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I've always had you

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6 years old

 

It’s the first day of school and Clarke is nervous. And also excited. And extremely curious. And she also really needs to pee but has no idea where the bathroom is and all the other kids are being overly loud as they head out to recess and it’s just way too much at once for her. 

 

She finally has the courage to ask her teacher, Miss Lynn. She’s nice and so pretty and her smile is kind and makes her feel at ease. 

 

Only, when she finally makes it out to recess everyone else is already paired off and playing in small groups and she’s the only one standing there alone. 

 

And now the nerves are definitely back and her lower lip starts to tremble and she really doesn’t want to cry because she’s a big girl now but she just doesn’t seem to be able to help it.

 

Her hands are curled in tight fists which she only notices when there’s a gentle hand that reaches for them, smoothing them out and taking her hand in theirs. She looks up and meets bright green eyes and a soft, small smile and the girl says, “Let’s play,” and Clarke’s lip stops trembling and her eyes widen and her lips form in a grateful smile and she goes. 

 

 

9 years old

 

Clarke thinks the whole thing is pretty stupid. 

 

Boys are gross. There is no way Lexa is going to go over to their group and kiss Bellamy on the cheek. 

 

Lexa’s face tells her as much. Not going to happen.

 

Clarke is relieved. She really doesn’t want her friend — her best friend — to get boy cooties. Yuk. 

 

And why are they playing this stupid game to begin with? 

 

“Because it’s fun!” Octavia tells her when she asks just that. “Girls kiss boys all the time on TV, it’s no big deal,” she adds with a shrug, but the way she can barely contain her snickering has Clarke narrowing her eyes in a glare. 

 

“I am not getting anywhere near them,” she crosses her arms defiantly and says with a disgusted face and Lexa visibly shudders in sympathy, throwing the group of boys a look that says she very much will not go over in a million years.  

 

Octavia groans. “Fine. But you have to kiss someone, those are the rules,” she says to Lexa.

 

Clarke rolls her eyes but Octavia is right. Those are the rules and Clarke knows that Lexa never likes breaking the rules, even those from a made-up game during recess.

 

Lexa glares at Octavia before sighing and nodding. With a shrug, she leans forward and pecks Clarke on the cheek. Then she looks at her with a smile that says “You’re the only one I could kiss” and Clarke smiles brilliantly back, happy that her best friend was smart enough to get around the rules of the game and that she chose Clarke.

 

 

10 years old

 

So, as it turns out, boys are not that gross anymore. She’s not sure when this change happened, only that it did.

 

All of a sudden, all her friends are getting their first boyfriends, most of whom have chosen Valentine’s Day to give them a card asking them if they’ll be their valentine. 

 

Clarke received one such card from Finn. She looks back at him after being sent the card through a train of hands toward the front of the class and finds his eager face trying very hard — and failing miserably — for nonchalance. She frowns. 

 

Finn is nice, she supposes. He never did pull her hair or say mean things; he was actually always the one to try to make the other boys behave when they were being stupid. But, Clarke didn’t really need him to do any of that. She’s always been able to stand up for herself and she’s also always had Lexa by her side. 

 

So yes, Finn is nice, but she just doesn’t really need or want a boyfriend. 

 

She sighs. She feels bad for him, but it’s for the best. She ticks the ‘no’ box but adds a scrawly “Sorry. Friends?” at the bottom and sends the card back.

 

She turns to Lexa who has always sat next to her and finds her looking at her with a curious expression. Clarke makes a face, tongue sticking out, and Lexa tries to stifle her giggles so the teacher doesn’t call them out.

 

Clarke loves it when Lexa laughs. Her eyes get all shiny and even more green and Clarke thinks she looks really pretty when she does.

 

She definitely doesn’t need a boyfriend. She’s got her Lexa.

 

 

11 years old

 

Clarke turns eleven today which means a house full of family members — some nice and some not so nice — and friends. 

 

Without fail, her grandma asks her which boy she likes. Clarke groans. 

 

Yes, boys are okay now, she’s got plenty of boy friends, but she doesn’t want a boyfriend.  

 

“I’ve got Lexa,” she says and her grandma laughs and shakes her head like she said something silly.

 

“Of course you do, baby, she’s a good friend.”

 

Clarke smiles and decides the conversation is over. She heads back out to find Lexa because speaking of her always makes her want to be with her. Well, that’s not entirely true, she always wants to be with her. 

 

She finds Lexa sitting by the pool, a small smile on her lips as she watches Raven and Octavia on top of Bellamy and Finn respectively, trying to bring each other down in a mess of limbs and shrieks.

 

When Lexa notices her standing next to her, her smile widens into the one that Clarke is familiar with, the one that is special just for her, the one that makes Lexa’s eyes twinkle.

 

Clarke plops down next to her and rests her head on Lexa’s shoulder.

 

“I’ve decided,” she says with heavy solemnity, pausing for effect to have Lexa look at her with bright eyes filled with amusement. “That I don’t need a boyfriend.”

 

Lexa chuckles and shakes her head fondly.

 

“Of course not, silly.”

 

Clarke smiles brightly and takes her hand. “I’ve got you.” 

 

Lexa nods, her smile growing every second until she’s completely radiant. “Yeah, you’ve got me.”

 

Clarke nods, pleased. “Alright everyone,” she loudly proclaims to her guests spread around the backyard, hand still tightly clasped to Lexa’s. They all turn to her curiously and Clarke squares her shoulders and sets her face fiercely, determined to put this to rest once and for all. “No more boyfriend talk with me, I’ve got Lexa now.”

 

All the adults laugh heartily, her dad shakes his head in amusement, her friends just ignore her and keep on playing in the pool. Clarke sends her grandma a pointed look and receives a bemused smile in return.

 

Then she turns to Lexa who looks at her like she’s the whole world, and Clarke looks right back at her just the same.

 

 

12 years old

 

They walk hand in hand to the cafeteria like they always do, soft smiles on their lips as they make their way to meet their friends.

 

No one pays them any mind — they never do. They’re just Clarke and Lexa, acting like they’ve always acted.

 

Only, Clarke doesn’t really feel like she’s always felt. She feels different. 

 

She looks at Lexa and the smile Lexa gives her lets her know that she feels different too. It’s shy and she blushes bashfully and her lower lip is trapped beneath her teeth. Her eyes are not much different though, they’ve always looked at Clarke like she’s special, always made her feel special. But there’s maybe a new depth that Clarke started seeing not that long ago and that is growing and growing until, lately, it leaves Clarke feeling like she might drown when she looks into them.

 

She’s discovering she might not mind at all drowning in Lexa’s eyes.

 

They find their friends already sitting at the table and their exuberant noise drowns out Clarke’s strange thoughts. 

 

It doesn’t matter what she feels, she decides while she pretends to listen to their friends’ constant chatter. She’ll figure it out with time, so long as she’s got Lexa. Because she knows: one good look into Lexa’s eyes and she’ll find herself again.

 

 

13 years old

 

Clarke is more than used to her friends teasing her by now. One topic in specific seems to really catch their attention and it just makes her roll her eyes in exasperation.

 

“Claaarke, come on,” Raven says with too much drama for such a lazy summer day. “There has to be someone you like!”

 

Clarke rolls her eyes again and this time she catches Lexa doing the same. 

 

“There’s lots of people I like,” she says and pretends to be annoyed when Raven flicks her with some juice from her glass.

 

“Duh, I should hope so, otherwise we wouldn’t be here,” she says. “But I meant like like.”

 

Clarke rolls her eyes again and she thinks there’s a strong probability they’ll get stuck with the number of times she does that in Raven’s presence.

 

She looks ahead and catches Lexa’s eye, the two of them sharing a commiserating look.

 

“I’ve got Lexa,” she says with a shrug, eyes still fixed on Lexa whose smile grows bigger and bigger until Clarke thinks she might just be blinded by how beautifully bright it is.

 

Raven groans. “Not what I meant but whatever. You two weirdos are clearly meant to be.”

 

Clarke laughs and Lexa looks extremely content with herself. “Of course we are, we’re best friends.”

 

They’re more than used to these talks by now because it seems people don’t listen very well.

 

Lexa practically vomits every time someone mentions a boy she might like and Clarke just groans with exasperation. When will they understand? They’ve got each other and that will never change.

 

 

14 years old

 

For some reason, they thought that watching a scary movie was a good idea. 

 

Well okay. It was Clarke’s idea, she’ll take full responsibility, and Lexa is just powerless when it comes to caving to Clarke’s wishes and she never says no.

 

Which ended with them both cuddled up on Clarke’s bed as close as they could get, trembling like leaves and shrieking at the most minimal noise in the eerily silent house. 

 

When the movie ends neither of them dares to move or make a sound, too afraid it’ll awaken some dark force. Not that those are real. Obviously. It’s just… well, in the slightest possibility that they are, they are taking no chances. 

 

Lexa’s shallow breaths echo in Clarke’s ears, her face hidden in Clarke’s neck where it has been for the last half hour of the movie. Clarke is equally as scared though she tries to cover it up by cuddling over Lexa and making it look more like she’s protecting her than she’s scared for her life. Or that was the intention, she doesn’t know how well she succeeded. Probably not very, to be honest.

 

There’s a sudden creak that breaks the tense silence and Lexa jumps and shrieks, her grip on Clarke tightening, one hand buried under Clarke’s body, the other pulling her closer by the collar until Lexa’s all but cocooned underneath her. 

 

Clarke’s heart hammers rapidly in her chest, both from fear and from something else that starts to blossom. The need to protect Lexa takes over and the fear slowly subsides. Her breathing regulates and her hands loosen their tight grip on Lexa’s waist, slowly starting to take up a pattern of gently caressing her back with one hand while the other smoothes out her hair, fingers tangling in Lexa’s wild curls.

 

Lexa relaxes little by little until she slowly raises up her head to look at Clarke with a shy smile.

 

“We’re never doing that again,” she says with her green eyes looking very serious.

 

Clarke chuckles at her tone but she’s already nodding her assent, more than glad to never watch a scary movie in her life.

 

“Promise. I got you, I’ll keep you safe,” she says with a reassuring smile.

 

Lexa’s lips form a generous smile of their own, her eyes sparkling in the dim laptop light. “You’ve always got me,” she says, and Clarke’s breath catches before it releases and with it all her fear because it’s true, they’ve always had each other.

 

Clarke’s hand tucks a lock of unruly hair behind Lexa’s ear, then her fingers softly cup her cheek and she watches as Lexa’s eyes widen, her lips part slightly, her breath hitches. Clarke smiles softly and reassuringly and Lexa’s eyes deepen with a fondness that takes Clarke’s breath away. 

 

She feels Lexa inching closer, eyes drifting from Clarke’s eyes to her lips until she slowly makes her way and touches her lips to Clarke’s in the softest, lightest kiss.

 

Clarke’s chest burns at the touch, the warmth quickly dissipating through every blood vessel to her very extremities until her whole body is coming alight. She doesn’t really know what to do with her lips, and neither does Lexa it seems, but the feeling — that’s everything. They slowly find their way, sometimes a bit clumsily, a few giggles here and there when teeth clash, but they find a rhythm soon and their touch grows from tentative to sure.

 

When they pull back, breathless and giddy, Lexa’s eyes shine brighter than Clarke has ever seen and she can’t help the smile that forms on her lips and threatens to take over her whole face.

 

Lexa is just so beautiful. And she’s hers.

 

 

16 years old

 

Clarke thinks she’s ready. No, she knows she’s ready. She’s sure. She’s given herself enough pep talks to have guaranteed that she’d be ready. 

 

Only, her body has apparently forgotten all those talks and is now clearly having a fit. 

 

Her hands shake, her palms sweat, her heart races, her skin shivers. 

 

Okay, so maybe she is not as ready as she thought.

 

Lexa notices. Of course, she notices. Lexa’s the most observant person she knows and those green eyes know her better than anyone, probably even herself. 

 

Lexa’s lips slow down until she pecks her gently and raises a hand to Clarke’s face. Clarke’s arms shake as she hovers on top of her but she leans into the caress and feels her body calm down, even if only a little bit. 

 

She opens her eyes to find Lexa’s soft, understanding ones staring right back, a gentle smile on her lips.

 

“It’s okay,” she says, her voice soft with only the tiniest hint of hoarseness from desire. “It doesn’t have to be tonight.”

 

She looks so loving and supportive and just so…understanding that Clarke wants to groan with frustration. At herself. Definitely not at Lexa. 

 

She lets out a heavy breath and lowers herself next to Lexa who turns sideways and keeps giving her that same look. “I know,” she says, and if she sounds more petulant than intended she’s blaming her hormones. “It’s just…”

 

She doesn’t actually know how to continue that sentence. Just what? She thought she was ready but suddenly the reality of having sex with her girlfriend is terrifying her? That Lexa’s been with her for basically her whole life but the idea of being so vulnerable in front of her makes her want to run away? And run away toward her best friend, no less? The very same one who is looking at her with the most soulful eyes, big and bright and so, so loving. 

 

“You’re not ready,” Lexa finishes for her when her brain refuses to let her put into words what she’s feeling. She doesn’t look mad, or disappointed, which is a relief — and obviously, logically, she knew she wouldn’t be, but she was still scared — she just looks at her with infinite amounts of patience.

 

“I’m sorry,” she says, because they had talked about this for weeks and had agreed that they were ready and now here Clarke is, definitely not ready, and leaving a girl unsatisfied. 

 

And there her brain goes again, focusing on details that she knows Lexa doesn’t actually care about and is not even considering. Ugh, she’s so frustrated with herself.

 

Lexa shakes her head and her face turns serious without losing the loving shade to her eyes. 

 

“You have nothing to apologize for,” she says and her voice is firm and sure in that confident way she speaks which always makes Clarke listen carefully and believe her. “There’s no rush, Clarke, you’ll be ready when you’re ready. Be it next week or next year or in ten years.”

 

Clarke scoffs. “Hopefully not that long,” she says, her voice still tinged with frustration but her chest is slowly settling, the unease evaporating with Lexa’s assuring words and loving gaze. 

 

“It takes as long as it takes,” Lexa says, and her smile is slightly teasing and yes, this is definitely the Lexa she’s madly in love with, her Lexa who no one else gets to see, the one who teases with small quirks of her lips and eyebrows and who laughs freely and who loves, who loves so much and so fiercely that Clarke is often left feeling shaky from one single look. 

 

“Dork,” Clarke says with a roll of her eyes but the tension is gone now and her smile is growing and she knows what Lexa did, what Lexa always does. “I love you,” she says, because it’s the simplest way to express all that Lexa means to her.

 

Lexa’s smile loses the teasing tones and it softens to her unique Clarke-smile. “And I love you,” she says. 

 

 

18 years old

 

“Okay, people, tell me all your debauchery-filled stories,” Raven says as she plops herself down on the couch, beer in hand, eyes eagerly taking in the whole group scattered around the living room in whatever place they found to sit. Clarke and Lexa claimed the loveseat and that was that. “Not you two,” she adds, beer hand pointing to them, “I want to hear about real teenagers having fun in their first semester of college, not an old married couple who literally live together,” she says with a pointed look and everyone laughs in agreement. 

 

Clarke glowers at all of them but when she looks at Lexa for support in her outrage she finds her eyes wrinkling with mirth and she just shrugs at the look Clarke gives her.

 

“She has a point,” Lexa says nonchalantly, never one to be bothered by their friends' constant teasing.

 

“Hey! We have plenty of fun!”

 

“Sure, locked up in your bedroom,” Octavia snorts.

 

Clarke points a finger at her and narrows her eyes. “You watch it, I saw those pictures of you and—”

 

“Okay, okay!” Octavia cuts her off before Bellamy fully clues in on what she said and Clarke nods with smug satisfaction. “You two have plenty of fun for an old married couple.”

 

Clarke limits herself to eye rolling and doesn’t rise to the bait. Again, that is. 

 

“Yeah, right,” Raven snorts. “These two even went to the same college, how much fun can you really have if you don’t even have a hot roommate to drool over?”

 

“Oh, I have a hot roommate alright,” Lexa says with a smug smile and Clarke wiggles her eyebrows causing everyone else to groan.

 

“No! No more of that disgusting behavior,” Raven says with a pointed finger. “We all ran away from you after school for a reason.”

 

Clarke gasps in outrage, Lexa clasps her chest dramatically, but everyone else nods their assent.

 

“Some friends we have, babe,” she says to Lexa who shakes her head in commiseration. 

 

“The betrayal—”

 

“The audacity—”

 

“And we’ve been here for all of their childhood—”

 

“Right by their side—”

 

“Supporting them—”

 

“Watching them grow into such fine young adults—”

 

“And this is how they repay us—

 

“By abandoning us—

 

“By being ashamed of us—

 

“Shame on them,” Clarke finishes, barely containing her smile as Lexa pulls on a face of utter hurt. 

 

Their friends just collectively groan again and take large gulps of their drinks.

 

“This is definitely why we ran away from you two losers,” Octavia says. When even Monty nods Lexa loses her shit and they all burst out laughing.

 

 

26 years old

 

“Alright, so, I may be the tiniest bit tipsy,” Raven starts, bringing her fingers close together to show how much she means only to spread them wider and wider apart causing everyone to chuckle. “But, as maid of honor and someone who’s had to deal with these two since we were six-years-old, I think we can all agree I’m completely justified,” she adds, and the laughter only intensifies. 

 

Clarke looks at Lexa to see her shaking her head fondly, her eyes shining with amusement. 

 

“So I’m just going to start by saying these two are my best friends and I love them dearly. Okay, now that that part is over I can be real with y’all.” Everyone laughs again and Raven smirks before putting on a suffering face and motioning with her empty hand toward them. “Just look at them. Really look at them and their disgustingly beautiful faces. Come on, am I right? Like, it’s completely absurd! They’re just so disgustingly in love that it literally hurts my poor, single eyes just to glance in their general vicinity! It’s like, they have the whole best friend thing going on, the extremely good looks, those smart brains — not my level of smart but who is, right?” Their guests laugh. Clarke just rolls her eyes. “And then they have to go and be stupidly in love and be like literal couple goals.” 

 

She groans exaggeratedly. Lexa looks at Clarke and takes her hand, both of them sharing a loving look. 

 

“Talk about high expectations, am I right? Because I’ve had the misfortune of being beside them every single step of the way and let me tell you, it was not easy. They have been best friends since they were six-years-old. First day of school and bam! Stuck together for life. They’ve always had each other’s back, whether it was Lexa punching Murphy in the face in third grade for kicking Clarke off the swing or Clarke pulling the revenge of a lifetime on the girl who thought she’d be a bitch to Lexa in college.” Lexa tries to hide her smirk at the memory but she fails and Clarke smiles smugly, the picture of Nia covered in grime and feathers forever treasured in her mind. 

 

“And to top it all off, they've been dating since Clarke’s eleventh birthday. Eleven. A lot of you were there and you might remember Clarke loudly proclaiming to be done with boys because she had Lexa. And that was it, she’d always have Lexa.” Raven’s voice catches and she clears her throat and blinks quickly and Clarke feels her own eyes tear up as she meets Lexa’s, who is, unsurprisingly, already crying. 

 

“Now, obviously, none of us took it seriously. None except these two, that is. But they remained firm in their conviction that that public announcement had been it. And so it was. Of course, it was particularly hilarious to see Abby freaking out when she realized that they had been serious all along, and they were already fifteen by then so I’m sure we can all imagine all that happened in the meantime,” she says with an obscene brow wiggle and they all chuckle. Her mom looks particularly exasperated as she shakes her head with amusement, and Lexa is blushing prettily with embarrassment from that particular memory at having being caught red-handed making out by Clarke’s parents. 

 

“So yeah, as anyone with eyes can see, these two are stupidly in love, even after a fifteen-year relationship. Which brings me back to my anger issues.” She turns serious and glares at them both. “How the hell am I supposed to find someone when I have you two as an example, huh? Talk about a fairytale romance. And then I have to grow up with all these high expectations only to keep meeting frog after frog. Some best friends you turned out to be,” she grumbles but a grin starts breaking out and Clarke chokes up a little bit, squeezing Lexa’s hand in hers and sharing a look which lets them know exactly how lucky they know they are. “Anyways, let me fulfill the rest of my maid of honor duties and let's toast,” she says, raising her champagne glass. “To Clarke and Lexa, my best friends, my aspiration, and the bane of my existence.”

 

Everyone cheers and laughs and Clarke can feel the tears running down her eyes but she doesn’t care, not when Lexa leans over and is pressing a soft kiss to her lips, not when the woman she loves, the woman she’s called her girlfriend since she was eleven, is now finally her wife. Not when the love of her life kisses her one more time and looks at her with the softest eyes and gives her her special Clarke-smile and whispers “I love you,” for her ears only.