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They came for Clarke at dusk.

It was fitting in a way, the setting of the sun a statement to the loss of her innocence.

The thought made her laugh, a bitter, strangled wheeze that the wind sweeping across the balcony stole from her mouth the moment it was born.

Her people had lost their innocence well before reaching the ground.

She leaned against the railing, back turned away from the grandeur of the city sprawled below her, and watched the handmaidens slip inside the apartments assigned to her. Their movements were  ephemeral, like ghosts in the encroaching darkness.

The last, bloody rays of the sun weakly scratched at Clarke’s back, the day’s warmth long forgotten, and the light had waned too much to filter inside what had been her bedroom.

Funny how she thought of it in the past tense already.

“Wanheda.” What looked like the oldest in the group of women addressed her from the doorway, stern face a pallid oval emerging from the murkiness. “It’s time.”

The handmaiden inclined her head, just low enough to convey some sort of respect, but not as deeply as she would have bowed it for one of the Ambassadors. Clarke certainly got nothing near the greeting Heda would, and part of her was disappointed.

Despite the fretful way she’d heard her title whispered - among other less flattering things - she found no fear there. The handmaiden met her gaze levelly, as an equal, her demeanor exuding the kind of quiet determination of one who wanted to see their job done without wasting any time.

Clarke shrugged and walked back inside, not seeing the point in making the woman’s life difficult.

After all, she was the one who had agreed to the whole thing.

Interpreting her reentering the room as a sign that she was ready to start the ceremony, the handmaidens - Betas? Clarke was left wondering - swarmed around her. One had grey in her hair, which caused Clarke to reconsider her initial assessment, but the one who had called her inside was clearly in charge. Wherever she pointed - with a frown and a downward turn of her mouth if the others didn’t move fast enough for her liking - the women went. They worked in silence for the most part; lighting the fire, bringing in water, and wobbling under the weight of a wooden trunk which Clarke supposed contained whatever they may need to dress her, except for a pair of them, who threw several shy glances her way, giggling each time.

“Enough of that.” Their leader clapped her hands sharply and cut their fun short. “This is a solemn occurence, and I will not have it spoiled. If you can’t behave yourselves, you will leave. And Heda will hear of it.”

The threat settled the girls down; they paled, and moved considerably faster as they resumed their work.

One of the women placed her hands on Clarke’s shoulders, tugging her worn leather jacket off, and she almost flinched away, balling her hands into fists to resist the urge to strike her.

The jacket was one of the few things still in her possession that had accompanied her all the way from the landing site - identification number on the sleeve and all - and as grimy and threadbare as it was, watching it being tossed on the floor like trash hurt. Clarke felt as if a lifeline had been severed, and she wrapped her hands around her upper arms, fighting back a wave of nausea.

She knew she had worn it tonight, instead of the soft one Lexa had provided - sky blue to match her eyes - in the hope that it would comfort her. Stupid, she knew, and it hadn’t really made a difference, but Clarke’s mind had refused to let go of the idea.

Possibly mistaking her behaviour for a show of nerves, the woman in charge grasped her by her elbow, tugging her away from the rest of the handmaidens for a little privacy.

“I shouldn’t tell you this. I shouldn’t say anything, really, but…” She pursed her lips. “Heda is a hard woman, but fair. You needn't be afraid.”

“I’m not-“ And she wasn’t scared, not really, but the woman rolled her eyes, not giving her a chance to finish.

“There’s no shame in being afraid,” the woman continued, “it simply is the other side of courage.”

Clarke wasn’t sure she bought into that philosophy, but she made herself nod. The handmaiden held her gaze a moment longer, her hard façade softer now that she was facing away from the rest of the girls, until she nodded back and let her go, having clearly found what she’d been searching for within Clarke’s eyes.

As they rejoined the group, Clarke pored over what the woman had said about Heda. It helped her detach her mind from what was happening around her; the sets of hands that brushed her skin to remove her clothes were gentle, but caused her to blush a deep, rich red. On the Ark, where space came at a premium, personal boundaries were perceived in an entirely different way.

To be sure, it had made for some hilarious anecdotes, once they had started mingling with the Grounders.

What was said about Lexa’s fairness, Clarke knew it to be true, having witnessed it firsthand. Sure, the relations between Skaikru and the Coalition hadn’t started very smoothly – and, for the breakout of a war, that was a gross understatement – but once it had been proven that they had not meant to attack the villages which had burned down as a consequence of their landing, Heda had worked tirelessly to broker peace.

Of course, as was the Grounders’ custom, a price needed to be paid for the lives that had been lost.

And that was where she came in.

After all, what better way to strengthen the peace than having the one responsible for burning three hundred of Heda’s finest warriors mated publicly by the Commander herself?

Clarke’s heart stuttered curiously inside her chest, as it often did when she thought of the ritual, or of Lexa. In the long, tense months that it had taken them to finalize the deals and treaties, she had spent many sleepless nights in Heda’s company.

More often than not, they argued the finer points of the arrangement between their people until Clarke’s eyes were ready to fall out of her head from sheer exhaustion; what medicine Skaikru would produce for the clans, and how long they would do so without getting payment in return, which lands Heda gave to them to farm and hunt, how many people would help rebuild the destroyed villages, and so on.

It was draining work, which sometimes ended in a shouting match between her mother and one of the Ambassadors, but, after what had seemed like an eternity, the treaties had been written, and Clarke’s life changed forever.

She had been the one to fight with Abby over that part of the agreement, and, while her mother believed she was sacrificing herself for the benefit of her people, Clarke’s motive was not so altruistic.

Maybe because they had been forced to spend so much time together, she and Lexa had grown close; the Commander allowing Clarke to glimpse the woman who hid under the title “Alpha of all Alphas” as her people sometimes called her.

They had dined together, trained together – which mainly consisted of Lexa thumping her around a clearing with a wooden sword – until one evening Clarke had leaned close while they sat alone next to the fire and, without thinking, kissed the Alpha’s lips.

Three weeks later, only days before the Council meeting during which Heda and Clarke’s mother would sign the treaty, Lexa had slipped in an extra clause.

“Come.” Clarke was abruptly jerked out of her recollection. “The bath is ready.”

She had been so engrossed in her own thoughts that she hadn’t even noticed that most of the handmaidens had left, carrying the clothes she had been wearing with them. The wooden chest was gone as well, a dress and several vials laid out on top of the furs covering her bed. Clarke would have liked a closer look; in the light of the fire, the fabric gleamed with a warm sort of sheen she had never seen before, but the handmaiden had already grasped her elbow to steer her towards the apartment’s bathroom.

Clarke didn’t know the woman, but she suspected – from how she had behaved with the other girls – that it would be unwise to make her wait, Wanheda or no.

Compared to the rest of her rooms, the bathroom was sweltering with heat. Steam fogged the air and ran in droplets along the stone walls, whatever fragrance the servants had added to the water filling the space with scents that tickled Clarke’s ancestral memory.

Despite all the time she had spent studying botany before landfall, most of the plants she’d come across since coming to the ground were still unknown to her, changed as they had been by radiation. Yet, locked deep within her bones, there was a part of her that remembered.

And it seemed that it was not the only thing Skaikru had forgotten was buried somewhere along the strands of their DNA.

Helped by the two women that were left, Clarke climbed into the copper tub that had been prepared for her, resting the back of her head against its rounded edge once she was seated in the water.

The liquid was hot enough to make her skin burn, slightly but pleasantly, and lassitude crawled along her muscles. Some of the tension that had been gathering inside her since first light eased, and her eyes closed.

Unable to resist the embrace of the water as the handmaidens washed her hair and lathered her with soap, Clarke relaxed further, a tiny sigh leaving her lips.

And it was there, in the small space between sleep and wakefulness, that she remembered the last time she’d talked to her mother before Lexa brought her to Polis.

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

“Clarke, you can’t be seriously considering this.”

They faced each other inside what remained of the Ark’s medical wing. Gone was its pristine, chirurgical look, the metal walls darkened to soot-grey by the fires of re-entry and patched in places with wood.

Abby leaned forward, her weight resting almost entirely on the desk where she did most of her paperwork. Its surface was surprisingly empty, datapads and paper files stored safely away, as was the infirmary, which meant that spring had finally come, and the last cases of flu had successfully been treated.

Clarke stared her down, lips pressed into a thin line. Her back hurt, and the first tendrils of a headache snaked around her temples, squeezing right under her skin. They had talked about Heda’s last request for what felt like a century, tossing argument after argument back and forth across the table.

Part of her wanted to whirl around and march off to find Lexa, get her somewhere private (the dense woods just outside Arkadia would do nicely) and talk her into a heated make-out session.

Not that it usually took much convincing on her part; when they were alone, Heda was ardent in a way that made Clarke’s body tingle in all the right places.

Warmth climbed up her neck, and Clarke was glad that it was still cold enough that her jacket was zipped all the way up. The shirt she wore beneath it was cut low enough to reveal the flush crawling across her chest.

She could almost feel the phantom-whisper of Lexa’s lips against her pulse.

Clarke !” Abby slapped her hand down on the table, making her jump. “Are you even listening to me?”

“Did you say anything different from what I’ve heard at least fifty times tonight?” she retorted, hoping that sarcasm would conceal the fierce blush heating her cheeks.

She expected her mother to explode, but, to her surprise, Abby’s shoulders slumped, and she walked around the desk, hopping onto it with a sigh.

Weariness was evident on her face, the strips of fluorescent light bathing the med-bay in a harsh glare not particularly forgiving. Black circles seemed to have taken residence around her eyes, making it look like she’d been dabbing with Grounder war paint, and her skin was even paler by contrast, her cheeks hollowed-out and gaunt.

A pang of regret transfixed Clarke’s heart, and she wondered if her mother was eating enough.

Or getting enough sleep, for that matter.

Even if sitting on her table afforded her a few inches over Clarke, Abby actually looked smaller than she was, and more fragile.

“Clarke…” Abby trailed off and wiped a shaking hand over her eyes. “I assume by now you’ve heard how the Grounders refer to their ranking system?”

“You mean the Alpha, Beta, Omega stuff? Yeah, I’ve heard something.” Her mother shot her an overly serious look, and Clarke’s brows furrowed. “But our species evolved from that centuries ago, didn’t we? Like… They may cling to the hierarchy, but it’s a matter of superstition isn’t it?”

Her mother jerked her shoulders in a tired shrug.

“Yes and no.”

“No? So Pike has been bullshitting this whole time?” She failed to keep a touch of sarcasm from her voice.

Abby snorted, her lips twitching as she struggled to contain a smile.

“He gave students… an edulcorated version of things, shall we put it like that?” She looked around the desk, as if to grab something she could fidget with, but, finding nothing, started to pick imaginary flecks of dirt from her jacket’s sleeve.

“You see, there was no reason for us to believe that these traits would ever reappear in humankind. But they have. I think, and Jackson agrees, that, because of the nuclear fallout, humanity crossed a threshold after which the need to increase population numbers became a biological imperative.”

“So you mean heats and ruts and all that aren’t actually things of the past?”  

Abby nodded. “It’s in us.” She tapped her chest, and then pointed a finger at Clarke. “All of us. Grounders or Sky People makes no difference. Going into space for as long as we did must have kept these characteristics dormant. Due to limited resources, our imperative was to reduce population. Theirs was to increase it. Both working to preserve our species.”

Clarke’s knees felt weak. She wasn’t scared, or shocked, but it was as if little pieces of a puzzle she’d been trying to fit together for a while were finally clicking into place.

How two warriors who had been indifferent to each other would all of a sudden stand up and snarl a challenge, their hands flying to the hilt of their weapons. How, when she’d asked Lexa what her people meant when they called her Alpha of all Alphas , she’d just given her a wolfish grin and simply said they acknowledged that she was the strongest. Clarke had dropped the matter, glimpsing a flash of something in Lexa’s eyes that she could not put a name to at the time. Not uneasiness, nor the panic of someone who had their deepest secret almost revealed.

Surprise, perhaps, at Clarke’s ignorance.

“You’ve run tests, I assume?”

Her voice sounded cold, weird to her own ears.

“On myself and Jackson. Kane and a few from the Guard also volunteered.”

“And will we…”

Abby sighed again. “Eventually. Under normal circumstances, it would take generations, but radiation levels are still high enough to speed the process along. It’ll take months, a year at most.”

Clarke said nothing.

“Do you understand now, why I am so against you... mating Heda?” Abby’s mouth curled around the words, and she grimaced, no longer bothering to hold back her worry. “Even after all the blood work that was done, we have no way of telling where each individual falls within the hierarchy. And if there is a way, we lack the knowledge to find it.”

“And if I don’t do what Lexa asks of me, we’ll be at war again, Mom.”

Abby opened her mouth to protest, and Clarke squared her shoulders, readying herself for more arguing. What her mother couldn’t possibly understand was that she didn’t have a choice.

Her heart had chosen for her already.

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

Clarke stared into the cracked full mirror taking up a corner of the bedroom, a perfect stranger staring back.  

Apparently she’d fallen asleep in the bathtub, and the handmaidens had woken her by dumping a bucket of cold water over her head. She couldn’t really blame them; overall she felt more energized than she had in a long time.

The bath she’d been given obviously wasn’t the first she’d taken since coming to Polis, but she’d never been so thoroughly scrubbed in her entire life. What skin her new dress left uncovered glowed a rosy pink, and her hair gleamed a deep gold in the fire’s flickering light, still not completely dry.

The handmaidens had arranged the blonde locks in intricate braids, so that no errant strand would fall across her face and shadow it, then, once they were satisfied, the older one had applied war paint around her eyes. It was the same midnight blue as her dress, the entire ensemble offsetting the lighter shade of her eyes.

“Very good.” The one who had tried to reassure her nodded, satisfaction clear on her face. “Heda will be pleased.”

Clarke’s heart skipped a beat and she swallowed harshly, fervently hoping the women wouldn’t notice the flush that spread across her collarbone at the mention of the Alpha.

“We must be going.”

The handmaidens bracketed her, falling in step as they herded her toward the bedroom’s door. The little calm she’d found while in the bath evaporated, and Clarke wiped her hands on the fabric of the dress, noting how it exposed the the entire length of her right leg as she walked.

Easy access.

She swallowed again.

Outside, the hallways were completely empty, which caused her steps to falter. In her time as Heda’s honored guest, Clarke had quickly learned that the Commander’s Tower never really rested. Sure, it grew quieter at night, but one could always cross paths with other people along its corridors. Guards patrolled at regular intervals, and dignitaries who were visiting Lexa or petitioning the Council often gathered to discuss diplomatic matters; conversations that sometimes heated up and spilled into the hallways.

“Where’s everybody?”

She kept her voice low, feeling that disrupting the heavy silence would be akin to sacrilege.

“The corridors were cleared for you,” one of the handmaidens replied, just as quietly. She peered into Clarke’s face and added, pity softening her voice, “Only the Ambassadors will be present at the ceremony. They will bear witness, and word of the mating will reach the Clans through them.”

Clarke clamped her teeth around the nervous giggles she felt build at the back of her throat. She couldn’t decide whether the woman’s words made things better or worse. While she was relieved that she wouldn’t have to… perform in front of a sizeable crowd, these were people she knew . Men and women she and her mother had argued with, some of whom she’d earned the respect of, while others regarded her with open hatred.

“No more talking now.”

They had come to the hallway leading up to the throne room, and the handmaiden stopped Clarke right before she rounded the corner.

The woman held her gaze for long moments, a hand clasping one of hers in an attempt at reassurance.

Breathe, the woman mouthed. All will be well.

Clarke drew one deep breath and righted herself, squeezing the handmaid's hand once before letting go.

She would walk to meet her fate alone.

The throne room had been rearranged for the evening, and, while its aura of power was preserved, a different feeling pervaded it. Only a few torches had been lit, and their light failed to reach the Commander’s throne. Beyond it, the curtains had been pulled open, and Clarke caught a glimpse of the city’s lights, glinting far below the balcony’s edge like diamonds tossed to the ground by the hand of a God.

The Ambassadors sat in a line along one wall, each of them underneath a banner bearing their Clan’s sigil. The first to meet her eyes was her mother, who had been seated the furthest from Lexa’s throne; a reminder in a way that Skaikru had not completely earned Heda’s forgiveness.

Lexa waited for her at the base of the dais. The dress she wore was cut just like her own, but of a forest green that appeared black under the torchlight, instead of blue.

When their eyes met, sparks seemed to fill the space between them. The air turned heavy inside Clarke’s lungs, electric and full of promise.

Without speaking, she began to walk toward the Alpha, her feet carrying her along subconsciously, as if she was being drawn to Lexa like a magnet.

Clarke couldn’t resist the pull of those eyes, which bored into her own and seemed to know every hidden corner of her soul.

Neither did she want to.

“She comes!” a woman’s voice called from the shadows beyond the throne. “Wanheda comes!”

Clarke could see her now, a darker silhouette against the night. One of the Fleimkepas, she assumed, but thankfully not Titus.

She halted inches away from Lexa, and under that unflinching gaze, the room grew distant. Unimportant. Clarke thought that she could easily get lost into the green of those eyes, and if it happened, she found she wouldn’t mind.

Behind her, a chair scratched loudly across the floor, and Clarke knew without looking that her mother just stood up.

The other Ambassadors hissed lowly, and she knew she needed to do something before Abby interfered. Something that would make it impossible for anyone to stop their union. As enraptured as she had been with the Alpha, the sneer that had flashed across the Azgeda Ambassador’s face had not been lost to Clarke.

Dison laik ai sadon .” [this is my choice] she said, a collective gasp rising from the men and women gathered behind her. “ Em laik ai sadon .” [she is my choice.]

Lexa’s jaw, which had hardened with barely contained anger when Abby stood up, unclenched, and, when Clarke dropped to her knees in front of her, the Alpha’s eyes widened, showing the white.

This wasn’t how the ritual was supposed to go, and once her knees hit the floor, Clarke paused, silently checking in with her soon-to-be mate for permission.

Lexa’s nostrils flared, hunger descending like a cloud over her eyes, and she gave a minute nod of confirmation.

You don’t have to, her softening gaze seemed to say. Clarke knew she could just let the Alpha lead her to the furs that had been laid out for them, and hide her face into Lexa’s neck while her lover took her and marked her as her own. It would be easier to pretend nobody was watching if she allowed herself to be pinned down under the Alpha’s solid weight.

Please. Lexa’s body language screamed her need, even as tenderness flashed through her face. It lasted just one moment before her features stilled into the stoic mask Clarke knew so well, and nothing more was necessary between them.

Even though she could feel the Ambassadors’ eyes burning her back like brands - her mother’s gaze the hottest one - Clarke didn’t care. Lexa’s eyes kept hers entrapped, and she found refuge in the Alpha’s commanding presence.

Nothing existed, save the two of them, and the last vestiges of her fear lifted away from her heart, letting it beat free.

“Allow me to serve, my Alpha,” she whispered, voice pitched for Lexa’s ears only. The Alpha reached down with one hand, fingers running over Clarke’s braided hair in assent, and she tilted her face into the touch, a shiver racing down her spine as Heda’s calloused hand skated along one of her cheeks.

Her hands lifted, shaky and tentative, to pull the skirt of Lexa’s dress aside and reveal the apex of her sex. Soft curls already dampened by arousal greeted her, and while Clarke would have loved to spend an eternity exploring the rest of Lexa’s body before this, she knew that it would have to wait.

Clarke ached to trace the scars that surely had left faded lines on Lexa’s skin, follow the swirls of her tattoos with her lips and her tongue, but the Ambassadors waited to see her submit, so instead she pressed her mouth to Lexa’s mound, and felt her own sex start to drip.

Above her, Lexa panted openly, the hand still fisting Clarke’s braids spasming and drawing her closer. She obliged the silent command, laving the Alpha’s sun-kissed skin with slow swipes of her tongue.

Lexa tasted of the sun, and the salt the ocean left behind. Clarke nipped at her skin and tugged, leaving a purplish mark where her inner thigh met her sex, whimpering when Lexa’s hips jerked forward, the Alpha rubbing her slick-soaked mound against her cheek.

She let Lexa turn her face - and the entirety of her focus - to her weeping sex, tongue darting out to part the Alpha’s swollen lips and lavish her inner folds with attention.

A warm jet of arousal gushed into her mouth and Clarke moaned, drinking of her lover’s essence greedily. Lexa was openly snarling now, her abs flexing as she tried to hold herself from bucking into Clarke’s mouth too roughly.

Clarke dug her hands into Lexa’s hips, holding her in place as she latched onto her hardened clit to pull back its hood with the tip of her tongue and tease around it while she suckled.

It throbbed against her tongue, and ever so slowly started to grow, forcing her to tilt her head back a little to accommodate.

She let her eyes fall shut, savoring Lexa’s taste, and her hands cradling her face as she sucked and licked her growing length. Because of the talk she’d had with her mother, Clarke was not surprised, and this was not her first brush with sex anyway. On the Ark, a lot of experimenting went on after lights out, and it was an accepted way to ease the tension that inevitably built in such a cramped space. While conceiving was strictly regulated, sex was not, but public sex… well, she would never had expected to agree to it.

Pulling back, she released Lexa’s fully erect cock with a wet pop, grinning up at the Alpha before pushing her tongue against its tip, teasing the divot in which small droplets of pre-cum had already gathered.

“Fuck, Clarke.”

Lexa’s façade shattered, hips stuttering forward as she called her name, and, still smirking, Clarke let her mouth fall open.

She sealed her lips around the blunt head, her moans vibrating along the shaft as she coaxed more of Lexa’s salty-sweet pre-cum into her mouth. Tongue sliding in tight swirls around the Alpha’s girth, Clarke let her head bob down, taking more and more inches in with each pass. Her hand moved from where it had been rubbing circles against Lexa’s hip, and descended to the base of her erection, adding stimulation.

Thoughts invaded her mind, of how it would feel to have Lexa sheathe inside her, and ram her length into her slit until she spilled deep in her womb.

Clarke’s cunt clenched painfully around nothing, and she moaned again, her fist moving faster along Lexa’s twitching shaft.

Growls fell from the Alpha’s lips without pause, and, when Clarke let her eyes roll up to look into Lexa’s face, what she saw almost left her breathless.

Lexa’s pupils were blown so wide that her eyes looked black, and her upper lip had curled back, exposing the whiteness of her teeth. She was a wild, beautiful goddess, coming undone under the mouth of her dearest supplicant.

Clarke could tell that she was close, and pulled her head back until only the head of Lexa’s member remained in her mouth. She inhaled deeply, willing herself to relax and then slid back down, taking the Alpha in until she hit the back of her throat.

Air left Lexa in a rush, and she hunched forward, a silent scream twisting her lips as she emptied inside Clarke’s mouth, the orgasm shaking her like wind would sway a tree when blowing through its branches.

Her hips jerked with each spurt, and no matter how quickly Clarke swallowed, strands of the Alpha’s release spilled from her lips and slithered down her chin.

Finally, the jets tapered off, Lexa carefully withdrawing while her hands lingered around Clarke’s face, stroking her jaw. She made a show of licking her lips, and gasped when the Alpha’s shaft lifted again under her gaze.

There was no chance to do anything about it, however, Lexa pulling her to her feet firmly to crash their mouths into a heated kiss.

The Alpha gathered traces of her own cum from Clarke’s chin and lips, before drawing her flush against her, a loud rumble filling the air. Lexa’s body was hot and firm against her own, and Clarke was glad for the support. Her legs were weak, her thighs shaking, and she doubted she would have been able to stand without Lexa’s help.

Flushed and short of breath, she rolled her hips forward, her thighs a mess of running slick under her dress. Something she couldn’t name had awoken deep inside her, a hunger so great it scared her with its vastness.

She whined and mewled, her grinding growing desperate.

Lexa’s arms went around her, and when the Alpha lifted her up and carried her towards the furs, the rest of the room left her mind for good.  




Chapter Text

“My Alpha.”

Clarke repeated the words, whisper-quiet, as the Alpha’s arms lifted her, cradling her body close to her chest while Lexa carried her toward the furs. They echoed in her mind, they felt right , and she knew, without a shade of doubt, that Lexa was her home.

She’d known the night they had kissed next to the fire, Lexa’s face bronzed by the glow of the flames, and yet inscrutable eyes, like dark ponds that drank the light. But after Clarke had pulled back, mouth tingling from the tender kiss she and Lexa had shared, she had seen the Alpha’s face soften, her gaze sparkling with something that, if they nurtured it, would blossom into love.

And now, with her ear pressed to Lexa’s chest, she could hear that same love in the beating of her heart.

Her lover transported her effortlessly, her body so used to armor and the harsh training Grounder gonas underwent, that Clarke may as well have been weighing nothing. Thick drops of Lexa’s cum still hung at the corners of her mouth like dew, and Clarke ran her tongue over her lips, whimpering as she drew the rich taste inside herself again.

She just couldn’t get enough of it, or Lexa, and the thought of what was about to happen sent ripples down her spine. Heat had gathered low inside her belly, burning like a hot piece of iron pressed into her flesh. It was pleasant, yet also painful, and it made rivers of sweat run from her hairline down her face and neck.

A rumble started low in Lexa’s throat as she responded to Clarke’s whimper, soothing like the murmuring of waves upon a shore. Clarke pressed her face into the damp place where Lexa’s neck joined her collarbone and inhaled deeply, scenting the Alpha. An instinct older than time itself demanded that she do it; that she let Lexa’s smell seep deep into her lungs and take root there, next to her heart.

The Alpha smelled lightly of sweat, her skin torrid as Clarke ran the tip of her nose alongside her throat. Underneath, she could smell traces of leather and the steel of Heda’s sword, plus something else she could not place, but that stirred fires between her legs.

Lexa knelt next to the furs and lowered her down, hands moving to cup her cheeks and stroke her jawline.

“My Clarke.”

She bent down, breathing the words against the shell of Clarke’s ear before tracing it with the tip of her tongue. Clarke shivered, back arching off the pelts and fingers flailing for purchase before they hooked around the low-cut neckline of Lexa’s dress, seeking to pull her closer.

The Alpha resisted, pulling back to place her hands on top of Clarke’s and squeeze them gently, fingers entwined with her own.

“Wait,” she whispered, expression serious with concern, but eyes soft, “you’ve done enough. They’ve gone.”

“Gone?” Clarke pushed herself up on her elbows, noting that, for some reason, it was becoming increasingly hard for her to put together a coherent string of words. Her tongue felt thick and alien in her mouth and her bones ached, like at the onset of a fever.

Just my luck. She grimaced. Getting sick in the middle of all this!

Casting a glance over Lexa’s shoulder, she found that the Ambassadors had indeed filed out of the room. The chairs stood abandoned, and even the lone Fleimkepa had left, leaving her and Lexa alone. Some of the torches had blown out, the throne room completely immersed in shadow, save for the spot in which they were, and she felt as if they had, by some magic trick only the Commander knew, moved elsewhere.

Into a cave, or a wolf’s den perhaps.

The thought made her shiver with anticipation.

“The Fleimkepa judged that you upheld the treaty and herded them out while you…” Lexa gestured at the empty air and blushed, as gracefully as she did everything else. “Even though you didn’t follow the ritual, you made quite an impression.” She bit her lips, eyes dropping eloquently to her lap.

Clarke searched her face for annoyance or reproach, but Lexa’s words lacked heat, and she was smiling down at her. And her eyes… Her eyes held a brightness, something glinting deep among the green.

Pride?

Clarke wasn’t entirely sure, but warmth spread across her chest at the sight.

“I… I really didn’t notice.” She shook her head ruefully, hands grasping Lexa’s tighter when the room spun and titled around her.

“I would say you were concerned with other things.” The blush that had suffused the Alpha’s cheeks at her own quip was replaced by alarm at Clarke’s labored breathing.

“Clarke?” Lexa freed her hands and gathered her into her arms, crooning softly. She frowned, fingers pushing strands of sweat-matted hair back from her twisting face. “Clarke, what is it?”

A growl layered the Alpha’s voice, and her eyes turned hard as she scanned each and every shadow. Her body language shifted; the tenderness gone, hidden behind aggression. It was a sight to make grown warriors quake and grovel, Lexa’s eyes burning like stars in among the warpaint, but Clarke was not afraid. The frenzied beating of her heart relented, and she relaxed, knowing that she was safe within the protective circle of the Alpha’s strong arms.

“I don’t…” Clarke shook her head again and her stomach roiled in disagreement. Too tense to push herself to eat, she had been fasting since first light, her body refusing anything but water after she’d somehow managed to feed herself a piece of flatbread smeared with some of the jam the handmaidens had left for her.

Now Clarke was glad. Throwing up all over Lexa would definitely shame her for the rest of her days. That was not the proper way to start life with her mate.

My mate .

Her heart accelerated.

She wet her lips, which were fissured and hurt as if she’d been exposed to the great heat of a desert, then tried to speak again.

Only a mewling, desperate sound came out, and she wildly rolled her eyes at Lexa, silently imploring for her help. The hunger that had awoken deep inside her grew to staggering proportions; an all-consuming force, alive with need. Insatiable, like the black holes that, in the most remote parts of space, captured and devoured the stars.

The Alpha crooned again, running her nose along Clarke’s jawline. Her tongue followed, flicking warm and tender at the apex of her neck to gather the salt off of her skin.

When Lexa met her gaze again, her eyes were wide with shock, and her gasp bounced off the walls louder than it had a right to be. She raised a hand, fingers shaking as she reverently mapped every line of Clarke’s face.

“Omega,” the Alpha husked, nostrils flaring as she filled herself with Clarke’s scent. “I should have known.”

Clarke blinked, mind reeling in confusion.

She wanted to ask what Lexa meant, and what was happening to her. The talk she and her mother had what felt like years ago had not prepared Clarke for any of this. It had not readied her for the searing pain that split her bones apart and boiled her marrow, nor for the relentless throbbing of her sex. She ached with need, her walls fluttering madly around nothing as her pussy clenched, gushing arousal soaking through the fabric of her dress and dooming it to ruin. She wanted to laugh at the thought that no amount of washing would save the smeared cloth.

“Wha-?” Clarke said, or rather tried to, chills wreaking havoc down her spine. Her body shook so hard that she almost tumbled out of Lexa’s embrace, and her teeth clicked shut, trapping her tongue.

She groaned and tasted the copper of her blood.

“I think you’re an Omega, Clarke.” Lexa’s lips curled into a self-deprecatory smile. “I should have been able to tell the night you kissed me. You called to me in a way I should have recognized, and there was something…” The Alpha sighed and trailed off, before jerking her shoulders dismissively. “There was something about you that prickled at my mind like a hot needle.” She paused again, hand rubbing soothing circles atop Clarke’s belly when another set of spasms raced through her. “Well before you made your interest clear.”

Clarke sucked her tongue between her teeth, suppressing another whine. It stung, but not as much as the knowledge that her mother had been wrong, at least regarding her. Maybe because of the attraction already existing between them, or perhaps because of Lexa’s status as strongest Alpha, her body had awoken, and well before the estimated time.

Once whatever had settled over her was dealt with, she needed to send word. If the cramps, fever, and encompassing lust she was feeling were anything to go by, Arkadia could descend into chaos if too many people went through this at the same time. She didn’t want to linger on what it would be like being alone while in this state, but luckily for her she didn’t have to.

Lexa seemed to have followed the course of her thoughts, because she pulled her even more firmly against her chest, lips catching hers in a soft, lingering kiss.

“I think you’re entering your Heat,” she murmured against Clarke’s mouth, teeth worrying at her lower lip until Clarke bucked against her, whimpering for more. “Don’t be afraid.”

The Alpha rocked her as one would a child, humming under her breath and waiting for another bout of shivers to release Clarke’s body into her arms before speaking again.

“I swear, Clarke, nothing will befall you while I draw breath.” The solemn promise was a sharp contrast to the storm crossing her face. Her eyes had clouded with the same lust that Clarke felt dancing along her bones, and her face was taut with effort, hollowed out. Despite the low, faltering light, she could see that Lexa’s brow was sheened with sweat, and the Alpha’s jaw rhythmically clenched, the grinding of her teeth almost audible in the silence.

It was obvious that a battle raged somewhere within Heda; an all-out war between her chivalry and her need. Clarity dawned over Clarke’s mind, sharpening her lust-addled thoughts, and she could read the Alpha like an open book.

Lexa was fighting the need to pin her under her solid weight and fuck her into the furs. She was trying not to take the rest of what they both had penned on paper, too afraid perhaps that her nature would have the best of her and that, in her frenzy, she’d end up being too rough. The thought of the Alpha’s cock splitting her open, however, had Clarke moan and paw at Lexa’s dress, the burning of her core almost unbearable. She wanted Lexa buried inside her to the hilt, whatever fear she may be feeling under different circumstances, smoldering under the onslaught of her desires until only scattered ashes were left over.

Again, Heda started to resist, but, when Clarke let one hand fall between them, fingers searching through the folds of Lexa’s dress until they closed around her lover’s shaft, she threw her head back with a moan of her own.

Encouraged by the lustful, obscene sounds the Alpha made, Clarke began to stroke her, using the layer of cloth to her advantage for added sensation. Even so, she could feel the scorching heat of Lexa’s flesh beneath her palm, and a moan ripped from her chest, echoing the Alpha’s.

It didn’t take long for Lexa to get fully hard again, Clarke’s scent evidently affecting her more than she was trying to let on. No matter how fiercely Heda clung to her stoic facade, gasps and snarls fell from her lips with each lazy pump of Clarke’s fist, and her hands had closed around the straps of her dress as if she had half a mind to tear it off.

“Please…” Clarke simpered, palming Lexa’s throbbing shaft for emphasis. “I need you, Lexa!”

She’d meant her words to be a breathy plea, but they tumbled out of her in a desperate cry, and, as the world around her grew hazy, Clarke realized that tears had gathered in her eyes. She tilted her head back, every shred of the lineal memory ensconced inside her being ordering submission, and was rewarded by the fevered press of Lexa’s lips against her pulse.

“Klark…” The Alpha was panting, her breath skimming hotly across the flushed skin of Clarke’s throat. “Klark,” she repeated, teeth grazing at her pulse until she was a whimpering mess, her muscles quivering with want.

“I want this...Lexa, please !” She ached to feel Lexa’s body slide against her own as they made love. Hardship had robbed her of her childhood, and her bones - which were old beyond her years - had finally found their resting place.

She was openly crying now and didn’t care. Her hips bucked wildly into the air, and, despite the fact she was still clothed, arousal dripped from her and onto the furs below her ass.

Lexa’s hands gripped her hips and forced her down before the Alpha rubbed her cheek against Clarke’s own, kissing away the tears.

“I want it, too.” Emotion caught at the back of her throat, and the shine of unshed tears glazed her eyes. “I want you, Clarke, not because of a peace treaty, but because my heart belongs to you.”

They held each other’s gaze a moment longer, their love too abundant to be measured, and after, their desires had the best of them.

In a show of prowess, Lexa tore the dress off of her, fingers rending it as easily as they’d crumble a piece of paper. Clarke gasped, the sight utterly arousing, and then hissed in mingled agony and relief as her heated body was exposed to the cooler air of the room.

She expected that, by forcing her legs apart and mounting her, Lexa would now give her what she craved.

Instead, the Alpha moved away again and stood, eliciting a worried whine.

“Shhh,” she crooned, meeting Clarke’s panicked stare with a reassuring look. “I'm not going anywhere.”

Following suit on her promise, Lexa removed her dress in one, fluid motion. Just as Clarke had expected, the toned planes of her body were crisscrossed by scars which stood out like pale lines of script on her tanned skin. During more informal meetings, Lexa had worn a sleeveless tunic, and Clarke was familiar with the tattoos that rested like rerebraces on her upper arms. It was the first time she saw the one following the Alpha’s spine, however, and managed only a cursory look when Lexa twisted away to throw her balled up dress into the darkness, where neither of them would care to look for it.

Lexa was beautiful, glorious even, but the whorls of black ink adorning her flesh could hold Clarke’s attention only for so long before her gaze was inexorably drawn to the Alpha’s erection.

It stood out proudly from the tuft of dark curls at the apex of Lexa’s sex, reddened tip glistening with pearlescent droplets of pre-cum. Watching Clarke watch her, the Alpha fisted herself, deliberate and slow, a smirk playing across her lips when Clarke shuddered and whined.

The Alpha’s gaze swept across Clarke’s shivering, naked body just as hotly as her own, and, when Lexa joined her on the furs, she thought that she was finally getting what she had been begging for.

“Not yet,” Lexa grinned, guessing her thoughts.

Clarke wracked her brain for a reply, but before she could think of anything to say, Lexa’s mouth descended on her body.

Starting from her collarbone, the Alpha nipped and sucked her way down to Clarke’s breasts, where she paused to tug each of her aching nipples between sharp teeth. Under her, Clarke tossed around and whimpered, Lexa’s cock brushing insistently against the inside of her thigh, in what she classified as the sweetest form of torture.

She was reduced to incoherent begging in a matter of minutes, everything forgotten, save the feeling of Lexa’s hot mouth making its way to her dripping pussy. The Alpha had left a trail of stinging bites along her path, but the flaring pain only excited Clarke further. Heda was claiming her, and the whole world would see the purple bites along her neck and know whom she belonged to.

Clarke would not have it any other way.

The moment Lexa’s lips came into contact with her folds, she screamed, the sensation so powerful she risked blacking out from it. Clarke teetered on the narrow edge that marked the fall into unconsciousness, and it was Lexa that, again, drew her back to safety.

The Alpha’s tongue flicked and lapped along her folds before she drew Clarke’s labia in her mouth and sucked, causing them to tingle and ache. It felt as if the entirety of her blood was rushing south - into her clit, to be precise - and Clarke whimpered as it hardened, poking up for attention.

Lexa snarled, teeth scraping the quivering bundle of nerves before her lips latched on to it, making Clarke cry out again. She would have jerked out of her lover’s mouth, her hips shunting upwards wildly, were it not for Lexa’s hands, closing around her hip bones to hold her in place.

Her orgasm caught her entirely by surprise. It wasn’t the first time someone ate her out, but it had never felt like this. Lexa’s mouth was a perfect blend of sweetness and restrained violence, her teeth nipping at Clarke’s clit before she soothed the sharp burn with the tender laving of her tongue.

Her vision was stolen by flashes of white, and she was flung into her pleasure like a meteor burning out as it plummeted to earth.

When she could see again - or feel anything other than ecstasy, for that matter - she found herself trapped under the Alpha’s solid weight, Lexa raining gentle kisses all over her face.

The Alpha jogged her hips, and Clarke hissed, arousal building rapidly again.

“Clarke…” Over her Lexa was shaking, the blunt head of her cock nudging at Clarke’s thigh whenever her hips swayed. She knew she was gushing all over it, but feeling it press against her slit wasn’t enough. It could never be enough.

Eyes rolling back into her skull, Clarke canted her hips up, offering herself in a way she hoped would not be misunderstood.

To her relief Lexa got the message loud and clear, moving to kneel between her legs, hands tugging at her hips until Clarke’s ass was resting atop her thighs. Positioned that way, Clarke was free to lift herself onto her elbows, and watch, entrapped, as Lexa fisted herself again before she lined up to her weeping opening, grunting when the tip of her cock was enveloped in Clarke’s heat.

The moment she began to push inside, Clarke fell back onto the pelts, hands opening and closing helplessly at her sides. Lexa was big , bigger than Clarke had imagined she would feel, despite having taken her inside her mouth already.

This was different, more intimate, every inch of the Alpha slipping inside her folds somehow bringing their hearts closer as well. The stretch burned in the beginning, lining her pleasure with scarlet flames that smoldered at the corners of her mind, and then it eased, replaced by a different sort of fire.

She must have tensed at the blaze of pain, because above her, the Alpha purred, a hand falling on her belly to rub tight circles over her flexing abs.

“You take me so well,” Lexa praised, grunting as another inch slipped inside of Clarke. “You’re so tight, my love.”

Clarke whimpered, the hunger that had threatened to consume her only yawning wider.

“All inside,” she panted, past caring if it hurt. Her pleasure was agony as well, like a double-edged blade sliding along her veins. “Give me all of it, Lexa!”

The Alpha growled, unbridled lust curling her lips until her teeth were exposed as she slammed inside to the hilt with one last push. Their hips slapped together as she pumped, Clarke’s walls falling open as her pussy was stretched into adjusting.

Their groans and cries mingled until Clarke couldn’t tell who, between the two of them, was the one screaming.

The desperate need to be filled that had taken residence inside of her abated, and she let Lexa set a grueling pace, walls clutching greedily at her shaft to try and keep her in whenever she withdrew it.

Eons passed, with her coming no closer to release, until she became aware of an added pressure at the base of Lexa’s cock, something hot and thumping that pounded against her opening whenever the Alpha rammed her length inside.

As she felt it push against the tight ring of muscles of her opening, Clarke’s vision swam with red, panic rising like a tide to fill her nose and mouth until it became impossible to breath. Her body screamed, hard-coded instincts clashing with her pain, and she writhed, slipping from Lexa’s grasp.

The Alpha’s nails left stinging welts around her hip bones before her hands caught Clarke again, easing her into the furs. Lexa withdrew, cock covered in their combined arousal, her expression soft as she rubbed Clarke’s thighs and belly.

“I’m sorry!” Bitter tears fell into her mouth as she spoke; she cried at the loss, the hunger returning and gnawing at her bones, and sobbed at the thought of having failed her mate somehow.

“Hush.” Lexa’s voice was warm with her affection, and wrapped around her shuddering limbs like a blanket. “Your body is still adjusting. Have I hurt you?” The Alpha bit her lower lip and whined, fretting. “Here I am, swearing to defend you from harm, and look at me.”

She went to embrace Clarke, but froze, a stricken look flashing across her face. They had been still partially entwined, Lexa having been resting on her forearms as she fucked Clarke’s cunt, and, when she moved, her heavy cock bumped into Clarke’s slit.

The Alpha gasped, back bowed upwards, and, before she could do anything to stop it, she was emptying herself over Clarke’s sex. Hot jets of her cum splashed Clarke’s quivering folds, drenching her slit and cooling her fevered skin as they slithered in thick drops down her inner thighs.

Shock veered sharply toward shame on Lexa’s face, and she opened her mouth to apologize, not quite able to meet Clarke’s gaze.

Heart fluttering against her ribcage like a hummingbird, Clarke sat up, catching her lover’s mouth into a fierce kiss. Their tongues clashed, hot and messy, Lexa melting into her with a small, uncertain whine.

“It was quite hot to be honest.” Clarke grinned once they broke contact, eyes going down to the mess. “I just wish…”

Her cheeks flushed bright red, and she wiped a hand across her eyes, struggling to hold back tears.

I wish it had ended up inside me.

Something within her howled its agreement, and her heart gave a painful throb as it faltered. There was an emptiness inside her, not much different from the sickening one she had felt during the Ark’s drop to earth. It made her nauseous and electric with unspent adrenaline all at once. Eyes screwed shut, she wracked her brain to express how she felt, but it was as if a knot had formed on her tongue, rendering her speechless.

The Alpha’s fingers ghosted across her quivering lower lip, and the howling inside of her was cut off.

“Our young are lectured on what to expect when they present.” Her voice had mellowed out, her arousal still present, but subtle, like a subterranean current. “And still the experience can be a painful one.” The Alpha’s teeth flashed white in the darkness when she grimaced. “It seems that living among the stars has changed your people.”

Clarke grasped her hand and squeezed. Pain had helped clear the fog from her mind, but need waited for her to falter, hidden deep in the nooks and gaps between her bones.

“It seems that I am remembering.” When her lover nodded, she went on to ask, “What now?”

Lexa’s arms snaked around her, and, without replying, the Alpha stood. Ignoring the ruined furs, she padded, silent and purposeful to the throne room double doors.

“Now I take you to our bed and care for you.”

 

Chapter Text

They were halfway to Heda’s private quarters when it occurred to Clarke that they walked along the corridors stark naked. Heat crawled up her neck, and her ears burned red with shame, but another voice inside her snickered at her reaction. Considering what she’d already done in front of the Ambassadors, her mother included, this was no big deal.

And, if somebody saw them, the marks adorning her breasts would make it obvious who she belonged to should there be need to drive the message home.

The idea of Lexa claiming her fully shot a burst of adrenaline through her heart, and she swallowed, her throat suddenly dry. Studying the hierarchy and experiencing it first-hand were two entirely different things, but she had spied the teeth marks on some of the Grounders’ necks. They did nothing to hide them after all, some of them going as far as to flaunt the sign of ownership. And she had noticed another thing: even though fights broke out between Alphas, especially when unmarked individuals were present, nobody interfered with mated pairs.

When she’d first gotten to Heda’s Tower, its twisting hallways had easily confused her, and one day she’d taken a wrong turn, happening upon a warrior and his mate, kissing in a shadowed corner. Back on the Ark, it had been normal for teens like her to seek a secluded spot for a quickie, and getting found was usually an excuse for lewd jokes and relentless teasing. But accidentally intruding on that couple had been different; the warrior - a tall, broad-shouldered man who would have been intimidating under any other circumstances - had put himself between Clarke and the woman he’d been kissing the moment he had become aware of the intruder.

Snarls had filled the air, causing Clarke to backtrack in a hurry, hands raised in front of her face to show she meant no harm. She knew he had not attacked her only because he’d recognized her as one of the Skai People, but she had taken extra care from that moment onward; ignorance wouldn’t always save her.

One other thing had stuck with her from that encounter: she wanted Lexa to look at her in the same way those two mates had been staring at each other.

Tightening her arms around the Alpha’s neck, she nuzzled at her throat, and her lips were drawn unerringly to Lexa’s pulse.

Without thought, she trapped the beating of Lexa’s heart between her lips, sucking until she felt a purplish mark rise to meet her mouth. The same invisible force that had been commanding her actions since she’d stepped inside the throne room urged her to bite down until her teeth broke skin, and, in the tang of the Alpha’s blood, seal their bond.

And she would have, if not for the fact that Lexa’s arms slackened in surprise, almost dropping her to the floor before her lover brought herself under control. Still, as the shock coursed through her body, Lexa stumbled, and had to totter to the nearest wall to lean against it in order to keep upright.

Jostled as she was, Clarke released the skin she’d latched onto, tilting her head back to study the Alpha’s face for a hint of what she had done wrong. Her heart faltered and she tasted bile, the stray, unwelcome thought that maybe Lexa didn’t want her as her mate burrowing into her mind like rot.

It was ludicrous, she knew, especially because her lover had already shown her how far she would go for them to be together. After all, one of the reasons Lexa had demanded the mating as a requirement for peace was to have Clarke by her side without opposition. Asking for Clarke’s hand any other way would have been seen as favoritism by the other Clans – they had paraded Omegas in front of Heda for years, hoping for a stronger alliance – and the ritual had been a way to fool them all.

Going to the Commander as a war bride, a humiliating compromise, both in the eyes of the Grounders and Skaikru, if for different reasons, had given Clarke all the standing that she really cared for. Which was to say, a place within Lexa’s heart.

Still, she fretted, unable to control the fear chilling her bones, and let loose a whine, one of her hands cupping Lexa’s downturned face to get her attention.

The Alpha’s braids had come partly undone while they tangled on the furs, and locks of her brown hair had fallen forward to frame her face in shadow.

Her eyes shone, feverish with lust, and Clarke could hear her rasping breath, intermittent growls falling from her lips.

“Clarke…” Her name sounded like a prayer on the Alpha’s lips, and a moment later, Lexa had put her down, pinning her against the wall to kiss her hard.

Clarke moaned, her mouth falling open to allow Lexa entrance, grateful for the cold wall at her back; it was rough - uneven against her flesh - and the way her skin scraped against it was unpleasant, but these sensations all combined helped her not lose herself completely as the world around her spun.

Lexa’s mouth released hers, but not before she’d bitten Clarke’s lower lip hard enough to bruise it, and, as air rushed back into her lungs, her head was unceremoniously tilted back, exposing the column of her throat.

Clarke whimpered, her eyes watering with the delicious throb of her hair being fisted and pulled. Lexa’s hand was hot against her scalp, its palm calloused by countless hours spent wielding a sword, and she welcomed the relief of being handled in such a way like a sick woman would a caring touch.

She accepted it without question, the countless atavistic memories enshrined inside her blood igniting with the spark of gasoline.

Ever so slowly, the cold fear that had made her spine lock relented, the same need she’d felt in the throne room as Lexa sheathed inside her taking its place.

The Alpha’s mouth covered her pulse point, tongue darting across her skin to lick at it, and Clarke went completely still. Her mind burned, more out of control than a forest fire, and her lungs had seemingly forgotten how to fill inside her chest.

Clarke practically hung by Lexa’s grasp, her muscles turned as pliant as wet clay. She waited, ready to be molded by her lover’s touch however she desired. To be taken, claimed and used for the Alpha’s pleasure, even if it meant being fucked against the hallway’s wall like a common whore.

Her racing heart held no more room for fear of passersby, what Lexa had called her Heat superseding whatever sense of decency that may be left within her.

Her lover’s teeth grazed at her skin and Clarke arched up, offering herself. Lexa’s cock was a warm, insistent weight against her inner thigh, and she was aware that she was gushing, her arousal dripping all along the quivering shaft.

Eyes rolled up as far as they would go into her skull, she opened her mouth, to beg, or perhaps cry out her Alpha’s name. Only mewling sounds came out; a thin, reedy keen like that of a pup seeking comfort.

Lexa responded with a growl of her own, their bodies pressed so tightly together that there was no room left between them. Her hands dropped to Clarke's thighs, wrapping around to palm her ass roughly, and she instinctually raised her legs, crossing her ankles at the small of Lexa’s flexing back to let the wall and her lover’s strong arms support her.

The Alpha whined, breath skating across Clarke’s pulse as hot as steam while her teeth scraped more insistently at her flesh. But just when she thought Lexa would cave in and fuck her right there and then, biting into her throat to claim her, the Alpha pulled her lips away, bringing them to crash against her gaping mouth for another messy kiss.

“Not yet,” she groaned around Clarke’s tongue as she sucked it, roughly enough to make it hurt. “You. Not ready.”

Clarke wanted to scream her frustration, her cunt spasming as it slid across Lexa’s lower abs. She released another wave of slick, and the Alpha grunted, hips starting to roll forward before she brought herself under control.

Her face had regained some of its usual composure, but her eyes - bottomless pits of pure hunger that saw right into Clarke’s soul - told a different story.

Her calm was nothing but a thin veneer Lexa armored herself with to mask how wrecking Clarke’s Heat really was on her. Without putting Clarke down, she stood back from the wall and resumed walking, her steps brisker than before.

Every time the Alpha moved, the heated tip of her cock scraped along Clarke’s weeping folds, and she wondered if there was a way she could try and lower herself on it before Lexa could stop her.

“I said, not yet.”

Jerking her head up from where she had been resting it on Lexa’s shoulder, Clarke gaped, her lover’s commanding expression breaking to allow a smirk to shine through.

“You’re never up to any good when you go quiet, Clarke.” Lexa’s tone was gravelly, need evident in her voice, but the words were soft and warm with love.

Ignoring her protests - weak and half-mumbled because Heda was not entirely wrong - Lexa covered the distance that separated them from her quarters quickly.

Usually, at least two guards were posted outside her door at all times, but tonight they had moved further down the corridor and out of view. Clarke could smell them both, but their scent was weaker than that of her lover, washed out and uninteresting to her. Something clicked inside her mind: the handmaidens had smelled the same way, their scent unobtrusive and too bland for her to compare it to things she knew, like she could do for Lexa’s.

The Alpha’s scent had evoked images and awoken memories in her throughout the night; little flashes of color and light that never resolved into one singular thing for long. Ever-shifting as they changed along with the shifts in Lexa’s mood.

As Lexa shouldered the door open, Clarke hid a small sigh of relief against her sweat-streaked skin. For all of her bluster, she didn’t think she’d ever stop blushing if the guards saw the state in which she was. Her lover must have had the halls cleared, too, predicting that they may move to a proper bed at some point during the night.

And anyway, she was positive that the guards were close enough to smell the salty overflow of her need; a thought that should have made her want to hide in shame, but had her entire body shake and release another tide of arousal instead.

To distract herself, Clarke cast her eyes around Heda’s rooms. She’d been in the anteroom once before the ritual, Lexa usually being the one to visit her, but tonight the Alpha carried her deeper into her sanctum, past a smaller room where crumbling scrolls and poorly bound books filled wooden shelves to the ample bedroom lying in wait beyond.

The room had been prepared for them, perhaps by the hands of the same women who had readied Clarke for Lexa’s pleasure, and, after the cool air of the throne room and the halls, Clarke welcomed the warmth.

A fire blazed away inside a hearth so cavernous it took up an entire wall; a necessity considering how cruel and snow-filled the winters were. The servants must have added sage to the pieces of aged oak Clarke could spot among the roaring flames, because the air smelled sweet with it and other herbs she could not name.

Lexa laid her down onto her bed, a ponderous affair that could accommodate at least five people, but instead of joining her, she stepped back.

“I’ll be a moment,”she murmured, a hand reaching out to squeeze Clarke’s shoulder when she keened in protest. “Promise.”

True to her word, she was back in moments, a pitcher and basin in her hands, and a towel thrown over one toned shoulder.

“What are you doing?” Clarke lifted herself on her elbows, brows furrowed in confusion as she watched Lexa lay everything out on the bed.

“Washing you.” The Alpha sat down, squirming a bit before she settled. Her arousal was evident, her shaft still completely hard between her legs, and Clarke had noted a flash of discomfort twist her face when she had plopped down on the bed.

“It pains you, doesn’t it?” It was a wonder they were both lucid enough to function beyond mindless fucking at this point, but the same urge that willed her to climb on the Alpha’s lap and ride her cock until she couldn’t come anymore, also demanded that she make sure Lexa was alright.

“It’s nothing,” her lover deflected, dipping a corner of the towel into the water she’d poured in the basin with the clear intention of following through with washing Clarke.

“It is.” Clarke grasped her wrist and held her hand a few inches away from herself. Lexa’s forearm bulged, tendons standing out as they glared at each other, locked in a battle of wills. Her Alpha’s aggressive snarl had Clarke inwardly cower, but she bit her cheek and stood her ground, wanting Lexa to understand that this sort of caring would be a mutual thing in their relationship.

Just because Omegas were held in such high regard by Grounders, Clarke did not expect to be pampered at all times. She had already been assured, through her lover’s actions, that Lexa would be her refuge in times of need, and now it was the Alpha’s turn to realize that the same was true for her.

“Tell me,” Clarke allotted the words through gritted teeth, her strength waning as the heat-fever spiked, rushing like burning shuttle fuel along her veins.

“It hurts,” Lexa admitted, relenting. “Your call is making my body go into rut earlier than it would otherwise.”

Clarke’s hold around her wrist slackened, but she didn’t let go, and Lexa rolled her eyes, huffing softly.

“Now. Will you let me wash you?” A pleading note entered her voice, and her smell changed, tinged with something Clarke could only name as anxiousness. “I need to take care of you, Clarke. Please?”

Her scent had changed again, as fast as the weather in between seasons. The familiar smell of leather and steel had acquired a burned quality, like that of metal left too long to bake in the sun.

Lexa smelled hurt.

Chills running down her spine, Clarke understood; the Alpha was trying to prove she could be a good and caring mate for her. Away from prying eyes, Lexa was free to show her tenderness, that there was more beneath the frigid mask of Heda that she was forced to wear.

She let Lexa’s wrist go and relaxed onto the bed, watching as relief spread like a balm across her lover’s face.

With the gliding of the wet cloth along her limbs and the room immersed in silence, it was easy for Clarke to drift toward half-sleep. The occasional crackling of the firewood was a lullaby that resounded in her ears and mixed with the sound of Lexa’s breathing.

She was still burning up, but the hunger had quieted, her Omega basking in her lover’s attention. However, the moment Lexa cleaned her up between her legs, removing what traces remained of her seed, it woke with a loud, agitated whine inside Clarke’s chest.

She squirmed, causing the Alpha to pause and give her a questioning look, Lexa’s hand resting on her spasming thigh.

“It’s...uh.” Clarke swallowed and averted her gaze, pressing her face into a pillow. “Ijustlikehavingyourcumonme.” Her mouth moved against the furs, the words muffled, and part of her hoped that Lexa wouldn’t understand. It felt like an outright filthy thing to say, and yet she could not deny the truth of her statement. There was something arousing in having her skin stained with her lover’s release. Something that tied back into being claimed and owned in a way that made Clarke feel completely safe.

“I like seeing it on you.” Lexa nosed along Clarke’s flexing jaw until she turned to face her, kissing her brow softly when she did. “Very much so, actually,” she added wistfully, her length twitching in agreement between her legs.

They fell silent, Lexa holding her gaze while she finished washing her. It didn’t take long for Clarke to find herself completely enthralled, and, when the Alpha finally joined her on the bed, after having set aside the basin and towel, she turned eagerly in Lexa’s embrace.

“An Alpha is supposed to treat and court their Omega during a Heat,” Lexa explained after a while, arm tightening around Clarke’s waist. “It’s not just a matter of fucking,” she chuckled, “although it does eventually come to that for the most part.”

She was close enough that Clarke could easily kiss her, and she did, leaning up to capture her lips gently. Soon enough, hunger had the best of her, and she found herself open-mouthed and panting against the Alpha’s sweeping tongue.

“Lexa, I…”

I need you, she was trying to say, but words melted away like snowflakes hitting open flames.

“I know.”

Hand splayed over Clarke’s stomach, Lexa rubbed slow, teasing circles on her skin. Her fingers inched lower with each pass, until she hovered right at the apex of Clarke’s mound. The Alpha stopped, and kissed her again, silently asking for permission.

“Please…”

Clarke spread her legs in invitation and was rewarded a moment later by the soft skating of her lover’s fingertips along her folds. Her clit throbbed, straining for attention, but, after a cursory pass that had her buck her hips worse than a wild mare, Lexa moved lower, delicate and attentive as she traced the clenching muscles of Clarke’s opening.

“Please…” she begged again, her hand falling to Lexa’s rock-hard shaft. “Please.”

“Clarke, you don’t need… let me-” The Alpha choked on her own protests, Clarke’s hand fisting around her cock, turning them into a moan.

They fell naturally into a steady rhythm, bodies aligned like stars. Lexa’s fingers entered her, hooking and stroking her front wall, and Clarke palmed the Alpha, pumping her hand in an increasingly faster tempo.

“Fuck.” She rolled her hips and ground on Lexa’s thrusting hand. “ So good .”

Her lover groaned and shifted so that she was lying half on top of her and could reach deeper. Clarke peered into her eyes and saw how close the Alpha was to spending herself again. The muscles of her shoulders and arms stood out in stark relief as she relentlessly worked her fingers inside Clarke’s pussy, the designs adorning her skin seemingly shifting with each stroke.

“Lexa…” Clarke breathed against her mouth, her cunt clenching so hard it made her vision dim, black vines creeping at its edges. “Give it to me, Lexa!”

Spurned on by her words, the Alpha came with a roar and a shower of hot cum. It pooled in an abundant flow over Clarke’s quaking belly, and drops of it splashed her breasts, as white as sea chaff in the dancing light of the fire.

Clarke tumbled over the edge a moment later, the orgasm that shook her bones soon merging into another as Lexa’s thumb roughened against her clit, a third finger slipping inside her.

Her Heat consumed her, scorching with the blaze of a thousand open forges. Clarke’s inner muscles fluttered wildly around Lexa’s fingers, her body instinctually trying to draw the Alpha deeper. It was bliss, but edged in painful detail by the knowledge that no matter how many climaxes Lexa drove through her this way, it wouldn’t be enough.

She needed to be filled and bred. To have her belly tent with Lexa’s release, until there was room for nothing else. Clarke craved the burn of her Alpha’s knot, and the sharp agony of her teeth tearing at the flesh of her throat.

“Please, Lexa! I’m ready, please!”

She knew the words were hers, but they came as if from a great distance, tinny under the deafening peals of her heart.

The Alpha groaned again, Clarke’s name falling from her lips among snarls tinged with uncontrollable lust.

Fingers digging into Clarke’s sides, Lexa turned her over, firmly guiding her to rest belly down upon the furs. The Alpha’s cum and her own slick dripped onto the pelts, but neither of them cared, their wills finally shattering under the demands of Clarke’s Heat.

And as Lexa draped her body over hers, muttering fervent promises in her ear and telling her all that she would do - in heated, obscene , detail - Clarke bit into the furs and cried all of her relief, her tears ruining the bed further.  




Chapter Text

Lexa easily pinned her under her solid weight, but Clarke had no will to resist her lover.

Everything in her, every cell, and every drop of blood that was thundering through her veins like an overflowing river, urged Clarke to submit. So she let Lexa press her down into the furs, the Alpha’s forearms coming to rest on either side of her. Sandwiched between Lexa’s heaving chest and the bed, Clarke could feel every thumping of the Alpha’s heart reverberate and spread along her spine. Her own heart acted like a mirror, beating when Lexa’s paused, and they were close enough to breathe each other’s air as it left their lungs.

She turned her head to one side, cheek scraping across the furs beneath her as she stretched her neck. With the dip of her throat exposed, Clarke whined, fingers scrabbling for some form of purchase on the furs below her body. Her pulse was so rapid it made the flesh directly over it tingle and burn, and the bruise that Lexa had already sucked on her skin throbbed in tandem with the beating of her heart.

Above her, the Alpha jogged her hips with a low growl, her cock skating across the curve of Clarke’s ass. It was still thoroughly coated in Lexa’s own cum, and each pass left a glistening trail of it on Clarke’s skin. It hadn’t softened at all, the Heat that was opening floodgates between her legs causing quite a similar effect in Lexa, and already drops of her renewed arousal squirted from the tip, pattering like warm rain across her flesh.

Clarke groaned, her vision swimming with all manner of colors, despite the fact her eyes were tightly shut. Whenever Lexa ground against her, and in turn pushed her more firmly into the bed, her sex glided across the pelts, the friction causing her walls to flutter and spasm.

She saw stars, lights that bloomed impossibly bright for an instant and were gone in the next, leaving nothing but an after image - scorching and violet-green against the dark backdrop of her shuttered eyelids.

Yet release remained out of reach, the heat gathered around her turgid clit never expanding to envelop the rest of her, and it seemed that, without Lexa’s touch, she was doomed to hang right at the edge, but never to cross it.

“Beloved…” Lexa almost snarled the endearment beside her ear, her voice gruff with need. The Alpha’s tongue flicked, hot and wet against her earlobe, tracing it once before her teeth closed around the tender flesh to tug it softly. The gesture had Clarke arching back into her lover, ass grinding up into Lexa’s pelvis as a strangled sort of sound fled her throat. Heda’s hands fell to her sides to raise her hips from the furs until Clarke was kneeling on the bed, trembling and head lowered.

“First, “ Lexa grabbed her ass, squeezing hard enough to leave the print of her hand impressed onto Clarke's skin, “I’m going to paint this beautiful ass of yours with my seed.”

Clarke shuddered at the words: they were as much of a threat as they were a promise.

True to her word, her lover began to rut against her ass, each push of her hips, each glide of her shaft on heated skin, lascivious and utterly disarming.

One of Lexa’s hands stayed on Clarke’s hips, steadying her as the Alpha rocked into her rear, the other traveling up her side and then around to grasp one of her breasts.

Lexa’s hands were rough with callouses, the sensation pleasurable as the pads of her fingers ghosted around Clarke’s hardened nipple, before the Alpha pinched it between thumb and forefinger. Lexa tugged, once, twice, and then twisted, hard enough that Clarke saw entire galaxies this time. She bit the inside of her cheek, a burst of pride - or perhaps a touch of brattiness - urging her to hold her bubbling screams close to her chest. But her lover was not to be denied, and, when her other hand landed in a loud slap across Clarke’s upturned ass, she cried out Heda’s name.

It hadn’t been a hard strike, merely something to get her attention, and perhaps leave a bit of reddened skin behind, but a gasp was ripped from Clarke regardless. She shook wildy enough that she would have toppled over if not for Lexa’s hand moving back to grab her hip, the Commander’s presence behind her steadying - a rock she could cling to as her Heat wreaked havoc over her.

“I have you.” Lexa muttered the words against her spine, hand kneading her ass to wear off the sting of the slap. “I have you, Clarke.”

The Alpha must have misinterpreted the noise she’d made, but it took Clarke a few more moments to realize that her lover’s movements had faltered, and that the snarls which had been ripping from Lexas chest had softened into purrs.

If before, Heda had felt like the embodiment of a thunderstorm unleashed, now she was a gentle spring downpour, one of those rains brought on by Western winds, which dampened and soaked the Earth deeply so that all its living things could drink of it.

But the mewling noises Clarke had been making were not due to pain; or rather not solely to it.

“Please,” she mouthed through the heaving of her chest, “don't stop.”

It was difficult to talk, she found, the slap having caught her entirely by surprise. Her mouth tingled with the salt of the tears that the sting of it had brought to her eyes, but Clarke found she relished the way the burn of Heda’s hand against her flesh seemed to disarm her.

It divested her of what she was, not Wanheda, nor Healer, not concubine or consort. No prize won in grueling war, to be paraded around at the Commander’s pleasure, but simply Omega; one whose bones remembered ancient rituals and instincts even when her mind did not comprehend them fully as of yet.

Behind her, Lexa let out an unconvinced whine, a sound caught between distress and question.

Are you sure? the Alpha’s hand, which hadn't stopped rubbing circles into her flesh seemed to ask. Is this really what you want?

Her actions conveyed her doubts without need for speech, and Clarke realized she'd have to give loud and clear consent for the Alpha to continue. She could feel , in the way Lexa rhythmically squeezed her hip even as her other hand stayed gentle, that her lover wanted to be rough. After all, she would only be obeying the same nature that demanded Clarke submit, if its reverse. To claim what had been promised her, what rightfully was hers. To take and possess with tooth, and claw, and knot - at the last thought Clarke’s cunt gave a vicious throb and she ground back into the Alpha with a whimper.

She wanted it. Wanted it all.

“More! Please… Lexa!“

She whimpered into the furs, bit into them to try and stifle the sounds, arching so that her back was bowed and her ass perking up higher in the air. Words failed her, mind burning too hot for any form of speech, so Clarke gave up and let her begging take the shape of desperate, helpless whines. Noises that made every bone in her body vibrate. That she could not have held back, even if she’d tried.

Lexa responded by thrusting harder against her, cock twitching heavily as her release drew near. Clarke would gladly have impaled herself on it if the Alpha had allowed it, the memory of how hot Lexa’s cum raining on her skin had been, enough to send her into a frenzy.

Heda took her at her word, her hand descending on Clarke’s ass again and again, the slaps copious enough that she lost count. Her hips jerked with each smarting crack of Lexa’s hand, the Alpha alternating the harsh treatment with slow, delicate caresses. The combination left her pleasantly sore in a way that had her gushing even more, which she had not thought was possible.  

Clarke’s flesh thrummed under her lover’s touch, and she could already tell that she’d bear the print of Lexa’s fingers long after the night was done. Perhaps she’d even bruise, and surely sitting would be a tender affair for a few days.

Not that she minded; it would only serve to remind her who she belonged to, and, if the thought of being in a way considered property would have revolted Clarke not a fortnight or two ago, she found that part of her welcomed the prospect. She could already tell - not just from the mating they were going through - but from the million subtle hints Lexa had dropped, albeit unknowingly - that Heda was not one to equate loving someone with caging them.

Where another Alpha may have chastised, or even punished her for the initiative she’d shown during the mating ritual, Lexa had praised her, and Clarke, having spotted more than a glint of pride inside her eyes, knew that every word was true.

Clarke was aware that some things would change, especially if, as her mind whispered, she would find herself with child, but whatever rules she must adhere to as Lexa’s consort, she was sure they would be put in place mainly for her safety.

Inexperienced she may be, both in the matter of her own biology and politics, but she was not naive, and already she had noted that guards shadowed her wherever her feet took her, if discreetly so.

Clarke could not, would not, resent Lexa for wanting to keep her from harm.

Under different circumstances, she’d have mulled over these thoughts further, but Lexa’s hands coming to a standstill around her hips brought her back to the now, and the bed, and the fucking.

The Alpha’s nails raked her skin and she groaned, pushing back and grinding herself onto Lexa’s aching cock with abandon. The whines ensuing from her lover served as motivation, and Clarke rocked back again, grateful that the pelts underneath her body afforded her good purchase.

It didn’t take long for their breathing to reach its peak, for their bodies to tense and quiver until they stood stock-still, the promise of their climax freezing time around them.

They came together, Lexa showering her upturned rear with her seed as she had vowed to do, and Clarke clamping down around nothing.

The bliss filling her to bursting was edged crimson, both with the fever wrapped tightly around her bones and the painful knowledge that her spasming womb still gaped empty. It would not be for long, not if the guttural sounds coming from the woman who knelt behind her were any indication, but the Omega within her could not be reasoned with.

Not now.

Not when what the atavic part of her knew what it craved was within reach. Clarke shook with its need and pressed her face into the bed, burying a whimper among the sweat-stained furs. A longing so intense she feared her bones would crack from it, the marrow spilling out, engulfed her until she drowned in it. It was a particular kind of yearning, an ache so deep and all-consuming it made her sick at a soul level. It had always been within her, she realized, in each beat that her heart skipped when she gazed out of the Ark’s armored portholes and into the void between two stars. The black had been calling to her since childhood, shrouding something she was meant to find.

For the longest time, she had ignored what it was and thought herself prone to being maudlin without cause, but no amount of studying or work in the infirmary at her mother’s side had served to ease the pining of her heart.

After their landing, it had been easier to ignore the workings of her heart. First there had been war to deal with, and then a hundred and more things to do so that her people could survive and flourish. Still, she had wondered why, whenever her gaze was met with the forest green of Heda’s eyes, wistfulness bloomed within her chest, at once warm and pointing to something more that Clarke could have, if she just learned to listen to what her spirit already knew.

But she had found it, she’d finally found a place she could call home, and, as the blunt tip of Lexa’s cock pushed against her opening, Clarke didn’t even try to hide that she was weeping.

Her tears were joy, relief, and another thousand things that flashed through her in the time it took to draw one breath. She could not name them, but, as Lexa’s shaft inched forward and began to stretch her, Clarke didn’t care to.

Between what lingered of her release and Lexa’s cum, the Alpha could ease inside her tight cunt almost without resistance. Clarke sighed, resting her weight on her forearms as she lowered her head back down, her body readily taking what her lover chose to give her.

Maybe because her Heat had had more than enough time to take root inside her, no pain accompanied the stretch, the momentary flash of red as Lexa sank inside her to the hilt gone before it even had a chance to expand past the edges of her vision.

She blinked the temporary loss of focus away, sweat dripping into her eyes and making them water, more tears dampening her cheeks until she rubbed her skin dry upon the furs. Lexa had stopped again, obviously intending to allow her body time to adjust before she started pounding her in earnest.

The Alpha’s desire to take her was like summer sun hammering her back, and when Clarke twisted around – enough to throw a look over her shoulder – she found evidence of it in Heda’s demeanor.

Lexa’s shoulders were pulled taut, the lean muscles of her arms standing out as she held onto Clarke’s hips, more for her own dear life than to support her lover it would seem. Sweat plastered strands of her partially undone braids to her forehead and cheeks, and had caused the war paint to run down the Alpha’s face like dirty rain. Her jaws flexed, working so hard that Lexa’s cheeks were hollowed out from the incessant grinding of her teeth, and Clarke fancied she could hear the sound of it, as if her lover was chewing a mouthful of gravel into fine dust.

Her scent had changed again, and, gazing into eyes of a green that was turned so dark by lust to appear black, Clarke felt that she had stepped into a forest. The way out was unknown to her, but she gladly lost herself in Lexa’s gaze and the throes of her Heat. She jogged her hips backwards, moaning when the Alpha’s cock throbbed in response, and dug her nails into the furs, readying herself for the onslaught she knew she was about to unleash.

“Do it, Lexa.” She’d hoped her voice would come low and seductive, but she was closer to a whimpering, needy mess than she’d thought. “Breed me.”

Those words seemed to be shattering whatever spell had been holding sway over her lover. Lexa threw her head back and howled , triumph slackening her features as she rutted forward. Clarke managed to catch sight of the Alpha staring back at her – full of a primal desire that would not be denied any longer – before her lover’s fingers tangled into her hair, forcing her head back down as Lexa rode her.

“Mine!”

The grating snarl was the last thing Clarke heard before her head was snapped back at an angle with enough force to cut her breathing ragged and expose her throat. She let herself go limp in Lexa’s grasp, her pulse beating so hard under her skin she thought her blood was coming close to boiling point. A wail pushed past her teeth as she exhaled, lungs empty and burning as she waited for the bite that would mark her as Lexa’s rightful mate.

But that didn’t come, or, if it did, she was not aware of it, all that she was capable of feeling rushing south as the Alpha’s knot split her open.

This time there was no pain, but plenty of surprise at being filled so suddenly, and the orgasm that followed caught Clarke completely unaware.

It rushed towards her at blinding speed, as if she were falling from the heavens a second time, and she blacked out.

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

Clarke was so hot around her length, so impossibly tight that all Lexa could do was hold herself back from coming the moment she bottomed out inside her lover. She did that by biting the inside of her cheek until she tasted blood, and welcoming the pain of it as it lifted the fog brought on by her rut just enough to let her regain a semblance of control.

It would not last long, she knew, but it was something, and she would do all that she could so that she wouldn’t hurt or scare Clarke more than she may already have inside the throne room. Her lover may be ruled by her Heat right that moment, but the change had come over her so suddenly that Lexa would rather act as if she was made of the most delicate glass. Although, the rough treatment that she had administered to Clarke’s rear seemed to attest the contrary.

True, Clarke had asked for it, but she was still glad that the Omega could not see her blush, positioned as she was.

Beneath her, Clarke writhed and moaned into the furs, back arched as her walls adjusted to Lexa’s girth.

The Omega.

Her Omega.

The reality of it came crashing down around her ears, and Lexa stilled, even her breathing frozen in her throat as she took in that it was truly - finally - happening.

It was just as well she did; Clarke had taken her surprisingly well, considering what had happened in the throne room, her Heat now well underway, but it was best to give her lover time to acclimate to being so well filled.

She’d wanted this, but more importantly she’d wanted Clarke, for the longest time. She remembered how they had started out, staring daggers at each other across a folding table in her tent, as the first of many meetings with the Skaikru delegation began around them. It had not been an easy road for them, not by a long shot, but she would not have changed a thing. There had been something about Clarke that had called to her from the beginning - and now she understood that it had partly been the sleeping Omega inside her - but Lexa knew it was also more than that.

The one her people called Wanheda had stood up to her, sometimes infuriatingly so, where she was used to the uttermost obedience. It had been refreshing, even though her Alpha didn’t always appreciate Clarke’s stubborn nature, and the strength that her lover had displayed had brought Lexa to respect her at first, and fall in love with her soon after.

Having the Omega finally pinned under her, presented to her, ass up in all her beauty so that she could claim her and breed a pup inside her womb, filled Lexa’s heart with awe, but also the responsibility of taking one as her official mate.

“Mine.” She gnashed the word between her teeth, fingers flexing around Clarke’s hips. “My love. My mate.”

She wasn’t sure that Clarke had heard her; the Omega had twisted around to look her way, eyes dark and heavy-lidded, but she appeared lost in a study of her own. Or perhaps the same sort of need that Lexa felt gnaw at her bones, more insistently the more she waited.

One of her hands moved, and before she knew what she was doing, she had grabbed a fistful of Clarke’s hair, pushing her head back down roughly. A hiss left her lips as she rutted forward, her pelvis slapping with a loud smacking sound against Clarke’s rear. She’d ride her, and fill her belly with her seed so that Clarke would bear a child.

Their child.

“Mine!” She growled again, a red mist descending over her as she pulled Clarke’s head back to expose the dip between her neck and shoulder. She could almost taste the Omega’s pulse under her teeth, even if she had not closed the distance between them yet. Her lover would taste of rain and the sky, which was held in the blue of her eyes, and of the cold light of the stars.

Even Clarke’s scent was changing, the metal-like tang Lexa associated with the strange structure the Skai People called the Ark incorporating her own smell. Pine and resin, woodsmoke and the oils she used to tend to her weapons.

Yes - everyone would take a whiff and know that Clarke was hers and hers alone. Inside her chest, pride swelled, and her Alpha preened at the prospect.

Outwardly, she threw her head back and roared in elation.

Lexa’s knot had already popped when they had tried this back in the throne room, and she realized it had slipped inside Clarke’s inviting folds only when the tight ring of muscles around her lover’s entrance tightened around it, effectively tying her to the Omega.

“Lexa!”

Clarke’s scream, combined with the rhythmic clenching of her walls around her cock, was enough to sweep Lexa up in her Omega’s release. She echoed Clarke’s cries, her lover’s name falling from her lips until she was too hoarse to speak, and, as she felt her lover collapse and carry her down into the furs, Lexa spent herself within her in a flood that seemed to have no end.  

Chapter Text

“Well?” Anya asked, grimacing as she shifted on the log where they had been sitting for the best part of an hour. “What do you think?”

They were watching a group of Skai People train under Indra’s hawk-like stare, even though training was perhaps too generous a term for what they were actually accomplishing.

“They’re pitiful,” she answered earnestly, wincing when one of the girls - Octavia? - was sent sprawling into the mud by a warrior twice her size, “but you have to admit, they are putting in the effort.”

They really were, picking themselves up no matter how many times Indra and the other warriors who acted as sparring partners for the small group threw them down. When they had lined up at the start of Indra’s lesson, the youths had looked pristine in the same black fatigues their Guard wore, but now the black had turned brown with dirt, and their faces were spattered with mud, as well as blood in a few cases.

Still, not one of them had complained, and, even at a distance, Lexa could see the surprised pleasure in Indra’s eyes. She could almost hear her General’s brain working; the young ones showed promise, which meant they could be turned into warriors for Heda. And that, in Indra’s book, made the newcomers useful and the peace treaty more acceptable.

Lexa sighed and brought a hand to her forehead, rubbing at her temples with a huff. If only the other clans could be convinced as easily. The peace terms had been agreed upon and the treaties signed, but distrust lingered. The mating with Wanheda - with Clarke - would help, as would Abigail’s efforts to help with the wounded, but the roots of true peace would need time to take hold.

“Hmm.” Anya made a sour noise in her throat and shifted again, her left leg stretched stiffly in front of her. The wound she had suffered during the last battle the Trikru and the Skai People had fought was healing nicely - both Nyko and Abigail had convened - but for one who was not used to sitting still, forced rest was skirting actual torture. “It goes to show they only held their own against us because of their guns.”

“And the stubborn courage of their leader.”

Anya grunted again, mouth curving downward as they both turned to look at Clarke. One thing ought to be said about her soon-to-be mate; she never shied away from hard work. True to that nature, she had joined her friends in training when Heda had called a halt for the night. It would take a few more days to reach Polis, their column too numerous to move very fast, and, since part of the treaty required that a number of young Skai People be trained in the clans’ ways, Indra had seen no reason to delay that until they reached the city.

Lexa had agreed, trusting that her General would keep an eye out for any warrior who may decide to participate in the lesson as an excuse to seek revenge. The funeral rites for the dead had been celebrated, the bodies properly burned and their spirits sent off with a feast, but, while she trusted that the Trikru would respect the treaty to the letter, Lexa could not vouch for all of the other clans.

Perhaps concerned that someone may decide to strike at Clarke - and through her, at Heda - Indra had paired her off with Elianna, one of the Commander’s own personal guard.

The warrior had three years over Wanheda at most, but a lifetime of experience; Trikru children began their martial training as soon as they could walk, so that even those that would become something other than warriors or scouts could protect themselves and the villages they lived in.

And Elianna was one of the best guards that Lexa had at her service; short, and lithe enough to look non threatening, she was lightning-quick on her feet, Clarke looking like she was moving through molasses in comparison.

When Elianna pivoted, avoiding Clarke’s clumsy lounge with ease, the quarterstaff she wielded smacked into Wanheda’s ribs with enough force that it would leave a spectacular bruise behind.

Clarke tottered backwards with an audible groan and dropped the wooden sword she had been clutching. She pressed a hand to the side of her ribcage before falling to her knees, head lowered.

Lexa flinched in sympathy, knowing full well how much the hit would smart, Clarke’s ribs throbbing and her lungs burning whenever she drew breath. It took all of her self-control not to jump to her feet and rush to the downed woman’s side to check on her.

She wanted to.

She couldn’t.

“You really, really like her, don’t you? Love her even.” Anya’s voice was gruff, but a clear note of amusement underlyed each word.

Lexa silently thanked the countless hours she’d spent wearing a mask of cold indifference for the benefit of the Ambassadors, for without that kind of practice, she may very well have fallen off her perch on the log at Anya’s words.

She inclined her head, regaling her General with the same kind of look she used during Councils, whenever someone was being particularly stubborn, but her former mentor stared back unfazed.

If anything, her lips held the hint of a knowing smile, and her following words only confirmed that, no matter what facade Lexa displayed, Anya knew her far too well to be fooled by it.

“You know that look won’t get you anywhere with me. Not when I watched you learn it, Lexa.”

Shoulders stiffening, Lexa leaned forward, her eyes acquiring a dangerous light.

“Do you forget who you are speaking to, General?” She kept her voice low and her tone neutral, aware of the guards stationed only paces away, and of the many more warriors that walked by as the camp settled down for the night.

“Never Heda.” Anya raised a hand to placate her, and went so far as to briefly expose the side of her neck in a sign of submission. “However, I am not talking to my Commander now, but to my pupil and friend.”

Lexa relented with a sigh, and scooted closer. It was evident that Anya would not back off from the topic, and, if the other Alpha insisted about talking of it in public, she may as well make completely sure they weren’t overheard.

“I do love her, yes,” she admitted whisper-quiet, her heart beating louder than a drum against her ribcage.

“And I assume she reciprocates?” Anya’s voice - and her scent - grew softer. There had been a hint of rising challenge between them during the previous exchange, and the smell of it, similar to the damp, suffocating scent that air acquired before a thunderstorm rolled in, had become almost a taste on Lexa’s tongue.

“Yes.” She would have added more, but the beating of her heart was deafening, the Alpha inside her growing agitated as she watched Clarke’s attempts at regaining her lost breath.

“So that’s why you demanded the mating be included in the treaties at the last minute, eh?” Anya’s tone oozed pride, and, when Lexa managed to tear her gaze away from Clarke, she found her former mentor staring at her with the kind of expression she used to reserve for when she’d trained particularly hard or well.

“Actually, we came up with the idea together,” Lexa replied, somewhat distractedly. Clarke had managed to climb back to her feet, and was listening to Elianna as the warrior explained - with no small amount of showing - what she had done wrong.

Heda’s chest swelled with pride at the sight; from the way she held herself, half-hunched over and grimacing every few minutes, it was clear that Clarke was in pain, and yet she didn’t complain, focusing instead on completing the lesson for that night.

“She will make a fine mate,” Anya rumbled in appreciation, her smile growing wider. “Only someone as stubborn as you are could hope to keep you out of trouble.”

What her fellow Alpha didn’t say - even though they could feel it hang heavily between them - was that being the Commander’s mate would bring its own specific set of challenges for Clarke.

Lexa watched the girl who had fallen so abruptly from the sky and into her life collect her training sword from where it had tumbled and turn to her sparring partner for another bout. She stared as Clarke launched herself at Elianna again and again, until the shadows grew too long and dark for the group to continue. Indra’s voice cracked like a whip as the General called a halt to the training for the day, ordering the Skai youths toward an empty weapon rack to store what they had been using. None would be allowed to leave the clearing in search of food or water to wash off the dirt before everything was packed away for the next day’s travels.

Grounders valued discipline, and Lexa knew that Indra would instill it in their new recruits if she had to beat it into their skulls - quite literally.

Clarke passed her and Anya by with no more than a cold, if respectful, nod. They could not afford to look too familiar, not when tension still ran high, and some only waited for an excuse to call the newly signed peace treaty into question. Wanheda would have to arrive at the mating as a reluctant sacrifice for the good of the many, and Clarke needed to look the part.

Still, the Alpha couldn’t stop another burst of pride in seeing how she walked, back straightened and chin held almost haughtily high, despite the obvious discomfort her bruises were causing her. All the lingering doubts that had assaulted her when, at the end of a grueling day she settled alone in her bed for a few hours of sleep, melted away. No matter what waited over the horizon; with Clarke at her side, Lexa knew she could withstand it.

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

Lexa blinked the memory away, what was happening around her coming into focus so fast it left her dizzy and confused. Beneath her, Clarke writhed and moaned - her name, pleas, a string of curses - and only when her jaws started to hurt did she realize she’d sunk her teeth into the Omega’s throat, right above her pulsepoint.

It jolted even now, an echo of Clarke’s rapid beating heart, as it was trapped between her teeth. She’d bitten hard enough to break skin, and, as she relaxed her hold a little, tongue flicking out to soothe the mark, Lexa could taste all that Clarke was.

Heda hadn’t been far off: Clarke tasted of the sky and starlight, but also of the chaff whitening the beaches she had trod on when visiting Floukru.

Images flashed through her mind, some of which Lexa could not make much sense of. A sky, blacker than she’d ever seen from the ground, fire and terror, the banshee scream of metal bent at impossible angles. And then, once that faded, she saw the forests she’d grown up and hunted in, but through her lover’s eyes rather than her own. It was like rediscovering her lands, but not as someone from another clan. She felt, through the bond settling over her bones, how it felt to walk among pine and oak and fir, how the sight of something one had known to exist only in theory could make blood sing.

She lived firsthand the same awe Clarke had been filled with, the involuntary jerk of the spine as wind rustled leaves or unseen animals scuttled by.  

The room dissolved into a washed out picture of glowing oranges and soft shadows, and Lexa knew that she was crying, overcome by everything she was experiencing. Clarke whimpered again, body convulsing under her, and, with reluctance, she let her mouth slacken. Minutes passed as Lexa showered the flesh she’d torn and bruised with kisses, her mate gradually stilling beneath her.

First the village elders, then Anya, once Lexa had become her second, had talked about the mating bond at length. Every child was taught the sacred commitment it symbolized, but Alpha pups were especially drilled about its importance. The mating bite functioned as a sign that a certain Omega and Alpha belonged to each other, of course, but it also meant protection, caring, nurturing of one’s mate.

Mindful of lessons that had been instilled into her very blood, Lexa nuzzled into the sweat-soaked mass of Clarke’s hair, lips seeking the tender spot right behind her lover’s ear. She pressed a kiss there, a soothing rumble resounding deep within her throat.

Shifting, she felt herself slip out of Clarke’s tight heat, a gush of the Omega’s arousal and her own seed spilling onto the furs.

The visions brought on by the bite must have lasted longer than she’d thought, considering that her knot tying them together was gone. With a whine of concern, Lexa hurried off her mate, hands snaking under Clarke to roll her onto her back.

Her lover complied without resistance, sinking into the furs with a soft sigh. She lay with her eyes closed, her brow sheened with sweat and her cheeks flushed from the exertion. The rest of her was pale, inviting, and Lexa felt her cock twitch and start to rise again, lust blazing down her spine like lightning.

Clarke’s heat bloomed between them, and, as Lexa’s Alpha nature responded to her call, goosebumps covered her forearms, the fine hairs at the nape of her neck trying to stand on edge. She would be ready for another round soon, her nature demanding that she fucked her mate until her seed took hold and Clarke was bred.

Yet, as she let her scorching gaze practically devour every exposed inch of her lover, Lexa held onto restrain. The Skai People had lived for long years under artificial light, and as a result, plenty of them were so pale to appear sickly. Clarke was no exception, and if her face and hands had tanned some in the time she’d spent on the ground, the rest of her remained waxen. Except for the places that Lexa had grasped in the throes of their shared pleasure.

There, bruises had already formed, purplish-black and surely stinging, and she spent some time on each, to kiss and use a far gentler touch over the sore skin.

She was busy tending to Clarke’s hips when her mate stirred, fingers tangling in her hair so that her mate could tug her to a stop.

“I’m not hurt,” Clarke reassured when Lexa lifted her head, eyebrows rising in doubt. “Well, not much anyway. And it’s not like I don’t enjoy being marked. Being yours .”

Lexa watched her touch the mark on her throat with her free hand, lines of confusion appearing on her brow.

“I feel…” Clarke paused and wet her lips. “I feel you...somehow. But weird, weak. Like a fading dream.” She stopped again and stared at nothing, eyes misting almost grey as they glazed over.

“It’s the bond.” Lexa wiggled upwards until she could gather Clarke into her arms. “Even though it’s not complete yet.”

When Clarke’s puzzled look persisted, Lexa leaned in, nosing along her mate’s throat before she licked the fresh mark.

“You need to bite me, too.” She puffed the words against Clarke’s skin, failing to stifle a small cry when her lover’s nails racked her back, their bodies naturally seeking each other.

“Gods, you’re hard again already.” Clarke’s words were a breathless moan, and Lexa felt drops of her Omega’s slick slither down her thigh.

She was about to reply - with something that she hoped would sound sultry enough to melt the woman in her arms - but Clarke preceded her, bringing their mouths together in a kiss that surprised Lexa for its fierceness. It left her gasping for air. For more.

“Then, do you want…?” the Omega trailed off suggestively, squirming out of Lexa’s arms as she moved to go back on all fours.

“No.” Lexa tugged her back, voice rough.

“No?”

“Not like that. I want to see your face as you take me inside you this time.”

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

“Oh.”

Clarke didn’t manage anything else, the sight of Lexa flopping back into the furs expectantly being enough to make her thoughts fizzle out. The Alpha sprawled onto the furs, hands relaxed at her sides to allow her lover a full view, and Clarke felt a heady rush at the display. There was something vulnerable about the way Lexa waited for her to move, and the commanding aura that surrounded her at any other time had lifted, leaving the woman behind it more than literally bare.

The girl, really, because once Lexa was stripped of all her armor - not just the one crafted to shield her body from harm, but that which she had constructed around her heart - the illusion of an older age shattered.

A different light danced within her eyes as well: a soft flame that tinted the deep green of her irises with sunset hues. Her lover let out a pleading noise and tilted her head back, eyes fluttering shut and neck exposed. Tendons stood out like ropes as Lexa swallowed, her muscles tensing in anticipation, and Clarke understood.

She needed to complete their bond.

Haltingly at first, and then with growing self-assurance, Clarke scooted closer. She ran her hands along Lexa’s arms, her chest, the tightening planes of her belly, without skimping on the use of her nails. The Alpha hissed and whined in turns, ass jerking off the bed as she rutted into empty air. She had fully hardened again, pre-cum weeping from the reddened tip of her cock, and Clarke toyed with the idea of taking her in her mouth again.

Something told her that, even if she did, Lexa would be more than willing to fuck her again after.

At the prospect of having her cunt filled again, Clarke’s belly cramped, her body almost keening with red-hot need. The heart of the matter changed, and she stopped wondering whether Lexa could come for a third time, because, simply, it was her that could not wait.

She threw a leg over the Alpha’s waist and straddled her, enjoying the way Lexa’s body arched up when she swayed her hips, causing slick to drip from Clarke’s opening onto her straining shaft. Clarke grinned down at her lover, hands finding purchase around her well-toned shoulders; she wasn’t sure, but had a hunch that the Heat eating at her bones would run a course longer than the space of a single night. There would be plenty of time, then, to taste her mate’s cum again.

Her guts twisted, something pulsing deep within her, and it was an effort not to let herself just drop onto Lexa’s cock. Patience had never been her strongest suit, but Clarke resisted on the account that she wanted to savor the minute changes in Lexa’s expression, too. The Alpha wasn’t the only one aching to lose herself in her lover’s gaze; Clarke wanted to see the woman’s eyes darken, her expression go from wonder to hunger, her mouth work silently as she tried to and could not fill her lungs with air. She needed to kiss Lexa as they fucked, and taste her lover’s whimpers on her tongue.

Taking the Alpha thick inch by thick inch was a special brand of torture, but one that Clarke gladly inflicted upon herself. She started by rubbing her aching folds onto the broad head of Lexa’s shaft, the Alpha’s hands, which had been grasping at the furs, moving to her hips as their bodies came into contact.

Clarke almost expected the Alpha to assert herself and pull her down, rough and demanding. She craved that in a way, for it would sate her growing hunger and fill the terrifying hole she felt expanding inside her gut. Fear lingered like a coating of frost around her heart: that this was a dream - not only her laying in the arms of the woman she loved, but her coming to the ground as well - and that soon she would wake to find herself surrounded by the Ark’s cold walls and the solitude of space.

The Ark had been her home, a refuge when everything outside its reinforced bulkheads was endless unknown, but after walking among trees so tall it made her dizzy to stare at their tops, Clarke couldn’t help but see it for the prison it had also been.

“It’s not a dream,” Lexa rasped, having guessed her thoughts, “I promise.”

The Alpha did tug her down then, and Clarke let loose a plaintive whine at the stretch, her cunt splitting open to accommodate for Lexa’s girth.

“Fuck!” she swore and let herself slump forward, hair falling like a golden curtain to frame their faces as she rested her forehead against her mate’s. “Fuck, Lexa,” she repeated, her voice strangled.

Green eyes met her own, sparkling almost emerald as her lover took pleasure in her reaction. With a flash of mischief, Clarke allowed her thighs to relax, sinking down the rest of the way and preening when Lexa yelped in surprise.

The Alpha had clearly lost the upper hand, but Clarke’s sense of victory was short lived, the sudden fullness chasing everything from her mind, save the need to bring their mating to a close.

She rocked her hips, and where before she’d imagined she’d ride the Alpha at a sensual, almost stately pace, instead the joining of their bodies was messy and frantic from the start.

For her part, Lexa angled her hips up, spearing deeper inside Clarke’s clenching cunt, her shaft almost quivering as it hardened further. It wouldn’t be long before she was knotted again, Clarke knew, but she did not resent how fast the night seemed to be going between them.

They would have plenty of time for lovemaking, a lifetime of it, but right now what she needed was a good, hard fuck.

“Gods yes, Lexa!” she encouraged, reveling in the wet slap of their bodies. Digging her nails into the flesh of her lover’s shoulders, she pressed her lips to Lexa’s ear, nipping at the tender skin there before whispering hot, dirty things that spurred the Alpha to a faster pace.

“Give me a pup, Lexa!” Clarke cried as she felt the knot inflate again and push at her opening, burying her face into the crook of the Alpha’s neck. Her lover’s scent slithered along her bones, light as gossamer, rich like the fertile soil of the lands over which Heda presided. Clarke ground herself on the knot until her opening parted for it, Lexa’s fingers flexing on already bruised hips and inflicting a fresh wave of stinging pain onto her.

She welcomed it, stifling another scream by biting into Lexa’s neck. Under her, the Alpha tensed and quaked, her body as taut as a drawn bowstring. In the next heartbeat, she was rising, thrashing, screaming Clarke’s name as she came, her seed fountaining deep inside a womb that waited to be filled.

Clarke felt all of it - and her own subsequent orgasm - but remotely. Her teeth had broken skin, and, with the first, salty spurt of blood into her mouth, a window had open within her mind.

Eyes screwed shut, she reeled and bucked, images crowding her thoughts until all she could see was a confused whirlwind of color. There were battles, blades whistling far too close to skin for comfort - and sometimes striking. She felt the pain of every cut and every broken rib, heaving and gasping at the remembered phantom pain of a punctured lung that wasn’t hers. After, it was needles piercing her skin, the cool caress of the ink seeping underneath the first layers of her skin, bringing some relief.

She felt sorrow for fallen warriors she had never met, the weight of a responsibility so crushing it was a wonder her spine didn’t snap on the spot.

Joy and pride came mingled with the pain; she remembered the first time Anya had smiled at her, and racing a horse, bareback across the prairie. She’d never been as free as she’d been then, with the wind howling in her ears and whipping strands of brown hair into her eyes.

Clarke saw all this and more, tasting Lexa in each memory.

When it was over, she collapsed upon her mate with a quiet sob, her mind and body spent for the time being.

“How,” she whispered, voice cracked by tears, “how did you survive all that?”

Lexa’s strong arms had gone around her, the moment she had fallen forward, but now the Alpha cupped her chin, tilting her head up so that she could peer into her eyes.

“I had purpose,” she kissed the tip of Clarke’s nose, making her blush, “and somehow I knew that all the roads I traveled led to you.”

She smiled, and Clarke thought that the sun hanging in the sky must be an imposter, for Heda’s grin was far, far brighter than any star could ever hope to be.

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

The season had turned.

Clarke had lost count of how many months had passed since she’d come to Polis. Four? Five? She wasn’t sure. The days were busy with a million things, and her nights were full of Lexa, making the passage of time somewhat irrelevant.

But the season had turned, and the days had shortened, a chill crisping the air once the sun went down.

The season had turned, and she had started to show, her belly gently curving outward. Having always been regular, Clarke had suspected being with child after she’d skipped her period for the second month in a row. A quick blood test with one of the field kits her mother routinely sent to the Tower’s infirmary had confirmed her hunch, and Abby herself had come to check up on her when Clarke had sent word.

She didn’t require looser clothing yet, but she would soon.

Currently she was laying in bed, waiting for Lexa to join her for the night. Her mate was puttering around their rooms, Clarke watching on amused as she shuttled pelt after pelt from the anteroom to their bed.

“Lexa,” she asked when the amount of furs started to look ridiculous., “What are you doing?”

“It’s getting cold,” her mate explained without pausing. “I don’t want you or the pup to catch something.” As always, whenever she mentioned their child, she radiated visible happiness.

“You don’t want me to suffocate either.” Clarke plucked fastidiously at one of the furs. Lexa’s fussing was generally cute, but there were limits, and at this rate, there would be no room for them on the bed.

The Alpha halted, worrying the pelt she had been carrying between her hands. Its fur was of the purest white and, Clarke had to concede, very soft-looking. Lexa shuffled, looking for all the world like a kicked puppy, and she sighed, beckoning her close.

“Just that last one, okay?” Her lover nodded doubtfully, and Clarke reached out to tug her onto the bed. “I don’t need this many furs if you promise to hold me all night.”

She kept her voice soft and careful, trying to ease the sting her previous words had left behind. It was the right thing to say, because Lexa lit up at once and wasted no time in throwing the white fur over them, turning Clarke on her side to be the little spoon.

Expecting the Alpha to settle against her back, Clarke stretched out contentedly, but, after a brief pause, her mate was scrambling off the bed and hurrying back towards the anteroom.

“Lexa, I said-”

“It’s not that!” the Alpha shot back over her shoulder before disappearing out of sight.

She came back into view a moment later, clutching a package to her chest as if it were the most precious thing in the entire universe.

“What is it?”

Curiosity piqued, Clarke rolled onto her back and pushed herself into a sitting position.

“A gift.” Lexa placed the package in her lap, eyes downcast. “I was going to wait, but then you seemed irritated at me, so I thought…” She trailed off and flushed bright red, looking in that moment the furthest thing from the fearsome Alpha that could keep all the clans in line.

“Oh, Lexa… I’m not irritated....” Clarke patted the empty spot next to her until her mate sat herself down. “I just… I’ll tell you if there’s something to worry about, okay?” She dropped her gaze to her belly and, taking her mate’s hand, guided it until it was resting over the slight swell. “I promise.”

“Alright.” Lexa nodded. “Now open your gift.”

She did, and couldn’t stop herself from bursting into tears when she saw what the Alpha had carefully wrapped. It was the jacket she had worn when the handmaidens had come to prepare her, the night in which they’d mated. The leather had a shine to it now, and the little rips in the cuffs and collar had been repaired. It still looked very lived in, but it was in a much better shape now than it had been when Clarke had seen it last.

“I had the handmaidens keep it, “ Lexa confessed. “I know how much it meant to you, and I figured you may want to have it back. Besides,” her hand drew small circles over Clarke’s belly, “our pup should know the story of both our clans. Who knows? Perhaps one day she may decide to wear it.”

“She?” Clarke blurted through the sobs. “How do you know?”

“I just do.” Her mate put an arm around her, pulling her close, and Clarke rested her head on Lexa’s shoulder, fingers idly ghosting over the leather. She had learned not to question her mate when she sounded so certain, having come to suspect that Lexa may possess a bit of precognition.

They held each other quietly, Lexa putting the jacket to the side and easing her down when Clarke started to drift.

She was deep asleep almost the moment her head hit the pillow, much more tired than she'd suspected. There was time enough to think that she had never felt such warmth nor happiness.

Finally she had somewhere to rest, and her weary bones had found their place around the fire.