The Grounder leathers she still wore were suffocating her. She hadn’t thought to take a change of clothes or much else for that matter when she left Camp Jaha.
When she had been marching up the foot of Mount Weather, an army of a thousand warriors at her back, chants of ‘Jus drein jus daun!’ filling the air and buzzing through her veins like bolts of electricity, and the Heda at her side, the outfit had helped to make Clarke feel downright invincible.
Lexa had given it to her, personally clasping the numerous buckles and attaching the various pieces of armour... And when the Commander had slid the long blade into the sheath at Clarke’s waist, and holstered her gun on her other hip, Clarke Griffin thought that nothing would be able to defeat them that day. Not with Lexa right there.
May we meet again.
May we fucking not, Clarke snorted derisively as she leaned against a tree in the thick maze-like forest. She’d been walking for a day, the sun was gone and she needed to find shelter. She wasn’t sure where she was headed, only that she couldn’t look any of the Arkers in the eye ever again.
Clarke didn’t know what she would eat, only that the very thought of food made her stomach churn. She couldn’t get the images of the slaughtered Mountain Men out of her mind; the horrible welts on Maya’s lifeless features and Jasper’s eyes filled with accusation and betrayal.
She had done it for her people.
She had done what needed to be done to save them. Bellamy believed so. But then Octavia had told her that it was because Clarke had trusted Lexa that they were even forced to make that decision to begin with. It would be easy to blame Lexa. Part of Clarke hated her for what she had done, but mostly Clarke hated herself.
Being around Lexa had been so confusing. The way the woman looked at her with those big green eyes that seemed so haunted and innocent and harsh all at once.
Clarke thought of Finn then.
Things had happened so quickly between the two of them. In a matter of days they were feeling things without even knowing each other. He hadn’t even told her about Raven who he clearly had a long and intense relationship with. Logically, Clarke could tell herself that it was because of the excitement that came with being on Earth, the constant threat of Grounders, Reapers and wildlife. People all around them were hooking up as though it were going out of fashion. Life had become fast paced and unpredictable, a complete contradiction to living on the Ark. One minute someone was there and the next they were just dead. Like Wells and Charlotte and Atom. The Hundred had come to live like there was no tomorrow. So she and Finn had grabbed onto each other like lifelines in the heat of the moment.
And then Clarke had met the Heda. Sat regally on her throne, radiating authority and a calmness that slowed Clarke’s frantic brain and heart to a complete halt. Every second with the Commander had felt like being in the eye of a perfect storm. It was the only tranquillity surrounded by the chaos that had erupted ever since Jasper had been speared through his chest.
Clarke had bathed herself in Lexa’s calm. In her strength. She’d accepted her guidance and learned from her experiences. And Clarke knew that Lexa knew she’d shamelessly accepted the subtle affection the fierce leader of the Twelve Clans had seemingly only spared for her. Clarke knew that the Commander cared little for the Sky People. That the alliance had been formed and sustained because Lexa cared for Clarke. Only Clarke.
Not everyone, not you.
Or she had at least thought so at the time.
What if she had just been grabbing onto yet another lifeline? Someone to tether herself to so that she wouldn’t lose her sanity? Like Jaha had lost his. Like Finn had lost his in that village.
Clarke wondered if the result would’ve been the same if she had not told Lexa that she wasn’t ready yet. If she had given into her wants and given the Commander what she really desired. Would Lexa still have betrayed her?
Tired from walking and thinking, Clarke fell asleep that night against the same tree she had been leaning on, with all her anger and her doubts clouding her mind. She was very surprised when she woke up unharmed the next morning, but got to her feet and started walking again. She drank water from the streams she found, ate some berries and fruit they’d identified as safe over the last few months. It gave her the energy to keep on walking until her feet, chest and head were numb.
Clarke didn’t want to die. She hadn’t set out on her journey purposely ill-equipped with that in mind, but she felt the need to be punished for what she had done. And Clarke would only have been celebrated at the Ark for her actions, while Jasper had to look on. While he mourned and seethed in her betrayal. So she decided that this would be her punishment. This aimless wandering and constant self-deprecation, thirst and hunger.
She wasn’t sure when she had stopped eating. It hadn’t been a conscious decision. Nor was she sure how many days had passed. Ghost Finn was back, but then there was Maya too, covered in bloody welts from the radiation exposure. The kids were the worst though. They actually smiled at her while they bled. She shouted at them to leave her alone, she could still smell them burning. Clarke couldn’t remember if she had even heard any screams that day. How long had it taken for them to die? In her mind it felt as though hours had passed. Surely they must’ve...
She tried to run away from them as their childish laughter turned into bloodcurdling screams. Blindly she stumbled through the forest. Not looking where she was going, her foot hooked onto the root of a tree. Her momentum sent her flying through the air, over the side of a trench causing her to roll down the leafy forest bed. She came to a bloody and battered stop on an open trail leading through the forest.
She couldn’t move, so Clarke decided to just lay there. A few moments or hours later, she felt the vibrations of hooves approaching. Or it was an earthquake. Or she was she still hallucinating, Clarke wasn’t sure of anything anymore.
“Chon yu bilaik?” Who are you, Clarke heard, she couldn’t answer. Her eyes couldn’t even open. Her mouth was dry and blistered. She couldn’t remember when last she’d spoken out loud. ‘Skaikru’ was the last thing she heard, not sure whether she or whoever was with her had said it, before everything went black.
Clarke woke in a bed.
It was dark all around her, but Clarke was strangely warm and comfortable for all of two seconds before she tried to move and her muscles screamed their protest. She groaned and blinked, trying to adjust her eyes to see where she was.
“You are safe, Klark kom Skaikru.” A female voice spoke from the darkness, making Clarke start to struggle to get away from her prison of comfy blankets. “I am Ekko. I know your friend Bellamy.”
At Bell’s name her struggling ceased and she warily glanced to where a lantern was being lit and placed on the wooden table in the small room. Clarke reached out a hand and felt at the walls she could now see.
“Bricks...” She hoarsely whispered. Her eyes following as she caressed the cool paintcovered walls. “Where am I?” She turned her attention back to Echo, who was nearing her with a glass water jug.
“You are in Polis.” She answered, pouring the water into a metal cup and holding it up to Clarke.
Still mistrustful of everyone, especially beautiful Grounder women, Clarke backed away from the water.
“If anyone here wanted you dead or harmed, you would be.” Echo stated the obvious.
Clarke still didn’t trust her, but she was extremely thirsty, so she drank, only slowing when Echo gently instructed her to do so.
“Mochof.” Clarke thanked her, the cool water felt like ambrosia trickling down her parched throat.
Lexa had been the one to teach her a few Trigedasleng phrases.
“Is...” Clarke swallowed, her throat thick again, voice hoarse but not from lack of water this time. “Is the Commander here, too?”
Echo got up and started walking around the room, grabbing more blankets and covering Clarke up, and for a moment Clarke thought that she wouldn’t answer.
“Polis is Heda’s home.” Came the eventual response, along with a bowl of sliced fruits shoved in Clarke’s face. Her stomach grumbled loudly. So Clarke ate, feeling nauseous because she could stomach food again and because she was in Polis and Lexa was there too.
“Does she know I’m here?” Clarke asked, tasting something she identified as apple in her mouth.
“Heda knows everything.” Echo answered both reverently and factually.
Clarke just snorted. Lexa had all of her people fooled. They mindlessly obeyed her like she was a god. And Clarke had to admit, rather grudgingly, that she too would’ve walked through acid fog up that mountain had Lexa ordered her to that day.
“I don’t want to see her.” Clarke mumbled, her fruit fast disappearing.
“Heda has not requested your presence.” Echo informed with a smirk.
Oh. Well that wasn’t a massive blow to the ego at all. Clarke wondered if Lexa was determent to destroy even that tiny bit of pride that Clarke Griffin still had leftover.
“What does the Heda want with me then? Why am I here and not dying in the woods?”
Echo got up and removed the empty bowl, gave Clarke some water again and tucked her in beneath the blankets like she was a child.
“I am to heal you and then you are free to leave the Capitol, if that is what you wish.” Echo murmured soothingly and Clarke realised that the water or the fruit must’ve been drugged because she was very sleepy all of sudden. “Rest well, Clarke of the Sky People.” Was the last thing she heard before she fell into a deep sleep.
The sun was shining bright in her eyes when she woke again. She jerked up when she remembered where she was. In the daylight she could make out the small room containing only the bed she lay in, a table laid with a plate of food – it was perhaps the smell that woke her and not the sun – a single wardrobe and a window.
Clarke flung the blankets off herself, her muscles stiff but only slightly sore. It was her ankle that held the most pain, but she could tell that she’d only sprained it during her fall and it had been neatly wrapped for extra support. Gingerly, she limped toward the window, her hand reaching up to the glass and eyes wide when they took in the sight before her.
Polis was a city.
An actual city with houses and streets, some tarred some gravel. Clarke could see hundreds of homes and buildings until they ended at a wall of wood and scrap metal so high she could see it looming in the distance over the rooftops. She herself was high up from the ground, she noted, looking down onto a grassy field. All she could make out was that the building she was in had white walls and was slightly elevated to look out over the others. It seemed to be stood on a hilltop.
She tried to open the window, but found it stuck. And at once she felt as though she was back in isolation on the Ark staring down at earth, dreaming and sketching the days away. Back in that freakishly white room in Mt Weather... Feeling like she was about to have a panic attack, Clarke marched toward the door, happy that she could step on her ankle without it hurting too much. She flung it open and was met with a large bearded Grounder. Clarke really couldn’t remember seeing any of them small or short.
Lexa was small though, albeit still taller than her. With her beautiful green eyes. Clarke’s heart jumped into her throat and she glared at the Grounder who had nothing to do with the surge of hatred she felt in that moment. It is hatred, Clarke told herself as she followed the Grounders eyes down to her body to find that she was only wearing a white shift that had fallen off her shoulder and stopped about mid-thigh.
Maybe she should get dressed before attempting an escape, she decided, then promptly slammed the door in his face and went about looking for her clothes. She couldn’t find them. Even the wardrobe only held blankets and more shifts, some weird underwear and bandages too.
Clarke touched the intricate wood carvings on the wardrobe and table, then ran her hands over the brick wall again just to make sure they were real. Everything in space was made out of metal. At the dropship, and at Camp Jaha too. Mt Weather had walls, but Clarke didn’t want to think about them. In Ton DC there were wooden tables and chairs, some structures were made of clay and mud, but mostly shelter was in the form of tents. Clarke remembered all the movies she had watched growing up, people living in houses with a lawn and a driveway and a car and a dog and a cat. The houses in Polis looked similar to those ones. Only minus the cars, perhaps minus the well kept lawns and pets too.
She was staring out the window again when there was a soft knock on the door, making Clarke frown confusedly.
“Come in?” She wondered out loud at the show of courtesy to a prisoner.
Echo entered smiling and then frowned at the untouched plate of food.
“Sorry.” Clarke sheepishly mumbled and mechanically walked to the table to sit down. “I just woke up and then got distracted by the view.”
She started eating immediately, almost savagely, not pausing to think at why she was being so agreeable. There were cooked vegetables and pieces of meat. The food seemed to be spiced with delicious herbs and was soft and tender even though the plate had cooled since whenever Echo had left it there.
“Did you give me something to help my appetite?” She asked the quiet Grounder, who was sitting on the other chair watching Clarke eat with an amused smirk.
“I did. And something to help you sleep. You were restless when they brought you.”
Clarke nodded. Not sure if she was happy about that or not. She couldn’t remember any nightmares for once. It was a blessing, but hardly conducive to her self-inflicted punishment.
“Well thanks for saving me, I guess.”
“Is Bellamy alive?” Echo asked, purposely glancing away from her, toward a wall that contained nothing of interest.
“How do you know, Bellamy?” Clarke smirked at the slight blush spreading up the Grounder’s neck.
“He got me out of the cage at Mt Weather.”
“I haven’t seen him since then. I left soon after my people were freed. But he was well when I last saw him and safe at our camp.”
“I heard that you killed all of the Maunon.” Echo looked at her with seemingly reluctant awe.
Clarke swallowed the meat that had been tasty only a second ago. Well that was an abrupt end to a great meal. She wiped her hands and mouth on the cloth that past for a napkin, grateful that Echo had thought to bring one.
“Yes.” She had to clear her throat. “I killed them all.”
Echo grinned. Clarke couldn’t remember having seen a Grounder smile so widely before. She received two hard slaps to the back that rocked her forward in her chair. Echo was a lot stronger than she looked.
“Jus drein just daun. Blood must have blood, Clarke. Thousands of our warriors were lost to the Reapers and the Maunon. You honour all those who the mountain had claimed.”
Clarke tried to smile at just how happy Echo was with her actions. She knew she was grimacing though when Echo looked at her with obvious concern.
“Are you feeling ill?”
“I just need to use, uh...” Clarke then realised that she was about to tell the truth. “Is there somewhere I can relieve myself?”
Echo seemed to catch on, then looked down at Clarke, then walked to the wardrobe and pulled out a pair of cotton pants Clarke must’ve overlooked in her search for leather. She put them on and followed Echo out the door, and to the next.
The hallway was filled with three other doors and a bend that Clark really wanted to run around to ease her curiosity. She was then shown into a bathroom. All tiles and ceramic basin, toilet and a shower. She stared at it in awe as Echo chuckled, stepped outside and closed the door behind her.
Clarke spent ten minutes flushing and opening and closing taps. Everything worked, save for the hot water. That was fine. She wasn’t surprised that the technology existed, she was just surprised that it had survived the bombs at all. But it was obviously impossible for the bombs to have reached everywhere across the lands. It was the acid clouds that spread so widely in their wake that wiped out most of the human population. Whoever had taken hold of this house, had taken good care of it over the years. She’d read that there used to be houses all over the world that were hundreds of years old. Mansions and castles mostly. She wondered if she was currently in a castle, and whether that castle belonged to Lexa.
After washing her hands and splashing water on her face, Clarke realised that she had been drugged again. It was probably for the best. Her main instincts were to run as far as she could. If this was indeed Lexa’s home, she needed at least one more day to be well enough to make her escape.
Echo lead her back to bed and tucked her in again.
“You’re almost well.” Echo murmured in confirmation of her thoughts, before Clarke’s eyes fluttered closed and she drifted into a peaceful slumber.
It wasn’t so much a tour she was on, more like Echo leading her to the exit down long corridors and staircases. Clarke recognized an elevator which stood open, a table with a nice cloth and a vase of flowers in front of it to block the dangerous shaft. The more they walked, the more of these little imperfections she noticed. Windows she presumed had shattered, were neatly boarded up and covered with a nice curtain. Furniture was moved over flaws in the floor. Everything was so... clean.
Once outside, Clarke looked back to the massive, what could’ve been white once, building. Large pillars in front of it. A dome like rooftop. There were a few cracks running down the walls, some chunks of cement and brick missing here and there. It looked a little dilapidated, and still Clarke found herself impressed by it.
“Come on, Clarke.” Echo chuckled, leading her down the hill and toward the town.
Her clothes had been washed and returned to her, even her weapons, so Clarke felt rested and clean and curious. Echo had lead her to the other side of Polis. The side she couldn’t see from her window. Where the markets apparently were. The people she met smiled and greeted her. All seeming to know who she was.
Of course, they knew. She’d killed all the Mountain Men. She was a hero.
Clarke felt herself grow nauseous again, until a group of children came running passed her, laughing and giggling as they chased each other down the street. So carefree and innocent. She noticed then, for the first time, that she and Echo were the only ones who wore any weapons. Everyone else were just wrapped in tunics and shawls. This place was nothing like Ton DC.
“Are people not allowed to carry weapons here?” She asked, wondering if she would be locked up again. But that would really be Echo’s fault for not telling her.
“Only the warriors who guard the city are permitted. The people tend to leave their weapons at home.”
“You’re a warrior then?” Clarke asked her.
Echo nodded. “I used to be a healer for my people up North. But when Heda brought me to Polis after the Mountain, I requested to stay on. To serve in her guard.”
“You’re not Trikru then?” Clarke wondered how many different clans had been held in that mountain.
“The majority of Polis are Trigedakru, but many from the Twelve Clans reside here. I am from Azgeda, the Ice Nation.”
Clarke nodded and swallowed thickly. Whenever she heard Ice Nation, she thought Costia and how what had happened had turned Lexa into a heartless, treacherous bitch.
“You don’t want to go back home?” She asked Echo to get her mind off of Lexa.
“This is my home now. I owe Heda my life and will serve her for the rest of my days.”
“You owe Bellamy your life.” Clarke retorted bitterly.
“Bellamy got me out of the cage. Heda got me out of the mountain.” Echo calmly answered.
Clarke wanted to argue more with her but they were both distracted by a loud ruckus as the kids started screaming their heads off in delight and the crowded street they were walking on cleared to make way for eight riders who were approaching on horseback.
Clarke’s heart started beating frantically. Threatening to pound right out of her chest. Her hand instinctively went to her gun. She knew only one person who would have such a reaction with the Grounders.
People’s heads were dipping respectfully in greeting, the stoic riders not acknowledging them. Clarke stood to the side too. Squaring her shoulders as her eyes landed on Lexa sat on a giant black warhorse in the middle of the procession. The Heda spared only a slight nod to the people, before her eyes – masked in war paint - landed on Clarke.
Lexa didn’t seem surprised to see her their, and Clarke could finally confirm for herself that she really wasn’t a prisoner. It was just a moment and then Lexa’s eyes were focused in front of her again. There had been no emotion in the brief glance. Not even a flash of recognition or acknowledgement. She rode passed Clarke as though she was just one of the many people on the streets worshipping their Heda.
It made Clarke’s rage boil to the surface again and she turned to stalk in the direction that Lexa had gone, following behind the laughing children still running after the horses.
“Heda has not requested to see you.” Echo blandly stated, even as she walked next to Clarke.
“That’s fine, because I’m going to request to see your Heda.” Clarke seethed and quickened her pace.
They were back at the large white house. Clarke wasn’t surprised that this would be Lexa’s home. It was as larger than life and ostentatious as the woman herself. Once they entered the huge front doors again, she noticed the guards stationed all over the place and tried to remember whether they’d been there when she’d left earlier. Clarke had been so distracted with her surroundings she hadn’t even noticed the huge warriors strategically placed all over.
“I wish to see the Commander.” She snarled at the two guards when Echo guided her to a closed door on the opposite side of where she knew the direction of her room was.
The two stared at her, then at Echo, then one of them slipped inside the door, closing it behind him. Clarke paced impatiently while she waited, not sure what she would do, but the longer Lexa made her wait the angrier she became.
It was a good twenty minutes later when the guard opened the door for her and motioned her inside.
The room she entered looked the same as Lexa’s tent, only a lot bigger. A large table stood to the side, with the map of the area they’d used to plan their attack on Mt Weather. Clarke idly wondered if it was the same table or just a replica. In the middle was the Heda’s throne, made of antlers and leather. And the woman herself sat on it. Knife in hand, war paint on. Looking like the day they had first met. Only now Clarke’s heart didn’t falter at the sight. It thundered in her chest and roared in her ears. Because Lexa was just sitting there, staring at her as though she was no one. As though Clarke meant nothing to her.
She drew her sword, not surprised when Echo and the two guards next to Lexa along with the two who had been guarding the door did the same.
Lexa’s gorgeous mouth twitched into a slight smirk while her face remained as stoic as per usual. Clarke was fuming, so angry she didn’t know what to say so instead she just snarled like a wild animal.
“Fight me.” She eventually managed to growl out. “Or are you going to hide behind your many warriors like the coward you are!”
“Gon we.” Lexa’s voice echoed through the large room. Calm as ever. It made Clarke shiver in spite of herself. The command had been directed at her warriors who looked once between their Heda and Clarke, before sheathing their weapons and leaving the room, closing the door behind them.
Even Echo left.
“Clarke.” Lexa said her name and another involuntary shudder trickled down Clarke’s spine. “What can I do for you?” And no one has ever made her name sound the way Lexa’s mouth did. Even when the second part of the sentence was spoken impassively, the first part, her name, was said as though it was important. As though it still held meaning.
“You betrayed me.” Clarke gritted out, knuckles white on the handle of the sword that Lexa had given her. “You said we had an alliance and then you just fucking left me there!”
Lexa seemed to make herself even more comfortable in the chair, like she was settling in to watch a boring movie. She then tilted her head to the side as she considered the seething blonde in front of her.
“Do you remember what our alliance was based on?”
“Clearly not fucking trust!” Clarke yelled back, sword flinging wildly about instead of hand gestures.
“I bring my army and you open the mountain door.” Lexa explained, completely unphased by the woman in front of her apparently unravelling at the seams.
“We would’ve gotten that door open, Lexa.”
“I have no doubt that you would have. Eventually.” Lexa conceded. “But while you were failing to deliver on your end of the deal, it was my people who were being gunned down all around me.”
“We just needed more time. You needed to trust me.”
“I did trust you, Clarke. But, the only reason the door opened, was because the Maunon opened it to free my people. After the sacrifice at Tondisi, I wouldn’t let any more die.”
It takes as long as it takes, my ass! Clarke angrily thought. It took as long as Lexa decided it would take.
“But you’re fine with letting my people die?”
“How many of your people were in that mountain, Clarke?” Lexa’s steely green eyes pierced at her. “Forty?” She chuckled dryly. “Four hundred and twenty seven of my people were freed that night. I couldn’t wait for a door that could take hours to open when fifty of my warriors had been shot down in only a few moments.”
The fact that she was right only made Clarke angrier.
“You couldn’t have spoken to me about that first? Warned me? Tried to make another plan? I did get in there! I would’ve gotten you in there too!”
“Had I told you about the deal, you would’ve said no. You would’ve kept on risking my people for only a few of yours. And the truth is, that most of your people were outside of that mountain, Clarke. But because some on the inside were your friends, you didn’t care how many of my people would die trying to get them out.”
“That’s not true, Lexa, and you know it!” Even as Clarke snarled her answer she remembered how desperate she’d been to get to Bellamy and the others. “You left me there to die.”
Another dry chuckle that was cold and detached.
“How long did you stand outside that mountain unharmed?” Lexa asked. “All you had to do was leave. I never asked you to follow me, because I knew that you wouldn’t. I only hoped that you wouldn’t find your way inside. That was the deal I made. I didn’t leave you to die, Clarke. I left you to make a decision.”
“And I had to kill hundreds of people because of you!” Clarke shouted even as she realised Lexa hadn’t told Emerson that they were using the Reaper tunnels to gain entry to Mt Weather. Lexa hadn’t told him anything of their plan actually, as they’d still managed to surprise Wallace.
“Because of me?”
“If you’d stayed... I wouldn’t have had to pull down that switch. I wouldn’t have had to kill innocent children! If you’d just stuck to the fucking plan a little bit longer it would’ve worked out!”
“I thought that Skaikru were fine with killing innocents.”
Clarke glared at her.
“Weren’t you protecting a murderer and risking war to keep him unpunished? The Skaikru must have celebrated your actions in the mountain.”
“This is not about Finn!” Clarke cried, tears running down her cheeks, her grip on the sword tightening even further.
“No, this is not about Finn.” Lexa agreed. “This is about you, Clarke. Tell me, Skai Prisa,” she smirked, “how long did it take you to realise I was attracted to you?”
Clarke literally took a step back at the abrupt change of topic.
“How quickly did you notice that I was protecting you?” Lexa’s lips quirked, not quite a smile or a sneer, though still something all together menacing. “That you were the only one that could march into the Heda’s tent and make demands. Disrespect me, my people and our traditions. Do you have any idea how many times I have stopped you from being killed because of your insolence? Tell me, Clarke,” this time it was a sneer, “did you kiss me back because you wanted to, or because you were afraid that I would break the alliance if you didn’t give me... something.” She sat back in her throne, staring over Clarke’s body. “Had it always been your intention to whore yourself out for your people?”
This time Clarke drew her gun and pointed it at Lexa, who didn’t even fucking flinch. Clarke knew she had been genuinely attracted to Lexa, and she had also been mourning Finn and trying to get her people out of Mt Weather. She had let Ton DC get hit by a missile without warning anyone for Christ’s sake.
Had she kissed Lexa back that day because she was ready to? At the time she hadn’t been thinking at all. But afterward, when she saw the hurt in the Commander’s eyes, she felt the need to say that she wasn’t ready yet. That need for verbalisation had been because she didn’t want the alliance to come to an end. The kiss itself though, was because Clarke had wanted it more than anything else in that moment.
“So you betrayed me because I rejected your advances? Because I said I wasn’t ready yet?”
Another chuckle, still completely unaffected by the shaky gun being pointed at her.
“I had a woman once.” Lexa told her soberly. “I had learned to listen for the words that women do not speak and yet expect you to know.”
Clarke wasn’t sure what non-verbal cues Lexa thought she was sending out, but she had certainly not been offering to prostitute herself for the alliance.
“I needed you to get me into the mountain. I showed you weakness, because you rule with your heart. I showed you an attraction and a caring you wanted to see so that you would open that door for me. So that you would follow me into battle. So that you would placate your people for me. But you couldn’t open that door, Clarke and I needed to stop more of my people from dying. That is all that happened. And I will not apologise for it.”
But then why did Lexa mention it if it was nothing? Why did she mention Finn? Their attraction? Why if it wasn’t personal? Later, Clarke would be able to understand what Lexa was saying. Why she had done what she had done. In all honesty, Clarke had understood when Wallace refused to help them against his people, and she understood when she pulled down that trigger to wipe out the Mountain Men. But in that moment, all Clarke wanted was an apology, or at least sorry it was the only way and all she got was a ‘what did you expect, stupid Sky Girl who thought you could walk amongst warriors; who thought that the great Commander would ever really care about you’.
She should’ve known it. At least expected it. When Kane had told her of how the Commander had played them to see who would be the most trustworthy between Jaha and Kane. Her little innocent slave girl act that Kane believed up until the moment Lexa had given the commands to her men and then kicked Jaha’s ass. Lexa was stealthy and smart and scheming. But she had read Clarke wrong. Not all of what had happened between them was about the alliance for Clarke, but now it seemed that it was just that for Lexa. And it hurt. It fucking hurt that Lexa had just used her feelings, her grief over Finn and connected with her about that only to mentally get Clarke where she wanted her. Love was weakness, the Commander had said. She wondered how weak Lexa really was as she sneered up at the stoic woman on her throne.
“My people shot Anya, in her back, while she was running away from them.” Clarke spat out bitterly, and welcomed the flash of surprise and hurt that those expressive green eyes just couldn’t hide. “And I didn’t tell you the truth because I wanted this alliance to work. I kept it from you on purpose so you would think it was the Mountain Men who killed her. So you would do what I needed you to do.” She proudly stated, not moving an inch when Lexa slowly rose from her throne.
Silently, the Commander started taking off her armour, her weapons, till she was only in her leather pants and a vest, even her knuckle duster gloves were removed.
“Was it at your command?” Lexa’s voice was thick and raspy, unshed tears glistening with hurt and betrayal. And Clarke felt bad for a second, until she remembered what it had felt like to stand there alone on that mountain, watching Lexa disappear into the darkness.
“No. It was a shot to the back by a trigger happy guard who had never even seen a battle.” Clarke smirked coldly. “They didn’t know or care who she was. It was anything but a warrior’s death.”
Lexa let out a gut wrenching scream and ran forward, Clarke threw down the gun and sword and braced herself for the impact. It came in the form of Lexa’s fist colliding with her jaw so mightily it had Clarke spinning around and hitting the floor, face first.
Clarke looked up at the Heda whose verdant eyes were flashing, chest heaving with emotion.
“Get up.” Lexa snarled, fists clenched at her sides and Clarke couldn’t help but think how magnificent Lexa looked and the thought made her own anger flare again as she flew up from the ground and threw herself at Lexa, arms and fists blindly lashing out in fury.
Lexa didn’t even bother blocking the few blows Clarke managed to clumsily land, instead she hit Clarke hard in the ribs and then another blow to the face followed that had Clarke spitting out blood as she tried to stop the room from spinning long enough so she could stand up again.
She was on her hands and knees, one eye almost swollen shut already, wondering if Lexa had broken a few ribs.
“She was my nomon!” Lexa yelled, and Clarke just managed to translate the word to mother and turn her head enough to note the tears streaming down the Heda’s flushed cheeks, when another fist cracked across her face and everything went black.