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How We Feel is Hard to Fake (so let's not give the game away)

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1.   

Lexa re-reads the paragraph for the third time.  But no matter how hard she tries to focus on her French text, her eyes continue to droop closed.  She keeps falling into these short micro-sleeps and then jerking awake, disoriented and dazed. 

 

Clarke is to blame for this.  That is all Lexa knows for sure, her brain too muddled to filter through anything else.  Usually studying with Clarke is one of her favorite things, right behind kissing Clarke and watching Clarke draw and just generally being in the same room with her.  But today Lexa can’t even concentrate.

 

She is just so fucking tired.  She is starting to think she might have stretched herself too thin.  Her recent decision to become more involved in the Student Advisory Panel is eating up a lot of her time and she probably should have taken on a lighter class load and Clarke. 

 

It is hard to sleep when she knows she could be doing other productive things in her roommate-less room with her girlfriend who she likes a lot.

 

A lot, a lot.

 

Like, a certain amount of a lot that is almost starting to scare her because historically liking someone a lot is a very bad idea.  Liking someone a lot leads to things like The Trojan War and Jack dying on The Titanic and this fucking 19th century romantic french novel that she isn’t going to get through for the life of her. 

 

After she jerks awake for a sixth time, she feels Clarke’s hand still from where it had been stroking through her hair.  Clarke sits on Lexa’s bed, leaning against the wall, legs kicked out in front of her.  Lexa lies with her head resting in Clarke’s lap, knees bent and book propped in front of her.  Clarke had been toying with her hair and scratching at her scalp, humming absently, until now. 

 

“Are you okay, babe?” she asks, looking down at Lexa, moving a finger down the bridge of Lexa’s nose slowly. 

 

Lexa silently hates herself for the way her stomach clenches at ‘babe’ and nods, loose and lolling, in Clarke’s lap. 

 

“Tired,” she says, dropping the french book onto her stomach. 

 

“Yeah,” Clarke says, giggling a little bit, hands beginning to move through Lexa’s hair again, “I noticed.  You looked like the kitten in that video?” she pauses as she looks at Lexa, registering the blank expression on her face.  “The one that, like, falls asleep and tilts sidewise, y’know?”

 

Lexa does not know.  She is just tired and a little grumpy and a lot confused as to why Clarke is talking about cat videos right now. 

 

Lexa sits up frowning, ignoring her body that aches and protests at the movement.  “I’m not a cat,” she says, stretching her arms over her head with a yawn.

 

Clarke narrows her eyes in protest, “Uhh, you’re a little bit a cat.”

 

Lexa just levels her face at her, choosing to make no comment, book marking the page in the novel with a receipt she finds crumpled in her jacket pocket. 

 

“I can prove it,” Clarke says, and she leans forward, cupping Lexa’s face in her hands.  Lexa closes her eyes despite herself.  Clarke ghosts her mouth over her neck and Lexa tilts her head further to the side, opening herself to Clarke’s touch.  Clarke continues with light touches of her lips before she finds what she is looking for.  She lowers her mouth, sucking a kiss there, then sooths it with her tongue.  Lexa lets out a contented hum automatically, arching into the feel. 

 

Clarke pulls away immediately, grinning and overly pleased.  “See? You purred.  You are basically just a big cat.”

 

Lexa blushes, face pink and jaw clenched.  She feels manipulated and warm and this kind of thing shouldn’t make her like Clarke more but.  It does.  It does.  It does. 

 

She grumbles, “I do not like your company right now, Clarke.”

 

Clarke smiles, “You need a nap, I read somewhere that cats can need up to 20 hours of sleep a day.” 

 

Lexa sits up straighter, back rigid and hands tense on her legs.  “I can’t sleep.  I have to draw up an itinerary for our student council meeting tomorrow and finish this book and get started on that lit essay—”

 

“—and it will all be easier after you sleep, Lexa.”  Clarke stands up and takes her hand, guiding her over to her wardrobe.  “I swear, you tease me for being overly meticulous so much, I think you forget that you are also only human.”  She pulls sleep shorts and a t-shirt out of Lexa’s drawers and turns back to her, “Take off your clothes.” 

 

Lexa would attempt a smirk if her face was currently following her commands.  Instead she just huffs and pulls her shirt over her head, maintaining eye contact with Clarke as she pushes her jeans forcefully down her legs.  Clarke steps forward, wrapping her arms around Lexa’s middle, arms warm against her bare torso.  She presses a kiss to her shoulder, “Everything will be better when you wake up.”

 

Lexa swallows hard, the feel of Clarke against her almost too much for her sleep-deprived body to handle.  Clarke kisses her again and Lexa thinks, sleep deprivation or no, that maybe things couldn’t really get better then the way they are right now. 

 

Lexa likes Clarke a lot. 

 

Loves her even.  Which is scary and big and Clarke is walking her toward the bed, muttering something at about clothes not really being necessary anyway, and Lexa aches. 

 

2.  

So they fight a lot. 

 

Which isn’t new for Lexa.  She is used to fighting.  She is used to bitter words and tight expressions and that catch in her chest that makes it hard to breathe.  She is good at fighting, she was raised to know the value of a well placed insult.  Lexa is all subtlety and curled lips, her jaw clenched and her spine still.  Anger is something she lets simmer, but never boil. 

 

Clarke’s anger is a fucking inferno in comparison.  She hisses and spits, her voice betraying too much emotion and her whole body leaning forward with the force of it all.  Sometimes Lexa worries Clarke is going to tremble herself right out of her skin, that the velocity of her quick tongue and the violent grasp of her spirit will be too much for mere flesh and bone to handle. 

 

Lexa thinks she is beautiful and she hates herself for it. 

 

This fight Lexa didn’t even see coming, and she is still slightly stunned at the escalation of it all.  They are in Clarke’s room for once, Raven nowhere to be found, just the two of them.  Clarke writing an email to her mom while Lexa scrolls through the pictures on her phone, absentminded and relaxed, a little disgusted at the amount of pictures of Clarke that she has allowed to accumulate.  Her thumb hovers over a picture Octavia took of them, curled on the couch on movie night, fit into each other tightly, Clarke nuzzling into her cheek while Lexa smiles hesitantly for the camera. 

 

She is still considering it, that new feeling pressing insistently at her rib cage, when Clarke asks her a question.  Lexa looks up, startled from her reverie to see Clarke looking at her.

 

“What?” Lexa asks, clicking her phone screen blank as she looks back at Clarke. 

 

Clarke sits up on her bed and turns to face Lexa who is splayed on the floor.  “I just asked if you would maybe want to come home with me? For spring break?”

 

Lexa freezes, her throat suddenly tight and her eyes widen against her will.  “Go home? With you?” she asks, a little bit shocked and a little bit quiet. 

 

Clarke creases her eyebrows together, “Well yeah.  I mean, my mom likes you and you said you didn’t want to go home.  You literally get all nervous and quiet whenever you think about it…”

 

Lexa shakes her head quickly, “No.  No, I have to go home. It’s what they expect and its—”

 

Clarke cuts her off then, standing from the bed and glaring down at her, “Who cares what they expect, it’s obviously going to make you miserable.” She huffs and crosses the room to stand in front of Lexa who stands up as well.  “You don’t have to come home with me if you don’t want, but I don’t get why you are going to your house when you don’t want to, it’s stupid.” 

 

“I wouldn’t really expect you to understand, Clarke,” Lexa says coldly.

 

Clarke scoffs, “I don’t need to understand, Lexa,” she annunciates her name mockingly, and Lexa realizes that she is mimicking the way that Lexa says her name.  It makes Lexa set her jaw and prepare for the inevitable fight to follow.  “All I know is that you are putting yourself through hell for no reason.”

 

Lexa shrugs, “We do what we have to do for family.”

 

Clarke drops her jaw a little, exasperated and so self righteous that it makes Lexa’s skin crawl.  Clarke toes forward a little, leaning in so that their noses are almost touching.  “That’s bullshit,” she says, “That’s a stupid excuse you give yourself so you don’t have to confront anything.”

 

Lexa stares her down, feeling the heat and ripple of Clarke, so close and overwhelming it makes it hard to think straight.  “Sometimes confrontation isn’t the best path to take,” she says coolly, refusing to back away from Clarke’s fire though she fears she will soon be burned. 

 

There are worse ways to go, she thinks as she stares into Clarke’s eyes and notices the firm set of her chin.  Far, far worse ways. 

 

Clarke rolls her eyes, over exasperated and breathless now, “Could you stop it with the fucking life lessons for like one second, Lexa.” 

 

Lexa shrugs, “As soon as you stop being absolutely intolerable.” 

 

Something flashes in Clarke’s eyes and she is surging forward, capturing Lexa’s mouth with her own, hands moving roughly to frame her hips, teeth biting down to catch at her lips. 

 

Lexa stumbles back at the touch, finding herself barred from further movement by Raven’s desk.  She kisses back despite herself, losing herself in the surge of tongue and teeth and fire that is the girl in front of her.  It takes a second for her to remember the fight, ands she tangles her fingers in Clarke’s hair, pulling her back gently.

 

Clarke surveys her, eyes dazed and hungry, hands less forceful now, just stroking lightly at Lexa’s hipbones. 

 

Lexa takes a breathe before she speaks, “I told you that you can’t keep solving things like this, Clarke.”

 

“Tell me to stop,” Clarke says, quiet and low as she presses closer against Lexa. 

 

“Clarke,” Lexa says, not admonishing, just reverent as she looks at her.  The fight flees from both of them.  They know they will talk about it later, calm and mature, cross legged on Lexa’s bedroom floor.  Clarke will listen like Lexa has taught her and Lexa will use her words, attempt to help Clarke understand, despite her natural inclination to push her away. 

 

But for now, Clarke is leaning in to kiss her again.  She presses a kiss to Lexa’s chin and then her forehead, spelling out ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I adore you’ against her skin with nudging lips and increasingly breathy sighs. 

 

Lexa lets Clarke hitch her onto the desk, hands caught up on her thighs as Lexa moves to cradle the back of Clarke’s neck.

 

 A loud groan interrupts them and they break apart to see Raven leaning in the doorway, face pulled into a grimace as she eyes them uneasily. 

 

“So I heard yelling,” she says as she crosses her arms over her chest, “and as the gracious roommate I am, came in to check that you aren’t wrecking any of my stuff or hurting each other but,” Raven straightens here, gesturing at them disgustedly, “I come to find that loud fighting is just a part of your weird ass mating ritual.”

 

Clarke laughs, leaning her forehead against Lexa’s, hands still stroking up and down her thighs.  She presses a light kiss to Lexa’s lips before crossing the room to pull Raven into a hug.  “I’m sorry, babe” she says as she rocks her over exaggeratedly, “Is Raven feeling left out?”

 

Raven pulls out of her grip with a huff, shoving away Clarke’s arms.  “Don’t touch me, God only knows where those hands have been.” 

 

Lexa leans back on the desk, “I think I can make an educated guess,” she says with a small grin. 

 

Clarke’s mouth falls open in absolute delight and Raven grimaces, trying not to laugh and failing miserably.  “Oh my God,” she finally struggles out, turning to stomp out the door, “you two are impossible.”  But Clarke and Lexa can hear her, still laughing, after the door swings shut. 

 

Clarke turns back to face Lexa still grinning and pleased.  “I’m gonna kiss you now,” she says, taking Lexa’s face in her hands. 

 

And Lexa is overwhelmed, suddenly and all at once, by how much she loves her. 

 

She loves her.  She loves her.  She loves her. 

 

Lexa thinks about telling Clarke, for just a second, but then she is kissing her and to speak and dislodge Clarke’s mouth from her own would be sin. 

 

3.   

Lexa toys with her food absently as she looks out the dining hall window.  The campus is a mess of activity and she is anxious to be anywhere else.  It is the kind of night where she feels restless, like she has somewhere she needs to be but nowhere to go. 

 

She tunes back into her table’s conversation in time to hear Anya say “So Lex? Are you?”

 

Lexa looks up from her plate, setting her fork down before asking, “Am I what?”

 

Anya looks almost exasperated and reaches across the table to shove at Lexa’s arm.  “Are you coming to my get together Friday? At the apartment? This has literally been the topic of conversation for, like, ten minutes.”  She snaps her fingers in front of Lexa’s face, “Where is your head right now?”

 

Lexa smacks away Anya’s hand and shrugs, “I guess I’ll be there.” 

 

“Good,” Anya says with a grin. “You can keep Lincoln’s crush busy when she inevitably grows tired of him.” Lincoln moves to grab at Anya with a groan of annoyance. 

 

Lexa props her head on her palm, “I’m sorry, what crush is this?”

 

Anya evades Lincoln’s hands and turns back to Lexa.  “The dark haired, hot one?” At Lexa’s blank stare she embellishes, “Kind of aggressive? Hangs out with your girlfriend?”

 

Lexa picks her head up and narrows her eyes at Lincoln.  “Octavia?”

 

Lincoln nods, face calm but hands tangled nervously in front oh him, “Yeah Octavia,” he cranes his head and points, making an attempt at nonchalance, “I think she is right over there, actually.” 

 

Lexa turns, finding Octavia at a table across the room.  She is laughing hard at a joke, leaning into Raven who is seated next to her, a pleased grin on her face.  She notices that Clarke is at the table too, and her stomach lurches.  She curses the way her face almost pulls into a smile, and she observes her carefully. 

 

Lexa stands up abruptly, grabbing her plate and piling it on top of Anya’s.  “You can take care of this, Anya.  I’m going to go sit with people who might actually entertain me.”

 

Anya pulls a face at her and throws her napkin at Lexa’s head, “Don’t even try, Lex,” she calls after her, “We know you just want to be close to your girlfriend because you love her.” Anya draws the ‘o’ of love out for far longer then necessary, her tone teasing as she delights in Lexa’s obvious embarrassment. 

 

“There’s no shame,” Lincoln says smiling as well, “we all know you are a softie.” 

 

Lexa doesn’t turn, just keeps walking and ignores their jabs.  But the word ‘love’ has stoked that insistent pull behind her ribs and she chokes it down, because now is not the time, she is approaching Clarke’s table and she is so beautiful. 

 

Clarke has yet to notice Lexa’s approach.  She is seated with Bellamy, a faux annoyed expression that crinkles her nose plastered on her face.  She reaches over to him and runs her hand through his curls, mussing them obnoxiously, still lecturing him on something while he attempts to pat his hair back into place. 

 

She spies Lexa out of the corner of her eye and seems to do a double take before turning to face her fully, smiling as she gets up from her chair.  She doesn’t wait for Lexa to get to the table, instead speed walking the few paces to meet her. 

 

Clarke doesn’t say anything, and Lexa remains silent too, head still spinning with thoughts of love and that feeling that sits heavy behind her breastbone.  Clarke reaches up to rub her thumbs over Lexa’s cheek bones, fingers stroking softly at her ears. She kisses her lightly and tugs her to the table, resuming her seat before pulling Lexa into her lap. 

 

Lexa startles at the feel, almost worried that this overly intimate in such a setting, wondering if the ragged beating of her heart will give her away.  But no one spares them a second glance, Raven simply wiggles her fingers in a wave before Bellamy captures Lexa’s attention with an exasperated sigh. 

 

“Your girlfriend is annoying,” he tells Lexa with a glare at Clarke who is peeking at him from behind Lexa’s back.  Clarke wraps her arms around Lexa’s waist, squeezing to get her attention.

 

“I was just saying that Bellamy needs a haircut,” she nuzzles between Lexa’s shoulder blades, “back me up on this, babe.” 

 

Lexa weaves her fingers through Clarke’s that rest on her stomach and eyes Bellamy, “I don’t think I have much of an opinion on this, Clarke.”

 

Bellamy nods firmly, “Thank you, Lexa.  Do you hear that Clarke? She doesn’t have an opinion and neither should you.” 

 

Raven glances across the table, “You need a haircut, Bellamy.  Just come to terms with it, you are starting to look like one of those mop dogs.”  She lowers her voice and leans across the table slightly, “Not a good look, Bell.  If your hair looked like this when we met, I would not have slept with you.” 

 

Octavia grimaces and claps her hands over her ears, “I really don’t need to hear about this. Change of subject, please.”

 

Lexa swivels on Clarke’s lap before asking, “So you and Lincoln are really dating now?”

 

Octavia slowly uncovers her ears and smiles a little, “Yeah.  Yeah, I think so.”

 

Its Bellamy’s turn to cover his ears while he groans, “This isn’t my ideal subject either.”

 

Raven ignores him, looking at Octavia while she bites at her lip.  “You guys are?”

 

Octavia nods again, not even trying to hide her grin this time.  “I mean, we hang out all the time and the sex is—”

 

Bellamy cuts her off with a loud groan and Raven looks down at her plate, tearing a shred off her napkin before swallowing.  “That’s great, O.”

 

“I will give you the whole story when my brother,” Octavia turns to grimace at Bellamy, “stops invading my social life and leaves.”

 

Bellamy gets up indignantly, “I’ll have you know I have a lot of other friends I would rather be hanging out with then a bunch of freshman girls.”

 

“Oh please,” Raven rolls her eyes, voice more toxic then the situation calls for, napkin shredded on the table top, “Like you could find a single other girl willing to talk to you.”

 

Bellamy just rolls his eyes waving to Clarke before heading across the dining hall.  Raven stands up too, “I’m gonna go study.” She shoots a glare at Lexa and Clarke, “If you guys are thinking about having obnoxiously loud sex tonight, don’t.”

 

Octavia watches her go, frowning.  “She didn’t eat her pie,” she mumbles before looking across the room, “I’m going to go say hi to Lincoln, make sure we are still on for Friday.” 

Lexa watches the table vacate with little interest, more focused on the press of Clarke’s hands on her own.  

 

She realizes that she no longer feels charged and restless, her anxiety from earlier has faded with the soothing rhythm of Clarke’s breath against her neck and the warmth of her, pressed close and confident and so real, against Lexa’s back. 

 

Lexa stands and stretches, Clarke rising behind her. 

 

“I guess no one wanted to play third wheel, huh?” Clarke says, surveying the empty table.  She grabs Lexa’s hand and pulls her close, toe to toe, eyes squinted from smiling and her stance soft and relaxed.  “I would rather it just be us anyway.”

 

Lexa’s head spins and she guesses it isn’t even fair to say that she is falling anymore.  She thinks it might be a little too late for that. 

 

4.   

Clarke (10: 38): im boredddddddd

 

Lexa (10:40): shouldn’t you be paying attention

 

Lexa (10: 41): I have come to understand that is the best strategy for success in school

 

Clarke (10: 41): lexaaa don’t be an ass

 

Clarke (10: 42): entertain me

 

Clarke (10: 43): babeeeeeeee

 

Lexa (10: 45): I thought that you liked drawing 101

 

Clarke (10:45): i didn’t say that i liked it, i said that it was easy there is a difference

 

Lexa (10:46): aren’t you going to get into trouble for texting in class?

 

Clarke (10:47): seriously lex? Sometimes i wonder if you have ever actually gone to a college class

 

Lexa (10: 48): we have had classes together?

 

Clarke (10:48): ha. no you idiot.  i mean you are blissfully unaware of all the things you can get away with if you arent such a goody two shoes

 

Clarke (10:55): lexxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Clarke (10:58): have i mentioned how much i like that you are a goody two shoes about school?

 

Clarke (11:00): i love it even

 

Clarke (11:02): babe i am suffering from some minor abandonment issues here i might start crying on the boy next to me

 

Clarke (11:04): we are sketching with pencil it really isn’t an appropriate time for me to go through my blue period but i swear i will do it for you

 

Lexa (11:06): no need to go all Picasso on me or seek solace from a boy, I just had to take a shower

 

Clarke (11:06): oh yeah? want to elaborate a little more? i could really do with some creative descriptions

 

Clarke (11:06): artistic inspiration and all that, i don’t know if youve heard but you are kinda my muse

 

Lexa (11:07): maybe when you get out of class

 

Clarke (11:07): REALLY?? this is going to be the longest 53 minutes of my life i can feel it

 

Lexa (11:09): are you hungry?

 

Clarke (11:10): is this your idea of sexting or are you actually asking?

 

Lexa (11:11): Clarke I swear to God

 

Clarke (11:11): ok geez sorry.  PS make a wish

 

Lexa (11:11): ?

 

Clarke (11:11): its 11:11 make a wish THE WINDOW IS CLOSING

 

Clarke (11:12): did you make one?

 

Lexa (11:13): how fucking bored are you right now?

 

Clarke (11:13): i can not even describe to you in words

 

Clarke (11:13): suffice to say that 11:11 was actually a pretty big deal for me, ive been counting down for it

 

Lexa (11:14): what are you counting down to now?

 

Clarke (11:14): the time until i can see you again

 

Lexa (11:15): that was really gross, Clarke

 

Clarke (11:16): whatever, you love me

 

Lexa (11: 19): you never said if you were hungry or not

 

 Clarke (11:20): kinda yeah, why?

 

Lexa (11:21): I was just thinking I could pick us up something to eat for after your class

 

Lexa (11:22): if you wanted

 

Lexa (11:23): and I’ll describe my shower to you in painstaking detail while we eat

 

Clarke (11:24): so you just described my perfect date

 

Lexa (11:25): so that’s a yes to food?

 

Clarke (11:25): that is a resounding yes

 

Clarke (11:26): tell me something that i don’t know about you

 

Lexa (11:30): I had a turtle when I was in 3rd grade

 

Lexa (11:31): his name was Mr. Rabbit

 

Clarke (11:32): Lexa. 

 

Clarke (11:32): that is my favorite thing anyone has ever told me

 

Lexa (11:33): he was a good turtle

 

Lexa (11:34): I think he would have really liked you

 

Clarke (11:35): i think i would have really liked Mr. Rabbit too

 

Lexa (11: 37): I’m going to go get our food now but I’ll meet you in the quad?

 

Clarke (11:37): that sounds great babe

 

Clarke (11:50): i drew you a turtle

 

Clarke (12:02): where are you?

 

Clarke (12:03): wait nevermind i see you

 

Clarke (12:03): you look beautiful

 

 5.  

Clarke opens her dorm room door with a confused smile, “I thought you were going to Anya’s thing tonight?” she asks, leaning against the door frame, before reaching out to hook a hand in Lexa’s front sweatshirt pocket. 

 

Lexa shrugs and leans into the room slightly, taking in the dimmed lights and Raven curled onto her bed.  “I was going to,” she says, “but I would really rather spend the night with you.”  Her stomach drops and she shuffles a step back, “unless you have plans, I didn’t mean to presume…”

 

Clarke rolls her eyes and tugs her into the room, kissing her once before releasing her and turning back to Raven.  “Raven and I were just having a mini-movie marathon, but you’re welcome to join.”

 

Raven releases an annoyed sigh, “Yes, by all means Clarke.  Invite your girlfriend to my pity party of singlehood, that is definitely what will make me feel better.”

 

Clarke turns back to Lexa, “Ignore her,” she says quietly.

 

“Wow yes, Clarke,” Raven interjects loudly from the bed, “have I mentioned what a great friend you are lately?”

 

Clarke crosses the room to the mini fridge and pulls a carton out of the freezer, “I bought ice cream?”

 

Raven extends a hand silently and Clarke tosses her the carton and a plastic spoon muttering “you're welcome” under her breath.  Raven throws the top on the floor and digs into the ice cream desperately, only looking up when Clarke starts laughing.

 

“You are such a cliché,” she says. 

 

Raven shrugs, “There are worst things to be,” she glares at Lexa, “need I remind you, Clarke, that you promised to be my cuddle buddy tonight, you can’t ditch me to feel up your girlfriend in the twin bed five feet from me while I pretend I can’t hear.”

 

Clarke’s face flushes a brilliant pink and Lexa sucks her lips into her mouth, feeling embarrassed and childish.  Raven glances at the ceiling as though praying to some higher power before she pats the bed next to her. 

 

“Just come on Clarke, please?” she deigns Lexa with a glance, “you are both invited, c’mon.” 

 

Clarke clambers on one side of her, wrapping an arm around her waist, guiding Raven’s head to her shoulder.  Lexa settles awkwardly on the other side after clicking the lap top screen to resume whatever movie they had playing.  Lexa studies Clarke in the dim blue light of the screen, Clarke’s hand rubbing comforting circles on Raven’s back as she looks over Raven’s head to catch Lexa’s eye and smile softly. 

 

Lexa feels the enormity of this moment somewhere deep in her chest, and her breath catches and she is certain now. 

 

Not there was ever much uncertainty on her part that she was in love with Clarke Griffin, not since she couldn’t stop staring at her mouth when she ran into her in the hallway, not since she saw Clarke draw her.  Clarke depicted her beautiful and brave and all the things she didn’t think she would get to be in this life.  Those are not practical things, that is what she was taught and that is what she knew to be true.  But practicality seems small in comparison to the ache underneath the surface of her skin, feasibility pales in light of the way that Clarke looks at her.

 

Lexa decides that love is stupid in the same breath that she decides that this is the stupidity that she will allow to ruin her. 

 

She nudges against Raven just a bit, placing a hand on her leg and her head on her shoulder.  Raven startles for a second, before easing into her gratefully.  Clarke sets her hand on top of Lexa’s and squeezes with so much warmth and affection that if it was possible for Lexa to lose her breath again in the space of so many minutes, she would. 

 

The three of them fall asleep on Raven’s bed before the movie credits even roll.  Lexa curled around Clarke’s back, a hand stretched over Clarke’s waist to rest, comforting and solid, on Raven’s hip.  Clarke faces Raven, their hands a tangle under the sheets, foreheads nearly touching.  But she eases herself back into Lexa’s hips, flush against her, feeling Lexa’s heartbeat strong against her back.

 

6.   

Lexa actually got to sleep at a reasonable time tonight.  Her paper submitted online an entire three hours before it was due, her backpack packed for her 10:00 class the next morning, and everything entirely in order.  Which is why when Clarke wakes her at two in the morning Lexa just about punches her in the face.

 

Lexa wakes with a jerk, startled from the comfort of sleep by the sight of Clarke’s smiling face as she plops down by Lexa’s head.  This would make at least a little bit of sense if Clarke was sleeping over tonight, but she wasn’t, they had kissed goodbye against the wall between their dorms nearly seven hours ago. 

 

“Clarke?” Lexa mumbles, sleep slurred and eyes still half-closed, “is everything okay?”

 

Clarke sets her laptop down on top of Lexa’s stomach and lies down, wriggling into her side.  “I saw something and I thought of you,” she says as she nuzzles further into Lexa’s shoulder, nipping a kiss against Lexa’s collarbone.

 

Lexa fully opens her eyes now, “At two in the morning?”

 

“Yeah,” Clarke says, opening the lid of her laptop and pressing play.  Lexa watches the video, her disbelief mounting with every second. 

 

“Is that--?”

 

Clarke nods sagely, “A cat fitting itself into a fish bowl? Yeah, I know.  The first time I saw it I couldn’t believe it either.”

 

Lexa shoves the laptop to the end of the bed and turns to face Clarke, entirely un-amused, eyes narrowed into a glare.  “So you mean to tell me,” she starts, lying nose to nose with Clarke, “that you woke me up at two in the morning to show me a one minute youtube video of a cat fitting itself into a fishbowl?”

 

Clarke nods, their noses brushing.  “Yeah,” she inches in closer, “but now that I’m here…”

 

Lexa can not believe that any part of this is happening, her sleep addled mind is entirely flummoxed by the girl in front of her.  “Now that you’re here…?”

 

Clarke widens her eyes as though the answer should be obvious, “I thought that we could have sex.” 

 

Lexa shakes her head, “So you think it’s just that easy now? We’ve been together long enough that you just feed me cat videos and sex happens?”

 

Clarke nods again, throwing a leg over Lexa’s hip, “Here’s hoping,” she says.  They stare at each other for a beat longer, Lexa still incredulous and Clarke smirking.  Clarke eventually breaks away with a laugh, shuffling back and shaking her head at Lexa.  “No, I’m sorry.  The truth is I just—” she takes a breath here and swallows, “I couldn’t sleep without you,” she turns her mouth down into her collar while she mumbles, “it was embarrassing.” 

 

Lexa groans, turning her face into her bed.  “You are unreal,” she says, voice muffled against her pillow, “I don’t even know how I put up with you.”

 

She can hear Clarke’s smile when she asks, “Do you even kind of like me?”

 

“I kind of love you,” Lexa answers thoughtlessly, face still buried in her pillow.  She realizes what she said at about the same time that Clarke does, and her body stiffens.  She feels a wave of pure dread and squeezes her eyes shut tighter, wondering if lying still enough will make her disappear. 

 

There is a beat of silence before she feels Clarke pulling at her arm, she resists for a few seconds before allowing herself to be rolled onto her back.  Clarke swings a leg over her hips, straddling her insistently.  Clarke leans down until they are curtained by her hair, hands moving to pet at Lexa’s cheekbones.  Her lips are parted slightly and Lexa catches on her eyes, grey-blue in the dark, and can’t make herself look away. 

 

“You love me?” Clarke asks, which isn’t what Lexa was expecting and her chest catches like she is going to laugh, but her mouth is too busy being frozen in a shaky line and her eyes are wide and enraptured with the girl on top of her. 

 

Lexa nods her head without breaking eye contact.  “I love you,” she says and her voice doesn’t waver because Clarke’s hands are still framing her face, reverent and thoughtful. 

 

And Clarke doesn’t smile or move to kiss her or do anything but continue to stare, looking strangely like her heart is breaking. 

 

Lexa can’t find it in herself to be nervous or afraid because she told her truth, and the ache behind her breast has faded to this relieved glow and she figures that this is the truth she was meant for. 

 

This is why Paris gifted Aphrodite with the golden apple and why French novelists write hundreds of pages of incomprehensible metaphors.  Lexa thinks she could fill a book with the way that Clarke is looking at her.  Lexa wonders if Clarke’s chest aches. 

 

It’s 2:08 in the morning and Lexa is in love.