like partying.” Lexa shrugged indifferently.

Lincoln pinched the bridge of his nose. “Lex, I promised Octavia you’d come.”

Lexa blinked. “What? Why does she care?”

Lincoln smirked. “Because the Commander has a little bit of a following and it’s Octavia’s party.”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “My following consists of Charlotte.”

Anya scoffed. “Right, your parents don’t own one of the world’s most successful companies, and your social media isn’t always filled with thirsty attention seeking media outlets. You’re like Ivanka Trump.”

Lexa made a face and Anya profusely apologized. “Okay, sorry, I didn't mean it like that, I just-”

“Clarke’s going.” Aden mumbled as Lexa flopped back onto her bed beside her brother, who’d been quietly reading until that moment.

Lexa shot up immediately, ignoring the way his eyes widened in surprise.

“What?” Lexa demanded.

“Oh, why didn’t we think of that?” Anya mumbled. “Should’ve been our go-to move.”

“Clarke’s back from her weekend trip with her mom.” Aden shrugged, trying not to sound too obvious. Of course, he’d planned this for days on end, casually positioning himself in her  room to drop Clarke’s name.

Lexa lit up almost instantly. Aden had to hide his triumphant grin.

Lexa then realized that she had to play it cool. Of course, in reality, she was fooling no one. But she had to save face.

“Oh, well, I mean…We’re not really in the same friend group.” Lexa shrugged.

“Oh yeah.” Anya mocked. “You’re miles above her because you’re the varsity football captain. Have you tried not being classist for a change?”

Lexa immediately backtracked. “Oh my god, Anya, not what I meant. I meant that we don’t really have anything to do with each other.”

Aden rolled his eyes at his sister’s stubborn show. “Is that why Clarke took care of you when you were sick? Or trained you back to health?”

Lexa couldn't hide her dumb smile at that. Clarke had taken care of her. They were close. But still… “Guys, I don’t know-”

“Luna Rivers will be there, and I hear she’s not quite over Clarke.” Lincoln chimed in and when Anya cocked a brow in curiosity he shrugged. “What? O and I gossip and do each other’s hair.”

“You don’t have hair, Linc.” Aden quipped.

“I like the gossip.” Lincoln shrugged once more, and Aden smiled, happy to have such accepting male figures in his life.

“Wait.” Lexa dusted her arm off, jaw clenched.

Aden smirked to himself. So predictable.

“What?” Lincoln played innocent once more.

“Luna Rivers, did you say? At the party?”

“Yeah. She has eyes for Party Girl Griffin. Honestly, Clarke is like a frat boy at these things.” Lincoln informed her.

Lexa yanked her jacket off the peg. “It’s casual, right?”

Anya and Lincoln traded grins with Aden, watching as Lexa found herself oblivious to everything that was not Clarke Griffin, and not for the first time that day.

The party was wilder than Lexa could have imagined.

Of course, due to the Kru’s temporary delay in convincing Lexa, they were a little late, to say the least.

Aden had bid Lexa a smug farewell, and she’d left him with a quick kiss on the head, unaware of the storm she’d be walking into. And what a beautiful storm it was.
Inside the Blake’s estate, every room had it’s own chaotic crowd of students, a few already graduated and off to college. The familiar haze of weed filled the air, along with drunken laughs, and giggles. Lexa’s eyes fell to a couple making out in the corner, and she blinked upon realizing it was John Murphy and Emori Wilde. Octavia had laid eyes on Lincoln from the moment he walked in, and was jumping into his arms, ignoring Anya’s exasperated eye roll.

Raven Reyes was right behind her, sauntering over to Anya, drink in hand. Anya smirked and allowed herself to be dragged away by the girl, who was, as far as Lexa knew, tentatively one third of her love life.

Raven turned to Lexa to nod, jerking her head in the direction of the yard, alight with strings of bright bulbs, glowing over the poolside. Everything seemed to sparkle and shine, and Lexa hadn’t even had much to drink yet.

Maybe it was because, in the midst of the dancing herd of her classmates and strangers alike, she laid eyes on Clarke Griffin, running a hand through her hair as she swayed with that Wells friend of hers, absolutely stunning as usual.

Clarke’s blonde hair cascaded down her shoulders and bounced around her whenever she tossed her head back to laugh, softly, delicately, cerulean eyes alight with excitement.

Lexa then noticed Luna Rivers, also staring at Clarke, mouth somewhat ajar, from the other side of the yard. She also noticed the hoards of guys and girls alike, staring at Clarke the way they usually stared at Lexa while she was working out or on the field.

Clarke’s eyes caught Lexa’s then, Forest green meeting cerulean once more, and Lexa felt her heart stop, familiarly. Clarke always did that to her.

“Lexa!” Clarke called over the outrageously loud music, suddenly cutting through the masses before her.

Lexa felt a little smirk find her lips as Clarke found her, pulling her hands forward, gauging that Clarke was only slightly tipsy.

“Commander.” Clarke smirked, and it felt a lot like Lexa was looking into a mirror.

She was slightly disconcerted, as she was finding it incredibly attractive. Then again, everything Clarke Griffin did turned Lexa on.

“What, no airbud tonight?” Lexa exhaled, watching the small cloud her breath made in the chilly air, though Clarke looked warm from dancing.

“No.” Clarke licked her lips, her fingers brushing against Lexa’s wrist. “Tonight, you look like more of a Commander.”

Lexa had to shake off the effect Clarke’s flirting- if she hadn’t imagined it- had on her. “Oh?”

Clarke nodded. “I didn’t think you’d come.”

Lexa felt her skin burn at Clarke’s touch. “Anya made me.” She lied slightly, hoping to sound convincing.

Clarke smiled, her eyes twinkling with delight. “I could have made you come.”

Lexa felt herself suffocating as she heard the innuendo, surprised by Clarke’s forward attitude. Okay, so the alcohol was doing the trick. Lexa’s eyes found Luna’s, and she instinctively tugged Clarke a little closer, feeling protective of her.

“Oh…I…” Lexa offered lamely.

“You need a drink.” Clarke suggested wryly. “You’re rambling, Ms. Woods.”

“I don’t ramble.” Lexa fired back. “And…I shouldn’t drink. I already had a beer when I got here…I don’t, usually, during the season.”

“You’re on break.” Clarke replied relaxedly.

“I mean…I suppose one more wouldn’t hurt.” Lexa shrugged.

Octavia had clambered onto of the bar that stood outside, knocking over a few cups in the process, the music dimming for a second.

“Oh my god.” Clarke grumbled. “My friends are so embarrassing.”

“Who’s ready to do shots?!” Octavia shouted above the dull roar, causing her guests to let out an uproar of approval. Hands reached out to grab the tequila she was holding, likely stolen from her mother’s expensive collection. “Uh uh uh!” She tsked. “Body shots!” She announced, and once again, the group roared with delight. “Who’ll start us off?!”

Once more, Lexa Woods was reminded that Clarke Griffin was ever the popular choice at parties.

“Clarke!” Octavia grinned. “C’mere!”

Clarke bit her lip, shooting Lexa an apologetic glance before breaking their semi-embrace and heading over through the crowd, taking the sloppily poured shot from Octavia’s raised hands.

“Okay, great.” Octavia cheered. “Now, who wants to take a shot off Clarke fucking Griffin?”

Lexa had never felt so sick and so deaf all at once. Lexa recognized Luna, smirk on her lips, sharing a smile with Clarke. She saw a group of guys she’d seen around the track, shamelessly checking out Clarke’s cleavage.

In the end, Octavia let Clarke choose.

Lexa dipped her head to hide her disappointment, turning back to the house to find Lincoln and maybe take his car back. Partying didn’t really feel right. Especially not when Luna was getting another shot from an angel like Clarke Griffin, after making her cry like that at Lexa’s party earlier.

“Woods!” Lexa heard Clarke’s voice loud and clear. Whipping around, she was met with Clarke’s smirk and twinkling blue eyes, beckoning her forward with one hand motion.

Oh. Partying sounded so, so good.

Lexa blinked, and began to stride forward, accompanied by a chorus of “oohs” from their audience, specifically from the perverted group of people in the back who wanted to see two girls go at it, especially Clarke and Lexa.

“Are you sure…?” Lexa whispered when she reached Clarke, leaning in and catching a whiff of her vanilla scented shampoo. She was in too deep.

“Mhmm.” Clarke hummed as she allowed Lexa to take the lime wedge from her hands, moving to apply it to her wrist. “Nope.” Clarke shook her head cockily. “Here, Lex.” She tossed her hair to the side, exposing the soft skin of her neck.

Lexa bit her lip, taking in a breath. This had to be heaven. Or a dream. She took the cold wedge, running a line of wetness across Clarke’s neck, biting her lip when Clarke let out the quietest of shocked moans.

This was better than anything she could have imagined.

Lexa wasn’t even paying attention when Octavia slyly added the salt, muttering “You’ll thank me later.”

Clarke took Lexa’s hand, gingerly wrapping it around her own waist, smiling teasingly at her, urged on by the onlookers’ excitement.

“You know the rules.” Octavia smirked. “Lime between the teeth.”

Clarke rolled her eyes, biting down on the lime with a look of satisfaction.

And then it actually, finally happened.

Lexa glanced into her gaze for permission, before returning the smile, leaning in to press a soft kiss to the side of Clarke's jawline, smirking against her tender skin when she elicited a gasp of surprise.

Straying off course was simply too sweet to resist. She pressed soft kisses down the side of Clarke’s neck, feeling Clarke lean into their embrace, pressed flush against Lexa, feeling limp in her toned arms.

Their classmates were in absolute shock, shouting and hooting, all to fall on deaf ears. Lexa’s only concern in the world was pleasuring Clarke Griffin. Lexa continued her soft kisses, tongue darting out to lap at the salt, then kissing where she’d stolen from Clarke.

Clarke’s body almost combusted under her lips alone. Lexa Woods was giving her a body shot hickey in front of half of the student body.

Lexa reluctantly leaned back to down the shot, hardly flinching at its intensity before settling the glass back down blindly, eyes meeting with Clarke’s. Clarke closed the gap and Lexa received the lime with her pouty lips, getting a small taste before tossing it aside, leaning forward to meet Clarke in a soft kiss.

Clarke’s arms immediately went around Lexa’s neck, smiling into their kiss in absolute shock. This had to have been the best evening of her life.

Their kiss was everything she’d hoped for. Lexa’s lips were as luscious as they looked: soft and tender, and the skill in her technique was obvious. Lexa gently bit down on Clarke’s bottom lip, eliciting a soft whine from the blonde as she stepped back perhaps a centimeter or so, bringing up one thumb to brush softly against Clarke’s swollen lips, ever sensual.

It was then that she’d fully realized what she’d just done. What they’d just done. In front of everyone.

Lexa looked completely guilty, biting her lip in an unuttered apology.

To hell with it. There was no point in denying anything after that show. She saw people glare at them out of jealousy, while others cooed and cheered them on. Clarke smiled, leaning forward to recapture Lexa’s soft lips in a tender kiss that tasted a little like lime, tequila, and miracles.

She was kissing Lexa Woods. She was making out with her crush, the captain of the varsity football team, undeniably the most popular girl in school.

Clarke was giddy, grinning into the kiss as Lexa smiled back against her lips, her toned, solid arms hoisting Clarke up as Clarke wrapped her legs around Lexa’s waist instinctively, locking their bodies together.

Okay, maybe the alcohol was kicking in, just a little. It didn't matter. The feelings were real, both girls knew it. They felt it.

Octavia sliced a hand through their surprise make out session, effectively interrupting them. Lexa kept Clarke close, watching as the blonde bit her lip in annoyance.

“Clarke, you’re gonna have to start charging extra for the kisses.” Octavia teased, likely in efforts to prevent them from making out in the middle of her party. “Who’s next in line for Griffin?”

Lexa’s jaw set and Clarke smirked. “Sorry, this is a private show.” She announced, and with the result of a few jeers, she’d tugged Lexa back by the collar of her letterman, pressing their foreheads together.

“Hi.” Clarke whispered hoarsely.

“Hey.” Lexa whispered back, impressively keeping Clarke up with one arm as she tucked a stray lock of blonde hair behind Clarke’s ear with the other.

The two were smiling like idiots at each other, when Clarke realized that Lexa was still holding her, and everything had the familiar shine that came with being tipsy. The only difference was that Lexa made her feel that giddy all the time.

The same Lexa she vowed to hate just months ago. The arrogant, horny, popular jock whom she’d pissed off on the first day of class.

“Let’s go to the roof.” Clarke whispered shyly, glancing at her reflection in the nearby patio sliding glass door. She bore a red mark on her neck, face flushed, a glow in her eyes as she allowed Lexa to effortlessly hold her.

Lexa Woods had kissed her neck. Oh, God, Lexa Woods gave her a hickey. This had to have been the best day of her life.

Lexa smiled softly, forest green eyes completely content as she turned to listen to Clarke’s directions.

“I can walk.” Clarke mumbled into her neck, her voice belying her words.

“Do you want to?”

“God no.”


 

Clarke was buzzing, and she couldn’t tell if it was a result of the alcohol or the pure electric feeling she got from being near Lexa Woods.

The girl she’d just kissed.

And what a kiss it had been.

There was a smile on her lips that wouldn’t go away, too caught up in the moment to ask Lexa if her arm was even alright to be supporting her weight, merely focused on the fact that Lexa Woods was carrying her, Clarke Griffin, to the roof of the Blake household.

Along the way, they passed plenty of their friends and classmates, who responded in varying ways, some with hollers, others with jeers, some with upturned noses and jealous looks, but Clarke didn’t have eyes for any of them.

Just Lexa.

As they made their way onto the roof, Lexa’s foresty gaze moved down to lock with Clarke’s, a matching smile on her face as she set the blonde down on one of the lawn chairs Bellamy had put out earlier.

“Why are you smiling?” she whispered, a cocky undertone to her voice that let Clarke know that she knew the answer to her question, but Clarke couldn’t find herself to care, tugging the football player so that she was at her level, answering with a quick:

“You.” Before she quickly recaptured Lexa’s lips with her own, soft and tender, much more tender and slow than their earlier kiss, both girls taking time to map out the other, and quickly determining that there was nothing quite like it. Lexa’s lips were Clarke’s new favorite thing, melding against her own as though they’d been crafted specifically for that purpose, and behind the lime and tequila she could taste the hint of Lexa’s apple chapstick, and she was struck by the reality of it all.

She was on a roof, at night, kissing Lexa Woods.

Lexa Woods.

How on earth had she managed that?

Clarke pulled away softly, nose brushing against Lexa’s as their foreheads pressed against one another, smile still wide on her face.

“Why didn’t we do that so much earlier?” Lexa half-whined, eyes still closed, leaning further into Clarke as she moved to sit across from her on the same chair.

“Our friends are kiss blocking idiots,” Clarke laughed, smile widening when Lexa opened those perfect green eyes, whose shade Clarke was never able to quite capture on canvas.

“Why do we keep them around?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea,” Clarke breathed.

“Why are you still talking?” She smiled as Lexa pressed another quick kiss to her lips.

“A certain someone isn’t kissing me.”

“They should really get on that, then,” Lexa whispered.

“She really should.”

Clarke could kiss Lexa forever.

It was perfect and everything she could have wished for, but also beyond anything she could have ever expected. She really was perfect at everything she did.

After what could have been hours or minutes, Clarke didn’t know, the two of them separated again, and even in the darkness of the night, she could pick out the radiance of Lexa’s pearly white smile, and Clarke felt as though her entire body was on fire, burning up at the other girl’s every touch.

In reality, however, Clarke’s body was freezing, and let its discomfort be known as a fit of shivers that wracked her body.

“Now which one of us is unprepared for the cold,” Lexa teased, and Clarke rolled her eyes.

“I didn’t think I’d end up on the roof,” Clarke argued, tone light, “but I’m glad I did.”

“Here,” Clarke made a noise of protest as Lexa shrugged off her letterman, offering it to Clarke persistently, “take my jacket.”

“But then you’ll be cold,” Clarke argued weakly, and Lexa shot her another grin.

“I guess you’ll just have to keep me warm now, won’t you?” Clarke rolled her eyes but accepted the jacket easily, slipping it on and marvelling of how warm it was, and smiling at how much it smelled of Lexa . Of pine and flowers and a hint of apple and everything Lexa was.

Naturally, the two of them moved around on the lawn chair so that Clarke was nestled between Lexa’s legs, leaning back into the other girl, absentmindedly lacing their hands together, and appreciating how well they seemed to fit together.

They sat in silence for a while, both girls trying to comprehend all that had just happened, Lexa using her free hand to run her fingers through Clarke’s tresses of blonde hair, making soft, content noises in the back of her throat whenever Clarke keened at the soft, soothing sensation.

“What is this?” Clarke wondered aloud as Lexa brought Clarke’s hand up to her mouth to pepper soft kisses on it.

“What do you want it to be, Clarke?” It was so very Lexa to answer a question with another question, and Clarke craned her neck so that she could look up at the other girl with a roll of her eyes, kissing the underside of Lexa’s jaw softly.

“Real,” Clarke answered honestly, and Lexa brought her hand to brush against Clarke’s neck tenderly, before moving Clarke’s hand to press against her heart.

“What do you feel?” Clarke’s eyes widened as she felt the erratic beating of Lexa’s heart from through her shirt, and Lexa smiled at her. “That’s what you do to me, Clarke. Every time I see you. I assure you, this isn’t just some fling.” She pressed a soft kiss to Clarke’s forehead, and she wanted to melt at the perfection of the moment. “You could never be just a fling, Clarke Griffin. This is very, very real.”

“I bet you tell that to all the girls,” Clarke snarked, and Lexa laughed, leaning down to press another sweet kiss to Clarke’s eager lips.

“Never,” Lexa swore, “only you, Clarke. It’s always been you.”

Clarke wasn’t sure how long the two of them sat there together, hands interlaced, just drinking up the contentedness of the moment.

All she knew was that she could have gladly stayed like this forever, wrapped in the warm embrace of Lexa Woods, with a flush on her cheeks that wasn’t from the crisp december air.

Their peace was interrupted by a ruckus from below, and Lexa’s eyes narrowed in confusion while Clarke laughed.

“Raven’s show is about to start,” Clarke informed her matter of factly, a soft smile on her face, “volatile she may be, but her fireworks shows are always spectacular.”

They could hear people counting down from below.

“TEN.”

Lexa gently moved Clarke so that she was facing her again, a smile fixed firmly on her place, and Clarke reached out to tuck a stray strand of curly brunette hair behind Lexa’s ear, totally enraptured in the girl in front of her.

“NINE.”

She became extremely aware of how her legs were pressed against Lexa’s, thought tangled would be a more apt description, and of how right it felt.

“EIGHT.”

Lexa moved her hands to cup Clarke’s cheeks, eyes dancing in the pale moonlight, cool against Clarke’s flushed skin, and Clarke felt herself shiver out of habit.

“SEVEN.”

It almost felt like a dream, it was too good to be true. Here, on a roof, right before the stroke of midnight, with Lexa Woods, who would be the first face she would see at the break of a new year.

“SIX.”

Clarke wanted to see Lexa’s face at the beginning of every year.

“FIVE.”

Even then it wouldn’t be enough.

“FOUR.”

She would never get tired of Lexa’s face, or the way the girl made her feel, how her heart thumped as erratically as she had felt Lexa’s.

“THREE.”

They were moving towards each other, the noise of the other party goers fading into the background as they zeroed in on one another, lost in their own little world.

“TWO.”

The distance between them was almost sealed, and Clarke’s breath hitched slightly in her throat at the anticipation of it all.

“ONE.”

As the crowd below screamed, and the telltale whizz and bang of fireworks began to fill the sky, their lips once more found each other, and Clarke was putty in Lexa’s arms, pressing against her with a fervor, smiling into the embrace and laughing when Lexa moved to pepper kisses across her cheeks and her nose and her jaw before once more claiming her lips, which were more than happy to receive her.

“Happy new year, Clarke,” Lexa whispered breathlessly once she pulled away, and Clarke smiled up at her almost tentatively.

“Happy new year, Airbud,” Clarke teased, and Lexa rolled her eyes before kissing her once more.

“You’re never gonna let me live that one down, are you?” Lexa sighed as Clarke curled into her once more.

“Never,” Clarke swore, and, despite the roar of the crowd, she soon found herself drifting to sleep in the warm, safe cocoon of Lexa’s arms, truly happy for the first time in months.


 

She was so warm.

It was a lovely feeling, the warmth. The best feeling in the world.

Lexa whined as she felt the source of the warmth being tugged away from her gently, cracking open a groggy eye lazily, arms wrapping tighter around the girl nuzzled into her to keep her from being taken away.

“Wake up, idiot.” Lexa scowled as she registered Lincoln’s wide, grinning face above her, scowl deepening when she saw the person trying to pry Clarke away from her.

Bellamy Blake, in all of his floppy-haired, freckled, dimple-possessing, assholeish glory.

“Come on, princess,” he coaxed, “I don’t think you want to sleep on the roof.”

“Five more minutes, Bell,” Clarke murmured sleepily, curling further into the crook of Lexa’s neck, and the football player felt her heart melt. Sleepy Clarke was perhaps the cutest thing Lexa had ever encountered, and she wrapped around her tighter, glaring possessively at Bellamy.

“Ooh, Bell, I don’t think Woods wants you to take Griff.”

She hadn’t even noticed the presence of Raven and Octavia, and glared in their direction as well.

“Come on, Lex,” Lincoln sighed, “you know Aden’s probably waiting up.”

Reluctantly, Lexa unwound her arms from Clarke’s midsection, and cracked her neck, ignoring the disgusted noise that Raven made from besides her friend.

“I’ve got her from here,” Bellamy assured, scooping Clarke into his arms, apparently unaware of the intensity of Lexa’s glare on him. She wanted nothing more than to snatch Clarke back and push Bellamy off of the roof.

Maybe that was a little intense, but still.

Clarke whined as Bellamy picked her up, and Lexa’s heart ached, body already missing the comfortable warmth that the blonde had provided.

“You can sleep in my bed, princess,” Bellamy assured, and Lexa’s blood boiled.

“Nice performance earlier, commander,” Raven smirked, before turning to follow the boy. “Didn’t think you had it in you.”

Lexa opened her mouth to protest, but Lincoln shook his head.

“Come on, sis ,” he pulled her off of the lawn chair, “Anya’s waiting downstairs, it’s four, and she’s grumpy and drunk, so I’m driving you two home.”

When they drove away from the Blake household, all Lexa could think of was how much she missed having Clarke in her arms.

Chapter Text

“Mmm. God, Clarke, right…there….yes…” Lexa’s whimpers were barely audible from her guest house, in the later hours of the morning following the New Year's Eve party. Specifically, the night where she made out with Clarke Griffin.

“Hey, Lex?” Anya knocked. “I was wondering if I can borrow you hairbrush, mine’s kind of broken.”

Sunlight filtered through slits in Lexa’s window, coloring the white duvet with a warm orangey glow. Lexa, ever the romantic, had chosen a hell of a bachelorette pad, considering that she was living with her family.

Anya heard no immediate response. Shrugging, she shouldered her way into Lexa’s bedroom, pausing when she heard a muffled cry of “Ohhh!”

Lexa’s groan subsided, as did the minute rocking of her hips under the duvet as she breathed a short, “Fuck, Clarke.”

Anya’s brows shot up as her eyes widened. “Holy shit.” She couldn’t help the response as she uttered it. “You’re fucking Clarke Griffin? I can’t believe-”

Lexa’s emerald eyes cracked open, and Anya realized, then, that she’d made a grave mistake. Clarke Griffin was not under the duvet with Lexa.

Lexa had been dreaming.

Quite successfully, it seemed.

“Anya?!’ Lexa shot up, made a face, and yanked the duvet over her. “What the fuck?”

“Oh my god.” Anya covered her eyes, wincing. “You did NOT just-”

“What do you want?” Lexa ground out, feeling invaded on so many levels. She didn’t want to admit that she really wanted that dream to come true. Clarke had all of her senses heightened to the extremes.

“I..a hair brush.” Anya coughed uncomfortably. “I take it last night went well? I saw the body shots.”

Lexa turned beet red, but her heart fluttered. “We made out…A lot.” She grinned.

Anya cocked a brow. “You’ve got it bad. You’re happy about just making out?”

Lexa nodded eagerly. “An, you don’t get it. I’m just happy she likes me as much as I like her.”

Anya’s jaw dropped at Lexa’s sappy display. “What? Where the hell is playboy Alexandria Woods?”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “I kissed Clarke.” She whispered, mostly to herself, a smile spreading on her high, sculpted cheeks. “I held her, and we kissed, and we cuddled under the stars.”

“Wow.” Anya snorted. “That’s…really gay.”

“My hairbrush is in the bathroom.” Lexa grunted, coming down from her high. “Go in there so I can…change, at least.”

Anya made a face of disgust. “So, you’re gonna see her tomorrow. That’s cool.”

Lexa’s heart did somersaults in her chest as she leapt out of bed, quickly discarding her clothes in favor of a clean pair of sweats and a t shirt. “I know.” She murmured, pulling her hair into a quick ponytail. “Do I…text her? Or…is that desperate?”

Anya scoffed from the bathroom, brushing out her locks. “I don’t know, what am I, the love guru? Oh, wait, based on how whipped Bellamy and Raven are for me…I am.” Anya smirked.

Lexa scowled. “Bellamy took Clarke to bed last night.” She grumbled.

Anya smirked. “You’re jealous?”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “No. Yes. Clarke's face was…right here.” She motioned to the crook of her neck. “I had her. She was warm, and safe, in my jacket- which she still has, by the way. I don’t see why I couldn’t have taken her home.”

Anya grinned. “Bell told me. You wanna know why?”

Lexa stifled a growl. “Yes, let’s hear what ‘Bell’ had to say.”

“He thinks you’re a total rich, womanizing playboy.” Anya smirked. “And he doesn’t want you doing, uh..that-” she motioned to the ruffled bed sheets. “-to his girl.”

No part of that statement calmed Lexa. She cocked a perfectly sculpted brow. “His girl?” She gritted.

“Well, I mean, as friends.” Anya shrugged, checking herself out in Lexa’s mirror.

“What about what Clarke wants?” Lexa huffed airily.

“That would be you.” Anya clapped Lexa on the shoulder, enjoying Lexa’s blinding grin. “Now, let’s get breakfast. I’m sure Aden is dying to hear the gossip, and Mom and Dad are both gone to work.”

“Alright.” Lexa nodded as she slipped her phone into her pocket, quickly cleaning up and following Anya back to the main house, where Aden was trying to hide a smile behind bites of cereal.

“Good morning sleeping beauty.” Aden ribbed gently.

“Hey kid.” Lexa greeted cheerfully, pouring herself a bowl, diverging from her usual diet in favor of carbs. Because after last night’s progress, she deserved a reward. “Want to hear all the gossip?”

Aden propped his arm on the kitchen table, looking smug as ever. “Nope.”

Lexa glanced up in surprise. “That’s new.” She remarked in confusion.

“I don’t have to ask.” Aden clarified, a cheeky grin on his features. “Look what exploded on Raven Reyes’ Instagram.”

“Toss it.” Lexa demanded, eyeing his phone with piqued curiosity. She noted his look of apprehension. “Aden, it’s me. I never drop things.”

Aden slid his phone to Anya, to be safe, who handed the phone to a rather impatient Lexa.

Lexa’s emerald eyes scanned the video post, with the captions: Hottest Kiss 2k16 <3 #Clexa

“Oh my god.” Lexa breathed, watching as she suavely transitioned from taking the shot to making out with Clarke, lifting her up. “I’m so smooth.” She muttered with a smirk, doubly impressed when she heard a moan from Clarke before the video ended.

Aden rolled his eyes, but was grinning into his cereal. Operation Clexa was nearly complete. Now they just had to seal the deal.

“I kissed Clarke.” Lexa cheered, nudging Anya, her tone sing-song. “I made out with Clarke Griffin, and then we kissed under the stars, and then she fell asleep on my- ADEN! Are you recording this?”

Aden leapt behind Anya, who ruffled his hair protectively. “Sorry Lex.” She grinned. “That’ll teach you not to brag, though.”

Both Lexa and Clarke had opted for silence over text, likely too embarrassed to confront one another about the not so incidental incident, leaving the following day a complete mystery.


 

Clarke was having a rather pleasant dream.

Maybe even a little too pleasant.

In her foggy, sleep-ridden daze, Clarke forgot that she was often one to talk in her sleep, and the first thing she was aware of was a warmth pooling in her stomach and the sensation of her legs pressed against another body.

Assuming the worst, Clarke cracked open a cerulean eye, only to find the warm, brown gaze of Raven Reyes staring back at her.

“So, when exactly did I change my name to Lexa?”

Death would have been too merciful.

Clarke blushed furiously, moving to untangle herself from where she was rather embarrassingly pressed against Raven’s thigh.

“You know I bought you that vibrator for a reason,” Raven continued, ignoring how utterly mortified her friend looked, “after I caught you writhing around moaning Woods’ name for the entire house to hear, I thought that it would’ve prevented such outbursts.” She shook her head in faux disappointment and Clarke wanted to melt into the ground. “Next thing I know you’re riding my thigh with another woman’s name on your lips, I’m wounded, Clarke, really.”

“I hate you,” Clarke scowled, pausing for a moment to crack her neck, and Raven winced.

“Y’know, Woods does that too, it’s almost like the two of you were made for each other or something… speaking of Woods, what did the two of you get up to when you went on that roof?” She waggled her eyebrows suggestively, but before Clarke could even open her mouth to formulate a response, Raven continued.

“Wait, I know you too well, you bore me to death on a daily basis. Now, if I had been the one in your situation, I would’ve ravaged Woods right there on the roof, but you aren’t one for exhibitionism, if I do recall, so I’m going to assume that all you did with Lexa on that roof was makeout.”

Clarke got up to move out of the room, but froze mid-step, Raven colliding into her softly.

“Why’d you stop?”

“Oh my god I kissed Lexa Woods.”

“Yeah you did,” Raven sighed, “a bit slow on the uptake there, Griff, it’s all my instagram followers are talking about―”

“No no no,” Clarke cut her off, blue eyes wide, “you don’t understand. I kissed Lexa Woods .”

“Yeah I got that, Clarke, I did see her tongue halfway down your― Griff?” Clarke had slunk down to the floor and was staring ahead, jaw slack. “Hello? Earth to Clarke? You alive down there?”

“I kissed Lexa Woods,” Clarke repeated, before burying her face in her hands, “oh my god I kissed Lexa Woods.”

“I mean, you are wearing her letterman.” At Raven’s words, Clarke looked down, almost surprised to find the letterman still on her person, having had assumed that the entirety of the events of the night previous had all been a part of some sort of larger-than-life dream.

“I’m wearing Lexa Woods’ letterman,” Clarke repeated to herself, ignoring how Raven was regarding her as though she’d gone insane. “I kissed Lexa Woods.”

“Yes, Clarke,” Raven added gently, brows furrowed in concern, “we went over this a minute ago.”

Clarke just sat there on the floor for a couple of long moments, and Raven shifted uneasily.

“Bell!” she called. “I think Clarke’s gone insan― whoa there.”

Clarke laughed and jumped up, spinning Raven around quickly with a grin on her face.

“I kissed Lexa,” she once more uttered, this time breathlessly, and Raven rolled her eyes.

“I’m beginning to think my friend was replaced with a broken record,” she teased, but Clarke paid her no mind.

She, Clarke Griffin, had kissed Lexa Woods.

Multiple times.

And fuck Lexa was a fantastic kisser.

After the initial rush of excitement, Clarke quelled considerably, enough so to follow Raven down the stairs to where Bellamy and Octavia were bustling around the kitchen, making pancakes.

“Have you heard?” Raven teased. “Griff here kissed Lexa Woods.”

“You’re welcome for that, by the way,” Octavia laughed, shooting Clarke a grin as she danced around the kitchen, Chewy chasing her quick-moving feet.

“Yeah, thanks,” Clarke breathed, smiling quietly to herself, trying to remember every detail of the night before, and thanking whatever higher forces of nature existed that she hadn’t been blackout drunk, merely comfortably tipsy. She could remember how soft Lexa’s lips had been against her own, the scent of her perfume, the taste of limes and tequila and perfection.

Her lips tingled just thinking about it.

“You be careful with Woods, though,” Bellamy added, pointing sternly at Clarke with his spatula, “she may be able to destroy a football team singlehandedly, but she hurts you and I’ll pummel her.”

“Good luck with that,” Octavia snorted, “I’ve seen her beat Lincoln in a wrestling match. Lincoln .”

“I just don’t want Clarke to get hurt,” Bellamy defended, “not like with―” His statement was cut off when Raven not-to-subtly elbowed his stomach, but Clarke was too distracted in her daydreaming of Lexa to notice.

“Ugh, could you maybe turn down your hearteyes a few levels, Clarke?” Raven scrunched up her nose in distaste as Bellamy deposited the first plate of waffles on the table. “The rest of us here are trying to eat.”

“Let her live,” Octavia defended, scooping up Chewy onto her lap and feeding him a small piece of pancake, “she’s been bitten by the gay bug.”

“I’m not gay, I’m―”

“Bisexual,” the others all finished in unison to Clarke’s jerk reaction.

“We know,” Octavia continued, “but you are undeniably very, very gay for Lexa Woods.” Clarke smiled and shrugged sheepishly, not bothering to argue because she knew it was true. She’d never been this affected by a kiss in her life.

“It’s gross,” Raven added, “you’re contaminating my air.” Bellamy nodded his agreement, and Octavia rolled her eyes, shoving the two of them in unison.

“I think it’s sweet.”

“That’s because you were just like this when you met Lincoln,” Raven scoffed, and Bellamy shuddered, “I thought Bell was actually going to murder him just to get you to stop skipping around the house humming to yourself.”

“It was even worse than your scene phase,” Bellamy agreed, “so much worse… except for the hair―”

“We don’t speak of it,” Octavia scowled before taking a rather harsh bite out of her breakfast, “unless we want to bring up the pictures of the Bieber hair―”

“No thank you,” Bellamy grimaced, and Octavia smiled victoriously.

“Ok,” Raven piped up, “but if we’re talking about unfortunate haircuts we should really talk about when Jasper shaved off all his hair when he was high.”

“Oh, what about Monty’s bowl cut? That was pretty bad.”

“Or that one time Murphy had a mowhawk.”

Clarke tuned the majority of the conversation out, making noises of agreement when prompted, but her mind was far away from bad haircuts and unfortunate life decisions, planted firmly on a girl who had so quickly occupied her every thought, and she couldn’t bring herself to care.


 

Clarke was trying desperately to ignore Raven and Octavia’s giggles and whispers as they sounded off from behind her, Niylah’s English class a bit late to start that morning. Clarke had donned Lexa’s varsity letterman, to remember to return it to her and thank her.

But Lexa seemed to be a no-show. Clarke tried not to frown as she recalled what happened. Okay, so they'd made out. Like, a lot. Under the stars. And she hated that Lexa was as perfect and suave as she'd imagined.

Had Clarke done something wrong? Had she been too drunk and somehow misread the vibes Lexa was putting out? Was their night totally forgettable to such an experienced playboy like Lexa Woods?

“Okay, quiet down, class is about to begin!’ Niylah announced from the back of the room.

Clarke made buried eye contact with Niylah and instantly regretted it. Niylah had been gaping at Clarke’s neck, which bore Lexa’s territorial hickey. Fantastic. She tugged Lexa’s letterman up a little more, trying to blend into the remaining light chatter in the classroom.

Raven tapped Clarke’s shoulder gently. “Don’t sweat it, Griff. She's probably sick-Oh, right there, she’s right there!”

Clarke glanced up to see Lexa, in all her perfection, push the classroom door open, slowly inching her way in. Wearing a simple, tight black underarmour shirt for her practice, paired with tight fitting jeans, Lexa entered with all the regality and grace of a queen.

The class followed her with their eyes, as usual, as she made her way over to her desk, beside Clarke’s.

Clarke’s heart was hammering wildly as she licked her lips, trying to think of some sort of greeting, but nothing felt apropos.

Lexa took in a breath when she saw Clarke, lush blonde hair falling over her shoulders, cerulean eyes curious and bright. And the plump lips she’d so thoroughly kissed just two nights prior.

Clarke smiled nervously at her, and Lexa stopped over her desk, taking Clarke’s chin and tilting it up delicately, so that she could pull Clarke’s lips in with her own and greet her with a soft kiss.

It was entirely too bold, and oh so Lexa.

Clarke melted immediately, lips feeling slightly swollen as she parted, murmuring “Hi.”

“Hi.” Lexa grinned.

The class was in hysterics, knowing these two particular classmates to be rivals to the bitter end. It shocked them still, to see the two girls fully sober, kissing softly and grinning at each other.

“Oh my god!” Niylah covered her mouth. “Pike owes me twenty!”

Lexa cocked a brow, watching as Clarke blushed. Lexa smirked and sat beside her at her own designated desk, giving Clarke’s thigh a gentle squeeze of assurance.

That was all Clarke needed in life, in that moment she was sure .

“CLARKE AND LEXA ARE SCREWING!”

“So you two are girlfriends now?”

“Wait, what, Woods is gay?”

"Of course she's gay, she dated Greene, idiot."

“Clarke’s playing her for her money. It’s not serious.”

Several mutters disturbed the relatively peaceful silence that had formed around them, and while Lexa rolled her eyes at the stupidity of the general populace, Clarke was laughing with her head buried.

“Enough.” Niylah rolled her eyes. That was her “ship” as the kids put it. She wasn’t about to let her own students sink it. “We don’t care for gossip, we care for literature! Ms. Griffin, we read a passage from which novel of Emily Bronte over break?”

“Wuthering Heights.” Clarke answered sharply, ever the perfect student.

Lexa mumbled a soft, “That’s hot, Clarke.” And Clarke’s cheeks turned beet red.

Niylah had smirked and continued her lecture, trying not to grin too much at them. By the time independent study time rolled around, it was nearly the end of the allotted class period.

Lexa and Clarke, though untouching and at their separate desks, were grinning at each other, propped up on their elbows.

Lexa nearly jumped when she felt hands on her shoulder, whipping around to stare down Raven Reyes as if she’d interrupted Lexa’s greatest moment in life.

“Reyes.”

“Woods!” Raven smirked. “My new girl, by extension of Clarke. So. How does it feel to be tapping that? Or…not really.”

“Rae!” Clarke scolded, watching Lexa’s eyes contemplate Raven’s question.

“As long as Clarke’s happy, I’m happy.” Lexa returned smoothly, and Raven nodded her approval, glaring as the bell chimed. “This ain’t over, Woods. I’ll see what Anya knows.”

She and Octavia zoomed out, hoping Lexa would act on the opportunity and walk Clarke to class.

Of course she did. She was Alexandria Woods, wealthy, beautiful, perfect gentlewoman.

“May I walk you, Clarke?” Lexa asked gently, fingers dancing along the edge of Clarke’s books.

“Oh, after months of hating me, now you’re chivalrous.” Clarke teased.

“I never hated you.” Lexa protested with a smirk. “I was just attracted to you.”

Clarke bit her lip, shaking her head as Lexa accompanied her.

“Where am I taking you?” Lexa chimed.

You can take me right here’ Clarke thought unapologetically, biting her lip momentarily.

“Art studio.” Clarke informed her gratefully. “And really, Lex, I can carry my stuff.”

“After you trained me back to full strength for absolutely nothing in return?” Lexa teased.

“Oh, is that why you’re doing this?” Clarke clarified cheekily, smiling as Lexa held the door for her, the two making their way out the hall and across campus without a care in the world.

“Yeah. Well, that, and I really enjoyed kissing you.” Lexa shrugged, smirking when Clarke seemed to enjoy those words.

“Listen…I didn’t say thanks, the other night.” Clarke began gently as she stopped beside the side of the art building. “For the jacket. I cleaned it and brought it back for you.”

Lexa leaned forward, stowing the books under her arm as she pressed her forehead against Clarke’s. “Keep it.” She whispered. “Looks better on you anyway.” She used her free hand to trace her fingertips against Clarke’s jaw.

Clarke bit back a gasp. Lexa was giving away her letterman? Oh, this was serious. This was a poetic highschool romance at its finest. Lexa was seriously into her. A letterman was never given lightly, and Lexa’s- what with all its patches of accomplishment: senior, varsity, captain, etc- was the most prestigious of the entire student body. A very clear message would be perpetuated now.

Clarke Griffin belonged to Lexa Woods, and vice versa.

“Lexa, I can’t accept this.” Clarke offered meekly. Oh, but she really wanted it.

Lexa seemed to understand that. Tucking a blonde lock of hair behind Clarke’s ear, she gave her a wry smile. “If you’re sure, Griffin.” Lexa took the jacket, folding it under her arm.

“Clarke!” Murphy’s voice sounded from within the building, where the door had opened. “How the fuck do you draw giraffe legs?”

Another voice called out, “They’re literally sticks, Murphy.”

Clarke rolled her eyes, cheeks turning red when Lexa gently rubbed a thumb over them.

“I’ll see you around?”

“I’m counting on it.”


 

Aden’s father had once told him that the first week of the year set the pace for the rest of it.

When he told this to Aden, he’d know doubt thought it to be an important lesson about never faltering in his work ethic, because Alexander Woods was nothing if not an efficient, well-oiled businessman.

While Aden prided himself on taking the few lessons his father had imparted on him before his numerous travels abroad to heart, he wished dearly that this one would not come to fruition.

A year cowering under the likes of Dax Mulligan was not something he could easily look forward too.

With every encounter the two of them had, the larger boy became increasingly more bold.

A few months ago, he wouldn’t have dared seek Aden out during the day, when Lexa was still freely roaming the halls and not safely tucked away at football practice. However, he’d seemed to catch on to the fact that Aden was keeping his mouth firmly shut, for reasons Dax himself couldn’t comprehend.

Sad as it was, though, Aden was getting used to it.

More important than any of the lessons his father had taught him were the ones that Lexa had drilled into his head from the moment he could understand her.

Ge smak daun, gyon op nodotaim.

Get knocked down, get back up.

Again, a lesson taken vastly out of context, but Aden was sticking to it. He was just as stubborn, if not more so, than his older sister, and when he set his mind to something there was no changing it.

So there Aden found himself, strung up by the collar of his shirt in the boy’s locker room where nobody would come for hours, being used as Dax Mulligan’s personal punching bag.

He didn’t scream, nor did he move his arms to protect his face.

Dax might have been stupid, but he wasn’t suicidal. He knew that hitting Aden’s face would draw unwanted attention, so he directed most of his attention to Aden’s already aching ribs and horribly bruised legs.

During that time, Aden let his mind wander. Anything to distract from the pain.

Most of the time, he thought of Lexa.

He knew that she hadn’t wanted siblings.

Even when she was young, Lexa knew that she had to compete for her parents’ attention with something that she never had a chance of competing against: work. She didn’t want to have another competitor in the tournament for their affection, and that was what a sibling would introduce into the fold.

Competition.

But the moment Aden had entered the world, screaming and red-faced, Lexa had loved him.

He couldn’t remember that day himself, of course, but Lexa had told him the story so many times it almost felt as though he could.

She had entered that hospital, driven by Indra and Gustus with an equally annoyed Anya tagging along, at three in the morning (Aden had always been an early riser), fully intent to loath the child that came out of her mother. But she had taken one look at the small, crying little bundle in her mother’s arms, a full month early and entirely too small, and she’d loved him.

His father told him that he hadn’t stopped crying until Lexa entered the room, that the moment Alexander had gently pressed the squirming infant into his sister’s arms, that he’d silenced.

She’d been there for every playground bully and snide teacher when his parents couldn’t bother themselves to care. She’d held his hand and walked him to class and snuck post-it notes into his lunchbox to remind him to have a good day, and that she missed him.

They were so much alike, even down to their initials. Alexandria Anastasia and Aden Augustus. He had always looked up to her, aspired to be like her, longer to be able to be with her all the time.

He knew that Lexa loved him more than anything in the world.

And he knew that she’d destroy Dax Mulligan if she even got the hint that he held any sort of animosity towards her baby brother.

So he chewed his cheek raw and breathed softly so as not to hurt himself further, and rode out the storm.

“Wanted to make sure you hadn’t forgotten your place over break,” Dax sneered, and Aden trained his gaze to the floor, not wanting to provoke him any further.

The Woods family was a proud one, but he had survival instinct.

“I’m bored,” he declared, delivering a final kick to Aden’s leg before tossing him down from where he’d been hung up, “go do whatever it is you degenerates do during the day.”

There were many things Aden wanted to say in response to that.

Big word for an idiot . Learning, unlike some people. Being a productive member of society.

Instead, he kept his mouth shut, and he scurried off, as much as one could scurry with a limp.

The bell for lunch had rung a few minutes ago, and the hallways were mostly abandoned, so Aden figured that he could make it to Nathan Miller discretely, making his way around the school as nonchalantly as he could, trying to bite down any outward signs of his pain.

He eventually made his way outside, and froze when he saw Dax, making his way towards his cronies, especially when he noticed who the boy was going to run into.

Lexa wasn’t paying attention to her surroundings, for once, and appeared deep in thought, most likely about Clarke.

Aden grinned to himself despite the pain, knowing that Operation Clexa was coming along quite nicely.

As expected, Dax collided into Lexa sharply, and made a noise of protest that died in his throat when he realized just who he’d run into.

“Watch where you’re fucking going,” Lexa snarled, and Aden couldn’t help his amusement at just how terrified his tormenter looked, because Lexa in her commander mode was a Lexa that people didn’t want to disturb.

Before the situation had the chance to escalate, Aden made his escape.

By some stroke of fate, the two delinquents he’d wanted to see were away from the pack, perusing for books in the library.

“I know that it’s here somewhere,” Bellamy muttered, deep within the history section while Nathan loitered around, looking entirely too bored.

“Why did you ask me to come with you?”

“So I could ravish you behind the bookshelves,” Bellamy deadpanned, and Nathan snorted, “obviously.”

“Sorry, Blake, but you aren’t my type.”

“It’s because I’m only half asian, isn’t it?” the taller boy tsked. “It’s not my fault that I’m half greek, Miller, and thus not at Monty-level perfection.”

“Shut up,” Nathan whined, shoving the class president on the shoulder lightly, before his eyes honed in on Aden, who was standing somewhat awkwardly at the entrance to the history section.

“Woods, what can I do for you?” Bellamy’s head snapped around, a scowl on his face, obviously thinking that the football player was referring to Aden’s older sister, but softened upon seeing the freshman.

“Just need some help on that project we were working on,” he responded, and by the glint in Nathan’s eyes, he knew that the boy understood the message he was trying to convey, “also wanted to talk to Bellamy.”

“Whatcha need, kid?” Bellamy quipped, raising an eyebrow.

“About Operation Clexa,” Aden supplied, “my sister’s being an idiot and hasn’t really said anything to Clarke about the whole ‘kissing on the roof’ thing, and she probably won’t until something happens because she’s stubborn like that.” He paused. “You up for flirting with Clarke?”

“It’s only my favorite hobby,” Bellamy laughed.

“Sweet, so here’s what we can do…”


 

“I know you’re afraid of commitment after Costia-” Anya’s accusations fell on Lexa’s ears as they made their way from the edge of campus, Lexa entirely late for Kane’s class.

“I’m not afraid of commitment.” Lexa growled defensively.

“You are. Because of your parents. And how they’re not around. And you don’t want to get hurt-”

“That’s enough, Anya.” Lexa commanded, irritated beyond belief. Why was everyone riding her about “making things official” with Clarke? Why did they have to label it? It was exclusive, right? They’d shared kisses, texted a little…

Okay, so maybe Lexa could see the issue. It wasn’t dating. In fact, the two hadn’t even gone on a date.

Lexa had never officially asked Clarke out.

But there was a reason for that. They were good the way they were, right?

“Someone else is going to snatch her up.” Anya shrugged. “Clarke is hot, Lex.”

Lexa’s eyes narrowed, her fists clenching at her side, just thinking of Clarke kissing, smiling, or even looking at anyone else. Of course, she wanted Clarke to be happy. She just wanted to be the one to make Clarke happy.

“We’re exclusive.” Lexa argued meekly.

“Are you?” Anya cocked a brow. “Did you ever sit her down and say “hey, even though we’re only kind of an item, I expect exclusivity?” Because, if you didn’t, that’s a long shot. Clarke’s a catch.”

“This is my door.” Lexa muttered, stopping at Kane’s door in the hallway.

“Think about it.” Anya shrugged. “I know you’re a romantic at heart. You want this, as badly as she probably does. As Clarke would have told you before you weakened her with your…playboy charm…Get your head out of your ass, Lexa.”

Lexa rolled her eyes and pushed the classroom door open, emerald eyes settling on the reading groups that had formed, Kane texting overzealously behind his desk. Lexa’s jaw tightened slightly as she noticed that every other group was a trio or more, while Clarke and Bellamy were a pair.

Oh, how Lexa loathed Bellamy Blake. She wasn’t entirely sure why. She couldn’t place it. Maybe it was in the way his muscled arms gently rested on Clarke’s shoulders. Maybe it was the freckled, dimpled smiles he gave Clarke that made everyone within a twenty-mile radius swoon. Maybe it was his easy-going nature; the absolute opposite of Lexa’s ferocity in nearly everything she did.

But she wasn’t jealous. Lexa Woods never got jealous.

She and Clarke made brief eye contact, and when Clarke offered her a smile, brightening instantly at Lexa’s forested gaze. Lexa winked at her, and the heat was tangible between them.

“C’mon, lover girl.” Bellamy poked at Clarke’s side, and she yelped, giggling and falling back into his outstretched arm beside her seat. He whispered something in her ear, causing her to grin at him.

Lexa cleared her throat, about to do something about his blatant flirting when Kane piped up, his voice overly cheery. “Lexa! Just in time to grade papers!”

Lexa heaved a sigh, forcing a smile. “Yes, sir. Of course.”

“Did I ever tell you I love the respect, Woods? Trikru has you trained like a marine.” He grinned.

Lexa had tuned out his words by this point, mind flashing to the way Bellamy had taken Clarke from her arms the night of New Year’s Eve. Her Clarke, who’d been asleep, safe in her arms.

You can sleep in my bed, princess. The words rang through her mind incessantly. She narrowed her eyes once more, watching the way he and Clarke were unfocused on the assignment at hand, rather, comparing their muscles. She attempted to hone into their conversation as best she could.

“You?” she heard Bellamy scoff. “I’ve got one word for you, Princess.” Oh, there was that nickname again. Clarke wasn’t a princess. Not his, anyway. “Washboard.” He grinned triumphantly, guiding Clarke’s hand to rest on his abs, that pulled against his shirt quite obviously.

Lexa felt her blood boil. Her abs were better than Bellamy’s! Why was Clarke so openly taking his obvious attempts at flirting? Was it because Lexa hadn’t asked her out, yet? Panic began to set in. She and Clarke had both admitted feelings for each other. But they’d been drinking. She’d meant it. But what if Clarke hadn’t? Lexa wasn’t keen on rejection. Not from someone she held so dear, anyway.

“Woods.” Kane murmured, eyes on his phone.

“Sir.”

“Could you walk around and make sure everyone is on task? You’re the commander, right? They’ll listen to you.”

Lexa bit back a snarky response of telling him to do his own job, and rose, making a beeline for Clarke and Bellamy.

She had to do something.

“What’s the matter princess? Am I too much man for you?” Bellamy teased, gently pushing Clarke and she retaliated with a shove of her own.

“Oh yeah.” Clarke rolled her eyes. “That must be it.” She was gently pushed back by Bellamy, right into Lexa, who’d been approaching from her side.

“Whoa, sorry, I- Hey you.” Clarke’s voice immediately became breathy.

Bellamy narrowed his eyes, still harboring a healthy distrust of Lexa’s intentions with Clarke.

“Hey yourself.” Lexa murmured, getting lost in Clarke’s eyes.

“So, the mighty commander graces us with her presence.” Bellamy cleared his throat. “Clarke, it seems like you attract commanders. Her with the football team, me with the entire student body…” He shrugged like he hadn’t just been bragging.

“Yeah.” Clarke grinned at him. “Power turns me on, I guess.” She shot back cheekily.

Lexa stiffened at that. On one hand, she was incredibly pleased, because…she turned Clarke on. On the other hand- what the hell? Bellamy turned her on, too? It wasn’t a far cry…he was the most popular guy in school. Lexa bit back a feral growl.

“What brings the all powerful T.A. to my neck of the woods?” Clarke asked, leaning back against Lexa, glancing up at her curiously.

“Just…wanted to say hi.” Lexa lied, fighting back a smile when Clarke casually laced their fingers together.

“Hmm. That’s a lie.” Bellamy motioned to the clipboard in Lexa’s free hand.

Lexa glared at him, and Bellamy smirked.

“Explain, Blake.” Lexa’s edgy tone was not lost on Clarke, who cocked a brow slightly in confusion.

“You’re here to write us up if we’re not paying attention.” Bellamy pointed out with mild interest. He turned to Clarke with a cheeky wink. “She works for the system.” He reminded, nodding at Kane, who was grinning at his phone like an utter moron.

“Lexa.” Clarke feigned a hurt gasp, pulling her hand away from Lexa’s, turning to face her fully. “Is that true?”

“I wouldn’t write you up.” Lexa answered instantly, sharing a secret smile with Clarke, feeling her heart warm just by being near her.

“You wouldn’t?” Bellamy tsked. “Isn’t that against the rules? Favoritism? You’re saying you’d prioritize Clarke over your grade in the class? Even though you’re not even dating?”

At that, Clarke’s jaw dropped. “Bell!” She hissed, knowing that was a tender subject for both girls.

“What?” He shrugged, knowing he was getting somewhere. Lexa had to feel threatened to make the move with Clarke. He was helping them, in the long run.

“I should probably go check on the other delinquents.” Lexa muttered, her tone clipped.

“Wait.” Clarke turned, taking Lexa’s hand, bringing to her lips, kissing it softly. Lexa gasped slightly, smiling down at Clarke, eyes softening instantly. “Thank you.”

“For?” Lexa cocked a brow, gently caressing Clarke’s cheek with the back of her hand.

“I don’t know.” Clarke admitted. “Not writing us up, I guess?”

Lexa rolled her eyes. “You know I wouldn’t, not even if you cheated on his exams.” She murmured lowly, and she bent down, Clarke leaning up to meet her for a mutually desired kiss, when Kane cleared his throat, eyeing the two girls suspiciously.

“I’ll see you after school?” Clarke sighed dreamily.

“I’ll find you.” Lexa promised with a soft smile, darting over to the next set of students.

They had their own speed, but in that moment, everything felt right.


 

Arkadia’s first varsity football practice since the break was an absolute success.

Lexa was back in Grounder green, making passes as if she’d been born to. It became an especially sweet practice when she’d learned that Quint had been suspended for two more weeks.

Things were finally turning around for Lexa.

The Commander was back.

“That was so good, Lex.” Anya gushed over Lexa’s first return practice since her great injury and time spent recovering. “It’s…almost like you’re better, than before.”

Lexa tried to smirk as proudly as she did, slinging her gym bag over her shoulder with a look of satisfaction. “Really?”

“I don’t sugarcoat, Woods.” Anya grinned, slapping Lexa’s shoulder. “Welcome back, Heda.”

“Thanks.” Lexa murmured, “I…” her sentiment died in her throat as her emerald gaze found her favorite person in the world, knelt over by the unfinished mural nearing the snack building, hands covered in paint.

“Clarke Griffin bent over in tights.” Anya narrated smugly. “Looks like it might be the best day of your life.”

Lexa hurled her empty bottle at Anya, who merely reminded, “We carpooled here so…Don’t keep me waiting long.”

With that, Lexa was left to her smirk, and her thoughts. She couldn’t lie. Clarke’s…rear…was astounding. Anya was only stating the truth, after all.

A few of Clarke’s art club companions wore star-struck little glances of awe when Lexa  made her way over, kneeling quietly beside Clarke, who hadn’t noticed her crush at all.

“Beautiful.” Lexa murmured, smiling softly when Clarke turned to her in surprise, brush in paint-stained hands.

“Me? Or the mural?” Clarke teased, turning to face her fully.

“Both.” Lexa replied instantly, eyes tracing the sunny field Clarke had been working on. “I have to admit, Clarke, I think you’re more radiant than the sun…though I’m told I’m a bit biased, when it comes to matters concerning you.”

Clarke swooned despite the cheesy line, perhaps at the way Lexa’s voice was low and velvety when she said it. Lexa stood, brushing her hands on her scrimmage jersey as she extended one muscled arm to Clarke, who shook her head with a frown.

“I’ll get paint on you.” Clarke sighed apologetically.

Lexa scoffed. “I’ve got six layers of dirt, grime, and sweat on me. Your paint is a walk in the park.”

Clarke grinned at her, accepting her hand with a twinkle in her eye. She had noticed sweaty Lexa maybe once, twice, or…every chance she got. There was something primal and simply…attractive when it came to Lexa’s physical workouts. Clarke didn’t mind one bit.

“So, from what I hear, your practice was a success.” Clarke commented wryly. “Glad to know I had a hand in that.”

“It was all you, doc.” Lexa replied smoothly.

There was a certain unfamiliarity about what they were, and the protocol with which to behave. They weren’t dating, they weren’t just friends…

It was entirely too bothersome for Lexa to care.

Lexa’s tight arms wound their way around Clarke’s hips, and the two were pulled up against each other, Clarke blushing when her fellow artists gaped.

They were still, for the most part, a very new, greatly disbelieved item.

“So, I’ll have something new to appreciate at my games.” Lexa murmured, her eyes melting away the cerulean gaze Clarke regarded her with.

“The mural should be done by the first game.” Clarke agreed gently, her fingers toying with the hem of Lexa’s jersey.

“Wasn’t talking about the mural, Clarke.” Lexa murmured, lips pressing softly against Clarke’s forehead. “I was talking about you.”

Clarke felt her heart stop altogether, stunned and very much in love with Lexa’s forward advances. God, if she’d made fun of her for being a player then, she hadn’t known the pleasure of being romanced by Lexa Woods.

Before she could formulate an answer, however, Clarke’s friends were already managing to ruin the mural without her supervision.

“Clarke!” The first girl chimed nervously. “The blue is dripping into the green and I can’t stop it!”

Definitely a freshman.

Clarke bit her lip, rolling her eyes at Lexa, who chuckled in response. “Duty calls, Lex.” She murmured, disentangling herself from Lexa’s arms with extreme reluctance. She turned to spot Lexa’s dropped I.D. on the floor, likely from an unzipped pocket in her sports bag. She bent to retrieve it for her, surprised to hear Lexa murmur “Nice ass.” In trigedasleng, her tempting smirk still in place.

Clarke’s smirk was even brighter when she turned around, stepping forward and reaching for the waistband of Lexa’s tights, tugging on them slightly outward. Lexa’s little shocked gasp of surprise was reward enough by itself, until Clarke leaned forward and murmured, “You too.” In regular English, slipping her card in between Lexa’s hip and the waistband of her absolutely complimentary football tights.

She practically giggled when she saw Lexa’s cheeks turned red, realizing that Aden must have taught Clarke Trigedasleng.

“Text me.” Clarke whispered, pressing a soft kiss to Lexa’s cheek before turning on her heel, making sure Lexa got a view worth texting about as she sauntered over to help.

Lexa was left gasping for breath until she reached Anya at her car, regarding her with a quizzical stare.

“Aden.” Lexa grumbled, thinking of how she craved Clarke’s touch.

“He embarrassed you, somehow?”

“Yes.”

“Gonna kill him?”

“Absolutely.”


Instead of waiting after school for Lexa like he usually did, Aden and Atom had hitched a ride with Ellis’ mom and headed to the Woods Pine household to hang out.

Atom grinned at Aden, who was moving around the kitchen making pancakes, donning his trusty Mr. Good Cookin’ apron to ensure the rest of his clothes didn’t get pancake batter on them.

“Nice apron,” Atom laughed, and Aden rolled his eyes at the other boy.

“It’s practical,” he added another egg to his batter, whisking it with practiced ease, “and fashionable. Uncle Gus has a matching one.”

“Wouldn’t want to ruin your white t-shirt,” Atom agreed teasingly, “it isn’t like you have ten others just like it.” Aden pursed his lips and shook his spatula in his direction reprimandingly.

“Don’t sass me, mister,” he deadpanned, “I’m making you pancakes.”

“Which I appreciate very much, oh master-of-the-spatula.”

“You bet your ass I’m the master of the spatula,” Aden laughed, “much better than my sister, she’s a lost cause.”

“Lexa Woods, bad at something?”

“She could do it if she tried,” Aden shrugged, “but she usually wanders and forgets that there’s something on the stove, which is why Uncle Gus put a fire extinguisher in the corner.” He paused. “Though it’s probably for Anya, too. She could burn soup.”

“Is that even possible?”

“For Anya? Yes.”

Aden genuinely enjoyed spending as much time with Atom as he could. Their dynamic just had an easy flow to it, and he never felt pressured to be anything he wasn’t in the presence of his friend. And they could play soccer together, which was always a plus.

Aden was doing his best to convince himself that soccer was the only thing that was a plus, but that endeavor wasn’t going so well on his part.

The two of them made idle chat as Aden moved fluidly around the kitchen, before he deposited a stack of fluffy, fresh pancakes in front of his waiting friend.

“These are great!” Atom moaned, and Aden ignored the small flutter in his stomach at the sound.

“I’m glad you like them,” Aden responded, “like, I’m serious husband material. Someone should get on this.” At that moment, Atom choked on a piece of pancake, and Aden yelped before moving to help him, but both of them were startled by the loud bang of the door opening.

“ADEN AUGUSTUS WOODS!”

He paled at the yell, moving to grab his spatula.

“Yes, Lexa?” He projected tentatively. “My darling sister who I adore?”

“I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”

He squeaked when she burst into the kitchen, quickly scrambling out of the way, before bolting out of the other door and weaving his way around Anya, who looked entirely too amused.

“I don’t even know what I did!” he shouted back, skidding around the corner with his sock-covered feet and propelling himself forward to the stairs.

“YOU TAUGHT CLARKE TRIG!”

“Why are you mad about that?”

“YOU COULD HAVE WARNED ME!”

“Oh you said something stupid didn’t you.”

He took Lexa’s increased rage as a yes, and took the stairs two at a time.

Fast as he was, he couldn’t outrun Lexa, whose legs were longer than his, and she soon caught up with him, tackling her younger brother to the ground as he reached the top of the stairs.

Peals of laughter echoed through the home as Lexa bombarded Aden’s sides with pokes and jabs, and he squirmed around, red-faced and short of breath.

“Stop! Stop!” he pleaded, but Lexa was merciless in enacting her revenge.

Nowe ,” Lexa replied sternly, though a small smile was now situated on her face, “you have to suffer as I have suffered.”

Beja, hod op .”

She pressed a particularly sore spot on his stomach and he yelped and jerked up, wince evident on his face, and Lexa’s movements stopped abruptly.

“Are you okay?” she asked. “I didn’t actually hurt you, did I?”

“No,” Aden assured, “I just, uh, ran into a table earlier.” Her eyes narrowed, and Aden hoped she couldn’t tell that he was lying. As Clarke had once said, Lexa knew everything when it came to Aden (or so she thought), so she was extremely well-versed in deciphering his microexpressions.

“Let me check,” she said.

“No, no, it’s fine, really,” Aden brushed off, standing before she could lift the hem of his shirt.

“So what’d you say to Clarke?” Lexa’s cheeks flushed, and Aden hoped that it was something cute, or romantic in the least, to help speed up Operation Clexa.

“I complimented her ass,” he heard Lexa mutter, and he sighed.

Of course he wasn’t that lucky, Lexa was a hormonal teenage idiot.

“You’ll be the death of me,” he tsked, “honestly, Lexa, how dumb can you be.” She made a noise of protest, before he moved around her to go back to Atom, picking up his phone.

Young Padawan

I’m sorry my sister said that .

He barely had to wait a moment for the response.

Jedi Master Clarke

I’m not .

Aden fought the urge to jump from the stairwell.

They really were idiots.


 

Regardless of the uncertainty between the two girls, they still had to spend time together to work on their chemistry lab write-up and analysis after school, and had met, once more, in the library, which was the proverbial neutral ground for them.

Instead of working at the tables, they’d migrated to the couches in the corner, and were sitting much too close to one another for it to be a casual, friendly environment.

Clarke was comfortably pressed into Lexa’s side, the football player’s left arm snaking around Clarke’s shoulder to ensure she stayed there, and Clarke felt warm and content in her position, typing away quickly while Lexa’s fingers drew shapes on her arm.

“Lexa, you’re supposed to be working on the analysis,” Clarke sighed when she noticed that emerald eyes were focused solely on her, and not the laptop situated on Lexa’s lap.

“Why would I look at that boring thing when I could look someone infinitely more beautiful?” she quipped, and Clarke fought the urge to roll her eyes.

“Focus on chemistry, Lex.”

“I am focusing on chemistry,” she defended, “ our chemistry, Clarke.”

“That was terrible.”

“What?” Lexa grinned. “My infinite charm not doing it for you?”

“It might if it existed,” Clarke shot back, a smirk playing on her lips as she moved her eyes once more to the work she wasn’t getting done, “you’ll have to do better than that, Woods.”

“Oh, how you wound me,” Lexa sighed, “you want chemistry? I’ll give you chemistry.” She paused dramatically for effect. “Are you made of copper and tellurium? Because you’re cute.”

“That might’ve worked if Raven hadn’t said it to me every day sophomore year.”

“Damn, rough crowd I see. Speaking of, if I were an endoplasmic reticulum, how would you want me? Smooth, or rough?”

“You’d have to actually be able to charm me to find out,” Clarke shot back, and Lexa grinned.

“How about we make like the change of base law? With you on the bottom and me on top.”

“Oh please you scream ‘bottom’.” Lexa’s eyes narrowed, and Clarke laughed.

“I’m not a bottom,” Lexa insisted, “I’m a top.”

Sure ,” Clarke agreed, looking up at Lexa’s rather adorable, in her opinion, pout, pressing a quick kiss to the other girl’s cheek, “whatever you say, Airbud .”

“Chemistry lines not working?”

“Not even a little,” Clarke assured, and Lexa sighed downtroddenly.

“Guess I actually have to work, then. Shame.” Very carefully, she removed her arm from Clarke’s shoulder, and the blonde couldn’t help but miss the close contact it offered as Lexa moved to type.

Though she didn’t mind the odd routine she and Lexa had slipped into, Clarke couldn’t help but wonder if there was a reason Lexa hadn’t acted on it. Both of them had confessed their mutual feelings on the roof, and yet a word hadn’t been said about them. Sure, there had been soft touches and the occasional kiss, but neither of them had actually discussed it in detail with one another.

For now, though, she was content to lean into the girl besides her and just savor the moment, the two of them working in comfortable silence.

Silence that was quickly broken by Lexa.

“Are you calcium bicarbonate? Because if you let me get you wet, the reaction will be explosive.” Clarke couldn’t help but laugh at that one, and she shook her head fondly.

“You’re an idiot,” she teased, and Lexa huffed.

“That was a good one!”

“Chemistry lines don’t work for you, Lex,” Clarke informed her, “you’re too much of a jock for them to have appeal.”

“A jock, you say?” Lexa quirked an eyebrow. “Fine, then. A jock you shall receive.” She paused before clearing her throat.

“Clarke, do you secretly play football too? Because that’s a tight end.”

“Oh my god Lexa .”

“What? You asked for a jock, you’re getting football related pickup lines.”

“I suddenly regret every life decision I’ve made up to this point,” Clarke laughed, and Lexa’s grin only widened. “At least they can’t get any worse.”

“Oh, believe me, they can.” Clarke groaned in dismay, but Lexa continued. “I’d love to touchdown in your endzone, babe.”

“They can get worse, jesus fuck.”

“Wanna be my receiver tonight, Clarke?”

“Not with that I don’t,” Clarke shot back quickly, and Lexa pretended to be hurt.

“I’d let you sack me any day,” Lexa added on, and Clarke shoved her shoulder lightly.

“Come on, idiot, you need to work,” Clarke laughed, “Pike’s already sore because he lost twenty to Niylah, we don’t want to make him any more mad than he already is.”

“I guess you’re right,” Lexa sighed, and Clarke smiled.

“I always am.”

“Oh, of course,” Lexa agreed, turning her head back to her work.

“Hey Clarke?”

“Yes, Lexa?” For some reason, Clarke actually expected a question pertaining to the work they were supposed to be doing, but Lexa wasn’t that quick to give up.

“You’ve intercepted my heart.”

Clarke turned towards Lexa with a soft smile on her face, and she looked entirely too proud of herself, so Clarke leaned forward and gently pressed a tender kiss to Lexa’s waiting lips, pulling away after a short moment.

“That one was kinda cute,” she admitted, and Lexa preened.

“Of course it was, I said it.”

“Don’t get too cocky, commander,” Clarke instructed, moving to stand up, but Lexa’s arm quickly snaked around her waist, the other moving her laptop to the side so she could pull Clarke onto it.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Clarke hummed contentedly when Lexa peppered kisses down the side of her exposed throat. “I thought we were working.”

“Well I was trying to before a certain pest kept interrupting my train of thought,” Clarke responded dryly, and Lexa hummed against Clarke’s throat, sending shivers down the other girl’s spine.

“How rude of them.”

“Indeed.” Clarke gasped softly when Lexa’s lips attached themselves to the one spot at the bottom of her neck that made Clarke melt, and she turned away gently, smiling when she saw Lexa’s pout.

“I wasn’t done,” Lexa insisted.

“You can finish later,” Clarke assured her, standing up, successfully this time. She picked up her bag and laptop quickly, and Lexa raised an eyebrow. “I’m not going to get any work done with you here. But, if the offer of being a receiver is still open, you can take me out. Pick me up at seven o’clock sharp, text me the dress code.”

And with that, Clarke sauntered away, leaving Lexa to stare after her, mouth ajar.

Lexa remained on the couch for another long moments, blinking slowly, before a wide grin stretched across her face.

“I have a date with Clarke Griffin,” she whispered to herself, before yelling “I HAVE A DATE WITH CLARKE GRIFFIN!”

The librarian, apparently, wasn’t as enthusiastic as Lexa was about the change of fate, and the football player soon found herself shooed out of the library, but at that point, nothing could damper her mood.

She skipped, literally skipped , to the weight room where Anya was waiting, grinning and giddy.

“Hey, Lex are we ready to-- whoa , what drugs are you on, and where can I get some?”

“I have a date,” Lexa announced dramatically, “with Clarke Griffin.” Anya stared at her, eyes narrowed, and she pulled a face.

“You have hearteyes ,” she muttered, looking rather disgusted, “you look like a lovesick puppy. What happened to the hardass commander?”

“Clarke did,” Lexa breathed, and Anya scoffed.

“If you say one more lovey-dovey thing, I’m going to jump out of the car while we’re on the highway, now come on, Romeo, I’m tired and want to take a nap.”

Chapter Text

Growing up with Lexa, Aden had learned, from a very young age, to expect to be bombarded with weird things, because Lexa tended to have a flare for the dramatic, and thus dragged him into it without thinking twice. He’d seen her in various states of panic, most of them over girls, some of them over other things, had witnessed her tornado-esque ability to tear apart rooms in search of a single object, had experienced first-hand just how tiring she was when frantic.

It was really saying something, though, that Aden had never , in all his years of dealing with frantic Lexa, seen her quite this insane .

As soon as she’d set foot in the Woods Pine household, Lexa had dragged Aden off of the couch and to the guest house, claiming she needed his help on what to wear and where to take Clarke to dinner, because he, as Clarke’s student, would, of course, know these things.

Anya was there, too, leaning against the doorframe, and Aden could see her recording every now and then, a smirk planted firmly on her face as she observed the chaos from a safe distance.

There were clothes strewn across every surface, and Lexa still hadn’t settled on what she was wearing, parading around in a sports bra and boxers, running around like a headless chicken.

“Lexa,” he looked down at his watch, “you have exactly one hour until you’re supposed to pick Clarke up and not only do you not have anything to wear, you still haven’t decided where you’re taking her.”

“Fuck you’re right,” Lexa said, “and there aren’t many places even I can squeeze in a table with such short notice.”

“Just call Roma,” Aden suggested, “she loves us, and I’m sure Clarke will love TonDC.”
“Good idea!” Lexa absentmindedly kissed Aden’s forehead before moving around once more to search for ‘the perfect outfit’. “Can you call her for me, though?”

“Sure.” As Aden dialed in the number, Lexa yelled:

“Anya! Get your ass over here and be useful for once!”

“I wanted to take a nap you piece of shit.”

“Yeah, well, you didn’t and you’re here so you could at least help.”

“Fine, bitch, but only because you’re helpless on your own.”

Aden sighed at the exchange, and the phone rang twice before there was an answer.

Aden! How are you? How’s school been?”

“Great, Roma,” he grinned. Roma had once worked as his and Lexa’s chef while their parents were away, but Alexander and Anastasia had been so impressed with her cooking that they gave her the startup loan to fund her own restaurant, and she hadn’t disappointed.

TonDC Bistro was one of the most frequented high-end restaurants in the city, and she always had a table for the Woods family.

“School’s been eventful,” he informed her dutifully, “and the lunches are atrocious compared to your cooking, but what can you expect from public school?”

Honestly,” Roma scoffed, “ it’s as though they’re feeding criminals, it’s barbaric. You know you can always swing by before school to pick up food.

“I might take you up on that eventually,” Aden laughed.

What do you need, little lion?” Aden smiled at the old nickname that Roma had given him back in her days working for his family, in reference to his previously untamable blonde curls and an appetite much too big for his body. “ It’s much too late for this to just be a casual chat, I know you too well.”

“It’s Lexa, actually,” he said.

Oh what has she gotten herself into this time?”

“She has a date with a girl, who she wants very badly to impress,” Aden responded, “it’s all very last minute and she’d tearing apart her room trying to find something to wear. It’s a warzone in here.”

Oh, a new girl? I remember you telling me about her breaking up with the last one, what was her name? Cora? Cambodia?”

“Costia,” Aden laughed, and he could hear Roma snap her fingers.

Right, Costia, that’s the one. So who’s the new girl?”

“Clarke Griffin.”

Clarke Griffin? Your tutor Clarke Griffin? The one you said burned Lexa to the ground with a comment about Airbud?”

“That’s the one,” Aden confirmed with a smile.

I like her already. Well, tell Lexa that I’ll have her usual booth ready for her and her lovely date at what time?”

“She’s picking her up at seven so I’d expect around seven thirty taking traffic into account.”

Seven thirty it is then, a reservation for two. And let her know I won’t come out to embarrass her this time, but all bets are off the next time they come here.”

“Alright, Roma,” Aden laughed, “I’ll let her know, and I’ll call you tomorrow to update you on school again.”

“Nonsense, I’ll just invite your whole family over for dinner. Last time Indra was telling me about some rather interesting sounding self defense classes.”

“Alright, talk to you later, I think Lexa’s about to strangle Anya with a scarf.”

Stay safe, little lion.”

“You have a reservation at seven thirty,” Aden informed her dutifully, deftly dodging a stiletto that he wasn’t sure was thrown by Lexa or Anya.

“Thanks Aden! Ow! Anya, stop i―”

“Just fucking pick already for fuck’s sake! Fu―oh you bit ―”

Aden sighed and slunk out of the room, retreating to safety while he still could.


 

Clarke Griffin was shaking, just a little bit. She’d never been this nervous for any date with Finn. She couldn’t fathom why she was so anxious, no, excited, for a date with Lexa.

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Lexa was the most coveted girl at school, and so her twitter feed had been filled with all kinds of gossip about their budding relationship. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that she’d seen Charlotte actually cry when she’d heard they were going on an official date.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was simply Lexa. Lexa, whose verdant gaze penetrated every inch of Clarke’s defensive armor. Lexa, whose intelligence and wit rivaled Clarke’s in every way. Lexa, whose body far outdid Clarke’s, and whose beautiful pillowy lips greeted her with such soft brushes.

Yeah, maybe that had something to do with it.

She’d sworn to herself that she’d hate Alexandria Woods for eternity. And now, she was going on a date with her. Clarke was infatuated with the brunette. She was, in Clarke’s eyes, the epitome of perfection.

And Lexa, in all her popularity and wealth and stature, wanted her. Clarke Griffin. Maybe there was something wrong with her, after all.

“Does this dress make me look…is it….unflattering?” Clarke mumbled as she eyed herself in the mirror, seeing nothing but flaws, as it had been since the incident.

“Clarke.” Raven wiggled her eyebrows appreciatively, splayed over Clarke’s bed, watching Clarke struggle to appreciate herself. “I would do you. In fact, how about you tell Woods you’re sick?”

Clarke formed a small smile at that, slapping Raven’s arm lightly. She turned to Octavia for a more serious opinion.

“She’s right.” Octavia shrugged helplessly. “You’re hot as hell, Clarke.”

“Thanks, guys, but this is Lexa Woods…” Clarke blew out a breath. “I just…I don’t know. I’m not really even close to her league.”

Raven scoffed. “Are you kidding? Listen, I know she’s like…supermodel hot, or whatever, but so are you?! Haven’t you noticed everyone thirsting over you? Rivers, some of the jocks, me-”

Clarke pulled Octavia and Raven in suddenly, closing her eyes. “I love you guys.” She murmured, feeling them immediately enclose the hug.

“And we love you, Griff.” Octavia replied gently. “We’re happy that this is working out for you. After Finn…You need this.”

“Right.” Raven smirked. “We’re fully in favor of you not coming home tonight.”

The hug detached and Clarke’s cheeks reddened. “Not…You don’t think….On the first date?”

“She’s kind of known for being a playboy.” Octavia shrugged. “It’s her thing, Griff. You know, comes with dating the hot football player.”

Clarke’s eyes widened slightly. Okay, so she and Lexa had…devoured each other with their eyes a few times. And yes, okay, she had a few….not so family friendly dreams starring the brunette. But that didn’t mean they were ready.

“Condoms?” Raven offered lightly.

“I…don’t think that’s necessary.” Clarke stuttered. “I mean…I…that would be fine, I just…Don’t…”

“You never know.” Raven shrugged.

“Actually, I’ve changed for practice in the locker room with her.” Octavia smirked triumphantly. “No condoms for Clarke.”

Clarke, absolutely mortified by the conversation, fell even deeper into the well of despair when the doorbell rang.

“That’s her, let me-” Clarke’s muttering was drowned by the tag team of Raven and Octavia, who darted past her, running to the door downstairs.

“Guys!” Clarke groaned, grabbing her purse as she made her way down, unsurprised to find them interrogating her date.

“Woods!” Raven greeted, and then froze, eyeing Lexa up and down and letting out a low whistle. “Catch me.” She faux fainted as Octavia rolled her eyes, propping her up. “You look hot.”

“Uh, thank you.” Lexa cleared her throat. “Is Clarke here?”

“Answer these questions first.” Raven replied, arms folded, attempting to wear a cross face. “What are your intentions with my daughter?”

When Lexa shot her a quizzical look, she smirked. “Abby’s not home, and since she loves me, I’m in charge. Now…Let’s discuss sex.”

“Raven!” Clarke admonished, hurrying down the stairs.

“Have her home by ten, lady killer.” Octavia smirked at Lexa, yanking Raven back upstairs by the collar.

Clarke passed them on her way down, smiling shyly at Lexa.

Lexa was wearing a simple black dress, semi casual and yet complimentary, clinging to her flawless physique. Her long brunette waves were down and parted over her shoulder, Clarke’s personal favorite way she wore it. And then, of course, her legs. God, they went on for miles, and miles, and miles.

Lexa, on the other hand, was infatuated with Clarke. Her simple blue dress complimented the bright twinkle of her cerulean eyes, her hair around her shoulders, her makeup well done and her hands nervously at her sides.

Lexa seemed to catch onto that, and immediately set about relieving it. “Clarke.” She breathed, and Clarke didn’t doubt the sincerity of her words for even a moment. “You are…absolutely breathtaking.” She handed Clarke the single rose she’d brought. “Cliché, I’m well aware, but if I’m courting you, I’m going to do it right.”

Clarke smiled at that, taking a breath, remembering how to correctly form words. “That’s so sweet, let me grab a vase for it.” She answered, whipping around back into the house.

When she returned, Lexa was leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed. She was the image of attraction.

“Ready?” She asked Clarke softly.

Clarke nodded, unable to hide the slight apprehension she felt.

Lexa, as Clarke had learned, was incredibly well tuned to her feelings.

“Clarke…” Lexa breathed softly. “Is it alright if I touch you?”

Clarke wanted to swoon at the fact that she even asked, a far cry from Finn. Clarke wasn’t sure what was going on, but she nodded anyway. She trusted Lexa.

Lexa smiled, gently winding her arms around Clarke’s waist as she pulled the blonde close, one hand still holding her as the other brushed a lock of blonde hair behind her ear. Clarke got chills at the contact. Lexa even smelled heavenly.

“It’s okay to be nervous, as long as you’re happy, Clarke.” Lexa murmured, their foreheads touching delicately. “I am, too.”

Clarke blinked in disbelief, her eyelashes tickling Lexa’s cheek as she pulled back a few centimeters to stare into Lexa’s emerald gaze. “You are?”

“Of course.” Lexa whispered. “It’s you. Remember when you felt my heartbeat, on New Year’s Eve?”

Clarke nodded almost imperceptibly.

“It’s doing that right now.” Lexa graced her with a smile. “It always does that with you.”

Clarke let out a soft chuckle, and Lexa looked at her questioningly. “It’s funny, isn’t it? I mean, we did so much more, on that night, but I wasn’t half as nervous.”

Lexa hummed appreciatively. “I think…” Her lips gently grazed Clarke’s forehead. “It’s scarier to get to know someone like this. It’s more intimate.”

Clarke smirked slightly, fear dissipating. “Don’t be such a poet.” She teased gently.

Lexa smiled at that, her hand cupping Clarke’s cheeks as their lips grazed each other’s, though it wasn’t a kiss as much as it was a familiar touch. Lexa took a breath, gently nuzzling Clarke instead.

Clarke had never been happier in her life. She was floored by the feelings Lexa evoked in her, by the delicacy with which she was handled.

“Would you still like to go on our date?” Lexa asked, the teasing quip not lost on Clarke.

“Of course.” Clarke breathed, her arms going up to lace around Lexa’s neck, content to gaze into her eyes forever.

“After you.” Lexa smiled, pressing a soft kiss to Clarke’s forehead as she shut the door behind them, well aware of the high pitched squeals she heard from the top of the stairs, accompanied by, “Lincoln never did THAT!”

Pleasant small talk was made until Lexa stopped the car in front of TonDC Bistro, stepping out to beat the valet at opening Clarke’s door for her.

Clarke, as expected, had to stifle a gasp. “Here? You didn’t.”

Lexa gave her a pleased little smirk as she laced her hand with Clarke’s, tossing her key to the valet, who seemed to recognize her, or her car at the very least.

“Lex, this place is the highest rated, most expensive restaurant in the entire city.” Clarke whispered, surprised to find Lexa smiling amusedly.

“Perks of having the last name Woods.” Lexa shrugged slightly, stepping through the open door with Clarke in tow, gently rubbing her hand with her thumb every now and then.

The hostess straightened when they approached, a smile on her features. “Alexandria.” She perked up. “Your usual?”

Lexa’s nod was all Clarke saw as she was gently led by Lexa’s hands at the small of her back. They passed the usual diners, all the likes of Lexa’s family, Clarke noted. They all appeared to be wealthy business types, with several romantic dates thrown in for good measure.

Lexa strode on with a bored expression, and Clarke felt instantly more comfortable knowing that she was with someone who belonged there. It was a stark contrast to the Dropship, that was for sure. It wasn’t that Clarke hadn’t had nice evenings out before. Quite the contrary, her father used to treat her mother and Clarke on every available occasion. Clarke had lived in the lap of luxury. Perhaps not as much as Lexa, whose parents headed what Clarke believed to be a fortune 500 company, but it was luxurious, nonetheless. And then Jake passed away, and things had changed dramatically.

But those were woes to reflect on later.

Clarke and Lexa were led to the private table in the back, where candles had been lit, silent and away from the main traffic of the rest of the restaurant. Needless to say, Clarke was impressed.

“The chef will be out momentarily.” The hostess promised, and the two were left alone.

Lexa was casually leaning across the table, and Clarke mirrored her actions, her widened eyes perhaps giving her way.

“Still breathing, Griffin?” Lexa teased casually.

“Yeah.” Clarke replied softly. “So, we kind of already know each other. What do we even talk about?”

Lexa couldn’t tell her that she was simply content to stare into those cerulean eyes for hours. “Whatever you like.” She replied gently. “Family’s always good. Shall I start us off?”

“Okay.” Clarke nodded, propping herself up on one elbow.

“I am the daughter of…my parents.” Lexa said the last part with a disdainful sniff.

“No, really?” Clarke faked a gasp.

Lexa rolled her eyes. “Sorry, I just…rather dislike talking about them.”

“They’re in Paris, right?” Clarke asked gently, rubbing her thumb over Lexa’s hand.

“For business.” Lexa nodded, accepting Clarke’s warmth. “Aden and I are staying with Indra and Gustus, Anya’s parents.”

“For how long?” Clarke asked. She was suddenly terrified of the thought of Lexa leaving halfway through the year.

“Until school ends.” Lexa confirmed. “Aden might be here longer, who knows?”

“You worry about him.” Clarke commented astutely.

“I love him.” Lexa answered without hesitation. “Aden is my only priority. Making sure he doesn’t feel alone, without our parents…”

“I love him too.” Clarke murmured softly, locking eyes with Lexa. “He’s amazing. You did a really great job with him, Lexa.”

Lexa felt her heart stop, which was quickly becoming commonplace with Clarke around. Before she could say anything, she was greeted by the sight of a waiter and the head chef, who’d been smiling at them. “Alexandria.” She smiled, clapping her hand on Lexa’s shoulder. “And your beautiful girlfriend.” She turned to Clarke.

Clarke blinked away her surprise, a small smile forming when Lexa did nothing to correct the chef, who appeared to be a close family friend. Who exactly had Clarke scored a date with?

“Might I suggest trying our new seasonal course?” She smiled at Lexa, who glanced at Clarke, not wanting to order for her. “Paired with some celebratory champagne for your recovery, of course.”

Clarke had to hide her look of absolute surprise as Lexa nodded and the waiter returned with the iced champagne, showing her the bottle for approval before serving them with a grand smile, watching them disappear into the kitchen.

“I’m driving, so…only a sip for me.” Lexa announced gently, eyeing Clarke with an amused smile.

“You have connections.” Clarke couldn’t contain the awe in her tone.

“I use them to win over beautiful girls.” Lexa acknowledged teasingly, lifting her flute.

“What should we toast to?” Clarke smiled back, unable to contain her happiness.

“To you.” Lexa grinned.

“To us.” Clarke corrected, as their flutes clinked, tossing back the golden liquid with ease.

Lexa watched her, licking her lips subconsciously, a smile dancing on her luscious lips.

“Hmm.” Clarke took in a breath. “Now I see why Costia was so into you.”

Lexa wore a playful smile, good natured about Costia. Clarke was more important. “ The champagne? Well, that’s true. But it doesn’t hurt that I look absolutely incredible shirtless.”

Clarke’s cheeks reddened and she rolled her eyes. “Now there’s the Lexa I hate.”

Lexa smiled, picking Clarke’s hand up, gently bringing it to her lips, kissing it softly.

“And…there’s the Lexa I really, really like.” Clarke replied breathlessly.

“They’re one and the same.” Lexa teased, lacing her hand with Clarke’s.

“Then I suppose I can tolerate your…arrogant side.” Clarke huffed in faux exasperation.

“Tolerate?” Lexa quipped. “You mean you’re trying to tell me you don’t find it attractive?”

“I do.” Clarke blurted slightly, eyes widening at the way her own words betrayed her.

“Good.” Lexa smiled. “Because I happen to find your…stubbornness…endearing, too.”

“I am not stubborn.” Clarke shot defensively. Then, her lips parted, and she seemed to realize that she just counteracted her own point. “Okay…” She smirked. “Maybe a little.”

When their food came, they fell silent for a few moments, just to savor how amazing it was. Clarke quietly thanked Lexa, not for the first time that evening, and Lexa gave her thigh a reassuring squeeze under the table.

When they did speak, however, the banter, or the serious conversation, came naturally to them. They were simply at ease with each other, though their glances were charged with an otherworldly electricity. Clarke had never felt anything like it. It was as if she were receiving a burn, and ice on it, all at once.

“Can I ask you something?” Clarke asked gently, gazing into Lexa’s emerald stare from across the table.

“Anything.” Lexa answered solemnly.

“When did you first realize you liked me?” Clarke asked, slightly abashed.

Lexa answered without hesitation. “When I first saw you, when you dropped your notebook on me.”

Clarke’s cheeks burned crimson red. “Lexa, please.”

“Honestly.” Lexa smiled. “That was probably the first attraction, but actually, truly liking you…When I saw you get ice cream with Aden at the mall.”

Clarke’s brows shot up. “You weren’t even there!” She protested. “Were you?”

Lexa sighed. “I was on a date with Costia…sort of.” She corrected when she saw a flash of apprehension in Clarke’s eyes. “I saw how you treated him, and I just…Costia always pushed him to the side, and I did too, because of that. He loves you, Clarke.”

Clarke couldn’t help her warm smile at that.

“And you?” Lexa asked gently. “Or do I still have to win your affections?”

“You have them.” Clarke replied instantly. “Long before this dinner, mind you.”

“When?” Lexa pressed. “If I may.”

“The library.” Clarke sighed thoughtfully. “The way you held me…I just…I know it’s pathetic, or whatever, but-”

“Clarke.” Lexa spoke softly, her words wrapping around Clarke’s insecurities and ushering them away. “It’s not pathetic. You needed someone. I wanted…want to be that person. Should you need me.”

Clarke blinked away the tears in her eyes, feeling as though she offered Lexa some form of an explanation. “My father.” She began quietly, barely audible over the din of the restaurant. “He…he…”

Lexa shook her head, and Clarke knew she didn’t need to say any more.

Instead, her gaze flickered up to find the waiter bringing them a lavish looking slice of chocolate cake, with fudge and cream slowly cascading down the sides. He’d left a single fork, bowed slightly, and turned on his heel.

“Is that part of your routine?” Clarke teased as Lexa frowned. “Sharing the fork?”

“No, I’ll flag him down.” Lexa murmured, but Clarke pulled her down by the wrist.

“Well, take advantage.” Clarke smirked. “Feed me, Woods.”

Lexa’s eyes widened slightly as her deft fingers wrapped around the small fork, slicing into the cake as she carefully carved out a bite. She raised it to Clarke, who leaned forward to accept it, lips parting for Lexa. She let out a quiet moan, uncontrolled, as she tasted the chocolate, a small dab on her lower lip from Lexa’s surprised little jerking motion.

“Here…” Lexa murmured, leaning forward and brushing the chocolate off with the edge of her thumb, trying not to focus on how soft Clarke’s lips felt. “Is it good?”

“Heavenly.” Clarke answered, stealing the fork from Lexa’s hand. “Your turn.”

Lexa smirked and leaned forward, accepting her piece with great ease as she licked her lips, noticing the way Clarke stared and swallowed slightly.

The cake was conquered tandem style, and Lexa rose, gently pulling out Clarke’s chair for her.

“The bill, Lex.” Clarke murmured, reaching for her wallet.

“Oh, as if that’s happening.” Lexa scoffed, lacing her hand with Clarke’s, who wore a very confused expression.

Clarke stood, feeling suddenly very heavy hearted. This was it. Her beautiful night with Lexa, coming to a close. All she wanted was to be with her until the sun came up. Her thoughts were only of Lexa. All her problems were long forgotten.

She leaned heavily into Lexa’s side, squeezing their interlaced fingers. Lexa, ever the dominant affectionate one, leaned down and pressed a kiss to Clarke’s head, separating when they reached their running car at the curb.

Lexa, ever the gentlewoman, opened Clarke’s door for her first, before slipping in and beginning their descent back towards Clarke’s. Clarke found Lexa’s hand on the gear shift, and as soon as she tentatively brushed it against Lexa’s, Lexa picked up their interlaced hands and kissed Clarke’s, holding it against her lips as she drove.

Say something, Clarke. Be vocal. Be brave.

Clarke swallowed the lump in her throat and murmured, “Lexa?”

Lexa’s full attention was on her, though she kept her eyes on the road. “Clarke?”

“Do you think we could maybe…I don’t know…Go somewhere else?” Clarke asked softly.

“What do you mean?” Lexa asked gently, and Clarke recognized the streets. They were nearing the suburban areas by Arkadia.

“I’m not ready to go home.” Clarke confessed. “And my mom said curfew is eleven, so-”

Lexa pressed another kiss to Clarke’s hand, smiling against it. “I know just the place.” She whispered.

Clarke felt her heart flutter and practically die at the news, watching as Lexa drove up a broad hill she vaguely recognized, stopping the car at the top. Clarke’s heart nearly exploded when she realized that this was the residential street behind their flower field. Lexa had remembered.

“Is this alright?” Lexa asked hesitantly.

“It’s perfect.” Clarke agreed, and within seconds, Lexa was out, turning to get Clarke’s door.

Clarke shivered at the small gust of chilly night air that greeted her, and she cursed herself for not wearing a jacket. Lexa, of course, noticed instantly.

“You’re cold.” Lexa murmured, hands on Clarke’s shoulders.

“A little.” Clarke admitted.

“Wait.” Lexa smiled, reaching into her trunk, as Clarke waited curiously. She produced her letterman, grinning when she saw Clarke’s eyes light up.

“You’re my god.” Clarke thanked her exaggeratedly as Lexa held it for her to slip her arms in. It smelled like Lexa, and Clarke was in heaven once more, as they made their way onto the field.

They found their spot, the little clearing in the center, where the swaying flowers wouldn’t be damaged. Lexa sat, her hands going back to support her. Clarke sat beside her, instantly regretting wearing a dress.

“You warming up?” Lexa asked concernedly.

“Yes.” Clarke answered leaning against her. “Hold me anyway?”

Lexa smiled at that, leaning back until she was laying down, gently tugging Clarke down over her. Clarke let out a surprised little squeal, and her cerulean gaze found Lexa’s.

“Hey.” Lexa whispered familiarly.

“Hi.” Clarke replied breathlessly, her lips attacking Lexa’s with an unruly fervor. “I wanted to do this….this whole time.” She admitted in a soft whine, biting on Lexa’s lip as she deepened the kiss after a moment or two of teasing.

Lexa’s lips were soft and inviting as she kissed Clarke back with vigor, toned arms sliding around Clarke, securing their bodies together. They kissed heatedly, Lexa’s hand rubbing Clarke’s thigh calmingly, under her hiked up dress.

Clarke was so glad she’d worn a dress.

Where Clarke expected Lexa’s hands to wander, they remained firmly in place, only anchoring Clarke to her. Clarke gave Lexa’s bottom lip one last little brush with her tongue before pulling back slightly, finding Lexa’s gaze once more.

“We should do this more often.” Clarke decided, lips seeking Lexa’s neck as she sucked gently, now fully aware of the mark she was creating.

Lexa hummed a response, her head back against the dewy earth. Her fingers drew delicate designs on Clarke’s back.

“Who would’ve thought?” Clarke murmured, her lips brushing against Lexa’s ear. “You, the spoiled jock…” Clarke teased, nipping at Lexa’s collarbone, her hips slowly, subconsciously rolling against Lexa’s toned midsection. “-And me, the annoying teacher’s pet.”

“Not how I see you, at all.” Lexa whispered, tucking a stray hair behind Clarke’s ear. “You’re the insanely beautiful, thoughtful, caring artist.”

Clarke turned red at that, shaking her head. “And you’re the most tender, romantic, loving friend.” She whispered, biting her lip in apology.

“I like being wrong about you, Clarke Abigail Griffin.” Lexa replied, meeting Clarke’s lips in a delicate, pulling kiss.

“And I really enjoying being wrong about you…” She paused, smirking against Lexa’s lips.

“Did you forget my name already?” Lexa teased, kissing Clarke’s jaw.

“No, wait…” Clarke paused. “I just realized, I don’t even know your full name. And I’m making out with you, on the most amazing date of my life, in the middle of a flower field.”

Lexa chuckled at that, hands cupping Clarke’s cheeks. “Alexandria.” She kissed Clarke’s forehead. “Anastasia, my mother’s name.” She kissed Clarke’s cheeks. “Woods.” She pulled Clarke in for a final kiss to the lips, pressing their foreheads together. “But you knew that last part.”

Clarke nodded, repeating it like a mantra. “Alexandria Anastasia Woods.” She murmured. “That’s the most beautiful name I’ve ever heard in my life.”

“No one calls me Alexandria.” Lexa shrugged softly, her thumbs dragging across Clarke’s lips, as if mapping out her face for memory.

“Could I?” Clarke half teased, wanting to know exactly how much she could get away with.

“Of course.” Lexa replied instantly, nuzzling Clarke’s face. “You could call me anything you wanted.”

“I love Alexandria.” Clarke admitted, settling her face into the burrow of Lexa’s neck, grateful for the warmth of the letterman. “But Lexa might be who I fell for.”

Lexa grinned at the small confession, her hands gently stroking Clarke’s hair, their legs tangled.

“Can we maybe never move?” Clarke asked softly, lips tickling Lexa’s neck. “This is the happiest I’ve been in…a long time.”

Lexa held Clarke as tightly as she could, feeling the blonde melt into her. She closed her eyes for a moment, savoring the feel. “Me too, Clarke.” She whispered.

"I could sleep like this." Clarke admitted, though to Lexa's dismay, she rolled off, laying on her side as Lexa mirrored her actions, so that they were fully facing each other.

"Yeah?" Lexa answered with a pleased smile. "I'm so glad my pickup lines worked, then."

"Oh, yeah." Clarke teased. "That definitely did it for me." She traced her hand along Lexa's abs over the thin fabric of her dress. "Those...might have helped." She mumbled cheekily.

Lexa smirked, leaning forward to steal a quick kiss. "You're telling me you're only here for my looks?"

"And your money." Clarke corrected with a teasing smirk, her heart fluttering when Lexa laughed quietly. "But, seriously, Lexa... I really like you." The last part was shy, unassuming. It gave Lexa's heart wings.

"And I really like you, Clarke Griffin." Lexa replied, arms seeking Clarke's waist once more.

"Do you wanna do something totally cliche for teenagers on a date?" Clarke asked suddenly.

"A bit cold for skinny dipping, but what did you have in mind?" Lexa chimed, smirking when Clarke slapped her arm.

"Not that." Clarke rolled her eyes. "Stargazing."

"Damn." Lexa breathed. "I knew I was missing something in my romantic repertoire. I'm afraid I know nothing about the cosmos...except that your beauty certainly rivals it."

Clarke grinned up at her. "That was awful."

"Yeah? Why are you blushing, then?" Lexa teased, smiling when Clarke rested her head on Lexa's chest, Lexa's tight, muscled arms wrapping around her once more.

"Because it came from you." Clarke answered sheepishly, closing her eyes. "Look up."

"And tear my gaze away from the most beautiful-"

"Lex."

"I'm looking."

"Let's start with an easy one." Clarke murmured into Lexa's chest. "See the three in a row, horizontally?"

"Orion's belt?" Lexa guessed gently.

"Yes, actually." Clarke hummed. "Good guess. But you can actually see the full constellation. See the bright one, up towards the left?"

"Yes." Lexa answered in awe, as Clarke instructed her from memory alone.

"That's his arm. Well, part of it, anyway. That's Betelgeuse."

Lexa watched, her emerald eyes absorbing the twinkling of the stars above them, gracing them with soft light.

"Caelum should be up there, it's January." Clarke murmured.

"Caelum?" Lexa repeated unsurely.

"The chisel." Clarke smirked against her. "You know, the thing the gods used to carve out your jawline."

Lexa grinned, her laugh filling Clarke with an otherworldly happiness. "Why do you complain when I give you cheesy lines? That was fantastic. You like my jawline?"

Clarke snorted. "Don't let it go to your ego. I know you know. You probably check it out in the bathroom mirror every day for two hours."

"One hour." Lexa corrected. "The other hour is reserved for my guns."

Clarke grinned, leaning up to kiss Lexa's jawline, eliciting a small whine from the brunette. "It is nice, though." she conceded, unaware of how Lexa's heart thumped when she did so."Okay, now Taurus." Clarke spoke softly. "If you look at-"

"Clarke." Lexa spoke gently, her hands softly rubbing Clarke's back. "How do you know all this?"

"My dad." Clarke answered softly. "His work was...related to this." She didn't delve any deeper. Lexa seemed to understand.

"Well, if you ever want to cuss anyone out in french, about the stock market, I'm your girl." Lexa offered wryly, a hint of disdain at her parents' situation thrown in for good measure.

"No way." Clarke gasped, glancing up. "You speak French? Are you perfect?"

Lexa smirked. "No...That's just part of carrying the Woods last name. A lot of forced, unwanted classes. You know, it's funny. On the very first day of school, I was a little nervous, coming into Arkadia. And I got a tweet, not directly at me, but...you get the idea. And would you believe, without meeting me, someone called me a...what was it....an egotistical asshat?"

Clarke buried her face in Lexa's neck, muttering a quick, "I'm so sorry!"

Lexa's chuckle warmed her. "My point is...I probably deserved that, actually. So, no. Far from perfection."

Clarke found that hard to believe, but she kept her opinion to herself, instead settling on sitting up.

Lexa frowned, but Clarke shook her head before she could speak. "I want you to kiss me, Lex. Hard. Because you're not going to be able to kiss me like this with my mom watching like a hawk from the kitchen window."

Lexa was slightly shocked as she came to reality, cupping Clarke's cheeks once more as she tugged Clarke down, the moan she elicited from Clarke far better than anything she could've expected, giving her chills for the billionth time that night.


 

The drive home was made that much more difficult when the two realized they needed to separate in order to function normally, though Lexa held Clarke’s hand in her free one, and kept pressing kisses to it as she drove, making Clarke’s heart flutter incessantly.

She was really good at this romance business.

When she'd pulled up in front of Clarke's house, she had the most reluctant look on her face, rivaled only by Clarke's expression.

Lexa made a motion to get out, to open Clarke's door and walk her up the steps like the gentlewoman she was.

Clarke shook her head, tugging at Lexa's wrist, enjoying the way Clarke's porch light reflected on Lexa's face, which was otherwise encased in darkness. "Wait. "She requested, and Lexa stilled.

"Everything alright?" Lexa asked, watching as Clarke nodded, leaning over to cup Lexa's cheeks, going in for soft, feather light kisses.

Lexa's eyes widened slightly and she grinned against Clarke's lips, running her hands down Clarke's sides. It wasn't long before she let out a silent pout of frustration.

"What's the matter?" Clarke asked softly, detaching to take a breath.

"I can't hold you." Lexa replied, voice smooth as velvet.

Clarke smiled at that, shaking her head. "I wasn't even supposed to kiss you. I was asking for something else, and got sidetracked."

"Sidetracked?" Lexa echoed.

"You know, you have the most kissable lips." Clarke hummed thoughtfully. "They're soft, and plump, and perfect-"

Lexa was kissing her again, as a thank you of sorts, clearly flattered by the compliment.

Clarke sighed against her kiss, her hands sliding down to reach for Lexa's purse, seated on the chair beside her.

Lexa cocked a brow, breaking the kiss to utter, "Do you need something, Clarke?" It wasn't accusing at all, rather, concerned. Almost as if Lexa would give Clarke all the contents of her purse if she asked with a smile.

"Your phone." Clarke requested softly. "Can you unlock it?"

Lexa smiled questioningly. "The passcode is 1313."

Clarke lifted a brow, a smirk on her features. "You trust me that much on the first date?"

Lexa rolled her eyes. "I have nothing to hide, Clarke."

Clarke smirked. "I do."

Lexa felt her heart skip a beat at that, watching as Clarke licked her lips, opening up her own contact name. "What'll it be, Commander?"

Lexa thought momentarily. "Heart emojis. Lots of them. Also the kissing one." She decided regally.

Clarke grinned at her, shaking her head. "Whatever you say."

Lexa smirked. "Also, the lips...yeah, those are the ones. And the tongue. And the water drops-"

Clarke slapped her arm playfully, and Lexa's smile surfaced. "I'm only teasing." She reminded gently.

"Why so many hearts?" Clarke asked, seemingly already knowing the answer.

"Because I'm smitten." Lexa replied easily, pressing a kiss to Clarke's jaw.

Clarke inhaled shakily, handing the phone back to Lexa as she brandished her own, opening up Lexa's contact name.

"Hey." Lexa protested. "Why is there a skull emoji next to my name?"

Clarke snorted. "I didn't like you very much before."

Lexa smiled against her neck, pressing a suckling kiss there.

"If you leave a mark, my mom will skin me alive." Clarke murmured, but it came out as a sort of moan.

Lexa kissed a little harder, and Clarke was uncomfortable with just how much the disobedience turned her on.

"Y...yours..." Clarke cleared her throat, and Lexa detached reluctantly. "Yours will be..." She looked thoughtful. "Commander Hearteyes. With the hearteyes emoji."

Lexa looked amused. "That name is reserved for you to use, and you only. As in, no one else."

"Yes, Commander. Of course, Commander." Clarke scoffed playfully.

"Okay then." Lexa smiled, reluctantly getting out of the car, immediately going over to Clarke's door.

"I kind of love that." Clarke admitted softly and Lexa offered her a smile as she took her hand, leading her up the steps.

Clarke glanced around warily, making sure her mother was nowhere in sight.

"Lex." She turned to the brunette, lacing her arms around her neck, smiling when Lexa didn't hesitate to wrap her arms around Clarke's waist.

This was quickly becoming their favorite position.

"Thank you for giving me the pleasure of taking you out." Lexa whispered, brushing her lips delicately against Clarke's.

"I enjoyed it. A lot." Clarke confessed breathlessly, feeling absolutely giddy inside.

"Me too." Lexa smiled, giving her hips a soft squeeze.

"Clarke?" A voice called from within. "That you?"

Clarke's eyes widened and she pressed one last kiss to Lexa's lips as she pushed the brunette playfully. "Save yourself."

Lexa's eyes twinkled when she murmured, "Goodnight, Clarke."

"Goodnight, Lex."


 

Once more, Clarke woke with an air of uncertainty, not entirely sure where she and Lexa stood in terms of their relationship, but as opposed to the last time, she now knew, without a doubt, that Lexa appeared to be just as into Clarke as Clarke was into her.

Additionally, this time, Clarke didn’t wake up with a smirking Raven next to her, for which she was eternally grateful. The other girl had enough blackmail material on Clarke to last a lifetime, and Clarke didn’t want to give her anything else to work with.

She’d fallen asleep with Lexa’s letterman draped around her, and she sighed contentedly as she smelled it, breathing in Lexa’s familiar, oh so lovely scent.

“Griff!” She groaned and pulled the covers over her head when her least favorite voice to hear in the mornings, and whined when the blankets were yanked away from her. “Come on, sleepy head, time to go and conquer the day.”

“Five more minutes, Raven,” Clarke muttered, but the other girl was relentless, and Clarke yelped as Raven pulled her off of the bed, flopping onto the floor with little grace.

“Bitch,” she scowled, rubbing her head with Raven grinned. “Why do I bother setting alarms on my phone when you always wake me up before them?”

“Asking the real questions, I see,” Raven laughed, “but seriously, c’mon, get your ass in gear, Octavia and I have so many questions.”

Clarke had hoped to prolong the inevitable inquisition, but she had no such luck.

She dressed quickly, pulling Lexa’s letterman over her shirt, before she went downstairs where she could smell bacon.

“Morning, mom,” she greeted, mood lifted as the memories of the night previous once more floated though her brain, pressing a quick kiss to Abby’s cheek.

“Good morning, honey,” Abby responded, “Raven, don’t eat all the bacon.”

“Of course not, Mama G,” Raven quipped, and Clarke practically floated around the kitchen gathering her breakfast.

“Is that… Woods’ letterman?”

“Good eye, Mama G,” Raven grinned, “Woods took Clarke out on a hot date last night.”

“Pardon?”

“It was great, mom,” Clarke gushed, “Lexa was the perfect gentlewoman, she took me out to dinner and then we went stargazing.”

“Where did you eat?” Abby asked, though her voice sounded somewhat strained.

“TonDC,” Clarke mentioned off-handedly, biting into a piece of bacon. Raven choked on her food and Abby dropped her fork.

“That place is ridiculously expensive,” Raven coughed.

“Only the best for a Woods, I suppose,” Abby muttered.

“Man, Griff, she really must have wanted to get into your pants.” Clarke scowled and hit Raven’s shoulder lightly, ignoring her mother’s stern look.

“She didn’t even ask, thanks for asking, Rae,” Clarke glared, “like I said, she was the perfect gentlewoman.”

“If you say so,” Raven muttered under her breath, and Abby sighed before returning to her own breakfast.

Clarke often forgot the effect Lexa had on people.

Usually, when she entered the bustling hallways of Arkadia High, it took a lot of effort and a lot of Raven yelling in order to make it to any classes, because students had no regard for space and no courtesy for other people. But, wearing Lexa’s letterman, students parted like the red sea, muttering under their breath and no doubt spreading the word down the gossip mill of the fact.

Clarke, however, was too busy thinking about Lexa to notice, but Raven was reaping the benefits, experimentally spreading out her arms and marvelling about how much room they had to walk.

“Good morning, Clarke,” Niylah greeted as Clarke walked into the room, and she shot the teacher a radiant smile.

“It is, isn’t it?”

“Woods,” Raven muttered under her breath in passing, and Niylah nodded, pleased.

Aden, as it turned out, wasn’t the only one who shipped Clexa.

As the first bell rang, and students came filtering in, Clarke’s eyes were trained on the doorway looking for one person in particular. Her person.

Well, not officially, but that’s what it felt like.

Lexa strode in, confidently as ever, and the moment her eyes made contact with Clarke’s, a brilliant smile stretched across her face.

She moved to sit besides Clarke quickly, but stayed standing for a moment to pick up Clarke’s hand, and she pressed a soft kiss to the smooth skin.

“My lady,” she grinned, and Clarke rolled her eyes, pulling Lexa down for what she intended to be a quick kiss, but Lexa drew out for as long as possible, tugging on her bottom lip playfully..

“You’re a dork,” she laughed breathlessly, and Lexa winked at her.

“You love it.”

As Niylah talked, Clarke held out her right hand under the table, and smiled when it linked with Lexa’s left as she continued to take notes before Niylah released them to work.

“So…” Clarke fought the urge to groan again as Octavia and Raven slid up to join them. “Woods.”

“Reyes, Blake,” Lexa greeted, a smirk tugging on her lips, “what can I do for you?”

“What can you do for us?” Octavia parroted back. “I think the real question here is: what can you do for Clarke ?”

“Guys,” Clarke whined, “go be annoying somewhere else.”

“Hush, Clarke, the grownups are talking,” Raven quelled, before turning back to Lexa.

“So, Woods, about your technique…” she trailed off as Niylah approached, an eyebrow raised.

“I thought we were supposed to be working, not harassing your classmates.” Raven grinned up at her cheekily, and Octavia followed suit.

“We are working,” Raven informed her dutifully, “on fulfilling our duties as Clarke’s best lady friends.”

“I’m sure you can do that in Charles’ class, not mine,” Niylah laughed, “shoo.” Reluctantly, the two of them made their way back to their own table, and Niylah winked at Clarke, whose cheeks were flushed pink.

“That’ll keep you safe for a little while longer.”

She walked back to the front of the classroom and Clarke turned towards Lexa, grinning, only to see Lexa scowling.

“Lexa? What’s up?”

“She winked at you,” Lexa huffed, and Clarke rolled her eyes.

“Niylah isn’t into me, Lex, she was just being nice.”

“Yeah but she didn’t have to wink at you,” Lexa insisted, and Clarke pressed a quick kiss to Lexa’s cheek, drawing the football player’s attention away from their english teacher.

“Niylah is the least of your worries, Lexa,” Clarke assured her, “besides, I’m too infatuated with a certain quarterback to pay anyone else any attention.”

“Really?” Lexa feigned ignorance. “Who do I have to fight for your affections?”

“Strong girl, you might not make it out on top,” Clarke teased.

“I always come out on top,” Lexa promised with a grin, and Clarke laughed, “you think that’s funny, Griffin?”

“Hilarious,” Clarke teased, and Lexa’s eyes narrowed playfully, moving to tickle Clarke’s sides gently, provoking an onslaught of giggles from the blonde, which Lexa decided were one of her new favorite sounds in the entire world.

“What is it,” Clarke sighed once Lexa relented in her tickling endeavor, “with us and not working when we’re supposed to?”

“It’s your fault, really,” Lexa responded almost immediately, “how am I supposed to work when someone that beautiful is right next to me?” Clarke couldn’t help her blush at that one, feeling the heat rise in her cheeks.

She still couldn’t quite wrap her head around the fact that Lexa truly thought she was beautiful.

Clarke knew that Lexa was by far the more attractive of the two of them, so the fact that it was Lexa who constantly told Clarke about how stunning she was boosted her confidence quite liberally, but also reminded her of her own crippling issues with her body. She knew that she would never reach the sheer level of physical perfection that Lexa had attained, and honestly felt self-conscious while around the other girl, despite her constant reminders that she thought Clarke was the best thing since sliced bread.

It was amazing to Clarke, that of all the people Lexa could have chosen, she had chosen her .

Clarke Griffin.

“Hey.” She was drawn out of her thoughts when Lexa nudged her gently with her pencil. “You get lost there?”

“A little,” Clarke admitted, suddenly feeling very small and very shy.

“What’s happening in that wonderful brain of yours,” Lexa voiced aloud, “I’d love to know.”

“Most of it has to do with you,” Clarke muttered, before her eyes widened, registering that she’d said that outloud and not in her head as she’d assumed she had.

“All good thoughts, I hope?” Lexa asked, and Clarke pushed her lightly.

“Not with that attitude, no,” Clarke laughed, “don’t want to inflate your ego too much, Woods.”

“Oh, so it’s Woods again, Griffin?” Lexa teased. “And here I thought we were getting somewhere in our relationship.”

“That’s what you thought, Airbud ,” Clarke shot back, and Lexa rolled her eyes.

“Let that die,” Lexa plead, and Clarke smirked at her.

“What, and let the world forget my most iconic comeback? I don’t think so.”

“But I’m not a golden retriever,” Lexa insisted, “I’m the commander . Badass extraordinaire. Not some… puppy .”

“Yes you are,” Clarke deadpanned, “that’s exactly what you are. A puppy.” Lexa scowled. “It’s okay, though, I find it endearingly cute.”

“I’m not aiming for cute, though,” Lexa complained.

“Oh? What were you aiming for, then?”

“Sexy, hot, fuckable, take your pick,” Lexa rattled off, and Clarke sighed exasperatedly, though inwardly she agreed with every single one of those adjective Lexa had listed. The girl practically radiated sex appeal.

“A valiant effort,” Clarke laughed, and Lexa huffed, turning back to her work, but Clarke knew that she wasn’t really mad at her, as their hands were still linked under the table, Lexa’s thumb tracing shapes on the pale expanse of Clarke’s skin.

“I guess I’ll have to try harder next time,” she sighed, and Clarke pressed another kiss to her cheek.

“I think you’re doing pretty well.”

“Yeah?”

“Mhmm.”


 

Lexa had, once again, offered to carry Clarke's books for her in one hand, the other laced with Clarke's as they set off to Kane's class together, occasionally bumping shoulders and smiling rather stupidly at each other.

This time, however, Clarke seemed to realize that walking through the hallways was a lot easier than usual.

"Interesting." Clarke murmured to herself, cerulean eyes surveying the scene of students desperately getting out of their way.

"What is?" Lexa inquired curiously, tilting her head like a puppy.

And goddamn, if it wasn't the cutest thing Clarke had ever seen, especially since it was from the usually stoic, leering Commander Lexa.

"It's been almost a full minute, an honest to god sixty actual seconds without a freshman...or any underclassmen bumping into me." Clarke thought aloud.

Lexa frowned defensively. "They bump into you?"

Clarke paused for a moment before grinning in disbelief, tugging Lexa's jacket a little closer. "Oh my god." She breathed. This hadn't happened since the first day back from New Year's Eve. It was the letterman.

More than that, however, it was simply Lexa freaking Woods.

"Unbelievable." Clarke breathed.

"Clarke, as much as I love conversing with you, it's really hard to do so when you only speak every other word aloud." Lexa teased, giving her hand a squeeze.

"It's you." Clarke rolled her eyes. "I can't believe it. The students are giving me neck room because I'm either with you, or wearing your jacket, or both."

Lexa smirked at that.

"This isn't fair." Clarke pouted, watching as Lexa slipped Clarke's books into her book bag, effectively making the load heavier to carry, but freeing up her other arm as well.

"It's intimidation." Lexa shrugged nonchalantly. "They know better than to get in my way."

Clarke rolled her eyes once more, quite the habit with Lexa. "It's respect. You're the Commander, aka, the most popular girl in school."

Lexa gave Clarke a teasing little smile, leaning in for a quick peck on the cheek. "So now I've transferred my powers to you, my lady."

Clarke sighed wistfully. "If only I could have you walking with me all the time."

"You can." Lexa smirked. "Because you'll always have my letterman."

Clarke paused, tugging the aforementioned jacket closer around herself, cutely defensive. "I what?"

"You heard me." Lexa's smirk never faltered. "It's yours, now."

Clarke's heart skipped a beat. Oh, god. This was officially serious now. Lexa meant business. This was the highest honor, the greatest compliment…

And this time, Clarke needed to accept.

"Really?" Clarke croaked out, hating herself for sounding as starstruck as she felt.

"I wouldn't want anyone else to wear it." Lexa murmured. They never broke stride, but her toned arm found its way around Clarke's waist, pulling her closer.

Oh, yeah, Clarke could get used to this.

"Now, when people see you..." Lexa smiled. "They'll know you're mine."

Clarke was a total believer in self identity, and fulfillment, and independence. Possessive relationships weren't her thing. But god, when Lexa said it ? She found herself wanting it, pressing against Lexa's side, catching and challenging each and every stare.

Yeah, she'd seen the way other girls had been gaping at the way Lexa was all over her. Good. She wanted them to see her with Lexa, in every way feasible.

"How am I supposed to pay you back for this?" Clarke wondered aloud.

"Pay me back?" Lexa scoffed. "It's a gift, Clarke. It's a token of our relationship, I-"

"I'm getting dinner for our next date." Clarke suggested wryly.

"What?" Lexa frowned, "Clarke, no, I'll pay- ...wait." Lexa felt her smirk tug at her pillowy lips. "Next date? As in, you want another?"

Clarke rolled her eyes. "Oh, did you not want one?"

Lexa froze, absolutely balking. "Wait, no! Clarke, that's not what I meant! Of course I absolutely want-"

Lexa froze when she felt Clarke laugh against her lips in a light, promising kiss, that immediately deepened. Lexa stopped by Kane's door as she snaked her arms around Clarke's waist, moaning softly as she pressed Clarke against her own body, sucking softly on her bottom lip as she was granted access.

Normally, any other couple would have been wolf whistled at.

Lexa's presence deterred any of that behavior, and Clarke was soaking it up.

"It would be my honor to have another date with you." Lexa murmured as she pulled away, their foreheads pressed together.

Clarke cupped Lexa's cheeks, immediately blushing herself when she noticed that Lexa was being genuine, all the bravado from her voice now gone. "Really?" She asked softly, though she believed Lexa wholeheartedly.

"Really." Lexa affirmed, leaning back in to kiss her some more.

"Lexa." Clarke whined softly. "We have..." Another luscious kiss filled the space where her words should've been, and Clarke groaned, trying to remember anything other than how much she was attracted to Lexa . "Class." She panted. "We have class."

"Do we?" Lexa feigned confusion. "I could've sworn we were about to go to my car to continue this little session of ours."

Clarke bit her lip to hide her grin. Lexa was just as eager as she was.

"Do you know what's good about being the TA, Clarke?" Lexa murmured, her hands coming up to brush Clarke's cheeks, gently rubbing across her lips, feeling their softness.

"Hmm?" Clarke answered a little distractedly.

"I get to come and check on you." Lexa whispered, leaning forward to place a kiss on Clarke's neck, sending shivers up the blonde's spine, in the rapidly emptying hallways. "So..." kiss. "You better..." kiss. "Be good." Lexa stopped at Clarke's favorite spot, suckling gently, causing Clarke to moan softly, biting her lip.

"Ladies!" Kane called from down the hallway, clearly not able to see what they were up to.

"Sir!" Clarke stumbled back, though Lexa steadied her with lightning quick reaction.

"Isn't it a beautiful day?" Kane hummed cheerily as he pushed the door to his classroom open.

Lexa cocked a brow, leaning forward, lips grazing Clarke's ear to mumble, "He's definitely getting some."

Clarke smirked and nodded, allowing Lexa to hold the door for her as they slipped into the room.


 

Lexa knew, the moment that Clarke was called out of chemistry to go and help her mother, that she was in for a wild experience.

Conveniently enough, Pike was absent, and a substitute teacher sat in his place, absentmindedly completing the crossword and letting the students do whatever they wanted, so long as they didn’t draw his attention.

Barely a moment after Clarke’s form disappeared from behind the closed door, there was a flurry of movement, and Lexa found herself surrounded, outnumbered, by delinquents.

Bellamy, as always, fixed her with a glare, which Lexa happily returned, before she turned to observe the others situated around her.

Monty shot her an apologetic glance, and Lexa’s gaze softened when it reached him, because she knew Monty was a pacifist at heart, and was likely only a part of the intimidation party by moral obligation. Jasper, likewise, was just sitting and grinning, and Murphy besides him looked as bored as always. Raven and Octavia, however, Lexa was the most worried about.

“Delinquents,” Lexa sighed, “I’m assuming this is the part where you threaten to dismember me if I hurt Clarke?”

“Oh no,” Raven grinned, a glint in her eyes that was frankly disturbing, “you wouldn’t get off that easily.”

“I really don’t see the need for this―”

“You see, Woods,” Raven continued, “I actually kinda like you. But Clarke? Clarke is special, Clarke is like…” she trailed off, searching for an apt descriptor.

“Monty’s mom’s chocolate cake,” Jasper supplied.

“An unlimited supply of puppies.”

“Hot cocoa on a cold day.”

“The sweet embrace of death.”

“O kay , Murphy, maybe not that one, but I think she gets it,” Raven interjected, and Murphy offered her a jaunty salute, “anyways, Clarke is the best, deserves the best, and we’re here to make sure that happens.” She fixed Lexa with a steely look. “Are you that?”

“I can only try to be,” Lexa answered honestly, and Bellamy huffed at her response, obviously still wary of her intentions towards Clarke.

“Did you have something you wanted to say, Blake?” Lexa was never one to back down from a challenge, and she had plenty of problems with the male Blake twin.

“I do, actually,” Bellamy snipped, “you think that you’re the right thing for Clarke, but Clarke needs more than just some womanizing playboy who’s used to getting everything she wants. Clarke isn’t some sort of prize.”

“I know that!” Lexa seethed. “And what, like you’d be any better for her?”

“Clarke’s my friend,” Bellamy shot back, “one of my best friends, and I don’t want to see her get hurt.”

“I assure you that isn’t my intention Blake ,” Lexa almost snarled.

“Then what are your intentions? To fuck her and then leave her?”

“Why you little―”

“OKAY there. Bell, down boy, Woods, cool it. This is supposed to be a friend interrogation, not a war.” Lexa’s attention was drawn away by Raven snapping in front of her face. “Do I have your attention now? Sheesh, you two really need to just go punch a wall or something, get all of this negative energy out.”

“We aren’t trying to insult you,” Octavia added with a glare in her brother’s direction, “just a friendly reminder that if you hurt Clarke we’ll end you.”

“I mean, I set Bell on fire and I have sex with him,” Raven grinned, “imagine what I could do to someone who I don’t have sex with.” She paused, eyes briefly scanning the expanse of Lexa’s body. “Not for lack of attraction, though, because I’ve gotta admit you’re hot, Woods.”

“...thanks?” Lexa was well aware of the affect she had on other people, especially when it came to her looks, but she wasn’t sure if she was supposed to accept Raven’s compliment or reject it in this situation. Frankly, the conversation was giving her whiplash.

“No, seriously, we may not all look like we’re dangerous, but we could deal some serious damage. Bell’s already threatened to flatten you, and O’s been taking lessons from Lincoln.” Octavia grinned at the mention of her boyfriend and Lexa fought the urge to roll her eyes. “Murphy could… I don’t know, Murphy, what can you do?”

“Not draw giraffe legs, that’s for damn sure,” Murphy snarked, looking at his nails.

“Right, he’s new to the whole friend thing, Jasper could whip up some weird chemical cocktail to make you grow a third arm or something―”

“Raven that isn’t how chemistry works―”

“―and my homeboy Monty over here is almost as smart as me―”

“― almost ? Please , Reyes, I absolutely demolished you in the SAT―”

“―and would absolutely wreck you,” Raven concluded, before her eyes narrowed, “the fuck are you talking about, I got the higher SAT score?”

“In your dreams, maybe.”

“Oh it is on , you little―” Murphy cleared his throat, and Lexa turned her attention to the usually snarky boy, who at this point appeared to be the only sane delinquent in her presence, which was saying something, because it was Murphy .

“I think we’ve strayed off topic here,” his gaze shifted to Bellamy and Raven, who were shifting in their seats, though neither of them looked at all repentful.

“Anyways, Woods, the moral of this story is don’t fuck up.”

“I got that, thanks, Murphy.”

“Anytime, Woods, anytime.”

“Right,” Raven picked up, “what Murphy said. And now, to start off the in-depth description of the Reyes certified fuck-you-up procedure―” she stopped abruptly as the door to the classroom swung open once more, and Lexa sagged in relief as Clarke stepped through, and the blonde smiled brightly upon making eye contact with the surrounded girl.

“Hello again,” Clarke greeted happily before she leant down to deliver a swift kiss to Lexa’s lips, “I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” Lexa breathed, completely honestly.

“She was gone for like, ten minutes,” Murphy deadpanned.

“All the more reason to miss her,” Lexa shot back, and Murphy held up his hands in surrender, muttering something under his breath that sounded suspiciously like dramatic gay bullshit.

Raven was doing her best impression of an angel, and Clarke’s eyes narrowed visibly upon noticing the seating arrangement.

“You guys?” There was an edge to her tone, and Raven smiled innocently up at her.

“We were just having a nice chat with Lexy-loo here,” Raven assured her, and Lexa’s eyes narrowed at the nickname, “isn’t that right, Woods?”

“Oh, definitely,” she responded dryly, and Clarke sighed, shooing her friends away.

“Standard intimidation?”

“They tried,” Lexa laughed, “Reyes kept getting off-topic and Blake looked like he wanted to punch me.”

“Oh god I’m so sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Lexa consoled, pulling Clarke closer so that she could kiss her tenderly, “you saved me, my hero.”

“My friends are idiots.”

“I’ve never agreed with you more.”


 

Despite all that had been going on, what with Lexa dating Clarke, and Aden's secret beatings with Dax, solace could be found in Kru movie night.

As always, Lincoln, Aden, Lexa and Anya took a break from their significant others and, armed with handfuls of candy and popcorn, would settle down in Indra and Gus' theatre room to watch the chosen flick of the evening.

Clad in their pajamas, they'd all plopped themselves down on the reclining chairs. It felt like home.

Sure, they'd fight over the film to watch, but that was a welcomed struggle, one which Aden usually won, because all three of the older "Kru" members secretly catered to his every whim.

"Finding nemo?" Aden tried, browsing through the free selection on the smart tv.

"More like losing Anya." Anya snorted. "As in, if you pick that, I'm out."

Aden rolled his eyes when Lincoln laughed at that.

"Okay, well, what do you suggest, Anya? Lincoln?" Aden sassed.

Lincoln looked thoughtful. "You know what's a really good film I saw with Octavia?"

Anya rolled her eyes. "Enlighten us, loser."

"The notebook." Lincoln grinned excitedly. "But, god, you're gonna need tissues. And someone to cuddle with, and-"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa." Anya held a hand up in disbelief. "The notebook?" She snorted. "What are we, depressed straights?"

Lincoln looked hurt. "I'm not depressed." He protested. "I'm very happy, thanks."

Anya rolled her eyes. "The only excuse for that is if you were trying to get her to cry on your shoulder, so you could, you know..." Anya smirked. "Slip an arm around her, and-"

Aden gagged. "Guys! No! Don't you dare taint movie night!"

Anya snorted. "The Notebook would've tainted it for sure."

Aden sighed. "And what would you have chosen, Anya?"

"Oh, that's easy." Anya smirked. "Die Hard."

"Die Hard?" Aden repeated in disbelief.

Lincoln smirked now, having the upper hand. "Seriously An? Die Hard? That's your idea of romance? Hey, let's get snuggled up into our pj's and watch Die Hard!"

"Romance?" Anya snorted. "Who exactly would I be trying to romance here? My kid cousin, my rival cousin, or you?"

Aden ignored their banter, turning to Lexa. "Lex, back me up. Die Hard is barbaric."

Lexa was curled up in her seat, silent as ever, grinning at her lit phone screen, texting back and forth.

Commander Hearteyes :

They're being idiots. Arguing between The Notebook and Die Hard.

Clarke <3 :

Those are...starkly different.

Clarke :

What would you watch if I were there ? ;)

Commander Hearteyes :

You .

Clarke <3 :

Smooth.

Commander Hearteyes :

I'm just getting started ;)

Aden's smile softened, but it was too late. Anya was ready to pounce.

"Lexa!" She snapped. "Would you stop drooling over Griffin and get your ass into gear?"

Lexa rolled her eyes. "Die Hard is barbaric, The Notebook is pathetic, and I vote we should watch an old classic like Citizen Kane."

Anya made a disgusted face. "Citizen Kane?" She scoffed. "What are you? Like, eighty-seven? I think, when we asked for a movie, we meant one from this fucking millennium."

Lexa shrugged indifferently.

Aden sighed. "We're watching Mean Girls." He decided.

Lincoln lit up. "I love that movie!"

Anya rolled her eyes. "Why bother when we have Regina George-" she took a lollipop from the stack and threw it at Lexa's head. "-Right here!"

Lexa dodged quickly, ducking with a scowl on her features.

Anya was relentless. "Tell your girl it's movie night." She reiterated, just like when Lexa had been with Costia.

Lexa felt a smile tug at her lips. "Clarke's my girl." She whispered, and Aden grinned.

"Yes, sherlock, we know." Anya snorted, but she couldn't help the grin on her lips. She liked Clarke, because she'd never seen Lexa so happy, and alive.

"One sec." Lexa promised, whipping out her phone.

Commander Hearteyes :

Duty calls. The movie is starting. Will try to text you throughout,

Clarke <3 :

Don't you dare. Family time is important. Kiss Aden for me.

Lexa's heart did little flips when she read the message. God, Clarke was so amazing. It was nothing like the way Costia demanded her attention.

Commander Hearteyes :

Clarke, you're so, so incredible. And really hot.

Clarke <3 :

<3 Just text me later

Commander Hearteyes :

Count on it babe.

Lexa stowed her phone in her pocket, yanking Aden down by his arm when he'd walked by, intent on going to his seat. She grinned when he squealed slightly in surprise, peppering his face with kisses.

"Ew, Lex, stop!" Aden wheeze between fits of laughter. "This...Is SO gross..."

Lexa grinned. "Found your new weakness. It's kisses."

Aden rolled his eyes, shaking his head. "Never again." He reminded. "And NEVER in public."

Lincoln and Anya watched with amusement as Lexa let him stand, but not before giving him a quick kiss to the forehead.

"From Clarke." Lexa reminded gently, and shared Aden's grin as he sat back into his chair.

Chapter Text

The doorbell rang and a smile immediately crossed Lexa’s face, but before she could move to get up, Aden was out of his seat like a shot, bolting across the floor, his sock-clad feet easily skidding to his destination.

“I’ve got it!” he called unnecessarily over his shoulder, and Lexa laughed lightly as he practically flung the door open, Clarke’s face obscured by a large brown bag of groceries.

“Honey,” she called teasingly, and Lexa felt her smile widen, cheeks aching slightly from the pressure, “I’m home.” Aden took the groceries from her with ease, and Clarke smiled down at him and ruffled his hair, pressing a quick kiss to his forehead. At the sight of the two of them being so familiar with one another, Lexa felt herself turn into a small puddle of goo [gay], and she knew if she’d been alone a soft utterance of aww would have escaped her lips.

“Thanks, Aden,” Clarke laughed, before quickly making her way over to Lexa, who was leaning on the entrance to the kitchen. She pressed a soft kiss to both of the girl’s cheeks, before standing on tip-toe to reach Lexa’s forehead, kissing the spot between her eyebrows.

“Hey,” she whispered, somewhat breathlessly, as Lexa pulled her closer, the taller girl smiling down at her.

“What?” Lexa teased. “No kiss on the lips?”

“Not with that attitude, no,” Clarke shot back, and Lexa pouted. The blonde girl went to move away, but Lexa spun her back around, swallowing Clarke’s laugh as she pressed their lips together quickly. As she made to deepen the embrace, Aden coughed awkwardly, and Lexa huffed when Clarke pulled away with an apologetic glance.

“Sorry Aden,” Clarke laughed, and he shook his head, glancing between the two of them.

“I’ll be in my room, pretending I don’t exist,” he assured them, and Clarke abandoned Lexa’s side to pull him in for a quick hug.

“I’ll call you down when dinner’s ready,” she told him, “we don’t want you to starve, now, do we?” Aden grinned up at her before saluting at Lexa and scampering up the stairs.

“You’re so good with him,” Lexa murmured, once more pulling Clarke into an embrace, peppering kisses along her face.

“He’s a joy,” Clarke assured her, “he’s like, my new best friend.”

“I thought that was me?” Lexa pouted, and Clarke laughed softly.

“You’re a little more than that,” she consoled, and Lexa sighed contentedly, breathing in the scent of Clarke’s shampoo and revelling in the warmth that radiated from the other girl.

Despite her protests, Lexa was truly in awe of the way Clarke interacted with her little brother. No matter how many times she thought about it, or said it aloud, it was truly astounding to her.

Clarke was too good for her.

Lexa knew her own worth.

She was successful in everything she participated in, whether it be school, or sports, or just life in general. She’d entered the world leaps and bounds ahead of her peers just because of her name, and thus had grown up already displayed on a golden pedestal. But Clarke? Clarke was so much better than she could ever hope to be.

Clarke was wholesome and good in all of the places that Lexa lacked. She was brightness and sunshine and warmth while Lexa was a jaded echo of a person still trying to find her way in the world. While Lexa had worth in business and sports and wealth, Clarke was simply a good person, and Lexa often felt that she didn’t deserve her.

“Hey.” Lexa’s eyes opened slowly to find Clarke’s cerulean gaze locked onto her own, concern shining in bright orbs. “You okay?”

“Mhm,” Lexa assured, “just thinking.”

“You think too loud,” Clarke told her matter-of-factly, “and your stomach complains too loudly.” As if on cue, Lexa’s stomach grumbled, and the two girls exchanged a soft grin. “Methinks the commander needs sustenance.”

“My hero,” Lexa grinned, before moving with Clarke to the bag of groceries. “What are we making?”

“Pizza,” Clarke quipped, “my dad’s favorite.”

“Your dad had good taste,” Lexa shot back, and Clarke smiled at the memory.

“He would have liked you,” she said offhandedly as she pulled out ingredients, and Lexa grinned.

“Of course,” she parroted back, “he had good taste, remember?”

There was something about moving around the kitchen with Clarke that fuelled the domestic instincts within Lexa, and her mind couldn’t help but wander to a time in the future, she wasn’t sure how long, with her and Clarke dancing around a kitchen that was different, that was theirs , small voices in the background whining for their breakfast.

“How do you like your pies?” Clarke asked, wiggling her eyebrows. “Thick, or thin?”

“I like my pizza how I like my girls,” Lexa shot back with a smirk, “thicc.” Clarke rolled her eyes and thwacked Lexa on the head softly, to which the other girl just laughed.

“You’re an idiot, Alexandria,” Clarke complained, but Lexa merely batted her eyelashes at the artist.

“You love it, Miss Griffin,” Lexa shot back.

“Maybe a little,” Clarke conceded, before turning back to the dough in front of her, working it out with her hands.

“There’s going to be flour everywhere,” Lexa sighed, and Clarke quirked an eyebrow.

“That is what tends to happen when you make a pizza, Lex, flour gets everywhere.”

“Really?” Lexa snipped coyly, and Clarke looked up from her work.

“Lexa, what―” she yelped as Lexa deftly grabbed a handful of flour and flung it at the unassuming girl, grinning at the genuine outrage in Clarke’s voice.

“Alexandria Anastasia Woods!” Clarke laughed, picking up flour of her own, “get back here!” And so a chase around the kitchen ensued, flour thrown all around, and both girls were absolutely covered by the end of it, breathless and grinning when Clarke wrapped her arms around Lexa’s waist, pulling her in for a kiss.

“You taste like flour,” Lexa pouted, and Clarke rolled her eyes.

“Whose fault is that, dork?” she snarked, before shaking her head.

“I’m going to need to change shirts now, thanks, Lex,” she sighed, spreading sauce onto the finished pizza crust.

“I’ll go grab you one,” Lexa offered, and Clarke shot her a smile. The brunette made her way out of the kitchen and in the direction to the guest house where she’d taken up occupation, a spring to her step because of the events of the night so far.

Her own shirt was covered in flour, so she dug through her closet for two shirts, quickly discarding her current one in favor of a worn green flannel, and then continued to look for something for Clarke to wear. She paused, before her eyes settled on one shirt in specific, and a small grin made its way across her face as she grabbed it.

Perfect .

By the time she made it back to the kitchen, Clarke was humming to herself, dancing around as she sprinkled cheese onto the pizza, and Lexa walked up behind her, wrapping her arms around Clarke’s stomach and resting her head atop the other girl’s.

“Your shirt, milady,” she grinned, and Clarke turned around and kissed her before taking the shirt, not bothering to look at it.

“Bathroom?”

“What?” Lexa pouted. “You aren’t going to change here?”

“Not yet, ladykiller,” Clarke laughed, “patience is a virtue you know.”

“Down the hall and to the left,” Lexa told her, “I’ll start cutting the peppers.”

“Don’t cut yourself babe,” Clarke called over her shoulder, “I may need those fingers later.” Lexa choked on her breath at Clarke’s innuendo, as the girl usually wasn’t so brazen when sober, and tried to ignore the fire the very thought ignited within her.

Chopping the peppers was therapeutic, and she found her heartbeat steadying to match the rhythm she set, calming herself down.

All of her efforts in slowing her heartrate completely failed when Clarke re-entered the room, Lexa’s practice jersey long and a bit big for the girl, but, like the sight of Clarke in her letterman, it did ungodly things to Lexa.

“Your practice jersey?” Clarke asked coyly. “Really?”

For a moment, Lexa forgot how to access her vocabulary, voice dying in her throat as she drank in the sight of her girl, in her practice jersey. “You look… fantastic.”

“Because I’m wearing your clothes?”

“You look stunning all the time,” Lexa assured her, cupping Clarke’s face softly, “but wearing my clothes makes me infinitely more attracted to you because it lets the world know you’re mine .” A light blush colored Clarke’s cheeks, but she smirked up at Lexa.

“And you’re mine,” she shot back.

“Always,” Lexa promised.

As the evening progressed, the two got their act together enough to finish at least throwing their pizzas in the oven before Clarke felt herself lifted at the hips, sat down on the edge of the marble counter.

She let out a soft laugh as she entwined her arms around Lexa’s neck, leaning in to meet her lips in a teasing brush.

She had to pinch herself to believe this wasn’t some sort of dream. Here she was, making out with Lexa Woods in her kitchen, making pizzas on their second date. She felt a goofy smile cross her lips. They were dating.

“Has anyone told you-” Lexa panted softly as her arms tightened their hold around Clarke’s waist. “You are an incredibly good kisser?”

Clarke smirked against Lexa’s kiss-swollen lips. “Once or twice.”

Lexa smirked, teasingly nipping at her bottom lip. “Arrogance suits you, Griffin.”

“Too bad I can’t say the same.” Clarke teased, yelping when Lexa tickled her side slightly, causing her to jump slightly, settling back into Lexa’s hold.

Lexa, on the other hand, busied herself with adorning Clarke’s neck with tender kisses, likely to leave loving bruises in her wake.

“Lex.” Clarke breathed, but it came out as more of a moan.

“Busy.” Lexa hummed against her skin, hands softly rubbing Clarke’s back.

“Indra…Or Gus-” Clarke’s ragged half-complaint was waved off nonchalantly.

“Not home. Went out.” Lexa murmured, smirking against her skin when she elicited yet another soft whine from Clarke.

“Anya?” Clarke pressed, though her fingers were gently massaging the baby curls at the base of Lexa’s neck, egging her on further.

“Date night.” Lexa and Clarke both paused to momentarily grimace, before Lexa continued her torturously sweet marking.

Clarke melted against her body, and Lexa gladly supported her weight, kissing her jaw softly. “My mom is so going to murder me.” She grumbled into Lexa’s neck, taking in the sweet scent of her perfume.

“Yeah, she doesn’t seem to adore the idea of us dating.” Lexa noted nonchalantly, her grip still tight on Clarke’s hips. “Must be all the lovely rumors. You know. That I’m a player, and I can’t be with just one girl, and-”

Clarke rolled her eyes at her mother’s words. Lexa was nothing like that. She was an absolute gentlewoman. Clarke played along teasingly.“Well. I like to think I tamed you.” She shifted slightly, a playful smirk on her lips. “Are you thinking of…settling down, anytime soon?” She teased, leaning forward to run her tongue over Lexa’s bottom lip.

Lexa was left slightly breathless, she only nodded vigorously, returning to Clarke’s lips once more, smiling against Clarke’s grin.

“Lexa.” Clarke hummed against their kisses, growing more and more heated.

“Hmm?”

“Pizza.” Clarke huffed. “We have to get it out.”

Lexa gave her an ungodly eye roll and sighed, pressing their foreheads together. “A lift down, my lady?” She offered.

Clarke laughed as Lexa gently tugged her down, wrapping her arms around her once more.

“Lexa! They’re gonna burn!” She complained. “And that can’t happen, because I need to prove to you that my pizza kicked your pizza’s ass!”

Lexa’s competitive side was on in an instant. “Oh? Really, now?”

Clarke smirked. “Call Aden. It’s time for a taste test.”


 

“So?” Lexa pressed, head propped up on her elbow, emerald gaze staring her brother down.

Clarke rolled her eyes from her seat beside Lexa, also across from Aden, watching him stare at both half bitten pizza slices before him.

“Well…” He sighed thoughtfully, screwing his face up cutely, just like Lexa did subconsciously.

Clarke felt her heart flutter at the sight of the Woods siblings together. How quickly they’d become such an important part of her life.

“The barbecue chicken pizza is…so, so good.” Aden admitted, and Lexa let out a whoop, turning to Clarke with a smirk. Before she could open her mouth, Aden sighed, “But, I have to give it to the three cheese pep-“ Before Aden could finish, Clarke was cheering in her seat.

“Hell yeah! Suck on that, Woods!” She grinned, watching as Aden took another bite, closing his eyes in bliss.

Lexa feigned a look of hurt. “Your own sister, Aden?” She teased. “You’d hurt me like this?”

Aden shrugged. “Sorry, but…It’s Clarke. She knows her way around a kitchen.”

Lexa bit back a smile. She turned to Clarke, hand gently squeezing hers under the table. “You hear that, babe? You’re the champion.”

Clarke smiled. “Well, you should try some and see why.”

Lexa smirked. “Feed it to me?”

Clarke rolled her eyes but grabbed a slice anyway, bringing it to Lexa’s lips, feeling an unanticipated heat roll through her body when Lexa bit down, moaning softly.

Aden looked mortified. “Uh.” He began, shooting out of his seat. “Movie night?”

Lexa turned towards him, momentarily broken out of her trance. “Huh?”

Aden quirked a brow. “It’s movie night. You said so, earlier.”

Lexa glanced at him. “Yeah, pipsqueak. For the adults.”

Aden rolled his eyes at his sister’s lighthearted teasing, but of course, Clarke came to his defense.

“I want Aden there.” Clarke protested kindly.

Lexa’s heart did little flips as she wore an amused smile. “Pick something good, Aden.”

Aden nodded, stopping only when Clarke leaned back to tug him into a small hug, causing them both to laugh.

Lexa had never felt happier.

The cleanup was simple, and in no time, Lexa and Clarke were joining Aden in the movie room. Clarke’s eyes lit up as she took in the room. “So this is the famous spot, huh?”

“I’d say this is where the magic happens, but we all know that’s my bedroom- Ow.” Lexa gently rubbed at the spot Clarke had lightly slapped on her arm, smiling to let Clarke know she was teasing.

“Any special seating arrangements?” Clarke teased.

“Dibs on sitting next to Clarke!” Both Woods siblings fired off at once.

Clarke cocked a brow, an amused smile on her lips.

Lexa looked offended. “Who’s dating Clarke, again?”

Aden snorted. “Should be me, since I’ve done ninety percent of the work-”

Lexa silenced him by hurling a pillow at him.

Clarke bit back her laughter. “Guys, I’ll sit in the middle.”

Lexa shook her head. “You’ll do no such thing.” She protested, falling back onto the reclining chair, tugging Clarke down into her lap.

Clarke laughed and yelped as she fell onto Lexa’s lap, feeling an exciting thrill at the contact.

Aden huffed and sat beside them, though Clarke shuffled slightly so that Aden could easily lean a head on her shoulder, though Lexa’s arms were around her waist.

The movie was long forgotten for Clarke, as she was so busy thinking of how much she adored Aden, lightly falling asleep an hour in, his head on Clarke’s shoulder, vulnerably. Lexa, on the other hand, was busy pressing soft kisses to Clarke’s neck, murmuring sweet nothings in her ear.

Really, Clarke could get used to this life.

Unfortunately, reality caught up with her, and she fell asleep, feeling safe enough to go limp in Lexa’s protective arms, just like Aden had with her. It wasn’t too long until Lexa herself nodded off into the warm, safe realm of sleep.

Lexa woke up to a low chuckle, accompanied by, “This is so gay.”

She snapped her virid gaze up, arms immediately tightening around Clarke’s waist. Anya was in the doorway, grinning at her lit phone. She’d snapped a picture of the two Woods siblings and Clarke, all sleeping peacefully, the movie long over.

“Huh?” Lexa whispered groggily. “Time.”

“Eleven thirty.” Anya smirked. “Blondie’s late. Unless, of course, you’re planning a sleepover so early in the dating stages?”

Lexa blinked. Clarke would definitely want to be getting home. She moved a stiff arm, motioning to Aden. “Can you take him up?”

Anya nodded, coming to Aden, gently rousing him.

“Hey An.” He murmured hazily, reluctantly lifting his head from Clarke’s arm. “How’d your date go?”

Anya smirked. “Not so PG rated.”

Aden made a face of horror.

“Oh, good, he’s up.” Lexa rolled her eyes. “Can you maybe try not to give us nightmares?”

Anya shrugged shamelessly, yanking Aden up. “Come on, kid. Let’s turn in before Gus and Indra get home and tell us all about how love can bloom even in their fifties. It’s gross.”

Aden nodded his agreement and looked back at Clarke and Lexa wistfully.

“I got her.” Lexa assured, as if reading his mind. “I’ll tell her you said goodnight.”

Aden nodded and left with Anya, leaving Lexa and Clarke to the room. Lexa leaned forward, placing several soft kisses to Clarke’s neck, waking her gently.

“Hmm.” Clarke grumbled, turning towards Lexa, burrowing deeper into her warmth.

Lexa’s heart fluttered. Clarke was adorable.

“Hey, Clarke.” Lexa whispered, running her hands in Clarke’s hair. “We have to get up.”

“Five more minutes.” Clarke protested sleepily, clinging to Lexa.

Lexa chuckled. “You’re comfortable, I take it?”

“Mhmm, you’re so warm.” Clarke complimented hazily.

“I hate to do this to you, Clarke.” Lexa murmured, kissing her shoulder. “But it’s eleven-thirty. Your curfew is already up.”

“Huh?” Clarke shot up like a rocket, and Lexa regretted it. She already missed holding Clarke.

“You know you’re more than welcome to stay.” Lexa offered quietly. “There’s a guest bedroom-”

“My mom would murder me.” Clarke shook her head apologetically.

“I know.” Lexa nodded. “Do you want me to drive you home, Clarke? I can have Anya bring your car tomorrow.”

Clarke bit her lip, shaking her head. “Nah, it’s okay. I’ll be alright.”

Lexa looked concerned. “Are you positive?”

At that, Clarke smiled, and Lexa rose, gently guiding Clarke out of the room, towards the door. She sighed as she opened it, and a gust of chilly air swept around them both.

“Oh, Lex, it’s freezing.” Clarke mumbled. “Stay inside.”

Lexa shook her head. “I always walk my dates out.” She announced with a sly smile.

Clarke cocked a brow, a teasing smile on her lips as well. “You have many dates?”

Lexa wrapped her arms around Clarke’s waist, pulling her flush against her. “Not many I’d like to have over again and again.” She murmured, leaning down to kiss Clarke.

It was warm, soft, and electric. Immediately, Clarke felt very awake. They parted slowly, Lexa holding Clarke’s hand as she walked out to her car. Lexa frowned disdainfully.

“I’ll be fine, Lexa.” Clarke rolled her eyes, and Lexa was in awe at Clarke’s ability to read her thoughts without even seeing her.

“You can take my car.” Lexa offered gently.

Clarke smirked. “Your baby? Wow, you must really like me.”

Lexa nodded, watching as Clarke got into the driver’s seat, leaning into her open window. “I really do.” She informed her.

Clarke pecked her lips, sighing blissfully.

“I’ll text you…as soon as you’re home.” Lexa reminded, smiling when Clarke nipped at her bottom lip in a playful kiss.

“Goodnight, Lexa.” Clarke sighed against her lips.

“Goodnight, Clarke.” Lexa whispered, staying out in the cold air as she watched Clarke take off.


 

By the end of their second official date, rumors about Clarke and Lexa, fondly dubbed "Clexa" after Raven's hit video of them kissing on New Year's Eve, spread like wildfire.

Of course, that came with the territory of dating the most popular figure in school, that being Lexa Woods.

Some of the rumors were harmless bits of slander or gossip, tossed about like the rumor mill like grain fed to pecking chickens. Others, however, were particularly malicious, and Clarke had to wonder who in their right mind had that much time to start and spread such cruel, invasive comments.

Lexa seemed entirely unfazed by it all, likely used to being the center of attention everywhere she went. Her parents did a decent job of keeping her out of the spotlight in her adolescent years, but for all intents and purposes, they were grooming her to be the heir to their tech empire. That meant Lexa would, upon graduating high school, possibly college, be a full fledged celebrity.

Her looks only doubled the likelihood of that happening.

So, as Clarke succumbed to every bit and detail of their relationship being torn up by rumors, Lexa took it in full stride, unafraid of her public displays of affection for Clarke.

She wanted the world to know that she belonged to Clarke Griffin, even if unofficially.

Clarke donned Lexa's letterman more often than not, so as to protect herself from the biting January chill, but also to remind herself that Lexa wanted her. It was hard, what with her insecurities. Particularly after the incident.

She shoved those thoughts away as she made her way into the restroom, during one of her rare instances when she wasn't with Lexa.

She froze before the second door that led to the sinks, when she distinctly heard Lexa's name. It wasn't too common of a name, and at this school, the odds of it being anyone else were particularly slim.

Clarke couldn't recognize the voices.

"I mean, you can't just do that, right?" The first voice asked.

"Totally." The second voice chimed in.

"I mean, like, listen. There are rules to dating. If you don't put out on the third date, you're a fucking prude. Plain and simple." The first girl spoke with a sense of authority, on all things prude and not.

Clarke didn't believe in those roles, of "prude" and "slut" and the third date rule. She had always been taught that everyone has their own pace, and their own wants and needs.

That was not the shared dogma of the rest of her high school, it seemed.

"Look, I mean it's Alexandria fucking Woods. She's the hottest person here."

"Ew."

"Aren't you bi?"

"That was last week. I'm straight again."

"Oh."

"But I totally get where you're coming from. Like, Clarke Griffin first of all? Why?"

"Um, she's hot too."

"Right, but like...Lexa totally goes for hot girls that would let her fuck them...Like Costia."

Clarke wanted to cover her ears. God, it was so gross. There was so much inherently wrong with the conversation. The judging, the ridiculing of sexualities, the gossip.

But she couldn't help the creeping feeling that they were right.

"So...would you?" Girl two chimed.

"What?"

"Would you have sex with Lexa on the third date?"

"I'd let her take me in this bathroom right now if she asked!"

"Oh my god, you're so bad!" The second girl giggled.

Clarke felt sick to her stomach.

"Listen." The first girl chirped. "Five bucks says Clarke Griffin is getting her ass dumped by next week."

"Really? I think she'll put out." The second girl tried.

"No, you idiot. That's why Finn Collins dumped her ass. They were together for months and she wouldn't even give him a handjob. So he cheated. She's probably just dating Lexa for her money."

"She totally deserved that. Oh my god. Two months? With someone as hot as Finn Collins? What's wrong with her? Is she, like, missing a part?"

The two girls started laughing once more and Clarke wheeled around, right into Raven, who'd been passing by outside.

"Griff!" She cheered, and Clarke made quick work of hiding her sick, pale expression. She tried not to shake with anger at what she'd just heard.

So many talked down on things they knew nothing about.

"Where's Commander sexy?" Raven queried suspiciously.

"Out to lunch." Clarke replied, trying not to sound off. "She uh...got to leave early for some doctor's appointment."

"And she didn't take you?" Raven scoffed. "Tacky."

Clarke rolled her eyes. "She's uh...actually bringing me lunch." Clarke admitted.

Raven smirked. "Nice, you have her whipped. Wanna come with me to the table, then?"

Clarke nodded, tagging along with Raven, trying desperately not to act aloof. She was tough. She could handle this.

"Rae, can I ask you something?" Clarke began gently.

Raven cocked a brow. "You have to ask me if you can ask me something?"

Clarke bit her lip. Raven was always good at being...sexual. She didn't mean that in a bad way, either. Clarke looked up to Raven.

"Do you...know about the third date rule?" Clarke asked offhandedly.

Raven's lips pulled into a smirk. "You giving up your V card to Lexa? Nice. She seems like she'd make a great first."

Clarke looked mortified at that. "Okay, so...that's a thing? To...put out....on the third date?"

Raven looked thoughtful. "Nah."

Clarke looked relieved.

"I mean, some people do on the first, too." Raven shrugged.

Clarke's heart fell into the pit of her stomach.

"B...but I don't know how-"Clarke stumbled. There were so many things wrong. She had no experience, while Lexa seemed to have plenty. She didn't know the first thing about...anything, really. She wasn't nearly as beautiful as Lexa.

And then of course, was the evidence of the incident. Which of course, she'd trained herself not to think about.

She simply wasn't ready.

"Listen." Raven shrugged, not picking up on Clarke's uneasiness. "Lexa will do all the work. Just sit back, relax, and feel good." Raven shrugged.

"I...I don't..." Clarke shook her head as they arrived at the table. Clarke wasn't ready to act fake in front of the entirety of the Delinquents, particularly Bellamy, who'd catch on in a heartbeat, and then skin Lexa alive.

If he could, anyway.

However, Clarke felt two arms wrap around her from behind, one of them holding a takeout bag.

"Hey beautiful." Lexa murmured in her ear, pressing a quick kiss to Clarke's neck.

Clarke whipped around, eyes widening. "Lex." She breathed, eyes settling uneasily on her. "Um. Hey."

Lexa cocked a brow. "Um. Hey?" She echoed. This wasn't her Clarke.

Clarke turned to see Bellamy glaring, and knew they were headed for a battle zone. "Can we...eat somewhere else? A quieter table?"

Lexa nodded, lacing her hand with Clarke's, leading her away from the Delinquents, out to the quad, where several tables sat, untouched in the breeze.

"What's up?" Clarke asked lamely as Lexa set her food down before her.

"What's up? Um, hey?" Lexa echoed. "Are you alright, Clarke? You seem...jittery."

"What?" Clarke scoffed. "Me? Yeah, of course. Right as rain."

Lexa lifted a brow and shrugged, opening up Clarke's food for her.

"Sushi?" Clarke scoffed in amusement.

"Never let it be said that I don't treat my girl." Lexa announced proudly, smiling when she bent down to kiss Clarke's cheek.

"I don't think anyone would dare say that." Clarke retorted, eyes hungrily taking in the small feast. "This...had to have been expensive."

Lexa rolled her eyes. "Clarke." She murmured, straddling the bench as she wrapped her arms around Clarke's waist. "I." She pressed a kiss to Clarke's neck. "Enjoy." another kiss. "Spoiling." She kissed Clarke's jaw. “you."

Clarke turned beet red, suddenly remembering what the girls had said in the bathroom. She shied away ever so slightly, and Lexa frowned.

"Clarke?" She sighed. "Talk to me. Tell me what I did wrong." Lexa pleaded.

"Nothing." Clarke shook her head. "You didn't do anything wrong."

"Then why are you acting like I'm poisoning you with every kiss?" Lexa replied teasingly.

Clarke's heart broke. God, she was so problematic. Lexa didn't deserve her.

"I just..." Clarke shrugged, there was no way she was getting into that confession. "I hear rumors, about us, all the time."

Lexa nodded slowly, withdrawing her arms. "You don't want us to be so...public?" She guessed.

Clarke frowned immediately at the loss. "God no." She shook her head, fisting her hands in Lexa's shirt, pulling her back to where she was. "It's...other stuff. I don't know. I'm being stupid. I don't know what to believe and what not to..."

Lexa nodded. "Hey." She whispered, tilting Clarke's chin up, so their gazes could meet. "I know I can be...a handful." Lexa teased gently.

Clarke shook her head. "It's not you. You're...amazing, to me."

Lexa smiled softly. "How about this: We ignore everything. All the rumors, all the gossip...Because, Clarke, if I have something to tell you, you will hear it from me first. And if you need something, I want to hear it from you. Everything else is irrelevant." She shrugged nonchalantly. "People don't know us as well as they think they do."

Lexa's words soothed Clarke like nothing else.

Suddenly, she was convinced that Lexa could do no wrong, and the third date was suddenly less daunting. If she wanted to, Lexa would be an absolute gentlewoman about it. If she didn't feel ready, Lexa would understand, wouldn't she?

Clarke nodded slowly, lips meeting Lexa's in a tender, relieved kiss.

"Is this okay?" Lexa murmured against her lips. "Should I stop the PDA? Would that make you more comfortable?"

Clarke rolled her eyes. "Alexandria, if you ever stop the PDA, consider us over." She replied heatedly, giving Lexa a quick kiss on the jaw before leaning back to pop a piece of sushi in her mouth.

Lexa grinned at her, gently drawing patterns on Clarke's arm. "Is it good?"

Clarke just blissfully closed her eyes, and Lexa had her answer.

"I'm excited for our date." Lexa smiled, and surprisingly, Clarke wasn't nervous at all anymore.

"Me too." Clarke smiled, leaning into Lexa's touch.


 

Despite her earlier calmness about the date looming on the horizon, Clarke was a worrier at heart, and the anxiety slowly crept its way back into her body until she could no longer ignore it.

Thankfully, it was almost closing time at the Dropship, so she was able to slink into the back, leaving Octavia to man the remaining customers. The other girl shot her a concerned look which Clarke waved off before turning to the supposed solitude of the back.

She’d conveniently forgotten Murphy was there.

Her breath hitched in her throat and her vision swam, and Clarke felt herself swaying dangerously, before steadying hands were placed on her shoulders and bright blue eyes were staring into her own.

“Whoa there, Griffin.” Despite his usual ‘ I-don’t-give-a-shit’ behavior, Murphy was actually one of the most kind-hearted people Clarke knew, once you got through the seven layers of hell that were his defensive walls and spiky personality, and he always seemed to know when he was most needed. “You alright there?”

“Not really,” Clarke exhaled shakily, blinking rapidly a few times in a valiant effort to keep the tears from spilling out of her eyes. She really hated her anxiety in those moments, when everything became so overwhelming without any rhyme or reason.

“Focus on me,” Murphy instructed. “You can hear my voice, yeah?”

Clarke nodded, and Murphy squeezed her shoulder reassuringly.

“That’s good,” he looked around the room quickly, “now I need you to focus on other things you can hear. You don’t need to say them out loud, but just focus on them, okay?”

Grease popping .

Murphy had put in another batch of fries, most likely for himself, as he liked to eat as much as he could while on the job, just to spite Wells, who told him that it wasn’t proper ‘workplace etiquette’, and she could hear the distinct popping of the hot oil in the distance. Vaguely, she was aware of the raggedness of her own breathing, but she continued on with the little exercise she’d been given.

Octavia chatting with the customers.

Though she was very happy in her relationship with Lincoln, Octavia was known to chat up some of the customers in attempt to get a better tip, and Clarke had to admire her skill at it. She often spent the extra tip money with Clarke shopping, and laughing at the people who kept coming back in attempts to get Octavia to actually date them.

Murphy tapping his foot on the linoleum floor.

It was a habit he’d picked up to calm himself down, Clarke remembered, to distract himself from whatever it was bothering him. The steady rhythm of his sneaker was oddly soothing, and Clarke found her breath adjusting to the beat.

“Good,” Murphy encouraged, “you’re doing great, Clarke. Now repeat that, but with your other senses. What you can feel, see, smell, and so on and so forth.”

She did as instructed, and after a short while, her breathing evened out completely, and she felt her heart rate slow down to a normal pace.

“Thanks,” she whispered somewhat shakily, accepting the tissue that he’d procured sometime without Clarke noticing, wiping her eyes and then blowing her nose.

“Wanna talk about it?” he offered, moving away for a brief moment to take the fries out of the deep fryer, and onto a napkin. “You don’t have to, but it helps sometimes.”

“It’s dumb, really,” Clarke muttered, “I don’t even know why I’m so upset about it.”

“Hey,” Murphy interjected, popping a fry into his mouth, “it’s obviously not dumb to you. C’mon, tell Papa John what’s the matter.” He cringed at his own joke and a small smile tugged on Clarke’s lips, his words achieving their intended effect.

“I overheard some girls talking earlier,” she admitted, sitting across from the boy at one of the barstools, “about the whole third date rule and how if you don’t follow it you’re a prude.” She paused, shaking her head at herself. “And I don’t know why it got to me so much I’m just―”

“Not ready?” Murphy responded with a wry grin, offering the girl a fry which she readily accepted.

“Yeah,” she agreed, eyes fixated on the floor, “I don’t know. Like I said, it’s stupid.”

“You and I both know that I’m not the best at the whole advice thing,” Murphy opened, and Clarke’s gaze snapped up to reach his own, “in fact, I’m probably the worst person out there to give advice, but I’m gonna give it to you anyways, so stay with me.” Clarke nodded, accepting another fry, and Murphy continued.

“After the whole thing with Queen,” he paused, looking up at the light fixture above them, and Clarke moved her hand to his leg.

“You don’t have to,” she offered, but he shook his head.

“No, I’m comforting you, Griff, let me finish,” he scolded lightly, but Clarke gave him his moment to compose himself.

She had never been more angry then the day she got a frantic call from Bellamy saying that Murphy wasn’t responding to any of his messages or calls, and had helped stage a rescue. They’d found him locked in his room, curled up in the corner, tear-tracks running down his face and a bottle of pills clutched so tightly in his hand that his knuckles were pale.

He’d been at a party, escaping his not-so-great home life, before being lead away by none other than Ontari Queen.

It took Bellamy and Clarke four hours of coaxing before he even opened his mouth to try and explain himself, and Clarke had felt the cold fury wash over her with the burning passion of a thousand suns.

Jake had discretely paid for his counselling sessions, and Aurora called in a favor with a lawyer she knew, but, in the end, the justice system had failed them. The Queens were untouchable, especially Ontari, who was a ‘role model for her female peers’ in showing that ‘participating in sports at a professional level was something attainable regardless of sex’.

That, and of course the idea that a girl could take advantage of a guy? Unthinkable.

“I hated myself,” he told her, completely honestly, “hated my body, hate how I felt. It was like I was trapped in a shell of someone I couldn’t escape from, and I never thought I’d be able to move past that.”

“How did you?” Clarke asked curiously, and he smiled softly.

“I found someone who was willing to be patient with me.” His eyes always got a little misty whenever he talked about Emori, and Clarke felt her own heart swell. If anyone deserved someone who was soft and patient and loving, it was Murphy. He’d been hurt too much by the world to get anything less, as a sort of ‘ I’m sorry for putting you through all this bullshit’ consolation prize.

“You don’t need to rush yourself,” he told her, and Clarke found herself believing him, “everyone has their own pace when it comes to recovery, and you’re just not at that point yet. Woods doesn’t seem like the type of person to push anyone to do anything.” He paused, chewing on his fries thoughtfully. “And if I’m wrong and she is that sort of person, well.” He motioned vaguely with his hands. “I’ve been told I’m not the most pleasant to deal with.”

Clarke smiled softly, withdrawing her hand from Murphy’s leg.

“Thanks, John.” He pulled a face at the name, which usually only Emori could get away with calling him, and threw a fry at her, which she easily dodged.

“Don’t get used to it, Griffin, I’m returning to my usual asshole state of being as we speak.”

“If you ever need help with anything,” she continued seriously, “just ask.”

“Well for starters you could show me how to draw fucking giraffe legs because I can’t seem to figure it out…”


 

“Aden.” He looked up as Lexa flopped down haphazardly onto his bed, arms stretched out. “I need help.”

“Mentally?” he teased. “Yes you do.” Lexa scowled and shoved him lightly on the shoulder, and Aden just stuck his tongue out in response.

“Whatcha need, oh sister dearest?”

“I’m trying to figure out where to take Clarke for our third date, because I’m planning this one.”

“Isn’t your date supposed to be this friday?”

“Yes, I know, I’m horrible at planning things, just help me,”

“Did you have any ideas?” Aden sighed, before pulling out his laptop. “Honestly, if I keep planning your dates, I should just be the one dating Clarke.”

“Don’t even joke about that, strikbro ,” Lexa huffed, and Aden rolled his eyes.

“Alright, what does Clarke like?” Aden, of course, knew the answer to this question, but chose instead to let Lexa answer it herself, because he didn’t want to do all the heavy lifting in Operation Clexa.

“Clarke really likes art,” Lexa muttered to herself, before turning towards Aden. “Are there any good art museums here? Or, like, art workshops or events?”

“I think I remember getting an email about something,” Aden recalled, and then snapped his fingers in triumph, grinning to himself. “Yeah, mom and dad’s secretary forwarded me an invite to a charity gala slash art exhibition that’s going to be here all weekend, opening Friday night.”

“How come I didn’t get that?” Lexa frowned, and Aden tsked.

“It says it was forwarded to you, too, Lex, you just never check any emails that Peter sends you.”

“Hey,” Lexa defended, “he’s boring and doesn’t like me.”

“That might have something to do with the fact that you set his coat on fire when you were eleven.”

“That was an accident ,” Lexa stressed, “and I was eleven, he needs to get over it.”

“Some wounds never heal,” Aden teased, before turning back to his computer, whistling, “this is some high end stuff, Lex, you sure you want to take Clarke there?”

“Of course,” she responded instantly, before frowning slightly, “why wouldn’t I?”

“Well,” Aden began, unsure of how to phrase his thoughts, “Clarke probably isn’t used to being surrounded by a bunch of stuck-up rich people.”

“You mean she might feel uncomfortable?” Lexa frowned. “I can always run interference and make sure that she’s left alone.”

“Also, knowing you,” Aden laughed, “you’ll probably try and buy her one of the most expensive pieces.”

“Clarke deserves the best!” Lexa defended.

“I know she does,” Aden placated, “but you guys aren’t even officially girlfriends yet, and she’d feel bad if you spent that much money on her.” Lexa frowned at the mention of making things official once more, and Aden caught on quick.

“What?”

“Why does everyone make such a big deal about putting labels on things,” Lexa muttered, mostly to herself, but also so that Aden could hear. “We’re happy, why can’t people just accept it at that?”

“Do you not want Clarke to be your girlfriend?”

“Of course I want her to be my girlfriend,” Lexa shot back indignantly, and at Aden’s motion of surrender she sighed, rubbing her temples, “it’s just. I don’t know. It makes it seem scarier, and I don’t want to lose her.”

A frown tugged on Aden’s lips, and he scooted forward before wrapping his sister into a tight hug. He knew, better than anyone, the severity of Lexa’s fear of abandonment. He’d lived it alongside her. And to see Lexa, who was usually so strong-willed and powerful, look so upset with herself, was absolutely heartbreaking.

“You don’t have to rush into anything,” Aden assured her, “there’s no harm in going on a few more dates with her and just enjoying the simplicity of it all, but it is something that you’ll have to do eventually.”

“I want to,” Lexa emphasized, “I just don’t know how . With Costia it was easier because she was the one who asked me out, but with Clarke… she deserves the world, Aden, and I want to be the one to give it to her.”

“Hey, you’re a Woods,” Aden joked, “you’re the best. But, not only are you a Woods, you’re Lexa , my awesome sister, who made the football team your freshman year―”

“It wasn’t very difficult seeing as Mt. Weather’s team is absolute shit,” Lexa protested, but Aden continued.

“And you pretty much raised me single-handedly,” he added, “sure, there were nannies, but none of them stayed long, and you took care of your annoying little brother when you could’ve been out doing so many other things.” Lexa’s gaze softened, opening her mouth to protest Aden’s self-proclaimed title of ‘annoying’, but he didn’t let her jump in. “My point here, Lex, is that you’re the best the world has to offer, and anyone is lucky to have you.”

Lexa ruffled his hair and smiled at him, and Aden grinned.

“You’re awful smart, you know that, squirt?” she laughed, and he rolled his eyes fondly at her.

“Must get it from you,” he responded, before his eyes turned back to the computer, “so will you be taking Clarke to the art show?”

“Of course, can you email Peter for me?”

“Email him yourself, loser.”

Aden deftly dodged the pillow that was thrown at him, laughing at Lexa’s scowl.

“What happened to all the compliments?” she demanded. “You were being so nice, and now you call me a loser? I’m hurt, Aden, I really am.”

“The moment passed!” he defended. “And you’re being lazy.”

“I’m allowed to be lazy, I’m the best,” Lexa parroted back, and Aden sighed.

Her ego could still use a little work, so it seemed.


 

“No freaking way.” Clarke breathed, eyes widening as Lexa led her up to the front of the city’s art plaza and museum, red carpet rolled in welcome, bustling with activity.

The Art Gala. No wonder Lexa had kindly tipped her off to wear formal attire. (That was no issue, as both girls spent a handful of minutes simply drooling over each other.)

“Is it too much?” Lexa asked unsurely, pausing up by the side of the entrance.

“Too much?” Clarke echoed breathily, eyes widening, looking absolutely disbelieving. “No one’s ever done anything so nice for me before, I….” Clarke shook her head in disbelief. “Lexa, how did you even get in? It’s so exclusive!”

Lexa looked visibly relieved at Clarke’s enthusiasm. They were stopped at the door, like everyone else, by a security guard. Lexa flashed him something that looked like a private invitation and he smiled, bidding them a good evening as he let them in.

Before she could answer, however, Clarke’s eyes widened slightly in understanding. “You really are famous, oh my god.”

“What?” Lexa echoed amusedly.

“You have like…thousands and thousands of Instagram followers. And your parents are famous. Oh my god. I’m dating a celebrity.”

Lexa snorted. “More like E list celebrity. I just belong to a famous family.”

Clarke narrowed her eyes. “Have you read all the comments on your posts? “Oh, Lexa’s so hot. I want her to take me right now’” Clarke mimicked, teasing tone covering her genuine jealousy.

“I don’t really care for…showboating.” Lexa shrugged indifferently, hand lacing with Clarke’s.

Clarke rolled her eyes. “You? Alexandria Woods? You’re kidding, right?”

Lexa smirked. “Well, maybe for that…one…special someone.” She whispered, leaning forward to steal a kiss from Clarke, who leaned in just as eagerly.

Clarke didn’t want to admit it, but Lexa’s romantics had her swooning.

As if on cue, Lexa only endeared herself to Clarke further. Her eyes swept up Clarke’s dress, arms gently sliding down her sides. “Have I told you how absolutely gorgeous you look?”

Clarke smiled, eyes softening as she felt Lexa loop an arm around her waist casually. “Have I told you?” She echoed.

Lexa gave her hip a gentle squeeze and guided her in.

Clarke had never seen anything so beautiful. The halls were bustling with people, all clad in their suits and gowns, idly sipping on champagne, discussing the great works hung in the hall before them.

To Clarke, a lowly high school senior who ate, breathed, and dreamt about art, this was a dream come true.

To Lexa, it was just another day in her life. Or, it would have been, except she was with Clarke Griffin, and she adored seeing her face light up. Personally, she never would have used her wealth and power for something like this, but for Clarke? Anything.

“Oh my god, Lex.” Clarke’s arm around her waist tightened.

Lexa stiffened, immediately on alert. Had something made Clarke uncomfortable?

Clarke, instead, was eyeing a group of people, talking near  the entrance. “Isn’t he-”

“Famous?” Lexa smirked. “Yes.”

“From that movie last summer? The one with the-”

“Mhmm.” Lexa hummed nonchalantly, smiling amusedly at Clarke’s stare. “Want me to introduce you?”

Clarke choked a little. “Uh…Oh, god, no. I’m here for the art.” She recovered cutely.

Lexa grinned, kissing her cheek. “You sure?”

Clarke nodded with a dazed smile. “Yeah. Walk with me?” She offered, walking slowly with Lexa, falling into line with Clarke as the small herds of guests moved about the pieces, some encased, others in plain view.

Lexa was alight with adoration for Clarke. Watching Clarke here was unlike anything she’d ever seen. Clarke was in love with every stroke of every brush, of every critical word whispered by critics, both actual and self-proclaimed. She was soaking up every bit of the ambiance.

Clarke decided that she could get quite used to this lifestyle.

She just really, really couldn’t afford it.

Clarke was currently in awe of one particular landscape when Lexa leaned over her side, murmuring, “I’ll get you something to drink. Any requests?”

Clarke relented with a request for water and a chaste kiss to Lexa’s lips before she set off, leaving Clarke to sigh dreamily in the direction of the painting.

That sigh, which was meant entirely for Clarke to appreciate Lexa, was mistaken as a love for the painting before her.

Clarke felt a hand on her shoulder. Whipping around, expecting Lexa, her eyes settled instead on Cage Wallace, in his fine pressed suit, from head to toe. His hair was slicked back, and he wore a wolfish grin. “Like the landscape? It’s supposed to be of the Champagne region of France. Been there myself. I have to say, no artist could do it justice.”

Clarke resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

“Clarke Griffin.” He annunciated every syllable as if they were foreign to him.

“Cage Wallace?” Clarke looked taken aback, but quickly recovered. “What are you doing here?”

The disdain in her voice was evident.

Cage shrugged with a smirk that wasn’t at all attractive like Lexa’s. “Oh, you know. My grandfather is kind of a big deal when it comes to art.”

Clarke bit her lip. Dante Wallace, ancient and renowned as the great headmaster of Mount Weather, also sat on the board of admissions for several universities, a famed artist himself.

Clarke never had the pleasure of meeting Dante.

Cage seemed to pick up on Clarke’s trail of thought. “My grandfather isn’t here tonight.” He smirked. “Sent me in his place. Funny I’d find you here, Griffin.”

“Why is that?” Clarke gritted.

“Oh.” Cage cocked a brow. “It’s not a question of your talent; I hear you’re pretty gifted. It’s just…there’s a certain…income, required to play this little game.”

And since your father died, you’re no longer eligible.

The unspoken words rang in Clarke’s ears, and she fought off the depressing feeling that weighed down on her chest,

“How’s the nose, Cage?” Clarke demanded wryly.

Cage frowned. “You know, Clarke. You shouldn’t ever think about hitting me again. In fact, you should think about apologizing. Would you like to know why?”

Clarke wore a haughty smirk, trying to channel her inner Lexa. “Enlighten me.”

Cage looked absolutely smug. “See, Clarke, I can help you out. A letter of recommendation from my grandfather could get you anywhere you wanted. And a job as a secretary in his office? Pays three times more than your shitty gig at the Dropshit- Oh, I mean, Dropship.”

Clarke reddened slightly, clenching her fists. He was right. The offer was a good one. “And what’s in it for you?”

Cage smirked. “I get to conquer what my good buddy Finn never did.”

Clarke was appalled, to say the least. “No fucking way.” She growled. “I wouldn’t ever hook up with you, even-”

Cage cut her off with a shrug. “You know, college isn’t cheap, Clarke. Your poor mother, what does she do again? Athletic training? Well, that can’t be much. Just think about it.”

Clarke grit her teeth in anger, relaxing only when she felt two toned arms slip around her waist from behind, encircling her protectively.

Lexa.

“Cage Wallace?” Lexa smirked arrogantly. “What brings your filth to such a high end occasion?”

Clarke’s brows shot up. No one talked to a member of the Wallace family that way. Except Lexa, apparently.

“Woods. Seeing you on a date is a bit…odd.” Cage scoffed lightly. “Don’t you have some girls to be hooking up with?”

Clarke felt her stomach drop a little, but Lexa squeezed her hip lightly, as if to warn her not to pay any mind to his slander.

“Your nose looks like shit.” Lexa offered in a polite tone, having a sip of her drink. “But I have to say…Any damage to that face of yours would be an improvement.”

Cage’s eyes flashed with anger in response.  “You like pissing off powerful people, Woods?”

Lexa smirked. “Powerful people? I’ll let you know when I find one. Now, make yourself useful and go kiss someone else’s ass. This one is already taken.”

Cage turned to leave, but Lexa’s arm darted out and caught his wrist. He turned carelessly, eyeing her grip disdainfully.

“And Cage-” Lexa began in a hushed tone. “If you ever, so much as look at Clarke the wrong way, I’ll make sure you end up in the hospital. Permanently, this time.”

Clarke gaped as Cage shrugged her off, and Lexa turned her attention back to her date.

“Lexa.” Clarke breathed, eyes wide.

Lexa immediately looked regretful. “I’m sorry. Was that too much? I just wanted him to leave you alone, I didn’t mean to-”

Clarke shook her head, arms circling Lexa’s neck as she leaned up to kiss her lips, thanking her in a way words could never convey.

“Okay, I’m going to inflate your ego, and tell you, while I could handle him perfectly on my own…That was hot.” Clarke teased.

Lexa flashed her a bright smile, kissing her once more. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Clarke sighed as she leaned back into Lexa’s embrace, eyeing the painting once more.

“You like it.” Lexa noted in Clarke’s ear, giving Clarke chills.

“I love it.” Clarke answered obliviously. “I mean, it’s just a landscape, but-”

Lexa made a move, and Clarke’s brows shot up, turning around and grabbing her wrist. “Lexa.” She warned, voice higher than usual. “Don’t you dare tell me you-”

“Clarke.” Lexa pouted slightly, and Clarke thought it was the most adorable thing in the world. “I want you to have it.”

Clarke gaped. “Alexandria Woods, no. This is way too costly.”

Lexa snorted when she noted the estimated value. It was a mere $6,000. Which, to anyone who didn’t frequent these sort of events, was rather costly. To her, it was absolutely nothing. And she indulged any chance she got to waste her parents fortune. This certainly was no waste. She lived for Clarke’s happiness, for her bright beaming smile.

“Clarke Abigail Griffin.” Lexa shot back with an amused smile. “Accept it as a gift.”

“Lex.” Clarke wrapped her arms around Lexa’s waist, effectively trapping her. “I’m already…floored, by this date. It’s amazing.”

Lexa pressed on. “But I want you to be happy, Clarke.”

Clarke chuckled lightly, cupping Lexa’s cheeks. “Lexa. You make me happy. Being with you means more to me than buying all the art in the world.”

Lexa’s heart effectively melted at the same time Clarke’s lips melted into hers. She secured Clarke with her hands on her waist, gently pulling Clarke to her.

“Besides.” Clarke murmured as they slowly pulled apart. “I know you like to be suave, but…You’ve already wooed me, Lex.”

Lexa smiled affectionately, lacing her hand with Clarke’s. “Shall we?” She murmured, leading Clarke to the next display, looking back occasionally.

“Lex.”

“Hmm?”

“Don’t you dare think about having it shipped to my house.”

“Damn, you’re good.”

Clarke’s heart was fluttering when they were finally in Lexa’s car, on the way home.

This was it.

Date three.

The sex was coming.

And god, she wasn’t ready.

Lexa, who’d been intently focused on driving home and telling Clarke something about how she had tried and failed art when she was younger.

Clarke was bouncing one knee like crazy, finding it a bit difficult to breathe.

Lexa would take her home, and then she’d see the aftermath of the incident on Clarke’s body. Clarke took extra care to hide everything as much as she could. Jake’s loss had wounded her heart, but there was other evidence. Physical reminders.

Lexa was perfection. She expected Clarke to be perfection, no doubt.

It could never work.

And then she felt Lexa’s hand gently rubbing her thigh, though it didn’t feel sexual at all. She glanced up, and realized Lexa was wearing a concerned look.

“Clarke?” She asked softly. “Are you alright? You seemed fine a moment ago.” She sounded a little guilty, a little nervous.

Clarke’s mind snapped back into place when she realized that they were on the path to her home, not Lexa’s. Her home, where her mother was waiting, and no funny business could occur.

It dawned on her that Lexa didn’t expect anything, third date or not.

Once again, she was finding herself falling a little harder for Lexa Woods.

“Huh?” Clarke stammered. “Uh, sorry. I’m just…tired. And in awe. I never thought I’d see something so amazing.”

Lexa bit her lip and gave Clarke a pleased smile. “So…” She drawled as she pulled up in front of Clarke’s house, where the lights were familiarly on. “Does this mean I’ve earned a fourth date?”

Clarke pretended to look thoughtful as she leaned forward, pressing a kiss to Lexa’s cheek. “Gee. I don’t know…” She drawled teasingly.

Lexa feigned a look of hurt. “You wound me, Griffin. What can I do differently? More flowers? Different perfume?”

Clarke smirked, enjoying their banter. She was so excited and nervous, and yet so comfortable around Lexa. It just felt right. “Hmm. Well, the flowers were perfect. And…I love your perfume.” Clarke confessed, causing Lexa to grin. “I’d say you were perfect.”

Lexa blushed slightly, a rare sight, and tilted Clarke’s chin so that she could softly kiss her. “Then a fourth….and fifth. Maybe a sixth, if you’re up to it?” she murmured teasingly.

Clarke nodded wholeheartedly, grinning into the kisses Lexa was peppering on her face.

Clarke leaned back with a sigh, squeezing Lexa’s hand. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

Lexa frowned, unbuckling her seatbelt. “As if I’m not walking you up.” She scoffed, getting out to open Clarke’s door for her.

Clarke smiled adoringly, lacing her hand with Lexa’s as they made their way to the front door. “Be careful.” Clarke advised in a teasing whisper. “My mom’s probably waiting for you with a shotgun.”

“I’m bulletproof.” Lexa winked, wrapping Clarke in her arms as she placed a soft kiss to Clarke’s lips. “Goodnight, Clarke.”

Clarke sighed, taking in Lexa’s scent. “Goodnight, Lexa.”

“I’ll text you first thing in the morning.” Lexa promised dutifully.

“You’d better.” Clarke smirked, leaning in for one last peck before she watched Lexa leave, fears assuaged, heart nearly overflowing with affection.


 

“So, you’re the unfortunate victim.” Lexa announced teasingly as she turned to take in the young freshman before her, Charlotte’s eyes sparkling right back.

It was her first back to tutoring English one on one, and it seemed Charlotte had the luck of the draw.

Tutoring was held after school in the library, and Lexa couldn’t wait to finish up and meet with Clarke.

Yes, she was a little obsessed with Clarke.

But yes, Clarke was mutually obsessed with her. It all panned out.

Lexa knew she was falling for the girl.

She shook her head when Charlotte piped up. She needed to focus. “Hi Alexandria.” Charlotte tried in her best sultry voice, eyes widening and heart racing when Lexa politely pulled a chair for her.

“Alexandria?” Lexa blinked, an amused smile on her face. “No one calls me that.”

“Sorry!” Charlotte was quick to rectify. “Your Wikipedia page says-” Charlotte’s eyes widened at her own accidental little confession, slapping a hand over her mouth.

Lexa cocked a brow, waving a hand in front of her now pale face. “Charlotte?” She tried, innocently. “You know, I’m not actually a celebrity.” She winked, drawing some papers from her bag.

Charlotte relaxed, letting out a soft giggle as she herself dug into her own backpack.

“So, what are you struggling with?” Lexa queried.

“Oh. English stuff.” Charlotte shrugged nonchalantly.

Lexa quirked a brow. Well, that was unspecific.

“Can I ask you something?” Charlotte asked as she retrieved her notebook.

“That’s why I’m here.” Lexa offered wryly.

“How do you manage to look so good in a tank top?” Charlotte gushed, cheeks tinting red.

“Oh.” Lexa began awkwardly, tugging her tank top awkwardly. “Ah, thank you, but-”

She paused midsentence, because coming in the library to sit across from them was none other than Aden and Clarke. They came in for Aden’s tutoring session, Lexa realized, with a hot burst of affection in her chest.

She hadn’t seen Clarke since before school ended, since Lexa had shot off like a rocket to make it on time to practice. Clarke had since braided her hair back, revealing her bright blue gaze. She looked breathtaking.

The second they made eye contact, Lexa knew she was a goner.

“Hey.” Clarke mouthed with a smile.

Lexa swallowed, feeling her heart thump in her chest. She offered Clarke a smile and a wink as she turned to realize Charlotte was staring at Clarke, too.

“That’s Clarke Griffin.” Charlotte began matter-of-factly.

Lexa was perplexed by the evident aggression in her tone. “…Yes, she is.”

“You two made out at the New Year’s Party.” Charlotte mentioned monotonously.

Lexa bit her lip. “…Yeah, we did.” Her response was absolutely dreamy, and she had to bite back her smile at the thought.

“And now you’re dating?”

“Yes.” Lexa answered, tearing her eyes away from Clarke’s perfect figure.

“Seriously?”

“…What?”

“Are you dating seriously?”

Lexa smirked. “What does this have to do with English, Charlotte?”

Charlotte sighed. “I guess it doesn’t.”

“Right.” Lexa nodded, gently patting Charlotte on the back. Charlotte practically got chills at the minimal contact. “So, what are we working on?”

“Romeo and Juliet.” Charlotte rolled her eyes. “Lame stuff.”

Lexa wore a smirk, eyeing Charlotte, then Clarke. Clearing her throat, she began, ““My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.”

Charlotte’s eyes widened and she had to keep from swooning, unaware that Clarke, the intended party, faced the same issue, a table down.

Lexa smiled as she broke eye contact with Clarke, turning to Charlotte. “Um…See? It can be fun.”

“Teach me everything.” Charlotte gushed excitedly.


 

“Five to the third power-”

“Aden.”

“Oh I have to plug in the-”

“Aden.”

“Axis of symmetry is X =”

Clarke squeezed Aden’s arm. “Oh god she looked at me.” She practically squealed.

Aden’s eyes were wide. He glanced down at Clarke’s vicelike grip on his arm, biting back a smile. “I uh…thought we were here for tutoring, Clarke.” He reminded teasingly.

“Oh, sorry.” Clarke blinked, shaking her head apologetically. “Sorry you have such a hot sister.” She mumbled, and Aden made a face.

They got through half of the hour before Clarke was at it again.

“Oh my god, her eyes.” Clarke breathed.

Aden smirked, pleased with his handiwork on operation Clexa. He’d chosen well. They were just a bit…clingy, now, in the honeymoon stage of their budding relationship. Aden secretly loved it, and Clarke could focus when she absolutely had to.

“Did you know…” Aden drew out, hoping to capture Clarke’s attention.

Clarke’s head snapped towards him, obviously hoping for some sort of information on Lexa.

“You can touch her.” Aden supplied.

“Huh?” Clarke’s brows furrowed adorably.

“Yes.” Aden nodded. “You can even kiss her and stuff. Because you’re dating. So, how about we quit the hearteyes and maybe kiss Lexa after I finish this worksheet?”

Clarke rolled her eyes, but pressed a quick kiss to his forehead. She could feel Lexa smiling at them from across the room.

“See that girl with her?” Aden mumbled quietly as Clarke checked his work, like the human calculator she was.

“Charlotte?” Clarke rolled her eyes.

Aden smiled. “Lexa’s biggest fan.”

Clarke shrugged, trying to play it off as nonchalant. “A lot of people have crushes on Lexa.”

“Does it bother you?” Aden pressed gently.

Clarke bit her lip. “No.” She lied. “It’s fine.”

“Good.” Aden shrugged. “It shouldn’t, Wanna know why?”

“Sure.” Clarke nodded, circling his score.

“She’s really into you.” Aden whispered, as if he were giving away his sister’s biggest secrets.

“Really?” Clarke smirked.

“Yup.” Aden nodded with a grin. “Did you know she dances around the house in the mornings singing your name?”

Clarke’s eyes widened. (Not because she did that too, or anything.)

“Anyway, don’t let Charlotte get to you. Charlotte is a crazy stalker.”

Clarke nodded, eyeing the clock as the students began to rise at the end of the hour.

“Well, you got a hundred percent, and two extra credit points, despite my sucky tutoring.”

Aden shook his head. “It wasn’t sucky when my sister shut up long enough to let you speak.” He teased.

Clarke laughed, standing.

“Are you coming over today?” Aden asked hopefully.

Clarke shook her head reluctantly. “I have work, buddy.”

“Oh.” Aden nodded with a wistful smile. “I’ll have to set up another date for you and Lexa.”

“Please do.” Clarke teased, stretching slightly.

“I’ll see you tomorrow.” Aden offered, pulling Clarke into a hug.

“Bye.” Clarke murmured, giving him a squeeze as he scampered off to meet Anya at the car.

Lexa was helping Charlotte pack when Clarke approached, pausing by her table.

Lexa was up in an instant, Charlotte forgotten, arms circling Clarke’s waist.

“I missed you.” Lexa murmured softly, kissing Clarke with reckless abandon.

“I missed you too.” Clarke giggled gently against her lips.

Charlotte rolled her eyes, with no one to see.

“Want to come over?” Lexa’s soft voice was pleading.

Charlotte perked up, a false sense of hope telling her it was an offer for her.

Of course, it wasn’t.

“I can’t, baby, I have work.” Clarke mumbled against her lips.

Baby?

Charlotte wanted to scoff. Lexa was too cool for pet names.

Lexa only pulled her closer, her hands digging softly into the back pockets of Clarke’s jeans to pull her closer.

Charlotte made a mental note: If she ever wanted Lexa’s hands in her jean pockets, she had to call her baby .

“You know…” Lexa drawled, biting Clarke’s lower lip teasingly. “I could just…change your salary.”

Clarke rolled her eyes. “I like the honest pay.” She quipped, sighing as Lexa peppered her jaw and neck with kisses.

Neither girl noticed how Charlotte averted her gaze longingly.

“You’ll text me?” Clarke breathed hopefully.

“You know it.” Lexa pledged, pressing her forehead against Clarke’s.

“Walk me to my car?” Clarke offered a hand, which Lexa took immediately.

Charlotte thought she was all but forgotten until Lexa whipped around, hand still laced with Clarke’s.

“Same time, two days?” Lexa asked Charlotte, who nodded eagerly in response.

“Alright, great. Do you have a ride?” Lexa asked.

Charlotte sighed inwardly. Lexa Woods was so perfect. None of her other tutors cared that much.

“Yup.” She lied comfortably. “See you, Lexa.”

“Bye, Charlotte.” Lexa let the name roll off her lips with a wry smile as she walked out into the golden sun with her golden girlfriend.

Charlotte had time to figure her out yet, it seemed.


 

“Lincoln!” The boy turned around quickly at the sound of his name, a smile fixed on his face.

“Lexa!” he greeted warmly. “What’s up?”

“Have you seen Aden?” she inquired, trying to hide the urgency behind her words. “I needed to ask him something.”

“I think he mentioned going home with his friend Atom today, remember?” Vaguely, Lexa did recall her younger brother’s excitement over spending time with his friend, and inwardly cursed herself at her lack of thought.

“Right…” she trailed off. “Well, I’ll just talk to him later.”

“Alright, sis , see you later.”

Mochof , Linc,” Lexa responded, before she walked back in the direction she came from, in search of the new head cheerleader after Costia’s rather… untimely departure, Serrena.

“Cullen!” the brown haired cheerleader turned quickly, and a smile crept its way across her face upon realizing who it was talking to her.

“Woods.” Lexa hadn’t remembered her voice being quite so deep, but paid no mind to it, sending her a friendly wave instead. “What brings you around to my neck of the woods?”

“I had a favor to ask,” Lexa opened, and Serrena tilted her head to the side, eyes narrowing.

“So you only come to me when you need something?” Her tone was light and teasing, but Lexa couldn't help but feel somewhat guilty from the truth of the words. Though the girl had been nothing but kind to her since the beginning of her stay at Arkadia, Lexa had never gone out of her way to be particularly friendly to her.

“Sorry about that,” Lexa began, but Serrena brushed her off.

“Don't worry about it, I'm happy to help.” She rested her hand on Lexa’s arm reassuringly, and Lexa thought nothing of it, offering the cheerleader a smile.

“Great, thanks, so I was wondering if you and the squad would—” Lexa’s words were interrupted as a freshman boy burst through the doors to the girl’s locker rooms, whistling to himself.

“Whoa,” he exclaimed softly, “you're hot.” Serrena’s expression immediately morphed from one of pleasantness to a deep scowl.

“Jace, what the fuck are you doing here?”

“You were taking too long,” he complained, and Serrena raised her hand to her face.

“This is the girl’s locker room, Jace, get the fuck out and wait by the car.”

“But I wanna—”

Now, you little shit.” The boy flipped her off and Serrena scowled as he left, but her face returned to its previously angelic state when she turned back to Lexa.

“Sorry about him,” Serrena apologized, “he's an idiot. Definitely the least favorite out of all my siblings.”

“You have more than one?” Lexa asked politely, making an attempt to be friendly.

“Yeah, Theo and Kelly, they're much better behaved. So what was it you needed?”

“Well, I was—” Once again, however, the duo were interrupted, but this time it was by a voice that Lexa had come to recognize.

“Woods!”

Raven Reyes was nothing if not loud.

Lexa sighed, fighting the urge to scream, before she turned to the other girl, who was shooting a rather unamused glance in Serrena’s direction.

“Reyes, what do you need?”

“Come with me, hot stuff, you can talk to preppy here later, no offense, Cullen.” Before Lexa could protest, Raven was dragging her away, and she shot Serrena one last apologetic glance before Raven tugged her down the hallway.

“How’d you even get into the locker rooms?”

“Irrelevant,” Raven brushed off, “what I want to know is why you were having a little eye-fucking sesh with Cullen over there.”

What?” Lexa gawked. “I was n—”

“Save it, Woods,” Raven huffed, crossing her arms across her chest, “I know the little game you're playing. You can't just string Clarke along like that, thinking you can have the best of both worlds and still flirt with all your little pieces on the side.”

“My what?” Lexa inquired again.

“Your side hoes, Woods,” Raven sighed, “don't play dumb. I've seen the way you and Fox exchange glances in chem, and not to mention that little tango with Cullen over there—”

“Raven,” Lexa cut off, “I do not, nor will I ever have, any side hoes. ” Raven opened her mouth to protest, but Lexa continued. “I'm serious about Clarke, Raven, I really am.”

“Then why haven't you asked her to make it official?” Raven demanded.

“I’m working on it, ok?” Lexa shot back, annoyance flaring within her. “That's what I was trying to talk to Cullen about!”

“Sounds awful suspicious,” Raven replied quickly, “sure you aren't having an affair?”

“I'm not Finn Collins, Reyes,” Lexa admonished, “I wouldn't do that to Clarke!”

“Well what's your plan, then, Woods?” Raven accused.

“You can't tell Clarke,” Lexa threatened, and Raven signed.

“Of course not, just tell me.”

“Alright, well…”


 

"Lex?" Clarke called, hesitantly pushing the door to the locker room, noting that it was completely barren. She'd seen Anya up on the field already, which meant Lexa was the only one changing. "You in here?"

"Back row!" Lexa's voice sounded, and Clarke's heart lit up. Clarke pushed the door open and strode in, making her way to the back row, where Lexa stood, fully geared up. Suddenly Clarke felt shy. Lexa was in her iconic jersey, her shoulder pads broadening her stance. Her tights fit her as well as Clarke remembered. She hadn't seen Lexa in full gear since before the incident.

"You look..." They both began at the same time, smiling like idiots when they realized it.

"I'd say ladies first, but I have to tell you how attracted to you I am." Lexa quipped cheekily, smirking when Clarke's cheeks tinted red.

"You like the outfit?" Clarke smiled in response, watching as Lexa's eyes devoured her. She'd spoken to Aden about stealing Lexa's spare jersey, and she'd donned it. That was an official statement about their relationship. She was nervous. It was the high school method for telling everyone that they were official.

"I don't think I've ever worn it that well." Lexa replied, out stretching her arms to pull Clarke in softly. "This is the...highest honor. The famous Clarke Griffin, wearing my name on her back?" Lexa bowed, acting overly starstruck. "I'm overjoyed."

Clarke could tell though, from the way Lexa's eyes twinkled, and the way she grinned, that she wasn't lying.

Lexa secretly adored Clarke wearing her jersey. She also felt a familiar clench between her legs at the sight and took a quick breath. Now was not the time, Woods.

Clarke smirked herself, feeling a bout of confidence overwhelm her. "Did I ever tell you how much I like you in uniform?"

Lexa smirked. "You didn't. But I could tell from the way you absolutely lusted over me when we were still...frenemies." She teased.

Clarke slapped her on the abdomen blinking when she felt her hand come into contact with a hard surface. "Are you wearing padding?" She asked curiously.

"Not there." Lexa replied with a cocked brow.

Oh. So those were Lexa's abs. Clarke decided that she definitely liked football.

Clarke blinked hard, licking her lips. "Your hair is beautiful." She remarked, eyeing the way it fell in soft waves over Lexa's shoulder.

"I have to braid it." Lexa explained, though she didn't feel like detaching from Clarke just yet.

"I could..." Clarke offered, perhaps a bit too eagerly. "I mean, if you wanted me to."

Lexa smiled and sat on the bench, motioning for Clarke to have at it. Clarke smiled in response and straddled the bench behind her, hands falling into Lexa's silky brunette waves with a contented sigh.

"I really love your hair." Clarke confessed, feeling weird for just breathing it in.

"I love yours." Lexa told her gently. "It always smells like vanilla."

Clarke blushed at that, leaning forward to begin braiding Lexa's hair. She took her time, intricately and delicately, making smalltalk with Lexa about some of the players.

"So, it's your first time back." Clarke breathed slowly, finishing the braid with a sigh.

Lexa turned around to face her, smiling and murmuring her thanks. "It is." She nodded coolly in acknowledgement.

"Are you nervous?" Clarke asked sympathetically, remembering the first time she'd asked Lexa that. She'd been mocking her, then. Oh, how the times had changed.

"I don't get nervous." Lexa smirked. She seemed to remember that too.

Clarke could see through her cool facade. Reaching out, she held Lexa's once injured arm, kissing it softly.

Lexa let out a shaky exhale and pulled Clarke into her lap, cupping her cheeks  as she leaned forward to properly kiss her, Clarke's arms going around her neck instantly as she let out a soft whine.

“So you're okay?" Clarke clarified, mumbling against Lexa's kisses.

Lexa smiled, her gaze softening as she eyed Clarke's lips. "Of course. Like I told you...my good luck charm is here."

Clarke's heart just about melted at that. "I thought Aden was your good luck charm?" She teased.

Lexa smiled amusedly. "There are...different kinds of luck." She decided, her hands sliding to wrap around Clarke's waist as she placed a soft kiss on her jaw, moving along her neck.

"Thanks for the bruises." Clarke's voice was full of mirth. "I was worried people would forget we're together for a solid five minutes."

"They're fading." Lexa smirked against her skin. "Time to re-apply."

Clarke rolled her eyes, but let out a soft moan half way through Lexa's suckling kiss. "Oh- keep doing that." She muttered breathlessly. "I think I'm going to tangle my hands in your hair and ruin your braid."

Lexa sighed, pulling back momentarily. "If I didn't have a game right now, that's not the only thing we'd ruin." She smirked.

Clarke rolled her eyes, smiling still. "I don't even want to know what that means." She sighed. "Are you ready to go?"

Lexa shook her head. "I have to apply my eye-black."

Clarke cocked a brow curiously. "Your what? Oh, you mean your warpaint?"

Lexa looked infinitely amused. "Warpaint?" She repeated, lips curling into a smile.

Clarke looked sheepish. "Yeah. You know...You're like Commander Lexa, going into battle..."

Lexa wiggled her eyebrows. "Sounds sexy."

Clarke smiled, leaning in for a quick kiss, whining when Lexa softly bit her bottom lip. "It is." She replied, holding tight as Lexa reached into her bag with one hand, producing the container.

Clarke eyed the jar, watching as Lexa began to screw it open. "Stupid question, Lex."

"No such thing." Lexa replied offhandedly.

Clarke rolled her eyes. "Okay, a month or two ago, you wouldn't have said that. You would have said something like, "Not surprising, coming from you, Griffin."

Lexa smirked at her impression, setting the jar down for a moment to quickly lean down and capture Clarke's lips in a stolen kiss.

"What was that for?" Clarke scoffed.

"Your impression was cute." Lexa shrugged playfully.

"Don't ignore the abusive implications." Clarke teased. "You were mean."

"Say it." Lexa smirked.

"No." Clarke protested.

"Say it."

"Fine." Clarke sighed. "You were a total bitch."

Lexa smiled amusedly. "I was, wasn't I?"

"Why?" Clarke pressed. "We could've been making out so much earlier."

"We were attracted to each other. We mistook it for anger. It was just sexual tension. " Lexa smirked.

"Right." Clarke breathed, forgetting how. "So, my stupid question...what does the eye-black do, exactly? Other than give you sex appeal, because somehow, I know that's going to be your answer." Clarke added pointedly.

Lexa grinned. "Essentially...it's just grease. We put it on to block out the stadium lights, so we don't miss the ball if the lights get in the way. It's a visual thing."

"Does it really help?" Clarke pressed, nodding in understanding.

"I don't play without it. It makes me look more intimidating." Lexa replied.

Clarke bit her lip. "I love the way you do it...the mask. May I?"

Lexa smiled, handing her the container. "It'd be my honor, Ms. Griffin."

Clarke blushed slightly, taking the container, dipping two of her fingers in, making a face when she felt the grease.

"Doesn't feel so sexy, hmm?" Lexa teased.

"Not really." Clarke agreed. "But...it smells good."

Lexa smirked. "I mixed mine with shea butter."

"Is that why your face is so soft when I kiss it?" Clarke grinned.

Lexa puffed her chest proudly, and Clarke felt light laughter bubble within her.

"Oh my god, Lex, you're so...soft." Clarke laughed, applying it slowly, making sure to let it drip a little, the way Lexa always wore it.

Lexa sighed contentedly, and Clarke felt bold. She leaned forward, planting a kiss on Lexa's head. "I like taking care of you." She admitted softly.

"I like it too." Lexa admitted, equally as shy.

Clarke finished, screwing the lid back onto the jar.

Lexa pouted slightly, and Clarke tilted her head to the side curiously. "What's the matter?"

"I can't kiss you now." Lexa sighed.

"What?" Clarke frowned, like Lexa just told her she was moving across the country. "Why?"

"I'll get your face dirty." Lexa replied, and Clarke rolled her eyes, leaning in for a bruising kiss.

Lexa kissed her back, eager to lean back and see her handiwork. She was pleasantly surprised- Clarke's cheeks bore two lines that looked like they were intentionally smeared there for the most part.

"Here." Lexa grinned. "Let me just-" she smudged the lines so they looked well placed. "There. You're on the team."

Clarke laughed and Lexa's heart fluttered. "You ready to go out there now?"

"As long as you're with me, yes." Lexa smirked. "Today's a big game for me, and I want my- you, watching."

Clarke hardly noticed the slip, nodding as she rose,  lacing her hand with Lexa's. She'd watch every second of Lexa's playing eagerly. Oh, how everything was backwards.

Clarke and Lexa entered the stadium hand in hand, and Clarke instantly blushed at the roar of Lexa's classmates when she re-entered the field for the first time since her injury.

"Com-man-der!" They'd chant for her as she felt her usual arrogant smirk pull to her lips.

Except, this time around, Clarke was so pathetically attracted to that smirk.

"This is where we part." Clarke sighed, blinking in surprise as Lexa turned to wrap her arms around her waist.

Abby absolutely glared from her spot near Titus and the other players, helping them stretch before the game.

"I will spend every moment thinking about you, and every time I make a scoring play, it'll be for you." Lexa hummed, seemingly relaxed despite the buzz of the entirely packed stadium, full of two-thousand eager students. "Alright, Clarke?"

Clarke blushed heavily at Lexa's words, swooning when Lexa leaned down to place a soft kiss on her lips.

Abby was fuming now, though neither girl took notice.

"Good luck, Commander." Clarke smirked against Lexa's kiss.

"I don't need it." Lexa murmured against her lips. "I have you." leaned forward and kissed Clarke's head before jogging off to stretch.

Clarke felt her insides burn so sweetly. She and Lexa were such saps, but it didn't matter. Everything felt right.

God, she was falling so hard.

Clarke watched Lexa veer off as she returned to her seat, heading for the Delinquents.

Clarke couldn't help the little stammer in her heart as Lexa stopped before the crowd of cheerleaders that, as Raven so helpfully put it, loved to "eye fuck" Lexa. They were doing it right then and there.

The audacity. The nerve. Right there. Seconds after Lexa had kissed Clarke.

It wasn't fair. Clarke knew that Lexa was the most coveted girl in school, but still. Didn't they have some respect? Clarke felt suddenly insecure. She and Lexa weren't even an official item. If Lexa wanted to, she could sleep with half the school without batting an eyelash.

Lexa was smirking at them, talking animatedly, making a summoning motion with her hands. The girls nodded excitedly, occasionally chiming in with something Clarke couldn't hear. Of course they were probably flirting with her. Lexa was too smooth to resist.

Titus blew his whistle and Lexa bade them farewell, jogging back for the team huddle.

Clarke felt a bitter taste in her mouth as she narrowed her eyes at Lexa,  wishing she couldn't make her feel so elated and depressed in a matter of seconds.

Clarke settled in beside Raven and Octavia with a huff.

“What’s the matter, Griff?” Octavia nudged her playfully. “You looked really happy just thirty seconds ago.”

Raven smirked. “It’s Commander hotface and the cheerleaders.”

Clarke turned beet red. “Shut up, Rae.”

Raven looked unfazed. If Clarke hadn’t been sulking, she would have noticed Raven’s smirk, and probably would have caught on before hand. But of course, Clarke was too busy being “salty” to notice.

The game began, and as always, Lexa tore up the stadium to resounding applause.

Clarke was a little irked, but Lexa played absolutely phenomenally. Every pass she made was deadly accurate, and she’d positioned the grounders to win rather easily. She and Lincoln were a deadly tag team.

By the time half-time rolled around, Lexa had winked at Clarke maybe thirty-two times, after every successful play. Clarke was absolutely swooning, unable to contain herself. It was exhilarating to know that the absolute best, most dominant player in the stadium was thinking about her when she made those incredible plays.

And, of course, there was the small fact that everyone was watching. Everyone was watching when Lexa blew a kiss to Clarke after a good run, or after she’d just stepped off the field. Clarke’s heart was racing and her grin was unmatched.

Halftime was usually when the cheerleaders put on their crazy dance shows, complete with their neatly assembled stage. But this time, something was different. The cheerleaders were out, performing their usual routine. All eyes, (granted, mostly of the male students), were glued to them. They performed to their usual deafening applause. But no one got up to move.

Clarke squinted. Elbowing Raven, she muttered, “Why is no one getting up?”

Her answer was several gasps and students pointing as Lexa, still in full uniform, minus the helmet, jogged over from the entrance tunnel, to the center of the field. Just as the song was ending, the squad got into formation, holding up a sign that read: Clarke, will you be my girlfriend?

Clarke couldn’t believe it. First, she thought her eyes were playing tricks on her. Then, she assumed it was a different Clarke. But no. That was her Lexa approaching her side of the bleachers to thunderous roars of “Say yes!”

Lexa’s smile was genuine, and Clarke couldn’t feel her legs, or her heart. She was shaking, literally shaking. Lexa hopped the low fence separating the students from the field, and approached Clarke.

That was when Clarke noticed the bouquet of roses in her hand. Clarke’s heart stopped. She was sure she had died and gone to heaven. This was the single greatest moment of her life, hands down.

And then Lexa kneeled.

Kneeled .

Lexa’s smile was even more amused when she saw how nervous Clarke was. “Clarke.” She began, and the entire two thousand student audience began hushing each other idiotically in efforts to hear their Commander’s proposal, only succeeding in making more noise.

Clarke couldn’t tell if she