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she keeps me warm

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her hand starts in costia’s hair, twisting and tracing the curls surrounding the younger girl’s scalp. she pulls the strands gently, soothing the girl as she sleeps. she watches her chest rise and fall, slow and steady, as she brings costia’s hair over her shoulder. she always found it so peaceful to watch costia sleep, eyes squeezed shut as her mouth shows a hint of a smile, her soul at peace with her mind.

they’ve both been struck with war, losing friends, families, that they loved. moments like this are rare for the both of them. moments where they can watch the sun rise up through the curtains, the smell of candles drifting under their noses. they were at peace together, in the company of each other, forgetting about the rest of the world.

lexa brings her lips to her girlfriend’s neck, softly pressing kisses into where she know it tickles. she takes a deep breath in, and there’s something about the pure smell of her girlfriend that lexa loves; a hint of vanilla, wood, an earthy tint where she’s helped the farmers with their markets. and don’t get lexa started on her hair - a concoction of oils her guards had brought for lexa, yet had gone unused, had the other girl not gotten her hands on them. her musk always smells heavenly to lexa - which just makes her fall just that bit deeper in love with costia - but she would never admit it.

costia’s eyes start to flicker open softly, eyelashes fluttering with the sun shining through the window behind her. the beams of sun illuminate lexa’s skin, lighting up her eyes which focus intensely on her. “hello, beautiful” lexa’s voice speaks up, sleepiness evident in her voice, still.

“good morning, lex,” costia replies, “how did you sleep, beautiful?” she asks lexa, adoringly. she knows lexa has had problems sleeping ever since being called into the conclave, even more so since she had won. costia had spent many a night whispering gently to lexa, in hopes to get her to finally rest. they’d share a bed a handful of times, costia curled up tightly, however lexa was restless, tossing and turning in order to clear the demons in her mind.

“I slept alright, cos.” lexa sighs. “better than usual. an early start, again. but the view isn’t too bad.” she says, looking back down at costia. “you’re so beautiful, love.” and you’re all mine. lexa wouldn’t have asked for anything better to wake up to than costia. sometimes she couldn't believe that the girl was even hers. she was blessed in every single way possible when it came to costia. she had someone she loved, and someone who loved her back. loved her not because she was commander, but for who she truly was.

as lexa stayed under the furs, with her eyes half open, she felt costia’s weight lift off of the bed. she knew costia was to help the markets today, the rising sun promising a warm, breezy day. lexa could hear the light sounds of costia slipping into her day clothes, lexa’s sleep shirt softly hitting the floor that costia had worn the night before. her eyes started to close, her tiredness taking toll on her body, and lexa knew she wouldn't be awake for much longer.

she hears light steps out of her bedroom in the back of her mind, trying so hard to fight her sleepiness once again.

“i’m just doing some errands, love! they need some help on the stands, i’ll be back soon!” costia shouts, her voice reverberating through the floor of the tower. she walks as softly as she can, the creaky boards of the polis tower wearing old and thin however. her net bag is swept over her shoulder, hair tied messily on top of her head in preparation for the blazing sun, a long day ahead of her. she’d been helping out the market sellers since she was a teenager, helping the people to set up and interacting with the community.

she’d spend hours in the fresh air, dancing from stall to stall, enjoying the light breeze in her hair. she knew she had to be careful, as the city had announced a warning about azgeda presence. there were to be guards at every entrance and exit, men mounted high on horses with their swords close. costia would smile at the men, sending them silent thank yous for keeping her kru safe.

costia was just about to turn around to help another small market seller, when she felt a sharp pain in her back. her chest felt warm, and she shot her hand up to hold herself steady, thinking she might just be dehydrated, until her vision went completely black.

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in her half-asleep state, lexa recognised the sound of steps leading towards her room in her tower. her body was tucked under the furs, comfy and warm, when her door slammed open, waking her up immediately. lexa processes the distinct fur clothing of the ice nation clan, the azgeda, and her heart starts to race . she knows what the azgeda are up to, as commander, and leader of the twelve clans, she had to be careful about her ways if she wanted to keep azgeda close, for her benefit.

the footsteps come closer to her, hands holding a burlap bag, thick fingers gripped tightly around the rope. whatever the guards were carrying, lexa knew that it was something they were after from her, for a very, very long time. she feels the weight of her bed sink, something heavy and warm hit her legs. lexa can feel her heart pounding through her chest as she thinks about what might be inside.

something warm trickles down her leg, and lexa knows something is wrong. shaking hands reach for the rope, untying the top of the sack. she swallows her breath and she begrudgingly looks inside, searching for something that she might be able to identify. the bottom of the bag starts to leak over lexa’s lap, soaking her pants with a thick, dark liquid. she opens the burlap further, and realises this is the last thing she wants to see. dark, black curls, matted with thick blood. the eyes that were once full of life were now glassy and cold, staring into the distance.

her costia. her love. the love of lexa’s life. she knew azgeda were someone to fear, a kru that she was better off keeping her distance, and she hated herself for not protecting costia from them. She knew the ice nation clan were violent, ruthless warriors, however she didn’t expect azgeda to bring costia to her, not like this….

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lexa wakes with a scream, her entire body drenched in sweat. her thoughts are racing, mind boggling as she tries to understand the differences between dream and reality. she blinks a couple of times, slowly coming around, hands exploring the softness of the furs that cover her legs, trying to ground herself. she takes a few deep breaths, exploring fingers coming to a halt as she feels a knot in her furs. she closes her eyes, trying not to picture her, sitting happily on the furs, hair flowing back as she laughed. her sleeping figure, still, peaceful, as lexa traced her delicate body with light fingers. her sweet voice floating through the room, giggles making lexa’s heart swell with adoration.

she’s shook out of her thoughts with a sharp knock on her door. “come in.” she encourages. It’s not long since lexa has had privacy; with the coalition in pieces, lexa knows she needs to put in all of her effort to try and make it right again. if not for herself, for costia. she has such little motivation to do anything for herself anymore, but she knows she needs to; for costia, for her clan, to keep the coalition strong.

“I heard disturbance, heda. is everything alright?” titus’s voice bellows throughout the room, his face stoic and neutral, eyes focused on his heda. he was truly concerned, wanting the best for her and the coalition. he tried his hardest to lead her well, to help her make the wisest decisions, even if she didn’t always obey his commands.

‘all is well, titus.” she confirms, not wanting to worry anybody. she knows she should hide her feelings, focus on what is most important in this moment, but she can’t shake costia from her mind. she can’t shake what she felt, how important and wanted costia made her feel, how costia needed her for the person she was, not for the person she had to be. all of her past decisions were led by costia, lexa young and in love, feeling on top of the world whenever they were together.

“to lead well, you must be selfless. to be heda is to be alone, leksa. love is weakness. do not be weak. you need to be strong.” titus parrots at her, for what felt like the hundredth time to lexa. she knew titus was unhappy with her mourning, blaming her weakness for the ice nation’s attack. however, lexa had too little energy to argue with the man, simply nodding in agreement.

as lexa heard footsteps quieten, she knew she was alone again. alone with her thoughts, her grief, and the pain that made her chest throb, her heart feel heavy, almost as if it were sinking in her body. her head was pounding, and mouth dry. lexa knew she hadn’t slept well the night before, if the sleep in her eyes was any indication. the memories lay heavy in her mind, not enabling her to relax and silence her mind.

“as long as we’re together. that’s what you used to say to me, cos.” she’s not really sure if she’s talking to herself, or to the memory of costia, “i believed you. that we would always be together.  and it just hurts so much. i need you, cos. come back.”