Actions

Work Header

Alignment

Chapter Text

She stands before her throne, Indra on one side and one of the advisers at the other. Dressed in complete Heda attire, sash and all, but she lacks the war paint. There is no need for it now, her people are at peace with the threat of the Mountain no longer lingering over their heads. Still, it lingers over her head like an angry cloud, reminding her of the battlefield she had abandoned.

She does not regret her decision, her people harol her as the greatest Heda for choosing her people over the alliance, but she thinks of the disappointed blue eyes all the time. This day she pushes those eyes from her mind, it is useless and weak to think of such things. She cannot allow herself to be haunted by the dead, because she was sure the owner of them was dead.

Clarke was legend among the Clans, the leader who sacrificed everything, even her life, to bring down the Mountain and save her people. She did it without Heda’s army and on the back of a broken alliance. Her people respected her now, thought her worthy of the title Wanheda and held her as high as they did Heda Leska.

This day was a day to honor Clarke; Lexa was to induct the Skaikru as the thirteenth Clan in the Coalition. Today she was to help realize the fallen leader’s dream, a world where her people were safe and free on Earth. Today, she waits to receive the leader of the Skaikru to sign the final treaty and then host a celebration in the Wanheda’s honor.

Getting here has taken time, The Chancellor, Clarke’s mother, had been difficult to deal with, as was the remaining hundred still loyal to their fallen leader, but Lexa had pushed on with reason and a new, unbreakable alliance stands. So she stands before her throne, her top general and adviser at her back, guards by the entryway and she waits.

A guard walks down the torch lit hall, his massive frame shielding the person behind him from all the eyes in the throne room. When he steps aside, all the air from Lexa’s lungs escapes her like a hard blow has landed on her stomach. She approaches with all the confidence she’d lacked when they first held council together.

Lexa takes her in, and the guards at her back; Octavia and Lincoln, traitors who have been pardon in the treaty contract. She wears a leather sleeveless vest of black with black pants much like Lexa’s own, her boots are the same she’s always worn. There’s a white sash hanging from the pauldron Lexa had given her a time ago. As it sways behind her, hitting the back of her thighs, splatters of rusty red catch the light. Lexa swallows when she realizes the stains are those made from blood.

Her blonde hair is twisted and plaited, so no strand lays freely, her bangs are braided back in an intricate design much like Lexa’s own, keeping it from her face. Her face is washed clean except from the paint around her eyes, black covering each eye fully and stretching pass her temples to her hair, a small line of ashy silver beneath it starting at the corner of her eyes and following the black back.

There’s a leather band encased around her left bicep the color of Lexa’s sash, red, and a belt housing a number of small dangers around her waist. Lexa spots a bigger dagger, much like the one she carries, strapped to the outside of her right thigh, it’s handle bone white and engraved with familiar symbols. These symbols repeat themselves on the leader’s right bicep in a tattoo; the symbols mark her as Wanheda.

Clarke’s left collarbone is lined with kill brands, the star shaped scars each representing a hundred lives taken; there’s a line of seven and Lexa knows each one is true. Blue eyes stare at her as the silence encases them. Clarke was thought to be dead, there was no word of her with her people, Lexa had thought the worse and the Skaikru had done nothing to dissuade this belief. Lexa stamps down her surprise and fury at being mislead.

“I was expecting the Chancellor of the Skaikru...your mother, was thought to be the leader of your people...after your death.” Lexa’s mouth fights to make the words come out, because as sure as Lexa is standing here, Clarke stands before her, no more a ghost than she.

Clarke lets loose a crooked sort of smirk that shakes Lexa’s core, but she does not allow herself to show her weakness in this moment. “As you can see, Commander, there has been a change in leadership. My mother no longer represents the Sky People. I alone lead. I trust this doesn’t affect the alliance?”

There’s a new confidence in Clarke’s voice, something Lexa has only heard from seasoned warriors, and herself. She wonders just how Clarke has found this confidence in the span of one Winter. “It does not affect the alliance.” Lexa confirms, looking to Indra and giving a small nod. “Indra will escort you to my study, we will sign the treaty there.” Clarke moves to follow the general, Octavia and Lincoln following her. Lexa clears her throat. “Your guards will not be needed, they may wait for you outside the doors.” She pauses as Clarke looks back to her. “There is no threat to you here.”

Lexa curses herself at the low tone her voice has taken. “So you say, Commander.” Clarke doesn’t spare her much of a glance as she exits the room. Once out of sight, Lexa falls back onto her throne ungracefully. Her advisor, Roke, waves her guards from the room before addressing her.

“Heda, I thought the Wanheda had passed...our people will rejoice tonight. This is a good thing, is it not?” He speaks cheerfully, looking down upon her with a reverence she can barely stomach in this moment.

Lexa gives him a sharp nod. “The continued life of the Wanheda will inspire my people tonight. Her renewed role at the head of the Skaikru’s leadership will instill much security and acceptance as they take their place as the thirteenth clan. It will be a joyous night.” He smiles brightly at her words and exits the room quickly. She does not worry about him spreading the news of Clarke’s arrival to the people; he knows it is her’s to announce.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
She finds Octavia and Lincoln stationed on either side of the door to her study. A reluctant respect bubbles in her chest as they remain impassive before her, though she knows they might still harbor some kind of hate for her betraying their leader, even if Lincoln is Trigeda born, he has always been loyal to Octavia and Clarke.

She accepts this. “Lincoln, Octavia...I welcome you to the capitol. You must know that no one views you as outsiders here...you and your leader will come to no harm within these walls.” She speaks though she owes them no words of acceptance, the treaty has cleared them of all actions of rebel against her. They nod, she reaches to open the door and pauses with her head pressed against the wood. “I must know...the information of Clarke’s continued fight, why was this hidden?”

Lincoln is the one that answers her, though they do not look at one another. “It has only been two weeks, Heda.” He hesitates; Lexa thinks he is weighing his words, for he may no longer be seen as Trigeda, she will always be his Heda. “We all thought her fight had ended when she did not come back to the Sky Camp. We were wrong.”

Lexa nods in acceptance and without anymore hesitation, she strides into the room with the air of confidence, as false as it may be. Indra bows her head respectfully, but Clarke does not turn to face her. The Wanheda keeps her eyes trained on Lexa’s desk, covered in maps and pages, resembling the table within her tent of war. “Leave us.”

Her general does not move. “Forgive me, Heda, but I do not think it wise to leave you alone with her...she seeks revenge.”

Lexa’s eyes fill with anger as she is defied. “Do you have proof of this? Do you believe that I cannot defend myself? You believe me to be weak, Indra? Leave us now.” Lexa snarls lowly, trying not to let Clarke catch on to what is happening, but she knows Clarke has spent enough time in both her and Indra’s presence to guess the words being exchanged.

Indra leaves after casting Clarke a loathing look; she has never trusted the sky leader, Lexa thinks that maybe she never will. She stands facing Clarke’s rigid back and thinks, maybe she should not trust in Clarke so much after their history; she thinks, looking at the girl she left for dead, that Clarke will surely kill her on this day and Lexa would not blame her. Lexa would surely seek the same if it were she in Clarke’s position.

Lexa clears her throat and still Clarke does not turn to meet her gaze. She licks her lips in a nervous manner. “Clarke.” Lexa calls. In a flash the blonde turns, her hand clutching the dagger as she uses the other to push Lexa, pinning her to the wall across the room. Lexa does nothing to defend herself, even as the blade presses threatening against her throat. She stares without emotion, only acceptance in her eyes, and no hint of surprise.

“I should spill your blood right here, right now. It would be a worthy cause of my death.” Clarke sneers in a whisper, her head tilted up by an inch so she can glare into Lexa’s eyes.

Lexa keeps her hands pressed against the wall, she does not fight Clarke for control. If Clarke decides to end her fight this day, it would be her right to do so. Indra might call for her head, but Lexa knows her people would see truth and pardon their Wanheda from her crimes. Clarke would be free to walk from Polis. Clarke’s eyes shift down, Lexa thinks she stares at her blade on the Heda’s throat. Lexa believes Clarke is thinking of just how easy it would be to press the blade just a bit harder.

The lack of response from Lexa seems to cool some of the fire in Clarke’s eyes. “You left me.” Clarke murmurs, her voice soft even as she does not ease her knife from Lexa’s throat. Her eyes find Lexa’s once more, and Lexa almost chokes at the emotion swirling in the blue. “You let me die, Lexa.”

This brings a frown to Lexa’s brow. “You are not dead, Clarke.” She finally speaks, her voice breaking around the words.

She watches as the expression on Clarke’s face changes, anger no longer apparent, nothing but a snide rebellion in her eyes, everything else is gone now. “My body lives, Heda...but my spirit left me as the Mountain fell.” Clarke admits, pushing herself off Lexa’s body and turns her back to Lexa.

Lexa thinks Clarke must be confident that she will not retaliate. Lexa thinks Clarke is right. She moves until her eyes can fall onto the side of Clarke’s face as the blonde searches out the treaty. Clarke finds and gathers it in her hands, her eyes tracing over the parchment. She watches the blue of Clarke’s eyes. Lexa believes that Clarke’s spirit is indeed broken, shattered, but she hopes that she did not kill Clarke’s spirit, as the blonde so adamantly believes.

“What happened at the Mountain?” Lexa is glad some strength has returned to her voice, but knows she cannot keep it from being soft when she addresses Clarke, that ability left her long ago.

Clarke faces her, the lit torch on the table flickers across her jaw in a way that makes Lexa ache, casting light shadows even with the sun’s light encompassing the room. She does not wish to see Clarke in such lighting, she believes she does not deserve the warmth it feels her with. “I did what I had to do.” Her words are resolute. Lexa guesses that she does not wish to speak of it. Lexa guesses that Clarke believes her to be undeserving to know what happened after she abandoned Clarke. Lexa thinks she might be right. Lexa does not need to know, not now.

There are questions Lexa pushes down her throat, she will not asks them now. She wishes to know where Clarke has been and how she has survived the harshness of winter on her own. Was she truly on her own? Who is the one that has braided her hair in such a way, worthy of her station. Who was the one that marked her skin? Lexa does not ask, but she cannot keep herself from wondering.

Quietly, Lexa directs Clarke in signing the coalition treaty, same as all the clans have done before. The Skaikru added beneath the Azgeda. When it is done, she does not stop herself from speaking. “Your people follow you now, all of them.” She states because she does not want to feel the sting when Clarke refuses to answer her question.

Clarke does not refuse her, though she does not answer the unasked question either. “What happens with my people does not concern you unless it pertains to you.” Clarke doesn’t speak with venom coating her words, she is direct and steady. Lexa envies her for the control she keeps, she wishes for such control over her own raging emotions.

“There is to be a celebration held in your honor tonight. My people thought your fight was ended, now they will celebrate for your presence among them.” Lexa does not asks if Clarke will stay and attend.

Clarke clears her throat. “I was informed.” She turns her back to Lexa once more. Lexa curses the sting she feels for it and she wonders if this is what Clarke felt when Lexa turned her back to her. Clarke stops short of opening the door. “I’ve plans to stay in Polis. My people thrive in thanks to the coalition, they are at peace. With our place permanent, we are free to come and go as we please, yes?”

“Yes.” Lexa hurries to answer, stamping down the hope she feels. “You are welcomed to stay in this home, as all the Clan leaders do. If Lincoln and Octavia wish to stay as well, a home will be provided to them.”

Clarke nods her head. “My mother was given a house among the people of Polis when she was believed to lead the Skaikru, I assume it still stands? If so, I wish to give it to Lincoln and Octavia, and any of my people who wish to come to Polis”

Lexa nods. “It does. It is yours to do with as you please, Clarke” Clarke lets loose a sigh as she nods and takes her exit, turning her back to Lexa one last time. All strength leaves the Heda’s body as she sags against the table. Her head is thrown back as she looks above her, seeking guidance to ease her troubled heart. This is weakness, Lexa knows, but she is as unable to stop it now as she was when she kissed Clarke. Her throat closes off and her eyes sting with a threat of tears that Lexa will not allow to fall.

Her people come first. Her duty to them remains. Clarke is a weakness, but she is one that Lexa wishes to turn to strength. Being on the same side as the Wanheda will provide her with a strength few would step against. Lexa knows this alignment is needed now more than ever as the stirrings of rebels call out from the deadlands. With Clarke at her side, Lexa will not fall, because she already has.

Chapter Text

The house has two bedrooms, and to Clarke’s utter amazement is has running water in the kitchen and it’s own fire stove for heat and to cook on. It’s Lincoln that informs her the way to bath, she has to heat the buckets of water over the fire and add it to the clawfoot tub, using embers or heated rocks under the tub to keep it heated.

There is also working plumbing, Clarke enjoys it so much that she doesn’t care how it works. As Octavia filts from room to room, Clarke pulls the warrior into the kitchen. She sits at the handcrafted table, the seats comfortable and well made. “Is every house like this?”

Lincoln nods. “More or less. This section of Polis is reserved for Warriors and Village leaders. There is no place for Clan Leaders among the people of Polis, but only because it is common that they stay at the Heda’s house.” He stops suddenly.

“What?” Clarke presses.

Lincoln sighs. “The table, the beds, the furs and everything else, that is a gift from Heda. She wishes for you and your people to be comfortable and not need for anything. It is her way to offer respect.” He explains calmly.

Clarke sighs and melts back into the chair. “Yea, I figured as much. I take it that when I go to my quarters in the Heda’s house, that it will be even more elaborate?” She eyes him and watches as he nods. “And it would be seen as disrespectfully if I were to not accept these gifts?” Again he answers with a nod.

Clarke lets the conversation drop as Octavia bounces into the room. “Clarke, do you realize that you have a house, in a city, with a front porch and a yard, with running water on Earth?” She exclaims, slamming her hands onto the table with excitement.

Clarke grins at her friend, happy that they worked everything out because there’s no one else she could think of that deserved to experience this, save for Raven. “It’s more a house for my people, remember, I’m staying in the Heda’s house like the other Clan Leaders, but it’s too bad you’ll only be spending one night here, huh?” Octavia frowns, looking offended and Clarke gives a guilty look.

“After the celebration tonight, we will be returning to Arkadia.” Lincoln explains.

The Sky warrior groans horribly. “Why do you hate me, Clarke?”

Clarke sighs and reaches over to pat Octavia’s hand. “You know why I have to do this, O. I need you and Lincoln to watch camp, besides a few others, there’s no one I can really trust.” She shakes her head. “I have to stay here. We might be in the coalition now, but you remember what Echo said, things are happening in the Ice Nation and with the outcasts, I need to stay here to make sure nothing makes its way to Arkadia. I don’t need tension rising in camp on top of it.”

“Do you really think something might happen?” Octavia questions, looking concerned.

Clarke shrugs. “Not everyone was happy about my return, or taking over. Especially Flint and Jasper. I need you there to make sure everything's running smoothly between our people and the grounders who will be coming in and out of camp with supplies and workers.”

“We can’t just leave you here alone, Clarke. That’s just stupid.” Octavia counters, looking to Lincoln for backup, but the man stays silent. He won’t interfere, if he’s learned one thing about Clarke, it’s that she can handle her own.

“I won’t be alone.” Clarke says easily. “I made plans with Linus. When you return he’ll head here.”

“Is he bringing…?” She lets the question hang. Clarke nods. “Alright, we’re going back, but once everything is settled, I mean actually settled, I’m coming back here and I’m staying in that bath for a week.” She demands.

Clarke laughs and shakes her head. “Guess that means I’ll be reduced to using the communal baths if I want a nice long soak.” She teases.

Lincoln shrugs. “You could use Heda’s bath. She would not mind, that is of course if she did not already provide you with one in your rooms.” The innocence in his words confonds Clarke, but O finds it exceedingly irritating.

She glares at Clarke and points a stern finger at her. “There will be no consorting with the enemy.” She commands.

Clarke raises her eyebrows. “She’s not the enemy anymore, Octavia.”

“That’s besides the point! You do not have time to get mixed up with sexy, ruthless and broody right now Clarke. Don’t forget how easily she threw you to the wolves last time.” Octavia argues her defense.

“Sexy?” Clarke looks amused at Octavia but the girls continues to glare. “Do you honestly believe that I could forgive her?” She frowns at her friend.

Octavia shrugs. “We forgave each other.”

Clarke lets out a scoffing laugh. “Yeah, after we beat the shit out of each other.” Clarke rolls her eyes and Octavia does the same in response. “Look, I’m doing what I have to do in order for us to survive. Like I always do. Whatever was happening between Lexa and I...it’s over.”

Finally Lincoln speaks up. “You and Heda share the same spirit, even if you both refuse to see it. In time you will see.”

Octavia pushes him. “Do not encourage her!” Clarke sighs, she counts the hours until their departure.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clarke doesn’t see her room until she’s being put to bed by O and Lincoln after a long night of Celebrating with the people of Polis. Lexa had been right, they loved her already by what she had done. She had spent the night playing drinking games amongst the commoners, much to the amazement and disgust of the other Clan leaders.

She didn’t see the point in cozying up the the Clan leaders, they were either in awe by her legacy or held barely hidden contempt for her for doing what they could not. Besides, Clarke had never thought herself to be anything other than part of the people, so why would she act different now? The more time she spent in the crowds, among the venders, and in the dance circles, the more the people of Polis praised her.

She had been wary of the praise at first, how could they celebrate her for doing something so despicable? However, as the night went on and she met family after family who had been afflicted by the hand of the Mountain, she slowly accepted the reasons for their praise. Obviously, she had soak it in a little too much. She wouldn’t be able to do this when Linus arrived, so she had allowed herself this night.

She drifts off in an elaborate room of silks and furs, of handcrafted furniture and private bathing quarters and a room connected for her personal guard. She sleeps in the soft furs Lexa had personally spread upon the bed Lexa had personally outfitted with drapping skirts on shear material, but she doesn’t know it.

She doesn’t know that Lexa spent the night watching her with irritated acceptance and warm knowing as Clarke gave herself to Lexa’s people. Clarke doesn’t know that Lexa had quieted the complaints and suspicions coming from some of the Clan leaders who saw Clarke as a threat and Clarke doesn’t know that Lexa hid small grins every time she heard her people, her warriors and other leaders talked about the blonde with awe.

Clarke never saw how Lexa watched sadly whenever someone gained Clarke’s full attention or when an especially charming person convinces Clarke to be their partner in the dance circles. Lexa had watched though and Lexa had excused herself from the celebration as Lincoln and Octavia escorted Clarke to her room. Lexa had followed them in the shadows and Lexa had pressed her forehead to Clarke’s door in a moment of weakness before seeking out her own guards and ordering them to staying in watch in front of Clarke’s door and telling them that under no circumstances are they to be there when she wakes.

Lexa had watched Clarke.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
After seeing her friends off, Clarke had spent her morning in Nyko’s healing tent, helping out where she could after taking the hangover medicine he had so graciously given her. He was a calm teacher when Clarke wasn’t sure how use the herbs and oils and he was an eager student when Clarke explained easier and more effective ways of doing something. They made quite a team.

By lunch, two healers came to relieve them, and Clarke wasn’t that surprised when Nyko offered to show her one of his favorite eating spots. They walked around as they ate their bundles of bread and roasted meats allowing Clarke to take in the city. “Did you get to see Lincoln before he left?” She asks innocently, knowing the friendship the two shared.

Nyko grunted. “He is doing well with your people. Octavia is a good match for him.” Clarke grinned, knowing the truth in his words. By the time they come back around to the healing tent, they’ve finished their food and Clarke has a new appreciation for the silence most grounders carried. They never spoke needlessly, the silence gave peace to Clarke’s mind.

One of Nyko’s seconds meets them at the entrance. “Wanheda.” He bowed his head to her. “Heda’s guard came looking for you. Heda requests your presence at her home.”

Clarke frowns, wondering what Lexa could want from her. “Thank you.” She turned to Nyko. “Guess that means I’m done for today.” She gave him a small smile.

“You are welcome in my tent anytime you wish...Dr. Clarke.” His eyes twinkled as Clarke stared at him in surprise and then she laughed and shook her head. It should surprise her at all that Nyko knew what her people called a healer. She was quickly finding out that the grounders were more educated than they let on.

When she reaches Lexa’s home, which is more of a palace, she sees and congregate of men at the front steps, Lexa in the middle staring down at a familiar head of braided hair with a small boy at his side. Clarke grins and rushes up the stairs. The warriors move aside for her like a parting wave and their she sees Linus and the boy. “Lenox.” She calls and the small boy turns to meet her, Clarke catching him as he tackles her legs.

“How was the trip?” She asks as she put him on her hip. “Were you good?” She grins at him, he grins up at her with bright green eyes and nods enthusiastically. She presses him close, he wraps his arms about her neck as she kisses the crown of his head, soft blonde hair tickling her nose.

“I was good, Nomon.” He smiles proudly as he hangs off her. Clarke only has eyes for her son, so she misses the way the eyes around her widen in surprise. Who knew that the Wanheda had a son?

When Clarke finally acknowledges the people around her, she nods to her son’s guard. Then, she focuses on Lexa as the Heda clears her throat. “Your son and...husband must be tired. We will leave you.” Lexa goes to turn but is stopped by Clarke’s laugh.

“Linus is my son’s guard. I have no houmon.” She announces. Lexa is quick to dismiss her own guards and warriors, wanting to speak with Clarke alone.

“May we speak?” Clarke watches as Lexa stares at the boy in her arms and she wonders if Lexa notices the green in his eyes are the same in hers. Clarke wonders if Lexa sees what she had seen the day Clarke found the boy abandoned in the winter. Left for dead because he was small for his age and couldn’t keep up.

Clarke nods. “Linus, put his things in my room please.” The guard nods and heads back to his horse to collect her son’s things. “I will talk with you.” She speaks to Lexa, and follows her into the palace and up to a room filled with books, soft furs spread about the floor and a roaring fire.

Lexa turns her back to them as she runs her fingers over the spines of the books. Clarke waits as she sets Lenox on the furs and listen as he speaks of the trip. “I was not aware you had a child.” Lexa’s voice is soft but strained.

“Why would you be?” Clarke is quick, taking a jab at Lexa without thought. She does not take it back, even as Lexa’s shoulders sag.

When Lexa finally faces Clarke, she has a book in her hands and she bends to give it to the boy. Lenox is quick to take it. “Thank you.” He grins charmingly up at her. The book is filled with pictures of animals from the world before the war, and Lenox falls in love with it.

“He is three, four seasons old? Too old for you to have carried him beneath your heart.” Lexa speaks softly, still crouched so that she does not have to look down to meet Clarke’s eye.

“Four. I found him when I was...away. His family had left him behind because he was too small. He couldn’t keep up.” Clarke tells the tale, unaffected by the way Lexa’s jaw clenches and clicks shut. “Make no mistake, Heda. He is my child.” She speaks in trigedasleng to make her point perfectly clear.

Lexa sighs. “I know that I’ve lost the right to know about your life, Clarke. I accept this.” She pauses, looking down at the silent boy looking up at her with a frown. “Thank you.” Her eyes meet stormy blue once more. Lexa licks her lips. “You may come here whenever you wish. There are plenty of child books here, as well as others.”
Lenox grins and speaks before Clarke can. “Nomon reads to me before bed, but she likes drawing. She draws me sometimes...I’ve seen you too!” Lexa’s eyes shoot up to Clarke, but clarke stares pointedly into the fire, ignoring the way her cheeks blush and cursing her son’s innocent admission.

“Do you know who I am, Lenox?” Lexa questions. Clarke suspects that Lexa is fishing for information, she’s probably wondering if Clarke had spoken of her.

Lenox nods, his hair brushing Clarke’s chin. “You are Heda. You protect all the people just like Nomon protects me. People call her the Wanheda, did you know that?” He questions.

“That’s right.” Lexa smiles down at him. She goes to sit down and Clarke can’t take it anymore. She tried being nice and calm in front of her son, accepting Lexa’s interest but she doesn’t want her this close to her son. Lexa is Heda in Lenox’s eyes, she’s made sure to instill his heritage, but Lexa will not have a relationship with him.

“Give the book back to Heda, Lenox.” She instructs softly, but firmly. Her son pouts but does as she says. Lexa looks pained, but Clarke sees her guard go up in mere seconds as Clarke stands, leaving Lexa crouched in front of the fire, holding the picture book.

“Are we going now?” He asks, taking Clarke’s hand when she offers it to him.

Clarke smiles and rubs his head affectionately. “We are. I’m sure the Heda has more important things to do.” She guides him toward the door.

“Clarke.” She stops and turns toward Lexa. The Heda stands, book still in hand and takes a step toward Clarke. “I did not mean to overstep. He can-”

“No.” Clarke cuts her off, watching as Lexa flinches back. “It was nice of you to take the time to welcome my son to Polis, Heda, but we must be going now.” Clarke leaves, turning her back to Lexa once more and doesn’t look back.

Chapter Text

Lenox has a strong will. Clarke had seen it the very moment she laid eyes on him. He is fierce in his sense of right and wrong, even at four. Clarke believes he has a very old soul; it made her believe in the grounders’ belief of reincarnation. He’s sweet and gentle, and open in the way every child should be. He is also very protective of his Nomon. Clarke thinks his determination to become the ‘best warrior ever’ is a combination of his past and his want of being just like her and making her proud.

Clarke doesn’t want that for him. She knows what it takes to be a warrior. She knows war. She knows fighting for survival. She knows death. She doesn’t want her son to know the things she does. She wants his life to be more than fighting to survive. She wants him to know peace and to be free to choose how his life plays out. She also knows that her son is stubborn and he often uses her own past against her when trying to convince his mother.

When he turned four, she allowed him to start training, not to become a warrior, but to be able to defend himself. Lenox was thrilled, of course. Before she left to come to Polis, Lincoln had said something that made Clarke rethink things. He wondered who would succeed Clarke when her time came to an end. Who would lead her people, and continue her legacy?

Clarke watched Lenox train that day, and she watched him play among the children of Skaikru and Trigeda. He was of both worlds and he saw the two different clans as one. Clarke knew that if she stopped him from being who he wished to be, she would break his heart. Yet, as ugly as it seemed, she also knew that if he never touched war and death, he would never know the importance of peace and life.

This was the ground. This was Earth. Out of all the lessons Lexa had taught her, one still rang true – we fight to survive. As harsh as it might seem, children of the earth needed to be trained to protect themselves. Lenox had already seen the worst of people when Clarke had been thrown into the Ice Pits of the Azgeda, forced to play the Queen’s games as she held her and her son captive. He had seen Clarke fight everyday and had shown her love and innocence every night. When they were released after nine months of slavery, Clarke took him to the forest to cleanse them of the cruelty and when they were ready she took him to her people.

So she sits on a log at the edge of the training pit and she watches Linus teach her son on how to defend and how to fight. Clarke’s aware of the other warriors in the fighting pits and how they glance at the Wanheda’s son. She wonders if they see him as a potential threat or a potential leader. Clarke doesn’t know which is worse. When Lenox falls, she doesn’t rush to his side to pick him up, she waits for him to come to her.

“He’s too big.” He sighs and drops his sword, holding still as Clarke checks his scraped chin.

Clarke smiles at him and puts the wooden sword back into his hands. “One day you will be too big for him. Have patience, Lenox.”

“Come, Wanheda! Show him how to win!” Linus goads her from the circle. Now every warrior focuses their attention on her.

Lenox’s face lights up as he jumps from foot to foot. “Please, Nomon.” He gives her the puppy eyes and she knows she’s done for. As she walks to the circle, an eager Lenox at her heels, she thinks of how hypocritical she had been in not wanting her son to be a warrior. Clarke has been one since she landed on the Earth, and the Earth had shaped her into a fierce fighter.

“You know better than to goad me in front of my son, Linus.” She warns as she takes her sword from its sheath at her hip. Linus too, trades in the wooden sword for the one on his back.

Linus grins. “It’s the only way to get you to fight anymore.”

Clarke quirks an eyebrow as they start to circle each other. “My fighting was finished when I left the ice pits.” She growls as he swipes the air of her left cheek. She rolls from the blade and blocks his attack with a sharp clang. She’s too focused on the fight to hear the murmurs starting up. No one knew what went on during the year of her absence, but at the sound of the infamous ice pits, they quickly connected the dots.

The Azgeda have always held games, the most dangerous being the ice pits – fighting pits cut into the cold ice where two warriors would be sent in and only one climbed out. The warriors were mostly made up of prisoners and people the Ice Queen had put on trial. If you survived, then you would be free to go, unless the Queen liked you. If she liked you, you would never fight your way out, she would keep you in the pits for as long as she wanted. That’s where she met Linus, he was her gatekeeper.

Linus struck her blade once more and put her in the same position he had Lenox in, blades paired, faces inches apart and Clarke on one knee. Unlike Lenox, Clarke was actually in control of the fight. With expertise that only came with years of training, though she only had less than a year under her belt, she spun making Linus’ blade embed itself into the earth and hits his back with the hilt of her sword, sending him to the earth as well. She stood with her blade at the back of his neck and he conceded.

The group around the pit roared with her victory, startling Clarke from her battle haze. She could only hear one voice from the crowd. Lenox jumped and screamed in awe of his Nomon, hugging her fiercely when she approached him, leaving a grinning Linus sat in the dirt and covered with dust. “I’m gonna be the best warrior! Just like you, Nomon!” Clarke shook her head, she was such a hypocrite.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As she approached her room, she heard angry whispering in the hall. The blood froze in her veins as she got closer. Lexa and Queen Nia were arguing in front of her door. Instinctively, Lenox hid behind Clarke’s legs and she shifted to cover him fully as they came to a stop before the arguing pair; their whispering coming to a halt.

“Aw, look at my warrior, and where is the little one?” Nia grins a disgusting smile, trying to look around Clarke to lay eyes on the small boy.

“Enough!” Lexa growls, moving to step in front of Clarke.

Clarke doesn’t let her, she steps forward invading the Queen’s space, blocking Lexa from protecting her. “Hello, Nia.” Clarke grins as the Ice Queen glares when Clarke doesn’t use her full title. “How is your army, now that they’ve no one to lead them?” Clarke gives a sharp laugh. “It’s so hard to find good help these days.”

“Well, you can always return to me.” Nia smirks, but Clarke doesn’t take the bait. “It’s more than you have now, being the Skaikru’s healer. You know you miss the smoke and blood. It’s in your blood, Wanheda.”

Surprise colors Clarke’s smile, and when she looks to Lexa she can see the Heda holding back a smirk. “Were you not paying attention at my ceremony, Nia?” Clarke laughs again and rubs Lenox’s head when he peeks around her legs. “The Skaikru follow me once more. I represent them in the Coalition. I am their Wanheda now. I’m no longer yours.”

Nia grows quiet and Clarke know from experience that this is worse than the Queen’s wrath. “You are no longer mine...but are you someone else's?” She turns a calculating look to Lexa. “Have you taken another companion, Heda?”

It’s lucky that Lexa is so controlled, because Clarke knows that Heda wants nothing more than to put Nia’s head upon a spike. Clarke laughs, grinning when she feels a warmth behind her and someone lifting her son from the ground. “If someone warms the Heda’s bed at night, it is not me. I already have someone warming mine.” Linus places a solid hand upon her shoulder and she watches as Nia takes in her little ‘family.’

“Linus.” Nia growls, finally losing her composure, but the warrior heeds her no acknowledgement.

“We will be waiting for you inside, Niron.” He enters Clarke’s room, Lenox in hand. His words have an immediate effect on both Lexa and Nia. Nia pushes past Clarke, and it makes her laugh as she watches the Queen march away. Lexa though, Lexa doesn’t move. She stands there, eyes trained on Clarke, her face stoic.

“You said you had no Houmon.” Lexa speaks softly after a few moments of awkward silence. It takes Clarke off guard because she’s never had an awkward silence with Lexa...not until recently.

“I don’t.” Clarke gives a small smile and rests against the wall by her door. Clarke watches as Lexa fidgets, probably warring within herself on whether to ask and show weakness or walk away. Clarke decides to put her out of her misery. “Linus was my keeper in the Ice Pits and my mentor in the Queen’s army. When I earned my son’s and my freedom, Linus renounced her...he warmed her bed when her Houmon was not around.”

Relief is clear in Lexa’s eyes and Clarke wonders why Lexa isn’t hiding her emotions. “I understand.”

Clarke folds her arms across her chest. “Do you think I have not taken a lover since Finn? I have, Lexa. I refused to stay marked by you.” Clarke can see the impact of her words and she can hear it in the gasp that leaves Lexa’s lips.

“No, Clarke...I did not expect you to...you can love who you wish.” Lexa stumbles over her words.

“I didn’t say anything about love, Lexa.” Clarke bites her lip and looks away to escape Lexa’s inquiring eyes. “I loved you...and no one since. There is no place to love. I only love my son. I can’t afford to love anyone else.” Clarke bangs her head on the wall and looks up to the ceiling, cursing herself for the tears clouding her eyes. “Fuck, Lexa. You betrayed me and I hated you, but I can’t hate you anymore because I know, I fucking know why you did it.” She brings her gaze back to Lexa and finds the girl closer than before. “I wouldn’t have left you…” she whispers, “...but I understand why you left me.”

Lexa steps closer, her hand reaches up to touch Clarke’s face, but stops in the space between them. “I cannot apologize, Clarke. I did not want to leave you, but my people...Clarke, I chose with my head and not my heart.” Clarke’s eyes slam shut as Lexa repeats the words she had said that night outside the mountain. Lexa let’s her hand brush against Clarke’s cheek, and instinctively Clarke pushes into the touch. “I betrayed you, Clarke...I betrayed my heart.” Lexa pleads, her voice carried a tremble.

Clarke gathers her resolve and pushes Lexa away from her, sending her tumbling into the wall. “No, Lexa. I forgive you for what you did, because I understand. We have always understood each other, Lexa. You were right when you said we were the same, but I cannot be with you. I cannot trust you and I will not let you make me weak. Not again. I have my son to think about, to protect.”

“Protect him against me. Clarke I would never hurt him.” Lexa defends herself, her face angry at the accusation.

“No, you wouldn’t hurt him physically...but you will tear our hearts out when you walk away from us, again.” Clarke says emotionless, her resolve back in place. She leaves Lexa there with the mess, leaves it behind for the Heda to figure out. She goes to her son.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Come Lenox, get in the bath.” Clarke calls, laughing when her son runs to the tub as naked as the day he was born. Her bath was in the main room with a privacy cloth surrounding the area. She had left the cloth open because it was just her and Lenox. Linus had left after assuring Clarke and Lenox were settled and safe.

He climbs into the tub without Clarke’s help and settles in the warm bath with lavender oils to calm him and soothe him for bed. She smiles at him as she wets his head and scrubs him clean. When she’s done, she sits by the tub and let’s him play with the wooden horse she’d bought him months ago. “Nomon?” He asks, his green eyes filled with curiosity.

“Yes?” Clarke gives him her full attention, bopping his nose to make him giggle.

He gives her a big grin. “Do you love me?” he slips into Trigedasleng as he whispers like he’s telling a secret.

“More than my life.” She answers in kind.

Lenox nods soundly, expecting no other answer. “Do you love, Heda like Octevia loves Linkon?”

Clarke frowns at Lenox. “Why would you think that?” She asks, switching back to English.

He shrugs his small shoulders and gallops his horse on top of the water. “I have green eyes and Heda has green eyes, you love me so you love Heda.” Clarke can’t help but laugh at his childish logic.

“I don’t love you because of your eyes, Lenox. I love you because of your heart.” She cups the back of his head as he looks up at her, grinning as if she just proved his point.

“Heda says you’re her heart, so she loves you.” He grins triumphantly as he stands and lets Clarke pick him up and wrap him in a cloth like towel.

“What have I told you about listening to adult conversations?” She scolds him gently. “Where was Linus when you had your ear pressed to the door?”

He blushes under his mother’s unimpressed look. “He was warming the bath.” Lenox admits shyly. “But it is true isn’t it?” He asks around the shirt Clarke pulls over his head and pulls the cloth briefs over his little butt.

Clarke doesn’t answer him right away. Instead, she brushes his short hair and carries him to her bed. She tucks him into her side and strokes his cheek as he looks up at her, patiently awaiting her response. “I did love Heda once, but we were in war and sacrifices had to be made. Heda, sacrificed me for the good of her people.” She tried to explain gently. “The Heda is loyal only to her people. She lives and fights for the survival of her people, and at that time, the Skaikru, I wasn’t hers to fight for.”

Lenox scrunches up his face, thinking and processing all that his mother has told him and Clarke waits patiently. “But we’re her people now.” He counters and Clarke can’t help but to smile, because her son is smart and he proves every day just how wrong his family was to leave him in the unforgiving snow. “You can be her heart now.”

Clarke kisses his forehead and snuggles close. “Hush now, Lenox. This isn’t something for you to worry about.” He tucks his head beneath her chin, yawning and closing his tired eyes. “It’s just you and me, kid. Always.” He hums in what Clarke thinks is agreement. It’s not long before Clarke drifts off as well and for the first time in awhile, Clarke dreams of the mountain and the war tent. She dreams of Lexa.

Chapter Text

Lexa grits her teeth as she takes another shot at a strung up sandbag. Every punch thrown, she imagines as her own face. This is her sanctuary, her training room where she doesn’t have to be ruthless, where she can take out her frustrations and emotions without being seen as weak. With nothing but her top binding and a pair of cloth shorts, she takes out her anger on the bag.

She strikes at her weakness and fear of letting down her people. She strikes at the fact that she turned her back on Clarke. She punches the bag for letting Clarke down when the girl needed her the most. She hits for the pain and suffering both she and Nia caused her. She hits because she couldn’t protect the one she loves, and she’s supposed to be the most feared, the ruthless, undefeated Heda, the greatest Heda there ever was, and she couldn’t protect one girl. Her girl. Again.

She doesn’t cry, because she doesn’t deserve to, but she thinks. She thinks about Clarke staying in her house instead of the one among the people. She thinks about Clarke being a mother, and god does she smile at the memory of watching Clarke play with Lenox in the fields with the other children. She cherishes the pain that stabs her heart at the thought of Clarke having another child and knowing it would not be with her. The pain reminds Lexa Clarke can still love.

Lexa steps away from the bag and pours herself a cup a water from a clay jug. She drinks it down and slams the cup, her head still a mess with regret and anger pointed only at herself. Lexa grabs the clay pot and flings it at the wall, yelling in fury. It smashes, small pieces scattering around the room and she doesn’t care.

She cares about the uprising in the North, but she knows Nia fears her too much for an outright attack. She’s a coward who uses the things Lexa cares about to wound her. She took Costia and she tried to take Clarke, but Clarke was too much for the Queen. Nia underestimated the girl who fell from the sky. Lexa smiles, she too underestimated Clarke once, but only once.

She cares for Clarke and she knows she wants to understand the depth in Lenox’s eyes. She wants to know the routine of the small family. She yearns for a place with them, whether it be friend, or more, but she stamps down her hope. Hope is like an ember, and embers grow into flames. Lexa knows, more than anyone, she thinks, it is easier to stamp out a coal than to put out a blaze.

Clarke may have forgiven her, but Clarke had said so herself, Clarke does not trust her, so why would she trust Lexa with her son?

Lexa knows she owes Clarke, but she owes it to herself at least to try. She’s going to try.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clarke works alongside Nyko, taking temperatures and giving out medicine, doing stitches and patching up training wounds. She’s been in Polis for two months now, and everything seems quiet. Bellamy, Raven, her mom and others have come and gone to visit, only Octavia and Lincoln decided to stay and Clarke eagerly offered them the home Lexa had gifted to her.

A thirteen year old boy sits on the cot in front of her, a large gash on his shin from his training. He grins proudly as he tells Clarke the tale, because though he ended up in the healer’s tent, he had bested a boy twice his size and made his mentor proud. Clarke sees her son in the boy’s smile. “What is your name?” She asks to distract him from her needle.

“Kyan.” He responds, flinching when she pierces his skin, but he does not cry out. “Second to Penn.” Clarke remembers Penn from Tondc. He was a silent guy, but good with the younger warriors and supportive of the alliance with her people. As she finishes the stitches, she instructs him that he can’t train until it heals, and orders him to tell his mentor the instructions as well. By the way he slumps from the tent, Clarke knows he’ll follow the order.

“I’m done for the day, Nyko.” She walks over to the man as he works on a baby who’s teething and has a slight fever. She smiles at the mother and pulls a green stick from her medicine bag, handing it to the baby. “It’ll ease her pain and help the tooth come through.” She tells the mother. The woman smile as Nyko retreats with a roll of his eyes and a wry smile.

“Thank you.” Clarke nods at the mother and pats the baby’s head before following Nyko’s exit.

“You learn quickly.” He says as she leans against his work table.

“Is that a compliment?” She smirks down at him and laughs when he huffs. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Nyko rises. “No, a week off, then you can come back. You work too hard. Go enjoy the city. Enjoy the peace you and Heda gave us.” He doesn’t smile, but Clarke thinks she sees acceptance and maybe even a little affection in his eyes. Clarke doesn’t argue and leaves the tent in search of her son and Octavia.

She finds the duo in the fighting pits, and Clarke shakes her head because really, she shouldn’t have expected anything else. Both Octavia and Lenox are in the pit going against a warrior and a boy a bit bigger than Lenox. Clarke thinks that it must be the warrior’s son because he’s much too young to be a second. She soaks in the friendly competitiveness air that usually surrounds the pits, so much different than the feeling of the ones in the Ice Nation.

Clarke shakes off the thought, she doesn’t need that bogging her down with everything else weighing on her mind. Things had finally settled at Arkadia, here at Polis, and even the unrest up North, but Clarke had felt the calm before the storm once before and this felt much like it. So far she has kept herself distant from Lexa’s talks with Indra and her other generals, not sure if she wanted to put herself in the middle of something she couldn’t get out of, not knowing if she was welcomed.

Ever respectful, the crowd makes a way for her as she walks to the front, the fighting coming to a halt, much to Octavia’s confusion. When she looks up and finally sees Clarke, both her and Lenox adopt guilty looks. “I thought I said no fighting until I can supervise his training, O.” At her words, the warrior Octavia had been fighting drops to his knees and pulls his assumed son down with him.

He starts pleading. “Beja, Wanheda. I did not know. I take the punishment, but please, beja do not punish my son.” Clarke shakes her head and glares at Octavia for putting her in this position.

“Octavia, put your sword away.” Octavia does so reluctantly and Clarke walks over to her son, putting a hand on his shoulder and squeezing gently.

“Rise,” she says softly turning to the warrior, and he does so quickly. “What is your name?”

“Antom,” he says as he copies Clarke and rests his hand upon his son’s shoulder. “This is my son, Meino.” The boy smiles shyly up at Clarke and she gives him a smile in return.

“You are not at fault here, Antom, and neither is your son.” He sags in relief and she focuses on Lenox. “My son however…” Lenox scuffs his boot into the dirt, his sword dragging in the mud. “You think you can beat this boy in a fight, Lenox? Even though he is older than you, stronger than you?” She questions, unsheathing her sword. The crowd shuffles nervously as she points it in her son’s direction and takes a few steps away from him.

Lenox puffs out his chest, giving his best intimidating look at his Nomon. “I can try.” He says firmly.

Clarke nods, she expects nothing more. “Antom, would you be interested in a wager?” She raises a brow in his direction. The man cocks his head to the side and nods.

“What do you have in mind, Wanheda?” He too leaves his son in the middle of the circle to stare down Lenox.

Clarke shrugs, “If my son beats yours, then I will train your son for a week.” The crowd and Antom gasps. “If your son beats mine, then you can train my son for a week.” Again the crowd murmurs in surprise. She knows what this means to the warriors. They see Clarke training one of their son’s as an honor, and to be trusted to train her son is an even greater honor.

Antom holds out his arm and Clarke grasps it in the traditional grounder way. “It would be an honor, Wanheda.”

Clarke smiles gently, “It would be an honor for me as well, Antom. From what I’ve seen, you’ve trained your son well.” The man grins and it takes Clarke a little off guard, but she delights that she has the power to make such a serious warrior smile. She goes over and drags a line between each little warrior. “I expect you both to try your best. Meino, do not hold back because he is my son.” She kneels down to make eye contact with the boy. “Lenox, he is stronger than you and has trained longer. I’ve taught you all that you need to know in this situation, so has Linus. Put it to use, even if you fail. Both of you, make me proud.”

The crowd cheers loudly as she steps out of the circle, Antom staying at the other end. “You may start on the Heda’s command.” She announces, gesturing to the previously unnoticed Heda. Clarke grins to herself at catching the fierce girl off guard.

Lexa recovers quickly and tips her head to Clarke. “Stot au.” Begin. At the command the fight starts, but Clarke heeds it very little attention because she is confident in her son’s ability and Meino’s honor, and because Lexa is making her way over. When she stands next to Clarke, it is then that Clarke focuses on the fight, though she can feel the Heda’s gaze upon her.

“You knew I was watching.” She speaks loud enough for only Clarke to hear. A statement, not a question.

Clarke taps her finger across the handle of the blade on the outside of her thigh. “I’ve always known, Heda.” Clarke hums, watching as Lenox’s feet are swept from under him, but the boy gets back up quickly. She doesn’t miss the small smile her admission pulls from Lexa’s lips.

“Your son fights well,” Lexa compliments, turning her attention to the boys.

Clarke turns to give Lexa a small smirk, holding her gaze when she faces Clarke. “Of course he does.” Lexa dips her head, a familiar gesture to Clarke, Lexa is holding back a laugh. “I suspect you’d be surprised by my skill of fighting as well.” Clarke boasts, feeling at ease once again in the Heda’s presence.

Green eyes look down at her as Lexa lifts up her head, chin jutted out proudly. “Is that a challenge, Wanheda.” Lexa gives her a smirk and Clarke curses herself for the way she’s automatically drawn to the curve of Lexa’s lips. She watches as Lexa’s smirk broadens, making Clarke roll her eyes and turn away in a huff.

“You wish.” Clarke mutters, aware of the chuckle that pushes its way from Lexa’s throat. Clarke frowns, never has she seen Lexa so open in front of her people. She turns back to Lexa with a frown, wondering if this is part of Lexa wanting her to come to Polis. Maybe Lexa wanted Clarke to see how Lexa was when free from the weight of war.

“Maybe I do,” Lexa whispers. Clarke’s eyes bulge a bit before she snaps her head back to the circle as the warriors roar. As Clarke predicted, Lenox is a little worse for wear, but he has defeated his opponent. He grins madly at his mother when she claps for him. Lenox helps the boy up and they grin at each other and hug each other tight. Antom meets them, patting their backs with pride and brings them to Clarke.

“Your son is a formidable fighter.” He ruffles Meino’s head as the boy looks up at him, crossed between happy and sad at not winning.

Clarke taps the boy’s chin so that he looks up at her. “You hold your head up, little one. Believe me when I say, sometimes it is better to lose the fight, because it tells you what you need to work on to win the war.” Meino grins at her. She laughs. “Just ask Lenox how many times he has been struck down by my sword before he was able to pair.”

Lenox blushes. “Nomon.” He chides her, making the adults around him chuckle.

“Antom, bring your son to the gates at first light. We will train these boys as all Trigeda gonakru are trained. In the trees.” Tree people warriors. Clarke smiles as the man looks taken back. “If you’re willing, of course.”

“It is an honor, Wanheda. We will be there at first light.” He offers his arms again and leaves after Clarke takes it.

Lenox comes to his mother’s side and looks up to her and Heda. He grins. “I fought well, Heda.”

Lexa looks to Clarke first, and only responds after Clarke gives are a hesitant nod. “You did well, Lenox.” His grins widens impossibly at her compliment.

“Nomon, is the best warrior. Did you know?” He asks with big eyes and Clarke rolls her eyes, because she know’s her son is playing the Heda.

Lexa gives Clarke a look, a look she’s given Clarke before. Clarke refuses to believe it means anything to her or Lexa. “I have fought alongside your Nomon. I know the strength in her heart.” A lump forms in Clarke’s throat and anger rises in her chest at Lexa for causing it.
She doesn’t allow it to show. Lenox is a part of this culture, Clarke is a part of it, and she knows that Heda is important to all the warriors, especially her son. Lenox puffs his chest out, an endearing thing that Clarke needs to watch to prevent her son from getting cocky. She wants him to stay humble. “I have her heart!” He announces, making Clarke chuckle.

She watches as a sadness creeps into Lexa’s eyes, something Clarke thinks that only she can see. Lexa give her son a soft smile and bends so that she can whisper something into his ear, sparing Clarke a quick glance. Clarke gives them their privacy, though she doesn’t know how to feel about Lexa keeping secrets with her son, but on the other hand, she doesn’t want the mess of her feelings to affect the way Lenox sees his Heda.

When Lexa rises, Lenox gives Clarke an inquiring look, then looks to Lexa, then back at her. “Can I go hangout with Aunty O and Uncle Lincoln?” He points to where the duo is standing and O gives a look that screams ‘I’ll yell at you later’.

Clarke nods as she bends down to hug her son, kissing his cheek. “Go. Tell them to have you back before the sun sets.” He nods quickly and sprints to the couple. Clarke watches as O uses his momentum to swing him up in the air and pull him onto her shoulders. She smiles softly at her little family, happy to have done some good for Octavia.

“I expect you are due back at the healer’s tent?” Lexa pulls Clarke’s attention with her soft words.

Clarke gives a shake of her head as she starts walking away from the pits, away from everyone’s eyes. She gestures for Lexa to follow, giving her permission to walk with her. Lexa keeps up eagerly. “Nyko has order me to take a week off. Evidently I’ve been working too hard.” Clarke shrugs. “He told me to enjoy the city.”

Lexa gives a soft smirk. “So you choose to take that time to train young warriors?” Clarke laughs and ignores the way Lexa’s gaze slips down past her eyes.

“It’ll take up my mornings.” Clarke shrugs, not able to give another answer. “How are the talks going with Tondc?” Clarke dares to ask.

If Lexa is surprised that Clarke knows what she’s been up to, she doesn’t show it. “We are at a stand still. They are hesitant in working with Skaikru, even though Indra has supported them working together, and some Skaikru remain weary of my people.” Lexa stops and looks away as they walk the steps to her palace. “I am due in a meeting now.” She sighs.

Clarke stops, and Lexa halts. “Why was I not informed?” She asks angrily.

Lexa gives her a guilty look. “I thought I could handle it. Marcus Kane has been helping as well. I did not want to burden you with my presence, Clarke. It has been a long time since we’ve shared a table.” Clarke hates Lexa for how she says her name and hates her more for leaving her in the dark.

“There you go again, making decisions that affect more than just you and your people. God Lexa, how do you ever expect me to trust you when all you do is go behind my back? The Skaikru are my people.” She growls out, stepping into Lexa’s personal space. Lexa backs down.

“Clarke...that is not what I meant to do. I did not mean to anger you, or make you even more distrustful of my intentions,” she pleads.

“Yeah, you never do.” Clarke huffs and storms up the steps in a whirlwind. Once again, Clarke had allowed Lexa to pull down her walls only to be reminded of why she built them up in the first place. When will Clarke learn?

Chapter Text

Clarke is a full on hurricane as she storms through the doors of the meeting room with a despondent Lexa behind her. The first person she sets her sights on is Kane and she gives a snarl. “Tell me. Who wanted to keep information from me? Was it you? My mother? Who thought that I didn’t need to know what was going on with my people?” Clarke sneers.

Kane raises his hands in a show of surrender. “Clarke, please.”

“Who?!” She shouts, showing no sign of backing down.

Kane sighs in defeat, his eyes pleading. “Abby, it was Abby,” Kane admits.

Clarke casts him an exasperated look. “Go get my mother. She is in the city, isn’t she?” She glares at him, sarcasm dripping from her words. He nods passively and leaves. Clarke turns her attention back to the table where Indra and Lexa stand. “You represent the Trikru, yes?” She directs at Lexa.

“Yes.” Lexa slips back into her Heda mask and it makes Clarke seethe more.

“And Indra speaks on behalf on them in your stead, yes? Because she is the Chief of your village, yes?” Lexa only nods at Clarke’s words. “Would you ever have her make decisions without your presence or without informing you?”

“No.” Lexa admits.

“Then don’t you dare keep things from me about Arkadia, about my people, especially under the order of those beneath me. You may be Heda, Leksa, but I am Wanheda. We are equals and you will treat me as such, is that understood?” Clarke demands, splaying her hands on the table.

Indra is the first to react, drawing her sword and putting it to Clarke’s neck. “You dare disrespect the Heda, you will pay with your life!”

Clarke’s fed up. She knocks her sword away, allowing Indra into her personal space without a weapon. “Stand down, Indra...Clarke is right, and you know it.” Lexa orders from her place at the table. “Klark.” She calls.

Clarke picks up Indra’s sword, handing it to her by the blade, when Indra takes it, it slices through Clarke’s palm and bloodies the blade. “You have always had my respect Indra, and once again my blood stains your sword by my own choosing. You once said that I bleed for nothing, but you know I only bleed for my people, just as Heda, just as you. Beja, don’t make me lose my respect for you.” She holds Indra’s gaze and waits for acceptance.

After a moment, Indra offers her arm, and Clarke takes it with a sigh. “It was wrong to withhold the situation from you, Wanheda...you have my respect.” She casts a glance at Lexa before stepping back to Lexa’s side. “The Skaikru have offered their help in moving what’s left of TonDC to the new location, here.” She points at a place on the map that puts them to the left of Arkadia, no more than two miles closer than they were before. “Although my village remains untrusting of your people, they have offered to help for your people’s land in return.”

“And my people are still untrusting of yours?” Clarke guesses and she tears her shirt to wrap her still bleeding hand, paying no mind to the amount of skin she’s exposed. Indra gives a sharp nod. “It’s good that they are willing to help each other, that at least means they want to trust each other.” Again Indra nods, as does Lexa. “They should fight,” Clarke says flatly. Her statement causes uproar as Abby and Kane enter the room.

“That’s exactly the kind of situation we want to avoid, Clarke.” Abby sighs. Clarke ignores her, and thankfully she gets the point. Clarke knows it’s probably only due to Kane.

“Please continue, Wanheda.” Indra turns the conversation back to the table.

Clarke nods. “Fighting isn’t just about war.” She glares at her mother. “The Trigeda fight for a show of strength, yes, but they also fight to gain respect of the mentors and their people. They fight to prove they can hold their own on the battlefield, that they can protect their brothers and sisters. In no way am I saying we wage war on TonDC. I’m saying that, if you are willing Indra, bring your people to Arkadia and we’ll send some of our people to TonDC and have them train together. Put them in the pits together and let them gain and earn each other's respect.”

Indra and Lexa meet each other’s eye, then turn back to Clarke. “This is an acceptable course of action.” Clarke grins at Indra’s formality and clears her throat.

“Can I trust that this will not happen again? Can I trust that the two of you will lead in my stead and not lead as if you are the one in charge?” She turns her attention back to Kane and Abby.

Her mom speaks first. “I’ll be the first to admit that this was my idea and I guess...Clarke, I’d like Kane to be in charge, I think I’d like to focus on just being the doctor, and a mother and grandmother. That might be best.” She looks to Kane. “He put up quite a fight with me about not telling you.” She gives the smallest of smiles.

“I’m okay with this, as long as you are, Clarke.” Kane admits.

Clarke nods, sighing with relief that at least this hadn’t turned into some big thing between them. “I agree. God knows, you and Indra get along better than her and my mom.” She casts a look at Indra, finding the woman looking offended. “It’s a joke, Indra.” She grins.

Indra huffs. “It is a waste of words.” She strides toward the door, ignoring Clarke’s small giggle. “Kane, Abby, we will leave for TonDC and Arkadia at first light.” When the door closes behind her, Clarke finally lets loose her laugh.

Abby smiles. “You shouldn’t push that woman, Clarke.” She scolds. Clarke waves it off.

“Don’t worry so much, mom. Indra and I have come to an understanding, it’s ok.” Clarke turns to look at her. “Why don’t you go find Lenox and spend some time with him before you have to go. I’ll send Linus up with some food, and you can put him to bed, if you want?” Clarke suggests.

Abby rolls her eyes with a grin. “Of course that’s what I want to do.” She hugs Clarke. “Where might I find that wild boy of ours?” She grins, making Clarke laugh.

“Octavia probably has him in the meadow with Lincoln...I’d like to send Linus with you when you return to Arkadia. I’d send O and Lincoln, but I think they’re happier here, and Linus can help ease things with the Trikru.” Both Abby and Kane agree.

“I’ll see you later, Clarke.” Abby smiles and leaves.

Kane clears his throat. “I suppose I’ll go meet with Indra to discuss the plan.” He pauses. “I am truly sorry for today Clarke, we were wrong. We’ll do better.” He promises.

“I know, Kane. Go, discuss, enjoy some dinner, enjoy Polis for the night.” Clarke grins and dismisses him. Only she and Lexa are left in the room. Any sense of relief Clarke felt slowly left her body and is replaced by tension and anger. “Why do you put me in these situations, Lexa? It’s like you want me to never trust you again.” She sets her gaze onto the silent Commander. “Do you want this coalition to fail?”

Lexa takes a few hurried steps around the table until she’s at Clarke’s side. “No, Clarke...I didn’t want to burden you with this, I thought we could handle it so that you might rest and enjoy yourself.” She pauses, her throat bobbing and brow scrunching. “You are tired, Clarke.”

Clarke doesn’t meet her eyes and turns her back to Lexa. “We are leaders, Lexa, we cannot afford to be tired.” Clarke tries to sound firm. She tries to straighten her back and lock away her emotions like she’s seen Lexa do so many times before. Clarke doesn’t know if she succeeds and more importantly, she doesn’t know if Lexa believes her.

Clarke can feel Lexa’s stare at the back of her head, the tiny hairs on her neck standing on edge. “We are not at war. Maybe we can be tired, for a moment.” Lexa says in a soft whisper like she’s afraid of her own words, and it forces Clarke’s eyes to close. The softness of Lexa’s voice always has a way of cutting through Clarke’s defenses.

“The Azgeda can change that at any minute. We both know Nia’s ways.” Clarke says, her eyes still closed and her back still turned, but not as straight. Heat radiates off Lexa the closer she steps into Clarke’s personal bubble. This makes Clarke turn in a rush, her feet stumbling back when she realizes just how close Lexa truly is.

She watches as Lexa's eyes take on a new light and it makes Clarke’s heart stutter in her chest and sweat to gather upon her brow. “This will never change, Klark. We have peace now. This is a time to cherish what we have and...seek out what we want.” Who we want. It’s unspoken, but Clarke knows what Lexa is thinking, she just knows. She feels it in every breath escaping her lungs. “Klark.”

Warm hands reach out for her and Clarke resists them. She watches as Lexa tries again, stepping forward into Clarke, and Clarke stumbles back with every step Lexa takes. “No.” She sounds firm. Another step forward, another step back. “No. Lexa, stop,” Clarke growls as she clears the table. She knows there is only wall behind her, and god help her if Lexa traps her there. “Stop,” Clarke states without conviction, no longer firm. She’s scared and exhausted, so exhausted.

Finally, Clarke’s back hits the wall like she knew it would. Neither girl speaks even as Lexa’s hand slowly comes forward to cup her cheek and the gentleness of it makes tears spring into Clarke’s eyes. She lets it happen. She lets herself soak up the warmth that Lexa’s body offers her, but one thing catches her heart. Lexa wasn’t offering an apology, and Clarke knew she wouldn’t. “No.” She pushes Lexa back harshly.

Lexa rears back, erasing all contact between their bodies. Clarke swallows at the hurt on Lexa’s face, but Lexa is quick to hide it, just like she always does. “You cannot do this alone, Clarke! I cannot do this alone!” Lexa breathes heavily, losing what little composure she had found. “Why don’t you understand? I am trying!”

“Did you ever consider that it’s too late for you to try.” Clarke spits out bitterly. “The time for you to try was when you left me outside that mountain! You could have came back!” Clarke screams, rushing forward, pushing at Lexa’s shoulders, hitting her even as her tears spill over. “You should have come back for me! You should have been there to save me from Nia! Where were you, Lexa? Here in your big house? Relaxing? You know where I was? I was fighting for my life, and my son’s life, and you know what?” She glares unforgivingly as she pushes Lexa up against the wall. “I did it by myself.”

She goes to pull away, but Lexa catches her by her elbows and holds her in place, their bodies just a breath away from each other. “Yes Clarke, I should have been there. I should have came back for you.” She swallows harshly as she pushes her forehead against Clarke, ignoring the way Clarke tries to push away. “I should have saved you, and Lenox. I cannot change the past, Clarke, no matter how much I wish I could. I’m here now, Clarke. I’m here now.”

Clarke shakes her head. She can hear, no, she can feel the hope and devotion in Lexa’s words and it grips at her heart. “No, Lexa, no.” Tears spring into her eyes and Clarke doesn’t hide them. She wants Lexa to see them, to feel them, but because Lexa refuses to spill her own tears, Clarke will force her to see the ones Lexa has caused her. “God, I fucking hate you.”

She hears the sob that tears itself from Lexa’s throat. “Klark, beja.” Clarke, please. It makes Clarke’s tears fall harder. She’s pleading for Clarke and Clarke can’t even bring herself to look at her. She wanted this, she wanted Lexa to be true with her, and now Clarke can’t stand to hear the strong woman fall apart because of her.

“We aren’t good for each other, Lexa. We don’t trust each other.” Finally, finally Clarke looks to Lexa’s eyes and they destroy her. She sees Lenox falling apart before her in the green, but this is Lexa, the first pair of green eyes ever to embed themselves into her heart. Now it feels as though Clarke is ripping them from her own heart.

“I trust you, Clarke,” Lexa says without absolute certainty and steel in her eyes. “I trust you.”

And it reminds her of past conversations and past feelings; Clarke hates her for it, and yet...Lexa goes deathly quiet and Clarke can see the final nail hit in the Commander’s heart as Lexa accepts the truth that’s been in front of her eyes. “I am the problem. I am untrustworthy.” Clarke watches as her mind works, and works, and works itself over again.

Lexa still holds Clarke close, their foreheads together, and Clarke is breathing in every breath Lexa breathes out. “I won’t lose you again.” The words themselves don’t cause the violent way Clarke pushes herself from Lexa’s arms, but the words in combination with the way Lexa looks at her, it strikes Clarke down to her knees, but she refuses to fall. Clarke will never bow to Lexa.

“You already have,” Clarke swears. She promises. She let’s the words out as if they are facts, as if they are living things with proof of existence. They both know they are just words.

Suddenly, Lexa is calm, not void of emotion, not beneath the mask of the Heda, no she’s calm, at peace. A small smile crooks up one side of Lexa’s mouth as she stares reverently at Clarke. And it breaks down each and every wall Clarke has built between them. It causes Clarke to feel as though she is raw, a livewire, and fried nerves. She feels like a cornered, injured animal, but the smallest whisper of a ghost crosses Clarke’s mind. She’s safe here.

“What?” Clarke lashes with her tongue as fear sweeps through her when Lexa stalks upon Clarke yet again, but Lexa stays silent. Before Clarke can protest, Lexa doesn’t allow the chance, and Clarke’s back slams against the wall, all tenderness gone and replaced with a rush of urgency. Clarke’s voice fails her, it stays in her throat, stubbornly refusing to break the tension Lexa has placed upon them.

Then Lexa’s lips are there, a fucking whisper from her own and Clarke can feel their every twitch and every movement when Lexa speaks in slow, contradicting tones. “You are my people. I will never have to choose between my heart and my head ever again. They now reside in the same place. You and Lenox are my people. Mine to protect. Mine to fight for. Mine… when you allow it.”

Lexa stakes her claim, and because Clarke can’t deny it, she flees.

Chapter Text

“Wake up strik gonas.” Little warriors. Clarke says warmly as they finally come to a stop in a small alcove of trees. Antom is silent, like most warriors are and he waits patiently as Clarke begins her instructions. O and Lincoln crouch on the ground above, grinning at the prospect of the day. The forest is quiet, barely waking, and the light low, making everything beneath the canopy shadowy and dark. Everything is damp with dew and the cool air causes shivers to run through the little ones.

“Osir stomba raun.” We’re awake. Meino blinks heavily as he tries to puff his chest out with one eye open. Octavia laughs and nudges Lincoln when he gives her a scolding look for interrupting Clarke. Clarke just shakes her head at the two.

“Good, because if you’re asleep then you’ll fall prey to the hunters.” Her words have an immediate effect. The boys’ spines straighten as their eyes widen to take in the woods around them.

Meino’s wild eyes land on Clarke first as Lenox worries himself over the woods at his back. “Ba yu don frag op Ripas en Maunon?” But you killed the Reapers and Mountain Men?

“Shh.” Clarke calms him. “There are no Reapers or Maunon left in these woods.” She smiles as both boys sag with relief. “There will be someone hunting you though, and you will be hunting someone else. When I say, Octavia will go in one direction and Lincoln will go in another. Meino will be hunting Octavia and Lenox will hunt Lincoln. After I think they’ve had enough of a head start the two of you will start hunting them down, separately. Then Antom will start hunting you down, Lenox, and I will hunt down you, Meino. If you are found before catching your prey, you lose. Is this clear?” They nod. “Octevia, Linkon gyon au.” Octavia, Lincoln go.

O shoots off past Clarke and heads Northwest, Lincoln heading Southwest. “What about animals?” Meino asks, his hands worrying his wooden sword. Clarke squats down before him, offering him a small knife from her belt.

“Defend yourself.” She keeps her voice stoic and unemotional. When she stands, Antom kneels himself before her son, offering him the same.

“Ste yuj, goufa kom Wanheda.” Be strong, child of Wanheda. Antom whispers and offer Lenox a knife from his boot. Clarke watches in pride as the boys ready themselves.

“Gyon au!” Clarke calls out and watches the boys race from view. Clarke folds her arms and rests against a tree, watching as Antom keeps looking in the direction of where his son faded from view. “Don’t worry, Antom. Octavia and Lincoln will be watching them.” She tries to give him comfort.

He gives a swift nod and walks over to where Lenox stood, taking in her son’s trail. “He steps lightly.” Clarke smiles, and nods.

“Something you pick up while on the run.” She laughs even though it’s far from funny. “When we find them, tie them up, tell them to find you and walk away. They must free themselves. Lincoln and Octavia will stay and watch to make sure no true harm come to them. They need to know how to get loose if they are ever caught. After they’ve found us, we’ll start the real hunt.” She instructs.

“You did not tell them this.” Antom gives a small smile.

Clarke shrugs. “Plans never last in battle, they need to know how to adapt.”

Antom nods. “Sha.” Yes. They wait for an uncountable amount of minute before Clarke gives a silent nod, and slips into the trees after Meino, Antom does the same.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clarke is in high spirits as she leaves the little warrior hogtied and wiggling on his belly. She had taken her time in hunting Meino down, but the hunt still lasted less than an hour. She disappears through the thick wilderness, laughing to herself as the fading grunts of the young warrior carries through the trees. “You’re cruel, Clarke.” Octavia chuckles as she drops down behind Clarke from a branch.

Clarke doesn’t even flinch and it makes Octavia sneer halfheartedly. “Am I? We both know what it’s like to be captured with no skill of helping ourselves. Knowing how to fight can only get you so far.” She says as she turns to face Octavia.

Octavia rolls her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, yeah...you know, you’re starting to sound a lot like Yoda.” Clarke scoffs, and O giggles. “Better go, we’ll meet up later.” Clarke nods and waits until she can no longer see Octavia then Clarke takes her leave.

She doesn’t rush as she makes her way around the rugged landscape, though it was nowhere near as harsh as the Ice Nation lands. She finds a large tree along the trail where Antom and her are to meet up and climbs up into the thicket of branches. Clarke plants her feet on the branch and props herself on the trunk. The view before her is one she’s spent time memorizing, the dips and swells of the valleys, the thickest part of the forest and the thinning of the clearings; all of it has been committed to her memory by nimble fingers and charcoal.

To the North, if she squints and strains her eyes, she can just make out the border of the Trikru/Azgeda line. She knows the horrors staining the ice and snow, the lives lost within the dead forests. Clarke remembers her time in the ice pits, fighting every warrior thrown at her for the sake of her survival, and the survival of that little boy she now calls her son. She remembers the way Nia taunted her and promised her with pretty vicious words of revenge and blood. She remembers the cold nights spent in the war tents drawing maps and churning over battle strategy under Nia’s order, Linus loyally by her side.

Clarke remembers the day she stood before the Queen on her throne. Nia had offered Clarke a place on her personal guard, Clarke would be her crowning jewel, her most prized general. Clarke remembers the crazed sheen in Nia’s eyes when Clarke refused the offer and chose freedom instead. It was a blur leaving the city, racing for every second of a head start she could get.

Clarke blinks as a twig cracks below her and she sees Antom. She gives a sharp whistle and smiles when Antom snaps his head back to meet her eyes. “Coming down.” She says, already swinging from branch to branch until her feet land on the earth again. “How was your hunt?”

“You taught your son well. He is little and light on his feet, easy to overlook, but young. He will be a good warrior when he grows.” Antom grunts out. “Meino?”

Clarke smiles. “He covers his tracks well and makes use of the trees, but he is young.” She grins as Antom huffs a small laugh. They wait in silence, both occupying their time by sharpening their weapons. They wait for their sons.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When the motley crew returns to the city they do so with high spirits, mouth splitting smiles and jovial laughter. Both Clarke and Antom, and Octavia and Lincoln carry a log upon their shoulders, one holding a young buck and the other a fatty boar. Meino carries a rabbit he caught and Lenox a hen. Dirt mars each boy’s face, a mask of mock warpaint. Lenox wears his Nomon’s markings, and Meino wears his Nontu’s.

Lincoln and Octavia take the boar for their stores, and Clarke has to force Antom to take the deer. Meino sweetly gifts his rabbit to Lenox and refuses to take the hen in return. She takes her son and their spoils of the hunt to the kitchens in Lexa’s palace, knowing they’d be more than happy to prepare their small feast. As they pass by Lexa’s room, Lenox pulls them to a halt. Clarke frowns down at him. “I want to tell Heda of my first real hunt.” Lenox pouts, and Clarke gives a sigh of resignation before nodding in acceptance.

Lenox needs no further permission as he barrels toward the guards outside Lexa’s door. “Chit?” What? Dax growls down at Lenox, but Lenox shows no sign of fear, only puffing out his chest and glaring up at the warrior. Clarke hides a smile behind her hand.

“I seek an odd dance with Heda.” He says confidently, and it makes Clarke snort into her hand when Dax stares at her son with such confusion and alarm.

Clarke steps forward and clears her throat. “An audience. He requests an audience with Heda.”

Lenox turns his glare onto Clarke. “That’s what I said!” He huffs and turns back to Dax. “I want an odd dance with Heda.” Clarke shakes her head, but is grateful when Dax sends the other guard inside. He comes back out, and silently nods at Dax, then they step aside and allow Clarke and Lenox to enter.

The room is primarily lit by a large fire pit off to the side in a sitting area and scattered torches along the walls. Lexa was sat at a small table situated in front of the long windows that made up the side wall, she stood as Clarke and Lenox came into view. She grinned down at Lenox as he bound up to her. Clarke stays in the background, allowing her son to have his moment with his Heda. “I heard a young warrior wished for an audience with me.” Clarke watches as Lexa leads him to sit upon a chair, the Heda pushing hers closer to his so that they may talk. Lexa doesn’t spare a glance in Clarke’s direction.

Lenox squirms in his seat and gives Lexa his best smile. He starts his tale of his day, and Clarke watches as Lexa gives him her full attention. Lexa is dressed down, her armor absent and her weapons missing, her face clear and clean. Clarke hates how Lexa’s eyes still manage to capture her, she blames the firelight and the way the flames flicker within the green pools. Those eyes crinkle at the corners as Lexa smiles and laughs along with Lenox’s tale. “We’re waiting for the rabbit and hen for dinner. Will you eat with us, Heda?” Green against green, neither look away.

“Lenox, I’m sure the Heda is busy, let’s not keep her.” Clarke steps in with a clearing of her throat. He pouts, but doesn’t argue as he stands and heaves a great sigh before coming to stand at his Nomon’s side. Clarke ignores the sagging of Lexa’s shoulder and she ignores Lexa as she stands. Clarke takes Lenox’s small hand in hers and starts to take their leave. Soft finger’s encompass Clarke’s free hand.

“Clarke.” Lexa waits until Clarke faces her to continue. “It is tradition that a warrior's first hunt is shared with the chief of their village, and if chance would have it that the Heda is present during this time, the Heda sits at the feast as well, to honor the coming of the new warrior.” She licks her lips and Clarke sees the almost shy, hesitant, look in Lexa’s eyes. “I don’t make the rules, Clarke.” She smiles softly.

“Yes, you do.” Clarke rolls her eyes as Lenox hoots in elation and releases him as he scrambles to reclaim his seat at the Heda’s table, both women are left grinning after him. “I’m allowing this because it is important to him and his heritage, Lexa. Do not mistake this for anything other than what it is. Understand?” Clarke warns.

“Understood, Clarke.” Lexa nods, but she looks down and when she doesn’t look back up, Clarke gets curious. Clarke swallows thickly as Lexa’s thumb starts sweeping over her knuckles; Clarke had forgotten that they were still holding hands. Clarke doesn’t pull away, instead she allows Lexa to lead her to the table and she sits with Lexa to her left and Lenox to her right, and if Lexa gives Clarke a winning, knowing grin, Clarke swears that she doesn’t see it.

Chapter Text

Two Weeks Later…

Clarke sits on the chair Trikru warriors had presented her upon arrival to Arkadia. Her mother’s is a considerably less grand chair to her right and Indra to her left. They sit upon the elevated platform watching Trikru and Skaikru alike shove each other around in the scattered pits across the field. Things had moved swiftly since Clarke had last seen either woman, and she was proud of how much progress had been made in such little time. Of course everything hadn’t been resolved, but relations between Skaikru and Trikru have been steadily growing.

In the closest pit, Bellamy and Lincoln are having it out with a group of the 100 around them making mental notes of the fight. Clarke’s little man can be seen, and heard, cheering on Lincoln from atop Octavia’s shoulders. The only time Lenox ceases in his cheering is when Raven makes her presence known; he bends down as far as he can without falling off O’s shoulders so that he can talk with the mechanic. To see him so happy with her friends, her family, it causes Clarke’s heart to swell and warm.

“You were right, Clarke,” Abby admits almost dejectedly making Clarke shake head head subtly. Indra isn’t so quiet in her disapproval however.

“You should not question Wanheda, Abby Griffin,” Indra huffs.

Clarke looks at her strangely. Since when is Indra her cheerleader?

“Indra...you can’t be serious,” Clarke laughs. “You question every move I make.” She says it without malice, because Indra might not agree with her choices, but she has shown Clarke more respect since their confrontation in Polis.

Again, Indra huffs and Clarke can see just how much Indra is done with the useless talk. “It is different. You irritate me. You are not observant when it comes to things outside politics.” Her words must strike a chord within her mother, because Abby starts laughing.

“What?” Clarke questions, her eyes drifting from one woman to the other. “What?”

Abby doesn’t answer her, and when she looks to Indra again the woman is actually smiling, but she still ignores Clarke’s inquiry. Clarke gives up and slumps back into her seat, put out by their odd behavior, and since when does Indra smile? Lenox’s version of a war cry breaks through Clarke’s sulking as he cheers on Lincoln’s victory. Clarke smiles as Octavia sets him down only for him to be thrown into the air and caught by Lincoln.

As the pit frees up, no one else enters it. Clarke looks around and sees that most of the other pits are the same way, it seems everyone is done for the day. The three women step down from the platform and start walking amongst the crowd, Clarke at the head. “How are things with the new location of Tondc?” Clarke questions.

“The fence has been put in place and now we start on the huts. We should be done before the Cold is here.” Indra states, and for a moment Clarke is surprised at the announcement of Winter being so close. Time, it seems, has escaped her this past year. Was the Mountain really a year ago? Her capture by the Ice Nation? Her discovery of Lenox? Clarke finds it surreal as she has only been released by Nia for what, three months? And now the Winter will be upon them again, but this time Clarke will be free and Lenox will be safe and cared for.

“Indra’s warriors and our guards are split between her camp and ours to prepare the winter huts. Progress has been fast and our people have come together quickly,” Abby adds, gaining yet another smile from Indra. Seriously, Clarke is taken back by such a pleasant demeanor wafting off of Indra. Is this the product of peace? Clarke thinks that, yes, maybe it is.

“The Commander will be pleased,” Clarke confesses, though she halts in her tracks by her mother’s snort and Indra’s huff, and she’s left behind as they continue on without her.

“Nomon!” She turns and smiles as Lenox tackles her legs in a hug. She hefts him up onto her hip and allows him to snuggles into her neck. Octavia, Raven, Bellamy and Lincoln weren’t far behind him.

“I see you’ve lost again, Bellamy,” Clarke rubs in as Bell rolls his eyes.

“I don’t see you out there, Princess,” he teases, causing Lincoln and Octavia to laugh, though they’re laughing at him, rather than at Clarke.

Raven speaks when no one else does. “Keep dreaming, Bell. Clarke can kick your ass faster than you can say Wanheda.” She gives Clarke a wink and Clarke grins at her.

When Bellamy scoffs, any response he had is cut off by Lenox as he removes his head from his Nomon’s neck. “Nomon is the best warrior, that is why she is Wanheda. Right, Nomon?” He grins when Clarke boops his nose with her finger.

“That’s right.” She grins adoringly down at her sleepy boy.

Lenox turns back to Bellamy with a haughty expression that Clarke recognizes as one of Lexa’s signature looks. “Nomon is like Heda. No one can beat them, especially not you.”

The group laughs at Bellamy’s expense and Bellamy pouts. “Your son is so mean to me, Clarke. You’d think he’d be nicer to his mother’s best friend.”

Raven scoffs and pushes Bell. “Dream on, Bell. Everyone knows Clarke loves me the most.” She smirks. Octavia just looks at Clarke as she rolls her eyes in Raven’s direction, and Lincoln just smiles, amused by their antics.

Lenox, however, has more to say. “Nomon doesn’t love you the mosts.”

Clarke’s eyes grow wide in fear of what her son might say next and quickly interrupts. “That’s right, cause I love you the most. Don’t I, Lenox?” Luckily it’s enough to distract his train of thought, and instead of continuing, Lenox just beams with pride. Clarke is more than happy to let the conversation drop. Ever since their dinner with Lexa, Clarke’s son as been on a mission of sorts. It’s ‘Lexa this’ and ‘Lexa that’, and god did he rub it in everyone’s face that the Heda allows him to address her so informally. He thinks that the Heda favors him and in his four year old reasoning, since Clarke loves him the most, and Heda like him the most, and Heda loves Clarke the most, then obviously they were one family. He’s been trying to convince his Nomon, but Clarke only corrects him. Lenox pays her no mind.

“Come on, let’s get you something to eat and then it’s off to bed forall little warriors.” Clarke says as she heads for the hut Linus had built for her. Linus’ loyalty to her and Lenox confounded her every day, but it made sense to her every second. He is more than Clarke’s friend, he is her protector, her mentor...Clarke often entertained the thought that her father’s spirit helped guide Linus to her. Every day she is thankful for however their friendship came about.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Even though Clarke wanted to, she couldn’t stay at Arkadia any longer. She’s been away from Police for a week, having left immediately after keeping her word to train Meino for a week. Tradition holds that there must be an ambassador for the Skaikru in Polis, and that person is Clarke. So she said her goodbyes and left with promises of trips to Polis and coming back to Arkadia soon.

The trek back to Polis had been quick, and Clarke wasn’t ashamed to say that when they arrived she was relieved to be back in the capital. After settling back into her room, she quickly released Lenox to go find Meino, under the watchful eyes of Lincoln and Octavia of course. Then, Clarke was left to her own devices. She could have joined her son, she could have joined Nyko in the healing tent, but Clarke found herself in Lexa’s library instead.

She tucks herself into an old, comfy chair by the windows, sketchbook resting upon her knees and charcoal staining her fingers as she drew the city from above. It’s been so long since Clarke could just lose herself and she does lose herself, with the knowledge that Lenox is safe and there is peace; she loses herself.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is how Lexa finds her, tucked away in a corner and blissfully unaware that Lexa is watching her. Lexa had known Clarke was back the instant Clarke’s horse had stepped inside the gate, but Lexa did not rush to meet her. Of course Lexa could have rushed to meet Clarke, but practiced restraint. She believed that she had been bold enough in her intentions toward Clarke the week before she left, and Lexa wasn’t sure if she had actually been too bold or too honest, but she wouldn’t allow herself to regret her actions.

Instead, Lexa had made her way to where she knew Lenox would be. He was her ally in all things Clarke related, and Lexa was beyond humble by Clarke’s allowance of her presence in Lenox’s life, even as limited as it was. Lexa was allowed to speak with him, entertain him with his play fights and even instruct him on his training, but only as a Heda would. Clarke tolerated Lexa’s influence in Lenox’s life because she was his Heda, and it made Lexa proud to be Heda in the young warrior’s eyes. Lexa knew that Clarke did not have to allow this.

So she went to the field where the goufas played. Sure enough, Lenox was there at Meino’s side, the seven year old boy as enamored with Clarke’s son as Lenox was with him. Lexa hung back, watching as Octavia and Lincoln watched, though Lexa did not sit upon the logs as they did. She waited until Lenox noticed her presence, and when he noticed, he did so with exuberance.

“Heda! Heda!” He screamed, dropping his wooden sword in favor of rushing toward Lexa.

“Heya ai strik lukot.” Hello my little friend. Lexa greets as he halts in front of her, beaming as she gives him a small smile.

“Heya, Leksa.” Hello Lexa. He stands tall and still, waiting. Lexa stands taller over him in a standoff on who is going to be the first to break the pretense. Lenox is the one to break it as he stretches his arms out to Lexa. “Up, beja?” Please. And she bends, her hands lifting him gently until he’s situated, his arms around her neck, legs wrapped about her waist and Lexa supports him with an arm snug about his back and a hand upon his leg.

“Polis has missed its best warrior.” Lexa indulges him, the smile he bestows upon her is worth it.

“I missed Polis, too,” He says in a pleased, soft tone. Lexa briefly looks away to take in Octavia’s reluctant acceptance and Lincoln’s composed attitude. Lenox refocuses her attention back to him as he leans in close to deliver her a secret. “Nomon and I missed you too, Heda.” When he leans back, he does so with a conspiring smile and Lexa can only shake her head and let loose a small laugh.

She puts him down, and though she wishes to place a kiss to the crown of his head when he kisses her cheek sweetly, she doesn’t. “Go on, your friends are waiting.” She pats his head and sends him off. She left them there and found her way to Clarke in the library.

So she stands here, just inside the doorway and watches Clarke. She allows herself to indulge in the way the sunlight sets fire to Clarke’s golden waves and she lets herself fall into the glittering blue pools and the endearing furrow of Clarke’s eyebrows and the tiny peek of Clarke’s tongue as she concentrates. “You’re staring.”

Lexa coughs with wide eyes at the sound of Clarke’s voice. She hadn’t realized that Clarke was aware of her presence, but how she missed the sound of Clarke’s beautifully rich voice. She collects herself enough to walk further into the room. “Mounin houm, Klark.” Welcome home, Clarke.

Clarke lifts her gaze from her book and gives Lexa the softest of smiles and it steals all of Lexa’s breath. “Mochof, Leksa.” Thank you, Lexa. Lexa smiles back shyly, elated with the openness in which Clarke is regarding her. “I assume you’ve already welcomed my son as well?” Lexa basks in Clarke’s secret smile even though she blushes under Clarke knowing.

“Yes,” she confesses to Clarke, “I hope that does not displease you.”

Clarke laughs and it jumpstarts Lexa’s heart. “It’s fine Lexa, honestly. He loves the attention he gets from the Heda,” Clarke tease her. “He thinks it marks him as special to you.”

Lexa bobs as she swallows down her eagerness to keep the light atmosphere that has surrounded them, but she can’t hold back her words. “He is special to me, Clarke.”

Clarke stares at her for a moment and Lexa thinks that she has once again been too bold, but then Clarke speaks. “I know.” Lexa lets out a heavy breath at Clarke quick acceptance. “Indra and my mom are getting along famously. Relations between Trikru and Skaikru grow stronger every day.”

Lexa nods. “I am glad...Indra is a good friend to have in both wartimes and peace.” Lexa smiles and Clarke laughs again. “I believe her smile is more frightening than her glare,” Lexa jokes, and it makes Clarke laugh even louder.

“She claims I am oblivious to everything outside of politics. It’s weird to see her joke with my mother...it’s weird to see you joking too.” Lexa is enraptured by the way Clarke slides a hand through her hair, careful of the few braids she has, that she almost misses the fond tone of Clarke’s words. Almost.

Lexa rests her body carefully against the windowed wall, keeping her gaze on Polis and her emotions in check...but not closed off. “Polis has missed you.” I have missed you. Lexa omits the truth.

She hears Clarke’s sigh, but she doesn’t turn to look, she will not push her luck, and oh how lucky she has been in these few precious moments. “I have missed Polis too.” Lexa isn’t sure what this is, but she thinks that maybe it can be a start, and maybe her previous boldness wasn’t unfounded, and maybe she hadn’t scared Clarke off with her intentions. Lexa believes that maybe, this can work.

Chapter Text

Nia is a conniving thing that slithers into your tent at night and lays in wait tucked away in the furs of your bed, and when you lay down to sleep, she bites you and escapes through a hole in the canvas leaving you none the wiser. Clarke was all too aware of the poison in Nia’s bite, both she and Lexa have been injected, and they’ve both survived.

The sting of such a bite is one that will never fully go away, but Clarke felt that it is something that keeps her aware and alert while in the Ice Queen’s presence. Now, she watches Nia slink through the streets of Polis from her place overwatching the warriors train, upon their request. It was a small tournament of sorts, fighting to be claimed the strongest in the eye of the Wanheda.

It amused Clarke at the time, but now she found herself wanting to be closer to Lenox, especially with Nia in the capital. Clarke knew that he was safe. Lenox was with Meino and the other children of Polis, safe under the watch of the other mothers and Octavia. He was safe, but Nia had always made Clarke feel like she was hanging from a cliff’s edge with Lenox on her back and her grip slipping.

Try as she might, Clarke couldn’t bring herself to focus on the warriors. Instead, she tried to strain her ears and eyes to look for any sign of her son. She felt herself growing more anxious as the seconds ticked, finally Clarke couldn’t take it anymore. “Lincoln!” She calls, a small relief finding her as the man comes to stand before her.

“Wanheda,” he addresses her formally in the presence of the warriors.

Clarke swallows down her panic, because she knows, she knows, that Lenox is fine. “Lok ai yongon op.” Find my child. Lincoln nods and is off like a shot. Clarke watches him leave.

“Wanheda, sich?” Wanheda, trouble? A warrior asks as he approaches her, a group closing in behind him.

She shakes her head with a harsh tug. “No, no.” Clarke tries to give a reassuring smile. “Continue.” She motions for the fighters to start. No one moves. “Chit?” What? She frowns down at the warriors.

“We’ll wait for, Lincoln,” the same warrior speaks, the group at his back grunting in agreement. If she wasn’t so worried, perhaps Clarke would appreciate their loyalty for her more, but she can’t do that now. All Clarke can think about is Nia and her son being within the same city without Clarke between them. The warriors are silent around Clarke, and it makes her anxiety worse. They’re suspended in time, waiting.

Clarke hit her breaking point. “I have to go. My son...” She trails off with shaky breaths, leaping down from the small uprise. She takes off to where her son is supposed to be. She’s running and she knows it’ll cause panic among the people, especially with the small army behind her, but she doesn’t care. It takes too long for Clarke to reach the meadow and fear strikes her heart when she sees what’s happening. A man painted in white ash and blood has Lenox by his hair, holding his small body in place with a blade to his throat.

Lincoln is holding back Octavia as she shouts at the man, her face bloodied and beaten, her right leg barely touching the ground as she can’t put pressure on it. “Wanheda!” The man screeches, tearing Lenox’s head back harshly. He son cries out in pain and he claws desperately at the man’s hand to release him.

Clarke’s vision turns red and her mind shifts back to survival mood. She’s in the ice pits once more. “Release him!” She roars, coming to a halt just in front of the struggling couple.

Relief sparks in Lenox’s crying eyes, and the fear he’d felt before, the fear Clarke had seen in his eyes, is no longer there. “Nomon!” His voice calls out to her, but Clarke sees nothing but relief in his eyes. Her brave little warrior watching her as though she’s invincible and an unstoppable force.

Clarke’s furious heart slows, her vision focusing as the man zeros in on her. Her son’s faith holding deep within her heart as she draws her sword, the metal singing as it’s released from its sheath. The army behind Clarke shifts forward, circling the meadow, weapons at the ready. Clarke has no doubt they’ve sent word to Lexa, but Clarke can’t focus on that now. She’s too focused on the drop of blood that slides down her child’s neck as the blade is pushed into his skin. Clarke growls. “Spill more of my son’s blood and you will pray for death.” She’s cold, deathly calm as her eyes flicker from the man to Lenox. Still, Lenox shows no fear. In fact, he’s solely focused on Clarke. He sees nothing else.

The man laughs and leans down to talk into her son’s ear. “Aw look at your Nomon boy. Wanheda’s coming out to play. Watch her. Look how much she cares. Your death will break her.” He almost sings with glee. Lenox doesn’t react. His eyes have found Clarke’s and she holds his stare to give him back the strength he’s given her.

“You want Wanheda! Then come for her!” Clarke bares her teeth taking a hurried step forward. The man stumbles back a step, dragging Lenox with him. Clarke’s eyes narrow, the man is lying with his false confidence...he’s terrified of her. The realization sparks the predator in Clarke. “Or are you too scared to face me yourself? You’re coward that has to threaten children because you’re not man enough to take me on? You’re nothing, worthless, is that it?” She taunts.

The man seethes, thrusting Lenox to his side, the grip on her son’s hair like a vice. He thrust his dagger toward her. “I am no coward, Wanheda!” But his hand shakes and the anger in his voice wavers. The warriors tighten their ranks. “Back! Get back!” He demands, putting his blade to Lenox’s neck threatening.

“Bak op!” Back up! Clarke screams as more blood drips from a nick on Lenox’s neck. “Yu na wan op kom bushhada!” You will die a coward! The words seem to blind the man and he pushes her son into the earth between them. A sickening thud echoes in Clarke’s heart when Lenox meets the ground. She reaches for Lenox, blinded by love, and the man attacks. With difficulty she slides in the grass on her knees, shielding her son with her body. The man’s dagger meets her sword and the blowback sends his weapon to the ground as well.

Without a breath he removes the sword from his back and is at Clarke again, not letting her get to her feet. So she fights on her knees, her son clinging to her back, trapped between her and the ground. Clarke grunts and she knows that she has to do something, she needs to get Lenox free from her weight so he can get to safety. Her hand grips the tip of her own sword, the blade cutting into her flesh and drawing out her blood as she pushes up and back. “Bushhada!” Coward! Clarke calls as she locks eyes with the man. Finally she inches him back enough to swing her swords around to pin his blade to the ground and her fist let’s go of her blade and crashes into the man’s nose.

He stumbles back moaning in pain as blood gushes from his broken nose, but he doesn’t drop his sword. Clarke bounds up and shuffles backward, pushing her son away from her, but Lenox’s grip is tight on her pants. “Let go, Lenox, let go!” She orders, but the boy is too scared. The man is coming for her once more and Clarke raises her blade to meet his on the downswing. She grunts with the effort, fighting with her right hand behind her back as she desperately tries to push Lenox away from her, but he’s frozen in the fear she thought he lost. The warriors don’t interfere, Octavia doesn’t come to pull Lenox to safety. Why is no one helping her?

Again she manages to force his blade away and lands a lucky kick to his abdomen that sends him back a few steps. “Heda! Heda!” Hurried voices reach her ears and Clarke spares a glance to the crowd to see Lexa pushing to the front. Clarke grips her teeth and grips the back of her son’s shirt, his small body lifting from the ground in a horrifying moment.

“Nomon, no!” He cries and it distracts her long enough for the man to return with a hard blow to her face, but she does not fall. Clarke will not fall. She thrusts her blade in an arc and catches him by the arm, blood spurts and pours out, spattering her face with a mist of blood. He backs up on his own this time, and again, Clarke pulls Lenox from her and throws his small body across the little distance to Lexa’s feet. He cries when he lands and struggles to get up and run to her. Lexa holds him back and he fights her.

“Clarke!” Lexa cries out, but it’s too late. She feels the blade pierce her side and exit out the back. Her sword drops and her hands grip his steel as he tries to push it in. It slices through her hands, cutting deeper.

“Ah!” She cries unable to stop it and the man grins sinisterly as he forces her to her knees.

“Not so mighty now, Wanheda,” he jeers. Clarke coughs, blood coming from her mouth, all she can taste is iron. All Clarke can see are the ice pits. She’s cold. She can’t breathe and she turns to her son, now in the arms of Lincoln. Lexa has her sword drawn and looks ready to charge, but she can’t. If Lexa does, then she’ll put herself at risk and Clarke needs Lexa to protect Lenox. If Clarke falls to this man, he will die, but more will come for Lenox.

Clarke winces as he pushes her backward, but every time she resists, the blade sinks deeper. He’s drawing this out and he’s not even looking at Clarke anymore, he’s smirking at Lexa; he thinks he’s won. “Lenox!” She coughs. “Lenox, run! Take him away! Go now!” She growls and watches as Lincoln struggles with her son’s tiny frame. The man glares down at Clarke and pushes harshly, twisting the blade. She cries desperately and her head swims, the only thing she can hear his Lenox’s cries for her to get up, to fight.

Her breath catches with every inhale, but she hears her son, she hears Lenox. She will not fall. She cannot fall. Clarke releases her grip on the blade and the absence of her resistance send the man flying down, the blade burying itself in her side up to the hilt. Surprise is written on his face as he crashes down to her and she meets his head with her own. A deafening crack ringing out as her forehead connects with his already shattered nose. He falls back in pain, leaving his sword buried in Clarke.

She struggles and stumbles to stand, she falls on her hands and knees before standing on unsteady feet. He lays at her feet on his ass as he stares at her in disbelief when she slowly pulls the blade from her body, and she cries out when it’s finally free, more blood dripping from her mouth. “No! You were down!” He yells, scrambling backwards, but Clarke advances and sends his own sword straight through his shin and burying it into the earth. He screams and tries to pull himself free and she staggers back to where her sword lies.

Her right hand presses into her wound, her head swims and she’s unsteady, but she advances upon him once more. Her sword sure in her left hand, the tip at his throat and she gives him a shallow nick. He hisses and cries like the coward Clarke claimed him to be. Clarke is close to passing out, her vision blackens and she blinks to force it back. With a war cry she’s never heard before, Clarke thrust her sword down to spear his shoulder, pinning him to the earth again. Her weight falls heavily upon her sword. Her face is just a foot from his, her blood falling onto his face as he tries in vain to move away from it. “You wanted my blood. The blood...of, Wanheda.” She sneers and spits into his face, blood and spit stinging his eyes. “Have it.”

Then she’s lifted and pulled from the man with hurried, but gentle, movements. Lexa’s hovering over her, the Heda on her knees above the Wanheda. “Clarke! Clarke, look at me!” Lexa’s pleading but Clarke’s eyes can’t focus. Hands push on her side to try and stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t hurt anymore. She’s cold. “Beja, Clarke.” Lexa’s hands are covered in blood when she grips Clarke’s face. “Lok Naikou op!” Find Nyko! She screams at her warriors. Clarke blinks, trying to fight her black vision and she thinks, she’s never heard Lexa sound so weak.

Clarke coughs blood and she can hear her son crying out for her. “Le-Lenox.” She wheezes out, staring up at the shadowy face that she believes to be Lexa, but all she can see are the Heda’s green eyes. It’s Lexa, she can see Lexa. Lexa is holding her and Lexa looks scared, and all Clarke can feel is cold.

“He’s safe.” Lexa tells her and Clarke closes her eyes. He’s safe, Lenox is safe. A slap stings her cheek and she blinks away the haze. “Don’t you dare close your eyes, Klark kom Skaikru.” Lexa sneers down at her. “Yu gonplei nou ste odon!” Your fight is not over! “Stay, Clarke, stay here. I need your spirit to stay where it is.” Clarke thinks she sees Lexa cry, but her vision is so blurry, her head is so heavy. “I need you.”

“I need you.”

Clarke’s eyes close, and though her mind screams for her to wake up, she doesn’t.

“I need you.”

She can’t breathe and everything hurts again.

“Nomon!” “I need you.”

She’s cold and the pain slips away.

“I need you.”

“Nomon!”

“Ai hod yu in.”

“I love you.”

“I need you.”

“I’m sorry.” Clarke uses the last bit of strength she has.

Clarke slips away.

Chapter Text

She saw it all. She stood there and watched Clarke fall, and she didn’t do anything to help. Lexa had gotten there too late, and now she’s left with the knowledge that she could have done more to protect Clarke, to protect Lenox, and once again, Lexa had failed in doing so. She paces outside the healer's tent as Nyko and Abby do what they can, all that they can, to fix Clarke. Lexa is left with feeling utterly useless, again.

The people of Polis are holding their breath. They come in shifts, standing vigil alongside their Heda as Lexa awaits word of Clarke’s progress. They bring food and light candles. Children place flower crowns next to the candle shrines, an offering to their ancestors so that they may take the flowers instead of their Wanheda. Lexa doesn’t even know where Lenox is. Octavia and Lincoln had taken him away from the crowd. Lincoln was probably doing his best to patch the two up.

“Heda! Heda!” A small voice calls out to her from the crowd, and the people part to allow the small body through. Lexa drops to her knees, clouds of dirt billowing up from her harsh landing, but her arms are open to accept the small body hurdling into her protective reach. In this moment, she does not care that she shows such open emotion amongst her people. Lexa doesn’t care if they know that she loves Wanheda just as much as they do. She doesn’t care that they know she loves Clarke even more.

All Lexa cares about is Lenox’s small body folding into her own. She presses her hand to the back of his head, allowing him to nuzzle into her neck as her other arm comes to wrap around his back, gently tucking him into her. Lexa allows herself to draw a comfort far greater than the small body should provide, as Lenox draws comfort from her.

“Shh ai yongon. Lenox, yu Nomon na kik thru. Em ste yuj.” Shh my child. Lenox, your mother will survive. She is strong.

Lexa tries to console the crying boy. Softly, she pulls him from him, though he is reluctant to let go. She places her hands upon his shoulders and smiles when his teary gaze locks onto her.

“Oso souda ste yuj.” We must be strong.

Lexa watches as Lenox’s small chin quivers as he tries to stand tall, but his throat bobs and Lexa’s heart burns at the sight of the small cuts beneath his chin.

“Ai na ste yuj. Gon ai nomon. Gon yu. Gon ai seingeda.” I will be strong. For my mother. For you. For my family.

Lexa takes his face into her hands and brings him close to lay her forehead to his. “Gon oso seingeda.” For our family. She whispers to him and presses her lips to his forehead. Lexa stands, her hands under Lenox’s armpits as she lifts him with her and holds him. His little arms wrap around her neck, his legs around her waist, and she holds him to her like the fragile warrior he is. In this moment, he’s simply a boy.

Lexa casts her eyes over the people of Polis and she can see love and understanding reflected back at her. She is not weak for showing such emotion. They know Heda will do anything for her people; they are her family. They know devotion and selflessness are never weakness, as she has proven to them time and time again, safeguarding them all. They do not see weakness in her love for Clarke and her son. She sees their strength and she takes it as her own.

“Heda.” Octavia’s soft voice breaks her reprieve. Octavia’s arm is outstretched as though she’ll take Lenox from her. Lexa takes a step back.

Lexa shakes her head as she hears a small whimper escape Lenox. “No.” Lexa tells Octavia in a firm but quiet voice. “He stays with me.” Her right hand pushes against Lenox’s back to tuck him more firmly into her chest, her left arm wrapped beneath his bottom to keep him up. He weighs next to nothing, but his weight against her is the only thing keeping her grounded in this moment.

Octavia frowns, her brows scrunching over a blackened eye. She has bruises around her neck and a busted lip, and Lexa notices how she favors one leg, the other barely able to support any pressure. Lexa wonders how she made it here alone. Though, Octavia has always been a stubborn girl. “Ok.” The girl relents with a heavy sigh as Lincoln appears at her side. He nods to Lexa, but doesn’t speak as he wraps an arm around Octavia and pulls her in closer, taking most of her weight against him.

Jealousy flares within Lexa’s heart. Why does this man get to hold is love when Lexa’s lays in this tent, dying? She shakes her head. It won’t do her any good to dwell on such things. She knows her part in all this, her guilt is familiar and loud within her mind, but Lenox needs her now and Clarke does too. She will stay strong.

“Heda!”

Lexa grits her teeth, but turns toward the warrior.

“Chit?” What? She growls. She knows this warrior, Linus. Clarke’s friend. “What is it, Linus?” She relents.

“There is no sign of Nia in Polis. We sent out patrols outside the gates to catch her trail. Heda...we found Roan, the banished Azgeda prince. He says that he pledges his loyalty to you and Wanheda. He has information of the Azgeda army,” Linus delivers with a hushed voice.

Lexa eyes him harshly.

“Do you trust him?” Lexa demands.

Clarke trusts this man. Clarke puts her life and the life of her child in this warrior’s hands. Trusting him is the least Lexa can do.

Linus nods firmly. “He was banished for revolting against his mother, Heda. Roan holds no love for Nia.”

“Indra!” Lexa yells, her hand cupping Lenox’s ears to shield him from the sudden noise. The general scrambles to stand before her, dipping her head in respect awaiting orders. “Get any information you can from the Azgeda Prince...be sure he’s an ally. Take Linus with you. Go!” Indra hesitates. “Chit?” What?

Indra eyes Octavia. “Ai seken?” She requests. Lexa looks to Octavia and sees that the girl is torn between wanting to go with her mentor and wanting to stay at Clarke’s side.

Lexa takes the small steps that separate her and Octavia. “It is up to you Octevia kom Trikru. I will not fault you for staying by Clarke’s side, nor will I for going with Indra.” Uncertainty shines clear in Octavia’s eyes. “Lenox will not leave my sight, and I will not leave Clarke until I absolutely must. I swear it.” Lexa speaks softly, aware that her words can be used against her if traitors are near, but she has faith in her people and their loyalty to her, their loyalty to Clarke.

Octavia nods and pulls away from Lincoln, limping on her injured leg but standing tall. Lexa is proud, and so is Indra. “I’ll join Indra...if there’s any changes…” She drifts off with an unsaid request.

Lexa nods. “I will send word. I will retrieve you myself if need be,” Lexa promises.

Relief washes over the young warrior and Lexa watches on as they take their leave. Lincoln stays steady by his Heda’s side. A light snore gathers Lexa’s attention and she pulls back enough to see that Lenox has fallen asleep.

“I can take him to his room,” Lincoln offers.

Lexa shakes her head and adjusts her hold on the boy. “No, we will stay until we know Clarke is ok. I will not take him away from his nomon.”

Lincoln nods and pulls a small bench like seat over to Lexa. She nods gratefully and sits, leaning back ever so slightly to allow Lenox to rest more snugly against her. She will wait for Clarke.

It takes as long as it takes.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Hold her down!” Abby hisses as she lays atop her daughters convulsing legs. The wound itself had been easy to fix, it was a clean through and through, it didn’t nick any organs or bones. They had stopped the bleeding and stitched her up, but then the seizures came, and with every jolt the stitches tore and damage was done.

Together, Nyko and Abby roll Clarke over to her side, holding tight until the convulsions lessen and leave. When Clarke is done they roll her back into place on her back. “Azgeda poison.” Nyko spits with gritted teeth. “Emo bushhada.” Cowards. Now that Clarke is seemingly calm, Nyko goes back to his mortar to grind up the herbs that will make the antidote; they’re on borrowed time.

“How much longer does she have, Nyko?” Abby asks, her face slipping and showing her emotion.

Nyko looks up to her as he adds a green colored oil into the mortar. “Clarke is strong.” He grunts, but Abby notices that he does not answer her question. “Others have fallen to this poison much quicker than she. She fights it with the strength of Wanheda. It would be too late for others, but not for her. Ai seken ste yuj. Ai Wanheda ste yuj. Em na teik daun dison.” My second is strong. My Wanheda is strong. She will overcome this.

Abby only collects the gist of his words, but the warm coming from the normally stoic healer breathes hope into her heart. “She is strong.” Abby whispers, wiping the sweat from her daughter's brow with a cold cloth.

Nyko comes to stand at Abby’s side. “It is ready.” He says, and Abby lifts Clarke’s head and opens her mouth. Nyko pours the medicine down her throat, his hand covering Clarke’s mouth when the girl starts to cough so she doesn’t spit it out. He sighs when Clarke settles down and puts his mortar to the side. Abby watches him tiredly. “It is up to her now. We should update, Heda.”

Abby stops him with a gentle hand on his broad chest. “I’ll go talk to Lexa...keep an eye on her?”

Nyko nods and plops down on a sturdy stool by Clarke’s head. He takes up the cloth and cold water bowl, wiping at Clarke’s brow and cleaning the blood from her face. He whispers to her in a low tremble, too low for Abby to understand, but she thinks it must be comforting words as Clarke’s body relaxes before him. She sighs and heads to the exit.

The cool night air bites at her skin, cooling the clamminess that settled upon her in the healer’s tent. The scene before her tears at her heart and confounds her mind. People are scattered in the streets, torches lit, and groups formed. There are candles gathered in shrines around the tent with flowers and small dolls surrounding them. What strikes her most, though, is Lexa. The young leader is reclined on a small bench. Her grandson is wrapped around Lexa like she’s his lifeline and Lexa’s red sash, the symbol of the Heda’s power, is wrapped around Lenox’s body to shield him from the cold.

The people stand as they notice her, murmurs growing as they stand and pull in close. The sudden noise, though hushed it is, wakes Lexa. Abby approaches her, kneeling down so Lexa doesn’t have to stand and disturb Lenox.

“The sword was poisoned,” Abby says, and before she can continue Lexa’s eyes are wide and she’s panicking.

“Lenox! He was cut!” Lexa startles trying to stand, and she growls, literally growls, when Abby prevents her from getting up.

“Lexa no, wait. Lenox was cut with the man’s dagger. He wasn’t poisoned. Lincoln checked him over, ok? He’s fine and Clarke’s fine. Nyko gave her the antidote...now it’s up to her,” Abby explains softly. Her hand rubbing Lenox’s back softly, careful not to jostle Lexa’s hand as it rests firmly on the back on his neck. “You should go home, Lexa, get some rest and some food.”

Abby doesn’t flinch under the Heda’s glare.

“I will not leave her. Never again will I leave her,” she says solemnly. It’s a promise.

Abby sighs, though she can’t deny the small smile that tries to tug at her lips. “There’s nothing any of us can do now. She’s sleeping, and you should be, too.”

Lexa sighs, her lips resting upon Lenox’s hair as her fingers rub at his neck. “I promised Octavia that I would send news, that I would not leave,” she explains. Abby takes the time to realize just how connected this woman is to her daughter.

“I’m staying here, so is Nyko and Lincoln.” Abby looks to the man to confirm, he nods. “If anything happens you’ll know. Clarke wouldn’t want you both sitting out here in the cold. Go, take care of yourself and Lenox...for Clarke.” Abby pushes gently. For a moment Abby doesn’t believe that Lexa will listen to her, the girl sits quietly, her mouth steady against Lenox’s head. Then Lexa sighs, and Abby takes a breath of relief.

“I will be in Clarke’s room. Any change and you come to me immediately. Is that understood, Lincoln?” Lexa fixes a firm glare onto the man. Lincoln stands tall under her glare.

“You have my word, Heda.”

Abby watches as Lexa hesitates still, her gaze solely on the tent, her eyes searching for the girl behind the canvas. Then Lexa starts toward her home. Abby watches as the crowd parts before her, hands coming to rest against her shoulder as she passes them. Their devotion touches Abby, and when Lexa is out of sight, the people turn back to her, eager for news.

Abby clears her throat. “She is stable! Clarke was poisoned, but Nyko gave her the antidote. She’ll survive,” she announces, and is surprised by the roar she gets in return. As the men and women who understand her relate the message to those who don’t the cheers grow and the people rejoice with the knowledge that their Wanheda has not been lost, not yet. They rejoice with hope in their hearts.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
She’s never been in Clarke’s room, not in all the times she’s past it in the hall, the seconds she’s spent standing outside it wishing she had the courage to knock. Now, she steps into the unfamiliar territory, Clarke’s territory, and she’s surprised when it feels as though she belongs here. With word being sent to Octavia, Lexa no longer has obligations to uphold. She’s just here, with this boy, in Clarke’s room, worried and worn.

“Lenox…” She sings, bouncing slightly as to rouse the boy from his sleep. “Ai yongon…” My child...She calls to him, a soft smile gracing her lips as his tiny fist rubs the sleep from his eyes. Finally his green eyes look up at her, and she takes a small moment to recognize just how easily Clarke had fallen for this boy. “Are you hungry?” She asks softly.

“Nomon?” Mother? He asks, ignoring Lexa’s question.

Lexa’s stomach drops slightly. “She is sleeping...Grandma is taking care of her, so is Naikou.” She tries to reassure him, she tries to reassure herself in the same breath, and though it’s irrelevant, she hopes she remembered the correct term for Abby’s relation to Lenox...she’s almost sure that’s the word she’s heard from Clarke.

“We eat now?” He gives a sleepy grin and Lexa exhales a breath, her reassurance must have been enough. Maybe she could do this, maybe she can be good at this family thing. She blushes at the thought. She’s getting ahead of herself.

“Yes, we can eat now and then we’ll sleep.” Lenox gives a firm nod that is too cute for Lexa to ignore, so she smiles and carries him to the table where her guard has placed two plates of meat, cheese and fruits. She’s even managed to gather the carrots Lenox loves, or at least that’s what the cooks have told her. She hopes they are not wrong.

She goes to set him down on a seat, but he clings to her. Lexa frowns. “Chit?” What?

Lenox looks down and pulls himself from her, taking the seat he had refused only moments ago. She takes a seat as well, but pulls his close to her, close enough for their knees to knock together softly.

“What’s wrong, Lenox?”

He sighs, his shoulders shaking as he looks to his feet as they sway beneath him. “You are my Heda. I am ‘posed to be a strong warrior, but I am scared.” His voice is small, shaky, and it breaks Lexa’s heart completely.

Lexa reaches out to him and tips his chin up so that green eyes meet green eyes.

“You’re right, I am your Heda...but you want to know a secret?” He nods eagerly, leaning in close to here her secret. “Your Heda gets scared, too.” She almost laughs when his eyes grow comically large, but she knows this is a serious moment, this is the moment she teaches him something that his mother has taught her.

“I was scared that your nomon would never forgive me. I was afraid when I thought I could not be a part of your lives. I was afraid when the warrior came to me today and told me that you and your nomon were being harmed.” With a breath of pause, remembering the feeling of dread she experienced what seems like forever ago, but really merely hours, she steadies herself to continue.

“Lenox, I was so scared when I realized that I could do nothing to prevent you and your nomon from getting hurt. I’m afraid even now, that she will not forgive me when she wakes, because I promised her that I would never harm her again, that I would never bring harm to you, and yet you’ve both been harmed under my watch. Lenox, you must understand that even the bravest of warriors become scared when their loved ones are being put in harm’s way. We all get scared, and it’s ok because it means that we care, that we love. Do you understand?”

She watches him take in all that she’s said and she’s aware that maybe she’s said too much. Lenox looks at her, his eyes shifting over her face, green on green, and it makes her feel like a piece of glass. Stripped, transparent, bare.

“Nomon says that love is not weakness, that it is strength. Hodnes laik uf. Hodnes laik nou kwelnes.” Love is strength. Love is not weakness.

Lexa smiles ruefully at Clarke’s son. “Your Nomon is a very smart woman.”

Lenox gives her a blinding grin. “Yu hod in ai nomon, Heda.” You love my mother, Heda. He wiggles his small eyebrows and Lexa laughs, feeling so light in this moment of darkness.

She leans in close, gently knocking their foreheads together. “Sha, ai hod in yu nomon.” Yes, I love your mother. “But...I haven’t told her yet...so can you keep your Heda’s secret?” She asks in mock seriousness.

Lenox giggles at her and puffs out his little chest. “Sha, Heda.” Yes, Heda. He yawns and Lexa brings her hand to cups the side of his head, her thumb stroking his temple.

“Let’s eat, my little warrior.”

His grin takes on a sleepy tone and he turns to his plate. Lexa grins when he reaches for the carrots first. She will not have to tie the cook to a tree for giving her false information. She watches as he eats happily, and though she feels as though she cannot stomach a thing, she eats when Lenox offers her a bite of his precious carrots and tucks into her own meal to do away with his worried gaze. Lexa thinks that his soul must be very old to hold such knowledge and understanding at such a young age.

When they’ve finished, Lexa wipes his face clean with her sleeve, not knowing where a cloth might be. His hands bat her away playfully and he laughs when she tickles his neck, so careful not to touch or irritate his cuts. His hands are dirty and she suspects that the rest of his body is as well. Lexa frowns, not knowing if it would be appropriate.

Lenox remedies the problem for her. “Bath time!” He squeals, running over to the curtain that separates the bath from the rest of the room. He frowns when he looks into the old world tub and turns to Lexa with his hands on his hips. “Where’s the water, Heda?”

“Um…” Lexa panics and tries to reel it in, she must not show fear. She starts toward the door, finding her guard, Dax, just outside it. “Water! I need bath water!” The guard looks startled for only a moment as he looks at her as though she’s lost her mind. “Hos op!” Hurry up! It takes only minutes for the servants to come in with the warm water, but to Lexa, it feels like an eternity. When the bath is finally filled, and at the right temperature, Lexa freezes as she’s left alone with the boy.

Lenox grins at her. “You have to put the oils in now, Heda. That’s what my nomon does.” He picks up a bottle and thrusts it into her hands.

Lexa nods. She can do this. It’s a bath. She takes baths all the time.

“Right, ok,” she mumbles to herself as she tips the bottle over the water, side eyeing Lenox so that she knows when enough of the oil is in the bath. “That should be enough...don’t you think?” She asks him.

He hums and nods, his hands swirling through the water. “You have to mix it,” he says. Once he’s satisfied, he sits down and lifts a foot in Lexa’s direction. “You have to take them off.” He shrugs. “I don’t know how to tie.”

Lexa nods, she knew that...she should have known that. With careful hands she unties his boots, one at a time, and places them off to the side, far enough away so that they will not get wet if there’s a splash. Then Lenox is taking off his shirt and Lexa’s eyes shoot to the ceiling. Lenox finds this exceedingly funny and he laughs at her embarrassment. “I can’t take a bath with my clothes on, Heda. That’s just silly!” His face screws up in thought and his grin turns into a devilish thing that scares Lexa. “Well I did try to do it once, when nomon first found me. She didn’t know what she was doing either,” Lenox laughs gleefully.

Lexa’s pride flares up. She is not a branwoda. A fool. Still, she’s never seen a naked child and she’s a little embarrassed, not that she’ll ever admit it. “Ok.” She gulps. “Clothes off and in the tub.” Lenox strips quickly and shoves away her hands when Lexa tries to help, telling her that he can do it by himself. Lexa grins at his determination and before she knows it he’s in the bath.

“Can I have bubbles? Nomon let’s me have bubbles.” He gives her a pointed look, waiting.

Lexa looks at the many bottles on the shelf next to the bath. Which one is bubbles? Finally she finds the right bottle, and it smells like lavender, just like the oil she had put in the water. She pours it in and swishes the water like Lenox had done with the oil. Lenox is delighted when the first bubbles appear and claps, sending water Lexa’s way. She flinches. “Ooops!” He laughs.

“Ooops?” Lexa mocks, and flicks the water back at him. Lenox squeals as his hands fly up to block the attack and he giggles. It makes Lexa feel like everything is going to be ok. Clarke will be ok. She’ll come back to them and maybe...maybe this can happen again with Clarke.

Her confidence rises as Lenox seems to stay unharmed, so she takes it upon herself to search out the hair soap. Lenox turns his back to her and stays still as she gently rubs the soap into his hair, the blonde turning slightly darker. She takes the cup from the shelf and is careful when she rinses the soap from his hair.

“I can wash my body,” Lenox announces as he reaches for a cloth and holds it out to Lexa so she can put body soap onto it. When she does, he’s quick to wash, but stops when he gets to his feet. Lenox plops back down into the water and swings his foot up startling Lexa. “Nomon always washes my feet. She says I always forget my toes.” He explains, wiggling said toes in Lexa’s direction. She takes the cloth from him and starts scrubbing his feet when his leg jerks away. “Tickles,” he says with a grin.

Lexa smiles back and starts again, the process quickly turning into a mini battle as Lexa fights to clean the little toes and Lenox doing all he can to escape the ticklish cloth. Their battle ends with a soaked Lexa and a very happy, and giggly Lenox.

“Alright, come on,” Lexa smiles as she holds out a large cloth. He gets out without protest and let’s Lexa wrap him up. He doesn’t give her trouble when she dries his body, and Lexa is grateful for it. “Ok, where are your sleep clothes?”

“Over here!” He runs toward a long chest that sits at the end of Clarke’s bed. Lexa follows after him and opens the trunk.

“What do you where?” She asks as she takes in the variety of clothes. They look organized, but Lexa can’t figure out just what each pile is for.

Lenox giggles. “Sleep clothes, Heda.” She studies him as he grins up at her. He’s teasing her, she’ll get her revenge...eventually, if she survives tonight. Lenox reaches into the trunk and pulls out a pair of under shorts and a long shirt that look like it belonged to Clarke. Lenox blushes and holds it close to his body. “It’s nomon’s shirt, but...I want to wear it, Heda.”

Lexa gives him a reassuring smile, at least she hopes it’s reassuring because her vision is blurry and her throat is tight. “I’m sure your nomon won’t mind.” He smiles at her and drops his towel making Lexa fight the urge to look away, instead she helps him dress. When he’s done, he reaches back into the trunk and pulls out sleep shorts and a shirt that is much too big for him. Lexa frowns at the clothes when Lenox hands them to her. “What’s this?”

Lenox shrugs. “Nomon won’t mind.” He smiles, and Lexa returns it, even if it’s a small shy smile. “You can change behind the curtain if you want. Nomon does.”

Lexa nods and goes behind the curtain, but she hesitates. These are Clarke’s clothes. They smell like Clarke. Clarke has been in these clothes. Lexa takes a deep breath. She’s going to wear Clarke’s clothes and she’s going to sleep in Clarke’s bed, with Clarke’s son. The only thing that’s missing is Clarke. She dresses quickly, folding her clothes and setting them atop the trunk when she’s finished. Lenox smiles at her and jumps into bed, patting the space next to him. “This is nomon’s side.” He says pointing to the right side of the bed. “I sleep here.” He points to his spot in the middle. “This can be your spot now.” He pats the left side of the bed.

Lexa gulps. She has a side of the bed. She has her side of the bed, in Clarke’s bed. Has he been planning this, she wonders? Slowly, she crawls into bed, lifting the covers and settles in next to Lenox. “Does your nomon do anything else at bedtime?” She asks, licking her lips nervously.

Lenox snuggles closer to her in response. He tucks himself under her chin and slips his little arm and leg around her body. “Nomon rubs my hair and back so I can fall asleep,” he says. Of course, Lexa thinks, her mother had done the same for her when she was a child. Lexa does as he wants, cradling his precious form in her arms. “Smuch op, Heda?” Kiss, Heda? He asks with a sleepy voice. Her heart squeezes in her chest and she kisses his forehead reverently. She holds onto this piece of Clarke, and she pours every bit of love and peace she feels into Lenox, hoping he can feel it. It takes no time at all for the boy to fall asleep, and with a prayer sent to her ancestors and to every Heda who ruled before her, she prays for Clarke’s spirit.

She needs Clarke’s spirit to stay where it is. She needs Clarke. Lenox needs his nomon. She needs her almost family to be complete once and for all.

Chapter Text

When Lexa wakes, it’s with the sun in her eyes, but what she wakes to dissipates any irritation she might have felt. Lenox is there beneath her chin, his small body warm against her and his small hands fisted into her shirt. Clarke’s shirt. His soft light brown hair tickling her neck and chin, long eyelashes draping over perfect cheek bones and freckles like dust under his eyes and over his nose.

He’s beautiful; and Lexa’s heart clenches tight in her chest as she looks upon him and sees a boy who looks like what could have been a product of Lexa’s and Clarke’s genes. His hair is a beautiful combination of her dark curls and Clarke’s bright blonde locks, and his eyes, oh his eyes were a brilliant green that Lexa believed rivaled her own. Lenox has Lexa’s jaw, but Clarke’s nose. He has Clarke’s dimpled smile and Lexa’s lips. He has Clarke’s birthmark above his top lip. Lexa wonders if Clarke looks upon Lenox’s face as she is doing now. Does Clarke see Lexa in his face as well?

Lenox’s mouth goes into a small ‘o’ as he yawns and stretches his way from sleep. Lexa smiles down upon him as he blinks and grins up at her. “Os sonop.” Good morning. She coos.

“Os sonop, Heda.” Good morning, Heda. Lenox grins and moves out from Lexa’s cradle and sits up. “Ai nomon?” My mother? He asks, his brow furrowing as he bites nervously upon his bottom lip.

Lexa reaches out and untucks his lip from his teeth. “Nou dula dison.” Don’t do this. She chides softly. “I have to meet with Linus and Indra this morning, but Octavia can take you to your nomon after you’ve eaten and dressed.” She says, flawlessly slipping into english.

Lenox nods and slides off the bed, Lexa sits up after him. “Can we eat in our night clothes, Heda?” He asks, taking her hand into his and tugging her to follow him to the table.

She follows dutifully, smiling in amusement. “Kei.” Very well. She sits in the same seat she occupied last night, and Lenox sits in his seat. The cook’s helper has covered the small table with fruits, fresh bread, eggs, cheeses and some fresh meat. Two pitchers sat in the middle, one filled with milk and the other filled with water. She pours Lenox’s goblet full of milk, telling him he could have the juice after he finishes the milk. They eat happily, Lexa making sure Lenox had a little bit of everything. “Shall we get dressed so you can go see yu nomon?” Your mother?

Lenox nods and washes his face clean before running over to the trunk. He quickly dresses himself in black pants and a black shirt with no sleeves, and a small cloth sweater over that he leaves it open and unbuttoned. Lexa helps him button his jeans and buckle his boots. Then, it’s Lexa’s turn. Again she goes behind the curtain to dress in the fresh clothes her servants had brought. She dresses in black pants as well, and her shirt is much like a tank top but the straps tie around her neck and atop that she wore a sheer long sleeve that drooped below her shoulders. The symbol of the Heda sits proudly upon her brow and her eyelids are causally covered in black cohl.

“Ready, Heda?” He asks as Lexa comes out from the curtain. She nods and takes his hand as he offers it, and leads him toward the door.

When they walk out they’re faced with two of Lexa’s guards and Octavia. Lexa bends and takes Lenox into her arms as she rises. She pats his belly and smiles at him. “Octavia is going to take you to your mother now, okay?”

Lenox places his hands on either side of Lexa’s neck and puts his forehead to hers. “Nou get yu daun, Heda.” Don’t worry, Heda. He smiles at her. She presses a kiss to his forehead and offers him to Octavia, transferring Lenox into Octavia’s protective embrace, though she’s still favoring the one leg.

She smiles at the two. “I will come to the tent as soon as I can.”

Octavia nods, and adjusts Lenox’s weight. “Of course, Heda.” Octavia bows her head and starts down the hall. Lexa looks away once they disappear from her sight and nods for her guards to follow her down to the holding cells.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
They strung him up, thick ropes biting into his wrists making them bleed just enough for the blood to tint the twine. They had shackled his legs too, and pulled his arm restraints so tight that his arms raised above his head and he could do nothing but stand. He hadn’t slept all night, because every time he tried, a guard would kick at him roughly to wake him.

He knew the Heda would come for him, the others would take his word for what it was. He would only be released if the Heda believed his words, and even then, she still might kill him in the Wanheda’s name. As far as they were all concerned he is Azgeda, he is Nia’s son, the Prince of Azgeda. It matters not that he had been banished for leading a rebellion to dethrone Nia. He is Azgeda in blood, and he might just have to pay for his mother’s crimes with his blood.

Roan’s head sags and he winces as his body tries to follow his head. He’s in pain and he’s exhausted. Roan is sure the Heda will come in and take his head just for being Azgeda-born. He believes the Heda will not care for him once he gives her the information of Nia’s army, but that’s okay. He was done being the banished Azgeda Prince. He welcomes whatever death the Heda will surely sentence him to.

He waits for the Heda.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The way she came into the room was something that never failed to knock the people behind the door off guard. It was something that had been taught to her at an early age, something her mentor had taught her. She watched as Roan tried to stand in attention, but he couldn’t quite find the strength to lift his head. She stalked around him, her hands tight behind her back even though she was without a single piece of armor. She came to him as another warrior.

“Set em daun.” Set him down. She commands, staring hard at Roan’s bowed head. The guards cut his wrists free and he plummets to the floor in a dilapidated mess. She stands firm in front of the exiled warrior as he kneels before her boots. “Chek ai au, Roan. Ron ai ridiyo op.” Look at me, Roan. Speak true.

Lexa watches as the man throws back his head with what looks like a great effort. Roan’s eyes are tired, but alert, aware. “Ai get in chon bilaik don dula dison op. Oso na sis choda au, nami?” I know who did this. We can help each other. Roan declares in harsh breaths.

Lexa spits at the ground. “The word of an exile means nothing.”

Roan sits back on his haunches to look up at her more firmly. Lexa waits for him to speak. “The only reason I was exiled was for being loyal to my Heda, and a traitor to my mother.” Lexa watches him, looking for any hints of dishonesty. She finds none. “Ron ai ridiyo op, Roan.” Speak true, Roan.

He licks his dry lips and the steel look in his eyes makes Lexa feel as though she’s gaining the information she needs to finally get ahead of the Azgeda Queen. “A group of my mother’s soldiers have come down from the North. They are tucked into the border lines, closer to Arkadia than your armies. I bet they even saw the Wanheda’s mother being rushed to Polis. This is all about you Heda...She has plans for the Wanheda’s people, plans for the Wanheda and her son, and plans for you, Heda.”

Lexa bares her teeth as a growl escapes her throat. “Where has she gone!” She demands.

“She rides to the…”
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lexa sits hunched against the wall beside the door to Clarke’s room. On her tiptoes, her knees to her chest and her arms wrapped around her knees, she remarkably resembles a small ball. She knows that she promised Lenox to come to the healer's tent immediately after her meetings, but she couldn’t bring herself to face Clarke right now. It wouldn’t matter if Clarke is awake or if she still sleeps, Lexa will not be able to look upon Clarke’s sweet face without crumbling with guilt. Everything changed after she gained the knowledge of Nia’s plans.

However, Lexa cannot fathom the thought of breaking a promise she made to Lenox. She wouldn’t be responsible for hurting the boy, in any way. Lexa straightens herself out and nods to the two guards who appeared from the shadows and walk behind her. Theo was an older warrior who had trained and grew up with Gustus and the younger man at his side was only a few years older than Lexa, he was the last second Gustus took, his name is Bek. Lexa pushes past her anger and focuses everything she has onto Lenox and Clarke.

She’s too solely focused on reaching Clarke and Lenox that Lexa has no actual memory of the journey here, but outside the healer tent she stands. Lexa can’t go in, too terrified that she’ll be greeted with the image of Lenox crying over Clarke’s body, but that won’t happen. They would have sent for her immediately if Clarke’s condition had taken a turn for the worse, wouldn’t they? Lexa shakes her head. Whatever awaits for her behind these tent flaps, she will deal with.

With a deep breath, Lexa pushes past the canvas flaps slowly, her nerves on high alert. The scene that greets her makes her heart explode and stop all at the same time. Clarke is awake. Blue eyes are staring at her from across the room. Clarke is sitting up, with some cushioned support, and she’s looking at Lexa. Lexa forgets to breathe and chokes on air when her lungs refuse to stay silent. She tries to subtly steady her breathing all the while never taking her eyes of Clarke. Clarke didn’t die. Her spirit stayed here with Lenox, with Lexa. Lexa still has something to tie her to this life, two somethings in fact.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Her mother hasn’t stopped fussing over Clarke since she had woken early in the morning. To Abby’s defense, Clarke knew that if it was her child that had sustained Clarke’s injuries, well Clarke would be just as bad as her mother, maybe even worse. So she waits patiently as her mother pokes and prods her. Clarke stays silent as they pull her this way and that way to check her stitches and reflexes, but once she heard Lenox’s voice carrying through from outside the tent flaps, Clarke couldn’t stay silent anymore. “Nomfa!” Son! Clarke calls for him, sitting up far too quickly for someone who’s been stitched up like she’s been.

Lenox takes no time in rushing through the opening. Clarke makes a mental note to tell Nyko to reopen the tent. She shouldn’t be the only patient in here, but she doesn’t worry about that now. All she can see is Lenox’s blurry form. All she can feel is small arms around her neck and knobby knees landing clumsily about her waist, digging into her wound. She hisses, black spots clouding her vision as pain exploded across her side and abdomen. Then, Lenox is being ripped away from her and another type of pain consumes her. She’s halfway from the cot before she figures out that it was Abby who snatched Lenox from her. “Give. Me. Back. My. Son.” She grits her teeth with the effort of restraining her anger. “Now.”

“Clarke, sweetheart, Lenox might have popped your stitches, I need to check them. He cannot be climbing on top of you like that.” Abby tries to defuse the situation and explain herself all at once while she struggles to restrain the boy in her arms.

Clarke is far from accepting of her mother’s actions right now; all she wants is her son. “My son.” Clarke demands, her arms stretched out in waiting. Reluctance floats across Abby’s face and for a moment Clarke believes that her mother will refuse, but then Abby is handing him over and once again Lenox is wrapped around his mother.

“Ai biyo moba, nomon, ai biyo moba.” I’m sorry, mother, I’m sorry. Lenox whimpers into her neck and Clarke shushes him while settling back into the cot, all the while glaring at her mother for upsetting Lenox.

“Hush now, baby boy. I’m ok, you’re ok.” Clarke comforts him by rubbing his back, adjusting when Abby lifts her frayed shirt to check her stitches, luckily they held in place. Clarke brushes kisses across his forehead, his dirty blonde hair tickling her nose with a scent of his lavender bath oils and...something else...something Clarke can’t yet place. Finally Clarke is able to gently pry Lenox from her neck and she rubs her hands through his hair, she’d have to cut it soon. Her hands caress down his neck, her thumbs tilting his chin up gently so she can see the cuts.

Two small nicks are there, they’ll scar, but he’s alive. Clarke has to keep reminding herself that he is alive. “Ai don mema we yu, nomon.” I missed you, mother. “Ai hod yu in.” I love you. Lenox grins at her, his green eyes bright and so clear that they make her think of Lexa. Where is she?

“Weron Leksa kamp raun?” Where’s Lexa? Clarke asks in between kisses to Lenox’s forehead and cheeks, her hands tickling the back of his ears. His elated giggles cascade over Clarke like the feeling of coming home. Her chest is light and her heart bursting.

Abby hovers like a hawk and Clarke knows that her mother hates it when Clarke and Lenox speak in trigedasleng, but Clarke cannot bring herself to care right now. “Ai Leksa ste kom Indra.” My Lexa is with Indra. Clarke’s heart skips a beat in her chest and gathers in a lump in her throat.

Clarke smirks at Lenox until her son blushes. “Yu Leksa?” Your Lexa? Lenox nods bashfully. “Don Leksa teik yu in?” Did Lexa take you in?

Lenox smiles up at her as he speaks. “Leksa don shil ai op.” Lexa did protect me. “Ai Leksa got me carrots for dinner, and she gave me my bath...she was scared like you were, nomon. Then we dressed in our night clothes. I gave ai Leksa your sleep clothes...that’s okay, right?” He looks to Clarke with unsure eyes. Clarke strokes his cheek and nods with a soft smile. Lenox grins and leans in to whisper. “She even gave me a kiss, nomon! And cuddles too!” His green eyes sparkle as he grins at her. “Ai Leksa...ai Heda hods yumi in.” My Lexa...my Heda loves you and me. “Oso laik Leksa tombom.” We are Lexa’s heart. “Leksa hods ai in, nomon.” Lexa loves me, mother.

The wonder and sheer awe reflect in her son’s eyes stun Clarke. She knew from the very beginning that Lenox needed the Heda’s presence in his life. The thought of raising him as Skaikru never occurred to her, his blood was purely of the ground. She promised herself, and Lenox, that she would do everything in her power to raise him in his culture, as well as her own. Her culture, not Arkadia’s. However, Clarke never thought that Lexa would become more than Lenox’s Heda, she never thought Lexa would want to be more. Yet, here is her son, glowing at the thought that Lexa might love him...and that the Heda does as well. Even the fact that Lenox could distinguish between the two personas Lexa carried confounded her.

The flaps of the tent open and Clarke turns her attention there as Lexa steps through it. Clarke smiles before she can stop herself as she takes in every inch of the woman. Lexa is the most dressed down Clarke has ever seen her. Lexa is astounding and the very thought takes Clarke’s breath away. She focuses on Lexa’s eyes, green...it’s the only color Clarke has been able to keep beautiful since she landed on the ground. Green meant life like the forests, green meant home like Lenox...and green filled her heart...like Lexa? “Ai Leksa, nomon ste klir!” My Lexa, mother is safe!

The easy grin Lexa sends Lenox warms Clarke. “Sha, ai em op.” Yes, I see her. Lexa approaches the bed slowly, almost hesitantly. When she stops, her hips are parallel to Clarke’s cot, her hand dances restlessly atop the fur.

“Sen daun, Leksa.” Sit, Lexa. Clarke whispers, softly catching her fingers against Lexa’s. Green eyes snap up in surprise, and only Clarke can see the quiver of Lexa’s chin. Clarke holds Lexa’s eyes in a locked state. “Leave us.” Clarke waves her free hand like she’s seen Lexa do a million times. Only Abby protests.

“Are you insane!” Abby screeches.

Clarke refuses to pay her any mind. “Naikou! Theo! Bek! Gon yo we!” Nyko! Theo! Bek! Everybody out! She orders, and no sooner than the words leave her mouth does Theo and Bek burst into the tent and ‘assist’ Abby from the tent. Nyko sighs and shakes his head at Abby.

“Yu nomon ste koken. Os fisa, ba koken.” Your mother is crazy, good healer, but crazy. Nyko huffs. It cause Clarke to smirk but she does not look away from Lexa, and Lexa keeps her eyes on Clarke. “Yu nomfa?” Your son? He asks gesturing toward Lenox who sits on the cot watching everything with wide, curious eyes. Clarke hesitates, then shakes her head. She’ll have her chance to speak with Lexa alone, but right now they need to be together. Nyko leaves.

Now alone, Lexa drops carefully onto the cot, her hips and thigh brushing up against Clarke’s hip and waist. Slowly, so she doesn’t spook Lexa, Clarke nudges Lexa’s fingers apart, just enough for Clarke to insert her fingers between them. They aren’t holding hands, but they’re touching and it’s an adrenalin rush for Clarke. “Lexa…” Clarke coos as she scoots back enough so that she can sit up properly, she never loses contact with Lexa. “I’m okay, Lexa.”

It’s almost as if Clarke’s words were the key to opening up the floodgates. Lexa heaves a wet sigh as a stray tear falls down her cheek. “Yu gada smak daun.” You got knocked down. Lexa whispers, her eyes imploring Clarke to understand.

Clarke leans forward as best she can. “And I got back up.” Clarke’s answer has an immediate effect on Lexa. Clarke watches as Lexa’s shoulders sag and suddenly Lexa is off the cot and on her knees before Clarke and Lenox.

Lexa grasps Clarke’s hand in her own, then she reaches for Lenox’s hand. She looks back and forth between the two, and when she speaks, she does so to both Clarke and Lenox. “Ai badan yu op en nou moun.” I serve you and no other. “I swear fealty to you, Clarke and you, Lenox. Ai Wanheda. Ai presh Lenox. I vow to treat your needs as my own and your people as my own...your son as my own.” My Wanheda. My precious, Lenox.

Clarke is stunned. She’s frozen. Lexa is in front of her, on her knees, and swearing herself to Clarke and Lenox. Clarke can only act on what’s in her heart. “Ai badan klin yu seintaim Leksa kom Trikru. Otaim.” I swear loyalty to you, Lexa of the Tree People. Always.

Chapter Text

Word of the attempt on Wanheda’s life, and the life of her son, had spread throughout the Clans of the Coalition. Luna of the Floudonkru (The Boat People) was the first to arrive, bringing with her two hundred of her finest warriors and healers to be at the disposal of the Heda. The Sangedakru (The Desert Clan) sent fifty warriors under the leadership of Caris, the daughter of the Desert Clan’s leader. Though small in numbers, the Desert warriors are survivalist and relentless in the hunt. The Podakru (Lake People) sent a hundred of their finest trackers and spearmen. The Delphi Clan sent their best healers.

The Trishana (Glowing Forest) sent a caravan carrying a variety of poisons and antidotes. The Plains Riders (Ingranrona) sent two hundred war horses and three hundred horsemen. The Blue Cliff clan (Ouskejon Kru) sent another two hundred warriors skilled in the art of ambush fighting. The Rock Line Clan (Boudalan) sent two hundred warriors to the border between Azgeda land and Trikru land, and another two hundred to the capitol carrying enough weapons and armor to outfit all the warriors of Polis. The last clan to arrive was the Broadleaf clan (Yujleda) marching in three hundred strong.

The only clan that didn’t offer aid, or answer to the messages the Heda sent out was the Shadow Valley clan (Louwoda Kliron) and Lexa suspects that they’ve aligned themselves with the Azgeda. However, with over a thousand warriors, including those of her own clan, under her stead, Lexa was confident that if it came to war, and it did look like it was heading toward war, she would decimate any who stood against her and the Wanheda.

Lexa looks over Polis, taking in the new tents and camps grouped throughout and around Polis, warriors coming together in the name of Wanheda. Yes, Lexa knows it’s not her that they gather for, though it was her orders, but there is no mistake of whom’s name they fight under. Clarke, of course, was astounded and disbelieving, but when Lexa told her under no uncertain terms that these warriors came to fight for her honor, Clarke couldn’t deny it.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I’m going to the war council.” Clarke glares from her spot propped up in bed.

“No, you’re not.” Lexa responded patiently, but firmly. They’d been at this since Indra sent word that the ambassadors were assembled in the war room. Clarke thought she would have worn Lexa down by now, but Lexa wasn’t budging.

Clarke sighed with discontent. “I need to be there Lexa, you said so yourself, they’re fighting in my name.” She watched as Lexa’s posture went rigid for a moment, and Clarke knew that she at least had a fighting chance.

In this moment, Clarke is grateful that Lenox is off with Meino, and under the watchful eyes of Octavia, Lincoln, Linus and Antom. God forbid Lenox be here if she and Lexa start to fight. Lenox is too sweet, and his love for Lexa too pure, too see the two adults in his life that matters most to him fight. “Leksa, ai gaf du disha in.” Lexa, I need to do this.

Lexa stands there in front of Clarke’s bed, arms clasped behind her back and dressed for war, once again. Her red sash glimmers in the sunlight streaming from the window casting half of Lexa’s face in shadow and half in light. Clarke finds the contrast of light and dark on Lexa’s face to be an ironic symbolism of Lexa’s personality. The Heda’s persona shown in front of everyone, and Lexa’s true self around Clarke and Lenox. Her eyes, god her green eyes, they lock onto Clarke and Clarke is helpless to the pull. “Kei, Klark. You will have your way...this time.” Very well, Clarke.

Clarke doesn’t suppress her grin as she tries, she does try, to jump from bed. “Ah!” She squeals, fuck she squeals, and Lexa is at her side immediately. Lexa’s arms wrap around Clarke’s body and pull Clarke into her. Lexa’s arm is firmly around her waist with her other hand pressed gently in the middle of her shoulder blades. Clarke can’t breathe, and it has nothing to do with the subsiding pain in her side.

“Clarke, are you hurt?” Lexa rushes out, her brow furrowed as she looks Clarke over for any possible injury. Gently, Clarke is settled back onto her feet with Lexa’s hand pulling up her shirt. “How is your wound? Your mother was very worried about the stitches. Let me check them.” Clarke squeaks when she feels Lexa’s fingers brush over her stitches, not out of pain, but surprise.

“I’m fine! I’m fine!” Clarke squeaks as she hurries to pull her shirt from Lexa’s grasp. It takes more than one tug for Lexa to release the material but finally Clarke’s torso is covered. She’s still in Lexa’s hold, and though she covered her exposed skin, she feels an entirely new sense of vulnerability and bareness. “I’m fine.” She mumbles out, blue eyes darting between pink lips and green eyes.

Lexa doesn’t say anything but the hand that had once tugged at her shirt now slowly drifts up her body, dangerously hovering over Clarke’s contours and edges until Lexa’s hand reaches her face. Elegant fingers gently wrap around the base of Clarke’s skull and her thumb rubs Clarke’s jaw. Clarke’s eyes flutter heavily, struggling not to succumb to the feeling sparked within her at Lexa’s touch. Finally, her eyes focus back on steady green. Their heads drift closer and closer until Lexa gently tilts her head to the side and boops her nose against Clarke’s. Clarke sucks in a breath because she knows what comes next, she knows. She knows what comes next because Lexa does this every time before kissing Clarke.

Clarke has a nanosecond to decide to lean in or push back, because Lexa’s not moving. Lexa stays in that position, her nose gently nuzzling against Clarke’s. Lexa’s breath teases Clarke’s parted lips and Clarke chokes on the sweetness that engulfs her lungs. Lexa’s long eyelashes brush against hers and Clarke doesn’t know what she wants, but she leans in and takes the kiss Lexa is offering her.

It’s an explosion, the way everything that Clarke is collides into Lexa and molds them together in a moment of longing ended, satisfaction gained and insatiability beginning. Raw hunger crackles and electrifies across their skin as their lips meet again and again, shifting and molding into each other. Clarke pushes into Lexa, and Lexa pushes right back and before Clarke can register just what she’s doing, Clarke finds herself flat against a wall with Lexa pushing into her front. Clarke denies it even as Lexa’s leg slips between hers and Lexa’s hips settle against Clarke’s, but damn Heda’s hot when she’s in charge.

How long had Clarke spent visualizing the young Heda’s head on a spike for abandoning Clarke at the mountain? Now, Clarke was definitely thinking about the Heda’s head, but in her vision it definitely wasn’t up on a spike...it wasn’t up on anything actually...it was definitely down though. Lexa’s tongue gives a brief press against Clarke’s lips and then it retreats before Clarke has time to accept it. She repeats this action until Clarke just can’t take it anymore, then Clarke is the one to press her tongue against Lexa’s lips and Lexa welcomes it.

Clarke’s lost in Lexa, lost in her the way Clarke has never been lost before, and it scares her but she’s too weak to pull back. Clarke can feel the walls built around her heart start to loosen and slowly the feelings brought on by Lexa’s kiss seeps in. It seers her insides and burns the breath from her lungs. It boils the blood in her veins and leaves every nerve raw and exposed.

So Clarke pushes harder into Lexa, chasing the pleasure, so sharp and intense that Clarke can taste the emotion coming from Lexa. It’s sweet, so sweet that Clarke is choking on it...no, she’s choking on something else. There’s a lump forming at the back of her throat and her eyes are stinging, she’s going to cry. No! She cannot cry, not now, not in this moment, because as much as Clarke doesn’t want to think of this as a ‘moment’ in her and Lexa’s relationship, because they do have this weird relationship, this is a moment.

She lets Lexa kiss her and Lexa drinks from Clarke’s lips as though she’s drowning and Clarke is filling her lungs with air every time their lips connect. She let’s Lexa pin her to the wall, she lets Lexa’s warm thigh slip between her legs, and Clarke lets Lexa hold her like Clarke is the only thing tethering her to this world. Clarke lets Lexa. Clarke chides her inner self, because Clarke is doing more than just letting Lexa do these things, Clarke is encouraging Lexa to take her and Lexa isn’t passing up the opportunity.

Clarke basks in the attention, the war within her mind shouting at her to stop this because this is wrong and Lexa hurt her and she shouldn’t trust Lexa. She cannot love Lexa, but Lexa kisses her so fucking sweetly and Clarke has to kiss back, everything in her begs her to, even her stubborn mind. So she kisses Lexa like she loves her, even if her mind says she doesn’t. Clarke kisses Lexa with a desperate pull because it’s no longer Lexa who needs to be tethered to the earth, it’s Clarke. Air engulfs her lungs as Lexa pulls back, but she keeps their foreheads connected. Clarke can’t breath, her lungs can’t take in enough oxygen, she needs something else. Lexa pants and her eyes draw Clarke’s attention like they always do, and Lexa smiles… Clarke shatters.

She fists Lexa’s shirt with white knuckles but she can’t decide whether to pull Lexa closer or to push her away completely. Lexa’s hands are sliding over her shoulders and cupping her neck before she tilts Clarke’s head back gently. Clarke closes her eyes, she doesn’t want to be swayed by those eyes, those lying eyes. Is this what she wants? Is this what she needs? Clarke doesn’t have any clue as to what the right answer is. Clarke has no inkling of what she wants.

And Lexa is standing there, watching Clarke, studying Clarke. Lexa waits. When Clarke finally opens her eyes, she’s no closer to knowing what she wants, but Lexa is here and Lexa is offering something that Clarke is familiar with. Lexa is offering a distraction, a safe haven, no matter how short it may last, this distraction will shut her thoughts up. Is that what she wants? Her head is a mess of Lexa’s warmth, Lexa’s touch, Lexa’s lips, and the mess of her mind. She’s not surprised when a tear falls down her cheek but she is embarrassed for showing weakness in front of this girl, the girl who taught her that love was weakness, the same girl that wipes her tear away.

“I can’t love you.” Clarke whispers with a devastating breath. Her hands, still gripping at Lexa’s shirt, tug harshly as if to make her point. Lexa presses fully into her, her hands cradling Clarke’s head, she won’t let Clarke look away. Clarke curses Lexa for the low blow, it’s almost as if Lexa knows that Clarke’s weakness extends to every part of Lexa, but especially Lexa’s eyes. Clarke’s trapped, locked in a gaze, hands gripping Lexa, Lexa holding Clarke and it feels so good to be so close to Lexa. Clarke wants to indulge herself in the touch, but her mind stays at war with her wants.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lexa knows that Clarke is trying to pull away from her and Lexa cannot allow this to happen, not after what has just transpired. Her body molds into Clarke, snuggly, as though she was always meant to be here. She has always been meant for Clarke. Lexa knows that everything in her life, all the strife and horrors she has endured has only been meant to lead her to Clarke. Lexa knows that this girl is to be the greatest thing Lexa has ever witnessed.

She doesn’t know what Clarke is thinking - no - she does know what Clarke is thinking. Clarke is running, because Lexa has bitten Clarke before and now Lexa must deal with the consequences. She needs Clarke to know that she’ll take whatever Clarke is offering, even if Clarke wishes to cut their ties completely, and forever. “You don’t have to.” She whispers with a sad acceptance. She looks into the stormy blue eyes of conflict, and Lexa wants to stop whatever storm is going on behind Clarke’s eyes.

“You don’t have to love me, Clarke...but if you need me then have me. Use me if you must, just let me be the only one, let me at least have that, Clarke, and I will be yours...You never have to be mine, but I am yours. Ai hod yu in, Klark kom Skaikru, Wanheda. Ai hod yu in. Feva en otaim.” I love you, Clarke of the Sky People. I love you. Forever and always. Her confession must strike Clarke for Lexa watches as stormy eyes clear and Clarke folds into Lexa. Foreheads together, Clarke pulling Lexa close to her and Lexa pressing them together as they post against the wall.

“This won’t mean anything.”

Lexa lets Clarke lie, because that’s what Clarke needs.

“It’ll only happen this once.”

Clarke needs to believe that she’s still in control of her heart, that she doesn’t need Lexa like Lexa needs Clarke.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Ok,” Lexa responds lightly, as if Clarke using her doesn’t bother her. Clarke knows now that she’s not the only liar in the room.

What is she to do, when Lexa offers herself so freely and without hesitation, what can Clarke do? Her mind tells her to leave, to forget her needs and wants of Lexa, but everything else in her is electric, sparking at Lexa’s proximity. The war doesn’t stop, but Clarke has made her decision. There is rarely a true winner in battle, for there is always loss on both fronts. This will kill her, and it will no doubt destroy Lexa’s strength. She’s going to use Lexa, no, Clarke is going to let Lexa believe that she’s using her. Clarke will be greedy and let the consequences of her actions swallow her whole.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Slowly, Clarke places her lips back onto Lexa, and Lexa doesn’t waste time in giving Clarke everything she’s got. If this is going to be the last, and first, time she gets to hold Clarke, Lexa needs to leave her mark on the girl, no matter how small and insignificant. So she kisses Clarke to show her love and passion. Lexa lets her hands wander and feel as much of Clarke as she can, as much as Clarke will allow. Her hands smooth over Clarke’s hips, her thumb taking great care to check Clarke’s stitches, because even now in the throws of passion, Lexa will not stand for Clarke being hurt.

She devours the line of Clarke’s jaw, and she kisses that spot beneath Clarke’s ear with reverence. Lexa is amazed that Clarke is allowing her to be in control, but she knows that this can change at a moment's notice. So she places opened, wet kisses down the gentle slope of Clarke’s neck and when she reaches Clarke’s collarbone, Lexa kisses the skin protecting Clarke’s bruised heart. She hears Clarke’s sob and she answers with her own. Lexa feels the pain of loving Clarke, and having Clarke refuse to love her, because Lexa knows that she hasn’t earned that from Clarke. Maybe Lexa will never gain the rights to Clarke’s heart, but she has Clarke right now.

Lexa brings her face back up to Clarke’s and Clarke is frantic when she pulls Lexa in for a desperate, tearstained kiss. Clarke’s hands release her shirt only to lock her fingers at the back of Lexa’s neck, steadying her in this moment. “Clarke.” Lexa whisper through their kiss and their shared tears. She’s calling for Clarke, her heart is calling for Clarke. Her hand drifts to Clarke’s back, running down the muscles and scars until Lexa reaches down Clarke’s hip to her leg and pulls Clarke’s leg over her hip and holds it there as she starts a gentle rhythm of pushing her hips into Clarke’s.

 

“You’re ok, Clarke. You’re safe.” Lexa pants and Clarke releases one hand to slide down the front of Lexa’s body. Lexa can’t stop the shiver she gets from Clarke’s touch, even if it’s atop clothing, but then the clothing is no longer in the way and Clarke’s hand is laying flat against Lexa’s stomach, feeling Lexa’s every breath and every twitch of Lexa’s abs. Lexa can’t control her breathing, she can’t think of anything but Clarke touching her and touching Clarke.

Tears have dried but the desperation stays and Lexa moves her hand to mimic Clarke’s. She’s touching Clarke, and so close to where she wishes to be. Their eyes connect, impenetrable, immovable from each other, their foreheads glued together as their kisses turn into panting into each others mouths as they turn their hands, almost as if they’ve planned this, and together they unlock the clasps to their pants.

Both are lost in the other and when searching fingers meet their goals, breaths are held and bodies melt together. Lexa grips Clarke’s thigh tighter around her hip, and widens her stance enough to support Clarke and give her lover room enough to move between Lexa’s thighs. Lexa doesn’t moan, but she gasps and chokes on the gentle searching of Clarke’s touch and as lost in pleasure she might be, she still has the control to tease and satisfy Clarke’s needs.

Their hips, like magnets, come together and thrust in unison, every time Lexa pushes in, Clarke follows her movements and Lexa can feel Clarke’s hand pressing into hers every time their hips meet. When Clarke’s touch turns from searching to targeting Lexa forgets that this isn’t supposed to mean anything, because Clarke is looking at her as though she’s the answer to every worry behind those blue eyes. And Lexa doesn’t know if it’s all in her head, and truthfully she doesn’t want to know if the feeling she’s receiving from Clarke is false, she can pretend.

So Lexa looks deep into Clarke’s eyes, she needs to see every emotion Clarke is feeling right now. Lexa needs to remember exactly how Clarke feels. She drinks in every detail she can, Clarke’s gasps, the scrunch of Clarke’s brow as she tries to fight the inevitable. Clarke’s the one to stutter first and she gasps, her back arching. Then Clarke does something unexpected. “Lexa.” She gives a slow moan as she settles back into a jerky rhythm, body tight and ready to spring, hips sloppy in their movements. At first Lexa thinks it was just her imagination, but then Clarke’s eyes open and lock onto Lexa. “Lexa.” She gasps. “Lexa.” Over and over, breathlessly whispering Lexa’s name onto her own lips. It was the trigger that snapped both their bodies into a state of blissful pleasure.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When foggy eyes clear Lexa looks at her with so much longing and peace in the iris’, Clarke allows herself to cup Lexa’s cheek and strokes her thumb across Lexa’s kiss swollen lips. She leans down and kisses Lexa softly. When Clarke pushes back, Lexa has this small, content smile on her face and Clarke knows that this is everything Lexa had hoped for when Clarke first came to Polis. Clarke leans down and kisses Lexa again, lingering and savoring, like Lexa had kissed her before. The kiss ends gently and Clarke waits until Lexa opens her eyes once more.

Lexa looks at Clarke as though Clarke is something precious and rare, it makes Clarke sick for what just happened and what she’s about to do. Clarke knows that she should have never allowed this to happen, she and Lexa had finally come to a place where they could start to trust each other again, they were finally good...and now...Clarke chokes back the lump in her throat and she wrenches herself off of Lexa. Lexa stumbles to follow the movement and catches her footing in front of Clarke. “Clarke, what’s wrong?”

Clarke can’t look at her because if she does Clarke knows that she’ll cave and fall back into Lexa’s arms. “The meeting...we’re late.” Clarke mumbles distractedly as she straightens her appearance. Lexa stands and reaches out for Clarke, but Clarke avoids her touch. “We’re late.” Lexa frowns at Clarke and it chips away at Clarke’s resolve.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“They will wait as long as I want them to.” Again Lexa steps forward and reaches for Clarke, but Clarke only gets further away from her. She doesn’t understand why Clarke is suddenly pulling away from her. After sharing something so special, after having Clarke so close to her. Lexa desperately tries to grasp just what happened to make Clarke pull away. “What did I do?” She asks.

Clarke finally meets her eyes and Lexa can see the barest hint of redness in Clarke’s eyes. “You knew what this was. Don’t make this into something it’s not.” Clarke throws at her, and for a moment Lexa believes in her words, but only for a second because Clarke’s eyes aren’t as sure as Clarke’s voice.

 

“This is something, Clarke. You, I...this isn’t nothing.” Lexa struggles for her words as she feels Clarke slipping further and further away from her. All the progress they’ve made since Clarke’s return is diminishing right in front of Lexa and she’s helpless to stop it. “I lo-”

“Stop!” Clarke cries out and it halts Lexa in her tracks. Her jaw clicks close as she listens to Clarke. “Don’t ever say those words to me again, I can’t... You cannot love me. This isn’t...We aren’t...this meant nothing. It was a distraction, that’s all. I needed a distraction and you gave me one. That’s it, Lexa. It means nothing.” Clarke states firmly.

“Do not tell me how or what I can feel!” Lexa takes an aggressive step forward. “I know that I love you, Clarke and nothing will change that. I love you, Clarke, and I love your son. You can say that this meant nothing, but we both know the truth.”

“It was just physical. That’s all.” Clarke stands firm even as she sees the evidence of what they’ve just done all over Lexa. Lexa’s pants are still undone, her hair is tousled and lips kiss swollen. “A... a release.”

“Tell me that it meant something to you!” Lexa demands with a desperation engulfing her entire being. She needs to believe that this was something to the both of them. She needs to know that Clarke wasn’t just using her. Clarke doesn’t have to love her, Lexa can accept this, but she has to mean something to Clarke...she has to.

“It meant nothing.” Clarke stares at her and Lexa searches Clarke’s eyes for any type of hint that Clarke is lying, and Lexa sees the restraint Clarke is showing, she sees the way Clarke is clenching her jaw and the way Clarke’s eyes are getting redder and redder by the moment. Clarke is lying to her. Lexa knows that Clarke is lying, but it still hurts.

“Spicha.” Liar. Lexa accuses.

“Yeah, maybe I am, but so are you, and it doesn’t change anything.” Clarke’ sighs tiredly and it strikes Lexa dead when she’s left standing in place as Clarke walks away from her. Again.

Chapter Text

The war room is really just a dark, candlelit room with a round table decorated with maps and, this is a real surprise for Clarke, even more candles. Clarke shakes her head, this really isn’t the time to be thinking about Lexa, not after...after that, but the room is chaotic with cries of injustice and those eager to avenge it. The only voice that rings sound and true from the fog is the woman standing at the opposite end of the table, Lexa. The clan leaders and ambassadors squabble back and forth on who will go to the Shadow Valley as a show of force to the clan that still ignores the Commander’s call. They also fight on which armies will be on the front line in the seige to be lead against the Azgeda. Lexa, of course, wishes to be at both confrontations, which is the problem.

“The attacks must happen at once.” The room grows still at the sound of Clarke’s voice. Many eyes look to her; Lexa’s eyes look to Clarke. Clarke stiffens her jaw and lifts her chin in a show of dominance as she keeps her gaze steady and her eyes steel. “It can work with one of us at the front of each attack, but none of us can be in two places at once, not even you, Heda.” There’s almost an audible sound as the clan leaders all turn to Lexa. Waiting. Clarke waits too, but Lexa isn’t the one to speak, Luna beats her to it.

She’s a wild head of unruly red hair, sweet bourbon eyes, and a hell of a cheeky grin. Her lean figure stands at Clarke’s right, only towering slightly over her blonde counterpart. “She speaks true, Heda. The attacks must be done at the same time, then no natrona fighting will have reinforcements. Attacking at once will give us the best chance to find where Nia is hiding.” Luna gives a quick wink and a grin to Clarke, and it almost makes Clarke laugh at how ridiculous this woman is for smiling at her and winking like that in the middle of a war meeting.

Clarke turns her eyes to Lexa, who is up straight and unmoving, but Clarke can see the tightening grip Lexa keeps on the hilt of her sword. Clarke can see the fire in Lexa’s eyes as Lexa looks at the space between Clarke and Luna. “We’ll speak more of this tomorrow.” Just like that, at a drop of a hat, the meeting is over and people are leaving the room in twos and threes, well most of them are leaving the room. “Leave us.” Lexa commands, her eyes only for Clarke.

Clarke’s brow sets into a deep frown, her hands already folding before her chest as she stares down Lexa as well. “What do we need to talk about?” Clarke challenges.

“Clarke.” Lexa allows her voice to take on a gentler tone.

 

Clarke glares at Lexa, and then turns to Luna. “Will you excuse us, Luna.” Clarke requests after heavy a sigh.

Luna looks between the Heda and Wanheda. “Clarke, might you spare some time tonight so that I may relieve my curiosity of you and your people? Perhaps tonight during the evening meal? I’m sure we can learn from one another.” Luna gives Clarke an eager smile as she grasps Clarke’s hand. Clarke smiles at Luna the same way she smiles at Lenox when he’s intent on finding things out.

Clarke nods. “Of course. I’d be happy to learn about the Floudonkru and your travels on the open sea.” Clarke grins when Luna places an excited, but innocent, kiss on the back of her hand.

“Wonderful.” Luna claps her hands together and starts backing up. “Until tonight then, Clarke.” Luna turns to Lexa as she reaches the door. “Hopefully, I’ll see you too, Heda.” Luna gives Lexa a look and Clarke doesn’t know what it means, but it looks intimate, familiar for the two of them.

Lexa gives a sharp nod. “Until tonight,” Lexa offers. Luna seems satisfied with the answer as she nods deeply to herself and Lexa. She leaves without another word, leaving Clarke and Lexa in their silence.

“I like her,” Clarke admits, still staring at the exit from which Luna disappeared.

Despite the frustration clearly shown across her face, Lexa answers Clarke. “Luna is a kind spirit. She was a nightblood with me...but she never wanted to be the next Heda. She actually ran away before the inauguration.” Lexa lets loose a small laugh. “We were supposed to fight each other, and Luna wouldn’t stand for it, so she left and I became the Heda. Her clan is more of a sanctuary for retired fighters, orphans and those who wish for a more peaceful life. Though the warriors that are from Luna’s clan are great fighters.” Lexa pauses, probably realizing that she was babbling. “Luna is a good ally to have...a good friend, too.” Lexa gives a soft smile as if remembering a sweet memory. “She helped me pick up the pieces after Costia’s death.” Lexa sighs, “Now may we speak?”

“Look, we already talked about what happened. Case closed. I don’t want to talk about it again.” Clarke jumps on Lexa’s words, trying to end the conversation before it can continue.

A small smirk curls around Lexa’s lips just enough for Clarke to see the return of a small spark in Lexa’s eyes. “I was not talking about us joken, as you put it.” Fucking. “Will you please just come and sit up here? Just because our...circumstances have changed, it doesn’t mean that our friendship has to change.” Lexa’s head dips down. “Osir keryon ste teina...in many ways. First respect and then, I do believe we were friends, my feelings aside, and through everything, I think our respect for each other is once again turning into friendship.” Our souls are entwined...Lexa looks up to Clarke, her stance shifting into a more confident pose. “Am I wrong?” She questions, Clarke.

“No...you’re not wrong, Lexa.” Clarke says Lexa’s name ever so softly, so softly that Lexa almost missed it, almost.

Clarke walks around the table with slow steps, not reluctant, just...cautious. Clarke knows why she’s going slow, even though she’d never admit it to herself. Clarke is imprinting this moment, the way Lexa looks, confident and scared all at the same time, but there’s no denying Lexa’s beauty. Clarke is etching Lexa in her mind, committing the way Lexa looks at her with love in those beautiful green eyes, and Clarke is desperate to remember it.

Clarke can’t recall a time when she didn’t think Lexa was beautiful. Wordlessly, Clarke takes the seat next to Lexa’s throne and quickly, Lexa turns her throne the best she can to better face Clarke. “What was it that you wanted to talk about?”

Lexa sighs and gives the slightest of nods, sitting forward on the edge of her seat. “You will not be joining me on the battlefield.”

At first Clarke doesn’t respond. A sense of deja vu settles over her, her mind going back to her room, back to the conversation Clarke had with Lexa about coming to the war meeting before...before...she can’t even think about it, not this close to Lexa. “You’re lying,” she accuses, but Lexa doesn’t speak. “This is my fight, not yours. If blood must have blood, then it was my blood, my son’s blood, that was spilt and so it is my right to take back the blood. It is my war, not yours,” Clarke spits.

In a bold gesture, Lexa reaches out and places her hand upon Clarke’s knee and starts to kneel on the floor till she’s on her knees in front of Clarke. Clarke nearly swallows her tongue as now both of Lexa’s hands are holding both knees. “Clarke, I once told you that I would treat your burdens as my own. Yes, this is your war, but I will take this on as my own. You are hurt, Clarke, and Lenox...you are the only one that will surely protect him and you know it.” Lexa stops and licks her lips. Clarke follows the movement for a fleeting moment before meeting the Heda’s gaze once again. Lexa continues, “I know that what happened in your quarters is not up for discussion, and I know not to let my feelings for you complicate or twist what happened into something...more, than what it was. But Clarke, I cannot lose you once more. I will not, Clarke. I swore to protect you and Lenox, and keeping you here in Polis is the best way to do so.” Finally Lexa’s speech ends.

Clarke stays quiet, her eyes darting between Lexa’s eyes as she thinks things over. Lexa will not allow her and Lenox to leave Polis. Clarke knows that Lexa will go to whatever measures she must to keep Clarke here. Lexa is also right about Clarke being the best one to protect, Lenox. However, she has a score to settle with Nia and Clarke will only be free of the Ice Queen’s shadow if Clarke herself is the one to make the queen fall. She can make a show of reluctant agreeance and come up with an escape plan sooner rather than later.

Lexa might never forgive her, especially if her life ends in the days to come, but Clarke knows that Lenox will be okay. Lexa will take Lenox as if he was her own. The thought warms the very core of Clarke which makes her feel all the more guilty for what she is about to do. She sighs, holding her head in her hands before sitting back up and slouching into the chair. Clarke runs her hand through her hair and slowly meets Lexa’s eyes. “Do you have any idea how much I hate you being right?” Clarke gives a tired smile.

Immediately Lexa is sporting a suspicious look, eyebrows scrunched and lips pursed. “What are you planning, Clarke?” Lexa demands, sweeping up from the floor and to her feet. Clarke watches as Lexa moves to go behind her and she instinctively reaches out and grabs Lexa’s hand. Soft, calloused hand against soft, calloused hand. Lexa looks down as she stops in her tracks and smiles down at her hand encased in Clarke’s. Slowly, Lexa starts rubbing her thumb over the back of Clarke’s hand, the same hand Luna had kissed.

Lexa starts pulling her hand up, so far that Clarke has to get to her feet. Clarke’s hand is suddenly a breath away from Lexa’s lips. Bold green eyes zero in on surprised blues, then, Lexa kisses over Luna’s kiss, putting her mark on Clarke and erasing Luna’s. Clarke’s breath hitches. “What are you doing?” Clarke whispers, almost desperately trying to hold onto her resolve, but fuck is it hard when Lexa is looking at her like that.

Lexa moves just a hair forward. “I understand our...situation, but I cannot just stand by and watch others have you, Clarke. You cannot ask this of me, not when everything in me was screaming at me to string my oldest friend up on a pole for simply kissing the back of your hand.” Lexa whispers back.

Clarke swallows deep and moves forward until her forehead rests on Lexa’s. “We’re friends.” They lock eyes and Lexa nods in agreement. “We have to be leaders first, Lexa...you taught me that.” Clarke backs away, but Lexa doesn’t let loose her hold on Clarke’s hand. “I have no plans to warm Luna’s furs.”

“I did not say you did,” Lexa defends softly.

“Right.” Clarke knows that Lexa is lying. She can see the small lie in Lexa’s eyes, the jealousy. “I understand what you’re saying, Lexa, and I agree. It would be wrong of me to ignore your feelings, so I won’t.” Clarke sighs, and looks at their hands. Clarke pushes past the threat of tears, and ignores the ache in her heart. “You’ve drawn your line and I won’t cross it. I no longer wish to hurt you, Lexa.” Lexa smirks again, shaking her head as Clarke gives a little chuckle, effectively cutting the tension. “I will respect your request, Lexa, but only if you respect mine.”

Lexa squeezes Clarke’s hand gently. “Anything, Clarke.”

“It’s dangerous to agree to a pact without knowing what it is.” Clarke smirks, raising her brows.

Lexa smiles softly in return, her thumbing absently rubbing her kiss into Clarke’s skin. “You should have realized by now, I trust you, Clarke. Completely.” Clarke’s blood burns and her knees go weak at Lexa’s words she has to lean against the table for support. “So tell me, Clarke.”

Clarke licks her lips. “I will never be yours, Lexa. It would destroy us both, and our people.”

Lexa stands tall, unmoved by Clarke’s words. “I disagree.” Clarke rolls her eyes. “I disagree, but I will obey your request, Clarke, and on the day that you give your heart to someone, I will not stand in the way, even if that someone isn’t me.” Clarke feels sick, but she cannot tell Lexa the truth about her heart. Clarke’s heart was stolen long ago, and she never really got it all back. Some of Clarke’s heart lays deep within Lexa’s heart, just as Lexa’s heart resides in her’s. Clarke knows that Lexa never took her heart back. If anything, Lexa has made sure that Clarke knows it can never be returned. It’s impossible.

“We should go.” Clarke says as she gently removes her hand from Lexa’s gentle hold. “Lenox should be done with his training with Meino. I should go.” Clarke stresses just lightly, still not completely assured that her son is safe, even under the watchful eyes of Octavia, Lincoln, Linus, and Antom, Meino’s father. Clarke sees now that Lexa was truly right. Clarke is the only one that can protect Lenox. However there is one other person whom Clarke trusts as much as she trusts herself - Lexa. Clarke’s mind starts calculating a plan...Lexa can’t come after her if she’s in charge of Lenox. The thought of using her son like that makes Clarke want to vomit, but what’s worse; using Lenox as a pawn or Lenox dying under Nia’s hand?

“Would you come? With me, I mean. I mean to go pick up Lenox. He’d like that, I think.”

Lexa looks completely thrown by the offer. Her eyebrows frown and unfrown in a startling pace, but finally Lexa seems to settle a small, unsure smile on her face. “I think I’d like that very much, Clarke.”

“Alright, come on then,” Clarke says, already moving past Lexa and toward the exit...but Clarke doesn’t even realize that she’s grabbed Lexa’s hand once more, leading Lexa from the room. Two seconds into walking down the hall, and Clarke finally notices their hands, their fingers, laced together. “Damnit,” Clarke silently curses and tugs her hand free. Lexa laughs, like laughs, more carefree than Clarke has heard from the other girl thus far. “You could have told me,” Clarke mutters under her breath, embarrassed and hiding her blush by her head turning away from Lexa’s sight.

Lexa laughs once more, this one more contained. “Why would I do that? If you wish to hold my hand, who am I to deny you? As I’ve already said, I respect your boundaries, Clarke, but I will not hide my feelings toward you, not anymore.” Lexa smiles slightly, but Clarke knows that Lexa’s words are another way to claim Clarke without claiming Clarke. If Lexa makes her feelings for Clarke clear, people will be hard pressed to approach her with the intent of courting or bedding her. Clarke curses Lexa in her mind. Leave it to Lexa to find the loopholes.

“Shof op,” Shut up. Clarke growls and speeds up with the intent of leaving Lexa behind so she can no longer embarrass her. Her plan however, backfires as Lexa is quick to catch up and invades Clarke’s space as Lexa whispers into Clarke’s ear.

“If your intent is to punish me, Clarke, then you should do so without giving me such a wonderful view.” Clarke comes to a dead stop as Lexa walks on as if nothing was wrong. If Clarke was embarrassed before, then she has no words to describe how she feels now, except that she wants to be buried deep, deep beneath the earth in a hole no one can find. Clarke hurries to be back at Lexa’s side, and she quickly delivers a jab to Lexa’s ribs.

The small jolt makes Lexa grunts in surprise more than pain. Lexa doesn’t chide her, nor does she break her stride, and that pisses Clarke off. More than anything, it's that fucking smirk on Lexa’s lips; Clarke stamps down the part of her that finds the gesture adorable and covers it up with annoyance. If only Lexa knew Clarke’s plans, then she wouldn’t be so confident in her feelings for Clarke. If only.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lenox, as Clarke predicted, was overwhelmingly joyful when he spotted his Nomon with his Heda. He is even more excited when Lexa takes ahold of his small hand while his Nomon takes his other, effectively putting Lenox between his two favorite people. “Nomon, swing?” Lenox asks with innocent eyes as he looks up at Clarke with his puppy dog eyes.

Clarke smirks and chuckles, Octavia was rubbing off on her son way too much, but then again, it’s better than the time she caught Raven trying to teach him how to build a smoke bomb. Clarke had never seen Raven run as fast as she did, after Mount Weather, after their smoke bomb “experiment.”

“Alright, Lenox.” Clarke looks to a confused Lexa. “Just swing him upwards, but keep a good hold on his arm, okay?” Lexa looks around, she in the middle of the training grounds, warriors everywhere, and Clarke can guess at what Lexa is thinking about.

Lexa has always portrayed herself as invincible and heartless, but Clarke knows differently. Lexa is cherished by her people, and if Lenox is right, which he usually is when it comes to gossip, many of the warriors already believed that their Heda was courting their Wanheda, many even had bets going on when one of their leaders would break and accept the courting invitation. Most of the people spoke about the Heda breaking first, after all their Heda has never backed down from a challenge, and she was merciless in going after what she wanted. “Lexa, it’s okay,” Clarke says as softly as she can.

Lexa nods, though she looks scared as Lenox suddenly tucks up his feet and then, he’s hangingin the air, not very high at all, but it’s enough to make him scream and giggle in delight. After that, Lexa has no hesitation. That is, until Lenox suddenly let’s go of Clarke’s hand as he soars up into the air. Lexa is the one to react first, quickly tugging on the arm that she’s holding and brings Lenox careening into her body. Lexa cradles Lenox to her as he wraps his little arms around her neck and hugs her. A relieved breath rushes from her lungs as scared eyes look at Clarke. Lenox is laughing and he pulls slightly away, arms still locked around Lexa. “I knew you would catch me!” he squeaks.

Clarke watches as Lexa’s eyes harden, and her mind tells her that Lexa has no right to punish Lenox, but then she remembers the position she’s in, and the position she’s going to leave Lexa and Lenox in, so she let’s her heart win; Clarke doesn’t interfere, not yet.

“Why would you do such a thing? You could have gotten injured! What would your Nomon and I do if you had gotten hurt, Lenox?” She frowned at him as he looked to her with regret in his eyes. “Lenox, you must not put yourself in harm's way, and what you just did, is exactly that. You are young, not yet five winters old, but you’re old enough to know better.” Lexa sighs.

Tears form in his big, green eyes before he tucks himself into Lexa’s neck. Little sniffles can be heard, even Clarke hears them. She approaches her son and starting rubbing his back, though Clarke completely agrees with how Lexa handled the situation, she still feels the need to comfort her son. Clarke knows that Lenox has gotten the point by the little sniffles he’s emitting. “I’m sorry,” he whispers, and Lexa relaxes and brings her hand up to the back of his neck and head. “Nomi.” Lenox finishes his apology, but it sends both women reeling.

What did he just say?!?

Chapter Text

Word of the attempt on Wanheda’s life, and the life of her son, had spread throughout the Clans of the Coalition. Luna of the Floudonkru (The Boat People) was the first to arrive, bringing with her two hundred of her finest warriors and healers to be at the disposal of the Heda. The Sangedakru (The Desert Clan) sent fifty warriors under the leadership of Caris, the daughter of the Desert Clan’s leader. Though small in numbers, the Desert warriors are survivalist and relentless in the hunt. The Podakru (Lake People) sent a hundred of their finest trackers and spearmen. The Delphi Clan sent their best healers.

The Trishana (Glowing Forest) sent a caravan carrying a variety of poisons and antidotes. The Plains Riders (Ingranrona) sent two hundred war horses and three hundred horsemen. The Blue Cliff clan (Ouskejon Kru) sent another two hundred warriors skilled in the art of ambush fighting. The Rock Line Clan (Boudalan) sent two hundred warriors to the border between Azgeda land and Trikru land, and another two hundred to the capitol carrying enough weapons and armor to outfit all the warriors of Polis. The last clan to arrive was the Broadleaf clan (Yujleda) marching in three hundred strong.

The only clan that didn’t offer aid, or answer to the messages the Heda sent out was the Shadow Valley clan (Louwoda Kliron) and Lexa suspects that they’ve aligned themselves with the Azgeda. However, with over a thousand warriors, including those of her own clan, under her stead, Lexa was confident that if it came to war, and it did look like it was heading toward war, she would decimate any who stood against her and the Wanheda.

Lexa looks over Polis, taking in the new tents and camps grouped throughout and around Polis, warriors coming together in the name of Wanheda. Yes, Lexa knows it’s not her that they gather for, though it was her orders, but there is no mistake of whom’s name they fight under. Clarke, of course, was astounded and disbelieving, but when Lexa told her under no uncertain terms that these warriors came to fight for her honor, Clarke couldn’t deny it.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I’m going to the war council.” Clarke glares from her spot propped up in bed.

“No, you’re not.” Lexa responded patiently, but firmly. They’d been at this since Indra sent word that the ambassadors were assembled in the war room. Clarke thought she would have worn Lexa down by now, but Lexa wasn’t budging.

Clarke sighed with discontent. “I need to be there Lexa, you said so yourself, they’re fighting in my name.” She watched as Lexa’s posture went rigid for a moment, and Clarke knew that she at least had a fighting chance.

In this moment, Clarke is grateful that Lenox is off with Meino, and under the watchful eyes of Octavia, Lincoln, Linus and Antom. God forbid Lenox be here if she and Lexa start to fight. Lenox is too sweet, and his love for Lexa too pure, too see the two adults in his life that matters most to him fight. “Leksa, ai gaf du disha in.” Lexa, I need to do this.

Lexa stands there in front of Clarke’s bed, arms clasped behind her back and dressed for war, once again. Her red sash glimmers in the sunlight streaming from the window casting half of Lexa’s face in shadow and half in light. Clarke finds the contrast of light and dark on Lexa’s face to be an ironic symbolism of Lexa’s personality. The Heda’s persona shown in front of everyone, and Lexa’s true self around Clarke and Lenox. Her eyes, god her green eyes, they lock onto Clarke and Clarke is helpless to the pull. “Kei, Klark. You will have your way...this time.” Very well, Clarke.

Clarke doesn’t suppress her grin as she tries, she does try, to jump from bed. “Ah!” She squeals, fuck she squeals, and Lexa is at her side immediately. Lexa’s arms wrap around Clarke’s body and pull Clarke into her. Lexa’s arm is firmly around her waist with her other hand pressed gently in the middle of her shoulder blades. Clarke can’t breathe, and it has nothing to do with the subsiding pain in her side.

“Clarke, are you hurt?” Lexa rushes out, her brow furrowed as she looks Clarke over for any possible injury. Gently, Clarke is settled back onto her feet with Lexa’s hand pulling up her shirt. “How is your wound? Your mother was very worried about the stitches. Let me check them.” Clarke squeaks when she feels Lexa’s fingers brush over her stitches, not out of pain, but surprise.

“I’m fine! I’m fine!” Clarke squeaks as she hurries to pull her shirt from Lexa’s grasp. It takes more than one tug for Lexa to release the material but finally Clarke’s torso is covered. She’s still in Lexa’s hold, and though she covered her exposed skin, she feels an entirely new sense of vulnerability and bareness. “I’m fine.” She mumbles out, blue eyes darting between pink lips and green eyes.

Lexa doesn’t say anything but the hand that had once tugged at her shirt now slowly drifts up her body, dangerously hovering over Clarke’s contours and edges until Lexa’s hand reaches her face. Elegant fingers gently wrap around the base of Clarke’s skull and her thumb rubs Clarke’s jaw. Clarke’s eyes flutter heavily, struggling not to succumb to the feeling sparked within her at Lexa’s touch. Finally, her eyes focus back on steady green. Their heads drift closer and closer until Lexa gently tilts her head to the side and boops her nose against Clarke’s. Clarke sucks in a breath because she knows what comes next, she knows. She knows what comes next because Lexa does this every time before kissing Clarke.

Clarke has a nanosecond to decide to lean in or push back, because Lexa’s not moving. Lexa stays in that position, her nose gently nuzzling against Clarke’s. Lexa’s breath teases Clarke’s parted lips and Clarke chokes on the sweetness that engulfs her lungs. Lexa’s long eyelashes brush against hers and Clarke doesn’t know what she wants, but she leans in and takes the kiss Lexa is offering her.

It’s an explosion, the way everything that Clarke is collides into Lexa and molds them together in a moment of longing ended, satisfaction gained and insatiability beginning. Raw hunger crackles and electrifies across their skin as their lips meet again and again, shifting and molding into each other. Clarke pushes into Lexa, and Lexa pushes right back and before Clarke can register just what she’s doing, Clarke finds herself flat against a wall with Lexa pushing into her front. Clarke denies it even as Lexa’s leg slips between hers and Lexa’s hips settle against Clarke’s, but damn Heda’s hot when she’s in charge.

How long had Clarke spent visualizing the young Heda’s head on a spike for abandoning Clarke at the mountain? Now, Clarke was definitely thinking about the Heda’s head, but in her vision it definitely wasn’t up on a spike...it wasn’t up on anything actually...it was definitely down though. Lexa’s tongue gives a brief press against Clarke’s lips and then it retreats before Clarke has time to accept it. She repeats this action until Clarke just can’t take it anymore, then Clarke is the one to press her tongue against Lexa’s lips and Lexa welcomes it.

Clarke’s lost in Lexa, lost in her the way Clarke has never been lost before, and it scares her but she’s too weak to pull back. Clarke can feel the walls built around her heart start to loosen and slowly the feelings brought on by Lexa’s kiss seeps in. It seers her insides and burns the breath from her lungs. It boils the blood in her veins and leaves every nerve raw and exposed. Pain is all Clarke can feel. Pain has taken over.

So Clarke pushes harder into Lexa, chasing the pleasure as it gets stomped out by a pain so sharp and intense that Clarke can taste blood when there is none. Her kiss becomes full of teeth and hard presses, and Lexa tries to pull back. Maybe she notices that Clarke’s feelings have changed, maybe she can sense that Clarke is in pain. Clarke keeps her firm grip on Lexa’s hips and keeps kissing Lexa until the girl gives in and kisses her back.

The kiss isn’t nice or warm or sweet or even lustfull, the kiss reeks of anger and pain, and nothing else. Clarke pushes Lexa back, and Lexa stumbles from the sudden movement, but Clarke doesn’t wait for Lexa to gain her footing. She uses Lexa’s unpreparedness to her advantage, like she would do in battle, and forces Lexa’s body back onto the bed and Clarke pins Lexa there. However Lexa isn’t one to give up the upper hand so easily and is quick to find enough leverage to switch their positions and Clarke stills beneath her. Lexa frowns down at her as Clarke starts struggling and moving to flip them once more.

But Clarke doesn’t look at Lexa, she can’t. The longer she feels Lexa’s weight press down upon her, the more Clarke’s grip on reality slips away. All Clarke can feel is Lexa’s hands pinning her own down, and Clarke feels helpless. In a rush of movement, Clarke uses her knee to come up between Lexa’s legs and knocks the girl forward. Clarke is quick to move her head to the side as Lexa face plants into the furs and Clarke flips them once more.

“Clarke?” Lexa grunts the question, once again trying to pull free of Clarke’s grip. Clarke doesn’t answer. Clarke stares down at Lexa, and she tries to realign her thoughts because she still tastes the blood even though she sees none. She hears the cries of battle, cries of the innocent, and rebels as she leads an army against them. She sees the flames reflection upon the ice and smells the smoke in the air, the death. The more her adrenaline calms down the farther away the battle seems and then, as the fog lifts, she can see Lexa again and Lexa is looking at her so confused and concerned, affectionate, that it churns Clarke’s stomach, acid bubbling up her throat until the taste of bile replaces the taste of blood.

Lexa cannot be allowed to question just what transpired, Clarke cannot allow Lexa to know, so Clarke does the only thing she can think of, she careens down into Lexa. Lexa tries to talk, she tries so hard, but Clarke doesn’t care right now. Clarke doesn’t want to hear what the girl has to say, Clarke just wants the distraction that Lexa can provide. Clarke just wants to use Lexa, but the girl is making things exceedingly difficult. “Clarke, slow” Lexa tries to say, but Clarke is pulling at the buckles on Lexa’s coat and sweeping biting kisses across Lexa’s lips and jaw. “Clarke?” Lexa gasps as Clarke gives up on the coat and goes straight for Lexa’s pants.

Clarke doesn’t acknowledge Lexa, she’s too focus on getting her hand down the front of Lexa’s pants. She needs this, she doesn’t even care about the pain of her stitches, because she needs this to forget and it’s all Clarke can do to not cry because Lexa tastes like burning ash. Lexa doesn’t taste like she should and Clarke cannot stop because if she does Lexa will say something. If Clarke slows down Lexa will want to tell her things, ask her things, this would no longer be the distraction that Clarke needs. Every time Lexa tries to speak, Clarke can hear the words that she refuses Lexa to say.

Lexa thinks this means more than what it is. Clarke knows that Lexa wants this to be something that will cement Lexa’s place in Clarke’s heart. Lexa thinks that this is the moment that Clarke accepts Lexa back into her life completely, and if Clarke slows down, Lexa will say everything that Clarke does not want to hear. Things like ‘I love you’, because Clarke can feel the emotion coming off Lexa even in the fury of rushed touches and harsh kisses. “Klark!” Clarke! Lexa gasps as her hips jerk violently at the touch of Clarke’s hand on the outside of the material that’s supposed to be underwear.

Lexa doesn’t protest anymore, not with the steady harshness of Clarke pressing against her. Clarke doesn’t care that Lexa cannot catch her breath and Clarke doesn’t care when Lexa’s back arches up from the bed. She doesn’t care about the wetness seeping through the material and onto her fingers. Clarke doesn’t feel anything but her own self loathing in the pit of her stomach for being so weak as to allow this to happen, because as much as Clark doesn’t care...the part of her that she locked away is screaming at her to not hurt Lexa this way. Clarke can’t stop herself now.

When Lexa reaches her point, she does so with a silent scream and a snap of her hips, and she’s grips onto Clarke even after she’s regained her focus. When green eyes look up at her with so much longing and peace in the iris’, Clarke allows herself to cup Lexa’s cheek and strokes her thumb across Lexa’s kiss swollen lips. She leans down and kisses Lexa softly, gently, and it’s such a huge difference than Clarke’s previous kisses. When Clarke pulls back, Lexa has this small, content smile on her face and Clarke knows that this is everything Lexa had hoped for when Clarke first came to Polis. Clarke leans down and kisses Lexa again, this time lingering and savoring, like Lexa had kissed her before. The kiss ends gently and Clarke waits until Lexa opens her eyes once more.

Lexa looks up to Clarke as though Clarke is something precious and lovely, it makes Clarke sick for what just happened and what she’s about to do. Clarke knows that she should have never allowed this to happen, she and Lexa had finally come to a place where they could start to trust each other again, they were finally good...and now...Clarke chokes back the lump in her throat and she wrenches herself off of Lexa. Lexa follows the movement and sits up in chase of Clarke. “Clarke, what’s wrong?”

Clarke can’t look at her because if she does Clarke knows that she’ll cave and fall back into Lexa’s arms. “The meeting...we’re late.” Clarke mumbles distractedly as she straightens her appearance. Lexa stands and reaches out for Clarke, but Clarke avoids her touch. “We’re late.” Lexa frowns at Clarke and it chips away at Clarke’s resolve.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“They will wait as long as I want them to.” Again Lexa steps forward and reaches for Clarke, but Clarke only gets further away from her. She doesn’t understand why Clarke is suddenly pulling away from her. After sharing something so special, after having Clarke so close to her. Lexa desperately tries to grasp just what happened to make Clarke pull away. “What did I do?” She asks.

Clarke finally meets her eyes and Lexa can see the barest hint of redness in Clarke’s eyes. “Don’t make this into something it’s not.” Clarke throws at her, and for a moment Lexa believes in her words, but only for a second because Clarke’s eyes aren’t as sure as Clarke’s voice.

 

“This is something, Clarke. You, I...this isn’t nothing.” Lexa struggles for her words as she feels Clarke slipping further and further away from her. All the progress they’ve made since Clarke’s return is diminishing right in front of Lexa and she’s helpless to stop it. “I lo-”

“Stop!” Clarke cries out and it halts Lexa in her tracks. Her jaw clicks close as she listens to Clarke. “Do not say that you love me. You cannot love me. This isn’t...We aren’t...this meant nothing. It was a distraction, that’s all. I needed a distraction and you gave me one. That’s it, Lexa. It means nothing.” Clarke states firmly.

“Do not tell me how I can feel!” Lexa takes an aggressive step forward. “I know that I love you, Clarke and nothing will change that. I love you, Clarke, and I love your son. You can say that this meant nothing, but we both know the truth.”

“It was just physical. That’s all.” Clarke stands firm even as she sees the evidence of what they’ve just done all over Lexa. Lexa’s pants are still undone, her hair is tousled and small angry red spots are sprayed across Lexa’s neck and jaw. “A way to get the aggression out, a release.”

“Tell me that it meant something.” Lexa demands with a desperation engulfing her entire being. She needs to believe that this was something to the both of them. She needs to know that Clarke wasn’t just using her. Clarke doesn’t have to love her, Lexa can accept this, but she has to mean something to Clarke...she has to.

“It meant nothing.” Clarke stares at her and Lexa searches Clarke’s eyes for any type of hint that Clarke is lying, and Lexa sees the restraint Clarke is showing, she sees the way Clarke is clenching her jaw and the way Clarke’s eyes are getting redder and redder by the moment. Clarke is lying to her. Lexa knows that Clarke is lying, but it still hurts.

“Spicha.” Liar. Lexa accuses.

“Yeah, maybe I am, but so are you, and it doesn’t change anything.” Clarke’s remarks coldly and it strikes Lexa dead as she’s left standing in place as Clarke walks away from her. Again.

Chapter Text

Clarke finishes her war paint in the salvaged mirror, Lenox quietly sitting on the bed, already dressed and ready for dinner, because there’s no way in hell that Clarke would leave him with someone, not with what she plans to do. When she’s done she sets down her grey kohl next to her black and turns around, smiling at Lenox as he kicks his little feet, waiting patiently. “I have a question,” he says.

Clarke quirks an eyebrow as she looks down upon him. “Oh, and what is this question?” She answers.

Lenox looks up at his Nomon with curious eyes, but Clarke can see the hidden determination buried beneath; she is his mother after all. “Can I wear war paint too? I am going to be a warrior, too,” Lenox reasons his question as he smiles up at Clarke.

Clarke sighs, her arms folded across her chest as she debates his request in her head. What really can it hurt to let her son paint his face? Nothing. Lenox is curious and Clarke has come to terms with him training as a warrior, in fact it relieves some of the worry she has of his safety. She turns around, but not fast enough for her to see Lenox’s shoulders drop. She grabs two small containers and comes back to stand in front of her son. Lenox looks so crestfallen that Clarke’s heart breaks a little for him. “Alright,” she says as she comes to kneel before her little boy.

Immediately, Lenox is up and cheerful, clapping his hands and smiling so bright it lights up the room. Clarke captures his face in her mind, saving it forever. “Really, Nomon?”

Clarke nods. “Sha, Nomfa.” Yes, son. “Come, settle down,” Clarke asks of him. When he’s still Clarke moves closer and brushes his dirty blonde hair from his eyes, noting that he’ll need a trim soon, but Lincoln will see to that; Clarke is positive that Lincoln will. “Now, how do you want it? Like mine, maybe Octavia’s, Lincoln’s or something different?”

Lenox shakes his head at the ideas. He leans forward to whisper his answer. “I want Nomi’s war paint but I want it in grey like yours, Nomon.” For a long moment, Clarke is stunned and silent. A million thoughts rush through her mind. Would it be appropriate? Would Lexa mind? Does she mind? She takes her black kohl and sets it aside before opening the tin of grey kohl.

“Close your eyes,” Clarke instructs as she gathers some paint onto her fingertips. Lenox squirms for a moment as he closes his eyes, but when he settles Clarke carefully starts to apply the warpaint she’s long since memorized. Her thumb spreads the kohl from eyes to hairline, cheekbones and over the bridge of his little nose before she makes the lines jutting down to his cheeks. She wipes her fingers on a cloth and looks at her son and what she sees breaks her heart and mends it all at once.

There he is, her little man, in Lexa’s warpaint. It looks right and proper for the child of Wanheda and Heda. Then again, that was the point of Lenox’s request and she did follow through with it. Clarke sighs and plasters a sincere but teary smile. “Ai nomfa.” My son. She whispers as she leans forward to kiss his forehead. “Nomfa kom Wanheda en Heda.” Son of the Wanheda and Heda. She corrects herself, validating Lenox’s feelings toward Lexa, encouraging even. “One day you will be the best warrior of all the lands, but you must be the best man you can be first. Peace Lenox, that is what we fight for, what I fight for and what Nomi fights for.” Mom. Clarke pauses to pick up his hands and kisses them both. “Nami?” Know what I mean?

Lenox bobs his head up and down. “Sha, Nomon.” Yes, Mother. “I will make you proud and Nomi too!” He grins broadly and Clarke lets out a wet laugh.

“You already do, Lenox.” Clarke grins. “I will always be proud to have you as my son. No matter what.” For a moment green eyes stare Clarke down, and Clarke thinks that she’s been caught by this bright little boy, but then Lenox giggles and the conversation drops, and Clarke is thankful.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The atmosphere in the main square is as electric as the night they celebrated Wanheda’s return, and once again, Clarke is swept by the emotion of it. These people who celebrate her, they are Clarke’s people too. Never has she felt so sure of the sentiment as she does now. Clarke knows she will protect them and everyone else she cares about at any cost, and a peace finally settles in Clarke.

Lexa meets Clarke and Lenox on the front step of the Commander’s home. She’s decked in full Commander gear, red sash and all. When Lexa’s eyes find Clarke, Clarke barely holds back her blush. Everytime Clarke thinks that she’s used to the way Lexa looks at her, Lexa proves her wrong. However, Lexa’s gaze is quickly stolen from her as Lenox rushes to hug Lexa’s legs. The look Lexa gives Lenox however, is something entirely different. Happiness is easy to see by the small tilt of Lexa’s head right before shock widens her eyes and makes Lexa’s shoulders shudder in the smallest of ways as she exhales. “Nomi, up!” Mom.

Lexa doesn’t hesitate to pick up and cradle his small body against hers. Clarke chuckles under her breath, not bothering to hide her amused smile as she eliminates the distance between her and them. “Clarke…” Lexa whispers as Clarke stands shoulder to shoulder with Lexa.

Clarke’s smile is bright and warm as Lexa meets her eyes once more. “He’s your son,” Is all Clarke says as she passes them; she’s even able to hear Lenox start to ramble about why he wanted Lexa’s warpaint before she falls out of earshot.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Are you sure this is what you want?” Luna whispers in Clarke’s ear as they press in close to one another in a shadow cast from a tent and the raging bonfire fire in the center of the celebration. Clarke can smell the small amount of wine Luna consumed on her breath.

Clarke swallows deeply as she looks into kind and understanding eyes, though there is hesitation dripping through Luna’s facade. The tightening of lips and the crinkling skin on the outside of Luna’s eyes are all tells of this hesitation. Clarke knows that this isn’t something Luna is completely behind, but Luna is entrusting Clarke to know what her actions entail, the good and the bad. “Yes, this is what I want.” Clarke confirms in a sure whisper.

Luna pulls back, her face coming into the light as she does. “Then go put your young one to bed. I’ll be waiting for you in the stables.” Luna sighs and smiles. Clarke thinks that it’s supposed to be a reassuring smile, but Luna is failing miserably. “This will surely kill you both, Clarke,” Luna tries just one more time and it makes Clarke shake her head. She could see why Luna was a trusted friend of Lexa’s, loyalty.

Clarke straightens her spine and looks Luna dead in the eyes. “If this works, it’ll only kill one of us.”

They break apart, Clarke coming into the light of the fire and Luna slinking off unseen into the shadows. Unseen, by all but one pair of eyes.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clarke comes just short behind Lexa and watches as she tries to keep Lenox awake by showing him some simple dagger tricks with his small wooden knife. Their silhouettes are outlined in oranges and yellows as they share Lexa’s throne. When she does decide to approach, she does so by coming in behind Lexa. “Hei.” Hello. She says softly, kissing the back of Lenox’s head softly, looking over him to lock eyes with Lexa. “Mafta op, niron.” Follow me, loved one/lover. She offers her hand and Lexa’s eyes follow it. “We must sleep.” Clarke ignores the stares of the leaders and warriors around her; she needs their stares. “Miya.” Come/Come here.

Lexa turns to those around her and tips her chin. “Reshop.” Goodnight. She bids them and gathers a sleepy Lenox close to her and rises to meet Clarke’s hand with her free one. “Sha.” Yes. She gives a soft smile. When they start to walk, Clarke drops Lexa’s hand, but she stays close enough for their shoulders to brush each step they take. It’s a slow quiet walk back to Clarke’s room, but when they come to a stop in front of it Clarke feels as though it went by too fast. “Reshop, ai yongon.” Goodnight, my child. Lexa fixes Lenox’s forehead with a small kiss then passes him into Clarke’s arms. “Reshop, Klark.” Goodnight, Clarke.

Clarke lightly rocks Lenox on her hip to keep him in the soft doze he slipped into. “Can I talk to you? After he’s in bed,” Clarke asks, trying her best to keep her smile pretty and soft, it must not work because Lexa’s body becomes a little stiffer and her chin gives the tiniest tilt upwards.

“Of course, Clarke,” Lexa keeps her voice calm and sincere; Clarke feels her stomach twist and churn with fear. The light sweat gathering at the back of her neck chills and her arms prickle. Lexa can’t possibly know, can she? Clarke shakes her head at such a serious thought and only then does she realize that she missed Lexa walking off. The door opens behind Clarke and she walks into the soft glow of candles in the room as the door closes.

Soft shadows hover and shift in the room as Clarke tucks her little boy into bed. She settles beside him once she’s changed. She pushes his hair back to kiss along his forehead and she runs those fingers down the side of his face. She dips her chin so she can kiss the tip of his button nose and she smiles wide when he wrinkles it in his sleep. She presses her forehead to his as softly as she can and starts to whisper just as softly. “You are the greatest thing that I have ever done, Lenox. You have made my life worthwhile. Ai hod yu in, Lenox.” I love you, Lenox. She kisses his forehead once more and rises from the bed, but she pauses to look down upon her sweet little boy.

“May we meet again.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Her hands are cold, not sweaty, but tingling cold; she rubs them on the side of her jean covered thighs. She shifts from side to side, her boots giving a soft sound with each movement. Clarke knocks. On the third rap, the doors opens and Lexa lets Clarke in. Clarke senses that something is off right away, because just like in the hall, Lexa is far too stiff, but Clarke doesn’t stop until she reaches the middle of the room, a sitting room to her left and Lexa’s bed to her right. Then, Clarke turns to face Lexa.

Lexa isn’t done moving though, she walks past Clarke to the small table and pours herself some water. Then, Lexa turns to face Clarke. “If this is about Luna then there is no need to inform me, Clarke. I already know.” Clarke almost flinches at the cold words coming from Lexa.

However, Clarke doesn’t automatically respond, first she must determine just what Lexa is hinting at. Her jaw is tense, her knuckles white around the cup and her eyes might as well be daggers as the glare at Clarke. The hurt is paramount however and Clarke finally understands why...Lexa must have seen her and Luna in the shadows. Lexa saw her and assumed the worst. “Do you see me warming Luna’s furs?”

The question has a physical reaction on Lexa. Her head tilts slightly down and shuffles a half step backward, and then every bit of her facade drops until it’s just Lexa again. “That is not what I saw?” Lexa asks, with a soft voice.

Clarke takes soft, slow steps toward Lexa. “What you saw was Luna and I talking about her healers and how to best take care of the wounded soldiers that will come here after the war starts before she went to bed,” Clarke lies easily enough, and it even sounds like the truth to Clarke. “Were you...are you jealous?” Clarke questions as she stands toe to toe with Lexa. Lexa only looks away, but Clarke is quick to capture her chin and stop her retreat. “Whose room do I choose to be in tonight?”

Lexa licks her lips nervously and her throat quivers. “Mine?” she whispers.

Clarke sighs and moves forward to tuck her head into Lexa’s chest with her arms wrapping around Lexa’s middle. “Can we sleep? I just want to sleep.” Clarke says with her eyes already closed.

“But Clarke-” Lexa protests even as an arm wraps around Clarke’s shoulders and her free hand cups the back of Clarke’s head.

Clarke sighs and fists the back of Lexa’s thin shirt. “I know...beja, Leksa.” ...please. Lexa.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The sky is still black when Clarke wakes tangled in Lexa’s sheets and arms. Lexa is asleep, her nose a breath away from Clarke’s and she is soft. The small freckles on her nose that only Clarke now has the privilege of seeing. Beautifully dark eyelashes that can skip Clarke’s heart with a bat. Lexa’s lips, slightly swollen and pink from sleep with mussed hair scattering across their pillow in curly waves. Lexa is beautiful.

Just the thought makes Clarke smile, because such a simple statement doesn’t come close to being enough to describe Lexa, at least not in Clarke’s mind. She pushes a few stray curls back from Lexa’s face and places the softest of kisses onto Lexa’s forehead. “You must be great for him, Lexa. You have to make my sacrifice worthwhile. You must take care of our son.” Clarke presses a kiss to Lexa’s lips. “Ai hod yu in, Leksa kom Trikru.” I love you, Lexa of the Tree Clan.

Then, Clarke gets up from the bed, being sure not to wake Lexa. She ties her boots back to her feet, and her legs carry her to the door regardless of her mind’s protest. She takes her time though and spares Lexa on last look.

“May we meet again.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The stable is quiet save for the lone claps of a horse walking on cobblestone. Luna meets Clarke at the entrance, black steed in hand. Clarke mounts him with a swift movement and tugs on his leads to steady him. “You ride North until you meet a vast river, take the great bridge over it then go east over the mountain, that’s where you will find the Louwoda Kilron.” Shadow Valley. Luna instructs as quickly as she can.

Clarke nods. “One way or another, this war will be over by sunrise tomorrow,” Clarke promises. “Ask her forgiveness for me, will you?” Luna nods and steps back from the horse. With a kick to her horse’s sides, Clarke is off through the night.

Chapter Text

Lexa wakes to a cold spot next to her, where Clarke was supposed to be. She remembers falling asleep with Clarke in her arms...then nothing. She shakes her head and pulls herself to sit upright. No, that isn’t the last thing she remembers. Clarke was talking to her, but it’s a foggy memory. What did Clarke tell her, and where did Clarke go? There’s a nagging feeling deep within Lexa’s gut, something that tells her something’s wrong.

She rises from bed, the window lighting up with the tease of the sunrise, but Clarke should still be sleeping. Perhaps she went back to her room. As quick as she can, Lexa dresses herself in a simple shirt and pants, not even bothering with her boots in her haste before she’s out the door. It’s a short walk to Clarke’s room and she knocks loud enough to be heard but she hopes that it’s soft enough not to wake Lenox. The door opens after the third knock, but it isn’t Clarke, it’s Octavia. “Where’s Clarke?” She commands with a harsh whisper.

Octavia has mused hair, braids loose and wild. Her clothes are wrinkled with sleep, but her eyes are clear. “She’s not here.”

Lexa glares at the girl. “Then where is she? I need to speak with her.” She almost growls at Octavia as the feeling of dread worsen within her.

Octavia shakes her head, carefully blocking the doorway with her body. “No, Lexa, she’s not here.” Octavia tries again.

Moments pass as Lexa continues to glare at Octavia and that dread spills over and freezes the blood in her veins. “She’s not here.” Lexa states. Her eyes grow panicked for a second, then her Commander mask slips firmly into place. “Luna.” Lexa spits out her friend’s name as if it were a curse. She turns and marches down the hall barking at a guard when he tries to follow. Her feet fly down the steps of her home and stop in the street. Her head whips around looking for Luna and that’s when she spots the woman in question waiting, sitting, on a table from the night before. “Where is she.” Lexa commands, coming to stand over Luna.

Luna isn’t phased, her eyes are calm and clear, shoulders relaxed. “She wishes to ask for your forgiveness.” Luna whispers as her eyes stray toward the massive gates protecting Polis. Lexa follows her gaze and her body freezes in fear. Yes, she’s afraid, because she knows what happened while she slept. She let her guard down, let her reflexes and training fall by the wayside as she savored the feeling of being next to Clarke in such an intimate way, and now she’s paying for her mistake. Just like Costia. “I must ask your forgiveness as well, Lexa...I cannot let you leave to go after her. I promised her that I’d keep you here in Polis, safe.”

Lexa knows that it’s a cheap shot, but she grabs Luna by her shirt and shoves her to the ground. Luna doesn’t get up at first. “Don’t make me do this, Lexa. I do not wish to fight you.” Luna sighs as she looks up to Lexa and Lexa thinks that Luna looks more tired than Lexa has ever seen her, but this changes nothing in Lexa’s eyes.

“If you don’t wish to fight then you’ll tell me where she went and you won’t stop me from going after her.” Lexa argues, watching as Luna slowly picks herself up from the ground.

Luna shakes her head. “If Clarke fails then she’ll need you to finish what she’s starting. Our people cannot afford to lose both of you.” Luna tries to reason and Lexa sees the logic behind Luna’s words, behind Clarke’s actions, but it does nothing to deter her.

Lexa scrambles her mind thinking over what Luna has told her. She has to finish what Clarke is starting, then there may still be time, maybe Clarke doesn’t have to do this on her own. Clarke is going after Nia, Lexa knows this even without Luna saying it, Lexa can feel it. “Nia.” The way Luna’s eyes harden tell Lexa that she’s right, she knows where Clarke is heading. “If she falls by Nia’s sword, you will fall by mine!” She yells, anger bubbling over as she thinks of all the things Nia could be doing to Clarke. She cannot sit by and wait for another head to be delivered to her bed. She will not allow Clarke to suffer the same fate Costia had endured. This time she’ll fight for her love. “Where did she go? Azgeda or Louwada Kilron?” Ice Nation or Shadow Vally?

Her anger doubles when she sees that Luna is still as calm as she was when Lexa first approached her. “What happens to Lenox if you leave?” Luna doesn’t see the punch coming and Lexa’s fist connects to Luna’s cheek with no resistance. Luna falls, her hair falling to cover her face but when she looks back up to Lexa, Lexa can see the cut on Luna’s cheekbone. “You know I’m right.”

“What I know is you may have let Clarke ride off to her own death. Lenox will be safe in the capital, because a hundred of my best warriors are now staying behind with his safety being their only responsibility. What I know is that by the next candle mark my army will march to the Ice Nation and they will destroy every single person who stands in the way. What I know is that Clarke will not fight this fight on her own. Now tell me where she went!” Lexa speaks with pure determination and absolute confidence. Luna stands on steady feet once more, her body tight and waiting for the next blow. It comes as a kick to the chest that sends her flying to her back, but Luna once was trained the same as Lexa, so she rolls out of the fall and stands once more.

This only serves to enrage Lexa even more. So Lexa advances and throws another punch, but Luna deflects it and moves so Lexa stumbles forward by her own momentum. Lexa is quick to regain her balance though and she rushes forward throwing punches, focussing on Luna’s ribs to do the most damage. Luna cries out and kicks Lexa’s knee as she scrambles to put some distance between them, but Lexa isn’t stopping. She goes for Luna again, but Luna meets Lexa with her own fists. She manages to lay a heavy blow to Lexa’s mouth, but she winces when Lexa spits out blood. “Beja, Leksa.” Please, Lexa. “Stop this.”

Lexa doesn’t listen. She bares her teeth and cries out as she goes for Luna once more, wishing she’d brought her sword. Her first shot lands squarely on Luna’s nose causing blood to gush out. Now both warriors are bleeding. Lexa’s next hit connects harshly with Luna’s ribs again and Luna gasps in pain as she blocks the second shot aimed for her ribs, but she leaves herself open and Lexa takes the shot and kicks Luna straight in the abdomen sending her crashing to the ground again. This time, Luna stays on the ground. “Azgeda.” Luna relents.

Lexa spits another mouthful of blood at the ground as she towers over Luna. “You said you wanted my forgiveness.” Lexa states, remembering what Luna had asked of her. “Keep Lenox safe and forgiveness will be yours.” Lexa doesn’t wait for Luna’s response, instead she marches back inside her home, preparing for war.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It takes Clarke a day to reach the bridge, but when she does it’s easy to spot the path leading over the mountain and down into the valley. Now she sits upon a cliff in the faint light of morning, and she waits and watches. There’s no army at first glance, but then Clarke sees the shadows flickering in the woods that surround the main village. Groups of two or three pace their spot of the border and none of them have spotted Clarke thus far. So Clarke waits, knowing it’d be foolish of her to attack without laying eyes on Nia.

Dusk falls around Clarke quickly, and only then does she spy Nia riding up to the gates, but something is off. Nia is dressed in her white furs and atop her white horse, but she only travels with five guards. Where is the army? Lexa’s scouts said there was an army stationed here, but if that was true then where are they now?

Clarke waits as they small party goes within the gates before carefully crawling down the mountain on horseback. She stays in the shadows of the forest once she reaches ground level before circling around, looking for weakness in the guards and the fence. A loose board is all she needs to dismount and wiggle her way into the village. She pulls her hood over her head, blonde braids falling out as she moves. She’s come prepared for war. Nia wants Wanheda and Clarke is all too willing to give Wanheda to Nia.

Finding Nia’s tent is the easiest thing she’s done since leaving Polis, the white canvas sitting in the middle of the village, the five warriors spread throughout, but there’s still no army. Clarke doesn’t even think there are Shadow Valley warriors, but then it clicks. The army must have marched toward Azgeda territory before Clarke arrived, which means that Lexa’s scouts will have told Lexa that Nia was headed toward her land, but why did Nia stay behind and where did she come from?

Carefully Clarke works her way around and closer to Nia’s tent until she’s just at the back. She takes her dagger out and cuts a slit big enough to slip through. A black sheet is all that separates her and Nia as the Ice Queen sits upon her throne. Clarke knows that Nia knows she is here. Clarke walks past the curtain with slow steps until nothing but air separates her from Nia. “Wanheda.” She smirks, raising her head to reveal not Nia, but Ontari.

“Where’s Nia?” Clarke seethes as she stares down the girl warrior.

Ontari chuckles, her cold eyes shining. “Ah yes! Wanheda has come to slay the big, bad Queen.” She claps her hands once, twice and a third time in a slow mocking gesture. “However, I’m afraid she’s made different plans this morning.” At her words, the five warriors Clarke had seen before now step from the shadows of the tent and Clarke curses herself for walking into a trap. “It’s funny, you came here to kill my Queen and she has gone to kill your precious Heda. She won’t see it coming Clarke. When Lexa reaches the Ica capital there will be no army.” Ontari laughs gleefully. “No, my Queen will wait until the Heda’s army is in the city and then our army will surround them and Heda will fall. First though, my Queen wishes to see the look in Lexa’s eyes as she takes Lexa’s love away from the Heda once more.” Ontari’s words strike a cold fear into Clarke’s heart. The odds are not in Clarke’s favor, she knows this, but she has to try. “Oh how the mighty has fallen.”

Clarke bares her teeth at the young woman, she was once Nia’s pride and joy, until Clarke came along. Ontari has never gotten over it obviously. Warriors move in from behind and hold Clarke still by holding back her arms. “It was smart of you to bring backup, Ontari. We both know that you’ve never been able to beat me one-on-one.” Clarke’s remark sends Ontari into a rage as she abandons Nia’s throne, rushing toward Clarke, but Clarke can’t do anything, so she takes the hit and then spits the blood that invades her mouth onto Ontari’s grinning face. “You won’t survive this war, Ontari. I promise you.” Clarke grins.

She doesn’t get a chance to say anything more as a bag is placed over her head and then, it’s black.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Every step the horse takes jostles Clarke’s sore ribs and makes her head throb. She doesn’t know where they are but the horses aren’t all out running so Clarke figures they are really close to Nia’s capital or they’re taking their time. The only thing that Clarke does know is that she’s laying across the horse like a dead deer and the bag is still on her head. She tries to strain her other senses, she hears the sound of twigs breaking and bushes shaking, and she smells pine and wet grass so she knows they’re in a forest. She can't feel the strong breeze that comes from the mountain woods, so Clarke thinks they’re at least closer to the great bridge than the Shadow Valley.

As inconspicuous as she can be, she lets her tied hands run over the part of the horse that she can reach and she touches the belly and hind leg of the horse, so she’s thrown over the end of the horse, this makes things infinitely easier for Clarke. With a quick movement Clarke tears the bag from her head and rolls off the back of the horse, landing harshly on her ribs as she hits the ground. She’s on her feet as the five warriors dismount and circle her, she notices that Ontari stays on her horse. “Alright,” Clarke huffs trying to catch her breath. “You first.” Clarke points to the bulky man in front of her and like an idiot he listens to her.

Clarke grins as his massive frame folds over her as she rams her shoulder into his gut and flips him over to the ground behind her. He groans and tries to stand but Clarke is relentless as she kicks her leg back and catches the man’s jaw with the heel of her boot. As he doubles over again Clarke spins and unsheathes his sword before driving it into his back until the tip protrudes from his bleeding chest. When she pulls the sword free, she hurriedly cuts her hands free.

She turns to Ontari as the girl finally dismounts her horse, but she still hangs back and it infuriates Clarke that this ‘warrior’ refuses to fight her own battle. Clarke can’t focus on her yet, not as she keeps her eyes jumping from one warrior to another. “You’re outmatched, Wanheda.” Ontari goads her into attacking, but Clarke knows better; she’s been trained better.

Clarke gives a condescending laugh as she smirks and stands up from her crouch. “Someone forgets seeing me in your Azgeda pits.” Clarke sings the words, gleeful as she sees fear creep onto not only Ontari’s face but the four remaining warriors as well. “Oh, it looks like you do remember after all. You see Ontari, Nia sent you to capture me, not so that she can have me as her prisoner but so that she could finally get rid of you.” Clarke crouches again as the warriors sift closer.

“Kill her!” Ontari yells and the warriors spring onto Clarke. She dodges the hands of the first warrior and smashes the hilt of her sword into the back of his head and then the blade across his back as she rushes forward to dodge another fist. The warrior doesn’t get back up.

“That’s two down.” Clarke taunts her attackers. This time two of them rush her and pin her to a tree by her throat and arms. She drops the sword as she claws the hand enclosing around her throat. The third warrior moves forward, smirking and everything slows for Clarke. Her heart calms and her body tightens, waiting for him to make a stupid move and invade her space. When he does Clarke slams her forehead into his nose and as he stumbles back she uses the hold the other two warriors have on her to raise up and kick the bleeding warrior in the chest with both feet.

With the movement, the two warriors holding release their grip just enough for Clarke to violently push herself off the tree, sending her somersaulting over herself and allowing her to take the sword of the downed warrior. She doesn’t waste time as she drives his own sword through his throat. He gurgles for a few seconds when she removes the blade and then it’s quiet again. The only thing that cuts through the fog of Clarke’s bloodlust is Ontari’s distant voice yelling at her warriors. “Frag em op!” Kill her!

The warriors hesitate so when they do strike they pulls their punches trying to stay away from Clarke’s blade but it’s no use. The man attacking from the front swings and crashes into Clarke’s blade but he quickly gets pushed to the side and Clarke brings the blade down across the back of his knee. He falls to the ground with pained groans falling from his lips as he tries and fails to stand. Then the warrior on her right attacks now, sweeping his blade toward Clarke’s stomach, this time Clarke isn’t quick enough to pare her sword with his and he slices through her shirt and opens skin.

Clarke stumbles back holding her hand to her bleeding stomach as he keeps advancing upon her. Once again he slices his sword down but Clarke jumps back so his blade hit air instead of skin. “Give up, Wanheda. I will kill you for my queen.” He grins at her in a disgusting and lewd smile.

Clarke growls. “Yu Haiplana gonplei ste odon.” Your Queen’s fight is over.” She rushes forward, using her own momentum to bring the hilt of her sword crashing into the man’s temple, he stumbles back but Clarke chases him. She pummels his face and ribs with her fists until he falls and when he does, Clarke does what she does best, she impales his thigh with her sword, the blade slicing through skin and muscle until it buries itself into the ground.

The man screams in pain as she picks up his sword. She doesn’t bother striking him dead because she can see him bleeding out fast and knows he’ll be dead soon anyways. Clarke turns to Ontari and the girl’s eyes widen and her nostrils flare in fear just like her horse does when Clarke starts to approach. “Yu na wan op kom bushhada, Ontari kom Azgeda” You will die a coward, Ontari of the Ice Nation.

“Not today.” Ontari jumps onto her horse and kicks it into a full on run. Clarke grits her teeth and sends a high pitched whistle into the trees and waits for the telltale sound of hooves hitting the ground. The black horse Luna presented to her comes into view and he doesn’t stop as Clarke picks up her stolen sword and grabs onto his hair, pushing off the ground and mounting the horse on the run. Blood spills from her wound, but it’s not going to kill her right now and Clarke has to get to Nia’s city before Lexa gets ambushed, so she holds onto the horse’s mane with all her strength and pushes the horse faster to catch up to Ontari as the coward weaves through the landscape.

“Gonplei ai, bushhada!” Fight me, coward! Clarke yells at Ontari’s back. The girl looks over her shoulder and Clarke is close enough now to relish in the fear that overcomes Ontari’s face. Clarke ducks beneath branches and speeds around tree trunks in her pursuit, but Ontari stays just out of reach. “Joken bushhada!” Fucking coward! Clarke screams and digs her knees into her horse’s ribs making him go faster.

The ground grows colder as they race, trees thin into bare dying things and the ground steadily gets covered by snow until that’s all Clarke can see and it makes everything in Clarke flare up at the remembrance of red spilt over white. Cold air fills her lungs and Clarke get a thrill off it, this is familiar, this is war and this is her stadium. The people cheered for her as she killed here. This is the place that fueled the Wanheda to rise within Clarke and this is where it will all end. Azgeda territory will once again be bathed in blood by the Wanheda.

Clarke’s horse flies over the frosted ground, slowly gaining on her prey. She flies over the ground, not even stopping when she flies past her own army but she here’s their cries for her as she passes and she lets it fuel her bloodlust. Then, a second pair of hooves are next to her and when she looks over, it’s Lexa racing beside her. Clarke stares at Lexa as they race across the tundra to the gates of the ice nation, Lexa’s army right behind them. “It’s a trap! Lexa, they want you in the city! You have to go back, stop them!” Clarke yells over her shoulder as she still tries to catch Ontari before she can reach Nia.

“I’m not leaving you again!” Lexa screams at her, easily keeping up with Clarke’s breakneck speed.

Clarke tries her best to look Lexa in the eyes and her heart bursts when she connects with green. Clarke smiles and laughs, happy that she’s been able to see Lexa one last time. “You have to! They’re coming from the sides of the city!” Before Lexa can protest again, Clarke pulls her horse over, crashing into Lexa’s horse and causing it to stop in it’s tracks as Clarke races on. Clarke spares a look over her shoulder and sees they way Lexa urges her horse forward, but then she’s yelling to her people and Clarke is focused back on Ontari as the girl rushes into the gates. They start to close but Clarke’s horse jumps and soars through the opening.

Ontari doesn’t dismount as she races through homes and over staircases as she fights her way to the Ice Queen’s castle. Clarke pulls her horse to take a right and she races him through a row of warrior homes, but not just any warrior homes, these are Clarke’s warriors. “Kom wor!” To war! Clarke yells as they come out of their homes and recognize her. At once a sea of warrior emerge and start fighting the soldiers of the Queen that stayed within the city. Fighting breaks out around Clarke as she comes to a stop at the side entrance to the palace.

She jumps down from her horse, ignoring the pain shooting across her abdomen as she takes the stairs two at a time. Guards meet her as she pushes through the first door and she runs her blade through one as a warrior pushes past her to cut down the other. “Hos of Wanheda!” Go quickly, Wanheda! She recognizes him, but there’s no time as more warriors push through the doorway and she plunges deeper into the corridors of the castle.

She races up the third set of stairs and down through another corridor before rushing through the doors of Nia’s chambers. “Welcome home, Wanheda.” Nia smirks as she strips herself of her jacket and reveals her long whip. She cracks it once at Clarke’s feet and cackles when Clarke dances away. “Ah it’s been so long since we’ve spilt blood together.”

“Both of our blood may be spilt this day, Nia, but I promise you that you’ll die before I take my last breath.” Clarke starts to circle around as Nia keep cracking her whip around Clarke, teasingly.

Nia moves closer with a crack of her whip that slices at the back of Clarke calf. Clarke grunts, but that’s it, because anything more would fuel Nia and Clarke won’t give her the satisfaction of hearing Clarke’s scream. Clarke has never given that to Nia, and she’s not about to do it now. “Come Wanheda, make your move.”

Clarke seethes and holds her sword with both hands and rushes Nia. When Nia’s whip circles around her sword she lets Nia pull it from her grasp as she gets close enough to hold Nia’s whip hand steady. Quickly, Clarke reaches around to Nia’s back, pressing their bodies together long enough for Clarke to get Nia’s dagger from the back of her pants before Clarke is pushed back. Nia tries to whip Clarke again, but Clarke stays close enough so that Nia can’t get the momentum that she needs to land a significant blow.

Seeing that her whip isn’t helping her, Nia discards it to the side and removes the two daggers she holds in her boots. “Close combat has always been our favorite, right Wanheda?” Nia jabs at Clarke and catches Clarke’s arm on the downswing. Clarke hisses and Nia cackles. “You’ve missed this, admit it, Klark. This is who you are.” Clarke flips the dagger in her hand, closing her fist around the handle, and lands a hard punch to Nia’s mouth. Nia stumbles back and spits the blood from her mouth before giving Clarke a bloody smile. “Oh look, we have an audience.”

Stupidly, Clarke spins her head to see Lexa bursting through the door behind her but before Lexa can make her way Clarke, Ontari appears from nowhere and clashing swords with Lexa. and Nia takes her shot. She thrusts forward and her blade slices a gash into Clarke’s forearm. Clarke turns away from Lexa as the pain registers through her cloudy mind. Clarke takes a quick step forward before Nia can move back and lands a hard blow to the Ice Queen’s stomach and as Nia doubles over on instinct, Clarke takes the back of Nia’s head and thrusts her knee upward and hearing the satisfying sound of bone breaking.

Nia pulls herself back up and sneers at Clarke. “You think you can love her? All you love is blood on your hands and the dead under your sword.” Nia laughs, knowing only Clarke can hear her words, and knowing they give Clarke more pain than a blade could deliver. “You and I are the same, Klark, we cannot love. We only long for the bloodlust of battle.”

Clarke’s heart calms once more as she looks at Nia. “You’re wrong.” Clarke smiles. “ I fight for the one’s I love and the one’s who love me...who loves you, Nia?” Clarke sees the blind rage that covers the Queen’s face. Clarke meets Nia’s dagger with her, her free hand takes Nia’s hand and twists it until Nia releases her dagger, leaving her with only one just as Clarke. They trade blows, only landing a few hits on one another until they’ve worked their way over to Nia’s balcony until one of them trips and they fall together. Nia is on top of Clarke and Clarke can feel blood slowly drenching her shirt and explosive pain shooting from her stomach.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lexa’s heart drops as her horse falters and stops. She watches Clarke speed away and wants nothing more than to follow her, but Clarke told her to go back to their people, there’s a trap. “Azgeda are coming from both sides of the city, half of you fan out and meet them before they can corner us! The rest of you follow me into the city! We fight for Wanheda! Move now!” Lexa’s horse rears up on it’s hind legs and Lexa gives a loud war cry with her sword drawn and in the air. Her army breaks apart and those who follow her rush the city’s gates.

Once inside Lexa is met with the sight of Azgeda fighting Azgeda, but then she hears it, the voices of those pushing the Azgeda soldiers back, their chanting blending together and making it hard for Lexa to decipher it, but one word sticks out amongst the fighting. “Wanheda!” They cheer for Clarke. Lexa sees a flash of blonde from the corner of her eye; Clarke’s heading toward the castle.

Lexa cuts through the crowd, her sword meeting those how dare launch an attack against her until she finally reaches the front entrance. The path to Clarke is unclear but Lexa pushes forward anyways, cutting down every warrior in her way until she reaches the door, and inside she can hear Clarke and Nia. Lexa rushes through and Clarke looks at her and Lexa watches in horror as Nia cuts Clarke, but a sound behind her makes her spin and she instinctively raise her sword up and clashing it with Ontari’s blade. Lexa quickly figures out that the girl is less skilled than she is, but Ontari is faster. Lexa tries to move closer to Clarke with each swipe of her blade, but everytime she does, Clarke moves further away until both women are out of Lexa’s sight and she doesn’t know where they went, but she can hear Clarke so they’re still here.

When Lexa focuses back on Ontari, she does so with killer focus. The next mistake Ontari makes puts her close enough to Lexa’s blade that Lexa rushes forward driving her blade through Ontari’s stomach and Lexa doesn’t stop pushing the girl backward until her sword hits the wall behind the impaled girl. Hurriedly, Lexa pulls her blade from the dead girl’s body and runs in the direction where she last saw Clarke. When she sees Nia on top of Clarke, blood spilling out around them, she fears the worst, and then Nia starts to move and Lexa hears a groan. Lexa steels herself and waits for Nia to get to her feet. She will end this for Clarke.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clarke tries to take a breath, but Nia’s body is crushing her, so she starts to maneuver her hands into a better position to throw the dead weight off of her chest. The pain in her stomach worseness when Clarke tightens her stomach to help push. Finally after the longest second, she’s able to roll Nia’s body off of her and then she can see that most of the blood is from Nia who had fallen upon Clarke’s dagger as they crashed to the ground.

She closes her eyes to push away the nausea from losing too much blood, but her stomach isn’t bleeding as badly as before, so she thinks she’ll live. Her eyes shoot open and she rushes to sit up, her eyes wide in search of Lexa, but Lexa is right in front of her looking as scared as Clarke looks. “Yu joken branwoda.” You fucking fool. Lexa finally glares down at Clarke.

However, Clarke couldn’t care less about Lexa’s words or her tone, because they fucking won and they did so without either one of them dying. So Clarke laughs, and laughs some more as she looks up to Lexa, beautiful Lexa. Clarke can hear the fighting slowly coming to a stop below her, but she never takes her eyes off Lexa. Clarke cannot stop smiling and she can see Lexa getting more worked up for every second Clarke laughs and smiles, nevermind that Clarke is still covered in blood. “There’s nothing funny in this situation, Clarke! You almost died!” Lexa seethes, but she still drops her sword and rushes forward to help Clarke struggle to her feet. “You’re an idiot.” Lexa breathes out as her and Clarke come face-to-face.
Clarke’s smile widens, bright blue eyes stare at Lexa, and Clarke hopes Lexa can see the way Clarke is looking at her, because Clarke can feel herself watching Lexa like she’s the single most amazing thing that Clarke’s eyes have ever seen. They’re covered in blood and worn from battle but Clarke looks at Lexa and feels nothing but giddy happiness. “I am an idiot,” Clarke laughs. “But you love me anyway.” Lexa says nothing, choosing to kiss Clarke instead, and Clarke is grateful because she’s run out of words, but then Lexa pulls back and rests her forehead on Clarke’s. The way their noses brush against each other is a familiar and welcome gesture, and it helps her to find a few more words.

“Ai hod yu in seintaim. Otaim.” I love you too. Always. And Clarke thinks that every bit of pain Clarke has felt on the ground is worth it, if only to see Lexa smile at her like she is now, so Clarke tells her again. “I love you too, Lexa. I love you.” Suddenly, Clarke feels like she’ll never be able to tell Lexa enough, there’s not enough time left in their lifetime to express all her love and doubt and worry and even guilt for not telling Lexa sooner, for not showing Lexa just how much she means to Clarke, but Clarke figures that she’ll have the rest of her life to try.

“Let’s go home, Clarke. Our son is waiting for us to return.” And Clarke knows that she’ll follow Lexa anywhere, just like Lexa follows Clarke and just like the two of them follow Lenox. Seeing her son can’t come soon enough for Clarke. She can’t wait to have her little family back together. Lexa’s right, Lenox is waiting.

Chapter Text

The welcoming they receive upon passing the gates of Polis is nothing Clarke has ever felt before, let alone seen. It looked like every person residing in Polis was gathered around the main square, plus the hundreds of warriors and their families. Banners and flags fly in the air marked with the symbols of all the clans, but the most prominent of all the flags is the solid black with the Heda’s symbol in red and the red flags that held the symbol of the Wanheda, a raven with it’s wings to the sky, in black.

It’s symbolism on top of symbolism, and Clarke blushes because she knows what their people are saying. The Heda and Wanheda,opposites of each other, but together as one, and Clarke knows that there will be no denying anything, anymore. No one voice can be heard over the roar of the crowd nor can one face stand out, but Clarke searches anyways, looking for one face and one face only, her son’s.

“Clarke.” Clarke turns to Lexa and sees bright eyes and a loving smile, Clarke blushes once more. “Ouder ste oso nomfa.” There is our son. Lexa points to a small group of people gathered on the first step of the Commander’s home.

“Sef of. Beja!” Move aside. Please! Clarke calls out to the crowd, her horse paws at the dirt, seeming to sense Clarke’s anxiety. Lexa calls out next to her as well, without the niceties of course. Like a great wave the crowd starts to shift and then, they part. Clarke’s horse leaps forward and she can hear Lexa following close behind.

“Nomon! Nomi!” Mother! Mom! Lenox’s little voice cries out and Clarke forgoes all caution as she dismounts the horse while it’s still moving. Her feet hit the ground running as mother and son race toward one another. Clarke catches Lenox by the armpits and swings him into the air, pulling him into her for a desperate hug. Small sobs escape her as she presses her nose to his hair. Clarke pulls back enough to hold his face between her hands and peppers his face with reverent kisses, savoring and loving the giggles that escape him. “Nomi!” Mom!

Clarke feels movement next to her and then a strong, sure arm wraps around her and another around Lenox as Lexa pulls them both into her embrace. “Oso seingeda ste klir.” Our family is safe. Lexa whispers the words over Lenox’s head as she looks to Clarke.

Clarke...Clarke gives no thought when she reaches out for Lexa. Her hand gripping the back of Lexa’s head, pulling her forward and kissing Lexa with everything Clarke has, trying to make up for everything she’s put Lexa through, every game of push and pull, every denial of Lexa and their love, and Clarke knows that it’s not enough. It’ll never be enough, but Clarke has a lifetime to try. “Ai hod yu in, Leksa. Ai hodness. Ai niron.” I love you, Lexa. My love. My lover. Clarke cries into their kiss and when Lexa pulls back, they rest their foreheads together, and Clarke has more to say. “Feva Leksa.” Forever, Lexa.

Lexa doesn’t cry, instead she rises from the ground as Lenox clings to her, and she takes Clarke along as well. Lexa doesn’t have to cry because all Clarke has to do is look into those green eyes and she can see all the love Lexa holds for both her and their son. Clarke has only ever needed to look into those eyes to know how much Lexa loves her – them. Lexa faces her people, their people, her shoulders proud, her chin strong and her expression can only be described as elation. “Wor ste odon!” The war is over! She yells over the roar and the people’s voices become louder and louder until they are deafening, and Lexa feeds off it. “Oso teik wimplei tromon laud!” We sound the victory horn! The command is instant as warriors who’ve come home from war, raise their horns to the sky in tribute to their leaders, their Heda and their Wanheda.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Proceedings, council meetings and banquets are held at bay for the night, all too exhausted to truly celebrate. This night is for the reunited families and for the ones mourning those who never made it back. Her friends, and mother, are even put aside for tonight, as Clarke only welcomed them with hugs and a promise of tomorrow. Clarke cannot let go of Lenox, she touches him constantly, a brush of her hand through his hair, kisses pressed to every place she can reach, but most of all she holds him for as long as he lets her, and Lexa can’t seem to let them go from her sight. She had pulled Clarke and Lenox to her chambers where she and Clarke took turns washing away the remnants of war.

As Clarke enters from the back of Lexa’s room, she pauses to lean against the fourposter bed and she watches her two loves in silence. Lexa weaves Lenox a story of the war and Lenox watches, his attention solely on Lexa as the woman tells her tale. “She took the city by horseback and within the Ice Nation, an army arose to fight for Nomon turning their backs on the evil Queen.”

“Enough talk of war, don’t you think?” Clarke cuts in, gaining the attention of the room. Clarke doesn’t stop the beaming grin that stretches her lips, watching Lexa as Lexa watches her, and she shivers from the emotions she finds in Lexa’s eyes. Clarke knows that there are conversations to be had, apologies to be made, but there will be time enough for them once their son is safely sleeping in Lexa’s bed. Clarke can’t think of anywhere she’d rather be than here, surrounded by Lexa’s presence.

“But Nomon!” Lenox whines softly with a pout so cute, Clarke almost wants to gives in, and she almost does.

“Daun ste pleni Lenox.” That is enough, Lenox. Lexa quirks an eyebrow at him with a soft smile on her lips. “Warriors do not whine.” Mock arrogance clouds her voice and it makes both mother and son laugh, Lexa looks all too smug about eliciting these noises from her companions.

Lenox puffs his small chest out and stands with his hands on his hips, looking every bit of a superhero. “I am a warrior.” He declares to his mothers with a serious face that quickly dissolves into the squinted eyes and wide grin that comes with mischief. “Ahhhh!” Lenox sounds his war cry and does his best to tackle Lexa, and of course, like the pushover Lexa is, she falls back and pretends to be defeated.

Clarke covers her smiling lips with her fingers, eyes bright and shining as she looks over the scene. She knows that this could have been hers all along, if only she hadn’t let her past define her future, but she is here and so are they. This is enough. Lexa and Lenox, in this room with her, is all Clarke ever wants for the rest of her days on the earth. This is it, this is what Clarke fought for.

Clarke focuses back onto the dynamic duo and she frowns when she sees the two of them with identical grins and circling around her like a snare. Her eyes widen as Lenox lunges first, but she’s too quick as she rushes onto Lexa’s bed, her bare feet sinking into the softest of furs, but now she’s truly trapped. Lenox on one side and Lexa at the other, Clarke has nowhere to go. “You have nowhere to go, Klark.” Obviously, Lexa sees her predicament as well.

“Yeah Nomon! Surrender!” Lenox cries, thrusting his arms above his head like he’s already won the victory.

Clarke grins and shifts her weight. “Never!” She cries and rushes forward to jump from the foot of the bed, but she cut off at the pass. Before she knows it, Clarke finds herself thrown over one of Lexa’s shoulders, ever mindful of the healing wounds on Clarke’s body. Loud laughter fills the room as the boisterous family plays. Clarke hangs upside down until she’s flipped back onto the bed only to be immediately smothered by both Lenox and Lexa. Lexa holds her hands above her head, pinned to the bed, and Clarke finds that she must revisit this predicament later, at a more appropriate time.

“Get her, Lenox!” Lexa cries out just as his small hands finds Clarke’s sides and underarms. She bucks and wiggles beneath Lexa’s weight on her hips as unyielding laughter explodes from her chest.

“Surrender!” The two shout in unison and double their efforts when Clarke shakes her head. “Give up, Klark!” Lexa laughs and it’s so innocent and free that whatever unclaimed parts of her heart left, is claimed, to be forever marked, and given to this wondrous creature above her, the woman that’s asking her to surrender, to give in, and yeah it’s a game, but Clarke gives weight to the words.

Lenox ceases the tickling, giving Clarke a chance to catch her breath. “Ok,” She breathes out, “I surrender.” There’s laughter to be had by everyone and the sounds start to heal the broken parts in each of them.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Later, as Lenox sleeps soundly in the middle of Lexa’s bed, the two women find themselves on Lexa’s couch, leaning against one another and staring into the fire. “We need to talk.” Just like that, four words change the atmosphere from relaxed to tense filled. Clarke sits up and positions herself to lean against the armrest, looking to Lexa as she sits stiffly, not changing her position on the couch but she does turn her head so that she can look at Clarke appropriately, and Clarke is thankful to have her attention, even if it’s strained.

“What must we talk about, Klark?” Lexa turns her body just enough so that she won’t have a kink in it.

Clarke gives a small smile, but shakes her head. “We need to talk about my behavior.” Lexa frowns, most likely confused about where Clarke is going with this, but Clarke knows where she’s headed and she knows that this conversation is long overdue. “I owe you an apology, Lexa. I owe you the biggest apology I can give. The way I treated you, you need to know why before anything more happens between us.”

Lexa relaxes slightly, obviously reassured by Clarke’s words, at least Clarke hopes she has reassured Lexa. “Okay. I am listening, Clarke.”

Clarke ducks her head, overwhelmed at the length of rope Lexa gives her to save herself, lengths that Clarke isn’t sure she deserves, but she knows that Lexa gives it freely and that makes it all the more worse. “I’ve hurt you, Lexa, and only I know my reasons because I’ve been selfish with my thoughts and I’ve kept all these things inside. I’ve taken my pain and pushed it onto you. I was wrong Lexa, so wrong to do that.”

Lexa scoots closer to Clarke, and Clarke wants to scoot back because if Lexa touches her, she’ll never get this out and Lexa deserves to know everything. “I’ve hurt you, too, Clarke.”

Clarke shakes her head and a sobbing sort of laugh escapes her lungs. “Don’t, please don’t do that. You don’t owe me anything, Lexa, least of all an apology. What happen at the mountain, I’ve been over that for a long time now and I used it to hurt you and it wasn’t right. I know why you did it, and I did the same when I brought the mountain down for my people. I’ve pushed you away because you have always, and you will always, find your way beneath my guards and take over my heart. And that scared me, after everything Lexa, I never expected to ever feel the way I did about you, again, but I did, I do.”

Clarke takes a breath and keeps going before Lexa can cut in with reassurances of her own. “When Nia captured me, she took Lenox from me for weeks before she gave him back, but on the condition that I lead her army against the rebels in her kingdom, and I did Lexa, I raged war upon so many people until I understood the damage I was doing, until I saw what Nia was turning into. Those warriors that fought for me in the Ice Nation are men and women that I’ve fought against, most of them lost those they loved in the wars I waged, but they forgave me Lexa. I killed and shed blood in their villages and they forgave me, Lexa. It made me realize that I could not blame you for the mountain, and yet, when I came here I did blame you because I wanted to hurt you, I wanted to make it so that you could never love me because I knew that if you did it would kill us both.”

“I was so unfair to you, Lexa and all you wanted to do was love me, and all I could do was run from you. I tried so hard to push you away but every time I tried you just came closer and closer. Then Lenox, god that boy, he refused to give up on the idea of us, of you and me, of you and I and him.” Clarke runs a hand through her hair, ignoring the tears that slide down her cheeks. “I told him stories, on those cold nights in the Ice Nation, I told them of the girl I loved and lost, Lexa.” Clarke pauses as she watches Lexa’s eyes grow wide and her throat bob. “When we arrived here, he took one look at you and he figured it all out. I had no choice but to tell him about the strong Heda of the ground and how she loved a girl from the sky. I told him that the sky girl loved the Heda when she thought she’d never love again. I told him that you made the right choice to protect your people because it’s the truth and I told him that I wasn’t yours to protect, that my people weren’t yours to protect. I told him all of this, and yet, I still tried to convince myself that it wasn’t the truth. How insane is that?”

“You were so good, Lexa. You are so good to me and to him, how can I not love you? How could I ever convince myself that you didn’t love me when all you did was show me that you did? I fucking love you, Lexa, with all my heart and I swear, I swear I won’t let the scars of my past keep me from showing you that I do. I’m scared, Lexa. When I close my eyes I dream of the horrors I’ve committed since being on the ground, all I see is blood and the pain I’ve caused. But when I’m with you, when you hold me, when you look at me, all that goes away until it’s just us. And I can’t say that there won’t be days where my nightmares haunt me during the day, but I can promise that I’ll try everything I can to stop myself from running from you because I’m tired Lexa. I’m so tired.”

Clarke finally takes a much needed breath and looks at Lexa, because the girl hasn’t said a word, not one single word and Clarke fears the worst. Clarke fears that Lexa will turn away from her as Clarke has done so many times to Lexa. But Lexa is still here and those green eyes stare at Clarke like they always do, they are calm and light. “I forgive you, Klark.”

Clarke flinches at the words and her breath is stolen from her lungs. “How can you? After everything I put you through, how can you forgive me?” Clarke cries, tears rushing down her face and Lexa cups her hands around Clarke’s cheeks and pulls Clarke closer.

Lexa smiles as she wipes Clarke’s tears away. “Because...I love you.” Clarke chokes at the simple answer and throws herself into Lexa’s arms.

“I love you, too. I love you, Lexa.” Clarke repeats her words over and over again as she clings to Lexa, and Lexa? Lexa just holds her as Clarke falls apart in her arms. Clarke knows without a shadow of a doubt that Lexa will be there as Clarke puts her pieces back into place. Lexa will always be there.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“You’re sickening,” Raven sneers as she watches Clarke watch Lexa and Lenox from across the courtyard.

“Told you,” Octavia adds, and Clarke rolls her eyes as she gives attention to her friends.

Clarke shrugs as she looks at them, the huge smile on her face giving everything away. “I love her.” Clarke says it so simply that all Raven and Octavia can do is stare at her as if Clarke has lost her mind, and yet, Clarke feels like she’s never been more sane.

“You love her,” Raven repeats the words slowly, as if she’s never heard them before and is trying to decipher their meaning.

Octavia rolls her eyes and bumps shoulders with Raven. “She loves her,” O states as fact because, well, it is a fact. Clarke grins and looks down at the ground, not as though she’s ashamed, but because she’d dazed by the feeling of light, giddiness she feels in her chest. “Oh my god! Stop it!” Octavia groans, making Clarke look back up to see a disgusted look on her friend’s face. Clarke laughs, unweighted and free.

“Great, another Octavia/Lincoln situation. I’m so not doing this again.” Raven jests with a small smile at the corner of her lips.

Arms circle around Clarke from behind and she smells the distinct salty ocean smell that is unique to one person. Luna. “There is my Sky Princess,” Luna laughs.

Clarke turns around, Luna’s arms falling off her. “Who told you that?” Clarke demands with a fierce glare.

Luna looks behind Clarke and grins. “A little bird told me.” A strangled cough sounds from behind Clarke and she turns with wide eyes and amused smile when she sees the blush decorating Raven’s cheeks. “Hei skaipeka.” Hello small bird. Luna gives a lecherous grin and it’s enough for Clarke to give a laughing scoff as she looks between Raven and Raven’s new found friend.

Raven mouth opens and shuts, words obviously escaping her as O and Clarke share a silent amusement. “Hi,” Raven finally croaks out.

Someone calls out to Luna from the sparing pits and Luna takes a step away from Clarke. “I will speak with you later, Clarke and I shall see you later too, skaipeka.” Clarke waits until Luna is far away before turning a smug smile loose on Raven.

“What was that, Raven?” Clarke folds her arms across her chest as she and Octavia set their sights on the blushing Raven.

Raven scoffs and rolls her eyes, trying to wave them off with a flick of her wrist. “Nothing. That was nothing. That is nothing. It’s nothing. Just nothing.” Raven babbles, which isn’t out of character, however it is reserved for when Raven is talking about building or taking apart anything, so maybe it is just a little out of character in this situation, and Clarke is more than happy to shift the attention away from herself.

“It definitely is something,” Octavia smirks at Raven, earning herself a piercing glare. “Raven and Luna sitting in a tree,” Raven lunges for the singing girl and Octavia skillfully dodges her by standing. “K-i-s-s-i-n-g.” Raven tries to lunge once more but Octavia stays just out of reach until Raven is trying her best to run down the teasing girl as they race as quickly as Raven can away from Clarke. “First comes love!” Clarke can barely hear Octavia and then she can’t hear the singing at all.

“Klark.” A soft voice pulls back her attention as a warm body comes to settle next to her.

“Lexa,” Clarke sighs softly, turning to face her. Clarke grins as her nose gently grazes Lexa’s nose as she steals a sweet, chaste kiss from Clarke. “Where is Lenox?” Clarke looks around and spots him in the meadow with Meino now.

“I’ve been replaced.” Lexa teases as she too looks to Lenox. The boys run around in a game of tag, giggling in a way a warrior wouldn’t and Clarke grins because her little warrior is still just a little boy...and maybe she still has a chance to change his mind about being a warrior. He’d make a fine healer, an even better hunter or scout, but her chances at changing his mind are slight at best and she knows it. “You think…?” Lexa trails in her question, choosing instead to quirk a brow at Clarke.

Clarke frowns for a moment not understanding the question, until she looks back to the boys and find them making flower crowns instead of running around and when Lenox places his crown on Meino’s head, Clarke laughs, finally understanding. “Lexa, they’re four and six...they’re babies.” Clarke laughs in disbelief. Lexa frowns and then shrugs.

“They are not too young to know they want to be warriors, but they are too young to know who they love?” Lexa shakes her head. “Children are often the ones who love the clearest and strongest.” She defends her point of view.

“Yes, I agree, but they are too young to recognize the difference between loves. The love of friends and family are a lot different than the love between two people.” Clarke counters.

Lexa sighs and nods. “You are right, they are too young, we will have to wait. I still think there is something between them...something that might be if their fates should allow.”

“Fate? I see it more like chance.” Clarke grins as she leans her body into Lexa’s warm embrace. “It was chance that got me on the dropship, I could have been floated, and chance that we landed on your lands, we could have landed anywhere, and it was chance that we met instead of meeting Nia first.”

Lexa laughs, “You just explained fate, Clarke. It was fate that you were in the ship and fate that landed you in my territory and it was fate that I met you first and not Nia, like you said you could have landed anywhere, but you landed here.”

Clarke shakes her head with an amused smile. “By chance.”

“By fate,” Lexa corrects her, and Clarke is happy to let Lexa think what she wants, because a part of her thinks that maybe Lexa is right.

“I’ll agree that meeting you was fate, but becoming friends was a choice,” Clarke looks into those green eyes, “falling in love though, that was beyond our control.” Lexa beams brighter than the sun as she smiles and it leaves Clarke in awe.

“Fate,” Lexa whispers. Clarke rolls her eyes, but it doesn’t escape her notice that this time she doesn’t argue with Lexa. This time, Clarke accepts the words because they mean something to Lexa and so, they mean something to her.