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Lagniappe

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***

“Hey Commander, we’ve got incoming,” Raven poked her head around the doorway of the makeshift exam room, her radio headset still on. “Two injured by storm debris.”

Clarke frowned. “The Guard is out already? I thought the wind gusts were too high for the helicopters.”  In fact, she could hear the wind howling outside, whistling over the roof of the basketball arena that hosted both a storm shelter and Clarke’s hospital station.  The hurricane had only made landfall a few hours ago.

“Oh, this isn’t the Coast Guard. It’s the Commander.  Well, the other Commander, obviously.”

“Commander who?”

Raven shrugged. “That’s just what they say on the CB channels. ‘The Commander.’ Whoever it is, they run a whole armada or whatever of the Cajun Navy.”

Clarke bit back a groan.  She’d only arrived sixteen hours ago and had barely gotten her station set up inside this shelter, she still needed to run through protocols and inventory lists with the medical officers under her command, and she desperately needed some more coffee.  

The last thing she needed was to have to coordinate medical rescues with what was probably a disorganized, amateur band of rednecks over ham radio.  

She didn’t know much about the Cajun Navy.  Just that they were volunteers from southern Louisiana, mostly, who showed up with their own boats after bad storms, sometimes even before the authorities could get there, and rescued people from flooded areas.  But she’d never worked with any of them directly.

“Go for Reyes.” Raven listened intently to her headset for few moments. “Copy that, we’ll check it out.  Over.”

“Both patients are responsive, bleeding but nothing arterial, and they’re about ten minutes out,” the brunette announced.  Clarke raised an eyebrow at that: maybe they weren’t disorganized and amateur after all. “And they’re bringing them on a boat through the canal that goes behind this place, so we should see if there’s a back door or something.”

Automatically Clarke leapt into action. “Lieutenant Vie, we’ve got two trauma incoming. Prep the team and get kits ready,” she ordered the dark-haired young woman, who gave her a quick “yes ma’am” in acknowledgment.  “Jackson, Monroe, grab two stretcher boards and come with me.” 

It was satisfying to see her unit set to work quickly and calmly, though god knew they’d had more than enough practice this year.

Five deployments.  Five deployments in seven months.  Hurricane Lorelei was just the latest in a seemingly endless series of storms, floods, tornados, and wildfires. These disasters had hit communities across the US hard enough to require the aid of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in running emergency field hospitals, medical evacuations, and shelters.  Including the aid of one Commander Clarke Griffin--though the Commander part was still new, the bars and pins still shiny on the shoulders of her dress uniform. Sometimes Clarke still felt like she didn’t know what the hell she was doing in charge.

Like right now, as she and the other two struggled to roll up the heavy, rusty door of the loading dock they’d found on the back side of the building, only to get soaked immediately as the wind blew a sheet of rain in on them.

Monroe danced backward, cursing and wiping water from her face.  Meanwhile Clarke stared out into the wildness of the storm.

The weather reports had said it’d be a nasty one.  Wind speeds high enough to make it Category 3, maybe even Cat 4 by the time it made landfall, but chugging slowly inland, lashing the coast with successive bands of heavy rainfall and mini-tornados.  She watched as sheets of rain rippled across the narrow stretch of pavement behind the arena, sluiced through a fence, down a concrete slope, and into a canal.

The water in it was a lot higher than it’d been when she first arrived here, tossing with wind-driven waves, small branches--and was that a canoe heading upstream? 

“Monroe, go get some wirecutters from Raven.  If she doesn’t have any, bring shears from medical.  Hurry,” Clarke ordered, and Zoe rushed to obey.

The rain slackened just enough for them to see the approaching boat--bigger than a canoe but with the same low, long shape, with a square-nosed bow and a motor at the other end.   The dull metal almost blended in with the rain, as did its occupants--four figures hunched against the rain and wind.

A couple minutes later Monroe returned at a sprint--running with wirecutters, the horror of every kindergarten teacher ever--and they ventured out into the downpour.  The wirecutters slipped on the wet fencing at first but soon bit through, and they managed to make a wide hole just as the boat coasted to a stop. 

From a moment’s glance, Clarke could tell immediately who her patients were—a skinny, dazed-looking Asian guy who had what looked like a T-shirt tied around his head, soaked with both rain and blood, and a young white woman leaning against him, clutching a bloodied arm. Her belly was rounded in what Clarke would guess to be eight or nine months’ pregnancy, and they had a tarp wrapped around them. Satisfied neither patient was in danger of immediately dying, she turned to the figure at the stern of the boat, who had just cut the engine.

It was a mountain of a man under a large camo-patterned poncho, a long beard and battered baseball cap rounding out the image of some Duck Dynasty swamp hunter. Ugh, odds are he’s a sexist, homophobic asshole as well, she thought with dismay.

“You’re the Commander?” she shouted over the rain and wind.

He stared at her for a moment, then shook his head and pointed towards the other end of the boat. “She is.”

Feeling foolish for her assumption, Clarke looked where he pointed—and saw a woman roughly her own height, also poncho-clad, dark ponytail spilling from the back of her own baseball cap. She was working with Jackson to secure a rope from the boat to one of the fence posts, though Clarke noticed she was only using one hand.

The woman seemed to feel Clarke’s gaze on her, because she glanced over.  

And when their eyes met, cliché as it was, Clarke felt an actual jolt run through her.  The woman looked to be her own age and was stunningly attractive, with full lips, a sharp jawline.  The kind of face that one would expect in a fashion magazine, not under a ratty LSU baseball cap drenched by rain and--was that blood on her face?

Right.  Patients.  “Can both of you stand?” Clarke asked the two huddled under the tarp.  

They could, but it was a tricky affair without a dock, transferring two patients from a rocking boat to the wet, sloping side of the concrete-lined canal.  Eventually the big Duck Dynasty guy just picked up the pregnant woman--Harper, she had told Clarke in a voice tightened by pain--and carried her with remarkable gentleness up to the loading dock.

From there it was easier.  Lieutenant Vie had done an excellent job getting ready; treating the patients--broken arm and some nasty lacerations for Harper; head lac, concussion, and gashes to the hands for her fiancé Monty--was fairly routine. Once they were seen to, Clarke went in search of the ‘other Commander’.

She was standing in the loading dock with the big guy, poring over an actual map--the kind of laminated folding ones you could still get from gas stations around here--and listening intently to a walkie talkie holstered at her hip.  It crackled with periodic messages, presumably from other members of the Cajun Navy and their volunteer dispatchers.

“Hi, Commander--what’s your name, anyway?” 

Big gray-green eyes--the same green as her forest camo-printed poncho, Clarke noted with some amusement--looked up.  

“Lexa Dubois.”  A faint French-sounding accent curled around the last name. 

“I’m Commander Clarke Griffin.”  She held out a hand, and without surprise saw Lexa hesitate, before trying to extend her own right hand.  The woman was able to hide the wince, but not the sharp intake of breath the motion tore from her.

“I thought so. You hurt your shoulder, right?” Clarke guessed.  

“Yeah, she busted it tryin’ to move a big piece of debris all by herself, tête dure,” the bearded guy said, muttering the last part.

“Gustus likes to exaggerate,” Lexa glared at him. “It’s fine.”

But Clarke had had plenty of experience with stubborn patients.  “Let me be the judge of that,” she declared. And without waiting for a protest, she stepped forward and lifted the poncho off Lexa’s shoulders.

Only to discover the woman was wearing nothing but a sports bra underneath.  And—good lord, she had abs for days...

Clarke blushed furiously, like she hadn’t in years, and actually stammered.   “I--I’m, uh, sorry. Um. You--”

“I’m gon’ go get me a bottle of water,” Gustus announced. Graciously averting his gaze, he headed for the door.  “Bring you one too, Commander. You're lookin’ thirsty.”

“Thanks,” Lexa replied.

“Wasn’t talking to you,” his voice came back from the doorway.

Clarke blushed harder at his words.  “So I’m guessing your shirt was the one wrapped around Monty’s head?”

“That’s right.”  Lexa’s glare had been replaced by a smirk.

“Smart move,” Clarke said, trying to regain control as she examined Lexa’s shoulder.  Her smooth, well-muscled shoulder, with a tattoo of a cypress tree stretching down onto her bicep, dark against her smooth tan skin...She cleared her throat.   “Do you, uh, have emergency medical training?”

“Kinda.  I was in the military for six years.”

“Let me guess...Navy?” 

“Army.  I was actually a Sergeant.  The whole ‘Commander’ thing started as a joke.”

And Clarke, as she gently moved Lexa’s shoulder, studying her range of movement, noticed a bullet wound scar above the woman’s right hip, shiny burn tissue on her left shoulder.  And another tattoo, a series of shapes, lines, and words trailing along her spine. Clarke itched to reach out and trace it…

“It isn’t dislocated, just a minor sprain,” she said finally, clearing her throat.  “But you should still take it easy. I’ll go get you a sling and some ibuprofen. And another shirt,” she said, able to resist the blush this time.

“I’ll take the shirt, but I don’t need the sling.  Me and Gustus, we gotta get back out there.” Her accent rounded the ‘th’ in ‘there’ into almost a ‘d’ sound.

“Out into that?!” Clarke gestured at the open loading dock.  The rain still fell heavily even if the wind had died down a bit--so that it was merely shaking street signs and not in danger of, say, ripping entire roofs off.

“It’s what we do,” Lexa replied, voice flat. “There’s people who need our help.”

Clarke studied her stubborn expression, her chin lifted and eyes glinting with challenge.  “Technically I outrank you,” she observed. “Which means if I order you to stay here so your shoulder can heal…”

“I’m not in the service anymore, an’ besides--”

Suddenly Lexa’s focus shifted, and she turned up the volume on the radio.  Clarke couldn’t understand the staticky but urgent-sounding words and realized it was the same language Gustus had spoken.  French? she guessed.  It was the Cajun Navy, after all…

Lexa responded fluently in the same language, voice worried but steady.

“What’s going on?” Clarke asked. 

“A levee just failed five miles away.  The way the water’s risin’, it’s gonna flood that neighborhood there--” she pointed to a spot on the map, “an’ over here.  The National Guard can’t get trucks through because part of the highway’s already flooded. So I’m tellin’ my people to take their boats over there now.”  She started folding up the map, long fingers moving quickly and expertly.

“How bad is it going to get?” Clarke asked quietly.

Lexa paused.  When she looked up, her jaw was set in a grave expression.  “The river was twelve feet above flood stage, last I heard. Houses round there are single-story shotguns, and there’s a lotta folks who couldn’t or didn’t evacuate.”

“Then you better go and bring them here,” Clarke decided.  

The woman gave her a long, thoughtful look, one that made Clarke’s breath catch for a moment, and then nodded.  

“I’ll go get you that shirt.”  She stepped away with some reluctance.  As she reached the doorway, Lexa’s voice stopped her.

“I guess I’ll take the sling, too.”  She glanced back to see the dark-haired woman watching her...and was that a faint blush on her cheeks?  “And thanks, doc.”

***

Ten hours later the hurricane had passed, carving a path of destruction further inland, and Clarke was exhausted. She was also irritated, because she’d told Raven to spread the word on the radio network that the shelter was at capacity half an hour ago.  Yet at that very moment she saw Lexa and another woman carrying another patient in on a stretcher, ‘the Commander’ using her one good arm.  

The last wave of the storm had knocked out power to a senior living center, forcing an evacuation to the shelter.  Several of the older folks were in weak condition from the stress of moving, so her field hospital had filled up quickly.  This was in addition to the dozens of people Lexa and her crew had brought in through successive rescue trips. Small fishing boats and airboats rotated in and out along the canal like relay racers, coordinated by Raven and the Cajun Navy’s volunteer radio dispatchers.   The entire floor of the main gym was crammed with cots, people, their belongings, and their pets, except for curtained-off area that contained the field hospital.

It was loud, crowded, and chaotic. 

After the latest patient was situated in the last bed they had and triaged, Clarke yanked Lexa aside.  “Hey, you have to stop bringing people back here! We can’t take any more evacuees or patients.”

Lexa looked around dismissively. “Y’all got some more room. Just put them in the hallways out there, an’ the lobby.”

“We’re out of cots!”

The woman’s jaw tightened in a stubborn--and distractingly hot--line.  “You got a Walmart ‘cross the street. Bet they got air mattresses.”

“Listen, Lexa, I don’t take orders from you.” Clarke stepped forward, brimming with anger.  It startled the brunette into backing up. “I don’t care what your guys with their fishing boats call you,” she took another step, “or what your rank used to be,” another step, and Lexa bumped up against the exam table, swallowing hard.  “I’m a commissioned officer, and I’m in charge here.”

“Then Take. Charge.” Lexa snarled back at her.  They were standing so close, Clarke could feel the woman’s warm breath on her cheek, see the light wisps of hair at her temples, curled by humidity.  Clarke fought not to shudder, a bolt of sudden heat shooting through her.

“I know you want to help all these people,” she said, ignoring it, “but the shelter doesn’t have the personnel to take care of everyone as is—” 

Gray-green eyes hardened with anger. “So what, you want me to just leave them there stranded on the roof of their flooded houses, if they even manage to get up there before the water traps them? Prayin’ it don’t rise higher?”

Clarke huffed. “No! Of course not, I just—“

“Ain’t nowhere else for them to go, Clarke.” Lexa’s tone suddenly gentled, almost pleading. “The wind’s still too rough for the helicopters.  They had to evacuate the shelter at the high school because part of the roof caved in. An’ at least here folks got a damn good doctor in case they’re hurt or sick.”

“Flattery isn’t going to help you,” Clarke warned her, but her resistance was crumbling.  She wasn’t entirely sure if it was due to Lexa’s words, or Lexa herself...

“It ain’t flattery if it’s true, cher,” Lexa countered.  That damn smirk edged back onto her full lips. And Clarke cursed herself, because she knew she was going to say yes, and because this was the worst possible time to develop a crush.  She was deployed. It was the middle of a natural fucking disaster.

She looked out at the arena’s main floor, the kids running around amidst anxious-looking parents, the elderly black man who was flipping forlornly through a photo album in his lap, the only thing he’d managed to grab from his flooded home.  She knew there were even more people in need; this storm was even worse than they’d predicted.

And judging from what she heard from other PHSCC-run shelters and hospitals through periodic conference calls and radio reports, its impact would be felt for a while. She took a deep breath and let it out.

“Okay, fine,” she conceded, stepping back and letting the last of her anger slip away. “I’ll send someone to scrounge up some air mattresses and blankets.”  

“I’ll go get ‘em,” volunteered a new voice.  It was the woman who’d helped Lexa carry the patient in.  A loose braid held back wild hair shot through with blonde highlights, above sharp cheekbones and dark eyes.

“Anya, be good,” Lexa said in a warning tone.  “No lootin’.”

The woman sucked her teeth.  “I ain’t gonna loot. Just gon’ ask for donations of vital emergency supplies.  Very nicely,” she added, though something in her expression didn’t make it very convincing.

“I don’t want to know about it,” Clarke declared, waving her hands.  “Take Lieutenant Reyes if you need a hand, she was talking about needing some equipment to boost her signal.”

“Reyes...She the cute lil’ feisty one with the radio?” Anya drawled speculatively.  

“ANYA.”

T’en fais pas, ‘tite chaoui,  I’ll behave,” she told Lexa with a wolfish grin, and patted the brunette on her uninjured shoulder as she passed.

“It’s okay, Raven can handle herself.  In fact, Anya’s maybe the one we should be more worried about,” Clarke added, as she recalled some of her friend’s adventures on past deployments. The engineer, attached to Clarke’s unit as a sort of jill-of-all-trades technician, had a certain joyful recklessness about her.  She glanced back at Lexa. “How’s the shoulder, by the way?”

“Hurts,” the brunette said simply.  Then a glimmer entered her eye. “Why, you lookin’ for an excuse to get me shirtless again?”

“No,” Clarke lied, remembering those abs, jesus. “I just, uh, wouldn’t want you to wind up aggravating the injury. You really should get some rest, anyway.”

“So should you.”

“Yeah well, until our friends acquire some air mattresses, I don’t have anywhere to sleep.”  Clarke pressed her knuckles into the back of her neck, trying to massage away tension. “I gave my cot to a patient.”

“I got a bed.  Indra and Lincoln brought our trailers an’ RVs over to the parkin’ lot here, including mine.  We figured this was as a good spot as any for our headquarters.”

Clarke bit her lip.  She was overdue to take a shift off, and her eyes were gritty from lack of sleep.  A real bed sounded incredible. Especially one that was away from the echoing noise of the gym.

“Where would you sleep, though?” she asked.  “I don’t want to take your bed…”

“It’s big enough for two.”  Lexa glanced up through long eyelashes. 

“You mean sleep together ?” Clarke’s voice comes out rough, her mouth suddenly dry.  She isn’t sure if it’s from nervousness or arousal...or both.

Lexa gives her that same lazy grin Anya had worn.  “I’ll keep my hands to myself, cher.  If that’s what you want.” 

“What I really want is a shower,” Clarke murmured without thinking.  The air-conditioning was barely able to keep up with all the people in the shelter, and she’d been wearing the same uniform for two days straight.  She felt grimy.

“Got one of those in the trailer, too.”

That decided it. Though if Clarke was being honest with herself, Lexa’s intense green eyes and firm body might’ve had something to do with the decision.  “Lieutenant Vie, I’m going to get some sleep. You’re in command for now,” she announced. 

“Understood, Commander,” Maya replied, precise and responsible as ever.

She stuck her stethoscope in her pocket and turned back to Lexa, who had apparently been watching her.  “All right, lead the way.”

***

Chapter Text

The shower was tiny and the water tepid, but it still felt amazing.  Clarke let herself appreciate it for a few minutes, scrubbing away sweat and disinfectant, but she was aware the trailer probably only had a small water tank.  Reluctantly she finished up and got out, wrapping the towel Lexa had loaned her around herself.  

There was a knock on the bathroom door.  “This time I got a shirt for you, doc,” Lexa’s voice offered.  “And some shorts, too.”

She opened the door to accept the clothes.  “Thank you.”

Lexa’s eyes darted up to her face from a point about a foot lower.  “You’re--you’re welcome,” she stuttered.

Clarke smirked. “You know, if I hadn’t been awake for twenty hours straight, I might let you do more than look.”

“That a fact?”

“Uh-huh.” Clarke let her own gaze drag down Lexa’s torso and long, long legs. She loosened the towel slightly in order to re-wrap it better...and watched with amusement as Lexa appeared to short-circuit.  The woman swayed an involuntary half-step forward, bumping her elbow on the narrow doorway in a moment of uncharacteristic clumsiness. Unfortunately it was the elbow of her injured right arm, and a hiss of pain escaped her lips.

The doctor in Clarke took over, and she stepped forward to steady Lexa and stabilize her arm.  “Careful there.”

They were only inches apart now, and she was practically naked, and Lexa was trying but failing not to stare at her lips.  They were the same height, she realized absently, even though she’d thought Lexa was taller…

A sudden squeal of static from the walkie-talkie on Lexa’s hip made them both jump, followed by an unintelligible burst of speech.  Lexa hurriedly turned down the volume, then stepped back, eyes falling to the floor. “I should let you, ah, get yourself dressed.”

Clarke was a little disappointed when Lexa closed the door behind her, but she told herself it was for the best.  This really wasn’t the right time to do anything more than flirt, she was a Commander now. She was supposed to be responsible…

Sighing, she put on the borrowed clothes and headed into the main part of the trailer.

It was a small but tidy space, with bottles of water, flashlights, and other equipment arranged on the tiny kitchen table. One whole end of the trailer was filled with a neatly-made bed.  A couple of battery-powered camp lights provided illumination, and there was a mini-fridge from which Lexa was pulling a beer. “Want one?” she offered.

“God, yes. Thank you.”

Lexa pried the caps off with a bottle opener attached to her keys—dispelling any remaining notion Clarke might’ve had that she wasn’t incredibly gay—and handed a bottle to Clarke. The doctor sat at the table, pressing the cool glass to her neck for a moment with a sigh of relief before taking a long swig.

It was surprisingly good--she’d honestly been expecting something like Budweiser, but the label read ‘Abita Amber’.  “Brought ‘em from Louisiana,” Lexa said as she sipped her own beer, sitting on the edge of the bed. “It’s nice to have a lagniappe to look forward to, at the end of the day.”

“A what?”

“Lan-yap,” Lexa pronounced slowly.  “Means a lil’ somethin’ extra. A gift.  You certainly deserve it, Commander, after all you done here so far.”

Clarke shrugged.  “Just doing my job.  And a lot of it today was elderly folks needing medication or oxygen.”

“That don’t make it any less important,” Lexa insisted.  “Plus today you saved that boy we brought in with the sign-pole stuck in him, Jasper--”

“Okay, okay, I get it.  You think I’m a hero.” She laughed. “You’re the one who goes out actually rescuing people.”

Lexa gave her a serious look.  “I’ve seen you at work, Clarke.  You don’t show no sign of weakness.  There’s a problem, you just jump in an’ handle it.”

Clarke flushed at the look as much as the praise and took another long sip of beer to cover.  “Well you’re one to talk, ‘Commander’. I lost count of how many people you and Anya rescued today,” she replied.  “How’d you get involved with the Cajun Navy, anyway?”

Lexa’s expression turned somber, and she looked away from Clarke, staring out of one of the trailer’s windows into the night.  “I lost someone special to me, my first girlfriend. Her name was Costia.” Her jaw tightened, visible even in the dim light. “We were both seventeen when Hurricane Nia hit.  She was in New Orleans to help her auntie ride out the storm because she was sick, couldn’t evacuate. The house was in the Lower Ninth Ward. Right near the canal.”

Clarke’s heart ached as she listened.  The pain was clear on Lexa’s face, in the way her hand cinched around the beer bottle, as much as she tried to hide it.  “The levee was supposed to hold. It didn’t. Water rose too fast for them to get onto the roof.”

“I’m sorry.” It was all Clarke could think to offer, and she knew it was hardly adequate for such a loss. Impulsively she rested a comforting hand on Lexa’s knee.

Lexa gave a small nod, still staring straight ahead.  “The worst part was not knowing if she was okay. The first few days after the storm people’s phones weren’t workin’, cell towers were down, nobody knew what was goin’ on.  So I loaded Gustus’s pirogue on a trailer, drove my truck to New Orleans, and went to find her.”

Her eyes glistened a little, but her voice remained steady.  “Her mama and cousin had survived, managed to get out through a window, an’ I carried them back to dry land.  Then I went back to help their neighbors, an’ I got Gustus, Anya, Lincoln, an’ Indra to come and bring more boats.  Pretty soon there was a whole bunch of us, Cajuns an’ other folks out with their boats rescuin’ people, takin’ them to safety. We were out there two, three days before the National Guard even showed up.” 

“Jeez, that’s...unbelievable,” Clarke murmured.  She’d seen the news footage, of course—she’d been a junior in high school herself at the time, in California, but Hurricane Nia and its terrible toll had made international news.  It was different, though, to hear about its impact firsthand. To picture a younger version of Lexa searching for her girlfriend in a flooded city, then throwing herself headlong into rescuing others instead...she felt a sudden pang for this woman, the raw, caring heart she could tell lies beneath the competent ‘Commander’ exterior.

“What about you? How long you been in the Public Health Corps?” Lexa cleared her throat, obviously wanting to change the subject.

“About three years.  I did a combined bachelor’s and medical school program, then signed up right after that.”

“Why’d you join?”

“My parents, sort of. My mom’s an ER doctor and my dad works as a civil engineer for Habitat for Humanity, he travels all over helping people.  I wanted to do something similar, with medicine. Though the student loan repayment certainly doesn’t hurt,” she added.

“So I was right,” Lexa said, a smile back in her voice.  “You are a hero.  Gorgeous doctor who wants to go around savin’ people...”

“And I think you are trying to get in my pants,” Clarke retorted.  But she couldn’t hide her own smile.

Lexa shot her a slow, smoldering, unapologetic look.  “Maybe. Is it workin’?”

Clarke rolled her eyes, but couldn’t help the frisson that ran through her. As she tilted her head back to finish off the last sip of beer, she caught Lexa watching her, gaze tracing the line of her neck down to her collarbone, and suddenly imagined Lexa’s lips trailing over her skin instead.

It was silent for a moment, except for crickets outside and the distant sound of a generator. 

Screw it. She stood up, took Lexa’s beer bottle out of her hand, and put it on the table along with her own.  Green eyes stared up at her, wide and clear in the dim light, as she straddled Lexa’s lap. The brunette’s good hand came up to rest on her waist, steadying her.

Then she leaned down and kissed Lexa. 

Clarke had had plenty of first kisses, some of them a little tentative, a few rushed and fumbling. This kiss was as smooth as a boat gliding over still water. Lexa’s lips pressed back against hers, nestling like they belong there. 

The second kiss was different. Sent a lightning strike down Clarke’s spine, as Lexa’s tongue swiped at her lower lip and slid inside. She lost herself in it, twining a hand into the loose ponytail of dark waves.

Lexa pulled her a little closer on her lap. The hand on Clarke’s waist slid smoothly to the small of her back, slipped under the hem of her T-shirt. At the feel of Lexa’s fingertips on her skin, Clarke sucked a breath in between their lips. Lexa pushed forward, reclaiming her mouth.

A bolt of molten heat shot between Clarke’s legs. She ground down against Lexa’s lap, eliciting a gasp from the brunette.

“Clarke—can I…?” Lexa’s hand was skimming further up her back, lifting her shirt. In answer, Clarke leaned back and yanked the shirt off. She wasn’t wearing a bra underneath.

Merde,” Lexa breathed, staring at her breasts, and Clarke didn’t have to be Cajun to understand that. She chuckled at the reaction. 

Her chuckle broke into a moan, however, as Lexa leaned forward and captured a nipple with her mouth. Her tongue swirled around it, lush and hot, and the sensation made Clarke arch into her, hands scrabbling against Lexa’s scalp. 

Fuck, that feels good,” she panted.

Lexa’s lips parted from her skin with an audible smack and Clarke whined. “No, no, why’d you stop—“

The girl just gave her a wicked grin and switched her attention to the other nipple. And fuck, if Clarke hadn’t been wet already she certainly was now…

It got urgent, this need that’d been building in her since the moment she had touched Lexa’s shoulder—since they’d first locked eyes in the rain, if she was being honest. She needed more.  To hell with bad timing and duty and floods.

She tugged Lexa’s head back, gentle in that tangled curly hair. “Lexa, wait—“

She stopped immediately, looking up in concern. “You okay, cher? Too much?”

“Not enough.” Clarke pulled back and pinched the hem of Lexa’s shirt. “Wanna touch you.”

She had to help Lexa with navigating the shoulder brace and pulling the shirt off.  But she was hardly complaining. It gave her an excuse to drop kisses along the line of Lexa’s neck, nibble her collarbone, stroke down her side as she stripped her down. When Lexa was shirtless and panting, gazing up at her, Clarke swooped back down for a prolonged kiss. Without breaking it, she placed a palm between Lexa’s breasts and pushed her backwards onto the bed.

***

When Clarke woke, her whole body felt warm and liquid with relaxation. She blinked against the dawn light coming in around the blinds of the trailer’s windows, and brushed hair away from her face. It was Lexa’s hair, as it turned out, since she was apparently using the Cajun’s good shoulder as a pillow; she had an arm thrown across those firm abs she’d ogled, a leg curled over Lexa’s bare hip.  And okay, she’d always been a bit of an octopus when she slept, Raven had made fun of her for it when they’d shared a cot one time, but this was just ridiculous…

Then she registered the noises that had woken her: footsteps outside the trailer, keys jingling.

“Lexa! Allons, réveille-toi!”

Clarke had just enough time to yank the sheet over them before the door opened.

Anya stepped inside the trailer. She spotted them in bed and let out a wild whoop.  Lexa jerked awake at the sound and groaned in the general direction of the world.

Ai-yee!” Anya crowed, grinning.  “And you was tellin’ me to be good? You got a girl in the bed wit’ you!”

Ferme ta babiche,” Lexa mumbled, at the same time that Clarke sputtered, “We--we were just sleeping.”

“Uh-huh, sure.” Anya’s tone was dry with disbelief. Then her expression turned more serious. “Well you better get up, Commanders, because Lincoln just called in.  He needs a doctor right away.”

Lexa was up like a shot and scrambling to put on clothes.  “Co faire?”

“Ain’t for Lincoln, he’s fine,” Anya reassured her.  “But he found a girl with a gash in her leg, she’s bleedin’ pretty bad.”

“He can’t bring her back here?” Clarke asked.  She, too, threw on her uniform--probably flashing Anya in the process, but it couldn’t be helped--and hurriedly pulled her hair back into a bun.

“His motor got a problem, it’d take too long.”

“I’ll take you, doc,” Lexa told her.  “Grab what you need and meet me out by the canal, I’ll get my boat ready.”

***

Clarke had heard about the flooding from Raven and from her evacuated patients and caught glimpses of news footage, but seeing the scale of it in person was still startling. As they made their way from the canal into the flooded parts of the city, she stared around in shock.  Whole neighborhoods of single-story houses were flooded to their eaves. Their boat glided easily over streets, past half-submerged stop signs and floating trash cans. A man kayaked past with a dog hunkered on the prow of his boat.

She glanced back at Lexa, who sat with one hand on the tiller.  “How long do you think the flooding will last?” she called over the noise of the outboard motor.

“It’ll take as long as it takes.”  Lexa’s eyes were unreadable in the shadow of her baseball cap’s bill.  “Depends on if there’s more rain, too. It’s still storm season.”

Goosebumps rose on Clarke’s skin, despite the morning’s heat, at the thought of another storm like this hitting the city.

They reached a flooded apartment complex where another fishing boat, presumably Lincoln’s, was tied up, and Lexa turned in towards it.  The boat coasted to a stop along the gallery that ran along the second floor of the complex, barely two feet above the waterline. Lexa held onto the railing along the gallery, steadying the boat so that Clarke could climb out, then tied up and climbed out herself (much more gracefully than the doctor had managed).

Ici!” called a man’s voice from the partly-open door of an apartment nearby.  Inside, the power was out, but someone had opened the blinds over the couch where a white woman in her early twenties laid.  Kneeling next to her was a tall, light-skinned black guy with a shaved head and the same intense, no-nonsense look Lexa wore.  He fanned her with a piece of cardboard. 

Ça va, Lincoln?”

He stood and grasped Lexa’s forearm before pulling her into a hug.  “Pas très bien. She’s lost a lotta blood,” he said.

Clarke quickly unpacked her kit and put on latex gloves. “I’m Dr. Griffin,” she told the young woman, who was sweating and pale.

“Octavia,” she gritted out. “My leg, I cut it trying to climb out of a window...“

“I’m going to take a look,” Clarke said, keeping her voice calm and soothing. Octavia’s thigh was wrapped in blood-soaked bandages, elevated on a pillow with a belt fastened tightly above the wound.

“Did you put this tourniquet on?” she asked Lincoln as she started to work. 

“Yes ma’am,” he replied automatically. “Lexa got us some first-aid training earlier this year.”

Clarke nodded her approval, and then all of her attention was absorbed by the injury at hand.  Octavia was a real trooper, hissing between clenched teeth a couple times but otherwise staying still and quiet, while Lincoln continued to fan her.

“You know, you’re handlin’ this better than Lincoln did,” Lexa said to distract her.  She held a flashlight steady over Clarke’s shoulder to help illuminate the wound as the doctor put in stitches.  “One time he jumped off a bunkbed and hit his forehead. Only had to get two stitches but he cried like a lil’ baby.”

“Hey, I was only eight years old,” Lincoln defended himself, as Octavia grinned through her pained pallor.  “How ‘bout that time you watched King Kong and started havin’ nightmares ‘bout monster gorillas, an’ you wouldn’t go to sleep without--”

There was a scuffling noise behind Clarke and some swearing in French.  The light bobbled a bit. “Something tells me you two are related,” she said dryly, without taking her eyes off her work.

“Yeah, she’s my lil’ baby cousin--” Lincoln’s voice broke off with a yelp, amidst Lexa’s threatening growl of ‘couyon, I’ll show you ‘little’...’

“We all grew up together, Anya and Lincoln and me,” Lexa explained.  “And his uncle Gustus is my parrain--my, uh, godfather. Cajun families, they tend to be kinda big and messy.”

“Lexa, can you bring the light a little closer?” 

She bent down obligingly, close enough Clarke could feel soft breaths on her neck.  It made her shiver, even despite the stress and the humid heat making sweat trickle down her back.  “You’re real good at this, doc. I wish we’d had a medic like you when I was deployed—”

Someone shouting for help outside interrupted her.  Lexa shoved the flashlight in Lincoln’s free hand and ran outside.  Clarke tried not to wonder or worry, focusing instead on finishing her stitches and bandaging the wound. But a minute later she smelled smoke in the air.

“There’s a fire down at the other end of the building,” Lexa panted, darting back into the apartment. “Can we move her?”

“Gimme ten seconds,” Clarke grunted. She hurried with the bandage, apologizing as Octavia winced. “Okay. Good enough.”

Lincoln bent over Octavia. “I’m gon’ pick you up now, okay cher?” 

He carried her out to Lexa’s boat in a bridal carry, Clarke on his heels. She helped him get the woman settled in the boat and buckled into a life jacket. Then she looked around.

“Wait, where’s Lexa?” The woman was nowhere in sight.

Lincoln frowned and took out his radio. “Commander. T’es où, la ?”

Nothing but static.  At the other end of the building, Clarke spied smoke billowing dark from the open door of an apartment. 

Stubborn, stupid, heroic woman... she grabbed a spare handful of gauze from her kit.

“Stay with Octavia,” she ordered Lincoln, then raced down the gallery.  The smoke thickened as she approached, stinging her eyes and nose. 

“Lexa!” she yelled through it. 

A figure barrelled out of the haze filling the doorway of the apartment. It appeared to be a woman, bent double and coughing. Clarke caught her as she stumbled out onto the gallery.

“Take deep breaths, keep your head down between your knees,” Clarke told her automatically.  But the woman’s hair was straight and jet-black, not brown and wavy. “Was there anyone else inside?” 

The woman nodded, but she was coughing too hard to reply. Clarke peered into the apartment. She could just see the orange of flames flickering inside, could feel heat radiating out…she pressed the gauze over her nose and mouth, steeling herself to enter the inferno. 

Then a second figure appeared. Two figures, actually—a smaller one slung over the shoulder of the larger one.

It was Lexa, shirtless again, baseball cap missing, carrying a barely conscious boy. Her eyes—bright in what looked like a mask of smudged soot—met Clarke’s. Without either of them having to say a word, Clarke rushed forward and grabbed the boy, swung him down carefully to check him. Lexa’s shirt was dampened and wrapped over his nose and mouth as a makeshift mask.

He was heavy—he must be 12 or 13, how the hell did Lexa carry him?—and more critically, his breathing was labored. One of his hands looked raw, likely first or second degree burns.

“We need to get him to the shelter now,” she stated, over the growing roar of the fire.

Lincoln insisted on staying with his boat, because Lexa’s vessel would be overloaded as it was with the two Commanders and three patients. “Don’t worry, I’ll stay clear of the fire,” he reassured them; Octavia in particular seemed concerned about her rescuer’s safety.  

“You better, cuz.” Lexa gave him a quick, hard hug.  “I’ll radio Indra, get ‘er to come and tow you.”

They got the boy—his name was Aden, he managed to wheeze out—to the shelter hospital just in time, right before he started seizing. And for a while it was a whirlwind of activity for Clarke, treating the boy and overseeing the care of Octavia and the other woman, Emori. By the time she could take a breather, nearly two hours had passed.  

She still hadn’t had any breakfast, or even had the chance to brush her teeth.  But before she went to do those things, she decided to check on Lexa. Maya was making her use a nebulizer, and the sight of her sitting on a hospital bed, face smudged with soot, arm still in a sling, unexpectedly small and fragile-looking, suddenly made Clarke angry.  She marched right up to the bed.

“Are you always this reckless, or are you just trying to show off?” she snapped.

Lexa’s eyes flashed; they were red-rimmed and slightly puffy, presumably from the smoke.  “I knew what I was doin’. And why would I be showin’ off, anyway?”

“Oh, I dunno, maybe to show a girl how you’re all strong and altruistic and, and, apparently incapable of keeping a shirt on.” She was momentarily sidetracked by Lexa’s newest borrowed T-shirt, which was a little small, tight on her muscular frame.   

Mais , you think pretty highly of yourself,” Lexa retorted, exasperated.  “This ain’t about you. This is about savin’ people’s lives.” She sneezed suddenly, eyes watering.

“At the expense of your own? You aren’t a firefighter, Lexa! You didn’t have equipment or anything!”

“Did you see any firefighters out there? Who else woulda saved those two, huh?”

Clarke couldn’t exactly argue with that.  She huffed, and was about to say something snarky anyway when Lexa sneezed again.  At the same time there was a tiny meep! from somewhere nearby.  

“What was that?” Clarke wondered, looking around.  Did a bird find its way into the arena or something? But she noticed Lexa was looking...shifty, almost.

Meep! This time the sound was clearly coming from inside Lexa’s shoulder sling.  Then a tiny, furry head poked out from on top of Lexa’s arm, in the hole formed by the fabric: a kitten, its tawny fur darkened with soot.  Clarke stared at it.

“You found that in the apartment?”

Lexa nodded, rubbing at her watering left eye.  “It was hidin’ under a chair next to the boy, cryin’.”  

“You put yourself in danger to save a woman, a boy, and a kitten from a burning building in the middle of a flood,” Clarke stated in a tone of disbelief.  And, noticing Lexa sniffling, she guessed, “...a kitten you’re allergic to?”   

“Couldn’t just leave it there,” Lexa said, hunching over the kitten almost defensively.  She looked like a kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

Clarke just stared at her. Then laughter bubbled up in her throat, and her anger melted away just as suddenly as it had appeared.  “You’re unbelievable, you know that?” 

“Does that mean you’re done shoutin’ at me?”

“I was just worried about you,” Clarke admitted, not meeting Lexa’s eyes as she carefully extricated the kitten from the sling.  It appeared to be fine, unscathed apart from the soot on its fur, and wriggled in her hands with feeble squeaks of protest. “Come with me,” she told Lexa.

Aden was awake, wearing an oxygen mask and bandages around his hand.  

“Got a visitor for you,” Clarke announced, and held up the kitten.  “Lexa found this little one when she rescued you.” The boy’s face, still drawn and pale, lit up.  He looked at Lexa in awe.

“You saved her! Thank you so much!”

“No problem, lil’ man,” Lexa replied warmly.  “You feelin’ better?”

He nodded.  “Thanks to you.  You’re my hero.”

Lexa shuffled her feet at the praise, biting back a smile, and Clarke couldn’t help but think it was cute.  And okay, fine, maybe Aden wasn’t the only one who admired the Cajun commander...even if she was reckless and stupidly altruistic.

“I’m going to find someone to take care of your cat here until you’re recovered, Aden,” she reassured him.  “Now, you two better rest and do everything Lieutenant Vie tells you, you hear me? Smoke inhalation is no joke.”

“Yes ma’am!”  Lexa gave her a dramatically formal salute with her good arm, which made Aden laugh.  Clarke just shook her head, fighting her own smile as she walked away. 

***

“So...where’d you sleep last night?” Raven asked without preamble, several hours later. She was working on a laptop while Clarke slogged through some paperwork. They were both tucked away in the dusty storage area that’d been converted into a temporary office for the medical staff; it smelled like basketballs and floor polish.  “I didn’t see you on any of the staff cots.”

“I gave up my cot for a patient’s daughter,” Clarke answered.  She sipped at some weak coffee made by one of the shelter volunteers.

“Very generous of you.”

“Thanks.”

“And I’m sure it was just out of generosity and not because a certain hot, ragin’ lesbian Cajun invited you to her trailer.  Right?”

Clarke took a way-too-large swallow of coffee and then remembered it was really hot, that was why she’d been sipping it after all.

“Um.  Right, yeah,” she managed, after the coffee had scalded its way down her esophagus.

Her friend stared at her.  “Oh my god, Clarke. You slept with her, didn’t you!”

“What--I didn’t say that!”

“You didn’t have to! Your face is a terrible liar.”

Clarke hid her traitorous face behind some paperwork.  “Well, we just...look, she’s really hot, okay?” Even if she was, at times, infuriating...

“Hey, I’m not knocking you.  Actually, I’m kinda proud,” Raven said with a lewd grin.  “Commander Griffin, finally letting her hair down and getting herself some—” She ducked as Clarke swatted at her with a file folder.

There was a knock at the open doorway, interrupting them. 

 “Anybody home?” Lexa leaned tall and relaxed against the doorframe. “The folks at the grocery store, they gave us some propane and some meat. So we’re fixin’ to cook out, have a lil’ fais do-do outside.  Y’all should come,” she added, casually.

“Oh, Clarke will definitely come,” Raven answered, leering, and this time ducked a ballpoint pen.

Still glaring at her friend, Clarke said, “That’s a really nice invitation, Lexa.  Thank you.” 

“Yeah thanks, we’ll be there.  I’m sick of MREs,” Raven chimed in.

“All right then.  See y’all out there,” Lexa said.  Her gaze lingered briefly on Clarke before she turned away.

“You’re drooling, Commander,” Raven whispered, grinning.

“Am not,” Clarke retorted.  “Anyway, I saw you eyeing Anya earlier when she stopped by to charge her phone…”

The lieutenant’s grin only widened.  “What can I say? Hot, kinda sassy girl in camo and aviators, it does something for me.  Plus that accent, oof...”

Clarke couldn’t exactly disagree, to her own dismay.  

***

Out in the parking lot, the Cajun Navy camp had grown: several RVs, tents, and campers displayed LSU colors and various shades of camo, surrounded by various pick-up trucks and other vehicles, most of them with boat trailers attached.  Smoke rose from a couple of grills set up in the shade of a pop-up tent.

Now that the last remnants of the hurricane had passed, it was sunny and hot, humidity steaming off the flooded city during the day.  Even in the evening now, as the sun dipped towards the horizon, sweat beaded at the small of Clarke’s back under her lamentably un-breathable uniform shirt.  She and Raven gratefully accepted both the bugspray and cold beer offered to them by Lincoln.

“How’s that girl Octavia doin’?” he asked.

“Good.  She needs an IV and rest, but she seems strong,” Clarke replied, and then added casually, “She was asking if you made it back okay.”

“Maybe I’ll go in an’ visit with her in a lil’ bit,” he said just as casually.  Raven and Clarke exchanged an amused look.  

But Clarke was in just as bad shape, because when she approached the tent she smiled to see Lexa stationed at one of the grills, tongs in one hand and a beer in the other, grinning wide and reckless at something Gustus had just said.

“Haven’t you had enough fire for one day, Commander?” she teased.

“Nah, never.” Bright green eyes met hers across the shimmering heat-haze.  “I’m glad you came.”

“Me too.”

“Me three, because whatever that is smells amazing,” Raven interjected.

The food was indeed amazing.  Succulent ribs and spicy wings; grilled shrimp and andouille sausage cut up and served over rice; roasted corn on the cob and seasoned potatoes.  Everything was laid out on a long folding table covered with a tarp, and then everyone dug in, talking and joking. Lexa kept command of the grill, pausing to eat and swig from a beer--though the doctor side of Clarke was relieved to see she switched to water after the first beer.

It was like the big Thanksgiving dinners with Clarke’s mom’s side of the family, loud and happy.  Except that nearly everyone was wearing some form of camo and speaking in accents so heavy, it was sometimes hard to tell if they were Cajun or just really Southern.

After dinner Lincoln and another guy, Nyko, broke out a fiddle and an honest-to-god accordion while someone else sang, playing country songs and Cajun music and zydeco alike.  

“You wanna dance, doc?” Lexa had left the grill and was looking at Clarke hopefully.

“I don’t really know how to dance to this.”

“I can show you.  It’s so easy, I can do it with one hand tied in front of me,” Lexa joked, waving the hand in the sling.

Clarke couldn’t say no to that--or rather, to her beautiful dance partner.  So she followed Lexa to the open area where a few others were already dancing (including Anya and Raven), and let the brunette take the lead.  It was a bit like swing dancing, and a bit like a waltz, with something like salsa thrown in. She was surprised how easy and fun it was.

She wasn’t surprised how good Lexa was at dancing.  After all, she’d had firsthand (so to speak) experience of how skilled she was at moving her body...Lexa spuns her, then pulled her so Clarke’s back was pressed up against her front, their hips swaying to the beat.

It was distracting.  It was intoxicating, more so than the beer, feeling the warmth of Lexa’s body moving against her own, her breath harsh against Clarke’s ear--

--Wait a minute.

Clarke spun herself again, looking closer at Lexa in the twilight.  The woman was panting a little, sweat beading at the base of her neck, but of course she was being too stubborn to take a break despite having inhaled lungfuls of smoke hours earlier.

“I need a rest,” she told Lexa.  “Join me?”

The brunette nodded.  They grabbed some water and sat atop a cooler, thighs brushing, and Clarke watched Lexa’s breathing carefully from the corner of her eye.

“I’m fine, cher,” Lexa said in an exasperated tone.  “Your lieutenant, she gave me a clean bill of health earlier.”

“Okay.”  Clarke didn’t push it; instead, she tugged Lexa’s good arm around her shoulders and listened to the singing.  “So you guys all speak French?”

“Some of us still do, yeah. It ain’t exactly French French, it’s all mixed up with English an’ a lil’ bit of Spanish.  A couple words from Native American languages, too.” Lexa sips from her water bottle. “They didn’t use to let you speak it at school, but the town I grew up in kept it goin’ strong.”

There was something beautiful about that, Clarke thought, and she could sense Lexa’s pride in it, in her culture and language.  “So what’s this song about?”

“It’s about goin’ out with your girl,” Lexa translated, leaning close enough to murmur into Clarke’s ear over the music.  “But you get drunk an' you gotta sneak in through the back of the house so your parents don't find out.”

“Scandalous,” Clarke commented. She liked the way Lexa’s accent curled around her words, turned ‘through’ into something like ‘t’rue’, softened the ‘k’ sounds in Clarke’s name. “You know about that from experience?”

Lexa smirked at her. “Maybe.  Did some sneakin’ around with Costia when we were in high school.”

Clarke chuckled.  “You little rebel, you.”

“What about you? Somethin’ tells me you were a lil’ goody two-shoes.”

“Well, I was on the chess team,” Clarke admitted, “but I also got caught in bed with my teammate, this girl named Niylah.  Which is how I came out as bi to my parents.”

“Scandalous,” Lexa echoed with a teasing laugh.  They sat for a moment and listened to the end of the song.  Lexa was rocking a little to the beat, side to side, and Clarke was so close that their shoulders bump together, their legs pressed close from knee to hip.  Heat tingled where they touched, and radiated down her spine...

“Lexa?”

“Uh-huh?”

“How about we do some sneaking of our own and go back to your trailer?”

“I like the sound of that, cher.”

***

Afterwards, they laid together in the darkness, listening to the music echoing from the other side of the parking lot and the small battery-powered fan struggling to cool the air within the trailer.  Clarke felt the sweat drying on her skin as she curled against Lexa’s side, running a lazy hand across those taut muscles she’d come to appreciate so much. 

“So what are you going to do when you finish up here?” she asked.  

“Was thinkin’ of gettin’ me another beer.”

She swatted Lexa’s bare hip playfully.  “You know what I mean. What do you do when you aren’t rescuing people from floods?”

“Oh, I hunt alligators down in the bayou.” Clarke looked up at her face in surprise, only to find Lexa grinning.  “I’m kiddin’. Me, I’m a carpenter. I make custom furniture and interior finishings, mostly. Gustus taught me woodworking when I was little, then I got back into it when I came back from overseas, opened up my own shop.”

She wasn’t expecting that, but somehow it fit.  She could picture Lexa’s strong, capable hands sanding down a table, or splicing two pieces of wood...she shivered a little, remembering what else those hands were skilled at doing.

“Anyway, Indra is the one who hunts alligators.”

This time Clarke laughed.  “I can kinda picture that, actually.” She hadn’t talked to the fierce woman much, but something told her she was not someone to trifle with.

“What about you?” 

“Well, when I’m not deployed for emergencies, I work in a medical research lab right outside of DC. It’s a little more boring than this kind of work, but I don’t really mind the change of pace.”

“When do y’all leave?” Lexa’s tone sounded purposefully casual.

“Probably in a couple of days.  I’m sorry,” Clarke felt compelled to add.

“Don’t be. It’s your job, cher.” But underneath the forced lightness Lexa sounded sad, almost uncertain.  It spurred Clarke to rock up onto an elbow and lean over her, dropping a lingering kiss onto her lips. 

“But I’m not gone yet,” she murmured, and brushed her nose against Lexa’s cheek.  The other woman sucked in a breath, as their bodies pressed together again.  

Clarke wanted to sink into Lexa’s skin like an anchor into water, memorize the feel of her, because she didn’t know what new crisis tomorrow would bring but this, this was something good.  Something unexpected, yet better than she’d had in a while. A lagniappe.

***

EPILOGUE

Two weeks later, Clarke had managed to catch up on sleep, laundry, and Legends of Tomorrow episodes.  Usually she enjoyed the return to her DC routine and the chance to reconnect with friends, but this time she felt restless.  She wasn’t sure what was causing it, until one day on the Metro she glimpsed a slender woman with a dark brown ponytail under a baseball cap.  And she suddenly remembered a different brunette, staring at her with desire, running a skillful hand up her thigh…

But Lexa was back in Louisiana, and she was in DC, and it was only a brief fling anyway.  Or that was what Clarke tried to tell her suddenly raging hormones. Her vibrator got a lot more use, either way.

A couple weeks after that, she caught a weather report on TV as she was getting ready for work.  “...massive storm headed for the coast of Texas. It’s expected to grow to Category 2, with heavy rains predicted…”

She really should have felt bad.  A natural disaster was not something to be happy about, given how it would affect other people’s lives.  But Clarke couldn’t help but be a little excited when, later that day, she got the notification from PHSCC command to prepare her team for deployment to Texas.  And right away she pulled up a number on her phone.

Hey, Commander.  So there’s a storm headed to Texas.  I’m being sent down to the coast.

Yeah, I saw the forecast. We’re getting the boats ready.

Clarke tried not to be excited.  And failed. So I might see you down there?

Lexa’s reply came back almost immediately.  And Clarke could practically hear it in her voice, in her accent, could picture the little smirk on her face. It thrilled her.  Cher, you just tell me where and when, and I’ll be there.

***