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don't wanna be your girl

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"Cut!" the director yells, causing the assembled crew and performers to groan. "I swear to God, Monroe, is it really so fucking difficult to keep the boom out of the shot? All right, take five then reset. Jesus."

Murphy slumps back in the canvas chair and snaps his fingers at Lexa, hovering as she is behind his shoulder. She sighs inwardly and leans down, iPad in hand. "Yes?" she asks, schooling her voice to patience.

"Get me a coffee. Black. Four sugars."

She bites back her initial reaction and murmurs with faux-sweetness, "Coming right up."

As she walks over to catering (that's an overstatement, it's literally a trestle table laid out with an assortment of baked goods sweating under the studio lights) she takes a few calming breaths.

This is just for a few days, she keeps telling herself, even if she has to compromise her integrity for the duration. Because she needs the money and, well, it's work experience. It doesn't make her a bad feminist. Sighing again, she pours the coffee and begins scooping heaps of sugar into it.

"Sweet tooth, huh?"

She hadn't heard anyone approach and the husky quality of the woman's voice jolts Lexa, causing her to miss the mug with the spoon entirely. She curses under her breath and it's met by soft laughter.

She looks up from the sugary mess to catch sight of bright blue eyes. She blinks and refocuses.

The woman standing beside her is gorgeous.

"It's not for me; it's for Murphy."

"Our glorious leader," the woman says, heavy sarcasm underlining her words. She sweeps a hand through her long blonde hair to move it off her face. "He thinks he's some fucking auteur because he wears a turtleneck. He's an asshole."

Lexa hums her agreement and returns her gaze to the coffee, measuring one last scoop of sugar and stirring the disgusting concoction.

"You're new, right?" the woman asks.

"Just started today."

"This your first shoot?"

"Yes." Lexa tries to strike an air of nonchalance. "I mean, I've worked on a couple of student films before but nothing like this."

A smile tugs at the blonde's lips. "It can be pretty... eye-opening to begin with but you'll get used to it."

"What is it you do around here?" Lexa asks, out of politeness.

The other woman's smile widens and she leans her hip against the edge of the table. She pulls her bottom lip between her teeth as she looks at Lexa as if gauging her. "I'm an actress."

"Oh." For the first time, Lexa takes in the fluffy white towelling robe that she's wearing and her eyes widen slightly as realisation sinks in. "Oh."

"Yeah, I'm used to that reaction."

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to be—" Lexa says quickly, a hard blush flaming her cheeks. "Sorry."

The woman doesn't appear to be offended. If anything she seems delighted by Lexa's flustered expression. She reaches out, touches Lexa's wrist and Lexa tries to ignore how her skin tingles.

"Hey, relax. It's—"

"Everybody back to their places!" Murphy shouts through the loudspeaker, making Lexa jump and nearly spill scalding hot liquid over herself. Considering there are only eight members of cast and crew and the studio is tiny, the loudspeaker is completely unnecessary. "Where the fuck is my coffee? Lexa!"

The woman retracts her hand.

"Guess we'll be seeing more of each other. Lexa."

She shrugs off the robe, letting it pool to the floor. She isn't wearing anything underneath and Lexa feels heat flood her body as the woman saunters away, casting a lingering glance over her shoulder as she goes.

"I'm Clarke, by the way."



*

Lexa likes to think of herself as a progressive person.

She believes in sex positivity and women having full autonomy over their bodies without enduring the indignity of slut-shaming. That it's possible for those employed as sex workers to make an informed choice without experiencing exploitation and to be supported unconditionally as strong, independent women. But on another level, she finds this whole shoot deeply sketchy.

The only things that make her feel better about her involvement are the fact that, aside from Murphy, the cast and crew are all female and there are strict rules in place for the performers: nobody does anything they're uncomfortable with; everyone got screened to make sure they were clean of STIs before production began, and sexual contact with boyfriends or girlfriends or extracurriculars with co-stars while filming is forbidden.

Still, she's struggling to reconcile her feelings about it when beside her Murphy is barking instructions in the crudest of terms.

Clarke isn't making things any easier for Lexa's ethical turmoil. Because, objectively speaking, Clarke is hot. Not in a stereotypical, plasticky, Barbie doll kind of way. She's slim but curvy; she has naturally full breasts and wide hips and actual hair between her legs. As in, a decent coverage of dark blonde curls. Lexa hates herself for noticing but it's impossible to pry her eyes away because, honestly, she hasn't had sex since Costia left to go to grad school at Berkeley last fall and there's a very naked, very attractive woman being enthusiastically eaten out in front of her.

It also doesn't help that Clarke keeps making totally inappropriate eye contact with her.



*

"So how was your first day?"

Lexa looks up from the iPad, where she's been making notes about tomorrow's shooting schedule, to see Clarke approaching. Mercifully, she's fully clothed—an oversize black band t-shirt hanging off one shoulder, tight blue skinny jeans, and beat-up motorcycle boots. The purple strap of her bra is visible and Lexa's eyes stray to it for a second.

"Fine. I only feel like punching Murphy ninety percent of the time."

"He's a real charmer." There's a lull where they both just look at each other then Clarke tilts her head. “Some of us are going for drinks downtown. Wanna come?"

Lexa has a paper to write for Friday, not to mention a huge basket of laundry to get through, but the (hopeful?) smile on Clarke's face makes her hesitate. "Who's us?"

"Ray, O, her boyfriend Lincoln."

Lexa blinks. "Boyfriend."

Not an hour ago she'd witnessed Octavia going down on another woman like it was second nature.

"Just because she exclusively does girl-on-girl doesn't mean she's gay." Clarke shrugs. "Lincoln doesn't like her doing scenes with guys."

"Let me guess. It doesn't count as real sex if there isn't a penis involved." Lexa's sarcasm sounds overly aggressive, even to her own ears. She doesn't know why she's riled up. It's really none of her goddamn business.

Clarke's eyebrows shoot up. "Okay. You know what? Forget about it." She lifts her hand in a half-assed wave.

She's halfway to the door before Lexa calls out, "Wait." She shifts her stance. "That was rude of me. I don't know them or the parameters of their relationship and I shouldn't judge."

Clarke turns around and takes a few steps back towards Lexa.

"For the record, nothing we do here is real. There's no emotional connection. It's mechanical; basic stimulus and response."

Clarke moves closer still and Lexa finds herself backing up until her rear bumps against the trestle table. She grips the edge to steady herself, her eyes never leaving piercing blue ones.

"If I was fucking someone for real you'd know because I wouldn't be able to hold back. What you see me do in front of the camera isn't even a tenth of what I'm capable of."

It sounds like a promise. Or maybe a threat.

Clarke's eyes flick down to Lexa's lips then back up. There's something unreadable in her stare and it makes Lexa's palms break out in a sweat.

"See you tomorrow, rookie."

Only once the door shuts behind Clarke does Lexa let out the ragged breath she's been holding.



*

"Didn't expect to see you back," Clarke smirks at Lexa, disrobing as if it's nothing. "Thought you might bail."

Lexa concentrates super hard on keeping her gaze above Clarke's shoulders, at least until she settles into position on her hands and knees. Clarke wiggles her ass at Raven, who scoffs and adjusts the straps of the harness.

Lexa categorically doesn't look at the six inches of thick, lurid green silicone that's protruding rudely between Raven's thighs, glistening with lube, or the way that Raven's hands settle with familiarity on Clarke's hips, lining her up.

"And... action!"

The sound of the clapperboard makes Lexa flinch and she tries to ignore the uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach that accompanies it.

She can be professional about this. She can disassociate and focus on the technicalities. She can... Except that Clarke is staring right at her, biting her lip and rolling her hips backwards and Lexa suddenly thinks she might pass out.

"I need some air," she mumbles, passing the iPad to Murphy.

"What the fuck?" he hisses but she doesn't stay to hear the rest of his tirade.

She stumbles out of the studio into dazzling sunlight and slumps against a whitewashed wall. It takes a few minutes for her heart rate to plateau, for her breathing to return to normal. When it does she feels mortification set in. She can't go back in there.

She isn't sure how long she stands in the parking lot until she hears the door open.

"Hey, are you okay?"

Clarke is beside her, robe tied, arms crossed over her chest. Her brow is furrowed, mouth downturned.

Lexa nods, just the slightest lift of her chin. "I'll just be another minute."

"Lexa, maybe you should quit. You're obviously having difficulty with..." Clarke makes a vague hand gesture. "It's not for everyone."

"I'm fine."

"You're not fine. You just had, I’m guessing, a panic attack."

Lexa's jaw tenses and she stares fixedly forward. An unexpected touch to her bicep causes her to look at Clarke. She's standing so close that Lexa can feel the warmth of her body and she can't help noticing all the tiny details of her face: the beauty mark above her lip, the dimple in her chin, the clear blue of her eyes framed by thick lashes. For a second Clarke appears similarly transfixed, lips parted and eyes wide.

They're interrupted by Harper, the camera operator, poking her head out the door. "Guys, Murphy's going apeshit."

Clarke sighs. "We'll be right there."

She looks to Lexa for confirmation and Lexa gives a subtle nod before following her inside.



*

It takes Lexa a few minutes to work up the courage to knock on the dressing room door. It's more of a glorified broom closet, really, and the performers take turns getting changed in the cramped space.

She hears a muffled, "Come in."

Clarke's sitting at the mirror applying her 'civilian' makeup. When she's not working she favours a smokey eye and pale lip. She flashes a smile at Lexa and replaces the cap on her tube of lipstick, "Hey."

"Hi." Lexa shoves her hands into the back pockets of her ripped jeans. "I wanted to apologise for yesterday. You must think I'm an idiot."

"I don't. You're uncomfortable with the situation."

Clarke gets to her feet and takes Lexa's wrist, tugging her further into the room. The door shuts behind her with a click. The space seems even smaller now with Clarke standing right in front of her, near enough that Lexa could count her eyelashes (which she definitely is not doing).

"You're also hot as fuck and if we'd met under different circumstances I would've had you underneath me already," Clarke continues with a sly smile.

Lexa gapes slightly.

"Come on. I see you looking at me." Clarke lets go of Lexa's wrist and runs a hand up her arm and across her shoulder, smoothing over the soft flannel of Lexa's shirt. "I can't do anything about it because I'm under contract but two days from now? We can do whatever the hell we want to each other."

Something like a soft whimper escapes Lexa's throat and the glint in Clarke's eye turns feral. She leans closer, her lips brushing the edge of Lexa's jaw. "I can't wait to have your fingers inside me, your mouth on my tits." Clarke's voice is low, thick with desire. She's so matter-of-fact. As if it's a foregone conclusion that they're going to hook up. "I want you to fuck me so hard, so good that I won't be able to sit down for days without thinking about it."

Her words make Lexa choke out, "Jesus, Clarke."

Clarke catches her bottom lip between bright white teeth, looks at Lexa as if she’s considering something. She lets her fingers trail up Lexa's neck, tangling in the shorter hair at the nape that’s escaped from her ponytail. The touch sends chills down Lexa's spine. Reflexively, her eyelids droop.

"I shouldn't be doing this but, fuck it, you are seriously cute."

With that Clarke presses forward, her mouth connecting with Lexa’s. She tastes of peppermint gum and waxy lipstick and Lexa instantly opens up to her. Clarke's tongue dips just barely inside before retreating. It only lasts fifteen seconds tops but Lexa finds herself swaying forward after the kiss ends, the tip of her nose brushing Clarke's as she chases the contact.

"God, get out of here before I do something that gets us both into trouble," Clarke says, giving Lexa a light push.



*

“Why are you freaking out, Lex?”

They’re in Anya’s dorm room and Lexa’s wearing a hole in the carpet with her incessant pacing. Lexa doesn’t answer immediately and Anya sighs, rising from her desk chair, “Let me get the tequila."

“No. No, alcohol. I—“ Lexa stops, takes a breath to try and calm herself. “Remember I told you about this film I’m interning on?” Off Anya’s nod, she continues. “It’s, well, it’s kind of an... adult movie."

Now Anya’s interest is piqued. She sits back down, lifts one eyebrow. “A porno?"

Lexa grimaces. “Aimed at the queer female demographic, primarily, but yes.”

“With actual unsimulated sex?"

Lexa nods.

“Huh. So, like, do they—"

“Anya.” Lexa levels a glare at the other woman, growing irritated by this line of questioning. “If you’re so interested I can probably get you a DVD. The issue isn’t the work. Not entirely.” She purses her lips. “There’s a girl."

“Oh, Lexa.” It’s said in such a long-suffering way. There’s a beat of silence then, “Wait, don’t tell me it’s one of the porn stars?"

The lack of response from Lexa is damning enough.

“Lexa!” her friend almost shouts, leaping from her seat.

“I know. And I prefer the term adult entertainment performer, thank you."

“Don’t bullshit me,” Anya mutters with a shake of her head. “What’s her porn name? Can I Google her?"

“Anya, no. That’s tacky."

“Come on. I want to know what she looks like.”

Under her friend’s narrowed stare, Lexa relents. “It’s, um, Kassie Skai. K-a-s-s-i-e. S-k-a-i. Her real name’s Clarke, though.” Before she’s even finished the sentence Anya has her laptop open and fingers moving rapidly over the keyboard. She switches to the Images search tab and the window fills with photo after photo of Clarke in various eye-wateringly explicit poses and positions, some solo, some with other women. Lexa’s rubs at the back of her neck, shifting from foot to foot as she looks over Anya’s shoulder at the screen.

“Okay... she’s hot. No wonder your sweet innocent gay brain can’t cope.” A measure of relief floods through Lexa when Anya closes the lid and turns back to her, arms folded. “So what’s the problem? Is she straight? Not interested?"

“No, she made her interest pretty clear.”

“Then, what?” Slow realisation dawns in Anya’s dark eyes. She smirks. “Oh, I get it. You’re not as liberal as you think you are."

Lexa lets out an exasperated breath. “She has sex with other people for a living! I’m trying to be okay with that but… I’m just not, all right? I mean, the whole time I’m with her I'd be thinking: is she more into that girl than me? And, anyway,“ Lexa gnaws on her bottom lip for a second, "I’m worried I’d be too vanilla."

At that Anya has the gall to laugh at her. “Aren’t you getting ahead of yourself? If you really like this girl maybe you should just give it a try. See what happens. At the very least you could do with getting laid. If those pictures are anything to go by, she knows her way around a woman’s body."

Lexa sighs, scrubs a hand down her face. “Maybe."

“You know I’m right. Now scram.” Anya shoos her towards to door. "I have an essay to finish."

“Okay but just do me a favour and delete your browser history, please?"



*

A weird kind of tension settles over the set on the last day of shooting. Murphy’s more obnoxious than ever about getting the shots exactly right and Lexa has nothing but sympathy and respect for the way Harper doesn’t rise to the bait. All Lexa’s focused on is keeping Murphy caffeinated to get them all through the day relatively unscathed.

The final scene is a threeway. The women are all on the bed, kneeling upright with Octavia in the middle sandwiched between Clarke and Raven’s bodies.

Lexa watches, swallowing around a dry lump in her throat, as Raven’s kisses over Octavia’s back, moving her long hair out the way to suck at her neck while Octavia holds on to Clarke’s hips. Clarke’s hands are roaming all over Octavia’s torso, squeezing at her breasts as she mouths over the top of her chest.

It goes on like that for a while until Raven sinks a hand into Clarke’s hair and guides her head up to kiss her over Octavia’s shoulder.

It isn’t the first time Lexa has witnessed Clarke being kissed by one of her co-stars but the sight of Clarke kissing someone back and doing it so convincingly is kind of upsetting. She knows it’s fake but it makes her feel weirdly uncomfortable, more so than the actual fucking.

“Coffee refill?” she whispers to Murphy, just to give herself something to do that doesn’t involve staring at Clarke with her tongue in another person’s mouth.

If it takes her longer to return with his coffee than normal, Murphy doesn’t comment.

They’ve changed positions now; Raven lying on her back with Octavia riding her face and fondling her own breasts. Meanwhile, Clarke’s kneeling between Raven’s wide-spread legs and using her fingers. Honestly, Lexa doesn’t know where to look but at least she can’t see Clarke’s face any more from this angle. The noises, though... The moaning and gasping are exaggerated for the camera, of course, but the slap of skin on skin, the wet suction of tongue and squelch of fingers are authentic enough. She’d thought after four days of this she’d be inured to it but it still makes Lexa's ears burn.

Five minutes later and Murphy has them switch positions again. And, God, now Clarke’s the one being eaten out in Lexa’s direct line of sight, Octavia’s mouth on her while Raven takes the other from behind. This time Lexa can’t force herself to look away because Clarke’s hooded blue eyes are gazing right at her.

There’s an extended moment while they hold each other’s stare as Clarke’s hips rock, as she kneads and pinches desperately at her own tits. All the while maintaining eye contact with Lexa.

Then it happens.

Clarke’s mouth drops open and she slams her eyes shut as she shudders and bucks and lets out the longest, most obscene groan Lexa’s ever heard. Beside her, she’s dimly aware of Murphy shouting something at Harper about “the money shot.”

After that Lexa sort of zones out.



*

She’s firing off a few emails to the production company—boring admin concerning timesheets and invoices for equipment—when she hears a raspy voice close to her ear.

“Hey, rookie. You coming to the wrap party? It’s a free bar."

To her credit, Lexa doesn’t jump. She turns and her eyes widen when she sees what Clarke’s wearing. Freshly showered, she's foregone her usual rock chick getup for an electric blue midi dress with cami straps and a plunging neckline. The fabric clings to her snugly, emphasising the dips and curves of her body. Lexa isn’t going to pretend that Clarke’s cleavage doesn’t look spectacular. In fact, the whole look—blonde hair swept up into a messy up-do with loose tendrils falling around her jaw—is giving Lexa heart palpitations.

She blinks slowly. Gulps. “Oh, I wasn’t planning on it."

There’s a flash of disappointment on Clarke’s face but she masks it with a smile.

“Shame. Guess I’ll see you around then."

Except that Lexa’s made a personal vow never to work on a porn movie again so, no, they won’t be seeing each other in a professional capacity. She watches Clarke walk away and realises that this opportunity is rapidly slipping out of her grasp. “I could go for one drink,” Lexa blurts and she could slap herself for how little chill she has.

Clarke approaches, heels clicking against the concrete floor. She’s smirking now and standing far too close for Lexa’s sanity, her perfume wrapping around them in a pleasant haze of cedarwood and vanilla.

“I think I’m a little underdressed though,” Lexa says.

She glances down dubiously at her grey henley, faded black jeans and sneakers.

“You look good,” Clarke says, giving her an unsubtle once-over. When her eyes drift back up Lexa sees how dark they are and it makes her mouth go dry. “So good I couldn’t stop looking at you all day."

Lexa wets her lips and she doesn’t miss the way Clarke’s gaze follows the movement. She isn’t sure what prompts her to ask this beyond some kind of masochistic streak but, “That last scene. When you—did you… because of…?"

Clarke lets out this husky little laugh that sounds so dirty.

“If I say yes will you think any less of me?” She reaches out to fiddle with one of the open buttons on Lexa’s shirt. She looks up at Lexa through thick lashes. “Yeah, that was all you."

Lexa sucks in a breath and goes for broke. “Do you want to, maybe, skip the wrap party?"



*

They drive over to Clarke’s place in her old Ford Mustang. (“Raven’s helping me restore it. She’s just as handy with a wrench as she is with a dildo.”)

It's mostly silent except for the radio turned down low and tuned into an alternative rock station.

A current of nervous tension runs between them and it’s making Lexa antsy. She surreptitiously wipes her clammy palms against the thighs of her jeans and glances at Clarke out the corner of her eye. The blonde has both hands on the steering wheel, one at the ten o’clock position, the other at six where her thumb picks at the black leather wheel cover, now and then moving to the stick shift to change gears.

Lexa doesn’t know why but watching Clarke drive a muscle car is really turning her on.

Soon enough they arrive at Clarke’s apartment. It’s in a four storey walk-up in a gentrified neighbourhood not far from the university campus, across the street from a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria and a laundromat. There’s a certain kind of offbeat charm to the hallway interior, with its worn wooden bannisters and drab olive paint.

“So this is home,” Clarke says once they reach the top floor and she lets Lexa in.

The apartment is small but airy and open plan—bijou, a realtor might say—all white walls and stripped back floorboards. There’s an easel set up in front of the large bay window and several half-finished canvases leaning against one wall. They look to be landscapes, mostly, and a few highly stylised portraits.

“Are these yours?” Lexa asks, indicating towards one of the paintings. The woman in the painting resembles Octavia but it’s difficult to tell without closer inspection.

“Yep. I’m in art school.” Clarke saunters over to the coffee table and drops her keys into a bowl. "Porn pays for my tuition."

It shouldn’t make Lexa feel marginally better about all this but it does. She knows next to nothing about art but she offers, “You’re really talented."

“Thanks,” Clarke drawls, walking back across the room until she’s standing in front of Lexa, “But I didn’t invite you here to show you my etchings."

Without another word, she grabs a fistful of Lexa’s henley and yanks her forward. Their mouths collide in a mash of lips and teeth. The second Clarke’s tongue slides alongside her own it’s like Lexa comes alive. She backs Clarke up against the nearest wall, bolstered by the surprised huff the other woman lets out. There are hands in Lexa's hair, pulling out her ponytail and slipping through the loosened waves, fingers trailing over her neck, making the lower half of her body liquid with that simple touch. Lexa kisses Clarke until every last smear of lipstick is gone, until her lips are plump and wet.

“Undress me,” Clarke whispers against Lexa’s mouth.

Lexa just nods because she doesn’t trust her voice not to crack. Her hands seek out the hem of Clarke’s dress, tugging it up, up until its bunched around her hips. She skims over the curve of Clarke’s hips, dips under the low rise waistband of her thong. She feels the little breath that Clarke sucks in in anticipation when Lexa hooks her fingers around lacy cotton and pulls. They separate for Clarke to step out of her underwear, for Lexa to help her out of her dress.

Seeing her bare makes Lexa’s hands shake, creates a twisting knot of arousal in the pit of her stomach. For four days she’s tried to avoid looking at Clarke’s body as much as possible because she didn’t want to be an objectifying creep—you failed miserably, she tells herself. Now Lexa’s struggling to take it all in, paralysed by indecision over what she wants to touch and taste first.

It’s Clarke who steps up and closes the gap between them again, pulling Lexa into a kiss that she meets with equal heat. It’s all tongue and saliva and it’s possibly, definitely the filthiest kiss Lexa’s ever been a part of. Costia (and there’s enough time and distance and magnanimity between them now that Lexa only ever thinks of her fondly) never attacked her mouth like an animal.

“I wanna see you too,” Clarke says. She unbuckles Lexa’s belt, unfastens her jeans, slips a hand inside to cup Lexa through her boy shorts. Lexa knows by the sharp inhale, by the way Clarke sucks greedily on her lip, that she’s soaked right through. “You’re so fucking sexy. Like, do you know how distracting you are? With your button-up flannels tucked into those tight-ass jeans. That day you wore glasses instead of contacts. Fuck."

Lexa doesn’t know what to say, this coming from a bombshell like Clarke. It’s all kind of news to her. (Well, one time when they were drunk Anya told her she was passably cute—which, coming from Anya, translates as being a 7, maybe 8 out of 10—but not worth jeopardising their friendship for.) So she’s kind of amazed that Clarke’s so into her.

She gets stripped down pretty quickly after that. Somehow they find their way to the bedroom, clattering into a couple of pieces of furniture on the way. Those minor mishaps have Clarke laughing huskily into Lexa’s mouth and something about that makes warmth spread within her chest. They topple onto the bed and Clarke wastes no time in mounting Lexa’s thighs.

There’s an expression on her face that’s indecipherable. Her eyes are dark and engorged with want but there’s something else Lexa can’t pinpoint. It’s gone before she has time to analyse it, before Clarke kissing her again, parting her lips and sliding her tongue into her mouth like that space is its natural home. Her hands are on Lexa’s body, groping and squeezing and kneading at every bit of skin she can reach. It’s a little rough, almost possessive, and it’s making Lexa wetter by the second.

(And she doesn’t want to think what all of this says about her sexual politics. Indra, her Women’s Studies professor, would be horrified.)

She almost whines when Clarke abandons her lips but then that hot mouth starts kissing her throat, nipping and lightly biting down the column of her neck, moving to lick along the ridges of her collarbones. Lexa’s chest is rising and falling rapidly by the time Clarke reaches her breasts. They’re small, compared to the other woman’s, but Clarke seems to really, really like them because she spends a good few minutes lavishing them with attention, kissing and licking and sucking until Lexa’s hips are squirming against the sheets. Every time Clarke’s mouth closes around her nipple Lexa feels this powerful answering ache in her groin. She starts to wonder if it’s possible for her to climax from someone working on her boobs alone. If anyone could do that, it’s probably Clarke. She’s probably, like, the Yoda of sex.

She loses that thread of thought when she realises Clarke’s talking to her.

“You okay? You kind of spaced out there."

Lexa blinks, gives a shallow nod. “I’m great,” she manages to say and, holy hell, her voice sounds so breathy and high that she doesn’t even recognise it.

She watches as Clarke snares her bottom lip between her teeth and shuffles further down the bed on her knees. Puts a hand on each of Lexa’s knees and pushes them up and apart, spreading her open. The look on Clarke’s face when her eyes drop between Lexa’s legs almost stops her heart. She doesn’t really have anything to compare it to because Costia always insisted on having the lights off but, if she had to take a guess, pure concentrated lust sums it up. Whatever it is, it makes her entirely forget about how exposed she is in this position.

The first swipe of Clarke’s tongue makes Lexa’s head thud against the pillows. A few more licks and her eyes are rolling back. “Fuck. Lexa, you taste so good.”

And, God, Clarke doesn’t beat around the bush. She dives right in, runs her tongue along the length of Lexa’s slit, back and forth over her folds and around her opening. She licks into Lexa, working her tongue deep, stroking the front wall of her cunt and dragging as much of Lexa’s wetness into her mouth as she can. All Lexa can do is open her legs wider and let Clarke drink her up.

Soon Lexa’s hips are circling, grinding into Clarke’s face while her abdominal muscles flutter like crazy. She shivers and whimpers and there are actual tears leaking from her eyes because she’s never had it so good. (Honestly, who knew?) There’s this half a moment when Clarke lifts her mouth off her to drag some errant strands of hair away from her face and it makes Lexa want to cry out, don’t fucking stop, but the words are lodged in her throat. Instead, she releases her tight hold on the bedsheets and sinks her hands into Clarke’s hair to urge her back down. Their eyes meet over the expanse of Lexa’s torso and Clarke hums her approval into her, the vibration rippling through Lexa's body.

From there Clarke starts fucking her in earnest and Lexa really has to commend the other woman for her reach and stamina and lung capacity. Not once does she come up for air.

It doesn’t take long for Lexa to feel the onslaught of an impending orgasm. The pressure builds and builds like a skyscraper. And Clarke must sense it in the now focused rocking of Lexa’s hips, how she pushes against Clarke’s tongue in a very specific way. Clarke’s thumb finds her clit, drawing back the hood to press down directly on the swollen tip. Inside her, Clarke’s tongue laps at her just right, at exactly the right moment while she rubs tight circles over Lexa’s clit. It’s the combination of the two that sends Lexa barrelling over the edge.

Her whole body locks, spine arched, head tipped back, mouth open, hands fisting in blonde hair, and Clarke doesn’t let up for a second, even as Lexa begins to shake and convulse around her. At first, she doesn’t make a sound but when Clarke starts moving her tongue again, sliding in deep then going shallow, over and over, it wrenches a broken wail from Lexa. She’s never been very vocal during sex but now she can’t seem to stem the flow of gasping moans as she comes, wave after wave of pleasure crashing over her body.

She hears a faint gasp, quickly followed by a groan muffled against her skin, feels the sudden, disappointing absence of heat when Clarke finally withdraws. The disappointment is short-lived, though, because Clarke’s mouth is back on her, cleaning up the slick mess between Lexa’s thighs. She’s sensitive but it feels good and Clarke is so thorough that Lexa feels herself growing aroused again quickly.

“Mmm, I could eat you out all night,” Clarke sighs. She drags her tongue from Lexa’s entrance up to her clit, making her hips jolt sharply. “As a connoisseur, trust me when I say your pussy is amazing. You came so hard for me. It was beautiful."

The compliment makes Lexa’s cheeks flush, more embarrassed by the crude sincerity of Clarke’s words than she is by the vulnerable position she’s in or the enormous damp patch she can feel under her butt. She doesn’t know what to say so she tugs Clarke up, tries to ignore the heavy feeling in her chest as she watches Clarke crawl up her body wearing a lopsided smile, lips and cheeks and chin shiny with Lexa’s wetness. She doesn’t even wipe her face before she kisses Lexa, sloppy and deep and full of need. The taste of herself in Clarke’s mouth makes Lexa whimper and, she has to agree, it isn’t half bad.

They get lost in kissing each other for long minutes. Lexa’s hands grow restless, sliding over Clarke’s shoulders, following the notches of her spine, trailing down, down until her palms curve over the swell of Clarke’s rear. Emboldened, Lexa grabs Clarke's ass to pull her flush against her body. With a moan, Clarke presses her into the sheets, their bodies in full skin-to-skin contact from hips to ribs to breasts. Lexa explores, fingers roaming down Clarke’s sides, curving over hipbones, stroking the backs of thighs. Her skin feels incredible under Lexa’s hands, as soft and smooth as satin, and she wants more.

Breaking off the kiss Clarke shifts, rearranging her limbs until she’s straddling Lexa’s stomach, one hand braced on Lexa’s sternum, the other reaching behind to grip her thigh. This time it’s Lexa who moans when she feels the wet slide of Clarke’s cunt against her skin, again when Clarke starts rolling her hips back and forth, slicking her up, riding her like a damn pony. Blue eyes bore down on her, a heavy-lidded look that sets Lexa’s skin ablaze and it’s too much. She reaches for Clarke, grabbing the sides of her neck and bringing their mouths together again for another hot, open-mouthed kiss.

It’s too much, the way Clarke’s grinding on Lexa; how their breasts rub together, hard nipples dragging; how Clarke’s weight on top of her feels so perfect and Lexa can’t think of anything except Clarke, Clarke, Clarke.

She squeezes a hand between their tightly-pressed bodies, skating down the very slight curvature of Clarke’s stomach, dipping lower still into slick warmth. Clarke exhales roughly against her mouth. “Go inside.” She sucks on Lexa’s bottom lip. “Please."

Lexa doesn’t need to be asked twice.



*

Nothing in Lexa's previous sexual experience has prepared her for this, the fact that Clarke is a talker.

It’s a constant litany of “Fuck, yeah, just like that” and “Harder, oh God, right there” and a hundred variations on that theme of positive reinforcement until Clarke announces (probably loud enough for the neighbours to hear) that “Lexa, I’m gonna—oh fuck, I’m coming. Oh fuck. Fuck."

Even as she’s winding down from her orgasm Clarke isn’t quiet, murmuring about all the wonderful qualities of Lexa’s fingers, how nice and long they are, how deep they go.

And Lexa’s face is burning. How could it not be? But at the same time she’s painfully turned on because, apparently, she has a praise kink she hasn’t been aware of until now.



*

By the time it’s dark outside Lexa thinks she’s lost count of how many times they’ve made each other come.

(Actually, she hasn’t. Clarke: three times; Lexa: seven. But Clarke’s a professional so Lexa doesn’t feel bad about the inequity.)

They haven’t moved from the bed for hours. The sheets are rumpled. The room reeks of sex. Lexa’s flat on her back and she can’t really feel her legs thanks to that last orgasm. Propped up on one elbow Clarke’s studying her, bottom lip caught between her teeth. With her free hand, she’s tracing the tattoo that spans Lexa’s right arm.

“Does this mean anything?” Clarke asks. A blunt fingernail follows the shape of the top section.

“Not really. It came down to a choice between that and a labrys. I wanted a design that looked vaguely gay. My dad would’ve killed me if I got, like, a naked woman or something."

Clarke’s lips pull into a smirk. “Imagine if you got one of me. These titties deserve to be immortalised in a tattoo, don’t you think?"

Lexa looks at her askance. Her first thought is, why would I do that? Rapidly superseded by, oh, yes, yes they do.

The other woman’s smile widens, clearly taken with this idea of hers.

“Not on your arm, though.” She lets her fingers wander down Lexa’s navel. “Maybe here or…” She touches the inside of Lexa’s thigh. “Here."

Lexa captures that wandering hand before it roves any higher. Their fingers kind of twine together and it feels natural, intimate, veering into dangerous territory. They watch each other for a moment and the silence takes on a heaviness that makes Lexa’s stomach knot.

“I was thinking... maybe we could do this again sometime?” Lexa says, trying for nonchalance and she hates that it comes out a little timid and uncertain.

Clarke’s smile wavers but she doesn’t let go of Lexa’s hand. “Relationships are kind of a no-go area for me. Sort of comes with the job. People inevitably get weird and defensive about it."

“I just meant sex, Clarke.” Lexa feigns an eye roll. "Not that I want to be your girlfriend or anything."

“Right. Obviously.” Blue eyes track over Lexa’s face. “So, fuck buddies? I guess we could do that. I don’t have any projects lined up for a couple of months."

Lexa ignores the voice in her head—the one that sounds flat and judgemental like Anya—that tells her that in a whole evening of terrible ideas, this is by far the worst.



*

She doesn’t expect the parting kiss that Clarke gives her before she leaves the apartment. It’s long and languorous and not exactly the kind of kiss to send off a casual hook-up partner. Lexa doesn’t complain at all.

She’s still thinking of it as she makes the walk of shame back to campus, thinking of the pleasant ache in her thighs and abdomen and how her underwear is chafing against tender skin.

(Anya’s going to drag her so hard for walking like John Wayne.)

She also doesn’t expect to receive a text from Clarke so soon. She swipes the lock screen to view it and stops walking abruptly when she sees the image attachment. It’s a nude.

Clarke: In case you need a reference for your new ink. ;)

Lexa nearly drops her phone.

Chapter Text

Naturally, Lexa’s first port of call is Anya.

She knocks until she hears shuffling movement from inside the room, the thud of something heavy being knocked over, followed by a string of muffled curses. After a minute the door opens a crack, just enough for one baleful eye to glare back at her. “Lexa, what the fucking fuck? It’s the middle of the night, you asshole.”

“It’s 7.15am."

“My point stands,” Anya grits out.

The door falls further open, revealing her in a sleep-rumpled Frozen t-shirt and black yoga pants, a deep scowl etched on her face. Between the Disney shirt and a severe case of bed head, it’s difficult to take her ire seriously but Lexa manages to school her expression to one of neutrality.

"There better be a fucking good reason for this and I mean some end-of-the-world bad shit going down. Like an alien invasion, or nuclear apocalypse, or the divorce of Ellen and Portia."

“Can’t I just come by to bask in your sunny disposition?"

Dark eyes narrow, taking on a suspicious glint as they study Lexa for an interminably long moment. She tries not to wilt under the intense scrutiny.

“Okay, I’m going to let that weak sarcasm slide because a) what is up with your face? and, b) why do you look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards?” It takes only a second for the penny to drop. "Did—oh my God—did you get laid?"

Lexa's lip bite must communicate enough.

Anya sticks her head out the doorway, peering up and down the deserted hall. She grabs Lexa by the wrist to yank her into the room. It happens so quickly Lexa doesn’t even have time to object to the rough handling.

Once the door is shut Anya stoops to retrieve two history textbooks—the source of the thud, most likely—and places them on the nightstand by her bed. She perches on the edge of the desk, arms crossed, foot tapping against the carpet as she levels an expectant stare at Lexa.

“Well?"

Wringing her hands together, Lexa launches into a full blow-by-blow account: about skipping the wrap party, about the ride to Clarke’s place, that Clarke’s an art major, that it was the most mind-blowing sex of her life and it went on all freaking night until the sun came up. That they exchanged numbers. That Clarke sent her a photo of her boobs not five minutes after Lexa left.

“Show me.” Off Lexa’s frown, Anya rolls her eyes so hard she’s in danger of giving herself an aneurysm. “I’ve already seen her cooch and a whole lot more on the internet, remember? Don’t hold out on me, Woods. All I do is study and RA. At this point, I’m living vicariously through you and I hate myself for admitting that."

Still, Lexa refuses to hand over her phone. She isn’t sure why she feels so protective of the image. Maybe because it’s Clarke, not Kassie Skai, not the actress with hundreds of explicit photos of herself in the public domain. It’s private, something just between the two of them, and it would feel like a violation of trust to share it with anyone else without Clarke’s permission.

Anya heaves a sigh, like Lexa withholding a nude is the most egregious thing that’s ever happened to her.

“Fine. Whatever. Take the moral high ground.” She points a finger at Lexa. “But you're buying me breakfast."



*

They end up at Grounders, their favourite coffee shop off-campus, a cosy little place with exposed brickwork, comfy old leather couches, and a constant rotation of acoustic rock on the stereo. Sometimes the owner, Gus, gives them free pastries. By the time Anya’s inhaled a complimentary croissant and a large caramel macchiato, she seems marginally less grumpy.

“Are you going to see her again?”

Lexa takes a sip of her own black coffee and winces at the strength of it. Ordinarily, she’s a green tea kind of girl but the ill effects of staying up all night are fast catching up with her. She feels almost drunk with fatigue, eyeballs hot and itchy, lashes heavy with clumpy, day-old mascara. The coffee gives her a much-needed jolt of alertness, even if it tastes like pure gasoline.

“I want to. I think she does, too.”

She puts the cup down, props her chin on her hand as she gazes out the window at the passing traffic and pedestrians hurrying through a rain shower. She zones out for the span of a few seconds before turning her attention back to her friend, watching as Anya tips another sachet of sugar into her second cup of coffee and stirs it with a spoon.

“Last night was, like, a transformative experience. And before you accuse me of being overly dramatic, I know."

Anya pretends to wipe a tear away. “Aww, my little Lex and her sexual awakening."

Anya.”

A mother and infant are seated at a nearby table and Lexa glances meaningfully towards them. Thankfully, the woman seems otherwise occupied by wiping the drool off the little boy’s chin with a napkin.

Anya at least has the manners to lower her voice when she asks, “So what’s the deal, then? Is it an exclusive thing?"

Lexa hesitates. Somehow she and Clarke hadn’t actually gotten around to discussing the particulars of their arrangement. Had her higher brain function not been compromised by all the orgasms, she might've prepared a checklist of questions.

“I mean, we basically agreed to be friends with benefits. Do people normally have more than one of those?”

“You’re acting as if I have any special insight into this stuff. Need I remind you that I haven’t gotten laid since spring break. In fact, pretty sure that if I opened my legs right now a colony of bats would fly out."

And, of course, that’s the moment the woman at the other table tunes into their conversation, mouth twisting into a moue of distaste. Her son gurgles and grins, happily slamming his little fist against the table of his highchair, and Lexa’s grateful that the commotion diverts his mother’s attention back to him.

“Listen, I’m all for you getting some on the regular but you should be aware of what you’re getting into with this girl.” Anya punctuates this with a big slurp of her coffee. “Because, real talk, I don’t want you to come crying to me in a month’s time when your extra gay ass has gone and rented a U-Haul and put down a deposit on two pedigree cats named Xena and Gabrielle for nothing. So, talk to her, please. For my sanity as well as your own.”

“And you say I’m prone to hyperbole.” Lexa purses her lips. “Yes, fine. I’ll talk to her."

She suspects Clarke’s more of a dog person anyway.



*

Before they part ways Anya only makes one crack about Lexa’s conspicuously bow-legged gait: “Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask... Where’d you corral your horse, cowgirl?”



*

For days afterwards Lexa quietly deliberates over whether she should make contact first or wait to hear from Clarke. She’s lost count of the number of times she’s started to compose a text only to hastily delete it. She hasn’t even acknowledged Clarke's nude. Because, really, what’s she supposed to say? Thank you? Was it an invitation to send one of her own? Not that she would. Ever.

(And so what if she's made a habit of sneaking glances at it when she’s alone? So what if she's masturbated over it once or twice or maybe five times this week while her roommate was in the shower? It doesn’t mean anything except that Lexa’s very gay and very appreciative of Clarke’s exceptional rack.)



*

It’s while she’s in the library—surrounded by a few hefty anthologies of feminist critique and approximately two thousand words into a paper on Madonna’s pivotal role in dismantling the heterosexist patriarchy within the music industry—that she receives a text notification.

At first, she ignores it; it’s probably Anya dragging her again.

(For a grown woman her friend’s getting far too much mileage out of referring to her as Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, and a whole array of other obscure but notable women from the Old West era that Lexa had to Google. Most of whom were actually pretty badass so it’s not as if she’s offended. Still. The funny walk only lasted a day, at most, and she would very much like for Anya to stop sending her horse emojis.)

Besides, she’s on a roll writing about the cultural impact of Papa Don’t Preach in generating national discourse around the issue of teenage pregnancy during the Reagan administration. Not to brag but it’s probably some of her best work. If Indra doesn’t award her an A for this, Lexa’s going to have a few choice words to say about it in the student evaluation of teaching questionnaire at the end of the semester.

A few minutes later her phone vibrates once more, earning a withering glare from the guy with a man bun sitting two chairs away. She caves and spares a glance at the lock screen. There are two messages, both from Clarke, and she nearly sends her phone skittering across the table in her haste to pick it up.

The first text is succinct: wanna come over?

That alone makes her stomach swoop but it’s the second one that has her choking on air. Man Bun tuts at her. Mouthing an apology and packing up her things in record time, she hurries to the bathroom for privacy. Only once she’s inside a cubicle does she dare to open the full-sized image attached to the message. Because holy shit on a stick.

It’s another nude. In this one Clarke’s lying on her back, the shot angled down the length of her body. Her legs are bent at the knee and spread wide enough to leave no mistake about where her fingers are buried. A caption accompanies the photo: an incentive for you ;)

As if Lexa needs one.

She blinks rapidly down at the screen, presses her lips together until she’s sure she won’t make an undignified noise. Several minutes pass before she feels collected enough to tap out her reply: I'll be there in an hour. Text me your address.



*

That's how Lexa finds herself on the stoop outside Clarke’s building, watching the Lyft pull away from the curb. She reaches for the button labelled 4B on the door entry system, a distilled combination of apprehension and anticipation gnawing at her insides. She tugs at her blazer, smooths a hand over her ponytail while she waits.

Clarke’s disembodied voice crackles over the speaker. “Hello?"

“Hi, it’s me. Lexa."

The lock disengages immediately and Lexa takes the stairs two at a time, slowing her pace for the final flight. When she reaches the fourth floor Clarke’s already waiting, leaning against the doorjamb with her arms folded. A slight smile plays around her lips, eyes bright as they rake over Lexa.

“Hey, hot stuff.” The low rasp of Clarke's voice, the pet name that Lexa fails to convince herself she dislikes, makes Lexa’s skin prickle with heat. “Kinda wish I’d made more of an effort now."

Clarke moves aside to allow Lexa to pass but not far enough to avoid a boob graze.

“You look nice,” Lexa says.

That's an understatement, they both know it; Clarke looks sexy as fuck in a black singlet and dark jeans, hair piled up in a messy bun, but Lexa’s trying to be subtle about it. Trying and failing because the low cut of Clarke's top draws her stare. When she eventually manages to pry her eyes away she notices the burgeoning smirk on Clarke’s face and flushes.

“Flatterer. But I’ll take the compliment.”

Mouth gone dry, Lexa watches as Clarke approaches with slow deliberation until she’s all up in her personal space. This close, it’s impossible not to let her gaze wander over the creamy tops of Clarke’s breasts again.

Clarke touches the lapels of Lexa’s blazer, looks up from under dark lashes and, God, her pupils are already huge. “You want a drink? I have beer, wine, bourbon, tequila, vodka…"

“Beer. Please."

Clarke taps at Lexa's sternum. Gives her a gentle little shove towards the living room. “Grab a seat. I’ll bring it over."

Once Clarke turns away to pad barefoot over to the kitchen, Lexa takes a deep breath in an attempt to pull herself together. She goes to the couch, rearranges herself four or five times, crossing and uncrossing her legs before Clarke returns with two ice-cold bottles of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Clarke takes the spot beside her, one arm draped along the back of the couch, right leg tucked under herself, knee just barely brushing against the side of Lexa’s denim-clad thigh.

Lexa takes a swig of beer, aware that she’s being observed. She cradles the bottle in both hands, thumb wiping away a bead of condensation that runs down the neck.

“Am I making you nervous?” Clarke asks, a teasing lilt to her voice when the silence stretches on too long. “You seem tense."

“No, it’s—" Lexa licks at her bottom lip. “There’s something I want to talk about before, um,” she falters slightly when she sees that Clarke’s stare is rooted upon her mouth, “before we go any further.”

Clarke shifts against the cushions, sitting up a little straighter as she waits for Lexa to continue.

Lexa clears her throat. “I haven’t done anything like this before. Occasional casual sex with someone, I mean.” The tips of her ears, her cheeks, the back of her neck are burning. She swallows down her unease and barrels on, “We should probably discuss our expectations about how it’s going to work. To avoid any misunderstandings or confusion or..."

She trails off at the touch of Clarke’s hand to her shoulder.

“Lexa, I think I can guess where you’re going with this. It isn’t my first rodeo.” (And curse Anya that Lexa immediately thinks of her.) "You wanna know if I’m hooking up with other people, right?"

Lexa gives a shallow nod. She watches as the other woman leans forward to place her beer on the dark wood coffee table. If Lexa finds herself staring at Clarke's cleavage again it's because she's helpless to avoid it. Clarke's breasts are just so there and Lexa's weak. Her eyes only snap up when Clarke takes the bottle from her, too.

All traces of suggestiveness are gone, blue eyes turning serious as Clarke angles herself more fully towards Lexa. "Okay, full disclosure: in the past, I might've been into, you know, fucking a lot of different people. It was a process. To explore my sexuality, to find out who and what I like. But now? I don’t want or need a complicated sex life outside of work. Been there, done that, don't miss the drama." She holds Lexa’s gaze. “Do you trust me on that?"

Lexa searches Clarke's expression. She can’t explain it, considering they scarcely know anything about one another beyond what their orgasm faces look like, but she believes Clarke. After a few beats, she says quietly, “I do trust you, Clarke."

The answering smile Clarke gives is small, relieved. “Is there anything else you’re curious about?”

She reaches for Lexa’s hand, thumb sweeping over the knuckles then rubbing along the fine bones of her fingers, drawing irregular shapes on the open palm. It makes Lexa restless for Clarke to be touching her elsewhere.

Lexa shakes her head, no, although she has a million questions clamouring on her tongue. There's probably a lot more they ought to discuss but the way Clarke’s playing with her fingers, the proximity of her, that tiny freckle above her lip, is all too distracting.

“Good,” Clarke says, voice dropping an octave. She shifts closer until she’s pressed up against Lexa’s side. Her breath fans out softly across Lexa’s mouth as she leans in. “Because I really wanna get to the part where we’re naked."



*

As soon as the bedroom door is closed Clarke has Lexa shoved up against it. She isn’t gentle as she seeks out Lexa’s mouth and puts her hands on her body. It has Lexa wondering if Clarke’s been thinking about this as much as she has. Lexa’s hardly thought of anything else. It’s been one continuous loop of images of Clarke flashing across her mind; the toe-curling intensity of her stare as she looked up at Lexa from between her legs; the perfect bow of Clarke's back as she shook through orgasm; the lazy, sated smile on her face that made Lexa’s ribs feel tight; the unexpectedly slow, soft hunger of their morning-after kiss.

Clarke’s lips latch onto her throat, drawing Lexa out of her haze. She pushes the blazer from Lexa’s shoulders, busies herself with untucking Lexa’s button-down to get her hands on the skin underneath. Warm fingers press over the indentations of Lexa's ribs, skirt along the underwire of her bra, as Clarke plants quick, open-mouthed kisses down the side of her neck.

“You smell amazing,” Clarke mumbles against her skin. “What is that? Perfume?"

“Shower gel. Chamomile and jojoba oil.” Lexa tilts her head to allow easier access, loosening a small moan when Clarke starts sucking at the tender spot beneath her ear. “It’s organic."

“Mm. I like it.”

The button-down and Clarke’s singlet are next to go, quickly followed by their bras. Clarke doesn’t hesitate to press forward, to mould her body to Lexa's. The graze of pebbled nipples, the pliant warmth of Clarke’s stomach and breasts against her own draws another, shakier moan from Lexa. Their mouths clash again in a heated kiss, a wet slide of tongues. They grope blindly for one another’s belts, fumbling with buckles and the buttons on jeans, impatient in their rush to push tight denim down hips and thighs. They part long enough for Lexa to remove her shoes and socks, for them both to peel their jeans off the rest of the way.

They kiss, deep and hot and dirty, until Lexa’s jaw aches and her lungs burn, until her lips are tingling. When Clarke pulls away there’s a pretty dusting of pink high on her cheeks and her pupils are blown wide. Her gaze drifts down over Lexa’s torso and her hands follow soon after, roaming over the curves of Lexa's breasts, rolling against the hardened tips of her nipples.

“God, Lexa,” Clarke mutters, half under her breath. “Why are you so fucking hot? Like, I can’t deal."

Lexa doesn’t quite know how to respond to that; not that she’s capable of saying much of anything when Clarke’s mouth closes around one stiff peak, while fingers pinch and pluck at the other. For a while, Lexa loses herself in the sensation of Clarke’s tongue and lips against her skin, the soft licks and bites scattered across her chest, her clavicles, the undersides of her breasts. Every inch of her is inflamed by Clarke’s touch, nerve endings flaring with each tug on her nipples.

She’s so into it that she can’t quiet the whine of disappointment when Clarke takes her mouth away. But any protest dies on her lips the moment Clarke sinks to her knees, blue eyes locked on wide green the whole time.

“You know the first thing I noticed about you? Your legs.” Clarke's mouth ticks up at the corner, as if she’s reliving the memory. “I saw you on set, this gorgeous, pissed-off-looking girl, with fucking legs for days, and I just wanted them wide open for me.”

Lexa has to put a hand on the doorknob to brace herself because Jesus, the things Clarke says.

Clarke's palms follow the slim contours of Lexa’s calves, rounding her kneecaps, splaying over the expanse of her thighs, and Lexa’s so glad she opted for the glittery moisturiser after shaving this morning because her legs do look kind of fantastic.

A soft, wanting noise alerts her to the fact that Clarke’s eyes are now fastened on the damp crotch of her boy shorts.

“I—,“ Lexa begins but she doesn’t get to finish that sentence before there’s heat, the sudden, startling heat of Clarke’s mouth on her. They both groan. Lexa’s head tips back as Clarke’s tongue drags over soaked cotton. She grips the doorknob harder, her other hand sinking into blonde hair.

Clarke licks at the length of her in one flat, broad swipe, draws a weaving pattern back down her covered slit, and it drives Lexa crazy, hips rolling forward to chase the movement. When she looks down she sees Clarke smiling against her, tongue set against the visible outline of her labia and it forces a feeble, breathless, “Clarke” from her.

The tip of Clarke’s tongue circles over Lexa’s clit through the barrier of her underwear and, while the friction feels good, it'd be a whole lot better to have Clarke’s mouth on her directly. Still, Clarke laps at her, prods at her entrance, and Lexa’s fingers tighten around the doorknob, knuckles turning white.

“Take them off,” she says after enduring a few torturous minutes of this, voice high and reedy, and she’s too far gone to care about the pleading edge to it.

Clarke hums against her, fingers hooking under the waistband of the shorts. She lifts her mouth off Lexa to peel the fabric down the full length of Lexa’s legs, to let her hungry gaze settle on Lexa’s cunt.

“Spread your legs.”

The request, the husky rasp of it, sends a low thrill through Lexa. She complies, planting her feet further apart. Clarke draws her bottom lip between her teeth, hooded eyes following the strip of neat curls down, down. Clarke wastes no time in leaning in. She leaves a blazing trail of kisses up the inside of Lexa’s thighs, sucks and nips at the tender skin there as her hands round Lexa’s ass and squeeze.

By now Lexa’s clinging to the door as if her life depends upon it. Her hips rock down, humping at nothing but air. “Clarke—" She breaks off sharply when Clarke’s mouth fastens on her.

Finally.

A thud echoes around the room as Lexa's head hits the door but the sharp, fleeting pain of it barely registers.

Clarke’s oblivious, eyes shut and moaning, like she’s famished and tucking into the most delicious feast of her life. She traces Lexa’s folds, dips low to circle her opening, ploughs up through the wetness to swipe at the swell of Lexa's clit. When Clarke licks into her Lexa’s knees buckle slightly. Strong hands find her hips, holding her steady. The feeling of Clarke’s tongue, hot and wet and perfect inside her, has tension coiling tight at the base of Lexa’s spine. She tries to move her hips, tries to find some pressure, but Clarke has her pinned to the hard surface of the door, completely at her mercy.

Lexa’s nails rake against Clarke’s scalp, a not-so-gentle direction. Blue eyes flutter open and Lexa feels herself unravelling as much by Clarke’s stare as by her lips and tongue. The heat of it sears through Lexa, leaves her panting and shaking. She’s close, so close, and if she could just get—

All it takes is Clarke’s lips wrapping around her clit, a little slow suction, a precise one-two flick of Clarke’s tongue, and Lexa goes off like a rocket. Her fingers tangle in blonde hair, body seizing as her walls flutter and clench around nothing. Half a second later everything comes crashing down. She shudders and jerks and grinds her hips frantically into Clarke’s face until she comes with a strangled gasp.

Through it all Clarke doesn’t take her tongue off Lexa’s clit. She keeps running lazy circles around it, receding from the too-sensitive tip, until even that becomes too much and Lexa has to push gently at her shoulders. But, God, once she gets a look at Clarke—hair in absolute disarray, dark eyes at half mast, parted lips shiny with saliva and come—it almost sends Lexa careening over the edge a second time.

“Just—I need a minute,” Lexa says, squeezing her eyes shut briefly, trying to catch her breath. She slides down the door into a boneless heap. “God. That was…”

“Mmm. Do you always squirt when a girl goes down on you or am I just that good?"

The question is embarrassing enough but it’s the smug little half-smile on Clarke’s face that makes Lexa want to hide behind her hands.

"Not every time,” Lexa says, jaw tensing, because Clarke doesn’t need to know that it's a recent development, that it never happened once with Costia in the entire year they dated. Whether it’s natural talent or professional competency that gives her such an aptitude for cunnilingus, Clarke hardly needs the ego boost.

“Uh-huh. So, now we’ve established that I’m a champ at eating you out, how are you gonna reward me? You gonna use that gorgeous mouth? Fingerbang me through the floor?"

Lexa thinks she could probably power an entire city block with the force of her blush.

Clarke’s smirk only widens. She shuffles forward, moving into the space between Lexa’s drawn up knees. Warm hands slide down Lexa’s chest, curving around to fondle her breasts. Lips find her jaw and Lexa inhales sharply at the strong scent of herself on the other woman.

“C’mon, hot stuff,” Clarke says, all throaty whisper, dragging her mouth along the edge of Lexa’s jaw, down the line of her throat. “Tell me how you’re gonna make me come."

Clarke sucks hard at the spot where neck meets shoulder and if Lexa had the presence of mind to stop her from leaving a mark she would. But, right now? Her brain isn’t operating at that level and she’s kind of beyond caring what Anya might say about a hickey.

“Lexa."

It's the way Clarke's voice cracks on the second syllable of her name, the wanting, heated edge to it, that causes something in Lexa to snap. She grabs Clarke’s wrists and pushes her flat on her back, pinning her arms above her head. Immediately legs wrap themselves around Lexa’s waist and her breath hitches at the wet slide of Clarke against her overheated skin.

Clarke looks up at her, astonished, excited, and Lexa has no idea what she’s doing but she’s running with it. If the way Clarke’s rocking up into her already is any indication, it’s working. She insinuates one hand between their bodies, sliding below the lacy edge of Clarke’s panties. When Lexa's fingers nudge into wetness it loosens a groan from both of them.

“Is this what you want, Clarke?” she asks, low and demanding, even as her cheeks blaze. She combs through drenched curls, cups Clarke’s pussy. It’s like a furnace blasting heat into the palm of her hand. She uses the heel to press at Clarke’s swollen clit and it draws another desperate noise. “You want my fingers?"

“Yes, fuck. You know I do."

“And my mouth? Where do you want it?"

Clarke’s panting now, struggling to keep her eyes open as her hips roll, as she rubs herself shamelessly on Lexa. She sucks her bottom lip between her teeth and sighs, “My tits. My clit. God, everywhere."

Lexa gives Clarke’s wrists a squeeze, a warning to keep them in place. She props herself on one elbow, moving off Clarke just enough to give herself some room before her mouth descends over Clarke’s chest. She drops kisses over the tops of Clarke’s breasts, takes her sweet time mapping the constellations of freckles scattered across Clarke’s sternum, licks a slow stripe up the centre of her torso.

It’s a minute or two before she hears a huff of frustration.

“What?” Lexa asks before scraping her teeth over the sharp ridge of Clarke’s collarbone.

She mouths a meandering trail down, skirting close to a nipple then veering wide at the last second.

A soft growl of “Lexa” has her smothering a smile against Clarke’s skin, that and the way Clarke’s practically thrusting her chest up into her face. Lexa relents, gaze flicking up to meet Clarke’s as her mouth engulfs one breast. She laps at the hardened tip of a nipple, runs her tongue in tight circles around the edge, never once breaking eye contact.

“Fuck,” Clarke says on a rough exhalation, back bowing, as if she’s trying to stuff more of herself into Lexa’s mouth and all Lexa can think is that, if she were to die this moment, suffocation by Clarke’s boob would be the ideal way to go. She lets the nipple go with a wet pop and turns her attention to the other breast, sucking at the peak until it stands as stiff and reddened as its twin.

By now Clarke’s breath is coming in short, harsh puffs, and the slow grind of her hips into Lexa’s palm is all the more deliberate. They watch each other through heavy-lidded eyes for a suspended moment before Lexa guides her fingers to Clarke’s entrance. It’s Clarke who sinks down on them, two slipping in deep in one push. The feel of her, the tight, wet cling of Clarke, traps the air in Lexa’s lungs. It doesn’t matter that the angle is awkward, that her movement is constricted by Clarke’s underwear. The pinched look of concentration of Clarke’s face as she starts riding Lexa’s fingers is worth it.

The pace they set is brisk and soon has sweat breaking out across their skin. Lexa's hand tingles with the onset of pins and needles and she’s thinking about switching to the other to give her wrist a rest, although she’s definitely better with her right—

“Oh God, fuck. There,” Clarke’s voice pitches up. Her spine arches off the floor, hips quickening. “Don’t stop. Oh, fuck."

When Lexa adds a third finger, pumping hard and fast, curling the tips with every other pass, she feels Clarke begin to quake. Muscles clamp down tightly as Clarke’s eyes slam shut and her body judders.

Lexa looks on in awe.

Everything about Clarke in the throes of orgasm is amazing: the elongated line of her throat as her head tilts back; the pink flush that spreads over her upper chest; the desperate cant of her hips before she goes rigid; the guttural moan that bursts free a second or two later while she convulses.

Lexa leans down to kiss her. She runs a hand down the side of Clarke’s face, palm fitting against the curve of her jaw as she angles for deeper contact. It’s a languid, thorough exploration and by the time Lexa pulls away they’re both left breathless by it. They take in the measure of each other and the seconds drag on too long, the shared look too weighted with something that Lexa’s going to chalk up to post-coital endorphins.

“I swear to God, Lexa, your fingers are magical,” Clarke sighs, lips pulling up into a slow, satisfied smile and Lexa aches with how much she wants to make Clarke come again. “If I could, like, get a cast of your fingers and have it mass-produced as a dildo, I’d be a fucking millionaire."

Lexa chokes out a soft, scandalised, “Clarke."

The other woman laughs and the sound of it goes some way to cooling the fierce blush on Lexa’s cheeks. A few seconds pass before a thought strikes her. “Wait, shouldn’t I be the one profiting from this theoretical sex toy enterprise? They're my fingers, after all."

“Uh, it’s my idea, therefore my intellectual property. Plus, I have the industry contacts to bring the product to market,” Clarke says smartly. “Sorry, I don’t make the rules. That’s business."

“Oh, really?” Lexa presses her lips together to suppress a smile. “Then I should probably restrict access to my fingers for the foreseeable future. To protect the quality of the merchandise and build exclusivity."

“Nah. We shouldn’t mess with market forces.” Clarke reaches between them, picking up Lexa’s hand from its resting place on Clarke's hip. “You see this?” She holds up the three fingers that were inside Clarke only a minute ago. They glisten in the low light. “You’re supply.”

Clarke maintains heavy eye contact as she brings Lexa's middle finger to her lips, warm mouth enclosing it up to the second knuckle. All Lexa can do is stare, glassy-eyed, as Clarke sucks her clean.

“Me? I’m demand. And you’ve gotta give the customer what they want."

As arguments go, it’s a pretty compelling one.

Clarke laces their fingers, palms resting flat together.

She quirks an eyebrow. “But, I guess you have a point about fair compensation. Since there’d be a lot of R&D involved, not to mention prototyping and refining the design, I’m willing to give you a stake in this venture."

“50/50?"

“I was thinking 70/30 in my favour."

Lexa pretends to mull it over, her gaze stuck on the wet sheen of Clarke’s mouth.

“You’re a tough negotiator."

“That Intro to Economics elective class in freshman year had to pay off someday.” Blue eyes dip down to Lexa’s lips as if Clarke, too, can’t resist the pull. “I doubt you’ll receive a more generous offer."

It occurs to Lexa how ridiculous this is but she’s enjoying it too much to put a stop to it. “All right, I accept your terms. Shall we shake on it?”

“Oh, I have a better idea of how to seal the deal.”

Without warning Clarke rolls them over, trapping Lexa beneath her with a surprised little huff. She pushes up onto her elbows and something about the wild tangle of blonde hair, the dazzling flash of Clarke’s smile, makes Lexa’s heart clutch.

Clarke’s eyes dart over Lexa's face, studying her for a moment. She runs a thumb across Lexa’s cheekbone, shakes her head as she quietly mutters, “At this rate you’re gonna ruin me for sex with anyone else."

What does that even mean? Lexa wants to demand but she doesn’t get the chance to ask before Clarke’s opening her mouth against hers, the hot glide of a tongue turning her mind to mush and muting the recalcitrant thought that possibly Clarke has already ruined her for other people.



*

After her third consecutive orgasm (honestly, is Clarke trying to kill her?), Lexa kind of blacks out for a bit.

She isn’t sure how long she's out for but when she opens her eyes the room’s bathed in orange light, long shadows stretching across the walls. The sun sits low in the sky, barely peeking above the buildings across the street.

It dimly registers that she's under warm sheets. As is Clarke.

Lexa remembers they'd moved things to the bed when she'd complained about the chafing of the floorboards on her ass. Clarke got her off with, first, her mouth, then her fingers, by way of apology. They’d spent the next God knows how long making out, the taste of herself thick on Lexa’s tongue, hands everywhere as if they couldn’t get enough of touching one another.

“Shit, sorry, did I fall asleep?”

Lexa scrambles to sit up but Clarke presses her back against the pillows, a hand curving against her shoulder.

“It’s fine. Don’t worry.”

The corner of Clarke’s mouth lifts in a smirk. Fingertips trace idle patterns on Lexa’s skin, gliding over the purple bloom of a bruise on her collarbone, and the gentle touch raises goosebumps in its wake.

“Guess I wore you out, huh."

Quietly mortified, Lexa stares up at the ceiling. She’s struggling to think of an adequate excuse but—

“You have the most incredible profile. Has anyone ever told you that?"

Lexa turns her head, blinks at Clarke. She’s even more at a loss for words now. It’s disconcerting, how Clarke’s gazing at her, blue eyes roaming intently over her face. Like she’s studying proportions and angles and cataloguing them in her mind.

“Seriously, your bone structure is to die for. Those cheekbones. That jawline.” There's a beat of silence then, “Would you sit for me? For a portrait?"

“What?” Lexa lets out a huff of disbelieving laughter. “Are you going to to draw me like one of your French girls, Clarke?"

There’s an amused gleam in Clarke’s eyes.

“I wanna paint you. I think you’d be a good model.” Clarke glances away and for the first time since Lexa’s known her, there’s a chink in her confidence. She lifts one shoulder in a small shrug and Lexa realises the other woman’s actually being sincere.

“I mean, I’d pay you for your time."

Before Lexa really has time to think about it the words are out of her mouth, “You don’t have to do that. We’re... friends, aren’t we?"

Clarke looks back at her and there’s that elusive flicker of something in her expression again.

“Yeah?"

Lexa lifts her chin and gives a definitive nod.

“I warn you, it’s kind of boring and uncomfortable for the model. You’d have to sit still for, like, hours. Some people work from reference photographs but I prefer to have the real-life subject in front of me."

Lexa could think of worse things than being the sole focus of Clarke’s attention for hours at a time. Even if they’re not having sex during it.

“I don’t mind.” She hopes it comes across as more nonchalant than she feels when she asks, “Would I be nude for this portrait?"

“Not if you don’t want to be. But you’ve probably noticed my style is pretty abstract. I don’t think you’d be recognisable in the painting, if that’s a worry."

It doesn’t worry Lexa but she is a little nervous, the suggestion pushing at the boundaries of her natural reserve. Then again, every moment she spends with Clarke seems to blur the edges of what she thought she would and wouldn’t do.

She shrugs. “Fuck it, why not?"

Clarke reaches one hand around Lexa’s neck, pulling her in until they’re sharing the same pillow.

“You know, you’re cute when you swear.”

She says it with such an undercurrent of fondness that Lexa’s stomach flips. And that, that does make Lexa worried.

Chapter Text

Ontari's side of their dorm is literally covered with posters of shirtless men. There isn’t an inch of wall space that isn’t taken up by overdeveloped pecs, washboard abs, and bulging Calvin Kleins, and Lexa knows her roommate only did it to needle her.

From the instant they met, she knew Ontari would be the bane of her existence. Lexa had lugged her belongings into her newly assigned room in Polis Hall only to be confronted with the sight of a short brunette aggressively making out with a douchey guy with lank hair, clearly ten years her senior. The pair hadn’t even stopped to acknowledge Lexa’s arrival or her swift about-turn a minute later. She’d marched straight to the student housing office to demand alternative accommodation, made all sorts of threats about her father and his sizeable contribution to the alumni association, all to no avail. When Lexa arrived back, deflated, Ontari had smirked at her over the screen of her laptop and Lexa knew, unequivocally, that she’d found her nemesis.

Most of the time they successfully avoid each other. When they do have the misfortune to be in the same space together, Lexa barely manages to tolerate the girl. It’s not that Lexa hasn’t tried to get along, it’s just Ontari has many annoying qualities. Not least her propensity for leaving her underwear lying around and that inhuman slurping noise she makes when she eats ramen. There’s also the boyfriend, Roan. And, honestly, she’s a kind of a royal bitch.

(As a general rule, Lexa hates using gendered slurs but, for Ontari, she’s willing to make an exception.)

At least her roommate’s out tonight with her equally obnoxious friends, which means Lexa’s been able to complete her assignments for the week and catch up on her Netflix queue in peace. But now she’s got nothing to do and boredom leads to questionable choices.

Like taking a photo of her hand and sending it to Clarke.

Lexa [21:52]: My middle finger is 3.75 inches long from the tip to the base. FYI.

The response is almost immediate.

Clarke [21:53]: asdfghjkl.

Lexa smirks to herself, watching the three oscillating little dots that mean Clarke's typing another message.

Clarke [21:54]: this is going in my spank bank. fyi.

Lexa [21:55]: You’re welcome.

When no other texts are forthcoming Lexa powers on her laptop to check her email. There’s a curt reminder from Indra about an upcoming class test, which gives Lexa a little flutter of anxiety even though she’s completed all the necessary reading; a VIP 30% off promo code from Yankee Candle (starred for later); and a clickbait Buzzfeed listicle forwarded by Dad—subject line: 31 Cats You Won’t Believe Actually Exist. She’s about to open the latter when her phone vibrates with another text notification.

Clarke [22:03]: ok how am I supposed to go about my life now?

Lexa [22:04]: Same way I did when you sent me your nudes.

Clarke [22:05]: by masturbating furiously until i fall asleep?

It’s not far from the truth.

Lexa [22:06]: You have a high opinion of yourself.

Clarke [22:06]: but you don’t deny it.

Lexa [22:08]: Anyway, that was just to tide you by until next time.

Clarke [22:09]: which is when?

It’s only been two days but Lexa’s glad she’s not alone in her monumental thirst.

She gnaws on her lip.

What’s an acceptable period of time to wait between hook-ups anyway? How soon is too soon? Rather than expose herself, she deflects.

Lexa [22:11]: Someone’s eager.

Clarke [22:12]: didn’t hear you complain before.

Lexa [22:13]: My mouth was otherwise occupied.

The three dots appear again for an agonisingly long minute.

Lexa waits, biting her knuckle.

Clarke [22:14]: can i call you?

That kicks her heart rate up a notch.

Lexa [22:14]: Now?

Clarke [22:15]: yeah.

She stares at the screen as she weighs her options. Ontari isn't going to be back anytime soon but the prospect of talking to Clarke has Lexa's palms sweating. Flirting by text is one thing, having to form actual spoken words is another. Especially when she has zero game.

The choice is taken out of her hands a moment later when Clarke’s name comes up on the caller ID.

Lexa counts to five in her head before answering. “Hi."

“Hey,” Clarke says and the soft, scratchy sound of her voice sends a tiny shiver down Lexa’s spine. “So... you didn’t answer my question earlier."

“Which one?"

“When can we hook up again?” Clarke gives a husky little laugh. "Unless you wanna tell me in detail about how you fingered yourself to my nudes? Because I’m down for that."

God.

“I’m available on Saturday,” Lexa says, primly sidestepping the second question.

Actually, she’s free tomorrow and Friday, too, but the less Clarke knows about her tragic lack of a social life the better.

“That seems so far away.”

Lexa can almost hear the pout over the line.

She moves her laptop to the floor and settles down onto her side on the bed.

“I guess I could shuffle a few things around on Friday.” Like the couple of hours she might otherwise have spent on Tumblr trawling nature and landscape photography tags for her aesthetic blog before hate-watching an episode of Pretty Little Liars with Anya.

“I have plans Friday.”

“Oh. Okay.”

She picks at a loose thread on the comforter and wants to roll her eyes at herself, at the irrational surge of despondency she feels, because what difference does a day make, really? It’s not as if she’s so thirsty that she can’t wait another twenty-four hours. She isn’t.

“I mean, I’m meeting some people at a bar on Friday night but,” Clarke’s small intake of breath seems amplified next to Lexa’s ear. “You could come along. It’ll be pretty chill."

Lexa tries not to attach too much significance to the fact that Clarke’s apparently willing to introduce her to her social circle. But at the same time, Clarke just casually invited Lexa to meet her friends. In public. Where they might be seen together. And people might assume things. Incorrectly, of course.

“Are these college friends or…?” Work friends is implied.

“Some are. It’s a mixed group."

“All right."

“Don’t feel, like, obligated. It’ll mostly be a bunch of art nerds drinking too much cheap beer and talking shit."

“Clarke,” Lexa says, a touch of exasperation in her tone. "I said I’d go."

“You want to?” Clarke sounds surprised, but happily so.

“Yes."

“Okay. Good. Great. I’ll text you the details.”

Another silence stretches while Lexa listens to the faint background noise of traffic. She thinks the conversation’s over, that Clarke’s going to end the call, but the quiet lingers on until, “About my nudes.”

She should’ve known Clarke wouldn’t let it go.

“Did you nut over them? Just, yes or no."

She rolls onto her back and stares up at the ceiling. It would be easy to deny it, to pass it off as a joke, or tell Clarke goodnight. It’s what she should do.

“C’mon, Lexa,” Clarke drawls, and it’s a low tease calculated to leave Lexa squirming. “Don’t leave me hanging."

She’s really fucking glad Clarke didn’t choose to FaceTime her because she's bright red when she finally admits, “Yes. Okay? Jesus.”

There’s a short lull.

“More than once?”

When Lexa doesn’t reply, Clarke persists, “Five times? Ten? Twenty?"

“Clarke."

“I’m not judging you. I think it’s hot. God, it makes me...”

She imagines Clarke biting her lip, thick lashes shadowing her cheeks, and suddenly Lexa's sleep shorts feel too warm, the fabric too heavy against her skin, and she’s entirely too attuned to the ache that’s settled between her thighs. The rough breath Clarke lets out doesn’t help her downstairs situation.

“Are you alone?" Clarke asks.

“Yes, I’m—why?” Lexa hears rustling, movement, and her mind reels. “Are you…?”

“Yeah.” More rustling, a soft sigh followed by a hitching breath. “Is this okay?"

Fuck, it’s—fuck. Lexa wills herself to pull it together.

“Yes.”

She tries to sound blasé. As if a little impromptu phone sex is no big deal. Technically, this isn't her first time; there was one botched attempt with Costia last summer, which was pretty much the most awkward five minutes of her life and she’ll carry the secret of it to her grave. This time around, she’s determined to do better.

“You don’t have to say anything. I can—"

“No. I want to,” Lexa says, too quickly.

She presses her lips together. She listens to the way Clarke’s breathing changes, the tiny catch in the back of her throat that tells her Clarke’s found a particularly sensitive spot.

“I really want to."

A soft huff of laughter reaches her but it’s pleased, not mocking.

“Okay."

Lexa traps her bottom lip between her teeth then releases it, swallows hard before she says, “Are you wet?” The other woman makes a noise, a bitten back groan, and Lexa's bolstered by the reaction, projecting confidence she doesn’t quite feel when she asks again, “Are you wet for me, Clarke?"

“So wet, God. You make me so fucking wet, Lexa. I ruined a pair of panties yesterday just thinking about you."

She has to shut her eyes, concentrate on her own breathing for a moment because she feels like her heart is going to beat right out of her ribcage it’s racing so fast.

“What-“ She wets her lip. “What about me? Specifically."

“Your mouth, your hands.”

Clarke sucks in a breath, lets it out in a long, tremulous exhale. Lexa’s imagination is running rampant, a very vivid picture forming in her mind about what Clarke's doing to cause those soft little pants that filter through the phone’s speaker.

“Your fingers inside me. Three. Four. Stretching me with that nice, deep kind of burn.” Clarke lapses into a low groan and Lexa has to stifle a whimper of her own. “I—fuck. I thought about whether I could take your whole fist."

Jesus fucking Christ.

Off Lexa’s stunned silence, Clarke gives a short laugh.

“Too much?"

Too much. Too everything! Lexa looks down dazedly at her hand, folding her fingers against her palm. There’s no way—is there? The digits are unusually long, sure, but the width of her hand is fairly narrow. Maybe with enough warm-up and lube...

“Lexa? You still there?”

She shakes her head, snaps her jaw shut. “I’m here. I—” Refocus. Breathe. “Is that really something you’d like me to do?”

“What can I say? I’m trisexual. I’ll try anything once.” And she can visualise the provocative arch of an eyebrow, the half smirk on Clarke's lips. So cocky, so pleased with herself. “Maybe someday we can work up to that."

The “maybe someday” is the thing Lexa latches on to. Because it suggests Clarke wants her around for longer than the six or so weeks until her next shoot begins. (When, by tacit agreement, their arrangement will come to an end.) But that can’t be right; Lexa's obviously reading too much into it.

“Sorry, did I break you?”

Clarke doesn’t sound the least bit contrite. It isn’t difficult to imagine the lazy broadening of her smile, the way she might be looking up at Lexa from beneath lowered eyelashes.

“Should I go back to the part about your mouth? Because I thought about that, too. Like, a lot."

“You did?"

“Mm-hmm. Your lips are amazing, you know? They’re so soft and you have this little crease down the middle of your bottom lip that I just, ugh. I want to bite it.” That brings an unbidden smile to Lexa’s face, despite her flustered state. “Let me tell you, if you were ever gonna consider a career in porn you’d be set. That mouth is made for giving oral."

“Good to know I have options if academia doesn’t pan out,” Lexa says, deadpan. She clears her throat. “So, um, hypothetically speaking, if I was with you right now, what—"

“Does it have to be hypothetical?"

Lexa pushes up onto her elbow. “What?"

“Well, we could continue this over the phone or…” There’s a pause, a rush of air like Clarke’s forcing out a breath through her nostrils. “You could bring that fine ass over here and finish what you started in person."

“Clarke…” Her head is spinning. She wasn’t expecting this to turn into a booty call.

“I wanna see you."

“You want to fuck.”

The distinction seems important, somehow.

“Yeah, Lexa, I really, really do.”

The sensible part of her brain reminds her that she has an 8 am class tomorrow and Indra has little tolerance for latecomers, even less for those who fail to give her their complete and undivided attention. The other part, fuelled by thoughts of Clarke’s naked body arching beneath her own, has Lexa rifling through the chest of drawers and pulling out the first pair of sweatpants to hand.

“I’m on my way."



*

Lexa scarcely has a second to register that Clarke’s wearing black lingerie and nothing else before the other woman is on her, no preamble, grabbing her forcibly by the cheeks and pulling her inside the apartment. At the first brazen swipe of a tongue over her bottom lip, Lexa's mouth opens under Clarke’s, and she isn’t even sorry about her body’s near Pavlovian response.

They back up a few steps and Lexa at least has the presence of mind to kick the door shut with her heel. She's already pulling at the zipper of her hooded track jacket, somehow shirking out of it without breaking the seal of their mouths. She winds one arm around Clarke’s waist and folds her close, like she can’t stand another second of not being pressed together.

Something about the way Clarke licks into her, slow and familiar, the abundance of warm skin beneath her fingertips, the plush curves of breasts and hips against her own, has Lexa’s world spinning on its axis. Both hands grapple for the backs of Clarke’s thighs, urging, until Clarke takes the hint. She hauls herself up, arms looping around Lexa’s neck, legs going around Lexa’s waist.

Except... what seemed like a good idea in theory, logistically turns out to be otherwise.

Clarke’s heavier than Lexa anticipates. As someone who possesses all the upper body strength of a wet noodle, she only manages to carry her as far as the couch before she loses balance and stumbles forward, dropping Clarke like a proverbial sack of potatoes onto the cushions. The only saving grace is that Lexa braces herself before she lands on top of her.

Splayed out on her back, Clarke's laugh is more of a winded wheeze.

“That went a lot smoother in my head,” Lexa says, hiding her blush against Clarke’s sternum. She pulls back, casting a worried glance over Clarke’s prone form. “Are you okay? Did I hurt you? I'm so sorry."

“I’m fine.” Clarke's smiling, at least.

She reaches up to tuck a stray lock of hair behind Lexa’s ear before letting her hand slip lower, curling around the back of Lexa’s neck. There’s something in Clarke's expression, the gleam of blue eyes in the low light, that seems far too tender, too affectionate for what they're doing. “C’mere, stud."

Lexa goes willingly, dropping to her elbows, hips resting within the cradle of Clarke’s thighs. Her gaze sweeps across Clarke’s face, over the tempting curve of her lips. She can’t seem to drag her eyes away from Clarke’s mouth, the press of bright white teeth against an already kiss-bruised bottom lip. Everything about Clarke is beguiling but her smile—like, Lexa finally understands what Megan Fox meant when she said Olivia Wilde makes her want to strangle a mountain ox. There isn’t a bovine creature alive that Lexa wouldn’t choke with her bare hands right now. Which, as a passionate advocate of animal rights, isn’t something she takes lightly.

“I really like your smile.”

It’s half a moment later before Lexa realises she said that out loud.

(She knows with complete certainty that she cannot tell Anya about this. If she does, she’ll never, ever hear the end of it.)

Lexa locks her jaw and keeps her eyes downcast. The fingers at the nape of her neck press in a little and she hazards a look up, bracing herself for—well, she isn’t sure. Not this, anyway. Not Clarke staring at her, quiet and curious, wide eyes darting between her own. The moment stretches, taut like a piece of elastic that’s going to ping back and snap Lexa in the face at any second.

Then, with a small shake of her head, Clarke says, “You’re so sweet.” She lifts her other hand, thumbs over Lexa’s jawline, the jut of her chin. “Sometimes I feel like I’m corrupting you."

The tension held in Lexa’s body slackens slightly. “I’m not that innocent."

“In the immortal words of Britney Spears.”

Lexa rolls her eyes and that just makes Clarke flash another smile. Her fingers drift down the side of Lexa’s neck.

“Seriously, though. I know I come on a little strong sometimes. Okay, most of the time. But you’d tell me if I crossed the line, right?"

“Clarke, I’m not easily offended. If you knew my friend Anya you’d appreciate why."

An eyebrow quirks. “She sounds fun."

“She isn’t, she’s the worst. We’ve known each other since we were kids so she’s like the sister I never had. An older, annoying sister without an ounce of discretion who takes sadistic delight in ridiculing me at every opportunity. But she’s always had my back.” Lexa eyes the other woman, hesitating before she asks, “Do you have any siblings?"

“Nope. Only child.”

“I was, too, until my Dad remarried. I have a step-brother, Aden. He’s ten so he’s still at that cute stage where he kind of idolises me.” Lexa’s smile turns a little wistful. “Once puberty kicks in I’m sure he’ll realise how deeply uncool I am.”

That’s when she notices Clarke’s shuttered expression, the thin set of her mouth.

“Sorry, am I—"

One shoulder lifts in a half shrug. “Could we maybe change the subject?”

Lexa gives a shallow nod. Part of her wants to probe at the cause of Clarke's sudden reticence but, at the same time, she wants to respect boundaries. She feels like she hasn’t even scratched the surface of the enigma that is Clarke. She opens her mouth to say something else but the way Clarke’s stare flicks down to Lexa’s lips then back up stalls the words in her throat. It’s impressive how quickly Clarke’s capable of going from zero to bedroom eyes.

“Or, better yet, how about we don’t talk at all?"

Lexa only has time to suck in a quick breath before Clarke’s mouth finds hers, before her lips are parting under the drag of Clarke’s tongue, and all she can do is sink into it and the heat of Clarke’s body. The hands at her neck migrate lower, sliding over her shoulders, down her sides, under the hem of her t-shirt, bunching around the waistband of Lexa’s sweats. Clarke pushes meaningfully and Lexa lifts her weight, just enough to allow Clarke to shove the pants and her underwear down as far as her knees. A bare thigh slots between her own and they both let out a small groan. Lexa’s wet, more than she should be when Clarke’s hardly touched her. But, between the phone call, the duration of a Lyft ride to get her riled up, and the shock of Clarke answering the door in just a bra and panties, Lexa thinks it’s perfectly justified.

Clarke grips her hipbones, tenses the muscles of her thigh, and Lexa can’t stifle the soft moan that trips out. She rocks forward, once, twice, soon finding a rhythm. She pushes up onto her hands for more leverage and Clarke’s fingers tighten around her hips, urging her on. They don’t look away from one another as Lexa rides Clarke’s thigh and that connection, the heavy eye contact, makes her almost as flushed as the obscene sounds of her slip-sliding against smooth skin. The way Clarke’s staring at her, blue eyes hazy with lust and wonder, has Lexa soaring higher with every roll of her hips.

It isn’t long before the effort of holding herself up has Lexa’s biceps trembling. It's when Clarke’s hands slip around to palm at her ass, pulling her taut against Clarke’s body, that Lexa’s arms finally give out. It sends her toppling forward, just shy of landing face-first into Clarke’s superlative cleavage. The flex and give of the corded muscle of Clarke’s thigh, the angle on her clit, loosens a string of gasps from Lexa. She swivels her hips, rocking down until it’s nothing more than a fast, focused grind, until Clarke lifts her knee and the friction is exactly where Lexa needs it. The pressure coiling at the base of her spine unspools so sharply, so suddenly that it leaves Lexa choking on air.

She comes with her face smothered between Clarke’s breasts. Through the tiny jerks and shivers of the aftershocks Clarke strokes her, runs a hand over the curve of her ass, the small of her back, slipping under her sweat-dampened t-shirt to follow the notches of vertebrae up her spine. It soothes Lexa enough to almost forget that she’s mostly still fully clothed. And, God, the fact that Clarke couldn’t even wait to undress her makes her flush hot again.

It’s a minute, maybe five, before Lexa feels steady enough to push up onto her palms. When she does, when she sees how dark and intent Clarke’s eyes are, her elbows give a dangerous wobble. Clarke doesn’t stop dragging her fingers up and down Lexa’s spine, sending ripples of sensation in their wake.

“I love watching you come for me,” Clarke says, and it’s the stark rasp of desire in her voice, the hint of blunt nails raking over skin that has Lexa shuddering slightly and pressing her hips into the sticky mess of Clarke’s thigh once more. “God, you wreck me, you know that?"

Lexa shakes her head slowly. How can someone like Clarke—who does the things that Clarke does—be so affected by her? Every time they’re together Clarke makes her feel like a virgin on prom night. Christ, Lexa doesn’t even have the stamina to last more than a few minutes before coming, like a fucking teenage boy blowing his load. It’s embarrassing.

“Don’t believe me?”

Blue eyes flash with conviction as fingers encircle Lexa’s wrist. Clarke brings Lexa’s hand to her stomach, placing it just above the edge of her panties. She keeps her gaze trained on Lexa’s as she pushes Lexa’s fingers below the elastic. A whimper gets stuck in Lexa’s throat. Clarke’s drenched.

“That’s because of you. That’s what you do to me.”

Clarke’s hips cant upwards, making Lexa’s fingers glide more firmly against her. They both expel a ragged breath.

“Fuck, Lexa. I want you on me, in me, any which way. I don’t fucking care."

Put like that, Lexa isn’t going to argue.

She scrambles off the couch with as much dignity as she can muster when her pants are around her ankles, kicking off her sneakers, pulling off the sweats and shorts in quick succession. She tugs her shirt over her head, tossing it somewhere over her shoulder, and Clarke looks delighted by what she sees. The blonde doesn’t hesitate to hook her thumbs into the waistband of her panties to push the scrap of lace down her legs. When Clarke reaches behind for the clasp of her bra Lexa finds herself blurting, “Don't. Keep it on."

A sly smirk tugs at the corner of Clarke's mouth. “It is a nice bra.”

She isn’t wrong. The near see-through cups do little to contain Clarke’s breasts; they’re practically spilling out over the top and Lexa appreciates the hell out of the visual. Not that she has much time to savour it before Clarke’s legs are falling open and giving Lexa a whole new tableau to drink in. Her jaw drops because, fuck, she’ll never be prepared for this: Clarke, wet and swollen and ready, offering herself up on a platter. She looks at Clarke and she wants.

Clarke snares her bottom lip between her teeth, gives a lidded stare.

“What are you waiting for? Show me what you've got.”



*

Lexa licks up the length of her, the salty-sweet tang of Clarke blooming on her palate. She laps at Clarke, over and over again, tracing through her folds, drawing figure eights around the hardened nub of her clit before sucking on it gently. She presses Clarke’s restless hips to the cushions, revelling in every shivery moan and curse of encouragement. She sinks her tongue deep into Clarke. She curls, strokes against fluttering walls, dragging as much of Clarke’s arousal into her mouth as she can. At its source, Clarke’s wetness is all the more potent and Lexa can’t get her fill of it.

Her gaze flits up the expanse of Clarke’s body, lingering on the twitch of abdominal muscles, the perspiration that dots flushed skin, the rapid rise and fall of her chest. Clarke has one arm flung above her head, a white-knuckle grip on the couch. Her other hand clutches at her own breast, fingers circling one nipple to bring it to a tight peak, and it makes Lexa wish her mouth could be two places at once.

Clarke’s watching her, too, dark lashes fanning across the tops of her cheeks. Lexa firms her tongue, works her jaw until it begins to ache. Even then she doesn’t stop. She slows the pace instead, withdraws until just the very tip of her tongue is inside Clarke. It only seems to make Clarke more frantic, bucking against Lexa’s hold.

She licks around the edge of Clarke’s opening, smiling at the gravelly moan that earns her. She trails her tongue up, up, stopping just short of Clarke’s clit. Lexa blows over it, gratified by the way Clarke’s whole body jolts in response. She presses featherlight kisses over Clarke’s labia, nudges the swell of Clarke’s clit with her nose, licks into her passage with the flat of her tongue.

Clarke’s shaking now, thighs quivering on either side of Lexa’s shoulders, and Lexa lets her iron grip on Clarke’s hips lessen by degrees. Her hands slip under Clarke’s ass to pull her closer, as if she can’t have Clarke close enough. She tips her chin, delves deeper, until Clarke's shuddering and gasping beneath her. She pulls back only to drag her tongue up through the wetness, to circle around Clarke's clit, retracing the same path again and again before finally focusing all her attention on the engorged bundle. She doesn’t let up until Clarke’s hips come to a jerky standstill, until Clarke releases the longest, loudest, filthiest of moans. One that raises every hair on Lexa’s body and has her hoping the neighbours have invested in soundproofing.

Still, Lexa doesn’t take her mouth off her. She spends minutes diligently cleaning up the spillage, losing herself in the sharp taste of Clarke, the musky scent of her. What begins as soft, almost exploratory turns more intentioned. Because they’ve done this often enough for Lexa to know. How to vary the pressure. The spots that get Clarke most vocal. When to dial it back until Clarke’s hips are straining forward and she’s planting her feet into the cushions.

“Give me your fingers,” Clarke says, panting. “Please, Lexa, just fuck me."

Lexa obliges, quickly replacing her mouth with her hand, two fingers slipping into Clarke with ease. After a minute she adds a third, watching transfixed as Clarke pumps her hips, setting a demanding pace that has the couch creaking beneath them.

“Oh, God. You feel so good but I need—"

The rest of Clarke's request is cut off by an abrupt moan when Lexa's lips latch around her clit. Her hips falter, dropping into a staccato rhythm as Lexa's fingers curl inside her, seeking out and finding that spot that soon has a litany of curses and groans tripping from her mouth. She digs a hand through Lexa’s hair, loosening her ponytail, gathering the fall into her fist. A sharp tug on her scalp has Lexa’s mouth bumping inelegantly against Clarke’s clit and that’s enough to propel Clarke over the edge at last. She’s arching, mouth dropping open in a soundless cry, body held taut and still for the span of several spectacular seconds.

Clarke slumps back against the cushions, forearm covering her eyes as she tries to catch her breath. “Fuck. Just. Fuck.”

Lexa smothers a smile by pressing a soft kiss to Clarke’s clit, pleased by the sharp shiver it elicits. She scatters more kisses over the rise of Clarke’s mound, the contracting muscles of her stomach and thighs, gathering tiny rivulets of sweat on her tongue until the grip on her hair tightens, forcing her to look up. When she does, the air rushes from her lungs, because Clarke is fucking beautiful in the afterglow. Lexa has to bite her cheek to prevent something stupid slipping out (again).

“Come here,” Clarke says, guiding her up, and Lexa follows, settling once more against her curves.

They stare at each other with a quiet sort of awe. Clarke drags her thumb over Lexa’s bottom lip and the gentleness of it makes something unfurl in her chest, the feeling growing tenfold when Clarke darts forward to slant their mouths together.

It isn’t a torrid kiss, even as Clarke parts her lips and dips into her, even as she groans at the taste of herself on Lexa's tongue. There’s something about the way Clarke’s fingers run through her hair, how they curve around her jaw, that has Lexa flailing internally. She’s by no means an expert but she’s pretty sure this isn’t how fuck buddies are meant to kiss each other. Not that she’s going to be the one to point it out. That would be rude.

She isn’t sure how long they kiss for but by the time Clarke starts nibbling along the edge of her jaw, Lexa’s lips feel numb.

“I should probably go soon. I have an early class."

It’s not what Lexa wants to do but the guilt of potentially compromising her academic performance wins out over any other considerations. Only by a thin margin, though.

“Or... you could stay.” Clarke mouths down her throat, scraping her teeth over Lexa’s pulse point then laving it with a flat swipe of her tongue. “I’ll drive you home in the morning.”

It’s said so casually, as if it’s nothing out of the ordinary to suggest that Lexa spend the night.

“Besides, I’m nowhere near done with you yet."



*

It’s strange just how normal it feels to be stood side-by-side at the sink, brushing their teeth together—Lexa using the spare toothbrush Clarke happened to have in the bathroom cabinet. They don’t even try to pretend they aren’t looking at each other’s reflection in the mirror.

“What?” Lexa asks after a minute, one eyebrow hoisted.

Clarke shakes her head. “Nothing."

They brush for a while longer, the room silent except for the running of the faucet and the scrub of bristles over teeth, until Lexa leans over the sink to spit and rinse. She wipes a bit of toothpaste away from her lip self-consciously, aware that Clarke’s eyes are still on her.

Half a moment passes. Lexa waits.

“You just look really good in my stuff. That's all,” Clarke says, grinning around a mouthful of foam.

Blue eyes dip to the borrowed item of clothing in question. Lexa had her qualms about it when she saw the slogan emblazoned across the front of the t-shirt in uppercase letters: ‘Weapons of mass distraction.’ Never mind the fact that the hem barely skims the tops of her thighs. Clarke seemed to approve on both counts.

“This shirt is offensive on so many levels, Clarke.”

“I’m not disputing that. But, not gonna lie, your ass looks awesome."

Lexa makes a show of rolling her eyes. She may or may not put a little extra wiggle in it when she saunters out the bathroom.

When she wakes hours later there's an unfamiliar warmth and weight against her stomach and side. She shifts to alleviate the pressure on her bladder only to hear a quiet mumble next to her ear. She opens her eyes, wincing against a rude shard of sunlight, and it takes a minute to adjust to her surroundings, as if her consciousness is swimming up through layers of fine gauze.

Gradually she becomes aware of a few things: Clarke’s leg is slung across her lower abdomen, which explains the heaviness; there’s a hand curled around the fabric of her sleep shirt at her waist; Clarke’s nose is pressed against her throat, and Lexa has a face full of blonde hair. Also, Clarke’s breathing so deeply, so noisily that it could legitimately be classified as snoring.

Lexa shouldn’t find that endearing, but she does.

A few moments pass before Clarke stirs, rearing back and wiping a tiny bit of drool from the corner of her mouth with the back of her wrist. She squints at Lexa, rakes a hand through the mussed tangle of her hair. It only makes it cuter. Worse.

“What time is it?” Clarke asks, voice all sleep-scratchy.

Lexa reaches for her phone on the nightstand and checks the screen. “6:32."

“We should really get up,” Clarke says with a sigh.

She burrows her cheek back into the space between the pillow and Lexa’s shoulder and it does nothing to disavow Lexa of the opinion that Clarke is way too fucking adorable first thing in the morning.

"You can grab a shower. I’ll make you some coffee and toast."

“Okay."

Neither of them budges.

Lexa lifts a hand to sweep some of the hair off Clarke’s temple and the intimacy of the gesture, the way Clarke blinks back at her slowly, has Lexa swallowing against a dry lump in her throat. The grip on her shirt loosens, Clarke’s fingers slipping underneath to trace idle patterns on her skin and it makes Lexa tingle all the way down to her toes.

“Five more minutes?” Lexa suggests, despite the fact she really needs to pee.

Clarke gives her hip a squeeze and shimmies closer.

"Make it ten."



*

It’s Clarke that edges away, drawing back an inch, and Lexa blindly follows. She feels the stretch of Clarke’s mouth pulling into a smile as Lexa chases the kiss. She doesn’t care that they’ve basically been making out in the parking lot for the past ten minutes in full view of anyone who happens to be walking by. She feels drugged by the taste of Clarke’s mouth. The lingering remnants of lipgloss, minty toothpaste, and something indefinably sweet that’s just Clarke, all combine into one irresistible confection that she can’t get enough of.

Another minute or two gets eaten up before Clarke groans into the heated space between them. “I’m this close to dragging you into the backseat."

Lexa just presses in closer, lightly sucking on Clarke’s bottom lip before releasing it a second later.

“You say that like it's a bad thing."

“For you, it is. You have class, remember? Although your kink for semi-public sex is duly noted."

Right. Queering American Culture: A Feminist Perspective. Which Lexa has a one hundred percent attendance record in. A class that starts in twenty minutes and she still needs to change into something more presentable. She can just imagine Indra’s raised eyebrow if she turned up in these mismatched old sweats. Not to mention the impressive scattering of purple bruises along her collarbone that all the concealer in the world couldn’t hide.

With a sigh, Lexa forces herself to put some distance between them. She stares out the windshield, peering up at the facade of Polis Hall, quietly contemplating the likelihood of being able to slip into her dorm and grab a change of clothes without waking Ontari from her no-doubt hungover slumber. She really hopes Roan didn't stay over because she still isn't over the last time; that gruesome sight will be forever seared upon her retinas...

The touch of Clarke’s hand on her knee draws her attention back.

Lexa looks at her and for a second the world seems to stop. It’s the way the early morning sunlight catches Clarke's hair, the glow of her skin, the dazzle of her easy smile. Most of all it’s the striking blue of her eyes, bright and vast and gorgeous. She’s talking but Lexa’s only dimly aware of the words washing over her. All she can focus on are the minuscule details of Clarke’s lovely face.

“Lexa?"

She blinks. “Hmm?"

Clarke laughs and the warmth of it curls around Lexa’s spine, has her swaying forward again. Clarke puts a hand on her shoulder to stall her and there’s a tinge of regret in her expression. She gazes at Lexa as if she wants nothing more than to be kissing her, too.

“I said I’ll see you tomorrow. Now, go. You’re gonna be late."

Absently Lexa nods and reaches for the door handle. She doesn’t take her eyes off Clarke as she exits the vehicle and backs away. It isn’t until she hears the Mustang's engine roar to life that Lexa forces herself to trudge towards her building. Once she’s inside the double doors she leans against the nearest wall and squeezes her eyes shut, trying to quiet the half-formed, reckless thoughts that are swirling around her brain.

Friday night seems an unreasonably long way away.

Chapter Text

By the time class finishes Lexa’s basically a zombie. She’s spent the past two and a half hours fighting back yawns and rubbing at her eyelids, only to remember the coat of mascara she hastily applied before dashing out this morning, which is probably now smeared across her cheeks. She’s pretty sure she must resemble a raccoon at this point if the odd looks she receives as she shambles from the lecture theatre back to her dorm room are any indication.

The room's mercifully empty, the only signs of Ontari being the unmade bed, a discarded heap of clothing on the carpet, and the used cereal bowl that still contains some dregs of milk left on the nightstand. For once Lexa’s too weary to become aggravated by the mess.

She lowers herself onto her own bed with a sigh and pulls out her phone, intending to set the alarm for a power nap before Gender and Transnational Politics with Professor Kane. So the text notification she finds waiting for her on the lock screen comes as a pleasant surprise.

Clarke [9:52]: did you make it to class?

Lexa [10:47]: Yes. Sorry, my phone was on silent. Thanks again for the ride.

She watches the speech bubble animation appear, grey out for half a minute, then light up again.

Clarke [10:50]: kinda wanted to take you back to my apartment instead. is that bad?

As if Lexa's in any position to pass moral judgement when she lowkey wishes Clarke had followed through on that impulse. A nap seems like an increasingly distant prospect now because, God, her mind is reeling thinking about all the ways that scenario might’ve played out.

Lexa [10:52]: I probably would’ve let you.

Clarke [10:52]: now you tell me :(

Lexa [10:53]: I’ll make it up to you.

Clarke [10:53]: how?

The escalating suggestiveness has Lexa smiling unbidden. She shifts onto her side, cheek pressed against the pillow.

Lexa [10:55]: That’s for me to know and you to find out but... I think you’ll be satisfied.

In lieu of a text, the reply comes two minutes later in the form of a selfie. In it, Clarke’s wearing a coy little smile, eyes lidded, a hint of tongue caught between pearly teeth. Backlit by the sun, her hair is a tousled golden blaze. She looks gorgeous. Like a fallen angel, cast from the heavens to ruin Lexa’s life one photograph at a time. For some reason, Lexa likes this selfie better than any of the nudes.

It must be fatigue impairing her judgement; she can’t think what else compels her to respond with:

Lexa [11:01]: How is it possible for you to look this beautiful on so little sleep?

Clarke [11:02]: smooth. corny but smooth

Clarke [11:02]: keep it coming

Lexa [11:03]: You will be.

Clarke [11:04]: stop. you’re making me wanna drive over there

It doesn’t take a Powerpoint presentation with fancy transitions to explain that this would, by any objective measure, be a terrible idea. Because, a) Lexa doesn’t know when Ontari will be back; and, b) there’s the not insignificant fact that it’s only been a matter of hours since she and Clarke saw one another last. Since she woke up surrounded by Clarke, all mussed hair and the tangle of limbs. Since Clarke kissed her so thoroughly in the parking lot that Lexa can still taste her on her lips.

Admittedly, she’s not doing a very good job of dissuading herself.

Lexa [11:07]: Are you serious?

Clarke [11:07]: do you want me to be?

Okay.

Suddenly Lexa feels much more awake.



*

Nineteen minutes and forty-two seconds crawl by before there's a rap of knuckles against wood.

Lexa crosses the carpet in two strides and when she opens the door, sees Clarke leaning against the wall, the personification of summer in denim cut-offs and a tight-fitting tank, the air flees her lungs.

Clarke doesn’t wait to be invited inside, just leans up and in to slant their mouths together, one hand sliding around the nape of Lexa's neck, the other grabbing the front of Lexa’s shirt for purchase.

They shuffle into the room together. Lexa reaches blindly for the door, fumbling for and twisting the lock into place, before sinking her fingers into a wavy mass of blonde hair, the coconut scent of Clarke's shampoo invading her senses and leaving her light-headed.

“How long do we have?” Clarke asks.

She sucks Lexa’s bottom lip between her own, releases it with a little nip.

“An hour. My next class.” The words are a jumble even in her brain.

Clarke hums, ignoring Lexa’s seeming inability to form a coherent sentence. “I can work within time constraints."

Hands slip under the hem of Lexa’s shirt, cool fingertips meeting warm skin, and Lexa releases a shaky exhale against Clarke’s mouth. They separate only to get rid of their shirts before crushing close again. At the press of skin against skin, Clarke moans, licks into the hot space of Lexa’s mouth, swiping her tongue along the roof. Lexa reaches for the catch of Clarke’s bra, unhooking it, dragging the straps down Clarke’s arms with clumsy, trembling fingers. She isn’t nervous, exactly, but the novelty of having Clarke here in her room is doing a number on her motor skills.

The kiss slows, angles deeper and dirtier, as Lexa’s palms fit around Clarke’s breasts. Clarke moans again, humid and heavy into her mouth when Lexa thumbs over her nipples. It’s loud, guttural, and the thought that someone might overhear has heat flooding Lexa’s body, concentrating in the apples of her cheeks and between her thighs.

Clarke, all smug, practised ease, has Lexa’s bra off faster. She takes Lexa’s hands to put them firmly on her ass. Chest to chest, that first brush of their bare breasts, hard nipples skimming, lifts goosebumps all across Lexa’s skin. She feels overheated, overstimulated; like she can’t quite fill her lungs. She digs her nails into the denim beneath her fingers, swallows the answering soft groan, and for a fraction of a second, she regains some equilibrium.

They disentangle for Clarke to push Lexa onto the bed.

There’s a hush, except for their elevated breathing; distant voices in the communal kitchen down the hall; someone, somewhere, playing their music too loud; and, outside, birdcalls from the tops of the trees.

Clarke plants one knee, then the other, on the comforter. She rises up, swings a leg over Lexa’s thighs, and all Lexa can do is press her lips together to tamp down on the wanting noise that erupts in her throat.

Nimble fingers pluck at the button of the cut-offs, the sound of a zip being dragged down almost obscene in the stillness of the room. Lexa’s gaze falls upon a slash of pale skin, a hint of dark blonde hair visible where the fly gapes open. Discovers that, okay, Clarke’s chosen to go commando.

“Lexa.”

The ragged edge to Clarke’s voice draws Lexa’s eyes up. What she sees stops her heart, starts it again in a rush. There’s a frantic kind of hunger in Clarke’s stare, pupils enormous and so, so dark, and while it doesn’t make any sense to Lexa (they literally had sex less than eight hours ago—how can Clarke be this desperate for it again?) it doesn’t make the way her body reacts—the heavy gush of wetness that pools at her cunt—any less visceral. She feels it, slick, warm, a veritable lava flow in her underwear.

“I want you to touch me. Fuck, put your hands all over me, please."

It’s with wide eyes and slightly shaking palms that Lexa does just that. She splays her hands across Clarke’s ribs and follows the gentle slope down, down, until she’s sliding under soft-worn denim. She rolls upright to press her mouth to Clarke’s sternum, to feel the fast knock of Clarke's heartbeat beneath her lips. She pushes the cut-offs down, far enough to allow her to work one hand lower and between Clarke’s thighs.

“God, Clarke,” she exhales roughly against Clarke’s collarbone, the pads of her fingers gliding through the slickness she finds. When she feels how soaked Clarke is it’s all the impetus Lexa needs to surge forward, toppling Clarke back against the covers. She wastes no time in stripping Clarke naked, cut-offs and ballet flats sailing over her shoulder.

She takes a moment to drink in the sight of Clarke on her bed, skin dappled by the sunlight streaming through the canopy of tall trees, the sweep of blonde hair against the comforter, the proud tilt of Clarke's dimpled chin, the promise of oblivion in darkened blue eyes. Lexa allows her gaze to travel slowly, indulgently, over every dip and curve and contour on display.

“As much as I’m a fan of eye-fucking, aren’t we on a schedule? Maybe we should move things along,” Clarke says, spreading her legs, and Lexa can’t prevent her eyes from zeroing in like a laser beam.

It’s an invitation, a provocation, and Lexa finds herself flowing forward, drawn to Clarke as surely as particles are to the quadrupole magnets in the Large Hadron Collider. Which, yes, is an awful analogy but that TED Talk she watched last week on the subject of the Higgs boson really left an impression. Whatever. The point is, the effect is just as explosive. That first taste—heady, ripe—as her tongue sweeps up the length of Clarke’s slit, obliterates all her other senses.



*

Clarke clutches her by the shoulders, blunt nails scraping over Lexa's skin, leaving thin red trails in their wake. Lexa barely notices the sting. She’s too focused on the wet, heavy slide of Clarke’s tongue in her mouth, a counterpoint to the rhythmic pump of the hand between Clarke’s straining thighs.

Clarke’s come twice already, is rapidly hurtling towards a third orgasm if the way she’s panting harshly and bouncing in Lexa’s lap is anything to go by. They’re both slick with perspiration, the room is stifling, and Lexa can’t think of anything she likes more than the sweet, hot, slippery pull of Clarke around her fingers.

“Are you close?” Lexa asks, leaving Clarke’s lips, peppering the underside of Clarke’s jaw and down her neck with open-mouthed kisses.

Her eyes flick towards the wall clock. Fifteen minutes before she has to leave for class. That’s doable.

“Yeah. Just, fuck, keep going.”

Clarke cants her hips with renewed purpose and vigour, rocking, grinding onto the pad of Lexa’s extended thumb with every downward motion. She sucks in a lungful of air, expels it in a staggered breath.

“I’m almost—fuck—"

Her head tips back as her hips start to judder, as Lexa works over her clit and crooks the two fingers inside her with more pressure and precision.

“Oh, God, Lexa. Fuck."

Neither hears the sound of a key in the lock, the squeak of the handle turning.

“Oh, fuck, Lexa,” Clarke gasps, shuddering through a few forceful thrusts until her hips falter, until her back bows and she goes perfectly still for the span of several high, rapid breaths. Then she's pulsing and clenching, spilling all over Lexa’s palm, and Lexa coaxes her through it, mouthing gentle kisses along the line of Clarke’s collarbone while Clarke clings to her shoulders. Lexa's fingers are numb when she slowly withdraws them.

With a wobbly sigh, Clarke slumps against her and Lexa feels the tremble in Clarke's arms where they’re wrapped around her neck.

“I’ve got you,” she whispers against dewy skin, kisses the curve of a shoulder, nuzzles into that warm, sweat-damp space where it meets Clarke’s throat. She runs a hand over the length of Clarke’s spine, presses her lips to every patch of skin within reach.

It’s only when she spares a glance at the clock again that Lexa notices Ontari standing in the open doorway, dark eyes narrowed in indignation, jaw clenched shut.

“Shit,” Lexa chokes, almost gagging on her own tongue. She grabs for the comforter but it’s trapped under the weight of their bodies and just results in a lot of useless tugging.

It takes a moment for Clarke to snap out of her post-orgasmic daze to realise anything’s amiss. She cranes her neck to follow Lexa’s line of sight. To her credit, Clarke doesn’t freak out. Instead, she offers a disarming smile.

“You must be Lexa's roommate. Hi, I’m Clarke. I’d shake your hand but, you know…"

For a few horrible protracted seconds Lexa thinks Ontari’s going to erupt into homicidal fury. But to her astonishment her mortal enemy simply shakes her head, lips parted in a slight grimace, as she stares at a fixed point on the wall above Lexa’s head.

“Well, I guess we’re even now. But, please, for the love of God, open a window when you’re done. It smells like a goddamn brothel in here."

With that, Ontari slams the door shut. It rattles in the frame.

“This actually reminds me of a movie I shot. Similar scenario. Although in that version the roommate joined in."

Lexa only stares, mortified beyond words.

“What? Come on. It was me she saw mid-orgasm. You’ve probably gone up in her estimation. I mean, you’re the one fucking a smoking hot babe with a killer rack in your dorm room."

“You’re so full of yourself."

“Hmm, maybe. But I’d rather be full of you.”

Such an overtly sexual remark shouldn’t sound that sweet but there’s something about the way Clarke’s looking at her through lowered lashes, eyes bright and brimming with mischief, that makes Lexa’s heart pound a little faster. It almost makes her forget she wants the ground to swallow her up so she never, ever has to face Ontari again.

God, what if she tells Roan? It’s bad enough having Ontari judging her but her sleazy boyfriend, too? Ugh, no.

Clarke must pick up on her growing agitation because she brings her hands to Lexa’s cheeks, carefully urging her to meet concerned blue eyes.

"Hey, it’s okay. She’ll forget about it eventually."

“She won’t, Clarke. Our living arrangements are already strained as it is. This just gives her another excuse to make my life a misery."

Clarke’s frown deepens. “Want me to kick her ass for you?"

“I appreciate the sentiment but, no. She may be vertically challenged but Ontari’s more vicious than she looks. Besides, she’s on a field hockey scholarship and I’m pretty sure Coach Azgeda would put a hit out on us for injuring her star player."

“Okay but the offer stands."

She can’t really tell how serious Clarke is but it makes Lexa feel a bit lighter regardless. Or maybe it’s the way Clarke’s thumbs are stroking over her ears, the touch sending pleasant little ripples down her spine. It’s enough to distract her for half a minute until her eyes stray to the wall clock once more. Oh, yeah, class. If she throws on some clothes now she might just be able to get there before it starts.

Or...

She could skip. One missed lecture won’t spell academic disaster, will it? Not when Kane always makes the notes available online.

While she deliberates she adjusts the hand still trapped between their bodies, fingers absently trailing through the slickness between Clarke’s legs. The sharp little breath Clarke draws in when Lexa’s thumb inadvertently brushes against her clit, the way she shifts in Lexa’s lap, hips tilting into the press of Lexa’s fingers, quickly stack up into a compelling case for Lexa staying exactly where she is. The decision made, she folds an arm around Clarke’s waist to keep her close.

“What about your class?" Clarke touches Lexa’s cheeks, her jaw, tipping her chin up to bring their mouths together. As if she’s just as incapable of resisting the lure as Lexa is.

Lexa changes the angle, her nose rubbing alongside Clarke’s.

“Well, you said it yourself: there’s a smoking hot babe here. No contest.”

It’s meant to be sardonic, at least that’s how it sounded in Lexa’s head but, in reality, it comes out far softer and more sincerely than she intends.

Clarke pulls back for a second and when Lexa’s eyelids flutter open she sees a flicker of emotion she isn’t quite sure how to interpret. Not when Clarke moves a stray, sweaty lock of hair from Lexa’s temple, tucking the errant strands behind her ear. Not when Clarke’s eyes flit between her own, a tiny crease forming between her brows, looking at Lexa like she's trying to solve a particularly confounding puzzle. Or someone trying to figure out the physics of Donald Trump’s hair.

Clarke looks like she wants to say something. Whatever it is, she seems to reconsider. Then she’s blotting Lexa’s vision once more as she leans down. A firmer kiss, this time. Certain. Controlled. One that chases away all thoughts of intruding roommates and cut classes and any kind of remorse about either of those things.



*

Propped against the headboard, covers securely tucked under her armpits (because she’s not taking any fucking chances, right), Lexa watches Clarke pull on the cut-offs, dragging the shorts up the smooth expanse of her thighs. While her boobs are certainly one of Clarke’s best features, her legs are pretty special too in Lexa’s opinion. Although she may be slightly biased. Whatever the case, she can’t look away.

“Are we still on for tomorrow night?” Clarke asks as she fastens the waistband. She’s still topless and it takes a Herculean effort for Lexa to meet Clarke’s gaze. If the glint in her eyes is anything to go by, Clarke’s fully aware of the struggle and revelling in it. “Also, did you see where my bra went?"

Lexa points towards the lamp in the corner, to the item in question dangling from the shade.

“Yes. If you still want me to come."

Her stare follows Clarke as she crosses the room to retrieve her bra. It’s an arresting sight. Those cut-offs and the way they hug Clarke’s ass should be criminalised in all fifty states. And be subject to an international extradition order. Possibly even a UN Resolution.

Clarke glances over her shoulder while she reaches behind to clasp her bra. “Oh, I always want you to come.”

The blatant innuendo brings a tinge of pink to Lexa’s cheeks, even as she rolls her eyes towards the ceiling.

“But, yeah. Why wouldn’t I?"

“It’s just..."

A muscle in Lexa’s jaw bunches as she tries to organise her thoughts. It’s not easy, not when Clarke turns and Lexa gets an eyeful of cleavage. Clarke's almost more distracting when she’s partially clothed.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time together."

Clarke stoops to pick up her shirt and approaches the bed.

She hoists one eyebrow. “And…?"

And Lexa’s worried that Clarke’s going to become tired of her. That whatever it is between them is going to burn out fast if they continue like this. That she’s growing far too attached for an arrangement that’s supposed to be casual. That maybe she wants something more than Clarke’s willing to give. Lexa’s not going to admit any of that though.

Instead, she gives a small, unconvincing shrug. “Nothing. Just an observation."

The mattress dips as Clarke takes a seat beside Lexa.

“This past week has been intense, I know. I always get super horny before my period but, you know, we can cool it off. I’ll just get reacquainted with my vibrator and you can give those beautiful fingers of yours a rest."

All of which is the polar opposite of what Lexa wants. Although the idea of the vibrator...

“That’s—no. The sex isn’t the problem.” Off the quizzical look she receives, she sighs. “Clarke, the more we hang out the more you’re going to realise that I’m kind of an insufferable bore. No, really, I am. My idea of a good time is reading about intersectional feminist theory and nerding out over science documentaries. I have so many food intolerances that no one ever invites me to dinner. Anya’s basically my only friend because I'm the world's worst at smalltalk. Honestly, given the choice, I prefer the company of trees over people."

Clarke looks at her for a long, weighted moment and Lexa can’t determine whether it’s pity flickering across her features or not. “Well... as someone who considers herself both a feminist and a fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson, I think we’re good. The special dietary requirements and social awkwardness I guess I can overlook.” She nudges Lexa’s shoulder playfully with her own. “Look, part of this whole friends-with-benefits deal is actually getting to know each other, right? So let’s rewind.”

She holds out her right hand.

"I’m Clarke Griffin. Nice to meet you."

Lexa glances down between them where Clarke’s hand hovers in mid-air. Putting aside her doubts, she slides her palm over Clarke’s, fingers closing around it. She shakes twice, grip firm.

“Lexa Woods. Likewise."

The wide smile Clarke directs at her makes Lexa’s stomach flip, her heart trip, body running the full gamut of physiological gymnastics. It makes something warm and unfathomably large, something she doesn't dare put a name to, bloom between her ribs.



*

Holed up in the library, safely ensconced in a private study room, Lexa’s wide eyes track over the laptop screen. She scans the blurb then scrolls down the page to the customer reviews. Most are four or five stars, a few satirical ones among them (when a book has a title like that, trolls are a sad inevitability). She hovers over the 'Look Inside' button, taking a moment to psych herself up before clicking on the link. Skipping past the daunting cover art—a monochromatic photograph of a latex-gloved hand strategically placed in front of a naked woman’s pelvis—she skims through the acknowledgements and introduction, blanching at the disclaimer in the very first line: ‘Readers should be aware that this is an activity that carries an inherent risk of injury or even death.’

It’s with some trepidation (and, okay, mild titillation) that she continues browsing. Well, until she lands on a line drawing that has her squeezing her knees together because, nope, nope, nope, that should not be anatomically possible.

She squints. Glances down at her hand where it rests on the trackpad then back to the illustration. And promptly jumps a foot in the air when the door swings open. In a panic she scrambles to minimise the browser window before Anya strides into the room, a flurry of blonde highlights, unceremoniously dropping her messenger bag on the table and slumping into the chair opposite Lexa.

She prays to every lesbian icon she can think of that Anya didn’t catch a glimpse of the screen. Because she’s pretty sure there’s no reasonable excuse for being caught looking at a book entitled 'A Hand in the Bush: the Fine Art of Vaginal Fisting'. Between this and Ontari walking in on her yesterday, it’s probably shaved five years off Lexa’s life expectancy.

She forces a smile onto her face, one that shows far too much of her gums to be natural.

“You’re early. I thought you were going to stop by the cafeteria first?"

“I was but I need to submit the abstract for my thesis to my research supervisor by 4 pm, so,” Anya shrugs, pulling out her laptop and a bottle of water from her bag.

She eyes Lexa for a few awkward seconds, watching the blush that’s slowly receding down her neck.

“Okay, what’s going on with you? You look weird and I don’t mean Benedict Cumberbatch-weird. I mean you just committed a federal crime and buried the body-weird."

“Nothing is going on. I’m reading for my Queer Women in Literature class.”

To illustrate the point, Lexa lifts up a near pristine copy of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.

“That’d almost be convincing if the book wasn’t upside down and back to front.”

Anya unscrews the lid of her mineral water and takes a pointed sip. Lexa equally pointedly ignores her.

They lapse into quiet for a few minutes, the only sounds the persistent tapping of keys and the occasional, overly-forceful turning of a page. It lulls Lexa into a false sense of security until, “So….” Anya drags the word out. "How are things going with Clarke?"

Lexa doesn’t look up from the book.

“Fine.” She tries to keep her tone even. “I saw her yesterday.”

The typing pauses and Lexa finally lifts her eyes to Anya’s.

“It’s not a big deal.”

Even as the dismissive words leave her lips, Lexa knows what a bare-faced lie that is.

She slept over.

They had two booty calls in a twelve hour period.

That’s not normal by any stretch of the imagination, no matter how strong Clarke’s premenstrual sex drive is. And Lexa can’t rationalise it to herself, much less her lifelong friend.

“Not a big—excuse me?” Anya gives her flat stare. "You’ve hooked up with this chick—what?—three times in the space of a week. Three times. There are couples that don’t fuck that often.”

She pushes the water bottle across the table.

“You need this more than me. Really, you should hydrate because you, my dude, my guy, my gay, are thirsty as fuck."

God, if Anya only knew.

She’s probably digging a deeper hole for herself but, “Actually, we’re meeting again tonight so, um, I’m going to have to cancel our Netflix marathon. Sorry.”

Under Anya’s now incredulous gaze, Lexa feels compelled to defend herself.

“I wasn’t exaggerating about how incredible she is in bed. Or any surface, for that matter. I guess I'd never really given much consideration to sexual compatibility with someone but Clarke is—God, she pushes all my buttons. Buttons I never even knew I had. But, at the same time, she makes me feel… safe, somehow, and really fucking good about myself. And the way she responds to me—”

“Okay, okay. Jesus. TMI.”

There’s a long beat of silence then Anya heaves a sigh.

“Who am I kidding? I’m living for this shit.” She leans forward, chin propped in her hands, eyebrow flexing. “Is she, like, super take-charge?”

“To begin with? She initiates things and she usually,” Lexa clears her throat, "takes care of me first. But, judging by her reaction, I think she likes it best when I'm in control."

“Hold up.” Anya blinks slowly. “Are you seriously telling me that you, Little Miss I-Think-I’m-Too-Vanilla, have been topping a porn star?”

She looks at Lexa as if seeing her for the first time.

“Who the fuck are you? It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.”

“Apparently?”

Anya casts her eyes over Lexa’s hand where it’s laid flat on the table. “It’s your fingers, right?”

“Clarke's pretty into them.” Lexa's mind catches up with her mouth and she flushes. “I mean, she’s not shy about expressing her appreciation for them.”

When she notices the amused intrigue on Anya’s face, Lexa shakes her head resolutely.

“No. I know that look. Not a chance."

“What? You can’t just say the girl you’re screwing is into dirty talk and not elaborate. You owe me. I had to listen to your gross pining over Costia for months, remember?"

For a few seconds, Lexa considers it. Maybe if she reveals something PG-13 then Anya will drop it? Lexa fixes her eyes on the graffiti scrawled onto the tabletop and mumbles, “Clarke’s very complimentary.” She shifts slightly in her chair. “About certain... physical attributes and my technique."

“Give me specifics, nerd."

“If I tell you this you have to promise not to mention it again. Ever."

“What’s the point if I can’t reserve dragging rights?"

Lexa just looks at her, lips tightly pressed together.

Anya gives an exaggerated eye roll. “God. Fine. I swear I won’t say a single word.”

She leans forward on her elbows, as if preparing to hear the juiciest piece of gossip since Brad dumped Jen for Angelina (the subject of which was the one and only time she and Anya had a falling out during middle school; Anya was Team Angelina and Lexa was avowedly Team Jen. It was a dark time in their friendship).

“Okay, so, she really likes my fingers."

“As we’ve already established."

“No, I mean, one time she came from just describing what she wanted me to do. I was hardly touching her."

Anya blows out a breath.

Lexa nods in agreement.

“Just throwing this out there…” Anya says, fiddling with the lid of the water bottle. “Does Clarke have any single friends?"



*

As if the faux Celtic hand-painted lettering on the sign wasn’t enough of a dead giveaway, the folksy fiddle music leaking out into the street only confirms Lexa's worst fear: Baloney’s is an Irish theme pub.

Inside it’s packed and rowdy; clearly Clarke’s definition of “pretty chill” doesn’t quite align with Lexa’s own. She cranes her neck, scanning the length of the bar, sweeping over the booths that line the back wall, searching for a glimpse of blonde hair in the crowd.

There’s this half a moment when she wonders if she’s actually come to the right place and she hovers uncertainly by the door, only to be jostled by a couple of guys barging past without so much as an apology. Suddenly she’s reminded why she doesn’t go to bars on Friday nights, why she's perfectly content living the life of a hermit. But her irritation melts away when she finally spots Clarke beside a pillar, a bottle of beer in hand, talking animatedly to a tall, broad man with a shaved head and a face-full of designer stubble. The sight of Clarke across the crowded floor makes Lexa’s pulse quicken, thrumming fast through her veins.

By the time she’s squeezed past the throngs of drunken office workers to reach Clarke’s side Lexa's a little flushed. It’s the guy who notices her first, nudging Clarke with his elbow.

Clarke’s face lights up instantly. “Lexa! You made it.”

The music’s even louder in this spot—they’re standing directly beneath a speaker, after all—and Clarke has to lean in close to be heard, warm breath gusting over Lexa’s jaw. She draws back to look at Lexa and the slightly unfocused sheen of her blue eyes, the lopsided slant of her smile, is telling; clearly, Lexa’s got some catching up to do.

“C’mon, let me introduce you."

Clarke slings an arm across Lexa’s shoulders and nods towards her male friend.

“This hot specimen is Lincoln, O’s boyfriend.”

He smiles, shakes Lexa’s hand, and she’s surprised how gentle his grip is for someone with muscles upon muscles. (On a scale of zero to Ellen Page grand-marshalling a Pride march in San Francisco, Lexa’s irrefutably gay, but even she finds herself distracted by the way Lincoln’s practically bursting out of a white v-neck shirt that’s at least one size too small.) Beside him, a petite, pretty woman with dark hair and dark eyes gives a little wave.

“This is Maya. We were roomies last year. Don’t believe anything she tells you.” Clarke points her bottle towards the bar. “O and Nathan are getting drinks. And Bryan’s gonna join us later if he can get away from work early."

With the introductions out the way, Lexa’s left feeling a little awkward and self-conscious. Not least because she’s finding it really hard not to stare at Clarke. Which, when her friends are standing right there, is beyond impolite. In her defence, Clarke’s wearing a tight plaid shirt with a couple too many buttons undone and the enticing shadow of cleavage, the creamy pale skin on display, leaves Lexa’s throat parched. After a few seconds, Lexa blinks and forces her gaze up, only to land on Clarke’s knowing little smirk. Busted.

Clarke leans in again and Lexa shivers at the brush of lips against her earlobe. “I love how weak you are for my tits."

This, Lexa realises, is going to be a long night.



*

“How did you two meet?” Maya asks and her face is so friendly and open that Lexa hesitates. She looks to Clarke for guidance—they hadn’t actually discussed whether she’s ‘out’ about her job—but Clarke’s too busy saying something to Octavia that has them both snorting with laughter for Lexa to catch her eyes.

She opts to be vague but truthful. “Work.”

“Are you an actress, too?”

Well, that answers that question; Maya does know.

“No,” Lexa answers, a tad too quickly. "I was on the production team."

Maya gives a solemn nod. “I think it’s great that Clarke’s dating someone who’s so accepting of that part of her life. I’m sure she’s already told you all this but her ex—Finn—was such a judgemental ass about the whole thing. Possessive, too. Like, she almost had to get a restraining order. He kept showing up at the studio and going all Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire. Y’know, beating his chest, ‘Stellaaaa.’ It was pretty sad. Then he just upped and left. Last I heard from my boyfriend Jasper's best friend’s cousin he moved to LA to join the Church of Scientology. Which, now I think about it, sounds totally fake but I’m just glad he’s out of the picture."

Lexa blinks. This is the first she’s heard about Clarke’s ex (the alleged Scientologist) but, also, “We’re not dating."

“Oh.” Maya’s forehead crinkles in confusion. “Oh, I—I’m sorry! I thought—when Clarke said—“

She briefly shuts her eyes and lets out a long sigh.

“I’m just going to shut up now."

It leaves Lexa wondering what Clarke could possibly have said to give Maya that impression.

She offers a small, reassuring smile.

“It’s fine, really. Anyway, it’s not exactly a hardship to be mistaken for Clarke’s girlfriend.”

She's joking, of course, but the other woman’s chagrined expression shifts into one of intrigue so quickly it almost gives Lexa whiplash.

She backtracks. “I just mean—"

“Hey!”

It’s Clarke, tugging insistently on Lexa's sleeve to get her attention. She leans into Lexa bodily, as though personal space is a foreign concept.

“Gotta take a trip to the bathroom. Do you need to go?"

Lexa draws her gaze away from Clarke long enough to see Maya glancing between the two of them, something gradually dawning in her dark eyes. Lexa opens her mouth to reply but the words get stuck in her throat when she notices the significant look Clarke’s giving her, when she realises it’s a pretext.

Lexa nods, the barest rise and fall of her chin. She carefully avoids looking at Maya as Clarke slips a hand into Lexa's own and pushes through the crush of bodies towards the door marked ‘Restrooms.’

The dimly lit corridor is empty and Clarke doesn’t hesitate to back her up against the nearest wall. Out here the music is muffled and Lexa feels like she can finally hear herself think. Admittedly, her thoughts are hazy and ephemeral; it's the effect of Clarke's proximity, the way Clarke's gaze tracks over her slowly and deliberately.

“Just wanted to get you alone,” Clarke says.

Carrying loud conversation all night has left her slightly hoarse.

“I never would've guessed."

Clarke places her hands flat on the wall on either side of Lexa’s shoulders and crowds in, their hips aligning. She drags her bottom lip between her teeth and smiles.

“Mmm, well, I’m not one for subtlety.” Her blue eyes are dark and heavy with want; they keep dropping to Lexa’s parted lips. “Lucky for me, neither are you.”

Thick lashes flutter as Clarke tilts her head to lean in. She pauses when their mouths are mere millimetres away, warm breath mingling in the tiny space between them. Lexa dips closer only for Clarke to back off slightly, smile widening at the pout on Lexa’s face. Clarke lets out a soft, teasing laugh. The sound of it wraps tightly around Lexa’s ribs, sends a slow tingle down her spine.

“You’re so cute.” Clarke presses her lips to the corner of Lexa’s mouth. “And sexy.” Drops a kiss on her jaw. “Gorgeous.” Another to her cheek, the edge of her ear. A low, scratchy whisper, “I want you. So fucking much."

All Lexa can do is stifle a quiet whimper. If it wasn’t for Clarke’s hips and stomach pinning her in place she thinks her knees might buckle. Clarke mouths along the line of Lexa’s jaw, the jut of her chin, until Lexa’s no longer able to hold herself back. She digs her fingers into Clarke’s hips and spins them around, swallowing Clarke’s pleased groan at the sudden reversal. This kiss is molten, urgent, all damp heat and too much tongue, and it makes arousal pool heavily between Lexa’s legs.

Hands roam down Lexa’s back, over the curve of her ass and into the back pockets of her skinny jeans. Clarke tugs her closer, one thigh slipping between Lexa's own, hips rolling forward.

Lexa slowly disengages from Clarke’s lips.

“Wait—here?”

Her mind may be sluggish but she hasn’t forgotten where they are: a dingy back corridor where anyone might stumble across them. After yesterday’s ordeal, she’d rather not be caught in flagrante again.

Clarke steals another kiss and Lexa feels her smiling into it.

“No. The ladies room.”

Lexa’s eyebrows lift. She’s never had sex in a bathroom. Never wanted to, either. It’s unsanitary. But Clarke’s hands kneading her behind, the warm press of lips against her throat is making her rapidly reassess that opinion.

“Won’t your friends wonder where we are?"

Clarke only grins, nipping at the side of Lexa’s neck.

“Oh, babe, no."

Lexa doesn’t really have a chance to process how she feels about the offhand term of endearment or the implication that ditching them for a quickie is something Clarke’s friends have come to expect from her, because the door leading to the bar opens. Some office worker, shirttails half untucked and tie askew, clearly drunk off his ass, staggers past. He stares at them, noticing their position, Clarke’s fingers still wedged into Lexa’s back pockets, and stops outside the door to the men’s room.

“You two lesbos?”

“Keep walking, asshole,” Clarke mutters under her breath.

He rears around, affronted.

“Wha’d you say?"

Clarke breaks away to confront him but Lexa clutches at the other woman's arm to stall her. “Don’t."

“Yeah, listen to your girlfriend.” The up-down look he gives Lexa makes her skin crawl. "Wouldn’t mind a shot at her myself. Pretty mouth she’s got. Bet it’d look even better wrapped around my dick.”

He grabs his crotch for emphasis.

“C’mon. Lemme show you what a real man can do."

“Trust me, neither of us need a man,” Clarke drawls. "Especially not one overcompensating for a two-inch micropenis like you, you piece of shit."

His mouth twists into an ugly sneer and he sways forward a couple of steps. “Fucking dyke."

The sheer vitriol contained within the slur makes Lexa’s blood boil, has her vision misting with righteous fury. Without conscious thought she tightens her hold on Clarke’s wrist and pulls, placing her body between Clarke and the drunk.

“Enough. You attack her, you attack me."

“Lexa,” Clarke whispers, “what the fuck are you doing?”

“Stay back. I’ve got this."

“You’re, like, 100 pounds wet. He's gonna snap you like a twig."

"You’ve never seen me fight,” Lexa tosses over her shoulder, keeping her eyes trained on the man. “I know tai chi."

They're squaring up against each other, Lexa and him, when the door creaks open again. Lincoln steps through, instantly alert to the tension.

“Thank God,” Clarke mutters.

“Is there a problem here?” Lincoln asks, brow set into a deep frown.

The drunk guy isn’t so wasted that he lacks the observation skills to realise the odds aren’t stacked in his favour, given Lincoln’s at least 6’2” and built like a brick outhouse. He holds his palms up, tripping over his feet as he backs away.

“Nah. No problem, man. Just a misunderstanding."

It isn’t until the guy crashes into the men’s room and out of sight that Lexa feels the haze lift.

“Everything okay?” Lincoln asks, concern etched on his face.

Clarke sighs and rakes a hand through her hair. “Yeah, we’re fine. Although Scrappy Doo here was about to start a brawl so thanks for preventing us from getting kicked out and possibly arrested."

“I’m perfectly capable of subduing a threat,” Lexa says primly. "It wouldn’t have come to that."

Lincoln gives them both a dubious look. “Well, O sent me to tell you that if you’re done making out back here, it’s your round. Fair warning: there was talk of body shots."



*

Lexa soon discovers that Clarke doesn’t back down from a challenge. Especially when it comes to tequila body slammers. While Maya and Nathan gingerly lick the salt off the other's wrist before knocking back their shots and biting down on a lime, Octavia and Lincoln do it off each other's necks. They make so much of a show of it that Lexa feels like she should avert her gaze. Until she remembers that Octavia’s an adult movie actress and this is actually the least compromising thing Lexa’s seen her do in front of an audience.

“You’re up, bitches!” Octavia shouts, passing shot glasses filled to the brim with Jose Cuervo Gold label to Lexa.

Clarke grabs the salt shaker and a wedge of lime. She glances down at her own chest speculatively and quirks one eyebrow. “How about we show these amateurs how it’s really done?"

Any misgivings Lexa has disappear when Clarke pops another button on her shirt. She watches, slightly dazed, as Clarke taps out a haphazard line of salt over her sternum, as Clarke places the lime between her teeth. She takes one of the shots from Lexa, slotting the glass snugly into her cleavage. Lexa’s only dimly aware of Octavia's raucous laughter in the background, of Maya smothering a smile behind her hand.

Clarke crooks one finger. Lexa’s jaw ticks. All she can think is: thank God Anya isn’t here to witness this Girls Gone Wild style debauchery.

After only a second’s hesitation, she stoops to bring her mouth to Clarke’s skin, collecting the salt on her tongue in one broad lick. Her lips close around the rim of the glass and she straightens, tossing the contents back. Half the tequila ends up dribbling down her chin, the rest burning down her throat. She drops the empty glass into Lincoln’s outstretched palm and steps up to Clarke again, leaning in to wrest the lime from her mouth. Lexa shudders, heat flooding her body from the earthy sting of the alcohol, the sharp zest of the lime as she bites into it, the cool brush of saliva from Clarke’s lips.

The claps and cheers from the onlookers surrounding them don’t really register to Lexa’s ears. Not when her full focus is on Clarke, the dilation of her pupils, the way she’s staring at Lexa like she’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner all rolled into one.

“No hands,” Nathan says, lifting his beer bottle in salute. “Impressive."

Octavia scoffs and folds her arms. “You guys peaked too soon. How’re you gonna follow that up, Griff?"

Clarke’s smile is positively filthy as her eyes drift down Lexa’s body. “Oh, I have a few ideas."



*

By midnight Lexa’s riding a pleasant alcohol buzz. Her limbs feel loose and she smiles easily at the banter being fired back and forth amongst Clarke’s friends. Nathan’s boyfriend Bryan eventually made an appearance. She learns he’s a personal trainer and she’s spent the past ten minutes deep in conversation with him about ethical alternatives to quinoa.

Despite Clarke's clear disinterest in the topic of superfoods, she hasn’t left Lexa’s side, keeps finding excuses to touch her—a hand at the small of Lexa's back or pressed between her shoulder blades or resting at the crook of her elbow. If Clarke’s friends notice they don’t draw attention to it, although Lexa catches Lincoln and Octavia conferring and looking in their general direction once or twice in her peripheral vision. Any time she tries to put a little space between herself and Clarke, mainly for the sake of propriety, Clarke just moulds herself closer to Lexa.

While the group linger on the sidewalk making their goodbyes Lexa’s surprised to be included in the hugs, even more so when Maya asks if she can friend her on Facebook. They all part ways in different directions, leaving Lexa and Clarke to gravitate towards each other, huddling together against the small nip in the air.

“Did you have fun tonight?” Clarke asks. “Aside from, you know, the almost-fight."

“I did.”

Lexa steps a little closer.

A slight smile pulls at the corners of Clarke's mouth. "Would it be wrong if I said I kinda liked you defending my honour?"

“Depends. Does this display of chivalry earn me a reward?"

The two of them are hovering so near to one another that they’re almost touching. It’s Clarke who reaches out, hooking her fingers into Lexa’s belt loops and pulling until their hips bump together. Maybe it’s that last beer to blame but Lexa doesn’t think twice about putting her hands on Clarke’s shoulders, about letting her thumbs brush the sides of Clarke’s neck.

“Hmm. How about this?” Clarke’s voice drops as she presses in closer, eyes sliding shut before their mouths meet in a kiss that leaves Lexa swaying forward when they part a full minute later.

Someone wolf whistles and when Lexa twists around to look she sees Octavia's head sticking out the window of a passing Uber, hands cupped around her mouth as she shouts, “Get a room, you two!”

Clarke flips Octavia off until the car is halfway up the street.

“I’d like to say my friends are normally better behaved than this but,” she gives a shrug, “that’d be a lie. Although, O does have a point...”

She brings a hand up to Lexa’s chest, tracing a single fingertip over the skin exposed by the open neck of Lexa's button-down.

“Think you're sober enough to come home with me?"



*

The cab journey to Clarke’s place is thick with tension, full of loaded glances and the deliberate brush of fingers where their hands rest between them on the seat. Lexa can’t help the way her thoughts leap ahead, to those same fingers tangled up in her hair or skating over her skin, dipping between her thighs. She squirms.

“You okay?"

“Yes.” Lexa lets out a quiet breath that seems amplified in the cramped back of the cab. “Impatient."

Clarke wets her lower lip. “Me, too.”

She leans across the gap, glancing towards the middle-aged driver whistling to himself then back to Lexa’s face.

“If I wasn’t so sure it’d give him a coronary I’d be climbing onto your lap right now."

“Not helping my predicament, Clarke.”

“Sorry.” The impish twinkle in blue eyes says otherwise. Clarke shifts until her fingers are sliding on top of Lexa’s, a moment later lacing them together. She’s watching Lexa intently, almost daring her to cave and make a move.

And, God, Lexa wants to slide across the seat. Wants to kiss Clarke so badly. She can’t take her eyes off Clarke’s mouth, the wet sheen of her bottom lip as it edges into a sly smirk.

By the time they arrive at Clarke’s apartment, Lexa’s skin is prickling with anticipation. The four flights of stairs take a lot longer to climb when they keep pausing to make out against the bannister. When they finally reach the door to Clarke’s apartment, Lexa crowds closer as Clarke digs into her jacket pocket for the keys. She lifts Clarke’s hair away from her neck and latches her mouth to Clarke’s neck, teeth scraping against the carotid artery. She feels the shudder that goes through Clarke, the wild flutter of her pulse under her lips. Clarke fumbles, misjudging the distance between the key and the lock on the first couple of attempts. Lexa has to smother a smile against her skin.

Once inside they’re all over each other again, heated, sloppy kisses punctuated by the shedding of their clothes until it’s just skin on uninterrupted skin. They make it to the bed without incident, falling gracelessly onto the covers with a shared giggle before sinking into another deep, lengthy kiss.

Clarke rolls on top and something about the way she’s smiling down as she’s braced over Lexa on her palms makes Lexa’s heart pound an unsteady rhythm, fills all the spaces in the cavity of her chest with a warmth that has nothing to do with their combined body heat. She lifts a hand to move a few golden strands of hair off Clarke’s face, rubs her thumb along the slope of Clarke’s cheek, watches the slow blink of dark lashes as Clarke leans into the touch.

Lexa must be drunker than she thought because it's the only explanation for the way she blurts, “So Maya thought we were a couple.”

Clarke’s expression is inscrutable. “Oh?"

“She was pretty embarrassed when I corrected her.”

“Well, she gets these romantic notions. Typical Pisces.”

Clarke’s eyes slide away, focusing on the hollow of Lexa’s throat. She cracks another smile but it seems more forced, more brittle than the one before.

“Hope you weren’t too offended by the idea."

“Clarke."

“Hmm?"

Lexa brings her knuckles to the underside of Clarke’s chin, tipping her face up to look at her. Those blue eyes are wide and a little fearful. Somehow that gives Lexa courage. “I wasn’t offended.” She swallows against a dry lump, ignores the churn of apprehension in her stomach. “I liked it."

Chapter Text

The seconds stretch, charged, heavy, and something shifts, a subtle rearranging of air between them. Lexa wants to claw back what she just said. Because Clarke’s hesitation is sending her stomach into a wild plummet and there isn’t a graceful way to extricate herself from this. She’s trapped beneath Clarke’s body, her stare, the weight of that stupid admission.

They’re pressed so tightly together, hips and stomachs and ribs, that Lexa feels the rise and fall of Clarke’s diaphragm as she sucks in a small breath and lets it out slowly.

“Lexa, I—” she begins, and it’s so tentative, so completely unlike her usual self-assuredness that it makes Lexa flinch.

If this is Clarke letting her down easy then Lexa can’t bear to hear it. The best thing, the sensible thing, the thing that will preserve her dignity, she decides, is to beat Clarke to the punch.

“You’re a catch. That’s all I meant.” If the words sit uneasily, twisting and coiling in her gut, then she hopes it doesn’t show on her face. “Who wouldn’t be flattered?”

Clarke’s eyebrows shoot up.

I’m a catch? Are you fucking kidding me?” She shakes her head slightly. “Besides the fact you’re super fucking attractive? Everything about you is just... Lexa, in the dictionary definition of girlfriend material there’s a picture of your perfect face."

Girlfriend material?

It occurs to Lexa that she’s holding her breath. Has been for the last several seconds. But she’s too reluctant to move a muscle or so much as blink in case it disrupts this confessional mood, puts a stop to whatever it is Clarke’s on the verge of saying.

“God, sometimes, when you look at me…” Clarke drops her gaze and when she glances up from under her lashes half a moment later, Lexa’s heart thuds so forcefully in her chest it’s a wonder Clarke doesn’t hear it slam against her rib cage. “I don’t even know what to think."

In Lexa's head, there's Anya telling her to woman up and find some fucking backbone. So when she speaks her voice sounds only slightly uneven. “The mixed signals aren’t exactly one-sided, Clarke."

She can’t quite read Clarke’s expression. It’s pensive. Blue eyes downcast again. A few seconds drag by where there’s only the shallow sound of their breathing and Lexa's own pulse thundering in her ears. She cushions herself for rejection, denial, a dismissive laugh at the very least.

“It’s not that I don’t—” Clarke stops, catching her lower lip between her teeth. She exhales softly, and Lexa’s sure she isn’t imagining the discernible wobble in it. “We have a really, really good thing going here. But, speaking from past experience? If we let this become something more, it’ll get ugly. Once feelings are involved, everything gets messed up."

“Clarke.” Lexa's throat constricts over that single syllable, the name coalescing into a hard lump, and she swallows around it. "I think that ship’s already sailed. Don’t you?”

It’s risky—this whole conversation has klaxons going off in Lexa’s brain—but she lifts both hands to trace along Clarke’s jaw. She doesn’t shy away from Lexa’s touch. She’s trembling slightly. They both are.

“It isn’t the end of the world.”

“No?"

“I don’t think so."

“It is if the person I’m with makes me feel like I’m the bad guy. Like I'm cheating on them just by doing my job.”

“Is that what Finn did?"

Blonde brows knit together, mouth turning down, and, really, Clarke's doing a stellar impersonation of Grumpy Cat right now.

“How…? Oh. Maya’s so going on my shit list.”

"Don’t be too hard on her. She thought I already knew.” Lexa lets her thumbs sweep across Clarke’s cheeks, an attempt to soothe away that frown. “I won’t give you an ultimatum, Clarke. I won’t ask you to choose between your job and me. It’s possible to have both—look at Octavia and Lincoln. They seem pretty well-adjusted."

“It's different for them. They’re both in the industry; that’s how they met. And Finn was cool with it in the beginning, or so he said.” Clarke blows out a rough breath. "Lexa, I’ve seen firsthand how uncomfortable my work makes you. Before we even got involved you had a freakout, remember?”

Off Lexa’s silence, Clarke softens her tone. “The fact is in a few weeks I’m gonna be on a shoot, having sex with someone—actually, multiple someones. Be honest. Doesn’t that bother you?"

Lexa girds her jaw, a muscle ticking in her cheek. She purposefully hasn’t allowed herself to consider what will happen while Clarke’s filming. Now the mere idea makes her stomach clench. While the mental image of Clarke with Raven and Octavia has been difficult enough to shake, this time Lexa won’t be on set to bear witness to it and she isn’t sure whether that’s better or worse. Because her imagination is more than capable of filling in all the details.

“I can learn to compartmentalise.”

Out of sight, out of mind. Right?

Clarke doesn’t appear convinced.

“I don’t want to stop.”

Lexa wets her lips, takes another gamble. She cranes her neck to ghost her mouth along Clarke’s jaw, savouring the quiet little intake of breath it earns her.

“Something tells me you don’t either."

Clarke lets out a half-sigh, half-groan, but she doesn’t dispute it. “Fuck, Lexa, what are we doing?"

“Need me to draw you a diagram?”

Lexa nips at the curve where Clarke’s jaw meets her neck; feels the slight leap of the pulse under her parted lips.

A hand on her sternum pushes Lexa flat against the pillows, Clarke levelling her with an unimpressed look.

Lexa tries on a smile.

“Do we have to define it? Can’t we just... see how things go?"

Maybe it’s the alcohol in her system compromising her better judgement, dismantling her inhibitions and the inclination to guard herself. Or maybe her brain’s just fried from the visual of Clarke leaning over her. Either way, Lexa finds she has no filter.

“I just want to be around you. All the time.”

Maybe it’s too honest; too much, too soon.

“Well. Aren’t you sweet,” Clarke drawls.

She bats her lashes playfully but there’s something soft and fond and hopeful in her eyes.

Or, maybe, for once, Lexa has said exactly the right thing.

She relaxes, the tight band of tension gathered below her ribs loosening. She runs her fingers down Clarke’s neck, over her shoulders, down her upper arms. Wraps her hands around Clarke’s biceps and tugs meaningfully until Clarke eases down onto her elbows, body settling further into Lexa’s.

And there’s nothing about this Lexa doesn’t like: Clarke’s legs entwined with her own; the way Clarke’s curves fit against her; every inch of warm skin resting along the length of her body, the ticklish drape of Clarke’s hair over her chest. She wants all this and more, for as long as she can get it.

They watch one another through lidded eyes for a long moment. The corner of Clarke’s mouth lifts into one of those panty-dropping half-smiles that Lexa often finds herself daydreaming about in class.

“You gonna give me some of that sugar?”

God, why is Clarke like this?

With a purse of her lips, Lexa plants her heels on the mattress and rolls them over. Clarke’s smile edges into a full-blown grin. One that only falters when Lexa sits back on her heels and reaches for the elastic holding her ponytail back. She pulls it free and sweeps her hair over one shoulder to apparently devastating effect.

The way Clarke’s staring at her now, eyes glassy and huge, almost reverent, makes Lexa freeze.

“What?"

“This,” Clarke makes a vague hand gesture towards Lexa’s entire person, “is plain rude. That fucking shampoo commercial hair. That face. That body. Those goddamn perfect little tits. I’m feeling so attacked right now."

“… Sorry?”

Clarke shakes her head. “Come here, you life-ruiner.”

She opens her arms and legs and Lexa gladly crawls into the space offered, settling on top of Clarke. Both let out a soft, wanting noise at the twin graze of nipples, another at the slick press of Clarke against Lexa’s mound as Clarke hooks her ankles around Lexa’s calves.

“First I ruined your underwear, now I’m ruining your life,” Lexa says, pushing up onto her elbows. She rolls her hips, bucking up a little, and she’s rewarded with a low groan as Clarke’s fingers scrabble over her shoulder and up into her hair. “What am I going to ruin next?"

“The sheets, if you keep this up.” Clarke’s other hand drifts down Lexa’s back until it crests the curve of her rear. “Have I told you lately that your ass is amazing?”

Clarke palms at one fleshy cheek; gives it a light squeeze for emphasis as her pelvis rocks down.

And, Jesus, it’s distracting, the way Clarke’s rubbing back and forth on her. Alternating between a slow up-down drag and a more focused grind that leaves Lexa shaking with arousal, a steady ache building between her legs.

She has to force her jaw to work. “Uh… no."

“Trust me, it is. Like, you’re a string bean with legs up to your armpits but you got booty. I love it. Gives me something to hold onto, y’know?"

It’s hardly the most explicit thing Clarke’s ever said to her but it still makes Lexa’s ears burn. Fortunately, she’s learned that the most effective way of silencing Clarke is to keep her mouth busy. So she does just that, kissing Clarke deep and slow, drawing her tongue into an entanglement that has them both panting heavily after a few heated minutes.

“Lexa?"

“Mm?”

She doesn’t pull away, changing the angle of the kiss instead. She can’t get her fill of the short, breathy little gasps that Clarke keeps making.

“Can we—I wanna try something,” Clarke manages to say between greedy kisses.

She brings her hands to Lexa’s shoulders, pushing back a bit.

“Get up on your knees. Spread them. Wider.”

Lexa does as instructed, watches, waits, while Clarke repositions. She drapes her legs over Lexa’s thighs, scoots closer, and it brings her cunt into direct contact with Lexa’s. That first touch, wet on wet, has Lexa’s hips jolting forward. She has to grip at Clarke’s thighs to steady herself.

“Have you ever fucked like this before?” Clarke asks.

Lexa shakes her head. She can’t really formulate words, not when her eyes are stuck on the join of their bodies, how every tiny movement of their hips has Clarke’s clit sliding and pressing against her own. It’s almost too much; too slippery, too stimulating. They’re both so slick already that it’s difficult to find the right rhythm, the right amount of friction. But, God, the sounds, the way Clarke’s hips are pumping up in tight little circles, the straining muscles of her abdomen, the jiggle of her breasts, are quickly getting Lexa worked up.

“Feel how wet you make me?”

Lexa presses her lips together. It’s all she can do to prevent an embarrassing whimper from leaking out. Because, Jesus fucking Christ, yes. The evidence of it's streaking down both their thighs. At this rate, she thinks Clarke might be correct about the sheets being a lost cause.

“I couldn’t stop looking at you all night,” Clarke says, trailing off into a throaty moan as Lexa’s hands wrap around her knees, pushing her wider open, rocking down a little faster. “I seriously can’t remember a single conversation I had with my friends because you're so fucking distracting. All I could think about was how much I wanted you inside me."

Really, she should be accustomed to these kind of statements from Clarke by now but it still leaves Lexa gaping slightly. The motion of her hips falters for only a second but it’s enough for Clarke to notice, a satisfied smirk pulling at her lips.

“You know, I masturbated in the shower while I was getting ready. To, like, take the edge off. And I still got such a fucking wettie the second I saw you."

An image pops into Lexa's mind unbidden: Clarke, water cascading over her glistening body, a hand gliding down her stomach and lower.

When she finds her voice, it’s strangled. “You were thinking about me? I mean, us—together—in the shower?"

Clarke sucks on her bottom lip as she stares up at Lexa, clearly reliving the fantasy.

“In the shower. On the bathroom floor. I've thought about you on the kitchen counter, the dining table, the back seat of my car."

The whimper Lexa’s been holding back finally escapes. In her defence, she isn’t completely sober and there are neurones misfiring all over the place thanks to the vivid picture Clarke’s painting in her head. She has to close her eyes and just breathe for a second.

“There isn’t a surface I haven’t thought about us fucking on."

Clarke punctuates this with an arch of her spine and the new tilt of her pelvis has them both letting out a quiet groan. Every brush of their clits sends a shudder through Lexa, makes her progressively less coordinated as she grinds and rocks and finally resorts to just rubbing herself shamelessly on Clarke. And Lexa wasn’t sure she could come like this but, damn, if it isn't getting her there and fast. She feels the pressure growing, tightening, in the pit of her stomach, a surge of heat sweeping across her skin.

“God, Lexa, you get me so—fuck,” Clarke breaks off on a moan, screwing her eyes shut, back arching off the covers again. She searches for Lexa’s hands, laces their fingers together tightly, and Lexa feels every shake, every judder that works its way through Clarke’s body, from every point that they’re touching. It’s glorious, watching Clarke fall apart like this. The bow of her back, the heave of her breasts, head tipped back and mouth hanging open in a silent gasp.

As soon as Clarke’s tremors subside Lexa hauls her upright and into her arms. Crashes their lips together in a kiss that’s completely lacking in any finesse but still kind of perfect in its own way. Hot and heavy. Breath mingling as Lexa splays her hands across the sweaty plane of Clarke’s back, as she slows the movement of her hips to the shallowest of thrusts. That’s how her own orgasm steals up on her, with Clarke’s fingers lodged in her hair, Clarke’s mouth sealed against her own to swallow the whine that erupts from her throat.

They stay like that, clinging to each other, for minutes afterwards. Foreheads pressed together. Perspiration cooling on their skin. Thighs trembling. Exchanging soft, languid kisses that still taste faintly of tequila.

 



*

 

“Can I ask you a question?"

Clarke doesn’t pause in the mindless patterns she’s tracing over Lexa’s skin. The sheets are only draped as far as their hips, leaving plenty of canvas to draw upon. Right now she’s focused on dragging one fingertip over the lines of Lexa’s tattoo.

“Mm-hm."

There isn’t really any tactful way to broach this but it’s been bothering Lexa for a while.

“What made you want to become an adult movie performer?"

The other woman’s lips twitch. “You can say the phrase 'porn star,' Lexa. Call a spade a spade, okay?”

She eyes Lexa for a few seconds, watching her fidget with the edge of the bedcovers.

“What? Does that offend your delicate sensibilities?” Clarke says it lightly but there’s a subtle undercurrent of steel. She stills her hand. “Let me break it down for you: I get paid really fucking well for what I do. I graduate next year and I have zero debt. My work allows me to be completely financially independent and save for my future. Not many college kids can say that about their shitty barista job at Starbucks, am I right?"

It’s a fair point.

“Look, Lexa, I don’t need your approval or even your understanding."

“I know.”

“But if we’re gonna do this you have to accept the way I make a living otherwise—"

“Clarke.”

Lexa reaches out to cover Clarke’s hand with her own and it seems to dispel some of her agitation. Their eyes meet and hold, Clarke’s gaze wary.

“I’m not judging you. I’m just curious how you got started."

Releasing a quiet sigh, Clarke shifts onto her side.

“I met Lincoln during my life drawing class about a year ago. He was the model for the three-week block on male anatomy. After class one day we got to talking. Actually, I was hitting on him because you’ve seen him, right? I made some lame joke about how being hung like that he should be doing porn.” Clarke smiles crookedly at the memory. “Turned out I was right on the mark. He told me he and his girlfriend got into it to fund their tuition and that he could put me in touch with a production company if I was interested. Hell yeah, I was intrigued. I’ve always enjoyed sex; I’ve been told by more than one of my exes that I’m pretty fucking fantastic at it. Why not get paid for having orgasms? So I called up the producers and they invited me for, like, a screen test. Nothing exploitative, no nudity. Just a kissing scene to see how I gelled with another actress. That was Raven. I didn’t expect how into it I would be. But, God, I was. We’re bros now but Raven is super hot. I probably would’ve fucked her there and then for free."

Lexa tries to ignore the tiny wriggle of jealousy in her gut. It dissipates slightly when Clarke resumes stroking her arm.

“Anyway, they liked me. I signed a contract that day and the rest is history."

“How many movies have you done?"

“Thirteen.”

Clarke bites her lip as she gauges Lexa’s expression.

Is that a lot? It seems like a lot to Lexa but she doesn’t really know. She has no point of comparison. Assuming every movie follows a similar format that means Clarke’s had sex with at least two different people in each one. Which, doing the math, totals at least twenty-six people this past year. Lexa’s only been with two sexual partners in her entire life: Costia and, now, Clarke. Her jaw works as she lets that knowledge wash over her. More than ever she wonders what it is Clarke sees in her because her experience is severely lacking.

“Do you always work with women? Exclusively, like Octavia?"

“I’ve done a couple of shoots with guys but, honestly? I’m not that fond of having enormous veiny dicks shoved in my face.” Clarke lifts one shoulder in a small shrug. “Girls are just sexier and they’re way more considerate.”

Lexa nods as if she has any clue.

“And after college? Are you going to continue? I mean, are you concerned about how it might affect your career prospects?"

Clarke gives a short husky laugh.

“If I was planning on becoming a doctor or a lawyer or a politician then, sure, I might be worried about this big, dark, dirty secret of mine. But artists thrive on notoriety. Being Kassie Skai gives me an edge, a ready-made narrative. I don’t know if I’ll keep it going as a side gig. It depends on how things pan out. I just know that while my peers are struggling to make ends meet or selling out their principles to become corporate shills, I’ll be in charge of my own destiny."

It seems like Clarke has everything figured out. There’s just one more thing Lexa’s dying to know: “What do your parents think about it all?"

Something in Clarke’s expression darkens then. She rolls onto her back, her hand slipping off Lexa’s bicep and curling protectively around her own torso. Lexa remembers, too late, how evasive Clarke had been when she’d brought up the subject of family before.

“You don’t have to answer that, Clarke. It’s none of my business."

A silence ensues, while Clarke stares up at the ceiling and Lexa racks her brain trying to think how she can restore the mood. She takes Clarke’s hand, the one resting on the bed between them, threading their fingers together, and she’s relieved that Clarke doesn’t withdraw from her touch.

When Clarke eventually speaks up, it’s in a flat, scratchy monotone. “My dad passed away three years ago. I’ve had a grand total of two conversations with my mom since his funeral. One of which was a literal screaming match about me switching my major from biology to art. So, no, they don’t have an opinion."

“I’m sorry.”

Lexa doesn’t know what else to say. She’s never been good at this. Dad drummed into her from a young age that overt emotions are a weakness to be mastered and overcome. Years later she’s still trying to unpick that behaviour.

“Don’t be. My dysfunctional relationship with my mom isn't your fault."

“If you ever want to talk about it..."

Clarke looks at her then, a wry little smile ticking up. “Think I’m done talking now.”

There’s something empty in her gaze, devoid of its usual sparkle, even as she turns back onto her side and reaches for the sheets tucked around Lexa’s waist. One small yank and the covers are pulled away, exposing Lexa’s body to the chilly air. Blue eyes meander down and back up.

“In fact, think I wanna be doing something else with my mouth."

 



*

 

It’s the vibration of her phone, buzzing in her jacket pocket somewhere across the room, that wakes Lexa in the early hours. The murky grey half-light that spills through the curtains tells her it must be sometime before dawn. The one bare leg she has sticking out of the sheets is freezing but there’s a toasty, pillowy warmth at her back; hot breath against her neck; an arm draped around her middle; a palm loosely cupping one of her boobs.

She’s about an inch away from the edge of the mattress and Clarke’s hogging the covers but there isn’t a single thing Lexa would change about her current situation.

Minutes pass before she feels the shift and stretch of Clarke behind her. Before she feels the gentle press of lips at the top of her spine, between her shoulder blades. Then Clarke’s hand on her arm, urging Lexa onto her back.

That first glimpse of Clarke clogs the breath in Lexa’s throat. Despite the crazy sex hair and the smudge of her eye makeup, Clarke looks so, so beautiful. Propped up on one elbow, she leans over, an easy smile on her face.

“Wait. I’ve got horrible morning breath. It's like something crawled in there and died,” Lexa says, trying not to open her mouth too much. She runs her tongue over the fuzziness coating her front teeth and grimaces.

“Lexa, like I give a fuck."

“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you about the noxious fumes."

Clarke rolls her eyes as she slips her hand behind Lexa’s neck.

“Shut up and kiss me."

It isn’t until much later that Lexa remembers about her phone. Ignoring Clarke’s protests for her to stay in bed, Lexa slips out from under the covers and goes in search of her jacket. She finds it in a careless heap by the door and fishes her phone out the inside pocket.

Four texts, all from Anya.

Anya [00:32]: Just checking you haven’t been abducted into sexual slavery by Clarke and her porn associates.

Anya [1:47]: I’d hate to see your face on the side of a milk carton. Not because I care, just because it’d put me off my Captain Crunch.

Anya [2:25]: Could you drag yourself away from Clarke’s magic pussy for two seconds to let your lifelong bestie know you haven’t drowned in it? Thank you.

Anya [6:13]: BINCH, FOR REAL. TEXT ME WHEN YOU SEE THIS OR IMMA CALL THE COPS.

From this point onwards Anya really has no right to call Lexa melodramatic. She shakes her head and taps out a quick reply.

Lexa [7:02]: So touched by your concern. I’m alive and well. Talk to you later.

Now that’s dealt with she saunters back to the bed, aware of the way Clarke’s eyes openly rove over her naked form and blushing only slightly because of it. She clambers on top of the sheets and allows Clarke to pull her down into her arms. They both can’t seem to stop smiling at each other. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Clarke reaches up to tuck a lock of hair behind Lexa’s ear. “I’ve been thinking—"

“Careful. You might injure yourself."

“Har har.”

Clarke pokes Lexa’s side.

"As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, maybe we could get started on the portrait today? I mean, if you don’t have any other plans.” Her eyes dip to somewhere around Lexa’s chin. "You probably have stuff to do, places to be, all that jazz."

“I don’t.” Those blue eyes dart back up and Lexa gets lost in their depths for half a moment. “I want to be here.”

The with you goes unspoken but Lexa thinks it’s pretty obvious.

The slow blooming smile she gets in response makes her chest feel like it might split open. Like her rib cage can’t possibly accommodate the way her heart seems to have grown three sizes in the past three seconds.

“God,” Clarke says. She’s staring at Lexa as if she’s a charming woodland creature from a Disney cartoon or something. “You’re so fucking cute."

Lexa hopes the smile plastered across her own face doesn’t look half as dopey as she feels.

 



*

 

They shower together, taking turns to scrub one another’s backs. It doesn’t take long for it to descend into an excuse for groping and making out under the spray.

(The reality of shower sex isn’t as, well, sexy as Lexa imagined it to be. The tiles are cold, their feet keep slipping in the tub, and more often than not she ends up with a mouthful of water and/or suds. But she perseveres. The threat of potential accident is worth it for the way Clarke claws desperately at her, blunt nails raking down Lexa’s back when she comes.)

They wrap themselves up in the fluffy white robes Clarke admits she stole from a hotel in Vegas while attending a porn convention last month. Which, apparently, is an annual thing and the goody bags have to be seen to be believed.

Breakfast consists of Clarke’s “speciality”—slightly charred pancakes—the burnt bits of which Lexa pushes politely to the side of her plate. She cleans the dishes while Clarke gets the easel and paints set up by the bay window, and if it all feels pleasantly domestic neither of them comment on it.

“So how do you want me?” Lexa asks as she approaches, drying her hands on the front of the robe. Off the lewd look she receives, she rolls her eyes. “For the painting, Clarke. How should I pose?"

Clarke taps her chin, mulling it over, then snaps her fingers.

“I have an idea.”

Lexa watches as Clarke drags one of the high-backed stools from the breakfast bar across the room until it’s in front of the window. Then she disappears into a closet beside the bathroom, rooting around until she finds something: a long bolt of burnt orange velvet. It looks like it might've been from an old set of curtains in a former life. She returns with it and closes the drapes over the window, the sunlight filtering through casting a diffuse golden glow over the room.

“Can I?” she gestures towards the belt holding Lexa’s robe shut.

Lexa swallows and nods. A moment later the robe pools around her feet. She hears the soft intake of Clarke’s breath and it makes Lexa square her shoulders, straighten her spine. She feels the weight of Clarke’s stare, how it lingers over her body, taking in every line and curve on display. She sees the way Clarke’s fingers flex at her sides as if she’s itching to touch.

“Sit down,” Clarke says and there’s a roughness to her voice that gives Lexa a small ego boost. “Keep your right side to me and, like, twist your body away from me slightly. There.”

She steps closer, draping the velvet material over Lexa’s shoulder and around her torso, fussing with the folds of the fabric until she’s satisfied. The way it hangs mostly preserves Lexa’s modesty, apart from a tasteful glimpse of side-boob. With both hands Clarke gathers up the fall of Lexa’s hair—still damp from the shower and drying into its naturally curly state—and lifts it to one side, exposing the length of her neck.

Clarke steps back to the easel.

“Now, show me that jawline."

For several beats, there’s only silence, then, “Holy shit."

In her peripheral vision Lexa catches Clarke staring at her, wide-eyed, lips parted.

“What?”

“Don’t move. Stay exactly like that.”

Keeping her head otherwise perfectly still, she tracks Clarke’s movement from the corner of her eye as Clarke rushes to the bedroom and comes back less than a minute later holding an expensive-looking DSLR camera.

“I thought you didn’t work from photographs?"

“I don’t but this is gonna keep my spank bank replenished for all eternity."

“Clarke,” Lexa says, a quiet admonishment, the tips of her ears turning pink.

She watches Clarke remove the lens cap and fiddle with a few settings before bringing the viewfinder up.

“Lift your chin. Yeah, like that.” The mechanical shutter clicks several times. “Keep the line of your shoulders straight.”

Another few clicks.

Clarke pauses to check the images on the display and the choked sound she makes has Lexa shifting restlessly on the stool.

“Oh my God, Lexa. For real, you are seriously fucking photogenic.” She lifts the camera again, twisting the lens to manually adjust the focus. “Look over your shoulder at me. And just, kinda, half-close your eyes. Give me, like, smoulder."

Lexa does her best to follow Clarke’s instructions, despite how ludicrous it all seems. Although she's not sure she’s capable of smouldering. It probably more resembles Joey Tribbiani trying to do math in his head while portraying Dr Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives.

“You actually look majestic as fuck,” Clarke breathes out, capturing another burst of shots. “Say something regal. Something sexy."

“Like what?"

“Surprise me."

Eyes flicking to the ceiling, Lexa heaves a small sigh. She sets her shoulders and fixes her stare on Clarke. Keeps her voice low and imperious when she says, “It’s customary to bow before an audience with a monarch."

Clarke takes another photo, the camera obscuring her wide smile.

“Gotta say I like where you’re going with this."

“Do you dare to dishonour me, Clarke? Kneel or suffer the consequences."

Without a single word of backtalk, Clarke drops to the floor. Which is lucky, because Lexa didn't actually have a plan B if Clarke didn't play along.

“Put that down and come here,” Lexa says calmly.

There’s a strange kind of power coursing through her as she watches Clarke obediently set aside the DSLR, as Clarke shuffles forward on the hardwood floor until she’s kneeling in front of Lexa. Clarke's eyes are wide and dark, pupils already swallowing up the blue of her irises. The robe she’s wearing gapes slightly.

The view has Lexa tensing her jaw.

“My subjects are expected to pay tribute. Have you an offering for me?"

Clarke quickly catches on. “Yes, your majesty."

Lexa stews on that.

“Commander,” she corrects.

She’s not some pampered figurehead coasting by on the hereditary right to rule. No, she’s a military leader. She’s earned this position through skill and strategy, thank you very much.

“Yes, Commander.” It’s so insolent, so heavily flirtatious that Lexa has to press her lips together to smother a smile. “But, alas, as a poor serving wench, all I have to offer is my virginal body."

At that, Lexa nearly laughs outright. Because Clarke’s really pushing the suspension of disbelief here. She takes a second to school her features.

“Acceptable."

“You are benevolent indeed, your highness."

“Commander,” Lexa reminds her.

For a split-second, there’s a flicker of defiance in Clarke’s eyes. She pokes her tongue into her cheek then affects a coy expression, gazing up at Lexa from beneath her lashes.

Lexa observes, suddenly dry-mouthed, as Clarke plucks at the belt of her robe. It falls open only far enough to expose a strip of bare skin down the middle of her torso. Lexa’s stare descends slowly, past the valley between Clarke’s breasts, the tiny paunch of her stomach, to the wisps of hair at the apex of her thighs. When Lexa's eyes drift back up to Clarke’s the hunger she finds reflected there is palpable. It traps the air in her lungs.

She doesn’t think twice about slipping from the stool, about grabbing Clarke by the lapels of the robe and crushing their mouths together. This kiss is ferocious, demanding; teeth scraping over lips; harsh, broken breaths; the surge of Lexa’s tongue sweeping into Clarke’s mouth. She shoves the robe off Clarke’s shoulders, almost tearing it from her body, while Clarke hurries to rid Lexa of the makeshift toga.

The first electric press of their skin has Clarke wrenching her mouth away.

“Jesus, Lexa.” She stares, eyes wild and so, so incredibly dark. “You better take me right here, right now, I swear to God."

Lexa only nods. She spreads the velvet out to give them at least some partial cushioning from the hard floor.

“What do you want?"

“You’re the Commander, right? Nobody tells you what to do. But if you need a hint..."

Clarke takes Lexa's hand and presses it between her thighs without preamble. She’s fucking drenched. Dripping wet.

Lexa sucks in a sharp breath, pushes it out again in a rush.

“Turn around.” She doesn't know where this aura of authority is coming from but she’s going to embrace it regardless. “On all fours."

And, Clarke, God, she lets out the softest of groans when she realises Lexa’s intentions. She glances over her shoulder, arches her spine down, plants her knees wide, and Lexa nearly swallows her tongue at the sight. She smooths her palms down Clarke’s back, from the nape to the base of her spine. Nudges Clarke’s knees further apart and shuffles into the space between them. Drapes herself over Clarke, nipples skimming lightly over her skin, and Clarke groans again, louder this time, grinding her ass back against Lexa. She grips the divot of Clarke’s hip with one hand, the other trailing up the inside of Clarke's thigh.

“Are you ready?” Lexa asks, close to Clarke’s ear, relishing the full body shiver that goes through her.

“Fuck, ye—”

That first noise Clarke makes when Lexa presses two fingers inside her is everything. Lexa could dine off it for the rest of her life. And Clarke takes her eagerly, greedily, driving her hips back so forcefully that Lexa almost loses her balance. She doubles down on her efforts, adds another finger, and Clarke gives this gorgeous little whine at the stretch.

The pace she sets is brisk, relentless, slipping out almost fully and slamming back in, keeping time with Clarke’s harsh, hitching gasps, the litany of curse words that trip from her throat. Lexa presses her lips to Clarke’s back, mapping out the freckles that dot Clarke’s skin with an open mouth and the edges of her teeth. She abandons her tight hold on Clarke’s hip to slip around and between her legs, seeking out her clit. Her fingers glide over the swollen bundle, circling, rolling. It makes Clarke falter, elbows buckling, and the new angle pulls a moan from her that’s so loud, so filthy that it makes Lexa flush.

Clarke’s close.

Lexa feels it in the tensing of inner muscles, bunching tight around her fingers, the quake of Clarke’s thighs, how her hips speed toward release, how every word from her mouth is just various combinations of “Lexa”, “fuck”, and “please."

When Clarke comes—Lexa’s knuckles rubbing just right, just where she needs it most—it’s with a spectacular shout.

 



*

 

Sometime later, lazing in the sweaty aftermath, Clarke lets out a slow, sated sigh.

“So…that was a thing.” She has an arm flung above her head, one hand still wound up in Lexa’s hair, nails scratching absently against her scalp. “This portrait might be a non-starter if we can’t keep it in our pants long enough for me to actually, like, paint you.”

Cheek pressed against the softness of Clarke’s stomach, Lexa lets out a small laugh.

“You’re the one who made it into something sexual."

“Uh, you’re the one who took it to the ‘your daughter also calls me daddy’ next level."

Lexa lifts her head, turning an incredulous, faintly appalled stare on Clarke.

The other woman only shrugs. “You know what you did, Lexa. Or should I say, Commander? I mean, fuck."

A blush rising up her cheeks, Lexa drops her gaze. She takes in the plethora of half-moon indentations on the tender skin of Clarke’s inner thighs, the beginnings of a finger-shaped bruise forming on the jut of one hip bone. Feels a wash of shame at the marks left by her mouth and teeth all over Clarke’s lovely pale skin.

She worries at her bottom lip. “Was I too rough?"

“Hey, babe, no.” Clarke reaches for her in an instant, pulling Lexa up her body. “If I didn’t like it or if you hurt me, you’d soon know. All right? Life’s too short to endure bad sex.”

She links her hands around Lexa’s neck, keeping her close. The set of Clarke's mouth is serious, just for a second, before she tips her chin up to kiss Lexa, slow and searching.

It’s only a matter of time before Clarke’s hands start wandering, rounding Lexa’s shoulders to glide down the slope of her chest. She skims over Lexa’s breasts, rolling stiff nipples against the palms of her hands, pulling a shivery exhalation from Lexa.

“What about the painting?” Lexa mumbles against Clarke’s lips.

Not that she’s inclined to put a stop to this. Not when Clarke draws her mouth away to trail kisses down Lexa's neck and across her clavicle. Not when Clarke licks into the hollow of her throat.

Lexa’s eyes stray to the blonde hair spilling out across the fabric crushed beneath them. Clarke looks good against that colour, she thinks. It’s actually more red than orange. Vermillion? A sharp little bite to her collarbone brings Lexa’s attention back.

“Fuck the painting. It doesn’t matter,” Clarke says, barely lifting her lips from Lexa’s skin.

With an insistent press of her hand to Lexa’s shoulder, she rolls them until she has Lexa pinned beneath her. She mouths a haphazard path down Lexa’s chest, makes a lengthy diversion of Lexa’s nipples, sucking and lapping and scraping her teeth over the peaks until they’re swollen and rosy and aching.

“This is all that matters. This is what weekends are for.” More kisses are scattered across Lexa's torso, planted on each of her ribs, on quivering abdominal muscles, the rise of her hipbones. “Hard, fast fucking. Slow, sweet screwing.”

Lexa’s breath catches when Clarke pushes her knees up and apart. Their eyes meet over the rapid rise and fall of Lexa’s chest and Lexa trembles at the expression on Clarke’s face. Voracious. The intensity of it sets her heart jack-hammering, sends another gush of wetness between her legs.

“And the best part?” Clarke’s voice drops to a raspy whisper. “Eating out my girl. Going for the record to see how many times I can make you come before you pass out."

Everything that Clarke’s saying is pretty damn overwhelming but it’s those two words—my girl—that’s Lexa fixates on. Except she doesn’t get a moment to turn it over and examine the meaning from every angle. Because the last thing she's cognizant of is the flex of Clarke’s eyebrow, the flash of a smile, before her eyes slam shut and she arches helplessly into Clarke’s mouth.

Chapter Text

“Oh my God!"

Lexa cringes at the sudden exclamation and shoots Anya an irritated look, only to find dark eyes rooted upon her neck.

“What the actual fuck, Lexa?"

Oh. Crap.

“That is the most enormous hickey I’ve seen in my entire fucking life.”

In truth, Lexa had forgotten all about the incriminating mark until she absently ran a hand under the collar of her shirt, inadvertently exposing the angry burst of red and purple in the process.

“Anya, please,” she grits out in a warning tone, eyes darting around the library stacks, “could you adjust your volume to something below foghorn level?”

Lexa tugs the flannel closer around her neck and shuffles her chair a few inches away in an attempt to ward off Anya’s attention. It’s ineffective, to say the least, because Anya just leans closer, balancing precariously on two legs of her own chair.

“Jesus, it looks like you’ve been mauled by a wild animal. I can actually see the indentation of teeth from here.”

Anya reaches for Lexa’s collar but she bats the hand away, exasperated. “Stop it."

The chair settles back against the carpeted floor with a soft thud.

“Did you know it’s possible to die from a human bite? I read an article about it once on Mashable. This kid in Texas, right? His high school girlfriend gave him a hickey and, boom, three days later he was hospitalised with rabies and died."

“Mashable is hardly a bastion of reliable journalism. And, statistically, that’s very unlikely."

“Still. Tacky. I mean, what are you? Twelve."

“It’s not like I asked her to bite me,” Lexa snaps, just at the exact moment a girl wanders past their table on the way to the Feminist Theory section.

(It’s forever been a source of consternation to Lexa that the library management saw fit to locate it next to the men’s restrooms. Something vintage arbiter of irony Alanis Morissette would surely agree is incongruous.)

The redhead, someone Lexa vaguely recognises from Indra’s class, throws her a look of wry amusement. Lexa keeps her eyes firmly fixed on the textbook in front of her until she’s sure the girl—Lana, Lola, Lucy?—is out of earshot.

“Normally she leaves them in less conspicuous places."

Doing a quick, furtive check for any other interlopers, she pops open a button on her shirt and pulls the material aside to show Anya. As soon as Anya catches sight of the vibrantly coloured splotches marring Lexa’s sternum, some fresh, some fading, her jaw drops.

“Ignoring for a second that you just flashed me in public, I repeat: fuck."

“I know."

“Is this why you’ve been ghosting me all weekend? You were with Clarke the whole time, getting covered in mildly sexy yet potentially lethal and disfiguring hickeys?"

Lexa only nods, an odd mixture of embarrassment and satisfaction making her cheeks grow hot.

“I didn’t get back to my dorm until Sunday afternoon.”

She doesn’t even have to look to know Anya's eyebrows are somewhere in the vicinity of her hairline.

The scathing mockery Lexa expects isn’t forthcoming and when she finally glances at Anya there’s an expression on the angular planes of her face that’s verging on… soft. It’s so jarring, so out of place and unsettling, that Lexa doesn’t know how to feel about it.

“What?” she asks, bracing herself for something unpleasant.

“As much as it makes me want to barf, you’re kind of glowing. I’m guessing it’s not just because of the copious amount of sex you’ve been having."

Lexa fiddles with the pen in her hand, tapping it arrhythmically against the varnished wood of the tabletop.

Her throat bobs. “We’re dating. I think."

A slow blink, then, “Meaning… you don’t actually know?"

“It was implied."

Anya puts both palms flat on the table. “Girl."

“We had a conversation and we didn’t exactly rule it out,” Lexa says hastily. "And, then, admittedly, there wasn’t a lot of talking. About our relationship status, anyway."

“Let me guess. You were too mesmerised by Clarke’s grade A rack for the subject to come up again.” Lexa doesn’t deny it. “You’re so fucking gay."

“I really am."

Anya leans back in her chair, folding her arms across her chest. Her eyes move over Lexa’s face.

“Now you’re quasi-dating this girl am I going to get to meet her?"

It’s only by the thinnest of margins that Lexa contains a snort.

“Uh, no."

An eyebrow lifts in challenge. “Worried I’ll embarrass you?"

“Anya, I know you’ll embarrass me. That’s why it’s never happening."

“This is an important milestone in any relationship. Ritual humiliation by your nearest and dearest. Since you’re otherwise a friendless loser, that privilege falls to me."

“If this is you trying to convince me, it isn’t working.” Lexa shakes her head. “Look, I’m used to you being your inimitable asshole self but I don’t want to scare Clarke off."

Anya stares at her impassively for a long moment.

Then, “Fine. I see how it is,” she says flatly.

She shifts in her chair, angling her back to Lexa, and resumes typing on her laptop.

Lexa attempts a small uncertain laugh.

“If I didn’t know any better I’d think you were offended.”

A few seconds pass while Anya continues typing. A tiny crease forms on Lexa’s brow.

“No, but, seriously, are you?"

“What possible reason would I have to be offended?” Anya says, voice devoid of inflection, fingers pressing down rather more forcefully on the keys. Her gaze doesn’t leave the screen. “I mean, you basically just said you don’t want to introduce me to your girlfriend. Me, who sat through six shitty seasons of The L Word with you and we didn’t even find out who killed Jenny Schecter or Sarah Schuster or whatever the fuck her name was; me, who third-wheeled at countless godawful LGBTQWERTY student organisation socials until your gay ass finally plucked up the courage to ask Costia out; me, who’s been nothing but supportive—"

“All right, all right. Point taken,” Lexa says with an unseen roll of her eyes. “Sorry."

“You’ll have to speak up. I couldn’t hear that over the deafening noise of me being a jerk."

“I’m sorry,” Lexa says with a smidgen more sincerity this time. “It's just—it's so new and Clarke’s so cagey and I don’t want to jeopardise the whole thing before it’s even begun by you giving her the shovel talk. Which, I know, it’s only because you care and you’re looking out for me and I appreciate it, I really do. But can you at least try to understand that?"

Half a moment later Anya heaves the world’s most aggrieved sigh and turns back around.

“Yeah, whatever, I guess. Although I don’t know where you get off accusing me of caring. That’s one major misapprehension you’re operating under."

“My mistake,” Lexa says, feigning a solemn expression and not quite succeeding in masking a tiny smirk.

“Anyway, what's got her so cagey?"

Lexa starts fiddling with the pen again, twirling it between her fingers.

“She thinks I won’t be able to handle it once she’s, you know, back at work."

Anya’s silent for a handful of seconds while she absorbs that.

“What do you think?"

“It's acting. What she does for pay doesn’t mean anything. And, as a feminist, I fully support her choices."

“… But?"

“But nothing.” Lexa tenses her jaw. “Why would I feel slightly threatened by the fact she’s surrounded by gorgeous, uninhibited women with sexual skills far more advanced than my own?"

“Oh, kid.” For once in her life, Anya’s stare is sympathetic. She pats Lexa’s shoulder awkwardly. “You’re screwed."

Lexa doesn’t even have it in her to dispute that assessment.

“Tell me something I don’t know.”

She drops the pen and tips her head back to stare up at the ceiling. She presses her lips together, closes her eyes, takes a second to collect herself. Expels a slow breath before turning her attention back to Anya.

“I like her so much."

“In other news: water is wet, bears shit in the woods, and KStew is not an outstanding heterosexual.” Off Lexa’s frown, Anya shrugs. “Dude, come on. Even someone with a breathtaking lack of self-awareness like you must realise you haven’t been remotely lowkey about this. Every time you mention her in conversation you get fucking heart eyes. I’m calling it now. Within six months I’ll be buying a big ugly hat for your lesbian wedding. And, binch, you better ask me to be maid of honour and not because I’m the default choice as your only friend."

Lexa hides burning cheeks behind her hands.

“God. Don’t even."

“I’m only going to say this once and then we’re going to go back to me pretending that I don’t give a shit but, if she makes you happy, that’s good enough for me. As for the other stuff, you need to, like, take ownership of it. Diminish its power. Demystify it.” Noting Lexa’s puzzlement, Anya lifts her eyebrows. “I mean the P. O. R. N."

“Spelling it out doesn’t make it any more discreet. Besides, there is no mystery. I’ve seen her perform, remember?"

“Yeah, but that’s a different perspective. I’m talking about the finished product.”

Lexa watches with mounting horror as Anya opens up a browser window and navigates to Amazon, typing 'Kassie Skai' into the search box. A second or two later the page is filled with a list of the thirteen movies Clarke’s made.

“Huh. Your girl’s been busy."

Both pairs of eyes scan over the titles: Sapphic Sorority: the Initiation, Kassie the Pussy Slayer 1 and 2, Mannequim, The Sixty-Ninth Sense, The MILF of Wall Street...

“Listen to this synopsis: 'Kassie Skai is the hot new girl on campus. Little does she know that the sorority she’s pledged to join'—oh my fucking God, I’m not even making this shit up—'Delta Kappa Vag is a secret society of lesbians. Who better to initiate sweet but eager Kassie than experienced sorority sisters Raven Reyes and Octavia Blake?'” Anya drags her eyes away from the screen. “We should totally watch this."

“What? No.” Lexa wrinkles her nose. “I’m not going to watch an adult movie with you."

And, of course, the second those words leave Lexa’s mouth is when Lana/Lola/Lucy passes by their table again. The girl casts a speculative glance towards them, one eyebrow hoisted, and Lexa tries to ignore the fact her cheeks are surely the same deep red hue as her classmate’s hair. She slumps down in her seat.

“Look, the sooner you see how fake and stupid this stuff is the sooner you’ll realise you have nothing to worry about. So,” Anya drums her fingers against the tabletop, “are you free this evening?"

Lexa mulls it over for a moment. Really, there are a hundred other things she should be doing: papers, studying for Indra's class test, that growing pile of laundry that’s probably evolving sentience as they speak. But she also feels guilty about how little time she’s spent with her best friend recently and maybe, just maybe (although Lexa would never admit it), Anya has a point.

“Okay."

Anya’s mouth ticks up. “That was surprisingly easy. I didn’t even have to resort to blackmail once."

 



*

 

“I’m not sure about this,” Lexa says, tugging her sleeves down over her knuckles, while Anya balances the laptop on her knees, angling the screen so that they can both see it.

“Hey, we’re just BFFs watching some HLA. No biggie."

Lexa gives her a blank look.

“HLA?"

“Hot lesbian action,” Anya supplies, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “It’s a sad state of affairs when I’m more knowledgeable about the abbreviations of your people than you are."

“I’m pretty sure only straight dudebros refer to it as ‘HLA’. And I can’t believe you actually made popcorn."

Anya digs into the bowl sitting between them on the bed, grabbing a handful of buttered kernels and stuffing them into her mouth.

“Um, excuse you. It’s not a movie night without it.” A few stray crumbs fly out onto the blanket and Lexa tries to contain her dismay. “Also, if I die before you, you have to remember to delete this video from my computer. It’s hidden in the folder Mesopotamian Campaign and I renamed the file Battle of Ctesiphon. Only someone with a hard-on for World War I could ever be curious enough to open it but just to be safe."

“And with that, you've forsaken all rights to call me a nerd. But, yes, noted. Now can we please get this over with?” Lexa tucks her hands beneath her thighs to stop fidgeting and swallows down the slight sense of dread as the opening titles appear on the laptop screen.

The movie begins with a montage of Clarke—Kassie—wandering a leafy university campus, looking around in bright-eyed wonder. Within seconds Lexa recognises the blonde’s voice in the accompanying narration.

“It was my freshman year at Tomlin University. I couldn’t have known then that, after rush week, my life would never be the same."

“A voiceover, for real?” Anya says. “What does this movie think it is, The Shawshank Redemption?” She leans forward to stare at the screen. “Isn’t that—oh, shit, it is! Washington Hall. The library. The amphitheatre. The quad. Man, if Dean Jaha ever finds out about school property being used in establishing exterior shots for a porno, heads will fucking roll."

“Are you really going to do a running commentary?"

Anya gives a pointed look. “Would you rather we watched it in uncomfortable silence? Because that wouldn’t be at all weird."

Lexa purses her lips.

There’s a short sequence with some truly awful stilted dialogue in which Clarke meets Octavia at a clubs and societies fair and Octavia invites her to register for recruitment at Delta Kappa Vag. This quickly transitions into a scene at the sorority house where Clarke waits to be interviewed by the chapter leader. Raven makes her grand entrance wearing a tiny skirt and a midriff-exposing halter neck shirt. The camera does a lingering, gratuitous tracking shot up her athletic body, taking in toned legs and abs so tight you could bounce a quarter off them.

From the corner of her eye, Lexa sees Anya’s hand pause on its way to her open mouth, oblivious to the few bits of popcorn dropping into her lap.

More perfunctory and improbable dialogue later and Clarke’s being shown around the chapter house. She excuses herself to go to the bathroom, only to burst in on two girls making out in the shower. According to the narration, she’s so overcome with horniness that she has to find somewhere to relieve herself.

“'Bout time,” Anya says, “all that exposition was boring my tits off."

Clarke finds a conveniently empty bedroom and shucks off her booty shorts, lies down on the bed, and starts touching herself over her underwear. It keeps cutting between Clarke and the two girls in the shower, presumably to imply that she’s thinking about them while she masturbates. As plot devices go, it’s pretty annoying. Because who cares about those other girls when there’s Clarke?

“What’s with the soundtrack?” Anya says, incredulous. “Is there a bad four-piece funk band hiding in the closet?”

She mimes playing air bass guitar until Lexa swats at her.

“Seriously, this music is a ladyboner killer."

Lexa would agree except she’s kind of transfixed by Clarke’s hand disappearing under the waistband of her white panties. God, this was such a bad idea. She categorically cannot be turned on next to her best friend. She tries to think of unsexy things like midterms and library fines but the way Clarke arches her back, the outline of her fingers moving with purpose beneath the material is making it very difficult.

She knows what’s coming next, of course. Octavia walks in and it takes all of thirty seconds and a brief spiel about recruitment rounds for them to start aggressively making out.

“Damn. These chicks don’t waste any time. They literally met five minutes ago and now they’re shoving their tongues down each other's throats.” Anya’s eyes widen. "Welp, there goes her shirt."

Things escalate quickly from there, as Lexa knows all too well because she was on set to see it unfold. There’s Clarke, back against the headboard of the bed, and Octavia flat on her stomach between Clarke's wide-spread thighs. And the whole time Clarke keeps glancing not at the camera but slightly to the side. Observant as she is, it doesn’t take Anya long to pick up on it.

"Funny how Clarke keeps staring off into the distance. Wonder what’s got her attention…"

Thankfully, she lets it drop, leaving Lexa to quietly squirm behind the cover of her drawn up knees every time the camera does a close up of Octavia’s mouth on Clarke’s cunt. Which is often. The visuals and the sounds are so toe-curlingly graphic that Lexa can’t deal with having Anya sitting right beside her, shovelling handful after handful of popcorn into her mouth like she’s at the local multiplex watching The Fast and The Furious 27.

It’s almost a relief when the next scene is one of Raven and Octavia in a study. They have a discussion about Clarke’s sorority application, which is ostensibly just an excuse for them to start fucking on the desk. Lexa doesn’t miss the way Anya seems to pay closer attention, shushing Lexa when she tries to comment on the paper-thin plot. In fact, Anya remains conspicuously silent throughout, dark eyes glued to the screen.

“So, Raven’s pretty attractive,” Lexa says idly.

Anya clears her throat. Reaches for her nearby can of soda and takes a few chugs.

“She’s all right. I mean, I guess I could make an exception if she hit on me at a cheese and wine or something."

Lexa smothers a smile against her knee. “For someone who’s supposedly ‘mostly straight’, you sure have a lot of exceptions. Gal Gadot, Lucy Liu, Beyoncé, Daisy Ridley, half the US Women’s National So—"

“Look, with all the time I spend with you I get gayer by association. It’s osmosis or some shit."

“Uh huh."

Their mild teasing peters out when they both notice that Clarke and Raven are on screen again. Somehow they missed the no doubt flimsy setup for Raven to be wearing a strap-on. Lexa had been so distracted that day she can’t even remember how it happened in the script. All she knows is that her face feels like it's on fire and Anya just choked.

“Fucking… Let me live,” Anya mutters under her breath, once she recovers the power of speech. “You could’ve warned me about this part."

“How do you think I feel? I was there."

For a few excruciating minutes, the rhythmic slap of skin on skin and a crescendo of soft groans fill the quiet of the room. Once again Clarke’s eyes drift beyond the camera.

“Did she actually just fucking wink at you there?” Anya says. “God, she’s not even hiding it. A precious gay bean like you never stood a chance. Although why she was looking at you when there was an actual goddess behind her is a mystery to me."

“Goddess? That’s quite the upgrade from ‘eh, she’s okay,’” Lexa says with a short laugh. “You know, she’s one of Clarke’s best friends. I could probably introduce you if you want."

“Pft. No." Anya doesn’t look at Lexa, entirely focused on the way Raven’s driving her hips forward hard, one hand wrapped up in blonde hair. “I’m just saying that, objectively? I can appreciate this girl’s prowess with a strap-on. Don’t misconstrue that to mean I’d absolutely sell a kidney for her to nail me like that."

“And to think I opted to remain sober for this experience."

Finally, it’s the threesome. It goes on a lot longer than Lexa remembers and she doesn’t know whether it’s a curse or a blessing that Anya keeps her commentary to a minimum. Because without the banter she can’t do anything but concentrate on every nuance of Clarke’s expression, knowing that she was thinking about Lexa at the time, pretending it was Lexa’s hands and Lexa’s mouth on her body. And, God, the orgasm when it happens—that breathless, endless moment while Clarke's heavy gaze held Lexa's, captured here in its intensity forever—makes Lexa’s entire body flush with heat.

“Either Clarke’s the Meryl Streep of faking orgasms or she really went there."

“Yep.” The ‘p’ pops.

No."

“She told me afterwards it was because of me."

One shoulder lifts in a shrug and Lexa has the distinct sensation of Anya’s stare boring into the side of her head.

Neither of them is paying any attention to Clarke’s closing narration to find out whether Kassie Skai was accepted as a pledge to Delta Kappa Vag. (Spoiler alert: she was.)

“Shut the fuck up. How is it possible for one person to have so much game and be so oblivious? Seriously, this is messing with my mind. Like, the very fabric of the universe is unravelling.” Anya shakes her head. “I need time to process this."

“More like you need time alone with Raven Reyes,” Lexa says archly.

She pushes off the bed.

“The offer stands, by the way. All it would take is a text to Clarke to arrange a group hang…"

Anya scowls at her. “You can show yourself out."

 



*

 

Mere seconds after the door shuts behind her Lexa feels her phone vibrate. She pulls it out of her pocket and smirks at the text notification.

Anya [21:05]: Fine. Text Clarke.

Lexa [21:06]: When you ask so nicely, how could I refuse?

Anya [21:07]: Fuck you.

Lexa [21:07]: Such gratitude.

Anya [21:08]: Fuck you very much. Better?

Lexa [21:09]: Love you, too.



*

 

As soon as she gets back to her dorm—Ontari-free because her roommate's at an away game out of state—Lexa fires off that text to Clarke.

Lexa [21:17]: This might seem a little forward but is Raven single? Into girls? Asking for a friend (Anya).

While she waits for a reply she decides to tackle that mountain of laundry, sorting it into piles of darks, colours, and whites.

Clarke [21:23]: yes and yes. what does Anya look like?

Lexa goes to her phone’s camera roll and swipes through until she finds the most flattering photo. A rare one where Anya’s actually smiling instead of wearing her usual resting bitch face. She sends the image to Clarke.

Clarke [21:26]: i just showed it to Raven. she thinks your friend is hot.

Since there’s no one around to witness it, Lexa allows herself to do a fist pump.

Lexa [21:28]: The four of us should hang out together sometime.

Clarke [21:29]: a double date?

Actually, Lexa had something more casual in mind but… okay.

Lexa [21:30]: Dinner, this Friday?

Clarke [21:31]: we’re down.

Lexa [21:32]: Cool. I’ll check with Anya and let you know.

She continues separating the clothes until her phone buzzes with the arrival of another text.

Clarke [21:37]: am i gonna see you before then?

Lexa [21:38]: Missing me already?

Clarke [21:40]: maybe. come over tomorrow and find out

Clarke [21:41]: what are you doing right now?

Lexa [21:42]: Laundry.

Clarke [21:42]: lame

Lexa [21:43]: And necessary. Otherwise, I’ll be wearing nothing but my birthday suit for the rest of the week.

Clarke [21:45]: that's a bad thing, how?

Lexa [21:47]: I think my professors would object if I showed up to class in the nude.

Clarke [21:50]: ugh okay you need to stop talking about being naked. Raven’s here and it’d be rude to kick her out so i can sext you. she’s already pissed i’m ignoring her

Lexa [21:52]: Go. Talk to Raven. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Clarke [21:53]: can’t wait ;) xx

She spends far longer than is sensible staring at the two little x’s, a burgeoning smile on her lips.

 



*

 

“Hot date?"

Lexa stops fussing with her hair to glance at Ontari in the mirror. It’s the first actual words they’ve spoken to each other since the incident several days ago. The atmosphere in their dorm is no more or less strained than before. They’ve continued communicating in their usual non-verbal way when it can’t be avoided but, beyond that, there’s been no attempt at initiating conversation.

She’s so thrown by the question she forgets this is privileged information she’s not in the habit of sharing with her roommate. “I’m meeting a friend.”

“That girl?” Ontari doesn’t need to elaborate.

Lexa returns her attention to smoothing back her ponytail, not deigning to give a reply.

A minute passes.

“I don’t get it."

She isn’t sure what’s worse: the silent treatment they’ve settled into until now or this newfound, inexplicable curiosity.

“How someone like you could get someone like her,” Ontari continues.

Lexa turns, folding her arms, not bothering to hide her displeasure.

“Pardon?"

A shrug.

“She’s hot. And you’re…” Ontari makes a vague hand gesture in Lexa’s general direction. “You."

“I think I preferred it when we didn’t talk."

“Just saying if you want to get laid tonight you should ditch the librarian look."

Lexa almost scoffs because a surfeit of sex is so not her problem. “You hate me. Forgive me if I’m not falling over myself to accept your unsolicited relationship advice."

Ontari rolls her eyes.

“I hate everyone. It’s called misanthropy. Look it up."

For a second Lexa’s kind of stunned. Because she wasn’t aware Ontari’s vocabulary consisted of words of more than two syllables. So she isn’t really paying attention to her roommate pulling out an item of clothing from the closet until it hits her square in the face. “Here. Try this on."

Lexa holds the garment up for inspection. It’s a diaphanous black shirt that’s definitely a size too small. She looks from the shirt to Ontari.

“Goth hooker isn't really my style."

“That’s the point. Mix it up a little. You could stand to look less like someone who’s gonna die surrounded by cats.”

Ontari stares at Lexa, tapping her foot.

Lexa baulks.

“I’m not changing in front of you."

“Already seen you naked. Hate to break it to you, doll, but you ain’t all that."

How fucking rude. With a huff, Lexa turns her back on the other woman and pulls off her sweater.

“Is that the bra you’re gonna wear?” Off the glare Lexa tosses over her shoulder, Ontari holds up her palms. “Whatever, grandma."

Once Lexa has the shirt on and buttoned up—okay, it’s even tighter than she first suspected—she faces her roommate again. Ontari gives her a critical once-over. Before Lexa can protest, Ontari releases the top two buttons of the shirt, exposing a bit too much skin to be considered tasteful.

“Hey!"

“Better,” Ontari says, then her eyes bug out.

Too late, Lexa remembers about the fading hickeys.

“Not a word."

“No, I’m actually… impressed. Roan and I have a wager going. He’s convinced a prude with a stick up her ass like you must be into some real kinky shit and, damn, I think he might be right. Which means I owe him fifty bucks and a blowjob."

Ontari smirks at the way Lexa’s face scrunches in disgust. Has the gall to chuckle when Lexa grabs her blazer and strides towards the door like she can’t get out of there fast enough.

“Wait, one last thing.”

She saunters up to Lexa and reaches around to tug the elastic hairband free, releasing Lexa’s hair from the confines of the ponytail. Without asking for permission she teases her fingers through the tumble of wavy locks, tousling it up some more. Gritting her teeth, Lexa allows it, though every molecule in her body is screaming at her to shove Ontari away. Honestly, what’s with this sudden violation of her personal space?

“Now you look passably fuckable."

It’s only when Lexa’s halfway down the hall that she remembers she’s still wearing the ridiculous shirt.

It’s a point of pride that she refuses to go back and change.

 



*

 

The Lyft’s almost at Clarke’s place when Lexa receives a text.

Clarke [19:07]: Rain check tonight? My period started. :(

A selfie comes through, Clarke pouting unhappily at the camera.

The thought of returning to her dorm and having to deal with Ontari’s smug little face is far too humiliating for Lexa to contemplate. An idea occurs to her as she looks down at the photo of Clarke on her phone.

She leans forward to talk to the driver.

“Could you drop me a couple of blocks from here instead?"

 



*

 

“Lexa? What—“ Clarke’s confusion is evident even over the crackling of the intercom. “You saw my text, right?"

“I did, but,” Lexa hedges, “I thought we could still hang out?"

There’s a short pause before the lock disengages. She climbs the stairs, a little flutter of trepidation in her stomach, one that doesn’t dissipate when she finds Clarke waiting for her in the doorway, a slight frown pinching her features.

“Hey,” Lexa says, taking in the sight of Clarke in sweats and fuzzy socks, hair pulled back into a sloppy side braid, face scrubbed clean of makeup. Lexa finds it endearing, the downturn of her mouth only adding to the effect.

Clarke tucks a loose strand of her behind her ear.

“You could've warned me. I’m a mess."

“You’re beautiful."

The frown melts away at Lexa’s compliment, turns into something else entirely when blue eyes fall upon the modest convenience store bouquet of carnations and freesias in Lexa’s hand.

She holds the flowers out to Clarke as an offering.

“For you."

“Lexa,” Clarke says on an exhale, seemingly stymied for words.

Lexa hefts the brown paper bag under her arm.

“I also brought some essential supplies."

Clarke takes the flowers and ushers Lexa inside. They cross over to the dining table, where Lexa sets down the bag and pulls out the contents: an 8oz slab of Hershey’s milk chocolate, a family size bag of gummy candy, a couple of tubes of Pringles, and a bottle of red wine.

“How do you feel about Netflix and consuming our body weight in snacks? I know I shouldn’t have dropped by unannounced but—"

The rest of what she was going to say is halted by Clarke’s hand curling around her neck, drawing Lexa into a soft, sweet kiss. It stretches over minutes, neither of them in any hurry to pull away, and Lexa slips her arms around Clarke’s waist, folding her closer. Fingers tangle in the hair at the nape of Lexa’s neck as their lips slowly part to one another. Clarke’s mouth is pliant, warm and wet against Lexa’s and she sighs into the contact. The taste of Clarke, the heat of her body pressed so tightly to Lexa’s own, is intoxicating. It’s only been a couple of days but it’s two days too long, as far as Lexa is concerned.

“Mmm,” Clarke says, a quiet hum against Lexa’s lips. “You’re definitely a keeper."

Something inside Lexa lights up at those words. She can’t rein in the smile that tugs at the corner of her mouth.

“You’re not so bad yourself."

“Yeah?” Clarke’s eyes sparkle.

Lexa nods and the motion has her nose brushing against Clarke’s, lips sliding together until they’re kissing again. It’s a long moment later before Clarke breaks it off, teeth sinking into the rosy swell of her bottom lip. Lexa can’t drag her gaze away even as Clarke takes a step back.

“So. A movie?” Clarke says, looking everywhere besides Lexa. A tinge of pink touches her cheeks. “Could you grab the snacks? I’ll put these in water and get us glasses."

Dutifully, Lexa carries everything over to the coffee table while Clarke fetches the wine glasses and the bottle.

“A screw top? My kind of girl,” Clarke comments with a wink.

She opens the bottle and pours the wine, fills each glass two-thirds of the way to the brim, then takes a seat beside Lexa on the couch.

“What are you in the mood for?"

Oh, Netflix. Right.

“I don’t mind. You choose."

While Clarke flicks through the list of what’s trending, Lexa takes a big gulp of wine, tries to relax and remind herself that this isn’t a date. Even so, she feels jittery. So much so that she isn’t aware Clarke’s selected an Adam Sandler comedy until his name appears on the screen. But she can’t find it in herself to complain. Not when Clarke settles against her side, using her shoulder as a pillow. Especially not when Clarke starts laughing at his stupid man-child antics.

 



*

 

If someone ever asked Lexa to relate the plot of that movie, she couldn’t. Because she spent the entirety of the 90-ish minute runtime attuned to Clarke. The way her body shook with laughter, how she burrowed into Lexa during the lulls between gags. It felt only natural for Lexa to wind an arm around her. The action earned her a kiss on the cheek, a little rub of Clarke’s palm where it rested on her thigh.

In fact, she doesn’t notice the end credits are rolling until Clarke sits forward to grab the remote and switch the television off.

“You hated every second of that, didn’t you?"

“I liked the part when… Actually, no. I can’t even pretend."

Clarke looks at her with a mixture of affection and exasperation. “We could've watched something else."

Lexa doesn’t know how to explain that it doesn’t matter, that being here with Clarke, having her close and warm and giggling is entertainment enough, without sounding like a complete sap. Maybe she doesn’t have to say anything because Clarke’s expression is doing a pretty good job for both of them. Clarke leans in, one hand braced against the back of the couch. She hesitates a second, eyes darting over Lexa’s face before their mouths meet. It’s another one of those languid kisses that makes Lexa’s mind buzz and her heart trip. Clarke nudges forward, licks at Lexa’s bottom lip, and all Lexa can taste is the lingering sweetness of chocolate in Clarke’s mouth, and, beneath that, the heavy fruity notes of the wine.

She isn’t sure how much time passes before she becomes aware of Clarke loosening her belt buckle, deft fingers easing the button at the waistband of her jeans free of its loop.

Her breath hitches. “Clarke."

“Shhhh.”

Clarke drags the zip down, slips her hand inside the open fly to cup Lexa over her boyshorts, lets out a pleased little sound when the pads of her fingers meet damp fabric.

“What’s got you so worked up, hm?"

“You,” Lexa says, barely more than a huff of air.

Clarke captures Lexa’s bottom lip between her own, sucking lightly, using a hint of teeth as she releases it. Her eyes are hooded, hungry, and Lexa feels a tight throb of concentrated heat deep in the pit of her stomach. One that grows exponentially when Clarke slips off the couch to kneel on the floor in front of her.

“Clarke."

Darkened eyes don’t leave her own as Clarke tugs the tight denim down Lexa’s thighs, pausing to shuck Lexa’s Converse, peeling her socks off too, before pulling the jeans off the rest of the way. She runs her hands slowly up Lexa’s shins, over her knees, the light touch making Lexa shiver and shift against the cushions. The two glasses of wine she’d had left her drowsy but now she’s alert to every brush of Clarke’s fingers against her skin as they travel along her thighs.

Fingers hook under the elastic of the boyshorts and the lift of Lexa’s hips is more instinct than conscious intent. The underwear is tossed somewhere unseen. Warm lips press to the inside of Lexa’s knee, smiling into the skin there at the little whimper that rises up Lexa’s throat. Hands curve around the caps of her knees and push with just enough pressure for Lexa to get the hint. She sinks down further, spreads her legs wide enough that the cooler air of the room comes as a welcome relief.

Clarke’s eyes drop. That weighted, wanting stare moves over Lexa like a physical caress. It leaves her mouth dry, her heart pounding against her rib cage. Clarke’s name forms again on her lips but she holds it back, swallowing it down because she doesn’t trust her voice not to strangle the consonants.

Clarke leans in, mouthing a damp trail up Lexa’s inner thigh but going no further. She kisses back down the outside. Repeats it with the other thigh. Again, twice more, until Lexa’s breath is coming in trembling little gasps and her hips are straining forward, slowly humping at nothing but air. Clarke bites at her kneecap, the jut of her hipbone. Just as Lexa’s about to let loose an impatient whine, Clarke’s hands slide under her ass to bring her cunt flush against Clarke’s open mouth.

They groan in unison. Lexa feels the echo of it shoot up her spine, like a lightning bolt conducted by her vertebrae. She bucks into the hot wet slide of Clarke’s tongue as it weaves up through her, chasing every slow swipe and faster swirl. Rocks down when Clarke licks into her, shallow to begin with, gradually working deeper, withdrawing when the motion of Lexa’s hips becomes more frantic, when Lexa starts to feel that tightening, that build-up in the pit of her stomach that makes her muscles bunch.

The moment Clarke pulls away to drag in a breath, Lexa looks down. And, God, the sight of Clarke like this—mouth rosy and wet, chin shiny, lashes heavy, a flush high on her cheeks—is almost more than Lexa can take.

Their eyes meet and hold as Clarke lowers her head, as her lips wrap around Lexa’s clit. Every touch to the hard bundle matches the thud of her heartbeat, the down-low throb at the base of her spine, like a metronome keeping time, and Lexa arches into it. Clarke flicks her tongue, draws patterns, coaxes Lexa’s clit from its hood and sucks.

Right then Lexa’s a goner.

Her eyes slam shut, white spots dancing behind her eyelids as her back bows and her cunt clenches around nothing and she chokes on a broken-off gasp. She shudders, shivers, bare ass slapping back down on the couch. Paws at Clarke’s shoulder to weakly push her away when she licks up through the stickiness between Lexa's legs, grinning and so fucking pleased with herself.

Lexa shifts, uncomfortably conscious of the wetness clinging to her skin. A sharp contrast to the dryness of her mouth. She runs her tongue over parched lips.

“Sorry about the couch,” she mumbles, eyes sliding closed again. She feels as if she’s drifting, weightless.

Clarke plants her hands on the cushions on either side of Lexa’s hips, leaning over her slouching body.

“It’s overdue a steam clean anyway. That noise you made when you came is worth it."

Lexa feels too gloriously fucked to be embarrassed.

“Still, this wasn’t exactly why I dropped by. I’m supposed to be making you feel better."

“You did,” Clarke says and she’s so close that Lexa can smell herself on Clarke’s breath. She presses a kiss to Lexa’s jaw, the corner of her mouth. “I didn’t think about the cramps twisting my insides at all while I was going down on you."

“Okay but—that aside—what were you going to do before I showed up?"

“Bath, bed, hot water bottle."

Lexa cracks one eye open. “I could run a bath for you.”

She sees Clarke about to refuse and reaches for her wrists, fingers wrapping around them gently.

“Come on, think how nice and relaxing it’ll be. Lots of bubbles. Another glass of wine. Play a little music. I could rustle up some dinner..."

“You had me at bubbles."

 



*

 

“Lexa.”

Clarke’s mouth drops, astonished, as she steps into the bathroom. Two dozen flickering flames reflect off the tiles, the only source of illumination.

“I, um, found a pack of tea lights in the cabinet under the sink. Some scented candles would've been nicer but these are fine."

“This is amazing.” Clarke draws closer, both hands coming to rest on Lexa's hips. “You’re amazing. Just when I thought I couldn’t be more...“

She shakes her head. Presses in to crush their mouths together. It's a little desperate, a little more forceful and deep than Lexa’s prepared for. It makes her stumble back a step, gripping the edge of the sink to steady herself.

“Well.” Lexa licks her lips once they separate. “I’ll give you some privacy. Call out if you need anything."

“Or…” Clarke toys with one of the buttons on Lexa’s shirt, "you could join me?”

There’s a heavy pause while Clarke lets the suggestion hang.

Then, “What is this thing you’re wearing, by the way?"

“It’s my roommate’s.” Lexa sighs when she sees Clarke’s raised eyebrow. “In her own dysfunctional way, I think she was trying to extend an olive branch. She thought it would help me score."

“You could be wearing a garbage bag and you’d still be sexy. But this has got to go.” Nimble fingers begin releasing the buttons. "There are enough naked flames in here that we could say it caught fire."

Lexa hums. “Yeah. But Ontari and I may have reached the stage where she’s not plotting to murder me in my sleep so let’s not put that theory to the test."

“Okay,” Clarke says, pushing the open shirt from Lexa’s shoulders and pressing her body closer. “Only because I need you to stay exactly where you are."

 



*

 

The occasional drip of the tap, the residual warmth of the water, the humidity in the air, all serves to lull Lexa into a soporific state. Her eyes are starting to drift closed when she hears a quiet, “Lexa?"

“Hmm?"

“About the Commander thing."

And, okay, she definitely was not expecting that. She blinks. “Yes?” By some miracle, her voice remains calm and steady. Because as soon as the word ‘Commander’ left Clarke’s lips, the very first image she was assaulted with was the memory of Clarke bent over on all fours and shuddering around her fingers. A flush travels up her chest and it has nothing to do with the temperature of the water.

“Would you be into exploring that some more?” Clarke’s eyes roam slowly across Lexa’s face, gauging her reaction.

“Like…” Lexa clears her throat. “Roleplaying, you mean?"

Clarke lowers her lashes, bites her lip, as her fingers skim through the bubbles.

“Yeah. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, you know? You as this aloof feudal lord and me, her bratty handmaiden. Or maybe I’m the princess of a rival clan and you’re holding me captive. Or—"

“You really have given this a lot of thought."

“Trust me, I have a detailed backstory for Commander Lexa. Came to power at the age of sixteen. Ruthless but wise. Beloved by her people. Dual wields swords."

“She sounds like a badass."

“She is. Commander Hot Stuff has panties dropping all across her lands, pretty girls stepping on each other to vie for her attention."

“Does she bed them?"

“Bed them?” Clarke smirks at the phrasing. “No. She isn’t a player. In fact, she’s married to the job. Until—"

“The handmaiden stroke princess."

“It’s lust at first sight."

Clarke hauls herself up by the handles on either side of the tub. The water sluices off her skin, suds clinging in little foamy patches to her breasts and stomach and hips as she kneels astride Lexa's thighs. There’s barely enough room. Lexa reaches around, palms sliding over the small of Clarke’s back. Her skin is so soft, supple, slippery under the water-pruned pads of Lexa’s fingers. Similarly wrinkled hands clutch at Lexa’s shoulders as Clarke sits on her lap.

“Only lust?” Lexa asks, voice cracking slightly.

“To begin with."

“What changes?"

One hand drifts over Lexa’s collarbone, down the slick slope of her chest, dipping under the sparse cover of bubbles to palm at her breast.

“They’ve never met anyone like each other. It’s different. New.” That hand cups, kneads, drags over the tip of Lexa’s nipple. She isn’t able to tamp down on the soft noise that catches in her throat. “They have a connection."

“They must be really into one another."

Clarke’s eyes are dark and heavy. They keep dropping to Lexa’s mouth.

“Yeah. But they don’t know it yet. They’re sorta emotionally stunted idiots that way."

Lexa's jaw works. This is starting to sound all too familiar. She sits up, careful not to jostle Clarke, fingers pressed to her sides now, curving over the flare of Clarke’s hips. Under the water, she feels the soft scratch of hair against her stomach. Short nails scrape over Clarke’s hipbones, thumbs sliding back and forth over the divots. Lexa’s eyes latch onto pink nipples, puckered tight against the air. She sucks on her lip, glances up at Clarke’s face then back to her breasts.

“Can I…?"

“Yeah but go easy? My boobs are a little sore."

Lexa cups them gently, almost reverently, lets her thumbs brush over the stiff peaks.

”Is this okay?"

“A little more pressure.” Lexa gives a light, experimental squeeze and Clarke’s breath pitches up slightly. “Yeah. That’s good."

Fingers lace together behind Lexa’s neck as Clarke leans into the touch.

“Use your mouth,” Clarke says, voice scratchy and low. “Please."

Lexa nods, presses her lips to Clarke’s sternum. Her skin holds the fragrance of the jasmine-scented bubble bath and Lexa breathes it in. She drops kisses along Clarke’s collarbones, across the swollen fullness of her breasts, traces her tongue around one pebbled areola, before taking the tip into her mouth. She laps at the hard nub, keeps the suction light. The guttural noise Clarke makes, the way her hips push forward, fills Lexa with secret pride.

She doesn’t take her mouth away when she looks up at Clarke. Their eyes catch and hold steady even while Lexa switches to the other nipple, swirling and laving it with her tongue. Clarke’s gaze is lidded, dark pupils eating up the thin ring of blue, and the heavy eye contact is almost more intimate than Lexa can bear. She releases the stiff peak with a wet pop, drags her open mouth up between Clarke’s breasts.

“You know, sex is supposed to help alleviate period pain…” she says, the words muffled by Clarke’s skin.

The groan Clarke lets out at that sends a white-hot shiver down Lexa’s spine.

“Don’t start something if you’re not gonna follow through."

Lexa trails more kisses across every inch of Clarke’s chest within reach.

“Who’s to say I won’t?"

A sigh. “Lexa."

“I told you. I want to make you feel better.”

Her lips travel to Clarke’s throat and she licks a wet stripe up to the corner of Clarke’s jaw. It’s the tipping point for Clarke to release her hold on Lexa’s neck, to grasp Lexa’s chin and pull her into a determined kiss. Heated, insistent, tongue heavy in Lexa’s mouth. Her hands slide around Clarke’s ribs, splay across her back, curve around her shoulder blades, while Clarke begins to rock in her lap.

They break apart only to draw in a shared, ragged breath, foreheads bumping gently.

“If you want me to I’d—“ Lexa flexes her fingers against Clarke’s shoulders. “I don’t care about, you know, blood or whatever."

Clarke pulls back an inch to look at her properly.

“Oh, babe, no, it’s fine.” Her breath puffs softly against Lexa’s lips. “Can I just, like, grind on you? Would that be okay?"

“Yes."

A thumb drifts over the line of her jaw, rubs over the apple of her cheek, before Clarke tips their mouths together again. This kiss is slower, a cadence that matches the roll of Clarke’s hips and the quiet slosh of the water around them.

“You’re so good to me,” Clarke murmurs between a string of kisses, trailing her fingers along Lexa’s cheekbone, slipping into the hair at her temple, tracing over the outside edge of her ear. She lets out a small huff of laughter against Lexa's lips. “God, your ears are the cutest thing ever. They’re so precious and small."

Lexa resists the urge to hide her face in Clarke’s neck.

“Clarke."

“They make me wanna whisper all kinds of dirty things just to see them go red."

“As if you need an excuse."

Clarke pulls her into another melding of lips, a sweep of tongue, that’s all too brief.

“You like it,” she says, low and sultry.

“I like you."

It’s said thoughtlessly, effortlessly, and for half a second Lexa thinks Clarke didn’t even hear her. But the movement of her hips stills and Clarke’s mouth slides away.

Blue eyes scan her face.

A thumb and index finger frame her jaw, preventing Lexa from looking away. She feels more exposed now than she did with Clarke between her thighs.

Clarke’s lips part, as if she’s going to say something. The moment stretches until Clarke’s gaze dips, fastening on Lexa’s swollen mouth once more. They gravitate to each other, a fleeting brush of lips and noses, until the distance vanishes to nothing and they’re kissing again. Tentative then growing bolder, deeper, heavier as Clarke’s hips begin to rock anew, slowly picking up speed.

They don’t stop kissing, not until it devolves into a messy mash of lips, of shortened, mingled breath, until Clarke goes rigid in Lexa’s arms.

“Fuck,” Clarke says, an elongated, throaty moan that reverberates against Lexa’s teeth.

She touches Lexa’s cheeks, eyes soft and wondering when they flutter open. They look at each other, something weighted and layered with unspoken meaning in the humid air between them.

 



*

 

It’s while she’s clearing the things from the coffee table that Lexa notices the glow of her phone screen lighting up. She picks it up.

Anya [22:53]: Check this out.

There’s a link in the text.

Curious, Lexa taps on it.

She half expects it to be one of those seemingly innocuous YouTube videos with a jump scare at the end that Anya’s so fond of sending her.

Instead it takes her to a Twitter account. Specifically, Kassie Skai’s Twitter account. To one particular tweet:

when ur period is kicking ur ass and ur girl brings u flowers, wine, and chocolate (and orgasms) #keeper #howdidigetsolucky

The tweet includes a selfie of Clarke nibbling on a square of chocolate far too provocatively. She must’ve taken it while Lexa was brushing her teeth in the bathroom.

She doesn’t even get a chance to process any of this before another text arrives.

Anya [22:56]: Congrats on earning your red wings, by the way. I'll be sure to include a super inappropriate joke about it in my speech at your wedding.

Chapter Text

Lexa slaps her phone down on the open textbook in front of Anya. “Explain."

There’s a lull while Anya’s eyes rove over the screen. After a minute she looks up at Lexa. Gives a one-shouldered shrug and slouches back in the swivel chair, arms folded across her chest. Entirely nonchalant.

“Really, Anya? Really?"

“I was doing recon."

Lexa snatches the phone up.

“It’s bad enough you're stalking my—Clarke on Twitter but to actively engage with her under false pretences?” She scrolls through the timeline until she lands on an especially incriminating retweet. “You asked her whether I'm a top or a bottom. If we’d made a sex tape. What’s our favourite position. Do I cry during sex."

“It was a Q&A.” The ‘duh’ is implied.

“Which you didn’t have to participate in! Exactly how long have you been following her?"

Anya mumbles something that Lexa doesn’t quite catch.

Off the pinched, darkening expression on Lexa’s face, Anya rolls her eyes. “Since we Googled her.”

Lexa’s jaw drops in outrage but Anya carries on. “Technically it’s Kassie Skai I’m following, not Clarke.” She ignores the way Lexa’s eyes narrow. “You should be happy I’m keeping tabs so you don’t have to."

Lexa throws up her hands.

“But I don’t want you to spy on her! I don’t want to know any of this stuff.” She looks at the phone again, jabs stiffly at the screen. “I mean, God, the things people tweet at her. She has thirteen thousand followers and most of them seem to be disgustingly overfamiliar horny men, hiding behind their anonymity to say the crudest, most objectifying, misogynistic—"

“She’s a porn star. What did you expect? Polemics against late capitalism and the military-industrial complex?"

“I didn’t think she’d have an entire fucking social media following desperate to know if I’m a moaner or a screamer.”

“Pft. Neither. Bet you’re quiet as the dead."

Lexa doesn’t rise to the bait of being compared to a corpse. Instead, she keeps scrolling, the occasional selfie giving her pause. Provocative snaps of Clarke in lingerie sets that leave little to the imagination; close-ups of Clarke’s face, all half-lidded eyes and that flirtatious, lopsided smile that, even as agitated as she is right now, makes Lexa’s stomach flip; going further back, behind the scenes candids of Clarke posing with Raven, Octavia, and other unfamiliar women with improbable names like Echo and Giselle.

And these photos have thousands of likes and retweets.

It’s… discombobulating.

Because it never occurred to Lexa that Clarke has a fan base. That there are probably people out there who consider Kassie Skai to be their favourite adult entertainment performer. Fans who’ve watched every single one of her movies multiple times. They might even have a particular scene they revisit often. Which, Lexa can’t help but think of the, well, climax of Sapphic Sorority; that visceral moment when their eyes locked across the set before Clarke let go. God, there are probably umpteen gif sets of that very scene on Tumblr with thousands of notes…

She’s aware of Anya watching her carefully.

“Does it bother you? That she talks about you."

Interspersed between the recent selfies are veiled references to “the girl.” In the past few days the definitive article became a possessive determiner instead. Despite Lexa's general unease, stumbling upon that distinction had a certain warmth flooding her chest.

“I—yes. No. I don’t know.” She rubs her forehead. "It’s weird. To think that she’s sharing this stuff with strangers on the internet. They’ve been asking her for pictures of me and propositioning us for threesomes and I was completely unaware of the whole thing until last night."

“I know it’s a leap but did you actually discuss any of this with Clarke?” The slight, hesitant shake of Lexa’s head pulls a deep sigh from Anya. “Dude. Ninety-nine percent of your problems would be solved by having a fucking conversation. If the two of you would only stop screwing like rabbits for a goddamn minute. So—what—you cut and run this morning with no explanation?"

“I told her I had an early class. I just… I couldn’t sleep for thinking about it,” Lexa says, taking a seat on the edge of Anya’s bed, phone still cradled in her palm.

She keeps scrolling down Kassie’s timeline until she reaches the tweet containing the first mention. There's a photo of Clarke, in the white robe she’d been wearing when they met, biting her lip and gazing off to the side at something unseen, blue eyes glazed over with a hunger that Lexa recognises all too well. The caption: omfg. just saw the hottest girl. highkey wanna sit on her face. #sendhelp

“Look, if you don’t want her tweeting stuff, you have to be a grownup and communicate, okay? It’s not that difficult. You've just gotta say: Clarke, Clarkey, snookums, sweet cheeks, honey pie, pumpkin—"

“You’re laying it on a bit thick."

“Am I?” Anya arches one brow. “Don’t think I didn't overhear the gag-inducing cutesy names you and Costia would call each other. I’m not saying I may have thrown up in my mouth a few times but—"

“Anya."

“The point is: you have to be straight with her. Which, for a terminally gay disaster like you, is almost asking the impossible but try. All you need to do is tell her that you’d prefer if she kept the details of your relationship private."

“It’s not that simple,” Lexa grumbles.

“It is. In fact…” Anya plucks the phone from Lexa’s grasp with a flourish, tapping the screen a few times. “You should call her right now."

“What? No. Anya, don't!"

Lexa lunges for the phone but Anya dodges, wheeling back across the carpet on the chair to put herself safely out of reach while the call connects.

It’s less than ten seconds before they hear the faint sound of Clarke’s voice.

“Lexa, hey.” A short pause then, “Hello? Lexa, did you butt-dial me?"

Anya tosses the phone at Lexa and she fumbles to catch it with both hands. She shoots Anya a murderous glare as she brings the phone to her ear.

“Hi. Sorry, I was distracted. How are you?"

“Good.” The word is dragged out slowly. “You left in a hurry earlier. Are you okay?"

“Yeah, I’m—everything’s fine.” Lexa turns away, shielding herself from Anya’s off-putting stare. “I was wondering if you're free later today? For a coffee or something?"

“Or something?” Clarke asks and that dip of her voice into sly suggestiveness feels far too intimate when Anya's eavesdropping on the conversation.

“That wasn’t a euphemism. I do genuinely mean a hot beverage. I, uh, need to talk to you."

Clarke falls silent for the span of several seconds. In the background, Lexa hears steady footfalls, the low rumble of traffic, the wind gusting. It’s easy to visualise the little scrunch of Clarke’s brow even as she lets out a small, breezy laugh.

"Should I be concerned?”

“No. God, no. It’s nothing to worry about,” Lexa says quickly. She takes a measured breath. “Do you know Grounders, off-campus?"

“The place on the corner of Main and Washington? Yeah. I’m in the studio until 4 but I could meet you there afterwards. Say, 4.30?"

“4.30 is perfect. See you then. Bye, Clarke."

“Bye."

“Bye."

The call ends.

“Bye, Clarke,” Anya mimics in the most saccharine, breathy voice.

Lexa just lobs a pillow at her, missing by quite some margin.



*

It’s raining when Clarke arrives at Grounders, ten minutes late, shaking water droplets from her hair, cheeks pinked from the wind. The cosy warmth of the coffee shop, the aroma of the grinds, the patter of the rain against the floor to ceiling windows, had lulled Lexa into a temporary sense of calm but, once her eyes land upon Clarke, apprehension returns tenfold.

She stands, hovers beside the table as Clarke approaches.

“Hi,” Lexa says, hooking her thumbs into the back pockets of her jeans, just for something to do with her hands instead of letting them hang uselessly at her sides.

For half a moment she’s unsure whether a hug or a peck on the cheek would be welcome but Clarke cuts through the awkwardness, wrapping one cool hand around Lexa’s neck and reeling her in for a kiss.

“Hi, yourself,” Clarke murmurs once they separate, stroking down the nape of Lexa’s neck and edging under her sweater. The chilliness of Clarke's fingers makes Lexa shiver.

“I missed kissing you this morning.” Clarke nudges closer, catching Lexa’s lips again. Laughs softly when she pulls away and Lexa tips forward slightly to follow. “I’m in desperate need of caffeine. You want anything?"

Lexa shakes her head and retakes her seat, fidgeting with the mug of lukewarm green tea in front of her. By the time Clarke returns with a coffee and a blueberry muffin, the tension has returned to Lexa’s hunched shoulders.

“You look like someone told you there’s a worldwide shortage of beeswax,” Clarke comments as she pulls off her jacket and unwinds her scarf, draping both items over the back of her chair. She’s wearing an old, frayed Led Zeppelin t-shirt with random splatters of paint across the front. Splotches of red and blue and green that draw Lexa’s attention.

It’s a second or two before she realises Clarke’s looking at her patiently. She takes a fortifying breath before letting it out in a rush.

“I don’t want to seem like I’m ambushing you about this. I promise I wasn’t snooping. I would never do that. I didn’t even know you were on Twitter until my jerk of a best friend sent me one of your tweets. I—"

“Lexa.” Clarke cocks her head, looking for all the world like a confused puppy. A golden labrador, maybe. “Could we back up for a second? Start from the beginning. I’m kinda lost here."

In lieu of an answer, Lexa pulls out her phone. Finds Kassie Skai’s Twitter feed. Slides the phone across the table, the tweet from last night visible at the top of the screen.

Clarke looks from the phone to Lexa, expression unreadable. “Um... I’m not sure what you want me to say."

“It’s just—I mean, we never discussed making our—what we’re doing public. Like I said, I had no idea you were active on Twitter and I didn’t realise you might tell your followers about me, about us. Some of the questions they’ve been asking are so… personal, you know?”

Lexa keeps her eyes on Clarke, noting the deepening lines on her forehead, the downturn of her lips. She’s almost tempted to let the subject slide but the thought of Anya’s intense disappointment has Lexa clenching her jaw and steeling herself to continue. She remembers what Anya coached her to say.

“I’m not really comfortable with aspects of our sex life being broadcast on social media, that’s all."

It’s a long moment before Clarke nods. “No, I get that. I do.”

She digs a hand through her hair, snagging on a few tangled strands.

“My followers were into it and I guess I didn’t do anything to discourage them. I shouldn’t have let it go so far. I’m sorry.” Her expression turns more pensive, blue eyes focused upon the faded ring marks on the table. “Are you pissed at me?"

“No. I’m not angry.”

Seeing the sceptical quirk of Clarke’s mouth, Lexa reaches across the table to touch the back of Clarke’s hand. Her palm settles there, fingers resting lightly against her skin.

“Really, I’m not. I was surprised and, I'll admit, slightly alarmed. And maybe a little flattered too."

Clarke’s gaze finds hers again. A blonde eyebrow lifts in enquiry.

“Some of the things you said were kind of an ego boost.” Lexa toys with the woven hemp bracelet on Clarke’s wrist. “That one tweet about my tongue..."

Clarke makes an amused noise, one that’s little more than an expulsion of air. She turns her hand over to catch Lexa’s fingers with her own, sliding them together. A slow tease that brings a faint flush to Lexa’s neck.

“Nothing I haven’t told you before,” Clarke says, leaning forward.

She perches her chin on her free hand, bites her lip to contain a coy smile, and she looks so fucking pretty that it leaves Lexa quietly thunderstruck, sets off a chain of tiny palpitations in her chest.

Her eyes trace Clarke’s features slowly, openly, taking in every detail. It’s gloomy outside but the soft interior lighting makes Clarke’s skin glow. Or maybe it’s just the way Lexa’s staring at her. The admiration must be written across Lexa's face because Clarke laughs a little, props her cheek on her fist.

“What?” Lexa asks, unable to contain her own smile.

“That look. It’s giving me ideas."

Lexa huddles a bit closer to the table.

She drops her voice. “Good ideas or bad ideas?"

“Haven’t decided,” Clarke says, cryptic. She continues playing with Lexa’s fingers. “Are you doing anything after this?"

“I have a paper to finish,” Lexa groans. “Twenty-five percent of my class credit and it’s due tomorrow."

Clarke’s head bobs. “You could come over. Work on it at my place. I won’t distract you, girl scout’s honour."

“One, you know that’s impossible; and, two, you were a girl scout? I find that hard to believe."

“Fine, I wasn’t, but I totally have a uniform. Latex. Easy wipe-down.” Clarke winks. When Lexa’s jaw goes slack, Clarke squeezes her fingers in reprimand. “That was a joke. How much of a pervert do you think I am?"

“I didn’t want to presume..."

“Consider the offer withdrawn. You can spend the evening with your annoying, possibly homicidal roommate."

Clarke starts to pull away but Lexa holds on, bringing their joined hands to her lips and dotting a kiss over each of Clarke’s knuckles, watching Clarke over the top. The feigned offence rapidly melts away, replaced by a softness that gives Lexa a gooey feeling in her stomach.

“Trust me, I'd much rather be doing you than this assignment.”

Now it’s Clarke’s turn to be caught by surprise, mouth dropping open slightly. Lexa smirks slightly, pleased to have gotten such a response.

“But, unfortunately, I do need to go to the library."

“Shame."

Lexa hums her agreement.

“About these tweets… Do you want me to delete them?"

“You don’t have to do that, Clarke. Just please keep it PG-13. Oh, and you might want to block FieldMarshalBitchener.” Off the blank look she receives, Lexa says, “That was Anya."

“Okay, suddenly it all makes sense.” Clarke laughs to herself. “I wondered why this person was so persistent about whether you, and I quote, mewl like a tiny orphaned kitten when you come."

“Yeah, and I can’t believe you answered that you want to record it and make it your ringtone,” Lexa says, unimpressed. She drops Clarke’s hand. “So I take it back. You can definitely delete that one."

“Mm. I thought it was kinda sweet."

“Compared to the question that one guy had about my pubic hair care regimen, I guess."

“But, gotta say, his idea of shaving my initials onto your crotch was totally hot."



*

They part ways with another kiss. One that has Lexa seriously considering taking the hit of a penalty for late submission on that paper. Especially when Clarke does that thing where she catches Lexa’s bottom lip and lightly drags her teeth over it.

When Lexa trembles and shuffles closer it’s only partly because of the wind and light drizzle buffeting them on the street.

“So, Friday,” Lexa says, resting her forehead against Clarke’s. “I made a reservation at WontonDC, since Chinese food was the only thing we all seemed to agree on. The table’s booked for 8 pm."

“I’ll tell Raven.”

Clarke slips her hands inside Lexa’s unbuttoned coat, palms fitting around her ribs over the soft wool sweater. She tilts her head to bring their mouths together again. The sweet taste of the mocha lingers on her lips and Lexa just wants more.

“Sure I can’t tempt you back to my place?"

“Clarke.”

She doesn’t even try to hide how conflicted she sounds.

A smile gets smothered against the corner of her mouth. Clarke drops a kiss there, another against her cheekbone.

“Worth a shot. Remember to take plenty of breaks. Text me if you get bored."

With a little wave, Clarke saunters away. Lexa watches her go, nearly calls out to her twice, Clarke’s name heavy on her tongue, but she swallows down the impulse and resigns herself to an evening spent surrounded by hefty textbooks on feminist poststructural theory.



*

It’s with her typical flair for dramatic entrances that Anya barges into the room.

Ontari freezes, eyeliner pencil in hand and poised over Lexa’s upturned face. They both glance towards the doorway.

“Get away from her, Satan,” Anya growls, digging into her handbag. "I have Mace in my purse and I’m not afraid to use it."

Ontari sighs. “Tell your guard dog to back down, will you?” Then, to Anya, “Frankenhands here can’t do winged eyeliner for shit so I’m just helping her out. Unless you’d prefer for her to look like fucking Beetlejuice on this date?"

Anya cautiously ventures further into the dorm. Once Ontari’s finished, she steps back to scrutinise Lexa’s makeup.

“Eh, not bad,” she concludes, “considering the raw material I had to work with."

“Actually, the poison dwarf is right,” Anya says, sounding surprised. “You look good."

Lexa gets up to check herself in the mirror and her mouth drops a little. Her eye makeup is on point in a way she never could’ve achieved herself. Not without spending hours watching tutorials on YouTube and a significant amount of trial and error. It really does make the green of her eyes pop. She turns back to her roommate, offering a sincere: “Thank you."

Ontari flops down on her bed, kicking her sock-clad feet up against the footboard.

“Yeah. Whatever. Don’t make it weird."

“As touching as this Hallmark moment is,” Anya says, checking the time on her phone, “we need to get moving. Why aren’t you dressed yet?"

Lexa glances down at her ensemble.

“What do you mean? I’m ready."

Ontari mutters an “I told you so” under her breath.

“Uh, no. This,” Anya points one finger and indicates towards Lexa’s general being with a circular motion, “is not happening. I’m putting a moratorium on flannel.”

Before Lexa can open her mouth to protest, Anya ploughs on.

“This is a first date, Lexa. At a reasonably fancy restaurant with a 4.5 rating on Yelp. So you could at least make an effort not to resemble something out of those sapphic moodboard posts you like to reblog so much on Tumblr. Jesus."

She marches over to Lexa’s closet and starts rifling through the hangers, plucking out a white button-down shirt and a suit garment bag and shoving both into Lexa’s hands.

“Get changed. I’ll order the Lyft."

“But—"

Anya just stone-cold stares and Lexa falls silent, knowing this isn’t a battle she’s going to win.

When she emerges from the bathroom five minutes later, tucking the shirt into the waistband of the black tailored pants, Ontari lets out a low whistle.

“Dayum, Woods. Rocking some serious Angelina Jolie vibes."

“Do you have a tie?” Anya asks, stroking her chin in contemplation. "I think it needs a tie."

“Um, let me have a look.”

After a brief rummage in the depths of her chest of drawers Lexa finds a black skinny tie, a leftover relic from the time she and Anya dressed up as Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction for the movie-themed Halloween mixer during Lexa’s freshman year.

(Their rendition of the Jack Rabbit Slims Dance Contest scene was the talk of Polis Hall for a week. At least until the scandal broke about Monty and Jasper getting caught smoking a bong in the janitor’s closet, wearing only their boxers and fuzzy animal slippers.)

“Shoes?"

Crossing over to the closet, Lexa holds up a pair of battered loafers.

“No,” Anya and Ontari say in unison.

A pair of Converse.

“Sneakers with formalwear is fine for Ellen but not for lesser gays like you,” Anya says flatly. "Don’t you own any heels?"

Lexa frowns. “High heels are implements of torture and a tool of the patriarchy, as you well know.” She digs through a pile of shoeboxes until she finds a pair of black Oxfords that she’s only worn once. “I have these, I guess. But they pinch like hell."

Anya steps closer to cast a critical eye over them.

“They’ll do. Now, hair up or down?"

“Definitely down,” Ontari says from her spot on the bed. “Offsets the androgyny."

Both Lexa and Anya turn to squint at her.

After a second Anya shakes her head. “Wednesday Addams has a point.”

She wanders over to the mirror to primp for a few moments while Lexa slips on the shoes and laces them up.

“Verdict?" Lexa asks, smoothing out the wrinkles on the sleeves of the jacket then adjusting the tie. She flips her hair off one shoulder. “How do I look?”

“Like your homo mojo could attract every woman in a five-block radius, whether they’re a raging lesbo or not,” Ontari replies.

Lexa isn’t sure whether to interpret that as a compliment but Anya gives a definitive nod.

“Mission accomplished."



*

“You’re making me anxious,” Anya mutters, tugging at the hem of her dress, and looking askance at Lexa.

They’ve only been waiting under the awning outside WontonDC for a minute or two but it feels like the seconds are dragging by. For what seems like the hundredth time Lexa fiddles with the cuffs of her jacket and glances up and down the street.

“Do you think the suit’s too much? Maybe I should’ve gone more smart-casual. I could lose the tie. Should I lose the tie?"

“No, the tie is perfect."

Anya turns to her, exasperated, batting Lexa’s hand away from the item in question.

“I’m gonna need you to calm your mammaries, okay? I don’t want you hyperventilating and passing out on the sidewalk.” She grips Lexa’s elbow and enunciates very clearly, “So take a deep breath. Hold it. Now let it out slowly. Good. Again."

They repeat this four more times before Lexa spots the taxi pulling up to the curb and all the nerves come rushing back. She shoots Anya a panicked look but Anya’s gaze remains stern.

“We’ve got this. We look awesome. Own it."

Raven’s the first to emerge from the car, all legs and tight pencil skirt.

Beside her, Lexa hears Anya mutter, “Oh, shit. She’s even hotter in real life."

Whatever Lexa was going to say in response dies in her throat when she sees Clarke. Their eyes meet and Clarke’s step seems to falter for a second. She blinks rapidly, a lazy smile spreading across her face as she takes Lexa in. Lexa returns the frank once-over. Can’t help but stare because that little black dress clings to every incredible curve of Clarke’s body.

“You’re drooling,” Anya says out the side of her mouth, nudging Lexa in the ribs. The sharp dig jolts her out of the slack-jawed daze she’s slipped into.

“Hi,” Lexa says to Clarke, once she’s within touching distance (and, fuck, does Lexa ever want to do that). “You look… wow.”

She should be embarrassed about how breathless she sounds. Not to mention this sudden bout of inarticulacy.

Clarke inclines her head a little, eyes sweeping over Lexa again. “You too."

Lexa has to force her gaze from Clarke to make the introductions. She clears her throat. “Clarke, Raven, this is Anya."

Clarke offers Anya a bright smile and her hand to shake.

“Nice to meet you. Lexa’s told me so much about you, I almost feel like I know you already."

Anya regards the outstretched palm coolly for a few seconds before she deigns to take it. The grip must be overly firm, if the slight widening of Clarke’s eyes is any indication.

Anya nods in Raven’s direction. “Hey."

Raven lifts her chin, making an unsubtle appraisal of her own. “Sup."

Their monosyllabic greeting almost makes Lexa want to laugh but she can’t be sure it won’t come out weirdly high-pitched and slightly manic.

Instead, she gestures towards the entrance. “Shall we?"

Anya and Raven lead the way while Clarke hangs back for a moment. She steps closer, the three-inch heels giving her a small height advantage. Her perfume—something sweet and floral—clouds Lexa’s senses. She finds herself swaying forward to pull more of it into her lungs.

“What if I said I’m tempted to ditch the main course and go straight for dessert?” Clarke runs a finger down the lapel of Lexa’s jacket. “And, by that, I mean me eating you out while you’re wearing nothing but this tie."

(Apparently, the tie was a good call from Anya, after all.)

“Clarke.” As admonishments go it’s pretty weak. “The double date was your suggestion. We can’t bail."

“Can you blame me when you show up looking like that?”

Clarke walks her fingers back up Lexa’s chest, along her shoulder, before curling around her neck. The dark red of Clarke's lipstick draws Lexa’s eyes like a magnet. Her palms find the dip of Clarke’s waist. Their mouths are only an inch apart, warm breath mingling, when—

“Are you fucking kidding me?"

It’s Raven, poking her head out the restaurant door. She looks disgruntled.

“Could you horndogs at least wait until after dinner to begin mounting each other? If you don’t get your asses in here pronto we’re gonna order without you."

The door slams behind her.



*

By the time the waiter comes over, they’ve all had a little wine and Lexa’s finally starting to relax—well, as much as she can when Clarke keeps staring at her over the rim of her glass. She’s tuned out the conversation Anya and Raven are having about their respective grad school studies because she’s intensely aware of Clarke’s bare foot sliding against her calf.

“Are you ready to order, ladies?"

Lexa jumps slightly at the waiter’s interruption, shifting her leg, thankful for the low lighting that conceals her blush.

The corner of Clarke’s mouth tips up into a smirk.

While the others opt for various pork and chicken dishes, Lexa selects the stir-fried artichoke and spiced tofu on a bed of bok choi.

“Watching your figure, Lexa?” Raven asks, one eyebrow hoisted.

“She’s on the vagitarian diet,” Anya says.

“Does that mainly consist of melons and bearded clam?”

The pair snickers into their wine glasses. Lexa glares at each of them in turn. “I can’t believe you’re ganging up on me. This is tantamount to bullying."

Anya shrugs. “The night is young and I’m only warming up. Operation ‘embarrass the shit out of Lexa’ is underway."

“Well, you both can choke."

“Guys,” Clarke interjects, “be nice."

She reaches across the table to touch Lexa’s hand, a small gesture of comfort, fingers tangling with Lexa’s where they rest on the tablecloth. It takes every ounce of self-control for Lexa not to visibly react when Clarke’s toes edge under the hem of her pants to rub slowly up her shin. She lets out a controlled breath as Clarke pulls her bottom lip between her teeth.

“Oh, you think you’re escaping this unscathed? Think again, Griffindor."

It takes Clarke a second or two to parse Raven’s meaning. She drags her eyes away from Lexa, nose wrinkling in confusion.

Raven flashes a conspiratorial smile at Anya and raises her glass. “This is a double-bill roasting."



*

“Did Clarke tell you that she has nicknames for her tits?” Raven says, apropos of nothing, as she idly sifts through the noodles in her bowl with the chopsticks.

Lexa almost chokes on a morsel of tofu as it makes its way down her throat. She swallows painfully and reaches for some water.

“Oh?” Anya props her chin on the heel of her hand. “Do share."

Raven leans in to stage whisper behind the cover of her hand. “The twins even have their own Twitter profile."

“That’s extra."

“In no way affiliated with me,” Clarke points out before she takes a bite of hunan pork.

“Well, don’t keep us in suspense,” Anya says. “What did you name your famous boobs?"

There’s a long pause while Clarke chews her food, as if she’s milking it for the dramatic effect. “Monet and Manet."

Lexa chokes on a sip of water this time. Raven and Anya both snort.

“Why?” Lexa asks in bewilderment, once she’s recovered from a mild coughing fit. “And, technically, shouldn’t they be female?"

“Art major and it rhymes,” Clarke shrugs. “Don’t make it political, Lexa."

“So which is which?” Anya says.

Clarke points to her left breast. “Monet.” Then the right. “Manet."

“Collectively, she calls them the Manet-makers,” Raven adds.

Lexa only drags a palm down her cheek, dismayed.



*

“Oh, God, so the first time Clarke did a strap-on scene she queefed on camera."

Anya wheezes into her wine glass, nearly inhaling the liquid through her nostrils.

“Reyes, you asshole!” Clarke tosses a prawn cracker at her friend's head. "You were sworn to secrecy about that.”

“Uh, sorry to tell you but that made it onto the production company’s blooper reel. They played it at the Christmas party last year. It was hi-larious.”

Raven pops the weaponised prawn cracker into her mouth.

Lexa looks blankly between them. “What's a queef?"

“Is she for real?” Raven asks. “Because the naivety is kind of adorable."

Clarke fiddles with the stem of her wine glass, avoiding Lexa’s eyes. “It’s a noise that sometimes happens after, like, really vigorous deep penetration. When trapped air gets expelled."

“It’s a vaginal fart,” Raven supplies, far too cheerfully.

“Oh."

“And the best part of this anecdote? The set fell deathly silent—literally, you could’ve heard a pin drop—until Octavia slapped Clarke’s ass and told her not to worry, it happens to her all the time when her boyfriend takes her doggy-style,” Raven continues. "Way to overshare, Octavia."

"Wait, Octavia as in Octavia Blake? She has a boyfriend?” Anya blinks. “Damn, that girl is convincing at eating pussy.”

Sudden intrigue is etched upon Raven's features.

"You've seen Octavia in action?"

"Um, so does anyone want coffee or should we ask for the check?” Lexa says quickly, a clumsy attempt to change the subject. She leans out of their booth, hoping to catch the attention of their waiter.

"Didn't you tell Clarke?” Anya casts her eyes to the ceiling. "Oh, fuck, of course you didn't."

"Tell me what?” Clarke’s gaze swings from Lexa to Anya and back again. "Lexa?"

“Anya,” Lexa grits out between her teeth.

She makes an emphatic slitting motion across her throat.

It’s difficult to say whether the glint in Anya’s eyes is from the consumption of alcohol or her glee at this golden opportunity to be a little shit.

“We watched Sapphic Sorority."

Lexa lets out an aggravated sigh and pinches the bridge of her nose. She feels the firm press of Clarke’s foot against her shin, a silent encouragement for Lexa to look at her. When their eyes meet across the table, there’s something quizzical in Clarke’s stare.

“Oooh.” Raven sits forward, elbows on the table. "What did you think? Pretty hot, right? You should see The MILF of Wall Street. Clarke and I were nominated for a Clittie for the strap-on scene. No queefs that time."

"A Clittie?” Anya’s incredulity is obvious.

"Only the most prestigious award in the industry,” Raven preens. "It's the porn equivalent of an Oscar."

“Hit me with the synopsis, then."

"Okay, so, the titular MILF is a financial hotshot—a hedge fund manager or whatever—who's skimming money off evil corporate clients and banging her executive personal assistant,” Raven indicates herself, "to keep it all on the DL. But what she doesn't know is that I'm also fucking her spoiled little princess of a daughter.” She points to Clarke. "It's a whole infidelity thing."

"Please tell me it doesn't involve a threeway."

"No. But I did get to deliver the classic line: 'I'm your new daddy, Kassie. Would you like to sit on my lap?'"

Lexa grimaces.

While Raven and Anya cackle between themselves, Clarke slips from the booth, grabbing her purse. "I'm gonna go freshen up before we leave. Lexa, you coming?"

"She will be,” Raven sing-songs.

"Raven.” Clarke’s voice is uncharacteristically stern. She shoots her friend a pointed look. “Get the check, will you?"



*

"I have, like, so many questions,” Clarke says, pressing one hand to Lexa's sternum and backing her up until her ass bumps up against the counter.

Lexa grips the edge with both hands as Clarke steps closer, the bust of her dress brushing the front of the suit jacket. Briefly, Lexa's eyes drop to the cleavage exposed by the cross-strap neckline. When her eyes snap up, it's to find Clarke smirking at her.

"Clarke." It's a quiet plea for leniency.

"I'm just curious why you watched my movie since it clearly made you so uncomfortable."

She clenches her jaw, avoids Clarke's gaze.

"Lexa."

She sighs. "It was Anya's idea. She thought it would, I don't know, make me feel less insecure about the whole thing."

Clarke absorbs this for half a moment, blue eyes darting between Lexa’s green.

"Insecure, why?"

"It's not what you think. I'm not jealous. It’s—I worry I'm not good enough for you. You know. Sexually.”

Lexa dips her chin, feeling her cheeks grow hot while Clarke waits for her to continue.

"Once you’re back at work you’re going to realise what you were missing. I can’t compete with porn actresses.” She gives a helpless shrug. "Sometimes I wonder what you’re doing with me. You’re so... You're... you, Clarke. You could have anyone you want and—"

“I could."

The hand on Lexa's chest shifts, wrapping around the end of her tie. Clarke gives it a little tug until Lexa meets her even stare.

“But I want you.” A beat. "Don't you get it by now? God, I'm so attracted to you I can barely function."

Lexa's mouth opens and closes.

“I…” She shakes her head minutely. “Why?"

“Come on, Lexa. Have you seen yourself?" Clarke scoffs.

She pulls at the tie again.

“Haven’t I told you often enough that you’re gorgeous? Your eyes, your lips, your legs, that perfect bubble butt. Yeah, the women I work with are hot but they’ve got nothing on you.”

Her eyes search Lexa’s face.

“No one affects me like you do."

For a second Clarke lets that sink in, holding Lexa’s gaze.

“Remember when we first met? You were trying so painfully hard not to stare at my tits. Like, you were as respectful as could be when faced with The Delinquents.”

Clarke gestures towards her own chest. (How many awful nicknames does Clarke have for her breasts? Honestly.)

“You’d get so easily flustered. Those cute little ears of yours turning bright pink. It was such a turn-on. Still is. You're smart and sweet and dorky.” Clarke’s eyes flick down to Lexa’s mouth then back up. “I like the whole package."

“Because being a gigantic nerd is so alluring."

Clarke tucks a strand of hair behind Lexa's ear and presses forward, moulding her body to Lexa's.

"Well, yeah, it is to me. You're my nerd. A nerd who, by the way, is really fucking sexy in a suit."

A hand slips behind Lexa's neck as Clarke leans in, their noses nudging. "I wanted to kiss you so badly when I saw you standing outside," Clarke admits into the minuscule space between their lips. "I need to get you into formalwear more often, hot stuff."

A slight tilt of their heads and their mouths slant together. Clarke releases her hold on Lexa's tie to unbutton the single-breasted jacket, to fold an arm around Lexa's waist. The press of Clarke's curves makes Lexa's breath hitch and she arches into it. Her own hands abandon their grip on the counter, instead coming up to frame Clarke's cheeks.

Lexa pulls back an inch, just enough to say lowly, "Play your cards right and you'll get me out of it later." She angles in once more, capturing Clarke's little huff of laughter.

"Didn't think you were the kind of girl who puts out on a first date."

"I'm full of surprises."

Another few minutes get eaten up by the give and take of their kiss until they hear the echo of footsteps outside the restroom door. They separate in time, before a middle-aged woman enters and heads for one of the cubicles.

They check their reflections in the mirror over the sinks, Lexa straightening her tie, buttoning her jacket again, Clarke reapplying her lipstick. When Lexa holds the door open for them, Clarke pauses. Reaches up to wipe away a smear of lipstick from the corner of Lexa’s mouth. "You had a little..."

“Oh. Thanks."

"That colour looks good on you," Clarke murmurs. She traps the tip of her tongue between her teeth, eyes flitting down Lexa’s body. “It'll look even better on the inside of your thighs."

"Clarke," Lexa says, a soft reprimand, as she glances towards the occupied cubicle.

"And don't think I'm gonna let this movie thing go,” Clarke says, the low rasp of her voice, the heat of her stare lifting the tiny hairs on the back of Lexa’s neck. "Expect a full and thorough interrogation later."



*

“Where to now?” Raven asks as they huddle once again outside WontonDC. “A bar?"

“Or a club?” Anya suggests.

Raven gives her a speculative look. "You got some moves?"

“I’ve been known to tear up the dance floor."

“Now this I would like to see,” Raven drawls.

“I’m not much of a dancer,” Lexa says with a shrug.

“Pfft,” Anya says. “I’ve caught her having a solo dance party in her dorm room on more than one occasion. Lexa likes to shake that booty to nasty old school R&B. I’ve seen you do the slut drop, an image I’ll never be able to scrub from my brain."

“Oh, yeah?” Clarke sidles closer to Lexa and croons huskily, “I don’t see nothin’ wrong, with a little bump ’n’ grind.” It’s more the breathy little laugh at the end than the suggestive lyrics that makes Lexa flush. “Come on, it’ll be fun."

“There's a place a few blocks from here, opened a month ago,” Raven says. "I know the manager, Alie. She can get us on the guest list..."

One look at their expectant faces and Lexa rolls her eyes.

“Fine but if I hate the music I reserve the right to brood in the corner."

As they start off in the direction of the club, Lexa feels Clarke’s hand slip into her own. They share a look, a small smile curving over Clarke’s lips. She wraps her other hand around the crook of Lexa’s elbow. Lexa returns the smile, leaning into Clarke’s shoulder as they walk.

They only make it a few paces before the gagging noises begin.

“Ignore the brats,” Clarke says loud enough for Raven and Anya to hear. Then, just for Lexa’s benefit, squeezing her arm, “This is nice."



*

As it turns out Lexa does hate the music at City of Light.

It’s all interminable Top 40 EDM: David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and Tiesto, and she can barely hear herself think over the tinnitus-inducing bass.

(Raven took one look at Lexa's sour expression while they waited in line for the coat-check and rolled her eyes. “God. Lighten up, grandma. Your knitting will still be waiting for you when you get home.”)

On the plus side, at least they luck out and find a vacant booth on the mezzanine level overlooking the heaving dance floor. While Raven drags Anya to the bar, Lexa and Clarke grab a seat.

Clarke has to put her mouth next to Lexa’s ear to be heard over the pounding music. “Are you okay?”

The brush of her lips against Lexa’s earlobe seems deliberate.

She moves a section of wavy blonde hair behind Clarke’s ear, doesn’t miss the way Clarke’s eyelashes flutter at the action as she leans in. “Not really my scene."

“Do you wanna leave?"

Lexa doesn’t answer. Instead, she brings her hand to Clarke’s jaw, capitalising on the opportunity while they’re alone to pull her into a kiss. She only intends for it to be a quick press of lips, to assure Clarke that she’s fine, but Clarke’s mouth opens under her own, tongue gliding along Lexa’s bottom lip before dipping inside. Soon she finds herself crowded back against the wall, Clarke almost in her lap, fingers lodged in her hair, and no recollection of how the tie got loosened and the top two buttons of her shirt got undone.

That’s how Anya and Raven discover them when they return with a tray of shots and mixed drinks.

“You two are un-fucking-believable,” Anya yells across the booth. “Can’t leave you unchaperoned for five minutes."

Raven just smirks and dispenses the shots.

Completely unrepentant, Clarke disentangles herself. She lifts her glass to her nose to identify the alcohol.

“Jagermeister? Oh, shit, Raven."

Raven raises her own glass. “Germany’s finest, baby."

On the count of three they each toss back their shots, slamming the empty glasses down on the table. Lexa’s eyes water as the alcohol burns down her gullet. She chases the foul taste with a chug of what she thinks is a concoction of vodka, lime, and ginger beer.

“Now,” Raven says as she places her palms flat on the tabletop, “who's ready to dance?”



*

Lexa doesn’t let go of Clarke’s hand as she squeezes through the crush of sweaty bodies, dodging errant limbs and narrowly avoiding being shoulder-checked. A small gap opens up near the centre, barely enough room for the two of them. They lost Raven and Anya somewhere along the way but Lexa’s too distracted by the play of lights across Clarke’s face to worry too much.

Lexa had hastily tied her hair back, rolled her sleeves to the elbows, but it’s stiflingly, unbearably hot amidst the crowd. Already she feels the shirt clinging to her skin.

What little space there is between them, Clarke eliminates quickly, taking Lexa’s palms and guiding them to her hips. She drapes her arms around Lexa’s shoulders, bringing their bodies flush as they start to move together. They find their own rhythm, something slower than the frenetic beat of the music, trapped in a bubble of mutual fascination, entirely focused on one another.

There's enough cover of darkness, bodies packed so tightly on the floor, for Lexa to feel daring. She allows her hands to wander, sliding over the crest of Clarke’s ass. Nudges a thigh between Clarke’s. A rush of breath escapes Clarke’s mouth, hot against Lexa's cheek, before lips latch onto her jaw, blaze a path down her neck. A sucking kiss on her pulse point has Lexa’s knees buckling slightly and Clarke smiling into her skin. In retaliation, Lexa’s hands drift lower, kneading and grasping, using that leverage to push her thigh more firmly against Clarke. She feels more than hears Clarke’s soft groan.

They don’t stop grinding as one track mixes seamlessly into another and the next. Their mouths hover close but not quite touching, sharing the same humid air as Clarke rolls her pelvis forward a little faster, breath coming in short, sharp puffs now. Her nails scratch restlessly against the nape of Lexa’s neck and Lexa knows it’s a precursor to one thing.

Strobe lighting shutters across Lexa’s vision as Clarke’s head tips back. The tight furrow of Clarke’s brow, the sweat that glistens at her temples, the drop of her mouth, is only revealed in flashes. She locks up for one long suspended moment before a shudder wracks her body, hips slamming, rocking, into Lexa’s tensed thigh. Clarke's choked moan is lost to the baseline, to the press of Lexa’s parted lips. The kiss is wet, desperate, like Clarke wants to devour her.

When they finally come up for air, Clarke’s eyes are pitch black, mouth shiny, all traces of lipstick gone. The sight of her like this, the knowledge of what they just did, has Lexa uncomfortably aware of the puddle forming in her underwear.

Clarke leans in to shout directly into Lexa’s ear. “Let’s go. Wanna take you home and—”

Lexa doesn’t quite hear the last part.

“What?”

“I wanna fuck you,” Clarke repeats, practically shouts it at the top of her lungs, and it just so happens to coincide with the bass drop. In their immediate vicinity a cheer goes up, interspersed with a few wolf whistles. Lexa hides her face in Clarke’s shoulder.



*

They find Raven back at the booth.

“Where’s Anya?” Lexa asks.

“Restroom."

“I’m gonna go too before we leave.” Clarke drops a kiss on Lexa’s cheek, touches her wrist. "Wait for me here?"

Lexa nods and sits opposite Raven, eyes firmly rooted on Clarke’s rear as she walks away.

“Glad we've got a chance to talk one-on-one,” Raven says, swirling the liquid in the glass in front of her. “I’ve only known Clarke a year but I’ve watched her waste a lot of time and energy on losers and douchebags. She has the worst fucking taste."

At this Raven fixes a dark stare on Lexa. She presses her lips together and waits for Raven to finish saying her piece.

“And it pisses me off so much. Because, even if she doesn’t realise it, Clarke deserves better, you know? Someone who treats her right, who makes her happy."

"She does."

A nod from Raven, as if that was the correct answer.

“At first I thought Clarke’s lady wood was clouding her judgement but,” she shrugs, looking like admitting this is akin to having teeth pulled without anaesthetic, “you’re actually okay.”

“…Thank you?"

“But, I’m warning you, if you ever hurt her… as an aerospace engineering major, I’m an expert at making things go ‘boom' and I will make it look like an accident."

Lexa blinks, unsure what to say. She’s saved from having to formulate a response by the return of Anya and Clarke. She leaves the booth and it’s only then she notices Clarke’s slightly ashen appearance.

“Everything all right?”

Clarke nods distractedly, offers a weak smile. Lexa’s eyes dart from Clarke to Anya, who’s wearing a carefully blank expression as she takes a sip of her drink.

“Let’s get out of here,” Clarke says, grabbing Lexa’s hand.

Lexa only manages a quick wave before Clarke pulls her away.

The last thing she glimpses before being enveloped by a throng of people is Raven throwing one leg over Anya’s lap and straddling her in the booth. Lexa almost trips over her own feet when she does a double-take.

Well, shit.

Looks like this might mark the end of Anya’s dry spell.



*

After the Lyft drops them off outside Clarke’s apartment building, they climb the stoop and Clarke doesn’t wait for the car to pull away before she pushes Lexa up against the door. Throughout the twenty-minute journey, Lexa's mind had been buzzing, a reckless kind of energy thrumming through her body, a residual effect of the alcohol, or maybe the contact high of so shamelessly getting Clarke off in the club. Whatever the case, she can’t really be held responsible for the little whimper that escapes her mouth when Clarke’s hips pin her in place.

A hand glides up the side of Lexa's neck, cups the hinge of her jaw, thumb sweeping over the plane of her cheek. Clarke’s eyes are dark and determined as they lock onto Lexa’s mouth.

Just when Lexa thinks Clarke’s going to kiss her, instead those lips find her throat. The warm, wet press of Clarke’s open mouth pulls a shudder from Lexa and she tips her chin up to allow easier access.

“Did you get turned on by watching me?” Clarke murmurs against her skin.

Lexa’s thoughts are muddled by Clarke’s touch, her proximity.

“In the club?"

The soft gust of Clarke’s laughter only confuses Lexa further.

“No. I meant the movie.” Clarke’s other hand slides between them, going for the zip of Lexa’s pants and dragging it down slowly. Lexa’s breath hitches. Again, when Clarke’s fingers move inside the open fly and dip between her legs. "Did it get you hot?"

Clarke groans into Lexa's throat when she finds the front of the boyshorts soaked through.

“Did you have to deal with the situation?”

Lexa gives the slightest of nods, is rewarded by the light scrape of Clarke’s teeth against a straining tendon. Two fingers push aside the sodden cotton to glide against her slit.

Clarke's quiet gasp when she feels how drenched Lexa is only brings forth another gush of arousal.

“Did you wish it was me touching you? Pretend it was me inside you?"

“Clarke.”

They can’t do this here, not in full view of an entire street full of Clarke’s neighbours. But, God, it takes all of Lexa’s self-restraint not to push her hips down, to direct those teasing fingers where she wants them most.

“Tell me.” Clarke drags her mouth up Lexa’s neck, grazes the edge of her earlobe. “Tell me and we’ll go upstairs. I’ll take care of you. Fuck, Lexa, you make me—were you this wet when you thought about me?"

Lexa clenches her jaw, eyelids fluttering, as Clarke’s heated words wash over her. If Clarke keeps going she might not make it upstairs.

“Yes,” comes tumbling out of Lexa’s mouth.

She doesn’t know whether it’s crushing disappointment or blessed relief she feels when Clarke withdraws her hand. She watches, dazed, as Clarke brings two glistening fingers to her mouth and sucks them both clean, ending with a little flick of her tongue at the tips. All calm provocation while Lexa’s heart is threatening to beat out of her chest.

It takes some effort for Lexa to peel herself away from the door.



*

In the privacy of Clarke’s bedroom at last, Lexa’s hands tremble slightly as she scoops Clarke’s hair to one side to get to the zip of the dress unimpeded. She drags the straps down, helps Clarke shimmy out of the tight fit of the material over her hips, until the dress pools on the floor.

Lexa runs her palms up Clarke’s arms from wrist to shoulder, feeling the rise of fine hairs and goosebumps all along her skin. Lexa dots kisses over the back of Clarke's neck, along her shoulder blades, the top of her spine, everywhere she can reach until Clarke turns to face her.

Without a word between them, Clarke slips off Lexa’s jacket. There’s a hint of mischief in her eyes as she drapes it around her own shoulders. She pushes Lexa back towards the bed, Lexa retreating as Clarke advances. The backs of her knees bump against the mattress. She sits, quickly shucks off her shoes and socks, and scoots back against the headboard.

There’s just something about the aesthetic of Clarke stalking towards her wearing that suit jacket like a cape, naked except for a set of black lingerie trimmed with red lace. (And Lexa would be lying if she said she wasn't relieved it isn’t one she recognises from the Twitter selfies.)

When Clarke reaches the side of the bed she discards the jacket and climbs on, shuffling towards Lexa on her knees. She swings a leg over Lexa to sit on her thighs, reaches for the tie still knotted around Lexa’s neck and pulls, a half-smile curving Clarke's mouth. Lexa allows herself to be tugged forward until she has a lap-full of Clarke and cleavage mere inches from her face.

“I think you're enjoying this tie a little too much,” Lexa says, drinking in the sight of Clarke’s breasts straining against the satin enclosing them, the hint of rosy nipples visible through the lace. She traces idle patterns from Clarke’s knees to her hip bones, thumbs brushing along the edge of her underwear, following it around to where the panties hug Clarke’s ass.

That soft little groan Clarke gives when Lexa takes a handful of each cheek to drag her closer has another flush of heat settling between her legs.

“It has its merits,” Clarke agrees, as her fingers loosen the knot. “But for now…"

She pulls on one end of the tie until it slides free of the shirt collar. Tosses it carelessly to the side. Continues undressing Lexa slowly, opening the shirt, pushing it off her shoulders and leaving the material bunched at her elbows. Keeps that dark, heavy-lidded stare fixed on Lexa’s as the belt is unbuckled, as the button at the waistband of Lexa’s pants slips through its loop, the zipper is lowered. The rasp of it sounds almost too loud amidst their shallow breathing.

Clarke draws her bottom lip between her teeth and pushes Lexa flat on her back, lifts herself off her only long enough to divest Lexa of the pants, to hook two fingers into the elastic of the boyshorts and draw them down and off. The shirt and Lexa’s bra follow in quick succession.

For a long drawn-out moment Clarke just looks at her, a noise getting caught in her throat. The way Clarke stares, eyes wide and pupils blown, makes Lexa squirm against the sheets. Makes her feel wanted and desirable and more than a little desperate.

“Clarke.”

She’s beyond caring how needy she sounds. The evidence of it is already slicking the tops of her inner thighs.

Clarke leans over her, weight propped on one arm. Her other hand is free to roam, palm flat and fingers splayed, as she follows the contours of Lexa’s hip, her waist, the slope of her ribs, before cupping one breast. She drags her thumb over and around the erect nipple. Drops down to her elbow so she can capture its twin between her lips.

Lexa arches into the pressure and suction. Gathers the curtain of Clarke’s hair in one fist, jaw tipping down so she can better watch Clarke’s wet, open mouth move over the small swell of her breast, the glide of Clarke's tongue as it bumps up against the hardened peak and swirls around the pebbled areola before engulfing the nipple once more in her mouth. Every pull of Clarke's lips, every suck and lick and soft little bite makes Lexa’s chest heave.

She isn’t sure how long this goes on for. She’s only aware that there’s an actual lake forming between her thighs and tension coiling tight at the base of her spine. She lifts her hips, trying to find some friction to relieve the ache, and she has to tamp down on a whine when Clarke pulls away.

She watches, glassy-eyed and panting heavily, as Clarke reaches behind for the clasp of her bra. The reveal of those full breasts, capped by stiff pink nipples, steals the last of the moisture from Lexa’s mouth. Then Clarke’s on her again and Lexa feels the delicious crush of Clarke’s chest against her own, the weight of Clarke’s pelvis cradled between her spread legs. She feels like a live wire, sparking at every point where their bare skin is touching.

Braced on her elbows, Clarke leans in to kiss her. Clarke’s lips part, accepting the sweep of Lexa’s tongue into her mouth with a happy sigh. As the minutes pass the kiss turns fuller, deeper. Lexa’s hands move restlessly over the bare expanse of Clarke’s back, roaming down to cup her ass once more, a second later dipping under the satin to get to the soft skin below.

The answering roll of Clarke’s hips is enough to break the kiss.

Lexa drops a series of haphazard pecks over Clarke’s jawline.

“Are you still on your period?” she asks, craning her neck forward to mouth at Clarke’s throat.

"Finished earlier today."

“Can I?” Lexa tugs meaningfully at the panties.

A small scratchy laugh. “What part of ‘I’ll take care of you’ was unclear?”

“I just… I want to feel you,” Lexa says, pressing more kisses along the underside of Clarke’s jaw. "All of you."

She doesn’t know how to explain that she’s been craving that full skin-to-skin contact. The desire—no, the need—to feel every inch of Clarke’s body on her is more intense than even Lexa herself understands. The way Clarke’s mouth seeks her own after that admission, at first gentle, then with a quiet ferocity, makes Lexa think maybe she isn’t alone in that respect.

Once the underwear is gone, and Clarke’s situated again between her wide-open thighs, Lexa’s acutely aware of the wet, hot press of Clarke's cunt against her pubic bone. She begins a slow grind, angling her hips up to meet the slippery glide of Clarke’s body. It’s not the easiest of positions but, God, every time she drags her clit over Clarke’s it makes them both shudder.

It isn’t long before her thighs are trembling and abdominal muscles aching with the strain of rocking her pelvis like this.

(She makes a mental note: start doing stomach crunches.)

Any twinge of discomfort is worth it, though, for the tiny furrow between Clarke’s eyebrows, the bottom lip caught between her teeth, her face the picture of pure concentration. She pushes up onto her palms for a better angle and the visual of how it smooshes her breasts together is almost more than Lexa’s addled brain can handle right now.

Their eyes remain locked as they alternate between fast-slow thrusts, hips circling and bumping, breath coming in quick, syncopated gasps. Lexa relinquishes her tight grip on the sheets to bring her hands to Clarke’s tits, to grasp the heavy swells, to pinch and roll her nipples, and it causes Clarke to falter in her rhythm.

“Fuck,” Clarke says, letting out a ragged breath. "I want you inside me. I’m so close I just—fuck—please, I need your fingers.”

She doesn’t wait. Just grabs one of Lexa’s hands and shoves it between them, lifting her hips only enough for Lexa’s fingers to slide lower. Lets out the most obscene groan when Lexa presses two fingers into her, going knuckle deep, and using the pad of her thumb to rub circles around Clarke’s clit.

Lexa watches, breathless, as Clarke drives herself down, hips bucking faster into her hand, a beautiful pink flush spreading over her bouncing chest. Muscles clamp around Lexa’s thrusting fingers, everything tight and hot and wet, and that’s when Clarke starts to shake and shudder.

“Oh, fuck, Lexa!”

It’s desperate. Hoarse. Loud enough to echo off the walls. And, okay, they’re really going to have to send apology gift baskets to all of Clarke’s neighbours because there’s no way they didn’t hear that.

Clarke's arms give out but Lexa catches her by one shoulder to stop her forward momentum, easing her down onto her chest and wrapping an arm around her, the other still trapped between their slick bodies.

Forehead pressed to the sweat-damp skin of Lexa’s sternum, for a minute Clarke just stays like that while she draws in deep lungfuls of air. When she finally rears back, she’s biting down on a lazy smile. Beneath the veneer of lust there’s something vast and tender shining in Clarke’s gaze. It tugs at Lexa’s heart, makes her momentarily forget about the as yet unsated throb between her own legs.

Clarke reaches up to draw a thumb across Lexa's lower lip, to caress her jaw, to smooth the hair away from her brow.

“You’re…” Her smile fades gradually. She swallows, eyes darting between Lexa’s. “You’re so fucking beautiful. Do you know that?"

Lexa shakes her head, no. Because compared to Clarke? She isn’t. Clarke’s the sun and Lexa’s fortunate enough to be in her orbit. Which is the kind of foolish sentiment she should definitely keep to herself (she can almost hear Anya retching in her head). But she feels it, powerfully, all-encompassing, with every fibre of her being.

“You are. You’re perfect,” Clarke says.

Every kiss pressed to Lexa’s skin, every touch, every shared look as Clarke descends her body seems weighted with a layer of unspoken emotion. A whimper catches in Lexa’s throat in anticipation of what’s coming next when Clarke kneels low between her legs.

"How could you ever think you aren’t enough for me?” Clarke says, the words thick with disbelief.

It must be a rhetorical question. Because Clarke doesn’t wait for Lexa’s reply before she sinks forward to put her open mouth upon her, to slide one finger, quickly followed by another, inside. She searches for Lexa’s right hand to clasp it in her own, palms tight together. Doesn’t let go.

It can’t be more than a minute, maybe forty-five seconds, before Lexa’s back bows sharply and her eyes slam shut, release juddering through her so fast it steals her breath. There’s no defence for coming so quickly, except that it’s Clarke. Clarke’s words ringing in her ears. Clarke’s eyes bearing down on her. Clarke doing that thing with her tongue that makes Lexa's toes curl into the sheets.

Clarke doesn’t stop rubbing at her front wall, tracing irregular patterns on her clit, and Lexa can only rock up helplessly into a second orgasm that leaves her feeling like her chest is going to burst wide open and starlight, astral dust, ancient particles, will all come spilling out. Behind her eyelids, there’s an entire nebula of stars. (Again with the hackneyed space metaphors.)

“I l—“ The words shoot up her throat and she has to bite her fist to stifle them because oh, god.

The mattress shifts as Clarke crawls up Lexa’s body.

“Did you say somethi—” She stops. “Lexa. Lexa, babe? Are you crying?"

Sure enough, Lexa becomes aware of a single tear trickling towards her ear. She shakes her head, wipes under her eyes, and rolls onto her side to face the wall.

“It’s okay. I’m a little...” She hopes Clarke will accept the tremor within her voice as a side effect of the orgasm. She gives a small, soggy laugh. “Sorry, I’m a mess."

She feels Clarke’s warm presence at her back, that half a second of hesitation before Clarke’s hand wraps around her upper arm over the tattoo, the brush of lips at her nape, the soft give of Clarke’s breasts against her as she moves closer. More kisses are planted along Lexa's shoulder, up the line of her neck to the hinge of her jaw. Another stupid tear leaks from the corner of her eye and she isn’t quick enough to swipe it away before it dampens the pillow beneath her cheek. This closeness, the perfect fit of Clarke’s curves, how gentle Clarke is being, really isn’t helping Lexa get her runaway emotions under control.

When she eventually speaks, Clarke’s words come quiet and light. “So... Anya gave me the talk; the ‘if you hurt her, I know at least five ways to dispose of a body’ spiel. Have to say, I believe her. She’s intimidating as fuck.”

“Oh, God. Please excuse her,” Lexa says with only a slight sniffle. “She’s yet to master the nuances of polite social interaction. Although you should know Raven gave me a similar speech."

“Huh. She did?” Clarke sounds bemused.

Lexa gives a barely perceptible shrug. “She cares about you. It’s understandable that she feels protective."

“Hm."

A silence settles, stretching for what could be minutes, and Lexa begins to wonder if Clarke’s fallen asleep. She hazards a glance over her shoulder, only to find Clarke awake and watching her. A small pinch between her brows. Something clearly on her mind.

“I’m gonna try very hard not to.” The confusion must be apparent on Lexa’s face. Clarke clarifies, “Hurt you, I mean."

Lexa rolls back towards Clarke. She thinks about the words she nearly blurted. Remembers what Anya said about being an adult and having the emotional maturity to engage in honest communication. Disregards that advice entirely. Because the instinct for self-preservation is greater and she’s not sure she’s ready to tell Clarke something so momentous. Or that Clarke’s ready to hear it. Not yet.

Instead, Lexa shimmies closer until they’re sharing the same pillow, the same air. Clarke’s arm settles around her waist. Their feet tangle together. All it takes it a slight lift of her chin to bring their lips together. Lexa kisses Clarke slow and sweet, pulling back teasingly when Clarke pushes in for more contact.

Lexa's voice is pitched low when she whispers, “Me too."

Chapter Text

Slowly, incrementally, Lexa pushes back the covers. Careful as she is not to disturb the other occupant of the bed, she feels rather than hears Clarke stir behind her: the subtle flex of Clarke’s fingers where they’re tangled in the hem of her t-shirt; the soft exhalation of humid breath against the downy hairs at the nape of her neck; the press of Clarke’s knees against the backs of her thighs. It’s only a second or two later when Clarke mumbles, that sleep-scratchy voice sending an involuntary tingle down Lexa’s spine, “Stay.”

Lexa stretches her toes, fights a yawn.

“Going to make breakfast.”

That draws a whine from Clarke. She noses closer into Lexa’s neck, clutches more firmly at Lexa’s side. Indistinct words muffled against her skin that sound something like “warm” and “soft” and “don’t” set off an entire flurry of fuzzy feelings within Lexa’s ribcage.

She laughs softly as she attempts to push up from the mattress but a leg hooked over her hip traps her in place. It seems Clarke’s determined. Lexa flops back down onto her side, feels the victorious little kiss Clarke plants against the top vertebra of her spine. She rolls over, smiling at the grumpy expression on Clarke’s face at being jostled so much. Wraps her arm around Clarke’s waist to cuddle her closer and watches the pinch between Clarke’s brows even out.

In the past two weeks, this has become something of a ritual whenever Lexa stays over. She’s always the first to awaken—usually with chilly feet because she’s sharing the bed with a blanket thief—to find Clarke clinging to her like a koala. On the days Lexa wakes up alone in her dorm she misses these lazy mornings wrapped up in each other, both reluctant to leave their shared pocket of warmth. There isn’t a part of it she isn’t in love with: the messy splay of Clarke’s hair against the pillow; the delicate fan of dark blonde lashes against the tops of Clarke’s cheeks; the deep blue of Clarke’s irises when she finally opens her eyes; how the skin around them crinkles when Clarke gives her a slow, sleepy smile.

There isn’t a part of Clarke she isn’t—

That thought stutters in Lexa’s brain; stops the air in her lungs. Her lips part before she presses them tightly together again.

Tucking one hand under the pillow, Clarke shifts closer. Those pretty eyes drift across Lexa’s features. “Everything okay?”

“Yes.” Lexa swallows. “Just thinking about the group presentation this afternoon.”

It’s only a partial lie. She is a little anxious about the presentation for Indra’s class. Normally group projects are anathema to Lexa because there’s always that one person who doesn’t pull their weight and swoops in at the end to take their undeserved portion of the credit. But she’d been fortunate enough to be in a group with Emori and Luna and they’re as committed to achieving the best grade as Lexa is. In fact, they’re both kind of cool and Lexa isn’t sure why they haven’t really talked before this assignment. Luna, in particular, is so friendly and they have a surprising amount in common beyond their dedication to smashing the patriarchy and strident opposition to industrialised fishing.

“Well,” Clarke reaches up to push a strand of hair off Lexa’s face, thumb brushing over the apple of her cheek. The simple affection in that touch makes Lexa’s heart swell, has her leaning closer. A faint smile twitches at the corner of Clarke’s lips. “You’ve been working really hard on this and I’m sure you’re gonna nail it. But…” That smile edges into something much more lascivious as Clarke lowers her voice. “Maybe you should nail me first. For luck?"

“God, Clarke,” Lexa groans and burrows her temple into the pillow.

A burst of husky laughter reaches her.

“What?”

“I hate that expression. It sounds so… I don’t know. Brutal.”

She looks back at Clarke, gaze dropping to the tip of Clarke’s tongue poking between her teeth.

“So which term would you prefer?” Clarke asks, clearly pleased that she’s managed to turn Lexa’s ears pink once more. Her fingers shift, tracing the outside edge of an earlobe, a barely-there caress that leaves Lexa squirming at the tickling sensation. “Fuck? Screw? Bang?”

Clarke lifts her eyebrows. “Make sweet love?”

She’s joking, of course, but it still sends a pang of panic racing through Lexa. Her eyes cut away as she nudges Clarke’s thigh off her body to sit up. Catches only a quick glimpse of the way Clarke’s mouth dips into a slight frown.

“About that breakfast…”

“Lexa—“

She’s already out of bed before Clarke can reach for her wrist. She feels the weight of Clarke’s stare on her as she pads over to the dresser and stoops to open the bottom drawer, pulling out a folded pair of sweatpants and thick, fuzzy socks.

That’s another thing that’s quietly transpired: they haven’t actually talked about the fact that Lexa’s sort of taken over space in the chest of drawers. That she keeps a change of underwear and comfortable clothes here, things to kick around in the next day when she stays the night. That these items end up in the laundry pile, mingled with Clarke’s things, washed and dried and put back in place, and neither of them has commented on it.

Lexa turns to find Clarke watching her, head propped up on the heel of one hand. Putting one leg then the other into her sweatpants really shouldn’t be a mentally demanding task but Clarke makes it so. Between the tousled bed hair, Clarke’s heavy-lidded gaze, the bottom lip drawn between her teeth, it all adds up to leave Lexa feeling slightly off-kilter and uncoordinated.

“Need any help?”

She knows Clarke means with fixing breakfast but there’s something about her lingering smile that suggests she’s fully aware of the effect she’s having on Lexa.

“No. I’ve got it. You… you stay.”

She’s almost out the door when she hears, “Lexa.”

Turns back to see Clarke crook one finger, beckoning, before tapping that same finger against the bow of her upper lip. Another part of their routine.

Without a second thought, Lexa crosses the room to the side of the bed. Clarke doesn’t hesitate to wrap one hand in the front of Lexa’s sleep shirt, to tug her down to meet waiting lips, to kiss her slow and lazy and oh, so sweet. Warmth floods Lexa’s chest, radiating outwards, as she feels the stretch of Clarke’s smile.

They only pull apart when Lexa hears the loud rumble of Clarke’s stomach.

Right. Breakfast, she reminds herself in a daze.

Once in the kitchen, Lexa takes a few moments to let her heart rate settle and her mind clear. It’s still early, sunrise painting the room in warm orange light. The only noises are the hum of the refrigerator, the quiet creaks of the floorboards as Lexa moves around the space with an efficiency borne of familiarity. She hums a song under her breath, a melody that’s been stuck in her head for the past couple of days. Within minutes she’s assembled two bowls of muesli, topped with berries, raisins and chopped banana, as well as two small glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Another unacknowledged habit that’s formed: the organic produce that now stocks Clarke’s fridge, the granola mix in the cupboard, the tofu bacon in the freezer, the full fruit bowl on the counter, the gradual introduction of more nutritious fare into Clarke’s diet with relatively little complaint. (Kale is no longer a dirty word although Clarke still makes a show of leaving it to the side of her plate.)

With an absent smile, Lexa plucks a pink rose from the vase on the window sill and places the stem between her teeth before picking up the loaded tray.

“Ride it, my pony, my saddle’s waiting,” she sings quietly, the lyrics muffled by the flower. “Come and jump on—“

Just as she pivots to make her way back to the bedroom, she spots Clarke leaning against the breakfast bar. She hadn’t heard Clarke’s approach. And, God, Lexa really isn’t awake enough to process the sight of Clarke standing there in her blue plaid button-down and nothing else. Flannel gaping open at Clarke’s chest, fastened by a single button over her stomach. Sleeves pushed carelessly to her elbows. Shirttails barely skimming the tops of her thighs.

Clarke bites her lip, knowingly.

The rose drops from Lexa’s clenched teeth, bouncing off the tray and onto the floor, forgotten.

“I—“ Lexa’s tongue feels thick in her suddenly dry mouth. The words come out slightly stilted. “I was going to bring it to you in bed.”

Clarke approaches slowly, all dark stare and wild toss of blonde hair and legs. Holy fuck, her legs. Lexa grips the tray tightly but Clarke prises it from her fingers, sets it down on the nearest countertop, and returns, stepping up into Lexa’s space.

The breath catches audibly in Lexa’s throat and Clarke’s lips tip up into a little half-smile at the sound. She threads fingers into Lexa’s sleep-mussed hair, grips the front of the ‘Weapons of Mass Distraction’ t-shirt with her other hand.

“I’m bringing breakfast to you instead.”

Clarke leans in and does this thing with her tongue to Lexa’s jaw that makes her knees wobble.

“Clarke,” Lexa says on a soft expulsion of air. Her own hands find Clarke’s waist, an automatic reflex. “Aren’t you hungry?”

Clarke’s eyes are just eating Lexa up, pupils wide, flitting over her face before settling on her mouth.

“Yeah. But not for muesli.”

It takes all of .2 seconds for Lexa’s admittedly limited chill to evaporate. She tugs Clarke closer by the waist, not an inch separating their bodies. Clarke’s smile widens in that fraction of a second before their lips meet, her mouth opening under Lexa’s, pliant and eager.

Lexa’s so caught up in it that she’s barely conscious of their gradual migration across the room. It isn’t until they meet the unexpected obstacle of the kitchen cupboards, Clarke’s ass bumping up against the edge of the granite counter, a breath leaving her in a huff, that Lexa realises she’s been crowding Clarke backwards.

Clarke draws away, hooded eyes stuck on Lexa’s mouth. She releases her hold on Lexa’s shirt to grasp her chin. The sweep of her thumb follows the curve of Lexa’s bottom lip. “You like this?” she asks, edging closer and stopping just short of bringing their lips together. “Me wearing your shirt?”

The gentle breeze of Clarke’s breath makes Lexa’s eyelashes flicker. She angles in to close the gap but Clarke evades her. It’s a calculated tease that has Lexa tightening her grip around Clarke’s waist, the soft flannel bunching under her fingers.

“Well?”

“What do you think?” Lexa tries once more to kiss Clarke, only to be eluded again.

The ever-so-slightly impatient stare Lexa gives her pulls a low, gritty laugh from Clarke.

Lexa sets her jaw.

Her voice sounds remarkably steady when she says, “Yes, of course it turns me on.”

She glances down at the strip of pale torso revealed by the open shirt and swallows around the tightness in her throat. Her eyes flick back up to Clarke’s and the naked want Lexa finds reflected there sends arousal pulsing hot through her veins.

“I mean,“ Lexa pauses, drops her voice to a low monotone, ”I’m seriously considering boosting you up on the counter and fucking you right here. Food preparation area or not.”

At that, Clarke inhales sharply. The fingers still weaved into Lexa’s hair flex against her scalp. It’s Clarke who mashes their lips together this time, needy and greedy and a little too harsh when she nips at Lexa’s mouth. While they kiss, Lexa’s hands slide over the curve of Clarke’s hips to rove under the shirt tails. Her fingers meet bare skin and it pulls something very close to a growl from Lexa. For a hot second, she thinks about yanking the shirt open but it’s one of her favourites and she doesn’t want to ruin it. Instead, she rucks the flannel up Clarke’s stomach and drops to her knees.

Lexa’s hands wrap around Clarke’s thighs to push them apart, far enough for her to shuffle forward into the space between them. Already Clarke is surprisingly wet, the slick glistening along her labia. Lexa glances up to find Clarke staring, wild-eyed, chest rising and falling in shallow heaves.

“Were you touching yourself?” Lexa asks. The heady, musky scent of Clarke’s arousal reaches her nostrils. “Did you start without me?”

She watches the tip of Clarke’s tongue swipe along her bottom lip. Dark blonde lashes flutter. A smirk curls at the corner of Clarke’s mouth.

“Maybe I warmed myself up a little for you.”

Lexa’s jaw ticks as she’s presented with a mental image of Clarke wearing her flannel, the fabric straining over her breasts. Knees drawn up and spread wide. Back arching off the bed. Hand moving with purpose. Slick noises and stifled moans.

God, it’s too much.

Sucking in a quick breath, Lexa leans in, open mouth descending upon Clarke. That first taste makes Lexa’s eyes roll back. Above her Clarke groans, hips jutting forward into the drag of Lexa’s tongue. The hand in her hair tightens into a fist, giving a small tug of encouragement that has Lexa smothering a smile. She goes slow, licking up the length of Clarke’s slit, swirling around the swell of Clarke’s clit, loving the tremble of Clarke’s body, the choked out, “Fuck, Lexa” as she explores, the way Clarke shudders and curses again when Lexa pushes inside her.

Clarke slides down the counter to spread her thighs wider, to take Lexa deeper, rocking into the lazy thrust of Lexa’s tongue as she works in and out. They don’t take their eyes off each other, gazing at one another under heavy lids. It’s that connection, more so than the sloppy sounds of her mouth on Clarke’s cunt, the clench and release of Clarke’s walls around her, every gasp and moan and desperate utterance of her name, that makes Lexa ache with the force of her desire.

It’s only when her jaw begins to twinge that she relents, replacing her tongue with two fingers, fucking Clarke slow and deep while she presses her mouth to Clarke’s mound. Moving lower to dust light kisses over the reddened, swollen labia. She laps at the overflow of wetness that streaks the tops of Clarke’s thighs before returning her attention to Clarke’s clit, engorged and peeking from its hood. As soon as Lexa takes it gently between her lips, Clarke’s hips pick up pace, jogging down into the steady pump of Lexa’s fingers. She adds a third, feeling the stretch and clamp of muscles pulling her in. She curls the tips; rubs at the spongy patch of skin on the front wall with every retraction while she rolls her tongue around Clarke’s clit. She traces nonsense patterns—circles, infinity symbols, spells out her full name—flicks at the tip, sucks it into her mouth.

Clarke’s orgasm approaches quickly. Lexa feels its onslaught in the way Clarke squeezes tight around her fingers, trapping them in place; how she grinds with careless, frantic abandon into Lexa’s face; the hand fisted in Lexa’s hair tugging almost painfully hard and tipping her chin back, changing the angle that Lexa’s mouth glides over Clarke’s cunt. It’s that difference in contact and pressure that finally sends her hurtling over the edge. She comes with a hoarse shout that rings in Lexa’s ears.

Afterwards, breathless, Clarke slumps down the cupboard and into Lexa’s lap, sliding her arms around Lexa’s shoulders. A gorgeous pink flush covers her chest and neck. Her eyes are glassy and wide, drinking up Lexa’s face before she leans forward to catch her mouth. The kiss meanders for minutes, languid and tender, small breathy sounds leaking from the seal of their lips as Clarke tastes herself in it. Even though Clarke’s the one to pull away she keeps dotting tiny kisses along Lexa’s bottom lip. As if she’s reluctant to be separated. It isn’t possible for Lexa to corral her smile. Her heart knocks so forcefully against her ribs she feels like it’s going to punch a hole through her chest. Those words—the ones she’s been holding on to for the past two weeks—bubble up again, but her throat closes around them before they can escape.

“Wanna take you back to bed,” Clarke whispers. She presses her lips to Lexa’s jaw, trailing kisses along the edge towards her ear. “God, I wanna make you come in my mouth.”

“Clarke. The food—“

“Can wait. I need five portions of you a day, not fruit and vegetables.”

“Pretty sure that contradicts the US Department of Health’s dietary guidelines.”

The scrape of Clarke’s teeth against her earlobe makes Lexa shudder lightly.

“Pretty sure the federal government can kiss my ass.”



*

“Clarke, have you seen my phone?”

A towel-clad head pops out the bathroom door.

“Think it’s on the nightstand?” Clarke says around a mouthful of foam, toothbrush poised near her lips.

“Oh, thanks.”

Lexa returns to the bedroom and does a visual sweep of the room but there’s still no sign of the damn thing. She’s about to ask Clarke to call her phone when she hears the unmistakable sound of something vibrating against the floor. She follows the direction of the noise to the bed, drops to her knees to look underneath and, sure enough, there it is.

And, honestly, she really doesn’t mean to snoop. It’s just that the screen gives off enough illumination for her to notice the large transparent storage box hidden under the bed. To catch a glimpse of the contents of said box.

Curiosity gets the better of her.

She retrieves her phone and slides the box out. Doesn’t even have to open it to see that it contains—

Well.

It’s basically a box full of sex toys.

Vibrators and dildos of various shapes, colours, lengths, and girths and, holy fuck, one of them looks like it was designed by H.R. Giger for the Alien queen when she’s in the mood for packing heat. Lexa’s poised to hastily shove the box back into place when she hears a loud creak from the doorway. She jumps at the sound.

“Did you find it?”

She glances over her shoulder and she’s certain her expression must convey her guilt if the way Clarke’s eyebrows lift is any indication.

Lexa flushes.

“Uh, yeah. It must’ve fallen off the nightstand.” She clears her throat. “It was under the bed.”

Clarke pads barefoot across the room. She’s still wearing a fluffy white robe, damp hair loose and swept to one side.

“You found the pleasure chest too, huh?”

Trust Clarke to have a name for her stash of dongs.

“Unintentionally. I swear, I wasn’t invading your privacy. I—“

“Lexa, it’s fine.” A sly little smile ticks up. “You can look. I don’t mind.”

Lexa’s gaze darts to the box then back to Clarke’s face. She’s aware of the blush creeping up her neck, her own flustered state a marked contrast to Clarke’s nonchalance as she perches on the edge of the bed. It’s with slightly trembling hands that Lexa prises the lid off.

“Ever used anything like this?” Clarke asks.

“No,” Lexa says quickly. Her ears feel hot. She’s conscious of Clarke’s eyes rooted upon her. “But, I mean, I’m not opposed. In principle.”

There’s a pause. Then, “Wanna try?”

Lexa stares up at Clarke, a shivery breath escaping her parted lips.

“…Now?”

The quiet laugh she receives in response is borderline filthy.

“I meant another time, stud.” Clarke reaches out to push an errant strand of hair behind Lexa’s ear. “Although, gotta admit it's been on my mind since that day on set. Thinking about your body on top of mine, fucking me with a strap-on. Or me riding you cowgirl style. How sexy those hips of yours would look in a harness.”

For a second Clarke seems to get lost in her imagination, eyelashes fluttering, bottom lip snagged between her teeth.

The blush on Lexa’s cheeks is now probably bright enough to be seen from space. She drops her gaze, looks away.

“While I’m glad fantasy-me has some prowess in this arena, real-me is sorely lacking. I’ve never so much as touched a strap on, let alone worn one. I wouldn’t have a clue what to do.”

“It’s not rocket science, babe. With that big, beautiful brain of yours, I think you’d figure it out pretty quickly.” Fingers come to rest on the underside of Lexa’s chin, tipping her head up so she’s forced to meet Clarke’s eyes. “I could show you if you want. Like, a demonstration of proper technique.”

Lexa isn’t sure how she feels about this suggestion. A little daunted, yes. Some trepidation, certainly. But, also, intrigued and… kind of excited?

“There’s a five-inch toy in there that’s perfect for a novice.”

As if she senses Lexa’s hesitation and unspoken questions, Clarke adds, “It’s brand new, never been used.”

Off Lexa’s curious look, a pink tinge comes to Clarke’s cheeks.

She gives a small laugh.

“Impulse buy. I guess I was being optimistic it was something we might get around to trying.”

Lexa wets her bottom lip.

“Could I think about it?”

“Of course. Take all the time you need.” Clarke runs the backs of her fingers over Lexa’s cheekbone. “Whatever you decide, I’ll be happy either way.”

They regard each other for several beats.

Then, “Okay but can we talk about the Xenomorph toy? Because, dear God, why?”

“Sometimes online retailers send me free samples in exchange for an endorsement for their products on Twitter. I like to call it ‘quid pro dildo’,” Clarke says with a wry smile. “Although, lemme tell you, that isn’t the wildest one I’ve ever seen. At the porn convention I went to in Vegas there was a company giving out zombie dongs.”

Lexa stares.

“As in, dicks of the undead?”

“Yep. They had a whole Halloween themed range. Google it.”

“You know what? I think I’ve been mentally scarred enough for one lifetime,” Lexa says. “I’ll just take your word for it.”



*

This early in the morning the quad’s deserted, only the occasional tardy student hurrying across it to get to class. There’s a marked chill in the air and Lexa pulls the lapels of her wool coat tighter around herself as she walks alongside Anya.

“Surprised I ran into you,” Anya remarks, shoving gloved hands into her puffer jacket pockets. “I swung by your dorm the other day and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark told me she’d hardly seen you for a couple of weeks. Have you and Clarke legit U-Hauled already? Because you two have got to be the fastest moving gaymos in history.”

“No,” Lexa replies, a hint of defensiveness in her tone. “And communication goes two ways, you know. You’ve been keeping a low profile too.”

“I’ve been busy with my thesis.” A pause. “In between having multiple orgasms.”

Lexa stops and looks at Anya, mouth hanging open slightly.

“The dry spell is over. It’s officially monsoon season. Holy shit, Lex, the things Raven can do with that tongue piercing made me question my life choices up until now.”

“Also officially TMI.”

Anya shrugs, unapologetic.

“Just returning the favour… Commander.”

With a shake of her head, Lexa mutters, “I knew I shouldn’t have told you about that.”

She falls into step with Anya again. Glances at her friend, noticing the small smile that lingers at the periphery of Anya’s mouth. There’s an overall lightness to her mood that Lexa hasn’t seen for a long time. More often than not Anya’s shoulders are hunched and her expression strained, the stress of her workload taking its toll. Being the first in her family to attend college, there’s a lot riding on her to succeed. Not least because Anya’s parents took on a second mortgage to pay her grad school tuition.

“So, what? Does that mean you guys are dating?”

“Pft. No. It’s strictly casual.”

“That’s what I said.”

“Full offence, but I’m not lame enough to catch feels from a fuck buddy arrangement.”

Lexa purses her lips. “Sure, Jan.”

“Don’t give me that look. Neither of us has the time or inclination for a relationship,” Anya insists. “We’re not going to be making barf-inducing gooey eyes at each other like some people I could mention. Seriously, Raven and I were in danger of revisiting the dim sum.”

“Did Raven say anything to you?” Lexa asks, too casually.

She keeps her eyes on the ground.

“About me and Clarke, I mean.”

“I spent the night and most of the next morning having the best sex of my life. You think I wasted a precious second making pillow talk about your tragically gay situation?”

Anya guides them towards a wooden bench just a few yards ahead. They take a seat below the shade of a tall oak tree. Sunlight dapples through the leaves, a kaleidoscope of oranges and browns and reds.

“Even if Raven did spill something,” Anya continues, “it isn’t my place to betray purely hypothetical confidences.”

“I know. I know. And I shouldn’t have asked. It’s just—” Lexa scrubs a hand over her face. “I wish I had some confirmation about what’s happening between us because I—“

She exhales through her nostrils, steam rising from her breath as it meets the cooler air.

“I think I’m—”

“Oh my God.”

Lexa freezes. “What?”

“You’re, like, fucking in love with her.”

The statement hangs between them.

Lexa squares her shoulders. Stares straight ahead at the neatly manicured frost-tipped grass.

“Yeah. I’m 95% certain that’s true.”

Finally acknowledging it out loud to another person should do something to loosen the pressure that inhabits Lexa’s chest. But, for some reason, the band across her ribs only tightens.

“I sense a ‘but’ coming.”

Lexa worries at her bottom lip.

“We’re not ready for this. Confronting the big feelings.”

“Dude,” Anya says flatly. “You’re practically living with her and you’re telling me it’s too soon to drop the L bomb?”

Lexa knits her hands together to stop them from shaking. It’s an odd mixture of dread and adrenaline that’s coursing through her body.

“What if I’m reading too much into it? What if she doesn’t feel the same way? What if—“

“Here’s a batshit crazy idea: what if she does?”

“That’s an equally scary prospect.”

A furrow forms between Anya’s brows. “Why?”

“Because what if I fuck it all up somehow?”

“Oh, Jesus…”

Anya casts her eyes skyward.

“With that kind of defeatist attitude, what could possibly go wrong?” Her tone gentles marginally. “Far be it for me to the beacon of hope and positivity—we both know that’s not how I roll— but don’t you think you should give Clarke some credit? Because, look, I’ve only met her once so the jury’s still out, but, from what I’ve observed? She’s clearly as disgustingly into you as you’re into her.”

“About that. She said you grilled her about her five-year plan.”

“So?”

“It wasn’t a damn job interview, Anya.”

“You’re like my honorary kid sister. Of course I want to know about the life goals and career prospects of your future wife.”

“Could you please stop with the premature marriage talk?” Lexa crosses her arms, tucks her chin into her scarf. “I mean, God, let’s see if we can get through Clarke’s shoot unscathed before you start planning our nuptials.”

“Oh, shit. That’s this week?”

“Next Monday.”

Lexa shivers and it has nothing to do with the cold. Her stomach is in knots, has been all week. It twists and coils tighter whenever she thinks about Clarke’s imminent return to work, now only days away.

“And before you launch into a lecture, I know. We have to discuss the practicalities.” She hazards a look at Anya. “It’s going to be strange. Not being allowed to, you know, touch her for four days.”

“For a pair of insatiable thirst monsters like you, yeah, I can believe that. Although maybe the temporary enforced celibacy will give you some time to reflect without your head being overruled by Little Lexa.”

Lexa recoils, entire face scrunching in distaste.

“I do not have a pet name for my vagina, thank you.”

“I bet Clarke does.”

“She—“

Lexa opens her mouth and promptly snaps it shut again. Because, actually, she wouldn’t put it past Clarke.

“Ten bucks says it’s Georgia O’Queef.”

A weak groan is Lexa’s only response. She’s still mourning her lost innocence about the meaning of that word.

“For real, though, life’s too short for this ‘will she/won’t she’ second-guessing bullshit. Someone’s got to take the initiative. Why not you?”

“I don’t want to scare her away.” Off the dubious look she receives, Lexa sighs. “You don’t know what a huge deal it is even for Clarke to have come this far. From the very beginning, she told me she doesn’t do relationships so I let her set the parameters. Almost every progression has been because she pressed for it, consciously or subconsciously.”

“Okay, but don’t forget: you’re the one who asked to see her again; you’re the one who said you wanted something more; you, being the gay disaster you are, admitted you liked her first. None of those things had her nope-ing the hell out of there so you must be doing something right, besides rocking her world with those freakishly long fingers. Maybe you need to be the one to take the leap.”

Lexa mulls that over for a moment, watching another few stragglers make their way across the tree-lined pathways.

She shakes her head.

“It isn’t fair to put that pressure on Clarke right now. I have to let her do her job. Then… we’ll see.”

“And this, my lesbian compadre, is why I mostly stick with dudes. Way too much drama when chicks are involved.”

“I’ll be sure to remind you of that when you’re eating your feelings over Raven.”

Anya pulls one hand from her pocket and holds it up.

“Just so you know, if I wasn’t currently wearing mittens you’d see that I’m flipping you the bird. But, for the avoidance of doubt, you can fuck off.”

Lexa bumps their shoulders together.

“It’s okay. I know lowkey aggression is how your emotionally stunted ass demonstrates affection. I care about you too, Anya.”

The answering deep scowl on her friend’s face makes Lexa smile.



*

“So…” Clarke says idly, eyes fixed upon the spoon she’s currently stirring her gingerbread latte with. “Luna isn’t how I pictured her from the way you described her.”

Lexa pauses mid-bite of her slice of organic gluten-free carrot cake. She sets it down on the plate in front of her. Brushes the crumbs off her fingers.

“How so?”

“I don’t know. I was expecting an overbite and body odour.”

Lexa feels mildly offended on Luna’s behalf.

“She’s cute.” Clarke sniffs. “If you’re into redheads.”

“Oh. Well. I hadn’t noticed.”

“Hm.”

There’s a lull during which Clarke sips her coffee and Lexa attempts to take another bite out of the cake. She’s barely sunk her teeth into it when Clarke speaks again.

“I guess it also escaped your attention that she was hitting on you back there.”

This time Lexa nearly chokes on the frosting. She stares at Clarke, bewildered. “What? No.”

“Lexa, she was all up in your space. Touching your arm. Watching your mouth while you talked. Laughing a little too hard at that ‘how many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb’ joke, pretending like she didn’t know you stole it from Tina Fey.”

“She’s a tactile person. Attentive. It doesn’t mean—”

Clarke’s sharp glance silences Lexa as effectively as any verbal rebuke.

“As an expert on this subject, trust me, she was rolling out every trick in the seduction playbook. If I hadn’t stepped in when I did she probably would’ve climbed you like a fucking tree.”

(“Stepped in” is an understatement.

The last thing Lexa expected as she and Luna strolled towards Polis Hall was to be ambushed by Clarke. The surprised “hello” had scarcely left Lexa’s lips before Clarke grabbed her by the cheeks and planted a heavy kiss on her. It went on for at least thirty seconds too long, enough to make Lexa briefly forget they had company until Luna cleared her throat beside them. The smile that had previously been on Luna’s face vanished. Polite introductions were made but there was a weird undercurrent of tension that Lexa didn’t have time to examine before Luna excused herself and Clarke tugged Lexa towards the Mustang to whisk her away on this impromptu coffee date.)

“Clarke,” Lexa chides softly.

She presses her lips together and looks away, only to inadvertently catch the eye of the barista that took their order earlier. The woman offers a bright smile as she approaches, notepad in hand.

“Even if that’s true, which I highly doubt—“

“Hi, can I get you anything else? Another green tea?”

The woman addresses Lexa directly, sparing Clarke only a cursory glance. Lexa’s attention shifts from Clarke to the barista and back again, noting the thin press of Clarke’s lips, the slight narrowing of her eyes.

“Oh, no. Thank you.”

“Sure I can’t tempt you with something sweet?”

The woman fiddles with her pen and cocks her hip against the table’s edge.

“No, honestly, I couldn’t.” Lexa pats her stomach to indicate her fullness.

“The double chocolate chip muffins are so good. You should try them.” The woman gives a little wink. “On the house.”

It’s Clarke who answers, in a tone that can only be described as snappish.

“God. She said ‘no’. What part of that was unclear?” She cranes her neck to read the name tag pinned to the woman’s apron. “Vanessa. How about you go attend to the line of customers waiting at the counter instead, hm?”

Vanessa’s smile falters.

Lexa gapes.

She tries to school her expression to something outwardly apologetic but she’s so appalled by Clarke’s inexplicable rudeness that she isn’t sure she succeeds.

“Clarke. Was that really necessary?” Lexa says, once Vanessa’s slunk away out of earshot. “She was only being friendly.”

“Friendly? Come on! When she was bragging about her muffins, she wasn’t referring to baked goods.”

Lexa stares in disbelief.

“That’s ridiculous,” she scoffs, shaking her head.

“Is it?” Clarke arches an eyebrow. “This isn’t an isolated incident. What about the cashier at the grocery store? Or the usher at the movie theatre when we saw Arrival? Or the waitress at the diner last week?”

“Okay, but—“

“She scribbled her number on the back of the check, Lexa. She wrote “call me, cutie” with three kisses and a heart over the ‘i’. I mean, props to her when I was sitting right there and we were clearly on a date. That type of shamelessness I can almost respect.”

Seconds stretch while Lexa studies Clarke, taking in the tight set of her jaw, the hard glint in her blue eyes. Clarke doesn’t seem annoyed, exactly, more… incredulous, as she folds her arms and blows out a quiet breath.

“I honestly didn’t encourage it.”

“You never do.” Clarke shrugs. “But everywhere we go girls come onto you.”

The thought of Clarke being upset by something she’s unintentionally done or not done makes the green tea settle uneasily in Lexa’s gut. She isn’t sure what to say to appease Clarke, how to explain that she doesn’t notice these women allegedly flirting with her because her full attention is always captured by Clarke. Not without exposing herself.

“I’m sorry,” Lexa says.

“Don’t be. I just want you to recognise that when some girl offers you free muffins or walks you back to your dorm after study group or whatever, she may not have the purest of intentions.”

“…Okay.”

The remainder of their time together is filled with stilted silences. Clarke’s unusually quiet. All Lexa’s attempts to engage her in conversation seem to fall flat until Clarke announces that she needs to run a couple of errands downtown. Lexa declines the offer of a ride back to campus, preferring to take public transport rather than put Clarke out of her way when the atmosphere is already strained. It’s as she’s walking towards the bus stop, head down and wondering how things went awry, that she hears Clarke shout out her name.

She stops and waits for Clarke to catch up to her. The next thing she knows, Lexa’s being pushed up against the window of a storefront. The dull thunk of her back against the glass jars through her shoulders and down her spine.

She doesn’t even get a word out before Clarke’s kissing her, hot and wet and far too dirty for broad daylight in a public place. Fingers clutch firmly at the back of Lexa’s neck, tangling in the shorter hairs that escaped her ponytail. It goes on and on and when Clarke finally releases her, Lexa finds herself swaying into Clarke’s body in a daze, drunk on the taste of her, a residual trace of sweetness from the gingerbread latte left on Lexa’s lips.

“Come over tonight at 9.” Clarke’s eyes gleam with promise, flicking over Lexa’s face before landing on her mouth. “I have a surprise for you.”



*

When Clarke buzzes her in with a raspy, “Come on up, the door’s unlocked,” Lexa’s unsure what to expect.

Not to find the apartment cast in darkness except for the dozen or so lit candles dotted around the room, in any case. Or to hear the soft strains of a slow jam coming from the laptop on the kitchen table.

She wanders over for a closer inspection.

Spotify is open, currently on track three of a playlist entitled ’Clexa Sexa’. Which, yeah… subtlety’s never been Clarke’s strong suit.

“Clarke?” she calls out.

Lexa’s about to peer into the bedroom when cool hands slip over her eyes from behind, a contrast to the warm breath that tickles her neck, the soft curves that press against her back.

“You’re late,” Clarke murmurs, close to Lexa’s ear.

The swipe of her tongue along the outer shell sends a hot quiver through Lexa. She tries to turn around but Clarke maintains her hold.

“Uh-uh, no peeking. Walk forward.”

“Clarke.”

“Shh. Trust me.”

Lexa takes a few hesitant steps, wary of barging into a wall or stubbing a toe on the furniture, but Clarke’s low voice guides her until she brings them to a stop.

“There’s a chair a half step to your right. Sit down and keep your eyes shut.”

Clarke removes her hands once Lexa’s situated. She feels the trail of Clarke’s fingers over her shoulders, the brush of Clarke’s body against her knee as she rounds the chair. Anticipation makes Lexa antsy. She grips the edge of the seat to prevent herself from fidgeting.

Time seems to drag before Clarke says, at last, “You can look now.”

When her eyes spring open, Lexa’s breath catches.

Because Clarke’s in front of her and Lexa doesn’t know where to let her gaze rest first. Clarke’s wearing the type of expensive lingerie that Lexa’s only seen in photos of Victoria’s Secret fashion shows (not that she spends any time looking at stuff like that on Tumblr and liking it on her secret side blog): all delicate pink lace adorned with tiny bows and a garter belt attached to hold-up stockings and, God, Lexa’s heart is in her throat as she silently takes it all in.

At her sides, her fingers twitch, a token resistance before her hands fly up to grasp Clarke’s hips.

“Did I say you could touch?” Gently, Clarke prises Lexa’s fingers off her. “Don’t make me have to restrain you.”

Noticing Lexa’s slackened jaw, Clarke hums. “Or maybe you’d like that.”

Lexa finds her voice eventually.

“No, I’ll—” She lets out something perilously close to a meep as Clarke swings one leg over her thighs and settles on her lap. “I’ll be good.”

Clarke’s hands skim up the front of Lexa’s shirt, over her shoulders, before taking hold of the ears on either side of the top rail of the chair.

“So, I thought we could indulge in a fun little game to get warmed up.”

Lexa’s too distracted by the proximity of Clarke’s cleavage to put up any objection. That bra truly is a marvellous feat of modern engineering.

“Okay.”

“Ever see the episode of The L Word when Shane and Carmen played ‘Too Hot’?”

Now Lexa drags her eyes upwards.

Oh… sweet Jesus.

That scene may well have been the defining moment of her sexuality as a baby gay.

She gulps, “Yes.”

“Then you already know the rules. We kiss.” Clarke leans in to brush her lips fleetingly against Lexa’s. “And we don’t stop kissing.” More prolonged contact this time. “Whoever’s first to give in to the urge to touch…” Again, mouth opening to Lexa’s, licking into her for the briefest of seconds. “Loses. And the winner.” Clarke steals another kiss, one that makes Lexa’s toes curl inside her shoes. “The winner gets to do whatever they want to the other person.”

When Clarke pulls back, her eyes are dark and half-lidded.

“Got it?”

Lexa gives a slow, shallow nod. The small distance between them seems charged. She can’t tear her gaze away from the glossy curve of Clarke’s bottom lip, isn’t in control of the way she surges forward to slant their mouths together. The rough sigh Clarke releases into the kiss has Lexa’s knuckles turning white, anchored only by her iron grip on the chair. The wavy curtain of Clarke’s hair tickles her cheek and Lexa wants to sink her fingers into its softness. Instead, she focuses all her attention on the taste of Clarke’s mouth, the sweep of her tongue over Clarke’s own. The kiss turns heated quickly, a mess of heavy, shortened breaths and the wet glide of lips. And Clarke, not-so-subtly rocking into Lexa’s lap.

“Isn’t grinding against the rules?” Lexa says between kisses.

She lifts her pelvis off the padded seat for emphasis and Clarke groans quietly, rolling into the movement. That noise, small as it is, sends a jolt straight to Lexa’s groin.

“Indirect contact.”

Clarke tips her head to the other side to catch Lexa’s mouth again. She doesn’t stop rubbing up on Lexa.

“It’s allowed.”

“Says who?”

Clarke disengages and levels Lexa with a stare, one eyebrow hiking upwards. “You really wanna waste time disputing this when we could be making out?”

Put like that? Not really, no.

“Didn’t think so,” Clarke mutters before their lips meet in another soft collision.

Minutes get eaten up by the push and pull of it, each kiss melding seamlessly into the next, punctuated only by sighs and the occasional hitch of ragged breath. It takes them both a moment to realise that, at some point, Lexa’s hands had drifted from the chair to slide up Clarke’s thighs, over the lace tops of the stockings and bare skin to rest upon the garter belt.

Clarke laughs into the kiss, a husky sound that thrills through Lexa’s body, culminating in a low down throb.

“You lose,” she says, the words muffled against Lexa’s lips.

Somehow it doesn’t feel like a defeat.

“Best of three?”

That pulls another chuckle from Clarke.

“Nice try.” As the victor, she allows her hands to smooth across Lexa’s shoulders, up the sides of her neck to cup Lexa’s jaw. “But I think I’m gonna claim my prize now.”

Clarke captures Lexa’s bottom lip to suck on it for a second or two. Their eyes are half-open, stuck on each other, so connected and intimately immersed in one another that it makes Lexa’s heart squeeze every few beats. In this instant she’s very glad she’s sitting down because she feels dizzy with sensation: the sticky, sweet taste of Clarke’s lipgloss in her mouth; the solid weight of Clarke in her lap putting delicious pressure on her thighs; the lovely cotton candy cloud of Clarke’s perfume surrounding them, and, beneath that, the musky waft of Clarke’s arousal. She doesn’t have to look to know that there’s a growing wet patch darkening the front of Clarke’s underwear. There’s a similar puddle in Lexa’s own.

“Not sure what I wanna to do first.” The tip of Clarke’s tongue darts across the swell of Lexa’s bottom lip. “Have you ride my fingers or my face or—“

“The strap-on,” Lexa blurts.

Clarke pulls back an inch. She frowns.

“Lexa, I don’t wanna push you into doing something you’re not comfortable with. You don’t need to feel obligated to fulfil all my fantasies. It’s okay to say no.”

“I know that.” Lexa presses forward to plant a soft, reassuring kiss on Clarke’s mouth. “But I want to. I do.”

“You’re sure?”

“I mean, yeah, I’m a little nervous because I’ve never had, like, an inanimate object shoved up my vagina but I’m sure, given your expertise as both a giver and a receiver, you know what you’re doing.” She’s rambling now, she’s aware of that, but Clarke’s looking at her with such undisguised fondness that Lexa can’t even be embarrassed by this onset of verbal diarrhoea. She wets her lips, buys a second to collect herself.

“What I’m trying to say is: I trust you and I want to experience this with you.”

Clarke exhales, tipping her forehead to rest against Lexa’s. She closes her eyes briefly and when she opens them again, they’re an even darker, deeper blue.

“I promise I’m gonna make this so, so good for you. I’ll ease you in, go nice and slow, okay?”

Lexa nods once. “Okay.”



*

In the bedroom, reclining against the pillows, still catching her breath from the orgasm she just had, Lexa watches while Clarke selects the toy and harness from the ‘pleasure chest’. The base of the dildo fits onto the harness with some kind of locking mechanism and Clarke has it assembled and ready for use within seconds. While Lexa’s sorry to see the garter belt and stockings go, they’re probably a little impractical for this. When the pale pink panties also hit the floor Lexa stifles a whimper at the glimpse of the slick that clings to Clarke's cunt.

Once the harness is on, Lexa can’t take her eyes off it. Well, the vivid purple dildo sprouting from Clarke’s crotch, to be precise. True to Clarke’s word, it’s fairly small. Smooth. Devoid of a bulbous head or veiny embellishments. Nothing reminiscent of a real penis. Not that Lexa has any firsthand experience to compare it to.

“We still good?” Clarke asks as she climbs onto the bed.

The fake phallus bobs as she shuffles up the covers on her knees between Lexa’s outstretched legs.

Lexa can’t decide whether it looks comical or erotic or obscene. A bit of all the above.

“Yes,” she all but croaks.

Her throat feels dry, all moisture having long since fled for other parts of her anatomy.

“Here, I’ll show you how to tighten the straps. They’re elasticated so they have some give. It should fit snug under your ass cheeks but not enough to chafe. See?”

Lexa nods quietly.

Without a word, Clarke leans across to open the drawer of her nightstand. Lexa nearly snorts when she sees what Clarke retrieves from it.

“Not that I’m questioning your skills but I’m fairly certain the probability of me getting knocked up from this is zero.”

Clarke gives a droll look as she tears open the condom wrapper. “Are you allergic to silicone?”

“I… don’t actually know.”

“Exactly. So it’s a precaution in case your body has an adverse reaction. Goes without saying that it protects you from infection. Especially if we ever share toys. Or use them in different orifices.”

Lexa’s sphincter clenches at the insinuation.

“But there are other reasons to use a condom,” Clarke says as she rolls the latex sheath down the shaft of the dildo, all the way to the base. “For one thing, it makes the clean up so much easier. Scrubbing dried-in body fluids off a dildo? Not my idea of a good time. It also preserves the condition of the toy and stops it from smelling funky.”

“Oh,” Lexa says, feeling schooled because she hadn’t considered any of that.

A wink. “And so ends my safer sex PSA.”

Next Clarke reaches for a small pump bottle.

“Eating you out got you nicely prepped but I’m gonna use a little lube too, okay? Don’t worry, it’s vegan-friendly.”

Lexa nods her agreement. In a slight daze, she watches as Clarke squirts a blob onto the centre of her palm and starts slicking up the toy. It’s hypnotic and sort of perversely sexy, how Clarke works her fist slowly up and down to ensure even coverage. It provokes a flutter deep down in Lexa’s abdomen.

When she looks up it’s to find Clarke observing her face closely, breath pitching up, as if she’s getting off on this too.

She wraps both hands around the backs of Lexa’s knees and tugs to encourage Lexa to scoot further down until her head and shoulders are flat against the mattress. She grabs a pillow and motions for Lexa to lift her ass in order to place the pillow beneath her hips, keeping her pelvis elevated.

A gasp gets stuck in Lexa’s throat when Clarke leans over her, the tip of the toy grazing the inside of her thigh. Clarke’s fingers stroke over Lexa’s quivering stomach, an attempt to soothe her nerves.

“If you’re not enjoying it, just tell me and we’ll stop, all right?” She waits for Lexa’s nod. “Ready?”

“Go ahead,” Lexa says on a shaky exhalation.

Clarke moves her hand from Lexa’s abdomen to wrap around the dildo, lining it up with Lexa’s opening before she pushes her hips forward to edge inside.

It’s cold, is Lexa’s first thought, as her muscles squeeze around the intrusion.

“Try to relax,” Clarke says, hand now rubbing at Lexa’s hipbone.

She doesn’t push any further, not until Lexa releases the breath she’s been holding and gives another nod. Slowly, slowly, Clarke sinks in deeper, on every incremental nudge forward checking in with a non-verbal glance, until she finally bottoms out.

“How do you feel?”

“Strange.” Seeing the concern that lines Clarke’s forehead, Lexa’s quick to elaborate. “Not bad-strange. Just… it’s so different to your fingers.”

She reaches up to tuck the fall of Clarke’s hair behind her ears, to draw her down into a leisurely kiss. The brush of Clarke’s nipples against Lexa’s, the crush of their breasts, pulls a stifled noise from both of them.

That’s when Clarke begins to move, withdrawing almost fully then plunging back in. Between the lube and Lexa’s wetness, it’s an easy, smooth glide in and out, accompanied by the sort of slick noises that make Lexa feel tingly and hot all over. It isn’t long before she’s spreading her thighs wider, rocking her hips up to meet the pump of Clarke’s and, fuck, at this angle the toy keeps rubbing against her g-spot. Sweat breaks out on her lower back, her chest, the nape of her neck. Their mouths remain fused, kisses turning heavier, fuller, deeper, while the bed springs creak and the headboard taps rhythmically against the wall.

(For a brief second, Lexa spares a thought for the sweet old Greek couple who live in the apartment next door. That she’s definitely going to have to send Mr and Mrs Papadopoulos a gift hamper and possibly two sets of earplugs for Christmas, the type construction workers use to prevent tinnitus when working with heavy machinery. Assuming, by Christmas, she and Clarke are still…)

The press of fingertips against her clit brings Lexa sharply back to the present moment. She arches into the touch, head tipping back. Clarke mouths at her chin, her jaw, sucking kisses down the side of her throat while she works slow circles around Lexa’s clit, never ceasing the steady hump of her hips.

At first Lexa doesn’t register the word Clarke mumbles into the crook of her neck but the second time, she hears it distinctly: “Mine.”

“Clarke.” Lexa tangles her hands in Clarke’s hair, one at the crown, the other at the nape. “Please.”

She’s not exactly sure what she’s pleading for but, God, she doesn’t want Clarke to stop what she’s doing.

Clarke licks a wet stripe up her throat, drags her open mouth over the curve of Lexa’s jaw, nuzzles at the spot behind her earlobe.

“Fuck, Lexa, I wanna leave marks all over your neck.”

Lips brush against sensitive skin and Lexa’s helpless to stop the moan that leaks out.

“I want those girls to know. Luna. Vanessa. The fucking waitress at the diner.”

Clarke scrapes her teeth over the pulse point. Brushes her thumb over and around Lexa’s clit in tandem with the relentless jut of her hips.

“You’re mine.”

It’s the rough timbre of Clarke’s words, as much as the content, that has Lexa shaking and gasping, planting her feet wide on the covers and driving her pelvis up, up, up. Within the span of a few desperate seconds, she’s free-falling so hard and fast that it steals her breath. She draws Clarke’s head up so she can kiss her, a clumsy clash of open mouths and bumping chins, tongue delving inside once more. Still, Clarke keeps rolling into her, teasing out every little tremor and twitch until Lexa’s scratching at Clarke’s scalp and there are black spots dancing across her vision.



*

“I just popped your strap-on cherry,” Clarke announces, sounding extremely pleased with herself. There’s a lazy little half smile on her face as she draws irregular shapes on Lexa’s skin with one finger. “Wonder if there’s a greeting card for that? There should be.”

In the sweaty aftermath, they’re still entwined, the harness discarded at the foot of the bed. Clarke’s lying between Lexa’s legs, resting against the cradle of Lexa’s hips, upper body draped over Lexa’s torso.

Lexa swats at Clarke’s shoulder but it’s perfunctory, no real force behind it.

“Don’t be so smug.”

“Sorry.”

“No, you’re not.”

Lexa loops her arms loosely around Clarke’s neck, keeping her close, although Clarke doesn’t seem inclined to move from this position anyway. Not that she really could. The sweat rapidly cooling on their bodies acts like a sexy adhesive, their skin sticking together wherever it touches.

Clarke rests her chin on Lexa’s sternum for a moment then shifts, pressing lips there instead. Slightly off-centre, to the left. The significance isn’t lost on Lexa. She draws in a trembling breath. Clarke hides her growing smile against the swell of Lexa’s breast.

“Your heart’s racing,” Clarke says, laying her cheek flat.

She looks up at Lexa through her lashes.

“That’s because I—“

Something flashes in Clarke’s eyes, too quick to identify.

Lexa tenses her jaw; tries to gain some measure of control over the tumult of emotions swirling within her.

“That’s because you’re you.”

The way Clarke’s staring now… it’s as if she can see right through to the core of Lexa’s being, uncovering the things she thought she could keep hidden. It does nothing to help calm the thundering of her pulse.

Clarke’s name forms on her lips but before Lexa can utter a single syllable, Clarke leans up to catch her in a hard kiss. Forceful. Almost bruising. As if Clarke’s communicating everything she’s incapable of or unwilling to put into words. It tapers into something much gentler and sweeter. After they part, what must be several minutes later, Clarke hovers near, their lips clinging as they share the same air.

Lexa feels daring.

“What was that for?”

“Because you’re you, too.”



*

One of the most challenging things about spending so much time at Clarke’s place—other than all the studying Lexa’s falling behind on—is the easel that stands in the corner of the living room, silently taunting her. When Clarke’s not working on the portrait, the canvas is covered by a thick white dust sheet. Clarke’s adamant about keeping the painting under wraps until it’s finished—some weird superstition that Lexa humoured to begin with but is now starting to tick her off.

Because she’s had to bear the indignity of the ongoing development of the Commander’s costume, which has moved so far on from that plain old red curtain. Now it’s a cape, attached to a pauldron, which Maya, who is apparently studying fashion design, created from a sketch that Clarke provided. On one hand, Lexa would prefer to remain in the dark about how Clarke explained this particular craft project to her former roommate, but, on the other, she’s sort of dying to know. Regardless, Maya showed up one afternoon to take Lexa’s measurements and, three days later, dropped off the finished article.

There’s also the Commander’s intricate hairstyle, the result of an entire Pinterest board of research references and a lot of trial and error. It takes an hour to section off and twist and braid. But that isn’t even the worst of it. No, that honour goes to the ‘war’ paint.

(The first thing that left her mouth when Clarke showed Lexa her reflection in the hand mirror was: “I look like a raccoon, Clarke.”

Clarke had tutted. “It’s more like a cheetah’s tear markings.”

“And that’s better, how?”

“Look, it’s all part of the mythos. The Commander isn’t allowed to mourn all the lives she’s taken on the battlefield or the sacrifices she’s made for her people. It’s, like, symbolic. Also, it looks fucking badass. More importantly, if I sit on your face it’s gonna smudge all over my thighs and that’s hot.”

As rationale went, Lexa couldn’t fault it.)

That’s how she finds herself on Sunday afternoon, the day before Clarke’s due to start the shoot, perched on a stool with her back to Clarke, the pauldron strapped across her upper chest, cape trailing down her side, head turned to display her profile. In her peripheral vision she sees Clarke at the easel, brows scrunched together, tongue poking out the side of her mouth, as she focuses on the detail work.

“How many more sittings do you think it’ll take?” Lexa asks.

They’ve done five so far. The second went broadly the same way as the first but since then they’ve managed to control themselves. Mostly.

“Two, maybe three.”

Lexa purses her lips. Tries not to fidget, but she’s been sitting here for at least forty minutes and her ass is going numb despite the soft cushion under it.

“Need a break?” Clarke says, leaning in as she moves the paintbrush with precise strokes over the canvas.

“My right butt cheek’s gone to sleep.”

Clarke laughs softly.

“Is that an invitation to massage it?”

“Maybe. If you let me see the painting.”

“This again?” Clarke shakes her head. “I told you. It’s bad luck.”

“Just a tiny peek? The suspense is killing me.” Lexa twists around to unleash her best pout and puppy dog eyes combo but Clarke purposefully ignores it. “What was it you said? ‘The Commander bows before no one’. Well, I’ll make an exception. I’m not too proud to get down on my hands and knees and beg, Clarke of the Sky People.”

Clarke looks up at Lexa’s use of her roleplay name. It seems like she’s actually considering it. So Lexa capitalises on that moment of deliberation.

She gathers the cape in one fist to avoid tripping over the heavy fabric as she hops off the stool. Doesn’t miss the way Clarke’s eyes wander as she approaches. All Lexa’s wearing is the shoulder guard and cape; otherwise, she’s nude. Even so, she doesn’t shy away from Clarke’s open ogling of her body. She can’t really explain it but whenever Lexa wears the mantle of the Commander it lends her this veneer of confidence. For a short time, she’s able to borrow some of that poise and attitude and channel it into an assertiveness that she doesn’t usually possess.

“As a patron of the arts,” Lexa says, “Heda would be very, very appreciative of a preview.”

She lifts her chin, affecting an air of cool detachment as she regards Clarke in her paint-splattered smock. The sight of a streak of bright blue paint across one cheek makes Lexa’s lips twitch into a smile but she tamps down on it.

All it would take is a glance, a small movement of her head, and she could look at the painting right now but she’d rather have Clarke’s permission.

She sinks to her knees, never once breaking eye contact. Hears Clarke’s small intake of breath as she stares down at Lexa.

“I swear fealty to you, Clarke kom Skaikru,” Lexa intones. “I vow to treat your sexual needs as my own and your orgasms as my orgasms.”

“You’re ridiculous,” Clarke says but she’s smiling. She slaps down the palette and paintbrush on the end table beside the easel. “All right. You’re allowed to look for, like, ten seconds max but if you ask me again before it’s complete…”

“I won’t.”

Clarke holds out her hand to help Lexa back up. She steps aside and clears her throat. “Obviously it’s, uh, it’s not finished.”

As soon as her eyes land on the canvas, Lexa’s jaw drops. She blinks a few times, not quite able to believe what she’s seeing. It’s different to Clarke’s usual abstract style. Almost photo-realistic. It’s beautiful.

God, is this really how Clarke sees her?

Clarke must misinterpret the stunned silence because when Lexa’s stare shifts from the easel to Clarke, it’s to find her with her arms folded, face tilted away.

“Yeah. So. Excuse the roughness. Still needs a lot of work.”

Lexa turns; reaches out to slide her hand across Clarke’s jaw and around her neck to pull her into a soft, searching kiss. Clarke’s initial surprise soon gives way. Lexa keeps it slow, tender, despite Clarke’s attempt to introduce a bit of tongue. After a moment, she feels the curl of Clarke’s fingers around her elbow, the unsteady breath Clarke lets out when Lexa changes the angle. She retreats with just as much gentleness, pressing a final kiss to the tiny mole above Clarke’s lip as she goes.

“I love it,” Lexa whispers.

“Really? You’re not just saying that to get into my pants?”

“Really. It’s incredible.” Adoration and awe grip her heart like a too-tight vice. She feels so full of it that she thinks she might burst. “You are incredible.”

“Keep up the compliments and you’re definitely gonna gain access to my pants.”

“Clarke.”

Lexa glances down between them. The smock hardly reaches mid-thigh. She knows for a fact that Clarke’s naked underneath.

“You’re not even wearing any.”

“Eh, details.” Clarke drapes both arms around Lexa’s neck. “Now, didn’t the Commander say something about showing her appreciation for the artist?”

“The arts,” Lexa corrects, even as her free hand drifts along the outside of Clarke’s thigh to creep under the hem of the smock, skimming up and over Clarke’s hip to fit around the curve of Clarke’s ass. She squeezes at the soft, round flesh, earning a quiet groan from Clarke. Begins to walk them backwards until Clarke’s trapped between the wall and Lexa’s body.

“Many artists seek the Commander’s patronage. Fortunately for the Sky girl, Heda recognises her…” Lexa hitches Clarke’s thigh up over her hip. Keeps her hand tucked behind Clarke’s knee for support. “Special talents.”

Clarke’s head tips back to rest against the wall and Lexa doesn’t waste the opportunity to latch her mouth to the pale skin offered up to her.

“No hickeys, Lexa,” Clarke says, voice gone gritty and deep. “I told you—“

“I know.”

A ban was placed on those earlier in the week. A small part of Lexa wants to rebel against it, to leave a lovely deep bruise where everyone will see it. She won’t, of course. Instead she keeps the suction light, just enough to have Clarke’s fingers scrabbling against the rubber of the pauldron and tugging at the braids in Lexa’s hair before she brings their mouths together again.

As they kiss, Lexa’s free hand roams; moving down the slope of Clarke’s chest; palming at Clarke’s breast over the rough material of the smock; teasing at the impression of a rapidly hardening nipple; following the ridges of Clarke’s ribs to the flare of her hip. She reaches between Clarke’s legs, under the fabric, to cup the heat of her. Finds Clarke damp.

Both give a quiet, shuddery gasp at the contact.

“My protection comes at a cost.” Lexa strokes through Clarke’s short curls; lets her middle finger slide through the wetness to swirl around Clarke’s entrance. “Are you prepared to pay that price, Clarke?”

“I’m your captive. You can take whatever you want.”

“What I want…” Lexa draws her finger once more around the edge. It takes all of her self-control to refrain from dipping inside, even as Clarke cants her hips forward in silent encouragement. “Must be offered willingly.”

Clarke stares, eyes dark and glazed. Hungry. She lifts her chin.

“And if I refuse?”

“Then I release you and you’ll be escorted from my territory.” Lexa’s eyes sweep across Clarke’s face. “But you should know that the leaders of the other clans are far less magnanimous towards trespassers than I am.”

“What do I need to do?”

“Pledge allegiance. Swear an oath that your life and loyalty and everything you are belongs to me.”

Considering Lexa’s acting experience is limited to a background role as a sheep in a kindergarten production of the Nativity play and she’s improvising all this on the spot, she’s actually pretty impressed with herself.

“Sounds a lot like a proposal, Heda.”

The persona wavers. Lexa’s lips part on a soundless noise. She closes her mouth and swallows hard.

“A political one.”

The look they share is weighted. Layered with meaning beyond this unexpected turn the roleplay has taken.

The tension snaps when Clarke blows out a low whistle.

“Wow, the Commander is whipped.”

It seems silly to take umbrage on behalf of a fictional character but Lexa bristles nevertheless.

“She is not. She’s more than capable of separating feelings from duty. Every action she takes is based upon logical, objective consideration of all possible outcomes. She’s a strategist. It makes sense for her to bring an influential figure like Clarke of the Sky People into her inner circle.”

“Oh, Clarke of the Sky People has been inside the Commander’s inner circle many times…”

Lexa sighs.

“Can we just rewind to the part where I was about to finger you? Because that’s where I was going with the whole ‘swear allegiance’ thing.” She squeezes at Clarke’s knee. “Is this uncomfortable for you, by the way?”

“No, but could we maybe move it along a little faster? Before my thigh starts to cramp.” Clarke shifts to reposition her raised leg. “So… what do I get out of this arrangement?”

It takes Lexa half a second to realise Clarke’s back in character. She clears her throat, adopts the Commander’s imperious manner of speech.

“I offer my bed, my sword, my armies, my wealth, my lands. As my concubine, you’ll want for nothing.”

“Excuse me? Concubine? I thought this was a marriage. Now I’m not even worth wifing?”

“Clarke.”

An answering eye roll.

“Fine. I accept. Let the royal fingering commence.”

“As if Heda would marry such a brat anyway,” Lexa says, swooping in to capture Clarke’s mouth and swallow the indignant sound she makes.

At first, Clarke thumps half-heartedly at her shoulder but within the span of a few seconds, she’s pulling Lexa closer, both hands weaving into her hair. An entirely different noise rumbles up Clarke’s throat when two of Lexa’s fingers slide down her slit and into the wetness pooling at her opening. All it takes is a roll of Clarke’s hips and Lexa’s pushing inside. The choked sound Clarke makes then, the heave of her chest, has Lexa pressing in further. Savouring the tight, wet cling around her fingers as she begins a brisk rhythm, one that has Clarke rocking her hips down to meet it with enthusiasm.

Their kiss becomes sloppier, more formless as it goes on, as Clarke bucks into Lexa’s hand, as she tugs at Lexa’s hair, clings to her tattooed upper arm, nails digging into the skin there and leaving half-crescent scores. It only serves to drive Lexa on, to ignore the slight strain on her wrist from this angle. She firms her touch, crooks the tips of her fingers, swipes her thumb over Clarke’s clit. Circles. Presses. Rubs. Until Clarke stiffens, shudders, grinds, clamping around Lexa’s fingers as she gives herself over.

“Fuck,” Clarke pants into the heated space between their mouths. “If I’d known it was gonna have this effect I would’ve shown you the painting a lot sooner.”



*

Over the flickering flame of the cinnamon-spiced apple scented candle (a personal Fall fragrance favourite), Lexa watches Clarke move the mushroom risotto idly around her plate.

“You don’t like it?”

Clarke looks up and the pensiveness doesn’t quite drop from her expression.

Lexa nods towards the largely untouched food.

“Oh, no. It’s great. I’m not that hungry, I guess.”

There’s a stretch of quiet, the only sounds being the scrape of cutlery against porcelain, the music playing low in the background, the distant sound of traffic from the street below, before Clarke drops her fork with a small clatter.

She rests her elbows on the table.

“Lexa…” Seems to steel herself for what she’s about to say. “I don’t think you should stay over while I’m filming. In fact, we probably shouldn’t see each other for the duration.”

Lexa’s first instinct is to laugh. Until she realises Clarke’s being serious. Her stomach drops like a bowling ball. She pauses chewing. The sudden tightness in her throat makes it difficult to swallow. “Why?”

“I don’t wanna get sued for breach of contract because I can’t trust myself to keep my hands off you or to tell you ‘no’. I’ve gotta remove the temptation.”

Lexa puts her own fork down.

“Clarke. We’re adults. It is possible for us to resist acting upon our sexual impulses.”

An eyebrow arches; sceptical.

“You think we’ve shown any restraint so far?”

“Well… no. But that doesn’t mean we’re incapable.”

“Look, I’m not thrilled about the idea either, babe.”

Clarke reaches across the table to take Lexa’s hand. She rubs her thumb back and forth over Lexa’s knuckles.

There’s that look in her eyes again. Soft yet intense.

It makes Lexa’s heart trip.

“I like having you around. You take such good care of me and I’m not just talking about orgasms. I mean, I’ve never eaten more green stuff in my life. I just… I think it’ll be easier this way—for both of us—if we put some physical distance between us while I’m working. And four days is nothing. It’ll fly by.”

It sounds like Clarke’s trying to convince herself as much as Lexa. With limited success.

Four days. Ninety-six hours. Subtract twenty-eight to account for sleep. That’s sixty-eight hours.

Totally manageable. Right?

Lexa’s weak smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes.

Chapter Text

When Lexa shuffles into her dorm room that evening, feet dragging across the carpet, it’s to find Ontari sitting cross-legged on her bed, sorting through the contents of her kit bag.

“Hey,” Ontari offers in bland greeting while she shoves a well-scuffed set of shin guards into the main compartment of the bag. She glances up and as soon as she takes notice of Lexa’s gloomy expression, her lip curls in mild distaste. “Jesus. You look like microwaved shit.”

“Thanks,” Lexa replies, that single word dripping with sarcasm. She lets her messenger bag slip off her shoulder, not caring that it hits the floor with a resounding thud. Without bothering to pull off her scarf or unbutton her coat, she flings herself onto her bed and huffs out a long sigh.

Ontari observes her for the span of a few seconds then roots around in the front pocket of her bag. “Here.”

A protein bar smacks Lexa square on the forehead.

“Ow! What the fuck?”

At the look of disbelief and affront warring for supremacy on Lexa’s face, Ontari only shrugs, “If anyone needs bulking up, it’s you.”

And, just like that, Lexa’s aggravation recedes to almost nothing. There’s something oddly, inexplicably… thoughtful about the gesture that she doesn’t really know how to process. It’s an insult wrapped up in good intentions and as close to showing a shred of compassion as Ontari is capable of.

Even so, Lexa tosses the protein bar back with a droll, “I’ll pass.”

Brown eyes widen as Ontari gapes at this flagrant refusal of a muscle-building snack. Going by the wildly disproportionate reaction, it’s as if Lexa spurned a rare and precious gift. Like an unlimited use 2-for–1 discount code for candledelirium.com with no expiry date and free next day shipping.

With a violent shake of her head, Ontari pushes aside the kit bag, twisting around to face Lexa.

“Fine, I’ll bite. What tedious lesbian drama happened to cause,” she jabs a finger at Lexa, drawing a circle in the air to indicate her entire demeanour, “this”.

When she’s met with only brooding silence, Ontari gives a loud, scornful tut and folds her arms.

“Don’t tell me you got dumped already? Because, lesbihonest, someone like you isn’t gonna land a bona fide sex bomb like that again. I mean, sorry not sorry, but having the misfortune to witness the two of you fingerbanging was equivalent to watching one of those shitty Judd Apatow comedies where the schlubby manchild gets with a stone cold fox and it makes zero fucking sense. And, just so we’re clear, you ain’t Katherine Heigl in this scenario.”

Well. That’s just fucking rude.

Any charitable thoughts Lexa had been having about her roommate quickly vanish.

For her part, Ontari either doesn’t take the hint or chooses to ignore Lexa’s withering stare; she carries on speaking regardless.

“Not that I actually give two shits beyond maintaining the relative civility of our occasional cohabiting situation—which, I gotta say, has been significantly more chill since Clarke started playing your hairy banjo on the regular—but I’m in imminent danger of being sucked into the four-dimensional space-time vortex that your pout is creating inside our dorm room, you dramatic hoe.”

In any other circumstances, Lexa might’ve been impressed that Ontari’s even aware of the existence of space-time vortices, much less that she managed to string that enormous run-on sentence together. On this occasion, she merely rolls towards the wall and grabs a pillow to cover her ears, a futile attempt to block out Ontari’s grating voice.

“Really not in the mood,” Lexa says, words half muffled by the pillow.

“Me either, The Incredible Sulk. But Roan’s gonna be here in five minutes and the last thing I want is his dick shrivelling at the sight of your depressing face.” Ontari points to her crotch. “This thirty dollar vajazzle ain’t going to waste.”

Lexa removes the pillow to glare over her shoulder at her roommate. “Roan?” She purposefully ignores the part about vaginal decoration.

“It’s Monday night,” Ontari says slowly, as though explaining rudimentary arithmetic to a particularly dim-witted child. “According to the terms of our truce, Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are my time for entertaining. So you need to vacate.”

“Oh, crap,” Lexa mumbles, flopping onto her back again and pinching the bridge of her nose, an attempt to ward off the impending headache she feels coming on. “Sorry, I forgot.”

Her eyes feel hot and gritty, lids heavy with fatigue. She hardly slept last night and it wasn’t really anything to do with Ontari’s cacophonous, hog-like snoring coming from across the room.

It’s just… she’s become so attuned to sleeping beside Clarke, wrapped up in the warmth and softness of her, the sound of her breathing, the scent of the sheets and Clarke’s perfume on the pillow, that being back in her own narrow bed felt weirdly foreign. That her mind was in overdrive, ticking over with thoughts of Clarke being at work, didn’t help matters, creating a knot of tension in the pit of her stomach and leaving her tossing and turning all night. And today’s classes were nothing but a blur. She barely absorbed a tenth of what Kane and Indra were talking about. Fuck, she doesn’t even want to begin trying to decipher the incoherent mess that is her notes, the margins of which are covered in doodles of stars and love hearts and Clarke’s name and… okay, she fully deserves the roasting Anya would subject her to if she ever found out.

“Anyway, shouldn’t you be off clam jousting with your girlfriend?”

It’s intended as a jibe but Ontari’s cavalier use of that descriptor still causes a small pang in Lexa’s chest.

“She’s busy tonight,” Lexa says quietly. “For the next four nights, actually.”

She doesn’t know why she’s volunteering this information. Ontari latches onto it like a shark detecting blood in the water.

“Oh. Now I get it…” Ontari smirks.

She pauses for entirely unnecessary dramatic effect.

"She’s running cliterference. You’ve been beaver-dammed. Bush-whacked. Twat-swatted.” Off Lexa’s perplexed glance, Ontari lifts her eyebrows. “It’s like cock-blocked, except for girls.”

Lexa can’t even muster the energy to take exception to the casual cissexist ignorance inherent in that statement. Ordinarily, she’d sternly remind Ontari that not all women have vaginas. Instead, she only sighs, “something like that" and makes a mental note to leave a pamphlet about trans inclusivity between the pages of Rock Solid Glutes Monthly (or whatever it’s called) that Ontari always seems so engrossed in.

“Whatever,” Ontari concludes with a derisive sniff, “unlike you, I will be seeing some action so do me a favour and make like my interest in this conversation. Disappear.”

Heaving another sigh, Lexa drags herself off the bed, scooping up her bag on the way towards the door. But she comes to a halt with her hand upon the doorknob, a tiny kernel of courage popping within her.

“You know what?” She pivots slowly, chin held aloft. “Usually I refrain from passing judgement on other people’s relationship choices but isn’t it time you found someone more age-appropriate to date? Roan’s, what, pushing 35? And he’s your third cousin. I know this town isn’t exactly a hotbed of eligible, ripped, yet emo dudes into wearing guyliner but even you could do better than a distant relative with an unhealthy penchant for leather vests who looks like he hasn’t washed his hair in a week and might have multiple STIs. Because, as much as it pains me to admit it, when you’re not being an obnoxious asshole—admittedly, that’s only about ten percent of your waking existence—you’re actually not completely objectionable.”

For once in her life Ontari seems at a loss for a scathing comeback, merely regarding Lexa with a dark glower, her jaw set in a hard line.

“I’ll leave you with these profound words of wisdom from an esteemed Western philosopher and feminist pioneer,” Lexa says, hitching the strap of her bag higher on her shoulder. “Second best is never enough. You’ll do much better on your own.”

A solemn pause.

“Think about it.”

She hasn’t stepped more than a foot outside the door when Ontari yells after her, “bitch, you did not just quote fucking Madonna at me!” and Lexa narrowly avoids the projectile shin guard that goes whizzing past her head.

“Don’t be back before 10!”



*

Cast out from her own dorm room, Lexa finds an empty corner of the communal student lounge and slumps into an armchair. She retrieves her phone from the pocket of her coat and stares despondently at the screen.

No new messages; no missed calls.

She hasn’t contacted Clarke either.

Not since last night, when she texted “break a leg, or whatever the adult movie equivalent is” for good luck. The message she received back, a smiley face accompanied by two x’s, didn’t really invite a reply and now she’s left with the dilemma of whether she should wait for Clarke to instigate the next communication or take the initiative herself.

Not that she knows what to say, how to even begin to approach enquiring how the first day of the shoot went. What’s the etiquette for that?

Hello, Clarke. How are you? Hope your co-stars trimmed their nails. How many impossibly gorgeous women did you have sex with before lunch? Remember to stay hydrated.

Ugh, no.

Maintaining a respectful distance is the considerate thing to do; not to encroach upon Clarke’s time or add to her concerns when she’s preoccupied with work; not for Lexa to impose her own insecurities, the conflicting emotions churning heavy in her gut, upon Clarke. She asked for space and Lexa wants to honour that, no matter how much the thought of not seeing or hearing from Clarke makes it feel like a hollow has been scooped out of her chest.

She needs to get a fucking grip.

It’s only been a day. They’ve spent longer apart.

She just needs something to take her mind off the situation; a distraction.

Something other than the background photo of Clarke on the lock screen of her phone. It’s only about, oh, the twentieth time she’s looked at it today.

(It was snapped one morning last week after breakfast, Clarke fresh from the shower and so bright-eyed and pink-cheeked—there may have been some wandering hands under the spray—that Lexa couldn’t resist capturing the moment for posterity. At the time Clarke complained because her hair was sticking up in every direction. But Lexa assured her she looked cute, adorable, and a dozen other glowing adjectives that only had her mock-frowning harder while Lexa peppered her cheek and jaw and chin with indulgent kisses until Clarke finally batted her away. The feigned annoyance act soon dropped when Lexa took hold of Clarke’s wrist and gave a meaningful tug, leading her back towards the bedroom. By her recollection, Clarke’s hair got a whole lot more messed up after that, Lexa’s fingers threading through golden locks while an eager mouth kissed and nipped a haphazard trail down her body.

She sucks absently on her bottom lip, allowing herself to get lost in the memory for a hazy minute before shaking herself out of the reverie.)

It’s while she’s in the middle of typing a message to Anya to check if she’s free for a long overdue hate-watch of PLL that Lexa gets an incoming call.

The contact photo alone makes her stomach swoop: Clarke, chin propped on her fist, looking directly into the lens. Eyes startlingly blue as they catch the light. One brow cocked; the subtle hint of a smile on her lips. There’s nothing overtly provocative about it but it still makes Lexa feel personally attacked.

She fumbles the phone, nearly dropping it in her hurry to answer before the call goes to voicemail.

“Hey, babe.” That voice, raspy and low in her ear, makes Lexa melt further into the chair. “I was gonna call you earlier but we had a few technical hitches on set and filming ran over.”

Lexa swallows down her apprehension when she asks, “How was it?”

There’s a small pause then, “Good. Today was all solo scenes.” Clarke sounds breezy, unaffected, and Lexa relaxes by a few degrees by proxy. Is it wrong that she feels relieved? “They’re a lot less complex to shoot. Only one actress to wrangle, you know?”

Lexa makes a noncommittal sound. She remembers from her brief experience as a production assistant on set. Trying to keep Clarke, Raven, and Octavia to schedule, as well as dealing with Murphy’s ego, was a bit like herding cats.

"Are you okay?”

It’s careful; slightly hesitant.

“Just tired,” Lexa says, trying to inject some mild cheer into her voice. “I had a bout of insomnia last night.”

"Hmm. I had trouble sleeping, too. My bed felt empty without you in it. Guess I’ve gotten used to having my Lexa-shaped human pillow.”

The flirty tone makes heat prickle up the back of Lexa’s neck. She passes the phone to her other ear and turns into her side, shoulders hunching, as if that could shield her from eavesdroppers. There are only a few other people around—a couple of guys she knows in passing, both engrossed in their phones; a girl she recognises from the Intro to Astronomy elective she took last semester, digging into a pot of udon noodles while she reads—none of them paying any attention to Lexa, but, still, she’s intensely aware of their presence.

“Although… that wasn’t all I had trouble with.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. I kinda have a small confession to make.“ Clarke’s voice drops to a huskier register, one that has a flush spreading to Lexa’s cheeks and the tips of her ears. “Usually when I’m flying solo I never have any problem reaching, like, peak velocity. But, today? I had to take five in the dressing room and look at your hand pics on my phone for inspiration. I basically used you as a fluffer. Does that make me a bad person?”

Lexa shakes her head before she remembers Clarke can’t see it. “No. It’s—” She clears her throat. “I’m flattered.”

“What if,” Clarke drawls, pauses, and Lexa imagines her wetting her bottom lip, the slow sweep of her tongue following the plush curve of it, before her mouth eases into that habitual half-smile. The visual has Lexa subconsciously squeezing her thighs together. “What if I told you that each time I got myself off I was thinking about you?”

Lexa’s eyelids slide shut at this.

“Each?” she says, shaken, pressing a palm to her forehead.

There’s a tiny welt in the centre where the protein bar hit her. Right now she doesn’t have the presence of mind to be mad about a potential scar.

"God, Clarke. How many?”

“Four. The last one, though.” Clarke pulls in a breath through her teeth. “Kept thinking about those times when we make out on the couch for, like, a solid hour without stopping. Hands under clothes. Our legs all tangled up together. Slow grinding until I can’t stand it anymore because it’s driving me insane not being able to feel your bare skin against mine. Stripping you naked and you’re so sensitive that you keep laughing into my mouth when I touch your ribs and the backs of your thighs. That moment when I run my fingers over your pussy and find you so fucking wet for me. The noise you make—that quiet, breathy, sexy as fuck little whimper—when I slip inside you and your hips buck like you want more.”

Lexa feels hot and shivery all over now, shifting restlessly in the armchair. She thinks her bright red face would broadcast exactly what’s happening on this call to the other occupants of the lounge, if they happened to glance her way.

Clarke’s on a roll.

“I thought about working you up, giving it to you just how you need it. Sucking on your perfect little tits, your hands fisted in my hair, nails against my scalp. The way your body moves beneath mine, straight up humping my hand when you start to lose control, dragging my mouth back to yours so you can kiss me. I always know when you’re gonna come; I feel you shaking, squeezing tight around my fingers. Panting and gasping and scraping your fingernails down my back and then you break so suddenly, so fucking beautifully. The moan you let out when you come. Fuck. It destroys me every time. We don’t stop kissing. Whenever I try to move away to kiss your jaw or your neck you keep pulling me back like it’s some kinda fucking biological imperative and I, God… I was this close to shouting out your name during the shoot. Bit my knuckles so hard I nearly broke the skin."

Listening to all this leaves Lexa slack-jawed, speechless, and entirely flustered. The phone almost slips out of her clammy palm.

“Fuck, Lexa. I wish you could feel me right now.”

Clarke makes a sound, one that could be construed as a whine, as if this temporary separation is just as difficult to endure for her. It eases Lexa’s own misery marginally.

“I mean, Jesus, I spent hours fucking myself with nothing but a mental image of you and I’m still so…”

Her breath pitches up incriminatingly and Lexa’s sure she hears the faint rustling of clothing. She’s able to hazard a good guess but she still croaks out a weak, “What’re you doing?”

A soft, scratchy laugh greets her. “What do you think?”

Clarke.”

“Never said we couldn’t have phone sex, babe. You can start by telling me if you’re wearing your glasses.“ Clarke releases a drawn-out little groan that travels through Lexa’s inner ear, ricochets around her skull, and shoots down her spine. ”God, I wanna fog them up so bad."

“Clarke, I can’t,” Lexa blurts. She glances over her shoulder to make sure she hasn’t been overheard. Drops her voice lower. “I’m in a public place. Ontari kicked me out because her boyfriend’s coming over."

The frown is audible in Clarke’s next words. “Well, that sucks. What are you gonna do?”

“I don’t know. Go to the cafeteria. Or the library. Maybe I’ll crash on Anya’s floor.”

"Uh, no. She’s at Raven’s. Ray sent me a snap of the lingerie she picked out for the occasion. Pretty sure they’re gonna be having a sex marathon for the next 48 hours.”

A sigh. “Library, it is.”

“Or… you could come to my place.”

Lexa’s spine straightens as she sits up, suddenly the most alert she’s been all day. Perking up like she just mainlined a gallon of Red Bull. Or heard about a clearance sale on pillar candles at Bed Bath & Beyond.

"You’re the one who insisted we shouldn’t see each other.”

“Can’t a girl change her mind? Look, I’m not suggesting a booty call. We could hang out and talk. If you want, you can take a nap.”

Lexa scrubs a hand over her face.

“I don’t know.”

“I don’t like the thought of you passing out, slumped over a textbook in the library and giving yourself a neck injury, okay? So come over. I promise I’ll behave.”

If Clarke had any political aspirations, she’d be dangerous. That’s how effortlessly persuasive she is.

As it is, Lexa’s opposition crumbles so quickly it’s embarrassing. But she can’t bring herself to care too much; not when it’s Clarke who’s breaking her own self-imposed rules.



*

Clarke’s waiting for her in the open doorway when Lexa reaches the fourth-floor landing. She pauses on the top step, a rush of affection sweeping through her when she notices the fluffy lion slippers on Clarke’s feet. Between those, the low slung grey sweatpants and the sleeveless Motley Crüe t-shirt, Clarke isn’t exactly dressed for seduction but, nonetheless, Lexa thinks this may not have been the smartest idea. Without even trying, Clarke’s always hotter than the surface of the sun and tonight is no exception.

“Am I allowed to hug you?” Lexa asks once she’s in front of Clarke.

Clarke only rolls her eyes before she reels Lexa in by the ends of her scarf. If they both cling to each other a little tighter and longer than they should, neither comments when they eventually separate.

“Have you eaten yet?” Clarke asks, ushering Lexa inside the apartment.

Lexa shakes her head and follows to the kitchen. She drapes her coat and scarf over the back of one of the chairs while Clarke digs around in the refrigerator.

“I was gonna have the eggplant lasagna. Although you made enough for, like, four people.”

Prior to leaving Clarke’s apartment yesterday, Lexa had prepared a batch of healthy meals so she could at least be assured Clarke wouldn’t fall back into old habits while they were apart. She may have gone slightly overboard with the portion sizes.

While they wait for dinner to reheat, Lexa grips the granite edge of the breakfast bar behind her, something to occupy her hands. Every instinct is telling her to approach Clarke, to gather her up in her arms again, and forget about the food. It doesn’t help that Clarke’s leaning against the counter in precisely the same spot as when Lexa went down on her last week. Or that Clarke’s looking at her like she can read these thoughts, a silent dare held in her eyes and the quirk of lips.

Mercifully, Lexa’s saved by the ding of the microwave.

Over dinner they talk about inconsequential things, sticking to safe topics, a tacit agreement to steer clear of discussing the shoot. While she eats, Lexa’s gaze keeps drifting to the faint indentations of teeth on the knuckles of Clarke’s right hand (apparently, Clarke wasn’t exaggerating about the intensity of that fourth orgasm). She tries to push away the vivid images the sight of those bite marks invokes; of Clarke, bare and arching and covered in a light sheen of sweat, head thrown back, fist in her mouth, chest thrust forward, hand buried between the spread of her thighs…

It’s enough to make Lexa reach for her glass and take a lengthy chug of water.

Clarke watches her, something knowing in her expression.

“Thirsty, huh?”

“Mmhm.”

If it sounds a bit strained, Clarke lets it slide.

Once the plates are cleared away they take to the couch. Lexa tucks herself into the far corner, trying to put as much physical distance between them as possible. It’s not that she doesn’t want to be close to Clarke—it’s very much the opposite—but ignoring the urge to touch her is a much greater challenge than Lexa thought it would be. Especially when she still has Clarke’s detailed account of her masturbatory fantasy involving this exact location ringing in her ears from earlier. But, more than that, in the soft lamplight Clarke looks fucking angelic and it’s all Lexa can do not to—

“You don’t need to sit all the way over there,” Clarke says, eyeing the expanse of the couch between them with disapproval. “I’m not gonna jump you.”

“Thought you said you can’t trust yourself?”

It’s a deflection, delivered archly. Truth be told, Lexa doesn’t put much faith in her own ability to refrain from throwing Clarke down on the couch and straddling her sometime within the next thirty seconds.

Meanwhile, Clarke seems unimpressed by the reminder of her own struggle, if the thin purse of her lips is any indication.

Their standoff doesn’t last long.

Lexa sighs in defeat and lifts her arm, resigning herself to the fact that she’s never going to be able to refuse Clarke anything. If Clarke asked her to shave her head and change her name to Tabitha Thundercunt, Lexa probably would with only cursory complaint. At least her hair would grow back eventually and it would be an awesome pseudonym for the feminist manifesto she plans to publish someday.

With a smile, Clarke scoots over until she’s nestled into Lexa’s side, cheek pillowed against Lexa’s chest. Her own arm goes around Lexa’s midsection.

“So, more Buffy?”

During their last bingeing session they’d reached the point in season three when Faith arrives in Sunnydale, looking every inch the trashy bad girl pinup of everyone’s dreams in her leather pants of ambiguous bisexuality. Of course, Lexa had spent the vast majority of the episode watching Clarke instead of the TV so she missed 90% of the action.

It’s the way Clarke gets so into it: the keen observations she makes; her laughter at the quips dispensed by Buffy and the Scoobies that she could quote verbatim; the scrunch of her brow whenever the plot takes a somber or thrilling turn; the “grr arg” she parrots every single time the Mutant Enemy logo slate appears after the end credits and it doesn’t get any less endearing.

The latter had been a particularly delightful discovery and Lexa couldn’t help teasing Clarke about it.

("Would your Twitter followers be shocked to find out you’re such a huge geek?” Lexa had asked idly, only to yelp when Clarke pinched her side in retaliation.

“Excuse you. Kassie Skai may be one-dimensional but Clarke Griffin has layers. Anyway,” Clarke had retorted, poking Lexa gently in the ribs, “you’re in no position to pass judgment, Miss ‘let’s watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’ for the fifteenth time."

“It’s educational. Science!"

“Uh-huh. Dork.”)

She hides a fond smile at the memory against the crown of Clarke’s head, blonde hair tickling her nostrils. If she happens to inhale the sweet scent of coconut shampoo, it’s purely inadvertent, not to sustain herself for the next few days like a giant gay loser.

“Mn, another time,” Lexa says, fighting to suppress a yawn. “I’m not sure I could keep my eyes open long enough to appreciate the pop culture references and heinous late 90's fashion.”

She squints to read the face of Clarke’s watch and sighs.

“In fact, Roan’s probably left by now so…”

She isn’t quite successful in keeping the note of reluctance out of her voice.

“C’mon, it’s not that late. Stay a while.”

Clarke sits up slightly, propping herself up with a palm on Lexa’s thigh. Her hand is warm, the pressure welcome.

“I don’t want you to go yet.”

Lexa looks at her and hesitates.

Between the wide, hopeful eyes and the slight pout forming on Clarke’s lips, Lexa’s resolve is wobbling. She feels like she ought to put up some token resistance because it’s pitiful how well and truly wrapped around Clarke’s little finger she is.

So she has every intention of declining, except what comes out of her mouth is a cautious, “What did you have in mind?"

In lieu of an answer, Clarke runs a finger slowly up the inside seam of Lexa’s jeans. A muscle in Lexa’s jaw ticks; gaze tracking the progress of Clarke’s touch as it strays too close for comfort, only veering away at the last second. When she lifts her eyes to meet Clarke’s, sees the suggestive glint reflected back at her, the breath stalls in Lexa’s lungs.

“I thought… maybe we could watch some of my stuff together?” Before Lexa can formulate any sort of response, Clarke clarifies. “I have a supercut of all my solo scenes. Since I’m alone, I figured you might be more comfortable seeing me perform that way.”

To say Lexa’s flailing internally is to put it mildly.

She has so many questions. When did Clarke find the time to make this compilation? How long has she been withholding it? Was she biding her time to spring it upon Lexa? Exactly how many solo scenes are there to merit a supercut?

Clarke bites her lip, lifts an expectant eyebrow.

“Well?”

“You realise this suggestion completely contradicts your earlier promise to behave?” Lexa points out incredulously, an attempt to buy herself a moment to think.

Her head is spinning. She can’t decide whether the prospect of watching Clarke’s porn with Clarke would be more or less traumatising than watching it with Anya.

“What can I say? You bring out my rebellious tendencies.“ Clarke smirks. “So is that a ‘yes’, then?”

Lexa tries to rationalise it.

It’s just Clarke. Celebrating her sexuality in a totally beautiful, body-positive, and natural way.

How bad could it be?



*

It is worse than watching porn with Anya.

They’re only two minutes into the first scene and Lexa’s already fidgeting in her seat, palms sweating, ears burning so hot it’s a wonder there isn’t steam rising off them.

It goes like this: Kassie’s sitting in a law office, judging by the establishing shot of the thick statute books lining one wall from floor to ceiling. On the desk in front of her, there’s an embossed nameplate that states: ‘Octavia Blake, Pubic Defender.’

For no apparent reason (other than: it’s porn) Kassie’s already shed her business suit jacket and an ill-fitting blouse and now she’s touching her breasts, both hands enthusiastically groping through the barrier of a red lacy bra.

Lexa doesn’t know what the context is—not that it actually matters in adult movies since the requirement for suspension of disbelief is so low as to be non-existent—and she’s no expert on HR policies but she’s fairly certain this isn’t appropriate behaviour for the workplace.

“This was my first starring role, The People vs Kassie Skai,” Clarke says as she leans forward, the pale glow from the screen casting her face half in shadow.

It was Clarke’s suggestion to dim the lights, probably to spare Lexa’s blushes, and she’s quietly grateful for it since her face currently feels like it’s on fire.

"Octavia plays a ball-busting defence attorney and I’m her sexy new client accused of embezzling money from a Pornzi scheme.”

Lexa doesn’t react to the awful pun beyond a slight grimace.

(Honestly, who comes up with this stuff? And why do fraudulent investment backstories appear to be a running theme in Clarke’s work? Lazy writing.)

She’s only half-listening, more than a little distracted by what’s unfolding in front of her eyes: the caress of Kassie’s fingers over the tops of creamy breasts, trailing along the lines of eminently bite-able collarbones to the lovely slope of her shoulders, dragging each bra strap slowly down her upper arms in turn.

“Oh my God.” Clarke gives a short, sudden laugh and it startles Lexa from her lust-struck daze. “So, I haven’t included it in the supercut because, you know, it ends up in a threeway but there’s a scene later in this movie where Raven’s dressed up as a judge. Black robes, reading glasses perched on the end of her nose, attitude like she’s channelling Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the whole deal. Instead of a gavel, she uses this huge ten-inch dildo to bring the courtroom to order. Every time she banged this ridiculous dong off the bench we kept cracking up. I think we had to reset, like, twenty times.”

Clarke laughs again.

“Murphy was so pissed, I thought he was gonna pop a vein in his temple.”

While Clarke recounts this anecdote all Lexa can do is nod along absently because, on screen, Kassie’s progressed to taking off her bra. That first glimpse of Clarke’s breasts still leaves Lexa awed and it’s only by the thinnest of margins that she manages to stifle a gasp. She has the sensory memory of the shape and weight of them in her hands, warm and heavy and full. She knows the texture and taste of Clarke’s nipples; is intimately acquainted with the way Clarke’s voice always cracks on a moan when Lexa teases the sensitive tips with a gentle scrape of her teeth; how Clarke digs both hands into Lexa’s hair to keep her in place when she sloppily, greedily sucks on those straining peaks, until Clarke’s chest is heaving and she’s arching below Lexa and practically shoving her tit into Lexa’s mouth…

God, this was such a bad idea.

She finds herself pressing her thighs together, a surreptitious attempt to relieve the burgeoning ache between them.

“Anyway,” Clarke continues, seemingly oblivious to Lexa’s plight, “here I’m supposed to be fantasising about fucking Octavia on the desk. In post-production, they edited the two scenes together.”

Clarke smirks as she reminisces.

”True story, O got a splinter in her ass that day. Lemme tell you, nothing brings two people together like using eyebrow tweezers to pull a piece of oak veneer outta someone’s butt cheek."

Lexa makes a vague sound of acknowledgement.

She’s too busy gripping her thighs as she watches Kassie pinch and roll her nipples between her fingers, as Kassie arches her spine and lets out an obscene moan that Lexa objectively knows is for effect but still hits her with a powerful jolt between her legs.

She’s so transfixed by what’s happening on screen that she doesn’t register the movement beside her at first, the creak of the leather cushions as Clarke shifts. It’s only when she hears a soft sigh that she looks over to find Clarke with a hand inside her sweatpants and dark, hooded eyes rooted upon Lexa’s face.

“Clarke!”

An insolent smile tilts Clarke’s mouth.

“What? This is me keeping my hands to myself."

"I didn’t expect you to mean that literally,” Lexa chokes out.

Still, she can’t drag her stare away from Clarke’s hand, the distinct outline of it moving with slow but unmistakable purpose beneath her sweats.

“You don’t have to do anything. Watch me or watch the video. Whatever you want.” Clarke draws her bottom lip between her teeth, releases it along with a small groan. “I just… fuck. You, here, beside me, squirming and blushing, getting all flustered, it’s turning me on. Is this okay?”

Lexa clenches her jaw.

She knows she should put a stop to this before it escalates too far but the unabashed hunger in Clarke’s stare makes her want to abandon all sense and reason.

She only gives a jerky nod; permission granted.

Clarke slouches slightly down the cushions, lets her legs fall a little further apart as her hand moves lower. She sucks in a sharp breath and it makes Lexa’s pulse leap, desire thrumming through her veins. "God, if you could feel how wet I am already…”

Clarke saying things like that really isn’t helping Lexa maintain self-control. Her nails are scoring into the denim covering her thighs in a bid to ground herself.

A distant moan draws her eyes back to the TV to see Kassie’s skirt is now bunched up around her waist, underwear discarded. A palm slides down the slope of her pubic bone, fingers raking through tufts of dark blonde hair. She only spends a few moments stroking herself before she changes position. One leg drawn up and draped over the arm of the chair, the other foot braced against the edge of the desk, spreading herself indecently wide. Heat gathers in Lexa’s lower belly, a trickle of warmth soaking her underwear as she watches Kassie’s fingers glide back and forth over glistening skin until they’re good and slick. When the camera zooms in for an obligatory close-up—of Kassie, pink and swollen and open—Lexa has to tamp down on the involuntary whimper that rises up her throat.

It’s as if she’s watching in surround sound. The instant those fingers press inside, two in one push, she hears a gasp to her right that mirrors the one coming from the TV speakers. It pulls her attention back to Clarke, to the fact she’s most definitely copying her onscreen counterpart.

Clarke’s darkened stare never once strays from Lexa.

“I wish… fuck, I wish it was you inside me. Those beautiful long fingers,” Clarke says. Her breath catches slightly, hips bucking up, probably to grind against the heel of her hand. “Filling me. Fucking me. Making me feel so fucking good. I—"

“Can I see you?” Lexa asks in an airy rush, betraying her complete lack of composure.

Not that she’s alone in having zero chill.

The question has scarcely left Lexa’s mouth before Clarke’s shoving the sweatpants off her hips, all the way down to her ankles and those ludicrous slippers. She isn’t wearing any underwear, which strikes Lexa as a bit too convenient, as if Clarke was planning this from the get-go.

And, holy mother of KStew, she can smell Clarke. The musky scent invades Lexa’s senses, leaves her dizzy, heart pounding, throat dry. But it’s the noise of Clarke’s fingers, the thick wet suction as they move in and out, that spurs Lexa into action. She slips off the couch to kneel in front of Clarke, hesitating only briefly, checking in with a glance and receiving a quick nod of agreement, before placing her palms on Clarke’s knees to urge her legs wider apart. From this angle Lexa sees everything and it’s robbing her of all higher cognitive function, leaving her to operate on a purely instinctual level. Because there’s Clarke, Clarke’s fingers, shiny and slick, thrusting slow and shallow. Lexa wants to replace them with her own. Wants to touch and taste and just fucking devour and…

Fuck.

She was already painfully aroused but now she’s in uncomfortable, drenched underwear territory. She moves as if on autopilot. Unbuckling her belt, working the button at the waistband of her jeans free of its loop, unzipping the fly, pushing her hand beneath her shorts. Can’t contain the sigh of relief when her cool fingers slide against the heat of her cunt.

Clarke watches with half-lidded eyes, her approval of this turn of events apparent in the smug smile curving her lips.

“Take off your pants,” she says, all sultry, gravelly instruction as she withdraws to circle her clit with one finger. “Wanna see you too.”

Lexa’s a bit wobbly on her feet when she stands up to kick off her sneakers, to shirk her jeans and socks. She hooks her thumbs under the elastic of her underwear, seeking Clarke’s permission. A “fuck, yes, off” later and the boy shorts join the pile of clothing on the floor. She’s about to return to her previous position when Clarke shakes her head. She pats her thigh.

“Clarke.”

There’s a warning in Lexa’s tone, a mix of wariness and gentle rebuke.

There’s crossing a line and then there’s this. So far beyond the line it’s no longer within the same state boundary, country, or even continent. The line is a speck barely visible from orbit.

“I’m not gonna touch you. I just—I wanna have you near me, that’s all.” Clarke holds Lexa’s stare. “Do you trust me?”

Lexa presses her lips together, gaze searching Clarke’s face.

“Yes,” she says eventually.

Despite her misgivings, Lexa plants her knees on either side of Clarke’s lap, rising over the other woman.

Clarke hasn’t stopped drawing patterns around her clit and she groans lightly when Lexa braces one arm beside her head, bringing their bodies closer, close enough for Lexa to feel the warm puff of Clarke’s breath on her collarbone, exposed by the open neck of her flannel button-down.

“Show me how you touch yourself,” Clarke says, fingers delving lower once more to tease around her entrance.

Lexa hasn’t done this in front of another person (she and Costia were far too shy with each other to ever suggest such a thing) but Clarke’s reaction—the way her teeth dig into her bottom lip, muffling a throaty sound, that heavy stare locked on Lexa’s middle finger as it glides easily through the wetness—is enough to bolster Lexa’s nerve. She doesn’t go inside, not yet, instead allowing the slick to coat the length of her fingers, before moving back up to her clit. She traces over and around the tip until it’s swollen, firm and pulsing hot. Only when she’s almost too sensitive does Lexa dip lower, sliding between her labia, and pushing in smoothly on a quiet, shivery exhale.

Clarke shows no such restraint.

She’s got two fingers buried to the knuckle, hips rolling up to meet them. With the thumb of her other hand, she rubs at her clit and Lexa can tell by her movements, focused and jerky, by the furrow of concentration between her eyebrows, the pitch of her quickened breath, that Clarke’s already building towards orgasm.

In the background, Lexa hears Kassie’s exaggerated moans begin to reach a crescendo and soon Clarke joins her in a chorus of authentic ones as her hips rock up fast, body starting to quake and judder until finally she goes rigid, back bowing off the couch as she comes, a hoarse litany of curses dropping from her lips.

For a few breathless seconds afterwards Clarke fights to keep her eyes open and glued upon Lexa. She smiles that lopsided grin; juts her chin towards Lexa’s fingers.

“Don’t stop on my account.”

Lexa hadn’t even realised she’d ceased her movements. In her defence, she was kind of overawed by the spectacle before her; struck dumb and rendered immobile by the beautiful, blissed-out, just-been-fucked expression adorning Clarke’s face. But with Clarke watching, being the full focus of her attention, Lexa feels self-conscious now, too attuned to the flush that blazes across her skin, her own laboured breathing, the arousal streaking the tops of her inner thighs.

Clarke must read the tension in Lexa because she wraps her fingers around Lexa’s wrist, tugging on the hand that’s splayed flat against the back of the couch and bringing it to rest on her shoulder.

“Hold on to me.”

This seems like another highly questionable blurring of boundaries but Lexa doesn’t object. She adjusts her grip, steadying herself.

Clarke squeezes her wrist once in encouragement before letting go. It gives Lexa the renewed confidence to continue.

They don’t take their eyes off each other as Lexa start to move again, rolling her hips down to ride her own fingers. She keeps a measured pace, on every pump letting the flat of her palm brush against her clit, a glancing touch that makes her hips jolt forward to chase firmer contact. Between that and their intense eye contact, it isn’t long before Lexa feels that low-down coiling, tightening sensation. She tries to stave it off, slowing her thrusts to almost nothing.

"I really want to kiss you,” Lexa admits, eyes flitting down to Clarke’s parted lips.

They’re plump and red and shiny from Clarke gnawing on them and Lexa’s desperate to lean down, to close the gap between their mouths and welcome the hot, heavy slide of Clarke’s tongue.

Clarke makes a conflicted noise, something halfway between a whine and a growl. It isn’t until she feels a yank on her shirt that Lexa realises Clarke has both fists wrapped tightly in the front of the flannel.

“If we kiss I’m not gonna be able to stop there. I swear to God, Lexa, I’ll drag your hand away and finish you myself. Don’t test me.”

It should mean something significant, shouldn’t it? That after everything they’ve done tonight, it’s the suggestion of a kiss that might push Clarke beyond the point of no return. The knowledge fills Lexa with a small surge of pride and she picks up the pace again, allowing herself to lean more heavily on Clarke’s shoulder.

Before long Lexa’s breath is coming in shortened bursts, the rocking movement of her hips becoming ever more erratic. She flattens her palm against her clit, rubbing in tight little circles. Her thighs tremble, fingers clutch and release at Clarke’s shoulder as the pressure peaks within her.

“That’s it, beautiful,” Clarke murmurs thickly, urging Lexa on. “Are you gonna come for me?”

All she can manage is a shaky “yeah” as she speeds up, curls her fingertips to rub at the front wall, inner muscles fluttering and clamping around her fingers, as she grinds desperately against her palm. It’s only a matter of seconds before she stiffens, thoughtlessly digging her nails into the cotton covering Clarke’s shoulder, enough to draw a slight hiss from Clarke. Lexa’s too far gone to apologise. Her breath shatters as her eyes slam shut and she buckles forward. Clarke catches her by the waist, hands sliding under her shirt and gripping her sides.

“I’ve got you,” Clarke says, hugging her closer, the words buzzing against Lexa’s throat.

It only makes Lexa tremble harder while she burrows her face into the warm spot where Clarke’s neck meets shoulder.



*

In the aftermath, Lexa shivers as the air meets the cooling sweat at the base of her spine and the bare skin of her ass. She ought to get up, pull her clothes back on, but she’s too unwilling to move from this comfortable place, nose pressed to the crook of Clarke’s neck. She’s even less inclined to disentangle herself once Clarke grabs the wool blanket folded over the arm of the couch and drapes it over them. Lexa feels weightless, like she could float away if it wasn’t for Clarke’s arm wrapped loosely around her torso, tethering her. The fingers combing through her hair have a soporific effect and it’s a struggle to prevent her eyelids from drooping.

She’s on the edge of dozing when Clarke’s voice rouses her back to consciousness.

“Do you wanna stay over?”

The damp material under Lexa’s chin alerts her to the possibility she might have drooled a bit. She lifts her head to look at Clarke regretfully.

“I do but… I probably shouldn’t.”

“I meant just to sleep,” Clarke says with a rueful lift of her brows. The tiny smirk lingering at the corner of her mouth doesn’t quite mesh with the pensive gleam in her eyes. “I can take the couch if you’re so concerned about your virtue.”

That isn’t the problem.

It’s this limbo state of being together but not. Yesterday Clarke was adamant about spending some time apart to avoid compromising herself; twenty-four hours later they’re here masturbating in front of each other. It’s giving Lexa whiplash. And if she spends the night, it’s only going to add to the confusion. Not least because she’ll have to go through the pretence of parting ways in the morning with a peck on the cheek and a faux cheerful “have a good day.”

As if it’s just a morning like any other.

Like she isn’t silently agonising over the prospect of the woman she’s fallen in love with having sex with someone else and Lexa being found lacking in comparison, despite Clarke’s repeated assurances to the contrary. Intellectually, she knows that Kassie Skai is a persona, a cloak that Clarke dons for work and casts off when she leaves. That what Clarke does as Kassie is separate from her real life and shouldn’t bleed into their feelings for each other, whatever those may be. But on a basic, emotional level? Lexa’s scared.

“C’mon.” Clarke holds her a little tighter and the dull ache between Lexa’s ribs only seems to intensify. “You’re nearly falling asleep on me. And since we’ve established that neither of us seems capable of getting a good night’s rest on our own, we’d be doing each other a favour.”

Lexa can’t really fault that logic, however much she feels she should argue against it for the sake of preserving her own sanity.

“I’m not taking your bed while you sleep on the couch, Clarke. You need to be well-rested.”

“So do you.“ Clarke’s expression turns serious. ”I want you to stay tonight. Please. We’ll both keep to our own side of the bed. It’ll be fine."



*

The next morning Lexa wakes to find them huddled together in the middle of the mattress, Clarke’s back snug against her front. Lexa’s hand is cupped around something soft and round and squishy. Barely conscious as she is, it’s a minute or two before she comes to the dim realisation that she’s clutching Clarke’s boob. Her fingers twitch, purely reflex, but it draws a quiet sound of pleasure from Clarke.

Lexa freezes. Her eyes spring open.

She waits, listening for the signs of Clarke’s breath plateauing again, before she makes an attempt to pull away. She hasn’t lifted her palm up more than a few millimetres when Clarke’s hand covers Lexa’s own, bringing it flush against her breast again and giving a gentle squeeze.

“It’s okay,” Clarke says in a low, sleep-scratchy whisper, as if she’s trying not to spook Lexa by raising her voice.

Lexa doesn’t share Clarke’s certainty.

She’s too conscious of the nipple poking through Clarke’s shirt into her palm, rapidly hardening beneath her touch, although she hasn’t really done anything to warrant it.

“Clarke…”

“Shh.” Clarke shimmies backwards, ass fitting even closer against the cradle of Lexa’s hips. “What’s the harm in spooning?”

If that was all they were doing, it would be excusable, but Clarke’s legs are parted just enough for Lexa’s knee to nudge between them. She feels rather than hears Clarke’s little intake of breath. Then Clarke’s hips shift slightly and there’s the graze of damp cotton against the bare skin of Lexa’s thigh.

This time it’s Lexa who sucks in air. She tenses, about to roll away, but Clarke tightens her grip, slotting their fingers together and pushing their joined hands under her shirt, dragging Lexa’s palm back up to her chest. They both sigh, shudder at the touch, Clarke’s skin burning warm and so incredibly soft against Lexa’s hand.

The rational part of Lexa’s brain tells her they need to stop, put the brakes on this before they do something they might regret. At this moment it’s taking all of Lexa’s willpower not to press her thigh forward, to seek out more of the wetness she felt the hint of before.

Clarke seems to have other ideas.

She pushes herself further into Lexa’s hand, the arch of her back bringing her into intimate contact with Lexa’s leg again, and the way she rolls her hips, a slow, deliberate rub up against Lexa’s crotch, has Lexa almost choking on her tongue.

“Clarke, this is—we can’t,“ Lexa exhales roughly, her thoughts splintering when she feels another hot slide of soaked fabric.

She drops her forehead to the top of Clarke’s spine, noses into the hair at Clarke’s nape. Her parted lips press into the fragrant skin, leaving the faintest imprint of a kiss there, and Clarke shivers, rocking her pelvis down once more.

“I know. Fuck, I know and I don’t care.”

“Clarke.”

“Just let me, please.”

Lexa closes her eyes, swallows against the lump that’s lodged in her throat. She gives a slow nod.

“Okay,” she says into Clarke’s hair. “Like this, or…?”

A ragged, relieved sigh.

“Yeah, just, keep your thigh in that position and don’t stop touching my tits.”

Now that she’s been granted free rein over Clarke’s breasts (and given such unambiguous instruction), Lexa isn’t tentative about exploring. She cups the swell in her hand and kneads; lets her fingers trace around the stiff bud of a nipple before trapping it between her index finger and thumb. She rolls the tip with precision; alternates between tight pinches and broad sweeps with the pad of her thumb until Clarke’s panting quietly under the attention, grinding her hips back and down with increased determination.

The slick rub of Clarke’s underwear against Lexa’s skin leaves a scorching trail. She can’t contain the strangled groan that rumbles up her chest when Clarke presses firmer, faster, all friction and warmth, the sensations hardly diminished by saturated cotton. But, God, she itches to put her hand between Clarke’s legs, to seek out the source of that wetness. Feels feverish with the desire to sink into clinging heat, to rub and stroke and bring Clarke over the edge with her fingers buried deep.

“I want you so fucking much,” Lexa whispers, lips grazing the sweat-damp skin of Clarke’s nape. “I want to touch you, feel you, have you come around my fingers.”

An answering judder ripples through Clarke’s body and her rhythm falters for a beat before she resumes rolling her pelvis with a little less grace and coordination. She releases her grip on Lexa’s hand under her shirt and blindly reaches behind to wind her fingers into Lexa’s hair, already half loosened from its bun.

Lexa sighs, a thin trembling puff of air against Clarke’s neck. She dares to latch her open mouth to the tender skin there, barely any pressure at all, but it’s the impetus for Clarke to gasp out, to buck hard into tensed muscle.

The next words are muffled, hot on Clarke’s skin.

“I want to roll you onto your back.” Lexa licks at the salty-sweet perspiration sprouting above the collar of Clarke’s shirt while her fingers continue to twist and tease and pluck at Clarke’s nipple. “I want to lay on my stomach between your legs.”

She nibbles up the straining cord of tendon that stands out on Clarke’s neck, careful not to use too much force; scrapes her teeth over the hinge of Clarke’s jaw, then soothes it with a kiss. It earns the reaction she’s looking for: Clarke jogging her hips faster now, fingers clenching and scrabbling amidst the knots of Lexa’s hair.

Her voice grows in strength and confidence, as if in direct proportion to Clarke’s steady unravelling at her words.

“I want to take a minute just to look at you. Dripping wet. Writhing against the sheets. So fucking ready and impatient for what I plan to do to you.”

“And?” Clarke demands hoarsely. “Keep going.”

Lexa draws back an inch, only far enough to brush her lips against Clarke’s earlobe, to speak directly into Clarke’s ear when she enunciates clearly, no quaver present in her voice, “I want to eat you out. Make you come in my mouth. Drink you up until you’re shivering so hard that all it takes is a slow flick of my tongue against your clit to make you come again. And just when you think you can’t take any more I’m going to—”

“Oh, fuck,” Clarke moans as she starts to quake, hips rocking frantically into Lexa’s thigh. She pulls on a fistful of hair, a sharp yank that Lexa grits her teeth against. “Fuck, I’m—Lexa!”

Clarke seizes and she jerks, once, twice, accompanied by a lengthy groan, then Lexa feels a flood of warmth bathe her skin through the flimsy barrier of Clarke’s underwear. She nuzzles behind Clarke’s ear, savouring every twitch and tremor that racks Clarke’s body; palms at her breast, grasping around that generous handful.

Something flips inside her when Clarke pulls her hand a little higher and off-centre, when she feels the rapid thump of Clarke’s heart beneath her fingertips. Lexa lets out an unsteady breath. She turns her nose into the damp strands of hair sticking to the side of Clarke’s neck and mouths a silent “I love you” unseen into her throat. Hears a slight hitch, the whispered, barely audible “Lexa” before Clarke turns in her loose embrace.

They’re close; too close. Sharing the same pillow, the same air.

Clarke tucks one hand under her cheek. A tiny sated smile plays upon her lips as her gaze flicks over Lexa’s face, eyes shining with something that so resembles adoration that it makes Lexa’s chest feel tight, as if there’s a lead weight pressing upon her ribs.

“That was some grade A dirty talk you had going on, hot stuff. Tell me the truth, have you been practising?”

“No,” Lexa scoffs lightly.

She gives a self-conscious little shrug.

“I just thought: ‘what would Kassie do?’ and went from there.”

Clarke’s smile only widens, shifting a little closer on the pillow. The gentle puff of her breath is humid against Lexa’s chin. Her eyes drop to Clarke’s mouth, pink and soft and so inescapably there. All Lexa would have to do is tip her head forward and their lips would connect. It takes a concerted effort to force her eyes back up, to refrain from slipping her hand behind Clarke’s neck and drawing her that last remaining inch nearer. By the glazed, lidded look Clarke’s giving her, it seems Lexa’s not alone in that desire.

“Mm. Well, as someone who knows Kassie Skai better than anyone else, I have a pretty good idea what she’d like to do now.”

She watches as Clarke traps her bottom lip between her teeth, inhales through her nostrils, angling closer, the tip of her nose nudging into the crease of Lexa’s cheek. Just as their mouths are about to meet, the cool brush of Clarke’s top lip skimming Lexa’s own, Lexa retreats so quickly, so suddenly that Clarke leans in only to find empty space where Lexa once was.

Lexa pushes up into a sitting position, elbows propped on her knees while she stares at a fixed point on the wall.

“Lexa, what—”

“I’d better go. I don’t want to be in your way while you’re getting ready for work.“

“Babe, you’re not. Besides,” Clarke gives a husky little laugh. The slow tease of fingers down her spine has tingles erupting across Lexa’s skin, sets off a low, heavy throb between her thighs, a prescient reminder of the dampness pooled within her shorts. “I wanna return the favour. Give you something else to think about during class.”

Lexa looks at Clarke over her shoulder, allowing her eyes to rake over the other woman slowly. Takes in that sly grin; the flutter of eyelashes; the fingers lodged in the careless toss of Clarke’s hair; the peek of her collarbones, still shimmering with sweat above the scooped neck of her shirt; the sum of it all only compounds Lexa’s internal conflict.

Her jaw tenses. “No.”

Surprise, confusion and a flash of hurt cycle through Clarke’s expression, forehead crinkling into a frown, and it makes Lexa’s stomach knot to be the cause of it.

“I can’t, Clarke,” she says, the relative calm of her voice wholly at odds with the way her heart is jackhammering in her chest. “I can’t kiss you. I can’t ride your thigh or whatever you were going to offer to do to reciprocate. I mean, I—”

She shakes her head, frustrated at her inability to explain herself.

“I want to. Obviously. God, I want all that and so much more. But I want you without limitations. And you can’t give me that; not yet.”

The pinch between Clarke’s brows gradually smooths out, blue eyes softening as they regard Lexa. Is she still talking about sex? Even Lexa’s not sure anymore.

She swallows, course corrects.

“Not without you potentially getting fired and served with a lawsuit. I can’t be responsible for that. It isn’t fair on either of us.”

She lets out a tremulous sigh.

“Last night, this morning, it was a blip, okay? We were tired and weak and we allowed things to happen that we shouldn’t have. As hard as it is, as much as I dislike it, I think the safest option is to follow the original plan. That means not seeing each other until filming is wrapped. Unless there’s, like, an emergency. Agreed?”

Seconds pass while they hold each other’s stare.

“… Define emergency.”

“Clarke.”

“Okay, okay. You’re right. I’m sorry. Sometimes I’m too pushy for my own good.” Clarke reaches for Lexa’s forearm, fingers encircling her wrist. She gives it a little affectionate shake. “Tell me you’re at least gonna have breakfast with me, though?”

It’s a small concession, one Lexa supposes she can handle. She presses her lips together, bravely tries on a smile.

”I can’t have you burning the toast, can I?”

Chapter Text

“Gonna stretch my legs and raid the vending machine,” Emori announces, pushing back her chair, the legs scraping quietly against the carpeted floor.

She digs around in her backpack for her wallet.

“You two want anything?”

Lexa glances up from her laptop, fingers pausing over the keys, offering a small smile and a shake of her head.

“No, thanks.”

“I’m good,” Luna says.

Her focus doesn’t shift from the open textbook in front of her.

“All right.” Emori drops her bag back under the table and stands. “Try not to have too much fun while I’m gone. I know how much feminist pedagogy revs you ladies’ engines.”

“Mm. What could be sexier than de-centred classroom practices?”

Emori stares at Lexa for a beat then blinks slowly.

“The sad thing is, I can’t tell if you’re actually being serious.”

“I was joking. God,” Lexa huffs, crossing her arms. “I don’t get aroused by teaching frameworks.”

The tilt of Emori’s head and the solitary raised eyebrow tells Lexa that the other woman doesn’t believe that for a second.

“Uh huh, well, if you ever do manage to tear yourself away from nerdgasming over bell hooks and want to indulge in the universally accepted standard definition of fun, you should come out with us sometime. We could hit up a few bars, play some pool, maybe go dancing. In da clerb, we all fam.”

Lexa’s brows draw together. “In—what?”

“In da clerb, we all fam.” Emori’s eyes widen. “Broad City?”

Off the blank look she receives, Emori tips her head back and mouths something presumably disparaging at the ceiling.

“Seriously? Lexa, how could you not know about Broad City? It’s the realest shit. Funny as fuck. Whip-smart social commentary, authentic depictions of young women fumbling towards adulthood, everyday feminism, and as yet untainted by a Lena Dunham cameo. Abbi and Ilana are basically friendship goals. Back me up here, Luna.”

Luna only makes a noncommittal sound, one finger tracing across the textbook page while she scribbles down another sentence in her notepad.

“Obviously, I’ve heard of it,” Lexa defends, rolling her eyes, “and I’ve seen stuff on Tumblr and Feministing. I’ve just never watched an actual episode. From what I’ve observed from secondary sources, they seem to spend a significant proportion of their screen-time either stoned or conspiring to get stoned and, correct me if I’m wrong, one character is creepily sexually obsessed with the other but it’s unreciprocated?”

“Okay,” Emori pinches the bridge of her nose, “I’m going to let this pop cultural philistinery go temporarily because, right now, I’m in desperate need of a blood sugar bump but, when I return, prepare to be schooled on the defining television show of our generation. Back in ten.”

Without the buffer of Emori’s presence, the atmosphere shifts perceptibly, the silence that follows growing stilted.

Since the encounter with Clarke outside Polis Hall, things have been awkward during the few occasions Lexa and Luna have been left alone together. Their interactions are polite but distant, weighted by an unacknowledged but palpable tension; it’s a stark contrast to the way they seemed to connect so readily before, when Lexa truly thought she’d found not just a new friend but a kindred spirit. This strained civility, she doesn’t really know how to deal with. And the fact that it’s her own fault, that she may have inadvertently encouraged Luna’s alleged more-than-platonic interest in her (according to Clarke), only causes Lexa greater consternation.

She reaches for her water bottle and fiddles with the plastic cap, alternating between loosening and tightening it. This goes on for a minute or two before the scratch of pen across paper ceases and Luna heaves a quiet sigh.

“I still have another five pages to summarise and I can’t concentrate while you’re sitting there fidgeting. So whatever you’re working up to say, just go ahead.”

“What? I wasn’t—”

Dark eyes pin her with a level stare. One that communicates: “I have zero patience for evasive bullshitting so don’t even try.”

Lexa puts the bottle back on the table and knits her fingers together in her lap. She pulls in a shallow breath, then, “I want to clear the air. I feel like I messed up somehow. Like I’ve done something to upset you. And I’m disappointed and annoyed with myself if that’s the case because, honestly? I don’t click with many people but we really seemed to hit it off and—and I was hoping we could be friends. So, for what it’s worth,” she tapers off uncertainly, “I’m sorry.”

She watches as Luna’s gaze returns to the half-filled page of notes. Luna chews on her lip for a long moment before finally lifting her eyes to meet Lexa’s. “I’m not—” She shakes her head slowly.

“Lexa, I’m embarrassed. When you suggested we go for coffee after class I thought it was because you liked me.”

“I do like you.”

Romantically.”

“Oh.” Heat rushes to Lexa’s face. “I—”

A few seconds pass while she flounders for a reply.

“Apparently, I’m kind of oblivious to these things.”

“So I’ve noticed,” is Luna’s droll reply. “I’m guessing you also aren’t aware that at least half the students in our class have a crush on you. With the collective swooning that goes on whenever you participate in a class discussion, Indra probably has smelling salts and the campus nurse on standby.”

Lexa stares in disbelief. Has to shut down the part of herself that wants to demand names and independently verified proof of these claims because there’s just no way any of this is true.

“Anyway,” Luna shrugs and tucks a lock of red hair behind her ear, “Should’ve known you were taken. A socially-conscious intersectional feminist who’s just as passionate about protecting the environment as she is about dismantling the power structures of inequality? Of course someone snapped you up.”

The blush on Lexa’s cheeks only deepens. After receiving a compliment like that, what could she possibly say that won’t sound trite in comparison? Still, she feels compelled to at least attempt to cushion the rejection

“If I wasn’t already seeing someone…”

“Lexa.” Another sigh. “Let’s not, okay? It won’t make me feel any better about making a complete fool of myself by flirting with you in front of your girlfriend.”

Luna offers a faint smile that doesn’t quite reach her eyes.

“She’s really beautiful, by the way. Although she seems… intense.”

Lexa cringes inwardly, realising how excruciating it must’ve been for Luna that day.

“Yeah, aggressive PDA is kind of her thing lately and I’m sorry you had to witness it. But,” Lexa ducks her head, looks down at her folded hands, “Clarke’s not my girlfriend. Not officially.”

“Oh. I just assumed.”

"Things are sort of… complicated.”

The surprise in Luna’s expression morphs into curiosity.

Before Lexa can say anything else, Emori returns bearing an armful of candy bars and diet soda that she dumps noisily onto the table. “So. Broad City marathon at my place tonight?”

“I can’t,” Lexa declines. “I’m so far behind on my reading for Gender and Transnational Politics and with finals coming up...”

“Finals are eight weeks away!”

Emori looks as if she’s about two seconds from throwing the soda bottle at Lexa’s head in exasperation.

“Come on. We’ll order pizza. I’ll even let you choose the toppings, although if you say pineapple I’ll have to terminate our friendship with immediate effect.”

Lexa clutches her imaginary pearls.

“What kind of monster do you take me for?”

“Just checking.” Emori turns her attention to Luna. “You in?”

“Sure.”

Two expectant gazes turn on Lexa. She purses her lips. Sighs at last, “Fine. But I do have some dietary restrict—”

The vibration of her phone on the table draws her attention, the screen lighting up with a text notification.

Clarke [14:24]: are u in class?

Lexa picks up her phone and frowns, tuning out the spirited debate Emori and Luna are now having about the merits of deep pan versus thin crust pizza bases.

Lexa [14:25]: No, I’m with my study group. Why?

Clarke [14:26]: can i meet u somewhere?

Clarke [14:26] to talk

The response sends a tiny frisson of alarm through her because talking isn’t an activity that Clarke’s quick to initiate voluntarily. Not unless it involves a topic that’s going to make Lexa’s ears turn red.

Lexa [14:27]: Yes, of course. My dorm?

Clarke [14:27] k. be there in an hour

Lexa stares at the screen, waiting for Clarke to elaborate further and it only makes her more concerned when no more messages are forthcoming. She deliberates for a moment then starts to type.

Lexa [14:29] Is everything okay?

The appearance of three oscillating grey dots has never been more anxiety-inducing. Especially when they disappear and reappear several times in the space of a few minutes.

Clarke [14:32]: i’ll explain when i get there

 
 
*
 
 

Every worst-case scenario that goes through Lexa’s mind while she rushes from the library back to her dorm room is progressively direr than the last: someone in the school administration discovering Clarke’s alter ego and putting her on suspension; Clarke’s mom finding out and disowning her; an accident; a bereavement; diagnosis of a life-threatening illness.

Is…?

Shit.

Is Clarke coming over to end things between them?

For the next forty-five minutes she tries to distract herself from the mounting dread she feels, now that horrible possibility has entered her thoughts. None of the usual things she does to relax—mindfulness meditation techniques, the graceful forms of tai chi, searching through the ‘forestry’ tag on Tumblr for moody photos to post to her aesthetic blog (LGBTree, now at 34 followers)—seem to help. Even looking at kittens on Cuteness Overload does nothing to loosen the tight band of tension across her ribs. It only reminds her that she never did establish whether Clarke’s a cat person. That there are so many things she doesn’t know, might never know, and what if it’s too late?

By the time there’s a knock at the door, she’s a wreck. Although she’s expecting company, the sudden noise still makes her jump. She shoots up from the desk chair, nearly tripping over the casters in her haste to get to the door. Before she opens it, she wipes her palms on her thighs, smooths a hand over her ponytail and takes a few deep breaths in a last-ditch attempt to calm herself.

The flurry of nerves in her stomach only intensifies at the first glimpse of Clarke in the hallway: hands jammed into the front pockets of ripped jeans, shoulders hunched, a beanie pulled down snug over her ears. The stiffness in her posture matches the strain etched across her features and the tight set of her jaw. Her eyes flit between Lexa’s, searching, then drop lower to take in Lexa’s workout attire.

Lexa’s hardly opened her mouth to offer a tentative “hello” before Clarke surges forward. Kisses her. A hard clash of lips that jars through Lexa’s jaw and forces her back a step. Clarke grips the back of Lexa’s neck, other hand bunching the ribbed cotton of Lexa’s tank.

The urgency of the kiss, the undercurrent of desperation held in it catches her off-guard. It takes her a few sluggish seconds to react, to sink into the contact, mouth opening under the insistent swipe of Clarke’s tongue across her bottom lip.

Relief drains rapidly through Lexa’s body.

Not a break-up, then.

She brings her hands up to Clarke's jaw, thumbs sweeping along the slopes of her cheeks. Savours the tiny hitch of Clarke’s breath, the soft wanting noise she lets out. Lexa smiles into it, presses closer, and just as she’s about to switch sides, their noses nudging as Lexa tips her head—

Clarke wrenches away, ending the kiss so abruptly that it has Lexa swaying forward.

She puts out a hand to steady herself against the doorjamb, the sudden, perplexing absence of Clarke’s mouth leaving her dazed and dizzy.

She blinks at Clarke, a half-formed question on her lips.

Clarke only avoids Lexa’s befuddled stare as she brushes past her shoulder to stalk into the room.

Slowly gathering herself, Lexa closes the door and leans back against it. She watches, waits, anxiety roiling once more in her gut as Clarke begins to pace.

"Sorry. For, like,” Clarke waves a hand vaguely, “assaulting you there."

She pulls off the beanie, stuffs it into a side pocket of her biker jacket. Drags fingers through mussed hair. Rubs at her nape.

The pacing doesn't let up.

Lexa's never seen Clarke so agitated and the heavy, queasy feeling only multiplies.

Her throat constricts.

“Clarke?”

“I quit.”

That makes Lexa’s stomach drop, jolts her into taking a small step towards Clarke.

Lexa regards her cautiously.

“You quit what, exactly?”

It could be anything; her job, school, carbs, watching The Walking Dead (this past season has been a chore).

“The shoot, Lexa.” There’s a hint of frustration in her tone. “I bailed. Came straight here after I got my test results back from the clinic in the city. I couldn’t—fuck, I—“

"Clarke."

Lexa moves in front of her, takes hold of her upper arms gently. She looks into Clarke's eyes, hoping to project calmness and an authority that she doesn’t feel since her internal organs are doing somersaults.

“What happened?"

A humourless laugh.

"Nothing. That's the problem. As soon as Niylah started touching me, it was all wrong. Her fingers were too short, her tongue didn't have the reach…”

Lexa shuts her eyes, as if it could block the visuals crashing through her mind of this woman, Niylah—was that the tall-ish, willowy blonde on Kassie's Twitter feed?—putting her hands and mouth on Clarke. Something hot and acrid twists and turns in her stomach and she tries to force it down. She releases a quiet breath before she opens her eyes again to find Clarke’s forehead creased, something conflicted but earnest shading blue eyes.

"She didn't fuck me,” Clarke says, holding Lexa’s stare, letting the words hang, as if she’s sharing something of vital significance that she needs Lexa to understand. “I stopped filming before it got that far. Murphy was a dick about it but, hey, what’s new? Threw around all these threats that he’s gonna make sure I never work in this industry again."

That sneering little…

Lexa clenches her teeth together in quiet rage. Whatever residual discomfort she feels about Niylah is quickly superseded by her fury at Murphy’s arrogance and mistreatment of Clarke. With some effort, she pushes away the murderous thoughts she’s entertaining about marching down to the set and throttling him. More important are the immediate consequences for Clarke.

"Is that true? Could he get you into trouble?”

"Maybe. I mean, the producers are gonna be pissed. I’ve had six voicemails from them in the last two hours. I’ll have to return most of my fee. Probably won't get booked for the next few projects.” A grimace contorts Clarke’s mouth before she shakes it off. “Whatever. I don’t fucking care."

"But—your contract?"

“Ironically enough, O is actually studying law.” Clarke shrugs, too casually. “I’ll ask her to check the small print. Maybe there’s a loophole or a get-out clause we can exploit.”

That seems highly doubtful but Lexa doesn’t say anything more, not wanting to add to Clarke’s stress.

They fall silent. The quiet of the room seems too large while they stand there taking each other in. Lexa has a multitude of questions clamouring in her head: about the circumstances of the walkout; about just how much Clarke and Niylah did together before Clarke decided she couldn’t carry on.

The details don’t matter.

They shouldn’t matter.

Hesitantly, Clarke puts her hands on Lexa’s waist. She worries at her bottom lip, eyes once more darting between Lexa’s own.

"Anyway… I've been doing a lot of thinking. About work. You. How it all fits together. The past couple of days made me realise something."

Lexa sucks in a tiny breath.

She tries to keep her expression neutral, hopes Clarke doesn’t detect the quaver in her voice when she asks, "What's that?"

This isn’t how she pictured it happening. For one thing, there were a lot more candles involved but she can work with this. Simple, honest, no pretences, just—

"There's always gonna be demand for solo scenes.”

O… kay.

“Yeah, I'd earn less because it's considered more niche but I could still make decent money from performing solo. And it's not like there aren't other ways to make up the shortfall and monetise my brand. I mean, I already endorse stuff on Twitter. Just last week I got sent this prototype of a new gadget that makes dildos out of vegetables.”

Lexa opens her mouth and promptly closes it again.

“I could unbox toys on YouTube. Or have a sex advice and education vlog. Ray, O, and I have been talking about doing something along those lines for a while. Kinda like Mythbusters, but for vaginas and with fewer controlled explosions. The sponsorship and merchandise opportunities alone would be—“

Lexa’s brain is still stuck on the concept of homemade dildos fashioned from produce. She might never be able to look at a carrot the same way again. With a shudder, she gives herself a mental shake to dispel those disturbing thoughts.

"Clarke, please just… stop for a second, okay?"

She loosens her grip on Clarke’s arms, palms smoothing up the buttery soft leather of the jacket to settle on Clarke’s shoulders. Strands of blonde hair tickle Lexa’s knuckles and it takes every last bit of restraint not to sink her fingers into the soft waves and just pull Clarke into another kiss.

Lexa lets out a soft sigh.

”If you're doing this for my benefit, to avoid upsetting me: don’t. I knew what I was getting into when we started sleeping together. I’ll admit, coming to terms with my insecurities about your work has been… a process and I’m not fully there yet but that’s my issue to deal with. I don't want you to feel like you have to give up something you enjoy, that you're proud of, because of some misguided but nonetheless very sweet attempt to spare my feelings."

The corners of Clarke’s lips tilt up in a rueful little smile.

"Remember I said you were gonna ruin me for sex with other people? Turns out that’s a pretty fucking big occupational hazard. So did you factor heavily into my thought process? Yeah.” Blue eyes soften as they scan Lexa’s face. “I don't wanna fuck anyone else. Even kissing another girl was…”

Her throat bobs.

She shakes her head minutely as she holds Lexa’s gaze.

“I didn’t like it.”

Lexa tries not to ascribe any meaning beyond the surface facts: Clarke only wants to be intimate with her. To the extent that Clarke seems willing to set parameters upon her work, regardless of the financial ramifications and potential opportunities she might miss out on as a result. Even so, it has to count for something, that being kissed by anyone other than Lexa is apparently anathema to Clarke.

Maybe it’s selfish but Lexa can’t help feeling relieved. Because it’s the idea of Clarke kissing somebody else that unsettles her most. That connection and closeness they share, when they’re tangled up and so present and in the moment with each other, when everything’s charged and her lips are tingling from being kissed for what feels like hours, is the one thing she loves about being with Clarke above all else. She wants that rapt attention reserved only for herself even though she has no right to demand that or anything else from Clarke. If she did, it wouldn’t make her any better than Finn. But if this is Clarke’s choice, arrived at by her own free will without any pressure exerted by Lexa, then she can’t bring herself to feel bad about it.

"See, this way I can have the best of both worlds," Clarke says, drifting closer. She licks her bottom lip and Lexa's eyes follow the dart of tongue, a pit of longing caving in her chest. "Being paid to touch myself while I'm fantasising about you isn't exactly a hardship, right?"

Lexa flushes at Clarke's words, mind flashing back to the supercut and the front row seat she had while Clarke masturbated beside her, beneath her. The memory makes her ache, heat flooding her lower belly; has her subconsciously stepping in, thighs brushing against Clarke’s.

Clarke presses the advantage, toying with the hem of Lexa's tank. "Think of it as, like, extended foreplay. Getting myself primed for you. Then coming home and having you for real, no clauses or restrictions."

Her thumbs brush along the exposed strip of skin above Lexa's yoga pants, hooking under the drawstring waistband. She smiles at the nearly inaudible catch of Lexa’s breath.

“We can do whatever we want, whenever we want. And, best of all? You get to enjoy my work too, knowing that every orgasm I have is because of y—”

Lexa doesn't let her finish.

Just swoops in to kiss Clarke clumsily, pulling back only enough to readjust, both parting their lips in an instant to deepen the kiss. Lexa licks into Clarke, tongue skating across the roof of her mouth, relishing the husky groan it earns her. Arms go around Lexa's shoulders, hands getting tangled up in the loose fall of her hair once Clarke works the elastic tie free. Her own palms drop to the curve of Clarke's hips before rounding to grip at Clarke’s ass, to pull their bodies flush together.

"Fuck, I missed this,” Clarke pants into the space between their lips. “I missed kissing you. Does that seem crazy?”

The heated, raspy edge of the words makes Lexa soar. She shakes her head, no. Closes the gap to catch Clarke’s mouth again. Her hands shift, sliding up Clarke's back to hold her so tight, so close she swears she can feel the thump of Clarke’s heartbeat through the layers of clothing between them.

Their kisses grow longer, heavier, fuller. Whenever one retreats, the other chases. As if neither can stand another second without this contact.

They flow backwards and it's only when the backs of Lexa's knees bump up against her bed that she pulls away from the kiss. Her head feels foggy, senses overwhelmed by everything Clarke: her perfume; the sticky-sweet transfer of her lipgloss; the soft puff of laboured breath; the heat of her body in Lexa’s arms.

Lexa’s so caught up in looking at Clarke—her reddened mouth, the tiny mole above her lip, eyes so dark and huge that it sends a little shockwave through Lexa’s system when they connect with her own—that she isn’t immediately aware of cool air meeting her skin. Not until she glances down to see Clarke lifting the hem of her shirt over her ribs.

"Wait.” Lexa draws in a shaky breath, captures one of Clarke’s hands to halt her progress. “Clarke, we need to talk."

This is all moving too quickly and Lexa has so much she wants to say before they get sidetracked, before the sight of Clarke’s body and the hot glide of Clarke’s mouth renders her incapable of constructing coherent sentences.

"Babe, it’s okay."

Undeterred, Clarke leans in to plant kisses across Lexa’s jaw, down the side of her neck. Before she even fully realises what she’s doing, Lexa tips her head to allow Clarke greater access to her throat.

“I showered and changed at my place before I went to the clinic.”

The implication being that Clarke wanted to wash off the scent and touch of another person and, once again, Lexa wonders how far things went. All the same, she’s grateful that Clarke doesn’t elaborate.

“Like I said, I got my results back.” The wet drag of Clarke’s tongue over the straining tendon in Lexa’s neck makes her pulse quicken and she clutches harder at Clarke, nails scrabbling against her jacket. “Took a painful hit on my credit card for the express service but I got the all clear. We’re good to go.”

As glad as she is to hear Clarke’s free of STIs, sexual health isn’t what Lexa wants to discuss.

“That’s great but, Clarke, I…”

Clarke’s free hand pushes under the tank top, splaying across Lexa’s ribs. Her mouth attaches to the juncture where neck meets shoulder and Lexa shivers into the light suction. Almost forgets what she was going to say when Clarke scrapes her teeth against the skin there.

“Clarke.”

It takes all of her willpower for Lexa to disentangle herself. She steps around Clarke to put some necessary distance between them. Because she can’t think straight, can’t get enough air into her lungs when Clarke’s standing so close and looking at her like that: so blazing hot it raises the temperature of the room by a few degrees.

Lexa takes the respite to order her thoughts.

This much is clear: Clarke seems to think they can just pick up where they left off, no further discussion warranted. For Lexa, it isn’t that simple. It’s only thrown the situation into sharper relief.

She knows for certain that Clarke won’t be the one to speak up, to put a label on whatever’s going on between them. Not without a push. If they’re ever going to have that conversation, the onus is entirely on Lexa to broach the subject. She’s fast running out of excuses not to. The shoot is over; there’s no reason to bide her time any longer, except cowardice and the paralysing fear of rejection. Which, admittedly, are two pretty powerful disincentives. But, fuck, she’s tired of the second-guessing, of submerging her feelings while she waits for—what? An unambiguous green light? Clarke to reach some state of emotional readiness that may never arrive? Clarke teases and provokes but, when things get too real, too intense, she evades or puts up walls.

It isn’t enough anymore. Lexa doesn’t want half of Clarke; she wants the whole deal, however messy and difficult it might become. It could be the greatest thing or an unmitigated disaster but she’ll never know unless she grabs the possibility with both hands.

She sets her jaw and lengthens her spine. Tries to embody every piece of advice and encouragement Anya’s given her over the better part of two months when her gaze finds Clarke’s again.

“Do you remember when we used the strap-on?”

The gleam of piqued interest in Clarke’s eyes, the dawning of a slow, sly smile makes Lexa belatedly realise that perhaps this isn’t the best opening gambit. She clears her throat, ignoring the flush that creeps up her neck and turns the tips of her ears the same shade of red as The Commander’s sash.

“When you were… inside me, you said, “you’re mine.” And I know we agreed weeks ago that we don’t have to define this—us—but I keep wondering if it was just a heat of the moment sex thing or—”

"Lexa,” Clarke cuts her off, sounding a touch incredulous, “haven’t you been listening to anything I've been saying?”

"Yes, I heard.”

Lexa takes another few steps away and clenches her fists by her sides in a bid to stop her hands from shaking. She can’t do anything about the way her voice wavers but she’s determined to get the words out before she loses her nerve.

“In the beginning, you told me you don’t date but here we are. You’ve called me your girl but whenever we get anywhere close to talking about feelings you clam up or change the subject or get this glint of absolute terror in your eyes.”

As if on cue, Clarke’s eyes widen, something resembling panic flashing through them.

Lexa nods, a shallow bob of her head.

“Exactly like that. But you also say and do these things—like, really fucking romantic things—and, God, the way you look at me… I’m left asking myself: is it unintentional? Or are you testing the waters? Trying to get a reaction out of me? I’m just so confused because I don’t know what it means.”

Clarke tries for levity.

“Well, what do you want it to mean?”

"Clarke." Lexa purses her lips and glances away in mild exasperation. When she meets Clarke's gaze again, she steels herself to continue, despite the tremor running through her entire body. "I spend most nights at your place. At this stage, your apartment feels more like home than my dorm room does. I have a designated drawer in your bedroom and a toothbrush in your bathroom cabinet. I’ve lost count of the number of occasions we’ve fallen asleep spooning while we watch Netflix. We go grocery shopping together and take turns pushing the cart. Whenever we’re in the organic produce section you always make the same cheap single entendre about melons and I hate that it gets a smile from me every damn time. When I stay over I make all our meals because if I didn't you'd live on takeout or give yourself food poisoning or set the kitchen on fire.”

“That happened once,” Clarke interjects under her breath.

“But I like it. I like taking care of you. And, God, I must be the tragic gay catastrophe Anya accuses me of being since I enjoy the gross domesticity almost as much as the sex.”

Clarke's jaw drops a little while Lexa forges on.

“Last week we went to Ikea and you spent the whole time with your hand wedged into the back pocket of my jeans while we wandered through the showrooms. When that middle-aged couple glared at us for canoodling beside the Billy bookcase display and you kissed me in front of them? I thought their heads were going to spin around 360 degrees and explode.”

“The free show was worth it just to piss off those old homophobes,” Clarke scoffs. “That bitch had her lips puckered so tight she looked like a bleached asshole. Although my favourite part was when the dude called us “licentious and demonic defilers of the daughters of Adam“. I so want that slogan on a t-shirt.”

Lexa shakes her head.

“Sometimes I envy your fearlessness about what other people think. I wish I could be more like that.”

“Hmm. I don’t know.” A roguish smile tugs at Clarke’s lips. Her eyes meander slowly up and down Lexa’s body. “I think we balance each other out pretty well.”

“See! This is what I’m talking about,” Lexa blurts, gesturing emphatically. “You say something nice but wrap it up in sexual advances and I don’t know how to interpret it. Before I get a chance to question your motives you hypnotise me with your charisma and your—your wiles.”

Clarke laughs, disbelieving.

“My wiles? Lexa.” A helpless, slightly frustrated look flits over her features. As though she isn’t sure how things got so far off track when they were making out only minutes ago and she’d dearly like to go back to that (amen). “Being overly flirtatious is kinda my default mode. I can’t just switch it off.”

“I don’t want you to. Just… be honest with me. Tell me if I’m reaching,” Lexa says, pleading with her eyes. “Tell me if I’m inferring more than I should about all this stuff because,” she wets her lips, gives a tiny, self-conscious shrug but doesn't look away, “when I think about the future? Six months, a year or more down the line? I see you in it, Clarke.”

The expression on Clarke's face now resembles a deer trapped in headlights, dazzled by the full beam of an oncoming eighteen wheeler.

Silence reigns for the stretch of a few agonising seconds, although it seems like much longer.

"Lexa, I—” Clarke stops herself. "Ever since…”

She halts again, visibly swallows, pushes a hand through her hair. She looks so small and pale and unsure that it makes Lexa’s heart pang.

“My mantra’s always been to live in the moment, you know? I mean, why think about the long-term when everything could be snatched away from you in an instant in some freak accident, right?”

Clarke gives a brittle smile and realisation hits Lexa like the weight of a cartoon anvil dropping on her head from an enormous height. Her lips part in a silent exhalation of sympathy. The distance between them shrinks, Lexa’s feet carrying her forward, but she doesn’t touch Clarke for fear of spooking her further or bringing this rare moment of vulnerability to an abrupt end.

Seconds trickle by before Lexa gathers the courage to ask, “Your dad…?”

Clarke nods sharply. It’s obvious from the slight hunch of her shoulders, the thinning of her lips, the way her eyes slide away as if she’s searching for an avenue of escape, that this isn’t a subject Clarke wants to be pressed upon.

Lexa’s experienced bereavement too but she was so young when it happened, barely four years old; she never truly knew her mom. There are far away, hazy recollections: the vague shape of a smile, the phantom pressure of lips pressed to her forehead at bedtime before lights out, the timbre of her mom’s voice singing a lullaby. All these ephemeral things on the edge of memory that she can’t really be sure of or grasp onto. What she remembers clearly is her dad’s black suit; the scratchy tights and pinching patent black leather shoes she was made to wear the day of the funeral; the solemn, weeping faces of relatives that she didn’t know; the near constant utterances of “my condolences” and “so sorry for your loss” as her dad shook hands with strangers and Lexa hid behind his leg.

It isn’t comparable to what Clarke must’ve gone through, to lose a parent so suddenly at 18, but Lexa thinks she understands a little. Hopes that one day Clarke will feel comfortable enough to talk about it with her. Until then, she can be patient.

When blue eyes finally return to Lexa, there’s something almost accusatory in them.

“It was all going fine for me.” Clarke’s lips twitch, her lashes flicker. “Until you came along and turned everything upside down."

They stare at each other while Clarke’s words settle. The pensive frown is back on her face. Whatever’s going through that beautiful head of hers, she appears to come to a decision. Because she reaches for Lexa’s hand and Lexa's surprised to feel trembling fingers closing around her own. Clarke’s shaking just as hard as she is and it causes something to unfurl inside Lexa’s chest. The urge to fold Clarke into her arms is strong but she refrains, waiting for Clarke to go on.

"You make me question myself, what I’m doing, the kind of life I wanna have… who I wanna share it with."

Clarke looks away again, blowing out a rough breath.

"Sorry, this isn’t my forté. Eating a girl out? A literal pro. Emotional chats? The worst.”

"You're doing great.”

Lexa gives a light squeeze of their joined hands and it brings Clarke’s eyes back to her.

Under Lexa's steady, soft, encouraging gaze, Clarke seems to draw upon hidden reserves. Carefully, she laces their fingers together. Both their palms are damp with sweat but Lexa’s so far beyond caring about a little excessive perspiration.

"I wanna be with you. All in. I want everybody to know we're together and be jealous as fuck because I’m the lucky one that gets to call you my girlfriend. Okay? Is that defined enough for you?"

In the ensuing quiet Lexa feels as if her heart is going to burst right out of her chest and scuttle across the room, like something from Alien. She presses her lips together, swallows against the tight ball of emotion clogging her throat. Try as she might, she’s not able to keep her voice from cracking when she speaks.

"So it wouldn't be overstepping any boundaries if I update my relationship status on Facebook from 'It's complicated'?"

Clarke’s expression smooths out, the corners of her mouth tilting up.

“You better,” she drawls. “Don’t want your legions of female admirers thinking you're available.”

Lexa scoffs, even as an unbidden smile steals across her lips.

A tug on Lexa's hand brings her closer, until her hips bump up against Clarke's. An arm winds around Lexa's waist; Lexa's own wraps across Clarke's shoulders. The easy intimacy, their proximity, the lazy grin that’s taken up residence on Clarke’s face, makes her heart thud faster. That smile is so fucking attractive, Lexa can’t even begin to articulate all the fluttery, squirmy feelings it gives her.

"What about your fans?” Lexa asks, forcing her eyes up from Clarke’s mouth. “Would they be devastated to find out you're not single?"

It seems redundant to point out that, for all intents and purposes, neither of them have been single for quite some time, even if it went unacknowledged, so Lexa keeps this observation to herself.

"Only the Rassie shippers."

Lexa draws back a bit, blinking in confusion.

“Rassie?”

"A small but passionate subset of my followers think Raven and I should be together. That's our portmanteau. Or is it Kaven? I forget." Clarke shrugs slightly. "Anyway, they’re convinced she’s my mystery girl. Ray, being the little shit that she is, only encourages the speculation. She sent me a link to this Tumblr blog that collates all our mentions on Twitter with, like, in-depth analysis. They post gifs with really sappy song lyrics superimposed and Photoshop us into lesbian wedding pictures. I even stumbled across some fan fiction.”

Both of Lexa’s eyebrows shoot up.

“I know, right?” Clarke laughs. “But, disappointingly, there wasn’t any fucking in it. It was just 27 chapters of mutual pining and sexual tension then a fade to black when Rassie did finally get it on.”

She makes a face.

“Who has time for that? Also, for some unknown reason, I was a dumb, bitchy high school cheerleader and Raven was a motorcycle-riding badass-stroke-captain of the soccer team with a genius-level IQ who was tutoring me in math. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ray’s the author because that’s some kinda Mary Sue self-insert shit there.”

The very idea of Clarke reading fictional stories about her porn persona—a high school AU, no less—is causing the synapses to misfire in Lexa’s brain. She doesn’t really know how to respond to this revelation so she sidesteps it entirely.

“You don't have to confirm or deny anything, if you don't want to, if you want to keep them guessing."

"I wasn’t planning on making a big announcement but Raven’s had her fun so it’s time to shoot that rumour down."

Clarke lets go of Lexa's hand to slip under her shirt. Palm flat against Lexa's stomach, fingers spreading over skin that’s already erupted in goosebumps, she glides up until she reaches the underside of Lexa's breast. She isn't wearing a bra and Clarke makes an approving noise.

"All my followers need to know is that I’m happy. The rest of it, I wanna keep between us. Is that okay?”

Lexa only nods, distracted.

“Good. So…” Clarke leans in, stopping just shy of Lexa’s mouth, warm breath puffing across her lips. She cups the small swell of Lexa’s breast, an erect nipple springing up under the purposeful stroke of Clarke’s thumb. “Will your roommate be back soon?”

“She has classes until 7.”

“At least one of us is getting an adequate college education.”

Clarke takes a fistful of Lexa’s tank with both hands, pulling it up and off. Lexa only has time to suck in a quick, shuddery breath before there are lips closing around one nipple and fingers circling the other.

“Actually, I have a—“ Lexa’s breath hitches when Clarke bites down gently. “3.8 GPA. Ish. It may have dipped a little recently.”

When Clarke pulls back with a frown, Lexa hurries to continue, “But these last two months have been very instructional. I mean, learning how to undo a bra one-handed is an extremely important life skill.”

“Great. I’ll be sure to remind Anya of that when she finds out your grades are slipping because of me and makes good on that threat to dismember my body and scatter the remains across the Tri-state area. She told me I’d better not interfere with your destiny. Said someday you’re gonna be the greatest Gender Studies department chair the East coast has ever seen.”

“She did?” Lexa says, oddly touched and a little bewildered.

Anya is never forthcoming with high praise like that.

The only things Anya has ever told Lexa she excels at are: a) being a useless lesbian; b) excessive dramatics; and, c) organising her flannel collection by colour.

“Regardless of what my best friend—who evidently has homicidal tendencies—might think, my academic performance is my responsibility. Okay?”

There’s still a dubious set to Clarke’s mouth but she nods. Doesn’t put up any resistance when Lexa takes hold of the lapels of her leather jacket to push it off her shoulders.

“So what are some of these ‘instructional’ things you’ve learned, aside from mastering the ancient art of one-handed bra removal?” Clarke asks, raising her arms to assist Lexa with the shedding of her shirt.

Once it’s off Clarke steps closer. The press of bare skin pulls a pleased sigh from both of them.

“Well… I discovered you have an erogenous zone behind your ear,” Lexa says.

She locates the clasp of Clarke’s bra to unhook it. Succeeds first time, no fumbling, and they both smirk at each other.

“Whenever I kiss you there, you always make this noise.”

She drags the straps down Clarke’s arms until the bra becomes obstructed by their bodies. They separate only long enough to cast the offending article aside, once again moving in close, the graze of Clarke’s nipples against her chest sending heat flaring through Lexa. For a heroic second, she keeps her eyes on Clarke’s face but the lure of The Delinquents proves too great to resist.

“It’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever—”

She stops short when her gaze lands upon Clarke’s right breast (Manet). Specifically, the distinctly mouth-shaped bruise which, until a few seconds ago, had been concealed by a bra cup.

“Is that…?”

“Hmm?” Clarke glances down and curses quietly. “Oh. Yeah. I told Niylah “no teeth” but she’s kinda known for—”

“It’s fine.”

“Really?” Blue eyes regard her with scepticism as Clarke runs a thumb along Lexa’s tensed jaw. “Because you’re doing that thing.”

Since this seems to be the time for honesty and the disclosure of uncomfortable truths, Lexa lets go of her reserve. She takes a steadying breath, in through her nostrils, out through her mouth.

“All right, I’m not exactly ecstatic about it but it isn't your fault. It’ll fade.” Her eyes make an unsubtle sweep over what’s visible of Clarke’s upper body, looking for other unusual blemishes. “Is that all?”

“Um.” Clarke looks a little sheepish now. “Some scratch marks on my back.”

With some trepidation, Lexa peers over Clarke’s shoulder. She stifles a shocked gasp when she spots the raised angry red scores trailing down Clarke’s left shoulder blade.

“Clarke, those look like claw marks! It’s like you’ve been gouged by a fucking panther or something. Have you had a tetanus shot recently?”

“It’s not that bad.”

“At least tell me you put some antiseptic ointment on it?”

“Lexa. I’m okay. But,” Clarke lifts the abused shoulder in a small shrug, eyes cutting off to the side, “I understand if it puts you off, you know, wanting to be with me right now.”

The suggestion makes Lexa recoil slightly.

“What? Just because some overzealous co-star gave you a hickey and a few scratches? I mean, yeah, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. She went against your wishes. Not cool. And if I ever meet this Niylah I’m going to give her a lecture about consent. Possibly with, like, a PowerPoint and diagrams and mff—”

Lexa’s cut off by a pair of lips pressed firmly against her own, Clarke’s hands curving around her waist as she pushes up into the kiss.

“God, I love you, you beautiful dork,” Clarke whispers, low and quiet enough that Lexa almost convinces herself she misheard.

The words don’t register immediately but, when they do, her heart seizes so violently she thinks she might be having a coronary.

They both freeze. Then, by gradual degrees, inch apart. Lexa’s pretty certain her own expression must mirror Clarke’s: eyes wide, mouth hanging slightly open. Startled. Awestruck. Kind of fucking terrified. But, beneath all that, resolute, too. Clarke touches Lexa’s cheek, her chin, the contours of her lips, eyes tracking the movement of slightly shaking fingers. Touches her so gently, like Lexa might crumble to dust if Clarke applied more pressure.

Lexa hardly dares to breathe, to disturb the air around them, so she allows Clarke this quiet moment of wonder. Her eyes mist dangerously and she wills herself to hold it together. For half a minute she actually manages it until Clarke’s gaze lifts to her own. Because Clarke’s looking at Lexa like she’s something magical. As if Lexa’s single-handedly responsible for rainbows and puppies and kittens, the stars in the night sky, and a million other pure and beautiful things.

“Clarke,” she whispers, ignoring the teardrop that clings perilously to her lower lashes before gravity asserts itself and the tear rolls down her cheek.

Clarke catches it on her thumb, leans up to press her lips to the watery trail, and the tenderness of the gesture makes Lexa’s heart trip again. At this rate, she’s going to keel over from a series of unfortunate gay heart attacks. All because—

“I love you,” Clarke says again, half to herself, as if she’s testing the shape and sound of the words.

It causes another spasm in Lexa’s chest. This could be a problem.

A slow, radiant smile spreads across Clarke’s face and, God, Lexa’s respiratory system really can’t cope with this. In light of Lexa’s speechlessness, that smile dims a fraction.

“Okay, this is new to me but I’m almost a hundred percent sure that when a girl tells you she loves you, it’s kinda rude to leave her hanging, Lexa.”

Lexa blinks and, in doing so, dislodges more tears. Living up to her reputation as the most useless of lesbians.

“Sorry. I—“

She needs a minute to breathe, to calm her frenzied heartbeat. She wipes her eyes but it’s a losing battle.

”I do. Love you, I mean. I have for a while. I wanted to tell you but I was scared and—“

“Shh. Lexa, just…fuck, come here.”

Without another word Clarke reaches for Lexa, fingers sliding around her nape and pulling her in. She crashes their mouths together. Kisses Lexa with enough heat and determination to make her stagger back half a step and lose her balance, stumbling onto the bed. She sits abruptly. Stares up at Clarke, glassy-eyed, cheeks tear-stained, lips parted. Clarke studies her face for what feels like an endless moment. They reach for one another at the same time, Lexa pulling Clarke down on top of her, and she can’t control the fresh tears that spill over when Clarke tells her with quiet ferocity, “I’m so fucking in love with you, Lexa Woods.”

It’s an inelegant scramble to get Lexa’s yoga pants off and Clarke out of the motorcycle boots and dark jeans, especially when they can’t seem to stop kissing (or laughing breathlessly into the kiss) for more than a minute, but they manage. When it’s all uninterrupted skin and soft curves draped along Lexa’s body, she trails her hands up and down Clarke’s back, luxuriating in the silky smooth feel of her.

Their mouths slant together again, meeting, opening. A surge of desire, twined inextricably with love, thrills through Lexa.

“I love you,” she breathes out, the words muffled between their lips. She says it again. Because she can. Because she doesn’t need to hide it (poorly, lesbihonest) any longer and it’s so fucking liberating.

Clarke’s response is to kiss her harder, both hands slipping into Lexa’s hair to tilt her head, to angle deeper. She pulls back only to lick up Lexa’s chin and sweep her tongue into Lexa’s welcoming mouth. Clarke’s groan and her own whimper merge into a single sound, an electrical pulse that charges down Lexa’s spine. Arousal gathers heavy like static. Almost of their own volition, her hips roll into Clarke’s.

They shift slightly, reposition for Clarke’s thigh to slot between Lexa’s legs, for Clarke to prop herself up on one elbow. Both let out a rough sigh at the contact.

Lexa’s wet.

She isn’t even self-conscious about how turned on she is because Clarke said she loves her. Clarke’s slick, too; slippery heat on Lexa’s skin where the other woman is pressed up against her.

They don’t drag their mouths away from one another, each kiss melding into the next, while Clarke’s hand moves restlessly, greedily over Lexa’s body. She arches into Clarke’s palm when it covers her breast, shivers when Clarke skims over her ribs, down her stomach, veering off to follow the jut of her hipbone. Blunt nails graze down the outside of her thigh, back up the inside, and Lexa’s breathing pitches up when Clarke flattens her palm, pushing gently at Lexa’s inner thigh to encourage her to open wider. She does it without thinking, without resistance, gripping Clarke’s shoulders as she rolls into her. A moan bubbles up Lexa’s throat at the way Clarke rocks down in return. Soon they’re both grinding shamelessly on one another. Lexa’s hands migrate south, skirting down the expanse of Clarke’s back to curve around her ass, grasping, urging Clarke tighter against her.

Their bodies are sweat-slick, too-hot skin sticking wherever it touches. Kisses turn wetter, messier as their movements become more frantic, breath coming fast and heavy now. Clarke’s nails rake along the tender skin of Lexa’s thigh and the sting, the unexpected pain-pleasure, the sparks that erupt in the wake of it, makes her falter for half a second.

“Clarke,” she says, a choked whisper, and she feels the answering stretch of Clarke’s smile against her lips.

“You like that, huh?” Clarke pulls back to look at her and Lexa mourns the loss of her mouth. “You like it a little rough sometimes, don’t you? Biting. Scratching. Marking me. Being marked.”

Lexa opens her mouth to deny it, to defend herself, but she gets distracted by the widening of Clarke’s smile, by those dark, hooded eyes eating her up.

“It’s okay. I get excited, too. When I take my clothes off, seeing the reminders of where you’ve been on my body?” Clarke traps her bottom lip between her teeth and Lexa can’t help but stare covetously. “So fucking hot, Lexa.”

Slowly, Clarke drags her fingernails from the side of Lexa’s kneecap up to the top of her thigh. She shudders slightly, has to press her lips together to contain the treacherous squeak that threatens to escape.

“And when I see the bruises sucked onto your gorgeous collarbones and neck, knowing I put them there?” Clarke hums. “Turns me on like you wouldn’t believe.”

Put like that, it is sort of sexy.

Although it doesn't lessen the embarrassment Lexa feels when Anya mocks her or, God, when other people notice and do a double-take. She’s still recovering from the trauma of that one occasion Indra took her aside after class and offered to accompany her to the campus police since Lexa had “clearly been the victim of an assault.”

Nor does it reconcile her cognitive dissonance about the sexual politics of physically marking someone, as if she has a claim upon Clarke. Even if on some primal, unreconstructed level she does feel a certain… territorial instinct. Never more obvious to herself than when she spotted that hickey left by another woman on Clarke’s chest.

“Babe, you’re thinking too much,” Clarke says wryly. She squeezes Lexa’s hip. “How about we revisit this conversation another time, hm?”

Nodding, Lexa threads her fingers into Clarke’s hair to guide her back to her mouth. Kisses Clarke slow and deep until Clarke begins rocking into her again, fingers trailing distractingly up and down Lexa’s thigh.

Without warning Lexa rolls them over, swallowing Clarke’s little huff of surprise. She pushes up on her hands, lifting herself off Clarke’s body.

The kiss breaks on Clarke’s noise of complaint at the loss of skin-to-skin contact.

“Lexa.”

The frown on her face is so adorably petulant that Lexa has to suppress a smile.

“I’m not going anywhere.” She presses another tender, lingering kiss to Clarke’s mouth and settles between her legs. Rests her forehead against Clarke’s. Exhales gently against the plush softness of Clarke’s lower lip when she whispers, “I couldn’t stop thinking about you. Wishing I’d kissed you this morning like I wanted to. I hated the thought of not seeing you or holding you or kissing you for three more days.”

Clarke rubs her nose alongside Lexa’s.

“I couldn’t stay away, even if I wanted to.”

Clarke captures Lexa’s lips once more in a lengthy exchange that leaves her breathless and tingling all over when they eventually separate.

“You were on my mind, too.”

Clarke’s hand makes another pass along Lexa’s body, taking a brief detour to knead each breast in turn, to pluck at Lexa’s nipples before sliding up, over her collarbones, the column of her neck, to run her fingers along Lexa’s jaw.

“During the morning coffee break, Harper caught me looking at your photos on my phone. It wasn’t even the hand pics, I was just staring at your stupidly gorgeous face. The weird thing was, she let out this huge sigh and muttered something about how she owes Monroe twenty bucks now.”

Clarke’s touch is so distracting it takes Lexa’s mind a second to process what her ears are hearing.

She reels back an inch.

“Wait, what?”

“I could be wrong but I think the crew were running a betting pool.”

Lexa isn’t sure how she feels about this. With Kassie’s Twitter followers and their prurient interest at least there was a degree of separation and anonymity but she knows Harper, they share a class together, and the thought of being the subject of gossip amongst her peers makes Lexa deeply uneasy. Not that she’s ashamed; she isn’t. She just doesn’t want everyone giving her knowing looks during Sex Work: The Final Feminist Frontier next semester.

“C’mon, babe, no one could’ve accused us of being discreet on set.”

That’s met with stony silence.

Clarke bites her lip. “So I’m guessing you don’t wanna hear what Echo said about that snap of you in the Commander gear either?”

Clarke!”

“It was accidental, I promise. She was passing by and caught a glimpse.”

Jesus, it’s bad enough that Maya and Anya know even the vaguest details about their role-play without one of Clarke’s colleagues being aware of it too.

“Lemme tell you she had some pret-ty explicit ideas about what she wanted you to do to her…” Clarke says, her free hand drawing idle patterns on Lexa’s hip.

After a few seconds her fingers pause.

“Remind me never to let you visit the set when she’s working. She’s 5’9” and built like an Amazon. I’m scrappy but I don’t think I could take her in a fight if she hit on you.”

Despite the desire to hold onto her chagrin, Lexa rolls her eyes.

“Clarke, stop.”

“You think I’m exaggerating but I know these girls. One look at those full lips and that jawline and they’d be all over you. You’re, like, lesbian catnip.”

Half-lidded eyes trace over Lexa’s features but they keep returning to her mouth like it’s a homing beacon. The soft pad of Clarke’s thumb follows the shape of Lexa’s bottom lip and she groans softly when Lexa opens up to flick her tongue against the tip. Clarke drags the dampened thumb down Lexa’s chin, sweeps along the edge of her jawbone to tuck her hand behind Lexa’s neck.

“Even if that was true, which I severely doubt,” Lexa murmurs, staring at Clarke’s mouth through her own heavy haze of lust, “they’d be wasting their time. The only one I see, the only one I want is you.”

“So show me,” Clarke says, with such an edge of need that it makes warmth prickle under Lexa’s skin.

She sits back on her heels, scoops her hair up into a loose knot. Captures Clarke’s wrists, one in each hand, and pushes her arms above her head until Clarke’s knuckles graze the headboard. Clarke reads the intent, fingers closing around the slim wooden bars. She watches, chest rising and falling with shallow breaths, as Lexa trails her fingertips down Clarke’s sternum, between her breasts, down to the divot of her belly button.

The corner of Lexa’s mouth curls, enjoying the tiny shudder that goes through Clarke at the barely-there touch.

Lexa flattens both palms against the rumpled bedcovers on either side of Clarke's hips and bends forward to press her lips to Clarke’s navel, kissing a slow path upwards. She takes her time to give Clarke’s breasts the thorough attention they deserve, until Clarke’s wriggling and arching up into Lexa’s open mouth and the lazy swirl of her tongue. She doesn’t relent. Lavishing kisses and small, shallow bites; grazing her teeth over the hard points of nipples; sucking and licking the soft flesh around them, then zeroing her focus on the stiff peaks again. Over and over, showing Clarke just how much she appreciates every inch of those gorgeous tits. She doesn’t avoid the bruise that Niylah left, instead leaves her own mark on top of it until the old hickey is indistinguishable from the new one.

Clarke’s hips shift and strain against the sheets but Lexa holds herself above Clarke, not granting her the friction she’s obviously seeking. Her lips continue to glide, nuzzling into the abundance of warm, fragrant skin, before once more opening her mouth to take deep sucking pulls on Clarke’s nipples, rosy and swollen and shiny with saliva as they are.

At first Lexa doesn't notice that Clarke’s abandoned her hold on the headboard. Not until she feels the scrape of Clarke’s fingernails against the nape of her neck, gentle at first then growing more insistent.

“Fuck,” Clarke groans quietly, pushing her shoulders back to thrust more of her chest into Lexa’s face, “you’re gonna make me come.”

Lexa releases a nipple with a wet pop.

“Isn’t that the point?”

She keeps her eyes locked on Clarke’s as she drags her tongue in a wide circle around an areola before narrowing into a precise flick against the tip.

“Yeah but I’m already, like,” Clarke’s breath hitches at the soft little bite Lexa presses into the underside of her breast, “two seconds away from coming just from you loving on my tits. I wanna make it last.”

Clarke pulls her bottom lip between her teeth.

“Edge me.”

Lexa hesitates, gives a slow blink.

“I’m… not really sure what that entails.”

"It's getting me almost to the point of orgasm but not letting me come yet."

"But—why?” Lexa asks with a confused smile, eyebrows dipping. “I want to give you all the orgasms."

“I know, babe, and you’re so good.” Clarke strokes Lexa’s cheek with her knuckles. "Think of it more like orgasm delay. Keeping me on the edge enhances the sensations when I do finally get there. Trust me, it’ll be worth it. I’ll go off like a Fourth of July fireworks party.”

Needlessly prolonging the inevitable seems cruel to Lexa and she can’t mask her doubt.

“So when you start begging me to fuck you I should ignore you?”

Clarke lets out a short huff of laughter.

“Someone’s cocky. But, essentially, yeah.”

Lexa side-eyes Clarke, not entirely convinced.

“It’s just… you get very demanding when I’m doing you.”

Seeing the slow hike upwards of one dark blonde eyebrow, Lexa only shrugs because it’s true. Clarke isn’t shy about expressing her desires. In fact, she takes pride in describing them in such toe-curling detail that it’s become a competition with herself to see how fiercely she can make Lexa blush.

“Supposing I agree, how will I know when you actually do want to come?”

If Lexa wasn’t already naked, the look Clarke gives her then would’ve made her clothes disintegrate.

“Oh, you’ll know.”

 
 
*
 
 

“Lexa,” Clarke whines when Lexa lifts her mouth away once again from the tender skin near the top of her inner thigh.

It’s the fourth or fifth time Lexa’s lips have strayed close to where Clarke wants her most, only to retreat, to kiss and nip an unhurried trail back towards the inside of Clarke’s knee.

Another pitiful groan has Lexa hiding her smile against the soft give of the skin beneath her mouth. She presses a final lingering kiss there before pulling back to lean upon her elbows, resting between the spread of Clarke’s legs.

She schools her expression to one of innocence.

“What?”

“You’re enjoying this way too much,” Clarke says, but the accusation lacks any sort of bite, the words breaking off into a gasp when Lexa’s fingers curl around Clarke’s ankles to push her drawn up knees further apart.

“Mmm.”

Lexa doesn’t disagree.

Her eyes move with slow deliberation over Clarke’s body, drinking in the sight of her: the pink flush of labia, glistening with threads of slick; engorged clit, practically begging to be taken by Lexa’s mouth; the flutter of tensed abdominal muscles; the slope of her ribs dotted here and there with freckles, leading to those heavenly breasts that Lexa could happily devote her life to worshipping at the altar of.

It isn’t until Clarke makes an impatient sound that Lexa realises she’s been stuck staring for an indeterminate period of time. She looks up, offering a slightly bashful smile.

“You’re such a boob girl,” Clarke teases.

To emphasise the point she cups the weight of them in her hands, pushing her breasts together then letting them bounce free. At Lexa’s slack-jawed expression, Clarke’s smirk widens.

“You want my tits? Come and get ‘em, hot stuff.”

It’s a brazen challenge, designed to test Lexa’s resolve. For a hot second, she almost gives in but she rallies, girding against the temptation.

“Nice try, Clarke, but I recognise that underhand ploy for what it is.”

She makes sure Clarke’s watching her, blue eyes boring into her own under heavy lids, before she darts forward to lick at the length of Clarke’s cunt, swiping the flat of her tongue up through the wetness. The reaction is immediate and visceral in the sudden surge of Clarke’s hips, thighs boxing Lexa’s ears, a loud burst of “Jesus, fuck, Lexa” followed by more cursing when Lexa’s hands slide up Clarke’s shins to pin her outer thighs to the mattress. She laps at Clarke again, too fast, too fleeting, and Clarke’s entire body shudders, hips rolling to chase the contact as she cries out.

The next pass of Lexa’s tongue is firmer, starting with a slow swirl around Clarke’s entrance. She avoids dipping inside, focusing only on collecting the wetness spilling around the edges of its source. Clarke strains against her hold, rocking down in an unsubtle hint to direct Lexa, only to heave a ragged sigh when she’s denied. Instead Lexa licks up past the inner folds to sweep around the stiff protrusion of Clarke’s clit. She nudges the tip, glides back and forth, over and around, until Clarke’s panting above her, Clarke’s fingers digging into the sheets as she circles her hips, building up a rhythm that soon has sweat beading on her skin.

Lexa watches as Clarke reaches blindly for the headboard again, momentarily too distracted by the way the stretch of Clarke’s torso makes her breasts look even more fucking spectacular to realise that Clarke’s using the wooden bars for extra leverage. That Clarke’s hips are rocking faster, with greater purpose and as much focused precision as she can manage when she’s so wet she’s virtually aquaplaning Lexa’s tongue.

“Fuck,” Clarke chokes out, voice gritty and raw. “Lexa, I’m gonna…”

Even before Clarke begins to tense, Lexa knows what’s going to happen. So she takes her mouth away. The noise Clarke releases then—a howl of protest so pained Lexa actually feels guilty about being the one to cause it—echoes around the room. In the dorm below, someone turns up the volume of their music pointedly.

The headboard gives an ominous creak under the force of Clarke’s white-knuckle grip.

“I swear to God, Lexa, if you don’t put your mouth back on my pussy, I’ll—” she growls, unable to finish that threat.

“You’ll what?” Lexa asks, arching an eyebrow, a proud smile tugging at her lips. The effect is probably undermined by the fact she has Clarke liberally smeared all over her chin. “You’re in no position to make demands, Clarke. This isn’t a negotiation.”

Recognition flashes in Clarke’s hooded eyes, understanding dawning in her expression.

“Oh, fuck. You’re channelling The Commander.” She tips her head back, a quiet thud against the pillow. “Are you trying to kill me?”

“No,” Lexa says lightly.

She sucks a line of kisses along Clarke’s hipbone, down the crease where thigh joins pelvis, pleased when Clarke arches into it, trying to bring herself closer to Lexa’s mouth. Lexa presses more firmly on Clarke’s thighs, a warning, as her lips glide across the slight curvature of Clarke’s belly, over her mound, the soft, springy hair that crowns it tickling Lexa’s nose. Her eyes flick up, green latching onto blue, and she feels the tremor of anticipation that goes through Clarke. Parted lips hover above sensitive skin. The breeze of Lexa’s breath against her clit makes Clarke shiver harder.

“I’m going to make you come so hard, so loudly that everyone on this floor is going to submit a noise complaint to the RA.”

Clarke stares at her, pupils blown wide.

“Keep talking like that and it’ll happen sooner than you think.”

Judging by the sticky mess between Clarke’s thighs, the growing wet patch on the sheets, she may not be exaggerating. She’s dripping and it’s taking supreme effort for Lexa to remind herself that she’s supposed to be withholding orgasm. Because there’s nothing she wants more than to just set her mouth on Clarke and go to town right this second, no holding back. To have Clarke arch into the firm press of her tongue when she pushes into her, feeling the hot quiver of Clarke’s cunt around her as Clarke rides her face. The thought alone makes Lexa clench around nothing, has her squirming against the sheets to seek some relief from the dull throb between her own legs.

God, she’s starting to wonder which one of them is being tortured more here.

Another small noise of impatience from above pulls Lexa out of her haze. She wraps her fingers around Clarke’s kneecaps, hiking her legs higher on the bed, spreading her as wide as possible and provoking a different kind of sound from Clarke altogether. It sends a jolt down Lexa’s spine, tingles erupting in its wake, and she finds herself grinding down a little harder in sympathy.

Lexa dips her chin, breath gusting over Clarke’s cunt, lips hovering barely a few millimetres from slick folds. By now Clarke’s trembling with arousal, hips rocking minutely back and forth, humping the air. All Lexa can smell is sex and she breathes it in. Fills her lungs to bursting with the musky scent of Clarke. She intends to tease a while longer, to offer only scant brushes of her lips and tongue to earn more of those obscenely needy moans. But when she feels the sharp tug of fingers in her hair, the blunt scrape of nails against her scalp, she takes it as a sign that Clarke’s ready.

Without warning Lexa presses her open mouth to Clarke, eyelids fluttering in pleasure, a happy groan vibrating up through her chest as the thick flavour of Clarke floods her mouth.

“Oh, fuck,” Clarke says in a rushed, rough gasp, using her grip on Lexa’s hair to push herself more fully against Lexa’s mouth. “Please.”

The strokes begin slowly; gentle, broad laps of Lexa’s tongue from back to front, scooping up more of Clarke’s wetness with every pass. She draws irregular patterns as she weaves up the length of Clarke’s slit, abandons her hold on Clarke’s legs to slide both hands under Clarke’s ass to control the pace of her rocking movements. Every time she strays close to Clarke’s clit, Lexa draws away at the last second, dipping back down to circle her tongue around Clarke’s entrance.

“Lexa,” Clarke groans, the desperate cant of her hips pushing the very tip of Lexa’s tongue inside. Which glides in so easily that it pulls an involuntary sound from the back of Lexa’s throat too. “Stop teasing already and just fuck me.”

She doesn’t immediately follow Clarke’s command, keeping her thrusts shallow until there’s a more forceful tug on her scalp. Her eyes drift up, and she can’t help the small moan that bubbles up when she sees the unrestrained hunger in Clarke’s stare. She firms her tongue, extends deeper, rubbing along the slick channel as far as she can reach then withdrawing, never once taking her eyes off Clarke’s. Keeps pushing in and retreating, powering through even when her jaw begins to tire after several minutes. But it isn’t long before she feels Clarke’s inner muscles begin to flutter and Clarke’s hips falter in their tight undulations against her face as they lift off the bed. It gives Lexa the impetus to free one hand, to bring her thumb to Clarke’s clit, working it over in firm circles until Clarke starts to jerk and shudder, fingers twisting in Lexa’s hair, rapidly clutching and releasing at Lexa’s scalp.

“Oh, God, Lexa! I’m—fuck!”

Clarke’s accompanying shout is hoarse and loud (really fucking loud).

Her body goes rigid for the span of a few perfect seconds and Lexa doesn’t remove her mouth from its seal against Clarke’s cunt, loving the way Clarke pulses and clamps tightly around her, doesn’t cease the rhythmic press of the pad of her thumb upon Clarke’s clit. Not when she feels the sudden, warm gush of fluid against her tongue. Not when Clarke curses again, spine bowing off the bed. Still, Lexa clings on.

A guttural moan falls from Clarke’s parted lips and she rocks up harder into Lexa’s mouth.

“Don’t stop. Fuck, I—”

Both hands weave into Lexa’s hair at the crown as Clarke rides Lexa’s tongue. If her jaw was aching before, it’s a persistent twinge now but she braces herself, takes everything Clarke has to give as another, slightly less powerful judder makes every muscle in Clarke’s body go taut.

“Lexa!” Clarke’s voice rings out, drawing the name out so long that it dissolves into a high-pitched wail on the last syllable. Lexa’s pretty sure this is going to be the one that gets her a written warning from the student accommodation office, if the resounding, emphatic thump coming through the wall of the adjacent dorm room is any indication.

Dropping back against the covers, Clarke weakly pushes Lexa away from her overstimulated cunt, chest heaving as she tries to catch her breath.

“Fuck,” she murmurs, drawing the back of one shaky hand over her sweaty forehead. With her other she reaches for Lexa’s shoulder, tugging Lexa up her body and on top of her.

Lexa lands with a soft “oof”, bracing herself on her forearms on either side of Clarke’s head. There’s an unfocused, glassy look in Clarke’s eyes. She curls her fingers around Lexa’s neck, thumb stroking over the hinge of Lexa’s jaw.

“I love you so much,” Clarke says, gazing up at Lexa, her expression unguarded, eyes brimming with affection as they move slowly across Lexa’s face, like she’s memorising this moment and she doesn’t want to miss a single detail.

And, Lexa, giant gay sap that she is, feels tears prick behind her eyes again, a solid lump forming in her throat.

“I won’t ever get tired of hearing you say that,” she says through a watery smile. “I love you too, Clarke.”

The press of Clarke’s palm at her neck is enough to reel Lexa in closer and she lets out a shivery sigh at the squash of Clarke’s chest against her own, the skim of their hardened nipples, before Clarke joins their mouths together, moaning into the kiss when she tastes herself heavy on Lexa’s tongue. It’s a sound that rattles through Lexa’s chest, coils around her spine, settles low in her groin; an ache that doesn’t recede as the kiss grows wetter and dirtier by the second.

By the time they’re forced to part for air they’re both panting.

“God, your mouth,” Clarke murmurs between stolen kisses, “your lips, your fucking everything,” she sucks briefly on Lexa’s lower lip, then the upper, “ruins me. I can’t.”

“Same,” is Lexa’s succinct reply as she tips her head to the other side to claim Clarke’s open mouth again.

She can’t get enough of Clarke’s flavour, the candy-sweet residue of gloss mixed with the slightly salty, slightly tangy taste of her come. Lexa greedily chases every last trace of it, getting lost in the wet heat of Clarke’s mouth for minutes upon end.

It isn’t until she feels the gentle scratch of Clarke’s fingers at her nape, the hand that slinks down her spine, stopping at the small of her back to paint idle patterns upon sweat-damp skin, before curving over the crest of her ass, that Lexa separates their lips.

“Tell me what you want me to do,” Clarke says huskily, taking a handful of one fleshy cheek of Lexa’s backside and giving a good squeeze.

Mentally compromised as she is by Clarke right now, Lexa isn’t really capable of choosing of how she wants to be shattered into a million tiny pieces. The lips travelling along her jaw, kisses pressed up to her earlobe, the hot breath tickling the shell, do nothing to help focus her mind.

“What do you want? My mouth?” Clarke whispers beside Lexa’s ear. “I could eat you out all fucking night.”

A shiver runs through Lexa, eyelids fluttering shut, and she feels Clarke’s answering smile against the cartilage of her ear. She’s dimly aware that her hips are moving, circling, pushing down into the cradle of Clarke’s pelvis in a slow rock.

“How about my fingers?” Clarke asks, throaty and low. “Mm. Think you could take three for me right now.”

Two is usually enough—to begin with, at least—because Clarke’s fingers are thicker than Lexa’s own. But, at this moment? God, Clarke could be right. The slickness on Lexa’s inner thighs is evidence enough.

The palm cupping her ass shifts, curving around her hip and wedging itself between their bodies. Lexa raises her hips automatically, to allow Clarke more freedom of movement. Clarke reaches down, fingers raking through Lexa’s meticulously trimmed strip of pubic hair then sliding into slippery heat.

Clarke exhales roughly, the hot burst of breath against Lexa’s ear making her jolt, hips jerking up into the gentle but determined probe of Clarke’s fingers.

“God, Lexa, you’re so fucking wet for me.”

“Clarke.”

She doesn’t care that it sounds urgent, bordering on desperate. All the full body contact, the greedy kisses, the two orgasms she gave Clarke, have left Lexa wound so tight she’s ready to pop.

“I know,” Clarke murmurs, soothing, keeping her mouth close to Lexa’s ear. “Gonna take such good care of you.”

Her fingers glide lower, skirting around Lexa’s entrance, eliciting a quiet whimper and another slight jog of Lexa’s hips.

“Look at me, babe.”

The hand framing her jaw presses gently, exerting the lightest of pressure and Lexa opens her eyes to find twin pools of darkened blue staring back at her. Under heavy lids, Clarke studies Lexa. The smirk on Clarke’s face fades, replaced by something much more solemn.

Lexa’s lips part, soundlessly forming the shape of Clarke’s name, and Clarke takes that as her cue. Pushes a single finger inside, quickly followed by a second. But her hand remains stationary, the heel flat against Lexa’s pubic bone, despite the little jerk of Lexa’s hips in encouragement.

“Don’t close your eyes. Look at me,” Clarke says and Lexa has to battle the reflex to let her eyes slide shut in relief. Because the pleasure of having Clarke inside her at last, of seeing every little flicker of emotion in Clarke’s expression, is almost more than she can bear.

Lexa gives the smallest of nods, a shallow rise and fall of her chin. Only then does Clarke begin to move, pressing in deep and dragging out again. On every retreat she curls the tips of her fingers, withdrawing almost entirely before pushing back in; steady, slow. Too slow.

Lexa rocks down to meet each thrust, too focused on chasing the sensations to pay any thought to the wet noises, the creak of the bed springs, their quickened, syncopated breathing. Her hands curl around the balls of Clarke’s shoulders, nails scoring into the skin as she holds on, as she speeds the roll of her hips, an attempt to make Clarke go faster, harder.

“Look who’s being pushy now,” Clarke says, her easy smile returning and Lexa wants to kiss it away.

“Shut up,” she mutters and does exactly that, bringing their mouths together and stopping short Clarke’s raspy burst of laughter.

Clarke hums into the kiss and the vibration ripples through Lexa. She swipes her tongue along the seal of Clarke’s lips, a second later delving inside. Kisses Clarke hot and deep and filthy enough to soon have Clarke groaning into her mouth and absently scratching at the shorter hairs at the nape of Lexa’s neck. She doesn’t—can’t—stop kissing Clarke, even when they’re reduced to harsh and heavy panting, a messy mash of lips and teeth and excess tongue, the heel of Clarke’s hand rubbing slow, wide circles into Lexa’s clit on every forward movement. Lexa grinds into it, losing the rhythm whenever Clarke lifts her palm away. The quiet sound of frustration that she can’t suppress makes Clarke smile into the kiss.

Eventually Lexa drags her mouth away. She tips their foreheads together, warm gust of breath spilling across Clarke’s rosy, parted lips, half-lidded gaze locked on Clarke’s as two fingers continue to work between her legs, pulling a tiny, halting gasp from her whenever Clarke’s palm skims over her clit.

Lexa’s in sensory overload: surrounded by the scent of sex; Clarke’s taste; the slick, scorching press of so much skin. The eye contact, this heady shared look of love and lust, wonder and fervent, unspoken promise, is almost too much for Lexa but she can’t look away.

“Clarke.”

Laced with urgency.

“That’s it. Let go. I’m right here.”

It’s the combination of the gentle urging, the firm press of the heel of Clarke’s hand on her clit, the jut of Clarke’s fingers, crooked and rubbing at that spot inside Lexa, that sends her careening over the edge, clamping down hard as her body comes to a juddering halt. For an extended breathless moment, she quivers, spasms, wetness spilling into Clarke’s hand as Lexa smothers a choked groan against Clarke’s lips.

Every subsequent little whimper gets swallowed up when Clarke seizes Lexa’s mouth in another hungry kiss. It goes on and on until Lexa’s forced to break away, to pull air into her burning lungs. They remain close, breath mingling in the tiny space between them.

“I love you,” Lexa says, scarcely more than a whisper, their parted lips grazing with each word. “I’m in love with you. So stupidly, madly in love.”

She kisses Clarke again, slower this time; heartfelt and full to bursting with emotions she’s no longer able to contain, even if she wanted to. And Clarke melts into it, clutching the back of Lexa’s neck as if to prevent her escape, to keep Lexa close and anchored in this moment with her.

Lexa has no desire to be anywhere else.

 
 
*
 
 

“When did you start to suspect?” Lexa asks, pushing a stray lock of golden hair off Clarke’s face. Lets her touch linger, stroking over the arch of Clarke’s eyebrow, following the slope of Clarke’s cheek, down to the cleft in her chin then retracing the same path. “That I was falling for you?”

It’s getting dark outside, the twilight sky blending into a palette of orange and indigo, bleeding into blue beyond the tops of the trees. A glance towards the wall clock confirms that they don’t have much time before Ontari returns from class but Lexa’s reluctant to break out of this comfortable bubble of warmth and contentment, with Clarke glued to her side and drawing mindless patterns on her bare stomach. She wants to prolong the idyll for just a few minutes longer.

“If I had to pinpoint it, probably when you cried that one time after we had sex, I guess, but… it was more an accumulation of little things.” Clarke stills her fingers. “You’ve always had this, I don’t know, intensity. Like, your eyes are so expressive; they give away so much.”

When Lexa’s gaze drops, Clarke brings her hand up, fingertips trailing along Lexa’s jaw to coax her eyes back up.

“I love that about you,” Clarke says softly, fondly.

Another second or two passes. She wets her lips.

“You said you were scared. I was afraid too, you know. About how you were gonna react after the shoot. If you would even still wanna be with me. If you’d think less of me, somehow.”

“Clarke.”

Quiet as the exclamation is, it’s laden with disbelief.

“With Finn, it was…” Clarke stops herself, presses her lips together. “I didn’t wanna assume you’d be like him but it was all I had to compare the situation to.”

“I hate that he made you feel that way but I would never—”

“I know that now.” Clarke’s hand slides lower, curving around the side of Lexa’s neck. “You’re—”

She shakes her head.

“No girl or guy ever looked at me or treated me the way you do.” Blue eyes slide away briefly before meeting Lexa’s gaze again. Shining with such a vast reserve of emotion that it steals Lexa’s breath away. “Like I matter. Like I’m someone special.”

A rush of protectiveness washes over Lexa at Clarke’s admission and she wraps both arms tighter around Clarke’s waist, hugging her closer. She has to force her jaw to work when she says, “It’s their loss. Because you are. Special. And, before you accuse me of bias, I’m not just saying that as your girlfriend.”

The soft smile being directed at her unleashes an entire colony of butterflies in Lexa’s stomach, gives her heart palpitations, and she’s back to being concerned she might have to seek medical attention soon.

“Say that again.”

Lexa’s eyebrows dip.

“Which part? Your girlfriend?”

Clarke only nods, wriggling closer, fingers tangling in a section of hair that’s escaped Lexa’s hasty up-do. Her breath is warm against Lexa’s jaw and Lexa finds herself leaning in, eyes drawn helplessly to the bow of Clarke’s upper lip.

“I’m your girlfriend.” Lexa feels giddy, can’t keep the dopey smile off her face or control the near constant flipping of her stomach. “Which reminds me…”

She has to stretch to reach her phone where it sits on the bedside cabinet and Clarke takes the opportunity to cup a palm around one breast, not to stimulate, just to hold.

“Is that my photo as your wallpaper?” Clarke asks, craning her neck to get a better look.

“Uh, yes.” There’s no reason to be embarrassed but Lexa flushes regardless.

Clarke kisses the hinge of Lexa’s jaw.

“I have your picture as mine, too. A snap of you in the suit you wore on our double date. Not gonna lie, I’ve fapped over it a few times.”

Purposefully refusing to dwell on that mental image, Lexa brings up Facebook on her phone and navigates through the app until she finds the relevant profile settings. Takes a breath before she taps on the little arrow and chooses Edit. It feels strangely trivial, too easy, as if it isn’t the most life-altering thing, to select ‘In a relationship’, to type in Clarke’s name and hit Save.

“Now it’s official. Although, I think you have to confirm it before it’ll show up on my timeline.”

“Okay.” Clarke gives her a serious look. “I feel like I should forewarn you, I’m probably gonna suck at this and make, like, a fuckton of mistakes. Not to be conceited but am I the greatest lay anyone could have? Yeah, sure. But being someone’s girlfriend? I don’t have a fucking clue.”

“Clarke, I’m only slightly more experienced at this than you.” Lexa pauses. “And there’s a sentence I thought I’d never say.”

She clutches Clarke a little tighter.

“I mean, God, you’re only the second person I’ve been with so I guess we’ll muddle through together.”

There’s a beat of silence.

Clarke stares, mouth dropping a fraction. “Second? Are you shitting me?”

Lexa rolls her eyes at herself.

“I know it’s lame. College is supposed to be the time for the sowing of wild oats, et cetera, et cetera, but—”

“Lexa, no.” Clarke shakes her head quickly. “I knew you hadn’t been with many girls. The whole flustered nerd thing pretty much gave it away. That’s what attracted me in the first place. But, when we got down to it? Jesus, you made me come so fucking hard and fast. I figured you were just one of those unassuming, modest types who’s secretly dynamite in the sack. Turns out you’re actually some kinda sex prodigy!”

Lexa’s ears are burning, heat flooding her cheeks at this hyperbolic assessment of her prowess.

“I’m really not.” She gives a light one-shouldered shrug. “I just pay close attention to your reactions to what I’m doing.”

“Either way, you’re a natural. Lucky for me, whoever else you slept with didn’t know what she had.”

“Neither did your ex.”

The look Clarke gives her then, like Lexa’s something extraordinarily precious, like Clarke’s captivated and charmed by her mere existence, makes Lexa feel as though her chest can’t contain the swell of love surging inside her.

Clarke lifts her hand to Lexa’s cheek and she shivers as the cool air replaces the warmth of Clarke’s palm on her boob.

“How the hell did I manage to snag someone as sweet as you?” There’s a note of quiet wonder in Clarke’s voice as her eyes rove across Lexa’s features. “You’re way too good for me.”

“Don’t say that,” Lexa frowns.

She squeezes at Clarke’s bicep once in gentle rebuke before caressing from shoulder to elbow, back and forth, feeling the wispy, faint blonde hairs rise beneath her palm.

“It’s true.” Clarke lowers her eyes, focusing on the brush of her thumb over Lexa’s cheekbone. “Lexa, you deserve… Fuck.”

She takes her hand away.

Turns her head to the side, staring off at nothing

“Someone uncomplicated, someone you can take home to meet your family without having to fabricate some socially acceptable story about how you met your girlfriend.”

“I don’t care what they think.”

Clarke looks at her again, a little furrow forming between her brows.

“You say that now but, let’s be real, your dad and stepmom aren’t gonna welcome me with open arms once they discover I’m in porn. And, trust me, they will eventually. It’s all over the internet and it isn’t hard to find. All it takes is one nosy neighbour or co-worker who’s beaten off to my movies to recognise me and let slip.” Clarke lifts her chin, a small flash of defiance in her gaze. “In my experience, most people are judgemental assholes when they find out what I do for a living. Are you sure this is what you wanna sign up for?”

“Yes.” Lexa holds Clarke’s stare, never breaking eye contact. It seems like Clarke’s offering her an out and that’s the last thing Lexa wants. Somehow, her voice remains calm and steady, no discernible hint of the fact that inside she’s trembling. “My family doesn’t get to decide who is or isn’t worthy of my feelings. I don’t need their approval or anyone else’s.”

At this Clarke opens her mouth as if she’s going to argue, so Lexa doesn’t allow her the opportunity.

“I decide. And I choose you, Clarke.”

Hoping to banish whatever lingering doubts Clarke has, Lexa connects their lips. Pours every ounce of love and adoration into the kiss, getting lost in the warmth of Clarke’s mouth. When they surface for air several minutes later, Lexa keeps her forehead pressed to Clarke’s.

“You know… Aden’s at that age when he and his friends are curious about sex. They’re probably gonna go onto Pornhub and find my scenes someday.”

Lexa jerks back so quickly she nearly gives herself whiplash.

Clarke winks. “I know, right? That’s gonna make for some awkward family dinners.”

Before Lexa can express her abject horror at the idea of her innocent, mop-haired little step-brother looking at adult movies—much less any starring her girlfriend—the dorm room door swings open.

Ontari stops dead at the threshold. “Fuck my life. Not again.”

Lexa yelps but she at least has the presence of mind to scramble for the bedsheet, hastily pulling it over her and Clarke to cover their nudity. Although, it’s a bit too late. Judging by Ontari’s expression, scrunched in disgust, she already caught an eyeful.

To add insult to injury, her roommate isn’t alone.

Appearing beyond Ontari’s shoulder, Roan looks as eager as a kid on Christmas morning, a big grin splitting his cheeks. If Lexa wasn’t currently shocked into muteness, that would do it, because she’s only ever seen Roan make one of two facial expressions: smug or constipated. This boyish glee is disconcerting.

“Do you mind? We’re kinda in the middle of something here,” Clarke says, arching one eyebrow and exuding a breathtaking amount of sass, considering the compromising position they’ve been caught in.

It only serves to antagonise Ontari further. “Actually, I fucking do. So I’m giving you 15 minutes to make yourselves decent and spray some damn air freshener. Unlike you, I don’t love the smell of poontang in the evening,” Ontari grits out through her teeth, holding one hand up in front of her eyes to block the view. “Roan, for fuck’s sake, stop perving and move your butt.”

As the door slams shut behind them, Lexa catches Roan’s excited exclamation. “Dude, that’s motherfucking Kassie Skai. From Homo Alone!”

Lexa only buries her face in Clarke’s shoulder, muffling her groan of despair.

Chapter Text

The soft pad of bare feet upon the polished wooden floorboards pulls Lexa’s attention from the tofu bacon—a cheeky indulgence—frying in the pan and she can’t smother a grin as soon as she catches sight of Clarke’s hair.

It’s a nest first thing in the morning. More so since Clarke had the length cut shorter, the ends falling just above the tops of her shoulders.

(“The classic bisexual lob” was Octavia’s approving verdict when they all met for drinks at Baloney’s last week to celebrate the end of finals, before handing out a tray of shots and telling everyone to “drink up, bitches.”

Then, sparing a sideways glance at Lexa’s disapproving pout, Octavia had amended with a slight roll of her eyes, “Strong, independent bitches who get shit done. The future is female. Down with the patriarchy. Whatever. Get this tequila down your throats.”)

So, yes, Lexa loves Clarke’s new style. Loves to comb her fingers through the darker roots to the lighter tips, gently working out the tangles, an attempt to arrange the messy ombre waves into some semblance of order. She loves how Clarke’s eyelids slide to half-mast under the attention; the quiet, throaty hum it earns; the way Clarke always pulls her in by the waist, smiling, for an unhurried kiss before Lexa’s done, one that deepens gradually and leaves them both panting softly into each other’s mouths.

Lost in the haze of those thoughts, it takes Lexa a moment to notice the downturn of Clarke’s lips, the troubled furrow of her brows while she stares at her phone.

“Clarke?”

When she receives only a distracted noise in response, Lexa takes the pan off the heat and switches the burner off. She crosses the kitchen and cups a gentle hand around Clarke’s elbow to draw her focus.

Clarke jolts a bit at the touch.

“Is something wrong?”

“Huh? Oh.” An absent shake of her head. “Sorry. It’s—well, fuck.” She sighs and turns the phone around. “See for yourself.”

Without her glasses or contacts in, Lexa has to squint and peer closer to scan the body of an email. Reads: inbound flight details from Chicago O’Hare; a reservation for the Hyatt in the city.I’m looking forward to seeing you, Clarke. It’s been far too long.

Lexa blinks. Lifts her gaze from the screen to watch the emotions that flit across Clarke’s features in quick succession: a hint of panic, dismay, frustration, finally settling into a moue of displeasure. A full face journey worthy of Titus Andromedon.

“Your mom’s coming to your degree show tomorrow?”

Clarke sags against the breakfast bar and nods.

The kitchen is quiet except for the low hum of the refrigerator and the ‘faken’ still lightly sizzling in the pan.

Which makes Clarke’s sudden, emphatic “fuck” all the more startling.

She tips her head back, blows out a rough breath before she looks at Lexa again. A scratchy burst of morose laughter escapes her. “Didn’t think she’d actually accept the invitation. I mean, shit, she made zero effort to come to any of the others.”

“Clarke, maybe...” Lexa wets her lips. Braces herself, knowing this suggestion probably won’t be well received in her girlfriend’s current mood. “Maybe she wants to make amends?”

Predictably enough, Clarke's chest puffs out as she pulls in a deep breath through her nose, about to unleash what Lexa presumes will be a barrage of expletive-ridden vitriol.

“I don’t know your mom,” Lexa says quickly, preempting the tirade, “but she’s flying halfway across the country to see you.” She raises her eyebrows. “Doesn’t that suggest something?”

“Yeah.” A sarcastic shrug. “She’s willing to travel a thousand fucking miles just to satisfy her conviction that I don’t have what it takes to become a successful artist.”

Lexa offers a highly dubious look, one that Clarke meets in challenge.

“Last time I spoke to her, we argued. She told me I was,” Clarke makes air quotes, “‘squandering my potential on frivolous pursuits’. Doubt she’s suddenly revised her opinion.”

“Clarke.”

“Don’t.” Nostrils flare; blue eyes flash in warning. “You think I’m being unreasonable or whatever, but you don’t—”

The fight and fury seem to drain out of Clarke as quickly as it arose.

She shakes her head. Sighs, looking down.

“You don’t know, okay?” She plucks at a loose thread at the hem of her vintage cotton tee, the ‘WWKD’ logo across the chest beginning to fade. “I haven’t talked to her for, like, a year and a half. And she thinks she can just fly in, pretending like nothing happened?”

Lexa takes a measured breath then counters, “On some level, you must want her to be there. Otherwise, why send the invitation?”

“As a giant ‘fuck you.’”

“Really? That’s all?”

Eyes cutting off to the side, lips pressed together into a thin line, Clarke remains silent.

“Clarke,” Lexa tries but the other girl won’t look at her.

Lexa steps closer and lifts her hands, lets them hover for a few beats to signal her intent before her palms curve around Clarke’s hips, feeling the solid heat of her body through the polka dot pyjama shorts. She examines Clarke’s face for any sign of discomfort or distress, is relieved when the rigid set of Clarke’s jaw loosens as the seconds trickle by.

“I get it, I do,” Lexa soothes while her hands move up to Clarke’s waist. “I understand why you’re angry. And, at this point? Maybe it’s too little, too late.” Lexa pauses, inclines her head. She gentles her tone further. “Or maybe it isn’t.”

Clarke looks at her, cautious and curious about where Lexa is going with this. Even Lexa herself isn’t entirely sure why she’s advocating for a woman she’s never met; someone who apparently puts her personal aspirations for her daughter’s future ahead of Clarke’s own happiness. On that count alone Abby Griffin hasn’t endeared herself to Lexa, but she’s also aware that the situation is probably more nuanced than Clarke would have her believe.

From the little Clarke has shared about her estranged mother, Abby is ambitious, driven, and she has similarly high expectations for Clarke. It’s easy to cast Clarke’s mother as a cartoon villain determined to squash Clarke’s artistic dreams, but people are rarely so two dimensional. Even if Abby doesn’t approve of Clarke’s chosen career path, she must surely be interested in how her only child is doing.

Perhaps the reason Lexa’s willing to extend Abby the benefit of the doubt is that she can’t help but think of her own mom, of the milestones they’ll never get the chance to experience together, things that are still a possibility for Clarke. Lexa doesn’t want to meddle—it isn’t her place to interfere—but Abby’s arriving tomorrow, regardless. If Abby truly intends to reconcile with Clarke, maybe Lexa can help mediate. If that’s what Clarke wants.

“What I do know for certain is that, whatever your differences, she’d be stupid not to want to learn about the person you’ve become.”

Lexa brings a hand up to Clarke’s cheek, eyes tracing over familiar features slowly, heart swelling as she takes in every (slightly fuzzy) detail. The feeling tugs at her chest, expansive and all-encompassing: Lexa loves this woman in all her stubborn, bed-headed glory.

“Because, Clarke, you’re talented, smart, beautiful—inside and out—and mmf.”

The hard press of lips against her own prevents Lexa from finishing that sentence.

The discarded phone clatters against the countertop as Clarke’s hands find Lexa’s waist to pull her closer, gripping tight, flannel bunching under her fists. There’s a ferocity to the kiss that burns out quickly, leaving them clinging together, mouths unmoving, Lexa’s top lip slotted between both of Clarke’s while they breathe one another in.

“Sweet talker,” Clarke whispers.

She tips her forehead against Lexa’s, flattens her palms against Lexa’s ribs. “Mind working some of that charm on my mom? If it all goes to shit at least I can point to you to prove to her I’m not a complete fuck up.”

“You’re not,” Lexa says immediately, emphatically, before Clarke’s words truly sink in.

She draws back a few inches, wide eyes darting between Clarke’s.

“Wait. You mean… meet her?”

A hesitant nod.

“I was thinking an early dinner? Before the art show. Someplace relatively fancy so she won’t make a scene.”

When Lexa fails to reply straight away—because she’s still trying to wrap her mind around the prospect of being formally introduced to Clarke’s mother—Clarke jumps in again. “I know I’m dropping this on you and, if it was me, I’d be freaking out too.”

Lexa shakes her head, collecting herself. “No, I mean—of course, I’ll go.” She rubs a thumb along Clarke’s cheekbone. Offers what she hopes is a reassuring smile. “Whatever you want, I’ll do it.”

A smirk flickers at the corner of Clarke’s mouth. “Oh, yeah?” she asks with a suggestive lilt, but her eyes are devoid of their usual twinkle of mischief.

All the same, Lexa gives her a droll look.

Clarke drops her gaze while her hands smooth out the creases of Lexa’s shirt. “I know it’s a lot to ask. Even if she and I were on good terms. I just—I don’t want you to feel pressured; like you don’t have a choice. You can say no.”

“Clarke.” Almost stern.

She tucks her fingers under Clarke’s chin to tip her face up, urging fretful blue eyes up to meet her own. A weird kind of calm washes over Lexa, despite the worry that’s tying her stomach in knots. Right now she needs to put it out of her mind and be steadfast for Clarke's sake.

“I want to be there. Call it moral support, girlfriend duty, or whatever, but letting you confront her alone isn’t an option. Are we clear?”

They regard each other quietly. That sly little half smile returns to Clarke’s lips, more genuine this time. “I like it when you’re bossy.”

Lexa leans closer, close enough to feel the warm gust of Clarke’s breath against her skin, detect the quick dilation of her pupils when Lexa’s fingers hook into the waistband of the shorts.

“Is that so?”

“Mmm.”

Hand sliding to the back of Clarke’s neck, playing with the shorter hair at the nape, Lexa is rewarded with a soft, pleased noise; almost a purr. She takes it as an invitation to close the gap, to catch Clarke’s mouth again. Kissing her long and languid and breathless. Lexa using her grip to tilt Clarke’s head, to press slow kisses across her jawline and down her neck before returning to recapture the lips Lexa is so hopelessly addicted to.

It isn’t long before it escalates, before Lexa’s helping to boost Clarke up onto the countertop. Stepping into the space between Clarke’s thighs. Mouth latching onto Clarke’s pulse point, sucking briefly before she moves lower.

“I think ‘like’ is an understatement…” Lips graze the base of Clarke's throat. Lexa licks into the hollow; drops her voice to a low murmur. “You’re already so wet for me, I can smell you.”

Fuck, Lexa.”

The fingers wrapped in her flannel tighten and Lexa feels the shiver that passes through Clarke, the pressure of Clarke’s knees against her hip bones as Clarke slides closer to the edge of the counter and locks her ankles beneath Lexa’s ass.

Lexa smirks against Clarke’s sternum, just above the neck of her shirt. “Yes, that’s the plan.”

“How did you get to be such a cocky little shit?”

The words, low and husky, are barely out before Lexa’s kissing Clarke again.

The hand that isn’t woven into Clarke’s hair slips under the hem of her shirt to reach the warm skin of her stomach. Teasing across the small soft podge of it before Lexa circles an arm around Clarke’s lower back, dragging her closer, flush against Lexa’s torso.

“Are you complaining?” Another kiss. “Because I can stop this and carry on making breakfast if you prefer.”

Clarke only seizes Lexa by the cheeks, tipping her head the other way. She sucks on Lexa’s bottom lip, sweeps her tongue along the curve of it. All patience gone. And Lexa doesn’t feel the slightest bit of regret for the tofu growing cold on the stove. The soft groan Clarke emits, the greedy press of her mouth, the roll of her hips, is all the sustenance Lexa needs.

They disentangle to rid Lexa of her flannel, to yank Clarke’s shirt up and off, before coming together again. Mouths joining, opening. Hot skin against Lexa’s chest, the sunshine pouring through the kitchen window warm upon her back. Restless hands run along her bare shoulders then thread into her hair, and the wet slide of Clarke’s tongue in her mouth sends a jolt through Lexa’s belly. When she pulls away, breath coming in quickened puffs, another rush of heat floods her lower abdomen at the glazed look in Clarke’s eyes.

“Bed,” Clarke says, heavy-lidded stare dragging between Lexa’s eyes and mouth. “Hot as this is, the edge of the counter is seriously digging into my butt, and I really wanna be under you when I come.”

 

 

 *

 

 

“Tell me again.”

“Hmm?”

A huff is expelled through Clarke’s nostrils. Her fingers twist in Lexa’s hair at the crown, a small provocation that loosens a thick hank from Lexa’s hastily put up ponytail.

“Lexa.” Pleading. Breath hitching on the last letter as Lexa nips at Clarke’s inner thigh.

“I love you.” Lexa soothes the soft bite with a kiss. “Everything about you. Being with you.”

She hooks her fingers behind Clarke’s knee and lifts, draping the calf over her shoulder. The groan Clarke lets out has Lexa smirking to herself but it falters when she hazards a glance upwards. Because Clarke’s eyes are black, blown pupils eating up the blue of her irises. Staring at Lexa with such stark hunger that it makes the breath stutter in her lungs.

That look hasn’t lost its power to thrill; electrify; to leave her a tongue-tied, slack-jawed puddle of gay.

Clarke crooks one finger to beckon Lexa and she flows forward without thinking, hand still wrapped around Clarke’s knee. The stretch of this new position causes another catch of breath, a fervent “fuck, yes” from Clarke. She tucks that fallen lock of hair behind Lexa’s ear as Lexa leans over her, propped on one arm. Clarke keeps her hand there, at the hinge of Lexa’s jaw, fingers gripping the side of her neck. The other hand slides up Lexa’s ribs to cover her breast, warm palm kneading, rolling the hardened nipple.

“What do you love about me?” Clarke asks. She stares intently at Lexa’s mouth like it holds the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

(Douglas Adams was wrong.

It’s not the number 42.

Someday, years from now, future scholars will reach the consensus that it’s actually Clarke Griffin’s tits.)

A tug on her nipple has Lexa’s voice pitching up when she replies, “How you feel. Your skin against mine. Nothing between us.”

Her fingers trail down the outside of Clarke’s thigh towards the hip, drawing patterns in the divot, and Clarke squirms under the light, ticklish touch. It pulls a smile from Lexa and she doesn’t miss the way Clarke’s eyes seem to glow brighter.

“I love how you respond to me.”

While she speaks, Lexa lets herself explore. She follows the curve of Clarke’s hip, around and underneath to cup the fleshy cheek of her ass, giving a playful squeeze.

“Every tiny reaction.”

Her hand shifts, middle and index fingers running slowly over slick folds.

Clarke’s long, drawn-out moan makes Lexa’s smile widen.

“Every sound you make.”

She dips low, fingertips sweeping around Clarke’s entrance. Relishes the twitch that goes through the body beneath her; the upwards cant of Clarke’s hips and the desperate, hoarse noise of complaint when Lexa moves away.

Only for a second. Then she’s back, swirling in the wetness until the lengths of her fingers are coated and ready.

“Babe.” The grip on Lexa’s neck tightens. “Please.”

The blistering heat of Clarke’s stare is almost enough to make Lexa give in but she waits, fingers poised.

“I love your voice.”

Lexa doesn’t take her eyes off Clarke’s as she eases down onto one elbow. The angle has Clarke snagging her bottom lip between her teeth, heavy lashes fluttering, the sole of her foot sliding against the plane of Lexa’s back.

“When you say my name, all husky and needy. God. Do you know what it does to me?”

“Lex—”

Clarke breaks off on a gasp as Lexa pushes a single digit into her, sliding in slow and smooth and so, so easy. Feeling the clench and pull of Clarke around her. She adds a second finger, remaining still for a few seconds to appreciate the cling, the warmth that envelops her.

“This. I love this. Your—”

“Lexa.”

The slightly peevish look Clarke directs at her nearly earns a laugh from Lexa. But she takes the hint, that Clarke’s impatient to move beyond the compliments-as-foreplay routine. Lexa’s only too happy to oblige. There’s nothing she wants more than to see and feel Clarke unravel beneath her.

Clarke’s face softens. She caresses the corner of Lexa’s jaw. “I need you.”

She pulls Lexa down by the neck. Brings their lips together, mouth opening under Lexa’s, a halting breath getting caught between them when Lexa starts to move her hand. Lexa twists her wrist. Pushes in deep and drags back out slowly. Clarke rolls her hips forward to meet each stroke but her full range of movement is limited by the pressure of Lexa’s shoulder pinning her in place.

Lexa tips her head to deepen the kiss. The flick of her tongue against the backs of Clarke’s teeth makes the woman below her strain closer and Lexa swallows the excited little exhalation, the low gravelly hum that rises up Clarke’s throat. Never stopping the steady pump of her fingers, curling the tips on every retraction.

Clarke grasps a bit tighter, a bit rougher at Lexa’s breast, pinching and tugging at the nipple, sweeping over and around the stiff tip with her thumb until the dull throb feels like a counterpoint to the empty ache between Lexa's legs. She lets her own thumb nudge up against the swollen ridge of Clarke’s clit. A glancing touch that leaves Clarke gasping, bucking her hips up with renewed effort, the heel of her foot tapping upon Lexa’s back. All the encouragement Lexa needs to work a third finger inside.

Clarke arches, the sudden tilt of her chin causing the kiss to break, a string of curses spilling from her mouth. Her hand shifts from Lexa’s chest to her arm to wrap around the tattooed bicep as Lexa continues thrusting into her.

Lexa noses along Clarke’s jaw. Inhales the lingering sweetness of yesterday’s perfume as her lips descend Clarke’s throat, sucking shallow kisses down to the crook. She feels the curl of Clarke’s toes against her spine, Clarke’s fingers scratching at the nape of her neck, sifting through the shorter hairs that have escaped the ponytail.

Lexa breathes an “I love you” into Clarke’s skin as her thumb makes slow circuits around Clarke’s clit.

From the answering little jog of Clarke’s hips, she knows what Clarke wants: more pressure, more force, more speed. Lexa only smiles and lightens her touch to nothing, just to enjoy Clarke’s frustration, the huff she lets out, the insistent tap of her heel upon Lexa’s back. A momentary tease before Lexa drops a kiss to Clarke’s neck in apology, swipes her thumb in a firmer arc, working over Clarke’s clit in tight circles while her fingers pick up the pace.

A touch to Lexa’s jaw guides her up into a clumsy meeting of open mouths. Both groan when Lexa’s tongue dips inside again.

She feels exhilarated, powerful, as she drinks up every sensation: the silky, wet heat encasing her fingers; the blunt edge of the nails digging into her upper arm; the fog of sex that permeates the air; the sweaty stick of their skin at every point of contact; all the unselfconscious throaty noises Clarke makes while they kiss. A kiss that grows messier, more urgent by the second as Clarke’s hips rock. Soon giving way when their breathing becomes too fast, too heavy to sustain it.

Foreheads pressed together, they look at each other from beneath hooded lids. Clarke’s fingers come to rest on either side of Lexa’s jaw, holding her face in her hands. Lexa watches the flutter of Clarke’s lashes, hears the sudden intake of air, feels Clarke begin to quake as she rubs at that spot inside and rolls Clarke’s clit below her thumb.

When Clarke finally crests, it’s a beautiful, miraculous sight to behold.

Every muscle pulls taut, she goes still and silent, breath catching in her throat, before her mouth drops and she loosens a ragged moan of, “Oh fuck, Lexa.” Then she’s arching, shuddering, hips jerking up as she grinds into the press of Lexa’s fingers, kept immobile as they are by the hard clench of pelvic muscles.

A warm gush of wetness floods Lexa’s already soaked palm. She kisses Clarke again, swallowing the broken gasps that punctuate her orgasm. Doesn’t stop kissing while she keeps her thumb on Clarke’s clit, teasing out every little tremor until Clarke finally makes a weak attempt to push her hand away. She withdraws carefully. Eases Clarke’s leg down from its perch over her shoulder, presses a gentle kiss to the side of Clarke’s knee.

“I think I’m gonna regret this later,” Clarke says as she massages the back of her thigh.

Lexa’s smile verges on smug. “Worth it, though.”

“Mm-hmm. You are. Come here,” Clarke says, coaxing Lexa down into the circle of her arms.

Smile widening, Lexa goes willingly, settling comfortably against Clarke. The soft crush of breasts and skim of nipples sends a shiver through her but she ignores it, content to enjoy the intimacy.

“I love you so much,” Clarke whispers into Lexa’s hairline. The loose hold around Lexa tightens and Clarke nuzzles gentle kisses against her sweaty temple.

Warmth of a different kind suffuses Lexa’s body. It clogs her throat, makes her vision mist and she tries to blink it away. Because Clarke has enough ammunition to tease her with already, due to this embarrassing propensity for becoming emotional during sex.

She almost gets away with it, too, but Clarke notices the liquid glaze of her eyes before Lexa can hide her face.

“Oh, babe,” Clarke croons softly.

She hugs Lexa closer, squeezing her ribs and smothering her eyelids and nose and chin with kisses, which only succeeds in getting Lexa more choked up. By the time Clarke’s done assaulting Lexa’s face with her lips, Lexa’s cheeks are stained by wet tracks. The next kiss is pressed full on her mouth and Lexa’s chin quivers for the duration of it.

Clarke remains close, stealing a string of small, soft pecks. She grazes Lexa’s nose with her own, rubs up and down Lexa’s spine with a gentle palm, and Lexa melts further into Clarke’s body.

“You mean the world to me. You know that, right?”

Lexa gives a watery smile. “And our friends think I’m the sappy one.”

Another tiny bump of noses before Clarke reconnects their lips, slow and sweet. More tears spill over, but Clarke just kisses Lexa through it.  Holds her close while her heart pounds and her hands shake and she doesn’t think she’ll ever get used to the way Clarke makes her feel so much.

Once Lexa’s eyes have dried, the slide of their mouths takes on a more purposeful slant. An urgency to it that soon has Lexa breathing faster, hips pushing into the body below her.

When they eventually edge apart, the gleam of intent in Clarke’s stare makes Lexa shift again.

“Fuck, I wanna eat you out all morning. Make you come at least five times on my tongue.”

Despite the intensifying blush on Lexa’s face, she drops a lingering kiss to the corner of Clarke’s mouth, another to her jaw, her cheek.

“I’m not stopping you,” Lexa says, lips brushing the edge of Clarke’s earlobe.

An animal noise rumbles up Clarke’s throat and the next thing Lexa knows Clarke’s shoving her up and manoeuvring her into position until she’s kneeling astride Clarke’s shoulders, hovering scant inches from Clarke’s face. And, Jesus, Clarke looks positively ravenous now as she stares up at Lexa, licking her lips in anticipation, dark eyes zeroed in.

Lexa is never prepared for that first slow drag of the flat of Clarke’s tongue. She gasps, hips leaping at the contact and Clarke grins, mouth coming away shiny and wet, a testament to just how turned on Lexa is already. She’s legitimately worried Clarke’s in danger of drowning down there without a snorkel, a concern Clarke doesn’t appear to share.

“Give me your hands,” Clarke says, her voice a thick rasp.

Their fingers interlock and, this time, when Clarke licks up through her, Lexa uses that grip to steady herself as she chases after the fleeting swipe.

It’s a struggle to keep her eyes open, to keep them trained on Clarke’s while she rolls into every slow lap, every flick, every swirl. The connection is almost too much, seeing that sly yet determined glint staring back at her, watching Clarke’s mouth open wider to press closer, to drink more of Lexa in, to circle the tip of her tongue around Lexa’s entrance.

The muffled groan Clarke lets out when she dips inside almost makes Lexa lose it there and then.

Her fingers tighten, an encouragement, but Clarke keeps her movements shallow and Lexa wonders if it’s payback for her own teasing earlier. She’s already so close from witnessing Clarke’s orgasm alone. It won’t take much. Nothing works her up more than being the one to bring Clarke to the brink and drive her over the edge. That moment of release, when Clarke’s body locks up and Lexa’s name spills from her lips, is everything. It’s what Lexa lives for. But right now she’s dying for Clarke to make her come.

Just as she’s about to express her frustration, Clarke licks into her. Firmer. Fuller. It pulls a shaky moan from Lexa and she sinks down, rocking her hips forward to take Clarke deeper. Clarke, who’s making all these happy little noises from the back of her throat that vibrate through Lexa. She can’t hold on to any coherent thought beyond how wonderful it feels to have Clarke moving inside her, hot and wet and perfect, then how bereft she is when Clarke retreats.

“Clarke.” It sounds high and breathy but Lexa doesn’t care. She only wants Clarke’s mouth back where it belongs.

Clarke smirks up at her, cheeks and chin and the tip of her nose glistening with slick. She quirks an eyebrow. “Something you need?”

Lexa squeezes Clarke’s hands with a little too much force and Clarke gives a quiet laugh. The breeze of it against her overheated skin makes Lexa shiver, sends a ripple down her spine, and it takes everything she has not to just shove her crotch in Clarke’s face to hammer home the point.

“Okay, okay, I give. Before you break the tools of both my trades.”

Easing her grip, Lexa sets their joined hands against her thighs and lets out a relieved sigh, quickly followed by a groan when Clarke’s tongue gets back to work, weaving up to her neglected clit. Clarke swirls in slow, wide arcs before narrowing to the tip, cranes her neck up to take the swollen bundle between her lips.

It’s too much. All of it. The sights and sounds. The wet suction of Clarke’s mouth. The pure bliss in Clarke’s expression. The groans leaking out of her that almost match the frequency and volume of the high keening noises that Lexa’s unable to contain.

She grinds her hips down fast without thought or care that she might be suffocating Clarke, too far gone to restrain her movements, feverish in her pursuit of the release that remains just out of reach. Thighs trembling, chest heaving, a sheen of sweat covering her body.

Clarke firms her tongue and Lexa rides it hard, swivelling her hips in tight little circles. It’s no more than another minute before orgasm engulfs her so rapidly that it steals her breath, leaves her choking on air. She isn’t even able to utter a word to warn Clarke before she spills over her mouth.

Clarke makes a deep guttural noise that has Lexa shuddering and squeezing her eyes shut, black dots dancing behind her eyelids as her body convulses, as Clarke keeps her tongue at that perfect, perfect angle and pressure. For a few more seconds Lexa’s hips don’t stop their erratic forward motion, chasing every last bit of pleasure, until she feels wrung out and dizzy.

She sways dangerously and it’s Clarke’s fingers squeezing around her own that grounds Lexa, brings her back to herself. On wobbly knees, she shuffles backwards until she’s straddling Clarke’s hips, giving Clarke the space to breathe. She looks almost as wrecked as Lexa feels; cheeks flushed, lips parted and wet, eyes dark as they roam over Lexa’s still trembling body. She isn’t sure if she’s shaking from the residual force of the orgasm or the way Clarke’s staring as if she wants another go.

A quick tug has Lexa toppling forward, the momentum causing her to pin Clarke’s hands against the mattress with a soft thud. Faces only an inch apart, Clarke’s breath gusts across her mouth, humid and heavy. She can smell herself on Clarke, thick, musky, and it makes her head swim. Their lips brush, a ghost of a touch, before they surge into another kiss. Lexa licks inside, tasting the tang of her come in the wet spaces, and they both groan in unison.

Suddenly her world tilts once more. Clarke reverses their positions with a sharp buck of her hips, presses Lexa down and swallows her tiny exhalation of surprise. Holds her there with her curves and hips and the dig of her nails, and Lexa gladly submits, excited by the weight of Clarke on top of her.

Before long their kisses grow deeper, filthier, and Lexa’s lungs burn with the effort to keep up with the way Clarke devours her mouth. It’s this kiss as much as the body blanketing her own that has her sweating. It feels like she’s burning up from the inside. Arousal pulls at her, a heavy ache that the slow hump of their bodies does little to ease until a thigh nudges between Lexa’s own.

She breaks away with a whimper that she’s unable to stifle. She grips Clarke’s hands tighter, a silent plea, while she rocks down and Clarke presses up.

Clarke’s mouth strays. Drags across her jaw, trailing half-formed kisses towards Lexa’s ear.

“I want you so much,” Clarke whispers. There’s something about the rough, shaky quality of the words that betrays just how affected she is too. “Can’t decide if I want you to come riding me like this or against my mouth again.”

The tip of Clarke’s tongue flicks at the outer shell and it makes Lexa shiver hard, bucking into Clarke.

Lexa half expects Clarke to draw it out, to tease her for longer, but Clarke kisses quickly down her throat and collarbones. Lips glide over the tops of her breasts, the valley in between, and over the quivering expanse of her stomach with singular determination. By the time Clarke reaches the rise of Lexa’s mound, mouth hovering just above the strip of hair, hot breath blazing across her skin, Lexa is trembling.

They haven’t let go of each other’s hands, now clasped on either side of Lexa’s hips.

Clarke looks up, and it’s that mix of awe and desire and love in her eyes that pulls a noise of pure need from Lexa.

The instant Clarke’s open mouth makes contact, Lexa arches into it, head thrown back, hips rising as Clarke licks fully through her.

 

 

 *

 

 

“You gonna eat that?”

With a small shake of her head, Lexa pushes the untouched plate across the table. She fidgets with the cutlery while Anya takes an enthusiastic bite out of the abandoned veggie burrito.

A minute passes, during which Anya chews noisily and Lexa avoids her all too perceptive stare.

“All right, what gives?” Anya says eventually, with a slight roll of eyes. “Which formerly problematic fave white feminist has the Tumblr hive mind declared persona non grata now?”

“It’s not that.”

Lexa watches her friend devour another mouthful.

She licks her bottom lip and takes a breath. “I’m meeting Clarke’s mom at dinner tonight.”

It’s enough to make Anya erupt into a sudden coughing fit. She thumps her sternum in a bid to dislodge the food stuck in her oesophagus. By the time she recovers, her eyes are streaming and her face is purple.

Alarmed by the choking episode, Lexa offers her a napkin and a sip of water. “Are you okay?”

“Jesus, Lexa. Warn a girl first?” Anya croaks, dabbing at her cheeks. “You can’t just drop a bombshell like that without priming me for it. I mean, I haven’t had any caffeine yet today so my sarcastic wit isn’t operating at the optimal level required to deal with flimsy plot development so late in the story.”

Lexa’s expression sours, going from concern to mild irritation. “I often wonder why I even bother confiding in you.”

“Because you value my unique perspective and unvarnished honesty. And it’s basically my sole narrative function to mock you before dispensing some pithy, quasi-motivational real talk.”

In the pointed silence that ensues, Lexa only purses her lips.

“Anyway… parental introductions, huh? Big step.” Anya balls up the napkin and tosses it onto the plate. She folds her arms upon the table and smirks. “Does this mean I should be saving a particular date in my diary?”

“How many times—look, can we put a pin in this once and for all?” Lexa says, her exasperation growing. “Clarke and I have no intention of getting married in the near or distant future. And, for the record? I don’t have a secret bridal gown Pinterest board, I don’t spend time crying over women-loving-women wedding photography, and I most definitely don’t have a first dance candidates playlist on Spotify. Or any of the other things you’ve insinuated over the past seven months, so jot that down.”

“Marriage is an archaic societal construct; an institution tainted by a long history of patriarchal oppression,” Anya says in a high, nasally voice that Lexa presumes is meant to be a (very inaccurate) impersonation of her. “Are you seriously telling me that if Clarke got down on one knee and proposed you wouldn’t burst into happy tears like the big gay mess you are?”

A muscle ticks in Lexa’s cheek while she glares at Anya.

Anya stares blandly back, one eyebrow climbing slowly upwards.

Finally, Lexa sighs in defeat.

The smile that edges across Anya’s lips is irritatingly self-satisfied. “Just when I think you’ve reached peak homo, you manage to surpass yourself. I bet you shit rainbows.” But she doesn’t revel in her triumph for long. “I thought Clarke and her mom don’t get along?”

“They don’t. That’s why Clarke wants me there: as a buffer. She thinks her mom’s less likely to criticise her if I’m present.”

“Well, that’s not awkward at all.”

“Clarke doesn’t rattle easily but her mom seems to bring out all her insecurities.”

Anya studies Lexa. “And you? Nervous?”

“It’s not about me. It’s about supporting Clarke.” It almost sounds convincing. Lexa’s shoulders sag slightly. “Yes, of course I’m feeling a little apprehensive.”

“Only natural. It’s your future mother-in-law, after all.”

She lets out a quiet huff. “Anya,” she chides, but it lacks any severity.

“If you two idiots are in it for the long haul then you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of Momma Griffin. Assuming they patch things up. Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas…”

“Really not helping my anxiety here.”

Anya scoffs. “Parents adore you. Remember when we were in elementary school mine wanted to trade me for you? Which is probably the root of my childhood trauma and what turned me into the black-hearted asshole I am today. Point being, you’re polite and well-mannered and you smell nice. You’ll be fine.”

“I appreciate the vote of confidence but it’s unlikely Clarke’s mother is going to be won over by my personal hygiene standards.”

“No, doofus, but she will be once she sees how you are with each other. If the constant heart eyes you project at her daughter doesn’t clue her in then I don’t know what else would. You make each other happy.” Anya shrugs. “Ultimately? That’s all most parents want for their offspring.”

“Yeah...” Lexa says, dragging the word out. “No. Not Clarke’s mom. Not the way Clarke tells it.”

She brings up Google image search on her phone to show Anya a photo of the woman in question. It’s from some black-tie gala, Abby in an evening gown, shaking hands with a slick politician as he hands her a humanitarian award.

“That’s her: Dr Abigail Griffin. She’s a specialist in cardiovascular-thoracic surgery. An actual heart surgeon. She’s on the board of, like, a dozen charities, and she’s a concert-level pianist. I mean, no wonder Clarke has a complex when her mom’s such an overachiever.”

“She’s also a MILF.”

Lexa tuts.

“All I’m saying is that the Griffin ladies are blessed with good genes. Bodes well for the rugrats you and Clarke are inevitably gonna squeeze out.”

At that Lexa’s eyes grow wide.

“Oh, kid, I wish you could see your face.”

Anya’s expression softens, taking on an almost kindly look. Or as near as she could conceivably get, given her resting bitch face. It makes Lexa more unsettled, as though there’s a disturbance in the balance of the universe.

“Instead of doing all this boring lesbian processing you could focus on the practical; the aspects you  can  control about the situation.” Off the mystified look she receives, Anya elaborates. “As in, what are you gonna wear?”

Oh.

Lexa has given that exactly zero consideration.

Her expression must betray the onset of this new crisis of confidence because Anya rolls her eyes so forcefully they’re in danger of falling out of their sockets.

“Okay. You and I? We’re hitting the mall today.”

Those words strike cold dread into Lexa’s heart. Because if there’s one thing she loathes more than internalised misogyny, it’s impromptu shopping trips.  

“I’ll just pull something together from my closet.”

“You have one chance to make a first impression, Lexa. No takebacks. And I cannot in good conscience allow you to meet Clarke’s smoking hot mom in flannel and Converse, looking like you’re going to a fucking Hayley Kiyoko and Halsey double bill at The Ark.”

“I do own other clothes, you know.”

“The evidence suggests otherwise.”

Anya is entirely unaffected by the lengthy glare Lexa shoots her.

“Fine,” Lexa grumbles, after a tense silence. “But you’re not getting me into a dress.”

 

 

*

 

 

Several gruelling hours later, both laden down with multiple bags (thanks, Bank of Dad), they trudge along the hallway to Anya’s dorm room.

As soon as she spies a familiar figure loitering outside, Lexa stops short.

“Oh, no.  No . What is she doing here?”

Raven snorts as she pushes off from the wall. “As if I was gonna miss your teen movie nerd-to-hottie makeover. Anya's been texting me updates—the 80s throwback prom dress was a hoot, by the way—but I had to see this for myself.” She shrugs. “Besides, Clarke's told me plenty about Dr G. I can give you a primer.”

Lexa’s spirit has already been so broken by the afternoon of retail hell that she can’t summon the energy to argue.

“Also. We’ve gotta do something about  this .” Raven reaches for the end of Lexa’s limp ponytail and drops it with a look of pity. If she didn’t already have her hands full, Lexa would’ve swatted her away. “How long do we have before Griff picks you up?”

“Approximately two hours.”

Raven makes a noise. Like a tradesman sucking in air through his teeth when he’s about to drop an exorbitant estimate for what should be a minor repair job.

“Well,” Raven says, a grim smile crossing her lips as her eyes move over Lexa critically. “Never let it be said that Raven Reyes backs down from a seemingly insurmountable challenge.” She cracks her knuckles. “Someone call the Vatican because I’m about to perform a fucking miracle.”

 

 

 

 

As it turns out, Raven’s mastery with dildos and wrenches also extends to curling wands.

Lexa’s hair is down in sleek, loose mermaid waves scooped over one shoulder and, paired with the dramatic eye makeup Anya’s given her, she hardly recognises her reflection in the mirror. She looks like someone debonair and sophisticated, brimming with charming and witty conversation… So, the opposite of what she actually is.

Not that she has much time to admire the transformation before Anya’s shoving her into the bathroom to get changed. When Lexa emerges a few minutes later it’s to find Raven straddling Anya on the desk chair, completely oblivious to Lexa’s entrance because they’re currently engaged in a very heated kiss. And she’s pretty sure Anya has both hands shoved inside Raven’s shirt.

“Oh my God.” Lexa shields her eyes. “I was out the room for five minutes.”

“If I had a dollar for every time I’ve caught Clarke with her tongue down your throat, my student debt would be significantly lower,” Anya retorts.

“Yeah, you two are never more than two seconds away from bon—“ When Raven cranes her neck around to look at Lexa, she almost falls off Anya’s lap, dark eyes bugging out as her stare sweeps up Lexa’s form. “Holy fuck. I think I get it now.”

Self-conscious, Lexa tugs at the sleeves of the tuxedo jacket. It’s unbuttoned, fitted and trim at the waist. Then she adjusts the tuck of the flimsy white blouse into her pants. The shirt is much more feminine than her usual style—frills concealing the fastenings down the front, and the low neckline shows off her collarbones and a hint of the ludicrously fancy bra Anya made her drop a three-figure sum on.

(“Trust me,” Anya had said with sage assurance while she pressed the hanger into Lexa’s hands. “Clarke will combust when she sees your A cups in this.”)

“You don’t think it’s too much?” Lexa asks in a dubious tone, pushing the thick black frames up the bridge of her nose—she’d opted to forego contacts in a bid to appear more studious, an appeal to Abby’s intellectual snobbery. Her step falters, an unsteady wobble as she moves further into the room, possessing all the grace of a fawn on ice. “Maybe I should try shoes with a smaller heel.”

“Uh, no,” Anya responds, resituating Raven more securely on her knees while Raven’s arms wrap around her shoulders. For two people who claim to be just friends with benefits, they are remarkably clingy. “It’s all about elongating the leg. Those pins are your most powerful weapon. Use them wisely.”

Lexa gestures at her feet. “Yeah, well, I’m going to break my neck at this rate. And I can feel the blisters forming already."

“No pain, no gain,” Raven chimes in. “Suck it up."

Lexa’s about to lodge another complaint when she feels the vibration of her phone in the pocket of her black skinny jeans—Anya’s one concession to comfort.

Clarke [17:02]:  i’m parked outside. get your sexy butt down here.

The text contains an excessive amount of blowing-a-kiss and heart emojis, and Lexa can’t help but smile reflexively.

“Clarke’s arrived. Wish me—” As she glances up from her phone, Lexa sighs. Anya and Raven have resumed fervently making out again. “I’ll see myself out.”

 

 

 

 

Lexa’s concentrating so hard on walking in these infernal heels and trying not to stumble that she doesn’t immediately notice Clarke leaning against the pristine hood of the Mustang parked outside Polis Hall.

When Lexa does finally look up, she almost goes over on her ankle.

Because Clarke’s wearing a sleeveless deep red wrap dress that falls a couple of inches above the knee. The neckline is actually on the conservative side (for Clarke) with only a small amount of cleavage exposed. But, even so, the clingy fabric pays tribute to her curves, hugging her hips and the dip of her waist. Her hair is swept into an updo, revealing sparkly drop earrings, the enticing line of her neck and the gentle slope of her shoulders.

She’s  stunning , and all Lexa can do is gape. Blink a few times. Force herself to walk forward, although her knees feel weak. By some miracle, she manages to avoid faceplanting into the sidewalk.

Judging by the smirk on Clarke’s face—and it only grows as Lexa nears—she’s fully aware of the effect she’s having.

“You look…” Lexa’s vocabulary fails her, unable to settle on an adjective that would do Clarke justice.

“Me?” Blue eyes rake up and down Lexa’s body, shamelessly checking her out. “Look at you, hot stuff.”

Lexa touches her hair and blushes at the compliment. She doesn’t know why she’s so bashful, given how regularly Clarke sees her without a stitch of clothing on.

“I mean, the outfit alone is…” Clarke raises her brows and blows out a breath. “But the geek chic glasses, too? Do you want me to drag you to the restroom before the appetisers are served?”

“Clarke.” Only half-admonishing.

In lieu of a verbal response, Clarke just reaches for Lexa, tugging her closer by the belt buckle until she’s firmly in Clarke’s space. She has to put her hands on Clarke’s hips to steady herself; once she regains her balance, Lexa doesn’t let go.

“The only reason I’m not kissing the hell out of you right now is because my mom’s got a tyrannical thing about punctuality, and she’s judgemental enough without us being late.” Clarke’s eyes are glued to Lexa’s lips. Her hands skim over the lapels of Lexa’s jacket, up the slope of her chest to settle on her shoulders. “But after the show tonight? Oh, it’s  on , babe.”

Clarke leans up to place her mouth beside Lexa’s ear. “I’m gonna ride you into next week.”

“Clarke.” This time it’s a choked whisper.

Fingers squeeze around Clarke’s hips. A warning that Lexa’s on the verge of pinning Clarke against the hood and smudging the perfect application of her lipstick, tardiness be damned.

It earns a quiet chuckle and a gentle little shove. “Let’s go before I fog up your lenses any more, Velma Dinkley.”

 

 

 

 

“So, Lexa, tell me about you.”

Dark brown eyes fix on her and she tries not to shrink under the woman’s piercing stare.

There’s nothing outwardly rude about Abby. On the surface, she’s perfectly polite, but there’s a certain steeliness that underlines her speech. Clearly, Abby thought she’d be spending this time alone with Clarke—as soon as they took their seats she’d made an offhand remark that Clarke didn’t mention she’d be bringing company—and she’s not exactly doing a stellar job of concealing her displeasure at the intrusion.

It was obvious in the way Abby’s eyes narrowed a fraction when they walked into the restaurant together, Lexa’s palm resting at the small of Clarke’s back, as Lexa whispered, "Whatever happens, I'm in your corner okay? If you want to leave, we leave." Clarke had given a small, stiff nod and reached behind for Lexa’s hand, entwining their fingers.

Then, Abby’s too-limp handshake and tight smile while the introductions were made.

Now there’s a palpable tension in the air while they peruse the menu and exchange stilted pleasantries.

“I’m at Arkadia U,” Lexa answers, “majoring in Women’s Studies.”

By the thinning of Abby’s lips, Lexa can tell Dr Griffin holds that subject in about as much esteem as Art as a worthwhile field of study.

“I see.” Abby takes a slow sip of water. “And what do you plan to do once you graduate?”

“Mom…”

Abby looks at Clarke. “I’m only making conversation. Taking an interest in the girlfriend I didn’t know you had.”

Clarke visibly bristles and Lexa is quick to interject before hostilities escalate. “It’s fine,” she tells Clarke. Offers Abby a wan smile. “I want to be a professor, actually. So apply to grad school, get my Masters, then a PhD.”

“Well, I commend your ambition, but gaining tenure is a long and very difficult process. And even if you do, relative to the length and cost of schooling involved, the pay in academia is notoriously poor.”

“God, are you listening to yourself?” Clarke snaps. “Not everyone measures success by their earnings or how many cars they own or whether they have a vacation home in Cape Cod.”

Abby frowns. “That’s not what I was—”

“I don’t know why I thought we could do this,” Clarke says, speaking over her mother. “Nothing’s changed. You’re still as sanctimonious as ever.”

“Clarke!”

Abby recoils as if stung, her face flushing with hurt and humiliation. A few diners at nearby tables have tuned into the raised voices and stare with varying shades of pity or disapproval.

With impeccable timing, that’s when the waiter approaches their booth.

“Could we have a few more minutes, please?” Lexa says, giving what she hopes is a pleasant smile that doesn’t betray her unease.

With a nod, he slinks away again and Lexa pulls in a discreet breath. She glances between the two Griffin women, both furiously avoiding eye contact; Clarke boring a hole in the tablecloth, Abby focused intently on her water glass.

Lexa’s at a loss for how to salvage this, but she feels the need to defend herself at least.

“Teaching is a vocation. As a surgeon, I’m sure you can appreciate that Dr Griffin,” she says, voice wavering only once before she gathers her resolve. “Or did you decide to go into medicine purely for the monetary rewards?”

“Of course not.” Abby’s reply is clipped. “I wanted to help people. To save lives.”

Lexa meets Abby’s stare fully and lifts her chin a fraction. “Well, I want to help shape the minds of my future students. To send them out into the world equipped with the wisdom, compassion, and intellectual rigour to effect profound social change.”

She wets her lips, ploughing on.

“And Clarke wants to create art that resonates, that evokes a response on a deep emotional level, that captures beauty in all its forms. She wants to—to touch people and make them feel things.”

It occurs to Lexa that she could be equally referring to the painting  and  the porn. And that rogue thought has heat creeping up her neck.

She clears her throat.

“I’m no critic, and I might be biased, but Clarke’s work is incredible. Once you actually see it, I think you’ll agree.”

When their eyes meet again Lexa sees Clarke is radiating affection, how she glows with it, and some of the tension ebbs. The prolonged look they share almost makes Lexa forget about Abby sitting across the table.

Reluctantly, Lexa pulls her attention back to Clarke’s mother. She doesn’t know what to make of the expression Abby wears, but she seems… impressed?

The waiter returns and Lexa opens her mouth to dismiss him again, but Abby steps in.

“Could you bring us a bottle of your best champagne?” Something softens in her brown eyes as she glances at Clarke. “We’re celebrating tonight. It’s not every day my daughter graduates from college.”

 

 

 

 

When Clarke excuses herself to go to the bathroom, Lexa’s left alone with Abby. Over dessert, they discuss the university and Lexa’s summer internship as a research assistant, and the strained atmosphere slowly dissipates.

Until Abby sets down her cutlery.

“Has Clarke filled you in on our rather... fraught history?”

Lexa’s spoon pauses halfway to her mouth and a small glob of passionfruit sorbet lands on the white tablecloth. She nods, “A little.”

“Most of it was less than complimentary, I’m sure.”

At Lexa’s carefully neutral lack of response, Abby chuckles. Although she grows sombre quickly.

“It’s been tough for us to connect since Jake passed away. Clarke is—was—very much her father’s daughter. They were two peas in a pod. Always in cahoots, and I…” A shadow passes over Abby’s expression and Lexa feels a tug of sympathy. “These past few years I’m afraid we haven’t been kind to one another, but I want things to be different.”

Abby reaches for her champagne flute and swirls the remnants of liquid, eyes on the bubbles rising to the surface.

“A year or two ago she would never have suggested this dinner.” She meets Lexa’s gaze. “I suppose I have you to thank for that.”

Lexa shakes her head. “Nobody talks Clarke into doing anything she hasn’t already decided for herself.”

“Just as strong-willed as ever, then,” Abby says wryly. She examines Lexa for a second like she’s a specimen to be analysed. “You care about her a great deal.”

“I do.” An unbidden smile pulls at Lexa’s lips, as it always does when she thinks of Clarke. She doesn’t care that her features are probably arranged into something disgustingly smitten. “Clarke’s special.”

She hears the click of Clarke’s heels before she sees her. Approaching warily, as if Clarke was expecting to come back to find a bloodbath.

Blue eyes swivel between the two of them as Clarke slides into her seat. “What did I miss?”

“Lexa was just telling me about her internship,” Abby says. “It sounds like an excellent opportunity. Congratulations.”

“Thanks. I’m really excited. Indra—Professor Forrester—who’s leading the study, is kind of intimidating but it’s going to be such a great learning experience.”

A soft, fond smile curves Clarke’s mouth. She picks up Lexa’s hand, slotting their fingers together and giving a gentle squeeze. “My nerd.”

The moment is interrupted by the quiet clearing of Abby’s throat. Her eyes twinkle with something unsaid and it makes the tips of Lexa’s ears burn.

“Shall we get the check?”

 

 

 

 

The exhibition space is already filled with throngs of students, guests, and faculty members by the time they arrive. Catering staff do the rounds with trays of refreshments, and while Abby waits in line for the coat check, Clarke snags a couple of glasses of sparkling wine for her mother and Lexa and an orange juice for herself from a passing waiter.

“I don’t know what you said to her, but you must be the mom whisperer,” Clarke says.

“She expressed a similar sentiment to me about you.”

Lexa slips an arm around Clarke’s waist, and Clarke leans into her shoulder.

“Really?”

Clarke and her mother may be a study in contrasts in appearance, but that quizzical eyebrow is one physical trait they do share.

Lexa nods, smirking slightly. The barest upturn of her lips.

“Stubbornness is in your DNA, Clarke. The only thing I’ve successfully been able to convince you to do is to fall in love with me.”

Clarke turns in Lexa’s loose hold.

“Hmm. But that  is  a pretty epic feat.”

Clarke’s half-grin, the flash of white teeth, how she tips her head back to gaze from beneath her lashes, sets Lexa’s heart racing. Every single time.

“I thought so,” Lexa agrees, swaying closer. Her eyes keep drifting to Clarke’s mouth.

Clarke’s soft laughter wraps around Lexa, sending a warm tingle down her spine. She doesn’t need to be telepathic to know Clarke’s thinking about kissing her too. The glint in her eyes says it all as they both draw nearer, until there’s scarcely more than a slice of air between them.

“Should’ve known we’d find you two sucking face,” comes a sardonic voice from behind.

Octavia.

She’s hanging off Lincoln’s shoulder, flanked by Maya and a couple of other people Lexa doesn’t recognise. There’s a gentle smile on Lincoln’s face and Maya gives an endearingly dorky little wave. Moments later Abby joins them, greeting the newcomers with an ease presumably borne from years of schmoozing at hospital fundraisers.

Clarke passes the extra wine glass to her mother and clasps Lexa’s free hand.

“Will you all excuse us for a few minutes?” Clarke addresses the group, ignoring Octavia’s all too knowing look. “We’ll be back soon.”

Lexa waits until they’re out of earshot before she says, “As much as I might want to, it’s pretty rude to ditch everyone so we can make out.”

“We’re not.” Clarke reconsiders. “Okay, maybe later, but I wanna show you something first.”

She allows Clarke to lead her past clusters of people gathered around paintings, sculptures, ceramics on plinths, until they reach the rear of the gallery. Lexa’s about to question where exactly Clarke is taking her when her eyes land on the enormous canvas that dominates the stark white wall.

She gasps quietly and tightens her fingers around Clarke’s.

It’s her.

Well—The Commander.

But it’s not the same painting Clarke let her have a preview of before. This one is roughly three times the size and in it, she’s gazing out into the middle distance, a serene, almost beatific expression on her face. The pose, the style of warpaint, even the clothing is different. Gone is the shoulder guard and cape, replaced by some kind of ceremonial dress. She looks like the deity of a long lost religion of antiquity, anointed in gold paint and swathed in rich burgundy velvet.

Every strand of hair, every crease of fabric, the light and shade, the shimmer of her skin, all seems so lifelike. If Lexa didn’t know any better, if she couldn’t see the fine brush strokes on the surface of the canvas, she’d be forgiven for thinking she’s staring at a blown-up photo print.

Minutes elapse before she drags her eyes away from the painting to look at Clarke.

Clarke bites her lip. “What do you think?”

It takes Lexa a moment to regain the power of speech, swallowing around the sudden tightness in her throat.

“It’s…” She’s breathless with wonder. “Clarke, this is—you are— amazing .”

Astounding. Mesmerising. There aren’t enough words to express how exceptional Clarke is. Or how humbled Lexa feels to be chosen as Clarke’s subject.

“Yeah?”

“Yes,” Lexa says with complete sincerity. She shakes her head and turns back to the canvas on the wall. “God, how did you even...?”

“You inspire me, babe.” Clarke shifts her grip until their fingers are interlocked. She spares a coy glance. “In every facet of my work.”

Lexa’s cheeks pink at the implication, and Clarke tugs on her arm. “C’mon. Come see the others.”

Her eyes widen. “There are more?”

“This is just one of my submissions. I’ve done a whole series of portraits.”

Lexa stays rooted in place, gaping at Clarke. Now it’s Clarke’s turn to flush slightly. She tucks an errant strand of blonde hair behind her ear. “What?”

“Just…” Lexa shakes her head in quiet amazement. She steps forward and cups Clarke’s jaw in her hand. Searches Clarke’s gaze and the love she finds reflected there makes her heart pang. “You.”

Clarke’s smile is soft. “You, too.”

 

 

 

 

Clarke is in her element talking about her artistic influences. Pointing out techniques. Discussing composition and lighting and form.

Lexa listens, enthralled. Occasionally asking questions, mostly just appreciating how animated Clarke becomes. The jargon might as well be a foreign language to Lexa, but Clarke explains the concepts patiently and without patronising her.

It’s while they’re admiring one of Lincoln’s abstract paintings—a riot of green that’s supposed to represent the renewal of life or nature or who the fuck knows, it’s all just paint splatter—that Clarke admits, “You’re only, like, the second person to take any interest in my art. Outside of classes.”

Sensing that Clarke has more to say, Lexa just holds her hand and waits. They both look straight ahead, not taking their eyes off the painting. There’s something oddly calming about the overlapping splotches of colour, varying in shade from chartreuse to deep, forest green, with glimpses of the bare canvas peeking through like light streaming through a dense canopy of leaves.

“It was my dad who encouraged me to pursue painting. Mom was so hung up on career prospects, how I’d support myself, but Dad just wanted me to do something I was passionate about.”

There’s a lull and, when Clarke speaks again, her voice is softer. “I switched majors after the funeral. I’d been mulling it over for a while, and then he—he...” She takes an audible breath, draws herself up. “Maybe it sounds like pseudo self-help bullshit, but I had this epiphany, you know? I didn’t wanna be filled with regret because I wasn’t brave enough to go after the things I wanted for  me .”

Lexa doesn’t say anything. She only turns and puts her arms around Clarke, pulling her into a tight embrace. They stay like that, soaking in the warmth of one another, Clarke clutching at Lexa’s back as though she’s a life preserver. When they pull apart, Clarke’s eyes are glassy and Lexa feels like she’s the one drowning in that ocean blue.

"I wish you could've met him.” She smooths out the wrinkles in Lexa’s blouse from the hug. “He would've teased you for being so serious. Probably given you some goofy nickname like L-Dawg."

At the grimace she receives, Clarke laughs. “That’s how he was. Just the biggest dork. We used to listen to hard rock and hair metal on the drive to and from school every day, from kindergarten right up to junior high. One time he got so into doing a one-handed air guitar solo on The Final Countdown, he nearly swerved into a lamppost. Made me swear not to tell Mom because she would’ve freaked.”

She snorts at the memory and shakes her head.

“By the time I was a sophomore, I told him it was beyond lame to have my dad drive me to school.” She lowers her gaze. “If I’d known within a few years he’d be…”

Clarke swallows and presses her lips together, fighting back the swell of emotion. She blinks a few times to clear her vision and gives Lexa a sad smile.

“I’d give anything to sing along off-key to Livin’ On a Prayer with him again.”

“Well,” Lexa says carefully, “I draw the line at hair metal, but maybe that could become one of our traditions too. As long as we can throw some 90s R&B jams into the mix occasionally.”

Clarke is silent, wide eyes darting between Lexa’s while she absorbs the full meaning of the offer.

“I think I can cope with that.”

She steps into Lexa’s body again, toying with one of the buttons of her blouse. And, just like that, Clarke’s vulnerability turns on a dime so fast Lexa half wonders if she imagined it. Because the way Clarke’s looking at her now is the definition of sultry assurance.

“On a scale of one to ten, how pissed do you think my mom would be if we bailed so I can fuck you in the back seat of my car?”

Lexa glances around to make sure no one is eavesdropping. “Clarke, we’ve only been here twenty minutes. Besides, she hasn’t checked out your exhibits yet.”

Clarke’s eyes flit down the bare expanse of skin afforded by Lexa’s blouse. “I’d rather be checking out your exhibits. That shirt, I swear to God. You’re killing me, babe.”

Lexa’s reproachful stare is enough for Clarke to heave a sigh.

“Fine, I’m gonna find her. Are you okay to hang with O or Maya for a while?”

“Of course.”

“Have I mentioned that I love you?”

She’s stalling. Even so, Lexa plays along.

“Once or twice,” she replies with a shrug. “Although not in the last five minutes or so.”

“Hm. Not sure I love this attitude,” Clarke says, but she’s smiling as she nudges her nose against Lexa’s.

It’s Lexa who leans in to steal a soft, slow kiss that nevertheless makes the nerve endings tingle up and down the length of her arms. When she opens her eyes it’s to find Clarke’s own a shade darker and full of unspoken intent.

“Go. Dazzle her,” Lexa says, using the last reserve of self-restraint to stop herself from grabbing Clarke and laying a much dirtier kiss on her in front of her peers and professors. “Before I take you up on that offer of spoiling the upholstery of your car.”

Clarke pouts. “Tease.”

“I learned from the best.”

 

 

 

 

While Clarke shows her paintings to Abby, Lexa remains at a discreet distance chatting to Maya.

(“Can you believe we’re actually graduating? Seems like we’re never in class,” Maya had remarked, after taking a long, ruminative sip of wine.)

She keeps an eye on the pair as they drift from one piece to the next. Watching out for the slightest sign of trouble in case she needs to swoop in and intervene. But, from here, Abby seems engaged and interested, and Clarke’s posture becomes more relaxed as time goes on.

When they return, Clarke exchanges a small relieved smile with Lexa. A silent reassurance that she’s okay and something settles within Lexa too.

Before long Lincoln makes his way over to their little circle.

“Hey, so we’re gonna head out for drinks,” he says. “Are you guys interested?”

Clarke looks to her mother, but Abby holds up her hands in surrender. “I won’t cramp your style. I’ll just get a cab back to the hotel.”

“Are you sure? I’m sober. I can drive you,” Clarke offers.

“No, stay. Enjoy yourselves. Maybe we could meet for brunch tomorrow?”

“Yeah.” Clarke nods. “Okay. I’ll call you.”

There’s an awkward moment where they’re unsure whether to hug or not. In the end, Abby just dusts a kiss to Clarke’s cheek with a “‘bye, sweetheart, have fun” and sweeps off to the coat check.

“You in?” Lincoln asks the remaining group.

“Sure!” Maya beams.

Lexa glances at Clarke, gauging the slightly pensive expression as she watches her mother retreat, and says, “You know, I think we’re going to call it a night too. My feet are killing me.”

Lincoln shakes his head fondly. “Any excuse.”

“I think it’s cute they’re still in the honeymoon phase,” Maya says with a teasing grin. “I mean, if it was anything like last time, they’d just spend the entire night making out in the corner and not talking to any of us anyway.”

Well. She’s not wrong.

Regardless, Lexa’s face heats at being called out on their behaviour.

Clarke scoffs. “Can you blame me? Look at her. She’s my muse.”

“So I’ve noticed,” Maya says. She laughs. “Now the costume makes sense. I thought it was just some kinky sex thing.”

Lexa doesn’t dare make eye contact with any of them, least of all Clarke, feigning sudden interest in her watch instead. “Wow, is that the time already? We should go so these guys don’t miss out on happy hour.”

She can sense Clarke’s smirk without even looking.

 

 

 

 

Hand-in-hand they exit the building and make their way towards the car park, but Lexa’s momentarily confused when Clarke tugs her in a different direction.

“I thought we could take a walk along the waterfront. Get some air,” Clarke explains.

It’s balmy outside, the sun hanging low in the sky and painting the world in a palette of pale blue and pink and orange. Still warm enough that Lexa doesn’t feel a chill with her jacket draped over the crook of her elbow and her sleeves rolled up.

For a while they’re content to stroll in silence, Lexa having consumed just enough alcohol to numb the soreness of her feet to a dull throb. She may be hobbled tomorrow but, for now, she’s just about holding up.

Every so often they glance at one another, shoulders bumping and sharing soft smiles.

“Are you okay with seeing your mom again tomorrow?” Lexa asks finally, giving Clarke’s hand a light squeeze.

“Yeah. I mean, baby steps, right? It’s not like everything’s gonna be fixed over mimosas, but I guess we’re overdue some mother-daughter bonding time.”

“Would you like me to go with you?”

Clarke considers the offer before shaking her head. “Thanks, but I think it’s something I need to do myself. We might end up yelling at each other again or she might actually, like, listen to me for once. Who knows at this stage?”

She gives a shrug, a deliberate carelessness to it that Lexa sees right through, but she doesn’t push the topic.

“She seemed proud of you,” is all she says. “ I’m  proud of you. Everyone loved your paintings.”

They come to a gradual stop, Clarke manoeuvring around until she has Lexa backed into the metal railing.

“You’re not exactly impartial,” Clarke says, tightening her fingers around Lexa’s before letting go.

Her arms circle Lexa’s shoulders and Lexa can’t tamp down on a little noise at the feel of the curves crushed against her body. She’s weak and Clarke knows it, too. No sense in trying to pretend otherwise.

“Oh, I will freely admit to being your biggest fan.”

“I don’t know… I have some pretty enthusiastic followers on Twitter who’d contest that claim.”

“Fortunately for me, they don’t get to go home with you.”

Their faces grow closer, and Lexa only catches a brief glimpse of the sparkle in Clarke’s eyes before their lips connect in a kiss that makes her heart lurch and her stomach swoop to her knees. When Clarke starts to pull away, Lexa lifts her hands to the sides of Clarke’s neck to prevent the retreat. Too in love with this girl and this moment to let it end so soon.

“Let’s go home then,” Clarke says, long minutes later. Both breathless and smiling like fools. The lenses of Lexa’s glasses are partially fogged over, lending a soft focus to everything. “Because I have some  very  specific plans for you.”

 

 

 *

 

 

Once they cross the threshold it’s all heat and frenzy, harsh breaths, and impatient hands.

Lexa presses Clarke against the wall. Seeks out her mouth without hesitation, lips parting to one another as Lexa angles in deeper, feverish for more. Clarke moans into the kiss and arousal floods through Lexa’s body at the sound, pooling liquid and heavy between her legs.

Clarke grabs at Lexa’s ass, fingers slipping into the back pockets of the jeans to pull her closer.

Her own hands wander. Moving over Clarke’s waist, her hips, the outside of her thighs. Gathering the satiny dress in her fists and hitching the hem far enough to be able to slip a palm between Clarke’s legs unimpeded. Fingers trailing up, up, and Lexa feels the quick breath Clarke sucks in when the tips brush over damp lace.

This— touching  Clarke—was all Lexa could think about for the duration of the drive back to the apartment.

She’s not and never will be into cars, but there’s something undeniably exciting about Clarke behind the wheel of the Mustang, tapping out an absent rhythm on the stick shift, elbow propped on the door, eyes hidden behind dark glasses. The confidence that rolls off her, the little smirks she kept sending Lexa’s way, all serving to get Lexa more worked up.

So by the time they made it to Clarke’s place, as Lexa watched the deliberate sway of Clarke’s ass while they climbed the stairs, she was already near breaking point. One look, one sly glance over Clarke’s shoulder as she unlocked the door, and Lexa was a goner.

The kiss breaks on a gasp when Lexa rubs along the seam of Clarke’s underwear, the fabric soaked through already.

Clarke tips her head back, eyelids hooded as she watches Lexa watching her. While Lexa feels out the shape of Clarke, circles the bump of her clit, dips lower into the lace-covered cleft. Clarke rocks into it encouragingly, but Lexa keeps the pressure feather light.

She leans in. Drags her open mouth over Clarke’s chin, her jaw, kissing a path up to her ear, savouring the little hitch of Clarke’s breath.

“I want you out of this,” Lexa husks, tugging at the dress.

“So take it off.”

Permission granted, she plucks at the knot at Clarke’s waist, pulling the tie free, peeling the garment off Clarke’s body. The fabric pools at Clarke’s feet and Lexa takes a moment to appreciate the vision before her: Clarke in a black lingerie set, still in her heels, the cups of the balcony bra scooped low and doing absolutely nothing to conceal the poke of hard nipples behind the floral patterned lace.

The sight shorts Lexa’s brain; leaves her mouth dry. Because Clarke in lingerie is no less spectacular now than it was the first fifty times. And Lexa is gay.  So  incredibly gay.

It isn’t until Clarke reaches for the lapels of Lexa’s jacket, pushing it off her shoulders and down her arms, going for the tuck of Lexa’s blouse next, that she’s shaken out of her boob-induced trance.

She captures Clarke’s wrists. Pins them to the wall above Clarke’s head, using the length of her body to trap Clarke there. Not that Clarke shows any signs of wanting to escape, given the half smile on her face, the way she pushes her hips into Lexa’s. Eager.

“What are you gonna do with me now?” Clarke asks, and the gravelly rasp of her voice makes Lexa shiver slightly.

Her eyes drop to Clarke’s mouth, following the line of her throat to the hollow between her collarbones and down the slope of her chest. So much creamy skin on display that Lexa wants to touch and taste.

She swallows hard and drags her gaze back up, eyes locking with Clarke’s. Holding that burning stare as she nudges a denim-clad thigh between Clarke’s legs, as Clarke tilts her pelvis forward.

“First,” Lexa replies, tightening her hold around Clarke’s wrists. “I’m going to take you up against this wall.” She lets that sink in for a second before she adds, in an almost matter of fact tone, “Still debating whether to use my fingers or my mouth or both. Maybe I’ll improvise.”

“And then?” The words are full of breathless anticipation for what’s next.

“You’re going to scream so loudly when you come for me that I won’t be able to look Mrs Papadopolous in the eye next time I offer to carry her groceries up the stairs.” Lexa lowers her voice and wiggles her brows. “Someone might even put up another passive-aggressive notice in the hallway.”

At that Clarke snorts and the energy sparking between them takes on a different dimension. Lexa releases Clarke’s wrists, both hands dropping to clutch at her waist instead. She can’t keep a stupid grin off her face as she closes in for a kiss that’s more bumping of lips and muffled laughter. Clumsy and joyous and imperfect, it makes Lexa’s heart soar.

“All right, stud,” Clarke says in a teasing drawl, fingers threading into Lexa’s hair, “but why not aim higher? It’s been over a month since anyone’s made a complaint to the super.”

Lexa grimaces. “Oh god, that poor man. He nearly had a coronary last time, when you answered the door wearing nothing but a skimpy towel and a smile. I’ve never seen someone stutter so badly.”

“Yeah, but has he bothered us since?” An eyebrow lifts. “Anyway, you had a pretty similar reaction after he left.”

“Because you dropped your towel, Clarke,” Lexa points out. Her hands move from Clarke’s waist, sliding up her sides with purpose until her thumbs meet the underwire of Clarke’s bra. “Strategic disrobing for devastating effect is kind of your signature move.”

“Don’t pretend you don’t love it.”

“I’m not going to lie, I do,” Lexa nods, reaching around to unhook Clarke’s bra. She drags the straps off Clarke’s shoulders and glances down, distracted once more by the bounty in front of her, helplessly drawn to the proud jut of Clarke’s nipples.

She must zone out for a minute because she only dimly registers Clarke is talking when she repeats Lexa’s name for the third time.

Dazed, she looks up. “What?”

Clarke’s expression is one of wry amusement. She tugs gently on Lexa’s hair, a minor rebuke. “I said, are you planning to just stare at them all night or are you gonna follow through on that promise to upset the neighbours?”

“Um, the latter. Definitely.”

Having recovered from the temporary synaptic misfiring caused by the reveal of Clarke’s breasts, Lexa allows herself the luxury of finally touching. Palms curving around the plump swells and giving a light squeeze.

Clarke releases a shuddery sigh and cups the back of Lexa’s neck, silently urging her on.

“If someone isn’t yelling and hammering on the door within twenty minutes I need to up my game,” Lexa says, rolling her thumbs over the hard peaks then kneading a little firmer.

Clarke uses her grip on Lexa’s nape to bring their mouths together, licking across Lexa’s bottom lip before she slips inside.

(It strikes Lexa that the old adage about death and taxes being the only things certain in life could be amended to include Clarke’s tongue, to complete the trifecta.)

While they kiss, hot and heavy, Lexa abandons one boob and lets her hand drift down Clarke’s stomach. She traces patterns above the edge of Clarke’s underwear. Feels the way Clarke’s muscles twitch and jump. Can practically taste the needy noise that catches in Clarke’s throat when she pushes under the waistband.

Clarke’s hips give a small jolt as Lexa runs her fingers lower, sliding so readily through the slick gathered there. Practically swimming. And it’s an ongoing source of wonder to Lexa just how turned on Clarke gets but, even so, she doesn’t let it shake her focus. Not when Clarke’s rubbing herself on the length of Lexa’s fingers and making all these rough, wanting sounds that raise goosebumps along Lexa’s body.

She presses two fingers inside, swallows the groan muffled by the seal of their mouths. Soon finds a brisk rhythm that Clarke meets with enthusiasm. Uses the weight of her thigh behind every thrust to drive deeper, harder into Clarke.

Clarke, who’s clinging to her. Nails scraping against Lexa’s neck, other hand splayed across her shoulder, rumpling the fabric of her blouse.

They can’t keep up the kiss. Between the steady string of gasps coming from Clarke, Lexa’s soft grunts of exertion, their laboured breathing, it’s impossible.

Instead, Lexa nuzzles into Clarke’s neck, fastening her open mouth to the warm, salty-sweet skin at Clarke’s throat. Feeling the thrum of Clarke’s pulse beneath her lips; the rush of Clarke’s breath close to her ear; the rough exhale and drawn out “fuck” when Lexa works her thumb over Clarke’s clit, running tight circles around and around.

“Keep doing that. Fuck, don’t stop.”

Lexa can tell by the pitch and cadence that Clarke is close to breaking. By the way her fingers scrabble rapidly back and forth over Lexa’s nape. By the uneven stutter of Clarke’s hips. How her breath comes fast and short now amidst a halting chant of, “Lexa, Lexa, Lex—”

As soon as she feels Clarke begin to clench, Lexa pulls back to watch her unravel. Enraptured by the concentration written across Clarke’s face, the pinch of her eyebrows, lower lip pulled between her teeth. Clarke grinds on Lexa’s thumb for a few frantic seconds, a final push before her mouth drops and her hips jerk and she tips her head towards the ceiling. The moan that rips from her throat rings in Lexa’s ears long afterwards.

Lexa eases her hand from Clarke’s underwear, wraps her arms around her midsection, holding Clarke close while she recovers.

“Since I don’t hear any yelling yet...” Clarke remarks as she sags against Lexa’s body. She loops her own arms around Lexa’s shoulders. “I guess you still have something to prove.”

“I said twenty minutes. There’s time.”

Lidded blue eyes drift to Lexa’s lips.

“Pretty sure of yourself, huh?”

Lexa inches closer. “About you, yes.”

Smiles stretching, they nudge into a languid kiss. It deepens slowly. Stokes the heat in the pit of Lexa’s stomach. Before long she’s unconsciously rocking her hips into Clarke’s.

When they edge apart, they’re both breathing hard once more. Hot puffs of air fanning across parted lips. Eyes dark and heavy as they gaze at one another—in Lexa’s case, once the mist has cleared from her glasses. Cheeks flushed, hair in disarray, to Lexa her girlfriend has never looked more perfect.

“Every day I fall in love with you a little bit more,” Lexa whispers, tightening the embrace. It’s not as if this is news to Clarke but Lexa needs her to know.

Clarke gives her a look that shimmers with tender affection. “Wow, you are  super  corny when you’re tipsy.”

Off the pout she receives, Clarke laughs softly and lays a hand against Lexa’s jaw. “It’s one of the many things I love about you, dork. Now shut up and kiss me again.”

 

 

 

 

Breathless, skin slicked with sweat, Lexa slides off Clarke and flops back amongst the rumpled sheets, chest heaving while she tries to draw air into her lungs.

Her face is sticky, mouth and chin gleaming with the evidence of Clarke’s last two orgasms. Their fingers are still loosely tangled, Lexa’s tingling with pins and needles from how hard Clarke had squeezed them when she came.

“Okay, I think you did it that time,” Clarke says, sounding deliciously hoarse. “Pretty sure we’ll find a note shoved under our door in the morning.”

Lexa leverages up onto one elbow.

She licks the remnants of Clarke from her lips, the flavour thick and heavy on her tongue.

“... Our?”

For a moment Clarke’s expression goes carefully blank but Lexa’s able to read the flicker of apprehension in her eyes—by now she’s intimately acquainted with every nuanced emotion that graces that beautiful face.

“Clarke.”

Lexa says it with such soft understanding, such quiet reverence. She adjusts her hold on Clarke’s hand until their palms are more tightly clasped together.

She waits, sensing that Clarke’s psyching herself up to say something significant. Detects it in the wrinkle of her forehead, how she shuts her eyes and draws in a steadying breath before she meets Lexa’s patient gaze again.

“Yeah. Ours.” Clarke’s eyes dart around Lexa’s face as if gauging her reaction. “That’s how I want you to think of this place.”

Lexa stares, heart pounding in her throat, pulse roaring in her ears because—

“Is this—are you asking me to move in with you?”

Clarke just looks steadily back at her and gives a nonchalant little shrug that’s entirely at odds with the way she worries at her lower lip, the fact she has Lexa’s hand caught in a death grip.

“I mean, you were talking about moving out of your dorm room at the end of this semester anyway. You hate living with Ontari.”

“That’s true. Although, since she broke up with Roan she’s been oddly... better? If you discount the random crying jags and playing Bring Me Back To Life on repeat.”

Clarke does a good approximation of the face Chrissy Teigen made at the 2016 Oscars.

“Right, but what’s the point in us renting separate apartments when you're here most of the time anyway? It’s not, like, cost-effective.”

A tiny smile pulls at the corner of Lexa’s mouth and she presses her lips together to smother it. “Cost-effective, sure.”

“Duh. Economics 101, remember?” Clarke’s grasp on Lexa’s fingers relaxes enough for normal circulation to be restored. “Besides, your candles and feminist theory textbooks have been slowly migrating over here for months. Not to mention all the flannel breeding in the closet.”

Another too-casual shrug. “Might as well make it official.”

“You make a compelling case, but I’m going to have to consider my options. Weigh the pros and cons.”

She glances at Clarke. Watches the feigned indifference give way to confusion then mild outrage. And Lexa’s no longer able to hold back the smile she’s been fighting. It burrows deep into her cheeks and the effect on Clarke is instantaneous, her relief palpable even as she scowls at Lexa and drops her hand.

“Well, if you’re gonna be an asshole I rescind the offer.”

“Oh, come on,” Lexa laughs.

She rears up so she can clamber over Clarke’s body, arms braced on either side of her shoulders, knees bracketing Clarke’s hips as she settles on her lap.

“You don’t need to frame it as a mutually beneficial financial arrangement, Clarke. Just admit that you miss me too much when I’m not around and you can’t stand the nights when we’re apart.”

Lexa’s gleefully devilish smile morphs into something infinitely fonder as she gazes down at the grumpy girl beneath her, getting lost all over again in those gorgeous blue eyes.

“Because that’s the way I feel about you.”

“See what I mean? God, so corny,” Clarke says, but her face is positively lit up, and the lazy grin that eases across her lips has Lexa wriggling closer without conscious intent.

Clarke reaches for Lexa, hands slipping around her waist before roaming lower to find purchase on her ass. Which she’s come to realise is Clarke’s favourite resting place for her hands at any given moment.

“So…” Clarke drags the word out slowly. Gives a possessive little grope that Lexa can’t help but respond to, pushing her hips down, an unbidden whimper escaping from her throat. “That’s a yes?”

Of course  the answer is yes.”

“Just checking.”

A small tug on her butt later and Lexa’s drawn forward. Stomachs and breasts sliding together, skin on skin, the graze of hard nipples sending a hot jolt between her legs.

Lexa cups Clarke’s jaw in her palms, thumbs stroking over the corners of the smile carved into Clarke’s cheeks.

“I do have one question though.”

“Mmm.” Clarke drops a lingering kiss against Lexa’s top lip then the bottom one. Inhaling sharply through her nose as she tastes herself. With a soft groan, she clutches tighter at Lexa, kneading at the flesh under her hands. “What’s that, babe?”

“How do you feel about us adopting a kitten?”