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lullaby without you.

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It’s always the same routine Lexa follows. Some would say she’s got some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but the truth is simple. She hasn’t. She’s just lost without her routines and she wouldn’t be able to get out of bed if she didn’t have them.

So she starts with making coffee. She has it with lots of sugar, Anya says it’s sugar with coffee. Lexa smiles every morning at her sister’s point of view. She’s still wearing her pajamas as she drinks her cup, leaning against the kitchen counter and staring at the pictures on the refrigerator while she enjoys the moment of silence.

Then she cleans the cup in a mechanical movement and puts it back in its place next to the coffee machine, before she walks up the stairs again.

She always hesitates in front of the door, because she’s afraid of being asked the same question again. That’s the hardest part of her day.

Lexa takes a deep breath with her eyes closed, before she carefully pushes the door open and walks over to the small bed, where the two-year-old toddler is still sleeping peacefully.

Raising a kid alone was never her plan. Okay, no one has that plan, but… She never thought she’d have a kid. But now she has and she’s been doing it all alone for months. She should be better by now, it should be easier, and there should be fewer mishaps, fewer things she forgets about. Hell, she’s been a mother for over two years now!

She carefully sits down by the bed, staring at her son’s peaceful face in wonder for a moment. He’s got so much from his mother – the hair, the eyes, the freckles. She even finds her in his laughter.

Lexa’s fingers softly scoot through his hair and when he squints his eyes, she tickles his sides. “Good morning, Mister.”

The tiny little boy giggles happily. “Mommy, no!”

“What, you don’t like being tickled?” She teases, her heart is filling with nothing but warmth at the sound.

“No!”

“But why? Everyone loves being tickled!”

“Tickles.” He explains, pouting at her in the most adorable ways.

She raises both hands in surrender. “Okay. I’ll stop.”

Little Aden grins at her mischievously, before he jumps straight into her arms. She’s amazed how easy it is to get him out of bed. But that’ll change soon and… Lexa sighs. And she’s won’t be here to see it.

---

Half an hour later, after a cuddle session and fighting over his choice of clothes, they finally settle around the kitchen table for breakfast.

“Mommy?” Aden asks.

“Yes, baby?”

“When Momma home?”

Lexa feels the familiar lump in her throat as she looks into sad blue puppy eyes. “I don’t know, baby. Soon, I hope.” She answers, trying to sound cheerful. It’s getting harder from day to day and sometimes she thinks about how Aden will forget how his mother’s voice sounded when she sang him lullabies. “Auntie Anya will pick you up in a few minutes, why don’t you put on your shoes?” She asks him, because she needs the time to compose herself.

The blonde boy hurries out into the hallway happily and completely unaware of his mother’s state, and she buries her face in her hands for a moment. She’s not supposed to do this alone. She can’t do this without her.

---

An hour later, she finally pulls into an empty parking lot.

She’s back to her routine. After Anya has picked up Aden to spend the morning with him, she comes here. She can’t manage every day because of Aden and her job and because of own mental state sometimes, but she tries to and most of the time she makes it happen. She vowed it – in sickness and health, until death parts them.

There’s maybe one second of what’s to come that lightens her day every time she’s here. One second that gives her strength to survive all this.

It’s the moment when she looks into azure blue eyes, as she sits down across from the blonde, and says two words. “Hi, love.”

She braces herself for what’s going to happen next. She braces herself and still the pain hits her like a speed wagon.

Because those blue eyes she loves blink and a frown appears on the blonde’s face and then Clarke says the same thing she always says. “I’m sorry. Who are you?”

Chapter Text


"Hi love."

“I’m sorry. Who are you?”

These five words break Lexa’s heart each time and yet she comes back again and again, only to hear them once more, each time hoping they would be different. That has to be the definition of madness, but she’s gone mad weeks ago and she doesn’t care.

She puts on her bravest smile. “I’m your wife. I come here every day.” She says, her voice not as hoarse as it used to be the first times she said that sentence.

Clarke frowns and Lexa can see her head spinning at the news. “You do?” The blonde finally asks.

“Yeah. Sometimes I bring you flowers, but then you scold me for it, because you think they should-”

“Grow in the field, not be put in a vase.” Clarke finishes her sentence. “Yeah, that sounds like me. Whoever that is.”

Lexa nods. She knows exactly who the blonde is. Clarke is someone who cares deeply about everything and everyone. She feeds up hedgehogs and rescues toads from being run over. She waters plants to death. That’s who she is.

“What’s your name?”

“I’m Lexa.”

“Clarke.” The blonde says, before she sighs sadly. “I’m sorry. You know that.”

“Don’t be. It’s okay.”

“If I’m your wife, it must be cruel to come here every day, having to tell me the same things all over again.”

Lexa swallows. “Sometimes.”

“I’m sorry I’m like this.”

“It’s not your fault, Clarke.” She answers softly. „It was a stroke.“

“My brain is fucked up, I know. They told me this morning. I was a surgeon before all this they said, so I should know better, but… it’s weird. I remember some things about myself. That I love strawberries, but I hate raspberries for example. That my name’s Clarke Abigail Griffin. My birthday, the name of my first pet. But not the people.” She sighs, clearly feeling defeated.

Lexa smiles sadly, the weight of it all more present than it has been in a long time. Clarke doesn’t talk about this every day, just sometimes and those days make it harder for Lexa, because she can see the anger in Clarke’s eyes, anger about herself. She’s never been a patient person. The blonde is quite ambitious, and Lexa knows she’s trying. But what Clarke doesn’t know is that she’s been trying for almost two months now and nothing’s changed.

They tried with notes and diaries for a while, but it only upsets the other woman, so they stopped. Now they just tell her what happened and try to give her space and time to heal. If there’s such a thing as healing.

“Maybe it’ll all come back.”

“You’re an optimist then?”

She shakes her head. “Not really. But I’m your wife, what else am I supposed to say?”

“You’re probably right.” A pause, long enough for Lexa to wonder which question will come today. ”How did I catch you?”

“I'm sorry?”

“I mean, you’re hot. I didn’t know I had that in me.”

And then Lexa chuckles. “Well, I caught you, if we’re being honest here.”

“How? I mean, could you tell me? I’ll forget it again, but… if you don’t mind, I’d like to hear our story.”

Lexa doesn’t mind. In fact she loves recalling their story, because it makes it more real. And the fact that Clarke talks about them without any sign of doubt or hesitation gives her a little hope. “We met over friends of ours. Raven, your best friend, is dating my sister.” She explains, replaying their first encounter. “They set us up on a date without our knowledge, claiming you’re too much of a workaholic and I’m too much of a loner to meet someone on our own.”

“When was that?”

“About five years ago. You had just gotten that job at the hospital a few months ago.”

“And how did our first date go?” Clarke asks, a curious expression on her face that still makes Lexa’s stomach flip.

Lexa chuckles softly. “Not as expected.”

-

Five years before.

Anya had just told her she tricked her into that coffee shop to meet a friend of Raven’s, who’s single and hot. Lexa wanted to tell the woman she’s not interested in dating right now, apologize and leave, but then a blonde woman walked in. A gorgeous woman with the bluest eyes Lexa had ever seen and Lexa had sent a text quicker than she ever had.

Lexa (11:01 a.m.): is she blonde?

Anya (11:01 a.m.): yes she is. Not so bad now, is it? ;) Her name’s Clarke by the way. And be nice!

Lexa (11:01 a.m.): I’m always nice!

Lexa stuffs her phone back into her bag and stands up to greet the woman – Clarke. She’s just about to make her way around the tables between them, when the blonde pulls out her phone, stares at a text and then calls someone, visibly angry. Lexa watches and listens to the blonde shouting at the person on the other end.

“Raven, I don’t care about dating! I’ve told you before and I’m telling you now! Call that poor girl and-”

Blue eyes meet green ones.

“That poor girl would be me.” Lexa says, smiling shyly. “Hi.”

“I hate you.” Clarke announces and for a moment Lexa thinks that was meant for her, but then the blonde continues. “I absolutely hate you, Raven Reyes.” Then she ends the call.

A long moment of silence drags on between both women while they stare at each other.

“Hi.” Clarke says then. “I’m sorry you had to witness that.”

“It’s okay.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sure you’re a sweet person and all, but-”

“Ouch.” Lexa fake-flinches. “You wound me. Not even two minutes into the date and you’ve already got enough of me? Normally that does take longer.”

Clarke chuckles. It’s a beautiful sound, Lexa notices, and it makes her stomach flip, just a bit, but enough to want it to happen again. “I don’t date.”

“That’s okay. I don’t either. But it’s a great day and we could still have a coffee, just to rant about our stupid friends. What do you say?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t.”

Apology number three, Lexa counts quietly.

She can’t help it, she’s sad about the blonde’s no. There’s something about that woman that… makes her want to work for it. She’s quite competitive herself and a no isn’t something she accepts easily. “Why not? You might be missing out on something great.” She says with her best smirk.

Clarke grins. “I take it you’re not used to getting a no, hm?” She leans a little closer – close enough for the situation to be called intimate.

Lexa breathes in her scent. There’s a hint of vanilla hanging in the air and her stomach does somersaults. She waits.

“Well then… Let me be the first. No.” Clarke whispers, her voice sultry and so fucking sexy that Lexa has barely time to blink before the blonde walks out the door, leaving her completely ruined.

She stares at the door for a long moment.

Then she pulls out her phone and calls her sister.

“What?” Anya asks in her usual unfriendly manner.

“I need that girl’s number. Right now.”

“Is your date over already? Damn, you’ve really lost game, sis.”

“Shut up.” Lexa huffs, explaining what happened in a few short sentences, before trying to describe why she wants her number. “She’s…”

Anya waits not so patiently. “She’s what? Sexy?”

“She’s…” Lexa tries again, trying to find the right words. She’s never felt like that with a woman before and the barely spoke two minutes. But she knows it, she can feel it in her bones. Her mom always said she’d know and she was right. So Lexa glances back up at the door the blonde left through. “I’m going to marry that woman.”

---

Today.

“You knew right there?”

Lexa nods.

“Wow. That’s romantic.” Clarke says, biting her lip. It’s a thing she does when she’s trying to concentrate. She always gets that look after Lexa tells her stories about them. She’s trying to find something to hold on to, something her head keeps.

They two women sit there in silence for another few minutes. Clarke is searching for a memory and Lexa feels too defeated by the knowledge she won’t find anything to say anything else.

“I have to go.” Lexa announces eventually, pushing back her chair with a squeaking sound.

“Oh.” Clarke looks at her sadly. “Will you… Will you come back tomorrow? And tell me more?”

You won’t remember today, Lexa thinks to herself, but she nods nevertheless. “I’ll be here.” She promises with a smile, before she gets up and leaves. She always makes herself the promise she won’t look back, but she never follows through.

Clarke still sits by the table and watches her go. There’s sadness and confusion in those blue orbs and Lexa feels guilty for every accusing thought she ever had since the incident. This isn’t Clarke’s fault. She wouldn’t want to live that way. No one would.

She just wants her back.

...

Chapter Text

Clarke’s been at the rehab center for four weeks now and nothing’s really changed. Okay, yes, last week she started keeping tiny bits of what the doctors told her about her condition. She started listing the medical terms like she’s listing things she needs to buy at a supermarket. And she doesn’t need hours to wrap her head around the news that she’ll forget every person she meets during the day.

It makes Lexa hope, but every time the blonde goes to sleep, she doesn’t remember anything else the next morning and that brings her down pretty quickly again.

Every day Clarke looks at her like she’s seeing her for the first time. And while that could sound cute in another context, it’s like being stuck in a torturous, never-ending time loop for Lexa.

After taking a deep breath, Lexa gets in her car and she drives in the silence until she reaches her sister’s house, where she’s greeted by a knowing look.

“Nothing new?” Anya asks.

Lexa shakes her head. “She asked how we met today.”

“Oh, that story. I love it.”

“I know. Me too.” Lexa sighs.

Anya, who’s sensing her sister’s need to talk, motions to the Hollywood swing on the porch for them to sit. The settle next to each other, shoulders bumping, while the blonde waits for Lexa to say what’s on her mind today.

“I wonder how all of this feels to her. Knowing she’ll forget everything within the span of a few hours. They’ve explained it to me a hundred times but…” Lexa buries her face in her hands.

“There’s still a chance. You know the brain’s not easy to understand.”

“I know. Is it harsh of me to be glad that I don’t have to tell her what happened every day? I… I couldn’t do that anymore. Isn’t that selfish?”

“No. It’s understandable.” Anya wraps an arm around Lexa’s shoulders. “She’s strong. She’s been getting better at keeping things, remember? Last week you said-”

But Lexa interrupts her. “I know what I said. But what if she’ll keep forgetting the rest? I walk out the door and she forgets who I am! This is not how it was supposed to be. What if it’ll stay that way for the rest of her life?”

Anya stays calm at her sister’s outburst. They’ve been over this too often to count. “Then you’ll tell her for as long as you can.”

The only problem is: Lexa doesn’t know how much longer she can take it. It makes her feel weak to think like that, because if their roles were reversed, Clarke would manage it all so much better than her. Clarke would be stronger.

That’s why she gets lost in her sister’s warm embrace, soaking up the comfort. Just a few minutes, she tells herself, Then I’ll be able to hold it together again.

She’s right.

Barely five minutes later she greets her son with a wide smile, like his whole world isn’t close to falling apart.

---

“Mommy?”

“Yes, baby?”

“You can’t sing.”

Lexa chuckles. “I know sweetie. I’m trying though. Do I get points for that?”

Aden shakes his head, but he’s got a big grin on his face.

“Do you want to sing your lullaby yourself?” She asks him, watching as he stares up at her for a moment, before he shakes his head.

“No.” He pouts. “Momma sing.”

Lexa sighs deeply, before she pulls him close. “Momma can’t sing for you.”

“Why not?”

“She’s not home.”

“Why not?” He asks again, pulling his teddy bear Gustus closer as if the stuffed bear could protect him from the answer. At least that’s what Lexa sees.

Her heart clenches at the thought. “You know what Momma does in her job?”

“Helping people.” He responds immediately.

“You’re right. And now some people need to help Momma. Do you understand that?”

Aden frowns a little, before he nods. “So Momma comes home soon.”

“I hope so.”

“I know.” He states. Then he looks at her with determination in his azure blue eyes. “You sing.”

“Even if I’m bad at it?”

He nods.

And Lexa tugs him in again, presses a kiss to his forehead and smiles at him. “Close your eyes, little man.” Then she starts to sing again. And again. And again. Until he’s finally asleep.

Only then she gets up and curls into her bed, holding one of Clarke’s hoodies tight to her chest, praying she’ll get the woman she loves back.

---

“Hey, love.” Lexa greets Clarke the next day. It’s late afternoon, which normally means that Clarke has sorted out her thoughts a bit. By now she has learned that she’s married, because even if they try to hide them, Clarke always manages to get her file. “May I sit?”

“If you tell me your name, pretty girl.”

“Lexa.”

“So you’re my wife?”

She nods. Sometimes she’s surprised of how well Clarke takes it all. But maybe it’s her subconsciousness that calms her down. Maybe her brain is getting used to it. She can only hope that means the blonde will get used to her again too.

“Tell me something about me.”

She’s amazed by the blonde again. She’s not even bothering with small talk and she isn’t shy either. “What do you want to hear?”

“How long have you known me?”

“Five years.”

“What’s my favorite color?”

Lexa chuckles. As if Clarke could ever decide on one color. “You don’t have one. You say that would be unfair to all the other beautiful colors out there.”

“And what’s yours?”

That’s an easy one. “Azure blue.” She responds immediately.

“Tell me something about you.”

Lexa sighs. It’s been one too many days that Clarke has asked this question. It feels like a date all over again – only that Lexa knows what’s to come and no matter how much she loves having dates with Clarke, having the first one all over again while knowing all the answers…

Clarke seems to sense the shift in Lexa’s emotions. “I’m sorry.” She says quietly.

“Don’t be.”

“You’re hurting.”

There’s no way Lexa can deny that. So she keeps silent.

“You’re coming here every day, aren’t you?”

Lexa nods. “Almost every day.”

“Why? Clearly, I forget about you every day, which means you have to tell me the same things all over again.”

“Because you’re my wife. I’ll come back for as long as I have to.” Lexa answers, her words sincere and true. She couldn’t give up, not even if coming back here every day to find the same shell of a woman slowly kills her.

“And what if I never remember? What if I keep forgetting?”

“You’re my wife.” Lexa repeats, holding the blonde’s gaze. “You might not remember what we had, but if you could you’d understand.”

-----

It’s late that night. Aden’s long asleep and Lexa is wandering through the house, feeling restless. Sleeping with the other side of the bed empty… It’s foreign to her. It’s been so long since she had to. She misses feeling safe, she misses the sound of Clarke’s light snoring in the early hours and the blonde hogging the blanket.

A sudden phone call makes her jump. She recognizes the number and hesitates, before she picks up. “Hey, Abby.”

“Lexa.” The older woman replies, her voice filled with empathy. “How are you doing?”

“Okay. And you?”

The relationship with her mother-in-law has always been strained. But what’s making it worse is that what happened to Clarke was the wakeup-call for the older woman. Not the fact that she missed her daughter’s wedding or Aden’s birth. No. What made her realize her faults was her daughter’s condition. Since then she has been trying to repair the relationship with Lexa and Aden and Lexa’s trying to be forgiving, if only for Aden’s sake. But it’s hard, because she’s not sure what Clarke would say to all this.

“The same.” The older woman replies. “How’s Clarke?”

“She’s… the same too.”

A sigh. Then a pause. “I’ll come and visit next weekend. Would that be okay?”

“Sure.”

“I miss Aden. Maybe I could take him to the zoo or something like that?”

“He’d love that.”

“Okay. I’ll call again about the details.” Abby says. “And Lexa?”

“Yes?”

“She’ll be okay. We’ll all be okay.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes, I do. She’s my daughter.”

Since when? , Lexa thinks bitterly, clenching her jaw to stop herself from saying things she might regret. She wouldn’t. But this isn’t about her. It’s about Clarke only.

...

Chapter Text

“Ahn, are you sure? I can do it.”

The dark-blonde woman across from Lexa shakes her head. “You go have a free day. I’ll watch over the bitch.”

“Don’t call her that.”

“Why? He’s too small to know what that means.”

“Still.”

Anya shakes her head. “I love the little man, you know that. And Rae’s been asking about him anyways. It’s a win-win for all of us.”

Lexa grumbles. It’s weekend, which means Abby will be here soon to take Aden to the zoo. But he’s shy with strangers at the moment and Abby isn’t exactly family. She only met him a few weeks ago. Lexa couldn’t leave them alone, so she already accepted her fate of having to spend a whole day with her mother-in-law. Until Anya scooped in to save the day – her words, not Lexa’s.

“Are you sure?” She asks one more time.

“Of course. Enjoy the day. Take a bath, go for a run, stay in bed. Whatever you want. You need to charge your batteries, Lex.”

Lexa sighs. It’s been weeks since she really had time to herself – when she does, it’s usually late and she falls asleep within a matter of seconds. She probably doesn’t know how to use that time anymore.

Barely ten minutes later Abby’s at the door, wearing a forced smile. “Hello, Lexa.”

Lexa nods. “Abby.”

“Are you okay with me spending the day with Aden?”

“He’s not good with strangers at the moment, so Anya and Rae will be coming along too.” She answers, avoiding to add that she doesn’t want the older woman to spend a whole day alone with her son. Not after everything she did.

Abby’s face falls a little, but she’s a great actress, so it doesn’t take her long to recover. “Wonderful. The more the merrier.”

“Come on in then. They’re in the living room.” Lexa motions back to the couch, where Anya’s waiting with an excited Aden in her lap.

“Abby.” Her sister greets the older woman courtly.

“Anya. Nice to see you again.”

“When was the last time? Four years ago?”

You could cut the tension with a knife, but they’re all saved from the awkward and icy silence, when Raven honks outside of the house.

“Great! Our ride is here, Aden!” Anya exclaims, throwing the squealing boy into the air and catching him. “We’re going to the zoo!”

Lexa’s heart melts a little, because her sister isn’t exactly a warm and outgoing person, but with Aden she turns into a child. And she’s a lifesaver. Without her sister she wouldn’t have made it through the last weeks. No matter how this turns out, she’ll be forever grateful for her sister’s help.

“Don’t forget to put him down in his buggy when he gets tired. And one ice-cream, not three. Make sure of it, Ahn.”

“Yes, Mommy.” Anya laughs. “We got this.”

“I mean it.”

“Yeah, yeah. Don’t worry. We’ve done this before, haven’t we, kiddo?”

Aden nods excitedly, having no idea what his mother and aunt were talking about.

Lexa notices that Abby feels pretty uncomfortable standing on the sidelines, so she decides to take pity on her. “Aden?” She says. “You remember your grandma, don’t you?”

Blue eyes stare at the older woman. Lexa can basically see the wheels turning in his head. But then he nods. “You gave me Otto.”

“Otto?” Abby asks.

“The blue rabbit.” Lexa explains.

“Oh, yes. Do you like him?”

Aden nods. But then he turns back to Anya, smiling brightly. “But Gustus is my faw…” He frowns.

“Your favorite?” Lexa helps.

Another nod.

“It sure is!” Anya announces, grinning proudly.

And maybe Lexa has a hard time fighting back a gleeful grin too – just maybe.

Raven honks again. God, that woman is impatient.

“Alright. Have fun guys. And listen to your aunt, okay, buddy?”

But Aden doesn’t really listen, Lexa even struggles to press a kiss on his forehead, because he’s to busy tugging on his aunt’s hand. “We go now?”

---

Half an hour – that’s how long it took Lexa to get in the car after her son, Abby and Anya have left the house. Lexa could’ve finally had a bit time to actually catch a breath and take a break. But she can’t.

Instead she went to visit Clarke in the early morning and she’s been here the whole day, once more recalling how the met and how they started dating. Clarke gets to know her and they laugh and smile and for a moment Lexa forgets that this isn’t normal.

“Can I tell you something?” The blonde asks.

Lexa waits tensely, as they continue to walk through the park surrounding the rehab center.

“You feel familiar. I can’t place it, but…”

Lexa closes her eyes, fighting down her tears. She’s not sure if they’re happy tears or broken ones, but Clarke notices and stops walking, only to pull the brunette into her arms without thinking twice.

“Don’t say things like that only to make me feel better.” Lexa whispers into blonde hair.

How can it be that Clarke sounds the same, smells the same, acts the same – and still doesn’t remember her?

“I’m not.”

And Lexa really can’t take it. “You can’t say things like that!” She lashes out. “Hearing you say that kills me, Clarke! Okay? It kills me, because you’re here and if I reach out to touch you, I can feel you, but you’re not in there! Not really! And don’t look at me like that! I’m not one of the things or people you can fix!”

Clarke’s eyes well with tears as quickly as Lexa feels guilty. She shouldn’t have said that.

Lexa sighs, feeling even more broken now. “I’m sorry, I-”

“No, I’m sorry. I… I was just hoping that this would mean something. You know, I’ve been searching my head all day, trying to find something. When you tell me those stories, it feels familiar, like I’ve placed something somewhere and I know I did, but I can’t find it, you know? But…”

Lexa wipes her face at Clarke’s words, trying to support her hopes. “That’s great. Maybe it’s a progress.”

“Maybe.”

After staring into each other’s eyes for a long moment, they continue walking. Before their shoulders were occasionally bumping together as neither one of them wanted to stay far away from the other, but now they’re keeping an armlength away.

“I’m scared of going to sleep tonight.” Clarke announces after a while. “I don’t want to forget about all the things you’ve told me. Maybe I should write them down and read them the next morning.”

“We already tried that.” She tries not to sound as defeated as she feels, but she probably fails, because Clarke’s shoulders slouch down.

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“Do you… do you still have them?”

“I do. They’re in my trunk.”

“Could you show them to me? I love learning about us.”

“Sure. I… I have to get going anyways.” Lexa sees the disappointment in Clarke’s eyes and she hates causing it. She hates it so much that she changes her mind. “You know what? I could as well stay a little longer.”

“You don’t have to-”

“I’ll stay.”

---

That’s how they end up in Clarke’s room, in Clarke’s bed. Lexa’s arm lies around the blonde’s shoulders and she’s reading Clarke’s old diaries to her.

She has stopped wiping her tears away after the third entry about how the blonde describes her. There’s so much affection in her words. She writes about how the stories Lexa tells her make her feel, about her fears and worries that she’ll never remember.

And then, after they’ve gone through all the diaries, Lexa tells her new stories and Clarke writes them down. They sit until long after midnight, completely forgetting about the world around them.

“That woman you’re describing must really love you.” Clarke says quietly.

Those words warm Lexa’s heart. They hurt, too, but most of all they’re just reminding her of how beautiful it is to love Clarke and how she couldn’t give up hope, even if she wanted to, even if it kills her to see her like this. She’s thought about the “what if” situation, but there’s only one option for her. Not because she vowed it. Because that’s what you do when you love someone.

“She does, yes.”

“Do you think she’s still in here?” She points at herself.

“I hope so.”

“Lexa?”

“Yes?”

“If you wouldn’t want to come here every day or anymore at all, I think she’d understand.” Clarke sounds small and vulnerable. She turns her head to hide her tears, but Lexa sees them anyway.

And Lexa hates herself for not being able to help her remember, for having to watch helplessly. “That’s not an option.”

“It would be okay.”

“For her maybe. But not for me.” Lexa answers honestly, her fingers drawing patterns on Clarke’s back. “I’ll be here tomorrow and the day after and the day after.”

Clarke sighs. “Okay.”

Minutes pass and both of them get lost in their thoughts.

It feels familiar, normal, to hold Clarke in her arms like this, just waiting for her to fall asleep. Recalling their life together in this intensity all day made Lexa forget how cruel the reality is. For a little while she got to pretend that everything’s okay and she needed that to mend her heart.

“I’m scared.” Clarke whispers. “I don’t want to forget all of this. This day, our story. You.”

“Don’t be. I’ll come back and tell you again.” Lexa answers, pressing a soft kiss into blonde hair. “And I’ll stay until you’re asleep.”
“Promise?”

“Promise.”

It doesn’t take long until Clarke’s breathing has evened out and she’s sleeping peacefully, completely unaware of the fact that Lexa’s heart shatters silently right next to her.

Lexa carefully untangles herself from the blonde’s body and steals a soft kiss from her lips. She needs that to keep her hopes up, she craves it like a fish needs water. “I love you. Please come back to me.” She whispers as a silent prayer into the room, before she closes the door.

Chapter Text

Sunday mornings are supposed to be the best of the whole week. Lexa wakes up to the smell of pancakes and coffee, Aden climbs into their bed and settles between them, after Clarke has brought their breakfast. Everything’s peaceful.

But now there’s no Clarke.

Instead it’s Abby who’s making coffee and Lexa settles across from her at the table, trying to focus on Aden and to keep a conversation going.

It’s not easy. Not just because they haven’t got much to say, but because her thoughts wander back to yesterday, to the laughter she shared with the blonde.

“How was she?” Abby’s sudden question almost makes Lexa choke on her coffee.

“Umm… The same. She’s… she’s tough, but I can’t imagine what it must be like to… Going through the same devastating experience every day.”

“Me neither. Do you… Would you be okay if I visit her later?”

“That’s not my decision to make. She’s your daughter.” At least biologically.

Abby sighs. She looks over at Aden, before her eyes settle on a spot on the table, where Aden had a little painting accident with Clarke just a day before their world was turned upside down. “You and I both know that I didn’t exactly win the “mother of the year” title the last years. So of course that’s your decision.”

Lexa is taken aback by the older woman’s confession. “I wanted to go see her after breakfast. But you could have the afternoon, if that works for you?”

Abby’s eyes water with tears. “Thank you.”

---

Here she is again. It feels like being stuck in a time loop, like a constant déjà-vu she can’t shake.

Still she takes a deep breath and walks over to the table on the terrace, where her beautiful wife sits. It’s a beautiful summer day and the blonde hair reflects the sunlight.

“Hey.” She greets her.

Blue orbs look up and smile at her openly. “Hi. I’m sorry, who are you?”

There it goes. Again. She fights the urge to cry and puts on a smile. “I’m Lexa. We’re…” She pauses. She can’t do it, not today. “We’re friends.”

Friends. What a bitter taste the words leave on her tongue. God knows Clarke and her could never be just friends. They’re a natural force, they’ve been from day one.

Clarke frowns, either noticing Lexa’s hesitation or not quite believing her, because Lexa’s a bad liar. “You’ve been here before, haven’t you?”

Lexa’s heart starts racing, she can feel it pounding in her throat as she answers. “Yes.”

The blonde nods, while a wide and proud smile appears on her lips. “I knew it!” She exclaims happily, throwing her head back. She sighs. “I knew you seemed familiar!”

Lexa’s mind doesn’t dare to hope, but her heart is braver than she is. Braver and more stupid maybe, but right now she doesn’t really care. All that counts is that Clarke said she seemed familiar, which is huge progress. She wants to jump in joy, but she remains seated in her chair.

“They told me I’m married.” Clarke suddenly says. “Have you met them?”

She swallows her surprise. “Yes.” She croaks out. “I have.”

“It’s a woman, isn’t it?”

Lexa nods. “How did you guess?”

“I think I dreamt of her last night, but… I’m not sure. I don’t remember much. Just… a feeling.” Clarke replies, looking hopeful. “One of the doctors said I could try something new tonight. She’ll tell me a couple of numbers and we’ll do a video of me repeating them. And then we’ll hope I remember them tomorrow. She says maybe we can train my brain.” She pauses, letting out a low chuckle. “That rhymed.”

“What’s her name?” Lexa asks. None of the doctors here were helpful so far, but this idea sounds interesting. And really, Lexa would take any chance at healing at this point.

“Dr. Blake. Octavia Blake, I think.”

“Sounds like a good one.”

“She seemed nice. She’s not treating me like a weirdo.” Clarke’s eyes meet Lexa’s. “You aren’t either.”

“You’re not a weirdo. You’re… temporarily limited in your cognitive skills.”

Clarke laughs. It’s the most endearing sound Lexa can think of and her heart flutters. “Since when have we been friends?”

“For a few years.”

“How did we meet?”

“Over friends of ours.” Lexa answers vaguely.

There it is again, that frown on the blonde’s forehead. “What is she like?”

“Who?”

“My wife.”

Lexa swallows. “Umm… She loves you very much. She… she’s trying to be there for you as often as she can. She’s trying to be strong.”

“Will she come here today?”

“She won’t make it today. Your mother’s in town and…”

“My mother?”

“Yes. Abby. She’s… You have a complicated relationship.”

“Does it have to do something with me marrying a woman?” Clarke asks, but from the look on her face she already knows the answer.

“You remember?”

“No, I just… Had a feeling, I guess. Do you know what happened?”

Lexa sighs. She doesn’t want to talk about it, because she knows how it affected Clarke, but she’s asking and… “She wasn’t thrilled when you came out as bisexual during your time in college. She had a life planned out for you. And then you met m-“ She stops herself just in time. “Then you met your wife.”

Clarke nods. It’s visible that she’s trying to take in that information, to place that puzzle piece somewhere. But without any other connections that’s hard.

Lexa can feel Clarke watching her and it’s making her a little uncomfortable. She’s not even sure why she lied to her. Maybe because it’s nice to not be her wife for once, to just… be her friend and to not be involved in the messy and complicated drama that is their relationship right now. Maybe, because Clarke needs a friend more than her wife right now.

“Lexa?”

She looks up to meet the blonde’s gaze.

“You’re not just a friend, are you?”

Her eyes widen at the unexpected question, but that only confirms Clarke’s theory. Lexa hangs her head in shame and guilt. “No.”

“Why did you lie?” There’s hurt in her tone and confusion too.

She doesn’t deserve this, Lexa thinks bitterly.

“I… I don’t know. Being your friend wouldn’t be…” She leaves the sentence unfinished.

“That painful?”

“Yeah.”

“We can be friends. For a while.” Clarke suggests. “I mean, if that helps you. I won’t remember any of this tomorrow, but I don’t even remember what I like to do in my free time or how I met you, so that doesn’t say much. But if it’s easier for you, we can just be friends.”

It’s not easier. Lexa still loves that woman across the table so much it hurts and no label in the world would change that. That’s why she shakes her head.

She can feel the blonde’s eyes on her, as she stares at her hands in her lap, trying to look everywhere but at her wife.

“What numbers should I try to remember?”

Green meets blue again. There are a few dates she could think of – their wedding date or Aden’s birthday. But that’s not what she decides on. “June 12th of 2013.” She answers after a few seconds.

“What happened on that day?”

“That’s the day I fell in love with you. And it’s also the day we met.”

----

Clarke.

Six. Twelve. Thirteen.

She doesn’t remember what it means or why those numbers had been chasing her dreams, but she remembers them and she’s trying to hold on to them, while everything else about that dream fades, including green eyes and a gorgeous smile.

Six. Twelve. Thirteen.

Six. Twelve. Thirteen.

Chapter Text

Five years before.

Lexa has never been more excited, when her phone rang – and she got a few exciting news over phone, things like a job offer for example or that the girl she wanted to take to prom agreed. But this is something different. She has saved the blonde’s number days ago, but she didn’t want to stalk her, so she never used it.

It’s a few days after their first meeting and her fourth attempt of asking the blonde out. Her second one failed at a bar, where Lexa walked up to the blonde and asked her directly. Her third chance came up by accident, when they bumped into each other at the supermarket. Lexa didn’t even care that Clarke was there with Raven – she told Anya she was going to marry that woman after speaking with the blonde for maybe two minutes. It couldn’t get more pathetic. But Clarke just grinned and said: “No. Try harder.”

And now the blonde calls completely out of the blue and Lexa picks up, after jumping through her apartment a few seconds.

“You own a dress, do you?” The melodic voice says, completely skipping a greeting.

“Yes?”

“Well then. Meet at seven tonight.”

Wait a second.

“What?”

“Are you always that slow?” Clarke chuckles. It’s a charming sound. “This is not a date, but the guy that was supposed to keep me company tonight has a family emergency and since my friends are assholes and I hate going alone, I don’t have many options.”

Lexa can’t. Oh my god.

“Anyways. Wear something elegant, we’re going to a gallery opening. I suppose you’re able to clean up nice?” Is that a rhetorical question? Lexa isn’t sure. But before she can say something, Clarke continues. “I’ll text you the address, meet me there at seven.” Then the line goes silent.

What a woman, Lexa thinks with a dopey grin.

Only later she registers that she has said exactly two words.

---

The gallery opening turns out to be more of a gala than just an opening, but Lexa’s dressed properly enough. A few braids tied together at the back of her head are holding back her hair and she’s wearing a black dress that’s hugging her figure tight enough to be called sexy, without making it look inappropriate. (She spend a whole hour choosing between two dresses.)

Clarke’s wearing a black dress too, it ends right above her knees. She’s got her hair down over her left shoulder and Lexa tries not stare at the cleavage Clarke has on display in that dress, but she’s a hopeless gay and she’s sure Clarke wanted to toy with her. At least that’s what that smirk on the blonde’s lips tells her.

They make small talk and Clarke explains that those are a friend’s photographs, while they wander through the gallery. Lexa has always loved photography, so she’s not completely lost when Clarke voices her thoughts on a few of them.

Within the span of an hour, Lexa isn’t sure if she can fall any harder for that woman beside her. She’s stunning and her personality is as charming as challenging, which only turns Lexa on more. And she’s trying her best to not let the blonde notice it, but she probably fails. All that counts is that she made the blonde laugh eight times and that she managed to make her blush exactly three times.

“Dance with me.”

“You finally changed your mind?” What’s supposed to sound teasing, ends up sounding hopeful.

“No, but my ex is over there and he’ll come over and I don’t want that to happen.”

Lexa smirks again. The blonde isn’t hard to read. She’s just playing hard to get to test Lexa’s persistence. But she can work with that. She will work with that.

She offers her hand. “May I have this dance?”

“I hope you’re as good as you say.” Clarke bites back, taking the hand.

“Only one way to find out.” Lexa replies and leads the blonde to the dancefloor, away from a shaggy-haired guy that looks like he’s never finished puberty.

It’s a slow song, so she lets Clarke spin around and places one hand at her hip, while pulling her in and taking Clarke’s hand with the other. If she’s going to do this, she’s going to do it right.

“You’re close.” Clarke whispers, a little taken aback by the sudden proximity.

“I am.”

“And you’re not bad at this.”

Lexa sees Clarke’s eyes flicker down to her lips and she lets her do another spin. When she pulls her back in, she tugs her a little closer than before, and leans in to whisper in her ear. “I know.”

Their bodies are close, almost touching. The air between them is electrified. Lexa’s heart hammers in her chest. She’s a little surprised about her boldness, but she’s never wanted a woman as bad as she wants Clarke – and not just for the sex, which would probably be the best in her life. She wants more. She wants to get to know her and that hasn’t happened to her in that extent ever before.

“Pull your mind out of the gutter.” Clarke comments in a sassy tone, playfully rolling her eyes. “You’re not hard to read, you know? Your eyes totally give you away.”

The cheeky smirk that lets Lexa’s throat go dry. “And what do they tell you?”

“You want to sleep with me.”

“You’re right.” Another spin, only this time Lexa’s eyes don’t just flicker down to the blonde’s lips for a split second. No, they linger there for a long moment and when she looks up again, her heart skips a beat at the sight in front of her.

“What else do you want?” Clarke asks, her eyes darkened.

“I want to taste your lips. I want to kiss you until your lungs scream for oxygen.” She replies in a husky tone. It wasn’t done on purpose, but she sees the effect it has on the woman in her arms, so she grows even bolder after the next spin, that flushes the blonde’s body against her own. They stop dancing and just stay there, in the middle of the dancefloor, when Lexa adds: “I want to mark your skin.”

Clarke swallows, her blue eyes looking almost black with desire. “Where?”

“Here.” Lexa leans in and lets her nose brush over a spot below Clarke’s ear, listing to the blonde’s hitched breath. “Where everyone can see it.”

The mood has shifted a while ago, but only now both are painfully aware of it. The electricity that’s cursing through Lexa’s veins makes it hard to hold back, to not push the blonde against the nearest wall and kiss her senseless.

“What are you waiting for?”

Lexa pulls back abruptly. She isn’t sure if she has heard right.

Clarke’s smiles might kill her, but her next four words could as well destroy her. “Take me home, Lexa.”

---

They manage to hold back long enough for them to close her apartment door behind them.

“Do you want something to drink? I have wine and-”

And Clarke’s lips crash into hers with the force of a speed wagon, effectively shutting her up. The woman doesn’t waste her time, she pushes Lexa against the kitchen counter, her fingers reaching the brunette’s thighs.

Lexa shivers and feels herself being lifted onto the counter in one swift motion. Clarke doesn’t give her the time to say something witty or smart, she reconnects their lips in another bruising kiss.

A moan is ripped from Lexa’s throat, when the blonde’s fingers bore into her thighs and her teeth nibble at her bottom lip. Clarke’s tongue doesn’t ask for entrance, she demands it and Lexa is putty in her hands.

Goddamn, she remembers thinking.

What she doesn’t remember is when exactly Clarke took off her dress or when she unclapsed Lexa’s bra.

“Bedroom?” Lexa mumbles against swollen lips.

“To far.”

They never make it to the bed that night.

-----

Present time.

Lexa wakes up with a jolt. Her heart is beating rapidly in her chest, beating against her ribcage like it wants to break through. It’s been a while since she felt this… needy. What a way to start into the new week.

But a second later there’s a knock on the door and then tiny little feet are padding over the floor towards her bed. “Mommy?”

She throws back the blanket and picks up her son. “Hey, buddy! Why are you awake at this time?”

“Miss Momma.” Her heart clenches at the sadness in his voice.

“I miss her too.”

“I want to see her.” He announces. “Nana says I can go see her. I want to.”

Lexa’s feelings have already been in an emotional rollercoaster within the span of a minute, but this? How dare Abby say this to him? He’s a toddler for god’s sake! How is she supposed to explain to him that his mother won’t recognize him?

“How about I make you pancakes with chocolate chips for breakfast?”

His eyes light up. “Yeah!”

“Okay. Let me get up and you’ll get some!”

Aden happily scurries out the door and down the stairs, Lexa hot on his tail.

She puts on a cartoon to distract him, while she tries to sort out her thoughts. In the end she calls her sister and within ten minutes a slightly disheveled Anya appears on her doorstep, wearing sweats, glasses and a large hoodie.

“Hey.” The dark-blonde says empathetically and pulls her sister into a hug.

“Thank you for coming over. Sorry for waking you up.”

“Don’t mention it. Now let’s talk about how the bitch meddles with your decisions. What happened?”

This time Lexa refrains from glaring at her sister. Abby is a bitch. There’s no denying that. “She told Aden he could go see Clarke.”

“She did what?”

“Yes.”

“Didn’t you tell her right at the beginning that you don’t want to put Aden through this?”

“I did.”

“Then why…?”

Lexa shakes her head. “I’ve got no idea. But now he’ll ask again and again and I… What am I supposed to tell him? I want him to see his Momma, but…” She buries her face in her hands, trying to calm down, but she’s desperate and worn out and overwhelmed, but not in a good way.

“Lexa.”

She doesn’t want to traumatize her son by letting him see a woman who doesn’t recognize him. She doesn’t want to imagine how much it would confuse him.

“Lexa!”

Her head snaps up.

“Calm down. Take a deep breath.” Anya’s soothing voice says. “In and out. Yeah, that’s it.”

She didn’t notice she was on a way to a panic attack. But it’s no surprise, she’s been on the verge of going crazy since Clarke fainted right over there in her kitchen, completely without warning.

“Come on, let’s sit down for a moment.” Anya leads her to the couch and makes her sit down, before pulling her close and wrapping her arms around her. “See? It’s better this way, isn’t it?”

Lexa nods, soaking up the comfort her sister offers. “Thank you.”

“What did I tell you?”

“Don’t mention it.” Lexa repeats.

“Right.”

When Lexa pulls back a long moment later, she stretches out on the sofa with her legs across her sister’s lap and stares at the ceiling. “What am I supposed to do?”

“How about you ask Clarke’s doctors? See how she is, tell her she’s got a son, explain the situation. She’s been handling her current state quite well, hasn’t she? Maybe she could give Aden a few minutes.”

“And then what? Tell him he’s got to leave her? Can you imagine how that would affect him? For her it would only be a day and then she forgets about him, but he won’t understand why he can’t see her every day. He’ll ask about her and…” She closes her eyes and rubs them with her index finger and her thumb, trying to fight back the desperation that’s already finding its way back into her head. “I can’t do this, Anya. Not to him, not to her and not to myself. I can’t.”

“Okay. Then you won’t and I’ll have your back like I always do.”

Chapter Text

Thirty seconds. Her phone call to Abby hasn’t lasted longer than thirty seconds, but Lexa made good use of that time and damn, it felt great!

It included a few insults, accusations from both sides and the demand that the older woman stays away from Clarke and her son as far as possible. It ended with Lexa hanging up angrily and a feeling of relief. One less problem to take care off, one less reason for exhaustion, one less load to carry.

She can’t drive over to the rehab center alone, not today.

That’s why she puts Aden into daycare and goes to work. The perks of being her own boss is that no one’s able to kick her out or anything. When she started her own architectural office, it was a dream coming true. She always wanted her own thing – something she could be proud off. She’s doing nothing big, mostly normal houses, but it’s still her own and she would be able to provide for her family alone.

But now none of her beloved projects is important to her. She’s glad to have her people with her, because she can’t draw or plan anything at the moment and there’s no use in trying to concentrate. Showing up at work is just a way to kill time and to take her mind off of things, as far as it’s possible.

She has lunch with Lincoln, one of her friends from college, with whom she started the office over at that Thai restaurant she likes. Later she talks with Luna and Niylah over a cup of coffee about the progresses they achieved in some projects. And then she has a meeting with her old mentor and silent partner Indra, who doesn’t comment on the dark bags below her eyes, but pulls her into a hug as soon as she walks through the door.

A normal day. Almost.

Raven picks her up in the late afternoon.

Lexa feels horrible and more drained than ever and she craves the safety of two arms, but she can’t have them. But she’s sure she would’ve collapsed by now if not for Anya’s and Raven’s help, understanding and love.

“You okay?” Raven asks when she pulls into the mostly empty parking lot of the rehab center. She’s been watching Lexa fidgeting with her wedding ring for the whole drive.

You see, Lexa calls her sister when she needs someone to get her hopes up, to deal with Aden or to reason her. But she calls Raven when she needs someone to sit in silence with or to recall moments with the blonde. Raven is someone who finds the good in everything and everyone, but even she has a hard time dealing with Clarke’s condition.

When she first met Raven, she took an instant liking on the lively and witty woman. Now she considers her family, her sister(-in-law).

“No, I’m not. And nothing ever will be okay, if she doesn’t start keeping memories anything soon. There’s… There’s a kid at home that needs her to remember. Hell, I need her to remember, because I don’t know how to raise him alone, how to…” Lexa doesn’t finish her sentence, but there’s no need to. She has said all of this a dozen times before.

“Lexa, you’re doing great.”

She appreciates her friend’s words, but she isn’t so sure about them. She stares up at the building she knows so well by now, and she tries to tell herself that everything’s going to be okay. But for how long will that work?

“Go see her. You’ll feel better afterwards.”

The sad and illogical part about it is that it’s true.

---

She is just about to knock on Clarke’s door, when she hears her name being called. “Lexa! Wait!”

She turns around. A young woman in white hurries down the hallway. Brown hair, ice-blue eyes. The doctor Clarke spoke about yesterday?

“Dr. Blake?” She asks.

The brunette nods. “You can call me Octavia. Dr. Blake is my brother. Nice to finally meet you. Clarke talks a lot about you.”

“She told me about a new idea you had yesterday.”

“Yes, that’s exactly why I wanted to talk to you. She said you gave her a date?”

“June 12th of 2013, yes.”

“Well, she was able to keep it.” Octavia announces with a wide smile, speaking a little faster than Lexa is able to understand the dimension of those news. “She woke up this morning and couldn’t remember anything new, except those numbers.”

Lexa blinks. “She… remembers?”

“Yes.”

“Oh my god.”

Octavia smiles warmly. “This is a huge progress, Lexa. She might not be able to remember what happened in the past at this point, but if she can keep one new information, there’s a high chance she’ll be able to keep more.” She says, trying to talk a bit slower now.

Somehow it means the world to Lexa that Clarke’s new doctor is just as excited as she is.

“We would like to run a few tests, as far as the equipment here lets us, but I have a theory that I’d like to test, and I need your consent.”

“What kind of theory? And what tests?”

“The brain is a part of the body we still know too little about. What we do know is that it’s able to do miraculous things, even after severe traumatic experiences. There’s always a chance that it’s repairing necessary connections on its own and that’s what we hoped for, but like I said, the brain’s still a mystery sometimes. I’d like to do a few new scans and maybe we can see what’s going on in there.”

“Okay. Do it.”

“Great. I’ll schedule an appointment for her for tomorrow morning. You might try telling her a new date, if you want. See, if she keeps both of them.”

Lexa nods. She feels overwhelmed with the news and tries not to get her hopes up, but it’s already too late for that.

After Clarke’s emergency surgery the doctors said there’s a little chance she’ll ever be able to remember anything, if she even would wake up. But Clarke woke up and she remembered who she is and what she likes. And now she remembers a date. Their date. This is huge.

The brunette reaches out to touch Lexa’s arm, seemingly reading her thoughts. “This is good news, Lexa.”

“I know.”

“She’s a fighter.”

“Yes, she is.”

“Go see her. She’s been asking about her wife.”

Lexa watches the doctor go. She’s young and enthusiastic, but she’s fresh and innovative. Maybe that’s what they need.

Today she doesn’t hesitate long before she knocks on Clarke’s door. She doesn’t need to steel herself for what’s to come – maybe because the news gave her hope and that’s what she needed. But maybe because she’s been over this too many times to count. Fifty-eight times.

“Come in.” Clarke’s melodic voice sounds through the door.

And Lexa presses the door handle and lets herself in. Clarke is sitting on the windowsill, wearing dark-grey sweatpants and a navy-blue t-shirt. She’s got her hair up in a messy bun – the one she would wear at home while sitting over one of her scientific journals. Only she’s not reading one of those, but a diary.

Still it looks so normal that Lexa can’t help but smile for a moment. “Hey.”

“Hey, Lexa.” She must be frowning, because Clarke smiles sadly. “I described your face in here. And I did a quick sketch, but none of this does you justice. You’re gorgeous.”

“Oh. Thank you?”

Clarke keeps smiling. “So, you like chess?”

A little taken by surprise, she manages a nod. “Yeah, I do.”

“Up for a game?”

“I don’t… have a lot time today.”

Clarke’s face falls a little. “Oh.”

“I’m sorry. A friend drove me here today.”

“Which one?”

“Raven.”

“The engineer?”

“That one, yeah.”

“It seems I made notes about everything you said to me. Everyone you’ve been talking about has their own section in here.” She points to the small book in her lap.

“Yeah?”

“Yup.”

“What’s in there about me?”

“I tried to describe your eyes, but I couldn’t, so I tried to draw them. But I guess the shade of green your eyes have hasn’t got a name yet, so there’s obviously not the right color to draw with.” Clarke starts rambling and Lexa notices once more that she adores the woman with all of her heart.

“What else?” She asks, finally sitting down across from Clarke, carefully leaving enough space between them.

“Chess. Allergic to peanuts. A big nerd.”

“Hey, I’m not a nerd. That’s wrong.”

Clarke turns a few pages back. “So, you haven’t watched a Harry Potter marathon on Harry’s birthday four years in a row?”

“Who told you that?”

“The journal here says Raven.”

Lexa chuckles, feeling as calm as ever around the blonde. “Well, for your information, she’s the bigger nerd of us. And it’s not entirely true, it wasn't four years in a row, because one year we-” She cuts herself of.

When Lexa doesn’t continue on her own, Clarke nudges her knee. “What happened that one year?”

It takes a few long moments, before Lexa forces herself to look at Clarke. She takes a deep breath and recounts one of her favorite memories. “The other year you took me on a trip to London.”

“Really?” Clarke’s eyes go wide.

“Yeah. We went to see Harry Potter world, even though you’re not that big of a fan, but you knew I wanted to see it, so you made it possible. And then you…”

“Then what? God, Lexa, you’re the worst story teller!”

“Then you asked me to marry you.”

Clarke stares at her, her expression unreadable to Lexa. Is it wonder? Sadness? Admiration? She can’t name it.

Then the blonde picks up a pen and starts making notes.

Lexa watches, without actually seeing it. She’s trying to sort out her thoughts in the meantime. This day has been... not easy. Who is she kidding, none of the days in the last two and a half months was easy. Not since Clarke fainted while making pancakes.

Lexa remembers the crashing sound, it’s probably engraved into her mind forever. Clarke had a headache for god’s sake! A stupid headache! And then she just… lost consciousness, hit her head on the kitchen counter and fell to the floor. Just thinking about it makes her shiver.

Clarke reaches out her hand after a little while and places it on Lexa’s knee. „Are you okay?“

„What? Yeah, I’m good, I just...“

Clarke’s azure blue eyes look at her with so much warmth, Lexa almost can’t take it. „You sure?“

Lexa decides to change the topic. „I met your doctor on the way here. Octavia.“

„She’s great! She said you gave me the date yesterday. And I remember it. June 12th of 2013. I don’t really know what this means, but she said it’s good news.“

„It is.“

„I hope so. I mean, sure it sucks for me to forget everything, but for you and our friends and family it must be way worse. I can’t remember it, but all of you can.“

Lexa gulps. She knows her wife doesn’t beat around the bush, but sometimes it still surprises her. „We manage.“ She croaks out.

„Would you... tell me more about us? Our life? I mean, if you have a little time? I just want to take more notes, so I can get a better picture. I don’t know, it feels like it’s helping me.”

Lexa glances at the clock above the door. „What do you want to know?“

„How long have we been married?“

„About three and a half years.“

„What’s your family like?“

Lexa watches as Clarke resumes to taking notes. She supposes the blonde wants to have as much information as she can. „Anya, my sister, is the only relative I have left. My dad, Gustus, raised us alone, but he died last year.“

Clarke’s eyes fill with empathy. „I’m sorry.“

„It’s okay.“ No, it’s not. He would’ve known how to deal with all of this. He would’ve made her stronger.

„Where do we live? What’s our home like?“

„We have a small house in the suburbs, because we didn’t want Ad- we wanted to have more space and a backyard.“ She quickly recovers from the almost slip up, hoping Clarke hasn’t noticed. “It’s nothing big, but it’s our cozy little home.”

Unfortunately Clarke has noticed. „What aren’t you saying?“

„Hm? Nothing?“

„Lexa, my brain may be mushy, but I do know when someone’s lying. What is it? We didn’t want what?” Clarke asks. She’s always been persistent, and Lexa never had a chance. “Does it have to do something with this?“ She gets on her feet and pulls up her t-shirt, revealing her stomach and the scar.

Lexa closes her eyes.

Clarke found it again. It’s not the first time she confronts Lexa about it, but it amazes and tortures her just the same.

„That scar isn’t just a scar. It’s from a c-section, right?“

And Lexa can’t lie. She can’t, not about this, not about Aden. So she confirms the blonde’s theory. „Yes.“

Clarke drops the hem of her shirt and stares at Lexa wide eyed. „I...“

Lexa waits. There’s two options on how this goes, she’s seen them both before. Option one: Clarke throws a frightening, though justified, tantrum about why Lexa hasn’t told her, she’ll be angry about her condition and the world, including Lexa. Option two: she’ll have a breakdown in Lexa’s arms.

What will it be today?

„We...“ Clarke tries again. „We have a child?“

„A son.“ Lexa confirms quietly, afraid of both options. „He’s two and a half. His name is Aden.“

Clarke blinks. Once. Twice. Then she walks over to her bed and sits down, almost. Lexa can see the thoughts racing behind those blue eyes.

„Aden.“ Clarke repeats, like she’s trying to find out what his name sounds from her lips.

Lexa nods. She’s afraid to move, while she waits for the blonde’s reaction to those news. There is none. Not one in words or actions at least. Clarke just sits there, lost for words, pale and maybe too shocked to move, and she stares at Lexa without really seeing her.

„Do you... want to see a picture?“ She asks after some time has passed.

Clarke’s eyes meet hers. Unbelieving, maybe, but also curious and something else, something Lexa can’t name.

She pulls out her phone and opens her photo album. She hasn’t shown Clarke any pictures in weeks, afraid to hurt her again. The first times she told her about Aden, she watched Clarke’s pain and she suffered with her. Lexa couldn’t bear it, that’s why she stopped.

But now she sits down beside her and hands her the phone. „Here. That’s our son.“

The blonde accepts it with trembling hands, eyes immediately locking onto the screen, from where a grinning Aden stares back at her. He’s standing on top of a giant slide at the playground across from their house. The photo was taken two weeks ago.

Clarke opens her mouth to speak several times, but nothing comes out. Lexa waits in silence, observing every movement and sounds the blonde makes, from forced breaths to quiet sniffs.

„He... He’s beautiful.“ She finally croaks, her voice hoarse and shaky.

„He looks a lot like you. He even has your freckles. There are more pictures, if you-“

„How could I forget this?“ Clarke interrupts her. „I’ve got a son and I couldn’t remember! I forgot about my own child!“

„Clarke-“

„I forgot about you! My wife! About my family! I...“ Desperation spreads out on her face and in her voice, she’s on the verge of crying. „How could that happen?!“

Lexa watches helplessly as Clarke scrolls through the pictures. Aden playing soccer, Aden on Lexa’s shoulders, Aden with paint smeared all over his face, Aden in bed with Clarke sitting next to him, the two of them playing guitar together..

„How could I forget about all of this?“ Her voice is smaller now, fragile even.

Lexa doesn’t hesitate and pulls the other woman into her arms, when Clarke starts crying. „It’s okay. It’ll all be okay, I promise.“

What a dangerous thing promises are.

Chapter Text

„Don’t let me forget about him.“

Lexa looks back at the woman standing in the doorway. Clarke has her arms wrapped around herself, her eyes are wide, and her fingers scratch on her upper arm. She wants nothing more than to wrap her arms around the blonde and hold her herself.

„Clarke, I-“

„Lexa.”

There’s a certain way the woman pronounces her name. Even when she doesn’t remember her, it somehow still sounds the same. Meaningful. Like the four letters are the most important thing in the world. Lexa realizes that she craves that more than anything else.

“Promise me you won’t let me forget about him.“ What sounds like a demand is more a plead than anything else, Lexa knows that.

That’s why she sighs. She could never say no that woman, especially not when Clarke is staring her down like this. „I promise.“

Another promise I won’t be able to keep, she thinks bitterly.

„Will you be back tomorrow?“

„I will.“

A long and barely comforting hug later, Lexa is on her way back to Raven’s car.

Only there she realizes she hasn’t given Clarke a new date to remember, but she’s not strong enough to say goodbye a second time today, so she gets into the car and leans her head against the headrest with an exhausted sigh.

„How was it?“

„She asked about Aden. She found the scar and…“

Raven places a hand on Lexa’s and squeezes. „I’m sorry.“

She clenches her jaw. „I always try to tell myself that there’s a plan behind all of this. Some kind of... I don’t know... sense maybe. That we’re not just going through all of this for nothing. But the longer I do this, the more I think god is just an asshole who loves to watch us suffer.“

„I didn’t know you’re religious.“

„I’m not. I don’t even believe in god, but... What’s all of this for if not for something bigger?“

Raven shrugs, not having an answer either. „I don’t know.“

„Can we go home?“

„Sure.“

----

Raven pulls into their driveway and stops the engine.

„She remembered something.“ Lexa announces after a few minutes passed in silence and she still hasn’t made a move to leave the car.

Raven has been waiting patiently for her to sort out her thoughts in the meantime. That’s the thing about their friendship – they know each other like the back of their hands. Sometimes it’s comforting, sometimes not.

„I told her the date we met yesterday, and she remembered the numbers. Nothing more, but... she remembered something.“

„Lexa, that’s great news!“ Raven exclaims enthusiastically.

„I know.“

„Why aren’t you grinning from ear to ear then?“

„Because I’m tired. I...“ She closes her eyes, trying to fight the thought that’s constantly running through her subconsciousness, she can feel it lingering in the back of her head, waiting to have its moment. The thought that, if she accepts its existence, will mean that she’s not invincible and that she’s not strong enough to keep going like this. And she’s scared of what it’ll mean.

Even though it was a good day, considering the circumstances, she doesn’t feel relieved or happy. She’s just exhausted to no end and she feels like crying and shouting and a lot of other things she can’t even name.

There’s the sound of raindrops hitting the windscreen and for a moment it has her attention.
Normally it’s a calming and soothing sound to her, but not today. She didn’t even notice the dark clouds. She hasn’t checked her weather app before leaving the house. She doesn’t even know if her socks fit together or not. Where would the sense be anyway?

She opens her eyes and they follow a raindrop that’s running down the windshield and disappears out of view.

I can’t go see her for a while.

There. She thought it.

It kills her and she hangs her head in shame, in disgust about how weak she is, but... She can’t go see Clarke tomorrow, she knows it. She can’t get her hopes up for nothing again. She can’t cling to the fact that Clarke remembered the date like it’s the lifeline they’ve been waiting for, because what if it’s not? What if she won’t remember it tomorrow? What if it’s just another cruel trick?

„Can Aden stay with you for the night?“ She asks after a few seconds, trying to keep herself together for as long as she needs to.

Raven frowns. „Are you sure?“

„Yeah, I... I need a break.“

“Lexa-”

“Can you just… get him? Please?”

Maybe it was her pleading tone, maybe it was the desperate look in her eyes – whatever it was, Raven nods and gets out of the car.

Ten minutes later her and Anya are gone with an excited Aden and Lexa throws her keys on the kitchen table.

She just stands there, alone, in the middle of their kitchen, and looks over at the pictures on the refrigerator. They tell stories of happiness and love, but it seems so long ago that she barely remembers how it is to feel like that. Carefree. Happy. Loved.

She’s never hated being alone as much as she hates it now. The feeling hits her with full force and she turns around and walks over to the cabinet, where they hide their alcohol.

Lexa isn’t much of a drinker, but she pours herself a glass of Vodka and leans against the wall, before slowly sliding down and pulling her knees up, while she downs her drink. Her empty stomach protests, same as her throat, but she barely registers it.

She thinks about how happy they were when they found this house. How wide Clarke’s beaming smile was, when she saw the backyard. How excited she was, when they painted the nursery. How her water broke, right there in the kitchen. How it felt like to see Clarke sleeping on the couch with a newborn lying on her stomach. How much they cried when he made his first steps.

She pours herself a second glass.

She’s a horrible wife. A horrible mother. Hell, she sent her kid away to get drunk. What kind of mother does that? Not to mention... no. Not today.

She pours herself a third glass.

She vowed it. In sickness and health. And she fails. She’s a failure. That’s it.

She pours herself a fourth glass. A fifth.

She throws the glass through the room, finding bitter comfort in the crashing sound as it shatters on the wall.

She takes a sip from the bottle. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six.

Her stomach churns and protests and soon she throws up in the toilet until there’s nothing left. Then she sinks to the bathroom floor as a small and broken bundle, feeling like dying.

Someone puts a cold and damp cloth in her neck.

“Clarke?”

“No, kiddo. It’s me.” Anya’s soothing voice replies. “It’s okay. I’m here.”

Lexa groans. “Leave me alone. I deserve this.”

“No. You don’t. Come one, let’s get you changed, hm? Then you’ll drink some water, get some sleep and tomorrow everything’s okay. You’ll see.”

Chapter Text

...

Anya.

She waits an hour before she drives back to Lexa’s and Clarke’s house, an unsettling feeling in her stomach. A part of her is scared to enter and see the broken shell of her sister, but nevertheless she uses her spare key and lets herself in.

Anya’s eyes wander from a half empty bottle of vodka to a shattered glass by the opposite wall, before the distant sound of someone throwing up in the guest bathroom reaches her ears.

Lexa didn’t waste any time it seems.

A minute later Anya has put a damp cloth into her little sister’s neck, which reminds her of the first party she picked her up from.

“Clarke?”

“No, kiddo. It’s me.” She replies, fighting back tears of pain and trying to focus on her sister. “It’s okay. I’m here.”

“Leave me alone. I deserve this.”

“No. You don’t. Come on, let’s get you changed, hm? Then you’ll drink some water, get some sleep and tomorrow everything’s okay. You’ll see.”

Lexa shakes her head and throws up again.

Anya holds her hair back, rubs soothing circles on Lexa’s back and later she makes her change into fresh clothes.

Her sister won’t remember much from this evening, but she doesn’t need to. She’ll reek of alcohol and there’ll be bitter taste on her tongue. Not to mention she’ll have a massive hangover and dying will seem tempting.

God, she hates to see her like that.

---

In the early morning Anya manages to drag her to the shower and turns on the cold water, not accepting her little sister giving up like this.

They fight and Lexa says some nasty things, but Anya doesn’t even blink. She knew this would happen. She’s honestly surprised it took this long.

She forces Lexa to eat something, calls in sick and stays with her in bed all day, where Lexa curls up under the blanket and doesn’t move, except when she has to.

To say she’s worried about her sister is an understatement.

Lexa isn’t someone who’s opening up easily, but Clarke changed that. She found her way through Lexa’s thick layers, straight into her heart and proved she’s worthy of Lexa’s love. Clarke is one of the best people she knows, and she couldn’t have wished for someone better to marry her sister.

But Anya is realistic. There’s just a little chance that the Clarke they all love and adore will come back to them. And what if she doesn’t? She represses that thought quickly and refocuses on Lexa.

---

It’s early morning another day later, when Lexa finally turns around to face her.

Anya hasn’t moved from her sister’s side for more than a few minutes, which means she spend about twenty-eight hours in Lexa’s bed.

Her sister needs her, so that’s where she is. It’s simple.

She’s occasionally been texting with Raven about her nephew in the meantime and that’s what she has been doing until now, but she puts the device away immediately when Lexa gazes up at her with an unreadable expression in her green eyes.

Lexa looks a little less tired than the evening before, when she finally ate some soup. But there’s still hints of exhaustion in her eyes, and not because she drank half a bottle of vodka alone. This is the first breakdown she allowed herself.

“You’re still here.”

“Of course I am.”

“I’m sorry.”

“What did I tell you, kid?”

Lexa closes her eyes with a sigh. “Would you stop calling me that? I’m just four years younger than you.”

“You’ll always be my little sister, so… no. Never.”

“I’m still sorry for calling you an asshole.”

“Well… Maybe I deserved that. The water was cold, after all.”

There it is. A weak chuckle. “It was, yeah.”

Anya reaches out her arms and brushes a few strands of hair out of her sister’s face. “How do you feel?”

“Like I drank half a bottle of vodka alone.”

“Not your brightest moment, no.”

“I just… wanted to stop feeling.”

“And then you felt like shit, only in two ways.”

“Yeah.”

“See, that’s what they mean when they say that alcohol doesn’t solve any problems.”

“Who says that?”

“I don’t know. People do.”

“I miss him.”

“Who? Dad?”

Lexa nods.

Anya’s heart breaks even more for her sister. Lexa’s carrying so much weight on her shoulders and there’s not much she can do. She hates having to stand on the sidelines and feeling that helpless, when all she wants is to protect Lexa.

“You know what he would say, right?” She asks, before trying to imitate their father’s deep voice. “Everything’s going to be fine. Until then, keep your head up, so you don’t drown before everything gets better. That would suck, wouldn’t it?

Her sister’s lips curl into a little smile. “He was a great man.”

“Yeah, he was.”

“I feel guilty for not going to see her yesterday.”

“Lexa, you can only give so much.”

“Still. I… I told her I’d go see her and then I... Octavia said they’d do a few tests, see if anything’s changed. Maybe it has? It’s just that… I don’t want to hear any bad news. I don’t think I could take any more of them. Hope is all I have.”

Lexa’s altruism is going to kill her one day, Anya is sure of that. “Do you want me to go check on her today?”

Hopeful green eyes stare up at her. “Would you?”

“Sure. If it helps you, I’ll drive over and see if there’s any news.”

-----

Anya hasn’t had the closest relationship to the blonde. She’s not the most social person herself and she’s normally pretty busy with her job and her wife. But she’s her sister’s great love, there’s no point in denying that, which means that Clarke is important to her too. And aside from that the blonde’s a great person – funny, smart, loving, caring... She’s her family, her people.

That’s why she gets on her motorcycle and drives to the rehab center, all dressed up in black from her boots to her leatherjacket. The first time she visited Clarke like that, she could’ve sworn the woman was checking her out. She doesn’t blame her. She knows she looks good like this. Still it’s weird.

Today she doesn’t get that far, because she’s held up by a short brunette with an overly confident look in her eyes, dressed in white. “Hey, you! Wait up! Aren’t you Clarke’s sister in law?”

“And you are?”

“I’m her doctor, Octavia Blake.” The woman extends her hand for Anya to shake, but she doesn’t even bat an eye.

She’s pretty young for a doctor.

“What do you want from me?”

“I tried calling Lexa, but it goes straight to voicemail. I’ve got some news.”

At this Anya’s posture changes. News – this could mean anything. And from experience most of them aren’t good. “What kind of news?”

“I’m not sure if you’re-”

“Listen up, Blake. I don’t care if I’m authorized. Clarke’s my sister in law, which means she’s family. So cut the crap about the paperwork and all that shit and tell me what’s going on!”

Octavia Blake may be a lot, but she isn’t easy to intimidate.

“Listen up, Woods.” She replies, sporting a confident grin as she uses Anya’s line from before. “I wasn’t going to bring up any paperwork, okay? I was simply going say, that I’m not sure how much you know about the tests we ran yesterday.”

“Oh.”

“It’s okay. I get that it’s a stressful situation. So. What do you know?”

“Lexa said you’d do some scans of her brain to see if something’s changed.”

“That’s right.” Octavia confirms. “Well, you might want to call your sister, because I’ve found a tiny little bleeding in Clarke’s brain, which puts pressure on her hippocampus. That’s the place where memories are processed. It’s not dangerous, but it could be an explanation for her condition.”

“So you’re saying she needs another surgery?”

“Yes. There’s been a massive swelling in that part of her brain, which could be a reason for why none of the previous scans have shown that bleeding. It could also be a newer one. She complained about headaches for weeks, but they’ve decreased, which is a good sign.” Octavia explains calmly. “The bleeding itself isn’t dangerous as long as it stays the same, but we don’t know if it does. And there’s the memory loss of course. I’d recommend the surgery.”

Anya isn’t sure how to take this new information, but the doctor’s words make sense. In a way. She rubs her neck, a gesture she makes whenever she’s thinking hard. Raven calls it adorable, she herself doesn’t really notices doing it most of the time.

“Are there risks?”

“Of course. Every neurosurgery has risks, but… As scary as the word surgery sounds to you right now, it won’t be as invasive as her last one. And I think it’s a great chance for Clarke. It might not bring her memories back, but it’s highly likely that she’ll be able to make new ones afterwards.”

Makes sense.

“I’ll call Lexa.” She finally says. “That decision is up to her and Clarke.”

“Of course. Let one of the nurses page me when your sister gets here. I’ll explain everything to her.”

Anya nods, while pulling out her phone. She turns away from the doctor, who scurries down the hallway a moment later.

It’s good news, right? It has to be.

She doesn’t call Lexa first, instead she opts on calling her wife.

“Hey.” Raven’s familiar soft voice answers after the third ring.

They would never admit it, but on the inside both of them are big teddy bears and madly in love with each other, even after seven years. Only around each other they show their soft sides and Anya loves being able to open up and feel at ease around somebody. Raven understands her in a way nobody else does.

“I’ve got some news.”

“About Clarke?”

“Yeah. I spoke with her doctor a minute ago. She’s got another small brain bleed. It’s not that dangerous at the moment, but…” Anya speaks quietly, which is a sign that the whole situation has left its mark on her. “There’s a chance she might make new memories, but she would need another surgery.”

“Have you talked to Lexa?”

“Not yet.”

“Why not?”

“I wanted to hear your voice.” She admits.

“Call her. I’ll pick her up and we’ll drive over.”

“What about Aden?”

Anya respects and understands her sister’s decision to not let Aden see his Mom under these circumstances. It would traumatize the little guy and it would be a lot of stress for Clarke. The few times she learned about having a kid, it left her pretty stirred up. And there’s no real use in putting her under unnecessary stress, when she forgets about it the next day anyways.

“I’ll wait with him outside. I can bring Lincoln, too, if you want me with you.”

A smile breaks through Anya’s stoic facade. Only Raven is able to calm down every situation possible. She finds solutions for anything, that’s why she called her first.

“That would be great.”

“Okay. Call Lexa, we’ll be over in thirty minutes.”

“Will do.”

“And Ahn?”

“Yes?”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Chapter Text

“So you’re saying I need a surgery?”

Lexa nods.

She hasn’t wrapped her head around those news herself. There’s a chance Clarke won’t forget who Lexa is – she has to take it, right?

It’s her decision, since Clarke isn’t in a position to make one. But she doesn’t want to decide, even though she’s got the papers signed by Clarke that give her the permission.

The thing is: they never planned on having to use those papers. But right now, she’s thankful that Clarke made her do this, even though she cursed her for it when they signed them years ago, because that means it won’t be Abby who’s making the decisions. She wouldn’t want her to make that decision, but that doesn’t mean she wants to.

When Anya’s call came, her heart stopped beating for a moment. Her sister never calls, except for emergencies. And she had just send her to go look after Clarke. Of course it stopped. A part of her, even though it’s a small one, has been waiting for that call. Another stroke. They tried everything they could. They’re sorry. She’s gone.

But suddenly there’s hope, a possibility. And the risk of losing her too. It’s stupid, but that’s all Lexa can think about at the moment. Those hours she spent sitting in an uncomfortable chair, waiting for news about Clarke’s surgery about three months ago… It was the worst time of her life. People always say that, but nobody knows what it’s like until you go through it yourself. Just the thought about having to go through it again…

They spend the last two hours explaining her life to her (again). Her condition, the surgery, the risks, the chances.

Clarke’s head must be spinning, Lexa is sure about that, because her own is running miles right now.

“What do you think?” The blonde asks, clearly insecure and full of doubts and confusion, as she looks for an answer in Lexa’s face.

Lexa’s thoughts are out of control. Of course she looks at you, you’re her wife. Yeah, she just met you and her sister in law and her best friend for the first time. But you know who she is in contrast to herself, which is the reason why she wants you to make that decision. You’re supposed to know what she wants. You do know.

“I think it’s a chance. And a risk. I don’t know.” Lexa can feel four pairs of eyes on her – Anya’s, Raven’s, Clarke’s and Octavia’s. All of them look at her like she’s the only one with an answer, with some sort of magical solution maybe.

It’s not just about Clarke and Lexa. What if something goes wrong and the blonde dies? What if her decision kills her son’s mother? She couldn’t live with that.

“Could you… give us a moment?” Clarke asks, and Lexa needs a moment to understand, before she realizes that her wife seems to know what’s going on in her head. She can’t, can she?

Anya squeezes her hand while walking by, as if she wants to say: you’ve got this. Has she? She certainly doesn’t feel like it.

After the door has fallen shut behind the three women, she glances back up at Clarke.

“Let me process this.” The blonde starts. “I had a stroke three months ago and since then I don’t just remember nothing about my life, but I forget about everything I’ve learned within the span of a few hours. Did I get this right?”

Brutal honesty. Another characteristic attribute. Lexa swallows down her tears and nods.

“You’re my wife.”

Another nod.

“What would I do? I mean, what would the me I don’t know anything about do? The me you know?”

“You’d take the risk without hesitation.”

Clarke tilts her head. “But?”

But I could lose you. You could die on that fucking table and I’d rather have you like this, than nothing at all. And that’s fucking selfish, I know, but I’d rather spend my whole life telling you every day who I am and who you are, than never looking into your eyes or hearing your voice again. Because losing you would kill me and that would mean Aden loses both his mothers and I couldn’t do anything to change it, because you’re my entire world. So please, don’t let them operate on your brain. Say no to the surgery. Say no, please. I beg you.

That’s what Lexa wants to answer.

Instead she clenches her trembling hands to fists, hoping to stop them from shaking without success.

Clarke seems to notice her distress, because suddenly Lexa finds herself being wrapped up in two familiar arms. “Hey. It’s okay.”

Nothing’s okay. Lexa hates that word. It’s a fucking lie!

But somehow, when Clarke says that to her, it doesn’t make her angry or sad. It makes her believe it.

“I don’t know.” Lexa whispers into the crook of Clarke’s neck, as the blonde draws soothing circles on her back. “I don’t know what you should do. You wanted me to make those decisions in a case like this, but I… I can’t.”

“You don’t have to.”

“Yes, I do. Because if I don’t, they’ll call your Mom and she…” Lexa pauses, unable to fight her tears. “It is my decision, but what if it’s the wrong one?”

“I want the surgery.”

“What?” She pulls back abruptly, staring at the woman wide eyed.

“I want the surgery.” Clarke repeats. “I don’t remember anything about you or my friends or the person I am. It might not bring those memories I forgot back, but I want to make new ones. I don’t want to be a cripple. And I want a chance to get to know who you are too, because you seem to be a great person.” Her thumb comes up to wipe Lexa’s tears away. “Let me try this.”

“Clarke, you…” You have a son. And if you die…

“Lexa.” She does it again. Saying Lexa’s name like no one else does, like it’s something special, something holy even. “Do you love me?”

She freezes for a moment, before she answers truthfully. “I do.”

“Then you’re going to sign those papers and I’ll have the surgery.”

Lexa opens her mouth to speak, but no words come out. Her throat is dry, her heart is racing and her thoughts paint horrible pictures in her head before she knows it.

“I…” She tries again. “I can’t lose you.” She shouldn’t be so selfish, but she can’t help it. She’s never made a selfish decision when it came to anything important, not once in her life. She just wants to make this one.

“I don’t know anything about me or us, but I know that you’ve already lost me. This,” Clarke points at herself while tears run down her cheeks, “Isn’t a person. This is the shell of woman who doesn’t remember falling in love. This is the shell of a woman who doesn’t remember what it feels like to kiss someone or what it feels like to have sex or…” She shrugs helplessly. “I don’t remember how I met you or who proposed. I don’t remember that I love you! I don’t remember it, Lexa! And I want that back!”

“I can tell you! Every day if that’s what you need! Please, I-” She pleads.

“But that’s not enough.”

Lexa shrinks back, as if she has been slapped. She certainly feels like it.

She’s trying to make sense of what Clarke is saying. A part of her knows she is right about it – logically. Emotionally? No. Not even a little bit.

“Look at me.”

She shakes her head, wringing her hands as if the small gesture could stop herself from looking at the blonde. She knows she’ll yield under Clarke’s stare, she always does.

“Lexa. Look at me.”

Green eyes meet blue ones. There’s no fear in Clarke’s eyes. Just… sympathy and understanding. And that’s so typically Clarke. She’s the one having to live a nightmare and yet she comforts a stranger.

“Would you do something for me?”

She hears herself speaking without realizing she’s opened her mouth. “Anything.”

“Come here.” Clarke reaches out her hands and Lexa takes it, getting lost in the familiar feeling of Clarke’s hand in hers. “Kiss me.”

“W-what?”

Clarke chuckles, probably because of the wide-eyed expression on Lexa’s face. “I want you to kiss me.”

“You don’t… You don’t have to just because-”

“I’m not doing it for you. I’d never forgive myself for not taking the opportunity to kiss a gorgeous woman like you.”

Lexa frantically shakes her head. “I can’t-”

“This isn’t a goodbye. This is a promise. I’ll wake up and then you’ll tell me about us. How we met, how we fell in love. And I won’t forget it. Okay?”

She wants to believe her. She wants her words to be true so desperately, that she doesn’t notice how close Clarke is now. She’s too lost in the other woman’s eyes and her promise that she only registers the feeling of Clarke’s lips on hers after it’s too late to stop it.

When they kiss Lexa’s heart bursts into a thousand tiny puzzles pieces that mold together again the next second, because while they kiss she gets the pretend that Clarke spoke the truth, that Clarke is still hers, that everything’s going to be okay again - even just for a moment. And a moment can change your life, right?

So she kisses her back with all she has, pouring her heart and soul into the kiss like it’s the last time she gets to do this. It could be.

Chapter Text

Life is messy. Life is complicated, loud and rough and chaotic and beautiful. Sometimes.

Sometimes it’s quiet too. Painfully quiet.

That’s how Lexa sees it, while she sits in a chair just two seats away from where she last spent hours waiting on news about Clarke’s surgery.

She’s aware of that without being aware of it. It’s a truth she can’t deny, and yet it doesn’t define her thoughts.

Instead she watches Aden bounce happily on Lincoln’s lap, watches her sister intertwine her fingers with Raven’s, whispering quiet words to each other, probably words of love and hope, and she watches Abby, lingering close to the door.

She’s not sure why she called her mother in law, especially after all the things she did in the past. But a part of her wants to believe that the older woman is still a mother to Clarke, somehow at least.

She came here right away and hugged Lexa, before distancing herself far enough to not be seen as a part of the group from an outside view. Now it seems like she’s just here, waiting for someone too. And Lexa somehow finds comfort in that.

An hour into the surgery, Clarke’s doctor from the rehab center, Octavia Blake, comes over too and she sits down with them without saying anything but hello. She’s good people, Lexa decides to herself.

---

“I’ll go grab something to eat. Do you want something too?” Lincoln asks after some time, sitting down beside her.

Lexa doesn’t really listen, but she shakes her head nevertheless. She stares at her wedding ring, thinking about the day she became Clarke Griffin’s wife.

It was a warm day in late spring. Clarke wanted to marry when the nature’s the most colorful after Lexa protested against getting married in winter. They gathered only their friends and Lexa’s father and went to the registry office to make it official, before celebrating with their loved ones in a small restaurant they had booked for the day. Nothing more, but… It was perfect. Their day.

Never would she have thought to end in a place like that. Tragedies like this one aren’t supposed to happen to ordinary people. Not that Clarke is an ordinary person, she’s just… This isn’t right. They met, the fell in love, they got married. Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people, living good and normal lives. Clarke never did anyone harm, she’s the best person Lexa knows, and she doesn’t deserve this. They don’t deserve it.

---

“Lexa.”

She looks up to meet Anya’s eyes across the room. There’s concern written all over her sister’s face and for a moment she feels bad for causing it.

“I’m good.” She lies.

“You should eat something.”

“I’m not hungry, thanks.” She avoids all the eyes on her, before she notices that Lincoln and her son are gone. “Where’s Aden?”

“Lincoln went home with him to put him down for a nap.”

She relaxes back into her chair, noticing how tense her muscles are. Around Aden it’s hard to keep up her façade, but she has to try. His little world is already confusing enough right now, there’s no need for him to see his mother struggle too. And god, she’s struggling.

Anya gets on her feet and settles to Lexa’s left, leaning on her elbows to study her sister. “Lex, look at me.”

Lexa fixates on a small freckle on her sister’s nose, instead of meeting Anya’s eyes. She never noticed freckles before she met Clarke. Sure, people have them, her mother had and Anya has some too, but… They were just there.

“She’ll be okay.” Anya says softly, reaching for Lexa’s hand to squeeze it. “Remember the day Aden was born? Remember how you spent sixteen hours straight by her side without eating or drinking anything, until you passed out?”

“I almost missed his birth.”

“Yeah.”

Lexa knows what Anya’s aiming for. Her refusal to follow basic human needs almost made her miss the most wonderful and miraculous moment of her life. That’s what she’s saying. And it’s not like her sister isn’t right about it, there’s just been so many bad news that Lexa has a hard time feeling hopeful.

“I’m going to get you coffee. And you’re going to drink it. Deal?”

She nods, trying to smile a thank you. She watches her sister leave and pulls out her phone to check the time again.

Three hours. Feels like a lifetime.

Two laughing faces stare up at her from the screen. Aden looks so much like Clarke, it hurts sometimes.

She’ll be okay, she tells herself, closing her eyes as she sends another prayer to whichever god is listening, She has to be okay.

 

***

Anya

.
“Hey, wait for me!”

Anya stops walking and buries her hands deep in the pockets of her jeans, as she waits for Raven to catch up. When she does, the other woman bumps her shoulders in a way that’s supposed to make her smile. And it does, even just for a moment.

That’s the thing about Raven. Even in bad times she’s able to make you smile. One of the many reasons why Anya loves her.

“You good?” Raven asks, tilting her head as the continue their way to the coffee dispenser one floor below them.

“Sure.”

“Ahn.” Raven touches her arm.

She sighs, not looking up from the ground. How can it be that they’ve been together for so long and she still gets butterflies from a tiny little touch or a smile? Isn’t that supposed to fade over the time? She hopes it never does, but it still overwhelms her every time.

“I’m scared.” She admits after a few seconds.

They reach the elevator and Raven reaches out to call it. “Me too.”

“Thanks for joining me.”

“Sure. I needed to go for a walk anyways. My leg’s killing me.”

“It’s the stress.” She doesn’t know if she says it as an answer or just to have an explanation for herself.

She hates knowing her wife’s in pain. If she could trade, she would in a heartbeat – not that Raven would let that happen.

“I know. The mood is terrible in there. Why did she call Abby?”

“Because she’s her mother.”

“Yeah, biologically. When has she ever been there for Clarke, hm? Tell me, because I can’t remember a single time and I’ve been friends with her for over a decade.”

“I get it. But Lexa knows what she’s doing, believe me. And you know how she is. She wants to fix everything and everyone, even the ones she can’t fix.”

Raven sighs.

Anya watches her wife for a moment, but before she can say anything, the elevator appears. “After you.”

“Always so chivalrous.”

“For you? Of course.”

Raven chuckles and the butterflies in Anya’s heart do another somersault, while she chooses the floor.

Only a week ago Lexa said she wouldn’t have made it without her sister. But Anya wouldn’t have made it without her wife. She’s the best part of her, maybe the only good thing she ever managed. And she loves her with all she has.

It’s sad and ironic that it takes a tragic event like this one to fully understand it.

“What are you thinking about?”

Anya reaches out to brush a loose strand of hair behind Raven’s ear, before she smiles sincerely. “You.”

Raven blushes. And she would try to hide it if they were around other people, but instead she leans in and kisses Anya softly.

The elevator door opens. Raven’s a bit faster and Anya watches her walk away, aiming for the cafeteria.

Only now she realizes that she needs to hear something that promises her safety. She needs it like a fish needs water, because she’d drown if it wasn’t for Raven.

She can’t shake the terrifying thought that she didn’t really notice it before, because for all they know this could’ve been one of them too. That person on the operating table up there could’ve been Raven too. And when you live with someone for years, when you share a home and a life, it’s easy to take them for granted.

Anya has taken Raven and her love for granted.

She stops right in the door of the cafeteria and stares at the woman she loves more than her own life. It’s a scary thought, especially for an independent person like her, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

“Anya?” Raven stares at back at her.

“Promise me we’ll be okay, no matter how this turns out today.”

The other woman’s eyes narrow. “Of course we’ll be okay. Where is this-”

“I just… .” She presses her hands to her forehead, desperately trying to find the words she needs to say.

She isn’t one for love confessions, especially not like this. It’s the strangest place, probably the wrong one, and it’s really bad timing, definitely the wrong one. But she can’t help it and she doesn’t care how pathetic this may sound. She needs Raven to know how she feels, she needs to let it out.

“You’re my life, okay? You’re… you’re everything to me and I need you to know that. If anything happened to you, I wouldn’t survive it. I don’t know how Lexa does it. I’ve got absolutely no idea how she hasn’t already lost her mind, because just the thought of losing you drives me nuts and -“

“Ahn, hey, listen to me.” Raven’s fingers gently wrap around her hand, pulling it away from her face, before both thumbs wipe across her cheeks, catching salty tears. “I’m not going anywhere, I promise.”

Anya hasn’t realized that she’s crying until now. “God, I’m sorry, this is embarrassing. I-”

“No, no. Stop. Don’t apologize.” She smiles at her, looking at her with nothing but love and affection in her eyes. “I feel the same.”

She raises her head to meet Raven’s gaze again. “Yeah?”

“Of course. I’m scared too. All the time since Clarke... But we’ve got each other, and nothing will happen to us.” The smaller woman wraps her arms around Anya’s middle and pulls her close. “Say it. Nothing will happen to us.”

“Nothing will happen to us.” She repeats, wanting nothing more than those words to be true.

Chapter Text

Abby.

The day Jake Griffin died was a warm spring day during his daughter’s junior year of high school.

His death was random, somehow incidental. To anyone else it was one of life’s tragedies, happening to ordinary people – unknown people, people you meet at a supermarket or you hear about over friend’s acquaintances. Strangers you read about in a newspaper or come across on a sidewalk.

It was an unnecessary, completely useless death. There’s nothing heroic about it, it’s in no way fancy or something people talk about. Just cancer.

Within a few weeks everyone except his wife and daughter were back to normal, living their lives unfazed by the tragic event, which effects on the family he left behind would still be noticeable years later.

Maybe that’s the biggest tragedy of all, because nothing ever was the same between Abby and Clarke Griffin.

It started with alienation between mother and daughter.

First it were just a few little things that Abby wouldn’t know about, like grades or with whom Clarke would meet up on Friday nights. Then it was her daughter’s first date, that she didn’t know about until she caught her and a guy kissing in a car. Then it was a boyfriend, who’s name Abby wouldn’t know, until she caught them having sex months after they got together.

And then came the fights about her daughter’s future and along with that about her lifestyle. A faked signature lead to a tattoo. Being grounded because of it didn’t stop Clarke from anything. She climbed out of the window to get drunk, she dyed her hair red and later she even had dreadlocks. She smoked weed with a shady guy, none of her shirts were paint-free anymore and she’d listen to loud music all night.

And Abby stopped trying, too caught up in her own life maybe.

When Clarke decided on studying medicine it got better, for a while. But when she actually went away for college, they grew apart again. Weekly calls became monthly calls, holidays weren’t spent together anymore, and soon enough Abby didn’t know anything about her daughter at all.

Then, Clarke’s second year of college, her daughter appeared on her doorstep out of nowhere, and told her she was bisexual. Abby didn’t know how to take this. She’s not homophobic, not even the slightest bit, but… her daughter? Somehow it didn’t fit in, she couldn’t place those news anywhere. The picture she had so carefully made of her daughter just didn’t make sense to her.

They fought, shouting and screaming at each other like they never did before. Some cruel words where said from both sides. And then her daughter vanished from her life. Or she vanished from hers.

She received an invitation to a wedding seven years later – the only contact they had in those years.

Abby didn’t go. Not because she was against it or resented Clarke for anything she’d said or done. Not because she married a woman. God, no. She didn’t go because she was ashamed of herself, she just couldn’t admit it. Her damn pride got in the way – not the first time, but the only time she really hated herself for.

And then a friend told her that her daughter’s pregnant. She wanted to pick up the phone and call her, to repair the damage in their relationship, to be a family again, she really did. But Clarke didn’t call her about the baby. She didn’t write a letter or send a picture or did anything else to tell her mother about her baby. Not even after Aden’s birth. And maybe Abby deserved it.

Abby drove to her daughter’s house when her grandson turned one. She sat in her car across the street, looking at the cozy two-story house, where friends of her daughter had gathered in the backyard to celebrate with the little family. She could hear them laughing.

And then she saw her daughter. She looked so carefree and happy, as she came out of the house to get a present from where she seemingly hid it in the car. She was followed by a brunette with gorgeous features, a little taller than Clarke.

Lexa, a friend had told her. An architect.

She watched as they laughed and kissed for a short moment, before they returned to celebrate their sons first birthday.

That’s the moment she realized she hadn’t been happy since her husband’s death. She hadn’t dealt with it, not even a bit. She had shoved her feelings into a box and stuffed it so deep inside of herself, that she turned cold and rejecting and harsh.

It’s her fault she’s lost her daughter.

Hers alone.

Lexa Woods is a good woman. She’s more forgiving than Abby deserves – she doesn’t deserve any of it. Not being called about Clarke’s new surgery, not being allowed to be in the same room, nothing.

What happened with Aden was an accident. She wanted to give the little boy some hope, but she hadn’t realized what she had said until it was too late, and then she had put everything she had achieved on the line again.

She stays as far away from Lexa as possible, while they wait.

Abby doesn’t know the other woman well – in fact she just knows what she has witnessed those last weeks. But she can see the exhaustion in the brunette’s green eyes, she can tell her daughter’s wife is scared from the way she fidgets with her ring and from the constant bouncing of her knees.

The motherly part of her wants to go over and hug her daughter in law, to comfort her like she would do with her daughter. But she knows she can’t. Not after everything that happened.

Maybe that’s how it’ll be, no matter how this turns out today – she’ll be standing on the sidelines, watching her grandson growing up from afar. She’ll have to take what she gets.

Waiting is cruel. Somehow time passes slower than normal, like it’s purposely trying to punish you for all the wrongs you did.

Lexa’s hands only stop fidgeting, when the wrap around a cup of coffee her sister hands her.

Abby watches her drink it from across the room, trying not to stare, but losing the fight.

Suddenly green eyes look up to meet hers. “How long do you think it’ll take?”

It takes her a few seconds to register that the question is directed to her. Lexa hasn’t spoken to her except for maybe twenty seconds during their phone call, she has barely acknowledged her existence – not that Abby minded.

“The surgery?” She then asks.

Lexa nods.

“Depends on how the decided to approach. I think maybe two hours, but it’s not a bad sign if it takes longer.”

Another nod.

That’s all they say.

It’s another three hours later when Clarke’s surgeons finally emerge, a serious, composed an unreadable look on their faces.

 

***

Lexa.

She’s used to waiting.

As a child she used to wait for her Dad to come home from work or for Anya to come home from a party, because she couldn’t sleep when her sister hadn’t said goodnight, no matter how old she was.

Later she had to wait for other things. For project assignments, for feedback or for Clarke to get dressed when the went out for dinner. She’s a patient and persistent person.

But waiting for her wife to wake up? That’s a completely different dimension.

She draws random patterns on the back of Clarke’s hand, keeping her mind busy. She should’ve brought a sketchpad, but she’d probably just draw the blonde’s face like she has been doing over the last weeks.

Lexa knows the others are sitting in the waiting room and they won’t leave until they receive some news, but that just barely reaches her consciousness.

The doctors said the surgery went well – whatever that means. Dr. Blake, Octavia Blake’s brother, came by every couple of minutes to check in on them. His younger sister seems to be pretty intimidating, because Lexa is sure no doctor checks on his patient six times per hour, but she’s thankful for the smaller brunette’s influence on him. She appreciates it, though the constant movement makes her nervous and she’s already on the edge of her seat.

Lexa has been here practically all day, either in the waiting room or beside her bed. Her muscles are tense, her neck’s hurting and she feels sick. Her sister is right after all – not eating isn’t a solution.

Her lips curl upwards for a split second as she imagines what Anya would say to her now.

Maybe that’s it. The day she’ll finally be able to breathe again. She hopes so.

She can’t think about all the bad ways this could turn out. It’s better that way.

Dr. Blake returns once more, smiling at her reassuringly. “It could take a while for her to wake up. If you want to take a shower, you-”

“No, thanks. I’d like to stay here.” Lexa answers, her eyes never leaving her wife’s face.

And then, suddenly, Clarke blinks.

Lexa isn’t prepared for what’s to come.

Chapter Text

Clarke.

Nothing.

There’s a hint of bitterness on her tongue and the sharp smell of something antiseptic that’s overloading her senses for a moment.

She tries to find out how to open her eyes.

It has to... Ah, that’s it.

She blinks. Once. Twice.

White. With an incredibly ugly and unpleasant ceiling lamp.

So that’s not the afterlife. That’s good, she thinks to herself as she squints against the harsh light.

Her head pounds violently. She feels weak and heavy and sleepy and she quickly closes her eyes again.

“Clarke? Can you hear me?”

She groans. Yes, I can, but you don’t have to shout at me.

“Can you open your eyes again? Just for a moment?” The voice asks again.

The words echo through her head with a piercing side to the tone and she groans again. This is fucking loud. Can’t they let her sleep? She really wants to sleep.

“Clarke?” Another voice, somehow softer.

She feels warmer immediately.

“I know you’re in pain, but could you open your eyes, please? The doctors want to make sure you’re okay.”

Haha, okay. Good one, she thinks bitterly.

But something about the soothing voice makes her want to try, so she blinks again and is met by… green eyes. It’s not just a green, she notices quickly, it’s a mixture of different greens, with blue and brown spots in it, and she’s astounded by it.

“That’s it.” The owner of the pair of eyes says. The woman backs away carefully, as if not to startle her, eyes wide and her face pale.

“Clarke?” The other voice, louder and rougher.

She turns her head slowly, facing the brown eyes of a man, whose face is framed with black curls.

“I’m Dr. Blake. Can you squeeze my hands please?”

She does as she was told, even though it costs her a lot of strength.

“Can you follow the light with your eyes?”

Again she complies his request, almost losing consciousness because of the pain the glaring light causes.

“That’s good. Now, can you tell me your full name?”

She groans once more at the unpleasant booming voice. She really doesn’t like it, but the woman on her right side squeezes her hand carefully, probably without knowing it, and somehow that makes her want to try this too.

“Cl…” She coughs. Her throat feels like a desert. “Clarke Griffin.”

“And your birthday?”

“October 1st.”

“Great! That’s really good. Do you remember why you’re here?”

She feels the hand holding hers getting colder immediately. That’s weird, but when she slowly turns her head to look at the other woman, she sees tired face even paler than before.

That doesn’t harm the brunette’s beauty though. And wouldn’t have Clarke been recently operated and wouldn’t she feel like crap, she’d definitely flirt with her. Even if it was just to see the woman smile. She surely has a gorgeous smile.

“Clarke?” The doctor asks again. “Do you remember why you’re here?”

“Surgery.” She answers briefly.

She can feel a bandage around her head and it’s pounding heavily, so that’s not hard to guess. And everything about this room screams hospital too. The bland grey that’s coloring the walls, the cheap plastic clock hanging above the doorframe, the itchy material of the bedsheets.

“On my brain.” She clarifies after a second.

“Do you remember why?”

She squints against the light again, but decides to close her eyes after a moment. She tries to speak again, but her throat is scratchy, and her brain feels like it’s on fire. The words mix in her head and she can’t really focus any longer.

“Can we do this later?” The soothing voice asks. “She’s tired.”

The man – Dr. Blake – sighs. “Yeah, sure. Call me if anything changes.”

Clarke doesn’t hear an answer, she’s already giving in to the monotonously booming sound in her head that’s slowly lulling her to sleep.

----

When she wakes up a while later, someone’s holding her hand. She enjoys the warmth, before she blinks a few times.

After a few seconds her vision becomes clear enough to make out the same tired features she saw before.

She feels something cold around one of the woman’s long fingers. A ring?

A sharp jawline, a cute little nose, plump lips and green eyes. Long brown waves tied together in a ponytail. This woman is pretty gorgeous.

“Can you…” She croaks, making the woman jump at the sudden sound. “Sorry. Can you hand me some water?”

Clarke coughs a couple of times, while the woman nods hastily, reaching for something outside of Clarke’s field of vision, before slowly holding a transparent cup to her lips.

The brunette helps her drink a few drops of water, before Clarke’s head falls back into the pillow.

She groans again. Her headache isn’t as bad as before, but still enough to make her feel dizzy.

“How do you feel?”

Clarke keeps her eyes closed. The ceiling light is still annoying as hell. “Like I got run over by a bus. How long have I been out?”

“Around two hours. Do you…” The brunette’s voice falters for a moment, before she seems to collect herself. “Do you remember what happened?”

“I had a surgery. On my brain?”

“Yeah.” It’s more a sigh than an actual answer and Clarke isn’t sure if she’s heard it or if she’s made it up.

“What’s your name?”

“I’m Lexa.”

Somehow the name seems familiar. “And we’re…?”

“I’m your wife.”

Her first thought? WOW! The woman is pretty, she noticed that before, and even though she seems tired, there’s something sparkling in her eyes that tells Clarke she’s more than just her looks.

That’s her wife?

“Oh.” She answers after a couple of loud heartbeats. She notices that Lexa isn’t holding her hand anymore.

And then she realizes that she should know something big like that. She should remember here wife’s name. She should remember being married to a woman like that. She should remember being married in general.

She should remember it.

Her heart monitor tells them that this information stresses her out, even though Clarke knows that herself. Of course it stresses her out!

This is… She doesn’t even know the words for it. Horrible? Confusing? None of those words seem enough.

She frantically searches her brain for something to hold on to, but all she can find are loose pictures of places or people whose names she can’t remember.

Laughter, buildings, furniture, green, a small child on a swing, a dog, small hands around a pink handlebar, a man cheering her on, a treehouse, more people, blood.

It all rushes through her consciousness without having a place in her head.

Clarke.” Lexa’s voice is melodic and soft. The way she lets her name sound resonates somewhere in her head, but…

“I’m sorry. My brain feels… mushy? I don’t… know what… I…”

“It’s okay. You don’t have to remember now.”

Clarke watches the other woman reach out and pull her hand back again, clearly unsure whether she’s allowed to touch her or not.

“Can you tell me what happened?”

Lexa’s features turn even sadder, if that’s possible. “I don’t know if…”

“Please.” She pleads.

“You had a stroke, a few weeks ago, caused by a brain bleed you probably carried for years.” Lexa tells her quietly, nervously fidgeting with a small golden wedding ring. “After that you had trouble keeping information, you… you forgot about everything within the span of a few hours.”

“And then I had to… have a new surgery?”

Lexa nods.

“Did it work?”

“We don’t know yet.”

Clarke frowns. “How will we know?”

“You… forgot about the day overnight mostly, after you’ve gone to sleep.”

She’s trying to make sense of it, she really is. But the longer she thinks about it, the more confusing it gets. She remembers who she is. She remembers her first pet – Mr. Blue, her goldfish. She remembers basic things. But she doesn’t remember getting married – or being married. And she should.

Her heart rate picks up speed again.

“Hey. Clarke. Look at me.”

Blue meets green.

“Take a deep breath. Inhale. Yeah, that’s it. And exhale. And again. Inhale. Exhale.”

After a few seconds the beeping sound becomes slower, her heartrate returns to normal and Clarke can feel oxygen reaching her brain again.

Memory loss. That’s the term.

“So we’ll know tomorrow? Or later?” She asks quietly after a few minutes, trying to process what Lexa has said. Her headache has gotten worse, but not because of the surgery.

“I guess, yeah.”

“And you’re my wife?”

“I am.”

“How long have we been married?”

“Three and a half years.”

That’s not that long. “What do you do?”

“I’m an architect.”

“You like to draw then?”

Lexa chuckles quietly and Clarke’s heart skips a beat at the sound. It’s a sound she suddenly hopes to hear more of often and she can’t even really explain why. “Yeah, I do.”

“Me too. Would you… draw me something?”

“What would you like me to draw?”

Clarke takes a moment to think about it. “Flowers. I think I like flowers. And they last longer on paper.”

“Okay. I’ll draw you flowers then. Which one would you like?”

“Surprise me.”

Lexa’s smile warms her heart in a way she can’t describe. It’s like it’s spreading through her whole body. She feels safe, she notices, as she returns it.

“Can I… can I get you anything else? Do you need something?”

“No, I… I think I’m good. Well, no, I have a massive headache, but… other than that, I’m good.”

The brunette – her wife – frowns. “I can call the nurses if you-”

“No. I’m probably going to sleep soon. I’m tired.”

“Then sleep.”

“Will you…” She doesn’t finish her question. She wants Lexa to stay by her side, because she’s the only person she knows – objectively speaking, she can’t really say she knows her. But what she does know is that she feels safe with her and that’s a lot.

But Lexa understands. “I’ll stay.” She says, smiling down at her reassuringly. “I’ll be here when you wake up.”

 

*********

Lexa.

She turns around as the door is pushed open again, just much softer this time.

“Hey.” Anya says quietly, her eyes moving to Clarke’s face. “How is she?”

Lexa takes her feet off of the edge of Clarke’s bed and faces her sister. “Okay so far. We’ve been talking for a few minutes. She’s asleep now.”

“And how are you holding up?”

“I’m tired. Relieved. Nervous. Pick something.”

She hasn’t been prepared for Clarke waking up. Definitely not. All the hopes and fears – for a moment she thought she’d pass out. But just looking into azure blue eyes calmed her down, so she’s telling the truth now.

Yeah, she’s tired and relieved and nervous. But she’s also grateful that Clarke woke up. Even if the blonde would forget again, Lexa at least still has her. Is it selfish of her to think like that?

“Can I get you something?”

“A coffee maybe.”

“Of course. Anything else?”

“A sketchpad and a pencil?”

Anya frowns a little amused. “Anything else?”

“No, thanks.”

“Okay. I’ll get you a sandwich too.”

“Ahn-”

“Nope. Not having that talk again, kid.”

---

Just ten minutes later Lexa finds herself sitting in the waiting room, nervously eating her sandwich. It took her exactly three seconds after the flavor of had touched her taste buds to realize how hungry she really was.

She feels better instantly, lighter even. The talk with Clarke helped a lot. She’s alive and well, that’s all that matters for now. She hasn’t lost her. Now the blonde only has to remember her and everything will be okay.

“Aden’s outside at a playground with Raven. Do you want us to take him home?”

Lexa feels bad for wanting to say yes. Sure, it was a stressful day, but that’s no reason to neglect her son.

“I should go and check on him first. I haven’t really seen him all day.”

“He had fun with Lincoln, don’t worry.”

“Still.”

“I’ll sit with Clarke in the meantime, if you want.”

“I love you, you know that?”

Anya smiles. “I love you too, kid.”

“Would you stop calling me that?”

“Nope.”

Lexa sighs. It was worth a try.

---

“Mommy!” Aden squeals, after he’s spotted her coming closer to the playground.

Lexa kneels down and spreads her arms, stumbling a little when he crashes into her. He’s only two, but there’s already a lot of force behind his movements.

“Hey, buddy.” She whispers, taking in his scent. It’s always calming her down, grounding her in a strange way.

“Auntie Aven is scared of the side!” He announces as he pulls back.

“You mean the slide?”

He nods, giggling happily.

“Not true!” Raven exclaims, smiling down at Lexa and her son. “I just don’t like them.”

“It’s okay if she doesn’t like them, Aden. You don’t have to like everything.”

“You like them, right?” He asks.

“I sure do.”

“Go with me?”

Lexa nods and gets back on her feet, following him to the slide and climbing up the ladder behind him without hesitation.

They go a few times, before Aden loses interest and returns to where he’s been playing with another kid.

Then Lexa sits down beside Raven on a bench, enjoying the peaceful moment and the fresh air in her lungs. She hasn’t noticed it before now, but the hospital air from the ventilation system is truly horrible.

“How is Clarke?” Raven finally asks.

She’s probably talked to Anya already, but Lexa appreciates the question, because saying it out loud makes it more real.

“Not mushy. She’s pretty okay, actually.”

“So it’s good news?”

“For now, yeah. She’s resting now, I...” She sighs. “I just hope she remembers my name later, you know? If she just remembers my name… it would mean the world.”

Raven squeezes her knee. “I'm sure she will.”

“Mommy, look!” Aden shouts excitedly.

“I’ll be right back.” She tells her sister in law, before making her way to her son.

She watches him collect some small stones from the sand and pretends to understand why he’s doing this, when babbles something about a knight and buying the princess free.

She laughs with her son as he tells her about his day with Lincoln – how the big guy was scared of a spider they found at the doorstep and how Aden bravely put it away.

Lincoln isn’t scared of them, Lexa knows that for sure since he’s the one who keeps their office spider-free, but she loves him for pretending to be only to make her little boy smile.

Just like that, something peaceful settles in her heart.

It’ll all be okay. It just has to be.

Chapter Text

The pencil moves quickly over the white paper, sketching and outlining the shape of a flower. There’s something soothing about the sound of it, something weirdly peaceful.

The doodling stops for a moment, while Lexa thinks of her next steps. She nibbles at the end of the pencil, leaving bite marks in the wooden material, for which she would get scolded by Clarke if the blonde would be awake now.

Would she even still scold me for it? Lexa wonders about it, a heavy feeling of fear and exhaustion returning to her stomach.

Lexa shakes her head, chasing away those dark thoughts. She surely would.

Just a moment later she returns to her task, adding more lines to the drawing. The flower gains structures and shades and soon it’s a rose, sketched in black and white.

The pencil continues to move slowly, but without more interruptions. Like that she adds a second and a third flower, a fourth and a fifth. A while later it’s a small bouquet.

Lexa tilts her head as she takes in her work.

She’s a perfectionist and those aren’t the best flowers she’s drawn, but she’s at least somehow content with the outcome and stares at the drawing in her lap for a while, tracing the lines with her eyes.

She loves to draw. Give her a pen, even if it’s a ball pen, and she can draw you anything. Clarke’s more of a painter, she loves colors and a great variety of forms. But there where nights where the sat across from each other and drew portraits. Just for fun, just the two of them, in peaceful silence, engulfed in nothing but art and them.

Lexa sighs and looks up from the paper to stare at Clarke’s sleeping face once more.

It’s been six hours since she fell asleep again. Before this surgery happened, four hours of sleep were enough to let her forget. What if it happens again? What if it never stops? She quickly chases the thought away and refocuses on drawing.

After thinking the last few last lines through and adding them to the picture, she turns the pages and starts something new.

She’s barely drawn the outlines of her sister’s face, before the sound of Clarke’s breathing changes, announcing that the blonde is waking up.

She’s not prepared for it. Not for either possible outcome. Not for Clarke remembering her, but most definitely not for the blonde forgetting about her again. That’s crazy, because she’s been through the last option more times than she wants to count and still…

Clarke blinks and slowly turns her head, taking in her surroundings, before her eyes settle on Lexa.

“Hey.” Lexa says gently, her heart beating a mile per minute.

“Hey.”

Lexa waits – not sure for what. For Clarke to say something, anything. For the life shattering truth that this surgery was nothing but a letdown.

Then, “How long was I out?”

“Couple hours.”

“Oh.” Clarke says. She doesn’t seem surprised. “Could you hand me a glass of water?”

Lexa exhales audible, not having realized that she was holding her breath. “Sure.”

Once again, she hurries over to the bedside table and pours a glass of water for her wife, handing it to her with trembling hands.

She can’t take it, she can’t bear not knowing what she’s having to deal with. Lexa craves knowledge. She needs to know what happened and what’s going to happen, she needs information for her brain to work properly. Knowledge is power, it gives her the necessary energy to stay active, to keep going, to manage.

That’s all she can do. Manage.

And she feels so out of control here, so helpless that it kills her. It makes her want to scream and shout and break down, but she sits back down in her chair, unmoving. Well, unmoving except for her hands that can’t seem to stop trembling. Not even when she clenches them to fists.

“You okay?” Clarke asks, slowly pushing herself into a sitting position after handing Lexa the empty cup back. “Your hands are shaking.”

“Sorry.” Lexa mumbles.

“Don’t be. You just… seem nervous?”

“I am.”

“Why?”

Here it goes, she thinks, sending a silent prayer out there, before looking into azure blue eyes. “Because I’m not sure if you remember who I am.”

Clarke frowns.

And those seconds are the longest Lexa ever had to endure. The longest and the most painful ones. She’s sure she’ll remember them for the rest of her life, because she can feel every single one of them rushing through her body.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine.

“Oh.” Clarke says, tilting her head a little, before her curl upwards to form a small and yet big smile. “I remember you.”

A heartbeat.

Lexa swallows. “You do?”

“How could I not? You’re quite unforgettable, Lexa.”

And Lexa breaks.

There’s no other word for it, no other way to describe what happens.

Lexa breaks, right there beside Clarke’s hospital bed, unable to contain herself. She bursts into tears – tears she had been holding back for so many weeks now, tears of pure desperation.

Her prior hunched posture dissipates quickly, and her body shakes with the force of her sobs, while she buries her face in her hands.

Clarke stares at her in shock for a moment, but Lexa doesn’t notice it through her tears.

She remembers.

She fucking remembers me.

Gentle fingers tug at hers, as Clarke tries to take her hand.

Lexa finds herself being pulled onto the bed a moment later and she gives in, sinking into the arms of the woman she loves more than anything in the world. She gives in, because how could she not? Lexa could drown in those arms and she happily would if Clarke’s words are true.

Clarke remembers me.

“Sshh. It’s okay.” The blonde whispers into Lexa’s hair, stroking through brown curls with consistent movements.

There where maybe a hundred situations like this one before, where Lexa would be comforted by her wife, but none has ever felt that meaningful.

Outside the world could fall apart and Lexa wouldn’t care. She wouldn’t care, because why would she, when her whole world finally starts moving again? She’s finally able to breathe again and her heart is able to beat without that suffocating heaviness.

She cries into the crook of Clarke’s neck, unable to feel anything but gratefulness and relief, while exhaling as much of the familiar smell as she can.

Clarke remembers her.

---

Time doesn’t matter when they’re together. That’s what Clarke said in her vows on their wedding day. And it’s true.

Lexa doesn’t know how long she cried and she would have to take a look at herself in a mirror to tell how bad she looks, but she doesn’t care.

Clarke’s smile is warm and soothing and it fixes everything – all the pain she felt, all the fears she had to endure. She smiles at her and all the weeks before don’t mean anything anymore.

Clarke may not remember their past – not yet, who knows – but Lexa won’t have to tell her who she is again and that’s literally everything right now.

---

“I’m not sure if I made this up, but didn’t you want to draw me something?”

“I did.” Lexa croaks, reaching for her the notepad. She hands it to Clarke, carefully taking in her face as blue eyes scan the drawing.

“That’s beautiful, Lexa.”

She blushes, lowering her eyes to her hands for a moment. She’s never been good at accepting compliments, but when they come from Clarke they mean so much more.

“Thank you.”

“Can I?” Clarke points at the pencil resting atop of the blanket at the foot end.

Lexa nods quickly, still nervous. When she hands over the pencil, their fingers brush for a moment and she blushes even further, while Clarke’s eyes meet hers again.

The blonde chuckles. “You’re cute when you blush.”

“I’m not.”

“Yes, you are.”

God, that’s so embarrassing, Lexa thinks to herself and looks back at the floor beneath her feet. Why does she turn into this mushy self around her own wife? This is still Clarke!

But she’s flirty. Very flirty – she has been sometimes before, yeah, but… This is heavy. And adorable. And sexy too. And Lexa stands no chance, she never did.

“Don’t worry. I like it.”

Lexa decides to change the topic. “What are you drawing?”

She tries to peek, but Clarke quickly lifts the notepad and holds it against her chest. “Nope. You have to wait and see.”

“What am I supposed to do in the meantime?”

“You could tell me a story. After all, I basically know nothing about myself or our life.” Her tone is light, but Lexa can tell there’s more than the blonde lets on. She’s good at hiding her feelings and light conversation makes it easier.

“What would you like to know?”

“Am I gay?”

“No. You’re bisexual. You came out to your Mom when you were twenty-one. You hadn’t been with girls before, but you realized you weren’t straight during college. Your first girlfriend’s name was Niylah. You met her at the coffeeshop where you worked and dated for about a year, more or less.”

Clarke frowns, but continues to draw as if Lexa would read her a story from a book, as if she would hear any story, but not hers. “How did my Mom take it?”

“Not well. You fought because of it and you hadn’t really had contact since then. She’s… She’s a difficult character. I’m sure she loves you, but you always had a complicated relationship.” She wants to add that Abby is probably still in the waiting room, even if it’s almost midnight, but she doesn’t.

She’s surprised that Clarke’s in a shape like this, she expected far worse, considering the long surgery and all that, but then again, the blonde has always been tough and not knowing much about yourself probably does that to a person.

“And my Dad?”

Maybe it’s Lexa’s sigh or the look in her eyes that betrays her, or maybe Clarke’s brain remembers a bit more than she knows.

But either way Lexa doesn’t get to say something, before Clarke says something.

“He’s dead, isn’t he?”

Lexa nods. “He died when you were 14. He had cancer.”

Only now Clarke’s pencil stops moving for a moment. “I think I remember his face. But I… I’m not sure. It’s a mess up there.” She points at her head.

“You said he was a great man. The best dad ever. You used to spend a lot of time with him, because he stepped back from work when you were born.”

“And how did I meet you?”

“Over friends of ours. Your friend Raven is dating my sister Anya. They’ve actually been married for seven years now. We both were a bit of a workaholic and dating just didn’t fit in our lives, but they set us up on a blind date, so to say. It’s a longer story.”

“Tell me, please?”

Lexa does. She tells her how Clarke brushed her off, how she got her number from Anya but didn’t use it, how they ran into each other and finally went to that gala, before landing in bed together and going from there. How they first kept it casual, because Clarke didn’t want a relationship while being stuck in a complicated job, at least not at that moment, and how that changed within a month.

Clarke has stopped drawing after a while, her eyes and fingers getting tired, but she has been listening closely to everything Lexa says, mostly with an unreadable expression on her face.

“Do we…” Clarke stops and Lexa watches her bite her bottom lip.

The blonde has been calm through all their stories – or at least she seemed to be. Lexa would’ve maybe seen the torment in the blue eyes if Clarke wouldn’t have closed them somewhere along the story, but she did and so Lexa could only guess what’s on Clarke’s mind.

Now there’s something heavy settling in the air around them and Lexa gets nervous again.

And then Clarke looks right back into Lexa’s eyes and asks bluntly: “Do we have a child together?”

Silence. For a long moment. And hour maybe. A day. A year. A decade.

No, that’s just in Lexa’s head.

It’s only quiet for a split second, but it certainly feels like an eternity to Lexa.

“Why do you ask that?”

“I just… I don’t know how to explain it. There’s… some of the things you told me felt… familiar. In a weird way. I have loose pictures in my head, like I pulled out a box with photos and they’re lying scattered on the floor now, I don’t…” Clarke pauses, furrowing her brows and staring into nothing for a moment, before meeting Lexa’s gaze again. “We have a son, don’t we?”

Lexa gulps. She wants to say yes, she really does. But all she manages is a nod and even that just barely.

It seems to be enough of an answer, because Clarke’s heartrate picks up speed quickly again, her breathing quickens and turns shallow.

“Hey. Clarke. Look at me.” She reaches for the blonde’s hands, trying to calm her down, but that seems to stress out her wife only more.

She shakes her head vehemently, while the beeping grows even faster.

“Clarke.” Lexa tries again, getting a bit desperate and scared now. Clarke hadn’t had a panic attack in years, not even during the last months in rehab. “Listen to me.”

A nurse scurries in, followed by Dr. Blake, both alarmed by the heartrate.

They shoo Lexa away without actually noticing it and a minute later a strong tranquilizer rushes through Clarke’s veins.

Lexa watches helplessly as her wife calms down and slips into a dreamless, medicine induced sleep shortly after.

Clarke remembered Aden. That has to be another good sign, right?

“I think it’s better if you’d give her some alone time now. Go home, take a shower, come back in the early morning.” Dr. Blake announces quietly, his look full of sympathy.

“She remembered me.”

“That’s a very good sign.”

“I can’t go home. I can’t… not like this, I-”

“Lexa.” He interrupts her, placing a hand on her shoulder.

She looks up to meet his eyes.

“You can only do so much for her. You need some rest. She’s in good hands here and I’ll call you if something happens. Go sleep in a real bed. She won’t go anywhere.”

He’s right.

It’s just hard for her to leave.

“I’ll be back first thing in the morning.”

“That sounds good.”

Lexa nods, more to herself, as if that would help accepting that he’s right. She needs some sleep.

She picks up her stuff, grabs her notepad and with one last look at Clarke’s sleeping figure, she leaves the hospital room behind for the night.

Only when she sits in her car in the parking lot, she turns the pages of the notepad until she finds Clarke’s drawing.

It’s Aden’s face.

Chapter Text

Clarke.

A screeching sound wakes her up.

A few sunbeams are creeping through the blinds, bathing the small and unfriendly hospital room in a golden light. It’s almost beautiful. Almost being the key word here.

Another screeching sound next to her.

She’s greeted by a grinning, young Latina, whose hands are occupied with a few pieces of metal that Clarke deciphers as a hinge a moment later.

“Good morning, sunshine!” The woman announces happily. “I’m Raven. The most awesome friend in the world.” She waggles her eyebrows.

“Who gave you that title?”

“You.”

Clarke raises both eyebrows. She can’t remember much about herself, but something tells her she didn’t choose that title. That’s probably what you call instinct.

“Okay. I did. How can it be that your brain is mushy, and you still catch me lying?”

“Maybe it’s your bad poker face.” She retorts.

Clarke pushes herself into a sitting position and looking for a button the move the bed. She wants to look at the woman who seems to be a close friend. After all, she’s seeing her for the first time she can remember.

“Excuse me, this is an awesome face.” Raven exclaims, faking indignation, but she places the hinge on the floor and helps Clarke with her bed.

“Your jokes are bad.”

“You love them.”

“I’m not so sure about it.”

Raven chuckles, before her smile is replaced by a worried frown. “How do you feel?”

“You mean aside from the headache and the memory loss? Pretty okay actually. A bit groggy maybe. And I’m hungry.”

“I’ll see what I can get you.”

“No. Stay, I…” She sighs, thinking about the few things she learned the day before.

She’s Clarke Griffin. Thirty-one. Her father is dead. She’s bisexual. She’s married to Lexa whatever the hell her last name is. They have a child, whose name she doesn’t know yet. How can she not remember her own son’s name? What kind of mother is she?

Logically, she knows that it’s not her fault. A stroke – that happens to ordinary people. Still the thought keeps nagging her and she can’t seem to find an answer for all her questions. She might as well start somewhere.

“What’s his name?”

“You mean your son?”

Clarke’s eyes settle on Raven’s bouncing leg for a moment, noticing that the other one is wrapped in a brace made of leather and metal, clearly self-made, before she nods. “Yeah.”

“Aden Jacob Griffin. He was born on August 9th, 2015.”

“Can I see a picture?”

Raven reaches into the back pocket of her jeans and pulls out her phone.

A few swipes and touches later she hands it over and Clarke sets eyes on her son for the first time. Well, it’s certainly not the first time, but…

The first thing she notices is that he’s got her hair and her eye color. He’s got a beaming smile and his eyes are shining with curiosity, like he’s about to take on the world. He’s adorable with his cheeky grin and those tiny little hands, and Clarke’s heart warms at the sight of him.

That’s her child?

She feels a lump in her throat. How could she forget him? His birth, his voice, his face…

Raven squeezes her hand and only then she realizes that she’s crying.

She wipes her cheeks with the back of her hand and swallows. “He’s…”

“He’s your everything.” Raven says quietly, smiling reassuringly. “He loves cars, much to Lexa’s joy, but he also loves to help you with cooking dinner. He’s a whirlwind and keeps everyone on their toes. One time he wanted to surprise you and Lexa with breakfast, but since he couldn’t get anywhere, he just walked out in the backyard and made you sand pancakes and everything.”

Clarke chuckles quietly, even though she doesn’t want to laugh. Sounds like a great kid.

“You sing him lullabies at night, while playing the guitar. That’s your ritual. Hopefully you’ll be able to get out of here soon, because between us? Lexa can’t sing. She couldn’t if her life depended on it, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t try. Poor Aden.” Raven continues, laughing to herself.

“Thank you.”

The brunette simply shakes her head and squeezes Clarke’s hand with her free one.

“What are you working on?”

“Ah, just something to keep my hands busy. I get nervous when I don’t have something to do, but you were sleeping, so…”

I noticed that, yeah, Clarke thinks to herself.

Raven’s right leg keeps bouncing up and down, while the other stays unmoving in its brace. Clarke wants to ask about it. Nevertheless she keeps silent because the old version of her probably knows the story that belongs to it, but the new one doesn’t remember a thing about their friendship and it feels wrong.

“What do you do?” She asks instead.

“I’m an engineer. That’s why I’m here so early, some of us have to work, you know? Not everyone can lie in bed all day, like you do.”

Now Clarke really chuckles. Her friend is good at cheering her up.

“How long have we been friends?”

“Forever.” The other woman answers. “We met in preschool and ever since I’ve been watching out for you. It would’ve been irresponsible to let you be on your own, you know? You’re quite clumsy.”

“Am not.”

“How would you know that?” She sasses back.

Clarke sighs. “True. I guess I have to believe you then.”

“Yup. You do. And by the way, I feel kind of obliged to update your memories and all that, but I’ll leave out some stories, okay? You don’t really need to know it all.”

“You mean you won’t tell me about your embarrassing moments?”

“I’m Raven Reyes, I don’t have embarrassing moments.”

“Why can’t I believe you?”

Raven laughs, before her expression softens and she leans forward a bit. “I’m really glad that you’re okay. You really scared us.”

“I wouldn’t really describe my situation as okay. I don’t remember my life. Everything’s kind of confusing and mixed up. It’s… weird.” Clarke scrunches up her face in search for a better word, but there is none.

“I have a feeling that everything will be okay. And I have to tell you, my feelings are always right.”

“Are they now?” Another voice comes from the doorway. Lexa stands there, in a black t-shirt, with her hair up in a messy bun. She’s got her hands buried deep in the pocket of her blue jeans.

She looks beautiful and Clarke’s heart flutters a bit, as she watches the woman stride closer to the foot end of her bed.

“Except for that one time when you said we were going to have a girl.” Lexa continues, looking at their friend with an amused expression. “And then about Monty being gay. And there was a time where you claimed you could forecast the weather with your scars. Do you remember how soaked we got? And-”

“Yeah, yeah, okay.” Raven interrupts her, arms crossed. “But exceptions confirm the rules.”

“That doesn’t make sense, Raven, not even to me.” Clarke interjects, enjoying the easiness in their interactions.

“Pff. I’m still right about this one though.”

I hope so, Clarke thinks to herself, while she steals another glance at Lexa – her wife. She can’t wrap her head around that fact.

Lexa’s green eyes meet hers and those perfect plump lips curl into a small smile. “Good morning, Clarke.”

“H-hey, Lexa.”

She tries to take in Lexa’s features, only to end up getting lost in the woman’s eyes again. It’s crazy, but there’s something deep in them, something that lets her know that there’s a story she’d like to know. Has she felt the same when she met her for the first time?

“How are you doing?” Lexa asks, probably unaware of Clarke’s thoughts.

“I’m good. My head still hurts, but I guess that’s normal.” She replies. “And I remember what you’ve told me yesterday, so that’s good right?”

Lexa’s shoulders visibly relax a bit. “That’s more than good.”

“Alright!” Raven announces and slaps her hands on her thighs, before getting on her feet. “I’ll head out to work now. I’ll be back later, Griffin. Someone needs to tell you the embarrassing stories about this one.” She points at Lexa with her thumb.

“There are no embarrassing stories.”

“See? That’s what a bad poker face looks like. Mine is awesome!”

“Everything about you is awesome.” Clarke signs quotation marks in the air. If she recalls correctly, her friend described herself that way at least three times, if not more.

“Damn right! But you’re pretty great too.”

All three of them laugh quietly, before Raven shares a smile with Clarke and leaves her alone with her wife.

“She’s something else.” Clarke comments quietly.

“Yeah.”

“You look better.”

Lexa frowns, burying her hands deeper in the pockets of her jeans if that’s possible, and staring at Clarke’s feet under the blanket for a moment before looking back up. “Better? How?”

“More relaxed. Like you’ve had a couple hours of sleep.”

“I had. Dr. Blake sent me home last night. I… I’m sorry for not being here when you woke up.”

“That’s okay. Raven was here.”

“Still.”

“You’re one of those people who don’t give up, aren’t you?”

“I am.”

“Good.”

“Yeah?”

“Means you won’t give up on me.”

“I won’t.”

“Thank you.”

“You don’t have to thank me for that. That’s kind of part of the whole marriage package, you know? There’s something in the vows talking about good and bad times.”

“So those are the bad times?”

“I think so, yeah. But we’re both alive and still married, so it’s not that bad.”

Clarke chuckles at Lexa’s poor attempt to make her smile and ignores the blush creeping onto her cheeks, because it worked. “I guess not.”

“Is there something I can do for you? Would you like me to take you outside for a round through the park? I'm sure you're not allowed to go without a wheelchair, but I guess I could find one, if you'd like too get some air.”

Clarke sighs, trying to imagine what her life looks like outside of these four walls.

“There’s a small pond where old couples feed ducks.” Lexa continues without noticing Clarke’s wandering mind. “It’s quite cliché but nice to watch. And I-”

“Honestly? There’s nothing I’d love to do more.”

Green eyes widen in surprise. “Really?”

“Really.”

“I’ll go ask a nurse then.”

“So you didn’t ask before? I thought you’d be more of a careful and well-behaved person.”

Lexa blushes a little and Clarke’s eyes barely catch it, but when she does her body tingles. It’s the cutest thing she’s ever seen, she’s sure about that.

Then Lexa smirks. “Oh, Clarke, you couldn’t be more wrong about me.”

With her eyebrows raised, Clarke tilts her head. “You’re a rebel then?”

“Sometimes.”

“Prove it. Go get a wheelchair.”

Chapter Text

Clarke.

„I can’t believe I did that.“

„You did.“

„I know!“ Lexa laughs wholeheartedly. „Dr. Blake won’t be happy.“

„I don’t care.“

„I know that too.“

Comfortable silence falls between them, while Lexa keeps pushing the wheelchair she actually stole for Clarke.

“Tell me something about myself.”

“What would you like to know?”

“Everything.”

Lexa chuckles. “That’s not really narrowing things down.”

“I know. But it’s also leaving lots of possibilities for you to start. Choose.”

“God, you’re so bossy sometimes.”

They’ve left the hospital a couple of minutes ago and Lexa pushes Clarke in her wheelchair towards the small pond she talked about.

Clarke tries to act casual, because she doesn’t want Lexa to notice that all of this is new to her, but she’s mesmerized by all the colors and smells and by the feeling the soft breeze leaves behind on her cheeks.

That’s what it must feel like if you’ve been blind your whole life and then you suddenly see.

“Okay. Then tell me about yourself. What do you do?” She asks then, watching as a small bird disappears in a tree.

“You mean for living?”

Clarke nods, quietly taking in the view in front of her, while she tries to hide her nervousness. There’s so much to learn about the brunette and she can’t wait to know it all.

“I’m an architect. I own a small office, together with my friend Lincoln. We met in college and started together.”

“What kind of things to you build? Big ones?”

“No. Houses, mostly. I didn’t want to have to go all over the country for the projects. It’s a job for me, but it’s not my life. I want to come home in the evenings, sleep in on weekends. Stuff like that.”

Lexa stops as the reach a bench close to the water and sits down beside Clarke, staring at two ducks floating over the water surface.

It must look peaceful from afar.

“Sounds nice.”

“It makes me happy.”

“And what do I do?”

“You’re a doctor. A surgeon. But you stepped back when Aden was born. You teach at a college a few times a week, but only for a couple of hours.”

Clarke frowns, trying to place the new information with the few things she already knows. “I teach?”

“Yeah. Medicine is something you’re really good at, but it’s not…” Lexa stops, clenching her jaw while she thinks about her next words.

Clarke waits for the brunette to continue, but soon enough her impatience gets the best of her and she asks what Lexa isn’t saying. “It’s not what?”

“Your Mom’s a surgeon. You and her used to talk about nothing else when you grew up. It was logical to follow in her footsteps, and you enjoy the work, but it’s not your passion. Teaching at the college is something you stumbled across by accident, but you like the freedom and that you don’t have to take weird shifts. That’s why you stayed for now.”

Clarke listens to Lexa’s quiet chuckle, and she tilts her head as she takes in her features. The cute little nose, a few freckles, the sharp jawline and unfairly long eyelashes. The brunette doesn’t wear any makeup – either because she didn’t take the time this morning, or she never bothers with it, that’s yet to discover.

She can’t wrap her mind around the fact that this gorgeous woman is her wife. She surely understands why she has fallen for her in the past– there’s absolutely no doubt that any woman out there would fall for Lexa. The smile alone would be enough. It takes Clarke some strength to stop herself from reaching out to touch her. But she can’t really understand why Lexa seems to have fallen for her.

She doesn’t really know what else to ask, so she averts her gaze after a while, not wanting to be a creep, and looks back at the pond, where the two ducks float over the water surface completely lost in their own world, not even bothering to look at the two women.

The sun warms her cheek and the air is fresh, full of oxygen. It feels wonderful to take deep breaths.

The silence between them feels a bit awkward, because under normal circumstances Clarke probably would have something to talk about, but now she hasn’t, because she can’t fucking remember anything. Not Lexa’s favorite song, not her favorite color – not even her own.

She bites her lips, trying to stop herself from voicing her feelings. She doesn’t want to have Lexa bearing that too.

But Lexa senses her mood change, or maybe she’s just really good at reading her face. “Are you okay?”

Clarke nods, not trusting her voice.

“I can only imagine how you feel. But you need to know that you can always talk to me, Clarke. About anything. And I know I’m a stranger to you, but I’m here for you.”

“You’re not.”

Clarke would have to lie if she said she didn’t notice how Lexa’s eyes widen immediately.

“What?”

“You’re not a stranger to me. I mean…” She pauses, looking for the right words to express her feelings, but soon enough her thoughts come out as a rambled mess. “I mean, I don’t know anything about you, but you feel familiar. Safe, somehow. And that’s weird for me, because I don’t even know your last name or your birthday or what you like to do or where you like to go on the weekends or if your allergic to something, but-”

“Woods.”

“You like to go to the woods?”

“No. I mean, yes, but my last name is Woods.” Lexa says, smiling softly at her. “My name is Alexandra Marie Woods. I was born on March 26th. I love reading and I’m a huge nerd when it comes to movies, especially superhero-movies. I love Harry Potter, which is totally awesome. You’re going to love it, I swear.” Lexa’s eyes twinkle a little as she smiles at Clarke. “And on the weekends, I love staying at home with you and Aden. I don’t need anything fancy. We sleep in and have breakfast in bed, watch silly movies or have pillow fights. Family stuff. I’m allergic to sawdust and pineapples. The first one bothers me a bit, because I’d really love to work with wooden materials. The second one doesn’t bother me at all, because between us? Pineapples are gross.”

Clarke swallows. Her rambling got stuck in her throat as soon as Lexa started talking, but she didn’t expect the warm feeling settling in her stomach at what the other woman said.

Yes, she does feel safe around Lexa. Safe and protected. There’s a calmness that Lexa radiates that she can’t resist. It’s drawing her closer minute by minute.

And every little detail the brunette reveals about herself gets soaked up by Clarke’s brain as if it’s a dry sponge, desperately clinging to every new information, as if it’s whole existence needed them to live.

“You don’t have to know all that now, Clarke. We’ll figure everything out as we go. What matters now is that you recover and then we’ll go home, if you want to. One step at the time.”

Clarke. The way Lexa says her name triggers something inside her head, she can feel it. But nothing follows. It just feels familiar, in a warm and cozy kind of way, like coming home to a warm apartment on cold winter days maybe.

She watches an elderly couple walking closer to the pond on it’s other side. The woman pulls a small brown paper bag from her handbag, which her husband holds in both hands. It’s seems to be a fixed routine for them, and Clarke can’t help but wonder how often this old couple does that.

She hates that she doesn’t have any routines with Lexa anymore. They surely had a lot of them. But then again she’s curious to learn about the brunette, about their life.

“Tell me about Aden. When can I meet him?”

“Do you want to? I mean, you don’t have to feel pressured-”

“I do. I remember him. Only his face, but… he’s my son, isn’t he? Our son.”

“I can bring him here later. He’s in daycare right now, but later this afternoon I could bring him here if you want me to.”

“What did you tell him what happened to me? Does he… understand?”

“I told him your job is to help people, and now people have to help you. I don’t know how much of that he understands, but he asks about you every day, so…” Lexa shrugs, not knowing what else to say.

“Tell me some more about him.”

---

Clarke watches as Lexa bites her bottom lip shyly.

They’re back to the hospital room, where the earned a disapproving look from Dr. Blake because of the unauthorized trip.

She’s tired, but in a good way, and she’s learned so many things in this short span of time that her head feels like it’s swimming in a vacuum.

“What is it?” Clarke asks after a couple of seconds during which Lexa has been fidgeting with her wedding ring.

Simple and golden. Somehow elegant. God, she wishes she’d remember that day. It surely was beautiful.

“I…” Lexa pauses and exhales loudly, as if her next sentence costs her a lot of strength. “Can I hug you?”

God, she’s adorable, Clarke thinks to herself, before she smiles and sits back up.

She opens her arms for the other woman. “Sure. Come here.”

Lexa scoots closer and carefully wraps her arms around Clarke, as if she was afraid the blonde would break. It feels distant and yet close.

“Thanks for the getaway.” Clarke whispers, using the words as an excuse to take another breath while her face is still buried close to Lexa’s neck. The brunette’s shampoo smells sweet, with a hint of lavender, but there’s also something else she can’t name yet.

Lexa seems to have the same struggles, because her answer comes with a small shudder and a slight tremble in her voice. “A-always.”

The brunette lets go of her, but Clarke lingers in the embrace just a second longer.

When she finally pulls away, she misses the warmth immediately. How can it be that her mind was basically fried and her body still fits to Lexa’s like a puzzle piece? Maybe it’s all still there, carefully placed into a safe box somewhere in her head. Maybe she just forgot where?

“Can I really leave you? I mean, you’re probably tired, I just… I don’t want you to feel alone or anything. If you want me to, I could-”

“Lexa.”

Green eyes lock onto blue ones.

“Stop. I’m good here. You’re right, I’m probably going to sleep some more. And when I wake up there’s either you and Aden, or Raven by my bed, right? So don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.” Clarke says, thought it’s not the truth – not a hundred percent at least. She’s scared of being on her own, but she feels the need to have some time to herself too. It’s confusing.

Lexa opens her mouth to protest, but she closes it a second later. “Okay. Two hours.”

Clarke nods, stealing a quick glance at the clock above the door.

“I’ll get you your cellphone too, so you can text me when I can’t be here.”

“Okay.”

“Do you need anything else?”

She shakes her head, though she doesn’t really know. What could she need except for her memories?

Lexa sends her a reassuring smile, the soft and warm kind that makes Clarke’s stomach feel funny, before the brunette heads to the door. “I’ll be back soon, I promise.”

Then the door falls shut behind her.

“I’ll be back soon, I promise.”

The words echo through Clarke’s head, resonating somewhere deep down.

I promise.

A blurry picture flashes through her head. White sheets, dust grains dancing in rays of sunshine, fingers dancing over smooth skin, ghosting over a tattoo. But before Clarke can hold onto it, it’s gone.

Chapter Text

Lexa

She’s happy. For the first time in weeks, she’s genuinely happy.

How weird it feels.

Lexa shakes her head as she makes her way towards the elevator, having just closed the door of Clarke’s hospital room behind her. She can’t believe it.

From the moment she left the house in the early morning, after her usual unusual routine with Aden, she was scared. Only barely she managed to stop herself from chewing on her nails – a habit Clarke always scolds her for, much like Lexa’s dad did.

She didn’t dare to hope that Clarke would still remember.

So no, she’d never take anything for granted ever again. Not the laughter, not the sparkling blue eyes looking so curiously at the world, and most definitely not the way how her own name sounds from the blonde’s lips when she remembers her.

The elevator takes too long, and after she’s bounced a few times back and forth on her feet, she opts for the stairs, taking two steps at once.

She feels bad for leaving, but she has to pick up Aden from daycare, and then she has to make some lunch for them. Suddenly eating feels a lot more important.

She’s halfway through the giant lobby of the hospital, when a voice calls out.

“Lexa! Wait, please!”

If she was feeling great before, she’s definitely annoyed now. Guilty, maybe a little bit too, but mostly annoyed.

“Abby.” She says coldly, turning around to face the older woman.

“How is she?”

“Good. Her memories aren’t back, but she’s able to make new ones.”

The older woman closes her eyes and takes a deep breath of relief. “Thank god.”

Lexa hasn’t seen Abby before Clarke’s condition, but it’s clearly visible that she has aged more than three months in this short span of time. There are dark bags beneath her eyes, more wrinkles, and her eyes seem tired.

“Lexa.” She starts again. “I know I did a lot of things wrong in the past, but I-”

“A lot of things?” Lexa repeats angrily.

Clarke and her hadn’t spoken often about the blonde’s mother, but the few times they had Clarke made sure that Lexa understood what Abby had done – and how much that had hurt.

Lexa remembers countless nights before their wedding and after, during Clarke’s pregnancy and after Aden’s birth, where the blonde would lie awake in Lexa’s arms, unable to find some sleep, because she just couldn’t understand why her mother did what she had done. Why she didn’t want to be a part of her own daughter’s life.

Lexa herself hasn’t brought up that topic with Abby before, because she was busy with far more important things at this time, and because it wasn’t really her place to say something, but now she can’t hold back. Now she needs to defend what’s hers and make sure the older woman understands the weight of it all.

“Listen to me, Abby. I’m not going to keep you away from her, as much as I’d like to. I’ve got no right to do so, but believe me, I’m not always playing nice. So let me make this clear for you. You’re going to tell her the truth. The whole truth, not just some short and easy version of it. You’re going to tell her what you did and why.” Lexa say, her tone sharp and cold, almost business-like. “You’re going to tell your daughter that you rejected her. That you haven’t spoken to her in years, that you didn’t come to the wedding or for Aden’s birth. You’re going to tell her all that and you’re going to apologize for every wrong you did. You’re going to promise you’ll do better, and you’re going to mean it. You hear me?”

“Lexa, she doesn’t-”

“You’re going to mean it, Abby,” Lexa emphasizes, getting even more angrier at what Abby probably wanted to say, “Because if you don’t, if you’re just here to ease some of your guilt or whatever, you can go. You can leave for good. If you don’t mean it, Abby, I’ll make damn sure you’re never going to get near us ever again. Have I made myself clear?”

Lexa doesn’t expect an answer to all this. She isn’t even sure there should be one. But she would lie if she said she wouldn’t enjoy the look of shame on Abby’s face at least a tiny little bit.

But did she really want to say that Clarke doesn’t need to know all that? Did she really just imply that?

The older woman’s shoulders hunch down. “I’ll tell her.”

“Good. Now, if you excuse me, I’ll have to pick up my son from his daycare. Clarke would like to meet her son.”

“Sure. If there’s anything I-”

“I’m sure there’s nothing you could do at the moment, thank you.” Lexa replies coldly.
No, she’s not going to make it that easy for Abby. Fucking unbelievable.

There’s a hint of acceptance in Abby’s eyes, mixing together with sadness, guilt and shame. “Okay. I’ll… I’ll talk to her tomorrow then.”

“Do that.”

“Thank you, Lexa.”

Lexa shakes her head. “You don’t have to thank me for anything.”

“Yes, I do. I needed to hear that. I’m… I wasn’t made for being a mom, you know? That’s no excuse, but… It’s still true. I always wanted what’s best for her, but I forgot to ask what she wanted somewhere along the way, and I was too proud to admit that. So thank you for seeing it. Thank you for protecting her, for loving her, for everything.”

“That’s not enough, Abby.”

Clarke’s mother lowers her gaze to the floor. “I know.”

“But,” Lexa offers, “It’s a start.”

Abby nods, and for a moment the silence stretches out between them, before Lexa turns on her heels and heads for the door.

“You’re too good, that’s your problem.” Her dad’s words echo through her head as she walks over to the parking lot. ”You can’t fix everything, kid.”

“No, I can’t.” She mumbles to herself with a smile on her lips as she gets into her car. “But what kind of person would I be if I wouldn’t try?”

Lexa puts on some music, before starting to drive.

---

Raven.

When she finally reaches Clarke’s floor, she’s exhausted.

Her damn leg has been hurting the whole day, ever since she woke up, which probably means there’s rain coming. Anya always makes fun of her when she mentions that, but in the end she’s almost always right.

Then she had to walk way too much for a normal day at work, but she’s here and she’s going to see her best friend.

This morning she could finally catch a glimpse of Clarke’s old self, and she really needed that – she didn’t know how much until she saw hints of recognition in Clarke’s eyes.

A world without Clarke Griffin in it feels wrong. They’ve been friends for so long now, it’s like they’re sisters – always knowing what the other one is thinking, finishing each other’s sentences, communicating with just a look, tons of inside-jokes, knowing when the other one has her period and which kind of food she craves, all their dating attempts, break-ups, hopes and dreams, family issues…

Yeah, sure, Clarke still doesn’t remember her past, but they’ll make new memories. They’ve faced horrible things before. They’ll just come out stronger than before. That’s what they do. That’s who they are.

Still, Clarke looks smaller and way more fragile than ever before in that hospital bed, when Raven enters without bothering to knock.

For a brief moment she wonders if she looked the same after her accident, before she shakes her head, steps into the room fully, and closes the door behind herself.

She carefully sits down beside her best friend’s bed, but somehow she seems to make a sound, because Clarke stirs.

She watches the blonde blink in confusion, and Raven’s heart clenches in fear. She’s been over moments like these one too many times – Clarke waking up and not remembering her.

“Hey.” Clarke says quietly. “You’re back early. Didn’t you have to work or something?”

“I did. I took off earlier, I’m the only one keeping the company alive anyways.” Raven shrugs, covering up her relief with a playful smirk.

“I can imagine.”

“What did you do?”

“Lexa stole a wheelchair and we took a round through the park. It was nice.”

“Nice or nice?” She waggles her eyebrows.

Clarke snorts and rolls her eyes, and Raven’s heart does a leap of joy at that. It’s been so long since she witnessed that. This is what hope looks like to her.

“I don’t know her.” The blonde sighs. “Well, I do know some things. I probably know more about her than I know about myself, which is weird, but… it was nice. Really nice.”

“Oh, I remember that look.”

“What look?”

Raven points at Clarke’s face, enjoying the blush on her friend’s cheeks. “That thing you’re doing with your eyes. That sparkling. You look exactly like you did after not going on that blind date I set you up on with Lexa.”

“That sounds like a story you have to tell me.”

“Well, you were a huge workaholic. I guess you were trying to proof it to your mom that you didn’t need her name to reach something huge, but Anya, Lexa’s sister, and I, we decided that it was time you had a little love in your life, so we…”

And that’s how Raven ends up explaining her point of view to the blonde.

----

Five years ago.

“I’m so going to kill you!!” With those six words Clarke bursts through the front door of Raven’s little house.

“Can it wait until after the dinner?” Anya’s voice perks up from the living room.

Clarke’s stomping feet come closer until she’s right in front of Raven, across the small kitchen island where she’s trying to make her paella after her grandmother’s recipe.

Raven isn’t bothered by the fact that Clarke walks in here without knocking or ringing a bell. It’s what they do. Surely that has caused a few… let’s say interesting moments.

“You’re a meddling bitch!” Clarke announces angrily. “I told you I wouldn’t need a date!”

“I heard you.”

“And why did you set me up with her?”

Raven grins, taking the blonde’s anger for what it is – a bad cover-up for immediate attraction. “So you like her.”

“I don’t!”

“Yes you do.”

“Raven, I-”

“Oh, she calls you Raven. Bad sign.” Anya chuckles, and makes her way over to her wife, kissing her on her temple, before heading to the fridge to get three beers.

“And you! You were on this too, weren’t you!”

“Of course. She’s my wife.” Anya points at Raven. “And Lexa is my sister.” She holds out a bottle for the blonde.

Clarke glares at them both, before she slumps into a chair and takes the offered beer.

Raven and Anya share a look, before both women settle next to their friend, Raven not without setting the paella aside. “How was it?”

“Oh, I’m sure you already know.”

“Yup.” Raven takes a large gulp from her beer. “You stormed off. Poor Lexa has a broken heart now.”

“So fucking melodramatic.”

“Says the one who’s marched in here ready to kill.”

“I have a very good reason, thank you.”

“And that would be?”

“An overbearing friend who can’t mind their own business and thinks that I need a love life, just because she has.”

“That’s not it.” Raven answers, still not talking Clarke’s anger seriously. “You’re here because you want to talk about how gorgeous her eyes are, and about how stupid you were for storming off. About how you hate being impulsive. And you probably want to ask for her number.”

“No, I don’t.”

“You don’t what?”

“Want to ask for her number.”

“Why’s that?” Anya asks. “She asked for yours, that’s for sure.”

Raven watches a smile appearing on Clarke’s lips. “Because she’s going to work for it.”

“You’re a bitch.” Anya states, but without any sign of judgment.

“I know.”

“But we love you.” Raven adds.

“I love you too, guys.”

---

“Did I really do that?”

“Yup.”

“And Lexa worked for it, didn’t she?”

“Like hell.” Raven confirms, happy that she made her friend smile at least ten times. “She really put up some effort before you finally accepted your fate.”

“And what would that fate be?”

Raven smiles softly, once more seeing more than her friend, much like that day five years ago. “That you and Lexa are meant to be, one way or the other.”

“You really believe in that?”

“I do.”

Clarke sighs, averting her gaze to look at the clock above the door.

“What is it?”

“I just… She’s amazing, as far as I can tell.”

“And?”

“And I’m this mess.”

“Yeah, but you’re her mess. That’s why she lo-”

A soft knock on the door interrupts them both, ripping them forcefully from their bonding-bubble.

A second later Lexa’s head appears, her serious expression turning into a soft and loving smile as soon as her eyes lock on Clarke’s.

How Clarke was able to fight that gravity between them is still a mystery to Raven, but she’s sure that they’ll find their way back to each other. There’s way too much electricity in the air between them to be ignored.

“Hey, Clarke.” Lexa says. “Hi, Rae.”

“Hi, Lexa.”

“Hey.”

“I’ll head out and leave you to it. You good?”

“I’m good.” Clarke confirms.

“Could you… watch Aden for a couple of minutes? Maybe?” Lexa asks.

Raven’s eyes widen for a second, not expecting to find Aden here, but she recovers quickly and gets on her feet. “Sure.” Turning to Clarke she says, “I’ll be back tomorrow morning. That okay?”

“Yeah. Thanks for stopping by.”

“Not for that.”

The last glimpse she catches of her friend is how Clarke bites her bottom lip nervously, before the door falls shut behind Raven and Lexa.

“Auntie Aven!” A voice squeals, and a second later two little arms wrap around her thigh.

“Hey, buddy!” She picks him up easily. “How about we go raid the cafeteria for some ice-cream? How does that sound?”

“Yes, please!” He answers in a high-pitched tone.

“Raven.”

“What? I’m his aunt, I’m supposed to spoil him. Go chat with her, we’ll be back soon.”

“Okay. You knock when you’re back?”

“Sure.”

Lexa heads back for the door, but she hesitates and looks back up at Raven. “Thank you.”

“What did I tell you? No need to thank me. We’re family.”

“She’s really back, hm?”

“She is. Go, see her. She’s waiting for you.”

Lexa nods, and Raven watches her go with a smile. That woman deserves it. Both her friends do.

Then she turns her head back to Aden. “Ready?”

“Yes!”

She sets him back down onto the floor. “Okay, if you’re at the elevator before me, you’ll get two scoops. If I win, you-”

Aden has already sprinted off, as competitive as his Moms.

Chapter Text

Lexa.

“Mommy?”

“Yes, Aden?” She looks at him through the rear mirror, finding him playing with his favorite teddy bear Gustus in his lap.

“When can I see Momma?”

Lexa’s heart leaps with joy. She’s been saying the same thing to him for weeks, but now, today, she can finally tell him something else. “Today, buddy.”

Aden looks up. “Today?”

“Yes. We’re going home to eat something, and after that we’ll go see Momma.”

The look on his face is the best thing she’s ever seen.

---

As soon as they’re through the front door, Aden sprints off to his little desk next to Clarke’s art corner in the living room.

While Lexa prepares them lunch, he’s very secretive about what he’s doing. She only finds a few crumpled papers on the carpet, as she sets the table.

Soon they’ll be three again. The thought makes her smile even wider.

“Aden, come eat.”

“Soon.”

“What are you doing there?”

“I want to draw something for Momma, but it’s not right.” He huffs, his bottom lip starting to quiver.

“Let me see.”

He wordlessly hands over the paper.

It’s the three of them in front of their house, with Aden in the middle between his Moms. And with his teddy bear in life-size.

“Aden, this is beautiful.”

“No, Gustus is too big.” He pouts.

Lexa bites back a chuckle. He’s a perfectionist, just like Clarke. “That’s called artistic freedom, buddy. Your picture, your rules.”

“But-”

“She’ll love it, I promise.”

He seems to contemplate her words for a while, before he nods. “Okay.”

---

Half an hour later they’re back in the car.

“Aden?”

He looks up, meeting Lexa’s gaze in the rear mirror once again.

“I told you she’s at the hospital, remember?”

A nod.

“So, when we get to your Momma, we’ll have to be a bit careful with her, okay? If she doesn’t remember something, don’t get mad. She’s had a couple of stressful weeks, and she might get tired quick, okay?”

He nods again, but Lexa isn’t sure if he understands what she’s saying. That happens a lot. Sometimes she isn’t sure how much of what’s going on he really understands, but most of the time he surprises her.

To say she’s nervous is an understatement. Not because of Clarke – she’s a natural with kids. She’s a better Mom than Lexa could ever be. She holds the balance between too soft and too strict without having second thoughts, making motherhood seem like the easiest tasks in the world.

But she’s nervous, because she envisioned this a hundred times.

“Mommy?”

“Yes?”

“Will Momma be okay?”

Lexa swallows. “I’m sure she will.”

“Will she like the picture?”

“Of course! She’ll love it. We’ll find a place in her room for her, and when she gets home we’ll hang it up on the fridge.”

Aden smiles even wider. “Yes!”

He’s always so proud of his work when Lexa puts it on display for everyone.

----

She’s on the verge of falling apart or bursting in tears – she’s not sure which – when they reach Clarke’s floor.

Aden’s jumping up and down, his tiny hand tugging at hers, but she barely notices it.

This is stupid, she tells herself, Get it together, damn it! This is what you’ve been waiting, no praying for.

She’s a little relieved when she finds Raven sitting by Clarke’s bed to be honest. She gets a few more minutes with Clarke alone – and she desperately needs them. Not because of Aden. Because of herself.

One way or the other, even when she didn’t remember who Lexa was, Clarke always calms her down, and that’s what she needs – so desperately like a fish needs water.

“Hey, Clarke.” She manages, her throat dry as a desert as soon as Clarke smiles at her. “Hi, Rae.”

“Hi, Lexa.” Raven answers, but Lexa barely sees her.

“Hey.” Clarke answers, holding her gaze unmoving.

“I’ll head out and leave you to it. You good?” Raven announces.

“I’m good.” Clarke nods, eyes still not leaving Lexa’s, which almost makes her forget what she wanted to ask her friend.

“Could you… watch Aden for a couple of minutes? Maybe?” She asks Raven, who grins immediately.

Raven adores the little boy.

“Sure.” She turns back to Clarke. “I’ll be back tomorrow morning. That okay?”

“Yeah. Thanks for stopping by.”

“Not for that.”

The two women head out to where Aden has been waiting patiently right next to the door, in view of an older nurse who’s sending Lexa a warm smile.

“Auntie Aven!” Aden shouts excited, running to hug is aunt.

“Hey, buddy!” Raven picks him up seemingly effortlessly, but Lexa knows it’s getting harder for her the older Aden gets. “How about we go raid the cafeteria for some ice-cream? How does that sound?”

“Yes, please!”

“Raven.” Lexa warns. Her friend has an unhealthy thing for ice-cream, and she doesn’t want that to spread like a virus onto her son. But on the other hand, it’s probably too late for that.

“What? I’m his aunt, I’m supposed to spoil him. Go chat with her, we’ll be back soon.”

Lexa relents with a sigh, knowing that one ice-cream won’t kill him. “Okay. You knock when you’re back?”

“Sure.”

Lexa turns back to the door, hesitating to go back in. “Thank you.” She says, looking back at Raven once more. Two words aren’t enough, not even close, but she can’t think of any other way right now. Not with Clarke waiting behind this door.

“What did I tell you? No need to thank me. We’re family.”

Yes, we are.

And Lexa’s never been more grateful of having her family.

“She’s really back, hm?” She asks after some time.

Raven nods, a comforting and hopeful smile on her lips. “She is. Go, see her. She’s waiting for you.”

Lexa takes a deep breath, though it feels like the oxygen isn’t reaching her lungs, not really anyways.

But then she heads back inside to see her wife.

“Hey.” She says quietly after closing the door. She stays by the door for a moment, before slowly walking closer to the foot end of Clarke’s bed.

“You okay?”

“Shouldn’t I be the one asking that?”

Clarke chuckles at her question, a sound that makes Lexa’s heart skip a beat as if it has a mind of it’s own. When it comes to Clarke, it has.

“Maybe.” The blonde answers then with a shrug. “But are you okay?”

Lexa decides to just nod, knowing full well that her current state of mind could hardly be described as “okay”. She isn’t even sure if one word would be enough to describe it, but Clarke’s presence alone makes everything better – like hot chocolate on a cold winter day, or a lazy afternoon by the beach.

“Are you sure?”

“No, not really. I’m nervous. It’s stupid.” Lexa chuckles quietly.

“Me too, if that helps.” Clarke eyes for a few moments, seemingly thinking about something, before she reaches out her hand. “Come here.”

This time there’s no hesitation, and Lexa sits down beside her on the mattress just a second later. She can feel the tension fading from her muscles, and she doesn’t stop herself from intertwining her fingers with Clarke’s.

“Raven took him for ice-cream, so we’ve got a couple more minutes.”

“What do I say to him?”

“You won’t have to talk a lot. He’s probably going to jump at you and start telling you about his day and stuff. Prepare to nod and smile a lot, because that’s the only thing you can do once he starts. He’s a lot like you.”

Clarke playfully slaps her arm, completely unaware of what this simple gesture does to Lexa’s heart. “Are you implying that I talk a lot?”

“Nope. I’m merely implying that I lo- I like listening to you when you talk. That’s all.” She replies with a grin.

The almost slip up doesn’t go unnoticed by Clarke, that much is visible on her face, but she doesn’t comment on it. “Good save, Lexa, good save.”

“I’m trying.”

This feels… familiar. Too easy, almost. Is Raven right? Is Clarke really back? Is her past still somewhere inside of her head, hiding just below the surface? And what does it mean for the two of them?

Up until this moment she hadn’t thought about how Clarke’s memory loss may affect their relationship. She had thought about Clarke, about their family, about all the possible outcomes. But not about how the two of them, as a couple, would move on from here.

Clarke has to re-learn so many things, a relationship with someone who knows her better than she knows herself surely isn’t her top priority. It wouldn’t be for anybody.

But how will Lexa cope with this? What will it mean for them?

For the last two days all that mattered, all she thought about was that Clarke would be able to make new memories, it was all about Clarke and her well-being, never about Lexa herself.

Now she feels like falling, like free falling into an open, unknown and dark place.

She gets on her feet, feeling the need to put some distance between them as she tries to fight back dark thoughts of Clarke (rightfully) focusing on getting her life back on track, of her maybe leaving Lexa in the process of doing so, of…

“What-” Clarke’s interrupted by a knock on the door, but that doesn’t make the worried frown on her forehead disappear.

Lexa heads for the door and opens it to reveal Raven and her son. It was barely a couple of minutes since she’s last seen them, but nevertheless she gets down on her knees and wraps her arms around her son. “Hey you two. Did you have fun?”

“There was no ice-cream, so I promised him we’d get one later. That okay?”

“Sure.”

Aden peeks around Lexa to look at his other Mom.

Raven coughs awkwardly. “I’ll head out. See you tomorrow!”

And here they are.

Alone.

Finally, the three of them.

Lexa swallows down her once more rising nervousness and gets back up. “Want to give Momma a hug?”

Aden’s blue eyes suddenly look scared, and he reaches out his little hand for Lexa’s.

Slowly they walk closer to the bed, where Clarke’s eyes are welling with tears. Lexa can see that her wife is trying to keep herself together, much like she’s trying to do herself, but she forces herself to focus on Aden.

The little boy hides behind Lexa’s leg, wrapping his arms around her thigh.

“Hey, Aden.” Clarke says, a slight tremor in her voice. “Look at you, you got so big!”

Lexa can feel him hiding his face against her thigh. He’s never done that before, but then again, he’s never been in a situation like this.

“Hey, buddy, do you want to give Momma your present?” Lexa tries, shooting Clarke an apologetic look, but the blonde doesn’t even look at her.

Clarke gasps at Lexa’s words, smiling even wider. “You brought me a present?”

Slowly, Aden risks a peek. And then he nods. “I made a picture.”

“Can I see?”

Questioning eyes look up to meet Lexa’s, and her heart warms at the sight. She quickly reaches for her handbag and pulls out a folder, which Aden made her buy so his picture wouldn’t get crinkles. “It has to be perfect for Momma!” He had argued.

“Here.”

Little hands carefully open the folder, a serious and concentrated frown on his face, before he pulls out his sketch. He looks up at Lexa once more, before looking back at Clarke. Then he walks over to the bed determinedly and reaches out his drawing. “Here, Momma. That’s for you.”

Clarke takes the paper, holding it so carefully like she was holding the most precious thing in the world. Then she gasps again. “Aden, is that us?”

Us. Something stings in Lexa’s heart at the word. It’s absolutely stupid, and probably unnecessary too, but she still can’t shake the scary thought of losing Clarke in a completely different way.

Aden nods in the meantime, his eyes shining more blue than they have in a while.

“That’s beautiful! Lexa, come here, look at that! All those details!”

Lexa complies, walking closer to the bed again even though she’s already seen the picture before – this one and the four prior versions. “He’s a true artist, isn’t he?” She answers, pride swinging with her words.

“Aden, this is perfect! Thank you so much!”

Their son beams. “I made four pictures before I got it right. I wanted it to be perfect for you. But Mommy hadn’t sharpened the right green for the grass, so I used the wrong one…” He starts babbling and never really stops for the next couple of minutes, while he explains every little line.

He’s not even three and yet he talks like his mother. Or tries to.

Lexa shakes her head in amusement, but she’s also grateful that none of her loved ones looks at her right now, because she’s a crying mess and she doesn’t want it to be noticed. Secretly, she wipes her face with the back of her hand, removing herself from the bed with a few steps to give them time to reconnect.

Somewhere along the babbling, Lexa can’t even tell when, Aden climbs onto the mattress and snuggles closer to Clarke.

It’s the first time in minutes that Clarke’s gaze meets hers, and both women share a tear-filled smile.

And then Aden starts talking about his day, about ice-cream and cars, about his best friend John from daycare, about Raven, Lexa, … About literally everything he can think of.

This is how they spend almost an hour. Clarke sometimes asks questions, if she can, and Aden explains every little detail as good as he can, while Lexa’s dark thoughts slowly but steadily wash over her, and silent tears run down her cheeks.

What if it won’t stay this way? What if this is one of the last family moments Lexa gets?

 

*****

Clarke.

Whatever she was expecting to happen, this wasn’t it.

Something about his scent resonates in her head, in her soul. The closer he snuggles to her, to stronger the feeling of familiarity gets.

The way he talks with his hand and feet, the way he happily explains his picture… It warms her heart, but those words aren’t strong enough for what she feels. She can’t find another for how absolutely beautiful this is, for how gifted she feels by his presence alone.

From the corner of her eye she saw Lexa withdraw a while ago, giving them space, allowing them a moment alone.

Whenever she steals a glance, Lexa smiles, but it somehow doesn’t reach her eyes. Whatever’s going on in that head of hers, it seems to be dark and heavy, and Clarke makes sure to remember asking her about it.

Is she doing something wrong maybe?

Only when she can’t hold back a yawn anymore (one she tried to fight for as long as possible, because she knows Lexa will notice it), the brunette parts from the wall she’s been leaning against.

“Hey, Aden? Momma’s a bit tired, how about we come back tomorrow, and you finish telling her about that game you play with Johnny then?”

“John, Mommy. He don’t like his nickname.”

“John, sorry. What do you say? Momma needs some sleep.”

Clarke really wants to protest, but she knows she needs time to recover. Her brain is starting to feel mushy from all that new information she’s been trying to keep, and she’s starting to feel the beginning of a headache too.

But letting go of her son after such a short time… She hates how scared this makes her feel, how vulnerable.

Aden nods in Lexa’s direction.

And then he does something that takes Clarke completely by surprise.

He leans in and presses a kiss to her cheek. “Get better soon.”

She swallows down more tears and smiles instead. “I’ll try.”

Aden hops down from the bed, taking Lexa’s hand, but looking straight into Clarke’s eyes. “See you tomorrow, Momma. Love you.”

What?

Nope, there’s no use fighting those tears anymore. Not. A. Chance.

“I love you too, Aden.” She croaks, barely swallowing down a sob.

“I’ll be back later, if you want? I’ll just drop him off at Anya’s.”

Clarke nods, but she hasn’t really heard Lexa’s words. She watches the brunette and her son leave, before the tears overwhelm her and she curls up in her bed in a fetal position, crying and sobbing like someone ripped her heart out.

Why, she isn’t sure. Because of the unfairness of life? Because of the overwhelming joy she felt when Aden said “Love you”? Or just because she’s been so damn scared of this moment, that she could barely breathe?

----

It’s almost three hours later when Lexa finally returns, hands buried deep in the pockets of her jeans, nibbling at her bottom lip – both signs of nervousness, Clarke has noticed.

Clarke has calmed down a while before, and she busied herself with drawing into the sketchpad Lexa left here. It had therapeutic purpose and so far it worked. She drew Aden a couple of times, and then she tried Lexa – tried, and failed, because she just can’t get the other woman right.

This time Clarke greets the other woman first. “Hey.” She says, trying to smile as openly as possible.

“Hey.” Lexa replies, still not meeting her eyes. She’s been stiff like a board earlier, but now she’s even more tense.

Okay, something’s definitely not right, Clarke thinks to herself, deciding on a quick and direct approach.

“Did I do something wrong?”

Lexa’s eyes widen, but only for a second, before she continues walking up and down at the foot end of Clarke’s bed. “What? No! You did great with him, he wouldn’t stop talking about you on our way to Anya’s and Raven’s house.”

“Then what is it?”

“Nothing.”

Clarke sits up, and pushes her body backwards, so she can lean against the wall. “I’m not sure how we did this before, but I think lying doesn’t solve problems, especially not when one of us doesn’t remember anything. So, whatever it is, tell me please.”

Lexa’s movements falter, before she finally stops and, after a moment of hesitation, pulls up a chair next the bed.

Clarke isn’t sure how to take the nervousness and this closed-off side of Lexa, she hasn’t dealt with it before. But she can’t ignore it either, so she wants to rip of the band-aid as quickly as she can.

“I’m…” The brunette starts. Teeth scrape her bottom lip again.

She waits, patiently. And then she waits not so patiently anymore, because Lexa just won’t finish her sentence, and the longer the brunette just stares at a spot somewhere above Clarke’s head, the more tense she gets herself.

“Lexa, talk to me.” She tries again. “Please.”

The brunette’s hand comes up, rubbing a spot on her temple, before falling aimlessly into her lap again.

Then Lexa finally meets Clarke’s eyes. “I’m scared.”

Taken by surprise by the admission, Clarke doesn’t say anything for a moment.

Scared? Lexa? Of what?

It’s then that she realizes how little she actually knows about the other woman. She barely knows main details, like name, age, job, family. But she doesn’t know anything about Lexa’s fears, about her interests and her political opinion, about her morals, about her favorite childhood memories, about the house she grew up in or how she values things. She doesn’t remember the countless talks they had, the moments they shared in bed early in the morning, the nights they held each other.

She knows nothing. NOTHING.

And suddenly she understands Lexa’s fears better than she would’ve like to.

“Me too.” She admits quietly.

Lexa hangs her head, fidgeting with her wedding ring. She sighs. “What do we do with that?”

“I don’t know. It helps that I’ve got you.”

The brunette’s head shoots up in surprise.

“What?” Clarke chuckles. “Do you think I’d be this…” She pauses, looking for the right words “This calm, if it wasn’t for you?”

Lexa doesn’t say anything, so Clarke continues.

“Lexa, I’m scared of anything. I’m scared of never remembering my life, but I’m scared of remembering it too. I’m scared of everything I’m feeling, of waking up to nothing again. I’m scared of what will follow, of… Of everything.”

“I’m scared of losing you.” Lexa confesses, her words barely a whisper. “What if you find out you don’t want to be with me, with us? What if you decide to start again somewhere new?”

“I can’t promise you that I won’t do that. I don’t know anything about me.” Clarke shrugs. “But I don’t think I would do that.”

I couldn’t, she adds to herself, not ready to voice the hints of a feeling she can’t shake.

It’s like knowing you know something, feeling it on the tip of your tongue, but you still can’t find the word for it. That’s how she feels when she looks at the woman across from her, at her wife. It’s driving her insane whenever Lexa isn’t here, but when she is it’s soothing her like nothing else could. It's the reason she still hasn't lost it, the reason why she can do all this without falling apart.

Her answer doesn’t seem to be enough, so she reaches out her hand for Lexa, feeling the need to be close to the only human being she trusts without hesitation.

Lexa’s hand fits into hers effortlessly, like they never did anything else. Clarke revels in the feeling of Lexa’s skin against hers, of the foreign intimacy that comes with it.

“I trust you.” She adds, tugging on Lexa’s hand until the brunette stands up from her chair and sits down on the mattress next to her, where Clarke wraps her arms around the Lexa’s shoulders, pulling her in. “I may not know all about you, not the way you know everything about me, but you make me feel safe. And that has to mean something, don’t you think?”

Lexa takes a deep, shuddering breath in her neck. “I hope so.”

When the words meet Clarke’s skin, a shiver runs down her whole body. She needs to hold onto those words, because if she doesn't, she isn't sure what else is left. If she hasn't got Lexa then she has nothing.

It just has to mean something.

Chapter Text

Warmth. Like the sun hitting one’s skin on an early spring day.

Rain hitting the glass of the window, leaving a melancholic but calming feeling in her bones. The happy kind, the long-missed kind, like an old friend you haven’t seen in years, like the house you were raised in.

An old mug with the fading handprints of a child on it.

The smell of coffee hanging in the air.

Music coming from a small speaker, soft and just right for an early morning. Drums and a guitar, two voices, one male and one female, blending so well together it almost sounds like one.

Wooden floor boards creaking.

Two arms wrapping around her body, lips kissing her naked shoulder, whispering a soft good morning.

The feeling of home settling somewhere inside her. It’s different from what she knows, new, exciting.

Warmth. Like the sun hitting one’s skin on an early spring day.

---

Clarke blinks.

She’s grown used to the sunlight flooding the room way too early for her liking. But that isn’t what she thinks about. No, she tries to hold onto the pictures in her mind, the images that aren’t just images, she can feel it.

But the memory soon becomes nothing more than what it is, a memory.

For the first ten seconds after waking up, she felt happy.

But now all she feels is emptiness and… loneliness. She’s alone in her room and in her head, there’s no one she remembers, no one before a few days ago. Only Lexa, Aden, Raven, her doctors.

She stares at the ceiling for a while, before she closes her eyes, hoping the find some sleep again. It doesn’t come.

Shortly after a nurse walks in. “Good morning.” She greets. “You’re an early bird.”

“No, the blinds… it’s too much light.”

“Oh, I can close them if you want?”

Clarke shakes her head with a sigh and sits up. “No, it’s okay. I’m awake anyways.”

“It’s the bed, isn’t it?”

She can’t deny that, so she just nods.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be out of here soon.” The nurse sends her a smile that’s probably supposed to be comforting, before she turns.

But Clarke is too hung up on her words to notice it. Out of here – where to? Home? She has a home somewhere. With Lexa and Aden. She imagines a small house, but she can’t trust her instincts, so she quickly dismisses the thought and tries to focus on the prospect of getting out of the hospital.

That surely is something she’s looking forward to, but… Wow. The thought overwhelms her, even in her tired state.

The night before she couldn’t find sleep for a while. Thoughts of Lexa and her fears of losing her, thoughts of Aden and his shyness turning into affection kept her awake. They’re her family and she slowly starts to believe it – rationally. Emotionally she’s felt a connection from the minute she met them, but she has those little doubts in her head that she’s just holding onto them because they know who she is and she doesn’t.

Home.

Minutes later she gives up trying to find more sleep in this uncomfortable bed, and she sits up and grabs the sketchpad again. Before she knows it, she finds herself capturing the few remaining pictures of her dream – the dream of which she is sure wasn’t just that but a memory.

She smiles hopefully at the few lines in front of her, and then her fingers start to add a few more details. Little flaws in the kitchen countertop, the fading parts of a handprint that’s covered by a much bigger hand – hers?

Her hand seems to remember more than her brain does. Closing her eyes, she tries to recall how the lips against her skin felt. Were they Lexa’s? She finds herself wondering how it feels like to kiss those lips, how they taste.

 

--------

 

“Let’s play a game.” Lexa announces, as she walks into Clarke’s hospital room around noon.

Clarke has spent the whole morning trying to keep her thoughts busy, but the truth is she’s bored out of her mind and grateful for the visit.

“Hello to you too.” She answers with a wide smile, taking in Lexa’s appearance. Once again she’s wearing just simple jeans, in light blue with holes in it that reveal more skin than Clarke was ready for. The white t-shirt with a red print saying “Levi’s” hugs the brunette’s body in all the right places, making Clarke’s cheeks flush red.

Thankfully Lexa doesn’t notice that.

“Hey, sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Clarke replies, watching as Lexa pulls out a box of chocolate. “What kind of game?”

“I ask you one question, then you ask me.” Lexa hands over the little box. “That’s for you by the way. Your favorite.”

“Thank you.” Clarke beams. It’s stupid, but she’s never received a gift so far, and it’s from Lexa. “But you’re aware that I can’t answer many of your questions, yeah?”

“I’m sure you can answer more than you think.”

Clarke sighs, knowing full well by now that there’s no use in denying Lexa anything, not when those green eyes look at her like that, piercing and joyful somehow. Clarke simply melts at the expression on Lexa’s face. “Okay. Shoot.”

“Do you want to meet your Mom today?”

“I... I’m not sure. You haven’t told me much about her.”

“That’s because I don’t want to cloud your judgment.”

Clarke raises her eyebrows. “So there’s a reason to judge?”

Lexa slides to the front edge of her seat and leans forward onto her elbows, palms rubbing against each other. “I’m sure she loves you. It’s just... You hadn’t had contact before...” Lexa pauses, hand motioning around the room. “Before all this.”

“Because I’m married to you?”

“Because you’re into women too.”

Clarke tries to decipher the look in Lexa’s usually inviting and open eyes. They seem guarded now, closed off. She wonders why.

“I can ask anything I want?”

Lexa nods.

“And you’re going to answer honestly?”

“If I can, yes.”

“Okay then.” Clarke bites her bottom lip for a split second, never breaking eye contact with Lexa. “Should I talk to her?”

“Clarke-“

“No, I’m asking you. Should I? Or more specifically, would I talk to her if we weren’t here right now?“

„I won’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.“ Lexa shakes her head. „And I can’t say what you would do either if... You’re pretty unpredictable sometimes. What I know is that you tried reaching out to her a few times, that she never answered and that it hurt you deeply. And I know that she’s here, and that she carries a lot of regrets. But don’t ask me to tell you what you should do, because my first instinct is to protect you from any possible harm, and considering all those times you cried because of her I have to classify her as a possible harm.“

She’s sweet. That’s Clarke’s first thought.

And then her head starts spinning, trying to figure out how and where to place those news. Is her Mom... how does one call this? Biphobic? Is that even a word? Did her condition change how her mother sees things? Or will the unknown woman try to manipulate her?

She decides to occupy her hands with ripping the box open, much to Lexa’s apparent amusement, if the wide grin is anything to go by.

“What’s so funny?”

“The way you… you’re impatient like a little kid. It’s cute.”

“I’m cute?” Clarke watches as Lexa’s cheeks flush a light shade of red.

“You know you are.”

“No, in fact I don’t. But thanks, it’s nice to hear.”

Lexa chuckles.

“So…” Clarke starts again after munching three pralines in a row. “If she came to visit me, just hypothetically. Would you stay with us?”

“If that’s what you want, sure. But like I said, I don’t want to cloud your judgment here, Clarke. Get to know her without me, hear what she has to say. Maybe things have changed.”

She’s sure Lexa’s point of view won’t cloud her judgment, but she accepts the other woman’s words. But because the topic weighs her down, and because she wants to get back to the lighthearted mood between them, Clarke decides to change the topic. “Will you be back with Aden afterwards?”

“Sure. He wouldn’t stop talking about you this morning.”

“I… I didn’t expect him to feel so familiar.”

Lexa’s smile is so genuine, so soft, that it warms Clarke’s whole body. “He’s your son, of course you feel a connection.”

“Our son. By the way, how did we…? I mean…”

“We had a sperm donor.”

Makes sense.

“And why did I carry him? I mean, didn’t you want to or…?” She feels silly for asking that, but she can’t help but wonder what a child with Lexa’s eyes would look like.

“You wanted to be pregnant.” Lexa answers bluntly. “I didn’t.”

“Really?”

Lexa nods, and reaches for the box of chocolates on Clarke’s lap, carefully unpacking one.

“And was that okay with you?”

“Of course. I don’t care who gave birth to him, he’s our son no matter what his DNA says.”

Clarke can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the story than Lexa lets on, but she decides not to probe further right now.

“I’m willing to meet her.” She says after some time.

“Abby?”

“Yes. Maybe it’s good that I don’t know much about our past. Maybe I can tell if what she’s saying is the truth.”

“You can always check in with me later.”

They hadn’t had physical contact of any form today yet, and Clarke’s painfully aware of that. In some moments it feels like she’s living of contact to other people, but especially Lexa’s contact feels necessary. So now, when she reaches out her hand to take Lexa’s, that’s reaching out for more chocolate, she revels in the warmth of the other woman’s skin, soaking it up.

For a brief moment Clarke wonders whether she should tell Lexa about her strange dreams, about the memories that come up while she sleeps. But then she decides against it. She doesn’t know what they are – memories or just dreams. And if they are the latter, she doesn’t want to get Lexa’s hopes up too.

Green eyes meet hers at the unexpected gesture, and a gingerly smile forms on plump lips.

And in moments like these it feels like everything’s going to be okay.

 

********

Lexa.

“You don’t need to leave soon, do you?” Clarke’s question sounds hopeful and teasing, making Lexa’s insides well with butterflies.

“I can stay.”

“I mean, you don’t have to… I just… It would be nice to keep talking.”

“Up for another adventure?” Lexa hears herself suggesting. She didn’t realize that she was talking until the words are out there. Clarke often has that effect on her.

“Why do I get the feeling that you’re not the most adventurous person?”

“Because it’s true. But with you by my side I could be convinced.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“There’s a nice spot on the roof. Great view, wide space, sunshine.”

“Just you and me?”

“Just you and me.” She confirms, melting a little at Clarke’s curious expression.

---

When they step out onto the roof, Clarke spreads her arms as if she wants to hug the world. Lexa watches from a few steps behind, smiling to herself. She feels way more hopeful today, her dark thoughts from the day before almost forgotten.

“This feels a lot like a date to me.” Clarke announces as she turns around.

Lexa blushes. She has to admit it wasn’t her idea, not originally. They’ve been here before, a few years ago. Clarke did an internship for a few weeks and discovered the spot for them to meet for lunch.

“Aww, you’re blushing like a rose.”

“Clarke.”

“What? It’s cute.”

Lexa sighs. In some moments it feels so familiar between them, that Lexa feels like choking. It’s like a fuck you from the universe in big, fat letters. And then, in some moments, it feels so beautiful, so tentative and shy and hopeful, that she just wants to cry out of joy.

Lexa feeds off being close to Clarke. Ever since the blonde stepped into her life, she’s been her personal heroine, the sweetest addiction. Her safe place. Getting that back now, as slowly as it is, is the greatest gift in her life.

And today it feels like even if they never get back to how things were before, as long as she can have Clarke in her life, everything’s okay.

She doesn’t expect all the questions Clarke has for her – most of them yes, but not every question. The one about why Clarke carried the baby was one of those she didn’t expect, it felt so random. And yeah, Lexa feels bad for not revealing the whole truth about that decision, but they’ve got time for the sad stuff later. It’s not necessary for Clarke to worry about that right now too, she’s already got enough on her mind. Maybe in a few days they’ll make time for the sad parts of their story. They have those too, like probably every couple out there.

But for now she just keeps taking in the wide smile on Clarke’s face as she holds her face into the sunshine. She watches blonde hair dance in the wind. She could keep doing that forever.

“What are you thinking about?”

“That we haven’t finished our game.”

“Liar.”

“Okay, I was thinking about how nice this feels.”

“Better.”

Clarke chuckles. “Your ears get red when you lie.”

“I’ve heard that before, yeah.”

“It’s cute.”

“Is that your new favorite word?”

“What? Cute?”

Lexa nods.

Clarke holds her gaze for a moment before she smiles. “It just might be.” She says, then turns back to look at the sky. “Tell me a story.”

“What kind of story?”

“What did our first apartment look like?”

Another question Lexa didn’t expect, but thinking about the small little room with the wooden floor that made the weirdest creaking sounds doesn’t make her sad. No, instead it makes her feel even warmer, lighter, so she sits down with her back against a wall, watching as Clarke wanders from one side of the roof to the other. And so she starts talking about their first own four walls.

“We had that tiny little apartment in an artist’s quarter downtown. I swear, I was so scared moving there because of all the bad things people told about it, but you fell in love with it the moment you saw it.” She recalls. “You jumped up and down for the entire way there from the subway we took, practically dragging me there because you couldn’t wait to see it. It was way smaller than what we were looking for, but you just couldn’t stop talking about it. It had those old floor boards, and those large old windows. I remember how vivid the rain looked on them the first morning we spent there. I think that was when I understood why you loved it so much.”

“When was that?”

“About a year after we met. In April 2014.”

“So about four years ago?”

“Yeah.”

“And we met on?”

“June 12th 2013.”

Clarke frowns. “I… remember that date. I don’t know, it’s… it’s there.”

“That’s great!” Her enthusiasm feels weird, but it’s honest and Clarke seems to think so too.

“You’re being cute again. Tell me more. When did we get married?”

“Well, you asked me while we were in London, in July 2014. You took me to Harry Potter world, because I’m a huge fan and you knew I would love that. And on Harry’s birthday you asked me to marry you.”

Clarke seems to think hard for a moment. “And when did we marry?”

“On May third, the next year. Aden was born just about three month later, on August 9th.”

“Wow.”

“Good wow or…?”

“We didn’t waste time, hm?”

Lexa shakes her head, feeling a bit melancholic after recalling their important dates. They had a few of them. “We didn’t, no.”

Clarke stares at her, having stopped balancing on an invisible line just a few steps from Lexa. “Lex?”

Her heart skips a beat or two at the sudden and unexpected use of the nickname. Only Clarke calls her that, and it feels like a secret between them, like something only the two of them share. Hearing it now…

“Y-yes?” She croaks.

“Would you…” Clarke bites her bottom lip nervously. “Would you… come here please?”

Lexa gets up immediately, shifting from one foot to the other with her hands buried deep in the pockets of her jeans.

“Would you… do me a favor?”

“Of course.”

Clarke takes a shuddering breath as she steps closer to Lexa, the air between them suddenly shifting into something electric. “Would you… Kiss me?”

Chapter Text

Clarke.

“Thank you for meeting me.”

Clarke takes in the older woman’s features. The crinkles, the hollowness in her dark-brown eyes which are watering with tears. She knows the woman, her face feeling familiar, but she doesn’t feel a connection like she did with Lexa or Aden.

“We don’t look alike.”

Abby chuckles. “No, we don’t. You look like your father though.”

“Yeah?”

“I…” Abby pauses and takes a deep breath, before stepping closer to the bed. “I brought pictures, if you want to see them?”

After a short moment of hesitation, Clarke nods, and Abby sits down on a chair by the bed, while pulling out an old worn out photo album that’s titled “Clarke” in big, bold letters. She slowly hands it over with shaking hands.

There are photos of literally everything in there. From the day she was born, to the day she was taken home, first birthday, first day of school, friends, pets, riding a pink bicycle, braces, pink hair-ends, first boyfriend, graduation – Abby documented every damn piece of Clarke’s first eighteen years.

It’s nice to see all that, really, but it feels like she’s looking at somebody else’s life. And because of the uneasy feeling Clarke has taken back to her room after coming back down from the roof, she can’t really enjoy it.

To her it’s precious time she forgot about. Thousands of things she’s supposed to remember. People, stories, jokes – it’s supposed to be there, in her head, structured and available. Seeing all that now feels like the truth comes crashing down on her like a giant bookshelf that’s lost its balance.

And then there’s the fact that after the graduation pictures there are only three more pictures, clearly selfies Clarke has taken on a vacation with Raven, one at a large campus – probably college – and one where Clarke wears a black dress – that’s cut short just above her knees. All three of them have been taken in a short span of time.

While her fingers brush over her own face, desperately trying to remember something, anything really, Abby starts talking. But Clarke finds herself spacing out a dozen times while her mother recalls what happened when Clarke came out to her.

She isn’t supposed to feel like this – incomplete and out of place. She’s been feeling like that ever since she woke up in this room, but now… She really wishes Lexa was here with her. The brunette doesn’t make her feel like she consists of fragments that have been temporarily glued together. Lexa looks at her and Clarke feels… right. Beautiful.

“Clarke?”

She shakes her head to chase those thoughts away. “Hm? Sorry.”

“I promised Lexa that I would tell you the whole truth, but if you… if you don’t want to hear it now, I-”

“No, it’s okay. I want to hear it.”

“But?”

“Nothing. Where were we? The wedding invitation?”

Abby sighs, clearly not buying what Clarke is saying. “Yeah. I… I didn’t come because I was ashamed. You had become this… gorgeous young woman and you had built yourself this… this life that I wasn’t part of, because I was too proud and so damn stupid. That scared me. And I didn’t deserve to be a part of that.”

Clarke watches her mother cry with a feeling of uneasiness. There’s a distance between them that she can’t deny. It’s like a wall made of glass or something. Maybe it’s the things she’s heard from Lexa, but maybe she just can’t focus on it right now.

“I’m sorry, Clarke. I really am.”

“Well, considering that I don’t know anything about my prior self, I’m not sure if I’d forgive you. But I do. If it helps.” Clarke isn’t sure why she’s saying this, maybe just because she’d like to get rid of her mother.

That’s harsh, she knows that. But Lexa promised she’d stop by with Aden, and Clarke is really looking forward to that. Okay, that is if Lexa hasn’t changed her mind after what happened on the roof.

Goddamn, she’s stupid. So many maybes in her life.

Abby burst into tears in the meantime, and before Clarke knows it she’s engulfed into a motherly hug. “I’m so sorry, Clarke, I… I love you. And I’m going to do better, I promise!”

“It’s okay… Mom.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Can we… maybe just move on? I… It makes me sound harsh, but Lexa’s going to be here soon, with Aden, and I’d like to take a nap before that. Would that be okay? We can talk some more later this week? I just… need to process some things.”

She feels guilty, really. No, she doesn’t.

Abby’s face falls a little, but she recovers quickly and wipes away her tears with the back of her hand. “Of course, sweetie. I’ll… no, call me if you’re ready, okay? Or if you need something?”

“I will. Thank you.”

“No.” Her Mom replies with a smile. “Thank you.”

Clarke smiles back at her, genuine this time, because maybe they’ll just need time to warm up with each other. They’re family after all – that has to mean something.

“I’ll leave that here, if you want?” Abby points to the photo album that’s still resting on Clarke’s thighs.

“Yeah, I’d like that. Maybe some things will come back.” Maybe some already have.

“I'm sure they will. Take care of yourself, yeah?”

“I will.”

Abby leaves just a few seconds later with one last meaningful look, the door falling shut behind her with a quiet click. But Clarke doesn’t really notice that. She’s already thinking about Lexa and about her stupid question.

Just yesterday the brunette confessed she was scared of losing Clarke, and then Clarke went and asked her to kiss her today. What was she thinking? Of course Lexa would bolt.

She wasn’t thinking anything, that’s what the problem was. But they way Lexa talked about them, the way her eyes were shining so big and round and warm. No, Clarke wasn’t thinking – she was feeling. She was feeling so much at once and she just wanted to be close to the other woman. She wanted to know what that feels like.

Clarke buries her fingers in the long sleeves of her hoodie that Lexa has brought yesterday. It feels nice and soft and comfy and it smells familiar, and she stares at her fingers peeking out of the material. She wonders how her hand looks like with a wedding ring on the ring finger.

God, she hopes Lexa will still come back today.

Clarke dumps the photo album on the small nightstand beside her bed and throws her leg over the edge of the bed. She doesn’t want to rest anymore. She’s fine. Sure, she’s still feeling dizzy sometimes, and she’s tired a lot, but…

If she could just head out of here and tell Lexa that she’s sorry. Both of them have to learn how to deal with Clarke’s current state.

Instead of doing what she desperately wants to, Clarke gets up and walks over to the small window. Her room lies at the end of the floor, in southwest corner of the large hospital building, so she has two windows, and thankfully one can be opened.

She’s barely taken two deep breaths, when a familiar voice speaks up from close to the door. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Escaping my cage.” Clarke replies as she turns to face her friend with a warm smile.

Raven is wearing a red leather jacket, and she’s got her arms crossed, making her look pretty badass in Clarke’s opinion. “That bad, hm?”

“Worse.”

“How was your talk with the beast?”

“That’s what you call my mother?”

“That’s what you call her.” Raven corrects with a smirk.

“Oh.”

Raven steps closer and leans against the wall next to the window, tilting her head a little as she eyes Clarke’s face. “Did she tell you?”

“That she threw me out, ignored me, and didn’t come to my wedding nor for Aden’s birth? Yes.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“I don’t know her.” Clarke replies, turning back around to face the window. “I feel… like it isn’t important.”

“What is important then?”

She looks at her hand again, at the place where there’s supposed to be a ring. “Lexa.” She answers then.

Raven chuckles.

“What’s so funny?”

“This frown on your forehead.” Raven points at her face.

“Care to explain?”

“You look like you’re searching for a way to gain control, like you can still influence things.”

“And?”

“You can’t, Clarke. Let it happen. Feel it. It’ll all be okay.”

Clarke smiles at her friend’s words. She’s grateful for Raven’s company, for her optimistic way of seeing things, and mostly for having another person to talk about everything. Some things you can’t talk about with your wife, not when said wife makes you feel all fuzzy on the inside, and all nervous on the outside.

“I… I asked her to kiss me.” She confesses quietly.

“WHAT?” Raven screeches, making Clarke wince. “YOU DID WHAT? Griffin, that’s huge!”

“I know.”

“How was it?”

“We didn’t… She stared at me wide eyed, and then she… bolted.”

“She did what?”

“God, she looked like I slapped her. And I get it, it was probably too soon and too much at once, but… It just felt right in that moment and I... I just wanted to… You know?” Clarke sighs, not wanting to recall how much the expression on Lexa’s face had hurt her. Like she had gone crazy.

Raven’s hand touches her arm. “You probably just surprised her.”

“I know. But you should’ve seen her.”

“Clarke. Just imagine what she must have gone through these past few months. She was there every day, telling you who she is again and again and again. Lexa is… She’s special. Give her a bit time.”

She has thought about it, of course – she tried to avoid it, but that’s hard when you haven’t much else to think about. So whenever she wasn’t thinking about the future, Lexa, Aden or herself, she has thought about what those past weeks must have been like. Waking up to this… emptiness in her head day after day. For Lexa that must have been pure torture.

“Can you tell her that I’m sorry?”

“Why don’t you tell her yourself? You’ve already got your phone, don’t you?”

“But I don’t know how it works. I think. I… I haven’t really tried it.” She admits. She’s been tiptoeing around it for a while, stealing glances when she got bored out of her mind, but…

“Okay, let me show you. There are tons of pictures on it, and you’re a sucker for Candy Crush.”

“Candy Crush?” She asks with her eyebrows raised.

Raven snickers and pats her shoulder. “You’ll love it, I promise.”

 

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

Lexa.

“Would you… do me a favor?”

“Of course.”

Clarke takes a shuddering breath as she steps closer to Lexa, the air between them suddenly shifting into something electric. “Would you… Kiss me?”

She must have misheard. That’s surely not what Clarke asked. She’s making that up, she has to. She’s finally gone mad, that’s what it is. Yup. That’s it. This has to be what madness feels like. Maybe she made the past days up too? Maybe this is just the Vodka speaking. Yeah, that’s it, she’s still in her living room. It has to be.

“Lex?”

There it is again. The nickname that cuts her open like a knife. She meets Clarke’s eyes again. “What?”

“Would you? Please?” Blue orbits look up at her full of tenderness. They shine with curiosity and all that is so purely Clarke that Lexa feels like she has no choice.

But Lexa wants to do it right. And she’s afraid that if she kisses her now, it might blow every chance of doing so. She can’t risk that. She can’t risk screwing it up, not when it comes to Clarke.

And then there’s the slight chance that this may be the last kiss she gets, and she doesn’t want that to happen. She’d rather never have one than having to pretend she didn’t.

She doesn’t want to have lasts with Clarke, only firsts and second firsts.

So she runs. She runs and every step she takes away from Clarke feels like it’s filling her lungs with water, like she’s drowning on air.

Lexa doesn’t know how she gets to her car, let alone into the driver’s seat. She doesn’t know how her eyes end up as red and puffy as they are once she sits behind her desk, or how she manages to get into her office without causing an accident.

She ends up working like a maniac during the next hours, completely forgetting everything around her as she throws herself into all the projects she’s been neglecting. Work has always helped. It’s structures, routines, and one logic equation chases the other. It’s predictable and stable. It’s everything but Clarke.

“Lexa?” The sudden interruption makes her jump in her chair.

“What?” She snaps at the person who’s daring to interrupt her in such a state of mind.

It’s Anya. Lincoln must have called her.

Lexa barely acknowledges her sister’s presence, before she refocuses on her work, while Anya settles across from her.

If she… no, that wouldn’t look good. But what if she tries it this way? The living room wouldn’t lose much, but -

“Is it okay if I pick up Aden?” The question hits Lexa unexpected, stopping her robot-like, Clarke-induced work fit like a massive brick wall she’s ran into.

“I… Yeah, that would be great.”

“Want to tell me what happened?”

Anya has already interrupted her, and Lexa can physically feel the great idea she just had fading away. “I… She…” She sighs. She puts back her glasses, shuts her laptop, crosses her arms on it and buries her head in them.

She can feel her own breath hitting back against her face. Lexa can’t recall how many hours she’s spent in this position over the last months, desperately trying to find some comfort in that warmth. It’s stupid, but… For a moment she could pretend the breath on her face would be Clarke’s, and the thoughts she tried to comfort herself with were Clarke’s words, not hers. She could pretend they were lying in bed and that everything was the way it’s supposed to be.

“I’m an idiot.” She finally says.

“Hey, only two people on earth are allowed to call you that, and you, my little sister, aren’t one of them.” Anya teases, but she’s lacking the usual light tone, so it doesn’t really work. “Hey, talk to me.” She adds softly.

“She… She asked me to kiss her.”

“I still don’t see a problem.”

“She had that smile, you know, and her eyes… It felt so normal for a moment.” Lexa recalls quietly, still not lifting her head. “It felt right, it looked right, but I… I can’t.”

“You can’t what?”

“I can’t stop being scared. I can’t stop coming up with worst case scenarios. It’s like I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop, for it all to crash again. For the final blow that’s going to take her away from me. Us. I…” Lexa can’t even find the right words to explain.

Anya’s hand reaches for Lexa’s forearm, squeezing it softly. Her sister doesn’t say or do anything else, in typical Anya fashion, and she doesn’t need to. She just sits there with her, letting Lexa sort out her thoughts without rushing or pushing her.

“She’s okay.” Lexa finally mumbles, realization slowly sinking in.

“Yeah, she is.”

“She’s okay.” She repeats, feeling more tears welling up in her eyes. One would think she’s cried enough for a lifetime in those past months, but no, apparently, she hasn’t.

“She is.”

“Clarke’s okay.” She says again, lifting her head to look into her sister’s face, feeling the need to see the confirmation in her eyes.

Anya nods, her smile softer than Lexa has ever seen it – except maybe for the day Aden was born and Anya held him in her arms for the first time. The memory makes Lexa smile too, and suddenly she’s laughing. She’s laughing because she’s relieved and relief is a wonderful thing.

“She’s okay.” She laughs, wiping away her tears – happy tears this time.

Anya laughs too. “You already said that.”

“I know. It’s just… We’re going to be okay. Both of us.”

“I know.”

“I’m an idiot.”

“Can’t argue with you on that.”

“Do you think I should’ve kissed her?”

Anya shrugs. “Give it time, kid. Kiss her when it feels right, don’t rush it.”

Yeah. She’s going to do that. Her insides start to feel giddy at the thought of kissing Clarke. Five years, and her heart still beats like crazy.

Her phone chimes somewhere beneath tons of notes, documents and plans, ripping her out of her thoughts, and Lexa needs a couple of seconds to find it. When she does, she gasps, because the text feels so random at first, so casual, and still it means the world. She never would’ve thought a text could hold that much power.

“What is it?”

Wordlessly, she hands over the phone, showing Anya the message.

Clarke (04:37 p.m.): Hey, it’s me :)

And then the phone chimes again, and again, and again.

Clarke (04:37 p.m.): Raven says that’s obvious. Well, I’m new to this.

Clarke (04:37 p.m.): I’m sorry if my question earlier made you uncomfortable. I didn’t mean to.

Clarke (04:38 p.m.): Lex, you there?

Anya smiles. “Well, I’d answer, because we both know she’s impatient. I’ll go pick up Aden for you, is that okay?”

“No, I’ll do it. I promised her a visit.”

“Okay then. Call me, if you need anything.”

“Thank you.”

Anya simply replies with a smile, and then heads for the door.

Clarke (04:40 p.m.): Lexa?

Lexa chuckles to herself at Clarke’s impatience, and then types a quick message.

Lexa (04:40 p.m.): I’m here. And I’m the one who has to be sorry. I’ll just pick up Aden and then I’ll be back, okay? :)

Clarke (04:41 p.m.): can’t wait.

For the first time in months Lexa feels like she’s actually breathing.

----

“Momma!” Aden squeals before he’s even reached the handle of Clarke’s door.

From the other side there’s a chuckle, before Aden finally burst into the room.

Lexa loses him out of her sight for a moment, but when she follows him inside, he’s already on Clarke’s bed with his tiny arms wrapped around the blonde’s neck.

The two of them have always been inseparable, but this moment holds much more weight than that, so Lexa quietly pulls out her phone and snaps a picture of the two people she loves most on this planet.

“Hey.” Clarke greets her softly, smiling at her over Aden’s head.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, I-”

“No, it’s not. I shouldn’t have run out on you. It won’t happen again, I promise.”

She receives a smile as an answer – the kind of smile that still turns her world upside down, or maybe even more than ever.

Then Clarke asks Aden about his day and the little guy starts to explain every detail he can.
And Lexa… She could cry out of joy as she watches the scene unfold. Okay, she does cry, just a little bit, because she’s feeling good. She’s… happy. Really, really happy. And grateful.

So that’s why she sits down next to Clarke and pulls her and Aden into her arms, hugging them tightly. First, she presses a kiss on Aden’s head, and then one to Clarke’s forehead, lingering there a second longer. “I’m sorry.” She whispers against the skin, hoping Clarke knows how sincere her words are.

Clarke just smiles back at her. “Don’t be. You’re here now, aren’t you?”

Chapter Text

Clarke. Two days later.

This is it, Clarke thinks to herself as the car comes to a stop in a driveway.

A cozy two-story house with a garage that can hold two cars. A small, roofed terrace with a dark, wooden floor that’s reaching around the house, as far as Clarke can see it.

There are dozens of flower pots placed right and left from the door, one more colorful than the other. Toys are spread all over the front yard, clearly left in a hurry.

It’s... homey.

This is it.

For the past fifteen minutes that the drive took, she wondered what it would look like – their house. She wondered if she’d recognize it, and she nervously nibbled at her bottom lip. She could feel Lexa watching her from the spot next to her on the backseat. Occasionally her eyes would meet Raven’s in the rearview mirror. She found reassurance in that, but what ultimately calmed her down was when Lexa’s hand finally reached out to take hers.

The sound of waves crashing into the shore not far from there reaches Clarke’s ears immediately when she hops out of the car. There’s something salty in the air and when she breathes through her mouth she can taste it on her tongue.

The ocean.

Their house lies by the ocean?

She can feel Lexa’s eyes watching her as she rounds the house and walks through the large backyard. The grass hasn’t been mowed in a while, but there’s a certain charm about the wilderness that is their garden that makes Clarke feel welcome immediately.

There’s a half-painted tool shed with colorful handprints on it. Just a few steps away from that is a swing hanging from an old tree that seems to be a chestnut tree.

Not far from where she stopped in the middle of the backyard, she can see the ocean, maybe a hundred steps away from their fence. It’s a small bay, with an even smaller beach, but it’s there, right in front of her. She walks closer, her steps careful and slow, yet determined.

For a brief moment she wonders how she got that lucky – a family and a house like this one? She’s sure that her old self had to be happy.

Looking back at Lexa, who’s standing a few feet behind her to give her space, Clarke realizes that she knows this house. She’s dreamt of it a night ago. The balcony upstairs belonging to a room with a large window front, the stuffed animals sitting in a window not far from it...

Warmth spreads through Clarke’s body. She remembers that. Maybe not everything in detail, but it’s like she remembers a feeling, and for the moment that’s enough for her.

„Do you want to go down there?“ Lexa asks quietly and nods towards the ocean.

„Can we?“

„Sure.“

„What about Aden?“

„I’ll go get him. He loves the water, he’s just as excited about the ocean as you are.“

Lexa’s smile is soft and warm and Clarke wants it to stay on the brunette’s face, but she knows it won’t. Despite having had a few good days, with laughter and smiles and looking at each other as if they share a secret, there’s always so much seriousness on Lexa’s face, so much weight. Only sometimes she lightens up, momentarily forgetting about Clarke’s stroke, before the memories come crashing in again.

Clarke wishes she could take the weight off of the other woman’s shoulders. Knowing she can’t, she finds herself not asking about everything she wants to know, trying to keep that smile on Lexa’s face for just a little longer. Instead she asks about their story, about their wedding day or other get-to-know-you questions people seems to ask on first dates that she’s found on the internet.

Clarke watches Lexa turn around and walk back to the house and she wonders if it’ll stay that way, that… close but distant at the same time.

No. She’ll settle in here and they’ll find a rhythm. They have to, right? And some things already came back. What they had has to come back too.

The cruelty behind all this is that she can feel that they shared something. She can feel the bond between them, the connection, in every moment. Lexa’s feelings are there too, only hers aren’t. Her feelings and memories are the only missing variable in this equation, the only thing keeping them from peace, and she feels guilty for that.

„Momma, look!“ Aden’s little voice shouts happily a few moments later, as he runs towards her with his arms spread. „I got wings!“

A smile breaks through the thoughtful frown on her face, as she watches Aden pointing at his water wings. „You do! Can you fly with them too?“

„No!“ He squeals in laughter, shaking his head. „We go to the water!“

„I know. Let’s just wait for Mommy, okay?“

Clarke isn’t prepared for what comes next. Neither for Lexa appearing in shorts and a bikini-top, nor for how her own body responds to so much revealed skin.

Heat flushes her cheeks, while she tries to seem unaffected. Don’t stare. Don’t be a perv, come on!

It’s pointless. She stares and Lexa blushes a little, when she stops right beside them. That blush on the brunette’s cheeks is the cutest thing ever. It makes Clarke’s insides feel… bubbly and giddy. It’s the best weird feeling she’s experienced so far.

„Is that okay? Aden wants to go into the water and I hate wet jeans.“

„S-sure.“

„Do you want to go swimming too? I can get you something to wear, if-“

„No, thanks.“ Clarke shakes her head quickly. „I’d rather watch.“ You, A small wave hits little feet and the boy shies away with a yelp.

„Aden, it’s okay.“ Clarke says. „See? They won’t bite you.“

The toddler shakes his head, looking even smaller with is huge water wings. Smaller, but insanely adorable, and Clarke can feel herself falling more in love with him each second.

„Want to go in on my arm?“

„Shoulders.“ He mumbles.

Clarke chuckles, but she picks him up and lifts him carefully onto her shoulders, before walking into the water.

Soon enough he’ll be too heavy for that, but she feels excited thinking about the future and all the things she’ll witness with him.

Clarke gasps, pressing her fingers to her temples as if she’s in pain. An instinctive movement, though she doesn’t feel pain – not physically at least.

It’s not the first time she’s remembered something, but she never remembered something while being awake. There was no warning, no hint. It hit unexpectedly and was over before she noticed it.

Aden. He was much younger in that memory, a year old maybe – if even that old.

But it was there, as clearly as she sees Lexa with Aden throwing him in the air and catching him over there. A memory. A real memory.

Another wave hits her feet and her first instinct is to jump much like Aden did in that memory, but the same second she feels green eyes watching her and she forgets about everything else.

Watching Lexa calms her down in a way nothing else can. Clarke has drawn the other woman’s face more than a couple of times now, whenever she felt nervous or anxious. And now she holds Lexa’s gaze for a long moment, before they share a smile only meant for them to see.

Then Lexa turns back to Aden and Clarke watches her throwing the boy into the air and catching him again right before he hits the water.

There’s a tattoo along Lexa’s spine that catches Clarke’s attention. Lines and different shapes, forming an intricate but remarkable work of art on the woman’s skin. Clarke’s fingers itch to draw it, to trace it even. She feels like she’s seen it before, it’s honestly more than a feeling. She knows it. Was it a dream?

She doesn’t know a lot, but she’s not blind, and Lexa? Everything about her is drawing Clarke closer – the smell of her hair, the sound of her voice, the way she moves so fluently and naturally, the cute blush creeping over her cheeks whenever Clarke says something nice. She finds herself wanting to see that more often, so she tries to flirt.

But the one thing that melts Clarke’s heart is how Lexa acts around Aden. So selfless, so loving. She shuts everything around her out and focus only on him, and Clarke...

God, she finds it incredibly sexy.

And it’s getting harder and harder not to ask Lexa to kiss her again.

Chapter Text

Lexa.

“Just… take it.”

“Lexaa.” Clarke whines, rolling her eyes in that unique way that has Lexa almost giving in. “I don’t mind sleeping in the guestroom.”

“You say that now, but you hate that mattress. You think it’s not soft enough.”

“But this is your room too.”

“But I don’t care about mattresses as much as you do. Really Clarke, it’s okay.”

They’ve been having this talk for a solid ten minutes, both standing in the doorway to their bedroom in their pajamas. To Lexa it feels new and yet old to see the blonde like this, with her hair down, in an old shirt. And at the same time it feels like it’s been light years between the last time Clarke stood here in front of her like that and today.

Lexa tries to tell herself that Clarke didn’t check her out earlier. But she isn’t sure, and she tries to not get her hopes up, because then her body starts heating up and she can’t keep her eyes off of Clarke’s lips, not when she’s talking or smiling. Okay, she’s already not the best at that anyways. And then there’s the loose t-shirt that’s revealing way too much skin… Hell, she’s only human.

“See something you like?”

“What?”

Clarke grins, and Lexa groans. She’s so bad at this.

“Take it. I don’t mind.” She repeats, more firmly this time.

“Okay.” Clarke finally relents, looking at the giant bed a bit insecurely.

“You good?”

“Yeah, yeah. It’s just… this feels strange.”

“Being here?”

“I’m supposed to know all this. Where I can find the toilet or the glasses in the kitchen or… I don’t know. I’m supposed to remember.”

Lexa can’t deny that. So she doesn’t say anything and simply squeezes Clarke’s hand.

They’ve started to get more… physical, which reminds her that it’s just a thin line between staying sober and getting drunk. She has to be careful not to get lost in it. But when Clarke amps up her game further, Lexa will stand no chance.

“I’m just across the hallway, if you need anything.”

“Okay.” Lexa notices the hesitation in Clarke’s eyes.

“We can stay up a little longer if that’s what you-”

“No, it’s… You look tired.”

“I wouldn’t mind.”

“Lexa.”

“Clarke?”

“I can’t let you do that.”

“Come on, let’s watch a silly movie.”

“No. I’m tired too.”

“Are you sure?”

“No.” Clarke chuckles. “But I know where to find you, right? It’s weird, but I’ll find my place. It just takes time and… That’s the hard part.”

Lexa watches as the blonde runs her hand through her hair. A nervous tick that always gives Clarke away. She thinks it’s adorable, but it also makes her worry.

“I can stay with you until you fall asleep. I mean, not to be creepy, just… if you’re scared of being alone?”

Hopeful blue eyes meet hers and Lexa knows it was the right suggestion. “Would you?”

Lexa swallows. “Of course.” She quietly watches as the woman settles between a mass of pillows. Clarke chooses Lexa’s usual side to sleep on, something that makes Lexa’s heart swell with affection. “You good?”

Clarke nods, eyes already half closed. “Thank you.”

“It’s okay. Sleep.”

Parting from a sleeping Clarke turns out to be even harder than when she feels blue eyes on her, so Lexa ends up sitting by Clarke’s bed even an hour after the blonde has dozed off, a cute smile on her lips. She looks goddamn adorable this way.

Still, she finally leans in to press a soft kiss against Clarke’s temple, reveling in the feeling of skin against her lips, before she gets up and leaves for the other room.

Lexa doesn’t care about mattresses. Really. What she cares about is Clarke and her wellbeing. But she’s selfish too, because she hasn’t been sleeping in this room for more than just the last few months. That doesn’t mean the guestroom makes things easier though. It holds bad memories too, lots of them. She simply chose the lesser evil.

But even hours later she still can’t find sleep, her thoughts wandering from Clarke to…

Lexa sighs. Not today.

She rolls over, forcing her thoughts to be quiet. And then she rolls over again, just a couple of minutes later. And again. And then she capitulates, accepting that she won’t find sleep tonight.

She lingers in the doorway of Clarke’s room for a moment, trying to make out the blonde’s figure in the dark, before she realizes how creepy she is. She heads downstairs, opting for a glass of milk and a midnight snack – even though it’s long past midnight by now.

Sitting on the kitchen counter with her legs dangling over the edge, she devours cookie after cookie.

It’s weird to know that Clarke’s up there.

It’s weird that she finds herself downstairs in the middle of the night again, trying to keep herself from pouring herself a glass of whatever alcohol they have. Instead she’s stuffing lots of cookies and chocolate into her mouth.

It’s even weirder to be the only one remembering them – their past, their plans for the future, their happiness, their pain. After all, it could’ve been her too. It would’ve been better if it was her and not Clarke.

For a moment she wonders how it would be to forget, how it would be like to be able to start over without the weight of her past.

Lexa runs her hands through her hair. She always gets melancholic this time of the night, she can’t help it.

Two more cookies later there’s a creaking sound on the stairs, followed by a quiet “Lexa?”

“In here.” She replies, trying hard to ignore the way her heart skips a beat at the raspy tone in Clarke’s voice.

Clarke’s hair is a mess as she shuffles into the kitchen, but to Lexa it’s the most beautiful view in the world. Bare legs, an oversized shirt and a sleepy smile. That’s what paradise looks like to her.

She’s really here, in this kitchen, stopping at the very same spot where Lexa’s life got thrown into a downward spiral just a few months ago. She’s here, smiling wider with every second that Lexa stares at her, completely unaware of the fact that this moment is like balm for Lexa’s wounded soul.

“Can I get one too?” Clarke asks.

“Huh?” Lexa blinks confused. “Oh, that… Yeah, sure.” She pushes the small box closer to Clarke and stops herself from letting her eyes wander higher than Clarke’s knees as the woman hops onto the kitchen counter right next to her.

Logically she knows that she’s seen it all before. She’s kissed every inch of the other woman’s body. But she doesn’t want to make Clarke uncomfortable. And yeah, maybe she doesn’t want to lose control over her restrained feelings either.

A flood of pictures runs through her head: naked skin, quiet moans, teeth scraping pale – STOP.

“Can’t sleep?” She asks, trying to distract herself from her thoughts.

“I did. But then…” Clarke stops to take a bite of a cookie, and Lexa has to stop herself from wiping a few crumbs from the blonde’s lips. “I don’t know. What about you?”

Lexa forces herself to meet Clarke’s eyes. “Me neither.” She offers, nearly losing her shit when a tongue pokes out to lick away the remains on the lips she can’t stop staring at.

She quickly hops down from the counter and reaches for the handle of the refrigerator, desperate to put some distance between them. “Do you want milk too?” She croaks.

“Why not.”

Lexa doesn’t notice Clarke’s eyes trailing down her body – she has always been bad at noticing that. She doesn’t see the blush on Clarke’s face either, when she hands her a glass of milk a moment later.

“I’m nervous.” Clarke admits after a few quiet seconds.

“Me too.”

“About what?”

“About… saying the wrong thing, I guess. About how we go from here.” Lexa shrugs, even though she could continue.

She could tell Clarke that she’s still scared of losing her, of getting her heart broken. That she’s scared this is just momentarily, that she fears Clarke will forget again, and that she’s not sure if she could do it all again – losing Clarke in whichever way. Maybe she could even tell her that she’s scared of how much power the blonde holds over her heart, and that Clarke could destroy her, if she wanted to.

But where would the use be in that? It doesn’t matter now.

“Me too.” Clarke answers. “Can I ask you something?”

“Anything.”

“Don’t freak out, please.”

Whenever someone said that to Lexa, she had a good reason to freak out. But she nods nevertheless, bracing herself for another one of Clarke’s very unusual questions.

“Why didn’t you kiss me?” Clarke asks, her blue eyes curious and without judgment.

Lexa wants to answer, she really does. But she doesn’t, because words seem to have abandoned her.

“I’m just trying to… put things together up here, you know?” Clarke continues, pointing at her head. “I mean, sometimes you look at me like… I’m everything to you.”

You are, Lexa wants to say.

“And then you backtrack, close yourself off. You get that guarded look. I’m not sure if I interpret it right, I mean, I don’t know you, but… I want to understand.” She explains with a frown. “You’re pretty much the center of my world right now, given the circumstances, and I don’t want to risk anything. I don’t want to screw it up, but for that we need to speak openly about our thoughts, and more importantly about our feelings. Because I…”

Lexa waits for her to finish her thought. Patiently. She can almost see the chaos behind Clarke’s eyes, but the longer the blonde stays silent, the more nervous Lexa gets.

“Because you what?” She finally asks carefully.

“Because I think I feel attracted to you. I… I know it.” Clarke chuckles nervously and looks up to meet Lexa’s gaze.

The blue in Clarke’s eyes hits her like a speed wagon. She’s seen it a million times before, of course, but… There’s something in them right now that takes Lexa’s breath away. And that matters even more than Clarke’s words do.

“You do?” She stutters, unable to process.

“Yeah. And I guess… I want to know if you feel the same or if I’m making that up. Yeah, that’s… That’s the question.”

She’s adorably cute. And so unbelievably gorgeous. “I did not not kiss you… Wait, let me rephrase that. I wanted to kiss you, I still do, and I don’t want to scare you with that, but I’ll probably always want to kiss you, okay?”

“But?”

“There won’t be a but.”

“It sounds like it.”

“Clarke.”

“Yes?”

“Let me finish my thought, yeah?”

“Sorry.”

Lexa chuckles, before she becomes more serious again. “I want to do this right, and I think jumping into something between us is the wrong way to do this right now. This shouldn’t be a priority, you shouldn’t worry about me or anything. What matters is that you get back on your feet. That you get in tune with yourself, with your new you. When you’re sure you want this, then we’ll go from there.”

Clarke hums, and Lexa takes it as approval.

But then the blonde speaks up again. “I’m not someone new. At least… not really. I’m still me.” She says determinedly. “I’m still into girls, still blonde, still into art apparently. I was all that before. And I’m still attracted to you. Or again, depends on how you see it. I have to deal with the fact that I don’t remember my life, yeah, but I’m not someone new.”

Lexa stares at the woman in front of her in wonder. How does she do it? How does she cope with not remembering her life while still being so… optimistic?

She must’ve been silent for a long while, because when she snaps out of her thoughts, the cookies are all gone, and Clarke’s glass is empty. The other woman still sits on the kitchen countertop, dangling her legs like Lexa did before, but she’s staring at the floor between them, seemingly lost in thoughts too.

“Can we make a deal?” Lexa hears herself suggesting.

Clarke looks up, wearing another one of her curious smiles. “What kind of deal?”

“I’ll kiss you next time you ask me.”

“Who says I don’t want you to kiss me now?”

“Because you’ll know when you really want me to.”

The expression on Clarke’s face is unreadable for a very long moment, before she nods. “Okay. Sounds like a good deal to me.”

Lexa misses the smirk in Clarke’s tone. Instead she lets out a shaky breath, relieved of Clarke’s answer, because she’s not sure if she could take it if Clarke would really ask her to kiss her now. Or better – she’s not sure if she could stop. Not right now, not when Clarke looks as gorgeous as she does right now, not when Lexa has craved for moments like these for months on end.

“We should head to bed.” She hears herself say as the time stretches out between them a little too long.

“Should we?”

Lexa feels a small lump sitting in her throat. That woman is such a tease. Goddamn, she thinks to herself and wills her heart to stop exploding. She sends a silent prayer to the ceiling and misses another one of Clarke’s crooked half smiles.

“Okay.” Clarke answers quietly. “Good night then. And thank you.”

“Always.” She replies smiling. She means it.

Clarke turns to leave, and Lexa forces herself to look away from the figure disappearing through the doorway.

Lexa exhales, soundly, releasing some of the tension that has built up in her shoulders. Even though Clarke doesn’t remember it, she’s still acting as confidently and… almost as boldly as before. And it still has the same effects on Lexa.

She waits for the stairs to creak like they always do, something that used to bother her a lot, but not anymore, not when it means that Clarke’s here too. Her anger was so ridiculous, and she knows that now. But the sound doesn’t come.

“Clarke?” She asks carefully, rounding the kitchen island and crossing the small distance to the hallway.

But Clarke is already on her way back and they meet in the doorway.

“Did you forget something?”

“No.” The blonde shakes her head, eyes closed and teeth nibbling at her bottom lip.

“What is then?”

“I lied.”

Lexa frowns. “About what?”

Clarke’s eyes open again, bluer than ever before. “Not to you, but… I lied to myself.”

“And about what?”

“I thought I was making that up, but now I know that I wasn’t. I… I told myself that I wouldn’t ask you to kiss me until more time has passed. I… I need to… Just…” Clarke sighs, and a hand comes up to run through her hair. That alone, and the struggle clearly visible in Clarke’s eyes, make Lexa’s mouth go bone dry. “Please, Lex. Please, kiss me.”

Suddenly Lexa finds herself having lost the ability of speech. Her heart pounds so heavily against her ribs that she’s sure it is trying to do a thousand beats per minute. But that’s not all, no, she’s also lost the ability to think, to breathe even.

“Lex?” Two soft hands come up to cup her face, carefully, almost scared.

Lex.

She tries to hold back, to fight her instinct.

Lex.

Three letters, one nickname, and thousands of pictures running through her head. Her fingers skating across Clarke’s velvety skin, followed by a soft sigh. Clarke throwing her head back in laughter. The day they didn’t leave their hotel room in London after Clarke had proposed. A hospital room and Clarke’s quiet sigh of relief when Lexa opened her eyes. The way Clarke’s eyes begged her to talk.

Lex.

Lexa feels her body going into overdrive, because those three letters are everything. Everything.

“Hey, take a breath, okay? I’m sorry if-”

But Lexa can’t hold back anymore, she’s tired of doing the right thing, of putting other people first, of keeping her distance when all her heart tells her is to kiss the woman in front of her and never stop.

So she crashes her lips into Clarke’s with a gentle force.

Clarke tastes like home, that’s the first thing Lexa notices. The blonde’s lips are as soft and addictive as ever, and Lexa never wants to stop.

She should move slow and give Clarke time to adjust, to re-learn the feeling maybe. She should kiss her softly, slowly, tenderly. After all, it’s Clarke’s second first kiss.

But Lexa can’t. She can’t .

Her whole existence has craved for this moment, has yearned for it like she had never longed for anything in her life before.

Clarke exhales softly against her lips, relaxing into Lexa’s arms that have sneaked around the blonde’s waist without any of them noticing. And then she kisses Lexa back with the same tenderness and passion, and Lexa feels whole.

Lexa’s body burns like a thousand suns, she’s running on a high she hopes she’ll never come down from. And yet she feels a calm settling in her bones only Clarke is able to bring her. It’s crazy and she’d laugh about the absurdity of it, if she wasn’t busy drowning in Clarke’s lips, taking everything the blonde is willing to give.

Chapter Text

Raven.

It’s nothing rare that Raven wakes up in the middle of the night, unable to stop her thoughts from spinning. Mostly it’s another idea that won’t let her sleep. Sometimes it’s her worries about the people she cares about. In that case she usually looks into Anya’s peacefully sleeping face, maybe she reaches out to ghost her fingers over her wife’s face, maybe she just cuddles closer.

Not tonight though.

“Ahn?”

A grumble beside makes her chuckle. Anya is the cutest at this time of the day. Usually she’s all tough and badass, not taking shit from anyone, but here, in their bed she turns into this soft, adorable and grumpy being that Raven adores.

“Are you sleeping?”

“Not anymore.”

“Do you think they’re okay?”

“They’re fine.” Anya mutters into her pillow.

Raven frowns. “Are you just saying that because you don’t want me to worry?”

Anya sighs. After a moment she shuffles underneath the blanket, reaching for the light. Then she turns around to face her. “You’re Raven Reyes. Worrying about the people you love is in your nature, so it’s pointless to try. But I love you anyways, even if you wake me up at…” Anya steals a quick glance at the clock on Raven’s nightstand. “Three in the morning to discuss my sister’s and your friend’s wellbeing.”

“Reyes-Woods.” Raven corrects, ghosting her fingers through Anya’s messy hair, something she could do all day. She watches as Anya’s eyes fall shut under the gesture.

“Yeah.”

“Ahn? If anything ever-”

Brown eyes shoot open. “Nothing will happen to us.”

“But if anything does happen to me, I want you to know that if you ever want to move on-”

“You’re going to make my life a living hell? Noted.”

Raven punches Anya’s shoulder. “Come on, be serious, you asshole. I want you to be happy, okay? I want you to move on.”

“Rae-” Anya tries, but Raven interrupts her.

“Promise me.”

“I can’t do that.” Suddenly there’s a vulnerability in Anya’s eyes, something only Raven gets to see.

She almost gives in, but then she remembers she’s telling her wife this because she loves her. “Anya.”

The other woman sighs. “Okay. But nothing happens. And now get in here and try to sleep.” Anya opens her arms for Raven to snuggle into. Anya has pulled up her guard, Raven knows that, but she got to say what she wanted Anya to know, and she’s feeling better now. A little at least.

So she cuddles closer to Anya, with her back against Anya’s chest, and she allows herself to relax into the familiar warmth.

That is until another thought has her opening her eyes again. “Ahn?”

“What?”

“I think I should take Clarke on a new adventure every day. What do you think about that? There’s just so much she has to relive and… I want to help her.”

“Sounds amazing, babe.” Anya mumbles, her voice adorably sleepy.

Raven chuckles. “You’re not really listening, are you?”

“It’s three in the morning, Rae.”

“It’s okay, I’ll tell you again over breakfast if you make me pancakes.”

“Mhm.”

Raven smirks.

 

*****

Clarke.

Clarke has seen Lexa in a few different states over the short span of time she remembers. Nervous, tired, angry, sad, scared, shy (which is her favorite) and flirty. She’s seen her with make up and without (her favorite), in casual clothes, work clothes, shorts and a bikini top, and pajamas. She’s seen her with puffy, red eyes, she’s seen her laughing wholeheartedly.

But this version, she decides quickly, is her favorite, and she’d choose it out of all these options.

Every time she looks at the brunette Clarke thinks it’s the most beautiful sight she’s ever seen, and it’s not any different now.

Lexa’s lips are swollen from all the kissing, and dark-green eyes stare at her with a vibrant expression in them, wide and so surprised.

She knows in just a few seconds Lexa will retreat into her carefully distant self, the one who’s trying so hard to respect Clarke and her situation.

The kiss was spontaneous, a moment of… yeah, of what? Of passion? Of desire? Of lost self-restraint?

It doesn’t matter. Clarke just holds Lexa’s gaze for as long as the brunette’s eyes stay as open as they are right now. She feels so deeply connected to her in this moment, with their faces just inches apart. Her fingers itch to draw the expression of wonder on Lexa’s face, wanting to keep it, to save it.

None of them moves, none of them dares to bust the bubble they created around them. It’s just the two of them in there, happy and safe. Clarke, who forgets that she’s forgotten everything they were, who’s just a woman having been kissed a few seconds or maybe minutes or hours ago. She just is. And Lexa, who’s looking more alive than Clarke has ever seen her, but also so much more vulnerable and open. Lexa, who looks so goddamn stunning this way.

The brunette opens her mouth to speak, but no words come out. She tries again, Clarke watches her struggle, but then she closes it and leans her forehead against Clarke’s instead with a shaky breath falling from her lips.

Clarke can’t help but watch in awe. She is sure she feels her heart skipping several beats.

She wants to say something, she really does, because she knows Lexa could need words right now. But she has the same struggles Lexa has.

Clarke doesn’t know a lot about the brunette, not yet, but words seem to be the magic key for Lexa, she’s noticed that much. But she fears to break the moment, so she just revels in the feeling of being close to Lexa for a little longer.

Clarke didn’t know how much she needed physical contact before Lexa started to hug her without overthinking. Yesterday was the first time she didn’t ask, right in the early morning when she came into Clarke’s hospital room to tell her they’d get her out of there the next day. And this early morning, in the car Lexa had just reached for Clarke’s hand without hesitation, and Clarke could swear her skin still tingles where Lexa’s fingers touched her. After the beach, while Lexa gave Clarke a quick tour through the house, she would occasionally touch her, seemingly to guide her or to reassure her. But Clarke has a feeling that Lexa didn’t do it for Clarke, but for herself. To make sure Clarke really was there.

It was such a sweet gesture, so purely Lexa’s thoughtful self.

Clarke’s lips curl into a little smile when she knows how to reassure Lexa. She has to admit she’s a little proud of herself for being brave, but maybe that’s what Lexa does – making her brave.

She ghosts another soft kiss on Lexa’s lips, her nose brushing Lexa’s in the process. “It’s okay.” She whispers, soaking up the other woman’s presence with every cell in her body.

Green eyes flutter open a split second later. “Yeah?”

Clarke nods. “Come. Let’s go to sleep.” She reaches for Lexa’s hand and guides her back upstairs.

Coming to a stop in Clarke’s doorway, Lexa smiles the few inches down on her. Then she leans closer and lets her lips meet Clarke’s forehead. “Sweet dreams.” She says in a tone that makes Clarke’s knees feel wobbly.

And there it skips a beat again, her heart. Clarke. Why does her name sound so differently from Lexa’s lips? And why does this feel like a date?

“Good night, Lex.” She replies with a husky voice.

Lexa steps back, their hands still intertwined. Slowly, achingly slowly, their fingers part too, and Clarke feels the loss of Lexa’s warm hand immediately. But she doesn’t say anything as she watches the brunette retreat to the guestroom.

She probably lingers way too long in the doorway of her own room. She feels giddy and weird and… different, as she closes the door behind herself and crawls back under the blanket and into the pillows, completely unaware of the dopey grin on her face.

Yeah, maybe a part of her hoped a kiss would bring some memories back. But she’s strangely okay with the fact that it didn’t.

Maybe she doesn’t need them.

Maybe having someone beautiful like Lexa in her life is enough.

-----

She wakes up to tiny fingers touching her face, and to the giggling sound of Aden’s voice.

From this day on it’s her favorite way to wake up.

She doesn’t know how or why, but the little boy has stolen her heart from the second they met, and she likes to believe that it’s because he’s her son and because she feels it deep down in her bones.

Aden’s blue eyes shine with happiness as she blinks herself into consciousness.

“Aden!” A hushed whisper comes from the door. “Come on, let Momma sleep!”

Aden looks back at where Lexa seems to stand, and then he turns to face Clarke again. “Okay. Sleep Momma.”

Clarke barely fights back a laughter. She listens to tiny feet hitting the floor, and then to Lexa quietly telling Aden that his Momma needs to rest, before the door closes behind the two of them.

So this is what having a home and a family feels like.

Clarke rolls onto her back and stares at the ceiling. She sighs with a smile on her lips. She’s… happy. In this position and with this thought on her mind, she drifts off into sleep again just a couple of minutes later.

---

“Wake up, Griffin!” A booming voice shouts, before something heavy hits the mattress right beside her, making her jump into a sitting position in utter shock.

That’s when she realizes it’s just Raven.

“Asshole! You almost gave me a heart attack!” She complains, letting herself fall back into the pillows with a groan.

But Raven just laughs and shrugs casually. “You’ll live.”

“Goddamn.”

“Up for an adventure?”

“Adventure?”

“Yup.”

Clarke rubs her eyes, willing her brain to start working. She’s dreamt of Lexa, that she is sure of. And of her tattoo, but she forces herself to not think about it any further, because deep down she knows she won’t stop. Not after last night. Last night.

“What kind of adventure?”

“Explore the surroundings, learn something new. The city? The forest? I’m up for anything.”

“Anything?” Clarke asks skeptically. That’s very unspecific and she has a feeling that unspecific isn’t exactly something she should allow Raven Reyes.

Raven wiggles her eyebrows. “Anything. But don’t ask me to have sex with you, you know I love you, but I’m married.”

Clarke smacks a pillow in Raven’s face.

“Is that a blush on your face?”

“No.”

“Oh, it is! Really, Griffin, I’m flattered and all that, but… No.”

“Why are you here again?”

Raven flops onto her back with a sigh. “I couldn’t sleep last night, and I thought about you and Lexa.”

“That’s what you’re thinking about at night?” Clarke teases, a little proud to know how to do things like that. It’s the little things that mean progress, right?

Raven rolls her eyes. “Shut up. The point is, you’ve got all that, but you shouldn’t just rely on her and your home, you should also make your own experiences, outside of all this. Well, that’s what I’d recommend at least.”

Clarke doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t like being told what she should or shouldn’t do, but she considers Raven a friend, and the other woman knew her before… shit happened. Yeah, that’s what she’s going to call it. A stroke sounds so… awfully depressing. And “shit” is a pretty accurate term.

“I’m just… Look, what I’m trying to say is, I know you, and I know that you’re still in there. And you and Lexa have been through a few up and downs, and whenever things were complicated, you had something else to rely on. Maybe it would be good for you to rebuild something like that for yourself.”

That’s sweet, Clarke thinks to herself with a smile. She turns her head to face Raven, but then she realizes that Raven had mentioned “downs”.

“What kind of downs?” She asks.

Raven hesitates, just for a split second, but it’s enough to leave an unsettling feeling in Clarke’s stomach. “Just the usual stuff. Couple stuff. What I meant is that you’re more than one half of Clexa.”

“Clexa?”

“Your ship name.”

“Ship name?”

“Jesus, Griffin. What’s with the questions today?” Raven huffs. “That’s what people call you as a couple. Clarke and Lexa. Clexa.”

“People?”

“Okay, only I call you that. Happy?”

Clarke’s head is already spinning, and she hasn’t even left her bed. It feels like the moment – or moments – in the kitchen last night happened a long time ago, and she hates that. She just wants to go back to that safe and happy feeling she had. To that adorable smile on Lexa’s lips, to the feeling of…

“So? What do you want to do?”

Go back to the safe bubble with Lexa, where none of that shit mattered.

But Clarke doesn’t say that, instead she opts for the easy answer, the uncomplicated one. “I don’t know.”

“No, no. What would you like to do? We can do anything. Eat us through every restaurant in town you’d like to try, watch silly kids’ movies, rescue a kitten from the animal shelter. Go to a strip club.” Raven stops when she notices the look on Clarke’s face. “Okay, not the latter. But you get my point.”

“Can we… Watch a movie?”

“Sure. Anything special?”

“Can we watch Harry Potter?”

Raven’s previously mischievous grin turns into a soft smile, something Clarke is sure isn’t something that Raven shows often. “Of course we can.”

“Then I’d like to do that today.”

“All eight movies?”

“There’s eight movies?”

“Eight movies and seven books, yeah.”

Clarke doesn’t know how to reply to that. She’s sure that watching movies Lexa loves isn’t really what Raven had meant when she suggested doing things for herself, but she also doesn’t know where to start. She doesn’t know what she’d like to try or where she’d like to go. Suddenly grief for all the things she’s lost sweeps through her body. She’s lost everything and she only realizes that now.

“Rae?” She asks quietly, not trusting her voice. “Can… can you make a list with things for me to try? I don’t… I don’t know…” She shrugs helplessly, feeling her eyes water at the thought.

Raven sits up and spreads her arms when she notices the blonde’s distress. “Come here.”

After a short moment of hesitation Clarke lets herself be hugged by her friend, but it doesn’t top the few tears from running down her cheeks.

“I’ll make the most awesome to do list you’ve ever seen. That’s a promise.”

“Sounds more like a threat to me.” Clarke chuckles weakly into Raven’s neck. “But I trust you.”

“I’m glad. Now get your ass out of bed, we have lots of movies to watch today.”

“Okay.”

“Take a shower first, yeah? It’s going to make you feel better. That’s a promise too.”

 

----

 

Clarke stares at her reflection in the mirror.

Raven was right about the shower. But now Clarke’s nervous for another thing. Lexa surely has pulled up her walls, which means that Clarke should keep her distance. But how does she do that? And what did their kiss mean to Lexa? How do they proceed from here?

Clarke decides to act casually – whatever that means. She’ll try to talk to Lexa about it if there’s a chance, but she’ll act like an adult. She doesn’t want to make Lexa feel cornered or anything. A smile and a good morning will do. Right?

Yes, that’s a plan , she nods to herself, forcing her hands to stop fidgeting with the hem of the hoodie she stole out of the closet. Well, it’s not really stealing if it’s hers, right? Is it even hers?

“Clarke? Have you fallen into the toilet or something? Do you need to be rescued out of the depth of a drainpipe?”

“Really funny.” She sasses back, rolling her eyes. “I’ll be right out.”

Just say good morning, she tells herself. Say good morning and go from there.

Raven is still lying on the bed when Clarke emerges from the bathroom, scrolling through her phone or texting her wife Anya, Lexa’s intimidating sister. But she looks up immediately when Clarke enters. “There you are. I already wanted the send out a search party. Breakfast?”

Like on cue Clarke’s stomach rumbles.

“I take it as a yes.” Raven laughs, and gets up heading for the door.

Clarke’s eyes wander to the brace her friend is wearing. She still hasn’t asked about it, even though she’s dying to know what happened. Maybe she’ll find time today.

She shakes her head and follows the other woman downstairs. Raven heads straight for the kitchen, moving around the room naturally as she puts together some ingredients for whatever she’s making.

Clarke’s jealous of her for a moment, just a little, before she realizes that Lexa is nowhere to be seen. “Where’s Lexa?”

“She’s just bringing Aden to daycare. She’ll be right back.”

So I won’t get to see him this morning.

Disappointment seems to be flashing over her face, because Raven sends her a reassuring smile. “He’ll be back around noon. She just wanted to give you some space to settle in.”

“Okay.” Clarke ignores Raven’s worried expression. “What are you making?”

“Pancakes. Your favorite.”

Another thing she didn’t know about herself. But she doesn’t comment on it – where would the use be anyways? It’s not like she can change it. It’s not like she can change anything, and that sucks.

“Can I do something?”

“You can get settled on the couch and enjoy being spoiled. Don’t get used to it.” Raven winks at her, surely trying to make her smile, but it doesn’t work.

Clarke feels like she’s on an emotional rollercoaster. Everything’s new, and everyone’s treating her like she needs to be taken care of, like she’s fragile and wounded. One minute everything feels okay, normal, happy even, and the next something brings her down again.

Suddenly she feels like a caged animal in those four walls, in her skin.

She doesn’t settle on the couch, instead she steps out on the terrace and walks through the backyard towards the beach, in desperate need for fresh air in her lungs and a moment of quiet.

She sits down not far from the waterfront, looking out onto the ocean. She’s been told this is her favorite place, and so far she hasn’t been proven differently.

The sky is grey today, cloaked with thick clouds that promise rain. She hasn’t witnessed rain yet, though she does remember what it is like. The horizon seems to reflect the turmoil in her head, and she finds a little comfort in that. It makes her feel less alone.

“Can I join you?”

Clarke looks up at the sudden interruption, only to meet green eyes.

“You can say no, I’d understand.” Lexa continues quietly.

“No.” She shakes her head, before she averts her gaze. Looking into Lexa’s eyes makes her feel even more vulnerable right now, so she’s choosing the ocean. “You can sit, I don’t mind.”

She wanted to greet her, but instead they’re here now and a good morning seems unfitting. So much for normality. But maybe normality is nothing but the shell of a word, an illusion that’s supposed to comfort people.

“I’m sorry.” Lexa says, pulling her knees up to her chest so she can rest her elbows on them.

“For what?”

“I should’ve asked before I put Aden into daycare today. I didn’t… I wasn’t thinking.”

So she talked to Raven. Great.

“It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not. I…” Lexa sighs. “I thought all this… It might be overwhelming enough for you. But I shouldn’t have made a decision for you, I should’ve asked.”

“I was sleeping.”

“No, you weren’t. He woke you up.”

Clarke turns her head to finally look at Lexa again. “How did you tell?”

Lexa shrugs.

“Is it going to be weird between us now?”

“I’m-”

“Don’t you dare saying sorry. We kissed. From my point of view that’s nothing to be sorry for.”

Lexa stares into Clarke’s face for a moment, seemingly trying to find out if she meant it, before she chuckles quietly. “No, it’s not.”

“So?”

“I still stand by my words.”

“That you think it’s too soon for me to decide whether I want to keep kissing you?”

“Yeah.” Lexa’s words are barely a whisper, and she lowers her gaze to the sand beneath her bare feet.

Clarke thinks Lexa’s toes are adorable.

And then she’s suddenly elsewhere. On a small beach between giant cliffs, walking hand in hand with Lexa, who’s got a beaming expression in her eyes. The brunette’s talking animatedly about something, Clarke doesn’t know about what, but her heart soars at the sight.

“Clarke?”

“Hm?”

Lexa’s eyes look at her in wonder. “Where did you just go?”

“Umm, nowhere, I…” Her eyes settle on the horizon instead of the green they’d much rather get lost in. But this isn’t how it works, and she hates what she’s about to say next. “I think you’re right.”

“Huh?”

“About what you said before. About it being too soon. I…” The words feel wrong on her tongue, but also right. How can that be?

She’s an emotional mess. That, and the fact that she can’t bear the possibility of hurting Lexa. The brunette has already gotten too important to her, and that’s one of the many reasons Clarke hasn’t shared her memories with the other woman.

“Am I?”

Clarke lifts her eyes from the horizon, where she can’t find answers either, and meets Lexa’s gaze again. The expression on the brunette’s face is hard to decipher, and Clarke isn’t even sure she wants to.

Instead she nods. “I feel so… lost.”

Softening green eyes makes her insides clench. “Can I… hug you?”

“Please.” Clarke sinks into Lexa’s arms that feel so right around her body, so safe. She revels in the now familiar warmth, in the characteristic scent that is Lexa, in the smell of lavender shampoo in Lexa’s hair.

Lexa’s fingers move in circles over Clarke’s back, drawing familiar patterns. “It’s going to be okay.”

“I hope so.”

They stay like that for a while, until Lexa pulls back a bit and breaks the silence again.

“So… friends for now?”

Clarke chuckles quietly at Lexa’s cute insecurity. “Sounds good.”

No, it doesn’t, and both women know that. But it’s the right thing for now, deep down Clarke knows that too. Slow, that’s the key word here.

God, knowledge sucks.

“And what if one of us wants to kiss the other again?”

Green eyes sparkle in a way Clarke hasn’t seen it before, almost boldly, and Clarke takes in the expression in wonder as long as Lexa lets her.

Long, slim fingers come up to brush Clarke’s hair out of her face. “I think in that case we should let the other know.”

For a moment they hold each other’s gaze, before Clarke leans her head on Lexa’s shoulder. If she’d move a little, she could snuggle her face into the crook of Lexa’s neck. She doesn’t move thought – for safety measures.

She needs to put herself first, Raven and Lexa are both right about that. And if she gets more moments like this one with Lexa, it’s enough for now.

“Raven said you wanted to have a Harry Potter marathon today.” Lexa finally breaks the silence a while later. “Can I join?”

“I’d like that.” Clarke answers with a smile, because the prospect of having Lexa close is something that takes the heaviness from her shoulders.

“Good.”

“Lex?”

“Hm?”

“Can we… cuddle? I don’t want to…”

Lexa’s smile is as radiant as Clarke remembers it from that day between those giant cliffs, wherever and whenever that was. “Of course we can. You don’t have to ask for that. Though it’s cute that you do.”

Clarke blushes. Cute. Seems like that’s becoming their new codeword for all the things they can’t say.

After staring into Lexa’s eyes for a little too long, Clarke feels her body heating up. She gets up taking a slightly shaky breath and extends her hands to help the brunette onto her feet too.

They end up way too close, because Clarke pulls with too much force. Their faces are suddenly only an inch apart, their breath mingles, their noses almost brush.

Lexa’s eyes dart to Clarke’s lips.

Friends, my ass.

Clarke swallows, feeling her heartrate picking up speed. Should she…? No, she can’t. But she wants to. Goddamn, does she want to lean in.

But she doesn’t.

Because Lexa reacts first. “Can I?” The brunette asks, her words a trembling whisper.

“Please.”

So Lexa kisses her, softly, tenderly. Just for a moment.

When they pull apart, Clarke is beet red and she chuckles nervously. The friends-thing didn’t work for more than a minute.

But Lexa just smiles at her, radiating nothing but calmness and confidence, before she adds something that sends Clarke body into overdrive. “You look cute in my hoodie.”

Chapter Text

Early mornings are Lexa’s favorite. They’ve always been, but now that Clarke’s back home and everything has got this new, exciting side to it, she loves them even more.

She’s up far too early, considering she’s barely slept, but she drinks her cup of coffee leaned against the kitchen counter, still wearing her pajamas like she always does.

Recalling the last night’s events has kept her awake long after Clarke and her have separated. The flirty shyness in their interactions reminds her of their very beginning, the times her heart would leap with joy every time there was a text from the blonde, the times she didn’t believe all this was real.

This is really happening.

After finishing her coffee she makes her way upstairs to get Aden ready for daycare.

Clarke will probably be asleep for a while longer, and she’ll surely need some time to settle in before the energetic toddler takes up all her time, so Lexa’s sure her decision is the right one. And then Raven said she’ll be here soon to look after Clarke in case she wakes up earlier.

Lexa has planned painstakingly and meticulously. Nothing’s going to go wrong on Clarke’s first day home.

---

Well, her plan has a few loopholes. Aden being one of them. First he woke up Clarke, then he didn’t want to leave the house or get into the car, let alone into daycare. And then he made a huge scene when Lexa said goodbye.

He only did that once before, maybe a week after Clarke’s stroke, and it really broke Lexa’s heart. Usually Clarke would be the one to drop him off, and she’d pick him up again around lunchtime.

Just like that Lexa’s mood isn’t as carefree as it was, and she feels like she’s back on her rollercoaster of emotions.

“Hey.” Raven says, opening the front door for her.

“Hey. Sorry, I’m a bit late, Aden didn’t want me to leave.”

“No worries.”

“Where’s Clarke? Still sleeping?”

“No, she’s… she’s outside, by the beach. She got sad when I told her you’re bringing Aden to daycare, but I didn’t want to pressure her, I…”

Damn.

Raven sighs. “I don’t know what’s right with her and what isn’t. I’m trying, but…”

“I know what you mean.” Lexa throws her keys in the bowl by the door and starts making her way towards the backdoor. “I’ll go talk to her.”

“She wanted to watch Harry Potter today.”

Lexa stops and looks back at her friend.

“I told her we could do anything, but that’s what she chose.”

“Okay.” She doesn’t know what else to say. There’s an undertone in Raven’s voice she can’t decipher, not really at least. Somehow wary, but she could make that up.

Clarke’s better at reading people.

But she’s scared too, and Lexa gets that. A movie day could bring them some calmness. They need it.

Luckily Raven lets the topic go. “There’ll be pancakes when you guys get back.”

“Thanks, Rae.”

“Sure thing.”

---

It’s colder here in the backyard, with the wind blowing into her face, coming from the sea. Still Lexa kicks of her shoes and takes of her socks, because walking in the sand barefoot is what being home feels like to her.

Clarke’s sitting near the waterline, with her knees pulled up, staring at the ocean.

She doesn’t hear Lexa come closer, and so Lexa just watches for a moment.

Clarke’s wearing one of Lexa’s hoodies. Her favorite even. She’s always been stealing them. The little fact alone makes Lexa smile, because it’s something’s the stroke didn’t take away.

She’s terribly nervous about what Clarke has to say about last night. Was it spontaneous? It didn’t feel that way. But then again, Clarke has always been the confident one, the brave one. And she still is, every day.

Lexa could stand here all day, debating what to say to her wife about last night, but the truth is, she won’t know until she tries.

That’s why Lexa steps closer. “Can I join you?” She asks quietly, not wanting to scare the blonde.

Clarke looks up. She’s on the verge of crying, Lexa can tell that much, but she isn’t sure why.

“You can say no, I’d understand.” She adds quickly, because Clarke’s gaze remains unreadable.

“No.” Clarke shakes her head. “You can sit, I don’t mind.”

Lexa settles into the sand, carefully leaving some distance, but not too much. Whatever’s going to happen next, it’s Clarke’s decision if she reaches out to Lexa or not.

She waits for a little while, but it doesn’t seem like Clarke’s going to start, so she does. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“I should’ve asked before I put Aden into daycare today. I didn’t… I wasn’t thinking.”

“It’s okay.” The tone in Clarke’s voice tells a different story.

“No, it’s not. I…” She pauses and sighs. She wanted to do what’s right, but it seems she’s made it worse. “I thought all this… It might be overwhelming enough for you. But I shouldn’t have made a decision for you, I should’ve asked.”

“I was sleeping.”

“No, you weren’t. He woke you up.”

Clarke’s blue eyes finally meet Lexa’s gaze. “How did you tell?”

Lexa shrugs. Instinct? Familiarity? She knows everything about Clarke. How her breathing sounds when she’s sleeping, her heartrate when they kiss, … The little things that make Clarke her Clarke.

“Is it going to be weird between us now?” Clarke’s question catches her off guard.

“I’m-”

“Don’t you dare saying sorry. We kissed. From my point of view that’s nothing to be sorry for.”

She chuckles quietly. “No, it’s not.”

“So?”

“I still stand by my words.”

“That you think it’s too soon for me to decide whether I want to keep kissing you or not?”

“Yeah.” Suddenly her throat feels a little dry. Clarke only has to mention the word “kissing” and her brain is flooded with dozens of images. “That was just my opinion, it doesn’t have to be right. There’s no manual for situations like ours. I’m probably doing a lot of things wrong.”

She can tell from the empty look in Clarke’s eyes that the blonde hasn’t heard a thing.

“Clarke?”

“Hm?”

“Where did you just go?”

“Umm, nowhere, I… I think you’re right.”

“Huh?”

That’s unexpected.

“About what you said before. About it being too soon. I…” Clarke falls silent.

“Am I?”

“I feel so… lost.”

The last word sounds so fragile, that Lexa’s hear clenches in pain. Lost. She definitely knows that feeling.

“Can I… hug you?”

“Please.”

“It’s going to be okay.” She whispers into a mass of blonde curls as Clarke practically melts into her arms.

“I hope so.”

They stay like that for a while, until Lexa pulls back a bit, carefully choosing her next words. “So… friends for now?”

Clarke chuckles. “Sounds good.”

Lexa’s eyes roam Clarke’s face for a moment. This woman is breathtakingly beautiful. Her fingers itch to touch, her lips still burn. They were never meant to be just friends.

So she decides to be bold, just for once.

“And what if one of us wants to kiss the other again?” She asks, brushing a few strands of hair behind Clarke’s ear.

“I think in that case we should let the other know.” Clarke replies, snuggling closer and resting her head on Lexa’s shoulder.

Lexa can go slow. She can go in whatever pace the blonde chooses. She can pretend she’s not scared, she can keep all the nagging and guilty thoughts to herself. She can do that. If she just gets to hold her like this.

Though it’s hard not to ask for more.

Friendship , she tells herself.

Friends.

“Raven said you wanted to have a Harry Potter marathon today.” She changes the topic quickly. “Can I join?”

“I’d like that.”

“Good.”

“Lex?”

Seriously? How do you expect me to be friends with you if you call me that?

Lexa clears her throat. “Hm?”

“Can we… cuddle? I don’t want to…”

GODDAMN! , she mentally curses Clarke. Or herself. Or the universe for making her wife so irresistible.

“Of course we can.” She replies quietly. “You don’t have to ask for that. Though it’s cute that you do.”

Clarke blushes, and then, just a moment later, moves to get up. She holds out both her palms for Lexa and pulls her onto her feet. And suddenly they’re just inches apart, if even that much.

Clarke’s eyes dart to Lexa’s lips, biting her own in that way that drives Lexa completely crazy.

Lexa’s eyes dart to Clarke’s lips. She stands absolutely no chance, and she never did. “Can I?”

“Please.”

So Lexa crosses the remaining distance and lets her lips meet Clarke’s. On instant the other woman’s arms are around her neck, but the kiss remains soft, tender almost.

Fragile, like what they have rebuild so far.

She enjoys the blush on Clarke’s cheeks when they part, and she decides to play with it a little. “You look cute in my hoodie.”

Clarke gasps. “That’s yours?”

“It sure is. The name on the back might have implied that, you know?” She watches laughing, as Clarke hops around trying to catch a glimpse of what’s written on the back of the hoodie.

“I’m-”

“Keep it. My name looks good on you.”

Clarke playfully shoves her shoulder, before the expression on her face turns softer. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For brightening my mood.”

“Always. Want to watch the best movies in the history of movies now?”

“That’s pretty high praise.”

“Wait and see.”

They start making their way back to the house in comfortable silence. Lexa holds the door for Clarke, and their fingers brush against each other completely by accident of course.

They end up holding hands the entire way, unaware of being watched through the kitchen window.

---

There’s something homey about watching movies in the early mornings, wearing sweatpants and oversized hoodies, while eating too many pancakes and drinking hot chocolate, while it’s rainy and grey outside. Especially if you’re having the person you love most in this world close to you, preferably close enough to touch.

It gets even better if said person is wearing your hoodie. It’s terribly domestic, Lexa knows that, but she can’t help herself and she doesn’t really care.

Halfway through the second movie Clarke has fallen asleep with her head in Lexa’s lap, buried beneath three blankets.

Clarke has always been a cuddler, and the pillows she usually sleeps with take up half of the place in their bed alone – not that Lexa minds, because usually Clarke would end up cuddled up against Lexa, if not even on top of her.

What she means is, Clarke’s usually a messy sleeper. Not today though. She’s quiet, almost too quiet. Sometimes a frown appears on her forehead, sometimes she squints her eyes. Whatever she’s dreaming about seems to be confusing, but Lexa doesn’t dare to wake her up. She just stares into her wife’s face and runs her fingers through her hair, completely lost in thoughts.

They kissed.

Twice.

Her insides still feel like they’re on fire.

For a moment she could catch a glimpse of what they were - what they will be again, hopefully. She hopes they can get back what they had.

For now it certainly feels like falling in love with Clarke Griffin all over again, and she loves every second of it.

„Lexa?“

Lexa blinks herself back into reality and forces herself to meet Raven’s gaze across the room.

„I saw what you guys did.“

„What?“

„Do you really think you guys should start something when she doesn’t know everything yet?“

Lexa’s face falls. The bubble she has built around herself these past three hours crumbles into nothing but tiny little molecules, floating through the air as a constant reminder of what was before. She tries not to be angry at her friend, because she knows Raven’s just trying to look out for her, but that’s hard. Really hard.

„Can we talk about it some other time, please?“ Lexa shushes, motioning to the blonde snuggled against her.

„ I’m trying to protect both of you here, Lexa. I know both of you, I love you, and I know that she’d want you to tell her about the bad stuff too.”

Lexa knows what Raven’s trying to say. She knows it, she understands it, and she has to admit that Raven is right, somehow at least. But she still can’t change how she feels.

„And I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but she asked me to kiss her the first time, and she could’ve said no this time.“ It’s a childish answer, one to shrug the question off like an old jacket that’s been hanging on her shoulders for far too long.

„Of course!“ Raven snorts, totally not buying Lexa’s bullshit answer. “Why haven’t you told her?”

“Why I haven’t…? Are you serious?” Lexa repeats, getting angry now. “Are you really asking me that?”

“Yes.”

“Do you remember how sad Clarke got this morning? How fragile she is? She needs to settle in here before I come in swinging with that, she needs to feel comfortable. Hell, I…”

“You haven’t sorted out your own head yourself, have you?”

Lexa crosses her arms, her jaw clenched. “No.” She answers through gritted teeth.

„Can we go outside? Now, please?“

Lexa should protest, she knows that. But it’s Raven who demands it, Clarke’s best and oldest friend. It’s her sister’s wife, the one who doesn’t take Anya’s tough appearance for real. It’s her friend, who’s been there for her through the last months, and even before that. Lexa just doesn’t know to which one she’s talking to now, and that’s what makes it scary.

Still she complies with a sigh. She wiggles herself out of Clarke’s crushing cuddle and follows the other woman outside onto the terrace.

Raven is leaning against the railing, legs and arms crossed. But the expression on her face is soft, caring. This is Raven as Lexa’s friend, and Lexa’s whole posture shrinks together into the exhausted version of herself that she has been for months on end.

She puts both hands on the railing next to where Raven is standing, feeling the need to ground herself, and stares into the distance, at the ocean that Clarke loves so much.

Everything’s too much and too little at the same time. One moment it feels like she’s getting everything back, and then, the next second, it’s like a giant wave is taking it all away from her again. The constant up and down is wearing her down.

So she starts talking. „I can’t help myself, Rae. It’s like a pull, like a ... Staying away from her is the hardest thing I ever had to do, and I fail, okay? I can’t keep my distance, not even if I want to, I… I can’t ... I need her. I need her, okay? I… I just need her.“ The last words are more of a sob than actual words.

On instant Raven’s arms wrap around her, pulling her close. It’s the wrong pair of arms, the wrong height, the wrong woman. And still Lexa desperately soaks up the comfort, like she’s just walked through a desert.

She has, somehow. She went from feeling too much to feeling numb, to feeling absolute fear to… Yes, to what? What is it that she’s feeling?

„I know you still feel guilty, without reason I may add, but you do, and I know how that’s going to wear you out before you feel ready to tell her. You don’t have to be strong for the both of you. Especially not when you’re going to restart what you had before all this mess. That’s not how this works.” Raven says, still holding her close. “Lexa, you can’t keep it all bottled up. It’s not healthy.”

Lexa has heard that one before. Almost five months before. Back then she didn’t want to hear it, and now...

Now she pulls way from Raven, physical contact getting too much, and she walks over to the stairs to sit down there. She doesn’t trust her legs. „I have to.“

„No.“

„Yes, I do.“

„No.“ Raven replies again. „You can talk to me or Anya or to whoever you want. It doesn’t have to be Clarke, not yet. But be careful, Lexa. Please. You’re important too, you know?“

Lexa laughs, angrily wiping away those traitorous tears. „It’s so stupid.“

„No, it’s not. Don’t say that.“

„It is! Raven, it’s my fault!“

„It’s not-“

„I caused her stress! I caused it! You heard what the doctors said, you were there! Stress can cause brain bleeds to rupture! It’s my fault, okay? Mine! Because I couldn’t handle...“ Her voice breaks.

She has never said that out loud before. Hell, she hasn’t even dared to think it. But suddenly it’s there, erupting from a place she thought she had buried so deep inside of her that it would never see the daylight again.

It’s her fault.

It’s her fault, just like everything else too.

Raven tries to pull her close again, but Lexa jerks away from the touch like she’s been burned.

„Lexa, please-“

„I’ll tell her. Soon. I promise.“ She says coldly, looking straight into Raven’s eyes.

She finds nothing but tears and compassion, but none of that helps saves her from the feeling that’s going to drown her like it did so many nights.

So she gets on her feet and turns towards the house. „I’m going for a run.“ She decides.

„Lexa-“

 

**********

Raven.

She watches helplessly as her friend disappears into the house.

Damnit!

That’s so not how she wanted the talk to go.

She thought she had her. For a moment she thought she could get Lexa to open up, because clearly her friend needed to let it out.

The last six months were hard on the little family, too hard. And Lexa hasn’t been given a damn break ever since. It’s like something’s always simmering below the surface, there, but not visible, waiting to erupt.

Well, not something.

Raven reaches for the coin she keeps in the back pocket of her jeans to occupy her hands with, and lets it flips through the fingers of her left hand, while she calls Anya. If she can’t reach Lexa, then maybe Anya can.

„Hey, babe.“ Anya replies after the second ring.

„Hey.“ She falls silent. How is she supposed to explain that she went from trying to help to making it all worse in a matter of minutes?

„What did you do?“

Raven closes her eyes. „Nothing?“

A rustling sound, then a door closes. „Okay, if you’re asking then you’ve definitely done something. Plus, you almost never call me at work. So spill.“

Raven sighs. „I... Lexa and Clarke kissed.“

„And?“

„Don’t you think they should talk before that?“

„That’s none of our business, Rae.“

„But-“

„But you’ve already made it our business. Alright.” A pause, followed by another rustling sound. “I’m listening, what did you do?“

„I may have asked Lexa if she really wants to start something when Clarke doesn’t know everything yet?“

This time Anya sighs. And then she doesn’t say anything for a long while.

Raven waits, while silently cursing herself for her stupidity. She flips the coin, once, twice. Her healthy leg starts bouncing faster with every second that passes in silence.

Anya’s silence is never good when it’s about Lexa. It’s those moments when her worry for her little sister gets too much to bear, when she needs to sort her thoughts and find somewhere to start.

Raven knows that. So waiting is all she has.

„Where is she?“ Anya finally asks.

„She went for a run.“

„And Clarke?“

„She fell asleep halfway through the movie we were watching. She’s still out like a light.“

„Good.“

Raven nibbles at her bottom lip, and closes her fist around the coin. „You’re mad, aren’t you?“

„No.“

„Ahn.“

„Okay, yes, I’m mad. I’m mad at you, because Lexa hasn’t been smiling in months, and when Clarke got home she was beaming. She hasn’t done that in months, Rae, and I missed that.” Anya answers, nothing but love and compassion in her voice. “I know you’re just trying to look out for the both of them, and I love you for that, but they’ve always pulled through their problems, memories or not. They’re Clexa.“

Raven smiles sadly. She was the one who made up that ship-name, because her friends are a natural force. They make every epic love story seem like a cheap copy.

„I’m sorry.“ She says, knowing full well that she’s crossed a line here, even if she had good intentions.

„I know. I’m going to try to reach Lexa, and you’re going to apologize.“

„I was just trying to protect them.“

„I know, babe. They’ll be okay.“

„How mad are you? On a scale from one to ten?“

„Maybe seven?“

„Seven’s okay. I can handle seven.“

„I’ll call you when I’ve found her, alright?“

„Please do.“

„And Rae?“

„Yes?“

„No more meddling.“

„I promise to try.“

„Good.“

Raven expects her wife to hang up. But Anya doesn’t. There’s some heaviness in Anya’s silence that makes Raven a little anxious, and that’s not happening often.

„You okay?“

„I...“ Anya pauses. „I just keep thinking about it, you know. These past few months.“

Raven glances back at the house, before she gets up and strolls through the backyard, heading for the beach before she answers. „Me too.“

„It scares me. Like a lot. But... Would you like to? I mean, would you… like to have a kid with me?“

She really wishes Anya would be here, so the older woman could see the beaming smile on her face. “I’d love to have kids with you, you know that, babe.”

“Yeah? Still? After everything that happened to them?”

“Of course. Especially after what happened to them. Life is short, you know? Why not make the best of what we have?”

There’s a quiet sniff on the other side of the phone.

Raven smiles to herself. “Anya?”

“Yes?”

“I love you.”

“I love you too, Rae. To the moon and back.”

“That’s a very detailed description of your amount of love for me.”

“Oh shut up, you asshole. I’m trying to be romantic here.”

Raven laughs, before turning more serious again. “Call me when you’ve found her.”

“Will do.”

“Bye, babe.”

“Bye.”

….

Chapter Text

Anya.

Leaning back in her chair she contemplates simply staying in her office. She knows she’ll find Lexa, but there’s little to no chance in getting her to talk in that state of mind, so why even try? And she’s got this huge project coming up, she could use twenty-four hours more per day.

But then she remembers that she gave herself a promise about twenty-four years ago, when Lexa’s seven-year-old self had broken her arm. Anya was so damn scared, and she felt guilty, because she was supposed to watch her little sister and she didn’t.

Anya sighs, but she drops her tough façade and grabs her jacket.

“I’m heading out, be right back!” She shouts over to Lincoln, who’s sitting at his desk and stares at his phone.

“Yeah, yeah.” He waves absentmindedly.

Making a mental note to ask him about it his weird behavior, she heads for the door.

---

She checks the cemetery first. Lexa has only come to their father’s grave a few times, but it’s the first place Anya can think of, because the other place would be home – which is pretty much the equivalent to Clarke.

No sight of Lexa.

Anya heads to her place next, cursing herself through endless lines of cars, driven by stupid drivers. She hates driving in general, but especially around noon, when everybody seems to have things to do or just likes annoying others.

She has no luck. And now she’s getting worried.

Thinking about all the places Lexa could’ve gone too, she decides to choose to most unlikely next, because if Lexa would want to be found, she would’ve been here.

When she reaches her destination, Anya hesitates to leave her car. She hasn’t been to her father’s house for weeks, the memories getting too much.

It’s still empty, and everything’s where her father left it the day he died – from the newspaper on the kitchen table to the old, half-fixed car in garage. She and Lexa should have decided what to do with the house months ago, but then Clarke’s stroke happened, and other stuff got important. And apart from that, it’s not something neither of them likes to think about. After all, it’s the house they grew up in.

On the front porch her father patched up her knuckles when Anya thought she’d have to punch Cage Wallace for calling her little sister a dyke. In the backyard they’ve buried the two dogs they grew up with. They’ve carved their initials into the old oak tree next to the tool shed. Anya had her first kiss in the very same driveway she’s parked her car in now. Imagining selling or renting all that to other, foreign people? Not easy.

With a sigh she eventually pulls herself out of the car and heads for the door. Her suspicions are confirmed when she finds the front door unlocked.

“Lexa?” She asks quietly, kicking off her shoes by the door next to Lexa’s sneakers.

“In here.”

Anya’s senses are hit with the familiar scent of home, and it feels like a punch in the gut, as she steps into the small living room.

Her father was a collector in every way. Tons of books, articles, photos and other things are stuffed into the shelves, and it would probably take days to go through all of it. But that’s what home is like to Anya. This, and fighting with Raven about all the things she’d like to keep, while Raven could live out of a suitcase. Anya takes after her father and sometimes it annoys Raven to no end.

Anya would smile at that, if she wouldn’t spot her sister in the middle of stacks containing mostly photo albums and framed pictures.

“Hey, kid.”

“I’m not a kid.” Lexa replies sharply.

Anya swallows. She expected her sister to be everything but okay, but this is distressed Lexa, the version she hates seeing the most, and it takes Anya a few seconds to recover.

“But you’ll always be my kid sister.”

Lexa sighs, finally looking up to meet Anya’s worried gaze. “What are you doing here?”

“Raven called. Said you bolted.”

“I did.”

“She’s sorry.”

Lexa nods. “I just… Talking about Dad and… and all that is hard.”

“I know.”

Anya stares for a little longer, before she sits down next to her sister cross-legged. “What’s that?” She points at the frame Lexa holds in her hands.

Lexa wordlessly hands it over.

It’s a picture of their Dad with Aden on his shoulders. It was taken a few weeks before the accident, when they all gathered in the backyard to celebrate her Dad’s birthday. He was so happy to have them over, he would barely sit down to enjoy it, too busy with making sure everyone had everything they wanted.

That’s who he was.

“I miss him.” She says softly, tracing his features with her fingertips. The picture tells stories about a time when everything was perfect.

“Me too. It’s… I’m expecting him to come through the door any moment.”

“Lexa-”

“I knew he wasn’t feeling okay. He said he was feeling weird an hour before I got here, that he had a headache and stuff. I…” Lexa closes her eyes, as a tear slips out.

Anya immediately reaches out and catches it. They’ve been over this part more times than she could count, and she hates that it still causes her sister distress.

“I shouldn’t have let him drive.”

“Lexa, you-”

“I knew he wasn’t feeling good, Ahn, and I still let him drive. I… it’s my fault.”

“Don’t say that. We both know how stubborn he-”

“I should’ve known, I should’ve… I should’ve fought harder! If I would have, he’d probably still be…” Lexa chokes down a sob and leans into Anya’s shoulder for comfort. “I couldn’t save him. I should’ve saved him.”

There where many situations where the sisters comforted each other through the years. Heartbreaks, insecurities, losses… And still Anya doesn’t know if what she does is actually helping.

Still she holds Lexa close, rubbing soothing circles on her sister’s back. She’d trade in a heartbeat. If she only could.

“Don’t even think it’s your fault, Lexa.” She whispers.

“But if I had seen the signs, he wouldn’t have… We wouldn’t have gotten in that car, and he would’ve had a chance! I would’ve had a chance!” Lexa pulls away, getting up on her feet and moving through the room.

Anya watches her sister running a hand through her hair. She recognizes the desperation on Lexa’s face, but she doesn’t understand where it’s coming from.

“Clarke and I talked about having another kid for over a year. We’ve been trying for months… we were this close to…” Lexa pauses, her fingers still clinging into a mess of brown curls. “I wanted that kid.”

As soon as the words are out in the open, Lexa’s arm falls to her side.

Anya knows the accident and the aftermath have been weighing down Lexa ever since it happened, because she was there when her father died. When the full consequences of his heart attack showed, he tried to pull over and stop the car, but he hit another car while doing so, and theirs got thrown over the guardrail.

He died within a few minutes, while Lexa suffered abdominal injuries and a severe concussion. She lost a baby that day. She was not even four weeks pregnant, she didn’t even know she was pregnant, and it was too early to even call it a pregnancy. Still, it broke both Clarke’s and Lexa’s heart, and Anya’s heart broke right with them. It was so unfair. They didn’t deserve this.

“You can still have kids, Lexa. Clarke’s going to be okay, we know that now, and you've got time. You’ll have three more if you want that.”

“You don’t understand, Anya. That kid was my only chance.”

Anya can feel her heart sinking in, sensing there’s way more to the story than she thought until now. “What are you talking about?”

*****

Lexa.

“What are you talking about?” Anya asks, the frown on her face so significant that Lexa fears it might stay there.

Lexa sighs.

The weight of these past few months keep pulling her down deeper and deeper into a pit of darkness, no matter how hard she tries to hold against it. What if she gives in, if she lets her walls break? She’s sure she’ll get buried beneath them if she caves. But they won’t hold much longer anyways.

“This.” She answers, turning around and lifting her shirt a little, exposing her stomach and the scar the accident gave her. “I can’t have kids anymore.”

The frown on Anya’s face morphs into a wide-eyed expression in slow motion.

After the accident, after losing her father and the ability to carry a child, Lexa drowned her anger, guilt and shame in alcohol for weeks. She bordered on self-destruction and self-hate, even crossed the lines more often than not.

It had almost cost her marriage, her family. Clarke.

She was so angry, at everyone. At her father for being stubborn. At Anya for not knowing. At herself for losing that baby she didn’t know about. At Clarke for having won when they first discussed who’d carry their firstborn, for having been able to carry a child when she herself would never get the chance. At herself for not seeing the signs of a heart attack. At herself for getting so hung up on the idea of giving birth to a child.

Maybe it’s a stupid thing, maybe it’s crazy. But ever since she was young she had that goal of one day being pregnant, of feeling a baby kicking. She had this picture in her head and she would hold onto it for years. Until last summer.

“Lexa, I’m-”

“Don’t. Please.” She interrupts her sister before Anya can finish her sentence. She couldn’t bear another “I’m sorry”, another apology for things she can’t blame other people for. Maybe that’s the cruelest thing about that – there’s no one else to blame.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

She shrugs. “You had just lost your father.”

“We both lost Dad.” Anya corrects. “You know that’s no reason.”

“It seemed so ridiculous to feel broken about something like this. I mean, I have a kid. And Clarke can still…” She closes her eyes, feeling the weight on her shoulders shifting. It’s good to finally talk about it.

“Look at me, sis.” Anya pleads softly. “Please?”

Lexa lifts her head to meet her sister’s gaze across the room.

“Ever since we were little you talked about having a family of your own. About having five kids. You used to stuff your shirts with pillows, remember?”

Even through her tears Lexa groans. Yeah, she remembers that.

“When you realized you were gay, do you remember what you said to me that night?”

“I do.”

--

She’s been thinking about coming out for a while. It shouldn’t be a big deal since Anya’s dating that girl Luna for a little over a year now, and her Dad’s absolutely cool with it. Still it’s… it’s huge. It’s life-changing. It shouldn’t have to be, but it is.

And it’s all she can think about, day and night. She wonders if other people can see it in her eyes, if the clothes she choose could give it away before she’s ready. If the glances she steals at that girl are as subtle as she hopes they are.

Still she gathers all her courage and knocks on her sister’s door. This is it.

“What?” Anya barks from the other side.

“It’s me. Let me in?”

A mumbled, harsh reply. Then the door opens. “What’s up?”

“Can I talk to you about something?”

Anya eyes her suspiciously. “I won’t buy you condoms if that’s-”

“What? No!”

Urgh, that would be weird. God, no.

“Okay, so…?”

“Anya, please.”

Her sister huffs. “Fine. Ten minutes. I have a date in half an hour.”

Lexa settles on the bed, nervously wringing her hands.

“You gotta talk if you want my help.” Anya remarks.

“I know.” Lexa replies, but she busies herself with staring at the floor.

She can’t remember when and how her sister came out, she was barely ten and other things seemed way more important.

But now it’s all she can think about.

If.

Why.

How.

If she’s really into girls, if it isn’t just a phase, if she really wants to voice all those confused thoughts in her head.

Why it has to be her, why not somebody else. Why can’t she be normal? Why can’t she just fall for some stupid jock?

How will she proceed from this point on? How is she supposed to act from now on? How can it be that she hasn’t realized it before? How much will it change her life?

Anya sighs, and continues rummaging through her drawers, clearly looking for something appropriate to wear for her date, if the amount of clothes on the floor to Lexa’s feet are anything to go by. And somehow it makes things easier.

Lexa takes another deep breath. “I think I’m… There’s that girl…”

Anya stops in the middle of picking up a shirt. “Oh.”

She said it. She actually said it. Well, not really, but Anya still got the point.

“Oh!” Her sister repeats, this time a little louder. Anya seems to hesitate for a moment, before she plops down on her bed next to Lexa. “Wait a second, let me cancel my date.”

“What? No, you don’t have to, I-”

“No way. I want to hear all about that girl.”

They end up ordering pizza and cuddling up on the living room couch in their pajamas. Lexa talks about Costia, the girl in the backrow of her biology class that she’s crushing on. At first it’s weird, and she’s sporting a crimson colored blush more often than not, but Anya never makes fun of her. Instead she gives her advice. It’s the biggest bonding moment they had in years.

“Ahn?” She asks some time later.

“Yeah?”

“Can I ask you something?”

“Please, no sex questions. You’re my little sister. You stay a virgin until you die, alright?”

Lexa sighs, too exhausted to blush. “No. It’s… about something else.”

“Shoot.”

“Do you think I’ll still have a family?”

“Of course you will.”

“But being… being gay makes it… it makes it more difficult, don’t you think?”

Anya’s eyes are serious and piercing, but also loving. “I don’t know, kid. But you’ll have kids one day, and you’ll love them to pieces. You’re going to get everything you want. Promise.”

---

The memory is one of her favorites. Being gay wasn’t easy all the time, but whenever she got scared or overwhelmed, she’d think back to this evening, and it would give her hope. And Anya was right. Sure, she’s only got one kid, but she really does love him with every ounce of her heart.

“Does it matter that Aden isn’t biologically yours?”

Lexa’s eyes widen at the question. “No! Of course not!”

“There you have your answer.”

She sends her sister a sad smile. “It’s not that easy.”

“Why not? Because you don’t get to give birth? You still have a kid, Lexa. And maybe Clarke wants to have more with you, when things have settled down. Who knows. Don’t let it take away your happiness.”

They hold each other’s eyes for a long moment, before Lexa relents with a sigh. Anya’s right. Again. That’s oddly nice, but she won’t say that.

“I’m sorry.” Lexa starts then, pausing to make sure she choose the right words. “When Raven brought it up, I just… We fought that night before Clarke’s stroke. God, we fought horribly. I had been drunk again, and she… She said she couldn’t keep doing this. She…”

“Lexa-”

“No, let me finish this. Please.” She begs. She needs to say it out loud, at least once. “No matter how often I tell myself that it’s not my fault, no matter how often the doctors told me that Clarke could’ve had that stroke while driving, at work, at night, whenever, I can’t get this thought out of my head, you know? That stupid, persistent what if. Dad died because I didn’t see it. I didn’t know I was pregnant. I lost the baby and the ability to carry a child. I started acting out afterwards, I would drink until I passed out, I acted recklessly and almost ruined the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I almost broke us apart, because I couldn’t handle anything. I caused her stress.”

Anya’s eyes are glistening with tears. “But you decide what happens next.”

“I know.” Lexa moves to the couch and sits down, elbows resting on her knees. She rubs her face with her hands for a moment, before she intertwines her fingers, desperately trying to gain back some control over her feelings.

The kiss seems to have happened days, if not weeks ago. That happiness feels so far gone now. But it was that feeling that has cut her open, that made her vulnerable enough for Raven’s words to reach where it hurts.

It was necessary. She sees things way clearer now.

Anya gets on her feet too, sitting next down to her, and wraps her in a tight embrace. “You have to forgive yourself, Lexa.” She says, before pressing a kiss to her temple.

“I know.” She repeats, taking comfort in her sister’s presence. She’s just not sure how to do that.

And she has to tell Clarke about all this first. Her wife needs to know with whom she’s getting involved again, she deserves that much. But what if the truth is what ruins everything in the end? Them? Wouldn’t that be ironic? They were so close to breaking up that night.

Chapter Text

Clarke.

“Lexa, I’m going to be fat.”

“You’re not.”

“But-”

Lexa cups Clarke’s face, making her look at her, before she sneaks her hand over Clarke’s belly. “That’s our child in there. Our baby boy. It’s not going to make you any less beautiful, in fact it’s quite the opposite.”

Clarke sighs, not fully convinced. “I wasn’t planning on being pregnant on our wedding day.”

“Well, you wanted to get married in summer.”

“Yes, because you didn’t want a winter wedding.”

“Winter is cold and muddy and grey. We would’ve had to wear boots. What kind of wedding would that have been?”

Clarke chuckles and rolls to her side, so she can trace Lexa’s tattoo like she always does when they lay like this, naked and in bed, sheets pooling at the foot end of the bed or the floor “A romantic one.” She replies.

“Yeah, how?”

“We would’ve had our honeymoon in an old cabin in the mountains.”

Lexa closes her eyes as Clarke’s fingertips skate further down her back, slowly, achingly slowly. “Mhm, go on.”

Clarke leans closer, her next words barely a whisper. “We would’ve shut out the world for a week or two, and it would’ve been only the two of us. No one would’ve disturbed us. No calls. No work. No annoying family members. Just the two of us.” She says in a raspy tone, her fingertips dancing away from Lexa’s spine, now tracing the other woman’s ribs one by one.

Lexa lets out a deep sigh. “That sounds nice.”

“Yeah.” Clarke hums, knowing full well that she's playing a dangerous game here. “And you know what?”

“Hm?”

She places a kiss on Lexa’s shoulder, one into her neck, a few ones down her jawline. She lets her hands slide over skin seemingly without destination, just touching to touch. “I would’ve stripped you out of your clothes the second we entered.” Clarke lets her lips reach Lexa’s earlobe, nibbling on it because she knows it drives Lexa crazy. “And then we would’ve made love by the fireplace.”

Lexa actually fucking moans, especially when Clarke’s fingers reach a not so innocent place.

But the sound of Clarke’s chuckle makes her open her eyes. “You think that’s funny?”

“Hm, yeah.” Clarke grins.

Lexa probably can’t feel her body anymore after the three rounds they’ve already had. Yet she rolls over and pins Clarke’s naked body to the mattress. “You’re mean.” She announces, green eyes sparkling boldly, making Clarke’s insides burn with pure desire.

“I know." Clarke replies, biting her bottom lip. "What are you going to do about it?”

---

Clarke blinks herself to consciousness with a yawn.

Trying to remember what happened before she fell asleep, she lies on the couch unmoving for a moment. Then it all comes back. The kiss. The cuddling. The movie. Lexa.

She can’t help but smile. Lexa.

Her body aches in a way she can’t remember, and she can’t help but be disappointed that her dream got interrupted.

“Hey there. Back from the dead, huh?” Raven’s voice is loud, and it comes from somewhere close.

Clarke turns her head a little and spots Raven hunched into the armchair not far from the couch, one leg thrown casually over the armrest. “How long was I out?”

“Almost two hours.”

Clarke groans. She can feel the sleep in her bones, threatening to lull her back into the land of dreams and, in Clarke’s case, memories.

Then she realizes that she’s no longer cuddled up against a warm body. “Where’s Lexa?”

“She went for a run, and now she’s picking up Aden.”

Clarke nods with a smile. Her favorite people will be back soon. She can manage being alone in the house for some time.

She stays on the couch for a couple more minutes, before nature calls and she excuses herself for the bathroom.

The few hours she’s spent here left her with enough knowledge to move around the house without constantly second guessing every step. She can feel her body remembering certain things – where the light switches are, how many steps she needs to get to a room, where she finds toilet paper. It’s weird. And creepy.

On her way back from the small bathroom she stumbles across dozens of pictures on the wall. Not for the first time, but now she’s got time to actually look at them. They seem to follow a certain order, and on most of them it’s Lexa and her. Only on the newer ones there are pictures of Aden. As a newborn, in his bed, on Clarke’s stomach, lying next to a sleeping Lexa, in a man’s arms that have to be Lexa’s father’s. All of them tell stories of happiness, and Clarke can’t help but feel warmer.

Clarke’s eyes stop at a picture of herself, with an arm around a young man’s shoulder. Both of them are laughing about something, Clarke with her head thrown back. Her hair is in thick dreadlocks, her wrists are full of bracelets, her fingernails are colored black, and her jeans are ripped for the most part. She’s holding something that can only be a joint. But she seems pretty happy.

She’s taken aback by the picture that seems so completely out of order. She picks the frame from the wall and returns to the living room.

“Hey, can I ask you something? Who’s that?” Clarke asks, handing over the frame.

Raven looks up from her phone, before taking her legs off of the armrest and grabbing the photo. She chuckles. “That’s Murphy. John Murphy, but you call him by his surname.”

“And he is…?”

“You were pretty close your senior year of highschool.”

“Close how?”

“As friends. Only friends.” Raven hurries to explain with a smile.

Clarke frowns, trying to remember whether she’s heard that name before. She’s sure she hasn’t. “Are we still friends?”

“I’m not sure. As far as I know you haven’t had much contact during the last years. Though he came to your wedding, and you seemed happy about that.”

“What does he do? Where does he live?”

“Phew, I don’t know, I’ve only met him like… twice? I think?” Raven shrugs. “But I can find out, if you’d like me to?”

“I can ask Lexa later, no worries. I just… That picture didn’t fit in between all the others. I seem to be different.”

“It was your rebel year. You and your Mom had a lot of differences, and you were in the middle of your free-spirit-phase, wanting to become an artist or something. But I think the main goal was to become anything but like your Mom.” Raven smiles at the picture in her hands, a hint of wonder and astonishment in her eyes. “It’s the same year you got your tattoo.”

“My tattoo?”

Raven’s eyes widen, before she bursts into laughter. “You haven’t found your tattoo yet?”

Clarke gulps. It’s not that she’s got something against tattoos. Lexa’s for example are really beautiful, especially the one on her spine, which is the only one she’s seen up close. But… how can it be she hasn’t noticed? On her own skin?

“It’s on your shoulder. Left one.” Raven adds softly, noticing Clarke’s obvious shock. “It’s a phoenix. You’ve designed it yourself.”

Clarke’s still frozen to the spot.

A simple information and she feels lost again. How much more is there that she doesn’t know about herself? A million things? How many people has she forgotten about? For all she knows, she could run into an ex, an enemy, a colleague, a friend on a street and she wouldn’t recognize them.

“I’m going to take a look.” She mumbles quietly, before she turns around and heads back into the bathroom.

She strips out of her shirt and turns. Raven’s right. There is a tattoo. A colorful phoenix, in red, green, blue, yellow and orange, and all the shades in between. It’s got the size of a handprint, and it moves with her shoulder blade. It’s… stunning. A real piece of art.

Clarke can feel her eyes burn in a now all too familiar way. She keeps them closed for a moment, while she tries to steady herself by grabbing the sink with both hands.

There’s no use. The tears come, and she lets them fall silently for a while.

What does it mean to her? The phoenix?

“Clarke?”

“I’ll be right out, Rae.”

“You okay?”

“I’m good.” How easy the lie falls from her lips.

A moment later she’s gained back control over her mess of emotions, and she checks her body for more things she might have missed. The scar from the c-section isn’t the only scar. There’s one on her collarbone, and one on the palm of her right hand. She’s noticed both of them before, but she didn’t really pay attention. There are a few little birthmarks too, one with the shape of a little heart on the left side of her ribcage, peeking out from under her bra.

There’s nothing else she missed.

Good, she thinks, before taking a deep breath.

“I’m sorry.” Raven says as soon as Clarke leaves the bathroom. She was leaning against the opposite wall, clearly waiting for Clarke.

“For what? You didn’t do anything.”

“I’m still sorry.”

Clarke chuckles. “It’s okay. Are there more pictures?”

“I’m sure we can find some.”

---

That’s how the end up on the living room floor. After a moment of hesitation Clarke rummaged through the cabinets in what seems to be their office – a tiny little room holding two desks and more shelves than it seems able to hold. She found a box filled with photographs, postcards, notes and letters.

Raven says Clarke’s the collector in their family, but the other half of the room, which is definitely Lexa’s side, isn’t any better than her own, so they are probably both a little messy. But Clarke doesn’t mind.

Before she knows it, she’s diving into her past, going through memories she doesn’t have anymore. There are more pictures than in her mother’s album, telling stories Abby surely wouldn’t like to hear.

“Oh, look at that you dirty little whore!” Raven squeals, almost dying from another laughing fit. “That’s definitely part of your acting-out-phase!”

Clarke takes the picture and sees herself kissing another guy, the third in a clearly short span of time, if the pink highlights in her hair-ends are anything to go by. “He’s cute.” She comments with a smile.

It’s weird seeing herself kissing other people. But it’s also nice to go through all this. It’s a part of her, and with every little thing she touches it feels like she’s getting a part of herself back.

“Oh, that’s sweet!” Raven’s smile is genuine as she hands over an old sticky note in neon green.

It says: Good morning, beautiful. I’ll be right back, stay right where you are. Love, Lexa.

Clarke stares at the note, scribbled in a neat and tiny handwriting. That’s who they were.

With a deep breath she pulls herself out of the melancholy feeling that Lexa’s words left. “What else do we have?”

“That’s Niylah.” Raven explains, pointing at a woman with a toothy grin, prominent dimples and sunglasses in her golden hair.

“Why did we split up?” Clarke asks as she takes in the young girls features.

“You fell out of love the same way you fell in love with her. You… For a while you fit together, and then you didn’t. You once described her as a river.”

“A river?” Clarke frowns. She can’t make sense out of that metaphor. What’s that supposed to mean – a river?

“Don’t ask me.” Raven shrugs, scrunching up her nose. “You were drunk.”

Both of them erupt in laughter.

“What about us?”

“Us?”

“How did we meet?”

Raven sighs. “We met our first month in college. You had that weird roommate, her name was… Louise, I think. She had a stick up her ass and would constantly complain about everything, she was really weird.”

Clarke waits, leaning back against the couch.

“You were really annoyed and demotivated. But at the end of the third week Louise dropped out of college all of the sudden. She couldn’t deal with all the stress, I think. And then you were missing a roommate, and I so happened to need a bed to crash. I…” Raven sighs. After a moment of hesitation, she crawls over to Clarke and sits down next to her, stretching out the leg in a brace.

There’s a sudden shift in the mood, mostly coming from the change in Raven’s usually tough posture. Now she looks smaller, almost fragile. That’s why Clarke reaches out and takes Raven’s hand between her own, earning a little smile from her friend.

“I had that accident a couple of weeks before college was supposed to start. My douche of an boyfriend thought he had to play fast and furious. That’s a movie.” Raven explains, trying to put on a smile, but the heaviness of the situation is stronger. “He thought he could outrun another guy, and drove right through a red light, just to proof how cool he was. And I…” Clarke watches Raven swallow, before reaching up her free hand, wiping away the tears in her eyes before they fall. “When I woke up I had lost all feeling in my left leg. I couldn’t afford rehab or physical therapy. I was close to just giving up.”

“Rae-“ Clarke tries to interrupt, even though she doesn’t know what to say.

“No, it’s… In your free time you’d study therapy forms, and train with me. You helped me getting back on my feet.” Raven’s expression is sincere now, even with tears in dark brown eyes. “You saved me, Clarke.”

Not trusting her words, Clarke simply pulls Raven into a tight hug.

“And now it’s my turn to save you. Somehow.”

Both of them chuckle quietly, before letting each other go.

Clarke looks over the scattered parts of her previous life. She decided to call it that somewhere between looking at her drunk teenage self, and a picture of Lexa and herself at what seems to be a birthday party of someone they know. She has her arms draped around Lexa’s neck and they seem to be in their own little world. Definitely her previous life.

But maybe she’ll get that back – at least the last part. That moment on the beach made her feel something. Something… strong. And thinking about it makes her smile. That has to mean something, right?

“Can I tell you something?” She asks quietly, deciding that she needs to share her dreams and memories with someone. And Raven is her best friend, they clearly have a lot of history together, so why not her?

“You can tell me anything.”

“I-”

Suddenly the front door falls shut, and a moment later Lexa’s voice calls out for them. “Clarke? Raven?”

“In here!” Rae shouts back.

And just like that the moment has passed.

“What did you want to say?”

Clarke shakes her head with a fake smile. “Nothing.”

Chapter Text

Clarke.

A moment later Lexa appears in the doorframe, barefooted and with her hands buried deep in the pocket of her sweatpants. She looks tired, and Clarke can see traces of tears on her even skin.

Immediately, there’s a lump in Clarke’s throat. Why did Lexa cry?

But Lexa doesn’t look at her, not right away at least. She glances at Raven, and they seem to communicate without words, because a second later Raven’s on her feet. “I’ll leave you to it. Should I pick up Aden for you guys?”

Only now, Lexa meets Clarke’s, by now worried, gaze. “Could you watch him until I call you?” She asks Raven, eyes not leaving Clarke’s. “Anya’s waiting outside.”

“Sure thing.”

Clarke could pretend she doesn’t see how Raven squeezes Lexa’s shoulder in what seems to be an attempt to comfort the brunette. She could also pretend that she’s not scared by their strange behavior. But where would the use be?

“What’s going on?” She asks quietly, not really trusting her voice, as soon as Raven’s out the door.

“Can we talk?”

“Lexa, if you-”

“Please?” There’s a quiver in Lexa’s pleading, barely there, and still it’s all Clarke can focus on.

The way Lexa keeps her head down, her hands clenched by her sides, the wary tone in her voice… Lexa is scared. But of what? And why so sudden? Two hours ago, they were happily cuddled up on the couch. Minutes before that, they kissed. It was a great kiss, an earthshattering, life-changing kiss, why would she…

She doesn’t want this.

Realization hits Clarke without warning, and now she lowers her gaze to the floor too, so Lexa won’t see the tears welling in her eyes. She doesn’t know how she could be that delirious. No one would want to start something when there’s a kid involved, and one of them has to re-learn everything. No one would want a relationship with someone with a wrecked brain and no memories.

“It’s okay, I get it.” She mumbles in a hushed voice, before she scrambles on her feet. “Really.”

“Clarke-”

“No, really. I’m fucked up, that’s… I get it.”

“It’s not about you.”

Clarke stops right next to Lexa in the little space the doorframe offers. Their shoulders brush, and she’s strangely aware of that. But she doesn’t look up. She can’t, because then Lexa would see her tears, and she would try to comfort her, and if this is a breakup… Can they even break up? Is that a thing in a situation like theirs?

She can feel her head spinning.

“Clarke, it’s not about you.” Lexa repeats.

She can hear Lexa swallowing. If this isn’t about her, then what is it about? Maybe one of the doctors called and there’s a chance she might forget again. Maybe that’s it, maybe-

“I… I have to tell you something. About us.”

Oh.

“Can we sit?”

That’s how they settle on the couch again, far apart from each other this time – as far as possible. Lexa’s hands wrap around her glass of milk, that she refills with water a few quiet minutes later. It’s looking strange now, but Clarke has a feeling that Lexa only did it to busy her hands.

Clarke’s own breathing has become shallow. She can’t deal with stress very well. She starts rubbing her fingers and forces herself to look at Lexa, instead of spiraling further.

Scared Lexa is one she has rarely seen these past days, except maybe for the breakdown in her hospital room. Lexa always seems so stoic, so controlled and strong. Maybe she’s mistaken Lexa’s posture for strength, when it’s in fact nothing but a façade the brunette hides behind. That’s possible. After all, she barely knows Lexa, right?

“About two months before you had that…” Lexa exhales sharply and closes her eyes for a moment.

Clarke would love nothing more than to reach out to her, but something tells her that her touch would be unwanted now, so she keeps on her end of the couch, fidgeting with the seam of the sofa cushion in her lap.

“I wanted to pick up my Dad, we were meant to go for lunch together, all of us. He said he wasn’t feeling well before, he almost wanted to cancel, but… He insisted to drive us, claiming he wasn’t old enough for that.” Lexa chuckles weakly, before she reaches up and wipes away lonely tears. “I didn’t recognize the signs. When I did, it was already too late. He… he had a heart attack.”

Clarke opens her mouth to speak, but Lexa continues before she can say something.

“He tried to pull over, but we crashed into another car and went over the crash barrier, our car overturned a couple of times. He…” Lexa takes a shaky breath. “He died there, on that field.”

Clarke can’t hold herself back any longer, she scoots closer and wraps Lexa in a tight embrace.

For a moment Lexa leans into her arms, soaking up the comfort like Clarke’s the sun and Lexa is freezing. That’s the only picture Clarke can think of.

But then Lexa pulls back, and stands up, putting more distance between them as she walks to the window front.

Clarke can’t help but feel rejected, but she tries not to let it show. Not that Lexa would notice right now anyways, and she can’t even blame her. First the accident, and then the stroke. How horrible to have to go through that in this short span of time.

It’s silent for a while. Clarke tries to sort out her thoughts, while Lexa stares out into the backyard.

“I… I was pregnant.” Lexa suddenly croaks.

What? Clarke’s head starts spinning immediately, and she’s sure there’s a picture in her head, of Lexa in a hospital gown, crying desperately in Clarke’s arms. She tries to chase it, to hold it, but it fades again in the blink of an eye.

There’s another picture now, of Lexa being a few months pregnant. She would’ve looked stunning. It’s… Oh god.

“I didn’t know, it wasn’t even four weeks, I… We had been trying for almost a year.”

“Lexa, look at me.” She pleads.

Lexa shakes her head. “I can’t conceive anymore.”

“Lex-”

The brunette almost flinches. And Clarke’s heart breaks for the other woman. There’s too much pain on Lexa’s shoulders. Too much for one person to carry. Too much for a lifetime.

“Look at me, please.” Clarke begs, getting up and standing right behind her. “Lex. Please.”

Lexa finally turns around, and Clarke immediately reaches up to wipe away the stream of tears.

“It’s my fault.”

“It isn’t.”

“It is.”

“No, don’t say that.” Clarke shakes her head. How can Lexa think that way?

I started drinking. I kept picking fights with you. You had that stroke because of me! It’s my fault!” Lexa shouts, turning away from Clarke again, slamming a fist against the window.

Clarke shakes her head desperately now. She won’t have any of this. Strokes happen. Couples fight. They go through terrible things. It’s unfair, and cruel, and they don’t deserve this, but that’s life, right? None of that is Lexa’s fault!

She reaches out for Lexa, trying to make her turn back to her, but Lexa fights against it, her body trembling with build up guilt, pain and self-hatred.

So Clarke does the only thing she can – she wraps her arms around Lexa from behind, pulling her close to her chest, and presses her lips into Lexa’s neck. “It’s not your fault.” She whispers then, leaving a few tears on Lexa’s skin. “You hear me? It’s not your fault Lex. None of this is.”

“You wanted to break up with me that night before your…. You… you were so close to…”

“We’re here now. That night doesn’t matter anymore.”

“It does, Clarke! Because what if you didn’t want this anymore? What if you were done with us?” Lexa asks tonelessly. She could as well have shouted the question too, but she doesn’t, and that’s what makes her question even more painful to Clarke.

She understands where Lexa is coming from. And she understands what it’s like to lose something. Yes, she might not know what she thought before shit happened, she might not remember the fights Lexa talks about, the almost breakup. But she knows what she feels today. And she knows that she needs Lexa, in whichever way she can get.

Maybe that’s why she smiles through her own tears into Lexa’s neck. “I want it now.”

Lexa’s tense posture melts. There’s no better word for it. If there are magical words to take away all her pain, to ease her, then those were the right ones.

Lexa fucking melts into Clarke, falling back against her. She liquifies in Clarke’s arms as she finally turns around, becoming a sobbing mess, broken from all the horrible things she had to go through alone.

And Clarke can’t do anything but hold her as she cries. She’s never felt more helpless in her life, she’s sure of it.

“Sshh.” She whispers into Lexa’s hair. “It’s okay. I’m here, baby.”

Lexa just sobs harder.

Somehow, she manages to get them to the couch, Lexa’s hands clinging onto Clarke’s shirt like her life depends on it. Clarke lets her. She has a feeling she’ll always let her.

She runs her fingers through Lexa’s hair, draws circles down her back, and starts again. And again. And again. Until time loses its meaning, and Lexa’s stops sobbing.

Clarke keeps up the same rhythmical motions as Lexa hiccups, during the silent tears and until they finally dry up. She keeps drawing the same patterns long after that too, just touching to touch, to comfort, to tell “it’s okay” without using words.

And when Lexa looks up, the green in her eyes more prominent than ever, Clarke smiles down at her and asks the only question that matters. “Can I kiss you?”

Lexa stares for a heartbeat, in wonder or disbelief maybe, Clarke doesn’t know for sure. And then Lexa nods shyly.

Clarke cups Lexa’s jaw with her right hand, and traces her lips with her thumb, before she leans in and kisses them. She can taste the salt on Lexa’s lips, and she kisses it away. She kisses her slowly and softly, not kissing the brunette to kiss, but to comfort and to reassure. She kisses her until the world around them has no shape anymore, no meaning, no weight.

We’ve got time, she tells her with the kiss.

It’s gonna be okay, she says.

We’re gonna be okay, she promises.

 

Chapter Text

“Do you want to do something?” Clarke’s question comes a long time later.

They’ve been lying on the couch, Lexa’s body cuddled up against Clarke’s so closely, that it’s hard to tell where she ends and where the blonde begins. But it’s Lexa’s favorite position in the world, the only place she ever felt truly safe, and that’s exactly what she needed after the confessions and the breakdown.

Lexa shrugs. She isn’t sure, she’s just…

She sighs.

Exhausted would be a word for it, but it isn’t the right one, not really. Overwhelmed seems fitting too, which isn’t a surprise. And then there’s the sheer unbelievable relief she feels. She finally said it. She finally found the strength to speak about it after keeping it all locked up inside for months and months on end.

And Clarke… God, she reacted so amazing. Selfless and strong, just like she is as a person in general. Why did Lexa ever doubt her? Why did she let it go that far?

“Thank you.” Lexa whispers into Clarke’s neck instead of answering her question.

“What for?”

“For…” She pauses. For reacting the way Clarke did? For coming back to her?

It might be that Clarke doesn’t remember all the memories they made together, but maybe she didn’t forget the feelings. Because this feels close, intimate and so fucking amazing that Lexa is she her heart could burst with happiness. And Lexa loves it. She LOVES it with every cell in her body, and she’d happily spend the rest of her life like this, right here in this moment.

“For everything.” She replies then quietly, barely loud enough to be heard.

Clarke hums just as quiet and continues to draw patterns on her shoulder blade, while Lexa snuggles even further into Clarke’s neck, listening to her heartbeat and taking in that characteristic scent of hers that she could live off. That’s happiness to her.

For a while Clarke’s heartbeat is the only sound Lexa can hear, and she gets lost in it, allowing herself to let her thoughts wander to their happy times, their carefree years. She hasn’t thought about the good days in a while, which is crazy, because they outnumber the bad ones easily. But that’s the thing about the human brain it seems – it always draws attention to the bad stuff. It shouldn’t be like that, and Lexa makes a mental note to be more grateful for the good days, and to pay more attention to the little moments life has to offer.

“It’s raining.” Clarke whispers after a while, curious wonder in her voice.

“It is?” Lexa hasn’t noticed. But outside the world could be falling apart and she wouldn’t notice nor care.

“Mhm.”

“Do you want to go outside?”

“Yeah. But I also want to stay here like this.”

Lexa’s heart swells. “Then we stay here?”

Another hum. The sound vibrates through Lexa’s body and sends shivers down her spine.

---

“How about we eat something?” Clarke suggests a while later.

“Pizza?” She asks, sounding weirdly hopeful.

Clarke seems to think the same, because she chuckles quietly, before she continues brushing her fingers through Lexa’s hair. “Sure, we can have pizza.”

Lexa revels in Clarke’s body warmth for a moment longer, before she pulls back and gets up. “I’ll go order some.”

When she gets back barely two minutes later, she finds Clarke sitting upright, staring at the photos she and Raven seem to have gone through earlier.

“I haven’t seen those in years.” She says softly as she sits down next to the blonde. She’s still not sure what they are now, but her insecurity fades when Clarke immediately scoots closer until their thigh touch.

“Murphy.” Clarke states, pointing at the only framed picture on the floor. “Am I still friends with him?”

Lexa smiles. “You’re not the daily-texts kind of friends, but yeah, you are. He’s your person, the one you call when things get too much, or when you just need someone to listen. He’s a great man.”

“Where is he?”

“Last time he called a few weeks ago, he was in Paris.”

“What does he do? For living?”

“He’s a cook. He’s really amazing. Like, three stars amazing. He’s opening up a new restaurant here in town in a few weeks, we could go there, if you want?”

Clarke nods, but Lexa gets the feeling that it’s just a mindless act. “Does he… know?”

“Yes.”

Another nod. “It’s weird to…” Clarke sighs, rubbing her forehead, a gesture Lexa identifies as frustration.

“Tell me.” She pleads softly, reaching up her hand to brush back a strand of golden hair.

Clarke smiles shyly. “I… I keep having those… feelings? Like I know something, or like I’m supposed to know it? Like when you tell me things about us or myself, it doesn’t… surprise me, you know? Not really anyways. It’s like I can feel that I’ve known it before. I don’t know if that’s making sense.”

“It does.”

“Yeah?” Clarke sounds hopeful.

Lexa nods, and in another short moment of bravery she reaches out to take Clarke’s hand into hers, carefully lacing their fingers. She feels the need to be close to the blonde today even more than all these past days before. Maybe because she had an exhausting morning so far, but maybe because something has changed between them.

“Can I call him?”

“You can do anything you want.”

Clarke rolls her blue eyes. “No, I mean… Do you think I can call someone I don’t know?”

“He’s not really someone who talks a lot. But he’s a good listener.”

“So are you.” Clarke smirks.

Lexa can’t stop herself from blushing. Why does it feel like Clarke is flirting? She surely isn’t. This is not a situation to flirt. Right?

“And you’re cute when you blush.” Clarke adds, still a smirk on her lips.

Now she’s definitely teasing, and Lexa laughs, because of course her wife is still good at that.

“And I love your laugh. Did I tell you that?”

Pink turns into crimson. “Stop that.” She pleads, hiding her face in her hands.

“I’m just stating the truth.”

“I… Please.”

“Why?”

“Because I really want to kiss you when you do that.”

“Do what?”

“That smirking thing you’ve got going on there.” Lexa points to Clarke’s lips, which are still flashing her a devilish smile. “And that look in your eyes.”

“Maybe I want you to kiss me.”

Lexa gulps, her heartrate picks up speed.

“Kiss me? Please?”

Lexa closes the remaining distance without a moment of hesitation, without thinking twice. She never stood a chance. Not since the moment she laid eyes on the woman in front of her for the first time anyways.

She keeps the kiss soft and light, fearing to cross a border, but it’s okay because it makes her insides bubbles with happiness. How can it be that a simple kiss makes all the pain worth it?

“When’s the pizza coming?” Clarke asks when they pull apart, the smile on her lips still there.

“Half an hour.”

“Can we go for a walk?”

“Now? In the rain?”

“Yeah.”

“Of course.” Lexa replies. She’d follow the blonde everywhere anyways.

---

Clarke doesn’t let go of her hand for more than the few seconds it takes to put on a raincoat that Lexa makes her wear, so she doesn’t get sick.

Lexa can’t stop staring. Clarke is sporting a pout in that red raincoat and the oversized hood that she peers out of. She looks so damn cute that Lexa simply has to steal a quick kiss from her lips. She really can’t help it.

They walk through the backyard, down to the beach.

Lexa doesn’t like rain. But Clarke does, and she’s so excited and happy about being out here, jumping up and down on Lexa’s hand, that Lexa’s heart keeps swelling and swelling with love until she can’t help but forget the horrible weather and laugh with her wife instead.

That’s her wife. Her girl.

And god, she’s so in love with her. So fucking crazy in love.

The sand is heavy below their feet, but Clarke doesn’t seem to care. They don’t walk far, just to the water and few steps along the waterline. Lexa can feel the rain soaking her jeans, and it gets cold soon, freezing cold, but Clarke seems so carefree and happy, so she ignores it for a while.

After a few more minutes she can’t take it anymore. “Can we go back?” She asks timidly.

Clarke pouts.

“Please? We’re gonna get sick, and I promise you, I get really, really grumpy when I’m sick.”

Clarke still pouts. “I’d really like to see grumpy-you someday.”

“I assure you, you don’t.”

Clarke laughs her perfect, melodic laugh, before she finally relents with a sigh.

They turn around, hands still intertwined. The wind is getting colder, and more unpredictable, which results in the annoying fact that Lexa gets raindrops in her eyes.

I really hate rain.

“I fucking love rain.” Clarke states as they walk back to the house.

Lexa chuckles. Of course she does. “Did you just swear?”

“Yup?” The blonde grins.

“You’re spending too much time with Raven.”

“She’s a great person.”

“That we can agree on.”

“She told me about how we met today.”

Lexa quirks her eyebrows. She assumed they already talked about it.

“Is it wrong that I really want to punch that guy?”

“Finn? I’d punch him too if I could.”

“Why can’t you?”

“He… he died. That same night. Didn’t she tell you?”

“No.” Clarke shakes her head. “But we got distracted.”

“By?”

“Nothing particular.”

Lexa frowns, but she lets it go. “You guys are thick as thieves. Like sisters. I’m glad you still have that.”

“Me too.” Clarke nods, smiling wide. “What is Anya like? I haven’t really had a chance to get to know her yet.”

“She’s the quiet type. Broody, moody sometimes. But she’s got a big heart, and once you are part of her family, she protects you with all she has. She puts other people first, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that she needs reassurance too.” Lexa explains, thinking about all the little things her sister does for others. “She’s all tough on the outside, but she’s a huge softie on the inside, but don’t tell her I said that, okay? It was great to grow up with a sister like her. She’s someone to look up to, you know? She always protected me, and she still looks out for me.”

“You admire her.”

“I need her.” Lexa confirms as she opens the door for Clarke. “I wouldn’t have made it through any of this without her.”

They pull of their coats and kick of their shoes.

“Can I ask you something?”

“You can ask me anything. Always.”

“Is there more I should know?”

Lexa stares into Clarke’s face for a long moment, debating whether to say the first thing that came to her mind, or the one she should answer. She decides on the truth. “You should know it all. If…if the world was fair, you should remember it all.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“I know.”

“I just… wanted to make sure if there’s more… God, I’m screwing it up.” Clarke groans and buries her face in her hands.

Lexa can’t help but think it’s adorable, so she pulls Clarke’s fingers away from her face. “You want to know if there’s more of the big, bad stuff?”

“Yeah.”

“No.”

“No? Just good stuff?”

“Well, except for the fact that you snore, and that you’re a terrible loser at Monopoly, just good stuff.”

Clarke stares right back into her face for a moment, before she leans against the wall behind her and crosses her arms, a teasing smirk on her lips. “Those are my only faults?”

They’re not. But Lexa loves all of Clarke’s little flaws and ticks – like her tendency to argue until she’s won a discussion, even when she’s out of arguments, her weird obsessions with racoons and wild life documentaries, her constantly cold hands and feet that she warms up on Lexa’s body at night, or the fact that she takes up all the space in front of the sink when they brush their teeth. She loves all about the blonde, inside and out, but she sure as hell won’t give her the satisfaction of telling her so.

“Pretty much.” She replies instead, not willing to step into Clarke’s little trap. “And now I definitely need to get out of these jeans.”

“You sure?”

“Clarke.”

“What?”

“You’re definitely spending too much time with Raven.”

“She didn’t set me up on this.”

Lexa chuckles. “She doesn’t need to. Let’s get take a shower and change into dry clothes before the pizza is here.”

Clarke raises her eyebrows suggestively, but Lexa decides to ignore her, just to be safe. She can hear the blonde’s laughter following her upstairs.

---

She showers quickly, just to warm up her body, before she jumps into another pair of sweatpants and a comfy hoodie. Staring into her smiling face, she thinks about how easy Clarke makes things. Even with everything that happened, she’s so understanding, so reassuring and strong. It amazes Lexa.

Clarke finishes almost at the same time, and they step out of their rooms in the same moment, making big, bright smiles appear on their faces.

Before anything can happen though, there’s a knock on the door.

“Pizza!” Clarke squeals excited, running down the stairs before Lexa can even blink.

Lexa can’t help but laugh as she watches. Clarke makes everything easier, better. Pretty much like chocolate, she decides.

---

“Can I get a piece of yours?”

“You hate peperoni.”

“Still.”

“Of course. Here you go.” She hands over a slice of pizza and watches Clarke take a bite.

A second later Clarke makes a disgusted face. “Urgh.”

“Told ya.”

“Pff.”

Lexa chuckles.

“Hey, can we play something?”

“What?”

“I found this page on the internet, with a few questions.”

“What kind of questions?”

“First date questions.”

Lexa has a feeling where this will go. “Okay.”

“There’s over thirty.”

“Okay.” Lexa is by now unable to contain a grin. Clarke must’ve searched for that, which means she definitely feels something back, and that alone makes Lexa smile wider than she thought was possible.

“Hey! Don’t laugh!” Clarke slaps her arm lightly, a pout on her lips.

“I’m not laughing about you.”

“Then why are you laughing?”

“Because the thought makes me happy.”

Clarke’s pout turns into a shy smile, and Lexa could swear there’s a hint of a blush on the blonde’s cheek.

She reaches out to wipe away some tomato sauce from the corner of Clarke’s mouth, and she sees more than she hears how Clarke’s breath hitches at that. Somehow it makes her oddly proud that she seems to be having the same effects on the blonde than Clarke has on her.

Seconds pass, accentuated by a clock ticking in kitchen not far, before Clarke breaks the eye contact and reaches for her phone. She fidgets with it for a moment, and then looks back up. “You really want to do this?”

“What’s your first question?”

“Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want to have as a dinner guest?”

“J.K. Rowling.” Lexa’s answer comes quick, because it’s an easy one for her.

Clarke raises her eyebrows in question.

“That’s the author who wrote the Harry Potter novels.”

“Ah, I see.” Clarke chuckles.

“Hey, I’m a nerd okay?”

“And… would you like to be famous?”

“No. Not at all.”

Clarke hums, a deep frown edged into her forehead. “Before making a telephone call, do you rehearse what you’re going to say? And why?”

Lexa fights a smile. The nervousness in Clarke’s voice is easy to notice, but there’s also which questions she chooses. She remembers them. They asked each other those questions on a date, a long time ago. It was Clarke’s idea too, and they stayed up all night to go over them. This alone makes her want to pull Clarke closer, hold her close to her heart and tell her that she loves her with every cell of her body.

“I do, especially when I have to do work calls.” She answers instead. “I like being prepared, it… it makes me feel in charge, you know?”

Clarke smirks. “Didn’t notice that before.”

Lexa rolls her eyes.

“What would constitute a perfect day for you?”

“A perfect day?”

Clarke nods.

Lexa nibbles at her bottom lip while she thinks about the question. You and me. In bed. Preferably naked. But she can’t say that. Not yet. The thought makes her feel giddy. Not yet.

“You and me, maybe with Aden. A day without obligations or phone calls or things to do. We start with breakfast in bed after sleeping in. We’re all wearing our pajamas all day. And we eat lots of cookies, watch kids’ movies and do nothing but cuddle and enjoy life.” Lexa says, her eyes fixated on the smile that forms on Clarke’s lips.

“That sounds very sweet.”

“It’s basically how we spend Christmas every year.”

“Yeah?”

“With lots of presents of course.”

“Of course!” Clarke’s laughter echoes through the room, loud and warm, and it makes Lexa’s head spin.

“Next question?”

“Umm… When did you last sing to yourself? Or to someone else?”

“Yesterday evening. To Aden.”

“Raven said it’s what I usually do.”

“Yeah, you’re way better at it than I am. I normally only sing in the car, where nobody can hear me, and trust me it’s better this way. But you, you are really good at it. You’ve got an amazing voice.”

Clarke blushes, and Lexa is again oddly proud of herself. It’s like they’re back to their little battles, always fighting for the upper hand, always trying to outdo the other. They used to do that a lot when they first started dating.

---

They go through a few more questions, and debate over some of them playfully, even stopping the time when Lexa has to recall her life story in exactly four minutes. They laugh a lot and smile even more often, and Lexa can see the blonde getting more comfortable with every passing minute. It’s great to watch.

“How close and warm was your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?” Clarke reads the next question.

Lexa finishes her pizza and drops the empty pizza box onto the coffee table. “I think it was, yeah. When my Mom died, I was seven, so I don’t remember much about her. But I have lots of amazing memories with my Dad. The braids he used to do for me, the lunchboxes with little notes in them. Things like that. Most of my friends had two parents, but none of them would do that for their kids, so yeah, definitely.”

“He sounds amazing.”

“He was.”

“Can we jump to one of the last questions? I’m really curious.”

Lexa chuckles. “Of course we can, Miss Impatient.”

Clarke sticks out her tongue as a reply. “Tell the person you’re with what you like about them; being very honest and saying things that you might not say to someone you just met.” She reads out loud.

“Uh, that’s a tough one.” Lexa teases, earning another slap on the shoulder. “Violent much?”

“Come on, tell me.”

“Alright. I like the way you look at me right now. I like the dimples when you smile. They make your smile even more breathtaking. I like being able to do that.” Lexa reaches out to intertwine their fingers, before growing a bit bolder. “I like that this feels like a date to me.”

Clarke smile is genuine and so, so warm. “It does, doesn’t it?”

She didn’t deny it. Lexa’s heart skips a beat.

“What else?”

“I like how you reacted when I told you about what happened. I like that you make me feel at ease with myself. I like having you back home.” She adds, staring at their hands shyly, before opting to add another thing to end on a lighter note. “I like it when you frown, it’s cutest thing in the world.”

Clarke huffs, but she can’t hide the happy sparkling in her eyes that Lexa has sworn to coax out from her until the day she dies.

“What about you?”

“Me?”

“Yes, what do you like about me?”

Lexa watches as Clarke leans back against the armrest of the couch. She hears her taking a deep breath, as if she was nervous.

“Everything.” The blonde then answers.

“That’s not possible.”

“It is. I like that you don’t push me or expect me to be the same. I like that you keep giving me time and space to deal with all this.” She gestures around the room. “I like the way you say my name and the way you look at me. I like that you care for people so much and watching you with Aden. I like your smile, it’s blindingly beautiful, you know that? I like everything about you, Lexa, because I like you.”

I like you.

I like you.

I like you.

If it was possible for a heart to burst with happiness, Lexa’s would’ve did exactly that.

She has to look away, because she’s a second away from pulling Clarke against her and sealing her lips in a bruising kiss. Every fiber in her body is trembling with ache to kiss, to feel, to touch.

Yup. She just might do that.

“What are you thinking about?”

Lexa lifts her gaze from a spot on the floor. She’s a hundred percent sure Clarke knows exactly what’s going on in her head, if the look in those blue eyes is anything to go by. It’s bold, and cheeky, same as the smirk on those perfectly shaped, very kissable lips.

She can’t breathe. She can’t think.

Clarke raises her hand, and places it gently on Lexa’s face. “You know what else I like?”

“What?” Lexa croaks, her throat becoming dry.

“Being here with you.” Clarke’s fingers scoot through long waves of brown her, her eyes trailing her movements. “Kissing you.”

Lexa doesn’t even realize how close they are, because her eyes focus on Clarke’s lips as a tongue peeks out between them.

She swallows, forcing to meet Clarke’s eyes again. Blue. Always blue.

“Can I kiss you?”

Lexa agrees with a nod, sure that her words would’ve sounded too eager.

Clarke smiles, leaning even closer until their noses brush.

Lexa shivers.

Only a second passes before one of them – they couldn’t tell who it was if they wanted to – crosses the last inch of remaining distance between them, and Lexa finally feels Clarke’s lips press to her own.

Somehow the kiss feels different.

A tongue brushes Lexa’s bottom lip and she finds herself exhaling into Clarke’s mouth. That’s all it takes to let the kiss grow deeper.

Before she knows it, she feels Clarke’s weight in her lap as the blonde straddles her, and her hands ground themselves onto Clarke’s hips. When her thumb sneaks below the soft material of the hoodie touching the skin there, an ache buzzes through her veins, only fueled by the softest moan falling from Clarke’s throat.

Lexa chases kiss after kiss, the blonde eager to reciprocate.

Only when little gasps for air between heated and desperate kisses aren’t enough anymore, they finally break apart.

Lexa’s body’s on fire, but that’s nothing compared to her heart.

Clarke looks beautiful and wild, with her darkened eyes blown wide, her lips swollen. She’s panting as heavily as Lexa is, but there’s an expression on her face that makes Lexa smile wider than she has ever smiled before.

It tells Lexa that she’s not the only one who can feel things between them changing. Not anymore.

And then Clarke giggles, hands still buried in Lexa’s curls. She actually fucking giggles.

Chapter Text

“What?” Lexa asks, staring in wonder.

“Can we…”

“Can we what?”

“Maybe keep doing this for a little longer?”

Lexa smirks. “What? This?” She leans in and ghosts the softest kiss on Clarke’s lips.

Clarke rests her forehead against Lexa’s, eyes closed, and nods. “Yeah. Exactly that.”

“Maybe.”

Clarke puts on her best puppy face, effectively ruining Lexa’s intentions of teasing the blonde in a heartbeat.

“We definitely can.” She hears herself say.

But Clarke seems to have other plans. Her shy smile turns into a devilish smirk, and before Lexa can do or say anything, she climbs down from Lexa’s lap. “Nah.” She announces with a serious expression as she flops back into the sofa cushions. “I changed my mind.”

Lexa can’t help but laugh. “And here I thought I had the upper hand for once.”

Clarke eyes her from the side for a while, until Lexa starts to get nervous and reaches for her glass of coke on the coffee table. When she looks back up, Clarke still stares at her.

“So you’re a bottom?”

Lexa chokes on her drink. “What?” She coughs.

Clarke laughs and pats Lexa’s back. “We’re married, right? Means you can tell me.”

“I can’t believe this is happening. Where did you even learn about that?”

“Internet.” Clarke shrugs casually and Lexa almost chokes again. “Revenge is a sweet, sweet thing. You good there?”

“Perfect.”

“So, are you a bottom or not?”

“I guess you’ll have to see for yourself.”

Clarke raises her eyebrows.

That came out wrong. “I- I mean, when we… You know. If we... I mean, not that I’m saying that we…” She stutters arduously, while Clarke’s grin gets wider with every word. Goddamn. Get a grip, she tries to tell herself, but it’s a hopeless case. And when it comes to Clarke Griffin, it has always been.

“You’re making it too easy, Lex.” Clarke replies with an amused, but soft smile. “But I like it.”

Lexa mutters something incomprehensible, her cheeks still burning in crimson red.

Clarke moves closer again. “You know what else I like? Being here with you. This… this bubble. It feels safe. And pretty damn perfect. And I could get used to it.”

Lexa’s heart swells. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Clarke nods. “Definitely.”

--

“Do you want to pick up Aden with me?” Lexa asks after staring into her favorite set of blue eyes for admittedly half an eternity. But hey, in her defense: having a gorgeous looking blonde so close does that to everyone.

Clarke’s smile is sweet and addicting. “Yeah, I’d love to.”

“Come on then.”

---

Lexa steals occasionally glances at her blonde passenger. Clarke seems to be lost in thoughts, her eyes watching the houses and gardens rolling by, accompanied by an occasional smile. She’s beautiful this way – or in any way really.

“What’s your favorite song?” Clarke suddenly asks.

“My favorite song?”

“Yeah. Isn’t that a thing? Favorite songs?”

“It is.” Lexa confirms, masking her surprise with a smile. “But I could never settle on one. There’s classics from the eighties that I love, but also lots of newer ones. Depends on the mood.”

“And what’s the last song you’ve listened to?”

“Phew, I don’t know. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve paid attention to music, I usually just put on the radio or something. There’s one I’ve been playing on YouTube for a while, it…” Lexa sighs.

“It what?”

Lexa stops the car at a red light and looks over to her wife. “It made me think of you. Of us. It seemed fitting for our situation, I don’t…”

Telling Clarke this brings back sadness somehow, and with it that familiar melancholy feeling from all those days where Lexa would have to tell their story again, knowing full well that she’d have to do the same the next day and the day after that as well. But she wants to share those parts of herself too. She wants to share it all, because Clarke deserves it.

“Play it for me?” Clarke asks.

Lexa doesn’t answer. Instead she lets the car roll over the crossroad and makes a turn to the right at the next opportunity, stopping the car in a supermarket’s parking lot. Then she grabs her phone, plucks it in and types the song’s title into the search bar before she can change her mind.

A moment later the sound of raindrops hitting the windshield mixes with the sound of waves coming from the speakers, before the music starts to play.

We left under moonlight,
we went with the breeze.
I bet on your blue eyes,
you set for my green.

Clarke’s fingers lace with hers, and only then Lexa finds the strength to look up from her hands. Clarke is smiling softly, her eyes never leaving Lexa’s, not for one second. There’s the same sparkling expression in her eyes as back on the couch, and Lexa revels in that.

We moved with the water,
the tumble and sway.
The slow dance gets harder
As level shorelines fade.

It feels oddly peaceful, sitting here with Clarke. But that’s what the blonde does to her, calming her down, bringing her peace. That’s what she loves her for – or one of the things.

So now I'm out drifting away.
What can I say,
you're barely listening,
asleep in the shade of tidal waves.

Lexa never really paid attention to the lyrics, except for the part with blue and green eyes. It was the melody that caught her attention, the calm and quiet that she got lost in. Only now she realizes that the words have spoken to her too.

Someone throw a lifeline,
I don't want to drown.
I can't hold you closer
without just sinking down.
Once I'm safe from the deep,
you're the waves at my feet
that just keep pulling me out.
By the power of the moonlight,
when the tide comes around.

Clarke’s thumb grazes over her skin, and suddenly everything’s falls into place in Lexa’s head. Sitting here with Clarke, in a random parking lot, listening to music while outside the rain is pouring. All the pain, the fears – it doesn’t matter anymore. Nothing else matters, if she has her loved ones close.

You think that I worry about
what I can't see but fear.
The truth's always blurry somehow.
We still hear these heartbeats clear.
And yours might be steady now,
yeah, yours could be true.
Mine's always heavy with doubt,
like the current dragging on you.

Lexa lifts their hands and presses a kiss to Clarke’s knuckles. “Thank you.” She whispers, knowing Clarke will understand what she means. The healing she started to do just hours ago, the slow progress she feels.

Clarke just smiles, still holding her gaze.

Someone throw a lifeline,
I don't want to drown.
I can't hold you closer without just sinking down.
Once I'm safe from the deep
you're the waves at my feet
that just keep pulling me out
by the power of the moonlight,
when the tide comes around.

She holds their hands to her cheek, feeling the need to be close to Clarke somehow, to touch her.

Oh when it's gone I'm right back where we start,
waves from so long ago come and crash on my heart.
All that we were and I dreamed you to be
shines so bright on the deep and darkened sea.

She loves her with every ounce of her heart. She knew that before, and yet she didn’t. Even after five years, she’s still surprised about it every time the thought crosses her mind. It’s almost like she can’t believe it.

Someone throw a lifeline,
I don't want to drown.
I can't hold you closer
without just sinking down.
Once I'm safe from the deep
you're the waves at my feet
that just keep pulling me out
By the power of the moonlight,
when the tide comes around.

They listen to the waves crashing the shore at the end of the song, before they immerse in silence for a heartbeat or two.

And then, just like that, Clarke leans over the center console and ghost a kiss on her lips.

Lexa is too surprised by the action to kiss back.

“Sorry.” Clarke apologizes quickly, pulling back abruptly.

“Don’t be.”

Clarke tilts her head.

“I…” She’s at loss for words, which only leads to an amused chuckle on Clarke’s side.

“You good?” Clarke asks, amusement still present on her face as well as in her voice.

“I am. More than that. Can I… can I take you out? One of these days?”

“Take me out?”

“Like…” Lexa bites her bottom lip for a moment, trying to muster the courage. It’s ridiculous, but still she’s nervous. “Like a real date?”

“You’re cute.”

“Is that a no or a yes?” Clarke’s beaming smile should be enough of an answer, really, but Lexa needs confirmation that they’re on the same page here.

“Of course it’s a yes. I’d love to.”

“Good.”

“Good.” Clarke chuckles. “Were you that nervous when you asked me out for the first time?”

“No. I… maybe? I just want to do this right. With you. I…” Lexa pauses, looking for the right words before she keeps on stuttering an incoherent mess. “With everything that has happened to us, it’s too important to find the right pace. Your wellbeing, your recovery, that has to come first.”

“You’re just as important.”

“In any other situation, yes. But not now, Clarke. Whatever you want, whatever you need to recover, I’ll try to give it to you. I’ll try to make it possible.”

“Lex-”

“No, let me say this, please. If you want to go somewhere, if you want to meet someone, if you need distance, a day with me cuddled up on the couch, a day with Aden alone, or a day to yourself, whatever it is, you can tell me. I want you to tell me.”

“And if I want to kiss you?”

“Clarke, be serious.”

“Oh, I am serious.”

“Please. I want you to be happy. Twenty-four seven if that was possible.”

Now Clarke’s the one who intertwines their fingers, and presses a kiss on Lexa’s knuckles. “I am happy.” The blonde then replies with a warm smile. “Not all the time, sure, there’s a lot of things that overwhelm me. But I am as often as one can be in a situation like mine. You make me happy, Lex. And I’m really, really looking forward to that date.”

Her heart skips a beat. “Yeah?”

“Lexa, you’re amazing. Of course I am.”

Maybe one of these days Lexa will believe that a woman like Clarke picks her twice. Today’s not that day, but that’s okay.

“Come on, let’s pick up our son.”

-------

Clarke.

Overwhelming. That’s the word Clarke could use for every situation she faces these days. The memory loss. The things she learns about herself and her life. The feelings she gets whenever Lexa is around. Their story. The kisses.

Damn. Those kisses on the couch.

Raven’s and Anya’s house isn’t far from theirs, only a couple of blocks. It’s cozier than Clarke would’ve expected it to be, with an old, large, wooden front porch, green window shutters, and window boxes filled with evergreen plants.

Raven’s jeep and a motorcycle are parked in the driveway, and Lexa parks their car in the middle between them.

Before they can even properly get out of the car, the front door swings open, revealing a flour-covered and happily squealing Aden.

“Aden, did you take a flour bath? Look at you!” Lexa laughs, getting down on one knee to be on eye level with the boy.

Clarke watches with a smile on her face.

“We make cake!” He answers, before running around the hood of the car to where Clarke stopped, pressing his flour-covered hands onto her dark-grey sweatpants. “Momma, look, I’m all white!”

Her heart swells, and she doesn’t care about the handprints on her clothes. “I can see that, buddy.” She replies and ruffles a hand through his hair. “What kind of cake are you making?”

“Chocolate!”

Lexa laughs. “Our favorite. Where are your aunts?”

“Right behind him, Moms!” Raven replies. She’s covered in flour too, only on her it looks way funnier.

Clarke can barely stifle her laughter. “What did you guys do?”

“We love him pieces, just like we’re supposed to do, right babe?” Anya answers Clarke’s question as she comes up next to her wife. She’s flour-free, which she seems to enjoy a bit too much, if the look on Raven’s face is anything to go by.

“Yeah.” Her friend grumbles.

Lexa and Clarke both laugh – mostly at Raven’s grumpy face in contrast to Aden’s happy one.

“Why don’t you guys come in and we wait for the terrible two to finish the cake?” Anya suggests, unable to hold back the grin any longer. She earns a slight punch from Raven.

“Coming!” Aden shouts, running back into the house.

“I swear, we’ll talk again about the kids-thing.” Raven grumbles, much to anyone’s amusement, before she turns on her heels.

“Kids-thing?” Lexa asks, taking Clarke’s question away.

“We’re thinking about it.”

“Ahn, that’s great!”

Clarke watches how Lexa wraps her sister in a tight hug. She loves seeing Lexa interact with her family. But she has to admit, she loves alone-time with the brunette a little more.

Lexa looks back at Clarke after parting from her sister. “Is it okay if we stay here a little bit longer?”

“Sure. I’m curious for chocolate cake.”

“You’re going to love it, I swear!” Lexa announces and extends a hand for her.

Clarke only notices it now but being here definitely belongs to the category “overwhelming”. That Lexa noticed makes her heart flutter. She grabs Lexa’s hand, reveling in the feeling of warm and soft skin against hers, and her feet start moving on their own.

The wooden floor in her friend’s kitchen is creaking underneath her feet as they make their way inside, following the sounds of laughter. Everything is new to her, and there’s some beauty behind it that she can’t deny. Clarke finds herself smiling about it.

Anya and Lexa settle on the couch, talking quietly, while Clarke steps into the kitchen.

She’s unaware of Lexa watching her from her spot on the couch, and maybe that’s a good thing. The brunette has a way of getting under her skin – a good way of course. Just a look or a smile maybe, and Clarke’s heart races a hundred miles per minute. She can’t remember not feeling that way, and she doesn’t even remember a week of her life.

Clarke watches her friend interacting with her son, who’s sitting on the kitchen counter next to Raven, before she notices a picture on the fridge that catches her attention. It’s Lexa, Anya, Raven and her, as well as two other women she doesn’t know on a beach somewhere. Lexa and Anya are wearing bikinis, they rest of them shorts and shirts. They’re all barefoot, with sunglasses or sunhats shielding them from the sun. They’ve got their arms around each other’s shoulders, laughing about something or nothing at all, Clarke doesn’t know.

“Who’s that?”

“Huh?” Raven looks up from a bowl. “Oh, that! That’s Luna on the left, and Echo on the right.”

Clarke nods, but only because she doesn’t know what else to say.

“We met Luna in college, she had the dorm across from us. Luna studied marine biology.” Raven explains quickly, wiping her hands clean on her jeans before picking the photo from the fridge and handing it to Clarke. “Echo is a lawyer for human rights.”

Clarke takes in the women’s faces.

Luna has a few dreadlocks in hair curly hair, and a nose piercing. Around her neck she wears a small necklace with a little wave-shaped pendant, her wrists are covered in all kinds of bracelets. She definitely looks like a surfer girl.

Echo seems completely different. She’s got a sharp jawline and a fierce look in her eyes. Her pale skin hints that she doesn’t spend a lot of time in the sun. She’s wearing simple white shirt and red lipstick in the photograph; her hair is pulled up in a functional and neat bun.

“Are they a couple?”

“They met in October, four years ago, and fell in love right away. But they’re not like Lexa and you, or Anya and me, you know? Not with the houses and kids and stuff. They only see each other once a month or so, since they’re both busy saving the world.”

“Like superheroes?” Aden asks, perking up from the spoon Raven had him licking chocolate from.

“Exactly, buddy. They’re real life superheroes, just like your Momma.” Raven answers with a smile, ruffling his hair.

Clarke smiles a thank you.

Aden beams. “Momma’s a superhero?”

“Of course she is. Both your Moms are.”

“And you?”

“Aunt Raven is a superhero too.” Clarke replies. “Wanna go tell Mom?”

“Yes!”

Clarke picks him up from the kitchen counter and sets him on the floor.

Both women watch him run off with a smile.

Then Clarke looks back at the picture. “They seem nice. Where was the photo taken?”

“They day before their wedding, four years ago in November. We all went to Hawaii for it.”

Clarke raises her eyebrows, trying to connect the dots. “Are you saying…?”

“Yup. They knew each other for not even four weeks, before Echo asked Luna to marry her. Pretty romantic, don’t you think?”

“Pretty… risky.”

“Well, Lexa told Anya she was going to marry you the day you met.”

“Really?”

“Really. Hasn’t she told you that story yet? God, it’s an amazing story, really. People should make a movie out of it.”

“We only talked about it briefly.”

Raven squeezes Clarke’s shoulder, an odd gesture for the dark-haired woman, before glancing over to the living room, where Lexa and Anya are wrapped up in a tight hug. “Did you get to talk?”

“About the accident and the baby?”

Raven nods.

“Yes. She told me everything.”

“And how are you feeling?”

“Honestly? I’m overwhelmed. It’s…” Clarke pauses, trying to find the right words. “I can’t imagine how she did all that. These past months must’ve been horrible. I mean, it’s hard for me to comprehend how much time I forgot about, you know? I don’t know what I don’t remember, so that makes it a bit easier. Somehow.” She shrugs. “But the more I learn about her and us, the more I admire her. Her strength, her patience, her sheer unbending will to get me back.”

Raven smiles at her compassionately. “That’s Lexa.”

“Yeah, but… She always puts other people first, makes them her top priority. Who’s putting her first?”

Raven is still smiling when she answers. “You are.”

“I try.”

Clarke steals another glance at Lexa, thinking about their talk in the car, and blushes when green eyes meet hers. What Lexa revealed back in that parking lot meant a lot to Clarke. It was Lexa opening up, letting her in, trusting her. And she knows Lexa doesn’t trust easy.

“She asked me out today.” She tells Raven quietly.

“Like on a date-date?”

“On a date-date, yeah.”

“And how do you feel about that?”

“Excited. I…”

Clarke’s eyes wander back to Lexa on their own, and she can’t help but smile when she finds the brunette still watching at her with that an expression that makes her insides feel hot and light. “I can’t wait.”

Raven chuckles. “I can imagine.”

Clarke rolls her eyes at her friend. “She’s… amazing, you know?” She says in a low voice. “She keeps surprising me, and I keep feeling drawn closer to her all the time. I want to learn everything about her, about us.”

Raven doesn’t reply to that. Maybe because they both know what the answer would be. An “of course you do” to which Clarke wouldn’t know what to reply to.

Is it that obvious? Is it an inevitable force that Clarke couldn’t fight if she wanted to? Is it just curiosity that has her hanging on Lexa’s lips (in a metaphorical way, not the physical one)? Or is it more?

Clarke sighs, eyes still holding Lexa’s green ones as she comes to a realization. “I don’t know, this feels like…”

“Like you’re falling in love with your wife?”

She finally turns to look at Raven again. Her friend has a content smile on her face.

Love, Clarke thinks to herself, testing the sound of it in her head. The word should scare her. It’s a huge word. The biggest in existence.

But it doesn’t scare her, not even a little bit. If this is what falling in love feels like, then she’d happily do it for the rest of her life, every single day all over again. But she’s not ready to voice it.

She shrugs with a shy smile, feeling a blush creeping up on her cheeks.

Raven wordlessly pulls her into an embrace. “It’s so good to have you back.”

---

The cake is a revelation, really. Clarke didn’t know how she managed all those days without chocolate cake, but she’ll make sure she gets it every day from now on. Life should be about more than just living, right? It’s the little things.

She also comes to realize that Anya is someone in whose company she feels at ease, almost as much as in Lexa’s. The sisters have that ability to be close to you without having to talk, and you don’t even notice the time passing by.

She spends the rest of the afternoon and the early evening with cake, watching Aden and Raven chase each other around the living room, and listening to Anya sharing stories about kid- and teen-Lexa. About that time when Lexa and her best friend Ontari stole a birthday cake at the young age of five. Or about how Lexa skipped classes to carry home an injured dog.

The little stories contribute to that picture of Lexa that slowly forms in Clarke’s head, and she shares a smile with the brunette more than once.

“Thank you.” She says quietly to her sister in law, when Lexa is busy putting shoes on Aden’s little feet.

“What for?”

“For taking care of her.”

Anya smiles and pulls her in for a hug. “Always.”

---

Aden passes out on their way back home. His day was exhausting, and since he already had lots of cake, Lexa puts him into bed right away.

Clarke watches the scene from the doorway. How Lexa tugs him in, making sure his teddy bear Gustus is under the blanket too, how she leans in to press a kiss on his forehead, softly and lovingly. She sees the love in Lexa’s eyes as she watches him snuggle deeper into his pillows, and she feels her own heart swell at the sight.

Maybe Raven is right. Maybe this is what falling in love looks like. Maybe she’s falling for her in lightspeed.

“What are you thinking about?”

“Nothing.” Clarke whispers back, carefully closing the door behind them.

Whatever Lexa has seen in her eyes, she lets it go. “What do you want to do?”

“I’m kind of tired. It’s been a long day.” She replies.

Lexa’s shoulders slump down, just a little, and something in Clarke’s heart tugs.

“But I was thinking we could finish that movie? Chamber of secrets?”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. But don’t resent me if I fall asleep.”

“I could never resent you, Clarke.” Lexa motions to the stairs. “After you.”

“Gentlewoman.”

“Of course.”

Little does Clarke know that Lexa stares at her ass the whole way down. And little does Lexa know that Clarke puts a little more effort into her hip’s movement.

They settle on the couch, and Clarke drapes an arm around Lexa’s shoulders, pulling her closer. It happens naturally, without second guessing, and when she notices the look of awe on Lexa’s face, her heart swells even further.

“That okay?”

“More than.”

“Good.”

The movie is good. Not good enough to keep her from stealing glances at the woman in her arms, but she likes the story, the magic behind it.

More than once her eyes fall shut, and she probably misses out on a few scenes, but she doesn’t want this day to end. She doesn’t want to have to let go of Lexa. The thought is scary, somehow, even scarier than how she feels.

If she’s learned something from all this mess, then that life is short and unpredictable.

“Clarke.”

“Huh?”

“You’re tired.”

“Am not.”

Lexa chuckles. “Yes, you are.”

“Am not.” She grumbles back, but she’s aware that her eyes are closed and that she has been drifting in and out of sleep for a couple of minutes now.

“We can watch the rest tomorrow.”

“No.”

“Come on. You need some rest.”

“I am resting.”

Another chuckle, then Lexa’s fingers lace with hers. “You need to get some sleep. In a real bed. Remember what the doctors said? Slow and careful. I know this day has been… none of that really, but still. We should go to bed.”

Clarke opens her eyes and steals a glance at Lexa’s face. Her features are soft and clear, and the smile on her lips is so warm. She can’t explain where the sudden sadness comes from. She’s got no reason to be sad.

“I don’t want to go to bed.” She says in a hushed whisper.

Lexa frowns, immediately sitting up and taking both of Clarke’s hands into her own. “Why not?”

“I…” Clarke sighs.

“Tell me.”

“I just... I want to stay close to you.” She mumbles quietly, staring at her hands. She feels a little embarrassed by the admission.

But Lexa just smiles. “Then I will stay close to you. The bed’s big enough for the two of us.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Lexa reaches out and brushes a strand of hair out of Clarke’s face. “But don’t steal my blanket, okay?”

Clarke laughs. “I’ll try my best.”

“Come on then.”

They brush their teeth standing next to each other in their bathroom and change into their pajamas in separate rooms.

Clarke’s already underneath the duvet, when Lexa enters in shorts and a loose t-shirt, and she can’t help but blush. It’s a good thing Lexa can’t see that.

They lie in bed on their sides, their usual ones with Clarke on the left and Lexa on the right, but Clarke doesn’t know that. What she knows is that she’s suddenly not tired at all, and that she’s hyperaware of the tension that radiates off of Lexa.

“You okay? If it’s too much, we can-”

“I haven’t slept in this room since it happened.”

She wants to ask what Lexa is talking about, but then she understands. Lexa is talking about the car accident.

“It’s… weird.” Lexa adds after a few silent seconds. “But in a good way, I guess.”

Clarke stays silent, but she slowly lets her hands scoot over the duvet, searching for Lexa’s. When she finds it, she carefully intertwines their fingers. Lexa’s are warm, her own are cold.

“Is it okay for you? That I’m here?”

“More than that.” Clarke replies, and she means it.

Lexa hums.

And Clarke smiles before she rolls over and snuggles closer to the warm body next to her.

“Good night, Clarke.” Lexa whispers, pressing a kiss to her forehead.

“Good night.”