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let our hearts collide.

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August 2016.

She’s hungover.

Her Mom is unloading boxes but Clarke’s eyes have unfocused, her energy having been expended by just getting out of bed that morning. Her elbow is resting on her thigh, her chin in her hand, and she sits atop one of her suitcases. The lawn of the Alpha Sigma Tau house is bustling with girls, some excitedly embracing friends they hadn’t seen since the end of last year, some spending a few last quality moments with their parents before the semester begins.

Most of greek row looks similar. It’s official move in day, though some people had been here longer than other, today is when many of the houses begin to fill and bustle the familiar energy. Clarke almost wishes she hadn’t stayed out last night playing pong with the boys next door. Almost.

Her eyes are shut underneath her sunglasses and she wonders if it’s too early in the semester to fall asleep on the front lawn of the house. It wouldn’t be the first time that she’s done it but it certainly would be the earliest. She’s contemplating the merits of just curling up and letting herself become one with the grass when a voice from in front of her shakes her from her haze. “Get off your ass and help your Mother,” and Clarke opens her eyes to see Raven Reyes, fellow AST and her childhood best friend of ten years and counting, standing in front of her, hands on her hips and a familiar smirk on her face. Clarke snorts.

“You help my Mother,” she grumbles in reply and Raven snickers.

“I would love to,” she replies quite suggestively and Clarke wrinkles her nose. She’d forgotten about Raven’s strange attraction to her Mother. “Looking good, Dr. Griffin!” She yells back toward Abby and Clarke hears her Mother’s laugh.

“Thank you, Raven. How’s that leg of yours?” Abby asks and Clarke watches her eyes lose just a bit of their shine. To her credit though, her smile doesn’t fall.

“Feels great, Doc,” she replies. Clarke raises an eyebrow over the rim of her sunglasses. Without looking down, Raven gives her a swift kick to the calf. Her face scrunches up in discomfort but she keeps her mouth shut. She knows now isn’t the time.

Her Mother is soon distracted by another parent, one that Clarke assumes is another legacy Mother, and Raven sighs wistfully. “I ever tell you how smokin’ hot your Mom is?” Raven says and Clarke’s lips turn down in an uncomfortable frown.

“Ad nauseum,” she grumbles, still as thoroughly disgusted by the prospect as she’d been the first time Raven stated it. They were fifteen and Raven had just discovered her attraction to women - because of her Mother. Safe to say, they only hung out at Raven’s for a little while after that little confession. If Clarke’s eyes were visible, Raven would be able to clearly see the displeasure in them.

Raven laughs. “Get your sorry ass off that suitcase before you crush it,” she says and Clarke shrugs.

“I was thinking I’d stay out here. Become one with nature,” she replies, her voice taking on a faux zen tone. Raven crosses her arms.

“You’re too hungover to stand up, aren’t you?” She asks and Clarke nods.

“Yep,” she admits, though without a single ounce of shame attached. Raven shakes her head and stretches out her arms. She wiggles her fingers.

“Up you get,” Raven says and Clarke stares at her fingers as if they have some kind of infection. “Griffin. I’m five seconds away from kicking the suitcase out from underneath you,” Raven warns and still, Clarke doesn’t move. “Five….four….three…” She counts down and finally, Clarke puts her hand in Raven’s.

“Fine, fine,” Clarke grumbles and she only does it because she knows that Raven’s threat is quite real. She’s done it before and proceeded to laugh her ass off while Clarke sat on the ground, rubbing at her ass, which bruised the next day. She wasn’t in the mood for that. With a long sigh, she reaches down and grabs a box. “I hate move in,” she says and Raven huffs.

“You and me both, sister,” Raven replies, grabbing the handle of the suitcase Clarke had previously been sitting on. Clarke moves to stop her but Raven fixes her with a harsh stare, “I can do it,” she says and Clarke won’t fight her. She has to believe her. That’s what friends do.

It’s been a year since the accident and Clarke knows that she’s okay, at least physically, but she can never quite tap into her head.

Twenty minutes later, all of Clarke’s boxes are moved into her room. She’s got the room closest to the front door, which she knows is to prevent as much drunk stumbling around the house as possible. Nobody wants a repeat of last years cinco de mayo. Especially not Clarke. So she’s grateful for the room by the door. It’ll make sneaking in late at night much easier.

Abby has her hands on her cheeks and she’s tearing up. “Mom, this is the third time you’ve done this,” Clarke says, her voice muffled by the pressure her Mother is placing against her jaw. She smiles.

“Doesn’t get any easier, honey,” Abby says and she leans in to kiss Clarke’s forehead. Clarke smiles then. Her Mother might be just slightly too overly emotional but at least she’s here. Raven is lingering by the doorway and when Abby drops her hands from Clarke’s face, she walks over to her. She reaches up and pats her cheek. “Take care of yourself, Raven,” Abby says affectionately and Raven smiles. She has always been something like a second daughter to her and Clarke knows that. She averts her eyes and lets them have their moment. “And her too,” Abby adds like it’s an afterthought and Clarke pretends she doesn’t hear the genuine concern in her voice.

“Don’t worry, I bought her a new pink leash,” Raven says with a smirk and Clarke gives her the middle finger behind her Mother’s back.

Abby hugs Clarke one more time and Clarke grips her shoulders, hesitant to let go. She does get it. She’s never loved saying goodbye to her Mother either. It always leaves a hollow feeling in her stomach. “I’ll call you on Monday,” Clarke whispers and Abby nods. She sniffles when she pulls away. Clarke doesn’t look her in the eye because she knows that if she does, she’s going to cry too, and it’s too early in the afternoon for that.

She pauses in the doorway once more before she leaves to wave and give Clarke a sad smile and there’s a tug in her gut. When Abby finally leaves, Clarke stares at the empty doorway for a few moments. “Ah, the heartfelt goodbye scene. Gets me every time,” Raven cuts the silence and Clarke’s grateful because she’d felt tears pushing at the back of her eyes.

“Shut the fuck up,” Clarke affectionately says as she turns to dig into her purse. From it, she pulls a bottle of wine that’s only half finished from the night previous. Pulling out the cork, she takes a long swig. Raven raises an eyebrow.

“It’s 11am and you’re hungover,” she says incredulously. Clarke shrugs.

“Hair of the dog my friend, hair of the dog,” she says, taking another swig. She then offers the bottle to Raven who stares at it for a few moments contemplatively. Then she shrugs and takes it by the neck.

“It’s 11am,” Clarke mocks, her voice deepening in a clear misrepresentation of Raven’s voice. Raven gives her the middle finger from the hand that’s pressed against the bottle.

Some things never change.

-

They finish the bottle of wine at an alarmingly fast rate.

Well, it’d be more accurate to say that Clarke finishes the bottle of wine at an alarmingly fast rate. Raven had mostly watched. At least Raven knows that Clarke’s alcohol tolerance is high and the amount likely won’t affect her too much. Raven sits on the edge of Clarke’s bare, unmade bed as Clarke bustles around the room, taking things out of boxes. “What if I just don’t decorate this year? Go full on minimalist,” Clarke says, huffing as she takes her paddle that her little, Zoe, had made for her last year out of a box. She smiles affectionately at it and Raven snorts.

“You’re too much of a sentimental fuck to keep a minimalist space, Griff,” Raven retorts and Clarke shifts her gaze to the collage of photographs, receipts, and movie tickets from freshman year that rests on her bed.

“You’re right,” she replies wistfully. She sits on the side of the bed, falling backwards so her head hits the mattress. She looks up at Raven with wide eyes and a smile, “I missed you,” she says softly and Raven smiles. She lets her back fall so she’s lying on the bed, head perpendicular to Clarke’s. “You’re not allowed to stay here for the summer ever again,” she continues and Raven can hear the sleepiness in her voice.

“Right, I’ll remember to consider you first and foremost next time I make a decision,” Raven replies and there’s no malice in it. Clarke smiles, her eyes shut.

“That’s all I ask,” she murmurs, her words slurring and slowing with exhaustion.

“Take a nap,” Raven says, using her arms to sit herself back up as Clarke curls herself into a ball, pulling one of her overabundance of pillows to her chest. Raven shuts the door behind her as she leaves the room. She loves Clarke, she really does, but being with her can sometimes be as exhausting as a night out. And they’d only been together again for an hour.

Girls are running in and out of the house. Raven gives them all smiles and greets the ones she hasn’t seen yet but her heart’s not in it. Her hip is aching and she can’t do it. She can’t be here anymore.

She doesn’t take her crutches. She knows she probably should. Her brace can only do so much for so long. The front door to the house is open and she slips through without any sort of fuss. It’s too busy for anybody to pay much attention to her. She’s not sure where she’s going to go, where she wants to go, but she knows that she can’t be here. Not right now.

She slips headphones into her ears, clicking the volume up until all of the sounds of greek row have faded and all she can hear is the sound of The Weeknd’s low croon.

She slips her hands in her pockets and tries to focus on anything but the pain in her hip as her feet hit concrete. It doesn’t work. For the most part though, she’s become used to the pain in her leg now. It’s as essential to her as breathing. Her limp is...better than it had been at the end of last semester.

She’d spent much of her summer walking up and down this street. Back and forth, over and over, until the ache in her hip became too much. It was different when the houses were empty. She’d see the occasional light on but mostly, the place felt like a ghost town. And it was nice. She was going to miss having it to herself. But she was grateful the semester was starting. She wasn’t sure she could handle any more time alone. While she had had the company of the other mechanics at the garage, they weren’t the same as her sisters. In fact, their crude, sexist humor had begun to grate her rather early. She’d teach them the basics of feminism but the only things they seemed to take from it was ‘so if you think men and women are equal, you think it’s okay for men to hit women?’ and after that, Raven knew they were lost causes.

She had to pretend she didn’t hear the suggestive comments they flung at her. Or when she couldn’t take them, she was sure to let them know exactly where they could shove their three inch dicks (and it was nowhere near her). She loved working on the cars but fighting the sexism was difficult, bordering on impossible, sometimes. And that didn’t even begin to cover the shit she got for the brace. They’d started to call her Gimpy and Raven couldn’t even give them any sort of credit for creativity.

She’d told them off in both english and spanish and that finally shut them up, at least to her face. But she’s sure it never stopped them from talking behind her back.

But summer was over and she didn’t have to deal with them until at least winter break. She’d saved up enough to pay off most of her dues for the semester without having to work two jobs. Her on campus job would be enough. So that was one less thing she had to worry about. Not that it shortened the list by much.

She knows the route she’s walking.

She’s walked it a fair few times this summer though she knew there would be nothing waiting at the end of it for her.

But not today. Raven pauses and lifts her eyes. She’s across the street from the Delta Gamma house, the last on the road, and her eyes search the lawn. Raven….can’t even pretend that she’s not looking for her.

Because she is. She hasn’t been able to get her out of her head since the end of the semester, despite all of her efforts, and the prospect of seeing her had been the most exciting part of her morning, well, her entire summer.

Raven knows she probably looks like a fucking creep, standing on the corner of the street, staring at the house of a sorority she doesn’t belong to but her eyes are still desperately searching. Finally, and perhaps simply by chance, she finds her. She recognizes her by her telltale high pony.

Octavia Blake. She’s laughing at something her brother, Bellamy, is saying and Raven feels butterflies erupt in her stomach. She’s tan and taut, as if she’d spent the entire summer outside, working out. Actually, Raven doesn’t doubt that that’s actually what she did. She’s staring, she knows it, but she can’t help herself. She watches as Octavia swings her body around, facing her. She should look away. She doesn’t. Octavia meets her eyes and Raven feels her stomach fall to her toes.

But then she looks away. No smile, no wave, no acknowledgment that she even recognized her.

Well she’d be damned if that didn’t feel like a punch to the gut.

She walks back to the AST house, trying to convince herself that she wasn’t hurt.

She doesn’t know why she expected anything. She and Octavia….they hadn’t been anything. Friends, very loosely, but nothing else.

And really, she’s better than crying over a fucking DG in a high pony.

-

The sunshine leaks between the curtains and into Lexa’s eyes. She grumbles and throws an arm over her head, blocking her eyes with her forearm. From her side, there’s a giggle. “It’s after ten, sweetheart, you have to get up,” Costia whispers and Lexa thinks that really, she doesn’t have to do anything. She turns, curling into the pillow next to her. “Lexa,” Costia continues, her voice taking on a warning tone. Lexa’s eyes are already drooping again. Lexa feels a light kiss on her shoulder and then fingers against her sides. Well. That feels nice.

And then Costia starts to tickle her. Lexa can’t control the laughter that comes out of her mouth and to Costia’s credit, it does wake her up. Lexa sits up, her braid falling over shoulder, and she glares. “That was unfair,” she says and Costia smirks.

“All’s fair in love and breaking your horrible sleep patterns,” Costia replies with a shrug. Lexa rubs at her eyes with the back of her hand. She sighs. Costia leans in, giving her quick kiss on the lips. “Go, shower. You have to get to the house,” she reminds and Lexa has not forgotten.

It’s move in day at the Delta Gamma house. Well, for all of greek row, but Lexa’s focus is on the DG house, her own. She’d never moved out of her own room over the summer, having landed an internship at the university for the summer months. She’d not seen the point of moving out after it had finished. There was only roughly a month left of summer break when it finished so she’d just stayed. And well, staying close to Costia was just an added perk.

Lexa attempts to blink the sleep out of her eyes. It doesn’t work. She sits against the headboard of the bed, struggling to keep her eyes open for a few more moments, until the smell of coffee fills her nose. “Come on dopey, I made coffee,” Costia calls from the kitchen and fine . She’ll get up. But she certainly won’t be happy about it. She walks into the kitchen, bare feet padding against the hardwoods of the floor. Costia is facing the counter and Lexa hugs her from behind, wrapping her arms around her waist. She buries her head in her shoulder. Costia laughs. “You’re pathetic before you’ve had caffeine,” she says affectionately and Lexa just grunts.

Costia feels warm against her, her shoulders pressed against her chest and her back against her stomach. Lexa inhales, the smell of her combined with coffee intoxicating her. Costia turns her head and Lexa lifts her own. Costia is smiling. “Go take a shower. The coffee will be finished when you get out,” Costia suggests and Lexa sighs.

“Fine,” she relents, dropping her arms from Costia’s waist. She’s always hated mornings but with Costia, they don’t seem so bad.

She takes a long shower. She always does. She lathers her hair with conditioner and lets it sit while she shaves, the smell from her shower gel flowing through the room. She’d left the cap open and the aroma tends to permeate. When she finally finishes, her fingers are pruny. She likes showering at Costia’s apartment. The water pressure is better. And the rain shower head doesn’t hurt either. She always lingers. She steps out and wraps a towel around herself. She walks out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, where a steaming cup of coffee is sitting on the table, fixed exactly the way that she likes it. Costia is still in her sleep shirt, sipping at her own cup, leaning against the counter. She smiles at Lexa and gestures to the mug. “As promised,” she says and Lexa leans down over the mug to inhale the scent. She sits, in her towel, at the kitchen table and sips at the coffee. She and Costia are both silent, both of them enjoying the last moments of alone time that they have together before Lexa’s busy semester begins. They’d had the summer, and it was nice, but it was a fool’s paradise. But Lexa had faith that their relationship would be able to withstand both of their busy academic schedules and all of Lexa’s sorority engagements. They loved each other. That would be enough.

And frankly, their goals were similar. Maybe that’s the glue that keeps them together even more than just love. Their similarity was what caused the bond to form and Lexa is sure that it’s what would sustain it. They’re working toward a common goal. Together.

After she finishes her coffee, she dresses quickly. She’s blow drying her hair, bent at the waist, the diffuser drying her curls, when Costia asks, “Do you want me to come with you?” And Lexa pauses. She flips her head back up, her hair cascading back down over her shoulders and she bites her lip. “I don’t have to but I want to meet these people you’ve spent the summer gushing about. I know I will eventually but I don’t have anything else to do today,” Costia rambles and a small smile pulls at the side of Lexa’s mouth. She takes a step toward her, putting a hand on her cheek. She kisses her.

“Yes, I want you to come with me,” Lexa says softly and she can see the relief settle on Costia’s face.

“Oh, okay. Good,” Costia says. “Then I should get dressed,” she continues, looking down at the long t-shirt that she’s wearing. Lexa laughs, her fingers reaching out and playing with the edge of the shirt.

“I quite like this,” Lexa says cheekily and Costia rolls her eyes. She pulls away and turns toward her closet, giving Lexa a great view of her lace covered ass. She can’t help but stare.

“It’s just for you,” Costia says over her shoulder as she stands on the tips of her toes to reach something on the top shelf of her closet, causing her shirt to ride up just enough to expose the skin of her back. Lexa takes a deep breath and turns around. If she doesn’t, they would never get out of the apartment. And she does have to show her face at move-in. She is the vice-president after all.

Lexa lets Costia drive. She’s always preferred the driver’s seat and Lexa takes every opportunity to just be the passenger.

When Clarke-

No.

She couldn’t think about that. Not now. Costia is the girl in the driver’s seat now. Lexa had to focus on the present, and the future, not the past. The past was unimportant now. Especially when that past was Clarke Griffin.

They drive past the other houses on greek row, the Delta Gamma house being the last, and Lexa feels excitement building in the pit of her stomach. She’s missed her sisters. Some of them had stayed for the summer but none of the ones she was particularly close to.

Mostly, she missed Octavia. She was her best friend. And frankly, keeping in touch has never been one of Lexa’s better skills. She tried, really she did, but replying to text messages was never on the top of her list of priorities. Unless it was something crucial.

But she knew Octavia understood. If the thorough teasing she gave her the beginning of sophomore year was any indication that is.

When they pull up, the lawn is already filled with girls. Costia parks the car and takes a deep breath. Her hands still rest on the wheel and Lexa notices that they’re shaking. She reaches across the space between them and rests her hand on top of hers. Costia looks over to her and Lexa gives her a reassuring smile. “They’re going to love you,” Lexa murmurs and Costia’s hand stills beneath hers. She nods.

“I know,” she pauses, “I know. I just. Want to make a good first impression. These girls are important to you so they’re important to me,” Costia explains and there’s a warmth in Lexa’s stomach.

“Just say that and you’ll be in their good graces,” Lexa says and Costia’s smile is soft as she turns her palm to lace her fingers with Lexa’s. They stay like that for a moment, enjoying the quiet of the car, until something crashes into the window. Lexa jumps, terrified a bird had just flown into the windshield, but when she turns her head, she sees Octavia in the window. She’s grinning and her hands are up against the glass of the window. Lexa starts to grin and she drops Costia’s hand, pushing the door open.

Octavia waits on the other side with open arms. She’s smirking when she says, “it’s move-in day and you still show up in fucking red lipstick.”

The only thing Lexa does is smirk and shrug. She always wears red lipstick. “It’s my signature, you know that,” she says and Octavia shakes her head.

“Never change,” she says affectionately and then, taking Lexa completely by surprise, she throws her arms around Lexa’s neck. Octavia is much shorter than Lexa, so her feet lift of the ground and Lexa has her arms wrapped around her waist, supporting her. “I missed your prissy face,” Octavia says.

“I know,” Lexa says and Octavia uses one of the hands that’s resting on Lexa’s shoulder to smack her. “I mean, I missed you too, half pint,” Lexa corrects and Octavia releases her. She fixes her with a harsh glare.

“How much do I have to pay you to stop calling me that?” She asks and Lexa smirks.

“There aren’t enough dollars in the world,” Lexa says and Octavia sticks her tongue out. From behind them, the sound of a throat clearing floats through. Lexa turns to see Costia standing in front of the now shut car door, her hands gripped behind her back. She looks quite uncomfortable and for a moment, Lexa feels quite bad. She’d forgotten Costia was there. Octavia raises an eyebrow.

“This is the girlfriend, huh?” She says, her eyes narrowing. Lexa turns to stand next to her. She reaches down and laces their fingers together, giving Costia’s hand a reassuring squeeze. Lexa nods.

“Yes. Her name is Costia,” she introduces and Costia sticks her free hand out for Octavia to shake. Octavia stares at it for a moment, like she’s trying to decide if she really wants to fake pleasantries or not, but Lexa fixes her with a hard glare that says play nice and she reaches down for her hand.

“It’s so nice to meet you, Octavia, I’ve heard nothing but great things,” Costia nearly gushes and Octavia just purses her lips.

“Well I am great so there’s nothing but great things to say,” Octavia says, pulling her hand out of her grip. She shoots Lexa a look that plainly says ‘we’ll talk about this later’.

And Lexa isn’t looking forward to it one bit.

-

Octavia doesn’t like her.

Costia, that is.

From the second she cleared her throat and interrupted Octavia’s reunion with her best friend, she knew. She looked too smug, too prim and proper. Not that Lexa wasn’t exactly that but Octavia had always stood by the thought that Lexa needed someone a little more relaxed to balance her out. Two people with poles up their asses only made for one really constipated relationship.

So in Octavia’s expert opinion, Costia was entirely wrong for Lexa. And she didn’t intend to stay quiet about it.

Octavia is pinning pictures up on her cork board and she hears Lexa sigh loudly behind her. She ignores it and continues to push pins into the board. She sighs again, louder this time. “Oh spit it out,” Octavia says. She turns around and crosses her arms over her chest. Lexa has her hands on her hips and she raises an eyebrow.

“You don’t like her, do you?” Lexa asks and Octavia scoffs.

“What gave it away?” She asks.

“I figured it out somewhere between the handshake and when she tripped up the stairs and you laughed,” Lexa replies, her voice getting harsher and harsher as the sentence went on. Octavia shrugs.

“She’s not right for you,” Octavia says simply. Lexa rolls her eyes.

“And what authority do you have to tell me who is and isn’t right for me?” Lexa shoots.

“As your best friend, I’m pretty sure I get veto power,” Octavia states and then turns back to the corkboard. She pulls off a picture from freshman year. “You deserve someone who makes you smile like this,” she continues, pointing at Lexa’s broad grin and shining eyes. The real Lexa, the one who hasn’t smiled that way for a year and a half, glares.

“You’ve seen us together, comprehensively, for less than ten minutes. Your veto right is only invoked once you’ve made an effort,” Lexa replies, her voice detached. She snatches the picture out of Octavia’s hand. “You shouldn’t have kept this,” she says and Octavia shakes her head.

“I had to. I needed something that reminded me you’re capable of the broad spectrum of human emotion and you’re not an AI,” Octavia jokes and at least Lexa cracks a smile at that. Octavia reaches out and takes the picture back. “Get back to your girlfriend. I swear I won’t cast any voodoo spells on her,” Octavia assures and Lexa nods. She moves toward the door. She stops for a moment, opens her mouth, and then closes it again. She leaves without another word.

The picture weighs heavy in her hands and she looks down at it. She unfolds it. On other side of the crease, is Clarke. Her arm is wrapped around Lexa’s shoulders and she’s staring at Lexa like she’s the sun, the moon, the entire universe. Octavia sighs. Lexa’s right. She shouldn’t have kept it. But maybe Lexa needs a reminder of what happiness looks like on her face just as much as Octavia does.

Octavia folds the picture in half again and sticks it back on the corkboard. It’s right next to a picture of the four of them together. Clarke and Lexa, in the middle of Raven and Octavia.

Raven.

She’d seen her across the lawn of the Delta Gamma house and well, she’d panicked. Her snap decisions have never really been the best decisions. Octavia would be a goddamn liar if she didn’t say she hadn’t spent a large portion of her break thinking about what happened between them. But….

She’s shaken from her pensiveness when she hears footsteps clamoring back into the room. Octavia’s head shoots up and her face melts into a smile. In the threshold, is Lincoln, with two cups of coffee. “Sorry love, the line was long,” he grumbles. Octavia walks over to him and wraps her arms around his waist. God, she loves his rock hard abs.

And him. She loves him.

(Really. She does).

She drops one arm from his waist and uses it to grab the drink from his hand. She takes a sip and lets out a moan of pleasure. “This is so fucking good, thank you,” she says. Lincoln looks down, smiling. He brings the pad of his thumb to her mouth, wiping away some of the froth that she’d gotten on her lips. “Thank you for helping me move in,” Octavia says and the grip on Octavia’s waist tightens.

“Of course,” he says and Octavia is, not for the first time, thankful for him. “You coming out to Arkadia tonight?” He asks and she shrugs.

“If I can convince Lexa to drop the dud and have some fun, yes,” Octavia says and Lincoln raises an eyebrow. “What?” she asks.

“You need to drop it,” he replies, eyes soft and Octavia hates it when he’s right. And he always is.

“She’s not happy, Lincoln,” Octavia explains and Lincoln raises an eyebrow. Octavia swears his eyebrow is going to get stuck that way the amount that he quirks it at her.

“You don’t know that,” he starts. He takes a step toward her and grips her cheeks with his hands. “And even if you did, it’s not your place. Don’t meddle,” he says, kissing the tip of her nose. Octavia sighs.

“But I love to meddle,” she murmurs. Lincoln laughs, pulling her tight against his chest.

“I know. But trust me, this is one you should stay out of,” he says and Octavia feels the vibration of the words in his chest. Lincoln is soft and he’s warm and he’s everything she should want. Hell, he’s her baseball equivalent. They’re the ideal baseball and softball match. Her teammates are all jealous. She should be satisfied.

But there’s a part of her, that’s always present, that thinks, if she hadn’t pulled away from that kiss, if the person she’d be embracing would be slighter and softer.

-

“Can’t we just nap?” Raven says from where she reclines on Clarke’s bed. Clarke rolls her eyes, tossing a curler at Raven. She catches it, of course.

“No, lazy ass. It’s the first night back. We have to remind the townies who really own that bar,” Clarke says as she leans over the sink, pulling at the side of her eye to make her eyeliner is crisp and clean. She’s long since recovered from her hangover this morning, her afternoon nap getting rid of the remnants, and she’s more than ready to get back out. While Polis U isn’t notorious for it’s hopping bar scene, there’s one bar that the Greeks usually frequent: Arkadia. It’s just on the outskirts of campus and is pretty lax on checking ID’s. The bar feels like more of her home turf than the house.

Her skirt is tight and her shirt is low cut. Her legs are shaved and she did some landscaping in the shower. She wants to get laid tonight. And she’s more than ready for it. While she’d been fucking her neighbor on and off all summer, he never quite knew how to get the job done right. She wanted a good fuck. Someone to leave her breathless and undone.

She stands, straightening her skirt. She smacks her lips one last time, insuring her lips were just the right about of lubricated. She walks out into her bedroom and immediately, her face falls. “You’re not wearing that,” she says flatly, taking in Raven’s very casual dress of jeans and a loose t-shirt.

“Hey, I’m coming, aren’t I?” she reminds and Clarke crosses her arms. Raven starts to shift herself off the bed, bad leg first. She pauses. “Be grateful this shirt doesn’t have any grease stains,” Raven mumbles and Clarke sighs. She supposes she’s just going to have to accept Raven’s unconventional outfit choices. She walks over to her and reaches out a hand. Raven stares at it like it’s something foreign. “I don’t need your help,” she bites and Clarke shrugs.

“Don’t care, I’m giving it anyway,” she says and wiggles her fingers, the same way Rave had earlier that morning. Raven glares at them for a moment before she sighs heavily and relents, putting her hand in Clarke’s palm. “How does it feel?” Clarke asks softly. Raven grimaces.

“Like someone’s driving a knife through me,” she replies and Clarke’s face softens.

“If you want to stay…,” she trails off and Raven’s jaw clenches.

“I said I’d go, didn’t I?” Raven snaps. She drops Clarke’s hand.

“I’m just giving you an out,” Clarke starts and then she smirks, “because I don’t want to embarrass you when I remind you that I can drink you under the table,” she adds and that makes Raven smile.

“In your fucking dreams, Griffin,” she says and she starts to walk out of the door and not for the first time, Clarke is grateful that Raven’s her best friend. Granted, things with them started a little rough but after knowing each other almost eight years, Clarke was sure their friendship wasn’t going anywhere. Not anytime soon.

They pile into Zoe’s car. She’d drawn the short stick and had to DD for the night. They’d long since stopped letting Clarke play because she always managed to weasel her way out of DDing. Once, when she’d drawn the short straw, she’d gotten smashed anyway and nobody had a way home until Harper had sobered up enough drive them. But that was just after Lexa-

No.

She wouldn’t think about Lexa. Not tonight. Though there’s not anything that makes her want to fill her lungs with alcohol and drown in it more than the thought of her ex-girlfriend.

But tonight was supposed to be fun. And she wasn’t about to ruin it by thinking of her. Again.

Raven ends up on Clarke’s lap. She settles in and Clarke wraps her arms around her waist. “You smell good,” Clarke says, the ends of Raven’s hair grazing the tip of her nose.

“I smell like a person, Clarke,” Raven replies and Clarke shrugs.

“My favorite person,” Clarke retorts and Raven laughs.

“Kiss ass,” she murmurs.

“You love it.”

The ride to the bar is short, thankfully, and girls climb out one after another. Clarke thinks it must be a rather interesting sight to see. Sorority girls spilling out of a tiny Honda like it’s a clown car. But they’re creative and if there’s one thing they use their highest-GPA-in-Greek-Life brains for, it’s ways to fit as many girls in a car as possible.

Clarke doesn’t waste time. The moment she’s inside, she’s at the bar. The familiar blonde bartender (whose name Clarke thinks is Nia or something like that) recognizes her almost immediately. “Whiskey, neat?” she asks and Clarke smirks.

“You got it,” she replies, leaning against the bar while she waits for her drink.

“Have a good break?” the bartender asks. Clarke shrugs.

“It was fine. I’m glad to be back. I missed this ratty old place,” Clarke says, tapping the bar with her fingertips. The bartender ( Niylah that’s her name) smirks.

“Glad you’re back, Clarke. Drinks are on the house tonight,” Niylah says with a wink as she walks away to serve someone else. Clarke glances down at her boobs, which are very exposed, her shirt almost too lowcut to count for any coverage at all.

“Nice,” she whispers to them. She takes a lip sip of her whiskey.

Almost immediately, she catches the eye of a boy across the room. She smirks and he nearly chokes on his beer. Typical. But he looks like exactly what she needs.

And Clarke Griffin has never once not gotten what she wanted.

-

“No,” Lexa says flatly. Octavia stands in front of her, hands on her hips, hair half curled.

Please . It’s the first weekend back. Don’t be a fucking Grandma just because you U-Hauled it with some chick over the summer,” Octavia says and Lexa rolls her eyes.

“Please use something other than an antiquated stereotype if you’re attempting to convince me to go,” Lexa says, crossing her legs and examining her nails. Costia is still in the room, sitting on the ledge of the window. Octavia doesn’t even look at her.

“I swear to God, I’ll burn every lipstick you own, Woods,” Octavia threatens and Lexa raises an eyebrow. While she doubts that Octavia is even capable of finding every lipstick that she owns, she’s not willing to take a chance. Lexa glances over at Costia, who is staring down at her palms like she’d rather be anywhere else, and she gets an idea.

“Fine. I’ll come,” Lexa starts and Octavia’s eyes start to widen with excitement, “if Costia comes too,” Lexa finishes and she does enjoy the way Octavia’s smile drops off her face nearly as quickly as it came. Costia looks up, her eyes wide.

“Oh, no I don’t think I belong at your bar,” Costia tries to excuse herself but Lexa just shakes her head.

“I want you there,” Lexa assures and that seems to ground her again. Lexa swears she can see smoke coming out of Octavia’s ears.

“Fine,” she mumbles. “Cut the umbilical cord sometime, will you?” Octavia says before leaving the room. Lexa sighs. She stands and walks to Costa, who is looking at her with sad eyes.

“She doesn’t like me very much, does she?” Costia says and Lexa’s jaw clenches.

“Don’t worry about her,” Lexa says. She shifts so she’s straddling one of Costia’s thighs. “I’ll make tonight very worth your while,” Lexa whispers into her ear and Costia bites her lip. She kisses Lexa’s neck.

“I look forward to it,” she whispers back. “But I should go home and change. I doubt this is appropriate for a bar,” she says, gesturing down to her tank top and shorts. Lexa shrugs.

“It’s classier than some of the things I’ve seen in that place,” Lexa mutters. Costia laughs and stands, Lexa shifting backwards as she does.

“I’ll meet you at the bar,” Costia says, giving Lexa one last kiss on the cheek before she leaves.

Lexa gets ready in silence, dressing far better than she normally would for a night at Arkadia. Part of her still feels like she has to impress Costia. Prove that she’s worth her affection.

And as Lexa arrives at the bar, clearly the most overdressed person, she regrets it. Her pearls feel heavy against her neck and her pencil skirt entirely too tight.

But this is who she needs to be. Who she ought to have always been. She’d fooled herself into thinking she could engage in college tomfoolery her first year of college and all that did is get her heartbroken. Her expectations….well they’d been placed in the wrong vessel. But she’d learned from her mistake. She’d only place her trust in those who earned it.

She orders a cosmo from the blonde bartender who has been working here for as long as Lexa can remember. She gives her only a cold smile when she orders and one more when she places her drink on the napkin. Lexa sits at the bar, carefully sipping on her cocktail. Octavia has already found Lincoln, and she tries not to be bitter, though there’s a lot of her that wishes she’d known her friend would abandon her the moment they arrived. She would have told Costia not to come at all and she would have slipped out without anybody taking notice.

Lexa swivels the bar stool around, turning to face the crowd on the dance floor. It’s a mix of faces, some she recognizes and some she doesn’t. But as her eyes scan the crowd there’s one face that her eyes stop on.

Clarke Griffin.

-

He has his hands on her hips and she can feel that he’s hard. She’d rolled her eyes when she’d first felt the bulge against her back. This is why she preferred dancing with women. There were no ill timed boners to deal with.

She has her hand around his neck and his head is dipped. He’s kissing her neck, presumably leaving hickeys that will be hard to conceal tomorrow, but she doesn’t care. It feels good. Well. Good enough.

Her eyes are open and she keeps watching the bar. For what reason, she’s not entirely sure but she thinks she’ll know it when she sees it.

She closes her eyes for a moment and when she opens them, they focus in on one face. One still painfully beautiful face. Lexa Woods. She’s watching her with something that Clarke can only identify as disdain. Her lips are pursed in that way that they always were when Clarke wanted to put a hand down her pants instead of study. Yeah, disdain is the right word for it.

She pulls the boy’s head closer to her neck. His hand his on her stomach and she keeps eye contact with Lexa as she grinds against him, her movements clear. Clarke raises an eyebrow at her. It’s a challenge. Stop me. I dare you , she asks with her eyes. Instead of rising to the challenge, Lexa just looks away.

Well that just wouldn’t do.

Not right now.

Clarke pulls away from the boy. “I’ll be right back,” she murmurs, not really meaning it. She’s sure that if he disappears, she’ll find someone else. She walks toward Lexa, despite every rational part of her brain saying that it was a terrible idea. She should have turned around. She shouldn’t be doing this. But Lexa is in her sights and she’s wearing that shade of red that Clarke always loved.

And Clarke never could help herself. Even now.

She slides up next to Lexa and leans on the bar. “Fancy seeing you here, Miss. Priss. Thought you have up the bar scene for wine and cheeses?” Clarke asks and Lexa is sitting straight up in seat. Her ankles are crossed and she looks….poised.

But there’s a tremble in her hand. Gotcha , Clarke thinks to herself. “It’s nice to see you too, Clarke,” Lexa remarks, though her voice lacks any sort of warmth.

“Such a warm welcome from a cold hearted bitch,” Clarke says, smiling though it doesn’t reach her eyes. Lexa’s jaw clenches and her nostrils flare. It’s something of an ego boost for Clarke to know that she can still get underneath her skin in ten seconds flat. Even if it’s aggravation this time.

“If you came over to antagonize me, Clarke, you can turn around and march right back to that imbecilic manchild. I have no interest in being baited by you,” Lexa says and she sounds almost serious. Clarke’s tongue clicks against the roof of her mouth and she leans in even closer now. She can practically feel Lexa’s breath.

“But teasing you has always been the best part of my nights,” Clarke practically coos and she watches Lexa take a deep breath, her chest rising and falling. Maybe it’s the alcohol, but she’s just as beautiful as Clarke remembers. Maybe even moreso now that she’s lost the baby fat on her cheeks. “Here alone?” Clarke asks and this is stupid. Really stupid. She knows that if she gets the answer she wants, there won’t be anything stopping her. Lexa just rolls her eyes and takes another sip of her cosmo.

“Actually,” she starts though her voice trails quickly. Suddenly, like she’d appeared out of thin air, a girl is at Lexa’s side. She’s dressed in a skin tight black dress, pearls draped around her neck, and red lipstick on her lips. She wraps an arm around Lexa’s waist and kisses her on the cheek. Clarke feels her own jaw clench now. There’s a rumbling in her stomach that’s not hunger. Her fist clenches against the bar and she thinks that maybe, she’s never seen anyone look that perfect standing next to Lexa. Anyone who could rival her in elegance. But this girl does. God, she does. And Clarke hates it.

Her gut is tight and there’s nothing she wants to do more than knock that girls hand off of Lexa. But she’s not hers anymore. If the sight in front of her is correct, she belongs to this girl now.

“Hey baby, sorry it took me so long. Traffic,” she says, turning to Clarke when she says that last bit. Clarke fakes a smile.

“Right,” she grumbles and she doesn’t bother looking up at Lexa, not wanting to see the satisfied smile on her face that she always seemed to get whenever Clarke got knocked off her high horse.

The girl is still smiling at Clarke like she’s just some random acquaintance.

And then it dawns on her. This girl has absolutely no idea who the fuck she is. When Clarke looks over to Lexa, she doesn’t have a smirk on her face at all. Instead, there’s panic in her eyes. Clarke feels her mood rising. “Who’s this?” Clarke asks, gesturing to her. Lexa straightens her back.

“This is my girlfriend, Costia,” Lexa introduces and Costia reaches a hand out. Clarke grabs it, shaking it vehemently.

“Wow, it is so wonderful to meet you, Costia,” Clarke says, faux enthusiasm permeating through her tone. Lexa is watching her carefully and well, Clarke’s never one to disappoint. “I’m Clarke. Lexa’s ex-girlfriend. I’m sure you know all about me,” Clarke continues and Costia freezes. She drops Clarke’s hand like it’s a thousand degrees. Costia’s eyes are wide. “Has she never mentioned me? Shame, shame, Lexa,” Clarke keeps going, turning her attention back to Lexa, whose face is heating up. “Did you not want to tell your newest playing about the old ones you threw away when you were done fucking them?” Clarke coos. She looks Costia up and down. “Don’t worry, pretty soon she’ll be done with you too and you’ll know what I mean,” Clarke keeps talking and she can see that Lexa looks like she’s ready to blow a fuse. Clarke laughs then and that’s what sets her off. With steely eyes and a determined gaze, she turns toward Costia. She grabs her by the waist and pulls her in close.

Then she kisses her. Long and hard. Clarke can see tongue from where she’s standing and oh no, she thinks she might actually be sick. “Pardon me while I go vomit,” Clarke says loudly and they ignore her.

She should walk away. She knows that’s what Lexa wants her to do. It’s what she should do. But instead, she watches. She watches Lexa’s lips work over Costia’s, her tongue slipping inside the other girl’s mouth.

And it pisses her off. Why, she can’t exactly pinpoint but she just knows that it does. There isn’t anyone Lexa should be kissing like that. Anyone but her.

They finally pull apart and Clarke recognizes the kiss dazed look Costia’s face. She’d been victim to The Lexa Effect more than once. The way her kisses seem to take everything out of you but at the same time, make you feel like you’ve never been able to breathe the right way until now. It’s sort of….magical. Clarke wonders if, a year and a half ago, she’d looked the exact same. Wide eyed and breathless.

“If you’ll excuse us Clarke, I’m going to dance with my girlfriend,” Lexa says and she pulls Costia away, leaving Clarke alone at the bar.

Somehow, without even asking for it, another whiskey neat appears in front of her. She drinks it in one long gulp.

-

She hates this.

She’s sitting alone at the corner of the bar, tracing her fingers over the rim of her glass. Clarke had disappeared the moment that they’d walked in and Raven really shouldn’t have been surprised. Clarke has never been one to stick by her side once they walked through the threshold of the bar. She’d always been that way. Even when she was with Lexa, she leeched onto her side.

And usually, Raven didn’t mind. Before the accident, it left her free to dance with whomever she wanted without much worry. But now that she was….indisposed and dancing was nearly a physical impossibility, there wasn’t anything for her here. All she’s able to do is watch her friends dance without a single fucking care in the world. And it just made her bitter.

She wishes she were less angry. She wishes she was able to accept her fate for what it was but she can’t . She’s pissed. And she doesn’t think there will ever be a time where she isn’t enraged at the universe for dealing her a shitty hand. She’d lost more than just feeling in her leg. She’d lost everything.

She brings the glass up to her lips and takes another sip of vodka. She should just leave. The house isn’t a far walk from the bar. She could use some fresh air anyway.

She’s ready to stand up and leave when just a few feet down, she hears a familiar giggle. It freezes her in her tracks. Her eyes find her almost immediately. Octavia is leaning against the bar, cheeks flushed and smile wide. Her eyes are glazed over, just slightly, and she looks quite drunk. And drunk, like everything else, looks amazing on her.

Raven’s staring and she knows she shouldn’t but she can’t help herself. Octavia’s captivating and she always has been. Octavia looks up and meets her eye. There’s barely any space between them and nowhere for Octavia to hide. No possibility for ignorance. She smiles at her this time and there’s a swooping in her stomach. Goddamnit.

Octavia walks over to her, sitting in the empty seat next to her. “Hi,” she says and Raven smiles, though it’s short and tight.

“Hi,” she echoes and Octavia looks down at her still mostly full glass.

“Where’s Clarke?” she asks and Raven snorts.

“Fuck if I know,” she mumbles and she tries not to sound bitter but it’s almost all she’s capable of these days.

“Why are you alone?” Octavia continues the interrogation and Raven smirks. She looks down.

“This,” she taps on her brace, “is a pretty big social deterrent,” she jokes, though it’s weak and barely sounds humorous at all. Octavia furrows her brow. She hails the bartender over.

“Can I get a round of tequila shots? And keep em coming,” Octavia says, settling into the seat.

It hits Raven then that Octavia doesn’t intend on leaving. “You don’t have to sit with me,” Raven mumbles and Octavia shrugs.

“I owe you,” she states simply and it’s clear that she’s referring to this afternoon when she’d ignored her. Raven shakes her head.

“You don’t owe me anything,” she says softly. Octavia looks down at the bar, fingers tracing the tack line.

“I do,” she says firmly, looking up at Raven, with vulnerability in her eyes. And then it’s not about this afternoon anymore. It’s about last semester and the kiss they shared that neither of them has acknowledged since. And Raven doesn’t blame her, isn’t angry with her, at least not for the reasons that Octavia thinks she is. She’s about to open her mouth to explain when the bartender comes back and puts four tequila shots in front of them. Octavia takes one and holds it up. She raises an eyebrow and gestures to the shots in front of her. Raven picks one up. She clinks it against Octavia’s. They both drink.

And it’s probably a bad idea. Actually, Raven knows it’s a bad idea. She’s never had anything resembling self-control around Octavia. She’s always had a crush on her. Since the moment they met. She never thought it would go anywhere, she thought Octavia was straight, but then last semester happened.

And when they kissed it was fire.

It was gasoline on a flame that had been rising and rising. It just turned into an inferno. A flame she couldn’t extinguish.

And it was a mistake, she knows it was a mistake. And frankly, Raven’s used to it. She’s never been anything but a mistake. To Finn, to her mother, now to Octavia. But it didn’t stop her from wanting. From hoping. But if there’s one thing she’s learned from the aftermath of her accident it’s that hope? Is a delusion. It’s not realistic. Not when the world loves to wave its heavy fist and exercise its power.

So she wouldn’t let this change anything.

She knows better.

-

They take shots at alarmingly fast rate. Octavia was already drunk but these shots hit her quickly. She’s leaning into Raven’s shoulder, laughing at something she said. “You’re incredible,” Octavia says through her giggles.

Raven looks faux smug when she says “I know.”

And then Octavia is looking down at the brace on her leg. She doesn’t know the details of the accident, just what was published in the newspaper, but that was enough. “I mean it,” Octavia says, suddenly sounding more coherent and sober than she had all evening. She reaches across and touches Raven’s leg, fingers grazing the metal of the brace. Raven flinches and tries to move her leg away but there isn’t much space. “You’re brave,” Octavia continues and Raven’s face is sullen.

“No I’m not,” she mumbles. She takes another shot. “I’m just surviving.”

“Isn’t that what bravery is?” Octavia counters. “You keep going even though the world is throwing you curveballs at every opportunity. I think that’s the definition of being brave,” Octavia says and they’re very close to each other. So close that Octavia can see the pupils of Raven’s eyes have dilated far past their normal reaches. Her heartbeat is accelerating and not once since she’s sat down next to Raven has she thought about Lincoln.

Her boyfriend. Her boyfriend who left early in the evening because he had six am practice. Her wonderful, sweet boyfriend…..that isn’t even a blip on her radar right now. Later, she’ll blame it on the alcohol but only a fool would believe that.

“Can you even go a day without using a sports metaphor?” Raven tries to deflect and Octavia isn’t having it. She needs Raven to know what she thinks of her. Needs her to know that she thinks of her.

“Don’t deflect,” Octavia says. “You’re so fucking strong, Raven,” Octavia says emphatically. Raven snorts.

“Yeah? If I’m so strong, tell me why the fuck I need this to even walk,” she replies, hitting her leg with a flat palm. Octavia reaches out and grabs it. She squeezes Raven’s hand.

“It’s not weakness to need help, Raven,” Octavia says softly. Raven’s eyes are on their clasped hands.

“Sure as hell feels like it,” Raven replies and Octavia leans in closer still. Their faces are close now, closer than they should be, and Octavia’s eyes flit down to Raven’s lips. She wants to. They’re tucked away in a corner that’s nearly invisible to the rest of the bar. If she just...kissed her, nobody would even notice.

God, she’s so drunk. She’s drunk and she’s out of her head and she knows her capability for rational thought has flown out the window. If she were in her right state of mind, she would think of Lincoln. Of his sweet brown eyes and the soft way he holds her. She would think of him. And she would walk away from Raven because she can’t do this. She can’t cheat on her boyfriend with this girl (this beautiful, strong, amazing girl).

But she’s not. She’s drunk and she has a one track mind and the only path it’s riding is the one where she goes home with Raven and kisses every part of her she doesn’t think is beautiful.

Their hands are still linked and instead of pulling away like she should, Octavia intertwines their fingers.

“Do you want to get out of here?” Raven asks and this is it - this is her window. This is where she needs to say no. Back out and pretend this never happened. She’s always been good at that with Raven.

But she doesn’t. Instead, she nods her head.

-

Lexa wants to walk home. She’s tipsy, though not nearly as drunk as she could be, and Costia is silent. Their hands are dangling loosely between them. “So. That was your ex,” Costia breaks the silence and Lexa really, really wishes they could talk about anything but Clarke. She wants to forget Clarke ever happened to her. Tonight and otherwise. The air is warm and the stars above them are bright. She wants to enjoy that. She doesn’t want to think about the way Clarke was so easily able to get under her skin. To antagonize her. She’d always been so good at that. She knew exactly the right things to say to rile her up. It’d been the thing she’d liked most about her when they were together. She reminded her what it was like to feel heat. To feel fire.

But that’s not who she is anymore. She doesn’t need intensity to know that she’s alive. Not the way that she used to. But there was something exhilarating about their interaction at the bar, though she’d be hesitant to say it out loud. “Yes,” Lexa finally replies after a few moments of silence. Costia pauses.

“Why didn’t you tell me about her?” she asks, her voice low. Lexa steels her shoulders and lifts her jaw.

“Clare isn’t a subject I like to discuss with anyone,” she explains. “She is part of my past and that’s where she’ll stay,” Lexa continues and Costia looks skeptical.

“It didn’t seem like she wanted to stay in the past, Lexa,” Costia sighs, crossing her arms over her chest. She has goosebumps on her arms and she knows they’re not from the cold. “I know the face of a girl who is head over heels for you. I see it in the mirror every day,” Costia explains and Lexa feels a twinge of discomfort in her stomach. She shifts from side to side, gripping her hands behind her back.

“I don’t know what it is you want me to say,” Lexa admits. Costia shakes her head.

“Does she still have feelings for you?” Costia asks point blank. Lexa bites her lip and not for the first time tonight, wishes she were anywhere but here.

“I don’t know,” Lexa says honestly because she doesn’t. For the past year and a half, Clarke has been a stranger. They haven’t spoken more than two words to each other that could be construed as friendly. Clarke’s antagonized her every time they’ve been in the same place and reminded her of all of the reasons that she broke up with her in the first place.

“Do you still have feelings for her?” Costia asks, shaking Lexa from her reverie. And Lexa has to pause.

It should be an easy answer. The word ‘no’ should roll off her tongue. But instead she pauses. And she thinks about the way Clarke got to her at the bar. The way her nose crinkled when Lexa pulled Costia to her. The satisfaction she felt when jealousy became clearly written across her face.

But she broke up with Clarke for a reason. And that reason was still valid. So, “No,” she says. “I don’t have feelings for her,” Lexa affirms and the relief on Costia’s face is instant. She takes a step toward Lexa and grabs her hand again. She squeezes it.

“I love you,” she says, looking into Lexa’s eyes. Lexa’s smile is small and soft, and not nearly as genuine as it ought to be. But she grabs Costia by the waist and pulls her against her, their hands dropping. Lexa’s free hand comes to Costia’s face. She drags the pad of thumb across the bones of her cheek.

“I love you too,” she murmurs, pressing their lips together and she tries to convince herself she means it.

-

Clarke leaves the bar alone. She’d thought that when Lexa disappeared with Costia onto the dance floor, she’d be able to push her from her mind.

She couldn’t. She never fucking could.

She’d only stayed long enough to down one more drink and get a sympathetic look from the bartender.

God, she hated pity.

She walks barefoot, her shoes in her hands. There’s some kind of cold comfort in the feeling of the gravelly concrete against her bare feet. Like it’s a pain she almost deserves.

She wishes she could get Lexa out of her veins. Pull her out of her skin.

But each time she looks at her, she just remembers. What she felt like, what she tasted like, the way she made her feel everything all at once.

They were only eighteen but Clarke’s sure she’s never loved anybody quite the same way she loved Lexa. That maybe she never will.

It’s been a year and a half and she should be over it. Everyone tells her that she should be over it. But she isn’t, God she fucking isn’t. There’s still anger that bubbles in her stomach when she thinks of the way Lexa looked at her when she’d said, ‘We have different goals, Clarke. Well, to be frank, I have goals and you don’t ’. It made her want to punch something.

The girl that sat in front of her at the bar wasn’t the girl she knew, the girl she loved. She looked like a robot. An emotionless robot. And maybe Clarke hadn’t been much better, her bitterness overtaking her, but it was worth it just to see her react. See that she still had it in her to be angry about something. Even if it was directed at her.

And there’s a lot of her that hates herself for still caring about Lexa - for being even an ounce of concerned about her.

There’s tears pushing at the back of her eyes but she doesn’t let them fall. Not now. She’s done her fair share of crying over Lexa Woods and she promised herself this year would be different. She wouldn’t wallow. Not anymore. Lexa had gotten the better of the past two years of her life but she wouldn’t get this one.

Clarke walks into the house and pauses in the entry way. It’s quiet. She takes a deep breath, the scent of jasmine and pomegranate fills her nose. It really is nice to be home.

She opens the door to her bedroom and drops her shoes next to the door. She collapses onto her now made bed face first.

Her pillowcase is still the t-shirt she stole from Lexa during their freshman year. For a while, it was because it still smelled like her expensive perfume. Then, after it stopped carrying any scent at all, Clarke still kept it because it was hers . Something to remember her by.

It’s the last thing of hers that Clarke still has.

And as she sniffs back tears and tears it off of the pillow, Clarke thinks that it’s about time she gives this back.

And maybe, just maybe, she’ll take her heart back in the process.

-

They can’t keep their hands off of each other.

From the moment they cross the threshold of the bar, Octavia has her hands on Raven. Her fingers dance along her sides. Her lips touch her neck in a way that is far from friendly and Raven thinks that she’s never been more turned on by the feeling of someone’s hands against her flesh. Octavia could just run her fingers up and down her arms and Raven might come just from that.

The stop halfway to greek row and Octavia pushes Raven up against the brick wall of a building. Her knee is shoved between Raven’s thighs and the friction is not nearly enough but it’s something. Octavia grabs Raven’s hands and pins them against the brick. She trails kisses up and down the sides of her neck, stopping at her collarbone, where she pulls the skin there between her teeth. “Can’t keep your hands off me, huh?” Raven asks breathlessly.

“What gave it away,” Octavia says, her hips thrusting against Raven’s.

“My house is close, have some patience,” Raven says and Octavia huffs.

“Want to know what else is close?” Octavia whispers and she brings Raven’s hand between her thighs. “Me.”

And Raven has to swallow because fuck, this girl was going to be the death of her. Absolutely and completely.

And maybe not just tonight.

Octavia pushes off of her and starts to walk. When she realizes that Raven isn’t following her, she turns around and raises an eyebrow. “Coming?” she asks and Raven, who is still leaning against the brick wall catching her breath, smirks.

“Hopefully,” Raven says and Octavia laughs.

“Not if you don’t keep walking,” she says as she starts to walk faster and Raven laughs, finally pushing herself off of the wall and following Octavia.

They stop twice more before they even reach the house and Raven’s certain she’s never been kissed more thoroughly in her life. Octavia feels amazing against her mouth, her tongue pushing between her lips. It’s like floating. And for once, Raven’s mind isn’t on her leg. It isn’t on what she can’t do but instead what she can.

They nearly stumble over a coffee table in the entrance of the house, the movement making Octavia laugh into Raven’s collarbone. “My rooms this way,” Raven says, reaching down for Octavia’s hand. She pulls her past the threshold and is sure to slam the door shut behind them. It’s not more than a second later that Octavia has Raven pinned against the door, her hands in her hair.

Raven’s hands roam underneath Octavia’s shirt, her thumb rubbing circles on the skin of her hip. Octavia moves her head down, taking the skin of Raven’s neck between her teeth. Raven throws her head back, giving her more space to kiss.

And then she’s tugging her shirt off of her torso and her mouth travels further south, Octavia kissing her cleavage. Then her hands are at the button of Raven’s pants and she remembers.

She can’t take her fucking pants off without taking off her brace and there’s not a chance in fucking hell she would let Octavia watch her struggle like that. So she turns her head and she pushes Octavia away. “I can’t do this, you need to go,” Raven says and Octavia’s eyes are clouded with confusion.

“What the fuck? Why?” Octavia says, incredulously and that’s….fair. But Raven can’t do this. It’s embarrassing. She won’t even let Clarke be in the room with her when she takes off her brace for bed.

“Can’t you just take no for an answer and get the fuck out?” Raven snaps back and Octavia raises an eyebrow. She crosses her arms.

“No I can’t,” she retorts. They stand across from each other now, silence heavy between them and Raven is tired. She’s sick and she’s tired.

“I can’t get them off,” she grumbles. Octavia’s eyes soften.

“Your pants?” she asks and Raven knows her cheeks are red and she’s so fucking embarrassed she wishes the ground would swallow her whole. This’ll teach her to ever try and forget about her injury and try and live like a normal twenty year old ever again. “Sit on the bed,” Octavia says and Raven looks at her, warily, but does as she says. She sits on the edge of her bed and Octavia drops to her knees next to Raven’s legs. Slowly, she begins to undo the brace. Raven is ready to jerk away because she hasn’t let anyone near her leg, not like this, since before the accident. But Octavia puts a calming hand on her thigh. “Let me do this, okay?” she whispers and slowly, Raven nods.

Her hands are shaking as she undoes the buckles on the brace. She takes it off gently and rests it against the edge of the bed.

And then she stands and sits on the edge of the bed next to her. She swings her legs around so they rest behind Raven’s back. She moves over and puts a hand on Raven’s shoulder. “Lay down,” she says and this is really stupid - maybe even stupider than having a one night stand. But she does it anyway. She leans her head back against the pillow and Octavia crashes onto her, throwing an arm over her waist and nuzzling her head into the crook of her neck. Raven slings her arm around her shoulders, pulling her close. “Thank you,” Raven whispers against the top of her head.

“Don’t worry about it,” she murmurs back.

They sit like that for longer than Raven can count and she’s sure that there isn’t anything that feels better than Octavia pressed against her.

-

“You’re a stubborn asshole, you know that right?” Octavia mutters. She’s sitting cross legged next to Raven, who just shrugs.

“Part of my charm,” she says with a smirk. Octavia rolls her eyes.

“What charm?” she mocks and Raven hits her lightly on the thigh.

“The charm that got you in my bed,” Raven teases and Octavia snorts.

“We didn’t even do anything,” Octavia says and it wasn’t for a lack of trying, at least before the brace came off. After they’d settled on the bed though, the mood had passed and Octavia was enjoying just talking to Raven. Her buzz was starting to fade and some of the guilt for what she’d done, cheated on her boyfriend , was beginning to set in.

But all she had to do was look at Raven and she almost forgot. Almost.

It didn’t have to matter. Octavia doubted this would ever happen again and she was drunk. It was a mistake to kiss her, she knows that, but she doesn’t regret that she ended up here. Raven is fun and she’s intriguing and they used to be friends. Maybe they could be again.

Raven makes a face, one clearly of discomfort, and Octavia furrows her brow. “What is it?” She asks and Raven just shakes her head.

“Nothing. These are just uncomfortable,” she says, putting her finger through the belt loops of her jeans. Octavia tilts her head. It’s probably a stupid idea, and it’s probably crossing a line, but there isn’t much else she can do to make things worse tonight so she goes for it. She sits up onto her knees and slowly, leans forward. She grabs her pants by the belt loops.

“Is this okay?” Octavia asks and Raven watches her with wide eyes while she nods. Slowly, Octavia pulls her jeans down her legs. They pool at her ankles and Octavia is careful to pull them off gently. She tosses them off the edge of the bed. “Better?” she asks and Raven nods.

“Much,” she replies, almost breathlessly. Octavia shifts forward, laying down next to Raven again. Raven watches her. “You’re going to take my pants off and not do anything? Waste,” Raven jokes and Octavia turns into her chest, kissing the dip in her neck.

“I’m tired,” she says and Raven pulls her closer.

“Me too,” she replies.

Eventually, Octavia feels her eyes begin to drift shut. Raven is tracing circles on her bare arm and it’s...relaxing. Her head rests on Raven’s shoulder. “I’m sorry I walked away,” Octavia mutters. She feels the rise and fall of Raven’s chest, her breath long and deep.

“I’m sorry I kissed you,” Raven replies and Octavia turns her head up to look at her. She’s looking out the window.

“I’m not,” Octavia murmurs and that catches Raven’s attention.

“You’re not?” Raven repeats and Octavia shakes her head.

“No,” Octavia confirms, resting her head back on Raven’s shoulder. She doesn’t expand and Raven doesn’t ask her to, something she’s glad for.

She’d wondered all summer if she’d made a mistake by walking away from Raven. By pretending that their kiss never happened.

And as she drifts off, Raven’s arms wrapped around her, she thinks she has her answer.