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she's new

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She was new.

Or so Lexa thought. By the time she noticed her, the year was already well into October. She could have very well been there since September – she sat in the back, Lexa sat in the front; not having noticed her wasn’t that far outstretched an idea. She never said anything, never seemed to draw anyone’s attention, and disappeared like smoke the second the bell rang. Lexa wasn’t even sure how she showed up to class; she’d just look back, and there she would be.

It seemed half like a strange dream that Lexa had even seen her.

But she couldn’t quite forget her, either. She’d thought she knew more or less everyone in her lectures, if not by name then by face – but for some reason, she’d never noticed this girl before. This girl, with messy blonde hair and beautifully blue, though somehow somber eyes, she looked nothing like someone who would go unnoticed. She looked like someone who, upon entering a room, would take command of it simply because of who she was – but that was precisely what she didn’t do.

At first, Lexa had failed to notice her altogether. But then, when she did notice her…she couldn’t stop. Not just in her art history classes, but everywhere.

Buying sandwiches in the cafeteria to go. Sitting in the far corner of the reading lounge of the library, curled up and so well hidden it was as though she weren’t even there. Walking down the street towards the bus stop, eyes fixed on the ground, never stopping to speak to anyone. Sitting on benches in the hallways, waiting in line at the student office – she was everywhere. Or so it seemed to be, to Lexa at least.

Lexa never saw her with anyone. She was always alone, and almost always on her way somewhere else.

It wasn’t like she was an obsession or anything. More like a mystery, an enigma that appealed to Lexa’s curious nature; she just wanted to know more about her. See more, learn more, if even just her name – having her be nameless in her mind felt wrong.

As the class student union representative, Lexa had thought herself someone who kind of knew everyone in her class. She was always the first one to extend a hand to a new student, to flash a smile and introduce herself. She was easy to get along with, she prided herself on that, and it was what she was known for. Lexa Woods, the student body president, the star player of the field hockey team, the happiest volunteer at student conventions – everyone wanted to be her friend, and, well, she tried to be everyone’s friend. Maybe she couldn’t remember the names of all eight hundred students in her class, but she did know those in her classes, recognized those who spoke with her, and always had time for anyone who wanted to chat.

Well, almost always.

Sometimes she was late for practice.

Sometimes she’d get so caught up chatting with her philosophy professor about her extra readings that she’d forget she was due to be at the field at quarter past the hour.

And so, sometimes, she ran past her friends, ignoring their questions, hurrying her way towards the locker room to change.

Though she was the star player of the team, that didn’t mean coach Indra wouldn’t make her do the penalties all through practice if she was late. The same rules applied to everyone.

She didn’t notice the blonde in her way before it was too late to avoid a collision. There was a surprised yelp, a pain in her shoulder, and then, by some miracle, Lexa managed to catch herself against a wall and not fall on top of the girl she’d just more or less body-checked into the ground.

The blonde hadn’t been so fortunate. Her hands hadn’t been free, having been carrying a stack of books, and so, she’d landed on her back onto the gravel path with no way to stop herself. The books had fallen all around her, one of them leaving a nasty scrape on her shin, but what Lexa noticed first was the fact that she was holding her head, clearly in pain.

“Oh my god,” she cried, rushing over and helping her up into a seated position. “I’m so sorry, I wasn’t looking, I-“

The blonde let out a pained grunt. “That fucking hurt.”

Lexa didn’t know what to say, other than to repeat her apology. “Does it hurt really bad? Let me see-“

She touched the blonde’s hand, just slightly, but the girl recoiled from her touch as though surprised – it was so unexpected that Lexa was left with her hand mid-air, unsure of what to do.

“I think I’m bleeding,” the blonde muttered, reaching for her books with one hand while the other kept holding at the back of her head.

“No, here, let me,” Lexa insisted, gently pushing the blonde’s hand away and quickly gathering the books up. “I’ll take you to the nurse.”

“I’m fine-“

“You said it yourself, you’re bleeding. And it was my fault, so…let me help? I feel awful.”

Lexa offered the blonde a hand and her most reassuring smile. What she got in return was a tentative hand in hers and what could’ve been construed as the hint of a smile.

After dusting the gravel off of herself, the blonde followed Lexa to the nurse. Lexa had also picked up her backpack without asking, just wanting to be friendly, completely missing the slight surprised look on the blonde’s face as she did so. She kept eyeing her, the blonde, half in concern and half because of her overwhelming curiosity, but her few attempts at conversation weren’t met with much enthusiasm.

She couldn’t tell if the blonde was shy or unfriendly, or a mixed combination of both – but she figured there was no use in trying to force it.

It wasn’t until they reached the nurse’s office that the blonde said something.

It was just a thank you, but it felt like a little victory to Lexa.

She’d almost left the room when she realized she still didn’t know the girl’s name. Somehow, she’d forgotten to ask.

For a brief moment, she considered turning around and asking, but before she could make up her mind, the nurse came in and did the asking for her.

“And what’s your name, sweetheart?”

“Clarke Griffin.”

That satisfied Lexa, and she walked out, having almost entirely forgotten about practice.

But then it hit her, and she started running again. Not that it would’ve done much – practice had already started, and she was on the wrong end of campus.

In the end, she didn’t mind that she had to do twenty extra of whatever they did – 20 extra seconds of planking, 20 extra squats, 20 extra minutes of jogging at the end…it didn’t matter. So what if she was left feeling completely dead by the end of practice, it was all for the best.

“Good job, Lexa,” Indra called out when Lexa returned from her extra jog at the end of practice.

“Thanks,” Lexa groaned, grabbing her water bottle and making a noise of disappointment when she saw it was empty. “I promise I won’t be late again.”

“Good,” Indra chuckled. “Now hurry along, it’s getting late.”

Lexa half-walked and half-jogged to the locker rooms, sweaty and exhausted, muscles aching and her stomach crying out for food of any sorts. On her way into the building, she saw Anya was waiting for her at the parking lot, her annoyed look unmistakeable even from so far away.

“What took you so long?” was Anya’s first question to her when she finally got in the car. “All the other girls left half an hour ago.”

“I was late to practice,” Lexa sighed, taking a long sip from her bottle. “I think I’m dying.”

“There’s an energy bar in the glove compartment,” Anya told her as she backed out of the parking space. “Why were you late? You’re never late.”

“I ran into a girl,” Lexa began. She was consequently interrupted by the fact that she’d taken too large a bite from the peanut protein bar she’d found, and in her attempts to chew it, was left silent.

“A girl? What? Who?”

Lexa swallowed her mouthful and almost choked, tears welling up in her eyes as she coughed. “Not like that, literally – I was running to practice and didn’t look, ran into this girl. She fell backwards and hit her head, she even bled a little, I felt so bad that I had to take her to the nurse…”

“So you were late to practice because you tackled a girl. Nice.”

“I didn’t mean to do it!”

Anya laughed. “I know, I know – our miss goody-two-shoes would never do something like that on purpose.”

Lexa rolled her eyes and laid back against her seat. “I hope she’s okay.”

“You took her to the nurse. I’m sure she’s fine.”

“She’s in my art history class, you know,” Lexa continued, mostly talking to herself. “Hadn’t noticed her before, not until last week.”

“And what happened last week?”

Lexa shrugged. “Nothing. I just noticed her, that’s all.”

“Maybe she’s new.”

“That’s the thing,” Lexa sighed, staring out of the window. “I don’t think she is.”

 


 

Though she didn’t know it, Lexa was right.

Clarke wasn’t new. She’d been there for a year now, having transferred from the college across town last September. She was well past the point of being considered ‘new’.

Her head ached a little. It hadn’t been too bad, just a scrape so far as she was concerned, but the nurse had told her to go home and rest.

When she’d told her mom, she’d received a worried array of questions, but she’d known to expect it. Her mom was, after all, a doctor. It was both her job as a mother and as a doctor to be worried when her daughter told her she’d hit her head hard enough to bleed.

Clarke wiggled her toes and sighed. She’d painted her nails bright green this time, and considered adding in a flower on her big toes – but decided against it. The chemical smell of the nail polish was getting a bit too much.

With her toes in the air, she heel-walked to the window, and shoved it up, letting in the fresh night air. It was raining, the autumn leaves on the ground pattering from the steady fall of the rain. The bare trunks of the trees shone, black in the yellowy light of the streetlamps, and the street itself glistened in the dark night.

There wasn’t a car in sight, not a single soul was out. No light was on in any of the houses she saw, not a single porchlight or kitchen lamp was lit. It was way past midnight, and everyone else was asleep. Her mom, too, was fast asleep in her room two doors down.

It was quiet, and it was calm.

It was lonely, too, but Clarke had grown used to that.

She preferred being alone to being exhausted.

At the beginning, her mom had asked her every now and then if she’d made any new friends.

After a few months, she’d stopped. Clarke knew she was worried, noticed the concerned looks and the worried sighs, but also knew she respected her privacy.

She was an adult, after all, and could take care of herself.

More or less.

It was late, and she knew she should sleep, but she couldn’t. She didn’t feel like it, though she felt tired; she didn’t feel like laying down in bed and trying to shut her eyes. So instead, she curled up in her chair, pulled out her sketchbook, and started drawing. She didn’t listen to music, just to the rain falling outside, and the wind in the trees, and the occasional car driving down the street next to theirs. She didn't need music to silence the world out - the world, at that moment, was silent enough on it's own.

By the time the sun came up, she’d only slept maybe an hour or two. But that was fine, she’d grown used to that – she put on concealer, tried to comb her hair, and pulled on a beanie that hid most of her features. Though she knew she wasn’t going to be seeing anyone she particularly cared about, she still cared enough to make sure she didn’t look like absolute hell. She didn’t want anyone thinking there was anything wrong with her.

When she got to her 8 a.m. art history class, she saw that only a few people had turned up. That was not unusual – 8am classes were like that. And, given the professor didn’t consider attendance mandatory, a lot of people took that as permission to sleep in.

Clarke couldn’t have slept in had she wanted to. She had enough trouble sleeping normal amounts.

And so instead she sat at the very back of the classroom, hid behind her books and her hat, and tried her very best to not draw anyone’s attention.

Not that she particularly tried to. She just wished so hard that she could just be left alone that it translated into her outer appearance, and, as a result, everyone in the class avoided her. To most, she was just shy of invisible; they would see her, but not remember her the second she was out of their sight. And that's what Clarke preferred.

Just a few minutes before the lecture was due to start, Clarke noticed the girl from the day before walk in. She sat down at the very front, next to two other girls, and immediately got to chatting. For 8 a.m., she looked impressively well put together. Her hair was combed and slightly curled, her clothes were neat, and her face looked clean and fresh. Clarke found herself stealing glances simply because she was envious of how she looked – so happy, so comfortable with herself, so outspoken and in her element.

Clarke would’ve given anything to be her.

She sighed and looked away, fixing her eyes on the smudge on the window two rows down from where she sat. The morning sun was golden and soft, not yet too bright, and it looked like it would be an absolutely gorgeous day.

Lexa, having not noticed the blonde staring until she looked away, only glanced to the back to see Clarke staring out of the window, fingers twirling her pen. Lexa noticed that she had a band-aid on the back of her left hand, definitely from yesterday’s fall. Had she not been so far away, Lexa might have gone over and asked if she was okay. But she was far away, and right by the door, and so when the lecture was over, she was gone long before Lexa even managed to get out of her row.

“What’s the rush, Woods?”

Lexa glanced at her friends and shrugged, giving up on trying to catch up to Clarke. “Nothing. My legs are just sore, that’s all.”

“That’s what you get for being late,” Octavia smirked, shoving her books in her bag and throwing it over her shoulder. “Maybe next time you’ll come on time, you missed a lot of goss-“

“Octavia, hush, Lexa doesn’t want to hear about your boy troubles,” Costia interrupted, giving her a nudge. “It was nothing new. Lincoln this, Lincoln that…just ask him out already.”

Octavia rolled her eyes. “I can’t, he’s my brother’s friend. It’s…weird.”

“But you’re in love with him.”

“Am not.”

“In lust.”

“Maybe…he’s just so hot- you guys just don’t get it.“

Lexa laughed at their exchange and shook her head. “You’re talking to two lesbians, can you really complain that we don’t get it?”

“You two,” Octavia muttered, walking up the steps, “Are hopeless.”

 


 

 

“So, Halloween is coming up.”

Lexa had only just set her tray down, but Octavia wasn’t about to wait.

“What are we doing?”

“Clubs? Parties? What we do every year?” Costia suggested. “Or were you talking about costumes?”

“I already know,” Raven, the brunette sitting by Octavia, said.

She was more Octavia’s friend than Lexa’s. Lexa hadn’t yet gotten to know her, but she had just started hanging out with them and didn’t seem to want to leave. Not that she wasn’t nice, she was…but she wasn’t on the field hockey team, and had a bit of a rebel attitude to her, something which at times set Lexa out of ease.

“What are you going as?”

“You know that badass chick from Atlantis?”

“What are you going about-“

Lexa zoned out for a second, not listening to her friends discussing their outfits, not until suddenly silence fell and she realized she’d been asked a question.

“Huh?”

“Were you listening?”

“No, I was eating,” she lied, lifting her fork. “What’d you say?”

“What should we do?”

“I signed up to be a volunteer chaperone for kids,” Lexa shrugged.

“Oh, god, not again,” Octavia began.

“I’m not dragging you along this time,” Lexa said quickly. “I just wanted to do it. I’ll catch up with you guys after, I’ll have the kids home by eight anyway…”

“Okay…but still, where should we go?”

“Tell?”

“It’s all the way across town.”

“No frat parties,” Costia said quickly, before Octavia had time to suggest it. “I’m not going anywhere near inebriated frat boys.”

“But-“

“You can invite Lincoln to come with us,” Lexa suggested. “To be your big strong protector in the dark night-“

“I don’t need a protector,” Octavia scoffed.

“Well, as your date then.”

“But he’s my brother’s friend!”

“And you like him. So what? You’re grownups. He’s what, three years older than you?”

“Almost four, which-“

“Could be a problem,” Lexa interjected. “Just saying.”

“But he’s hot.”

Costia sighed. Raven just laughed and teased Octavia, while Lexa- well, Lexa half wished she didn’t have to go anywhere at all. But only half, she loved being with her friends and loved being out once she was out.

“How about Chambers?”

“That could work,” Costia nodded. “Afters at Afters, of course-“

“Of course,” Octavia and Raven agreed.

“And it’s close enough that everyone can afford a cab.”

“I could-“ Lexa began, but found herself silenced by a French fry being shoved in her mouth.

“No, Lexa, you’re not offering to be the designated driver,” Costia said sternly, having known what she'd say before she'd even managed to say it. “You deserve to have fun, too.”

“Drinking doesn’t equal fun, y’know,” Lexa muttered, tossing the last bit of the French fry back at Costia.

“But when all your friends are drunk, it’s very boring not to be,” Costia sighed. “Come on, Lex, it’s been weeks since you’ve come out with us.”

And so, Lexa promised to go out. It wasn’t like she hated the idea, she knew she’d love it – but there was a part of her, however small, that kind of wanted to...not go. That yearned to stay home and watch scary movies and eat popcorn, like she used to with Costia before they grew up, that wanted to cuddle up and wear pj’s and maybe not get so drunk her head spun. To fall asleep comfortably, without smelling like booze and feeling like the world was spinning; she simply craved the ease of it all.

“And, hey,” Octavia added, smiling widely, “Maybe you’ll meet someone. Lots of cute girls in slutty costumes…”

“I’m counting on it,” Lexa grinned. “I don’t need lots, though. Just one.”

“You got plans, huh?”

“What?”

Octavia rolled her eyes. “Are you planning on getting laid?”

“I don’t know how anyone could plan on it,” Lexa frowned.

“I could,” Costia said lightly, smirking a little. “It’s all about setting your mind to it.”

“Seriously, you guys are ridiculous,” Lexa laughed, getting up and grabbing her bag. “I gotta go. Class. And you should too.”

 


 

“Clarke?”

Clarke, who was sitting on the couch with her headphones in, didn’t hear when her mother called her, not the first or the following four times. It took for her to actually stand in front of Clarke and to wave her hand in front of her face before she realized she was trying to get her attention.

“What?”

“I have a longer shift at the hospital.”

Clarke looked at her incredulously. “Yeah?”

“It’s Halloween tomorrow?”

“…yeah?”

Abby rolled her eyes and sighed. “Are you staying home or not?”

“Home,” Clarke shrugged.

“Okay, then, there’s candy on the side table, and more in the cupboard. For trick or treaters, none for you,” Abby said, smiling a little – she was only joking.

“Okay, Mom,” Clarke said, smiling a little.

“Any plans?”

“Movies, maybe. I’ll try my best not to get killed.”

Abby just rolled her eyes. “I’ll be back…well, I’ll call you when I know. There’s leftovers in the fridge-“

“I’m not a child, Mom,” Clarke replied. “Come on, go, you’ll be late. I can watch the house. And feed myself. And make sure our house doesn’t get egged.

“Good. Now, remember, Timmy from down the street can’t eat candy, his mom brought that bag of toys to give to him-“

“Yes, Mom, I see it right there, labelled Timmy- I got it. Go.”

Abby gave Clarke a rushed kiss on her forehead before heading out, the door slamming shut behind her and leaving Clarke in peaceful quiet.

She would have the house to herself for at least the next two days. That meant peace, and quiet, and relaxing – she could take a bath with the door open and music playing from the speakers, she could lounge around and not listen to her mother’s worried sighs…she could just be. In peace.

A year or two back, she would have been planning to go out, sitting around with her friends, talking excitedly about what parties to go to and who they were going to try and hit on and what they were going to dress up as. She would’ve gone out, too, with people, to clubs and gotten drunk and had fun, and come home late, later than she meant to. Or not come home at all, instead going home to someone else’s bed, to have a night together with a stranger whose name she would never remember.

But that had been then.

And now was now.

Now, she couldn’t even think about going out. She felt guilty, she hadn’t even worn a dress since the funeral, she couldn’t bear thinking about it – she didn’t have the energy to even try any more.

The pictures on the walls had lost their meaning to her. She no longer focused on them, no longer looked at the group pictures of her family. Her eyes skirted over them, over memories of a family that no longer was, and it was almost as though it had never happened.

Her father’s picture on the mantlepiece was the one piece of furniture in the house that was regularly dusted.

Sometimes, when her mother wasn’t home, Clarke lit a candle by the picture, and sat in the lounge, just staring into nothing, listening to music and letting the room get darker and darker until the candle’s flicker was the solitary light creating long shadows wherever it’s glow fell.

That night, however, Clarke actually went to bed. She left the light on in the hall, and left the door open, and curled up in bed to try her best to fall asleep.

Surprisingly enough, she managed it.

 


 

“Happy Halloween!”

Clarke frowned when she saw students in Halloween costumes posted at the main gates to campus. They were handing out candy and condoms, and there was a large crowd around them, one which was impossible to get around.

She tried worming her way through, but instead, ended up standing in front of the brunette whose name she was yet to find out. Not that she really cared to; it wasn’t like there were many brunettes that Clarke knew that she would’ve needed to distinguish her from.

“Happy Halloween, Clarke,” the girl smiled, handing her a party-size Milky Way and a condom.

Clarke, already reaching out to take the candy, froze for a brief second when she heard her name. But the crowd was moving, and the girl just shoved the candy in her hand, and the moment was gone before Clarke really had time to register what had just happened.

She was left there with a condom and a piece of candy in her hand, and complete confusion as to how the girl knew her name. She was early for class, and so she just wandered off, staring at the candy in her hand. Her brows furrowed in confusion as she desperately tried to remember if she’d told the girl her name, but came up blank. Surely she would’ve known her name, had she introduced herself?

She’d smiled at her, too, a smile so natural and bright that Clarke couldn’t help but feel a little…something, herself. Maybe not happy, she was sure that just a smile couldn’t do that, but something.

Touched that someone would bother to remember her name. Or even find it out, since Clarke was convinced she hadn’t told her herself.

It was just a coincidence that she’d given her the one bar that was her absolute favorite. A total coincidence, surely.

And it was a total coincidence that Clarke hadn’t had breakfast, and had considered just going hungry till she got home.

She didn’t even realize what she did, not really, when she smoothed out the candy wrapper and put it in between her sketchbook. She just did it out of habit.

When she walked into art history that afternoon, she made sure she sat near the entrance, and made sure to pay attention when the brunette finally came in.

She didn’t listen to their whole conversation. Just the part that she needed.

“Lexa, wait-“

Lexa.

It was an unusual name. Pretty, but unusual.

Not that mine’s any less unusual, Clarke thought, taking her notebook out and jotting down the day’s date on the top right corner.

She was wearing devil’s horns and a red top. Her brown hair was swept up in a pony tail, effortless and yet somehow so…eye-catching? Attractive?

Clarke shook her head and sighed. Yes, she was attractive, but she was popular. She had friends. She had lots of friends.

Clarke didn’t even have one.

That didn’t mean she wasn’t nice to look at. The curve of her neck, her outstretched hand that toyed with her pen while she was listening to the lecture…the muscle tone in her shoulders, in her arms, Clarke knew she would’ve absolutely loved to draw her. But she didn’t, she actually made a conscious effort not to start doodling the pretty brunette in the front row. She didn’t want anyone noticing that she was drawing her, least of all her – that would’ve been her worst nightmare.

She’d been wearing bright red lipstick, too.

Clarke had to really try not to think about that.

 


 

Come evening, Lexa found herself standing at the end of a street leading to a sleepy suburb, surrounded by dozens and dozens of screaming children.

She was still dressed in the devil costume she’d worn to school – just a t-shirt and the horns, simple and tame enough that no parent would give her a dirty look.

Costia had something else planned for her, or so she’d been told.

But for now, her job was to think about the three children she’d be tasked with carting around the suburb, from house to house, as their sugar high grew in intensity from mildly irritating to absolutely intolerable.

She loved it, anyway. She loved kids, no matter how intolerable they got the more sugar ran through their veins.

“Right, guys,” she smiled, looking at the three kids she’d been assigned. “I’m Lexa. Who are you?”

There was a little boy named Tommy, wearing a TMNT costume with an eye mask that kept malfunctioning and covering his eyes. There was also a girl named Maya, who was dressed like Wonder Woman. She also had her brother with her, a five-year-old named Aden, dressed as Goofy.

He seemed shy and a little afraid, and so Lexa offered to hold his hand.

“I can scare off any baddies, okay?”

Aden looked up at her with wide eyes. “It’s dark.”

“It sure is.”

“There could be monsters.”

“No, not monsters,” Lexa said, trying not to laugh at the cuteness. “Just shadows. They’re not real. See? You’re stepping on my shadow right now.”

Aden frowned, staring at his foot, pondered about it for a bit, and then…nodded. “Ok.”

That was the first of many successful interactions that Lexa had with her kids that evening. They went from house to house, and, though Lexa initially had let the kids trick or treat on their own, she ended up joining in when Aden got too tired to walk. He insisted on being carried on Lexa’s shoulders, and Lexa couldn’t say no to him.

He didn’t even weigh that much, and his giggles about being ‘so tall’ were definitely worth it.

The evening was turning towards an end when they came to the last street in their rounds. Simple houses, more or less decked out for Halloween, lined the street, neat piles of raked leaves on almost each lawn, waiting to be carried away. There were jack-o-lanterns and other spooky decorations, lights and much else, and the only sounds in the night was the chatter of the groups of children with their chaperones going from door to door.

One of the houses was a little less decorated than the rest. They had two jack-o-lanterns on the doorstep, and some fake spiders’ web on the porch, but that was it. Compared to the others, it looked almost…bare.

“I’m not sure if there’s anyone in there,” Lexa began, looking at the lights turned off and the overall empty feel of the house. There was a light on in the living room, but nowhere else.

“Let’s try,” Maya insisted, dragging her along.

They rang the doorbell, and Aden almost poked Lexa in the eye in his attempt to get a better hold of something other than her chin.

Lexa hadn’t expected to see Clarke when the door opened. She didn’t know she lived here, how could she have known, and so, when the door opened to reveal the blonde looking sleepy with her mussed hair and pjs, Lexa was surprised into silence.

The kids, however, weren’t.

“Trick or treat!”

Lexa saw Clarke crack a little smile as she handed the bowl of candy over to each of the kids, letting them take as much as they wanted.

“I have plenty more,” she shrugged, as if to answer Lexa’s curious look. “You can have some too.”

“My hands are a bit pre-occupied,” Lexa said. “Aden?”

Aden reached down and grabbed a piece of candy from the bowl.

“Grab the Milky Way, that’s my favorite,” Lexa said, and smiled again – and missed the slight raise of Clarke’s eyebrows.

“And, what do we say?”

“Thank you-“ cried the kids, in a haphazard chorus driven mostly by their sugar rush.

“Thanks,” Lexa repeated, flashing Clarke another smile before turning and heading down the path to the street. It was just a polite gesture, she had after all given her candy – it was nothing more than that. A reflex.

But to Clarke, it was the most human interaction she’d had all day. And whatever she did that night, she couldn’t get it out of her head.

She couldn’t get the fact that the brunette was very pretty out of her head. Or the fact that her kind heart was more attractive than Clarke dared to admit – seeing her volunteering with kids was about as endearing as she could’ve imagined. 

Her favorite candy was the same, too. It wasn’t so strange, but still…it was a detail that Clarke couldn’t forget.

Clarke wanted to hear more of her voice. For the first time in nearly a year, she’d met someone that she wanted to actually talk to – and more than that, though she wasn’t quite sure of the rest yet.

Having been deprived of normal human interaction for so long, she convinced herself that the stirrings she felt in her heart were just exaggerated because she craved friendship, nothing more. Not that she thought she could ever be Lexa’s friend, not her, not when there were so many other more interesting people in Lexa’s life that she clearly enjoyed being with. The fact that Lexa had seen her in her pjs, on Halloween night, alone at home, was embarrassing enough.

She didn’t mind that she had nothing to do, but she did mind that the one girl she was starting to like at school now knew that she had nothing better to do on Halloween than to sit at home in her pjs watching movies alone.

What she didn’t know was that later, when Lexa was sitting in a cab with her friends on her way to a club, with some drink already souring the taste in her mouth, Lexa thought of her. She thought of Clarke, of the sleepy street and the comfortable pjs she’d been in, no makeup and no effort put into how she looked – just comfort, that had almost poured off of her being, and that was what Lexa craved in that moment. She was envious of the blonde, that she could stay home and watch movies or do whatever, or do nothing at all if she wanted. She didn’t have anyone expecting her to do anything.

She truly wished that had been her.

But that was only for a fleeting moment. The next second, Costia’s hand was on Lexa’s thigh, squeezing it as she excitedly explained what they were going to do that night. All these plans, which, after a few drinks, would be entirely forgotten anyway.

Lexa was dressed as Xena. It was Costia’s idea – she herself was dressed as Missandei from the Game of Thrones, and Octavia, well – Octavia was some character from some video game that neither Lexa or Costia knew of, but she did look very hot.

The effort she’d put into her outfit was explained the second they walked into the club and Lexa saw that the bartender was the one and only Lincoln.

“Subtle, O, subtle,” she laughed, but Octavia just rolled her eyes.

“He’s got all night to look and enjoy the view,” she smirked. “Gotta keep his attention on me, y’know.”

She volunteered to get them drinks, of course.

Lexa wasn’t so sure if she was comfortable with her outfit. It had a lot of moving parts and not a lot of coverage, which she wouldn’t have minded, were they in a gay bar – but this wasn’t one, there were far too many straight men to her liking, and she didn’t quite like the way they were looking at her.

By her third shot, she’d forgotten all about that. She was dancing her mind away, arm wrapped around some girl’s waist that she didn’t really know very well, but she was pretty and had blue eyes that had almost a hypnotic quality to them.

She smelled like whiskey and bad decisions, but she chose her anyway. Just for a short while, just long enough for a steamy make-out session in the club bathroom, which ended when Costia stumbled in, looking like she was two seconds away from being sick.

It was seven and a half seconds, but still, that killed the mood real quick. The girl disappeared, murmuring something about finding her later, and Lexa…well, where else would she go but to hold up her best friend’s hair?

Granted, it almost made her puke, but she didn’t. She stomached it and looked away, rubbed Costia’s back and wondered why the tiles on the wall seemed to be moving.

“I think I’ve tasted death,” Costia groaned, standing up and taking a few stumbling steps. “I’m not even that…drunk.”

Lexa shook her head. “Yes you are.”

“No I’m not.”

“Cos, you puked.”

“You made out with a girl.”

“Yeah-?”

“That’s some drunk shit right there, you never make out with strangers-“

“Well, today I did,” Lexa sighed, leaning back against the counter and extending her hand towards Costia. “Breath mint?”

“Where did that come from?” Costia frowned, looking all around Lexa’s person. “Your costume doesn’t have pockets.”

Lexa smirked as she raised the skirt of her leather-dress enough to reveal what was essentially a lacy stay-up with a pocket sown in.

“Don’t want my stuff disappearing,” she shrugged, putting the packet of mints back into the pocket. “And nobody’s going to go looking under my skirt for money.”

Costia looked like she was about to say something, but then just laughed and shook her head. “Of course you’d have something like that, Scout.”

“You haven’t called me Scout in years.”

“Well, a scout’s always prepared, and you’re carrying breath mints on your thigh in case you need them. Tell me that doesn’t scream prepared to you,” Costia quipped, tapping Lexa’s nose. “And I’m not complaining, my mouth tastes less worse now."

“Less worse enough to go kiss more strangers?”

“I haven’t kissed a single girl yet tonight, you whore,” Costia laughed – and kissed Lexa’s cheek. “There. One.”

“Now let’s go make sure that number goes up to at least two,” Lexa smiled, ushering Costia out of the bathroom ahead of her.

 


 

How Lexa ended up in Costia’s bed was a complete mystery to her.

It would’ve been less of a mystery had Costia been there with her.

But she wasn’t.

When Lexa walked out of Costia’s room to find the bathroom, she found Costia, passed out on the couch, with what looked to be a girl underneath her.

They were only partially clothed, so Lexa did the kind thing and draped a blanket over them before going to the bathroom to try and retch her insides out.

She tried to do it as quietly as she could. Not that it was anywhere near successful, her attempts to keep quiet, given that Costia stumbled in around the second time Lexa gagged, and silently sat down beside her and started rubbing her back.

“Had a bit too much,” she mumbled, eyes still half-shut. “Didn’t you?”

“I’m never drinking sweet drinks ever again,” Lexa muttered miserably. “This is awful.”

“I’ll bring you some water.”

By the time Lexa had regained her ability to think and function, the girl on Costia’s couch was gone.

“Gave her a chance to slip out with her dignity,” Costia smirked, cradling her cup of coffee in her hand. “Hid in my bedroom when I saw she was about to wake up.”

“What’s her name?”

“I don’t know,” Costia shrugged. “Amy. Or Katie. She’s from that college across town, so it’s not like I’m going to see her again…”

“Katie? The girl I made out with?”

“No, not her, she was blonde,” Costia shook her head.

“She was?”

In all honesty, Lexa couldn’t remember.

Costia just laughed, and, after a few minutes, asked if she wanted to go to brunch.

“O and Raven and everyone else will be there.”

Lexa still felt a little bit like death, but shrugged. “Sure. Let me steal some of your clothes, though. I’m not going in this-“ she said, gesturing to her dress. “I don’t think it’s Sunday morning appropriate.”

“It definitely isn’t,” Costia laughed. “And I’ll do something about your face, too.”

“What’s wrong with my face?”

“You’ve got major panda-eye going on. I can’t let you go out looking like that.”