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Wavering Hearts

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The match had finished half an hour ago and Lexa was making her way towards the pizza place down the street from the field where the soccer game had taken place. After their victory in the first game of the season, her teams coach, Indra, had ordered the entire team to assemble for a celebration, no exceptions. It was the last thing she wanted to do.

“Come on Lexa, stop dragging your feet!” Lexa’s sister Raven whined, grabbing her arm to hurry her along. “I’m hungry!”

Lexa laughed. “You’re always hungry Rae” she teased with a smirk, but picked up her pace anyway. Raven played goalie for their team and was the reason Lexa played at all. She had practically begged Lexa to sign up along with her girlfriend Clarke so that the team would have enough players to qualify for the regional competition. It had seemed like a fun idea at the time, but now, playing on a team with a girl who’d broken her heart a month earlier was torture.

The pair entered the parking lot attached to the strip of shops that held the pizzeria and Lexa’s step faltered for a moment when the object of her reluctance leaning against a car came into view; Clarke. Lexa straightened her shoulders and ran a hand over the braids holding her wavy brown hair in place as they stepped closer to the woman who looked like she wanted to be there just about as much as Lexa herself did. Still, they had decided to be friends for the sake of the team and Lexa was determined to make an effort to the effect. Lexa stopped next to the SUV Clarke was leaning against and, ignoring the way Raven rolled her eyes and walked away, offered the girl a smile.

“Hello Clarke,” Lexa greeted quickly before she had a chance to chicken out, “Are you ready to go in? Indra will be waiting and you know how much she hates that.”

The shorter blonde woman groaned a little in response. “Isn’t it enough she gets to order us around on the field?” she muttered, followed swiftly by a sighed “Yeah. Come on,” before she headed for the door decorated with a cartoon Italian flag hold a slice of pizza aloft. Clarke glanced sideways at Lexa as she walked beside her and wondered how the girl could be so unaffected by their proximity when just seeing the older girl could make her heart so much. Clarke knew they were trying to be friends but she hadn’t thought it would be this hard when she’d suggested they break up. She would have dropped out of this team if it wouldn’t have meant making the team ineligible for the competition. She desperately hoped this party would be over quickly.

When the duo entered the restaurant they found that their teammates had pushed several tables together and the only chairs left free were side by side at one end, giving them no choice but to sit together in awkward silence until Indra began giving a speech about how pleased she was of their victory but reminding them that it didn’t mean they could slack off since it was only the first match.

****

Time passed slowly as Clarke waited for an acceptable amount of time to pass before she could leave without disappointing her celebrating teammates. Sitting here next to Lexa eating pizza and making small talk like it was the most normal thing in the world felt very awkward to her. Adding to the uncomfortable situation was one of the waiters who kept checking to see if everything was to her liking or if she would like anything else. The fourth time the waiter, whose name tag introduced as Finn, approached he slipped a napkin with a slip of paper poking out from underneath smoothly onto the table in front of her before asking again if he could get her anything. He left looking slightly disappointed when she just smiled and shook her head, pointedly ignoring the napkin and what she assumed was his phone number.

“What?” Clarke grumbled when she saw the smirk stretched across Lexas’ face. She realised it was the first genuine curl of the other girls lips since they’d arrived and it made her insides do a funny little flip.

“Nothing, nothing.” Lexa tried to straighten her face unsuccessfully across before she burst into laughter. This wasn’t the first time she had watched a server try to pick Clarke up over dinner. “You know what he wants right? He isn’t going to go away easily.” She snorted again at the exasperated look her words brought to the blondes face.

Clarke watched Lexa’s eyes flick to something behind her and begin to sparkle as she grinned again. “Oh look, here he comes again. Good luck.” She settled back into her chair as if getting ready to watch a show.

“Lexa! Help me!” Clarke hissed as she felt the presence of the waiter walking up behind her again. It was all she could do to not roll her eyes when the only response she got was Lexa pulling out her cell phone. She didn’t have time to say anything else before the man was again standing next to their table.

He began speaking as she glanced up at him, noticing as he flicked his shaggy hair out of his face. “I’m just going to be upfront with you because my shift is nearly over. You’re gorgeous and it would be sweet if you’d give me a call sometime.” He extended his hand to pull the paper from under the napkin and wave it in her face. She’d been right when she assumed it was his number, the digits on the paper blurring as it shook in front of her eyes.

“Oh, umm,” Clarke stammered, shifting uncomfortably “I’m sorry. I’m not interested. Sorry.” She glared across the table in the direction of the muffled snort that could be heard.

The guy beside her seemed unfazed by her statement and asked “Do you have a boyfriend? Go on, give me a chance. We can have some fun.” Finn pressed with what he seemed to think was a charmingly crooked grin.

Clarke shifted again in her chair before responding. “No, no I don’t. But I’m really not…”

“So what’s the problem then?” Finn interrupted her with a wink, “Seriously, one date. You won’t regret it.”

It didn’t look like he was going to take no for an answer easily. Clarke shot a look at Lexa, her eyes pleading for help. She’d always found it difficult and embarrassing when men hit on her like this. It seemed as if Lexa was going to let her fend for herself when her voice finally came out.

“Just tell him you’re gay. That’ll do it.” Lexa was laughing again, her grin widening when Clarke did roll her eyes this time. She couldn’t believe Lexa was laughing at the situation and doing nothing to make the boy go away. Lexa knew how much Clarke hated being put in this position.

“Alright Finn, I’m not interested.” She looked up at the man standing beside her. “I’m not interested because I’m not into men, at all.”

Finn smirked down at her cockily. “Yeah, right. You’re too hot to be a dyke; You only said that because she told you to.” He waved the paper holding his number in her face again. “I promise a date with me will be the best night of your life.”

By now the players at the table closest to them had stopped to watch this exchange, causing silence to descend over the table as Finn waited for a response. Clarke sat back in defeat. It was clear this douche wasn’t backing down and she had no idea how to make him. She saw Lexa stand from the other side of the table and sent her a questioning look when she saw Lexa mouth ‘Play along’ while walking around behind Finn.

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Lexa stood up when she saw how uncomfortable Clarke was getting. As amusing as watching this spectacle was she felt bad for letting it drag on. ‘Play along,’ she mouthed when she was behind the man so he couldn’t see her, although he wasn’t paying her any attention since he was so focused on Clarke.

Lexa walked around the table and put her hand across the Clarkes’ back to rest on her opposite shoulder, lightly pulling the blonde against her as she took out her phone. Clarke instinctually turned her head into the taller girl, relaxing as her familiar scent filled the air surrounding her.

“I can prove it if you like.” Lexa offered the man who now looked uncertain. “I have a couple photos that could be used as evidence.” She tapped the phones screen a couple of times before spinning it around so Finn could see. “Here’s one, and here’s another. Three should do it right?” Lexa calmly swiped her thumb across the screen to display several photos that she’d worked to put into an album as soon as Clarke had hissed at her to help.

Finn looked surprised and, finally, defeated. “Huh, I guess you are then.” He looked like he wanted to say more, but decided against it when he saw the possessive way Lexas’ hold tightened on Clarke. “Sorry.” He quickly walked away and into the kitchen without looking back.

As soon as the man left, Lexa dropped her hand from Clarkes shoulder and stepped back. Quickly walking back around the table she avoided the blue eyes following her and tried to ignore the way she’d felt when the other woman had turned her head into her tummy. This was the first time they’d touched in the month since they’d broken up, both normally working hard to keep a distance between them.

It took Clarke a moment to be able to form words, her mind consumed with the loss of pressure where Lexa had rested her hand on her shoulder. She cleared her throat. “Uh, thanks Lexa.” Clarke glanced across the table but the brunette seemed to be avoiding her gaze and didn’t look up. She was burning to know what pictures Lexa had used as her ‘evidence’.

“No worries,” Lexa responded gruffly, “You should probably figure out a way of fending those guys off though.” She wanted to get out of there, but knew she had to wait until Raven was ready to leave. She glanced up to see her sister at the other end of the table frowning slightly in her direction before turning away to continue her conversation with her friends.

The team members who had stopped to watch the drama unfold were looking at Lexa and Clarke in shock. One finally seemed to find her voice; “You two are together?!”

At this Clarke looked up as she felt a flash of panic, unsure how to respond. They’d never told the team of their history, having broken up just before training started. She didn’t need to however, as a laugh came from the opposite side of the table.

“Of course not,” Lexa scoffed. “She isn’t actually gay. That guy is just thick.” She glanced across the table at Clarke, her eyes bright with some emotion Clarke couldn’t quite decipher, before standing up and walking away in the direction of the bathrooms.

Clarkes eyes were drawn to the brunette as she sat back in her chair. They burned with unshed tears at Lexas parting words. Clarke knew she’d made it difficult for the other woman, not being ready to disclose their relationship to the world, but the venom she’d just heard in Lexas voice made her realize just how much it had hurt her. She wondered why exactly Lexa had just helped her get rid of Finn when she so clearly didn’t even want to be in the same vicinity as Clarke herself.

Embarrassed by the sting in her eyes, all Clarke wanted to do was go home. However, she was determined to speak to Lexa before she left, know they weren’t likely to if she didn’t make it happen herself so she settled into her chair to wait. They couldn’t keep going the way they were; they’d barely spoken in the month since their relationship had ended and even though she was the one to call it quits, Clarke needed resolution, closure, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to move on from the feelings she still harboured for the wonderful woman who, even now, took her breathe away.

Lexa sat on the lid of the toilet and put her heads in her hands. She was trying, and failing spectacularly, to squash the emotion that was searing through her. Standing so close to Clarke had confirmed what she already knew; they were fooling themselves trying to be friends. At least, Lexa was. She was sure the beautiful girl who made her heart race didn’t care either way. Lexa was unsure how she was going to handle seeing Clarke at weekly practices, games and other various team gatherings. She knew she was still achingly in love and would be for as long as the blonde was in her life.

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Lexa sat in the restaurant bathroom thinking about what had just happened, and she was sure that now Finn had scampered off, Clarke was probably furious that Lexa had insinuated that the blonde was anything but straight and ‘normal’. She’d long ago accepted that Clarke was terrified of being publicly out of the closet and would immediately freeze if anything that could reveal their relationship took place, the only exception being when they’d travelled away and the chances of anyone from home seeing them was non-existent. Most of their relationship had taken place behind closed doors or in the company of a few select people, mainly Clarkes’ childhood best friend and Lexas’ roommate, Octavia, and Lexas’ family. All of which had been sworn to secrecy. It was the only thing that Lexa could remember being difficult about the relationship, after they’d finally figured out how they felt about each other everything had seemed perfect. She shook her head at herself, apparently she’d been wrong, since the relationship had seemingly crumpled without her noticing.

*A MONTH BEFORE*

The pair was having a date night at a small café near the college they both attended, Ark University. Although the girls went out on dates frequently, Lexa felt something was different about this one. She noticed Clarke was keeping more distance between them than her usual ‘Just friends in public’ rules required, and had been for a few weeks she realised. Almost like they were little more than strangers who happened to be sharing a meal instead of two girls who’d been close friends for 3 years and in a somewhat secret relationship for nearly half that time. Lexa wanted to ask if anything was wrong but she knew Clarke was unlikely to give her any sort of response that held any merit while there was a chance they could be overheard by someone they knew. The blonde seemed to be distracted and Lexa longed to reach out to cover her hand and offer reassurance but she’d given up on trying to find the line of what was acceptable public affection between friends and what could be construed as more, she’d taken to never touching Clarke in public at all.

Clarke had suggested they leave the café, Grounders, almost as soon as they’d finished eating in a tone that held none of the life and warmth Lexa was used to. Worried, she’d asked Clarke if she wanted her to take her home instead of going for the usual walk through the park nearby. When they’d arrived at the apartment Clarke lived in Lexa had tried to catch the younger girls eye, but Clarke had just walked straight passed her and sat in one corner of the couch that dominated the space of the living room. Officially scared the brunette had followed and taken a spot in the opposite corner and turned to face her girlfriend. Clarke had been looking towards her with a frown on her face before she noticed green eyes studying her and turned away again.

“What’s going on Clarke?” Lexa had asked quietly, hoping the girl would finally speak to her and let her help her with whatever was wrong. She wanted to tell the blonde that whatever was wrong they’d get through it together, but hadn’t wanted to make her feel pressured so had patiently waited for Clarke to speak. She definitely hadn’t been expecting what Clarke said next.

Her girlfriend had sighed before clearing her throat lightly and Lexa noticed her clench her hands into fists before she turned back to her and looked up.

“This isn’t working Lexa.” The blonde had said in that same dead voice she’d been using for most of the night. She again refused to meet her eyes and Lexa felt surprise wash through her, quickly followed by confusion and then pain.

There was only one conversation she could think of that would start that way and she desperately hoped she was wrong. “What are you talking about Clarke?” She managed to force out passed the weight that had settled in her chest.

The blonde had made a sound that was somewhere between a laugh and a scoff. “This, Lexa. Us.” Clarke had continued, waving her hands to indicate them both. Blue eyes finally met green and Lexa could see the steely determination aimed at her. She couldn’t find any of the familiar emotions those eyes usually reflected when she studied them. “I think it’s time we admitted it don’t you?”

“Clarke, there’s nothing to admit. Why are you saying this?” Lexa had had no idea where this was coming from. She’d thought they were happy, even with the struggles of being closeted. She had felt like the air had been knocked out of her and her heart fracture as she realised they could be over. If Clarke didn’t want them anymore, Lexa wouldn’t try to convince her to change her mind. She knew she’d never force Clarke to stay if she didn’t want to, because she loved her. ‘If you love something, let it go.’ flashed through her mind.

Clarke shook her head before saying with finality, “I think we should break up.”

“Clarke?” Lexa had tried once more to get Clarke to explain what lead them to this point but stopped when the blonde shook her head again.

“I’d like you to leave.”

Those words echoed in Lexas’ head as she was startled back to the present by the door banging open and the room filled with chatter by the girls that walked in. She wondered how long she’d been sitting in there and hoped no one thought she was hiding. She didn’t think she could handle the humiliation that would bring with it. Hearing the other girls leave the room again, Lexa stepped out of her stall and quickly washed her hands and splashed water across her face; hoping to hide any evidence of how she was feeling. Heading back out to the main part of the restaurant she hoped the rest of the celebrations would pass quickly and without comment on what had happened earlier.

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It seemed like an eternity had passed before Clarke saw Lexa exit the bathrooms on the other side of the restaurant, her face slightly flushed. The blonde woman quickly gathered her bag and rose to meet Lexa in the middle of the dining area out of earshot from their peers.

“Lexa,” she said quietly, searching the taller girls face for signs of the anger she’d heard earlier, but only finding a soft sadness in the downward curve of her lips, “We need to talk. Will you walk me to my car? Please?”

Lexa knew that this conversation had to happen sooner or later and although reluctant she realized sooner would be better, if only to bring some peace of mind. “Sure,” she agreed and followed the other girl out the front door.

Neither woman spoke while they walked to the far end of the parking lot, each caught up in their own nervous wondering about the imminent talk. Would this end with them agreeing to stay out of the others way civilly or would they end up in an argument? Both were certain this would be the end of any relationship between them, how could it not be? They both knew the other didn’t feel the same way they did.

When they reached Clarke's SUV, they both stood there awkwardly for a moment, several feet apart, not daring to look at each other. Lexa didn’t know what to say or do and just looked at her feet as she scuffed them across the loose gravel of the lot. She figured Clarke had asked for this so she could wait for the other woman to start talking. After a couple of minutes of silence a sigh was released into the night air.

“What are we doing, Lexa?” Clarke’s voice was soft as she asked the question. “We can’t keep avoiding each other, or pretending that everything is fine when it isn’t. I think we both know that it’s not.” As she finished her sentence, the blonde raised her eyes to look at the dark head turned away from her, biting her bottom lip nervously.

Lexa wasn’t sure how to respond and looked away across the parking lot and back towards the field in the distance. She wished she could be down there running laps instead of standing here wrestling with emotions that threatened to overwhelm her. She shook her head as if trying to shake away the thoughts running through her mind. Finally she just took a deep breath and looked up at the other woman.

“I don’t know, Clarke.” She admitted. “Everything isn’t alright, I know that. But what else can we do? I’m… God, I don’t even know what I am anymore. Confused? Conflicted?” At this admission, Lexa slumped against the side of the car.

Clarke watched as the girl in front of her seemed to deflate, leaning against the car as if it was the only thing holding her up. Her heart twisted at the anxiety that radiated from the woman opposite her. ‘Maybe she cares more than you thought’ ran through her head. Her hand twitched as the instinct to comfort Lexa rose in her, but she pulled it back. Out loud she asked another question.

“About what exactly, Lexa?” her voice pitched higher now from nerves.

“Everything!” Lexa burst out, pushing up from the car, “I know we broke up, and that should be the end of it. But it’s not. I don’t know what happened, Clarke. You didn’t tell me anything!” She glared at the woman, painfully aware that her eyes were bright with tears. “You just dumped me out of nowhere.”

Clarke took an involuntary step back at the passion in Lexa’s voice. She had obviously misjudged the way the girl felt. “I…” Clarke’s voice faltered. How could she say that she’d ended things to save herself heartbreak? Especially since it hadn’t saved her from any heartbreak at all. How could she admit that she believed she’d been more invested in their relationship than Lexa was; that she thought the other girl hadn’t cared at all and she couldn’t stand that? She couldn’t. Not now. So she avoided responding directly to what the taller woman had said.

“What did you show that guy inside, Lexa?” Clarke asked, desperate to steer the conversation away from where Lexa had taken it. She wasn’t ready for that, not yet. “What photos do you still have that were enough to convince him to go away?”

At this the woman in front of her threw up her hands and turned away in annoyance. “Seriously? What does it matter? It doesn’t change anything.”

‘But it might’ Clarke thought, her mind wandering to her own phone, where she still had images of the two of them. She hadn’t been able to bring herself to delete them yet. Clarke had an odd feeling akin to hope fluttering around her belly. Maybe this sense of longing and regret wasn’t all one sided on her part. Maybe she’d been wrong when she’d ended their relationship.  Maybe…

Out loud Clarke asked again; “Please just show me, Lexa. I’d like to see.” Her voice was soft, gently betraying her feelings. She saw Lexa glance sharply at her, surprise in her eyes.

Lexa looked at Clarke quizzically. Something had changed in the shorter woman over the past few moments; she no longer looked so tense that she would snap in half if someone knocked into her. Everything about her had softened just enough for Lexa to recognise the person she’d fallen in love with. Lexa felt all her anger drain away as she continued to look at the girl standing in front of her.

“Fine,” Lexa sighed as she pulled her phone from her pocket and began playing with the screen, “Here. Just swipe the screen to see all of them.” She looked away, embarrassed by what still having these images could reveal.

Clarke looked down at the first image. It showed the two girls sitting on the grass, Clarke’s arms around the other girls middle while Lexa leaned into her, both were obviously laughing. She swiped to the next photo; this one a selfie of them both taken by Clarke herself. She remembered how at the last second Lexa had turned to press a kiss to her cheek. Another swipe revealed a photo she had never seen before. They were shown sitting at a table in a restaurant, holding hands on the table top and engrossed in conversation. Clarke smiled down at the image; she wondered who had taken it. Without thinking she swiped the screen again to reveal another picture and then another. Warmth spread its way through her body as she looked up at Lexa. She cleared her throat to get the attention of the woman who was determinedly looking anywhere but at her.

“Why do you still have these, Lex?” she murmured into the silence, reverting to the nickname she used to use. She watched as Lexa glanced at her and then away again, her cheeks reddening adorably. When it appeared the other girl wasn’t going to answer, Clarke took a small step towards her. “Talk to me Lexa. What made you keep these?” she probed, desperate to know if Lexa felt the way she did.

Lexa knew there was no way of avoiding the truth now. Her cheeks burned with humiliation and shame. She didn’t want the pity she was sure Clarke was going to show her when she answered her question. She looked up into the face in front of her but was unable to read what Clarke was thinking, she’d always been good at concealing her emotions. She took her phone back.

After hesitating for a second and taking a deep breath, Lexa finally talked. “I couldn’t delete them. I was holding on to you, to us.” She looked down at the ground, embarrassed, “I wasn’t ready to let go yet. I know we’re over though, and I’ll delete them if you want me to.” She gave a resigned sigh and began fiddling with her phone again to erase the photos, when a hand on her arm stopped her.

“No, don’t.” The blonde woman quickly stopped the older girl as she pulled her own phone from her pocket. “Look, Lex. I have them too.” She unlocked her phone to reveal her screen. The phone showed a background of the two girls dancing, holding each other close with their heads resting against each other. Lexa recognised the photo as being from a party they’d gone to shortly before Clarke had ended things. She recalled how happy she’d been that night. It had been a rare occasion for Clarke to relax enough to be close to her around other people without panicking about what they were thinking.

Running a hand over her braided hair, Lexa looked back up at Clarke in confusion. “I don’t understand. Why would you be holding on to anything? You broke up with me. Why would you do that and then hold on? It doesn’t make sense.” She searched the other woman’s face, trying to figure out what she was feeling, and was surprised to find pure longing in the eyes looking at her. “Why did you dump me, Clarke? At least tell me that.” Her voice was quiet and she felt her skin buzzing in anticipation. This conversation was not going as she had thought it would and for the first time she felt the light feeling of hope run through her.

Now it was Clarke's turn to shift uncomfortably, she didn’t take her eyes of the other girls face though. “I was scared. I didn’t think you felt about me the way I did about you and it hurt. I was afraid you were going to break my heart Lexa, so I broke it before you could.” Her voice was barely more than a whisper. Clarke watched Lexa react to her confession. Shock crossed the girls face, followed quickly by pain before settling on exasperation. Clarke took a breath and decided to take a chance. She took a small step towards the girl in front of her and whispered “Was I wrong?”

Lexa shook her head. She couldn’t believe what Clarke had just said. When she saw the other woman’s face fall she belatedly realized how Clarke would take the head shake. Before she had the chance to move away though, Lexa reached out to stop her. Placing one hand on the other woman’s hip, Lexa stepped towards her, said “You’re an idiot,” and the other hand curling around Clarke's' neck, pulled her into a kiss.

Lexa’s lips were soft as they moved against hers, and after the initial surprise Clarke responded. She wrapped her arms around the taller girls’ waist and pulled her against her body. She shivered with how right it felt to hold Lexa in her arms and all too soon she felt Lexa pull away slightly. The older girl didn’t step out of her arms however, pulling away just enough to look into Clarke's' eyes.

Using her hand to brush a stray strand of hair out of Clarke’s eyes, Lexa looked down at her and murmured “I love you Clarke, of course I love you.  Please, be mine.” She waited until the other woman gave a small nod before kissing her again, joy taking over her body as she laughed into her loves mouth.

It was a few moments before the two girls separated again, only pulling away from each other when another car pulled into the lot. Clarke could feel her face blush slightly, embarrassed by the public display they’d just given, but so happy in that moment that she couldn’t bring herself to care too much.

Lexa grinned down at her sheepishly, knowing how the blonde felt about PDA, “Sorry,” she smirked, her bright eyes showing how obviously not sorry she was. She was enjoying the feeling of Clarke’s arms around her too much for any negative emotion to be possible. She groaned in disappointment when the other woman released her.

“I should go,” Clarke murmured as she reluctantly removed her arms from Lexa’s waist. “Come with me?” After a month of doing everything possible to avoid the woman, she didn’t want to be without her again for a long while.

Lexa grimaced. “I can’t. I’m Rae’s ride. We still need to talk about this though, can I come over later? Say, about 8ish?” she glanced at her watch, knowing it would probably be a while before her sister would want to leave. Lexa couldn’t wait for Raven to get a car of her own, or rather stop pulling the cars she’d had apart and inevitable making something explode.

“Of course,” Clarke responded with a smile. She knew it would probably be a bit of an awkward talk; that she would have to explain her thought process, but now that she had Lexa back and knew the woman did in fact love her she couldn’t bring herself to feel nervous. Clarke leaned forward to press one more soft kiss to Lexa’s lips before getting into her car. “I’ll see you soon then.”

As she watched the car drive away, Lexa ran a hand over her hair and shook her head. “She thought I didn’t love her,” she muttered to herself as she headed back into the restaurant. This confused her; she’d thought she made it clear how she felt about the other woman when they were together. Not so much with her words, but with her actions. How could Clarke really think she didn’t mean the world to Lexa? She shook her head again and put the thought from her mind as she re-joined her teammates and settled in to wait for her little sister.

Chapter Text

Clarke sat on her couch holding a glass of wine. The last few hours had seemed to pass at a snail pace. She’d tried to stay busy with some study, but she’d been unable to concentrate on anything other than the mix of nerves and excitement at knowing she was going to see Lexa again soon. All she could think about was the feeling of Lexa’s lips on her own and the way the other girl had felt in her arms. She’d felt lost over the past few weeks without the brunette being with her. Seeing Lexa and not being able to touch or even really talk to her had made her miserable, but it was over now. Clarke grinned to herself’ Lexa loves her. They might have some things to work on within their relationship, but right now all that truly mattered was how they felt about each other. Everything else was just details. She looks towards the clock again for the hundredth time since she arrived home; 7:45pm. It was almost time.

***

Lexa pulled up in front of Clarke’s apartment building just before 8pm, stomach full of butterflies. She laughed at herself for feeling nervous, just as she had before her first official date with the beautiful blonde woman. She’d barely had time to prepare herself for the conversation that was sure to come and kind of hoped to avoid it somewhat. Lexa’s mind wandered back to the ‘talk’ she’d had Raven as she drove her home. She’d ended up having to ask her sister if they could leave the festivities in order to rush home and shower before heading back out. Although Lexa didn’t say anything, her little sister knew something was up and wasn’t altogether happy about it.

“What was all that with you and Clarke at dinner?” Raven had asked once they were in the car. “You looked kind of cosy,” she accused with narrowed eyes.

Lexa had glanced at her sister before returning her eyes to the road in front of them. “Nothing, Raven. I just helped her get rid of the waiter.” she avoided. Lexa knew all too well what her sister thought about her relationship with the other woman and really didn’t want to get into another argument about it with her right then. Even though her sister loved and was supportive of her in general, Lexa knew that Raven was a little grossed out by her sexuality, and had hoped when Clarke broke up with her that she’d find a boyfriend instead; refusing to accept that that was never going to happen.

“Yeah, before you went outside with her. Don’t do anything stupid Lexa.” Raven ordered, “Stay away from Clarke.” The younger girl spoke in the way of someone used to getting what she wanted.

Lexa rolled her eyes as she pulled up in front of their parents’ house. “Whatever you say Rae,” she said dismissively. “I’ve got to go. Give mum a hug for me, will you?” Lexa waited until her sister got out of the car before smiling at her to show she wasn’t angry. “I’ll see you in the morning, all right?”

“Uh huh” Raven replied, still looking at Lexa suspiciously. Lexa had just grinned as she drove away.

With a groan Lexa let her head fall forward until it connected with the hands resting on the steering wheel. Her kid sister was not going to be happy when she found out where Lexa was at that moment, and she dreaded what she’d have to listen to when Raven did hear about it. However, that dread was quickly trumped by a desire to see the woman her sister so disliked the idea of. The happiness Lexa could feel, had already felt, with Clarke meant more to her than the possibility of Raven being disgusted. Having arrived at the conclusion, Lexa swiftly hopped out of her car and headed inside.

***

Clarke had just stood to refill her glass when a knock sounded at the door. She opened it to reveal Lexa standing there with one hand in the pocket of her cargo pants and one rubbing the back or her neck; the way she always did when she was nervous. Nervous Lexa made Clarke smile; the girl was usually so confident.

“Hey,” Clarke greeted when the other girl looked up. She stood back and held the door open for Lexa to pass her. “Come in.” Warmth washed over her at the sight of the other woman, a feeling she had always associated with her.

Lexa smiled back at the blonde woman. “Hey yourself.” she responded as she walked passed her and into the lounge area. Once inside she turned to look back at Clarke, putting both hands in her pockets as she took the woman in. Lexa thought Clarke looked amazing in her blue jeans and snug red shirt, her blonde waves pulled into a ponytail. She loved the way she looked in pretty much anything to be honest; Clarke was the most beautiful woman Lexa had ever seen.

When Lexa realized she was staring she felt her face warm and she looked away embarrassed. She wasn’t sure what to do at this point and started to rock nervously on her heels while she waited for Clarke to say something. What was the right thing to do here? She felt much the same as she had the first time she’d come to this apartment; could she sit down or should she wait for Clarke to? It was ridiculous considering how much time she’d spent here since then. More importantly, could she touch Clarke or did they need to hash everything out before they got to that point? Lexa was definitely looking forward to when this awkwardness would be over.

A grin spread across Clarke's face as she watched the other girl fidget. She felt a laugh bubbling into her throat at the way Lexa’s cheeks flushed when she caught her checking her out. She really was adorable. Grabbing her glass from the table she walked past Lexa and into the kitchen, pausing only to press her lips to the girls’ temple and murmuring a gentle “Relax” in her ear.

 ‘Well that’s reassuring’ Lexa thought to herself as she released a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. She followed Clarke into the kitchen and watched as she poured wine into the glass, shaking her head when the bottle was held up in her direction in offering.

Watching as Clarke took a sip of wine, Lexa shifted restlessly. Were they going to talk everything out? As much as she wanted to avoid the topic; knowing it would be difficult, that was the reason she was there. “So…” she began, stopping when she saw Clarke's hand clench around the wine bottle. She raised an inquiring eyebrow at the other woman.

Clarke felt her whole body tense when Lexa started to speak. She turned to the older girl with pleading eyes. “I know you came over to talk but can we just pretend tonight’s like a first date, leave all the serious stuff for the second one? Can we just watch a movie or something tonight?” It would be unpleasant when she had to really explain why she had ended their relationship and she wasn’t quite ready to expose herself to that vulnerability. Although she was happy with the outcome of their confrontation that afternoon, it had left her feeling somewhat emotionally drained.

Relief washed over Lexa’s body as she leaned against the bench; resting her hip against the marble counter top. She smiled her assurance “That sounds perfect actually.” Her relief was mirrored in the way Clarke’s shoulders relaxed and face cleared.

“Great. Any requests?” Clarke asked as she led the way back into the lounge area of the apartment. At Lexa’s noncommittal shrug and smile a random DVD was selected from the stand to the side of the entertainment unit.

An hour and a half later and neither woman were exactly sure what movie had just ended, both singularly occupied by the presence of the other. Each aware of the space they had put between them on the couch, not touching except for the fingers entwined between them. Both wanted to pull the other closer but unsure how.

They sat quietly as Lexa turned their hands over in order to trace Clarke’s lifeline with her fingertips, slowly moving on to the veins shown on her wrist.

It was amazing how normal having those fingers run across her skin felt. Clarke was too scared to initiate further contact though. The complete contradiction confused her. She felt a need to feel more of Lexa grow in the pit of her stomach, causing her heart rate to speed up, but the girl seemed content to just trace the blue lines visible just below her skin.

Lexa let her fingers trail slowly over Clarke’s palm, relishing the contact, before sliding her fingers up to the exposed wrist. She smiled at the fast beating the pads of her fingers found; a pulse that revealed the gorgeous blonde woman beside her wasn’t as unaffected by her as she seemed. Lexa felt something stir deep inside her. She wanted more, she needed more, but she’d be damned if she was going to make the first move this time. With a soft sigh Lexa withdrew her hand from Clarke’s arm and excused herself for the bathroom.

Once alone behind the closed door of the small bathroom Lexa looked at herself in the mirror as she assessed what she was feeling. Her face was slightly flushed and her green eyes were shining; physical manifestation of what she could feel inside, of the buzz that was running over her skin. Lexa knew what she wanted; she wanted Clarke. She’d always wanted Clarke. Even before they had started dating the blonde woman had provoked a response Lexa had never felt before. But was she ready to bare herself so fully to the other woman again? Lexa was still hurt by Clarke turning away from her a month earlier; a pain that would probably take some time to heal. As she stared into the mirror her head and body continued to rage war against each other. At last Lexa came to the conclusion that neither mind nor body could be silenced. She would have to accept whatever came. With that, she splashed some cool water on her face to try calming herself down before returning to the lounge.

Chapter Text

When Lexa reappeared in the doorway with her thumbs hooked in her pants pockets, Clarke felt her breath catch and the fire burning deep within grow. She couldn’t take her eyes off the stoic brunette as she came forward to sit back on the couch. Lexa curled up next to her, closer than when she’d gotten up, feet tucked underneath her as she sat sideways to face her. One elbow rest on the back of the couch as Lexa settled in. She offered a smile while playing with the short hair at the base of her neck; her classic nervous gesture. Suddenly Clarke felt a flash of confidence and reached for the other woman.

Lexa could feel her body respond anew to the way Clarke watched her as she moved back to the couch. She tucked herself down next to the blonde and leaned against her arm, playing with the back of her neck. She smiled and was about to start talking when the woman in front of her moved.

Slipping her hand between Lexa’s thighs, Clarke wrapped it around her far leg and gave a sharp tug, giving Lexa little choice but to swing the leg over to straddle her or end up face first on the floor. The small grunt of surprise this elicited made Clarke smile as she caught the other girl in her arms.

A laugh escaped her lips as Lexa landed over Clarke, supporting her weight on her knees to avoid crushing the girl’s legs. She steadied herself by placing her hands on Clarke’s shoulders. Lexa looked down into the face just below her and laughed again. “Hi,” she grinned.

Clarke quickly scanned the other girls face for any sign of discomfort before wrapping her arms around her waist to draw patterns on her lower back through her shirt. “Hi,” she breathed with another smile. Her eyes flicked down to Lexa’s lips before meeting the green orbs above her again. “Lexa, I…” she began but was silenced by a small shake of the head above her. She tilted her head slightly in confusion.

Lexa smoothly cut the other woman off with a shake of her head as she gently lowered herself to sit more firmly on Clarke’s lap. Once settled she ran the hands that had been resting on the shoulders in front of her up either side of Clarke’s neck to cup her face. Lexa tilted it back just enough for her to lower her head and claim the lips waiting there with her own.

There was just a gentle press of lips until Lexa felt the hands at her back clench at her shirt and pull her closer. She took this as approval and smiled against Clarke’s mouth before smoothly running her tongue over her bottom lip; an unspoken request. Clarke responded by sighing against her and parting her lips to allow Lexa entry to her mouth.

Lexa pressed closer to the body beneath her, pushing Clarke further into the couch cushions, causing the other woman to groan as she deepened the kiss. She let one hand trail down Clarke’s side, brushing her breast, until she reached where shirt met skin and slid her hand back up again with no barrier between Clarke’s skin and her own. At least until the shirt caught between their bodies and wouldn’t allow the hand to progress further. Lexa made a growling sound of irritation deep in her throat. She quickly leaned back, pulling Clarke with her, to tug the red material over the blondes head and threw it over her shoulder as she pressed in close again. Hands roamed across Clarke’s bared skin, taking advantage of her braless state.

A low moan escaped Clarke’s mouth as warm hands moved over her tummy before travelling upwards to cup her full breasts, one thumb lightly brushing a nipple. She felt Lexa smile against her neck before a tongue licked along her collarbone. The blonde arched her back away from the couch while slipping her hands under the shirt covering the body above her.

Goosebumps spread over Lexa as cool hands slid up under her own shirt. Fingers spread over her back, nails lightly scratching at her skin as she was pulled forward. Her breathe hitched and her body shuddered slightly as her discomforted thoughts returned full force. They were fast approaching a point of no return and Lexa didn’t think she could take that jump while everything was still unresolved, no matter how good it felt. Her hands stilled in their exploration and she buried her head in Clarke’s neck as the internal battle took place.

Clarke sensed the change in the girl on her lap and pulled back a little, removing her hands from Lexa’s shirt. She waited a moment for her breathing to calm before she gently moved Lexa back to look into her face.

“What just happened?” Clarke whispered, cupping Lexa’s cheek in her hand as she searched her eyes, “Where did you go?” She didn’t have time to decipher the emotion in those green depths before the eyes closed and Lexa shook her head.

Keeping her eyes closed so she couldn’t see Clarke’s reaction, Lexa took a deep breath and softly said “We need to stop.” She was thankful she couldn’t see the blondes face as she felt the body beneath her stiffen.

There was silence for a moment and Lexa felt another hand cup her other cheek and tilt her face slightly before she heard Clarke clear her throat. When no other sound came she knew the other woman was waiting for her to open her eyes and look back at her. When she did she met blue eyes gazing intently back at her; in them Lexa could clearly see concern and a hint of fear. She was amazed at how someone who was so adept at concealing her emotions could have such expressive eyes.

Clarke waited until Lexa finally met her eyes before responding. She was confused and afraid by what the girl could mean. Clarke didn’t let her gaze waver as she asked the question. “What’s wrong Lex?” she murmured, “Just talk to me, and tell me what you’re thinking.” Clarke felt her fear multiply when the head in her hands moved from side to side again.

Lexa gently reached up to pull the hands cupping her face away, holding them in her own between them as she swallowed in an effort to remove the lump that had formed in her throat. She shook her head again before she spoke. “I just can’t do this right now, Clarke. Not yet.” Her voice was soft but firm as she said it and she carefully climbed out of Clarke’s lap and off the couch. She turned away as she straightened her clothes.

Clarke felt cold; both from the loss of Lexa’s warm weight on her lap and in the pit of her belly as she took in what the girls words could mean. Of the two interpretations she came up with, one was disappointing but bearable and the other devastating. Did Lexa mean ‘this’ as in this moment or ‘this’ as in them? Was she regretting trying their relationship again? All these thoughts ran through Clarke’s mind in the time it took Lexa to finish rearranging her clothing. Watching her, the blonde suddenly felt very exposed in her topless state and instinctively crossed her arms to cover herself before she could speak.

“I don’t understand” she confessed as she continued to watch Lexa who had now moved to the other side of the room. “What’s happening right now?’

Lexa felt her restraint break as she spun back around to face the couch. “You dumped me Clarke! I’m not going to jump right back into bed with you.” She hated the way her voice cracked at the end of her sentence and she hated how vulnerable the blonde girl looked as she hugged herself on the couch. Lexa looked down and spotted the bundle of red at her feet. She picked up the shirt and tossed it in Clarke’s direction before looking up at the ceiling to regroup her thoughts. All the confusion, hurt and anger of the past month seemed to rush to her head at once; overwhelming her so much that she almost missed the small voice that rose from the couch.

“You didn’t argue” Clarke said quietly as she pulled the shirt she’d caught back over her head. She had to force her voice not to wobble with emotion as she spoke. She had yet to take her eyes off Lexa so noticed when she looked down in confusion. When Lexa raised her head to face her again Clarke could clearly see the emotions running over her face while she processed her words, finally settling on confusion.

“What?” the taller girl asked, “When didn’t I argue?” The anger that had caused her to burst a moment before left as quickly as it had come, leaving behind only the hurt and a yearning to hold the woman in front of her. She crossed her arms to keep from reaching for the blonde.

Clarke stood from the couch in an effort to gather courage. “When I said I thought we should break up, Lexa.” Her voice wobbled this time, “You just agreed and walked away. You left so easily, Lex. Do you have any idea how much that hurt?” She was embarrassed to feel a tear run down her cheek and finally turned away from the other girl as she wiped it away. She squeezed her eyes closed in an effort to stop more from falling and so didn’t notice when the girl across the room moved.

A sharp bark of laughter left Lexa’s mouth, completely devoid of humour. “Easy?!” her voice came out strangled “You think it was easy?” Lexa stalked across the room to pull the blonde woman around to face her again. Her heart clenched at the tears swimming in those blue eyes, but it didn’t stop the words of frustration from coming out. “It was what you wanted! I just wanted you to be happy Clarke. If you weren’t happy with me what right did I have to keep you?” her voice lowered as she continued, “It wasn’t easy at all, this past month hasn’t been easy. Of course I know how much it hurt, Clarke.” She reached up to wipe away another tear that escaped those beautiful eyes, “I know, and I’m sorry. I love you Clarke.”

Clarke didn’t know how to respond. She’d been wrong; she couldn’t have been more wrong. Lexa loved her, and she’d screwed it up. The misery she’d felt over the last weeks was her own doing. Clarke couldn’t believe how dumb she’d been.

The young woman didn’t realise how long she had been standing there processing without responding until Lexa took a step back in uncertainty, one hand unconsciously lifting to play with the hair at her neck. She looked resigned when she started to talk.

“Maybe this was a bad idea.” Lexa sighed. “I should go.” She took another step backwards and looked towards the door. Lexa could feel her own eyes start to burn; she’d said how she felt, bared herself completely, and Clarke had no response. All that she could do now was start trying to get over the blonde woman. Again.

Chapter Text

Clarke panicked when she realised how Lexa had taken her silence. She flung her arm out to catch the girls arm, receiving a look of surprise in return.

“No, wait! Don’t walk away again.” Clarke spoke quickly as she closed the gap Lexa had created between them. She slid her hand down the arm she’d caught to hold the girls hand. “I’m sorry Lexa. Please don’t go.” Clarke looked deeply into Lexa’s eyes to convey how much she meant what she was saying. “I love you too. Stay with me?” She waited anxiously for Lexa to make a decision and when it came in the form of a small nod she let out the breath she’d been holding. Clarke pulled Lexa into her arms and held on tightly. She pressed a kiss to the girls head as she buried her face in her neck and wrapped her own arms around the smaller woman back.

Lexa finally let the tears overflow as she nestled her head in the crook of Clarke’s neck, her body silently shaking. She could feel Clarke’s own tears landing on her neck, even as the younger woman made soothing sounds.

They stood like that for several minutes; Lexa clinging to Clarke while the blonde woman gently rubbed her back while she calmed down. Eventually Lexa stepped back and wiped her eyes.

“Sorry,” she murmured with a small grimace. She was embarrassed by her loss of control. Clarke didn’t seem to mind though for she leaned in to rest her lips on Lexa’s cheek. Lexa closed her eyes to savour the feeling.

“Don’t be.” Clarke responded. She brought her hand up to play with the braid of hair over Lexa’s ear as she smiled tenderly. “I think that’s the first time you’ve ever let me see you cry. Never apologise for that, Lex.” Moving her hand down to rest against Lexa’s collarbone, Clarke let out a small chuckle, “I really made a mess of things, didn’t I?”

A shy grin tipped up the corners of her mouth as Lexa nodded. “I can’t argue with that,” she said, squeezing the other woman’s hand to show she didn’t mean it harshly, “I don’t think I’ll ever understand how you came to the conclusions you did. Next time, I mean hopefully there isn’t a next time, but if there is, just talk to me Clarke. Don’t break my heart again ok?” She forced out a laugh to cover up what her words revealed.

“I promise.” Clarke whispered before hugging her again. She sighed into her hair. “I don’t want to let you go.”

“So don’t,” Lexa murmured in her ear, wrapping her own arms tightly around the woman again. “You have no idea how much I’ve missed you.”

This caused Clarke to smile gently. “I can guess.” She mumbled, thinking about how she’d felt the absence of this wonderful woman. “Will you stay here tonight?” she asked in a clearer voice, “We don’t have to do anything. I’d just really like it if you didn’t go anywhere right now.”

Lexa leaned back slightly to rest her forehead against Clarke’s, keeping her arms wrapped loosely around her waist. “Of course,” she said quietly “I’m not going anywhere.” She grinned cheekily up as she pulled her head back to look at Clarke properly. “Besides, your bed is closer, and I don’t know about you, but today has been exhausting.”

A happy laugh bubbled up and out of Clarke’s mouth at Lexa’s words. She grinned back at her. “Oh I see how it is. That bed has always been your favourite part.” She leaned in to quickly place a kiss to Lexa’s cheek before taking hold of her hand and leading her from the lounge. “Come on then.”

“Well it is the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in,” Lexa teased as she followed Clarke through the kitchen and up the short hall to the bedroom.  When they reached the room Lexa sat on the edge of the bed as she watched Clarke head for the large walk in closet. She clasped her hands in her lap, fiddling with her own fingers. From her position she could see when Clarke stripped off her jeans and shirt before pulling an oversized white tee over her head, enjoying the view. Finally she spoke up.

“I didn’t bring any clothes with me. Do you have any spares?” she asked while casually stretching her arms out behind her to lean back as she watched the blonde woman. She’d always liked the way Clarke looked when she got ready for bed; her long shirts showing off her legs.

Clarke smiled over her shoulder at the girl reclining on the bed and nodded. “Even better, I still have some of yours” she said before stepping out of sight as she walked further into the spacious closet. Faint sounds of movement could be heard until Clarke reappeared holding a pair of pyjama bottoms and a singlet; Lexa’s preferred sleepwear. She handed her girlfriend the stack when she rose to meet her.

“Thanks” Lexa smiled before heading into the adjoining bathroom to wash up and get changed. For some reason she felt slightly awkward undressing in front of Clarke, even after just watching the blonde get changed herself. She washed her face and headed back into the bedroom where she was met with a view of Clarke sitting cross legged against the headboard flicking through a magazine. She’d let her hair out of its ponytail to hang in soft blonde waves around her face. Lexa felt her heart skip a beat when Clarke looked up at her with a warm smile.

“You all right Lex?” Clarke asked when Lexa walked back into the room and paused at the door. She couldn’t help but laugh when Lexa opened her mouth to reply and instead let out a huge yawn, looking sheepish when her mouth closed. Clarke flipped back the covers on the bed next to her and continued to laugh. “Come on then, before you fall asleep against the door.” She turned to drop the magazine she hadn’t really been reading onto the floor next to the bed and slid under the covers herself while Lexa crossed the room.

Lexa climbed into the bed much more smoothly than she thought her internal shaking would allow. It had been weeks since she’d shared a bed with someone; since Clarke herself actually. Still, she lay there straight as a board with her hands on top of the blankets keeping at least a foot between her and the blonde girl still sitting against the head of the bed. Lexa saw Clarke frown slightly down at her, a mix of concern and understanding showing in her eyes.

Clarke noticed how awkwardly the brunette was lying and knew she didn’t know what to do; the confusion in her eyes when she glanced up confirming it. Clarke reached a hand out to tip Lexa’s head back to meet her eyes properly from where she was sitting, running her fingers from her chin along her jawline to her ear.

“You can relax you know,” Clarke said quietly as Lexa watched her “I’m not going to bite. I understood what you said Lex. We can take this as slowly as you need to.” Lexa held her gaze for a moment more before closing her eyes.

Lexa took a deep breath and willed her body to relax. After a few seconds she opened her eyes again and rolled into a more comfortable position on her side, facing Clarke. “I’m sorry. It’s just… I don’t…” she paused, unsure of how to voice her uncertainty and lingering heartache from that day’s events. She was relieved when Clarke smiled in understanding.

“I know.” Clarke responded gently. “I’m just glad you’re here.” She smiled as she slid down so she was lying down and turned to face Lexa, propping herself up on her elbow. “So here’s what I’m going to do; I’m going to kiss your forehead and say good night and you can do whatever you want, alright?” Clarke waited for Lexa’s smile and nod before leaning in to press her lips to the girls head, lingering there for a moment. “Good night Lex” she whispered before rolling over to turn the light off and settling with her back to the other girl to go to sleep.

Lexa felt a feeling of content wash over her when she felt Clarke’s lips on her head. Her entire body relaxed with tired happiness when the lights went out and Clarke settled down next to her. Almost of its own accord Lexa felt her hand reach out to rest lightly on the hip of the girl in front of her, before sliding forward to wrap her arm around Clarke’s waist and pulling her back to curl around her. Lexa heard Clarke’s soft hum of approval as she snuggled into her back the way she always used to. She placed a small kiss where the collar of Clarke’s shirt met her neck before burying her head in the groove between her shoulder blades. The last thing Lexa registered as she fell asleep was a hand covering hers and holding on tightly.

Chapter Text

Lexa woke up when she felt the girl in her arms stir. She grumbled a little and snuggled closer. That had been the best night sleep she’d had in a while and she was reluctant for it to end. She pulled the blanket up higher in an effort to block out the light coming in from the windows.

Clarke felt light when she became aware of her surroundings again, a deep seated joy that came with the memories of the previous night. Lexa was hers. Lexa was here. As if she could hear her thoughts, Lexa burrowed closer to her; covering their heads with the blankets. She chuckled as she turned in Lexa’s arms to face the other girl and pulled the covers back down so she could see her properly, causing Lexa to groan before opening her eyes to look back at her.

“Good morning.” Clarke said while Lexa squinted at her, their faces inches apart. She laughed when Lexa just grunted back at her and couldn’t resist the urge to lean in for a quick kiss. “Still not a morning person then?” she teased when she’d relaxed back into the pillows. It was something they’d laughed over many times before.

“I think we’ve established that you’re cheery enough in the morning for both of us.” Lexa tried to scowl but couldn’t stop the grin that spread across her face. She followed Clarke to kiss her again. “Although,” she murmured against her lips, “this morning is shaping up alright.” When she settled her head back onto the pillow they were nose to nose.

Lying this close to her Clarke could see the different shades of Lexa’s eyes; she noticed the flecks of brown and grey around the iris before spreading into the deep green that she loved so much. “See? They aren’t all bad.” She smiled back as she reached up to brush an eyelash from Lexa’s cheek, letting her hand rest there for a moment. When she met Lexa’s eyes again she could see want shining in them, making her whole body warm, but there was still a shadow of uncertainty in the depths. Clarke remembered Lexa’s words the night before and rolled away before she did something to start anything Lexa wasn’t ready for. She wanted Lexa to be sure before things moved forward. She wasn’t going to ruin this again.

“I’m going to get some water,” Clarke said, standing from the bed to get some distance between them. “Do you want anything?” When Lexa shook her head she walked out into the hall towards the kitchen, taking deep breaths to get her body under control.

After Clarke left the room Lexa groaned and rolled over onto her back, pulling a pillow with her to put over her head. As much as she’d resisted it moments before, Lexa was now wide awake. Her body was alive with desire for Clarke and she was wishing the blonde hadn’t moved away; but she’d hesitated and Clarke had noticed. Lexa groaned again and flung the pillow away from her to sit up.

When Clarke came back into the room Lexa was sitting with her legs over the side of the bed and working her hands over her hair in an effort to get the braided strands to untangle. She grinned up at Clarke, her eyes traveling up her body before smirking at what Clarke assumed was her own case of extreme bedhead. Lexa confirmed this when she opened her mouth.

“You look like a blonde cloud with eyes and legs,” Lexa laughed, rising from the bed to kiss Clarke on the cheek. “I think I need a shower, do you happen to have any more of my clothes in there?” she asked, indicating the closet.

Clarke laughed back at the other girl and reached out a hand to ruffle her hair. “Yeah, well you look like Medusa, but you don’t see me bringing it up.” Lexa’s eyes were sparkling as she ducked away from Clarke’s hand, causing her to laugh more before moving towards her closet. “And yes, I have a whole box of your things in here. Hang on.” Moments later Clarke carried out an almost full box and dropped it on the bed for Lexa to go through.

“Thanks.” Lexa said, moving to rifle through it. She noticed under the pile of clothes there were other things. Pushing down her curiosity Lexa grabbed a pair of jeans and a shirt with Squidward Tentacles printed on it that she’d forgotten she owned and headed for the shower, deciding she’d investigate the boxes contents later.

Lexa had been in the shower for just a minute when a knock sounded on the door and it opened.

Clarke slid open the bathroom door and walked in. “I brought this for you,” she said, holding up the towel in her hands. She stopped involuntarily when Lexa turned towards her and felt her eyes move down the length of her body, loving the way the water ran down it in rivulets. A snort coming from the shower brought her to her senses and her gaze snapped back to the smirk on Lexa’s face. Feeling her face blaze with embarrassment Clarke quickly looked away again. “Um, I’ll just put it over here” she mumbled, moving past the shower to drop the towel on the toilet seat.

She’d barely made it past the shower door when Clarke registered the slight squeal of it swinging open and felt herself being pulled backwards by a wet hand on her arm. The water hit her unexpectedly; feeling cool against her burning face and making her gasp.

“Oh my god. Lex, what the hell?!” Clarke sputtered, reaching up to push away the hair that was quickly plastered to her face. Once the hair was out of her eyes Clarke looked up at Lexa to find her laughing silently at her. She raised an eyebrow at the grinning girl in question. Lexa didn’t answer her ask however, she just reached out to pluck at the shirt that was now soaked and clinging to Clarke’s body and laughed again.

Chapter Text

“You should really take that off,” Lexa laughed, grinning at Clarke’s exasperated expression. “Honestly Clarke, who wears their clothes in the shower?” Her grin widened into a full blown smirk when Clarke rolled her eyes as she peeled the soaked fabric up and over her head before dropping it in the corner of the large shower. Lexa stood back and took in the view of Clarke exposed body, running her eyes down and back up again slowly. She smiled again when the blush that had covered Clarke’s face when she entered the bathroom spread down her neck and across her chest, revealing that she wasn’t as unaffected as she was pretending to be by Lexa’s gaze.

Finally, Clarke couldn’t take Lexa’s silent watching any longer and moved to cross her arms over her chest; only to have her arms caught before she could.

“Hey!” Lexa teased, “Fairs fair.” But she did step closer to the blonde, moving her hands down to rest on her hips but keeping her eyes trained on her face now.

This time it was Clarke who snorted. “Fair?” she murmured, looping her arms around Lexa’s neck. “I do believe it was my turn for a look. You did watch me get changed last night.” She whispered in her ear. When she moved back she was delighted to see Lexa was now as flushed as she felt. She only had a second to register the colour before her face was pelted with water again as Lexa pushed her back under the running shower head.

Clarke didn’t have time to react before Lexa was pressed against her, using the hands at her waist to pull her firmly against her own body. Lexa claimed Clarke’s lips as the water ran over them, deepening the kiss when Clarke’s mouth opened on a low moan in response to her fingers skimming over her hip and down her thigh. They continued to kiss even as Lexa moved her body back to run her hands across Clarke’s stomach and up to her chest, gently kneading her breasts before pinching one nipple in a rougher movement. Clarke broke the kiss with a gasp that was quickly followed by a groan as Lexa moved her mouth to her throat, tongue flicking out to lap at the water running there before latching on to suck the point where her pulse was pounding. Her head fell back to give Lexa better access, eyes closed against the spray that was directly on her face now.

The water was cool on Clarke’s skin when Lexa suddenly moved away. She groaned and opened her eyes to look at Lexa, wondering if she’d had second thoughts again. She needn’t have worried though as hands continued to move over her body, traveling down her sides to hook under the sides of the panties she was still wearing. Lexa slowly moved down Clarke’s body, pausing here and there to kiss or lick making Clarke gasp as her tongue ran over a nipple. Finally, Lexa was squatting in front of Clarke, sliding the panties down her legs and tapping each foot in turn to instruct the blonde to step out of them before tossing them into the corner with the discarded shirt.

Lexa looked up at Clarke from her low position and had to stop herself from laughing again, but couldn’t stop the satisfied smirk from stretching over her face. Clarke’s eyes were closed again and Lexa could see her chest heaving as she sucked in short breathes, could feel her body shuddering slightly where her hands rested on her hips keeping her steady. Lexa had always been amused and amazed by how sensitive and responsive Clarke was when they were together and couldn’t resist pulling herself forward to nip at the spot on Clarke’s hip that always got a response. She was rewarded with a long low groan and the hands on her shoulders clenching against her. This time she couldn’t stop a small laugh from escaping.

Clarke heard the laugh and although she hadn’t thought it possible, felt her body respond even more. She couldn’t take Lexa’s playing much more. Clarke unfurled the fingers that were still fisted against Lexa’s shoulders and moved them to cup the girls face before pulling slightly to indicate she wanted her to stand. “Lexa,” she said huskily, eyes searching the brunettes face “Lexa, are you sure about this?” She hoped desperately her question wouldn’t cause her girlfriend to stop.

“Yes.” Lexa responded, moving back in to nibble on Clarke’s ear as she guided them out of the water stream and backed Clarke against the back wall of the stall. She pressed close; one hand slipping behind the blondes back as she continued. “I want this Clarke. I want you,’ she murmured.

“Stop teasing me then!” Clarke all but growled when she felt a hand at her breast and Lexa’s mouth just below her jaw. She felt that mouth stretch into a smile as Lexa laughed again.

“But you make it so fun.” Lexa purred into her ear, laughing again at the wordless growl she got in return. She pushed a knee between Clarke’s, making the blonde gasp when her thigh met her centre. Lexa shifted slightly to brace her hands on the wall on either side of Clarke as she continued to suck at her neck and pressed her thigh more firmly into the woman, making her moan deeply and causing her to grasp at Lexa’s hips to pull her harder against her. The younger girl finally released a groan of her own as Clarke’s tug pulled her own throbbing heat flush against her leg sending a wave of pleasure through Lexa.

Keeping one arm wrapped tightly around Lexa’s waist to hold her close, Clarke reached up to redirect the girls’ lips to her own; kissing her deeply and fiercely while running her fingers through the soft wet hair at base of her head. She finally pulled her lips away to rest her head against Lexa’s, breathing deeply with her eyes closed.

“Please, Lex.” Clarke almost begged, her voice somewhat hoarse. “I need you. Now. Please.” She felt the head against hers nod and lips press back on hers, this time softly and sweetly as Lexa shifted her body slightly to the side and slid a hand down Clarke’s side and over her stomach, pausing for barely a second before sliding down to where Clarke needed it most.

Lexa felt the need she could hear in Clarke’s voice; had felt it growing with every gasp and moan she’d brought forth from the blonde. After the way Clarke had just kissed her all Lexa wanted was relief from it. As much as she’d enjoyed her teasing it had served to make her feel as desperate as Clarke now sounded.

Lexa kept her head resting on Clarke’s as her hand found its destination. She gently cupped Clarke before running two fingers through the folds, making Clarke gasp and then moan as they found her hardened nub. Lexa released a groan at how the other woman felt; slick and warm. She moved her fingers gently over Clarke’s bundle of nerves in a steady circular rhythm, knowing that it wouldn’t take much more to push the blonde over the edge right now judging by the way Clarke was panting and the subtle shaking of her body against Lexa. She carefully applied more pressure with her finger tips, relishing the noise Clarke released. Lexa pulled her body back slightly in order to watch the girls face as she continued to move against her only to find Clarke already looking back at her with darkened eyes.

Lexa’s breath hitched at the look of pure desire and passion she could see in the darkened blue eyes trained on her and found herself suddenly surging forward to capture Clarke’s lips with hers again. She put all the longing she had felt over the past few weeks into her kiss and felt it returned in the way Clarke’s tongue danced with hers and the way the blondes arms wound around her neck to pull her as close as she could.

Pulling Lexa closer into her had caused the pressure against her core to increase as Lexa’s body trapped her arm between them and Clarke could feel her muscles starting to coil tightly deep within. Her legs began to shake faintly and she tightened her hold on Lexa even more to keep herself standing. Suddenly she was desperate for more as she felt herself race towards the metaphorical cliff of ultimate pleasure. She broke their kiss to whimper in Lexa’s ear.

“More.” Clarke rasped “Please Lexa, more.” She knew Lexa would understand what she meant and was slightly surprised when she felt a head shake gently next to hers.

“No. Not yet.” The brunette whispered into Clarke’s ear before she moved her mouth down to her neck. She let her teeth graze gently over the skin following the trail back up with her tongue.

Clarke groaned. “But I’m going to…” Her words were cut off with a gasp as she felt teeth gently sink into her throat and she tumbled over the precipice. She squeezed her eyes shut as her entire body tensed and began to tremble all over.

“I know,” Lexa murmured before soothing the faint bite mark she’d just left with a quick swipe of her tongue. She continued to move her hand against Clarke until she could feel the woman’s body start to relax again. Before Clarke could completely recover Lexa slide her hand further down and finally gave Clarke what she’d asked for and smoothly slid two fingers into the blondes’ warmth.

Her hips bucked forwards as Clarke grunted in surprise and pleasure. “Oh, god. Lexa!” She felt the girls smile pressed into her shoulder as her other hand moved down her body to gently pull her thigh out a little as she stepped slightly into her. The action opening Clarke up more and giving Lexa some relief as she pushed onto it. Clarke’s head fell back on the shower wall as she felt Lexa begin to move over her thigh. The smooth sliding of her hips adding force to the thrust of the fingers curling inside her. She could feel Lexa moan into her skin where her head was buried into the crook where her neck met her shoulder, the vibration seeming to spread along her still tingling nerves. Clarke moved her arms from around the other girls’ shoulders down to grasp at her hips, encouraging her to move faster and harder into her. Moments later Clarke felt her muscles tensing again and pulled Lexa harder against her in response.

Lexa could feel the walls around her fingers tightening and knew any second now Clarke would come again. This knowledge and the way Clarke suddenly pulled her hard against her had Lexa tumbling over the edge herself. Her groaned “Clarke” muffled into the woman’s shoulder as she shuddered against her. She managed to keep her strokes steady as Clarke fell with her, only sliding her fingers free once the girl had stopped shaking.

Both women stood still for a moment catching their breaths. After a moment Lexa pulled her head back to press a soft kiss to Clarke’s mouth, sparkling green eyes meeting bright blue. Lexa grinned up at Clarke as she made to take a step back and was surprised when a flash of panic ran over the blondes face and her arms tightened around her waist, holding her close.

Worry crinkled her brow as Lexa looked up into her girlfriends face. “Clarke? Is everything ok?” she whispered as she searched the face in front of her. She didn’t try to move away again as she waited for an answer.

“Yeah,” Clarke nodded looking a little sheepish “It’s just I can’t feel my legs right now. You’re kind of the only thing holding me up.” She let out a small laugh as the worry was replaced with a smug look. She stretched her neck to gently kiss Lexa again. “I may need some help to move.”

Lexa grinned at Clarkes words and moved her hands to wrap around the girls waist. “I can do that.” She laughed as she stepped back, this time making sure she had a hold of her girlfriend. Lexa helped Clarke move the short distance to a small low ledge in the corner of the stall, perfect for her to sit for a moment. After Clarke was safely balanced Lexa stepped back under the now lukewarm shower stream and began quickly washing herself down. Once she was done she bent forward slightly to rest her lips on Clarke’s forehead. “I’ll be out there when you’re finished in here,” she smiled down at her.

Chapter Text

A while later when Clarke finally stepped out of the bathroom wrapped in her towel she found a dressed Lexa sitting on her made bed with the box from earlier in front of her. A pile of clothes were on the bed next to the girl and she was sorting through the other items found underneath them. Clarke felt her heart squeeze a little at the thought of everything that box contained as she made her way past the bed and into her closet. She emerged a moment later dressed in a pair of running shorts and a soft blue t-shirt, pulling her still slightly damp hair into a low ponytail to see Lexa’s head bent over something she couldn’t see behind the box.

Clarke climbed onto the bed behind Lexa, curling one leg under her while the other framed Lexa to rest against her back and peer over her shoulder at what she held in her hands. She smiled softly at the photo frame Lexa held that used to sit on the table by her bed. The picture was from their first weekend trip away together a couple of months after they’d started dating. It showed Lexa standing behind Clarke with her arms wrapped loosely around her while Clarke held the camera up to take the shot. They were both grinning happily up at the lens while the sun set behind them at the end of the pier they were standing on. The photo and the memories that came with it were some of her favourite from their relationship and she sighed gently as she continued to gaze at it.

Lexa heard the quiet exhale behind her and turned her head to see the small smile on Clarke’s face as she looked down at the frame. “Do you remember what made us smile so much then Clarke?” she asked softly, slightly leaning back into the girl behind her. Lexa continued before Clarke could answer. “We tried to go for dinner at that fancy restaurant, but they lost our reservations remember? So we ended up having burgers down at the pier.” She smiled. “That night was the first time you told me you loved me.” She put the frame down on the bed in front of her and tilted her head back to look at Clarke.

“I know,” Clarke replied, wrapping her arm around Lexa to run her fingers over the edge of the photo. “I also remember how you just stared at me like I’d grown another head after I said it. I was terrified I’d scared you off by telling you too soon, after all we’d only been together for a few months.” She nuzzled her nose into Lexa’s cheek and smiled. “But then you said it back” she whispered.

“I did” Lexa agreed, “and I meant it, just like I mean it now.” She moved a hand to Clarke’s neck to pull her down slowly, tilting her head to brush her lips over the blondes. “I love you, Clarke.”

The blonde grinned down at her and kissed her again before picking up the frame and leaning back on the bed, stretching her arm out to place it back on the table where it belonged before sitting back up and wrapping the arm around Lexa’s body. She settled in close with her head again resting on Lexa’s shoulder to see what the girl pulled out of the box this time.

A small blue felt pouch was between Lexa’s fingertips when she pulled her hand out of the box again. She didn’t recognise it but figured it she must have just forgotten what it was if Clarke had felt the need to put it with the rest of the things filling the base of the cardboard. Lexa felt Clarke’s breath catch for a second when she saw the pouch and curiously pulled the drawstring open before upending it over her palm. A string of gold links tumbled into her hand, a small round pendant landing on top with a slight click sound. Lexa just looked at the necklace in her hand for a second before dropping the pouch and bringing her fingers up to play with the golden tree pendant. She inhaled deeply to calm her feelings as her head hung slightly.

“What were you going to do with the box Clarke?” Lexa asked, not raising her head this time. “Did you plan to give this back to me or were you just going to throw it away? I thought you’d at least keep this, even though you stopped wearing it.” She breathed out, the sound catching in her throat. She continued to play with the little symbol she’d given Clarke on their first and only anniversary. Neither of them was fond of wearing rings and they’d considered this to be a way of showing their commitment to each other.

Clarke shifted on the bed to sit next to Lexa, turning her body to face her. “Hey,” she exhaled, waiting for Lexa to turn toward her. She took the hand holding the necklace in her own and held it firmly as she continued. “I hadn’t planned on either of those options Lex. The things in this box,” she tapped the cardboard with her spare hand, “are the things that reminded me most of us. I didn’t want to get rid of them, but I couldn’t stand to see them every day either. I didn’t plan on returning any of this to you, not even your clothes.” Clarke let out a small laugh, “As embarrassing as it is, when I was missing you I’d take them out and just sit with them around me. They still smell a little like you, you know?”

A moment of silence passed between the girls. Clarke reached her hand out to run her fingers along Lexa’s jaw, tilting her face towards her to look her square in the eyes. “I swear Lex, if a time had come when I could part with the box, I would have kept the necklace. Of course I would have. Even if that promise had been broken, and I know I’m the one that broke it,” she interjected at the look Lexa threw her, “even so, it still meant something to me. It still means something to me.” She finished softly. Clarke trailed her fingers down to her girlfriends throat. “You stopped wearing yours too.” She added quietly.

Lexa shook her head and smiled a little at the blonde watching her. “You’re just looking in the wrong place, Clarke. I’ve still got it.”

“What do you mean?” Clarke asked with a surprised look on her face. She watched as Lexa leaned forward to pull the leg of her jeans up to reveal a matching silver tree hanging from a black cord that had been wrapped twice around her ankle. “You still wear it? Lexa…” She whispered.

“I couldn’t exactly wear it around my neck anymore could I?” the brunette laughed gently “I’ve seen you a few times a week since we broke up, talk about asking for humiliation.” Lexa was cut off as she found herself suddenly on her back with Clarke hovering over her. She let out a huff of surprise and wrapped her arms up and around the blonde, pulling her down to rest over her body as Clarke kissed her.

Clarke broke their kiss and pushed back up; resting her weight on the hands placed either side of Lexa’s head as she looked down at the girl beneath her. She didn’t think she could express everything she felt in that moment but knew she had to at least try.

Taking a deep breath, Clarke spoke sincerely. “I’m so sorry Lex. I don’t think I’ve actually said that yet. I’m sorry for pushing you away, for running from you and being too afraid to just talk to you about what I was thinking. I’m sorry for making assumptions about how you felt and making a decision based on that. I was wrong, I know that now. I’m sorry for breaking the promise I made when you gave me that necklace and all I can do now is ask for you to forgive me. It might take a while for me to make it up to you and to regain your trust, but when you’re ready I would like to mend that promise. We still have a lot to talk about and I still have some explaining to do, but Lexa, know that I’m in this, one hundred per cent. I love you.” Clarke ended with a whisper, leaning down to brush their lips together again. “Keep the necklace for now and when you’re ready, once I’ve earned your trust again, give it back to me. Okay?”

Lexa didn’t know how to respond as she gazed up at the woman above her, green eyes searching blue ones as she took in what Clarke had said. She reached a hand up to brush a lock of hair that had slipped out of the blondes’ ponytail behind her ear before bringing it to rest on her cheek. “Okay” she nodded as Clarke’s head turned into her palm. She could see the honesty and regret clearly in Clarke’s eyes along with the nervousness shadowing her face as she spoke.

“Really?” Clarke asked quietly, the beginning stirs of hope coming to life deep within. Lexa’s soft acknowledgment filled her with light happiness, letting her know that there really was a chance for them to get back to where they had once been. It let her know Lexa felt that she could trust her again at some stage and was willing to stick around for that time to come. Clarke felt a laugh bubbling in her chest as she looked down at the girl who held her heart completely.

“Really, really.” Lexa grinned up at the blonde whose eyes had started to sparkle with the emotions rushing through her. As she watched, Lexa saw a look of consideration pass over Clarke’s face, just before the girl spoke.

“You don’t wear it at practice or games,” Clarke stated as a smirk started tugging at her lips, “I would have definitely noticed.”

Lexa moved her hand to play with the girls’ collar before looking back up. “Is that so?” she questioned with a twist of her lips. She wasn’t sure where Clarke was going with this train of thought.

“Of course,” the blonde assured before lowering her head to whisper in Lexa’s ear. “Do you have any idea how amazing your legs look in those shorts?” She grinned as Lexa’s breath stopped in surprise a second before the brunette burst out laughing. Clarke laughed with her girlfriend as she kissed her cheek.

Wrapping her arms firmly around her, Lexa pulled Clarke’s torso to rest completely against her again, chest to chest. “You’re such a dork,” she teased and captured her lips again, the kiss much deeper this time as her hands started to explore her girlfriends back, sliding down her waist to tug her firmly against her.

Clarke hummed. “I can’t help it if it’s true,” she smiled, reaching down to encourage one of the aforementioned legs to hook up and over her hip as she settled herself more comfortably over Lexa. She watched as Lexa’s eyes grew darker as they looked at each other, knowing that her desire would be just as visible to the brunette.

Lexa smirked again. “Oh, it’s definitely true that you’re a dork.” She grinned at the snort that escaped Clarke as she lifted her head. “My dork,” she whispered just as their lips met again, her tongue easily parting lips to delve into Clarke’s mouth.

Hands had just started tugging at clothes when a loud tone rang through the room.

Chapter Text

Clarke groaned as she pulled away slightly at the sound, glancing down at Lexa who shook her head quickly and stopped the blonde from moving further.

“Ignore it,” Lexa huffed, recognising the tone, “It’s not important.” She ground her hips up into Clarke as she continued to pull at her shirt. At Clarke’s hesitation, Lexa let out a groan of her own. “Clarke!” She dragged the name out, “It’ll stop soon, please ignore it.” She smiled a second later when the noise stopped. “See?” Lexa grinned as Clarke’s face twisted in amusement.

“Oh shut up.” Clarke huffed back, her lips quirking up. She shifted to assist Lexa in tugging her shirt over her head.

“Gladly,” Lexa growled as she quickly bucked and twisted her hips to roll them over, smoothly settling herself on top of the surprised blonde. “There are other things I’d rather be using my mouth for right now anyway,” she murmured against Clarke’s ear before ducking her head to suck lightly at her neck, earning a long, low moan as the woman beneath her relaxed.

Not even a minute later the tune rang through the room again. Lexa dropped her head against Clarke’s shoulder in frustration. “Dammit Raven!” she hissed out.

Clarke sighed quietly and removed her hands from Lexa’s jeans, where she had been pulling at the button. “Just answer it, Lex. Or she’ll keep ringing,” she said, turning her head to kiss the temple next to her chin. “I’ll still be here when you hang up.”

“I’m sorry.” Lexa said as she reached up and over to the nightstand to grab the phone, rolling off Clarke and onto her back beside her once it was in her hand.

“What Raven?” Lexa barked into the phone as she slung her other arm over her face in irritation. There was a pause while she listened to her sister speak, punctuated by the choked sound of a stifled laugh from Clarke. “Are you serious? You couldn’t just send me a text to ask that, instead of ringing continuously?” she questioned, not pausing long enough to get an answer this time. “Yes, I’m picking you up like usual. No, I’m not going to be there early and no I’m not going to drive you out to Wicks after. He can come get you if he wants to see you.” Another pause, in which Lexa lightly smacked her head against the mattress below her. “Because I’m not your personal taxi service, that’s why. I’ve my own plans this afternoon that don’t involve an extra hour of driving for you to see your boyfriend. Is that all? I’m kinda in the middle of something. Great, I’ll see you in a couple of hours. Bye.” She let out a frustrated growl as she hung up and dropped the phone beside her.

Clarke laughed freely this time as she moved to lean beside the grumpy girl. She reached up and moved the arm that was still obscuring her face. “Aww, you alright babe?” she asked with another laugh as Lexa growled again, but earned a small smile in return.

“You’re so lucky you don’t have younger siblings, Clarke.” Lexa whined, although she smiled up at her girlfriend. “They’re so annoyingly pushy.” She punctuated her statement with a roll of her eyes.

Clarke laughed again at Lexa’s tone. “In this case, I’d have to agree. It does seem rather inconvenient at times.” She leaned down to give Lexa a quick kiss. “It sounds like you have somewhere to be though?” she asked disappointedly.

Lifting a brow, Lexa replied “We both do, Clarke. Team lunch at the club remember? So Indra can tell us everything we did wrong yesterday.”

“Damn. I forgot about that.” Clarke screwed up her face. “Didn’t she do that enough last night? I mean, we won the game. You’d think she’d calm down a bit.”

“I’m pretty sure the term ‘calm down’ isn’t in Indra’s vocab.” Lexa teased. “She totally missed her calling as a drill sergeant. But yeah, apparently it’s a mandatory meeting. At least we get a free lunch out of it.”

“Urgh, fine. How did we get talked into this again?” Clarke grumbled, reaching out to play with the hem of the shirt the other girl was still wearing. “How long do we have before you need to leave?” she asked louder with a suggestive smirk.

Lexa winked back up at her with a chuckle before answering. “About an hour. I have to pick Rae up at 11.” She paused for a second as if considering her next words. “Did you want to maybe come with me and go together?” The question was asked quietly, with a slight hesitation. Both girls knew the weight hidden by this seemingly easy question, both aware of what Lexa was really asking.

Clarke frowned slightly. She knew her answer to both the spoken and unspoken query, the only problem was that they weren’t the same and she didn’t know which one to address. Clarke decided to respond to the spoken words first. Her gaze dropped from Lexa’s face to the fingers still playing with the girls’ shirt as she spoke.

“Would it be alright if we went separately? I just…” Clarke broke off when she glanced back up at Lexa’s face in time to see a shadow cross her eyes before the brunette closed them. A rush of panic tore through her when Lexa began to shift away from her across the bed. “Wait! Lex, I don’t mean…”

“It’s fine, Clarke.” Lexa cut her off as she sat up at the edge of the bed. “I know the drill. I’m going to go make some coffee.” She pushed up from the bed and walked out of the bedroom, refusing to look back at the blonde still on the bed.

Chapter Text

Clarke fell back onto the bed as she fought back the terror that was filling her. She knew Lexa thought that she was ashamed of their relationship and wanted to keep it hidden, that she feared the reactions of the people around them, but that was no longer true. She could never feel shame for loving someone as kind-hearted and all-around beautiful as Lexa and while she was afraid of how she may be treated by the people she knows, the fear of losing the other woman again far surpassed it. Gaining control of the emotions coursing through her, Clarke jumped up from the bed and grabbing her shirt, rushed through to the kitchen where she found Lexa leaning with palms flat on the counter and head bowed with the kettle loudly boiling in front of her. She stepped up to the girl and gently said her name as she put a soft hand to the small of her back.

A shudder ran through Lexa at the touch to her back and she released the breath she had been holding. “Please don’t” she whispered as she stepped away from the hand. She barely registered the soft agreement from Clarke while she fought the hurt and disappointment in her chest, but she was keenly aware of the loss of the other woman’s warmth when she stepped away to the island behind them.

Lexa had hoped that this time around would be different; that they’d be able to be open and freely together, but it appeared Clarke still wasn’t up for that yet, even after nearly two years together, and that hurt more than she was able to admit out loud. She knew that she would accept it though, no matter how painful, because she knew how daunting coming out could be and she loved the blonde too much to attempt to force her to do so if she wasn’t ready; and she’d tell Clarke that as soon as she could speak without the disappointment making her voice wobble. Lexa set about making coffee in the two mugs in front of her as she sorted through her thoughts and what she wanted to say.

Clarke watched Lexa from where she stood against the kitchen island. She knew she needed to explain, to let the girl know what was going on in her head, but she wasn’t sure where to start. As she watched Lexa mix sugar into one of the coffees, just the way Clarke liked it, warmth pierced the worry that had enveloped her and she found she could speak.

“You’re wrong, you know.” Clarke started and watched as Lexa straightened her shoulders at her voice. “I didn’t mean that we would be there separately, just if we could go separately. God, that barely makes sense.” She paused, shaking her head at herself as a derisive snort sounded from the other woman. “Lex, will you please look at me?” Clarke requested softly and held her breathe while the brunette slowly turned to face her, green eyes meeting blue before flicking away to search her face. When those eyes met hers again she continued to talk. “I don’t want to hide anymore, although that makes me nervous. I meant what I said. I’m in this Lexa. I love you and I don’t care who knows it anymore. Please believe me. I know now that that was an issue and how much it upset you, and I’m so sorry for that Lex. I truly am. Yeah, I’m still scared, but I’m ready now. With you, I’m ready to do this.” Clarke spoke clearly and with conviction. She took in the way the frown on Lexa’s face softened as she listened to what Clarke was saying and offered her a small smile while taking a step back towards the girl.

Lexa tilted her head slightly as she contemplated what Clarke said and relief made her return the smile her girlfriend was offering, before confusion replaced it.

“If you don’t want to pretend we’re just friends anymore, why do you want to go separately? I don’t understand.” Lexa asked before rushing to clarify, “I mean, obviously we don’t have to do everything together, I know that, but we’re going to the same place, for the same meeting. It doesn’t make sense.” She couldn’t think of any other reason for Clarke not wanting to go with her. Lexa saw the smile drop from the blondes face and her start to fidget with her fingers, a sign Lexa knew meant Clarke thought she wouldn’t like what she was going to say. Lexa just waited patiently for Clarke to answer, tilting her head in question again when the woman’s gaze flicked to her.

Clarke sighed quietly as she twisted her fingers together. She wasn’t sure if her answer would cause another rift between them, but she knew she had to explain and she needed to be honest.

The blonde met Lexa’s eyes again as she spoke, her tone hesitant. “Honestly? Because of Raven.” She almost laughed at the look of surprise on Lexa’s face. “Come on Lex, you have to know how uncomfortable that car trip would be. She hates me. I mean, she hasn’t really liked me ever since we got together, we know that, but at least she used to keep it to herself. These last few weeks she hasn’t even tried to hide the fact that she wishes I didn’t exist.” Clarke watched as understanding and a hint of guilt crossed Lexa’s face ad she continued. “Which is fine, Lexa. Her opinion isn’t the one that matters to me. But I still don’t want to be confined in a metal box with her when she finds out we’re back together.”

Lexa pulled a face as she heard that last sentence. “Yeah, I didn’t think about that.” she admitted. Lexa smiled at her girlfriend when she saw the blonde obviously relax. “That’s going to be fun, especially since just yesterday she was telling me to stay away from you.”

“She did what?” Clarke asked, a look of annoyance flashing over her face. “When? Why?” She knew that Raven’s issues with her began with the fact that she was a woman and Lexa loved her, as they’d only appeared after the two had admitted their feelings for each other. Raven had disliked all of the girls Lexa had shown an interest in as far as she knew, her especially because of how long they’d been together. She still thought Clarke was a ‘phase’ that Lexa was going through and had apparently been pleased when the two girls had broken up, although sympathetic to her sisters hurting. Clarke still couldn’t believe the girl thought she had the right to interfere with their relationship, let alone tell Lexa to steer clear of her completely just because of her prejudices. Clarke could feel her face start to heat as anger started to surface within.

Lexa could see how upset her girlfriend was getting and spoke quickly to assure her. “Hey, obviously I didn’t listen to her. I’m here, Clarke. I would never let Rae and her opinions come between us, you know that.” She watched as the blonde closed her eyes and bowed her head as she took a quiet deep breath and slowly curled and stretched her fingers as though wishing she had something to hold.

The anger Clarke had felt faded as quickly as it appeared, only to be replaced with the fear that had kept her in hiding all this time. If her girlfriends own sister wouldn’t accept them, why would anyone else? She looked up to meet Lexa’s eyes which were watching her closely.

“Lex…” Clarke whispered.

The older girl could clearly see the fear and uncertainty in the clouded blue orbs looking at her. She took half a step forward as she replied.

“Yeah?” she asked softly.

“Can I please touch you now?” Clarke asked just as quietly. “I really need to be able to touch you right now.”

Lexa stepped forward again and opened her arms wide. “Of course, beautiful. Come here.” She motioned the girl forward with a hand. As soon as Clarke was in range, Lexa wrapped her arms around the blonde, feeling her arms wind tightly around her back as well.

Resting her chin on Clarke’s shoulder, Lexa spoke quietly in her ear. “It’s going to be ok Clarke. We are ok and we always will be. No,” she pulled away slightly as she spoke to look into her girlfriends face, “We’ll be amazing.” Lexa moved her arms from around Clarke’s back to cup her face on both sides so she couldn’t look away, ensuring she truly heard what she was saying. “Nobody else matters here Clarke. The only things that do are how we feel and what we want, and all I want is you.”

Lexa barely finished speaking before Clarke pushed forward and crashed their lips together. She kissed her with such intensity that Lexa stumbled backwards, stopping only when her body met the counter behind her. After a moment of shock Lexa kissed back just as fiercely, moving a hand around to the back of Clarke’s neck to hold her there when it seemed the girl might pull away. Before long the kiss had naturally slowed to a point of clear tenderness. When the two girls separated for air, they stood with their heads resting against each other, just breathing each other in.

‘Thank you.” Clarke murmured once she’d caught her breath. Lexa had known exactly how to calm her fears without even being told what they were. She had missed how Lexa seemed to know her so well; she almost always knew what Clarke needed, even when she didn’t know how to ask.

Lexa tilted her head to gently press their lips together again before responding. Her hand slipped from the blondes neck to give her hand a squeeze. She looked deep into Clarke’s eyes and made a promise with her words.

“Always.” Lexa promised. The next moment she broke the bubble they found themselves in by grinning cheekily down at Clarke. “Now drink your coffee woman. I have to leave soon.” She quickly leaned in to kiss her girlfriend again before stepping back to pass the mug over.

Clarke huffed out a laugh as she took it, shaking her head at how quickly the other girl could switch from being incredibly sweet to a pain in the ass. After Lexa had picked up her own cup, the blonde re-took her hand and led her into the lounge to cuddle on the couch before the girl had to leave.

Chapter Text

Clarke walked through the door into the club, finding the room full of her teammates talking loudly to each other. She saw Lexa sitting at a table in the back along with Raven and her best friend Monroe. The blonde noted that Lexa had taken a seat that allowed her to see when Clarke arrived and so quickly met the green eyes watching for her. Clarke saw a smile break over Lexa’s face when their gazes met and offered one in return before she glanced around the room again at the gathered team. Her smile faltered as a spike of fear made itself known in her and closed her eyes to squash it down. She could feel the nerves begin to make her heart race and when she looked back over at Lexa she could see the girl had noticed and the smile had dropped from her face as well and she was watching her quizzically. Clarke glanced around the room a second time before meeting Lexa’s gaze again. As she watched she saw Lexa look around the room as well and a look of understanding crossed her face, followed by a slight frown. When she looked back at Clarke, the blonde could read the hurt on her face before it was replaced with acceptance. Lexa offered Clarke a small smile and a subtle nod, showing that she understood what was happening and that it was ok. Clarke could still see the pain flashing in her girlfriends’ eyes though.

Seeing the way Lexa accepted her fear and supported her even though it hurt brought forth a rush of warmth that chased away the nerves that had gripped Clarke, She knew right then that she could do this; for Lexa, for herself, because what they had was worth it. Clarke closed her eyes one more time and took a deep breath to expel the last of her fear. Opening her eyes she saw that Lexa was now looking down at the table in front of her, slowly tearing a napkin into strips. Clarke could tell that the girl was trying not to look back up at her and reveal that she was hurting. Making her decision Clarke began moving across the room.

***

Lexa watched her fingers tear at the napkin and wished she didn’t have to stay there. She wished she and Clarke were still at the blondes apartment and riding on the joy she’d felt that morning. That bubbling happiness had been dashed when Clarke had walked in and frozen in fear. Lexa had known it was a possibility that when it came to it Clarke wouldn’t be able to follow through, but it didn’t stop the disappointment that washed over her. She’d hoped they had finally been able to move past this hurdle and forward with their relationship. She kept her eyes down, not wanting to show how much it hurt.

A hand dropping onto her shoulder made Lexa jump in her seat. She’d been so focused on pushing down her emotions that she hadn’t seen or felt anyone approaching. Turning in her chair she found the blonde standing beside her with an unsure smile on her face and worry in her eyes.

“Hey Lexa” Clarke said quietly. She was unsure now if her girlfriend would be receptive to her presence or if she’d blown this chance. Lexa looked up at her for a moment in confusion before a polite smile appeared on her face. Clarke knew this meant the girl was in the ‘just acquaintances’ mode that she’d forced her into previously; where she was polite and somewhat friendly, but acted like there was nothing other than mutual circumstances between them. It was this mode of communication between them that had contributed to her ending their relationship the month before.

Schooling her features into a casual smile, Lexa looked back up at the girl by her side. Swallowing, she forced her voice to be light and steady as she spoke.

“Hi Clarke, how’s it going?” Lexa asked as offhandedly as she could. She wasn’t sure what Clarke was doing. At all their other team meeting and practices she’d always sat away from Lexa unless it was unavoidable and she’d expected the same today after it became clear that the girl was afraid of revealing herself. She felt the hand on her shoulder gently squeeze before it lifted off and Clarke took the seat next to her, moving it in a way that positioned it directly next to the confused girl.

“Good. It’s going great actually.” Clarke responded as she lowered herself into her seat. “You see, my girlfriend decided to give me another chance, although I’m a little worried I just blew it.” The blonde woman met the surprised eyes that turned to her steadily, quirking an eyebrow slightly in question. She bit her lip gently as she waited for Lexa to reply.

Lexa searched the face in front of her for a moment before she could speak. She registered the nervous way Clarke but her lip and realised the blonde was worried that she might reject her now after her hesitation. A real smile spread across her face as she worked out that while Clarke had hesitated when she walked in, the blonde was now attempting to make their relationship known but was unsure if she had the right to do so now.

“Is that so?” Lexa grinned at Clarke, her eyes beginning to sparkle. “She’d have to be crazy to turn you down, I think. I also can’t imagine what you could have done to blow it.” She watched relief wash over her girlfriend face before a grin matching hers was aimed at her. Lexa reached over took Clarkes hand.

“Yeah?” Clarke all but whispered as her body filled with happiness that she hadn’t ruined this again.

Squeezing the hand she held, Lexa quietly leaned in and kissed Clarkes cheek. “Yes,” she laughed; her joy showing on her face. Lexa was about to say something else when a loud huff from across the table caused them to turn away from each other.

Raven sat glaring at the two women setting across from her. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing in that moment. She shifted her glare to her sister. “You have got to be kidding me.” Raven almost yelled, but managed to keep her voice at a somewhat normal level. “What the hell, Lexa?” She saw a flash of surprise cross her sisters face before the girls jaw clenched and her eyes grew hard.

“Raven,” Lexa hissed as she felt Clarke tense beside her. “Stop. This has nothing to do with you.” She glared as her sister stood up from the table, but gave the hand she was holding a reassuring squeeze, feeling the gesture returned even as she felt the tension in the body sitting beside her.

“You can’t be serious right now.” Raven spat back at Lexa. “We spoke about this. God!” She turned her glare onto Clarke before storming off towards the bar.

Lexa watched Raven leave for a moment before she turned to look at Clarke again. The blonde opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted by one of their teammates who had turned to them from the table next to theirs.

“What’s up with Raven?” Harper asked the three girls left sitting at the table. She hadn’t seen or heard the cause of the girl storming away and was unable to see exa and Clarkes hands clasped under the table.

Monroe glanced over at the couple across from her before moving to respond to the other girl. She had been Ravens best friend for years and was aware of the past dynamic of Lexa and Clarkes relationship and wasn’t sure how much to reveal. Monroe decided brushing it off for now would be better and forced out a laugh as she spoke.

“You know Raven, Harper.” Monroe joked, “Always blowing something out of proportion.” She laughed again as the other girl grinned and nodded. Raven was well known in the group as a bit of a drama queen, and was often left to her own devices by the team when she went off with one of her tantrums. Monroe sighed with relief when her teammate accepted her response and turned back to the conversation at her own table.

The younger girl turned back to the two woman sitting with her in time to hear them speaking quietly to each other. Clarke had turned towards Lexa who was looking in the direction her sister had gone. She made to untangle their hands thinking Lexa would follow Raven, but it only resulted in her girlfriend looking back at her and tightening the grip she had on her.

“I’m sorry.” Clarke told Lexa, eyes searching for signs that the brunette was upset. She was surprised when her girlfriend just squeezed her hand again and offered her a smile.

Lexa grinned at the girl sitting next to her in reassurance. “I’m not,” she asserted, “that actually wasn’t too bad. I’m sure I’ll hear more about it later though.” Lexa grimaced at that thought before her attention was caught by a laugh from across the table. Lexa raised her eyebrows at Monroe when she found the girl smiling at them.

“So I take it you two have finally gotten your act together?” Monroe asked the couple with a smile that grew when the women looked to each other and Clarke blushed, while Lexa continued to grin.

Lexa looked to Clarke before she answered Monroe’s question, her response aimed at both women but for different reasons. “We still have to talk about some things, but I think we have.” She spoke honestly, knowing she could trust Monroe as they’d gotten close over the years the girl had been her sisters’ best friend. Lexa felt Clarke relax further into her chair and watched her nod before turning her attention back to the girl who was almost like another sister.

“I’m happy for you both.” Monroe warmly told them. “Anyone who has seen you guys together knows you belong with each other. It’s gross how obvious it is really.” She continued with a teasing smile before she glanced over towards the bar, “Well, almost anyone,” she grimaced as she watched Raven lean over the bar to talk to the bartender. Moving to stand up Monroe spoke once more. “Don’t worry about Rae. You know she’ll come around eventually. She really does want you to be happy Lex, it’s just she doesn’t understand that our vision for happiness is different to hers yet,” she referenced the truth of her own sexuality that she’d confided in Lexa once when she’d approached the girl for advice. “She’ll come around.” Monroe repeated softly before leaving to fulfill her role of best friend and offering Raven support. None of the three women knew who she was trying to convince now; the couple still at the table or herself.

***

The carpark was full of teammates as the couple walked out of the club building after they’d finished the team meeting and lunch. Lexa and Clarke had continued to hold hands throughout the meeting, only separating when it was time to eat, much to the displeasure of Raven who had returned to their table only when Indra had called the girls to attention. She had refused to acknowledge the couple in any way other than the occasional scowl, but Clarke and Lexa had decided to dismiss her bad mood in favour of enjoying themselves together. As they had prepared to leave Lexa had wondered if Clarke would put some distance between them as at the table it hadn’t been too obvious and was happily surprised when the blonde reclaimed her hand as soon as they’d both gathered all of their things. Raven had thrown them one more glare before grabbing Lexa’s keys and storming out to the parking lot ahead of them.

Lexa glanced towards her car where she could see her sister sitting in the front seat talking to Monroe through the window before following Clarke to the opposite end of the parking lot where she’d parked her own car, seemingly as far away from Lexa’s as she could get.

“Are you really that scared of my sister?” She teased Clarke, “I don’t think you could get further from her if you tried.” Lexa smiled as they stopped next to the car and she pulled a blushing Clarke into her arms, wrapping them securely around her waist.

Clarke offered the other girl a sheepish look as she wound her arms around her neck. “Well I knew she wasn’t going to be happy with us and was hoping to avoid a confrontation when I kissed you goodbye.” She ended her sentence with a small smirk twitching her lips.

“Is that so?” Lexa grinned as she pulled Clarke tighter against her, letting her gaze drop down toward the girls lips but making a conscious decision not to move forward to catch them with her own. She wanted Clarke to take that step for them both, at least this first time that they’re in view of people who know them. She didn’t have to wait long as she looked back up at Clarke’s eyes and watched them darken slightly as one of the hands behind her head moved to slide through her hair and cup her skull to pull her forward slightly.

“Yes.” Clarke whispered before she moved to press her lips to Lexa’s. She gently pressed their lips together twice before tugging the girl even closer to her and requesting entrance to her mouth with a soft swipe of her tongue, humming quietly when it was granted.

Their tongues danced together for a minute before they became aware of several whistles and cat calls coming across the carpark, causing them to pull back from each other and look towards where they were being watched from across the carpark by their team. Many of the women had smiles on their faces, while a few just looked surprised. Only one face showed a negative emotion and their gazes were drawn towards it when a car horn blared before a voice yelled out.

“Let’s go Lexa!” Ravens voice sounded just after the horn blast, before another pierced the air. Her voice showed clear agitation and some of the girls turned to face her and understanding crossed their faces as they put together what the girls tantrum had been about earlier. Some of them shook their heads at the girl before turning back to their own conversations.

Lexa sighed and lowered her head slightly and then leaned in to rest her forehead against her girlfriends. The two just stood there for a moment in each other’s embrace.

Clarke broke the silence without moving away. “Come over later?” she asked slowly “I want to spend time with you, we have some catching up to do. I’ve missed the noise you bring to my place.” Clarke ended her statement in a teasing tone, gently nudging Lexa’s nose with her own as she said it. She knew the brunette was embarrassed by her sister and was hoping she knew that Clarke wasn’t upset by it. The smile Lexa gave her let her know that the message has been received and gratefully accepted.

“I’d like that.” Lexa agreed, “I have to go home for a few hours first but I’ll be over after that. I can bring dinner?” she offered. At Clarke’s accepting nod she grinned and quickly dropped a kiss onto the blondes’ lips. “I’ll see you soon.” Lexa said stepping back just as another horn blast rang out. She shook her head and rolled her eyes before offering Clarke one last smile and turning to walk away.

When she got closer to her car Lexa could see Raven and Monroe talking in quick hushed tones. Monroe looked to be scolding her friend and Raven regarded her with a petulant frown. The closer she got to them the clearer their words became.

“- not hurting anyone Raven,” Monroe hissed, “The only person being rude here is you.”

Raven protested, “But they’re in public Roe! It’s embarrassing, they shouldn’t-”

“It is not! It was just a kiss Raven. Only one person has made an embarrassment of herself just now, and it isn’t Clarke or Lexa.” Monroe cut her friend off, stepping closer when she noticed Lexa approaching and lowering her voice even further, “You need to let this go. They’re happy. You’re only pushing people away acting like this Rae. Think about that.” The girl stepped away from the car as she finished speaking and offered Lexa a small smile when she passed her as she walked away, leaving Raven looking both surprised and confused.

Chapter Text

Several minutes passed in silence as Lexa began the drive back to their parents’ house to drop Raven off. Both girls thinking about what just happened, or in Ravens case, stewing over her irritation at being scolded by her best friend. Monroe very rarely pulled her up on her behaviour and she didn’t understand why she had today. Raven didn’t see how she deserved the talking to she’d received from the girl and was confused about why Monroe had seemed so angry. She let out an audible huff of irritation as she crossed her arms and glared out the window.

Hearing the huff from her sister, Lexa turned her head to glance over at her. She was angry with her sister but still didn’t like seeing her upset. After the younger girl had been adopted by Lexa’s parents when she was two and Lexa was four they’d been inseparable; growing up so close that they fully considered themselves true sisters, whether their DNA agreed or not. They supported each other in everything they did, at least until Lexa had come clean about her sexuality when she was 18. Raven hadn’t understood and when nasty whispers had circulated about Lexa in school, she’d listened to them and began determinedly trying to ‘fix’ Lexa and convince her that she was just confused. Despite that, and despite her current annoyance at Raven, Lexa hated to see her little sister troubled.

“So Monroe seemed upset, is everything okay?” Lexa asked. She didn’t want to let on that she had actually heard the ending of the girls’ fight. She was curious to know if Raven had recognized any fault of her own in the causing the argument.

Raven snorted. “I don’t even know what her deal is. She just started lecturing me for no reason,” she grumbled. “She thinks I was being rude for interrupting you and Clarke. I guess she’s the ‘plans’ you have today that mean you won’t take me to Wicks?” Raven said the blondes name with a sneer.

“She’s not actually. I have some study to do before class tomorrow.” She paused before continuing, knowing she was most likely going to cause a fight. “Monroe wasn’t really wrong was she?” Lexa asked, causing Raven to glare at her. “Come on Rae, you have to admit you were kind of obnoxious today.”

Raven snorted again. “Me? I wasn’t the one making out with another girl in public, Lexa. That isn’t something anyone wants to see.” she said defensively.

“You were the only one that had a problem with it. The rest of the girls weren’t bothered. We were just kissing, unlike you and Wick who seem to do everything just shy of actual sex against his car every time you say goodbye to each other,” Lexa bit back. She couldn’t believe how hypocritical her sister was being.

“Don’t bring Wick into this Lexa,” Raven growled. “You’ve never liked him, but at least our relationship is normal.”

Lexa scoffed, “Normal? It’s normal to let your boyfriend treat you like trash and pretend you don’t notice every time he ditches you to hook up with someone else? How is that normal?” Lexa immediately regretted her words when she saw the hurt on Ravens face when she glanced over at her sister again. It didn’t last long once Raven snarled back at her.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Raven hissed, “How do you know that isn’t why Clarke kicked you to the curb last month huh? Maybe she wanted someone else and didn’t want you to weigh on her precious little conscience. For all you know her little fling could have ended and that’s why she’s come grovelling back to you. Why else would she suddenly be so okay with people knowing about you two now?”

Hands tightened on the steering wheel as the words washed over Lexa. She felt a flicker of doubt settle in even as she tried to deny it. “Clarke wouldn’t do that. She’s not that sort of person. We might be having some issues right now but we love each other. That’s the truth. I don’t know why you can’t accept that.” Lexa spoke quietly as she pulled up outside the house.

“Whatever helps you sleep at night Lexa.” The younger girl said mockingly, “Don’t even try to judge my private life when yours is a complete mess.” Raven opened her door in preparation to leave when a hand on her arm made her turn back to her sister, who was regarding her with a frown.

Lexa made sure she had Ravens attention before she spoke again. “I’m not judging you Rae. It doesn’t matter if I like Wick or not, I’m not the one dating him. I’m always polite to him when I see him and you know it. I’m just asking you for the same courtesy. I’ve never once tried to destroy one of your relationships; because I respect the decision you’ve made to be in them. Please respect mine. I love Clarke and I’m making the choice to be with her, issues or no issues.” Lexa spoke clearly and calmly. She didn’t want to end this conversation yelling at each other. “I know you don’t understand it, but even if it wasn’t Clarke, I’ll only ever be in a relationship with a woman. That’s just a part of who I am. Try to just be happy that I’m happy. You used to really like her before we got together, so I know that’s why you don’t like her now. I’m asking you to please try and move passed that.”

By the time Lexa stopped speaking Raven couldn’t look her in the eyes and she watched as her little sister seemed to deflate a little against her seat. Lexa hoped that she had finally managed to get through to the other girl that no matter what she did or said; this was who Lexa was and it was what she wanted.

Ravens voice was small when she finally responded, “I’m sorry. I’ll stop trying to interfere with you and Clarke. You’re right; I don’t understand it, but I’m not as disgusted by you as you think I am Lex. That isn’t why I’ve reacted the way I have, but I don’t think you’d believe me now if I told you the truth.” Raven fiddled with her bag as she continued. “I don’t know if I could even explain it now anyway, but you liking girls isn’t the real issue Lexa.” With that Raven climbed out of the car and closed the door. She made to walk away but turned back and motioned for Lexa to wind down the window. “For the record, I never disliked Clarke because you were dating her, I liked her just fine. I don’t like her now because of what she did to you last month. She really hurt you Lexa and you’ve only just started to get back to normal. Just be careful yeah?”

Lexa watched her sister walk away and into the house in confusion. What did she mean Lexa liking girls wasn’t the problem, what else could it be? Ravens behaviour started just after Lexa had come out, the only logical solution was that Raven didn’t approve of her sexuality. She knew she needed to have a proper conversation with her sister, knew she should have a long time ago instead of just assuming what Raven was thinking. Checking the time she shook her head and pulled away from the house. It would have to wait. As she drove home Lexa thought about everything that had been said and that seed of doubt Raven had planted took root.

***

The sound of explosions and gun shots greeted Lexa as she walked into the apartment she shared with Octavia Blake. The two girls had met three years ago when they’d been paired together in the dorms freshman year at ArkU and they’d become best friends quickly. Dorm life wasn’t fantastic and the girls quickly decided getting an apartment together near campus was a much better idea and here they were almost two years later.

Lexa waited for a break in the chaotic sounds to stick her head into the lounge to greet her housemate. “Hey, O. Having fun?” she asked as she took in the girl glaring at the television where her character had just been killed and the re-spawn time ticked down. She saw Octavia jump at her voice and then throw her controller onto the table beside her.

“Heda,” Octavia turned her body to look over the back of the chair and grinned when she saw Lexa roll her eyes at the nickname she insisted on calling her by. “You didn’t come home last night, is there something you want to share with the class?” she teased as she waggled her eyebrows.

Lexa grimaced as she contemplated what to tell the other girl. She wasn’t expecting a positive reaction from Octavia about Clarke either. Her roommate had also been hurt by the blonde because Clarke had refused to talk to Octavia following the break up. Lexa knew the girl had tried for a couple weeks to get her childhood best friend to return her calls and messages, even going so far as to go to Clarkes' apartment but she’d refused to open the door. Octavia had gotten angry at being ignored and even though it hurt had decided she wasn’t going to chase the girl anymore. Lexa stalled by kicking of her shoes and moving around to claim a seat in the corner of the couch, letting out a sigh when Octavia just watched her expectantly. Deciding honesty was the best policy here, she finally spoke.

“I stayed with Clarke,” Lexa said calmly.

Octavia’s eyes widened with surprise for a second before a shadow fell across her face. She frowned as she studied Lexa’s face in front of her and shook her head. That hadn’t been what she was expecting at all, despite her teasing she’d honestly thought the girl had just stayed at her family’s house for the night as she sometimes did when she and Raven made plans.

“Explain,” Octavia ordered. Last she had heard Lexa and Clarke had agreed to be friends, but only enough to be able to work together on the team they both played on. As far as she knew they still mostly avoided each other, keeping the rest of the team between them. “I thought you still weren’t talking.”

“After the game, Indra ordered us all to Papa’s for a victory celebration. We were the last ones to join the party and the only seats left at the table were together so we had to sit together.” Lexa pulled a cushion into her lap, twisting it as she spoke, “Some waiter kept bothering her, paying all this extra attention to her and even slipped her his number when she ignored him. I teased her about it even though it was clearly annoying her. Call me petty right? But he wouldn’t take a hint and actually came up and waved his number in her face and was being a complete tool. Long story short, I helped her get rid of him and she asked me to talk. So we did,” she looked up with a wry smile, “or rather, I yelled and she talked.”

Octavia regarded her roommate with a raised eyebrow. “And that resulted in you spending the night how?” She had a suspicion where this was going and wasn’t sure what she thought about it. She had always thought Clarke and Lexa were a perfect match, but after seeing how much pain Lexa was in after Clarke ended things made her wonder if that counted for much.

“We decided to try work it out. There’s a lot we need to do to do that but it’s worth it, O. It got late so I stayed. Please don’t be mad.” Lexa looked worried as she finished speaking and waited for her friends’ reaction.

At Lexa’s last words Octavia let out a small laugh. “I’m not mad, Lexa. I’ll admit I’m a little worried,” she moved from her position on the couch to sit next to her housemate. “I don’t want to ever see you like you were last month again. Did Clarke tell you why she did what she did?”

“Half of it,” Lexa pulled the cushion she was still holding closer to her chest. “She said she thought I didn’t love her, O. I don’t know what I did to make her feel like that, but I’m going to find out. Of course, Raven has her own theory. I’m going back over there tonight to talk some more. This time is going to be different though, it’s already different. She kissed me in front of the whole team today.”

Octavia put her arm around Lexa and gave her a squeeze. “Well I hope you’re right Lex, for both of your sake. I wish she’d at least talked to me before making that decision. If anyone knows how absolutely loopy you are for that girl it’s me.” The girl shot her friend a wink and gave her another squeeze. She then stole the cushion Lexa had. “Now give me that before you choke the stuffing out of it.”

“Oh shut up,” Lexa chuckled and gave Octavia’s shoulder a shove. She stood up. “Alright I’ve got some reading to do for class before I can go out again so I’ll talk to you later.” Lexa stopped just before she made it to her bedroom and turned back to the girl who had reclaimed her gaming control. “Thanks, O,” she said softly.

Octavia sent a smile her roommates’ way. “No worries, Heda.” She watched the girl walk into her room and close the door before she sighed and shook her head. She wanted to believe her friends would be okay, but she’d never thought Clarke would cut her out the way she had, so she really didn’t know what to expect anymore. “Hopefully Princess has figured her stupid out,” she muttered to herself and turned back to her game.

Chapter Text

It was around 6:30pm when Clarke heard a knock at her door. She smiled and got up to open it to a Lexa wearing a half smile and holding a bag of food containers. Clarke noticed Lexa didn’t quite meet her eyes when she looked up when the door opened and her smile faltered a little. She could tell something was bothering the girl, but hoped it wasn’t too serious, or that the girl was having second thoughts for some reason.

“Hey,” Clarke said softly and stepped back to let the other girl into the apartment. Her brow furrowed a little when she felt Lexa hesitate a second before the brunette stepped past her. “You could have used your key; you don’t need to knock here Lex.”

“I don’t think we’re really back to that yet Clarke.” Lexa replied as she turned to look back at the girl. When the blondes face fell she quickly put the food on the table next to the door and stepped closer, cupping Clarke's face and lifting until hurt blue finally met shadowed green. “We will get there, Clarke. We need to find our way again though and to do that we need to have a real conversation about what happened,” she offered a self-deprecating smile as she continued, her hands now on Clarke's shoulders, “One that doesn’t begin with a misunderstanding or argument anyway. But we can’t just pick up where we left off without being honest about everything sweetheart, no matter how much we want to. I don’t think I can move forward without knowing exactly what happened to us Clarke, this is too important to me.” Lexa’s voice cracked as she finished talking. She had spent most of the afternoon preoccupied with what Raven had suggested and Clarke's own short explanation about ending their relationship.

Clarke nodded but didn’t speak; she just pulled Lexa in close and rest their heads together while wrapping her arms around the brunettes back, hoping to both offer comfort and convey understanding of what the girl had said. She could feel a tension in Lexa’s body that hadn’t been there when they’d said goodbye a few hours earlier and Clarke wondered what had happened to cause this reaction in her girlfriend. She gently rubbed her hands over Lexa’s back until the muscles under them loosened and the girl’s body sagged into her own. They stood there for a moment just breathing each other in much as they had that morning, although the atmosphere didn’t match at all.  Clarke pulled back only when she felt Lexa shake her head a little and heard a sigh escape her girlfriend.

“I’m sorry if it feels like I’m giving you mixed signals after what happened this morning, Clarke.” Lexa all but whispered out. She could feel the worry radiating off the blonde, though Clarke was trying to hide it. “I don’t mean to. I just need to know what caused us to break, so I can do what I need to, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I don’t know what I’d do if this happened again Clarke, when I could have prevented it.” She wasn’t aware a tear had begun rolling down her face until a hand reached up and softly wiped it away.

Clarke’s heart squeezed painfully at what sounded like Lexa taking the blame for everything, something she knew wasn’t true. “It wasn’t your fault Lexa. This is on both of us. You’re right, I wish we could just go on and pretend nothing went wrong, but that’s not going to help either of us is it? We both made mistakes, but we’ll learn from them.” Clarke reached for one of Lexa’s hands and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “Come on, how about we sit and eat and we’ll really have that talk. No interruptions. Just get it all out. Okay?” She waited for an accepting nod before she picked up the bag of food and, still holding Lexa’s hand, led the girl further into the apartment.

***

The two girls were silent where they sat on the couch collecting their thoughts. Dinner had been a quiet affair sat next to each other at the counter in the kitchen making small talk about classes and teammates, carefully avoiding anything that could cause tension until finally they both pushed their still half full plates away from them. Eventually Clarke had stood and led them into the lounge where they now sat side by side separated by several inches, reminiscent of the night before, except this time both held their hands in their laps as they tried to figure out how to have the conversation they both didn’t want, but desperately needed to have.

Clarke knew they could sit here for hours, both avoiding starting something that would hurt, but she also knew that the happy bubble they’d made for themselves last night and that morning wasn’t sustainable and would pop if they didn’t finally clear the air about everything that had happened, that if they continued to avoid the topic they wouldn’t be able to actually move forward in their relationship and that was something Clarke truly wanted to happen. She wanted to get back to the point where every time they saw each other wasn’t tainted by things unsaid or shadowed by hurt and uncertainty, when the predominant thing that came from the others company was joy and security and an overwhelming sense of home; something that had been missing for weeks leading up to Clarke making the choice she made and her attempt to walk away from them. After another few minutes of them both staring blankly into space Clarke finally sighed and moved, curling one leg underneath her as she shifted to face Lexa next to her, her movement catching the brunettes attention and causing her to mirror her position.

“I’m going to need your help here Lex,” Clarke stated quietly, making eye contact briefly before losing her nerve again, “I don’t know where to start. I’m still not completely clear on a few things myself, which probably seems ridiculous considering I’m the one that caused this.” She ended her sentence with a wave of her hands to indicate the situation they found themselves in.

Lexa felt relieved that Clarke had begun; she honestly didn’t know how long they would have sat there without making a sound if she hadn’t. She studied the blonde in front of her for a second as she considered what to say. Clarke thought she had caused this, but last night she’d told Lexa she’d made a decision based on what she felt was true; that Lexa wasn’t in the same place she was, so wasn’t Lexa herself at fault? She shook her head at herself; this was exactly why they needed this conversation. Without finding out what had led to the breakdown between them they would both just continue to blame themselves and that wasn’t going to help anything. She wondered when they’d stopped communicating the way they used to, the way any healthy relationship needed.

“It’s not ridiculous Clarke, and you didn’t cause this. We did. I guess we could start with what you said last night,” Lexa reached out and took hold of Clarke’s hands when the girl in front of her started twisting them in nervousness, gently smoothing her thumbs over their backs. She waited to continue until Clarke looked at her again, “You said you felt like I didn’t love you, like I was going to break your heart. I thought you knew how I feel about you Clarke, what did I do to make you question it?”

Clarke swallowed back the lump forming in her throat, taking comfort and courage from the way Lexa was holding her hands and looking at her with gentle, enquiring eyes. “What I pushed you into doing, Lexa. I didn’t understand at the time, not until last night. I didn’t know just how much keeping us a secret was hurting you. How much my fear and denial was pushing you away.”

“Clarke, it’s okay, I would never force…” Lexa interrupted, only to have Clarke cut her off herself.

“No it’s not Lexa. Maybe at the beginning it was okay, but we’d been together for 18 months and I still insisted on pretending we were just friends in public. It happened so slowly that I didn’t notice how much you were withdrawing from me.” Clarke hung her head, unable to continue looking into Lexa’s face as she spoke. “Until you withdrew completely; you wouldn’t touch me in public at all Lex, even the small touches from when we actually were just friends. One day I put my hand on your arm while we were out and you actually flinched.” Clarke’s voice wobbled, but she didn’t stop, “After that I didn’t try to touch you when we went out again. Then it extended to when we were in private too.”

Lexa couldn’t believe what she was hearing, her chest ached as she realized how she’d made her girlfriend feel, all because she was trying too hard to respect her boundaries. “Clarke,” she tried to speak but stopped again when the blonde shook her head, blue eyes begging Lexa to let her finish what she had to say.

“Those last few weeks before that night you acted almost like we were just barely friends even when we were here alone. I don’t think you realized, it was unintentional, but we’d spent so much time out in public recently that maybe you couldn’t find the line anymore. I don’t know. I do know that you would sit as far from me on this couch as you could, and that we only interacted physically when I initiated it and you always seemed a little reluctant when I did. I didn’t put two and two together, I just thought you didn’t care about me the way you used to and were just waiting for the right time to tell me. So I beat you to it.” Clarke choked back a sob and disentangled a hand from Lexa’s to wipe at the tears threatening to slide down her face. Her voice was little more than a whisper when she continued, “I was wrong, I know that. But I was scared. I did this to us because I was scared; of what other people would think and of what I thought you would say if I asked you about it. I almost did it again today. I’m sorry Lexa, I’m so sorry.” Clarke couldn’t hold back the tears anymore and began to sob when she felt arms wrap around her and pull her into a tight embrace.

The blondes’ body shook with all the pain and hurt of the past two months as Lexa held her close. An uncontrollable grief that Lexa recognized from the week after Clarke had asked her to go. She’d barely been able to leave her room despite the efforts of both Octavia and Raven, only leaving when the first team meeting was scheduled in a misguided effort to prove to Clarke that she was fine and hadn’t just spent an entire week just surviving, assuming that her ex would even show up for the practice since she’d only joined as a favour to Lexa and Raven. She remembered how she’d felt after Clarke had shown up and proceeded to stay as far from Lexa as she could, pretending she didn’t know her at all and how when she’d got home that night Octavia had just taken one look at her face and wordlessly handed her a box of tissues and headed for the kitchen for ice cream. In that moment Lexa realized that while she’d had Octavia to support her, Clarke had refused the other girls comfort and had likely dealt with their break up on her own. Adding that realization to the list of things they needed to talk about Lexa pulled the girl in her arms impossibly closer in an attempt to offer the security and comfort Clarke had been missing for longer than Lexa had realized.

“Shh,” Lexa made hushing sounds as she stroked the blondes’ hair; something Clarke had always found comforting. When she could feel her girlfriend start to calm down she spoke in a soft voice, “I’m sorry too Clarke. I couldn’t see what I was doing, how I was acting. I wish you’d said something sweetheart. I admit it hurt that we were still closeted, but I never wanted to pressure you into coming out before you were ready, Clarke. I know how much that scares you. I guess I went too far in the opposite direction without realizing. For that I need your forgiveness too.”

By now Clarke's cries had reduced to small hiccups and she leaned back to deny the blame Lexa was claiming, but didn’t get the chance as Lexa placed a finger over her mouth to stop her speaking before she reached up and used her thumbs to dry the tear tracks running down each of the girls cheeks. Lexa met watery blue eyes when she spoke again.

“I accepted it Clarke; your fear of people finding out about us, no matter how much it upset me. I would have accepted it today too; I did, when you hesitated at the club. I’ll even accept it now if you don’t think you can tell anyone else yet. Because having you in that capacity is better than not being with you at all. I just need you to tell me if I go too far, so I don’t ever make you feel that way again. You don’t deserve that.”

Clarke reached up and took hold of the hands framing her face, bringing them together and pressing a gentle kiss to the knuckles. “I love you,” she breathed out, “Thank you for being willing to do that for me, but I’m not going to ask that of you anymore. If I did, we’d end up right back where we were a month ago. I know I hesitated this morning, but seeing you accept it even though it obviously hurt helped me push passed the fear that was stopping me. I meant what I said this morning; with you by my side I can do this. I actually felt relieved when I kissed you in the parking lot Lexa, like a weight was lifted. My fear has been holding me back, and I’ve been holding you back with me. I’m not going to let it do that anymore. We deserve better than that.” Clarke felt lighter than she had in a long time as she watched a delighted grin make an appearance on Lexa’s face and huffed out a laugh when the girl in question pressed forward to kiss her.

“Thank you,” Lexa grinned, kissing Clarke on the lips, “Thank you,” she repeated, kissing the blonde on the cheek and then again before kissing the other cheek, causing her girlfriend to laugh again. She leaned back before Lexa could continue.

“Don’t get too excited,” Clarke laughed, before sobering up a little. She grimaced when Lexa raised an eyebrow in question. “Before we go completely public, we have to tell the woman who is still trying to set me up with eligible men. We have to tell my mother.” Clarke dropped her head into her hands and groaned.

Lexa stifled a laugh at Clarke’s action and pulled her hands away from her face so she could look her in the eye.

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about, Clarke. I’m sure Abby will be just as proud of you as I am right now, and if not I’ll be right there to back you up.” Lexa spoke earnestly, although her eyes had begun to twinkle with a playful light that Clarke had missed. “Although, I’m totally the docs favourite, so I’m sure she’ll be thrilled.” Lexa laughed when Clarke reached out to push at her shoulder, catching the hand a turning it to kiss the palm. “Seriously though, it will be fine Clarke. You don’t have to do this alone; I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

The blonde relaxed into the back of the couch still facing the older girl. She turned their hands in order to knit them together, giving an affectionate squeeze. “Did I really let this one thing domino effect our relationship?” she asked quietly, “This was the only thing that caused us to break down wasn’t it?” When no answer came from Lexa she glanced up to find the brunette studying their entwined hands with a thoughtful frown on her face, as if trying to decide whether what Clarke's question brought to her mind was worth mentioning.

“There’s something else, isn’t there?” Clarke questioned slowly, “What is it Lexa? We can’t move on if we’re holding back. We won’t get very far.” She gave the hand in hers a reassuring squeeze as she encouraged the girl to speak what was on her mind. When Lexa took a breath and looked up to study Clarke's face for a moment, the blonde could see a mix of nerves and a shadow of doubt in the usually bright green of her eyes. “Tell me,” she encouraged gently.

Lexa nodded and secured her grip on Clarke’s hand, taking the courage she needed to ask what she had to. “I don’t think this contributed to what went wrong last month, but it’s something I need to ask Clarke,” she paused before she cleared her throat to continue, ducking her head, “Have you been with anyone else Clarke?” She immediately felt the hand in hers tense and Clarke pull away slightly, stopped only by Lexa tightening her grip and covering their clasped hands with her other one.

“You’re asking if I’ve cheated on you,” Clarke stated flatly. The sharp sting of the question left her cold. She finally succeeded in pulling her hand from Lexa’s and wrapped her arms around her middle, as if that could help soothe the ache that resided there. “You still don’t trust me.”

Chapter Text

Clarke blinked at the illuminated numbers from the clock on her bedside table. A red 00:26 shined brightly at her. It had been several hours since Clarke had shut herself in her room following her abruptly ending her conversation with Lexa, but she had yet to get even close to sleep. She hadn’t been able to stay sitting there after what she took as an accusation from the other girl; she had felt her fear rise up again alongside the pain of hearing what Lexa truly thought of her. She couldn’t believe how quickly a single question could destroy the high she had been so briefly on; seven simple words brought her crashing back to earth with no warning. Lexa had tried to follow her when she escaped to her room but Clarke had locked the door before she could stop her. She’d stood against the wall beside the door trying to hold back yet another wave of tears while Lexa tried to get her to open the door, only collapsing onto her bed when the brunette had apparently given up and left, judging by the sound of a door opening and closing at the front of the apartment.

Clarke could hear an echo in her head from the many times her girlfriend had vented her frustrations about Raven’s boyfriend Wick; “Once a cheater, always a cheater. Once it happens there’s not enough trust left to make a relationship last. She deserves better than him. I’ll never let someone do that to me!” If Lexa truly thought Clarke had stepped out on her the blonde knew there was nothing she could say to really repair the bond they had, but she was confused about why the other girl would have said the things she had, given her hope if she was going to turn around with an accusation of infidelity. Clarke groaned and pulled her blankets over her head. She was sure loving someone wasn’t supposed to hurt this much, but Lexa was gone and Clarke wasn’t so sure she’d be coming back this time. ‘Why did you run, Clarke? Now she’ll think it’s true you idiot!’ Clarke cursed her instincts for being more flight than fight. She eventually fell into an unsettled sleep.

***

Lexa rolled over again on the couch she’d resettled on after it became clear Clarke wasn’t going to open the locked door between them. She kicked the blanket she’d pulled from the hall closet off in frustration when her legs got tangled up in it. Despite Clarke exiting their conversation and refusing to let Lexa in, the girl was adamant that she wasn’t leaving until they talked this out. Last time she had left as soon as Clarke asked and she wasn’t going to walk away so easily this time. Something told her if she did that now, there would be no coming back from it this time and that was a scenario Lexa refused to allow to become a reality. She wasn’t sure why Clarke had run; although she knew what it looked like, but she was certain in her belief that her girlfriend had never cheated on her. That didn’t mean the girl hadn’t been with someone else in the month they’d been apart though. As she rolled over onto her back again to stare at the dark ceiling above her she reflected on the wreckage their night had become.

*HOURS EARLIER*

Lexa released the hand clutched in hers when she felt a tug again and watched as Clarke seemed to curl into herself. Despite the lack of emotion in the girls’ voice, Lexa could see hurt clearly cross her eyes before she turned her face away. Lexa winced at how Clarke had taken her question, could even understand how it could be received that way, but she hadn’t known of any other way to ask it. She’d hoped Clarke would hear her say she didn’t believe the topic applied to their breakup but the shock of the question itself seemed to have completely overridden that assurance.

“Clarke, no,” Lexa reached out to try pull the blondes attention back to her but Clarke had recoiled shaking her head. Her girlfriend was so tense in that moment that it seemed the slightest touch would snap her in half. That thought had crossed Lexa’s mind just before the blonde launched herself up from the couch.

Clarke’s eyes were wild just before heading down the hall. “I... I can’t. I don’t..” her voice shook as she moved away, closing and locking her bedroom door before Lexa even had a chance to process that the girl wasn’t beside her anymore. The second that information registered Lexa was on her feet and down the hall after her. She pointlessly tried to open the door knowing that she’d be unsuccessful, this wasn’t the first time Clarke had locked her out, but it was the first time it was the result of something serious that needed to be resolved sooner than later.

Lexa leaned her head against the door and was able to hear the sound of her girlfriend gasping, trying to hold back what she assumed were sobs. She raised her voice just enough to be heard clearly through the wood.

“Clarke, that’s not what I meant. Please open the door. We need to talk about this.” She paused for a moment, trying to hear if there was movement behind the door. The only sounds offered though were those same gasps, although they seemed more muffled like Clarke was trying to stifle them. “Clarke, please. Hear me out. Just let me in sweetheart. Please.” When there was still no answer Lexa thumped her head against the door as she sighed, “Alright, that’s obviously not going to happen right now. Okay. I’m sorry Clarke.” With that Lexa had walked back down the hall, stopping to grab a blanket and turned out the lights to settle onto the couch to wait for whenever Clarke came back out.

***

The world outside the living room window had just started to get lighter when a sleepless Lexa finally heard a door unlock and open further inside the apartment. She didn’t move from her position on the couch until the kitchen across the hall lit up with the flick of a switch. Lexa silently stood and made her way to the doorway that led into the kitchen, pausing in the entrance to watch Clarke while the blonde began setting up the coffee machine on the far bench. The older girl could tell just by looking at her that Clarke was exhausted; her movements sluggish and her head hanging low. Lexa’s heart ached knowing that she had caused the completely ragged aura that radiated from the blonde and she longed to move forward and hold her, to protect her from anything that could hurt her but that didn’t work when she was the one who had done the damage. She didn’t think Clarke would be very receptive to her touch just yet after the way last night had ended. She really had no idea how this moment was going to go, but felt secure in the fact that at least this time Clarke couldn’t run from her since she was currently standing in the only entrance to the room.

“Clarke,” Lexa began softly, hoping not to completely alarm the girl who hadn’t yet noticed her presence in the doorway. She wasn’t successful based on the way Clarke dropped the spoon she was holding and spun around to face her, eyes wide.

“Lexa,” Clarke squeaked out, her shock at seeing her obvious. “Why… what are you doing here?” Clarke sounded both timid and somehow hopeful as she asked and winced as soon as the question was out of her mouth. She dropped her head and tried to squash the small flutter of hope Lexa still being there evoked. ‘If anything she’s here to tell you it really is over Clarke. You all but admitted guilt by refusing to answer her question last night. God you’re such a moron.’ She only lifted her head again when she sensed movement in front of her and heard Lexa’s voice again.

Lexa took an involuntary step towards Clarke as her instinct to comfort pushed her forward but stopped the second she realized she’d moved. She didn’t want to antagonize the blonde, who looked almost like a caged animal when her head snapped back up at the movement.

“I spent the night on the couch. We need to talk Clarke; I’m not going to leave until we resolve this. I can’t.” Lexa did her best to keep her voice steady but knew her lack of sleep was making it rough.

“But you did leave.” Clarke’s voice cracked and she cleared her throat, she sounded weary when she continued, “I heard the door last night. Why did you come back? What is there to resolve Lexa? You think I cheated on you. What more is there to say?”

Lexa threw her hands up in frustration. “I never said that!” she burst out, before taking a breath to calm down; her exhaustion mixed with the tension surrounding them making her emotional. “Can we please just sit down and work this out? You said yesterday we had to put everything out on the table if we were going to fix this and we can’t do that if you refuse to talk to me Clarke.” Lexa met Clarke's gaze steadily. “I know I upset you last night, obviously, but I didn’t mean to. You misunderstood my question. Not that I blame you,” she added when Clarke looked like she was going to argue, “there was probably a better time or way to ask that, even if I couldn’t think of one at the time.”

Lexa stood silent as Clarke considered what she had said, blue eyes searching green; for what she didn’t know. Clarke knew that in this moment she had a choice to make; she could either sit and listen to what Lexa had to say like her heart was screaming at her to do or she could turn the brunette away like her cowardly brain told her to and ruin any chance of them ever being anything more than strangers to each other from this point. She knew there was no possibility of a friendship if this didn’t go well; it had reached a critical choice of all or nothing. Clarke wrapped her arms around herself as hopeful heart warred with cynical brain.

Clarke looked to be struggling with herself as Lexa stood and waited for Clarke to make a decision about what would happen next. The brunette felt her nerves increase the longer the blonde stood silently in front of her and she shoved her hands into the pockets of her rumpled jeans to keep herself from fidgeting anxiously, one of them finding the necklace she’d planned on giving back to Clarke last night after they’d talked. Finally it appeared Clarke made a choice as she stiffly nodded her head once and moved around the kitchen island separating them to pull one of the bar stools back to the other side, effectively creating a barrier between them. That stung a little but it was eclipsed by the relief that Clarke hadn’t kicked her out and Lexa relaxed a little.

“Thank you,” she said gratefully as she stepped out of the doorway and into the room. She glanced at the coffee maker that had quietly been brewing away while the girls had their stand off and waved a hand towards it. “Do you mind if I make us coffee first? I don’t think either of us got much sleep,” she asked. Lexa paused in her advance when Clarke held up a hand from her side of the island.

Clarke threw her hand up quickly to stop Lexa from rounding the island she was using as a shield. She knew having her in close proximity would probably lower her guard like it usually did; having Lexa close brought about a sense of security that Clarke didn’t fully understand, and had since long before they’d even become a couple. She needed to keep those walls around her right now until these issues were settled once and for all. The last few days, hell the last few months had been a rollercoaster ride of emotions and Clarke felt like she was on the edge of breaking completely. She steeled herself against the warring hope and doubt she was feeling in that moment; telling herself that they would get through this final conversation and make a decision at the end of it, all or nothing. But to do that she needed to be able to keep a clear head, something she can’t do with Lexa standing right beside her.

“I’ll do it,” Clarke quickly offered, “Just… stay over there okay? Sit.” She motioned to the other side of the island before turning her back and pulling two mugs from the cupboard above the coffee machine. She systematically made each of their drinks in their preferred ways and turned back to place them on the counter between the girls not looking up to face Lexa where she’d sat on the stool on the other side. Clarke pushed one cup forward as she climbed onto her own stool. She truthfully didn’t know what to expect to come out of this.

Lexa watched Clarke avoid her gaze and wrap her hands around the mug she’d kept in front of her as if she was using it to tether herself to that spot. The brunette hoped the girl would look up but when she didn’t Lexa sadly shook her head and released a huff of air. It was obvious that Clarke wasn’t going to be the one to start this time and Lexa took a long slow breath to give her time to organize what she wanted to say.

“Thanks,” she said quietly and reached for the mug that had been pushed towards her. She took a sip, and then another one despite how hot it was in an effort to delay for another second. Finally she knew how to begin. “Clarke, I need to apologize for last night. I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m not sure exactly what your reaction was actually; I think we need to come back to that at some point this morning. But Clarke, I didn’t mean that question the way you took it.” Lexa paused, hoping Clarke would look up at her, but the girl was still studying her coffee determinedly. Her voice took on a soft pleading tone, “Sweetheart, please look at me, I need to know you’re really hearing what I’m about to say.”

Clarke internally cringed at the thought of having to explain her reaction last night. She was embarrassed by her cowardly response to her assumed meaning behind what Lexa had asked, honestly what else could Lexa have meant with that question though? They were talking about the reasons behind their break up for crying out loud! The blondes racing thoughts were brought to a halt by the endearment she heard in a soft voice in front of her. Lexa only ever called her that when she wanted to show her heart; she wasn’t fond of using pet names, much preferring to use Clarke’s actual name when they talked, but she accepted the blonde referring to her in any number of ways to show her affection. Realizing that what Lexa was about to say had to be important, Clarke finally lifted her head to find the brunette watching her with an earnest look on her face. Their eyes met and Lexa’s gaze was steady as she leaned forward slightly as if to emphasize the significance of what she was saying.

“I don’t think you cheated on me Clarke, I’ve never thought that. I wouldn’t be here if I did, you should know that.” Lexa’s voice was clear and determined. She searched the face of the girl in front of her to see if she was getting through. “I don’t think you ever would either, despite what other people may think. You aren’t that type of person. Even if I didn’t know that it’s something you wouldn’t do, I’d trust you not to. I trust you Clarke. I’ve always trusted you.”

Clarke’s brow wrinkled in confusion, but some of the shadows Lexa could see in her eyes seemed to fade. Lexa was pleased to see that she’d been heard, and Clarke wasn’t shying away from her again.

“Then why, Lexa? What other reason could you possibly have to ask that? And what do you mean ‘despite what other people may think’? Who thinks I would or have cheated on you?” Clarke asked quietly, but her voice had an edge of anger to it as she continued, “No wait, let me guess. It was Raven, wasn’t it? You actually let Raven get into your head.”

 The incredulous anger that had laced Clarke’s tone wasn’t evident on her face however; all Lexa could see was a hurt disappointment. She quickly shook her head to deny it.

“I didn’t Clarke. She made a suggestion, but I told her what I just said to you; that you aren’t that sort of person. I also told her that we love each other and that it’s something she needs to accept. I’ve told you before that I won’t allow Rae to get between us and I meant it.” Lexa glanced away to prepare herself to answer the other question, and why it was a valid one. “The reason I asked if you’d been with someone else Clarke, is because we haven’t been together for a month. It’s completely plausible that in that time you could have met or slept with someone else, and that’s okay,” Lexa assured as she felt a twinge of guilt, “I’d just like to know, firstly if someone else is going to pop up thinking there’s the potential of a relationship with you, and secondly if we need to get tested?” She asked calmly. “Just as a safety precaution,” Lexa added hastily when the blonde in front of her looked mildly insulted, “You’re mums a doctor Clarke, surely that suggestion makes sense to you.”

Clarke conceded with a nod of her head and lifted her cup to take a drink. Her face flushed in shame as she realized just how grossly she had misunderstood and overreacted last night. She did her best to shake the feeling off so she could respond in a clear voice, but wasn’t overly successful.

“I wish you’d started with that last night, Lex.” Clarke muttered.

Lexa rubbed at her forehead in weariness. “I know. I spent all night trying to figure out how I could have asked in a way that didn’t hurt you like I did. I really didn’t mean for you to think I was accusing you of anything Clarke.”

“You really stayed all night? I could have sworn I heard the door.” Clarke looked away, “I would have understood if you’d left. Anyone else would have taken my reaction as a confirmation.”

“Of course I stayed, Clarke. I couldn’t leave things like that. You probably heard me get the blanket from the hall cupboard.” Lexa shrugged slightly, keeping her focus on the blonde in front of her, “I’m not walking away from you again Clarke, not if I can help it. But we’ll come back to what happened last night soon; right now, is there anything I need to worry about related to the question at hand?”

Clarke shook her head but kept her eyes level with Lexa’s when she answered.

“No, Lex. I did go on three separate dates with ‘promising young men’” she used her fingers to make quotation marks in the air, “that Abby absolutely insisted I meet after I accidentally told her I’d broken up with my ‘mystery man’.” Clarke waved a hand in Lexa’s direction and grimaced. The blonde had told her mother she was seeing someone a year ago in a bid to get the woman to stop setting her up with her colleagues sons, but had refused to divulge any other information causing her to unknowingly dub Lexa Clarke’s Mystery Man. At the time they’d laughed about it, but she realized it had been a while since the memory brought any joy.

“But I didn’t give any of them the impression that I was interested in seeing them again. I certainly didn’t have sex with any of them. You’re still the only person I’ve known like that Lexa, and you’re the only one I want to. Is the same still true for you?” Clarke hadn’t even considered the possibility that Lexa could have been with someone else in the time they’d spent apart until this moment. Hearing Lexa’s reasoning behind her asking the original question sent a wave of insecurity over her and made her begin questioning the answer the other girl would offer if asked the same. She knew Lexa had been a virgin as well when they got together, but the other girl had also been fairly popular with the female population on campus. She didn’t think the brunette would have had any issues finding someone else if she’d wanted to.

This time Lexa was the one to look way, her hands almost imperceptibly tightening around the cup she still held, but enough that Clarke noticed the twitch and felt her body stiffen as she expected an answer she didn’t want. The blonde pushed away the hurt threatening to lodge in her throat, telling herself that jumping to conclusions was what had landed them here in the first place, and waited for the girl across from her to speak.

“I haven’t slept with anyone else,” Lexa started, and noticed how Clarke’s shoulders seemed to slump in relief. The blondes head shot up however as she forced herself to continue. “But, for the sake of being honest as well, I have to tell you that I fully intended to. I went to two different parties with the sole purpose of finding someone to go home with. Which I did, on both occasions,” she ducked her head as pain washed through the blue eyes now closely trained on her, although Clarke didn’t say anything; she just sat silently and waited for what Lexa knew was further explanation.

“The first was the day after the first time we saw each other after that night. I was hurt that you acted like we were strangers; that we’d never met before. Then I got angry that we apparently meant so little to you that you could act like that. So I wanted to prove that I felt the same way.” Lexa shook her head and looked up again at the shaky breath she heard from in front of her. “I couldn’t follow through though. All I could focus on was the fact that she wasn’t you Clarke; we didn’t even make it inside the house before I left.” The brunette was awash with regret at the look of pained acceptance on Clarke’s face and she moved her hand forward as if to comfort the other girl before withdrawing it, unsure if she had the right in that moment.

Clarke noticed the gesture, but chose to ignore it for the moment as she studied the girl in front of her, noting the regret clearly displayed on her face and the slight ashamed waver of her voice. She wanted to tell Lexa that it was okay, that the girl had been well within her rights to be with anyone she wanted, but she was aware she only had half of the events Lexa was retelling.

“You said there were two,” Clarke stated rather than asked. She wanted to know everything before they moved on with their discussion. There was one question that sat at the forefront of her mind, but she was adamant she’d wait to ask anything until she’d heard the rest.

Lexa nodded and took another deep breath. “The second was almost two weeks ago. That one was fueled by wishful thinking that a cliché was realistic. That old adage that the best way to get over someone is to get under another? I hoped it was true; because it was killing me Clarke, seeing you and not being able to be with you the way I used to have the right to do. I watched the way you acted with the other girls, the way you started laughing and joking with some of them, and it hurt to know that I wasn’t a part of that joy in you anymore, that I could barely get a smile out of you. I wanted the pain to stop.” Lexa rubbed a hand down her face as she recalled the feeling of watching Clarke celebrate her first successful goal during practice with some of their teammates, the blonde looking like she was going to fly with delight, only to have the light in her eyes dim when Lexa had stepped forward to congratulate her herself. “That time things went a little further, but we didn’t have sex. It actually ended with her listening to me while I cried about how much I missed you, and her giving me advice on how to proceed. It was because of that night I asked you if we could try to at least be friends, if nothing else.” Lexa steadied her attention on Clarke as she finished. “I regret my reasoning behind making those decisions, and I regret the first night Clarke, but I can’t completely regret the second, because I don’t think we would be here right now talking about this if it hadn’t happened. I am sorry about any pain hearing about it has caused you though. I don’t want to hurt you anymore Clarke.” She returned her gaze to the now lukewarm coffee in front of her, unsure of what the response to this information would be.

“I know, Lex,” Clarke cleared her throat and reached out to place a hand over one fidgeting on the counter between them. “It’s alright. It’s not exactly pleasant to hear about you making out or whatever with other people, but it’s not my place to be angry about it. I broke up with you, the choices you made after that were choices you were free to make and I can’t rightfully judge or punish you for them. I know that. I have one question though; do I know either of the girls?”

“The first was from out of town, visiting a cousin or something,” Lexa denied. She turned her hand under Clarke’s and clasped their fingers together before she continued; she didn’t know how the blonde would react to her next statement.

“The second was Anya.”

Chapter Text

**TWENTY TWO MONTHS BEFORE**

Clarke stood against a wall in the room full of bodies moving to the loud music that pulsed through the fraternity house they were in. She’d been dancing with her friends Octavia and Lexa when she’d excused herself to get some water. She wasn’t a fan of the college parties the other two girls insisted on dragging her to, but every time she tried to deny them the girls would pout and coax until she changed her mind. She was just about to re-join her friends who she’d been watching from the sidelines when a tall dirty blonde woman approached Lexa and said something in her ear, causing the brunette to grin and wrap her arms around the woman’s neck and start dancing closely to her. A feeling Clarke couldn’t identify stopped her from approaching and she stepped back to the wall, confused about why the scene in front of her stopped her advance, and wondering just what exactly it was making her feel. It wasn’t until after she watched the woman say something else and pull her friend from the room that Clarke approached Octavia and told her she was ready to leave.

***

Clarke felt the impact of Lexa’s confession hit her with a force she didn’t expect, but she didn’t remove her hand from where the other girl held it tightly. She knew Lexa had been free to do what she wanted; after all she’d taken care of that herself, but the fact that Anya had reappeared and Lexa had admitted to taking her home with the intent to have sex with her brought back all the confusing feelings she’d had before the two had got together. In that moment Clarke wasn’t sure if she would have preferred to hear that Lexa had wanted to sleep with a complete stranger, rather than a woman who had previously caused Clarke to question herself and her place in the brunettes’ life.

“Anya. As in your ex, Anya?” Clarke clarified in a strained voice, although she knew it was true.

Lexa frowned. “She isn’t an ex Clarke, we were never together; you know that.” The brunette felt the hand in hers squeeze tightly in what she assumed was an involuntary movement as the blonde in front of her tilted her head back and blew out a breath in what appeared to be frustration, but Lexa could see the insecurity in the lines of Clarke's face.

“What else am I supposed to call the girl you used to regularly meet up with to, in your own words, blow off some steam and fool around?” Clarke was unable to meet her girlfriends’ eyes, but still didn’t break the connection they had with their clasped hands. She had never understood how she could physically draw comfort from Lexa even when the girl was the reason she required the comfort to begin with. She was hurt that Lexa’s response to their situation was to try get into bed with someone else, especially someone she knew Clarke had previously had doubts about, but she also hurt for Lexa herself; she knew that for Lexa to consider hooking up with someone she wasn’t involved with she must have been in a world of pain. Lexa had always thought that sex should mean something, that connecting with someone in that way was the ultimate show of trust and love. It was why it had taken them months of officially dating before they’d even come close to physical intimacy.

“She was a friend, Clarke. Yes it was unconventional but calling her an ex places more importance on our arrangement than it deserves. She’s a friend now too. If she wasn’t she would have just thrown me out the minute I changed my mind that night, instead of listening to me cry and talking through everything with me. I don’t know where we’d be if she hadn’t done that, but I don’t think I would have approached you, and we wouldn’t have been sat next to each other on Saturday night. We wouldn’t have talked or fought or be sitting at this bench right now. So I’m grateful to her Clarke, because this is where I want to be.” Lexa pushed forward against the counter between them, wishing the obstacle wasn’t there but respecting the other girls request to remain on her side. She clasped the blondes other hand and moved both to rest together between them, the action bringing murky blue eyes down to regard her quietly.

“Sweetheart, there is nothing between Anya and me; there never was other than mutual circumstances and convenience. I swear it.” Lexa raised the hands between them to kiss the girls knuckles. “You are the only girl I want, Clarke. I know it, Anya has always known it, and I just need you to know it too.”

***

**TWENTY TWO MONTHS BEFORE**

Lexa had been dancing with Octavia and Clarke at the latest frat house party when Clarke had excused herself by waving a hand towards the doorway leading to the kitchen. Giving a quick grin in acknowledgement Lexa had watched the blonde walk away. Her gut twisted at the way Clarke smiled and laughed at one of the frat boys who tried to pull her back onto the dance floor that had been cleared in the middle of the room. Recognizing her jealousy for what it was, Lexa had forcefully turned away from the scene and pointedly ignored the smirk Octavia was directing towards her. She refused to add to the stereotype of a lesbian who lusted after and preyed upon their younger straight friends; as ridiculous as the stereotype was. She was focusing on pushing the green eyed monster away when a voice sounded close to her ear.

“I see you made it after all, Commander,” a gravelly voice sounded, causing Lexa to grin. She turned and came face to face with Anya, an older law student who had helped counsel a practice for the mock trials her class would be conducting the following semester. Lexa laughed at the name the girl had given her after she’d shown complete authority over the room. “Dance with me.” Anya ordered in the way Lexa had come to recognize as her usual tone, the girl never used question marks in speech. Rolling her eyes the brunette had wrapped her arms around the woman’s neck and step closer. Over the course of the time the two had known each other they had light heartedly flirted, both enjoying the interaction knowing there was no actual romantic intentions underlying the words.

The pair danced for several loud songs before Anya smirked and pulled away slightly. “Your agitation is showing, Commander. Come with me.” The blonde took Lexa’s hand and led her out of the room and up a staircase, trying a few doors before they found an empty room. “I have a proposition for you, Commander. I could use some stress relief and judging by how wound up you are over your little blonde friend, you could to.” Anya held up a hand when Lexa opened her mouth, her eyes wide. “Don’t deny it; anyone with eyes can see it, except apparently for her.” Lexa glared a little and then shrugged in acceptance, knowing Anya wouldn’t be bothered either way. She’d discovered the blonde to be very straight forward in her interactions.

“I suggest we help each other relax a little. Strictly above the belt; I don’t want to have sex with you Lexa, but since apparently neither of us can have who we really want, there’s nothing to stop us from having a little fun.” Anya raised an eyebrow; the closest Lexa had ever seen her to actually asking a question.

***

Lexa sat still, watching Clarke watch her. She had voiced her truth and was just waiting for some form of acknowledgement from the blonde. She kept her eyes steady with Clarke's while the girl seemed to consider her words, she could see lingering insecurity on her face but it faded the longer the two sat there. Finally Clarke nodded, although she still looked a little upset.

“I believe you,” Clarke accepted Lexa’s statement quietly, “but I have some questions that I need answered or else I’ll never stop thinking about them.”

“You can ask me anything Clarke.” Lexa promised. She wasn’t sure what Clarke could want to know, but she was determined that she would answer anything the blonde asked of her honestly. She gave the hands she still held a reassuring squeeze, wishing instead she could take the girl in her arms and calm her disquiet by holding her close. She hoped soon she’d be given permission to do so.

Clarke nodded again and took several deep breaths to make sure her voice was clear. “There are two main ones; why Anya? Out of all the girls at that party that I’m sure would have been willing, why did you choose her? You also said things went further with her than the other girl. How much further did you go?”

Lexa didn’t know how the answer to those questions would be helpful but she’d promised the girl an answer to anything. She was quiet for a few moments while she thought about the responses that came to mind. In all honesty she hadn’t been thinking clearly at all when she’d made those decisions, she’d just wanted the hurting to stop. Knowing that Clarke likely wouldn’t accept that answer because she knew that Lexa knew how being with Anya would make Clarke feel, she contemplated her frame of mind that night.

“I didn’t choose her to hurt you Clarke. By that point it didn’t even occur to me that it would. I think it was her that night because she was familiar; my whole world had been turned upside down and I craved something I knew. Even if it had been a long time since we’d seen each other. After all it didn’t work when I tried with a complete stranger.” Lexa spoke slowly, showing that she was thinking hard about why she’d made the decision and trying to tell Clarke everything. “But also because of our past. She would have known that it meant nothing, that she wasn’t who I really wanted but would still be okay with it. She would know that there would be no chance of something more, unlike if I’d gone with someone else. I didn’t really want to be with someone else Clarke, I just couldn’t think of another way to move on. I thought if I broke that tie to you it would be easier. But it wasn’t, because I couldn’t actually do it.” Lexa shook her head. She could tell it hurt Clarke hearing about Anya, but she had to tell her everything, so she forced herself to continue. She couldn’t look at the blonde as she did.

“We didn’t go very far physically, although we made it into her apartment. We kissed and she started to get a little handsy. When she moved to take my shirt off I stopped her. All I felt was that I was betraying you, even though I told myself surely I couldn’t do that anymore, that there was nothing left to betray, but even though we weren’t together anymore I still loved you. That was something I couldn’t stop doing no matter how much I tried, and I tried Clarke, clearly. Even after that night, when I suggested we be friends for the good of the team, I was trying to stop. But it isn’t possible, because you have my heart Clarke, all of it. I told her that, and she listened while I cried. We talked and she gave me advice like she used to, when I’d go on about how I felt about you even though you were straight and I didn’t stand a chance.” Lexa grimaced at the table she still hadn’t lifted her eyes from, “We didn’t just make out all the time back then like I let you and Octavia think. We became friends, someone we could talk to without judgement. But we knew there would never be anything more there and that’s why it worked. She helped me take a chance on you the first time around, Clarke, and she helped me do it this time too.”

Lexa felt a tug on her hands as Clarke stood up and she instinctive held on tighter, worried the blonde was about to walk away, but she felt the grip on her hands tighten in response and tug again as Clarke moved around the bench. Lexa stood up in confusion as the girl made her way towards her; she had no idea what this reaction was. Next thing she knew Clarke had let go of her hands and instead wrapped her arms around her, burying her face in her neck. All Lexa could do was wrap her own arms around the girl holding her tightly.

“Clarke?” Lexa asked softly as she held the blonde as if she was the most precious thing in the world, despite her confusion, “I’m not sure what’s happening right now,” she admitted. She felt the blonde nod against her and pull back just enough that she could speak.

“Thank you for being honest, Lexa. I want you to know that I understand, and as much as I don’t like that it was Anya, I’m glad you had someone to talk to.” Clarke scrunched up her face a little and grumbled, “I suppose I should be grateful to her even.” She looked so put out by that thought that Lexa couldn’t help but laugh lightly, causing Clarke to scowl at her, before her face smoothed out and she reached a hand up to cup the brunettes cheek, running her thumb over the upturned lips in clear affection. “You have my heart too Lex. I’m sorry I made you doubt it. This time we need to look after them better, but it’ll take work. Please be patient with me; there will probably be more misunderstandings while we find our feet again. Like last night. When you asked if I’d been with anyone else I got scared, so I ran. Again. I knew that if you thought I’d cheated on you there would be no hope for us, and the thought that you’d reconciled with me only to leave because you thought I was unfaithful terrified me. Of course I realized after that my running probably looked like guilt, but by then I thought you’d already left me. I’m so glad I was wrong. Thank you for staying and thank you for trusting me.”

“Always, Clarke,” Lexa whispered and leaned forward to kiss the girl gently. “Is there anything else you’d like to know?” She couldn’t think of anything she’d left out in answering Clarke’s questions but she wanted to make sure Clarke was completely at ease with the current topic before she started a new one. She’d realized that there were so many factors outside of the two of them that they needed to address in order to really move forward and she was determined that they’d talk about all of them; sooner rather than later. They couldn’t keep going with this back and forth of joy and anguish; it wasn’t healthy.

Clarke smiled into the kiss Lexa gave her as warmth filled her at the girls promise. She wished they’d been brave enough to talk to each other like this a month or two ago. She pushed up and offered a chaste kiss of her own and shook her head.

“Not about this. I think we can safely put that topic behind us. There are others we should probably talk about, but don’t you have class today?” Clarke asked glancing at the clock surprised at how long much time had passed already. She could think of a few things that were hanging around them that needed to be cleared but she had faith that they’d be able to do it.

“There are,” Lexa agreed, stepping back a little but taking Clarke's’ hands in hers once again. “I’m not going to class today, I’m ahead in the readings anyway and this is important. There is something I wanted to ask you about actually, but can we do it on the couch without a table between us?”

The blonde nodded and began to move towards the doorway leading to the lounge. “Can I ask what it’s about?” She hoped it was something they could speak about without further confusion or misunderstandings and the fact that Lexa wasn’t trying to set up a barrier like she herself had earlier reassured her.

“Octavia.” Lexa answered simply.

Chapter Text

It was early afternoon on Thursday when there was a knock on the door. Octavia huffed and hitting pause on her game got up to answer it. She wasn’t expecting anyone and her friends weren’t really the just drop by unannounced type; at least not anymore. She wondered if Lexa had been expecting someone and just forgot to mention it, as she sometimes did. Octavia hoped it was someone she could just send on their way and get back to her game; she wanted to finish the current challenge before her date that night. Swinging the door open with a polite smile, she felt herself freeze when the person on the other side came into view and her smile dropped from her lips immediately.

“Clarke,” Octavia said quietly, her face settling into a stony expression as she scrutinized the blonde standing in front of her looking uncomfortable with her arms crossed. She noted how her old friend would look at her before her gaze skittering away again.

Clarke shifted anxiously from foot to foot as she tried and failed to look steadily at the girl who was the closest thing to a sister she’d ever had, a girl who Clarke had turned away from without a word; something she regretted deeply and wanted to fix but wasn’t sure she had the right to try to do anymore after the way she’d ignored the brunette. Finally she accepted she wouldn’t be able to hold Octavia’s gaze and instead addressed the floor in between them.

“Hey, Octavia,” She started hesitantly, clearing her throat when no other sounds came out. She eventually looked up helplessly and took in the stiff way the other girl was standing, blocking entry into the apartment with a glare on her face. It was a look Clarke had seen countless times on her friends face; it meant that the girl was close to losing her temper and doing something rash. It had never been aimed at her in this way before and it made her tremble with nerves. Before she could say anything else though, the gap from the open door closed slightly.

Octavia rolled her eyes at Clarke, who seemed to be on the verge of running away. ‘Honestly,’ she thought to herself, ‘did she expect to come to the apartment Lexa shares with me and NOT see me?’ She had no idea why the blonde thought it was alright to show up here without warning after the way she’d pushed her away for a month, regardless of whether she and Lexa had made up, which judging by the way the older girl had been walking around on cloud nine for the last few days, they definitely had. This was Octavia’s territory, and Clarke couldn’t just walk back in like she hadn’t done anything wrong.

Shaking her head and moving to close the door, Octavia spoke flatly. “Lexa isn’t here.” She had turned away and almost succeeded in closing the door again when a hand shot out and stopped the wood from closing completely.

“I know,” Clarke said quickly, holding the door open just enough to see the surprise on Octavia’s face when she turned back again. She suddenly found the courage to speak as she saw her opportunity disappearing as the glare once again settled on the brunettes face. “She’s got a class. I’m actually here to talk to you.” Something she couldn’t decipher flashed over O’s face before being replaced with an angry scowl.

“Finally feel like doing that, do you?” Octavia bit out. She cursed herself for the hurt she still felt about the way Clarke had cut her out, especially considering all she’d wanted to do was make sure the blonde was okay. She’d been completely blindsided as well the night Lexa had come home and burst into tears, telling her that their relationship was  over. Octavia knew how much Clarke and Lexa cared about each other and knew that something must have been really wrong for the blonde to end things between them. As soon as the girl had gotten her roommate calmed down and situated in bed she’d tried to call the blonde with no response, leaving a message for Clarke to call her back as soon as she could; an action she repeated several times over the next week with no acknowledgement from her best friend. She’d thought maybe the blonde just needed some time, but after almost two weeks of hearing nothing Octavia had gone over to Clarke’s apartment and although she could hear her inside, she’d refused to open the door. It was after that night that the girl had stopped trying to get Clarke to talk to her, and just focused on supporting Lexa in any way she could.

Octavia felt a flash of satisfaction at the way Clarke flushed and dropped her head slightly, immediately followed by guilt at the look on the blondes face. Even though she was angry at Clarke and hurt by the way she’d shut her out, Octavia still cared deeply for the girl she’d grown up with and seeing her upset still made her want to comfort her, a feeling she was fighting against in that moment.

Clarke steadied herself against the onslaught of shame at Octavia’s words and forced herself to look up. “I deserve that. I owe you an apology, O,” she let her hand drop from where she was still holding the door open and hoped that it wouldn’t be shut in her face, something she knew was a distinct possibility from the tone of Octavia’s voice. “I also owe you an explanation, if you’re willing to hear it.”

Holding her breath, Clarke watched as Octavia studied her through the small gap in the doorway. She could almost see the girl weighing up whether to hear her out or finish closing the door. She sighed in relief when Octavia’s hold on the door loosened and it swung open as she moved aside to let Clarke walk passed her into the unit.

“Fine,” Octavia muttered, before raising her voice and speaking clearly, “Don’t think me letting you in means anything Clarke, I just want to know what the hell happened.” She sighed when Clarke’s shoulders slumped slightly at her words and shook her head, her voice losing its hard edge. “Just come in, will you?”

Chapter Text

They’d been sitting there in silence for several minutes; the brunette just watching the blonde fiddle with the label of the beer bottle she’d handed her before she sat down. After letting Clarke into the apartment Octavia had headed into the kitchen in an effort to calm her anger at Clarke before they talked. She’d grabbed some drinks from the fridge and moved into the living room, passing one over as she bypassed the couch commonly referred to as ‘O’s couch’ that Clarke had sat on in order to sit on an armchair across the room from the blonde. She knew it was petty but she didn’t want to make this easy for her old friend, after all Clarke was the one who’d caused this in the first place. The awkward silence was starting to get even to her though; Clarke had almost succeeded at picking off her entire drink label before she couldn’t deal with it anymore.

“Why are you here Clarke?” Octavia finally caved. It had been over a month since she’d seen or talked to the girl and nearly a week since Clarke and Lexa had begun sorting their drama out. She really didn’t know why Clarke had bothered coming to see her. Clearly their friendship hadn’t meant as much as she thought it had if it had been so easy for Clarke to completely walk away from it. “Look, I’ve got things to do so if you’re just going to sit there twiddling your thumbs I really don’t know why you came.” Octavia felt a twinge of guilt when the other girl winced at her harsh tone but pushed it away, telling herself she had every reason to be mad and why should she play nice right now? It wasn’t in her nature to avoid confrontation, much preferring a fight over running from one.

Clarke took a deep breath and leaned forward to put her bottle on the table in front of her. She nodded and met her friends’ eyes. She’d known what she had wanted to say when she got here and she had expected O’s anger, but she hadn’t thought it would be so difficult to face.

“I came to apologize. I shut you out when I shouldn’t have. So, I’m sorry, O. I haven’t acted like much of a best friend recently…” She paused when Octavia made a scoffing sound.

Octavia let out a sharp laugh. “You haven’t acted like a friend at all.”

“I know.” Clarke agreed quickly, “I know. It was wrong. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. I just tried to do the right thing. I made a mistake. But I really am sorry Octavia. I can’t tell you much I regret it.”

“Really, the right thing? How is dropping your oldest friend without a word, the right thing? Come to that, how is breaking up with someone who loves you like Lexa does, the right thing? Do you have any idea what you did to her?” Octavia all but growled as she glared at the blonde. “Has she told you how she broke down that night when she got home? That she could barely speak to tell me what happened and then hardly left her room all week? We were worried sick, Clarke. Then you wouldn’t answer your damn phone or open the door so I was worried sick about you too. How the hell could you do that? Why would you do that?”

“I didn’t think I had a choice!” Clarke burst out before she took another deep breathe to calm herself. She couldn’t make eye contact as she continued. “I wasn’t thinking straight, clearly. I was hurting too, O, and I made a mistake. I made mistakes. Lex and I, something was happening to us and I wasn’t sure what, but I could guess. I was afraid of what she’d say if I tried to talk to her about it; I thought she was getting ready to leave me and I couldn’t hear her say those words so I kicked her out before she could. I was scared and acted like a coward. As for shutting you out; I didn’t want you to feel like you had to choose.” Clarke finally raised her head to look at the other girl again. “Yeah, you’ve been my best friend since we were little, but you’re her best friend now too, and her roommate. I didn’t want to make the situation harder than it had to be. At the same time, I didn’t want you to choose me and leave her alone, O. Even if the relationship was over and she was just waiting for a time to tell me, I knew she’d need a friend. Breakups hurt whether you’ve grown apart or not. She needed you and I wasn’t going to take that from her too.”

Octavia listened in disbelief and her glare softened slightly. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, Clarke; and I’m related to Bellamy, so I’ve heard a lot of shit.” She shook her head and continued, “I wouldn’t have picked a side; I cared about you both.” She watched as the blonde winced at her use of past tense in that statement. “In regards to thinking Lexa was going to leave you; have you met Lexa? If it was physically possible the girl would have your babies. She’s in love with you Clarke, always has been. Why on earth would you doubt that?”

Blonde curls obscured Clarkes’ face as her head dropped slightly and she reached over to pull a cushion into her lap, much like Lexa herself had done earlier that week. He voice was quiet when she spoke.

“She hasn’t told you about it?” Clarke questioned, “I figured you’d demand an explanation as soon as we started to work it out.” She was truly surprised Octavia didn’t know all the details by now since usually the girl never stopped asking questions.

“She said that you thought she didn’t love you. She’s been so busy walking around on cloud nine this week that I didn’t want to bring her crashing back to earth by asking for details,” Octavia rolled her eyes. “I’m asking you though. How could you think she doesn’t love you? Look at everything she’s done just to be with you Clarke! Do you really think she’d put herself back into the closet for you if you didn’t matter to her? Are you blind?” She laughed again, although there was no humour in it, “I shouldn’t really be surprised I guess, you couldn’t tell how she felt about you a couple years ago either. Except back then you’d talk to me about it instead of pretending I didn’t exist.”

Now Clarke was glaring, before it dropped and she shook her head. “I know, okay? I let my fear drown out everything else. Just like I let my fear stop me from telling her how I felt back then. It’s what I do. You know this about me Octavia. But I’m trying, O.  Alright? I know she loves me, but I felt like she was withdrawing from me, which she was except she didn’t realize it. By asking her to continue hiding our relationship I was pushing her away, she was just trying to respect my wishes and it went too far. But all I could see was her distancing herself. It’s something we’re working on; starting with not hiding anymore. I’m finally coming out. Lexa and I are getting back on track.” Clarke paused before steeling herself to continue. “What I’m not so sure about is us. Octavia, I know I hurt you, and ignoring you was wrong. I completely understand that you’re angry with me. I want you to know that I really do regret it and I’m so sorry. Do you think there’s a chance you’d be willing to forgive me? Can I fix this too?”

Hazel eyes studied Clarkes' face for a moment, their owner not saying anything. What they were looking for the blonde wasn’t sure but she felt slightly relieved that they weren’t glaring at her anymore. Finally Octavia stopped examining Clarke and directed her gaze to the ceiling as she blew out a long breath. She’d missed her friend and wanted nothing more than to tell her it was okay; that they’d be okay. But she couldn’t just put what she’d done aside and act like it hadn’t hurt as much as it did and it wasn’t fair to either of them to pretend she could.

“I don’t know, Clarke.” Octavia answered honestly. “I never could have imagined you just walking away from our friendship like that; I thought we were family. It hurt, even more so that you knew how worried I was about you, and you still said nothing. You let me bang on your door for nearly an hour and you still ignored me. What sort of ‘best friend’ does that?” She shook her head. “I can tell you that I’m willing to try. If for nothing other than for Lexa. But I don’t know if we can get back to where we were; I don’t know how to trust you anymore Clarke. You threw that away, and you can’t just pick it back up.”

Clarke looked away and nodded. Her voice wobbled slightly when she spoke.

“I know. I’m sorry. I understand what you’re saying, Octavia. I made an error in judgement and I’m going to do everything I can to make up for it. You’re still one of the most important people in my life, O, even if I have a horrible way of showing it. If you need time to get over the hurt or the anger at me before we can try fix this than I can stay out of your way if that’s what you want. Just tell me what I need to do. Please, O. I’ll do anything.” Clarke all but pleaded, her voice cracking near the end of her speech.

Octavia looked at Clarke silently again for a minute. “You don’t have to stay away, Clarke. You’re welcome here as you always have been,” The brunette spoke quietly. “Don’t think that means I forgive you, or trust you, because I don’t. If that happens, it’ll take time. But I can’t deny that you’re Lexa’s family, and she’s mine. You have a place here. Don’t ruin it.” She watched as the blonde in front of her seemed to curl into herself as she nodded along to what Octavia was saying. The brunette knew that Clarke was taking every word she said to heart.  She wondered if she was being too hard on her old friend, but she told herself she was justified; she’d been hurt and was still angry, she wasn’t just going to let Clarke back in like she hadn’t done something wrong, no matter how much she’d missed her. She sighed as she watched the girl retreat into herself. “For what it’s worth, Clarke, I’m glad you and Lex are sorting yourselves out. If anyone can come back from this, it’s you two.”

A shadow of a smile flitted across Clarkes’ face at that and she nodded. “Thank you Octavia.” She raised her head again and offered another weak smile before she quickly swiped at her eyes and placed the cushion she’d been holding beside her. She sat still for a moment and then rubbed her hands over her thighs in discomfort. “I guess I’ll let you get back to your afternoon. I’ll see you around, O.” Clarke moved to stand but froze when her old friend spoke.

“You could stay. I mean, if you wanted too.” Octavia found herself saying slowly. She wasn’t sure what had made her speak, didn’t even know how she felt about her offer. What she did know was that if she completely brushed Clarke off the first time she’d tried to extend an olive branch, another one would probably be a long time coming. She’d once seen the girl hold a grudge for an entire year when a lab partner had told her girls couldn’t do science as well as boys. Clarke could give silent treatment like no one else. ‘Clearly,’ she internally rolled her eyes at herself. Octavia pulled herself back to the present to see Clarke looking at her with surprise. The brunette shrugged. “We could watch a movie or something. I’ve got some time before I have to leave.”

Clarke finally shook off her surprise and settled back into her seat on the couch. “I’d like that,” she accepted quietly. She hadn’t expected Octavia to ask her to stay, especially right after assuring her that she wasn’t forgiven or trusted. But she wasn’t dumb enough to turn the offer down. She pulled the cushion she’d discarded back into her lap, curled her legs underneath her and hummed in approval when Octavia held up a DVD from where she’d moved to the cabinet where they kept their collection. Octavia set up the movie and with a second of hesitation reclaimed her usual position on the other end of the couch the blonde sat on. Clarke smiled to herself, it might not seem like much, but it was a start.

***

(Bonus scene)

*FIVE WEEKS BEFORE*

Octavia was once again blowing things up in a game one Wednesday night when she heard the front door open. Usually this wouldn’t matter much, except for the fact that she was supposed to be alone that night since Lexa was out on a date with Clarke, and even if the couple came back to the shared apartment instead of seeking the privacy of Clarkes’, it was way too early for them to be getting home. She hit pause on her game and stood up to turn towards the front hall, ready to defend herself if she needed. Her defensive stance relaxed though when she heard the familiar sound of her roommates keys landing on the side table by the door.

“Damn, Heda. You guys are home early. Miss me that much did you?” Octavia called out jokingly as she made to return to her seat on the couch. She stopped just before dropping herself back into place when there was no response. Normally either Lexa or Clarke would come back with a smartass comment in response to O’s jokes so the silence rang warning bells. “Lex?”

When there was still no response, Octavia moved around the couch and headed for the hall that leads to the front door, but once again stopped when a body finally entered the doorway. O relaxed again when she recognized Lexa and automatically looked behind her to look for Clarke.

“It is you. Why didn’t you say anything, and where’s Clarke?” Octavia questioned before she turned back to look at her friend. She was surprised by what she saw in front of her. Lexa was pale and her eyes were red, like she'd been crying; which Octavia might have shrugged off if not for the fact that she could count on one hand the number of times she’d seen Lexa cry in the years she’d known her. “Lexa, are you alright? What’s happened, and where’s Clarke?” If there was anything Octavia didn’t expect in that moment, it was Lexa sinking to the ground and start crying so hard her whole body was shaking with the force of her sobs.

“Hey hey hey,” Octavia said as she quickly moved to the other girls side and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder as she tried to catch Lexa’s eyes. “You’re okay. Come on babe, take a deep breath for me. You’re alright.” She continued to speak soothingly to the girl until the sobs started to subside enough that she thought her friend might be able to form words again. She was freaking out; she’d never once seen Lexa like this and the fact that it was after being out with Clarke, and the blonde wasn’t with her, caused her to imagine the worst case scenarios.

“Lex, you need to tell me what happened. Is it Clarke?” All she got in response was a nod, “Is she hurt?” A shake of the head, “Okay, okay that’s good.” She quickly gave Lexa a more concentrated once over. “You don’t look like you’re physically injured either, that’s also good,” she murmured almost like she was thinking out loud now. Octavia had no idea what this could be about but now that she was sure both girls were at least alive, she could focus on trying to find out what had happened. But first, she needed to get her friend off the floor. She stood up and wrapped her arm around Lexa. “Come on, up you get. I’ve got you,” she encouraged until she managed to steer Lexa over to the couch where she curled into a ball as soon as she landed on the seat; knees pulled up to her chest and arms hugging herself tightly. Tears were still streaming down the girls face and O really didn’t know what to do, other than try to find out what was wrong.

Octavia knelt in front of Lexa on the floor, trying to get the girl to focus on her again. “Lexa, please tell me what’s happened. You said it was Clarke, why isn’t she with you? Where is she?”

Lexa opened her mouth to answer and just found herself gasping, the occasional legible word making its way out, “Clarke... I… kicked out,” her voice cracked, and she sucked in big lungfuls of air as she tried to speak and not start sobbing again. “S-she said we w-weren’t w-working. It’s o-over” After that she just started crying again and just shook her head whenever Octavia tried to get more out of her.

After a while of trying and failing to get Lexa to explain further, Octavia coaxed the girl into getting up and guided her towards her room, where she set about finding the girl a shirt to change into and helping her get settled into the bed. By that point it seemed like her friend had completely shut down and she didn’t know what else to do. Once she was certain Lexa had fallen asleep, she quietly left the room and headed straight for her phone. She needed to call Clarke.

Chapter Text

Lexa pushed open the door and dropped her keys on the side table just like always before she pulled the mail she’d collected out of her mouth. Finally being able to speak she called into the apartment, “O! Are you home?” and sorted through the envelopes in her hand. She smiled when she heard ‘couch’ yelled back and, dumping the mail she deemed unimportant, headed further into the apartment. Lexa was surprised to register someone else there and felt her smile grow when she realised it was Clarke. The blonde looked up from where she sat curled into the corner of the couch and smiled back when her girlfriend entered the room.

“Clarke,” Lexa exclaimed, walking around the back of the couch, poking Octavia in the back of the head where the girl was still focusing on the television as she passed, letting out a laugh when she attempted to swat at her without looking. She leaned over the back of the couch when she reached where Clarke sat and placed a quick kiss to the girls upturned lips, “Hey.” She punctuated her greeting with another press of the lips. She was shocked to see the blonde here, but figured the girl had come to mend bridges.

Exaggerated gagging sounds caused Lexa to pull away and when she did she saw Clarkes smile take on a slight uncertain quality. She turned to look to the source of the sound and found Octavia watching them. Noticing Lexa’s glare, O pulled an exaggerated eye roll and then laughed.

“Oh man,” she joked, “I just realised I’m going to have to start seeing the dentist again, you two are so goddamn sweet.” She shook her head in an over the top manner as if trying to shake the image away.

Hearing this, Lexa also rolled her eyes. It was an old joke the girl started making at the very beginning of the couples’ relationship, when they would give each other shy smiles and make each other blush. She felt Clarke tense slightly however and knew it hadn’t been well received this time; she wondered why and what the two had talked about before she’d arrived. She placed a supportive hand on the girls shoulder and, mentally filing it as a topic to discuss later with Clarke when they were alone; she just played her part of the joke.

“Oh be quiet, O,” Lexa jested. “You’re just jealous that you’re not this lucky,” she ended with a half-hearted shove at the girls shoulder. She rolled her eyes again at the girl just grinned up at her before she stood from her place on the couch.

Octavia laughed again as she stood and stretched her arms over her head. “Not anymore babe,” she smirked, “Now I’ve got some sugar of my own. Speaking of; Linc is going to be here soon so I’ve got to go get ready. You two have fun now.” With that she disappeared into her bedroom.

As soon as her roommate disappeared behind a closed door, Lexa rounded the couch to sit next to Clarke, putting her arm around her giving her a kiss to her forehead. She felt Clarke relax into her hold with a sigh.

“Hey, are you ok?” Lexa asked quietly, “I didn’t know you were coming over here today.”

Clarke could only shake her head from where she’d placed it on her girlfriends shoulder. “I came to see O, to say I’m sorry,” she whispered, “She hates me, Lex. She’s so angry at me.”

Lexa pulled back a little to look into Clarkes eyes before she responded. Making sure she had the blondes’ full attention she spoke with complete certainty. “She doesn’t hate you, sweetheart. I now she’s mad, we expected that, but she’s missed you. She cares about you, Clarke. Maybe she doesn’t know how to show it, but I’m sure she’s glad you came by. I mean, you were sat here watching a movie together. That has to mean something.”

“She said she doesn’t forgive me or trust me, and she doesn’t know if we’ll ever get our friendship back.” Clarke refuted, “She basically said she was only going to accept my presence for you, Lex. She doesn’t really want me around. I have no idea why she asked me to stay for a movie, but I don’t think it’s because she actually wants to spend any more time with me.”

Lexa was confused. She and Octavia had spoken about Clarke in the past few days, and what the blonde was saying didn’t correlate at all with those conversations. She knew O had missed Clarke and wished the girl was still around. She also knew that her friend was hurt even more by the fact that it had almost been a week since Clarke and Lexa had made up and she still hadn’t heard from the blonde. Lexa distinctly recalled Octavia saying that obviously Clarke hadn’t missed her all that much and maybe their friendship hadn’t been what she thought it was; right before she’d excused herself to her room and Lexa had heard her crying soon after. Lexa shook her head and pulled Clarke back into her side.

“I’m sorry, Clarke. I can’t tell you what O is thinking, but I truly believe you both will find your way back to each other. Maybe it’ll take some time, but it will happen.” Lexa pressed a kiss to Clarkes temple and tightened her hold when she felt the blonde burrow further into her hold.

Clarke snuggled closer to her girlfriends’ side as she listened to her words and replied with her head planted firmly on Lexa’s chest; “I hope so,” she said quietly, before her voice brightened and she smiled, “You’re home early. I thought you had class all afternoon? That’s why we were meeting at the field.” She felt the rumble of Lexa’s laugh under her cheek before she heard it.

Lexa couldn’t hold her laughter back as she thought about the events of the afternoon. “Well, a few sophomores managed to set a fire in one of the study halls so the building was evacuated. Professor Jaha decided there was no point in continuing with the lecture once it had been disrupted so he dismissed us all early. I came home to study the slides he’d intended to go through.”

“Oh my god, Lexa! Why are you laughing, you could have been hurt!” Clarke sat up and looked to the girl in horror, shaking her head as the brunette continued to chuckle.

Reaching out to pull Clarke back into her arms, Lexa managed to container her amusement for a moment.

“No one was hurt, Clarke. The room was almost empty and the fire put out quickly. I think the most damage was done to Raven, Monty and Jaspers pride when they got caught. Needless to say they’re all in a bit of trouble.”

Clarke shook her head as she settled back into Lexa’s hold. “Well now I know why you’re laughing,” she muttered, “What were they even doing to cause a fire? They won’t be expelled will they?” As much as Clarke and Ravens friendship had withered over time, she didn’t want to see the younger girls’ life crumble over a silly mistake.

A snort sounded from the brunette at Clarkes’ question. “Are you kidding? There’s no way Kane is going to expel the ‘Genius Tripod’. I still can’t believe they call themselves that. Anyway, those three win too many competitions for the school for him to kick them out. I’m pretty sure they’ll get probation at most. We’ll find out later, I guess. For now though, I’m not in class and you’re here. What do you want to do?” Lex asked as she playfully nuzzled her face into Clarkes’ hair. She laughed when Clarke growled and slapped her stomach, placing a kiss to the aforementioned hair.

“You’re going to do that study you came home to do, and I’m going to sit here with you and occupy myself,” Clarke said, shooting a stern look at Lexa when she opened her mouth to protest. “I’ve already made you miss class this week Lex, I’m not going to be responsible for you falling behind in your studies; it’s important.”

Lexa pouted and when Clarke just raised an eyebrow in response she let out an exaggerated groan. “Fine, slave driver,” she joked as she leaned forward quickly and pecked Clarke on the lips before she got up to retrieve her notebook from her bag where she’d dumped it and her laptop from her room. She settled back down on the opposite end of the couch and got to study, only pausing to smile at her girlfriend when she pulled her feet onto her lap as she got comfortable with a book she’d just collected from Lexa’s room herself. The two girls sat there in comfortable silence until it was time for them to head off to practice; the only interruption coming from Octavia leaving for her date.

Chapter Text

Hard thwacks could be heard as Octavia pummelled the boxing bag Lincoln was holding steady for her. They had made plans to go out for dinner and maybe a movie later on but when Lincoln had arrived to pick up his new girlfriend, a subdued yet restless Octavia had requested they go to the gym first. Since they’d arrived 20 minutes ago Octavia had been almost relentless in her attack on the bag hanging from the ceiling. Finally, with another solid thump, Octavia stopped and leaned over resting her hands on her thighs while she caught her breath. She didn’t usually go so hard when she used the punching bags and she could feel it in the way her hands and arms were now aching. She glanced up when Lincoln walked out from behind the bag; she’d almost forgotten he was even there in her attempt to quiet her feelings from the afternoon.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Lincoln asked quietly once he was standing next to Octavia. He continued as the girl raised a surprised eyebrow at him. “I know we haven’t been together long, but I can tell when something is bothering you Octavia,” the muscled man handed her a towel he’d had draped over his shoulder and followed as she walked over to a bench along the wall of the gym space they were in.

Octavia sat silently for a moment, feeling her heartbeat slow to its usual pace as she considered what the boy next to her had said. She was still surprised sometimes at how intuitive he could be; when they’d first met, while she’d found him attractive she’d also thought he was just another beefed up gym junkie who would be more brawn than brains. They’d struck up a conversation a few weeks ago while waiting for their turn with some equipment and she’d been shocked to find he was actually very sweet and somewhat nerdy once they’d started talking about gaming, and had happily accepted his offer of dinner that night. Since then her original assumption had been proven extremely wrong but it still threw her off a little at how quickly the man had integrated into her life and her heart. She shook her head as she also accepted the water bottle Lincoln offered with a grateful smile.

Her smile quickly dropped into a grimace as she began to answer his question. “I think I really screwed up today, Linc.” Octavia said quietly and took a drink to try soothing away the rough tone of her voice. “Something unexpected happened and I reacted badly to it. Now I don’t know if I can take it back.” She rubbed at her face trying to push back the feelings of frustration and regret that were making her eyes sting. She jumped a little as she felt an arm wrap around her sweaty shoulders and pull her against the larger body next to her before relaxing marginally into the comforting embrace.

“I’m sure it’s not that bad, O.” Lincoln told her as he squeezed her shoulder. “Why don’t we get cleaned up here and then you can tell me about it and we’ll see if I can give you any help with whatever it is?” He helped the girl up and walked her over to the locker rooms on the other side of the gym.

***

“Wait. So Clarke is the friend you haven’t spoken to in a while right? The one you grew up with?” Lincoln asked. They couple were sitting in a park with some take out between them. He remembered Octavia mentioning this girl on their dates when they were sharing stories from their lives. When he’d asked O if he’d get to meet the girl she clearly cared a great deal about, his date had told him they no longer talked and left it at that. “I don’t understand why her coming to see you caused this.” He waved a hand in Octavia’s direction to indicate her general melancholy. His girlfriend had just told him about the unexpected visit from her friend and had just said that it hadn’t gone as well as it could have.

Octavia pushed some food around in the container she had in front of her before she sighed and dropped the fork. “That’s because I didn’t tell you why we don’t talk anymore.” She answered. “She was almost like my sister; it wasn’t just a case of us growing up and growing apart. She really hurt me.”

“So tell me what happened? Based on what I’ve heard you two were really close. I find it hard to believe a friendship like that can’t be saved.” Lincoln’s voice was gentle and completely void of judgement as he asked Octavia to open up to him. Although they had only officially met and started dating a little under a month ago, the man had quickly fallen for the girl he’d be intrigued with since seeing her at the gym for the first time months ago and it pained him to see her so torn up.

“Okay, so some background. You remember Lexa right, my roommate?” Octavia asked and waited for the boys nod before she continued, “When we were paired up in the dorms our freshman year we became friends really quickly, so I introduced her to Clarke and we all became really good friends; almost inseparable.” She laughed humourlessly, “It didn’t take them too long to fall for each other, even though they both denied it to themselves for a lot longer than they should have. That was a really long year.” A small smile appeared as she thought back on that time when she really wanted to smack her two friends’ heads together. “Anyway, after months of watching them silently pine after each other I started setting them up on dates. Like, I’d organise a group hang out and then have something ‘come up’ so it was just the two of them and even that didn’t work. Eventually I had to point blank tell them to get their act together because their complete inability to see the obvious was starting to hurt them both; it was ridiculous.” Octavia paused to take a drink and looked up at Lincoln to see him looking confused.

Lincoln jumped in when Octavia stopped speaking. “I don’t understand how this relates to you and Clarke not speaking. Did they not get together?”

“No, they did. It was about time too, they were driving me crazy.  We were all still best friends, they just became more, and it was good. For like a year and a half it was really good, except for the fact that Clarke couldn’t be honest about it. She was terrified of being gay and adamantly refused to admit to the world that she was with Lexa. I’m pretty sure that whole time only about 5 people ever knew about their relationship.” She shook her head, “Apparently it put more strain on their relationship than either of them realised, or that’s what Clarke said today. About a month or so ago Lexa came home from one of their date nights and she was a complete mess Lincoln. She could barely talk enough to tell me that Clarke had broken up with her. I’d never seen Lexa like that before and I hope I don’t ever see it again. Then, when I tried to call Clarke to check on her and to find out what had happened, she didn’t answer. She didn’t answer the next few times I tried calling either or respond to any of my texts. Even when I went over to her place she completely ignored me even though I knew she was home. That’s why we don’t talk anymore, she completely shut me out. I was worried to death about her and she didn’t care. Eventually I gave up trying to contact her; obviously our friendship wasn’t what I had thought it was.” Octavia’s voice had started to wobble as she spoke while trying to push down the hurt tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. Still she continued, even as she felt Lincoln move from his seat to sit next to her and wrap his arms around her shoulders.

“Last week, Lexa didn’t come home one night. She’d had a soccer game with her sister and I just assumed she’d decided to stay at her family’s house for the night. She does that sometimes. But the next day she told me she’d stayed at Clarkes. She said that they were trying to work things out, that it had all just been a big misunderstanding. That was on Sunday. They’ve been back together for almost a week and I still hadn’t heard from Clarke; until today. That hurt too Linc; days went by and Lexa has been walking around on cloud nine because she and Clarke are together and happy and I was still missing my best friend. But I couldn’t reach out to her. I couldn’t handle it if she ignored me again. I talked to Lexa about it and still nothing, so I assumed it just wasn’t going to happen.” Octavia sniffled a little and leaned further into Lincolns embrace. “I wasn’t expecting Clarke to show up today. When I opened the door and she was there all the hurt and anger just seemed to come up and I couldn’t stop it. I was awful to her today, even after she apologized and explained why she’d done that. I basically told her I’d tolerate her presence for Lexa but that we wouldn’t be friends. All I wanted to do was tell her I’d missed her and instead I pretty much told her she meant nothing to me. I couldn’t stop myself and now I’ve probably ruined everything.” She finally gave in to the tears sat there shaking quietly while Lincoln held her close.

Lincoln placed his chin on Octavia’s head as he held her tightly while she cried. “I don’t believe that O,” he murmured into her hair. “If your friendship was truly as good as you’ve said I find it hard to believe that you can’t get it back. You just need to talk to her again and tell her what you just told me. Tell her that you’re hurt by what she did and that it took her so long to come see you, but this time tell her that you missed her too. You obviously still care about her, Octavia, and her showing up today, although later than ideal, shows that she cares about you too. But you need to do it soon, today if possible, or it’ll just gnaw at you and be harder. It’s still early, I can come with you to go find her if you want?”

During Lincoln speech Octavia managed to get her tears to subside and she nodded against his chest. “Thank you,” she whispered as she pulled away from him. She wiped her face and leaned up to kiss the man on the cheek as she felt he heart swell with affection for him. “You’re right; I need to do this now. I know where they both are right now; they have training tonight down at Polis Park. Do you really not mind coming with me? I know this isn’t how we planned this date to go.” She knew he had just offered to take her but she was keenly aware they’d only been together a handful of weeks and that his offer could have just been made out of politeness. She didn’t really believe that because she could already tell that this thing between them was going to be special, but she didn’t want to push it.

“Of course not, O,” Lincoln smiled down at her, pleased with the kiss he’d just received. “I’m here for whatever you need me for. We’ll pack up here and go find them now.”

Standing up, Lincoln collected their take out containers and threw them away before taking his girlfriends’ hand and heading back to his car to take her wherever she needed to go.