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To the Pain

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The warm wind shifts and sends a chill through me that has nothing to do with the temperature. It’s been many years since I have returned to this place. The tightness in my chest and the anxiety has been building since I left my home this morning. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t drawn to this place by some unseen force.

It’s been years since I fled this town like a thief in the night. Years since I thought I had closed Pandora’s Box. You can never truly outrun your past. It finds a way of creeping up on you . It invades your dreams, which inevitably give way to nightmares. Then it isn’t long before thoughts and memories find their way into your waking consciousness.

I’ve spent far too long thinking I can run or hide from my past. It may be difficult to face a past in which you have been hurt, but it’s excruciating to face a past in which you yourself have caused pain. No one wants to face the deepest darkest skeletons in their closet. As I sit here now, in the grass of these eerily silent grounds it’s hard to ignore the screams in my head.

I have little control as my mind drifts back to a memory of who I once was. I drift back to a time when I was so naïve, so trusting, so oblivious to the downward slide I was about to fall into. Pain is the one constant I thought I could rely upon throughout life. For as long as I can remember I have always been in pain. I have worn it like a soft comfortable hoodie. Pain has been an unseen companion. Please don’t misunderstand though, it has not been a welcome companion. Who in their right mind would ask for pain. There in lies the rub… no one asks for pain… but pain doesn’t care in the least. It makes itself at at home… it invades your life. My genetic disorder causes my joints to slip out of place and causes my blood to be black. They call it Nightblood. It has robbed me of all the preconceived notions about life that I have had. Life is funny that way.

I’m currently sitting in a cemetery talking to myself. I can imagine how silly I must look. The death of a loved one can have such a distractedly different effect upon people. I can only vaguely imagine how different so many lives would have been if I had only known then… what I know now. As I sit here I reach into the the grocery bag I brought and pull out two cold Budweiser bottles. I open one for J and sit it against his tombstone. I pull out a pack of Marlboro reds and place a lone cigarette on the top of his beer. I take out a cigarette n roll it between my thumb and index finger. Before I can get far too lost in thought, I hear a familiar voice that causes me to smile despite my haunted memories.

“Got one of those beers for me Lex?” Bell says. Bellamy is more like a brother than an old friend. He’s my heart. He stands tall, smiling down at me with a huge smile on his face.

“Sure thing Bell! Smoke a cig with me. Look at you! Still been a regular at the gym I see, the girls must love the hair” I say laughing. As if on cue he runs his hands through his shaggy hair, pushing it out of his face. A smirk grows on his face as he fires back “yeah, but it’s not the same without my wing man! I’ve really missed you.” He reaches down , pulling me to my feet, before enveloping me in a bone crushing bear hug.

“Can’t breathe…” I breathe out.

“Sorry! It’s just been to long”

Bellamy and I met years ago when I first found my way to this town not far from DC. He and his twin sister Octavia are the only two people who knew I was coming home after all this time. Bell and I shared a house together back then. We would find our way to different bars almost nightly. Everyone knew us and we loved it, as if we didn’t have a care in the world. A sigh escapes my lips as my brow furrow. I move to sit down resting my back against the cool granite of Jay’s tombstone. I run my fingers over the infinity symbol etched into it below his name. I absentmindedly trace the matching tattoo on my forearm. I glance over to the matching one on Bell’s arm as he slides down beside me. It’s been almost ten years since Jasper died and most of the time it feels like it was yesterday. Grief is not something you ever get over. You just learn to live with it. I left 10 years ago after his funeral and another funeral is what brings me back.

“I can feel you staring Bell…”
“ Yeah? Well I can hear you thinking…”
“Touché”
“Do they know how she died?” My voice cracks as a single tear runs down my face. Bell drapes an arm around my shoulders and pulls me in so I’m tucked into his side.
“She died in her sleep, a heart attack. At least Mama G didn’t suffer.” He turns to place a kiss on my temple and hugs me close. He is quite literally my platonic soulmate. He turns to look at me and says “you’re still thinking very loudly.”

I sigh and reply “I should have come home sooner. I missed our kru so much but this place… this place was so toxic to me back then. Everything happened all at once! Costia, then J died, and then Finn happened. I ran, like a coward. I ran and convinced myself I could just bury all that deep down and never look back. Yet, in doing so I walked away from the people that meant the most to me… I left mama G and the bar, I left our delinquent kru and I left Clarke, Bellamy. They probably won’t even want to see me. “

“You know they would love to see you. It doesn’t matter how long it has been Lex. We all love you and no one holds it against you for leaving. Most people could never understand all the pain and anguish you have had to endure, both physically and mentally.” A smirk grows on his lips and he says “and as for Clarke… we all know you two are meant for each other. No amount of time is gonna change that. You still love her don’t you? Are you blushing!?!” He barely stifles a laugh, shaking his head. “Look Lex, Mama G may have been Clarke’s bio mom but she was a mom to all of us at the bar. She “adopted” all of us delinquents. She saw something in all of us and gave us a place to feel at home. We all need each other right now. Hell they need you. Clarke needs you. I need you. So what do you say? Ready to slam this last beer with J and go home?”

Bell raises his beer, tapping it against mine “To the pain?”

“Always Bell… to the pain.”

“Hey Lex ?”

“Yeah Bell.”

“Ai hod yu in.”

“Ai hod yu in, ai Gona.”

Chapter Text

We walk to his Jeep in a comfortable silence. No words are needed. His presence grounds me, he would give his life for mine and I would do the same. That kind of love and loyalty is so rare in this life.

When we first met I was quiet, reserved and had very little confidence in myself. He brought me out of my proverbial shell. I felt like I was merely surviving before I met Bell and the delinquents at Grounders Bar and Grill. They taught me that life was more than just surviving. Each and every one of Mama G’s “kids” have emotional scars and a fair share of demons. Mama G has saved us all in one way or another. We became so much more than friends… we became a family. I cannot imagine what will happen to us all now that She won’t be here to guide us. She was the glue that held us all together. She has picked all of us up and put us back on our feet when the world just wanted to beat us down.

Raven’s mom was raging alcoholic who neglected the brilliant girl for years. Mama saw past Raven’s brash and snarky attitude. She saw the pain that tormented the dark haired girl. Mama gave her a job at the bar and a place to live in the large farmhouse she and Clarke lived in.

When Murphy was a teenager his parents split up and left him on his own. He started acting out and getting into trouble spray painting businesses and breaking windows. When he vandalized Grounders it was Mama G who bailed him out of jail. Where most people saw a lost cause, Mama G saw a scared kid that was dealt a crappy hand. She made a deal with him. He could either go to jail for what he did or he could repair the damage and work it off in the bar. If he did a good job then he could remain employed with her. That was over ten years ago and he is still the best cook in town.

Then there’s Jasper. Just thinking about him makes my heart ache. He worked in the kitchen as well. His story doesn’t have a happy ending, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on Mama’s part. He fell into the wrong crowd and his girlfriend Ontari introduced him to the street drug Red. We all tried to get through to him on multiple occasions but it was Mama who brought him back out of the rabbit hole he went down. She had convinced him to go to rehab and get better. She had already financed it and told him his job would be waiting for him when he got home. Ontari found out and was livid. She was a leach and used the drug to ensure he would continue paying for them both to get high. In a desperate attempt to get him to change his mind about rehab, she inadvertently injected him with a lethal dose and then left him to die in the hotel room alone. She was never charged with a crime, although we all knew what she had done.

Octavia and Bell were added to the family when Mama found out how horrible their father treated O. Their parents didn’t know they were having twins. O was a surprise. Their mother passed away while giving birth to Octavia. Their father never recovered mentally and treated O horribly. He kept her locked up in a dark bedroom the majority of the time, saying she reminded him of the woman he lost. He would beat Bellamy whenever he tried to stand up to his father. Bell and Clarke met in the first year of middle school and became friends immediately. After a short period of time he found it so easy to open up to Clarke about his home life. Clarke had a way about her, she was and is special. After talking to Bell Clarke told her mom about the twins situation. Mama G was so mad she went directly to the Blake household and stormed past their father when he opened the door. She backed him up against the far wall of the entry way and gave him a choice. He could either let both children come home with her and relinquish parental rights to her or she would have him arrested for a slew of felony charges. It wasn’t an empty threat and he knew it. He never said a word as she had them pack up their belongings and leave their worthless excuse of a father behind. Mama saved us all in one way or another.

For me… I was lost and adrift when I found my way to Grounders. Mama took me in and gave me a home. She gave me a purpose. I shudder to think what would have become of me if I didn’t have her and the delinquents after what happened with Costia, then Finn and Losing Jasper.

5 years ago

I had been working at Grounders as a bar tender for awhile before I had met Costia one night at a neighboring bar in town when Bell and I were out and about. I was immediately drawn to her. She was a free spirit. She was captivating and her smile lit up the room. I felt drawn to her and her to me. She came home with me that night and we were inseparable after that. She introduced me to her 4 month old son Aden the next week. I didn’t know it at the time but I fell in love with him before I fell in love with his mother. I was there to see him take his first steps, say his first words, and when he started calling me mommy too. He was my son in every way that mattered. I would have died for him without any pause or hesitation. I worked hard and took care of them both. But she got bored with me after about 3 years. Staying at home while I worked 60 hours a week wasn’t good enough for her anymore. She found a guy with a trust fund and literally left me at Raven’s boyfriend Finn’s house. Costia drove off in my car with my son and never looked back.

She left me with a trash bag full of clothes, an empty wallet and a gaping hole in my heart where Aden used to be. Finn… I thought he was just trying to be a friend despite what my gut was telling me. He got me really drunk that night under the guise that he was helping me cope with the pain in my heart. I blacked out that night and when I woke the next morning Raven was asleep on the couch next to the loveseat I was on. When she woke she told me he had been trying to get me drunk so I would sleep with him. I had refused his advances in the past because I’m gay and not attracted to men.

We left and went home to Grounders. Mama was there for us as she always had been. Bell and O gave me a bedroom at their new place to call home. They had moved out of the farmhouse and into 3 bedroom house close to Grounders. I was so depressed over losing my son I was not mentally prepared to handle another loss. That’s when Jasper died. He was a brother to me. My world shattered when we found out what happened to him. I packed up my meager belongings and ran away right after his funeral.

Present

That was five years ago and I’m too tired to keep running. I’m brought out of my ever shifting thoughts when the Jeep pulls to a stop in the gravel parking lot behind the bar. Bell reaches into the back seat and grabs something wrapped in a paper bag. I shake my head n chuckle… “Pain in a glass?”

I see him mirror the smirk on my face and he pulls out a bottle of Jim beam from the bag. “Of course! It’s tradition after all… besides, you’re still thinking way too loud. “

“Can we just sit here for a few minutes before we head inside?”

“Sure, we can sit as long as you need” he says touching his forehead to mine.

Chapter Text

After passing the bottle back and forth for a few minutes Bell starts laughing. “Do you remember the first time I brought you here?”

“Oh my god! How could I ever forget that!”

10 years ago

“Bell come on! You take longer than most girls to get ready!”

“Yeah yeah, I’m coming. Did you get our drinks ready?”

“Of course, so are you sure this lady is going to let me stay here with you guys? What’s this bar called again?”

“It’s called Grounders. O is meeting us there. This ‘lady’ is our mom. We may be grown but everyone needs a mom, a family. She has adopted all of us. Well, all except Clarke. She’s Clarke’s bio mom. I know how unfair life can be. Losing your parents in that fire affects you more than you think. You literally lost everything that night. Just trust me Lex. Mama G will be able to see that you need her, need us. She’ll give you a home too. “

“Ok well let’s hit it then.”

Dressed in loose fitting jeans, form hugging grey tank top and wrapped in an open button up I grabbed our mostly full bottle of Jim Beam and 2 20oz bottles of Mountain Dew I wait for him by the door.

“Ready Princess “ I poke at him…. He’s dressed similar to me seeing as I’m wearing his clothes. The fire happened around a month ago. I lost my parents and everything I owned that night. I was left with the clothes on my back. That’s how I ended up here in the first place. It was too hard to be in Polis. It was a constant reminder of all that I lost. I met Bell randomly my first day here in this town. It took a couple days to convince me that I should stay here and that this could be my home.

“Sha Ai laik yu Gona, ai hod yu in Lex”

“Um…. You know I don’t really speak trig right? Not really sure what you just said..”

“You’ll pick it up in no time.” He tells me.

Trig was a language the delinquent family created long before I became a part of the Kru. Mama gave her kru more than just a home. She said her delinquents were a special family and as such they needed their own special language. Bell had explained all this to me before he took me to Grounders. Bell said that everyone in the Kru even shared the same tattoo, an infinity shape tattoo on their right forearm.

 

We rode in a comfortable silence on the short ride to Grounders. The small parking lot at the front of the bar was full. The building itself was an older building with large windows along the front of the bar. As we turned to pull around to the back of the building to park, we could hear music and could see that it was rather crowded. We pulled to a stop in the small gravel lot behind the bar. Bell pulled out our bottle of Beam as I handed him his Mountain Dew. We sat in his car having a few drinks before we decided to go inside. I could hear the dj playing Shaggy’s song “It wasn’t me” booming from the speakers as we walked inside. I was taken aback seeing that it was actually karaoke night and saw who I would learn to be Monty and Jasper expertly performing for the crowd who was cheering loudly for the pair. Looking around I notice that the tables and chairs are all mismatched. It seemed rather fitting and represented the Kru itself as they are all different with different stories. I couldn’t help the huge grin growing on my face. Then another scene unfolded as the song ended. Jasper jumped onto a table and was joined by another young man with short messy hair, a goatee and mischievous smirk. They were yelling and spilling their beer. All of a sudden a woman came storming out of what I learned was the kitchen wearing an apron that said “kiss the cook and get me a beer” while carrying a bottle of Corona in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other. The two young men froze at the sight of her.

“Jasper! Murphy! Have you lost your minds!? Get down from there right now!”

Both men hurriedly got off the table and lowered their gaze and said in unison “sorry mom.”

“You can both go sit in timeout!” She scolds while pointing to two chairs in the back corner of the bar.”

Both grown men audibly grumble n start sulking as they shuffle towards said chairs

“I’m sorry did you say something boys? And I’ll take those beers… no beer in timeout”

“Aw man… yes ma’am… we’re sorry mom.”

I couldn’t believe what I just saw. I hear Bellamy cracking up and then I feel him literally push my mouth closed. This brought me out of my stupor. Then Mama G turned to Bell and I. Her scowl was replaced with the warm smile that reached her eyes and made them shine.

“Bellamy my sweet boy, why can’t your brothers be more like you? And is this the young woman you were telling me about? Lexa is it? I’m sorry about that. My boys are good boys… most of the time. I’m Abby, but to family, our Kru, I’m Mama or Ma. Welcome to Grounders. I’ve heard a lot about you. Follow me…” she says as she turns to go back into the kitchen. Bell gives me a toothy grin and a nod of encouragement.

As we walk through the doorway Mama calls to O, who was cutting lemons “Jasper n Murphy are in timeout. Ten minutes n then they can get up and have their beer back.”

“Sure thing Mama! Hey Lex” she replies with a wink as she walks past us back into the bar.

Mama turns to face me and says “The twins have told me quite a bit about you. They care about you a great deal. All of my delinquents are very cautious of people usually. The twins more so than the others. Their story had a very poor beginning. It usually takes a lot to get them to accept new people in their life aside from Clarke that is. That is not the case with you it seems. They told me what happened with your parents in the house fire. My heart breaks for you. Everyone needs a family. You have one in our Kru if you will accept it. Our family is special. I expect all of my kids to stay out of trouble and treat people with kindness. I won’t tolerate anything less. Is that understood? “

With tears in my eyes I choke out “yes ma’am. I don’t know how to thank you. “

She pulls me into hug and says “you can thank me by accepting us as your family, being loyal to our Kru, looking out for you new brothers, sisters and myself. Relax and have fun tonight. You start working as a bartender this Friday. Tomorrow we will take you shopping for whatever you need. Bell said you won’t accept a handout so you can repay me by working it off. A small percentage of your pay check each week will be just fine.”

With that she turns and walks back into the front of the bar. I follow and as we make our way to the bar where O is serving drinks, Jasper and Murphy both walk up to Mama. They each give her a kiss on the cheek and say “Sorry Ma it won’t happen again.”

She looks at them with nothing but love in her eyes and says “aw my sweet boys, ai hod yu in”

Chapter Text

My sweet boys, ai hod yu in”

Mama sees my quizzical look and says “it means I love you. We will have to teach you our language. We all share the same tattoo as well. It’s a physical reminder of our loyalty to our family, our Kru.”

I look to Bell and he gives me a sheepish grin. I wrap my arms around him and say “I love you Bell! Thank you!”

His smile grows, he wipes a tear from my face and he says “welcome home Lex”

Present

Bell shakes his head and says “the look on your face when we walked into Grounders !”

“ well excuse me but grown ass men typically don’t willingly go into time out!”

“Priceless! The only time I have seen you even more stunned is when you saw Clarke for the first time. You couldn’t even make words! You stuttered!”

“ I mean…. Yeah, no you got me there… “ I can’t help but smile.

“See! Heart Eyes”

“Em pleni. She’s special…”

“She is and you are too. Listen, I think there is something you should know. O and I never said anything before because we knew you would feel guilty, even though you shouldn’t. Clarke went through a hard time when you left. She cried herself to sleep at our place for over a month. I know you’ve always thought that your feelings for Clarke were one sided. I can’t speak for her but I think it’s time you talked to her.”

5 years ago

“She’s gone isn’t she Bell, O? I mean, completely understand, it’s just…I wish she knew how I feel about her. I’m such an idiot! Why couldn’t I just tell her. I didn’t realize how I felt about her until it was too late. “ Clarke sobs on Octavia’s shoulder while Bell fixes them both a cup of tea. He grabs a blanket off the back of the couch and drapes it over them. He sits down and lays his arm around Octavia, Clarke cuddles into O from her other side. “We will get through this my girls. Lex will change me home to us when she is ready. And we will be here when she does. Omon gon oson.”

“Omon gon oson” Clarke and O say in unison.

Present

As if on cue we hear the sound system coming to life from the bar and grill. As the music starts playing a familiar song, a raspy voice starts singing along. She always loved this song, “Every Rose has its Thorn”. She would only sing it when she was upset or hurting.

“Speaking of heart eyes… Earth to Lex?”

“Hmm, what? “

Shaking his head and chuckling he says “O texted. She said her and Linc picked up your car and took it to our place. They just got here. You ready?”

“I am… I think.. I don’t know. But let’s go. I need to see her, I need to see our Kru. Lead the way Bell.”

Hearing her sing just draws me to her subconsciously like a moth to a flame. I haven’t seen her in ten years. I don’t know what I expected to feel but I’m not surprised that I’m still hopelessly in love with her.
Bell and I go into Grounders via the back entrance that leads into the kitchen. The music gets louder, I can hear our Kru all talking amongst themselves. It feels like home. As we walk through the curtain separating the kitchen from the front of the bar all I can hear and see is her. Every other sound fades to white noise in my mind. I don’t even notice the shocked looks on our delinquents’ faces, I don’t hear the gasps or the many people calling my name… all I see and hear is Clarke singing. She doesn’t see me at first. I don’t know how it’s possible but she’s even more beautiful than I remembered. Her hair is cut shorter now, to just above her shoulders. There are pink highlights underneath. When those gorgeous blue eyes find mine she audibly gasps and throws her hand over her mouth. Her eyes shine with unshed tears and she literally drops the mic and throws herself into my arms. She squeezes me close to her with her arms around my neck. I wrap my arms around her and bury my face in the crook of her neck to just breathe her in. I don’t know how long we stayed like that before I feel someone barrel into my back hugging me from behind, then someone slams into my right side hugging Clarke and I both… more and more delinquents join in on the group hug. We must look ridiculous. Most of us are crying, some are smiling…

As we break apart I see so much love and affection in all of their eyes. I find it hard to understand why I ever left. Murphy is wiping at his eyes when he is caught by Octavia who exclaims “holy shit! Murph are you crying!?!?”

“Shof op O! I’m not crying! You’re crying!”

“Move it! Let me get in on this!” Raven elbow’s Murphy and
Monty to squeeze in and give me a hug and rest her forehead against mine. “I’ve missed you Sis! We all have! I can’t believe no one knew you were coming! “

Bell and O slink away from Raven but she catches their matching guilty looks… “you knew and didn’t tell me?!? I can make you go boom! Have you forgotten the the incident with dumpster fire?”

“Easy Rae. I wanted to surprise you all. I wasn’t sure if you all would want to see me since it’s been so long, and how I left .” They all start talking at once …

“Of course we’re happy!”
“We missed you!”
“We love you!!”
“Ma would love this!”

Clarke clears her throat, raises her eyebrow at me …. Seconds tick by and she says nothing. I visibly gulp and then Her face splits in the biggest grin before she leans in to give me a kiss on the cheek. Then she says “it doesn’t matter that you left … what matters is that you came home when I needed you, when we needed you. Shots??? Omon gon oson. We need shots! “ just like that; it’s as if I never left. Now , I don’t think I could ever leave again. Maybe it’s finally time to come home for good.

Raven elbow’s Murphy and shoves passed Bell saying “move it kids,Mommy’s thirsty!”

Before I can get too far I feel Clarke grab my wrist. She nods towards the kitchen and says “can I get a minute before they all steal you away?”
“Of course you can. I’m all yours.” I can’t help but to smile at her. Seeing how she blushes at my reply doesn’t go unnoticed either.

Chapter Text

“How are you holding up?” I ask, following her through the kitchen into the prep room.
“I am honestly still kind of in shock I think. It doesn’t feel real yet. I feel overwhelmed.”
I nod, pulling her into hug. I can feel her sink into the embrace and let out choked sob. I just hold her a little tighter. “I’m here Clarke. We are all here for you. Omon Gon Oson. I can’t believe she’s really gone. I keep expecting her to burst through the door at any moment. We will all get through this together. “ We pull apart and she leans back onto the stainless steel prep table in the corner.

“Do you..” “This may not be the right..” we both say at the same time. I just point to her and ask “What were you going to say Clarke? You first.”

“Well…” she starts out, eyes glancing down to my lips, then back up to my eyes before looking away. “I was going to ask if you remembered the last time we were here in the prep room together?”

My eyes go wide and it’s my turn to blush like an idiot. “Is that a rhetorical question? Because you know damn well I remember that night. It was a lifetime ago but it feels as if it could have been yesterday. I remember every minute of my time with you Clarke. I ..”

“Clarke? Lex? Oh there you guys are!” Monty comes skidding to a stop in the kitchen. “Hey, We made an executive decision and decided we should move this reunion/wake back to the house. We all need to be together, and like Dorothy says, there’s no place like home. We can all stay there for however long, just like old times. Tonight we can drink our feelings and then tomorrow we can start to face reality. Come on let’s go. Bell said we can ride with him. Lincoln, O and Rae are grabbing a keg and an assortment of liquor. Murphy, Miller and Harper are going to the store to get groceries for the next few days” he says.

I forgot how much I missed these goofballs. Seeing the look of affection in Clarke’s face as she listens to her brother ramble awakens something in me that I have spent 5 years trying to push deep down and keep locked away. Who am I kidding? As soon as I laid eyes on her again those brick walls I have built up around my heart crumbled. I have been hopelessly in love with this woman since the first day I saw her. I have never felt this way about anyone. I love her unconditionally. If she were with someone else and was truly happy then I’d be happy for her. There’s an ancient proverb that says if you love a flower you don’t pick it because then it would die and cease to be what you love. Instead you let it be. Love isn’t about possession, Love is about appreciation. It sums up exactly how I feel about Clarke, my Ruca. Despite how much I have ached for her to feel the same way about me, I have chosen to keep it to myself. The thought of her rejecting me or damaging the relationship we have is too devastating for me to bear.

I’m brought out of rambling thoughts when Monty crashes into me hugging me and spinning me around. He loops an arm around Clarke and gets a little choked up.

His voice cracks a bit but manages to say “this has been the worst day, Losing Ma like this, but Lex, having you here with us again just makes it so much more bearable. Come on, let’s go home.”

Home, I really like the sound of that. Monty heads to the back door. As he opens it he says “you guys coming?”

Clarke raises an eyebrow at me and smirks at me. “Well, are we Lex?” She says before following Monty out the door, looking back to wink at me.

Did she just say… now I’m blushing again. I’ve only been back for a few hours and I’m already acting like a useless lesbian around this woman. She has always been affectionate and tactile. We have cuddled many nights, she’s held my hands at times or curled up with me in the couch to watch a movie. She was the one who held me every night for 2 weeks l when I lost my son, Aden. She’s like that with the other delinquents though, right? Actually, come to think of it, I cannot remember a time where she has referred to me as her sibling the way she does the rest of the Kru. We have definitely had our fair share of moments but that was only when we were drinking. She was much, much more affectionate and forward with me when she was drinking, as opposed to when she was sober.

Shaking my head, I mutter “get it together Lex. She doesn’t think of you like that, it was only the alcohol talking. We are not going down that rabbit role right now, no matter how curious…”

I take another glance around the kitchen before turning off the lights and locking up. “I love you Mama, I can’t believe you’re gone. I’ll look after them, I promise. Im home for good now. I’m tired of running. I just wish I could have seen you again.” I wipe away the tears that have fallen down my cheek and turn to walk to Bell’s Jeep.

“Come on Grandma! Let’s go Woods!” Bell yells, blaring the horn. When I reach the passenger side door on the driver’s side I reply “I’m sorry Princess, we can go now.”

“Jok! You wear a tiara one time and no one can let it go”. Bell fires back.

“Yeah, sure… just the one time huh?” Monty ask.

Hearing Clarke chuckle from the back seat makes me smile. Of course he sees and Bell’s lip curls up in a telling smirk..” you got jokes Woods? Is it my turn now?”

My eyes snap back to meet his and I mumble “uh, no, no! I was just kidding!”

I half fall into the back seat next to Clarke, well actually I fall onto Clarke. Bell fixes his eyes on mine in the rear view mirror and just laughs at me. Poor Monty has no idea what just happened nor does Clarke. They both look confused but just shrug their shoulders. Monty turns the radio up and they start singing along. At least it’s dark so no one can see how red my face is thanks to my big brother.

For the first time in years I feel like it’s time to start living again. It’s so sad and ironic that it takes the death of a loved one to reach that conclusion. Life should be more than just surviving as Mama always said. Looking up to the night sky listening to Clarke sing along with Monty as she takes my hand in hers intertwining our fingers, seeing Bell smiling at me in the mirror, smelling the crisp autumn air; it’s almost too much.

Before I can process this tornado of emotions we ride past my old duplex where Costia and Aden still reside. There are toys in the yard. There is a swing set and a child’s bicycle that I know are his because I bought them for him for his last birthday. Costia has no clue that I was the one who got them for him nor does Aden. Would he even remember me? Seeing our names etched in a large oak tree where I put his tire swing years ago is too much and I have to look away. No tears come, I have none left at the moment. My heart pounds in my chest and I find it hard to breathe. Bell reaches back behind his seat reaching for me. I lean forward onto the back of his drivers seat and he just holds onto the back of my head. Monty reaches back for my free left hand while Clarke scoots over to lay her head on my right shoulder never letting go of my right hand. They hold me, no one says a word, no words are needed. We stay like that for a few minutes until Bell needs his left hand to turn onto Mama’s road. Monty n Clarke don’t let go until we are parked in front of the Griffin farmhouse.

Octavia and Lincoln are bringing lawn chairs out to put around the large fire pit. Miller and his boyfriend Jackson are gathering wood for a fire.

Raven brings out some kindling, lighter fluid and a grill lighter. Wait, who gave her lighter fluid! That’s a horrible idea! As if Lincoln read my mind he looks to Rae and his eyes go wide at seeing her with flammable objects. He unceremoniously drops the chair he is carrying and snatched the lighter and lighter fluid from her. He just shakes his head at her and she just pouts.

He laughs and tells her “no, way! That’s not going to work on me! You know you’re not allowed to start the fire anymore.”

She scowls at him and says “that only happened once! How was I supposed to know you shouldn’t throw firecrackers into the fire!” She exclaims throwing her arms in the air dramatically.

He is joined by O who says “one time?? Um what about the dumpster?”

Rae starts to argue but then just starts laughing “That was a good one! I made it go boom. “

Monty joins them and drags Raven off to help him get the keg on ice and start setting up the bar. Bell goes to help Linc with the chairs while Clarke and I make our way towards the house to get the music set up.

Before we make to the house she stops me and says “we didn’t get to finish our conversation. Later? Will you stay with me in my room tonight?”

All I can do is nod. This woman will be the death of me, I know it.

The front door slams open as Raven tries to run out while Murphy grabs her from behind saying “Damnit Raven I’m not letting you anywhere near my grill! You can’t light it anyway I took the propane regulator off. Ha!”

“It was one time! How was I supposed to know there was a propane tank in the dumpster ?!?”

I glance at Clarke. We share a grin and both say “Because you put it there!”

“Minor details… you guys never let me have any fun… fine.”

She trudges back inside to get a beer. Some things never change, I think to myself. I look around at my brothers and sisters and even though we are all equally devastated and heartbroken over losing our Mama, we find comfort in one another, just the way she raised us to.

O tosses me one of my duffle bag and I tilt my head in question. She just smiles and says “I kind of figured we would all be staying here so I brought your luggage over too. I already took the other suitcase up to Clarke’s room. I think it’s safe to assume that’s where you’ll be staying.”

I just roll my eyes and shove her saying “it’s not like that O, she doesn’t see me that way.”

She throws her head back laughing “keep telling yourself that Woods!”

Chapter Text

Octavia continues laughing at me as I look around for Clarke to let her know I’m going to throw my bag in her room. I don’t see her and assume she must be outside with the boys. I shrug it off and jog upstairs to her room. I toss my bag inside the door and am about to head back downstairs when someone clears their throat. I look up to see Clarke leaning against her dresser, looking at me in a way that makes me ache and clench my thighs together.

She tilts her head and pulls her bottom lip between her teeth. I just close and lock the door waiting on her to find the words she is looking for.

Finally she sighs and says “Do you ever think about how different things could have turned out? I have, especially since losing Mom the same day you come home.”

She pushes off of the dresser and takes a step. “Do you… do you ever think about me?”

She takes another step. “Have you ever wished you could go back and do things differently?”

Another step, I visibly gulp and she goes on to say “because I do. I think about you a lot Lex. I can’t believe you’re here. I know you see me as family. I don’t want to even think about losing you or the friendship we have. Still, I already let you leave once without you knowing how I feel and I can’t do that again. Life is too short.”

The silence lingers for a moment and she slowly lifts her head. Our eyes meet and and I cannot look away. My breath hitches when I see desire, anxiety and determination flash through those blue eyes.

My control falters and I find myself walking towards her. She takes a few more steps and meets me halfway. I raise my left hand up to brush a strand of her hair behind her ear, cupping her jaw. My thumb brushes over her cheek. She leans into the touch closing her eyes. Taking my free hand I tilt her chin up asking her to look at me. Holding her gaze I realize it’s time to confess the truth. She’s right, life is too short. I can’t hold it I anymore, so I tell her.

“You don’t know do you? After all these years you don’t know much I love you? I’ve been in love with you for years Clarke. Five years apart and I’m more in love with you now than I was then.”

Searching her eyes I continue, “the first time I saw you my heart literally skipped a beat. Your eyes were captivating . They were a shade of blue that i had never seen before. Your laugh, your smile..l had never felt more powerless in my entire life as I did the night I walked through the doors of this little bar called Grounders and met you. My entire world changed. Every time I’m around you my brain short circuits.”

I can feel my heart pounding in my chest, I can feel the familiar flush creep up my jaw and ears. I tip my forehead downward until it rests on hers. She brings her hands up to grip my wrists keeping me in place, holding her face in my hands.

I barely hear the whisper she breathes out, “then why have you always pulled away from me and stopped things from escalating between us?”

Pulling back just enough to look into her eyes I feel my heart speeding up. “I wasn’t rejecting you, Love. You have no idea how badly I wanted you back then not to mention how badly I still want you. However all the times you have kissed me and tried to sleep with me, we were drinking. I thought it was the alcohol talking. You never brought it up when we were sober. As much as I wanted you, craved you, I couldn’t bare the thought of being something you would regret the next day. And I damn sure couldn’t let things escalate if it could mean that I was taking advantage of you… no matter how much you tested my will power. Do you feel this?”

I pull her hand to place her palm over my rapidly beating heart.

She gasps, Never taking her eyes off of me. “Lex it’s beating so fast!”

I nod my head and shrug. “This is what it does every time I’m near you.”

She’s quiet for a moment before she says “I love you too, Lex. I’m in love with you. I was always too nervous to tell you, or show you. The only time I had the guts to do so was when we were drinking and I had liquid courage on my side. Being with you would never ever be something I would regret. My only regret is that it took so long for me to have the guts to tell you. I’ve missed you so much! I tried dating a few people but it never went anywhere because they weren’t you.”

As she trails off she raises her hand from my chest to the back of my neck pulling me in, before brushing her lips against mine.

“Kiss me, I want you Lex, I’ve always wanted you.”

She opens her mouth slightly and let’s her tongue lightly graze my lips causing goosebumps to send a chill down my spine. I can feel her smile against my lips and that’s all it takes for me to kiss her back. It’s slow and it’s soft, neither one of us want to rush it. This moment is long overdo and I want nothing more than to take my time and show her exactly how I feel about her. She opens her mouth, and bites my lower lip before her tongue follows to soothe it. I can’t help the whimper that escapes my mouth. Not missing the open invitation she slides her tongue to meet mine.

The tension is palpable. I can hear my heart thundering in my chest. The kiss starts building in intensity and soon becomes a battle for control. She pulls me flush against her as we break apart gasping for air. When she opens her eyes to look at me her pupils are blown wide open. I have never seen anything so intoxicating in my life. She lets her fingers run down my arms and slips her hands under the back of my shirt. Never breaking eye contact she lightly runs her fingers up to my shoulders leaving a trail of goosebumps along the way. She leans in kissing the base of my throat and works her way up my neck igniting a fire everywhere her lips and tongue touch my skin along the way.

When she reaches my ear, in a raspy voice full of wanton desire, she says “you said you’ve always wanted me… then prove it”.

As she trails off I feel her tongue on my ear lobe and then she bites down making me hiss. Smirking at me she rakes her nails down my back, sure to leave her mark. Coming back to my senses I grip her hips with both hands, sliding them down to the backs of her thighs. Leaning in to kiss her hard I pull her legs up to wrap around my waist. I feel her moan into my mouth and wrap her legs around my waist. Walking her to the dresser I sit her down moving to kiss her jaw then continue on to her throat. Her hands move to tangle in my hair holding me against her. I nip my way up the side of her neck. Biting down on her pulse point, she hisses in pleasure tugging harder on my hair. I know it’ll leave a mark but I can’t begin to care. She tugs my hair pulling me look at her.

Before I can reconnect our lips there is a loud knock on the door.

“Claaaarke! Leeeexa!! You in there? Hey why is the door locked? Get your asses down here! Murphy’s got food ready and we are about to do shots, I made rocket fuel! “ Raven bellows, clearly feeling the effects of having taste tested her creation.

Clarke and I share a look and reluctantly I say “Yeah, sure thing Raven. We will be right down.”

“Ok you better be down in 5 minutes or I’m sending O or Miller up to pick the lock.”

Shaking my head I lean forward to kiss Clarke on the forehead I say “Come on Baby, let’s go. You know she is not even kidding about picking the lock.”

I take her hand in mine and star walking towards the door but she comes to a stop just staring at me.

“What?” I reply smiling back at her.

“You called me Baby” She raises her eyebrow at me.

I nervously rub the back of my neck and before I can say anything she crashes her lips into mine smiling and says “ I really like the sound of that. We will be picking this up as soon as we can slip away later on, just so you know.”

With a dopey grin all I can do is nod my head and say “yes ma’am.” I open the door for her and motion for her to go first. “After you Miss Griffin.” This is going to be an interesting night.

Chapter Text

Before Clarke can leave the room I reach out to grab her wrist and pull her back inside. “Hey, Clarke, wait a second. As much as I would like to continue this later, we have no rush. A lot has transpired today. We lost Mama not even a day ago. I do mean every word I said, though. I love you more than I could ever express. That being said, there are still some other things I need to talk to you about. There are things I need to tell you. Also I would rather not have to worry about our delinquents walking in on us… “I trail off.

“Hey, it’s ok.” She squeezes my hand. “You’re right, it’s a lot to process for one day. I’ve waited 8 years to be with you. A littler linger won’t hurt.”

“Tomorrow though before we start making arrangements and getting things ready for her service, there is something really important we need to discuss.”

“Sure Lex, We can talk now if you’d like.”

Before I can respond a piece of ice flies past my head. Turning to the bottom of the stairs I see Monty and Rae snickering. “Come on you two we are impatiently waiting on you !” Rae pouts.

“And that’s our cue Clarke, “ I say as Monty and Raven sport matching grins. Walking down the stairs I can’t help but smile, Seeing this wall covered in pictures of all of us from over the years. It tells a story about family, faith in each other, loyalty and unconditional love. As I enter the kitchen that’s what I see all around me. Mama once said “there’s family you’re given and then there’s the family you choose”. That’s exactly what we are. Murphy comes in carrying a large platter of grilled chicken. He places it on the table next the big bowl of pork barbecue as Miller brings over some corn on the cob and coleslaw. Before we dig in Raven and O serve up shots of Raven’s infamous rocket fuel. We all raise our shots and toast “to family, to our Kru, to Mama” there is a collective groan after everyone downs their rocket fuel.

“Jesus Raven what mixer did you use?!” O exclaims

“Mixer? What’s a mixer?”

Before O can retort Murphy calls everyone to the table to eat. We all take our seats and start passing the food dishes around the table. The conversation is light and the laughter is frequent, despite the grief that blankets us all. Then I feel the weight of anxiety creeping in. I hate secrets and deception but I’m guilty of carrying a rather large secret. I will tell Clarke first, then the others. I have to tell them, but how will they react? If I am to start over and come back home then I have to tell them everything. As if he can read my mind Bell looks over to me gives me a reassuring smile and nods once. Octavia sees the exchange and looks to me as well. She nods once and that’s all they have to do to let me know I’m not in this alone. She and Bell will be by my side if I need them. I nod back and mouth a “thank you” to them. They both wink at me. Unbeknownst to me, Clarke sees the entire silent conversation between the twins and eye.

I almost forgot she was sitting on my left before I feel her lean in and say “you know it’s really creepy when you three do that esp conversation thing that you do. Are you sure you guys aren’t triplets?”

“What can I say they’re my wonder twins. It’s equally comforting and a little creepy when they do that whole mental conversation thing though. “

After everyone was good and full we all pitched in to clean up wash the dishes, kicking Murphy and Miller out of the kitchen. It was house rule #5 if you cook you don’t clean up afterwards. With the dishes done Monty brings out his own special brew he calls “Reaper” because if you drink too much you’ll feel like death the next day. Raven’s rocket fuel is out as well. Everyone grabs a beer or drink of choice and we all migrate out to the fire pit. Raven and Monty’s creations are brought out too. Lincoln mans the fire and everyone grabs a chair to sit around the blaze. Several shots and drinks later Bell brings out his guitar and Lincoln grabs his bongo drum as they have done so many times before.

Clarke walks up to me and grabs the blanket on the back of my chair and says “Hi, it’s a little chilly out here can I sit with you?”

“Absolutely, I wouldn’t want you getting cold. I’ll do my best to keep you warm” I gesture for her to sit.

As Clarke settles in on my lap sitting sideways she drapes the blanket of both of us. Reaching under the blanket she takes my left hand in hers. I can’t look at her without grinning like a love sick puppy. Trying to school my features I hear Raven gasp. She smacks Octavia’s shoulder and start pointing at us.

A grin befitting the Cheshire Cat creeps up on her face and she narrows her eyes. Gesturing between Clarke and I she says “you two look different. Why is Lexa all smiley? Wait Clarke! Are you blushing. Why won’t you look me in the eye?” Her eyes fly open as she connects the dots. How is she so freakishly smart and deductive?! “Omg something happened between you two!” At this point she jumps up yelling for everyone to listen to her. “Oh kids do I have something to tell you. Pay attention Mommy’s talking.” She shushes a very drunk Monty and Harper. “I think our Lexa and Clarke have finally gotten their heads out of their asses! Look at em….”

One by one they all break out in matching smirks. Murphy excused hisself to grab something from the house. Raven snaps her fingers at me and continues with her interrogation. “Ok, now this is really important. I need for you to tell me who made the first move and how long ago. Clarke places Her left arm around neck, her hand resting on my shoulder and tries to turn her head to look at me but Raven snaps her fingers growing impatient.

Murphy comes running back out of the house with a paper in his hands almost tripping over Monty. He breathes out “what did I miss? Who was it?!! How long ago?!?”

Raven shushes him and says “well? Answer the man. We are all waiting.”

It is in this moment that I realize every single one of them at all staring at us with mouths open waiting for a response. “Wait a minute, what’s going on you guys? How did you know Clarke and I both had feelings for each other?”

O decides to chime in . “Wait! So you both finally admitted it? When? What happened? Who admitted it first? Who made the first move? Focus this is important!”

 

Clarke looks around at the circle of her brothers and sisters and it all clicked. “Omg did you all take wagers on this!?!” Seeing their very guilty smiles she rolls her eyes before looking at me. I just smile and nod. “Fine!” She huffs.” I started to tell her first, and I sorta made the first move I guess. You guys are ridiculous. How did you know we had feelings for each other? Was it that obvi…”

“YEEEEES!” Everyone yells before Clarke can finish her question. “Yeah but WHEN though?!?” O and Raven say in unison.

“Um, before dinner… today”

Murphy starts skimming through the paper in his hands and says “Wow. She was right. Mama won!”

“Damn she’s good! I knew you two would take forever to get your shit together. No really though, In all seriousness, we all love you.”

Clarke goes to speak and pauses for a minute before saying “Mom was in on this too? How long has this been going on guys? “

Bell clears his throat and explains. “Well we started this wager about 8 years ago actually. Specifically the day O and I brought Lexa to Grounders to meet Mama.” He darts his eyes to Clarke and I then looks down kicking at a rock at his feet. He always did that when he was nervous. Taking a deep breath he goes on “Mama saw the way you two looked at each other and told us that you two would be together one day, but that you were both clueless. She said Lexa would never admit her feelings because she loved Clarke but thought it was one sided. She said it would take a huge shock or loss for Clarke to realize she needed to admit her feelings to Lexa. She was always had that Mother’s intuition super power.”

Clarke wipes the tears from my cheeks and then hers. I just hold her a little tighter as everyone grows quiet.

Monty breaks the silence saying, “hey I have an idea! Why don’t we put out the fire and head inside? We can bring our pillows and blankets in the family room and ‘camp out’ like we used to, watch a silly movie. What do u guys think?”

Raven turns her back to him and winks at us. “Monty we are grown ass adults.” He just shrugs and puts his head down in defeat. She continues on to stay, “If you think we are going to have a slumber party and watch cheesy movies then you are…..absolutely correct! Great idea strikbro.”

“Princess Bride!” The majority says. We have watched this so many times. Before we are halfway through the movie almost everyone is asleep. Monty and Harper are curled up on the loveseat. O and Lincoln are on the floor in front of them. Murphy and Rae are sharing the recliner with Bell on the floor beside them. Miller and Jackson are on the floor in front of the couch where Clarke is curled up into my side. Looking around, I can’t help but smile. Today has been such a roller coaster. Tomorrow won’t be much different. My mind won’t turn off so I can go to sleep. I have no idea how they will take the news and I have no idea how to tell them. Eventually I drift off to a restless sleep.

“Rise and shine kids!” Murphy calls out the following morning.

Raven launches a pillow from across the room hitting him in the face. “Why are you yelling. I hate you. Why is it so bright in here! Someone turn down the sun…”

“I made breakfast and coffee.”

“Raven opens one eye and grumbles “coffee? Cheesy eggs?”

“Of course. Now come eat.”

“I take it all back. I love you. You’re my favorite brother. Don’t tell the others though.”

Both Monty and Bell say “what?”

Raven looks innocent and says “what?”

Everyone shuffles out of the living room with varying degrees of a hangover. I’m glad I mostly stuck with beer. I don’t drink like I used to. With full bellies and cups of coffee most of us head back into the living room. All the blankets and pillows have been put away and I know time is up. I have to tell them, but Clarke has to be first. Before I can get her attention my phone starts ringing from where it was forgotten on the coffee table.

Rae picks it up, looking confused as she reads the caller ID. “It says home Lex. You didn’t tell us you have a roomie.” She teases. Clarke looks to me with apprehension. Bell and O share a look as I take the phone from Raven.

Leaving the room I answer the phone. “Hello?”

Hey Lex it’s me Echo. We are heading your way in just a few minute so we should be there in a half hour or so. She wants to talk to you.

“Okay, sounds good. Be careful and thank you for looking after my girl. Put her on.”

Hi Mommy! I missed you! Onti Echo let me have chocolate ice cream yesterday! Am I going to see Onti Tay and Onka Bell soon?

I don’t hear Clarke and Raven walk into the room when I smile and say. “That’s great baby! I can’t wait to see you. Yes you will. I missed you too. Ai hod yu in.”

“I love you too Mommy! Bye”

Both women gasp in surprise and I spin around. Clarke just shakes her head and the look on her face is devastating. Raven is livid and visibly shaking. “Wait Guys. No. It’s not what you think.” I try to explain.

“Not what we think ?! Um I think you just told some chick you love and miss her the day after you told Clarke how you feel.” Raven’s voice rises until she’s shouting at me. Clarke just looks hurt and won’t even look at me. By now the rest of the delinquents file into the kitchen. Bell comes between us and asks me what’s going on.

“They heard me tell Madi I love and miss her.”

He nods. Seeing Raven and Clarke’s expression he looks to me and says “oh… so you haven’t… they don’t know.”

“No, I haven’t. I was about to.”

Raven is even angrier now. “What the Fuck Lexa. So you admit it then? You …”

Sighing in frustration I blurt out “em pleni! Madi isn’t my girlfriend! She’s my daughter!”

There is a collective gasp and everyone goes silent. It’s eerily quiet. I can see Raven thinking as her eyebrows knit together. As she walks toward me she says “Wait… Lex how old is she?” I can see the fear and pain in her eyes.

I can’t look at her as I tell her “Rae you know how old she is.”

“Oh God. So he..”

“Yeah he did.” I mutter. Tears forming in my eyes.

“I’m so sorry! I thought I …. I didn’t know Lex.” She breaks down and runs outside.

I look to O who just nods and says “on it” following Raven outside. I can feel Bellamy at my back. He puts his arm around me and says “it’s ok. I’m here. Do you want me to tell them? I know how hard it is for you to talk about, even all these years later.

“No Bell. They should hear this from me. Come on let’s all go into the living room.” Walking past Clarke I can’t read her expression. She sits down on the couch beside me while Bell takes his spot on my other side. He squeezed my hand giving me a reassuring smile.

I let out a deep sigh and look up to find everyone looking at me. They are confused and genuinely surprised, yet they all look supportive. Clarke reaches over to take my hand intertwining our fingers and tells me to take my time. O and Raven walk back into the room, taking a seat near Murphy.

“Raven this is not your fault. He did this.” She just nods her head trying not to cry leaning against Octavia.

“Let me start at the beginning. I know you will all probably have questions and I’ll happily answer them. I never intended to keep this from you all. I hope you will understand why I did what I did. You know why I left town. What you don’t know is that about 6 weeks or so after I left I started getting sick and throwing up. I ended up going to the doctor because I thought it had something to do with the night blood. I was not prepared for her to tell me that I was actually pregnant. Since we all know I’ve never willingly slept with a man, it’s not hard to connect the dots back to that night with Finn.”

I can feel the tension and rage building in the room. Lincoln reacts first, jumping up, gritting his teeth to say “I’m going to kill him!” Bell intervenes and tells him to just listen. Clarke is silently crying beside me but doesn’t say anything. She just tightens her grip on my hand.

“I sunk into a pretty bad depression initially, which is why I ignored all of your calls and texts. I was a tornado of emotions and didn’t know what to do. I had lost a child, lost a brother and then gained a child through horrible circumstances. Mama was never one to tolerate the silent treatment so after a few months she got fed up. she got Bellamy to track my phone to figure out where I was. The twins and Mama showed up on my doorstep about 6 months after I left. They were obviously very surprised to find me pregnant. I told them everything. I couldn’t come home until I knew Finn was gone for good. I’m not going into detail but I was a mess. Mama wouldn’t let me disappear. If it wasn’t for Bell, O and Mama I don’t think I would be here. Every day was a constant reminder of what he did to me. I am thankful that I don’t remember it. I didn’t know how I was supposed to raise a child that was the product of these circumstances .” I pause and smile remembering the day she was born. “Mama was there when I went into labor, as were the twins. The moment Madison Abigail Woods was put in my arms I fell in love. Finn was forgotten and the healing began. Please don’t be upset with Mama or the twins. They kept my secret because it was my story to tell. I’ve been planning to come home since I found out Finn was arrested a few months ago. He finally got caught assaulting a women he met in a bar. He won’t be getting out for a long time.”

Clarke wraps her arms around me as does Bell, pulling me into hug. The delinquents scramble to do the same. I don’t know why I allow myself to doubt my family, thinking they would be upset with me keeping Madi a secret from them. They are arguing amongst themselves about will be the best aunt or uncle, and who gets to be godparents. Before long I can hear a car pulling into the driveway, tires crunching over the gravel. Bell and O share a wide smile. Both yell “Dibs!” And fight to get to the door. I hear a pained grunt come from Bell followed by Octavia laughing.

“Well, would you all like to meet your niece?” I ask.

“YES!!” They practically yell.

I hear her running up the stairs to the front porch to greet Bell and O. “Onti Tay! Onka Bell! I missed you! Where’s mommy?” Bell scoops her up in his arms and O peppers her face with kisses!”

“Come on let’s go find Mommy. Are you ready to meet your other Aunts and Uncles Heda?”

“Sha!!! Beja”

Echo comes up behind Bell giving him a kiss on the cheek and says “I missed you babe. She’s getting a lot better at her Trig. It amazes me.”

Madi comes running into the living room barreling into my legs. “Mommy!!!”

“Hi baby girl. Were you good for Onti Echo.” She nods enthusiastically. And looks around the room before looking up at Clarke and getting my attention. “Wow Clarke is really pretty Mommy you’re right!”

My cheeks flush as I cover her mouth and mutter “snitch”

Everyone starts laughing and Madi looks at me quizzically. “What’s a snitch Mommy?”

“What? Anyway, are you going to say hi to everyone?” She goes through saying hi knowing exactly who each person is as the delinquents get a little emotional. Murphy sniffles and O laughs “are you crying again Murph!”

“I’m not crying! You’re crying!”

“Actually Onka Murphy you are crying a little.” Madi replies wiping the tear that runs down his face. Everyone laughs and continues talking to Madi, completely transfixed by their niece.

“How do you know all of our names little one?” Lincoln asks.

“Mommy tells me bedtime stories and shows me pictures of all of you.”

Clarke puts her head on my shoulder with her arms still wrapped around me. She lets out chuckle watching our brothers n sisters on the floor with Madi. I lean into and realize that I could really get used to this. Moments like these are what life is all about.

Clarke looks up at me and smiles. “I’m so glad you’re home Woods. I’m sorry Rae and I doubted you.

I wave her off. “You have no reason to be sorry. Technically I did tell another woman I love her and miss her.” I laugh before I say. “I know you probably have a lot of questions. I’ll answer them the best I can. I know it’s a lot to take in, so if you’d rather Madi and I stay with the twins we can… I..

She puts her finger over my lips telling me to stop. Her eyes are smiling as she says “it is a lot. I completely understand why you never told me. I’m not mad at you, the twins or Mom. I want you to stay here if you still want to. We have the space. You and Madi can have Bell’s old room upstairs. I do have one question though but it’s for Madi.”

“Well lets ask Heda then. “Madi Clarke wants to ask you something.”

“Hey sweetie, are you hungry? Onka Murphy made breakfast and there’s some pancakes left over. While you eat you can tell me what else Mommy has told you about me.” Madi grabs Clarke’s hand pulling her into the kitchen.

“Wait, what? Did she just bribe my child…”

Chapter Text

Madi drags Clarke to the kitchen in search of pancakes as Bell pulls me into his side. “Told you it would all be okay. Just as Ma said it would.”

“Yes ai Gona. You’re usually right. But I’ll deny saying that if you tell anyone else though.” I smirk at him, standing to meet the girls in the kitchen. Before I can take a few steps, I feel sharp stabbing pain shooting through my right knee causing it to buckle. I let out a hiss and growl as the stabbing pain eases down to a throbbing ache. Bellamy catches me as I stumble, easing me back into the couch. He pushes my loose gym shorts up just above my knee and scowls at me. “Lex! Why aren’t you wearing your brace. Sleeping on the couch probably didn’t help either did it? It’s pretty swollen! Why didn’t you say something?”

“You know why. There has been a lot going on. I didn’t want to add my joint problems to it. Can you go get my brace? It’s in the blue duffel. Please Bell? I’m fine I promise. Don’t interrupt Clarke and Madi.”

“Sha, Heda. Meds too?” He nods.

“Beja”

He turns to Raven and asks her to grab an icepack discreetly. She glances over to me with a worried expression and heads to the kitchen. She comes back into the living room just ahead of Bell. Bell is carrying my knee brace that was made for me. It was a gift from Ma about 4 years ago when she found out how unstable my knee had become. Since then many other joints have become unstable. The joys of nightblood. I internally chuckle at my poor attempt at humor. When I try to take it from him he just smiles
With kind eyes and shakes his head. He’s helped me with this too many times to count. He slides a thin sleeve up around my knee, then slips my brace into position snapping it together just below my knee and just above on my thigh. It has matching “arms” on either side that create an elbow on both sides of my knee. It’s light weight but keeps my knee stable and slipping out of place. It only takes Raven a beat to recognize my brace.

“Hey, Wait a minute. Let me look at that.” She sits down to examine and exclaims “I made this! Mama asked me too. She said it was for someone special who could use my help. I made an elbow one and two ankle ones!”

I nod and raise my arm so she can see the large surgical scar that runs along the inside of my elbow. “They replaced my tattered tendons with cadaver tendons. Your braces have been a life savior Rae. I have a similar scar along the outside of my knee as well as both ankles. You have helped me tremendously Raven. You’ve given me a better quality of life. I’m sorry this was all done in secret.”

Raven’s face split into a huge smile, “Are you kidding!?! I made you bionic! This is awesome!”

Only Raven…. I look around and say “I’m sorry I’ve kept this and a number of other things secret from you all. It ends today. There are things we need to discuss. Ai Yongon, Clarke, can you come back in here please.” Tossing the ice pack to Bell, I turn to Echo. Hey did you bring everything?”

“Sha, Heda. I’ll be right back.”

“Mochof.”

Madi barrels into the room and runs full force into Bell trying to climb up on him. He smiles and reaches down. “Come here Monkey!” She squeals and happily settles in his embrace.

It warms my heart and brings sadness at the same time. Madi has had so much love in her life from Ma, the twins, myself and only recently, Echo. I feel I have deprived her from so much more as I see everyone smiling at her. She’s already gained their love and loyalty. I cannot regret past decisions because I know they were the right ones at the time. Clarke takes her place by my side while O and Bell toss my child back and forth, waiting for Echo to return.

“Ok guys here it goes. I know most of you haven’t seen me for 5 years and think that I had cut myself off from you all but I haven’t. Mama, Bell and O have kept me in the loop the entire time. I have pictures and videos and memories that they have shared with me. “ Echo returns and hands me a large Manila envelope.

Madi bursts out laughing while O holds her up by her ankle. She looks at me and nods throwing Madi over her shoulder. “Come on Smolheda lets go play on the trampoline !”

I take a deep breath and turn to Clarke, lacing my fingers with hers, tightly. “Mama came to see me 2months ago. She was sick. The doctor had found a lump during a routine examination. The results came back as an advanced stage of inflammatory breast cancer. She was supposed to have more time. We told the twins first because I needed their help with Madi. Ma didn’t want her to know she was sick. We had planned to call a family meeting next month and tell you all everything, from Madi, to Ma’s cancer, my disorder worsening and Finn. She never intended to tell tell me when she found out but she got the call from the doctor about her results when she was visiting Madi and I.”

I have to take a breath and swallow my emotions. Looking back to Clarke I expect to see anger, resentment or betrayal but there is only love and resolve. She nods for me to keep going. Opening the envelope I pull out smaller envelopes addressed to each delinquent. “Mama wrote a letter to each of us. She asked me to hold onto this packet until she finished getting her affairs in order. There’s more, for each of you.

“Raven, Mama knew how insanely talented you are when it comes to mechanics and engineering. That’s why she asked you to make the braces for me. My physicians all marveled at the quality and functionality of each brace you made. Several physical therapy groups, occupational therapy groups and physicians offices want to hire you to create braces for many many more people. Mama has set aside funds for you to start your own business doing just that, only if you want to. If not you can use the money however you see fit. She was so incredibly proud of you. You should have seen her face when she was bragging about her genius daughter. All the information is in this packet.” Handing the packet to her she wipes at the silent tears streaming down her face.

“Murphy and Miller, this is for you.” I say tossing their packet and letters to them. “Ma left Grounders Bar and Grill to the two of you.” Both gasp and start crying. “She said no one would ever fill her shoes as well as you two will.”

“Bellamy, Octavia and Echo, she left you a deed to a piece of property in town. She knew your all’s desire to help children who so desperately needed it. The property is perfect to open a place for future delinquents. I’ll send O in in just a minute so you can share the news with her.” Bellamy and Octavia had no idea what Mama had set up for them. They just nodded , staring at the papers in front of them.

“Monty, you brilliant and talented soul. She bought the property adjacent to Grounders, where you can finally have the proper space for a brewery. There are already a few new beer lines set up at the bar for when your first batch is ready. “

I pull out the last packet and lay it in Clarke’s lap. She knits her brow in confusion and tilts her head to look at me. “What? You think Ma would forget you! She knew your dream was to open a gallery of your own. She was so so incredibly proud of you and knew you would be a success. So, she bought you a space for a gallery. It’s furnished with a plethora of different mediums, canvasses, sketch books, you name it. She also left you this house. I think she secretly hoped we would carry on her legacy of taking in a new generation of delinquents.”

The room was eerily silent. Deciding to give everyone some space to process this new information I squeeze Clarke’s hand and leave a gentle kiss on her forehead. “I’m going to check to make sure Madi hasn’t tied Octavia up… again. I’ll be outside when you’re ready Clarke.” I take my exit limping out of the room.

Outside I find O and Madi laying on the trampoline giggling. I never tire of that sound. Madi’s laugh is contagious. When she sees me Madi scrambles off the trampoline with some difficultly, dangling her feet over the side. “Hold on Monkey let me help you!” O laughs helping her get down.

“Hey O I’ve got her. Bellamy and Echo have something for you inside.” She knows from the look on my face that it’s important. She hugs me, presses her forehead to mine and simply says “Sha Heda”

Walking over to Madi I can’t help but wonder how I am apparently now Heda, the commander of our family. Madi breaks me out of my thoughts when she tugs on my shirt. “Mommy, you’re thinking too loudly”

Laughing I reply “where did you hear that smolheda?”

Her chest puffs out with pride and merely says “Onka Bell taught me, he says you think too much.”

Throwing my head back laughing I pick her and hold her tightly. “I love you Monkey. I do think too much don’t I?” I sit her down and hold out my hand. “Do you want to walk with Mommy for a few minutes?”

“Yes Mommy! You’re limping! Did you forget to wear your brace again?” She puts a hand on her hip and scolds me. “Grammy told me that when her spirit moved on that I would have to make sure you took care of yourself. She said she would always be with us. How is she with us if I can’t see her? She tilts her chin up.

“Sha, ai yongon. I’m ok. She will watches over us. Even if we can’t see her because she loved us so much. You can help me loosen my sore muscles by walking with me. Grammy loved you so much Madi. Her spirit will always be with us.”

She hugs me then bends down to kiss my aching knee. She grabs my hand pulling me down the path towards the creek behind the house. She is such a special child and I am beyond proud of her. She has such a kind empathetic soul.

Watching Madi splash around in the creek I feel arms snake around my waist from behind and feel warm lips press into the side of my neck. Leaning back into her touch I can’t help but hum in response.

“Hi” Clarke mumbles into my neck. “Have I told you today how incredibly amazing you are and how much I love you?”

Turning in her arms I can’t help but smile. “It is still so surreal to hear you say that but I will never tire from hearing it. love you Clarke. I’m sorry to have kept all this from you. It wasn’t my intention. It will never happen again. I swear fealty to you Clarke, you and Madi. Your needs are my own. I will never keep anything from you again.”

She smiles and captures my lips in a soft kiss. Madi comes running over squeezes in between us eagerly wanting to be picked up.

“Come here Monkey!” She squeals and wraps an arm around each of us.

“Clarke I know there has been a lot thrown at you in he past 48 hours.” I gesture to Madi. “I’ll understand if you need some time to process this or if you want to take a step back. We can go as slow as you need to.”

She shakes her head, smiles and kisses Madi on her temple. “You’re a package deal. I’m not going anywhere. It feels right. She chuckles and says “especially knowing that Mom has been our biggest fan since day one. I’m glad you were there for her. She made peace with her situation. Don’t get me wrong my heart aches knowing she is gone but it’s like she always said ‘the dead are gone and the living are hungry’. Do you want to head back? We need to touch base with the Kru and start getting things together for the funeral pyre tomorrow evening.” Mama’s obituary went out in today’s paper. It is her family’s custom to build a funeral pyre and release her spirit through fire. Anyone wishing to pay their respects are welcome to come. There will be food, drink and a celebration of Mama G’s life.

“Sha, ai hodnes. Madi, let’s go Monkey!” Madi scrambles down and darts back up the path to the house. Clarke takes my hand lacing our fingers together and pulls me back into her, wrapping her free hand around the back of my neck. She pulls me in for searing kiss that ends far too quickly. She smiles and says “I could really get used to this.”

“Come on Ai Hodnes, let’s go home.”

Chapter Text

Everyone is eerily silent when we walk back into the house. They are all in the living room quietly crying, reading their letters. Madi looks up and me, her eyebrows crinkled with concern and confusion.

“It’s okay Madi. Grammy wrote letters to them too. We all miss her. It’s okay to cry and be sad that she is gone. Just remember that even if we can’t see her, her spirit will always watch over all of us.”

Satisfied with my explanation, she nods and purses her lips. Clarke and I watch on as she calmly walks into the living room and reaches up to hug each of her aunts and Uncles, kissing each one on their cheek. It takes them by surprise and when Madi smiles at them the result is contagious. They all wipe the tears from their eyes and smile back at her.

Clarke leans into me and says “she is a very special child. You are an amazing mother.”

I sink into her embrace and smile. “I didn’t do it alone. Mama and the twins helped her to become the smolheda she is today. But she’s only 4 ½. Now she has the rest of her aunts, uncles and you to influence her and help mold her into a proper member of our Kru. As long as Raven doesn’t teach her how to blow things up we should be fine “

“Hey! I heard that!” Raven retorts.

Everyone looks to be in shock about Mama’s will. There is a mixture of emotions that seem to be on a repeating cycle of Astonishment, respect, grief, gratitude and pride. But there are two specific emotions that out weigh all the others combined. There is so much love and loyalty within this Kru that it hardly seems fair that most “cookie cutter” families will never get to enjoy something like this. After about a half an hour passes and everyone reigns it all in and we start making a game plan for the next few days. Today we will need to cut down enough wood to build a respectable pyre to set Mama’s spirit free. The pyre won’t be lit until tomorrow at sundown in the field. The house will need to be straightened up, the grass mowed, fire wood collected for the fire pit. Tables and chairs will need to be set up. A wet bar will need to be set up as well as speakers for Monty’s sound system. Food will need to be prepped and some dishes made today.

Clarke claps her hands to get everyone’s attention. “Alright ai Kru, we have a lot to do the next two days. Lincoln, Bell, and Echo you three can build the pyre. Murphy, Miller, you’ll be on food prep. Make me a list of everything we will need at the store first though. Lex and I will run to the store and by Grounders to get beer and liquor. Lincoln can we take your truck so we can get a few tables as well.“

Lincoln smiles and tosses me the keys. “Raven, Octavia, and Monty your mission if you choose to accept it will be getting the drinks/wet bar set up on the porch on the side entrance of the house. Harper and Jackson get the fire pit and outside set up. Set up the party tents, string lights. We will set up the sound system and karaoke hook up tomorrow.we will need to mow the grass too. Linc can you Miller get the party tents down from loft in the storage shed? Lex can float in to give you boys an extra hand in the kitchen.”

A huge smile splits my face and is mirrored on our residents chefs. “Yes! It’ll be like old times! The three musketeers making a culinary masterpiece ! Murphy exclaims as Miller agrees.

“Um more like the three stooges,” Octavia mumbles to Raven. They both start snickering.

“I’m sorry what was that?” I glare at them.

“Um…. I said you look pretty today.”

“Uh huh… sure you did.” Laughter sounds through the farm house as everyone heads their separate ways to get started on their tasks.

Madi tugs on Clarke’s shirt. With an adorable pout she says “but you didn’t give me a job. I want to help too.”

“Of course you can help. What do you want to do?”

Her face lights up and she all but yells, “ I want Onti Raven to teach me how to blow stuff up!”

Raven sniffles and an actual tear runs down her cheek as she says “I have never been more proud!”

“ No!” Everyone yells.

Murphy and Miller share a look and a smile before Miller says, “Smolheda would you like to help Murphy and I in the kitchen? We could really use your help.

“Uh, YES! “ she excitedly grabs their hands practically dragging them to the kitchen. I swear I could hear Raven whisper “later” to Madi but when I turn around her and O were gone.

“Let me run, er, hobble upstairs to grab a shower and then we can head out” I say over my shoulder as I head upstairs.

“Yeah me too” Clarke follows me upstairs.

“Madi, you listen to your Onkas and remember, no knives. Be good”

“I will Mommy!”

Murphy picks her up and says “okay, first rule of cooking, we ALWAYS wash our hands first.”

“I know ! Grammy taught me that!”

“She is such a sweet kid Lex.” Clarke says as she grabs some clothes.

“She really is. She keeps me on my toes though.”

When we enter her room, Clarke grabs my hand, spinning me around. She presses me into the wall beside her bedroom door. She is so beautiful. She leans in and placed her hands on the wall on either side of my head and leans in. She ghosts her lips over mine and leans in to kiss me softly. The kiss quickly deepens when she licks at my lips. I immediately grant access and we both moan when her tongue meets mine. It ends far too quickly for the both of us.

“You know, I love having all of our brothers and sisters here. They’re so happy you’re back. Maybe I’m selfish but I would really like to have you all to myself for a little while.”

“I definitely feel the same way. I feel like we have 8 long years to make up for. How about we go check out your gallery space when before we go to the bar and the store. Oh I almost forgot, do you remember my cousin Luna? She’s coming to town to pick Madi up later on today. She’s too young to understand the funeral pyre and there will be drinking. I’m going to pick her up the day after tomorrow. Also, I have news about Aden. We can talk about it in the car.”

“That’s a great idea!” She says happily as she finishing the keys to the gallery out of the packet I gave her. “Hey, I just realized something. Mom wrote letters to all of us but you didn’t say what she left for you. I’m grower curiouser and curiouser about Aden!”

“Ma set up a college fund/nest egg for Madi. She also left me a modest stipend so I can patient advocate. She knew how important it is to me to help other people like me who need someone to fight for them. This disorder is brutal. If I can help one person
It will be worth it to me.”

“That wonderful Lex. Let’s go get ready so we can head out.”

“Sha ai hodnes”

Twenty minutes later I emerge from the bathroom dressed in cargo shorts and a long sleeve Henley shirt rolled up to my forearms. As I go to enter Clarke’s room I hear her singing softly. She’s wearing a a purple sundress and looks amazing as always. I cannot help but to smile. Slowly pushing her door open I see her dancing around the room” I stand there for a few minutes just watching her. When she finally sees me she blushes at being caught.

“How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to say you have an amazing voice and you never cease to amaze me.” I sit on the bed, knee brace and sleeve in hand.

“Here let me.”

I nod and hand it over. As she’s clasping it in place she smiles up at me and says “You’re going to have to show me how to help you with this kind of stuff you know. You don’t have to hide from me. I see you. I’m here for you.”

I can only nod, my eyes shining from unshed tears. I pull her into a tight embrace and mutter a thank you into her neck.

“We should go check on Madi and the boys” I mumble before placing a chaste, soft kiss on her lips. We head downstairs and come to a halt heading Madi and Murphy laughing hysterically. It warms my heart.

Miller is giggling along too and we hear him say “… and that’s why we call Bell Princess.”

“Are you three having fun in here?”

“This kid is the best! Oh here Lex.” He hand’s me their list. I pass it to Clarke and address Madi. “Ai yongon, we gave to go to the store. Let’s get you cleaned up.”

“Aw, man…” the three day in unison.

“I want to stay and help Mommy, please” she pleads sticking her lower lip out.

“Yeah pleeeease!” The boys plead wearing a matching pair of pouting expressions.

“Why did I ever teach you the puppy dog face? Yeah you can stay here Monkey. I’ll see you soon. Aunt Luna is coming later today to take you the movies and to have a sleepover with her.”

“Mochof Mommy!”

“Come on Heda, you’re driving” Clarke tosses me the keys and we head out with her holding my hand, pulling me along behind her.

When we get to the truck I open her door. “
Chivalry isn’t dead after all.” She replies sweetly.

“You just haven’t been with the right people. You deserve the world ai hodnes.”

“Remind me again why we waited so long to do this.”

“I honestly have no Earthly idea.” Taking her hand in mine and she starts singing along softly to the radio. How did I ever get so lucky.

“Oooh, tell me about Aden! We’ve been watching him over these past five years. Some would call it stalking perhaps. She says chuckling. Then her face morphs into anger as she continues. “Oh also, Costia has been having random people over for a little while now. Ontari is there all the time. Mom had to stop our kru from retaliating against her for not only what Happened to J but also for her being around Aden. Is that what you were going to tell me?”

“I know you all have looked out for him. Bell gives me regular updates and pictures. I miss him so much Clarke and no that wasn’t what I have to tell you. Costia dumped that loser she was with and now her and Ontari are dealing The Red together. They keep a stash locked up in the basement. They have been careless and are endangering my son in the process. There is a warrant out for both Costia and Ontari. Apparently Finn was a part of their operation also. He incriminated hisself when he was arrested. They offered him 5 years off of his sentence if he named names. They didn’t offer him immunity for his crimes though. So he essentially confessed to drug trafficking, distribution and assault. He won’t see the light of day for a long, long time.”

“Omg! How did you find all of this out? What’s going to happen to Aden then?! We have to do something!”

I interrupt her rant, which is adorable and get her attention. “Roan and I have been talking quite a bit about it actually. Being a detective in town has its benefits. He was informed about the warrant. There is no father listed on Aden’s birth certificate.Since he is Costia’s brother and their parents are deceased Roan is Her next of kin. He has already gotten immediate temporary custody of my son. He went to the courthouse as soon as they told him about the lawyer. Costia will be informed of the change in custody when she is arrested.” I smile brightly and continue. “He’s going to give me joint custody Clarke! We are going to start out with me visiting him at Roan’s place. It’s been so long since I’ve seen Aden and I don’t even know if he remembers me. Mom was a big part of bringing Roan and I together.”

“Oh my God, Baby…. This is incredible! I’m so happy for you! For all of us actually. We have all missed him so much.”

We drift into a comfortable silence and I just can’t help but to look over to her and smile. My life has been a roller coaster but it all brought me here, with her, my kru and my child. If I had it all to do over again I would t change a thing, good or bad. After another glance to Clarke, I turn the volume back up on the radio and we both sing along, heading to what will become her gallery.

Chapter Text

Not even ten minutes later we turn onto Main Street. I can see Clarke starting to fidget. “Hey, do you trust me? You’re going to love it.”

She looks at me with such an intensity it takes my breath away. “Of course I trust you. I just wish she were here to share all of this with us as well. The way she left all of these amazing things to us it almost feels like I am missing something. It feels like we should be doing more with the gifts she has given us. I just can’t put my finger on it.”

As she finishes I pull over and park. Mama and I searched through so many properties trying to find the right one before this space became available. Remembering those times is hard for me. I was so close, yet so far away from all of the people who loved me, except for Luna that is. She and I were never really close before all of this though. I hope this space is still what she wanted. Clarke told me what she wanted in a gallery, all those years ago. I hope she loves it and her vision of her future hasn’t changed.

“Hey, Lex, are you ok? What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing. I’m okay. I’m just worried you may not like the space we picked out.”

“Wait, what? Lex…” I can see the proverbial lightbulb flick on when she comes to a realization.

“You helped her do all of this, didn’t you?”

“I swore there would be no secrets between us, so yes. Yes I did. I hope you can forgive me ai hodnes. I hod you in. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.” I choke out, unable to hold back the tears and emotions that break through.

“Aw Baby, I’m not mad at you. I’m glad you had each other. All of this led you back to me. You and Madi.” Her blue eyes sparkle in a way I have never seen when she mentions Madi.

After a few moments my brain starts working again. “Are you ready to see it yet?”

A soft smile spreads across her beautiful face. No one has ever looked at me the way she does. She pulls me impossibly closer to her and pulls me in until our foreheads are touching. She brushes her nose against mine, smiles and yes “yes, I’ll follow you anywhere ai hodnes.”

After what feels like hours but is only a minute or two, I come back to my senses. “Close your eyes Beautiful. No peeking.” I get out of the truck and walk around to the passenger door. After opening her door I guide her up the sidewalk. When we are in front of the future Griffin Art Gallery I slide my arms around her waist from behind. When my body is flush against hers I whisper in her ear, “Open your eyes Baby.”

She gasps as she takes in her dream. She turns in my arms sliding her arms around my neck with tears in her eyes. “Lex…. I … you… you remembered?”

“Of course I did. I remember everything you have ever said to me.”

8 years Ago Clarke’s POV

“So now is our sleepy little town treating you Lexa?” We are walking down Main Street. Lexa became the newest member of our family a few weeks ago. She’s beyond beautiful. But then there is her personality, her perseverance, her sense of loyalty … all of which make her down right irresistible. She brings me out of my rapidly spiraling thoughts.

“It’s been good actually, surreal but good. I came here with nothing. It’s hard to wrap my brain around the fact that I have a real family again.”

It is in this moment that I realize any feelings that are rapidly stirring for this amazing and captivating woman I need to keep in check. She needs Mom and our delinquents more than anything. Whatever I’m feeling, I need to push deep down and keep it locked away.

We come to a stop in front of my favorite store front. “If I ever had the money this place is where i would love to have a gallery. It’s perfect. I love the small town vibes. I wouldn’t want to have it in a big city. This area is where I find most of my inspiration. This place has so much natural light with the bay windows. I just love it!”

“I have no doubt that one day you will have a successful gallery. You’re incredibly talented.”

I can’t help the blush that creeps up on me at her words. “Thank you Lex. Maybe one day.”
The double meaning of that sentence is not lost on me. Before my thoughts of her can spiral, I change the subject. “Come on let’s go grab a cup of coffee or something. It’s kind of chilly out. She immediately takes off her hooded sweatshirt and insists I wear it. Putting it on I realize it smells like her. She may never get this hoodie back, I think to myself. Get it together Clarke. “Thank you Lex.”

Present Lexa’s POV

“Well, are you going to check it out or not?”

“Yes!” She exclaims, grabbing my hand and unlocking the door.”

I let her go in ahead of me so she can take it all in. “I repainted the walls white but I figured it would be easier for you to paint over if you wanted to. It was a peculiar shade of green before.”

I stand back while she looks around. I would give anything to keep her smiling the way she is now. “You haven’t seen everything Clarke.” I motion towards the door at the back of the storefront. Opening the door for her she happily goes through to the back and gasps.

The back room is an open layout with two doors off to the left. There is a kitchenette and an area for her studio to paint. There are several easels, blank canvases and different types of paints, too numerous to count.

“Oh my God this is amazing!” She gasps covering her mouth as silent tears fall down her cheeks. I lean against the wall and just watch her take it all in.

“The door to the left over there is a storage area to keep excess paintings. The door on the right leads upstairs to a three bedroom apartment. I know how you can get caught up in your art. Mama and I didn’t like the thought of you leaving so late so we bought the apartment upstairs as well so you would have a place to crash. It’s furnished with the essentials.…I hope…”

My words are cut off as she slams into me crashing our lips together. It’s messy and fierce. My hands find their way into her hair pulling her impossibly closer. Hers slide down to rest on my hips, fisting her hands in my shirt. She presses her tongue into mine to deepen the kiss, pushing me harder into the wall. This kiss is different than the ones we have shared prior. It’s not tentative or soft. Its raw and filled with desire. We break apart to catch our breath. I chuckle and and look down as I say “so does that mean you like it?”

She moves her left hand up my side with a feather light touch until she reaches the back of my neck. She slips her slips her hand into my hair tugging downward until our eyes meet. Her usually striking blue eyes are almost black and look she gives me almost makes my knees buckle. I can’t help the whimper that slips past my lips.

“This is amazing Lex! I love it! I love you!” I release a breath I didn’t know I was holding in. She smirks at me and says “Come on Lex let’s get our errands done so we can get back home. Oh, and there will be no slumber party for you and I this evening.” She plants one more chaste kiss on my lips, before she continues . “I have plans for you later Heda.” She saunters away swaying her hips more than usual. I stand there with my mouth hanging open unable to function for a minute. She looks over her shoulder and winks at me. I can’t help the dopey grin on my face. Following her back outside, she locks up and we head to Grounders to get some tables and chairs, 2 kegs and an assortment of liquor for tomorrow’s celebration of life. Afterwards we head to the store to fill Murphy and Miller’s wish list.

Arriving home a couple hours later with a mountain of pizza, we find that the rest of the Kru has everything all set up and ready for tomorrow. Murphy has a hog in the caja china and it smells incredible.

“Pizza!” Raven yells, scrambling to carry all of the boxes into the house. Monty and Madi are by his sound system. He has hooked up the karaoke system and Ai Yongon is belting out “how far I’ll go” from the Moana soundtrack. It’s her favorite movie this month. Everyone else is either seated around the fire pit or spread out on the couches in the living room. Murphy and Miller are finishing up in the kitchen. They have chicken breasts and steaks marinating for tomorrow as well as a mountain of other side dishes. We all scarf down some pizza and get the truck unloaded.

After I get Madi bathed and cleaned up, I get a call from Luna saying she’s almost here. I hate the thought of parting with Madi as we have seldom ever been apart. I know it’s for the best though. She is too young to understand the funeral pyre and there will be alcohol. It seems the rest of my delinquents feel the same way about her leaving. After a lengthy goodbye she and Luna head to the movies. “Guys, don’t look so upset. She will be back the day after tomorrow. I’m not leaving you all ever again. This is home for Madi and I.”

“Alright bitches, let’s get a fire going and break out the adult beverages! We worked hard today and we earned it!” Octavia proclaims.

Three shots of rocket fuel and two beers later we are all gathered around the fire. Bellamy and Echo are cuddled together as are O and Lincoln. Jackson and Miller are seated on the far side with Monty and Harper. Raven and Murphy are huddled around the rocket fuel whispering and giggling about something. I start to ask what they are snickering about when I see Clarke come back outside wearing a hoodie that looks rather familiar. It clicks. That’s the hoodie I let her where all those years ago when she told me about the storefront she wanted. She settles in my lap draping a blanket over our legs.

“Hmm, you know I think I used to have a hoodie like that?”

She chuckles and says “yeah you’re never getting it back. It doesn’t smell like you anymore, which sucks, but I still wear it all the time.

“It looks far better on you anyway Beautiful.”

“How long do we have to be sociable before I can take you upstairs and have my way with you?”

I choke on my the beer I was drinking, initiating a coughing fit. It draws everyone’s attention. Clarke just raises her eyebrow at me, wearing a purely predatory smile. Raven chimes in, “have trouble swallowing there Lex?”

“THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!” Everyone else yells. After the laughter subsides and the attention has left me, I whisper in Clarke’s ear “paybacks are a bitch Clarke.” She shudders. Taking advantage of the blanket over us, I shift her until she is sitting sideways in my lap. We had long ago changed clothes to get comfortable. She hitches her breath when I slide my hand up her her thigh and squeeze.She stays silent but digs her nails into my neck, which almost makes me moan out loud. I trace random patterns up Her thigh sliding higher and higher until she starts to squirm. I drift higher until I run my fingers along the edge of the waistband of her sweats. I feel goosebumps erupt on her skin behind the trail of my hand. Before I can torment her much more she leans in to whisper in my ear. “Unless you want your brothers and sisters to know how wet you’re making me, I suggest you take me to bed Heda.”

I can only nod because my brain quitting working at her response. She just smirks at me and stands up, pulling me up with her.
“Alright guys we are beat. Gonna head to bed, see you all in the morning. Don’t forget to put the fire out.” Clarke informs the group.

Raven giggles as she sways, “yeah right I’m sure you’re just gonna go to sleep! Haha. Make me proud Commander!”

“Good night Little Bird. Night guys, love you.”

A chorus of ‘good night and I love you’ makes my heart happy as we head inside.

“Finally, I didn’t think I was ever going to get them away from you Lex.” Clarke chuckles as she lets go of my hand and heads upstairs. I’m going to grab a quick shower because I smell like campfire and roast pork.”

“Actually that’s a delightful idea. I think I am too. Be back in a few.” I grab a pair of gym shorts and T-shirt, then head to the bathroom. Stepping into the shower I realize I’m an idiot. Why didn’t I ask her to join me! “Idiot!” I mutter to myself.

Chapter Text

I make it back to Clarke’s room before she does. The lights are off with only a few candles lit to give off a warm soft light. She must have remembered my love of candle light. It’s usually calming and peaceful. Tonight it’s just wrought with anticipation. I can still hear the shower running in Ma’s bathroom so I plop down on the loveseat by the door. I decide to pull out my phone to pass the time. Scrolling through the numerous pictures I have taken helps ease my nerves. There are countless pictures of ‘Grammy’, the Twins and our Monkey. Ai Yongon has been shown so much love in her 4 plus years. Bellamy is the only father figure she has ever known and he treats her like a princess. Yet now, she will have so many more aunts and uncles to love her, look out for her, and teach her. Then there is Clarke. Maybe it was subconscious but I Never referred to her as Madi’s aunt, nor have I EVER referred to Clarke as my sister. She was never a sister. She’s always been my Ruca, my true love, my soulmate. That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone, which is why I hadn’t told her how I feel about her until just yesterday.

I’m so caught up i my thoughts I don’t hear the shower cut off. A few short minutes later I feel warm sure hands begin to kneed my shoulders, setting fire to every place she runs her hands over. I hum in appreciation but take her right hand in mine to pull her around in front of me. Her blue eyes are black with want… I know my eyes reflect the exact same thing. “Hi,” She says.

“Hi, Come here.” As I slowly pull her closer to me, she kneels down straddling my lap. Her hands come up to run her fingers through my hair. My hands settle on her hips. She’s only wearing a short pair of shorts and a loose T-shirt. She leans down captures my lips in hers. She tightens her grip in my hair as she deepens the kiss. She only pulls away to kiss along my jaw. Then she blazes a trail down my neck, nipping all along the way. When she reaches my collarbone she all but growls because my shirt is in her way. She lets her hands slip down to trace the skin beneath the bottom of my shirt. She looks up to meet my eyes, I nod, and lift my arms as she ride me the annoying garment. She all but moans as she says “mmm, have I ever told you I’ve always had a thing for your abs?”

She runs her hands over my stomach appreciatively before returning her lips to my collarbone. My hands slip under her shirt drawing it farther up as work my way up the soft skin of her back. She pulls it off and my eyes go wide when I see she isn’t wearing a bra.

She smirks and says “see something you like Lex?”

“I see a lot of things I like.” Crashing our lips together in a bruising kiss, my hands find their way to her ass. She gasps when I stand up and wrap her legs around my waist. Moving to the bed I lay her down to place open mouthed kisses along her neck, working my way down her chest. She lets out a throaty moan as I take a nipple in my mouth, while my hand gives her other breast equal attention. She fists her hands into my hair holding me in place arching her back into me. Placing open mouth kisses across her chest and slowly working my way down her stomach, Clarke moans loudly and husks “Fuck Lex!”

Stopping to lookup when I slip my fingers into the waistband of her shorts, she nods and lifts her hips. Once her shorts slip to the floor I crawl my way back up over her nipping along the way. She moans, bucking her hips “Jok! Beja Heda”
She’s looking down at me with hooded eyes, as she takes my hand and slides it down between her thighs. We both let out a throaty moan when I run my fingers through her dripping folds.

“Fuck ,You’re so wet Clarke.”

“You have that effect on me”, she replies crashing our lips together. Drawing slow circles around her throbbing clit, she wraps her legs around my waist once more. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite things. Her arousal is all but dripping down her thighs. Moving down to her entrance, I easily slip two fingers inside.

“Harder Lex. I’m not going to last long.”

Curling my fingers into her front wall when I thrust into her, I swipe my thumb over her clit. Running my tongue along her ear lobe I whisper “Cum for me Clarke,” and she does. She comes completely undone as I slowly work her through her orgasm. When she stills I pull my hand up and lick my fingers clean.

“God you’re beautiful when you cum Clarke.”

She mumbles sleepily as I wrap her up in my arms. She snuggles into me and tucks her head into the crook of my neck.

“Sleep Clarke..”

She hums and wraps her arm around me tighter. I drift off with a smile on my face and sleep better than I have in years.

Chapter Text

Clarke’s POV

Sunlight filters into the bedroom the following morning. The candles had long since burnt out. The house begins to come alive as the delinquents start moving about. Waking up I feel my head moving. I open my eyes to find that I’m still tucked into Lexa’s side. I start to move but her arms only tighten their grip as she mumbles “stay”

“There’s no place I would rather be but why do you still have too many clothes on?”

She places a gentle kiss into my temple and chuckles. Lexa’s laugh is definitely one of my favorite sounds. My mind wanders wondering what other sounds I can elicit from her. Running my hand over her wash board abs I tug at Her sports bra “off.” The way she is looking at me through half lidded eyes makes me ache for her. Pulling it over her head she leans up to pull my lower lip into her mouth before biting down and soothing it with her tongue. Our tongues meet to deepen the kiss. She slots her thigh between my legs and grips my hips. She lets out a moan at feeling how wet I already am.

“I want you Clarke.”

“You have me, I’m yours.”

This elicits a growl as she says “mine” pushing her thigh up into my core as I grind down shamelessly. Reaching beneath the waistband of her shorts my fingers glide through drenched folds. “Fuck! You’re so wet Lex.”

She smirks repeating my words from the night before, “you have that effect Clarke”

She moves her thigh, despite my protests, only to slip her deliciously long fingers in its place. She wastes no time slipping two fingers inside me while using her thigh drive her movements. She whimpers when I find her aching clit. “Together Clarke” is all she says as we move in sync quickly approaching our climax together. We both cry out and spasm at the same time. She continues moving inside me and swipes her thumb over my clit a few times and feel myself coming undone again.

“Jesus, I have never come that hard before Heda.”

“You’re incredible ai hodnes.”

The smell of pancakes wafts up from the kitchen and my stomach growls. Chuckling she pulls me up and says, come shower then we will feed the beast.”

Thirty minutes later we make our way into the kitchen where Bell smiles and passes us each a cup of coffee. The whole Kru is gathered around the table eating breakfast.

“Work up an appetite there ladies? Um Clarke you got a little something on your neck there.”

“Shut it Raven” I fire back blushing furiously.

She slings an arm around O and says “aw they grow up so fast don’t they?”

She ducks when I throw a piece of pancake at her.

When they settle down I clear my throat to get everyone’s attention. “Well, today is the day guys. I still can’t believe she’s gone. None of us are ready to say goodbye but we have to. Let’s tidy up and finish getting things ready. People will start arriving around 5. We will light the pyre shortly after that, at sunset. Afterwards we eat, drink and celebrate our Mom’s life and not mourn her death. A murmur of agreement resounds around the table.

Everyone cleans up the remnants of another delicious breakfast courtesy of Murphy and Miller. Octavia rubs her belly and says “You guys are seriously the best cooks ever.” They beam with pride and head outside to check on the hog in the caja China. Everyone divides up
to finish getting things ready. By 3pm the bar is fully stocked and set up, the pyre is complete, the hog is almost finished, several dishes are simmering on the stove, the oven is on low keeping the rest of the food warm, the patio is is clean, tables and chairs are set up under the party tents, music is playing through the sound system and we all gather outside. Bellamy, Echo, Lincoln, and Octavia are going back to their place to get ready for the evening. Miller and Jackson are going to Jackson’s place leaving the rest of us here to get ready.

Lexa slips her hand into mine and gestures toward the stairs. “Lex and I will use mom’s bathroom so you guys can use the other two.”
When we get to my room she pulls me into a tight embrace. “Ai hod yu in Clarke. I’m gonna hop in the shower. Feel free to join me” She quirks an eyebrow at me as she leaves.

When I enter the bathroom a few minutes later she’s already in the shower. I really could get used to this. I quickly shed my clothes and slip into the shower. My God she’s beautiful. This has been the most surreal few days. Lex pulls me under the hot water sliding her arms around my waist. I reach for the shampoo but she takes it from me. “Here let me.” I practically purr as she works the shampoo through my hair, scratching at my scalp. She rinses it out and repeats the process with the conditioner. She slips her arms around my waist, pulling me in
And flicks her tongue over my bottom lip. Wrapping my hand around her neck our tongues meet in a bruising kiss. When we come up for air I switch positions with her to wash her hair. When I finish she slips out to get dressed.

*Lexa’s POV*

I unzip my garment bag and lay my clothes out for the funeral. Clarke and Mama are Trikru and as such there are certain traditions associated with the death of a loved one. The funeral pyre and celebration of life are examples of such traditions. The guys and I will be wearing black dress pants, a matching black long sleeve button up with a light blue tie. The other ladies will be in blue dresses. All of the ladies will have their hair in tight braids along our scalp. We will all wear a matching pattern of blue face paint from our eyes straight across to our hairline. It signifies family, loyalty, fealty and is a tribute to our fallen family member.

I dress quickly and head downstairs to get Raven to braid my hair and vice versa. Then she will do Clarke’s. The rest of the kru filters back into the living room as the rest of the group returns home. Lincoln takes a seat on the couch and motions for O to sit on the floor in front of him. He silently braids her hair as Bell does does for Echo and Monty braids Harper’s. It warms my hair. The bond we all share runs deeper than any biological family. I smile take a picture with my phone. I hear Clarke coming down the stairs and turn to greet her. I’m frozen in my tracks at the sight of her. She looks amazing. Murphy laughs at me tips his finger under my draw to close my mouth, which is gaping open. When our eyes meet her expression mirrors my own.

“You look amazing Clarke, so beautiful.”

“You look fucking gorgeous yourself there Stud,” She says twisting my tie around Her her hand pulling me in for a kiss. She has the blue kohl and gestures for me to sit as she applied the blue paint across my eyes. When she finishes I apply hers and we pass it to the other delinquents.

A car pulls up outside and we hear Jackson and Miller yelling “what the fuck is he doing here!?!”

Concerned Bell and I share a look and run outside. The others follow quickly behind us. Jackson is holding Miller back, who is trying to get to someone we cannot see at first.

Clarke gasps when she sees who it is, “stop! Let him pass!” Miller immediately obeys. When Miller moves my heart skips a beat. Roan stands with his arms raised in submission holding something in a brown paper bag.

“Roan! What’s wrong! Is Aden ok!?”

“Easy Heda. He’s fine. I wanted to come by and tell you in person that it’s done. Costia and Ontari have both been apprehended and Aden will be with me. Call me in the morning and I’ll bring him over. It’s over, maybe now I can help undo the pain my sister has brought to your family. I also wanted to pay my respects to Abby. Seeing as Aden will be with me I cannot come tonight. I brought this and hoped you would all share a drink with me.” He pulls out an expensive bottle of bourbon as the entire Kru has gone eerily silent, trying to process what they just heard. My knees nearly buckle and Clarke rubs my back soothingly. When I come to my senses I stride over to hug Roan, my entire body shaking. Everyone is beaming and yelling at the prospect of getting their nephew back. Monty quickly grabs a tray of shot glasses from the bar pours everyone a drink from Roan’s bottle. One by one they all approach Roan to bring him into a hug, thanking him profusely. We lift our glasses and Bell beams saying “omon Gon Oson!”

“OMON GON OSON!”

We all throw back our shot and set up another round. “To Mama!”

“Nomon!”

I lean into Clarke, shaking.

“Hey no crying! You’ll mess up your war paint!”

I just chuckle. Roan bids us goodbye and we end up in a group hug as the hearse arrives with Mama’s body. It is followed by the first of guests to pay tribute to Ma.

It’s time.

Chapter Text

Bell squints at me and comes over to pull me in to a crushing hug. “You ok Heda? It’s been an emotional whirlwind.”

“Honestly, I am in shock. It doesn’t feel quite real yet, any of it.” I shift and he must see the pain flash across face because he releases me and looks down to see I’m not in my brace. “Lex…”

“It wasn’t on purpose! Roan just got here before I put my braces on, I swear.”

“Come on let’s go get your armor on.”

Clarke puts her hand on Bell’s shoulder and says “Let me… please. I could use a minute alone with Lex before dealing with, all of this.” She gestures toward the hearse and steady stream of vehicles pulling onto our road.

He smiles and kisses her temple saying “Sha ai Sis. We’ve got this.”

She takes my hand intertwining our fingers and gently pulls me inside.

When we get upstairs she closes the bedroom door behind us and sinks into me, wrapping her arms around me tightly.

“You ok ai hodnes? I know you’re probably experiencing a roller coaster of emotions. You get to see Aden again. Madi will get to meet her brother. We release Mom’s spirit… it’s a lot.”

Cupping her face in my hands, I smile and say. “I should be asking you the same thing baby. It’s been a lot on you as well, if not more.”

“Honestly, having you with me, I feel like I can handle anything. I love you. Things between us may seem fast to outsiders looking in but it’s been 8 years. I’ve been doing some thinking. I have an idea for our family to carry on Mom’s legacy. I want to call a kru meeting in the morning. Come one let’s get your armor on.”

“You have me intrigued. I can’t wait to hear your ideas. I’ll support you 100% niron.”

Several minutes later we head back outside, hand in hand. There is literally a sea of people in the field surrounding the pyre. It’s a testament to how much Mama was loved and respected in our small town. Our kru waited for us to come outside so we could all walk down together. The crowd parts letting us pass through to the front.

Bellamy speaks up. “Thank you all for coming out here this evening to pay tribute to our Mama and celebrate her life with us. We have enough food and drink to go around. We invite you all to stay following the funeral pyre. Lincoln, will you do the honors?”

Lincoln nods once and speaks up for all to hear. “In peace, May you leave this shore. In love may you find the next. Safe passage on your travels, until our final journey to the ground.” He lights the torch and passes it to Clarke.

Silent tears flow from all of her children. As Clarke lights the pyre she passes the torch around until the entire kru has lit a section. As the flames dance higher in the sky, in unison we all say “Yu gonplei ste odon nomon. Omon gon oson!” Silence follows as Her delinquents huddle together, wrapped up in each other.

I feel Clarke shiver and I hold her a little tighter. “I’m here Clarke. I’ve got you.”
We all remain silent as the flames lick higher and higher. After some time Murphy and Miller nod toward the house. We need to get the grill going and get the food out. I get Bell’s attention and he silently takes my place holding Clarke. The three of us walk back toward the house, arm in arm in silence, glancing back once more to say goodbye.

As people begin to filter into the seating area we start bringing out dishes to the longer food table. There are dishes of baked beans, scalloped potatoes, coleslaw, green beans, homemade rolls, corn on the cob and the slow roasted hog. The grill is full of both chicken and steak. Tongs in hand, listening to the sizzling meet I feel two arms slip around me from behind. Clarke hums in my ear, “have I told how sexy look in that tie?”

“Are you sure you’re not just hungry?” I quip in return, turning to capture her lips.

“Thank you, for being here and for being you. I love you so much Lexa.”

“There is no place I would rather be. I love you.” I notice her shiver and rub her hands up and down her arms.i hand the tongs to her. “Here, tag in and watch the grill for me for just s second Baby. I’ll go get us a beer and something to warm you up.”

The smile that splits her face makes my heart literally skip a beat. I hurry inside and find Monty pouring us all around from Roan’s bottle. He stops what he’s doing to come over and hug me. Beaming, he says “I’m so glad you’re home again ai Sis.”

“Ai hod yu in strikbro. He gather the Kru by the grill and we can have a proper toast. I’ll be right there,” I say, grabbing my jacket from near the front door. Grabbing two beers from the keg, I head back to the grill. Monty walks ahead of me and whistles two short bursts. Systematically, one by one the delinquentsbeging to emerge from the crowd and fall in line behind Monty and I.
Clarke leans back into me when I slip my jacket over her shoulders and hand her a beer.

“Oh Sweet Jesus! You two are sickening!” Raven complains.

“Aw give ‘em a break Rae, I think it’s cute!” Lincoln defends which earns him a kiss from O.

Before Raven can argue any further Harper intervenes raising a shot glass. “Raise your glasses delinquents! Less talking more drinking!”

“Now that’s a slogan I can get behind!” Raven replies before quickly downing her shot and returning the empty glass to the tray. Clarke remains at my side while I get the meat off the grill and carries one of the platters to the food table for me. Bell snatches the other one before I can pick it up. “No way Heda! You know how you drop stuff cuz of your wrists. Have you forgotten the pork roast incident New Years 2014? Oooh or the mashed potato massacre Thanksgiving 2016?!”

“You make a valid argument. After you ai Gona.” I chuckle and follow my family to our table to eat and get the left over food cleaned up once the rest of the guests to have their fill.

When our bellies are full, before we can get up from the table, Clarke says “Wait Guys! Um, can we have a family meeting tomorrow at noon?” Seeing the confusion and concern on several faces she continues on to smile and say, “oh my God Guys it’s nothing bad I promise. I have some ideas I ant to run by you all. Can you all meet Lexa and I at the property Mom left the twins? Please?”

Everyone quickly agrees and she focuses on me. “Lex, can you go somewhere with me before we pick up Maddie? Then we can meet the others.”

I can’t help the smile that grows on my face… “when we get Maddie?”

“Oh, I, um… I just thought…” she starts blushing and tries to turn away.

“No, hey don’t ever hide from me. I love the idea of a “we” where my kids are concerned Clarke. I wasn’t sure how you felt about that is all. We just haven’t had a chance to talk about it.” I reassure her holding her hand in mine.

“Well that’s part of what I want you to do with me in the morning before we pick her up.”

“Ok you’ve got me intrigued. Of course I’ll go with you. Let me help these goofballs clean up and then, will you dance with me?”

“Sha, Heda,” She husks

I hurriedly move to clean up so I can get back to her. Bell just takes the stack of plates from me and winks, nodding toward Clarke. “I love you strikbro!”

Looking back to where Clarke is sitting, she takes my breath away. Her eyes never left me as I walk over reaching my hand out for her. She slips hers in mine and we move toward the area we left open for a dance floor. Monty changes the song to a slower one and Clarke narrows her eyes at me. “Did you plan that?”, wrapping her arms around my back and pulling me close to her.

“I would love to take credit for that, but my brothers are just excellent wingmen apparently. I don’t know where the hell they were8 years ago though!” We both laugh loudly. “Come here beautiful,” I breath into her neck as my arms wrap tightly around her waist. She tucks her head into my neck placing kisses along the way. Looking around, zany heart feels so full see the sea of people who have come to pay respects to our mother. She was such a well respected, loved woman, by all. I’m even more grateful for the goddess in my arms. She loves me, and she wants a life with me, and my kids. I could have never imagined I would end up here with all the love of my Kru. I came to this town, broken and alone. Bellamy saved my life that night he took me to Grounders. Searching for him in the crowd it’s as if he can once again read my thoughts. I find his kind, warm eyes and he smiles, nods once and winks at me. He takes his right hand and taps it over his heart a couple times. I smile back and mouth “I love you”

Several hours and quite a few drinks later I carry a sleepy, tipsy Clarke up to bed. I tuck her in, pulling off her heels and slipping her dress off. I change my clothes and head to the bathroom to freshen up. When I return with a full glass of water to sit on her bedside table she is already asleep. I slip under the covers behind her and she scoots back into me, pulling my hand around her tightly. She mumbles an “I love you” in her sleep and settles for the night. I drift off into a dreamless peaceful sleep.

Chapter Text

The sun peaks over the horizon as the birds begin their morning songs. Clarke and I have switched positions in the night. She has her right arm draped over my right, side holding me from behind. She shifts and pulls me closer to her, peppering soft kisses along my shoulder blade. Her lips find my spine and I hum in appreciation.

“Good morning, how did you sleep?” I ask turning to face her, arms slipping around her to keep her close.

She snuggles in before replying, “actually these past few nights with you here I’ve slept better than I have in a while.”

“I’m glad to hear. Me too, actually. I really miss AJ yongon though. I’m not used to being away from her. How about I go make us breakfast, then we can go on this mystery mission of yours this morning and we can pick her up?”

“I have a better idea. Let’s get ready, and we can take her to breakfast after we pick her up.”

“Sounds perfect!” I capture her lips and kiss her softly. Her stomach growls loudly, breaking us apart. “Oh! We better get moving and feed the beast.”

When we head downstairs, freshly showered and ready for the day, we find that our Kru has already done most of the cleanup as a surprise. There is a note on the counter saying they will all meet us at noon. They had all gone their separate ways. Murphy and Miller wanted to get to the bar with Monty and Harper to get things ready to reopen this afternoon. Bell, Echo, Octavia and Lincoln wanted to check out the property Mama left them. Raven went to make some calls to the groups wanting to hire her for the braces and supports.

“They’re pretty great brothers and sisters. I think we should keep them.” Clarke quips, grabbing her keys and nodding toward the door.”

Ten minutes later we arrive back at the gallery. I tilt my head in confusion, brow furrowed. “What are we doing back here Clarke?”

“Come on, I want to go upstairs.”

It suddenly occurs to me that we didn’t go upstairs when I showed her the space. “Of course!” She smiles and takes my hand pulling me to the back of the building to the door that leads upstairs.

“There’s a well lit parking area in the back. There’s a door that leads to the stairwell back there as well. I forgot to show you when I brought you the other day”, I say pointing to another door as she smiles and pulls me upstairs.

It’s a nice size apartment with a rather open layout. We enter into a spacious kitchen with stainless steel appliances, and a large island with a breakfast bar on outer side. It flows right into a larger living area. On the other side of the living room is a hallway leading to the bedrooms. The master has a walk-in closet and en suite bathroom. The other two bedrooms are separated with a jack and Jill bathroom.

I hang back behind her as she wanders from room to room. When she comes back into the living room she’s worrying her bottom lip between her teeth and ringing her hands together. She’s nervous. I just smile at her and wait for her to find her words. She takes a deep breath letting out a loud sigh.

She finally looks me in the eye and says, “I know what we can do to continue her legacy. I didn’t think I would be this nervous though.”

I nod and walk to her slowly, pulling her into my arms. “You can tell me anything. I’ll do anything to help you.”

I can feel her nod into my neck and she wraps her arms around my neck before she continues, “I know you’ve only been back for less than a week, and this is moving fast…. But it’s not really, it’s been 8 slow years and now that I have you I want all of you. The kids, waking up together, falling asleep in your arms, family dinners… all of it…” she trails off before she blurts out “move in with me! I mean, move in here with me.”

She pulls back to gauge my reaction. She’s met with a growing goofy grin. “Madi and Aden would have their own rooms. Even if he isn’t here all the time it’ll be his. This place is amazing! Is this too much?!? Are you freaking out? Say something please…”

“Yes..”

“If it’s too soon I totally und… wait what did you say?”

“I said Yes Clarke. If being with you is the question, my answer will always be yes. Why here and not the farm house though, I’m just curious.”

As She visibly relaxes a huge smile splits her face. “Because we are going to open a group home and Bell and O’s building could be an after school center for at risk kids…. And , and restaurant, Grounders…. Murphy and Miller could teach kids how to cook, give a job cleaning maybe… Raven and Monty are our mechanical and engineering geniuses. Lincoln! He’s amazing with kids. I could do art therapy. And you… you’re the glue that holds us all together Heda. What do you think? We would all be in this together though. Omon gon oson…”

“I think…. You’re amazing! It’s brilliant Niron! Brilliant! I’m in all in.” I beam at her before wrapping my arms around her once more. I pick her up and spin her around. When I lean in to kiss her m, her stomach growls again.

“Oh my! The beast has spoken! Let’s go get our girl and get some breakfast!”

The ride to Luna’s is spent in comfortable silence. My head is spinning with all the possibilities and kids we could help with Clarke’s ideas. With all the things Mama left each of us, it almost feels like she was setting us up to do something more, do something together. Even in the afterlife she is still guiding us. I have no doubt our brothers and sisters will be all in as well. It all fits.

She turns to me and says with a chuckle, “Bell’s right, you really do think way too loudly.”

“Sorry” I laugh. “I’m just thinking about your ideas. It’s going to be incredible and we will continue her legacy. We are going to help so many kids.” I can’t help but tear up when I turn to her and say “she would be so proud of you. You make me so incredibly happy to be with you.”

“Aw Lex, I love you.”

“Ai hod yu in Niron.”

Before long we are pulling into Luna’s driveway. I’m practically vibrating with excitement. I’ve missed my mini me. As we exit the car the front door flies open and Madi comes barreling our the door. I open my arms to catch her when she runs right passed me yelling “CLARKE!!”

Luna cracks up from the porch. “Omg I got that on video!!” I just shake my head. My heart swells seeing the smiles on both of my girls faces as Clarke scoops her up, giggling.

Finally Madi squirms in her arms reaching out for me. “Mommy!”

“Hi baby! I missed you! Were you a good girl for Onti Luna?”

“Of course Mommy! Can we get breakfast now?”

“Of course, let me get your things and put the booster seat in Clarke’s car.” After saying our goodbyes to Luna we head out to breakfast.

“Banana pancakes Mommy!! Please!”

I smile and open up Spotify and select Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes” listening as Madi and Clarke both start singing along.

“Mommy! Clarke knows our song!”

“She’s full of surprises isn’t she?”

My face hurts from smiling. My heart is almost full at the domesticity of it all. My whole world has been righted in just under a week. I can’t help but picture what it will be like when I finally have both of my kids with me, with us. Aden. I plan to see if Roan can meet us for dinner at Grounders to talk about things and set up a time to see Aden. I feel a myriad of emotions swell inside of me. Will he want to see me? Will he even remember me? How will I tell Madi she has a brother? I’m brought out of my emotional turmoil when Clarke pulls into the restaurant.

We walk into the restaurant with Madi between us, holding both of our hands. We are seated quickly and Madi happily scribbles on her kids menu. Clarke smiles at her sweetly before turning her attention to me and says, “What a difference a measly few days can make, huh?”

“The best difference Baby Girl. Do you think we should tell Madi what we talked about this morning?”

Madi immediately stopped coloring, shifting her interest to Clarke.

“Tell me what Mommy??” When I don’t respond she turns to Clarke giving her the most pathetic puppy dog face. “Pweeease tell me Clarke…”

“Oh my, that is…. Highly efficient! Yeah Lex, you should tell her!”

I shake my head and gesture to her, “no, you have the honors.”

She rolls her eyes at me and before she can say anything, Madi interjects.

“Clarke, mockery is not a product of a strong mind.”

Clarke and I both burst out laughing. “You are something else Madi! You’re mommy and decided the three of us should just live together. Would you like that?”

“What!?!? Yes! Oh yes please!! This is going to be awesome!!”

“Would you like to go see the place when we leave here?”

“Oh yes! Please!!!”

The waitress returns with our food and we all dig in with smiles on our faces.

Chapter Text

It was not a proud mom moment, but it was necessary. I had to bribe my child to eat her pancakes because she was too excited to see the apartment. Clarke just laughed as I had to practically wrestle Madi to get the syrup off of her face. Eventually she is reasonably clean and we make our way outside and get her all buckled in. She’s I her independent “I can do it myself” phase. She beams with pride when the seat belt clicks in place.

“Good job smolheda! I’m very proud of you. Are you ready to go check out our new place?”

 

“Yes!” Clarke and Madi yell in unison. After buckling her seatbelt she leans over and kisses the corner of my mouth sweetly.

“I thought I saw a little bit of syrup there.”

“Let’s go!!” A very impatient Madi whined from the back seat.

“Madi, no whining. We’re going. Hold your horses.”

“I’m sorry Mommy. Wait! That doesn’t even make sense. How could you hold a horse? They’re huge, they would squish you!”

Clarke and I dissolve into a fit of laughter making our way through town. Madi is so excited. I would be worried that all of these changes would negatively impact her but she’s as happy as she always is. The changes we are making are the best possible ones for both of us. She getting all of her aunts and uncles who are exceptional human beings. We get Clarke. This incredibly amazing, intelligent, funny, empathetic gorgeous woman chose us, which is something I never thought I would get to experience. It feels like all of the horrible things in my life are finally all in the rear view. Madi grabs Clarke and I’d hands and swings her way down the sidewalk giggling with Clarke who has started skipping. The next thing I hear causes me to literally trip over my own two feet.

“I love you Clarke! I love you Mommy!”

Clarke gasps and her eyes glisten with unshed tears. “Aw, I love you Madi! And I love you ai hodnes.”

“I love you both. She doesn’t just throw those words around by the way. I’m not surprised though. I fell pretty hard for you too.”

She bites her bottom lip and blushes slightly. We walk up to the gallery and she unlocks the door gesturing for Madi and I to enter first.

“Um, Mommy….? Uh, I think somebody made a mistake. This looks like an empty store, not an apartment.” She looks utterly adorable with her little confused face as she spins around looking between myself and Clarke.

“Oh Monkey you’re adorable! This is a store front you’re correct. This is going to be Clarke’s art gallery. Do you remember when Grammy and Onka Bell went into TonDC with us and we went to the place with all the pretty paintings? Clarke is an artist baby, a very good artist. She is going to sell her paintings here.”

Madi is completely awestruck and gapes at Clarke. “Can you paint with me?!?” She leans in a whispers loudly, “Mommy isn’t very good at it. I don’t think she likes it but she does it with me anyway.”

“I would love to Madi. Hey maybe we can paint something really cool on the walls in your new room.”

“That would be so AWESOME! Um, but where is it though?”

“It’s upstairs. Come on, this way.”

She scrambles after Clarke pulling me with her. “Come on Mommy!”

My phone starts ringing as we are heading upstairs. Seeing that it’s Roan I ask Clarke if she will take Madi upstairs.

“Hello?”

*Lexa, how are you? I got your message about dinner. I think it’s a great idea.*

“That’s wonderful to hear Roan. I honestly don’t know how to begin to thank you…I never thought I’d get to be with him again. I have no words.”

*You don’t have to thank me at all Lexa. He may not share your DNA but he is as much your son as Costia’s. You chose to love him and have treated him far better than my vindictive, cruel sister. My only hope is to help repair the damage she caused you and Aden. We’re going to figure this out. He needs both of us. I love my nephew more than anything, his happiness is all that matters to me. Does 5:30 work for you for dinner?*

“Sounds perfect Roan. We will see you then.”

I fall forward with my hands on my knees taking deep breaths trying to control my emotions. It’s like a floodgate has burst open. I’m feeling so many emotions in this moment. Relief, anxiety, longing, gratitude all spiral in my head. I have to calm my breathing because I don’t want Madi to see me this emotional. I stumble over to the stairs and slide down putting my head in my hands, elbows resting on my knees. Taking slow even breaths I feel myself slowlyj calming down. By the time I stop shaking and the panic attack subsides I hear Clarke and Madi’s footfalls at the top of the steps. Schooling my features I stand, feeling the all too familiar feeling of pain setting in in numerous joints. I smile my best smile turning to catch a very excited yet tired little girl.

“Mommy! It’s so big! Guess what? Clarke and I are going to paint all of my favorite zoo animals all over the walls! She said we can go get paint this week!”

“That’s wonderful sweetie. I think that’s a great idea. Come on, we should get going. We have to meet the delinquents soon.”

Clarke slips her arm around my waist while we walk back through the gallery. She quietly asks, “Are you okay Lex? What can I do?”

I lean in to her and sling an arm around her shoulder. “I am, and you’re already doing it Clarke. Let’s go talk to everyone then Madi will probably crash for a nap. Maybe we can go home for a little while before we meet Roan for dinner. My knee is really bothering. I think I need to get Raven to adjust the brace.”

“Did you fall this morning ? I could’ve sworn I heard you growling before I came downstairs,” We settle into the car to drive the short distance to the twins property talking as we go.

“My left knee gave out and I ungracefully collided with the kitchen counter, before falling onto my braced knee.”

“Oh my God Lex. You should have told me! Are you ok?”

“I’m fine babe I promise. I really appreciate that you check in on me though. A lot of people ask how you are but don’t truly care. I’ve been in pain so long it’s just become normal.”

She locks eyes with me as we pull up to the curb to park. “I care and I want to know. I know it’s hard but you can let me help you. You can lean on me and I won’t let you fall.”

The intense meaning behind her words leaves me speechless. I swallow and no words come out. I just nod my head and pull her in. No words are really needed. A loud obnoxious groan resounds from outside announcing Raven’s arrival.

I look up to see our delinquents and significant others gathered on the steps in front of the building. Madi sees them and desperately tries to free herself from the seatbelt. O and Bell immediately walk forward yelling “DIBS!” With their arms open wide. Well doesn’t this look familiar I think, grabbing my phone to record what I think I This is about to happen. I am not disappointed when Madi runs right between them yelling “Murphy!” The look on the twins faces is rather priceless. They both have their mouths hanging wide open, looking absolutely devastated, arms still stretched outward. Chuckling I pull them into my arms.

“Hey I feel your pain! She did that this morning to me as well. Ran right past me to get to Clarke!”

I look over to see Murphy and Miller grinning and laughing with my Monkey. She makes her rounds spreading hugs and smiles along the way. She finally turns back to the twins. Their looks of despair are quickly replaced with sheer adoration when Madi runs over to hug them.

“So what’s going on ladies?” Monty inquires.

“Well, I think I’ll let Clarke do the honors guys. I really think you’re going this idea though.” I say encouragingly, a huge smile plastered on my face. The twins tilt their heads to the side with their brows furrowed for a minute before they break out in matching smiles.

“Holy shit! That’s brilliant! Why didn’t we think of that!?” They say at the same time.
Everyone else is mildly confused as Clarke hasn’t said a word yet. We are all very in tune with each other, able to communicate non verbally when needed, but with the twins and I it has always been much deeper for some reason.

“Um, ok but maybe for those of us who are freakishly psychologically connected, can you fill us in Clarke?” Raven retorts sarcastically with her signature smirk.

“Ok, so what if we combine our inheritance…”

I listen as Clarke lays out her idea of turning the farm house into a foster/group home for kids in need. Murphy and Miller still live there and Clarke explained that there was a lot of logistics that we would need to iron out, clearly. She went on to say that the horses Mama had on her little “farm” could be very therapeutic for some kids.

Then she told them that the building Mama left to the twins could be turned into an after school/community center. Lincoln and O could teach kids self defense and they could put s modest gym in one section of the building.

With Raven’s up and coming company developing braces for people in need, she was in a position to offer an “internship” program or part time jobs for the teenagers who were interested in engineering/ mechanical fields.

Clarke told them how she could offer her services as an artist for the kids that showed an Interest in the arts. She could offer a space up in her gallery for the kids better works as well, maybe even showings to raise money for “Griffin House.”

The building was a Boys & Girls Club before it was closed several months ago, leaving the kids in the area to have little to do to keep out of trouble. There was a full working kitchen where Miller and Murphy could serve a meal for an hour or two before opening Grounders at 6pm. Jackson was a physician at their local Polis hospital and he could maybe do some basic first aid classes.

Seeing as offering kids a job at Monty’s new brewery would probably be frowned upon, he and Harper could float around and help where needed. Bell and Lexa would be mentors and help where needed as well.

“So, like I said, we would have a ton of details to work out and see about the proper channels to be properly licensed. Obviously if you guys had ideas to improve or add to this idea of mine, I would want to know. So… what do you think? Is it crazy? I think it would solidify Mom’s legacy, our legacy. We could give back to the community and help kids in need.” She trails off nervously nibbling on her bottom lip. I take her hand in support and tell the group I’m in it 100%. Everyone has their mouth hanging out processing everything they just heard. After s minute or so they all collectively agree that Clarke is a genius and think we should definitely do this. We could figure out the details and process as we go along. After a lengthy excited conversation we all head our separate ways agreeing to come over for brunch in the morning to get an idea about where they should start. We aren’t in the car very long before Madi begins softly snoring from the back seat. Clarke is practically vibrating with excitement. I’m so proud of her and looking forward to this new venture with our Kru. Arriving at the house we decide to cuddle on the couch watching “Rounders, one of our favorite movies, while Madi sleeps comfortably on the loveseat. It’s s perfect way to relax before she and I meet with Roan. The twins will be here to watch Madi who I still have idea how to tell her about her brother. Sighing deeply I pull Clarke closer to me allowing her presence to wash over me. It’s been a pretty amazing day so far…

Chapter Text

Our afternoon was spent in with few words exchanged between us. There was really no need to. As “freakishly psychologically in tune as I am with the twins, Clarke and I have come to take it to a much deeper level. I revel in it. I am finding myself becoming to live for it, to live for her. NO, no…. I now live for us. All too soon it seems, the trio of Bell, Echo and O arrive at the farmhouse.

“She should wake up any minute now guys. Oh! You guys don’t need to give her a bath though because Luna gave her one this morning: So at least there’s that.” I tell them.

“Please!” O proclaims with a tilt of her chin. “This is not our first Rodeo Tweedle dee and Tweedle D…”

“Tweedle what?” I interrupt her. Madi stirs and grins sleepily towards her aunts and uncles.

“Moba, Heda.” O replies before turning her attention to Madi. “Alright Monkey we ordered pizza on the way here, so it should be here soon. Do you want to help me pick out a movie on Netflix?”

“Ok!”

“Hey Lex, can I talk to you for just a minute before you leave?

“Yeah, of course Bell.” I follow him through the kitchen towards the back of the house where our laundry room is located and shut the door.

“Is everything ok ai Gona?” I say, hearing the uncertainty in my own voice.

“Sha ai sis.” He smiles his warmest smile that reaches his eyes making them practically sparkle.

“Mom wanted me to give you something. Don’t open it now, just when you’re ready,” He says pulling a box about the size of the palm of his hand from his coat pocket along with it an envelope with my name on it. I can tell it’s in her handwriting. The box is carved and smooth to the touch with the symbol for Trikru engraved in it along with an infinity symbol.

“Bell! This is Clarke’s parents soul binding bracelets!”

“Yeah well, she knew you two were meant for each other. She told me I would know when to pass them on to you. Want me to hang on to them just for now?”

“Yes that would be great. I want to do this right. There is so much else going on right now.

“As long as it’s not another 8 years..”

Rolling my eyes at him I head back out to join the rest. Madi is settled with O picking out a movie so we head out to meet Roan at the restaurant.

Lincoln is standing outside when we get there.

“Hey Lex, you want to see if Roan is inside yet? I’ve got to talk to Lincoln for just a second.” Clarke smiles at me.

“Sure babe. Hey Linc!”

It doesn’t take long for me to spot Roan in a booth near the bar area. Clarke slides in next to me, with Roan on the opposite side. “Everything ok with Lincoln?”

“Yeah he was just doin something for me. Hey Roan.”Clarke waves to the taller burley man.

“Ladies…”

Dinner goes rather quickly making small talk until the empty dishes are removed and Roan pulls a large Manila envelope from a messenger bag. He starts pulling out some documents and what looks like several photographs. He clears his throat and slides me the first few documents.

“I’ve convinced Costia to relinquish her parental rights to me. I neglected to tell her I plan to share said rights with you Lexa. These papers here are the transfers of parental rights to you. I’ve already signed and filled out my part of the process.”

He slides me another packet. “This will allow us to share legal custody of Aden. We don’t have to go through the court and all of that. I trust you to let me have him as you see fit but you will have primary physical custody. I brought some current pictures of him as well. He’s growing like a weed!”

Tears silently find their way down my cheeks to drip on the glossy 8x10 photograph of my handsome boy. “Does he…” I cut myself off before I start sobbing. Clarke seems to understands and continues on for me.

“Does he remember her Ro? She doesn’t want this to be harder on him. If he needs to stay with you for a while to adjust Lex understands.” As she finishes she looks at me for confirmation and I only have to nod once.

“Oh he remembers his nomon. He’s beyond excited to see you, all of you. I was thinking maybe you, Madi, Clarke and the twins could come over and have a cookout tomorrow. There’s a pool. Maybe it will help you guys reconnect. He knows about Madi. He’s been dying to have a younger sibling.”

“I’m a little blown away by all of this Ro. It feels like I’m dreaming and if I wake up I’ll lose him again. A cookout sounds incredible. Maybe once he’s acclimated we can have the whole kru together including you and yours.”

“I’d like that Lex. I hate to run but I’ve gotta get home to Aden. Take those papers to Raven to check if you want the resident delinquent genius to look them over. Just drop them off at the courthouse when you’re all done. I’ll see you guys tomorrow!”

“Good night, Roan.”

Monty and Harper slide into the booth that Roan just vacated. “Well!?” They say impatiently.

“He’s giving me parental rights Monty! We are seeing them tomorrow for a small cookout. “

Monty crawls under the table and squeezes in between Clarke and I wrapping his arms around both of us. Harper just smiles and giggles at him.

Clarke checks the time on her phone and announces that we have to go. My brow furrows, looking to her with a silent question. Her normally sky blue eyes are nearly black. She challenges me raising her eyebrow at me and i scramble to say goodnight to Harper and Monty, then we stop in the kitchen on the way out to check on Murphy and Miller.

When we finally get out to the parking lot I don’t see Clarke’s CRV anywhere. I turn slowly looking everywhere but it’s definitely not here. When my eyes widen in panic I finally hear Clarke snickering behind me. She wraps her arms around my waist from behind and holds out a key ring, actually it’s Lincoln’s key ring.

“I swapped vehicles with Lincoln for the night Lex.” She motions to his truck before walking us in that direction and opening the passenger door for me.

“Why do we have Lincoln’s truck though?”

“Because you need some down time. I just wanted to do something nice for you, something nice for us. Just trust me.”

“I do trust you.” I reply with zero hesitation. “You didn’t have to do this though.”

“I want to. Before you ask, Madi is fine. She fell asleep a half hour ago, we have time. They made a pillow/blanket fort in the living room and everyone is asleep except for Bell. He said to stay out as late as we want. Remember when we used to lay out and watch the stars in the night sky? I haven’t done that since you left. I thought it would be a nice night for it.”

“Me neither Clarke. Ok, Let’s go.” Wearing matching grins we pull out on the the road leading south toward Skyline Drive. Lacing our fingers together she settles our hands on my thigh and I can’t help but smile.

We wind our way through some familiar territory until we pull to a stop at one of the overlooks in the area. The leaves on the trees have begun changing color, creating brilliant oranges and yellows. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the stars look like they are right above us within reach. She grabs a couple blankets from the back seat and hops up into the bed of the truck. She lays down two thick blankets and holds her hand out for me to take. She helps pull me into the bed of the truck and motions for me to sit against the cab, which I do without question. She snuggles in next to me pulling the third blanket over our legs because there is a bit of a chill in the air. Fall is settling in.

I slide us down until I’m laying flat on my back on the blankets with her head tucked in to my neck and laying on my right arm. she lays flush against my right side with her right hand laying on my chest playing with random strands of hair, twirling it around her finger. I hold her closer to me wrapping my right hand around the back of her neck. We lay there for some time, her showing me the different constellations. She calls this lookout “The Cliffs”. She brought me out here quite often until I lost Aden. She was the only one other than the twins that could get through to me in the beginning of those days.

I find myself drawing nonsensical patterns along her back with my right hand. She stops twirling my hair and intertwines her right hand with my left. I feel her shiver a couple of times and then she shifts until she is almost laying on top of me and her breathing has increased. I tuck her hair behind her ears using both hands and cup her face. She rests her chin on my chest and looks up to me with hooded, nearly black eyes.

Her eyes dart down to my lips before looking back up into my eyes. She pins my hands to the blanket on either side of my head. Never breaking eye contact, she crawls up me slowly, attaching her mouth to the base of my throat. The cool breeze
Hits my sides as she slowly pulls my shirt upwards and over my head, leaving me in just my sports bra.

My now free hands take the opportunity to grip on to her hips and pulling Clarke on top of me, straddling my waist. I surge upwards chasing those plump lips, cupping her face in my right hand. My left hand grips hard on her waist. Leaning forward until our foreheads are resting together I can feel her heart racing. She hesitates for only a moment before she brings our mouths together in a slow dance. She flicks her tongue over my lower lip requesting entrance. Our tongues begin a slow push and pull… molding together until we are both breathless.

She grips onto the sides of my stomach, grinding down into my abs hard. I can’t help the whimper that escapes my lips.

“Oh my God Lex! Have I ever told you I’ve got a thing for your abs? I’ve actually had dreams about riding them.”

I feel a surge of wetness to my center when I hear her words. Seeing this Goddess above me I decide that I have to do much much better than her dreams. I let my hands drop to the bed of the truck and take hold on the outside of her knees.

“These, need to come off Baby!” I tug at Her annoyingly efficient pants.

She chuckles and takes pity on me, pulling them off along with her underwear.

I place my hands to the inside of her knees and slip them around to the back of her thighs, pulling Her forward slowly.

“You can ride my abs anytime you want niron… But right now I want you to come up here.” I tug at Her pulling her upwards along my torso towards me. “I want to taste you.”

When she finally rests her knees on either side of my head, she places her palms on the back of the cab of the truck. She glances downward, into my eyes as she slowly lowers herself to my waiting mouth. Wrapping my hands firmly over her thighs, never breaking eye contact I flatten my tongue to make a wide swipe through dripping wet folds. We both moan at the contact. She throws her head back, eyes rolling back in her head.

“Fuck, Lex! Please don’t stop.”

Making a few more broad swipes through drenched folds, I flick my tongue over her clit. Alternating between tracing tight circles around her clit or flicking it has her grinding down to get more friction. Realizing she’s getting close, I continue working my tongue over her clit relentlessly and slip two fingers deep inside of her. She falters, jerking erratically. Her walls flutter around me and it only takes a couple more thrusts curling into her front wall before she comes completely undone. Not letting up I tighten my grip on her thighs holding her firmly in place. She doesn’t even come down from her first high before she rolls into a second one. When she does, she is breathing heavily and twitching. She pulls away from my hold and almost slumps over.

“Hey, Easy, I got you Baby,” I coo, moving quickly to sit up, holding her close to me. She wraps her arms around my neck and links her ankles behind my back, burying her face in my neck.

“Jok Heda! I have never come that hard before, let alone twice in a row like that. I can’t feel my legs. You’re going to have to give me a minute.”

I just hold her tighter. “You’re so beautiful when you let go for me. Do you have any idea how gorgeous you are? Any idea how turned on you make me? Any idea how wet you make me?”

She gasps when she processes the last two questions and pulls back just enough to rest our foreheads together.

“Fuck Lex… “ she breathes out, grinding down in my lap. She moves back enough to unbuckle my belt and unbutton my jeans, tugging at them. “Why do you still have pants on?” She grumbles. I lift my hips and help her push them off. The chill in the night air has long been forgotten. Clarke’s eyes are locked on mine as she runs her hands up my thighs. She slots her right thigh between mine and lea her weight on her left elbow. She slowly drags two fingers through wet folds and we both moan at the contact.

“You are so wet. Is all this for me?” Clarke purrs. I can only nod in response biting my bottom lip. She brings her fingers up to her mouth and licks them clean. She leans down, kissing me hard. Tasting myself on her tongue makes me whimper. She blazes a trail of hot open mouth kisses down my chest and across my stomach, stopping to rake her nails across my abs. When she reaches my hip and bites down hard enough to leave a mark I can’t help the growl that escapes my throat.

“Please Clarke..” I beg shamelessly.

“Please what, Lex?”

“Please, touch me.”

“Look at me Lexa.”

I immediately look down to see nothing but fire in her eyes. Never breaking eye contact, she dips her tongue between my legs from my entrance up to my clit and back down again. My hips buck upward and I bury my right hand in her golden locks pulling slightly. It doesn’t take long until I’m on the edge.

She pulls away to say “Come for me Lexa.” My back arches up and and my body spasms releasing more wetness. Clarke moans and cleans up every drop, working me through my climax.

“Come here!” I mumble pulling her up to me and kissing her deeply. When I have recovered we notice the temperature dropping and decide to head home. I offer to drive and she scoots over across the bench seat to curl into my side. She falls asleep with her head on my shoulder. “Home” I like the sound of that.

Chapter Text

Pulling up to Mama’s house, the gravel crunches under the tires of the SUV. Clarke snuggles in closer when I try to pull away to get out of the truck. I pepper her cheek with kisses trying to rouse her from sleep. She only grumbles in reply scrunching her brow in protest. I slide her to the edge of the driver seat and lift her into my arms, bridal style and carry her inside. She wraps her arms around me in her sleep and buries her face into my neck.

My heart feels so full at this moment. I feel like everything is falling into its rightful place. The only thing physically missing is Mama G. I feel her presence at every turn along this path we are now traveling though. I know we will make her proud. She is smiling down on us and we won’t let her down.

I precariously open the front door with a still sleeping Clarke in my arms. I manage to push the front door closed quietly and make my way through kitchen to the stairs and ultimately up to Clarke’s room. I gently lay her down and remove her shoes. I settle her under the covers and move back downstairs to check on ai Yongon.

When I walk into the living room I’m rendered completely speechless, tears coming to my eyes. They have transformed the living room into a very impressive blanket fort, complete with string lights interwoven into it. There is a mountain of pillows and blankets on the floor. Echo, Octavia, Lincoln and Bellamy are all spread out under the “fort” with Madi snuggled up between Bell and Octavia. Bellamy and Lincoln are both sporting sky blue nail polish on their fingers, as are both of Madi’s Ontis. I think there is even glitter eyeshadow involved but I can’t be sure. Bell and Lincoln are both wearing matching princess tiaras. I’m so full of love and devotion for these people, my family… I pull out my cellphone to take a few pictures. This is the kind of thing that needs to be documented. This isn’t the first time Bell and O have found themselves in this situation.

*3 YEARS AGO*

Headlights appear in my driveway and a familiar Jeep pulls to a stop at my door.

“Onka Bell! Onti Tay!!!!” A very excited 2 year old squeals, trying to open the front door.

“Madi, let me help baby.” I open the door and pushes past me.

In a flurry of activity, both twins scramble to get to Madi first, yelling “DIBS!!” Simultaneously.

They drop to their knees enveloping their young niece in a bone crushing hug.

“Monkey! We missed you!” They say in unison.

“Mommy said we can build a fort!!! Can we please!!! Can we have a princess tea party too?? Pwetty pweaase Onka Bell!?!”

“I uh…. Of course we can my Monkey! Whatever you want, right Onti Tay?”

“Sha, smolheda. Anything you want…”

“Yay!! Mommy He said yes!!! Can I paint our nails now! Here’s your princess crown Onka Bell, Onti Tay. You’re the best Onka and Onti ever!! Can you paint my nails too?? Mommy tries but she isn’t very good at it…shh don’t tell her though!”

“Um, of course ai goofa. What color are we painting our nails? Which tiara is mine?” Bell melts in the presence of his niece.

My relationship with my twins has always been special, especially between Bellamy and I. He was born a protector. He has been the ONLY “father” figure, reliable man in Madi’s life. He has never let us down. A few hours later the four of us are dozing off to sleep in a huge blanket fort watching Princess Bride. We all have freshly painted nails and tiaras. There is the remnants of “the glitter incident” all over the living room and us as well. I don’t know what I would have done without these two. I follow them into a peaceful sleep.

*PRESENT*

I take one last look at my kru and silently pad upstairs to curl up with Clarke. I slip into bed behind her quietly as not to wake my hodnes. She scoots back into me and pulls my left hand around her to rest on her abdomen, fingers laced together. I put my right arm under her pillow and wrap it around her. She hums contentedly and mumbles “ai hod yu in” in her sleep. I kiss the back of her neck softly and hold her close to me.

I can’t seem to fall asleep though. I have to talk to Madi about Aden. She has adjusted so well so far with all these changes to our routine, our life… but what if this affects in a negative way. I will finally have both of my kids and I can’t screw this up.

I am so lost in my rambling thoughts that I don’t feel Clarke roll over in my arms until she drapes her right arm over my stomach and lays her head in the crook of my neck.

“Lex, you’re thinking too loudly again.”

“I’m sorry baby, I just can’t seem to shut my brain off.” I chuckle in reply.

“Hey, look at me.” She cups my jaw turning my face toward her. “Whatever happens with Aden you’re not alone Lex. Madi will adjust rather quickly I have no doubt. You have raised an amazing kid. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. None of us are.”

“I love you. Thank you. I know you’re right. Anxiety gets the best of me at times. Let’s get some sleep. Also wait till you see our kru downstairs. It’s too adorable for words.”

“I can’t wait. I love you Lex. Sweet dreams.”

“Mmm, Lex…” I hear and then I feel Clarke rolling her hips back into me in the early hours of dawn. We must have moved in the night. She now lays on her right side with my right arm under her pillow. My Left arm is around her waist. She reaches back with her left hand and grips my hips, pulling me into her as she rolls her hips back into me.

“Right there… fuck don’t stop.”

With that I am now WIDE awake. I run my hand down to grip her hips at that one spot that makes her whimper. Grazing my teeth over the back of her neck I pull her impossibly closer to me.

“Clarke, wake up beautiful.”

She begins to stir, still rolling her hips into my center. She grabs ahold of wrist that rests at her hip and pulls it between her legs, still not actually awake.

“Please Lex, Jok!” She pleads moving my hand under her panty line and through the wetness gathering between her legs.

“Fuck, Clarke. You feel amazing.” I confess while placing open mouth kisses along her neck working my way to her ear when I husk “Clarke, wake up for me ai hodnes. Beja.” I nip at her earlobe before sinking my teeth into her shoulder. When my tongue follows to sooth it, she cries out, finally waking up.

“Having a nice dream were we now Clarke?” I can’t help but tease.

“Mmm, you tell me, you can certainly feel how wet I am.”

“Yes, yes I can. Tell me about this dream of yours. I’m very curious.” I say into her ear before slowly dragging my fingers from her entrance up to her clit.

“I’m not sure I remember it…”

“Oh, then I guess I’ll just stop and we can get up for the day.” I tell her, pulling my hand away from her throbbing clit.

She moves quickly grabbing my hand in hers and moving them back to her clit.

“No no wait, I… have you ever used a strap on before because that’s what my dream was about.” She mumbles shyly, a flush creeping up her throat and face.

I roll her onto her back and slip my thigh between her legs as roll halfway on top of her. I have no trouble slipping three fingers through her soaking wet folds. “Actually, no I haven’t. I take it we used one in your dream?”

“Yes! We certainly did. I have one I’ve never used, actually. It was a gift from our Little Bird for my birthday last year….she thought it was hysterical. Oh my god please don’t stop Lex..”

I speed up driving my thigh into my hand making my fingers push deep into her center and curling them into her front wall. She cries out grinding down onto my thigh, desperately chasing release.

“Why haven’t you used it Clarke” I ask, knowing how much she likes the way I say her name. I use my thumb to swipe over her clit as I continue to move inside her.

“Because…omg don’t stop, please… Because I haven’t slept with anyone since before you left… no one could compete with my feelings for you.

Hearing these words moves me to double my efforts and before long her walls are fluttering and a new wave of wetness flows from her as her body convulses through her high. I pull her close to me and just enjoy having her in my arms.

“Um, so now I really want to try the strap on with you” She murmurs into her pillow. “I’ve never had an interest in it before, but the thought of you wearing it… does things to me…also, I don’t know if you realize it or not but I swear every time we sleep together I come harder than the time before.”

Before I can respond, the door flies open and a blur of brown hair and green eyes flies into the bedroom. “Mommmy! Clarke! You’re awake! Come see the fort we made! I made Onka Bell and Onka Linc pretty pretty princesses like Onti Tay and Onti Echo! She snickers into her hands. Mommy will you make captain crunch French toast? Pleeeeease”

“Of course Monkey.” She clambers up onto the bed and flops down between Clarke and I. Thankfully Clarke and I are fully clothed or this would be an awkward moment.

“Alright Madi, let’s go. Clarke can meet us downstairs in a few minutes. Let’s see this fort you have made.” I wink at Clarke before Madi drags me downstairs.

Walking down the steps hand in hand she is so happy. I sometimes don’t know how I got so lucky to have such an amazing child, actually two amazing children. Being their mom has been the most amazing gift but to add the delinquent Kru and Clarke to that mix makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery. Clarke jogs down the steps behind us and follows us into the living room.

Madi beams with pride when Clarke sees their blanket fort.

“Madi this is amazing! You guys made the coolest fort I’ve ever seen!”

Madi bounces up and down and exclaims, “Can I paint yours and Mommy’s nails too!?!? They let me paint theirs! Onka Bellamy painted mine for me. He’s gotten really good at it!”

Clarke drops to her knees and says “I would love for you to paint my nails. Let’s see yours. Wow! Onka Bell did such a great job!”

We hear grumbling coming from the fort and Bell crawls out, tiara still in place.

“Is this why Madi and Lex call you Princess!? Bell you are the best brother and uncle anyone could ask for! You did a really good job on her nails!” Clarke praises her brother drawing him into a hug before taking the tiara and placing it on her own head.

“He’s a pretty good boyfriend too but I might be bias.” Echo calls out from the belly of the fort.

He smiles brightly and proudly shows off his nails and tells Clarke proudly, “look how good she did! She’s getting really good at it!”

“I’m going to go make captain crunch French toast. You kids have fun in here.” I smile at my family and head to the kitchen. Our resident chef Murphy has gone in to help Monty do some odds and ends at the place Mama set up for his brewery.

After breakfast I’m going to have to talk to Madi about Aden and I have no clue what to say to her yet. I think she will be happy about having a brother but there is always that little voice of doubt in the back of my mind.

Trying not to worry I pull out the captain crunch and pour some into a sandwich baggie. Sealing it up I proceed to break it up into a coarse powder. After mixing up the batter I dip the Texas toast bread into the egg/milk batter then coat it with the captain crunch. Madi loves it. I went to a restaurant who served it years ago with Aden. Aden went nuts over it so I made it for him a lot as well. We went on a day of trip to the inner harbor, just he and I.

*6 YEARS AGO*

I had just finished an 11 hour shift at Grounders and to say I was exhausted is an understatement. I glance at the clock when I slip into bed, not wanting to wake up Costia. It’s 3AM and I knew how mad she would be if I woke her. She doesn’t work and Aden usually goes down around 8pm. She would still be livid though.

Just a few short hours later I hear Aden calling for me in his room, babbling happily. I smile getting out of bed, happy to see my little boy. Costia stirs and grumbles at me to keep him quiet, so she can sleep.

“You need to be a little more quiet at night when you finally get home!

“I’m sorry Cos, you know I’m working. We don’t close until 2am. I’ll try to be more quiet. Are we still taking Aden to the inner harbor this weekend?”

“No you take him. I don’t feel like going.”

“I’m sure he would love it if we both went babe.”

“Omg I said just go!”

Shaking my head I retreat to Aden’s room. “Hi baby boy! Good morning!”

“Nomo! Up up!” He squeals throwing his up for me to pick him up.

“What a big boy, no accidents in your pull-up! Let’s go see if you need to use the potty. Then we will have some breakfast and I’m taking you somewhere fun today.”

He claps his little hands enthusiastically. After a breakfast of eggs and fruit, we get cleaned up and dressed for the day. I peak back in on Costia but she’s still fast asleep.

“Alright buddy lets go on an adventure!”

“Yay! See fish? See dolphins?”

“That’s right buddy. Want to listen to some music?”

“Yes! Jack jack!”

“Jack Johnson it is.”

*PRESENT*

Before long the aroma of coffee and French toast must find its way to the living room because everyone starts to filter into the kitchen. Bell and Echo silently set the table with the help of Madi. Clarke and O make everyone coffee. Linc volunteers to do the cleanup/dishes. We work together like a well oiled machine.

Soon we were all gathered around the table eating breakfast. I have Madi on one side and Clarke on the other. The mood is light and comfortable.

“So how did it go last night?” Echo asks gesturing to Madi, unsure of what she can say in front of the Monkey.

I realize there is no time like the present when we are surrounded by people who love us to talk to Madi about Aden.

“It went really well actually. Madi, Monkey, I need to talk you about something.”

She looks at me a curious expression.

“Do you remember me talking about Aden during your bedtime stories like I did with your ontis and Onkas?”

“Yes! You love him. But you can’t see him… why can’t you see him Mommy?”

“Yes that’s right sweetie. Aden is my child just like you are. He had to stay with his other mom for a while now, but he gets to come stay with us.”

“Why? Where did his other mom? Where is he? When can we see him?” She fires off question after question before she gasps and exclaims “I get to have a brother?!?!? This is awesome!”

“Ok slow down Madi. His other mom has to go away for a long time. He is here in this town, we get to go see him this afternoon. They’re having a cookout and guess what?”

“Whaaaaat??”

“They have a heated enclosed pool so we can go swimming! Roan asked if the twins, Echo and Linc wanted to come too. And then the next time the whole kru can get together.

“No way!”

“Yes way!”

“Eat up sweetie and then after breakfast we can get you cleaned up.”

Madi happily babbled on through the remainder of breakfast, ready to meet her big brother. She never sees to amaze me. I’m a nervous wreck but at least she doesn’t appear to be nervous.

Chapter Text

While I’m getting our Monkey bathed, then getting her dressed in her bathing suit, a long sleeve shirt and sweats, Roan calls to invite the entire Kru to the cookout. He said Aden is very excited to see not only Madi and myself but the entire delinquent kru. He goes on to explain that even though Costia tried to turn him against us and to forget us, Roan and Mama wouldn’t let that happen. He stayed in contact with a certain set of twins and an amazing Mama/Grammy all these years. How they kept it from Costia I have no clue, but I am definitely not complaining.

I send out a msg in our group chat.

*DELINQUENT KRU*

Heda: Cookout today 1:00Pm at Roan’s with Aden. Would love it if you guys wanted to come see your nephew and hang out with us!

Rae Rae: I’m in!

Wonder twin 1: Echo and I are in!

Wonder twin 2: Lincoln and I are definitely in!

BrewMaster: Harper and I wouldn’t miss it!

ChefMurph: You had me at cookout

MillerTime: me too, me too!

Heda: meet at Mama’s at 12:30 and we can carpool.

Tossing my phone on the bed I take off my braces and head to the bathroom to shower.

Dressed in trunks a “sports bra” style bikini top and a long sleeve tea, I throw a change of clothes for Madi and I in a bag, grab a few towels and jog downstairs to join the Kru.

Madi runs up to me excitedly to show me her braided hair. “Look Mommy! Clarke braided my hair like Trikru! Onka Monty and Onti Harper want me to come over for a sleepover tonight. Can I please???”

“Yeah! Pleeease!!!” Monty and Harper join in.

“I see that baby it looks great! Of course you can Monkey.” Looking around it’s reminiscent of the night we released Mama’s spirit. Bellamy is braiding Echo’s hair, Lincoln is braiding Octavia’s hair, Murphy is braiding Raven’s hair, Monty is braiding Harper’s hair while Miller is getting his nails painted by Madi. Actually, looking around I notice that Madi must’ve been busy while I was in the shower. Everyone now has their nails painted, courtesy of Madi. I look to Clarke and see a huge smile on her face. She is holding a comb and several small hair ties. She pats the space in front of her seat on the couch.

“Can I braid your hair Heda?”

“Sha, Clarke, but only if I can braid yours.

Braiding of one’s hair is an intimate gesture in Trikru culture. It symbolizes love, fealty, family. We all share similar small tight braids along the scalp. During special ceremonies the patterns can be quite intricate. Today though they just serve to keep the hair out of our eyes while in the water.

When Clarke finishes we trade places and I braid hers. Once Madi has painted my nails as well we all gather our things and head to our vehicles to car pool to Roan’s family Estate.

Clarke, Madi, Raven and I pile into her CRV. The twins ride in Bell’s Jeep with Echo and Lincoln. Murphy, Miller, Monty and Harper ride in Monty’s car.

“Clarke, not that I don’t love riding in your car but can we please get my Jeep at some point? “

“Of course love. We can pick it up whenever you want. Hey speaking of your things, where is all of your stuff? Like your furniture and Madi’s things?”

“Well, I have most of it in storage because I had planned on Madi and I moving in with Bell and Tay originally. Our lease was up last month in our apartment so speeding up the moving timeline wasn’t too difficult. Most of Madi’s stuff is in the twins garage.”

“Ok well we will need furniture and beds for the kids, TVs and kitchen stuff for our apartment. Maybe we could check out what you have in storage to furnish our place.”

A huge grin lights up my face. “Our place? That sounds wonderful. We are definitely keeping your bed though, it’s so comfortable! We can leave Mama’s house furnished for Murphy, Miller and the future group home.”

“That’s a great idea! So maybe tomorrow morning we can pick Madi up and go to breakfast then go check out paints and stuff like that?

“Yeah baby sounds great!”

Raven clears her throat from her spot next to Madi. “I know I tease you all but I’m really really happy for you guys. You deserve all the happiness in the world. If you tell anyone I said that I’ll deny it and let’s not forget what happens when I make things go boom. Also Monty and I can help wire your place up with a killer surround system.”

“Rae, we love you! You’re the best. Our lips are sealed. Oh hey, I meant to ask you earlier. Can you take a look at my knee brace? It’s catching some and locking up.”

“Of course! Actually I’ll have a surprise for you tomorrow. I made you a knee brace for your left knee.”

“Really?! You are my favorite sister but don’t tell O.” I laugh along with her.

Raven looks over to see a sleeping Madi. “What the… how does she pass out that quick every time she gets in the car?! She’s literally drooling!”

“I know right? She’s always been like that. As a baby if she was having trouble sleeping I’d take her for a ride. When she was teething, whew, that was rough at times. Sometimes Ma was the only one who could soothe her.”

Our conversation dies out when Clarke pulls into a gated driveway, leading to a sprawling estate. Roan’s family is extremely wealthy. They are descendants of the Azgeda, a tribe similar to the TriKru, meaning they speak our language, Trigedasleng. His father died when Roan and Costia were rather young. Their mother, Nia, had disowned Costia when she found out she was on the Red. Nia was livid with how she took Aden away from me. Roan doesn’t live here in his family’s mansion. Although he is the inherited a small fortune when his father died as well as being the sole heir to his family’s estate he has stayed quite humble. He lives in a modest house and has worked his way up the ranks of TonDC Police Department.

We all park near the side entrance leading to the indoor pool and the patio which is out back. After I rouse a sleeping Madi I join the rest of the delinquents as the door to the pool room opens up. My heart stops when Roan steps outside with Aden at his back.

My breath gets caught in my throat, and it feels like time grinds to a vault. He’s grown so much. He still has those same striking, kind, blue eyes, dirty blonde hair and when he sees me his face splits into a familiar dimpled smile.

“Nomon! Nomon!” She yells excitedly and he breaks out in a sprint towards me.

Clarke scoops up Madi while I drop to my knees in the driveway, opening my arms to him, tears streaming down my face. He slams into me at full speed, wrapping his little arms around my neck as tight as he can. I hold him close to me, sobbing.

“Come on guys let’s head inside. Give Heda and Aden a few minutes. Madi are you ready to go swimming?” Clarke speaks up. She kisses the top of my head before carrying Madi inside with the others.

“Aden, my baby boy! I’ve missed you so much. I love you so much! Let me look at you! You’ve gotten so big!” I pull back to look at him, choking back tears.

“Nomon! I missed you! I love you! Momma told me you didn’t want to see me anymore but Onka Ro Ro told me you would never leave me. He told me about all the gifts you left me. Grammy sent me pictures and letters about you. Ro Ro would read them to me. Momma was mean to you. Ro Ro said she is sick and is going away for a long time. He said I can stay with you. Is it true Nomon?? Please? And he said I’m gonna have a stiksis?? And I’ll have my Onkas and Ontis again?!”

“Oh my sweet boy. I would never leave you, I will never leave you. Momma is sick, she is going away for a long time. I’m sorry she said bad things about me. None of this is your fault baby boy. Momma won’t keep me from you ever again. You are going to come live with me, well with Clarke, Madi and I that is.” I bring him in for another hug and scoop him up to go inside with the others. “Hey maybe tomorrow we can show you our new home. You can come with us to pick out paints and things for your room at our new home.”

“Oh yes! Please! Can I meet my sister now??”

“Of course little man.”

He hops down and takes my hand, pulling me inside impatiently. Everyone goes silent when they see him.

Bell and O look to one another before yelling “Dibs!” And running to Aden.

He giggles happily watching them struggle to get to him. Madi chuckles at their antics as well, which gets Aden’s attention. He yells “Dibs!” and runs toward Madi who smiles shyly at her big brother.

“Hi! I’m Aden, I’m your big brother.” Aden lifts his chin proudly before continuing I’ll protect you always. Omon gon oson.” He drops to his knees and opens his arms for her.

She beams at him and hugs him tightly repeating “Omon gon Oson bro! I’m Madi.”

There are sniffles and sighs all around. Murphy wipes a tear from his eye and Harper breaks the moment, “ Murph are you crying?”

“I’m not… you know what? yeah I am crying … that was beautiful.” He drops to his knees next to the kids wrapping them in a bear hug. Everyone follows suit and we end up in a group hug, all of us crying the happiest of tears.

The moment is broken when we hear the sound of Roan’s phone taking a picture. “That was adorable…”

Raven snickers “Wait Ro are you crying!?!”

“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about… come on who wants get in the pool!! Who’s hungry? Let’s get this grill fired up!”

“You had me at Grill man!” Miller chimes in.

“Same!” says Murphy

Everyone follows Roan inside, smiles all around. Aden takes Madi’s hand and it melts my heart. Clarke snaps a picture, pockets her phone and takes my hand.

“Aden wants to go pick out paint and things for his room tomorrow. I thought we could take him to breakfast with us and go from there. I just have to get Roan’s ok on it. I know he’s giving me primary custody but I still want to get his approval, out of respect you know?”

“I think that’s a wonderful idea. You’re an amazing mom, do you know that?” She responds, pulling her lower lip between her teeth and glancing down at my lips.

Before I can say anything in reply, two very adorable children come over grabbing our hands and pulling us toward the pool. “Come on Nomon! Let’s go swimming!”

“Yeah come on Mommy! Do you have my floaty vest? Clarke come on get in, it’s warm!”

“Sha ai yongons, let’s go! “ I get Madi in her vest and kick off my shoes, pulling my shirt and sweats off. I glance up to Clarke who I shamelessly catch checking me out. I arch an eyebrow at her and smirk before diving in the pool. My kids jump in after me both clamoring to get to me laughing loudly. I look back to Clarke in time to see her kicking her jeans off and stripping out of her shirt to reveal a black bikini. She looks stunning and the suit definitely showcases her her ample cleavage. She catches my eye and smirks before walking down the pool steps winking at me.

“Nomon! Flip!” Aden yells climbing up my legs. I lace my hands together and wait for him to place his foot in them.

When he gets settled I count off “ready? 1, 2,3, FLIO!” I lift him up using my hands and he throws his head back flipping in mid air. I can’t believe he remembers that. We all play in the water for quite a bit before Aden and Madi end up curled up on one of the Chase lounge chairs under a couple fluffy towels sleeping soundly. I get caught up watching them when I feel a familiar touch and arms circling my waist from behind nails scraping across my stomach. No one is really paying attention and she uses that to her advantage. She leans in and kisses my neck and biting down on my earlobe and whispered into my ear.

“It seems we will have the house to ourselves again tonight. I have been really turned on all day. I can’t get my dream from last night off of my mind. All I can think about is you in that strap-on. I want you so badly that it literally hurts.”

She flicks her tongue over my earlobe once more before before wading over to Rae and O. All I can do is stare at her, mouth agape. Suddenly I hear Bell and Murphy laughing with Roan.

“Oh my God, Look! Clarke broke Lexa!” Monty said

“Does she Have a reset button?” Roan joins in.

“I think she just needs to cool off.” Bell laughs then jumps out out of the pool, walking around the pool until he is behind me. Diving in he tackles me and takes me underwater with him. We both come up sputtering and cracking up.

“Alright! Let’s eat! Foods ready.”

Everyone eats their fill and starts packing up their belongings. We all take turns changing into dry clothes in the “pool house”

When it’s my turn and quickly change I hear the door knob turning drawing my attention. Clarke slips in and locks the door behind me. She says nothing as she walks toward me, hips swaying, wearing nothing but her bikini. When she gets within arm reach I spin her and pin her to the wall, our bodies flush together, pinning her hands to the wall on either side of her head. She moans in surprise.

“You’re not the only one who’s been turned on all day, uncomfortably wet all day.” Running my tongue along her top lip before ghosting my lips over hers. “I’ve been thinking about you and that dream of yours all day. You should probably get dressed and get out of those wet clothes.”

I bring her in for a searing kiss. When I pull back she tries chasing my lips but I still have her pinned. She whines at the loss. I just smirk n back my way over to the deal. She stands frozen with her mouth hanging open. I wink at her before walking outside to get Madi ready and say goodnight to my little man.

I pass Raven on her way into the Pool house to change. She starts cracking up!

“Oh My God you guys!! Lexa broke Clarke this time! She’s going to catch flies if she doesn’t close her mouth!!”

What a perfect day. I have a feeling tonight will be just as memorable.

Chapter Text

Everyone is gathered around our cars on the front patio making idle chit chat. Murphy is holding a sleepy Madi and Aden runs over and launches hisself toward me. Roan smiles at us fondly. Clarke walks up beside me lacing our fingers together and squeezing my hand fondly.

“Lex, Aden wants to have a sleepover this evening with you, Madi and the delinquents. There was talk of a fire and a fort? It’s totally fine with me if you guys want to do that.” Roan says as he ruffles Aden’s hair.

At the mention of a fire and a fort Madi peeks up in Murphy’s arms. “Yes! Mommy can we please do that??”

“Sha Nomon! Please can I stay with you?” Aden chimes in.

“Yeah Heda, Pleeease!?!?” The delinquents plead with equally adorable puppy dog faces.

“We would love nothing more. But Ro you should come over for the fire though. We would love to have you.” Clarke responds for the both of us after we share a look.”

“Alright let’s move Delinquent Kru Mami is ready for a fire!” Raven calls out. She rides with Roan so I can have both of my kids with me.

Riding home I get drawn in to Clarke. She’s singing along with the kids, constantly smiling at them in the rear view and she just looks so happy. My train of thought is off and running. Addressing the obvious elephant in the room, what role does Clarke see herself in as far as Madi and Aden are concerned. Since I haven’t really dated since my Monkey was born, I’ve never brought a date or girlfriend around Madi. The situation we are in now though is rather unique. Clarke and I aren’t casually dating. We are way past that. We skipped that stage all together, yet we have had 8 years to get to know each other. She’s my Ruca, she is it for me. Seeing the ways she’s looking at me and the kids I’m thinking she feels the same way. From the outside looking in, it seems like we are moving our relationship at light speed but it’s been 8 years in the making. It feels right so I’m not doubting it or questioning it anymore. I know she wouldn’t purposely hurt us nor leave us.

She looks over at me curiously and just smiles at me with pure love and devotion. I reach over n clasp herb hand in mine and pat my right hand on my chest over my heart. ( it’s a gesture the twins and I always do. It means you’re my heart)

She just replies “ai hod yu in. Ai hod yu yongons in sentaim Lex. Yumi stegeda, Omon gon oson, Sha?”

“Sha, ai hodnes. I hod yu in. Yumi stegeda, Omon gon oson.”

It seems like all of these horrible experiences in my life are in the rear view for me, so to speak. There is only one thing I need to do and then I can close the door on the dark part of my past forever.

It’s time to face Costia. I need the closure. She holds no power over me anymore. I want Clarke by my side when I do go face her though. I want her by my side always. That is something that can be put on the back burner for now though. My first priority is my children , espically Aden. I don’t know what kind psychological abuse Costia put him through. Roan and I have found a great children’s therapist in town that we agreed to send Aden to. I think it will be good for him and it will help him adjust better. Although judging from the laughter in the back seat, I’d say he is adjusting just fine.

Clarke pulls up to the farmhouse and both kids scramble to get out of the car laughing and running up the steps to the house. Before long the whole family is home.

“Hey kids wait!” Bell call out. “You guys want to help Linc and I gather firewood?”

“Sha Onka Bell! Can we Mommy ? Nomon?”

“Sha ai yongons. Listen to your Onkas. “

“We will!” The respond in unison.

“I’m gonna go change and throw our bag upstairs. I’ll be right back. Murph can you see if we have stuff for s’mores an roasting hotdogs, campfire strawberries?”

“Of course Sis! Miller and his carload stopped to get hot chocolate and hotdog buns.”

“I’m going to change too. It’s a little chilly for shorts.” Clarke smiles, following me up the steps.

I turn and catch her staring at my ass. “See something you like Clarke?”

Her eyes flick up to my lips before she finally meets my eyes. “Oh I see quite a few things I like.”

Once in the privacy of her room, she grabs my wrist and spins us so she can back me up into the door. Both of her hands land on either side of my head. She pushes her body into mine while I slide my thigh between her legs and grip her hips hard, pulling her against my leg. She lets out a quiet moan and closes her eyes for a second. When she opens them again I feel a surge of wetness between my legs because she practically growls at me. She crashes our lips together, roughly pushing her tongue against mine, fighting for dominance which I readily give her. This side of Clarke does things to me.

She pulls away reluctantly, knowing we need to go back downstairs. It’s my turn to whine in protest now. “Oh my God, I cant tell you how badly I want you Lex. I would love to ravage you but it’ll have to wait until later…unless the kids want us to camp out with them.” She adds giggling.

“That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day. You’re not the only one struggling trust me. It’ll be worth the wait I promise. I do want to spend as much time as I can with my kids though. Except since Madi has been down here she’s spending time with everyone but me. I think it’s great, though that she has so many people who love her. I just miss my Monkey.”

“I think it’s going to be more like ‘our kids’ though. And our kids, our family and you will always come first… I’m not letting this slip through our fingers. You’re mine Heda and I’m yours.”

“I love you so much! And I am yours, I’ve always been yours.”

I quickly change into a comfortable pair of sweatpants and thin thermal long sleeve, Clarke opts for leggings , V cut T-shirt and a hoodie…. My hoodie actually.

“ damn Griffin that hoodie looks better on you.” I confess, raking my eyes over this beautiful woman.

“ Come on stud lets get downstairs and I’ll get the kids in comfy warmer clothes.”Rae emerges from Murphy’s room with a hoodie for the two of theM and starts laughing hysterically.

“Chit?” Clarke’s asks.

Raven doubles over in laughter, tears streaming down her face and manages to say, “oh my God Lex had the biggest set of heart eyes!!! What the fuck did you say or do? Wait no!!!! I don’t want to know . Ewh your my sisters!”

“Come on Rae! Let’s go.”

“Wait Heda…” Raven tries to catch her breath. “ let me have your knee brace, I brought my tools.”

Clarke tosses it to her and I hug her. “Mochof ai Sis”

We all file downstairs to get started on dinner and our bonfire. Aden and Madi come barreling into the kitchen laughing happily. Aden wraps his arms around me and squeezes me tight.

“I love you Pnut! I’m so happy you’re here. Do you and Madi want to help Clarke and I make a fort while they get the fire started and set up? Remember though, what’s the #1 in fire safety??”

Both kids light up with huge smiles on their faces. “Yes please! Oh Aden ! Mommy makes the best forts!”

“Wait, what?!? Monkey you told us we made the best forts!” The twins pout.”

“What?” Madi says with a smirk…

Lincoln squats down to the kids to get their attention.

“Pop quiz goufas! What’s the number 1 rule in fire safety? Do you remember?”

They jump up and down and both start to answer him. “Never let Raven Have anything flammable”

Raven is speechless for a minute before she says, defeated, “let me live people!! I’m super impressed they both know what flammable means though.”

Madi shrugs and smirks again.

Raven drops her drink and gasps. “Please tel me someone just saw that mini Lexa smirk just now???”

Clarke chimes in, “ and now ai yongon broke Little Bird! Come on Monkey let’s go get you into comfy clothes and cleaned up. Aden, grab your bag from Onka Ro and come up to get cleaned up too. Mommy will wait on us to start the fort.”

I watch them walk upstairs with a stupid grin on my face, and I don’t even care that they are snickering at me. “Yeah I know , heart eyes, ya damn right I do. She didn’t break me though. She fixed me. Who wouldn’t have heart eyes and fall completely in love with her?”

Everyone is quiet and looking over my shoulder, up the stairs.

“She’s up there behind me isn’t she?”

They just nod so I turn and look over my shoulder and the look in her eyes takes my breath away. The way she’s looking at me screams volumes. She feels the same way I do.

“Ai Gona, I have an idea.”

“That is equal parts exciting and terrifying, I’m in!”

Let’s drag some of the mattresses into the living room . Run sheets to the ceiling fans or pin em to the ceiling. Get Monty to help us with the fairy lights from Clarke’s room and Mama’s room to run along the sheets making it seem like stars in the sky. Add a massive amount of pillows and comfy blankets, move the tv to inside the fort and boom! Best fort ever!”

“You’re a mad genius!” He laughs and kisses my temple pulling me into a hug.

“O, Monty, Bell, Clarke, the kids and I will set up our epic fort. Linc, Echo, Miller and Harper can work on fire, get food and drinks ready to roast on the skewers.

“I’m baby sitting Raven aren’t I?” Murph complains.

“Please! You know you love me!” Raven teases back.

We start clearing out the living room. We used the couches and love seats to create a huge area for our fort by turning them around so the backs face the inside of our fort. Monty and Bell grab mattresses from Murphy’s room, Momma’s room, The twists old room and as many blankets and pillows they could carry. Clarke and I get all the fairy lights with the kids help. Once we have a massive area with our mattresses taking up the majority of our living room we get to work getting our sheets hung up enclosing our fort. The fairy lights are added expertly by Monty who grins excitedly at his handy work. He announces he has a surprise for us and hangs on large sheet on the wall opposite of the entrance to our fort. While the kids and I are arranging pillows, Clarke and the twins get plenty of blankets. Monty returns with a tv projector he’s been repairing.

“Way to go Monty for the big win!”

“It’ll be a surprise for the rest of the kru.” Monty says with a smile.

Satisfied with our work, we all join the others around the fire pit. Laughter and love is in the air. These are the people who have my heart. Murph passes out hot chocolate while Linc and Roan put hot dogs and marshmallows on skewers. Raven mans the “s’mores station” as she calls it. O dips strawberries in marshmallow fluff and skewers them for campfire strawberries. Monty plays music through our sound system. Harper and Echo assume the role of fire master.

I realize something rather important looking around at everyone laughing. I smile and look up to find Octavia’s eyes on me, a lop sided grin of recognition forming on her face. She and I look to Bellamy who is talking to Miller. As if he feels our eyes he immediately looks to O then to me. He looks between us once more and breaks out in a huge grin, nodding his head. I tilt my chin to O, silently telling her she can announce our thoughts. She stands proudly and clears her throat.

“Hei ai kru. I need your attention for just a minute. When our Mama created our ‘DelinquentKru’ there were only a handful of us. Over time though our Kru has grown. Echo, Jackson, Harper, Roan, Madi, Aden and Lincoln have joined our family. We are no longer DelinquentKru. From now on we are Wonkru.

Everyone starts clapping and yelling in agreement. “It’s settled then Kru. Roan, Echo, Lincoln, Harper and Jackson will take our mark to officially become a part of Wonkru. Madi and Aden…. No tattoos until you’re 18. Raven I’m serious!”

“Aw man!” Raven and the kids groan.

The newest additions all sport matching grins. Miller calls Jackson and he too is happy with the news.

“Wait a minute!” Roan gets up looking around wide eyed. “Is no one going to explain the freakish way the twins and Lexa communicate!! “

Raven waves a hand dismissively, “eh, honestly you get used to it.”

After everyone is fed and full, we all settle in and trade stories or memories. Clarke curls up on a chase lounge chair with me, we are quickly joined by Aden and Madi. Aden gets up and gets a throw and drapes it over Madi because he thought she was cold. Clarke snuggles into me while we each have an arm draped over the kids.

When it starts to get a bit colder we decide to move the party inside. Bell makes everyone wait in the kitchen while I clean up the sticky kids so the yongons can reveal our amazing fort.

The kids yank the sheet down that’s keeping the living room hidden they jump up and down with excitement.

“Wow guys! This is way better than the ones the twins made!” Murphy snorts laughing.

“Heeey!” O and Bell pout.

“Alright come on, everyone get comfy Echo and Harper are making popcorn, we are watching the Goonies!” Clarke announces to a chorus of cheers. Clarke reserves is a cozy spot in the back. Aden and Madi curl up near the twins and they are asleep in less than a half hour. Roan silently sneaks out and says to call him tomorrow. Most of Wonkru falls asleep fairly quickly after that.

I lay contentedly with my head in Clarke’s lap as she slowly removes my braids and combs her fingers through my hair. Looking up into her eyes takes my breath away. Aden stirs in his sleep and looks around, confused, until he finds Clarke and I. With a sleepy smile on his face he crawls over to me, wrapping his little arms around me and falling instantly to sleep. Clarke wraps her arms around me from behind me, kissing the base of my neck.

“I love you Lex. Sweet dreams.”

“Mmm, I love you niron.”

Madi grumbles in her sleep and curls up with Aden and melts my heart. Clarke hold me tighter and wipes a tear from her eye. “Lexa, this is everything I have wanted and so much more. Mom would be so happy to see us all now.”

We drift off into a deep peaceful sleep.

Chapter Text

The following morning I wake up feeling so completely content. It’s the first time I have ever felt entirely content. I feel arms wrapped around me from behind, spooning me. Opening my eyes I realize that Madi and Aden aren’t next to me any longer. At the same time I realize that the arms around me do not belong to Clarke. Looking behind me I see a sleeping, drooling Murphy. Trying to be as stealthy as possible I extricate myself from his comforting embrace. He stirs and mumbles “it wasn’t me…” before rolling over to cuddle with Raven.

Clarke and the kids are not in the living room. My adorable brothers and sisters are all still snoozing so I I get up quietly to search for my girl and my kids. I hear music coming from the kitchen followed by laughter. It’s the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I silently pad toward the sound with a smile on my face. Leaning on the doorway at the entrance of the kitchen I take in the scene in front of me. Madi is sitting on the counter in front of Clarke stirring something in a mixing bowl. Aden is standing beside Clarke with his arm around her waist. They are singing along to a Bob Marley song, Clarke throws her head back in laughter at something Aden says. Madi starts giggling too. Taking my phone out I snap a few pictures because this is definitely a moment I want to revisit down the road.

I find myself walking towards them, slipping my arms around Clarke and my son. She leans into me when I kiss her temple.

“Good morning beautiful,” She says. “The kids and I are making breakfast.”

“Sha, Mommy! We’re making Grammy’s cheesy eggs, bacon and toast.” Aden says with a toothy grin.

“Nomon’s letting me stir the eggs Mommy!” Madi exclaims.

Clarke and I both gasp hearing Madi call Clarke Mom in trig. Clarke’s face breaks out into the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on her.

Aden chimes in as well. He points to me an announced “Yeah Madi and I discussed it and we’re calling you Mommy and Clarke Nomon. If we’re going to be a family then she’s our mom too , right?”

The tear that runs down Clarke’s cheek doesn’t go unnoticed by me. I’m so choked up I can barely respond to his question.

“Yes baby, you’re absolutely right.” Clarke says hugging them both while looking at me with questioning eyes.

“I would love nothing more. I don’t know what I did to deserve you guys.” I manage to say.

“Awww!” The rest of the Kru calls out from the doorway.

“It’s too early for all of this fluff. Mami needs her coffee!” Raven grumbles.”Do I smell bacon? Never mind I take it all back!”

 

After breakfast Clarke, the kids and I get ready to do some shopping for apartment. The kids run excitedly to Clarke’s Crv and hop in the back seat. Aden helps Madi with her seatbelt while Clarke smiles at them fondly. She catches me staring at her.

Tossing me her keys she says, “you’re driving. Also you look adorable when you look at me like that.”

“Come on Moms let’s go!” Madi and Aden call out.

A few hours later we are loaded down with different colored paint cans, linens, dishes, glasses a receipts for new beds and dressers for the kids. Clarke has her hand on my thigh, singing along with the kids to the radio and rests her head on my shoulder while I drive to the twins place so I can finally pick up my Jeep. The kids doze off when we are almost to the twins house. M dropping Aden off with Roan and taking Madi to Her sleepover with Monty and Harper. Clarke doesn’t know it yet but she and I are going on our first actual date this evening. We really did this all backwards.

“Baby, since our kids are passed out why don’t you drive my Jeep home and I’ll take the sleeping beauties. When I get back to Mama’s you and I are going out on a date.”

“What do you have up your sleeve Woods?” She eyes me with a smirk.

“Don’t worry about it.” I wink at her.

We pull up their apartment and I pull Clarke in for a kiss. “The keys should be on the floor of the drivers side.”

“I am a bit surprised you’re letting my drive your baby.”

“I love you Clarke. Everything I have is yours. No one else has ever driven it, not even the twins.”

“Keep it up and you’re definitely getting lucky tonight.” She smiles at me, planting one last kiss on the corner of my mouth before she hops out.

When she drives off I shut off the engine and wake up the kids. “Rise and shine Kids!! Nomon is gone.”

Bell comes out of the house with a smile on his face to help get his niece and nephew out of the car. He hands me the box with the soul binding bracelets and throws Madi up on his shoulders and scoops Aden up in his arms.

“Alright goufas… lets go help Heda surprise her hodnes.” He winks at me before putting the kids in his Jeep and leaving. O comes out to usher me inside.

“Is this crazy you guys? We’ve done this all completely backwards.” I chuckle.

“If it were anyone else, then yes most definitely it would be crazy…” O begins.

Bell continues, “but with you two it’s been 8 long years in the making. It’s not crazy at all. It’s just the way it absolutely should be. Right kids?”

“Sha Onka Bell!! We love Mommy and Nomon. It’s so cool having two moms.” Madi exclaims. Aden just smiles and nods before jumping down to hug me one more time.

“Alright let’s go kids.”

“Thank you Ai Bro. There are bags in the gallery and the living room set should be there in an hour. Monty will meet you there.”

“Sha Heda.” He says with a smile, touching our foreheads together.

“Come on Lex! You have to pick her up in an hour.” O calls out impatiently.

A half hour later I’m freshly showered and dressed.

“Stop fidgeting Sis. You look beautiful.” O smiles at me in the mirror as she finishes up my braids.

“Thanks O. I love you. I hope you know how much you mean to me.”

“Don’t get all sappy on me. But I do know how much. Ai hod yu in sentaim ai Heda.

I take one last look in the mirror. I’m dressed in khakis, a black button up with a green tie that sets off my eyes (according to O). Deciding that no one will be able to notice of of the surprises I have in store for ai hodnes, I hug O and head out to pick up Clarke with a hug smile on my face.

After stopping at the florist I arrive at the farmhouse right on time. It strikes me as ridiculous that I’m actually nervous. I have jitters. She’s already asked me to move in with her, she’s told me and shown me that she’s in love with me, she’s practically adopted my kids and I’m nervous picking her up for a “date”.

She opens the door smiling before I can. She’s wearing a light blue dress that hugs her in all the right ways. Grinning like an idiot I hand her the bouquet of tiger Lillie’s I got for her.

“Clarke, you look amazing.”

She shyly looks down, biting her lip and says “you’re one to talk.” She grabs my tie from the bottom and wraps her hand around it until she has pulled me almost flush against her. “You wearing a tie does things to me Heda.”

I lean forward to brush my lips against hers and ghost over her jaw and her ear to whisper “Wait to find out what else I’m wearing.”

She whimpers and her eyes go wide. Before she can say or do anything else I step back and hold out my hand for her.

“You’re not playing fair Alexandra Rebecca Woods.” She whines.

“You won’t be saying that later I promise.” I walk her around my Jeep and open the door for her.

“So where are we going? You never said.”

“I know I didn’t. It’s a surprise.”

She reaches her hand over to let it rest on my thigh which makes me smirk. I place my hand on hers and slide her hand up a few inches until I hear her gasp.

“Oh my God are you wearing it? So not fair! How am I supposed to function this evening until I get you alone? Not to mention my panties are now probably completely ruined.”

“Do you trust me Clarke?”

“With my life.”

Pulling onto Main Street I pick her hand up to kiss her palm and pull to a stop near the gazebo and pond.

She gasps again putting her hands over her mouth. “You did all this?”

String lights line the gazebo as well as countless arrangements of Lillie’s and roses leading up to the gazebo.

While she is still taking it in I make my way around to her door and help her out. Intertwining our hands I gently pull her along with me toward the gazebo.

Once there and when I have her attention I ask “Do you know why I brought you here? Do you remember what happened here?”

She giggles and nods her head. “This is where I kissed you for the first time and came on to you pretty strong.”

“Indeed, the drinks you were drinking that night were also pretty strong!” We laugh together.

She takes a couple steps and invades my space. “I’m not drunk tonight,” She husks and brushes her lips over mine slowly and with an underlying current of desire. My hands come up to cup her face holding her against my lips as I deepen the kiss, slowly devouring her and letting my tongue move against hers, exploring every inch of her mouth. She moans into the kiss and chases my lips when I pull back enough to rest our foreheads together.

“Hold on now you’re distracting me Clarke, there’s a reason I brought us here.”

“I’m distracting you? You’re wearing a strap on when you know how turned on I would be and you kiss me like that? You’re lucky I haven’t jumped you yet.”

I chuckle and take her hands in mine. “Just let me say this and then we can go somewhere and you can have your way with me.” I take a deep breathe and continue, “Clarke I’ve been hopelessly in love with you since the day I met you. That love for you has only grown exponentially in that time. You’re it for me. You’re my Ruca, my soulmate. I never dreamed you would reciprocate the feelings I have for you. You have though, not just for me but you love my kids, our kids. Things may seem like they have escalated quickly between us in the past week or two but it’s been eight years in the making. I want to spend eternity with you. “ I pause and drop to my knees in front of her, pulling her mom’s bracelet from pocket. “Clarke will you marry me, will you bind our souls together for this life and the ones to come after?”

Her blue eyes shine with tears of joy. She sobs when she realizes i have her parents bracelets. She pulls me to my feet and crashes our lips together holding me fiercely.

“Uh, so is that a yes or should I return this ring I was going to put on your finger?” She lets out a wet chuckle and nods her head repeatedly.

“Yes, yes Lex, it’s always been you. It will always be you. How did you get these? Mom? Wait what ? A ring too?”

“Our bracelets are for Trikru tradition and bind us for eternity, the ring is just added assurance that your stuck with me. Plus it slows you to officially adopt our kids as my wife.”

I slip the steel infinity ring on her finger. It has a sparkling emerald stone in the center. I raise my left hand to show her my matching infinity symbol steel ring with a sapphire in the center. She reaches in my pocket and pulls out her dad’s bracelet and slips it on my left wrist.

“Lex you added our names…”

“I did, which would have been rather awkward had you said no.”

We share a laugh and she kisses me again, backing me into the railing of the gazebo. “I believe you said I could have my way with you…”

Smiling into the kiss I nod my head but pull away and take her hand. “I did say that. Come on beautiful.” I pull her along with me down Main Street until we end up in front of her gallery and our apartment. Opening the door for her gesture for her to go first.

“Aw Lex!” She breathes out as she walks through the door. Rose peddles and Candles are spread out creating a walkway through the space, to he stairs and up to the apartment.

“I had a little help from our brothers and kids. They’re even LED candles so they won’t catch fi….”

My words are cut off as she slams into me , holding me tight. She crashes our lips together fiercely and slips one hand down the front of my shirt and over the bulge in my pants. Her eyes sparkle with desire and she starts backing up through the gallery pulling me by my tie.

“Follow the trail we made. It’ll be worth it I promise. “ I mutter into her ear. “And then we will find out just how wet and ready you are,” I tease, nodding towards the stairs.

She doesn’t let go of the tie. She only smirks and makes her way up the stairs pulling me along behind her.

“I really gotta wear ties more often.” I muse aloud.

“You could wear a paper bag and it would still do things to me Woods. Oh my God Look at this place!” She exclaims clapping her hands over her mouth again.

The couch and loveseat were delivered earlier. There is a pile of plush blankets and pillows on the floor in front of the couch. Monty hooked up the projector so the images pop up on the wall opposite the blankets. More candles and rose peddles cover the floor. There is a bucket of ice chilling a bottle of champagne near the make shift bed.

“Lex, you are amazing. I just love you so much!” She confesses , tears of joy sliding down her cheeks.

Wrapping her hand around my tie once again she yanks me toward her roughly, eyes dark, breathing heavily. I can’t help but moan. His side of her really does things to me as much as my tie does for her. “Let’s see what you can do with this strap on Heda. I’ve been dripping wet since I felt it in the car…”

Chapter Text

Our lips come together in a slow dance, tongues battling for dominance which I quickly relinquish to her. She loosens my tie enough to slip it over my head.

“Maybe we’ll keep this close by, I have a few ideas to use it for.” I raise my eyebrow and smirk when she sighs in response. She hastily untucks my shirt and starts working to unbutton it. Leaning back I gently bite down on her bottom lip then run my tongue along it to sooth it before kissing along her jaw toward her neck. My hands find their way to the zipper on the back of her dress just as she frees me from my shirt. I reluctantly move my hands from the zipper to allow her to pull my shirt off.

She attacks my neck sucking hard on a sensitive spot, surely leaving a mark and then she practically growls “ain!”

“Fuck Clarke”

She fists her left hand tightly in my hair exposing my neck more. “Say it Lex.”

“Fuck, I’m yours Clarke, I’ve always been yours” I struggle with the zipper finally able to slide her dress to the floor, revealing a black lace matching set of bra and panties.

“You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen” I breathe into her ear before licking, kissing and sucking a trail from her neck down her chest while she keeps a firm grip in my hair. When I reach her lace covered breast I all but growl impatiently. She giggles at me and pushes me away playfully, tugging at my belt.

“Off, Lex… please. I need to feel you.”

When she pulls off the offending garment she pushes me down onto the couch behind me, the strap on finally free of its confines. She licks her lips and slowly shimmies out of her soaked panties. I can see how wet she is and can’t resist the urge to pull her forward running fingers through her drenched folds. Lifting my fingers to my mouth I sucked them clean and moan at the taste of her on my tongue.

She drops down straddling my lap, the toy standing at attention against her stomach as she brings our lips together once more. She reaches back to unclasp her bra and lets it fall to the ground, then reaches for the edge of my sports bra to pull it over my head. She fists her hands in my hair again as I take a nipple on my mouth. She arches her back into me, moaning when I graze my teeth over it before turning my attention to the other one. After several minutes she is grinding her hips down into my lap wanting more.

She reaches down and grips the toy at the base and tugs on it causing me to groan at the sensation.

“Please Lex, I need more.”

Lifting her up I line up the toy at her entrance and slowly lower her down until the entire length of it is buried in her. She lets out a raspy cry at the feel of it and nods her head asking me to move.

I fix her with a wicked grin and grip her ass tightly, lifting her up in the same motion, dropping us to the floor with me on top of her. She gasps and moans wrapping her legs around my waist tightly, digging her nails into my lower back as I pull out and thrust back into her finding a rhythm that has her crying out and gripping me as close as she can.

“Oh my God Lexa! Please don’t stop. Feels so good. There’s no way you haven’t done this before!”

“No ai hodnes, this is my first time using one, only for you, always for you. Yu laik ain, ai laik yuin otaim.”

“I’m so close Heda”

“Cum for me ai Kwin.”

She cries out, raking her nails across my back breaking the skin. Her legs quiver as she comes down from her high.

“Turn over.” I pull out while she moves to her hands and knees. I line up the head at her entrance and pull her back down on the toy.

“Ohh, yes Lex. Harder, please.” She begs. I grip her hips and set a brutal pace that has us both moaning. I feel my own orgasm approaching and pull her down in my lap so I can pull her flush to my chest. One hand moves to her breast and the other one wraps around her throat and she starts coming undone.

“Together” is all I manage to say before we collapse together, me draped over her back. I discard the strap on and pull her into my arms.

Still trying to catch her breath she rolls over laying her head on my chest. “That was… fucking incredible. Definitely much better than my dream. I love you so much Lexa.”

“I love you niron” I hum in response. “Roll over on your stomach baby.” She does so without hesitation. I grab the massage oil I had left here earlier and start working it into her shoulders and neck.

“Oh that feels so good. Is there anything you’re not good at?” She turns her head to look at me raising an eyebrow in question.

I just smile and lean down to kiss between her shoulder blades as my hands work the muscles of her lower back. I work my way up Her back and into her arms over the next half hour and she practically melts under my touch. When I finish I slide off of her and she rolls over to pin me beneath her. Her blue eyes are nearly black as she smirks at me leaning down to graze her teeth over my neck before biting down.

When I move my hands she pins them above my head and shakes her head. “It’s my turn now Heda. Don’t move your hands or I’ll stop.” She releases my right hand only to wrap her left hand around my throat and squeeze. I moan and tilt my chin up exposing more of my throat to her, with a challenging smile.

She mirrors the smile on my face and lowers her lips to mine squeezing my throat a bit harder only letting her lips brush against mine. I try to lean up to capture those plump lips but she holds me down by my throat. She brushes her nose across my neck before biting down and sucking harshly to leave a mark. I like that she claims me. In fact I can feel myself getting wetter at the thought of it.

My free hand is itching to touch her but I keep it still because I definitely do NOT want her to stop. She lets go of my other hand, fixing me with stern look in the process so she can roughly palm my breast, her left hand still pinning me down by my throat. She finally kisses me, pressing her tongue into mine to deepen the kiss. She tilts her head for better access and only breaks apart when we are both out of breath. I try to buck my hips up for some kind of friction but she keeps me pinned down.

She finally moves her thigh between my legs when I beg her for more. “Jok, Clarke, please…” I trail off in a moan as she starts kissing and biting her way down my chest.

She stops when she’s hovering over my left breast to breathe out “Please what? Heda”

“Touch me, let me touch you…I want you so bad I’m aching for you to touch me. This side of you definitely does things to me. You have me so wet it’s dripping down my thigh.” I have never, ever been one to beg. For Clarke I’ll happily beg if she wants me to.

She moans at my confession sucking nipple into her mouth. She lets it go with a pop before nipping her teeth over it and moving to the other one.

“Sha, Heda you can move.”

I barely let her get the words out before my hands fly to her hair gripping tightly, holding her in place over the nipple currently in her mouth. My other hand trails down to grip the back of her thigh between my legs pulling her in tighter so she can feel just how wet she has made me.

She falters for a moment before rubbing her thigh against me making my clit ache more than it was before.

“Clarke, if you don’t touch me then I can do it myself” I tell her moving my hand from the back of her leg around to my dripping center. I moan as I drag my fingers through my folds. Her eyes go wide, pupils completely blown and she grabs my wrist pulling my fingers into her mouth, sucking them clean. She moans loudly at the taste before dropping down between my legs and burying her tongue between my folds. Her eyes roll back in her head as she wraps my legs around her shoulders.

“Oh my God Clarke please don’t stop. That feels so good!” I cry out gripping the sheets between white knuckles and bucking my hips up to meet her mouth. I can feel my clit pulsing against her tongue and I know I won’t last long. Then she grazes her teeth over my clit and slips two fingers inside me.

“Jesus, I’m so close.”

“Don’t cum until I say so Lex.”

“Oh my god…what are trying to do to me woman?” I can feel my walls starting to flutter but I manage to hold my impending orgasm at bay long enough to beg yet again. “Please, Clarke. Ai laik yuin.”

She groans in response sending vibrations across my clit, making my thighs clench around her head. She thrusts into me harder curling her fingers to reach that spot on my front wall.

“Let go Lex. Cum for me.”

A gush of wetness floods down her chin as my body convulses. I have never cum so hard in my life. It several minutes for my legs to stop twitching. She licks up every bit of arousal and climbs her way up my body draping herself over me burying her head in my neck, both of us breathing heavily.

“Aye Keryon. That was… wow. Ive never cum that hard before or that much actually.” I say covering my face in my hand.

“Hey,” She says lifting my hand from my face so she can look at me. “That was the hottest thing I have ever seen. And I’ve seen you in nothing but a strap on.” She chuckles. “I’m not really sure what came over me. I’m not normally that dominant.”

“I think we can both agree that I clearly enjoyed it. Feel free to be that way whenever you like.” I reply biting my lip. “Come on, come take a shower with me and let me hold you while we watch a movie.”

“That sounds perfect!” She says as she pulls me to the bathroom, neither one of us hear our phones blowing up with the Group Kru chat.

WonKru

Wonder Twin 1: Well?? What did she say?

EchoEchoEcho: you know she said yes, dork!

LincolnLogs: she cried didn’t she? Did she like the led candles?

BrewMaster: good lord, Lex and her candle obsession!

Wonder Twin 2: they’re probably screwin… Helller! Answer us damnit!

Rolo: Aden won’t go to sleep until we know what she said Heda.

Harpoon: ditto for Madi!

MillerTime: yep definitely screwin…

DoogieHowser: ewh I don’t need that mental image when I’m working.

Rae Rae: if they don’t answer soon we should go crash their sexathon!

ClarkeBar: I did say YES! And we are definitely having a sexathon! Don’t wait up kids.

Heda: Ro and Harper you can leave out that last part for our kids. Don’t want to scar them for life yet.

Murphy’s Law: if We all weren’t already scarred for life we would be now! Thank God chics dig scars!

Heda: true story StrikBro

Clarke snatches my phone and with eyebrows raised says “excuse me I was promised cuddles and a sexathon.”

“Sha ai hodnes”

Chapter Text

I wake feeling something tickling my face and brush it off only to feel something tickling my nose. Reluctantly opening my eyes, I’m met with a mess of blond hair. She is laying on her stomach beside me with an arm draped over my stomach, deep in sleep. The mere sight of her brings a smile to my face. Her bracelet and ring sparkles in the early morning sun.

She pulls me closer when I roll over to kiss along her back, beginning at the base of her spine. Leaving open mouthed kisses along her spine, I slowly work my way upwards until I reach that sensitive spot where her neck meets her shoulder. I lace my fingers with hers pushing her palms down into our makeshift bed, hovering over her and bite down on her shoulder. She moans loudly in reply, gripping my fingers tightly and rolling her hips up into me.

“Ohhh, Lexa. You should wake me up like this more often. You’re going to spoil me.”

“I want nothing more than to spoil you you for the rest of our lives.”

I continue exploring her neck with my tongue as she begins to squirm beneath me, rolling her hips.

I press my thigh between her legs and move my hands to grip her hips, pulling her into me. She reaches back and fists her hand in my hair pulling me into her. I slip my right hand down between her legs to n my fingers through drenched folds pulling her back into my thigh.

“So wet for me baby” I husk into her ear before flicking my tongue over her ear lobe and nipping it between my teeth.

“God that feels amazing. More Lex…” she whines as she writhes beneath me.

“More what Clarke..”

Instead of replying she pushes her right hand down on mine, pushing my fingers deeper into her, laced with her own. My clit is beginning to throb at this point. I growl and bite into her shoulder causing her to cry out.

“Oh my God Lex I’m so close.”

It only takes a few more thrusts and she’s thrashing beneath me. Slowly working her back down from high I slide off of her and pull her into my arms.

“I love you so much Lexa.”

“I love you baby girl.” I feel her starting to doze off. “Sleep beautiful…”

We drift off to sleep wrapped up in each other.

Waking up some time later she’s still curled up into me. Carefully slip out from under her I get dressed and leave her a note letting her know I left to get us coffee and breakfast.

Main Street is coming alive as I step out into the crisp fall day. It’s a short walk to the coffee shop down the street. The crisp autumn air nips at me as I take in Main-street. It’s a beautiful little town. It’ll be a great place to raise the kids. There are so many small businesses on this street. The town thrives from it.

I can’t help but smile realizing that I will have this experience everyday once Clarke and I get moved in. This will be a great place for her gallery. With this family venture we are going to embark on, it’ll be amazing.

I’ve been thinking about taking Wonkru to this place I went to with my parents when I was a kid. It’s a beautiful place. It’s in the outer banks of North Carolina but it’s only accessible with four wheel drive. It would be a great place to get married and to spend Christmas with my family.

When I arrive at the coffee shop, I get us each a cup of coffee, bagels and couple bananas and head back to the apartment.

Walking upstairs I hear Clarke in the shower so I flop down on our makeshift bed. I shoot Roan and Monty a text asking when I can pick up the kids so they can “help” paint their rooms. Clarke and I want to get moved in so she can focus on her gallery.

I hear the shower cut off and my phone chimes with responses from Ro and Monty. Both kids are excited to paint so we can them up anytime.

I look up to see Clarke dressed in jeans and my T-shirt, bringing a smile to my face.

“Hi, I brought us breakfast and coffee. You look beautiful Hodnes. “

She just smiles shyly and joins me on the bed of blankets.

“Mochof Heda”

“Pro. So the kids are excited about painting their rooms today. How about we go pick them up here shortly so we can get started. The paint and stuff is in our room.”

“Sounds great. ‘Our room’ really has a nice ring to it,” She says, leaning in to give me a chaste kiss.

“It really does doesn’t it? It’s almost creepy how well Mama thought all of this out. It’s like the dominoes all fell into place! There was a letter she gave to Bell along with the soul binding cuffs. I had nearly forgotten about it.”

“Maybe Bell can bring it over this afternoon when everyone comes over to helps with the bulk of the furniture and such. I’ve got quite a few paintings to bring over as well for downstairs. I need to paint down there too. Whew we have a lot to do!”

I just smile and kiss her temple, pulling her into a side arm hug. “We do have a lot to do, between here and Griffin house but we will get it done together. Omon gon oson remember.”

“Sha, Lex. Come on let’s go get our kids and get this painting fiasco started.” She throws her head back giggling. I’ll never tire of hearing her laugh or seeing her smile. I plan to make her laugh and smile for as long as she’ll let me.

When we get in my Jeep I can feel her eyes on. “What Baby” she asks.

“I was just thinking about our wedding. I had an idea this morning. If you don’t like the idea it’s no big deal.”

She laces our fingers together holding my hand and nods for me to go on.

I pull out into traffic and take a deep breath before I go on.

“Do you remember me telling you about this place my parents and went to every summer, thanksgiving and Easter?”

Her face splits into a huge grin and she nods saying, “of course I do. That beach was your first love.”

Chuckling I continue “You’re not wrong! Anyway I just thought maybe we could get all of our Wonkru together and spend Christmas there. We can get married there. Hell if we wanted to be ‘extra’ maybe Bell and Echo, Lincoln and O could get married their with us. I don’t know where that last part came from . Anyway what do you think? It’s a bit different being at the beach in the winter months but it could a lot of fun.”

She studies me for a minute trying not to smile. “Lex, this is an amazing idea. I think we should definitely talk to Wonkru and make it happen.”

I cut the Jeep off as I’m pulling up to Roan’s place and leans in to kiss my cheek and hug me.

“Really Moms! Get a room” Aden calls out with mock disgust and breaks in a fit of laughter.

Roan just shakes his head and helps Aden into the back seat. “Morning Lex, Clarke. Aden had breakfast and I packed a few different outfits in this bag and just the essentials for now. I’ll call you later about it he’s with a kind smile and winks at us. Ah, he probably didn’t have much when he was at Costia’s. Clarke’s hand on my thigh calms me immediately from the rage that was building inside at Aden’s former living conditions.

“That just means we get to go shopping, right Aden.” Clarke looks between Aden and I. He and share a look and both say “aw man! Do we have to.”

Roan chuckles seeing Clarke’s facial expression. Her mouth is is hanging open looking between me and Aden. He and I wink at each other at the same time and it snaps Clarke out of her stopper, Roan just laughs louder!

“It’s ok Clarke. You get used it eventually. He has always been just like Lexa, right down to the green eyes and hair. They have the same facial expressions. Most people assume he’s her biological son.

“I am Her son Onka RoRo!”

“Of course you are Lil man. Let’s go pick up your sister. Ro there’s something want to ask you about but we will send it through the Wonkru group text. It’s about the holiday schedule, nothing bad I promise.”

“Well now I’m intrigued. We can talk soon.” With that we say goodbye and we pick up Madi at Monty and Harper’s and take the two excited children back to the apartment to get started on painting.

Several hours later and both kids rooms are painted the way they want them. There floors were saved because of drop clothes. Thank God it’s water soluble paint or the kids and I would be covered in paint for days. We let the kids have a say in how they wanted “their bathroom” decorated and to my delight they wanted “beach” theme.

I didn’t bring a lot with me when I came back home for good. Before Madi and came here I was managing a restaurant in Polis. One of my servers was a single mom having a hard time financially. She had a heart of gold and I think I saw myself in her. So I paid my rent up for a couple months ahead and left practically all be furniture, beds, kitchen stuff…. I just have her the keys and we put her name on the lease instead of mine. She texts me almost everyday to let Madi and I know how it’s going. She’s being prepped and groomed to take my place as manager, which will mean a salary and health insurance for her and her daughter. I had a lot in savings because my parents left me a good bit of money they died but I barely used it over the years.

Now seemed like a good time to start using that money for my family. All the furniture we picked out yesterday in the store would be delivered today.

When we had cleaned up our mess I heard the doorbell and pulled out my phone to see who was outside. I was met with a smiling and waving Bell, Echo, Monty, Harper , Octavia and Lincoln. Buzzing them in I unlocked the apartment door. I love the video doorbell I talked Clarke into getting. I want to know they are safe if I’m not home.

Our family comes barreling in with takeout and drinks for all of us. The kids go hug their aunts and uncles and we all settle in in the living room.

“This place looks amazing guys!” O mumbles looking around with a piece of pizza hanging out of her mouth. Lincoln just shakes his head smiling at her affectionately. “Wuuut? Is there something on my face?” O mumbles, pizza falling out of her mouth. We all just laugh.

The doorbell rings again and this time it’s Clarke who pulls out her phone. She smiles buzzing in our guest. “It’s Raven guys. Oh and it looks like the delivery guys are here.”

“I’m glad you chose for them to bring all that stuff up here. It’ll be much easier putting beds and stuff together” Bell says. Everyone nods in agreement.

“Alrighty let’s get this show on the road people! “ Raven commands. We fall in line and only two hours things are pretty well set up. Bell and Linc were finishing setting up our bed. We had decided to leave Clarke’s at the farm house. Everyone trickled when Bell and Linc were finished. We were all exhausted.

After locking up I looked around for the kids. Clarke saw my confusion and she looked in our room, no kids, Aden’s room, no kids. When she stuck her head in Madi’s room her hands shot up to cover her mouth. Tears brimming in her eyes. I walked up behind her walking my hands around her waist and couldn’t but gasp at the sight before me!

Aden and Madi were laying in her bed. Aden has his arm around Madi and he’s got an open story book in his lap. Both he and Madi Were fast asleep. We cut off most of the lights and left a couple nightlights on for the kids.

Clarke pulls me toward our room. “Come on Heda take me to bed.” She smirks at me disappears into our room.

“Sha ai hodnes”

Chapter Text

Sleep does not come easy for me this night. I have been overdoing it physically these past few days and now my body is so angry. My knees and back are throbbing and my left wrist feels slightly out of place. My brain won’t turn off either so I’m lost in thought. Clarke is sleeping soundly with her head tucked into the crook of my neck. I don’t want to wake her but I need to get some ice on my knees and get my heating pad for back.

I silently manage to extricate myself from Clarke’s hold on me and slip out of bed. She grumbles in her sleep, clearly unhappy that I moved. I quickly slide my pillow under her arms and she snuggles into it. How did I get so lucky. Never in a million years did I think this would be my life. I watch her sleep for a few minutes and shut our door, silently padding to Madi’s room to check on the kids. They are both sound asleep. It warms my heart to see them together. I feel like I won the lottery.

My knee gives out when I am almost to the kitchen. I muffle the cry of pain by growling into my hoodie…. Well my hoodie that Clarke is letting me wear. I grab two cold packs from the freezer and get my hearing pad from my “medical box.” My medical stuff looks like the first aid aisle in Walmart. Octavia likes to make the joke “Lexa’s got a brace for that!” I limp over to the couch and put both knee braces Rae has made me. She truly is a genius. She has helped me so many times with these braces and she never even knew it was for me.

I prop up my aching knees and put the cold packs on them while the heating pad starts to loosen my stiff lower back. You normally don’t see people in their 20s like this. For me though it’s been the only life I know. I have no clue what it even feels like to not be in pain. I take my anti inflammation meds and lean back, trying to breathe through the worst of it.

I must have dozed off because the next thing I recall is Clarke calling my name softly, cupping my face in her hands.

“Hey baby did I wake you up?” I ask, sitting up.

“Not at all I just woke up and your side of the bed was cold. Are you okay Lex?”

“Yeah I was just hurting some and couldn’t sleep. I didn’t want to wake you up, so I came out here.”

She furrows her brow and says “Lex, baby, you don’t have to come out here if you’re hurting. You never have to deal with the nightblood on your own. I love you, please down hide behind the mask with me. You fool most people but a few of us can see the pain hidden in your eyes.”

My eyes are brimming with unshed tears. “I didn’t mean to hide from you Clarke. Im just so used to putting on a smile for everyone and trying not to show I’m in pain or cry out when something slips out of place. Mom and the twins were the only people who knew, well except for …” I trail off with a shiver and swallow thickly trying to look away.

“Hey. Baby, look at me.” She gently pulls me back to look at her. “Lexa, I’m not ‘She who must not be named’ “She says using air quotes. I chuckle and let the few tears run down my face. She wipes them away and goes on to say “you’ve always reminded me of a warrior who has to put on war paint everyday to create a mask for the world to see. Your braces are like you suiting up for battle. You fight a war against your joints and against pain that most people couldn’t imagine.”

She gives me a chaste kiss and says “you know what, let me show you something but first let’s get you back to bed.” She puts out a hand for me to take and smiles sweetly. “Unless it helps to be on the couch?”

I shake my head getting up with a wince. “Being beside you makes everything bearable” She helps me to bed and goes back out to get fresh ice and the heating pad. She grabs two extra pillows and helps me prop my knees up.

“You seem pretty good at that Clarke. Thank you for… being you.”

She kisses me again, the confiscates “my hoodie” and puts it on. She says she’ll be right back. I try to get my emotions in check.

She returns with a wrapped smaller canvass. “I can’t believe I’m going to show this to you. I mean I didn’t think you would ever come back …. I mean…” she rambles on nervously and take her hand to get her attention.

“Clarke come get in bed with me and I would love so see whatever has you rambling and blushing.” I can’t help but smile.

She seems to have an internal debate but then she nods her head and comes over to curl up in bed next to me.

“Okay, i made this such a long time ago, like before the doctors realized how progressively debilitating your genetic disorder was, but I’ve always seen you as a warrior. You were the most loyal and fierce person I had ever met. Okay here! Look at it and put me out of my misery!!” She slides it over to me and covers her face with her hands. As I carefully remove the paper around the painting she peeks through her fingers to look at me nervously.

“Oh God Clarke this is…. It’s “ I can’t find the words and then tears streak down my face.”

“Are those happy tears or you’re a horrible artist tears?” She asks biting her lip.

I finally find my voice and slowly lay it down in my lap and pull her into a tight embrace kissing her neck. “This the most beautiful painting I’ve ever seen. It so realistic. Actually I think it looks far better than a picture. I don’t look that good for sure. The eyes though you really do see behind my mask.”

She’s done a painting of my eyes up close and black war paint across my face and eyes from hairline to hairline. There are what looks like three tear streaks of black paint running down my face on either side of my nose. The detail is incredible. She captured the pain in my eyes perfectly.

“Clarke, I, I love you so much. I don’t ever want the scars of my past to carry over to my relationship with you.” Now it’s my turn to worry at my lip nervously before I go on. “I think I need to go visit Costia . I need… “

“You need and deserve closure Lex.”

“Yes exactly I need to close that book for good. She messed me up pretty badly. I’ve been seeing a therapist since I found out I was pregnant. It’s helped a lot. She used my night mood like a weapon to hurt me. I never realized just how toxic and abusive she was until my therapist.

“Come here Lex. First these ice packs need to come off and the heating pad, it’s been over 20 minutes” she states, grabbing them and tossing them beside the door. “Second, come here and let me hold you and be the big spoon for a change.” She pulls me to her and wraps her arms and laces kisses all along my neck.

“Yes ma’am Dr Griffin, you sounding all medically professional. Second, don’t remember the last time someone held me before I came home to you… well other than Bell and O.”

“Hello, I’m still a paramedic. I have just been on a sabbatical for a few weeks. We had a really hard call and I needed a break to heal from it mentally. I’ll tel you about it later. I’m still processing and working through it. “

I Turn in her arms and kiss her, saying the things that words never could. I lean my forehead against hers and tell her, “I’m here and I’m never going anywhere, so if and when you want or need to talk about I’ll be here to listen. Rolling back over in front of her she holds me tightly, her face buried in my neck. For the first time in a long time I never moved once more than night. We woke in the same positions we fell asleep in.

She stirs behind me pulling tighter and peppering my neck and shoulders in kisses. I can feel her smiling against me. I reach back to scratch at the back of her head and turn my head enough to kiss her.

“Good morning beautiful. I slept so good last night with you holding me. I didn’t move at all!”

“Yeah? I’m so glad. Yeah you move around a lot in your sleep because of how lax your joints are and they become more painful if you “lay on them wrong” do any of your joints sublux in your sleep? What?”

All I can do is stare at her with my mouth hanging open. So, she tries again. “Is that wrong?”

I shake my head telling myself to get it together. “Clarke, how you know that? I still have to spell out my disorder to most doctors or I have to google nighblood /natblida and show it to them.”

“Oh. Well… I just thought it’d be a good idea for me to learn about it and how it affects you so I can better understand what you’re going through. I’ve found some groups on line that have been teaching me. Plus Bell and O have been helping just as much. They know you so well it’s a bit intimidating.” She laughs.

I roll my eyes and shove her playfully and crawling on top of her. “I would have to disagree with you on that. You know me far more Intimately than than my twins do Clarke.” As I’m running for my nose up the side of her neck the breath from my words causes her to break out in cold chills. She shudders slightly and grips my hair tightly at the back of my head tilts her head exposing her neck. I lean down kissing her deeply but before it can get too heated I hear the “pitter patter” of the kids feet running to our room. I slide off of her with a wink and a smirk.

“Who wants to help Mommy with breakfast?” Both kids jump up and down excitedly.

“Alright ai yongons what’s the first thing we do?”

Aden chimes in first “you and Madi have to tie your hair back!”

“Very good son. Madi would like to tell us what we do next? “

“We wash our hands!”

“Very good! Let’s go!”

Before I can follow them Clarke snakes her arms around me and moves her hands up to palm my shoulders. “Is it bad that seeing be so amazing with our kids, and watching you in the kitchen turns me on?” She kisses me through my shirt between my shoulder blades.

“Good to know. I’ll make more meals for you.” I smirk thinking I have the upper hand until she replies with “I’d be happy with either one of us being the meal. This makes me trip over my slides on the way to the kitchen, which the kids find hysterical.

“Nomon can you put on music? Mommy and I like to play music when we are cooking. Right Mommy?”

“Sha Madi. We do. Aiden do you remember us listening to music?”

“Yeah, I ‘member I liked that Bob guy. What was his name Mommy?”

“That would be Bob Marley son,” I chuckle.

“Yeah him. Wait and that other guy, jack?” Aiden asks.

Madi chimes in smiling wide and says, “I got this one Mommy. That’s Jack Johnson! He sings our banana pancakes song!”

“Yum! Yes banana pancakes!” Aiden exclaims with a toothy grin. “Can we make some?”

Then Clarke joins in with the two kids giving me the most adorable puppy dog faces I have ever seen. Who could say no to these three?

“Of course! Madi see if we have bananas on he counter. And I’m cheating this morning and using the pancake mix.”

Madi turns around and glares at me, hands on her little hips, shaking her head. “What would Grammy say?”

“Well…. I was…. Um. You’re right she would not approve. Do you remember everything we need? I’ll pull out Betty and you and Aiden can put the ingredients in the bowl.”

I catch Clarke looking at the three of us while she’s sitting across from us at the breakfast bar. She has her elbows on the counter with her head in her hands smiling at the three of us with nothing but love and devotion in her eyes. She catches my gaze and her expression changes in and instant. She unabashedly rakes her eyes up from my sweats to the “wife beater” tank top I’m wearing up my arms and finally meets my eyes again. Only now she’s looking at with sheer desire. I’ll be forever grateful that I’m the only she looks at like that.

She smirks and mouths “Ain” to me making me forget what I was doing for a second. I pull out some orange juice and start smirking back to her with an eyebrow raised “Thirsty Clarke?”

She blushes and looks down. Before she can say anything in reply a Bob Marley song comes on the speaker. Aiden easily recognizes it because it’s one of his favorites.

He smiles and starts Singing along to “Could you be loved” He closes his eyes and starts bobbing his head along with the beat.

I come around to Clarke putting my arm around her. I pick up my phone to record him and whisper in her ear, “He used to bounce around just like that when he was a toddler and I started playing this for him.”

He starts singing “Could you be loved… and be loved….” He continues dancing around and does pretty well with the lyrics which surprises me. “Don’t let them change ya or even rearrange ya..” he stops, saying he can’t remember the rest.

“You did great Buddy!”

I supervise while they mix all the ingredients. Madi cuts up a couple bananas as they’re bouncing around the kitchen. I hear acamera click and look up to see Clarke has taken a picture of the kids and I. She gets up and walks to the cupboard to pull out some plates to set to the table. Aden finishes mixing the pancake batter as I plug in the griddle.

“Kids, griddle is hot, no touching. The kids and I wash up the dishes we have dirtied they run into the living room while waiting for their pancakes.

“Coffee?” Clarke asks, filling a cup for me. Reaching for it I suck in a breathe hissing . One of the bones in my wrist slipped out of place.

She looks at with concern and support. Sitting my cup down sage asks “what’s wrong Lex?”

Madi saw it all and came over and held out her hands, palms up and simply said, “show me where Mommy? We should teach Clarke how to pop it back in.” She looks from me to Clarke and reaches out for Clarke too, smiling. I can’t stop smiling, nodding along.

“Are you sure I won’t hurt you Lex?” Clarke asks, looking rather worried.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

“No , no I do! Show me what to do.” She takes my hand positioning my hand palm down like Madi did.

“Put your thumb here.” I instruct, showing her where to place her thumb on the back of my wrist. “Now, all you have to do is wait until I relax my hand/wrist and pull my hand toward you, pushing down with your thumb, pulling my hand down. You’re not going to hurt me. It’s not always the bone that your thumb on. I can feel it when it partially dislocates.

She follows my instructions and when the bone slips back in place it makes an audible “clunk” sound. Her eyebrows shoot up “ oh my God! Was that a good clunk or a bad clunk?”

Madi laughs and says, “that’s a good pop! It means it’s back in place. Good job Nomon!” Madi pats her back and goes to the medical box, rummaging around before she finds the right wrist m/thumb brace and tosses it to me. Clarke just stands there.

“It’s okay love. I’m used to it.”

“That has to hurt! Does Madi really know to pop it back in?

“It does Clarke, but you would be surprised at what this disorder has made “normal” for me. She does, she’s put it back in place quite a few times. I taught Bell and he taught her. I think he worried because he couldn’t always be there and wanted to know I would have a little help. I shrug and kiss her forehead and turning my attention back to finishing the pancakes.

The four of us gather around the table and have the first of many breakfasts together.

“Ok kids, it’s Sunday, so tomorrow it’s back to school!”

“Are you going to take us?” Madi mumbles around a mouthful of pancakes.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full sweetie. And yes I’m going to take you.” I tell her.

“I was talking to Nomon, Mommy.”

Clarke starts coughing having choked on her orange juice laughing at the look on my face.

“We will both take you Monkey. You too Aden. Do we have everything Madi will need? And Aden?” She asks, turning toward me. She reads my expression and turns to Aden.

Aden hangs his head and moves the rest of his pancakes around the plate with his fork. Clarke looks at me, then to the kids and says “I think we should go school shopping today. Get you both new backpacks, lunch boxes, everything you’ll need. I know you have been back to school for a month or so Aden but does that sound fun?”

An exquisitely beautiful smile grows on his face and he nods frantically. It runs around the table hugging Clarke. “Mochof Nomon, Mochof”

Then he throws his arms around my neck and says “I’m so glad you’re home Mommy. Ai hod yu in!” He pulls away, a tear running down his cheek. Costia hasn’t really bought him anything new for a long time. Clarke and I have already bought him all new clothes and a few pairs of shoes. He’s afraid to ask for anything because of how Costia would react to it.

I slide out of my chair onto my knees in front of him. I cup his face with my hands and pull his head up to look at me. “Aden, you never have to be afraid to ask us for anything. I can’t promise you that we will always say yes but I promise you there will never be any yelling or slammed doors. We will never yell at you either. You are safe. You are our son and Madi’s brother. No one is ever going to take you away from us.

He nods, silently crying, and wrap him in my arms. I look to Clarke and she slides down to join us and wraps him in her arms too. We share a look of contempt for Costia and then school our faces for him.

“Ok! Madi, Aden lets get those teeth brushed and hands washed. Pick out some clothes for the day and go get ready.”

They scamper off while I load the dishes. Clarke helps me clean up and she goes to our room to shower. Before I join her, I tell the kids we are getting ready too and they can watch tv if they are ready before us. Walking to our room I call Roan.

Ro: Hey Lex how is our strik Gona?

Heda: Mornin. I’m a concerned actually.

Ro: Costia? I didn’t know for sure. I should have seen it. Damnit I should have done something sooner. I’m so sorry.

Heda: it’s not your fault! It’s hers. She is good at creating a façade of the happy mother. She’s manipulative. I was calling to see what your thoughts are on taking him to a psychologist or child therapist? It helped me quite a bit when I got away from her.

Ro: absolutely, actually, there’s this guy Marcus Kane who is highly reputable. I can call him tomorrow and get an appointment if you want. Obviously you, Clarke and I will do this together. Omon gon oson.

Heda: yes please. I’ll fill Clarke in too. Later Ro

Ro: have a good one.

I lay my phone on the counter walk to our room and the ensuite master bathroom, locking the bathroom door. I strip out of my sweats and tank top and join Clarke in the shower.

Chapter Text

A couple of hours later the Jeep is laden down with numerous bags from different stores, a fair amount of grocery bags and two hyped up children.

“Why did we let them pick their own toppings for their cups of frozen yogurt? Did they just put straight up sugar on them?” Clarke asks.

“Essentially yes. Ok, next time they may pick only 2-3 toppings under careful supervision. Hey, at least they will have energy to help us with all of this stuff.”

“Ok, perhaps I did go a bit overboard but it’s nice to spoil them a little.” She bats her eye lashes at me.

“Oh my God that is just not fair at all. That’s worse then their puppy dog faces.”
We chuckle and park behind our building. After several trips we get everything inside to some type of organized chaos. My knees are hating these stairs. I didn’t even think about it when we decided to move in.

Clarke helped the kids get their new clothes put away while I tackled the groceries. It’s all quite domestic and I find myself chuckling at how everything has changed so quickly.

Clarke emerges from Madi’s room with a smile, laughing at something Madi must have said. She doesn’t see me yet as she sticks her head in Aden’s room. There’s more laughter and she turns to walk toward kitchen and her eyes lock with mine.

“They’re such a mess. I helped Madi get her backpack and school supplies together for tomorrow and Aden as well. I hope that’s okay?” She asks cautiously walking into the kitchen circling her arms around my waist.

Cupping her jaw with my left hand I pull her in to place a soft kiss on her lips, followed by another one. I wrap my arms around her neck and pull her in tight.

“It’s more than okay. You don’t have to ask. They’re your kids too now. I love you and I love how you make them laugh. I’m gonna start dinner, any requests?”

“Yes but that’s going to have to wait until a little later.” She whispers before kissing me, only to pull away biting my bottom lip. She backs up to the fridge and pulls out two beers. She hands one to me and sits at the breakfast bar like she did earlier. “What? I love watching you in the kitchen. It does things to me.” She blushes and looks away.

“While the kids are distracted I want to tell you about phone call with Roan.”

“About a therapist for Aden? What did he say?”

“He knows a great children’s therapist. He’s calling them tomorrow to make an appointment. They’ll probably have Roan, you and I meet with him first to get a handle on the situation. It may be weird to some people but Roan, you and I, we are all three raising him together from now on. Oh and he’s going to let me know when I can go see’ she who must not be named’.”

She nods taking a drink of her beer. “I’m in this with you, I’m all in Lex. I love you so much.”

Before I can reply her stomach starts growling loudly.

“Oh my, we need to feed the beast!” I laugh out and she throws her battle cap at me with surprising accuracy.

“What I grew up with four brothers and an Octavia.” She shrugs her shoulders playfully.

“This is true, hey speaking of family, why don’t you send out a text to the group to see about Christmas. We would all have time to plan it, as it’s still a little over two months away.”

She hops up to fetch her phone and pecks my cheek on her way back to her seat. While she does that, I take two chicken breast and cut them into strips and combine them the quick marinade I stirred up. They will go with the broccoli I have steaming and the rice on the stove. I put them on the flat top griddle part of the stove and join Clarke. Lien on the bar behind her with my left arm around her shoulder.

“You are freakishly efficient in the kitchen, I haven’t even finished texting them.”

“I learned from the best.”

*Wonkru*

Griff Dog: hey guys two things. Who keeps changing my name!?!

Ray of Sunshine: I’m sure I have no idea what you are talking about. What was the second thing?

Griff Dog: well Lex and I were going to invite you all to go away with us over Christmas when the kids are out of school, but I don’t know if I want you to come Little Bird. I’m sure we can find someone else…

Ray of Sunshine: …

Best Sister in the World: That’s much better Rae! In all seriousness though guys focus! The kids Will be out of school from Dec 20th – Jan 3rd. We can celebrate Christmas and New Years all together. We are going to a beach in North Carolina that Lex grew up going to. It’ll be chilly but fun.

Wonder Twin 1: you had me at all together. Echo and I are in.

Lincoln Logs: O and I would love to go. Count us in.

Harpoon: I’m with the Boys. Monty, Miller and Murph . We are all in too. Miller will ask Jackson.

Ray of Sunshine: all of us together…. I’m not crying Murphy’s crying. Hell yes I’m in.

Rolo: I’m beyond grateful to be included as well. I would love to come. Thank you.

Best Sister in the World: Lets not tell the kids yet because they will want to leave tomorrow.

Grinning from ear to ear she returns her phone to the counter and turns her attention to me once again. She just cocks her head to the side and sighs.

“Everyone is in. Miller is checking with Jackson, but otherwise all of Wonkru is going. I didn’t mention us getting married down there yet though.”

“Second thoughts?” I say turning to look at her.

“Not in a million years. We’re not telling the kids yet because they will be bouncing off the walls with excitement and lack of patience, right? Okay, Rae, Monty …”

“Touché!” I say interrupting her. “You make a valid point. We could just surprise them all... the soul binding ceremony can be performed by someone significant in our tribe. That’s all the “wedding” I need. I’m already yours, a legal document means nothing in that regard.”

“I’m so glad you said that! I’m not one of those princess girls who wants all the pomp and circumstance! Baby we can go to the Justice of the peace for all I care. I’m already yours. These cuffs are for life. There is no “divorce” in our culture. “

I drift over and pull her into my arms hugging her tightly. She hums into the side of my neck. “My God I love you Lex. I’ve never felt more secure and comfortable in anyone else’s arms.”

“Agreed. As soon as your arms wrap around me, everything else melts away and I feel so happy. But I have to pull away because dinner is ready.”

She grumbles but sniffs the air and she quickly changes her tune “mmmmm, dinner.”

“Come on kids lets eat!”

Dinner is followed by baths and brushing their teeth. Madi only needs help with shampooing her hair and I still double check to make sure she brushed her teeth well. She’s become so independent. They picked out their outfits for tomorrow and we settle in on the couch together to watch a movie. Madi won the coin toss so she gets to pick the movie. I already know what it’s going to be so I start scrolling.

“Let’s watch the Never Story! Mommy cries when Artax dies.”

Shaking my head I click play. “Its Neverending Story Monkey and It’s sad. The swamp of sadness… how can you laugh at that scene!”

Clarke trying and failing not to laugh.

“You too Clarke!”

Now Aden has his head thrown back laughing at me….

“You’re all monsters….”

Madi is asleep in Clarke’s lap long before the swamp of sadness. Aden slumps down in my lap getting sleepy. “I’m tired Mommy. Can we watch the rest tomorrow? Will you tuck me in and tickle my face like you used to?

I swallow the lump of emotion in my throat and gently pick him up in my arms. Clarke motions for me to go with him and she picks up Madi, shutting off the tv. I sit Aden down on his bed and shift him under the covers. He rolls onto his back pulling my hand to his face.

Spreading out my hand in a “high five” way and barely touch my finger tips to his face tracing a random path down his face, over his closed eyes and then over his lips to his chin. The featherlight touch is repeated in different random patterns for several minutes until he’s in a deep sleep. I continue tracing his face for a few more minutes, content to just watch him sleep. Clarke slips into the room and pads over and kisses the top of my head and rests her hand on shoulder. Leaning down I kiss his forehead and tuck his blanket up around his chin. She takes my hand and we silently enter our own room. Clarke smiles and pulls me to her placing a sweet kiss on the corner of my mouth and says she’ll be right back. She disappears into the bathroom while I trade in my jeans for a pair of well worn basketball shorts, strip down to a tank top before joining Clarke in the bathroom.

With the nighttime routine finished I cut off the light in the bathroom and step back into our room and come to a stop seeing Clarke lying in bed. She has an adorable pair of glasses on and is scrolling on her phone. She had an oversized T-shirt on and her hair was in a messy bun.

She must have felt me watching her because she looks up with a shy smile, “what? I know, I look a mess!” She looks down covers her face.

I cross the room in a few quick strides and crawl up the bed pulling her hands away from her face. “Nonsense Clarke! I have never seen you look more beautiful. I love you, and I love that I’m the lucky one who gets to crawl in bed with you every night.”

Her eyes light up when she smiles shyly and blushes. She giggles and surprises me when she pulls me into her lap peppering my face with kisses. I giggle along with her and pulls me into a warm hug, rubbing my back.

“How are you feeling Lex?”

“I’m ok. Not too bad.”

“I love you”

“And I love you. I want to talk to you about life with Costia. You need to know so you can understand what Aden is going through and what I went through.”

She placed her hand under my chin and tilting my head up. She looked at me lovingly and said, “you don’t have to tell me anything, but if you want to open up about it, then I’m all ears. You can tell me anything love.”

Nodding, I’m silent for s few minutes and she says nothing. She just reaches out and takes my hand interlocking our fingers and waits for me to be ready. Talking about Costia and what I endured while with her is not easy. Looking back it’s clear to me how mentally abusive and toxic she was… is.

“You know those lifetime movies we secretly love? The ones with the abusive spouse?”

She nods and settles in beside me lifting her arm so I can curl into her side. Kissing my temple and saying, “our secret guilty pleasure.”

Releasing a sigh I nod and continue. “It’s always so blaringly obvious in those movies. It doesn’t happen like that in real life though. It happens slowly. She started chipping away all the things that made who I was. By the time I realized how toxic and abusive she was I was a shell of my former self. I couldn’t just leave Aden. So I stayed. The longer I stayed the worse it became. She used him to hold over my head. She would say things like ‘well if I’m so horrible, I’ll just leave. I’ll take Aden and we will just disappear! Is that what you want?!’ and then all I could do as beg her not to take him and leave me.”

I have to stop for a moment as I get too choked up. She just waits patiently rubbing my back.

“It just gave her free reign to treat me worse and worse. The craziest thing is I actually believed I was as worthless as she said I was. Nothing I did was enough. She would stay out all night and get mad if I asked her where she was. She bled through my money and complained I didn’t give her enough. She didn’t want me around my delinquents or Ma. Costia hated you with a passion. She knew you and Aden were the ones who had my heart. She resented it. She would laugh at me when she would bring me to tears and tell me how pathetic I was. Then eventually she found someone with more money and literally dumped me out with a trash bag of my clothes and never even let me say goodbye to Aden

She holds me tightly as I’m racked with sobs. After some time my breathing has returned to normal and I pull back to look up into her tear stained face. She had been silently crying along with me the whole time. Her lip quivers and she has to take a few minutes before she can speak.

“You are the strongest, most empathetic, loyal, resilient person I have ever met. You have had so many horrible experiences with some truly evil people yet you still manage to see the good in people. You care so much about those around you. Costia is a monster. You’re a survivor and Aden is a survivor. I love you Lexa Woods. I love you so much. You’ll never be treated that way again, nor will Aden. You, Madi and Aden are everything I didn’t know that I needed.”

She takes my face in her hands and rests our foreheads together for a minutes and places a lingering kiss on my forehead. Getting out of bed she goes into the bathroom returning with a cool towel and grabbing an extra pillow, crawls back in bed on my left side. She opens her arms for me and gestures for me to lay on her. She lays back and moves my head to the crook of her neck and pulls me farther into her wrapping her right arm around me tightly. She pulls my right knee up to rest on her right thigh. The cool towel feels refreshing against the brutal headache I’m getting from crying so hard. She flips the tv to Bobs Burgers running her up and down my spine soothingly.

I finally find my voice which sounds much shakier than I anticipate. “I love you so much. I’m sorry for breaking down like that…..”

“Don’t apologize. You have nothing to be sorry for…”

“I haven’t really told anyone what she was like, except my therapist. The twins have an idea but I was afraid O would try to kill Costia and that’s not even considering Rae. Ma would have found a farmer and fed her to the pigs…”

“I never thought I’d hear myself say this but, I wish Rae could make her go boom.”

We both laugh weakly. I’m exhausted and start to drift off to sleep. “Sleep Lex. I’ll be right here when you wake up. I love you.”

“Ai hod yu in.”

The irritating chime of my alarm going off slowly pulls me from the fog of sleep. The sun streams into the room and the offending noise from the alarm causes Clarke to grumble in her sleep. She buries her head further into her pillow and let’s out a contented sigh when I finally get it shut off. She’s an adorable mess. Kissing her temple I slip out of bed, head to the bathroom to shower and start the day, letting her sleep a few more minutes.

Freshly showered and dressed, I make my way to the kitchen, because, coffee. While it’s brewing I pull out a bowl and crack some eggs and mix them up. I add a little butter, milk and grated cheese. Waiting for the skillet to heat up I cut up a few strawberries and bananas. Pouring the eggs into the skillet I add a little salt and pepper and stir them around as they scramble up. The smell of fresh coffee and eggs cooking brings Clarke to life. I can here her moving around around our room decide to take her coffee to her. Smiling, i pour us a both a cup of coffee and turn off the eggs. Peaking in the kids rooms on the way to ours I see both kids still sprawled out, sound asleep.

“Do I smell coffee?!?” Clarke gasps when I enter our room, huge smile plastered on her face.

I can’t help but mirror her, smiling just as wide. “Yes Baby. I made some eggs too if you’re hungry. I’ll get the kids up and ready, enjoy your coffee.”

She wraps her arms around me pulls me down for a slow, lingering kiss. It takes my breath away. They electricity between us palpable and never fails to spark something inside both of us.

“Too bad you already showered, we could have conserved water.” She winks and leaves me standing there like a love sick puppy.

“Tease!” I counter with a crooked smile.

I wear that goofy smile into Aden’s room to get him up for school. Sunlight streams in highlighting his dirty blond hair. Sitting on his bed I trace his face lightly, softly calling his name.

“Aden, time to get up my sweet boy.”

He stirs and smiles sleepily. “G’morning Mommy.”

“Come on P’Nut, I made breakfast. I’m gonna get your sister up then I’ll get your plate.”

Madi is sprawled much like Aden, I call it her starfish pose.”Madi, time to get up Monkey.”

She breathes in through her nose rather dramatically and snaps her green eyes open. “Mmm breakfast!” and scrambles out of bed getting caught in her sheet and almost falling on her face. I snatch her up at the last second and we erupt in laughter.

“Mommy for the save!”

“Madi you are a mess. Come let’s eat a nice breakfast so we can be ready for school.”

Our laughter carries over into breakfast while they inhale their food. Clarke joins us not long afterwards. The good mood is infectious and it’s not lost on me how easy we fit together as a family unit. Aden seems lighter today, as if he is allowing himself to relax and trust that he is home for good. Madi is thriving in our new environment. For the first in as long as I can remember everything feels right, this is the way it’s supposed to be.

“Penny for your thoughts there Heda?” Clarke giggles bringing me out of my thoughts.

The kids are already going to the bathroom to brush their teeth. She takes my hand and pulls me down to sit sideways in her lap. She looks gorgeous. Faded jeans and a long sleeve top, she takes my breath away.

“I was thinking how right this all is. Aden seems more settled and at ease. Madi is, well, Madi. I feel like a huge weight has lifted after talking to you about Costia. Roan texted while you were getting ready. I’m goin to the jail this morning. I’m going to say what I need to say and I’m leaving her behind us. I refuse to let her rent any more space in my head.”

“I’m really proud of you. I’m glad you talked to me. You can talk to me about anything Lex. Do you want me to go with you? I love you. I do want to spend sometime downstairs at some point. Lincoln and Echo are meeting me. They’re helping me paint and clean up.”

Tilting my head in confusion I ask “why didn’t you ask me Clarke? You know I would love to help you.”

She shakes her head coyly, “nope!” She pops the P. “No one else is allowed down in the main part of the gallery until the three of us are finished. It’s a surprise for our family” she finishes firmly.

“Ok, I’ll stay out of there. Don’t tell Rae or O they aren’t allowed in there or they will stop at nothing to do the opposite!”

Chuckling, she nods in agreement. Checking the time, we hop up to clean up the kitchen quickly and get the kids off to school.

Aden is almost as excited as Madi, which is interesting because he’s already been in school for a little over a month. I think in a lot of ways this is a first day for him as well. He bounces up and down impatiently while I get Madi situated. Conveniently, Madi’s preschool is in the same building with the rest of the elementary school.

Clarke and I both reach down to take her hand but she puts her hand up and Aden comes to stand beside her putting his arm around her shoulders. Clarke and I are both speechless so Madi clears her throat and lifts her chin high saying, “it’s ok Moms, we got this. I’m not a baby anymore. I’m a big kid like Aden.”

Aden clears his throat and continues “yeah we got this. I’ll look out for her. I’ll walk her to her class.”

My bottom lip starts to quiver and Madi rolls her eyes. “Mommy it’s gonna be ok. I love you. Don’t cry you’re going to embarrass us.”

Clarke can barely contain herself from bursting out laughing, I manage to nod and tell them I’ll pick them up later. Clarke pulls me close as we watch them disappear into the school, Aden holding Madi’s hand the entire way. Clarke snaps a few pictures which I’m grateful for because I have apparently forgotten how to function.

“Come on baby let’s go before we embarrass our children!” Clarke snickers.

When I look at her, it’s with tears in my eyes and what must be world’s best puppy dog face because literally melts beside me.

“Awww, my baby! And I thought Madi’s puppy dog face was bad…” she wipes my eyes and kisses me sweetly guiding me to the Jeep.

“She didn’t even let me hug her…..”

“I know Lex…”

“She said….”

“I know, it’s ok. She’s just getting more and more independent.”

“She doesn’t need me anymore!”

“Well, I don’t think she’ll be moving out for a while. Her independence shows how well she’s been raised. She is also literally your mini me so it’s kind of to be expected.”

I narrow my eyes at her “very funny. You got jokes huh?”

Leaning over the console I tickle her ribs until she’s squirming so badly she can’t breathe.

“Surrender?”

“Yeeeess! I take it back! Seriously though, how cute were they?!?”

We both shed a few tears and she gently laid her hand on my thigh as we pulled away from the school.

My phone rings and I see it’s Roan. “Hey Roan! I answer with a smile on my face.” Clarke furrows her brow as my expression slowly morphs into disbelief and shock. “Yeah, no, thank you for letting me know. Ok I’ll talk to you later....” the phone slips through my fingers and drops to my lap.

Clarke pulls over turns to me anxiously. “What? What happened?”

Chapter Text

“Lex, baby what happened?!”

Shaking, I can barely get the words out, “Clarke, please, we need to go back to the school, NOW….”

“Ok, ok we’re going. I don’t know what’s wrong but it’s going to be okay….”

I shudder and shake my head slowly. “He escaped… oh my God Clarke, how did this happen?” I can’t stop the tears streaming down my face and she just keeps her hand on the back of my neck. She starts to ask me something but then she finally looks me in my eyes and the realization hits her like a freight train.

“FINN??”

Burying my face in my hands I can only nod. She speeds up and we are back to the school in no time. The buses are gone and the parent traffic is practically non existent. She easily spots Roan standing next to his unmarked cruiser. My hands are shaking and I can’t unclasp the seatbelt. Clarke shushes me and gently moves my hands and helps free me from the seatbelt. Bell squeals into the parking lot in his own Jeep and comes to an abrupt stop on the other side of Roan’s car. He, Lincoln and O hurry over to us.

Clarke just remains beside me, keeping me protectively tucked into her side. When Bell comes over, he slips into my other side and Lincoln and O flank us from behind, looking around. Ai gonas.

Before everyone can start talking at once Roan puts his hand up to get our attention. Letting out an exasperated sigh, he runs his hand down over his scruffy chin and clears his throat. He looks to each of us with what appears to be shame.

“Mother went to visit Costia yesterday evening. She went to tell her that she was cut off and that she had cut Costia out of the will. Mother named Aden her sole heir. Costia was enraged as you can imagine. Mother told Costia how much of a disappointment she is. To add salt to the already festering wound, Mother gave Costia the court documents severing her parental rights to Aden and the documents naming you, Lex, as his permanent guardian and told her you were a better mother than Costia could ever be.”

He takes a minute to let this all settle in and then he continues.

When we all gasp in response he nods and says, “Costia went into a fit of rage and threw a chair at the plexiglass partition between the visitors and prisoners. She punched an inmate and had to be sedated. What we didn’t realize is, Costia isn’t just a petty dealer of Red. Costia is a major player in the Red distribution ring. The people she worked for have a couple guards in their pocket. Ontari and Costia aren’t the only two working for this distributor. Finn has been on the Red for a couple years now. He’s Costia’s lap dog.”

I can feel Bellamy shaking in anger beside me. Clarke grips his arm and links us together. He nods to her and tries to calm down.

Roan looks to me and drops his head, “I’m so sorry Lexa. We didn’t realize how deep the drug ring ran. Mother made a mistake and mentioned you having a daughter and how she would be going to preschool with Aden…. Costia figured it out pretty easily. She used a guard to get word to Finn and told him about Madi. She made Ontari start a brawl to distract the majority of the guards so Costia’s corrupt guard could help Finn escape.”

“NO! Roan no!” My knees give out and everything goes silent for a moment before I can shake it off.

This can’t be happening. Bell scoops me up in his arms and sits me in my passenger seat. Clarke is at a loss on what to do. Bell kisses my temple and steps back and looks to Clarke. He nods and gestures towards me. She steps between my legs and pulls me into her chest. Bell turns to Linc and O and nods. They nod in return and start walking toward the school slipping between the cars. Murphy and Miller emerge from the opposite side and nod once to Bell.

Roan shakes his head and addresses Bellamy. “Bellamy, I can appreciate your need and instinct to protect your family. Lexa, Madi, Clarke…. All of you ARE my family now too. I have officers combing the town. Patrols are tripled around the school and it’s on lockdown. I don’t want the kids scared so my officers are in plainclothes. We can handle this.”

“Roan, with all due respect, we are Wonkru. If you are truly one of us and I believe you are, you know I can’t stand down. We are Trikru. We are of a larger group descended from the same people. Wonklin. We all endured the trials for the right to bear the mark of Trikru!” He extended his forearm to Roan proudly.

Roan nods respectfully and grasps Bells forearm in return. They remain locked together as Roan dips his head respectfully. Ma was the head of the Trikr. She was Heda until her spirit passed on and I was named Heda.

“Sha, Bell. Moba Heda. We will find him. Today is fortunately a half day for the school system.i know this is an impossible situation but I feel that the kids should finish out the day. I’ll come by and pick Aden and Madi up from school to keep up appearances for their sakes. I have 4plain clothes officers with eyes on Madi and Aden at all times. They will never know something is wrong.”

Clarke pulls back enough to tilt my chin up and looks deeply in my bloodshot eyes, “I think Roan is right. Trust me?”

“Sha, Clarke. I gotta get my shit together before I see them anyway. It’ll only upset them if they see me like this,” I acquiesce. By now Raven and Harper have arrived and are hovering protectively close behind us.

Clarke cups my face and kisses my forehead tenderly, before locking eyes with Bellamy. He stands straighter and steps closer to me, eyes constantly on alert, as she slides past Roan.

She stands tall and pursing her lips together she makes a “kiss like noise” in two quick, short bursts.

Murph and Miller appear from the left side of the school while O and Lincoln materialize seemingly out of nowhere, from the right side of the building.

Clarke’s jaw is clenched, she stands taller than she ever has, her eyes are a deep, menacing, commanding blue. Her entire presence radiates a fierce, intimidating and protective nature. With the attention on her she speaks in a way that makes everyone pay rapt attention.

“Octavia, Lincoln, Murphy, Miller… you will stay here on a constant moving perimeter. You will answer to Roan’s men should the need arise or if you spot that vile piece of filth. Your lives are worth far more than than Finn’s, Am I clear?!”

“Sha Wa… Sha Clarke!”

Rae makes a weird coughing noise and in a self defense mechanism that is all too Raven, she nudges Harper and says, “that kinda turned me on a little bit….”

Clarke whips her head to Raven and Raven drops her head in complete submission says, “Moba Heda, Moba Wanheda!”

Clarke tells Raven and Harper to check out the gallery and our apartment with 2 of Roan’s men. In an uncharacteristic move, Raven merely nods reverently and leaves without another word.

“Wanheda” simply means ‘one heda’ in the same respect that “Wonkru” means ‘one kru’. It means that she and I are equals and are respectfully treated as equals. The title of Heda has changed over the course of generations. Ages ago in a more primitive time, Heda was quite literally the Commander. Her Gonas, or warriors, would give their lives for their Heda. As times have evolved the roles of Heda have evolved as well. The ‘trials’ to become Trikru are still very much respected and revered. All of us that Mama adopted, we still had to pass the mental and physical tests to show our fortitude to become Trikru.

Bell climbs in the back seat of my Jeep and Clarke takes the driver’s spot. I don’t even remember the drive home.

Two of Roan’s officers are at the back door and give the all clear. Echo opens the door for us and whistles once to let Raven and Harper know we are home. Clarke opens my door and takes my hand leading me upstairs. Echo and Bell follow us while Rae and Harper remain downstairs. Monty is seated at the breakfast bar with two laptops set up in front of him working feverishly. Upon seeing us though he immediately gets up and pulls Clarke and I into a warm embrace. He hugs Bell warmly as well.

“I’ve hacked into the traffic cams. No luck yet. I hooked up cameras all around the outside of your building and set up motion lights. He won’t come anywhere near you all or the kids. I also set up your alarm system. You can change the codes if you want. We are all staying with you guys until this is over. Don’t even try to argue.”

“Thank you Monty. I love you strikbro.” I pull him into another hug.

“Ai hod yu in ai sis.”

He returns his attention to the lap top in front of him. Echo pulls the other one to her and helps him go through the feeds. Bell stands stoically at the window on guard. Clarke excuses us and pulls me down the hallway to our room.

Shutting the door behind us she she wraps me up in her arms. “Tell me what you need baby.”

“Just this, just you right now.”

“Then come lay down with me for a little while.”

I nod and let her pull me onto the bed.

“Clarke I think we should pick up the kids. We told them we would this morning. It’s their first day together. I’m not letting that prick control any aspect of my life anymore. All he has done is ensure he spends the rest of his miserable life in jail or he’ll end up getting hisself killed.”

“Ok baby, I agree. I’ll send a message to Ro and let him know. He can follow us discreetly. I’ll have the kru set up their base of operations downstairs.”

I chuckle weakly. “Yeah that’s probably a good idea. I love them so much and appreciate them but they’re a little intense right now. You should probably talk to Raven. I think you scared her. I don’t think I e ever seen her like that before. Seeing you take charge like that was pretty hot Wanheda.”

“Shh, I’ll take care of it. You’re exhausted, close your eyes for a little while and I’ll wake you up when it’s time to go.”She pulls me close to her, keeping a tight, protective grip on me. I drift off to sleep almost instantly.

Chapter Text

When I wake I feel Clarke tighten her grip around my waist pulling me back into her. Turning to face her, her eyes flutter open. I bring my hand up to tuck a strand of her hair behind her ear and she smiles at me.

“How are you feeling Lex?”

“Just worries about the kids. I’ll be happy when they are home. Speaking of which we should probably get up and see if Monty has had any luck finding Fuck Face.”

She laughs and says “Fuck Face, I like that one.” Cupping my jaw she rolls on top of me and kisses me slowly. Flicking her tongue over my lips she winks at me slides off the bed.

“I mean, you didn’t have to stop that felt nice” I say, pouting.

“Later, I promise. Come on Heda,” she holds out her hands to me.

Taking them I reluctantly let her pull me out of bed. I sigh contentedly when she wraps her arms around my neck. “ How are you really Lex?”

“I’m ok, I’m better than when we first found out. Roan will find him. Of that I have no doubt. It helps that Finn is not exactly a brilliant mastermind. What the fuck was Nia thinking though?”

“She wasn’t, clearly.”

“Let’s go pick up the kids. I think it’s best we just stay in this evening though.”

“Absolutely! Now let’s go out here and thank our wonderful brothers and sisters but kick them out so they don’t freak the kids out. It’s adorable how protective they are, though.”

 

Bell and Monty are still checking camera feeds when we come out into the kitchen. Echo is stoically standing watch at the window overlooking Main Street.

“You all are the best brothers and sisters anyone could ask for,” I tell them.

Bell grins and says “but…”

“No, but’s ai Gona. I appreciate you all dropping everything like you have. Clarke and I are going to go get Madi and Aden. As much as we love having you all here I’m afraid the kids will pick up on the tension and know something is wrong.”

“Yeah, we do to tend to be a bit overprotective. We will thin out but you know there is NO way in Hell we won’t be keeping an eye on you until he’s caught, though.”

“Damn right!” Monty and Echo both say.

“Mochof ai bros, ai Sis.” Clarke smiles fondly at them.

“How about we bring the kids in to Grounders later on for dinner?” I ask Clarke.

“Are you sure you’re up for it?”

“Yes. He’d be an Idiot to show up there.”

Bell closes his laptop as does Monty. He gives me a hug and kisses my forehead. “Echo and I will follow you to and from the school. Monty, you and Raven head to our place. I’ll send O and Linc there too. Harper, Miller and Murph can head to the restaurant to open.”

“Aye aye captain!” Monty salutes him and shoves him playfully.

It breaks the tension in the air even more when Bell throws an arm around Clarke when we are walking downstairs and says “I think you scared Rae. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen her rendered speechless!”

“I’m not scared Princess!” Raven fires back from the bottom of the stairs.

Clarke cocks an eyebrow at Rae and Rae looks away muttering “ok I was a little scared.”

“Aw come here ai sis!” Clarke leaves sloppy kisses all over Rae’s cheeks and Rae squirms to get away from her.

“Stop it! No! Bad touch! Bad touch!” Rae finally gets free and scurries off quickly with Monty in tow.

“Ready?” Clarke says taking my hand in hers. Bell takes my other hand and winks at us both.

“I’m okay guys I swear. I’ll feel better when I have Madi and Aden. I’m not afraid for me, I’m afraid for our kids and what vindictive crap Costia is cooking up.”

Bell walks is to the Jeep and opens my door after I open Clarke’s. “I’ll be watching Heda, Wanheda.”

It doesn’t take long to get back to the school. I can’t help but to constantly look around for Finn. We pull into the parent pickup line and show ID to the school officials present. I see the plain clothes police officers but they blend in really well. Madi and Aden are ushered to our car when we pull up to the curb.

“Mommy! Nomon! This was the best day EVER! “ Madi exclaims as Aden helps Her buckle up.

“Hi Mom’s!” He says with a big smile.

Just like that, I instantly feel better. They animatedly describe their day all the way back home. They both do their small amount of homework and then put their school stuff away.

“Well Nomon and I thought it would be a nice treat to go to Grounders for dinner to
Celebrate your first first day of school together.”

“Yay!!” They both jump up and down excited. The afternoon goes by quickly, Wonkru checks in often and will all be at Grounders for dinner. Bell refuses to meet us there. He and Echo insist on meeting us here following us to the restaurant. He and Echo, along with O and Linc are camping out downstairs tonight.

Right at 5 my phone buzzes. It’s Bell saying they are parked out back. The kids thunder down the stairs ahead of us and when I unbolt the door Bellamy and Echo jump out and yell “boo!” To the kids.they both scream but recover quickly climbing up Bell and reaching for Echo next.

“Onka Bell! Onti Echo! Are you going to dinner with us?”

“Yeah we are Monkey are you ready to go?”

“Yeeees!” They dart to the Jeep and climb in in record time.

“Any news?” Clarke asks but he just shakes his head.

“He is laying low somewhere. We will smoke him out.”

Our horn honks and I hear Aden and Madi cracking up.

“That’s our cue.”

I open Clarke’s door before getting in the drivers side. My God she’s so beautiful. Wearing an adorable off the shoulder sweater with a dark pair of jeans shoes with a little heel, bringing us to the same height.
Her hair is down in curls.

She catches me staring and winks at me.

“You look gorgeous Clarke.”

“Aw thank you! I’ve got a hot date” she wiggles her eyebrows at me.

When we arrive at the restaurant we can see Wonkru inside pushing a couple tables together. It’s pretty slow as it’s a Monday so there are only a few other occupied tables. O comes out to greet us and pulls me into a bear hug.

“Heda, Wanheda. Monkey! Strikgona!”

She is quickly drug back inside by two very excited kids. Looking through the window at them all laughing and hugging each other it brings a tear to my eye. No matter what life may through at us we will always get through it together. Monty and Harper wave us in. Bellamy gestures for us to go ahead. Ever the protector, he is going to walk the perimeter just in case.

Dinner passes quickly and everyone is in good spirits. After the plates are cleared away my phone buzzes. I frown in confusion because it’s a picture text from an unknown number. Bell and O notice immediately and we share a look. Opening it I gasp and my eyes go wide. It’s a picture of all of us, taken just now from across the street. Another text follows and all it says is “Does she have my eyes? Tell her Daddy will see her soon.”

Trying not to alarm the kids I toss Bell my phone and lean in to whisper in Clarke’s ear. Bell’s eye flare in anger and he motions for Linc to come with him. By the time they get outside Finn is long gone. Linc calls Roan to fill him in. Our family dinner breaks up and we all bid each other good night. The foursome of Bell,O, Lincoln and Echo head back to the apartment with us and walk us to the door. Lincoln insists on going upstairs first, just in case, he says. He gives the all clear and we rearm the security system and take the kids upstairs to get ready for bed.

All I can think is that one way or another Finn has to be found. Bellamy is right. We are going to smoke him out. I have to push thoughts of him aside and together Clarke and I quickly get the kids through what is becoming our nighttime routine. Both kids fall asleep quickly. Clarke sends Bell a text letting him know we are going to bed and goes back to our room ahead of me.

Pulling out two rocks glasses I add some ice, then pull out our bottle of Beam and pour us each a generous portion and go in search my love. The tv is on when I enter the room and she has a few candles lit around the room. I shut and lock our door but still don’t see Clarke. Walking into the bathroom I find her brushing her teeth. She’s changed into one of my worn T-shirts and her panties. She smirks at me in the mirror and pulls her bottom lip into her mouth and bites it.
Raising her glass towards her I cross the room slowly and deliberately.

“To the pain?” She asks.

“Always…” clinking our glasses together we both drain our glasses quickly.

“Mm, I love a girl who appreciates her bourbon” I say, moving until I’m right behind her, hovering my lips just a breath away from her neck. She continues to hold my gaze in the mirror but moves back just enough to roll her hips back into me.

Tilting her head to the side she turns around and and brings her hands to my hips. “Can we put Finn aside for just a little while tonight? I need to feel you Lex” She husks, making me whimper.

“Sha, ai hodnes.” I reach around and grip her by the back of her thighs and scoop her up quickly and she instinctively wraps her legs around my waist and speaks in surprise.

“God I love when you do that. Take me to bed Lex.”

Gently lowering Clarke onto our bed, we hear the flurry of little feet in the hallway and then, “Mooooommy?”

Clarke giggles and kisses me softly and gently pushes me off of her to go let Madi in.

“Hi baby what’s wrong?”

Madi has her little blanket and her stuffed monkey, usually a sign of a“bad dream”.

“I had a bad dream. Can I sleep with you Moms?”

Clarke and I share a smile and she answers before I can, “of course you can. Climb on up there Monkey.”

Kissing the top of Clarke’s head as she climbs in bed next to Madi I tel my girls, “keep my spot warm, I’m going to check on Aden.”

Silently padding down the hallway to his room, I find him sound asleep. I gently tuck his blanket back up under his chin and kiss his forehead. I can’t resist one last look at his sleeping form, curled up on his side, looking so peaceful.

“I love you Pnut,” I whisper into his room and walk back to our room to cuddle with my girls.

I’m brought to a stop in the doorway, hearing Madi tell Clarke about her bad dream.

“There was a bad man Nomon. Onka Bell and Mommy saves us though.you protected Aden and me.”

“That sounds scary baby, it was only a dream. Sometimes dreams can seem really real but it’s just like watching tv or a movie. It’s not real.”

Oh My God! That’s it! I gasp as if hit by truck. Clarke and Madi jerks their heads toward me, still standing in the doorway. Clarke looks concerned until she sees the smile slowly growing on my face.

“What Lex?”

“Perception is reality! You’re brilliant Clarke. You know that “rat” problem Roan has? Instead of him tearing the whole place apart to find it. He can have the other rats do it for him. If the other rats think think the ‘bad’ rat needs to be found, they’ll know where to look won’t they?”

Her eyes widen when she puts the pieces together easily.

“Beautiful and brilliant! We will definitely call him in the morning. I love you baby. I love you sleepy Monkey!”

Madi yawns and mumbles incoherently. Giving both of my girls a soft sweet kiss, Clarke and I keep Madi between us. The sounds of their soft snores soon fill the room and it makes my heart happy. This mess ends tomorrow. Two proverbial birds with one stone. I decide to go ahead and send out a family text for everyone to come over for breakfast to hash out a plan.

WONKRU

Heda: I believe I have a solution for our pest problem. Breakfast? Our place? I’ll make captain crunch French toast. Meet here at 8:30. Murph and Miller, can I persuade you guys to take the kids out of town tomorrow morning when everyone comes over for breakfast. I have a place in mind. Would just be better for them to be well away from here.I love you all.

After pressing send I roll onto my side to face Clarke and Madi, wrapping my arm around Madi and resting my hand on Clarke’s. Sleep comes surprisingly quickly and before I know my alarm is going off with the sunlight reflecting on Clarke’s soft beautiful face.

Before I can get up Clarke wraps her hand firmly into my shirt fisting it tightly and pulls me back down. She smiles and brings my hand to her mouth, lightly brushing her soft lips across my knuckles, kissing each one before turning my hand to place a lingering kiss in my palm.

“How are you feeling this morning Baby? You were moving around a lot in your sleep.”

I immediately drop my head and frown shamefully. “I’m so sorry….”

I’m cut off by her fingers on my lips. She cups my face gently and shakes her head. “You have nothing to be sorry for. I only bring it up because I know you move more when you’re in pain and I want to know what I can do to help Lex. Hey I’m not Costia. You’re a warrior and I love you. I admire you. Let me help you please.”

I nod, swallowing the lump in my throat, trying to find the words to respond. “I am hurting some. Mainly really stiff and snap crackley.”

“Snap crackley? Um baby that’s not a word.”

“Rice Krispies…. Get it?”

“You are a dork but I am so glad you’re my dork. Let me go start you a hot shower. I’ll get the kids up and dressed and get them a quick breakfast. You take your time and just do what you can do.”

“Ok baby. The Kru is coming over at 8:30 for breakfast. I’ll make it. I want to fill you all in on my evil master plan.”

“We can make it together.”

She slips into the bathroom and I hear the shower come on and she returns to rummage in our dresser for a pair of sweats and one of my hoodies that I’m still allowed to wear. She takes the clean clothes into the bathroom. She looks at me warmly and holds out her hands for me to take and she gently pulls me out of bed. I wrap my arms around her waist in a warm embrace. She feels like coming home. Her arms slip around my neck and I sink into her arms. We fit together perfectly, like she was made for me.

“Lex, I’m thinking maybe we should keep the kids out of school today. Especially if we are going to be kicking a few few hornets nests. I sent a kru text asking Murph n Miller to get them out of town for the day.”

“That’s actually a really good idea. I’m sure they would be happy to spend time with their Onkas. Maybe Roan can give them some protection as well.”

“Ok new plan…” she trails off backing me into the bathroom and pulling my shirt off as well as her own. “We can take this opportunity to shower quickly together.”

Our shower ends far too quickly, but the kids are still sleeping soundly as we peak in on them on the way to the kitchen. I get the coffee started and she places two cups beside me. She gets a mischievous grin and reaches out and tugs on the strings around the neck of my hoodie. She backs up until she reaches the counter and she easily hopes up to sit on the edge. She curls her finger motioning me to come to her with her eyebrow arched. I happily obey. When I reach her she grips the front of my hoodie and pulls me int to her until she can brush those soft pink lips over mine and flicks her tongue over my bottom lip. I eagerly open my mouth meeting her tongue with mine. My hands find her hips and pull her as close to me as I can. She tastes of peppermint and I tilt my head to deepen the kiss even more but the door bell chimes.

“Naturally. I think they do it on purpose.” I grit out sighing deeply.

Before I can get out of her grip, she grabs my face in her hand and says lowly, “this is like the 3rd time this has happened. I want you and when all this mess is over, I’m going to kidnap you and you can make it up to me, repeatedly.” She winks and kisses me roughly and releases my jaw. “Can you let them in because now I have to change my panties because you got them all wet…”

“Wait, what…. ?” I just shrug and go shut off the security system letting part of our Kru come up.

The four horsemen of Bellamy, Echo, Lincoln and Octavia file in with smiles on their faces. After exchanging warm hugs from all of them, I pour them all coffee and they spread out sitting at the island or the kitchen table.

“Morning guys. How did you all sleep? We really appreciate you all, you know that right?”

“Of course! We’re family!” Lincoln says with a kind smile.

“I want to get the kids out of here before we talk our rodent problem. I know this will work but I don’t want our kids around here, just in case. I talked to Murphy and Miller. They are going to take them out of town for the day. Roan has a place about an hour away from here. They will have a great time.”

“Onka Bell! Onti Tay! What are you guys all doing here!” Madi practically screams running and stumbling down through the living room towards us.

“Dibs!” O and Bell yell scrambling to get to Madi!

“Not today! Lincoln calls out vaulting over the couch and tackling Bell into the loveseat and scoops Madi up, who is giggling and squealing. Aden comes out of his room rubbing his eyes sleepily. His hair is sticking up from sleeping on it and it takes him a moment to process who all is here. His face lights up

He rushes into the living room, climbing over the couch to get to Bell and O. Echo and Lincoln get bear hugs from him as well. Clarke shuffles past them all and walks to my side never taking her eyes off of me, her blue eyes are sparkling and full of love and devotion.

She leaves a lingering soft kiss to my jaw and squeezes my ass as she walks to the coffee pot.

Over the next few minutes Miller, Murphy and Raven arrive, followed by Monty and Harper. The last to show up is Roan.

The kids are ecstatic to spend the day with M&M as they now call their Uncles. Once they are gone everyone gathers around the kitchen island while Clarke and I make breakfast.

“You two are freakishly in tune. This is getting out of hand okay? First it’s the twins and Lexa, now it’s Clarke and Lexa!” Raven says dramatically, watching Clarke and I interact in the kitchen fluidly and not needing to speak to one another to communicate.”

“Look little bird don’t be jealous, you know you’re my favorite genius. “ I respond, laughing at her frustration.

I can feel O and Bell looking at me from behind me m, while I tend to the French toast. I let out a quiet chuckle which I hear coming from the twins as well. When I hear Raven’s phone chime. I turn around a smirk at Bell and nod once, then I turn to O to do the same. Sporting wide grins, Bell grabs the plates while O gets the silverware and both silently set the table. I had sent Rae a text telling her what I wanted them to do before I turned to face the twins. She sits dumbfounded in her seat and just shakes her head.

“But how…. What the fuck!”

Everyone erupts in laughter at Rae’s astonished expression on Rae’s face. Clarke and I take the French toast, orange juice, and bacon on the table. After we demolished breakfast and did the dishes we gather in the living room. Harper and Monty are seated on the loveseat with Raven on the arm of the chair. Bell and Echo are on the couch with Lincoln and Octavia. Clarke is sitting sideways on my lap in the recliner with her arm draped around my shoulder. Roan remains standing, behind the love seat which separates the living rooms and the kitchen.

Bellamy speaks up first saying, “ Alright Lex, tell us what you came up with. I’m really intrigued.”

Clarke gives me an encouraging smile so I take a deep breath and begin by saying, “Ro, what I’m about to suggest may put you in a precarious position. If you want to leave now we will all understand. I don’t want to jeopardize your career or the oath you swore.

Roan nods contemplating his options. He only takes a moment before he looks me in the eye and sighs, “Costia isn’t my sister any longer. The things she has done, it’s unforgivable. As for my ethical standards, we did everything to the absolute letter of the law. In the end it didn’t matter. Maybe it’s time to step outside the box so to speak. I’m in.”

He grasps my forearm and I his. Turning my attention to the kru I take a deep a deep breath. “I know we aren’t having much luck finding Finn. He seems to be laying low and he must have help. Since he is Costia’s Lap dog and a small time dealer of Red. He’s also a user of Red. Costia is a bit farther up in the Mt Weather crime family. Law enforcement has a horrible time getting convictions on them because no witnesses make it to court because they are either killed, or silenced in some other way.”

Taking a minute to collect my thoughts I glance around and see that everyone seems to be connecting the dots as to where I’m going with this.

“What if there were a press release announcing Finn’s cooperation with law enforcement in exchange for a reduced prison sentence We could announce that, after his escape, Mr Collins contacted law enforcement to cut a deal, saying he wanted to cooperate and would testify in open court. Monty, you and Raven could put together a ‘press release ‘ and post it online. We can spread the news around the jail as well. Then we just sit back and wait for Mt Weather to flush Finn out for us. As for Costia, well, we can threaten to do the same to her and see how quickly she turns on Finn.”

Roan stands silent for a moment scratching his stubbled chin, contemplating my proposal. Looking around the room at my brothers and sisters, I see them mulling it over as well.

The twins smile brightly and say “we’re in.”

One by one the rest of them nod in agreement and start talking amongst themselves. Roan remains silent and I can’t read his expression.

“Ro?”

“It’s a great idea. I wish I had thought of it sooner actually. I’m in. Obviously for the sake of appearances my role will have to be behind the scenes.”

Bell claps him on the back and says, “of course! We gotcha. You’re one of us now. We take care of each other. Omon gon oson.”

Raven and Monty share a look and both reach for their laptops and hurry to set them up at the breakfast bar.

“See Raven, you do have “twin thing” with Monty.” O says with a laugh.

Raven beams proudly and replies, “oh my God we do have the twin thing. Mommy’s happy now. Now hush and let us work.”

Shaking my head I turn my attention back to the others. “Oka, so, Clarke, you’re probably not going to like this but I think Lincoln, Echo and you so work in the gallery as you already planned. The twins can come with me to confront Costia.”

She narrows her eyes at me m, but before she can argue with me I cup her face with both of my hands and say gently, “please Baby. I can’t do this unless I know you and the kids are safe.”

Her face softens and she nods, resting her forehead against mine. She places a soft, gentle kiss on my lips. She pulls me close and leans into me to whisper into my ear, “please be safe and come home to me. I love you.”

“I love you Clarke. I will always come home to you.”

We stay like this for a bit before Raven exclaims, “Get a room!”

Clarke rolls her eyes. “Shouldn’t you be working on that press release little Bird!”

“We did. It’s finished and posted online.”

“You’re done already!” Shock evident in my voice.

“Well I am a genius..”

“Hey!” Monty says the hurt evident in his eyes.

“Sorry little brother, You’re a genius when it comes to computers as well.”

“Mochof, much better.” He smiles proudly.

Roan clears his throat and steps into the group. “I’m going to go to the jail and let them know Costia will have a visitor shortly. I’ll have the uni’s do an extra patrol around your place just to be sure.”

“Let me go grab my sketch book and I’ll be ready. Lex can you come with me for moment.”

“Of course love.”

“5 minutes!” Raven says sternly with her hand on her hip. “You get 5 minutes and we are coming in.”

We ignore her her taunts and shut the bedroom door behind us. It’s barely shut when Clarke slams into me wrapping her arms around my neck tightly. My arms find their place around her waist and I bury my head in her neck. Her hair smells of vanilla and something that is just Clarke. She nuzzles deeper into my neck and I run my hands up and down her back in an attempt to calm her nerves.

“I don’t like this Lex. I don’t want to be away from you during this mess. I wanted to be the one to go with her to confront her.”

I can hear the raw emotion in her voice and it hurts my heart. Leaning back I tilt her chin up. “Hey, look at me love.”

She opens her eyes and blue meets green. In her eyes I see worry, concern, love and so much more. “It won’t take long. I’ll be back here before you know it. I need to do this alone, for myself and Aden. I would much rather have you by side for the ride there but this way I know you’re safe. Before you say it, yes I know you can take care of yourself but humor me. I’ll be home soon and we can figure out our next move.”

Cupping her face with my left hand she leans into it turning to press a kiss in the palm of my hand. I run the pad of my thumb over those plump lips and across the beauty mark above her lips. Her eyes flick down to my lips she leans in to capture my lips. It’s soft and builds with intensity when she deepens the kiss. I can’t stop the moan that escapes when she slips her tongue across mine completely in tune with one another.

It ends far too quickly when Rae beats on the door impatiently. “Come on lovebirds lets go!”

“Clarke huffs and glares at the door. “Why is she the way that she is. We are going to continue this later if I have to kidnap you,” she grumbles before pecking my lips and opening the door to yell at Raven.

“I swear to God you are lucky I love you Rae!”

“Aw, what’s wrong sis? Thirsty?”

Clarke swipes at Rae but misses when Rae takes off running through the living room into the open kitchen, hiding behind the island.

“Too slow Clarke!” Rae teases and is immediately hit in the face with a pillow from the couch. “Ooof!” She falls back into the fridge laughing hysterically.

“Ok kids playtime is over, we have work to do” Bell says with a chuckle.”

Rae, Monty and Harper stay behind to continue cyber stalking in search of Finn. Clarke reluctantly goes downstairs with Linc and Echo. The twins and I head for Bell’s Jeep for the short trip to the jail. The air is crisp and it’s beginning to really feel like fall. The leaves are changing color creating a breathtaking landscape. It’s my favorite season by far.

The closer we get to the jail the more my stomach twists into knots. It feels harder to breathe. My whole body feels like its buzzing with anxiety. The twins must sense the change because O leans up from her seat behind me and grips my shoulder and Bell turns to me with a comforting smile and takes my hand in his. Their presence grounds me and reminds me they are with me no matter what.

Bell clears his throat breaking the silence and says, “You can do this Lex. You’re a warrior, you’re strong, you’re kind and you are loved. Costia has no power over you anymore.”

O nods in agreement and chimes in. “She’s a coward who hides behind her insults and abuse because she’s a scared little child. You are Heda, hold your head high! You got this! We are with you, always.”

As O finishes we pull up to the dreary building that is the jail. I take a few deep calming breaths when we get out of the car.

“Ready?” Bell asks

“Yes, actually I am.”

“Damn right you are!” O says winking at me.

“You guys can wait out here. I need to confront her alone.”

They reluctantly agree but insist on staying near the door instead of in the car.

With one last look to them I reach up and press the buzzer to be allowed entrance. I hear an accompanying buzz and the door clicks unlocking it. It closes and locks loudly behind me. It makes me feel like an animal in a cage, trapped. The deputy behind the counter calls out to me asking if he can help me.

“Yes sir, I’m here to see an inmate, Costia Green.”

After filling out the appropriate paperwork and showing him my ID, he has me empty my pockets and walk through the metal detector. We go through a series of barred locked doors before we enter a small room with four separate seats with plexiglass and telephones on each side of the four seating areas. The deputy gestures for me to sit in the first chair. The door closes forcefully when he leaves the room. I don’t have to wait long before I hear the door buzz on the other side of the glass partition. I hear the sounds of chains rattling and feet shuffling across the concrete floor. My heart starts hammering in my chest and my mouth goes completely dry when she comes into view.

The years have not been kind to her. Her reddish/brown hair appears greasy and unkempt, she has heavy dark circles under her eyes and her cheeks are sunken in. She is a shadow of the person I met all theses years ago. She sits roughly in the chair across from me and sneers at me picking the phone up.

When I place the handset up to my ear she looks at me with contempt and says, “I wondered if you would have the guts to visit me or if you were too afraid to. Did you come to beg forgiveness so I will call Finn off of you and your bastard of a daughter? You have a lot of nerve, stealing my son and cutting me out of Mother’s will!”

Scoffing, I shake my head. “Are you finished? You hold no power over me any longer Costia. If anyone should beg for forgiveness it’s you. I didn’t steal ‘your’ son. You cast him aside for years and God knows how much damage you have inflicted upon him. You lost Aden and your inheritance all on your own. As for Finn, well he’ll be back in custody in no time. Seeing as he has decided to take a deal in return for his testimony against Mt Weather and the Red dealers here in town.”

She laughs and growls at me saying, “Ha, even Finn isn’t that dumb. He’d never make it to the courthouse!”

“Oh I guess you haven’t seen the news this morning have you?” Pulling out my phone I pull up the ‘press release’ and place my phone on the glass for her to see. “Finn will either be back in jail or in a shallow grave somewhere. I really don’t care which as long as he’s away from my kids. See, if you know the right people you can do anything with computers. How would you like it if your nam was in place of Finns? Because I can do that if you insist on causing problems for the people I love!”

She stays silent for a moment, nostrils fairing in anger. “You wouldn’t dare! You are nothing without me. Pathetic…”

“Just shut up Costia. It’s over. You have lost everything. If you want to test me, go ahead. Please, I wish you would. There is NOTHING I won’t do for my kids or my family. You have no moves left. All it would take is one phone call for the whole world to know you are going to testify against Mt Weather. “

The color drains from her face instantly and any vile response she has dies in her throat. She is so angry she begins shaking. I can’t resist smirk that grows on my face. It only infuriates her more when I laugh She starts beating on the glass with the phone. She curses me and stands abruptly knocking the chair over. The guard attempts to restrain her and she lashes out punching him in the face breaking his nose. An alarm starts blaring and two other guards run in to restrain Costia. The deputy ushers me back to the entrance, the sounds of Costia screaming growing fainter and fainter until the front door finally buzzed open and the cool air hits me in the face. With the harsh sound of the door locking behind me I feel like I can finally breathe again.

I’m immediately engulfed in the strong protective arms of my big brother and sister.

“Are you ok?” Mumbles O from behind me, her face buried between my shoulder blades.

“I can’t breathe!”

“Oh sorry Lex,” Bell and O laugh.

“I am great actually. You’re right, she has no power over me. Let’s get out of here. It worked, she lost her shit and punched a guard!”

We all laugh walking to the Jeep.

Chapter Text

Bell steers the Jeep back out onto the street. With one last glance back toward the jail, I feel a weight lift from shoulders. Something I didn’t know I have been carrying all this time. It’s a chapter in my life I can finally close. Silent tears run down my cheeks. I don’t weep for myself. I weep for the broken girl I used to be. I weep for the toddler I forced to leave behind. I weep for the years I was away from my family. I will never weep for her. She is where she belongs. With a swipe of my hand those tears are gone. Bell looks at with concern in his eyes. I offer a smile and slight nod reassuring him that I am indeed okay. He smiles and winks at me. I find O’s eyes in the rear view mirror and find the same expression in her warm, loving eyes.

“I love you too Lex.” She says.

The rest of our short ride passes rather quickly. I see Rae outside talking to someone I don’t recognize silently ask Bell who it is. He just shrugs as does O. Bell narrows his eyes and his brow furrows.

“No Bell. Don’t. If Rae needed us she would say so. Judging by the tool belt and carpenters pencil behind his ear he looks like a contractor or something.” The back door of gallery/apartment flies open and blur of blonde hair runs straight to me, causing me to smile like an idiot. Bell and O chuckle and move to stand by the door to give us a little space but never leaving my sight.

Clarke slams into wrapping her arms around my neck in a death grip, burying her face into my neck and inhaling shakily. My hands find purchase wrapped around her waist sinking into her arm, breathing her in.

“Babe I was only gone for forty five minutes.”

“Shh, just hold me for a minute. I was worried. With Finn being loose and that she devil of an ex, I just… I can’t lose you now that we have finally found our way back to one another.”

“I’m here. I’m ok. Better than okay. It was freeing to confront her after all this time. She won’t hurt me again, nor Aden. You should have seen her Clarke. She flipped out when she realized we had the winning hand so to speak. She tried breaking the plexiglass partition and punched a guard in the face. She’s not getting out anytime soon and she won’t bother us again or she knows Rae and Monty will do another press release.”

“One down, one to go Lex. Finn will be caught one way or another fairly soon I would think. I’m go gonna go back inside to Linc and Echo. No peaking.”

“You have my word. Hey who is that guy talking to Rae?”

She just smiles and pecks my cheek taking my hand. “It’s a surprise.”

We part ways and she disappears back into her gallery. Bell hold the door open for me and says, “feel like kicking some ass in GTA?”

A smile stretches across my face. “Always! It’ll be a nice distraction.”

I nod for him to go first but he just shakes his head. “Take your time Lex, I know the steps are killing your knees. I’m just glad you’re finally wearing your braces consistently.”

“Are you kidding me? Have you seen angry Wanheda?!”

We both laugh entering my apartment. Harper and Monty have their heads buried in 2 laptops. Lifting his head to greet us Monty smiles and says “We’re getting closer! There’s a lot of chatter from suspected Mt Weather people. He’s not going to be able to hide much longer. Rewards are being posted for finding him before he turns himself in.”

“Great work guys! What would I do without you.”

Octavia joins Bell and I in the living to play GTA. Once Raven returns from talking to the mystery man, she relieves Harper of computer duty and she joins us as well.

The afternoon passes fairly quickly as before we realize it the sun is starting to set. Bell cuts off the PlayStation and puts the controllers away with a yawn.

“Alright guys lets call it quits for the night. I appreciate you more than you could possibly know but there isn’t much else we can do. I’m sure you would all enjoy sleeping in your own beds. Besides if Clarke doesn’t get to spend time with me soon she’s going to morph into angry Wanheda and no one wants to see that! Right Rae?”

“Fuck no!” She starts packing up her laptop. “You d me at angry Wanheda!”

Monty chuckles but scampers to put his stuff away also.

Bell engulf me in a twin sandwich, which turns into a group hug. After a few minutes of good byes and I love yous they head downstairs to leave. They are joined by a paint covered Lincoln and an equally colored Echo. I say my goodbyes from the top of the stairs because I don’t want to tackle them again right now. Lincoln waits for Clarke to reach the top of the stairs before he smiles at me and pats the left side of his chest with his right hand.

“You are my heart too buddy! I love you!”

“Ai hod yu in. Reshoot Heda, Wanheda.”

Clarke barely lets me close and lock the door before she spins me around, roughly slamming me into door. She is covered in paint, wearing sweatpants and an paint covered T-shirt, her hair in a messy bun and it only makes me smile, knowing she’s mine and I’m hers.

“I missed you today Lex. I’ve been thinking about you alone all day.”

Shepins my hands to the door with her own and ghosts her lips up my neck to whisper in my ear. “I’ve wanted you all day. Thinking about how your lips feel when you go down on me or how good it feels when your fingers are buried inside of me.”

I shudder And groan listening to her. Her breath on my earlobe makes my neck erupt in goosebumps. She nuzzles her nose in my neck below my ear and ghost her lips down my neck again. She bites into my shoulder before retracing the same route back up my neck and flicks her tongue over my ear lobe, nipping it between her teeth. I let her keep my hands pinned but growl at not being able to meet her lips with my own.

She just giggles and pulls back, releasing me and starts walking away. She looks back at me and winks. “I’m going to shower and this paint off of me. I’ll be out in a minute.”

“Tease!” She blows me a kiss and disappears into our room. “I’ll make dinner while you clean up then.”

I turn on the speaker and connect it to my Spotify because it’s a part of my culinary process and it makes me happy. Grabbing the two New York strips from the fridge I fire up the flat top. This kitchen is a dream and I love it. Once the strips are on I grab the asparagus and cut the ends off. Tossing them in a zip lock I cost them in oil and seasoning and add them to the vegetable side of the flat top. You can take the girl out of the restaurant but you can’t take the restaurant out of the girl. I quickly set the table and light a few candles around the kitchen and living room. They always make fun of me but hey, I like candles. They’re nice.

I almost forgot about the flowers I got her on our way home this morning. O snuck them in earlier for me. I dart into Aden’s room and retrieve her bouquet of roses. They are 8 red roses and one single white rose. The red roses are how many years I’ve been hopelessly in love with her and the single white rose means true love. She’s still in the shower so sneak into our room and leave them on the bed with a card addressed to Clarke. It’s short, simple and sweet. It reads “I’ve loved you for eight years and I’ll love the rest of this life and the next. I’m yours for eternity.”

Back in the kitchen I flip the steaks and asparagus and put together a simple Caesar salad for us. When the steaks are nearly done I make a garlic butter to drizzle on them. I’m so caught up in playing dinner I don’t hear Clarke come into the room. She slips her arms around my waist and pulls me back into her, hugging me tightly. She plants a couple open mouthed kisses between my shoulder blades. I hum and lean back into her embrace.

She plants one more kiss to my cheek and says, “thank you for the flowers Lex, they’re beautiful. You’re beautiful and I’ll love you for the rest of this life and the ones to come. I’ve never been happier. Dinner smells amazing!”

How does she look so stunning in everything she wears. She’s short cotton shorts, an oversized T-shirt, wet hair and looks gorgeous.

“I couldn’t agree more. Hungry love?”

“Um, do you even know me at all? Of course I’m hungry. Silly question!”

Shaking my head at her I gesture for her to sit. I bring our plates over to join the salads on the table.

“Lex this looks amazing!”

“Yes you do.” I reply not taking my eyes off of her.

She smiles shyly and digs in to her salad. Dinner goes by quickly. Once we’ve devoured our meal we clean up together. No words are needed. It’s almost like a dance the way we work together. She pulls out the bottle of Beam and hands me two glasses which I fill with ice.

Walking towards the sofa I look back and see her still standing behind the island drinks in hand. A smile tugs at my lips. “You coming?”

Her eyes darken and she lifts her eyebrow, a smirk appears on her face and she saunters over to me. “A couple times I hope, with you would be even better.”

She sits our drinks down on the coffee table in front of me pushes me backwards so I fall, sitting on the couch. Her blue eyes are nearly black as she leans in to capture my lips with hers. Moaning into the kiss I lunge forward grabbing her hips and pull her down to straddle my lap.

“Hi” she mumbles and kisses me again swiping her tongue against mine, slowly at first. It builds slowly becoming messy before to too long and he tugs at my shirt. We only break part long enough for her to rid me of my shirt and hers. She crashes her lips against mine letting her hands roam my chest and stomach. Mine start to wander from the tight grip on her waste up Her back only to rake my nails back down it when her lips start assaulting my neck. She moans into my ear which only makes me wetter. It distracts her long enough for me to lean forward and pull her closer to me allowing me to lace kisses across her voluptuous chest. Her hands fist in my hair pulling me into her while arching her back, moaning sinfully.

“Please Lex…” she whines, teeth grazing my neck while tugging harshly on my hair and pulling my head back. “I need…” she trails off.

“What do you need Klark?”

She grinds her hips down into me placing her hands flat on my chest trying to get more friction. She throws her head back as I grip her hips and pull her down onto my lap. She groans loudly again.

“Fuck, I need more Lex! Please.”

My hands falter at her words. Tugging at her shorts, she gets up and quickly discards her shorts and drops back down on me. I can feel how wet she is against my stomach and we both moan at the contact. She tries to roll her hips but can’t because of the grip I have on her. She whines in protest which quickly turns into a gasp when she’s lifted up and feels my hand trailing from her hips toward her center.

“Look at me Clarke.”

She looks down and green meets blue. She holds my gaze as I slip two fingers into her wet core, rubbing over the sensitive bundle of nerves with my thumb. She’s already so worked up it won’t be long before she falls over the edge. She sets a brutal pace grinding down on me. Moving to hold the palm of my hand over clit she throws her head back and cries out. I can feel her walls start to flutter around me. I quickly add a third digit and curl them into that one spot in her front wall that sets her over the edge.

“Look at me Baby.”

She turns her half lidded eyes down to mine. “Cum for me Clarke.” Her walls clamp down on me and starts to shudder, coming completely undone. Instead of letter her come down from her high, i speed up sending her into another orgasm. She collapses on me and buries her head into my neck. She pulls back to kiss me, breathing heavily. Never breaking eye contact I pull my my up and lick my fingers clean. Gripping the back of her neck, I pull her down to kiss her. She quickly deepens it and moans when she tasted herself on my tongue.

“I love you so much Lex. Let’s go to bed so I ravage you.”

She holds out her hands for me when she stands up. We head for our room, drinks forgotten on the table. Neither of us hear our phones goin off with our group chat.

Wonkru

MontyPython: I have news on Finn!! If your awake call me ASAP Heda!

Chapter Text

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

Bellamy’s Jeep pulled into the small gravel parking lot behind Grounders and came to a stop in his usual spot. Cutting off the engine he turns and retrieves a paper bag from the backseat and hands it to Lexa. She opens the bottle of Jim Beam from the bag and hands him a small bottle of Mountain Dew.

He smiles brightly at his sister and says, “To the Pain ai sis?”

“Always ai Gona.” She returns a warm smile of her own.

They pass the bottle back and forth taking turns drinking from the it, washing it down with their Dew.

“So, Lex, you’ve been with us for a few months now. How are liking our small town? Our Little Delinquent family?”

Turning to fully face him, she smiles brightly and says, “honestly? I was in a really dark place when you found me. I thought I had lost everything. You saved me, Bell. I love our family. I’m overwhelmed with the way everyone has treated me like family from the start. I love it here, our family means everything to me.”

The music from the bar plays in the background as our DJ, Monty, calls the next person up to sing for karaoke. Clarke’s sweet angelic voice finds it’s way into the Jeep and Lexa can’t help the smile spreading across her face.

“Ok, heart eyes! Clarke wouldn’t have anything to do with you loving it here so much, now would she?”

“What? I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Her denial can’t cover the blush creeping up her face. She takes a drink and quickly looks away.

Bellamy chuckles and playfully shoves her before saying, “you can lie to yourself all you want but we both know you are crazy about that girl. The rest of us may be your brothers and sisters but Clarke is definitely not.”

Lexa can’t fight the way she feels about Clarke. She rolls her eyes dramatically and huffs. “Fine. Yeah, maybe I have a little crush on her but it’s not going to go anywhere. She doesn’t see me that way.”

“I think you need glasses or you’ve been hanging out with J and Monty, enjoying their “herbs” too much. Clarke has the same heart eyes you get when you two are in the same room. I know my sisters Lex. Trust me.”

“I do trust you, with my life,” She replies instantly. “But she only ever gets like that when we are all here and she’s drinking. She’s just affectionate when she’s drinking.”

“That’s funny because she has literally NEVER been like that with anyone but you.”

“She’s never said anything when we are both sober though. What if I give in and she regrets it in the morning? I can’t bear the thought of being something she would regret Bell. I feel like I’d be taking advantage of her or something. You and Mama gave me a home, a family and place to belong. I can’t let a one sided crush on Clarke jeopardize all of that.”

He nods in understanding brings his forehead to rest against hers, instantly calming her. He always has that effect. He and O more than the other Delinquents, who love Lex just the same. They are all special to her and she’d do anything for them, her family, even if it means loving Clarke from the sidelines.

They don’t notice the song ending. Nor do they hear the back door to the bar opening as someone comes down the stairs and knocks on Bellamy’s window. Both Bell and Lex jump and almost spill their bourbon. They look up to see Clarke laughing at them.

 

“Are you two coming inside or are you going to sit out here and hog all the Jim Beam?” Clarke crosses her arms and smirks at them.

Bell winks at Lexa and smiles. “Actually yeah I’m going to head inside. I’ve gotta visit the little boys room. You girls have fun.”

Lexa narrows her eyes at him and mutters “Natrona!”

Clarke claims Bell’s seat behind the steering wheel. “Are you gonna pass the bottle Lex or do I have beg for it.”

Lexa nearly drops the bottle trying to compose herself. She would very much like to hear Clarke beg… She shakes those thoughts from her head and takes a generous drink before handing the bottle to Clarke.

“We should probably get inside. You know we can’t leave our boys unattended for long. “ Lexa tries to sound convincing.

She moves to open her door but Clarke stops her with a hand on her thigh and a raised eyebrow. “Are you trying to get away from me Lex?”

Lexa visibly gulps and pulls her door shut. She’s going to kill Bellamy. You never leave a man down.

“Of course not Clarke,” Lexa replies quickly, but Clarke just smirks.

“I think I make you nervous, you’re blushing.” Clarke husks leaning closer to Lexa.

“I’m….what? No of course not. It’s just hot in here. Is it hot in here?”

Clarke giggles and husks into Lexa’s ear, “Oh, you’re definitely hot.” She doesn’t pull away. Instead she flicks her tongue over Lexa’s ear lobe and begins to graze her teeth down Lexa’s neck. She bites down when she reaches Lexa’s shoulder and soothes it with her tongue.

All Lexa can do is whimper and mutter, “Fuck Clarke.”

“Oh I would love for you to, but you seem to always pull away.” Before Lexa can respond she grips the back of her neck and pulls her in for a searing kiss. Lexa moans and Clarke takes the opportunity to deepen the kiss pressing her tongue against Lexa’s. Clarke has definitely kissed people before but never has she been so in sync with someone the way it is with Lexa. Their chemistry is unlike anything she’s ever experienced. It equally scares her and excites her. They only break apart to take a breath. Clarke breaks the silence with a hiccup and they both chuckle.

“Clarke, I think we should go inside. You have clearly had a few drinks. Bell and I definitely had a few. Let me go make you something to eat to soak up the alcohol.”

“Oh I can think of something I’d like to…”

“Shhh, don’t finish that sentence. You’re going to be the death of me when you’re drunk woman!”

Lexa gets out and walks around to Clarke’s side to open the door for her. Clarke sways slightly and giggles. Lexa smiles at her and wraps her arm around her waist to support the blonde. Once inside, Lexa steers Clarke through the kitchen into the adjoining prep room. Clarke hops up on the stainless steel table and before Lexa can pull away she wraps her legs around the girl’s waist pulling her closer. Clarke cups Lexa’s face and kisses Her once more. Lexa’s willpower is fading miserably and she eagerly kissed her back for a moment before finding her willpower. Lexa pulls back and goes to make the blonde a sandwich…

J comes into the kitchen when Lexa is making Clarke’s sandwich and smiles brightly seeing Lexa.

“Lex! You’re here! Yeees! We must do raging bull shots!”

Lexa chuckles at her brother and nods her head. Jasper pulls out provolone cheese after putting a burger on the grill. He then cuts the provolone cheese into a square. Lexa curiously watches him as he takes an empty clean salt shake and removes the lid. He bites his lip, concentrating on cutting holes in the cheese.

He sees Lexa’s confused expression and laughs. “This guy at the bar wanted a burger with Swiss cheese but the Swiss is all the way downstairs in the walk-in and I don’t want to go get it. Hey, white is white when it’s melted, right? He’ll never know!”

“Solid plan J. I’m gonna make Clarke eat a sandwich and I’ll meet you at the bar for shots.”

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

I stir from sleep hearing Clarke husking my name, her breath tickling my ear. I slowly register that Clarke is holding me firmly from behind, rolling her hips into me. Her right hand slides from its hold around my midsection to the waistband of the gym shorts I’m wearing.

“Did you have a nice dream Lex? It Sure sounded like it was. You were moaning in your sleep and it wasn’t from a nightmare.” She lets her hand drift lower, running her fingers through the wetness gathering between my legs.

All I can do is shudder and moan, grinding my hips back into her. “It was a really, really nice dream. It was a memory actually.”

She slowly runs her finger over my throbbing clit and down to my entrance before stopping abruptly causing a groan of protest from me.

“Ah, ah, My love, use your words. Tell me about this dream/memory or I’ll stop. Sound familiar?”

She further makes her point by entering me roughly with two fingers while biting down on the back of my shoulder.

“Fuck… okay, okay… just, please don’t stop.”

“Oh I really don’t want to.”

She continues to work me up while I try to make a coherent sentence. “Do you remember the first night you kissed me? In Bell’s Jeep? After my Judas of a twin brother left me in the trenches, taking grenades…”

“You make it sound so awful.”

“Oh dear God, no! It was torture, but of the best kind.”

Wait, Lex, is that the night Jasper made the faux “Swiss” burger for that douchebag from the city?”

“Yes…” I whimper when she adds her thumb to encircle my clit. “Please don’t stop Clarke.”

“You rejected me that night Lex.”

Growling, I flip us over to straddle her. She falters and moans when I grind down on her. Gripping the front of her T-shirt I pull her up and crash our lips together before I speak.

“Clarke, you act as if it wasn’t torture for me to pull away back then. I’ve loved you since the moment I saw you. It’s always been you. I just, I resigned myself to accept that you would never reciprocate those same feelings. Looking back, I can see that I was moron.” We both ignore the invasive sounds of our phones alerting us of a text message from the group.

She laughs at this and it takes my breath away. Leaning down I claim her lips once more before kissing along her jaw to her ear. My hands lightly skim over her soft inviting skin until they reach that sweet spot just to the inside of her hip bones making her moan in a way that just does things to me. Before long my walls begin to flutter.

“I’m so close Clarke.”

She curls her fingers at just the right spot. “Let go Lex, my love.” She sends me over the edge and I slump down into her arms when she pulls out.

Before I can return the favor my phone starts ringing, the screen reads O. “Answer it Lex. It could be important.”

“Monin ai sis” I answer, putting it on speaker.

O: Finally! We have been texting you guys since last night! You scared me branwada!”

I’m sorry We worried you O.

O: I’m sorry for yelling at you. We have news though so can you let us in so we can talk before M&M get back with the kids?”

“Sha, come in.”

Clarke turns off the alarm system while I unlock the door. Clarke puts on a pot of coffee. Our twins come into the kitchen wearing matching smiles.

“They got to Finn!” They both say in unison.

I hug them both tightly. Bell picks me up and spins me around.

“Hands off the merchandise Bell,” Clarke says with a matching smile. He does the same to Clarke. She giggles as he spins her around.

“Ok, now that the hugfest is over, can we tell you what happened?” O asks helping herself to a mug of coffee, making each of us a cup. We take a seat in the living room. Clarke pulls me down into her lap in the recliner while the twins sit on the loveseat.

“What happened?” Clarke says getting impatient.

Bell clears his throat. “Okay, well this a bit graphic. Mt Weather found him holed up in a dingy motel last night. Monty picked up some of their radio chatter. They cut out Finn’s tongue and left him to bleed out on the front steps of police station! They wrote “rat” in his blood on the sidewalk! Crazy!”

Clarke gasps, hearing how he died. “That’s a horrible way to die but it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving dickhead.”

“I’m just glad he’s gone for our kids sake. Same for Costia.”

We all murmur in agreement. O fixes me with her best puppy dog pout batting her eyelashes at me. I just shake my head and chuckle, standing from Clarke’s lap. Clarke grumbles.

I smile at my sister and ask, “what would you like for breakfast?”

“Pancakes!” O responds immediately, bouncing in her seat happily. I kiss your on the top of her head on my way to the kitchen. Before I finish making a big batch of pancakes, I hear our kids coming up the steps with Miller and Murphy.

The twins and Clarke all yell, “Dibs!” While they stumble over each other, I scoop Maddie and Aden up my arms, ignoring the pain in my knees and back. It’s worth it to have my children in my arms.

Eating breakfast with my family brings a smile to my face. Looking around the table watching them laugh and talk fills my heart with so much love and happiness.

Clarke catches me smiling and rests her hand on my thigh furrowing her brow. “Penny for your thoughts my love?”

Taking her hand in mine I lean over to lay soft kiss on her temple. “I’m just happy ai hodnes.”

“Well, happy certainly looks good on you,” she says winking at me.

The door bursts open as Raven crashes into it. “I smell pancakes! And bacon! Ooh look coffee!” She is followed by Lincoln and Echo who just smile and shake their heads. The grab extra plates and join us.
The rest of the morning is spent in laughter and easy conversation. We need to get a bigger table I think to myself.

Chapter Text

And, so it went like this. Once Finn was gone, Costia remained in solitary for some time and when she was returned to general population there were several attempts made on her life. She was seen as a confidential informant as was Ontari. They were both moved to two separate prisons in the state. They both took plea deal and would be locked up for the forseeable future.

As a family we decided we would work together to get our dream off the ground. We saved a lot of money by working as a team through each location Mama left us. We chose Grounders first since it was already generating revenue and needed the least amount of work. A fresh coat of paint, some curb appeal and that’s all it really needed. Raven rented the space below Grounders for her shop. There was ample space for her plethora of tools and gadgets. She had already started making braces for a few orthopedic and sports medicine clinics in the area. I was often her guinea to try out braces and splints. Grounders has been doing well under Murphy and Miller’s ownership.

Clarke’s gallery was next on our list but she was still tight lipped about the project she was working on with Echo and Lincoln. The rest of us packed up Her paintings from the farm house and brought to the storage room of the gallery. Being quite the artist hisself Clarke asked that we bring in some of Lincoln’s sketches and paintings as well. Since we could do no more at the gallery, we turned our attention to Monty’s brewery.

He and Harper had already ordered everything they would need. The rest of us focused on getting the space up to health code standards, painting, minor construction projects and working on the exterior of the place. Working on the twins building required the most work.

September bled into October. Halloween came and went. The kids were doing very well in school. Aden has been seeing his therapist Mr Marcus for a little over two months he has been with us. He’s such a well adjusted, happy kid. Madi loves her new school and her large family. Things with Clarke and I have been nothing short of amazing.

It’s now nearly Thanksgiving and we are all pretty exhausted from all the remodeling we’ve been doing. We finally broke down and hired a contractor to work on the twins building. I was more than relieved because all of this work has taken its toll on me. Clarke finally put her foot down and told me I was done with the physical labor. She threatened Wonkru as well. She’s equally scary and sexy as hell when she gets like that.

Looking back on these past few months brings a smile to my face. Clarke’s gallery opening is tonight and we are all excited for her. She is a nervous wreck. She’s currently throwing random articles of clothing onto our bed, where I’m braiding Madi’s hair. Aden is in the shower. We have an hour to get dressed and ready. All of Wonkru is coming to support Clarke. Lincoln is nervous as well according to Octavia. The grand opening officially starts at 7.

Clarke is heading down early to oversee any last minute details with the catering, which our brothers M&M would be handling as well as the photographer she hired. The twins will be here in about a half hour so Echo and Lincoln can help Clarke with any last minute tasks.

Clarke comes out wearing a form fitting, full length, sleeveless, dark blue dress with a slit up the either neck or side. She looks absolutely stunning. Her eyes sparkle and I’m rendered speechless. She giggles and looks down.

“Mommy, Mommy….look how pretty Momma looks. Mommy? I think Mommy’s broken Momma!”

Their laughter snaps me back to reality, a smile growing on my face. “Madi, Baby go see if Aden is out of the shower and see if you can find your shoes for me.”

“Ok Mommy! Can I wear my blue dress to match Momma!?” This another recent change. Both kids now mostly call Clarke Momma.

“Of course you can.”

Madi bounces off the bed and races down the hallway to her room. I stand and slowly make my way to Clarke thoroughly enjoying the view. My eyes taking in the goddess before me. When I’m close enough to reach her I cup her face and pull her in for a searing kiss.

When we break apart, both breathing heavy Clarke says, “so is that a yes on the dress?”

I can only nod for a moment before I find my voice. “Baby you look stunning! I mean like, drop dead gorgeous.”

She blushes and leans in to hug me. “I’m so nervous Lex. What if my work isn’t good enough? What if no one shows up? What if…”

“Shhh, none of that. You’re an incredibly talented artist. You’re going to do great and we are all going to be there to support you.”

She takes a deep breath. “Lexa, I don’t know what I would do without you. Ok I’m going downstairs. The twins will be here soon.”

“Ai hod yu in, niron.” Placing one last kiss on her forehead we part ways.

Now it’s my turn to get showered and dressed. Once showered, I hear my phone buzz alerting me to the twins arrival. Madi lets them in for me while get dressed.

“Hey Monkey! Hey strikgona!” I hear them say in unison.

The kids excitedly tell them about their day. “Onka Bell!” Madi says climbing up his pants. Aden throws hisself into Onti Tay’s arms.

“What Monkey?”

“Can you paint my nails blue to match my dress?”

“Well of course I will. Go get your nail polish for me.”

O calls out for me. “Heda are you decent?

“Depends on who you ask sis. I am dressed though so come on in.”

She’s dressed in green dress which brings out the green in her eyes. Aden insisted on he and I wearing matching outfits. We are dressed in black dress pants, a light blue button up, and a dark blue tie.

“Daaaamn! Heda you clean up nicely!”
O says from the door way.

“Braid my hair?” I ask with puppy dog eyes.

“Of course! First let me fix your tie.”

When we walk out to the entrance to the living room we stop dead in our tracks. Bellamy is painting Madi’s nails and teaching Aden how to do it. O silently pulls out her phone to take a picture. They don’t even notice us as they finish her nails.

Bell says, “okay, that’s how you paint nails. And remember real men can paint nails or braid hair. Braiding each other’s hair is special in our family.”

“Ok Onka Bell! Can I paint Mommy’s nails?! I want my hair braided like you guys!”

“You sure can my boy.” I take my seat on the couch while O sits behind me on the back of the couch to braid my hair.

Twenty minutes later we all have our nails painted and Aden’s hair is braided like ours. He insists on having his hair “just like Onka Bell.”

My phone starts vibrating alerting me to a text from Clarke who wants us to come downstairs. The whole family is here and she wants us to see the gallery before it officially opens. I can’t hardly wait. I’m practically buzzing with pride and love for this woman, our family and the life we are building together. The whole kru meets us at the bottom of the stairs in the gallery’s back room.

Clarke emerges from the main gallery flanked by Lincoln and Echo. The latter two move to stand with Octavia and Bellamy respectively. Clarke’s gaze skims the room and smiles when Aden and Madi rush to hug her. She doesn’t see me initially and her brow creases as she looks for me. Bell smirks at me and stands to the side allowing her to see me. She has to do a double take and not so subtly lookse over hungrily. Bell chuckles and that seems to snap her out of it.

She blushes and bites her bottom lip before taking a deep breath to address us.
“I just want to thank you for all your help, your love, your loyalty, and for being my family. These past few months have pretty crazy for all of us. If there’s one thing I know with absolute certainty, it’s that Mom is definitely smiling down on us. I know she’s proud of all of us. Thank you for your patience and for not ruining my surprise for you all. Raven, I’m mainly talking to you. Echo, Lincoln I couldn’t have done this without you. That being said, this is my gift to you all. I love you all!”

She steps aside to let everyone pass through to the kitchenette. The kids are scooped up by the twins and Clarke makes her way over to me.

“Aden looks adorable with his hair braided back and I see you all have your nails painted. He looks so grown up with his tie! You, mmm, you look so good right now I’m having difficulty functioning.” She unconsciously bites her lip and reaches out for my tie, which she uses to pull me closer to her. She kisses me roughly. “I really can wait to get you all to myself later Heda.”

“I know the feeling.” I lean in to whisper in her ear “Would it make it worse if I told you I was wearing It?”

“Wearing what…” she stutters when I move her down to the front of my pants.

“Oh my dear god woman. Are you trying to kill me. How am I supposed to concentrate now?!”

I move to walk back upstairs “I can go take it off… “ she grabs me by the wrist and spins me back around before I can finish my sentence.

She swallows and shakes her head. “I’ll suffer through it” she says with a smirk. “Come on I want you to see this.”

“Lead the way ai homon.”

“Shhh, no one knows we got married yet remember?”

Her laugh is intoxicating. She takes my hand and we walk through the curtain into the kitchenette where everyone is impatiently waiting for us. Clarke nods to Lincoln and pull the door open to allow everyone to pass through to the front. A collective gasp reaches my ears. Clarke and I are the last to pass through and I’m blown away with what I see. We are all silent as we try to take it all in. I grip her hand tightly while my other hand quickly moves to cover my mouth. It’s incredible!
The walls around the entire gallery are a mural of sorts. It’s our life together as a family. Clarke as taken memories of our life as Delinquents through our life as Wonkru.

Clarke fidgets nervously while Lincoln and Echo smile with pride. Clarke releases my right hand and moves her hand up to grip my upper arm.

“What do you think Lex? I was going to do it chronologically but I kept thinking of more and more memories of the life we have all shared together so we decided to just paint our memories randomly.

“I…I don’t even know what to say or where to begin.” I can barely finish the sentence, getting choked up as tears fill my eyes. “This is beautiful. I…. Fuck I love you Clarke. You’re so talented. You make me feel honored to be you wife.” I whisper that last part in her ear.

“Go check it out.” She says smiling brightly. Aden crashes into us and pulls me to the wall on the left side.

“Mommy look! It’s all of us at Uncle RoRo’s!”

My eyes don’t even know where to begin. There’s Monty and Jasper singing karaoke, there’s Ma hugging me the first night I met her, there’s even Clarke and I in Bell’s Jeep the first time we kissed. There’s our thanksgiving dinners together, there’s Me proposing to her in the gazebo. She did ones for all of the Delinquents. Memories brought to life. There are so many, the entire gallery is filled with them and it’s incredible. There are ones of each Delinquent on their “Adoption” day. On the wall opposite of the front door there is a huge family “portrait” of Wonkru with an infinity symbol beneath it with the words “Omon Gon Oson.” We all have tears in our eyes.

Murphy looks around and says, “see! Now you’re all crying too!”

Madi crashes into me, jumping up and down. “Mommy! Look, look! It’s us with Grammy ! Ooh and look! It’s Onka Bell painting my nails!”

“I see baby girl! Look there’s Onka Bell and Onti Tay with you and Grammy at a tea party!”

“I see Mommy! Momma look. Onka Bell and I even have our princess crowns on!”

Bellamy walks up behind Madi scooping her up in his arms. “Look, it’s us Monkey!”

Everyone walks around in a state of Awe and wonder. They all filter to Clarke at some point hugging her and crying. Lincoln and Echo receive the same treatment. Clarke remains by my side the entire time. Before it’s time to open the doors to the public we have one of the caterers take pictures of all of us. We also take a few of Clarke, the kids and I as a family. Clarke signals for Linc and Echo to open the doors and people steadily start filing in.

Pretty soon the whole gallery is buzzing with excitement. Clarke keeps me by her side for the next hour. I have never been more proud.

The entire night is a huge success. The majority of Clarke’s and Lincoln’s works are purchased. They make a good number of contacts. They are even approached by some members of the school board about a potential art therapy program.

As most of the crowd finally filters out Roan comes up to us with a very hyper Madi on his back and Aden bouncing along with them.

“Hey ladies! I was hoping maybe I could take the kids home with me tonight for an impromptu sleepover.” Roan asks as both kids fix us with matching pouts.

Clarke giggles and smiles. I swear it practically makes me swoon. She looks to me and then says. “Of course you can. How about you have Uncle RoRo bring you guys home for brunch tomorrow morning.”

A familiar voice clears their throat. “Good evening.” Roan’s eyes snap to mine and
Then to Clarke.

Aden gets a huge grin on his face. “Nee Nee!” He throws hisself into Nia’s arms for a hug. She smiles in a way I have never seen before.

“There’s my big boy! Don’t you look handsome!”

Clarke and I exchange the same curious expression. Looking to Roan, he just shrugs she’s shoulders. It seems he’s just as surprised as we are.

Clarke protectively moves closer to me, with her hand around my waist.

“Miss Griffin, Alexandra and my son, Roan, it is good to see you all. I must say your work here is extraordinarily talented. May I have a word in private Alexandra?”

Looking between Clarke and Roan, I say “that won’t be necessary. Anything you have to say you can say in front of them.”

Clarke makes the “kiss” noise twice and In only an instant Bellamy, Octavia and Murphy materialize from the crowd around us. With a nod from Clarke they take the kids with them.

“My my, I never did realize the depth of your ‘delinquents’ love and loyalty. I’m not here to cause trouble. I’m here for the opposite actually. I wish to apologize to you Lexa. I was blind to many things these past few years. I didn’t treat you the way you deserved back then. I’m here to apologize. I’m also here to see if I, maybe one day, can be trusted enough to be in the same category. I was blinded by Costia. I apologize for this.”

She extends her hand to shake mine. After hesitating for only a moment I push her hand aside and pull her in for a hug. “Nia you are family. It’s not just about Aden though. If you claim Aden as a grandson then you will see the rest of us, especially Madi as family as well. There are family you are given and there’s family you choose. Roan has asked to keep his niece and nephew for a sleepover tonight. He will bring them home at 10 in the morning if you would like to come over for brunch? We live just upstairs.

She nods and shocks us all by wiping away a lone tear that slides down her cheek. “I would love nothing more. Thank you.” After saying goodbye to the kids she leaves. The rest of the night flies by very quickly.

Around 10pm everyone has cleared out leaving just Wonkru behind. We share a celebratory shot of Beam and decline our krus invitation to take the party to Grounders and drink the night away.

“But…. Pleeeeeease come out!” Rae does her best pout. Powerless to the force that is Rae, we agree to meet them there once we close up shop.

After locking the doors to the gallery she turns to look at me. I have never seen a more predatory, hungry look in her eyes.
She begins to walk slowly towards me, swaying her hips more than necessary.

“Mrs Alexandra Woods, do you have any idea how distracted you have made me these past few hours? All I have been able to think about is how fucking hot you look right now.” She moans and bites her lip, closing the distance between us agonizingly slowly.

I’m completely mesmerized by her and am powerless, watching her ravish me with her eyes. She finally presses herself into my personal space, placing her palms against the wall on either side of my head.

“Not being able to touch you, kiss you, or let you take me and make me yours has been torture. I just really need for you to fill me and make me scream your name.”

By now she has me pinned further into the back wall, her thigh wedged between my legs causing an involuntary shudder to rack my entire body. She reaches down and cups the toy between my legs pushing it into my clit. I let out a needy moan and she leans in to kiss me. It says everything we cannot say with words. She runs her tongue along my bottom lip asking for entrance. Our tongues meet and fight for control. She lets out a deep moan that sends chills down my spine. My hands move to pull her dress up but she pulls away shaking her head.

“Oh no, Lex… not yet. You made me wait all night, now you can wait.” I start to argue with her and she tugs sharply on my tie. She wraps it around her hand pulling me forcibly so she can lean in a nip at my earlobe.

“I want you you to leave it on for a bit longer. I want you to fuck me in the prep room, walk-in, anywhere in Grounders honestly, so we can finish what we started years ago.”

With that she pulls back releasing my tie. She takes my hand and pulls me through the kitchen and it’s the back storage room.

When she moves to go upstairs and change I quickly pull her back down into my arms. “Oh, no way. If I have to wear the strap on then you definitely need to wear this dress. Imagining fucking you in it, all night long is all I have been able to think about. It does things to me.”

I retrieve my leather coat from the coat hooks beside the door and hold it for her to slip on while she blushes.

We walk hand in hand to my car and I open the door for her before walking around to mine. An idea pops into my head causing me to smirk, which doesn’t go unnoticed by her. She smiles shyly and gives me s curious look as I start the car up. Backing out of the parking space I lay my right hand on her thigh and lightly run it under the slit in her dress. I run my hand across the soft smooth skin on her inner thigh. She stiffens slightly.

“Um whatcha doing there Lex?”

“Nothing Baby..” she gasps when I reach her lace panties and run my fingers over her clothed center.

“Fuck Lexa! That certainly doesn’t feel like nothing! Mmm, wait, is this a good idea while you’re driving? You know what? Never mind, just please don’t stop.”

“Oh I can multi task. Damn my love, so wet. “ she starts to squirm impatiently, needing more. She starts moving her hips trying to get any bit of friction. I slip her panties to the side so I can truly feel how wet she is. She’s always so wet for me, which is a huge turn on.… Being able to do this to this Goddess before me, really does things for me.

She whimpers and grabs my right wrist before I can pull away. Holding me in place I can feel her eyes turn to me. She leans in and bites down on my neck, hard enough to make me cry out and nearly falter.

“Lex… please, I need to come…”

“Mmm, I know love, hold on. Let me take care of you…”

Pressing my fingers deep inside , I curl them to hit her front wall while my thumb assaults her clit. She becomes a quivering mess just as we pull in the parking lot behind Grounders.

It only takes a few more thrusts and me biting down on her shoulder for her to cum hard, gripping my wrist tightly so I can work her through it.

“Well…. Whew, that was new!” Clarke takes a few minutes to gather herself. Meanwhile she watches as i pull out, bringing my fingers to my mouth to suck them clean. She whimpers and fists her hands into the front of my shirt and crashes our lips together, all tongue and teeth. It’s cut abruptly short because Raven and Murphy are throwing lemons and limes at my car, laughing hysterically.

“Later” is all Clarke says into my ear and then flicks her tongue against my neck, grazing her teeth over the same spot.

I exit the Jeep quickly and scoop up a couple lemons and limes and ready myself to return fire.

“Oh Fuck!” Run Murphy, Run!” Raven makes a break for the door.

“I immediately regret this decision!” Murphy yells, scrambling up the steps narrowly avoiding a lemon whizzing by his head.

“Retreat!!! Truce!!” Raven yells.

Clarke laughs doubling over to clutch her stomach. “Guys stop, I gotta pee!”

They make it to the front of the bar where laughter erupts from all of Wonkru when I hit both Murphy and Raven in the back with limes. They drop to the floor whining like children. Dropping down to sit on Raven I tickle her sides while she shrieks and jerks around. Eventually I relent and help them both up.

“Please tell me someone got that on video?” I ask the group.

“Right here!” Harper says with a smirk. Raven stands with her hands on her knees for a few minutes trying to catch her breath.

The customers in the bar find it all hilarious. Most are regulars are familiar with our antics.

O hops up on the bar and whistles to get our attention. “Gather round! Time for a toast!”

Miller passes out shots and once we all have one we turn our attention back to O. She looks down to Clarke with a huge smile on her face. “To our sister, Clarke and to Lincoln. Here’s to the first of many successful showings. Here’s to the gallery being a success. To our family who truly lives for each other. To our fallen J and Mama, we carry you both in our hearts always! Omon Gon Oson!”

“Omon Gon Oson!” We all reply.

Monty plays DJ and breaks out the karaoke books. Our kru takes over the area near the bar and the dart board. Several rounds of drinks and shots later we are all rather giggly and relaxed. Shirts are untucked, ties are off. Well mine isn’t because Clarke won’t let me.

She loosens it for me at one point while she lets her eyes wander all over me. “Excuse me, but are you checking me out Mrs Woods?” I ask with my head tilted to the side.

“Yes , yes I am. I really, really want you and the alcohol isn’t helping.”

“Patience Clarke. I’ll make it worth the wait I promise.”

“Leeeex! Bell calls out for me. Come here and let’s do the dart thing! This guy over here doesn’t believe me!!”

Clarke groans. “Seriously? Oh my God I hate this game you two play! I can hardly watch it!” I just kiss her cheek and move to my brother.

“You want to start on the table Ai Gona?”

He smirks and winks at me so I lay my hand flat on the table and spread my fingers out. Looking into each other’s eyes we both wink and smile. He throws the dart down to the table never once breaking eye contact with me. He does it three times and we neither flinch or look away. There is a collective gasp from the gathering crowd around us. Finally looking down I see he has landed all three darts into the spaces between my fingers.

“Nodotaim Big brother? The board?”

“Sha. Nodotaim!”

Raven pushes through the crowd with Miller on her heels. “Wait wait wait! Let’s make a friendly wager. Round of shots paid for by the losers?”

A few bet against us, which only causes the whole kru to smile, except for Clarke who has her eyes covered.

O walks over to her and says, “hey don’t worry he won’t miss. He would never risk hurting her. She’ bonded to Bell and I making us practically triplets, haha. Seriously though she won’t get hurt, she’ll be able to use those fingers on you later.” O Bursts out laughing and Clarke narrows her eyes at her. Their attention is brought back to Bell and I when everyone starts cheering.

I now have my hand splayed out on the dart board and Bell stands a foot in front of the regulation throwing line.

“Do you trust me Heda?” He asks.

“With my life, always and without hesitation.”

He again throws three darts while the growing crowd gasps each time. Clarke has moved to the back of the crowd, too afraid to watch.

Bell and I break eye contact when he releases the third dart. Once again each one lands perfectly. This time he throws two which land right next toy wrist while the third is in the space between my fingers and thumb. He scoops me up in a bear hug and kisses my forehead. The remainder of the crowd is in shock and awe. They come up to talk to Bell while I sneak away and grab two shots from Harper, who’s working the bar.

I see a blur of blonde hair disappear into the kitchen. Following, I see her move into the prep room. I follow her and close the door behind me, locking it. She’s facing the wall, her hands resting on the stainless steel counter.

She doesn’t turn around so I take a few steps towards her. “Clarke? Are you mad at me Love? He wouldn’t do it if he thought I’d get hurt. We have done this countless times. You’ve seen it…Clarke?”

She still doesn’t respond or turn around.

“Baby look at me.” I reach out to gently pull her arm around so I can see her face. I gasp, surprised by what I see. Her blue eyes are nearly black. She’s breathing heavily no trace of anger is on her face. I only see desire. She steps forward and I’m forced to take a step back. Her eyes are half lidded and she backs me up across the room until my back hits one of the steel counters that line the walls.she leans in and places her hands on either side of me on the counter.

“I thought I was going to be pissed off or worried watching you and Bell do that ridiculous thing you do. I was wrong. As it turns out, it just really turned me on. It made me really wet. Now I have this unrelenting ache between my legs and I need you. Now.”

Before she realizes what’s happening I grip her waist and spin us around, lifting her to sit on the edge of the counter. She gasps in surprise and then wraps her legs around my waist, locking her ankles to keep me in place. In doing so she presses her core into the toy and groans, trying to grind herself into it. Gripping onto her hips I pull her into me, making us both cry out.

Needing to feel more her, I pull back and pull her dress up to bunch around her waist. She wastes no time wraps her legs around me again and pulls me in to her, kissing me roughly. She bites down on my lower lip making me hiss. Meeting her gaze she quirks one eyebrow and smirks as a challenge.

“Lex, I love how you always take care of me and how you never let yourself lose control. But some nights I just really need you to Fuck me, hard. Tonight, is one of those nights.”

My mouth drops open, but I quickly recover and smirk mirroring her own. “I thought you’d never ask. I just wanted to let you set the pace. We have only been sleeping together for a few months after all.”

She kisses me roughly and pushes her tongue into mine demanding entrance. She tugs my hair exposing my neck to her. She flicks her eyes to me and I nod slightly. She bites down on my neck causing my hips to buck into her.

“Please Lexa.” She blindly reaches down and unfastens my belt and pants trying to push them off. I release her only to push them to the floor and then I reach up and drag Her soaked panties off. I run my fingers across her center, gathering her wetness to rub over the strap on. Without warning I line it up to her entrance and snap her hips into me, only stopping when the toy bottoms out. She tightly winds her legs around me once more.

I set a brutal pace and she cries out and moans, begging for more the entire time. I can feel her getting close so I bite over her chest and roughly palm one breast while using my mouth on the opposite nipple. She grips the hair at the base of my neck and yanks downward, tilting my head back so she can kiss me. She comes undone and bites into my lip. Her entire body shudders and she holds onto me tightly. I pepper her face and neck in soft kisses.

“I love you so much Clarke. You’re so beautiful when you let go for me.”

“I love you too Lex. That was , wow.i think you should take me home so we can continue this.”

I fasten my pants tucking the toy back inside so no one notices and hep her down. We leave via the back door before anyone notices, otherwise they would guilt us into staying. Once in the Jeep I send a text to Bell letting them know we are heading home. I’m am so glad I didn’t drink but the two shots all night.

Chapter Text

The drive home is quiet. Clarke absentmindedly laces our fingers together and pulls our hands into her lap while she sings along with the radio. These few months have been a whirlwind but in the best possible way. Our family doesn’t know it yet but Clarke and I got married last week. It made the process of her legally adopting Madi and Aden with me much easier. We plan to tell them when everything is officially complete. We are still having our soul binding ceremony over Christmas break though. It’s the ceremony that means the most to us anyway. Pulling into our parking lot I get out to open Clarke’s door for her as I always try to do.

She giggles. “Are you ever going to stop spoiling me Mrs. Woods?”

“Never in a million years Mrs. Woods. You deserve the best this world has to offer. I’m just lucky you chose me.”

“Smooth, Woods.” She says, pulling me in to place a sweet kiss on the corner of my mouth making me smile like an idiot as I open the door to our place.

“After you love,” I say blushing slightly.

“Tonight was amazing Clarke. I’m so incredibly proud of you. The gallery opening was phenomenal and the walls… it was incredible to see all of our lives together brought to life like that.”

“I’m really glad everyone liked it. I probably drove Lincoln and Echo insane worrying about the details.”

We made our way upstairs and shed our coats and made our way into the kitchen and living room.

“Make is a drink Lex?” Clarke asked batting her eyes at me. “I’ve got to get out of these heels and dress.”

“Of course. I’ll be right there.”

I watch the love of my life disappear into our room and smile. I find myself falling deeper in love with her with each passing day. Not wanting to keep her waiting I make us a bourbon on ice and walk down toward our room. I sit our drinks on the nightstand. Before I make it further into our room my right knee gives way and buckles, dropping me to the floor hissing in pain.

“Fuck!” I growl through the pain.

Clarke comes rushing out of the bathroom with her brow furrowed with concern. “It was your right knee again wasn’t it? That’s it, we are making an appointment with your orthopedic doctor. No more excuses for why you can wait. Come on Baby let me help you up.”

She wraps her arms around my waist and helps me to sit on the bed. She gingerly moves me up to the pillows and disappears out the door only to return briskly with an ice pack. I start to argue that I don’t need the ice but she just raises her eyebrows at me and gives me the “I dare you to argue with me” Look. I just huff and take it from her. She grabs me a pair of gym shorts to change into so I can get more comfortable. She inhaled sharply when she sees it’s pretty swollen. She gingerly wraps it for me and gets the ice pack on it after helping me prop it up. She notices me smiling at her.

“What?” She says tilting her head to the side.

“Just you. Everyday I fall more in love with you. No one I’ve been with has ever taken care of me the way you do. I’ve always felt like I had to apologize when my joints would give way or if I was in pain. I love you so much.”

“Well those other girls were morons. You’re special and I love you more and more everyday Baby. You’re my warrior. Ok I wanted to surprise you with this but since your knees have gotten so much worse I need to ruin my surprise for you.”

She fidgets and takes a deep breath. “Remember that guy that you saw talking to Raven when Finn happened?”

Nodding in response she then continues. “Well he’s putting an elevator in for us. They are scheduled to do it while we are away at Christmas.”

I can’t even say anything in response to this. My eyes fill with tears of gratitude for this amazing woman I get to call mine. All that I manage to do is pull her in and grip her tightly while I’m racked with sobs.

“I hope these are good tears.” She says playfully trying to lighten the mood. I just nod my head and hold her tighter.

“Clarke, no one has ever done anything like this for me. Mama and the twins dr the first people I let in and they were incredible. But you… I don’t know how to thank you for this.”

She waves it off and says, “you are fierce and strong. You fight a battle everyday that most people could never even imagine. I’m proud to be yours. Monday you’re calling the ortho to set up surgery.”

I grumble and she silences me with a kiss and whispers in my ear, “If you’re good than I’ll play nurse.”

We curl up and twirl her hair as we fall asleep wrapped up in one another.

I’m roused from sleep by my cell phone alerting me to a message from the family chat.

WonKru

Little Bird: I’m hungry, when’s brunch?

Wonder twin 2: I want cap’n crunch French toast Lex!!”

Murphy’s law: did someone say cheesy eggs?

Heda: Alright, Alright! I’m up. I’ll put coffee on but Clarke is asleep, I’ll throw out anyone who wakes her up…. Raven.

Little Bird: I would never…. Except that one time.

Heda: door’s unlocked.

I brush my lips over Clarke’s temper causing her to lean into my touch. I pull the blanket up around her and quietly stumble out of bed. I grab my knee brace and reluctantly get my cane as well.

I get the coffee started and move to the couch to get my brace on rub the sore muscles. It’s been slipping out of place more often. There’s only so much the brace can do though. Clarke’s right. It’s time to get surgery. It seems like it’s one surgery after the next these few years. I shake loose those negative thoughts and turn on some music while I get brunch started.

Cooking always makes me happy, especially while listening to music. I check the clock to see it’s just past 9. The door downstairs opens and looking at my phone I see Raven, Murphy and Miller stumbling up the steps, no doubt hungover from our antics the night before. They are followed by the wonder twins and their loves.

“No Monty and Harper?” I ask looking between them.

“No the brewmaster had too many brews.” Murphy mumbles as he props his head up with his hands.

“Get some coffee and go relax in the living room. Ro will be here with the kids in a little while. Actually, I forgot to tell you all this but Nia May be coming as well.” I cringe, expecting them to flip out. They share a look and nod.

Raven decides to speak for the group. “Okay, we will allow it but if she so much as looks at you wrong she will answer to us.”

Clarke sneaks up on me and winds her arms around my waist and kisses my neck. “Morning beautiful. Thank you for letting me sleep in.”

Before I can respond we hear Roan and the kids arrive with Nia. I can feel everyone stiffen when she enters the kitchen. They quickly relax seeing a version of Nia they have never seen before. She walks in holding each kids hand and laughing at something Madi says. We all quickly exchange looks of shock and Roan just shrugs his shoulders behind Nia.

“Well good morning everyone! I thank you for inviting me to family brunch.” I have never seen her smile, ever.

Clarke elbows me to snap me out of it and I quickly recover. “Coffee is made and the food is almost ready. Wash up kids and we can eat. “

Brunch passes remarkably well. Nia is different than I’ve always remembered her. It’s astonishing and I’m not altogether convinced that this will last. Sending the apprehension from the group Nia discreetly asks Aden and Madi to show Roan their rooms.

Once out of site Nia turns to look each of us in the eye. Clarke reassuringly rubs my thigh.

“I know I haven’t given you all any reason to trust me with the way I have treated Lexa and you all in the past. I was a toxic person after Roan’s father died. I blame myself for Costia’s demise into the monster she has become. I treated you unfairly Lexa. I’ve seen you show more love and support to my grandson in the past five years than most people get in a lifetime. When Ms Griffin past away and you came home it was a huge wake up call for me. I don’t deserve forgiveness but I am so sorry for how I have behaved. I want to earn your all’s trust and be apart of the Aden’s life… well both children, Madi as well. I know they are a package deal.”

Looking around the table to each Delinquent they all nod their head, meeting Clarke’s eyes she winks at me and nods. I turn to Bellamy last and smile at him.

He turns to address Nia. “Okay. You will start with a clean slate Nia. Make no mistake, our love and kindness are not a weakness. It is our greatest strength. To hurt one of us is to hurt us all. We live for one another. Our family has a greater bond than most families could dream of.”

Raven clears her throat and Bellamy sighs. “Also if you hurt any one of us, especially the kids, Raven will make you go boom.”

Murphy then speaks up as well. “Thanksgiving dinner will be at Grounders as was Mama’s tradition. You’re welcome to join us.”

I smile at my brothers and Nia returns the gesture.

“Thank you. I would love nothing more.”

The kids come running back into the living room followed by a smiling Roan.

“Being an Uncle looks good on you my Son. When will you settle down and give me more grandchildren to spoil?”

We are all a bit shocked by this new Nia and Raven breaks the silence. “Ok, seriously who are you and what have you done with the Nia we know?”

“Raven!” Clarke scolds, cousin Raven to dip her head and apologize. “I’m sorry!”

“It’s quite alright. I deserve that. I have not been a very good mother, grandmother or person quite honestly but I intend to change that. Now I hate to rush off but I have a prior engagement. Can I bring anything to dinner next week? Perhaps I could spend some time with the kids over Thanksgiving break?”

Miller smiles and says, “just bring yourself. We start serving around 2. Our dinner is open to anyone in the community so we make enough to feed an army.”

“Just call when you would like to see the kids. I’m sure we can arrange something. I’ll walk you out.” I try to stand up but Clarke pulls me back into my seat.

“You can sit right there. I’ll be happy to walk you out Nia. Lexa is stubborn and her knee is bothering her. Bellamy, maybe you and O can talk some sense into her.”

“Snitch!” I mutter

“What was that?”Clarke asks.

Nia chuckles and says “Lexa, happy wife happy life.”

We are all stunned and can’t help but laugh. This new version of Nia I can get used to. Roan leaves with his mothe while the rest of the kru helps clean up and do the dishes. Once everyone else has gone Clarke curls up on the couch with me, nestled into my side. We find a movie on Netflix and the kids join us. It’s a perfect lazy Saturday.

By Sunday morning my knee isn’t as bad so we take the kids to the park after lunch. It’s only a couple blocks away so it’s in walking distance. On our way home we see a white boxer following behind us. I notice he seems cautious of people but could definitely use some tlc. He doesn’t have a collar but is quite friendly. He follows us up to our building. Madi and Clarke run up to get him a bow of water and a couple hotdogs that were leftover. Aden and I sit on the steps at our door and the dog slowly comes close enough for us to pet him. Growing up with dogs I can tell he’s just scared and probably really neglected. When Clarke comes back with a water bowl Aden , Madi and I give her our best puppy dog face and the stray sits with us looking at her and whines.

“Really? How am I supposed to say no to these faces! Fine, he can stay but tomorrow morning we are taking him to a vet to check for a microchip and calling the shelter to see if someone has reported him missing…”

“Momma what if he doesn’t have a home?!” Madi asks horrified.

The dog lays at Clarke’s feet and whines. “I, uh…. Well… I guess he has a home now.”

Both kids jump up and down and the dog joins in and licks them in the face and barks along with them.

“First things first… he needs a bath. How about you two hep Mommy get him cleaned up and I’ll go get him some dog food and pick up dinner for us.”

Both kids slam into Clarke hugging her tightly and then scramble up the steps with our new nameless friend. Looping a finger through her belt loop I pull her flush against me. She smiles slipping her arms around my neck. She brings her lips to mine in a soft sweet kiss that quickly deepens when she brushes her tongue against my lips. Granting her entrance I feel her groan into my mouth.

Reluctantly, she pulls away while I try to
Chase her lips.

“Hold that thought.” She places a finger against my lips. You have a dog to bathe and I need to get us dinner. But we can definitely pick this back up later.”

“Have I told you lately how much I love and adore you Clarke Woods?”

“Yes but I never tire of hearing you say it.”she bites her lip and saunters to her car turning back to wink at me before she leaves.

Limping upstairs I hear water running in the kids bathroom followed by shrieks of laughter. “shit that can’t be good!” I mumble and make a be line to the bathroom to find all three in the tub, both children still fully clothed and laughing hysterically. I do the only responsible thing and pull out my phone to take pictures.

30 minutes later the kids and I are soaked, the dog is soaked and doing sprints through the house, playing keep away with my shirt. I finally grab my shirt and it rips in two causing the kids to fall over laughing hysterically. While “Ripa” and I are playing tug of war with the towel Clarke comes back from getting us dinner.

The kids and I stop laughing and the dog sits beside me. Aden looks back and forth between Clarke and I and says “we can explain…. Psst , right Mommy?”

She just laughs and swoops him up to tickle him. He shrieks and yells, “Help Ripa! Help!” The dog visibly looks concerned and starts barking at Clark and pulling on Aden’s pants leg. Clarke drops Aden on the couch and Ripa jumps up and licks her in the face.

“Ripa?” Clarke asks.

“Yeah cuz he ripped Mommy’s shirt in half!” Madi says between giggles.

“I see that.” Clarke turns so the kids can’t see her eyes roam over me, clad in jeans and a sports bra. The way she’s looking at me makes my brain short circuit.

“Come on kids I got stuff for our new dog. Do you want to check it out? Mommy can get dressed and we can have a picnic in the living room and watch a movie before bedtime.”

The kids helped set up his bowls with instructions that Momma or I feed him. Clarke got him a collar and leash as well. The kids and I are taking him to get a name tag for it tomorrow providing he doesn’t already have a home. I think it’s safe to say we are his home but I want to make sure first. He’s a sweet dog who just needs some kids to love. Clarke spread out our Chinese containers on the coffee table while Ripa scarfs up his food and I find tank top.

After we have all had our fill Clarke and I clean up the food containers and leave the kids to pick out a movie. They settle on the Secret Life of Pets and climb up on the clinch with Ripa between them. Choosing the recliner I pull Clarke down in my lap and she drapes a blanket over us.

“You look good in that tank top Lex. You looked better out of it though.” Clarke whispers in my ear and nips at my earlobe.
Her right arm is draped around my neck and she scratches her nails along my scalp.

Looking over to the kids, they are both hypnotized by the movie and Ripa is asleep on his back between them, all four feet in the air, snoring lightly.

I snap a picture and return my phone to my pocket and rest my hand on her thigh under the blanket.

“Clarke, two can play this game you know?”

“My God I hope so!” She husks into my neck. She bites down unexpectedly and I nearly moan out loud. In the darkened living room I use the cover of the blanket to run my hand up Clarke’s thigh, not stopping until I can run my my hand over her clothed center. Her grip in my hair tightens harshly.

“Why don’t you take the dog outside while I tuck them in, they’re falling asleep anyway.” She all but orders me.

“Sha, ai hodnes,” is all I reply.

“Come on Ripa.” He bounds down the steps happily and sits obediently while while I attach his leash to his new collar. “You’re a good boy!” I praise him and he gets so excited his back end wiggles back and forth. “You’re doing the ‘boxer wiggle’ ! I had a boxer when I was younger. I don’t know where you came from but I hope we can be your forever home.”

He tilts his head back and forth with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. It doesn’t take long before he finds two suitable bushes to pee on and he pulls me back to our door. He trots up the steps while I lock the doors and set the alarm. I hear giggles coming from Aden’s room and I know they belong to my favorite blond. Peeking my head in I see something that still takes my breath away. Clarke is laying beside Aden and Madi reading them a story with Ripa curled up on the foot of the bed. She smiles up at me and my two sleepy children reach their arms out wanting hugs goodnight which I happily give.

“They both want to sleep in here with Ripa so I said they could.” Clarke explains.

“Good night my sweet kids. I love you!”

“We love you too !” They say in unison.

Clarke and I leave the door cracked and she takes me by the hand pulling me towards our room. “How did we end up with a dog?” She asks giggling.

“He kind of chose us. He’s s good dog, he has a kind soul.”

“That sounds just like my wife.” She smiles at me.

“Are you calling me a dog?!” I tackle her on the bed and climb on top her, straddling Her and tickling her ribs.

After a few minutes she’s begging for a truce when I have her pinned to the bed.

“Lex… I can think of quite a few other things you could be doing with those hands and that talented mouth of yours.” She challenges, biting her lip.

“Oh yeah? Like what?”

“You can start by kissing me…”

“Yes ma’am…”

We’re interrupted by whining at the door. Opening the door Ripa leaps on the bed and starts licking Clarke in the face.

“Cock blocked by my own dog….unbelievable!” He huffs at me curls up between Clarke and I, placing his head on her chest. “At you have good taste though buddy!”

I pull out my phone and snap a selfie of the three of us.

WONKRU

Heda: so this happened. Meet the newest member of the Woods family. He followed us home.

Heda: (image) 1 of 3

Little Bird: OMG! He’s so cute! Can we keep him??? Pleeeeeeease!

Griffindor: only if your good. Goodnight guys, I’m stealing my wife back.

Little Bird: g’night!

Wonder twin 1: wait what?

Murphy’s Law: what?

Little Bird: Wait , did you say wife?!?!?

Heda has left the chat

Griffindor has left the chat

Little Bird: how rude!

Wonder twin 2: she said wife!!!

Little Bird: @Brewmaster and I will get to the bottom of this!!