Prom at Polis Academy is something of a gala—it’s extravagant and beautiful and meticulously planned. Octavia would know, because Clarke is the head of the prom committee and has been buried in mood boards and spreadsheets and request forms and fabric swatches for ever and it seems like she doesn’t manage to get out from under the what-if’s and could-be’s and just-in-case’s until a couple of days before the big day arrives.
“Hey,” Octavia smiles at Clarke.
“Don’t fucking talk to me,” she snarls back, and when they blink Clarke throws her bag to her bed and slams her hands hard onto her hips. “Do you have any clue what Dave has done now?”
“Oh shit,” they say in preparation. They discard their book and sit up—this sounds like a crisis.
“Yeah. Yeah, he fucking shat all over my prom.”
“No, not literally. But he might as well have—do you know what he’s done?”
“No? But if you need help fixing it—?” They lift their eyebrows in suggestion and Clarke waves a hand.
“No, I mean it’s fine or whatever, I fixed it.” She scowls and pulls the ugliest face Octavia has ever seen. “But he ordered the floors to be re-varnished for tomorrow. Re. Varnished. Can you believe that?” Octavia squints a little—from her tone, they can infer that it would be a bad thing, but they aren’t sure of the scale of it. “The floor would never dry properly by tomorrow. It would be tacky in literally every way. It would totally ruin the floor, or we wouldn’t be able to go in at all—if we did, dresses? Ruined. Varnish everywhere. Staining. Heels would punch little holes in it—I can’t,” she shakes her head hard. “I just can’t, I’m getting so angry talking about it. Like good move, smart move Dave, this is something you could’ve done like two weeks ago. But the night before? I don’t think so.” She folds her arms over her chest and sighs for a long, long time. Then she rubs at her forehead. “I’m so tired. And I’m still so angry.” She touches a hand to the middle of her chest. “I can feel it.”
“In your boobs?”
“Yes, O, I can feel my anger in my boobs.” Clarke glares, but Octavia can tell that she wants to laugh but she’s still too angry for it.
“Now that’s a gift. What else do they tell you?”
“When I’m aroused.”
“Oh sure, of course.”
“And sometimes I can tell when it’s raining.”
“A true gift.”
Clarke rolls her eyes and spins on her heel, flops onto her bed. “I hate him,” she grumbles into her pillow
“There, there. Hey—why don’t you go look at your dress again? I know it always makes you feel better seeing it.”
Clarke pushes herself up, groaning, so she’s braced on her elbows and she throws a longing look over to her closet. “It is so beautiful.”
“You look so good in it.” Clarke throws them a questioning look and Octavia waggles their phone. “Your mom sent me a photo. A group text I think, Raven and Wells too.”
Clarke looks horrified. “And Lexa?”
“No, no way, she’s totally leaving it a surprise. She wouldn’t ruin that for you.” Clarke heaves a relieved sigh and nods. “Have you seen Raven’s dress?” they ask.
“No, I’ve been so busy I haven’t got to see anyone. Except your suit—you look great.”
“Thank you! Here!” They pop up off their bed and lay down again next to Clarke, flicking through the photos of Raven they took. “Isn’t this nice?”
“That’s so nice. She looks amazing.”
“I know, right?” Octavia presses their lips together to keep from grinning and flicks to the next photo of Raven in a completely different dress. “Great, yeah?”
They show her all nine of the dresses Raven had in her maybe pile and Clarke looks bewildered and thrilled in equal measure.
“Did she get all of them?”
“I have literally no idea.”
“That would be great. A dress change on the hour, every hour.”
“I mean, it’s her last prom, do it right. Right?”
“Yeah absolutely, absolutely?” Clarke nods a few times, very firmly. “Are you getting her a corsage?”
“I thought maybe a gardenia or a white rose or something? Timeless and classic and white goes with pretty much everything so,"
“Yeah, I like that.”
“No, I didn’t want to risk it. Like, for one thing Lexa said she didn’t want anything on her wrist. The fabric is never quite right, y’know, and I don’t know, it wouldn’t feel right for her.” Octavia nods and Clarke grins. “Plus, if I did get her one, I’m pretty sure she would tattoo that sucker and we know how I deal with that shit.”
“Not well at all,” Clarke laughs, with only a touch of an edge to the sound. “I am a steady emotional rock.”
“That’s literally the last way I would ever describe you,” Octavia comments lightly, and they ignore Clarke’s faux-hurt in favour of making themself more comfortable in her bed. “So, okay, Terrible Dave almost ruined your prom but you saved it.”
“Amazing. And the theme is still under the sea?”
“Like,” Clarke scrunches up her nose and shrugs, “technically? The colour scheme is blue and green and stuff like that, and we have one of those cute photo things and we got a photo booth with little sandcastle stickers and stuff like that you can add, which is so cute. But basically that’s the whole themed bit, with the photos and the colours, and the rest is just normal party stuff. But,” she adds, “really expensive party stuff.”
“So if I made Teddy a trident real quick, that would be fine?”
Clarke frowns. “I guess? But Raven isn’t taking Teddy. She’s giving him to Anya to dogsit for the night.”
Clarke helps set up on the day of the prom—not physically, but she has to be there to direct everything and double check that everything is perfect—and it makes Lexa mope because she wants to spend the day with her girlfriend, and to see her dress, and to tell her for longer than just the hour they have before it starts that Clarke looks so very, very beautiful tonight.
“God, they’re gay,” Raven mutters. “Help me with my corsage?”
“I’d love to.” Octavia fumbles a little with it before they find the little knot that tightens the ribbon and they tug on it until Raven nods. “You look really beautiful, Raven,” they tell her. “And if you want to dance with anyone else, just give me a nod or something, okay?”
“Eh,” she shrugs. “We’ll see. I don’t know how anyone could top you.”
Octavia beams and smoothes their hands down their suit jacket. “I do look pretty amazing,” they whisper to her excitedly, and Raven nods.
“We’re gonna be the hottest ones there.”
“We truly are?” Raven says to them. “We truly are. Except, y’know, Clarke and Lexa.”
“God, they’re beautiful.”
“Aren’t they?” Raven sighs happily. “But whatever, every time they sneak away to make out, we automatically default to the hottest ones there.”
“Totally.” Octavia holds out their arm to her. “Are you ready?”
“Why yes, yes I am. Except,” she takes them down the hall to her room and then one room beyond. “Elle, are you ready? We want to take photos!”
“Almost! Carm, baby, are you ready?”
“I’m coming, I’m coming, geez.” There’s a moment of silence, and Raven rolls her eyes to Octavia.
“They’re making out,” she whispers loudly.
The door flings open and Octavia smiles widely when they see Elle’s girlfriend—she’s wearing a suit too and she runs her eyes over Octavia quickly and gives them a nod.
Carm doesn’t say anything more, but her lips quirk up a little when Elle strokes her hand and tangles their fingers together.
“Photos?” Elle reminds them, and Carm scowls. “O, you look very handsome.” The comment makes Carm glower at Octavia and they quickly take Raven’s hand in an effort to make themself look attached.
“Thank you. You look beautiful tonight, Elle. And you make a very lovely couple.”
“That’s so charming,” Elle says happily, her Southern accent soft and oddly calming. “Thank you.”
They have to stand in line for twenty minutes, but everyone talks and it’s not really very cold anymore, not so early in the evening anyway, and when they make it to the front of the line they get a group photo and then a few as couples and Raven tells them that Clarke and Lexa have already had their photos and gone inside.
“Without even thinking of their friends, can you believe that?”
“Yes,” Octavia nods.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Elle agrees. “They’re a world of their own.” She makes it sound very simple, and very sweet, and Carm shoots her a sidelong glance and her face softens. Elle sees it and flushes a light pink. “Would you like to dance, Carm?”
Carm licks her lips, looks around at the decorations and the band, and then she looks at Elle and she nods. “I’d love to,” she says, a little gruff and she steps in to keep the words just between the two of them.
“We’ll see you later,” Elle promises Raven and Octavia, and they make their way to a darker corner and Octavia can’t help but watch them because there is something very sweet about the way they hold each other familiar, and comfortable, and gentle—not out of shyness, because there is a confidence there too that speaks to years of love, but thanks to want and tenderness, they are gentle with each other.
Raven touches Octavia’s shoulder gently.
“I can see Lexa. You ready?"
They nod and follow her.
When they get there, Clarke has re-joined Lexa and they are dancing slowly to the music. Clarke’s hands are on Lexa’s hips, Lexa’s arms around Clarke’s neck, and their quiet conversation is punctuated now and again by short, sweet kisses.
“Should we get a drink first?” Octavia suggests.
Raven laughs. “No way, they have plenty of time to make out later. Like, the rest of their lives.” Octavia grins. “Let’s go break them up, come on."
Clarke sees them first and she flushes pink but doesn’t move away from Lexa. She murmurs something to her, and Lexa tilts her head to watch them approach.
“Hello,” she says.
“Hey, Lexa. Have you two started without us?”
“We arrived before you, yes,” Lexa nods.
“No, drinking,” Raven hisses. “Clarke looks like she’s having a jolly time already,” she points out, eyeing very deliberately her reddened cheeks.
“Oh. No, not particularly. Clarke’s just embarrassed because I saw her naked earlier.”
“Whoa! Unexpected!” Raven and Octavia laugh. “When was this?”
“How was it?”
“No, no, we didn’t sleep together—” Clarke starts, just as Lexa says,
“Quite wonderful, she’s very beautiful. You’re very beautiful, Clarke,” Lexa repeats, turning to smile at Clarke, making sure she doesn’t miss the compliment. Clarke’s mouth shuts with a click of her teeth and she flushes pink again. Lexa rests her fingers ever so lightly at the small of Clarke’s back and Raven smiles at Octavia when they see the dazed look steal over Clarke’s face.
“Do you want to have a drink, Clarke?”
“Lord have mercy on my soul,” Clarke groans. “Do you two know where Lexa is keeping her…juice?”
“It’s whiskey,” Lexa corrects her. It’s luckily drowned out by Raven and Octavia’s enthusiastic yeses.
“You mean the garter belt, right?”
Clarke nods, acutely, wonderfully miserable.
“She drags me into the bathroom, hikes her dress up, drinks out of her flask, and then kisses me.”
Raven beams, absolutely delighted. “What a hard life you lead.”
“The hardest,” Octavia adds with a wink.
“Ha! I don’t like penises but that was funny,” Lexa tells them, and Octavia grins.
Raven shrugs. “Could be a strap on, y’know?” Lexa nods at that and laughs again.
Clarke turns to grin at Lexa and visibly melts when Lexa brushes her fingers down from her wrist to her palm, tangles their fingers together.
“And that’s our cue to leave,” Octavia groans, and they nudge Raven, who looks inclined to stay and watch a while. “Look, Raven. Boys! Hunky boys!” They point toward the doorway where the Ark boys are entering.
“I’m listening,” she allows, and they both wave back to Lexa—Clarke, apparently, can’t see further than the girl in front of her.
“It’s wild, isn’t it? They’re so in love.”
“Clarke planned this prom so Lexa would wear a green dress, I just know it.”
“Sounds excessive,” they agree. “Something Clarke would do, for sure.”
They make their way further through the crowd, dancing a little so flailing elbows look more like dance moves than attacks, and halfway through, Raven points to the tiny DJ on the stage. “She’s good!” she yells to them over the music. “Who suggested her? She looks like a ten year old.”
“She’s sixteen—she’s in my year,” they yell back. “Lexa knows her!”
“Right, music, of course Lexa had something to do with it,” Raven nods. “Cool!”
They dance a little more—Octavia just smiles when Raven leans on them a little, grinds a bit, and there’s a bit of sadness, tension, at the corners of her eyes that her back and leg hurts already and so early in the night but Octavia is a good dancer and so is she and the music is good and everything feels warm and close and loud and for a while longer she knows she can stand. And Octavia is there to help her, without it feeling like help at all.
“Ew, look! Clarke and Lexa are slow dancing,” Octavia leans in to tell her, and Raven cranes her neck around to look at the pair.
“That’s so cute,” she groans. “I hate them!” Raven cranes her head in the opposite direction and she stops dancing to tug on their hand, leading them across the floor again. “Wells Jaha!” she calls out. “Where’d you go, hot stuff?”
The crowd seems to part for him—he looks impeccable in a dark blue suit and everyone seems to be taking a step back to look admiringly at him in his entirety—and he smiles winningly at his friends.
“Why, Miss Raven Reyes, fancy seeing you here.”
“I could say the same for you. If I’d known you were coming, I would’ve saved you a dance but I’m afraid my card is full up.”
“Ah well.” He shrugs. “C’est la vie.”
Octavia snorts and Raven grins over at them. “Thank you, O.”
Attention already on them, Wells gives them a smile as well and says, “You look very nice tonight, O. I love the suit.”
Tugging on the lapels of their jacket, feeling very smart and neat and handsome, they beam right back at him. “Thank you!”
“Raven, you lucky girl, why complain when this hunk is on your arm?”
“Oh, I’m not complaining.” She hooks an arm through Octavia’s and continues to trade remarks with Wells.
Octavia rolls their eyes at the boy standing by Wells’s shoulder. “They’re such windbags,” they laugh.
“Really? I hadn’t noticed.” He has a kind, quick smile, and Octavia is immediately at ease.
“Hi, I’m O. They/them pronouns.”
“Hey O, nice to meet you,” he nods. “I’m Monty. Um. He/him pronouns. You play basketball, right?” They nod and he smiles, clicks his fingers. “I knew I knew your name. Wells told me about you the other night—your three pointer at the game on break was awesome, all the guys have been talking about it.”
“The other night, huh?” Raven lifts her eyebrows at the suggestion that brings up.
“Yeah.” Wells looks over at Monty, who nods. He turns back to Raven and Octavia and, quietly, he tells them, “We came together tonight, actually. Like, as a date.”
Octavia hates the way Wells’s eyes slip away from them, slide around to see who is close enough to hear them. Monty keeps his hands in his pockets even though he very purposefully brushes shoulders with Wells every minute or so. They hate it, but there’s not a lot they can really do about it except nod and smile.
“That’s cool, I hope you have a really nice time tonight.” They look right at Monty when they say it, and he ducks his head but they’re pretty sure he’s smiling a big smile down at very shiny shoes. Wells gives them a thankful look.
After a second, Wells says, “You and Raven?”
“Sadly, they’re still not attracted to me.” She sends a teasing look Octavia’s way, and they grin, shrug.
“Not attracted to you?” Monty gasps. “Improbable.”
“Okay, I like you.”
“Hands off, Reyes. I get first dance,” Wells tells her as he drags Monty off to the dance floor.
Octavia and Raven go to join them after a minute and Octavia laughs when, as they make their way over, Raven bends down to murmur in their ear, “He can have the first dance. Everyone knows its the last dance that counts.”
Clarke’s eyes are bright and happy when she comes over to them later that night, set off against the miserable downturn of her lips.
“What’s up, buttercup?” Octavia asks and hands her a drink. “You looked happy, now not so much?” They let a curious note creep into their voice because Clarke does look happy, but also not happy.
It all becomes clear when Clarke takes the cup, downs the whole thing, and sighs.
“She keeps touching me.”
Clarke rolls her eyes and sidles up next to Octavia, touches her fingers to the small of their back. “Right here,” she murmurs.
Octavia blinks for a moment—then they laugh. “Oh my god Clarke, could you be less gay? Just for one night?”
“O, I walked out on Lexa practically naked and she hasn’t stopped touching me since then.”
“Okay I didn’t need to know that.”
“Yes, you did, because we have four more hours of this night and I need you to help me.”
“That’s not what I want to hear.”
Octavia narrows their eyes. “What? You want me to cause a distraction so you can make out for half an hour?”
“No, I want…” She opens and closes her mouth a few times before she sighs. “This is torture. Pure, wonderful torture.”
“I’m about to spontaneously combust.”
“You’re disgusting.” They smile at her anyway—disgusting or not, they’re so happy for their friends.
“What did she say?” Raven asks, reappearing with two cups of punch—liberally spiked, Octavia guesses.
“That’s she’s going to spontaneously combust.”
Raven narrows her eyes at Clarke, who takes Raven’s drink and downs the whole glass. “Okay, rude, and you’re welcome.” She rolls her eyes when Clarke pushes the now-empty glass back into her hand. “Wow.”
“Lexa’s been touching her,” Octavia tells her with a grin.
“Oh, and you’re about to…combust,” Raven repeats.
“Do you think she knows what she’s doing?”
“She’s autistic, Clarke, not blind. Yeah, she knows what she’s doing to you. She smirks every time you do that weird, gay shiver when she grazes you.”
“I knew it.”
“You should tell her how you feel,” Octavia suggests. “Really lay it out for her in explicit detail. Oh look,” they grin, “here’s your chance.”
“I’m back, love,” Lexa announces and takes her place at Clarke’s shoulder. She sweeps her fingers over Clarke’s back and smiles down at Clarke. She’s only a tiny bit taller tonight, with both of them in heels, but the scant difference still has Clarke stewing. At least, until Lexa kisses her gently. Then Clarke’s annoyance sluices away and she presses into the kiss, eyes fluttering shut. “Hello, O. Hello, Raven.”
“Hey, Lexa. How’s your night going?”
“Very well, thank you.” Lexa grips Clarke’s hand. “Are you having a good time with Raven?”
Lexa nods a few times, quickly, and beams at them. “I’m so glad.” She blinks and her eyebrows rocket up when Clarke latches onto her firmly, then relaxes when she realises what is happening.
Clarke is staring at the stage, where a few dignitaries have gathered, and on two unnecessarily large cushions rest two very nice, shining crowns.
Lexa smiles and pats Clarke's hand.
Kane clears his throat politely into the microphone and waits for the music to die down and the students to face him.
After a minute, when the chatter doesn’t cease, there is another attempt—not by Kane, but rather by his companion. Headmaster Pike is a tall man, thickly built, and he has nothing of the good-will or slightly harmless atmosphere about him that Kane has. Kane tries to keep a polite, smooth expression on his face when Pike speaks, but he isn’t entirely successful. “Hey!” Pike barks into the microphone. “You there, Jenson, tuck in your shirt, this isn’t a rave.”
There’s a quiet “Yessir” from the front of the hall and Kane forces a smile.
“Yes, thank you Headmaster Pike,” Kane says cheerfully and the smile he turns towards the students is far more genuine. “And welcome students to your prom! Welcome, students of Ark Academy, you all look wonderful. And Polis, dazzling, as per usual!” That raises a few cheers and Kane nods, eyes crinkling, looking every inch the very proud father. “Now, I promise we won’t take up too much of your time, I’m sure you’re all very excited to keep dancing and having fun. I would, however, like to take the time to congratulate our prom committee members for their amazing work this year,” he leads them in a round of scattered applause, but everyone’s eyes are fixed on the small white envelope in his hands. Pike holds an identical envelope and taps it slowly against his palm. “It’s such an honour to get to see so many wonderful, talented children in my school. Truly wonderful.” He beams out at them all.
Raven rolls her eyes happily and nudges Octavia. “He’s so embarrassing,” she murmurs.
“I think he’s nice.”
Raven grins a little wider and nods. “Yeah, that too.”
“So without any further pomp or pizzazz,” Kane says, drawing their attention once again, “it is my absolute pleasure to have Headmaster Pike here. Please join with me in giving him a very warm welcome.” There’s a smattering of applause and Kane has to look away to keep from laughing—Octavia is sure of that. “Headmaster Pike,” he says in a very controlled voice, “would you do us the honour of announcing our King?”
“Thank you, Headmaster Kane.” Pike gives him a small nod and surveys the crowd with a pleasant smile. “Your Headmaster had said it all—what a wonderful night, and what an amazing job you ladies have done in putting this all together. Hard work, dedication, and no small amount of creativity has made this a night to remember and an absolutely wonderful way to celebrate our senior students.”
“Hey, weren’t there kids from Ark in the committee?” Octavia asks Raven, and she scowls when she nods.
“Yah, easily half.”
“You think he didn’t know?”
“Nope. Heteronormative, bigoted, small-minded, toxic masculinity bully. Remember?”
“Right.” Octavia shakes their head. “Gross.”
Pike’s eyes pass over where they are standing and whispering and though they are a fair distance away, Octavia shivers. They wouldn’t be surprised if he memorised their faces to reprimand them later.
“At Ark Academy, we look to our men to be strong, intelligent, and driven. I’m pleased to tell you that we have an outstanding selection of young men to choose from this year. All the nominations I received are leaders among their peers.” He nods to the crowd. “So. Your Prom King for this evening,” Pike announces, slipping the card from its envelope. “…Wells Jaha.”
There is a roar from the Ark students and a wave of applause—hands reaching forward to shake his shoulder and push him up towards the stage. Wells beams and waves out to everyone, points to one face in the crowd and winks.
Octavia is pretty sure they see Monty swoon.
“Congratulations, son,” Pike says and shakes his hand, smiling for the flash of the camera. “Your crown.”
“Thank you, sir.” Wells takes the microphone with a smooth smile and Pike allows it, after holding tight for a split second. “And I’d like to thank my teachers, my mentors, and all my friends for this honour.” He pauses for a moment, then smiles at Kane. “I don’t have to reign alone, do I? That’s an awful lot of responsibility.”
“I’m sure you could manage, Your Highness,” Kane laughs. “But you’re right! Without further ado, your Prom Queen. This is a student who is admired by staff and students alike, who has taken the time and effort to do extraordinary things. A student who embodies the traits of our fine school. You’ve all voted for her, you all love her, can I get a drum roll please, Mr Jenson,” Kane asks, pointing to the boy who had slipped a few steps back into the crowd to avoid Pike’s stare. The boy laughs and obligingly drums on his thighs—almost immediately, half the Ark students and then quickly the remainder of them began to stamp their feet. The Polis students—mostly in heels—clap their hands and the excited noise fills the hall.
Kane allows it for a moment.
The students quiet and still when he flicks open the envelope.
“He’s really milking the attention, don’t you think?” Octavia laughs, and Raven digs her elbow into their ribs.
“Ow, Jesus, oh-kay.”
Kane clears his throat and beams out to the crowd. “Ladies, gentlemen,” he blinks, “distinguished guests—”
Clarke digs her elbow into Octavia’s ribs on the other side—“That’s you,” she whispers—and Octavia rolls their eyes and rubs gently at their poor, maltreated ribs.
“Please join me in welcoming our Prom Queen to the stage—Clarke Griffin!”
All eyes on her, amidst cheers and applause, Clarke takes a moment to preen. She tosses her hair back over her shoulders in a neat, almost demure gesture and reaches out to squeeze Lexa’s hand before she swans her way to the front of the room.
Octavia grips hard onto Raven’s hand and tries to keep from laughing, doesn’t manage to stop the wide, thrilled smile that bursts over their lips—that’s their best friend!—because they know exactly how much Clarke must be revelling in this whole thing.
Wells holds out a hand for her, which Clarke takes with a pleased smile—“Oh, he’s so dashing,” they hear a girl sigh and a cluster of giggles, and another girl adds, “She looks so beautiful in her dress,” and Raven hides a grin in her shoulder, tells Octavia quietly that Clarke and Wells have been doing cotillion together since they were, like, four years old and for a moment exactly like this one so of course they know how to do this with elegance and grace and a disgusting amount of innate beauty. Clarke waves regally at them all and dips into a neat curtsey to take her crown from Kane, who laughs and obligingly returns a bow, lowering the glittering crown onto her perfect hair carefully.
She dusts a hand over it, adjusts it minutely, and her smile grows ever brighter.
“Your King and Queen!” Kane says into the microphone again and the hall erupts into applause.
They wave—take in the whistles and the cheers—and when Clarke throws her head back to laugh at something Wells murmurs to her, Octavia hears, and sees, Lexa sigh happily. She clasps her hands in front of her at her waist and stares, adoring, at her Clarke.
“Can you believe your girl is prom queen?” Octavia asks her, and Lexa nods.
“Yes. We’ve been plotting this for quite some time, it was the only outcome.”
“Well. That’s…a little scary but mostly really cool. You’re happy for her?”
Lexa nods again. “They wanted to nominate me,” she tells them quietly.
“What did you say?”
“She said and I quote,” Raven interjects, delighted, “No fucking way.”
“Raven! I didn’t swear.”
“Yes, you did.”
Raven laughs for a moment before she turns to Octavia. “Hey, best date ever?”
“Yeah, second best date?”
“Okay, that’s hurtful. Maybe I won’t ask you to dance after all.”
“No! I’m sorry, I want to dance!”
“The King and Queen dance is about to start so come on, I need you to use those sharp elbows of yours to get me close to them.”
“Oh, I see,” they shoot back, already moving to do it. “You only want me for my body.”
“You catch on slow, Blake.”
Clarke and Wells have disappeared into the crowd—Octavia can’t see them and their craning only serves to make them look dumb. They laugh at themself and shrug at Raven. “I don’t know where we’re going,” they admit, and Raven is utterly unhelpful—she just laughs—so Octavia snags the nearest, tallest person, and turns wide hopeful eyes on them.
“O! You look sharp.” Their tall pick turns out to be Bridget and she smiles down at them, looking very lovely in blue.
“You think?” They tug on the lapel of their suit. “Thanks! Raven picked it out.”
Bridget turns her smile on Raven and nods. “That’s so cute, are you dating?”
“Nah, but I am her date tonight. And we’re trying to get to Clarke and Wells but I can’t see where to go and Raven won’t help—”
“I never said that!”
“Yeah, but you didn’t exactly help though, did you?” Raven grumbles at that and rolls her eyes. She also slips her arm into Octavia’s when they turn back to Bridget. “You look really nice, by the way.”
“Thank you!” She peers over the crowd and nods further into the dance floor. “Clarke is—over there, I see her. Do you want me to walk you?”
“That’d be awesome, thank you!”
When they start out, Raven stumbles the tiniest bit and leans a little heavier on Octavia’s shoulder and they slow down, grip her hand more tightly. “You alright?”
“It’s okay, I’m fine. Honest,” she insists when Octavia still looks worried. “Some idiot must have dropped their drink or something, it was slippery.”
Octavia nods immediately. They know how much Raven hates it when people look like they doubt her. She knows her body best—that’s what she always tells them—so they accept it easily. “Okay. Let me know if you change your mind though.”
Raven squeezes their arm gently. “I will. Thanks.”
“So what’s so special about this dance?” Octavia asks, because every time the topic came up in the last week, everyone exchanged these sly little smiles and Octavia would hate being on the outside and not knowing what they had planned, except that they’d been assured many, many times that it would be worth the wait. A good surprise. “Do I finally get to find out what’s happening?”
“Is it gay?” they ask.
Raven doesn’t answer, just stares straight ahead. She smiles, though, and Octavia sighs happily.
“I knew it.”
They find Lexa on the edge of the space that has been cleared for the King and Queen. How she got there before them—why she didn’t take them with her—Octavia doesn’t know, but she turns to greet them when they arrive and takes for a short while with Bridget as well.
“Lexa!” Raven hisses. “It’s starting!”
“I know. I was reading her lips.”
Lexa shrugs. “Believe what you like.”
“Both of you, be quiet,” Octavia sighs happily. “Look at them—they’re so good together!”
And they are—Wells and Clarke look right together. They walk with the same grace and power and nod and smile in the same way—it’s not arrogance, not exactly, not until Clarke spots Raven and then she drops a wink her way that is all arrogance. They just look like two people who are, and who know they are, popular and smart and good. And they dance together flawlessly.
“I know,” Lexa sighs, eyes shining. While they watch, Wells grins widely at Clarke and, even as she starts to protest, he bends her into a dip and she starts to laugh and lets it happen. “She’s beautiful.”
Octavia doesn’t know if this is part of the plan—if it was always supposed to happen at that moment or if Clarke felt some kind of force wave from Lexa’s overwhelming gayness—but Wells pulls Clarke up from the dip and spins her and when the spin ends, their hands part and somehow, without anyone quite knowing how, Clarke is in front of Lexa.
It feels like something out of a movie—everyone beautifully dressed, an amazing soundtrack, the lights and the room and everything floaty and warm and fun and this, the romantic interlude, where it happens.
Clarke stands in front of Lexa and they stare at one another, all adoration and smiles. Then, Clarke reaches out her hand and she asks a question of Lexa.
“Will you dance with me, pretty girl?”
Her smile is soft—her dress is beautiful and her hair too and her crown glitters and her eyes are shining and she is every single inch the queen and Lexa slips her hand into Clarke’s and steps out into that empty circle with her.
They look right together in a different way. Where Wells and Clarke were a pair, Clarke and Lexa are a couple.
“Oh my god,” Octavia whispers to Raven. They spy Headmaster Pike glowering at Clarke and Lexa, and at Wells who has taken Monty by the hand—not in the limelight, not anymore, but still quite obviously—and realisation hits them. “This is a gay mutiny.”
Caught up entirely in one another, Clarke tugs Lexa in towards her. One hand settles on her waist. Lexa’s hand comes up to rest on Clarke’s shoulder. Octavia is sure they can make out the softest stroke of her fingers against Clarke’s collarbone.
The music changes to something soft and Lexa tilts her head to listen for a few seconds. She says something to Clarke that makes her flush a soft pink and then, with eyes only for each other, they kiss.
“Bottoms up, bitches!” Lexa yells—in the back of her limo, drunk on whiskey and champagne, sitting in Clarke’s lap, looking improbably unruffled if a little lopsided. She leans into Clarke, her smile a little bigger on one side, one eye a little narrowed as she squints at her girlfriend. “What?” she asks, and laughs, because Clarke is looking right back at her and laughing too. “Did I say it wrong?”
“No, babe, you said it right.”
“Good.” Lexa pushes the bottle towards her. “Then drink up. You didn’t drink a lot from my flask.”
“She was too busy staring at you,” Raven interrupts.
“She had a flask strapped to her thigh. What was I supposed to do?”
“Actually, I still do,” Lexa tells them, and hauls her dress up to her thigh. Octavia whistles and Raven snags the champagne from where it’s about to drop from Clarke’s hand. “It’s not very big,” she sighs.
“It’s not the size that matters,” Octavia’s lips twitch, trying to keep still against a laugh. But they feel warm and bubbly and they’re in a limousine and Lexa has a flask strapped to her thigh and if this isn’t the perfect opportunity for a dick joke then there never will be. “It’s all in how you well you use it.”
Lexa frowns. “I—O, please, I know that was a penis pun but, if you think about it, I think you can’t really use a flask wrong. You just fill it up.” Clarke pushes her face into Lexa’s shoulder and Lexa pats a her. “Clarke, listen, don’t laugh, I know it was a joke and I like that it was about a strapped one, it worked on many levels O, well done.”
When they feel the limo slow and stop, Lexa rolls down the partition and looks through to Aman.
“Hello, Aman, we are there?”
He nods and turns to look back at them all. “Do you need any help?”
“No, no, we’re quite fine, thank you,” she assures him, and he pretends that he can’t hear the whispers about whether or not to take the champagne with them and he absolutely doesn’t see Lexa pocket a tiny bottle of vodka or Raven take the whiskey with her. Lexa walks around to his window and waves at him as he rolls it down. “Will you wait for us? Or would you like to leave and come back when I call to you?”
“I’ll wait,” he says, and Octavia is almost entirely sure that he’s low-key a body guard as well as a driver, because he looks suspiciously at all the other cars in the lot and chooses a spot where he can see them, and looks genuinely amused by the idea that he would actually leave them here—at midnight, in a diner that, while clean and well lit and full of a busy kind of warmth, is still full of strangers. And they’re sure he also knows they’re well past sober.
“Okay!” Lexa beams at him and she takes Octavia’s hand and tugs them to the door of the diner. She lets go as soon as they get there, taking Clarke’s hand instead. “Thank you for holding me,” she says to them, nods, and she hands them each a menu when they slip into the corner booth. “Dinner breakfast is on me.”
“Cool! What’s that called, do you think? Brinner?”
“Breaker,” Raven suggests. “Sounds cooler.” Octavia shrugs. “Anyway, I’m getting waffles. And a milkshake. Chocolate. And,” she touches the bottle in her purse, “a little somethin’ extra.”
“Vanilla for me,” Clarke tells them.
“Whitey,” Raven hisses. “O, what about you?”
“Chocolate. No, strawberry. No. Caramel. No, chocolate.” They frown. “I don’t know.”
“How about you get caramel and you can share my chocolate?” Raven suggests.
“What about the strawberry?”
“I’ll get strawberry,” Lexa tells them.
“But you don’t like milkshakes,” Raven points out, and Lexa shrugs.
“You can share it. I want ice cream.” She stares thoughtfully down at the menu. “And…with sprinkles.”
“Okay but get some real food too, drunkie,” Clarke suggests. “I’m gonna get Belgian waffles too, they sound great. And eggs and bacon.”
“Eggs,” Lexa scowls.
Clarke laughs. “Quick, kiss me now and I’ll brush my teeth later, I promise.” Lexa scowls for a moment later but shrugs and nods. “No, please not if it’s a hardship, Lex,” Clarke rolls her eyes, and Lexa waits until she’s done complaining—then she leans in and pecks her lips with a happy smile. It’s a short kiss, but sweet, and Clarke is blushing when it’s over.
“Y’all know what you want then?” the waitress asks, not batting an eye at them all dressed to the nines or two girls kissing.
Clarke clears her throat. “Alright, I’ll go. So, two of the waffles,” she points to Raven, who nods, “eggs and bacon for me,”
“You want those fried?”
“Scrambled.” The waitress—Kelly, her nametag says—nods and jots it down. “Lexa, pancakes?” Lexa nods. “And if there’s like, cream and sauce and stuff, can we get those in little containers on the side?” Kelly nods. “Thank you. O—pancakes and a side of mushrooms, right?”
“That’s just freaky, how’d you know?”
Clarke shrugs. “A gift.”
“Is that all?” the waitress asks them. “Any drinks or desserts?”
Clarke opens her mouth to answer and Raven holds out her hand. “Wait, I got this, okay, one glass of orange juice—”
“That’s for me,” Lexa says to the waitress, who smiles.
“Yeah, and a chocolate milkshake, and a vanilla, and a—did you pick one, O?”
“Clarke knows what I like,” Octavia says, feigning hurt. They slink down into their seat a little further and cross their arms, sulking.
“You get caramel then,” Raven shrugs. “And a strawberry one as well.”
“Y’know we’ve got more flavours than that. I don’t know if you got a drinks menu on this table,” Kelly points out. Clarke does a little search for it but shrugs. “If you’re wanting to try everything, we also have a banana, chocolate banana, chocolate, coffee, cookies and cream, cookies and cream Oreo, fudge, hazelnut, chocolate hazelnut, lime, Malteser, mango, maple,” she sucks in a breath here, and squints one eye thoughtfully. “Mint, chocolate mint, and pistachio.”
“Oh my god. I’m so impressed that you knew that,” Raven says to her. “That was so impressive.”
Lexa clears her throat. “We’d like to try them all please, Kelly. And Raven is correct, your retention is very good.”
The girl smiles at them and nods. “Alright then. Anything else?”
“Some vanilla ice-cream please. With sprinkles.”
“Do you want those in a little side plate too?” Kelly asks them, and Lexa beams.
“Yes please! And a coffee, please. With milk. And two sugars. In a take out cup.”
“Great, not a problem.” She slips the notepad into her apron and smiles at them. “That’ll be right out, ladies.”
Raven slips her hand under the table and grips Octavia’s hand tight. Lexa grimaces. When Kelly is gone, Clarke leans over the table to her friend.
“You want me to say something to her?”
They shrug. “Nah.”
Octavia nods. “Yeah.”
Clarke holds their gaze for a little longer before she nods. “Okay.” She looks thoughtful for a moment before she turns sharp eyes on Raven. “I can’t believe you didn’t know they wanted a caramel milkshake,” she scoffs, and it’s totally obvious what she’s doing—utterly lacking in subtlety—but Octavia finds that they’re smiling. “You think they look like a strawberry kind of person?”
“O does like strawberries, you tit.”
“Yeah, sure, on their cereal. But as a drink? Please. Caramel. What do they get on Starbucks runs?”
Raven scowls. “Caramel frappes.”
“That’s right. Caramel. Frappes.” Clarke shakes her head slowly, face falling into disbelief and sorrow. “Strawberry,” she scoffs again. “Them, a strawberry milkshake person. Un-fucking-believable.”
“Alright, whatever Clarke, go kiss your girlfriend or something.”
“You know what, Raven—” Clarke starts, throwing her shoulders back and happily gearing up for a fight, but then Lexa says,
“That would be nice,”
and Clarke nods and scoots closer and places a hand on Lexa’s thigh. “Yeah, that would be nice,” she agrees.
“Your coffee,” Kelly says a minute or so later, and Lexa climbs over Clarke and out of the booth with improbable grace to take it from her. She walks it out to Aman—Clarke chasing after her once she realises what Lexa is doing, “just in case”—and when they come back, shivering the tiniest bit and red-faced, Raven rolls her eyes.
“It’s cold out, and you stop to make out?” She clicks her tongue and rolls her eyes.
Octavia grins. “Clarke, your milkshake arrived.”
“Great. Maybe we should have got hot drinks,” Clarke says, and she settles down into the booth and settles her hand on Lexa’s thigh again—which makes Lexa smile and she lays her hand gently on top of Clarke’s and leans into her—and Octavia watches Clarke’s face closely when she takes a sip. “Oh my god,” Clarke coughs. “How much did you put in there?” she whispers, and Raven shrugs.
“A bit. Too strong?”
Clarke takes another sip and grimaces. “No, that’s great. Really alcoholic,” she coughs again. “Amazing.” Raven grins. “Lex, you want a taste?”
Lexa shakes her head firmly. “Thickened milk? Absolutely not. Also, I don’t want to drink out of your straw.”
“Okay,” Clarke shrugs. “If you change your mind,” she lets the sentence run off and Lexa blinks at her expectantly, until Clarke realises she’s waiting for her to finish the sentence. “If you change your mind, you can have some of mine.”
“Thank you, Clarke, that’s very nice, but I won’t.”
“Clarke, stop slurping, that’s disgusting.”
“It’s a milkshake, Lex, you’re supposed to make these sounds.” She leans down, not breaking eye contact with her girlfriend, and misses the straw a couple of times before catching it in her mouth.
“Do not. Don’t do it.” She blows into the straw so the milkshake bubbles and Lexa scowls. “You’re not as cute as you think you are.”
“I’m more cute?”
“Cuter,” Lexa corrects, and scowls when Clarke takes it as confirmation. “And no, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am.” Clarke bats her eyelashes. “You give the nicest compliments, do it again.”
Lexa shrugs. “Raven, your voice,” she says, very seriously. “I love it. It sounds green.”
“Oh?” Raven laughs at the pouting Clarke. “What kind of green? What shade? What does that sound like? How does that make you feel?”
“I feel like you’re an ass,” Lexa tells her, and she cuts into her last pancake delicately. Chews and swallows. “I’m going to tell you anyway,” she sighs. “There’s a state park forty seven minutes from here. In…a car,” she says after some thought. “Not a train. Or a bus. It would be longer in a bus.” Raven nods—her teasing smile, all for Clarke, fades and is replaced by another smile just for Lexa. “And the forty seven depends on the traffic. That’s with slight congestion.”
“Okay,” Raven laughs.
“And there’s a grove of trees seven thousand and thirty seven steps into the trail, if you take the trail that turns to the left and not the one on the right. And it’s sunlit and there are aspens and many varieties of oak and pine and that’s the kind of green your voice sounds like.”
“Shit.” Raven blinks over at her friend, who cuts neatly into her pancake again. “Shit,” Raven says with more, soft, feelings. “I love you too.” She clears her throat. “I don’t know if anyone has loved me like you love me, Lexa.”
“I doubt it, I’m the only me,” Lexa points out, and she smiles big and bright. “And I do. Love you.”
“I love you too,” Raven says again, and she sits back against the cushioned back of the booth and considers Lexa for a long, long minute. “You’re something else, Lexa,” she says softly. “I’m really glad I met you.”
“This is getting awfully sappy,” Clarke comments, and she yelps when Octavia kicks her under the table. “What?”
“Don’t be jealous, they were having a moment.”
“In a moment,” Clarke snarls, “my shin is going to bruise.”
“Are you jealous? I have compliments for you also, you know,” Lexa says, when Clarke leans down to rub at her shin. She pats Clarke’s hair back behind her ear to keep it from going in the last of her food. “Would you like to hear them, Clarke?”
“No, no, absolutely not,” Raven says. “That’ll be too gay for public. Save it for the car!”
“Agreed.” Octavia lifts a hand for the bill.
“Agreed,” Lexa nods. “Clarke, I will compliment you in the car.” Clarke’s crown is tilted just a little and Lexa fixes it, and sweeps her fingers very gently down Clarke’s face.
“I’ll compliment you too,” Clarke promises, and she turns her head and presses her lips to Lexa’s shoulder, and smiles at the way her girlfriend shivers and grips at her hand. “Let’s go home, babe.”
Home at Polis, they pile out of the limo only slightly unsteady—Aman holds the door open for them and helps each of them out, trying his very best not to laugh at them. Lexa ignores his hand—puts her hand on his shoulder and, frowning at the ground, jumps very carefully down to the ground. She spins and holds both hands out for Clarke, who looks like Lexa has handed her the whole moon with those hands by the very tender, gentle, awed way she takes them and steps down to her.
“Thank you for the excellent service, Aman,” Lexa says to him, barely looking away from Clarke. She takes a few folded notes from her purse and slips them into his pocket.
Clarke nods to him and then pulls Lexa a little closer to her, trails her fingers up her arm. Aman turns away then to close the car door and misses—very purposefully—whatever Clarke whispers in her ear.
“We have to go,” Lexa announces, to him and to Raven and Octavia, and then they do with a quick, “Goodnight.”
“I wonder what that could possibly be about,” Octavia laughs.
Raven rolls her eyes. “I”m staying with you tonight.”
“Nice. Thanks, Aman, see you later.”
“Yeah, see you Aman!”
They wave at him, but instead of leaving he follows them to the dormitory to make sure they get in safely. “Goodnight, Aman,”
“Goodnight Raven, goodnight O.”
They rush to thank him again, happily speaking over one another. “Goodnight! Goodnight Aman, thank you, goodnight,”—“Goodnight, thanks for the lift,”—“Get home safe, goodnight,”—“Yeah, drive safe, thank you, goodnight!” they say back to him, over and over again, and finally he decides that it’s best to just leave. When he walks away, Octavia continues to wave until he turns the corner and then they sigh happily.
“He’s nice. What a nice dude.”
“Yeah, super nice? Like, super nice. Right?”
The two of them stand in the hall for a moment and then Raven says, “There’s no fucking way I’m taking the stairs.”
“Elevator,” she agrees. “Oh, let’s call Anya, I want to say goodnight to Teddy.” She reaches over and fumbles at Octavia’s arm until she pulls their wrist up to her face. “Oh. It’s one am, he’s asleep.” Her lips turn down for a minute and Octavia pats her hand. “That’s okay, he prob’ly had a lot of fun.”
“Totally. I love Teddy.”
“He’s great, isn’t he? Have I shown you photos from when he was a puppy?”
“He was so fucking cute, I’ll show you, I’ve got them in my dropbox I’ll use your laptop,” Raven rushes to tell them, and the elevator dings and they link arms and Raven drags a hand along the wall as they walk slowly down the hallway. “There are some videos too.”
“This is the best night of my life, I'm honestly so sure of that, like this couldn't get any better. This is so good.”
They fumble in their pocket for their room key when they get to the door and Raven leans against the wall and yawns.
“Thank you.” Octavia smiles when she opens her eyes a slit, and then Raven smiles back and nods for them to continue. “I had a really nice night. Thank you for that.”
“Yeah, I did too.”
Octavia smiles down at the key in their hand and laughs a little—they remember the first time they held it, and how it had felt then like a quest piece, like something that was going to lead them into a new future. Now it just feels like a key. To their home, that they share with their best friend, and where they see plenty of their other best friends, and it’s not the knightly quest they’d daydreamed—they aren’t even allowed to take their fencing sword out of the training room—but it feels very far from mundane.
“Say there,” they murmur in their gruff voice, “the hallway ain’t no place for a pretty dame. How ‘bout you come in, sit down? I’m sure there’s somethin’ we can share.”
“Don’t let Lexa hear you do that, she loves those film noir detective movies. She won’t stop talking like that for a whole week, okay, don’t get her started.”
Turning slightly away from Raven and looking into the far end of the hallway, Octavia says, “She was the finest dame I’d ever seen, and the smartest gal too. I knew it was trouble to ask her in. I did it anyway.”
“Alright, alright, just open the damn door, O.”
There is a gentle, lovely, careful, and utterly loathed hand that shakes them awake the next day.
Octavia groans. “Clarke?”
“Hi,” she whispers. “Yeah, it’s me. Are you awake?”
They whimper. “I am now?”
“Great, that’s great, good morning.”
Octavia groans again. “It’s still morning?” Clarke hums a yes. “Babe, I’m pretty sure I’m still drunk, what do you want?”
“Move over,” she whispers, and nudges at them until they do. “Hi.”
“Yeah, hi, okay. Please go to sleep.” They crack open one eye and groan. “Why are you smiling like that?”
“Lexa and I had sex!” she blurts out, and beams at them, and Octavia sighs.
“It is, isn’t it?” Clarke muses. “She’s great in bed. Have you seen her hands? Those fingers.”
“Jesus.” Octavia pulls their blanket over their head. They can feel the bed shake a little as Clarke laughs—they try not to hear it, because their head feels full of stuffing and a little achy—and then she’s tugging gently at their blanket and they ease their clenched fist and Clarke smooths the blanket out and then down and Clarke is smiling at them when they emerge, however reluctantly. “Yes, Clarke?” they sigh, but now that they’re properly waking up they really don’t mind. She looks so happy.
“I’m gonna be slutty for a second and then I’m going to be emotional, alright, so chill for three whole seconds.” Octavia nods. “Thank you. Okay, so, we kissed last night a whole lot and it was super tender and amazing and I think Lexa cried but we were so drunk, right? So we decided to wait and then this morning she wakes me up and Lexa came four times before she went to sleep again and I got my turn and came three time but—hey, no, listen,” she laughs when Octavia tries to bury their face into their pillow, shoulders shaking with laughter. “Listen, don’t be a wang okay, I came three times in vaguely one go. Can you believe the skill of my girlfriend? My girlfriend,” she repeats, and Octavia is faintly grossed out because they know she did that just because she loves the way the word sounds, and she loves everything that comes along with it. Lexa, her, Lexa and her together, them doing girlfriend things like dating and being in love. And then she’s talking again. “She’s incredible,” Clarke murmurs, a little dazed. “I’m so happy. I’m limp, I’m actually limp. My whole body is limp I have no idea how I got back here, I legit don’t remember. And you know how I said it was basically in one go, right?”
“Yes, Clarke,” they laugh.
“Well to explain that—”
“You really don’t need to.”
“—we had a little break, we were chatting so I guess it was kind of one and a half if I’m honest. We had an intermission, ya feel me?” She waggles her eyebrows. “Water break. Pep talk. Had to get our head in the game.”
“Wow. Are you done?”
“No, one more. We lost a lot of fluid and had to rehydrate.” Clarke laughs when Octavia brings their feet up and tries to shove her out of their bed, clings desperately to the sheets. “This isn’t the first time I’ve done this today,” she grins, nodding down to her clenched fists, eyes bright and so, so happy, “but also it’s wildly different.”
“Now are you done?”
“Yes.” Clarke bites her lip, runs her tongue over it a moment later and she smiles, soft and a little distant. Octavia is sure they don’t imagine the longing look Clarke throws toward their bedroom door. Very softly, she says, “I’m going to be emotional for, like, two more seconds so don’t be a wang, okay?”
“Sure, Clarke,” they yawn. “Go for it.”
Clarke sighs happily. “It was perfect.”
Octavia waits for something more and when it isn’t forthcoming, they prop themself up on their elbows and look over at her. “I know I sound grouchy but I promise, you can say more than that if you want.”
“No.” Clarke hugs their spare pillow and buries her nose in the collar of her own sweatshirt—no, Lexa’s most likely. Disgusting. Lovely. “What more is there to say?” she sighs, so happily. “It was perfect.”
“Oh.” Octavia lays back down and nods. “That’s good then.”
“Yeah. Really good.”
Exams come and they go and Octavia is far more glad when they go than when they came. The very night all exams are over, they’re relaxing in their bedroom and scrolling dead-minded—and very happily so—through Netflix when their door flings open and slams into the wall.
“Oh fuck, my bad. Whatever. Are you ready?” Raven demands of them.
Octavia looks up from their computer. “Um. Wow. Hi. You look—”
“Hot, I know.” She frowns at them. “You’re not ready.”
“Should I be?” They get to their feet when she comes further into the room and they laugh at the disgusted look she rolls to Clarke’s—empty—side of the room.
“She was supposed to get you ready. Ten bucks says she’s sucking face with Lexa.” Raven doesn’t wait for a reply. She sweeps into their closet—“Wait with O, Teddy, good boy”—and returns with an armful of clothes. She narrows her eyes thoughtfully at them and holds out their binder questioningly.
They take it.
“Are we going out?” Octavia asks from the bathroom as they change.
“Sort of. We’re going to one of Lexa’s homes.”
“One of—“ Octavia sighs. “Sure, okay.”
“What jeans do you want to wear? Black or black? Oh, I like these black ones.” She holds up her pick with a wide grin and Octavia rolls their eyes.
“What are we doing?” They take the jeans Raven likes and jumps into them. They’re ripped at the knees and Octavia won’t admit this but they actually are their favourite pair as well. Raven gives Octavia an approving nod.
“Hot! We’re having a party!”
“Oh. For end of exams?”
“Something like that,” Raven says, voice smooth with mystery. Octavia is used to that by now so they nod and turn back to the mirror to do something with their hair.
When they step out, one arm nonchalantly curled around their middle, the other—also nonchalantly, of course—scratching at their collar and covering as much of their chest as they’re able, Raven is frowning down at their shirts. “Hey, sorry, you can put something on while I’m looking for something if you want, babe.”
“Alright well, no offense but do you have any shirts that are a little more…fun? she asks, with something they’re one hundred per cent going to call spirit hands.
“Sorry, can you repeat that?”
Raven rolls her eyes. “Fun,” she says with a monotone, flat expression, and the same gesture and Octavia feels like twenty exclamation marks are popping inside their chest. They just barely hold back from snorting with laughter. “You’re a dork. I’m going to ask Mark if he has any shirt he can share with you.”
“I have that one from family day,” they point out, and Raven brightens.
“Oh yeah! Where is it?”
“It should be hanging up, hold on, I’ll get it—nope, nevermind, Teddy’s sitting on my foot.”
“I’ll get it.” She disappears into their closet for a minute, comes back out with the remainder of their clothes. She flings the shirt at them and sorts through the rest—“okay, this jacket is perfect, and these shoes, and you’re golden. Perfect. Get changed and we can hit the road.”
“Do I need anything else?”
“Nope, just your sweet ass.” They jump when she smacks their butt and laugh when the sound makes Teddy stand to attention. “Clarke had better be there when we get to the lot or I swear I’m going to kill her.”
“Maybe she just got distracted,” Octavia suggests, and then they grin. “Or maybe the second her exam was over, Lexa dragged her into an empty classroom.”
“The second they were done,” Raven confirms. “You want some makeup?” She pulls an absurd number of items from her tiny handbag and Octavia lets her do whatever she wants—“Just a touch of mascara, yeah? Great, perfect, looking great. Do you want some eyeshadow or foundation or anything? No? Alright, out the door, go go go!”
“And you’re not telling me anything about this party?”
Raven clicks her tongue at Teddy, murmurs a quick command, and he gives Octavia a glare until they move from his spot at Raven’s side.
“Whoa, sorry little dude.”
“He’s gonna be snotty with you for a minute. He takes his job very seriously.”
“Good,” they nod firmly. “So this party? A master distractor you are not.”
“Babe, I live with Clarke.”
“Fair.” Raven laughs and waves Octavia around to her other side, links arms with them. “It’s just a party,” she says with a small smile that tells them it’s anything but ‘just’ a party. It would make them nervous, except that they trust Raven and Clarke and Lexa especially that whatever they have planned might be extravagant and expensive but their friends know what makes them uncomfortable and so they relax and let Raven lean against them and take their time wandering down to the parking lot. “I knew they wouldn’t be here on time. This is even worse than when they were orbiting each other,” Raven grumbles.
“Poor you, having to put up with years of it.”
Raven preens under the attention, flicks her hair back over her shoulders. “I did do a good job surviving it, didn’t I?”
“The best,” Octavia nods.
Raven smiles wide at that, for a reason more than just a compliment, Octavia thinks, but they have no idea what that reason might be. Still, it makes her smile so for the second time that night, they just grin back and let it slide.
princess [middle finger][unamused face][Princess][diamond][diamond][middle finger][on with exclamation mark with left right arrow above][top with upwards arrow above]—where are u
—get ur sweet & sour asses down to the lot NOT
—ur sweet, raven is sour btw
Octavia rolls their eyes down at their phone. “She knows she’s the one that’s late, right?”
Raven holds her hand out. “Gimme. I’ll set her straight.”
“Wow, homophobic much?”
Raven heaves a sigh and Octavia slips their phone into her hand. They watch her frown in concentration and then laugh twice at something she writes and when they get their phone back they look, with burgeoning concern, down at the message sent.
—clarke, we r waiting for u in the lot. get ur supremely fine ass here NOW. u insufferable unreliable hot annoying despot.
“Oh, I thought it’d be worse than that.”
“Yeah, I thought about it. But then I thought about how Clarke doesn’t really like reading and thought, make it succinct, y’know? Right to the point.”
“And the last bit?”
“That’s just for me. She’s not going to read it but it made me laugh, I’m the funniest person I know.”
“Makes sense,” they laugh.
It’s another ten minutes before Clarke arrives—not so bad, since Raven waves over a girl from her robotics club and they talk about this guy, Wick, who had ordered the wrong wheels for their team robot—“can you believe that idiot, I mean I have literally the neatest writing, how can you fuck up that badly, am I right?”—and when she has to leave, then Octavia gets the chance to tell Raven all about their exams since they haven’t really had a chance to catch up in the last week and longer.
“Being a royal wang still,” they shrug. “But Clarke has told me I can stay at her place sometimes, if I want to, so I’ll probably take her up on that a couple times over the summer.” Raven nods approvingly. “Hey, I think that’s her.”
A faint screech of tyres and then Clarke is pulling up in front of them. She leans out the window and waves at them.
“Get in losers, we’re going shopping!”
Octavia offers a hand to Raven, who takes it and slips off the hood of the car they’d been sitting on. They open the door for her and lay out Teddy’s car blanket as well and Raven shares a significant look with Clarke in the front seat that makes Octavia a little wary.
“What?” they ask.
“Nothing. Get in.”
“You’re creeping me out.”
Clarke flicks her aviators down her nose and raises her eyebrows at Octavia. “O, babe, I love you but we’re late and Lexa is blowing up my phone. Please, get in the car.”
“We wouldn’t be late if you’d remembered to tell me that I was supposed to be going somewhere.”
Clarke shrugs. “Whatevs.”
“I hate you.” They climb into the passenger seat anyway and they aren’t prepared for the sweet smile Clarke is send their way. “…What?”
“Nothing. I just know that isn’t true.”
Octavia rolls their eyes and sighs impatiently. “Okay, just drive, would you?”
“Aye aye captain.”
“Clarke,” Raven says from the back seat, patting Teddy’s head, “I mean this kindly, but you’re a huge fucking dork.”
“And just for that, you’re designated driver tonight. Thanks for offering.”
Raven throws her head back and laughs. “Clarke, did you forget that I can’t drive?” She takes in Clarke’s pout and laughs again. “You did. Just wait until I tell Lexa you’ve been bullying me."
The sign hanging by the doorway reads THANK YOU in loud bright letters—and there is a letter at the end that doesn’t fit in with the others, a huge O.
Octavia stops in the doorway.
“What is this?”
Mark and Elle look over from where they’re mixing very colourful drinks in the kitchen and wave. There is a girl lounging at the counter there Octavia recognises as Elle’s girlfriend and she gives them a loose salute and returns to her book. Clarke slings an arm around Octavia’s shoulders.
“This,” she waves a hand into the room, “is your party.”
Lexa steps up behind Clarke and grazes her fingers over Clarke’s hip to settle in the small of her back—there doesn’t seem to be a single interaction where she doesn’t do that—and she smiles down at Octavia. “Because you looked after us very well during exams.”
They scratch at their neck and shrug. “I mean, yeah, well you forgot to eat a couple times and got stuck on some facts, but—”
“And you made me sleep,” Clarke reminds them. “Even though I think I threatened to murder you.”
Raven joins in with, “You took Teddy on his morning walks for me. And ran through flash cards with me.”
“Sure, okay,” Octavia nods, “but it was nothing, I was happy to do it. That’s what we do, right?” They look around at their friends faces. “We look after each other.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Mark raises his glass a little sloppily and Elle laughs and raises hers as well, blows a kiss over to Octavia. Her girlfriend scowls at Octavia and turns Elle’s face toward her, kisses her thoroughly, and returns to her book.
“So… This whole party—is for me?”
Clarke rolls her eyes and nods. “Yes.”
“Be nice, Clarke,” they reprimand. “It’s my party and I’ll kick you out if I want to.”
"Quick recovery time there," Clarke comments flatly, a tiny tick of her lips the only sign of a smile. She doesn't comment on the look of absolute joy and surprise on Octavia’s face for this, for their party, other than hugging them around the shoulders and saying, "You deserve it. Now come on, let me show you around!"
"Actually, it's pretty clear," they say, and Clarke looks around at the apartment and their friends and shrugs.
“Do you want to show me around though?" they ask at the hint of a pout. Lexa looks a bit disappointed too, which seals the deal.
"I'd love to!"
Before Clarke can begin hosting, Lexa says, "Welcome to my home, O." She pats their elbow, just once, before quickly linking hands with Clarke again.
"Thank you. For inviting—well, for having me.“
Lexa nods and she turns a sweet smile on Clarke.
"My turn now? Great! Okay, over here is the kitchen,"
"Please only use the cups and maybe the mugs. We don't want any accidents,” Lexa interjects.
"I was gonna tell them that, Lex."
"But It's important, you should say important things first?"
"I hadn't said anything yet, it was literally going to be the next thing I said."
"Fine, keep going, whatever," Lexa huffs and drinks from her cup. Octavia raises their eyebrows when she takes her hand away from Clarke and grips onto Octavia’s sleeve instead.
“Okay.” Clarke nods to the kitchen. “So, use the cups and mugs. Happy?"
"Thrilled," Lexa mutters.
"You can drink whatever we have here, and if you want to mix stuff just pour it into your cup so the sodas stay nonalcoholic for people who don't want to drink. The usual party manners y’know." Octavia nods. "Everyone brought snacks and stuff—oh fuck, is that brie? Elle, did you bring this? You classy hoe, you absolute goddess," she yells, and Elle, from across the room, blows a kiss.
Taking the cheese platter with her—and Lexa too, who pretends to be mostly interested in the cheese but it's too obvious that her huff is over when she tucks her fingers into Clarke’s pocket—Clarke wanders them into the living room.
"Music, and we cleared the couches so people can dance, and I invited some girls from your grade. I have it on good authority that you like them." Her tone is a little worried which makes Octavia laugh—they wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Clarke had interrogated half their grade to find out.
They’re standing a little way outside the main group, but happily, and they wave at Octavia when they see them. Clarke sighs happily.
"Great, you do know them."
"Yeah, they're great. Thank you.”
“Of course, no problem. What else?” Clarke narrows her eyes and looks around the rooms. “Well, Mark you know obviously. He’s here, and Elle too, and she brought her girlfriend and Wells brought Monty, he’s so nice, have you talked to him?”
“Yeah, a few times, so nice.”
“Right?" Clarke smiles happily. “But anyway, that’s pretty much everything. If you want to smoke, maybe do that outside? I dunno, what else is there to say, Lexa?”
Lexa sighs. “The bathroom.”
“Right, the bathroom is over there,” Clarke points vaguely, earning her a horrified look from Lexa.
“It’s the hallway there and the second door on the right, O.”
“That’s what I said, Lex,”
“They can open doors until they find it,”
“Clear, concise instructions never hurt anyone,” Lexa says, and before Clarke can say anything, she continues, “And O, you can stay the night or you can get an uber back after the party or at any time. Clarke and I will be staying. Raven as well.”
“Cool, I’ll stay with you, that’d be awesome.”
“Well, not with us,” Lexa clarifies gently. “We’ll be having sex, unless we’re too drunk. But you can stay with Raven.”
"Great," Octavia nods, and they flatten their lips hard in an attempt not to laugh. "Sounds good,” they say, voice only a little strangled.
“This was a surprise,” Lexa says graciously when she hears it. “You need to relax. I’ll make you a drink, I’m very good at mixing,” she tells them. She downs the rest of her own cup and leads the way back to the kitchen, not stopping as she powers through but nodding when people of various stages of drunkenness call out their hellos.
Octavia takes what Lexa hands them and they honestly aren’t surprised to find that it tastes great.
“What aren’t you good at?” they ask her when they head back into the next room.
“Managing my sleep schedule, learning new social cues, hopping,”
Lexa’s lips twist and she glances around—to see if anyone is watching, maybe, or to see that no one is in the way—and she wraps a hand around Octavia’s wrist and hops a few short paces.
“What is it, like a balance thing?”
“No, I like both feet to communicate the same thing.” She shrugs. “Dealing with haircuts, buying new shoes, fulfilling Clarke’s dream of kissing in the rain.”
“That’s not a lot.”
“Yes, I’m quite proficient at most things.” Lexa agrees.
She smiles at them a little hazily and Octavia is surprised when Lexa takes their hand in hers—but then they realise she must be a few drinks ahead of them. Octavia laughs when they realise that drunk Lexa is going to make an appearance again tonight—Lexa looks at them, a question in her eyes, before she laughs too, just because: because she can, because she wants to, because they are.
“Are you having fun already?” Lexa asks, pleased, and when Octavia nods, she beams.
And they are. And they do.
Of course, it becomes clear that, like most parties, this one quickly turns into an unmitigated mess.
That is—it’s loud, and fun, and they really have no idea what’s going on. Elle convinces her girlfriend to put down her book after a while and they commandeer half the couch. Carm is on the couch, Elle is on Carm. And the girls from Octavia’s grade, Octavia is really excited that they’re getting to know them now because Raven is leaving and Clarke and Lexa have one more year but then they’re gone too, so they’ll need friends of their own, but also because the girls are funny and smart. Nina is the youngest of four brothers and keeps Octavia in stitches, laughing—she starts introducing people, which would be fine except for the fact that she’s drunk and she doesn’t know any of them. But, she tells them, she’s seen Bridget Jones’s Diary—“The first one, O, it’s the only good one, you couldn’t pay me to go see this new one”—and she keeps pointing at people and making things up just to see if she can make them laugh. And Shruthi got drunk two cups into the night and keeps telling them all that she knows magic, even if the only magic trick she knows is how to pull a full cup seemingly out of thin air. Which, Octavia will admit, is the only trick she needs to know. And Bee doesn’t really drink—she plays soccer, and is very careful about drinking and drugs and her body, which is totally cool, of course—but she obviously doesn’t need to drink to be relaxed or to have fun because she seems to be laughing every second sentence and everyone, they think, kind of loves her a little bit.
Mark and Elle insist on making a toast every couple of minutes—they start out sweet with things like “To family—wherever you may find them!” and rapidly evolve into sappy, droopy exclamations like, “To Pokemon Go! For bringing joy into our lives!” and “To the love of my life, who is the loveliest, sweetest, a little bit mean, caring, most beautifulest sweet girl!” which is too hard to repeat and Mark just nods and drinks. Octavia’s favourite is probably the succinct and happy, “To orgasms!” for so many reasons but mostly their obvious sincerity.
It gets loud, and confusing—confusing, because Lexa starts switching a lot between all the languages she knows, and Mark tries to talk to her in Mandarin, and Raven yells at people in Spanish, and Carmilla speaks fluent German to a slightly less fluent Elle and Octavia sits with Clarke and blinks and holds onto her hand.
“I’m so glad you’re so white and you don’t know any other languages.”
Clarke pats their knee. “I’m so confused,” she tells them cheerfully.
“I thought Bee would be on my side,” Octavia whines, “because she’s so white, y’know?” Clarke nods. “But no, she knows Spanish too. Really good at it. Isn’t that awful?”
“Who knew Wells could speak Mandarin?” they cry, when he slings an arm around Mark’s shoulders.
“Oh yeah, started learning in kindergarten.”
“What an asshole.”
Bee demands—in a language totally foreign to all of them—that they “go for a Macca's run”. When fifteen confused, drunk faces turn to her, she rolls her eyes. "McDonalds."
Everyone is patient, but they talk at different speeds so she scribbles down their orders as best she can—Lexa finds a notepad for her—and her writing is a little messy and slopes down the page in big curling letters.
“Two large fries for me—”
“And can I have a cheeseburger too? None of that fancy shit—oh sorry, were you going?”
“No no no, it’s cool, you go,”
“Well if you’re sure, and I want a soda now too.”
“There’s soda in the fridge, remember?”
“Oh great okay two large fries—“
“No, I want fries, you wanted a cheeseburger.”
“Oh. Oh, no come back to me later, I need to really think this through.”
When she’s done—a Herculean task, honestly—she accepts the wad of crumpled notes Lexa pushes into her hands.
“That should cover it,” Lexa tells her, and Bee peers down at a few twenty and fifty dollar notes and nods.
“You have to take two people with you. Party rules,” Lexa continues, and she stares at her flatly until Bee nods again. “Good. Who?”
Octavia flings their hand in the air. “I’ll go. Sorry,” they apologise, very sincerely, to the lamp they smacked.
“Good. Who else?” Wells steps out of the bathroom and Lexa points to him. “Wells.”
“And I called Aman, he’ll follow you there.”
Wells raises his eyebrows at Octavia, mouths a confused what just happened? They wave him over.
“We’re going to McDonald’s. You got drafted.”
He shrugs. “Okay.”
“Alright, Katniss, good for you.”
Bee and Lexa are waiting for them at the front door—Lexa explains the rules again and Bee clicks her tongue, shakes her head.
“I’m confused, why doesn’t Aman drive us there?”
“I thought you said you wanted to run,” Lexa says, frowning.
“It’s just a saying.”
“Oh.” Lexa peers at her for a while before she nods slowly. “Okay. We could get it delivered if you don’t want to run, I suppose.”
“I,” Bee hesitates. “I don’t think McDonald’s delivers.”
"Maybe if I pay them enough," Lexa suggests quietly and she wanders away and vaguely towards Clarke so Octavia nudges Bee out the front door. The night is cool—crisp and clear—and they wave at Aman and point down the road to let him know that they’re going to walk. He flashes his head lights once and they hear the engine turn over and he starts to follow them slowly.
Octavia wonders if Lexa promised to stay in the house while he's gone.
“She’s not gonna call or do anything, she’s already forgotten about us,” they tell Bee when she looks over her shoulder for Lexa.
“Yeah, didn't you see her making a bee line for Clarke?”
“That stopped being funny years ago, O.”
Octavia is quiet for a moment. Then, Wells says very softly, “Bee-ing?” and they snort and slap both hands over their nose and mouth to try and keep in the sound.
“Right, bye losers,” Bee laughs, and she takes off ahead of them. She’s tall and blonde and very athletic and she plays soccer so she basically runs for a living and it’s not long before she’s at the end of the street.
She waits for them at the lamppost, leans against it in a nonchalant, dramatic kind of way with the light flickering above her and the moths flying—like dumbasses—into the bulb.
Octavia and Wells stroll toward her.
“You walked in a very straight line,” Wells compliments her, and Bee grins.
“Thanks? I burned off my drunkness? Drunkedness. Drunkenness?” She frowns, shrugs. Pushes off the lamppost and directs them to the right. They have no clue if she’s right, but they follow her anyway because, they think, any road will take them to a McDonald’s if they walk long enough. “Whatever, I burned off the alcohol by doing sit-ups."
Wells blinks, thinking about it. Octavia slips their hand into his when he wanders a little too far to the left and almost trips down the curb. "Bullshit," he says finally. "That wouldn't work."
Bee argues with him for the rest of the walk that "it totally would work" even though Octavia knows that she hadn't had more than two drinks the whole night so she’s talking out her ass, just for fun.
They're still arguing while they order off the paper—“Does this say fries or cries?”—“I mean, just in context probably fries? But it looks like Lexa’s handwriting so honestly it could be cries.”—and they only stop arguing about alcohol when they start arguing instead about the role and requirements of professional athletes in their communities and as the public faces of their sports and teams—an argument Octavia calls to an end when they start yawning and Bee piles her bag into Wells' arms and lets them climb up onto her back. She hooks her hands behind their knees and Octavia grips hard onto their jacket because whoa, their feet are way off the ground, but Bee is warm and they can feel her laugh right through their body and it’s nice, they feel warm and content and the farthest from lonely they’ve ever been in their life.
“Is this what the world looks like for you always?” they ask her quietly, and when Bee nods, they groan and lower their head onto her shoulder. “Weird.”
“Don’t puke on me.”
“I won’t,” they promise. “I’m only a little drunk, and no where near hungover yet.”
They’re all still and quiet for a moment and then Bee and Wells—surprisingly, shockingly—start arguing again.
“Well, I can’t open the door, my hands are kind of full.”
“Excuse me, who is the one carrying a whole other person?”
“You, but I have food. That’s more important.” Octavia makes a small, very fake wounded noise. Wells’ face falls. “Sorry, O.”
“Nice going there, Wells, that’s so mean.”
Bee snaps her teeth toward Wells and, carefully, leans forward and takes one hand away from Octavia’s leg to knock on the front door.
A pleased, slightly flushed Lexa pulls it open.
“Hello, Lexa,” Octavia smiles at her.
“Hello, O. How was the run?” she asks them, and Wells nods happily and carries the bags into the living room, hanging out what everyone asked for.
Octavia slides off Bee’s back. “Good. They got into a rousing debate about sport in our society.”
"Without me?" Lexa cries, and she turns a wounded look on Wells. "I'm the captain of the debate team!"
From across the room, leg propped up on the coffee table, Raven turns lazily to Clarke and says, “What’s that look like to you? Four drink Lexa?”
“Mhm, four drink, tipping into fifth.”
“Ooh, confident Lexa, that’s hot.”
Five drink Lexa suggests stick ’n’ pokes for herself and seventeen of her closest friends. Carm has everything they need incredibly quickly but Clarke shuts them down sternly.
"I don't think so. No tattoos, Lex.”
"You can't tell us what to do," she points out, a defiant tilt to her chin.
"No but you're drunk and you'll regret it later."
"Clarke," Lexa says to her, drunkenly arrogant, "I've never regretted a single one of my tattoos."
"Your single tattoo, you mean."
"Right." Lexa nods.
Clarke huffs out a little breath and rolls her eyes. ”Right, okay, well then no tattoos for anyone under eighteen. Party rules, sorry."
"That's not fair, Carm is very good at it, it'll be fine."
“Yeah, I’m good at it, Clarkie. Don’t be a kill joy.”
"She's okay at it," Elle hedges, but she shakes her head at Clarke and persuades Carm to give up the pin. Lexa pouts until Carm suggests they have a shot together instead.
Lexa slops a little whiskey on her hand and swipes it off with her thumb, sucks the taste away. Clarke groans.
"You're trouble," she grumbles. Lexa smiles. “Trouble,” Clarke repeats for emphasis, and she touches Lexa’s chin and Lexa winds her arms around Clarke’s neck and she doesn’t have to say it—her hand on Lexa’s hip and the way her eyes don’t move from Lexa’s lip say it all—but it makes Lexa shiver when she leans Lexa back against the counter and asks, “Can I kiss you?”
“I would like that,” Lexa tells her, and swirls her fingers over the skin of Clarke’s neck, “Very much.”
“YuckI” someone shouts at them in passing and Clarke flips her off, but doesn’t look away from Lexa.
“Go eat a dick, Reyes.”
“You kiss your girlfriend with that mouth?”
“As a matter of fact, I do, thanks for reminding me.”
Raven throws her hands up and shakes her head. “I tried to stop them, O, you shouldn’t have to see this gross shit at your party.”
Octavia can’t seem to shake their loose, wide grin and they like the way Raven’s smile looks too—so incredibly fond, so incredibly happy and relaxed—and they like too the way Lexa laughs when Clarke whispers something undoubtedly douchey into her ear and how gentle her hands are when she holds Clarke and how Clarke looks at Lexa—like she’s precious, and wonderful, and lovely.
“Shit, I’m drunk,” Octavia laughs, and they tug at Raven’s hand and pull her away from the couple. “Stop watchin’ them, just leave them be.”
“Yeah but,” Raven shrugs, “you like that about me.”
Octavia nudges her towards the room where everyone is dancing and Raven twists their hands together and makes them join her—every song is the best song ever, it truly is, and Octavia isn’t ever sure that the words they’re shouting are the actual lyrics but it doesn’t matter when they feel light and warm and happy like this.
“You want to play, Lex?”
Lexa blinks over at Elle, and Clarke, and looks forlornly down at the popcorn on the floor and stepped into the carpet and she sighs. “So this game—you catch the popped corn? With your mouth?”
“Yeah!” Elle beams and nods, quickly and longer than necessary.
“What do you win?”
Lexa narrows her eyes thoughtfully. After a full minute, she says, “No, thank you. And Clarke, remember me to google Stanley.”
“Mr. Steamer the master carpet steamer.”
“Oh, Stanley Steamer.” Clarke fumbles with her phone and peers down at it. “I’m not doing this now,” she tells Lexa finally. “Letters make zero sense.”
“It’s because you have dyslexia.”
Clarke rolls her eyes. “I know that, babe, thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” She leans in and presses down on Clarke’s home button, speaks into the phone. “Siri, call Anya.” Lexa waits for Clarke’s phone to respond—when it doesn’t, she frowns and repeats herself. “Siri, call Anya.”
“That’s not her contact name, hold on. Siri, call Captain Hot Stuff.”
“Calling…Captain Hot Stuff.”
Lexa glares at Clarke, who shrugs. “You’re Commander Hot Stuff. And you’ve got a love heart.” It doesn’t seem to appease her and it comes through in her tone when Anya answers.
“Hello, Anya,” Lexa says crisply. As crisply as she can five drinks in. “It’s Lexa, your sister.”
“Oh, hey kiddo, what’s up? How’s the party? How’s O enjoying their party?”
"I'm having a great time," Octavia shouts.
Lexa nods. Tone still a little sharp, she says,"They're enjoying it. Everything is going well."
“You okay?” she asks, and Octavia can imagine the little frown that hangs like a cloud over her brows.
“Remind me about Stanley Steamer in the morning, thank you,” she says sharply, and hangs up. “What?”
“You know I like you the best, right?” Clarke reminds her, and Lexa scowls and looks away. “Baby,”
“Don’t talk to me, I hope you miss every piece of popped corn.”
“Come on, Lex, I love you.”
Lexa sucks in a breath and her eyes widen and her fingers grip onto the soft fabric of her shirt and her temper cracks like a roll of thunder, making way for a smile. “I know,” she says, scuffing her feet on the floor.
“And I’ll change her name in my phone, okay?”
Clarke draws her in for a sweet kiss, murmurs something that makes Lexa beam, and when she turns back to Elle, Lexa laughs.
“Clarke, you’re not going to be good at this,” she tells her.
“Um, yes I will because I’m awesome,” she scoffs. “But wow, way to support me. As my girlfriend. Whom I love.”
“Love has nothing to do with it, you don’t have the skill to be good at this. And,” she points out, “we’re a little drunk.”
Octavia laughs and holds onto the couch. “A little?”
“You’re very small, you’re drunker than most,” Lexa points out and sits carefully on the edge of the couch with her back against their stomach so that Octavia is curled around her. She pats their shoulder gently. “There there, there there.”
“I’m okay,” they tell her, but the movement feels nice, so they tell her that she can keep patting them. “Hey look, Clarke’s making a fool out of herself.”
Lexa turns with a delighted little laugh and claps when Clarke misses every piece of popcorn. Clarke drops down next to them, scowling, and Lexa touches her wrist.
“How did it go, infant?”
Clarke’s eyes crinkle as she tries not to laugh. “Baby?”
“It went,” she gestures to the floor. “Not great—do not say I told you so.”
“Okay, my love.” Lexa smiles sweetly and, holding Clarke’s gaze for the longest time, leans over to Octavia and whispers, “I did tell her.”
“Okay, wow. Wow. This is,”
“Uncalled for,” Octavia suggests. They press the flats of their feet against Clarke’s leg. She’s warm and they love her.
Lexa makes a small, upset sound. “It’s just the truth! She doesn’t have the coordination for that.”
“Alright then, why don’t you try?”
She crinkles her nose. “Food, that someone else has handled?”
“Yeah but just think of it this way,” Octavia mumbles into the couch cushion, “you get to prove Clarke wrong.”
“Great. Thank you, O.”
“You’re welcome, babe.”
Lexa claps her hands together and nods. “I will do it!” she announces. She’s leaning a little to the left but she seems confident when she stands and gestures Elle over with a delicate crook of her finger. Clarke’s eyes fix on that finger and Octavia kicks her until she slaps at their leg and makes them stop.
“You’re being gay again.”
“Sorry,” they say, open their eyes wide and sad.
“Oh, fuck, it’s okay you little—“
“I mean bisexual.”
“Okay, legit fuck off now,” Clarke laughs, and she looks over to Lexa, who’s making Elle explain the rules again. “Babe, all you have to do is catch it.”
“In my mouth.”
“It’s alright if you can’t do it,” Clarke says smoothly, and crosses her arms. Lexa’s eyes dip down to her chest and Clarke smirks at her, tugs her shirt down in a subtle little move that is equally sneaky and incredible.
Lexa stares for a little while longer and then flashes a cocky little grin and winks—she stumbles a tiny bit but that doesn’t dim her confidence a watt. “Popped corn? No problem.”
Clarke sighs when Lexa catches the first piece in her mouth. She leans back into the couch and sighs some more when Lexa doesn’t miss a single piece—“Not a single fucking one? Seriously? Octavia stop laughing”—and she only feels a tiny bit better when Elle gets bored and wanders away because Lexa spins to grin at her and knocks into Mark, spilling the drinks he’s carrying everywhere, and then into a vase.
“Goddammit,” Lexa sighs. “I need a tiny cigar.”
“Here.” Carm flicks a cigarette her way. “You need a light too?”
“No thank you.” Lexa tucks it into her pocket. “Thank you!”
“Clarke,” Lexa groans early the next morning. “Why do I have seven cigarettes in my jacket pocket?” She touches two fingers to her lips. “Why do I sound like this?” she asks, in her hungover, cigarette croaking voice.
“I dunno but you sound hot,” Clarke groans. “Stop that.”
“Did I smoke last night?”
“And the cigarettes?”
Clarke sighs. “You mugged Carm.”
“What?” Lexa stares down at her bruised hands and the cigarettes. “Oh my word. I need to call her. I mugged her?” she repeats, distressed. “I hurt her? She’s so little and generally unathletic and I like her—did I hurt her?” she asks again.
Clarke grumbles something into her pillow, yawns, and turns away.
Lexa strokes one finger over the curve of Clarke’s shoulder before she rolls away and searches through the pockets of discarded pants for her phone.
Carm picks up on the seventh ring. “I’m so hungover, why are you calling me.”
“Are you still drunk or something?” Her voice crackles down the line—part reception, part smoke and alcohol and exhaustion.
“Of course I am, but that’s alongside the point, Carmilla. Did I hurt you?”
“Are you hurt, did I hurt you?”
“You’re captain in academic decathlon so you beat me in that speed round, so my pride or whatever.”
“You aren’t bruised? Clarke told me that I mugged you.”
“Oh fuck, no that bitch is fucking with you. Tell her from me that she should only fuck you, not fuck with you, okay?” Carm grumbles. “You want something else? Help with a dead body or something? Because I won’t help, but I’ll look at a dead body.”
“No, no, everything is well. I was afraid I had hurt you.”
“Nah, s’all good.”
“Good.” Lexa sits quietly for a moment, listening to Carm breathing. “I’ll tell Clarke what you said.”
“Sleep well, Carmilla.”
“Yeah, okay, you too. You want to talk to Elle?”
“No, that’s alright.”
Lexa hangs up and frowns down at the again sleeping Clarke. “Clarke.” Her girlfriend grunts. “Clarke, you lied. Carm is fine.”
“Tha’s good,” she grumbles sleepily. “Come back to sleep.”
“…I’m going to call Anya. And make breakfast.”
Clarke pouts—she doesn’t open her eyes but she pouts in Lexa’s general direction and pats the warm space next to her. “No, c’mon, come back. It can wait. I’m nice and warm,” she says, trying to tempt her. “Please don’t get out of bed—okay you’re up.”
“I need to brush my teeth.”
“No Clarke, you’re hot.” Lexa kisses the smile that pulls from Clarke and then she grimaces, shakes her head. “No. I need to brush my teeth.”
“Raven, they’re yelling. Why?” Octavia groans and pushes their face into something very soft and—“That’s not a pillow.”
“Depends. You’re definitely pillowed in there.”
Octavia sighs. “Clarke’s boobs are better.”
“Hey! I mean you’re right, but y’know, don’t throw away what you’ve got for a pipe dream.”
“Yours are amazing too,” they say, and they feel Raven huff and then wrap her arm around their shoulders and cuddle into the couch again. “We couldn’t even make it to the bedroom, huh?”
“The sheer sexual tension overwhelmed us,” Raven laughs. Then groans.
“What? You okay?” They’re quiet for a second then, “Your back?”
“I’m getting old, kid.”
“Okay grandma,” Octavia mutters. “C’mon, lets get you to bed.” They sigh for a long moment—someone, at some point, has draped a blanket over them both and it’s comfortable and warm but they know that Raven is in pain so it’s more than enough to get them to blink open their eyes and stand. “Ah fuck, what’s that light?”
“Classic first hangover,” Raven snorts. “That is the sun.”
“No, it’s the fucking kitchen light. Lexa, what are you doing?”
“Good morning, I am making breakfast.” She chops very quickly and impressively well at something green on a cutting board, with a shining knife.
“Don’t be putting on no blender or clanging pots and pans and shit, okay, my head is killing me.” Octavia doesn’t get a reply to that so they turn—carefully, slowly—back to Raven on the couch and hold out their hands. “C’mon, let’s make a run-hobble for it before she starts.”
“Carry me,” Raven groans.
“No way, are you kidding me? You gotta walk your own ass there, I’m barely standing.”
“How about you lean on me and I lean on you.”
“Baby, if you wanted to touch me so bad, all you had to do was ask.” They haul Raven to her feet and both of them pause for a whole minute to make sure nothing else was going to come up and join them. “You good?”
“The bare minimum, I love it!” they say cheerfully.
At the hallway, a pathetic voice calls out to them. “Please, wait,”
Raven cuts and runs, hobbles as fast as she can to her bedroom. “Nope, I’m down, I’m in bed already.”
“O? Obi wan Kenobi, you’re my only hoe!”
“Jesus fucking Christ.” They shuffle their way to the door—Lexa’s bedroom, they’re pretty sure, and more sure still when they see the mass of blonde hair in the bed. “What the fuck do you want, Clarke?”
“You have to stop Lexa.” Clarke lifts a hand to brush away the hair from her face—she does it so slowly, wincing a little, it’s painful to watch. “She’s going to go for a jog.”
“Ew. You do it.”
“What? No, are you crazy? I’m in bed.”
“She’s your girlfriend. You stop her.”
“O, I’m in bed.”
“Flash her or kiss her, let her feel your boob or something but if you want her not to leave you do it. Now excuse me, I have a bed and—”
“What the fuck, O!” they hear, in Raven’s croaking, dulcet tone.
“—and a pretty girl calling my name.”
Clarke sighs. “Whatever. Me and Lex didn’t have sex last night, I was too drunk. Maybe flashing her will work.” She—again, painfully slowly—pushes the blankets down from around her shoulders and sits up. “Oh my god, no, no way, fuck this. I’ll just call Aman.”
Aman brings Lexa back to the door after she's been gone only a short twenty minutes and he takes her right to the couch, where she demurely sits and folds her hands in her lap. She’s a little shaky, and pale, and he pushes a water bottle into her hand.
“Whoa, who tried to fight you?” Octavia asks.
“Clarke said I mugged Carm, but she was lying,” Lexa offers. She looks down at the scratches on her arms—they’re newer. This morning new. “These are from a bush.”
“Oh?” Raven heaves herself upwards and flashes an expectant smile. “Clarke, you dirty, dirty girl.”
“I fell into it,” Lexa says.
“I’m sure you did.”
“No, she means a literal bush.” Octavia points to Lexa’s hair. “Leaf.”
Lexa rolls her eyes. “Oh. Bush, a colloquial for—”
Lexa goes back to her room to have a nap with Clarke—a nap that lasts for about three hours—and Raven and Octavia take up their place again on the couch in the living room. They snuggle into her side and Raven kicks her feet over their lap and massages her own leg for a while, doing a few very light stretches.
“So, did you have fun last night?” Octavia asks Raven.
“Me?” she laughs. “The party was for you.”
“Yeah, I know. But,” they point out, “it was kind of for you as well, wasn’t it? Because you’re leaving.” Raven looks away. “I’m going to miss you.”
“We’ll talk basically every day still,” she laughs and nudges at Octavia. “And I’ll come visit.”
“It’s not the same.”
Raven nods. “Yeah. I know.”
“It’s cool though,” Octavia muses. “I mean, you’re gonna get to learn all kind of new shit. And actually work on your level. I know Sinclair has been cool about letting you work on your projects and all that, but seriously, this is going to be awesome for you.”
She works her shoulders deeper into the comfortable cushion of the couch and nods, grins up at the ceiling. “I really think so. Me and my brother, we went to Cali to check out the labs and stuff. It’s so cool, O. Really far away,” she allows, with a nod, “but so cool.”
Octavia nods. It feels a little low, a little gloomy for a few minutes, and they’re not sure if it’s because they’re going to miss Raven that much or if it’s the hangover—both, they can admit privately—but after a while a thought occurs to them that makes them laugh. Raven rolls her head towards them and lifts her eyebrows.
“Lexa has her own private jet,” they laugh.
Raven grins. “I know.”
“We can visit you pretty much whenever. Lexa has a jet.”
"Did Lexa tell you about how her dad literally grounded her?"
"What? No!" Octavia struggles to sit up straight, to watch Raven's face. "What happened?"
"Well, she threw you this party right? This is her party house, kind of. It's the only one close enough to school. But last time we had a party, she wanted to fly us all to her beach house down the coast but she didn't ask her dad and we were all at the airport when he found out and he had to tell the pilot not to fly us and he had to explain to Lexa why she couldn't just up and fly us out of the state on a school night."
"Oh my god."
"I'm pretty sure that's her only rule?" Raven tells them. "Don't leave the state. Oh, and probably don't entirely destroy the house."
The day of Raven’s commencement is warm and beautiful and they’re all a little bit hungover. Lexa scratches a little at the new tattoo on her arm and Clarke, though pale, catches at her hand and holds it.
“I can’t believe you got a tattoo for Raven,” she murmurs.
“It’s not for Raven,” Lexa says back, quietly. “Can you see Raven?”
“Yeah, she’s right there. I think her speech is about to start. What do you mean it’s not for Raven—you said those exact words to me.”
“I got it for Raven. That’s exactly what you said.”
Octavia shifts a little in their seat, rolls their eyes to the sky, and tries to block out their bickering in favour of watching a grinning Raven, and Teddy with her, take her place at the podium.
“She means big, lovely, wonderful things to me Clarke, that’s all. Don’t make it into a whole big thing.”
“It’s a tattoo, Lexa, it's inherently a very big and permanent thing, and—"
“I swear I’ll murder you both. Raven is about to make her speech,” Octavia hisses at them. “Be quiet!”
They still, and then nod to Octavia, and sit very attentive throughout Raven’s whole speech. Of course they do—she looks thrilled, and beautiful, and she has like fifteen honour cords. Her speech—for the crowd and for the graduating students, and in her role as valedictorian, is mostly about intersectionality, specifically as a disabled queer Latina in STEM—is amazing, and clever, and moving, and she gives half of it in Spanish, which Lexa loves, and which they’re pretty sure pulls tears from a family near the front of the crowd. Raven’s family, Octavia is sure.
The ceremony lets out a short time later and Octavia waits for everyone to be done—there is a party of some kind planned for afterwards and they’re looking forward to one last big thing together before Raven leaves and before they have to go back to their place with Bellamy. Clarke and Lexa started bickering as soon as it wasn’t too rude—“You know I love numbers and how much they mean to me Clarke, Raven is very important to me”—“A tattoo, Lexa! Again! I had to find out from Raven!”—and they roll their eyes and leave them there, a little too close to each other for it to really be a fight.
“O!” Octavia turns just in time to be pulled into an enthusiastic hug, which they happily return after a split second. "Did you see my baby? My baby, so smart! So beautiful!"
"Si, Senora Reyes. Hola, I saw her.” Octavia smiles over her shoulder to the rest of Raven’s gathered family. “Hola, everyone.”
Raven’s grandmother clicks her tongue and grumbles. “Your Spanish is very bad.” She looks up at them—a feat, Octavia thinks, for someone to be smaller than they are. "But getting better," she concedes.
“Thanks. It’s nice to see you again.”
“And you must be so proud of Raven, we all are.”
Octavia laughs a little. ”Do you want me to find Lexa?"
“Si. She can speak Spanish."
"Leave them alone, abuela, they're learning." Raven slips her arm through theirs and beams at her family. "Hola!"
She's scooped into her mothers arms and then bodily passed into Ricardo’s and she blushes when Naomi sneaks in to kiss her cheek. She dips to hug her grandmother whose lips pucker up sternly and she accepts the hug very stiffly.
"Abuela?" Raven pulls away—tries to, rather, because her grandmother holds on tight and pats her shoulder for a long time more. "Are you alright?" she asks very softly.
"I am very proud of you, mi querida niña. So very, very proud."
Raven is surrounded by her family, and Octavia looks away so they can have this private moment alone. They spot Clarke and her mother and, nodding to Ricardo, who beams at them and wipes at his eyes with his sleeve, they slip away to join her.
"Valedictorian!" Abby is saying as they get to them. "Did you know, Clarke?”
"Duh," Clarke rolls her eyes. She has a shadow of a smile behind her annoyed glare and she doesn't even start to shake away the arm Abby has wrapped around her, which makes Octavia grin because they've come such a long way in just a few months. "Raven is the smartest person in the world, of course she was gonna be valedictorian."
“Well I didn’t know. That’s so wonderful. That’s wonderful. Where is she? Where are her parents? I want to congratulate her." Abby glances around—and finds Octavia instead. "Hello! Did you know?"
"She's the smartest person in the whole world, Mrs griffin,” Octavia tells her. “Duh."
Clarke laughs and waves them closer. “Have you seen mama Reyes?"
"Yeah they're over there," they point. "I thought I'd give them some space though, it seems like a family thing."
"Smart," Clarke nods.
Abby nods. “You’re right, O. I’ll find her later.” She grins. “When she’s away from her family, because I doubt she can control herself.”
“You should see her drunk,” Octavia tells her. “Which, of course, we have never been,” they slowly correct themself and Abby lifts her eyebrows. “Ever.”
“Not ever, Mrs Griffin, for whom I have the utmost respect.”
“Mhm.” She drags the sound out and Octavia offers up a very sweet, very innocent smile.
“Speaking of alcohol,” Clarke interjects, “do you want to get drunk with us tonight, mom?”
Abby laughs. “Excuse me?”
“Oh right, sorry, I forgot that you’re old. Would you,” Clarke says, slow and loud, “like to—get drunk—with us,” she waggles her finger between herself and Octavia, and vaguely in the direction of other people, “tonight?”
Abby sighs for an age but Octavia can see that smile again, just like Clarke’s, and they know that Clarke looks an awful lot like her dad had, they've seen some pictures on Lexa and Raven’s Facebook, but they can definitely see Abby in her too.
“You know you’re not as funny as you think you are."
“I disagree, naturally,” Clarke says, eyes narrowed, “but hurry up and say no already so I can go. Lexa made me invite you.” She nods over to where Lexa is standing and she softens and beams when Lexa waves at them.
Abby's smile turns sharp. "And if I said yes?"
“I don’t know, what, you think I can see the future or something? Jesus, mom. You’d be the oldest one there by so much but the guys would hit on you, and you make pretty good bloody Mary's so I guess it'd be fine but—“
“Enough, enough,” Abby laughs. "It's alright, you go have fun." She reaches out and touches Clarke’s chin gently. It’s very clearly hard for her to take her hand away again. "Just...text me when you get home so I know you're safe. Alright?"
Clarke swallows hard and Octavia stares down at their shoes so they don't see but they do hear her small "Yeah," and they know—Clarke has talked about it a lot late at night when it's just the two of them, at night, in the dark so what they say to each other goes out and gets lost there in a room that has lost its edges and is too big and too dark to let anything get stuck to them—they know that Clarke still hates her mother sometimes. That she understands but doesn't quite feel that Abby isn't the one who killed Jake. They know that Clarke is terribly, deeply sad sometimes and that she feels so heavy Octavia is in awe each time she gets out of bed on those days.
But they also know that this moment is a good moment, when Clarke lets her mother hold her, when she lets her fuss over her for a second and fix the strap of her dress, and sweep her hand over Clarke’s hair. When Clarke lets her mother hug her tight and accepts—wants—the kiss Abby places on her forehead like a benediction, a claim, a gift.
Looking out over the garden, their friends around them—Lexa waiting with an adoring smile, thumbs tucked under the straps of her backpack—Raven being touted around by her big brother—Clarke trying and kind of failing to not cry—and the light chatter of a year ended, Octavia knows this could be the end of something. It won't be the same—Raven will be gone and then Clarke and Lexa too, soon enough, and Wells and Murphy as well. But they’re not worried. Things change but their friends haven’t—not in the ways that count—and they turn their face up to the clear, clear blue sky.
“Are we ready to go? Hello, Abby.”
“Hello, Lexa. Thank you for forcing Clarke to invite me to your party, that was very kind of you.” Lexa beams at her and nods. She blinks and shifts her elbow away when Raven comes up behind and touches her, but after a moment she lets her arm relax and pushes it back into Raven’s hand.
“Hello, Raven, your speech was excellent.”
“The parts you fixed in particular, right?”
“I didn’t say that,” Lexa huffs. “But yes.”
Raven grins and rolls her eyes, over to Clarke. “Clarke, did you cry?” she teases, even though they can all see Abby’s arm wrapped around Clarke’s shoulders and the way she’s leaning into her mom’s side.
"Only because you were taking so damn long," Clarke sniffles and she wipes at her cheeks with her sleeve, much to Lexa’s disgust.
"Don't touch me with your sleeves, Clarke," she warns. Clarke nods.
“Yeah, gross Clarke,” Raven sneers, and then laughs again, and her smile looks permanent and Lexa beams at her and Octavia feels their chest fill up with warmth and they bounce a little in place, excited and happy and thrilled because the smile suits her very well and she’s deserved everything, everything that she has, and so so much more than that.
“I cried as well,” Lexa tells her, and Raven squeezes her elbow. “You were very impassioned.”
“Thank you, Lexa.” Raven claps her hands. “Let’s end this year with a bang.”
"Oh, did you make another bomb?" Lexa asks with interest, and a small amount of worry, as they make their way to her car. "We'll have to set it off in the garden, my father would not be pleased to have destruction in his home."