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Charcoal Dusted Hearts

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Clarke was stretched out on arguably the comfiest and reddest couch in the entire coffee shop reading the second volume of Saga. Her coffee, one of those iced frou-frou drinks, was long forgotten on the ancient end table behind her head. A puddle spread out around the plastic cup, dangerously close to soaking into the pages of her stacked volumes of Saga.

She hadn’t noticed how busy the shop had become over the last hour or that she’d received at least a dozen angry glares from annoyed patrons. Given how many alphas that milled about, it was shocking Clarke remained so engrossed in her comic. Usually when a place became overrun with alphas Clarke would bolt, their acridly sour scents overwhelming her with fear and nausea.

Clarke smelled her before she saw her. The only sweet smelling alpha in a nose burning sea of toxicity.

Without ceremony, the alpha, a barely taller than her, dark haired woman around Clarke’s age, set her steaming coffee down on the opposite end table, lifted Clarke’s feet, and slid in underneath them. She relaxed against the cushions, allowing Clarke’s sneakers to rest in her lap as if it were an everyday occurrence.

“What the hell?” Clarke yelled, more in surprise then anger.

“There’s nowhere else to sit,” the alpha said. She opened her book and reached over to take a sip of her coffee.

Clarke wanted to argue, but when she looked around the coffee shop she realized the alpha wasn’t exaggerating. Clarke guessed the only reason someone hadn’t done exactly what this alpha had just done or worse, was because Clarke was an omega. Alphas had a nearly irresistible instinct to protect omegas, unless they were in heat. Then it was every alpha for themselves, and they considered the unfortunate omega to be their prize.

She was embarrassed, but annoyed with the alpha all the same. How dare she have the audacity to just touch my person like that? What if I was mated or worse my friends had been here? She’d have been reduced to a bruise on the carpet.

“You could have just asked,” Clarke snapped. She didn’t fail to notice that her scuffed converse still rested in the alpha’s lap. The worn soles left dusty smears on the tightly fitted black jeans the alpha wore. Clarke definitely noticed how well the fabric hugged the alpha’s muscled legs. Serves her right, Clarke thought.

Instead of saying something snarky, the alpha set her coffee down, grinned largely, and extended her long fingered hand to Clarke. “Hi. I’m Lexa Woods. Can I sit here?”

“I guess. If you absolutely must,” Clarke said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. She reached out and tentatively took the alpha’s outstretched hand. Lexa’s grip was firm, but her skin was warm and surprisingly soft. Clarke’s fingers tingled and an unbidden smile curled her lips as a giddy warmth bubbled up in her chest. “Clarke Griffin.”

“Clarke.” Lexa’s tongue clicked over the ‘k’, annunciating the letter in a way no one else ever had. Clarke’s heart beat a little faster. Color heated her cheeks. “I like that. It suits you.”

Green, her eyes were green. So green. Clarke couldn’t help but stare. She had barely heard a word of what Lexa said.

“T-thanks,” Clarke stuttered. What is wrong with me? Clarke Griffin does not stare and stutter like a teenager with her first crush! I am suave! Confident!

“Clarke, can I have my hand back?” Lexa didn’t tug the aforementioned appendage away, but she did squeeze Clarke’s hand a little. Not painfully, just enough to get her attention.

Cheeks suddenly a furnace of embarrassment, Clarke somehow managed not to squeak in horror. Lexa’s hand had felt so good in hers, so natural, that Clarke had forgotten to let go. “Oh, ah, sorry.”

“It’s not a problem,” Lexa smiled, and Clarke wanted to squeak again for an entirely different reason.

Why does she have to be so damned attractive? Clarke thought.

Evidently satisfied with the conversation, Lexa picked up her mug and went back to reading her novel. Clarke did the same, taking the opportunity to hide her flushed face behind the tall pages of the comic. Clarke tried to read, she really did, but the colorful pages just weren’t as interesting as the alpha sitting beside her.

With little subtly, Clarke kept lifting her comic to steal glances at Lexa. She admired the tight cut of her t-shirt and the well muscled arms they left on display. It wasn’t hard to imagine the rest of Lexa being just as fit. Clarke also spent a good deal of time following the intricate patterns of the tribal tattoo printed into the skin of Lexa’s right arm.

Best of all, from what Clarke could see, there was no claiming bite mark on her neck, and Lexa certainly didn’t smell like a mated alpha. There was no omega scent mixed in with that of alpha. No, to Clarke, Lexa smelled like birch trees and rain with undertones of earth. Clarke idly wondered if someday she’d get to taste the source of that scent. If she’d get to sink her teeth into the alpha’s flesh and claim her as her own.

Oh my god. Clarke blushed. She had been about two thoughts away from imagining what it would be like to have sex with Lexa. It brought her mind to a screeching halt.

This was the first time since Finn, after what that bastard did to her, that Clarke was actually attracted to an alpha. The first time she felt safe in the presence of an alpha who wasn’t one of her best friends.

It was weird, almost unnerving. Clarke felt gentle fingers start to draw delicate circles on the skin of her calf. It felt good. Calming. She’d just met Lexa, and yet… the alpha’s touch was a comfort to her, and Clarke was pretty damn sure Lexa wasn’t even consciously trying.

If any other alpha had tried such a thing, Clarke would have decked them. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once.

A too familiar growl pulled Clarke from her reverie.

Bellamy Blake, her best friend’s older brother, was stalking towards them. His chest was puffed out, his teeth were bared, and his hands were clenched into white knuckled fists. His growl was aggressive and resonated deep from his chest.

Shit, Clarke thought. I do not want this. Not today.

Ever Since Finn, Clarke’s friends had been over protective to the extreme. They wouldn’t let an alpha touch her, let alone look at her. Clarke always bristled under their overreactions even if her inner omega was secretly pleased she didn’t have to deal with the stinky creatures. If she were being honest, her friends made her feel safe.

But right now? Clarke didn’t want the interference. She knew how worried and angry Bellamy must have been to see Lexa blatantly touching her, but Clarke would kill Bellamy if he scared the woman away. Lexa didn’t stink, Lexa didn’t scare her, and Clarke really liked that feeling. She wanted to keep Lexa.

Clarke and Lexa both jumped up from the couch almost simultaneously. Instinctively, Lexa wrapped her arm around Clarke’s waist, and pushed the omega behind her. Situating her own body between Clarke and Bellamy.

“Let her go! I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but you can’t touch the princess like that!” Bellamy yelled.

Lexa growled low and threatening in response. Clarke, body pressed tightly to Lexa’s back, felt it vibrate through the alpha’s chest. It was a warning and a promise of violence if Bellamy didn’t back off.

“I have done nothing wrong,” Lexa said. Her voice sounded calm, but there was a deadly edge to it.

The alphas began to circle one another, each tightly coiled body of muscle ready to spring at the slightest provocation. Lexa guided Clarke as they spun, keeping the omega held tightly against her.

It was frightening to Clarke how much she wanted to just let Lexa take care of this - to just let her beat the crap out of Bellamy. Clarke could tell Lexa was the more dominate from the heavy cloud of pheromones the alphas were pumping out. It would be the easy thing, but not the right thing. Even if she was grew more and more annoyed with Bellamy by the second.

Clarked wriggled free of Lexa’s protective hold and stepped between the battling alphas. “Stop it!”

Both alphas froze, suddenly painfully aware that the omega they’d each been trying to defend did indeed have a mind of her own and was perfectly capable of speaking for herself. Clarke rounded on Bellamy first, “I’m fine. Lexa wasn’t doing anything I didn’t permit. I do not need you to jump in and defend my honor. I can take care of myself. If she’d done anything I didn’t like you know -” Clarke paused, a growl ripping from her throat, “ - you know I would have punched her in the nose. Left her bleeding on the floor. Now, go away. I will call you later.”

Clarke pointed at the door and glared at Bellamy until he slowly started to back away. He grumbled the entire short distance to the door. Clarke waited until the shop bell chimed and the door sealed away the outside world again before turning to Lexa.

“And you,” Clarke started. Her fury cooled at the blatantly scared and guilt ridden face of the alpha. She opened her mouth to continue, but Lexa beat her to it.

“I apologize,” Lexa’s brow furrowed and she stared down at her shoes. “I overstepped. I acted as if I had some claim on you when I do not. I let my instincts get the better of me. It won’t happen again. I would understand if you would like me to leave.”

“No, don’t!” Clarke blushed at her overeager response. She definitely did not want Lexa to leave. “Erm… I mean, yes, you did overstep, but you had no idea who Bellamy was. He was acting threatening towards you. I can’t really blame you for reacting that way.”

I almost let her pummel him. He had no right to assume. Did I look in danger? I think not. Clarke thought. But… I can’t lay all the blame on him. He’s done this before, and I didn’t stop him. Encouraged it even. Shit, I need to have a talk with him.

“Still, I am sorry, Clarke.”

“Give me your phone.”

“What?” Lexa looked confused before she finally registered what Clarke was asking. “Uh, sure. Here.”

Clarke snatched the offered phone from Lexa’s hand. It sported a TARDIS case, and Clarke smiled at the nerdiness of it. She entered her number and handed it back to Lexa. “I’ll leave this with you. I’d imagine you know what to do with it.”

“Yeah,” Lexa hit save on the number and slipped the phone back into her pocket.

“Hope I see you around, Lexa.” Clarke had gathered up her comics and shrugged on her light jacket.

“You’re leaving?”

“Yeah. I’ve got dinner plans with some friends.” Clarke hesitated a moment, and then she gave Lexa a quick peck on her cheek. The alpha turned bright red. Later, Clarke wouldn’t be able to say why she’d done it, just that it had felt like the right thing to do. “Bye, Lexa.”

“Bye,” Lexa said, her voice little more than a hoarse whisper.

Clarke didn’t look back as she left, afraid that if she did, she would turn around and do something truly embarrassing. Like asking the alpha to come home with her.

A couple blocks away from the coffee shop, Clarke’s phone buzzed in her pocket. Her heart lurched in her chest. Could it be Lexa? Clarke didn’t lie to herself. She hoped it was.

It wasn’t.

 

Octavia: WTF CLARKE? i just got a CRAZY call from Bell. he said he got attack by - i quote- a ‘feral alpha’?

Clarke: Seriously? No. He did not. If anyone was acting like a ‘feral alpha’ it was him.

Octavia: he’s so fuckin mad Clarke. what happened?

Clarke: Uggggghhhhh… I was sitting with an alpha at the coffee shop. She may or may not have had her hand on my leg when Bellamy walked in.

Octavia: WHAT? U let an ALPHA touch you?! Wait, SHE??? RAVEN SPIT OUT HER DRINK WHEN I TOLD HER! its funny as shit clarke

Clarke: Almost there. I’ll tell you the whole story in a minute.

 

When Clarke entered Grounders Pub, she found her friends already in their favorite booth set up with waters and a basket of nachos. Unsurprisingly, Bellamy was nowhere to be seen. He probably went home to brood or hit things after their encounter. Alphas didn’t like being told off by omegas. It wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last time he and Clarke had clashed.

“So, the most pressing question. Is she hot?” Raven demanded before Clarke could even sit down.

“Nice to see you too, Raven.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Raven waved a dismissive hand, “Spill it, Griffin. Now.”

“Yeah, Clarke, tell us. Please?” Octavia was just as excited to hear about this mysterious alpha as Raven and only managing to hide it a little better. It was only natural, it had been ages since Clarke was interested in anyone. It had been far too long since the alphas had been able to tease Clarke on the subject.

So Clarke told them. Every tiny, excruciating detail until the duo was satisfied. By the end, Raven and Octavia were both grinning so hard, Clarke thought they might actually split their faces open.

“Awwww, our little omega is all growed up,” Raven cackled.

“We’ve got to celebrate.” Octavia waved down the waiter and ordered a round of shots.

“Isn't it a little early for shots? And don’t you two think you’re getting a little ahead of yourselves? I just met her today. Who’s to say I’ll ever hear from her again?” Clarke frowned, clearly distressed by the thought.

Raven screwed up her face and stared Clarke right in the eyes. “Clarke - Clarkey. Listen. This Lexa is the first alpha you’ve met in three years that you don’t think smells like the ass end of a donkey. If you two aren’t fucking in a week,” Raven shrugged, “I’ll eat that fuzzy blue ball that used to be cheese in the back of our fridge.”

“Disgusting,” Octavia mimed vomiting.

“You realize now I’m not going to sleep with her just so you’ll have to eat that, right?”

“Not worried. You haven’t had sex in three years,” Raven replied.

“Harsh,” Octavia said. The waiter set a tray of shots in front of the trio.

“I hate you both.” Mostly because they were probably right.

“Shhh,” Raven placed a finger on Clarke’s lips. “You love us. Now drink.”

“Screw it,” Clarke grabbed a shot and downed it. Octavia and Raven cheered. I can be optimistic just this once.

A couple hours and a ton of alcohol later, Clarke’s phone buzzed from it’s spot on the table.

 

Unknown Number: Sky Princess, it is I, Lexa. You are pretty. Very, very pretty.
That is all.

 

Clarke snorted a laugh, “Oh my god, Lexa.”